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Back to writing

September 12, 2017 • erthwitch

After another too long interruption, I’m back to attempting a daily wordcount. Today so far I’ve added 263 words to chapter 10 of 2nd Hit. I did those this morning and now that I’ve got supper simmering I think I’ll go add a few more. I have lots of excuses for not writing regularly, but mostly it’s that I’m trying to do too many things and I haven’t scheduled my writing time in to the mix of things.

Nothing at all got done on anything at all for the past two weeks though, because I was sick with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. If you’ve ever had it, you’ll know why nothing got done. If you’ve never had it, take my word for it, this is something you can do without ever experiencing. There might be something in the living through it that will make its way into my writing eventually, though.

I haven’t done any more “priestess” art lately, but I did get some nature art done. “Ginseng in October” was the latest. It’s over at the Wild Ozark blog if you want to see it. I have done some miniatures for my fairy gardens, mostly mushrooms. And I have some ideas I want to work on with the clay sculpting for the grandkids birthday gifts with a little playset of mushrooms and fairies.

Getting back to writing.

Getting back to writing.


 

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Still writing

August 6, 2017 • erthwitch

This is just a brief post to let you know that I’m still working on the next book in my Bounty Hunter series. I don’t have many readers of this blog… well, actually, I’m not sure if I have ANY readers, lol.

Anyway, I finished chapter 8 and sent it out to beta readers the other night. Working on chapter 9 now. We’re about 10K words into 2nd Hit, and the target is 45K. So a long ways to go yet.

I’d like to write more often and more regularly. I’ll work on that. There’s just so much else going on in my Wild Ozark world that it’s hard to make the extra time. But isn’t that the case with any writer’s life? If I worked an outside day job, the issues would be the same. So I’ll try harder.

Books don’t write themselves, so I’m off to punch the keys on the other keyboard now 🙂


 

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Rural Fantasy Art

June 30, 2017 • erthwitch

Usually I draw pictures of plants and other nature things. I’ve never tried my hand at drawing images from my imagination, but I wanted to do a “Rural Fantasy” series. So I needed to get over the need for realism and let more creativity flow to do it.

Once the images began to take form in the material plane, I began to see more. Drawing is so similar to writing. Both involve bringing the imagination out to a form that can be witnessed by others. Both require letting go of internal editors or critics, the voices of whom would rather nothing ever see the light of day, it seems.

With a finished drawing on my hands, I had to decide how to sign it. All of my nonfiction writing is done under the name “Madison Woods”. My fiction is under “Ima Erthwitch”. But at the time of the first drawing’s completion, I didn’t have a fiction pen name and so it is signed as you see it below. Rather than assume another fictional artist’s name, I’ve decided to just keep all of my artwork under the same name, whether it is fantastical or realistic.

My Rural Fantasy Art

The first one is titled “Tree Priestess” and I finished her last year after carrying a vision of her around in my head for I don’t know how long. She appears in some of my prints and notecards now.

"Tree Priestess", Rural fantasy art by Madison Woods

Tree Priestess

The current drawing is called “Water Priestess“. You can follow along with my progress over at the Water Priestess page. I’ll update it as I can with pictures of the next steps until it’s done. When it’s finished, I’ll post a pic of it here, too.


 

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Savor

April 21, 2017 • erthwitch
Savor, a 100-word flash fiction story by Ima Erthwitch

Savor

The burn crept higher, rising from her root.  Her throat reddened.  Savvy dinner guests would have noticed.

Depending on the energetic pattern her gift took today, it would either give or take life. Heal or kill.

So today was a taking day.  Soon, she knew, the tremors would start. And once she crossed the threshold, nothing would stand in the way of release.

Silently, she willed them to get up and leave.

Hurry.

There was still time before it was too late. Part of her wanted them to escape.

She knew they wouldn’t.

That part of her savored the insight.


 

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Silence

April 8, 2017 • erthwitch
Silence, a 100-word flash fiction by Ima Erthwitch

Silence

 

There was nothing.

Not a sound or even a waggling leaf in a slight breeze. Barely two weeks ago, I’d spoken to her, right here in this spot. And now?

Even the acorns refused to speak. Ordinarily they were the loudest of all the forest, but I could never tell if it were the acorn itself murmuring or the tiny grub inside. The silence was disturbing.

Unsettling, like the eerie calm before a storm. How soon before this one came to collect? In what form would payment be demanded this time? It wouldn’t matter where I hid.

Compensation was inevitable.


 

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Grapevine

March 31, 2017 • erthwitch
grapevine photo that was the inspiration for Ima Erthwitch's 100-word flash fiction story titled "Grapevine".

Grapevine

If I had given more thought to the matter, to the infrastructure of this … arrangement … I might have avoided my current predicament.

The insidious creep disguised himself in the seductive beauty of light and form.

Then began the slow displacing of my own welfare, exchanged for the needs of another.

It seemed symbiotic initially. I got what I needed, he got what he needed and the vine that he had become produced very sweet fruit.

Only now, as the vine grows thick and cuts into my flesh, I question the wisdom of allowing myself to become the tree.


Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed my 100-words. There’s more stories like this on this site! From any page, you can click “Flash Fiction” in the menu to see the list of the ones I have posted so far.


 

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At the Gate

March 24, 2017 • erthwitch
Photo to accompany At the Gate, 100-word rural fantasy flash fiction by Ima Erthwitch

At the Gate

I realize what I’m telling you is hard to believe. But it all came together last night, while I was closing the gate, telling the trees goodbye. Everything made perfect sense. Not that I like it, you know, but it fits.

The land is sentient.

It knows.

It plans.

It executes.

That’s the scary part. The execution.  I don’t know how to explain it, this knowing. I see things differently now.  I know things I didn’t know before.  And everything that happens might look one way to the average person, but it means something entirely different to one who comprehends.


 

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What are Farkleberries? Or did I just make that up?

March 23, 2017 • erthwitch

If you’ve read First Hunt, you might have noticed the part where Treya is tasked with gathering farkleberries.

Are They Real?

You might have wondered if such a berry is a real thing, or if I just made it up along with all the other made up things in that story.

A ripe farkleberry from the Wild Ozark woods.

Ripe farkleberries in the Wild Ozark woods.

So there you have it. That’s a farkleberry, and it’s a real thing. They go by other names such as sparkleberries, huckleberries, and tree blueberries. The Latin binomial is Vaccinium arboreum.

Here’s the passage where Treya is learning about them:

The bush was covered with small blue-black berries, some of them beginning to shrivel but many still plump. Several of the bushes grew in the small area.

“Gather these while I make camp,” he said.

“What are they?” I asked, looking dubiously at the berries.

“Farkleberries. Good to eat fresh or dried,” he said as he popped on into his mouth. “Not so good to cook, but good to eat off the bush.”

I wished now I had paid more attention to the plants my parents collected during cataloging expeditions.

On the other side of the patch of bushes was a gigantic boulder. Under one side of it was a hollowed out spot. The rock overhang made a roof. DRSS passed the farkleberry bushes and set his pack down just outside the shadow of the rock. He started kicking smaller rocks out of the hollow.

~ excerpt from First Hunt, book one of the Bounty Hunter Trilogy (a first rural fantasy novel)

Are Farkleberries Edible?

I’ve read conflicting information about whether they taste good or whether they’re better used in jams or pies. So I tried some for myself last year. To me, they do have a good flavor, but they are tart. I think they’d make good jelly.

But they’re tiny, about the size of my little finger tip. It would take a lot of them to gather enough for much jelly or to make a pie. I also ate one that was past ripe and nearly shriveled. If you ask me, that one tasted better.

I don’t recommend going about in the woods sampling the berries you find unless you know what they are. Some things that grow in the woods are poisonous to humans but downright tasty to animals. Mushrooms, especially. Squirrels can eat mushrooms that would make a person wish they were dying. Squirrels have a certain enzyme that allows them to digest the toxin. People don’t.

More Information

There’s a great site called “Foraging Texas” that goes into a lot of detail about them and many other plants. The site is about foraging for wild things in Texas, but the farkleberries, and lots of the other plants he profiles on his site do grow here in the Ozarks too.

What else eats farkleberries?

Well, according to one reader, Lisa, maybe unicorns like to eat them. At least that’s what her daughters speculated. But they’re called “sparkleberries” to them. And I figured woodsprites like them, so she sent a pic of one of her woodsprites 🙂

A little woodsprite who pro bably likes sparkleberries.

A little woodsprite who probably likes sparkleberries.

In reality, though, birds and all sorts of woodland critters like to eat them. Most of them are gone by the time I ever get out there to check on them.


 

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The Choice

March 17, 2017 • erthwitch

Photo prompt for The Choice, 100-word flash fiction by Ima Erthwitch

The Choice

“There can only be one … One what?” I asked.

“One bond,” she said.

Her voice and that of the creek were difficult to distinguish, but I heard her clearly all the same. The implications of what she meant seeped into and stilled my heart, leaving nothing but her words echoing in my ears.

She meant it was time to choose.

I knew this moment would come, and my decision had already been made.  Months ago the soothsayer showed me where my path would diverge.

The depth of my pain upon acknowledging the choice I’d made was what surprised me.


I stop at this rock for stretching exercises and morning sun salutations after walking and/or jogging to the mailbox. Our mailbox is about 1/2 mile away on our hilly driveway, so it’s a good hike whether I meander or push myself to jog any of it. 


 

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Sapphire Rhapsody

March 10, 2017 • erthwitch

Photo prompt for Sapphire Rhapsody by Ima Erthwitch

Sapphire Rhapsody

She rolled the pink sapphire from hand to hand, gauging the weight. Placing it to her lips, she inhaled slowly. A few stray ions lingered.

Good.

She placed the stone into her mouth on her tongue, avoiding her teeth. Touching them would have grounded the little energy she’d managed to siphon off.

Raising a small box to her mouth, she deposited the reenergized jewel inside. Fractured light burst through the sheer mica top, particle and wave both playing a rhapsody against the miniscule tiles lining the sides of the container.

“Hear it?” She smiled. “That’s where I got my name.”


Sapphire Rhapsody is a character from the second book of my Bounty Hunter series, 2nd Kill. She’s an ARSA agent with enhancements that allow her to use the elemental signatures of precious and semi-precious stones to harness and manipulate energy. The first book of that series, First Hunt, is available now at Amazon. Sign on to be a beta reader or early reviewer and you can get the second book free.


 

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