The Queen and her Brook Horse, An Orc Saga Novella, Book 2.5, is Available Now!
Facets of Fate, a Fate of the Gods novella and short story collection, is available now in print and ebook!
And don't forget to subscribe to THE AMALIAD, to stay up to date on Authors!me.

Friday, September 27, 2013

NAME THAT BUTT Double Butt REVEAL!

The Rules:
  • I post a butt and TWO clues, you guess who that butt belongs to in the comments. If you guess right, you get 5 points. (No bonus for being first.)
  • Comments are moderated, which means they sit in my inbox quietly until I choose to publish them, so you won't see anyone else's guesses.
  • HOWEVER, if you CORRECTLY identify the artistic work in question, you earn a bonus 5 points. (Provided of course, that it differs from the subject's name alone and the artist is known at all)
  • The following Friday, I reveal the subject, along with the full backside image of the sculpture in question! If at this point you can correctly identify artist/title of the piece, you can earn an additional 2.5 points, and you may guess artist/title until the next round of NAME THAT BUTT begins.
  • I'll keep a running tally of correct answers/points, with occasional updates of who is "winning." 
  • For Olympians, Greek AND Roman names are acceptable, because half of these sculptures were probably titled with their Roman names but in my head, they immediately translate to the Greek, and that's how I remember them when I'm organizing my photos.
  • The game will continue for as long as I have photographs of backsides to share, but a new NAME THAT BUTT may not be posted every week, depending on Things. 
So WHO do those two fabulous butts belong to?!

*drumroll*

Butt 1 was: 
Antaeus the Giant!

and Butt 2 was, of course:
Heracles!

Some of you might not be familiar with this myth -- though I'm pretty sure Antaeus makes an appearance in the Percy Jackson books! -- so check out this post from The Other Me for the scoop!

The fun isn't over yet! You have until Sunday night 11:59pm to get your final guesses in for those last 2.5 artist/title points and Tuesday I'll be announcing TWO winners -- One for Stage 2 points, and One for most points overall, who shall be known as the reigning champion of the first Annual NAME THAT BUTT challenge!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

NAME THAT BUTT Double Backside FINALE!

For the FINAL round of NAME THAT BUTT for 2013, I offer you a DOUBLE THE FUN! But first--

The Rules:

  • I post a butt and clues, you guess who that butt belongs to in the comments. If you guess right, you get 5 points. (No bonus for being first.)
  • Comments are moderated, which means they sit in my inbox quietly until I choose to publish them, so you won't see anyone else's guesses.
  • HOWEVER, if you CORRECTLY identify the artistic work in question, you earn a bonus 5 points. (Provided of course, that it differs from the subject's name alone and the artist is known at all)
  • The following Friday, I reveal the subject, along with the full backside image of the sculpture in question! If at this point you can correctly identify artist/title of the piece, you can earn an additional 2.5 points, and you may guess artist/title until the next round of NAME THAT BUTT begins.
  • I'll keep a running tally of correct answers/points, with occasional updates of who is "winning." 
  • For Olympians, Greek AND Roman names are acceptable, because half of these sculptures were probably titled with their Roman names but in my head, they immediately translate to the Greek, and that's how I remember them when I'm organizing my photos.
  • The game will continue for as long as I have photographs of backsides to share, but a new NAME THAT BUTT may not be posted every week, depending on Things. 

The Butts in Question!

Butt 1

Butt 2

Your Clues:
1) These Butts are part of the same bronze!
2) One of these butts lets no man stand in its way, but(t) this was certainly not a labor of love.
3) The other Butt would be the bane of any homeowners association today. Skulls as building material are most definitely not up to code!

NB: For the Finale, you can earn 5 points per butt! Knowing Which Butt is Which is half the Challenge, and therefore, necessary to getting FULL points on your guess! If you mix them up, you'll be docked 2.5 points, so guess wisely! You have until Thursday, 11:59pm for full points!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Name that Butt: Stage Two, Round 4 REVEAL!

Stage Two Rules:

  • I post a butt and TWO clues, you guess who that butt belongs to in the comments. If you guess right, you get 5 points. (No bonus for being first.)
  • Comments are moderated, which means they sit in my inbox quietly until I choose to publish them, so you won't see anyone else's guesses.
  • HOWEVER, if you CORRECTLY identify the artistic work in question, you earn a bonus 5 points. (Provided of course, that it differs from the subject's name alone and the artist is known at all)
  • The following Friday, I reveal the subject, along with the full backside image of the sculpture in question! If at this point you can correctly identify artist/title of the piece, you can earn an additional 2.5 points, and you may guess artist/title until the next round of NAME THAT BUTT begins.
  • I'll keep a running tally of correct answers/points, with occasional updates of who is "winning."
  • For Olympians, Greek AND Roman names are acceptable, because half of these sculptures were probably titled with their Roman names but in my head, they immediately translate to the Greek, and that's how I remember them when I'm organizing my photos.
  • The game will continue for as long as I have photographs of backsides to share, but a new NAME THAT BUTT may not be posted every week, depending on Things. 

And this week's Butt belongs to...

*drumroll*


Aphrodite!!

There are no bonus points for naming this work, but thanks to Kevin Kanellakis (owner of the above image, p.s.) and his photographic diligence, we have the plaque from the museum to tell us a little bit about this piece! Hooray!

















Tune in TUESDAY, the 24th of September, for the very special Name that Butt Double-Butt FINALE!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Valkyries and Endre! (A guest post from ST Bende!)

Welcome ST Bende back to the blog! Today she's talking Valkyries in honor of the release of Endre -- the sequel to Elsker! Valkyries have never really been my thing, but I love how ST Bende updates and upgrades them for her books -- making them modern and relevant! You'll see, below!

Hei hei, y’all. It’s me again, fellow Thor lover and writer of all things Norse, ST. Amalia was sweet enough to invite me back to talk about one of the coolest sororities in the Norse pantheon, The Valkyries.

When you think Valkyrie, you probably think Wagner, epic operatic overtures, and fierce battle goddesses flying on dark winged horses over a battlefield clustered with carnage. Or maybe you think Sorcerer Mickey fighting the overwhelming tide in Fantasia. No? That’s just me? At any rate, I can’t see the word Valkyrie without conjuring up the dark images evoked by Wagner’s heavy musical composition. And with good reason -- in Norse mythology, Valkyries were warrior goddesses charged with collecting slain human soldiers for Odin’s army. They traveled to Midgard (Earth) on winged horses and chose the very best of the fallen warriors to bring to Odin’s pad (Valhalla), where they trained the dead to fight for Asgard at the Norse apocalypse (Ragnarok). It was a grisly, bloody job, and those Valkyrie chicks thrived on it.

But I’m generally a fluffy bunnies kind of girl. (Not the “Kill the wabbit, kill the wabbit!” kind of Wagner-inspired bunnies. The “True Love’s Kiss” kind of fluffy bunnies.) And while I can’t ignore the very necessary function of the Valkyries as battle goddesses, in my Elsker books, I give them another fun job. I’ve made them Asgard’s official pilots of all things, not just winged war-horses. So when Ull, my Norse God of Winter, takes his bride to a secret location for their honeymoon, Asgard’s private jet is piloted by none other than the mythological ladies of battle lore, The Valkyries. Turns out they love flying soverymuch that they’ll fly anything anyone will let them get their hands on. Including Learjets. You know, after they handle the fire giant uprising in Muspelheim, and get a handle on the Svartalfheim dark elf situation. Because Valkyries are nothing if not brilliant multitaskers. And they always look amazing doing it.

Oh -- and in case y’all are wondering, yep. I listened to Flight of the Valkyries on loop while writing this post. Because nothing says “smokin’-hot honeymoon pilots” like a good, German opera, dontcha think?

Now tell me in the comments -- what do you think when you think of Valkyries? Admit it, you hear Elmer Fudd singing too, don’t you? ;)
*** 
Endre is available now (along with Elsker!) And you can learn more about it on Goodreads and ST's blog (there's a giveaway yonder!), and there's even a book trailer! But here's the blurb for you, to get started: 
Sometimes, finding your destiny means doing the exact opposite of what The Fates have planned.

Winning the heart of an immortal assassin was a dream come true for Kristia Tostenson. Now she’s knee deep in wedding plans, goddess lessons, and stolen kisses. But her decision to become immortal could end in heartbreak -- not only for Kristia, but for the god who loves her. Because while Ull would do anything to protect his bride, even the God of Winter is powerless against the Norse apocalypse. Ragnarok is coming. And the gods aren’t even close to ready.
Buy it from Amazon, B&N, or Kobo!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

NAME that BUTT: Stage Two, Round 4!

Last week's butt was Farnese Hercules! (And way to go Faithlessone for guessing it just from the butt shot!!) 

Stage Two Rules:
  • I post a butt and some clues, you guess who that butt belongs to in the comments. If you guess right, you get 5 points. (No bonus for being first.)
  • Comments are moderated, which means they sit in my inbox quietly until I choose to publish them, so you won't see anyone else's guesses.
  • HOWEVER, if you CORRECTLY identify the artistic work in question, you earn a bonus 5 points. (Provided of course, that it differs from the subject's name alone and the artist is known at all)
  • The following Friday, I reveal the subject, along with the full backside image of the sculpture in question! If at this point you can correctly identify artist/title of the piece, you can earn an additional 2.5 points, and you may guess artist/title until the next round of NAME THAT BUTT begins.
  • I'll keep a running tally of correct answers/points, with occasional updates of who is "winning."
  • For Olympians, Greek AND Roman names are acceptable, because half of these sculptures were probably titled with their Roman names but in my head, they immediately translate to the Greek, and that's how I remember them when I'm organizing my photos.
  • The game will continue for as long as I have photographs of backsides to share, but a new NAME THAT BUTT may not be posted every week, depending on Things. 
THIS IS THE LAST BUTT BEFORE THE NAME THAT BUTT FINALE! (Also, it does not have an artist so there are only 5 points available total!)

Are you ready?

Let's go!

photo take by the fantastic Kevin Kanellakis! used with permission.

Your Clues:

  1. This butt holds the title of Fairest, though some other butts might dispute it.
  2. The backside in question may or may not have been absorbed into the cult of The Virgin, as Christianity rose.
  3. This fabulously dimpled fanny tends to make war through love.


NAME THAT BUTT!
You have until September 19, 11:59pm

Also, don't forget to tune in on the 19th for a very special Valkyrie post because we have been seriously lacking in the Norse Myth department around these parts. 


Friday, September 13, 2013

NAME THAT BUTT: Stage Two, Round Three REVEALED!

Stage Two Rules:
  • I post a butt and TWO clues, you guess who that butt belongs to in the comments. If you guess right, you get 5 points. (No bonus for being first.)
  • Comments are moderated, which means they sit in my inbox quietly until I choose to publish them, so you won't see anyone else's guesses.
  • HOWEVER, if you CORRECTLY identify the artistic work in question, you earn a bonus 5 points. (Provided of course, that it differs from the subject's name alone and the artist is known at all)
  • The following Friday, I reveal the subject, along with the full backside image of the sculpture in question! If at this point you can correctly identify artist/title of the piece, you can earn an additional 2.5 points, and you may guess artist/title until the next round of NAME THAT BUTT begins.
  • I'll keep a running tally of correct answers/points, with occasional updates of who is "winning."
  • For Olympians, Greek AND Roman names are acceptable, because half of these sculptures were probably titled with their Roman names but in my head, they immediately translate to the Greek, and that's how I remember them when I'm organizing my photos.
  • The game will continue for as long as I have photographs of backsides to share, but a new NAME THAT BUTT may not be posted every week, depending on Things. 
And my favorite Butt belongs to...

*drumroll*



Hercules!

And don't forget you can still earn bonus points by naming this work! (Yes, yes, I know it's just a copy.)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

NAME THAT BUTT: Stage Two, Round THREE!

Last week's Butt came from Paul Manship again! The title of the bronze is The Flight of Europa!

Stage Two Rules:
  • I post a butt and TWO clues, you guess who that butt belongs to in the comments. If you guess right, you get 5 points. (No bonus for being first.)
  • Comments are moderated, which means they sit in my inbox quietly until I choose to publish them, so you won't see anyone else's guesses.
  • HOWEVER, if you CORRECTLY identify the artistic work in question, you earn a bonus 5 points. (Provided of course, that it differs from the subject's name alone and the artist is known at all)
  • The following Friday, I reveal the subject, along with the full backside image of the sculpture in question! If at this point you can correctly identify artist/title of the piece, you can earn an additional 2.5 points, and you may guess artist/title until the next round of NAME THAT BUTT begins.
  • I'll keep a running tally of correct answers/points, with occasional updates of who is "winning."
  • For Olympians, Greek AND Roman names are acceptable, because half of these sculptures were probably titled with their Roman names but in my head, they immediately translate to the Greek, and that's how I remember them when I'm organizing my photos.
  • The game will continue for as long as I have photographs of backsides to share, but a new NAME THAT BUTT may not be posted every week, depending on Things. 
This Week's BUTT is one of my absolute favorites:


Your Clues: 

1) Some say this butt was nursed by Hera.
2) When offered the choice between a life of peace and pleasure, or a life of fame, glory, and hardship; this backside chose the latter.

You've got until September 12th, 11:59pm Eastern to NAME THAT BUTT! And full bonus points, besides.  Make me proud, participants, and prove just how well you know your mythological butts!

Friday, September 06, 2013

NAME THAT BUTT: Stage Two, Round Two, REVEALED!

Stage Two Rules:
  • I post a butt and TWO clues, you guess who that butt belongs to in the comments. If you guess right, you get 5 points. (No bonus for being first.)
  • Comments are moderated, which means they sit in my inbox quietly until I choose to publish them, so you won't see anyone else's guesses.
  • HOWEVER, if you CORRECTLY identify the artistic work in question, you earn a bonus 5 points. (Provided of course, that it differs from the subject's name alone and the artist is known at all)
  • The following Friday, I reveal the subject, along with the full backside image of the sculpture in question! If at this point you can correctly identify artist/title of the piece, you can earn an additional 2.5 points, and you may guess artist/title until the next round of NAME THAT BUTT begins.
  • I'll keep a running tally of correct answers/points, with occasional updates of who is "winning."
  • For Olympians, Greek AND Roman names are acceptable, because half of these sculptures were probably titled with their Roman names but in my head, they immediately translate to the Greek, and that's how I remember them when I'm organizing my photos.
  • The game will continue for as long as I have photographs of backsides to share, but a new NAME THAT BUTT may not be posted every week, depending on Things. 
And This week's Backside belongs to...

*drumroll*


ZEUS!

Yes, it was kind of maybe a trick-butt, but(t) it IS still a mythological hiney! And for more of the story regarding Europa and Zeus-the-Bull, check out this post by the Other Me!

Remember you can still get partial points for identifying the title and artist of this piece! So, go go go! 

Thursday, September 05, 2013

For Authors: The Anatomy of Swag

So I don't know how many people might find this helpful, but I thought I'd throw it out here for anyone who might be looking at my trading cards and bookmarks and wondering how it's all coming together.

For starters, I have great Cover Art from WWP, without which I think all of this would be a lot less successful, and I also have the resource of El Husband for character art and emblems and the like, who has been invaluable to me (and while at this time, he isn't taking commissions, trust me when I say I am working on this element, because seriously he is so awesome!) But let's assume you have both Fantastic Cover Art (tm) and an El Husband Equivalent Artist (tm) with whom you can work in the art department, and for the moment, just talk about ways you can use that art to turn it into promo stuff!

Now, I love trading cards, so let's start there.

MOST of the printers I've worked with* don't have a standard 2.5 x 3.5 inch trading/collector's card size that you can order, but that's okay-- if the printer has a 2.5 inch wide bookmark size, we can make it work. For TEMPTING FATE's cards, I went with the 2.5 x 8.5inch bookmark from printrunner, full color both sides, and laid out two cards per bookmark. The final product, after my own slicing and dicing looks like this:

Front and back, side by side of the Tempting Fate trading cards.
What I received in from printrunner looked like this:

front sides and back sides alternating, the full 8.5 inch bookmark
with the cut version above for perspective.

As you can see above, I did the cards on each end of the bookmark (so that it would only require one cut, at the same end of each card, to minimize cutting error on my part), and that left me with a 1.5 x 2.5 inch space in the middle. I filled it with a mini bookmark for Forged by Fate, so that I maximized the bang for my printer buck. The mini cards came out really fantastic, and what began as a "well, let me just use that space for something" has become something I really look forward to producing for future books in the series!

mini cards are mini! and look! STICKERS!

So let's talk a little bit about how I designed my trading cards and utilized the cover art -- so that you, too, can produce awesome promotional materials for your own books!**
The front of the card is pretty straightforward. I slapped the cover art down, made sure the text wasn't in the trim zone, and then mirrored the art outwards for the full bleed. I used this same technique for the Forged by Fate cards, and it's a little bit more noticeable on them, so let me give you a close up. With arrows, even!

You're going to want to click to get the full size here:
The red arrow is the imperfection where the tree was gradually inclining upwards, and my mirroring gives it a weird hump instead.
The black arrow points out the evidence of the line where the mirrored edges meet.
The purple arrow shows where mirroring made the rain fall in the opposite direction, creating little "V"s where the mirrored pieces met.
Yes, I could have shown you a screenshot of the art itself, but the point is, these imperfections are pretty hard to spot on the finished product even when you know where to look, because the cards are only 2.5 x 3.5. You have to really study the edges to find the mirrored spots. And hey, if you're lucky, your cover art will be of a size and formation that it bleeds out already, without any of the fiddling.

I used photoshop for all of this. You can use gimp or illustrator, or whatever other image editing software you like, provided it will work and save at 300dpi -- printrunner has handy templates you can build off of in a number of programs. Word to the Wise: Paint doesn't save at 300dpi, but if you just want something promotional to use on the web, like as a badge or blog sidebar sticker or something, you CAN do all this mirroring in paint, also. I speak from experience and trust me when I say it isn't ideal, but you can definitely make it work. Another program that is pretty handy is pixlr.com. I cannot figure out how to get it to save at 300dpi, but it's pretty fancy and helpful for anything else! Like a poor man's photoshop, and you don't have to download it. (if you figure out how to make it save at 300dpi/find out it's possible please let me know!)

For the BACKsides of the trading cards, I was working, essentially, with a blank canvas. I could have done a solid color background, but to amp it up a little bit and give it a little bit more cohesion, I just took a slice out of the front cover (at its original full size) and, again, mirrored it into a full panel to cover the 2.5 x 3.5 space. 

Again, you're going to want to click this to make it bigger!
the black rectangle is the general area of the art I copied and pasted for the background.
the red arrows are pointing emphasizing that fact. See the same little water droplets from the front side? I may have fiddled with the contrast to lighten it up a smidge, but it's all the same!
the GREEN arrow is showing the evidence of the mirroring in the two identical brown beach lines.

From there, it was just a question of putting my own art (courtesy of El Husband) on top of the background image, and picking out what passage from my book I wanted to use underneath. Just keep an eye on those trim zones and make sure you take your backgrounds all the way out into the bleed zones, and it's really pretty easy to turn your art into promotional materials! Mirroring is definitely your friend, too. The trickiest part, I'd say, is figuring out the software you're using to get the job done -- or find a graphic-design-savvy friend to help! (I had help from two -- thanks Mia! Thanks Kevin! -- before I got a handle on it myself.) 

So there you have it! The anatomy of a trading card and some tips on creating your own promotional materials!


*gotprint does have the standard trading card size, but I wasn't really thrilled with their service, and I get a lot more value out of Moo.com and Printrunner.com personally.

**you should double check with your publisher that your use of the cover art for promotional materials is okay -- there are usually certain limits as to what you can do with the art, and how you can use it. For example, I can't use mine for print-on-demand cafepress style. But I can use it for bookmarks or trading cards or stickers that I'm printing up for promotional use only. Some publishers, I'm told, do not want you using PARTIAL art for promotion, either, and if your publisher is part of this crowd, not all these techniques are going to be helpful to you, but it's always worth asking and talking to your publisher!

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

NAME THAT BUTT: Stage TWO, Round TWO!

Last Week's Butt was, in fact, Antoine-Louis Barye's Juno with her Peacock!

Stage Two Rules:
  • I post a butt and some clues, you guess who that butt belongs to in the comments. If you guess right, you get 5 points. (No bonus for being first.)
  • Comments are moderated, which means they sit in my inbox quietly until I choose to publish them, so you won't see anyone else's guesses.
  • HOWEVER, if you CORRECTLY identify the artistic work in question, you earn a bonus 5 points. (Provided of course, that it differs from the subject's name alone and the artist is known at all)
  • The following Friday, I reveal the subject, along with the full backside image of the sculpture in question! If at this point you can correctly identify artist/title of the piece, you can earn an additional 2.5 points, and you may guess artist/title until the next round of NAME THAT BUTT begins.
  • I'll keep a running tally of correct answers/points, with occasional updates of who is "winning."
  • For Olympians, Greek AND Roman names are acceptable, because half of these sculptures were probably titled with their Roman names but in my head, they immediately translate to the Greek, and that's how I remember them when I'm organizing my photos.
  • The game will continue for as long as I have photographs of backsides to share, but a new NAME THAT BUTT may not be posted every week, depending on Things. 
Today's Butt!

photo © me!

And your clues:

1) This butt is deceptively mild in temperament.
2) It's entirely possible this backside smells of flowers.
3) This certainly isn't the only shape this butt has taken.
NAME THAT BUTT! You have until September 5th, 11:59pm to guess Title, Artist, and Subject for full points!