Encountering the Black Dog

Tales of the Black Dog was Corrugated Sky’s first anthology.

When you tell someone that you’re a writer, the first thing they ask is what kind of things you write. The second question they ask is where you got your inspiration for a story or book, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction.

When we decided to form our own publishing company we put our heads together and came up with some themes for anthologies. The black dog legend has a long history and surprisingly is found in cultures around the world. For my story I was inspired by Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Hound of the Baskervilles” as well as traditional English ghost stories that I grew up reading. The atmosphere of a lonely country road, the local inn where the country folk harbor some dark secret, and being stranded or trapped in a place or situation that you can’t get out of are all part of the setting for these traditional stories, and they worked their way into mine.

During the summer when we were working on Tales of the Black Dog my husband and I went on a trip to Maine. We stopped at a coffee shop for a bite to eat and took our coffee and sandwiches outside, where there were tables and Adirondack chairs for guests to enjoy. I went back inside the shop for something, and when I came out there was a huge black dog sitting next to my chair as though it were patiently waiting for me to return. No kidding, this really happened!

My husband gave me one of those knowing looks, and I burst out laughing. I sat back down and for a few minutes the dog didn’t move from that spot. Yes, it was really weird, but despite reading old legends of black dogs being associated with death, I’d read other legends that said the black dogs were protector spirits, especially of women. I’m pretty sure it was a real dog, and that is was just a coincidence, but there’s always that small doubt … in any case, that particular black dog did a good job of protecting my chair and making sure no one else sat there until I got back!

And now we’re working on our third anthology, which is about zombies. I hope I don’t meet one of them!

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Thursday Writing Prompt No. 143

“Sienna City,” one of my digital paintings.

It’s been some time since I’ve had the energy to sit down and write a blog post. Work has been tremendously busy and at the end of the day I find myself just staring at the TV or playing Guild Wars 2 or Random Mahjong and telling myself that tomorrow I’ll do some writing. Since I work full time as a copy editor I pretty much read all day and that type of work is intense; editing requires that I make a lot of decisions (you might not believe the angst that hyphens can cause for editors) and by the time five o’clock rolls around I’m mentally spent. At that point I chuck any unused hyphens in the recycle bin and shut down my office connection.

So, last week I was avoiding writing my zombie short story for Corrugated Sky’s upcoming third anthology by looking at the digital tools over at Creative Market. I picked up a set of Photoshop brushes called Cityscape. I spent some time “doodling” until I came up with a nice composition, and then combined my newly minted city with effects from Topaz Studio to create “Sienna City.” Art and photography are cross training for writing, since they are all creative endeavors, right? I mean, at some point you have to do something other than write, or else what can you write about?

So, what’s a city without people? For this week’s Thursday Writing Prompt, you get to describe Sienna City and its population. In 350 words, write a travel guide entry for tourists that will compel them to pack their bags and head to town. Think about the kinds of things you want to know about a place before you visit, but mostly, think about what is so compelling about Sienna City that people want to go there. Are the restaurants world-famous? Is there a special landmark or museum? Is it a shopping destination? Or does the city hold some special festival each year that pulls in tourists by the busloads?

 

Smoke and Steam Free Ebook

We’re running a promotion for our second anthology, Smoke and Steam. Beginning at midnight, Pacific Daylight Time, you can get a copy of the ebook from Amazon for free. The promotion runs through March 19 and ends at 11:59 PDT.

Smoke and Steam contains four Steampunk novellas from Corrugated Sky‘s authors. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, the Steampunk genre is a type of science fiction/fantasy/alternative history based on Victorian-era technology. Sometimes it includes magic, or werewolves, or man/machine hybrids. And airships and trains are pretty much de rigueur.

The adventures in Smoke and Steam include “Wings over Staria,” by JC Rock;
“Hekatite,” by Karen Garvin; “Heart of the Matter,” by Michelle Schad; and “Freedom for a Foster,” by Cathryn Leigh.

Head on over to Amazon during the promotion and download a free copy of the ebook. While you’re there, why not pick up a paperback, too? After all, it’s how the Victorians would have read their books!

Running through the Year

My first attempt at acrylic painting. In case it’s not obvious, the red things are pears. And don’t ask why one of them is standing up!

I’m trying to get back into running. No, scratch that. I am getting back into running. I signed up for a 10K virtual race this time. No 5K — just straight into a 10K. Well, I haven’t been running, and the race is scheduled to be live in just three weeks, so I don’t have much time to train. That means, of course, that I’m going to be doing a lot more walking than I am running. The biggest issue is going to be just dealing with the time, because music, audiobooks, or story line for the race aside, the treadmill gets boring very quickly. But I have a list a mile long of why I won’t run in the neighborhood, and why I don’t want to drive to a park to do my running. So, treadmill it is.

The race is the Run to the Deep and I already have the tank top in hand (because who can resist a kraken?), but I won’t wear it until the official race. That’s going to be my reward for training and seeing the race through. After the race I’ll likely drop back and do some additional foundation work, aiming to keep building muscle and adding in some sprints to get my speed up. I’ve only been training about two and a half weeks, but I can feel a difference in my legs already.

In writing news, we’ve begun working on stories for our third Corrugated Sky anthology, which we hope to release in September. I can tell you that the theme is zombies, but you’ll have to buy the book to read the stories. I’ll keep posting updates as the projects progress. Meanwhile, I’m finishing up the cover art for Seacombe Island and doing a final read-through to catch any typos or other issues. The novel should be ready for release in early March and I’ll keep you up-to-date on its progress. We also have some other novels in the works, and a writer’s journal series that is currently under development. In all, we are hoping to release five new titles this year, so it’s going to be a busy spring and summer!