Heron’s Path by Alethea Eason: (sample)

Check out this sample from the upcoming young adult fantasy novel Heron’s Path by Alethea Eason: — — — On a hot day in September I found Celeste’s clothes scattered all over the barn, one shoe upside down next to Papa’s forge and the other inside a milking pail. Her yellow dress hung from a ladder like a bird suspended in midair. I pulled the dress down by its hem and three tiny blue feathers, nearly the same shade as my sister’s eyes, drifted down to the dusty floor. I caught one of them in my hand; I stood there puzzling over what might have happened that morning to make her run off again. I felt alone, as though a wind had come up and peeled Celeste from the earth. I told myself that she was playing the same old game she’d scared us with so many other times, but this loneliness—so odd and new—followed me like a ghost as I ran outside and shouted for Papa. I was afraid he wouldn’t come; I’d find our cabin gone, and I’d be without any family at all. Papa searched the woods. I took our dog, Rufus, and ran up and down the river bank. When I found no trace of her I followed Papa into the trees where there were more shadows than seemed right. I didn’t dare go in very far and kept circling the places Celeste and I knew well. I heard Olena’s voice in my head telling me stories. Her words dripping slowly the way honey falls from a spoon. Her stories always made me uneasy. She believed in ghosts, the last traces of the Old Ones, who were a part of the breath and spirit of the rocks and trees, of the river Talum, and the surrounding woods. But the wei-ni-la, the darker ones, were the shadows to really fear. They were ancient too, and lived in the empty spaces of the woods, filling them with whispering. All afternoon Celeste’s name echoed through the trees as Papa and I called for her. Finally, his shouting changed and Rufus started to bark furiously. I was so tired my legs were shaking. I was running on legs that wouldn’t work. When I finally found them, Papa was half way up a steep gully with Celeste draped over his shoulder. Her hair, a skein of golden thread unraveling almost to the ground, was the only thing that covered her. I thought she looked newly born or newly dead. “Is she all right?” I asked. My lips were dry and hurt when I spoke, and my words felt like spittle as they came out of my mouth. All Papa could...

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Spectacle: Who We Are

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=simDWTHUZN0&context=C359b4faADOEgsToPDskLPUhmzPBBoUlLpYYRLFBh5] Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Gifts For Writers Part IV

by Jared Saathoff When providing gifts for writers one of the key elements is playing to your writer’s sense of curiosity. Let’s face it, writers are worse than cats. Hours of useful time can be lost to something as simple as a squirrel or a website featuring only animated dancing robots. So, logically the best gift for a writer would be something to keep them on track and influence a more efficient manner of production— something like horse blinders or a dog’s shock collar. But, as I found out the hard way it violates several labor laws to force workers to wear those shock collars. So unfortunately I don’t think your beloved writer will enjoy it much either. Alas, the best way to appease your non-shock-collar-wearing writer is to get them something they’ll actually like. Truth is you can’t ever go wrong with Lego. But, you can go more awesome with this: — Awesome Link — it’s big, it’s motorized, it’s Star Wars, and it’s Lego. Guaranteed* to amaze and dazzle at cocktail parties. But, in this particular case you’ll have to do some digging to find something like it. Lego, because they’re awesome and Danish, release the majority of these beautiful sets in a limited run. So, there is this: — Awesome Link — but it’s not motorized, you’ll have you use your imagination.   Or. There’s this really neat book. It’s a collection of the old engravings that used to grace the pages of the dictionary. Back when the dictionary was really cool and not online: — Awesome Dictionary Link — I am going to set mine right next to the Unabridged Oxford English Dictionary, which is also a really interesting and neat gift idea for anyone interested in words, but be warned it weighs more than a toddler and unless you feel like rubbing your nose against the pages, it requires a magnifying glass.   Writers, even those without shock collars, write. So why not make writing awesome with this: — Awesome Pen Link — Quite possibly the greatest pen I have yet to write with (I ordered mine yesterday (actually I ordered three)). Guaranteed* to help you make new friends and influence people to buy you beer. The only thing that could, maybe, be more awesome would be a sword-in-cane that also had a pen—but that just doesn’t seem practical.   And finally, if your beloved writer is annoyed with boring people being the only ones that come over to watch movies there is this solution: — Magic Link — guaranteed* to keep boring people out of your life and make TV and movie watching 98% more enjoyable.   * Guaranteed by me. Guarantee not from the...

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Gifts for Writers Part III

by Eric Staggs Every year it hits like a tidal wave – a rush of panic – what will you buy for the writer on your list? If you’re anything like me, the very idea of Black Friday sends chills through your bones. Here’s a handy guide to help select the perfect gift for writers (a notoriously difficult group to buy for) and most item can be ordered online. The best part is most of these things can be ordered online, allowing you to get some serious shopping done without the battle scars of yet another Black Friday Shopping nightmare! Like any profession, writers need tools to do their job effectively. These tools vary widely and depend greatly on personal preference, but there a few gadgets that every writer shouldn’t be without.   Books Reference books are a must for any writer. My top five desktop reference books are: A Dictionary of Theories, Dictionary of Astronomy, Medical Dictionary, Latin-English Dictionary and a Dictionary of World Mythology. That covers most of the basics for day-to-day writing.   Voice recorder Micro-voice recorders are an excellent gift for any writer. It takes some time to get over the self-consciousness of talking your ideas out to a little machine, but after a while not only do you get used to it, but you feel like you’re in a sci-fi movie, making secret plans in case you’re captured by some galactic nemesis. The only “must haves” on these mini-voice recorders are USB output and a mini-jack for earphones. The slew of other features are just bells and whistles.   eReader This little piece of technology is about the slickest thing next to pop-rocks we’ve come up with. There’s about a thousand flavors of them now. The Nook, the Kindle, Kindle Fire, iPad offers apps for all .epub and .mobi files. many publishers are offering their own version of what I refer to as the miracle bookshelf. Do you research, make sure the titles your Giftee wants on available on the platform you chose. As well, some folks like the e-ink display better than the backlit LCD. You can’t go wrong with this gift.   Anthologies Writers must read! This is necessary to stay inspired, to keep up with evolutionary changes to their favorite genre and to see how techniques and methods are working for other authors. However, often the selection of fiction piece can be random and a big commitment, for someone who wrestles with time management anyway. Anthologies on the other hand, are filled with dozens of short stories, already filtered and of top quality, in easily digestible, bite size chapters.   iPad2 Okay, I’ll admit it. I’ve got a Kindle and an iPad2...

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Magic

No, not the magic of writing. Well, maybe a little of that. Mostly it’s the magic of your fantasy world. Come on – you know you’ve written that next Lord of the Rings fantasy epic. You’ve done away with Orcs (Orks) and Elves and come up with something completely new and fresh. You’ve got an epic hero, who while still being “the chosen one,” manages to break all the stereotypes of fantasy literature and maintain the mythic cycle. You’re sure that Joseph Campbell would be bouncing with delight at your clever five act novel. You know that Ed Greenwood has nothing on the intricate fantasy realm you’ve created.   But there’s a problem. Your magic isn’t internally consistent. You might not even know it’s a problem. You might think it’s just some awkward scenes. Maybe you let your D&D group read the piece and they’re scratching their heads about the difference between Sorcerers and Wizards. Or maybe it’s something deeper, more subtle yet intrinsic to the plot.   Magic is a very slippery slope for a writer. Once the die is cast (or spell, in this case) there is not going back. If you’ve introduced magic to your world, your novel cannot ignore it. No one would. A magic-rich setting changes all the dynamics as well. Suddenly there’s no need to plow the fields – magic can do it. Suddenly, everyone carries a magic sword; your flaming scimitar of ass-kicking isn’t so special anymore. In fact, if everyone is walking around with a magic sword, mighty swords like Excalibur and Stormbringer suddenly become less wondrous. Even the Sword of Omens (Thundercats ho!) becomes more of a trinket or gimmick if every character has a magic sword. By the way, who is making these magic swords? If every man in the Evil Count’s Army has one, there’s no time for the Wizards to be casting their magic spells to plow the fields. Which puts us right back to where we started from.   You begin to see the problems with magic as a storyteller.   Finally, there’s the worst mistake a writer can make with magic – the dreaded Deus Ex Machina! Yes, one must never rely on magic to wrap up your plot. We see it all too often. For example, when the Prophets from Star Trek Deep Space Nine intervene (for unknown, undisclosed and unrealistic reasons) by destroying a force of thousands of Jem Hadar starships – we can call this a writer’s cop out, or a Deus Ex Machina Moment. Don’t do that.   Be the master of the magic in your world, not vice versa. Here’s how:   Be internally consistent: establish and understand the limitations...

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Terror Tips: Writing to frighten

It’s that time of year again… the leaves turn the color of blood and gold; they crisp on the branch, wither and fall to the ground. The nights get longer and the moon takes on a sinister aspect, partly mocking, almost sympathetic to the plight of those bathed in its pale light. It’s the time of year when you start writing horror stories! Spectacle Publishing has put together a short list of articles to get your (heh) blood pumping. The Horror of It All This is a great article by Tim Waggoner. He’s distilled his horror writing tips into three easily digestible chunks, supported by real-world examples you’re very likely to have read or watched. But, I guess, what you can expect from the Horror Writer’s Association. This is the link from which few return! Tips from [Stephen] King Deep in the musty bowels of the NPR archive, there rest the remnants of an interview with Stephen King himself. Included in these interview highlight from Fresh Air, are excerpt from King’s book, On Writing. This is a good stuff, pure distilled King, and straight from the dark place he calls a brain. If you’ve got the guts, click here! Horror: Fiction Factor This online community features weekly articles about writing horror. There’s a wealth of knowledge, experience and opinion here. Plus, the black and red design makes it super-scary! You know what to do! Need some inspiration? Writing Sense has compiled a list of the Top-Ten Horror stories of all time. It’s an impressive list with some heavy hitters listed. Interestingly enough, King, Barker and Koontz do not make the list. Don’t let that stop you. In fact it might be refreshing to skip back a few generations to find out where our current masters of horror fiction found their inspiration. Click here to check it out! Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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