Author Archives: Marissa Ames

About Marissa Ames

I’m a working mom, a devoted wife, an author and a homesteader. I spend my free time eating lunch. My homesteading story began 180 years ago, with pioneering ancestors who made drastic changes to preserve faith and values. With each generation the plot repeats: A diligent father works long hours to provide for his family. An innovative mother fills in the gaps while striving to uphold her faith and values. Children follow in their parents’ footsteps, returning to proven methods when modern times fall short on promises of a better life. Now my husband and I live the lessons taught by our parents, working to support our family through conventional careers in addition to urban farming. We raise chickens and other poultry, rely on large-scale urban gardening, and get through the winter with canning and food preservation. In the spring and summer we grow food; in the fall we preserve it; in the winter we make cheese and soap and chronicle the year’s experiences. I began the Ames Family Farm blog on a whim, mostly to secure the name in case I took my talents further and started a greenhouse or an educational system. What came to fruition exceeded my own ambitions. Now I share my experiences through Ames Family Farm, Countryside and Backyard Poultry Magazines, other publications, and social media. I speak at conventions and work with school gardening projects, advocating sustainability and backyard chickens in urban settings. Mostly, I offer what I can as friends and acquaintances seek help with gardening or homesteading endeavors. My current books in progress include Huntsman, the third book in the Tir Athair medieval fantasy series, and a homesteading series to help budget-minded urbanites enhance their living spaces to save money and advocate a healthier, happier way of life. I continue to contribute to Countryside and Backyard Poultry through it all. I believe homesteading is meant to save money rather than cost more. That gardening enhances health and joy as well as cutting costs, that canning and food preservation are keys to self-reliance when bad times hit. That everyone has the ability to homestead. Even if you live in a high-rise apartment and cannot keep chickens, you can make cheese or sew clothing. Even in a food desert you can budget and preserve food to protect your health and way of life.

2016 in a Chaotic Nutshell

Finally, an update on what I’ve been up to. (Hint: it doesn’t have much to do with medieval fantasy but it’s pretty big.)

Ames Family Farm

Have you ever had a task you needed to do? And the more you put it off, the more it caused anxiety? Then months pass and you still haven’t done it?

For me, that’s writing a blog post.

I write almost daily, whether for Countryside or Backyard Poultry Magazines or one of my books. But writing about me? About what I’m up to, my goals or dreams? Or even the weekly farm mishap which resulted in animal poop spread everywhere it shouldn’t be? (Trust me, those are weekly.)

I haven’t been blogging. But I need to. Especially now that life is ramping up fast.

So, though I realize the well-intentioned futility of New Year’s Resolutions, it just happens to be New Year’s at the time that I decide I must blog weekly. Whether anyone reads it is another story. But I’ll do it. And I’ll try not to make every…

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Resolutions and Feminists (Or: Plans for 2016)

Another update from the homesteading front. But parts of this apply to my other writing. I intend to keep all audiences more informed in 2016.

Ames Family Farm

electricity corn

New Year’s Resolutions are like feminists: if you ask most people about intentions behind the concept, they agree it’s an excellent idea. But the name itself has gotten a bad rep. So people use the word less and less until they stand up and take ownership for it.

But it’s okay to make goals at the start of the year. Or changes. Alter your behavior. Focus on something new. State, emphatically, that you intend to go down a different path. (Wait…aren’t those Resolutions?)

I think people are against negative feelings resulting from resolutions gone wrong. It’s like feminists who speak out against someone resistant to stop doing what he’s doing. Whether or not a change has to be made, the negative feelings remain. When New Year’s Resolutions are broken, people feel like failures. Or they spark guilt or alienation within someone completely unrelated to the resolution.

But if I say…

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What’s Up?

Have you met my alter ego, the urban farmer? Please jump on over to Ames Family Farm to learn where both the homesteading and writing careers go from here.

Ames Family Farm

missy2

Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve sat down and written a post specifically for this blog. But I often get questions and comments from people seeking help with local zoning laws for livestock. Thank you for using Ames Family Farm as a resource.

I started Ames Family Farm about 2.5 years ago to secure the identity in case I proceeded with my crazy business ideas such as opening a greenhouse, creating a local homesteading educational circuit, or even just publishing a few books on the lifestyle. Soon after AFF went live, an editor from Backyard Poultry Magazine sought me out and invited me to blog for the magazine. I was flattered. After thinking it over for a short time I agreed. My posts have appeared on Backyard Poultry Magazine’s website for over two years now.

In October and November of the same year I became a published author…

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New BHCAuthors Website—Connecting Readers to Authors

Blue Harvest Creative is excited to announce the next generation of independence has arrived!

BHC Authors Logo

Welcome to the BHC Authors website—a place dedicated to bringing readers and authors together. If you love to read, this is the place to be. Find a new favorite genre or author. Check out new releases and titles. Or enter a giveaway or promotion.

Here’s what you’ll find when you visit BHCAuthors.com

  • Author spotlights—Get up close and personal. Enter our monthly giveaway for a chance to win autographed print titles or eBooks from featured authors.
  • Reader/ARC (advanced reader copy) Program—Love to read? Want to see new titles before they are released? Enjoy giving feedback and discovering new authors or genres? Be sure to sign up for our ARC program.

BHC Authors Reader Program

  • News and events—Check our calendar often. You never know where a BHC Author will turn up!
  • Are you a reviewer, blogger, or journalist interested in review copies or scheduling an interview? Visit our media center, and we’ll be sure to get you everything you need.
  • Librarians and booksellers can also contact us at the media center. We’re here to make your job easier.
  • If you run a readers’ group, we offer book club reader’s guides for many of our titles and we’re always adding more.
  • Purchases titles and other nifty products from our Amazon affiliate store—From books to writer’s tools of the trade, and more, you’ll find it all here, right at your fingertips.
  • Meet the BHC Authors—Many of whom have won multiple awards and are USA Today bestsellers—and get to know their work.

BHC Authors Website

  • Subscribe to our newsletter and be the first to know about new titles, promotions, events, sales, and more. We hate spam as much as the next person, so we only send out about one email per month. Our intent is not to solicit services. Our newsletters only feature information about BHC Authors.

We’re just gearing up, and we’ll be adding more exciting features. Love our website? Have an idea to share or something you’d like to see featured? We’d love to hear from you, and we appreciate and value your ideas and suggestions. Please email us at: Feedback (at) BHCAuthors (dot) com

Thanks for stopping by and supporting independently published authors!

Click HERE to visit the BHC Authors website.

Writing Family: Worldbuilding and Homesteading

Angela Goff of Anonymous Legacy has interviewed me! Read her blog post to learn how my real-life homesteading efforts enhance the Tir Athair series.

Angela Goff

As writers, we often hear the old axioms: 

Write what you know. Write from life. Tell your story. 

But what does that really mean?

garlic with tomatoes larger

Over the years I’ve been privileged to meet some phenomenal people whose writing has grown out of their personal experiences, habits, hobbies and passions in remarkable ways. Hence this “Writing Family” series: a spotlight on various writers whose work has taken on new life from things they do every day.

One such person is medieval-based fantasy writer Marissa Ames. Her Tir Athair series exposes the wonderfully intricate medieval world, populated with complex characters navigating moral quandaries common to the human condition in all ages of the world. Yet writing isn’t her only superpower. She is also a hard-core homesteader with an impressive skill set, from making homemade mozzarella to raising chickens, not to mention being a stellar from-scratch cook.

With such a resume, it should surprise no one that she…

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2 ways to buy Nevada books in time for Christmas (with suggestions)

Books in the City of Trembling Leaves

ChristmasNVRelax—you still have time to buy books for Christmas without paying shipping fees or worrying that they won’t arrive in time. These options are for—

  1. Out-of-town family and friends who have Kindles or Nooks (or the free reading Kindle app on their computers or smartphones). Both Amazon and Barnes & Noble have e-book gift-giving options; just look for the “Give/buy as gift” button. If providing the recipient’s email address is a problem, Amazon will let you use your own. (I’m thinking you could print out the email and put it in a card or stocking . . . )
  2. Family and friends who live around here. For these, I’m talking about our local bookstores, which are suddenly competitive with the online booksellers when you absolutely have to have a tangible gift for someone to open at Christmas and you haven’t bought it yet.

Sorry, you’re on your own with…

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Creating A Creepy Collection—Get Ready For “In Creeps The Night”

We’re so excited to produce this work and spread the word about some amazing authors, both established and up-and-coming!

Blue Harvest Creative

We are beyond excited to present our cover and interior design for the horror anthology In Creeps The Night. We partnered with J.A.Mes Pressto create this deliciously creepy collection of 50 flash fiction tales from 50 authors. All royalties for the sales of In Creeps The Night are being donated to Mothers Without Borders. Blue Harvest Creative also donated all of its time on this project (cover design, interior formatting, creation of a matching eBook, and helping with editing) as its contribution to this project and charity.

Blurb:

50 talented authors… 50 spine-tingling tales… 50 reasons to leave the lights on tonight…

Ghosts, goblins, and ghouls creep through pages of spooky flash fiction. Discover critically acclaimed authors that will make your skin shiver and have you flinching at bumps in the night. Whenever the mood strikes for something creepy, this collection will leave you looking over your shoulder.

Available now on Amazon…

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Medieval Street Faire and Book Signing

On September 20th, Vassal: The Second Book of Tir Athair will be available in both print and eBook formats. To celebrate, Reno’s best independent bookstore will be hosting me as I sign print copies of all available Tir Athair works. But book signings aren’t the only attractions that day.

Grassroots poster

Book cover and advertisements designed by Blue Harvest Creative

Schedule of Events:

  • 11am: Storytelling for the kids by aspiring author Dave Nightingale
  • 11am: Falconry demonstrations by Darkwell Castle Organization
  • 11:30: Old world fibers by Beck, including spinning wheels and hand-spindling
  • 12:00: Renaissance music by youth musician Jaidyn MacDonald
  • 1pm: Book readings by authors Marissa Ames, Jean Booth, and Kurt Winans
  • 1:30pm: Face painting for the kids by Beck
  • 2pm: Renaissance music by youth musician Lauren Hutchings
  • 2:30pm: Storytelling for the kids by youth book critic Sahara Wilcock

Throughout the day:

  • Heavy combat demonstrations by the Society for Creative Anachronism. (The public will only be spectators for combat demonstrations.)
  • Craft demonstrations by the Society for Creative Anachronism
  • Historical representations of the Royal Court of Mary Queen of Scots

Other events are still being determined and will be added to the schedule once finalized.

Other authors include Jean Booth, authors of Zombie War and The Origins paranormal series, and Kurt Winans, author of science fiction works Pilgrimage and Second Moon. Works by all three authors are kept in stock at Grassroots Books.

On site food, including vegan and gluten free options, served by J&J’s Italian Ices

Grassroots Books is the preferred storefront for the Tir Athair series. Print prices will always be lower at Grassroots than on Amazon.com. However, if you prefer eBooks, you can pre-order Vassal for only $3.49 until September 20th. Upon the book’s release date, the price will rise to $4.99.

preorder ad

Cover Reveal—In Creeps The Night Anthology

Blue Harvest Creative

We are thrilled to reveal our creepy cover design for In Creeps the Night, the new anthology for our publishing partner, J.A.Mes Press. In Creeps the Night is an anthology of horror-themed flash fiction that features fifty stories by fifty authors.

In-Creeps-The-Night---Cover-Final

Available September 30, 2014 in trade softcover and eBook

Blurb:

50 talented authors… 50 spine-tingling tales… 50 reasons to leave the lights on tonight.

Ghosts, goblins, and ghouls creep through pages of short but spooky flash fiction. Discover critically acclaimed authors as your skin shivers and you flinch at bumps in the night. This collection will exhilarate you just in time for Halloween or whenever the mood strikes for something creepy.

All royalties benefit Mothers Without Borders, which cares for orphaned and vulnerable children around the world.

Blue Harvest Creative is honored to be partnered with J.A.mes Press and is pleased to be able to donate their time…

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Fantasy Cover Reveal—Vassal by Marissa Ames

Blue Harvest Creative

We are very excited to present our cover for Vassal, the second book in the critically acclaimed Tir Athair fantasy series by BHC author, Marissa Ames. The Tir Athair series is a historical-based fantasy series. The first book in the series, Minstrel, is currently a finalist for best fantasy novel of 2013 in the Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards.

Vassal_M_Ames_Cover-(Final)

 Front cover for print and eBook

Available in trade paperback and eBook September 20, 2014

Cottage cover illustration painted by the author

Blurb:

Who holds your loyalties?

Tir Athair still battles the north, and refugees still face torture for trying to flee oppression. As heiress to Fief Collum, Aislin knows her position is tenuous. She adheres to even the most unjust laws so her liege cannot revoke her land. When her uncle sends six burly men to work on her fief, she is wary of his intentions and their identities…

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