When Theodore Finch climbs the steps of the bell tower to commit suicide, he does not expect to find Violet Markey standing on the ledge, also ready to end her life. It is here that they officially meet and both prevent each other from doing what they had planned to do. Their relationship quickly changes into something much more as the two of them discover each others’ secrets.
[Copyright Garrett Curry and Kyle Ragsdale and associates.]
The day after Christmas, a package arrives for Piper. She is not excited about it. Great Aunt Fran sends her something every year that contains an item that’s itchy and handmade, which she is then forced to wear. This year she gets a scarf. This year will be different from all the others.
No one can sleep. This is no ordinary case of insomnia in a few people across the globe. Millions — maybe billions — are dying of a disorder that has no name and no origin. It slowly became an epidemic, spreading to others without warning or cause. In this world where only a few can sleep, violence and madness are what is left for those still able to dream.
L. N. Holmes: “Where is your hometown?”
John Carenen: “My home town is Clinton, Iowa, an old Mississippi River town and the birthplace of Lillian Russell, the first sex symbol in the movies.”
L. N. Holmes: “What is your chosen artistic profession?”
John Carenen: “My artistic expression is words, fictional, novel-length.”
I would like to be a light to others in many ways. A light illuminates one’s surroundings, provides a bit of warmth, and can enable one to move forward with confidence. As I travel through the unknown territory of the literary world, I hope to create a small path for those behind me that will make their own journeys — if only for a moment — a bit easier.
While researching literary magazines to submit my work to, I’ve run into a snag. As expected, most of these publications have different submission guidelines. What I didn’t expect was how few of these took anything outside of literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Some of my work does qualify for this — but not the majority.
A New York Times bestselling author, Jennifer Weiner has been battling big names for quite a while now. You may know her from her books Good in Bed and In Her Shoes — as well as from many other books, short stories, and articles. She is successful and knows the industry, which is why she is speaking out.
I had the privilege to attend a reading by Jeff Koterba today. He is a political cartoonist and an independent. During the reading, he mentioned that he disliked the current squabbling in congress and carefully chose his political commentary on an issue-by-issue basis. Witty and humble, Koterba has been a political cartoonist at his local paper for the past 25 years. He dedicated his book Drawing You In to his mother because she has clipped and kept every single cartoon he has illustrated from the paper to date.
So I discovered quite a bit when researching for my NaNoWriMo novel. I learned that chicken of the woods makes a good meat substitute, hence its name. I learned that Valerian root is rumored to help with insomnia among other things. Also, I reaffirmed the difference between a lamb and a sheep.
I am conducting research on the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Tennessee Wonderland for my novel. It’s been a bit depressing seeing all of the endangered or threatened animals within a protected park. Wolves and mountain lions no longer live there and, while that may or may not make hikers safer, it is bad for the environment for two major predators to completely disappear. There are also invasive species — such as rainbow trout (the native is the brook trout) — that threaten native species and/or the environment.
For those who are unaware of one of the writing world’s greatest writing challenges, NaNoWriMo is the abbreviated nickname for National Novel Writing Month. The nonprofit started in 1999 and has been going strong ever since. NaNoWriMo is a challenge to the industry professional and the average Joe alike. For the entire month of November, the participant must write until they reach 50,000 words — roughly novel length. Those that reach this goal are “winners.”
As most of you know, I am an avid follower of Chuck Wendig’s terribleminds blog. There was a flash fiction challenge posted recently where the participants first came up with a one sentence opening and then picked someone else’s opening line to create a story. I chose coolerbs sentence:
It was my goal to write 60,000 words by the end of October. Instead, I met that goal yesterday. I am still trying to figure out how this happened. I took a picture of it to prove it to the world.
I also wrote a flash fiction story, a poem, conducted research on 30+ literary agencies, and have written at least one blog post every day since beginning A Vase of Wildflowers. I am going to wrap up my story within the next couple of days and then it is on to revisions. I am hoping prayer and hard work will be my ticket into the big leagues. Wish me a blessed journey.
So is it an insult or a compliment when someone votes that you’re not quite awkward enough? I had the privilege to be part of the Awkward Author Photo Contest on Chuck Wendig’s blog, terribleminds and ended up in fifth place out of the 63 participants. It was so fun, reading the comments left by the voters. I really appreciated the votes I received. The competition was fierce and downright hilarious!
I wanted to give a shout out to some of my personal favorites!
L. N. Holmes: “Where is your hometown?”
Taylor Hayes: “My hometown is Roanoke, Virginia. It is about 2 hours north of where I currently live, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It’s not too far, but just far enough.”
Taylor Hayes: “As a visual artist (visit Taylor Hayes’s official site), I work in mixed media, which basically means whenever I create a piece I use multiple mediums in overlapping layers. Sometimes those mediums are acrylic paint, pencil, pen, marker, collage, screen printing, you name it. I stick to 2-dimensional art for the most part and sometimes I play around with design but my main focus is on printmaking and painting.
[Warning! Some content unsuitable for children.]
Okay horror and suspense writers, here are some ideas for you.
Autumn is the time for the spooky and the scenic and I got a bit of both when I ventured into the mystical place that is Vala’s Pumpkin Patch. The tourist attraction reminded me of a mixture of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, It, and Escape from the Carnival of Horrors. To sum up my experience I would have to say it was fantastic.
In the future, California has been decimated by extreme climate change. Parts of the United States are uninhabitable and resources are scarce. The government has slowly lost control, and people do whatever it takes to survive. Some cling to the old ways of life, trying to live in ransacked and looted cities, in denial of the dangers around them. Others, like Cal and Frieda, take their chances in the wilderness.
My husband and I are opportunists. So when we got a member coupon for a plant at Mulhall’s, we decided to take a trip there and explore what was available. We were not disappointed. The magical selection of plants made me want to stroll along the aisles for hours.
I’ve decided to share the spoils with all writers — but especially fantasy writers — as a way to generate ideas.
I hope you enjoy them!
As a writer, I am naturally curious. I’ve scrolled for hours on blog feeds, killed half a day interacting with people on Facebook, and devoted a great deal of time to industry research. When inside of a bookstore, it’s like I’m sucked into a vortex or a maze and can’t find my way out because there are so many traps keeping me inside (Neil Gaiman books, Marvel comics, books by emerging authors, and interesting Christian fiction titles). When I am at festivals — especially food festivals — I get caught up in the medieval magic of live, upbeat music and merchants hawking their wares.
Yesterday, I met a new friend for coffee to chat and catch up. We didn’t have much time, as we both had busy schedules, but it felt good to focus on the important things in life for a while. During the conversation, I kept having to force myself not to reach for my phone. It wasn’t because I wasn’t interested in what she was talking about — on the contrary, it was because I wanted to look up the topics she brought up. But out of respect for her, I kept forcing myself to stop. This gave me an idea for a writing prompt.
It is Banned Books Week and I am excited to participate. As an attempt to combat censorship, this event encourages people to read books that have been targeted for removal from libraries, schools, and bookstores. For more information about the event, please visit the website here.
While I appreciate the opposite side of this argument (often parents concerned with the mental well-being of their children), I stand firmly with the idea of no censorship. How are we to learn and grow if we cannot have the opportunity to see the world through multiple perspectives? How can we defend our own beliefs if we do not know the arguments of others?