The Tangle Blog Tour: Official Announcement

I’ve been talking for a bit about setting up a blog tour for The Tangle, and finally everything’s in place! Everything’s been scheduled, and I can finally let you know the official dates of the tour, and all the blogs it will be stopping at. Mark your calendars, or follow me on social media, where I’ll be providing links to all the awesome content during the tour!


The Tangle Blog Tour: Official Schedule 

Tour Dates: 6th – 9th of November, 2017

November 6th: Interview with Kyle Robert Shultz

November 7th: Book Review by S. M. Metzler

November 8th: Book Review and YouTube Interview with Hannah Heath

November 9th: Book Review by Brianna Merritt


I’m super excited about this blog tour, and I can’t wait to share this book with you! The Tangle comes out November 4th, but you can still pre-order the Kindle Edition on Amazon, and enter for a chance to win a signed paperback copy on Goodreads.

Thanks for reading this post! I’ll see you again soon.

🙂

Theory: Is Twenty Øne Piløts’ Internet Silence A Promotional Stunt?

UPDATE 4/22/18: Obviously, this theory is total garbage. If you haven’t heard about all the awesome stuff going down around the new TØP era, please check out this Reddit thread! If you really, really want to read my garbage theory, which was written last year, when we knew absolutely nothing, the full text is available below. Stay alive, and stay street, my frens! ^_^


Hello, internet! It’s theory time. I know this isn’t a normal type of post for me, but last night I was having trouble sleeping, and you know what? I was just lying in bed, pondering how soon Twenty One Pilots would release a new album (because, you know, I like to cause myself emotional pain by contemplating these things), and something kind of just went ‘click!’ in my mind.

Twenty One Theories

Now, maybe this particular set of information is fairly old news, but I just thought it was really cool, so I’m going to be setting out my theory anyway. Let’s see if we can predict some things about Twenty One Pilots’ illusive next album! Here goes…


Nota Bene: I refer in this theory multiple times to Twenty One Pilots as pulling a promotional ‘stunt’. Often, the word ‘stunt’ can be used in a negative light: referring to some fake or deceitful event, especially a scandal, concocted in order to market a product.

I use the word in this post only because I don’t think that there’s a better word I could use to describe the kind of thing currently going on. I do not use this word negatively at all; in fact, I think that TØP’s marketing and promotional tactics are extraordinarily well done and can definitely set an example for online marketing. TØP is not using these ‘stunts’ to deceive or con people, but instead to build hype in an interesting, exciting way, so, again, I do not use the word negatively.  Anyway, that’s just my little disclaimer. Onward into the theory!


Theory: TØP is currently pulling a big promotional stunt for their next album.


Background

Although there has (to date) been no official announcement of a new album from alternative hip-hop/rock duo Twenty One Pilots, it should be noted that they are known for using extremely elaborate online stunts and marketing schemes in order to raise awareness for new albums. For Blurryface, the band’s most recent album, they set up social media accounts, a website, and an interactive email address for the character Blurryface, a creature who embodies fear and doubt and who was the main focus of the concept album.

To date, as of July 6th (Mostly. July 18th in one case.) both the official and personal Instagram and Twitter accounts of the band, as well as their official YouTube channel and Facebook page, have fallen silent. This, along with several other pieces of evidence enumerated below, leads me to believe that this silence is, in fact, a large scale promotional stunt hinting at a new album and the beginning of a new ‘era’ for the band.

Several fans I’ve seen online —as well as Tyler Joseph, the band’s vocalist and piano/ukulele player— have pointed to this being ‘the end of the Blurryface era’. The caption of Tyler’s latest Instagram post [to date] (written, as always, in cryptic Tyler script) reads:

tylerrjoseph:.:few festivals, then hometown shows, then cycle is complete:.:whatsnext………………………………….|-/

This little message makes it fairly clear: album’s cycle is complete. The band finished up their summer tour back in July, and has since gone silent. The era is at an end, and we should be eagerly awaiting news of a new album. But is there any more evidence that this ‘silence’ is, in fact, a promotional stunt for that as yet illusive album? I’ve compiled a few interesting points below:


Evidence

The stunt itself: On July 5th, 2017, the official TØP Instagram posted for the last time [to date] uploading a short highlight video from the band’s recent tour. On that same day, the final chapter of ‘Sleepers’, a video series chronicling that tour, was posted on the band’s YouTube channel. To date, both of these social media platforms have fallen silent, posting nothing for the past two months.

On July 6th, the official TØP Twitter posted a series of images with what appear to be lyrics from various TØP songs, written backward on an increasingly darkening background which, as some people have remarked, looks like a closing eye:

Sleeper 7

Sleeper 6

Sleeper 5

Sleeper 4

Sleeper 3

Sleeper 2

Sleeper

Translated, these lyrics read:

You’ll have to come and find me

My pretty sleeper

Wouldn’t it be great if we could just lay down

I will face the night again

Nobody dreams when they blink

Remember the morning is when the night is dead

And now we just sit in silence

After this cryptic message, the band’s official Twitter also went silent, and replaced its former profile pic, which had showed the TØP symbol |-/ with one showing only the symbol’s middle dash. The Twitter page’s cover photo has also been changed to a black background with the word ‘Silence’ written across it in TØP-style script. This has happened consistently across the band’s YouTube channel, Instagram, Facebook page, and Tumblr site, which also fell silent on July 6th after the update.

Silence

Twenty One Pilots’ Twitter profile, as of today

All personal Instagram and Twitter profiles of band members Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun have also fallen silent, although not at the same time. It should also be noted that Josh Dun was active on Twitter on July 18th, when he replied to a Tweet from h3h3productions, over a week after silence officially fell across TØP’s online presence. To date, both band members’ Instagrams and Twitters, while not used prolifically before the silence, have not been posted to for almost two months, indicating that they too are a part of the stunt.


My Conclusions

Silence has fallen. Whether or not this entire coordinated stunt is simply an announcement of an extended hiatus for TØP or an actual promotional stunt for their next album (and I strongly suspect that both could be true), this has finally marked a definite end to the Blurryface era, though not, perhaps, the end of Blurryface himself. The cryptic lyric-poem could be seen as a farewell from the character, but it could also be seen as just an announcement of his own hiatus, as he bides his time as well, waiting to return in the band’s next album. The line “I will face the night again” is particularly telling.

Promotional stunt or no, we can certainly expect a new album from TØP fairly soon. Blurryface was released back in 2015, so the band is fairly due for a new album: their first album (self-titled) was released in 2009, and their second album, Regional At Best, was release two years later (in 2011). Two years after that, Vessel was released (2013) and again, two years later, Blurryface appeared. If the pattern holds, we should be seeing the announcement of a new album anytime now.

What can we expect this new album to be about? Of course, no one can tell for sure, but these quotes from an interview with Tyler Joseph about what the band is working on are fairly telling:

I was working on something last night that I’m really excited about…Right now I think it would be a little less up-tempo than the last record. I would want to focus a little more on the lyrical content.

 

There are parts of the self-titled record that, production-wise and vocally…There are so many things wrong with that record, or at least perceived as wrong. But the authenticity, lyrics, delivery and the fearlessness of the songwriting, I’d like to try to take [TØP] back to that. It’s really hard to write a slower song. I want to try to write some slower songs again.

If I can take myself out on a limb a little bit, I would theorize that we will certainly be seeing the return of Blurryface, or some character like him, in the next album. Blurryface represents Tyler and Josh’s self doubt, fears, and struggles. While some have been talking about the ‘defeat’ of Blurryface, fears, struggles, depression, anxiety, and all the things he represents (and all the issues that the band members struggle with and explore so passionately in their songs) are not things that can be just defeated, or put behind you forever. At least not in this life.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on this issue, and while information is currently fairly scarce, I will be very excited to see what happens going forward! I personally cannot wait for Twenty One Pilots’ next album. But, hey, it’s just a theory. A Twenty One Pilots theory! Thanks for reading.


What do you think? Have I convinced you? Is this whole ‘Silence’ thing a promotional stunt for TØP’s next album? Do you think we’ll see the return of Blurryface? Chat with me in the comments! I’d love to hear your theories.

🙂

Introducing: The Sound Architect!

If you read yesterday’s post, you probably know that I hinted about a super cool announcement that I would be posting today. Well, here it is:

My brother just released his first album of electronic music!

That’s right. My brother is now officially an electronic music artist, and you can currently get his first album, Junction 232, on CDbaby.com. Within the next week, it should also be available on Amazon, iTunes, and wherever you get your MP3s. If you like funky electronic music, you should definitely give this album a listen! It’s super awesome. Check out the cover and track list below:

Junction 232 Promotional Graphic

Learn more and buy the album on CDBaby!


Thanks for reading today’s post! I hope you enjoy my brother’s new music. What’s your favorite type of music? I like electronic, pop, movie soundtracks, and whatever random genre Twenty One Pilots is supposed to be (Ukulele-screamo? Emo-rap-piano-alternative-something with drums? Just plain amazing music??? IDK) Anyway, let me know your favorite music genres in the comments below!

See you again soon.

🙂

August Monthly Wrap Up

Hey, guys! I know that this wrap up post is about four days late, but there are very good reasons! Well, I assume that my reasons are good… Anyway, if you were wondering where in the world I’ve been for the past two weeks, wonder no more. Just read my recap of this month’s shenanigans!


Highlights:

  • I traveled more than two thousand miles this month (by car!) and visited tons of people that I haven’t seen for more than ten years. Yep, I went to Canada, where literally all of my extended family lives. But instead of just staying around Ontario at my grandparents’ house, which is what usually happens, we took a crazy road-trip across eastern Canada!
  • I visited Ottawa (the capital of Canada), Quebec city (where I kind of failed to speak French very well at all), then we treked through the vast wilds of New Brunswick to Truro, Nova Scotia, where we met up with my Grammie and my dad’s sister and then spent a couple of days down in the valley. Then, we went back to Truro and spent a couple of days there, before heading back towards the dear old USA and driving through Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts (where we visited Boston and saw some of the Freedom Trail) and finally State College, Pennsylvania, where we hung out with some of my dad’s friends from way back when. Aaaand, now I’m home! Yay.
  • I read some books on the trip (This Savage Song and Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab, mostly) and I also signed a copy of my book that one of our extended family members owns!
  • I got super stressed out.
  • I got my parents to put on some Twenty One Pilots music in the car! I’m not sure that they care for it very much, but we listened to both Blurryface (multiple times, due to the insistent requests from my youngest brother) and Vessel (once, all the way through). I think we may have a few new members of the Skeleton Clique to welcome in, namely my brothers, who were all very enthusiastic about the music.

Posts from August 2017:


Looking Forward:

There is a TON of exciting stuff that’s going to be happening this month. I’m back for good, so you can expect at least a few more blog posts from my corner of the internet to hit your inbox during September. I will also be officially announcing the release date and details of my next novel, The Tangle, so be sure to stay tuned for that as well. I will also (hopefully) have another super special announcement for your tomorrow, so make sure you subscribe by email to make sure you hear about it! If you like to listen to electronic music, you won’t want to miss this one.


Thanks so much for reading my August wrap up! Have you been on any crazy long trips recently? Have you ever been to Canada? My family and I go about three times a year, and I love visiting there! Let me know in the comments.

🙂


August Wrap Up

Unpopular Opinions: The Thirteenth Doctor

On Sunday, the 16th of July, 2017, the BBC announced their pick for the new Doctor on Doctor Who. One of the longest running sci-fi shows in history, Doctor Who has been broadcasted for over 50 years. In all those years the main character of the series, the Doctor — a time-traveling, double-hearted, slightly mad alien Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey, who can regenerate into a new body whenever he is about to die— has always been portrayed as male. Whether sporting a bow tie or a trench-coat, a multicolored scarf or a fez, whether carrying a celery stalk or a supply of jelly babies, the Doctor has always, always regenerated into a man.

Not so now.

Actress Jodie Whittaker was just announced as the new star of Doctor Who. She will be taking over the role from Peter Capaldi, the Twelth Doctor. “I want to tell the fans not to be scared by my gender,” she says, “Because this is a really exciting time and Doctor Who represents everything that’s exciting about change. This is only a new, different one, not a fearful one.”


I was honestly not quite sure what to think when I heard that a woman would be taking over as the Doctor. On the one hand, according to show canon, a Time Lord can technically regenerate into a person of the opposite gender. At the moment, the world is charged with massive conversations about diversity and equality and feminism and equal representation in the media. This would appear to be the perfect answer to that conversation: the introduction of a woman into a role that has always been played by men. At least, many people would say so.

I have nothing against diversity, as far as it goes (i.e. not making every character in your story white and male). But there is something about this contemporary thrust for ‘diversity’ in the media that feels extraordinarily off. As a writer myself, a creator of characters, I have come to understand that if you force a character to be something that they are not, it can wreck the entire story. Trying to force two characters into a romantic relationship; trying to force a character to feel happy in a situation where they would, in fact, be resentful; trying to force a male character to be female, and vise versa… these things will never work as well as leaving the character alone to be who they are in the first place.

Characters are funny creatures. The best of them are like people, fully formed personalities that you uncover bit by bit, like getting to know somebody in real life. When you force them to be something they are not, you destroy that illusion of reality. You have hijacked a character, a story even, for your own purposes. Stories evolve and grow and change naturally as you write and discover what exactly they are about. They are not meant to be manipulated into saying something else.

The BBC’s decision to cast a woman as the Doctor feels, to me anyway, like forced diversity, the manipulation of a story into conveying a message. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against women having leading roles in television or movies. I don’t think women should be disrespected, or paid less than men for doing the same amount of work, or forced to prove themselves to be just as good as men, because somehow that is a measuring stick for this sort of thing. But there is no one size fits all technique when it comes to diversity. Doctor Who may play by a very esoteric set of rules, but the show’s own lore is fairly contradictory on the point of sex-changing regeneration, and there are a few other objections I can raise to the casting of a female Doctor.

But lets take a step back for a second and really look at this show. It’s not as if Doctor Who isn’t diverse or doesn’t portray strong female characters. Some people seem to forget that the Doctor’s female companions, at least in the reboot, aren’t poor, damsel-in-distress types. Martha and Donna are probably some of the strongest characters in the show. Rose, even though she gets a lot of flack for some reason or other, is creative and brilliant and so, so strong in times of hopelessness. Some people also seem to forget that the female companions of the Doctor are not always there to be love interests. Some people forget that the Doctor had rich platonic relationships with not only Martha, but Donna, Amy, and Clara as well; four out of the five female companions in the reboot (I can’t yet count Bill, as I haven’t seen any of her episodes, but I gather that she isn’t a love interest either.)

Are we out to destroy all shows and books and films with male leads? Have men suddenly become evil, or alien; nonhuman? Look me in the face and tell me that this outlook, rampant in our culture even if not expressed in so many words, is not sexist. Sexism can go both ways, and right now many people are extremely angry at men for being men. Isn’t that exactly what they accuse men of being; angry at women for being women? Aren’t we being slightly hypocritical here?

The dynamic of the Doctor — the mad man in the blue box— and his companions, both male and female, platonic and romantic, his friends and his family, his wife (don’t you forget River), his relationships with the people he meets on his journeys… you could say that it is these dynamics that make the show itself. And this is where I say something that many of you will not like: men and women are different. They are treated differently, because in some situations they have different roles. They act differently. We like to plaster over these differences in the name of ‘equality’, but all it does is cause confusion. But gender, whether we like it or not, is intrinsically tied to personality, to who we are as people, to what we do and how we act. Women will always act in certain ways, see the world in certain ways, be different people than men.

And by changing the Doctor into a woman, the BBC will have changed him into a different person entirely.

Character relationships will break down. Certain dynamics will no longer be possible. The Doctor will be a completely different character. No writer can change that. Or they might try to force it, and run the risk of ruining things entirely. The show will change, and probably not for the better. Change is often good. Variety is the spice of life. But you cannot change the way the world works, no matter how much you try, and I would hazard a small speculation that this change will not do the world longest running sci-fi show any good. In fact, it may doom Doctor Who in the end. The writers will end up trying to push a message so prominent in our culture today: that no one is bound by truth, that you can be absolutely anyone, literally, regardless of gender. And, unfortunately, this message is just not true.


Philosophical arguments aside (for the most part), the show’s own lore seems to contradict itself on several points when it comes to sex-changing regeneration. Please note that there will be some spoilers ahead for River Song’s story arc, so if you haven’t watched this part of the show yet, please proceed with caution!

Spoilers

When a Time Lord is about to die, they instead regenerate into an entirely new body. This is why there are currently thirteen different ‘versions’ of the Doctor (not counting the War Doctor from the 50th anniversary special), each played by a different actor. Although the Doctor says several times that Time Lords can regenerate into people of the opposite gender, there are also very clear differences between male and female Time Lords. One major difference is that female Time Lords (or is that Time Ladies?) can actually control aspects of how they look when they regenerate. Male Time Lords cannot. This is established both by the Doctor (who complains after various regenerations about the size of his ears, his ‘new teeth’, and, most often, that he’s not a redhead) and the female Time Lord River Song, who can concentrate on a dress size or other feature during regeneration and achieve it in her next form.

For there to be specific differences between male and female Time Lords, there would first have to be such a thing as male and female Time Lords. If you were born male, you would not be able to predict or control the physical characteristics of your regeneration. If you were born female, you could. You might still regenerate into someone of a different height or weight or ethnicity, but these are all physical characteristics. And although the current culture would have us believe otherwise, gender is much, much more than physical characteristics.

So, these two things are not logically consistent. If male and female Time Lords have different traits that set them apart, how can a male Time Lord regenerate into a female one? Has he suddenly crossed over that boundary? Can he suddenly control his regeneration? And the reverse is just as confusing. If a female Time Lord regenerates into a male, does she suddenly lose her ability to control her regeneration? Can she concentrate on becoming male in the first place, or is that just random like it seems to be for a male Time Lord?

I would love to see a black or Asian Doctor, or a Doctor of any ethnicity. In fact, it would be an amazing opportunity for actors of different cultural background to bring something new to the show. But a female Doctor, especially at this particular moment, just feels far too much like a blatantly political decision, not a decision which retains the integrity of the show itself. It might even contradict show canon. And any piece of art, be it a novel or a show or a film, should never be made to force a political opinion. That defeats the purpose.

All of this goes to say that I am not thrilled about the new Doctor. But I think I’ll give her a chance. Who knows? Maybe something amazing will happen. I have only one request: that instead of turning this into an opportunity to rant and hate on men or women, we instead judge the character not by their gender or ethnicity, but by their portrayal. Women should not be inserted into the media just because they are women. They should be portrayed because they are people, and a legitimate part of humanity. If the writers of Doctor Who can do that with a female Doctor, and not lose sight of the original message of the show itself, then they will have won.



Thanks for reading this unpopular opinion! What are your thoughts about the new Doctor? Are you excited, or nervous? Do you think that Jodie Whittaker is a good choice for a female Doctor? Let’s talk in the comments below.

See you again next time!

🙂


The Thirteenth Doctor Edited

*Special Announcement* Places I’ll Be

Hello, everyone! You may have already heard, but a week or so ago I was informed that I had won the Micro Fiction Contest on Anela Deen’s blog. You’ll be able to read the winning story, and the second and third place stories, on her blog in a couple of weeks. However, winning the contest came with a couple of perks, which I may or may not have told you guys about already, but anyway, here’s the rundown:

  • Intisar Khanani, author of Thorn and The Sunbolt Chronicles, will be featuring me on her blog in an author/character interview, which will be posted October 1st. You’ll be able to learn a bit more about me, my book, and the book’s main character, Devon Lavender.
  • I got to write a guest post for Kate Tilton’s blog. I’m not exactly sure when that will be released, but I’ll let you know as soon as possible. The post is entitled Writing and Emotion: Swaying Readers with a Dose of Real Life.
  • Speaking of Kate Tilton, I’m going to be a guest on her Twitter chat (#k8chat) on November 10th from about 9:00 to 10:00 EST. The topic will be ‘When Characters Become Human’. Anybody can participate in the chat! Check out the chat page on Kate’s website for more details.

Those are all awesome perks from the contest, but there are still a few more amazing things which will be happening pretty soon:

  • My Goodreads giveaway for Behind Her Mask was Death will be over on September 30th. Over 340 people have already entered, and there’s still time for you to get your name in for a chance to win a signed copy of the book. It’s completely free to enter, and there are lots of other cool giveaways for new books to check out as well.
  • The publication date for Behind Her Mask was Death is October 1st, this Saturday. You’ll be able to purchase either a paperback copy or a Kindle eBook on Amazon starting Saturday morning (And I do mean morning. I’m going to be up really late anyway, and since I have to manually release the book, I’ll be doing it around midnight- 1:00 PM that day.) Leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads after you’ve read the book, even if the review is just a few lines, would be really appreciated.

But now, finally, I am going to announce what is probably the biggest, best thing to happen yet:

On October 29th, you will be able to join me at the Orange Branch Library in Orange Township, Ohio, for the first ever Great GeekFest! It goes from 10:00 to 8:00 and I’m going to be there all day, selling and signing books, and having lots of fun. There will be games and cosplay and author panels and vendors and food (of course) and general geekiness all day long, so save the date and I’ll see you there!

Thanks so much for reading, and have a great day. 🙂

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