Annabeth & the Wolf Release Day! Plus more exciting news!

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I’m so excited today for two reasons:

Number 1 - My short story ‘Annabeth and the Wolf‘ got released today. Not only is it part of an anthology, but it is being sold on its own as well, making it my first story release with my name on the front cover! I’ll talk more about the story in a moment.

Number 2 - I got a surprise email in my inbox this morning letting me know that the GrammoWriMo group novel, The Lonely Wish-Giver, I worked on in November (and helped edit) is being released today, too, AND all proceeds will be going to the Make-a-Wish Foundation!

The Lonely Wish Giver cover

It’s a DOUBLE RELEASE DAY!

I’ll talk a bit more about the GrammoWriMo novel tomorrow, but today I want to talk about ‘Annabeth and the Wolf’ as I’ve been bursting to share this one for weeks.

Torqued Tales

‘Annabeth and the Wolf’ features as one of three stories in the anthology Torqued Tales published by Torquere Press (on their page you will see two anthologies with the same title, one with a male cover and one with a female cover–’Annabeth and the Wolf’ has the female cover). The concept of the anthology is fractured fairytales with a GLBT twist.

In ‘Annabeth and the Wolf’, a retake on the Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale, Annabeth sets off through the woods to her grandmother’s house to meet an unwanted fate, but a beautiful shape shifter she meets along the way has other plans.

You can read a snippet of the story here.

A Little Bit of Background

Little Red Riding Hood has always been one of my favourite fairytales and I’ve been wanting to write a story based on it for a long time. Those who’ve read my past stories know I’m drawn to the fantasy genre and previous stories have seen me write about angels, demons, vampires, trolls and superheroes. When I saw the call for stories for this anthology I immediately got the idea of a Red Riding Hood story with a focus on witches and a shape shifter. It’s my first time writing GLBT characters and I’m really happy with how the characters evolved through the writing process.

Intrigued?

You can pick up ebook copies of either ‘Annabeth and the Wolf‘ or Torqued Tales from Torquere Press. Over the coming days they will also be available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Bookstrand and other online stores. A print edition of the anthology will also become available in the coming days.

Please note: Although this is an anthology of fairytales, the content is for mature readers only.

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The No ‘E’ Challenge

aprilchallenge

Ready for another challenge? This challenge is to get you thinking about word choice and not relying on words you are used to using. It’s about stepping outside your comfort zone and finding new words to enhance your writing.

Here are the rules:

  1. Write a paragraph (or two) based on one of the word prompts or the picture prompt below.
  2. You may not use the letter ‘e’ in any word in your paragraph.
  3. If you are comfortable sharing, come back in 2 weeks and share in the comments of the ‘share day’ post (if you subscribe to this blog–it’s free!–you will know as soon as the post goes live).

Here are the word prompts:

 

Beach

 

School

 

Spring

 

And here is the picture prompt:

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Good luck!

 

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Anthology Cover Reveal

Today I got a nice surprise email: the cover for an upcoming anthology featuring one of my stories!

The cover art is absolutely stunning.

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The anthology features fractured fairytales with a GLBT twist and is due for release on the 23rd April.

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World Autism Awareness Day

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Did you know today (April 2nd) is World Autism Awareness Day? Autism awareness is something close to my heart.

Some facts about Autism:

1 in 100 children have ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder).

Autism is thought to have genetic links (it is NOT caused by vaccines).

Some symptoms include:

  • sensitivity issues (eg: not being able to cope with lots of noise, dislikes being touched)
  • inexplicable meltdowns (often caused by sensitivity issues or inability to cope with change)
  • specific interests/obsessions (which they may talk about non-stop even if you try to change the topic)
  • not using eye contact
  • may not like being touched (or alternatively may have no concept of personal space)
  • may exhibit unusual/repetitive motor movements (eg: flapping arms)

You can find out more here: Autism Spectrum (Australia) fact sheets

Did you know?

My superhero character Spectrum’s powers were inspired by some of the characteristics of those on the Autism Spectrum (hence her name). You can read about Spectrum, including a piece of flash fiction about her, here on my blog: Spectrum. Or, alternatively, in the charity anthology SuperHERo Tales (all proceeds go towards the Because I am a Girl charity).

SuperHERo Tales cover

In honour of Autism Awareness Day on my Facebook page I’m asking everyone to share the titles of books about characters on the spectrum or which have ‘blue’ in the title (as people are encouraged to sport blue for Autism Awareness today). Share some titles in the comments below and I will share them on my Facebook page!

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Just Write For Middle Grade Course

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I’ve just joined Emma Walton Hamilton’s Just Write for Middle Grade Course and I’m so excited for what I will learn during the course. It’s the first time I’ve undertaken a writing study course, but I know from past experiences that Emma is super helpful.

I chose Middle Grade for a couple of reasons, firstly because I’m currently writing a chapter book for the Chapter Book Challenge this month (it runs for the month of March) and I would love to write the best book possible. I also don’t yet feel as confident in the Middle Grade genre as feel writing picture books or young adult (which I have MOUNTAINS of knowledge about).

This is the letter I wrote to Emma Walton Hamilton when I heard about the course that really explains my thought process for signing up:

I currently have a complete chapter book that I feel is a great idea, but I just can’t get it to sing, and another idea for a chapter book that has been in my head for years and I have started writing several times, but it’s just not coming onto paper in an effective/engaging way. I feel like this course is exactly what I need to help me turn these ideas into stories that are engaging and publishable and give me invaluable skills in writing for the chapter book/middle grade genre… I’ve appreciated greatly the advice you’ve given in the past through Write on Con every year (including advice you’ve given me personally) and through 12 x 12. I just know this course would be an invaluable experience.

At the end of the course I will be blogging about my experience with the course and what I got out of it, so stay tuned!

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Show, Don’t Tell Challenge Share Day

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How did you go with the challenge this month?

As a reminder of what this month’s challenge entailed, or for those who are coming in late and still want to have a go, this was the challenge:

Show, Don’t Tell Challenge

1. Below I will list three ‘telling’ sentences and a photo.

2. Your challenge is to pick one of the sentences or the photo and write a descriptive paragraph or flash fiction (no more than 300 words).

3. You must not use the ‘banned’ word in your piece.

4. You must use each of the five senses.

5. You have two weeks to complete the challenge. In two weeks I will share my challenge piece and invite you to share yours in the comments.

Here are the sentences (and you are more than welcome to do more than one if you want!):

1. I was scared. (banned word = SCARED)

2. The boy ate an apple. (banned word = APPLE)

3. It’s a great party. (banned word = PARTY)

And here’s the photo:

kitten

(banned word = KITTEN or CAT)

Please share your piece in the comments below!

I picked the kitten picture for my piece. Here it is:

An orange ball of fur curled up among long tendrils of grass. Small and scared, it huddles, making tiny mews. I stroke its soft fur–like stroking a cloud–and pick it up with a gentle touch. His whiskers tickle my cheek. His breath is milky and sweet, reminding me of milkshakes at the little cafe by the lake. Blue eyes blink up at me. He searches my face, “Are you my mummy?”

The next challenge will go up in the first week of February.

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What Does ‘Show, Don’t Tell’ Mean?

show dont tell

The writing challenge this month is all about ‘Show, Don’t Tell’, but what does it mean and how can you apply it to your writing?

Showing is all about creating visual imagery for your reader and making them feel as though they are there and connected with your main character. You can tell your reader a character has dark hair and pale skin, but how does your main character view this person? Connect your reader to you character’s mind by showing what they see and feel. Eg: A character who is attracted to these qualities might say, “Dark ebony hair framed her porcelain skin and her red lips were shaped like a cupid’s bow. It was like Snow White had stepped right out of her fairy tale.” A character who doesn’t find those features attractive may describe her in a different light, eg: “Her coal-coloured hair made her bloodless face appear whiter in contrast as though she were one of the undead. The only colour on her face was on her lips, which were caked in red lipstick in the manner of a lady of the night.”

Showing vs. Telling

Here are some more examples of the difference between telling and showing.

Telling: It was a hot day.

Showing: The sun blazed in the sky. Sweat ran down my forehead. The jingle of the ice-cream cart’s bell called to me.

Telling: A tall man.

Showing: The man’s head brushed the top of the door frame as he walked through. I craned my neck to look up at his face.

Further Reading

For a more in-depth look at showing vs. telling and further examples, you can check out these previous posts I have written on the topic.

My Best Advice for Other Aspiring Writers 

This post discusses:

-          Using the five senses.

-          Eliminating ‘was’.

-          Interweaving description into your story.

Show, Don’t Tell 

This post gives a more in-depth explanation of ‘Show, Don’t Tell’ with an example ‘showing’ paragraph like the one I want you to attempt for this month’s challenge.

Keep your eye out for the challenge sharing post at the end of this week. If you’re not subscribed, you can sign up for free (top left-hand side of blog) and you will get an email notification when the post goes live.

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Show, Don’t Tell Challenge

januarychallenge

This year I’m featuring a monthly writing challenge on the blog. As ‘show, don’t tell’ is one of my writing mantras and is a topic I’ve covered many times on my blog, I thought it only fitting for it to make up my first challenge.

Here’s how the challenge will work:

1. Below I will list three ‘telling’ sentences and a photo.

2. Your challenge is to pick one of the sentences or the photo and write a descriptive paragraph or flash fiction (no more than 300 words).

3. You must not use the ‘banned’ word in your piece.

4. You must use each of the five senses.

5. You have two weeks to complete the challenge. In two weeks I will share my challenge piece and invite you to share yours in the comments.

Here are the sentences (and you are more than welcome to do more than one if you want!):

1. I was scared. (banned word = SCARED)

2. The boy ate an apple. (banned word = APPLE)

3. It’s a great party. (banned word = PARTY)

And here’s the photo:

kitten

(banned word = KITTEN or CAT)

This is meant to be for fun and to challenge ourselves as writers. I can’t wait to see what others come up with.

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Reflections on 2013 & Looking Ahead in 2014

Reflections on 2013

My poor old blog got a bit neglected last year, but one of my New Year’s resolutions is to get back into a regular schedule again this year. Here is a snapshot of some of the big things that happened to me in the writing world at the end of last year that I haven’t yet shared:

1. I attempted NaNoWrimo. And didn’t hit 50,000 words. I’m not disappointed, though, as I knew going into it there was a slim chance I’d hit the 50k mark. Fitting writing around an extremely busy November calendar was going to be a push. But I got words on the page! I made a start on my novel and I know where I want it to go, so to me that is a win.

SuperHERo Tales cover

2. SuperHERo Tales. Last year I posted a story called ‘Spectrum’ on my blog. I updated the post, but never got the chance to write an official blog post to announce the story is now published in an anthology of female superheros. I’m very excited about this anthology as all the proceeds go to the charity ‘Because I am a Girl‘, which helps girls in third world countries. It is a cause I am passionate about and I implore you all to buy a copy of SuperHERo Tales or support the charity in some other way. The other reason I’m excited to be part of this anthology is because it helps try to break through the stereotypical superhero stories that are aimed a boys. My 4 year old daughter said to me a few months ago, “I want to be my own superhero.” Hopefully stories like these can encourage girls to do just that.

Jingle Bells cover

3. Jingle Bells: Tales of Holiday Spirit from Around the World. This anthology was published just before Christmas and features an extended version of my story ‘Dashing Through the Snow’, which I posted on my blog for Christmas 2012 and was a finalist in Susanna Hill’s annual holiday contest. We’re a bit past Christmas now, but it has lots of family-friendly, holiday-themed stories, so keep it in mind for next Christmas.

Looking Ahead in 2014

Some of my writing resolutions for 2014 include:

1. Subbing More. I’ve made the same resolution the past few years, but I need to keep reminding myself that if I don’t submit I won’t be published. I’ve received some very positive and encouraging rejections this past year, in some cases just narrowly missing out, which has given me confidence and motivation to keep submitting. The other day I started planning submissions for the first half of this year–just short stories at this stage, I still need to plan my picture book subs.

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2. Making Time to Write. NaNo always reminds me that I can find the time to write if I stop procrastinating and take advantage of spare moments. I want to keep using those spare moments. I have some short stories I want to write, I want to write more picture book drafts this year through 12 x 12 (I’m hoping to join again this year) and I would ideally love to finish the first draft of the novel I started during NaNoWriMo.

3. Get Back Into Social Media. I dropped off the social media grid this past year in the writing world, not just with my blog, but on Twitter and Facebook, too. I miss all those connections and friendships I make with fellow writers through social media and want to try to get back into again. Unfortunately, when life gets busy, social media is usually the first to suffer. I’m hoping to remedy this by scheduling time specifically for social media. I’ve got big plans for my blog, including continuing the Writing a Novel series, starting a monthly writing challenge and reviving Helpful Websites and Blog Posts.

What about you? I’d love to hear about some of your successes from the past year and what your aims are for 2014. 

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November Inspiration

We’re halfway through November, which means many writers out there are halfway through NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) or PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month). Some of you might be starting to feel the mid-November slump and need some fresh inspiration to get over the hump and reach your daily goals. I’ve included extra picture prompts this month, so hopefully there will be something here to help spark your muse.

PICTURE PROMPTS

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Where is this? What significance does the butterfly have? Is the butterfly the main character or does it play another role in the story?

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What is the dragon protecting and why? Is it a good dragon or an evil dragon? Is the dragon the main character or another part of the story?

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Where is this? What significance does the duck have in the story? Is it the main character or just part of the scene? Who might be looking at the duck? Does the rain have any significance in the story?

SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE

  • Horse
  • Fair ground
  • Hero
  • Moustache
  • Argentina

NORTHERN HEMISPHERE

  • Turkey
  • Gunpowder
  • Day of the Dead
  • Lantern
  • Children

GENERAL

  • Saint
  • Adoption
  • Scorpion
  • Citris
  • Drums
  • Soldier
  • Remember

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