Writers need all kinds of tools to craft believable stories. One of my favorite facets of research for my books was learning about period cooking. To that end, I even purchased a cookbook written by archeologists who reconstructed recipes based off the remnants of food found near cooking fires.
Everyone loves sweets and the ancient Gauls (Celts) were no exception. Deep in the middle of book 3, Klara makes sticky buns to celebrate Imbolg, a Celtic holyday. Both Imbolg and National Sticky Bun Day occur in February.
However, in honor of National Sticky Bun Day, I’ve produced a recipe for sticky buns adapted from a stone age recipe in found in “A Culinary Journey Through Time.” The original recipe “Barley Balls with wild Fruit and Berries” appears on page 95. Continue reading
Lots of people want to give but struggle to find the cash in their budgets. Worse, many non-profits insist on making their annual pleas during the holiday season when everyone is already strapped for cash. But how is anyone supposed to come up with an extra $100 for their favorite charity when they’re trying to figure out how to afford Thanksgiving dinner or presents for their kids? That’s why I advocate making smaller donations throughout the year.
A donation of just $8 a month works out to almost $100 a year. But can $8 a month make a difference? Yes, it can!
Below are some often overlooked dollar store donation hacks that really make a difference in the lives of others. Continue reading
I’ve never been a big fan of Christmas, but when Mark Ready, a fellow author in my critique group suggested submitting to the Weird Christmas story contest, I was game! My entry is a crime thriller that involves murder, zombies, and the resurrection.
Mark and I each got personal messages from the contest judges stating that, although we didn’t win, we did place in the top 50 out of over 600 entries. We compared rejections, just to see if this was a blanket statement set to everyone. Turns out it’s not. A third entry from the group didn’t get such a message.
Without further ado, here’s my weird Christmas story. Continue reading
As early as the neolithic era, humans sought ways to mark the passage of time and predict celestial events. Their methods, no matter how carefully thought-out, were often thwarted by the very solar and lunar cycles they wished to track. When seasonal drift occurred and the months no longer aligned with the weather, people simply adjusted the calendar or adopted an entirely new one.
Seasonal Drift: a gradual misalignment of seasons and calendar dates, owing to the calendar not accurately capturing the length of the solar year.
An example of this occurred in 1582. Pope Gregory XIII instituted the new Gregorian calendar to correct an error in the Julian calendar that was causing Easter celebration to occur at the wrong time. As a result, 10 days were skipped so that Thursday, October 4th was followed by Friday, October 15th.
The world is filled with calendars: Chinese calendar, Hebrew calendar, Iranian calendar, and Buddhist calendar, to name a few. There’s an even longer list obsolete calendars, some of which include, Attic calendar, Old Icelandic calendar, and the Coligny calendar. When calendars no longer serve their purpose, they are abandoned. In its place, something new is adopted. The modern pagan movement is not immune to this pressure. Continue reading
Getting Interviews & Making Waves
A well-placed piece of press can help you reach a wider audience. But how do authors get interviews? Well, it’s not by sitting around and waiting for the media to come knocking.
The best way to expand your reach is to find media outlets in markets you want to target and send them a press release. Press releases inform editors and reporters about items that might be of interest to their readers.
Press Release: Any information sent to the press and/or media outlets is considered a press release.
Media outlets get a lot of press releases, so here are some tips to make yours stand out. And you can breathe easier knowing the resulting interviews will flow smoothly because you’ve prepared everything beforehand. Continue reading
The month of July is often referred to as the month of the Thunder Moon. Celts venerated all natural phenomena, so it’s not surprising that they had a thunder god. Taranis, whose name literally means thunderer, is that god.
While there are only seven inscriptions specifically to Taranis, they are spread across a surprisingly large area, including: Britian, France, Germany, and Yugoslavia. However, there are plenty of monuments dedicated to a sky deity scattered throughout Gaul that depict both the sun-wheel and thunderbolts. Taken together, this indicates that Taranis’s cult was both widespread and well known.
Given the sun-wheel and thunderbolt’s repeated linkages, and owing to Taranis’s later conflation with Jupiter, it’s possible that he had power over all celestial activities, including snow, wind, and rain. This time of year, summer storms blow in, lighting up the heavens and showering us with rain. In agricultural areas and places suffering from wildfires, these storms often have a cleansing effect, knocking smoke and dust from the sky. If you, like the smoky skies, could use a little cleansing and clarity, call on Taranis. Continue reading
To start, ask yourself a couple questions.
First: “Do you want your book to sell?”
Second: “Do you want to sell your book?”
These questions illustrate vastly different mindsets. Most authors want their book to sell. Few are willing to actively sell their book.
Self-published means self-promoted. If you want your book to sell, you must sell your book. There is no magic formula that will compel people to hand you cash. Authors need to employ all the same marketing strategies to promote a Kickstarter campaign as they do when promoting their books.
Earlier this year I used proven business skills to successfully launch a Kickstarter that raised over $3,000 for my debut novel in just 30 days. In this post, I share my marketing tips.
Banned books are trending on social media and in the news. Parent groups concerned about the content in books stage protests and overrun school and library board meetings. If you’re not a reader and want to know what this banned book whoopla is all about, have I got a surprise for you. Many banned books have been made into movies!
Common refrains from book banners are, “Books should have a rating system, like movies” and “Books for adults should be kept separate from books for children.”
Both of those things already happen! Books are rated and organized according to age-appropriateness and reading level. There’s no way a child perusing picture books would accidently stumble across a western, a romance, or even a Christian fiction novel because they are all shelved in different parts of the library.
But my question to book banners is, “If the books are so bad, how come no one is trying to ban the movie?”
Below, I’ve outlined the basics of how books are organized and catalogued in schools and libraries. I’ve also included lists of popular movies based on banned books for each category. Continue reading
I’m in the process of putting in a fairy garden. At the outset, I did not realize it would be a multi-year process.
Last summer, I removed enormous juniper shrub. It was easily 30 feet across. But on July 19th my cats were poisoned. Speculation and conjecture filled the neighborhood with everyone chiming in with a new theory about how or why it happened. Tabby pulled through, but Storm died.
I buried Storm at the site of my future fairy garden. After creating a cat-sized mound over the grave, I told my son, “This will be Storm’s Garden. Her ghost will probably spend all day catching fairies and ripping off their wings.”
The problem with that sentiment is, as onery as Storm was, fairies like cats. In Scotland and Ireland there are legends of cat-sìth—mythical fairy cats. Continue reading
There are several problems with banned books lists, the first of which is that they keep getting longer. The American Library Association (ALA) reported a record number of book bans in 2022. Last year there were 1,269 attempts to ban books, up from 729 in 2021 and 156 in 2020. And they just keep coming.
The other problem is deciding which list to check. Do you want children’s books, novels, classic literature, or nonfiction? Do you want books banned anywhere in the United States or only those banned in your state? Do you want a list of the most banned books of all time or just those that were banned last year? How about a list of banned books that are over 100 years old? Or better, how about a list of 100-year-old books that were banned last year?
After a lot searching, I’ve created a list of 83 books recently banned in the State of Idaho. Continue reading