The Wild Hunt

O…K. Today’s nearly-random subject of interest is the Wild Hunt. The wild hunt is believed to have Pagan origins and was converted to folklore by ye olde Jacob Ludwig Karl Grimm in Teutonic Mythology (1882), which is a delightful read on German mythology. Wanna read it? No worries, fam. There’s a link at the bottom of the post.

A wild hunt is basically a group of supernatural beings like elves, fairies, the dead, or possibly even gods chasing after some thing or another, usually a lady. The sight of a hunt is sometimes considered a bad omen of death or possibly a sign that war is about to break out.

220px-Wodan's_wilde_Jagd_by_F._W._Heine

“Wodan’s Wild Hunt” by Friedrich Wilhelm Heine

One of the most central figures in these little supernatural parties is Woden, aka Odin, aka Wuotan, aka Mr. Wednesday (#Gaimanrulz) etc. etc. etc.

Here is a fantastic Wikipedia description of what happened to Odin during these hunts as described by Grimm: “Grimm interpreted the Wild Hunt phenomenon as having pre-Christian origins, arguing that the male figure who appeared in it was a survival of folk beliefs about the god Wodan, who had ‘lost his sociable character, his near familiar features, and assumed the aspect of a dark and dreadful power… a spectre and a devil.’[11] Grimm believed that this male figure was sometimes replaced by a female counterpart, whom he referred to as Holda and Berchta.[14] In his words, “not only Wuotan and other gods, but heathen goddesses too, may head the furious host: the wild hunter passes into the wood-wife, Wôden into frau Gaude.”[15] He added his opinion that this female figure was Woden’s wife.”

Um, what??? “lost his sociable character, his near familiar features, and assumed the aspect of a dark and dreadful power… a spectre and a devil.”

OMG, not only that, he turned into a lady? “this male figure was sometimes replaced by a female counterpart, whom he referred to as Holda and Berchta”

Okay, so he turned into an evil lady, who was also his wife. Sure, totally makes sense. Like, why wouldn’t he?

Side note: I often judge people who date and/or marry people who look like themselves. I’m not sure how to categorize this level of narcissism.

Ahem.

Stories about the hunt can feature someone who stumbles upon the hunt and is forced to choose whether to aid the hunt or um…not aid the hunt. Depending on that person’s choice, they can either be rewarded or punished. They might also outwit the hunt.

There are variations, of course, because mythology always has its variations, kinda like the telephone game, only occurring over a good many years. Depending on what version you read, Odin might be switched out with characters such as: “Theodoric the Great, the Danish king Valdemar Atterdag, the Welsh psychopomp Gwyn ap Nudd, biblical figures such as Herod, Cain, Gabriel or the Devil, or an unidentified lost soul or spirit either male or female.”

Hans Peter Duerr theorized that it “is generally difficult to decide, on the basis of the sources, whether what is involved in the reports about the appearance of the Wild Hunt is merely a demonic interpretation of natural phenomenon, or whether we are dealing with a description of ritual processions of humans changed into demons.”

I am totally in love with this concept and have plotted out a story inspired by it for future use.

Wild Hunt entry on Wikipedia

Grimm’s Teutonic Mythology ebook

 

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Series Notes

Hey-o! How are things? Well I hope. I’m super excited about Thanksgiving as I’m sure many other people are. I have an avalanche of things to be thankful for, mostly the fam. They’re okay people most of the time.

I’ve been hard at work on the dark fantasy/horror series I have coming out next year. I finally decided how to format the thing.

Every month, I’ll release either a set of three short stories or a long/novelette-lengthish story. Three months will make a season. Seasons will get box set releases that will basically be everything that came out that season lumped together, and they will get audiobooks.

Then, at the end of 3 seasons, which will be a year, I’ll release another box set, which will contain all three seasons worth of stories plus some author notes, etc.

I will probably release at least some of the stories as a podcast.

Why write short fiction? Well, first, I like it. Even as a kid, I had a thing for short stories. Poe. Those Hitchcock collections. Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark. And I think I might be better at writing short fiction. People seem to respond better to my shorter things. I’m okay with that. There are way worse things to be good at.

I think I mentioned this before, but I am writing a year of releases before the first one comes out. That will make this beast much easier to wrangle. Current status: all of season 1 is in some level of edit, and I think the writing for season 2 is about 25% done. Season 3 consists of only notes so far.

I’m shooting for an April release date, but you never know what might happen between now and then.

I have also selected a mascot for the series.

moth

Have a great holiday!!!

Tidbits from the Book of the Dead

Monday is upon us once again, friends!

I’ve loved many things about ancient Egypt since I was a kid. Their art was amazing, and their gods looked super cool, especially Anubis. He’s always been my fave. And who wouldn’t love to venture into an ancient tomb and nose around? Assuming there’s no curse, of course.

I recently found a digital copy of Sir E.A. Wallace Budge’s The Book of the Dead. At the beginning of the book, he explains that there really is no specific/official book of the dead. It is, instead, a name given to scrolls and other written works that are found with the dead in their tombs. Budge’s book is a collection of information from many of those sources.

I’m not going to write up a whole book report, because that would be super boring for me to write and even boringer for you to read. Yes, I just typed boringer on purpose. I write the blog; I do what I want.

First, some of the scrolls were super long. The Papyrus of Nebeseni measures 77 feet and 7.5 inches. The Papyrus of Princess Nesitanebtashru (aka the Greenfield Papyrus) measures about 123 feet. That’s a whole lot of papyrus.

Nut

Detail of the sky goddess: Nut (Wikipedia)

Thoth is considered the author of these books of the dead. He was the writer of spells, the heart and mind of the creator, and the savior of Ra. Basically, if you’re in ancient Egypt and you want to go somewhere nice when you die, he’s your dude.

Thoth

I won’t get too far into the whole drama between the gods, and trust me, it is a drama. However, I will provide you with a link to Budge’s The Book of the Dead, and you can read all about it if you want. Spoiler alert: an eyeball is eaten.

Within the books of the dead, you might find written hails to the gods (a little butt-kissing), vignettes, liturgies, prayers, etc.

Or in the case of the The Papyrus of Nesi-Khensu, you’d find a contract. The paragraph below is lifted from Budge’s book.

“This is really the copy of a contract which is declared to have been made between Nesi-Khensu and Amen-Rā, ‘the holy god, the lord of all the gods.’ As a reward for the great piety of the queen, and her devotion to the interests of Amen-Rā upon earth, the god undertakes to make her a goddess in his kingdom, to provide her with an estate there in perpetuity and a never-failing supply of offerings, and happiness of heart, soul and body, and the [daily] recital upon earth of the ‘Seventy Songs of Rā’ for the benefit of her soul in the Khert-Neter, or Under World. The contract was drawn up in a series of paragraphs in legal phraseology by the priests of Amen, who believed they had the power of making their god do as they pleased when they pleased.”

And they say J-Lo is a diva.

One thing that I found especially interesting was the Opening of the Mouth Ceremony. Basically, rites are performed and the mouth of the corpse is opened with a tool so that the deceased can eat and drink in the afterlife.

Ay performing the Opening of the Mouth for Tutankhamun (Wikipedia)

 

That’s all I have for now, but then, wasn’t it enough?  The link to Sir Budge’s book is below. It’s pretty short and really interesting. I recommend that you grab a copy with pictures because pictures make everything better!

Link to Budge’s The Book of the Dead

 

 

Meddling Kids

Hey-o! I listened to an interesting audiobook about a week ago. It was Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero. I’ve loved Scooby Doo pretty much always, so the title and the cover got my attention.

meddling

Here’s a snippet from the audiobook description: “With raucous humor and brilliantly orchestrated mayhem, Meddling Kids subverts teen detective archetypes like the Hardy Boys, the Famous Five, and Scooby-Doo, and delivers an exuberant and wickedly entertaining celebration of horror, love, friendship, and many-tentacled, interdimensional demon spawn.”

I will admit that I’m not overly familiar with the Hardy Boys (read a book or two) or the Famous Five (who?), but all I saw in this was Scooby Doo. It was like someone took the character traits from the original show, dropped them in a blender, and then combined them with a few new bits in a cast of character collage. It felt like fan fiction more than an original.

I did like the writing. It was campy like a Scooby Doo episode. The story was good. It actually would’ve been just fine without leaning so hard into the Scooby Doo knockoff gimmick.

I feel I should also add that the lady that narrated the audiobook did an excellent job.

 

Cover Art Behind the Scenes

Greetings, cats and kittens! I am pleased to say that I have returned to my writing duties. It has been a bit of a slow-go so far, but I’m getting there. I am still spending far too much time on the Playstation, which I think might be linked to my energy level. Basically, the less energy I have, the more hours I log on the Playstation instead of working or recording or whatever it is that I should be doing.

But today, we have cover art.

WS-ebook-cover

This was an interesting cover to work on. The forest background was a creative commons image I grabbed from one site or another. I took the photo of the ax and the flowers by my little, old self.

The ax is the one from my garage. In the book, the main character actually uses a hatchet, which has a different shape, a shorter handle and such, but I didn’t think anyone would really notice or care. Plus, I cut the handle off at the top, which makes it less obvious.

Some of the flowers were from Hobby Lobby and the leafy bits might’ve been from Michaels. Here’s what they looked like before I taped them to the ax handle. The berries were actually white before I painted over them in photoshop.

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Here’s the before shot of the ax. The blood is also photoshop…probably.

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And of course, the brat was there to “help”.

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The rest was photoshop history. A little digital paint, a little text gradient and the thing was done-zo!

If you’d like to see the cover and the snazzy antler graphic on the title page, the paperback version of Wild Spirits of the Hollow is now available on Amazon at this link.

Catch y’all later!

Updates

This is my birthday month! YAY! Please give me a moment while I put on my crown.

giphy

 

I have been SO lazy lately. I’m still not writing anything but notes for future projects. I do have a  series in the works that will likely begin in either the tail end of this year or the beginning of next year. There’s a lot involved, so I’ve been busy putting all my thoughts and ideas into some kind of logical order.

The series is going to consist of creepy/dark short stories and novellas, so each “book” will be either 3 short stories or one novella-length story or maybe something close to novella length. I plan to release one book every month, but I’m not releasing any installments of the series until I have at least 9 months of releases ready to go.

This probably seems daunting, but it’s not as crazy as it might sound. I went through a bit of an obsessive writing spurt a few months ago, so significant progress has already been made. I’m going to finish out my notes for the last few bits and then hopefully embark on another obsessive writing spurt. Momentum is easier to keep when the works are shorter.

Other updates: Scifi novel is on hold. Audiobook – I am procrastinating like nobody’s business. I plan to submit another quality check to ACX by the end of the week. I’m getting closer, and that is very exciting. By the time I get that all worked out, audiobook production is going to feel like a superpower.

That’s it for now.

Current Mood+Who I Write Like

Current mood:

sloth

I have been lazy. I am not writing, aside from some notes for future projects. I have not been editing.

I’ve been brushing up on the writing/plotting skills. Future projects are going to be much more exciting, for sure.

I also did do a who-I-write-like text analyzer thing. Apparently, I write like this guy.

cody

 

 

 

I have no idea who that is, but I plan to check him out. I was hoping for someone who specializes in one of my preferred genres, but you know, whatever.

Catch ya later, alligators.