Welcome back for another round up for The Environment This Month.
Thanks for reading! Until next time…
Welcome back for another round up for The Environment This Month.
Thanks for reading! Until next time…
The Trailokya Trilogy is the kind of book that encourages art. So naturally, at some point, a feature was due. That feature happened in September. Why wait any longer? Trailokya Fridays thus far have featured images to illustrate the topic of the articles, and in almost all cases, those pieces were created by me using photoshop. I’ve been working with Photoshop since 2007, and was lucky enough to have a week long training class in it for the job I had at the time. (Always take advantage of professional development.) In compiling that feature, I found there was quite a few more pieces that could be featured on another post.
My skills are still growing, and there are functions I need to refresh myself on, but without the class and years of practice (not to mention my tablet), this wouldn’t be possible. Authors of today really have to up their game to stay in the game. It’s costly to hire artists, but without the ability to create captivating pieces you won’t be able to do much as far as promotional material. Minimalist can be cool, depending on your genre, but powerful images really attract attention.
Below, you’ll see several more of the pieces that I felt stood out among the rest. If you want to see more, click the link to my gallery. Also, several images are housed here on the site, at the bottom of each book’s page. Let’s take a look…
(All images are copyright and the property of the stock provider and Author K. Williams. They are not for use promoting other works outside the Trailokya books.)
This first piece is one that I am particularly proud of. It depicts Naajah and her wife. Finishes were done in Google’s filters that once existed, and which I miss dearly, on Google+ Photos.
Above is an image of one of the guardians of Gediel’s pack. This is Tybor, the Great Dane. There are subtle alterations to the original photo (pixabay.com) that include Google filters and the addition of a penannular, which lies under his collar.
This was another simple manipulation with filters and the addition of the Watcher symbol. It rally suits Burning Down.
Maiel’s second and third children are the twins: Amaiel and Chaiel. Alterations include colorations to make them ginger, and the addition of Ardhodita wings to match their hue. Google Filters, photoshop.
The above piece features and inset of Tajael, Terra Order guardian. She’s a mutli layered manipulation. The penannular is my creation. The image required finding and cutting out armor that would work, an appropriate earring to reflect her vocation, and the addition of the red ochre braids. The other braids had to be laid back over the armor. A red braid was added to the base of the ochre ones.
This graphic was constructed to show the seals of each dimension, and the movement that an atman could take to find themselves relegated to any of them. See The Seven Planes: A Primer.
This final piece is a photo-manipulation to depict a scene from the books. The ship had to be cut out of a photograph retaining the rigging, and treated with layers to make it more 3-dimensional. Water ripples, a bridge gate and toning complete the work.
Please click on the links above to see even more. You can also peruse the Online Companion that many of these pieces illustrate.
♦Welcome to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop!♦
How to post. Pick something and explain how to do it. It can be writing
related, craft related, garden related – just share how you do it.
How do you name your characters is a common question that most readers will ask an author, especially when they have an interest in writing as well. We learn early in our education, as authors, that naming a character really is an important part of the narrative. Often this single aspect contains a whole story of its own. Many authors miss the opportunity to make this a truly golden Easter Egg for the readers.
A beginner mistake made in naming characters is reaching for something truly unique. You have to be very careful. If your setting is anywhere on this planet, don’t try to make your character sound like a star child, off-worlder. Please. Too many aspiring authors are not quite at the caliber yet, that they should be going for it. A weird or awkward name mingled with writing that needs work will send readers packing. It’s just another nail in the coffin. That name will stick out like a sore thumb and be a great source of derision.
The reason that the unique-name game doesn’t work is that it’s used inappropriately, as I mentioned above. If you’re naming a Celtic character of the pre-Britain age a star child name or fantasy elf name, it’s not going to make sense. You should, instead, research names of the period. You don’t have to select one that is common. In other words, just make sure what you pick is appropriate to the culture. If it makes no sense to the people and time of which you’re writing, that will stand out and make things awkward for the reader who knows that it’s not right. Very rarely will an author get away with this, and only if the name they settle on manages to connect to the culture in some form.
That reminds me of fantasy, any sub-genre, where the character has some wild name. A lot of authors think they must name their characters strangely, to drive home that they’re in another place and time. You might cite J. R. R. Tolkien as proof, but if you examine the names of his characters you’ll find the undertones of his work in linguistics and history. The names he used follow the roots of the cultures on which he based those peoples. And, Merry and Pippin are names familiar to us in our reality. Not every name need be an extravagant letter salad.
But, should you insist on more creative names, to do so well, you should figure out if the character is living in a real time and place here on Earth, or in a fantasy land. If it’s either, figure out the culture on which you’re basing their background. Study the names used in that culture and figure out the roots. When you have the roots, you can graft a new creation and have confidence that it will grow a successful result.
Another aspect of naming characters is to not only have a cultural connection, but also meaning. There are plenty of names that are no longer in use; names that have disappeared into history. Browsing them can give you a decent pool to pull from. While doing so, look at what the name means. For instance, my first name is derived from an Irish surname and owns several meanings: white-headed, warrior, field/meadow, frequents churches, and man of the woods. Taking that name, you’d not use it on a dark-haired person without spirituality—unless you’re being ironic. Here you have opportunity to bank on culture to convey more personality and story around your character without the need of telling. The name is symbol of all of that meaning, in a neat little Easter egg for your readers.
Trust that your readers enjoy learning things like this. Trust that they deserve your effort and care in choosing. Trust that they will detect awkwardness faster than an indy car.
Taking the time ups your game and you’ll enjoy the work getting there. Trust me on this. A character name is part of branding, and it matters enormously. I hope this short How To has helped you consider a best practice for your writing. Let’s hop on over to see what How To’s the other authors have in store for you…
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I should have probably published this months ago. It came to me back in June of this year, but my schedule was filling up with ideas, as I struggled to cover all my bases before maternity leave. So, here it is, hopefully none-too-late.
Hazing is a concept that we well versed in, or should be. We’ve seen trials surrounding the violence it can encompass, and the tragedies, too. Some of us call it bullying, when it’s less serious. Year after year, we’re witness to its recurrence. Usually the dynamic is between the new and previous generation(s). For instance, in a fraternity the freshman are hazed by their upperclassman. They feel this is warranted because they went through it. Some of them want to give back the torment they got. Torment? Sometimes it borders on torture. Go ahead and google hazing stories from the news.
But what is the point of torturing the next generation? The point is that the aging generation wants to give back what they got. Not all are coming from a sociopathic desire to shell out pain, but likely they’re at the center of encouraging it, as they usually do. Hazing, like it’s good side bullying, is a learned behavior. We’re taught that these actions are acceptable and expected. Picture the fraternity example again, and how much those young men enjoy the effort. Keep in mind that the pledges put up with it because they believe this is how things are supposed to be. This doesn’t erase those times they become frustrated or angered by the actions of their brothers. What it does do is give them buy in. Thus, they perpetuate the hazing to the next group that arrives beneath them. This is just how it’s done.
The other point of hazing is to ensure conformity. The expected behavior is beaten into the pledges. If they want to become full brothers they will comply. In this manner, the hazing is seen as a right of passage. Through these actions social dynamics, mores and values of the group are absorbed. The buy in.
Generationally speaking much the same dynamic is going on. To keep things clear, I will state the groups as a whole, without bothering to say that not everyone who identifies with them is doing this. (If you need that clarification, I’m not sorry you’ll be too uncomfortable to realize it is implied.) Continuing on…
There are those who enjoy spreading the pain, and encourage the hazing beyond acceptable levels. Then, there are those who want to impress those spreading the pain (as those sociopaths often situate themselves in seats of prestige among the larger group). These individuals do a great deal of the work, and take pleasure in the discomfort they cause. It makes them feel superior and strong. And these individuals recruit others through manipulation (convincing them with supposedly valid sources that justify the need for hazing). These people passively do a lot of the work. They’ve bought into the belief peddled, and go forth to evangelize. They are less direct, seeking to only confront the issues when they see them and they have the energy to speak to it.
The point here is to conform to social conventions the generation manipulating the clap backs to the new generation have bought into. It happened to them. They will pass it on to the next.
In the case of Baby Boomers, they have done this to Generation X and are shifting their attentions, quite vehemently, to the Millennials. This is why you see so many articles condemning Millennials. I saw the same thing when I was coming up, depicting my GenX as lazy good for nothings. (Google articles from the 1990s.) Unfortunately, my generation took it, and absorbed it, and largely accepted it, conforming to the expectations of their parent’s and other elders. We trusted they knew what they were saying. But, even if we didn’t, our own generation folding to the pressure began to reiterate the mantras.
A great example of this happened in 2016 during the primaries and election in the United States. Baby Boomers (especially white cisgender women) on the left cursed the Millennials on the left for not conforming and costing us the election. Never mind that there were enthusiastic supporters of Clinton from the Millennial group. Regardless, Boomers employed GenX in the brow beating they believed would make these young people comply and give them what they wanted. It was not about doing the right thing. Boomers largely had this vision in mind and thought they could leverage their years as good enough reason for others to listen and comply. What they ignored, buying into their own hazing of the Millennials, is that they were talking down to a group that is really quite savvy. Millennials are the children of GenX and Boomers. GenX hadn’t been completely beaten down when they started having kids, and they were teaching them the activism they had learned from their parents before those people were forced to comply by Traditionalists. (Remember the anti-hippy talk of the older generations during the 1960s? Those are Traditionalists.)
Just like I saw happen with GenX, I’ve witnessed a number of Millennials currying favor with Boomers and others by agreeing that their own generation is a real problem. So what are the problems these generations claim Millennials have? One is that they don’t have drive, they don’t stay in the jobs they take, their way of dressing and doing their hair, and their use of technology. It’s the usual list of complaints the older generation has for the next, because those are the things that were said to them. They learned this list and are now going to pass on the hurts to make for a buy in to the social dynamic they accepted. I’m still trying to figure out why that is so important to them to do. These were the people who brought us the Civil Rights Movement, Women’s Liberation, Free Love, and a number of other social advances that made us truly more free in the land of the free. It wasn’t perfect, and there is still work to do because they caved to the Traditionalist hazing. That’s why you hear them say, it’s too hard, as an excuse to GenX and Millennials why they wouldn’t take their issues on. They would take a long time to achieve and we needed to be realistic about it.
Well, pardon Millennials for not buying that crap. They’ve watched things come into being quite fast for their whole lives, so they know you’re blowing smoke up their ass. The problem is that the issues of today aren’t filling the sails of those in a place of power, those who can make things happen.
First of all, Millennials are driven, they’re out there looking for the right job and not taking shit in the meantime. They don’t have to, just because another generation did. Why are we still attacking people based on their clothing and style choices? I thought we were growing past the bullying and shaming. I also thought that we matured when we grew older, but I’m not seeing that here. As for technology, I think the complaints about Millennial use of technology is based on a fear of evolving technology and how it may make us irrelevant.
Perhaps hazing for conformity is about that, too. Boomers, Traditionalists, and even members of GenX are scared they will be irrelevant. I’m happy to say that GenX seems to be quite supportive of Millennials for the most part, recognizing their not gonna take shit attitudes and appreciating it. Millennials don’t want to waste time on things they know don’t work, or learn are not working. I have a lot of respect for that. I also really respect that they know
they deserve better than what they are being handed. They’re not going to work themselves to death for crumbs. Not one generation discussed here should work themselves to death for crumbs, but they have and they think others should be proud to do the same. I think that’s just insane. You should want better for the future, for your children and grandchildren.
Instead of fighting Millennials, realize that what they are exhibiting are strengths. Learn to work with them instead of pushing the fight to change them into another generation who gives up and takes the few crumbs they can grasp on the way out. Millennials are facing a lot of issues that were accepted and exacerbated by the very people trying to condemn them, and that is a huge pile crap. It’s abusive, in fact (gaslighting). Hazing for conformity here will only cripple our society further, possibly irrevocably. So let’s not haze them. Let’s listen to them and figure out what we share in common and get to work accomplishing that too hard to change list of things that has needed our attention for decades. Because, GenZ is on the way, and they deserve better than this, too.
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The Trailokya Trilogy Companion is a continuing online manuscript that illustrates and explains some of the details of the story, helping readers to keep things straight while they travel through the series. Readers can view this live companion book on Wattpad (either using the website or an app for their phone) absolutely free.
The companion is organized in alphabetical sections for convenience. In each section, the entries are organized like a dictionary along with original artwork and excerpts from the Trailokya Friday blog posts. In the coming weeks and months the blog will feature specific entries, to give you a taste of what is available in the companion.
The life contract, or plan for incarnation.
Dharma clearly insinuates Buddhist teachings in the Trailokya Trilogy. The overall premise of the books was to take ancient beliefs, even modern ones, and have them emanate from a point outside of ready awareness for humans (and all souls). Obviously the ideas and points of view are focused from a human lens, because this story wishes to relate to that audience and suggest something bigger to them in the intertexts they live daily. Not every point will be reflected in a readers understanding, but that helps give the stories a lasting depth. As time goes by for readers, they may wish to revisit the books, and there will still be things there that surprise them.
In the context of Trailokya, Dharma means the life path mapped out by an atman wishing to incarnate, and the subsequent contract developed in agreeing to let them do so. In the Buddhist faith, it means the teaching or religion of the Buddha. In the sister religion of Hinduism, it is the principle of cosmic order. (Google). Making Dharma the life path mapped out and contracted, does honor these principles, because these contracts are taken quite seriously by those creating them, and they are the point of all the bureaucracy and effort put into one another by the citizens of Zion. Eventually, these contracts lead to another existence in Nirvana.
While dharma doesn’t follow the religions exactly, it does honor them. The reason for not taking it verbatim was the premise of the book that atman who incarnate have flawed memories of their home world, if they have them at all. Thus, to have dharma defined exactly the same would suggest absolute validation of this memory on my part. That single act could unwind the entire series. Why would they remember what dharma was but not anything else?
It is also presumptuous on our parts to assume that we know things beyond our consciousness and reality without an ounce of doubt. Still, the word dharma was created centuries ago to embody a specific idea that Buddhists and Hindus sought to define. Keep in mind that these religions do not exactly agree on the definition of that word either.
“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” ― Albert Einstein
“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” ― Nikola Tesla
“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” ― Jane Austen
"I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass." — Maya Angelou
“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.” ― Winston S. Churchill
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” ― Anais Nin
“A strong woman understands that the gifts such as logic, decisiveness, and strength are just as feminine as intuition and emotional connection. She values and uses all of her gifts.” ― Nancy Rathburn
“The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.” ― Nikola Tesla