Equine Battle Royale!

white horse head with black title text EQUUSPrepare for battle!

The authors of Equus have agreed to fight it out. We will pitch our equine heroes against one another in classic RPG style until only one remains to claim the title.

There can be only one. /lightning bolts everywhere/ Continue reading

Paramour: A Broadway Review

Paramour Broadway posterI had the opportunity recently to visit New York City and attend Paramour, the new Cirque du Soleil Broadway musical at the Lyric Theater. The show closed shortly after, and I had a number of people ask me to share my thoughts on this unusual fusion of circus and theater. We like circus, and we like theater, but would they work as well together like some sort of fusion cuisine? Continue reading

Contest Results: The Derpening

You might recall that I offered a prize for making fun of my awkward pictures. Because I take myself that seriously, all the time. And now, we have the results.

Tiny Laura in green dress with mushroom inside hollow tree trunkThe grand prize of three ebooks and a $20 Amazon gift card goes to Alex McGilvery, for his tasteful and dainty view of a tiny fairy Laura flaunting her tiny fairy status. Alex reports that the mushroom photo is his own, and the dress is stock. What a fun photo manipulation! Congratulations, Alex!

I did include the following guideline:

Winner will be chosen via a bizarre and wholly subjective algorithm of both execution and sheer concept, so if you aren’t sure you can nail both, just hit one or the other really hard.

1966 Batman and Robin fleeing giant head of LauraAnthony Vernon sent his submission with a bit of an apology for being new to photo manipulation, but he nailed it on concept. I love the 1966 Batman and the idea of being an over-sized and over-the-top villain watching the Dynamic Duo flee is kind of awesome. So I had to invent a runner-up prize for this one, and Anthony will be receiving two books of his choice and a $10 gift card for his work.

Oddly, no one took me up on my “any medium” provision (“Any creative take on my distress or hair flip, in visual art, words, song, sculpture, interpretive dance, whatever, is eligible”), so I have no other categories of work to share. Maybe another time!

Please join me in congratulating our winners!

Contest: Derp Me!

I was shooting some video and realized I’d accidentally bumped the selfie button while using my phone camera to check lighting. That’s how this starts.

hair flip

Accidental hair flip selfie.

And I thought that expression and that green screen were just too inviting, and so we’re going to play with them. Continue reading

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