Category Archives: Link Pack

Friday Link Pack 09/04/2015

Friday Link Pack — End of the Year Edition (2015)

Happy New Year! Well, we’re finally here, at the end of all things. Okay, not the end of all things, just the end of the Friday Link Pack. As I mentioned earlier in December, this will be the last Link Pack going forward. [Details Here.] We’ve reached number one-hundred, and it just so happens to be the official End of the Year Edition! [Previous years: 2014, 2013] In this, I compile the best-loved links I’ve shared over 2015 into one big post. As always, some of these I’ve mentioned on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Even though the Link Pack is ending on the blog I’ll still continue to share stuff I find interesting on Twitter.

All right, let’s see which links you liked the most:

My Most Popular Posts Of 2015:

Map of the Known Territories
The official map to the Bell Forging Cycle has been getting a bunch of interest ever since I shared it in August. The biggest version of the map was also one of the most clicked images on the entire site. Glad everyone likes it so much. [Attn: map contains some minor Old Broken Road spoilers.]

The 2015 Lovecraft-Inspired Gift Guide
Put together this post in early December and every loved it. (Big thanks to everyone over on r/Lovecraft and r/Cthulhu.) Gifts for the Lovecraft fan on your list, or of course, yourself. A whole slew of books, music, games, and a lot more. If you’re looking for a place to spend some of that Christmas cash, look no further.

Mad Max and the Art of Worldbuilding
I’m happy to see how much everyone enjoyed my look at worldbuilding from the viewpoint of one of my favorite movies of the year, Mad Max: Fury Road. I have another article in the works following this up.


Note: I also got a lot of traffic to my Mysterious Package posts. However after some emails and not wanting to spoil things for others I elected to remove them from my site. That is why they aren’t featured on today’s list.


Most Clicked Writing Links Of 2015:

What I Get Paid For My Novels: Or, Why I’m Not Quitting My Day Job
Novelist Kameron Hurley opens up and shares how much she has made on each of her books. It’s a fantastic post. Awesome to see transparency like this. I think this is good info for every author, indie or traditional, it helps set the record straight.

Cognition as Ideology: A Dialectic of SF Theory
In January, I shared this wonderful talk from China Miéville regarding the importance of fantasy in our modern society. I highly recommend it to anyone who reads or writes speculative fiction.

Why Horror Is Good For You (And Even Better For Your Kids)
Artist Greg Ruth gives us six fantastic reasons why we should all read horror. I’m really happy this was so well received, it’s still one of my favorite articles I shared this year.

Neil Gaiman’s 8 Rules of Writing
I have long been a fan of writer’s personal lists of rules. It’s always good to glean what you can apply to your list (and yeah, we all have our personal list.) Neil Gaiman is no exception. (Note #5.)

10 Twenty-First Century Bestsellers People Tried to Ban (and Why)
The stories behind people trying to ban books are always fascinating to me. History has proven that when one tries to impose prohibition, the effect is usually opposite of the intent. What was it Mark Twain said? Oh yeah: “Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits. Fanatics will never learn that, though it be written in letters of gold across the sky. It is the prohibition that makes anything precious.”


Most Clicked Art Links Of 2015:

Kari-Lise Alexander Paints Nordic Beauties In “A Lovelorn Theft”
Kari-Lise’s latest solo show opened at Modern Eden Gallery in San Francisco at the end of September, and a lot of folks were interested in seeing her work. In this post, High Fructose highlighted many of the pieces from that show. After watching the series develop throughout 2015, I was excited to see it in the wild. I’m sure you’ll agree this series is gorgeous.

Women Trying To Sleep Unsuccessfully In Western Art History
For hundreds of years,  women in art have been trying to take a break and catch some Zs. For whatever reason no one wants to let them. Art is weird.

Korean Artist Beautifully Illustrates What Real Love Looks Like
I loved these sweet little illustrations by Puuung, and so did you. Small touching moments rendered beautifully. Each tells its own story. [Thanks again to Stalara for sharing.]

I See Music Because I Have Synesthesia, So I Decided To Paint What I Hear
Painter Melissa McCracken is a synesthete. When she hears music it comes to her in a variety of colors. Instead of trying to describe what she sees she has decided to paint it instead. The results are fascinating.


Most Clicked Random Links of 2015:

20 Maps That Never Happened
From war plans for the invasion of Canada to the fifty states redrawn with equal populations, Vox explores twenty imaginary maps. You know, I’d be cool living in the state of Rainer.

Abandoned Indonesian Church Shaped Like a Massive Clucking Chicken
Some people do strange things to get messages from God; things like building a strangely shaped church in the middle of the jungle. Apparently the builder had intended it to look like a dove, but it’s clearly a chicken.

Arcology: Cutaways Of The Future City-Hives That Never Were
The futurist idea of arcologies is a mainstay of science fiction. I even play with the concept in the Bell Forging books. So when I saw this post from Cory Doctorow about Paolo Soleri’s 1969 book: Arcology: The City in the Image of Man. It was something I was very interested in. The book sounds fascinating, but the images… you need to see the images. [Thanks again to Steve for sharing this.]

I Won A $5,000 Magic: The Gathering Tournament On Shrooms
I’ve never done shrooms, but this article is hilarious regardless. As my friend Rob pointed out, this is the Magic: The Gathering version of James Blagden’s Dock Ellis & The LSD No-No. [Thanks to Rob for sharing this.]


Most Clicked Weird Wikipedia Link of 2015:

After watching the video, I’d wager it’s safe to say that this is probably one of the more creepy Weird Wikipedia links in 2015. Check out the article and make sure to turn the captions on, makes it that much more effective.

Max Headroom Broadcast Signal Intrusion
“The Max Headroom broadcast signal intrusion was a television signal hijacking that occurred in Chicago, Illinois, United States on the evening of November 22, 1987. It is an example of what is known in the television business as broadcast signal intrusion. The intruder was successful in interrupting two broadcast television stations within the course of three hours. The hijackers were never identified.”

Make sure you watch the video as well:


Lovecraft Story Of The Year:

The Shadow over Innsmouth
Yay! My favorite Lovecraft story was also YOUR favorite. Happy to see this listed as the story of the year. It’s a good one. [Fun Fact: the Innsmouth folk served as the source of inspiration for the anur in my books.]


Animated GIF Of The Year:

I can't get enough GIFs of robot struggling to play soccer/football.

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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.


WRITING:

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.


ART:

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.


RANDOM:

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.

Cthulelf!
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.


WEIRD WIKIPEDIA:

Caganer
“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.”


H.P. LOVECRAFT STORY OF THE WEEK:

Christmas
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.


GIF OF THE WEEK:

End on a high note

Friday Link Pack 12/18/2015

Friday Link Pack 12/18/2015

It’s Friday! That means it’s time for 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! If you missed the post, please be aware, the Friday Link Pack is being sunsetted at the end of this year.

All right, business done, let’s get to it.


WRITING:

Top 10 Grammar Myths
From using the passive voice, to irregardless’ existence, and the infamous act of splitting infinitives. I think a lot of folks will be surprised at these ten myths. [Thanks to Will for sharing!]

Amazon Reworking Rules For Product Reviews
It was bound to happen sooner or later. False reviews made to push political or social agendas are getting the ax and the Amazon enforcement is coming. Also, Sandy Hook conspiracy theorists are apparently a thing, so… add that to the list of reasons to be disappointed in humanity.

Gifts For Writers, 2015 [NSFW]
‘Tis the season of gifting. Chuck Wendig, in all his profanity-laced style, compiles a list of gifts for us scribes. Featuring coloring books, neat portable lamps, and even houseplants, it’s a fun little list. If nothing here is your style, then consider perusing the Lovecraft-inspired Gift Guide I compiled a few weeks back.

52 YA Covers For 2015
Dan Wagstaff, over at The Casual Optimist has put together a list of some of the best YA book covers this year. Some of my favs from this list: Hannah Moskowitz’s A History of Glitter and Blood, David Almond’s A Song for Ella Gray, and Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows. It was tough to pick favorites.


ART:

Chef Jacques La Merde
Fancy food made from less-than-fancy ingredients photographed beautifully and described oh so perfectly. This goes from joke to art and then back to joke. It’s great.

Winners of the First Annual ‘Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards’
There’s wildlife photography, and then there is wild wildlife photography. This is certainly the latter. What’s your favorite?

Galimatias
In their recent show at Thinkspace Gallery in Los Angeles, the Polish duo Etam Cru presented their latest body of work. It’s amazing. Blending traditional approaches with a bold illustrative style this series combines subject matter the same way the duo blends styles. Beautiful work, it’s no wonder their show sold out. (I used a detailed version of their piece, Henryk Nowak, for today’s featured image.)


RANDOM:

Star Wars: The Force Accounted
The Force is often used throughout the Star Wars movies, but by whom, and how often, and what do they do? There’s a lot to answer within that question. Thankfully, Bloomberg steps in to give us the lowdown on the usage of the Force from within the film, complete with interactive graphs and charts. A full (and quite thorough) breakdown.

Model Railroad of HP Lovecraft’s ‘Arkham’
A highly detailed and amazingly crafted version of Arkham at HO-scale. This really could have gone in the art section as well. I love the night shots. So cool. [Thanks to August for sending this my way.]

Get Rich Or Die Vlogging: The Sad Economics Of Internet Fame
The reality of the internet is likes, views, and RTs don’t pay the bills. (Even thousands and thousands of them.) I appreciate Gaby Dunn’s willingness and bravery to open up and put herself out there like this. Support the creators who’s work entertains you: buy their products, donate via Patreon, show your support with more than just clicks.

Telephone Repairman Follows His Dream: Designing Women’s Shoes
Chris Donovan spent 25 years at the phone company before he quit and jumped into something new and strange. A wonderful video about following dreams and never settling. If you are interested in more content like this, make sure you check out the documentary short on Kari-Lise: Overlooked Details, An Artist’s Journey.


WEIRD WIKIPEDIA:

Ten Cent Beer Night
“Ten Cent Beer Night was a promotion held by Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians during a game against the Texas Rangers at Cleveland Stadium on Tuesday, June 4, 1974. The idea behind the promotion was to attract more fans to the game by offering 12 U.S. fl oz (354.9 ml) cups of 3.2% beer for just 10 cents each (regular price was 65 cents) with a limit of six per purchase, but with no limit on the number of purchases made during the game. During the game, fans became heavily intoxicated, culminating in a riot in the ninth inning which caused the game to be forfeited due to the crowd’s uncontrollable rowdiness and because the game could not be resumed in a timely manner.”


H.P. LOVECRAFT STORY OF THE WEEK:

The Horror in the Museum
Wax museums are creepy already and Lovecraft is bound and determined to make them even creepier.


GIF OF THE WEEK:

The Impossible Cool

Friday Link Pack 12/11/2015

Friday Link Pack 12/11/15

It’s Friday! That means it’s time for 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! If you missed the post, please be aware, the Friday Link Pack is being sunsetted at the end of this year.

All right, business done, let’s get to it.


WRITING:

The Importance Of Jumping The Shark As Early As Possible
Charlie Jane Anders, the author of the forthcoming All the Birds in the Sky, discusses how jumping the shark as early as possible will help establish the weirdness in your worlds without having to alienate your audience from stranger things to come.

Dealing With The Protagonist Who Won’t Talk to You And The Character Who Refuses To Be Cut
We have all been there, we’re ready to write, but we’re struggling with a particular character. Something about them gnaws at us, making them tough to write. What do you do? In this post, Lauren Sapala offers advice about dealing with problem characters head on and how you can overcome those blocks.

‘Based On A True Story’: The Fine Line Between Fact And Fiction
What happens when the lines between fiction and nonfiction begin to blur? Geoff Dyer and others explore this idea in this fantastic piece for the Guardian.

Our (Bare) Shelves, Our Selves
While the accessibility of streaming media is incredibly handy, is there a case for having shelf after shelf of books for children to peruse? Teddy Wayne makes the case in this article for the New York Times.


ART:

Get Ready To Appreciate The Fantasy Art of Frank Frazetta on a Whole New Level! [NSFW]
In the sixties and seventies, it was Frazetta who defined the look of Conan the Barbarian and much of the swords and sorcery era. Recently a cache of early Frazetta’s sketches, drawings, and watercolor paintings went up for auction, and we can appreciate his skill on a whole new level. [Thanks to Steve for sharing this with me.]

An Octopus Typewriter by Courtney Brown
For her piece for this years California Sculpture SLAM, Oakland artist Courtney Brown brought out Self Organization a 1938 Underwood typewriter that has seemingly come alive. Make sure to check out the creation process on Brown’s site as well.

Perfect Faces And Bodies Evanescing Into Rough Pastel Brushstrokes
Painter Meredith Marsone’s juxtaposition of the delicate and beautiful with the chaotic and raw create pieces that are both intimate and yet melancholy. Beautiful work.


RANDOM:

The 2015 Lovecraft-Inspired Gift Guide
Just like last year, I put together a handy little gift guide for the Lovecraft fan in your life. I cover everything from books to music to apparel and games. Lots of neat stuff.

Yule Log 2.015
The tradition of the Yule Log is a strange one, but sitting around a comfy fire and telling stories is something I can get behind. Yule Log 2.015 is a collection of short films created by various artists that hope to bring the Yule Log tradition into the digital age. It’s fun stuff. What’s your favorite?

Where’s Me a Dog? Here’s You a Dog: the South’s Most Unusual Regionalism
Language is a fluid thing it shifts and changes Across countries, within states, even among cities. Atlas Obscura delves into the strange world of grammatical variations throughout America centered around one strange turn of phrase.

Ghost Streets Of Los Angeles
BLDBLOG takes a look at streets of Los Angeles that have long since disappeared but who’s scars have remained. A cool look on the evolution of a modern city.


WEIRD WIKIPEDIA:

Aokigahara
“Aokigahara, also known as the Suicide Forest or Sea of Trees, is a 35-square-kilometre (14 sq mi) forest that lies at the northwest base of Mount Fuji in Japan. The forest contains a number of rocky, icy caverns, a few of which are popular tourist destinations. Aokigahara forest is dense, shutting out all but the natural sounds of the forest itself.

The forest has a historic association with demons in Japanese mythology, and it is a notoriously common suicide site (in which 57 took place in 2010). For this reason, a sign at the head of the main trail urges suicidal visitors to think of their families and contact a suicide prevention association.”


H.P. LOVECRAFT STORY OF THE WEEK:

The Man of Stone
A trip to visit strange lifelike statuary deep in the Catskill Mountains goes awry in this story collaboration with Hazel Heald.


GIF OF THE WEEK:World's Best Eagle.

Sunsetting the Friday Link Pack

The Sunsetting of the Friday Link Pack

The Friday Link Pack is going away at the end of the year.

I realize that might not be the most welcome news for its handful of readers, so I figure I owe you an explanation. The first Friday Link Pack I posted arrived on September 6th, 2013, little less than a month before I launched my first book, The Stars Were Right. It was an idea I blatantly stole from SwissMiss (a design blog I have been following for years). While her Link Pack tended to focus on design, I had decided that mine would focus primarily on writing, with forays into the artistic and random categories. It’s intent was to serve as an outlet, A place to share some of the interesting links I found over the course of a week and do something other than document my journey as an aspiring indie writer. (Which was primarily the focus of this blog at the time.)

Since those days a lot has changed. For one, I’m no longer aspiring as I have three books and the start of a successful series behind me. (You should read ’em if you haven’t.) Meanwhile, the Friday Link Pack has continued, with a few minor hiatuses and a few gracious folks (thanks, Drew, and Will) stepping in during my absences. The post itself has also shifted, categories have been added and fallen away, the Lovecraft story of the week and the gif of the week has always remained. The quality has drastically improved. I am proud of the work I’ve been doing. All in all, it’s been a fun if not time-consuming and often distracting post to write.

If you read my post The State of the Cycle, you know there’s some changing coming in the way I work. I’m making some personal adjustments and removing distractions. The results of those shifts will affect where I spend my time and where I focus my creative efforts. The first casualty of that change is the weekly Link Pack. Luckily we’re coming up on the end of the year so, the final post will be the End of the Year Edition, coming out on January 1st of all days. As always it will highlight the most interesting links of 2015 and—if my math is correct—it will be the 100th Friday Link Pack. There are worse numbers to end on.

I’m sorry to those readers who actively visited the Link Pack on the regular. Thanks for your interest and engagement. Thank you for sharing and submitting links. You kept it going as long as it did. Depending on how things go in the future, it’s possible that it will make a glorious return but until then, I got a lot of writing to do, many more stories to tell, and new worlds to visit.

Friday Link Pack 12/04/2015

Friday Link Pack 12/04/2015

It’s Friday! That means it’s time for 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! Do you have a link I should feature in the upcoming link pack? Click here to email me and let me know! (Include a website so I can link to you as well.) Let’s get to it…

WRITING:

The Most Misread Poem in America
Everyone knows Robert Frost’s famous poem, The Road Not Taken, and everyone (from commercial marketers to college professors) heralds it as some anthem to self-assertion and individualism, but that isn’t what the poem is about at all. Unsurprisingly, everyone gets it wrong.

Are We Alone?
In his short talk UC San Diego, Author Jeff Vandermeer explores the ideas surrounding the stories we tell as we search for something alien outside of humanity and how fiction and science approach such speculation. [Big thanks to Steve Toutonghi for sharing this with me. Loved it.]

[NSFW] Bad Sex Award 2015: The Contenders In Quotes
Every year the Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction celebrates the worst in purple prose, and they’re always hilariously bad. Also very not safe for work, so read at your own risk. This year’s list includes the likes of Morrissey (yes, the one from The Smiths), Erica Jong,  Lauren Groff, and more.

NaNoWriMo Is Over, Now What?
My piece from last year discussing your options as a writer now that you have finished your NaNoWriMo manuscript. Where do you go from here? What should you do with you 40k words? I offer some ideas.

The State Of The Cycle
In which I discuss where things stand with my series, The Bell Forging Cycle, and where things are going as I move forward.

ART:

Kari-Lise’s Annual Art for Everyone Sale
My incredibly talented wife and partner Kari-Lise Alexander is having a sale. From now through Christmas she has original works and studies, prints, jewelry, and even ornaments available. It’s some really wonderful stuff. If you’re looking for something beautiful and unique, I encourage you to check out her store. (I also featured one of her pieces as today’s header image.)

The 15,000-Year History of a River in Oregon Rendered in Data
Cartographer Dan Coe has taken thousands of years of data on the shifting flow of the Willamette River in Orgon and rendered a map that is educational and absolutely beautiful.

New Animated Portraits by Romain Laurent
I love when a technology becomes an art form, and we’ve been seeing it with animated gifs for a while now. In these animated and looping portraits, Romain Laurent takes still images of people and applies fun animations to specific areas. It’s fun stuff.

RANDOM:

When Social Justice Isn’t About Justice
I think most people are in support of equaklity and justice. But what happens when our intentions become so corrupted that we reach a point where we have begin to dismiss other’s rights we hold dear. What happens when we form cultures of victimhood, and justice erodes the very values that found it? An absolutely fantastic piece.

The Case For Bad Coffee
I live in Seattle, arguably the coffee mecca of the United States, and I have been accused of being snobbish about my coffee preferences. However, after reading this, I a half tempted to go buy a jar of Folgers.

You’ll Never Guess What The First Thing Ever Sold On The Internet Was
Were in the middle of the Holiday Season, and like every year the number of people who purchase online is bound to grow. But, what was the first thing ever sold on the internet? Fast Company gets to the bottom of that question.

Our Year Of Living Airbnb
A couple decides to streamline their life and explore the neighborhoods of their city by using AirBnB and using short-term rental options. The result is a unique adventure. [Thanks again to Steve for sharing this.]

WEIRD WIKIPEDIA:

Max Headroom Broadcast Signal Intrusion
“The Max Headroom broadcast signal intrusion was a television signal hijacking that occurred in Chicago, Illinois, United States on the evening of November 22, 1987. It is an example of what is known in the television business as broadcast signal intrusion. The intruder was successful in interrupting two broadcast television stations within the course of three hours. The hijackers were never identified.”

Make sure you watch the video as well:

H.P. LOVECRAFT STORY OF THE WEEK:

The Nameless City
“That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange aeons even death may die.”

GIF OF THE WEEK:

all day every day