Prompt: The Mage’s House

The directions seemed straightforward at first, but we were certain we’d made a mistake once we arrived. This couldn’t be a mage’s house!

Try to finish this prompt with an unusual setting! Post your scene or short story in the comments! Here are some images to get your imaginative juices started!

Author Interview with MJ McGriff

SP: Hey MJ! So excited to have you on the Spinning Pen! Before we get started, we want to hear about YOU and your writing journey! What made you want to write and what’s a fun fact you don’t mind sharing? 

I loved writing ever since I was a kid. It was a way for me to escape and be creative. I loved reading stories, writing my own version of them when I was done reading (I guess that’s early fanfic?) I also liked to write little serial stories starring my friends and then pass them out every week for them to read. By middle school I was writing fantasy novels by hand but when I got to high school I had to focus on getting a “real job”. Two degrees, a soul-sucking job, and a two kids later I returned to my love of writing, deciding to make a career out of it.

Fun fact: My first published novel was in the 3rd grade. Our teacher had us write and illustrate our own stories. Then she bound them and put them in the school library for the everyone to check out. I still have that book to this day!

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Author Interview with Kristy Cambron

SP: Hey Kristy! So glad to have you here on the Spinning Pen. 😊 Before we get started, we want to hear about YOU and your writing journey! What made you want to write and what’s a fun fact you don’t mind sharing?

Ciao— (to say Hello from working on my current novel, set in WW2 Rome. . .) Thanks for inviting me to stop by!

Is it okay to say that becoming an author wasn’t on my radar? While that was a dream job I’d never considered chasing at the time, I DID love visual storytelling in childhood and still do.

When we were young, our mom took my sister and me to the library every week in the summers. I have vivid memories of sitting on the floor in the book aisles, thumbing through thick volumes of Disney animation and art history books. That was when I truly fell in love with stories. But not being gifted in art enough to paint or sculpt or draw as a profession. . . I thought that meant I couldn’t create. It wasn’t until I went to school for art history that I realized a storyteller can (and does!) paint, but we do it with words.

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The Reclusive Hero

In literature, the Reclusive Hero is someone who tends to work in the shadows. They know what needs to be done and have a clear idea in their mind of what they need to do, but they prefer to keep their abilities hidden or—at bare minimum—avoid the spotlight. Once their work is completed, they’ll often slip back into the shadows until forced to emerge once again.

Two of my favorite Reclusive Heroes are Sherlock Holmes (who became a legend only because of the masterful storytelling of Watson) and James Scott Bell’s Mike Romeo. Both characters are well-read in matters that interest them, adept at problem solving, and quite comfortable spending the bulk of their time lost in their own thoughts. Unfortunately both have a low tolerance for spending any amount of time around groups of people, as they often find social activities to be rather draining on the nerves.

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The Romantic Hero

In literature, the Romantic Hero is an eternal optimist. They somehow know how to turn even the most desperate of situations into an opportunity and—to the outsider at least—may appear to rebound quickly from setbacks. In truth they keenly feel every bump and bruise. They just stubbornly choose to believe that the heartache is worthwhile, that each obstacle and roadblock is temporary, and that their eventual victory will be all the sweeter for all the tears.

Cress and Winter from The Lunar Chronicles are two of my favorite examples of romantic heroes. I love the way that Marissa Meyers took two fairy tales about damsels in distress and transformed them into examples of women of substance. Despite the cruel abuses they suffered at the hands of a wicked Queen, they still held onto their hope of seeing a better world for their people. They didn’t just work within the system they lived, they found ways around it—not to benefit themselves in the short-term, but to benefit others in the long-run.

“[The queen’s] words carried too much weight, but Winter didn’t try to decipher them. She was busy nudging at the girl with her toe, gesturing for her to get into the crate.

Winter, Marissa Meyers
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Interview with John Gorman

SP: Hey John! So glad to have you here on the Spinning Pen! Not only are you Medium famous but your slogans for a certain unnamed major tech company, are literally everywhere. Can you get me an autographed version of one of those airport billboards, because that would be great! Ok, putting on my semi serious hat…let’s talk about YOU and WRITING!

SP: You crank out a plethora of witty articles on Medium, have 52K followers, and an incredibly active fan base who regularly engage with your writing. How did you build this mighty empire??

JG: So, I kinda built it on accident. I wrote most of my pieces between 2014 and 2017 for an audience of no one. I jotted them down on Medium just to get them out of my own head, and if people read them (narrator: they didn’t), then all the better. Late in 2017, I had a story go viral and so I started 2018 by re-releasing my entire back-catalog of essays in the first 100 days. That put me over the “top”—to the extent that Medium semi-fame is “top”—and now here we are.

SP: People talk a lot about the importance of voice and finding it. It’s like the newest click-bait for authors. You, however, have a truly raw and authentic voice that’s refreshing. What has your journey been on the path to finding your voice? Or was it ever lost to begin with?

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The Reckless Hero

In literature, the Reckless Hero is someone who jumps into the fray with abandon (and often without a clear plan of action). The reckless hero doesn’t mind picking things up as they go along, but as a result, they may find themselves having to loop around or in a spot of trouble because they’re not always the best at listening to the warnings or advice of others.

One of my favorite Reckless Heroes is Rachel from C.J. Redwine’s Defiance Trilogy. She’s smart, she’s capable, she’s deadly, but her impulsive nature constantly lands her (and others around her) in hot water. Other favorite Reckless Heroes include Tanwen from Lindsay Franklin’s The Weaver Trilogy and Carswell Thorne from Melissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles. One of the things I admire most about the reckless hero is that they are fully committed to their cause—even if they’re working from questionable motives.

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Author Interview with Isabel Strychacz

SP: Hey Isabel! So excited to have you on the Spinning Pen! Before we get started, we want to hear about YOU and your writing journey! What made you want to write and what’s a fun fact you don’t mind sharing? 

Hello! I am so excited to chat with you. So I have always been a huge reader and loved telling stories, and I started writing down my tales as soon as I learned to write!  I truly feel that writing is just a part of me—I constantly have stories and characters and dialogue in my head— and it was my dream from a very early age to be an author. Fun fact— both my parents are authors, too! My mom is a mystery author and my dad writes academic books, so I grew up understanding that being an “author” was an actual job I could work towards. 

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The Reluctant Hero

In fiction, the Reluctant Hero is a protagonist who has to be jolted or dragged out of their comfort zone (even if it’s an unhealthy/unsafe one) at the beginning of their story. And even then, it takes them a while to fully commit to the journey. It doesn’t matter that they weren’t fully satisfied with where they were in life when we first meet them. True, they might not be happy being stuck where they are, but ordinary, predictable days are far safer than venturing out into the unknown where there is the risk of failure or even worse…success.

When I think about favorite characters who fall into this category, Bilbo and Frodo Baggins from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, El from Sara Ella’s Unblemished trilogy, Nym from Mary Weber’s Storm Siren trilogy, and Fawkes from Nadine Brandes’ Fawkes immediately come to mind. Each of them start out reluctantly, but through the course of their story learn to face their fears, recognize their strengths, and overcome the seemingly insurmountable odds stacked against them.

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SIMULATED Cover reveal!

We have exciting new! It’s a cover reveal!

From Young-Adult author Nova McBee comes the second book in the action-filled Calculated series, SIMULATED. Look for it May 13th! 

CONGRATS Nova! Spinning Pen founder, fierce supporter of new writers, Pitch Wars 2020 mentor, and an expert champion and bridge builder between existing authors, it is now Nova’s turn to be supported and loved on by our community!

Short blurb:

Set in Tunisia and Seattle, Simulated follows teen genius Jo Rivers as she teams up with a new band of prodigies to retrieve a dangerous file stolen by a mysterious hacker who knows far too much about her past.

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