Tag Archives: stories

To Vegan or Not to Vegan – Worldbuilding a Future Generation

An appropriate post for National Vegetarian Week! When I began worldbuilding for The Seren Stone Chronicles, there was much to sort out. Set roughly two thousand years into our future, the populace has learned a great deal from our mistakes.

To Vegan or not to Vegan - Worldbuilding - Writing a Future Generation - The Last Krystallos

Their ancestors had to live through apocalyptic consequences of our generation’s capitalism and complete disregard for the environment. So, their outlook is very different to ours. Many things have changed, from the landscape which suffered and shifted hugely in the ensuing chaos, variations in the chemical makeup of minerals and natural elements, a large loss of population, and the rise of dragons

Dryslwyn Castle Cait and Lisa The Last krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

The Chronicles are set in Wales within a naturally simplistic countryside, having lost the large cities a millennia or so earlier. Though technology levels, beliefs, and lives the world over will be different, my lands are a beautiful backdrop to include the changes in landscape and scenery, and to introduce dragons. It lends to a natural community which have turned their backs on twenty-first century technology and embraced the organic and elemental ways of life. This is a society that renounced plastic and tech generations ago because of its aftermath, and makes choices with empathy and a symbiotic relationship with the earth.

The Seren Stone Chronicles -Worldbuilding - Writing a Future Generation - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

The question of food and sustenance crept into my worldbuilding, and I thought I’d be making the decisions, but my characters told me exactly where their values stood.

Their choices lead me to Carnage, a BBC iPlayer mockumentary on veganism. This also coincided with my daughter (who’s been vegan for over a year and vegetarian for two) showing me Cowspiracy as I needed to learn about the environmental damage caused by our current diets and animal agriculture. I wanted to know if meat-eating, vegetarianism, or veganism would be part of their future.  I like that we can be both light-hearted and informative about veganism, especially when the stereotypes are so vicious, but both these programmes and further research opened my eyes to much more than I’d expected.

Field -To Vegan or not to Vegan - Worldbuilding - Writing a Future Generation - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

As I wrote, my characters let me know that environmental issues are an imperative part of their lives. They are determined not to make the mistakes of ancestors and they choose to live sustainably. This doesn’t mean they have no tech – just very different devices to ours – and their food choices and health became a crucial part of my worldbuilding.

They use natural materials for building, clothing, and technology, but my biggest dilemma was with leather. However, leather is still a by-product of wild animals, and dragons, quickly reaped when animals die and is highly valued and respected.

Moors - To Vegan or not to Vegan - Worldbuilding - Writing a Future Generation - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Without the huge populations that we have today, mass-marketing and factory-farming are a thing of the past, and choices based on environment, welfare, and ethics are much easier to make.

Incidentally, my research brought me to a pivotal point in my own life. I won’t judge anyone on their own choices, but within a month I was a fully-fledged vegan. We often get portrayed as self-righteous and of inflicting our food choices on others to make them feel guilty. This, in general, couldn’t be any further than the truth. Our care and evangelism is about the environment and the animals about us – and you can’t blame anyone for wanting to share how to help the world, can you?

Berries - To Vegan or not to Vegan - Worldbuilding - Writing a Future Generation - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

I’ve also discovered a true love of food and the alternatives that exist out there. I thought I could never live without milk-chocolate, or cheese, or lamb, but I don’t miss any of it. My characters couldn’t imagine a life any other way, though there are definitely people who will differ and choose other diets and ways of living, just as it is in our world.

Worldbuilding is a fascinating process, especially when your characters spell out their ethics and conscience to you, and help you change your own life!

Have you ever been influenced by another world in a book,
or wished you lived in a different time?

Dragons, Castles, Wales, and Works In Progress…

Now that Human 76 is out there in the wild
and you’re all getting your post-apocalyptic fix,
I need to get back into my tales and my WIP (Work In Progress).

Dragons, Castles, Wales, and WIP... The Last Krystallos.

Exciting plans involve a short story collection embracing a dragon theme and then a new series. The short stories will include a story that ties to The Hope Within Books and a new tale that will link directly to my new chronicles.

Dryslwyn Castle Cait and Lisa The Last krystallos June 2016

Caitlin and Lisa at Dryslwyn Castle with Paxton’s Tower © Bekah Shambrook

So, as a teaser this post is a visit to Dryslwyn Castle in Carmarthen which will play a part in my WIP. These books are set far, far into the future:

‘Centuries beyond post-apocalyptic, the landscape of Wales has turned into a whole new country…and the rumble of dragons has returned…’

I’ve spent the last year travelling across Wales, researching, and having fun! You may recall my blog post Road Trip through the raw beauty of Wales, not only did we have fun, but we mapped out the landscape that I’m going to need.

Dryslwyn Castle, Black Mountain , Tywi Valley, Lisa Shambrook,

The Black Mountain in the far distance from Dryslwyn Castle © Lisa Shambrook

Dryslwyn is a ruined medieval castle, the very strategically placed home for 13th century Rhys ap Maredudd, high above the Tywi Valley. It was a front line defence but deliberately decommissioned in the early 15th century. It was walled up, blockaded and ruined, and burnt to the ground at a later date.

Dryslwyn Castle, hills, Lisa Shambrook,

Dryslwyn Castle foundations… © Lisa Shambrook

However, it still holds strong foundations upon the hilltop peering across at Paxton’s Tower, the neo-gothic folly erected in memory of Lord Nelson in the 18th century.

Dryslwyn-castle-paxton-tower-the-last-krystallos

Paxton’s Tower across the Tywi Valley… © Lisa Shambrook

In my future the current Twyi Valley will be a flooded land populated by islands, including Dryslwyn castle which may be a stronghold for its owners – and I know exactly who will live there – having rebuilt a small fort of her own within the safety of the islands…

Dryslwyn castle, lisa shambrook, the last krystallos,

Dryslwyn Castle and Caitlin… © Lisa Shambrook

We had a lovely visit planning and plotting and imagining post-apocalyptic futures…

It’s been quite a week for contemplating the future
and dystopia and post-apocalyptic seem appropriate!
*spoken with tongue firmly in cheek*

What are your plans for the future? 

Love Bites 2016 – Anti-Valentine Story Contest

I’m teaming up with Ruth, LauraLizzie and Cara at Ink After Dark to offer you
Love Bites 2016
Our Anti-Valentine blog hop, back for a new year!

Love Bites Badge 2016

You know you want to join in…
Open from January 29th – February 12th 2016

So hop over and leave your stories in the comments section of
Ink After Dark’s Love Bites Post (NOT this post).

  • Flash Fiction Challenge
  • Theme: Thwarted Love OR Vengeful Love
  • Submissions Accepted: January 29 – February 12, 2016
  • Word Count: 500 Word Minimum / 750 Word Maximum
  • Prize Package Announced: February 5, 2016
  • Winners Announced: February 15, 2016
  • Post stories in comment box on Ink After Dark’s Love Bites Post with word count and Twitter handle (or other way to notify you of victory).

If you want some inspiration…take a look at our previous years stories… 2013 and 2014.

 

Great Books – Buy Indie this Christmas…

With Christmas coming, I’m sharing my favourite Indie reads…
So if you want to share the love and read some amazing books –
take your choice from a great mix of genres.
There’s something for everyone!

indie-support-the-last-krystallos-titleThe most important thing you can do to help an indie author or creative, is to support them by buying and reviewing their product, and then sharing and spreading the word as much as you can. I’m not asking you to shout about every book you read, but if you love it, then share the love and tell people – we’ll love you forever!

My_Name_Is_RowanMy Name is Rowan – Tracy Hewitt Meyer
Young Adult

This three-in-one book compiles all three Rowan Slone novels, so you get great value and a fantastic YA story.
This book has a depth and raw edge that many YA novels don’t, dealing with real teen issues and no sugar coating. Tracy Hewitt Meyer‘s writing is authentic and her words draw you right into Rowan’s life. The characters are so well drawn that I was still considering their arcs days after finishing each book.  It’s a story of damage and abuse, loss and despair, but ultimately of absolution and trust, hope and strength.
This book is a real page-turner and its heartfelt beauty will draw you in as you find out if Rowan can get her life back on track…

Dead_Sea_Games_J_HazzardDead Sea Games – Zombies – J. Whitworth Hazzard
Horror/Zombie

If you like stories about survival, about beating the odds against the flesh-eating hordes, then ‘Dead Sea Games’ is the book for you! J. Whitworth Hazzard’s Deathwish will keep you biting your nails as you urge him to outlive the forces against him…
I was gripped from the very first page of this harsh tale of life in a post-apocalyptic world, where the city’s surviving inhabitants live in tower blocks and stay away from the streets below. As the stakes rise, the characters are thrown into life and death situations, and this brilliantly disturbing series will stay with you…and you won’t want to put it down!
*Includes adult language

Wind Chime Cover_5Wind Chime Café – Sophie Moss
Romance

Whenever I visit Heron Island, I feel like the wind whispers through my hair, and I can taste salt on my lips, and hear the ocean lapping at my feet… If you love romance then Sophie Moss is the writer for you – she has a way with words that will draw you deep into life on the island and connect you with her characters. Gorgeous detail and imagery bring her stories to life setting you right there making you twirl like a butterfly as the tale infuses your senses. Taste the ocean, see the colours and inhale the aroma of sweet cinnamon rolls. You’ll hear crashing waves and the story will touch you, leaving you wanting more…

Orison-Cover-daniel-swensenOrison – Daniel Swensen
Fantasy

Captivating, riveting, fast-paced fantasy – ‘Orison’ enchanted me. Daniel Swensen is an intelligent and delightful writer, and if you haven’t read ‘Orison’ yet, you absolutely should.
From the beginning I was caught up in Story’s tale, as she leapt from rooftop to rooftop and several times, thanks to the author’s superior description, my heart was in my mouth. Swensen intertwines his characters and their individual tales so well, you won’t predict the plot, but you’ll be waiting for them to overlap, and you won’t be sorry when they do! Each character, from the quietly rebellious Story, worn-down Wrynn and loyal Ashen, weaves through the background of Calushain and an epic tale unfolds…you will be bookmarking this author for more.

cover front04 mainYou’re Not Alone – An Anthology
Mix of Genres

This anthology was put together by Ian D Moore and a group of authors who wanted to make a difference, all proceeds go to Macmillan Nurses as they help in the battle against cancer. Many of the authors have first-hand experience of cancer or know someone close who’s suffering, and were delighted to contribute to this book.
You will be whisked into a magical world of remembrance with Sylva Fae’s gorgeous tale ‘Lilies for the Mantel’, enchanted by my own fairytale ‘Love’s Silent Ache’, have your heart stolen byNico Laeser’s ‘No Longer Broken’ and stirred with ‘A Year Afterwards’ by Lesley Hayes. Throw in a great mix of stories including Max Power’s ‘Babes’, ‘Last Goodbye’ by Paul Ruddock, ‘If the Shoe Fits’ by Katharine E. Hamilton and ‘Ooh Air Margrit’ by Rebecca Bryn, and you’re onto a winner. These are just some of my favourites and there are plenty more!
The tales are a wonderful mix of genres and beautiful writing from great authors.

228148_417400521642905_511546514_nOceanswept – Lara Hays
Historical Romance

Swashbuckling pirates and romance on the high seas… I got caught up and swept along in this period pirate romance. I enjoyed Lara Hays‘ intricate and beautiful description and very much felt as if I was there on the ocean myself.
Tessa Monroe is lost at sea and rescued by pirates. On the ship, she finds herself in all kinds of trouble with only one protector, the dashing and mysterious Nicholas. She finds herself falling for this dark and enigmatic man in a way that she tries to fight, but as he consistently defends her honour he earns her respect and admiration. Tessa is a feisty lead and is a good match for Nicholas, but can they find happiness aboard a pirate ship?

EW-Cover-for-eboo-nEdgar Wilde and the Lost Grimoire – Paul Ramey
Young Adult

This story held my attention and delighted me with its wonderful description and characters. This is a tale of gothic fantasy and contemporary relationships which will intrigue you.
Edgar is a teenager with an obsession for graveyards and history. He very soon finds himself in direct competition with the local society of ladies hunting down the fabled lost grimoire. Some fabulous characters emerge, one of my favourites being Corinthian, the cemetery attendant, who helps Edgar in his search. Edgar enlists the help of fellow teen Shelby and they get wrapped up in a beautifully described relationship and detective work.
You will love the history intertwined with the contemporary setting and a tale that will both delight and enchant you. I am looking forward to reading much more from Paul Ramey and Edgar Wilde!
*Includes adult language

lizzie-koch-adventures-of-katie-button-2015The Adventures of Katie Button – Lizzie Koch
Chick Lit

If you’re looking for a fun read, you’ll have just that with Katie!
Katie has a dilemma, two brothers, both vying for her attention…and her choice is made all the more difficult as she’s dreaming about one of them. As her dreams begin to collide with reality, scatty Katie must make a decision, but will it be the right one? Katie’s dreams begin to affect her work and she needs to find an answer…
Lizzie Koch writes with a sassy and fun attitude and Katie will warm your heart as she struggles to make her way through the day without making a faux pas. Katie Button is a character you’ll relate to and  and this chick lit book will both delight you and make you laugh.

MinstrelMinstrel – Marissa Ames
Historical Fantasy

A riveting tale of medieval intrigue. A powerful and captivating story set in medieval Tir Athair. Strong, fully-fleshed characters drive this tale, drawing you into a world where everything is about to change. Subterfuge and mistaken identities abound and you will be enthralled as you begin to follow frustrated Liam, feisty Molly, and formidable royal twins amid an intense power struggle.
The strength of Marissa Ames’ writing lies within beautifully realised characters, well-developed world building, tightly drawn politics and authenticity. This is a delightful and intriguing story that will keep you reading, and leave you wanting more from Tir Athair.

10898273_1521902424750674_3752184837970645176_nSkin Cage – Nico Laeser
Contemporary Fiction

An intriguing and enchanting read… The stylish cover piqued my curiosity, along with the idea of being trapped within one’s own body, and I knew I wanted to read this story. It’s an absorbing tale of a young man imprisoned inside his paralysed body, and his struggle to be heard. It’s one of those taboo subjects, and something that horrifies us, to be caught still totally lucid and alive, but frozen and unable to be heard.
Nico Laeser takes us through the inner workings of Danny’s mind with such fluidity and believability; it’s hard not to believe the author’s already been there himself. His language and writing and imagination creates an authenticity that drew me right in.
The beauty of Laeser’s writing kept me reading, particularly at the end, where it brought me to tears, leaving me wanting more and keen to read further works from this talented author.

12140898_1912278298997938_6642693972730892579_oThe Drowned Phoenician Sailor – Lesley Hayes
Contemporary Drama

I’m only 20% through this book, but it’s written with such beautiful prose and style that it has to be included… I’m hooked and intrigued and keen to see where the author is taking me. This is a character driven story and the protagonist is both flawed and fascinating. One of the best things about a story is the ability the author has to take me on a journey, and this one is exhibiting twists and turns, and a title that just makes me want to read on… Fynn is in therapy, but right at the start, her sessions are rudely interrupted by fate. You will want to know more, and as I know several readers who rate this book, and its author, incredibly highly, I know I’m going to enjoy it!

Final-Front-CoverThe Complicated Geography of Alice – Jules Vilmur
Autobiographical

There are stories in life that should be told, that need to be told, and this is one of them. Alice is alive with the fire of life, a yearning to be who she is and to be accepted, and my heart ached for both Alice and for her family. Teenage years are stormy for most, but for a transgender teen, life can be almost impossible. However, this book presents an honest portrayal of a family trying to cope through times of helplessness with humour, love and compassion.
The tears I shed for Alice and her family were genuine and heartfelt, as were the words tying this story together. Alice’s mother shares her story and writes with raw emotion, truth and grit. This story is a tough read, but one of the most rewarding you’ll find. I hope you will come away, like I did, with both greater understanding and compassion.
*Includes adult language

Cutthroats and Curses - An Anthology of PiratesCutthroats and Curses – A Piratical Anthology
Pirate

Ahoy there shipmates! If you’re looking for a swashbuckling, piratical tale…you need look no further…for ‘Cutthroats and Curses – An Anthology of Pirates’. Featuring eleven great writers: Michael Wombat, Lisa Shambrook, Boyd Miles, Marissa Ames, Bryan Taylor, Beth Avery, Matt Jameson, Eric Martell, Michael Walker, Stephen Coltrane, and Alex Brightsmith, there will be something for everyone!
My tale is a Steampunk tale of Captain Jericha Blacklocke’s bid to survive both catch twenty-two and a vengeful dragon to save her crew aboard The Paroxysm. A story thick with emotion and tension, corsets and longing, goggles and jewels, and a desire to survive and atone…
However, you’re going to love the eclectic mix of fantastic writing from some amazing authors.

There’s definitely something for everyone here! 

Click on the book or the title and find the Amazon.co.uk link…
to find your local Amazon replace the .co.uk with your own country link eg: .com .fr 

Through the Portal – Read Write Muse

This collection of stories really caught my attention and grabbed my emotions…if you’re looking for a book of poignant short stories, this could be it.

The collective of authors over at Read, Write, Muse got together to write about the theme of ‘portals’ and they created a beautiful book that touches your heartstrings! 

Through The Portal by a collective of authors at Read, Write, Muse

Through The Portal by a collective of authors at Read, Write, Muse

Sometimes it’s the most simple of stories that hit you. Rob Holliday’s Hotspots did just that, such poignancy and sadness edged with beautiful description of love and a story that will stay with me. As with The Bridge, by D.M. Kilgore, again something simple, and for a moment I thought too saccharine sweet, but it pulled at my heartstrings and took me to a beautiful place, resonating with me, because my first novel also touches on very similar places.

L.E. Custodio’s poem With Heaven as my Guide …took me to a place of wonder as references made me smile and I was right there lost within those stories.

S.R. Karfelt’s brilliant opening line of Portal Potty grabbed me with such intensity that I couldn’t stop reading and when I did, my heart broke. My heart also wept for the true stories shared, emotions that again resonated as I’ve suffered that demon depression and been touched by the sadness of cancer in my life.

This is a collection, from poetry to flash fiction, short stories and novellas to non-fiction that offers you something of everything. Whatever your favourite genre, you’ll find something here. A teaser for LaDonna Cole’s Torn series has beguiled me and I am looking to discover more from several of these authors.

I’ve only touched on a few of the stories here, you’ll have to buy the anthology to choose your own favourites!

A tender set of pieces coming from pain and suffering, but then its only through the pain and opposition in life that we get to appreciate the best of life! Tales of love, of battle and of a will to triumph…

Find it on Amazon UK, Amazon US in eBook and paperback, and on Goodreads.

And for the first year Read, Write, Muse will donate $1 per book sale to a cancer related charity.

Tales by The Tree

An eclectic mix of Christmas tales, 
a story for everyone!
I was very privileged to be asked to write for a new Christmas/Holiday Season Anthology. Over 40 authors created 75 Winter tales for the book which donates all of its proceeds to Mount Rose Elementary School library in Reno, Nevada. 
My own copy…
The book is separated into four genres: Family Friendly, Traditional Tales, Holiday Humour and Noel Nightmares, each with their own beautifully illustrated title page. The fantastic cover and interior art, and all formatting was generously donated by Blue Harvest Creative. We, authors, were happy to write for a project celebrating this lovely time of year! 
You’ll find tales to delight children and adults alike, crossing the vast snowy plains, sorry, genres of this season…nativities, fairies, Santa stuck in a chimney, a town buried beneath ice, magic, unicorns, children desperate for Christmas Day, enchanted snowflakes, dragons, good deeds, angels, zombies, stars, invitations to macabre parties…and so much more!  
This book, the perfect accompaniment to Christmas, is available from Amazon in paperback and eBook. It’s ideal to dip into, read aloud in front of a roaring fire on a cold winter night, or enjoy anytime, anywhere!
Welcome to Tales by the Tree, a collection of holiday stories brought to you by a group of authors whose imagination knows no bounds. No matter how you enjoy your holidays, our collection features something for everyone. Included are Traditional Tales, Family Friendly, Holiday Humor, and Noel Nightmares.  

Grab a cup of cocoa and settle in for a long winter’s night with Tales by The Tree, an amazing way to discover new talented authors, many of whom are published and can be found on Amazon.

Tales by The Tree amazon.co.uk

Tales by The Tree amazon.com 

12 Days of Christmas: Stories

Day Nine of 12 Days of Christmas …and it’s: Stories, we all love stories!
Photograph by Lisa Shambrook (please do not use without permission)
Stories
“Could you stay behind please Cara.” Cara sat back down at her desk and spent the next few minutes pulling fluff bobbles from her school jumper. 
“I wish you’d foster that kind of attention on your school work, rather than your uniform Miss Langston.” Cara jumped as Mr Lewis approached. “It’s been noted you’re withdrawn, that maybe, you’re not happy…that maybe…”
There was a knock at the door and his face relaxed. Mrs Taylor walked in. “Sorry I’m late, bit of a rush!”
They both regarded Cara with such seriousness she wanted to laugh.
Mrs Taylor spoke softly. “Cara, we’ve had some concerns and just wanted to be sure you’re okay?” Cara’s shoulders relaxed, maybe they were about to address the bullying. Mrs Taylor continued. “It’s obvious you haven’t been happy this term…” 
Only this term, thought Cara, they haven’t watched me that closely then!
“If we can help…” Mr Lewis flicked through her English exercise book.
“Is this because of my story?”  Cara stared straight at her English tutor. Mr Lewis cast a sideways glance at Mrs Taylor.
“It is isn’t it? It’s fiction you know! All made up!”
“Of course it is!” Mrs Taylor smiled, “Just that if it wasn’t…”
“It is.” Cara rubbed her forehead, “I have an overactive imagination.”
“It’s very lifelike, very real…”
“But it’s not,” insisted Cara.
“But you understand why we’re concerned?”
Cara flushed. “They’re just stories, things I make up and write down…”
Is there anything you’d like to tell us? We’ll always be here.”
Cara shook her head and after a moment Mr Lewis dismissed her.
The school was so intuitive…fiction had raised alarms, whilst her reclusive state at the hands of bullies was missed. Cara didn’t trust the school to put a plaster on her finger, even less a psychiatric overhaul!
(301 Words)
Day Nine: September – Stories
And there are more great stories to read…