Alycia Christine

Vivid Fiction, Epic Photography

Category: Nature (Page 1 of 3)

The SCRAWLS Fiction Diary: A Strange Bit of Home

I love the contrast between the rough, gray bark of this tree and the soft yellow of its neighboring field of wildflowers. The photograph was shot north of College Station, Texas, in March 2017. Please tap on the image to see more.

Last week, I began something I call the SCRAWLS Fiction Diary. As its name implies, this is meant to be a public diary of my fiction and artwork as I create all of it. You’ll see new scenes, rich characters, and, of course, epic world-building.

Today’s post comes from my in-progress book Fireforger, which is the third book in the Sylvan Cycle series. This scene is from the main character Katja’s perspective and helps to set the mood, not only for the first chapter, but for the book as a whole.

~

Katja Kevrosa Escari knelt on a pile of furs with the meager contents of her rucksack spread out on top of the stone altar before her. A leather scrap from her brother Kayten’s rucksack, her sister Keepha’s small lytzahn dagger, her Feliconas Clan signet crest, and her brother Kumos’s tanning kit complete with a fleshing knife and needles were all that she had left of her family.

She gazed up at the darkness of the damp dungeon around her—noting that the tatters of Zahra’s Moon Moss were finally beginning to grow back in the places where Daeryn had ripped them from the stone walls. The vegetation’s soft glow reflected in the few salty puddles still left after Castle Summersted’s dungeons had been drained of sea water and cast green light on the Felis runes of the altar in front of Katja. The tawny werecat leaned forward and rubbed her scared right paw across the carved symbols of her clan’s language, smiling through the steady stream of her tears. Here, in this place so unlike anything of home, she had found some of the most powerful reminders of her dead family.

“I thought I might find you here,” a male’s gentle voice said behind her. Felan placed gentle paws around her shoulders. The little werecat gripped the black werewolf’s paws as tears slid down both of their cheeks. Today marked the first anniversary of the Feliconas Clan Massacre and the beginning of the Third War of Ages.

~

I hope you enjoyed the reading! As I mentioned last week, my goal is not necessarily to bring you finished writing, but to show you the rough stuff as well. After all, showing you some of the behind-the-scenes scaffolding that I use to build my fiction worlds allows you to truly walk the creative writing journey with me through all of its ups and downs. Please email me your thoughts!

Until we meet again, may we each rewrite our world for the better!
Alycia

~

The SCRAWLS fiction diary is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with enchanting fantasy fiction, deep love, and vivid art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

FREE STUFF

Books:
Skinshifter | Dreamdrifter | The Dryad’s Sacrifice | Thorn & Thistle| Musings | First Fruits

Artwork:
Drawn Art | BW & Sepia | Animal | Earth | Flowers | Trees | Mountains | Objects | Urban | Water | MORE

Blooming Through Adversity

Featuring the “Blooming Through” photo.

Adversity is the part of life we would all rather avoid. Yet no matter how much we try, we can never run from adversity, nor can we hide from it. When difficulties arise and evil times befall us, the only thing we can do is work together to endure and overcome each obstacle as it appears. As we face each new challenge, we become stronger, wiser, bolder, and more mature. To be certain, none of us will make it out of this life alive. However, those brave souls who go out fighting with hope still wrapped within their fluttering hearts will have waged a far more victorious battle than those enslaved by fear. This is a reminder that the brightest blossoms do indeed bloom through adversity.

Until we meet again, may we each rewrite our world for the better!
Alycia

~

This inspirational image is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with enchanting fiction, deep love, and vivid art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

FREE STUFF

Books:
Skinshifter | Dreamdrifter | The Dryad’s Sacrifice | Thorn & Thistle| Musings | First Fruits

Artwork:
Drawn Art | BW & Sepia | Animal | Earth | Flowers | Trees | Mountains | Objects | Urban | Water | MORE

Broken Transmissions and ConDFW

"Sandhill Crane Flock" - Tap to enlarge or buy.

“Sandhill Crane Flock” – Tap to enlarge or buy.

As many of you know, life in our household has been quite an adventure for the better part of the past six months. In the process of relocating from West Texas to the Dallas area, my husband and I’ve endured a moving truck fire, a hard drive crash, a tornado scare, and, now, a car transmission repair. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, my car apparently no longer wants to properly shift gears and she informed me of this fact in no uncertain terms while I was driving home from a photo shoot on Friday night. On the bright side, I managed to get her to a good repair shop without getting stranded in the side of the road.

On an even better note, I will have the funds to pay for the repairs. While we continue to look for full-time jobs, I’ve been blessed with some freelance work. I have two massive photo shoots during February to keep me busy and help make ends meet. Yay!

I also have the wonderful opportunity to attend ConDFW this weekend as a dealer. For those of you in the Dallas area who have not had a chance to get my books or artwork signed, this will be a great opportunity for you to do that as well as hang out with me during a first-rate book convention! In addition to the full dealer’s room, there will be tons of discussion panels and other fun happenings to satisfy all of your bookish, artsy, and nerdy habits. By the way, this particular con will host well-known authors Seanan McGuire and John Scalzi plus a lot of other incredible writers and creatives. I look forward to seeing everyone this St. Valentine’s weekend at the Hilton Dallas Lincoln Centre (5410 LBJ Freeway, Dallas, TX 75240)!

Until next time, may we each rewrite our world for the better.

Alycia

~

The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) blog is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with vivid fiction, deep love, and epic art for all. As always, contact me with any questions or thoughts. Thanks!

Books:
Skinshifter | The Dryad’s Sacrifice | Thorn & Thistle| Musings | First Fruits | FREE STUFF

Artwork:
Birds | Bugs | Graphic Art | Flowers | Landscapes | Leaves | Mammals | Romance | Objects | MORE

Gilded Autumn Nostalgia

"Gilded Autumn" Photograph - Tap to Enlarge or Buy

“Gilded Autumn” Photograph – Tap to Enlarge or Buy

Autumn always arrives late in West Texas. Summer here begins in April and continues through early October. When the weather finally cools and trees begin to shed their leaves, there is little color change before they fall from their supporting branches. Only in the lonely cottonwood trees do we see a glorious transformation. For a handful of days in November, the leaves of the cottonwood trees turn from vibrant green to brilliant hues of gold. This rare fall treat is quite precious because there are few places in West Texas outside of the Davis Mountains that actually hold cottonwood trees in any abundance. The cooler temperatures and calmer winds created by the sheltering cliffs help these trees grow tall in an otherwise hostile environment. In summer, you might not even notice these quiet giants so dwarfed by the immense mountains surrounding them. Yet a look in the middle of November will reward the viewer with branches of gold highlighted against the deep shadows of the ridges. This perfect study in the contrast of colors is a reminder that even the most rugged places can beauty for those willing to seek it.

Until next time, may we each rewrite our world for the better.

Alycia


The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with fine art, love, speculative fiction books, and tea suggestions for all. Please let me know your thoughts about this particular post and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, contact me. Thanks!

Wildflowers Verses Pirates

"Wild Joy" - click the image to enlarge or buy.

“Wild Joy” – click the image to enlarge or buy.

I stepped outside my kitchen door this morning and discovered a beautiful surprise. Little white and purple wildflowers had bloomed in the green grass blanketing the earth just below my balcony. I’m not sure what they are, but they look like miniature daisies. Each flower’s head is no larger than a dime! I’m quite sure others would consider them weeds, but for me, they are a colorful display of wild joy. That was something I treasured this morning.

The past two weeks have in an emotional roller coaster ride much like the rest of this summer. Now that Skinshifter, The Dryad’s Sacrifice, and Thorn and Thistle are published, I can concentrate on my other writing. I’m hard at work creating Sloop and Sword, the sequel to Thorn and Thistle. I’ve also seen the first review of Thorn and Thistle by a reader, who gave the fantasy pirate novella a 5-star review! Of the three books, Thorn and Thistle was the one that I have worried over the most because I had so little production time to spend on it compared to the others. Apparently, I stressed for nothing. The reviewer thought the story was well-written and especially loved the unique ending, which is something I adore as well. It completes the story’s plot and character arcs in a surprising way, while giving me a great jumping point to use in continuing the tale.

Thanks to all of you, Skinshifter and Thorn and Thistle did fairly well in their first two weeks of sales; however, we have a long way to go before these books can find their way into all of the right readers’ hands. If you have suggestions on that front or any questions about my stories, let me know. I’ve already had a few readers ask me if I would create world maps for each of the books, so I’ve added those to my production list. I hope to begin work on the maps as soon as I finish the rough draft for Sloop and Sword. Right now, I have a fourth of the novella written and the characters have already endured two sword fights, a kidnapping, a double-crossing, and one really creepy swamp. The full manuscript is due to my editor in mid-November. Wish me luck!

Until next time, may we each rewrite our world for the better!

Alycia


The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with fine art, love, speculative fiction books, and tea suggestions for all. Please let me know your thoughts about this particular post and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, contact me. Thanks!

“Paper Castles” Is Out Today!

Paper_Castles_Cover_2-4x6Just wanted to remind everyone know that my new short story “Paper Castles” is available today!

Story synopsis:

When Kate Bennett first meets Jo Hitachi, she isn’t sure what to think. How can a person make a decent living selling origami in Washington, D.C.? But with each new paper sculpture that he makes, the simple artist hints that he’s more than he seems. He’s asking her to trust him, but can Kate really afford to trade in the security of her ambitious career for a life built out of love and paper castles?

Want to buy it? Go HERE.

Want to read the excerpt? Go HERE.

Want to ask me questions about the story? Contact me HERE.

By the way, I’ll have a full newsletter with new Treasure Chest loot in April, so be sure to subscribe if you haven’t yet.

Now on to our somewhat regularly scheduled blog…

Cactus_Colors-4x6ACCactus Colors

Since I didn’t get the chance to send out a blog post on Tuesday due to being horribly sick, I thought I should at least show an awesome photo to everyone today. I took this particular photograph while traveling between Alpine and Fort Davis a few weeks ago. I love the contrast of the deep blue sky with the bright green cactus.

I shot the photo with an f-stop of f/6.3. I used a semi-fast shutter speed of 1/500 seconds to keep the rich, crisp detail of the cactus and its droplets of rain water. To keep the deep blue sky from getting washed out, I chose a low light sensitivity ISO speed of 100 with no flash. I photographed the subject with a small zoom lens and a fairly short focal length of 55 mm. As always, I used Photoshop to add some of the contrast between my dark and light colors back into the image.

Until next time, may we each rewrite our world for the better!

Alycia


The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with love, art, speculative fiction books, and virtual baked goods for all. Please let me know your thoughts about this particular post and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, contact me. Thanks!

Flashes of Perspective: The Misty Mountain of Alpine, Texas

Mountain_Cloaked-AC4x6Last week I had some surprising photographic fun while driving to and from Alpine, Texas. Normally I prefer photographing the country near Alpine in spring or fall when the vegetation’s color is richer, but I had my camera with me just in case I found a good opportunity. I wasn’t disappointed.

I was heading north through the Davis Mountains after just after a rain storm had moved through the area. There were patches of mist and clouds still shrouding the sky and one of those patches afforded me this spectacular shot!

I took the photo hand held with an ISO speed of 100, f-stop of f/7.1, an exposure time (shutter speed) of 1/500 second, aperture of 4.5, focal length of 140mm and no flash. I believe the mountain is called Mitre Peak. If you are interested in purchasing an art print of this piece or any of my other photography, please go to my dedicated photography website. Thanks!

Until next time, may we each rewrite our world for the better one perspective at a time!

Alycia


The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with love, art, speculative fiction books, and virtual baked goods for all. Please let me know your thoughts about this particular post and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, contact me. Thanks!

Flashes of Perspective: We All Live in a Yellow Train?

Union_Pacific_Yellow_1_AC4x6Okay, terrible Beatles’ song title ripoffs not withstanding, I had a ton of photography fun a few weeks ago. Not only did I have the rare opportunity to see my corner of West Texas in full bloom, but I also had the chance to shoot a bright yellow train in the middle of all of the floral festivities! The Union Pacific train engine was a perfect match to the thousands of Black-Eyed Susans littered the side of the train tracks near Monahans, Texas. I give special thanks to my awesome husband who maneuvered our car into just the right position for me to hop out and get this great shot of the locomotive just before it disappeared over the hill.

I shot today’s featured photo with an f-stop of f/11. I used a semi-fast shutter speed of 1/400 seconds to stop most of the train’s motion as it thundered along the tracks without sacrificing the bright hues of the flowers and sky. To keep the blue sky from getting washed out, I chose a low light sensitivity ISO speed of 200 and no flash. Since the train is a huge subject, I photographed it with the small zoom lens so that I could get all of it in the photograph. Consequently, the camera’s focal length was short—only 18 mm. Finally, I used Photoshop to add some of the contrast between my dark and light colors back into the photo, so that the scene looks more natural. I hope you all like the results of my work. Let me know if you have any questions about the photo or want to know more about how to shoot something like it.

Until next time, may we each rewrite our world for the better!

Alycia


The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with love, art, speculative fiction books, and virtual baked goods for all. Please let me know your thoughts about this particular post and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, contact me. Thanks!

Flashes of Perspective: My Face-Off with a Gorgeous Dragonfly

Gossamer_Beauty-AC4x6Hi, everyone! Sorry I’m so late in posting this. I would love to tell all of you some witty and charming excuse as to why my blog article is coming this late on a Tuesday, but the truth is that I flat forgot that it was Tuesday!

Anyway, for today’s photography lesson I wanted to show you one of the photos I shot while I was visiting South Texas last week. I had some time to shoot one afternoon and so my camera and I investigated the drainage creek running behind the Weslaco hotel where I was staying. The entire area had become this amazing microcosm of a wetland with cattails, tall grass, willows, flowering shrubs, fungus, frogs, ducks, fishing birds, water bugs and more. There were tons of dragonflies all around and I was lucky enough to get one of them to pose for me. The result was the best dragonfly portrait photo that I’ve ever shot!

I took this particular photo with an f-stop of f/8, a slow shutter speed of 1/160 seconds, a medium intensity ISO speed of 400, a long focal length of 300mm (i.e. I drug out the big zoom lens for this shot), and no flash. Since I was shooting under an overcast sky, I did use Photoshop to punch up the color a bit. However, what you see in the finished photo is practically identical to the colors that I saw when the sun was out earlier that day. I hope you all like the photo. If you have any questions about the technical aspects of it or want to know more about how to shoot something like it, let me know.

Until next time, may we each rewrite our world for the better!

Alycia


The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with love, art, speculative fiction books, and virtual baked goods for all. Please let me know your thoughts about this particular post and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, contact me. Thanks!

The Beauty of a West Texas Sunset

Dolores_Sunset-AC4x6Since I am swamped with work and life, there will be no official post today. However, I thought you all might enjoy seeing this gorgeous sunset photo that I shot north of Alpine, Texas. For those photography buffs who follow my camera work, I shot this particular image in September 2012 using my Canon Rebel T2i using a f/5 F-stop, 1/60 second shutter speed, 170 mm focal length, 4/625 max aperture, no flash, no tripod, and very steady hands.

Until next time, may we each rewrite our world for the better!

Alycia


The Seared Cookie Report: one Artist/Writer’s Labored Soliloquy (SCRAWLS) is brought to you from the writing desk of Alycia Christine at Purple Thorn Press and Photography with love, art, speculative fiction books, and virtual baked goods for all. Please let me know your thoughts about this particular post and, as always, if there is any subject you wish me to discuss, contact me. Thanks!

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