Articles

The New Magical Book Club for Potter Fans

It was the book series that enchanted a generation. With movies, memorabilia, several theme parks, and more, the wizarding world has been a phenomenon that grips the imagination and doesn’t let go. If you, like so many other “Potterheads,” have been looking for an excuse to read the books over again we have good news!  In honor of the twentieth anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Pottermore is hosting an official Wizarding World Book Club.

That’s right! You can read along with thousands of fans, new and old alike, and experience the magic all over.  Simply go to Pottermore.com and sign up.  From there, you can read along with your fellow witches and wizards from all over the world and participate in discussions about the books over twitter.  

The Experience So Far

The club is already underway, at about half-way through the first book.  Every week, themes and questions are posted on Pottermore for readers to explore. Live discussions then take place over Twitter @wwbookclub.  It has been such an amazing experience connecting with fans about this beloved series again.  Not only that, but each theme has articles and insights written by JK Rowling on their respective pages on Pottermore, which fill in some of the blanks and deepen our understanding of the wizarding world.

The only drawback to this, for me at least, has been the platform on which the discussions take place.  Twitter is not very conducive to lengthy debates or passionate ranting, both of which superfans are prone to doing.  Having to limit your very real and intense feelings about Harry Potter to only 140 characters is quite the challenge.  However, it has allowed for a large, diverse group of fans to all geek-out together and that, alone, has been magical.  

What’s to Come

The Wizarding World Book Club intends to continue reading each and every book in the series, providing more themes and insights for fans to explore together.  Starting in October, two new books about the Wizarding World will be released in tandem with the British Library’s Harry Potter Exhibition.  Harry Potter: A History of Magic – The Book of the Exhibition will explore subjects that were taught at Hogwarts, and Harry Potter – A Journey Through a History of Magic will explore many other elements of the HP universe.  Later in the fall, the illustrated version of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban will come out just in time for you to get it for the book club. It’s going to be a magical year!  


Are you in the Wizarding World Book Club?  Let us know what you think of it, and share your favorite Harry Potter book!  

The 'Write' Information

Finding Inspiration to Overcome Writer’s Block – July

How do you deal with writer’s block? That’s probably the most frequently asked question of any author and their least favorite to answer. I decided to tackle finding an answer in 2017 by drawing inspiration other forms of art. Once a month, I’ll be trying something different and discussing the results.

For July, I trudged out of my comfort zone for a paint night at a local artist’s studio. The Brier’s Edge in Brantford, Ontario offers both group and private lessons for what seems to be any artistic endeavor a person might want to take on. I decided to attempt a painting.

Some people might not think a simple painting to be a big challenge – I assure you, for me it was. Anyone who knows something about me knows I can’t draw. I’m the stick figure lady, and even those are lopsided. I can’t even make a straight line. The artist, Susan, had her work cut out for her. I’m sure she wished for a stiff drink a few times during the two-hour session.

The best part about the experience was that the finished product was a combination of the artist and myself. She showed me things and helped me. There wasn’t a stick figure or wavy line in sight. While I’m not ready to try painting on my own, I feel that artistically I have grown from the experience and would recommend paint nights to everyone.

Are you wondering about the results of my experiment? I couldn’t help but be inspired by such a talented artist! Expect to see some new announcements in the near future. This evening was a success!

I’m looking forward to finding a new adventure in August. I hope you’ll join me for those results next month!

Thanks for reading The Write Information.

Book Reviews, Diversity

Review: My City Sister by Akpa Arinzechukwu

Recently, I stumbled upon Writivism and the associated article for the 2017 Kofi Addo Prize for Creative Nonfiction Long List. This is an annual prize for nonfiction works. Initially specific to emerging African writers living in Ghana, it has widened to include writers born, raised, or living elsewhere in Africa. The shortlisted writers are then invited to a literary fest where the winner is chosen. My hope was to find pieces written by these shortlisted authors. Unfortunately, the only one I could find for my Kindle is a piece written by Akpa Arinzechukwu.

This short story piece is titled My City Sister and while I doubt it was the piece submitted for the prize, it was interesting to read anyway. The piece has too much of a fiction feel to it. The twelve pages of story centers on a young man entering the city where his sister lives for the first time. He’s a rural man, likely pretty young, and it is about how the city impacts him in ways he can’t imagine.

The worst thing about it is the attitude the main character has as he enters the city. It immediately made him unlikeable. The best thing about it is that it was written well enough that I was very engaged and wanted to find out what happened to this pompous character.  

It’s very much a story of how the city changes the main character, so we don’t see much character development except for his. He and his sister are prominent, but she is seen only through his eyes and is limited in interactions. Any change we see in her is really a change in how he perceives her. The thing is though – the city changes him against his will because of his experiences there. He’s still pompous, but far less judgmental than in the beginning.

Unfortunately, it feels a bit contrived for the storyline. Young man, very immature, goes to the city and is miraculously changed for the “better.” Maybe it’s because I’m not an avid short story fan but I am always wanting more. I’ve seen short story authors who are amazing at world-building. Many of the ones I’ve read are more about character development. This one is interesting to me in the sense that it’s set somewhere I’m very unfamiliar with, but uses a story that is incredibly common. The author definitely could have fleshed out certain areas better.

Yet, I’m glad I read it. It was easy to read, it was easy to understand his motivations and his transformation, and it stylistically written well. I’d be interested in seeing what else he has written.

Articles

Camp NaNo Tips & Tricks: Part 2

Camp NaNoWriMo is nearly coming to an end.

If you’re on target, near the finish line, or you’ve already won Camp NaNoWriMo, congratulations! That’s a huge accomplishment and a reason to feel a tremendous amount of pride. Pat yourself on the back. Go on, you deserve it.

However, if you’re anything like me, Pantser and Procrastinator Extraordinaire–a dangerous combination–you are currently flailing, running around in circles, rocking back and forth, hyperventilating, completely avoiding the topic, or masterfully doing all of the above.

There are only a few days left. I know, it’s madness. Breathe in. Breathe out. Okay? Okay.


First of all, remember: You have more words now than what you started with.

Regardless of whether or not you reach your goal, you’re a winner just for trying. I know, I know. It sounds cheesy. But it’s true. The fact that you challenged yourself

Think of it this way: all words are just a combination of 26 letters, yet they elicit vivid imagery, raw emotions, and lasting changes. Basically, they’re magic.

You’re a wizard, [insert name here].


Don’t Forget: All words have worth.

Not to say you won’t have to do a substantial amount of editing or completely rewrite certain passages.

I tend to think of these type of words as fertilizer. Quite frankly, a lot of what I write is sh*t. But it makes great fertilizer. I keep a folder in my Scrivener projects where I can dump–never delete–these kinds of words. Once in a while, I’m able to pull something from them, if only a concept or a sentence.

Ray Bradbury’s philosophy is that quantity produces quality.

Think about it this way: Assume 90% of your writing sucks, but only 7% is acceptable and another 3% is utterly breathtaking prose. If you write 50,000 words, you will have written 3,500 words worth of perfectly good writing, and 1,500 words worth of magic.

Keep writing. The more you write, the better the chances you’ll write something extraordinary.

Check in with us.

We’d love to see how your Camp Project is going! Drop us a line in the comments. We also cordially invite you to our Writer’s Haven, an online chat community. We write, talk, vent, give and ask for advice. All are welcome at any time!

Interviews

Author Q&A: Mercedes Prunty

Yes! I’ve found another fantasy author to check out and this one has a bit of horror mixed in. I was looking forward to reading Junia – The Magic Of The Element Souls before the interview. If it’s half of what I think it will be, It’s going to be a huge success.

First, let’s find out about the author. I asked Prunty to share a bit about how the writer came to be:

I am a mother, wife, author and blogger. I mainly write in the genres of Horror and Fantasy, ever since I was young I have had a love and interest in zombie horror mainly due to the video game ‘Resident Evil’ and later in life the video game ‘The last of us’ and now the television series ‘The walking dead’. I love the suspense and the thrills of the scare those types of books can give you. (I own all the resident evil novelizations and the walking dead comics). I also love Fantasy, my all-time favourite fantasy story is another video game (Yes I’m a geek) ‘Final Fantasy X’ which inspired my story ‘Junia’.

Now for the book: Junia – The Magic of the Element Souls

Welcome to the magical world of Junia, a place where everything is made up of souls from the green grass you walk on to the lake made of lava, everything in Junia is alive.

Some people just don’t know it yet.

Mira the princess of Cosima wakes one night to an attack on her home, the culprit, a Grand Dark Witch who plans on taking over the throne and the whole of Junia and doesn’t care for who she kills in the process. To save her Kingdom Mira must venture out into a world she doesn’t really know or understand, to collect all the Element Souls, to then awaken the final Element Soul who will be powerful enough to defeat the Grand Dark Witch but not all the people she meets wish to help her on her journey. For the royal family is disregarded as traitors to the religion of Junia and to the Element Souls themselves.

And with a chance to find love will she lose it all to keep it or will Mira abide by her royal duties and save her Kingdom first? Or will she lose everything by the hand of an ancient evil?’

Already hooked? The idea of everything being alive and made from souls grabbed me right away. It also brought a bit of a chuckle – don’t step on the lava (the floor is lava). That’s my geek side showing! Right below is the Amazon link!

Amazon UK: Junia: The Magic of the Element Souls

Amazon: Junia: The Magic of the Element Souls
Still not sold?

 

Let’s try a short excerpt from Junia:

I didn’t sleep that night, how could I? It was most probably the last night I would ever see Thane almost alive. We both sat in the main hall of the temple, talking and watching the souls sing as they floated past us. Nuelle had thought it best we all stayed in the temple as it was the safest place to be, even though Lumi had managed to get in and attack me.

I wondered how Andromeda was feeling now, knowing that I had defeated her main warrior. My mother had warned me that she might use my father to make me weaker and I was guessing she would do something horrific to make me weaker now I had taken out Lumi but I hoped that seeing my father in the void meant he had managed to get away from her and settle into Spirit.’

 

Time for the best part – at least my favourite–the Q & A:

Question: Who is your favourite character in your book and why?

Answer: Nuelle is my favourite character, she is wise beyond her years and when I wrote her I envisioned a beautiful silver haired girl who could control the element of souls. She comes across as a little strange and blunt with words but she has a big heart and wants the best for Junia.

Question: Please describe him/her/they a) physically b) their personality.

Answer: Nuelle has silver hair and is suspected to be around 16 years old but in all honesty she is as old as Junia itself, she was born to watch over Spirit. Personality wise she is strong, a natural leader and doesn’t like to mince her words.

Question: Could I have a couple of quotes from your book of dialogue that shows that personality?

Answer: “Yes”, she answered plainly her eyes holding no emotion, “Thane was not originally your soul guardian”.

“A true Queen can see the beauty in everything, even the things she doesn’t fully understand…That was where you’re so called ancestors failed, they had no vision”, she said.

Question: What genre would you say the book falls into?

Answer: Fantasy (Young adult fantasy)

Question: Are there any trigger warnings and/or explicit content I should know about?

Answer: Not really, there is a lot of death but that’s because the world of Junia is built of souls.

Question: Do you have any upcoming events?

Answer: Not at the moment but I should be attending a book festival in my local town later in the year but the date is yet to be confirmed.

Question: What is next for you? Do you have anything in the works?

Answer: I have about six projects on the go, a novella I’m writing to put in a competition, the final in my horror series ‘Alone’, a Sci-Fi type of story and another horror… I have so many files and folders I’ve lost count of all my Work in Progresses, I just pick the one I’m in the mood for writing and write.

Question: Do you have any special mentions you would like to share? (Editor, cover art etc…)

Answer: I tend to do it all on my own, money is very tight at the moment but if I had to give a special mention it would be to my husband Jamie who puts up with my tapping of the keys every night so I can write.

Question: If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be? Please describe the place rather than just a name. The weather, the time of day, the ground, the surroundings, foliage, etc…

Answer: Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco, I would love the see the mist roll in and cover the bridge giving it the spooky image I have seen so many times on the start of ‘Charmed’ my favourite television series. I guess the mist would either come in the morning or late afternoon when temperatures change but I’m no expert haha.

Question: If the character from above were in that place what would they be doing?

Answer: Probably fighting a monster of sorts or collecting lost souls.

Question: If your character was allowed one chance to say anything to your readers, what would he/she say?

Answer: ‘Don’t fear death for your soul will be recycled to bring new life to a baby or to something else living in the world.’

Question: If your character could donate to any charity, which one would he/she choose?

Answer: As there is a huge battle and most of the temples in Junia get destroyed she would most probably donate to the ‘Temple build’ fund. The temples are of the upmost importance in Junia and without them there are no elements, no magic and ultimately no Junia.


Thank you for your time, Mercedes Prunty. I’ll be reading Junia soon and posting my review.

Book Reviews

Review: Francesco Augustine Bernadone: A Brief History of Our Tomorrows by Stan Faryna

Book Review ~ Francesco Augustine Bernadone: Stan Faryna’s short, Francesco Augustine Bernadone: A Brief History of Our Tomorrows  (Love & Fear: The Future is Bucharest Book 1) is a dark fantasy RPG Lit that takes place in the not so distant future. While I don’t have a warning per se, I am going to mention it could be classified as a horror as well.

I found the subject matter frightening enough to keep me awake a good portion of the night after reading. It isn’t so much monsters or things that go bump in the night that truly terrify, but rather the possibility that the author’s tale could one day come to pass.

Faryna takes the worst of humanity, amplifies it and makes it a plausible future. I, for one, don’t want to live in a world where the poor sacrifice their lives to have their bodies harvested of all usable parts – all in the hope of loved ones having a chance for a future. It’s also horrible to think of a cure for cancer that no one can afford.

The author earns all four stars in the storyline itself. I have no complaints about the storyline either. In most aspects this is a five star read. Where Faryna falls short is the ending.

In novels, leaving a suspenseful cliff-hanger is common practice. When writing shorts, however, the author needs to carefully lead into another piece or to self-contain the story.  Resolution of some sort, even the promise of one, is so important to readers it cannot be overlooked.

After reading Francesco Augustine Bernadone: A Brief History of Our Tomorrows (Love and Fear: The Future is Bucharest Book 1) I was left wanting to know answers. Bottom line, I wanted to more.

I recommend this short story to anyone looking for a thought provoking read!

Four out of five stars.

The 'Write' Information

The Ultimate Fan Art Experience

Recently, I was approached by another local author with some ideas about a new event. If you remember last week’s article on paint night, it ties in.

The Ultimate Fan Art Experience is an author signing event, a painting event, a dinner party, a charitable auction and more. There are even optional Zumba classes. Think author retreat with book sales and you’d be close to what this event is shaping up to be.

Set tentatively for November 30th to December 2nd, 2018, there is plenty of time to prepare. It’s also prime holiday shopping time in an art loving community. A full weekend event where authors and fans can participate as much, or as little, as they choose.

Here’s how it works. Friday there will be an optional meet & greet followed by an author paint night. The paint night is included in your table price. This is where participating authors create a painting of one of their book covers. That painting will be used as the example in scheduled workshops for fans on Saturday and Sunday. Authors are urged to visit workshops where their book cover is being recreated.

Author signing will be open both Saturday and Sunday. There will also be a charity raffle and/or auction both days.

Saturday Night Authors will be treated to a buffet dinner and dance (included in the price of the table).

Zumba classes will also be made available for those interested.

If you are looking for a great experience, look no further.


Author Interest Form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc8vm0VEXI7RoVfjJmqshEGL9ivh8jKxDZKy6sUSXpX-wfzWA/viewform

 

Looking to attend as a fan?

https://www.facebook.com/groups/863211700486200/

Recipes

Alcoholic Butterbeer Recipe

No need to head all the way to the Leaky Cauldron for this amazing butterbeer drink, you can make it at home!  This adult version of the Wizarding World’s most famous drink is just the right amount of sweet, bitter, and rich.  So grab your favorite mug and these ingredients:

 

Beer mixture

  • 1 bottle of Ginger Beer or Dark Beer of your choice
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter

Cream Mixture

  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 tbsp dark rum
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup Baileys Irish Cream
  • 4 egg yolks

Directions:

First, to make the beer mixture, warm the bottle of beer in a large saucepan.  Once it is warmed through, add the butter and the brown sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Set on low to keep it warm.

Next, you’ll want to make the cream.  In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar until light and frothy.  In a heavy saucepan, heat the milk and cream until just boiling, then beat in the egg mixture until fully combined.  Next, pour in the Baileys and rum, mix well, and heat through until the mixture is thick and warm.

Take your mug and pour in the warm beer mixture until it is about two-thirds of the way full then top it off with the cream.  Optionally, you can drizzle some butterscotch syrup on top for a garnish.  Bonus house points: enjoy this butterbeer while wearing your house scarf or Quidditch jersey!  

Book Reviews

Review: Dawn of Wonder: The Wakening Book 1 by Jonathan Renshaw

“When a high-ranking officer gallops into the quiet Mistyvales, he brings a warning that shakes the countryfolk to their roots. But for Aedan, a scruffy young adventurer with veins full of fire and a head full of ideas, this officer is not what he seems.

The events that follow propel Aedan on a journey that only the foolhardy or desperate would risk, leading him to the gates of the nation’s royal academy – a whole world of secrets in itself.

But this is only the beginning of his discoveries. Something is stirring in the land, something more ominous than the rising threat of hostile nations. Fearful travellers whisper of an ancient power breathing over Thirna, changing it, waking it. In the very heart of these stirrings, Aedan encounters that which defies belief, leaving him speechless with terror – and wonder.”

– Cover Summary; Dawn of Wonder

At it’s core, Dawn of Wonder is a coming of age story, focusing the young Aedan as he deals with life altering events and growing from child to young man.  The fantasy setting is richly detailed and so full of vivid descriptors that you can almost smell the cool breezes coming off the pages.  

There are ruins filled with dark mystery, cities full of intrigue, and childish shenanigans galore.  Renshaw does a very good job of keeping a balance between internal and external conflict, as well.  Not only must our young hero deal with bullies, thugs, and mythical monsters, but he also faces harsh issues such as slavery and learning to cope with trauma.  Aside from the many physical and mental hurdles Aedan must face, there is a new force, perhaps of magic or of nature, that is sweeping the lands, causing the trees to grow large and the beasts become more intelligent.  

It’s difficult to do this book justice in such a short review; there are so many layers to the plot, such depth of character development, and detail in setting that it really must be experienced.  If you love fantasy, adventure, and a meaningful story, we strongly recommend you pick up Dawn of Wonder.  Book two is already in the works, so keep an eye out for that too!  A solid 5 out of 5 stars!