New book from N.M. Martinez, plus more!

The Two Brothers is the brand new companion novella to Nina’s debut novel, Ruin. This story gives us an insight into intriguing characters met in the world established by Ruin. The Two Brothers is available now! Check the official website for more details.

Click here for The Two Brothers, part of the Ruin series.

Katy-Rose Hötker has another of her flash fiction pieces in print, now available in the Daily Frights 2012: 366 Days of Dark Flash Fiction (Leap Year Edition) collection.

~A

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The Versatile Blogger Award

The rules of the Versatile Blogger Award state that I must:
Thank the person who gave it to me and link back to them in my blog.
Share seven things about myself.
Pass this award on to 5 other recently discovered blogs and let them know.

Look at that! One of those blog award dealies!

My thanks:
I was unexpectedly awarded the Versatile Blogger by my awesome friend, Natasha McNeely. We’ve been in contact for just a few months, but she is a super lady with some excellent ideas and perspective. It’s always great to talk to you, Natasha. Thank you for the award!

Seven things:
How do I decide the seven interesting tidbits to share? I don’t know. Let’s babble and see what comes out?
1. All my life, I’ve found I get along better with men in general. Yet by a vast majority, my blogging buddies and writer friends are women. In this fascinating instance, I relate incredibly well with these select ladies who share their thoughts and experiences.
2. I don’t like tomatoes, capsicum, or celery. I enjoy eating most vegetables, and if pressed, I will still eat those three in other dishes, but I don’t choose them for myself.
3. I own four Tarot decks (and a Goddess Oracle card set). They are a generic Rider-Waite clone which was my introductory Tarot deck many years ago, the Morgan-Greer deck, a Manga deck, and the gorgeous Shadowscapes Tarot made by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law. I have my eye on several other decks, for both appreciation and collection purposes.
4. Getting my tattoo didn’t hurt much at all. It felt mostly like being mauled by an angry cat for a while, and I’ve been subject to that experience plenty of times before. Nevertheless, just when the needle went directly over my veins (on the inside of my wrist), that pain shot up my arm and made me cringe.
5. I was a figure ice skater for seven years, and a ballet dancer for four years. These activities helped make me as self-confident as I am today, but caused me joint problems (especially in my knees), which I will have for the rest of my life.
6. At its longest, my hair was around three foot long. I got it all chopped off in one go, and still have the plait of hair. I’m going to donate the whole thing to Locks of Love.
7. I really like calendars, and usually have at least one in every room of my house. I have a lot of difficulty with judging the passage of time, so having calendars readily available enables me to be aware of the date, and day of the week.

Five blogs:
Woohoo, the fun part! I chose these lovely people because I enjoy their blogs a lot, and because there’s a good possibility they haven’t already received this award! Sharing the love, people.
Write Your Own Story from Nina Martinez
Written Not With Ink from Barb Reily
Spiritual Strudel from Shelby Eaton
Stuff from Sherry Stanfa-Stanley
And because I’m a rebel (or can’t count), Katy-Rose Hötker AND Joseph D’Lacey

Awesome!

~A

New book from Natasha McNeely, plus more!

A Glimpse of The Dark is a collection of short stories with a dark fantasy theme by our resident Ancient Egypt aficionado, Natasha McNeely (check the Favourite Reads sidebar for her blog!). You can purchase her new e-book through the following link.

Click here for A Glimpse of The Dark

Katy-Rose Hötker also sees one of her flash fiction pieces in print, now available in the Daily Flash 2012: 366 Days of Flash Fiction (Leap Year Edition) collection.

~A

Whipping Your Words, a guest post from Katy-Rose Hötker

Today’s guest post comes from my lifelong friend, Katy-Rose. We have been on parallel life-paths since the time we met; both five years old and instant friends. Katy-Rose is building her writing dream and running Faery Allure, a small jewellery business, in between the exciting experience of first-time motherhood, and starting The Hidden Grove organic produce farm with her husband. Thank you for the guest post, and all these shared years, Katy-Rose!
~A

I could never write short fiction, at least, I always found it difficult. I’ve more often than not been guilty of letting my words run away with me. They can be so beautiful and meaningful, how do you let go? Why would anyone want to reign in their language? The answer to that question is, to achieve better potency! Our words are more memorable and our stories more succinct when we whip them into shape.

I was raised on epic high traditional fantasy. I devoured it in my teenage years. Hungry for its rich detail and lush world building! It’s a genre that affords a fair amount of verbosity and flowery description. However, as the years have passed, my taste in fiction has expanded. I’ve started reading Young Adult fantasy. And YA fiction is a different creature entirely!

The wording of a novel aimed at a vastly teenage readership is a lot snappier I’ve found, in comparison. You must immediately engaged your audience. You must grab them by the shirt collar and pull them through the worm hole! There’s no time for long-winded explanatory prologues, epilogues and appendices. Your intended reader must be sucked in and not want to put that book down. It must be like a quick fix, full of excitement. The stakes must be high. Your audience wants to feel involved.

From my journey through these genres and my current life circumstances, (think newborn and a fledgling business) I decided to put my novels on the shelf, bad pun intended, and began seeking out fiction that would sate my love of an epic snappy story, with body and heart, without the 60-300k word count. It was at this time I found a new respect and love of short stories, and the new kid on the block, flash fiction. These formats allowed my imagination to run wild, but on the clock. I could continue to fit reading and writing into my day.

I began to try my hand at flash fiction myself and found, much to my genuine surprise, that it was easy. It flowed without obstruction from my mind to the page! I couldn’t believe it, I still can’t. For the longest time, shorter fiction, let alone a form of micro fiction, was a ‘no go’ zone for me. It was all or nothing. I was going to write and read epic traditional high fantasy my whole life. Needless to say, I’m glad my taste in fiction has widened. Variety is the spice of life!

So the key to writing shorter stories in my experience, is to write a tale that you would enjoy immersing yourself in, on a limited time budget. Instead of that fifteen minute bus ride to work being a great sullen bore, why not forget reality for that time and enjoy a quick story? Write that story and others will want to read it. We are all escapists at our core. We all dream great dreams and imagine the seemingly implausible. But sometimes big dreams and lengthy tales have to be put on hold, and this is where our smaller, every day dreams step into the limelight and it’s when short fiction shines. It fills an otherwise unoccupied niche in the reader market.

Whip your words into shape and not only will you have an engaged and entertained audience, but also a very satisfied one. One that will possibly commit your name to memory and look out for longer works of fiction by you in the future when you eventually get the time!

You can find some of Katy-Rose’s flash fiction in these upcoming publications!
“Lunar Cry” in Daily Frights 2012: 366 Days of Frightening Flash Fiction (Leap Year Edition) from Pill Hill Press.
“Midnight Allure” in Daily Flash 2012: 366 Days of Flash Fiction (Leap Year Edition) from Pill Hill Press.
“Sweet Delirium” in Short Sips: Coffee House Flash Fiction Collection (Volume 2) from Wicked East Press

Of baby things

My lovely friend, Katy-Rose recently welcomed her firstborn son into this wild and magical world. He’s a gorgeous little man, and I had the decided pleasure of crocheting a baby beanie for him!

Katy-Rose requested a Halloweeny pumpkin design, which I was so super excited to make. Not that I wouldn’t wear a pumpkin beanie myself, but I haven’t really had a reason to crochet any of the awesomely cute baby things, except my personal favourites: baby blankies.

So as a treat for my interested readers, who have been asking for photos of things since I started talking about my projects, here’s the hat I made!

All I really needed to do was look up online the best way to make the lines for the pumpkin body, and that turned out to be very simple! It was a flat rectangle, and you just crochet into the back loop for every row. Non-stitchers will probably think I’m speaking another language, and that’s okay. Trust me when I say this was a very, very easy thing to do (much simpler than many other things I’ve crocheted).

The leaf and curly-q designs were just invented as I went, crocheting whatever worked to make it look right. The curly-q is just a chain with single crochets all along, and it curls naturally. Making the pumpkin shaped leaf was fairly basic, since I just kept adding stitches until it matched the photos I was working from of actual pumpkin leaves!

I’ll hopefully get some other pieces finished soon, and take photos to share!

~A