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National Poetry Month: Shel Silverstein

When I was in the third grade, my teacher, Mrs. Froriep, was insistent upon our class reading and writing in tandem. It was not enough to read the words and enjoy them in the way authors organized them, but also to use our imaginations and create our own writings, and to respond to the books we were reading. I attribute a lot of my joy in writing to this woman. But I also attribute that joy to the authors and books that she connected me to as well.

As I get older and engage with different books and writing styles I always look back on those times in her class when she would pull books out for us to read together. It was always followed by those quiet moments of reflection and digestion of the content we were currently ingesting. One of the first poetry books she introduced me to was Shel Silverstein, Falling Up. In honor of Poetry Month Ink Smith has decided to dedicate today to this childhood author. His work has, and continues to, grace the bookshelves of countless classrooms across the nation inspiring children to both read, and perhaps, to write.

 

“There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.”
Where the Sidewalk Ends, Shel Silverstein

 

What was your favorite Shel Silverstein piece? Share in the comments!

 

About Corinne

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Corinne has her MFA in Writing from Lindenwood University and her MPS in Publishing from George Washington University. She has been an editor at Ink Smith Publishing and Native Ink Press since 2013, taking over the company in 2019. Since her first trip to the library when she was a toddler, Corinne has been collecting books, recommending her favorites, and providing commentary on the less-than-stellar. Her belief is that if you have a problem, it’s nothing that a good book can’t solve.

Welcome, J. Edward Hackett!

Ink Smith Publishing welcomes, author J. Edward Hackett to the Ink Smith family, with his debut novel The Flight of the Ravenhawk which will be available Spring 2019. Pre-orders will go live on the Ink Smith website in April.

J. Edward Hackett, Ph.D. is an academic philosopher at Savannah State University who rather than engage in metaphysical speculation in process metaphysics is off building magick systems in his world of Apeiron. Fantasy fiction is itself an exploration of concepts in extreme for him. In fantasy this exploration is limited only by the imagination in much the same way that philosopher employs the intellectual imagination to solve problems that science, common sense, religion, or art cannot solve on their own.

In his debut novel, Flight of the Ravenhawk, Apeiron is a world as boundless as its origin coming from Anaximander’s fragments. Wizard nobles vie for power in the Allurian Empire. Airships shoot lightning cannons. Elven archers fly atop griffins, and a dwarven kingdom is buried deep in the mountains far from elven or human spires. At the same time, Ed’s fiction cannot help but be inspired and instantiated by concepts that come from ancient, modern, and 19th and 20th philosophical systems of thought. It’s in his blood.

Ed grew up scattered across the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states. Born in Lakewood, NJ and spending most of his life north of Pittsburgh, PA, Ed has been traveling to other worlds since he bought the Star Wars D6 RPG book by West End Games and Mage: the Ascension from White Wolf as a teenager. He grew up on Magic the Gathering, 80s fantasy movies, and many comics of the 90s amidst the rust belt of Western Pennsylvania.

Although a professor, Ed still goes to imaginary worlds with his friends at the age of 39. He’s in a classic AD&D game. His philosophizing meshes with the sensitivity to imaginary worlds. Just recently, he contributed an article about environmental ethics and the animated movie Wall-E in the upcoming Disney and Philosophy. He’s edited another pop culture and philosophy volume called House of Cards and Philosophy, co-edited an academic volume on phenomenology entitled Phenomenology for the 21st Century. He also published his first solo academic book called Persons and Values in Pragmatic Phenomenology (2018).  When asked if she was a philosopher once, the great Simone De Beauvoir said, “No, I’m a writer.” Upon hearing that many years ago, Ed has tried to write for many audiences and emulate her example.

Ed has been married to his wife, Ashley, since July 30th 2016. They live in Savannah, a magickal place in its own right and before that they lived in Cleveland. They have two cats: Olive and Lulu. Ed absorbs the sunlight of the beach, practices zazen, and while writing and teaching philosophy and other courses in the humanities, he shoots landscape photography. Despite all of this, his greatest joy is teaching and writing. “Writing fiction is simply being philosophical with narratives rather than directly talking about concepts.”

Grey Stone Hit Bookbub, Today!

Have you not read our werewolf legend, Grey Stone, yet? Do you love e-books? Well, you’re in luck! Grey Stone hit Bookbub today and is on sale for $0.99 in e-book format. Get your discounted copy soon, and don’t forget Grey Lore, its companion, is also on sale for $2.99.

After you download and read our YA werewolf origin story, make sure to leave us a note on our website, Amazon, and/or Goodreads!

Enjoy!

The Last Odinian is on a roll!

The Last Odinian by Alec Arbogast is scooping up book awards! Not only did this occult mystery novel snag a spot as a finalist in the International Book Awards (Horror Fiction category), sponsored by American Book Fest, but it was also announced as a Finalist in the 2018 American Fiction Awards (Horror: Supernatural/Paranormal category), also sponsored by Ameican Book Fest!

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Arbogast shared the category with, Antitheus by G.A. Minton and Purgatorium by J.H. Carnathan, and winner Blackwell: Prequel to the Magnus Blackwell Series by Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor.

The Last Odinian has the pleasure of the Reader’s Favorite seal, noting 5 Stars! But that’s not all! The Last Odinian, has just been given its third distinction as a finalist in the fantasy genre in the 2018 Red City Review Awards. They choose their winner in September, and Ink Smith is keeping its fingers crossed for another positive result!

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“I’m speechless for the recognition my book has received thus far,” Arbogast said. “Follow your dreams, friends!”

Arbogast shares the finalist list with The Speaker by Andi O’Connor and What Goes on in the Walls at Night by Andrew Schrader.

We are immensely proud of Alec and his novel, and hope to see his name and title next to the name WINNER! We will make another announcement when the contest finishes. In the meantime, add The Last Odinian to your “To Read” list on Goodreads, and order it from Ink Smith Publishing today!

The Last Odinian is a suspenseful, fantasy-driven novel with a touch of a dangerous cult is the perfect late night read. Arbogast’s creates an eerie, edge-of-your-seat adventure with twists of Scandinavian lore that tests the devotion of a man to his family. The story focuses in on Edward Koenig, not your average “hero” but instead, a man who has come to a crossroads in his familial life. Beginning his journey to find answers to his past, Pinemist Bay holds the scary truth of his future. The pacing is solid, the world building is near-perfect, and the creativity is astounding!

STAKED is Available for Pre-Order!

Get your copy of STAKED  by Chelsea Lynn Charters! Pre-Orders opened up June 5, 2018, with a June 22, 2018 release date. If you love vampire books or even urban fantasy with a strong female protagonist, then this is the book for you!

Lina Holiday has been hunting vampires all her life. Eager to rid the world of the blood-sucking monsters that hide in the shadows, she and her team of elite vampire hunters keep Chicago’s streets safe, but there is one vampire that she has yet to exterminate. For years Lina has tracked the ruthless vampire known as Stoney, who was responsible for killing her parents, and she will stop at nothing until she drives a stake through his heart.

However, Stoney has other plans for Lina, and when he abducts her comrades and takes them to his secluded vampire coven, she is forced to make a deal with him. Lina must sacrifice herself, and her revenge, in order to save their lives. Can Lina rescue her teammates from a fate worse than death, or will she fall prey to Stoney’s evil plan and lose the ones she loves once again?

You can order your paperback copy through Ink Smith Publishing’s website starting June 5. Books will ship after June 22. Just in time for a creepy summer read!

The Last Odinian Finalist in International Book Awards!

33618733_10216745662903259_1066578269521838080_nInk Smith Publishing is honored to announce our congratulations to our author Alec Arbogast! His novel, The Last Odinian, has been selected as a finalist in the International Book Awards, sponsored by American Book Fest.

“I’m truly honored, humbled, excited, and frankly, somewhat baffled to announce that my book was just announced as a finalist in the 2018 International Book Awards! I was chosen alongside 4 other finalists and a winner in the Horror Fiction category. Life’s been a whirlwind for the last few months and I don’t think this has really hit me yet, but it’s more than I could ever ask for from my debut novel! Congratulations to the other finalists, this is a very exciting time!” Arbogast posted on his Facebook page.

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The Last Odinian placed as a finalist in the Fiction: Horror genre. He was selected alongside winner, Knuckle Balled by Drew Stepek (Blood Bound Books), Antitheus by G.A. Minton (World Castle Publishing), Eve of Redemption by Tom Mohan (BHC Press), Stage 3 by Ken Stark (Severed Press), and The Eyes Have No Soul by Matthew W. Harrill (Creativia).

The Last Odinian now has the pleasure of the Reader’s Favorite seal, noting 5 Stars! We are so proud of Alec and all of his hard work to bring The Last Odinian to life. This suspenseful, fantasy-driven novel with a touch of a dangerous cult is the perfect late night read. Arbogast’s creates an eerie, edge-of-your-seat adventure with twists of Scandinavian lore that tests the devotion of a man to his family. The story focuses in on Edward Koenig, not your average “hero” but instead, a man who has come to a crossroads in his familial life. Beginning his journey to find answers to his past, Pinemist Bay holds the scary truth of his future. The pacing is solid, the world building is near-perfect, and the creativity is astounding! Add it to your “To Read” list on Goodreads, and order it from Ink Smith Publishing today!

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Meet Lauren A.R. Masterson

Ink Smith: Where do you do most of your writing? What is your process like?

Lauren: I do most of my writing at home, either on the computer or hand-written in my journal. I have many documents with different stories that I like to rotate working on. My journal is usually used for new ideas or new stories that I have, giving me utter freedom with creative thought.

31403074_10155353551125933_1063321335691739136_nMy process is that I write whenever I can; whenever I have the time. Even when I’m not feeling particularly inspired, I do my best to at least read a chapter or two of something that I have previously written to get me in the mood so to speak to work on something. Other times, I have to set a timer for myself to ensure that I don’t forgo eating or sleeping while working under the sway of inspiration.

During the editing process, I sit with a piece and read it out loud to find obvious mistakes and ensure flow. When working on larger plot arcs, I like to use sticky notes so that I can rearrange plot points and ensure that I have closed all the loose ends in the story.

Ink Smith: How did you come up with the idea of this book? How long did it take you to write?

Lauren: Love of the Sea started in my fantasy fiction writing class in college (2010). My professor, and now friend and mentor, Tina Jens, gave us an excellent writing exercise to inspire new ideas. The “What if?” “And then” and “Oh Shit!” method is what originally sparked this story. I have always loved mermaids, but the original Little Mermaid story bothered me that she would sacrifice so much for unrequited love. I wanted to rewrite the story so to speak with the ending she truly deserved.

Lauren AR MastersonI worked on the story diligently until I graduated (2011). After that, my time was completely devoted to my modeling career. It wasn’t until I retired from modeling and became more active with my art and writing again that I picked this novel back up (2016). Since then, I made it my mission to complete this story and see it published. I spent a grueling four months working exclusively to complete the novel.

Ink Smith: Who are your favorite authors/books? Why?

Lauren: Of course, one of my all-time favorite authors is J.K. Rowling. That’s a given. However, the author that particularly inspired the style in which I write, and the way that I perceive magick in fantasy fiction would be Juliet Marillier. I have read the Sevenwaters Trilogy many times over and dissected everything I love about the plot, characters, and style of storytelling. I emulate Juliet as much as possible in my own writing to try and achieve that mystical “old world” style that she has mastered.

The other most influential author to my writing is Lewis Carroll. From The Hunting of the Snark to Alice’s Adventures Underground I adore the British style and the poetic storytelling. I often find myself rhyming when writing my rough drafts for any story. The simple way these stories convey so much meaning in so few words is something I strive for in my own writing.

 

5 Fun Facts About the Author:

  • I am the co-editor of Cloud Orchid Publishing and create experimental art books with my best friend co-editor Bryan Thompson.
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  • I love illustrating my stories, as well as creating art in general through a variety of mediums; although digital drawing is used most often.
  • I’m a huge history nerd and have particular interests in French, British, and Japanese history.
  • I volunteered at the West Suburban Humane Society for over five years before going away to college. My current pets are all rescues.
  • I learned French at a young age, and still speak it quite well today (though I am a bit rusty). I also learned basic Japanese and strive to improve my language skills.

Reviews, Reviews, Reviews!

Authors work tirelessly to bring readers into spectacular worlds. They stay awake for hours, they skip meals because they are ferociously typing away the most exciting murder scene you’ve ever read, or forgetting simple things like showers and their family.

Screen Shot 2018-04-06 at 12.50.57 PM.pngThey work hard on marketing, readings, sending swag to readers, and anything else they can think of to get books into the hands of their fans. And fans, we read these books. These products of soul-wrenching work.

But, after we read these books, what then? They get shelved on our tablets and bookshelves and marked as READ on our Goodreads accounts. And then that’s it. We might mention the book in passing to a friend. We might reflect on our reading experience, maybe even take it down and read it again until it’s dog-eared and worn.

And the author goes back to work writing another one. And you wait for it. As the reader, we demand more of the worlds we enjoy escaping to. We stand in line, we pre-order, we devour.

Knowing this, knowing that as a voracious reader myself, I owe a little bit more to the author. Nothing too big, of course. I’ve bought their book, but that isn’t enough. If I love something, or hate it, or find it enlightening or enraging, then I should talk about it. I should leave a review so that other readers can engage in the conversation.

Reviews are one of the greatest gifts you could give to an author. Regardless of how you feel about the book, reviews encourage other readers to buy the book. Some of you are shaking your heads, saying, “Well if it is a bad review, won’t that hurt sales.” And my response to you is this: “Not always.”

Have you ever read an inflammatory comment on a Facebook post? What does it make you do? Well, for me, it makes me read. I read further. I love the discussions, the point of views. Personally, I’ve actually purchased a book based on the negative reviews it got. (It was The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett, in case you were wondering!) It had good reviews too, but I was really intrigued to purchase by the negative ones.

Check out the great reviews our newest addition to the Native Ink Press & Ink Smith Publishing, The Gorilla Picked Me! got on Goodreads. The book is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Ink Smith Publishing, and Native Ink Press websites! Available in Hardcover, Softcover, and e-book (e-book available on B&N and Amazon).

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About Corinne

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Corinne has her MFA in Writing from Lindenwood University and her MPS in Publishing from George Washington University. She has been an editor at Ink Smith Publishing and Native Ink Press since 2013. Since her first trip to the library when she was a toddler, Corinne has been collecting books, recommending her favorites and providing commentary on the less-than-stellar. Her belief is that if you have a problem, it’s nothing that a good book can’t solve. Currently, she is editing for Ink Smith Publishing & Junto Magazine and hoping that her blog posts here will help writers improve and publish their work.

Need help hitting 50,000 for Nano?

Tips and Tricks: Increasing The Word Flow

We NaNoWriMoers are a little more than halfway through the challenge, but if you are
like me in any way, this is about the time I start hitting the wall. The pressure of words is
becoming a bit more challenging as you work through the plot you are hastily creating.
And the deadline is looming closer and closer with each passing day.
The start of the 30-day challenge is always exciting, and if I daresay, easy as you
choose your story-line and begin meeting your characters. But after the first few days the
inspiration begins to dry up and the nerves begin setting in. By the halfway point, we
wonder if there’s enough time left, and then we dread the story itself: is it even worth all
this effort? The answer: YES!
Nano is just the challenge to get 50,000 words completed (which is approximately a
novel, give or take). But you aren’t supposed to have a finished, polished novel by
December 1 sitting on your desk. Having that kind of pressure is daunting, and can
cause writers to detach themselves from their project and drop out of the Nano race.
Let’s be honest, we aren’t James Patterson.

 

But never fear, there are some tried and true tricks to keep your word count mounting.

1. DO NOT SCRAP ANYTHING
As noted before, this piece is not going to be a publishable work by Day 30. Instead, this
is a first draft. As writers, you need to keep that in mind as you go along. If you don’t like
a scene, leave it be, write something new after it and keep going. The more you go back
and delete pieces of the novel the more time you spend recreating scenes, and the less
time you spend advancing your plot.

2. DO NOT EDIT
At least not yet! Editing, while a necessary tool for polished work is not the goal for
NaNo. Make editing your December goal, and focus on getting the words down. Do not
go back and rewrite sections, instead, write more sections and keep the flow going.
Spending time each day going back to re-read entire chapters (heck, even the entire
book!) takes precious writing time away from you. In order to meet the deadline of
50,000 words in 30 days, writers have to average at least 1,700 words per day. That
doesn’t sound like a lot, but as you get into the nitty-gritty of the novel, there’s the
chance that some days you might not hit that mark, maybe one day you only hit 300
words, that puts you 1,400 words behind.

3. SCHEDULE SOME TIME
We all work, cook, have commitments, and need time to unwind. Make sure to set aside
a block of time to write. This block of time can be anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours,
whatever your schedule allows. But making yourself sit and write for that set time period
can get the juices flowing! Environment is also key. Make sure to select your writing
space based on your ability to block out noise. If you can’t stop yourself from looking up
at the T.V., getting involved in a conversation, or getting distracted by the pile of laundry
that needs folding, make sure you choose a location that is free of those distractions.

4. WRITING SPRINTS
These are a fun way to get the word count out in a certain amount of time. And you can
get other writers involved in them too! Pick a number of words you want to write and
then give yourself a time limit to get those words written. Or give yourself a time limit and
challenge your friends to write as many words as you can. The winner earns a free cup
of coffee! Post it to social media, text your writer buddies, or get your friends/family to
hold you accountable for these sprints!

5. REMOVE YOURSELF
Sometimes you place too much pressure on yourself to actually write the number of
words you need each day. The pressure builds and it squashes the inspiration. In these
cases, get up and get out. Head to a park, a mall, or some other public place and spend
time people watching. Give yourself an hour and write about where you are, what you
see, what you hear, about the people walking around, the smells…just jot it down, keep
your focus off your work in progress until something sparks you. This break allows your
mind to wander outside of the confines of your story line.

6. GET OFF THE COMPUTER
Sometimes working your magic with the basics are the best way to reinvigorate your
output. While typing allows you to get more words down in a shorter amount of time,
writing by hand allows your mind to work a bit slower. Use this time to develop a new
scene or character, or to give yourself a quick chapter outline.

7. OUTLINE
While passion gets you started on the Nano journey, you have to be dedicated to
finishing the job. Writing up a short, general outline can help keep you on track. This
provides you with the bare bones of the story and you can spend the rest of the writing
time filling in the organs!

8. STOP WRITING WHEN YOU KNOW WHAT IS COMING NEXT
Getting started each day can be a challenge if you aren’t sure what direction your
character is going to take later in the story. By ending your writing session at a point in
which you know exactly what your character is going to do next, you allow yourself to get
started immediately the next time you sit down and begin writing again. Jot down a few
notes before you finish writing for the day about what is going to happen in the next
chapter and stop writing. When you go back, your notes and your last few paragraphs
will be all you need to review before you can jump into the action of your WIP (work in
progress).

9. LEAVE BLANKS
Choosing a character name can take days, deciding on the correct phrasing to describe
the castle gates can be a challenge you spend hours creating, even attempting to vary
your descriptive language can take up more time than you’d like. Here’s the key when it
comes to Nano: leave it blank. The old adage, “collect the sand, build the castle later,”
applies here more than you an imagine. Who cares if you used the word SMILE thirty
times in the last twenty pages. That is a problem for you to address when you get to the
editing phase. That minor character that only appears once in the story for a few pages
doesn’t have a good name? So what, make one up, leave it blank, call him Minor
Character 4, and move on. Names can be decided upon at a later date. Not sure how to
describe the scar on the hero’s face? Write SCAR, DESCRIPTION, and keep writing the
action. This is a first draft, it isn’t supposed to be gold, it’s supposed to be raw. All the
boo-boos can be tended at a later date.

10. DO NOT GIVE UP
Even if you know you aren’t going to hit 50,000 by the end of November, keep writing.
Keep pushing yourself to write as much as you can. Then, use that success as a
challenge for yourself the following year. You might surprise yourself. You may sit down
one day, feel overly inspired, and write 8,000-10,000 words and put yourself back on
track to hit your goal. You can do it, you have the skills and the passion – you just need
the determination. (And a few good tips to stimulate those creative juices!)

 

11. EXTRA TIP
There are plenty of places to submit your work to when you’re done! Keep Junto Magazine in mind for your shorter pieces, and Ink Smith Publishing & Native Ink Press for your longer novels!

 

About Corinne

CA Bio Image

Connect with me
on Twitter!
@AndersonCorinne

Corinne has her MFA in Writing from Lindenwood University and her MPS in Publishing from George Washington University. She has been an editor at Ink Smith Publishing and Native Ink Press since 2013. Since her first trip to the library when she was a toddler, Corinne has been collecting books, recommending her favorites and providing commentary on the less-than-stellar. Her belief is that if you have a problem, it’s nothing that a good book can’t solve. Currently, she is editing for Ink Smith PublishingJunto Magazine and hoping that her blog posts here will help writers improve and publish their work.