Friday, March 30, 2012

Todd R. Tystad: Three Questions

Los Angeles-based author Milda Harris welcomed me to her blog today and asked me three difficult questions. I did okay with the first two, but the third had me stumped. I resisted the temptation to Google the answer and took a wild guess. Here's her post: Writer Girl in L.A.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Spring is Here

Spring is Here
by Todd R. Tystad

Unfortunate news for the skiers and snowboarders among us is the fact that spring has, undeniably, arrived in our fair burg. Signs are everywhere and even though the possibility of snow and icy cold winds will remain for a few weeks, the worst of an uncharacteristically mild winter is over. Whine if you must, but spring has arrived here in the Midwest.

Those who know me well know how fond I am of the climate in Southern California. I spent the better part of 15 years honoring the changing of the seasons by making hard decisions like whether to wear a short or long-sleeved t-shirt, whether I could eat outside, and whether it was an SPF 15 or 30 day. If I ever wanted to remember what winter felt like, I'd head up to the Bay Area for an afternoon.

Now that I'm in the final stretch of a long haul in America's heartland, I watch carefully for any sign that the awful Season of the Dead (a.k.a. winter) is on its way out. I celebrate every indication that winter could be over. At this very moment I can see baby blades of grass struggling to rise up above last year's growth, lilac leaf buds preparing to burst open, and clouds of pollen telling me that it's time for authentic warm weather.

With spring's new growth comes our traditional occasions that symbolize new life and freedom. Easter and Passover are only weeks away and as we all prepare for the time we'll spend with our families and friends, I'd like to share some reminders that will help us all make it to summer without any gloom, despair, divorce, or assault charges.

First of all, please remember that we all have to put up with some crazy relatives at holiday meals sometimes. If we didn't, it wouldn't seem at all like a holiday meal. Secondly, please do not give baby rabbits, chicks, or ducklings to children as gifts. Few households are suited to safely adopting such animals and giving a plush pet is a much better choice. Seriously. And finally, get outside and enjoy the weather while you can. Like Mom always said, there's no reason to stay cooped up in the house all day when there's beautiful weather outside.

Celebrate spring. Celebrate family. Celebrate the fact that you don't need to hide indoors for fear of frostbite or collapsed lungs. Spring is here. Now go out and do something about it.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Seven Moments in Time: Free and Rabbit-Approved

Readers of this blog will be happy to know that I'm doing another promotional day with Amazon. Seven Moments in Time is available as a free download right now and for the rest of today.

Seven Moments in Time
by Todd R. Tystad 
"This collection of seven short stories examines human relationships and the complicated journey from childhood to adulthood. From a moment in a sandbox to a moment in a synagogue to a moment spent outside a Christmas party, these are the moments that reveal who we are and how we're weathering the journey."
Readers will also be happy to know that Seven Moments in Time is now rabbit-approved. I was fortunate enough to have my short fiction collection featured as a Free Friday E-book on the Bunny's Review Book Blog yesterday. I was also asked to be a guest on the blog today, so I wrote an affectionate piece called "Spring is Here" - in which I managed to mention snowboarders, lilac leaf buds, divorce, and assault all in the same post.

So go get yourself a free copy of Seven Moments in Time, check out the Bunnies, and enjoy your St. Patrick's Day. (Don't forget to leave a review on Amazon, mate.) Cheers!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

7 Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

With St. Patrick's Day just one week away, it's time to make plans for how you're going to celebrate. I've put together a lucky seven list of ways that the House of Tystad marks one of its most favorite days of the year. You've got seven days to get ready, so get on it.

1. Watch a movie about Irish blokes. I really like and highly recommend The Commitments. The soundtrack is outstanding.

2. Listen to some Irish music. My short list includes The Killigans and The Dropkick Murphys.

3. Cook up some Irish food. There has always been and will always be corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes on St. Patrick's Day at the House of Tystad.

4. Wear some green. Keep it under control, but this one is just a given.

5. Visit a St. Patrick's Day community festival. There's nothing like celebrating with some kindred spirits.

6. Watch a St. Patrick's Day parade. Sometimes even better than a festival because the good ones are a festival in and of themselves.

7. Stop in at an Irish pub. Some might say that St. Patrick's Day is too busy and crowded, but... you ever notice that those people aren't Irish? Don't listen to them. Live a little.

And, as if you need any more inspiration, I leave you with my favorite Irish blessing.

May those that love us, love us.
And those that don't love us,
May God turn their hearts.
And if He doesn't turn their hearts,
May He turn their ankles
So we will know them by their limping.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Screenwriting Resources

I had the pleasure of participating in a writing festival yesterday. It's not often that writers get the chance to spend a whole day with other writers doing nothing but writing and talking about writing. It was great. I participated in a panel discussion about writing and presented a session on screenwriting.

I referred to several resources during my presentation and I'd like to list a few of them here for my fellow participants. Feel free to share any related resources or links in the comments section.

The Daily Script is an online collection of movie and television scripts. Some can be read online and some can be downloaded. Check the "links" tab for lots of extras.

Final Draft is a scriptwriting program for screenwriters, television writers, playwrights, and writers of new media.

Essentials of Screenwriting by Richard Walter is the best book I've ever read on the topic of screenwriting.

On Writing by Stephen King is the best book I've ever read on the topic of writing in general.