Last Week to Pre-Order and Giveaway Winners

Have you pre-ordered your print copy of issue 1.1, borrowed solace: Hinterlands? If not, there’s still time! Head on over to the store, or click this link to pre-order your own hard copy of our very first issue. Pre-ordering comes with a few perks, including a discount on the sale price of the journal, a free sticker, and a digital download of an exclusive submissions tracker that we made just for you!

In other news, as promised, we are giving away three copies of Hinterlands to those who liked and followed us on social media. The giveaway closed on July 1st, and the winners have been selected (see our executive editor Nicole’s sophisticated way of choosing winners at random in the picture below.)

The winners are Devin, Ken Wetherington, and Rachel Hetrick! Check your social media messages so we can contact you to get the books shipped.

Thanks to everyone who entered to giveaway and those who have pre-ordered so far. Don’t forget to snag a copy of Hinterlands yourself if you haven’t already!

Amber’s Top Ten List of Authors, Books, and Quotes

1. Garth Nix, he is my favorite author because of world building. 

The Series he has written (other novels not included):

  • The Old Kingdom which includes five books. This series of his is my particular favorite.
  • The Seventh Tower which includes six books. 
  • The Keys to the Kingdom which includes seven books.
  • Very Clever Baby which includes four books.
  • Troubletwisters which also includes four books. 

There is a very big difference between writing for children and writing for young adults. The first thing I would say is that ‘Young Adult’ does not mean ‘Older Children’, it really does mean young but adult, and the category should be seen as a subset of adult literature, not of children’s books.

Garth Nix

2. H.G. Wells, he is a great author because of the variety, his world-building, adventures, character building, and structure of his books. 

Here are some books I recommend: 

  • The Time Machine 
  • The War of the Worlds 
  • The Island of Dr. Moreau 
  • The Food of the Gods 
  • The Country of the Blind 
  • The Complete Short Stories 
  • Tales of Space and Time 

Nothing leads so straight to futility as literary ambitions without systematic knowledge.

H.G. Wells

3. J.K. Rowling, her character relationships are something to pay attention to, how she carefully and deblierately weaves every character together is astounding. 

Here are some books I recommend: 

  • The Harry Potter series which has seven books 
  • The Pottermore Series which has three books
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay

The thing about fantasy – there are certain things you just don’t do in fantasy.

  J. K. Rowling

4. Stephen King, his suspense is thrilling, King does amazing and unexpected things to keep a reader glued to the story.

Here are some books I recommend: 

  • 11/22/63
  • The Dark Tower Series 
  • Bag of Bones
  • On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
  • The Shining Series

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.

Stephen King

5. Dean Koontz, he also really good at creating suspense. 

Here are some books I recommend: 

  • Moonlight Bay Series
  • Odd Thomas Series
  • Watchers
  • Intentisty 
  • From the corner of his eye
  • Lightening 

Readers will stay with an author, no matter what the variations in style and genre, as long as they get that sense of story, of character, of empathetic involvement.

Dean Koontz

6. J. R. R. Tolkien, in his writing craft is the craft to write journeys, how to quest your characters into heroes, how to structure your enemies and foes.

Here are some books I recommend: 

  • The Lord of Rings Trilogy 
  • The Hobbit
  • The Fall of Arthur
  • The History of the Middle Earth series 

Fantasy has had some problems with being too repetitive, in my opinion. I try to read what other people are doing – and say, ‘How can I add to this rather than just recycle it? How can I stand on Tolkien’s shoulders rather than stand tied to his kneecaps?

Brandon Sanderson 

7. Anne Rice, has unique characters, pay attention to her character creation. 

Here are some books I recommend:

  • The Vampire Chronicles, 11 books
  • The Mayfair Witches Series, 3 books
  • Black Farm
  • Servant of the Bones

When I write something, every word of it is meant. I can’t say it enough.

Anne Rice

8. Daniel Handler, he sets a great tone and voice of his characters, and even the story. 

Here are some books I recommend:

  • Lemony Snicket
  • Why We Broke Up 
  • The Basic Eight 
  • Adverbs 
  • We Are Pirates

My first novel took almost six years to sell and was rejected 37 times in the interim, and then finally sold for the smallest amount of money my literary agent had ever negotiated for a work of fiction.

Daniel Handler

9. Bram Stoker, how not to do syntax. 

Here some books I recommend:

  • Dracula 
  • Dracula’s Guest, and Other Weird Stories 
  • Bram Stoker’s Dracula: The Graphic Novel 
  • Dracula 2 

There are mysteries which men can only guess at, which age by age they may solve only in part.

Bram Stoker

10. Jane Austen, formal writing, her style and form of fitting a story together is something to pay attention to.  

Here are some books I recommend:

  • Pride and Prejudice 
  • Sense and Sensibility 
  • Emma 
  • Mansfield Park

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.

Jane Austen

Finding the Good

This has been a hard week. In addition to the turmoil consuming many of our communities right now, my week has been doubly hard because my cat of fifteen years, Mitsy, went to kitty heaven. When it rains, it pours, right?

I don’t have much to say today. It seems like words fall short right now. So I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes from the philosopher Voltaire:

Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.

Don’t forget to find the good things in the bad. The good memories, the writing and art that get you through. The inspiration that can come from dark times. The things that make you sing in the lifeboats.

Valentine Poems

Today, since it is Valentine’s Day, I wrote some poems about my dogs with, of course, some photos. The first poem is for my puggle Ellie Mae. The second poem is about my little man, and German Shepherd, Thunder Storm. Hope you enjoy! 

Ellie (left) and Thunder (right)

Car Ride

On day of reprieve
the river calls our names
the car begs for her ears
to fly as she smells the
wind out the window
her curly tail wound tight
as we ride as one
adventure onto the seas
free as the willow trees
her whines
curly tail
the summer heat
trudging tug boats
flying fish flies
the river freedom
from our home,
cares, woes,
the things that
colden our bones
and when the sun
threatens to set
we beg the day to stay

In the Daylight

this beautiful nightmare
came covered in black,
tawny colored eyes with
a storm of understanding
in world i didn’t understand yet
but he is more patient than i
to teach my nerves
tightly wound in my body
to stay steady in front of the herd
to overcome the obstacle
to protect oneself in life
not too fast
not too slow
be formidable while awake
the shadow of an avalanche
facing a daunting challenge
set by his steady gaze
his steady heart
his never-ending loyalty to waiver
telling me when i sleep
don’t be discouraged by my
lack of focus
one day soon
one step near
one breath closer
i will become the best friend
you need me to be.


DIY Alcohol Ink Art

Do you like making art?

How about with alcohol?

Not the kind you drink though, sorry. Today, I would like to show you, mostly tell you, my process of making your own alcohol inks and some fun things you can do with them.

First, hit that dollar store! I am cheap and poor with that million dollar attitude (could spend it if I had it), so you can find everything you need at Dollar Tree.


·         At least eight bottles (I used the empty travel shampoo bottles)

·         Two packages of  permanent markers, eight count (make sure it is permanent)

·         Rubbing alcohol 91% proof (there are different grades out there)

·         Pliers

·         Rubber (latex/nitrile) gloves

·         X-Acto knife

·         A frame with real glass or any type of paper

·         Hair dryer or heat tool

Instructions for DIY alcohol ink:

1.       With a small struggle and with gloves on, rip the marker in half and take out the color stick (don’t know what else to call it). Put this in a bottle and make a small incision of it in the middle to let the ink bleed out, each color will have two each.

2.       Pour alcohol like it’s raining into the bottle until a half an inch from the top.

3.       Next screw the cap on and shake.

4.       Do steps 1-3 for all bottles.

5.       Next, let them sit on a shelf and be forgotten about for at least 24 hours, though the longer, the better.

6.       Also in a separate spray bottle, put rubbing alcohol in it and fill it to the stop.

7.       Optional step: you can take the color stick out and squeeze the remaining juice (ink) into the bottle, or like lazy me and keep it in the bottle.

8.       Another optional step: can also label your bottles with colors, I don’t.

Instructions to create some not so terrible art:

1.       Disassemble your frame so only the glass remains. Put the rest of the frame aside. On a piece of cardboard, place the glass, select the colors you would like to use and combine, and the alcohol spray bottle.

2.       Spray the glass with the alcohol, dibble, dabble the colors in random dots, lines, swirls on the glass. Then spray again with the alcohol.

3.       I used a hair dryer as opposed a heating tool, a heating tool gets too hot and you cannot work the ink as much—in my opinion. But anyways, it may take a few times, but you can make waves, mix the colors together, and make it dry faster. I noticed the ink likes to go the edges, so blow inward when that happens and you will not get a line.

4.       Put the frame back together and there you go! A masterpiece!

5.       Also once it is try, you can spray again, only once or twice and it will create dots instead of a blurred line.

6.       You can either frame it by itself, or print something off from the print and put behind the class I have both shown below of what I did.

Let me know if you have tried alcohol inks, what you have done with them, or tried my version!

This is how the inks should look when you are done making them. 
Here are some examples of what I did with the inks.

Holiday Updates

This week’s blog is important as we have some updates! We also have some questions we would like to ask you.

So far submissions for the spring 2020 journal have been going great. For fiction, there has been a lot submitted and Amber is excited to read all of them. Her submissions have a great range in long and short, and vary in all sorts of themes. For nonfiction, I have noticed a particular theme of drug abuse, death, or a type of emotional strain. I was joking with the other editors that since I write the police log for the newspaper, I deal a lot with drug abuse and I also edit the obituaries, so I deal a lot with death. Then going to read the stories submitted, it was like reading what I do for my current job as a content editor and writer. So, if you are out there reading this, there is still time to submit an engaging story for nonfiction! For art, we are only doing cover photos, so the submission have been small but mighty. We might have our youngest artist yet to be featured as the front cover for this journal. For poetry, Addey says everything is going well! There are lots of good submissions coming in and she’s excited to piece together the poetry section–it’s looking to be a varied and intriguing section!

The submissions for Spring 2020 will close Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019.

If you would like to submit, art, poetry, nonfiction and/or fiction, please do so before then.

The editors are taking a holiday break next week for Christmas to celebrate the holidays with our families, so please bear with us on email responses and social media posts.

The important questions would like to ask as we are also gearing up to the next year is: what specific blog topics or posts and podcasts would you like hear/read? If you want to read more about how to write, please let us know what topics you would like us to cover. We are always interested in what people want to read or listen to.

If you have a topic you would like us to discuss or write about, please list it in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. You can also email us at

We would also like to note that if you would like to be featured on our podcast, we are always welcome into taking volunteers!

So have some happy holidays! And submit if you haven’t already!

All You Need is Love

This blog, I would like to conclude the NaNoWriMo Writing challenge. 

I admit, the last week of the November month, I completely fell off the wagon (I wrote 24,241 words) and I couldn’t run hard enough to catch back up and jump back on. The day before Thanksgiving, my mother got a call her father wasn’t doing well. So, we went right away to see my grandpa. He passed the following the week; an angel got his wings on Wednesday, Dec. 4. 

He taught me that love is a promise and affection is a souvenir, once given, it can’t be forgotten because he wouldn’t let it disappear. That in the end, the love you take should always equal the love you make. My grandparents’ relationship growing up taught me that true love exists if you want to find it. So in remembrance of him, I wrote him into the novel I am writing. I actually finished the novel Dec.1. You can never die if your a character in a story right? 

So, now I am on my dreadful way to both edits and his funeral. But if writing about grim reapers and researching the different cultures of the world and how they view death has taught me anything, it’s that it is never the end, you just continue on somewhere else.


In memory of my grandfather, David Ostrander

Just Breathe

Sorry I have no inspirational insight for this week. Or funny tidbits to help you all on your literary journeys.

This week has been too long and yet a whirlwind that I’m still trying to catch up to. Right now I’m just trying to remind myself to breathe. Breathe, because it’s okay to feel overwhelmed. Breathe, because it’s okay to feel anxious. Breathe, because it’s okay to breakdown a little. Your emotions are not a burden, they are not for anyone to judge.

Just breathe…because you can only go up from here.

Because not all who wander are lost. Sometimes that is where the best inspiration can come from.

So if you are feeling overwhelmed, remember to simply breathe. You are not alone. Take this post as a gentle reminder that you are fine wherever you are at, and everything will fall in place soon.

Episode 2: Double Agents

This week on the podcast, hear from Addey and Nicole as they discuss all things pen-name related: To pen name, or not to pen name? How do you pick a pen name? Who uses a pen name? Should pen names be used in nonfiction? …and more. Take a moment of borrowed solace to listen and dive into another writerly topic with us!

This episode will be live wherever you listen to podcasts shortly. Thanks for listening!