Writing on Medication

Although this topic may be taboo, or not talked about at all, writing on medication can be an obstacle. When I first started anti-anxiety medication, I thought it would affect my writing. I figured it would stifle the flow of ideas by making my brain zombified and non-creative. In fact, I found that it didn’t affect my writing at all, but I was lucky. It’s not this way for everyone.

A lot of writers I know are on some form of anti-depression or anxiety meds, in fact, most people I know, regardless of being creative, are on something. It isn’t something to be hidden or ashamed of: I embrace my anxiety disorder and tell people that the medication changed my life for the better. I remember thinking, when I first started it, ‘If this affects my writing, I’m not taking it.’ I was prepared to have panic attacks and be anxious in order to keep my creative output flowing. Luckily, my meds didn’t interfere with my writing, so I was able to overcome the panic attacks and keep writing.

images.jpgSome medication will obviously not work in this way, it will make you numb, and it will stop the flow of writing. As with all meds, you can switch and change (under the supervision of your advising physician) until you find one that fits with your life. I’ve taken different medication before, and the one I’m on now has made me cloudy. You feel like you haven’t woken up properly. Your body is moving and you’re speaking, but you aren’t all there. In time the cloud moves along, and you return to semi-normal, then after even longer, normal. It’s important to take care of your mental health first, then work with your doctor to try and get on a path back to the keyboard.

It isn’t anything to be ashamed of, or kept secret, but if you feel uncomfortable telling people, then it’s just between you and your GP. You might find other people are on the same medication or can give you opinions of meds that they took and liked or didn’t like. I’m on Effexor. I take it at night, so if the cloud comes in, I’m asleep. I don’t get anxiety anymore and my writing has continued on as normal. What’s happened for the better is, I don’t spend weekends stressing and fretting about something at work; it gets pushed aside and then I’m allowed to write uninterrupted. For me, that’s an improvement. If your mental health is interfering with your creative processes, your productivity and your overall wellbeing, consult with doctor about options, because it doesn’t have to be this way.

Mitchell Tierney

If you or someone you know are having issues and need to talk to someone please approach your doctor or click here for a list of helplines worldwide.

Announcing Amity!

Hello, Bonjour, Hola, it’s me, Danica, the middle child of Ourorborus, the author of Battles of Azriel series, and the person known around Supanova as the Girl that wears Glitter. When people get to know me, I often get the quote, “I didn’t expect that from someone so sparkly.”

front amity.jpgToday I want to talk to you about the release of my new book, Amity. I can hear a lot of you already say “about time.” Yes, I am finally happy with it and releasing it to the world at Brisbane Supanova this year.

If you don’t know about the Supanova events; are you living under a rock? Joking, Supanova is a Comic Con and gaming convention. If you love films, comic books, anime or games that surround the fantasy genre, it is the place for you. It is not a place your bank account will love, but your inner nerd will be having a party.

The 2019 Brisbane event is being held the weekend of 8th to 10th of November, so you should come down, check out it out, and come see my new book. The cover is beyond stunning, done by the talented Dayna. Check out her Facebook: AnotherMisfit. She is a fellow author as well as one of my good friends – thank you Facebook writing group for introducing us.

Amity will be the third book I have released. The first two, Lost World and Colours Within are a part of the series Battles of Azriel, and the third in that saga will be released in 2020 for all of you that are wondering. I apologise for the delay in its release. I will explain why soon.

About two years ago, I had this really bizarre dream of being in a thunderstorm and being attacked by growing wolves and having to fight them off with magic. And this weird dream is where the idea of Amity began. This scene from my head is actually in the story. But I sat down that morning to write, and it was my day off and I didn’t stop writing until that night. In a whole day, I had a very rough first draft.

Few months later, I was critiqued about a short story I had written. The first draft had a LGBT twist, which was denied, the second draft had no romance, was denied, the third draft, my heart no longer in the story, it was of course, denied. Because of this, I lost it, the inspiration, the faith in my writing. My mind and soul had a very painful, destructive breakup. However, writing is my sanity, and not writing for a few months was painful, so I sat down, and started everything from scratch. I messaged my editor and said I wanted Lost Heirs back (the third book of Battles of Azriel), I ignored the notes from my editor in Amity, as both of these were going to have complete rewrites. This is why Battles of Azriel wasn’t released a year ago, when it should have been.

I focused on Amity first. I didn’t think it was as important because I hadn’t got people invested into it yet. It was the book that was going to help me find my voice again. Working with Amity was interesting; she is a character that has gone through a lot and was afraid of who she was, and letting people see who she was, because she was afraid of rejection. The story is a fantasy-filled novella, allowing characters to know what others are feeling. It’s a rite of passage, allowing Amity to go from who she was born as to who she was meant to be.

It was a little bit difficult for me writing Amity because it didn’t have Arya in it. For those of you who have read Battles of Azriel, you’ll know she is one of the most important characters. She is also the most important character to me, for she was the first character I ever created. She wasn’t the first character I wrote about – when I was a child I would write stories, but I never gave background, or meaning, it was just the story at hand. When I was thirteen, I created Arya, her past, who she was, her future, her powers, her emotions. Even when she isn’t the main character, she is in the story. Amity is the first story I’ve written and finished that doesn’t involve Arya. And being apart from her was extremely difficult, but the break from her was good, and now I know that even when the series ends, I’ll be able to write without her.

In Amity, I actually enjoyed editing. Like I always love editing in the sense that when Sabrina sends me back my work, there is all this red pen, and I love working with stuff to improve on. But at the same time, I dread it because I have a habit of rewriting when I edit. Which is why it takes so long. But this time in editing I also worked with another fellow author, Shayla, and instead of the normal way of editors read the whole book and send back notes at the end, Shayla and I went back and forth; she’d edit a few chapters, send back to me, I send back to her, and so forth. There was just more communication this way and I was able to bounce off the editing style in a very positive way so I enjoyed that aspect.

Amity is also a very different genre to what I usually write. Battles of Azriel is vampires and witches and elves, whereas Amity is average people who have their lives chosen by Fate. It still has the fantasy element, and the female power but writing them was very different.

I think I have rambled on enough, so November 8-10th at Supanova, come and see me. If you want to purchase a copy of Amity and can’t attend the convention just shout me a message or preorder here.

And I am going to leave you a little present of the first chapter:

~ ~ ~

There is a swing set in my back yard.

It sits behind the pine trees, overlooking the fields. Nicholas stands behind me, pushing the swing. I move my legs with the wind, willing myself to go higher. Silver hair flies across my face and butterflies do flips in my stomach with each fall.

He catches the swing, slowing it to a halt. I tilt my head towards him and note the smile he gives me. He is well practiced in the art of charm. I can’t say the same for myself. I step off the swing and turn to face him, leaning forward and resting my hands on the seat of the swing.

I notice his eyes. Grey, like mine. Blank and unclaimed by fate. I think he is beautiful, in every sense of the word. His angelic face is the reason that every girl on the island, including me, fantasises about him.

Nicholas leans forward, his face close to mine. He closes the space between us and plants a soft kiss on the corner of my lips. I close my eyes at the touch. The softness of his lips on my skin makes my skin flush. I open my eyes as he leans back and smiles at me.

“Catch you later, Winters,” he says, before turning on his heels and walking up to my house.

My fingers linger on the spot he kissed me. A smile forms. I replay the memory in my head, scrunching my nose at his use of my last name. I can’t recall him ever saying my birth name.

I skip up to the back door and Mum appears in all her grace and beauty. I am envious of her strawberry blonde curls. My hair has no volume whatsoever.

“Perhaps Nicholas will be your bond mate,” Mum says in her not-so-subtle way of saying she saw the kiss.

“I hope not,” I say as I feel myself redden, which isn’t hard as I am usually snow white.

Mum asks me why I say that.

I look into Mum’s golden eyes.

“He is a Lex,” I state blankly.

“His parents are from the Lex Tribe,” she corrects me.

I roll my eyes.

“Come inside for dinner, Amity,” Mum says with a shake of her head. “Your father just got home.”

I follow Mum into the kitchen where I find my sister with her nose in a book. We look similar. We’re both petite with Mum’s fair skin and Dad’s silver hair. Sierra hasn’t bonded yet either.

Dad sits down at the table, despite the fact he is covered in dirt and sweat from working the farms all day. It is the duty of the Terra Tribe, my parents’ tribe. The men work on the farms and the women grow herbs and make medicines and such.

It is a simple life, and the one I hope to live.

~ ~ ~

~Danica Peck

Amity will be available in print or ebook from November 8, 2019. Connect with Danica on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and find her books in the Ouroborus 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.

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

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.

Meet the Author: Danica Peck

danicaNow in the middle of 2019, we’d like to take a day to celebrate the Ouroborus Books family’s middle child – not one of the first, and not one of the new kids, YA fantasy author Danica Peck is the generous, colourful and personable heart of our little press. Like her books, she brings an infectious level of fun and surprise to what can otherwise become a serious business. Her first series, Battles of Azriel, follows a cast of rebel queens and their struggles to reclaim their thrones in a dangerous parallel realm, and her upcoming works walk exciting lines between fantasy adventure and paranormal romance. Read on for our interview with Danica and follow the links to find her books and social media.

Tell us about yourself: My name is Danica and I write the stories my mind creates, because if I don’t put them on paper I may go insane. I’ve published two books and have countless stories waiting to be written. As long as I am always writing and travelling, I am satisfied on this planet.

Favourites

These are so hard to answer. Narrowing down to a favourite or even top five is near impossible.

Favourite book: Harry Potter series by JK Rowling, Arrival by Charlotte McConaghy and Dark Swan series by Richelle Mead

Favourite films: Perks of Being a Wallflower, Edge of 17, Love Actually, Breakfast Club, Set It Up

Favourite shows: Friends! Anything Joss Whedon! (Ah it’s too hard!! So many amazing shows?)

Favourite colour: Blue

Favourite song: (current) False Confidence – Noah

Favourite bands: Halsey!! Queen, Michael Jackson, American Rejects

Favourite artist: Destiny Blue

Favourite sesame street character: Elmo

Favourite subject in school: Drama, English and Film

Favourite special place: The beach

Ideal holiday destination: Lapland, Russia, Egypt

Best birthday party: As long as I’m with those I love, it’s always the best

 Dislikes

Food you can’t stand: Avocado, I know I’m weird. Raw fish – yuck! Brussel sprouts, like why?

Something you’d never be caught dead wearing: Crocs! Unfashionable mismatched clothes.

Fears: Spiders and getting old

Least favourite sport: Do burpees count?

A really annoying piece of advice: You’re still young, you’ll find someone

Quirky questions

An age you are not: 22!!

Favourite Avenger: Loki

Favourite Disney princess: Jasmine

Third favourite fictional character: Rose Hathaway

A Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavour named after you would be a combination of: Cookie dough, Nutella and strawberry ice-cream

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

A random hobby you had for like five minutes once: Scrapbooking

The most attractive punctuation mark is: Semi colon

Best Skittle and jellybean flavour: Red skittle and toasted marshmallow jelly bean

Writing related

What inspired you to write your current work? The story I’m currently working on was inspired by a dream

What genres do you read and write? Mostly fantasy and other worlds

When did you start publishing with Ouroborus? Three years ago

What do you hope people associate you with? Writing, travel and hippie!

Current work-in-progress: Amity

What can readers expect from you in future? Another four books in my series and a few standalones.

Which of your own characters do you relate to most, and which is your favourite to write? Arya. I created her when I was sixteen. If I’m going through a hard time so is she, when I’m healing same to her.

What upcoming or recently released Ouroborus book are you most eager to read and why? Shayla’s book 3. Need to know what happens!

Hardcover, eBook or paperback? Hardcover

Chocolate or chips? Chocolate

DC or Marvel? Marvel

Blue ink or black? Blue ink

Indoors or outdoors? Outdoors

Spotless workspace or is there a desk under all that? There is a desk… somewhere

Coffee or tea? Tea

Connect with Danica on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and find her books in the Ouroborus online store.