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 –

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?

Camp NaNoWriMo Update One

Well, after a very slow start over the weekend (thanks in part to some sinusitis) I ended up not doing too bad this week word count wise. At about 5 000 words, I’m 25% of the way there. I upped my word count goal to 20 000 words as I’m still working on The Ruon Chronicles as well. And on that note… An almost new map!

Media24 Research advertising-20160622121831

Ok, I just coloured in the other map I posted, but still. It looks new. This is now my desktop at work – which means whole day inspiration! And it looks pretty.

Things are also going well with The Academic Article (it sounds more posh and important like that, doesn’t it). I’m just struggling to find the one book I’d like to use for reference. Or at least find it somewhere for less than $55.00. It hurts just to type that. (Remember I’m using South African currency… ouch.)

I hope to finish the first draft of the article this weekend, which will just mean editing for the rest of the month and then next month I can finish the presentation.


I’m also busy with a new crochet baby blanket for one of my colleagues whose wife is pregnant. Ta-da!

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 10.43.49 AM

I really enjoy crocheting while listening to podcasts. Look out for tomorrow’s blogpost to see some of the podcasts I’m listening to.

What, you say, a blogpost over the weekend that isn’t in Afrikaans? Indeed, dear readers. I have something new and (hopefully) awesome in store that I hope will become a weekly post. I give you “Weekly Finds”.