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

Some link sources:

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!