Tag Archives: english

My Ongoing Blog Series You Can Read Today

My Ongoing Blog Series You Can Read Today

There’s plenty of writers on the internet who user their blogging platform to dish out advice on writing or focus on the craft. While that is all well and good, I’ve intentionally chosen to do something a little different with my blog. For several years, among the book updates, pleas for reviews, and general news—I’ve been writing several reoccurring series about all manner of things. Fake swearing, my books, plants, riverboats, history, the list is large and full of interesting things.

In this post, I’ve collected all my ongoing series and have provided links so you can peruse the various categories—I even offer starting suggestions. So, if you’re looking for something a bit different than your standard author-blog content, consider starting with one of these…

Wild Territories

Frequency: When they’re ready
Category: Bell Forging Cycle lore
Current Number of posts:
Three
Start with: Faiths and Creeds of Lovat

It’s always fun to explore the backstory of a series. I love extending some of the lore and legend that surrounds my novels. I’m also a fan of PBS and Marty Stouffer’s Wild America. That all came together for Wild Territories, a series about the extended lore of my books. Currently, there’s only a handful of posts, but with Gleam Upon the Waves coming soon, I’ll have many more on the way.


Garden of Horrors

Frequency: Monthly/Bi-monthly
Category: The natural world is gross
Current Number of posts: Nine
Start with: The Clathrus Archeri

Nature is a wild and weird place, in this series, I take a look at the more unusual bits of the earth’s flora. Generally, it’s pretty gross, sometimes it’s disturbing, but it’s always fascinating to see what sort of bizarre adaptations exist. Sometimes that feeling of disgust can come from the most unexpected places.


Raunch Reviews

Frequency: Monthly
Category: Language
Current Number of posts: Sixteen
Start with: Mork & Mindy/Starsiege: Tribes

The English language is a stupid language. It evolves, steals, shifts and absorbs, and it never looks the same across centuries. Slang is often the driver of this drift. Raunch Reviews is a series about slang, particularly, profanity. Not real profanity, but speculative swearing. Authors often try to incorporate original, innovative forms of profanity into our own fantastical works as a way to expand the worlds we build. Sometimes we’re successful. Often we’re not.


Riverboats! Revolution! Magic!

Frequency: Occasional
Category: History
Current Number of posts: Ten
Start with: A Riverboat’s Menu

Researching history for my big ol’ project Coal Belly has given me insight into bits and bobs of history and the details surrounding riverboats—stuff I never learned in school. In these posts, I share my findings, focusing in on the people or technology that made these vessels so unique and sharing a plethora of photos from dusty old archives.


#NoBadMaps

Frequency: Monthly (for 2019, at least)
Category: Cartography/History
Current Number of posts: Nineteen
Start with: #NoBadMaps

This started as a project to help fantasy indie authors develop their own maps for their books and has grown into something much more. Now, eleven brush sets and several tutorials later #NoBadMaps has become something greater, and it’s exciting to see people using these in their work.


Visual Inspiration

Visual Inspiration

Frequency: Occasional
Category: Art
Current Number of posts: Eleven
Start with: Yuri Shwedoff

I’ve been a graphic designer for nearly two decades now; I’m drawn to visual mediums. Often, I come across an artist’s work, be it paintings, concept art, or digital drawings that enliven me creatively. In this series, I share the work of artists who’s work I have found inspiring, perhaps they’ll inspire you as well.


Watching History

Frequency: Occasional
Category: History
Current Number of posts: One
Start with: Watching History 1

When I was a kid, my favorite TV channel was the History Channel. But in recent year, the History Channel has eschewed history in favor of scripted and reality programming. It’s a bummer. Thankfully, the internet has stepped in. There are all sorts of amazing creatives who run YouTube channels with a focus on making history come alive. In here, I share my favorites.


Lovecraft-Inspired Holiday Gift Guide

Lovecraft-Inspired Holiday Gift Guide

Frequency: Yearly
Category: Cosmic Horror Gifts
Current Number of posts: Five
Start with: The 2019 Lovecraft-Inspired Holiday Gift Guide

For the last six years, I’ve been assembling a highly-curated list of cosmic horror goodies that are perfect for yourself or the cosmic horror fan in your life. Books, Games, Music, Apparel, Housewares and a whole lot more! Loads of goodies worth checking out around the holidays or… at any time of the year, really.


I’m really proud of the work I’ve been doing. It’s been nice to work on blog posts in between writing sessions. Keeps me on my toes, lets me explore different concepts, and I think it makes my books better. Hopefully, you’ll find something entertaining or eye-opening among this list.

Have a question, comment, or want to drop me a line? Leave a comment below, or visit the Contact K. M. Alexander page for a list of handy ways you can reach out.


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Graphing the distribution of English letters towards the beginning, middle or end of words

Graphing the Distribution of English Letters

I came across this old post on prooffreader.com from 2014 from data scientist and developer David Taylor and found it fascinating. I figured my readers would as well.

Below you’ll see a graphic visualization on the distribution of English letters towards the beginning, middle, or end of words. The data set comes from the Brown Corpus in the Natural Language Toolkit instead of a dictionary, this great because the results are weighted for usage based on the frequency of use.


Graphing the distribution of English letters towards the beginning, middle or end of words


If you’re a data nerd like me, there are a lot more details in the original post that explain these findings. If you want to learn more about the methodology, then be sure to check out the extended version of the post on prooffreaderplus. I appreciated Taylors final thought:

The most common word in the English language is “the”, which makes up about 6% of most corpuses (sorry, corpora). But according to these graphs, the most representative word is “toe”.

I’m glad the word that ended up representing English the most is somehow “toe”—for whatever reason I find it oddly fitting for our mongrel language.

Friday Link Pack 11-20-2015

Friday Link Pack 11/20/2015

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:

Five Years
Author M.S. Force reflects on the last five years of her career when she decided to take her rejected novel True North and step into indie publishing.

Alan Moore’s Advice To Unpublished Authors
“If you write every day, you’re a writer.” In this quick video recorded at St James Library, Northampton, UK, Alan Moore gives some advice to new and unpublished writers.

20 Misused English Words That Make Smart People Look Silly
Is it affect or effect, ironic or coincidental, do you get nauseous or nauseated? They are fair questions. Quartz sets the record straight on a few words people get wrong all the time.

Anne Frank’s Diary Gains ‘Co-Author’ In Copyright Move
Copyright laws are weird.

ART:

13 Miles Of Typography On Broadway, From A To Z
If you’re a writer, you should appreciate type. After all, typography is the communication channel to share your worlds with readers. In this piece for Hopes & Fears, Ksenya Samarskaya examines the type one finds along New York’s famous Broadway.

Meet The Designer Whose Collection Will Make You Scream
Costume or fashion? That is the question asked by designer Eda Yorulmazoglu in her latest, and wonderfully strange, collection.

Meet the Vendor: Saltstone Ceramics
My friend Sarah recently opened Saltstone Ceramics, a pottery studio here in Seattle. The work she has been creating is fantastic. (Kari-Lise and I own quite a few pieces now.) In this interview, Sarah discusses her journey, her work, and lots more. Find out more about her work at her website.

RANDOM:

The Return of #FeedCthulhu
Ross Lockheart, of the weird fiction press Word Horde, is giving away ebooks of their latest anthology, Cthulhu Fhtagn! All you have to do is donate to your local food bank and tweet about it. Three lucky winners will win personalized autographed copies as well. Details in the post!

Our Generation Ships Will Sink
Sci-fi great, Kim Stanley Robinson, dives into the complexity inherent in the ideas surrounding generation ships and why he thinks they are not only impractical but impossible outside the realm of fiction. Great article.

Is Tom Brady A Fancy Dog?
Deadspin asks the tough questions.

Your Jetpack Is Here
No, really. I’m serious. Check out this incredible video of the JB-9, the world’s only true jetpack. Find out more at Jetpack Aviation’s website. The future is now people. The future… is now.

WEIRD WIKIPEDIA:

Prostitution Among Animals
“A few studies have been used to promote the idea that prostitution exists among different species of animals such as Adélie penguins and chimpanzees. Penguins use stones for building their nests. Based on a 1998 study, media reports stated that a shortage of stones led female Adélie penguins to trade sex for stones. Some pair-bonded female penguins copulate with males who are not their mates and then take pebbles for their own nests.”

H.P. LOVECRAFT STORY OF THE WEEK:

Under The Pyramids/Imprisoned with the Pharaohs
Written with Harry Houdini in 1924, the story is a fictionalized account of an allegedly true experience of the escape artist. What mysteries does Houdini find? Well, you’ll just have to read to find out.

GIF OF THE WEEK:

Why... hello there.

Friday Link Pack 06/19/2015

Friday Link Pack 06/19/2015

Rising from its slumber Friday awakens. That means it’s time for the Friday Link Pack! The post where I share a few links I’ve found over the last few days. 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? 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:

What Price An E-book?
Epic fantasy author Mark Lawrence (The Broken Empire series and the new Red Queen’s War series) breaks down the cost of an e-book. I like seeing reminders of this, and it’s cool to see Mark break it down for everyone.

14 Classic Novels Rewritten With Clickbait Titles
If there is one thing Buzzfeed knows it’s clickbait. That said, this list of classic novels did make me chuckle. Animal Farm is my favorite.

The History Of English In 10 Minutes
A great little video from The Open University that does a pretty great job condensing the history and evolution of the English language. The animation that accompanies it is pretty cute as well.

A Reminder That Creators Need To Understand Their Contracts
Hire a contract attorney or work with an agent you trust, just be sure you understand everything written down in your contracts. It’s important.

ART:

6×6 International Group Exhibition
Melbourne’s Auguste Clown gallery is hosting a fantastic exhibit of 6″x6″ pieces from a variety of incredible pop-surrealism artists. (Including Kari-Lise, who is my incredibly talented wife and partner.) Very much worth checking out.

Emily Blincoe’s Arrangements
Subtle changes in gradient and spectrum, neatly organized objects in size, but often with a twist. A lot of fun.

Sam Wolfe Connelly Studio Visit
If you have followed my blog for any length of time you’ll recognize Sam Wolfe Connelly’s name, I’ve even featured him in a previous Link Pack. It’s always fun to see a behind the scenes glimpse into his process. Supersonic takes us on a small journey into Connelly’s New York studio.

RANDOM:

Dear Librarian: New York Public Library’s Quirkiest Inquiries
A cache of cards recovered from the New York Public library’s archive is being published online, revealing the many roles the librarian was expected to play in the days before the internet, from lawyer, doula, to an ethnographer.

Laser Tag At The Edge Of The World
How cool is this? I would have probably exploded if something like this had existed when I was fourteen.

The Heroes We Deserve
Here’s a cool story. African pouched rats are taught to identify landmines, receiving treats for their efforts. The rats are small enough they don’t set off the mines and it allows for the mines recovery and disposal. They’re also darn cute. [Thanks to Sky for sharing this.]

I Can Text You A Pile of Poo, But I Can’t Write My Name
A thoughtful article on the current disparity of Unicode, especially when it comes to second-class languages.

WEIRD WIKIPEDIA:

List Of Animals With Fraudulent Diplomas
“Animals have been submitted as applicants to suspected diploma mills and, on occasion, admitted and granted a degree, as reported in news and magazines. Animals are often used as a device to clearly demonstrate the lax standards of awarding institutions. In one case, a cat’s degree helped lead to a successful fraud prosecution against the institution which issued it.”

H.P. LOVECRAFT STORY OF THE WEEK:

The Last Test
A rewrite of Adolphe de Castro’s story of the same name, The Last Test, is also the first introduction of the Outer God, Shub-Niggurath, “The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young”.

GIF OF THE WEEK:

Sass.

Friday Link Pack 06/06/14

Step inside Elon Musk's incredible new space machine
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!

Writing:

It’s Too Late. Exclamation Marks Are Unstoppable Now
New York Magazine observes the prevalence of the exclamation mark in modern communication and what it means going forward.

25 Words That Are Their Own Opposites
Mental Floss compiles a list of words that with a slight change in use can mean something completely different. (See, this sort of stuff is why people hate on the English language.)

Five Things I’ve Learned From Working Remotely
There’s not much of a separation between writing and working remotely. While this is tailored to the latter, these handy tips are great advice for a writer.

Tastefully Understated Nerdrage: Magic!
I am a huge fan of Mr. Btongue’s analysis into video games, movies, and culture in general and I have linked him before. In his recent episode he examines magic, what makes it interesting, and how the greats have used it in their writing. Some good food for thought.

Art:

Photographer Goes To Great Heights For Call To Arms On Sprawl
Some stunning aerial photography capturing the issues of sprawl in America in some beautiful and shocking images.

Redd Walitzki “When We Break” And Andy Kehoe “Inner Mystic”
I went to the opening Seattle Artist Redd Walitzki‘s “When We Break” last night and was really impressed. Her latest work is hauntingly beautiful and has a slightly dark twist. (Some of her work could be considering NSFW, so keep that in mind.) Andy Kehoe’s resin pieces are also pretty great, but really need to be seen in person to capture the depth. Worth checking out.

Random:

These 3,000-Year-Old Trousers Are The Oldest In The World
Pants. Really old pants.

40 Maps That Explain The Internet
Great collection from Vox explaining the internet, how it came to be, what it is, what it’s doing, and how it’s under attack.

Step Inside Elon Musk’s Incredible New Space Machine
The creator of the hugely successful Tesla takes a crack at sending people into space, and it’s awesome.

Lovecraft Story of the Week:

The Horror at Martin’s Beach
Summer is here, so let’s celebrate by reading a beach story!

Farewell Gif of the Week:

everything needs googly eyes