Friday Link Pack - Christmas

Friday Link Pack – Christmas

It’s Friday, and it’s Christmas! Merry Christmas! Hopefully, you’re done opening presents and full of delicious Christmas Dinner and ready to curl up with the Friday Link Pack, my weekly post covering topics such as writing, art, current events, and random weirdness. Some of these links I mentioned on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! This will be the last official Friday Link Pack for some time [Details here]. Next week we’ll finish up with a big year-end review. Let’s get to it.


Creating Fictional Holidays
One way to increase the believability of your fictional world is to pepper it with invented but engaging holidays. In this article Robert A. Sloan offers some advice on creating holidays unique to your world.

Worldbuilding: Creating Holidays
Sensing a theme here? Since today is Christmas, I thought it’d be fun to explore different aspects of holidays as it pertains to writing. In this article, author Elizabeth Briggs breaks down our holidays into five unique categories. (She also links the next link that I’ll embed below.)

Life Day!
The crew of Writing Excuses and author Dave Farland discusses holidays in this video taken at Superstars Writing Seminar 2011 in Salt Lake City. Click the link to watch it on YouTube or use the player below.

What Did Kindle Unlimited Pay for Pages Read in November, 2015?
Author Chris McMullen crunches the numbers from last month on the per-page payouts for Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program.

Boost Your Writing: 3 Things To Do Now To Start 2016 Off Right
The new year is right around the corner, and Angela Ackerman of Bookshelf Muse and Writers Helping Writers has some helpful housekeeping ideas to kickstart the upcoming New Year.


Krampus, The Yule Lord
In his new book, author and artist Brom has illustrated some of the characters surrounding the legend of Krampus. From Mrs. Clause to Krampus himself. Wonderfully creepy and as always amazingly imaginative. Today’s Featured Image is a detailed version of Brom’s Santa, make sure you check out the full version in the link. You can buy, Krampus, The Yule Lord at Amazon.

Constructual by Juana Gomez
Faded photographs of humans printed on fabric are embroidered with the internal anatomy, neural pathways, muscle structure, even the circulatory system. A unique and lovely look into the human body and the systems housed inside.

Paintings of Haphazardly Wrapped Gifts by Yrjö Edelmann
I stared at these images for a long time and just found myself shaking my head. Edelmann’s skill is undeniable, and it’s amazing to think these are simple oil paintings on canvas.


2015: The Best Year in History for the Average Human Being
If you listen to the 24-hour news cycle, you’d think we’re spiraling down into a maelstrom of doom and gloom. However, that isn’t the case at all. Things are looking pretty awesome for humanity, despite what Fox News will tell you. (Spoiler: next years looking even better.)

Cthulhumas Wreath Creature
Next year, if you want to terrify your friends and neighbors, consider crafting this wonderful (and festive) Cthulhu-esque wreath.

Should We Keep A Low Profile In Space?
We have been so eager to discover intelligent life outside our planet, the New York Times questions whether or not that is a good idea. Some doors might best be left closed.

Artist Kate Leth created this adorable little Cthulhu for you to cut out and hang around your house. An easy (and terrifying) way to decorate your home or workspace for the holidays.

Time Travel Map
This map from 1914 has been making the rounds lately. The isochronic map shows the time it would take to travel from Europe to the far-flung edges of the world.


“A Caganer is a figurine depicted in the act of defecation appearing in nativity scenes in Catalonia and neighbouring areas with Catalan culture such as Andorra, Valencia and Northern Catalonia (in southern France). It is most popular and widespread in these areas, but can also be found in other areas of Spain (Murcia), Portugal and southern Italy (Naples).

The name “El Caganer” literally means “the crapper” or “the shitter”. Traditionally, the figurine is depicted as a peasant, wearing the traditional Catalan red cap (the “barretina”) and with his trousers down, showing a bare backside, and defecating.”


Did you know Lovecraft wrote a super sappy Christmas poem? (Well, honestly, he wrote a bunch.) Last year I featured the poem Christmas on I Make Stories, and if you’re feeling jolly you should check it out.


End on a high note

Friday Link Pack 07/25/14

A Game as Literary Tutorial: Dungeons & Dragons Has Influenced a Generation of Writers
Friday is here! It’s time to share a few interesting links I have found throughout the week. Some of these I mention on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Have a link I should feature in the upcoming link pack? Let me know!


Barbarians At The Gate! Indies Vs. Big Publishing
Fantastic article from novelist Amy Eyrie on the Amazon/Hachette fight. (This will be my only indie/big publishing article this week, I promise!)

Author Interview: K. M. Alexander
At the beginning of this week I was interviewed by the illustrious Jim Pyre. We talk about writing, The Stars Were Right, the future of publishing, plot ideas, cat hats, and a lot more!

A Game As Literary Tutorial
The New York Times examines how many speculative fiction authors have been influenced by Dungeons & Dragons. Since tabletop roleplaying games are all about narrative this doesn’t come as much of a surprise. I do wish they had mentioned more women authors, I know there are plenty of women in genre who were also gamers growing up.

I Can’t Even
I loved this article from Clive Thompson (@pomeranian99) examining Lovecraft’s intent of describing the indescribable. Thanks to Steve for the tip.

The Writing Tools Of 20 Famous Authors
What tools did some of your favorite authors use to pen their own work? Find out in this fun article from the folks at Flavorwire.

Exclusivity Is Bad: Why My Books Won’t Be On Kindle Unlimited
On Tuesday I wrote a quick article on why my books won’t be available on Kindle Unlimited anytime soon. TL;DR—I don’t like exclusivity, it hurts readers. I’d rather my books be available on as many platforms as possible.


Beneath The Streets Of Romania’s Capital, A Living Hell
A stunning and heart-wrenching look at the homeless men, women, and children who live in the tunnels and sewers beneath the streets of Bucharest and struggle with poverty, drug addiction, HIV, and tuberculosis.

Mapbox Showcase
It’s no secret I’m a mapophile, I love maps. So when I found this showcase showing the various styles of map created by the mapping platform Mapbox I ended up spending many many hours poking around and exploring. My favorite project: a tossup between 1940s New York and The National Parks.

One Of The Solar System’s Largest Volcanoes Is Right Here On Earth
Tamu Massif sits about a thousand miles off the coast of Japan and it rivals even the mighty Olympus Mons.

Lovecraft Story of the Week:

Ex Oblivione
The dreams of a dying man.

Farewell Gif of the Week:


Exclusivity Is Bad: Why My Books Won’t Be On Kindle Unlimited

You won’t find The Stars Were Right as a part of Kindle Unlimited, at least not for now. Currently, for indie authors to be able to offer their books through Kindle Unlimited the book needs to be enrolled in KDP Select which requires exclusivity with Amazon (you can see Amazon’s FAQ on KDP Select here). I recently wrote at length on the benefit of remaining platform agnostic; it’s something I fully believe in and I will continue to do what I can to make sure all my readers have full access to my books on the platform of their choice. So, until the requirement of exclusivity is lifted, no Kindle Unlimited for me.

I could write more on the topic, but instead of repeating what others have written I’d rather direct you to these fantastic articles by a few talented authors who sum up my feelings pretty well:

[UPDATE] Since there’s been some confusion I’ve gone ahead and added a few inline comments. I want to make sure I clarify my stance on KU and why I linked the following articles.

  • Hugh Howey: It’s 2011 All Over Again
    [!] I agree with Mr. Howey that there isn’t anything to fear from KU. It’s simply another channel Amazon is trying. However, I still believe that exclusivity is bad for the reader. Hopefully Amazon will lift the KDP Select requirement for KU like they did for the Lending Library.
  • Chuck Wendig: To Kindle Unlimited, and Beyond
    [!] My knee-jerk reaction was to initially compared this to Spotify as well, but Mr. Wendig is right, this isn’t Spotify. I did think Wendig’s thoughts about author’s gaming the system were good ones and something to consider.
  • Michael Sullivan: Kindle Unlimited’s Two-Tier System Makes Some Authors Second-Class Citizens
    Mr. Sullivan goes into details about how authors are able to get their books into KU, including KDP Select, special author’s who are allowed to enroll without the “exclusive” restriction (Howey), and specific licensing deal (Happy Potter.) I also found it interesting that there were a few books enrolled without consent (Hunger Games.) I felt Sullivan’s thoughts about this potentially creating a tier system among indie authors were valid and should be shared.

[!] I hope these updates have helped clarify my position. I’m not worried about KU upsetting the balance of indie authorship or effecting the changes we’ve been seeing in publishing over the last few years. I do find it unfortunate that Amazon is forcing most indie authors into exclusivity for the sake of acceptance into a new (and potentially lucrative) sales channel. In my mind that’s not fair to readers.