Friday, April 21, 2017

The Week in Links 4/21/17: Game of Thrones, Netflix, Fahrenheit 451


Welcome to the weekly roundup of links for fellow writers and nerds.

Book Marketing and Branding
Netflix May 2017: New Arrivals And What's Leaving

Want to see your post in the next The Week in Links? Email me at audendjohnson@gmal.com. The post needs to be published between today, 5/6 and next Friday, 5/13.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Explore The Unburned Island at Your Own Risk





The entire island was on fire. Everyone disappeared. One schoolhouse survived unscathed. People believe it's now haunted. The school and the island remained abandoned for years.

One day, Kiran, En and a team of magical investigators travel to the island to banish whatever haunts the schoolhouse. It takes them no time to realize the building isn't the problem. The island is.







Visit The Unburned Island. See images that inspired the story on Pinterest.





-Excerpt-

Grass rustled. Kiran stopped. A figure headed towards her. It jerked as though it wasn’t used to its body. The head turned at impossible angles. It twitched like the broken hands of a clock. It clicked as though each step snapped a bone.

Kiran spread her feet shoulder length apart. She made sure all the lines of her body were straight so power could flow freely. She lifted two fingers and drew a level one ward symbol—a circle with a simple X in the middle.

Nothing happened.

She tried level two— an X with a line down the middle, from the sky to the ground.

Nothing.

She hit level five and her patience was growing thin. Symbols at higher levels took longer to create. Knots twisted in her wrist and side. The thing was close now. The smell was so bile she could taste it. She didn’t want to inhale and get more of that stuff in her. Kiran needed to breathe. If she wasn’t calm, the spell wouldn’t do what she wanted.

She stepped back, making sure to keep her body straight. This was taking too long.

Hopefully, level ten would work. She made the ward sign. The creature shattered.

Kiran hit the ground. She couldn’t hear the clicking of bones anymore.

Some magic had a strong recoil. Wards were dangerous. You felt the effects only after the enemy was gone. Kiran’s limbs trembled. That was about all the moving she would do for a while.

What was wrong with this place?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Spring Photos and A Story

“Spring passes and one remembers one's innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one's exuberance.
Autumn passes and one remembers one's reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one's perseverance.” -Yoko Ono



Flowers swayed as they walked by. Tree branches brushed their arms. The tall grass wound around their legs. The entire forest was alive and it wanted them.

Lyov Ness stretched his arms over his head. Sleeping all winter left his body stiff. His mind tried. The cold months trapped him in dreams full of fear and soul deep pain. This bright world released him. 


"Spring is the best," Vira Nin said, cracking her neck.

Her slim fingers danced over a purple flower. A violet ball of light rose from its center and sank into her palm. The smell of lavender chased away the lingering effects of his bad dream. More plants grew around the one Vira fed off. Lyov absorbed energy from a yellow flower. It multiplied. 


His body moaned and whined. The meal was delicious. He needed more.

"Did you have the dream again?" he asked.

Vira nodded. Her expression darkened. "Same as always. I was afraid, but I don't remember why."

Winter tortured them. Spring was their savior. Lyov felt refreshed. The forest was begging them to absorb its power. Lyov and Vira drew energy and the forest prospered. Soon bare trees grew vibrant, thick leaves. Bright flowers turned the forest floor into a rainbow. Lyov could scarcely see the ground. 


He no longer knew how many springs he saw. Vira was always beside him. Neither knew what they were, only that winter dragged them into a deep sleep. Spring woke them up. They fed off the energy in nature but didn't know for what purpose. 

"Maybe this year we'll find others like us," he said. 

Vira nodded. "We haven't visited all the overseas lands yet." 

Vira was more interested in exploring than finding their own kind. He asked her about it years ago. She clicked her tongue and said, "I have you. Why would I be lonely?"


Rushing water led them to a clearing. 



A small waterfall run into a clear pool. Vira stripped off her clothes and stepped into the water. A tree branch presented them with fruit. He and Vira didn't need to eat food but they enjoyed the taste.



Voices neared the clearing. Lyov paid them no mind as he joined Vira in the pool. The talking stopped as humans came into view-- an adult male and two children with enough similarities to be father and child. The man's face was full of pride while the children's held nothing but wonder.

They looked right through Vira and Lyov. He didn't always enjoy being invisible, but at times like these, he was glad no one could see them naked. 

The two males roamed the forest, picking fruits and plants. 

The little girl, probably the youngest, headed for Vira.

Lyov and Vira weren't invisible to everyone. This girl wasn't all human. Curious. She stood at the pool's edge. Vira handed the child a piece of her orange. Giggling, the girl took it. Vira then pulled a glowing red ball from the closest plant and made it dance around the half-human. The child's laughter made the forest shiver. 

"This is why we fight," the older man said to his son."This forest keeps our town alive." He handed the boy a leaf. "The plants taste like magic."

The boy chewed on the leaf with wide eyes. He nodded. Neither paid any attention to the little girl. 

Vira dropped the half-eaten orange into the child's hand and gently pushed her toward her family. Th girl waved and joined her father. He didn't ask how she got the fruit. Flowers brushed against her leg while branches pointed her to useful herbs. She tipped her head as though hearing nature speaking to her.  

"She's different," Vira said. "We should keep an eye on her."

Lyov nodded. The forest liked her. Maybe this girl could give them some clue about their origin and purpose. Maybe this year they could learn what those terrible dreams meant. 



Friday, April 14, 2017

The Week in Links 4/14/17: Nintendo, Thor, Carrie Fisher



Welcome to the weekly roundup of links for fantasy, sci-fi, horror readers and writer.s 

Book Marketing and Branding
How to Create Content People Will Still Remember in 5 Years’ Time

Fantasy/Horror/Sci-Fi
GUEST POST: Japanese Mythos and Fantasy by Annette Marie
17 Ways to Support Your Local Library

Nerdy 
With Thor: Ragnarok, Marvel hopes to find new, fresh stories away from Earth
Nintendo 3DS Still Has A Bunch Of Games Coming This Year

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

If You Give Up, Nothing Will Change


I'm reminded of J.K. Rowling's story. She was poor while writing Harry Potter and raising a child. I'm there now, minus the child.
“I think the single biggest thing that money gave me—and obviously I came from a place where I was a single mother and it really was hand to mouth at one point. It was literally as poor as you can get in Britain without being homeless at one point. If you’ve ever been there you will never, ever take for granted that you don’t need to worry. Never.” -J.K. Rowling
I've been going back and forth about sharing this. You don't want to blog about the bad stuff. Maybe my story will help someone.

Last year, I got my second masters. Ideally, I'd like to earn a living through my business- writing, photography, cover design and being an author consultant. I know that's not realistic for the first couple of years unless I get a loan. I have about $300,000 in student loans so I don't want any more debt.

While in school, I was living off my tuition refund and using those 3 years to establish my business. I hoped by the time I graduated, I would have some income to cover my bills. When that didn't happen, I started applying for jobs. This was last summer.

I talked to a career coach and had them look at my resume, LinkedIn profile and portfolios. They gave me some tips. They were pretty confident I'd be able to find a job soon.

Almost a year later, I'm still unemployed. I'm now living on public assistance because I don't have any money. My landlord's taking me to court to collect unpaid rent.

I know it's normal for recent graduates to have trouble finding a job. We usually have to start with entry level positions and work our way up. I'm good with that. I can't even get an entry level job.

I've had my resume and cover letter looked at a number of times. I've asked friends and family members for help. They're all on the lookout for leads. They're submitting my resume. Nothing's working.

I've gone to both of my schools for help. They've looked over my resume and cover letter and gave me tips. One had a career fair which I attended. Still no job.

Through all this, I'm also publishing books, selling my photos and marketing myself in hopes that maybe, despite all logic, that route can save me. I've researched different marketing tactics. I studied book marketing in school. I'm taking marketing courses on Lynda.com.

My books and photos are selling. I'm not getting enough money to pay bills.

The path of artist isn't a whole lot of fun. People like to romanticize the starving artist. I've had to go to bed hungry a couple of times. It's unpleasant. I've gotten angry at my stomach. It wouldn't stop grumbling. Recently, I had to hand wash my clothes because I couldn't afford to go the laundry mat.

You have to focus on your goals even if it feels like you'll never reach them. Being poor, you become grateful for the little things like food that fills me and tastes good. Clean clothes. Subway fare. Being in walking distance from a park because I need to get out of my apartment but I can't take the subway. I get food stamps so I don't have to worry about what I'm going to eat.

You also start to wonder what's the point in doing anything. Nothing's working. How do you keep moving forward when there's darkness all around? It's hard and unbelievably painful. Just sitting down to write is torture sometimes. I look at it this way- there's a small chance something I'm doing will work. If I do nothing, things will stay the same.


After I got the court notice from my landlord, I didn't feel like doing anything except wallow. Instead, I forced myself to get some work done. Wallowing would be saved for later. I applied for some jobs, made my social media rounds and updated my portfolio. It was painful but I focused on my goals. Later that day, I got an email from one of the jobs I applied for. They want to meet me! Darkness may be all around you but you need to focus on your goal. Storms always pass.