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New me, new look!

Posted by Sherry Penoyer Reynolds on November 15, 2012 at 11:20 PM Comments comments (1)

Nothing happening around here for ages, so....

Time to change it up. As you can see there's a new look - those circles were starting to make me feel claustrophobic and as this is my homepage I took it upon myself to choose something I like. If Stephanie or Emily want something different please post here :)

I haven't written a word of fiction in a while but I'm looking to change that in the very near future. I've got a play that I began writing some time ago and it's calling me back to finish it. It's called Francine Retires and I hope to finish it by Beltane (aka MayDay).

What I have written are patterns to a few knitting designs. My grandmother taught me to knit when I was 4-5 on tiny little needles with tiny little thread to make Barbie doll clothes. I took to it like the proverbial duck to Lake Goodwin, where she lived.

I've also been developing a stone whorl for drop spindles along with my dad. That's been a fun project. Turns out there aren't many stone whorls for that kind of thing available on the market.

That's enough for now. I really just wanted to reestablish contact with this blog and any who are out there checking in.    -Sherry

Back to Work

Posted by Emily Reynolds on July 5, 2011 at 3:54 PM Comments comments (1)

Greetings, one and everyone!

Well, I'm back from my vacation, and as I thought, other things took center stage, and I only got a few pages written. However, I did make progress in other arenas... they just have nothing to do with my book.

One dream for another, ay? At least I'm moving forward. :D


Posted by Emily Reynolds on June 22, 2011 at 7:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Hello again to whoever is still out there reading this! It's been a while, but the time has come once more to pick up the pen and let our brains/hearts/souls leak onto the page--or in this case, the computer screen.


In the midst of personal upheaval, I've pushed my book to the back of my mind, having neither the time nor the energy to pursue it. However! With twelve solid days of vacation finally upon me (as of 4:30 pm today), I intend to make use of this time and continue the outline/first draft of my book, The Wizards of Kalzak. Since my last reference to this book, I've written 65 pages in the first draft, but have since hit a rut. The only way to get past it is to power through the boring parts, but that's always been a problem of mine in the past. This time, though, I have a secret weapon: the outline.  


Which, as it just so happens, remains unfinished. I'm not worried, though. I know the story will flesh itself out as I write it. Just like Stephen King says, "In order to know, I have to write."  Meaning, even the author may not know exactly how their story will play out until it's put down on paper.


And that's exactly what I'm gong to find out in the next two weeks.


In the meantime, I will also be working on five short stories to accompany the trilogy, one for each of the main characters. One is long-finished and in need of some editing; the second is complete only in rough draft form; and the others are only ideas rattling around in my brain in varying stages of development.


Needless to say, I have a lot of work to do. But I won't waste this precious time. Wish me luck! :D

Exciting New Story Niche

Posted by Ayna Ravan on September 20, 2010 at 2:24 PM Comments comments (0)

I've been developing a children's story, Missy Bumbleberry and the Good Day and had this wonderful new idea. Turns out I'm not the only one to have thought of it, as is so often the case. There is now a whole new area of publishing called intermedia. It's fascinating and I've been doing a bit of research on it. An example of intermedia is the most recent publishing project of Starz's production of The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet. Read about it at javascript:mox(); and then take a look at David Marlett's column Tablet to Tablet which is available on the same page. There are other groups out there developing these kind of projects and I have to admit I'm very intrigued. I'm also interested in what will become of my children's story now that I've just widened my scope of what a book can be.

Real Life Calling

Posted by Emily Reynolds on July 20, 2010 at 11:38 PM Comments comments (0)

Greetigs Esteemed Readers!


Forgive our lack of new material, but as I'm sure my fellow Scribblers will agree, Real Life has been taking center stage lately. Ideas are kicking around in our brains, though, making a clankety-clank sound that is hard to ignore. I've had one in particular that came to me a few months ago that now seems to nag at me like a child pulling its mother's skirt. And at the fork in the road I've recently found myself, it seems prudent to pursue it now rather than put it aside for later. So this is what I will be working on for the next few weeks, if I can discipline myself sernly enough.


In the mean time, however, I'll be looking through my old poems and stories for something decent to post. The short scene Umbrella comes to mind: something I wrote for a fiction class at Western a few years back. I rather enjoyed it.


Until then, dear Readers and Scribblers, keep writing!


Many Blessings,

Emily Reynolds

Jeopardy Magazine Released!

Posted by Emily Reynolds on May 28, 2010 at 11:11 PM Comments comments (1)

Greetings Esteemed Readers and Writers:


Forgive my lack of attention to this little site of ours, but real life has been demanding most of it lately. I've missed the weekly inspiration of the Scribblers' meetings, since I now live in Bellevue and work during the weekdays. It's great that we finally have our own domain, though, so I'd like to congratulate the other Scribblers and express my gratitude for all their hard work. I am very excited to have this outlet for the poems and short stories that don't get much attention (from me or anyone else!). Even though I currently devote all my creative energy to The Wizards of Kalzak, there are many smaller projects I would love to share with others. This site is the perfect place for it! So thanks again, everyone, for making it possible.


Only one small slice of Kalzak is finished in the short story The Hourglass, which Ayna and Stephanie have both read. I won't be posting it on the site, though, mainly because I think I ought to save it for a rainy day (aka send it in for publication). I'll still give updates on where I am in the development stages, though... right now I'm between two other Kalzak shorts, The Bridge and The Fire Orb.


In other news, Western Washington University's Jeopary Magazine released its 2010 issue today, in which one of my photographs was published! Entitled "Holy," it depicts early morning January sunlight streaming through some pines on campus, illuminating the fog pressing in around the trunks. Although I sent in three photographs and two written pieces, this photograph was the only one that made it into the magazine. Still, it's a great achievement for me, since I've never been published before!


Also, they posted my 3rd place-winning haiku about persimmons on their 4th annual webzine under the poetry section! Check it out here!


This is sort of a defining moment for me... well, a defining first step. I sure started at the bottom rung of the literary ladder: 3rd place in a 3-line poetry contest. But it combines my two passions, Creative Writing and Japanese, and those are what I earned my degrees in. This one haiku, my first published piece, embodies the culmination of my education. This haiku is the link between Emily the student and Emily the writer.


It's the first proof I have that society acknowledges even the tiniest sliver of my creative writing, and that means the world to me. :D


So thanks to everyone for their encouragement, their advice, their friendship, and their love of the craft! And here's to the next baby step...



Emily Reynolds

It's official

Posted by Ayna Ravan on May 24, 2010 at 2:18 AM Comments comments (0)


Yes, we have our own domain and it feels good.  I'm now using my pen name, which also feels good, and I'm working diligently on the novel I've spent 7 years researching.  The first chapter of the rough is done and I'm well into the next.  This one is going to be long, it's rather epic in scope.  I'd like to tell you a bit about it sometime soon but for right now I'll share that it is set in 6 BCE in and around El-Salem, Heliopolis, and even includes a bit of Britannia - now you understand why I've spent 7 years researching!  I'm hoping to have the first draft finished by Samhain, aka Halloween, and then I'll be looking for some initial readers so keep me in mind for a winter's read.  Have a great week!

What's in a Name?

Posted by Ayna Ravan on May 10, 2010 at 8:18 PM Comments comments (0)

It's been awhile since I've checked in with any of you and it's time I got back into the swing of things!  I had a bad bout with pneumonia a couple of months ago and any signs of routine were blown right out of the water.  Yes, I did finish the one short story, Stashed, but there have been no more openings and very little happening on this site.  It's time to start over and get the ball rolling once again.

There have been a few changes since the last check-in.  Emily has gone to work and though unable to attend the weekly Scribble sessions will still be posting as a Scribbler, after all she is our resident poet!

Gathering Grove, our Scribbler's Central for meetings, has closed its doors.  We were saddened to lose this wonderful coffee and books place in Everett, but the word is it will be replaced soon by something similiar called Books & Beans.  Looking forward to it.

The big change you might have noticed is in my name.  I've decided to use my pen-name, aka, nom de plum, on this site and so have changed everything to Ayna Ravan.  I want to start submitting short stories soon and as I'll be do that under my pen-name it would be appropriate to change everything writing related to the same name.  Raven is a family name from a few generations back and Ayna is a variation of my middle name.

I've thought about a pen-name for a very long time and considered the pros and cons of using such.  But when it comes down to it, I've started a new career and it calls for celebratory way of proclaiming it.  A new name is my way of doing such.

What, you may ask, have I been writing - if not openings and short stories - while I've been away from the site for the past few months?  I've gone back to work on the novel that got me started writing stories instead of plays, Spiritus, a tale set in 6 B.C.E in the holy lands.  It concerns a group of women of the old religion, nature oriented, as they find their way of life is being systematically stamped out by the Tribes of Man.  That's all I'll tell you for now.  I'm 10k words into it with 7 years worth of research notes and plotting.  I'm having a delightful time with my characters, and I believe they are enjoying it as well.

Other than that I'm also collaborating on a new musical as lyricist and composer which has got my mind humming, literally.  I won't be posting any openings for a few more weeks while I work to rebuild my before-illness routines.  But I will check in here more often.

I would like to know what you think of my new name as an author.  Please add your comment to this post.

Love and Laughter,


Where do they come from?

Posted by Ayna Ravan on March 11, 2010 at 5:20 PM Comments comments (0)

If it’s Tuesday it must be my turn to blog.  But what shall I blog about?  I haven’t a clue, but I don’t want to waste your time, dear reader…. But, wait!  What’s that on the horizon?  Could it be… yes, it is! An IDEA, the best topic I could have asked for, rising like the sun, or is that a lightbulb,  I think it is, for that’s my topic for the week. Ideas, where do they come from, how do you catch them, what makes a good one? Stick around, dear reader, we’re about to go exploring for ideas.

Stephanie’s post about blank pages set me to thinking about how I fight writer’s block and realized, 1) I do use paper and pen to open up a more creative mindset; and 2) I often combat the block by writing something entirely new – maybe an opening, or something trivial that has no hope of seeing the light of day, or just a list of topics that interest me which oftentimes set me off on a tangent to write about.  These are the three main ways in which I battle 'the block' but writing something new needs a starting point, inspiration, an idea.  There are as many ways to find ideas as there are people on the planet and then a few million more if those don’t do it – so let me share what works for me.

My ideas come from everyday events, dreams or nightmares, an unusual idiosyncrasy observed, an overheard conversation, an arresting smell, an intrigueing texture – the senses are a doorway to a wealth of ideas that inform and inspire throughout everyday whether you’re aware of them or not – and then there’s the online gem of random story generators.  My favorite generators are at Seventh Sanctum.  Story generators are useful for those times when inspiration seems to have gone walk-about, and they’re often very fun figuring out how to connect the dots, and always a great writing exercise.

Once I have a starting point I like to look at it from numerous perspectives. An example:

Recently I had a wool blanket disappear from my rocking chair on the porch where I do a lot of my writing with pen and paper.  The blanket disappeared during the night while I was working inside at my desk on a rewrite.  This became my starting point.  From there I considered the many ways it could have disappeared, 1) a neighborhood raccoon dragged it off; 2) a homeless person needed it more than me; 3) there was a meeting of two universes right there on my porch and what disappeared from mine showed up in the other.  These are just three of the ten possible treatments I came up with. There’s a story in each one and each is vastly different from the other.  (Yes, this will probably appear as an Opening in the weeks to come.)

Story ideas come easier with practice just like any skill worth having.  Since I’ve begun writing a new opening on a daily basis I’ve been happy to discover they come easier and quicker – let me qualify that by saying ‘generally easier and quicker’ – and are made up of small inconsequential everyday things, i.e., the mailman who wears a mask as he delivers the mail, a tiny pinpoint of bay-view from the front porch, a robin arriving in winter, even a lost name that was there just yesterday.  Ideas and inspiration areeverywhere I look, touch, smell, feel, and hear.  Sometimes they overwhelm me as I get going and my hand races to keep up.

There are three things you should keep in mind as you set about exploring ideas: 1) never discard anything, write it down - even if it doesn't inspire you now it might at a future date; 2) DO NOT EDIT as you write - nothing kills creativity at this stage quicker than that left-brain and nit-picker; 3) It doesn't matter if you don't know where it's going as you begin - entire novels are written that way in the rough, ask anyone who's ever taken part in National Novel Writing Month.

Finally I'd like to return to that light bulb, a small, everyday item with which we associate ideas, and remind you that it's a small everyday item - one of the best sources for stories that become epics.  It's when the small idea is considered in all it's many ways, and the craft of story is applied that you find something quite out of the ordinary and well worth the struggle - your voice.

Good luck, keep writing, and reading.  Till next week when I really will post on Tuesday instead of Thursday.  - Ayna


In the Beginning

Posted by Stephanie Rose on March 8, 2010 at 3:05 PM Comments comments (0)

After spending an hour last night staring at a word document, I decided I'd address something every person struggles with at some time or another. I am no expert, but it's easy to play Monday morning quarterback. So I thought I'd work through my own struggles by talking about things that get writers through their own, hopefully helping other people along the way. Be it a novelist or a student with a term paper, it tends to hit us at the most unexpected times, and it hits hard.


I'm talking about writer's block.


And why is a raven like a writing desk? Even Lewis Carroll didn't know the answer, but the best explanation I ever heard to answer that question was in an annotated version of the story, where the researcher gave the many answers to that riddle given over the years. A raven is a symbol of doom and time running out, and for a writer sitting at their desk with deadlines and time against them, the feeling of doom is ever present.


Was this what Lewis Carroll had in mind when he wrote the answerless riddle? Seemingly not, as he explained himself after receiving numerous queries over the riddle that it truly did not have an answer, yet he provided one anyways as an afterthought that had nothing to do with the writing world. But as any writer knows, things you write subconsciously tend to weave themselves back around full circle. Perhaps his subconscious created this riddle without him knowing the true answer.


I've read many books on writing, and one of the greatest things I heard was in "A Writer's Idea Book" from a writer who said that everyday he sits at his desk for a scheduled period of time, without fail. If he can think of nothing to write, he still sits there with a timer. Is this a waste of time? He thinks no. He believes that thinking about writing, even if he has nothing to write about, prepares him for when he does. Creating a routine to write is essential, so when you are ready, the routine is already in place. Yet another reason a raven is like a writing desk.


So I say to hell with the writing desk. Sherry, another member of Scribblicious, likes to write the old fashioned way; a paper and pen. I use my handy netbook for maximum portability. But leave the writing desk. With the weather warming, I choose to spend my writing time outside on my patio, surrounded by nature. The element you choose to write in is key. Writing is a form of art, and to let your creative juices flow, your mind needs to be in the right place.


You wouldn't want to be near me with the story I'm currently working on. It's dark and disturbing, and my head enters a nasty place while working on it. Like a method actor who spends time getting in character before they walk onto the stage, I try to surround myself with chaos before I open my netbook. I dredge up things in my head that make me uncomfortable; things that really put me on edge. If I could surround myself physically with dead things and dirt, I'm sure I would.


My point is, the atmosphere you write in is just as important as your head. Finding a place to be creative in is one of the best weapons against writer's block. As I stared at my computer last night, I couldn't reach what I was trying to achieve in my head or in my environment, even though I know exactly where I'm going in the story.


Perhaps it was because I am at a bridge. This is the other thing that tends to hold writers up. Bridges are by far the most difficult sections to write, ask anyone. The sections in a book that have no other purpose than to take you from major scene to scene. You can know completely where you are going, what is about to happen to your characters to take them deeper down the rabbit hole, but getting there can prove incredibly difficult.


For me, I find it best to force it. Once I force a few paragraphs of the bridge, I'm usually back in the swing of it. Laying the first few boards across the river is the most dangerous, but once you have a foundation, the rest are easy. Then you can go back and secure the foundation. I find that my forced paragraphs don't fit the narrative and seem out of place, but it's easy to return to them and make them more cohesive.


Blocked from the beginning? I'm a fan of story starters. Sherry posts some on our website, but there are fabulous books out there that are full of inspiring story starters to get your creative juices flowing. I'm including titles at the bottom of this post.


While working in radio, I learned that every person on the planet has a fascinating story in them ready to be told. You just need to tell it. Your voice is unique, so sit down and let it rip.


Genre? At the PNWA conference last year an editor said it best: "Everything is popular until it's not." This statement means everything. Vampires have been huge but are on their way out. But you have a great vampire story! If it's unique, it will be published. If it's not unique, vampires will come back. Maybe you'll be the one that brings it back. The point is WRITE IT!


Finally I'd like to say that without a support group, I would be lost. Find encouragement in the people around you. Exile the nay-sayers. The people I have choosen to trust with my writing are the only way I've worked through a story from start to finish. You need a cheering section when writing. You need positive and helpful feedback. Find someone who can give you that. There are a few people in my life that I know I can call up in my darkest of places for support. People I can call if I'm searching my head for a word. My first book I spent afraid to talk about. I will never make that mistake again.


Time for me to force a bridge. The raven is singing in many forms.


Until next time,




Books on Writing:

"On Writing" by Stephen King

"How to Write what You Want to Sell" by Skip Press

"Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within" by Natalie Goldberg

"The Writer's Idea Book" by Jack Heffron


Story Starters:

"The Mysteries of Harris Burdick" by Chris Van Allsberg

"The Write Brain" by Bonnie Neubauer

"A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words" by Phillip Sexton


(if you know me and would like to borrow any of the above, let me know!) <3