Coupla Updates

Greetings! How are we doing? Well I hope. I am super excited because today I finished the last of the rough drafts for season 2 of my upcoming short fiction series. Including the box sets, I now have 8 months of releases. Pretty cool!

I’m not sure how well the Authors Read Podcast is going to do this year. I’m having trouble finding guests. I don’t really want to invest in advertising because it’s not a profit thing. I do have a good relationship with a book publicist, who sends some people my way, but I’m not sure it’s going to be enough.

I’ve been on a couple of message boards, etc. The requests just aren’t coming in. I have no plans to shut it down, but if I don’t have content, I don’t have content. Soooooo, if you are an author or you know an author who’s looking for a free to publicize their book, here is a link.

BUT even if it stagnates a bit, I will still have podcast content in the form of a second podcast for the short fiction series. I’ll have full control over that beast.

That’s all I’ve got for the moment. Catch you on the flip side.

lady-wiith-typewriter

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Trello for Writing Projects

Hey-o! What a fantastic Tuesday. I’ve been super productive the last several days. I’m back in the recording booth. I took an ever-so-slight…um…4-month(?) break, but it is officially game back on. I’m 16 chapters in and that number will continue to climb. I solemnly swear that I will also get back to my mastering responsibilities, probably this weekend.

BUT that isn’t really what I’m writing about today. Today, I’m sharing a free app that I really like. I should add a disclaimer that the way I use this app probably isn’t the intended use, and there are other apps that are more specific to my purpose, but this is the one I like.

It’s called Trello. It’s actually a team project management app. I do use it for projects, but I don’t have an official team and my projects are stories.

Here’s a sample of what it looks like.

Resized_Screenshot_20190212-201940_Trello
What you get when you first open the app is a list of your boards. The above picture is a board I created just for you! I can’t put my real ones up because they’ve got titles and character names and stuff, and it’s my super secret clubhouse.

The boxes on the board are cards. Basically they’re fancy lists that you can name and move around and add information to. Below is a screenshot of a card with a little note that I added.

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As you can see, there are some options under the note. I don’t really use those but I can see how they might be helpful.

You can also add pictures and stuff, but I haven’t had a use for that function yet. Here’s a pic of just how jazzy it can be.

trello

I was previously keeping track of all my writing bits and pieces in a document file, which can get kind of long and annoying if I want to check something quickly like a character traits or name or whatever. Trello makes for a nice quick reference.

I did find a similar app called Novelist that’s geared more toward story plotting, but when I tried it, it didn’t feel as free-form as Trello. It kinda had this forced organization vibe that I did not dig as much.

Plus, I can put pretty backgrounds on my Trello boards and that is, apparently, very important to me.

Resized_Screenshot_20190212-202536_Trello

 

So, it’s a fun time if you have a hundred projects going on and need to keep them straight. I highly recommend it.

Nuckelavee the Demon

Greetings, internet fam-squad! How are things? Things here are COLD, like literally all the outdoor things. I’m coming to you live from within the polar vortex.

I grabbed a fun snippet from the Indy Star yesterday. These are places that were warmer than Indy on Wednesday.

places

Fun, right? I’ve been hiding in my house since Tuesday evening, which is okay with me. One of my favorite activities is not leaving my house for days on end.

Anyway, today, we have one of THE weirdest demons I have ever stumbled across…in writing, not real life. I really never want to stumble across any demon in real life.

The Nuckelavee originated Scotland’s northern islands, specifically the islands of Orkney and Shetland, with bits and pieces possibly inspired Norse mythology. The Nuckelavee is a pretty baby, described thus: “a head and torso in the shape of a man but with a huge head and a large mouth protruding out like that of a pig. The creature had one single red eye that burned like fire. It had a man’s torso attached to a horse’s back but with long arms that could reach the ground. To add to the horror of his appearance the creature is without hair and skin. A raw body where his black blood could be seen coursing through his veins. Every pulsating muscle on show.” description courtesy of Transceltic.com

Want a visual? Of course, you do! Who doesn’t?

nuck

Image Source

His superpowers included super-bad/poisonous breath capable of poisoning livestock and crops, and he could bring on storms and droughts. Basically whatever bad stuff happened to island people could be blamed on him.

Fortunately for the island dwellers, he wasn’t active all the time. The “Mither of the Sea” was said to keep the Nuckelavee confined during the summer months, so apparently, he can’t just run amok at all times.

One last piece of very important information. If you’re ever faced with one, it is recommended that you cross a river or a stream because the Nuckelavee cannot enter freshwater.

Nuckelavee on Wikipedia

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

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