Category Archives: writers

Writing Prompt Wednesday


alleyway

Using this image write about an incident in an old alleyway. It can be a poem or a short story or a list of words that come to mind when you look at the image.

This is my response.

With my back pressed against an old wooden door in the weathered stone wall, I glance back along the alleyway. The early morning light shows the pathway clear of pursuers. I inhale in a bid to calm my beating heart and the fear crawling under my skin. 

Why had I been so stupid? Walking alone at night is a really dumb thing to do. I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing such a thing at home, so why here in this ancient town? My holiday mood had gotten the best of me, obviously. 

The slap of running feet on the stones makes my head snap upward. It isn’t possible to press my body into the door any further. If I run now they will be able to see me. My eyes search the doorways on the opposite wall but all are closed. Praying for a miracle, I knock gently at the door behind me. The warm touch of a hand startles me. I turn to face a hunched old lady in black. Her face is wrinkled and brown from decades of sun exposure but her smile is friendly. 

“Please help me. There are men chasing me.” 

“Non capisco.” 

How do I make her understand? The footsteps are closer now. I don’t have time to explain so take her hand and close the door. With a finger to my lips we face each other in the dimness, listening intently to excitable chatter, halting steps and then running feet fading away. Once silence returns I take her hands and nod hoping this gesture conveys my thankfulness. She nods back and leads me into a kitchen with pots and herbs hanging from the ceiling. Motioning me toward a wooden chair, she places a kettle upon the stove and opens the oven door, releasing the scent of freshly baked bread. 

My stomach grumbles and she smiles as she places cut tomatoes, olives and oil beside the sliced bread. The coffee is strong and makes me wince, my companion signals me to continue drinking whilst patting her chest slowly. So much caffeine may calm her nerves but to a confirmed tea drinker it is only makes my heart beat faster. I dip the warm bread into the oil and lay a tomato slice upon it before taking a satisfying bite. 

I will have to return to my hotel shortly and deal with the ramifications of a police report but for now I am enjoying the peaceful surroundings and kind company after my misadventure of the night.

 

Genres of Literature – Cli-Fi


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The literary genre climate fiction is commonly known as Cli-Fi. The narratives deal with climate-change and global warming, although not necessarily speculative in nature the narratives center on the world as we know it or in the near future. In essence it is an off-shoot of eco-fiction addressing the effects of climate change in short stories or novels.

 

Although the term “cli-fi” came into use in the late 2000s to describe novels dealing with man-made climate change, it is certainly not a ‘new’ literary topic as natural disasters have been themes to novels in the past. For example Jules Verne’s The Purchase of the North Pole in 1889 relates to a change due to the Earth’s axis tilting. His Paris in the Twentieth Century, written in 1883, relays a sudden drop in temperature lasting three years in a titular city. J.G. Ballard used persistent hurricane-force winds in The Wind from Nowhere in 1961 and melted ice-caps and rising sea-levels caused by solar radiation in The Drowned World in 1962 (somewhat of a prophecy!)

This genre has grown as scientific knowledge of the effects of fossil fuel consumption and resulting increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations has become the global warming phenomenon.

Other novels include Susan M. Gaine’s Carbon Dreams, Michael Crichton’s State of Fear, Margaret Atwood’s Oryx & Crake, the Year of the Flood and MaddAddam.

Have you written Cli-fi?

Did you know of this genre before today?

 

Author Interview Rayanne Haines


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  • Does writing energize or exhaust you? Writing energizes me. I love discovering things about my characters! Editing exhausts, me.
  • What is your writing Kryptonite? Distractions from my children! If I could just sit alone in a bubble I’d get a lot more done! Hahahahahaha.
  • Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? I did consider it. I write both poetry and Romance and put a great deal of time and thought into whether I should write them as a separate artist. In the end, I felt that like all woman I am complex and diverse and I shouldn’t be afraid that my different styles of writing reflect that.
  • What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer? I’m friends with many authors who are new and extremely experienced. They write poetry, memoir, romance, CanLit and on and on. The biggest thing I take away from these relationships is a network of support. Whether my experienced writer friends are supporting me and offering mentorship or I’m doing the same for a newer writer. None of us make it without a community.
  • Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book? My romance books are a series – The Guardian Series.

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  • What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? Having an editor or writing consultant look over every book has been the best money I ever spent. You simply can’t skimp on editing. And even then, I find mistakes but imagine if I’d never had an editor!
  • What was an early experience where you learned that language had power? I think I’ve always felt this way. My mother was an avid reader and we began reading very young. I remember being swept away by the magic of words and on hard stays finding power and beauty in them. There is nothing more magical than a book.
  • What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel? Probably something by a local author. S.G. Wong writes hard-boiled detective books set in an alternative future with ghosts. Kate Boorman wrote a fantastic YA series. The three in the series are Winterkill, Darkthaw and Heartfire.
  • As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal? A Raven. It’s on my logo and Raven’s show up in every book I’ve written including my poetry books.

MagicBorn

  • How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? Just one J Book 3 in my series is still a work in progress. Though I do have a short story I’ve been working on for years.
  • What does literary success look like to you? Being a part of the literary community. Having books published and knowing people like them. I may never make a fortune off my books but If I can live and work in the literary world then that is success to me.
  • What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? I typically research as I’m writing.
  • How many hours a day/week do you write? This varies throughout the year. From May through January I try to write daily for 2 to 4 hours a day. During February, March and April my writing is quite sporadic. I run a literary festival and those months are extremely hectic for me. I find I have difficulty focusing and spend more energy on planning or marketing over writing during those months.
  • How do you select the names of your characters? With great difficulty. Hahahah. Actually, some come to me very quickly and easily and others I research meanings to see if they fit with that character.
  • What was your hardest scene to write? Fight scenes are hard for me. Especially ones with many characters in it. Keeping everybody’s movements correct and how they are physically and verbally interacting with intensity. I expend a lot of energy writing these.

Stained

  • Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them? I write Poetry and Paranormal Romance. I love them both. I grew up reading Romance so if felt natural to write it. And Poetry is one of my great loves. I love seeing how a truly fine poet can craft language. I think reading poetry makes you a better writer.
  • How long have you been writing? Professionally for six years.
  • What inspires you?   Nature. Silence, Strong Women.
  • How do you find or make time to write? Less TV – More = More writing time.
  • What projects are you working on at the present? I’m currently promoting book two of my series, Magic Born, which launched June 6th! And working on book three of the Guardian Series – Air Born!
  • What do your plans for future projects include? I’m hoping to produce an anthology of femme prairie writers over the next two years.
  • Share a link to your author website. – http://www.rayannehaines.com

Bio: Rayanne Haines is a best selling romance author, published poet,
and arts manager. 

She writes Paranormal Romance with Kick-Ass Heroines. She believes in magic
and legend and all the things we cannot see. Rayanne prefers her alpha males
a little gritty and the women who love them, in charge of their own destiny.

“The Guardians” is her debut series with New York publishers, SoulMate
publishing. Book One, Fire Born, released September 2017. Book Two, Magic
Born releases June 6th! Look for Air Born winter 2018.

Author web links:
Good reads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36104647-fire-born
website and newsletter sign up – http://www.rayannehaines.com/
https://twitter.com/inkrayanne https://www.facebook.com/rayannehaines/
https://www.instagram.com/rayanne_haines/

Writing Prompt Wednesday


prompt

Your prompt today is: If you could live to see an event in the future, what would that event be?

This is what came to my mind.

Projecting my thoughts to think of a future event, brought to mind seeing my great, great grandchildren’s children. Where they might live, what they enjoy, who they marry and of course what their world would look like.

Would there be flying cars, and technological and robotic advances beyond our current thinking? Would the world still be lush and green or a wasteland? Indeed will it be a happy healthy place for them to live?

I hope my journey into the future makes me happy and that my heritage lives on with love and freedom. Would that I could see future generations making a difference to their world.

Seeing children with a genetic familiarity in blue yes and dark hair. Maybe even a writer or two – now that would be a legacy to be proud of.

What future event comes to your mind? Why not share it in the comments?

earth

Genres of Literature – Grotesque


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The Grotesque is often linked with satire and tragicomedy, in which the author conveys grief and pain to the audience. The term was first used to denote a literary genre with Montaigne’s Essays. Many of the earliest written texts described grotesque happenings and monstrous creatures within mythology, which was of course a rich source of monsters. Examples, such as the one-eyed Cyclops from Hesiod’s Theogony or Polyphemus in Homer’s Odyssey and Ovid’s Metamorphoses, where we find grotesque transformations and hybrid creatures of myth. 

This genre was a departure from the classical models of order, reason, harmony, balance and form, opening up an entry into grotesque worlds. British literature abounds with native grotesquerie, from the strange worlds of Spenser’s allegory in The Faerie Queene, to the tragi-comic modes of 16th-century drama. 

Occasionally, literary works of mixed genre are termed grotesque, such as “low” or non-literary genres such as pantomime and farce. Gothic writings often have grotesque components such as character, style and location while other describe the environment as grotesque. Examples being urban (Charles Dickens), or American south literature,  termed as “Southern Gothic”. Other grotesque uses have been social and cultural formations, such as the carnival(-esque) in François Rabelais and Mikhail Bakhtin. Or in satirical writings of the 18th century, such as Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.

Thereby fictional characters are considered grotesque if they induce both empathy and disgust by way of physically deformity or mental deficiency, but also if the character has cringe-worthy social traits. In Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the figure of Caliban inspired more nuanced reactions than simple scorn and disgust. Also, in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, the character of Gollum may be considered to have both disgusting and empathetic qualities, which fit him into the grotesque template.

One of the most celebrated grotesques in literature is Victor Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre Dame and of course Dr. Frankenstein’s monster can also be considered a grotesque, although he is presented more sympathetically as the outsider who is the victim of society’s alienation as they describe him as  ‘the creature.’

There are also examples of grotesque literature during the nineteenth-century, however the grotesque body was displaced by the notion of congenital deformity or medical anomaly.  And more in terms of deformity and disability, especially after the First World War, 1914-18. The growth of prosthetic’s created themes of half-mechanical men and became an important theme in dadaist work.

You may be surprise to know that Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is deemed grotesque literature due to the many fantastic grotesque figures she meets. However, Carroll managed to make the figures seem less frightful and fit for children’s literature.

Were any of these surprising to you?

Have you written grotesque fiction?

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