• The Songweaver's Vow

    She tells Greek legends to entertain Norse gods — until one of her stories leads to murder. Now she's alone in hostile Asgard, and Ragnarok is coming.

    Just released! Check it out.

The Death of Baldr

This entry is part 2 of 6 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 6 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

A Chocolate Coffin

That’s a very literal title.

After all, I wouldn’t lie to you.

It’s no secret that I have a thing about the classic Universal monsters and gothic tales. Nor is it a secret that I have a small problem with chocolate. And so I was absolutely delighted to receive this chocolate coffin. (Or casket, really.) Continue reading

Miyazaki & Story

I’m not a huge Hiyao Miyazaki fan — okay, I haven’t even seen all the standards! — but I really like some of what he says here about story in general and about stories for children.

And what he says about stories of fantasy and monsters requiring the realism of human character and emotion, that’s spot on.

(Also, I love that even someone of Miyazaki’s stature is writing the story as he goes along. Makes me feel a bit more justified in my not-exactly-over-plotting approach.)

Sound and Art

Remember that research into sound and infrasound for a WIP (work in progress)? Well, it brought me more cool things than just earthquakes.

Check out this amazing video demonstrating how sound waves affect matter. It’s a bit mesmerizing. Continue reading

How to Hear an Underwater Earthquake

English: An aerial view of Minato, Japan, a we...

An aerial view of Minato, Japan, a week after a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami devastated the area. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For a story in progress (now available!), I was doing some research on infrasound and sea animals and hydrophonics, and I happened across this amazing and terrifying recording.

The March 11, 2011 Tōhoku earthquake off Japan, which produced a devastating tsunami killing perhaps 16,000 people, was recorded by a hydrophonic array in the Aleutian Islands, more than 900 miles away. Despite the great distance, the recorded seismic disturbance is the loudest they’ve ever captured, even louder than the nearby underwater volcanoes.

Listen all the way through to the end, when the sound simply buries the microphone. It’s terrifying. Continue reading

Kitsune-bi and Kitsune no Yomeiri – foxfire and fox wedding

In a Western forest, when you see lights drifting over your path and beckoning into darkness, you might call them a will-o’-the-wisp. And you should know better than to follow them. Continue reading

Where Do Plot Ideas Come From?

There’s a joke among fiction writers about people who offer, “Hey, I’ve got a great idea for a book. You write it and then we’ll split the profits.”

There are a few problems with this, but one of the most obvious is that the idea is the easiest bit. It’s the writing that actually takes time. Ideas are everywhere.

Don’t believe me? Let’s take a walk and look for plot ideas. How about last week’s Country Living Fair in Columbus, Ohio? Continue reading

So, What DOES the Fox Say?

キタキツネ (北狐 kita kitsune), a Vulpes vulpes schre...

キタキツネ (北狐 kita kitsune), a Vulpes vulpes schrencki native to Hokkaido (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At times, life is strangely kind. This time, it was both kind and strange. Foxes became a hot internet meme, and in an… unexpected way.

Continue reading

Polite “Bowing” Deer in Japan

Sika Deer (Cervus nipal) in Kadzidłowo, Poland.

Sika Deer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you heard of the bowing deer of Nara?

Sika deer (probably from shika, Japanese for “deer”) are spotted into maturity and still have a strong population in Japan. They were once sacred, considered divine messengers, and now they are protected. In Nara Prefecture, they roam freely and harass visitors for treats. Continue reading