Tag Archives: blue and purple hair

If You’ve Got the Money, I’ve Got the Friends

Credit goes to my dear friend Alora who is photographed in this picture as well.

Credit goes to my dear friend Alora who is photographed in this picture as well.

I have some talented, creative friends. Some I’ve known since high school while others I’ve had the pleasure of meeting through the interwebs and social groups. And yet I’ve found a few of the most rewarding and passionate people through my MFA family at Carlow University. As easy as it is to enjoy the company of people with similar interests, I think I admire my friends more for our differences. Now, I know this is a normal side effect of being social is having the opportunity to learn from those around you, but I hit the jackpot which brings me to the main event of this post.

Rion.  K Orion Fray to be exact. That pseudonym will be one to remember, so it’s important to establish who you will be googling long after this post is over.  Currently residing in Virginia (too far from me in little ‘ol Pittsburgh), my time with Rion is limited to the interwebs for which I am incredibly sad. At the same time, I am forever grateful for the moments where I had the opportunity to hang with her in person and enjoy her company. She is a wealth of not only knowledge beyond both our years (Rion is older AND wiser), but of sheer talent and creative expression.

Credit to K Orion Fray. This is her recent cosplay of Cecil Palmer from Welcome to the Night Vale at Tekko Con 2015

Credit to K Orion Fray. This is her recent cosplay of Cecil Palmer from Welcome to the Night Vale at Tekko Con 2015

When I first met the phenomenal entity that is Rion, I was just settling into my writing chops and discovered some writers within my MFA program to have honed skills that I never imagined could exist.  Rion and I were in the same workshop group for the semester and our mentor, the wonderful Janice Eidus, assigned us a quick ten minute writing prompt. It was one of many that we would get over the next two weeks, but it also allowed us to share or writing with each other.

And this is when I realized what a powerhouse Rion is with words. In the ten minutes we had to write I managed a measly half page of composition notebook paper. Rion had typed well over 5 pages worth of material. I’m not talking D-grade, needs a dozen revisions quality writing. I’m talking A-quality, ready for an editor’s commentary and approval. She is like the Mariah Carey of wordsmithing.


Below are three of the services my beloved friend has to offer my beautiful, intelligent internet friends. Each service has a description from Rion as well as the link to said services. I have the pleasure of ordering a pair of her handmade earrings, which I will show photos and my experience down below in that section.


I love writing and telling stories, so those two have been something I was interested in for ages! When I found out people would /pay/ me to read stories? Gracious. That was something I jumped on, especially since for most of my life, I was always the one who had to read everything in school, because I was the only one “good at it.”

The website hasn’t been updated recently, but I promise I’m still around. I’ve done copyediting semi-professionally for several authors, and am willing to talk about doing it for others. Payment can be discussed on a by-project basis, at korionfray@gmail.com  I’ll do anything from manuscripts to looking over essays and college applications. Just gimme a shout and we’ll work something out.

Audio workhttps://www.acx.com/narrator?p=A1WR4LIZKZJRWN

I am on ACX as an independent contractor available for audiobook narration. I have clips up of my work, and can answer questions if needed via the same email as above. I’m very flexible in what kind of work I do, and I’m always willing to try something new! I love narration and have a pretty quick turn-around time. And at the prices I suggest for my work, I’m significantly cheaper than a lot of other VAs out there.

 Azazel and Penemue: Handmade Jewelrywww.etsy.com/shop/AzazelandPenemue

I’ve been dabbling with the idea of making and selling jewelry for a while now. In fact, I had several finished pairs of earrings already made when I opened the Etsy store, from when I first bought/got the beads. (I don’t have a clear memory of where they came from, though! How strange.) So when I lost my job, I figured that now was a perfect time to finally get on that bandwagon. Not only did it give me a potential source of a little money, but it also gave me something to do, to keep myself active instead of sitting like a sad little unemployed lump. I’m hoping to branch into other jewelry outside of necklaces, as well as knitted/crocheted items as well, and maybe some embroidery floss bracelets. You never know! The possibilities are endless.


Credit goes to K Orion Fray owner of Azazel and Penemue. This is the mascot  Toby, the Corgi.

Credit goes to K Orion Fray owner of Azazel and Penemue. This is the mascot Toby, the Corgi.

The set of earrings I purchased were Hoo, Hoo Brown Owl Post Earrings. The photos below show what you get in the bubble wrap envelope. A hand written note and the earrings packaged in a neat, little bag come with your order along with an invoice (not shown) with a thumbnail of your order and all the details.


I’ve got to say the earrings are flawless. They don’t feel heavy despite the fact that they are posts with a little dangling charm. At the same time, the material feels much sturdier and wearable than most of the jewelry I have in my jewelry box. I cannot wait to purchase more earrings when she has more animal based ones in stock, and I even have a collaboration planned with her for a custom necklace based on the one in my novel, Dollhouse Daughter.


2015-04-18-19-09-42-982So, my minions. That concludes the feature of Rion or K Orion Fray—my friend, colleague, and entrepreneur. Check out the links to her work/services and you will not be disappointed. Let me know what you all thoughts of this Friend Feature I’m starting and if you have any suggestions for friends of yours that you’d like to feature!


P.S. Rion’s website korionfray.com also has a multitude of material for your reading pleasure including a blog about writing and several serialized pieces. There is plenty of Rion to go around. You will not regret the time you spend getting to know Rion.


Happy Reading/Writing!

Obligatory Cat photos:





Filed under Breaking News

What kind of Writer Am I? Changing Names and Staking Claims

After a four month hiatus, I am back! It’s been a hectic few months with my final graduate residency, assignments for my practicum, and domestic duties, but I am determined to get back in the saddle with my blogging. I’ve missed you WordPress, did you miss me too? Wait, don’t answer that yet. Let me tell you all of the exciting things I have been doing in the absence of writing my blogs.

11 jam-packed days of Irish authors imparting a sense of wonder and fulfillment into the already exciting world of writing. What better way to inspire a troupe of starry-eyed amateurs on the road to master the craft. Dublin greeted us with tropical temperatures and new friends that made this residency especially memorable. While the details of the trip could fill two more blog posts, I will summarize as best I can. My family of writers in the residency gave me so much hope and encouragement that I was truly meant to be in this field. I am nowhere near professional or even expert status in the ways of publishing or even writing, but I can shout it from the highest point of Pittsburgh, PA that I am writer. Hear me roar, er, type?!

hesterOne of the effects of being in Dublin was a restored sense of confidence and at the same time apprehension of what kind of writer I will be now that I have proclaimed myself one. The question plagues me to this very second of what my audience, my readers, and the world will think of me and my writing. The only comparison that I can think of is a flashback to Hester Prynne from undergraduate American Literature class. She bore the weight of society’s judgement the first time she walked with Pearl out to the scaffold with a self-confidence that I never developed. Like Hester, I will eventually carry my manuscript baby to face the judgement of the world’s opinion.  (Yeah that metaphor just happened!)

Sure, I think some of my writing will be good someday, but what will people think? I would be a fool to tell myself that it doesn’t matter because in reality I am writing for my audience, not my family (who will tell me it is all great) or myself.  If my goal is to change how my readers view themselves or life, then I should care about the overall impression of me as an author.

I’ve spend most of my teenage-young adult life experimenting with the way I look to find my identity. Like some women I have dyed my hair to fit my personality Example below:

Matches my quirkiness, but does it really make me who I am?

Matches my quirkiness, but does it really make me who I am?

While I may be happy with my Nymphadora -esque hair, it doesn’t change the fact that my writing is still without an identity. I can move from genre to genre without too much trouble, but how do I make myself a truly unique writer?
To start, I have finally named my manuscript after a year and half of having my main characters name as the title. It is now Dollhouse Daughter. Yeah, yeah an alliteration, but I don’t care. People, more specifically my readers, will remember the title better and it fits me as a writer. I wish I could be one of those authors who doesn’t use cliches, pop culture references, and alliterations. Then who would I be? Not me, that’s for sure.

So, now that I have my first novel title chosen, I figured that my identity as an author would speak through my work. And then I googled myself. Everyone has done it at one time or another (whether you want to admit it or not is up to you) and although most of the results were the Amanda Young from the Saw Series, there was one author who popped up. She’s already fairly popular on Goodreads as an erotica, romance novelist. I shouldn’t have an issue sharing my name with an established author because I’m sure it has happened many many times before, but it is her content that may confuse my personal identity as a writer.  It is a perfectly acceptable genre to write in, and in any other circumstance I would have no issues sharing my authorial name with her. At the same time, my newly named novel is specifically young adult. How will my readers know the difference between an established author and my name when they are one in the same, especially if my books are geared toward a PG-13  audience and not rated R?

Tough choice, huh? I could risk keeping my name and relying on my writing to show who I am or pick a PEN NAME?!Plenty of authors do it every day. My author friend Melissa Drake changed her last name from Davis to Drake—awesome pseudonym, right? My name is not so easily changed. I’m  a fickle Gemini, and I can’t seem to settle on one thing. So, I wanted to share my process of coming up with one pseudonym that I think has potential. I feel like the main aspect of a pen name is the importance it holds in your life. For me, just changing my last name might not be enough. Maybe this is my chance to be someone else–to create a name to match the personality I want the world to see.

First I decided to scrap using my given name all together. Instead,  I could use my initials (which spell the name Amy) as  an easy way of choosing an alternate first name. Take something from my real life and just tweak it a bit to fit a different persona. Because choosing a new name in any sense is incredibly difficult. I could pick something I feel strongly about in the moment, but twenty years from now I may regret the decision.  So the task is to choose something that will last me for my career and sound realistic enough to be an actual name. I’ve spent hours pouring over Celtic mythology names to get an idea for a last name and for a while I thought that coming up with a last name was impossible. It’s difficult enough to choose from ordinary surnames, but trying to find one in ancient mythology that doesn’t make me sound like a character made for Skyrim is nearly impossible. Mythology may be one of my favorite topics to read about; it is nowhere near suitable enough for a pseudonym that editors could take seriously. My next step was taking key words and translate them into different languages to see if that produced some useful results. Bad idea. They were either too simple or too complex to use as a realistic last name.  So I was forced to go back to the mythology, this time focusing on my favorite number-13. It is said that the number thirteen is lucky for left-handed people (not that I can disprove this connection in my case) and it has also been a reoccurring number in my life. This fact along with the magical influence of the number 13 became a viable option for my pen name as long as I could find a connection between the number and a name I could use.  

Eventually, I was able to find the perfect myth to base my pseudonym on, which I will share in the not to distant future. My method is one of a thousand ways to discover a pen name that can separate you from a shared name or embody a name to match the writing you plan to publish.

At this point in my pre-published career, I’m not too worried about the pen name I’ve picked. I have some ideas, but ultimately it stems from a need to secure my place in the publishing market as an individual writer. For now, maybe it’s best not to have a name picked out or a set genre to write in. Maybe it’s just my insecurities about my current manuscript or if the audience I’m writing for will really enjoy my characters and stories. Thus, I leave you dedicated readers with this question–Do you care about the author’s identity once you have fallen in love with their writing or it is honestly just about the stories? 

Happy reading/writing!!!


Filed under Idea of the Day