NaNoWriMo is Here!

Have you started your novel yet? You know, that one you’ve always wanted to write. That idea for a story that’s rattling around in the back of your head? Well today’s the day! Join a ton of crazy, fun people from around the world in this challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days. You can learn more about it, and/or sign up HERE to keep track of your progress and be part of the nanowrimo.org community. And here’s a handy chart to keep track of the daily word count goal. Print one to fill in your word progress the old school way. Happy Writing!

Dr Who nano 2018 word count chart

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Wine & Words – Victoria Bastedo

Wine & Words was a fun and well-received event last night. We had nine authors who read, five from FVP and four from our community. The pieces were moving, funny, and entertaining. I’m always astounded at the writing quality and talent that emerges in this tiny Valley on such evenings.

Victoria Bastedo was our Special Guest Author for the evening, and she delighted the crowd by telling us of an actual old tree she, perhaps, saved with her expressed upset at seeing a chainsaw nearby.  Then she read the following fun and touching story from one of her blogs, SnoValley Hobbit:

Donago Greenhaven buttoned his new fawn-colored waistcoat. As a rule, hobbits don’t tend to dwell on overt fashion and vanity, but he loved it when his mirror reflected a brightness to his image. From the top of his reddish-gold curls, to the bottoms of his hairy feet, he wanted to appear cheerful, intelligent, and ready for any adventure that might await him over the next hill.

Donago plucked at the red handkerchief that peaked in a triangle out of the upper pocket, making sure it stood out. Tonight he was especially interested in making an impression. Traveling hobbits had arrived in Little Delving, bringing wares for the market, presents for friends, and news of the other regions. He wanted to share in it, the busy world of those who worked, and those who dreamed.

He beamed at himself, at his own bright eye, at the dimple an inch from the edge of his mouth, and his one crooked tooth. He’d been told that he was born ready to grin, and that he’d no doubt die with a last bit of laughter on his lips. He looked fine. From the little round window that overlooked his garden and the distant fields to the west a breeze filtered in a whiff of the sea. The scent must have traveled for many miles, must have flirted with clumps of silver grasses and coasting birdwings, holding its essence to arrive in his room and call to him. It always made him laugh.

“All right!” he told it, forgetting his finery as he hurried out of his bedroom and then outside his hole. His intention had been to visit The Brown Barrel, Little Delving’s busiest Inn, and hear the tales that might be told, but that could wait… READ MORE

Literary Open Mic Tonight!

Don’t miss this chance to hear works by talented local writers tonight – Jan 26. 7:00-9:30. Poetry, short stories and novel excerpts to entertain and move you. You’re welcome to bring a couple short pieces to read too. Food, Desserts, Espresso, Beer, Wine. Click on the image for more details about the event. Or check out Black Dog Arts Cafe’.

Black Dog Lit Open Mic

Snoqualmie Valley Region NaNoWrimo Events Calendar

FVP is a big supporter of NaNoWriMo and nearly all of our Featured Authors have completed a novel or several during a frenetic and fun November. Snoqualmie Valley, where we’re based, has our own Region. You can join us for your Home Region on nanowrimo.org if you don’t have an active Region of your own. We have plenty of forums for interaction and many events if you’re near our area. Here’s this year’s superpowered calendar for the Snoqualmie Valley Region NaNoRhinos!

SnoV Region NaNo Event Calendar 2017

Writing Tip: Keep it Handy – Victoria Bastedo

Another great writing tip from FVP Featured Author, Victoria Bastedo:

Thalia and Earth – New Release by Mari Collier

FreeValley is pleased to announce a new release, THALIA AND EARTH, by our loyal follower, Mari Collier. This is Book 5 in the Chronicles of the Maca. Earthbound, Book 1 received an Amazon Best Seller Badge for being #1 on Kindle’s Western/Sci-fi Best Sellers for three weeks last year! Thanks for sharing this excerpt with us, Mari…

Portrait-1 mari collierYears ago, I started writing a novel and realized I wasn’t mature enough nor educated enough to finish it.  Over the years it was resurrected and buried a number of times.  It eventually grew into Gather The Children. Then a strange thing happened. The families featured in Gather The Children insisted that everything be recorded.  The result is the Chronicles of the Maca which has grown to five published novels. I’m currently working on Book 6, but it remains untitled. I’m seriously thinking of Murder in Thalia. Thalia is the planet of the stranded alien on Earth who recreates his House and returns to free Thalia from bondage. Now it is time to return to Earth to verify that all is going well with his remaining Earth family.

Before they can return, the Sisterhood regroups and attacks. When Thalia is calm and peace restored they return and find all is not going well. Some members of the family are unaware of their planetary origins, others try to hide it, one member wants to destroy the family corporation, another hides a secret of other interplanetary contact, and one has the ability to kill with his mind.

THALIA AND EARTH COMPLETE_TCCThe following is an excerpt from Thalia and Earth. It is Book 5 of the Chronicles of the Maca.  Earthbound, Book 1, Gather The Children, Book 2, Before We Leave, Book 3, and Return of the Maca, Book 4.

The excerpt is from Thalia and Earth, Chapter 24 and is entitled Earth 1976:  Mind Death

David Krampitz sat at the walnut desk staring intently into the darkness of the massive wooden door. His large, work calloused hands were curled into tight fists resting on his knees. In his mind, he could see the car racing past Buster’s Roost, the four occupants were intent on reaching the highway to Oklahoma. He concentrated on the driver, a man with straight dark hair, brown skin bronzed by sun, dark eyes focused on the road to make sure no boulder had rolled onto it from the last rain. And then David went deeper into the man’s mind. They became one as he gripped the steering wheel and tromped the gas pedal. David twisted the steering wheel to the right and drove the auto to the edge and over, the waves of fear and nausea generated in the man’s mind washed back into David’s mind.

The man fought to regain physical control, but lost. The car plunged downward, rolling over and over until it crashed into a huge outcropping of rock.

David swiveled in the wooden chair and turned the desk light on. The yellow glow spread over the desktop and outward onto the floor. His breathing was heavy and his two hearts were pounding; pounding as if he had been in that car and survived. He stood and walked over to the built-in walnut gun cabinet with banks of drawers on the side and two doors on the bottom. He opened one of the doors, retrieved a glass and a bottle of whiskey. He poured the glass half full, gulped it down, and returned the bottle to the shelf. He looked up at the painting above the door.

“I don’t drink whiskey, but I just took a swig of your expensive bottling that’s been setting in this house for over thirty years. Is that how you handled any guilt? Why didn’t you leave a journal or instructions on how to exist without destroying other people? Old timers say you killed men, but that was openly. Did you kill men in the dead of night when no one could charge you with murder? Did that spaceship take you away from all the memories?”

The gray eyed man in the painting made no reply.

Copyright, Mari Collier. All Rights Reserved

Since leaving the home we had in Snoqualmie Valley, where FreeValley Publishing is based, I’ve published three anthologies (one is Twisted Tales From The Northwest) and the five novels. I tried a vanity press before it was so easy to publish on Amazon and then had a small press publisher. I’m now back to semi-independent, but the experience with the new company has been wonderful. Happy reading and writing to all.

http://maricollier.com/

https://twitter.com/child7mari

https://www.facebook.com/Twisted-Tales-From-A-Skewed-Mind-124947397618599/

NOTE FROM FVP SITE EDITOR: If you’re interested in having an excerpt of your published or soon to be released novel featured on our site, please email me through Contact Us. We’d love to see what you’re up to and help get the word out on your new work. Anything posted on FVP remains the sole property of the author, and the post is free of charge and spam-free afterwards. We enjoy helping our fellow authors. -Sheri J. Kennedy, editor

Palms Outward

oppression-sketch-onlyHe walked the roadway to another town, dust rising to meet his sorrow.  He knew it would come to this.  Though their hands had given and their faces had smiled, he knew they would push him out someday.  They took his land as if he were nothing.  Despair filled the houses and grew up barren in the fields.

The day the white men came, his village had welcomed them with song.  The mist of the hills parted for the sun.  The children were eager for the gifts that were held out to them as the white women squatted to look in their wide open eyes.  They looked at life beyond what they knew.  If only they had known—as he did—that it would come to this.

Kusudi could find work in the city.  Though his heart ached, he walked with Hope by his side.  He was a strong man—his elder put fortune on him.  He would remove the dust from his mouth and his eyes.  He would bathe and clean his clothes in the River Amini.  And he would speak of his new purpose and see the place of his mother’s dreams.

Sala told him since he was a root-high boy that he would know his way and could find his place amongst Yeweh’s great men.  She saw in her child a mighty man to be.  He didn’t chase or fall down like the foolish boys.  He saw beyond.  The elder, Zamani gave him the kumbuka—the richly carved ruling stick—granted to only one of each generation.

Kusudi held the kumbuka as he followed the long road.  He had left his village in the hills only one time before.  He knew that along the roadway he needn’t go far before the ways of Uzima were not known.  But he held them in his heart.  He held the hand of his mother who had gone from the earth, though he left her body buried in the dirt of Uzima.  He held the hands of his clansmen who had left for the city long before.  They had set them palms outward with fingers to the sky so he could take their soul’s offerings to sustain Uzima in the troubled times.  But their feet had left him abandoned—empty.  And now he left Uzima abandoned to usurpers—full.  Full of grief and shame.  The kumbuka a rod of discipline, chafing against his failure to keep their land for his people to reclaim.

His people—many were not as strong as he.  If no work could be found in the city, would they travel on?  Despair pushed Hope aside.  Kusudi walked with pain though his young body was sound.  They had been scattered like their crop seed to the wind, over fields that offered no nurture in a time of no rain.  The land could not sustain them as the white men churned its bowels.  Uzima left behind—exposed and raped for the oil that lay beneath.

Kusudi knew, the day the crude erupted into the newcomers’ hands and they closed their palms grasping, their fingers turned like claws to the ground—he knew it would come to this.

He reached the next town and pressed on to the city, Fiwa.  The road wound along the River Amini, and he continued to hold the kumbuka as he followed its turns.  His shattered heart held pieces for each of his people.  He journeyed to the east end of Fiwa as each palm outward had pledged to do.  Kusudi would gather them there.  If they had survived.  If they had not traveled on.  Hope held his hands—clinging to fortune and the kumbuka.

In Fiwa Hope left him as he touched his palm to too few of the scattered ones.  Only the strong men could be found at the port on the east end of the city.  Their backs were bent in labor and bowed by Despair.  The kumbuka strengthened them no more.  They said the others had dispersed throughout Fiwa, palms held outward with fingers reaching for a share.  Begging without Hope, for survival.  The ways of Uzima were not known here, even in the hearts of the sons she had birthed.  They had left their soul’s offerings to the ravaged soil of her lost domain. The kumbuka held no sway in ruling the chaos of Fiwa.  The elder’s stick brought no peace for the pieces of his heart scattered in the wind.  The women and the children were lost to time.

Kusudi cast the kumbuka in the River Amini.  Hope drifted away, swirling in helpless desolation from the stick’s floating tip.  He stood palms outward fingers to the sky, his soul’s offerings falling to dust in the streets of Fiwa.  His mouth spoke of no purpose.  He saw nothing in this place of broken dreams.

by Sheri J. Kennedy All Rights Reserved

Image by Sheri J. Kennedy – copyright 2013 From Sketchbook Project ‘ONLY HUMAN’

Find out more about Sheri J. Kennedy a.k.a. Kennedy J. Quinn, Featured Author