Halloween is the only time of year witches are in vogue. Suddenly everyone is interested in black magic, spell craft, hexing their neighbor, and a host of other things that bear little resemblance to actual Paganism. Despite the annual autumnal uptick in interest in all things occult, Halloween isn’t a Pagan holiday. That doesn’t mean we Pagans won’t dress up in costumes and join our Christian brethren in unholy revelry, general debauchery, and handing out candy to trick-or-treaters, but we do have our own holiday to celebrate, Samhain.
Samhain translates as sam, “summer,” and fuin “end.” With fluttering leaves in shades of copper, amber, and crimson, there can be no doubt that summer is truly at an end. To Celtic peoples the Feast of Samhain is a fire festival that marks the first day of winter and the beginning of the Celtic New Year. Continue reading →
Reality Check: Unless you are on the New York Times Best Seller list, don’t expect book signings to bring in a ton of money. So, if not for the money, why should the average Joe participate in a book signing? Exposure.
Books don’t sell themselves. If you are self-published, that also means self-promoted. Small-time and self-published authors will likely sell less than 10 books at a book signing. Many of the people who attend the event won’t even buy a book, they are curiosity-seekers, tire-kickers, and sometimes, just looking for a bathroom. However, all the marketing and promotion that occurs prior to the event will help you reach new readers who may buy the book, even if they don’t come to the signing.
After hosting several book signings, I’ve created a list of tips and tricks for eager authors to help make their next book signing a success. Continue reading →
The timing of the Harvest Festival is a tricky one for Pagans, as harvest occurs at different times in different regions. There is no specific date across Celtic culture that corresponds to a harvest festival, despite the fact that such festivals very much did exist. Herodotus first mentioned the Celts in 5 BCE and noted that they principally lived along the upper Danube River. At the time, their principal festivals, Imbolg, Beltane, Lughnasad, and Samhain, marked the changing of the seasons.
The connection between harvest and the autumnal equinox traces its origins back, not to Celtic, but to Germanic traditions. Roman historian, Tacitus, first described Germanic people in 98 CE, placing them in upper Germany and Denmark, in an area which bears the name Angeln. Like the Celts, the Anglo-Saxon Pagan year also contained four holy days to mark the changing of the seasons: Yule, Lencten Efniht (lengthening equal-night), Litha, and Haerfest Efniht (harvest equal-night). Eostre was not recorded in the place of the Lengthening equal-night until the 8th century. Continue reading →
After many delays, sabotage attempts, efforts to censor the book, and having endured intimidation tactics by school administration officials, the SFCC Pullman Campus Creative Writing Club is pleased to announce that this year’s anthology, Monsters, has finally been published.
In an email dated March 7, 2019, I learned that Dean of Student Services, Cynthia Vigil had gone so far as to contact the Office of the Attorney General for the State of Washington, who is reported to have told her she could not censor the anthology. Attempts to do so violate the students First Amendment rights. However, that did not prevent Ms. Vigil from pressuring students and faculty alike, nor is this is the first time faculty and staff have attempted to censor student work. (See: “Concern, condemnation after Spokane Falls student newspaper reports on sex scandal.”Seattle Times. April 5, 2018.) Ironically, both censor attempts were for the same reason, the administration does not like being reminded that sexual predators are monsters. Continue reading →
We’ve all heard the admonishment, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Whoever said that clearly wasn’t trying to sell books in the 21st century. Regardless of whether it’s consumers, bookstore buyers, or the folks making nominations for the Worst of Amazon, everyone is judging books by their covers. Why? The simple truth is, a great book with a horrible cover won’t sell, but a horrible book with a great cover will.
Authors and self-publishers need to put as much thought into their book’s cover as they do the content between the covers. The smartest thing to do is hire a professional cover designer. This is because every book requires multiple cover files, how many depends on how the book is distributed. The best recommendations for cover artist come word-of-mouth. If you attend an author event and see someone with a cover that catches your attention, ask for the name of their artist. Most authors are happy to share that information. Continue reading →
FTE stands for Full-Time Equivalent, which in academia represents an imaginary student enrolled in 15 credits. The problem with claiming that funding should be distributed according to FTE and not based on what students actually pay in tuition and fees is that not all FTEs are created equal. Imagine a situation where a community college has both a main campus and a branch campus. For the sake of this exercise, assume that both campuses have 4 FTEs, meaning that students are enrolled in a total of 60 credits at each institution.
According the funding equation set forth by CCS Administrative Procedure 5.05.01-H and the Student Services and Activities Committee, students pay $11.28 per credit for the first 10 credits they enroll in, then $6.56 per credit for the next 8 credits, and pay nothing for any credits taken beyond that. The breakdown for our imaginary 4 FTEs is below:
Sometimes you just encounter a really bad boss. The kind of boss that has no respect for your time or for you as an individual. After two years of giving my supervisor the benefit of the doubt, I have come to the conclusion that I have a bad boss and have been existing in a toxic work environment.
Today, my supervisor started our meeting with the phrase, “I’m not going to apologize,” and ended the meeting by telling me, “You should be grateful.” There was a lot of not listening, platitudes, talking over my concerns, or brushing them aside in the middle. Continue reading →
I was recently notified that my short story “Beezlebug” took 3rd place honors in the annual IDAHO Magazine fiction contest. (See a list of winners here.)
Beezlebug is the story of how a U.S. Army National Guard member is influenced by a lone mosquito to take action against his middle-aged neighbor lady. It is a delightful read for anyone who has a neighbor with whom they don’t always see eye-to-eye.
To read “Beezlebug” and other award winning short stories, visit my short fiction page.
The Palouse Writers Guild is an independent collective comprised of several local writing groups who banded together in order to bring professional development opportunities to the Palouse. Since first being formed in 2016, the Palouse Writers Guild (PWG) has grown from 15 members to serving over 200 area writers today. As a result of this overwhelming response, we are launching our own PWG webpage.
The Palouse Writers Guild’s goal is to facilitate literary education by supporting writers’ groups, author readings, workshops, writing contests, and conference attendance. Membership is open to writers of all genres and media, regardless of publication status. Anyone interested in free writing, critique, participating in writing exercises, attending literary events, or just socializing with groups of like-minded people is welcome to join.
This year, Imbolg falls on
February 2nd, as that is the mid-point between the winter solstice
and the vernal equinox. This is the time
of the Rowan Moon, when we long for winter to be over and begin seeing the
first signs of spring. Nowhere is this
more evident than the lambing barns, where in the depths of winter the ewes
bring new life to the world. The word
Imbolg roughly translates as, ‘the time of lactating ewes.’
This year I complied some
information on Imbolg for my Study Moot.
Some of that information is presented below.