Troy Aaron Ratliff
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{Walk into this Forest with me...}
{You never know what we might find...}

Well, come on.  I'm not going to wait all day.  Neither will the forest.  A forest can only wait for so long before it inevitably starts to change.  It will start to mature and shed the old, so we better go in now, while everything is still fresh and new.  The leaves are just right this time of year and I'm sure you can smell the pine and spearmint coating the air.  Can you hear the crickets?  Can you feel the moonlight on your arms, the moonlight that's cutting through the trees in long thin blades?  I can taste the humidity in the air.  Can you?  Just try.  I know you can.

The time has come, the season has changed and now its time to shed and move forward into this wooded terrain called...well...what?  The Internet?  Publishing?  Life?  Wow, every one of those places can be awful scary, full of creepy-crawlies, unexpected turns...but some astonishing gems, too.  Still, it's frightening stuff, huh?

Yet, here we are, standing on the edge of this ripe forest, ready to push ahead.  Well, I am, anyway.  I'd rather not go in alone, but I understand if you don't want to follow me.  I've ventured into other forests alone before.  In fact, look around - you'll see some of the artifacts I've brought with me.  A few pictures, a few stories...  I'm planning to share some more with you, whatever I may find in here, so come back to this spot whenever you can.  I'll meet you back here and I'll pull something out of my jacket or from under my hat and show it to you. 

So, if you want to stay here, or go someplace else, please take care of yourself.  Forests are relatively safe compared to some places.  However, if you come with me, I'll try my best to take care of you.  Maybe we'll find some treasures in there.  

Okay, I'm going in.  Wish me the best, kids, but if you're coming with me, let's see what this enchanting place has waiting for us together...                                                                           08/11/11
{This Wooded Terrain Beckons}
{The Path Ahead is Calling}


Look behind you.  The clearing isn't that far back.  In fact, it wasn’t that long ago we felt the moon glow there on our arms and faces, curious of what we would find in here, before we entered the belly of this misty forest. 

Not anymore, though. 

Cast your eyes up and you can see we're only getting patches of moonlight here and there, beaming through the thickening canopy of the tall pines and spruces above us.  And boy does that moon help (ask anyone who experienced the Great Southern California Blackout a few weeks back and they’ll tell you the importance of moonlight)!  But, don’t be afraid of the darkness.  It’s okay, because I think I’m starting to see the beginning of a path just up ahead, through the bramble and thickets.  

I know we haven’t gotten very deep into this forest, but whatdayasay we take a break for a second, look at what we’ve found and meet some of the folks who decided to join us?  Don’t be shy.  We’re in fine company here on this little hike through the woods.   We got quite a group of kids from Facebook joining us – salutations to you all – and there are some birdwatchers following us, tweeting at the sky.  Oh! And look who else!  The young photographers with their Iphones – thanks for coming along, guys!  (They know me as "trizzlepuffs" in their circles)

Alright, let’s see what I’ve picked up so far…(this pack is getting heavy, let me tell ya)  

Oh, here you go: I have a little blog entry here about a dearly departed friend.  It’s quite the melancholy dedication, really, but a warmhearted farewell, nonetheless.   Like with all departures, I believe Dr. Seuss had it right when he asked from us, “Don’t cry because it’s over…smile because it happened.�  I guess you could say this is my eulogy.  Good campfire fodder, in any case.

And…right here, by my water bottle, I’ve got a couple of five star reviews to share, if you want them. They mean a lot to me, because those stars have magic in them.  They fell from the sky after all, right at my feet!  Thank you to the magic makers that imparted them to me!  You’re blessings mean more than words can describe.

Sorry, what was that?  Oh, these drawings in my pack?  Yeah, I did them.  You can see better versions over on the Art page if you’re interested.  A couple of kids from the Facebook group were really supportive and fun when I posted them there.  Hats off to them, and rest assure, there are plenty more coming.  Forests are usually a wellspring for ideas, as are the fantastic people who followed us here!

Okay, I’ve got one more thing.  I happened across this newly discovered flower a few paces back.   I plucked it to study since I’ve never seen it before.  Apparently, it’s a new species that’s been around for a little over thirteen years.  From what I’ve read, it takes a little longer for it to blossom, but when it does, it’ll be quite a sight.  Take a look.  See?  It’s got these little circles and a stream going down the middle. It’s colorful with the reds, greens, blues and yellows.  From what I understand, it’s pretty potent for starting friendships and likeminded acquaintances.  Maybe we can pollinate this forest together on our little journey and make a few friends along the way.

Okay guys, strap on your packs, take another sip of water and rattle the batteries in your flashlights.  We got some more miles ahead of us and we’re just getting started.  There are a lot of things we have to check out in this mysterious and fantastic place.  NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is coming up just over the next clearing.  Are you going to participate?  I have a little over half a month to collect some thoughts, ideas, characters, settings and plots together.  I think that should be enough time. I know yor're all counting on me.

I realize my blog page is looking empty as well, so I’m throwing something together. 
And, as promised earlier in the summer, I will be releasing a new short story, The Uninvited Guest in the very near future, so be sure to tell your friends and family, on rooftops and the peaks of mountains! 
Who knows?  Maybe I will be able to share some more of those fallen stars with you.

Now come on gang.  I admit I don’t have a map of these woods, but isn’t that part of the fun?  The adventurous twists and turns of it all?  Besides, the crickets are singing, the evening is cooling with the nippy flirtatious bite of Miss October in her Ugg boots and mini skirt and I feel so energized by your company. 

Let's see where this path leads.                                                                                         10/11/11
{The Woods Are Ripe With Growth}
{The Bramble Is Closing In…}

Hold up, everybody! Let’s stop right here and have a little powwow, shall we? Let’s build a fire for the night too and then we’ll dance around it to keep warm. Then later, we’ll break out some snacks – s’mores and hot cocoa! Wine for the older crowd…  

Goodness gracious, though, what a busy couple of months it’s been! I do hope your trek with me through the forest has been enjoyable so far. We have quite the group with us, don’t we? I believe it was just me and a handful of happy campers when we first walked in here this past summer, and now look at it! We got a small army here, willing to join us for the ride! I could start my own camp council!

I won't, though, but take a look around at who’s joined us. We got over 240 young photographers who are enjoying the pictures I’ve been taking, and they’ve been showing me some love as well! They’re all so great and talented! I’m sure all of you are curious about some of the photography I’ve been capturing…more on that in a minute.

There are over 135 birdwatchers that have come along too, and I really appreciate their support! I hope you enjoyed my little series of photos about my adventure to the real HIGH BRIDGE of my youth. I got a lot of response from the photographers when I did, and I bid you both a thousand thank you’s. It was interesting to go back, to relive and relish what once was.

As many of you know, the month of November was an important one for writers: it's National Novel Writing Month! For those of you that don’t know about it, friends and fans, it's a world-wide contest for anyone to join and write a 50,000 word novel in a span of 30 coffee-injected days. Folks, you will be happy to know that I won! I’ve even posted a little tag there on the side to prove it! Call it a merit badge I’ve earned while exploring this wooded place. In fact, I recently posted a blog about NaNoWriMo that you can read in my Goodreads page.

Speaking of Goodreads, I have over 50 friends on there that love to share with me their reading lists, what they’ve enjoyed the most about certain novels and what they thought about them. Why don't you come join them, be a friend or a fan!  

Other big news to report, after months of promises and delays, I’ve finally published another story, The Uninvited Guest. I hope it was worth the wait, because it’s not a short story, but a novella which you can find at smashwords.com. I’m hoping in the near future it will be on Ibooks for Iphones and Ipads, and on b&n.com, as well as a few others. You will all be the first to know when it is. It’s already got a five star review that I’ve posted below the link on the Bibliography page. Check it out!

And as always, there’s New Art (!) posted on the Art page. I have one titled “Rage�, one called “Three Levels� and a rather crazy one called “Course of Life�. I do hope you like them all.

Finally, in “Future News of 2012�, I’m looking ahead to the new year with a positive outlook in this forest, another clearing for us to set up camp, share stories together and to keep dancing around the bonfire like the heathens that we are. 2011 was so great, and I want 2012 to be just as incredible and then some, so I have a few things that I’d like to share with you as far as plans go. Let’s break out the map…  

Firstly, I have at least four new short stories coming out this year that I really think you will have fun with. But the bigger focus is that sometime this year, yes, I’m saying here and now, a full-length novel should be coming your way. I've been working hard on it for the past few years, and have poured more than just my heart and soul into it, but everything else, as well (sounds gross, huh? Well, it is.). I don’t want to say anything impulsive, but that is my top goal for the coming year. Until it’s ready and perfect, I’ll say no more, but maybe this extra fuel to the fire burning away at my feet will motivate me to get it in your hands even faster.  

For me, writing is and always has been my main focus of creativity. Words are so malleable and yet so powerful to me that to leave them would be like disgracing an old friend or spitting in the face of a generous lover. Writing will always be there, loyal to the end. And the best thing about writing is she isn’t a jealous lover or a possessive friend. That's why drawing has been another outlet for me to create and experiment with colors and the fringes of my imagination. And now, photograph is slowly creeping in too. Call it a trifecta of T-roy output. They all play together for me, feeding each other and giving me ideas.  

So with that being said, I want to share with you my photography the same way I share my writing and my art. Sometime this year I will be setting up another page on my website to showcase some of the same pictures that I’ve shared with you on Twitter and Facebook. Nothing scary or lingering on the outer reaches of weird like my other work, but more of a calming outlet – skies, oceans, sunsets, sunrises. No, it isn’t going to up my street cred anytime soon, but it’ll put a smile on your face. I have a few other tricks up my sleeve, but I’m going to keep them under my hat for now. I have to save some mystery for later, right? 

As for now, let's just snuggle and get warm, sip some cocoa and enjoy the night. Look right over there. Do you see that opening in the trees?  There's a patch of starry sky over there - keep watching it. That's where the fireworks over the city are going to go off when the clocks strike midnight for the coming new year.  

See you on the other side.                                                                                       12/30/2011 

{Field Report #1}
{News from the Forest}

Just want to let everyone know, I have a lot of big news on the horizon.  Things are shaking in these woods, and to prove it, take a gander at this glorious new cover.  Creepy? Eerie? Subtly elegant?  What do you think?  Hit me up.  Twitter: TARwriter.                                                                    02/23/12
{It's Story Time, Campers}

{Let's Gather Around the Bonfire Again}

Salutations and Good Tidings, T-roy Tribe! How's your Year-The-World-Ended going? We’re two months deep and so much has already happened! I’ve been fighting my way through this wooded terrain with all my friends – and a growing number of friends let me tell you! I hope yours is going as swimmingly as mine is.

So, I have a few big announcements to share. Everyone, gather around the fire. And bring your cider and cocoa too, please!  

Firstly, one of my goals this year was to update my website more often.  I want to let you all know I will be posting more here in the future – Pictures, Artwork, links to stories, among other things. We’re quickly moving through the third month of this year (already!) and I have to step up my game as far as my goals go.  

Which this brings me to my second announcement: photography. In wading my way though this jungle terrain of online writing, social media and the various whatnots associated with it, I’ve discovered I really don’t have any use for my Blog page a click over from here. It’s not that I DON’T blog. I do, in fact. I just prefer to use my Goodreads page for such mental discharges, which I’ve posted a couple of new blog entries on there, here and a here. But as I mentioned in my last post, I’ve discovered a growing interest in photography, just as I’ve experienced in the past with art and writing. Together, this makes up a trinity of T-roy creativity that I want to share with you.  

So, without further ado, Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you my Photography page! This slight facelift of my website will display my photography skills (or lack thereof) that I’ve captured over the years. Nothing scary or weird like my writing and art, but I’d like to think of them as intriguing or useful to those other outlets; a complement even. Perhaps a writer out there struggling with a setting or needing a writing boost will catch one of these photos and get crackin’ on that story. Or, perhaps, an artist is looking for a scene to paint and finds the inspiration they were looking for in my photos. In any case, I do hope you enjoy them. Hop on over there and take a look! I think such calming sights will please your inner Zen Master.  

Thirdly, I tried an experiment over the long MLK Jr. Weekend to garner more followers on my various social outlets by donating a small amount to Nanowrimo for every new follower. I did it on Presidents Day weekend too. I'm looking to try it again on St. Patrick’s Day Weekend , March 17-18, 2012. Mark your calendars folks, and, of course, I will be sending tweets and reminders to help spread the word.  

Fourthly, I had to indulge in a surprise happy dance at the end of February because my ebook Little Bernie's Map was featured on The Indie Spotlight, which you can find here, or at the link to the left. It was my first online interview as an indie author, so it was quite an accomplishment for me. Check it out and let me know what you think!  

Fifthly, and this is pretty darn big if you ask me, I've moved to Kindle. That’s right, kids, two of my stories are now available on any Kindle tablet here and here at the Kindle store. I've been on Smashwords for some time now, but the way I’m seeing it, there is overwhelming evidence for me to throw my hat in that ring too. Therefore, Kindle owners rejoice. Your time has come.  

And lastly, to reassure all of my Smashword/Nook/IBook peeps that I haven't forgotten about you, I’ve released a new short-short story for you guys! It’s called Going Down and you can get it here for now. I’m hoping to see it go into Premium Distribution in the very near future. It's short, but it gives a wild ride and best of all, it is at no cost to you. I'm giving this one away for free.  

Alright, enough of this tomfoolery and monkey business. I know you have to get going. You probably want to chat up some friends or get another cup of cider, which I don't blame you. But before I go, I want to thank all of my fans and supporters who've gotten me this far and are continually pushing me further. It’s amazing how excepting everyone is and how much they are willing to lend a hand. So, thank you. This forest is full of strange and exciting things and apparently a ton of really, really cool people. 

We have time to enjoy the bonfire a little bit before sunrise. Then it's off again for further exploring and adventures, and I hope to share a little more of what I find in these woods.  

Come on, it'll be fun...                                                                                                              03/09/2012


{Field Report #2}
{News from the Forest}

Hi-de-ho, friends and fans!  I come bearing gifts from the forest that I wanted to share with you all.  New Art(!) and a couple of fresh shots for you too - all original, of course.  On another note, my flash fiction story GOING DOWN is killin' it on Smashwords, garnering some fine words of recommendation and quite a few stars to go with it, and it just reached Premium Distribution!  Nook, IBook and Sony E-readers, rejoice!!  It has easily become my fastest downloaded story to date.  Also, be sure to check out my latest blog entry on Goodreads.  Be forewarned, you will probably be hungry after you read it.  I hope this start to Spring is as thrilling for you as it is for me.  Don't forget to drop me a line on my Twitter feed too!  

As always, Love and Hugs from the West Coast...                                                       03/21/2012
{Field Report #3}
{News from the Forest}

Friends, loyal indie author fans, wedding guests, teenagers and readers!  Good news!  For today only, my novella THE UNINVITED GUEST is available for FREE on Amazon Kindle!  I've joined Amazon's KDP Select program for the next 90 days, which means I can only offer exclusively through Kindle.  However, with this exclusivity, I have five (5) days to give you my novella at no charge.  Today is the first of the five. 

Follow the enormous link below and get your copy now!  Come shout at the treetops with the other birdwatchers on Twitter and let me know what you think.  Oh, and if you decide to pass on my story, just know that I'm not letting you leave here without a big bear hug.  *Squeeze*            03/31/2012
Cheap Thrills Abound - 02/17/2012
{Field Report #4}
{News from the Forest}

Greetings and Salutations fellow forest dwellers! 

I hope the spring season is treating you well. The birds are singing in the treetops, the forest isn’t as crisp in the mornings anymore, and I hear the department stores are bringing out the shorts and tank tops to put on display. I hope the season change is treating you well! Speaking of birds in the treetops, I’ve got a whole flock of awesome tweeters joining me up there – over 600 strong!

Now, I know we’ve all been cooped up this winter and have probably had our fill of TV (if you’re like me, I’m sure you’re aching to get outside), but I happened to have an interesting idea, mixing my love of writing with a television show to showcase it. You can read my pitch in my latest blog post here.  

And not to get stuck in a rut of TV watching, I captured some new photography recently, which you can see below.  I have some {N E W  A R T } (!) to offer on my A R T page too. Much more is on the way, friends, so come back often!

And finally, with those Spring changes comes Tax Day, at least, here in America. Well, I can’t pay everyone’s taxes, but I can offer some reading relief by giving away my novella, THE UNINVITED GUEST for free on Friday, April 20th! I'm calling it my TAX RELIEF GIVEAWAY. IT's already earned two 5-star reviews and some fine words of recommendation. Come see for yourself. And, as always, drop me a line and tell me what you thought at any of the links to the left.

Big bear hugs from the west coast for everyone...                                                                  04/19/2012
{Field Report #5}
{News from the Forest}

Hello again, Trojans! 

I come with more good news: my short story, LITTLE BERNIE'S MAP will be available for free on Saturday, April 28th on Amazon Kindle!  Let's call it a Spring Scare Giveaway, since that little guy on the cover isn't the prettiest of sights to behold.  In any case, I hope you watch out for him.  And don't forget to check out my interview on The Indie Spotlight here with a more in-depth, personal look at LB'sM.  Let's try to get this to crack the top ten in the short stories category, shall we?

Once again, I offer Big Bear Hugs to each and everyone of you...                                      04/26/2012 

E-books
Blog Entries
{The Forest is Opening Up...}
{There's something up ahead...}

Greetings, Trojans! 

I have incredible news to share with all of you.  Recently, I've gotten a slew of new reviews for my short story LITTLE BERNIE'S MAP and my novella THE UNINVITED GUEST.  You can find the new Amazon ratings at the links, but that's not all.  I've received several reviews on a couple of killer websites, as well!  

Firstly, on the blog, A Life Among the Pages,the super cool Robert Zimmermann has reviewed all of my work and posted his thoughts on his website for each of them.  As a thank you to him, I've linked his site on the left where you can find his other reviews, interviews, poetry, and links to other incredible writers.  Go check him out, Tribe!  He won't bite.  Here's each of the links: THE UNINVITED GUEST, LITTLE BERNIE'S MAP, and HIGH BRIDGE/GOING DOWN.  

​Secondly, a good Twitter/Facebook/NaNoWriMo friend, Bennie L. Newsome, who has a novel, The Boogeymann available, also gave a wonderful review of LITTLE BERNIE'S MAP on his web page which you can see here.  He's equally as cool as Robert and is a fantastic friend to have in your corner!

Thirdly, I have a new blog entry on Goodreads​ entitled "Charting Adventures on the Planet of E-Book" - check it out here!  It's one of my longest and is for all those aspiring writers out there who are struggling with the indie author life.  Yes, I'm still in my baby shoes in this world too, as a lot of us are, but this is how I see it.  Let me know what you think.   

On another note, I want to let all of you know I have some major things on the horizon.  Big things, big plans.  This summer is going to be an interesting one and you're hearing it here first.  There's going to be some movement here in the forest so come back soon.  As a thank you, I bring you {N E W ~A R T~} - "Turtle #2" and "Happy Trails, Pawdnah", both of which will have a splash of color very soon.   

Until then, Big Bear Hugs to you and yours...                                                                           05/18/2012 

{Treasures from the Forest}
{For All to Share}  

Trojans, this is the biggest announcement to come from the magical forest so far. I'm so happy to share this monumental news with you since this is such a massive step in my career as an artist and professional weirdo. It gives me such pleasure, titillation, and excitement that you are here to share this announcement with me. Are you ready for it?  Huh?  Well, here it is anyway.

On July 20th, 2012, the earth will stand still, the sun will flicker in the sky, and my art and photography will rise to the level of my writing and be available to the world in more ways than just viewing.  
Ladies and Gentlemen, you are cordially invited to the opening of my Zazzle store!

ZAZZLE?!? What's all this Nonsense and Tomfoolery T-roy is up to now?

Do you need a striking, eye-catching laptop skin to show off at the coffee shop while you're sipping an over-caffeinated latte and eyeing all of the good-looking people waiting in line? Or how about a cover for your iPhone that stands out among your super cool friends? Need something to strike up a conversation, or just hang in your dorm, your office, or your reading room? Or how about a picture that let's everyone know you are an awesome independent art supporter, an artistic person yourself, or have a burning, insatiable love of photography? Then this is the place for you. Yes, just like you have my stories of scream-filled weddings and doomed vacations on your Kindle, I want to dress up the very devices you are reading them on too.

Writing and Art have always been in my scales of creativity. Over time, I've found a balance with them worthy of any of my Zen Master friends. However, over the past year, I've been so focused on my writing (which I'm still focused on, don't ever doubt that) that my art has gone by the wayside. The time has come to change that. Now, I will not only have an outlet to share my writing through the power of the Internet, Amazon, and Smashwords, but I will also be able to share my art and my photography through the same magical and technological enhancements.

How Does this Wonky Thing Work and WHERE CAN I GET MORE T-ROY??!?!!?

It's okay, there's plenty of T-roy to go around! In fact, it's easier than ever. It's one of the reasons I chose zazzle.com for my store: the ease of its use. There are tons of options, as well. And I'm not just saying that. I've bought from them, as I'm sure you or someone you know has too. Their service is quick, prompt, and my product was of stellar quality! I'm not just saying that either. As you can see below, I have some things I've bought from them and it gives me a chill (the good kind, not the someone-just-walked-over-my-grave-kind) that someone out there will be thrilled they have something I created.























Purdy, aren't they?  And yes, that is my notebook...where the magic happens...

I will be adding links here on my home page, my art page, and my photography page in a couple of weeks when I open the store to the public. I’ll also add links on my various social networks as well for all you cool kids tweeting and posting and whatnot. The way it works is very easy and standard with a typical online shopping experience: click to buy, feeling secured, warm and fuzzy all over knowing you have a 100% guarantee of satisfaction and that you are buying from a trusted site. Pro tip: Zazzle has 20 gazillion hits a day and has grown exponentially over the years, so you should feel safe in the comforting arms of the Internet Commerce Gods overlooking these kinds of matters.  

Why, Oh Why, Did You Do This?

We live in a wondrous time. I hope all of you understand that. A few years ago, something like this would have never been possible for an artist or a photographer, or even a writer with my Amazon and Smashwords endeavors. The technology that is available at our fingertips is amazing, even magical. There really are no other words for it. I’ve drawn some pictures and, in years past, that would have been the beginning and end of it for me. Now, I can open a store, pop it on a canvas, walk in on you at work, and see it hanging over your desk. Then, the high-fiving and chest-bumping will start before security gives me the heave-ho out the back door.

There are several reasons why I did this. Originally, I thought I would make a coffee table book (which I'm still planning on doing) by sharing my art through this familiar outlet. But I had to stop, step back, and start thinking grander. Why limit myself? This is 2012 and my options are unlimited. Besides, why not let my work go on a canvas, as well as a computer skin, a keychain, or a little speaker for my phone? A starving artist can only starve for so long before they die of hunger. This plays in with the whole we-live-in-a-magical-time thing…so this only made sense to me. 

And Lastly...

I want to bow in gratitude to the fine folks that participated in my test run of this little scheme I've hatched up. You know who you are and you also know how much you helped me with this new project. It means the world that you trusted me, showed me so much enthusiasm in your responses, and handed me such overwhelming confidence in this new venture. Thank you.

Now, let me get back into the forest to see what else I can scrounge up before the big opening day festivities on July 20th. Hey, didn't I say summer was going to be fun?

Love, 

Troy Aaron Ratliff                                                                                                             07/06/2012

{The Forest is waiting for you}
{Come on in} 

The big day is here. You're always wanted them. Now you can have them. The official Troy Aaron Ratliff Zazzle store is open to the public for everyone to enjoy. This store changes the entire art and photography experience of my work by letting you bring it home to share. With Space Octopuses, charging elephants, rebel turtles, creatures from beyond, and stunning eye-catching photography, you'll have unlimited options to choose from in my store. And the best part of all? This is just the beginning.  Click the link below: 




























A Masterpiece in the Palm of Your Hand.

With this many options to choose from on several different products with so many designs, there is something for every budget and taste. Browse through numerous selections ranging from electronics to pillows to necklaces. Feel confident knowing you are buying a quality product from a trusted site, and by investigating it for yourself when you use the zooming feature to see up-close views of your favorite products. Need a customized mouse pad to spice up the office or a slick phone skin to stand out in the crowd? Now you can have them and more.

Art.

One of my favorite quotes is by Salvador Dali, which you can see at the top of my Art page: “An Artist isn’t one who is inspired, but one who inspires others.â€? Profound and truthful, this mantra is the incantation that keeps creativity alive, casting a spell over us and inspiring us to create. It is the wheel that turns and moves us in whatever direction we gravitate toward, whether it be writing, art, photography, music, sculpting, acting or dance. To create is what identifies our culture and our lives, even our time, setting us apart from the past. Creating is one of the most human things we can do. I hope my art now and in the future will inspire others such as yourself to create, whether you see it on my website or when you pull it out of your pocket, because now you can do both. Stunning graphic art packed into something as small as a keychain or something as dynamic as a canvas can take us to so many different places and bringing out the artistic side in all of us.  

Photography.

Tranquil and soothing, photography leaves the dramatics and theatrics to art and writing. Seeing a sunset, or a Ferris wheel, or the crashing waves of the sea on your phone or on a small speaker can do wonders and take you to an inspiring headspace. With my new Zazzle store, you can add a splash of color on those devices! Beautiful, high-quality shots applied to any number of products will allow you to have a unique way of expressing your love of photography as well as tapping into the ever-elusive tranquility in life.  

Giving back.

To celebrate this huge moment for me, I want to establish another kind of inspiration that I hope to leave 
with you. As an appreciation to the future of art and artists – along with the power art can leave on impressionable minds (like it did with me) – I will be donating 20% of what I earn over the next two days to the International Child Art Foundation (ICAF). The ICAF supports the development of artistic talents in children at a young age and believes in promoting peace through art. To quote their website at www.ICAF.org, they employ the power of the arts for the development of creativity and empathy key attributes of successful learners and leaders. What a wonderful thing to stand for.  

Finally...

Thank you, again, for all of the support that has been gushing from everyone! It thrills me that you're as excited about my store as I am. Just remember: this is the beginning, the start of something. I love art and drawing with a passion and have my whole life – even before writing – when I was only eight-years-old and watching, in awe, as Bob Ross spun his magic to paint his happy little trees? I'll probably be drawing and creating new art when I'm an old man too. By then, who knows what realm I’ll be sharing my work, but for now, Zazzle seems just right for me. Enjoy everyone, and don't forget to drop me a line.  

Big swinging bear hugs with sunshine and Happy Little Trees to everyone!                             07/20/2012 

See other gifts available on Zazzle.
{Big things are coming from the forest}
{Stop by and see}

Friends, a lot has been cooking here in the misty, muggy forest and I wanted to share an update with all of you, particularly with this being the one-year anniversary of my Website's creation! EEK! *throws confetti at laptop like Rip Taylor*

I should probably start by giving a rousing thank you to Mr. Steven Luna for interviewing me on his blog, which you can find here and on the link to the left at JOE VAMPIRE! Steven is a fantastic friend and author who I met while traveling through the tubes of the Internets! It's an interesting interview you might want to check out. I mean, it is a Vampire and an Octopus having a fireside chat in outer space!

On my Art page, I've added some new visual stimulants for your peepers, along with a link to my Zazzle Store, which, by the way, is doing swimmingly! Received a killer review for one of my mouse pads and have thrown some more products up there. Go see for yourself!

Also, I've received a slew of incredible reviews forLittle Bernie's Map and The Uninvited Guest recently which you can see here. And, speaking of my writing, probably the biggest announcement of all: On Friday, August 24th, I will release my newest novella Just Past the Trees

What do you think is in those woods, kids?  You'll have to wait until August 24th to find out when it becomes available to the world on Amazon Kindle.

And don't forget to drop me a line on any of my social networks!  I love hearing from all of you!

Until then, a big bear hug to all of you!  And a Happy Anniversary too!                          08/11/2012
{Those Big Things Are Here...}
{See for yourself, Trojans!}

It has arrived, folks. The release of my latest novella and my first longish story in almost a year, JUST PAST THE TREES is now up and available on Amazon for only $1.99! What's it about? See for yourself. Here is the description from Amazon and Goodreads:


On a hot summer day in Central Florida, a young man discovers a bloodied body in a field behind the repair shop where he works. Grizzly and twisted, the body leaves few clues as to the offender, some questioning if such a horrible end could actually come at the hands of another. The young, struggling writer with the crummy landscaping job who found the body never expected what his find would lead to, nor the friendship he would develop with the fellow writer and crypto-zoologist interested in the case and pressing for answers. Together, neither of them could have guessed the incredible gift they would receive in their budding friendship, the invigoration to their writing, or the heart-stopping experience they would ultimately share.


As an added bonus, I have not one but two new interviews, one of them posted the day I published to kick off the celebrations!  

First off, the sweet Debbie S. George-Jones has me on her blog dSavvanah Rambles to ask ~drum roll~ The Questions. Sounds so ominous, doesn't it? Not to fear! It's actually a very fun interview and worth a check out! Debbie was super cool to rearrange another interview to coincide with this novella release! Thanks Debs!


Secondly, I sat down with my good Twitter friend Stephanie Fuller, who asked me to be the inaugural victim uh, GUEST (!)on her blog, The Book Hipster where she asked her soon-to-be-famous Five Random Questions. Find out what character I would be at Disney World and what would consist of my last meal! Thanks Stephanie!

Also, with this being my second novella to the world, I have a new blog post that talks about this underused but valuable writing form on Goodreads titled THE OVERLOOKED NOVELLA, which you can see here or on the link to the left.

On top of all this, Internet Superhero Robert Zimmerman posted an early review on his blog, A Life Among the Pages. Check it out here or at the link to the left.  

Finally, many, many thanks to everyone who helped make this happen, from the beta readings, the suggestions, the feedback, the editing, the warmth and the support! It's all overwhelming and I can't thank everyone enough. Gratitude with Attitude, thy name is Ratliff. Much love to you all.

Comere you guys! Big hugs all around!                                                                             09/03/2012
{These Woods Are Vast...}
{Try not to get lost...}

At ease, Trojans.

It's been a minute since I last said hello, but you are not forgotten. Recently, I've gone off the tracks in this forest of self-publishing and the artistic life. I may have been led astray, hacking my way through this dense terrain, going into a thick tangle of brush and thorns, but I'm still here and getting back on the right path. There has been a lot going on in these woods, and with the 2012 year coming to a close and 2013 knocking on the door, it's time for an update.

I should say that going off track down a new path wasn't all bad, because I have a new adventure to tell you about: I have decided to start a new series on my Goodreads blog! As I've mentioned before, I dominate the hashtag #writershelpingwriters on Twitter with my shout outs on Wednesdays and Fridays. But the thing is a shout out can only go so far, and if I want to truly take those words and put action behind them, I need to step up my game and help these authors in more ways than just getting their name out there on one social media outlet. So, I have a couple of author chats to share with you. My new series is called The T-roy Talks: Interviews with a Cephalopod? (named such for my little octopus drawing that has become my unofficial trademark). In these interviews, I have a set of questions I ask every participant, such as their favorite line of prose they have written, what they have on the horizon, and what their favorite song is of the moment. I've done two so far and am planning this to be a new mainstay of my Goodreads blog, which is where you can find it. The first interview is the author of Skunk Ape SemesterMike Robinson and the second is the author of Joe VampireStephen Luna! I have many more to come!  

Now, on the other side of the interviewing world, internet superhero Tara Wood sat down with me for her blog, The Tarasphere. Go check it out and be sure to leave a comment! She loves those. I should mention that in my time as an indie author, I've received several fantastic reviews over the past few months that have been more than flattering. But one of the best reviews I've ever received for Just Past the Trees was penned by Tara the Wonderful herself, which she included in my interview! 

Another staggeringly awesome review comes from the super-duper Laura Thomas on her blog FUONLYKNEW! She has some stellar words for my short story Little Bernie's Map found here. Want a sample?  Here you go:

"My thoughts are all over the place. It has been a long time since I have been this surprised by a story. I had to reread several scenes just to wrap my mind around what was happening. I wanted to try to form an image in my head. I sure wish this had been a movie. You'll know what I mean when The Flashpoint? happens."

"Troy has a wonderful way of leading you into the story. There is much about this family that you can relate to. The characters are genuine and very likeable. I felt their anguish and their perseverance and really wanted things to be alright for them. 

Wow. Go see what other goodies she has on her blog, and say hello!

Thank you both so much!

Okay, Trojans. While I bring some good news, unfortunately, I also have some heavy-hearted news to report. At the beginning of the year I had a goal - nay! - a promise to my readers that I would have a novel out by the end of 2012. I brought it up in several interviews that I would soon have one available to the public, but I precluded it with little-to-no information about it for fear of disappointment or scheduling conflicts. Sadly, I won't be able to make that goal because of circumstances concerning the book's quality. That's not to say the book isn't good, it is (I think, anyway). But because this is my first novel and not a short story or a novella, I want to give you the best possible piece of art I can provide you that comes in this size and depth. I want the cover to be something you would proudly display on your Kindle. I want the story to grab you and not let you go. I want the book trailer to be eye-popping. I want the best for my readers and I will sacrifice time for quality any day of the week. Remember, the most valuable thing we have is time. So, I am pushing the novel back a few months, but it is still on the way.

Okay kids, until next time, button up those sweaters and zip up those jackets because the bite of winter is coming.  

Love and mugs (of cocoa)                                                                                                                  11/10/2012
THE INTERVIEWS
Field Report #6

{News from the Forest}

Busy, busy times, Trojans. So much is going on that it's already March and this is the first posting of 2013! Yikes, get together T-roy!! Anyway, while I haven't updated my home page like I should've (yes, shame on me), there are oodles of new and exciting things happen on the final leg of this forested trek. Yes, you heard that right. Soon we will be leaving the forest behind for new adventures, but more on that later.

Where to begin? I guess I should first say a huge thank you to all of my wonderful tweeters and followers on Twitter. I have over 3,500 incredible followers now, most of them fellow writers, artists, and photographers like me! A huge thanks to all the retweets and love I'm finding there. And a huge thank you to all of the 670 people who have liked me on Facebook and the 2000+ friends on Goodreads! You guys are awesome.

I've been blogging more. In continuing with my #writershelpingwriters mentality, my T-roy Talks series has added several fantastic authors and writers such as S.M. Boyce, Troy Blackford, Tess Thompson, and Kate Roth just to name a few. I also have another regular blog post that deals with a certain famous writer who doesn't care for ebooks and my thoughts on the matter.

On the artistic front, my Zazzle store has added a few new items that may not fit in the regular line up of my normal products. Now, the reason why is a very charitable one, I can assure you. I belong to an awesome Facebook group full of super cool people. One of them is my writer friend Karen Debar who had come under the thumb of some pricy medical bills. Medical expenses can become hungry uncontrollable monsters, leveling bank accounts and putting stress on good folks who just want to live. Well, to do my part, and in pushing my motto of not only #Writershelpingwriters, but "Try Harder", I have a few shirts, mugs and other things that I've created on my site just for Karen, the proceeds of which go to her 100%. I'm even on a Team Karen website that features stories and other nifty things to help her out. Go there and learn more about her and the cause. 

Also, I have a new art piece that I finished recently called "Explosion" which I've attached below. This one is getting some serious steam. In fact, my good friend and fellow author Ellie Ann is going to feature this very piece in her new novel The Silver Sickle (cover below)! More updates on that in the coming weeks!

And on the writing side of things, I've recently been inundated with new reviews and reader love. In fact, my short story Little Bernie's Map recently hit number one in the Dark Fantasy/Free category! That's right, on February 8th and 9th I had a Mid-Feb Giveaway on Amazon. By Saturday morning, the 9th, my short story hit Number 1 in the charts! Thank you all so much for helping me make this happen! Next stop: Number one in Dark Fantasy/Paid. To top it off, I received another five-star review!

Finally, as an update, I'm in some of the final stages of my first novel. I hit some snags along the way, but I promise you this is happening soon. Hence, why our time in the forest is quickly coming to an end. In aligning the TAR HQ with the release of my novel I will be revamping my website to better match the theme of my book (that's what you're supposed to do, right?). So while I started this Odyssey here with you in this wooded terrain all those months ago, the other end of the forest is around the next bend, past that big tree and those bushes right over there. I hope to see you there with me.

Cheers!                                                                                                                                           03/08/2013

Field Report #7
{News from the Forest}


Hello Trojans, and happy summer to all of you! I hope this warm weather has you reading at the beach, the park, on camping trips, or wherever you may venture the next few months.

I have some updates concerning my first novel. I know that it'll be a year since I published any new material come next month - yes, Just Past the Trees came out a whole year ago! - but know that my novel is moving along. I'll be leaking some deets in the near future. Some of the initial feedback from my beta readers is positive, and my book trailer is shot and in Post-production! When it's ready, I'll be looking to my Trojan army to help push this thing out.

In the meantime, check out my good friend Ellie Ann Soderstrom's new novel that was just released on July 1st, The Silver Sickle, which features art work from yours truly at the top of each chapter!

To go with this release, I've also posted a new T-roy Talks Interview - Number 7! - with her on my Goodreads blog which you can find here.

Also, I've added new art to my Gallery, so please go check it out!  Below the book cover, is the second Explosion which I finished a few months back.  There are a few other new pieces in the gallery too.

I have some big things coming on the horizon, Trojans, so be on the look out. 

Until then, Love and Light.

TAR                                                                                                                                              07/28/2013
{The Biggest News Yet…}
{A way out of this Forest…}

Trojans, I’m beginning to see the end of our little trek through the forest.  The trees are starting to thin and the morning light is brightening.  The path is a little clearer now. Isn’t it amazing what we’ve discovered here in these woods?  Don’t be sad our exploration through the forest is coming to an end, because the odyssey isn’t over.   Far from it.

As many of you know, I have a big announcement that I want to share with all of you today, probably the biggest announcement yet.   So, here it goes.  My first novel - yes, you heard that correctly; not a short story or a novella, but my full-length novel - Do I Bother You at Night? will be released this fall on Friday, October 4th.   Do I Bother You at Night?, or DIBYAN? as I’ve always affectionately referred to it, is a genre blending novel of suspense and terror that harks back to the 1980’s golden age of horror fiction.  Here is my cover for now in all of its eerie goodness:

​And here is the blurb:

They say nothing ever happens in Kansas.  

Sylvester Petersen used to think so too. That is, until a mysterious new neighbor moves in next door, seemingly out of nowhere. His handful of friends – people who tried to help him cope with the sudden death of his wife – think that it might be an opportunity for him to get reacquainted with the world outside his farmhouse and to build a new relationship with his neighbor. But that idea is soon snuffed out as strange events begin to happen around him. None of them wrong. Just strange: driving in the middle of the night, the sulfur-like odor coming off of him, the fact he doesn’t talk to anyone in the area.

And what about that dog?

Sylvester chooses the logical explanation and ignores the peculiar behavior. But when other oddities start to happen – the kind that affects Sylvester directly – he begins to worry. His reasoning dwindles and his growing fear points to his neighbor.

Where is that stray dog going?

After enough time, Sylvester starts to see and hear what the people of the area have been muttering about: Unexplainable blue light, corn crops moving on their own…the slaughtered cattle entirely too close to home.

And that stray dog that keeps getting fatter and fatter…

At the peak of summer, and with the walls closing in, Sylvester experiences something that will take him to the brink and haunt you forever.

Bathed in loss, terror and human spirit, Do I Bother You at Night? will be a story you won’t forget and one that will give you a few restless evenings of your own.

Love thy neighbor.   


​There you have it, folks!

Over the next few weeks, I''ll be leaking more details, excerpts, and promotions to until the October 4th release, so be on the look out for some goodies.  And don't forget to drop me a line and tell me your thoughts on FacebookTwitter, InstaGram (@Trizzlepuffs), and G+.  


Thank you so much for joining me on this incredible day in my writing career, Trojans.



Much more to come…                                                                                                 08/19/2013  
{Goodbye Kind Forest…}

{You were good to me…} 


Trojans. My wonderful Trojans. We’ve reached a monumental point in our little place here in the woods: the end of it. After nearly two years in the forest, we’ve finally reached the other side. The trees have separated, the bushes and thorns have thinned, the canopy above isn’t as thick anymore. The carpet of pine needles is breaking up and just ahead of us, I think I see an open field with what looks like new sprouts of corn. I think I even see a farmhouse.

I don’t know about you, but I had a blast in the forest with all of you guys. From the ones who walked in with me, to the good, good friends I found in here, I’m so glad you walked with me to the end. Together we found a ton of stories, artwork, stunning photography, connections, and laughs, but now it’s time to move forward, into the clearing to see what else is out there.

Beyond these lovely trees, these buzzing insects, these the fallen logs, and the dead leaves that , signalling the start of Autumn, that final smattering of trees there appears to be even more goodies and adventures a lonely farmhouse sitting against the wide country sky.    

In fact, here's a window into this new world.  Behold, farmhands: my book trailer for Do I Bother You at Night?:

See you around, friends                                                                                                             09/14/2013 

PS - Don't forget to add DIBYAN? to your Goodreads To-Read List here.