Friday 28 March 2014

Out of Your Comfort Zone: A Guest Post by Sarah Butland

Talented author, Sarah Butland stops by today, to chat about her recent award-winning short story, and challenging yourself as a writer...

Out of Your Comfort Zone

We all have comfort zones and are simply ok in them but if you want to succeed it's important to get out of them once in a while.

Inspirational speaker and best-selling author Jack Canfield has a simple exercise to teach this. When you put your hands together, intertwining your fingers, you automatically put them the way you're most comfortable, if you purposely put them the other way it feels weird.

Challenge Accepted

I experienced this in a huge way when I was encouraged to submit to a children's category of a local writing contest. Without much time left before deadline and an infant at home, I thought it was an impossible task but decided to just go for it.

Inspired by a message from an amazing author and motivator, it just seemed like the best opportunity for me to see what I could do. Still remembering sitting in the kitchen while my son crawled on the floor at my feet (he was well cared for and learning to entertain himself) I brought up my laptop and wrote.

The maximum word count was 10000 words and I zoned out and wrote close to 4000, exhausting what I could do in that moment of inspiration.

And then I read it...

The situation itself was out of my comfort zone and I succeeded in writing something so unusual for what I would usually that I was shocked. A little nervous because of it being just half the maximum word count I decided to submit it with determination and as an experiment.

The experiment paid off and I won the contest and the interest in many of my writing idols as well as many more in the age group it was targeted to. The only problem – the readers wanted more and I had no idea where to take the story.

Take your challenge

Read a different genre, write about a troubling topic or go for a hike when you feel you're out of shape. Challenges don't have to be feared, they need to be embraced so you can add excitement to your life and change the outcome of your life.

And then come back and tell us all about it.

Thanks for reading,

Sarah Butland

PS: This fantasy story can be downloaded for free today for your Kindle at:

Blood Day : the Short Story

Writers Federation of New Brunswick award winning short story for the children/ young adult category, Blood Day was created out of a looming deadline, a bit of encouragement and dedication to writing a story.

I've always been told we all bleed red, take breaths, and die if poisoned so I often wondered why I wasn't dead yet.
In this glimpse of the life of someone who just isn't what the books say she should be, we try to understand what it means to be human, a person and fit in with the expectations that surround us.

Blood Day contains more science fiction than is to be expected from Sarah Butland, the mystery of a world we don't know is strong enough to make this a brilliant read.

Wednesday 26 March 2014

Interview With Author R.G. Triplett

Today, author R.G. Triplett stops by for a chat, and to give a glimpse of his new fantasy novel, The Great Darkening.

Interview with R.G. Triplett

Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

I think I would call myself an artist at heart. The way I cook, the way I write, the way I communicate and make music and tell stories - even the way I smoke a cigar and savor a good bourbon - always comes with the motivation to discover or uncover a new aspect of beauty. In each moment, with whatever medium I have access to - whether it be horses, or holy scriptures, or hyperbole - beauty is what I hope to find, and frequently what I hope to create. Also, I would call myself a bit of an epic nerd. I love stories with layers of history and allegory. 
I may or may not have won a few Fantasy Football championships in my day and I currently have a garden going in the backyard that happens to have a very skewed vegetable to weed ratio. 

You've recently released a fantasy novel, The Great Darkening. Can you tell us a bit about the book?

The Great Darkening is what I would call an epic allegory, where we follow not just the hero in the story
and the surrounding cast of supporting characters, but we also follow the greater story of the changing world they are set in. Their world is in the midst of losing its only source of light, and because of that, the citizens are in the midst of losing their last hope for life as they know it. Hidden in the layers of myth and magic and battles and beauty is a bigger tale of becoming that I am so excited for the readers to discover.

As a writer of fantasy, what appeals to you most about that genre?

I love the layers of myth. Probably one of my most favourite works of fantasy is Tolkien’s Silmarillion. All of its layers of history and culture shape both the story and the world that it finds itself in. 
I can't help but get a bit lost in the imagining and in the reflection. One of the most compelling things about this genre is that it offers the opportunity to see yourself or your situations mirrored in the lives of the characters. I think I somehow walk away from these types of tales knowing that both their story and my story still go on.

Can you tell us about your writing process?  Where do your ideas originate?  Do you have a certain writing routine?

I love to create in community, I love to pray and dream out loud—I process life better with people, and I think I create better with people too. But when I sit down to my Mac Book, and I put on a few epic soundtracks to listen to... sometimes the story just finds me. 
In the nine months that it took to write TGD, there was not a single day of writer’s block. I honestly feel the pleasure of God when I write.

What is your greatest challenge as a writer?

My greatest challenge is probably is wrestling through the inconsistencies, and coming to the realization that some of my "brilliant" ideas might not be so... well thought out.

What sort of research did you do for The Great Darkening?

My biggest research had to do with naming characters and places within the world of Aiénor. I want names to have meaning—not just to sound good, but to have that extra layer of believability and depth to them. 
So I researched etymology, naming places and people groups based on the inspirations for their cultures. I am not an expert in language at all, but I had fun learning and diving into the different languages and people groups.

When you’re not writing, what do you do for fun? Do you have any hobbies?

I love having adventures with my kiddos, and if I had my way, I would be around horses all day every day.

Who has inspired you as an author?

C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, John Eldredge, Calvin Miller, Lev Grossman, Eugene Peterson and Rob Bell. Those poets right there have been HUGE inspirations for my heart.

What’s next for you?

Well, as we speak, I am 50,000 words into book two of the trilogy! I can’t wait to bring the next leg in this epic journey to everyone who has become involved in the story of Haven.

The Great Darkening

When the great burning tree of Haven begins to die, leaving the otherwise unlit world of Aiénor in a state of ever-growing darkness, a young man sets upon a quest to discover a new source of light before the unknown evils lurking in the shadows unleash their fury upon the unsuspecting world.

Fear strikes the citizens of Haven at the diminishing of their holy tree, and they determine that the only way to fend off the impending dark is to set about making their own light. There are plenty of trees in the forests of Aiénor to burn. But what happens when the timber has been consumed and the great tree has failed? 

Could it be that one will emerge who will uncover the prophecies of old and seek the promised light?

You can find out more about the author and his book at his website:

The Facebook Page:

The Great Darkening is available at Amazon:

Sunday 23 March 2014

Dream A New World

Here's a quick bit of fiction for you today...

Dream A New World

Tick. Tick. Tick.
She heard the sound of the clock long before the darkness lifted and the golden light let her see again. Then came the familiar, if eerie, creak of the gates as they opened wide, beckoning her forward.
She sighed, gazing once more at the beautiful and peculiar sight that unraveled in front of her. The clock tower stood tall, in the middle of a sea, silhouetted by a golden sunset, while a gondola sailed the clouds above. The boatman shouted down to her, but his words were lost in the rush of wind.
The sky coloured itself a turquoise hue, lit by a shimmering amber radiance. The light danced around, and through, the clock tower, while reflections of the surrounding vista shifted constantly. The soft lap of waves reached her ears, mixed with the cry of invisible birds, and she tasted salt on her lips.
She stood here a thousand times before, or maybe it was only once for a thousand lifetimes; she couldn't be certain anymore. She wondered why she came, why these dreams drew her here. Perhaps a punishment, a curse? No explanations were ever given.
She sighed again as her foot stirred, restless to begin. She walked into the sea, towards the clock tower, the water creeping higher and higher with each step. Laughter sang out from the gondola, the clock chimed midnight, and still she walked, unable to stop until she submerged and drowned.

Monday 17 March 2014

Irish Hearts: A Poem for St. Patrick's Day

Irish Hearts

That lilting song of the harp
echoes far o’er the Irish hills.
The spirit that nothing stills,
that lilting song of the harp.

Echoes far o’er the Irish hills,
shout the pride in Irish hearts
and the brotherhood imparts
echoes far o’er the Irish hills.

Shout the pride in Irish hearts
hear it sound, beyond the sea
adrift on the wind, flying free
Shout the pride in Irish hearts

Hear it sound, beyond the sea
a tender tune, a haunting voice
and those that hear, will rejoice.
Hear it sound, beyond the sea

A tender tune, a haunting voice,
that lilting song, of the harp.
Music with an ache so sharp,
a tender tune, a haunting voice.

That lilting song of the harp
echoes far o’er the Irish hills.
The spirit that nothing stills,
that lilting song of the harp.

Sunday 2 March 2014

Book Spotlight: Haven of Dante: The Staff of Moshe

I have a delightful treat  for you today, with book spotlight of the YA fantasy novel Haven of Dante: The Staff of Moshe. Enjoy.

Haven of Dante: The Staff of Moshe by Leonardo Ramirez

Haven Irena Dante, seventeen, struggles with a dysfunctional family. Her workaholic father is never there, but his absence is filled by a loving mother harboring the secret and mysterious past of their family. The Dantes are inheritors of a centuries old legacy stretching back to Dante Alighieri himself. They fight to contain the nine circles of hell described in the classic literature "Dante's Inferno."
Today, the nine circles have infiltrated the world at every level, operating as a secret society known as "The Aristocracy." The only thing stopping The Aristocracy from world domination is the Dante family line.

And now its Haven's turn to carry that torch.

Combining literary fiction with fantasy, this action-packed young adult adventure races through dimensions of paranormal, science fiction, and the supernatural.

Available on Amazon:

Author Bio:

Leonardo Ramirez is a husband, a father, a Karate instructor with a 3rd degree black belt, and a writer. His first graphic novel, Haven, (reviewed here) is a supernatural Young Adult story centered on an ancient war between the Dante family and the nine circles of hell. His follow up is a self-published children’s Steampunk book called The Jupiter Chronicles: The Secret of the Great Red Spot. It follows the adventure of two children as they are transported to the steam-powered cities of Jupiter, find their long-lost father, stop an attack from Mars, and witness the birth of Steampunk.
"My heart and motive have always been for people who are hurting. These can be kids who have had to suffer through child abuse or neglect or an absent parent which can be equally torturous as was the case in The Jupiter Chronicles. It can also be young girls who have suffered an assault like Haven did in Haven of Dante. Young or old it doesn’t matter. Those are the kids and adults I want to speak to because I’ve been there."
It’s not just Science Fiction.
It’s Science Fiction for the Human Condition.

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