Top 9 of 2018 | Kit Sora’s Storytime

My top 9 photos of 2018!

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2018 was an incredible year. I try not to set expectations for the new year, and like to just let it happen! I’ve had so many wonderful opportunities to share my photography with everyone, most recently in book form- which is insane! I’m so grateful for these amazing chances to share my passion, and this year has been wonderful for it!

My favourite moment this year of course has to be when my precious boy, my soul sister, and her precious boy and I adventured to my favourite waterfall, and they all tricked me into a mini photo shoot, when Drew so sneakily got down on one knee and asked me to be his forever- it doesn’t get much better than that ❤

While I share my favourite moments and accomplishments, please know it hasn’t all been perfect, and I don’t claim to be! My brain plays dark tricks on me often, and there have been many days I can’t pull myself off the couch. I just choose to focus on the positive, and the happy moments!

Having a mental illness doesn’t mean you are any less deserving or capable of wonderful things. Those days you get out of bed are so worth celebrating, and the plans you don’t cancel are extra special! You made it through 2018, and that’s amazing.

I’m not one for resolutions, so I’ll just say I wish everyone a kind and magical new year, and I encourage whoever reads this to share something below that you are proud of, or excited about, or even something simple you did that brought you joy in 2018, so I can read all about it and be excited with you!

Kit Sora: The Artobiography

A stunning, hundred-plus page hardcover collection of over 80 of Kit Sora’s most ambitious photographs, paired with short fiction inspired by the art by Canada’s best authorial talents. Includes stories by USA Today Bestselling Author Kate Sparkes, USA Today Bestselling Author Victoria Barbour, and Bestselling Author Amanda Labonté.

C$75.00

What Happens to Forgotten Ideas? | House Blog

I had a great idea for a blog post, but then I forgot it.

I can’t remember anything about it, only the vague feeling of ‘Oh, this’ll make a great blog entry’. The rest, my friends, is darkness. It felt like the kind of idea that I would have written an entire post about, instead of doing my usual thing, which is:

  1. get an idea
  2. write two paragraphs
  3. get stuck
  4. wonder why I thought this would be a good idea in the first place
  5. think of something else
  6. repeat steps 2-5 many more times before losing your mind (once you’re officially insane, move on to step 7)
  7. magically discover an idea that’ll fill a whole blog post
  8. panic because it’s already the 18th and you’re behind schedule!
  9. write the post

[Full Disclosure: I did steps 1-5 before that idea hit me, but I’m sure it would have made me go straight to step 7 instead of step 6.  Fuller Disclosure: I only wrote one paragraph before I got stuck.]

Anyways, the point is that the idea left me. Utterly and completely left me. I was sitting at my computer, trying to think of something to write when suddenly I had a brilliant revelation. But instead of writing it down I got distracted by something and by the time I went back to it, the idea was long gone.

This happens most often when I’m trying to get to sleep. I’ll be thinking of how lovely it would be to drift away to dreamland instead of lying here awake when suddenly I’ll think of a new idea or scene or a way to fix a plot point that’s been bothering me. However, the thought of getting up and turning on the light, finding pen and paper and writing it all down can seem like a lot of work. So instead of doing that, I’ll tell my brain that I’d better remember this when I wake up or I’ll be pissed. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

Which leaves me with the question I asked about three hundred and fifty-three words ago: what happens to a forgotten idea?

Is it waiting patiently for me to remember it one day? It it hovering in the background somewhere, hoping and wishing that one day I’ll suddenly have a light-bulb moment and it can spring forth?

Did it get lost in the ether, swirling in idea-purgatory forever? Hoping that it’ll stay above water and won’t get dragged down into the depths from whence it’ll never come back, buried underneath all the other forgotten ideas?

Or did it move on to someone else, finding satisfaction in being acted upon by a person who didn’t forget it? Have all my forgotten ideas shuffled off to someone else? Is someone else writing the stories that I didn’t?

I’d like to think that those ideas don’t ever leave me, that they get stored away somewhere in the back of my mind, waiting for the right time. And some point in the future something will happen and it’ll appear, ready. Maybe it’ll seem familiar or maybe not, but it’ll be there, and that’s all that matters*.

_________

*And hopefully this time I’ll be smart enough to write it down the instant I think of it.

Submissions Closed for Pulp Sci-Fi from the Rock

At 12:01 AM Newfoundland Standard Time on November 1, 2019, we closed the submissions folder for Pulp Sci-Fi from the Rock, the newest in the bestselling lineup of short fiction anthologies. All told we received over 60 entries amounting to over 200,000 words.

Ali House Lightbulb ForestThat will take some time for our returning series editors, Ellen Curtis and Erin Vance, to get through. Entrants can expect emails to start coming through near the end of the month, with public announcements of authors to start in early 2020. A quick glance at the titles submitted show some returning friends and a lot of new talent as well: we can’t wait to see how this shakes out.

Thanks for your patience, and stay tuned for the announcement of the next “From the Rock” theme! Also, keep your eyes peeled for the first From the Rock Presents title hitting stores in early 2020: The Lightbulb Forest: The Collected Short Fiction of Ali House.

Dread in Writing | Dobbin’s Blog

This is dread, man. Truly dread

I was asked recently, “what was the first book to scare you?”

I didn’t have an answer, because I don’t think I’ve been scared by a book. Still, it made me wonder: what scares people? What makes people cast worried looks into shadowy corners and run up their stairs once the lights are out?

Dread is Anxiety on Steroids

Emily Nagoski

In a day-and-age where horror movies are deemed successfully scary by the amount of jump scares that they have, is becoming scared by a slowly developing image you create with your own mind losing its luster?  Maybe. Maybe the visual media is desensitizing readers to the images sewn into print, but I doubt it.  People still get scared, people still seek that exhilaration, and people still read scary books. Maybe the question should be why do people get scared? Continue reading Dread in Writing | Dobbin’s Blog

Spooooooky Stories! | House Blog

When I was a kid I loved scary stories. I was addicted to Are You Afraid of the Dark, Goosebumps, Unsolved Mysteries, and Haunted Lives. My bookshelf was full of R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike, and any random horror author I could get my hands on. But now that I’m an adult, I don’t read as much horror. And, honestly, I don’t know why.

So if you’re like me and looking for more scary books to read, here’s a list of some that I’ve found over the past few years.

*** Continue reading Spooooooky Stories! | House Blog

Layered Snake: What Writers Can Learn from Metal Gear Solid

Hideo Kojima, the creative force behind the Metal Gear Solid series and, most recently, Death Stranding, is one the gaming industry’s great auteurs. With each entry in the MGS series, he pushed the envelope with regards to how a video game can tell a story. In this blog post I’m going to talk about some strategies writers can learn from Kojima and MGS.

There’s a lot to say about MGS and the many themes and ideas Kojima manages to touch on. Stuff like post-humanism, censorship, war, individualism, and gaming itself, which barely scratching the surface. What I want to discuss in this post is the series’ tone. Kojima manages to cast a wide net with his storytelling because he’s a master of layering concepts.

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Everyone loves Kojima

When Metal Gear Solid starts, it feels like you’re playing a Tom Clancy-style techno thriller, which was very popular at the time. (However, MGS is more stealth-focused than, say, Rainbow Six, etc.) There’s a high emphasis on verisimilitude. Playing as Solid Snake, the game’s protagonist, you must sneak around enemies and use various tools and weapons. As the story develops, you learn about a conspiracy to develop nuclear weapons, post-Cold War tensions. Yadda yadda yadda. So far, pretty conventional.

Then things start to get weird. You encounter a cyborg ninja who may be a long dead former comrade. And then you battle Psycho Mantis, a master of telekinesis and telepathy. The boss fight is pretty legendary in gaming. In a fourth wall-breaking maneuver, you have to change your controller’s ports so Mantis can’t anticipate your moves. I, and most others, had never seen such a post-modern design in a video game before.

It gets wackier from there. There’s a conspiracy about cloning, a sniper battle involving wolves, a Gatling gun-wielding shaman. It’s pretty awesome. I highly recommend playing it or at least watching a playthrough.

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Mantis could read your memory card and comment on the games you’ve played, how much you save progress, etc

What sets MGS apart from its peers is how Kojima manages to bring in melodramatic anime influences couched in a realist setting. This is what I mean by layering. MGS probably would’ve been modestly successful by just being a military stealth game. What elevates it into becoming a classic is how Kojima brings in these other influences. What amazes me is how seamlessly Kojima transitions from one style to another. Then, by opening up the story to these different influences, Kojima is able to explore more ideas and themes.

I first learned about the concept of layering from Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert (yes, I know). He talks about when he first created the cartoon he recognized that he was a good, but not great, artist; he knew a fair bit about business, having worked in an office; and he had a pretty good sense of humour. He wasn’t great at any one of these things in particular, but when he layered them he was able to achieve great success.

Layering can therefore be a powerful tool for writers, especially for those who don’t want to write purely in one genre or style. It’s also a great way to combine genres in new and unexpected ways.  In his Stanford commencement speech, Steve Jobs famously said “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” That’s why I find Kojima so inspiring. He shows that you can connect the dots, no matter how disparate they seem.

 

 

Winner: “Black Gold” by Ryan Hunt | Kit Sora Flash Fiction Photography Contest

After much deliberation, Engen Books is proud to announce the winner of the August 2019 Kit Sora Flash Fiction Photography Contest: Ryan Hunt with the story, Black Gold!

Ryan Hunt is an engineer from Nottingham, England who writes in his spare time. He is currently working on his debut novel, The Final Carnivore, a story about horrible people given absolute power, and those who rise to stop them. You can follow him on Twitter  @RJHuntWrites.

We had three judges for this collection: Continue reading Winner: “Black Gold” by Ryan Hunt | Kit Sora Flash Fiction Photography Contest