Introducing… Owen Swain and #tourdesketch

I made the announcement in part one of this post, which you can find just below this one, so I will just jump right in with the introduction!

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Owen Swain is a Windsor Ontario artist, illustrator and painter who works in a variety of media, is interested in all manner of subjects while specializing in on-location, observational drawing, sketching and mentoring. He is never without a sketchbook.

His creative impetus is daily observational drawing that moves beyond looking to seeing, from thinking to being and from mere drawing to discovering and developing ones own mark. Owen believes the zen of seeing/drawing has transferable life skills for all.

He is the creator of #tourdesketch an art4all+slow-bicycling culture and heritage experience now held monthly in the city he has come to love through his own daily drawing and cycling. Owen bikes year-round, however during cold weather months #tourdesketch goes bikeless and indoors to draw at some of the city’s location gems.

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#Tourdesketch Windsor will be a colouring book filled with Owen’s sketches and tidbits about the local culture and history of our city. We plan to release this book, December 1st, 2016, just in time for you to pick up a copy for yourself or as a gift for the holidays. If you’re local to Windsor and interested in taking part in a #tourdesketch event, you can find the information you need on Facebook. Owen is an amazing artist, and his sketches will make for great colouring and a wonderful window into Windsor, Ontario.

For more information and updates on this project, please subscribe to this blog, or keep an eye on our new releases page.

Thanks for reading!

And now for something completely different.

Here at Mirror World Publishing, we pride ourselves on outside the box thinking. As a small independent start-up in 2014, no one, least of all us, could have predicted that in less than three years we would grow from three authors with a handful of books to twelve authors with over twenty books between us and a new imprint coming under our banner. Well, you’ll be happy to know we’re not stopping there.

For the past year, I have been actively searching for an event/retail space. I wanted somewhere our books and authors could belong. Somewhere we could hold book launch events, workshops and signings so that our local readers would know where to find us. I knew that on top of everything else I was already doing keeping the gears turning here at Mirror World, I could not do it on my own, so I thought I was stuck.

sho-logoThat’s when I found Sho: Art, Spirit and Performance. I was familiar with Sho through their regular event ‘From the Page to the Stage’ which combines theatre and literature by having actors read short stories by local writers to a captive audience. What I didn’t know until I looked into the organization further is that their mission is specifically to partner with other artists and creative organizations to innovate, collaborate, produce and present art across all creative borders.

Sho is a theatre and a workshop space, but more than that, it’s a collection of like-minded artists who live to collaborate and bring art in all its forms to Windsor. From life drawing classes, to theatre performances, to literary reading nights, they do it all. And what would be more perfect than to have that kind of creative energy and spirit of showmanship helping to bolster our efforts here? I knew I couldn’t do it all myself, but with the help of such a strongly established creative presence in Windsor, I thought I just might have a chance.

And so I joined Sho as an associate member. And wouldn’t you know it, the collaboration began at once. Not only will our next event, Worlds Collide Gala, take place at Sho’s main space 628 Monmouth Rd, Windsor on September 30th, 2016 at 7pm, but I also met with and started working with some fabulously talented people, including artist/entrepreneur Owen Swain.

toudesketchAnd so, I would like to announce our next project. In partnership with Sho: Art, Spirit, and Performance and the amazingly talented Owen Swain of #tourdesketch, we will be producing an adult colouring book titled #Tourdesketch Windsor. Filled with sketches of the sights of our hometown, #tourdesketch Windsor is our way of thinking outside the box and bringing you a glimpse into the world we live in.

It was my intention to tell you all about Owen Swain and the work he’s done with his innovative cycling and sketching events, but I’ve gone on long enough for today. Stay tuned for part two of this announcement by subscribing to this blog or checking back again soon. Next post, I’ll introduce you all to our newest addition to the Mirror World family, Owen Swain, and his upcoming book,  #Tourdesketch Windsor

Thanks for reading!

Cover Reveal: The Secret in Mossy Swamp by Rita Monette

Nikki Landry is at it again! She’s found the truth behind The Legend of Ghost Dog Island, foiled The Curse at Pirate’s Cove and now, in this third installment, launching September 17th, 2016, she’s going to find The Secret in Mossy Swamp. 

Rita Monette is both author and illustrator of this middle grade series about legends in the Louisiana bayou. Having lived there herself as a young girl, she captures the voice of 10-year old Nikki Landry perfectly and takes you to a world of swampy bayous, houseboats, and mysterious legends. This time, Nikki is going head to head with the legend of the dreaded Rougarou.

It’s going to be an awesome adventure, but you don’t need to take my word for it. Here’s the cover and blurb:

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The Secret in Mossy Swamp by Rita Monette

Things are never what they seem… in a foggy Louisiana swamp

Living in a tiny houseboat, Nikki is stuck with sharing a room with her little brother, Jesse, who does what little brothers do best…torture their sisters.  Fed up, she decides to build a place of her own…a tree house where no boys are allowed. Meanwhile, something strange is happening on Bayou Platte. Things and people are coming up missing…and little stick dolls covered in moss, known locally as “signs” from the legendary Rougarou, are showing up in their place.

Is the Rougarou really to blame? Can Nikki get to the bottom of the mystery before things get worse? Find out in this third installment of the Nikki Landry Swamp Legends Series!

This Middle Grade Adventure is expected to launch September 17th, 2016!

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Rita Monette was born and raised in Southwest Louisiana. She loves to write stories set in the beautiful, yet mysterious, bayous and swamps of her home state. She is currently retired and lives with her husband, four lap dogs, and one lap cat, in the mountains of Tennessee. Besides writing and illustrating, She enjoys participating in festivals and craft shows where she does face and body art, along with selling her books.

 

Subscribe to this blog for more news about The Secret in Mossy Swamp by Rita Monette, or check back often. You can also pre-order this book in our store!

Ebook $3.99  CAD      |       Paperback $15.95 CAD    

Members Price: FREE (also, members don’t have to wait, but can get this book NOW!
To find out more about membership and how to sign up, click here.)

You are cordially invited…

To our upcoming events! That’s right, I said ‘events’, plural. This Fall, we’ve got some great events lined up and we hope you’ll come out and see us.

First up, on Sunday September 25th, 2016 we’ll be in Toronto at the Word on the Street Festival. Described as Canada’s biggest outdoor bookstore, the festival runs from 11am to 6pm at the Harbourfront Center, downtown Toronto. We’ll be in the section called ‘Fringe Beat’ with other small and indie presses.  If you’d like to know more about the festival, go ahead and check out their website: http://thewordonthestreet.ca/toronto/

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Next is our very own Worlds Collide Gala where we’re celebrating our new partnership with Adventure Worlds Press (read all about that, here) and our 2016 launches! Join us at 7pm Friday September 30, 2016 at Sho: Art, Spirit, and Performance 628 Monmouth Dr, Windsor for a night to remember. You can meet several of our authors, along with myself and the team behind Adventure Worlds Press, listen to some readings, win some prizes, enjoy the cash bar and light refreshments, music, and participate in the Q and A afterwards. As a part of Culture Days in Windsor, this event is free and open to everyone to attend. For more information, or to RSVP, please head over to our Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1186485788080361/

2.ArtWORK.Oct16-350x226Lastly, (for the purposes of this post anyways!) on Wednesday October 12, 2016 on behalf of the Arts Council Windsor & Region and Bookfest, I’ll be facilitating a workshop as a part of ACWR’s Art.Work Series. The workshop, Publishing 101, is geared toward writers who have completed their manuscripts and are considering their next steps. $10 for members and $15 for non-members, the workshop will take place at the Artspeak Gallery 1492 Wyandotte St, East, Windsor from 6:30 – 9pm. Here’s a link to the registration form where you can find more information if you’re interested in attending: http://acwr.net/event/publishing-primer-acwr-art-work-workshops/?instance_id=183852

Thanks for reading and I look forward to hopefully seeing you at one or more of these great events!

 

What lies ahead…

Our featured book this month is Unintended by myself, Justine Alley Dowsett, and Murandy Damodred. This means, you can pick up the ebook edition of this book for only $0.99 in our store with the promotion code: FEATURE

To read more about our featured book this month, click here.

I thought, in honour of Unintended being featured this month, that I would give you a sneak peek into what Murandy and I have been working on. Our next book is set in Ismera, the same world as Unintended, but it is not a sequel. It will feature entirely different characters with a story of their own, but will keep some of the style that you loved in Unintended. If you haven’t read Unintended yet, I suggest you do so, since it’s on sale this month!
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Here’s the description of the upcoming Uncharted by Justine Alley Dowsett and Murandy Damodred:

There are no coincidences..

Fated to be a Priestess of Saegard, Meredith dreams of leading a normal life with a family and a home of her own, something she’ll never have if she swears her life to the Order.  A chance encounter with a stranger in the sacred Celestial Chamber sends her previously well-ordered life into a tailspin of adventure and mayhem as she is blamed for the theft of a legendary artifact. Now a fugitive, Meredith must join forces with Captain Reginald Lawrence, the son of the man who initially brought her to the Temple, and his enigmatic business partner,  the charming yet at times infuriating, Grey Rhodes, to find the Celestial Bowl and clear her name. From the cosmopolitan capital of Saegard to the coast of Ismera and back again, Meredith’s journey will reveal the true nature of her past, present, and ultimately, her future.  

Uncharted is currently in the hands of our beta readers, but we expect the book will come out sometime early in 2017. We had a lot of fun writing this one and in my opinion it’s the perfect blend of romantic comedy and swashbuckling adventure. I guess we’ll see soon enough what the beta readers think of it.

Have you read Unintended? Are you looking forward to Uncharted? Let me know in the comments section below!

Thanks for reading!

Introducing our new imprint… Adventure Worlds Press!

Yes, you read that right, we’re expanding! As you know, we specialize in escapism fiction for all ages in the genres of fantasy, science fiction, adventure, and romance. But what about those genres and types of books we don’t publish, but are still escapism fiction? Like horror, hard science-fiction, short stories, graphic novels, and stuff on the fringe? Well, that’s where Adventure Worlds Press comes in.

We’ve partnered with two up and coming Windsor-based authors, Christian Laforet and Ben Van Dongen. Christian is the author of a collection of horror short stories, The Space Between Houses and together, he and Ben collaborated to put together a collection of science fiction stories in their most recent release, No Light Tomorrow. Since successfully self-publishing their two books, Ben and Christian have been collecting short stories for their blog, Adventure Worlds, with the intent of one day turning that blog into something more, specifically a press. AWP cropped logo

So, here we are! As an imprint, Adventure Worlds Press will be run under the sole direction of Christian Laforet and Ben Van Dongen, in partnership with those of us at Mirror World Publishing. They’ll be looking for science fiction, horror, and fringe manuscripts for novels, novellas, graphic novels and short story collections. No word yet on when they might be opening submissions, but subscribe to this blog, or go over to Adventure Worlds Press to check them out and subscribe to them for more information. In the meantime, they’ve got a whole host of stories you can read or you can always pick up a copy of The Space Between Houses by Christian Laforet or No Light Tomorrow by Christian Laforet and Ben Van Dongen.

These books and any future releases from Adventure Worlds Press will be coming to our store soon, and will be available as a part of our Membership Program. (To learn more about how to get unlimited books with our membership program, click here.)

And, best of all, we’ll be holding an event to celebrate this partnership and also to celebrate the launch of our 2016 Fall releases. More info to follow, so don’t forget to subscribe or check back often.

 

The World Outside of your Comfort Zone

Us readers, writers and artists have a tendency to live inside of our own heads. This can sometimes lead to feeling isolated or creatively stagnant. If left long enough in this state, we simply run out of ideas, or the motivation to be creative.Around-the-World

In university I took a course called ‘The Creative Process’ meant to teach creative people how to overcome ‘writer’s block’ or whatever you choose to call it, depending on your discipline. Something I learned from this course is the value of new experiences. The easiest and most effective cure for feeling stuck or stagnant is to get out into the world and experience something new.

Back in university, we called these “Artist Dates”. As a part of our ‘twelve-week program’ to getting over writer’s block we were told to take ourselves out on a date once a week. These dates had a couple of rules:

  1. You must go alone
  2. You must do something you wouldn’t ordinarily do
  3. You must do something different each time and…
  4. You must make the best of it

The word ‘date’ is kind of misleading. This isn’t taking yourself out to a dinner and a movie, unless that’s something you don’t usually do on your own and you’d like to give it a try. It’s simply referring to doing something for your creative self and with your creative self. Some examples of things I did and that you can try are:

  1. Hop on a bus and see where it takes you
  2. Go to the dollar store, buy $5 worth of crafting supplies and see what you can make
  3. Try a new discipline. If you’re a writer, paint and if you’re a painter, try poetry or music.
  4. Go for a hike, or swimming, or find a beach.

07bcdcc12df687f02e58c2def519f9a9I don’t go on Artist Dates regularly anymore, but every once and awhile I will make time to nurture my inner artist by stepping out of my comfort zone and experiencing the world. For example, last night I attended a life drawing class put on by Sho: Art, Spirit and Performance. I went by myself, tried something I’ve never done before, and had an experience that I can later hopefully draw from in some creative way. Best of all, I got out of my own head for the evening.

Have you ever taken yourself out on an Artist Date? Would you try it? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

August’s Feature is not your average love story. It’s four of them.

This month we’re featuring Unintended by myself, Justine Alley Dowsett, and my sister, Murandy Damodred. Which means, with the promotional code: FEATURE, you can get this book from our store for only $0.99. Or, if you’re a member, you can get it FOR FREE, along with all the rest of our books and some other cool perks. (Find out more about how this program works, here.)

Uncover3Unintended is a comedy of errors co-written by two authors who like to butt heads. It has influences from Shakespeare’s romantic comedies, from The Princess Bride, and believe it or not, from the love triangles common in Korean dramas (we went through a phase, okay?). Set in the fictional world of Ismera, which is part historical fiction, part fantasy, Unintended has four main characters, whose romantic stories intertwine in comedic and often disastrous ways.

Kenzie

As Murandy and I co-write, we tend to divide the protagonists between us. Mackenzie en Shareed, or Kenzie, is written by Murandy. As the daughter of the clan chief of Haldoram, Kenzie must travel south to the capital of Ismera to marry the prince in order to uphold a peace treaty between the two nations. Determined to marry on her own terms, Kenzie performs the marriage ritual immediately upon her arrival at the gates of Ismer, only to find out moments later that the man she’s just married isn’t the prince at all…

Garron

Garron D’Arbonne, written by me, is an Ismeran noble tied to the royal family by his engagement to the princess Margaret. He is sent down to the gates to act as escort for the prince’s arriving fiancee, only to find himself married to the strange, yet beautiful foreign woman before they even reach the palace.

Kadrean

Kadrean Authier, also written by me, is the Crown Prince of Ismer. He doesn’t think much of Kenzie, or their arranged marriage, especially not after their disastrous first meeting. Being who he is though, he knows he’s going to have to make the best of it, even if Kenzie seems to bring out the worst in him and he’d much rather spite his father by making Kenzie spurn him and return home.

Vivianne

Murandy wrote Vivianne, the headstrong, over-curious young lady cursed with visions of the future, who’s desperate to do whatever it takes to get away from her abusive family. Secretly in love with her father’s servant, she’s determined that her father won’t make her flirt with the prince, leaving that task to her sister, Victory, a pawn in her father’s plan to get the foreign princess out of the way so his family can rule Ismera once more.

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All of our beta readers and fans agree that Unintended is our best co-authored book yet, so I hope you’ll use this opportunity to pick it up for $0.99 and give it a try. I promise, you won’t be disappointed. And if you like this book, chances are you’ll like the rest, so why not check out our membership program and get unlimited books for the year?

Thanks for reading!

Conceptual Books

Why Writers Should Also Be Readers

It’s not a coincidence that most people who write are also big readers. Besides providing entertainment and that window into lives other than our own, there’s a lot that reading can teach us about how to be better writers. To do this though, we have to learn to read critically even as we read for enjoyment. Here’s a few techniques you can use when reading to improve your writing.  

1. Vocabulary

This one may be obvious. The more you read, the more words you are exposed to in the correct context and so the more your vocabulary grows. Having a larger vocabulary gives you more words to draw on when you go to write. Now as you read, you tend to pick up some of these words subconsciously, but why not take this opportunity to learn them consciously? As you’re reading, if you come across a word you don’t know, or don’t know as well, see if you can gather the meaning from the context and if not, take the second it takes to look it up and commit it to memory. Heck, you could even make a list of these words for future use.

2. Visualizationapple-clipart-Red-apple-clipart

I learned this one in a creative writing course in University. We were asked to picture an
apple, hold it in our minds, and then afterwards describe it in detail. This is one example of how visualization can help your writing, but even more powerful than doing this exercise is to do it every time you read. As you read, let the words form pictures in your mind. Try seeing the story like it’s a movie, or a dream. Some people do this naturally, but if you don’t, it is a skill worth practising. The more easily you can visualize something, the easier it will be to describe it later when you are writing.

3. Genre

If you want to be a romance writer, read a lot of romance novels. The same goes for any other genre of writing. Once you’ve read enough romance novels, or if you’re reading them critically enough, a pattern will begin to emerge. This pattern will teach you what people expect from the genre you want to write in. Once you know this, you will know how to write in the pattern of the genre and how to break the pattern in new and exciting ways.

4. Foreshadowing and symbolism.

Another skill you can learn from reading a lot, or reading critically, is how to effectively foreshadow events in your own writing. If you pay attention, you can also pick up on common symbols used by storytellers. For example, crossing water tends to indicate a transition of some kind and wearing white can indicate purity or sacrifice. Symbolism can be used to convey themes, for foreshadowing events, or just to clue the savvy reader in to what you are trying to accomplish. Pay attention while you’re reading, especially if you are reading something for the second time to see places where the author leaves you hints for what’s to come. If you can learn to spot these, you’ll be in a better position to know where to put them in your own writing.

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5. How the experts do it

Perhaps the most beneficial thing a writer can learn from reading is how the experts do it. Reading critically or not, you can already tell which books you like and which you don’t. Reading critically will tell you why you like them and why you don’t. Then, you can use the good books as examples of how to do things well and the rest as examples of what not to do. Reading a lot of books and paying attention to what works and what doesn’t will go a long way towards helping you realize what works and what doesn’t in your own writing. And this is priceless to any writer.

Do you have any tips or tricks to share? Do you read critically, or just for enjoyment? Please feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section below! Thanks for reading.

What’s next for Joshua Pantalleresco?

Joshua Pantalleresco and his series, The Watcher, is our feature for this month! Which means you can pick up either The Watcher or Stormdancer for just $0.99 with the promo code: DRAGON. Just head over to our store. It also means that we’ve invited Joshua here to tell us a little bit about where he’s at and what it’s like to be working on the last installment of a trilogy. Without further ado, here’s Joshua Pantalleresco:

WatcherFront copyWhat’s it like to have a world in your head for years?  Not quite sure where it is going?  How is it going to end?

To that, I answer this:

It’s a dream.  You have these characters that you envision in your head.  You have a savage who dreams of freedom and his world is harsh, cruel and unyeilding.  Life and death only go to the strong.

It sounds very much like our world, yet different.

I love this world in spite of this cruelty.  Struggle is the one thing we all understand.  Every day there are battles we all fight within ourselves.

Yet for all the moments of guilt I had for some of the dangers I put all the characters in, I like the oozes and falling ships and pez dispensers I placed here.  And I loved the characters I have developed over the years that came from the view of the savage.

Kristen is the one I connected with most in the last two books.  With her, I discovered that beneath all her fear there was a real badass.  Her jailbreak in book two is still one of my favorite things I’ve written.  Ever.  But she’s tough, capable and more and more finds confidence in herself.  She is also the character that scares me the most, because she demands nothing but respect.

Will and Nicki I feel have a lot of untold story.  I hope someday if I do come back to this world I tell it.  Without spoiling too much, this is the key I’m leaving in my hands.  Someday they may speak to me like Kristen and The Watcher did.Cover-Final-8by11

But after four years, I owed this world an ending.   How then do I end it?

Revolution?  I wanted something bigger and vaster.

So I thought about the mystery of the Wandering God, and how to tie it with all of the series and I think I came up with an answer.  The biggest theme with this universe is the journey.  Through struggle, through pain, we travel, pieces of us falling bit by bit until we shape ourselves into what we are.   What bigger journey do we find in this life but the one about God?

In one sense this is the most abstract book.  What happens when one listens to a voice in your head?  It’s all a question of faith isn’t it?

And isn’t faith the ultimate journey?

I’m still working on it as of this writing.  I’m editing it, correcting it and just slowly but surely handing it over to the publisher.  We don’t have everything signed, sealed and delivered yet.  This one is going to take the longest to finish.  By that, I mean the editing and final touches.

But to me, the real work is done.  The story is told.

I love them.  I always will.   Will, Nicki, Kristen, and him most of all.   They will always be in my heart.  They took me on a grand journey and I thank them for it.  But for now, the dream is over.   I am thankful for dreaming it.

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Joshua Pantalleresco writes fiction, poetry and comics. He also loves to do interviews. He has written columns for comicbloc and allpulp and currently does so for comicmix. The Watcher is his second book of poetry. He resides in Calgary.

He has a blog you can follow here.