Tag Archives: Patricia Reding

A Drift of Quills: Sometimes we take a break from writing. No, really! Does it inspire new stories or scenes? Help us focus? And what do we DO?

A Drift of Quills: When We’re Gone (Away From the Writing Desk)

Once in a while, the writers that make up A Drift of Quills actually take a break from writing. No, really! Maybe you want to know what do we do when we’re away from the writing desk. Is it gardening or improvement projects? Baking or bull riding? How about dragon-taming? Do these extracurricular activities inspire new stories or scenes? Help us focus? Read on to find out what we do with all of our copious spare time…

A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folks

Let’s Take a Break from Writing…

My writing desk follows me everywhere. Virtually, anyway. Overheard conversations make good fodder for dialogue. A turn of phrase from a television show or movie often suggests an entire scene or plot point. I realized during a discussion about some people in my life that one of them in particular would make a fantastic model for a character. (No, I will not say whether protagonist or antagonist!)

I try to jot these ideas down on my phone, but sometimes I really have to tell my desk to go to its room and let me take a break from writing. Have you ever noticed that not thinking about a thing is like a magic solution for finding an answer to it?

“Whim” has often been the instigator in my break-time activities. When I’m stuck and getting nowhere with my writing, chores are my go-to writer’s block breaker. Weird, right? There’s nothing like the soothing scrub-scrub-scrub of a brush on the shower floor, or the noisy hum of the vacuum cleaner to get the ol’ brain cells dancing.

Filling the Creativity Bucket

Okay, but seriously, though, my creativity bucket needs refreshing now and then. Quite often, I do that by finding another, different creative outlet. I love fooling around in Photoshop, doing digital matte painting and maps. I’ve done some digital scrapbooking as well.

But, Robin! Can you tear yourself away from the computer at all?

Why, yes, I think I can! Sometimes I putter around in the garden. Our newly installed back yard is deliberately low-maintenance. I love looking at it, but I don’t want to have to work all the time to make it pretty. Hubby and I often sit in our (still new) swing and admire last year’s labor. It’s lovely how much the maple tree has grown in just a year, and how well it shades the swing now.

I also like to do—in fits and spurts—family history, baking, quilting, reading, crafts of various and unpredictable sorts, and decorative painting on walls. Much of that has slowed down or stopped this year. I’m spending more of my days with my writer’s hat on and evenings are for Hubby. Usually, he wants to watch television or a movie, but sometimes he feels well enough to take the Jazzy Chair we were loaned out for a spin around the neighborhood. I walk. I hear exercise is supposed to be good for me…

A Drift of Quills: Sometimes we take breaks from writing. No, really! Does it inspire new stories or scenes? Help us focus? And what do we DO? (https://robinlythgoe.com)
One of the quilts I’ve made…
PATRICIA REDING

Patricia RedingAuthor of the Oathtaker Series
Patricia’s website

I used to be quite a gardener. I had a huge plot. I can’t even estimate its size. I grew berries, beans, corn, squash, melons, peas, and on and on. A Drift of Quills: Sometimes we take a break from writing. No, really! Does it inspire new stories or scenes? Help us focus? And what do we DO? (https://robinlythgoe.com)Admittedly, even at the best of times, I tended to lose a fair amount of my crop because I couldn’t eat it in time and wasn’t big on storing methods (although drying herbs or beans was always a hit with me). (That said, I usually had an abundance. Don’t believe me? Check the pic here of just one wheelbarrow full of tomatoes from one year.) Also, in truth, I lost some crop to overzealous weeds that would come along about the same time that I was no longer having fun.

But I don’t garden like that anymore…

READ MORE: Right here!

P.S. BROADDUS

“P.S. Broaddus” width=Author of The Unseen Chronicles
Parker’s website
I don’t often get the question, “What keeps you busy?” That’s usually because I have three little boys running around and through my legs. I also work as a full time real estate agent, running my own business and managing property for myself and others. I have a master’s degree in film, but I’ve taken a step back from film production and editing to give more time to my love of writing.

And while I enjoy real estate and homes and remodeling and flipping, that isn’t necessarily where I get inspiration or rest. I don’t garden – the wonderful wood nymph I married is in charge of that department. Likewise, film and film editing is work – enjoyable work, but work nonetheless.

There are a couple of things I do that fill me up, that aren’t work, and sometimes even provide inspiration and encouragement… (Read more!)

(Photo by Luisa Rusche on Unsplash)

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What do you like to do when you’re not working? How do you find inspiration or focus for what you do? Let us know in the comments below!

A Drift of Quills, Patricia Reding, P.S. Broaddus, writing, short stories, flash fiction

A Drift of Quills: Fiction Shots #2 (Little Girl, Big City)

A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folks
Are you ready for Fiction Shots #2? Giddyup! A Drift of Quills are writing again—It’s a flash of fiction! Three different stories inspired by one picture.

The catalyst for these stories comes from the whimsical “Non Lo So,” by Zhiyong Li on Artstation. It tickled our fancies, for sure!

Non Lo So, by Zhiyong Li (via ArtStation)
Non Lo So, by Zhiyong Li (via ArtStation)

Pour yourselves a nice cool glass of lemonade (or a delightfully warm cup of hot cocoa, depending on the hemisphere), and see where our imaginations have travelled…

Fiction Shots #2

Flash #1: Opposite Tricks

By Robin Lythgoe

A Drift of Quills: Fiction Shots #2— It’s flash fiction! Three different stories inspired by one picture. This round: little girl in a big, quirky city.

 

When Toady says they’re to paint the Widow Grayling’s house, Akasha stares along with everyone else. 

“Orange.” Uneven teeth make his smile particularly fiendish. The gang erupts into hoots and shouts of laughter at that. The widow’s a quiet woman of modest means. Her house used to be brown, but most of the color’s chipped off now. It would no more willingly wear orange than would the widow.

“She needs some brightening.” Zekan always backs up Toady. If their illustrious leader decided they should all become acolytes at the local temple, Zekan would hand out the cassocks and thump anyone who questioned the choice. Same if Toady resolved to filch grub down in the Bellows—Royal Ghost territory, where Toady’s Azure Fang Gang would swiftly find their end. Hopefully not a permanent one… Did the Ghosts kill children? Continue reading A Drift of Quills: Fiction Shots #2 (Little Girl, Big City)

A Drift of Quills: Fiction Shots (Department of Stories) — We’re doing it again: one picture, three authors, little bitty writing space.

A Drift of Quills: Fiction Shots (Department of Stories)

A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folks

It’s time for some Fiction Shots — flash fiction, that is! A Drift of Quills are at it again: one picture, three authors, little bitty writing space. The inspiration for our tiny tales comes from an untitled piece by the artist JuYoung Ha on ArtStation. Gorgeous, isn’t it?

Fiction Shots Inspiration: "Untitled," by JuYoung HaIt’s always fun for me to see how other authors interpret a picture or invent a story from it. Isn’t it delightful how wonderfully, crazily different we all are? Let’s see how these fiction shots play out…

Continue reading A Drift of Quills: Fiction Shots (Department of Stories)

Welcome to A Drift of Quills, and today’s fun topic of “Book Spine Poetry.” This form of literature is pretty simple, and we’re excited about simple this month. Book spine poetry is a kind of “found” art. First, you need books. Start with one or two that spark your interest. As you stack them up, swap them around until they create a poem or a poetic “story.” The limitations encourage creativity, and we love creativity!

A Drift of Quills: Book Spine Poetry Redux

Welcome to A Drift of Quills, and today’s fun topic of “Book Spine Poetry.” This form of literature is pretty simple, and we’re excited about simple this month. Book spine poetry is a kind of “found” art. First, you need books. Start with one or two that spark your interest. As you stack them up, swap them around until they create a poem or a poetic “story.” The limitations encourage creativity, and we love creativity!
A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folks

My taste in poetry is questionable.

I gravitate toward freeform (usually only my own—how arrogant!), the unusual (sample below), or limericks and “revised” song lyrics (for which I blame my husband).

In my teens I went through an angsty period where I wrote reams of freeform poetry, 98% of which were terrible. Wrist to forehead dramatically, I determined I would make my living as a moody poet. Until I discovered a) how bad I was and b) how difficult that career choice actually was. I like food far too much to take up life as a Starving Artist.

Dr. Seuss might have had some influence on my choices of “unusual” poetry. I liked the silliness then, and I still do. So I find myself tickled by such things as “The Song of Milkanwatha,” by Marc Anthony Henderson, a parody of Longfellow’s “Song of Hiawatha.” And I love the dubious humor of Ogden Nash:

I don’t mind eels.
Except as meals,
And the way they feels…

Limericks are easy to like, and easy to have fun with, though I prefer the non-bawdy variety. There are such things, yanno! Trivial detail for you: limericks are said to have derived from the chorus ‘will you come up to Limerick?’, sung between improvised verses at gatherings. “Improvised” is the key word here, and segues well into the “revised song lyric” category.

My wonderful, funny husband is always changing up the lyrics to songs to suit the occasion. His most often misused song is probably the theme to The Beverly Hillbillies television show, but he is perfectly willing and able to exercise his (really questionable) talents with any other song in the universe. He discovered early on in our marriage that it was nearly impossible for me to stay angry at him when he sang silliness at me.

Now that we’ve established that serious poetry is not my forte, I present you with my latest attempt at book spine poetry:

Welcome to A Drift of Quills, and today’s fun topic of “Book Spine Poetry.” This form of literature is pretty simple, and we’re excited about simple this month. Book spine poetry is a kind of “found” art. First, you need books. Start with one or two that spark your interest. As you stack them up, swap them around until they create a poem or a poetic “story.” The limitations encourage creativity, and we love creativity!

There is something Freudian involved here, I’m sure. It turns out that I used two of the same books that appeared in my last book spine poetry exercise. I assure you, it was unintentional. Please feel free to translate what you think this means; I’d be interested to know!

More Book Spine Poetry…

Welcome to A Drift of Quills, and today’s fun topic of “Book Spine Poetry.” This form of literature is pretty simple, and we’re excited about simple this month. Book spine poetry is a kind of “found” art. First, you need books. Start with one or two that spark your interest. As you stack them up, swap them around until they create a poem or a poetic “story.” The limitations encourage creativity, and we love creativity!PATRICIA REDING

Patricia RedingAuthor of the Oathtaker Series
Patricia’s website

These days, as I’m wrapping up my latest work, I’m realizing how much of what I write is intended for—is directed specifically at and to—young women. While I’m certainly old enough, I have no grandchildren of my own. I’m finding, however, that the grandmother in me is coming out anyway. She comes via my life as an author, and my granddaughters include… (Read more!)

P.S. BROADDUS

“P.S. Broaddus” width=Author of The Unseen Chronicles
Parker’s website

Poetry pushes us to the limit of our understanding – to the edge of ourselves. That’s why it can be so chaotic and disorienting, but it can also be where we learn something new. Something that we couldn’t have known before, had we not been challenged.

But the challenge of poetry is a soft one. A gentle breeze that carries us beyond, to a new place, and then brings us back, changed. Because when you learn something, you change. You become something new. The old has died…

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We’d love to have you join us in our poetry-making. Post your family-friendly photos below in the comments!

Photo by Kira auf der Heide on Unsplash

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Writers and other creative people have many different approaches to beginning their projects. Today A Drift of Quills are talking about what inspires us to write our stories. They’re near and dear to our hearts, and writing a novel is an extraordinarily personal experience!

A Drift of Quills: What’s Our Inspiration?

What’s our inspiration? Writers and other creative people have many different approaches to beginning their projects. Today A Drift of Quills are talking about what inspires us to write our stories. They’re near and dear to our hearts, and writing a novel is an extraordinarily personal experience!

A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folks

As I near the day I push the “publish” button for the second book in The Mage’s Gift, this seems a good time to reflect on the motivation behind the story. I think it was years in the making, and I think I will say the same about all my books and stories. What does inspire me? What prompts me to set pen to paper (I really did start out that way), and then fingers to keyboard? I’m inclined to call it “magic.” Continue reading A Drift of Quills: What’s Our Inspiration?

A Drift of Quills: Picture This (#4)

It’s time to “Picture This!” Every first Friday of the month, A Drift of Quills gets together to chat about reading and/or writing. Writers often collect images to help them envision people, places, and things as they write. For this feature we’re sharing pictures and snippets about one of our works, giving you a sneak peek into our worlds!

A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folks

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

It’s time to “Picture This!” Every first Friday of the month, A Drift of Quills gets together to chat about reading and/or writing. Writers often collect images to help them envision people, places, and things as they write. For this feature we’re sharing pictures and snippets about one of our works, giving you a sneak peek into our worlds!
Elran = Model Gustav Morstad, Adam Katz Sinding, via le21eme.com

I have a huuuuge collection of images and will never run out of inspiration from that quarter! I write primarily fantasy, but that doesn’t stop me from seeing a science fiction style image and diving off the cliff of “What If…” That happened recently with the short story “Sixes” that I wrote for the Quills’ flash fiction challenge.

See if you can picture this: In my story, Elran’s Journey, the main character is the younger son of highly regarded and respected members of the Peerage. In the eyes of society, he has everything any boy could or should want.

 

Continue reading A Drift of Quills: Picture This (#4)

We’ve put our heads together and come up with a flash of inspiration. Fiction! One picture, three authors. Writing to a random theme is challenging. So is keeping the tale to a particular word count…

A Drift of Quills: Flash! (Department of Stories)

A Drift of Quills put their heads together and came up with a flash of inspiration. Fiction! Good for you, good for us. So we headed over to the Department of Stories, picked a picture to serve as our topic (subject to interpretation!), and got to work. Writing to a random theme is challenging. So is keeping the tale to a particular word count.

Behind closed doors we’ve each written our own bit of flash fiction. No sharing until today. Let’s go see how this exercise turned out, shall we?
A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folks

The marvelous (subject to opinion) picture we wrote to is called “Long Walk,” by the talented Jonathan Bach. There is some great artwork to see on his site. I wish there was more! Be sure to check it out.

"Long Walk," by Jonathan Bach
“Long Walk,” by Jonathan Bach

Let the stories begin… Continue reading A Drift of Quills: Flash! (Department of Stories)

Congratulations to Our Fantasy eBook Giveaway Winners!

A Drift of Quills is happy to announce the winners of our Fantasy eBook Giveaway!

2016 Drift of Quills Fantasy eBook Giveaway Winners

Grand Prize Winner:
Amy C.

Runners Up:
Julia M.
Jacqueline M.
Raquel E.
Alan M.

Each of the authors will contact the winners by email. Then it’s time to snuggle up with hot cocoa, Christmas goodies, and a brand new book!

Merry Christmas and Happy Reading!

~From A Drift of Quills

Robin Lythgoe, fantasy author  Patricia Reding, Fantasy Author Parker Broaddus, Fantasy Author

A Drift of Quills: Picture This (#3)

A Drift of Quills: Picture This (#3)

A Drift of Quills is bringing you their worlds—in brilliant technicolor! “Picture This” this is a recurring subject with the Quills. Why? Because it’s so darned fun! We love sharing our worlds with you, giving you a peek behind the scenes. Take a look at some of our favorites…
A Drift of Quills: Writerly thoughts by writerly folks

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

A Drift of Quills: Picture This #3—We love sharing our worlds with you, giving you a peek behind the scenes. Take a look at some of our favorites…

Making up worlds is one of the best things about writing in the fantasy genre. It’s also hard work! There’s a lot of space for the fantasy author to let their imagination run wild, but we also need to tether our settings to a reality the average reader can relate to.

My short story, The High Roads, opens in the woods as night approaches…

Foggy Redwoods—the setting for "The High Roads" short story
(mage of Foggy Redwoods courtesy of mrwallpaper.com)

Shifting shadows beneath the giant greenwood trees gave the forest an eerie appearance. Dense strands of mist from the sea intensified a sense of the ethereal. Telic Ruan waited against a tree trunk, gazing up at the branches that hung some hundred feet above his head. He refused to let the capricious ghosts of the coming night intimidate him.

That picture, that description, sets up the entire story. Well, duh, right? That’s what it’s supposed to do!

Right, but the trees and the fog are symbolic! So are the ghosts. Those four sentences lay out Telic’s problem—and his problem with the problem.

He thinks his problem is the Luzzil Ones, a race of inferior but sentient creatures who live in caves.

Luzzil Caves—setting in "The High Roads" by Robin Lythgoe
(image via Stopford_lad on 28dayslater.com)

“Not slaves — useful and productive members of society. Can’t you see that’s the best thing for them? They can’t organize themselves in any practical way. They can’t even take care of their own! You’ve been to their villages — if you can call them that. They don’t even know how to build! They live in caves full of filth and disease. All we want to do is help them lead productive, healthy lives.”

He doesn’t understand the real problem…

Have you read The High Roads? How do you picture the setting? The characters? Send me your pictures!!

(If you haven’t read the story, you can get a copy for the price of joining my email list. The link is in the sidebar! It’s also available on Amazon.)

PATRICIA REDING

Patricia RedingAuthor of Oathtaker and Select
Patricia’s website

The Oathtaker Series is set in a medieval sort of time. Of course, as it is a fantasy, it does not correlate to any actual historical age in our world. Thus, as the author, I had the pleasure of making it exactly what I wanted to be. With a fantasy, the author chooses all of the details of that world in which the tale is set. So, that world is what the author says it is—nothing more, and nothing less. There are no rights or wrongs when it comes to what technology might be available, how people dress, what they eat—or even the language they use or the way they speak. (Few of us could read the languages actually spoken in our world during the medieval period anyway, so why pretend to write in a manner exactly representative of those days?) Consequently, “medieval” is not an altogether apt description of Oosa, the land of the Oathtakers and Select.

I’ve decided to share pictures of a couple of buildings from my tales…  (See what Patricia is sharing!)

P.S. BROADDUS

“P.S.Author of A Hero’s Curse (The Unseen Chronicles Book 1)
Parker’s website

Long have images stirred my imagination. I recall flipping through dusty old classics looking for illustrations. I would sit and stare at The Chronicles of Narnia, or histories on Greek myth, entranced by the sketches within.
But images do more than keep me flipping through my tattered copy of Treasure Island–pictures are what start the whole story for me. C.S. Lewis talked about the same. When discussing how he came to write the books of Narnia, he wrote that they “all began with a picture of a Faun carrying an umbrella and parcels in a snowy wood.” My own storytelling is similar. I write from images in my head. For me, it was the picture of a young blind girl standing in the desert, listening to a long-awaited storm rolling in… (What will this lead to?)

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Many authors have “setting boards” on Pinterest. Do you follow any? Which are your favorites?

Let us know in the comments below!

PS Broaddus, Quills new team member!

A Drift of Quills: Welcomes P.S. Broaddus to the Team!

Welcome to another edition of A Drift of Quills, bringing you fact, fantasy, and… a brand new team member!

When we had Parker—who publishes as P.S. Broaddus—as a guest a few months ago, we talked about Tackling Writing Challenges. We liked his style and his wonderful sense of humor so much that we hunted him down and trapped him in a dark corner invited him to join us as a full-time team member. Much to our surprise delight, he agreed!

By way of introduction, P.S. (Parker) has kindly agreed to be the subject of a mini-view: one question from each of us. (Is it cheating that they’re multiple-part questions?)

And, just as I suspected from the telltale gleam in his eye, he’s another pea in the pod. Er… writer in the ream! Hack in the stack?

Okay, before I get carried away and start doing Dr. Seuss impressions, let’s hear from Parker!

Robin: What is your most recent published work? Do you have a favorite character from it? If so, who, and why?

Parker: My most recent published work is my debut novel A Hero’s Curse, book one of the Unseen Chronicles. It was published this past Christmas, with the audiobook having launched last month, over the 4th of July. A Hero’s Curse follows the adventures of Essie Brightsday, a young blind girl, as she attempts to find her kingdom’s lost king. The nature and structure of A Hero’s Curse pushed Essie and Tig, her sarcastic talking cat to the forefront of the story. They get the most screentime. Essie is a fascinatingly complex young lady, and Tig’s dry, sarcastic humor is so akin to my own I can’t help but like him. But there are several characters who I really enjoy. Illiana, the cheerful and bubbly friend Essie makes in the Kingdom Above the Sun is unbreakable. She is a glass-half-full type character and she always makes me smile. King Mactogonii and Queen Leonatrix are interesting and powerful characters with tangled histories. I can’t help but want to know more about their past and their future.

I am working hard on book two in the Unseen Chronicles, with high hopes for another Christmas release. The structure of book two is completely different from A Hero’s Curse. Rather than a quest or journey structure, the story is a mystery, set in one city. There isn’t a lot of travelling and there are a ton of characters! Here’s my favorite part. Many of the characters I loved so much from A Hero’s Curse are back, but this time we get to see them developed in a way we didn’t get to in book one.

Robin: Secret? “Dry, sarcastic humor” is a prerequisite for becoming an official Quill! Scroll down to find links to Parker’s website and book—But don’t miss his answer to The Next Important Question!

Patricia RedingPATRICIA REDING

Author of Oathtaker and Select
Patricia’s website

This is a particularly exciting time, as we Quills just added a new member, Parker Broaddus, who publishes under the name, P.S. Broaddus. And wouldn’t you know it? Parker, like Robin, is blessed with an incredible sense of humor. (Needless to say, I’m feeling a bit like chopped liver . . .)

In celebration of Parker’s joining us, we’ve decided we would interview him. Here are his initial comments. (Did I mention that he has a sense of humor?):

Patricia: What are your earliest memories of reading as a child? Did you visit a library regularly? A book mobile? How did that impact your life as a reader and/or writer?

Parker: (Read the answer on Patricia’s website!)

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Be sure to go visit P.S. Broaddus on his website, and don’t forget to check out his middle-grade book!


Website
A Hero’s Curse

A Hero's Curse, by PS Broaddus

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Reader or writer, who is your favorite fantasy character? Why?
Do you have any questions for Parker? Ask away in the comments below!