Hey, Gold Star!

Brag moment! Even though I get no real credit for this one.

I’ve been an avid appreciator of Joel Friedlander’s The Book Designer site for some years, and I keep an eye on his cover design awards and commentary as a useful educational tool (and a fun one). I’ve entered several of my covers, commissioned and self-designed, and gotten nice feedback on them. But this month I landed the coveted gold star. Continue reading

Look Over There

T Rex stomps a car over text of all 26 authors' namesI’m guest-posting today over at Rhonda Parrish’s blog about her newest anthology — with 26 writers, including me — called D is for Dinosaur. Check out what I learned to write this story!

The Songweaver’s Vow: The Wyrmhole

This entry is part of 7 in the series The Songweaver's Vow: Easter Eggs & Background

Today’s another entry in the Background & Research posts for The Songweaver’s Vow.

When Thor goes to fight Jörmungandr, he seeks the sea-sized serpent at a place he calls the Wyrmhole, baiting him out with a bull cut into quarters. The Wyrmhole is shamelessly based on a real place I visited in Ireland. (Though I saw fewer sea serpents.) Continue reading

The Norse Pantheon Family Tree

This entry is part 4 of 7 in the series The Songweaver's Vow: Easter Eggs & Background

Anyone who’s spent more than three minutes reading up on the Norse pantheon — or pretty much any polytheistic pantheon, really — knows it can get complicated in a hurry. So when I stumbled upon this Norse deity family tree from Veritable Hokum, I knew it would be a fun share here.
Continue reading

Norse Mythology: What We Know

This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series The Songweaver's Vow: Easter Eggs & Background

So to start, we don’t know very much about Norse mythology.

By Mårten Eskil Winge - 3gGd_ynWqGjGfQ at Google Cultural Institute maximum zoom level, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22007120

Thor’s Fight With The Giants by Mårten Eskil Winge

Oh, sure, we have quite a lot of stories, and we’ve made them into quite a lot more stories. But we don’t really have a grasp of how old proto-Germanic religion functioned, how seriously people took these stories, and how these stories fit together.

The Songweaver’s Vow was a tough book to write, for a number of reasons. For one, this was the first time I was writing a story which wasn’t entirely mine and I had to follow a previously-defined plot, as the base story of The Songweaver’s Vow is a Greek legend. And Euthalia brought her Greek stories with her to Asgard, so this meant that I had two separate mythologies to blend while simultaneously trying to make the determined plot my own. It was like writing historical fiction which had to fit both our history and an alternate Earth history. Not gonna lie, it was a workout. Continue reading

Kennings

This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series The Songweaver's Vow: Easter Eggs & Background

The Songweaver's VowI’ve loved kennings since I first learned what one was. My formal introduction, the first time I knew a kenning for what it was, was swan-road, a Norse kenning for the sea, and with that romantic imagery I was hooked.

A kenning is a figurative phrase to replace a more mundane noun, and they’re especially common and appreciated in older Norse and some Anglo-Saxon literature. To travel the swan road you would need a wave horse, or a ship. If you were telling Greek legends to entertain Norse gods, you might be a songweaver. /cough cough/

Basically, kennings are metaphors cranked to eleven. Continue reading

The Beto-beto-san

geta

geta (photo courtesy of Wikimedia)

If you’ve read Kitsune-Mochi, you might remember a scene where Murame hears footsteps trailing her down a mountain? That’s the beto-beto-san, named onomatopoeiatically for the beto-beto sound of walking in wooden geta on stone.

Susan Spann, author of the Shinobi mysteries, talks today on Murder is Everywhere about her real life brush with beto-beto-san during a research trip in Japan.

Just remember, the beto-beto-san is a mischievous prankster but generally not dangerous, and as with so many Japanese youkai you can get safely away by being polite. Take care and mind your manners!

Background: Loki & the Gods’ Gifts

This entry is part 5 of 7 in the series The Songweaver's Vow: Easter Eggs & Background

When you’re working with two full mythologies, there are a lot of tidbits to include that just don’t get the screen time for full explanations. There are a lot of these “Easter eggs” hidden in The Songweaver’s Vow, and I’ll have a whole pile of them to share — in March. (Yes, in March, because some of them would be spoilerific, and we don’t need to revisit exactly how I feel about spoilers, do we, hmmm?)

But here’s a snack to hold you over. Continue reading

Santa Dragon is here!

a fantastical ChristmasIt’s nearly Christmas!

Today I’m giving away a complete set of the Kitsune Tales (thus far) for the Fellowship of Fantasy’s Santa Dragon tour. Continue reading

The Mysterious Magi: Who Were They?

Roman mosaic in Ravenna, showing Magi in Parthian dress

6th century Roman mosaic in Ravenna, showing Magi in Parthian dress

Today’s post is a lot of historical background, much of it research for my book So To Honor Him, put together to explain a story you’ve probably heard. If you’re into history and mystery-solving, come along with me. (Stay close; we’re going to go through a lot of material.)

We’re going to talk about the Magi, or the Wise Men, spoken of in the Biblical book of Matthew.

First off, despite your annual inundation of Christmas cards and nativity scenes, let’s admit that most of what the common man on the street will remember in reference to the Magi is sketchy at best and is not found anywhere in the Bible. Continue reading