Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Medieval Christmas Terms




Since the world of Tiaera is basically a medieval fantasy world --  set somewhere between the 12-17th centuries of Earth --  and since we are in the holiday season, I thought I would post a word list of some archaic terms appropriate for this time of year.  Sadly, Tiaera is not Earth and so there is no Christian celebration of Jesus' birth. There is something called "Wynterfest" that all tiaerans celebrate as the first day the world was created by the goddess.  It's not very important as far as worldbuilding is concerned, but the made-up tiaeran holiday is a good excuse for writing Wynterfest (Christmassy) stories during this holiday season.  

Why isn't God or Jesus on Tiaera as we know of him here on earth in real life? I am a Christian, but right now, I am not a Christian writer. What I mean is that I don't write Christian stories, but I am a writer and a Christian. I am still learning a lot with every blog post I write and every book I publish, so I am taking it one day at a time. It's hard enough right now to write what I do, so I write what I can. I do not believe in a pagan goddess by any name, especially Astria. She is a character of my imagination and nothing more. She is not my alter-ego and I do not worship her. She is like a puppet that lives only on the pages of my books and on my blog. Her purpose is to be a benevolent deity of some sort to help save the day. If I am ever inspired to write a Christian story or novel, I will do so. I am trusting God will lead me to what I am supposed to do in his name. Till then, I'll continue to experiment and learn by writing medieval fantasy romance fiction for the amusement of my readers.


Now some Medieval Christmas terms: 

 
Alms - (12th cent) Charitable gift of money or goods to the poor and needy.


Boon - (12th cent) A favor, benefit, blessing or gift.


Carol - (14th cent) To sing and dance in a circle.


Carouse - (15th cent) archaic - a large draft of liquor : toast. Drunken revel.


Cristes Maesse - (1038) "Christ's Mass" or Christmas - found in a book from Saxon England in 1038. 


Cookery - (14th cent.) The art or activity of cooking food.


Flagon - (15th cent) Large mug or jug for beer or wine.


Feast - (13th cent) A special meal with large amounts of food and drink : a large formal dinner: a religious festival


Great Hall or Hall -  (12th cent) The building in the inner ward that housed the main meeting and dining area for the castle's residents. Principal room in a medieval house, used for meeting and dining.


Holiday - (12th cent) Holy day  A day when a religious festival or holiday is observed.  One usually doesn't work.

 
Merrymaking - (1618) A gay or festive activity.


Mead - (12th cent) Wine made by fermenting a solution of honey. Spices were often added. Also another name for a meadow.


Mummery - (1530) A ridiculous, hypocritical, or pretentious ceremony or performance in villages or castles.


Minstrel or Bard - (14th cent) Poet and singer, also called a jongleur, who lived and traveled on the largess of the aristocracy. 


Tide - (12th cent)  obsolete :  a space of time :  period.  Example: Eastertide and Yuletide 


Tidings - (12th cent) A piece of news. 


Trenchers - (14th cent.) Thick slices of stale brown bread with a slight hollow in the middle. These were used as plates. 


Wassail - (12th cent.) Old English words waes hael, which means "be well," "be hale," or "good health." A strong, hot drink (usually a mixture of ale, honey, and spices) would be put in a large bowl, and the host would lift it and greet his companions with "waes hael," to which they would reply "drinc hael," which meant "drink and be well." Over the centuries some non-alcoholic versions of wassail evolved. 


Yule - (12th cent) The feast of the nativity of Jesus Christ :  Christmas
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Some link sources:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary
http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/medieval_xmas.htm
http://godecookery.com/how2cook/howto06.htm


Monday, December 9, 2013

10 Tips for Holiday Book Events and Craft Fairs


The season has been good for me. I've been attending several events and have sold quite a few books thanks to the generous "snow birds" who are visiting our fair city. Travelers are great people to promote to. On those long quiet road trips, it's always nice to have either a good movie or a novel to pass the time. And many tourists have the means to attend the local social events that our city has during the holidays. We treasure their patronage and loyalty when they come to visit here for a few months. It's a great time to get out and meet people. Everyone is so nice and a future buyer may become a good friend because of this. With this in mind, I would like to share a few tips on how to do some selling for the winter holidays.

1. Remember to always carry at least a dozen postcards, book markers or brochures on you everywhere you go. You never know who you may meet someone at a restaurant or store that might be interested in your latest book. Get a feel for their interest and if it's not enthusiastic, let it go and smile anyway. Never pressure anyone.

2. Plan your book signings in good time and don't be shy about doing at least two such events if the store allows it. Talk with the Book Manager about it. I did one at Hastings Bookstore last month and I plan another book event before the "snow birds" head back home in the spring.

3. Carry at least two of each book in your car, if that's possible. I know some of you have a great number of books. I only have two so far. Keep them in a clean tote bag or carrying case. Make sure you have a pen in that bag also, so you can autograph the book if they want that. I've sold books at restaurants, stores, doctor waiting rooms and even my dentist office.

4. Promote your book events at the city's web calendars and contact the local Chamber of Commerce for any help on locating clubs and organizations you can contact for a book signing. Don't forget your social  networks like G+, Facebook and Twitter.

5. I mentioned craft fairs above and I have found out that lots of Christmas Craft Fairs welcome you if you are an indie author. Many let you keep all your earnings even if they require a payment for registering as a vendor to the event. Speak to some of the other vendors. They can tell you when the next event is going to take place so you can decide if you want to do that also.

6. Dress nice and smile a lot. Shake their hands and introduce yourself. It takes courage and it can be stressful, but if you don't try, people will walk right past you as if you were never there. If they answer "No thanks. I came for something else." Keep smiling and wish them a good day.

7. Take at least one bottle of water and bring a clear plastic candy jar loaded with wrapped mints and chocolate M&M's or mini size bars. Offer the sweets to any customer and their kids. They might take a look at your books and crafts long enough for you to do your pitch.

8. Never forget to thank every person who buys your book and make sure they know about your blog and where they can reach you if they have any questions. Have business cards ready for this. Have a notebook handy in your bag and ask for their emails so you can contact them about your next book.

9. Join the local Writer's Group in your city and network with them. It's a great way to make new friends and writers help each other with critiques and advice. Mine is exceptional and I still see them whenever I can.

10. Consider signing up for a credit card app/swiper for your smartphone/iphone/tablet. I haven't had much need for one yet, but some people prefer to buy with their credit cards and you might lose a sale because you can only accept cash or checks.

I hope these tips help you. There is so much more to learn so do your homework and study the latest marketing techniques from books and articles at the library or online. I have been doing this for a few years and they have worked for me. I am sure you might have some good tips of your own. Please leave a comment of what you do to sell your books that might help other writers. I welcome all ideas as we work to spread the word about our literary creations.

Merry Christmas!
EV Medina

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

This Holiday Season

This time of year can be very stressful. There are social events to attend, road trips, shopping, cleaning and cooking, hosting at home, and of course, decorating. As a writer between books, I have given myself permission to take a break from frequent blogging and book writing so I can concentrate on this busy holiday season. There is only so much of me to go around and I can't do it all. Sound familiar? Those of you who agree need to try to remember to keep what's truly important in your life.

At the risk of coming across as a mother, I wish to share this advice that I myself need to follow.  Focus on your priorities such as your spiritual needs, health, spouse, family/friends and job. Writing may be your main business and income, and you have bills to pay. This is not what I mean. I am writing today about those of us who write as a hobby or side job. I know how demanding our muses can be, but writing is a solo activity that requires a lot of attention. We spend hours at our PC's or LT's to write when there are loved ones that need us to help celebrate this special time of year.

So with this in mind, I have another chapter to post for my blog story: Add a Spark of Valor.  I promise to write a weekly post till after New Year's Day, then I will return to more frequent posting and get back to work on my next book.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to you all, dear friends and colleagues.  Embrace your loved ones, get your flu shots, keep warm and healthy and be safe.


May the Lord bless you all!
 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Medieval Manor Terms

It's time again to bone up on our medieval vocabulary with a terms that might come in handy with your next medieval/historical/fiction/fantasy story. I love to use archaic terms such as these for my medieval fiction and you might find other glossaries there useful. I have only chosen a several simple terms for this post but if you want to see more, I have included the link to this glossary by T. J. Ray: The Eclectic Eccentric.  

Manorial Terms

Amercement - Fine.

Bondman - Serf, q.v., villein.


Charter - Official document, usually deed or grant of privilege.

Cotter - Tenant of a cottage, usually holding little or no land. 

Croft - Garden plot of a village house. 

Distraint - Summons or arrest. 

Fair - A market held at regular intervals, usually once or twice a year. Fairs tend to offer a wider range of goods than normal markets. They are generally licensed by either the king, the local lord, or a chartered town. 

Hallmote - Manorial court.

Quarter - Unit of volume, eight bushels.

Ring - Unit of volume, four bushels.   

Tithe - Payment to church, consisting of a tenth of produce. 

Villein - The wealthiest class of peasant. Villeins usually cultivated 20-40 acres of land, often in isolated strips. 

Woodward - Manorial official in charge of the lord's woodland. 

I must caution the writers of medieval stories (fiction and non) to be careful when using the terms found in any of these glossaries. It will make readers tired or bored quickly if they have to look such terms up in a dictionary, and you don't want that! Provide a glossary of any terms you use at the back of the book as an appendix or at the bottom of the page where you used the term. 

And if you have any other suggestions on how to use these medieval terms without putting off the reader, please comment below. I am sure there are other clever ways to make the book enjoyable without confusing the reader by such words.

Here is the link where I got the terms above. Manorial Language  Enjoy and feel free to comment!
 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Druid Nurses?

Have you thought about how much your healers can do and how? In many fantasy stories and games, it seems that healers can expend a lot of healing energy in order to save the victim from dying or injury. Some of you may have such characters and may have developed a system for the way they are going to be able to heal.

I would really like to hear your thoughts and ideas for creating fictional characters that can heal or even resurrect other characters in your fictional worlds. It would be very interesting to me to learn about the ideas you came up to make healing believable.

Let's face it. We can't expect healers of fantasy worlds to understand and react the same way we would expect them to react in modern day. For medieval fiction, Florence Nightingale, who developed the modern system of nursing, had not been born yet.  Even medicine was very different, involving a lot of strange ideas regarding the human body. I have seen historical videos and programs and it's really bizarre and scary to see what doctors used back then.

When I read The Midwife's Apprentice by Caren Cushman, I was amazing by some of the ingredients midwives used. Though it is a fictional tale about a girl who finds work helping the town's midwife, the author added a glossary and some information about what it was like in those days. I was fascinated and I recommend this book to anyone interested in medieval medicine. It is not fantasy, but it is historically based and an entertaining read.

But now back to fantasy fiction healers.

I am currently writing a blog story called Add a Spark of Valor with my friend and co-author, Jack Shepherd. If you have read any of the blog "mini-chapters" here you will see we are getting to a place in the tale where little Audrey and her druid sisters are healing the victims of a ship attack.

As I write the next few posts regarding the healing abilities of my druidesses, I have decided to make the healing spells somewhat draining to the inexperienced.  In other words, the less you cast healing spells, the more tired or draining of energy you will feel. Druids who use it often will not feel so tired or drained unless they keep casting for long periods of time. I can imagine a druid healer in a war torn area becoming totally worn out after constantly healing the wounded all around him. So what it boils down to for my fictional characters is that casting spells -- ANY magical spells -- will take energy and leave the caster weak and tired. The caster will need rest and food before they can travel, work or do anything that requires normal strength.

And what do you think about a healer resurrecting the dead?  How do you handle this topic in your stories?

A good friend of mine who read my latest story post from Add a Spark of Valor : Crescent Cove Village shared some thoughts with me and our chat went like this:

Friend: one thing I noticed that didn't seem "natural" to me was the sisters talking to folks before rushing to the injured.....EMS here would talk while running to them

Me: Heheheh

Friend: course EMS don't have a chance to res them if they die.

Me: True. Well, they did move on quickly once they met the halfling

Friend: yes....but asked a couple of times if anyone know what happened...no biggie...just how I saw it. Medics rush in where bombs are going off and into machine gun fire to reach wounded soldiers.


Me: You are thinking too modern and remember they can cure anything even death. My druids didn't get formal training.

Friend: At least they didn't stop for a smoke and coffee.

Me: HAHAHA!!!

Let me point out that my druids can't always resurrect the dead. To keep them from becoming too powerful to believe, I made it a rule that the goddess of Tiaera, Astria, has the final say who can be revived and who stays dead. No, I don't roll any D&D dice to decide what my fictional goddess will do, but at least it doesn't make my character too god-like. 





Thursday, November 7, 2013

Free Download of "The Priestess and the Ravenknight"

In the mood for a romantic fantasy that isn't too long? Are you short of time or very busy but would like a tale of adventure, magic and romance?

I have edited and converted "The Priestess and the Ravenknight" into a printed trade book version and a new ebook version. And in doing this, added more story content, chapters and graphics. I even changed the book cover as well.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GEIK1N8



Here is a blurb from the story:

“How long have you been doing this, High Priestess?” I asked, feeling more relaxed now that we were alone.

“Quite a long time,” she answered calmly. “My thanks for allowing me to finish my task with the wood elf. I did wonder how long you would stand there and watch.” The high priestess turned and gazed up at me with her dark azure eyes. She looked so proud and fearless, but mayhap, also, a bit unsure about what to do next. I know I was. Her beauty rendered me speechless until I realized she was frowning. Afore I could utter a reply, she stood up in haste, and stepped away from the fiery pit, her eyes never leaving mine. I stepped back when I saw her extend her right hand, which held her sceptre, turning the ornate rod into a full-length staff that glimmered in the firelight. She whispered a quick incantation that made her entire body shimmer. Poised to attack, she lifted up her staff, aiming its sharp point at my chest.

This was not at all what I expected.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

If you want to advantage of the FREE download of this ebook, click here:


Prime Amazon Members can check it out for free, but tomorrow I am offering it to everyone who wants it. This 2nd edition of the Kindle ebook will be FREE at Amazon tomorrow and Saturday. And don't forget, if you do not have a Kindle reader, that same website has a link on the right side for getting the free Kindle app for your PC, Iphone, Android and tablet. Look for this image and click it.


Enjoy!

 





Monday, November 4, 2013

My 2013/14 Winter Events

November is here and with it a good number of craft fairs and store events. People here are revving up for the holidays. Lake Havasu has the "snow birds" coming back for a break from the freezing temperatures up north. The weather is absolutely beautiful. I got my fire logs ready for the fireplace and have set up my home office where I can write by the firelight, so to speak. Now that I am done with the new and improved "The Priestess and the Ravenknight" I plan to craft some items, order more books to sell and attend these events.

Here is what I have scheduled so far:

The Book Exchange - Authors Meet & Greet on Saturday - Nov. 9th - 11 - 3:00

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WNEA Extravaganza on Saturday - Nov. 16th - 9-3:00 

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E.V. MEDINA BOOK SIGNING at Hastings Books, Videos and Music on Sunday - Nov. 17th - 12-3:00

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E.V. MEDINA BOOK SIGNING at Arizona Renaissance Festival on Sat. - Feb. 15th 12 - 4:00

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I also hope to take part in the Lake Havasu Winterfest in Feb. 
Will post those details as soon as I get them.
Venue: McCulloch Blvd (Main St) btwn Acoma & Smoketree
Contact Information: Jeni  Coke
Phone: 928-855-4115
Email: jenic@havasuchamber.com
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If you are anywhere in the area this month, do stop by and visit. I'm always happy to meet my readers and make new friends. All these events are FREE (except for the Ren. Festival) and contact information is posted above.






Thursday, October 24, 2013

More Archaic Words and Phrases

Good morning, friends!

Its been a busy week so far. I am putting the final changes to The Priestess and the Ravenknight and while I was doing this I jotted down a few new words to share with you this fine cool October day. Again, I have looked these up using www.merriam-webster.com or www.collinsdictionary.com. I try to avoid any words that weren't invented until after the 17th century. The earlier, the better! For those readers who are new here, I have a fondness for archaic/old terminology in my writing. Those of you who write historical or medieval fiction may find these helpful and interesting.




Shrewed - Middle English - First Known Use: 13th century
1. archaic :  mischievous     2. obsolete :  abusive, shrewish   
3. obsolete :  ominous, dangerous
It now also means severe, stubborn, hard and savvy.

Bode - Middle English - First Known Use: before 12th century
1. archaic :  to announce beforehand :  foretell
2. to indicate by signs :  presage 
Evermore - First Known Use: 13th century
1. Forever, always, in the future, eternally, everlastingly

KnaveMiddle English - First Known Use: before 12th century
This word has changed a lot from it's archaic use. 
1. archaic : a boy or male servant. A man of humble birth.
2. A playing card also known as a jack.
3. A deceitful fellow.

Tidings - Middle English - First Known Use: before 12th century
1.  a piece of news —usually used in plural <good tidings>
  
Villein/Villain Middle English - First Known Use: before 14th century
1. (in medieval Europe) a peasant personally bound to his lord, to whom he paid dues and services, sometimes commuted to rents, in return for his land
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We will be undone = We will be ruined or destroyed.

I bear no malice = I feel no anger towards someone/something. I feel no desire to harm.

Do not vex me. = Don't confuse or annoy me. 

I have a score of tasks to accomplish. = I have a great number (or lots) of things to do.

You have pluck! = You have courage!


 
 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Goblins got my Dragonling!

It's not even Halloween yet, and I have just discovered that my old but cherished website (Dragonling.com) has been possibly hacked by goblins. I wish to emphasize that at this time it is only possibly so, and not yet confirmed. So please don't go there until I can learn more. I have decided that I need to warn you all and remove the link I have to my virtual fantasy realm until I learn what has happened and what can be done about it, if anything.

I found out about it last Friday and have spend many hours now trying to do what I can instead of writing more pleasant posts or drawings. I went to my webhost (3ix.com) who I've been with for almost 20 years now and the tech rep there did a scan. He assures me his scanning indicates there is NO malicious code or malware on any of my webpages. He said that Google just saw something unexpected and decided to blacklist my site as a safety measure. He had me fill a form to pass on his scan info to Google and request that Dragonling.com webpages be reviewed again.

That was all done last Friday and I am still waiting to hear from Google.

I have since then changed my passwords associated with my web hosting service, access area, Cpanel, etc... and I spent hours looking at the source code trying to find anything I can recognize as being abnormal or suspicious. So far I've found nothing, but I am no expert. Then I decided to simplify the home page, removing many links there in the hopes that will deleted whatever problem Google saw. I have visited the website many times (once I could get past the Google BLOCK webpages) and I have checked my laptop over and over for any viruses or malware using Trend Micro. All looks and seems clean and unaffected. No problems whatsoever.

So, I don't really know if goblin hackers have really done anything to my beloved website, but I care about my friends and readers who come here to let you all know why I haven't been posting normal news and stories and won't be for a few more days. I will be back to my normal posts next week.

While I wait on Google's results, I'll look into other places where I can host Dragonling.com that might be safer from hacking. I welcome any suggestions or help to speed up solving this problem. Funds are very limited so my options are too. I am thinking of re-creating Dragonling.com in Wordpress or Blogger or one of the many FREE website companies online. I will need about forty webpages to move my entire realm over.

I hope it doesn't come to this.





Wednesday, October 9, 2013

My NEW bookcover for P&R


When I first wrote The Priestess and the Ravenknight I only needed to create the front cover for the ebook. This is what I came up with. I decided to make a knight's shield, sort of with the title on the front. Since this shield was for a ravenknight and a dark elf, I decided it should have pointy edges. What I wasn't too crazy about was the way the gold didn't seem to pop from the shield. I tried different colors but this gold seemed to be the best choice.


Ebook Cover

Now that I am going to have this published as a tradebook, I tried once again to make the title pop better and add a little more contrast. I am happier with this new version. I chose a different font that I think is more appropriate for my story. Disregard the salmon pink edge around the graphic. That won't be there. I welcome any advice or thoughts on my new book cover. I know there are some designers out there and I welcome your input. Thanks!


You can click and preview this graphic to make it larger so you can also read the blurbs. I welcome any constructive criticism for blurbs, colors, design, anything. Thanks again! The proof copy is on it's way and so there is time for final changes before it goes on sale.




Monday, October 7, 2013

Dalyn and Lyrica

Back in April, I started working on a drawing that I'm going to use for inspiration for my third book about pirates and mermaids. It will feature Dalyn the pirate and Lyrica, a Swansong mermaid. I first started the drawing with a pencil sketch, then I inked it.


Once the basic drawing is done, I scan the image and pull it into Photoshop or another graphics program and begin digitally coloring it.



Last April, I showed what the image looked like and then just slapped a photo background to it so you could see what I had in mind. This drawing is not necessarily going to go into future book. I do these drawings to inspire me. I put them on my walls, in project notebooks and online so that I can look at them while I write about them. I have to admit, I am pretty lazy when it come to do backgrounds so I often cheat and either use photos, Internet and books.

Summer came and went and for me, it's really hard to get back to a project I put down and put away. I need to finish it even if it takes me long hours and several days to do it, or it doesn't get down. That's what happened to this graphic. Anyway, after months of setting this aside so I can concentrate on turning The Priestess and the Ravenknight into a trade book, I have finally pulled up this graphic and one afternoon (at the ranch! =P) and spent a several hours finishing it. FINALLY!

I printed it out and put it on the cover of my notebook. Now I need to get to this book next and I hope to resume writing that story very soon. The working title is The Sirens of Swansong for now. I am still doing research for it but I have started the first few chapters.


This time I did do the background, but I don't think it came out very good. Still, this will do unless I decide to sell this image somehow either by making cards or small posters. But for a notebook, this will do. Hope you like it. If you have suggestions or mermaid graphics you have done, I encourage you to share it with me.  Have a great day and keep on writing... or drawing... whatever you do!



Thursday, October 3, 2013

Worldbuilding: Holidays for Fictional Worlds

It's October and it's time to break out the boxes of various holiday decorations and feverishly make new ones if I plan to participate in any of the several holiday craft fairs in my city. This thought brought me to wondering if I should create holidays for my fictional world. If you have read some of my previous posts, there is a festival of Wynterfest which is mainly celebrated up in the frozen country of Wynterlande.

The topic today is: Should a writer and world builder bother with creating holidays for their fictional world?

I did a little research this morning and the first place I went to was Middle Ages Holidays. Since Tiaera is basically a "parallel earth" with added magic and planetary differences, I tend to write about Earth's Middle Ages. Something one must consider is religion. Since Tiaera has no Christianity as a religion, I can't use any of the christian practices of the Middle Ages and as I see at that website, most of the holidays were church related. Tiaera is set in the Middle Ages, but it was created by a goddess I made up named Astria. Since she is not historical, I am free to make up any holidays and festivals as I see fit. Oh, this is going to be fun! LOL! But before I can begin this I need to get some ideas and figure out what to do.  A writer shouldn't create holidays just because they want to. Holidays should never interfere with your book or story.

If you are building a fictional world similar to earth, you need to ask yourself the following questions:

1. Are you going to keep writing about your fictional world long after the book you're writing is done? It so, then time will pass... months, years, etc... and holidays may work to set the scene of your next story on that world.

2. What period or era are you writing about? Historical? Futuristic? Modern age?

3. Does your world have seasons and is it worth noting this in your writing?

4. Does your world have gods? If it is parallel to earth, are there religions and gods like our own?

5. What kind of holidays should you create? Religious? Meaningful and significant? Seasonal?

6. How are your inhabitants going to recognize such holidays? Festivals? Traditions?

The more I think about Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years, the more I have to consider what I will want to use for future blog stories like my current one: Add a Spark for Valor.
As I (and sometimes Jack) continue with the chapters (posts) for this story, it will be fun to work on holidays as the background settings that can add to the plot much like we did in Realmwalkers.

I hope this post makes you think about your fictional world. Do some research and determine if your book or stories would benefit from such events. Soap Operas on TV used the holidays. Internet and video games use them. Books too. Let me know what you think about this. Are you going to add some holidays? If so, feel free to comment and tell me about them. I bet there are some great ideas out there!

Friday, September 27, 2013

More Archaic Terms & Expressions

I haven't done much of these lately so I will give you a few extra for today's lesson in archaic terms and expressions. These may prove useful for your writing and renaissance fair/SCA events. I got these terms from various books and Internet glossaries.

Boggart - A goblin, hairy and short

Buckler - Small round shield

Liege-man - A loyal follower usual bound by feudal alligiance.

Panter or Pantler - In charge of the pantry where food and eating utensils are kept

Reeve - An overseer or steward of a manor

Hobnob - To converse in a friendly or casual way

League - A measure of distance, about three miles.

Excellent well! - Very good!

Pray tell - Tell me

Fie ! or Alack! or Out upon it! or Fie upon you! - All basically mean "Darn it!" or "Curse you!"

Excuse me or Pray pardon me or I cry your mercy - All mean "I beg your pardon"

I hope you find these helpful. Contact me if you have any questions and I will try to help. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Worldbuilding and Tiaera

A good friend of mine asked me the other day about the term "world building." I briefly explained it to him, but this morning I have decided to look into this a little deeper for those of you who read and/or write fiction. This might be useful should you ever decide to try making a fictional world of your own.

What is Worldbuilding?

Worldbuilding is the process of constructing an imaginary world, sometimes associated with a whole fictional universe.[1] The resulting world may be called a constructed world. The term "worldbuilding" was popularized at science fiction writers' workshops in the 1970s.[citation needed] Developing an imaginary setting with coherent qualities such as a history, and ecology is a key task for many science fiction or fantasy writers.[2] Worldbuilding often involves the creation of maps, a backstory, and people for the world. Constructed worlds can enrich the backstory and history of fictional works, and it is not uncommon for authors to revise their constructed worlds while completing its associated work. Constructed worlds can be created for personal amusement and mental exercise, or for specific creative endeavors such as novels, video games, or role-playing games. 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World-building

I have seen the term spelled a few difference ways i.e. world building, world-building and worldbuilding.

When Jack and I began writing our novel Realmwalkers, we realized we needed to make a fictional world because this would free us from any problems with reality based on earth and earth's history. We could start from scratch and use anything our minds came up with so long as it was plausible in the minds of our future readers. Since we wrote about science fiction and fantasy, it behooved us to try this in order to present our story in the most realistic way.

Well, Realmwalkers was finally written and has done very well in sales so far. I created this blog about the world of Tiaera to help promote the book. As some of you may have caught on, I came up with the name "Tiaera" which sounds like the Spanish word "tierra" meaning earth or ground. It is a parallel earth with trees, mountains and oceans, but with some differences. What are they? Well, read some of the stories here or read Realmwalkers to find out. Anyway, I realized I really enjoyed adding more details about this fictional planet called Tiaera.

And I am not alone. There are many sites on the Inet where one can go visit a variety of worlds based on books, TV, and games.

The way I started with Tiaera was by making a series of maps using MSPublisher, a desktop graphics program. I didn't have the luxury of a stylus and tablet at that time. Every drawing had to be done by drawing with a normal mouse or by drawing the map, scanning it and enhancing it using Adobe Photoshop. One of my first maps of the new planet looked like this.


I never made a world before so I just made little chunks of outlines to represent countries and Jack helped me determine how big it was going to be so that it made sense to the reader. It turned out it is actually smaller than earth, more like mars. Thanks again, Jack, for helping me with the technicalities of worldbuilding.

Then I experienced the fun of assigning names, much like Adam did when earth was created, and I found it was a lot of fun. I went to various fantasy name generators and tossed around some made-up names with Jack until all the oceans, countries, and islands all had a name. This was really fun to do while I waited for Jack to go over some chapters at his end.  Once I had the world done, I began to work on each continent.



There is no end to what you can do when it comes to worldbuilding. Many stories, movies, books and games can limit the amount of information about the world to just a few sentences or go all the way to graphic images and videos. It's up to the author or designer involved. Just remember that too much scenery and description shouldn't overwhelm the story at hand. Use just enough to set the scene and no more.

After the maps were done, I created lists of information about races, transportation, climate, languages and prominent landmarks. I used my previous experiences in games like D&D, Meridian 59 and Everquest 1 & 2. I also used recollections from the many sci fi-fantasy stories and movies. There is nothing wrong with stealing general ideas from others as long as you do not steal a copyright protected character or item. So be sure you research whatever you use that you did not fully create yourself.

I'm glad to have this blog now to further create more stories and invent new items through my creative abilities. I still don't use any special map-making software. I have looked at Dungeonjinni and ProFantasy Software, as well as others, but I decided to use the tools I already had. I still use pencil, ink, scanner, MSPublisher and Adobe Photoshop for maps and graphics. Such graphics may help me with future books or videos. It's a creative process that I really enjoy.

If you are thinking about worldbuilding, here are a few links that might help or inspire you. I've used a few of them for creating the world of Tiaera:

Seventh Sanctum
Pirate Name Generator
io9.com
World Building School
sfwa fantasy-worldbuilding questions
Free Fantasy Maps
Map Making for Authors
Wikipedia

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Sacred Tree in Fabric Form

Pauline did it again! She took my design and is transforming it into the costume she has already created. It looks like she only needs the tree trunk here and it is done.  What patience, Pauline! I would have printed the design onto some iron transfer paper and just ironed it into place. You have a real talent for costume recreations. Well done!


 Here is the design I created.


This is the front of the costume she is making the collar for. The top photo is the back of the collar to this costume.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Free Writing Meters

I'm heading out today for a four day trip to Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch to do some writing, scrapping, drawing/painting, eating, resting, swimming and riding.  It's a lovely dude guest ranch and I can't wait. I'll be taking my laptop (no Internet tho) and art supplies and hope to enjoy this event along with twenty-two other ladies.

I know this has nothing to do with Tiaera so let's get down to why I am posting today!

I have found a neat website that offers not one, but 16+ FREE Writing Progress Tracking Meters and I wanted to share this find with you! I hope to pick one of these out for use here at my blog when I finally get back to working on my next story based on the world of Tiaera. It's still waiting for me to finish and I intend to use a meter to help remind me where I am at in getting it finished. It will also give you all an idea as to how close I am to completing it, in cause you are wondering.

Click here for Tia Ross' blog post about Free Writing Meters.

For you writers out there, I hope this info helps you find a good meter to help keep you motivated with your writing. It doesn't need to be used for a novel. You can also use a meter to help you keep track of how many words you have written this week or this month.  You can use a meter for projects, blogs, writing assignments, competitions and clubs. If you're a online content writer, novelist, blogger, short story writer, or journalist, a writing meter may be useful for you.

Check these out and see what you think. Send me comments here if you have have used one or are using one.

Well, it's time for me to mosey out and ride into the sunset. I hope to have the next post for "Add a Spark of Valor" ready for next week.

Yeehaaaa!! Happy writing/riding!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Priestess and the Ravenknight - In Print!

It's almost autumn! Darkness falls earlier in the evening and the monsoon rains are here. Craft stores are pushing holiday items in preparation for everything from Halloween to Christmas. I love crafting almost as much as I enjoy writing and drawing.

But I won't be doing much crafting this year as I prefer to work on my ebook, The Priestess and the Ravenknight ( or P&R). After of two years of pushing Realmwalkers soft cover books at the various book events, I have decided it's time I turned P&R into a print version, and include some of my illustrations and a little more story.  Because of all the changes to this ebook, I will mark the printed version as a Second Edition. Once the book is sent for publication, I will update and re-submit the P&R ebook as a Second Edition to Amazon.com also.

And for those of you who already got my P&R ebook, I will be making the new updated ebook version FREE (for a limited time) to download once it's available at Amazon.com.  Stay tuned for future post announcements here!

I hope to have the P&R book finished, sent and published by the end of this month. My next book signing will be in early November, so I should have not one, but two books to sign. The cover will be the same, but the book is now approximately 110 pages, a big jump from the estimated 47 pages as an ebook.


Thanks to all of you who have supported me these past few years. I am grateful for all the help I get from local authors and friends alike. {{{BIG HUGS}}}
I have managed to earn enough to even purchase some professionally printed bookmarks and business cards for this winter season. It's a real thrill to hand out these shiney, slick bookmarks. I will have to get some made for P&R also. 
Have a great weekend!

Oh, one more thing. I am still working on my mermaid-pirate book. That will come out sometime next year.
 

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Sacred Tree

Since my friend Pauline honored me with a costume like those worn by the Sisters of the Sacred Tree, I was inspired to design a symbol that represents that order. It would be worn on their robes, cloaks and gowns so that they were readily identified by that crest. This is a common druid symbol and I saw many incredibly beautiful renditions of the "Tree of Life" done in celtic knotwork. There are no celts in Tiaera. My love for that type of art compelled me to turn a blind eye to that fact. It's art and it's historical and if I can "borrow" things like castles, elves and humans from our own earth, I can borrow the celtic knotwork designs. Maybe I will call this type of artwork "Tiaeran Knotwork" or "Druidic Knotwork" or "Ancient Knotwork" if pressed to give it a name for a story.


This is my first time doing any kind of celtic knotwork design. I referred to a book and the Internet and spent hours trying to create something that was uniquely mine. I thought using graph paper would help and to some extent it did, but not always. I had to draw and redraw all the shapes until they looked the same width all around. Then I scanned the black and white pencil drawing then with my stylus/tablet I carefully drew and cleaned the sketch. I also ended up cutting the tree top from the trunk and worked on those parts separately. This is the sketch I started out with.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Remember this?

You may recall in a previous post that I drew a sketch of Audrey and her friend, Karyn. Here it is again.


Well, my friend Pauline who is a talented seamstress and who enjoys making period costumes was inspired to make Karyn's outfit. Great job, Pauline! You even used the colors as I indicated in the story as well. I am flattered by your creations.






If you wish to see more of her lovely costumes, find her at Facebook under Pauline Cortez3.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Audrey and Karyn before the Training Session

Last night, I was inspired to do a sketch of the scene where Audrey and Karyn are preparing for the training session (see yesterday's post), but I decided to draw Karyn in her druid gown. In the story, she is dressed like Audrey so she can train also. I tried not to make her look like a nun or like she was wearing pajamas. This would be the type of outfit she would wear on those occasions where she would be seen in public. This was also a good time to show how small Audrey (an adult gnome) stands next to Karyn. Gnomes were often mistaken for human children because of their size and built. At this point in the story, Audrey and Karyn are in their late teens in human years. I will be doing a short article about what druids are like in Tiaera soon.

copyright EV Medina2013

Friday, July 26, 2013

World Building: The Country of Vawdrey

As I continue to write stories and posts about Tiaera, I find that world-creating is a fun pastime in itself. At first, it was tedious and boring. There we were, Jack and I, trying to get our Realmwalkers chapters done and all had to stop because we found out that it was potentially dangerous to use someone else's world to write about for commercial purposes as authors. It wasn't harmless fan fiction that was written purely for personal enjoyment. Jack and I meant business. We wanted to write a book together and offer it up to the world and earn something from it. Thank you to all who made that dream come true! We really appreciate your support and encouragement.

Anyway, I knew nothing about mapping or cartography and to this day I still don't know much, but I do know how to draw and so with Jack's help in figuring out aspects about earth's geology and atmosphere, he helped decide what Tiaera's size and countries should be. No, it's probably not accurate info. In fact, we decided Tiaera should be smaller than Earth. But that's fine! Tiaera is not Earth even if some of its inhabitants are human and live lives like those of Earth's medieval-renaissance periods. After all, this is a sci fi/fantasy story. The images had to be quick and simple so we could move on and get back to our story. Using MSPublisher, I managed to make several global and sectional maps.  Some fantasy world builders tend to use special programs like Autorealm, ProFantasy Software, and DnDjinni. I didn't want to use anything that was difficult or expensive, so I used what I have: MSPublisher and Photoshop. Realmwalkers contains some of those maps.


This image and info is next to the title page in Realmwalkers.

Here are a couple of graphics I made using these programs and a regular mouse to draw with. I hadn't gotten my wonderful Wacom table w/stylus when I did the artwork for Realmwalkers. I hope these drawings will inspire you if you are in the process of writing a book that might be enhanced with a map or two. Maps are very useful tools when you write a story that involves more than one city or town. Jack and I referred to these maps often while our characters traveled from country to country. I highly recommend creating or using maps to make your story more accurate and realistic. Maps help me keep from becoming confused as to what town is where and what race or races live there. Yes, if you can't draw or afford any of the programs currently available, you can make charts or lists to help out. I could have done that also, but since I can draw, I did what I enjoy.

Since I am currently writing a story about Audrey, I have decided to re-create and update the country of Vawdrey where this storyline takes place. Vawdrey is not a big country at approximately 687.5 miles from east to west.  We figured that Tiaera is about the size of Mars, not Earth.

This is the simple and quick drawing I used for the book. This graphic also shows the NW section of the country of Lythopia

And here is the newest and updated version of Vawdrey showing Chardonvale, and the druidic monastery and cloister where Carlyn and Audrey live and train.  All graphics are copyright protected.


Again, I hope these images will inspire you if you are writing a novel. You don't have to be an artist and you might discover, as I did, that world-creating can be fun!



Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Pinterest

I am now at Pinterest and uploading parts of my Tiaera blog there. I hope to gain more readers with my graphics and stories. Pinterest is a good place for sharing images much like Photobucket and Facebook. Here is the link to my profile there. Check it out!

EV Medina at Pinterest

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Summer Heat or Writer's Block?

It's July and the temperature here is going to 112 today.  I spoke with a good friend yesterday and she asked about my latest book "Sirens of Swansong." I frowned. I began to explain that in the midst of all my research and preparations, I find it hard to work on my third book. I explained that I still blog and I even plan to go back to doing Yahoo Content articles again, but work on the book remains further down on my list of priorities these days.  She was visibly disappointed and offered that with all the work I have done to promote Realmwalkers these past few years, the joy of writing has lessened since another book will mean a whole new campaign of marketing.

I have blamed it on the summer heat, saying to my husband that it's just too hot to write. We have plenty of air conditioning and we do get out to cool movie theaters, restaurants, and other locations. I am reminded that in the three years of working on Realmwalkers and The Priestess and the Ravenknight, that the summer heat was never a problem. But this year is different. This summer finds me doing little in the way of research about mermaids and the world of Tiaera so that I can continue with my third book.  I have about sixty pages started, the layout is done and I have a notebook filled with character sheets, historical data, story notes and inspiring graphics.

My Sirens Workbook

I have tried to keep motivated on my project by watching pirate and mermaid movies on TV or checking out mermaid/pirate books from the library. I am currently listening to an audio book about mermaids.

But I do not write.

Writer's Block?  Could this be?  Am I "burned-out" and need this time off?

My friend thinks it's possible. She suggests I take this time to do whatever little projects I can to keep me writing in some way or some form. Continue with my blogging, do some short articles, work on a journal and keep on doing whatever writing I can do until I am able to get back to my unfinished book.  Maybe the cooler temps in the autumn will get me back to work on my unfinished book.

Write! Write! Write!  I see that advice in every book about writing. I have started a story about Audrey, my little gnome. I can keep doing posts here about her also. In any case, I will deal with the temperatures here and keep cool, go swimming and write whenever I can. I will find some way to keep motivated, even if it's only to blog here with something I hope you will all find interesting.

If you have any advice or suggestions on how to keep motivated to write, I welcome your feedback. I know all writers go through this sooner or later. Whether it be burn-out, writer's block, or triple digit temperatures, I will finish my book somehow. I just wrote this down and so I can't take it back now.

I will finish my book, as soon as I am able to.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Writing and the Online Clock Timer

Since I became a full-time writer working at home, I have added some weight and now I have to watch my blood pressure. Like anything else, writing can be cruel when one does it for too long. We are often told by health experts to take hourly breaks away from the laptops or computers and now I am paying the price for not doing this.

When I worked with my collaborator, Jack Shepherd, on Realmwalkers, I spent hours without a break almost everyday. I did this also when I wrote The Priestess and the Ravenknight. I kept forgetting to get up and walk or do chores or whatever. It never even occurred to me to buy a kitchen timer of some sort to help me remember. Hours would fly by before I realized I hadn't taken a break.
Well, I think I have an answer to this problem and I wanted to share it with you. No, it's not a Tiaeran timer, but this may help keep you from gaining weight and getting sick. It's an online clock/time/music/video website: http://onlineclock.net/

It has an long list of different types of clocks and timers, in various colors and functions. It's also free and definitely worth a try. Now that I am in the middle of my next book, Sirens of Swansong, I am already using this clock timer for it and it works for me. This reminds me. I should go when this timer goes off and do some archery outside! No, wait, it's too hot now. Maybe later! But I can go do something else to stretch my legs and get some exercise. I know! Dance! Dance and do a load of laundry!

Till then, back to this post.

In the world of Tiaera, time is not as important as death makes time not so precious as in our real world. Thanks to Goddess Astria and the druids, Tiaerans don't have to worry about dying as we may. And despite all the hours spent in the libraries and great scholarly halls, reading and writing doesn't affect my fictional characters. Besides, their life is still mostly medieval and so there is a lot of physical work that needs to be done. This helps to keep the inhabitants of Tiaera healthier and stronger. I guess the closest thing they would have for timers would be hour glasses. Sun dials would only work outside and only when the weather allowed. I also hear that special candles could be used as timers. Marked in hour long sections, one would be able to measure time as the wax melted from notch to notch. For more information about candle clocks there is a wiki about them. CANDLE CLOCKS  No doubt, the tiaerans used these as they could afford them. I can imagine Audrey now, dipping candles at her convent.

Photo by www.myrandburg.co.za
I am sure there are other types of modern clocks and music players for those of us who work at our desks all day. If you know of any other site that offers a similar clock timers you would recommend, please leave a comment and share it with us.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Flickr and My Blog Slideshow

Flickr has opened up it's server "gates" and is now offering it's members ONE TERABYTE of server space and that is great news for those of us who like to take screenies and photos. It also lets you upload and share your videos too. Up until recently, it limited the non-paying members about 200 images max. So if you like to share photos, screen captures (screenies) or artwork, check out the new Flickr.com and enjoy all it's tools and benefits. Oh, and it saves all your images in FULL resolution. For those of us who want that, it's a real benefit. I have tried Photobucket, Revel and Picasa.  They all have limitations. I also see that Google's Drive now offers you up to 15 GB of space. Well, Flickr offers a Terabyte. I still can't believe they can do this for FREE!

What does that have to do with my World of Tiaera blog? Well, for those of you who haven't noticed, I have a slideshow of graphics about Realmwalkers and Tiaera. If you scroll down and look at the left column you will see my dragonling logo.  It looks like this:


Click on it and Flickr's slideshow will appear to show you my virtual gallery of graphics. Most of these graphics are in color and you might recognize a couple of drawings from Realmwalkers. It only has about a dozen images right now, but in time, I will be adding more. The slideshow also has controls so you can control the speed of each of the images.

On a side note, you may also notice that I have added another column to this blog. In an effort to make improvements, I decided it was time to try three columns instead of two. Please leave some feedback about these changes and definitely let me know if you ever have problems with any of the links here. I would really appreciate it.

I hope you take a minute to check out the slideshow and feel free to share it with your friends. Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

More Archaic Words

Greetings! It's been awhile since I shared a few more of my favorite archaic words I try to use in my writing. Tonight I would like to cover some archaic samples of greeting others. As usual, I used the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary and an (online) glossary book written by Shakespeare. Enjoy!
_________________________________________________________________________________

Good morrow = Good morning 
(13th cent. noun)

Good day = Good day (said before noon)
(12th cent noun)

Hail or Greetings = Hello or Salutations
(13th cent noun)

God ye good den or Good den =  Good evening or good day (said after noon)
(according to The Works of William Shakespeare it means "God give you good e'en")

Good e'entide = Good evening or good night 
e'en = evening + tide = A time or season. Often used in combination: eventide; Christmastide; Shrovetide. (13th cent. noun)
_________________________________________________________________________________

Next post will be samples of saying good-bye.



Thursday, May 30, 2013

New Extended Realmwalkers Video


I just created a new version of my original Realmwalkers video. After some editing and a few extra pictures, I came up with this. I hope you like this better. A special thanks to my friend, Vince, for his help with "Quality Control."  I owe you a Starbucks, buddy!


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Realmwalkers is on sale at Amazon.com!

I just found out that Realmwalkers has a special promo price now! Not sure how the folks at Amazon.com came to the new price, but it went from $18.95 to $17.06. That's almost two dollars off! If you have been waiting for the price on this novel to go down, now is the time to take advantage. 

Here are some of the testimonies I have been getting:

It's easy reading..meaning it's a fun story, interesting characters and it's not this deep reading that I have to keep reading each line over and over to understand. Some books are full of such verbose sentences/paragraphs that I get lost halfway through and have to start the sentence over again. The characters are familiar so I can picture them so easily, which is awesome! - Maryanne of Riverside CA
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Done with the book! Awesome! I liked it very much! Now you need to write a sequel with new adventures of Hilo, Felucia, Alain... need I go on??!! I want more!! Sequel! Sequel! Sequel!  - Amanda of Lake Havasu, AZ
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I've really enjoyed reading "Realmwalkers". I've read it more than once and continue to become imersed in the story and enthralled by it's cast of characters. It has a lot to enjoy: Heros and Villians from another planet, pirates, Elves and Gnomes, romance, battles on land and sea, a snowball fight and a beautiful Goddess.
The only problem I have with the book is that there is no sequel
Something for everyone to like. Give it a read. - Vince of Hamilton, OH
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The author has me drawn into the story and I feel as if I am actually there, living this saga. The drawings are magnificent! I anticipate every moment, and can't wait for the next chapter to unfold!!  - Pauline of Hawley, PA
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I really enjoyed this story. The characters were well developed and interesting. The settings were described in enough detail to give me a good visual image, but not overly described. The conflicts were believable and urgent enough to keep me engaged to the end. I definitely recommend this book.  - Layne of Lake Havasu, AZ
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What an exciting book with lots of great adventure and fun. Look out Harry Potter! This is the next up-and-coming new series. Would like to see it made into a movie. - Michele of Lake Havasu, AZ