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Friday, May 27, 2016

Guest Post: Amanda Carlson's Top 5 Forms of Art

Amanda Carlson is releasing her brand now book, STRUCK (a fabulous story about a Valkyrie who had no idea what she was), and to celebrate, I invited over to the blog to share about her favorite forms of art. I hope you welcome her warmly, and stick around there is a giveaway at the end!

Top 5 Favorite Forms of Art

I’ve always been an art aficionado. My father is an architect, and at an early age I found a profound love of art and design. Seeing a house start on paper and end in a structure is amazing. Remodeling is equally as wonderful. Taking something existing and turning it into something beautiful is always a treat. I think of writing that way as well. Writing the story is a beautiful journey, but editing it on the page, and turning it into art is the most satisfying!

Here are my top 5 Forms of Art:

1) Writing is number for me. No one is surprised by this, I’m sure. As I just stated above, there’s nothing like it. I was drawn to writing at a very early age. I wrote stories about kids in class, jotted down my daydreams, my hopes and dreams for the future. As I got older, I would take out my yearbooks and pick faces and create a story based around them. Writing isn’t something I like to do, it’s something I have to do.

2) Photography. Hands down this is my second passion. I received a camera in high school and took photography very seriously. My graphic arts teacher even made a class that didn’t exist for me (Photography 2) so I could continue doing what I loved. By my senior year, I’d won top awards at the MN State Fair. Taking pictures of my kids as they grew became a necessity. Digital photography changed the framework of what I loved, and learning photoshop and being able to edit my work was amazing.

3) Pottery. I found a love of pottery, especially on the wheel, after my first child was born. I took classes to get out of the house, but ended up buying a wheel. It was a lot of upkeep, and hard to clean with three little kids running around, so we eventually sold it. But creating something fluid and alive out of clay will always be near and dear to me.

4) Drawing and painting. I wish I could say I was as gifted as my father in this field, but sadly I’m not. My father is a wonderful artist, not only who creates homes, but art in all forms. As a teenager, I started an art book and filled it with drawings. Later using oil crayons (cray-pas). It didn’t stick with me, but I love going to galleries and taking in the art.

5) Sewing. Some of my favorite forms of art exist in fashion design. When I was first married, we couldn’t afford much. I bought a sewing machine and fairly quickly bought a serger. Over the next few years I made everything from baby blankets, towels, washcloths, sheets, bumper pads, baby quilts, to reupholstering rocking chairs. I got so into it, that my husband and I made it a business for a few years. We enlisted my father to design some kid-friendly designs, my husband (an engineer) made the screen prints, and I sewed, dyed, and made the clothing. We mainly sold them at art fairs. That was a tough way to make a living, but a very fun one! Once I had multiple kids, the work was too much. So I turned to, you guessed it, writing stories about them instead.

I hope you enjoyed reading a little about my passion for arts of all kinds. Thank you so much for having me on the blog today! I hope everyone enjoys STRUCK. It’s a super fun book chock full of action and adventure. Just the way I like it. Oh, and it has a little romance. Because, you know, love.

Thank you so much Amanda! We actually share a lot more than I would've thought ^^

Here are so of Amanda's pictures:


'These are actual photos that inspired me to set the Valkyrie stronghold in New Mexico. So I guess they are apropos! First two are the Grand Canyon, last two are Monument Valley. The one of the "glove" is at sunrise. The last one is an actual cliff dwelling in Mesa Verde National Park called Cliff Palace.'

A little teaser anyone??



Amanda Carlson

    [Copyright 2016 by Amanda Carlson. The work represented here cannot be
copied or reproduced in any way without the author's permission.]


I blinked open my eyes to find two concerned faces hovering above me. I shifted my body, and a cascade of shoeboxes tumbled around me. “What happened?” I swallowed a few times. My throat felt funny.

“You tell us,” Sam said, hands on her hips, her blonde curls bouncing in agitation. “I was minding my own business helping a seventy-five-year-old lady cram her corns into a pair of high heels when all of a sudden what sounds like a sonic boom goes off. I run back to find you out cold, crumpled like a rag doll on top of a pile of Steve Maddens.” She extended her arm to help me up. Samantha Reed, my co-worker and recent best friend, was not amused. I grabbed on to her hand, scattering boxes and shoes as I went. “When I saw you lying here, I thought you were dead, Phoebe. Don’t scare me like that again. Ever.”

“Yeah,” Tom echoed in his standard monotone. “Don’t scare us like that.” Tom Levine, Macy’s resident eighteen-year-old stock boy, took a few steps back so I had enough room to fully clear myself of the mess. Apparently, I’d passed out, but I had no recollection of the event at all. “But, dude, at the same time it was freakin’ awesome. I thought the whole building was going to cave in or something. There was this huge kaboom.” Both his hands went out in front of him, mimicking an explosion. The story ended with a whooshing noise out of the side of his mouth. It was the most animated I’d ever seen the guy. “Then the lights flickered and…you were lying here.”

“Honestly,” I said, trying to smooth down my now static-frizzed hair, “I don’t remember much. I heard a noise and glanced up, right as a bolt of something shot out of the lights. It must’ve hit me, which is weird, because I didn’t feel anything and I’m not hurt. Next thing I knew, you guys were looking down on me.”

We all tilted our heads up to the ceiling.

Several long, narrow fluorescent bulbs hung from their fixtures at odd angles, rocking slowly back and forth. It was the only indication that my convoluted story held a kernel of truth.

“No way.” Tom moved under one of the bulbs and tried to reach it, jumping twice, but it was too high. He glanced over his shoulder, flipping his brown hair off his forehead in a single flick. “I wish this kind of stuff happened to me. It’s boring as hell back here.”

“I had no idea fluorescent lights could shock someone like that.” I rubbed my arms. My extremities were a little tingly, but other than that I felt fine. My throat was better after a couple of swallows. “A big store like Macy’s should insulate their lights better or check the circuits or hire better maintenance people.” I gestured to the broken fixtures. “That’s a lawsuit waiting to happen.”

“Please, fluorescent lights can’t shock you like that.” Sam’s voice was full of authority as she marched forward to investigate. “It’s completely impossible. Electricity doesn’t arc that far at one hundred and ten volts, and even if it did, fluorescent lights are made up of electrons and gas, not wire filament. So essentially there’s no way on earth those light bulbs or that fixture”—she directed an angry finger toward the hanging bulbs that still had the audacity to rock back and forth—“shocked you from way up there.”

Sam was an aspiring actress, but she should’ve been an engineer. Her brain was vast and held more factoids than I thought possible for one person. She was one of the smartest people I’d ever met.

A sharp acidic smell hit the air.

I glanced down. The hemline of my skirt was smoking.

“Oh.” I licked my fingers and pressed them against the frayed edge, and a soft psst sounded as the tiny coal of heat was extinguished.

Sam met my eyes, her expression shocked. “Holy crap, Phoebe!” she cried, moving in front of me. “We need to get you to the doctor right away. Your skirt is smoking. How is that even possible?” She twisted her head up toward the ceiling and then back to look at me, her face incredulous.

“Dude, that’s freakin’ crazy.” Tom was giddy as he shuffled toward us. “I’ve never seen anyone on fire before.”

“I’m not on fire,” I answered testily as I checked the rest of my body for any other indication that I may, in fact, be on fire. This was beyond insane. “I’m totally fine. I promise. I have a great idea. Let’s call maintenance, and they can come in and check it out and we can all go back to work. The customers are probably crawling up the walls by now, and Nancy is going to be mad we’ve both been back here so long. I can’t afford to lose my job.”

“I don’t care if Nancy’s pissed or not. She can wait.” Sam placed her hands firmly on her hips. “This is much more important. Phoebe, if your clothes are smoking, that’s a pretty big indication that something calamitous just happened. People don’t just catch on fire. Something could be really wrong with you. I think we need to get you to a hospital, pronto.”

She might be right, except I felt better with each passing second.

In the short amount of time we’d been standing here, my body had become somehow more…energized. Like I’d downed an entire bag of Skittles, and the sugar high was kicking in. My fingers twitched, and my feet almost bounced on their own.

“Sam, I’m fine,” I reassured her. “I feel more awake, but that’s it. I actually feel like I could go for a run right now. Whatever happened, it didn’t hurt me. It worked the opposite.”

Sam wasn’t buying what I was selling. “It’s the middle of winter in New York City, and you hate running. You refer to runners as self-torturers who love inflicting pain on themselves. That alone means we should take you in. You’re not yourself, and this proves it.”

“Well, hm, you might be right about the running part,” I said. “But according to how I feel right now, I might have to alter my definition of self-torture. I could be missing out by not giving it a try.” She crossed her arms. “Seriously, Sam. I’m not lying. I feel amazing. I have no explanation for what happened, but I have no scorch marks on my body, no gaping holes in my chest, and nothing else is smoking. Let’s not make this a big deal, okay? Even though you said the noise was loud, you two seem to be the only ones who heard it. No one else is here.” I glanced at Tom. The kid had four looks: bored, ultra-bored, slightly happy, and confused. He was giving us confused now—the same expression he wore whenever we tried to explain how invoicing worked. I turned back to Sam. “Let’s get back to work. This entire thing is embarrassing, and we’ve been gone so long the customers are going to riot. Please, Sam. I can’t afford to have Nancy fire me. I can barely cover rent as it is.”

Sam rolled her eyes, dropping her arms. “Fine, but I’m keeping an eye on you for the rest of the day. If you so much as sneeze in the wrong direction, I’m calling an ambulance. I mean it, Phoebe. I’m not taking any chances.”


“Dude, you know”—Tom shoved his hands in his front jean pockets, tugging them down impossibly lower—“when you were lying there, you looked totally dead. I’ve only seen one other dead guy before, but you looked just like him. Kinda freaked me out.”

“Thanks, Tom. That’s really helpful.” Judging by the artful green leaves proudly displayed all over his attire, he was a real poster boy for Sherlock Holmes. Anything could look dead if it wasn’t moving. “I was clearly breathing the entire time, since I’m standing here alive. Fainting can look an awful lot like dead. The subtle difference would be in the chest movement.” I nodded to Sam. “I’ll just clean up these boxes and meet you out on the floor.” Macy’s didn’t mess around with their shoe department in New York. It spanned two floors, and it was always busy.

“Okay,” she relented. “If you’re not out in ten minutes, I’m coming back to find you.”

“Got it.” I was relieved when she finally walked out of the stock room. I wanted to forget this craziness had ever occurred.

Tom bent over to help me as I gathered up the errant shoes. “Dude,” he said, “can I touch your arm? I’ve never touched anyone who’s died before.”

(STRUCK is out May 24th!)

giveawaybanI bet you now want to read the book?? I thought so!

Amanda is offering a digital copy to one lucky winner!

Comment below with your favorite form of art, your email addy, and the format in which you would prefer receiving the book!
Open internationally
Ends June 16th, 2016


Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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3 People left their mark' :

  1. Classical ballet would be my favorite form of art.



  2. Dance, free-form dance. The movement of the body refreshes the mind. It is what I enjoy.

  3. Writing is my favorite form of art.


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