Our Anthology in Gift Bags for George Lopez’s Celebrity Golf Classic

I’m pleased to announce that my stories and all the rest of my colleagues’ in Running Wild Press’s Anthology of Stories Vol. 2 will be part of the gift bags given out at George Lopez’s Golf Classic.

 

I don’t usually follow golf, but the George Lopez Foundation raises awareness about kidney disease and organ donation, and works to help underprivileged children, adults and military families.

That’s a mission I can really get behind. I’m honored that my writing can play a small part in supporting this. Thank you to Lisa Kastner, our executive editor at Running Wild Press, for making this happen.

Here’s what Lisa has to say:

When a friend reached out to see if we’d be interested in supporting George Lopez’s Celebrity Golf Classic by being included in the gift bags, my answer was a resounding yes. As a child who grew up in the inner city of Camden New Jersey, I had been privy to situations in which children couldn’t have survived childhood trauma without the assistance of donors. Mr. Lopez’s Foundation creates a robust environment in which to save lives.

…The Mission of George Lopez’s Foundation is one that all of us at Running Wild Press believe in:

“… to create positive, permanent change for underprivileged children, adults and military families confronting challenges in education and health, as well as increasing community awareness about kidney disease and organ donation.” https://georgelopezfoundation.org/our-mission

Books to be included in the celebrity gift bags:

 “Frontal Matter: Glue Gone Wild” by Suzanne Samples – A fun, funny, and heartbreakingly real memoir of a woman’s fight against terminal brain cancer. The writing is honest, charming, and full of cuss words.

“Magic Forgotten” by Jack Hillman – For a man shut up in his house after being in a near fatal car accident, Dan is thrust into another world and must recruit helpers in his quest. 

“The Kidnapped” by Dwight L. Wilson – Dwight Wilson researched for more than a dozen years to ensure this brilliant historic fiction collection portrayed the very nuanced history of African Americans in the United States. 

“The Resistors” by Dwight L. Wilson (Available for retail sale July 4th) The follow up collection to “The Kidnapped” 

“Dark Corners” by Reuben “Tihi” Hayslett – “It’s pleasing to see such a diverse array characters be so presented in such a normal way. Each individual is not presented as a token, but rather just another human being…” — Wagatwe Wanjuki, feminist writer and activist 

“Writers Resist: The Anthology 2018” – Celebrating the online journal’s first year, includes the works of 73 contributors. 

“Running Wild Novella Anthology, Volume 1”  Stories that will make your imagination run wild.

“Running Wild Novella Anthology, Volume 2, Part 1” and Part 2 – Eclectic and dynamic collections of novellas. Trigger worthy.

“Jersey Diner” by Lisa Diane Kastner – One man’s fan is another man’s stalker

“Build Your Music Career from Scratch” Second Edition by Andrae Alexander – A practical guide for those trying to make it in the music industry.

“Running Wild Anthology of Short Stories, Volume 1”  

“Running Wild Anthology of Short Stories, Volume 2”

 

That’s a lot of fine books to fill up gift bags! If you’d like to know a bit more about some of these authors, check out my blogpost on Golden Globes gift baskets – many of the same writers were featured there as well.

Thank you, Lisa, for making us all a part of this!

You can learn more about Running Wild Press at
Twitter: @runwildbooks, @lisadkastner
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/runningwildpress/

Interview with Aud Supplee

Aud Supplee, Author

Here begins a new chapter of interviews featuring members of the two awesome critique groups I belong to. Aud and I have been in the same group for about seven years now, and I’m delighted to invite her to my blog.

Welcome, Aud! I understand you have some news to share.

Aud: I’m excited to announce that one of my stories has been recently accepted for publication by Running Wild Press. It’s a novella for adults titled Broken Soul to Broken Soul, about two people with separate traumas who come together and help each other heal.

Gemma: That is exciting! I’ve read prior drafts of that novella, and it not only brought tears to my eyes, it gave me goosebumps, and also made me laugh! I’m so happy it’s going to be seen by a wide audience.

Check out Aud’s book trailer.

G: That’s a very cool book trailer, by the way.
Aud: Thanks!

Gemma: I’d like to chat a bit about your past as a writer. How long have you known that you wanted to be a writer?
Aud: Ever since I was about 8 years old.
G: Do you remember what led you to that?
Aud: Two things:
One: I grew up in a chaotic environment and writing was my way to create order from chaos.
Two: As a kid, I couldn’t find stories that I wanted to read, so I made up my own.
G: Both of those are really compelling reasons. Writing is definitely a positive, powerful way to deal with chaos.

G: What’s your goal as a writer?
Aud: To entertain. I like it when a reader wonders, “What’s going to happen next?” My characters often make me laugh and/or cry. It’s my hope that they’ll do the same for my readers.
G: Your characters have definitely made me laugh! And sometimes make me yell their name out loud in frustration! But that’s only because I’ve come to care about them like friends. And Broken Soul to Broken Soul isn’t your only story that’s brought tears to my eyes.

G: What’s the first piece you wrote that you’re still proud of and/or happy with?
Aud: Standing Ovation. It was my first published book, put out by Ace Tempo Books. It’s a YA novel about a girl trumpet player who upsets her family’s balance when her dream of fame motivates her retired jazz musician father to come out of retirement. Sadly, this book is out of print. The last time I read Standing Ovation was during a train ride to an author presentation to promote another novel. Even though the book was old, it still made me laugh out loud!
G: Oh, I love that! Now, tell me more about that other novel.
Aud: That other novel was my second published book, I Almost Love You, Eddie Clegg, put out by Peachtree Publishers.

Eddie Clegg by Aud Supplee

Aud: It’s a middle grade novel about an 8th grade girl who begins to develop a father/daughter relationship with her alcoholic stepdad. Fun fact: That book was rejected over 30 times.
G: Wow! That is all too common, but still, how did you deal with all that rejection? What did you do next?
Aud: I had a few cool rejections for Eddie. One publisher wrote that the main character was “refreshing and endearing” and the book was “beautifully written,” but it wouldn’t fit their list. I remember saying to myself, “They don’t want refreshing and endearing characters or a beautifully written book?” Obviously, there’s nothing you can do with a rejection like that. A lot of the other letters were form rejections. They sting, but I’m blessed to have a significant other who always takes my side. Whenever I complain that publishers are stupid for rejecting me, he not only agrees with me, he tells me I’m a genius. (Laughter) They’re not really stupid; calling them that is just part of the process.
G: Dealing with rejection can be a multi-step process for sure!
Aud: After a day or so of whining about it and licking my wounds, I’ll put the manuscript aside for a while, then re-read the manuscript with a critical eye, make changes and submit it somewhere else. Here’s the other thing about Eddie. I loved that story and the characters and I believed in it enough that I would have kept going until somebody accepted it. Also, it didn’t hurt that whenever I’d ask my husband if I’d ever be published again he always said, “Yes.” And he’s the most indecisive person I know!! (Laughter)
G: It’s wonderful to have so much support! And that you were dedicated to your characters and your story.

G: Now, what’s the hardest part of writing for you?
Aud: The dreaded first draft. Once that one’s out of the way, the rest is pure joy.
G: What’s the best?
Aud: Editing! I love polishing and seeing how a raw idea evolves.
G: Wow – for me, it’s just the opposite. I really enjoy the first draft. The editing makes me sweat. Of course, having a great critique group really helps. Even if their hard questions are sometimes what make me sweat the most!

G: Is there a place that you’ve lived, or visited, that especially influences your writing?
Aud: When I was 15, I spent a summer at a lake in Maine with relatives. It ended up being the setting for Broken Soul to Broken Soul, as well as for my adult short story, “Monkey in the Middle,” also accepted by RWP for their next short story anthology.
G: Congratulations on that acceptance! And a lake shows up in your book trailer, too.

G: A lot of writers when they start out emulate other writers, consciously or not. Can you think of any authors you emulated?
Aud: This probably makes me different from the average author; I began life as a reluctant reader. As a kid, I didn’t think anybody wrote stories I wanted to read, so I started writing for myself. When it comes to emulating, I probably emulated lively stories and conversations I’d heard when my mother and grandmother met for coffee. I think that’s why I enjoy writing dialog so much. Without realizing it, I paid attention to the cadence of their voices.
G: That’s very cool! And I can vouch for your dialogue – it just feels so real when I read it.

G: What writers do you most admire?
Aud: Right out of college I couldn’t get enough of Kurt Vonnegut. Back then I was also a big fan of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels. I was also impressed with Stephen King’s down-to-earth dialog.

G: What authors do you read most and enjoy most now?
Aud: I like Timothy Keller and Andy Stanley. Both are Christian nonfiction writers. As for fiction, the actual author doesn’t matter. If it’s a fantasy, cozy mystery, romance, literary fiction, Christian fiction, middle grade, YA, or anything about horses, I’ll pretty much read it. Good or bad. You can learn a lot about the art of writing by reading really bad fiction.
G: You know, you’ve got a good point. I’ll have to remember that the next time some writing doesn’t impress me.

G: What are you reading presently, or most recently?
Aud: I just finished a YA novel about a girl surfer titled, We Thought We Were Invincible, by Michelle Lynn. I’m bad with names, I only know that author’s name because I just checked it on my Kindle. (Laughter)

G: And what are you working on now?
Aud: Edits to my middle grade novel called, This Way/That Way.
G: We’re reading that story at our critique group now, and I’m really enjoying getting to know your heroine, Nickie. She’s quite a character!

G: What is the next project you hope to do?
Aud: It better be book three of my Frama-12 trilogy. (Laughter)
G: Good, because having read the drafts for the first two, I can’t wait to find out what happens in book three!

Check out Aud’s blog at https://audsupplee.com/
While you’re there, you  can read her interview with me and Stan Gale, another of our critique group.

And check out Aud’s Instagram for some fun photos.

Thanks for joining me, Aud!

Happy Book Birthday!

A year ago today, my stories first appeared in print in Running Wild Press Anthology of Stories Volume 2!

 

Some exciting things have happened since then. My story, The Guest, about an unexpected visitation on a cold spring night, was chosen as one of RWP Readers’ Choice Best for 2018! It joins many excellent stories from “my” anthology and RWP’s novella anthologies.

And our anthology was featured with other RWP books in amazing swag bags given to Golden Globe celebrities.

Golden Globe Weekend Gift Bag

Meanwhile, I’ve been hard at work on my fantasy novel. If you look deeply into my author photo, you can catch a peek at early lines from my first draft.

All right, honestly, I haven’t been writing it with quill and ink, but I do write the first drafts longhand. I like the ease and physical contact of writing with pen and paper.

 

During this year, Running Wild Press has been busy with many awesome projects – just check out their twitter. Among their latest offerings are writing courses.

From RWP: we’re launching a fully online creative writing program.

Want to join a supportive, online writing community for feedback and encouragement? Take a Running Wild Press writing course.

These fully online courses will be taught in 4 to 8-week formats entirely online by experienced instructors from higher education institutions from around the country.

Three of these courses will be taught by my anthology colleagues Elan Barnehama, Nick Mazzuca, and Amelia Kibbie. I heartily vouch for their writing abilities, because their stories are honestly some of my favorites. Check out my interviews with them for more about them and their stories.

Elan Barnehama, Contemporary Fiction Writer
Nick Mazzuca, Author
Amelia Kibbie, Author of Fantasy, LBGT & Historical fiction

A fourth course will be taught by Dr. Lisa Montagne. I’m not acquainted Lisa, but if you’re interested in reading and writing poetry, have a look! You can check out all the courses here.

As for me, check back soon for more interviews with new authors, and of course I’ll keep you posted with any news!

 

In Celebration of Fairy Tales

Yesterday was National Tell a Fairy Tale Day. This holiday is new to me, but it’s already dear to my heart. Fairy tales are something I have an abiding love for. Like many, (I hope), I have treasured memories of being read fairy tales, in my case by my mom. I never grew out of my love for them.

For most of their previous history, fairy tales were not intended primarily for children, nor should they be now, as J.R.R. Tolkien wrote in his essay, “On Fairy-Stories.” The essay appears in the collection of his work Tales from the Perilous Realm  and is brilliantly discussed by Maria Popova in Brainpickings 

Tolkien says “ … only some children, and some adults, have any special taste for them [fairy stories]; and when they have it, it is not exclusive, nor even necessarily dominant. It is a taste, too, that would not appear, I think, very early in childhood without artificial stimulus; it is certainly one that does not decrease but increases with age, if it is innate.”*

My taste for fairy tales has certainly only increased with age.

What is a fairy tale? This is how Tolkien defines it: “A “fairy-story” is one which touches on or uses Faerie, whatever its own main purpose may be: satire, adventure, morality, fantasy. Faerie itself may perhaps most nearly be translated by Magic — but it is magic of a peculiar mood and power, at the furthest pole from the vulgar devices of the laborious, scientific, magician. There is one proviso: if there is any satire present in the tale, one thing must not be made fun of, the magic itself. That must in that story be taken seriously, neither laughed at nor explained away.”*

While volunteering in my local library, I recently discovered a marvelous book. In the most literal meaning – it is a book of marvels: PROUD KNIGHT, FAIRY LADY The Twelve Lays of Marie de France.

An out-of-print treasure bought second-hand

Marie de France was a mysterious woman of whom very little is known. (I learned of her first from this book.) She was the first known woman poet of France, was versed in several languages, and wrote in Anglo-Norman. She artfully crafted the lays (or ballads) sung by Breton minstrels into written poetry (translated by Naomi Lewis into English prose). Marie wrote in the late 1100s, but often said that the tales came from long ago. That in itself is to me a marvel – how ancient these stories must be! What’s more, she frequently writes that the stories were not merely legends, but true. “This tale comes from a very old Breton lay,” Marie says; “these are the true facts, I understand, and you must believe them, for strange things happened long ago.”**

Though I stumbled upon this book in the children’s section, none of these are child-oriented stories; they deal with adult or ageless themes and occurrences.

These are tales of courtly love and chivalry, and magic often imbues them. A white doe curses the hunter who wounded her to suffer a wound that nothing can cure, until a woman suffers for love of him, and he for her. A mysterious and richly furnished ship sails itself, carrying its occupant to an unknown land, and then, when he is in need, back home. A werewolf, noble as both man and wolf, takes rightful vengeance on the wife who betrayed him.  A hawk turns into a noble knight to bring love to a captive woman. Lovers appear from unknown realms at the wish of their beloveds. A lady of magic and power saves a knight from disgrace and banishment merely by her presence.

Some of the most marvelous reversals in these lays are worked not by magic but by love, compassion, and forgiveness. A husband finds that his wife has deceived him and spirited away a child he never knew he had; he responds not with anger, but with joy to find he has a second daughter. A wife discovers that her husband is grief-stricken over the death of his lover; through compassion and quick wit she revives the girl with a magic flower.

Marie’s voice carries through these tales with warmth and humor. It is as if she speaks across the centuries to any reader fortunate enough, as I was, to stumble upon this book of marvels.

Readers, do you have a taste for fairy tales? Do you have favorites?

 

* (Tolkien quotes extracted from Brainpickings as I do not yet have my own copy of this book. An error I must soon correct!)

** (from Naomi Lewis’ translation in PROUD KNIGHT, FAIR LADY)

Into the Wild of Words

Now for a brief journey into the wilds of word exploration, on the trail of a unicorn. Along this path are two very talented women artists.

The unicorn’s name is Hillingar.

Hillingar; sculpture: Sarah Minkiewicz; photo: Susan B. Young

This fantastic beast is a sculpture you can hold in your hand, the work of the greatly gifted Sarah Minkiewicz.

Sarah creates amazing equine (and equine-related) art; I’ve been very fortunate to have been given a number of pieces from her Zazzle store.

This post is meant to be about word exploration, but I must spend a little time on the unicorn himself. Hillingar is an incredible creature, most definitely not just a horse with a horn, nor even a horse with horn, cloven hooves, and a lion’s tail. No, this beast is very much his own creature. He is sinewy, powerful, fiery, somehow almost dragonish. Kudos, Sarah!

I got to hold this magnificent animal because my dear friend, Susan Bensema Young, was one of the fortunate few who possesses one of this limited edition. Sue, herself a very gifted artist, is a miniaturist who builds exquisite model horse tack. On her blog she wrote about receiving and unwrapping Hillingar.There you can see more views of this remarkable unicorn. You can also find posts on many things, including how she builds her tack, and a link to her website full of her own beautiful work. I hope you’ll explore some of these.

To return to the path of words. It was Sue who told me that Hillingar’s name is Icelandic and means “a mirage, a fata morgana.” I pondered the mirage part. It fits in the sense this unicorn might leave you wondering if you can believe your own eyes. But on the other hand, this sculpture is so vibrant, so vivid, so present, it does not seem like anything diaphanous or ephemeral.

But fata morgana startled me. I thought the phrase meant “Morgan le Fay.” Here I turned to one of my trusty guidebooks for adventures in word-tracking. Not exactly a pocket fieldguide – it’s Webster’s Unabridged (Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary Unabridged, to be precise). Webster’s led me true: indeed, fata morgana is defined as a mirage. Webster’s further illuminates the mystery, especially online: ‘Fata Morgana is the Italian name for Morgan le Fay (meaning “Morgan the Fairy”), a sorceress of medieval legends… sister of the legendary King Arthur…Among her powers, say some versions of the legend, was the ability to change shape, and she has been blamed for causing complex mirages over bodies of water, especially in the Strait of Messina. Today we know that such optical illusions are really caused by atmospheric conditions, but we still sometimes use “fata morgana” as a synonym of “mirage.”’

Aha! Revelation. (And this is particularly fitting as Sue has meteorological connections). This led me to wonder, as I have before, why Morgan le Fay translates as Fata Morgana in Italian. Trusty Webster’s to the rescue! It traces fay (meaning ‘a fairy; an elf’) as the word winds its way back in time: through Middle English, back to Old French, and ultimately to Latin: “fata, a fairy, fatum, fate.”

Wow. So Morgan le Fay (or Morgan le Fey) is distantly related to the Three Fates, at least etymologically. (I had wondered). And as Sue says of Hillingar, “What an amazing creature. The word that comes to me is fey.” Which brings us around full circle. And it makes perfect sense to me, that this unicorn connects to a being of powerful magic.

Thank you to both Sarah and Sue for allowing me a glimpse of this fantastic beast!

Our Anthology Featured in Gift Baskets to 2019 Golden Globe Nominees and Presenters

You read that correctly: the Running Wild Anthology my stories are in will be given to nominees and presenters of the Golden Globes!

This awesome, jaw-dropping fact is due to the amazing work of Lisa Kastner, founder and executive editor of Running Wild Press. Our anthology (I cannot possibly call it mine when my stories are just two among so many wonderful tales) will join Suzanne Samples’ “Frontal Matter: Glue Gone Wild” and (if my eyes don’t deceive me) Running Wild Novella Anthology Vol. 2 pt. 1. And with them, many other gifts.

Have a look: is this not one spiffy gift basket??

Golden Globe Weekend Gift Bag

Now, let me be clear: these are not official Golden Globe bags. They are “Red Carpet Gift Bags honoring Golden Globe nominees,” to quote Hollywood Swag Bag, who will place these gifts in the celebrities’ rooms, working in conjunction with the hotel management. How amazing is that!

Here is a partial list of who will be receiving these excellent books among all the other cool gifts:
Glenn Close
Bradley Cooper
Lady Gaga
Benedict Cumberbatch
Hugh Grant
Elisabeth Moss
Emma Stone
Justin Hurwitz
Tina Fey

UPDATE: thanks to Lisa, here is the full list! 

I’m excited that not only my stories will end up in these talented hands, but also the stories from all my RWP Anthology colleagues I’ve interviewed plus many more from the Short Story Anthology, including Suzanne Mattaboni (who I got to meet at the Pennwriters conference) and Cindy Cavett and Laura Selinsky, (who I shared my first book signing with), and still more from Running Wild Novella Anthology Vol. 2 pt. 1.

Two of these authors have blogged about this rather incredible thing: Christa Miller, whose story The Kings of Babylon appears in Running Wild Novella Anthology Vol. 2 pt. 1and Julie Doherty, whose story Justice is in Running Wild Anthology of Stories Vol. 2I hope you’ll give their thoughtful posts a read.

And check out this newsletter from Running Wild Press:

In our third year of publishing, Running Wild Press has had an impressive year. Already nominated for several awards including the Pushcart Prize, the executive editor, Lisa Diane Kastner, is excited for two of the press’s books to be included in gift bags to 2019 Golden Globe nominees and presenters. The bags will be gifted to actors, actresses, and presenters for the 2019 Golden Globes the weekend of January 7, 2019.

“When we were informed that both ‘Frontal Matter: Glue Gone Wild’ and ‘Running Wild Anthology of Stories, Volume 2’ would be included in the gift bags, I couldn’t be more thrilled,” said Lisa Diane Kastner, Founder and Executive Editor of Running Wild Press. “This is the perfect tribute to our authors, our readers, and the stories of 2018 as well as a gorgeous beginning to 2019.”

Lisa founded Running Wild Press with the vision to bring great stories and great writing that do not fit neatly in a box to readers worldwide.

“In 2018, we published nine books with stories ranging from personal narratives to cross-genre fiction and non-fiction,” said Lisa. “These two books represent a great compilation of our narratives.”

Never one to shy from an opportunity to feature talents who don’t necessarily fit in mainstream media, we chatted with Lisa about the press, the Golden Globes, and anything else we could fit in.

How Did You Get Into The Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards Gift Bags?
A dear friend reached out to me and mentioned that there was an opportunity to be included. There are only a handful of companies authorized to provide gift baskets for events such as the Golden Globes, the Emmys, the Grammys, the Oscars, and SAG Awards. I figured, heck, can’t hurt to have a chat. That chat resulted in our stories being included in 50 gift bags for both Golden Globe nominees and presenters as well as SAG Award nominees and presenters. We couldn’t be more excited. Only a select few are invited to be included in these baskets so this truly is an honor.

Who Among the Recipients Are You Most Excited to Meet?
Admittedly, I doubt that I’ll personally meet any of the celebrities or nominees during the weekend of the Golden Globes or the Screen Actors Guild Awards, but I am incredibly excited to have the likes of Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Spike Lee, Constance Wu, Charlize Theron, and Lin-Manuel Miranda read these amazing stories.

I have admired Bradley Cooper’s rise and strategic choices for years. Lady Gaga continues to broaden and expand her repertoire. Her ability to tap into her own meager beginnings in “A Star Is Born” was truly breathtaking. Spike Lee’s true gift to bring forth real life situations and demonstrate their relevance to today’s society is beyond phenomenal. Constance Wu and the rest of the cast of “Crazy Rich Asians” not only brought theatrical houses down but showed the world how a Rom-Con should be done. And Lin-Manuel’s gifts for storytelling – no matter the form (Have you seen his Twitter account? Oy!) continues to inspire. I could go on and on. Needless to say, we’re proud to have these stories in such amazingly talented artists’ hands.

What Inspired You to Start Running Wild Press?
I had spent over a decade studying the art of storytelling from New York Times Bestsellers, such as Jonathan Maberry, Alexander Chee, Porochista Khakpour, Da Chen, Pulitzer Prize nominees such as Luis Alberto Urrea, National Book Award winners such as Julia Glass, Ha Jin, and PEN Award winners such as Percival Everett. I studied fiction, non-fiction, memoir, journalism, screenplay writing. Each experience and interaction brought greater knowledge and understanding.

I ran several writers workshops including Running Wild Writers Community out of Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia. I often found writers whose writing was on-point – truly magical stories with great writing; the pieces simply needed a little tweaking. I gave the authors feedback and recommended that they send the pieces out for publication. I checked with each one and was often shocked when they said they couldn’t find home for their work. When I asked why, they informed me that the publications said the author’s writing was wonderful but didn’t quite fit. The more I heard this, the clearer it was that tons of great stories with great writing simply don’t fit into the mainstream media. So, I created Running Wild Press for great stories and great writing that don’t fit neatly in a box to find worldwide audiences. I’ve been humbled by the public’s enthusiastic response to our stories. We’ve been nominated for several “Best of” collections, the Pushcart Prize, and several more honors that are currently in the works.

To find out more about Lisa and Running Wild Press, go to runningwildpress.com 

Previous articles about Lisa Diane Kastner and Running Wild Press include:
Small Town Gal blog: Editor Profile – Lisa Diane Kastner 
JMWW blog: Running Wild: An Interview With Lisa Diane Kastner By Curt Smith
Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews
The Speculative Fiction Cantina 
Books Chatter blog
Littsburgh 
Additional audio interviews are available on Soundcloud

As for me, Gemma – I’m still gobsmacked by this whole thing! Thank you, Lisa and congrats to all the talented people involved!

Best of Running Wild Press 2018

I’m delighted to share the news that my short story, The Guest, has been chosen as one of RWP Readers’ Choice Best for 2018!

I am truly honored to be among so many fine stories. Here’s the full list (chronologically, then alphabetically):

From the Running Wild Anthology of Stories Vol. 2 (March, 2018)
Albion One by Lorna Walsh
Blurred Lines by Jasmine Wade
Buck It and Bolt by Nick Mazzuca
The Ginger Jar by Tone Milazzo
The Guest by Gemma L. Brook
How to Serve Carnivorous Plants by Lexis Parker
Idylls of the King by Amelia Kibbie
Justice by Julie Doherty
Life After Breath by Tori Eldridge
The Life and Death of One Big Paragraph by Andrew Adams
Stolen Memories by Gary Zenker

From Running Wild Novella Anthology Vol. 2, Part 1 (Oct., 2018)
How Long is Forever by Randall Brown
Inside The Whale by Eric Lehman
One Hundred Ten Blue by Dustin Blakeman
The Stars that Guide Us Home by Paige Edenfield

From Running Wild Novella Anthology Vol. 2, Part 2 (Oct., 2018)
Midian by Daniel Uncapher
The Washerwoman by C.E. Clayton

Congratulations to all these authors!
Readers, look for the Running Wild Press Best of 2018 Anthology in early 2019.

Interview with Author Amelia Kibbie

Amelia Kibbie, Author of Fantasy, LBGT & Historical fiction

To close this chapter of interviews with my Running Wild Anthology colleagues, I’m very pleased to feature Amelia Kibbie. Her story, “Idylls of the King,” moved and enchanted me.

Welcome, Amelia!

Is there a part of the Anthology’s cover collage that reminds you of your story?
The image that I think reflects my story the best is on the far left. It looks like a person with dark pants standing with their hand open but facing back, perhaps to take someone else’s hand. The figure is wearing a black glove. It reminds me of “Idylls of the King” because the picture does look historical, and my piece is a LGBT WWII romance, and it could also represent James reaching back to take Arthur’s hand so they can stand together.

 

Would you add anything to the cover to hint at your story?
A sword. In the story, Arthur is given a sword that represents the mythical Excalibur, and it inspires him to reach his full potential and be true to himself in declaring his love for James.

What do you like best to write?
That’s funny, because honestly I would have to say horror and fantasy, which is a pretty far cry from “Idylls.” But to be real, I love to write pretty much everything if I’m invested in the plot and characters.

What’s the biggest stretch for you to write?
I don’t typically write things I don’t like to write, but if someone paid me to write a traditional hetero romance where the proper girl falls for the bad boy, or a Twilight style scenario where the guy’s actually a stalker with no boundaries and the girl defines her existence based on her relationship, I would have a really hard time writing that. But, if you’re offering me money, I’d make it work.

Where do your stories fall on the plot-driven vs. character-driven spectrum?
I’d like to think they’re equal. Typically I come up with the plot idea, and then develop the characters after that. When it’s brewing in my mind they tend to develop relatively simultaneously.

What authors did you love most as a kid? Now? What authors have influenced your writing most?
As a younger kid, I was way into Patricia C. Wrede, Betty Wren Wright, and Brian Jacques. My teen years focused on Stephen King and Anne Rice. In college, I got into Chuck Palahniuk and Brett Easton Ellis. Now I read anything and everything I can get my hands on and I’m not all that particular. I learn something from everything I read. I’d have to say my current favorite author is Hillary Mantel.

Is there a place that you’ve lived (or visited) that most influences your writing?
I’m from Iowa, so there are a lot of Midwestern culture and themes in my work. However, I’ve done a lot of traveling, and visited France and New Orleans several times. I’ve been to England, and did quite a few historical tours of WWII sites, which helped in the writing of “Idylls of the King” and the follow up novel, Legendary.

What’s the first piece you wrote that you’re still proud of/happy with?
The first place I was really published was on the website BigWorldNetwork.com. They publish stories in installments as serial fiction. I have a fantasy novel there called Harvest of Ash. The first two seasons are available on the site. I have the third season written, but the new managers of the site don’t want to see anything until the series has concluded. I still have to write Season 4. When I turned 30, I decided that it was now or never to accomplish my dream of being a writer. When I was 31 I had my daughter, and I used her nap time during my maternity leave to write Harvest of Ash. I love that book and I hope to finish it someday. It’s a gritty retelling of Cinderella with echoes of Game of Thrones.

What have you been up to since the Anthology came out? Any other news?
I have written a follow-up novel to “Idylls of the King” called Legendary. It takes place about ten years after the short story, though the short story is included in the narrative as a flashback. The plot revolves around James and Arthur as they journey to find someone given up for lost many years ago. On the way they grapple with society’s judgmental treatment of gay people, and some rocky aspects of their own relationship.

What do you plan to work on next?
Man, I have a to-do list! I need to finish Harvest of Ash, as well as a story I have on Wattpad that some of the students I work with are reading. I tell them if they get their homework done and pass their classes, I will write another chapter. I owe them a chapter right now! I’m also working with a filmmaker on a screen play about the Holocaust.

How can readers connect with you?
I have an author page on Facebook — Amelia Kibbie — Author and Freelance Writer. I tweet @AmeliaKibbie and Instagram as @hollycat83. I’d love it if you would visit my website ameliakibbie.com. You can find EVERYTHING there, including my blog “I Know What I Know.”

Exciting news! I just found out that Amelia’s story “Idylls of the King” is one of RWP Readers’ Choice Best for 2018*

Congratulations, Amelia, and congratulations on your upcoming novel! Thank you for joining me on my blog.

 

*Check back for more results soon!

Interview with Author Julie Doherty

Julie Doherty — Fiction that’s Plaid to the Bone

For my penultimate interview with one of my Running Wild Anthology colleagues, it’s my pleasure to feature Julie Doherty. Her story, “Justice,” left me a little shaken, but satisfied.

Welcome, Julie!

Is there a part of the Anthology’s cover collage that reminds you of your story?

Probably the section with the stark tree. I’m certain the main character in “Justice” feels that bleak and lonely, since he’s an abused boy surrounded by pampered show dogs.

 

What do you like best to write?
I love writing horror, which sounds silly coming from a romance author. If you think about it, though, love and fear are two of our most powerful emotions, so maybe it makes sense that I enjoy writing about both.

What’s the biggest stretch for you to write?
Because I slip into my characters’ skins to tell their stories, it makes me something of a writing chameleon. So far, I haven’t found any genre more challenging than the rest.

Where do your stories fall on the plot-driven vs. character-driven spectrum?
My books are largely plot-driven, but they include well-developed characters with plenty of inner conflict.

What authors did you love most as a kid? What authors have influenced your writing most?
Laura Ingalls-Wilder completely transported me to that little house on the prairie. I even remember the smell of those books. Wonderful memories. I think every author has taught me something, though; sometimes, what not to do. (I’m probably that author for a lot of people. Ha!)

Is there a place that you’ve lived (or visited) that most influences your writing?
Since my stuff is Plaid to the Bone, I suppose it’s no surprise if I respond with . . . Scotland. The bens and braes, the heilan’ coos, the swaggering rogues in kilts. *sigh*

What’s the first piece you wrote that you’re still proud of/happy with?
I’m proud of each of them, because let’s face it, finishing a novel is a major accomplishment. But happy? Are authors ever completely happy with a story? I think most are chronic editors. I can’t read any of my published works without wanting to change something. However, I’m especially proud of THE SCENT OF FOREVER, my most recent release. I kind of nailed that one. Here’s the link.

What have you been up to since the Anthology came out? Any other news?
Soul Mate Publishing released THE SCENT OF FOREVER, and I signed with that same house for the release of my fourth novel, A VALLEY TOO FAR. I’ve spent most of the summer renovating my 1926 Colonial Craftsman home and trying not to molder. It rained all summer in Pennsylvania!

What do you plan to work on next?
I started another contemporary romance about a disabled vet who courts an old high school sweetheart by sending her messages with a drone. Unfortunately, I got about 35,000 words in and decided I wasn’t happy with the direction the story was taking. So, I decided to take a short break from writing, reset my creative brain, and come back at it in the fall. I’m starting to get the urge to look at it again. In a week or two, we’ll probably be out of clean clothes again because the laundry maid is stuck to her laptop.

How can readers connect with you?
I blog at my website at: https://juliedoherty.com/ and I’m pretty active over on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/juliedohertywrites where I occasionally give away some pretty awesome swag and even free books.

 

Congratulations on your recent and upcoming releases, Julie!

Julie has hosted her own fun interviews of Anthology authors and others on her website here. You can read her interview of me right here.
Thanks for the great interviews, Julie, and for taking part in my blog!

UPDATE Dec. 8th, 2018

Exciting news! Julie’s story “Justice” has been chosen as one of RWP Readers’ Choice Best of 2018*. Congratulations, Julie!

*Check back for more results soon.

 

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