Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Folklore: Krampus - Saint Nicholas' Evil Counterpart?

(image source: Wikipedia)

In Austria we traditionally celebrate Saint Nicholas Day on 6th December. Having grown up believing that the Christkind, baby Jesus, delivers presents on Christmas Eve, Saint Nicholas is the closest to Santa Claus I will ever get. At home, the two were not that different. People would dress up as Saint Nicholas and visit schools or even homes. Much like Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas had a large book where he kept track of whether you had been naughty or nice. If you had been nice you got a bag of gifts, usually containing nuts, oranges, gingerbread, and chocolates. But if you had been naughty his companion, Krampus, would threaten you with his bundle of birch sticks. Even though the Krampus I encountered never actually whipped any of the children, the threat and playful whack with the birch was enough to drive home the message. Krampus was not to be trifled with, and the legend behind him is even more disturbing.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Show Review: The West Wing Or Why Characters Matter

(source: IMDB)

Recently, my other half suggested that we watch The West Wing. Belonging to the part of society that is not particularly interested in politics, nor fully understands the various systems, I was sceptical at best. But then, he had sat down to watch Poldark with me (and ended up thoroughly enjoying it) so I figured I owed him the benefit of the doubt. At the very least I could give it a shot. And, boy, am I glad I did!

Sunday, 30 October 2016

The Celtic Origins of Halloween - a look at Oidhche Shamhna

(source: pinterest)

October draws to a close and with that we firmly enter into the cold season. As a fantasy writer I find autumn and the early days of winter particularly enchanting. Mist hanging in the fields and curling around trees, leaves swirling in the breeze, grass covered in frost, and our own breath lingering in a white cloud in front of us. There is something mythical about autumn and as a former Gaelic student it is the Celtic tradition and belief system that most often inspires me.  As befits the season, I want to share some insights into Halloween or Oidhche Shamhna, as it is known in Gaelic, and the Celtic Otherworld.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Note keeping - a review of www.notebook.ai

(source: Pinterest)

Some readers may remember that I am a huge fan of the old-school notebook to keep track of my hand written ideas. While I don't believe anything will ever take its place, I recently came across an online notebook, www.notebook.ai  that is slowly growing on me. 

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Fleshing out ideas Or How to get that plot?

(source: Pinterest)

For the past week or so the above quote has been very true for me. My mind has gone from a blank canvas and the momentary worry of "I have nothing to write about" to an ever faster spinning wheel which, at every turn, changes an aspect of the core idea I want to build my next novel around. It is an enlightening process. I consider myself by no means an expert, but in this post I will give you an insight into the tools I use to flesh out my ideas and come up with a potential plot.