A Writer’s Bookshelf

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Just as pen and paper is important to a writer, so are the resources they use. A great way to hone your craft is through writing resource books. This is one of my favorites.

This is one of the first (if not the first) book I read on writing fiction. Loved it. Engaging yet knowledgeable. This book gave me a great appreciation for Jeff Gerke‘s writing. He also started and ran Marcher Lord Press (now Enclave and ran by Steve Laube) which publishes some of the top Christian speculative fiction. Check them out sometime.

This book covers all topics of writing. Showing vs. telling (this was a really clarifying chapter), characters, POV (point of view), and so much more. It even goes into why you want to write. I remember loving this part and really made you think about why you write. What is the motivation behind it and what does that mean. In fact, glancing back through the chapters now, I am thinking about rereading this book soon.

For being a writing book for writing Christian fiction, I remember think there wasn’t a lot about Christianity in it. Where it mostly comes up is in the motivation of your writing and whether or not to use profanity in your writing and how creepy you should get. But, the examples it gives on how to get the point across without full out swearing or being gory, was spot on and insightful.

A great resource to have on your shelf to strengthen your writing and grow in your skill.

The Witch’s Cat: Origins

If you read the Paws, Claws, and Magic Tales anthology, you are probably familiar with my short story, “The Witch’s Cat” (it’s okay if you’re not). Since writing that story, I’ve thought about the origins for Vivienne and Onyx. So this year for Halloween, I wrote the story when these two first met. I hope you enjoy seeing how these two characters met and if you would like to read more about them and other cat stories, consider picking up the anthology. I enjoyed coming back to these characters and am considering revisiting them next year for Halloween too! If you like that idea or enjoy the story, leave a comment below. Without further adieu (and reusing the beautiful mock cover made for my original story), here is “The Witch’s Cat: Origins”. 

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The Witch's Cat_Kindle Version

The black kitten prowled along the tree branch. The leaves were turning orange and yellow and the oaks were becoming sparse providing little cover for hunting. Still, the kitten crept quietly up behind the blue bird. Its bright coloring the perfect target. Inches behind its tail, the bird chirped and fluttered its wings as it took off. As the wings swung back, they battered the kitten in the face and knocked him from the branch. He fell into a pile of brown leaves, several of which shot up when the kitten landed.

Slowly lifting his head from the pile, a brown leaf delicately balanced on top, the kitten glares out at you as his green eyes seem to glow. Don’t laugh at me.

Shaking the leaf from his head, he sprang from the leaf pile and trotted farther into the forest, forgetting the indignity of falling.

A meaty scent wafted by his nose. His whiskers twitched. It was nothing like he had ever smelt before. Following the sent through the trees, he discovered an unusual structure. It was a small cottage made from four large trees growing and knitted together to form the walls while branches whose leaves were still green and full, created a tight, waterproof roof. The windows were still made of glass at least. It was nothing like he’d seen in the village.

Jumping up onto a pumpkin, the kitten peaked in through a window. On the other side sat three girls wearing pointed hats and long dresses, each one stirring a large, black cauldron. Small tables sat beside each girl which were filled with various bottles. The girls would occasionally pick through the bottles and pour its contents into the cauldron. A tall woman slowly walked around them, checking their work.

A corner was broken at the base of a window. The smell was strongest there so the kitten flattened himself out and stretched himself through. He came out on a shelf filled with more bottles just before one of the cauldrons. The steam from floated to him. It smelled heavenly.

“Well done, ladies,” the woman said and moved on to the tiniest of the girls who was just in front of him. Leaning over her cauldron, she breathed deeply. Then coughed. “Keep trying, Vivienne.”

The other two girls giggled. Vivienne picked up a book and flipped a page, glancing between the table and the book as she shifted through the bottles. Picking up a bottle, it slipped from her hand and shattered on the floor.

The other two girls stifled laughs behind their hands.

Vivienne stared at the broken remains as the liquid soaked into the dirt floor. When she glanced at the other girls, they turned their heads and continued to stir their cauldrons with smug grins.

The kitten twitched his tail. Crouching low, he wove his way around the bottles and over the other girls’ cauldrons. He sniff the scent wafting up to him before walking over to Vivienne’s. The scent was just a bit off. Poking his nose as each bottle, he examined each one. There it was. The missing scent stood in a tall bottle just in front of Vivienne’s cauldron. The bottles clinked as he moved forward.

Vivienne glanced and gasped as she caught sight of him.

With a swipe of his paw, the kitten knocked over the bottle, spilling the cap and all the contents into Vivienne’s cauldron.

Plumbs of smoke wafted up and out of her cauldron in waves, billowing down, obscuring the floor. Vivienne’s mouth dropped open as a smile spread across her face. The other two girls didn’t seem as pleased.

“Vivienne, I’m impressed.” The older woman walked over to her cauldron and examined the concoction. “Most witches take years to find the courage to create such a strong version of this potion.” She took a deep wife of it. “And to do it so well.”

Vivienne smiled.

The woman glanced at the other two girls’ cauldrons. “You could learn something from Vivienne.”

One of the girls tossed her spoon across the cauldron and sat back with her arms crossed.

Watching the older woman wondering off and seeing the other girls were distracted by their work, Vivienne leaned over to the shelf and picked up the kitten. Settling him in her lap and stroking his black fur, she leaned close to him. “Did you fix my potion?”

“Meow.”

Vivienne lifted him up and turned him about. “Black as an onyx and eyes as green as emeralds. Hmm.” Then she smiled. “I think I will call you Onyx.” Placing him back in her lap, she stirred her potion.

Onyx purred as she petted him, the meaty fumes from the large, white puffs flowing from the cauldron surrounding them, he slightly closed his eyes and thought that this was going to be the start of a very interesting adventure.

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That is the end of the story for now. If you enjoyed it or want to read more original stories, let me know in the comments. I hope to have another story up in November but I’m having a little trouble with it. I also want to post another original story here for December. Have a happy Halloween and I’ll see you next time.

The Story of a Flag

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Graphic from History Daily, https://historydaily.org/us-flags

I read a novelization of Betsy Ross when I was a kid. It was biographical but read like a novel with dialogue and events happening as if you were living her life with her. You might be asking, “Who is Betsy Ross?” Betsy Ross is attributed as the designer of the American Flag.

At the time she designed her flag, America did not have fifty states hence why the flag has gone through several different designs. But the main thought and idea of it is still there. It might have been simplified for kids, but there was something in there that stayed with me. In that novelization, she said something that I still remember after all these years. I’ll have to paraphrase, but she said that a flag is the page of a history book.

Each flag tells a story of the country it represents. This has always made me wonder about the stories behind other flags. Why the straight, solid colors of Russia’s or France’s flags? Why all white with a big, red circle for Japan? Britain’s? I kind of have an idea for Mexico. And don’t get me started on the flags for each state (at least I know a little of the story for Minnesota’s). Maybe that is my writer’s side. Wanting to know the story.

This 4th of July, it makes me wonder, do you know the reasoning and the story our flag tells? While I won’t be able to tell it as well as others could, I can clue you in on some of the facts. The 13 red and white stripes represent the 13 colonies that first came to America. The white stars represent the current number of states (hence the change of this area through history). Today, there are fifty stars. I’ll let you investigate the color meaning. And while you’re at it, why not learn a little bit about Betsy Ross. If I remember correctly, she was interesting.

Welcome…

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Welcome! Hope you enjoy browsing around the site. Here you’ll find what I’m currently working on, posts on writing and other topics, and, I’m hoping, some original short stories. Also, here about other authors and some book reviews. Feel free to also follow me on Facebook. I hope to share more about my writing and what I’m doing know in a future post so keep checking back.