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.

BlackthorneChanceShaper

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.

 

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…

 

Aug 03

Ash Fall – Chapter 2

In this installment of my new fantasy romance, Ash Fall, by K. Lynn Bay, Asha discovers exactly what she’s in for with her in-laws-to-be. Click here to read the book’s description and the Prologue.

Chapter 2

“Princess Asha,” Paen said. “Your new home.” He swept a gesture across the valley to the enormous manor house standing on a slight rise beyond the river.

“Ooh!” Miranna breathed and gripped her arm. “How beautiful!”

Asha’s stomach felt like someone had made her drink mud. Shouldn’t it feel the opposite? As Ama had said, the mansion was beautiful, a high front of golden stone, graceful wings spreading on either side embracing a pond with a fountain and a park of small trees. Red and gold pennants twisted lazily in the breeze. A barge, its sail furled to its mast, glided along water glinting in the afternoon sun.

“It is lovely,” Elan said and laid her hand on Asha’s shoulder. “An auspicious beginning.”

Asha didn’t believe in omens. Her gut had always been far more accurate. This time, she had to ignore it.

She would rather have ridden in with dignity. She had to content herself with the view between the parted green and yellow draperies. Mira and Kiriei and Larenn exclaimed and chattered, owning all the excitement that ought to have been Asha’s. Elan, watching Asha, had the sense to be calmer, only pointing out a curious donkey with its head over a fence, a rambling rose in full bloom, a picturesquely twisted oak. These observations had the desired effect of taking Asha’s mind off their destination.

At last they clattered into the court. The high front of the house blotted out most of the sky, the wings enclosed them, the towers speared the clouds.

Oh, Mother, Asha thought, give me strength.

A great number of people filled the courtyard—grooms and footmen and guards, drivers and drovers and carters. There was the flurry of getting down from the carriage, gloved hands holding her bare ones. She passed between servants bowing and murmuring like reeds before a storm, then up granite steps to great carved doors that gaped open to swallow them all.

“Their Highnesses, the Conns, await you, Princess,” Paen said beside her.

His voice echoed away through a great entry hall, the painted dragons and Valkyries on its ceiling high enough overhead to be in the clouds in truth.

Elan frowned. “My lady is weary and travel-worn after so many days on the road. Mightn’t she rest and wash?”

“Oh, yes, indeed,” Miranna piped up. “We’re hardly fit to be seen.”

For her own part, Asha wanted the meeting over and done with. If the Conns wanted their first glimpse of her to be rumpled and begrimed, still dressed in her boots and divided riding skirt, that was their choice.

“Their Highnesses’ eagerness is not to be denied,” Paen said in a tone somewhere between apologetic and reproachful.

“Then surely,” Asha said, “we mustn’t disappoint them.”

Paen bowed and smiled.

If the abrupt summons was meant to put her in her place, it had exactly the opposite effect. By presenting herself so promptly, tired and uncomfortable, the situation allowed Asha to be gracious and generous.

She raised her head and swept ahead of the rest. Tall double doors, gilded and silvered and painted with lilies, swung open before her. Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 29

Free Flying Tiger Ebooks on Kindle Unlimited

Read Flying Tiger Press  titles FREE on Kindle Unlimited, Amazon’s new subscription reading program. Blackthorne, ChanceShaper and Do You Believe in Magic are currently available for Kindle Unlimited. Click on the covers to read now!

 

Blackthorne by K. Lynn Bay

Blackthorne on Amazon

ChanceShaper - K. Lynn Bay

ChanceShaper on Amazon

Do You Believe in Magic - Kathlena L. Contreras

Do You Believe in Magic on Amazon

Jul 27

Ash Fall – Chapter 1

This is the second installment of Ash Fall. To read the Prologue and description, click here. Ash Fall will be published under K. Lynn Bay.

Chapter 1

Three years later…

The last ranks of Thiel’s orchards fell behind. Asha set her jaw and stared straight ahead. She would see them again. Someday. She’d see Ama and Papi again, and the warm brown stone of her home rising above the orchards, hear the bright shout of the River Firell as it tumbled and tousled its way down from the mountains.

Tears ached at the back of her throat, but she swallowed them down. Weeping at the beginning of her betrothal journey would scarcely be auspicious.

“Oh, Ash,” Miranna said, breathless. “Do you believe we’re finally on our way?”

Asha glanced at her cousin. Miranna swept a few windblown strands of hair off her face and craned in the saddle to better see the road ahead. At least someone was excited.

“I thought the day would never arrive!” Miranna said.

“It came more quickly than I dreamed,” Asha said. “Far too quickly,” she muttered under her breath.

Elan, riding on Asha’s other side, gave a slight shake of the head. Of the two of them, Asha was closest to Elan. Elan often seemed more like a much older sister than simply one of her ladies. Asha loved her dry wit and good sense, knew she could count on her clear vision and honesty.

“Your mother and father never knew each other before they married,” Elan said. “Yet look how happy they are.”

Asha turned. “Really? Ama never told me that.”

Elan nodded in her placid way. “The marriage was meant to seal the connection with her family for their trade ties in Abrushan.” Her brows kinked. “If all had remained as it once was, Thiel would’ve been as rich as Conn. Richer.”

As it had once been. “I remember the trade caravans, when I was little,” Asha said. “All the horses and people and wagons, the smells and the noise. And then the great hall full of lights, the long tables covered with food. I’d hide underneath and watch the traders. I remember a northerner bending down to look at me one time. I was afraid of his huge, bristly beard and big fur hat.”

Miranna listened, bemused. “I don’t remember any of that. Only the harvest time festivals.”

“You were too young,” Asha said. “The Drakhari came to the mountains when I was…oh, I don’t know. Seven or eight, I suppose.”

“No more trade caravans through the mountains after that,” Elan said.

After that, Thiel had only grown poorer and more isolated, the trade all going south to places like Hannon and Conn. A far, far longer route, but one safe from Drakhari raids.

Asha’s horse took advantage of her distraction, snatching a mouthful of grass from beside the road. Asha gave her a disapproving cluck and a nudge with her heels. The mare turned a laughing eye on her, shook her mane and stepped out again.

Miranna reached over and squeezed her hand. “You’re so lucky! What do you think it’ll be like, living in Conn?”

Asha let her cousin’s enthusiasm wash over her, tried to take it in. “Ama told me the Conns live in a great house with a fountain in the courtyard and balconies in the windows. Barges with sails of yellow and red ply the river that runs at its feet.”

“And you’ll have beautiful dresses and gold bands for your hair and jewels for your wrists.” Miranna slid her a sly look. “I saw what was in that chest the envoy brought.”

“Dresses and jewels,” Asha said without enthusiasm. “My new husband is what I’m worried about.”

Miranna made an unladylike noise. “Why on earth are you worried about that? You’ll scarcely see him after the wedding, I’ll wager. I’ve heard rich families are like that. After the heir is made, husbands go about their lives, and ladies go about theirs.”

Asha bit back a reply.

“Mira, you’re not helping,” Elan said.

“What’s wrong with that?” Miranna said. “If it was me, I’d be perfectly happy.”

“Asha’s priorities might be rather different,” Elan said.

Asha’s priorities had been, before a month ago, to find a man who loved her as much as Papi loved Ama and spend her life with him. Not to be given like a trade token to some faceless family for reasons she didn’t like to think about. Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 20

New Book – Ash Fall

I’ve been working on a new project, a fantasy romance I’m calling Ash Fall. When it’s released, it will be under my K. Lynn Bay pen name. I’ll be posting chapters here. I’d love to hear what you think.

Captive of a barbarian lord…

Asha, daughter of the lord of Thiel, isn’t happy about being shipped off to marry the Conn lord’s son, a man she’s never met, for a political alliance. But things get worse when the barbarian Drakhari attack Conn and Asha finds herself bound hand and foot in the tent of the dragon-eyed Drakhari lord, Drakhar.

Captivated by a lowland woman’s spirit…

Drakhar, determined to possess the rich lands of Thiel, proposes to wed the Thiel lord’s daughter. When her father rejects his offer, he arms and rides out to take Asha by force. What he never expected was that a soft lowlander woman would cross swords with him, or defy him at every turn. Without willing it, he soon realizes there’s one thing he wants more than Thiel– Asha herself.

In the cold, stony mountains of the Drakhari, fire ignites between them. But giving herself–and Thiel–to the seductive barbarian who stole her away is unthinkable…unless Asha can learn to accept an impossible love.

 

The_Spanish_Lord_by_atistatplay

Drakhar

Prologue

The hunting magic led Drakhar far across the mountains late in winter. It had been another bad winter, early snows, and deep. People suffered. Some had died. The hunting magic called more often, and called him farther. This time, it called him to the very edge of the lowlands.

They stretched away below him, a rumple of winter-brown hills smoothing into a shimmering haze of distant valleys. Drakhar crouched down and shaded his eyes, leaning on his bow. A silver slash of river glinted in the low, cool sunlight. Threads of smoke rose from a huddle of dwellings among bare trees.

Ah! So perhaps it was raiding the magic hand in mind. But a successful raid needed a party of well-armed men on horseback, not single man equipped only with a bow and a knife, many days’ journey from home. Why call to him to hunt alone?

He stood and slipped back into the trees, ghosted under them along the slope. Bare rock shouldered up, forcing him higher and back into a fold of mountain. The edge grew steeper until he padded along the top of a cliff. The land below rose as well. Oaks, their black, twisted branches bare, crowded against the cliff face.

A voice came, a snatch of laughter echoing up the cliff face. Drakhar froze, listening, scenting. No scent yet, but the voice came again—no, voices. The magic sharpened, drew him forward. He crouched and eased along the cliff top. A break in the trees below showed ahead, a meadow nestled in a cul-de-sac of the cliff face. He flattened himself to the stony ground, called on the magic to conceal him and crept forward until he could see.

Two foreshortened figures, little more than heads and shoulders, moved below. A lowland man and boy, both dressed in loose trousers and short jackets. A trick of wind brought their scents up the cliff face. No, not a boy. A woman.

The magic pulsed, sharp and hard as the thrust of a blade, but the urge to attack didn’t come. The magic only held him there, watching, while it beat and shivered around him stronger than he’d ever felt. Read the rest of this entry »

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