Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Guest Post: Dianne Salerni

In addition to celebrating not having to write a post, I'm also celebrating the fact that writer and all around awesome person Dianne Salerni has a book coming out! It's the book birthday for THE INQUISITOR'S MARK, the sequel to THE EIGHTH DAY! The obvious way to celebrate is to let Dianne take over my blog and explain about the titular eighth day, thus giving me a total of 8/7 in amount of days researched. So take it away, Dianne!

Displaying InquisitorsMark_revised_final.jpg

The Origins of Grunsday, The Eighth Day

I was very excited by the invitation to write a guest post for Still Writing to celebrate the upcoming release of The Inquisitor’s Mark, the second book in my Eighth Day series. I knew right away that I wanted to do an Origin post because J.E. does such a great job with them here. I wanted to share the research behind my book series – because, yes, fantasy authors do research, too. We don’t just make it all up!

The idea of a secret eighth day of the week came from a family joke. Whenever my daughters bugged my husband about something they wanted to do (go to an amusement park, the ice skating rink, the beach, etc) and he didn’t have an immediate answer, he’d tell them: “We’ll do it on Grunsday.” The word Grunsday itself, as far as I can tell, originates from a Beetle Bailey comic strip. In one episode, Bailey has been working KP duty for a week and when Saturday comes, he’s relieved there are no more days in the week. Then he looks at the calendar and exclaims, “Grunsday?!” 

In my book, the eighth day is nicknamed Grunsday as a joke by some of the characters, but it’s actually serious business. The eighth day is the magical prison of a powerful and dangerous race of sorcerers. I already had many of the aspects of this secret day worked out in my mind before I started researching legends about extra days and alternate timelines, so I was very startled to come across Arthurian legends that matched many of the elements planned for my story.

According to legend, Merlin was tricked by his apprentice (or lover), Niviane, who wanted to steal his powers. (In some legends, she’s called Nimue or Viviane – or the Lady of the Lake who gave Excalibur to Arthur.) Niviane trapped Merlin in an eternal forest (or cave) where his aging slowed down. Merlin could not escape, but Niviane could come and go as she pleased in order to learn more spells from him. (Or maybe for booty calls.)

My story plan called for the eighth day to be a place where the trapped inhabitants aged slowly (because they live one day for every one of our seven). Their jailors would have the ability to enter and exit this day, experiencing all eight days of the week. Once I noticed the similarities, I decided that my eighth day should be rooted in Arthurian legend even though it was set in modern time. Suddenly all my characters began to clamor for famous ancestors!

But wait – it gets a little weirder. I referred to the trapped race of people as the Kin, which was originally meant to be a placeholder name until I thought of something better. But I never did. Every other name for them sounded false, so I turned in the book still calling them the Kin. After The Eighth Day sold to HarperCollins in a 3-book deal, I began to plan subsequent books in the series.  Researching Celtic legends led me to the Tuatha de Danann, a legendary race of people gifted in magical powers who arrived in the British isles in ancient times and ruled there awhile. Eventually they were defeated and driven away to a secret, hidden kingdom where they lived extended lives and were never seen by humans again. 

The part that freaked me out? Tuatha de Danann translates as the people, the nation, the tribe ... 
or you know ... the kin.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Bad News

As the title says, I have bad news. Mostly bad for me, but still bad. The power jack in my computer--the thing that the power cord goes into--died on me. I've been having trouble with the power for a while, but I thought it was a cord. I ordered a new one and, nope, still not working. So I ordered the jack and hopefully it will be in today or tomorrow, but it could be as long as a week! And then I have to perform surgery on my laptop just to replace the stupid broken thing.

I really hope everything goes well and I can be back online soon on my own laptop instead of one I borrowed. Until then, I'm probably not going to be around on Twitter or commenting, and unfortunately I wasn't able to finish my posts for this week before it died : (. Keep your fingers crossed that I'm able to fix it, and I'll see you as soon as I can.

Saturday, January 17, 2015


I must have screwed up the last time I tried to update my etymology page. Or maybe Blogger screwed up. Let's go with Blogger. Anyway, it deleted the page I had linking to my Language of Confusion posts. The unsurprising result was this.

No idea when this happened (hey, I don’t visit my own blog that much), although I first noticed it last month. Then I screamed in frustration for about ten days straight.

I managed to fix it (for real this time) and I figured I might as well update it through the end of 2014. Also, you should go there just to check out how nice and even the columns are. I made it in Excel this time and for some reason, Blogger didn’t lose the formatting this time. Who knows, this might just shame me into updating the other two pages, too.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Language of Confusion: Animalia III

This again! This time we’re doing large wild animals (except bear, which I did a long time ago).

Deer comes from the Old English deor, which meant animal or beast. Further back, it’s the Proto Germanic deuzam (again, it just means animal) and earlier, the Proto Indo European dheusom, a creature that breathes. Seriously. The word dheu means cloud or breath. It’s actually not that different from the word animal, which comes from the Latin
anima, breath or spirit. The only difference is that deer went from referring to animals in general to one specific type.

The word moose first showed up in the early seventeenth century, and unlike most words in the English language, it’s not of European extraction. Moose is a Native American word, definitely Algonquian, and taken from either the Narragansett moos or the Abenaki moz. Can you believe it? A purely American word!

Wolf comes from the Old English wulf, and before that, the Proto Germanic wulfaz and Proto Indo European wlkwo. Don’t ask me how to pronounce it, but it means wolf, meaning the word was attached to the animal sometime at the beginning of known languages. I guess when something’s trying to kill you, it’s best to have a specific, universal word for it.

Boy, there are a lot of words for big cats. Lynx is the oldest cat words, showing up in the mid fourteenth century. It comes from the classical Latin lynx (yes, it means lynx), which was taken from the Greek lyngz. Cougar is fairly recent, coming from the French (as in, modern French) couguar, which just means cougar, and probably brought over to Europe from Brazil. Bobcat, which is another word for lynx, showed up in 1873 (pretty recent, huh?), and it’s just a mix of bob (for the short tail) and cat. Ocelot showed up in the late eighteenth century, another word coming from French, in this case ocelot, which shockingly enough means ocelot. It’s believed to come from the Aztec word ocelotl, which means jaguar, a word of Portuguese origin. Puma is also a late eighteenth century word, coming from the Spanish puma (do you even have to ask?), taken from the Peruvian…puma. Basically, except for lynx, all big cat words are of American origin, and they really haven’t changed much.


Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

January Goals

Okay, so I think I’ve gone on enough about how I can’t believe it’s 2015 already (seriously though, can you believe it’s already 2015?!?). And since I posted my resolutions last week, it’s time to post my goals. But first, last month…

December Goals
1. Do my color partition for REMEMBER and solve any issues in regards to pacing. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before as part of my editing routine. Maybe I’ll go into more detail later.
I did do the partition and did some work on pacing, but then I got distracted by bad writing and had to deal with that, and then I got distracted by bad word usage (42 uses of the word manage…eek) and had to do that. So it’s a partial success. I didn’t get done what I wanted to, but I did get something done.

2. Do my sensory color partition for REMEMBER and solve any issues. Again, I should explain this sometime.
Did not do this, for reasons stated above. I feel satisfied that I’m still editing, so at least I’m doing something.

3. Christmas, yay!

My blood must be fifty percent sugar by now. Anyway, goals…

January Goals

1. REMEMBER: continue word edits and writing edits, and finish the freaking pacing edits.

2. Figure out the story for the book I’m rewriting. (You’d think this would be easy, but because of all the problems it had, it’s going to need some thought)

3. Write A-to-Z Challenge posts.

Okay, so that’s the plan for this month. I believe I’m sticking to my realistic-goal resolution, as well as actually getting things done. So what are you up to this month?

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Over the Holidays

A comic three weeks after the fact because it took me that long to process Christmas.

Seriously, they argued about who the baby in that picture was for twenty frigging minutes. And no, they never did agree on who it was.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Secret Origins: V

I’m sure this won’t be a total rehash of U. I mean, these letters are nothing alike.

First, go look at the alphabet gif and you’ll see that there was no V before early Latin script evolved into modern. That’s because the symbol V was interchangeable with U—basically, some people wrote the letter round, some people wrote it pointed. But everyone pronounced it U. As for the sound V…they wrote that using F. When they wanted to use the F sound, they paired F with H, similar to how we use sh and th. Until they made their own symbol for it, a lost glyph that looks like an 8.

Okay, so we know V was U, so let’s look more at the history of the symbol. Early Latin sometimes wrote U as a Y—well, there was no Y then, so it’s not like it mattered. Etruscan did the same thing, using Y and V interchangeably for the U sound. The Greek upsilon has a lowercase that looks like a cross between a v and a u (υ), while the uppercase just looks like Y (the Y sound was under its domain, so it makes sense). Before that was the Phoenicianscript, but since they only used consonants, there was no symbol for V. When the Greeks first adapted the alphabet, they used the Phoenician waw symbol, which looked like a Y and sounded like a W, to create their V.

TL;DR: Everyone makes up their own sound for letters. It’s a miracle we can communicate at all.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Resolutions 2015

Ugh, 2015 all ready. I’m sorry, but time is just going to have to slow down. I can’t keep up with it at this pace.

So what do I want to accomplish this year?

Resolutions 2015
1. Finish REMEMBER. It’s been over a year now! I’m hoping to get it out to beta readers by summer, but if time keeps moving as fast as it is, who knows? (I mean, it’s clearly not me…right?)

2. Write a new book : ). This should be easy. I have a few ideas rolling around my head, but no spark yet. Which is good, as I have enough on my plate right now.

3. Make more manageable goals. Sometimes I think I reach too far, and I end up crushed when I don’t get even close to my goal, and then I don’t think I can do anything…etc. etc. This is me, trying to be more positive by understanding my limits. Let’s see how long this one lasts.

4. Rewrite an old book. There’s one WIP I’ve been telling myself I’d rewrite for ages and never getting around to doing so. So here it is on my list, and hopefully I’ll get to it.

5. One stick figure comic a week! More manageable goals, remember? : )

6. Cut back on sugar. Ugh, I hate this one, but I really do need to cut back…

7. Be awesome. Oh, wait, I always am anyway.

So it’s 2015. What do you want to do this year?

Saturday, January 3, 2015


This was me at the beginning of 2014. And now it’s 2015…

Seriously, that’s true. It was one of my random thoughts last year. I mean, two years ago, in 2013. Two whole freaking years.

Damn it. I got myself depressed all over again.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

What the post title said!

Happy New Year by bdtiger2000 - This is a glossy new years banner with balloons, confetti, & fireworks.

Of course I didn't make that myself. I got it at Creative Commons, where I get all the pictures I'm too lazy to make myself. Because I care.

Woo! 2015!