Love Notes Art Quilt by Susan Redstreake Geary (Mom)
When is the last time you sent someone a love note? Not the hastily scrawled flirtation with glittering hearts and crinkled notebook paper meant for a middle school crush, but the sharing of something genuine.
A hand-scribbled post-it of appreciation. A thoughtful message. A supportive email. A compassionate text. A cheerful tweet. In a world where everything rushes by in a blink of an eye, we tend to lose track of what’s worthwhile.
The real currency in this world isn’t money. It’s kindness.
Our lives are a patchwork of moments connected by a running stitch of light and dark. The shade of thread is up to you. Every moment of compassion and respect, courtesy and love, brightens the pattern.
Let this be my love note to you. For your time and support, unfailing encouragement and unwavering optimism, loyal friendship and endless inspiration, and love–I thank you. You add light to my life.
Swing by Dec. 4th to enter our music-inspired pitch challenge for a chance to WIN a free RSM Elevation track license for your book trailer, a digital copy of the album AND signed copy of guest judge, Guilie Castillo Oriard’s The Miracle of Small Things!
IWSG, a community of brilliant writers led by Alex J. Cavanaugh, meets the first Wednesday of every month. Visit the Insecure Writer’s Support Group website and database! You’ll find everything from writing to marketing, along with encouragement and support!
Mexican tax lawyer Luis Villalobos is lured to the tiny island of Curaçao anticipating a fast track to the cusp of an already stellar career. But the paradise we expect is so rarely the paradise we find.
The author, Guilie Castillo Oriard, is a Mexican export herself; she transferred to Curaçao “for six months” — and, twelve years later, has yet to find a reason to leave. Her work has been published online and in print anthologies, such as Pure Slush’s 2014 A Year In Stories and gorge. THE MIRACLE OF SMALL THINGS is her first book.
THE GIFT OF MUSIC by Author Guilie Castillo Oriard
When I worked in the corporate world, I kept a sleek set of iPod speakers on my desk. During office hours, music was mellow: ballads, soft jazz, easy pop. Volume appropriately low. But come 6 (or 7, or 8… we put in long days), the decibels got free rein, and the genres shifted to the Dark Side. (Yes, Pink Floyd. Smashing Pumpkins. Lenny Kravitz. Pearl Jam. AC/DC. The Brandenburg concertos, maybe the Four Seasons. Rock it, Antonio.) +++In those last, solitary two or three hours, I got through double the work than I did in the previous ten. Less interruptions. Less calls. Less colleagues wanting to chat or bounce off ideas. But my money, for Most Influential Cause, is on the music. +++Because music makes me happy, and it does so in a way that has nothing to do with what the world insists is happiness-inducing: money, relationships, possessions, achievements. Music puts me in the right here, in the now, and the happiness I get—from the beat, the harmony, the poetry in the lyrics—comes from nothing else than the miracle of being alive. +++That happiness—that bliss—does wonders for my concentration. It puts me in the zone. +++But that’s not the only gift music brings. Though I only discovered that when I’d been writing fiction full-time for a couple of years. +++This happened: I couldn’t get a scene right. A man at a moment of melancholy. Of that weird kind of nostalgia for what never happened. And… it sounded teenage-sulky. +++No. No. +++This man doesn’t sulk. He’s a kick-ass, superstar tax attorney. Someone in love with the adrenaline of board rooms, the thrill of working under maximum pressure, of discovering a legal loophole at the eleventh hour to save a client (and their millionaire bank accounts). +++I was ready to throw the whole thing out. But my iPod, in all its wisdom, chose that moment to bring Leonard Cohen to the surface of its shuffle ocean. ++++++ He wants to write a love song ++++++ An anthem of forgiving ++++++ A manual for living with defeat… +++This man was, to paraphrase Roberta, singing my scene with his emotionless words. The whole gravelly, pseudo-upbeat mood of the song nailed the atmosphere I wanted. +++I put the song on repeat, and rewrote the scene from scratch. And there it was: the nostalgia without the sulkiness, the sense of defeat without the self-pity. +++Since then, I make Writing Playlists: scene-, mood-, even character-specific. +++In the same way we read poetry to get in touch with our edgiest, most succinct, cut-to-the-marrow syntax and lexicon, I believe through music we’re able to delve ever deeper (and more accurately) into ourselves. Music brings out magic in us, whether through memory or emotion, or both—and through imagination.
How does music influence your own creativity? If you’re a writer, have you ever used music in a similar way? How do you get in the zone? Any tips you’d like to share?
Pélagie’s coming down the walk with Al. They both smile when they see Luis, but only Pélagie speaks. “So this is your secret lair, Mr. Hotshot Tax Attorney?” +++ Luis wants to lob back the banter, but his glibness has gone the way of the wooly mammoth. Emotion is building at the base of his throat, and he realizes that what he wants, more than his bed or the snugness of his duvet, more even than to feel well again, what he needs, actually, is this woman’s arms around him. Which is mad, beyond unhinged, and not just because he’s never felt those arms, has no idea how they’d feel, and how can he need something he’s never had; no, all of that is true, and valid, but the reason it’s certifiably insane to feel this way is because Pélagie isn’t just out of his league: she’s a different sport altogether. +++ He takes hold of Al’s collar. “Thanks for bringing him back.” +++ Pélagie squints at him. “You look—not well. Bad cold?” +++ “Dengue.” There’s a certain pride in not being vulnerable to just any common virus. He kind of wishes it was malaria now. +++ The square of skin between her eyebrows furrows. “How’s the fever?” +++ “Under control.” He shrugs. +++ She comes closer, lifts her hand. Before he can back away or say anything, she’s touching his forehead. Cupping his cheek. Small and cool, that hand quiets the tomahawk army that’s taken up residence in his skull. He leans into it, closes his eyes.
Guilie Castillo Oriard is a Mexican writer and dog rescuer living in Curaçao. She misses Mexican food and Mexican amabilidad, but the laissez-faire attitude (and the beaches) are fair exchange. And the island’s diversity provides great fodder for her obsession with culture clashes. +++ Her work has appeared online and, in print, as part of several anthologies. Her first book, The Miracle of Small Things (Truth Serum Press) was published in August 2015. She’s currently working on a full-length novel. +++ She blogs about life and writing at http://guilie-castillo-oriard.blogspot.com and about life and dogs athttp://lifeindogs.blogspot.com/.
Elevation Writing Contest
Swing by Dec. 1st to enter our music-inspired writing challenge for a chance to WIN a digital copy of RSM’s ELEVATION album and signed copy of guest judge, Guilie Castillo Oriard’s The Miracle of Small Things!
Transformers Age of Extinction – Optimus Is Alive – Steve Jablonsky
The ship of legends…
The future is set for Lt. Commander Aden Pendar, son of a Hyrathian Duke. Poised to secure his own command and marriage to the queen’s daughter, he’ll stop at nothing to achieve his goals.
But when the Alliance denies Hyrath’s claim on the planet of Kavil and declares war on their world, Aden finds his plans in disarray. Entrenched in battle and told he won’t make captain, Aden’s world begins to collapse. How will he salvage his career and future during Hyrath’s darkest hour?
One chance remains–the Dragon. Lost many years prior, the legendary ship’s unique weapon is Hyrath’s only hope. Can Aden find the Dragon, save his people, and prove he’s capable of commanding his own ship?
Transformers Age of Extinction – Best Thing That Ever Happened – Steve Jablonsky
Music is a big inspiration and has fueled many scenes in my books. Dragon of the Stars, which came out April 7, was inspired by a single song. It sparked the idea of a dragon spaceship and the story came alive from there.
Steve Jablonsky’s music has power and strength in it. As part of a movie soundtrack, it makes the scene by adding depth and emotion. A couple pieces from the latest Transformer film really fit well with Dragon of the Stars. ‘Optimus’ has a military feel to it, with hints of a building force. ‘Best Thing That Ever Happened’ reminds me of a brief exchange between characters and a sad moment locked in time.
Music adds a new level to a story. What music does that for your stories?
Transformers Age of Extinction – The Legend Exists – Steve Jablonsky
Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design, graphics, and technical editing. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games. Online he is the Ninja Captain and founder of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. He’s the author of Amazon Best-Sellers CassaStar, CassaFire, and CassaStorm. Connect with Alex on Twitter!
Seventeen-year-old Elijah Brighton wants to become an ascender–a post-Singularity human/machine hybrid–after all, they’re smarter, more enlightened, more compassionate, and above all, achingly beautiful. But Eli is a legacy human, preserved and cherished for his unaltered genetic code, just like the rainforest he paints. When a fugue state possesses him and creates great art, Eli miraculously lands a sponsor for the creative Olympics. If he could just master the fugue, he could take the gold and win the right to ascend, bringing everything he’s yearned for within reach… including his beautiful ascender patron.
But once Eli arrives at the Games, he finds the ascenders are playing games of their own. Everything he knows about the ascenders and the legacies they keep starts to unravel… until he’s running for his life and wondering who he truly is.
The Legacy Human is the first inSusan Kaye Quinn’s new young adult science fiction series that explores the intersection of mind, body, and soul in a post-Singularity world… and how technology will challenge us to remember what it means to be human.
“…but you mustn’t rush it,” she says. “You have to have patience, Eli, not push beyond what you’re ready for.”
Eli. My name on her lips torments me. Her purple-blue eyes are close and concerned. Her face is so near, I could lean forward and kiss her right now. But her lips are drawn into a tight line of disapproval. And I can’t imagine Marcus would tolerate a kiss, even if I could steal one.
“You were the one rushing me five minutes ago.” I stay in her embrace even as I protest with my words.
“It wasn’t five minutes ago, Elijah.” She drops her hands from my face. The alarm is back in her eyes. “You painted for an hour.”
An hour. I forgot there’s always a time loss with the fugue. Only this time, she watched it happen. They both did, watching me paint in a trance for an hour then end up on the floor. She and Marcus both have to know something is seriously messed up with my process.
I have absolutely no idea how I can possibly master something that hits me like a freight train, but I have to try. It would bring everything into my reach. Including her. “I can do this, Lenora. Please. Let me do this. I’ll prove it to you.”
“No.” For a second, the gray pallor of her skin flickers, and a ribbon of darker gray trickles across it… then it’s gone. “I’m not going to let you attempt this when you’re not ready. I won’t sponsor you.” She gives me a stern look. “And you can’t go without my approval. I will terminate your patronage.”
Breath escapes me, but the hurt is still trapped inside. She means it: she would cut me off if I even tried to go. My mind can’t wrap around it. Does she have so little faith in me?
In The Legacy Human, the main character, Elijah, is an artist who can only create great art when in a fugue state. He struggles to master the “beast” within.
Share a personal story about your own artistic struggles in the comments section below by March 12th, for a chance to WIN a signed copy of The Legacy Human and a digital copy of The Freak Within album!
What difficulties do you encounter when creating and how do you overcome them?
Signed copy of The Legacy Human – Djinnia
Digital copy of The Freak Within album – Pavarti K Tyler
Congrats to our winners & many thanks to everyone who shared their stories! Winners, please contact me with your mailing/email address to receive your prizes!
This anthology is dedicated in memory of Tina Downey, our dearest friend, fellow storyteller and firm believer that life is good…
Welcome toaudiomachine‘s Tree of Life: Branching Out, a cross-industry collaborative writing project featuring 26 authors from across the globe whose collective story is inspired by motion picture advertising music production house, audiomachine’s Tree of Life album.
During the course of 26 consecutive days, each writer contributed a chapter within 24 hours of the previous installment, spinning the tale in whatever direction they chose, resulting in the ultimate collaborative journey of words and music.
The anthology includes a new epilogue, a memorial story I wrote for “T”, entitled, Epitaph.
Contributing Authors (Tree of Lifers) Tina Downey Amy Willoughby-Burle John Wiswell M. Pax Al Diaz Gary Philip Pennick DL Hammons Susan Scott Ruth Long Djinnia Daniel Swensen KC Hunter Shannon Kenoyer Lawrence Beverly Fox Michelle Wallace Mina Lobo Gwen Gardner Angela Brown Lisa Shambrook Sarah Wesson Leighton Williams Elise Fallson Vidya Sury Damyanti Biswas C. Lee McKenzie
The Third Daughter of the Queen wants her birthday to arrive so she’ll be free to marry for love, but rumors of a new flying weapon may force her to accept a barbarian prince’s proposal for a peace-brokering marriage. Desperate to marry the charming courtesan she loves, Aniri agrees to the prince’s proposal as a subterfuge in order to spy on him, find the weapon, and hopefully avoid both war and an arranged marriage to a man she does not love.
“You will say yes, won’t you? When I ask?”
He gently pulled her face up to look at him. “When you are free to marry for love, Third Daughter of the Queen, you had better not ask anyone other than me. I’ll have to hang myself from the nearest tree or else die of a broken heart.”
Her shyness was banished in a stroke. “Aren’t courtesans supposed to be the ones breaking hearts?”
“Truly,” he said with mock despair. “There’s nothing more sad than a broken-hearted courtesan. I would have to commit suicide just out of professional courtesy.”
Imagine stepping into the world of your favorite novels, experiencing the story through the eyes of the narrator while being surrounded by a rich landscape painted with words and music! Stay tuned for the next stage in literary evolution with author Susan Kaye Quinn‘s Debt Collector series and The Dharian Affairs trilogy, as Immersive Entertainmentbrings them to life in Virtual Reality.
Susan Kaye Quinn, author of the bestselling Mindjack Trilogy and other speculative fiction. Former rocket scientist. Now she invents mind powers and dabbles in steampunk.The Dharian Affairs trilogy is her excuse to dress up in corsets and fight with swords. She also has a dark-and-gritty SF serial for ages 17+ called The Debt Collector and a middle grade fantasy called Faery Swap.
“We create next-generation Virtual Reality Experiences that represent a new form of entertainment. It bridges the gap between video games and movies, providing a level of immersion, emotional engagement and realism never before seen.”
With plans for a second skyship exposed, Third Daughter Aniri fears her sister, Seledri, will be caught in a war between the three Queendoms. Seledri is the Second Daughter of Dharia, which means she had no choice in her arranged marriage to the First Son of Samir–a country with whom they may soon be at war. As Aniri fights to free her sister from a husband and a country she does not love, she questions her own rushed betrothal to Prince Malik, the noble barbarian who controls the skyship–and whether a love pledged in the heat of adventure can survive the looming threat of war.
Aniri turned to Ash, a thousand questions on her lips, but he met her by sliding his arms around her waist, then devouring her with a kiss.
She was shocked… then consumed. He spun her around and pressed her to the door, crushing his body against hers as if he couldn’t get enough contact between them. Her corset was an effective barrier, and his glittering black formal wear was similarly constraining, but that didn’t stop his hands from roaming or his kiss from deepening. Aniri’s fingers wound into his hair, then clutched at his shoulders, taking the stolen moment for all it was worth. Ash slid his kisses to her jawline and edged toward her neck. The room turned as hot as if the fire had spilled from its place and ignited the walls around them. Aniri gently pushed him away, urging him to stop and sucking in air she had neglected to breathe. His heated breath puffed against her skin as he slowly trailed his lips in a line across her cheek.
“A week feels an impossibly long time to wait to make you my wife.” His voice was deep with the passion of their kiss.
Tina Guo has developed an international multi-faceted performance and recording career as a classical cellist and heavy metal electric cellist, erhuist, and composer known for her distinctive sound and improvisatory style in major motion picture, television, and game scores.
R. Armando Morabito, is an Electronic / World Music Producer, Songwriter and Director. In 2013 after moving to Los Angeles, CA he co-founded MG Music Int’l with his wife, cellist and composer Tina Guo. The production company specializes in epic cinematic music in all genres for TV, Film, Video Games, and Trailers.
It’s been a VERY busy summer, with exciting events and projects coming to a close and many more hovering on the horizon. A major shift in the realm of responsibility happened this week, when my two little girls (1st & 4th graders, previously homeschooled) were accepted into a brand new Charters school, named IMAGINE — I took this as a major sign that we’re traveling down the right path!
Though I’ll miss my kiddos, my days are now FREE for WRITING and freelance film industry projects! I’ve issued a strict final draft deadline this fall for my YA fantasy novel series, Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1). This semester is already booked with collaborations and another round of epic writing, where I’ll mentor gifted teens as they learn to embrace this year’s theme of COURAGE!
First, they conquered Outer Space….
Now, they bring destruction to the promised land…
The Viking Warriors are coming to ARCADIA!
Welcome to THE CONQUERORS, a Steampunk Viking flash fiction challenge for the industry release, ARCADIA (produced & published by Really Slow Motion). Pulling inspiration from the exclusive industry track, “The Song of the World Tree”, by brilliant composer, Tapsa Kuusniemi, and the stunning album cover, by gifted graphic designer & composer, Koke Núñez Gómez, FORGE an epic tale (under 500 words) that conquers the imagination! Submit your entries in the comments section of theContest Pageby August 9th, midnight EST!
Sixteen-year-old Hutchinson McQueen is trapped in a dysfunctional family. Shackled by poor vision and poor reading skills, he squeaks through classes with his talent for eavesdropping and memorizing what he hears. After another suspension from school and suffering through one of his mother’s violent attacks, he escapes to a friend’s house that turns out to be a meth lab. The lab is raided and Hutch lands in juvenile detention. When the court sentences him to six months in a new juvenile program, he meets a teacher with Alzheimer’s who will change his life and hers.
IWSG, a community of brilliant writers led by Alex J. Cavanaugh, meets the first Wednesday of every month. Visit the Insecure Writer’s Support Group website and database! You’ll find everything from writing to marketing, along with encouragement and support!
A dedicated youth section showcases talented aspiring artists and authors fromElevate’s Life & Art Studios, alongside an amazing cast of inspiring industry professionals and the winning entries of PHENOMENA’s Epic Heroes Event!
I’m thrilled to announce the ebook anthology is FREE on Smashwords & Kobo! Available for $0.99 on Amazon *help us push Amazon to price-match by reporting the FREE listings*. Coming soon to iTunes & B&N!
My Epic Writing students from Elevate Life & Art Studios created a really cool book trailer that blends the music of PHENOMENA with the boundless creativity of the next generation—inspiring their peers in a humorous tribute to authors, musicians, artists and dreamers! Special thanks to Braelyn Whiteside (9th Grade) for her brilliant filming & editing skills!
It’s fitting that today is IWSG. Seeing as how Alex has been an unfailing supporter since my online debut back in March of 2013, it’s no surprise that he’s a winner of a Biltmore-themed commenter prize!
And many composer collaborations later, I’ve finally cajoled Alex into joining my latest EPIC event with audiomachine! More details on the PHENOMENA project will be announced this FRIDAY! We’re accepting writing & art entries for audiomachine’s “Epic Heroes” contest through May 15th, so tap into your imaginations and join the fun!
I want to send out my heartfelt thanks to everyone who stopped by during the crazy month that is April’sA to Z Challenge to take a peek at my upcoming Biltmore-inspired YA novel “Architects of Illusion“! This novel series is my biggest, most ambitious project to date. Needless to say, I was anxious to hear feedback. I truly value your comments and the time you spent in my world. The show of encouragement from gracious readers & inspiring composers alike have bolstered my passion for this story and will continue to push me towards achieving my DREAM!
Special thanks to my additional commenting winners–you guys rock! (Shoot me an email with your address to receive your Biltmore-goodies:)
To say April was a busy month would be the understatement of the year. Between novel edits, running an international album promotion for PHENOMENA, teaching an AMAZING group of gifted teens through Elevate Life & Art, planning a big book trailer, in collaboration with audiomachine, for Grammarly’s groundbreaking GrammoWriMo Novel, “The Lonely Wish-Giver” (which I also contributed to), AND juggling commenting/minion duties for the incredible #TeamDamyanti (muwah!)–I was ready to drown myself in a barrel of Biltmore wine!
With well over 2K participants, the Challenge was a huge success! There were so many awesome posts I enjoyed, and many more I didn’t have the chance to read. I hope to catch up on what I missed over the next few months. I loved meeting new folks and exchanging witty fun with familiar “faces”. You’re all welcome here anytime, where the bar, the banter, and the imagination, are always open.
It’s finally here! The moment we’ve all been waiting for! The coolest virtual social gathering leading up to the largest and longest international party on seven continents, The A to Z Challenge *sign up here*!
Now, for a sneak peek behind the red curtain. *insert drum roll here*
Wait for it.
Henry Cavill as Superman in Man of Steel
Oh, hello Henry. Thrilled you could swing by, but it’s not time for you yet. Ahem, BEHIND the guy wearing the red curtain.
Castle in the Mist by Gray Artus
A to Z THEME
Welcome to Olympus, where the Muses of Greek Mythology are charged with the responsibility of discovering, inspiring, guiding, and molding the young incarnations of legends past until they once again take the form of greatness. Enter a world steeped in ancient mythology and mystery. Embark on a journey through the imagination with an enchanting cast of characters as they uncover who they once were and who they will become.
Join me, and a host of brilliant composers from the film music industry, this April, as I unveil sneak peeks of an epic YA fantasy series inspired by my backyard neighbors, theBiltmore Estate!
Oh, and there will be PRIZES! I adore comments. So much so, that I’m willing to part with a very tempting Biltmore-themed prize pack, that may include three of a writer’s main food groups: Coffee, Wine, and Chocolate.
Every comment = a coveted entry into the proverbial hat for the prize pack!
Speaking of EPIC, I’ve another surprise glimpse behind the cinematic red curtain!
Chris Hemsworth as Thor
Also in the month of APRIL, I’ll be hosting the mother of all WRITING CONTESTS with my favorite composer gang over in Hollywood and leaders of the film music industry, AUDIOMACHINE! As part of a global, cross-industry promotional project for audiomachine’s upcoming public release, PHENOMENA, we’re introducing a groundbreaking campaign to encourage the next generations of authors, artists, musicians & composers! And YOU can be a part of this historical event!
PHENOMENA’s EPIC HEROES CONTEST
▶ Create your ownSuperhero and give us an extraordinary tale, under 1200 words, geared toward Young Adults and inspired by the PHENOMENA album track, “Fortress of Solitude“.
▶ Entries will be accepted April 1st through May 1st. Entries must be posted in the comments section of the dedicated PHENOMENA page (opening April 1st)
▶ The Top 3 Winners will be determined by myself and audiomachine. PHENOMENA-themed prizes will be awarded to our Top 3. The 1st place winner will be PUBLISHED in the first ever audiomachine album companion ebook for PHENOMENA.
Stop by April 1st formore details on this incredible event, including a special contest announcement for ARTISTS!
Speaking of Heroes, I’m thrilled to announce the latest release from my dear friend and literary hero, M. Pax!
War is coming. A horde of merciless aliens poise just beyond the Edge. In a matter of weeks they will devour the worlds.
Racing ahead of the apocalypse, Craze returns to the Backworlds to warn them and plan a defense. Only he can’t go home. Banned from Pardeep Station, he must wage a more urgent battle. His moon is under siege, and his friends are dying.
Bad things come in threes, and the galaxy is no exception. An old enemy returns, attacking moons and defenseless globes, leaving a wake of destruction. Worse than that, they threaten to join forces with the alien horde.
Defeat seems inevitable. Craze may not be able to stop it. Yet home is worth the fight.