Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Across Great Divides by Monique Roy

Across Great Divides
By Monique Roy
Genre: Historical Fiction

Across Great Divides is a timeless story of the upheavals of war, the power of family, and the resiliency of human spirit, centered in one of the darkest periods in history. When Hitler came to power in 1933, one Jewish family refused to be destroyed and defied the Nazis only to come up against another struggle—confronting apartheid in South Africa.
Across Great Divides chronicles Eva and Inge, two identical twin sisters growing up in Nazi Germany. As Jews, life becomes increasingly difficult for them and their family under the oppressive and anti-Semitic laws of the Nazis. Then, after witnessing the horrors of Kristallnacht, they realize they must leave their beloved homeland if they hope to survive.
Unsure of where to go, they travel to Antwerp, Belgium, and then on to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, chasing the diamond trade in hopes of finding work for their father, a diamond jeweler. Finally, they find a home for themselves in the beautiful country of South Africa and begin to settle down.
But just as things begin to feel safe, their new home becomes caught up in its own battles of bigotry and hate under the National Party’s demand for an apartheid South Africa. Eva and Inge wonder if they will ever be allowed to live in peace, though they cling to the hope for a better day when there will be “an understanding of the past, compassion for all humanity, and …hope and courage to move forward across great divides.”

About the Author
Monique loves writing that transports her to another time or place. Her passion for writing began as a young girl while penning stories in a journal. Now she looks forward to deepening her passion by creating many unique stories that do nothing less than intrigue her readers.
Monique holds a degree in journalism from Southern Methodist University in Dallas and is the author of a children’s book Once Upon a Time in Venice. She is working toward completing her next novel, which is also a historical fiction story that takes place during World War II and present day England.
Monique works for a large software company as a senior marketing communications specialist. In her free time, she loves to travel, play tennis, pursue her passion for writing, and read historical fiction. In 2008, she was chosen by the American Jewish Committee's ACCESS program to travel to Berlin, Germany, on the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht, to explore German and Israeli relations along with 20 other Jewish professionals from across the U.S.
Monique was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and her grandparents were European Jews who fled their home as Hitler rose to power. It’s their story that inspired her to write Across Great Divides.
You can view Monique’s website at www.monique-roy.com.



Daily Ten-Minute Writing Prompt

Write every day. Even if it's just a little bit.
The rules are simple. Set your timer for ten minutes. Begin to write and include the prompt somewhere in your mini story. The word he or she can be changed to reflect whatever gender you want to use. Optional: Share your writing prompt in the comment section. 
Today's prompt is:
The office staff bolted toward the door.



Blackstone Resorts is a southern plantation built in the 1800's by the Reverend Charles Blackstone. It only opens its door to guests once every eight years. Guests soon discover they had walked into a Venus flytrap with no escape unless they repent their evil ways to the Reverend's satisfaction. The tradition continues two centuries later as eight unsuspecting guests arrive. Each resident has his or her own reason for needing a quick escape from the outside world. Tension mounts quickly as they come face to face with their worst nightmare. Will they repent their evil ways or remain at Blackstone for the rest of their lives?


Available at 


Kathy Finfrock is a lifetime California resident. She spends her day delighting others with enchanting tales of large houses and the secrets that hide behind the closed doors. And of course, you can always find me here as I'm the host of TheAtticGhost.com

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Hold Fast by Kate Carter


Holdfast
Kate Carter
Publication date: December 14th 2016
Genres: Science Fiction, Thriller, Young Adult
Once they’d do anything to keep her safe. Now they’ll do anything to kill her.
The discovery of a genetically twisted corpse on her latest stepfather’s ranch in the Badlands of Forsaken triggers a desperate and brutal race against time for eighteen-year-old con artist Ariel Tesla when her loving stepbrothers are turned into monstrous killers with a single purpose: to hunt Ariel down and destroy her.
Running for her life, the one person she can turn to for help is the last person in the galaxy she can trust, former mark Hale Carrow. She needs a ship to get off the planet, fast; he wants revenge on the girl who broke his heart.
To save the family she never thought she wanted, she’s going to have to gamble on the boy she betrayed, or no-one’s life will ever be the same.
And hers will be over.
EXCERPT:
The human body can only handle so much stress. Ariel knew how this went. If she stopped, she wouldn’t be able to start again. She’d crash, and then she’d be at the mercy of anyone or anything that came along. Despite the danger of stopping, she found her steps slowing. It wasn’t, however, the exhausted halt she battled with every step, nor the jagged, stumbling, end-of-the-line finish she yearned for. It was a graceful, taut arrest of movement, up on the balls of her feet, body quivering, nerves screaming.
The mech shed was in sight, a shade beyond comfortable sprinting distance, dead ahead. She was out in the open, visible from every angle. Flat land stretched around her, rising to bluffs ahead and to her left. She turned, poised and scanning, all exhaustion forgotten.
A full circle sweep. Nothing. She stared over at the bluffs and jumped with a punch of sudden shock when a group of ferrokirrim broke over the ridge and bounded down the slope, scattering scree. A mother and her almost full-grown cubs, she registered. Heading right for her.
They’d take her down in a second. She’d be dead a second after that. In half an hour, she’d be a memory. She wasn’t ready to be a memory. She wasn’t ready for any of this, damn it. She bent her knees as they thundered her way, all the while thinking, What, are you going to wrestle them? There was nothing on the planet of Forsaken fiercer than a mother looking out for her cubs. Ariel braced.
They ran past her.
They ran right past, giving her a wide berth. She felt the mother’s eyes flick over her, dismiss her, then urge her cubs on with a spine-ruffling grunt.
Ariel straightened slowly, staring after them. They were running away from something.
What in hell would scare off a mother ferrokirrim?
A rock bounced down the scree slope.
Ariel counted the strikes. Three, then silence again. She did not want to turn and see what had knocked it loose. She didn’t have a choice. She turned.

Author Bio:
Kate Carter writes science fiction and fantasy, and lives in the UK. You can stay up to date with Kate's books through her Amazon author page.

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Daily Ten-Minute Writing Prompt

Write every day. Even if it's just a little bit.
The rules are simple. Set your timer for ten minutes. Begin to write and include the prompt somewhere in your mini story. The word he or she can be changed to reflect whatever gender you want to use. Optional: Share your writing prompt in the comment section. 
Today's prompt is:
I need a drink.


The Shaman's Carving by Jordan Altman

Genre: Fantasy


Book Blurb: Elia is tired of her life as a peasant, the young girl seeks adventure and fame. With her best friend, the Baron’s son, in tow, the children enter the forbidden ruins where a gift of magic awaits to be discovered. For hidden deep in the mysterious ancient city sits a totem, a magical carving that will change the lives of all those within the Barony of Riverhill forever. Yet, stalking the children lurks a creature with a dark purpose. A choice lays before Elia, to let sleeping dogs lie or to pursue the mystic arts of becoming a wizard in Shamanism.
Available at Amazon.


About the author: Jordan Altman is a Geologist who has worked from the Land of the Midnight Sun to the Canadian Shield. Recently taking up creative writing, his adventures within reality are now being matched by those of his imagination.
Follow on Facebook and Twitter

Monday, February 20, 2017

Daily Ten-Minute Writing Prompt

Write every day. Even if it's just a little bit.
The rules are simple. Set your timer for ten minutes. Begin to write and include the prompt somewhere in your mini story. The word he or she can be changed to reflect whatever gender you want to use. Optional: Share your writing prompt in the comment section. 
Today's prompt is:
Have you got any spare change?


The Shaman's Carving by Jordan Altman

Genre: Fantasy


Book Blurb: Elia is tired of her life as a peasant, the young girl seeks adventure and fame. With her best friend, the Baron’s son, in tow, the children enter the forbidden ruins where a gift of magic awaits to be discovered. For hidden deep in the mysterious ancient city sits a totem, a magical carving that will change the lives of all those within the Barony of Riverhill forever. Yet, stalking the children lurks a creature with a dark purpose. A choice lays before Elia, to let sleeping dogs lie or to pursue the mystic arts of becoming a wizard in Shamanism.
Available at Amazon.


About the author: Jordan Altman is a Geologist who has worked from the Land of the Midnight Sun to the Canadian Shield. Recently taking up creative writing, his adventures within reality are now being matched by those of his imagination.
Follow on Facebook and Twitter

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Daily Ten-Minute Writing Prompt

Write every day. Even if it's just a little bit.
The rules are simple. Set your timer for ten minutes. Begin to write and include the prompt somewhere in your mini story. The word he or she can be changed to reflect whatever gender you want to use. Optional: Share your writing prompt in the comment section. 
Today's prompt is:
The glass top shattered.


The Shaman's Carving by Jordan Altman

Genre: Fantasy


Book Blurb: Elia is tired of her life as a peasant, the young girl seeks adventure and fame. With her best friend, the Baron’s son, in tow, the children enter the forbidden ruins where a gift of magic awaits to be discovered. For hidden deep in the mysterious ancient city sits a totem, a magical carving that will change the lives of all those within the Barony of Riverhill forever. Yet, stalking the children lurks a creature with a dark purpose. A choice lays before Elia, to let sleeping dogs lie or to pursue the mystic arts of becoming a wizard in Shamanism.
Available at Amazon.


About the author: Jordan Altman is a Geologist who has worked from the Land of the Midnight Sun to the Canadian Shield. Recently taking up creative writing, his adventures within reality are now being matched by those of his imagination.
Follow on Facebook and Twitter

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Smashwords Promo Code For House of Redemption


Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Horror

Each guest at the private southern resort has his or her own reason for needing a quick escape from the outside world. Tensions mount quickly as, one-by-one, they come face to face with their worst nightmare. Will they repent their sin or remain at Blackstone forever? Available at Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Itunes, and Amazon.

Use Promo Code ZB89Z at Smashwords for 40% off price. (promotional price $1.79 Smashwords only) Coupon expires March 18, 2017

Daily Ten-Minute Writing Prompt

Write every day. Even if it's just a little bit.
The rules are simple. Set your timer for ten minutes. Begin to write and include the prompt somewhere in your mini story. The word he or she can be changed to reflect whatever gender you want to use. Optional: Share your writing prompt in the comment section. 
Today's prompt is:
She stood in the center of the road.


The Shaman's Carving by Jordan Altman

Genre: Fantasy


Book Blurb: Elia is tired of her life as a peasant, the young girl seeks adventure and fame. With her best friend, the Baron’s son, in tow, the children enter the forbidden ruins where a gift of magic awaits to be discovered. For hidden deep in the mysterious ancient city sits a totem, a magical carving that will change the lives of all those within the Barony of Riverhill forever. Yet, stalking the children lurks a creature with a dark purpose. A choice lays before Elia, to let sleeping dogs lie or to pursue the mystic arts of becoming a wizard in Shamanism.
Available at Amazon.


About the author: Jordan Altman is a Geologist who has worked from the Land of the Midnight Sun to the Canadian Shield. Recently taking up creative writing, his adventures within reality are now being matched by those of his imagination.
Follow on Facebook and Twitter

Friday, February 17, 2017

My Delicate Destruction Jillian Ashe


My Delicate Destruction
Jillian Ashe
(Wolfegang #1)
Publication date: July 26th 2016
Genres: Adventure, New Adult, Science Fiction
They Promised her Hope…
My name is Katerina Anderson. In 2016, a drug called Hope was created. Administered during suspended animation, the drug was supposed to cure the cancer my twin brother and I had. When an earthquake leveled Los Angeles, we were presumed dead.
Forgotten, we slept.
The day I woke up, I realized everything had changed. My brother was missing, and everyone else I knew was dead. I booked passage on a ship to find Kris. The government thinks I’m a criminal and the cure did more than just cure my cancer. My brother is the only one who might have the answers I need, but that drug and all its false hope set me on a path I’m not sure I can follow.
Will I find my twin and learn exactly what they did to me before it’s too late?
*Get My Delicate Destruction for FREE for a limited time only!*
More books in the series:
EXCERPT:
I sat in the interrogation room, waiting. I was annoyed. If they were arresting me for the car, then why was I in an interrogation room? Did they need me to confess? It all seemed a little strange. There had to be some sort of retinal scan that threw up some red flags on my lack of identification if I wasn’t there for the whole car thing.
I tried not to panic. I could totally get out of this. All I had to do was sweet talk them into thinking I was a dumb girl who lost her license…or whatever I was supposed to have.
I waited for almost two hours before Officer Smith came in to do the preemptive paperwork. When he was done, he paged his partner, Officer Cromwell.
Officer Cromwell was the big, burly guy who had knocked me out. One of his arms was the size of my torso and he could probably tear me in two.
“We want to know what connection you have with Captain Chase Wolfe.” His voice was so deep it made the air around him vibrate. I was impressed despite my automatic hatred for him.
Wolfe was the last thing I expected them to ask me about. They went to all that work to arrest me, but for none of the things I was actually guilty of. They wanted to know about the captain instead. My nerves went haywire, surely trying to warn me; the basic survival instinct kicking into overdrive.
I knew nothing about this captain. At least if it was something I’d done I could answer their questions. “Well, I booked passage with him,” I replied. “I’ve never met him prior to today.”
“You’re sure?” the smaller one asked as he walked in, Smith.
“Positive. I actually have no idea why I’m here.” My hands felt constricted in the cuffs, and they jangled unpleasantly when I moved.
Why would they hunt me down for information on this guy? I was on that ship for barely an hour. Things must be worse for the Wolfegang then I’d originally thought. The authorities wanted them bad.
“You have no identification, you aren’t in the system, and you recently went to the bank to exchange a large amount of cash for credits,” Cromwell stated. “It’s not possible to have nothing to identify you. This means you had it wiped somehow, most likely for criminal reasons. Oh, and you stole a car. Anything else I’m forgetting?”
Well, shit. They did know about my criminal activities, but somehow, they thought it was connected to this captain. What exactly had I gotten myself into?
He threw down a plex that showed the stolen car report, the bank transactions, and my passage receipt.
How had they gotten it all so fast?
“You deposited five thousand dollars in cash. Where did you get it?”
“My grandfather left it for me.” At least that wasn’t a lie. I didn’t know what they wanted me to tell them, but they were so convinced that I knew something. How was I going to get them to understand?
Maybe if I played this cool enough they would let me go. Though, I doubted it. Best-case scenario: I was thrown in a holding cell with a court date and no one to pay my bail. Worst-case scenario…I could only imagine what was legal for law enforcement now.
“Have you ever contacted Chase Wolfe prior to the purchase of your passage?” Smith asked me.
“No.” Another truthful answer. I was getting lucky. I was also getting annoyed. I hated roundabout questions that were just the same question reworded. I’d already told him that I hadn’t.
“But you do know a Kristopher Anderson.”
Crap, I had a bad feeling about this. “Yes.” How could they possibly connect me to him? There were probably a million Kristopher Andersons in the world.
“We arrested him a while back on assault charges and resisting arrest. Served time too.”
I didn’t say anything. I didn’t move or react in any way. He watched me, and it made me feel cagey.
“Why are you headed to the same planet that was his last known location?”
Damn, these guys were good. “Vacation.” I didn’t bother to elaborate.
Cromwell slammed his fist on the desk. I jumped about an inch off my chair. “Stop playing around! I know he’s your brother; the DNA we took when we processed you matches. Are you smuggling weapons to him? Are you working for him or Wolfe? Give me answers, damn it!” His fist left an impression in the table.


Author Bio:
My readers are what's important to me. Yes, I write for myself and the enjoyment of it, but I adore when a reader actually has a great time reading a story I slaved over. I don't write any particular genre, but I do stick to kick-ass female characters. I love writing about all types of differently strong women. My debut series is Young Adult Science Fiction. The first novella is free to see if you enjoy what I write.
I'm very involved with my fandoms, and love all things geeky and nerdy. I love connecting with my readers, so if you'd like to contact me just head over to my website :)

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Chameleon by Zoe Kalo


Chameleon
Zoe Kalo
Publication date: February 2nd 2017
Genres: Gothic, Young Adult
An isolated convent, a supernatural presence, a dark secret…
17-year-old Paloma only wanted to hold a séance to contact her dead father. She never thought she would be kicked out of school and end up in an isolated convent. Now, all she wants is to be left alone. But slowly, she develops a bond with a group of girls: kind-hearted Maria, insolent Silvy, pathological liar Adelita, and their charismatic leader Rubia.
When, yet again, Paloma holds a séance in the hope of contacting her father, she awakens an entity that has been dormant for years. And then, the body count begins. Someone doesn’t want the secret out… Are the ghost and Paloma’s suspicions real—or only part of her growing paranoia and delusions?
Are you a book reviewer?
Request a review copy here!
EXCERPT:
Madre Estela remained standing by the door. “Get a bucket and fill it with water.”
Her hypercritical eyes sliced through my self-worth as I grabbed one of the metal buckets, lifted it into the sink, and turned on the faucet. I watched, transfixed, as the water gushed like a torrent spurting from an open artery. The cold spray raised goosebumps on my arms.
Madre Estela snapped her fingers. “Move.”
As I hauled the bucket to the door, some of the water slushed over the edge and splattered to the floor.
“Add the detergent,” she said stiffly, irritated by my clumsiness.
I chose a green bottle, twisted the cap, and poured. The acrid pine smell stung my nostrils.
“Get a sponge and a brush from there. Get going. We don’t have all evening—unless you want to work in the dark.”
I gritted my teeth, but pretended not to be bothered. I suspected that the one thing that this nun couldn’t stand was indifference.
Outside, it was almost dusk. In spite of the intense screeching of the coquíes, the drum of the waterfall hit my ears. It was louder now than the last time I’d been here. How was that possible?
I felt a drop of rain. Great.
Madre Estela put one hand out, palm up. “My, my. What’s this?” She looked chagrined, and I suddenly realized why. If it rained, I would have to go inside, ruining her plans. “What are you standing there for? Start scrubbing.”
I was tempted to throw the bucket of greenish water at her face. Instead, I prayed for rain as I walked across the rose garden. Once at the gate, I glanced back at her.
“You’ll work until I come for you, understood?” she said, hands on hips in her usual stance. She pointed to one of the second-floor windows. “I’ll be watching from there.”
And that was it. She was gone.
For a moment I just stood there. If only my friends could see me now. They would never believe it.
I opened the gate and walked into the graveyard. The statue of Gabriel greeted me, its face fiercer in the dusk. The temperature must have been in the low seventies. I was glad I had my cardigan.
Suddenly, the garden lamp post lit up. I turned, startled. I wasn’t sure if it had automatically switched on or if someone, maybe Madre Estela, had done it from indoors. I glanced up at the second-floor window, expecting to find her face. I had the chilling sensation of being watched. There was nothing. The windows glowed with yellow light, a multitude of feral eyes keeping guard.
However, behind one of the ground-floor windows on the right, a figure appeared. Tall, blurred. Madre Superiora? I was sure that was her office. Yet, something about the shape of the head and the shoulders made me think of…Rubia. What was she doing in Madre Superiora’s office?
Just as abruptly as it’d appeared, the figure vanished from view.
The incident left me strangely unsettled.
Focus.
I splashed some of the water on one of the tombstones and got to work. The sound of hard bristles against stone blocked the hum of the waterfall. Almost.
Go away, damn it.
As I crouched to work on a second tombstone, doing my best not to get wet in the process, something shifted at the edge of my vision. I jumped to my feet, my heart thudding. Gabriel. Its wings had rippled with movement.
Dear God…what’s happening to me?
I rubbed my forehead and grimaced, my fingers shaking.
I felt another drop of rain. If it was going to rain, why didn’t it? The sky was playing with me, too. Mocking me.
I cursed the clouds and started scrubbing again.
I had another sensation of being watched and this time, yes, it was Madre Estela behind the window. I pretended I hadn’t seen her and tried to keep focused on the task at hand. The water had turned blackish with grime.
I don’t know how long I scrubbed. I lost track of time. But it was dark. My back and shoulders were sore and my hands stung from the harsh detergent.
Madre Estela was long gone from the window.
Half panting, I sat down on the edge of the tombstone and tossed the brush aside in disgust. I looked at the statue again, but it was motionless. I turned to the windows again, my eyes slowly moving from one to the other.
From one to the other.
Expecting to see the face. Wanting to see it.
Nothing.
Yet, that weird sensation of being watched, again.
My gaze shifted to the woods, to the exact place where the cemetery ended and the forest started. There was a path there. Narrow, obscured by the trees. For a long moment I sat, mesmerized. Then I stood up and began to approach it. The breeze picked up as I got closer, carrying with it the cool, slightly pungent smell of the waterfall.
I stopped at the very edge, the darkness enveloping me, the dampness seeping through my clothes.
The wind sighed, rustling the leaves and fluttering my hair.
Icy breath, on the back of my neck.
I’m in here… a voice whispered from the shadows.
I spun around in terror.
Then I hit something hard.

Author Bio:
A certified bookworm and ailurophile, Zoe Kalo has always been obsessed with books and reading. Reading led to writing—compulsively. No surprise that at 16, she wrote her first novel, which her classmates read and passed around secretly. The pleasure of writing and sharing her fantasy worlds has stayed with her, so now she wants to pass her stories to you with no secrecy—but with lots of mystery. She lives amongst cats and books in Belgium, and is the author of the Cult of the Cat young adult fantasy series and the Retribution novella series for adults.
Sign up for her newsletter at www.ZoeKalo.com and get her exclusive short story “Irkalla.”

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Daily Ten-Minute Writing Prompt

Write every day. Even if it's just a little bit.
The rules are simple. Set your timer for ten minutes. Begin to write and include the prompt somewhere in your mini story. The word he or she can be changed to reflect whatever gender you want to use. Optional: Share your writing prompt in the comment section. 
Today's prompt is:
The car's engine sputtered.


The Shaman's Carving by Jordan Altman

Genre: Fantasy


Book Blurb: Elia is tired of her life as a peasant, the young girl seeks adventure and fame. With her best friend, the Baron’s son, in tow, the children enter the forbidden ruins where a gift of magic awaits to be discovered. For hidden deep in the mysterious ancient city sits a totem, a magical carving that will change the lives of all those within the Barony of Riverhill forever. Yet, stalking the children lurks a creature with a dark purpose. A choice lays before Elia, to let sleeping dogs lie or to pursue the mystic arts of becoming a wizard in Shamanism.
Available at Amazon.


About the author: Jordan Altman is a Geologist who has worked from the Land of the Midnight Sun to the Canadian Shield. Recently taking up creative writing, his adventures within reality are now being matched by those of his imagination.
Follow on Facebook and Twitter

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Guest Post by Eli Freysson, Author of The War of the Usurper



















The War of the Usurper By Elí Freysson 

Genre: Space Opera 

The interstellar Realm of the Glorious Dawn has endured for eight centuries, providing stability and law in the wake of the Long Darkness. Now the assassination of King Tunus has plunged the Realm into civil war, and through the years eleven very different people get caught up in major events.
An ageing royal guard, an opportunistic rogue, an inscrutable mystic, an ambitious mercenary, a weary partisan fighter... all these and more find themselves in a spot where great events must turn on their actions.

As the Realm burns, young Princess Maraka, sole rightful heir to the throne, must weather tragedy, assassins, and the pressure of being a living lynchpin for the loyalist war effort. Before her lies a monumental task: Becoming more than a mere symbol. She must become the leader her battered subjects need.
 The author is giving away 10 copies of The War of the Usurper {ebook} a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Guest Post

Inspiration.

One of the questions the people in my life ask me the most in regards to writing is “How do you get these ideas?” In a tone of some bewilderment. It’s one that leads me to wonder in turn “How do other people NOT get ideas?” and makes me step back and think about the strange phenomenon that the creative process is. The human brain is a very odd and mysterious organ, and trying to figure it out is a daunting task.

I can’t speak for other writers, but I don’t really feel like I GET ideas, in the sense that they’re something that I seek out. It’s more a case of THEM coming to ME. My mind is just geared towards thinking up narratives and interesting set-ups, and this is one of the reasons I know I will never stop writing, no matter how long success continues to elude me: The ideas never stop coming. I do enjoy refining them and turning them into an entire novel, but I also just need to get them out of my head for the sake of peace.

Given that I was a bookworm as soon as I learned to read, I don’t know if I’ve ever not spun stories in my head, but of course it took a long time before I started actually trying to write, and more time still before I developed the discipline, patience, and skill to do it properly. But I was always creating scenes and characters in my head.

There is no one thing that I seek inspiration in. There is no specific time of day I sit down and think “Okay, idea time.” It can come from any direction, at any time. A work of fiction, a news story, or just something I notice in my environment; Any of these and more can set something off.

I have a lot of ideas rolling around in the back of my mind; a lot of settings and different things I could do with each one. New ideas get filed there, while I’m working on current stuff. They start as a setting without a plot or a character/scene without context, and gradually grow in detail and depth until the finished result often has little to do with the original spark.

One recent resident of that little greenhouse is a medieval fantasy setting, in which long-ago warriors were gifted great power to save the world. Now it’s centuries later, and the world is long since saved, but the warriors remain as the setting’s nobility class. With no great evil to stand against and gifts that set them above the rest of humanity, they’ve become supremely arrogant and have fallen into the petty power struggles of... well, historical nobility. I’m currently envisioning the whole thing as an ensemble piece, starring in equal measure peasants who are sick of being misruled, the corrupt nobles, and at least one noble who actually wants to live up to the glorious past, while still seeing things through a lens of privilege.

And what sparked this? A song. One I felt made a fantastic bit of soundtrack to an epic duel at the end of a mighty conflict. Two superhuman characters, going at it, in the name of old glory. Something in my mind, whatever it is that enables me to create, started adding a structure around that one scene, that one FEELING and a setting that could lead up to that moment slowly took shape.

I can’t guarantee this story will ever actually see the light of day. Some story seeds do eventually get left behind to make way for better ones. But perhaps, several years down the line, we will see a fully developed version of this little spark. And all it took was a song, heard when I was in the right state of mind.

So, what is creativity? I guess I would describe it as a certain openness; a mind that is a ready receptacle for those little sparks, and willing to turn them this way and that until finding something to do with them. Is this inborn, or does this develop from simply never giving up one’s childhood instinct of constant information absorption and interpretation? I don’t have the neuroscience degree to answer that, but boy do I love it.


Now... to any aspiring writer who happens to be reading this, I just want to say this: Keep at it. If you have stories in your soul, if little things from here and there plant seeds in your head, and there are narratives you want to weave, then keep at it. Your very first attempts won’t be great, but writing is like any other skill. It takes practice. And while my dreams of moderate success (I’m humble like that) continue to elude me, I am very glad I persevered through the early days while learning how to write. A line I read in a novel years ago has stuck with me ever since, and given me strength through my writing endeavors: If we don’t follow our passions, we die slowly.


About the Author in his own words:
I was born in Akureyri in northern Iceland in 1982. Aside from a brief spell spent in Norway in my very early childhood I have spent my whole life here, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I was diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum in my teens, which explains a whole lot and makes me just eccentric enough to be a writer. I graduated high school in 2004, after which I dove into my first attempt at a proper fantasy novel. I finished the first draft a year later, but it took me until 2011 to get it published. I followed with a book a year for the next four years, before deciding to move into the English-language market. I translated three of my fantasy novels into English and self-published on Amazon, and then started writing original material in English. And here we are. My hobbies include swimming, weight-lifting, video games, tabletop games with my friends, nature walks, and wasting time on Youtube.

Follow this author at  FaceBook Twitter Author Webpage

Daily Ten-Minute Writing Prompt

Write every day. Even if it's just a little bit.
The rules are simple. Set your timer for ten minutes. Begin to write and include the prompt somewhere in your mini story. The word he or she can be changed to reflect whatever gender you want to use. Optional: Share your writing prompt in the comment section. 
Today's prompt is:
The moving van is out front.


The Shaman's Carving by Jordan Altman

Genre: Fantasy


Book Blurb: Elia is tired of her life as a peasant, the young girl seeks adventure and fame. With her best friend, the Baron’s son, in tow, the children enter the forbidden ruins where a gift of magic awaits to be discovered. For hidden deep in the mysterious ancient city sits a totem, a magical carving that will change the lives of all those within the Barony of Riverhill forever. Yet, stalking the children lurks a creature with a dark purpose. A choice lays before Elia, to let sleeping dogs lie or to pursue the mystic arts of becoming a wizard in Shamanism.
Available at Amazon.


About the author: Jordan Altman is a Geologist who has worked from the Land of the Midnight Sun to the Canadian Shield. Recently taking up creative writing, his adventures within reality are now being matched by those of his imagination.
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