Category Archives: Fun and Games

Happy Halloween

On behalf of Distinguished Press, I wanted to say happy Halloween! Am I saying it too early? No, silly. All of October is a celebration of Halloween, or at least it should be!

Here’s a little Halloween poem I wrote for all of you. Enjoy!

 

I saw a spider on the door

As I reached for the knob.

It spun its web, trapped my hand,

And turned it into one pink blob.

 

I ran to the back door,

Only to be greeted by an army of wasps.

They flapped by my shoulder,

Reminding me that nature is boss.

 

I stared at an empty box

Left in my living room.

And then it opened on its own.

The flaps– like a ghostly flower– bloomed.

 

Spiders, wasps, and ghosts in boxes,

All of this is true.

To cleanse myself from evil.

I jumped in the shower with you.

 

Then my lover said, “come to bed.”

So I crept into the sheets.

But a clown’s face greeted me

With teeth as bloody as beets.

 

I screamed when It bit me,

And the spider cast a web.

Then the wasp formed a nest

And the clown in my bed said:

 

“Happy, happy Halloween

I hope you like my friends!

We’ll be here with you

Until the very end!”

 

A smiling jack-o-lantern

Sat on the window sill.

And with blood running from my face,

I knew that I was so very ill.

 

It was Halloween, all right,

Our greatest fears had come to be.

I had spiders, wasps, and clowns

Horror was all I could see.

 

But I laughed as blood soaked the sheets

And told them they were fools.

You’re messing with the wrong man.

I break all of Halloween’s rules.

 

And so I became the horror

That walked down the street,

To torment and freak

All of those who were meek.

 

On this night, our fears came true.

Do you have strength to fight them?

Because on one night, you will see

The evil only you can imagine.

 

Joe Chianakas is the author of Rabbit in Red, the first book in a horror trilogy with Distinguished Press. Get it here.

Be on the lookout also for Ashwood, an upcoming horror release just in time for Halloween by author C.J. Malarsky! Check out her author Facebook page here!

 

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My writing journey so far

Happy New Year everyone! 🙂

I hope everyone had a great Xmas and holiday season. Mine was nice, quiet with a small family but that’s fine with me. Like most people I ate and drank too much and now cutting back but enough about such boring trivia. Today I thought I’d briefly get into my journey as a writer and how I got here.

I’ve always loved stories, when I was young that made me an avid reader of Archie comics, then all the superheros (and some anime) and then novels of primarily the sci-fi/horror/fantasy genres (and yes I still read comics today, just not as many monthly titles). When I was around 13 I started doing short-stories, I don’t have any of them now but I’m sure they were all terrible but none the less the seed was planted.

In high school I wrote poetry from the school newspaper (again probably lousy stuff but it felt good to do it at the time). I also kept a journal for many years (that I wish I still had but sadly it’s lost to the ravages of time). I was not at happy teenager and my poems were pretty sad. I hope geeky kids have an easier time in school now as I know I sure didn’t.

Time moved on and I found myself writing music and movie reviews for the Memorial University student paper The Muse. I have always loved music (and movies) and the chance to get to see/hear them for free was fun (though most of my reviews never got published). I liked the fact how movie reviews for the paper meant I got to take someone with me to a movie (though the only time I took someone the movie was terrible. If you never saw “Vampire in Brooklyn” count yourself as lucky!).

I finished at Memorial and writing took a back seat, sort of. I always had the need to express myself in a creative manner. Fortunately for me I had Dungeons and Dragons. Role-playing is a wonderful way to exercise your imagination and for me being the Dungeon Master (basically you create a world and control how the story goes, to a point) was enough writing for a long time. My wife (who is not into D&D) said if you’re of the female persuasion (or just want a good laugh) you should watch this video.

Like lots of people who enjoy literature (I did a BA in English at Memorial) I tried to write several times. I attempted a Star Trek book, then a Star Wars, the a vampire one. All three (ok technically two) never amount to more than a few chapters. A book just seemed to big, too daunting.

varneysmall1

I started my vampire tale back in 2002 but it got put aside. Then some 8 years later I found myself at a very boring job, my mind wandered all the time and I began to think of that book I started. I had kept the file and going back to it I found that I still liked the idea of a vampire based on myself. It was a chance to explore fantasies I knew would never come true and it was a way to imagine how my life could have turned out differently if I had made other choices (and if vampires were real). After 4 months I had a rough draft and then began the process of submitting it. I learned some hard lessons (like the first 3-4 drafts are always terrible) but after about 9 months of editing and submitting my perseverance paid off, I had found a publisher (Penumbra Publishing).

Things went well there for a while. My first book did okay (was released in April 2012) and I soon completed book II “Killer on the Road” and it came on in September of 2013. About a year later is when things took a wrong turn. My sales were shabby and no matter what I did I couldn’t improve them (I spend a lot on promotion, getting a website, getting a cover done and other things) and my profit was very small. I eventually became dissatisfied with my Penumbra, I won’t get into all the details as I don’t like to say negative things about a person. My old editor was honest with me and had taught me a a lot about writing, editing and being an author but I knew by October of 2014 that it was time to move on. It was slightly ironic that the day I told Pat I was done with Penumbra my first short story “Robots” was published by them. I am proud of that story and I hope to see it re-released as part of a collection someday. I’ve written some other short stories the past few years and I’d love to have them published someday too.

So this bring me to my new home Distinguished Press. Through Twitter I got to know the friendly, helpful (and talented) Karyn Pearson. She mentioned my work to Jen Leigh and in early November of last year I signed a contract with DP (there is some truth in the saying it’s not what you know but who you know). I am thrilled to be with DP, everyone has been really friendly. There are lots of interaction with authors (it’s one big happy family!), lots of promotional activities we help each other out on and Catrina has lots of great ideas for the future.

I was happy to go back and look at the first book in “The Newfoundland Vampire“. Jen pointed out some things that I hadn’t considered and that will make it a better book (and I’m sure she has other notes for me as well). As writers can attest your characters become your friends and going back to visit them is always great, it’s like re-watching a movie you love or a TV show, just on a much more personal level. Book I will be re-issued on March 27th and book II “Killer on the Road” sometime later this year. That leaves book III (tentatively titled “The Gathering Dark) and hopefully book IV (need to started writing it!) for 2016.

QuestionMarksOnPaper

Well this turned into a lengthy post. I’ll leave you with a question, what has been your writing journey? Inquiring minds want to know! 😉

 

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Digging up Dirt with Author Jay Ellis.

An Author Interview

by Coey Cain

Author Jay Ellis

I had the great pleasure of getting the scoop on Author, Jay Ellis. Right from the start, I want to thank him for taking the time to tell us about himself, answer my batty questions, and I hope you have as much fun as I did getting his responses. So, thank you, Jay.  The pleasure was mine.

Jay Ellis writes primarily Fantasy, for teen readers. He’s been writing for about 17 years from Essex, UK.

… and I’m sorry, ladies, he’s engaged. He proposed to his fiance, Tammy, on Valentine’s Day. How romantic is that? He’s the proud father of three little boys under the age of seven and it’s a wonder he has time for anything else!

“Before you pick up the pen to write, make sure you realize how long you’ll carry it for and how heavy it will be” -Jay Ellis

I met Jay Ellis several months ago and he’s kept me entertained with his wit, humor and charm since day-one. Something about his English accent makes him even more interesting. He’s self-publishing, he designs his own book covers, and he’s always working on something new. He’s been an inspiration to me since I’ve known him, just don’t have the coffee vs. tea argument with this bloke. He’s English and very serious about his tea.

Let’s get to it, then. I asked, ‘Who is Jay Ellis?’ I want to know more than the basics but I did cover all the good stuff, as well.

Spotlight: Jay Ellis. 

Links to the Author

Here’s all the links you’ll need to find Jay.

Jason Ellis on Amazon
Jay Ellis’ Website
Author, Jay Ellis on Facebook
Jay Ellis, Author’s Blog

 

Let the Games Begin.

I wanted to have some fun. I asked Jay some questions just to see what he would come up with. As a writer, it’s our job to create. Day after day, we spend our lives exaggerating, embellishing, telling stories and doing the best we can to entertain those around us. I wanted to put him on the spot and test his ability to talk his way through some confounding questions. Also, I like to hear him talk… So, check it out. Jay Ellis tells us what he’s going to do in a Zombie Apocalypse, why Superheroes wear their underpants on the outside, and much more.

Hypothetical Hotspot with Jay Ellis.

“Jason Ellis – Wears a cap, he’s English and he drinks tea.  His books must be great!”

Jay has a plethora of books to choose from on Amazon.com, so, head on over there and check out the many titles he has to offer. Here’s some additional links to get you started.

Amelia Maylock, book one; The 12th Year AwakeningAmelia Maylock, book two; Hidden in the AmethystAmelia Maylock, book three; Ysmirao and the Pearl of TimeAmelia Maylock, book four; The Jade Treasure of Shadows – Amelia Maylock, 12th Year Awakening; book oneThe 12th Year Awakening; Amelia Maylock (Amelia Maylock books) – Banana Skins on the TableDecide Your FateThe ‘Footballing’ Week, book oneThe Mansly AffairTime Runs Uneven: Universal Secrets TrilogyThe Secret’s Out 

Shadows & Voices, by Jay Ellis

Shadows & Voices; A Holly Silverstone Adventure

by Jay Ellis

Thank you, again, Jay. As always, you’re fantastic and a load of fun. I thoroughly enjoyed this and I look forward to hounding you for an exclusive when your next book comes out.

To the readers and guests, please stay tuned to find out which Author will take a seat in the Hypothetical Hotspot.

Until next time, folks, remember to stay on your toes.

Coey Cain

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Under the Tree.

A small writing prompt, or challenge if you like.

First the rules.

  • Responses must be in 100 words, or less. Bonus points if you can make it exactly 100 words. Not that there are any prizes, but you can pretend.
  • Keep it clean and safe for work, as per the general guidelines for this site.
  • Points will be deducted for boring, predictable responses – be inventive!
  • Have fun!
  • If you share this, or your response, elsewhere online (which you are very welcome to do) then the IWA would appreciate a link back to this post.

And now the prompt.

In 100 words, or less, complete this:

tree

All I want for Christmas is……

 

“You” and other predictable responses like, “World peace” will be summarily laughed at unless you add a nice, juicy, but clean, twist.

Happy Holidays!

Isobel.

Isobel Herring’s facebook page.

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Come on, we need to find the Turkey!

Turkey TrotHow do you fancy a bit of a Hide and Seek hunt with all sorts of book prizes and mini competitions along the way?

Yes?

First you need to go to Indie Authors United. Go on, click the link, it should open in another window so this will still be here for you. Done that?

Thank you.

Indie Authors United is well worth a browse through the rest of the site, so you might want to bookmark it for perusal later.

See the list of links? All 14 of them? They’re all facebook pages. It’s not ranked, it’s just a list. Some of our members are linked there and there are lots of other fabulous book related pages to explore too.

But each and every page linked on that list has chosen to shelter Ms Turkey Trot somewhere ….. That’s her there, in the picture. Can you find her before the hunters do? Or maybe you’re one of the hunters?

So pick one of the links, click it, follow it and see where you end up. When you find her, you need to Like the page you’re on and follow whatever instructions are with her. Once you’ve done that, go back to the list and try another link…. You could be wandering for a while so I hope you brought a flask of pumpkin soup and some sandwiches.

We hope you find new and interesting people and books along the way!

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American members, friends, fans and readers.

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"Take my hand."

Is it time for another writing prompt?

I’m sure you know the rules by now, but here’s a reminder.

  • Use the phrase below as a starting point for your piece.
  • Stay within the word limit – there are constraints to make you focus!
  • Feel free to post your response on your own blog, website, or any other place you share work but please link back to this post if you do so.
  • Please keep your response Work Place Friendly – no swearing, no sex, no erotica, no racism, no nasty. I’m sure you get the idea.

Your phrase, your starting point:

Take my hand.

“Take my hand.”

Take my hand. That’s your starting point, that’s your focus. No more than 250 words please.

Thank you,

Isobel.

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Boo! Up Your Computer: Online Halloween Fun

Can’t tear yourself away from the computer? Don’t spend your Halloween just Trick-or-Tweeting or updating your haunting status on FaceBoo! What else is there? No worries, Halloween is not just for the kiddos. Here are a few things you can do leading up to, and on, the spooky night while still staying connected.

 

Send out some Halloween ecards to friends and family:

http://www.hallmark.com/occasion/halloween/e-cards/

http://smilebox.com/halloween.html

http://www.123greetings.com/events/halloween/

 

Get some new Halloween Apps for your phone*:

http://socialtimes.com/9-cool-iphone-apps-to-get-you-into-the-halloween-mood_b7813

http://ismashphone.com/2010/10/spooky-halloween-iphone-apps.html

http://appchronicles.com/10/10-scary-apps-for-halloween/

 

Have a Kindle, Nook or other eReader? Visit ~THE COFFIN~ for deals & freebies on ebooks that are to DIE for!!

 

http://ahintofmurder.blogspot.com/p/coffin.html

 

OR Read some free scary, short stories, online:

Horror – http://www.shortstories101.com/horror-short-stories/

Mystery/Crime – http://www.storystar.com/php/list.php?theme_id=31

Ghost – http://www.ghostsandstories.com/true-ghost-stories.html

Paranormal – http://www.wattpad.com/stories/paranormal/short-story

 

Buy or rent scary movies for your computer or tablet:

http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&rh=n%3A2649512011%2Cp_n_format_browse-bin%3A2650306011%2Cp_n_theme_browse-bin%3A2650371011&page=1

http://www.cinemanow.com/Horror/1083,0,5,,1,4,0/

 

Brush up on your Halloween trivia: http://www.usefultrivia.com/holiday_trivia/halloween_trivia_index.html

 

Make some fun Halloween cocktails:

http://marymccarthy.suite101.com/halloween-party-drinks-for-adults-a32891

http://www.delish.com/entertaining-ideas/holidays/halloween/halloween-drink-recipes

 

Lia Fairchild is a writer and author of the novel, In Search of Lucy, and the new mystery series, A Hint of Murder. Look for more on her at http://www.liafairchild.com/  or http://www.ahintofmurder.blogspot.com

(*Some apps may be from last year and link may not be active)

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Take me into your dreams.

When writers write we want to draw the readers into our world, show them the wonder and splendour of it. As readers, we yearn to be dragged into the world within the book, to lose ourselves in its pages. Have you ever read a book without being truly conscious of turning the pages?

This is a writing exercise, anyone can join in.

In 200 words, or less, please take me into your dream.

I don’t want you to tell me about your dream, I want to be sucked in and experience a dream with you. Take me by the hand and show me what’s happening, set the scene, share the action.

It could be a real dream you’ve actually had, and often that works best, or you can make something up. But, seriously, actual dreams are weird enough and you know how you felt while dreaming them, make me feel it too.

But, and this is really important, DO NOT tell me what it means! Half the fun is analysing it later and maybe we’ll do that in the comments.

 

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What's in the box?

While this is a writing exercise, I’d like to think that anyone can join in. So, if you want to have a go then please do. I hope there will be exercises such as this one posted up here from time to time, from various of our members, and I hope you’ll all play along and have some fun.

Rules:

  • The poster sets word count limits and any other conditions.
  • Supportive and constructive comments only if you feel the need to comment on another’s contribution.
  • There are no prizes.
  • Your words are your own, the Independent Writers’ Association holds no right to anything you post on our site.
  • Have fun!

I’ll start you off and ask you a question, you carry on the piece in 250 words or less and post your response in the comments here. If you wish to share your response, or this exercise then please link back to this post from wherever you’re sharing.

Lit by candles, the table stood in the centre of the room. Its smooth surface the result of years of use and the pressure of many hands across its wooden planes. Three pale wax candles rested on a metal plate to one side, flames casting a flickering light on the box.

The box was a perfect cube, gleaming steel with no apparent opening. But contained inside…..

Your task: What’s in the box?

You have 250 words to explore the room, the table and discover what’s in the box.

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