Saturday, July 30, 2011

Looking for the Moments, part 2

Downtown Los Angeles

I've been doing a lot of driving around lately and I just remembered something I've always believed to be true about creative inspiration. It seems to me that it's just as easy to experience those significant moments in time when out driving as it is out walking or doing anything else. I don't know about you, but I think it's just a matter of being aware and ready when they happen. Here's what I mean (from my May 30, 2011 blog post):
So make a point to enjoy some art. Listen to some music and later, watch a movie. Visit a museum or check in on a website that brings art directly to you. There are countless moments that are waiting and won't be discovered unless you make the effort to look for them. No one knows what you can create until a moment moves you to inspiration. Make art a part of your life, watch for those moments that speak just to you, and respond in kind by creating something that provides someone else a moment that they'll remember. It's all a matter of consciously looking for those moments and then making them relevant in your life. Just keep looking.
So how about you? Is there a pattern to those significant moments that inspire you, or do they just happen when they happen?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Building Blue Hill

So here's the short version of what's going on: The book is done and is now being formatted for Kindle. That should be done soon and the moment it is, I'm going to publish a preview edition available to blog readers like you. Eventually the cover art will be done and when it is, I'll have an official release.

Thanks for following the saga and I hope you enjoy Blue Hill when it's finally in your hands.

Blue Hill
by Todd R. Tystad
Asa Roth is 17 and lives just outside of Blue Hill, South Dakota.  After a motorcycle accident changes him in ways he doesn’t understand, he begins to think that unexplainable things that are happening might be happening for a reason.  With the help of his brothers, his best friend, and a girl he can’t stop thinking about, Asa tries to figure out the person he’s becoming and where his life is taking him.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Two Wheels to Clear Your Mind

Conestoga Lake
"If anyone ever tries to tell me that because I ride a motorcycle I need to see a psychiatrist, I'm going to tell them that I don't need to see a psychiatrist because I ride a motorcycle."

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

Out of concern that you might think I've been slacking off with this blog, I decided that I'd better say hello and let you know what's up. I wish I could say that it's been a summer of vacation and adventure, but the truth is, I haven't really been out of the house much. There's new fiction on the way, my friends, and it will be ready for you next month.

With all of the great feedback and encouragement that I've had after publishing the short fiction collection, I decided to try out some new material. I already had the story in mind, but it took me a while to get things moving because I wanted to find the right format and what educators refer to as "voice." Once I settled on what I was comfortable with, it's been an enjoyable process. I'd like to say that it's been like a vacation, but that would be stretching things a bit.

So another week or two and what I'm working on now should be done. My plan is for this to be Book 1 of a three-part series. I don't want to reveal too much too soon, but I'm hoping that you'll like what you see when it's ready to go. I don't enjoy waiting around myself, but sometimes it's well worth it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


For those who are interested in ebooks, this post is for you. For those who aren't, get ready because the train has already left the station. Amazon announced in May that - after less than four years of selling ebooks - their company is now selling more ebook titles than paperback and hardcover books combined. And that's a lot of ebooks.

Amazon also sells the Kindle, their enormously popular reading device. But not everyone is reading on a Kindle. There are free Kindle reading apps for PCs, Macs, phones, and the iPad. More than half of the titles on Amazon cost less than ten bucks, many are less than a dollar, and thousands of titles are free for the downloading.

One of the great things that's happened with the explosion of available material and the way the reading public has embraced ebooks is that writers are now coming up with new ways to tell stories. There are ebooks with audio and video content, hypertext links that allow the reader to explore outside of the main text, and more. Critics say that all of this works against the idea that books are meant to engage the imagination and not mimic other media. Yeah, whatever.

Whichever you prefer, ebooks or the old tried and true, there's no denying that ebooks are here to stay and storytelling will never be the same. If you don't believe me, drop in on Pottermore at the end of the month. Harry Potter will be happy to see you.

Friday, July 8, 2011


In case you haven't heard, there's a new kid on the block that has a whole lot of tech folks talking. Google had a stealth launch of their new social network at the end of June and they're serious about competing with the reigning neighborhood cool kid, Facebook. It's called Google+ and it is an amazing thing.

Like Facebook, Google+  allows users to share news, photos, videos, and links in a "Stream" with friends. The key difference is that Google+ users can arrange friends in "Circles" so that news and content can be shared publicly with everyone, or just some "Circles" and not others. There's also chatting, video chatting that accommodates two to ten people at a time, and "Sparks," a feature for exploring special interest areas in conjunction with the +1 button that's been added to every inch of the Internet.

Part of what's made Google+ such a hot topic the past two weeks is that it's been an invitation-only site. Google+ says that they are still currently in "field trial" mode and are "throttling" access so that they can build the service slowly and steadily to avoid bugs and other problems. The word on the street is that it will be full-speed and open to everyone by July 31. So if you haven't yet received an invitation, you don't have long to wait to try it out.

As with all social networking sites, the issue of user privacy inevitably comes up. I won't wade into that murky water, but please remember the most important rule in life... nothing shared on the Internet is ever private. Ever.

So with that, I hope you have enough information to know if you want to give Google+ a try. It's a lot less cluttered than other social networking sites and, in many ways, a lot more attractive. If you decide to jump in, let me know what you think. I'll keep a circle open for you.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day Greetings

Happy 4th of July! It's great to take a break from everything else going on in the summertime and celebrate the country we live in. Between the barbecues, the community events, and the fireworks, be sure to take a moment to think about the real meaning of the holiday. Happy birthday, America.

The truth is, today will be pretty much like any other summer day at the House of Tystad. We're dedicated to grilling and community events on a regular basis and, with the exception of the firecrackers going off outside, today will be like most of our summer days. So to make today stand out, I propose the following for us and for you as a way of celebrating this special day:
  1. Take some time to think of our men and women in uniform. Our military doesn't take the day off and we wouldn't have it off either if not for those who have given us so much. Thank you.
  2. Take some time to think of your pets. Protect them from the sounds and the heat that can endanger their health.
 Happy Independence Day. Enjoy yourself and this great country we live in.