Welcome to Flying Tiger Press

At Flying Tiger Press, you’ll find stories about people– people grappling with new magical abilities, venturing on journeys of self-discovery, finding love in unexpected places.
The battles 
fought are on home ground. The stakes played are closest to the heart.

Flying Tiger books. Where magic gets personal.

Explore the magic of Flying Tiger Press books. Read samples at For Your Reading Enjoyment. Buy Flying Tiger books at Amazon and other major online retailers.


Shadowbound Amazon page

Springtime in Hades Amazon pageDo You Believe in Magic Amazon pageForeshadow Amazon page







Flying Tiger Press is the imprint for fantasy by
Kathlena L. Contreras and K. Lynn Bay.


Mar 16

Crooked Magic – The End Is In Sight!

I’m as amazed as anyone. I’ve been slowly plugging along on Crooked Magic, the sequel to Familiar Magic, when I suddenly realized it: I’m closing in on the finish line! I’m working on the scene before the climax. I figure I have about 6,000 to 8,000 more words to finish.

In the spirit of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, here’s an excerpt from Chapter 2 of Crooked Magic, which will be published under my Kathlena L. Contreras pen name:

Amethyst Rey.

Her name came as clear as if someone had whispered it from the back seat. She whipped around, any impulse toward laughter gone. The street behind them was thick with the glare of headlights, the glow of signs and street lights.

“Did you hear that?” she said. ‘Hear’ wasn’t the right word, but there wasn’t one better.

“What was it?” Talys wasn’t alarmed. Just…curious. Interested.

“My name. Someone’s thinking my name. Someone close by.”

He peered into the mirror once more. “Ah. I’d perceived we were being followed.”

“You—” She pushed a breath through pursed lips. No point arguing about why he’d neglected to mention it earlier. She shot a narrow look back. “Well, let them follow this.”

She reached for the magic. A coil of Talys’ silver energy held her back.

“Wait,” he said. “I see some value in discovering who should be so presumptuous. Don’t you?”

“I don’t know.” She dug through the junk heap of spells in her mind. One conjured a doppelgänger. Another used light to baffle and bewilder an enemy, perfect for the circumstances. A third made the hunter follow his own tracks until the spell was dispersed—or until the hunted decided to put an end to the hapless circling.

She sighed. “I guess you’re right.”

“Confidence, love,” he said, flipped on the signal and turned left onto a side street.

The stores in the strip malls on either side of the street gave way to a back alley, then the windowless, metal-roofed blocks of what must’ve been warehouses or industrial buildings. The street dipped down and the busy flow of traffic on Menaul disappeared.

“I changed my mind. This is not a good idea.”

“Patience. Just a moment more, I think.”

He flipped the car into a U-turn, pulled to the curb and twisted off the lights.

Amethyst pulled her seatbelt out, let it snap back.

Talys reached over and put a hand over hers. “Be still.”

She knotted her hands together in her lap. Headlights appeared up the street, one—no, two cars.

“Shit,” she said. Read the rest of this entry »

Mar 15

Dissecting a Sentence

Dave Barry is one of my all-time favorite humorists. Here’s his take on how to diagram a sentence.

Ask Mr. Language Person

Q. Please explain how to diagram a sentence.

A. First spread the sentence out on a clean, flat surface, such as an ironing board. Then, using a sharp pencil or X-Acto knife, locate the “predicate,” which indicates where the action has taken place and is usually located directly behind the gills. For example, in the sentence: “LaMont never would of bit a forest ranger,” the action probably took place in a forest. Thus your diagram would be shaped like a little tree with branches sticking out of it to indicate the locations of the various particles of speech, such as your gerunds, proverbs, adjutants, etc.

Dave Barry

Thanks to The Passive Voice.

Feb 23

People think…

People think that stories are shaped by people. In fact, it’s the other way around. ― Terry Pratchett

Feb 02

What the Hack?

I’m suddenly seeing the word hack word come up in popular usage. “Productivity hacks for writing.” “Healthy hacks for game day.” “Simple life hacks.”

I’m having a lot of trouble with this word. What does it mean? Okay, it’s being used as a noun. Reading from context, it seems to have about as much meaning as the word thing, as in, “Hey, pass me that thing.” As in, pretty much none. So I googled it (which, BTW, is a nice, clear slang term).

I couldn’t find the definition. About the closest usage seems to be, “a quick solution that solves a problem, but does not solve it particularly well, or in a particularly good way,” from the Online Slang Dictionary. But even this definition still doesn’t quite fit.

So here’s my theory: hack sounds cool, vaguely techie with a quick, sharp ring to it.

I’m a writer. I love words. Conventional words, slang words, old words people hardly use anymore, words that once meant one thing but now mean something else. The most fun thing about words is finding a word that’s exactly right for what I’m trying to convey. So this word hack really bugs me, because it conveys exactly nothing.

Hack for cough tells you exactly how that cough sounds and feels. Hack for cut expresses the violence of the motion. Hack for a computer break-in suggests its illicit nature. Hack for an untalented professional conveys the slap-dash nature of their work. But life hacks? What the hell is that?

One of two things will happen with the new usage of the word hack. It will either go the way of 23 skidoo and bitchin’ as its coolness fades, or it will settle down into an agreed-upon meaning. Either way, it can’t happen soon enough for me.

Jan 27

Writing Rules

A graphic I recently saw on Pintrest called “Said is Dead” made me want to ::headdesk::. Now, to be fair, it’s from a fourth-grade teacher’s blog, but seems to have found its way onto writing boards. Don’t even ask me how you can smirk or giggle and speak at the same time.

“Nothing screams ‘amateur’ like this kind of writing,” I sneered loftily.

Ahem. Yes. Anyway, this got me to thinking about writing rules.

Back in the bad old days of querying agents and publishers in the desperate hope of one day putting our books in readers’ hands, writers were bombarded with Writing Rules: Don’t use passive verbs (was, is, are). Don’t use gerunds (-ing words). Don’t use adverbs. Don’t overuse italics, em-dashes, ellipses. Show, don’t tell. Don’t use plot devices. And on, and on.

As a writer, I had to buy into these edicts to have any chance of getting past the great and terrible gatekeepers. I believed if someone didn’t follow the rules, they were a Bad Writer.

Well… maybe. Or maybe not.

I’ll admit it. I’m of the opinion that if you want to be a writer, you’d better have an above-average grasp of the language– grammar, vocabulary, mechanics. These are the tools of the trade, and if you can’t or don’t want to spend the time mastering them, then maybe you should find another medium through which to tell your stories.

But that’s my opinion. Observation shows me that a lot of readers don’t feel the same. Authors can misuse words, mangle sentences, scatter typos like tumbleweeds on a windy day and people still buy and love their books.

Once, that outraged me. But thinking back on books I’ve loved, I’ve come to realize that so many writing “rules” are arbitrary, nothing but personal preference. Preferences, I strongly suspect, that started with agents and editors, then morphed into a means to winnow their mountains of submitted manuscripts.

“This writer didn’t start with a good hook,” the agency intern said, tossing another manuscript into the recycling bin.

Take, for example, the rule “show, don’t tell.” Read books from the 19th century, even the first half of the 20th. Stories were told. The author sometimes even addressed you directly, dear reader. Yes, it often makes the story less visceral. But Lord of the Rings and Pride and Prejudice are still read and loved today. In fact, I think that’s the appeal of first-person (“I”) stories. It’s like you’re listening to someone tell a story, complete with explanations, commentary and even occasional backtracking. So a close point of view is just someone’s personal preference– the kind of storytelling that person likes. Other readers enjoy other styles of storytelling.

I can’t say I’ll abandon all the writing rules. Many of them, to my ear, make for good writing. But it’s nice not to straitjacketed by them, to be able to let my writing voice be what it is. Of course, my books won’t speak to all readers. But now they’re free to find those readers they do speak to.

Jan 01

Images from Familiar Magic

I recently signed up on Pintrest. The site is a real rabbit hole, where I can spend hours finding cool images to pin on my boards. It’s also a great way to find potential cover artists, with the added benefit that I sometimes find images that were much like I imagined in my books. These are so close to what I had in mind in Familiar Magic that it’s eerie.

A Sky Full of Stars by Charlie Bowater

This artwork by Charlie Bowater titled “A Sky Full of Stars” is almost spot-on for Amethyst Rey. Streetlight Graphics did great covers for both Familiar Magic and Crooked Magic, which I’m working on now, but I’d love to see this on the cover of one of my Land of Enchantment books someday. Maybe the third one. 😉

In Familiar Magic, Amethyst gets a big commission to do a stained glass window for the Magus Building in Albuquerque. The art below is an awful lot like what I envisioned. It’s by Matt Ehrsam Designs.

Magus building stained glass in Familiar Magic





If you’ve been following me here, you might’ve noticed I’ve been pretty quiet for a while. Life happened over the summer and derailed me for a bit, but signs are good that I’ll be back on track in 2015. Little by little, I’m working on Crooked Magic, the sequel to Familiar Magic, and am about 2/3 of the way through the book. I can’t promise a date for it yet (hopefully the first half of this year), but if you’d like to be notified when it’s available, you can sign up for my mailing list (at the end of this post or the top right of the page), comment here or contact me directly. I’d love to hear from you.

Happy New Year to you! May your year be an adventure that brings you closer to your goals and dreams and that concludes with a Happily Ever After.

Kathlena L. Contreras / K. Lynn Bay







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Nov 02

Fairytale Fantasies

I have a soft spot for comic book art, objectified women and all. (Okay, to be fair, the males are objectified, too, right?) I’m in awe of people who can draw like this. J. Scott Campbell has re-imagined fairy tale heroines in comic-book style. See more in this io9 post. Check out J. Scott Campbell’s DeviantArt page here.
J. Scott Campbell's Snow QueenJ. Scott Campbell Beauty and the Beast

Sep 29

Cesar Milan on South Park

I recently went to see Cesar Milan live. During the performance, Cesar showed this clip from South Park. I laughed so hard I hurt.


Sep 06

The Face Thief

A little bit fantasy, a little bit horror and a touching, unexpected ending in this animated short.

Thanks to The Passive Voice for posting this.

Sep 05

This Bed’s for Rollin’

I’m pretty sure this is what my dogs do when we leave them alone…


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