Valley Reads, The Lost Train Zoom program is tonight!! Feel free to join us 6:30 – 8pm PST, Wednesday, December 1st to hear readings by Pacific NW Authors and Chats by PNW Artists about their works that appear in this Special Co-op Anthology. Click this link to join from anywhere: https://kcls.zoom.us/j/87899556649?pwd=VHdMVFJNK2kvNnRlTW5UdGxmWlZtZz09
THE LOST TRAIN Anthology is coming soon. Release is September 1st. But you can hop on board here at FVP’s website in the next weeks to learn more about the Authors and Artists that were paired to create works for the project.
Casondra Brewster is a FVP Featured Author, and she was paired with Gayll Morrison. Gayll’s painting, from a historical photograph was complete before the pair connected on the project, but Casondra thought it caught the mood and was well in sync with her story theme. Both their works will be in the Anthology, but here’s a peek at some of Gayll’s other works and a snippet of Casondra’s Anthology story. Be sure to follow their links to more…
Find more of Gayll Morrison’s work at gayllery.biz
Dark Speculative Fiction – A young woman finds herself AT A LOSS when her train of thought careens through modern life and a state of ‘great collective trauma’. By Casondra Brewster * Paired Artist: Gayll Morrison
Snippet from “At a Loss” by Casondra Brewster:
“Diane Osman. I have a one o’clock appointment with Dr. Case,” she looked around and there didn’t seem to be any other patients about.
“Oh,” the receptionist looked at her screen and then up at Diane, “Dr. Case isn’t seeing patients today. Are you sure your appointment was today?”
“I’m certain of it,” Diane said and looked at the clock on the wall above the receptionist’s head. It read 12:56 p.m. “I’m a little bit late, but still before my appointment time. I’m certain.”
“Alright, let me call someone; please have a seat in the yellow chair there, and I’ll call you shortly.”
A line of chairs stood watch behind Diane, against the wall that faced the receptionist’s desk. They boasted rainbow colors with a black chair in between all of them. A woman, a bit younger than herself, sat in the purple chair. Funny enough she wore a purple face mask. Diane had not seen her come in. She wasn’t there when I came in. Maybe she’s waiting for someone? Diane took her place in the yellow chair.
The thought she was forgetting something haunted her. But she was certain her OB/GYN appointment was right now. She dug through her purse, because she remembered asking for an appointment card. They were reluctant to give her one because of the virus epidemic. She remembered showing it to her husband. She put it in her calendar. She was certain. Where is that card?
The receptionist hung up the receiver. “Ms. Robles?” The woman in the purple chair got up. Diane watched and thought the woman looked familiar with dark hair and light eyes. The receptionist handed the woman some paperwork and the woman sat back down in the purple chair and began filling it out. She doesn’t look pregnant. Diane dallied in her recollection that she hadn’t looked pregnant the first time she came here either. She smiled at the woman, but the woman didn’t see Diane’s smile. She was focused on her paperwork. Read more…
All Proceeds from the Anthology benefit non-profit Arts organization North Bend Art & Industry. Thanks for supporting the Arts!
GET THE LOST TRAIN ANTHOLOGY HERE
Take this year’s SnoValley Writes! writing class in the comfort of your home or local cafe’ courtesy of FVP Featured Author, Casondra Brewster.
This year I’m teaching a class called Level Up Your Writing through the writing organization I founded back in 2008, SnoValley Writes! in conjunction with King County Library System (Washington). These free classes take the adult student writers through much of the technical stuff any MFA candidate has to do — the whole deconstruction process as it applies to key components of writing and all the included literary devices any word crafter has in their collective tool box. In addition to understanding all those things, the students have to practice it in their own work.
When FreeValley Publishing asked me to contribute to their blog here, it seemed natural to provide another place where other writers could access the Level Up Your Writing learning track. So even if you don’t live in the Cascade Foothills where SnoValley Writes! is, you can take these lessons and do your own craft mastery workshops.
Level Up Your Writing – Lesson 1
The class starts with picking out a book by an author you admire and a story you love. Anyone who has gone through the MFA process may say this is cruel, but we’re taking a lighter approach than one may experience in a typical creative writing masters course. It’s certainly cheaper this way.
Of course you get out of it what you put into it. So start with re-reading your beloved classic and reading it as if you’re not only a writer but an editor.
Having a book that you own, and can reference as a text, is important to learning to read as a writer. As you read you can ask yourself questions like: How might you have written a scene differently? How might you have changed things up? Where is the writing strong? Where is it weak?
Next, examine the outside of the book. Do a writing exercise on why you picked up the book — introspection is the key to learning the whys of what you do and what that means about your person, in this case your writing life person. Answer these questions:
- What enticed you to pick up the book specifically?
- If the book was recommended, what appealed to you about the cover?
- What part of the book’s jacket copy appealed to you? Are there specific words that pull you in? What devices does the author employ to pull you in via the jacket?
- Before reading the book, what part of the story piqued your interest the most within what’s included in the text of the book jacket?
Next think about your own writing. If you have a particular body of work, say a novel, or a collection of poems, or even writings on one non-fiction subject, how would you do the same?
More next time in, Lesson 2: Continuing the DeConstruction Process – Reading like a Writer
Casondra Brewster – All Rights Reserved
Come and Meet Our New FVP Featured Author, Casondra Brewster, and Celebrate her New Release YA Fantasy, WILDERNESS RIM – Echo Falls! This Saturday at The Black Dog Arts Cafe’ at 8062 Railroad Ave SE, Snoqualmie, WA. This will be a fun event with treats and music…FREE to attend. Sasquatch/NW themed attire encouraged. Come on down!
The form sat partially obscured by the mismatched building edges on the store fronts of South Fork’s downtown area. He was caught between the bakery and the theatre. He was a relatively new fixture in this town of just a little more than five thousand. His hands, folded on his bent knees were red from the elements, flaked with weariness. On his feet were dingy sneakers and were the only thing that said he was of this world. The rest of him was covered with a burlap-looking, dark brown body-length robe, including a hood that only let his chest-length, gray but streaked with street crud beard show. Many passersby had visions of a medieval friar when they saw this homeless soul.
He rarely looked up at those who were trying their best to ignore this creature crouched on the street. However, when he did, you could have sworn his eyes were rust. Not brown. Not red, but the same kind of rust on your uncle’s 1976 Caprice Classic left out and abandoned in too many Detroit winters.
When the streets were empty except for leaves being blown by the gusts into a devil’s whirlwind, he would slowly rise. He would walk around the back of the shops and see what sustenance he could find in the dumpsters and trash cans, his hands not ever losing their red tinge. The things he picked from the trash were not always easily identifiable as food. If you watched closely you might see him gnawing on bones and discarding the seemingly more satisfying flesh. At moments he moved so quickly, you’d have thought you’d mysteriously missed whole moments of time. He would lick on broken bar glasses and suck on pieces fractured plates. If an alley cat or rebel raccoon competed for treasures in the rubbish, the cloaked vagabond would hiss with a level of hatred only hell beasts are capable of producing. For that brave living thing which resisted the hissing and secondary swatting from the cloaked figure, would surely incur a fatal swipe from his one long gray thumb nail on the cloaked figure’s main hand. If you were the spider above the doorway where this creature’s shadow crouched out of the inevitable Pacific Northwest rain, you would know that the blood of those rebellious vermin was his wine.
On this particular night, a young buck police officer saw the hooded figure behind the bakery. The rain poured, muting out the sound of the unlucky rat that tried to bite the unfortunate man the cop observed on the street. The officer watched, but his thoughts kept telling him to leave well enough alone. It was more work to incarcerate this man than to leave him be.
Although another thought battled inside his mind, saying that what he saw was not quite right. He could not really see clear to a reason that he should act. As he drove away, however, he could have sworn that those eyes below the hood were not merely rust, but radiating.
A simple whisper, “Abaak Lajjad,” would be the only thing that the spider in the doorway’s corner would hear before it also was captured and swallowed into the wide mouth full of too-long teeth shadowed beneath the brown cloak.
Casondra Brewster is a writer, editor, literary teacher and mentor, as well as the founder of SnoValley Writes! She hopes one day to make the valley more famous than Forks, Wash.