Skip to Content

Category: rural fantasy

What Am I Doing? Not Writing. But I Am Sculpting.

October 3, 2017 • erthwitch

It’s not fair to say I’m not writing, but I didn’t today. Yesterday (or was it the day before?) I finished chapter 11 in 2nd Hit.

By the way, I want to come up with a better name for each of the titles, including the series name. “Bounty Hunter” doesn’t say much about the genre or the story. “First Hunt” needs some refining, too, and “2nd Hit” leaves out a huge chunk of what the story is about. And the covers definitely need work.

Anyway, this is what I’ve been working on lately when I’m not writing. Pixies for Wild Ozark. The first one is named Helga and she’s really rough looking. The second one is coming along better. Her name is still pending and I’m taking suggestions. I’m thinking “Annabelle”.

If you want to know more about the pixies, I have a post over at the Wild Ozark blog about them. This is really fun and creative work and I’ll probably keep building the collection. All the grandkids want a set of their own, so I have at least three more sets to make just for them. Each set takes a few days to create, though I hope to get more efficient with it as I figure out how to do them better.

Pixie #2 in progress

This is one of the things I do when I’m not writing. Pixie #2 in progress. Leave name suggestions in the comments!

Helga, Pixie #1, looking a little rough around the edges.

Helga, Pixie #1, looking a little rough around the edges.

All of this art isn’t necessarily wasted time nor procrastination. As I create these little things I’m coming up with a whole world for them. It’s world-building in 3-d. These pixies might, or very likely will be, characters in upcoming stories. I already have one story involving Ozark pixies, and ideas are gestating now for more.


 

Sign up for my newsletter

You'll get announcements of new stories & follow my progress with the Bounty Hunter series. Note: AOL blocks my newsletters, so you may not get them if you're using an AOL address.

* indicates required
Beta and Review Team
Categories: rural fantasy art

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.


 

Sign up for my newsletter

You'll get announcements of new stories & follow my progress with the Bounty Hunter series. Note: AOL blocks my newsletters, so you may not get them if you're using an AOL address.

* indicates required
Beta and Review Team

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.


 

Sign up for my newsletter

You'll get announcements of new stories & follow my progress with the Bounty Hunter series. Note: AOL blocks my newsletters, so you may not get them if you're using an AOL address.

* indicates required
Beta and Review Team

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.


 

Sign up for my newsletter

You'll get announcements of new stories & follow my progress with the Bounty Hunter series. Note: AOL blocks my newsletters, so you may not get them if you're using an AOL address.

* indicates required
Beta and Review Team

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.


 

Sign up for my newsletter

You'll get announcements of new stories & follow my progress with the Bounty Hunter series. Note: AOL blocks my newsletters, so you may not get them if you're using an AOL address.

* indicates required
Beta and Review Team

The Taste of Witch Hazel

February 1, 2017 • erthwitch

Here’s an excerpt from yesterday’s word count:

While I’d learned the names of many plants by helping my parents on cataloging expeditions, I didn’t know much about using them. DRSS said chewing twigs of witch hazel would help with any ill effects of the spring water … or did he say spicebush twigs?
I pushed one of the shrubs out of my face and broke off a twig to chew. There were still a few of last year’s nut pods clinging. The empty shells crumbled and fell between my fingers. Nothing. Too bad, too. I was tired of eating freeze-dried rations and hoped for a little more flavor tonight. As soon as I put the twig in my mouth I knew it wasn’t going to be something I’d want to do often.
“Hey,” I croaked.
“Huh,” DRSS grunted as he hacked a path through a patch of catbriers.
“Is is witch hazel or spicebush you said to chew on?” I spat the astringent taste of witch hazel out of my mouth. My mouth felt as if all the moisture had wicked out of it and my throat puckered tight. I took a small sip of my water, swished, and spat again before taking another sip to swallow.
“Spicebush.”
“Oh.” Good. That witch hazel stuff was awful.
“But if you did have the runs, the witch hazel would help quell it.”
Uggh. I gathered a few twigs and stuffed them into one of the lower leg pockets that wasn’t already too full. Never knew when I might need the nasty stuff.

from the excerpt "Taste of Witch Hazel" by Ima Erthwitch

Witch hazel flowers.


 

Sign up for my newsletter

You'll get announcements of new stories & follow my progress with the Bounty Hunter series. Note: AOL blocks my newsletters, so you may not get them if you're using an AOL address.

* indicates required
Beta and Review Team

Little Spells

January 22, 2017 • erthwitch
Little Spells, a 100 word flash fiction story from Ima Erthwitch.

Image credit goes to Cut out and Keep.

Little Spells

His hand trembled as he held the sealed vial to the window. I watched his face pale in the filtered sunlight as it
illuminated the words on the tiny scroll.

”What is this?” he asked, handing it to me.

He wanted me to lie. My little spells always made him nervous. His slight tremor was enough to give me reason to carefully consider
my response.

”What do you think?” I asked. Great tactic. Answer a question with a question. A few seconds passed.

I put the vial on the floor. Smashed it with my shoe.

”There,” I said. “It’s gone.”


 

Sign up for my newsletter

You'll get announcements of new stories & follow my progress with the Bounty Hunter series. Note: AOL blocks my newsletters, so you may not get them if you're using an AOL address.

* indicates required
Beta and Review Team

In the Blink of an Eye

December 21, 2016 • erthwitch

I set out to write a new first sentence, maybe two or three, for The First Hunt.

500 words later I realized I’d rewritten the entire first chapter. And so it turns out that in the blink of an eye my story has a new beginning that better sets the tone and introduces the protagonist, Treya.

Here’s the first paragraph:

Many people say life can change in the blink of an eye. I can testify to that. My name is Treya. A man who smelled of mold materialized out of thin air on a crowded street in Bentonville . Right in front of me. He muttered a threat and then disappeared in that same blink of an eye way. Totally disintegrated my notions of how the Universe operated and propelled me toward today’s life-changing event.


 

Sign up for my newsletter

You'll get announcements of new stories & follow my progress with the Bounty Hunter series. Note: AOL blocks my newsletters, so you may not get them if you're using an AOL address.

* indicates required
Beta and Review Team

Excerpt from Chapter 9 of “The First Hunt”

November 23, 2016 • erthwitch

The First Hunt by Ima Erthwitch book cover.“The First Hunt” is the first book of my Bounty Hunter series. It’s set in northwest Arkansas. Most of book one takes place in the Ozark outback, away from the populated towns or cities.

I’ve been working on revising and polishing the second draft and thought I’d post a little from today’s work. Let me know if it piques your interest.

Chapter Nine
Leaving City Limits

Nothing looked the same on the outskirts anymore. Nothing was the same anymore in town either, but the change was more drastic out here. Lowell and Springdale looked like ghost towns. Where there had once been shopping malls and service stations and restaurants, now there were empty parking lots with weeds and cedar trees growing in the cracks. The buildings were little more than empty shells. Some of them had been partially demolished.

The large department stores were still in use, but they weren’t for public use any longer. DRSS noticed me craning my neck to better see what used to be a Neighborhood Market grocery store.

“They use them for warehousing now,” he said.

“For warehousing what?” I asked.

“Food, commodities. Whatever. All those things that are delivered weekly in the People’s Care Packages,” he said.

“Oh.”

As we passed it, I noticed the guard station at the entrance to the complex.

“So where do all the things come from if there aren’t any more factories here to produce them?” I asked. No one I knew worked in such a facility. I’d never paid much attention to where my food and toilet paper had come from since they started arriving in boxes.


 

Sign up for my newsletter

You'll get announcements of new stories & follow my progress with the Bounty Hunter series. Note: AOL blocks my newsletters, so you may not get them if you're using an AOL address.

* indicates required
Beta and Review Team
%d bloggers like this: