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Week Sixteen

Today is the end of the sixteenth week of the 365 Writing Challenge and I failed dismally this week in way of words added to pieces of fiction and poetry. However, I did write an impressive 2,114 words on my blog. So, that’s a win in my book.

So, what have I accomplished in the past seven days?

Let’s list it shall we and find out!

  • Added 100 words to an Iron Faerie Publishing submission piece.
  • Added 100 words to Le Fay.
  • Submitted one drabble to Black Hare Press.
  • Wrote one poem.
  • Edited a couple of short stories.

And of course, the wait for contest scores continues, as does waiting to hear back on a few – 5 – submissions I’ve sent to publishers in the last month.

Of course, that list doesn’t include my work with The Horror Tree which can often be overwhelming or my work with Iron Faerie Publishing.

Until next week (or the week after that). Happy writing.

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Story Prompt Sunday

story prompt

It’s Sunday again and with it comes the second installation of Story Prompt Sunday!

This week’s inspiration is space, as there’s been some activity with rocket launches recently.

I hope you enjoy it!

Today’s opening line…

The sky is dark and the stars a but a memory in our hearts.

And please, if you’re up for it, and it inspires you, share what you’ve written in the comments below!

Happy Easter

Happy Easter

I still, even as an adult find it totally bizarre that Easter doesn’t have a set date. Every year its in a constant flux.

So, this year, I decided to read up on the reasons why Easter appears to be in a constant flux, even though in reality it isn’t. Not really.

Let me explain.

According to the Church of Nicaea, way back in 325AD, it was determined that Easter should fall on the Sunday that followed the first full moon after the Spring Equinox. Which we all know happened on March 21st 2019 (technically the Autumn Equinox for those of us in the Southern Hemisphere). Coincidentally, there was a Full moon that fell on the Equinox this year, which was excluded because Easter has to fall between March 25th and April 25th, forcing them to go with the next one which fell on April 19th.

Which is why the dates move and Easter festivities are sometimes referred to as moveable feasts.

Chocolate eggs and rabbits are something of a modern invention when it comes to Easter. Although the Goddess Ostara or Eostre is the Goddess of Spring. Easter eggs and the Easter Bunny both featured heavily in the spring festivals of the goddess Ostara. The rabbit was her sacred animal and brightly colored eggs,  baby chicks, and bunnies were all used at festival time to honour this fertility goddess.

And here’s the story of Ostara…

ostara

Already feeling just, a little bit guilty for arriving late one spring, the Goddess Ostara was appalled when the first thing she encountered was a little bird who lay dying on the forest floor, his wings frozen by the snow.

Filled with compassion, Ostara took him as a pet or, as some versions of the tale have it, her lover. Feeling sorry that the poor wingless bird could no longer take flight, she turned him into a snow hare and gave him the ability to run rapidly so he could evade all hunters.

Honouring his earlier life as a bird, she also gave him the ability to lay eggs in all the colours of the rainbow.

Whatever could the goddess Ostara have been thinking when she turned him into a randy rabbit? Eventually the decision backfired when the goddess became enraged with his numerous affairs.

In a fit of anger, she threw him into the skies where he unfortunately landed under the feet  of the constellation Orion (the Hunter).  He remains there to this day, and is known to us the constellation Lepus (The Hare).

Softening her attitude, a bit, Ostara allowed the hare to return to earth once each year to give away his coloured eggs to the children attending the Ostara festivals that were held each spring.

It’s Good Friday

Which in this house means hot cross buns and the odd bit of chocolate for us and the kids.

Hubby fired up the BBQ despite the chilly Perth day which narrowly missed getting rained out.

Sadly, not a lot of writing was done but fun was had with friends which more than made up for it.

And now that they’ve left I’m curling up with my writing project trying to get some words down.

Wish me luck!

You Know You’re a Writer When…

…You stumble upon the fact that blood makes a good egg substitute and you decide to blog about it.

Not grossed out yet? Then keep reading.

So, in an effort to get in the Easter spirit a little bit more I went searching the internet for quick and easy chocolate related recipes today… because while I love my go to chocolate cake, I didn’t just want cake. Turns out, my go to chocolate cake is easy as to make and I can do it in my sleep… so all the other fabulous recipes I found today will have to wait.

However, in the course of looking through all kinds of chocolate recipes I also stumbled across why blood is a good substitute for eggs.

The answer? It’s full of protein.

Of course, if you are squeamish at the sight of blood you might be better sticking to banana or apple sauce as an egg supplement. But I found it fascinating all the same.

So, now that you’re thoroughly creeped out, I’m going to share with you one of the easiest chocolate cake recipes I’ve found to date. My kids love it!

Chocolate Cake Recipe

ingredients

• 1 cup self-raising flour

• 1/3 cup cocoa

• 1 cup caster sugar

• 1/3 cup butter (softened)

• 1/2 cup milk

• 2 eggs (lightly beaten)

• 1 teaspoons of vanilla

method

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Line a 24cm cake tin and set aside.

2. Place all ingredients into a bowl and using a mixer, mix ingredients together on high for 4 minutes.

3. Pour into cake tin and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the cake springs back when lightly touched in the centre.

Alternatively, if you’d rather cupcakes, this recipe will easily make 12. Just bake for 15 minutes at 180°C (160°C fan-forced).

Chocolate Buttercream Icing Recipe

ingredients

• 100g butter, softened

• 2 cups soft icing mixture, sifted

• 1/3 cup cocoa, sifted

• 2 tbsp milk

method

1. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until pale and fluffy.

2. Add the icing mixture and cocoa a little at a time until fully incorporated.

3. When this is fully combined add the milk and the chocolate buttercream will become light and fluffy.

So, what on your menu for Easter? Anything special? Share in the comments below!

WIP Wednesday

It’s time to SHARE what you’re working on!

The rules are pretty simple, if you want to play along.

Just share up to 500 words in the comments from something you’ve been working on.

 Its hard to share what I’ve been working on this week when all the stories have been sent out pending publication. To either be accepted or rejected.

So, instead, I’m sharing a snippet from the same universe as the one I shared last week. This takes place during Dragonsblood. Just prior to Queen Mab being killed.

*The asylum is modelled off Kew Asylum in Melbourne, Australia.

Ash put the key into the lock and turned the key. The locking mechanism turned with an audible click and the door was opened. Twisting the doorknob Ash throws open the main doors.

I step over the threshold and shove my emotions aside. Being back at Wellesmere wasn’t my idea of fun and if there had been any other alternative I would have gladly taken it, but Wellesmere was the only place with enough rooms and living space to house everyone.

“Ever think in a million years we’d see the inside of this place again Scarlett?” Ava asked.

I shook my head. “Nope.”

Walking inside, I can’t help but notice the fine layer of dust which coats the wooden floor boards, my shoe prints can be seen making a trail behind me. “Welcome to Wellesmere. Originally home to the mentally insane, it once moonlighted as a juvenile detention centre in lieu of a mystical holding cell for yours truly. I’d give you the history of the building as Sister Bernadette told it to me but frankly, I tuned her out within the first five minutes.”

“You lived here?” Ella asked stepping across the threshold.

I shrugged. “Three years off and on.”

“And you’re sure they won’t think to look for us here?” Mordecai asked.

“I can’t say for certain what they’ll do,” I said. “But, this place is a far better alternative than Cornwall.”

“Is it?” Emrys asked. “Because Tintagel seems really good right about now. The place is legendary.”

“And old, really old,” Robin put in. “No offence Sorcha.”

Sorcha Donovan snorted, clearly displeased. Tintagel, according to Zooey, was her grandmother’s ancestral home.

So, what are you waiting for? Bring out your WIP for WIP Wednesday!

 

Gargoyles and Grotesques

In the light of the fire that destroyed part of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, I spent the day following the story and try to figure out a way to reflect on it while at the same time not rehashing everything that had been shared through all the various news services.

And as I was trawling through Pinterest an idea came to me.

What better way than to take a look at one of the iconic symbols of the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Gargoyle and share a writing prompt.

Gargoyles are a popular choice of architectural design on churches because of the long held belief that they warded away evil spirits, and to divert rainwater.

The word “Gargoyle” originates from an old French word “Gargouille” meaning “throat” but it also describes the gurgling sound of water as it comes down the down pipe.

Technically architects call a waterspout on a building a gargoyle. If a stone carving does not carry water and has a face that resembles a creature, it is technically called a grotesque. And a strange beast which combines several different animals is called a chimera.

As I looked up, I caught sight of a gargoyle.

Happy writing everyone!

Why Writing Isn’t a Chore

Why writing isn’t a chore… and yet I have a list of things to keep me going through to the end of April. And I totally love it, despite how overwhelming it gets some days.

I spent the day organising my writing related to-do list, in between household chores and begging the Gods that it didn’t rain so the washing I had out on the line could actually have a chance to dry, whilst wishing like mad I had a dryer that worked, of course. It’s still not dry…

This is what I have so far… and I swear there’s things I’ve forgotten, so this list will likely be added to over the next few days.

Did I mention I’m trying to keep myself accountable this year? Well I am!

  • Add new words added to a story story. The word count minimum of which is a self imposed 2000, for an Iron Faerie Publishing anthology submission.
  • Add new words to a short story. The word count minimum is 7000 and my current count is 4025.
  • Edit and submit two drabbles for consideration into a Black Hare Press anthology.
  • Organise my poems. Would you believe most are stored in the notes app on my phone? Backed up of course but still.
  • Write more poetry. It should be simple but I get so caught up in my short story submissions that I forget to flex my poetry muscles.
    Edit an author interview I completed for The Horror Tree, ready to send off Wednesday morning.
    Edit short stories. Which short stories? I couldn’t tell you. There’s the several I’ve written in the first quarter of the year that haven’t been sent into anthologies, so I should probably start there…

What’s on your to do list? Anything exciting? My mundane chore list isn’t as exciting as my writing one, but I’ll leave you with the image that is a household of 6 and no dishwasher. Yes, there’s tears and they’re usually all mine.

The 5 Elements of a Story – Character

5 elements of a story - character

There are several things you need to consider when creating a character. Some are obvious while others may not be.

And, more importantly, the needs vary a little between short stories and novels. As with short stories you are merely getting a glimpse into a character whereas in a novel, characters need to be more developed and fleshed out.

Characterisation can be hard to manage and even harder to get right. Discovering who your character is can often be very frustrating.

Which is why character profiles are incredibly useful. Even the simplest character profile will help you in getting to know your character.

Because, let’s face it, when you’re dealing with a novel there’s often quite a few characters involved. At some point remembering who had what eye colour is going to get tricky.

Which is why I create character profiles. If not for all my characters, then for the main characters at the start. The minor character profiles tend to evolve on their own and I write additional profiles as needed.

Below is a black PDF version of the rather basic Character Profile I use. It’s nothing overly elaborate, but it does the job.

Feel free to save it to your computer for use later on.

Character Profile

 

 

Week Fifteen

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Today is the end of the fifteenth week of the 365 Writing Challenge and I’ve managed to write 1156 words across seven days.

So, what have I accomplished over the past week?

Let’s list it shall we and find out!

  • Wrote a further 644 words and completed Of Blood and Fire. It comes in at 5,044 words and was submitted in the early hours of Thursday, 11th April.
  • Continued work on Le Fay, writing a further 300 words. It’s now sitting at 4,000/6,000 words. I had to push the deadline back two weeks.
  • Wrote two short poems.
  • I’ve sat staring at my untitled story for the Summer Splash anthology more than I would like but I’ve managed to get 156 words down.

Of course, that list doesn’t include my work with The Horror Tree which can often be overwhelming or my work with Iron Faerie Publishing. Or any of the blogs I’ve written over the last week.

Until next week (or the week after that). Happy writing.

Le Fay Has Been Delayed

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Oh, how I hate to be the bearer of bad news. I really hate to disappoint people. Although, I think in this industry it might be par for the course. Writing can be finicky and the muse even more so.

Alas… now to rip the band-aid off.

Sadly, Le Fay won’t be ready in time for a April 15th release. I think eight weeks out from publishing Lost is much more reasonable than six with the way I’m tracking writing wise. So, it’s likely going to be an end of April release.

And, I’m almost there. I just forgot to factor in how busy I’d be in the last few weeks of the first school term. And now that my kids are off for two weeks it’s virtually impossible to actually score time on our sole PC during the day in order to write.

Roblox takes priority apparently. It gets old fast, believe me.

So, in an effort to appease those of you who may have been looking forward to news of a pending release, I’m going to share another excerpt.

And if you’re interested in the previous excerpts I’ve shared they are here and here.
Morgan stood at the base of the tree, having scaled the wire fence with only a little help from Arthur. There didn’t seem to be a doorway of any kind that would take them to the crystal cave.

“How do we get inside?”

“Magick,” Prince Arthur replied. “How else?”

Knocking on the trunk of the tree three times, they stood in silence, and waited, as right before Morgan’s eyes the trunk of the tree split open at its base and tore upwards forming a narrow doorway, just wide enough for the two of them to slip through.

With wide eyes, Morgan looked up at Arthur, trembling slightly. “Is it safe?”

“Do you really think that I’d lead you into danger, Morgan?”

“No,” she said, but neither her words nor her actions had any conviction.

“Come on,” Arthur said, holding out his hand for her. “I promised your brother that no harm would come to you and none shall.”

Story Prompt Sunday

It’s Sunday and I’m starting something new, while at the same time continuing something I attempted a while ago, with my opening lines post.

Welcome to Story Prompt Sunday!

As it’s a miserable and rainy day in Perth, I thought I’d share something relevant weather wise, while keeping to a paranormal (and witchy) theme.

I hope you enjoy it!

Today’s opening line…

The last time it rained, I met my familiar.

And please, if you’re up for it, and it inspires you, share what you’ve written in the comments below!

The Struggle is Real

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Yes. The struggle is real! And, along with struggling to find something worthy to write about tonight, I’m struggling to figure out which of my WIPs I should be focusing on.

First World problems, I know. But it’s true, and the answer should be simple, but it’s not.

Too many stories and not enough time, and even more writing opportunities keep popping up out of the woodwork. I swear, my anxiety is in overdrive, because I just don’t want to miss out, you know?

It’s hard. I’d forgo sleep, but I need sleep. There’s only so much coffee a person (namely I) can drink before I wind up bouncing off the walls. I think the official tally is about 6 cups over the course of a day.

So, in the interest of saving me from simply procrastinating and winding up following the internet down some rabbit hole… trust me it happens often. One minute I’m researching something for a story and the next I’m somewhere totally unrelated… would anyone be willing to share what they’re working on at the moment? It doesn’t have to be a novel or short story. It could be a poem or your latest blog post. Who knows, it might create a spark of inspiration for my own writing.

 

 

Five Writerly Things To Buy When You’re a Writer

Just as all writers have different writers styles, they too have a different writing process.

I, prefer to write at a computer. But I didn’t always use one to write.

I often used notebooks.

In fact, there was a time when I carried a notebook everywhere I went. Just in case I wanted or needed to jot down an idea.

Now, my phone takes the place of a notebook.

But that hasn’t prevented me from collecting notebooks.

So, without further ado… here’s 5 writerly things to buy when you’re a writer!

  1. Notebooks – I love Typo ones.
  2. Pens – If I could, I buy up all the purple pens I could find. Alas, I can’t so I console myself with black Papermate Profile ones.
  3. Book Covers – Because novels need covers. I try not to collect them unless I have a story in mind, but there’s never a time when cover art isn’t pretty to look at.
  4. Fingerless Gloves – I’ve been drooling over the ones at Storiarts for a while now)
  5. Coffee (& Chai Tea) – Because I can’t live without coffee… and Chai Tea in winter

Writers, what’s on your list? Share it in the comments below.