Meet the Author – Annalise Azevedo

efaefafsJust as we’ve all just realised (with our usual October shock) that the year is sneaking on and getting away on us (“How is it nearly Christmas?!”), this week we want to draw attention to someone else who might have been quietly slipping under your radar: Annalise Azevedo. One of our newer family members at Ouroborus, young adult author Annalise is best described as tenacious, committed, and just the right mix of playful and serious. She lives and breathes the supernatural, paranormal, fantasy and fictional world, knows what a deadline is, and whenever we don’t hear from her for a while, we know it’s because she’s devotedly working on her paranormal Sacred Stone series. Book 1, Reflection of Fire, is out now, with book 2 on the way. We interrupted this busy writer to ask our usual pertinent questions.

Tell us about yourself: My story is rather simple, I always had an active imagination and loved magic. I am the second youngest in a family of six, but I was the only one who decided to write for fun. I was often a bit of an oddball and sometimes I find myself thinking about different scenarios to life. My early stories were English projects, mainly about dogs and wolves. Soon enough, I was a teenager who obsessed over TV shows and I was determined to give people the same feels as TV gave me.

Favourites

Favourite book: Don’t really have a favourite book, but recently preferred book is Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen

Favourite films: Avengers, Hachiko, Mulan

Favourite television series: Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Vampire Diaries, Lucifer, Once Upon a Time, One Day at a Time, Friends, Game of Thrones and anything David Attenborough

Favourite colour: Blue

Favourite subject in school: Drama and Multimedia

Ideal holiday destination: New Zealand is my current goal, then I would like to go to Europe, Portugal in particular

The best birthday party would be: I already had it. Just a quiet moment with people I care about. But it needs cake. Always needs cake.

Dislikes

Food you can’t stand: Salads, mushrooms, seafoods, I’m a picky eater

Something you’d never be caught dead wearing: Bright clothing, or crop tops

Least favourite sport: Running related – or tennis and golf

Quirky questions

An age you are not: 22

Third favourite fictional character: Emma Swan

A Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavour named after you would be a combination of: Chocolate, caramel and white chocolate.

A job you definitely wouldn’t have been suited for: Marketing

A random hobby you had for like five minutes once: Martial Arts. I mean, it’s still pretty cool

The most attractive punctuation mark is: !

Writing related

What inspired you to write your current work: My friends were the primary focus. For those readers of Reflection of Fire, you probably realised that friendship is a strong theme of the story with little to no romance. Another inspiration was myself when I was in a dark place, I won’t go into massive detail in it, but bloodlust symbolises four major reasons to kill – misery, vengeance, rage and thrill. I always wanted to write a story where a character tries to be an average person (someone who wouldn’t kill, no matter what) but in reality, feels like an outsider (because they want to kill, for any of the four reasons)

What genres do you read and write: Supernatural, paranormal

When did you start publishing with Ouroborus: 2018

What do you hope people associate you with: That awkward girl who wrote a book

Current work-in-progress: Editing Eye of the Storm and writing Book 3

What can readers expect from you in future: A full series, and solo novels. Lots and lots of solo novels.

Which of your own characters do you relate to most, and which is your favourite to write: A piece of me is in each character, but I feel the closest with Tahani Rosa. A lot of her mannerisms are like mine, but magnified. She was also one of my earlier characters, who changed constantly through the versions. But my favourite character to write is a character not revealed yet.

Either or

Hardcover, eBook or paperback? Any really. I’m not fussy on books.

Chocolate or chips? Is that a trick question? Chocolate.

DC or Marvel? Marvel

Blue ink or black? Black

Indoors or outdoors? Both

Spotless work space or is there a desk under all that? In between, but I do prefer it spotless.

Coffee or tea? I like both as iced.

You can find out more about Annalise Azevedo at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and on her website, and the books can be purchased from the Ouroborus Books online store.

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A Writer’s Review of Scrivener

Writers and authors use a variety of ways to plan their projects. As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs I’m not much of a planner, I do however have my research and I have tried a few different programs to help me sort through all of my notes.

As far as programs go, I give it a solid 9/10.

images2This program has a lot of uses that makes it worth the $45AUD one-off cost. It updates your program and as far as I’m aware it is a lifetime subscription. Once such thing I came across while playing with the program was the name generator. You can put in a variety of different settings and it will provide you with names that fit your description, and you can even look up name meanings.

The basic layout for a fiction novel set-up is relatively easy to follow. It has a manuscript section where you can make a tab for each of your chapters then you are able to export the file and it will hopefully come out as a fully formatted novel. I haven’t tried this part of the program yet as I prefer to complete my manuscripts in Microsoft Word for easier reading and editing.

You can also create character profiles within the program which I found extremely useful, especially now that I am gaining more characters and venturing into the second book with them, it is important for me to remember who is who and how they are related to the main plot. Without this section of Scrivener I would be lost, I would be constantly reading through The Stray to make sure everything is correct. Similar to the characters section of the program you can create places. Describing a new place and need to know all the information later on, the best place to store it is in that section. For both the characters and the places Scrivener provides a basic template that you can edit to suit your project needs.

scrivener-cork-boardYou do also have the option to make extra areas, which is what I do. I make extra folders and corkboards that allow me to put my mythologies and species histories and connections into a database of some kind. You can also create extra template sheets for later use if you require them in other projects.

Scrivener is a very useful program for me and I’m not even using it to its full capacity. I think this program is fantastic for its price and would be useful to almost any writer beginning or published. I’m looking forward to giving Scrivener’s sister program, Scrapple, a try whilst I plan and write the rest of the White Wolf Trilogy. For only $15AUD it’s worth a try.
~Amanda

You can follow Amanda on Facebook, Twitter and on her website, and The Stray is available from our webstore.

Meet the Author – Shayla Morgansen

This week we’re introducing one of our older – though not necessarily wiser or more mature! – writers at Ouroborus Books. Shayla Morgansen is the author of The Elm Stone Saga, as well as a number of more serious works of non-fiction and an even larger number of decidedly less serious fanfiction. She divides her time rather erratically between writing, watching old science fiction, and studying for her PhD. A former teacher, she now works as a freelance editor and a lecturer in Editing and Publishing Studies. To give Shayla a break from work, study and Netflix, we sat down to ask the hard questions.

shayla1

Favourites

Favourite book/s: Ugh, starting with the hardest one! Harry Potter, The Book Thief, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Fangirl, Carry On, and The Book With No Pictures. I refuse to narrow down the list any further

Favourite television series: Stargate SG1, X-Files, Supernatural, Fringe, Battlestar Galactica, Dexter, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, The 100… Do I have to stop listing?

Favourite film/s: The Matrix. At least that one’s easy

Favourite colour: Pink!

Favourite Sesame Street character: Ernie

Favourite subject in school: Drama. I’m a tad theatrical, a tad wordsy

Favourite special place: My grandparents’ garden

Dislikes

Food you can’t stand: Mushrooms

Something you’d never be caught dead wearing: Real fur (eww! Dead stuff!)

Fears: Spiders

Quirky questions

An age you are not: 21

Least favourite Avenger: Ironman. Sorry not sorry

Least favourite Disney princess: Cinderella

Third favourite fictional character: Dr Daniel Jackson

A Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavour named after you would be a combination of: Fairyfloss and raspberry – super sweet but with a surprising tang

A job you definitely wouldn’t have been suited for: Accountant

The most attractive punctuation mark is: The question mark. I like the curves when I write it

Writing related

What inspired you to write your current work: Harry Potter ran out so I wrote what I wanted to read

What genres do you read and write: I write YA fantasy, a bit of non-fiction as required by my study, and fanfiction for The X-Files and Dexter. My creative work usually has a focus on intense platonic relationships fraught with questions of morality and truth. I read widely, as long as it’s fiction, and as long as the story features spaceships, magic powers or law enforcement

When did you start publishing with Ouroborus: In 2014

What do you hope people associate you with: I hope I’m viewed as fun and considerate, but also professional and knowledgeable. As a writer, I hope people associate me with quality

Current work-in-progress: My thesis

What can readers expect from you in future: At least two more Elm Stone books (with magic), a paranormal crime series (with FBI), a science fiction series (with spaceships) and my X-Files fanfiction to eventually get finished

Which of your own characters do you relate to most, and which is your favourite to write: Aristea, and Declan

Either or

Hardcover, eBook or paperback? Paperback

Chocolate or chips? I have to choose?

DC or Marvel? Marvel every single day.

Blue ink or black? Blue!

Spotless work space or is there a desk under all that? I think there’s a desk. Ask any past student, they may have seen it once, or else offered to clean it for me in exchange for classroom points

You can find out more about Shayla Morgansen by following her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or by visiting her website, and The Elm Stone Saga can be purchased from the Ouroborus Books online store.

Book Week 2019

Untitled-201This week is Book Week in Australia. I was blessed to grow up in a house of books, where the written word was not only respected but adored. Thanks to my mother, I was a gifted reader before I started school so I flourished amongst the library books that I could now get from two libraries (local and school) and the all-important book catalogues. Not sure if that last sentence ages me but Lucky, Arrow and Star were words that sent my heart soaring. My mum managed to get my teachers to get me all three catalogues even in Year 1 and 2 (they were for different ages) and I’d beg for books from all three. My first set in Year 1 was the Narnia box set which is long gone, water damaged when I was about 10 and replaced about five years later, reuniting me with Aslan.

68900118_10218574826057757_8662010796131221504_nAnd then I discovered Book Week. Books AND costumes? My dreams had come true. I did Bo-Peep, a space captain, a witch, a clown… so many costumes. And I was blessed with a mum who could sew and be crafty, so I had a ball.

Book Week was established in 1945 by the Children’s Book Council of Australia. It was “founded at a time when Australian children’s books were few, and Australian authors and illustrators were virtually unknown. In 1946 the CBCA established annual book awards to promote books of high literary and artistic quality. These awards are now the most influential and highly respected in Australia.”1

69343321_10162126131280246_1562037218522955776_nAs an author and illustrator, I look back and realise the Book Week was such a huge part in my journey to becoming who I am today, with the encouragement of my book-loving mother, by instilling joy in reading. The yearly themes were never important (although I happily used them for costume ideas) but seeing my school come to life in a flurry of colour and excitement over books, my favourite thing in the world, kept the storyteller and artist inside me alive.

69085983_10158742077684838_3351838610042126336_nNow I see a new generation of kids (and amazing teachers) embracing Book Week, through my friends’ kids and my nephew and nieces. Watching the new generation of readers embracing books with two hands and enjoying the written word makes me so happy. I don’t have kids of my own but I try to inspire the same love of books in my nieces and nephew, who all have amazing imaginations and artistic flair. I hope that they hold on to the love of stories, the love of books, long into their futures.

69304381_10158742077734838_4217684195641655296_nTo anyone out there with kids, READ to your children. Make them excited for books. Make them want to go on adventures in Narnia, Middle Earth, Hogwarts, Hundred Acre Woods, Neverland and all the magical places they can escape to, even if its on a screen, reading is reading. But if you can, this Book Week, celebrate the joy of the written words and all the places that it can take them, and yourself.

69336632_365404761057342_3072699928036769792_nAll pictures here are courtesy of, and with permission from, parents I know and love and their kids, and there’s even a few of me.

~Sabrina

You can find out more about Sabrina RG Raven at her websiteFacebook or Instagram and her books can be purchased from the Ouroborus Books online store.

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 1 http://www.cbca.org.au/about

5 Reasons to Love Your Bookshop!

downloadToday is Love Your Bookshop Day. In the age of Amazon and deliveries it’s a sad reality that bookshops are a dying breed, but we here at Ouroborus books still love them. They’re among our favourite places to go. We believe that they’ll always have a place in the world, even if there aren’t quite so many of them as once there were. Here are some of the reasons bookshops still hold a special place in our hearts.

Local Authors

This one’s a little bit self-serving but it’s true too. Local bookshops will often generously agree to stock local authors that may not get as much exposure in other ways. These are titles you won’t necessarily find on Amazon – they’re there of course, but they’re buried under the weight of other books from around the world. So show a little local pride, head down to your bookshop and see if there are any hidden talents in your hometown. If you happen to be based in Brisbane, you might even find us.

Special Events

This one doesn’t happen so much in the bigger places like Dymocks but local bookshops have had to get clever to keep up. To that end they’ve developed a host of activities you can attend. From programs designed to get kids into reading, to interviews and signings with local authors. There’s even the occasional event for people who are looking to get into writing if you’re interested. Look up your local bookshop on Facebook and you can see what they have going on. You might find a good way to spend the afternoon.

Browsing

Some of the best books I ever found, I picked up off a shelf. While you can browse on Amazon, taking the time to get out there and go through actual books can be really rewarding and allow you to emerge with some hidden gem that just managed to grab your attention. There are also recommendations from the booklovers who work there and the opportunity to check out some books you wouldn’t normally look at, just because you’re there. Amazon only shows you things you already knew you wanted, bookshops will have something new and interesting for you.

Other Booklovers

I know the idea of talking to people is frightening for us indoorsy types but some of the best connections I’ve made I’ve made in bookshops. Seeing people who like to read the same things you do, giving recommendations to someone you see looking at something you’ve already read or meeting at one of the aforementioned events are all good ways to get to know more people who like to read, which are one of our favourite kinds of people. Be daring and strike up a conversation with someone at your local bookshop, it might be rewarding.

A Retreat

Somewhere quiet to go away from the world is a valuable resource these days. Your average bookshop is a quiet, fairly cosy place out of the hustle and bustle of daily life where, by and large, they don’t mind you taking some time out to read your latest purchase without being bothered by day to day life. Some of them will even sell coffee and snacks while you do it.

We love our local bookshops and we think you will too. Give the old brick and mortar stores a chance and they might just surprise you with how nice an experience it can be.

You can follow Robert J Barlow on Facebook and find his books The Laughing Man and The Spinning Sister in our online bookstore.

Roleplay as Writing Practice

Related imageMy whole life I’ve been into role playing games. It started in primary school playing Dungeons and Dragons in the library. We didn’t have dice or character sheets; all we had was the DM and a few friends and he would tell us if we succeeded or failed. That got old quickly as we had no idea what we were doing. Fast forward a few years and I meet Tom in high school who played D&D, Star Wars, ShadowRun and others every Friday night at the spare buildings at the Darwin University. We played D&D occasionally, but mostly Star Wars. I did that for a few years until I sort of got over it and started playing guitar and playing in a band. The whole time I played, up til that point, I had no idea what I was doing. No one told me how the game was played, and I never asked. I brought the ShadowRun core book, but it was far too confusing to work out. I didn’t play for about 10-12 years after that.

I moved to Brisbane and joined a roller derby league. I started talking to the merchandise guy, who said he’d been playing D&D for about 20 years and still did from time to time. After wrangling a few others in, we started a monthly session that’s now been running for over 5 years. We play Pathfinder, which is identical to D&D’s 3.5 edition. Last year Pathfinder created a new book that was Pathfinder in space called Starfinder. I instantly gravitated towards it. I bought the book, read the rules, watched hours and hours of YouTube videos about how to play it. I wrote my own campaign, which took weeks. I then drew all my own maps and got everything ready to run it. When the day came, I was nervous. I really enjoyed writing it, because it was different than writing a script or a book.

Image result for pathfinder dndAfter the game was done and everyone went home, I really didn’t enjoy it. I couldn’t work out what it was. The design aspect was great, the writing of it was great, but running it was not fun for me. I wasn’t sure where I went wrong. So, I figured I would just be a playing character, instead of a dungeon master from now on. Then I started to notice that I was interested in the new D&D 5th edition. I’m not sure why, but I felt magnetized to it. I went to my local gaming shop and bought the core book. I read it, and watched some YouTube videos, read some blogs and noticed it had similarities to Pathfinder. I began writing a new campaign, learning from my mistakes and expectations from the Starfinder story. I was going to be less railroading and more sandbox. I think I had a direct line I wanted the players to walk, but role playing doesn’t work like that. You have to present a situation, then let them decide what they want to do, and improvise the rest. So, I gathered a few fresh newbies who had never played before, but wanted to, and I ran it. I really enjoyed it. I let them talk amongst themselves, I let them decide where and what they wanted to do and go.

The first campaign was 9 pages long and took 6 hours to play. I wrote the second one over a few weeks and it’s at 34 pages. I think because they were new, and I was new, we just worked out stuff as we went along. They fell for every trap I put out and I was inspired to write more. Writing role playing is so different from anything else. Being a writer, it makes it easier to describe the situation and the encounters, and I believe that is where the fun sits. They roll a dice to formulate the outcome, then I describe what happens off the top of my head.

With writing books, I get time to work on it, plan it, delete it, rewrite it, edit it, but with role playing you don’t. It’s off the cuff and exercises your mind. Good practice for writers.

~Mitchell

Mitchell is the author of Children of the Locomotive, Skellington KeyHeather Cassidy and the Magnificent Mr Harlow, and the Everdark Realms Trilogy

Visit Mitchell’s bio here

Interview with a Character: Make some Magic.

inner reflection coverFShe’s got a sweet smile and she’s wearing a school uniform when she walks into our studio. Loose hazelnut-brown hair hangs over a slight frame, and initially, she’s quiet, clearly waiting to be told where she should sit, like any kid dropped off in a strange place. In short, Anastasia Larson seems like a normal girl – amazing, what skill, talent, disposition and potential exists just beneath the surface of all of us. We took a moment recently to sit down with this fresh new hero to talk about her powers, her life, and her road ahead.

Interviewer: Hi, Anastasia. Thanks for making the time to see us today and talk to us. Are you missing any classes for this interview?

Anastasia: Hi, um. . . I actually am okay, for now. What time is it? Can we make this as quick as we can please?

Interviewer: Can you talk to us a bit about how you discovered your powers?

Anastasia: I really don’t want to talk about it, if that’s okay. I just got mad and now I dwell on it sometimes.

Interviewer: And what do your powers allow you to do?

Anastasia: I can control the weather and it’s linked to my emotions.

Interviewer: Tell the readers about your school and what you’ve been learning. It’s not your typical school, is it?

Anastasia: My school is mainstream, but, well, I’m starting to think that not everything is as it seems, not just in school but the whole town. I’m still new here. My school is called Opal Creek High School, and I’ve been learning Modern History, P.E. (which I don’t like at all) and Maths, oh and English of course.

Interviewer: I have to admit, you’re not what I expected! Do you get that a lot from people?

Anastasia: I don’t really know what people think of me. I’m not very sociable.

Interviewer: What are your main goals right now, and how do you feel about tackling them?

Anastasia: My main goal right now is to not be late for class. . . again. It’s the first time I’ve been late for anything EVER! My other goal is to find out how to control my powers and where they came from. And I want to plan out my goals as best as I can really.

Interviewer: There will be a lot of people reading this transcript who feel out of place, not up to scratch, disempowered, in all kinds of ways. You’re proving that difference is power! Wisdom often comes from the young – do you have any advice you want to give to your followers?

Anastasia: For people who have Asperger’s like me or anyone who has similar circumstances. My advice is to not listen to any of the bullies, because they are mean and in the end they get what’s coming to them. And also surround yourself with people who understand (I know it sounds silly, but it’s true) Thanks for interviewing me but I really need to get to class.

 

Anastasia is the main character of J.J. Fryer’s debut novel Inner Reflection, which you can purchase from our online store. The first chapters are available to read online for free on our blog. You can connect with J.J. Fryer on Instagram and Twitter to learn more about Anastasia and the series.