Lately I was sitting in the car, signing along with a great Country song, and here it is, that old expression: ‘You can’t fit a camel through the eye of a needle’.
I heard that expression before, and finally decided to go and research where it comes from… and here it was, in the bible:
Mark10, verse25: It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God
During my research I found about one hundred and one explanations what this could mean, from interpretation, over misinterpretation to misunderstandings, to mistranslation… But basically, it call came to the same. If you are rich, you’re not passing the Pearly Gates, not even if you danced naked on a quarter…
Now, can we go into the deeper meaning of that saying? Yes, we could… do we want to? Not today. This is not the purpose of that article.
We’re actually trying to determine, if generally old saying is actually still used, show up in books, or are even suitable nowadays.
Why don’t we look at a few more expressions and see?
“The Walls Have Ears”
Meaning: Be careful what you say as people may be eavesdropping. Origin: The face Louvre Palace in France was believed to have a network of listening tubes so that it would be possible to hear everything that was said in different rooms. People say that this is how the Queen Catherine de’Medici discovered political secrets and plots.
“Bury The Hatchet”
Meaning: End a quarrel or conflict and become friendly. Origin: During negotiations between Puritans and Native Americans men would bury all of their weapons, making them inaccessible.
(Well, some people bury their hatchets in the back of their enemies, but that’s a chapter for another post)
“Raining Cats And Dogs”
Meaning: Rain very hard. Origin: This idiom has two stories that try to explain its origin. The first explanation says that the origin of this phrase comes from Norse mythology, where cats would symbolise heavy rains and dogs were associated with the God of storms, Odin. The second version says that in 16th century England, houses had thatched roofs which were one of the few places where animals were able to get warm. Sometimes, when it would start to rain heavily, roofs would get slippery and cats and dogs would fall off, making it look like it’s raining cats and dogs!
“Blood Is Thicker Than Water”
Meaning: Family relationships and loyalties are the strongest and most important ones. Origin: Even though many might think this saying means that we should put family ahead of friends, it actually meant the complete opposite. The full phrase actually was “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb,” and it referred to warriors who shared the blood they shed in battles together. These ‘blood brothers’ were said to have stronger bonds than biological brothers.
“Born With A Silver Spoon In Your Mouth”
Meaning: Be born into a wealthy family of high social standing. Origin: It is an old tradition for godparents to gift a silver spoon to a christened child. However, not everyone was able to afford this type of luxury gift so those who did receive the spoon as a gift were considered to be wealthy, sometimes even spoiled.
“Steal One’s Thunder”
Meaning: Win praise for oneself by pre-empting someone else’s attempt to impress. Origin: You think that you’ve done something awesome and unique, but someone got in there first and took your credit! Spare a thought for playwright John Dennis who, back in the 18th Century, made a machine that could nicely mimic the sound of thunder for his play. Sadly, his play wasn’t a success, but somebody had taken note of his clever invention. When, later on in another theatre, Dennis found somebody had copied his thunder machine and was using it without credit, he got mad. Really mad. Somebody had stolen his thunder!
There are many more old sayings, I just picked a few of them. Over 60 old expressions and sayings and their meanings can be researched over at the ‘Bored Panda’ Website.
But, without knowing exactly where these sayings and expressions come from… should we writers even use them? Are they still timely?
I still use the one or other… but then, my fantasy books are partially situated in older eras. However, I’m not sure, if these expressions would go well with SciFi Anno 2765?
Please, let us know what you think in the comments. We are curious!
Let me start by saying that this is a topic I use in my current need to write blog posts that give us a bit of information about how things really were in the ‘good old days’… I wrote about Historical Romance and Hygiene, I wrote an article describing Historical Health and Ladies Fashion, and their part in Historical Romance… now, let’s go to another piece of history, a dark, very dark part, that we nowadays rather ignore…
But let me ask you a question:
How did we get from THIS:
In these days of storytelling, authors enjoy the wonderful freedom that ‘fiction’ gives them. With the genre of ‘Historical Romance,’ ‘Paranormal Romance,’ ‘Chick Lit,’ ‘Sexy Romance,’ ‘Erotica,’ ‘Fantasy,’ and others, we are given the possibility to turn our characters into whatever we feel like… And it happens that some of these women become witches.
I admit, it wouldn’t be very romantic (or sexy), if the ‘lady’ from the first picture were our protagonist’s love interest, while nobody has problems seeing the young ‘witch’ being the chosen one.
In many cases, our young and sexy girl is often a witch with unmeasurable power. Of course, remove the pointy hat and the broomstick, but I think you get the drift.
But how did these accessories even come up? How did witches ‘become’? What happened to these women, and why is this part of history so dark?
Let’s have a look at that:
Partially to filming, movies, TV, illustrators, and artists (one of them the creators of ‘The Wizard of Oz’), the expression ‘witch’ has become stereotyped with a certain outfit, long ripped, ugly, unwashed flowing dresses, boots… black cats, broomsticks, and a pointy black hat.
After a few hours of intense research, I admit, I’m at the end of my wits. Despite all the information I got, I’m as helpless as I was before I started looking for the origin of that hat. History is full of pointy hats. Medieval noblewomen wore the ‘Hennin’, a long conic hat, often covered with a veil… Phrygian caps were worn by French revolutionaries (dwarves and smurfs), but the truth is, nobody knows truly when the pointy hat became associated with dark magic.
Until the early 18th century, witches were shown bare-headed and nude, until in England, illustrations of old crones in pointed hats started showing up.
Gary Jensen, a former professor at Vanderbilt and author of ‘The Path of The Devil, Early Modern Witch Hunts,” the pointed hat became an easy way to recognize dark magic. Witches showed up on postcards from the American colonies. Later, Victorian storybooks picked up on the theme and continued to develop the myth.
After all the interesting information I gathered, I still didn’t know about the origin of the conical hats and why there were supposed to represent evil. There were rumors that witches were trying to gather universal power with the hat, who supposedly served as the ‘catcher’ and vessel of said power. But other than that rumor, I didn’t find anything that would point me in that direction.
I also read about a theory, which Jensen described, how the ‘Fourth Council of Lateran in 1215 demanded all Jewish people to wear this so-called ‘Judenhat’ (Jewish hat) to show their religion. By then, this hat stood for Anti-Semitism. What surprised me was that Jews had been followed, hated, and bullied as early as the medieval by connecting them to the devil.
Another wild guess pointed me toward Quakers and the ‘commoner’s’ prejudice against them. This would partially explain the hatred and fear people had against this sect in colonial America, but it wouldn’t tell anything about the horrible hatred and Witch-Hunts in Europe. Also, Quakers wore hats but nowhere near pointed.
One more theory I read about, in a short, rather insignificant article, was the one that doctors set the rumors of ‘witches’ into the community when women started working as midwives and were much cleaner and more successful than the often dirty and careless medical ‘experts’ back in the medieval times. The midwives’ pupils had a much higher chance of surviving delivery, and the mothers-to-be felt more comfortable in their presence. And we are talking about a time, centuries before Lister’s Theory of Antisepsis, which he published after 1867. This theory is quite interesting but had nothing to do with the pointed hat.
After all that research, we know that witches use cone hats with wide rims, and we still have no clue where this began.
However, there are more ‘accessories’ witches have, one of them the infamous black cat. How did that start? I found a website, ‘Solidgoldpet,’ that told me in a few words, what I wanted to know:
Back in the 14th century, black cats were actually worshiped as gods, but as time went on, their reputation quickly changed. During the Middle Ages, the black cat became affiliated with evil. This stemmed from them being nocturnal animals.
Witchcraft also played a big part of the cat’s evil image. Since being one with nature was an important part of witchcraft, it was common for them to have a cat as a companion. Cats are also nocturnal and roam the night, which lead to the belief that they were supernatural servants to witches. When the black cat was linked to the devil, it lead to many of them being killed during the Black Death pandemic (although the cats were actually helping to kill the rats that spread the plague). The term witchcraft has a negative connotation, but it actually means “craft of the wise.” When witches claimed to be able to perform magic, they were actually brewing special potions that helped heal the sick. That is when the Christian Church spread propaganda that their magical powers came from The Devil. (Source: Solidgoldpet)
A third distinctive accessory for witches is the ‘broomstick’ on which they fly around. I found an amusing and very interesting article about this on ‘History.com’, which actually blamed a priest for practicing witchcraft and flying around on a broomstick, and he confessed. (Under torture, but still…) If you would like to read the entire article, it can be found here. At this time, I decided only to implement a part of the post here.
Anthropologist Robin Skelton suggests the association between witches and brooms may have roots in a pagan fertility ritual, in which rural farmers would leap and dance astride poles, pitchforks or brooms in the light of the full moon to encourage the growth of their crops. This “broomstick dance,” she writes, became confused with common accounts of witches flying through the night on their way to orgies and other illicit meetings. (Source: History.com)
So, when and where did the witch hunts start? It is unclear, how it started, the theory of ‘doctors’ starting them, accusing midwives of witchcraft, is as ‘good or bad’ as any other wild guess. Again, the ‘History Channel’ helped me. In limited, clear and simple words it explained the suspected origin, the wide spread witch hunts in Europe, and even touches the Salem Witch Trials. (For the entire article, please click here)
Witches were perceived as evil beings by early Christians in Europe, inspiring the iconic Halloween figure.
Images of witches have appeared in various forms throughout history—from evil, wart-nosed women huddling over a cauldron of boiling liquid to hag-faced, cackling beings riding through the sky on brooms wearing pointy hats. In pop culture, the witch has been portrayed as a benevolent, nose-twitching suburban housewife; an awkward teenager learning to control her powers and a trio of charmed sisters battling the forces of evil. The real history of witches, however, is dark and, often for the witches, deadly.
The Origin of Witches
Early witches were people who practiced witchcraft, using magic spells and calling upon spirits for help or to bring about change. Most witches were thought to be pagans doing the Devil’s work. Many, however, were simply natural healers or so-called “wise women” whose choice of profession was misunderstood.
It’s unclear exactly when witches came on the historical scene, but one of the earliest records of a witch is in the Bible in the book of 1 Samuel, thought be written between 931 B.C. and 721 B.C. It tells the story of when King Saul sought the Witch of Endor to summon the dead prophet Samuel’s spirit to help him defeat the Philistine army.
The witch roused Samuel, who then prophesied the death of Saul and his sons. The next day, according to the Bible, Saul’s sons died in battle, and Saul committed suicide.
Other Old Testament verses condemn witches, such as the oft-cited Exodus 22:18, which says, “thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” Additional Biblical passages caution against divination, chanting or using witches to contact the dead.
Witch hysteria really took hold in Europe during the mid-1400s, when many accused witches confessed, often under torture, to a variety of wicked behaviors. Within a century, witch hunts were common and most of the accused were executed by burning at the stake or hanging. Single women, widows and other women on the margins of society were especially targeted.
Between the years 1500 and 1660, up to 80,000 suspected witches were put to death in Europe. Around 80 percent of them were women thought to be in cahoots with the Devil and filled with lust. Germany had the highest witchcraft execution rate, while Ireland had the lowest.
The publication of “Malleus Maleficarum”—written by two well-respected German Dominicans in 1486—likely spurred witch mania to go viral. The book, usually translated as “The Hammer of Witches,” was essentially a guide on how to identify, hunt and interrogate witches.
“Malleus Maleficarum” labeled witchcraft as heresy, and quickly became the authority for Protestants and Catholics trying to flush out witches living among them. For more than 100 years, the book sold more copies of any other book in Europe except the Bible.
Anna Göldi (Switzerland, 24 October 1734 – 13 June 1782) was probably the last person in Europe to be executed as a witch. She was beheaded in Glarus in 1782. She confessed under torture, and despite many people believing her innocent, she had to die. You can read about her life in ‘The Story of Anna Göldi‘.
In March 2007, 225 years after her execution, the government and the church of Glarus refused to admit that Anna Göldi was a victim of justice. They said that in the minds of the people of Glarus, she was already rehabilitated long ago.
However, the case was taken further, and finally, on September 20, 2007, the Swiss parliament decided that justice was wrong in Anna Göldin’s case. As a representative for Glarus in the Swiss parliament, Fritz Schiesser called for Anna Göldin’s exoneration. (An interesting view on things, because, in my opinion, an exoneration 225 years after her death gives the word ‘delay’ a whole new dimension, doesn’t it?)
Now, what are we doing with all our information about witches? I would say it depends on what kind of authors we are. We can write about sexy, breathtakingly beautiful women practicing witchcraft and having a happily-ever-after moment with their beau… or we write about the numerous poor women who had to die, innocent, after being tortured and accused for no reason, just because someone didn’t like them?
Or… we write a dark, dark fairy tale, where old hags eat children…”Nibble, nibble, gnaw, who is nibbling at my little house?”
Copyright, literally, is “the right to copy.” It guarantees the authors of creative works–including books, artworks, films, recordings, and photographs–the exclusive right to allow others to copy and distribute the work, by whatever means and in whatever media currently exist. It also prohibits copying and distributing without the author’s permission, and includes moral rights: the right of attribution (the right to be named as the creator of the work) and the right of integrity (the right to control changes to the work).
In countries that are signatory to the Berne Convention,, the international source for copyright law (including the USA, Canada, the UK, Europe, and many other countries), you own copyright, automatically, as soon your work is fixed in tangible form–i.e., the minute you write the words. Your ownership extends beyond your death–between 50 and 70 years, depending on which country you’re in.
Contained within copyright is the entire bundle of rights that authors can grant to others or utilize themselves. For book authors, that includes primary rights (the right to publish in print and digital formats) and subsidiary rights (the right to make translations and audio recordings and films, to create serializations or abridgements or derivative works…the list goes on, and continues to expand as technology makes different forms of publication and distribution possible).
When you sign a publishing contract, you are granting the publisher permission to exploit (i.e., to utilize for profit) some or all of your rights, and/or to license those rights to others, in exchange for a share of income. Because you own the copyright, granting rights doesn’t mean you lose or abandon those rights: merely that you authorize someone else to exploit them for a time, either exclusively (the publisher is the only one that can exploit them) or nonexclusively (you can simultaneously grant them to others).
Eventually, once the contract term expires, or the publisher decides the book is no longer profitable, the publisher will cease publication and terminate its claim on your rights. This is known as rights reversion. Sometimes reversion is automatic (as in a contract that extends for a set period of years). Sometimes you can request reversion after certain conditions have been met (as in a life-of-copyright contract). Once your rights have reverted, you are free to re-sell them or to use them yourself, as you choose.
For many readers of this blog, the above will seem pretty elementary. But confusion about the difference between rights and copyright is common–not just among authors (one especially frequent misplaced fear is that granting rights to a publisher means you lose them forever), but among inexperienced publishers. If I had a dollar for every small press contract I’ve seen that hopelessly conflates rights and copyright (for instance, taking possession of copyright but reserving a variety of subsidiary rights to the author), my husband and I could treat ourselves to a very fancy dinner.
Some suggestions on how to untangle the confusion and protect yourself:
– First and foremost, understand copyright and the rights it gives you.
When I read this quote, I remembered all these people telling me about their plans and dreams to become an author ‘one day’.
When they find out I’m an author, I suddenly hear: “Oh, I ALWAYS wanted to write a book if I only had more time!” My reply usually is: “Well, it needs a bit more than only time to write a book… like a plan, a plot, an outline, character sheets, character voices, character development, knowing the craft, editing, an editor, a cover designer, a publisher, networking… AND TALENT!” The regular reaction to this bravery is generally a more or less polite excuse and the welcome departure of my conversation partner.
But there are a few people I met who dream of becoming an author and have the time but not the courage to write that book. and to them, I’d like to show this quote by Estee Lauder.
No book was ever written by dreaming about it!
Get up, plan, plot, outline – AND WRITE!!
Only by writing that story will be written, and only when you work on that book will the story be told to the world. Some dream forever about their hopes for success. Others, like Estee Lauder, wake up, roll their sleeves, and start working! Do the same; only then will your dream come true!
Don’t think about ‘becoming’ a writer. You have that story in your head – you already ARE a writer! But only by hard work and the guts to get that story out into the world will you become a successful published author!
What you need is the courage to start. Find it. It’s hidden within yourself. Dig it up, sit down, and write. It doesn’t matter HOW you write it. Take a pen and paper – or use your laptop, a desktop, a tablet… whatever rocks your boat. But without your investment and emotions, your story will be lost.
Get up, write that book, bring it into the world, and be proud of yourself!
Maybe nothing will ever last from me… nobody will write my biography, ever… but my books, my stories, are for eternity.
And that’s something to be proud of, isn’t it?
Estée Lauder (/ˈɛsteɪ ˈlɔːdər/EST-ay LAW-dər; néeJosephine Esther Mentzer; July 1, 1908 – April 24, 2004) was an American businesswoman. She co-founded her eponymous cosmetics company with her husband, Joseph Lauter (later Lauder). Lauder was the only woman on Time magazine’s 1998 list of the 20 most influential business geniuses of the 20th century.
Lauder graduated from Newtown High School in Elmhurst, Queens, New York, and much of her childhood was spent trying to make ends meet. Like most of her eight siblings, she worked at the family’s hardware store, where she got her first taste of business, entrepreneurship, and what it takes to be a successful retailer. Her childhood dream was to become an actress with her “name in lights, flowers and handsome men”.
When Lauder grew older, she agreed to help her uncle, Dr. John Schotz, with his business. Schotz was a chemist, and his company, New Way Laboratories, sold beauty products such as creams, lotions, rouge, and fragrances. She became more interested in his business than her father’s. She was fascinated watching her uncle create his products. He also taught her how to wash her face and do facial massages. After graduating from high school, she focused on her uncle’s business.
Lauder named one of her uncle’s blends Super Rich All-Purpose Cream, and began selling the preparation to her friends. She sold creams like Six-In-One cold cream and Dr. Schotz’s Viennese Cream to beauty shops, beach clubs and resorts. One day, as she was getting her hair done at the House of Ash Blondes, the salon’s owner Florence Morris asked Lauder about her perfect skin. Soon, Estée returned to the beauty parlor to hand out four of her uncle’s creams and demonstrate their use. Morris was so impressed that she asked Lauder to sell her products at Morris’s new salon.
In 1953, Lauder introduced her first fragrance, Youth-Dew, a bath oil that doubled as a perfume. Instead of using French perfumes by the drop behind each ear, women began using Youth-Dew by the bottle in their bath water. In the first year, it sold 50,000 bottles; by 1984, the figure had risen to 150 million.
Lauder was a subject of a 1985 TV documentary, Estée Lauder: The Sweet Smell of Success. She explained her success: “I have never worked a day in my life without selling. If I believe in something, I sell it, and I sell it hard.”
Lauder died of cardiopulmonary arrest on April 24, 2004, aged 95, at her home in Manhattan.
Writers often face physical and psychological challenges that many other professionals don’t experience.
Neck and back problems
Lack of vitamin D
Let’s have a look at the different health challenges.
Headaches and Vision problems are often caused by staring into an older computer monitor for hours without resting your head or eyes.
Recommended: Take a break every 30 to 60 minutes to give yourself a short rest, get up, walk around, open and close your eyes, and stretch your body; it is helpful in more than one way, you will see!
Obesity: Many writers claim their creativity flows mainly at nighttime, which isn’t surprising since many writers are working full-time jobs, and in the evening, their families demand their attention. They’ll use whatever time of the day they have left. Unfortunately, when they have peace to write, they barely move during the nighttime, but they’re tempted to keep their drinks and snacks as close as possible to avoid wasting time’ getting up and getting them. Both lead to extremely unhealthy eating habits and can cause weight gain and cardiac problems.
Recommended: Set a time limit for writing in the evening and on weekends. You can tell your family you need a few hours of quiet time for writing is nothing wrong with that. When you prepare for writing, there is nothing wrong with a drink or a snack, but pour yourself some water and prepare a healthy snack, such as berries or apple slices. (If possible, shortly before you go to bed, take out the dog for a quick walk around the block. It will relax you and make your move, which is healthy for your weight and the tension in your neck, back, and other muscles. – If you don’t have a dog, cats love going for walks, too!)
Wrong chairs often cause neck and back problems, incorrect heights of chairs, and ‘slouching’ on the chair. Getting up and moving around in regular 20-30 minute intervals is an innovative and healthy thing to do.
Recommended: Before you sit down to write, go outside, get your body to move, stretch your back and neck, and relax while walking. Take your dog for a walk. (Provided you have one, if not, cats love walks too, and so do children, husbands, wives, girls- and boyfriends, fiancés, cats, guinea pigs, and other pets.)
N.B. Getting up and moving around is also helping you with obesity, muscular disorders, and even the lack of vitamin D.
Depression is a horrible, invisible, hidden, but ongoing disease, and, if untreated, extremely dangerous to the patient.
Recommended: Get professional help! It is essential that you won’t let yourself fall any deeper into this hole as necessary. The earlier you get that taken care of, the better for you and everyone in your life. And I know what I’m talking about!
Hi. My name is Vivienne Sang and I write under the name of V.M.Sang
When did you start writing?
That’s a difficult question. I remember writing a story when I was quite little. Perhaps about 6 or 7 years old, but don’t remember much else until I wrote a very bad romance in my teens. When I was at school, I always enjoyed creative writing classes and once wrote a story that went on for at least ten pages. What my English teacher thought about having to wade through it is unknown. When studying at teacher training college, I wrote a few poems, only one of which is still in existence. That poem was my first published work, I suppose, as it was published in the University magazine. I begun writing my first novel towards the end of the 90s, but it took a very long time to come to fruition as I was teaching full time. I self-published it, and the second part of the series, but when I found a publisher for another book I’d written, they wanted to republish my first two as well.
What motivates you to write?
All the people that jump into my head begging (no demanding) I tell their stories. The very first time it was a name that came into my head. I figured out her story, but I’ve not yet written it. She’s gone a bit quiet recently, so I’ve not told her tale yet.
What genre do you write in and what made you chose this particular genre?
I write in two genres–Fantasy and Historical fiction. I chose fantasy because I’m a fan of the genre. I wrote a scenario for the Dungeons and Dragons club I ran at the school I was teaching in. Then I thought how it would possibly make a good story. I was inspired by reading (and playing the scenarios) the Dragonlance Saga by Weiss and Hickman. I thought that if they could make their scenario into a book, perhaps I could do the same. But it wasn’t just one book! It morphed into a series. I’m now writing Book 4. Historical sort of chose me. When I was a teenager I went to Derbyshire (in the UK) with a friend and her family. We came upon a ruined house. It had obviouslyt been a grand mansion at one time, and we wondered about it. What was its history and how had it come to be in ruins? This image of the house stayed with me for many decades until I decided to write about it. This, too, has become a number of books, two of which are now published. I decided to trace the family who ultimately built it from a young boy coming to Britain as a slave, with the Romans. The second book follows a young Viking girl; a descendant of the boy from Book 1.
What is your goal in writing? Do you have dreams where your writing should take you?
I don’t have dreams of hitting the NYT best seller list. (Although that would be nice.) Nor do I think about becoming the next big thing. I just want people to enjoy my stories. And to actually know they exist!
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if yes, how do you deal with it?
I’m unsure what writer’s block is. I’m part way through one story that I’m stuck on. It seems to be going nowhere, but I don’t consider that to be writer’s block. I’ve put it away for a few months while my subconscious considers it. This, I think, is the best way to deal with it, and if no inspiration comes, then that means that story is a non starter. I’ve not yet run out of ideas for stories, but if I do, I’ll consider it no big deal. I’m retired, and although I enjoy writing, and treat it as if it’s my job, I’m not reliant on my earnings from it. (A good job!)
What advice would you like to give new, hopeful authors?
Stick at it! It takes time to get people to know your book is out there. And most important is to connect with other authors. I’ve made lots of online friends who are extremely helpful. Also, when you are marketing your book, please don’t simply say ‘Buy My Book’ and nothing else. Making contact with people is important. People are more inclined to buy your book if they know a bit about you and like you. I know that’s true of me. I’ve found many excellent books by buying a book because I have had contact with the author and think of them as friends.
Please, tell us about your work.
The first series is called The Wolves of Vimar. It tells how a group of disparate folk who call themselves Wolf help to save the land of Grosmer when an enemy invades. They first have to find a long-lost artifact which is prophecied to be the only thing that can kill the man in charge of the invaders, then they discover who he is and what his plans are. They face dangers and near death, and all are changed by their experiences.
The second is a duo called Elemental Worlds. The Crown Prince of Ponderia is behaving strangely. His best friend, Pettic, discovers the princehas been captured and a doppleganger put in his place. The only way to rescue the prince is to enter the four worlds of Earth, Air, Fire and Water and find a gem in each world. Before he can find the gem, Pettic has a task to perform. And he cannot leave the Elemental World without the gem’s magic.
There are three prequels to The Wolves of Vimar published that tell a bit more about the people in the main series.
The two historical novels are Vengeance of a Slave and Jealousy of a Viking. In each of the books, which are standalone novels, the protagonist has to overcome a problem. As the tiles suggest, the first. the young man. Adelbehrt, has to overcome his desire for vengeance on the Romans, and in the second, the young woman, Helgha, has to overcome her jealousy of her lover’s wife.
Thank you for being my guest. It was such a pleasure to have you here!!
It was a pleasure, AJ. Thank you for having me.
Connect with Vivienne:
V.M. Sang was born and lived her early life in Cheshire in the north west of England. She has always loved books and reading and learned to read before she went to school.
During her teenage years she wrote some poetry, one of which was published in the magazine of the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST). Unfortunately, that is the only one that is still around.
V.M. Sang became a teacher and taught English and Science at her first school. Her main subject was science, though, but she also taught Maths and what was then known as Computer Studies.
She did little writing until starting to teach in Croydon, Greater London. Here she started a Dungeons and Dragons club in the school where she was teaching. She then decided to write her own scenario.
The idea of turning it into a novel formed in her head, but she did little about it until she took early retirement. Then she began to write The Wolves of Vimar Series.
Walking has always been one of V.M. Sang’s favourite pastimes, having gone on walking holidays in her teens. She met her husband walking with the University Hiking Club, and they still enjoy walking on the South Downs. They also bought a kayak and have done quite a lot of kayaking in Brittany along the river Vilaine and the Oust.
Quieter things that she enjoys doing are a variety of crafts, such as card making, tatting, crochet, knitting etc. she also draws and paints.
V.M.Sang is married with two children, a girl and a boy. Her daughter has three children and she loves to spend time with them.
As 2023 gets underway, it’s time again for Writer Beware’s annual look back at all the schemes, scams, pitfalls, and publishing industry craziness we covered in 2022.
A Big Change for Writer Beware
A New Home for the Writer Beware Blog: After many years, Blogger (our previous home) finally got too small for us, and we transitioned to WordPress. How that came about–and the benefits thereof.
Some important publishing industry initiatives kicked off in 2022.
The AALA (Formerly the AAR) Revises Its Canon of Ethics: The Canon of Ethics is the professional standard to which the AALA expects member agents to adhere. In updating it to keep pace with a changing industry, the most significant revision is a detailed set of guidelines for agents who also offer paid editing services, intended both to guide ethical practice and to prevent the kinds of abuse and conflict of interest that gets reported to Writer Beware.
The Copyright Claims Board: A New Option for Copyright Disputes: Established by the US Congress, the Copyright Claims Board allows creators to bring lower-dollar infringement claims without having to hire an attorney or make a court appearance. It’s a great new option for creators, who until now have only had access to the prohibitively expensive process of pursuing infringement claims in federal court.
Issues to watch out for in your next publishing contract.
Keeping Moral Rights: A Wattpad Contest Controversy: Moral rights–the right to have your work published with your name, and the right to have it published exactly as you wrote it–are unfamiliar to most US writers, but they are important in the rest of the world (and most publishing these days is international). Writers are strongly advised not to relinquish them. When Wattpad launched a contest requiring winners to waive their moral rights, an uproar ensued. Wattpad took notice…but change is hard.
Publishing Contracts 101: Beware Internal Contradictions: Your publishing contract shouldn’t include clauses that directly contradict one another, should it? Nevertheless, some contracts do–such as requiring a transfer of copyright in the Grant of Rights clause yet also requiring the publisher to register copyright in the author’s name. It’s a major red flag.
IAPWE is the International Association of Professional Writers and Editors.
The ‘About’ page on their website says:
The IAPWE or International Association of Professional Writers & Editors is an organization dedicated to providing helpful resources to writers and editors and disseminating helpful ideas and resources across the greater professional community in the form of outreach, blogging, networking and thought leadership.
In addition to providing free resources for our members, we are always seeking talented writers and editors to help create engaging, locally relevant, educational and inspirational content to help support our outreach efforts. We believe in paying our writers and editors a competitive wage, unlike many of the “content mills” and comparable low-paying clients and/or companies.
The IAPWE is also dedicated to bringing the most updated, legitimate and vetted writing and editing job opportunities to its members.
Currently, there are many different websites containing both legitimate as well as illegitimate writing and editing job opportunities and we make available, in one place, all of the opportunities that have been determined to be legitimate across over 100 different websites.
In addition to this, the IAPWE provides helpful tools, resources and networking opportunities for professional writers and editors, as well as making all members aware of potential writing job scams.
We are currently seeking members to take on administrative roles to help us identify and verify additional writing and editing job opportunities for our members. If interested, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Lately, I have been looking for an opportunity to extend my writing to a ‘more professional way’ by adding articles to my fiction writing, and I saw that IAPWE is looking for professional article/Blog Post/Content writers.
I contacted them, gave them my contact information, and samples of my work, and waited for their approval, which they did, not long after.
It was a short and easy process. After my approval and acceptance as a future professional article/blog post writer, I signed up as a member. The membership gives me access to their courses, writing tools, articles, and posts, and also to their open tasks.
Also, as one of their writers, you’ll get a discount on the membership fees, which is an additional bonus, and with writing for them, you’ll get the membership charges back within a heartbeat.
As their writer, I can choose to write as many or few articles as I like. The open tasks are often giving instructions on how the client wants to have them written, i.e., subject, length (in words), font, pictures, etc. It’s very important to follow these rules, otherwise, the client isn’t going to accept the article/post, no matter how much effort you put into it.
Also, it’s essential for the writer to get clean and traceable research done. Of course, being writers, doesn’t necessarily mean we’re experts on every aspect of life, science, technology, and other things. It just means, we will have to do our ‘homework’.
Each piece of information I provided with the article had the source right below, connected by the respective link. Since the articles mostly are limited in word count, this also gives the reader the opportunity to read more on the subject.
Most articles demand the writer to address the reader directly and encourage a certain ‘sober’ form of including the writer’s own opinion. That needs a little diplomacy, but since this is part of my nature, I think I mastered that quite well.
After I wrote the article, I submitted the task on the freelancer Writer’s platform of IAPWE. They demand one task at the time, which means, don’t write another until the submitted one is accepted. Shortly after that, I was informed that my article was accepted. The entire process is uncomplicated and efficient.
I like the challenge of non-fiction article writing. To me it’s new, and a task that I hadn’t before.
Now, my last provided article (which is for a client, and I, therefore, am unable to provide you with that one.) has been quite technical, and I rather pick another topic here as an example…
The task would be:
Write about art, their forms, and provide the reader with your honest opinion about them. 300 words, do your research, provide sources and at least 3 free pictures (in a certain size).
(Or Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Poetry, Music Literature and Dance) It depends on where you’re looking for the 7 forms of art) ((Source))
I agree that all of them are art, of course one could debate about ‘poetry’ being a part of ‘literature’, and ‘Dance’ a part of ‘Theater’, but I’ll leave this decision gladly to the reader.
Is ‘Architecture’ a form of art? If I look at the left picture, I definitely have to say no, but seeing the building on the right, I’d gladly change my mind.
(Left: Lincoln Plaza, by Architect Ike Ijeh – Source) (Right: Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany – Source)
In my opinion, dance is a wonderful expression of art. And who can say it’s not art when you see something like this?
I have seen the worst and the best of art in very different ways and means One of the best comparisons I can deliver at this point is the ‘Zentrum Paul Klee’, the building in Bern, Switzerland, which houses Paul Klee’s life work. Paul Klee was a Swiss artist, who created mostly, what’s generally known as ‘Naïve Art’, and what I call ‘no progress since Kindergarden’-art. Even the building is irritating and mutilates the entire area.
On the opposite side, here on the left, I’ll give you ‘The Louvre’, the breathtakingly beautiful museum in Paris, France, which not only exhibits the most famous painting in the world, but also a vast number of phenomenal paintings and sculptures from long forgotten artists, each one of them an expert, bringing taste and beauty to countless generations of admirers. If you have a chance, go there, enjoy, drink a glass of champagne and think of me. You won’t regret it.
(Both images source: Google.com)
Now, this is clearly a short, 300-word article, but definitely not perfectly suited for a client (in particular not one who’s a fan of Paul Klee). However, it is absolutely essential that the writer of these articles does detailed research and clearly states where the information comes from. This is not only valid for articles and blog posts for clients and IAWPE! It’s necessary for all posts and articles, even for private blog posts.
Writer’s Treasure Chest wouldn’t have existed this long if I didn’t take care what I’m doing. Pictures and images for promotional posts, of course, are provided by their respective authors.
All other pictures need to have information about where they come from, preferably a link to their respective website or post, depending on where it was taken from.
The same thing applies to information that’s used for the own blog/article, such as ‘quotes’ or even entire paragraphs or posts.
Articles, as compared to blog posts, are preferably written in a sober, reporting manner, giving strictinformation, as compared to the authors own opinion. This is completely different from writing blog posts, where I can freely express my view on things, show my preferences or share my personal taste.
Let me give you an example with a blog post I published here on ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest, precisely April 10, 2017, about how ‘I Never Wore A Ballroom Gown’.
For a moment I considered telling you my life was dabbling and boring and nothing exciting ever happened, but that’s simply not true. I had many highlights in my life. And if they weren’t there, I produced them. I had ups and downs, some of my decisions were good, others not so much, but I was never bored in my life, not even for one minute.
But there is one thing I’m missing until now: I never had the chance to wear a ballroom gown. Yes, I know, there’s prom… but unfortunately not for me. The reason for that will be staying in the shadows. It just didn’t happen. So, no prom, no gown.
Lately, I was thinking about the gown I would have probably picked. I mean, we agree that every girl and woman once in her lifetime wants to feel like a princess, right? I therefore very much suspect my prom gown would have looked something like this:
I know… it couldn’t be more opulent and flamboyant, right? I still think the dresses are somehow cute. But not for me. I think the blue one would have been closest to my choice back then. It’s cute, I love the cold color palette, and I had been enthusiastic about the different layers of fabric. I would have looked like the strolling version of a sparkling mosquito net, but I had been happy.
Well, my prom age is a few years back. (I love the expression ‘a few.’ It’s extendable). Would I pick one of these now, or did my taste completely change?
You bet it changed. Should I ever have the chance of going to a ball, soiree, dance party where evening gowns are demanded, I would more pick something like this:
But most likely, and because I am who I am, I’d show up in a dress very similar to this one (with different shoes of course since I like my ankles too much to sacrifice their wellbeing to some murderous instruments like these):
Yes, I know. My taste has significantly changed within the past decade (or more). I got more adult, started preferring more the ‘modest’ and classic style, but with a tiny extra that reveals the noble elegance of what I wear.
But I simply doubt I’d ever be invited to some ball, neither today nor tomorrow and probably not even in the next two or eight months.
What am I going to do to fulfill my personal dream of once in my lifetime looking and feeling like a princess?
Aaaaahhhhh…. my wedding! I love to look at wedding dresses, just like every other woman does too. At current times (April 2017) this article does on no account mean I will get married anytime soon.
At this point, looking at possible future wedding dresses, I found out pretty quickly, my taste has changed here as well.
Haven’t I been dreaming of wearing a dress like Empress Elizabeth of Austria, with wide, expanding crinolines and layers and layers of tulle, silk, lace, silver or gold and an enormous train?
This would not be too comfortable, but at least I ensured that I’d spend the day more or less alone since guests, family, and groom would politely stay at least 6 feet away not to endanger polluting my wedding dress nor stepping on it.
Breathtaking, aren’t’ they? And about as comfortable as spending the night on a bed of nails. Fifteen years (or a few more) ago, I had picked one of these without hesitating. Nowadays, I’d rather let my fingernails be pulled out than being forced to get married in such a monstrosity. I’m not saying they are not beautiful. More the opposite. I’m only saying, they would look awful on me.
Then I found two other extravagant wedding gowns which made me burst out into laughter. They’re hilarious. I’m trying to imagine how I’d be looking in this dress below on the left: probably like some exploded cotton candy.
And how about the one on the right? AJ costumed as the walking bird flu.
What would I pick now to get married in? Yes… the same simple, classically elegant dress I think would best show who I am.
And should you ever see a wedding from far, where the bride is blond and wearing this dress, then it’s most likely going to be me, taking my last chance ever to wear a beautiful gown. (And promising the love of my life everlasting support, faithfulness, confidence amongst a few other things).
In this particular post, where the main factor is ‘taste about fashion’, I could freely express my opinion about ballroom gowns, my former taste, and how it had changed over time.
Writing for a ‘client’, blog post or article, is not giving me that freedom. I am strictly to deliver the facts, and nothing more (unless the client clearly expresses that this is part of the article, which so far hasn’t happened (yet).
Writing blog posts on my personal blog like ‘Writer’s Treasure Chest’ is different again. Mainly, the entire blog is particularly a writer’s blog. However, it’s also my personal blog, and I take the freedom to write a few private articles now and then, where I can share an experience, an event, or a happening, clearly say what I think about it and express my personal point of view.
At this point, let me share a former blog post published on my friend’s blog:
Written by A. J. Alexander – Copyright, September 2021
Sex is overrated. Yes, I can easily imagine the confused looks on surrounding faces. Would I stand in a room and proclaim that fact, but there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m talking about the fact that I tried it, and my current opinion is the result of my experience a while ago.
We keep thinking, that’s like in the movies, where the violins cry (meow-meow-meow) and the candles spend warm light (flicker-flicker). It’s a miserable attempt at physical exercise. You hit your skull on the headboard, the nightstand lamp crashes onto your temple, and every five minutes, Mommy comes in and brings cheese sandwiches, now there.
And that’s not even it! I’m beslobbered from head to toe, what am I? A popsicle? And then, afterward… afterward they want to talk! You have to praise them! I only want to turn around and sleep, but no! And, dear gentlemen, talking about ecstasy – HAHA! Just for your information: If you have 210 pounds laying on you… of course you’re groaning!
Well, it didn’t work out with that guy; one would think a woman gives up, right? No, we girls hope it will be better with the next one. And where do we find that next one? Oh yes! Of course, on the world wide web! Yes, I admit it. I did it; I was on the internet.
That’s unbelievable! You open a website, and you find men; men galore – and all so sporty! Golfers, sailors, scuba divers, hikers, marathon runners, a country full of well-trained ham hock heroes. No wonder you never see them on the streets. They’re all on the internet!
Immediately I was chatting with one of them: JamesBlond007 – what a hunk! And from the first second on, it was clear – we were destined to be together, oh yes.
We immediately set the first date – in the next Home Depot, aisle 4, where the hammers are. And he immediately recognized me! That was important because I didn’t notice him at all. Wait! How can that be that someone gains like 45 pounds within three days? First I thought, he had sent his Dad ahead, that much older he suddenly looked. Well, he admitted, the picture was a wee bit older. It was taken in ’96 on the Bermudas – during his honeymoon. Oops!
Oh, yeah, he forgot to tell me that he’s actually still married. That’s why our first date cannot take too long. His wife is outside in the plant and garden center.
Now, ladies, here is a tip for the guy search on the internet: Get yourself an Alfred. An ‘Alfred’ you recognize by the profile picture right away. That’s the type of man who lounges on the sofa. Actually, it’s the ‘slouch on the couch,’ in one hand the beer can, and a half-smoked cigarette in the other. An Alfred is a man who wears his sweatpants with the certainty that he’ll never ever fit into any of his other clothes again, so why even try?
Then I looked at some of the women’s profiles. That’s not too funny either, oh, yes. It’s not amusing what men have to look at. It starts with the names: MagicKitty, SweetMouse, LittleFairy, SunFlower2568, Cuddlekitty, come on! That’s an esoteric petting zoo. Compared to that, a Barbara Cartland novel is a hardcore thriller!
Oh, please, it’s true! And the pictures? Lying on a piggy pink cuddle blankie, holding on to ruffle curtains, or next to man high cat scratch trees. How can a woman, searching for the man of her dreams, stand next to a man-high cat scratch tree? With a hairstyle which they obviously had carved into shape in Salon Gretchen around Happy Hour. That’s not a good idea!
And then they all love animals, yes! But only when it’s really cuddly. Everything that crawls or scrambles scares them.
My-oh-my! Some things scare me far more! For example that men could actually like that!
Because if they do, at the end, all that will be left for me, is – an Alfred.
Okay – after looking at the different forms of posts and articles, of course, we will have to look at the work of a fully-fledged published author, in this case, preferably mine.
Writing ‘sober,’ neutral, and reporting articles isn’t particularly easy when you’re a fantasy and paranormal romance author. But there is a way to get it done, and I have proven myself to be able to do that.
This does not mean that I would ever neglect my work, notably the award-winning ‘The Council of Twelve’ series, currently published with five books:
After long years in the line of duty as a ‘Soul Taker,’ Kate is worn out.
When she gets a new job offer from the ‘Powers Above,’ she accepts her new job as a Guardian gratefully without knowing that her teacher is one of the most powerful beings in existence, the Archangel Raphael.
Along with Raphael, she takes on her new task and the connection between them grows.
Raphael helps, protects and supports Kate, but suddenly, she becomes a target for the Demons of Hell.
Raphael realizes that Kate means more to him than he expected, which causes him to fight furiously against danger. If he fails, Kate’s future will contain eternal darkness, Evil, and torture.
Sundance is a promising young Warrior Angel, the first in centuries to join the Divine Army. With the help of one of the most powerful Archangels, her skill and talent develop, allowing her to master some of the most difficult tasks that face her kind.
Sundance, under the supervision of the ‘Council of Twelve’, seeks to prove that she deserves her unusual gifts in the eternal fight between good and Evil. Follow her adventures as she discovers love, fights the good fight, and finds herself in the heat of battle trying to keep her wings from being singed.
Zepheira is the best Demon Tracker working for the Good side. With her unusual looks, her phenomenal sense of smell, and her bravery, she quickly draws ‘The Big 7’s attention to her talent. They hire her to find one of them. Leaving her familiar surroundings and regular work environment unsettles Zepheira at first. But the challenge to prove herself and to increase the reputation of her infallibility tempts her. She is convinced she will be a great asset to ‘The Big 7’. Little does she know she will be a much greater asset in Heaven’s fight against Evil. Zepheira suddenly becomes more than a hired tracker. She finds herself an important pawn in the game of love, heat, and fire. Will her courage and sacrifice be sufficient to dance with the flames?
When Centriel roams the Earth in a dark mood and atypical despair, in a mountain clearing, far from humankind, he unexpectedly discovers a runner, followed by a petite hunter. The way the woman treats the giant fugitive amuses the Archangel, but he quickly learns that neither of them are what they seem to be.
Simin Arnatt is an extraordinary woman. Her occupation as a Bounty Hunter takes her all over the world, as she follows her prey to the most unusual places. She would have never expected to meet the famous Centriel while on a hunt. When he offers to help her, she feels the enormous attraction, but she knows, with the secret she holds, she could never dare to hope for love.
Neither of them could guess that with her next assignment, Hell is breaking loose…
Koyu thought she had done her duty, but deep inside she knows it will never be over. She is bound to her master forever and will have to execute his every command. But when he demands she’ll invade his sworn enemy’s dreams, she chooses to rebel.
Koyu risks her existence to help the ‘other side’ by purposely disobeying her master’s orders.
Koyu knows she’ll pay with her life for her impertinence. Is there, indeed, no hope for her?
What is your experience with writing articles as compared to blog posts? Where do you see difficulties, or what is easy for you writing as an assessment? Let us know in the comments. We’re curious.
Lord, You know how deep a warrior’s wounds go. You see many of our veterans’ loss in body and soul. You know the memories that haunt them and the scars that many of them continue to carry. Please bring healing to those veterans who are still hurt. Please grant patience and wisdom to those around them who cannot understand but can sometimes help the healing process. Please apply both natural and supernatural medicine to their wounds.”
My Dearest son, it’s almost June I hope this letter catches up with you And finds you well It’s been dry But they’re callin’ for rain And everything’s the same old same In Johnsonville Your stubborn old daddy Ain’t said too much But I’m sure you know He sends his love And she goes on In a letter from home I hold it up and show my buddies Like we ain’t scared And our boots ain’t muddy And they all laugh Like there’s something funny ‘Bout the way I talk When I say, “Mamma sends her best, y’all” I fold it up and put it in my shirt Pick up my gun and get back to work And it keeps me drivin’ on Waitin’ on letters from home My dearest love, it’s almost dawn I’ve been lyin’ here all night long Wonderin’ where you might be I saw your mamma And I showed her the ring Man on the television Said something So I couldn’t sleep But I’ll be alright, I’m just missin’ you And this is me kissin’ you X’s and O’s in a letter from home I hold it up and show my buddies Like we ain’t scared And our boots ain’t muddy And they all laugh ‘Cause she calls me honey, But they take it hard ‘Cause I don’t read the good parts I fold it up and put it in my shirt Pick up my gun and get back to work And it keeps me drivin’ on Waitin’ on letters from home Dear son, I know I ain’t written I’m Sittin’ here tonight alone in the kitchen It occurs to me I might not have said it So I’ll say it now “Son, You make me proud” I hold it up and show my buddies Like we ain’t scared And our boots ain’t muddy But no one laughs ‘Cause there’s ain’t nothin’ funny When a soldier cries And I just wipe my eyes I fold it up and put it in my shirt Pick up my gun and get back to work And it keeps me drivin’ on Waitin’ on letters from home
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