Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Runes: Magic or Graffiti?

If you're familiar with my series, "The Witches of Galdorheim," you'll know that ancient runic is the basis for spell casting in my fantasy island. One of the main character is named Rune. Why not? It's a good very-old-fashioned Nordic moniker. Also, in the books, I use a couple of actual spells cast in Old Norse runes. The complete series is available at Smashwords. You set the price. Anywhere between free and $5.99 (the complete series) at your discretion. If you tipped me with 99 cents or so, I'd be most grateful. Find the entire series on Smashwords.

Now, to the topic at hand. Runes are a written language, but it's kind of like everybody got to make it up partially as the wrote whatever. The alphabet, called Futhark, is a cross between letters and a single graphic standing for an entire word. For example, fehu means cattle, but it can be used in the context "Einar is fehu." which would make fehu mean wealthy. Check out the entire alphabet at the Rune Meanings site.

It appears that the Norse also used various codes. Passing along secret messages about the next raid? But what can you make of the code which reads "Kiss me?" Um, maybe the Norse were just having some fun with language. Oh, those barbarians! Not only could they read and write with runes, they could also add playful coded messages.

I didn't need a coded message to find this fascinating article about Rune codes. I found it in the G+ Vikings Mythology group. Now that I know the base site, I'll get to explore more of the science behind the myths.

Read Mysterious code in Viking runes is cracked on the Nordic Science website.

Can you figure out the jötunvillur code on this piece of wood? Hint: I mentioned the interpretation above.


If you read runes, maybe you can parse the code from this piece written in both runes and code. The author is a bit of a braggart. Since it's a bit difficult to even see the markings, I'll help you out. It says, "These runes were carved by the most rune-literate man west of the sea."



Saturday, January 07, 2017

7 Come 11

That's either something to do with Craps (the game) or a mini-market for late night beer runs or the dates my short story sampler, "Fish Story," will be free for the taking on Amazon.


I've had a few short stories published as shorts. I put some of them into a collection and titled it "Mixed Bag." The three stories in the sampler are all from that collection. Some time later, I added some more of my shorts, both published and self-published, into a larger collection which I called "Mixed Bag 2: Supersized."

The sampler is free this week (January 7th through 11th) on Amazon. Go get a copy if you wish.

Here's an insider secret just for those of you who read this blog. Both "Mixed Bag" and "Mixed Bag II" are also free on Smashwords. Yes, they have prices attached to them 99 cents and $1.49), but both collections are also set to Set Your Own Price, which includes free if you want. Note that the MMII collection has some adult stories.

So, go get whichever or all of the collections from these links:

Fish Story: A Three Story Sampler free on Amazon PG

Mixed Bag on Smashwords in all ebook formats PG

Mixed Bag 2: Supersized on Smashwords in all ebook formats PG-13



Saturday, December 31, 2016

Maybe 2017 Will Be Better?

Have a fun and safe New Year's Eve. 
  • Don't drink and drive. 
  • Don't drink and have sex with strangers. 
  • Don't drink and set yourself on fire. 
  • Don't drink and get into political arguments with others who have also been drinking. Matter of fact, don't do this sober either.
  • Don't drink and challenge your buddies to target practice with your new semi-auto in the backyard. 
Other than that, have a great time! 

I hope 2017 is going to be YOUR biggest, best year ever. It sure as hell couldn't be any worse than 2016.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

You Can Still Get the Paperback for Christmas

Are you a last minute shopper? Enjoy the pressure? What are you waiting for? Your time has just about run  out. You can STILL get a copy of Tales of a Texas Boy by Christmas. Here. I'll make it easy for you with the click the button below or here's the URL to order your copy now. Don't believe the "usually ships in five days" deal. They have some copies on hand in the warehouses.



How do you handle a crazy jackass? Eddie knows. If you ask Eddie, he'll tell you pigs can fly and show you where to find real mammoth bones. Take his word for it when he tells you always to bet on the bear. These are things he learned while dreaming of becoming a cowboy in West Texas during the Depression. Through Eddie, the hero of "Tales of a Texas Boy," we find that growing up is less about maturity and more about roping your dreams. Hold on tight. It's a bumpy ride. A wonderful read for anyone who enjoys books like "Little House on the Prairie" or "Tom Sawyer." A great bit of nostalgia for seniors, too.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Happy ALL HOLIDAYS! December 21 to January 1

Tis the season, as they say. Say what? Yeah, I made up that combo-holiday greeting. Covers just about everything celebratory throughout the winter doldrums. So, no matter what persuasion you follow, there's got to be something to brighten the soggy/cold season.

Milad-un-Nabi: December 13th was Muhammad's Birthday celebration. A bit too early for this post, but it's also a December holiday and needs mention along with all the others. The holiday is celebrated by exchanging gifts and giving to the poor.

YuleA Norse mid-winter celebration of the turning of the days from shorter to longer. Yay, we made it halfway through winter! Woot! Of course, the word gave us the tradition of the Yule log, a big chunk of wood burned in the fireplace and something large and meaty being roasted over said fire. It originated from the mid-winter celebrations (see Saturnalia) and applied to the Wild Hunt and Odin. We can blame King Haakon I for deliberately co-opting a perfectly good pagan celebration and dedicating it to the fictitious birth of Christ. That was a big miss regarding seasons since everybody knows shepherds watch their flocks at night only in the Spring and Summer, certainly not in the dead of winter. Skoal to Odin or Jölföðr. See how this alternative name for the Norse god being applied to the celebration?

Saturnalia: The Romans liked mid-winter to celebrate something, so Saturn got the festival. This one was usurped for the Christmas myth. Don't get all twisted. Christmas is not a celebration for Jesus. It's a way to get the Pagans to sign up.

Besides Saturn, other pagan dieties are celebrated for much the same reason. Mithra, Horus, Zeus, even Hercules. Christians didn't steal the celebration until 400 AD. Historical accounts have Christ born in the spring, but that would have interfered with the theft of Oestra, the spring festival of fertility.


Pancha Ganapati: The Hindu solstice celebration lasts five days (the Hindus really know how to party). The celebration is in honor of the elephant god Ganesha, who is the patron of arts and guardian of culture. Each day is celebrated by a different color which have special meanings for Ganesha. Golden Yellow creates a vibration of love and harmony within the family, Royal Blue for love and harmony between neighbors and friends, Ruby Red for harmony with business associates, Emerald Green celebrates art and culture, and the last day (which happens to be December 25th) is Brilliant Orange for love and harmony for all. The holiday is celebrated with lights and tinsel, but with a nice picture of Lord Ganesh rather than a tree.

Hanakkuh: This year, the beginning of Hanakkuh fell on December 24th. What a perfect time for the Festival of Lights for those of the Judaic persuasion. Since the Jewish calendar is based on different dates than the western one, liberal Jews can have their Hanakkuh, and still celebrate Christmas and Kwanzaa with their friends. Anyone want a convertible hanakkuh bush? Everybody can party like it's 5775.



Kwanzaa: Created in 1966, Kwanzaa was made up by a California
guy to highlight African-american culture. Cool thought, but I'd just as soon we'd say: "What? Obama is black? Wow, I didn't know that." Keeping separate ensures separateness. Hey! Doesn't that look like a Menorah?

More recently, Kwanzaa is celebrated in conjunction with Christmas since many African-Americans are Christian. I suppose those of the Muslim faith can also celebrate Kwanzaa since the major winter holy day for Muslims was way back in November.


Christmas: A usurpation of the mid-winter Saturnalia Festival and Jule. St. Patrick was big on keeping the frolicking holidays, but bending them to his own purpose. Historical records seem to place the actual birth of Jesus in March or April. Facts don't get in the way of the commercial spending binge. All hail the Almighty (dollar/euro/pound/yen).

The big bruhaha every year in the US was all the stores who decided that Thanksgiving was a great day for their employees to not be with their family in a celebration of thanksgiving. So, they opened their doors and let the crowds rush in. Christians don't have to worry about atheists having some pretend war on Christmas. Christians are their own worst enemies. Ask the Pope.

Atheist/Agnostic/Pastafarian: The godless like holidays as much as the next person. They just don't have an official date for the FSM's birth celebration. FSM, you ask? Flying Spaghetti Monster has become the avatar for folks that think the FSM is just as realistic as any other god.


So, whatever you celebrate around this time of year, enjoy, be happy, and don't drink too much then drive around endangering others. Stay home and get smashed.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

UK Countdown Deal Continues

DO NOT MISS OUT ON THIS HOLIDAY COUNTDOWN PRICE SPECIAL

The last Countdown Deal I can run EVER is for The Witches of Galdorheim Box Set. Note the discounts are available on both US and UK Amazon sites. Don't want to leave my British friends out of the deal. This book is free in the KU and KOLL programs until January 22nd.

All three books in the series in a single volume. It's a short countdown, but maximum savings each day.

UK SCHEDULE
December 18th - 8AM GMT - £0.99
December 19th - 3AM GMT - £1.99
December 19th - 10PM GMT - £2.99
December 20th - 5PM GMT -  £3.99
December 21st - RETURNS TO FULL £4.54 price
Note: The beginning and ending times in the UK aren't precisely 24 hours for each day because the countdown increments have to be £1.00 each change. Yeah, it's weird. Just notice the price changes twice on the 19th and late afternoon on the 20th. Each increment is 19 hours long. Bright side: VAT is included in the price.

STILL RUNNING IN THE US
US SCHEDULE
December 16th - $0.99
December 17th - $1.99
December 18th - $2.99
December 19th - $3.99
December 20th - $4.99
December 21st - RETURNS TO FULL $5.99 price - Still a bargain for three books in one.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Countdown Deal Continues

DO NOT MISS OUT ON THIS HOLIDAY COUNTDOWN PRICE SPECIAL

The last Countdown Deal I can run EVER is for The Witches of Galdorheim Box Set. Note the discounts are available on both US and UK Amazon sites. Don't want to leave my British friends out of the deal. This book is free in the KU and KOLL programs until January 22nd.

All three books in the series in a single volume. It's a short countdown, but maximum savings each day.

US SCHEDULE - Starts 8AM PST each day.
December 16th - $0.99
December 17th - $1.99
December 18th - $2.99
December 19th - $3.99
December 20th - $4.99
December 21st - RETURNS TO FULL $5.99 price - Still a bargain for three books in one.

UK SCHEDULE
December 18th - 8AM GMT - £0.99
December 19th - 3AM GMT - £1.99
December 19th - 10PM GMT - £2.99
December 20th - 5PM GMT -  £3.99
December 21st - RETURNS TO FULL £4.54 price
Note: The beginning and ending times in the UK aren't precisely 24 hours for each day because the countdown increments have to be £1.00 each change. Yeah, it's weird. Just notice the price changes twice on the 19th and late afternoon on the 20th. Each increment is 19 hours long. Bright side: VAT is included in the price.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Box Set Countdown in the UK

DO NOT MISS OUT ON THIS HOLIDAY COUNTDOWN PRICE SPECIAL

The last Countdown Deal I can run EVER is for The Witches of Galdorheim Box Set. Note the discounts are available on both US and UK Amazon sites. Don't want to leave my British friends out of the deal. This book is free in the KU and KOLL programs until January 22nd.

All three books in the series in a single volume. It's a short countdown, but maximum savings each day.

UK SCHEDULE
December 18th - 8AM GMT - £0.99
December 19th - 3AM GMT - £1.99
December 19th - 10PM GMT - £2.99
December 20th - 5PM GMT -  £3.99
December 21st - RETURNS TO FULL £4.54 price
Note: The beginning and ending times in the UK aren't precisely 24 hours for each day because the countdown increments have to be £1.00 each change. Yeah, it's weird. Just notice the price changes twice on the 19th and late afternoon on the 20th. Each increment is 19 hours long. Bright side: VAT is included in the price.

STILL RUNNING IN THE US
US SCHEDULE
December 16th - $0.99
December 17th - $1.99
December 18th - $2.99
December 19th - $3.99
December 20th - $4.99
December 21st - RETURNS TO FULL $5.99 price - Still a bargain for three books in one.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Box Set Countdown

DO NOT MISS OUT ON THIS HOLIDAY COUNTDOWN PRICE SPECIAL

The last Countdown Deal I can run EVER is for The Witches of Galdorheim Box Set. Note the discounts are available on both US and UK Amazon sites. Don't want to leave my British friends out of the deal. This book is free in the KU and KOLL programs until January 22nd.

All three books in the series in a single volume. It's a short countdown, but maximum savings each day.

US SCHEDULE - Starts 8AM PST each day.
December 16th - $0.99
December 17th - $1.99
December 18th - $2.99
December 19th - $3.99
December 20th - $4.99
December 21st - RETURNS TO FULL $5.99 price - Still a bargain for three books in one.

UK SCHEDULE
December 18th - 8AM GMT - £0.99
December 19th - 3AM GMT - £1.99
December 19th - 10PM GMT - £2.99
December 20th - 5PM GMT -  £3.99
December 21st - RETURNS TO FULL £4.54 price
Note: The beginning and ending times in the UK aren't precisely 24 hours for each day because the countdown increments have to be £1.00 each change. Yeah, it's weird. Just notice the price changes twice on the 19th and late afternoon on the 20th. Each increment is 19 hours long. Bright side: VAT is included in the price.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Box Set Holiday Countdown

DO NOT MISS OUT ON THIS HOLIDAY COUNTDOWN PRICE SPECIAL

The last Countdown Deal I can run EVER is for The Witches of Galdorheim Box Set. Note the discounts are available on both US and UK Amazon sites. Don't want to leave my British friends out of the deal. This book is free in the KU and KOLL programs until January 22nd.

All three books in the series in a single volume. It's a short countdown, but maximum savings each day.

US SCHEDULE - Starts 8AM PST each day.
December 16th - $0.99
December 17th - $1.99
December 18th - $2.99
December 19th - $3.99
December 20th - $4.99
December 21st - RETURNS TO FULL $5.99 price - Still a bargain for three books in one.

UK SCHEDULE
December 18th - 8AM GMT - £0.99
December 19th - 3AM GMT - £1.99
December 19th - 10PM GMT - £2.99
December 20th - 5PM GMT -  £3.99
December 21st - RETURNS TO FULL £4.54 price
Note: The beginning and ending times in the UK aren't precisely 24 hours for each day because the countdown increments have to be £1.00 each change. Yeah, it's weird. Just notice the price changes twice on the 19th and late afternoon on the 20th. Each increment is 19 hours long. Bright side: VAT is included in the price.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Free Ebook for Kids 12th-16th

Here's a free week of the children's book, "Lemons and Other Kid Tales." There are three animal-based stories suitable for kids. Photos illustrate the stories, but this isn't a picture book. It's for a kid who can read about 3rd grade level, but younger kids would probably enjoy having the book read to them.

The stories are:
Lemons - Karen is horse crazy and works hard for Mr. Fredrichs to earn a ride on his draft horses. She wishes more than anything to have a horse of her own.

One Fine DogDogs weren’t just pets, but working members of the family. Sometimes, they could do amazing things and perform feats that were almost like magic.

A Practical Cat - Boots is nothing if not a pampered and lazy house cat, but he gets it in his head he'd like to explore the world outside the house. 

Free December 12th through 16th.




Friday, December 09, 2016

The Truth About Santa Claus

Yes, I can use a movie still without
copyright notice. This is from "Bad Santa."
I know, I know. Yule (you'll--get it?) have dozens of posts related to the inception of Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, Pere Noel, Joulupukki (yes it is, look it up), Ded Moroz, Sinterklaas, Julenissen, and even Odin, etc. Many cite Saint Nicholas, the Greek Bishop who supposedly gave gifts to the poor. All this is set around the time of the winter solstice (also called Christmas, Solstice, Midwinter, Saturnalia, Letha, etc.).

It really doesn't make any difference since, of course, Santa is a delightful fiction for children to believe until their six or seven (some are duped for longer periods, some less).

When writing my Witches of Galdorheim series, I envisioned Santa as "that fat elf at the North Pole." the witches' complaint being that the dive bombing sleigh left reindeer manure all over their houses on the arctic island the witches made home. The result was a war between the witches and the Fat Elf until a truce was asserted.

Other than the mention of the fat elf, none of this side story made it into the series. Since I believe deeply (as much so as I believe in fairies), I wanted to resurrect this missing piece of the manuscript. It's too late to include in "Bad Spelling," since it's been published umpteen times. Still, I like it and I want to share it with you as a Holiday Gift. My writing unsullied by an editor's hands.

From the original (almost lost) text of "Bad Spelling"

The fat elf living at the North Pole flew his reindeer-driven sleigh over the island once too many times. Aunt Thordis had enough of reindeer manure sprinkling the rooftops.  The fertilizer mixed with the grain the reindeer ate sprouted a fine crop of grass on their traditional thatched roofs.  It was almost impossible to clean off.  Magic could clean up after real reindeer, but the enchanted ones left droppings that the villagers had to remove by hand.

The supposedly jolly elf just sneered at Aunt Thordis when she asked, ever so politely, if he’d take a different route. She returned to Galdorheim swearing revenge.  She got it on the next December’s flyover.  Blasting the sleigh, the elf, all nine reindeer, and a huge bag of gifts out of the sky gave the witch tremendous satisfaction.  She chased the red-suited little twerp all the way back to the North Pole and the coven got a good supply of reindeer meat.

The fat elf retaliated, of course.  He’d fly his reindeer sleigh over on the off season and encouraged them to let loose right over the village. The war escalated for several months.  Finally, each side sent emissaries to settle for peace.  Fatso (who went by a variety of aliases), promised to take a different route and not fly over the island.  Aunt Thordis promised she wouldn’t kick his fat butt to the South Pole: an equitable agreement in Thordis’s eyes.

* * *

You can get your very own copy of "Bad Spelling" for only $2.99 on Amazon or free at Smashwords. The rest of the books in the series are also on sale. You can find them by clicking on the Series link on the Bad Spelling product page.

BAD SPELLING - Book 1 of The Witches of Galdorheim Series
A klutzy witch, a shaman's curse, a quest to save her family. Can Kat find her magic in time?

Smashwords Freebie

In Paperback

Audiobook



Monday, December 05, 2016

Amazon Markdown

Huh? Amazon dropped the price on the paperback edition of "Midnight Oil." They could have mentioned it to me, but whatever. Take advantage of the deal while it lasts.



Shipwrecked on a legendary island, how can a witch rescue her boyfriend if she can't even phone home?
Kat is a nervous wreck waiting for her boyfriend's first visit to her Arctic island home. He doesn't show up, so she's sure he's given her the brushoff. When she learns he's disappeared, she sets out on a mission to find him. Things go wrong from the start. Kat is thrown overboard during a violent storm, while her brother and his girlfriend are captured by a mutant island tribe. The mutants hold the girlfriend hostage, demanding the teens recover the only thing that can make the mutants human again-the magical Midnight Oil.

Mustering every bit of her Wiccan magic, Kat rises to the challenge. She invokes her magical skills, learns to fly an ultralight, meets a legendary sea serpent, rescues her boyfriend, and helps a friendly air spirit win the battle against her spiteful sibling. On top of it all, she's able to recover the Midnight Oil and help the hapless mutants in the nick of time.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners Lending Library

Free with Kindle Unlimited subscription. Free to borrow in Kindle Owners Lending Library. Prices reflect the current retail price to buy the book.