The Perfect Elephant

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AiravataIndia

“A pristine, winged elephant that creates rain, steed to the God, Indra.”

Basic Facts:

  • Other names for Airavata are: abrha-matanga (“elephant of the clouds”), naga-malla (“the fighting elephant”), or Arkasodra (“brother of the sun”). The name, Airavata, loosely translates to “belonging to Iravati.”
  • This isn’t a normal elephant…it has ten tusks and five trunks. To top it off it’s white and spotless!
  • Last week, we talked about the churning of the ocean of milk, which created several treasures (or mythological creatures) alongside uchchaihshravas – one being Airavata. This is according to one legend – not the final answer!
  • The lovely Airavata is actually incorporated into a couple of flags like Laos and Thailand.
  • The Airavata is one of eight deities to look over the eight points of a compass. That’s quite the job!

 

Seven Heads

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Uchchaihshravas India

“Seven-headed flying horse that became king of horses.”

Basic Facts:

  • The uchchaihshravas is the steed of the God King. But also the horse of the King of Demons.
  • The horse is described to be snow white, probably attributed to the creation of the horse. It came to life during the churning of the milk ocean, also called Samudra manthan.
  • Wonder what the name of the horse means? Long ears or neighing aloud. This is a pretty straight forward description of what horses embody.
  • Before becoming the King of horses, the uchchaihshravas was deemed the best of horses and a prototype by his master, Indra.
  • When born, there were other treasures who came from the churning of the milk ocean. The king of horses was not lonely!

(Almost) Ending the Year On Some Trendy Business

We know, we know…it’s not our last post of the year, but it’s close to it! We figured it would be good for anyone looking into getting published to get the heads up: the results are in, publishing trends are here.

Before we get started though, we want to direct you to the source in which the general info comes from. Opinions and advice are ours! But check out this blog/publishing service.

Let’s get right into it!

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  1. First and foremost, is the decline in reading going to push writers away from publishing their work?

    We vote a big fat NO. Reason being, we see the decline in reading as a way to push writers to treat their work with care (and to get into e-Pubbing, but we’ll discuss in a second.) Getting all the pre-publication shenanigans out of the way is something so many people don’t truly pay attention to – so maybe, it’s time we give our precious work some TLC and hire a few people to take a look at what we’ve got.

  2. Print books remain #1. What does this mean for you?

    While everyone (or maybe it was just me) believes that eBooks are the only way to read now, we come here to confirm: this is not true. Print books remain the champion of reading (even if less people do the act of reading.) Now, before you comment and say, “getting my book printed will cost so much money” or “I can’t seal the deal with PRH or Tor or any of those big publishers!” Don’t forget about print-on-demand: the most efficient way for a self-published author to get their book in physical format! So you can still make your way into the print market without a major publishing deal (sorry, big guys.)

  3. Audiobooks are still on the rise!

    We love audiobooks here at HRM. We talk about them enough to say we’re not surprised they’ll continue to rise come the new year.
  4. We’ve talked about it once, we’ll talk about it again: hybrid/collaborative publishing is important and will continue to rise in popularity in 2019. Why should it be important to you?

    Hybrid publishing and collaborative publishing are important mediums to self-published authors (or writers looking into self-publishing.) We want the quality of a major publisher (you know, the big tough editors and the fantastic printing jobs) but since deals from them are far and few between, we need an alternative. An alternative where we have creative flexibility and control over the work in question. These mediums are just that. They provide the quality care to your work as well as giving you the power over it – with consideration, of course. Major publishing houses ensure a bigger paycheck, but why not get your foot in the door to start?

  5. Marketing is your best friend.

    We talk about marketing a lot on this blog. It’s an important part of being a writer/author who wants exposure. If you’re interested in keeping up with a variety of marketing tactics, just use the search bar for this blog and we guarantee you’ll come across something.

 

Happy Holidays, everybody!

A Blob

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Nuppeppō Japan

“Passive, genderless blob one can eat to gain eternal youth.”

Basic Facts:

  • This yōkai has a pungent body odor because it’s supposedly made up of corpses. I knew there was a catch…Makes it that much harder to eat.
  • While other spirits have some form of origin tale…the nuppeppō doesn’t. Even though it’s been around since the 18th century.
  • You’ll most likely find this blob in deserted streets, abandoned temples, and…you guessed it…graveyards.
  • They are entirely harmless!
  • Although the blob is just that…a blob…the nuppeppō has folds all over it. Which makes it look like it has eyes, a nose, a mouth, arms and legs.

Simplicity & Books

Keeping up with book trends and sales? Don’t worry. We are too. There will always be highs and lows, one extreme to another. This isn’t really a trend but just a little something we noticed in the office. Everything is so simple.

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Sure, writing the book isn’t simple…getting the book to be noticed by an editor/publisher isn’t simple…the process of production isn’t simple…but when the final product of the book is in the author’s hands or a trusty reader’s yearning finger tips…do they just look at the cover and think, it’s so simple? We’re referring to the cover art itself. And because we came across a list of books in which the title said, “Most Beautiful…”, we thought it was about time we sit down and chat about cover art. Again.

Calling something beautiful is subjective to the writer of the article. Some of the titles on this list have been hyped up and plastered all over the internet, they were bound to become bestsellers. But there was one common thing among the covers we needed to stress. They’re so simple. There’s nothing wrong with simplicity but the simplicity of these books has helped bump up sales revenue. Many fiction titles are beginning to look…uniform. Once again…there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s getting money in someone’s pocket, regardless.

We’re not here to dictate what you should do with your book. But if you find yourself in need of change and you could envision a bit of abstract art or an object as the cover of your book, then maybe it’s time you send out a few emails to the cover designers out in the world. You may appeal to a new crowd looking for the simple covers that get them wondering what the heck the cover is trying to tell them.

Thank goodness we live in a digital age where all we have to do is delete and upload a new image.

All Umbrellas Mean Bad Luck

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Kasa-obake | Japan

“Animated umbrellas that jump around on one leg.”

Basic Facts:

  • Here we have another yōkai (like the ittan-momen and bake-kujira.) This can sometimes be thrown under the same name as the ittan-momen: a tsukumogami, but not all consider it to be that.
  • Other names include: karakasa-obake, kase-bake, and karakasa kozō.
  • If you couldn’t tell by the art above, the kasa-obake have a very distinct appearance. It’s usually an umbrella with one eye, hopping around on one leg. In some rare cases, they’ll have two legs but it’s highly unlikely to find. Every once in awhile, it’ll have two arms and sometimes be described to have a long tongue.
  • Initially, the kasa-obake was simply a humanoid spirit with an umbrella on its head…but as time went on the human became an umbrella. This is why people believe it to be a tsukumogami.
  • This is the most well-known yōkai (that is an object) and has been incorprated into card games, haunted houses, anime (Japanese animated shows), manga (Japanese comic books/graphic novels), and movies.

Save or Delete?

Have you ever sat down to work on your writing project and thought, I’m not into this like I was three months ago? And how you want to dedicate your time to a work-in-progress that you actually care about? Or do you feel as though you’re working on a project and it feels forced? Are you asking yourself: should I save or delete?

Here’s what we have to say: don’t abandon a project simply because you’re not passionate about it. Some writers burn themselves out trying to write what they think needs to be done. Other times, it’s a lack of inspiration. What should you do if this happens to you?

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Our favorite suggestion is take a nap. All jokes aside, rest your brain and focus on other activities you like. Napping could be one of those things. Don’t question if you want to save or delete a project. If you’re ever leaning towards the delete option, we recommend still saving the work someplace where you can’t visually see it. Mainly because if you stumble across it later on, you may spark new interest and inspiration.

Bottom line is: give yourself a break. Stop thinking too much into it. Save it. Don’t delete.

The Least Expected Myth

This week’s mythological monster is a day late but well worth it! This week’s highlight was one for the books and a new one even I hadn’t heard of.

Keep reading if you want to hear about a bolt of cotton that will smother you to death if given the chance.


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Ittan-momenJapan

“Sentient roll of cotton that flies through the night and suffocates people.”

Basic Facts:

  • In Japanese mythology, the ittan-momen is a Yōkai, more specifically a Tsukumogami. A yōkai is a supernatural spirit in folklore while a tsukumogami is a tool that has been possessed by a supernatural spirit. Haunted items…spooooooky.
  • These spirits are more likely to be found in Kagoshima.
  • The type off cotton possessed is also what can be used to make clothes. Check your labels!
  • “Ittan-momen” literally translates to “one bolt of cotton” or “one tan of cotton.” It gives the idea of what the measurements are of the item (28.8 cm by 10 m).
  • Believe it or not…the ittan-momen has been adapted plenty in Japanese modern culture. Shows (anime, primarily) and monuments have been made in appreciation.

Overlapping Myths and Traditions

This is the first of our mythological creatures from East Asia and can we just say: we are so excited to share these!

For this week, we’re looking at the traditional Chinese dragon, also known as the East Asian Dragon. This creature is widely known within and beyond Asian history, used as symbols of great strength and honor. But let’s jump right in and see what we could possibly teach you!


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Chinese DragonChina

“Long, serpentine creature with elemental powers.”

Basic Facts:

  • Don’t be fooled! The serpent-like animal is the more commonly known dragons. They’re also described as turtles and fish.
  • The dragon usually has powers to control water, rainfall, typhoons, and floods (do you see the common trait of strength behind this all?)
  • Scholar Wang Fu of the Han dynasty recorded myths about long dragons having distinct features. It’s an interesting Google search!
  • Depictions of the East Asian dragon sometimes feature a flaming pearl. It’s symbolic of spiritual energy, wisdom, prosperity, power, immortality, thunder, or the moon.
  • Wings? Nope! East Asian dragons fly with the help of their mystical powers, nothing physical helps them soar through the sky.

Falling Down An Unwanted Hole

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When reading any story, there’s bound to be a plot hole we encounter or fall into…no one is perfect. Not every loose end will find its tie; it’s a matter of picking and choosing which ones to leave.

Some plot holes could be used later on in the series…even if it was just an accident. While editing your manuscript, if the plot is disturbed greatly by the error, fix it. Does it ruin one sub-plot? Revisit. If it can be manipulated later on, maybe it’s not really an issue at all.

Listen to your beta-readers, your editors…If it proves to be a serious problem, you’re not going to have that groundbreaking novel you had hoped for.