Saturday, February 28, 2015

Snow Days Are Good For...

"And Whereas snow, in many forms, is thought to impede the progress of the nation, it has here been proved as a catalyst for literary productivity...."
Such might run a resolution in recognition of snow-days bringing on the writing bug. Thursday, quite snowed in and unwilling to spend very long out in the cold after an icy walk, I holed myself upstairs with a fast-cooling cup of tea (or three) and finished the first draft of The Fox Went Out. I finished the draft only 590-some words past the 15,000 limit laid out by Narrative: a number easily cut in editing rounds. I wasted little time in printing the thing off and beginning first round edits. I am able to come to you tonight with first round edits also complete. If you are struggling to finish a first draft, may I suggest calling upon the weather man and ordering up snow? And if the temperature rises and you find the snow quickly melting, I might also suggest establishing a gravel-less driveway which will naturally provide you a quagmire during the thaw. It is currently quite the ordeal for me to even make it to the road to check the mail. Effective for keeping the distracted writer indoors and working, oui? I hope to type up my changes over what remains of the weekend and send The Fox Went Out to a couple trusted critics. My write-along (the wingman of writing-sprees who will read what you write as you write it and beg for more) this time was Clara Diane Thompson, fellow author of Five Glass Slippers. Clara did her part valiantly and howled over the ending of the story which made me feel penitent but Not. You know the feeling, perhaps? I am excited to receive feedback from the betas and take it through Editing Round Two so that I can get it away to Narrative's contest and its fate.

Reading has picked up. I'm in the throes of a beastly cold. Nearly done with The Hunger Games and reading Psmith, Journalist by P.G. Wodehouse for medicine. It really does work magic. I went on a book-buying spree at the front of the week: Rachel Rossano's Honor, Flannery O'Connor's Mystery & Manners, N.D. Wilson's Notes From The Tilt-a-Whirl. I have not read anything by O'Connor. Wilson, too, is a mystery. I can hardly wait for the books to come so I can dig in. I've been in need of fresh non-fiction. Somehow I find it as inspiring as (if not more than) fiction. I've heard much of O' she is somber, dark, desperate. But I've also heard of the "terrible speed of mercy" that hurtles through her work and the Christian worldview through which her fictional worlds were created. So I am interested to read this collection of essays listed in The Rabbit Room as essential reading for modern readers and writers. I will be sure to let you know how I like it.And N.D. Wilson's word-crafting has enraptured me from afar since I first saw the book-trailer for his Boys of Blur.

What are you reading?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Cover Reveal: Pendragon's Heir

You know how much I enjoy promoting my writing friends' books when they come out? There's something so satisfying about talking up things written by people I appreciate and respect. So I'm thrilled today to help reveal the cover of Suzannah Rowntree's  epic fantasy, Pendragon's Heir, coming to shelves near you March 26, 2015.

Blanche Pendragon enjoys her undemanding life as the ward of an eccentric nobleman in 1900 England. It's been years since she even wondered what happened to her long lost parents, but then a gift on the night of her eighteenth birthday reveals a heritage more dangerous and awe-inspiring than she ever dreamed of—or wanted. Soon Blanche is flung into a world of wayfaring immortals, daring knights, and deadly combats, with a murderous witch-queen on her trail and the future of a kingdom at stake. As the legendary King Arthur Pendragon and his warriors face enemies without and treachery within, Blanche discovers a secret that could destroy the whole realm of Logres. Even if the kingdom could be saved, is she the one to do it? Or is someone else the Pendragon's Heir?
If you're interested in this (wonderful-sounding) book, pray add it on Goodreads. I know I am going to do it right now, and cannot wait to read this novel from a writing-blogger whom I deeply respect! And if you're interested in a fun behind-the-scenes post about how Suzannah came to choose this cover, head to Vintage Novels and read up on it, plus get a sneak-peek at the illustrations! Ciao.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wordplay Wednesday: Week 2

Hello to you all and happy Wednesday! 

Last week I introduced a new project called Wordplay Wednesday which many of you enjoyed. All that is required of participates is that you share one quote from your past week's work, and hashtag if on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook with #inkpenauthoress and #wordplaywednesday so that everyone else can see your work too!  My own is below:

So sorry to have such a brief and businesslike post on here, but I'm up to my ears in trying not to read The Hunger Games (I have never met a more aggravating and yet impossible-to-put-down book) and to instead finish the first draft of The Fox Went Out. We are looking at getting even more snow and if we do and work is, in fact, snowed out, I shall aim to finish Round One this week. Wish me luck!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Anon, Sir, Anon: I'll Sign My Name To It

DID you know that sometimes people fancy copies of books with a little scrawl inside them called an "autograph?" And sometimes people fancy them even more if they are acquainted with the author of said book. Well folks, I am here to tell you that autographed copies of Anon, Sir, Anon are now available for purchase from The Bookery! If you are interested in getting your copy of this charming mystery and would like an autographed version, send an email to and I will be in touch with you. Cheers! I look forward to doing business with you, my dear readers.

And if you so choose to spread the word via sharing this link on Twitter or Facebook, you're a more than decent creature and I'd like to shake your hand.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Fox Went Out: an explanation

For weeks I have been hinting around about a short story which I call The Fox Went Out. Some of you like Clara Diane Thompson and the Anne-Girl have gotten sneak peeks at it while the rest of you are sitting back thinking,
"Good grief, another plot idea? Whatever happened to Scotch'd the Snakes?"
I'm here to explain in full about this dilemma and my current writing project. A while ago, I received an email from my uncle about the Narrative Winter 2015 Story Contest. I'm not generally an enormous fan of contests because one is required to put much effort into a thing one will not assuredly win. In fact, most times the effort one puts out is not quite worth the possibility of winning, especially if said contest requires an entry fee. But with a first-place prize of $2500 at stake, I figured it could not hurt to enter Narrative's contest. Therefore, I set out to practice writing in a style and on a subject that is entirely new to me. I like playing with different voices and emotions to keep things fresh. And since the deadline of March 31 approaches and I still have not finished the first draft, I have exiled any idea of continuing my mystery until I have finished The Fox Went Out. You see how deadlines make the world go round?
So what the crumbs is this story?
Allow me to explain...

Dear God, I prayed. Give me a girl. He wants a boy, but this is my child. Give me a girl, if You love me at all. That didn’t seem quite fair, suggesting the Lord God didn’t love me, but I thought He’d see the heart of it. See that I couldn’t give John O’Grady a son. A girl, Lord, I repeated, just in case He hadn’t been listening.

Anise Clare is a young woman who, for as long as she can remember, has been denied the pleasure of owning herself. When her father assigns her to be the wife of backwoodsman, John O'Grady, Anise declares passive-aggressive war on her new husband, a man who knows nothing of honor but keeping his word to marry Anise and to destroy anyone who gets in the way of his will.
Unknown to Anise, she has an admirer in the Fox: a being about whom legend swirls as thick as smoke in a meat-house. Is he man or a creature? Legend or reality? Terrifying spirit or misunderstood human? Anise cannot know the Fox has set his heart upon having the Gray Goose and her Duckling...until the night John beats her and the Fox spirits she and her daughter away to his haunt: a new kind of ownership, but an ownership all the same. And here, with one man vowing to destroy and another vowing to keep, is the end of all things familiar for the graceful, strong-hearted woman whom the Fox loved.

I am excited for this story. It is written in style I have never used and told in a way that crawls up the backbone and puts a cold hand down the neck. Part fairy-tale, part folk-tale, part backwoods tradition, The Fox Went Out was inspired by the song of the same name and a real fox that stood in our road and stared me down. I do not expect to win any place in the Narrative contest with this story but have enjoyed playing with my words in a new way. It is a story of love, forgiveness, terror, and dignity. I am happy to have spent the last month with the Fox, Anise, John O'Grady, and Duckling. If the story does not win a place in the contest, I might be prevailed upon to offer it to my readers here, in a serial format. But for now, I must away to peck at the first draft and try to make it finish. Merry writing to you all!
The Fox watched her for three years, craned his neck, caught the moon, and laughed...She smelled of stubbornness and wood-fires, wildwood honey and sadness. Her small one smelled of protection...

Thursday, February 19, 2015

February's Chatterbox: Passing the Time

"February is merely as long as is needed to pass the time until March."
-Dr. J.R. Stockton
One of these days I will utilize Blogger's "schedule a post" feature and actually get Chatterbox out on time. The 19th of the month is late, even for the Queen of Tardy Posts herself. While I am already writing up one post, perhaps I will schedule March's Chatterbox. I think it is a fine idea. And then I shall feel clever when March 1st rolls around and the post shows up on your dashboards. It struck me last month that I have quite a new frequent-viewers/followers of The Inkpen Authoress blog who were unfamiliar with the general goal of Chatterbox. I realize now that including a concise description of the project in every edition might be more helpful that not. My apologies to newcomers last round: I've mended my ways.


I have become notorious for surprising people with topics one would not generally think of in relation to a given month. For instance, I am sure you are expecting "romance" as the topic of February. I am an Expectations Disappointer. "But that is a friendly name...used only by those who don't know me well." (Name the quote and unending glory is yours) Last February I chose "criticism" for the assignment. This month, hearkening to the quote at the front of the post, I choose:

Passing the Time

Kudos in advance to those of you who manage to make a scene of creative dialogue! To be fair and not judge me too harshly for assigning this topic, isn't passing the time the thing for which chit-chat and small-talk was created? So don't roll your eyes and heave a hearty sigh. Get your pens out and get you to writing, Lizzy!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wordplay Wednesday: Join the Fun!

Because I am frequently home on Wednesdays and want to start something we can all look forward to and keep up with and join in together on...I bring to you a new project:


The idea of this project is that every Wednesday, you people and I will share one favorite/important/beautiful/profound quote from our last week's work. I will likely hand-write mine, and it breaks up the Times New Roman text with which I work the rest of the time. I will work mainly off of Instagram for this project but if you don't have an account, just hashtag yours on Twitter or Facebook with #wordplaywednesday and #inkpenauthoress so I'll be sure to see it! If you'd like to join, do so at any point on Wednesday. For me, this week, I am sharing with you this quote from The Fox Went Out, which WIP you will hear more about in the future, I promise. It isn't a new novel, just a long short story...if you know what I mean.

Off with you! I can't wait to see all the quoteables you share with us on Wednesdays from here on out. Cheers and a productive writing day to you all!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Fancy Flies Like Snow

Sometimes when it snows, my fancy flies....

When I told them I want to be more like the snow, they called me foolish.
They—the watchers, worriers, waiters, hurriers—had never stopped to notice the things I did. I couldn't blame them. If they had not seen the things I had, snow was nothing but a blocker of cars, a jammer of traffic, a danger, a distresser, a thing that kept one from going out and another from coming in. Snow was a biter, nipper, spoiler, killer. All nasty, ugly names for a crushingly beautiful thing.
To one who will not go at a snow-pace, snow is foolishness. To one who never slows down, the secret truth of it is hidden: that snow is honest; that it is an artist; that it tells stories.
So when I said that I want to be more like snow, they laughed and rushed on their senseless way, fretting against peaceful things. No matter.
For one day they will hear my honesty, taste integrity that crunches white and crystalline between the teeth, and see the snow. It will blind them.
One day they will find themselves surrounded with a sudden beauty, their barrenness covered by a loving word, their sere fields sifted over with quiet art made in the wing-ends of life. Their curtailed words and fell mood will be eased by the same innocence they despised. Beauty, love, art, thrown with a liberal hand to the ones who never deserve it. They will see the snow. It will chill them.
One day they will sit, bound by the spell of my fables. Like bird-tracks, fox-feet, deer-steps, I will show them wonders. I will tell of things their hearts have muttered and spin for them webs of words. The tales to come and the stories past, the dreams they dare not dream, the hopes they knew were dead. And things will awaken, thrum and pierce in their hearts for the Story their being craves.

And I will be snow, and I will gentle them.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Inkpen Belle 2015

If I've been MIA on the blog this week, there is sort of a reason why. And it has to do with Valentine's Day. Now for heaven's sake, don't be ridiculous. I did not get engaged or anything of the sort. I did, however, get to spend what turned out to be Friday through Monday morning with Meghan Gorecki, author of sweet historical-romance, God's Will! Meghan, who many of you will know as my "Watson," flew down from the lovely city of Pittsburgh to spend Valentine's Day weekend with me. I dragged her to Williamsburg a'course, and showed her round my favorite small towns, dragged her to my dream farm which I discovered on Wednesday, hosted a no-couples Valentine's Day party, ate obscene amounts of cheesecake, chocolate, and wonderfulness, went to see Mockingjay (again) and braved the beastly cold. Virginia is never this cold. Virginia has seen wind-chill temps below zero over the weekend. Though we never got to sit down at that coffee shop and write (I blame too much other fun), we had delightful time friends-wise. I am blessed to have gotten to meet with several bloggings friends over the years, and this "reunion" of the Inkpen Authoress and the Northern Belle was just as sweet as I had hoped. Meghan is delightful, and I'm going to be a brat now and tell you to off and buy a copy of God's Will to oblige me. All kidding aside, if you ever get a chance to meet a blogging friend in real life, please do. It is a precious thing to be able to attach real life experiences to someone who was only a profile picture. <3

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Positive Jealousy: When Comparison Helps

You've heard it said that comparison is the thief of joy. In many ways, I feel that I could look in the corners of the Antipodes and not find a truer saying. When I give in to comparing my life to other peoples' lives, my body type to that of other women, my income to others' income, my relationship status to someone else's, my indie-publishing to that blogging-friend's big-publisher book contract, the joy ebbs like a low-tide. But there is one way in which comparison has served as a catalyst for inspiration. See, the amusing burden of being a reader and a writer is this: one spends half one's time thinking:
"Golly, what a phrase. Wish I'd thought of it first."
My most common thought while reading is not, "Oh, what a lovely book! I'd like to read more like it." Rather, it's much more of a, "What a killing plot. I'd like to write something like this in my genre before anyone else does." I am only halfway in jest. My best ideas are always already in the works. Isn't that terrible? Two days before hearing about Liam Nisson's film, Non-Stop, I said to a friend while crossing a downtown city street:
"You know what'd make a great mystery? A murderer committing his crimes on a plane."
Well thank you, Hollywood, for stealing my thunder. So although I still appreciate a good book for a good book's sake, I try to harness that honest enjoyment and make it work for me. Wild horses may not be able to drag secrets, but they can certainly drag me a few miles before giving it up as a bad job. I have learned to use this "positive jealousy" to understand more about a given genre. I keep a list when reading mystery novels to note what tactics this author seems to be using to reveal clues, corral suspects, and work out the denouement. By this, I hope to learn how to write a better mystery novel.
Obviously I don't intend to copy any author wholesale but I see nothing wrong in learning where their road went right and benefitting from the general trailblazing spirit. What a stupid lot the pioneers would have been if they insisted on cutting their own Oregon Trail. Rather, the whole group worked off of their own and others' prior experiences, wisdom, and knowledge of the way. The ruts of their wagon-wheels can still be seen in some parts of the prairies today. That's called teamwork. Avail yourself of it.

Perhaps the best moments of this useful jealousy come to me when I am standing in the children's section of Barnes & Noble or other bookstores like it. Try as I might to be a grown-up, there is something about children's books that I find utterly irresistible. I never walk down the contemporary fiction aisle. I skip science fiction entirely. Romance? I wouldn't know where to begin with all the covers that look identical and promise hunky heroes and willowy heroines who, no matter the direness of their circumstances, always inherit a dukedom and the arrogant duke to go along with it. Of course the heiress ditches the duke in favor of a humble peasant who, after the suitably humble wedding, realizes he is a marquis in real life. Bad luck, Duke-y darling. Anyway. Groping my way to the children's section via P.G. Wodehouse, Georgette Heyer, and the mysteries, I stand strangely dry-mouthed in the presence of my childhood incarnate. The feeling that my creative and artistic breakthrough which, like the Fountain of Youth or Eldorado, must be just around the next cape or continent or end-cap, is nearly palpable. Have you never felt it? It thrums around me...
The sense that I could write The Book With No Pictures if BJ Novak hadn't done it first.
That Harv Tullet simply beat me to the fingerpaints with his Press Here.
That Lemony Snicket's wit is only my own, rather scalded by life and choosing to laugh through the pain.
That A.A. Milne is my kinsman.
That Newberry Honor Medals are handed out like gold stars for participation.
Of course I soon realize that success is not quite as even-handed as indie publishing would have me believe. The Book With No Pictures is brilliant because BJ Novak did the nearly-impossible and made accessible to millions something so obvious none of us could see it. A way to teach children to adore the written word for mental pictures it can conjure: show them a good time with not a single picture by putting the adult on display and pointing out the fact for the kid's edification: "You just had a blast without asking once to see the pictures. Get it now?"
Making an obvious abstract tangible for the laymen and children among us is a terrific and talented effort. I applaud Novak and Tullet and Mo Willems and so many other authors of the children's books coming out today for their creativity in story-telling, art, and an understanding of children. Their work reminds me that there are authors as talented and inspiring as Margaret Wise Brown, or Margaret and H.A. Rey, or Ludwig Bemelmens, or Kay Thompson in the present day. And more to come. We are still going strong, we race of authors. Not all of us will gain a place in the hearts of hundreds of thousands of children...not all of us will so impact someone's childhood that they stand in that section Barnes & Noble reliving their childhood through the dear book-faces on the shelf. But some of us will. Some of us will....and I could be one of those.
That is why I say comparison is not always the thief of joy. I am given a gift when jealous inspiration thinks, "You know, if I just keep working, I can do that too." Harness it. Follow it. Let it drag you across genres and art mediums and indie publishing and query letters and rejections and contract offers. Let it have you. Experiment. Enter contests you'll never win. Write in a tone that is unlike anything you've used before. Choose a chancey subject and write it well. Or try. Fail and try again. And again. You never know when you'll find that Eldorado. The brain has so many, many trails to blaze.

So here's to standing gape-mouthed in book stores. Here's to relentlessly pursuing creativity. Here's to blazing the trails together. And here's to applauding those who have written the literature that has affected our lives from the moment we realized what stories were. May we all try our hardest to be like them and add to the beauty of literature.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Fly Away Home's 1/2-off Sale!


It's just me here, telling you that the Fly Away Home Birthday Sale is live and has been all weekend! From now until February 14th, if you plug in the coupon code  5FHQLYHZ at checkout at the Createspace estore, Fly Away Home will be 50% off for you! Not sure if you'll like this book and want to see what other readers say? My favorite way to learn whether I might like a book or not is to ask my peers and hear their thoughts. I've found some favorite books by reading a friend's review. That being said, I've linked to some reviews below.

Amazon-users' opinions can be found here.
Readers on Goodreads think this!

What about you? Will you add your review to the mix? Remember: Createspace estore, Enter 5FHQLYHZ at checkout and cut the price in half. I know buying straight off of Amazon would be nice, but Amazon isn't too keen on major sales like this, which is why I've decided to go right through my printer's for this birthday sale. Hobbit-presents and all that jazz, right?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Someone's Birthday is Coming Up...

I have some lovely news to share with you, ducks! Over the weekend I was alerted by the editors at Rooglewood Press that Five Glass Slippers hit #1 bestseller in numerous categories in Canada, the US, and the United Kingdom! We even hit #1 in the "fairytale" category, which is a huge one. So we were told to proudly begin to let people know that we are internationally best-selling authors. I feel odd even typing that, but it is the truth. My "slipper sisters" and I have hit #1 in several countries. Surreal. If you have not got your copy of this internationally best-selling collection, by all means off to Amazon with you! 

It's nearly Valentine's Day and I am reminded that on February 14th, it will be a year ago that my debut novel, Fly Away Home, hit the market. In twelve months following, you have generously supported me by purchasing this novel (and my others), by reading it, and by reviewing it on AmazonGoodreads, and your blogs. And now, on its first birthday, I want to give back to all of you who have been so helpful in kick-starting my career! Starting this Saturday, February 7th, and going through Valentine's Day, both editions of Fly Away Home (print and e-book) will be 50% off! 

If you loved the book and want to share it with someone who hasn't read it, now's a great time to nab a copy. If you haven't read the book but have been wanting too, ditto. If you just dropped by The Inkpen Authoress for the first time and have no idea what this book is, I repeat my inquiry: will you find a better time to try it out? I think not. So by all means, please share the news and treat yourself  to a light-handed, vintage romance this Valentine's Day.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Play with me, won't you?

This evening, we will be playing a guessing game! I have finally had some time to throw my back into writing. January was pluperfect CRAZY with several acquaintances dying, my own grandmother in the hospital with possible cancer (thank God they are slowly ruling that out), a visit to North Carolina, and plain old LIFE tossed in there. But as I have said, we are playing a guessing game. I have had my finger in no less than three pies this week. I want to see if you can guess what sort of stories I'm writing. I will number the batches of pictures and include one quote and you may leave a comment with your guesses below. Commenter with the closest guess wins, and Winners get Glory! You have previously heard news of at least one of these stories. Hurrah. So here it goes:

#1: "John O'Grady is a man of his word. If, in a fit of the tempers, John says he's going to kill you, why he just does."

#2: "There is a reason Australia is fit for nothing but a penal colony. If it isn't the heat, it's the snakes. If it isn't snakes it is death by shark or mauling by koala."

#3: "Last week it’d been Mackenzie Traver, week before that Brandon Keith. All her best boys showing up after she’d been stood up. Wasn’t fair. Fellow decides he doesn’t want to marry a girl, shouldn’t pop up at the very moment she was trying--and failing--to get a life of her own."

All right! Guess away!

(And congratulations to the winners of Rooglewood Press's Five Enchanted Roses contest, among whom are our dear Hayden and Kaycee! The collections sounds absolutely intriguing. :)