2018 Paper Palaces Pen and Ink Art Contest (Fantasy)

This autumn, I’m hosting an artwork contest through Paper Palaces for any artists interested.

Here are the details:

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Seeking the most engaging artistic interpretation of the fictional scene below. . .

Whether your a long-standing artist or simply building your portfolio, this is a contest for you!

  • The winner and runner-ups will be featured on PaperPalacesBlog.com, CurtisWritesBooks.com,  and/or across our social media, recognizing your skill as an artist. This is a great way for emerging artists to build an audience!
  • The grand prize winner will earn an opportunity to engage in paid work for future projects.

Submission Requirements:

  • Submit an illustration, digital or otherwise, capturing imagery from the scene below (“A Cloud of Dark Birds”).
  • Submissions should employ a pen and ink style.
  • Color and other media are allowed. Digital illustrations are also allowed.
  • Submissions will be accepted from September 1st, 2018 – November 31st, 2018

How to submit:

  1. Please email all submissions to author@curtiswritesbooks.com
  2. Use “2018 Pen and Ink Submission” in the subject email.
  3. Attach your image as a .PNG file.

Artist Eligibility:

Any artist, eighteen or older, is eligible to submit.


Winning Criteria:

All submissions are judged on the artist’s ability to incorporate as much of the tone and imagery of the scene as possible in their illustration.

***Submissions will be reposted in original or as part of a gallery on a variety of sites, including but not limited to PaperPalacesBlog.com, CurtisWritesBooks.com, Patreon, Wattpad, Twitter, and Instagram.


If you share your artwork via Instagram, feel free to tag us (@curtiswritesbooks)!


 A CLOUD OF DARK BIRDS

from The Witch’s Uprising by Curtis Teichert

Aurelia held her sword as lightly as she could. With any other thief, she would not be so cautious, but one look at the stranger assured her to take each step carefully. She let the grip on her sword stay loose and limber, ready to act. There would be no room for fear or even one misplaced swing; she prepared herself to act swiftly, carefully… softly. Every nerve in her body was electrified with awareness. She breathed deeply as she crept closer to him.

The moon unveiled itself, shedding light on a man just a head’s worth taller than Aurelia.  In the dappled light of the forest, she could see her breath and his. She was closer now, at the edge of the clearing. Peering at a safe distance from this man she had followed from her village, yet he crouched – there… in the center of the everything, almost perfectly surrounded by three large prayer stones, as if no one was looking for him.

A filthy thief, she thought. She knew he was not after bread or meat, or mead. The air reeked of something which had been tossed away and neglected. He leaned over one stone altar, the furthest from Aurelia, and whispered to himself.

He cradled a small child wrapped in a purple blanket – a tiny girl not yet one year old. Flecks of gold from the blanket’s design glittered. He set the child on the altar so delicately that Aurelia was confused. Whose child was this? Not his.

It would take one stroke, but she would have to aim it correctly, or else she would bludgeon the child too. Aurelia remembered everything she had been taught – to be just so graceful with a sword, just as quiet as the spring wind rippling through grass. She stepped forward.

The townsfolk had talked of this: men like him had come before, years ago, when her mother was a little girl. They were just stories to Aurelia.

Does a story bleed? She knew the answer too well.

Every man bleeds.

When the twig snapped beneath her left foot, Aurelia felt the world shift.  Her heart palpitated – the hoof-beat thump of a seasoned warrior filling her chest. Before she could make a decision before she could swing the sword, the wind blew across her face, and the man turned.

She had seconds to act – seconds!

The blade cut across the air, but it was too late.

She saw his face change first, and then his neck and shoulders. His torso seemed to compress and then shiver until every rumor she had heard was confirmed at that very moment.

Every story, every tale of his power or his ability – everything was as her mother had described. Most girls went their whole lives without seeing a shape-shifter, yet by Aurelia’s age, even most women had not seen what she had seen.

The child screamed, and Aurelia swung. The man unfolded and unfurled like smoke, and she heard what she knew to be the flutter of wings. All the stories were true, she thought. He has returned. The Madness had ended twenty years ago with his death, but now he has returned.

With that truth, she doubted if she would live to her twentieth year.  And in the seconds that passed, her sword cut through nothing but air. There was no longer anyone where the man had stood. He was now, not one man, but hundreds of fluttering wings, hundreds of screeches flowing up into the sky and away.  Her blade passed through a cloud of dark birds as they filled the thin night air. She hacked and hacked to no avail, and for a moment she caught the altar in the corner of her eye. The child was gone. The night was quiet as still water.


Good luck!

-Curtis

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YA FRIDAY: 3 Books to Add to Your Shelf

 

In an earlier post this Monday, I previewed three books: Pax by Sarah Pennypacker, Ghost by Jason Reynolds, and The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman for IMWAYR.

For this week’s YA Friday, I’d like to keep the tradition of previewing a book I have read, one book that I’m partway through, as well as one that I am looking forward to. If you have read any of these books, please like and comment below, letting us know your thoughts!

Unbroken

Unbroken (The Young Adult Adaptation): An Olympian's Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive Book Poster Image

 

Reading Status: Finished

Summary: The young readers edition of Unbroken is a great non-fiction pick for WWII enthusiasts. The book follows the successes and struggles of Louie Zamperini, an olympian and airman during the Second World War.  Laura Hillenbrand recounts his life story, infusing the pages with heart-breaking moments, intriguing factual information, and stories that illuminate the full spectrum of the human condition.

While there are some intense moments for younger readers, this edition is a solid book to add to the YA shelf. I have included a link to Common Sense Media for teachers and parents to review the books content. Unbroken was made into a popular movie, but as my students would say… the book is often better!

Common Sense Media: Common Sense Media Review: Unbroken – Young Adult Edition

Graceling

Graceling Book Poster Image

Reading Status: Partway Through

Summary: Kristin Cashore hooked me with the first 100 pages of Graceling. The main character, Katsa, is a Graceling. Like other Gracelings, society has marginalized her for her abilities and appearance – an apt metaphor for how remarkable women are treated in our society.

All Gracelings excel at a skill or talent. Katsa’s happens to be killing. With this skill, she makes a marvelous assassin and enforcer, but her uncle, the King, uses her. Within the first fifty pages, Katsa begins to question her role in the Kingdom. She meets Po, another Graceling from a privileged part of society. Po is Graced with excellent combat skills. While I am only nearly 100 pages in, I can safely say that have enjoyed every page so far.

Common Sense Media: Common Sense Media Review: Graceling

The Iron Trial

The Iron Trial: Magisterium, Book 1 Book Poster Image

Reading Status: Looking forward to!

Summary: 

Callum Hunt has been warned to stay away from magic, yet despite his father’s warnings, he has failed. Callum has “failed at failing” the Iron Trial, opening him for admission to the Magisterium.

As I have not yet started this book, I am very interested your own comments and suggestions. Should I read it? Here’s a delicious quote from the back cover:

“Now the Magisterium awaits him. It’s a place that’s both sensational and sinister, with dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future.”

Common Sense Media: Common Sense Media: The Iron Trial


If you enjoyed this post or YA Fridays, please like and follow this blog. Share your thoughts in the comment section!

-Curtis

#FantasyFansUnited – A Community of Fantasy Fiction Enthusiasts

Paper Palaces will provide a place for Fantasy Fans on WordPress and other platforms to unite, including writers, authors, artists, and other enthusiasts of fantasy fiction, art, and movies.

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Fantasy Fiction Fridays: #FantasyFansUnited

Let us revel in our passion for this genre! Let’s spread the inspiration!

Who do we welcome?

  • Authors, artists, writers, teachers, readers, book reviewers, and fantasy enthusiasts that write on WordPress and/or other online platforms!
  • Any blogger, Instagram or Twitter user, content creator, and Bookstagram enthusiast

Anyone joining should some interest in any of the following subjects: fantasy fiction, fantasy movies, book reviews and commentary, reading, literature, or fantasy as a genre.

This is just to name a few. If you like the fantasy genre, you should join.


What are the primary interests of this group?

  • Everything fantasy, sci-fi, and speculative fiction
  • Producing and reading high-quality blog posts
  • Building a readership for every blogger that joins
  • Guest-posting on each other’s blogs

What are the benefits and what do we do?

  • As this community grows, your readership may grow.
  • You will get to connect with other people in the fantasy writing/reading community.
  • You won’t have to sift through the WordPress Reader to find like-minded posts, content, and interesting artwork
  • By posting in this community, your work will be referenced, re-blogged, and visible across other social media platforms

How do you join?

Create your content and include the tag FantasyFansUnited whenever the post relates to the genre of fantasy. If you post on Instagram or Twitter, use the hashtag #FantasyFansUnited.

Add this tag to your reader. It may take some time to populate with posts as we build our community.

I will re-blog and reference our highest-quality posts on WordPress and other Social Media platforms, and I encourage our community to do the same.


What if I want my blog featured, or an author to guest post?

There are two options.

Share your site in the comments section, and I will re-blog or post content on the next Fantasy Fiction Friday after previewing your site. Or, more preferably, use the form on my Coffee Questions Page. By using the form, I can connect you with other creators.


Consider joining our community by adding the FantasyFansUnited tag to your WordPress, or by using the same hashtag for your Instagram and Twitter posts.

Thanks!

-Curtis


Let’s Connect!

Instagram: @CurtisWritesBooks

Facebook: /curtisteichertbooks

Patreon: /CurtisWritesBooks

Twitter: @staghorncrown

WordPress: PaperPalacesBlog.com

Worldbuilding Tips: Five Useful Articles on Creating a Fictional World

I won’t pretend that I’m the master of worldbuilding, but I will say that I am proud of the world that I built for my novel series A Thousand Watchful Eyes.  For my current novel, The Witch’s Uprising, I’ve made several revisions to the world of Brylennia, ensuring that my fantasy world is both beautiful and believable.  Just the other day, I found some of my original notes and maps. I’m surprised at how much has changed since day one!

Here are five articles that I’ve found useful while creating my fantasy world:

7 Deadly Sins of Worldbuilding – Gizmodo

The Ultimate Guide to Worldbuilding – Writer’s Edit

10 Rules for Making Better Fantasy Maps – Gizmodo

Fantasy Worldbuilding Questions – Physical and Historical Features

Questions to Ask When You Create A Fictional Culture – Alyssa Hollingsworth