24 December, 2013

22 December, 2013

Das Krampusjahr

Source: http://www.krampus-certi.cz/historie.html#
I don't know what's caused it, but Krampus has been a popular subject this December.

If you've never heard of him before, Krampus is a folkloric character out of Europe who carries birch branches that he uses to beat naughty children when he visits them on Krampusnacht (December 5th), which is the night before the Feast of St. Nicholas. He is synonymous with Zwarte Piet (Black Peter), who is also a partner to St. Nicholas in other regions.

As of late, Krampus has been making appearances in news article after news article, several television shows, and in a video game. There're even Krampusnacht events taking place in the United States and according to this article his celebrations have been "[popping] up in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Portland and Albuquerque" for the past few years.

Why I'm excited by Krampus's sudden popularity

I've been working on Uncertain Heirs since November 2012, and to see a well-timed spike in the general masses' interest tells me that people are starting to look elsewhere for their entertainment. Since my goal is to publish Uncertain Heirs in 2014, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it'll hit the market right when the public interest is peaking.

How my Krampus differs from Real World Krampus

Those of you who've been following my progress know that Uncertain Heirs is seeded with European mythology. I heavily rely on Celto-Germanic paganism, but I've modified it, tweaked it, tailored it to create a world inspired by, yet different than, our own.

Right now, Krampus has a place in my Earth Dog notes, and though he may not make an appearance or have a mention in Uncertain Heirs, he is part of the mythos.

For instance, Krampus is one of the many sons of Hulda, the Mother form of the Goddess, and he is charged with disciplining not just naughty children, but naughty adults, too. His other charge is to vet the souls of those who would become riders in the Wild Hunt -- since it is an honour bestowed only upon worthy warriors, Krampus must ensure that their good deeds far outweigh their bad, judging whether the warrior had noble or greedy intentions behind their actions.

On rare occasions, Krampus acts as a harbinger for his father, Wodan, the Horned Consort, and on other occasions he appears as the narrator of events for several morality tales in my novel's religious history, one of which being Fox Goes Fishing (I'll have more about this tale at a later time).

When Krampus will make his appearance

It's impossible to answer that question right now, but that's only because I have so much yet to write down as far as the Earth Dog world is concerned. Structuring my world so it has laws and rules and consistency takes time, and I have to make sure I have a firm foundation before even Uncertain Heirs can go to print.

15 December, 2013

Year's review

NaNoWriMo is over, and Christmas is well on the rise, so it's time to take a break and evaluate where I stand with things.

Uncertain Heirs is a year old now, as it was my NaNo project last year -- I've since struggled through two complete drafts, and am halfway through the third draft as we speak. There've been some people who've seen the first few chapters of the third draft and given me some fantastic critiques, but more importantly, they've given me great ideas for ways to fix the opening chapters to make them more comprehensible. With any luck, this will also make the opening chapters more enjoyable and more easily read.

"Thoroughbred" is also in the third draft stages, and as soon as I get a few more critiques, I'll go back and address any additions or corrections necessary to finalize it. I have no doubts that this short story will see the light of day well before Uncertain Heirs, so stay tuned for announcements regarding this one.

This year's NaNoWriMo brought me an abundance of new stories to work through. For starters, I made it through And The Beast during the first 15 days of NaNo, but the word count of this novella mandated I pull from other project ideas I'd been sitting on. So I wrote the short stories "I Told The Witch Doctor" and "Lightning Strikes 1,200 Times", then got partially through the novelette "We Can See It Through The Window" before hitting the required 50,000 words to win. I'm still writing on that last one, so I think it'll jump from novelette status to novella before it's through. As for And The Beast, I think it'll do the same and become a short novel once I start editing it.

Now, I know I haven't exactly kept my promise thus far about getting back into a normal posting schedule. Unfortunately, the Christmas season does that to me -- I think I have everything in order, that I'll have time to do things for myself, but it never works out that way. For instance, even though I got a jump start on my Christmas cards before NaNoWriMo, I am still working on getting all of them finished and sent out. And to think, I only have about eight to ten cards that I send out each year.

Things should really settle back into a normal routine after Christmas. Until then, stay in touch and watch for more updates regarding my stories and their expected release dates.


Ash Litton

Ash Litton is a writer and lover of sci-fi, fantasy, and all things fictional. She is the author of Thoroughbred, Evening Hallow, Comeuppance, and Cabover Cabaret, and works on other Appalachian Dream Tales between her ongoing novel projects. She's also written No Diet, No Surgery, No Sweat, an ebook chronicling her weight-loss journey.

When she's not writing, she's drawing, and when she's not doing either of those, she's dreaming up new projects to work on. Born and raised in rural West Virginia, Ash has always wondered what things lay hidden in the hills around her. She attended West Virginia University, where she studied the English language before returning home to her family in rural West Virginia.