#GuestDayTuesday – The Shadows We Breathe #Anthology – #SarahBrentyn

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NOTE: This post was actually supposed to run NEXT Tuesday, and somehow, I messed up the date, hence the missing link some of you will have noticed. I apologize to Sarah (who may or may not be around to visit today) and to you guys, too. This is the first time in all my blogging years I’ve done this, I think, and I do hope it will be the last! Blame it on COVID madness here at our house. Please enjoy the post, anyway, and I promise to share the link when Sarah has it, in another post!! *slinking away in embarrassment now*
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Today, I’m very happy to welcome author and friend Sarah Brentyn back to share her latest project/release. The Shadows We Breathe is an anthology Sarah compiled and edited, featuring her own work along with that of several other terrific writers. I know you’ll love learning more about this collection, so without further ado, take it away, Sarah!

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Kiwi, Junior Mint, Raisin?

Anthologies are a delightful mix of chocolates. You’ve got caramel, crisped rice crunch, fruit-filled, nougat, and nuts. But they’re all still chocolate. An assortment is great but you wouldn’t want to open your box of Cadbury and find a sea salt caramel, a chunk of pizza, a piece of sushi, and a bit of broccoli. Or maybe you would. I don’t know. But most people probably would not.

So, in this way, you want variety but, also, consistency to make sure your box of treats doesn’t surprise you in a bad way. You’ve got to choose a palate.

I’m a huge fan of obsessed with The Good Place. (If you haven’t seen this yet, go watch it. You’re welcome.) Anyway, one of the characters, Chidi, had a panic attack at a make-your-own-sundae bar. His whole thing is that he’s indecisive but, in fairness to him…well, I’ll let the quote speak for itself:

“There were too many toppings. And very early in the process you had to commit to a chocolate palate or a fruit palate and if you couldn’t decide, you wound up with kiwi, junior mint, raisin, and it just ruins everyone’s night.”

Right on, Chidi. Right on.

While I wanted this anthology to have a mixture of stories, I also wanted it to have a uniform feel, with all the pieces working together to provide a smooth experience for readers.

I told my friend, when I first began, creating an anthology was much like choosing a color scheme. When redecorating your kitchen or bedroom, you might want lots of colors. That’s great. Go for it. Paint a rainbow, my friend. Get that red, purple, and blue in there. But make sure they’re all similar in tone and finish. You don’t want pastel pink in matte, neon green in gloss, and muted yellow in eggshell. Honestly, and this is just my opinion, that would be hideous. I don’t think I could sleep or eat surrounded by that colorful mish-mash of clown puke. Keep it all neon, if that’s your jam, or pastels or whatever.

So that’s what I did. Or tried to do. The theme is relationships, the tone is dark, emotional, poignant. I compiled the stories and worked with contributors to make sure they loved their work and that it fit well with the other pieces. I am genuinely grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such wonderful, talented authors. 

Each one of these authors brings her own style and voice to the anthology, which is lovely (and kind of the whole point), but there is (hopefully) a uniformity that keeps the flow of reading pleasant. Like cruising in a sailboat on a sunny day instead of paddling in a dinghy during a hurricane. I am so proud of this collection. I adore everything about it. The title, the cover, and, of course, the writing. I hope you love it as much as I do.

The Shadows We Breathe

BLURB:

WE ARE ALL PART SHADOW

Life promises joy and sorrow. Alongside the light, there will always be traces of darkness. It is the nature of being human.

In this anthology of short fiction, we explore relationships—how they sculpt us, hurt us, help us, and reveal our deepest desires.

Eight artists, whose words paint worlds, bring you stories of heartache, loss, hope, and forgiveness. They unveil the intimacy and complexity of relationships.

Whether family, friend, or lover, connections to others can hold us up or break us down.

Within these pages, beautiful words are spun into tales threaded with darkness.

Explore the shadows we breathe. 

THE SHADOWS WE BREATHE COMING SOON!

CONTRIBUTORS:

Georgia Bell is the author of Unbound, a young adult paranormal romance about love, fear, and immortality. She was raised on a steady diet of science fiction and fantasy and began writing the stories she wanted to read over a decade ago.

Author Page | Twitter

Maria Carvalho is a multi-genre writer whose short stories have appeared in a wide variety of magazines and anthologies, including Under the Full Moon’s Light and Cabinet of Curiosities (both by Owl Hollow Press).

Author Page | Twitter

Reena Dobson began pursuing her creative writing with a vengeance when she realised the world was never going to stop and give her time to write. She now writes at the edges, in sunshine and under cover of darkness.

Author Page | Twitter

Ali Isaac is a writer and blogger living in Co. Cavan, Ireland.

In 2020, she was awarded a writing mentorship by Words Ireland and the Arts Council of Ireland, working under the guidance of author, Sara Baume. Her writing has been published in The Stinging Fly, Sonder, and Paper Lanterns.

Author Page | Twitter

D. Wallace Peach, best-selling fantasy author, started writing later in life after the kids were grown and a move left her with hours to fill. Years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books, and when she started writing, she was instantly hooked.

Author Page | Twitter

Allie Potts lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with her husband, two children, and spoiled dog.

When not finding ways to squeeze in 72 hours into a 24 day, Allie consumes and creates science fiction, fantasy, post-apocalyptic quests, cozy mysteries, and contemporary fiction.

Author Page | Twitter

Mary Smith, author and poet, is based in Scotland. Her memoir Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni: Real Stories of Afghan Women focusses on her work in Afghanistan, which also provides the setting for her novel No More Mulberries.

Author Page | Twitter

Author Sarah Brentyn

Sarah Brentyn is an introvert who believes anything can be made better with soy sauce and wasabi.

She loves words and has been writing stories since she was nine years old. She talks to trees and apologizes to inanimate objects when she bumps into them.

When she’s not writing, you can find her strolling through cemeteries or searching for fairies.

She hopes to build a vacation home in Narnia someday. In the meantime, she lives with her family and a rainbow-colored, wooden cat who is secretly a Guardian.

Books: Hinting at Shadows | On the Edge of a Raindrop

Website: Sarah Brentyn

Blog: Lemon Shark | Lemon Shark Reef

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest

#ReblogAlert – Sally Cronin’s Smorgasboard RoundUp Post

Another wonderful, jam-packed week of goodies on Sally Cronin’s fabulous Smorgasbord blog. If you’re like me and can’t follow along every day, her roundup posts are a terrific way to see what’s been going on, and take a look at the articles most interesting or amusing to you. 

Check out Sally’s Smorgasbord RoundUp Post HERE
You’ll be glad you did!

#ReblogAlert – This Week on #StoryEmpire

Another week gone by in a flash, but the good news is, it’s time for a recap of all the great posts over on Store Empire. Here goes:

MONDAY: Joan Hall is beginning a new series I think I’m going to love, and her first post is entitled Character Types: The Attention Seekers. It’s great! Check out Joan’s post HERE

WEDNESDAY: Staci Troilo’s post, Three Elements of Horror, really struck a chord with me. I have always had a fascination with truly scary stories, and if I ever decide to write one, I’ll be paying close attention to her guidelines. Check out Staci’s post HERE.

FRIDAY: John Howell asks a question in his post today that I’m sure will resonate with each of us: Why Am I Avoiding Working on My WIP? I know it made me stop and think. Check out John’s post HERE.

And there you have the latest from the good folks at Story Empire!
Happy Reading!

#TenThingsYouMayNotKnow – About Sally Cronin

It’s Wednesday again, and you know what that means–time for another special guest! Today, please help me welcome one of the most amazing people I’ve met online, everybody’s friend and supporter, Sally Cronin. You’re gonna love this! Sally, take it away!

Ten Things You May Not Know About Me
by Sally Cronin

Thanks very much Marcia for the opportunity to reveal some possible secrets about myself, in the hopes that none of them come back to bite me….

  1. I had measles when I was two years old and I was left with a pattern of leaves on my forehead which slowly faded away by the time I was a teenager.
  2. I had lived in four countries by the time I was twelve years old.
  3. in 2001 I had my mitochondrial DNA tested. My results showed that my DNA came from Helena whose bones dated back around 20,000 years ago and were found in a cave in the Dordogne in South Central France .
  4. I appeared on the Weakest Link in 2010 and was eliminated in the 6th
  5. I worked three jobs at the age of 14 years old – in a souvenir kiosk on the seafront weekends and school holidays, washer up in the local pub every Friday night and a thriving baby-sitting service for Saturday nights. At 16 I got a social life but still worked on the seafront and babysat when I was not out dancing
  6. In my 20s I crocheted midi-skirts in my spare time and I had a steady stream of orders. Eventually gave it up when my dog unravelled all the stitching of an almost finished skirt and I had to spend 24 hours over two days to redo and lost my mojo.
  7. I like driving and I have done the 4,400 kilometres round trip from Madrid to Dublin and the 3,600 kilometres round trip from UK to Madrid.
  8. I have had five sports cars since my 40th birthday and would love another and a hoist to get in and out of it!
  9. I have played online solitaire since 1997 and my all-time record is 18,172 points in 40 seconds which I achieved in January 2020 after 23 years. I play every day for 30 minutes in the morning to get ready for the day.
  10. Despite a few bumps along the way, and some unfulfilled ambitions, I would not change a thing about my life. I is who I is..

From Sally’s School Days

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Author Sally Cronin

I have been a storyteller most of my life (my mother called them fibs!). Poetry, song lyrics and short stories were left behind when work and life intruded, but that all changed in 1996. My first book Size Matters was a health and weight loss book based on my own experiences of losing 70kilo. I have written another thirteen books since then on health and also fiction, including five collections of short stories. My latest book is a collection of verse and speculative short stories titled Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries: Sometimes Bitter, Sometimes Sweet

I am an indie author and proud to be one. My greatest pleasure comes from those readers who enjoy my take on health, characters and twisted endings… and of course come back for more.

As a writer I know how important it is to have help in marketing books.. as important as my own promotion is, I believe it is important to support others. I offer a number of FREE promotional opportunities on my blog and linked to my social media. If you are an author who would like to be promoted to a new audience of dedicated readers, please contact me via my blog. All it will cost you is a few minutes of your time. Look forward to hearing from you.

Buy Sally’s Books HERE

Find Sally on Social Media HERE:

Blog: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7979187.Sally_Cronin
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sgc58

#ReblogAlert – This Week on #StoryEmpire

It’s Freya’s Day once again, and you know what that means, right? Right! Another look at what the good folks at Story Empire have been up to this week. (Hint: It’s good stuff, as always!)

MONDAY: Craig Boyack’s interesting and thought-provoking post entitled Create A System – Work the System uses “Inspiration, Not Duplication” as a theme, and includes some good ideas I never even thought of.  Check it out HERE.

WEDNESDAY: Harmony Kent introduces her new eleven-part series, How to Write Point of View with an excellent Overview as Part 1. Be sure not to miss this one, folks. You can check it out HERE.

FRIDAY: D. L. Finn’s post entitled Writing and Editing speaks to one of a writer’s biggest challenges: finding and USING a good editor before publishing a book. Take what she says to heart, folks. It will save you problems in the long run. Check out Denise’s post HERE.

See? Told ya it was good stuff! Happy reading!

#ReblogAlert – This Week on Story Empire

Another super week with the good folks over on the #StoryEmpire blog. If you’ve missed anything, you’ll want to check it out. As always, it’s truly good stuff!

MONDAY:  Happy Independence Day Greeting HERE

WEDNESDAY: Mae Clair has a super post entitled What I Learned from High School History that really struck home with me. Check it out HERE.

FRIDAY: Jan Sikes is starting a new series on marketing that you will not want to miss. Read her first post entitled Every Author’s  Four-Letter Word #Mktg HERE 

And there you have it, folks! Enjoy!

#TenThingsYouMayNotKnow – About Sue Rovens

Happy Wodin’s Day, everyone! Please join me in giving Sue Rovens a big welcome to The Write Stuff today. Sue is another brave soul who is sharing ten things about herself that we may not know, so without further ado, let’s get started. Take it away, Sue!

Ten Things You May Not Know About Me
by Sue Rovens

  1. After 30 years in Milner Library (at Illinois State University), I’ve finally retired!
  2. The Graduate is my favorite movie of all time.
  3. I love all animals…except spiders. They are headless monsters with too many legs.
  4. I collect old radios, clocks, and advertising signs (love retro stuff)
  5. I have a master’s degree in Kinesiology and Recreation.
  6. I don’t eat meat…except White Castle once a year. (mmm, sliders)
  7. I’m learning how to play French Horn.
  8. I love all things TEA!
  9. I don’t drink pop or coffee, ever.
  10. I’m “that person” who will point out cows, goats, sheep, and hawks on road trips.

Sue in 2015

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Author Sue Rovens

Sue Rovens is an indie suspense/horror author who hails from Normal, Illinois. She has written three novels and two books of short horror stories, with her latest book, Rage, due out sometime in late summer 2021.

Track 9, her second novel, snagged a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly (May 2018), her short story, “Coming Over”, from her book, In a Corner, Darkly (Volume 1) was turned into a screenplay and short student indie film by the theater department of Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, and another short story, “When the Earth Bled”, won 2nd place in the Support Indie Authors short story contest earlier this year. Her two most recent books (Buried and Rage) are under Plump Toad Press.

Sue owns a blog (suerovens.com) which includes interviews with authors, musicians, podcasters, and artists. She is an Executive Producer for an indie (short) horror film which is currently in production called “Let’s Do Things that Make Us Happy”. Sue is also a co-host and story writer for the new horror podcast, Ye Olde Terror Inn, which is currently in pre-production.

Sue is a member of The Chicago Writers Association and the Alliance for Independent Authors (ALLi). 

BUY BURIED HERE

Sue’s Social Media Links:

Buy Links (Amazon): https://www.amazon.com/Sue-Rovens/e/B009PCPQUS
Blog – https://suerovens.com
Contact Info: srovens@yahoo.com (email)

 

#GuestDayTuesday – #CoverReveal – #SarahBrentyn

I have a special surprise for you folks today! My friend, Sarah Brentyn, has not one but two beautifully redesigned  and elegant covers to share with you! But I’ll let her tell you the full story of how they came to be. And here she is:

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I Don’t Know How Art Works

To me, art is magic. And I mean that literally. Obviously, figuratively, too, since all creative endeavors are magical. But it’s…I don’t know…weird. I just don’t get it.

Having these covers made was a long process. I asked many, numerous, countless, repetitive, stupid questions along the way. It wasn’t pretty. Like “How do you get the picture from your notebook to the computer screen?” And “What do you mean?” And, “How is that going to turn from a…line thingy…into a shaded flower?” And “What do you mean?” And “How are you going to make that lighter without making the other part darker?” And “What do you mean?” Fortunately, the artist I worked with is a saint with a great deal of patience. (Or, just as likely, sent kind inquiries and tolerant responses while screaming obscenities I couldn’t hear. Yeah. That’s super possible.)

I’m going to give you the sanitized version of how this all went down. (Believe me, this is for your own good.)

I didn’t know what I wanted.

Or, rather, I knew exactly what I wanted but had no idea how to express it. I don’t speak art.

So, when I tried to explain the idea, it sounded like Dr. Seuss on a bad day:

“I’d love to have a fringlehop around the juglifine. A circle ‘round the difentoot with wiscott and some bine.”

She asked if I could show her what I meant. That went well. It was like a two-year-old shoving a crayon scribble at you and expectantly waiting for applause for the amoeba-shaped blob that is obviously a cat.

After that, came more, ridiculous, relentless questions. Like “Can you move the thing over to where the other thing is?” And “What do you mean?” And “How about if that thing is closer to the other thing?” And “What do you mean?”

There was also a great deal of, “I don’t know how art works.” It became my mantra.

When the artwork was done, we needed to distress it. The images were too clean and pretty for my dark writing. Did I want the background distressed or the image itself? And what type of distressing? That, my friends, is another story.

For now, enjoy the beautiful artwork by the talented (and ever-patient) Loni Townsend. I hope you like the fresh, new look for my books!

~~~

Artist Loni Townsend: Wife. Mother. Ninja. Squirrel.

Website | Instagram

Shoutout to the lovely Allie Potts for getting these covers into print-ready form so I could have my precious paperbacks (and for creating beautiful 3D images). 

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And … tada! Here are Sarah’s freshly redesigned covers for your viewing pleasure. Personally, I think they are gorgeous! Elegant and refined, and positively stunning. I suspect most of you will agree.

Now I ask you, was I right? I love both of these covers so much, I’d buy them just to put on easels on my bookshelves. But an even better reason would be because the writing is so very good. It’s a Win-Win! Check out these Blurbs!

Hinting At Shadows BLURB:

No One Escapes Life Unscathed

Delve into the deeper reaches of the human condition and the darkness that lives there.
A girl haunted by her sister’s drowning.
A boy desperate for his father’s affection.
A woman forced to make a devastating decision.
A man trapped by his obsessions.

Experience tales of love, loss, murder, and madness through this collection of flash and micro fiction. Take a peek behind the smile of a stranger. Get a glimpse inside the heart of a friend. Scratch the surface and discover what is hidden beneath.

These stories will open your mind, tug at your thoughts, and allow you to explore the possibility that, even in the brightest moments, something is Hinting at Shadows.

Buy Hinting at Shadows HERE
(It’s now on SALE for just $.99!)

On the Edge of a Raindrop BLURB:

When You’re on the Edge, It’s Easy to Fall

These are stories of lives on the edge.
A girl tortured by the world within her.
A boy powerless to escape his home.
A mother doomed to live with her greatest mistake.
A man lost in a maze of grief.

Each raindrop provides a microscopic mirror of ourselves and those around us. But we can’t always trust what we see. The distorted images disorient the mind, altering our view of reality.

This second collection of flash and micro fiction explores the depths of the human condition and the fragile surface of our perceptions. Dive into these tales of darkness and discover what life is like On the Edge of a Raindrop.


Buy On the Edge of a Raindrop HERE

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Author Sarah Brentyn

I wrote my first story when I was nine years old and never looked back. My work has appeared both in print and online in lit mags, newsletters, websites, newspapers, and anthologies. I have a master’s degree in writing and have taught all ages, from Kindergarteners to adults. When other girls dreamt of being a ballerina, I dreamt of scribbling my thoughts in a notebook and turning them into a book. I bleed ink.

You can Reach Sarah on Social Media here:

Website: Sarah Brentyn

Blog: Lemon Shark | Lemon Shark Reef

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest

#ReblogAlert – This Week on #StoryEmpire

Another fine weekly recap of great posts from the crew at Story Empire. I know you’ll enjoy these as much as I did!

MONDAY: First, take a look at Writing and Social Media, a very helpful post from D. L. Finn. You can check it out HERE.

WEDNESDAY: Second, be sure to read The Other Sister, Craig Boyack’s humorous and helpful post about the difference between suspense and tension. You can check it out HERE.

FRIDAY: And finally, you don’t want to miss How to Make 3D Bookcovers for Free, Harmony Kent’s very cool intro to a free program well worth looking into. You can check it out HERE

And there you go, folks! Told ya it was good stuff!