The Night Terror is now available. It is currently available in hard cover, paperback and ebook formats. It can be downloaded onto a Kindle or iPad and is currently not available on the Nook. I am looking into why it is not available on the Nook and trust that will be rectified soon. The trailer for the book is also now on YouTube thanks to Kelin Field. You can see the trailer below. To learn how you can purchase a copy, please click on this link: The Night Terror.Please help get the word out by pasting this blog to your Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, MySpace, Digg, ChimeIn or other social networking site. Thank you for your help.PS. I will be on vacation for the next two weeks and the guest bloggers will start posting tomorrow. The first guest blogger will be Todd Williams, so stop by and check out his post. Have a great weekend. - Tim
May 30, 1998
This is a very exciting week. Julie had a birthday on Monday and we celebrate our 14 year anniversary today!! I also received my hardcover copy of The Night Terror last night and we are preparing for our first ever family vacation to Disney World and Florida. Can you say over-stimulated?
I find it extremely difficult to stay focused at work because I have so many exciting things taking place. I just need to get through today and tomorrow and I will have some well earned time off.
I am dedicating today’s blog to my wife of 14 years, Julie Stritzel McSwain. I can’t believe that it has been 14 years already. I am very blessed to be married to such a beautiful, intelligent and strong woman. Julie has stood by my side through thick and thin and has shared times of joy and pain. I only had two living grandparents when we married and she was there to comfort me when I lost each of them. She has also consoled me when I received a bad report from the doctor and helped me pray for healing (which happened). She held me when I was laid off from two jobs and stayed by my side when we had to sell a car we loved and our first home. She gave birth to our wonderful children and has been an exceptional mother. She has also supported me in my desire to follow my dreams of becoming a writer. Julie has been a blessing to my life. I am not sure what life would have been like without her, but I imagine I would have been a very lonely person. I love her deeply and am so thankful that we found eachother.
Thank you, Julie, for being my wife and sharing your love with me.
I am very excited to tell you about some changes that will be taking place over the next couple weeks. The Stratoblog is preparing to embark upon a new adventure... to boldly go where it has never gone before. Are you ready to learn about the change that will soon be taking place? I knew you were...
For those of you who have been keeping up with the blog, you are aware that I am soon going to Disney World. With the building excitement and large amount of time spent in preparation, I am already beginning to neglect the blog. I made a decision awhile back to not work while on vacation. Although blogging is more of a hobby and something I truly enjoy, I felt that I need a break from it as well. I don't want to just shut the blog down for two and half weeks at what is a critical time to maintain and increase readership, so I have asked some friends to be guest bloggers during my absence.
This is a moment of history in Stratosphere Networking. Until now I have been the sole blogger on the site. That will change on June 1st. I have asked three different people to write while I am gone. I am excited to read the material that will be written by Todd Williams, Tim McMeen and Courtney Hill. These guys are very creative writers and will contribute a fresh perspective on the blog. If you like reading my blogs, I think you will love theirs. You will still hear from me over the next couple days and I will be back in full force after the vacation, but please support my friends as they give the Stratoblog a new life.
Have a stolen iPhone? There’s an app for that! Such is the story of Katy. In April, 2012 she opted to enjoy some downtime on a cruise aboard the Disney Wonder. The cruise was entertaining and fun, but one sad thing happened while she was aboard the ship. Katy’s iPhone disappeared. The phone was never located and she returned home without her beloved iPhone.
In May, 2012 something interesting happened. Katy’s photostream received an update with new pictures. Those pictures were taken with her iPhone aboard the Disney Wonder. What was interesting, however, was that she did not take the photographs. They were apparently taken by the person who lifted her iPhone. Her phone has in fact been stolen and according to the photo documentation, it was stolen by a staff member aboard the ship.
Katy’s iPhone was gone but it had found a way to communicate with her and plea for her help. She could not turn her back on her phone in its hour of need, so she decided to share the photos with others and caption them with a story. She humorously crafted a narrative about the thief, “Nelson” and his adventures with her phone. She was brilliant and creative in the way she constructed her story about her phone. I could actually envision some of the captions in an iPhone commercial promoting it as an app.
Here is my introduction and some of Katy’s photo comments. (Her comments are in quotes).
Have a stolen iPhone? There’s and app for that. Introducing the new Thief Capture iPhotolog. See it in action: “This is Nelson, Nelson has stolen my iPhone.” “This is Nelson’s girlfriend. Apparently she works at the spa.” “Nelson likes to take photos of buildings in Mexico with stolen phones.” “He also likes to take photos of Cabo San Lucas and his super cool friends.” “And here's a beautiful sunset Nelson had time to capture, all on my stolen iPhone.” Download the new iPhotolog and find a new way to enjoy having a stolen phone.
It seems that Katy has made the best of her situation and has proven yet again that modern technology can outwit a simple pick pocketing thief. To see the photographs that were captured on Katy’s iPhone, visit her photo album here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.4102695045342.2181863.1221948597&
My rear window rolls down. That may sound like a strange way to start an article, but it is an important feature. I own a 1999 Toyota 4Runner with a sunroof and it has a rear window that rolls down. My family owns two vehicles and we tend to lean toward the practical side when deciding what to drive. I drive a fuel efficient and reliable Toyota Camry on my daily 25 mile commute to work and my wife and children travel in an SUV in their 1 mile commute to school. At this stage in life it just is not practical to own a convertible and I love convertibles. I greatly enjoy the exhilaration of the wind blasting through the car. Our 4Runner is the closest thing we have to a convertible. When I slide the sunroof back and roll down all the windows (including the back one), it becomes an instant wind tunnel; it’s great!! The motor in my rear window is beginning to fail, however and that saddens me. This is not the reason I have entitled this, ‘Thinking About Buying a New SUV,’ because it would be extremely less expensive to replace the window motor than the entire vehicle.
The reason I am contemplating making this move is because our 4Runner has nearly 200,000 miles and has been experiencing some mechanical problems. I have replaced almost everything I can within the range of my limited mechanical abilities but have yet to locate the problem. It does not trip the check engine light and therefore is almost impossible to detect via computer. I have taken it to a mechanic and left him scratching his head. I have given much thought to taking it to Toyota to have it repaired but am certain it will cost quite a bit of money to do so. It has 200,000 miles and is 13 years old… I’m just not sure I want to sink a large amount of money in it.
For this reason, I am considering selling it and buying a newer SUV. I have researched a plethora of SUVs from the fuel efficient to the mammoths. I want something that will comfortably carrier my family of four without requiring a trip to the gas station twice a week. We really have no need for a third row, so we have many options to choose from. Since I will be purchasing a pre-owned vehicle, I want something reliable and with a good track record. There are a number of SUVs and crossovers that fall into this category but I only recently realized one important thing… Apparently the 4Runner is pretty much unique in the fact that it has a roll down window. Many SUVs have windows that flip up like the Jeep Grand Cherokee or windows that don’t open at all. By wanting an SUV that is equipped with a roll down window, I have greatly reduced my options.
This isn’t necessarily bad because I really like the 4Runner. My problem is that newer pre-owned 4Runners are typically higher than my budget currently allows. They retain their value quite well and are a stretch for me to buy. I can wait until I have saved more money to buy one but that entails keeping the one I have for a longer period of time. Keeping my current one for longer increases the need to have it repaired which gets me back to the scenario of not wanting to invest a large amount of money into an old vehicle with high mileage.
This is not my typical article, but I thought that maybe someone reading today may have some sage advice for me or others who are facing similar dilemmas. I know that someone will probably say, ‘forget the roll down window and buy a cheaper SUV,’ so I already stated that comment for you. If you do have advice, please share in the comment section below. Do you know of other newer SUVs that have roll down rear windows? Do you ever face trivial, yet difficult decisions when you are car shopping?
Other writers are sometimes an inspiration but can also serve as a crux of despair for me. I have a good explanation as to why this disunity seems to exist in my character. I think that it is a process that exists throughout all aptitudes because we often compare ourselves to others within our fields of expertise. Comparison can be a very tricky and often sinister notion to contemplate. In today’s blog I will look at the positive virtues of studying others in my field and discuss the dangers of utilizing their prosperity as a measuring stick for my success.
I will begin with the way other writers inspire me. I could start with a laundry list of writers who have inspired me throughout the years. This list would include those whose books I have read and friends who have become accomplished authors. I have looked at the achievements of different authors and realized that I too could one day join them if I persevere. I have seen friends like H.L. Hussmann achieve their dreams by buckling down and working hard. I have sat on my sofa in awe of how some storytellers are able to craft their characters in plots in such a creative manner that I imagined myself in the book I was reading. These authors have inspired me and have taught be the value of utilizing my latent talents. Because of that inspiration, I have been able to labor diligently and publish my first novel. I am overwhelmed with joy that these men and women sought to follow their dreams and have motivated me to do the same. Looking at other people who share a talent and realizing their success can prompt you to follow your dreams as well.
The reverse of inspiration is despair. It can seem odd that other professionals in your field can serve as both, but we often like to compare ourselves to others. Those same authors that have inspired me have also served as sources of desolation at times. The reason was because I used those authors as measuring sticks to gauge how I am as an author. It’s the reverse of studying them to see how they can positively affect my writing. In measuring myself by their success I realized that I had not yet reached the pinnacle they had already conquered. By studying their words, I perceived them more eloquent than myself. In reading the 50th book by an author who had written for years I felt small and inadequate. This is the danger of comparison, it can disintegrate you. I cannot and should not compare myself to others because I am not them. I have published one book, not 50. I am growing as a writer and that other author has years of experience that I have yet to gain. I also think differently than other authors and will therefore process my stories in a unique manner. This doesn’t mean that the way they wrote the story is right and I am wrong nor is it the reverse. When writing fiction, the author is sharing a part of his/her thought process with the readers. I am opening a part of myself up to others and that will not look exactly like someone else’s writing. If it did I would be guilty of plagiarism.
We often compare ourselves to others and feel that we come out short. We don’t have as much money as X or we don’t have as successful of a business as Y or we are not as good at geometry as Z. (I also considered an alphabet joke, but geometry won out.) The point is – we are all created as unique beings and we need to realize our importance. I am not defined by the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien or Stephen King. I am defined by the writings of Timothy J. McSwain. I am unique and need only to allow others to inspire me and teach me so that I can become an improved writer but I should not compare myself to them. What are your thoughts?
With the building anticipation of holding my first copy of The Night Terror in my hands, it is becoming increasingly difficult to think of anything else to write about in my blog. This event is the culmination of a longtime dream and the beginning of what I hope is a new ‘chapter’ in my life. This is only the first book of many I hope to write and publish. It is a very exciting time and I am in a constant celebratory mode. Since I am experiencing conflict on what to write in today’s blog, I will upload a summary of the book that is included on the back copy of the paperback and the jacket copy on the hard cover…
A park ranger haunted by his past must come to grips with the present. His marriage is crumbling, and his obsession with a previous tragedy engulfs his thoughts. A group of college students decide to go camping together for the first time, but their curiosity propels them into a situation where they find themselves running for their lives. Some travelers stop to relax and have a few drinks but find more than they bargained for. Is the history about Devil’s Canyon Lake true? Is there a ghost haunting the forest? Does a creature ascend from the lake to pull hapless victims into its depths? Lives are held in the balance as something terrorizes those who decide to visit. Will anyone live to tell what happened?
I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it. - Tim
This is another clip from our trailer. Since the book will be available in June, we will soon release the entire trailer. Enjoy this clip while you wait. -TimPS. If you didn't get a chance yesterday, check out the book's new website: thenightterror.weebly.comUpdate: I received a call from the publisher today. They have the book printed!! They mailed out the first copy of the hard cover and paperback for me to review for any printer errors. Those copies are to arrive at my house within a week. As long as there are no problems, the books should go on sale very soon!!!
I am currently building a website strictly dedicated to my new book, The Night Terror. I will continue to update information on the book here as well. I wanted to create a link that people could access by entering the book’s title into their preferred search engine. I have also included some information on that site that I have not published on my Stratosphere Networking website. Please take a moment to visit the site by clicking here: The Night Terror Website. Also, visit this site tomorrow because I will be uploading another clip from the book’s trailer.
As I mentioned yesterday, I am in the final stages of publishing The Night Terror. It was a very exciting day. During the production process my primary contact was a guy named Sam. He was extremely helpful and easy to work with. One of the most exciting parts of his communication to me yesterday was this: “As you are now a published author and have completed the production process, I will no longer be your point of contact… Thank you for publishing with Westbow Press. It has been a pleasure working with you, and I wish you continuing success with your book.” I wasn’t excited by the fact that I will no longer be working with Sam, but I was very excited by his reference to me becoming a ‘published author.’ I forwarded the email to my wife, Julie, and her comment was “CONGRATULATIONS!! You are now a published author!! =)”
This isn’t the first thing that I have written that has been published. I have written some articles that were picked up by newspapers and magazines, but I have never published a book before or earned the title of ‘published author.’ The next few weeks are going to be very exciting and I am greatly anticipating holding the first copy of the book.
For those who want to know when you will be able to read The Night Terror, here is some more information concerning the timetable. The printer will process the book files and a complimentary copy will be sent to me in approximately 2-3 weeks. I will review the copy to confirm there are no printing errors. Once the book is processed, it will become available to purchase through the WestBow Press website: http://bookstore.westbowpress.com/. It will then go into the distribution network and it will begin to appear on other retailers’ websites within 2-3 weeks. This means we are looking at a 4-6 week window before it is out on the open market. Once it is out on the open market, it will be available in hard cover, paperback and eBook format. For those who are wondering if you can buy it on your Kindle, Nook or iPad, the answer is ‘yes.’
Thank you to everyone who has supported me during this process and who will be supporting me when the book comes out. You are all wonderful. I will keep you posted as more information develops.
Thank you!! -Tim