Betobeto-san, the Footstep Youkai

Happy Halloween! Let’s talk about something spooky.

Her footsteps in the litter and debris muffled the forest noises around her, and for a moment she considered humming to further drown the sounds that frightened her. But it would be foolish to handicap herself. She kept quiet, listening to her too-loud footsteps.

Twilight made the way difficult, and she hoped she was still going the right way. She slipped, half-losing her zouri. She paused, to refit it to her foot, and the footsteps did not.

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A Behaviorial Look at National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

The setup for NaNoWriMo at home, if I need to ...
photo by clickthing.blogspot.com/2008/10/tennish-anyone.html

So right now a lot of writing friends and I are stocking up on coffee, candy, and Prozac, building our bunkers for National Novel Writing Month (fondly known as NaNoWriMo). Only I don’t like coffee, so I make up for it with chocolate. To each her own.

NaNoWriMo is a blitz to write at least 50,000 words in 30 days. (Of course, no, one isn’t writing a publishable book in 30 days, nor is 50,000 words a complete novel in nearly any genre. But that’s not exactly the point, either, so work with us here.)

Considering that at my sugar-and-caffeine-induced perfect zone, I peak at about 1000 words per hour, and that’s not really sustainable — I know a lot of professionals who are quite pleased with 250 words per hour — and considering that normal life doesn’t actually suspend for most of us, you can see the challenge here. So motivation and discipline are big concepts for the NaNo community.

There are lots of ways NaNo writers motivate themselves, but it boils down to several commonly-used terms — small incentives, big incentives, anti-incentives, and rituals.

Let’s look at them from a professional behavior perspective.

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Zombies on the Playground

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I don’t do Wordless Wednesday much, but sometimes you’ve just got something to share.

Zombies on the Playground

My friend the talented Amanda Irwin of Elemental Photography wanted to recreate this fun image of children fighting off zombies on playground equipment. She issued an open call for predators and prey, and this happened.


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Adventures in Translation: “Purple fine Doo number”

Seimei Shrine 晴明神社 devoted to Abe no Seimei. K...
Seimei Shrine 晴明神社 devoted to Abe no Seimei. Kyoto, Japan. Seimei Well (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I did a fair amount of research for Kitsune-Tsuki and Kitsune-Mochi, and some was much easier than others.

There’s a lot of research involved in any historical piece. I heard Susan Spann, author of Claws of the Cat, say that she had spent over two hours looking up historic ikebana seasonal arrangements, just to put the correct flowers (hydrangeas) in a scene. I myself spent considerable time researching the histories of such commonplace things as daikon and goldfish. But sometimes the source material is hard to come by, especially in English.

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I (Heart) Vampires

Illustration in Carmilla, Joseph Sheridan Le F...
Illustration in Carmilla, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s vampire story. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I (blood-red heart) vampires. Not any particular incarnation of them (though there are some incarnations I do particularly dislike), but the mythos of them. Creeping, skulking, life-stealing, blood-drinking, vein-piercing, sexual-metaphor-but-not-sexy-themselves vampires.

How do I love vampires? Let me count the ways.

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