Weekly Finds October Header

Weekly Finds – Stories No One’s Ever Thought Of, a Singing River, a 2,000-year-old Unsolved Mystery, and Music

Podcast of the Week

Stop Trying to Think of a Story That No One’s Ever Thought Of Before – The Smarter Artist

Video of the Week – BrunuhVille – Wolfborn

Articles of the Week

7 Questions You Have About Scenes vs. Chapters – K.M. Weiland

A chapter is a chapter and a scene is a scene. Or are they? What’s the differences between scenes vs. chapters? 

The library – 100 years from now – Oxford University Press Blog

A renowned Scottish artist, Paterson is known for her grand-scale artistic ideas and endeavors. On 12 June 12 2014, Paterson began a century-long project as her way of preserving the future of the library and the printed book.

A 600-mile walk to a singing river – BBC Travel

Tom Hendrix doesn’t advertise his wall, but its fame has spread by word of mouth to become something of a pilgrimage site.

A 2,000-year-old unsolved mystery – BBC Travel

We can only speculate why these ancient humans – whose perfectly preserved bodies have been discovered in bogs, mires and moors across Northern Europe – were violently murdered.

Weekly Finds – Mesa Verde, the Oldest Writing and Trees’ Language

A mini Weekly Finds this week…

Video of the Week

Articles of the week:

Mesa Verde’s surprising story

The culture that once thrived at Mesa Verde National Park was rich, complex and far-reaching – and it didn’t mysteriously disappear.

The World’s Oldest Writing

Used by scribes for more than three millennia, cuneiform writing opens a dramatic window onto ancient Mesopotamian life

Deep Time, Secret Libraries, and Lost Species

This week I’m at the SASMARS Conference, so it’s going to be a bit of a shorter Weekly Finds as I’m compiling this earlier in the week. I do hope you still enjoy all these links!


Videos of the Week:

Can we bring back lost species? – by PHD Comics

Deep Time: Crash Course Astronomy #45 – by Crash Course

Articles of the Week:

The handmade paper that lasts for 800 years – by BBC Travel

In the remote Vietnamese village of Suoi Co, a young woman with a vision is keeping an ancient tradition alive.

The Secret Libraries of History – by BBC Culture

After news emerged about an underground reading room in Damascus, Fiona Macdonald discovers the places where writing has been hidden for centuries.

Weekly Finds Header

Folklore, Volcanic Eruptions, Prehistoric Animals, Discworld Art, and Creativity and Mental Illness

Hope you enjoy these Weekly Finds like I did! And guess what? It’s weekend!


Podcasts of the Week:

Both highly recommended…

The Folklore Podcast

What makes The Folklore Podcast so special is that many of the episodes feature eminent folklorists from around the world: researchers, authors and professors in their fields. 

Creativity and Mental Illness by All In the Mind

Science is now showing an interesting connection between highly creative people and mental illness.

Videos of the Week:

10 Strange-Looking Prehistoric Animals by SciShow (yes, I watch it a lot)

Some Good News: 16 Ways 2016 Is Not a Total Dumpster Fire by Vlogbrothers (yes, I also watch all their videos)

Articles of the Week:

A Volcanic Eruption That Reverberates 200 Years Later

In April 1815, the most powerful volcanic blast in recorded history shook the planet in a catastrophe so vast that 200 years later, investigators are still struggling to grasp its repercussions. It played a role, they now understand, in icy weather, agricultural collapse and global pandemics — and even gave rise to celebrated monsters.

Under an 1815 Volcano Eruption, Remains of a ‘Lost Kingdom’

One of history’s most violent volcanic eruptions blasted the island of Sumbawa in the East Indies in 1815. The sulfurous gases and fiery ashes from Mount Tambora cast a pall over the entire world, causing the global cooling of 1816, known as the “year without a summer.”

Terry Pratchett’s ‘artist of choice’ on illustrating Discworld

The cover for Terry Pratchett’s final Discworld novel The Shepherd’s Crown shows his teenage witch Tiffany Aching facing forwards, arms outstretched, a hopeful expression on her face. But Paul Kidby, the illustrator who has worked on Pratchett’s Discworld novels for more than 20 years, says this wasn’t always the case.


Lost cities, digital collections, the emergence of life and the age of outrage

This week holds a bumper collection of videos, articles, and podcasts that I’ve found interesting during the week. Enjoy!

Podcasts of the Week:

Everything Floats by Lore –

The older the city, the more stories there seem to be. Some places are home to tragedy, while others have played host to disaster or war. Few cities have it all, though, and judging by the pain those stories often reveal, that might be a good thing.

The Element of Humor by Writing Excuses –

What is the driving force that gets readers to turn pages in a book that is primarily a work of humor?

Videos of the Week (Yes, three!):

A Brief History of Life Series – by SciShow

Ending the Age of Outrage (at least in ourselves, if not in the world) by Vlogbrothers

Foot of the Mountain – by A-ha (Just because I love this song and video)

Articles of the Week:

MGK Collection available online

For the first time, MKG Collection Online makes the objects of the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg publicly available on a digital platform. 

Muziris: did black pepper cause the demise of India’s ancient port?

In the first century BC it was one of India’s most important trading ports, whose exports – especially black pepper – kept even mighty Rome in debt. But have archaeologists really found the site of Muziris, and why did it drop off the map?

A possible cause of the Big Bang and current acceleration of the Universe

In the words of the late Sir Terry Pratchett – “In the beginning there was nothing and then it exploded”. (Very interesting article – although they don’t cite Pratchett.)

Walking in a winter wonderland of words

Winter is also a marvelous time for words, as a number of them were devised for winter alone. Some have long lexical histories. Others are comparatively new. 

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Great Floods, A Brain Map, Binge Reading, Tolkien, and Your Author Voice

Podcasts of the week

Self Care and Productivity For Authors by The Creative Penn
“Writing might be simple, but it’s not easy and if you want longevity as a creative, you have to look after yourself.”

How To Find Your Author Voice by The Creative Penn
“In today’s show, Roz Morris and I discuss how you can find [your author voice].”

The Great Flood by Stuff To Blow Your Mind

This is the most recent podcast by Stuff To Blow Your Mind and is, as usual, fascinating. This episode looks at different flood myths, their importance, and “[w]hat sort of natural phenomena could cause the sort of massive flooding likely to resonate through the heritage memories of a flood-traumatized civilisation?”.

Video of the week: A New Map of the Human Brain by SciShow

“SciShow explores the unexpected. Seven days a week, Hank Green, Michael Aranda, and Olivia Gordon delve into the scientific subjects that defy our expectations and make us even more curious!”

Articles of the Week:

Five Tips for Writing Narrative Non-Fiction by Linda Cracknell

If you’re new to Narrative Non-Fiction, these tips are a good stepping stone to get you started.

Can Serialized Fiction Convert Binge Watchers Into Binge Readers? by Lynn Neary
Now that the latest season of Game of Thrones has ended, fans may be feeling a little untethered — and some publishers would like to fill that gap with serialized books.

Antique Photograph to Superhero – by Chris Dickman
Visit the site of artist and illustrator Alex Gross and it’s immediately clear that this is one talented fellow, with a wild imagination. But the second realization is that Gross is also incredibly productive. One wonders if he ever sleeps. A case in point is a series of works in which he has painted over 19th century portrait photos, turning the anonymous personages into superheros and other instantly-recognizable 20th century pop culture figures.

Long Out-of-Print Tolkien Poem to be Republished – by Nate Pederson
JRR Tolkien’s long poem in the tradition of a medieval lay, entitled “The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun,” will be published again this autumn for the first time in 70 years.


Me on reading the Tolkien news

A Forgotten Empire, Spiritualism, Celtic Languages, and a Ship

Welcome to this week’s Weekly Finds! Every week I aim to share some podcasts, videos, and articles that I found interesting, fascinating, or simply intriguing. And most are also great for getting some writing inspiration…

This week I have for you a podcast about a physical notation system by the Incas that consisted of coloured, knotted string, a beautiful song and music video by Radical Face and four articles that range from spiritualism to music appreciation. (Though not music appreciation by supernatural beings. Hmm… talk about story inspiration…)

Podcast of the Week: Talking Knots in the Inca Kingdom of Fibres by Stuff To Blow Your Mind

Welcome to the Kingdom of the Inca, where hundreds of rope bridges connect an imperial highway system and fiber-armored soldiers wield woven slings against the enemies of the Emperor. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the khipu system of knotted, colored string that served as a physical notation system in lieu of written language.

Video of the Week: The Ship In Port by Radical Face

Articles of the Week:

The empire the world forgot – Joseph Flaherty – BBC Travel

Ruled by a dizzying array of kingdoms and empires over the centuries – from the Byzantines to the Ottomans – the city of Ani once housed many thousands of people, becoming a cultural hub and regional power under the medieval Bagratid Armenian dynasty. Today, it’s an eerie, abandoned city of ghosts that stands alone on a plateau in the remote highlands of northeast Turkey, 45km away from the Turkish border city of Kars. As you walk among the many ruins, left to deteriorate for over 90 years, the only sound is the wind howling through a ravine that marks the border between Turkey and Armenia.

Your culture—not your biology—shapes your musical taste – David Schultz – sciencemag.org

Listen to the two sound clips above. Chances are, you enjoyed the first one a lot more—and so it is for most people you know. That has led researchers to believe that humans have an innate preference for so-called consonant sounds. But a new study of a remote Amazonian tribe reveals that this preference may not be so innate after all; people who have had no exposure to the outside world think both noises above are equally pleasant. The findings suggest that culture, not biology, determines at least some of our musical taste.

How Spiritualism Spread – James P. Stanley – Public Books

It seems unlikely that any era in human history was without its fascination with death or the desire to communicate with those who have passed into it. But the 19th century was a period in which breakthroughs in scientific inquiry, advances in technology, and renewed religious fervor in America and Europe conspired to offer the public imagination the apparent possibility of direct communication with the spirit realm, as well as methods to prove such communication was genuine.

Why Oxford Universities should hold on to Celtic languages – Emily M. Dixon – Cherwell

I have had a beautiful image of Oxford University in my head since I was around seven years old. Being here, after more than a decade of dreaming and hoping and insisting to my parents that I was going to manage it, the town has lived up to the hype in a lot of ways. Being at this institution where you really feel like you can learn about every book, theory and fact that’s ever existed makes the world seem so much bigger.


Stone Towns, Holy Sweets, Brandon Sanderson, and Writing Resources

Welcome to this week’s Weekly Finds…

Podcasts of the Week:

K.M. Weiland’s “4 Ways to Verify Your Story Concept is Strong Enough really posed some good questions you can ask before you start writing your story.

The Smarter Artist’s “Why You Should Learn to Outlineis also handy to listen to when you are a pantser wondering if you should try outlining.

Video of the Week: Brandon Sanderson Lectures

Yes, that Brandon Sanderson. Enjoy…

There’s a new lecture every week.

Articles of the Week: Stone Towns and Holy Sweets

Stone Towns of the Swahili Coast by Samir S. Patel

 Along 2,000 miles of the East African coast, the sophisticated trading centers of the medieval Swahili reveal their origins and influences

Tasting India’s coveted holy sweet by S. Kannan and P. Boominathan

To eat the famous holy sweet, given as an offering at one of India’s holiest Hindu shrines, Tirumala Tirupati, you don’t need to shell out a lot of money.

Writing Resource of the Week: Septentrionalia

Texts! Language Aids! Scholarship! And More!

With texts ranging from the Old Norse Eddas (in which the mythology is compiled) to Old Irish, Latin, and Frisian texts (to name but a few) this website is a treasure trove! Okay, okay, I know it’s not much to look at, but don’t let that fool you.

These texts are also no longer under copyright so they are completely free to download and use.



Weekly Finds – Lore, Sagas, and Vikings!

Welcome to the second instalment of the Weekly Finds blogpost!

This week there’s a podcast, a huge database of sagas, and some reference and research works as well.

Podcast of the Week: Lore

Sometimes the truth is more frightening than fiction.

Since I discovered the Lore podcast (and listened to all the episode), I anxiously await the next episode. Yes, they’re that good. If you like folklore at all – or even just a good story – you’ll love Lore. Just look at episode 37 –

For as crowded as this world has become, most people feel isolated and alone. Perhaps that’s why so many of us believe that there’s another world, just beyond the veil. But when that veil is tampered with and pulled aside, it’s hard to say what might emerge.

Find Lore on the website or on iTunes. Lore is also on Patreon, if you’d like to support the podcast.

Vikings! Sagas! Epicness!

The Icelandic Saga Database is an online resource dedicated to the digital publication of the Sagas of the Icelanders — a large body of medieval literature which forms the foundation of the Icelandic literary tradition. [The] website contains all the extant Icelandic family sagas in an easily readable format using modernized Icelandic spelling, with Old Norse versions and translations into English and other languages made available where these exist in the public domain.

If you’d like to learn more about sagas, the Vikings, norse mythology and similar matters, head over to the Viking Society for Northern Research’s website. The VSNR is “the world’s foremost learned society in the field of medieval Scandinavian and Northern studies”. Many of their articles and publications are now available to read and download for free as well. Score!

More Lore!

Need some more folklore in your life? I found Folklore Fellows via a Tweet during Folklore Thursday this week and the newsletter looks extremely interesting. It is also a scholarly work, but it seems quite accessible to me. Here’s what Folklore Fellows have to say on their website:

Folklore Fellows is an international network of folklorists, promoting scientific contacts between researchers, publication work and research training. In striving to meet its objectives, Folklore Fellows invites outstanding and active researchers from across the globe to become members.

Folklore Fellows operates under the auspices of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters. The membership forms an editorial advisory body on the Academy’s Folklore Fellows’ Communications series, and participates in organising the research courses of the Folklore Fellows’ Summer School. The activities of the Folklore Fellows are related in the Folklore Fellows’ Network bulletin.

That’s it from me for this week. What cool stuff did you run across during your browsing?

Welcome to Weekly Finds!

Welcome to the first Weekly Finds! Or perhaps it will be every two weeks… anyhow, in these posts I’ll show some of the cool things (which includes things like articles and blogs) I’ve found on the internet.

Mythgard Academy Podcasts

Ok, I’ve known about them for some time, but somehow I missed that they have a podcast of all the lectures *swoons*. And for me the best part is all the lectures about Tolkien’s work!

You can also get the podcast (or videos, if you prefer) on iTunes and iTunesU. They are about 2 hours long, so get your tea ready and grab your crochet. (Or am I the only one who spends my time like this?)


Helping Writers Become Authors podcast by K.M. Weiland

This podcast aims to help writers with inspiration, crafting characters, outlining and structuring novels. “Learn how to write a book and edit it into a story agents will buy and readers will love”.

Also, be sure to check out her book and workbook “Outlining Your Novel”. I can’t tell you how much this is helping me with The Ruon Chronicles.

Creative Writing Career podcast by Stephan Bugaj, Justin Sloan, and Kevin Tumlinsom

Whether you’re writing for the screen or the page, be sure to check out this podcast that will help you turn your “writing into more than a hobby”. They also have some cool guests!



Free software! Using WikidPad is like building your very own Wikipedia. At least that’s how I describe it. Their description is much better:

“WikidPad is a real-time wiki – wikidPad is not a web server, or application server, or groupware solution. wikidPad is a standalone notepad like application, albeit notepad on steroids. wikidPad is like an IDE for your thoughts.”

I first heard about it on the Writing Excuses podcast (check out the podcast while you’re at it) when they discussed story bibles and downloaded it immediately. And it’s wonderful. Because you create links

I’ve been using WikidPad for quite a while and then fell behind on updating my story bible about a year ago (horror!). Since then my world (talking about the secondary world, Airtha-Eyrassa, here) has changed so much that I needed to start a new story bible. So I pulled WikidPad closer again. It’s taken a few hours, but the story bible for The Ruon Chronicles is looking gooood.

That’s it from me for the week. What cool stuff did you find online this week? Or what writing podcasts do you listen to?