Category Archives: Guest Blog

Top 10 Little Known Facts About Ethan

1) Knows how to play the guitar even though he’s never been taught.

2) Has a certain place he goes to think.

3) Ties his shoes using the “bunny-ears” method. He blames his Kindergarten teacher.

4) Has a photographic memory.

5) Doesn’t watch TV, but likes watching good movies.

6) Likes hard rock, alternative rock, southern rock and some soft rock music. Every once in a while, he’ll listen to classical music.

7) Reads fantasy and history.

8) His parents once tracked him by his phone when he was fourteen. He hasn’t carried one since. Until Nara.

9) Secretly wants to go to college.

10) Has an uncanny ability to learn quickly and adapt.

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Want a chance to win a PRINT copy of BKoD or LUCID? Don’t forget to enter here! Contest ends 11/9!

Why Ravens in the Brightest Kind of Darkness series?

Ravens

Why did you feature ravens in your BRIGHTEST KIND OF DARKNESS series?

I’ve always been fascinated by ravens, by their perception in society and the fact they’ve been depicted in old drawings and stories since the beginning of time.

In researching ravens, I fell in love with their duality; every culture has a mythology about ravens. Some associate ravens with evil, believing them to be a witch in another form, others believe them to be the devil’s minions. Then there are the cultures that feature the raven either as the creator of their world or as having had a hand in it’s creation like creating the sun or finding water. Other cultures see ravens as tricksters with the talent to predict the future and the ability to bring messages to the gods. Ravens were also considered birds of war by some, who watched the ravens and used that knowledge to help predict a battle’s outcome.

While ravens feature in just about every culture, their roles spanning from one extreme or the other, one aspect is definitely true in every culture; their presence is never innocuous. It always means “something”! 🙂

And this is why I choose ravens. They have such a rich and varied mythology. I wanted to put my own spin on it in BRIGHTEST KIND OF DARKNESS.

Raven Facts: Wiley, Smart, Opportunistic, Loyal, Territorial, Playful and Affectionate

  • Ravens can solve complex problems, like figuring out how to add rocks to a deep jar in order to raise the water level so they could get to the meat floating in the water. Ravens are called “wolf birds” for a reason. They’ve been known to lead wolves to injured (potential) prey so that they can also share in the feeding. Ravens have worked together as a team. One pulls on the dog’s tail and gets the dog to chase after him, while the other raven raids the dog’s bowl for kibble.
  • Ravens mate for life and hold funerals for their dead.
  • Ravens can mimic human speech and other bird calls.
  • Ravens can live in extreme temperatures from the tundra to the desert.
  • The oldest raven in the wild lived to be 17. The oldest raven in captivity lived to be 44. He was a Tower of London raven.

Ravens in Action

How to tell a raven from a crow: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guBwMUAWAJI&NR=1&feature=endscreen

Ravens are much bigger than crows. Here you can see a raven and a crow side by side to see the difference in their sizes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZyBNWVD70w&feature=related  (around 2:38-2:40)

Ravens can be very playful and gentle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAj_SkR8lJY&feature=channel&list=UL

Ravens can talk in various voices: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7GusdG_SSWw&feature=relmfu  AND http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zA9KTw07Ax0&feature=relmfu

Lucid

All about Parkour (featured in LUCID)

Here’s the next guest post I did for the BKoD blog tour. This one features parkour!

PARKOUR IN LUCID

LucidIn the second book in my BRIGHTEST KIND OF DARKNESS series, LUCID, the main character, Nara, meets a guy named Drystan and soon discovers among other things that he has a unique talent. He’s really good at parkour.  What is parkour?

Here’s how Drystan explains it to Nara…

“Parkour is perceived as constant movement using natural motion. The technique is very physical, but it’s a way of evaluating and perceiving your environment around you in a strategic way, where you don’t let your mind or physical barriers stop you.  ~ Drystan in LUCID

When Nara asks Drystan why he wants to teach her parkour, he says that it’s all part of him helping her learn self-defense.

…Defensively, if you can think at least two steps ahead of your pursuer, then your chances of getting away are much greater.” ~ Drystan in LUCID

And just like Drystan tells Nara that showing her parkour would be far easier than explaining it, I thought I’d share some visual examples with you.

PARKOUR

You know that opening chase scene in the 2006 remake of Casino Royale (with Daniel Craig)? See here: (it starts at 5.02  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJubOZLpp4A . That’s parkour being used in the movies.

Here’s a very well known traceur (the term for a parkour practitioner) in action, Damien Walters, doing all his great moves. Check them out and be entertained with his amazing flexibility!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMsdCsNz7L4

SLACKLINE

In LUCID, Drystan takes Nara up on the slackline to teach her to learn to control her balance, since learning parkour starts with controlling one’s balance.  Do you remember the guy in the white toga/dress doing crazy bounces on a thin piece of line on stage during Madonna’s Super Bowl performance this past year? That was Andy Lewis on a slackline. He’s the world champion in his unusual sport.  Here are a couple examples of tricklining (tricks/flips) done on a slackline.

Mike Payton on the slackline: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ycT_RBZ0tg&feature=player_embedded

Andy Lewis, Mike Payton and others on the Conan show doing the slackline:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hxC_T9UnmA

THE HISTORY OF PARKOUR

If you’re curious about the history of parkour (where it came from and how it has evolved over time), here are a couple of links with all the deets! http://www.parkourgenerations.com/article/parkour-history and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkour

I hope you found learning a bit more about parkour and slacklining interesting and that it has made you curious about LUCID! 🙂