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Posts Tagged ‘The Greener Forest’

Inspiration can be found in many places: people around you, things you hear or see, quotes, prayers, a hug from a dear friend… I often find inspiration for writing, art, and life when reading.

Imagine my surprise (and delight) to be asked by Sally Peters Roll for a quote from one of my books for her new book, When I Look To The Sky. Of course, I said, “Yes!”

So on page 66, below a quote from Rumi: “Beauty surrounds us.”  and on the opposite page from a quote from Edgar Allan Poe: “It is a happiness to wonder; it is a happiness to dream.,” you will see: “The world is full of mystery and magic. We just need to look, listen, and believe that wondrous things are still possible.” – Vonnie Winslow Crist

Cover-Electronic-GreenerForest The quote is from page 11 of my fantasy story collection, The Greener Forest, and expresses my view of the world.

So readers, if you’re looking to slip into “that magical place where Faerie and the everyday world collide,” you might enjoy my story collection from Pole to Pole Publishing, The Greener Forest. It is described by E.J Stevens, author of the Hunter’s Guild urban fantasy series, Spirit Guide young adult series, and Ivy Granger urban fantasy series as: “An intriguing look at the diverse relationships between humans and fairies. A wonderful, imaginative, multifaceted collection.”

And TJ Perkins, author of the Shadow Legacy fantasy adventure series, the Kim & Kelly Mystery Series, and Four Little Witches, described The Greener Forest as: “Magickal, enchanting and so enticing. I was pulled in and couldn’t stop reading!”

Or if you’re looking for a little inspiration, you might want to check out When I Look To The Sky – A Collection of Quotes, Poems, and Prayers for Loss, Grief, and Healing  by Sally Peters Roll, MSW. (And remember to keep an eye out for an inspiring quote from me!)

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In an attempt to finish many incomplete projects, I’ve set monthly goals for myself. So, how am I doing on the April and May 2016 goals I set forth on April 1st?

What’s done?

Murder_Cover_CS_front1-Complete my science fiction novelette (such a charming word!) and get it into the hands of my publisher. Done! Murder on Marawa Prime was published by Pole to Pole Publishing in May 2016. If you like science fiction murder mysteries – this one is for you.

2-Finish crocheting an afghan for my granddaughter. Done! And given to her. (pastel colors)

3-Revise and add another story and poem to my fantasy story collection, The Greener Forest, so it can be re-released with a new cover, etc. Done! Now, all that’s left to be done are to get some cover comments from fellow fantasy writers.

4-Finish at least 2 short stories and submit them to publishers. Done! I await the editors’ responses.

5-Finish crocheting an afghan for youngest grandson. Done! (greens, blues, and black) Plus, I finished crocheting an afghan for my oldest grandson, too. (reds, blues, and black) Both were given to the boys earlier in June.

6-Went on a 2 week RV trip to see a niece and her husband in Indiana; visit Lincoln country in Illinois; see Mark Twain sites in Hannibal, Missouri; visit Lewis & Clark sites in St. Louis, Missouri; visit Graceland in Tennessee; visit Shiloh Battlefield in Tenn.; see Ruby Falls & Cave and Look Out Mountain in Tenn.; visit Chickamauga Battlefield in Georgia; visit godmother in Greenville, South Carolina; visit uncle in Sparta, North Carolina, see sister and brother-in-law in Staunton, Virginia; and get back to Maryland in one piece. Done!

So what’s NOT done?

1- I haven’t gotten all the letters home from World War II from a great-uncle typed, or begun research for this nonfiction book.

2- I’m still polishing one story for a publisher, and working hard on another for a science fiction anthology. I’m hoping they’ll both make it to the Table of Contents.

3- The embroidered samplers still await their borders and framing – though I have gotten out the fabric to finish the projects.

4- The black and white drawings await their scanning. Why is this not done? I want to make a few changes in each drawing.

Where do I go from here? Set goals for June and July, of course!

By the end of June, I will:

1- send in a final version of a story I’ve been working on since last June!

2- send in the first draft of a science fiction story to an anthology.

3- type at least 10 more letters from World War II.

4- add borders to and frame one of the samplers.

5- put a border and backing on a vintage redwork quilt top which has suddenly become mine. (More on this unfinished project later).

By the end of July, I will:

1- send a final version of the science fiction story to the anthology.

2- begin reading books to prepare to submit to another anthology.

3- type 10 more letters from WW II.

4- revise my science fiction and fantasy collection, Owl Light, in preparation for re-release.

How about you? Are you trying to finish up unfinished projects, too? Any tips for me?

Now, back to work on an unfinished story! – Vonnie

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I’ve been a fan of Anne McCaffrey’s Dragon Riders of Pern series of books since they were first published. I think I fell in love with the idea of a dragon who was both apart from a character and a part of the character. I even had compassion for the poor watch-beast who tried to protect Lessa in the first Pern book.

Perhaps it’s because I was born in the Year of the Dragon (I’ll leave you to figure out which Year of the Dragon that is), but those magical reptiles have always held a special place in my heart. I’ve included a dragon in a few short stories, most notably in “Weathermaker,” included in my book The Greener Forest (soon to be updated with an additional story and poem included and released from Pole to Pole Publishing).

Plus, a dragon plays an important role in my novel, The Enchanted Skean – though Fafnir is a wee dragon in this first book of The Chronicles of Lifthrasir. For fans of the The Enchanted Skean, look for a novelette length tie-in book from Pole to Pole Publishing by year’s end.

Now, back to Pern! I loved the fantasy vibe of the series, even though it was officially science fiction. These books tread that delightful ground between genres where I often like the stories I read (and write) to exist.

So hoorah! Though Anne McCaffrey is no longer with us, her marvelous dragon-filled world can still bring joy to fans new and old. As for me- I can’t wait to see what movie technology and good live-action can do for The Dragon Riders of Pern. Here’s the link to the article.

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Happy April Fools’ Day! One of my not-so-foolish goals for 2016 is to become more productive. For me, I know my productivity is hampered by my lack of organization. In other words, I need to get rid of the clutter (both literal and figurative) and focus.

Sometimes, thinking outside of the box, organizing in fluid ways, and having lots of pots on the stove can result in a flock of fabulous ideas. The problem is, without focus, those ideas are often not completed. And time spent on half-done projects is wasted until those projects are completed. I thought I’d take you on this journey, too:

My completed project list – March 31st

Writing: completed a science fiction novelette – time to get it in the hands of my publisher

Non-writing: finished a crocheted afghan for granddaughter

My projects to be completed by April 30th

Writing: 1- finish typing letters home from World War II from a great-uncle and begin research for this nonfiction book

2- revise and add a story to The Greener Forest for re-release by a new publisher

3- finish at least 2 short stories and submit them to publishers

Non-writing: 1- finish a crocheted afghan for youngest grandson

2- add a quilt border to 2 embroidered samplers and frame them

3- gather and scan at least 10 black and white drawings, then submit them to publishers

Even as I type this, it feels ambitious, but I think I can manage. I came across an interesting article on becoming more productive by Lisa M. Gerry: Three Ways to be Instantly More Productive in which she enlists the help of The Power of Habit author Charles Duhigg to share 3 tips for becoming more efficient.  Here’s the link.

How about you – do you have any other ideas for increasing productivity?

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I’ll be updating my website in the next few weeks. In order to streamline the site while still offering an opportunity for my readers to check out a few free samples, I’ve turned to Wattpad.

Watt-what” a few of you might ask. Wattpad is a site where many writers, some professional and some beginners, post free excerpts and complete stories. There are even some complete books for readers to enjoy.

I think it’s a great site for readers (free reads – need I say more) and writers. For writers, it’s an opportunity to offer a sample of your work to readers who might become fans of your work. If you decide to only offer excerpts, perhaps readers will be intrigued enough to search out the complete story or book. If you own all rights to a story or book, and are so inclined, you can gift your readers with a complete tale. Again, in the hopes those readers will become fans.

Here’s a link to one of my excerpts (over 12,000 words, so it’s a big excerpt) on Wattpad. You can easily find the other free prose I’m offering (including a complete story). If you like my excerpts and complete story, please Follow me, make a comment, favor the tale, and tell your friends.

Happy reading!

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The 2nd annual HallowRead will be held October 24th and 25th in Ellicott City, Maryland. On Saturday, Oct. 25th, I’ll be participating on a couple of panels, visiting with fans of urban fantasy, dark fantasy, horror, steampunk, ghosts, vampires, zombies, etc., and, of course, signing my books.

Leading up to this darkly wonderful con, I thought I’d share a few appropriate links, an excerpt from one of my stories, and other HallowReadish odds & ends.

As a fan of “The Walking Dead,” I couldn’t resist making my 1st themed post about zombies. Though I must admit, this season of the television show so far has creeped me out. The whole hunter or prey vibe, while it fits the Zombie Apocalypse, is more disturbing than last year’s Governor and crew.

To survive a Zombie Apocalypse, you might need a fortress like the one in this link.

If you’re thinking of making a zombie video, you’ll need to know about movie make-up and fake blood.

hallowread_red And here’s an excerpt of my zombie love story, “The Return of Gunner Kettilson,” 1st published in an issue of Cemetery Moon, then in the Elektrik Milk Bath Press charity anthology, Zombies for a Cure, and lastly, in my dark fantasy story collection, The Greener Forest.

If you’re interested in reading the whole tale, I’ll have copies of The Greener Forest, plus 1 copy of Zombies for a Cure, with me at HallowRead for purchase. Or, you can always go to Amazon and grab a copy.

The Return of Gunnar Kettilson (an excerpt)

‘Celia sat straight-backed on an oak bench in her moonlit kitchen with the long-handled ax stretched across her lap. She listened for the shambling footsteps of her husband, Gunnar Kettilson, comforted in small measure by the presence of her great aunt beside her on the bench.

“Do you think he will come?” Celia whispered as she rubbed the wooden ax handle with her thumb and wondered if there’d be maggots.

“We should light the welcome candle,” said Rona.

The white-haired woman set the butcher knife she’d been holding in her right hand on the floor, stood, propped the fire poker from her left hand against the bench, and walked to the fireplace. She withdrew a blazing splinter of wood from the fire.

 Cemetery Moon “This night, one night, by full moon’s light,

we call you, Gunnar Kettilson.

Come home, cruel draugr.

Come home, bitter revenant,” chanted Rona as she lit a solitary white candle balanced in a silver candlestick, and placed it on the windowsill.

The elderly woman extinguished the splinter, returned to the bench, and patted Celia’s forearm before picking the butcher knife back up. “We should know before long if we sealed him in the grave or if he’ll return.”

“What more could we have done?”

Celia’s aunt answered her with a tilt of her head and a flutter of her heavily-veined hands.

As they sat in silence listening to the seawind in the trees, Celia recalled the somber funeral procession that carried Gunnar up the hill to the cemetery. She’d followed closely behind the casket beside Rona and Gunnar’s father, Lars. The whole village had marched after them. The whole village had to attend, because Lars owned the fish factory, cannery, and most of the fishing ships where the villagers worked. And Lars retaliated against anyone he suspected of not showing sufficient respect to the Kettilson family.

“Lift your chin up, woman,” Lars had growled as they’d followed the casket. “Be proud you were married to a Kettilson.” Then, he’d grabbed her upper arm, squeezed it hard, glared at her with his cold blue eyes. “And unless you’re carrying his child, I’ll have you out on the street within a year. And if you carry a babe…” He’d scowled, and added, “He’ll be mine at birth. You were never in love with my son, only interested in the Kettilson money.”

 zombies for a cure Celia had opened her mouth to argue, but before she could utter a word in her defense, Aunt Rona had stared the hulking patriarch of the Kettilson family in his pale, mean eyes, and hissed, “Shame on you, Lars. She’s lost a husband, and he’s not yet beneath the ground. The spirits of the dead remember such slander.”

Lars had pressed his thin lips together so tightly that they’d turned white, but he hadn’t argued with Rona – for Rona was Fae-Blessed. The old woman was known for her rune-reading, healing herbs, and blessing spells. And Lars would naturally suspect she knew darker magics, too.

Celia watched the welcome candle’s flame flicker. She wondered if Gunnar saw its light from the graveyard…’

And lastly, here’s the link to a post which discusses zombies from different world cultures. Enjoy!

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The Greener Forest 300 dpi cover Every time I discover a new review of my books, my hands sweat and my heart thumps quickly. It’s always a little scary to see what a reader thinks of the worlds I’ve created. Perhaps they won’t like my story or language or characters or… Well, you get the idea.

I really appreciate my readers, and I try to not only please myself with my tales, but also, those people who part with a few dollars and open the (real or virtual) pages of my books. I’m thankful for readers and for their support, both when they purchase my books and when they take the time to review them.

Here are some Amazon reviews of The Greener Forest:

“A fantastic collection of short stories about the hazy boundary between our world and the hidden faerie world, with roots in archetypal fables (the good get rewarded, the bad get punished), but with branches extending into a more modern setting. Judging by the cover, I gather the author is also an accomplished artist, but sadly the interior illustrations were not made available in the Kindle edition. I wish I could have seen them.” – Mark Taylor  (Sorry Mark, Kindle versions usually don’t include illos. You can see some of the illos included in The Greener Forest on my website).

“Mrs. Crist has a wonderfully vivid imagination which is brought to life in these poems and stories. She is both an excellent writer and an extremely talented artist. The imagery in the poetry is beautiful, such as in “The Greener Forest”, “Late Winter,” and “Key.” What makes the stories truly touching and memorable are the relationships between the characters. “Birdling” reminded me of traditional stories of faeries and how tricky they can be. In “Appleheads” and “Blood of the Swan” the bonds of friendship and affection are truly magical and deep. In “Scarecrow” one is reminded to accept friendship no matter who or what it is from, and to do what is right despite what others say or think. As also in “Blame it on the Trees” we remember to look beneath the surface at what is within. Finally, we learn to respect the natural world, for it is very much alive, and the home of many creatures. Some of the other stories were very short and I wanted more from them, but nevertheless they were still imaginative and well-written. Well done Mrs. Crist. Well done. ” – AM

And a link to a post with earlier reviews of The Greener Forest Intrigued? Why not buy a copy?

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