07.08.15

A Flock of Shiny Stories!

Posted in Event at 12:06 am by Amber

Do you know what happened today? My friend’s latest anthology, CORVIDAE, was released.

Corvidae book cover

Associated with life and death, disease and luck, corvids have long captured mankind’s attention, showing up in mythology as the companions or manifestations of deities, and starring in stories from Aesop to Poe and beyond.

 

In Corvidae birds are born of blood and pain, trickster ravens live up to their names, magpies take human form, blue jays battle evil forces, and choughs become prisoners of war. These stories will take you to the Great War, research facilities, frozen mountaintops, steam-powered worlds, remote forest homes, and deep into fairy tales. One thing is for certain, after reading this anthology, you’ll never look the same way at the corvid outside your window.

 

Featuring works by Jane Yolen, Mike Allen, C.S.E. Cooney, M.L.D. Curelas, Tim Deal, Megan Engelhardt, Megan Fennell, Adria Laycraft, Kat Otis, Michael S. Pack, Sara Puls, Michael M. Rader, Mark Rapacz, Angela Slatter, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, and Leslie Van Zwol

As a fan of birds and Rhonda, I’m looking forward to reading this collection. Blue jays are not an uncommon sight in my neighborhood, though sightings of Rhonda Parrish are rare. In fact, she has yet to come this far South in her travels.

Corvidae is the second book in the Rhonda Parrish’s Magical Menageries Series. I have to share some of the praise this anthology has received. You’ll notice it’s quite the mixture of professions.

“Smart and dark like the corvids themselves, this excellent collection of stories and poems will bring you a murder of chills, a tiding of intrigue, a band of the fantastic, and—most of all—an unkindness of sleepy mornings after you’ve stayed up too late reading it!”

— Karen Dudley, author of Kraken Bake

 

“Magic and corvids collide in this certain to intrigue anthology.”

— Joshua Klein, hacker and inventor of the crow vending machine

 

“A creepy, crazy kaleidoscope of corvids, Corvidae is what happens when you bring together ingenious writers and sagacious subjects. It’s nothing short of a thrill ride when this anthology takes flight.”

— Susan G. Friedman, Ph. D., Utah State University; behaviorworks.org.

 

“As sparkling and varied as a corvid’s hoard of treasures, Corvidae is by turns playful and somber, menacing and mischievous. From fairy tale to steampunk adventure, from field of war to scene of crime, these magical birds will take you to places beyond your wildest imaginings.”

—  Jennifer Crow, poet and corvid-by-marriage

 

Corvidae evokes the majesty and mischief of corvid mythologies worldwide—and beyond our world—in a collection that is fresh and thoroughly enjoyable.”

— Beth Cato, author of The Clockwork Dagger

To learn more about Corvidae visit the official World Weaver Press site.

03.19.15

Excerpt from Hellfire & Damnation III

Posted in Event at 8:45 am by Amber

VABT Logo

Connie Corcoran Wilson and Virtual Author Book Tours kindly arranged for me to share an excerpt as part of the book tour for Hellfire & Damnation III. I hope you enjoy it!

Circle Six: Heresy

 

The Final Victim

 

Lee had been drinking since late afternoon. It didn’t so much stop the

pain of the voices in his head, as clarify what the voices were saying.

 

     I’ll do the Reverend’s bidding, to a point, thought Lee. Reverend Jones

says Dave Downing has to die. If God or the devil wants poor old Dave dead,

He must give me some sort of sign. I ain’t no cold-blooded killer!

 

Lee took another swig of Old Milwaukee. He would have preferred

Jack Daniels, but he didn’t have the money.

 

Lee looked out the window of the shabby white house that stood be-

low the hill. High up on the hill was where the rich people lived. The poor

people lived down here. Lee was staring at the wet grass of his small yard.

It had rained less than an hour ago. He thought the drops of water on the

grass resembled the tears of some gigantic creature.

 

Lee popped the top of his sixth beer and glanced outside again.

 

Suddenly, birds. Thousands and thousands of birds. Black birds.

European starlings. They were everywhere! On his lawn. On the lawn of

the neighbor to his left, Ed Grant. On Rose Till’s lawn, his neighbor to the

right. He watched Rosie Till’s golden collie, Honey, barking furiously as

she chased the birds as far as her chain would allow.

 

“Melanie! Come quick! There’s birds everywhere! They’re peckin’ away

at our yard and Ed’s and Rosie’s.”

 

Melanie Elliot rushed down the stairs. She could hear the urgency in

her husband’s drunken voice. She stared in astonishment at the spectacle

taking place outside on their lawn.

 

“The weird thing is that the birds stop right there,” she said, pointing

to the perimeter of their neighbors’ lawns. Melanie was right. The birds

were covering nearly every inch of Lee’s lawn and Ed’s lawn and Rose’s lawn.

But the ubiquitous birds, clucking and pecking and sucking eagerly at the

earth’s bosom, stopped at the sidewalks of the two neighboring houses.

Only three lawns were infested by the omnipresent birds.

 

There were no birds across the street. There were no birds on any other

lawns beyond those three, which they could see by glancing up and down

Third Street. Only here, in their lawn and those of their two closest neighbors,

were there hundreds—thousands, even—of noisy, hungry, pecking black

birds, greedily digging with their beaks. But what were they digging for?

 

Melanie asked the question, “What do you think they’re eating? What

are they looking for, Lee?” She asked, “Are they migrating? Is there some

special food in just these three lawns that they’ve targeted? It’s so weird that

they aren’t across the street or, really, anywhere but on these three lawns.”

She shook her head in confusion.

 

Lee took a deep breath. He had just realized something that gave him

a start. He was going to have to admit to the Reverend that he had been

given a sign. The Reverend Jeremiah Jones had predicted to Lee just yes-

terday that he would be given a sign—a sign that he must follow Reverend

Jeremiah Jones’ instructions.

 

Jeremiah said to Lee, “The heavens might open up. You might hear a

loud voice telling you to do what I tell you. To do what is necessary. It has to

be the way I tell you. You’ll have to follow my directions. To the letter.” The

Reverend spoke slowly, in a stern tone of voice.

 

Lee thought, This must be the sign the Reverend was talking about.

What else could it be?

 

What Lee and Melanie Elliot were seeing defied logic. There was no

reasonable explanation for the sudden appearance of hordes of angry black

birds, mimicking Alfred Hitchcock’s movie The Birds.

 

The small black creatures were everywhere: on the gables of the houses.

On the roofs of Lee’s house and his neighbors’ homes. On their lawns. In

the trees. Greedily pecking at the still-wet grass, searching for some mys-

terious food item. Some magic worm, perhaps? The entire experience left

both Lee and Melody chattering about the occurrence with their next-door

neighbors for hours afterwards. No one knew of any logical explanation.

 

But Lee thought he might know what it all meant. And he didn’t like

what it meant for his future.

 

To be continued on March 25th at What You Talking Bout Willis?

 

05.13.14

A is for Apocalypse Cover Reveal Day

Posted in Event at 1:59 am by Amber

I love the premise behind A is for Apocalypse and I believe you will too.

What do you get when you take twenty-six amazing writers, randomly assign them a letter of the alphabet and give them complete artistic freedom within a theme?

A is for Apocalypse

A is for Apocalypse contains twenty-six apocalyptic stories written by both well-known and up-and-coming writers. Monsters, meteors, floods, war–the causes of the apocalypses in these tales are as varied as the stories themselves.

This volume contains work by Ennis Drake, Beth Cato, Kenneth Schneyer, Damien Angelica Walters, K. L. Young, Marge Simon, Milo James Fowler, Simon Kewin, C.S. MacCath, Steve Bornstein and more!

This collection was edited by Rhonda Parrish and the cover was designed by Jonathan Parrish. Expected date of publication is August 2014.

A is forApocalypse
Isn’t that a nice cover? Very simple. I think the sunset with the ghost text of the contributor’s names is a haunting image.

As part of the cover reveal, Rhonda asked some of the authors about their favorite “A” word. My favorite “A” word is Accoutrement. It’s a word that for a long time I just passed over whenever it was used in a book. But then it was used by Steve Carell in an episode of The Office and I’ve been hooked on it ever since.

If you’d like to get updates about A is for Apocalypse (including giveaways) there’s a mailing list signup here: http://eepurl.com/TzDN9

Without further ado, here’s Rhonda…

In choosing a theme for this, the first of a series of anthologies, I considered and rejected a great many “A” words. Tell us about your favourite word that begins with the letter A.

 

Alexis A. Hunter– As an author — ‘acceptance’ has a beautiful ring to it.  As a sci-fi writer — ‘apex’ is particularly engaging.  In general — ‘angel’ is one of my favorite words, because they’re one of my favorite ‘creature types’ to play with in stories.  Plus I have a thing for wings and feathers.

 

Michael Kellar – My “A” word would be arachnid. I’m a spider person. (You could consider this when you get to “S is for…”)

 

Damien Angelica Walters – My favourite word that begins with the letter A is anathema. It rolls off the tongue like a whisper, hiding its dark meaning in pretty syllables.

 

Marge Simon – Alliteration because it’s a beautiful word.  Sorry if it doesn’t connote anything bad, like assassin. 😉

 

Simon Kewin My favourite A word is (possibly) Archaeopteryx. I love the shape of the word. It’s exotic and fantastical and ungainly all at the same time – a little like the creature itself. It derives from the Greek archaeo (ancient) and pterux (wing). So, “Ancient Wing”. Archaeopteryx is a lovely illustration of the forces of evolution in progress; it’s a snapshot of a species in the process of changing from dinosaur ancestor to modern avian descendent. Here was a creature with a bony tail and teeth and feathers. And claws on its wings. I’d love to have seen one…

 

Sara Cleto – My favorite A word is amethyst, a purple-violet quartz often used in jewelry (particularly at Renaissance Faires!) As a little girl, I was obsessed with the color purple, and my mom’s amethyst jewelry was the subject of much fascination- I was sure the stones had some sort of magical property, and I seem to recall trying to do spells with them… And now, in my old age, I’m deeply amused by their purported ability to prevent excessive intoxication.

 

Beth Cato – Tricky question since my absolute favorite word begins with B. For A words, I have to say I like “anaphylactic.” It’s morbid, I know, since the meaning is a severe allergic reaction, but I like the word because it has a cool poetic rhythm.

 

Suzanne van Rooyen – This is really tough to answer! There are so many great words starting with A like analogy, allegory and awesome! But I think my favourite is actually a name. Atreyu. Atreyu – the character from The Never Ending Story – was my first major crush as a kid and that film was such a huge part of my childhood. If I ever have a son one day, his name is going to be Atreyu.

 

Brittany Warman – The first of my favorite words that begin with A that I thought of was “aurora” – not only is it frequently the name of the princess (or her daughter) from “Sleeping Beauty,” a favorite fairy tale of mine, but it was also my very first online screen name! I just love the concept and the way the word flows off the tongue too. It seems to convey mystery, beauty, and strength to me.

 

C.S. MacCath – My favourite ‘A’ word is ‘atonement’, because unlike ‘forgiveness’, it places the onus for righting a wrong where it belongs; upon the head of the person who committed it. If we were socialized to atone as much as we are already socialized to forgive, we might learn to be more careful with one another.

05.10.14

Upcoming Cover Reveal

Posted in Event at 6:20 pm by Amber

Gals! Guys! I’m participating in a cover reveal on the 13th. I can’t tell you anything about it until then. Just know I saw the cover today and additional promo material got me excited to read this book. I hope you’ll find the premise interesting. Come back on the 13th!

04.02.14

Yesterday’s Reviews

Posted in Event at 3:09 pm by Amber

I apologize if your RSS feeds were inundated with my book reviews yesterday. I’ve had some sitting around (and there are still more) in my drafts for a year or longer and thought the best day to publish them so many of them was April Fool’s Day. I may turn it into an annual way of trying to clear out my drafts queue.

03.24.14

2014 Niteblade Fundraiser

Posted in Event at 8:54 am by Amber

It’s time for the annual Niteblade fundraiser! This year’s perks include original art, Niteblade submission feedback, books, subscriptions and story critiques.

02.23.14

A Month of Letters – Update #3

Posted in Event at 8:30 pm by Amber

A Month of Letters challenge is once again underway. The idea is to send out mail for each day the postal service runs. The kicker is replying to anything you receive.

The third week I received more mail than I sent out. Below is what I sent:

  • 2/19/14 – I sent off some medical supplies to a doctor’s office to use for training classes.
  • 2/20/14 – A short post card to friend in Wisconsin.

I was surprised this week with a post card and two letters in my mailbox. The post card was from my Mary Kay Beauty Consultant/wife of a former co-worker just to say “Hi”. Letters came from Suey of It’s All About Books… and my buddy, Rhonda Parrish.

By my count I’m at 22 items sent and need to send out 3 replies.

If you write letters, what is your favorite part? Picking out stationary/notecards, reflection while writing the letter, looking at the pretty stamps, finding them in your mailbox? Do tell!

02.17.14

A Month of Letters – Update #2

Posted in Event at 10:56 am by Amber

A Month of Letters challenge is once again underway. The idea is to send out mail for each day the postal service runs. The kicker is replying to anything you receive.

The second week I sent out more mail. My Valentine of choice to friends was a Harry Potter card which included a bookmark.

  • 2/10/14 – 2 Valentines.
  • 2/11/14 – A Thank You card for a former co-worker who gave me a “farewell” card with a Tim Hortons gift card inside. 1 post card for the postcrossing event in Portugal. 8 Harry Potter Valentines to friends. And Valentines to my in-laws and parents after buying the cards at the grocery store. (The post office was next door and I had stamps on me.)

That’s a total of 14 items for the week. How is your Month of Letters coming along?

02.11.14

A Month of Letters – Update #1

Posted in Event at 11:27 am by Amber

A Month of Letters challenge is once again underway. The idea is to send out mail for each day the postal service runs. The kicker is replying to anything you receive.

This year I’ve had a slow start.

I did get a Valentine’s Day card from my mom with a huge bag of Brach’s Tart and Sassy Conversation Hearts. I think I like the plain old sugar conversation hearts better.

Are you doing the challenge this year?

12.30.13

Final NaNoWriMo 2013 Update

Posted in Event, Writing at 11:51 am by Amber

I did a good job catching up that first week but it was all downhill from there this year. I manged to write 11912 words altogether.

My plan is to finish up the story for my niece and nephews before it’s time to go on next year’s beach vacation. That way they’ll have something to read which will get them in the mood for it. Not that they need any additional help in getting pepped up for a beach house vacation but you know what I mean. 🙂

I spent quite a bit of the month watching Orange is the New Black. Have you read the memoir? That’s on my list of books to read next year.

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