Erin Ritch

Writer, Blogger, Mom

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Category: Things I Love

Indie Author Day 2017

Happy Indie Author Day!

All images via @bookfairies_oregon

 

This year, I was lucky enough to get involved with the wonderful organization Book Fairies for Indie Author Day. If you’re unfamiliar with these little sprinklers of literary magic, there are Book Fairies around the world who hide books for others to enjoy and share again. They were such a pleasure and so gracious from Day One and what a wonderful way to support indie authors!

Copies of MythMemories Wait Alone, and Quinn Family Adventures were hidden at the International Rose Test Garden in Portland, Oregon. I want to try to find them myself, I LOVE TREASURE HUNTS! So good luck, book hunters, and let me know if you find a copy!

New Horizons

 

It’s near the end of the first month of 2017…wow. January has been a busy month of birthdays, anniversaries, family visits, ice skating lessons and pretty much everything else in between. Oh yeah, did I mention I’m having a baby in about six weeks? *insert ten thousand other things that need to be done before baby #2 comes*

I have a lovely list of goals for 2017 outlined on the front page of my obsessively detailed 2017 planner (which I live by.) I’m calling them my New Horizons because I’m excited about the direction it will take me and my writing. I’m hoping to expand No Wyverns Publishing, release three new fiction titles this year, and explore the world of non-fiction writing. Another goal on my list? Aim for 100 rejections this year. That’s right. The more rejections = the more I’m submitting my work out there.

Oh yeah, did I mention I’m having a baby in six weeks? Don’t worry, that event is on my planner, too.

Little Free Library!

You can now get a copy of Myth or Quinn Family: The Mayan Ruins from the Little Free Library at the All America City Square in downtown Cottage Grove! It’s such a great program, you can find out more about the Little Free Libraries available in South Lane County here!

 

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Complete the Story…”The Gray Man’s Street”

Now that Myth is locked in and launches in LESS THAN A WEEK (*breathe*), I’m allowing myself some time to actually watch TV and not feel guilty about it. I used to follow many, many shows but now it seems the only ones I make time for is Game of Thrones or Big Brother. (I feel this sentence sums me up very well.)

Then I learned about a Netflix series called Stranger Things. It quickly became my latest obsession, it reminds me of The X-Files and Twin Peaks with all sorts of paranormal goodness. And it’s set in the 80’s?? You have me hooked, Netflix. Hooked. I may only be three episodes in, but I love the story and style of the show in general.

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It got me inspired to try one of the story prompts from Complete The Story, a gift from my husband for my birthday, intended for moments precisely like this where I want to write a quick, easy story. I wanted to write a story that happens in the world (or world similar to) that of Stranger Things.

 

 

 

Erin Scribble

 

 

This is a really fun book, there are literally (tee hee) story prompts for every situation you can think of, with only a single page commitment.Unless you’re like myself, that is, and quickly spilled over into three additional pieces of paper.

 

 

 

 

 

So I hope you enjoy…and if you love the paranormal and haven’t watched Stranger Things yet…go watch it!

 

THE GRAY MAN’S STREET

(Words in bold are taken from Complete the Story)

They were safe, for the time being. But it was no time to let their guard down. Slowly, Samuel opened the car door, trying his best not to make a sound. He looked both ways down the street. All he could see was darkness with occasional pools of light beneath the bleary street lights. He returned inside and locked the door, checking it twice.

“Did you see it?” Melanie whispered. A small trickle of blood traveled down the side of her face. She had experienced the worst of the impact, her light frame tossed like a rag doll as they spun across the street.

Samuel wiped his hair out of his face. He became aware of the condensation building on the windshield. He hoped it wouldn’t draw attention.

“Nothing,” he said finally. “I don’t know what direction it took off in. It was so…fast.”

“Let’s keep going! Please!” Melanie begged.

“Shh!” Samuel snapped. “We can’t! The engine, I’m not sure it will start. I’m not willing to risk-“

“I see it!” Melanie squealed, sobbing into her hands.

A figure appeared at the end of the dim headlights, crawling on its belly towards the car. It was the creature that hit their car, a flash of gray that forced them into a spiral. They had injured it, too. Samuel knew from the cry it made at impact. He fumbled with the keys and tried the ignition. It ticked but failed to spark to life.

“C’mon…” Samuel urged, pumping the limp accelerator.

The figure crawled closer. It wasn’t an animal. It wasn’t a man. But it had eyes and it met Samuel’s gaze without flinching. And without fear.

“Get it in the back seat,” Samuel shouted, unbuckling Melanie’s seatbelt  and helping her over the seat. “Stay down!”

“What are you going to do? Shouldn’t we run?” she sobbed.

Samuel tore through the contents of the glove box, watching as the creature bumped against the headlights. He saw a glimpse of slimy gray skin, stained red with blood. Dark eyes drew up to meet Samuel’s gaze as it thumped atop the hood of the car.

“Back!” Samuel shouted, pointing his father’s flashlight in the creature’s eyes. It howled and dropped to the side, scratching and fumbling with the locked door. Samuel held onto the door. “No!”

Then there was nothing. The air was so quiet that Samuel could hear the far off bark of his dog, probably watching for him from the living room window. Melanie tried to muffle her sobs from the floor of the backseat. Samuel carefully lifted his fingers from the door, one at a time. In a breath, the door was ripped from the vehicle and thrown into the woods.

Samuel!”

“This song is the best! The absolute best, turn it up!”

Todd nodded and increased the volume of the car radio. He accelerated, trying to keep up with the beat of the music. Tiffany hummed with the music, settling back into her seat. She watched the twilight treetops flash by, a blur in her sleepy state.

“Is that Samuel’s dad’s car?” Todd shouted as he turned down the music. He pointed to the vehicle ahead of them, overturned on the side of the road.

“Oh my gosh…” Tiffany gasped, sitting up. “It totally is! And I bet you Melanie is with him, too.”

“Should we stop or something?” Todd asked with a shrug.

“Are you crazy? That’s all on them.”

“But maybe we should help-“

“Just let the Gray Man do its thing,” Tiffany yawned, settling back into her seat. “And turn the music back up!”

Things I Love…Beauty and the Beast

I’m taking a break my from regularly-scheduled-whining about editing to post something that makes me super happy…the new “Beauty and the Beast” trailer has been released! And it comes out the week before my birthday!!! It’s destined to be awesome!

Please don’t be surprised if you see a “Beauty and the Beast” countdown calendar appear on this blog. I’m very serious.

Things I Love….Canva.com

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Social media is a big part of being a writer now-a-days – especially if you’re an indie publisher.

By incorporating images or graphics into your posts, it creates a “visual stop” for readers casually scrolling through Facebook or Twitter feeds. And every time someone stops to read your post, it could lead to a visit to your website, where you have a chance to introduce them to your writing.

I typically utilize my own photos or images that I find online which are allowed under Creative Commons. I always have some sort of image connected to each blog post, at this point it just feels weird not to. But due to my extreme lack of knowledge in design, I haven’t been able to include any graphics with my posts…until now.

A fellow writer introduced me to a design website called Canva. It. Is. Awesome. Right from the beginning, the site starts you off with a basic template in the correct dimensions for your desired social media account – ie, certain dimensions are better for Twitter vs. Facebook posts, etc. (Ever seen those images on Twitter that are cut off weird? Oh yeah, a few of them have been from me.)

Canva is very user friendly – they have free templates you can build off or some paid templates available for one dollar. Additionally, there is a plethora of free images, icons, lines, and most of all…text designs. I spent hours experimenting with different text designs while creating several graphics for my currently running Kindle Countdown deal on “Memories Wait Alone.” And I didn’t have to spend that long…I was just having a blast doing it. Here’s what I came up with:

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Keep in mind the only media I supplied was the image of the book cover of “Memories Wait Alone.”

All other images, text blocks, bursts, and the grid of an E-reader were provided free by Canva. I scheduled these graphics to post three times a day on Twitter during this promotion and have had great success with “retweets” and new followers on my account.

I decided to also update my cover pages on both my Twitter account (graphic above) and my Facebook “Author’s Page” – took me less than 20 minutes each as I worked completely off one of the free templates built specifically for cover pages. Finished graphics can be downloaded as a JPEG or immediately posted to social media. Easy. Easy. Easy. I love it.

I will definitely continue to use Canva, I really recommend it for any artists out there trying to create eye-catching graphics for their social media. And did I mention, free? Have fun!

 

Things I Love…Gardening & Country Life

Carrots!

Don’t worry, I washed them again. And yes, that is a lone potato.

 

In most of my author bios, I say I am a “worker on my family’s fledgling farm” in the Pacific Northwest. You know, it’s just one of those lines you add to a bio so a stranger can pull together some sort of impression of who-I-am. Sometimes I wonder if that sentence conjures up an incorrect picture in someone’s mind. Maybe they imagine me waking up at the break of dawn, milking the cows and feeding the chickens. (Add a huge mug of coffee into that picture…now it’s getting a teensy bit more plausible.)

In truth, I love “working” on love our little farm/ranch in the mountains. Yes, you have to work harder for those garden vegetables. But as I stood, scrubbing the dirt off these carrots, I reflected at how I so quickly rinse a carrot I would get from the grocery store. These carrots I helped plant, water and pull from the earth…I should be scrubbing those darn grocery store carrots, not these.

Sorry, back to the food –  see Blackberry Cobbler below.

Our family picked these Blackberries from the many, many, many, many, many (did I mention, many?) bushes that grow around our house. They are fickle little stinkers, those Blackberry bushes. First, in the spring, they call you to them with their sweet little white flowers.

Come closer….we won’t hurt you, human…*insert huge, killer thorn hidden in the darkness*

Then, when the heat picks up, those flowers turn into beautiful, luscious berries. That’s when the real siren song kicks in. They become towers of fruit, all ripe at the same time, beckoning to you. You begin to dream of Blackberry jam or drizzle or….cobbler.

If I can just reach…right there…that’s a great berry, I wonder why no one ever…. *insert huge, killer thorn hidden in the darkness*

If you’re from the Pacific NW, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Hungry?

Hungry?

 

Oh, you should be...

Oh, you should be…

BRB…gonna go to the kitchen. Oh, no reason.

This week over at The Theopathy League

My post this week over at The Theopathy League is up… My Creativity Toolbox

(I learned I can actually use Pinterest for something other than getting lost on the “Most Popular Pins” board and end up hoarding/pinning 50 different Thanksgiving Printables. Although that is an important function of Pinterest, as well.)

Things I Love….The X-Files

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I want to go there.

Image credit Alistair McMillan

Seriously, I love The X-Files. Like, seriously.

My brother and I were obsessed with The X-Files, I think I have watched the entire series twice through. (Although, that last season was a bit…well…we won’t talk about it.) I really credit that show with inspiring my love of the paranormal in storytelling. I loved the mix of conspiracy and “other worlds” in those quick sixty minutes. Of course, the show became even more relevant to me as it was obviously filmed in the Pacific Northwest. (*GASP* I live in the Pacific Northwest, too!)

I’ve read several articles on how many young women were inspired by the character of Dana Scully. I can understand that completely. She was analytical yet emotional. She was holding her own in a very male-dominant workplace. She’s also able to stick to her guns against her relentless male partner Fox Mulder. I liked and appreciated this dynamic. When I watched the show later as a more critical adult, I liked the mix of humor that the show creators kept throughout the series.

Tonight is The X-Files “revival” and I’m at close to same-level of excitement as I had for Star Wars/The Force Awakens. (Please be good. Please be good.) I think this excitement stems from that beautiful feeling of getting to revisit your childhood/teenage years, when you experienced these stories for the first time.

I wasn’t disappointed with Star Wars. I want to believe I won’t be disappointed with X-Files, either. (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.)

Things I love…Create 365, The Happy Planner!


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I have always been obsessed with planners.

Seriously, I love them.

There is nothing like knowing the jumble of birthdays, to-do lists, meetings, doctor appointments and other random thoughts to remember are now neatly organized on a piece of paper for my reference. I remember several insane months from back in college (Winter term, 2001 – to be exact. Yikes, I’m old.) where I took on more credits than any human should. I mean, it was like 23 credits. The only way I survived was precisely planning out every single day of that term, right down to scheduling time to re-evaluate my planner. I’m not joking. And guess what? That was an A+ term, baby!

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Now, with the introduction of smart phones and shared calendars, I’ve strayed from my tried and true method of organization on paper. And it just is not the same. The pop up reminders that I had carefully scheduled for myself at reasonable increments are now obnoxious. And because I know these alerts are coming, I tend to forget to check my schedule ahead of time. Also, I somehow manage to create 2 copies of every “event” with Google calendar, so that my 6 month cleaning at the dentist becomes a explosion of reminders and traffic delay alerts (twice, remember) on my phone. It’s already bad enough having to go to the dentist, don’t rub it in!

These all sound like extremely trivial and whiny complaints, I admit it. But I missed my old organization system and when my friend told me about this planner, I had to check it out. And I love it so much, now I have to share.

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Here’s the planner I picked up, created by Me and My Big Ideas. It took me forever to find it at Michael’s…and that is because  there is an entire aisle dedicated to this brand! I am in love. There are stickers, expansion packs, dividers, household organizers, etc etc etc etc. I’m a little afraid for my bank account. Their website even has a video tutorial demonstrating each month (do they know their audience or what?)

Amazon has the planner I purchased (after spending 20 minutes agonizing between the different designs) and quite a few of the extra goodies as well.

The cost is a bit more than I would usually consider paying for a planner, but the design is worth it. Here are some of the cute details inside:
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Also I like it that the planner itself is not too heavy…of course, if I happen to start buying expansion packs, that’s probably going to change. Who am I kidding. That’s definitely going to happen.  😉