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

The Death of Baldr

This entry is part 2 of 7 in the series The Songweaver's Vow: Easter Eggs & Background

Spoiler alert: Baldr dies.

River Song warns you of spoilers.Okay, seriously, there be spoilers ahead. Mythology nerds likely already know some of what goes down in The Songweaver’s Vow, but if you haven’t read it yet, I suggest you grab a copy and then come back for the background material. (Though to be perfectly fair, even knowing the base myth won’t give you a complete picture, so as long as you’re fully apprised of the spoiler-ific nature of this post….)  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

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

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

Blood Mercy: Thicker Than Water

So it’s October, and you might have noticed I have a thing for the gothic and classic monsters, and it’s perfect weather for reading edgy stories, and so I have a new book to share with you today.

It’s about vampires. /toothy grin/ Continue reading

Flora & Fauna in Fantasia

This entry is part 6 of 7 in the series The Songweaver's Vow: Easter Eggs & Background
Protected example of Common Ash (Fraxinus exce...

Common Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just because a book is a fantasy does not mean it does not require research (and in fact often requires more). Right now I am writing about the plants and animals of Asgard, and I am working to make them as probable as possible.

How do we know what animals lived and what plants grew in a land that never was? We look at where the storytellers lived. The Danes who first told these stories likely based their creatures and plants on the more familiar specimens they knew. Continue reading

Lessons in book cover design

So we already know some things about book covers in this modern era: Besides the usual menu of needing to represent genre and tone, they need to be legible (both title and genre/mood) as thumbnails, and they should be high contrast for visibility on mobile and black/white ereader screens.

Yesterday I realized another new criterion: They should look good in push notifications.

screencap of middle section of BAIT in phone's push notification Continue reading