Category Archives: News and Updates

RED FOR ED Letter to AZ Legislators

As an Arizona Educator, I’ve been in complete support of the Red For Ed movement. I’ve done my best to spread correct information to raise awareness of what we are attempting to accomplish. No matter what obstacles we face, we will continue fighting for our students’ future.

 

I wrote the following letter to all the Arizona Legislators this morning to invite them to join our cause:

 

 

Dear Esteemed Legislator:

 

The purpose of this letter isn’t to yell at you or to make threats. I have absolutely no aggression while writing this. I’m sure you have gotten your fare share of frustrated emails over the course of the past week during the RED FOR ED campaign. However, I would instead like to cordially invite you to become a hero in the largest education reform in decades.

 

Teachers and support staff are coming together—not just in Arizona, but all over the nation—to enhance the school experience for all of our students. With a culmination of thousands of years of experience working with children, these educators have come to a consensus on how best meet the needs of students. But they can’t implement these changes on their own.

 

Dedicated, hard-working legislators are needed to turn their vision into reality. A number have heard our plight and have decided to stand with us. If you have already committed to our cause, I would like to thank you; we feel so blessed by you. Thank you for joining us as we continue to pursue the best opportunities for our future generations.

 

If you have yet to join with us, remember that this is an open invitation. Even if you feel like this isn’t something you can support now, I will still remain hopeful that this is simply a timing issue. I’m confident that education reform is coming—whether it happens now or next year or the following years in unknown, but I guarantee that it is coming. I hope you will stand with us and be a hero as we continue to strive for the best of our state’s children.

 

Thank you so much for your time and service. I shall forever pray for wisdom and discernment for Arizona’s leaders in the difficult decisions they face every day. I appreciate your service and hope hat God blesses you for your efforts.

 

Sincerely,

Amy Engle

NaPoWriMo 2018

Greetings, fellow poetry enthusiasts!

 

It’s that time of year again! NaPoWriMo!!! For those unaware of what that is, National Poetry Writing Month is when writers and poets alike attempt to write 30 poems within the 30 days of April.

 

Last year, I remember waking up to reluctantly check my Twitter feed, expecting to see a long strand of juvenile April Fools Jokes. I was pleasantly surprise to see many people posting their first poems for NaPoWriMo.

 

It was quite refreshing to learn of this writing challenge. I had hit a bit of a writing slump and I needed something to stimulate some creative juices. Someone had just suggested two weeks earlier that I start blogging every day to build up stamina. The issue was that I didn’t know what the heck to write about. But learning of NaPoWriMo got me excited to try posting poems.

 

Disclaimer: I’m not a very good poet. Most of my poems from last year were rantings about how frustrated I was at my students or other infuriating people in my life. I had attempted to post a few positive poems, but my overall themes tended to be pretty negative. And I suck at rhythm and rhymes. I still do. So pretty much all the poems I’ll write this year will be pretty raw and rough. Hopefully you don’t mind too much.

 

Now, keep in mind that I’ve got a pretty hectic life right now. If you pop onto my blog every day expecting to have a new poem posted at a certain time every day, you’ll be very disappointed. I foresee missing a few days here and there. I just might even have to do what I did last year and post a whole week’s worth of poems all at once.

 

So I apologize in advance for the inconsistencies with my posting times. I’ve got a poetry notebook I’ll be carrying around–thanks to my good friend, Samantha Gebel, who gave it to me as a beautiful Christmas gift, not knowing that it would soon be used to hold amateur poems. Even if I’m not posting poems daily, I’ll still be working on them when I can and hopefully I won’t get to the end and be too far behind.

 

As always, thanks for coming to read my ramblings. All poems will be listed in the “Poems” Category, so feel free to peruse at your leisure.

If you’re also participating in NaPoWriMo, leave a link to your site in the comments and I’ll try to find time to go read your beauties.

 

Iris Q&A

Iris: Book 1 Of The Rygom Narratives
Alteration research has been declared illegal in the Megacity Rygom. Too many gave their lives in pursuit of making humans more powerful. Those few fortunate Alterations that survived have gone into hiding, fearful of what might happen if the Agency finds them.



Despite her father’s warnings, Iris Kayn has enrolled in the prestigious Agency Training Program, pursuing her dream of becoming an Enforcer. Dr. Norman Kayn’s concern for his daughter increases as Agent Tobias Vega and his sons take an alarming interest in Iris. Unsure of how much they know, Norman hopes that the Vegas aren’t seeking the truth about his beloved wife’s death.



Meanwhile in the Lower Region, Azure Clan Leaders, twins Rikani and Tays Rye, attempt to recover from a tragedy that nearly wiped out their entire family. Rikani works tirelessly to build a safe, prosperous community for her tenants and remaining relatives. All the while, Tays must deal with the ghosts from his past; his former mentor and ex-lover both seek to ruin his plans of reuniting Upper Society and the Lower Region, each for their own nefarious reasons.



Plans are hatched. People are manipulated. Pending doom awaits those in Rygom who fail to see the strings being pulled.

Q: What kind of influences affected the story of “Iris”?

A: Although I’m immensely pleased with all my stories, “Iris” is my pride and joy. I wrote the first draft  about eight years ago when I was in college, back when I was heavily under the influence of the great literature classics.

 

I use to describe “Iris” as “a Dickens novel on steroids.” I love the reveals at the end of Dickens’ books where we learn that this character is connected to this character through this unpredictable way.

 

Jane Austen’s comedy-of-manners style writing highlights and satirizes the behavior of the elites of society. With the Rygom Narratives series, not only did I get to create a new civilization, but I got to set community values, morals, restrictions, and taboos.

 

No matter where or when in time and space, human nature is the same. It’s why we still read William Shakespeare’s plays 200 years later. So no matter what technology is being used as tools in a society, people will still act similarly to the way they do now and always have acted.

 

You take those influences and throw in some cool sci-fi tech, and you get my attempt to create a genre called “epic science fiction.” I was bummed to learn that it hasn’t existed yet. So we’ll see if this takes off.

 

Q: What is “Iris” about?

A: This series focuses on a large ensemble cast of characters, all of which have some sort of influence in the future of the Megacity of Rygom. Some of them may or may not be incognito super humans called “Alterations.”

 

In many ways, this is a coming-of-age story for a number of characters. Several are in for rude awakenings when their comfortable lives are shattered and up-rooted.

 

“Iris” isn’t a romance. There are many love stories throughout the book in order to reflect the fact that people tend to be in relationships. But that’s not the focus. Still, I had quite a bit of fun finding ways to make their loves dysfunctional.

 

Sorry that I can’t be more specific about what “Iris” is about. It’s very long and very complex. Just sit back and enjoy the intertwining stories of these Rygom citizens.

 

Q: How did you first come up with the concepts in “Iris”?

A: Oooo! Spoilers! Maybe I’ll reveal my inspiration later in the series.

 

Q: Who is your favorite character from “Iris”?

A: This is always a difficult question. I love all my characters, but there are a few who stand out. Klev and Lom are a pair of my favorites; they are hilarious and have a beautiful back story. I also really enjoyed writing scenes with Claire and Maximus as they repeatedly diffuse the tension.

 

Q: It’s been over 2 years since you first published “Iris.” Now that it’s been revised and released for a second time, what kind of changes did you implement?

A: “Iris” is essentially the same as it has ever been. The plot lines are still whole and follow the basic progression in both. All I did in revisions was fix basic punctuation, grammar, and spelling errors. I added a tiny bit of descriptions to a few places. So if you purchased the original e-book through Kindle, don’t worry; it’s still almost the exact story–just with a prettier cover!

 

Q: Will there be a sequel to “Iris”?

A: I plan on writing many more books in The Rygom Narratives—specifically 3 different trilogies. Each trilogy will have a different cast of POV characters. There will be several consistent characters throughout all 9 books. The next book will be released early in 2019.

 

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to subscribe to my Newsletter to get information on my up-coming books:

  • “Reps and Royals” (Coming March 2018)
  • “Mended by Ashes” (Coming April 2018)
  • “The People’s Order” (Coming Summer of 2018)
  • “Not So Anonymous” (Coming Fall of 2018)

–Amy Engle

 

PS: You can order your copy of “Iris” at just about any bookstore. But I highly recommend getting it from Barnes and Noble.

PSS: If you know me personally, let me know want to read “Iris.” I can help you save on taxes, shipping, and time if we meet up in person!

Long-Overdue Update

Oh, my! Has it really been that long? 5 months?

I had intended to still blog in the course of the fall, despite a hectic work schedule. Honestly, everything really came down to one decision: Do I use my limited remaining energy to blog or to work on one of my stories?

That question was often moot, since I’ve been very bad about writing the past few months.

Sure, I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), but only made half my word count goals for the month. Still, I’m quite content at the progress I made in my multicultural Mars murder mystery.

My Mars story is the first one I’ve written where I’ve needed to do extensive research. I have been learning bits of other languages, discovering idiosyncrasies of different cultures, and studying some of the most barbaric crimes people can commit. Needless to say, this was an exhaustive project that I really need a break from. I’ll resume writing it as soon as I’ve recovered some of the emotional heartache I endured during the research process.(Check in again in a few years to see if I ever actually finish this story…)

So the big question is: What is Amy writing now?

Well, if you don’t care, you should just skip reading this post. I don’t mind…

This summer, I had taken all my stories off of Kindle in an attempt to revise them and re-release them with second editions. A few weeks ago, I commissioned my friend, Zybrena Crawford Porter, to design a new cover for my novella, “Undoing Life.” Seeing as how she is a beautiful artist and a talented graphic designer, I knew she’d create a much better cover than I had originally.

So let’s compare. Here’s the cover I made 2 1/2 years ago when I first release “Undoing Life”:

And here is what Zybrena created:

Oh, it’s so stunning that I cried when I first saw it. I’m so happy with it and can’t wait to release the second edition on January 1st, 2018.

I have no yet decided if I’m going to re-release “Iris” or “Reps and Royals” next. Heck, I might just go for the first edition of “Mended by Ashes.” No one has had the chance to read it yet–save for my beta readers–and I’m anxious to see what people think of it. However, I think I need to revise it a bit more before it’s ready for an audience.

On top of all this, I’ve got several short stories in the works. I’m almost done with the first draft of a social commentary on friend-making. I’ve also been dabbling in fantasy with a story set during an Egyptian-themed magic show where the ancient gods are not at all amused at the blasphemous conjurers. At the moment, I’m stuck in the middle of a draft about the taboos and misconceptions about addiction in society. That’s been fun, but I’m not sure what to write next in it. With all these ideas turning around in my brain, I also have the first draft of a sci-fi western set in an anarchist culture with mercenaries and dying robots.

As if that’s not enough to keep me busy for awhile, I also want to revise the sequel to “Iris”: “Alteration.” Plus, I plan on a total of nine books in that series. And I want to write more books set in The World in “Reps and Royals,” and I want to continue Colonel Arbeck’s story in a sequel to “Undoing Life.”

But all these must wait. Sadly, I’m not yet to the point of being able to write full time. Perhaps in a couple of years. In the meantime, I’ll have to discipline myself better in order to write more efficiently throughout the work week.

Do you have a mountain of ideas you’re working on conquering? I’d love to hear what you’re writing. Feel free to pass along any writing tips as well in the comments, or ask me any questions you have about writing. Thanks for reading! Have a blessed day!

–Amy Engle

 

Undoing Life Q&A

Q: What kind of influences affected the story of “Undoing Life”?

A: “Undoing Life” is like The Truman Show meets Groundhog’s Day meets The Butterfly Effect. (Thanks to ‘Nefarious Old Man’ for mentioning it in the review you wrote!)

 

Q: What is “Undoing Life” about?

A: Sal Chancellor has a mundane, unfulfilling life until he finds a watch that lets him go back within his time line. He uses his new ability to undo all the horrible events that has happened to him. Sal is able to make enough money to leave his dead-end job and pursue wooing the woman he’s been dating on and off for a decade. All the while, Sal is being observed from a militant research team 400 years in the future. Colonel Lucile Arbeck along with her crew study the ramifications of time travel as Sal is changing his life. Every one who has played with the Time Devices has met with tragedy.  Arbeck’s team hopes to learn enough by observing Sal in order to prevent future catastrophes.

 

Q: How did you first come up with the concepts in “Undoing Life”?

A: I grew up without a filter on my mouth. As a child and young adult, I tended to say every little thing that came to my mind. I often said things that were inappropriate or offensive–without meaning to. In college, this was particularly humiliating as I was attempting to be involved in class discussions and collaborations. I wished I could go back a mere 10 seconds and keep myself from saying things that I shouldn’t. The rest of the story grew from that single desire, mixed in with my paranoia about being spied on. (PS: If you haven’t seen The Truman Show, you really should.)

 

Q: Who is your favorite character from “Undoing Life”?

A: That’s always difficult to answer. There are minor things about every character that I love: Fanny’s confidence despite physical flaws, Selma’s dismissive cynicism, Velma’s blind passion, Graham’s strange speech style, etc… But I suppose my favorite character is Colonel Arbeck. Lucile has a rather fascinating back story–most of it I’ve hidden from the readers until the very end of the book. I’m hoping someday to write a sequel that I can explore deeper into Arbeck’s past.

 

Q: It’s been over 2 years since you first published “Undoing Life.” Now that it’s been revised and released for a second time, what kind of changes did you implement?

A: “Undoing Life” is essentially the same as it has ever been. The plot lines are still whole and follow the basic progression in both. All I did in revisions was fix basic punctuation, grammar, and spelling errors. I added a tiny bit of descriptions to a few places. So if you purchased the original e-book through Kindle, don’t worry; it’s still almost the exact story–just with a prettier cover!

 

Q: When will you write a sequel to “Undoing Life”?

A: I can’t answer that right now. I do hope to write another story. I certainly end “Undoing Life” in a good place to set up novella number 2. My time and creative energy is currently devoted to other writing projects, but my subconscious is stewing over a couple ideas.

 

 

You can get “Undoing Life” through most e-book providers (with the exception of Kindle until 2019).

 

For the first time ever, “Undoing Life” is available in paperback! To get a physical copy, you can go to most bookstores and have it shipped directly to your home. (If you know me personally, let me know you’d like a copy and I can save you taxes and shipping costs!)

 

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to subscribe to my Newsletter to get information on my up-coming books:

  • “Iris” (Coming February 2018)
  • “Reps and Royals” (Coming March 2018)
  • “Mended by Ashes” (Coming April 2018)
  • “The People’s Order” (Coming Summer of 2018)

 

–Amy Engle