New Cover

Hey-o! I have a brand-spanking new cover! This is the first cover that created almost entirely in Krita. I recently switched over from Fireworks and Photoshop because the versions I had weren’t compatible with my replacement computer.

big grace cover with gradient text

The font is called Prida 01, and I’m completely in love with it. I did have a bit of a time getting the gradient text together because I couldn’t find a tutorial. It took me several evenings to figure out. I’m actually thinking of putting together a short blog post about it in case someone else needs it.

Beneath Oceans of Sky is a middle-grade fantasy and is available on Amazon.

 

 

Advertisements

Enneagrams for Character Development

Greetings, internetizens! Soooooo today I have some writing stuff.

In the past, I’ve used worksheets for character development. Basically, you lay out your character traits: name, appearance, stuff they like, stuff they don’t like, tidbits about their past and their family, etc.

Lately, I’ve been looking at personality enneagrams. They give a good idea of how certain personality traits can work together in real life humans, kind of like gears in a machine. There are 9 personality traits according to this system. Here’s a quick peek, courtesy of The Enneagram Institute.

The Nine Enneagram Type Descriptions

1 THE REFORMER
The Rational, Idealistic Type: Principled, Purposeful, Self-Controlled, and Perfectionistic

2 THE HELPER
The Caring, Interpersonal Type: Demonstrative, Generous, People-Pleasing, and Possessive

3 THE ACHIEVER
The Success-Oriented, Pragmatic Type: Adaptive, Excelling, Driven, and Image-Conscious

4 THE INDIVIDUALIST
The Sensitive, Withdrawn Type: Expressive, Dramatic, Self-Absorbed, and Temperamental

5 THE INVESTIGATOR
The Intense, Cerebral Type: Perceptive, Innovative, Secretive, and Isolated

6 THE LOYALIST
The Committed, Security-Oriented Type: Engaging, Responsible, Anxious, and Suspicious

7 THE ENTHUSIAST
The Busy, Fun-Loving Type: Spontaneous, Versatile, Distractible, and Scattered

8 THE CHALLENGER
The Powerful, Dominating Type: Self-Confident, Decisive, Willful, and Confrontational

9 THE PEACEMAKER
The Easygoing, Self-Effacing Type: Receptive, Reassuring, Agreeable, and Complacent

You may notice that not every one of the personality traits is good. That is an excellent thing for writers because that makes it easier to construct a balanced character. Nobody wants to read about Mr. or Ms. Perfect. That’s boring.

A similar option for this kind of info is the Myers Briggs Types. That one offers more types, maybe more in-depth information. Personally, I prefer the relative simplicity of the enneagrams.

If you’d like to read more about the enneagrams, here’s a link to the Enneagram Institute.

For the Myers Briggs Types, here’s a link to The Myers Briggs Foundation.

lady-wiith-typewriter

 

Happy New Year!

slothAfter several weeks of doing my best sloth-girl impression, I have resumed working. Well, I’m pretty much always writing, so that much was going on, at least. I hope everyone had a safe and wonderful New Year’s Eve and a good start to this next trip around the sun.

Do you want to know what is not a fun activity? Moving a podcast with 27 episodes.

My account renewal at Podbean for The Authors Read Podcast was due in December. I knew it was coming up, so I needed to decide whether I wanted to keep the party going for another year. I asked myself what I didn’t like about it.

I like helping my fellow authors. Getting book publicity is a rough game sometimes. One of the reasons I started the podcast was because I wanted to be one of the people who could open a door instead one of the legions who prefer to slam it or, you know, just ignore the knock.

My only real issue with it was the expense. My account at Podbean was $100 for the year. For something that doesn’t make any money, it wasn’t an expense that I could really justify to myself. Luckily, I found a place to host it for free! The website doesn’t have as many features, but if it keeps me in the game, I’m good.

I had another issue. I thought I had saved all my complete episode mp3 files. HAHA no. Alas, I did not. I have no idea where they went or how they got there, but I was missing episodes 16-19 and 21-26. I did have most of the pieces: the readings, the intros, the outros. All in all, between piecing the episodes back together, uploading them to Castbox.FM and updating all the links on the wordpress site, etc, it was about 10 hours of work.

I do really like podcasting, though, so it’s worth the effort to me.

I did get to see how much my voicework improved over the course of last year. Around episode 19 or 20, it really started to sound better.

If you’d like to follow Authors Read on Castbox, here is a link for you.  It has zero followers on Castbox so far because it’s been on there for all of five seconds, so any follows would be much appreciated!

I have a lot of exciting stuff planned for this year, including finishing one or more audiobooks. I know, I know, I said I wanted one out last year. I didn’t make it, okay? I was tired and lazy. I’m better now. I promise.

New Drawin’ Software

Hey! I’ve been hard at work putting together next year’s business. Current projects are: yet another cover design for Beneath Oceans of Sky, the eternal audiobook project, and the series of shorts. That last one is the only thing I’m writing at the moment.

I recently switched computers. Well, I mostly switched. I still use the old one for editing audio because Windows 10 is not a friend of sound, apparently. With the switching of most tasks to the Windows 10 machine, I lost my Adobe Creative Suite, ie Photoshop, Fireworks, etc. I don’t use it enough to justify the expense, so I set out to find a free or at least low cost option.

I tried GIMP. I didn’t like it. I tried Inkscape. Didn’t like it. The interfaces were just too awkward. I am fully aware that I sound like a spoiled brat. In truth, I am both spoiled and a brat.

Then I found Krita. I can’t believe this is open-source/free software. The interface is a lot easier to learn, especially coming from Fireworks and Photoshop. There is a learning curve, though, because there are as many differences as there are similarities. I’m still getting the hang of it, but I love it so far.

Here’s a screenshot of the cover in progress and the interface.

Oceans rough

I still have a lot to do with the cover, but it is progressing nicely, and I like learning the software as I go along.

If you would like to check out my new software crush, you may find Krita at this link.

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.