Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Here's the craziest thing I know about sharks. Baby sharks come out of mom three different ways: live birth (long science word: viviparous), laying eggs which then hatch (long science word: oviparous), and ovoviviparous, which is as cool as it sounds. The young form in eggs which stay inside the mother until they are developed enough. They then hatch-- still inside mom-- and she gives birth to the live young.
THIS IS NOT THE CRAZY PART. That's still frickin' cool, right? But it gets better. SO MUCH BETTER. Er. Well, it gets SO MUCH CRAZIER.
So there's a shark called the sand tiger. Not to be confused with the plain ol' tiger shark. The sand tiger is more of a shallower-water species. But that doesn't stop it from having the CRAZIEST FETUSES IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD.
See, sand tiger sharks are ovoviviparous (the eggs-hatch-inside-mom-and-live-young-swim-out thing). Like all female sharks, they have TWO uteri. The two uteri have independent openings but share the birth canal. And mom will develop eggs in both uteri at the same time.
That's still not the crazy part. The crazy part is that those eggs are literally in a race for survival. Whichever egg hatches first will EAT the rest of the young in its uterus before being born live. Typically only one pup from each uterus survives.
So every sand tiger shark born is already a winner.
Isn't nature amazing???
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
I mentioned that this grave had been found in Italy. But not just anywhere in Italy. It was found in Mantua, Italy.
If you know your Shakespeare, you might be freaking out a little bit right now. I did.
In high school, I had the fortune of playing a small part in a community theatre production of Romeo and Juliet at the exact same time we studied the play in our English class. (Somewhat funny story: the movie SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE also came out then. It was a Very Romeo And Juliet Year for me). I had the whole thing practically memorized by the end of the unit, between the theatre production and the skits and live readings we did as a class and the interpretations we did for my speech team and the seventeen times I went to see SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE. Romeo and Juliet holds a very special place in my heart.
So when I read about this couple, found locked together forever in the SAME ITALIAN CITY where Romeo is exiled in the play, it just felt right that I should . . . write about them. They were buried, miles from Verona (where the play takes place), together. They had to have died at or near the same time, like the lovers in Shakespeare's play. They were young. They were so inseparable that no one would divide them even in death.
That-- that is the kind of love that makes my heart skip a beat.
Monday, January 21, 2013
You guys. I don't know how much you know about the Neolithic. But they just didn't bury people together. Unless something special or extra tragic happened. A double burial like this? Never been seen before.
With a writer's efficiency, my mind asked how they wound up in that grave together, and then immediately started answering the question. And ETERNAL EMBRACE was born, from the dust and eroded bone of their tragedy.
But it gets even awesomer. And tomorrow, I'll tell you why.
Friday, January 18, 2013
I will do you a favor and not tell you every song I've listened to. Just the ones that are particularly close to my heart, and the heart of the story.
Wow. I feel like I'm in a beauty pageant. Here's hoping I don't fail the interview portion of the competition.
If I had to pick a theme song for ETERNAL EMBRACE, it would be Rabbit Heart [Raise It Up] by Florence + the Machine. Not only did FloMac's music influence a large part of this novel, this song in particular is very, very relevant.
There are also a couple FloMac songs that influenced or just plain fit for specific chapters of EE. These include Heavy In Your Arms and Dog Days Are Over.
Adele and Sara Bareilles also make appearances, with Set Fire to the Rain and Let the Rain, respectively. Funnily enough, both of these songs have over-arching relevance as well as specific influence on a very short scene where it's... raining.
If you have a Spotify account and want to listen to the entire ETERNAL EMBRACE playlist, you can find me there as wickedmoon921.
Thursday, January 17, 2013
When I decided to write a book set in the Neolithic period, I didn't realize that naming my characters would be so difficult. I mean, you can go the route that I've seen in other books and do names like He-Who-Walks-In-The-Garden, but I a.) wanted something a bit shorter and b.) wanted something a bit sneakier. You know, names I could fit hints and clues about the plot into. *cue evil writer laugh*
ETERNAL EMBRACE is set about 6,000 years ago in Europe. At that time there was a lot of symbolism in Neolithic settlements but not much in the way of writing. Stone carvings were fairly common, especially in religious contexts, but not of words. In fact, there doesn't seem to be much agreement on any particular Neolithic language. So, realistically, finding accurate character names would be close to impossible without a time machine.
I decided to settle for something that just sounded like it came from ancient times, but I didn't want to steal another language and have someone be upset that my characters lived in Europe but spoke Ancient Egyptian or similar. I also frankly had no idea where to begin making up my own, aside from the technique I mentioned in the first paragraph. However, there's the Basque language, only now spoken in parts of modern-day Spain and France. The tiny, meandering roots of Basque go way back to the Mesolithic.
I got really excited when I found this dictionary of a theoretical language called VCV (standing for Vowel-Consonant-Vowel), derived from the Basque language. Then I was really disappointed when further research proved this theory to be... unreliable. Whether it's accurate or not, using this dictionary did give me some pretty period-sounding character names, and I did get to hide some plot clues in them. Even if I'm the only person who knows what they are.
For example, the father of my main male character is named Esoha. The interpretation I chose for his name is "wise counselor," which is exactly what I wanted him to be.
Made-up names? Yes. Awesome names? Still also yes.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
*breathes into paper bag*
*puts head between knees*
*breathes into paper bag some more*
When this unexpected, incredible journey began over a month ago, I never thought the end would come up so... quickly. I sent my entry in to Cupid last night and then promptly felt a bit sad. How could this awesome, amazing thing be almost over?
Well, I won't grab for the tissues just yet. There's still the agent round, starting January 23rd. And regardless of how that goes, this has been an experience to remember. I've met so many awesome people because of Pitch Wars. And of course, I got to work with Cupid, who helped me make my beloved book into something even stronger and better! *squee*
For the next few days I'll be posting little bits here and there about my Pitch Wars book, ETERNAL EMBRACE. So stay tuned, and don't forget to check back starting on the 23rd for more on the agent round.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
This is a type of opossum, familiar to just about anyone who lives in North America:
This is a type of possum, familiar to those who live in Australia/ New Zealand:
|From The Internet|
Now, to be fair, you can consider both "possum" and "opossum" to be family terms, meaning there are many species of each. I suppose the easiest way to divide them is into Eastern and Western hemisphere varieties, the possum being found in the Eastern hemisphere and the opossum being found in the Western.
Both are marsupials, meaning they give live birth to premature young who crawl into Mom's pouch and finish their development there. One just happens to be a lot... scarier looking than the other.
I've worked with both. Opossums hiss, which can be off-putting, and they have teeth like some vicious predator, which can be off-putting. They have naked tails and black eyes and one of the ones I worked with had a skin condition that meant it was balding which was VERY off-putting. But they were still cool little creatures. (The one with the possum-pattern-baldness had been hit by a car and was un-releasable. She walked mostly in circles, but was very affectionate).
Possums are some of the cutest creatures on this entire planet. My beloved sugar gliders are a variety of possum and there's also a creature called a pygmy possum that I INSTANTLY knew I would love as soon as I heard the name. I mean LOOK! Just-- LOOK!!!
But to be fair, possums also have teeth like some kind of vicious predator (some people affectionately refer to sugar gliders as "flying staple guns"), they have the same black eyes, and sugar gliders make this noise called crabbing which basically sounds like someone murdering a duck. Loudly. So it's not all fun and games, even if their little faces do melt my heart.
There you have it. Now go forth and share.
Friday, January 4, 2013
2013, be a bro, k?