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.

 

 

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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

 

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!

Wild Spirits of the Hollow, Last Blog Tour Day!

Okay. Here are some more links to some fantastic book blogs! This is the last day-o.WS-ebook-cover

Momma Says To Read or Not To Read, Chapter 1 Excerpt plus Giveaway

Simply Kilena, Chapter 1 Excerpt plus Giveaway

Supernatural Central, Interview

Storyteller SK Gregory, Chapter 1 Excerpt

Sapphyria’s Books, Spotlight Plus Giveaway

Ramblings of a Book Nerd, Chapter 1 Excerpt

Okay, I think that’s it. Catch you all later!