Tuesday, October 30, 2012

NAF-Growing Pains

Blogging over at the NAF about the interesting day-after-the-day-after-we-moved. :)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Moving Fun

Hey everyone,
Just wanted to let you know that Justin and I've successfully moved into our new little townhome. We're currently in the process of getting everything organized and in place. Our Internet is, for the forseeable future, limited to my iPhone. I'll try to get more organized soon, but there will be no blog posts on Magical Ink for the next week. (I will however have my weekly NAF post on Wednesday.) Thanks for your patience!
(And don't forget to enter the giveaway for the Avenir Eclectia anthology--winner to be picked next week!)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

NAF: Just In Case...

I analyze and relate funny stories about how Justin and I both go about preparing for "just in case"...

Monday, October 22, 2012

Curse Bearer by Rebecca P Minor

STORYLINE: An oppressor's assault, a father's terminal illness, an elder knight's enigmatic challenge...could a single thread interweave them all? When Danae Baledric leaves home in search of a cure for a degenerative malady that's killing her father, she never expects her journey to teach her the price of her own ignorance. In Curse Bearer, Danae learns the eternal war between The Creator and the Impenetrable Darkness is waged one soul at a time. Danae's investigation reveals not only the spiritual nature of her father's danger, but that the forces of Darkness are hunting her as well. For power, even employed in ignorance, has its cost. A commitment to a life of service to the Creator extends Danae both deliverance from her debt and the ability to intervene on her father's behalf. But something bars Danae from claiming redemption-her insistence she must achieve her goals in her own strength. It's an epic tale of curses and miracles, where headstrong ignorance creates bondage, and the desire to serve offers freedom.


Once again, Rebecca Minor brought me into a world that is beautifully drawn and detailed. Her world has a deep, rich, historical feel to them, and yet I never feel bogged down in the details. After the initial action, the book felt a slow in parts, but for the most part, the excellent world-building pulled me along through the draggy parts.
The characters were fun and interesting, and Rebecca definitely has a knack for creating awesome elvish characters...first Vinyanel in the Windrider series (who gets a passing mention, which I completely squealed at), now Culduin in Curse Bearer who, while not as sarcastic as Vinyanel, makes up for it with how infinitely sweet he is to the main character, Danae. Danae herself was a great character--I loved her dilemma and struggle throughout the book.
The storyline is very family friendly as well--it's very appropriate for family readalouds and teenagers. Kudos to Rebecca for the release of such a good first full-length novel!
Rating: five stars

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Short Story and a Giveaway

**This is a repost of my story "Amaris", first published on the Avenir Eclectia website and now part of the anthology. Enjoy!**

Pieter leaned back in his bed and closed his eyes.

In a way, night was a relief. It meant Pieter could go back to his cubbyhole of a living space and disappear from the world for a while. Away from the prying eyes of the Enforcers. Out of range of the stares from people in the docking bays who recognized his picture from the news reports.

It meant a break from Cara. He liked the girl, but sometimes her incessant questions grated on him. You had so much money, why did you get bored? Do the rich people really have cyborgs to serve them? Do you know where Avenir came from?

Lately, her questions had been taking a disturbingly spiritual turn. Who was Jesus? Why do you think the book you gave me talks about 'living water'? He didn't want the reminders of his mother.

But when he shoved away the cares of the day, she always took their place.

Chocolate-hazel eyes, silk-straight black hair pulled in an elegant knot at the nape of her neck. A fierce temper and even fiercer devotion. Jokes and small talk late into the night, a glass of wine while watching stars out the glass-fronted captain's deck.

Much worse than a few distrustful stares or never-ending chatter.

Her heart-shaped face was always in his mind, that playful fire dancing in her eyes. Even in the heat of battle, she had that spark, that vivacity, that filled his empty heart with hope and love.

She had been another mistake in the thousands that weighed on his chest. If he thought about her too long, his brain would start reciting his other mistakes. It was like she was a piece of fruit in the bottom corner of a large orange pyramid, and if he took out his memories of her, the rest came tumbling down on top of him.

Pieter groaned and rolled onto his side, squeezing his eyes shut so tightly that his head started to pound. "Go away, Amaris. Please, please go away." 

GIVEAWAY! If you'd like a chance to win a print copy of Avenir Eclectia: Volume 1, please leave a comment on this post with your name, email address, and whether or not you'd like me to sign it. There's only one rule: the giveaway must have at least 10 entries for it to be valid (I'd also love for you to be a follower of this blog, but that's not a requirement). So let your friends and family know and encourage them to join! The giveaway will run for two weeks and end on November 2nd. The winner will be contacted on November 3rd. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

NAF: Interview with Grace Bridges

Today on NAF, I interviewed Grace Bridges, the publisher of Splashdown Books and the founder of Avenir Eclectia.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Avenir Eclectia--some fun stuff

Today starts the blog tour for the Avenir Eclectia anthology, and I thought some fun stuff would be in order.

*Travis Perry, author and editor of the anthology, blogged about strange worlds in fact and science fiction. At the end of the post he mentions Eclectia, the planet which the generation ship Avenir circles. 

*Did you know that we have a sountrack? Yep! Here's the Avenir Eclectia theme, which is one of my favorite songs. 

*My posts coming up: On Wednesday, I interview Splashdown Books publisher and founder of Avenir Eclectia, Grace Bridges, on the New Authors Fellowship. Friday, I'm reposting one of my Avenir stories and giving details for a giveaway of a print copy of the anthology. Stay tuned! :)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Guest Post: Kat Heckenbach

You Have to Look
My pastor said something during a recent sermon that really struck me. He was talking about his early days as a Christian, and how he visited a church very different from the one he’d been attending. He said he sat there, feeling rather smug, and thinking how pointless all their manmade rituals were, how misguided and Godless the church seemed.
Then God hit him with a 2-by-4: “I’m here if you’ll look for Me. But you’re not looking for Me. You’re too busy judging.”
This attitude is not just an issue with different denominations—it’s also an issue with different genres of fiction.
Genres are a personal preference and not something we can dictate. We can’t control what stories snap our neurons into action any more than we can control what foods send our taste buds into bliss. Is it my fault if romance puts me to sleep, but fantasy begs me to stay up until two a.m. for one more chapter?
God loves variety, and He created us all with different tastes. The cool thing is, He is willing reach out to us through all those different styles of music, styles of worship, and genres of fiction. We are generally attuned to Him through our particular style preferences, though, and as my pastor made note of, we will have to look for Him in the places that don’t naturally align with our tastes and experiences.
But too often, readers and writers of different genres spend their time judging and not looking.
I’ve been guilty of this myself. In my early days of writing, I had no idea that Christian fiction existed, much less that any of it was sci-fi and fantasy. So I searched for God, and found Him, in secular books, and in the very fantastical and dark books that appeal to me. To this day, I still prefer that subtlety and tend toward books with dark and subtle references to God.
I tend to feel God more strongly during dark times. And no, that doesn’t mean I only turn to Him at times of need—it means that is when I feel His grip on me the strongest. So the rest of the time I need reminders, I need chances to think back on those dark times and feel God’s hand around me again.
Cheerful, overt, Christianese-filled stories don’t appeal to me. And when I first started writing, I found those books a bit insulting. How could they really have God in them? They’re so saccharine, so shallow, right? You need grit in your story to get across a realistic relationship with God, don’t you? You need that darkness to feel His touch…
But they reach people. People with different experiences than me. People who maybe haven’t experienced my level of darkness. Or maybe, they reach God in different ways.
The point is, I wasn’t looking, I was assuming. I was judging.
Coming to that realization was much like what my pastor described. I felt slammed with questions and accusations from God: Why are you judging others while griping that they are passing judgment on you? What gives you the right to determine where I reside? I may shine more brightly in the dark for you, but others need Me in the light as well!
Notice in there that God pointed out my own griping. Me, complaining about others doing exactly as I had done! Judging me because they couldn’t see the value in my dark, spooky, or fantastical stories—both the ones I read and the ones I write. Yet, I was doing the same thing to them.
It works both ways, see? We judge them, they judge us (and we complain about it).
What this has all led me to understand is that God is where He chooses to be. We as humans, we as writers, can’t limit Him. He’s not afraid of the dark, nor is He intimidated or insulted by writing we may see as fluff. He wants us all to do our best, to give 100%, but He’s not going to only reach out for readers through award-winning and best-selling novels. God isn’t a literary snob.
He wants all of us, no matter what genre we read. And if you don’t see Him in someone else’s genre, maybe you simply aren’t looking

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Killing a Dream

Big publishing? Not so likely anymore...

Monday, October 8, 2012

Tales of Woe and Wonder by Jeff Chapman

Tales of Woe and Wonder collects nine fantasy stories from the pen of Jeff Chapman. Here you'll find a mix of fairy-tale wonder and tragic woe, ranging from a young boy's first brush with the harsh realities of war in "A Gift from over the Sea" to a miraculous bridge in "The Master and the Miller's Daughter" to a young girl's encounter with a witch's insidious spells in "Esme's Amulet."

MY THOUGHTS: Tales of Woe and Wonder is a collection of fantasy short stories. Some of the stories could be fleshed out a little more, which is why not all of them caught my attention, but the writing was fairly solid and the tales that I enjoyed were worth it. Chapman is a good author and I look forward to reading his longer works.
Rating: three and a half out of five stars

Friday, October 5, 2012

Look What's Out!

That's right, Avenir Eclectia: Volume 1 is out on the (virtual) shelves! :) Here's the book description:

Human settlement in the harshest of places. The Avenir: once a generational ship, now a crowded residential station and dominating force over a hard, broken world. Its people have nearly forgotten distant Earth, its wizards ponder the mysteries of the universe, its orphans suffer and beg, while the aristocrats live the high life. Eclectia: the highly unstable planet far below, pulled by its heavy moons into a fast wobble, its crust fractured and tormented with frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Miners and bug hunters eke out an existence through the grit and extreme seasons. The lucky ones live in undersea colonies, where submarines connect cities in the depths. The oceans teem with telepathic life everyone calls "angels." Sheba and Quatermain, the fractured and molten moons of Eclectia, are settled by miners and spacers, while merchants and smugglers ply their trades. For most, survival is an everyday question. Multi-author microfiction gives a many-faceted view of the future. New stories continue to be posted online at the Avenir Eclectia site.

Thus far, it only seems to be in print on Amazon. The Kindle edition should be coming soon. All the royalties from the book go to maintaining the Avenir Eclectia site. If you'd be interested in a signed copy (only by me...the rest of the authors are spread out so much it would take half a year to get a copy around to all of us for signing... ;) ) please contact me at skribblegurl at(@) gmail dot(.) com, and we'll work something out. Also, be on the lookout for blog tours upcoming in the next couple of weeks.

Enjoy your reading! :) 

September Writing Report

Well, like I said last week, there hasn't been a whole lot of writing happening over here lately. I did revise and send in Dragon Dance to Othersheep (finally) and got some work done on Forged Steel. The Avenir Eclectia anthology was sent to the printer so it should be out soon (you guys are probably tired of me saying that...) ;) So, on to the excerpt!

Forged Steel

The two people crouched beside me were obviously fae. The girl had long jet-black hair, a black jagged layer of bangs slashing across her pale forehead. Her long lashes slowly enfolded her purple eyes as she watched me. A knife handle stuck out of the tall boots she wore over black fitted pants, and she cradled a sawed-off shotgun next to her jade-green blouse.

The guy's pale blond hair jutted over his forehead in gelled spikes, and underneath, his bright green eyes flickered in jumps and starts. Those eyes looked hard and relentless, a little like Blodheyr's. In one hand, he held the hilt of a sword. Another was strapped to his waist under a brown leather jacket.

He stood up and prodded me with the toe of his heavy black boots, the hems of his tattered jeans swishing. "Well, mud-eater. What are you doing here?"

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

New Authors Fellowship: Bleed

I'd forgotten how it felt to write whole-heartedly

Monday, October 1, 2012

Seeking Unseen by Kat Heckenbach

It may be Angel's wish...
It's been two years since Angel learned the magic chip of wood inside her locket would grant any wish. What is taking her so long to choose? An alarming discovery about her beloved foster brother Zack makes the decision easy...but everything else gets complicated after she runs into her old friend Melinda, who demands to go along for the return to Toch Island.
...but it's Melinda's journey.
Melinda doesn't fit in with the magical freaks any more than she did with the losers back in Florida, but she never wanted to belong before. A secret world surrounds her where even the bugs have magic... She's more of an outsider than ever. So when ex-con Doran Ashe slinks out of the shadows and offers her an easy road to powers of her own, Melinda follows him despite-or maybe because of-everyone's warnings.

When I first started reading Seeking Unseen, the sequel to Finding Angel, my stomach was a nervous mess of butterflies (or maybe Nazguls, given how I felt). I loved Finding Angel so very much that I was afraid the sequel would let me down horribly.
I should've trusted Kat Heckenbach more than that.
Seeking Unseen started a little slow, but things began to pop when Angel's adopted brother Zach and friend Melinda join her on Toch Island. Seeing the island through Melinda's eyes was fun, and I loved how Horatio and Kalek both had bigger parts to play...especially Kalek.
Melinda's disobedience and acting out annoyed me, but I also completely understood her motivations for it and found her as believable as the rest of the characters. Ayden was a sweet addition to the group as well. I enjoyed his and Angel's budding romance and the more "grown-up but still young" tone it brought to the book, even though (*sniff*) it made me realize some of my favorite characters were growing up. (How silly is that?)
I think that Toch Island has officially made it to my list of fantasy worlds to visit (in fact, it is right up there with Narnia). Oh yes, and the closing line of the book? Utterly and completely brilliant.
In sum, Kat Heckenbach has again brought us a beautiful and fun fantasy that all ages would enjoy. She did not disappoint, and I love Seeking Unseen just as much as I loved Finding Angel.
Rating: five out of five stars


All blog content copyrighted 2012 by H. A. Titus