Rumble Coloring Contest 2015…Why not enter?


Rumble's First Scare

Today is the start of this year’s Rumble coloring contest. Download the coloring sheet from http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca. You can mail your entry in and then either winner’s can opt for prizes to be mailed or personally awarded by the author – ME at Words in the Park, Sherwood Park, Alberta on 26th September.

Prize categories: 5-7 years, 8-10 years and 11-12 years.

Prizes include: Specially made Rumbles hats, a pair of one-off Rumble slippers (only small kids size 7-8), a squishy blue monster or a pink one, T-shirts or one make your own monster putty. And of course a copy of Rumble’s First Scare.http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/retail/books/rumbles-first-scare

Contest starts 1st August – http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca

10-1D2FD902-1818463-800

T-shirt back & front.

Rumble tshirt frontRumble tshirt back

Leslie Van Zwol & Megan Fennell – Joint Interview…



Megan & LeslieLeslie Van Zwol and Megan Fennell are a co-writing team from Lethbridge, Alberta, publishing under the pseudonym ‘V. F. LeSann’. We are both individually published authors in our own right, but find that teaming up leads to truly impressive results. Kind of like Power Rangers.

Leslie Van Zwol is an avid genre writer who enjoys adding a dash of grit to mystical worlds. She spends her days working for justice to support her nighttime writing habit, and is always on the lookout for her next adventure or inspiration. She also attributes the accuracy of this story to the noisy magpies that were constantly squawking outside of her window during the writing process. (Although the crows continually voiced their objection to the subject matter.)

Megan Fennell is a court clerk, cat owner, and writer of strange tales, currently living and working in Lethbridge, Alberta. Although loving magpies to the point of having two of them tattooed on her, it was the Danish myth of the Valravn that held her corvid-like attention span for this anthology. Her stories can also be found in Wrestling with Gods: Tesseracts 18, Tesseracts 17, OnSpec Magazine, and the charity anthology Help: Twelve Tales of Healing.

What inspired you to write your first story?

Cherry beer, sunshine on the patio, and chicken wings. But seriously though, that was where the plot-storming started. It was a very casual, natural situation. We had helped each other with independent projects before this and it seemed like a logical step we both wanted to try. It turned out so well, we’ve kept with it!

How did you come up with the title of your first project? 

As a joke. We were bantering about titles once the project was done and things weren’t going well. Leslie got up and stalked away, and suggested a title in jest as she left. She stopped and came back in the room and the two of us knew we had our title.

Is this your first story? How many stories have you written (published or unpublished)?

As a combined unit we have three and a half. But a few more plots/projects are on the horizon for us.

Is there a message in any of your stories that you want readers to grasp? 

There is always an underlying message or theme in our stories. There is a purpose to all of them. It’s always interesting to hear what readers take out of a story versus what we intend them to take away from the experience.

How much of the story is realistic? 

We strive for realistic human emotion and interaction even when the world is unrecognizable.

Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life? 

Not very often. Most are born at the same time as the plot and each piece fits into the other, like a puzzle!

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest story? 

Nope. It’s a winner. (It is our favourite so far!)

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Hi! Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to tip your waitress!

What is your favorite part of your story?

It’s a toss-up: we love the whimsical moments and the punch-in-the-gut parts the best. It’s all part of a balanced breakfast!

What is your favourite theme/genre to write? 

I don’t think we narrow ourselves to anything, I think we actually step outside of our comfort zones and try to attempt something new with each story. That said, we both love a good monster or underdog character any day.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

Something boring. If we find it boring to write about, the reader will be snoring too.

What book are you reading now?

Leslie: “The Diabolical Miss. Hyde” by Viola Carr.

Megan: “The Arrivals” by Melissa Marr.

… those authors rhyme! (We didn’t plan that!)

Do you see writing as a career? 

A career in which we do what we love and remain broke, yeah. Much like Peter Parker, we also need a day job.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

“Not dead?” – Leslie. “Don’t say that! Too morbid.” – Megan. “Well, we won’t see ourselves if we’re dead.” – Leslie. “This works as the answer…. Write it as a conversation.” – Megan.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 

Editing. So much editing. And editing as a unit is pretty painstaking. But we still make it out in one piece, and wine helps!

Have you ever hated something you wrote? 

Oh yeah. Daily. Luckily, we tend to like each other’s writing and hate our own. So it works out well. We champion each other’s words!

What book do you wish you had written?

(Instantaneous unanimous answer!) Anything by Neil Gaiman. Seriously.

What is your best marketing tip?

Hahaha…. Marketing? We don’t do marketing… We just make words pretty. (But we are getting better at advertising that we have stories out and people should buy them. Sadly, that’s pretty much the whole pitch right there.)

What genre is your next project? What is it about?

Sci-Fi. For an upcoming anthology. But all else is top secret!

Can you tell us about your upcoming stories?

We each have individual stories coming out in World Weaver Press’s Corvidae (July 2015) and Scarecrow (August 2015) anthologies. Check those out! They are fantastic! (See marketing question.)

CORVIDAE-cover-

How do we find your books, blog and bio?

Online is best. @fennellfiction and @bobbistylz on twitter. We are working on a combined ‘V. F. LeSann’ Facebook account to come out in the future!

Link:  http://lethbridgeherald.com/news/local-news/2015/05/17/two-city-authors-part-of-anthology/

Lisa de Nikolits – An Interview…


LisadN01smallerWhat is the title of your most recent book?Between The Cracks She Fell.

BTCSF_FrontCover

Is this your first book? How many books have you written (published or unpublished)?

This is my fifth book – all my books have been published by Inanna and I love being one of their authors. They have such a commitment to giving voice to stories that unafraid to explore the tougher things in life.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Yes. I hope to show the complex interplay between real life and religion, to show what happens when our lives derail though no fault of our own and we are left to pick up the pieces. There are times in all of our lives when we feel terribly alone and abandoned by all that we put our trust into – I wanted readers to come on a journey with me and a young woman who falls between the cracks and has to make some difficult choices, some of which involve murder.

Hungry

Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Actually yes! The idea for the entire book came to me when I was talking to a new friend and I discovered that he had been disfellowshipped by the  Jehovah’s Witness church. His family, even his twin sister, swore never to see him again unless he repented and to this day (that was seven years ago), they have stayed true to their word.

I was very moved by this and I asked him if I could write about it, imagining his life, have him as my muse. He agreed and I have kept him in the loop of all the twists and turns of the book. None the book is reflective of his life, apart from that religious aspect.

Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?

Great question! I love my evil male villains. Hans in A Glittering Chaos, Rydell in The Witchdoctor’s Bones, Mickey in West of Wawa, and now, Lenny in Between The Cracks She Fell. Why? Because they are such enormous fun to write! I swear I might have multiple personality disorder because I really feel as if I have lived their fragile and evil lives. They are only secondary characters but I love them so much.

west of wawa

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

I would change the beginning in The Witchdoctor’s Bones. I would start with more action and less narrative and dialogue introducing the characters.

Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food? Chocolate-covered peanuts! South African coffee called Ricoffy. Chocolate-covered pretzels are also good, along with rum-flavoured toffees!

What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline? I think the reward is having made the deadline! I’m usually so tired by that point that I fall into bed and crash!

Witchdoctor

Have you ever hated something you wrote? No. I do think I am improving as a writer though and for me, that’s the most important thing. But I would never hate anything I have written because it was written in a time when that was the best I could do. And I am always proud of myself for trying. So many people out there want to write but don’t (because yes, it’s hellishly hard), so I am always grateful to myself (and to the words) for trying to say something.

What book do you wish you had written? I wish I had written The Night Stages by Jane Urqhart.or Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.

Chaos

What genre is Between The Cracks She Fell? I am genre-less! But if pressed I’d say it is literary fiction with elements of crime and noir.

How do we find your books, blog and bio? All info here:

Bio and links:

Originally from South Africa, Lisa de Nikolits has been a Canadian citizen since 2003. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Philosophy and has lived in the U.S.A., Australia and Britain.

Lisa de Nikolits is the author of five novels: The Hungry Mirror (2011 IPPY Awards Gold Medal for Women’s Issues Fiction and long-listed for a ReLit Award), West of Wawa (2012 IPPY Silver Medal Winner for Popular Fiction and a Chatelaine Editor’s Pick). A Glittering Chaos tied to win the 2014 Silver IPPY for Popular Fiction. Her fourth novel, The Witchdoctor’s Bones launched Spring 2014 to literary acclaim and her fifth novel, Between The Cracks She Fell will launch in Fall 2015. Lisa has a short story in Postscripts To Darkness, Volume 6, and flash fiction and a short story in the debut issue of Maud.Lin House. She will also have a short story coming out with the Mesdames of Mayhem, in the anthology, Thirteen o’Clock, also in Fall 2015.

Originally from South Africa, Lisa de Nikolits has lived in Canada since 2000. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Philosophy and has also lived in the U.S.A., Australia and Britain.

 Lisa de Nikolits is the author of five novels: The Hungry Mirror (2011 IPPY Awards Gold Medal for Women’s Issues Fiction and long-listed for a ReLit Award), West of Wawa (2012 IPPY Silver Medal Winner for Popular Fiction and a Chatelaine Editor’s Pick). A Glittering Chaos tied to win the 2014 Silver IPPY for Popular Fiction. Her fourth novel, The Witchdoctor’s Bones launched Spring 2014 to literary acclaim and her fifth novel, Between The Cracks She Fell recently launched in Fall 2015. Lisa has a short story in Postscripts To Darkness, Volume 6, 2015, and flash fiction and a short story in the debut issue of Maud.Lin House as well as poetry in Canada Woman Studies Journal (Remembering, 2013, and Water, 2015).

Links: 

www.lisadenikolitswriter.com 

twitter: @lisadenikolits

www.facebook.com/lisa.denikolits

http://www.goodreads.com

LinkedIn: http://linkd.in/1r8H9Df

 http://www.wattpad.com/user/LisadeNikolits

Guest Post by Mandy Eve Barnett ~~ Creating Believable Characters


mandyevebarnett:

A guest post today on To Breathe is to Write….

Originally posted on To Breathe is to Write:

Hello, People!

Today we have Mandy Eve Barnett guest posting. She will be talking about Creating believable characters in our stories.

Mandy is a published author of children’s and adult books, so she knows her stuff. Please give her a warm welcome as only my readers can do.

Creating Believable Characters

Without characters our stories would have no real impact on our readers. We write to engage and intrigue them and hopefully make our protagonist the character our reader cares about. If your experience is anything like mine, there is usually one, or possibly two characters, that make their presence known in no uncertain terms. They want the starring role in our narrative. These characters are usually more defined in our minds and are ‘easier’ to relate to, whether because of a personality trait or because they are more fun to write. When creating the protagonist and antagonist in our stories…

View original 528 more words

CORVIDAE BLOG TOUR – Rhonda Parrish…


As part of a blog tour, I am interviewing the authors and the editor/anthologist involved in the project anthology, Corvidae. Published through World Weaver Press. This will post as I am on vacation….Today I launch with the Pulbisher: Rhonda Parrish.

CORVIDAE-cover-

A flock of shiny stories!

Associated with life and death, disease and luck, corvids have long captured mankind’s attention, showing up in mythology as the companions or manifestations of deities, and starring in stories from Aesop to Poe and beyond.

In Corvidae birds are born of blood and pain, trickster ravens live up to their names, magpies take human form, blue jays battle evil forces, and choughs become prisoners of war. These stories will take you to the Great War, research facilities, frozen mountaintops, steam-powered worlds, remote forest homes, and deep into fairy tales. One thing is for certain, after reading this anthology, you’ll never look the same way at the corvid outside your window.

EXCERPTS:

See additional document in the PRESS KIT folder.

CONTENTS:

Edited by Rhonda Parrish

“Introduction” by Rhonda Parrish

“A Murder of Crows” by Jane Yolen

“Whistles and Trills” by Kat Otis

“The Valravn” by Megan Fennell

“A Mischief of Seven” by Leslie Van Zwol

“Visiting Hours” by Michael S. Pack

“The Rookery of Sainte-Mère-Église” by Tim Deal

“The Cruelest Team Will Win” by Mike Allen

“What Is Owed” by C.S.E. Cooney

“Raven No More” by Adria Laycraft

“The Tell-Tale Heart of Existence” by Michael M. Rader

“Sanctuary” by Laura VanArendonk Baugh

“Knife Collection, Blood Museum, Birds (Scarecrow Remix)” by Sara Puls

“Flying the Coop” by M.L.D. Curelas

“Postcards from the Abyss” by Jane Yolen

“Bazyli Conjures a Blackbird” by Mark Rapacz

“Seven for a Secret” by Megan Engelhardt

“Flight” by Angela Slatter

BOOK LISTING DETAILS

SERIES:

Rhonda Parrish’s Magical Menageries

ISBNs

Trade Paperback:

ISBN-13: 978-0692430217

ISBN-10: 0692430210

Official page:
https://www.worldweaverpress.com/corvidae.html

ANTHOLOGIST BIO:

Rhonda parrish

Rhonda Parrish is driven by a desire to do All The Things. She has been the publisher and editor-in-chief of Niteblade Magazine for nearly eight years now (which is like forever in internet time) and is the editor of several anthologies including Fae and B is for Broken. In addition, Rhonda is a writer whose work has been in dozens of publications like Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast, Imaginarium: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing (2012) and Mythic Delirium. Her website, updated weekly, is at rhondaparrish.com.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

Sharing stories. I really like creating characters and scenarios and worlds and then sharing them with other people. It’s even better when the people I’m sharing with enjoy the story as much as I did and tell me so–I am not without an ego LOL

What do you enjoy most about editing?

I love coming up with a theme and then seeing all the amazing ways writers explore that theme. They always, always, always come up with things I never would have ever dreamed of. I also really enjoy working with writers to help make their amazing stories even stronger. It’s incredibly fulfilling to have someone trust you with their work and walk away feeling as though you not only justified that trust, but helped them make the story better. I will never get tired of that.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

Um. No. I don’t think so.

What book are you reading now?

I just finished At the Water’s Edge: A Novel by Sara Gruen which was well-written and kept me up late turning the pages, and began reading The Toyminator by Robert Rankin. The Toyminator is the sequel to The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse which I really liked so I have high expectations for it J

Do you see writing as a career? 

Absolutely. Writing and editing both, actually. Happily for me they work very well together and each feeds the other. What I mean is being an editor has definitely improved my writing, and being a writer has helped me as an editor. Win/win. If only I could turn off my inner editor while I’m writing first drafts…

Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?

Mostly I drink, and not what you’re thinking either LOL While I’m happy to indulge in an alcoholic drink or three sometimes in the evening I never drink alcohol when I’m writing. I don’t have a moral objection to it or anything, mostly the timelines don’t line up. Alcohol is an ‘in the evening’ thing and writing is a ‘during the day’ thing. However, when I’m writing there’s usually a Diet Dr. Pepper within reach or, if my focus has been especially lacking, sometimes a Red Bull.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Probably right here… though hopefully with a few more titles on my ego shelf LOL I don’t know if I’ll still be editing Rhonda Parrish’s Magical Menageries anthology series ten years from now (though you never know LOL) but I’d definitely still like to be both writing and editing. Bonus marks for myself if I’ve got a couple/few novels out as well J

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 

The first draft. Seriously. Oftentimes I get so twisted up in my own head that I become paralyzed and don’t write anything. It’s a serious problem. I’ve found tools for working around it and my strategy is basically ‘Do whatever you need to to get the words on the page’ but still… first drafts kick my butt every time.

What is your favorite book?

My favourite books (this week) are The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle and The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman but there are so many beautifully-written books and stories out there.

Why an anthology about corvids?

I’ve always loved corvids, their intelligence, beauty, playfulness… Once upon a time I wanted to write a single author collection of corvid stories but as time went on and I realised how many other people shared my love of all things corvidae I thought it would be even cooler to make an anthology.

Why scarecrows?

Scarecrows go with corvids like butter goes with popcorn. How could I not have a companion anthology to go with the corvidae? Besides, I’ve got a great deal of love for scarecrows–they hit exactly the right spot on the uncanny spectrum for me.

What genre is your next project? What is it about?

My next title in this anthology series is going to be Sirens (opening to submissions August 15th). Like the other anthologies in this series it will be speculative fiction, probably leaning closer to fantasy than science fiction given the subject matter, but you never know…

CORVIDAE, praise

“Smart and dark like the corvids themselves, this excellent collection of stories and poems will bring you a murder of chills, a tiding of intrigue, a band of the fantastic, and—most of all—an unkindness of sleepy mornings after you’ve stayed up too late reading it!”

— Karen Dudley, author of Kraken Bake

“Magic and corvids collide in this certain to intrigue anthology.”

— Joshua Klein, hacker and inventor of the crow vending machine

“A creepy, crazy kaleidoscope of corvids, Corvidae is what happens when you bring together ingenious writers and sagacious subjects. It’s nothing short of a thrill ride when this anthology takes flight.”

— Susan G. Friedman, Ph. D., Utah State University; behaviorworks.org.

“As sparkling and varied as a corvid’s hoard of treasures, Corvidae is by turns playful and somber, menacing and mischievous. From fairy tale to steampunk adventure, from field of war to scene of crime, these magical birds will take you to places beyond your wildest imaginings.”

— Jennifer Crow, poet and corvid-by-marriage

Corvidae evokes the majesty and mischief of corvid mythologies worldwide—and beyond our world—in a collection that is fresh and thoroughly enjoyable.”

— Beth Cato, author of The Clockwork Dagger

Praise for the series RHONDA PARRISH’S MAGICAL MENAGERIE

“Delightfully refreshing! I should have known that editor Parrish (who also edits the cutting edge horror zine, Niteblade) would want to offer something quite unique. I found it difficult to stop reading as one story ended and another began – all fantastic work by gifted writers. Not for the faint of heart, by any means.”

— Marge Simon, multiple Bram Stoker® winner

“Stories of magical beings and the humans they encounter will enthrall and enlighten the reader about both the mundane and the otherworldly. I devoured it.”

— Kate Wolford, editor of Beyond the Glass Slipper, editor and publisher of Enchanted Conversation: A Fairy Tale Magazine

“Seventeen tales… range in feel from horror to upbeat tales about homes where things go right, and are set everywhere from the modern day to mythical fantasy pasts. The best of these stories evoke things from real life – loves and values – and show characters making hard choices that reveal who they are and what they’re made of.”

— Tangent

“There’s no Disney-esque flutter and glitter to be found here — but there are chills and thrills aplenty.”

— Mike Allen, author of Unseaming and editor of Clockwork Phoenix

Authors to look out for are:

Laura VanArendonk, Angela Slatter, Mark Rapacz, Michael M. Rader, Sara Puls, Kat Otis, Adria Laycraft, L.D. Curelas, Megan Engelhardt, Tim Deal, C.S.E. Cooney, Mike Allen, Michael S. Pack, Jane Yolen, Megan Fennell, Leslie Van Zwol, Scott Burtness, Kristina Wojtaszek.

A Writers Conundrum – Finding Time to Write..


To have inspiration for our writing we must observe life, to avoid our family and friends abandoning us we need to engage with them, to pay the bills we must usually work a day job, to maintain our word count or deadline we must organize writing time. So the question is, how can we juggle all of these demands on our time with failing at each one?

Finding the ‘perfect’ balance between these is always a challenge. You may be in the depths of a scene when a small hand lands on your lap, a teenager ‘must’ be taken to a friends house, your husband needs help with a project or dare I say it your boss needs something from you? We inevitably crumble and leave the narrative in the hope you will remember the details later? We may scramble to jot down that idea, phrase or even paragraph before being torn away. I have looked to other writers, famous or not, and tried to delve beyond the obvious and gleam an insight into their methods of finding time. There are numerous hints and tips populating the internet but in the end you know your life and its limitations best. You may get up extra early, stay awake until the breaking dawn or cram a few paragraphs into your lunch hour – whatever works for you and your writing – is the right way to go. The trick is how to organize your time productively.

How do you schedule your writing?

What time of day works best for you?

I have to admit my writing is not scheduled. I take advantage of any time I’m left alone and once absorbed find it difficult to let go. Weekend mornings are good for me as I get up early and have several hours while my daughter is still sleeping and my husband is playing about in the garage! Other times I can use are the evenings when I arrive early for writing group meetings and write until the allotted time. Other ‘escape’ opportunities do arise and I always take advantage of them: a cancelled appointment, the house to myself or the glory of a  writing retreat! Obviously, I dream of the day I can shut myself away with my laptop and not have to answer to anyone…it will happen I just need to be patient.

With my freelance work increasingly demanding more of my time, I have to split my writing with that of clients. Maybe I am wrong but I tend to complete a client’s work prior to my own. Having a deadline for a paying job and completing it is, to my mind, more important and vital: a) for repeated work b) for remuneration. That is not to say I believe my own writing is secondary, far from it. Within my writing group, Writers Foundation of Strathcona County, I am fortunate to have other writers who engage in an annual novel workshop. At the beginning of the year, when several of us have participated in NaNoWriMo and others are ready to share their first draft, we meet every month until June (sometimes longer). We section our novels and email them to each other, then edit and comment on the narrative. Then at month’s end email our editing and meet to discuss the stories. It is beta reading within a ‘safe’ environment if you will. This mutual assistance enables me to edit my current manuscript with the views of several other authors and a ‘faster’ editing process too.

Care to share your writing schedule or tips you found useful?

My writing area expands a little each year! Where do you write?

New Writing DEsk 003new writing deskPicture Wall

Buying ads to sell your book


mandyevebarnett:

More food for thought today on promoting your book.

Originally posted on Into Another World:

Publishing a book and then hoping someone will stumble upon it and buy it will result in very few sales. To be successful you will need to market your book. This is an ongoing process that usually begins before you publish.

One option for marketing is to buy advertisements. There are a variety of places where you can advertise – Amazon, Goodreads, Facebooks, Book/Reader websites such as BookBub, Kindle News Daily and Ereader News Daily (and many more).

Some websites offer you a banner ad at the top of their website or perhaps a listing on their “special” or “deal section.” And some even will include your information in their e-mail newsletter. Other sites will offer advertising based on a Cost-per-Click program. This is where you have an advertisement (sometimes just copy and sometimes with an image) and you only pay for the people who click on the link in…

View original 799 more words

Does 2015 Hold Slow Growth For Authors?


mandyevebarnett:

Writers need to track the publishing industry’s path. E-readers may be losing popularity, paper books increasing again and a shrinking publishing house base – but take heart there is always a way to get your words out into the world.

Originally posted on A Writer's Path:

Down Sales

[Although this article was written last January, it’s interesting to see what has/hasn’t already come true.]

Welcome to my annual publishing industry predictions for the year ahead. This year I share 12 predictions. Before I speculate about what 2015 holds for authors, publishers and readers, let’s reflect for a moment about how self publishing has transformed the book publishing landscape.

View original 245 more words

Anticipation For A Future Event Can Cloud Our Current Life…


Anticipation

Anticipation: the action of anticipating something; expectation or prediction

Synonyms: expectancy, expectation, excitement, suspense

We all feel the thrill and anticipation for upcoming vacations, special occasions and seasonal festivals. During the months and weeks prior, we build them up into something fantastic. Our increased expectation impairs our day-to-day activities. We have a ‘countdown’ to the event or day, creating an ever intensifying yearning for our days to pass quickly. It is, of course, human nature to look forward to a special occurrence – it is hard not to.

However, in doing so, we risk not enjoying the everyday events that might also be special. Our anticipation can cloud our minds to everything else. I admit I have a countdown to a longed-for vacation but I realized my folly this past weekend. I became so focused on a future date; I was blurring some important dates that occurred prior to ‘the’ date.

A special friend got married on Saturday and although the heat was unbearable for many the garden ceremony was wonderful, as the guests saw the happy couple become man & wife. Shade was sort by some guest under tall hedges; there were containers of ice with water bottles in them and tiny bottles of bubble liquid to blow into the still air. The reception was held in a small community hall and everyone suffered the heat to rejoice the marriage. This was a celebration of two incredibly well suited people and I was honoured to share their day.

On Sunday, I visited a friend who has spent many months researching my family tree. The information gathered is fascinating and thrilling. We go back to 1628 in England, where records stop for the most part. I now have a binder full of my ancestors for my father and mother’s family tree. It will be part of an extraordinary keepsake book, I am compiling for my siblings and for their descendants to pass down.

So my weekend held incredible memories and my ‘countdown’ was forgotten for a while. I was fully present and will reflect on these events favorably for many a year. Every day is precious we need to relish them fully.

In writing, we also create anticipation for our readers, propelling them forward in the narrative to the conclusion. We plan the climax of our novels but anticipation is an important part of keeping your readers interest. If we develop a story arc that will have our readers asking questions about what could happen next, we are succeeding in our creation.

How do you form anticipation in your novels?

Share your tips, excerpts you are proud of or examples you found thrilling.

Fuub

Clickety Click – Excerpt #6


monster claw

“Where is your planet? Can we see it from Earth?”

“Firstly, in essence it is your planet as well, Alice. Secondly, it is further away than any super telescope can view. Unfortunately, our escape required we never return. We have no idea what fate our planet suffered after we left.”

“What happened? Why did you all leave?”

Totoran guided Alice to a stone bench and sat beside her. As he looked into her eyes, she saw a shimmer cross her vision. Images began to appear and a dark sky appeared. Alice shook her head but Totoran held her chin.

“Let the vision come, Alice. I am showing you our last view of the Griffian world.”

Alice let her shoulders relax and watched the vision come into sharp relief. The landscape stretching before her eyes was festooned with hexagonal boulders stacked on top of each other. The dark sky was a dark purple but there were infrequent streaks of blazing aquatic blue across it. In the distance she saw intense blue sparks and flames shooting hundreds of feet upward.

“What you see is the destruction of our capital city, Alice. We have no idea if any Griffian’s, who escaped to the far shores, survived. We have no way of getting back now.”

“Who or what did that? Why can’t you go back?”

“You are so full of questions! The destruction was caused by a break in our atmosphere. A large fissure grew to extraordinary lengths across the whole planet. Without the protection of the atmosphere our planet was at the mercy of bombarding comets. These brought with them not only a kind of radiation but also bacteria. Griffian biology cannot withstand either of these elements and many hundreds of Griffian’s died. In a desperate hope that we could find another planet that would sustain us, we built a craft of mammoth proportions. Many did not live to see it launch.”

Alice saw the sadness in Totoran’s eyes but she was puzzled as to how a young Griffian could be so moved by an event that happened generations before. Unable to voice her thoughts she placed a hand gently on Totoran’s own. They remained silent for a while, both lost in their thoughts. Wrightsen’s croaky voice broke their peaceful contemplation.

“Prince Totoran, please you must come. The watchers have a report.”

Alice nearly toppled backwards off the bench with the speed in which Totoran stood up. He ran and soon disappeared down a corridor, shouting behind him for Wrightsen to take care of Alice.

“Oh goodness, what has happened, Wrightsen?”

“I think it might be human machines approaching, but sincerely hope that is not the case.”

“Can I do anything to help? What should we do?”

“We are at the mercy of fate, my young Griffian. I only hope we survive this conflict.”

Before Alice could stop her thought escaping her mouth, she blurted out.

“Did you see your world burn, Wrightsen?”

Alice clasped a hand to her mouth and shook her head vigorously while laying a hand on Wrightsen’s shoulder.

“I’m so sorry, don’t answer anything, I shouldn’t said that. I apologize.”

“Totoran told you then of our escape?”

He begun to but then could not continue. The sadness in his eyes was intense. How can he feel such pain? He could not have been there.”

“It is not for me to disclose the Prince’s secrets, Alice but we all feel the loss of our world. Tales are passed down generation to generation.”

“I understand that but to see how intensely Totoran felt at a distance event, stunned me.”

“As I said, I am not at liberty to discuss the Prince, my young Alice. Come now we should make our way further into the mountain.”

Alice followed the older Griffian, keeping close to the rock walls as other Griffian’s hurried this way and that in a determined manner. Wrightsen glanced back repeatedly to ensure Alice did not stray from their path. As they traveled further into the mountain fortress the air grew colder. Alice shivered, wishing she had some sort of cloak to wrap around her misshaped figure. As if reading her mind, Wrightsen pulled her sideways into a small room. With a click of her talons, Wrightsen produced a spark and lit a torch held in place by a bracket on the wall. The yellow flame illuminated the room. Alice saw large boxes piled high one side of the room and folded garments to the other.

“Take a couple, Alice, it will get colder the further we go.”
“Thank you, I was shivering with the cold and damp air.”

Once they were both wrapped in warm woolen garments, Wrightsen took Alice’s claw and guided her into the corridor again.

“Stay close, Alice, these passages are not frequented by the majority of the Griffian’s. There may be rock falls and slimy surfaces to deal with as the maintenance crews have enough to monitor and repair higher up.”

With care the two Griffian’s trod the narrow passage lit only by the torch flame held up by Wrightsen. A sudden gust of wind battered the flame, producing grotesque shadows all around them. Aware that Wrightsen had stopped, Alice stayed behind the older Griffian waiting for instructions.

“That’s not good. There are only a couple of reasons there would be such a gust like that. We must hurry, Alice and get to the sanctuary.”

“Sanctuary?”

“I have no time to explain, just follow me, Alice, we have little time.”

Alice heard the fear in Wrightsen’s voice and saw it cross the elder’s eyes. With her heart racing, Alice followed in silence through several passages, which gradually reduced in size. They were both hunched over when her guide held up a claw and stood still. Alice narrowed her eyes trying to glimpse what was ahead. The torch’s flame flickered casing shadows over the wet rock walls. A talon went up to Wrightsen’s lips and Alice compiled to remain silent. Claw in claw they moved forward one step at a time listening intently. A booming noise echoed along the rock walls, halting their progress for several minutes. Alice saw Wrightsen sniff the air then motioned to move forward again. After some time they came to a dead end, surrounded by a clawed rock face. Alice looked at her guide in puzzlement and pointed at the impenetrable barrier ahead.

Wrightsen placed her claws on the wall in front of her and pressed. A glimmer of light appeared to her left and Alice realized it was a door. Stone scraped against stone as they both pushed the rock door open. Once the gap was large enough to accommodate them, Alice and Wrightsen passed through. Before Alice could take a look around, the elder grabbed her shoulder and motioned for her to help close the portal. Once satisfied it was secure, Wrightsen turned to Alice.

“Now we can speak, we will be safe here.”

“Where are we exactly?”

“In the deepest part of the mountain, a place none of us ever wished to use.”

“Can other Griffian’s come here to safety? We should have brought others with us.”

“There are other entrances just as well hidden, do not fret, Alice. We need to continue for a while yet but there is no fear of being followed now.”

Alice took the torch from Wrightsen as she lit another. The rock walls were not as well maintained or as smooth so as they walked they took care not to bump into pieces of rock jutting out into the passage. After a while, Alice heard running water.

“Is that water I hear, Wrightsen? All the way down here?”

“It is an underground river and the reason we dug these passages so deep. We have supplies stockpiled but water is vital for a siege.”

“A siege? I don’t understand.”

“The humans will try to eradicate us, Alice. We must hide until they feel their invasion has been successful.”

Alice’s eyes grew wide with fear. She tried to make sense of what the older Griffian was saying.

“How long do we have to stay here?”

“Last time it was about ten years.”

“What! No…Wrightsen that’s not happening. I can’t be here that long. We have to go now, get out of here and fly far away.”

“Alice calm down, we can not risk going to the surface. We must stay and hope many other Griffian’s have made it down safely. Including the King and Prince.”

With her body shaking uncontrollably, Alice fell to the floor sobbing. The elder Griffian embraced her and made soothing noises to comfort her. A grinding sound made them hold still and quiet until Wrightsen heard a huffing sound and replied in a similar manner. Large shapes approached and gradually formed into Griffian’s.

“Wrightsen, what a welcome sight you are? How many are here?”

“My Prince we have not ventured further as yet. Alice is upset.”

Tortoran knelt beside Alice and pulled her head upward to face him. With great care he wiped tears from her skin.

“You are safe here, Alice, do not fear. I will try to be near at all times but cannot promise. The humans are blasting the upper rock face in an attempt to break through. We must be diligent and secure this sanctuary. “

Alice looked up her fear increasing at his words.

“They are blasting the mountain? Surely we must leave?”

“We have constructed numerous safety measures and escape routes throughout the mountain range, Alice. There is no way they can penetrate this far down. We are safe. Would you feel more comfortable changed to human form?”

Alice looked into Tortoran’s eyes seeing his sincerity and care. She felt easier having him near.

“Would the other Griffian’s not be offended if I changed, Tortoran?”

“No, of course not! Whatever helps you is fine. Wrightsen will be with you at all times and Marduke here will protect you too.”

Tortoran pointed to a large Griffian standing behind him, who nodded in agreement at his Prince’s order.

“Thank you, Tortoran for your understanding and for the extra protection but do you not need every available Griffian to fight?”

“We are many, Alice, it is not a problem. I would feel better knowing you are kept safe. Come, we can rest in the sanctuary.”

Alice wrestled with herself on whether to transform or not and decided her Griffian form would serve her better if the humans did penetrate the fortified sanctuary.

“I will retain my form, Tortoran, if we are attacked I will be better equipped to help. Thank you.”

Tortoran smiled at her and held his claw out to direct her forward.

“I would hope that situation does not occur, Alice. There are many Griffian soldiers between you and the surface.”

In single file the group walked steadily downward again along a narrow passage. There was a glow ahead of them and the torches bright flames diminished as they approached. The passage way ceased abruptly into an enormous cavern. Alice saw stockpiles of food and equipment on all sides. The cavern was teeming with Griffian’s carrying more supplies and others directing their placement. The low buzz of grunts and murmurings lessened as Tortoran entered the space. Griffian’s turned to face him and bowed.

Tortoran held up his claws and spoke loudly so the assembly would hear him.

“Griffian’s we will overcome as we stand together. We have endured before and we will again. Together we are strong. Continue with your assignments, I thank you all for your loyalty.”

Loud huffing sounds echoed around the cavern as Tortoran’s speech ended. Alice looked at him in awe. They all love and respect him.

           Tortoran turned to her and guided her down a ramp into the center of the cavern. She was aware of questioning looks, as she passed, at her presence with the Prince. A corridor ahead was their destination. The walls were smoothed and there were torches cradled in holders along its length. Alice saw an elaborating decorated door before them and puzzled why such decoration was needed so deep within the mountain.

“Your majesty, I will await your orders.”

Alice turned at Marduke’s words and saw him stand to one side of the door. Wrightsen bowed toward Tortoran and then sat on a small ledge in the rock face.

“Come, Alice, it is time you met my father, the King.”

“Are you sure? I can stay with Wrightsen and Marduke.”

“Yes, I am certain. Please bow and remain silent unless my father questions you directly. He is not as fierce as he appears but insists on proper protocol.”