Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Five Good Luck Objects from Around the World

I LOVE references to strange objects, peculiar charms, and customs. Here are five mentions of good luck charms from around the world.

victorian illustration acorn

According to Norse folklore, acorns and oak trees were thought to bring good fortune. The Vikings associated oak trees with Thor, the god who created thunder and lightning with his great anvil and hammer. Because the tree attracted lightning, it was sacred to Thor. The Vikings believed that the fruit of the oak tree, the acorn, was spared Thor's wrath, so Vikings placed a lone acorn on their windowsills to protect their houses from lightning.

The English oak tree is the national tree of England and symbolizes strength and endurance. It’s abundant in English folklore and history, from Celtic religious leaders who worship in oak groves to lovers reciting their wedding vows under its sturdy branches.

bezoar good luck charm

This “charm” is a mass that forms in the stomach of goats, deer, and other animals. Many cultures believe that crushing the bezoar into powder could save a poison victim, while others dropped the bezoar into a glass to check for poison before drinking. Carrying the stone is thought to offer protection against illness and bad fortune.

victorian buttercup ring

The Buttercup
There are endless floral motif symbols in Victorian jewelry, but perhaps none as favorable as the delightful, buoyant, sweet, and simplistic, golden yellow buttercup flower. They symbolize happiness, friendship, and new beginnings.

good luck charm boar

A Boar on a Hat
The idea of a lucky pig actually has a long history in Europe. Small metal boars were used as amulets or attached to helmets to give good luck to soldiers in Northern Europe.

fumsup doll
fumpsup doll antique

A Creepy Doll Giving the Thumbs Up
The little good luck charms were called fumsups, after the fact that they all gave little thumbs ups. They became popular in the1880s, reaching their peak in popularity during the First World War.


Don't forget to check out these posts too!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Blog Milestone - 15,000 Pageviews!

The Golden Cricket hit a milestone this week - 15,000 page views. WOOHOO!

Thank you to everyone who reads my blog, and for all of the awesome comments. You guys seriously rock :)

To celebrate, I thought I'd showcase the top three posts I've featured on The Golden Cricket thus far.

Here we go:

writing historical fiction

1)  How To Write Historical Fiction Without Really Trying - Guest Post by Christie Stratos: This article was one of my very first guest posts I featured on the blog. It's written by fellow author, Christie Stratos, who also happens to be my editor.

If you've ever wanted to write historical fiction, but don't know where to get started, you have to check out her post.

tbt writer

2) TBT Writer - Confessions of a Sugarholic: Each month (give or take), I try to post something I wrote way back when accompanied by an awkward pic. I call is #TBTWriter, or Throwback Thursday Writer.

This particular bad story was written about an ice cream sundae. Get ready to laugh! Check it out. 

author first book

3) TBT Writer - Good Ideas, Sometimes: Remarkably, the third most-viewed post on The Golden Cricket is another Throwback Thursday story.

In this post, I share the very first book I wrote, pics, and a peculiar dedication at the front. Hope you enjoy it.


What's your favorite post on The Golden Cricket? Share below.

Have you checked out my articles about writing? You might enjoy these too:

Monday, August 7, 2017

Review of “Strange Luck” & “The Nightmare Birds” by Amie Irene Winters PLUS Early Look at “A Darling Secret”

These lovely reviews by Sunshine Somerville started my week off wonderfully. :)

Take a moment to read the latest kind words about my books!


Strange Luck

"I loved the complex and unique use of memories. It was a great way to shape the fantastical world Daisy finds herself in, and it was a neat way to bring so many fantastical elements together – in a world of happy memories and dreams, anything goes! Overall, I’d recommend this for anyone who likes YA fantasies that give you a mystery to figure out."

The Nightmare Birds

"I loved how the plot thickened and you were never really sure what to believe – and Daisy wasn’t either. Is her own mind tricking her? Is Mr. Black telling the truth after all and there’s going to be a huge twist on everything we thought we knew as a reader so far? This story definitely kept me turning the pages as I tried to sort it all out. I liked how certain things from the first book tied in here, but it’s definitely a new story. And the end certainly suggests Daisy has more to learn."

Click here to read the full reviews AND read an excerpt from A Darling Secret.

Friday, August 4, 2017

COVER REVEAL of A Darling Secret

I'm beyond thrilled to reveal the cover of A Darling Secret, which will release September 22, 2017. This is the third and FINAL book in the Strange Luck series.

The uber talented Humbert Glaffo created the cover. He's the same designer who did the covers of the first two books.

So without further ado...

young adult fantasy series

fantasy horror series

I love the movement, colors, and mystery of the cover. It really captures the essence of the story and I hope you love it as much as I do :)

Pre-order A DARLING SECRET Today!


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Sign up for my mailing list. 

You'll be the first to be notified!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Month In Writing: My Favorite Things and Tips

Writing is hard work, which is why I'm always on the hunt to improve my craft and dream up new story ideas.

Take a look at what I've been reading this month and a few other things that inspired me.

How to Become a Happy & Productive Writer

This is such a beneficial article!


Cool Books:
The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well

I'm obsessed with all things Hygge right now, and after you read this book, you will be too.


Books for Writers:
The Bestseller Code

My good friend gave me this book and had it autographed for me. It's definitely worth a read.


Quotes for Writers:
I Write To Give Myself Strength

Inspo anyone?

Cool Stuff for Writers:
Octopus Typewriter

Although it's not functional, you still might be able to channel Lovecraft. That's reason enough for me.


Present Tense Mug
He he :)

190 Ways to Say "Said"

I love these helpful worksheets. They work wonders.


Saturday, July 22, 2017

Locke and Keye Cover Reveal!

On September 7, one of my favorite authors, Christie Stratos, will release the next book in her Dark Victoriana Collection - Locke and Keye.

I've been dying to read it, so it goes without saying that I'm ecstatic to do a cover reveal of Christie's new book on my blog today.

Drumroll, please...

This book cover is wondrously creepy and mysterious!

What dark secrets await on the other side of this door?

And the description is so enticing:

"Brothers in the art of keeping secrets." This is the mantra Mr. Locke's carefully chosen five employees must repeat together every day before starting work.

If you won't tell them your name for Locke and Keye's ledger, they'll find out. They have their ways—and many of them. Yes, these talented locksmiths can make a new lock and key set for you. They can even make a special padlock for a diary you never want to share with anyone. But just remember: when they make the lock, they keep a key—and it's only a matter of time until they use it.

Day by day, each of these young, single, alone-in-the-world workers is being molded into the family they crave. A family in which each member has his use toward an end he doesn't even know exists.

How do the brotherhood and the town's secrets interlock? Only Mr. Locke holds the key.

Unlock the second book in the Dark Victoriana Collection with Locke and Keye.

As a standalone novel, Locke and Keye’s distinct characters and tense atmosphere create a dark Victorian experience that will stay with you after you turn the final page. As the book immediately following Anatomy of a Darkened Heart, Locke and Keye leads the Dark Victoriana Collection in a whole new psychological direction while expanding familiar characters and scenes to continue the Whitestone legacy.

Pre-order it today, read it September 7, 2017.

And, if you haven't read Anatomy of A Darkened Heart yet, there's still time!


Have you checked out my other articles about Christie and her books?

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

A Darling Secret Writing Update!

GOOD NEWS!!! The final edits of A Darling Secret will be completed this week. :)

I'm also finalizing cover designs. I'm pleased to report that I'll be working with the same graphic designer, Humbert Glaffo, who did the cover for Strange Luck and The Nightmare Birds. I can't wait to share the final design with you!!!


I've also been working on some fun new extras. Bookmarks! Videos! Giveaways! It's all coming soon. In the meantime, you can check out goodies for my other books here.

Oh, and be sure to sign up for my newsletter so you don't miss a thing. :)

And if my smile couldn't get any bigger, here's what Christie Stratos, author of Anatomy of a Darkened Heart, had to say about A Darling Secret:
"Amie Irene Winters has built another beautiful, magical realm that will suck readers in and never let go A DARLING SECRET, the last in the Strange Luck series, launches September 22, 2017. Mark your calendars!"

Friday, June 30, 2017

Why I Left Academia to Write Fantasy Books

I'm honored and thrilled to be a Psychology Today guest blogger!

Click HERE to learn why I left academia to write fantasy books.

Don't forgot to check out the other articles on PT's College Confidential.


Have you checked out my other articles about writing? You might enjoy these too:

Thursday, June 29, 2017

TBT Writer - What Is Red?

I know it's been a LONG time since I've posted a #TBTWriter, so I'll be sure to include extra photos for this post. :)

Today I'd like to share a simple story/poem that I wrote when I was 11ish about the color red.

I never realized how much I liked the color red until I re-read this. Then when I started looking at all of my old photos to share, I discovered that so many of them were of me wearing red.

Even in my stories I write now, red is very prevalent. For example, the protagonist in Strange Luck has red hair and she is frequently wearing red or a red accent.

Coincidence, or have I always just had a fondness for the color? You decide.

Here's a pic of the original poem.


What is red?
Red is the color of flaming fire.
Red is the color of beautiful birds.
You can find small red creatures hiding in rocks by the ocean.
Red is the color of victory.
Red is a bright color that brings out the picture.
Red is the color of wonderful books that tune on the mind's imagination.
Red is the color of a ruby red cherry.
Red is the color of life!


Apparently I felt very strongly about red being the color of life so much so that I included a punctuation mark. Lol.

And now for some TBT pics....

This is one of my favorite pics of me (far right). Not only am I Super Girl, I'm also posing with a giant Twinkie.  Ha ha!

Here's me at age 11 wearing my favorite red shirt.

For my entire undergraduate degree I dyed my hair red. If you're wondering what I'm holding it's a chinchilla.
Ano Nuevo in California. This area and its neighboring towns heavily influenced my stories.
Here's a pic of me from when I lived in Florida.

Here's a recent video I did where I'm wearing....you guessed it. Red!

Do you have a writing throwback? Post it with #TBTWriter so we can all read your story. And don't forget to check out my other #TBTWriter stories and pics:

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Darling Secret Official Release Date and Teaser Trailer!

Did you see??? A Darling Secret has an official release date!!!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

How to Edit Your Novel - My Tips and Tricks

Round 3 of editing is underway. Only 250 pages to go! :P


Curious about my editing methods? Want to know how I plan my books? You can learn all about my process here.

Don't forget to check out my editing checklist while you're there. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Surprises Around Every Corner - Five-Star Review From Paperback Junkie

young adult fantasy series

I'm delighted to share a five-star review of The Nightmare Birds from Paperback Junkie Book Review.

Here's a snippet from the review:

"If you are looking to get lost in a book that presents you with another option of what the world holds, I would highly recommend The Nightmare Birds...There are surprises around every corner. The book was well-written, thought out, and put together so well that it receives a 5 star review." 
Reviews like this put a big smile on my face. :) I'm thrilled you enjoyed my book.

You can also read what Paperback Junkie Book Review had to say about Strange Luck (book I) here.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Victorian Epitaphs and Horror Novels - My Interview with Fiona Mcvie


Now that I've finally finished my new book (YAY!), I have more time for interviews.

I had a blast answering Fiona Mcvie's questions. She asked me everything from what I want on my tombstone to what new authors have grasped my interest. You can check it out here.


Have a question for me that's not posted here? Leave it in the comments and I'll respond. :)

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Telling Secrets - My Interview With Sunshine Somerville

Which of my characters are based on real people?

Do I ever let them in on the secret?

Find out the answer to these fun questions (and many more) in my latest interview with Sunshine Somerville.


Have a question for me that's not answered here?

I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

It's Time for Ice Cream!

How does one celebrate after completing the first draft of a new book? ICE CREAM!!!

I'm thrilled to report that I've finished writing A Darling Secret. Woot! 

What's next? Lots and lots of editing. And then some more editing. Then a little more...

Stay tuned for details. :D

P.S. My website got a facelift. Check it out!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Weirdest Books on My Bookshelf

The book on my nightstand is currently The White People and Other Weird Stories by Arthur Machen. So far it holds true to its title in terms of "weird." Bonus points that Machen inspired Lovecraft. Woot! Anyway, it got me thinking about my love of weird books. Enter my list of the weirdest books on my bookshelf.

weird foreign language books

Le Petit Poisson dans un Grand Etang: A few years ago, I began teaching myself French in preparation for a trip to Paris. I did a combination of Rosetta Stone, Duolingo, and workbooks. I had read someplace that reading children’s books in the language you are learning is also beneficial, so I bought Le Petit Poisson dans un Grand Etang (The little fish in the big pond) because it looked like a cute and quirky story that was easy to read.

This book immediately put me in my place! Labeled as “kindergarten level”, I had difficulties reading from the first page. As I worked through it (with some assistance from my hubby) we discovered that this book wasn’t your typical children’s book. It was the story of a fish that has an existential crisis. Yes, you heard me right! An existential crisis. The fish questions his existence, decides to leave his home and family, and on his many adventures questions the meaning of his life. The book wouldn’t be complete without a depressing existential ending - that being that he dies at the end. This book was a 10 on the weirdness scale and made me realize that my French needed some serious work. 😝

platypus book

Platypus: This book is about the extraordinary story of how a curious creature battled the world. It uncovers the earliest theories and latest discoveries about the delightfully odd member of the animal kingdom - the platypus.

What prompted me to read an entire book about the platypus? I guess it just sounded neat, and neat it was. I pulled a lot of weird (albeit possibly useless) knowledge from this book. For example, did you know that the platypus has a stinger? Look it up!

flying spaghettit monster

The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster: This book is completely silly, but impressively creative. It provides some really interesting ways to think about religion and the world in a funny, weird way. The pictures also really add to the hilarity.

Case and point...


What are the weirdest books on your bookshelf? Can they top my list?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Writing Update - A Darling Secret

I know I haven't been posting much lately. I'm in the final writing stages of Book III in the Strange Luck series (A Darling Secret).

As of this week, I'm pleased to report that I've officially surpassed the length of The Nightmare Birds. If all goes well, the book will be finished by the end of the month. Woot!

I'm so excited that the series will be coming to a close soon, and that Daisy will finally discover her true self, but I'm also quite sad that it will be over. :( I've really enjoyed getting to know these characters and sharing their stories. It has been SOOOOOOO much fun writing these books and creating these worlds. I don't know what I'm going to do with myself once it's over.

Is it weird that I grieve over my own characters???

Each of my books has focused on a different theme. In Strange Luck it was memories. In The Nightmare Birds is was meaning. A Darling Secret will focus on strength. My hope is that this final book will be even more intense, magical, dark, and full of surprises than the first two, and that overall, this series will be something that will stay with you forever. I can only hope you'll agree when you read it. :D

More details to come soon. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a book to write...

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Review Time!

It's truly a remarkable feeling when authors you admire write glowing reviews about your own books. I'm so flattered that suspense author Ingrid Foster had this to say about Strange Luck:
"As a reader, I love any book that can pull me in on page one and keep me turning pages. Strange Luck is definitely that sort of book."
And had this to say about The Nightmare Birds:
"Original plot, unusual, captivating and memorable characters and story line. A must read for fantasy lovers.
I also just got a review of Strange Luck from the talented Sarah Noffke, author of the Lucidite series. 
"This book grabbed my attention from the beginning...A great story with fantastic writing."


If you're looking for something new to read, I highly recommend checking out any books by these authors. You won't be sorry :)


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Get Them While Their Young, Keep Them Until Their Old - Guest Post by Sarah Noffke

I recently had the pleasure of reading Suspended by Sarah Noffke. Since I've also written a book about a dark circus (The Nightmare Birds), I was especially anxious to read her story. Needless to say, I wasn't disappointed. :)

The more I discovered about Sarah, the more I was intrigued by this "superwoman". She's written fifteen books and is currently working on two more! I'm delighted that she found the time to share this guest post with you today.  Enjoy!

Get Them While Their Young, Keep Them Until Their Old

Scroll the feed on Instagram and you’ll come to a few conclusions. They might be: she definitely shouldn’t be wearing that, is that dude out of his mind, and holy batman young adults love their books. I follow more than a few book addicts on Instagram and they all happen to be ones who are obsessed with taking pictures of their bookshelves, rather than their freckled faces. When was the last time that you saw Helen, the retired widow, arranging her books in the garden so she could take a pretty picture to post on social media? So what’s my point? It’s that we need to be catering to this hungry market. Young adults crave the actual pages of books. They use the hashtag for cover love more than anyone else. Young adult fantasy is especially hot right now, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. And if we know this knowledge, then we might should be using it.

When I was a young adult, I didn’t think I liked to read. Stop gasping and listen to me. It’s because the books I was forced to read were Heart of Darkness and Frankenstein. Now before you forever loathe me for complaining about being exposed to classic literature, please hear me out. While those novels are amazing in their own way, they aren’t something relatable for a young adult. I know, you’re shocked, I’ve never, not once, sailed down the Congo. It wasn’t until later that I accidentally picked up a young adult novel that I fell in love with books. I remember the exact moment. It was like Prince Charming walked into the room and I was instantly in love. That passion for young adult literature then grew and now I read books of all genres. However, too often I think we force the classics before we’ve hooked the young reader. I think we cater to the adult readers, not realizing that it’s the teens of the world that are going to break down doors to get a fresh paperbacks. They are obsessed with covers. Obsessed with collecting spicy fantasy novels. And most importantly, they are consumers who have decades of reading ahead of them.

Having written five young adult and new adult series, I’ll claim to know a little bit about the genre. New adult is this relatively recent category that is just starting to emerge. It has less rules than young adult and is relatable to a larger audience. However, I will disclose that most of the readers of my young adult series are thirty-something-year-old women. The reason for the wide appeal is that young adult characters have more potentials and I’ve polled readers and found there’s an irresistible draw to that. It’s fun when a character is still developing and doesn’t know who they are, what they want or who they love. The key to good young adult fiction is exploring these potentials. And the key to happy readers is to find the stories that they can relate to, while also creating surprising potentials. Finally, because I like sets of three, the key to success for authors, libraries and retailers is tapping into this hungry market. Hooking the young and young at heart readers is a great strategy. From my experience there aren’t more loyal followers than those who post their TBR lists on social media.

I keep hearing a rumor that the book market is over saturated. Honestly, I can’t find relevant data to support this. If my Instagram feed serves as antidotal evidence then young adults actually don’t have enough books. If I see another picture in my feed of the Harry Potter series with a newly released cover then I’m chunking my phone across the room. #coverlove


Sarah Noffke writes YA and NA sci-fi fantasy and is the author of the Lucidites, Reverians, Ren and Vagabond Circus series. She holds a Masters of Management and teaches college business courses. Most of her students have no idea that she toils away her hours crafting fictional characters. Noffke's books are top rated and best-sellers on Kindle. Currently, she has fifteen novels published. Her books are available in paperback, audio and in Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. To get a free book from the author, go here: http://www.sarahnoffke.com/free-book/

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2n0rnJO
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/officialsarahnoffke?ref=hl
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9830676.Sarah_Noffke
Twitter: @RealSarahNoffke
Instagram: @sarahnoffke


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