Archive for category Fiction

Ur Shulim

 

The ruins of Ur-Shulim in present day Syria

The ruins of Ur-Shulim in present day Syria

The word Shulim means “center of the Four Regions”. The City of Ur-Shulim (not to be confused with the Ur-Shulim said to have become Jerusalem) is believed to have been a center of trade for the different diverse settlements in the Middle East in the pre-Sumerian era. It is the largest known city in this region during that time, dating back to between 11,000 and 16,000 BC, depending on dating methods used. The apparent age of the city makes it a very controversial site.While the age of the city falls within the accepted time-frame of human habitation, it pre-dates any known permanent settlements by about 10,000 years.

The city is also far more advanced than any known habitation of the time. It is a large city. The foundation structure, which is all that remains, indicates that the city was actually divided into two symmetrical halves. In mapping out the ruins, the layout of the city follows a pattern matching the symbol that became known as the Symbol of the Four Regions in Sumeria (which would come later).

The connection here is obvious. The settlers of this city would have been the ancestors of the Sumerians. What is interesting is the symmetry of the city. It is built perfectly. At the center of the city is a mound, the excavation of which is its own study.

The ruins themselves are amazing. All that remains of them are the foundations and a few items that may be pottery or parts of ancient weaponry. No archaeological study, however, can produce any evidence of the walls that would have stood above the foundations. The absence of these structures led earlier expeditions in the early 20th Century to conclude that the site was not a city, but merely a geographic anomaly. The understanding that this site was, in fact, a city is far more recent.

There are no histories that remain to tell us what became of this city, or why only the foundations remain. The condition of the site and the ruins rule out war and natural disaster. Some have suggested that the site was abandoned, however abandonment still does not explain the condition of the ruins themselves.

Whatever mysteries this location holds, the answers lie in what little has been found among the foundation and pottery and within the mound in the center of the city.

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Getting Images for Cover Art

Copy of 2010 03-06 utc 037“Do you know how to find free images that you can use online?”

I see this discussed in groups a lot. Let’s face it. When you are a self-published author, especially if you are a new author, you cannot always afford to pay for artwork. Maybe you can save up for a once-a-year cover for your novel. What if you are a short story or novella author needing artwork on a monthly or even weekly basis? Chances are your art budget is going to outstrip what you bring in from your writing – at first anyway.

There are ways to get free images that you can adapt to photos. You just need a photo-editing program, a little skill, lots of practice, and some knowledge.

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Today is the BIG DAY!

 

Book of Susantitle SigMuch happiness. The Shulim Cycle Book of Susan is finished and released.

And I have to toot my own horn a little bit on this: I have used lie and lay correctly.

Seriously. I searched through the book very carefully for every iteration of lie and lay, poured through websites for references as needed, and made sure that I used it correctly each time.

I even got to use had lain.

But I digress. It was important to me to get something so small right because, well, it is a huge pet peeve of mine when people don’t. I even wrote about how to properly use the verbs some time ago. Remember? So … I thought it would be really foolish of me to use it incorrectly.

If you don’t believe me, click the link up above and buy the book.

And yes, this has been an elaborate “I just published my book, go buy it please” post. I hope that you enjoyed!

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Edits, Revision, and Rewrites, Oh My!

Thought I would give an update to where I am with The Shulim Cycle Book of Susan.

Draft Five.

That is the editing draft I am on now, with the Permanent Editor finishing the last chapters of Draft Four and soon to begin the chapters finished so far (1 as of this posting, but I’m into 2) once those are done.

Whoever says that self-published authors don’t edit did not meet me. Personally, I find it easier to edit something not my own work but … one does what one needs to.

So, what great insights do I have from this edit?

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“Oh god! She’s talking about women in media again. Everyone quick, look away.”

But if you don’t, it’ll be much appreciated.

So, on G+ a friend shared about her experience discussing the issues she had with the presentation of women in a specific game and the internet responded, and it was basically a lot of back and forth of misunderstanding. Why? If you’ve ever been a gamer, you really don’t have to ask that. You already know. If you’re not a gamer – that is a person who sits around a table (or these days a digital table, as traditional table top games move to online play to accommodate people moving and what-not) – then you probably don’t know.

And that’s okay. I’m going to explain it to you.

You could say I’m going to gamexplain it.

Which is probably only amusing in my head. Moving along.

So, you are talking about people who, as a group, will happily sit there and argue for at minimum fifteen minutes, but upwards of the entire game session (most averaging about 4 hours), with the GM (Game Master, for the uninitiated) and/or other players about things like whether or not the inclusion of exclusion of an oxford comma in the sentence about SR (Spell Resistance, fellow gamers, bear with me) means that their wizard/sorcerer has to make the Caster Level Check or not. Or … and this one is even better. They will happily write up at minimum three-page story backgrounds on no less than five to seven different cheesed-to-the-nines character concepts just to whittle down the poor GM or Storyteller (the White Wolf Games name for a GM) and get them to approve their Halfling Monk/Paladin to Yondalla or their Mokele (You know, Dragons in White Wolf – though to be fair, still better than weresharks).

In other words, gamers love to argue.

But gamers aren’t really what I want to talk about.

What I want to talk about is the role of women in fiction and media. Games sparked this thinking in my head, but this holds for really anything print, audio, or video, that we consume on a daily basis.

I’m going to share with you a great little song my Permanent Editor shared with me.

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What’s that? I smell a shameless plug coming…

So, The Shulim Cycle Book of Dahlia is up for free today and tomorrow (8/5 and 8/6) on Amazon..

Why only two days?

Well, this is going to be the last KDP promotion for the novel. By the end of this week, once my current KDP is up, I’ll also be on Smashwords. The reason being, I can manage coupons and what-not better there.

So, if you have not had a chance to grab the book, here’s your chance to get it free.

If you have, please share a review on Amazon.

Why?

Well… a few reasons.

It will help other readers determine if they want to buy my book once the free promotion ends. It helps me get feedback for what works and does not in the book, so that I understand what my readers are actually getting out of the book. And finally … because a lot of avenues for promoting e-books want you to already have reviews on Amazon. I have a few great reviews, but I don’t have enough of them. So please, share your thoughts on the book on Amazon. While your at it, be sure to share a few thoughts about other indie-books you’ve read.

Thank you and good reading.

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Thinking About Angels

I’m thinking about other stories again … not a movie this time. I’m thinking instead of a television show: Doctor Who. I will happily admit that I am an avid fan of Doctor Who. I have on my desk right now a tiny Dalek model laying siege to a Yahtzee tumbler that is designed to be the Tardis.

Anway, I was thinking about the Episode Don’t Blink. Oh, and um,

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The Matrix of a Woman

So, I’ve gotten to watch the Matrix (original … the series goes downhill from there) a few times over the last week, since BBC America keeps showing it. I swear, they have more American shows on than British shows. 

Anyway, as I’m watching, I’m paying attention to the character of Trinity because, well, I think she’s awesome. It isn’t just the tight black outfit. The character is smart, resourceful, and strong-willed. She is a capable soldier and, when she needs to be, a capable leader. She is a female character is a science fiction movie who is also a love interest. She is also not a damsel in distress. 

I doubt anyone reading this has NOT seen the Matrix, but … spoilers … Read the rest of this entry »

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Pachelbel’s Book

So many years ago, I was a music major in college. I won’t discuss how many years ago. Just go with it.  One of the things I had the opportunity to study was musical theory. Now, if you really listen to music, not just pop music – all genres fall victim to this, you will notice something. If you rip away the fancy parts of the songs and take away the lyrics, they sound the same. At their basis, their root, they are the same.

Does this mean that all music sucks? Not exactly. You see, what you’re hearing is not a repeat of the same song, exactly. You are hearing the repeat of a progression, usually the Major Progression. The best example of this comes from Pachelbel’s Canon, which if you listen you can hear on any station on the radio – not the actual song, but other songs that use the same D-Major chord progression that Pachelbel used in his iconic canon.

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Really? No One Wants Vampires?

This was essentially one response I received earlier this fall. Too many vampire books on the market, and they just didn’t think they’d find a place for mine.

That is just … frustrating to be honest. I can’t go into a bookstore without finding yet another release of a vampire-related book. Let’s not even get into the latest fare of vampire-related TV shows and movies. I listen to people around me talk about the cycle of vampires, and how its going down, but I don’t see that. Hell, even Vampire: the Masquerade is getting a resurgence.

You might feel that there are too many vampire books on the market, but don’t tell me that publishers aren’t buying them and churning them out. No, better feedback is needed. Publishers are churning out the material, so don’t tell me there is not a market. Instead either tell me you’re trying to get out/not wanting to get into the vampire story market or tell me what it is about my story that makes you think it doesn’t work for the market.

But don’t feed me a line. I’m writing to agents, not spin alley.

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