Visiting a Gothick castle

TombDoorSort of. I’m watching Dark Shadows and visiting over at Gothicked today. Want to know what inspired me to write House of Cards? Then come on over. The post is up here.

Oh and if you’re curious, I read here and  here that yesterday was  the day of Ceadda, the (very obscure) Celtic god/goddess of healing springs and holy wells. Interesting huh? I can’t find much about him/her so I always tend to take those readings with a grain of salt though. *shrugs* I wonder if maybe she’s being confused with Sequana, a Gallo-Roman river goddess (incidentally I mention her in House of Cards) but don’t quote me on that.

Anyway, Gothicked post here. If you’d like to see the inspiration behind one my favorite stories.

Pesky characters

Hello all, I hope you’ve had a good week so far. I’ve been doing tons of revisions, so busy more offline than on.  My goodness! I can’t believe we’re already halfway through February! Wasn’t it just Christmas a second ago?

pic by imagerymagestic/freedigitalphotos.netYear confusion aside, 😉  I do have a couple places I’ve popped up. First up, I’ve got a few things going on this week, for my

supernatural fantasy The Artist’s Inheritance

, I have a–or rather my heroine Caitlin has an interview and giveaway at Laurie’s Paranormal Thoughts: http://bit.ly/Vsk3pw

Also, I’ve had a great interview and book trailer spot, here at Books Really Are Very Entertaining!
http://bit.ly/VJx1BM

I hope you like them!  In other news, I submitted a new story to EHS. Cross your fingers!

And thanks to Nichelle and Laurie for hosting me!

Back to the ole writing cave.

author banner tutorial

Do you need a graphic? A banner? Think you have to pay for one? Au contraire! I’m going to show you a little secret. Got photoshop?or PSP? Good. (I used PSP X for this tut)

Step one:

Open your graphics program. Now open  a canvas of 468×60.


Step two:

Click on that empty layer.  Click on your little paint bucket tool, and fill it the layer with whatever color you’d like. Say a nice navy blue (#07013c).

 photo step2_zps78d03f07.jpg

Step three: Add some bling. First, add a new layer. To this you can add a filter (say, Xero Sparkles) or drop your bling across it. Play with the opacity until you’re happy. For instance I didn’t like the opacity of the sparkles the first time out so I lowered it to 36, so it wouldn’t overwhelm the text.

Maybe add a pretty object:

You might want to add a little Eye Candy to the object like I did, with Eye Candy 4o00’s Gradient Glow. (I used the color #01313d, Glow width 12.79 and soft corners set at 16 with an opacity of 53) There’s one caveat with Gradient Glow though. To me, sometimes, no matter what opacity you use or what color the result is just muddy, and when that happens, I hate it. So do what you like best here.

Now you can add your text: I always make the text as a selection; that way, if you’d like to add some texture to it, it’s easy to do. This time, I just stuck with it as is, promote selection to layer, then Select None. The text you put on it is up to you. I did my name on this one, but you can do a tagline, or what-have-you. Add a Drop Shadow (I used Vertical=”1″ horizontal=”-1″ opacity=100, blur=396 color=black)

Step four: If you want to you can add a border. I warn you though, once you do, all your layers will be closed permanently and you won’t be able to make a change. If you think you might change something later, save a copy with all layers open. Then add your borders to just one or the other of the copies. Now, most banner exchanges have guidelines about sizes so this is where it gets tricky. Our starting banner size, remember, was 468×60. Add a 1 pixel border and things grow. To add the border  click “image-> “Add Borders”, then on the menu you get make sure the Symmetric box is clicked and type 1 in one of the “size” boxes. With Symmetric checked, it should auto-fill in all the others.

Pick a color, there’s a trick to this. Pick a color that you didn’t use in your banner. So, say for mine, I’d pick yellow.Click Okay. and Okay again. Viola! Yellow border.

Step 5: Pull out your little magic wand tool and click that border. This is a little tricky sometimes so if it’s easier magnify the heck out of the picture. Don’t worry about how pixelated this looks. It’s just so you can select the border. No one’s going to see it like this. Now click the border to select. It still might not be magnified large enough. That’s fine, just magnify it more until you can get your little bucket in there. I’ve had to magnify them to 300 sometimes.

Here’s the fun part. Pick a pattern you like, and pour it into the selected border. For instance you can use tiger stripes or gold or whatever pattern you like best.

Merge all layers, export as a jpg and save. You might have to resize it to force it back to 458×60 but that’s not hard. Just do image->resize and type in your desired numbers. Save export as jpg and you’re good to go.

If you want to noodle with the banner again, make sure you unmerge those layers before you save.

Your final result will look something like this:

or live on the site:

This. You can add whatever kind of pictures you want (do mind copyright however), cover art you may have or what have you to your banner to personalize it.

See, now? That wasn’t so hard, was it? Now tell me, is there any reason for you to pay someone to do it for you, when you can do it yourself? >:)

Brighid’s day, was Pagan blog project-prompts

Brighid, Goddess of the bards, Goddess of the Hearth.

From the lore, we know Brighid is one of the foremost goddesses of the Tuatha dé Dannan. Variously known as Brigid, Brighid, Brigantia, Bride, Brigandu, and by a myriad other spellings, She tends the fires of the Smithy, burned by those fires, She is yet beautiful.(1) She lends inspiration to the bards and poets, and heals the sick; cries for the dead and dying; sustains the family hearth fires. She has been greeted year after year, on February 1st-2nd*, the Usher to the springtides, all the life that springs forth with its return.

The Great Goddess of the Celts, She leant her name, even to several of their tribes, and it seems, to the Island of Great Britain itself. She was even revered by the Romans, as another form of Minerva.*

*I wrote that seven years ago on my first website. That’s all true of her but you know, I love her for more than that.

Yes, simply put, I love Brighid. When I first started studying paganism, lo many years ago, she was the first I found–or rather she found me. I was in school at the time, and naturally needed all the help I could get in the test department. 😉 I was also writing myself into Carpal Tunnel. Writing every minute I could, even when I was supposed to be taking notes. Out of that came many, many attempts at novels, but that’s a different story.

I picked up …gosh I don’t even remember now. I picked up a book of goddesses and found her correspondences. She was the Queen of the Tuatha dé Dannan, the Irish goddess of hearth, of blacksmiths and most importantly, bards. Bards=storytellers/writers in the ancient world,  and so I couldn’t resist. Thus, come the next full moon, began my devotion to her.

To say my creativity went off the charts is an understatement. *shows overflowing box of computer disks* And believe me, when I need it, when I’m slacking, she thumps me and back I go to the pens. 🙂 I guess it’s paid off.

I’m not saying they were very good stories, but I was writing and I was happy. Something, whatever it was, she lit a fire under me (see what I did there?) and it’s been glowing ever since.  She even (sorta side-like) worked her way into one of my novels (*ssh* You’ll see it some day!). I wanted to release it on her day, but…oh, well. Not this year. Well, to be honest, I have several characters in several novels named after her, and she always seems to turn up somewhere.

I have a little book on a charm bracelet that reminds me of her and triskele that I sometimes wear for her. I collect those sorts of things whenever I can. (Should I mention the ground bees that populate my backyard every spring? No…. she’s not keeping an eye on me, no…:) Though I’m not exactly the domestic goddess she is, she keeps me mindful not to walk out on a burning stove (or not to walk out for long).

However, her fire burns more in my pen (and keyboard) and heart than anywhere else, and I was lucky enough to be born in Her month (if not exactly on Her day) so I think it was fated love. Or the romantic in me likes to think so.

I’ve been dedicated to her for years. She’s the hearth mother of my stories, and she happily has her place in my “Family”. As to the early spring thing, I can totally deal with that. The area I’m in, spring “springs” before the actual date of spring…

(Say that three times fast!) Sad sufferers you can begin looking forward to shedding those winter blues. They’re almost over!

Since today is Imbolc, my beloved Brighid’s day, I couldn’t resist saying something about her, here.

Would you like to read a bit more about The goddess Brighid? Try:

Brighid, Bright Goddess of the Gael

Our Sacred Mother Brighid

Brighid: What Do We Really Know?

Brigid the Great

The Fires of Brighid

Brighid of the Celts

Imbolc Traditions-ADF Neopagan Druidism

Imbolc: The Druid Network

And since I don’t like to break copyright (much *ducks*) and can’t find the picture of her I’d like, this is sort of how I see her:

Brigid at The Forge by Joanna Powell Colbert

And just for the crafty ones among my readers, I found this how-to on a beautiful Candle wreath for Imbolc.

* This article says the official date/time of Imbolc this year is February 3, at 10:57 AM

celtichearta

(RE: Pagan Blog Prompts)

Okay, well, I tried to think of what to write for this week’s prompt and I just couldn’t. The prompt picker’s suggestion to write about black magick seemed too outdated, irrelevant and honestly quite inflammatory. I mean, aren’t we, as modern pagans, always trying to get away from the stereotype that we practice such?

Except for maybe fodder for a good fictional bad guy, it’s not for me and not a topic I care to waste any time on.  And that’s all I’m going to write about that silly subject. I’d rather write about my beloved, Bright Lady,  Brighid :))

Bright blessings to all who take the time to read this! 🙂 Oh, and … All hail Brighid!

Source:

1. Lady Gregory, Gods and Fighting Men: Part I: Part I Book I: Fight with the Firbolgs

Good riddance 2012!

Yeah, that pretty much sums up my feelings on 2012. Oh, I knew the Mayans were wrong and we wouldn’t end up blowing ourselves to kingdom come, or being blown to kingdom come. There’s a whole conversation I could go into about the calendar, but I’ll spare you. 😉 Some very good things happened this year, some things it’s too early to talk about much, but losing a family member, well that just makes the year suckieth, does it not? Yeah. Well, anyway, the good news is, you know, it all turned into fodder for writing, and I have done what I never thought I would: accomplished a lifetime dream and become published. Thank the gods that self-publishing stigma died… So how did 2012 treat you all? Are you ready to put the nail in its coffin or are you going to miss it?

For 2013, To start the new year off right, I have many more tour stops. (Thanks to all my hosts present, future and past!) I also  have a new story out. It’s a side story in Caitlin’s world—that is the world of The Artist’s Inheritance.

Juli D. Revezzo, paranormal, supernatural, horror, Antique Magic series, Fort Pickens, Gulf Breeze, FloridaCaitlin’s Book of Shadows:

Something terrifying stalks Caitlin and her beloved Trevor. Something the bits and pieces she left claimed she had to make sense of–or so legend says. When the curator of their collection finds Caitlin’s long forgotten diary, she wonders will it tell the whole tale? Will it tell why Caitlin seemed so determined to tell the difference between reality and nightmare even as she continued the fight to defend her family from evil? Will it explain why she thought her world twisted? If she really became a witch?

Perhaps the answer lies between the lines of her story, one of lessons, struggles, and the hopes she carried like a warrior’s shield.

**This is a side (or supplemental, if you will) story in the Antique Magic series, a companion to The Artist’s Inheritance (Antique Magic, Book One).

Its official book 1.5 in my Antique Magic series. Here’s a little ole trailer I made for it.

What do you think? The story is up at Amazon now. I hope you will enjoy it. 🙂

As for book two, I’m working on revisions as we speak, and there are even more goodies on the horizon for this year….Patience, my friends, that’s the hardest part, isn’t it? 😉 And I saw this on Independent Bookworm, and think it makes total sense, so I vikked–erm borrowed it. (They attribute this to Heinlein)

Writing Goals for 2013 then.

  1. You must WRITE. (<–*nodsnods* Wedding List and every other darned thing in my head. ;))
  2. You must FINISH what you write. <–*nodnods* Drawing down the Shades, baby! Wedding List is coming up fast behind.)
  3. You must NOT REWRITE unless to editorial demand. (That means an editor who’s paying you, not one you hire. Fixing typos / mistakes is acceptable.) <–one word: I agree; to a point. I agree with author Robert J. Sawyer.  I don’t think this counts authorial revisions and tweaks, or Heinlein was mad. 😉 You gotta revise to get the *ahem* out of there.
  4. You must put your work on the MARKET. <– *nodsnods* I hope to. Luckily that’s easier now than in Heinlein’s heyday.
  5. You must LEAVE your work on the market. <–Although there are less and less big six (big three? markets these days, there are ways around that, so I plan on it.

So we’ll see. At the very least I hope you all enjoy my chatter, and my stories! 🙂 How’s your outlook for 2013?

Holidays

I’ve not gone missing…I’m thawing…or freezing depending on the day. 😉 And Christmas, well, had to go see the family…it’s a bit of a downer since we’ve lost some members recently but we do love to get together. While trying not to think too much on the downer stuff,  I’ve been enjoying the Venture Brothers. I don’t know if any of you have seen that but it is hilarious!

The bizarre animated escapades of pseudo-heroic scientist Dr. Rusty Venture, his competent, high strung bodyguard, and his two over-enthusiastic sons.

(#goteamventure

hehe)

Solstice was fun, if cold. I got a new drum. Ya!!! Isn’t it pretty?S/W Ver: 97.04.30RI’ve never been a drummer before, but I do love the monthly drumming circles.

For Christmas I was working very diligently on something writing-like–and except for the cookies I made didn’t get it done on time. Hope to have it done  to release soon. It’s formatting currently.

In the meantime, did you see I was interviewed in Eternal Haunted Summer this week? It’s up here if you’d like to see. I also have a new story there as well as do some other very talented authors and poets. Do check the new issue out if you have a chance. Happy Holidays, everyone!