Erin Ritch

Writer, Blogger, Mom

Menu Close

Category: writing (page 1 of 5)

Short Story Collection Volume I – published!

Yay! After much compiling, formatting, and proofing…my first collection of short stories is finally published!

Ta da!

I am so excited to have these stories out. I am a lover of short fiction, my first story ever published online was a piece of flash fiction. As the description says, they are “tales of fantasy, science fiction, and the obscure.” Some of the work has appeared previously on this blog over the years, while other stories are new and unpublished.

For the cover design, I wanted to incorporate the new-and-improved No Wyverns Publishing logo. The background text is a loop of the titles of the twenty-two stories contained in this book. I plan to publish more anthologies of short fiction in the future that will use this same layout…eventually becoming a box set! (Oh, the plans…the plans…)

 

Here is an excerpt from one of my favorite stories included, “The Last Machinist.”

I have searched countless years, scouring the globe for an object that probably doesn’t even exist.

Jen-Li stared at the wrinkled page of her sister’s last journal entry. It trembled in the whipping wind that invaded the abandoned living quarters, howling as it broke through the cracked windows. The room was so cold. Bitter and lonely, as though resentful for being left in such a state. A thin layer of dust covered the overturned furniture and broken dishes like downy, providing just enough protection against the raging elements outside.  Removing her gloves, Jen-Li traced the sentence with her finger, leaving a muddled smear of letters in its wake. She wiped it again for the last time so that it would belong to her alone. So that this idea that her sister pondered became nothing but a blur, just like the stain of runny ink on her fingertips that would eventually wash away.

“What does it say?” Terra asked from the doorway. Her small frame was swallowed by her heavy coat, transforming her into a bulky, short stump of a ten-year-old. Her blue eyes shone fiercely from the depths of her fur-lined hood. She could read her mother’s body language too well.

Whisking the withered journal in her arms, Jen-Li closed it with a loud clap. A cloud of dust sauntered up to her face, burning her freckled nose as she hacked on the taste. The sound seemed to startle the frozen room as another wave of dust trickled from the ceiling and into her damp auburn hair.

“I wanted you to stay in the mech,” she said, peering out the frosted window glass as she replaced her gloves. Her mech was still there, motionless and protected beneath the ancient fir tree on the edge of the abandoned drive. She looked up at the splitting beams of her sister’s last known dwelling place. “This place is falling apart.”

“Did Aunt Nina find it?” Terra pressed. Her voice sounded on the precipice of panic.

“I don’t know,” Jen-Li replied sharply before she caught herself, realizing that her own voice sounded strained. That was not her job, not her duty as Terra’s mother, to sound afraid. That was not who she was. That was not the tone of this journey that had taken them from the warmth of home to this wasteland. Jen-Li recovered and joined her daughter in the entryway.  “But we will find out.”

 

Intrigued? I hope so! The e-book is priced at only .99 and the print version at $4.99 – both available at Amazon!

“The Unfinished” at The Manifest-Station

Today, I was honored to have my essay “The Unfinished” featured on Jen Pastiloff’s wonderful website, The Manifest-Station. This was a very personal piece for me, detailing my journey from a miscarriage I suffered several years ago and how it played a part in my return to writing.

I wrote this essay for several reasons.

One – Writing is cathartic for me. It’s how I process life and death, literally. I knew writing about my loss was the key for me to find that elusive closure, but I wasn’t ready to tackle it until the recent birth of my daughter.

Two – I aspire to be a truthful and brave writer. And sometimes (well, many times) that’s going to be mean placing myself out of my comfort zone. Look, there’s some pretty darn personal stuff in this essay. But be brave and truthful, right?

Three – Maybe my story will help someone else. Shortly after my miscarriage, I joined an online grief support group. I was floored. My weird little horrible miscarriage had happened to other people too! I wasn’t a freak. I wasn’t an anomaly. And to know someone else out there had survived and healed, well, that made all the difference.

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.

“The Reanimation of Robert” – open for Beta readers!

Teaser of the book cover! Artwork by Char Houweling of Houweling Design

 

I am so excited to announce that my Paranormal fiction “The Reanimation of Robert” is moving into the next phase of development…and I need Beta readers, like you!

If you’re new to the term, a “Beta reader” is willing to read an early draft of a novel and provide their feedback. That means you’ll have to overlook some possible spelling/grammar errors and help the author (me!) identify any parts of the story that just don’t make sense. This is an important and exciting part of the editing process – and I need your help!

Here’s a short synopsis of the story:

Robert should not be alive. Missing from his wife’s side on the night of her murder, he has no memory or explanation for his absence other than a strange twist of fate. Haunted by the dead who continue to cross his path, Robert realizes they are seeking his help and that he has abilities he never knew imaginable. When a messenger of Death is sent to investigate his newfound power, a young barista is Robert’s only ally in the race to save the souls of the lost, including his family, before they become trapped in darkness forever.

To entice you further, I’ve included a teaser of the book cover above ~ the amazing Char Houweling of Houweling Design is designing the cover! She also created the artwork for “Myth” and I couldn’t be happier to be partnering with her again.

If you’re interested in becoming a Beta reader, please email me at Erin@NoWyverns.com before December 26th  and let me know your e-reader preference. I’ll send you the file and a few short questions to be answered at the end of the story. I’ll ask to hear back from you before January 20th, 2017 (please). All Beta readers get a free copy of the finished e-book and my forever gratitude.

Thank you!

 

 

Ashland Literary Festival & Indie Author Day 2016!

alflogoredo720px

 

I’m excited to announce I’ll be at the Ashland Lit Fest next month! It’s being held on October 8th, which falls on the first annual Indie Author Day! I learned about Indie Author Day from No Shelf Required, where they discuss the participation of over 260 libraries to help indie authors get their voices heard. See quote below from David Greenough:

“Over the past three years, we’ve seen this movement grow and evolve, and Indie Author Day will be the first instance of bringing this whole community together on one day to raise awareness of self-published books and demonstrate its place as a vibrant part of the publishing ecosystem.”

How fantastic is that?? You can learn more about Indie Author Day (and which libraries are participating in your area) at IndieAuthorDay.com. I wish I had learned about this earlier, I would have encouraged my own local library to participate!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m over the moon to be involved with Ashland Lit Fest! It will be held in Hannon Library at Southern Oregon University. Hope to see you there!

 

 

“Myth” release date announcement…and e-book pre-orders open!

Myth ebook cover Flat

Cover illustration by the talented Char Houweling

I can’t believe this day is finally here but…my Young Adult Fantasy book “Myth” has a release date of 7.25.16!

Get your e-book pre-orders here!

If you know me and my writing, then you’ve probably heard me talk about this book at least a hundred times. What started as notebooks full of handwritten pages has turned into a novel. It’s traveled with me from Oregon to Vancouver B.C. (where those handwritten notebooks were almost stolen – thank you, nice Canadian thieves, for leaving them in my parent’s car), then to California (where I packed them with my valuables when we were almost evacuated from fires), then back to Oregon, tucked safe atop my bedroom dresser.

Where it sat. And sat. And the paperclips of notes between the pages grew rusty with age. It sat some more until one day I needed this story again. And those characters were still there, dutifully waiting in the place I had left them.

That was August of 2014. So I picked up where I left off, writing “Myth” while working full time. I’d write on my lunch breaks. I’d write after my toddler went to bed or on my days off. I don’t know how many ideas I’d repeat to myself over and over during my commute between home and work – don’t forget it, don’t forget it until you get home and jot it down. It went painfully slow but at least it went.

I was able to scramble one edit through the finished manuscript before taking it to a writer’s conference in August of 2015. I pitched it to several agents and editors, all who displayed interest. But then “Myth” had to sit and wait again. So it sat and sat, waiting for the response from those “interested” agents that eventually arrived, if at all.

Now it’s 2016 and this story is tired of sitting and waiting. When I started No Wyverns Publishing, I knew I’d have total creative control over “Myth.” And while that’s stellar, it’s also a lot of work. You need to get as much feedback as you can. You need to hire and seek out help from professionals. You need to edit and revise and edit again (then again. Oh, and again). It also helps to be married to a brilliant book format expert and all around problem-solving-genius.

But guess what? I wouldn’t have had it any other way. It takes a lot of patience to write a book. Unfortunately, I’ve had to say ‘no’ to some things and drag myself to the computer when I just wanted to go to bed instead of editing until 1 am. But through it all, I couldn’t put this story down and never tired of it and I hope readers feel the same way.

It’s going to be an exciting and busy summer and I have twenty emails to write about this announcement. But right now I’m going to sit back and reflect on how far this book has come. It’s survived theft and fire and age and I can’t wait to share it with everyone.

So that’s the story of how “Myth” came about…but what’s the book about, you ask?

Shogun Saban dreams of becoming a woodsman like his grandfather; to fly between the trees and listen to their stories. But his father wants to keep him rooted on the ground and far away from his childhood friend, a girl of the sea named Madigan who can control the elements.

Beyond their little corner of the world, an evil has sprouted and is quietly spreading; corrupting its victims and marking them with eyes full of shadows. When it reaches their sleepy hometown of Shrunken Hollow, Shogun and Madigan search for the origin of the darkness – but the answer lies in an old myth about a place that only exists in dreams.

With the aid of the forest and the sea, Shogun and Madigan must unravel the myth before the darkness takes over their world – and themselves.

 Thanks to everyone that helped me with this book, got excited with me about this book, put up with my pickiness, waited while I “just need to finish this last paragraph,” or just offered a “that’s awesome!” We did it!

What does “No Wyverns” mean, anyway?

The last few days have been very productive – we’ve made some great updates to ErinRitch.com, including links to all the short fiction on this blog, info on upcoming events, etc. There are still more changes to come, I hope you go check it out! (FYI, “We” is actually my husband Nick. If not for him, I probably would not have a website. Okay, I wouldn’t at all.)

We’ve also added another page to this site – an “About” page.  I’ve been asked the question below a lot lately:

“So…your business name. What does it mean, anyway?”

Whether it’s at the bank, in a business meeting, or just a meetup with friends – I’m explaining it. And I can completely understand why, people are generally curious about the origin of names, anyway. But what people are really asking me is usually What the heck is a Wyvern?

Wyvern Definition

Does this help?

A long time ago (on January 20th, 2015) my very first post on this blog was titled “Nothing against Wyverns”. (Oh, baby blogger Erin!) I remember writing this blog post more than any other, because my husband reminded me Not everyone knows what a Wyvern is, you better write a post about it or something. 

NoWyverns.com was born due to ThereAreNoWyvernsInThisStory.com is just a tad wordy for a website name. (Ya think?) So what started as an inside joke between my husband and I has grown into almost 100 blog posts and a publishing company. Pretty. Freaking. Cool.

I wouldn’t change No Wyverns for anything. Besides, it’s a great conversation-starter about my writing and upcoming projects, even if I do have to spell out W-Y-V-E-R-N-S a few times. But really it’s because I so clearly remember that night on January 20th, 2015 where I took my first step in turning my writing into a career. And that step turned into a job change, more time with my family, books that were no longer “just on the horizon” but real, tangible things.

So when I’m asked What’s the significance of a Wyvern? Now you know the answer.

Nowyverns small

 

 

Things I Love….Canva.com

nowyverns.com

 

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:

99 SALE SALE (1)
SALE SALE2

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!

 

Spring Cleaning – Weeding Out the Darlings

IMG_20160418_203940609 [133696]

Editing by computer monitor light…yay?

If I fall a bit radio silent over the next few weeks, it’s because I’m diving into Draft Three of “Myth.”

I’ll still be posting “Late Night Writing Prompts” and a few other pieces I have in mind, partly because this helps keep my sanity when I’m doing heavy editing. If you haven’t guessed, editing is not my favorite thing in the world. While some writers love it, I see it as a necessary evil – like going to the dentist. (No offense to any dentists out there.) You’ve got to go. You’ve got to get your cleanings. You’ve got to hear the bad news about what needs pulled or what needs taken apart and put back together.  (Yep, seeing a lot of similarities here.)

But this is all worth it, because I am so excited with the direction that “Myth” is going – I have some amazing things to share soon. Summer will be great.

Now just to survive the work that spring is requiring in order to make summer great.
(By the way, I also need to go to the dentist. For real.)

“Myth” Cover Art Concepts

IMG_20160404_211739 [437977]

Recently I’ve been gathering together images that capture the style I’d like for the cover artwork for Myth. Here’s a few examples above! (Have I mentioned it’s a Fantasy novel?)