abtruseperv asked: So someone referred me to bookbub and I came across I Bring the Fire on there and I absolutely love it. Like it is awesome! Loki is adorable and I just can't get enough of his sass and wonder of the modern world.
How wonderful! I’m so glad you are enjoying it. (Enjoyed it?) Thank you for the note.
The Death of Baldur
The Norse religion stretched from Germany to Iceland and was passed down orally for thousands of years; what little we know of it comes from Christian historians. There is a lot of the variety in the tales. One of the tales with the starkest differences is the Death of Baldur. The Death of Baldur is really important because, in one version of the tale, it sets Loki up as “the Bad Guy.” Baldur was supposed to be the Golden God, the personification of spring and summer, wise and just and wonderful—at least in some of the versions of the story.
In one version of the story, after premonitions of Baldur’s death, Frigga, his mother cast a spell over him to protect him from all weapons made of every sort of material except mistletoe. The gods took to throwing weapons at him and watching them bounce off. Loki gave a mistletoe dart to Hodur and helped him aim it. Obviously, in this version of the story Loki is directly responsible for Baldur’s death. (It is also probably an allegory of the change of seasons, but that is more in depth than I want to go here).
In some interpretations of the story, Loki actually kills Baldur as a favor to Odin. Because Hel is the only Realm not destined to be touched by Ragnarok, the end times, putting Baldur in Hel keeps him safe and allows him to be reborn. (After Ragnarok a new, more perfect world is supposed to emerge).
In a very different version of the story, Baldur falls for Nanna, a possibly human woman who has promised herself to the warlord Hothur. Baldur goes around Nanna and gets her father to agree to give Nanna to him as his bride. Nanna resists, as does her beloved Hothur. Hothur goes off, gets a magic sword, and kills Baldur. No Loki whatsoever.
In all the stories of Baldur, I can’t find an incident of him doing much of anything—except trying to take Nanna against her will. But he’s always described as beautiful, wise, etc., etc. I think some of the Christian historians wanted to shoehorn the Norse myths into a Christian framework: Odin is god, Baldur is Jesus, and Loki is, of course, the devil. It becomes a simpler story that way. Good vs. Evil.
If you remove Baldur’s death from the equation, Loki’s one really bad deed is killing the servant at Aegir’s feast in the beginning of the Lokasenna. The problem with that story is that some historians think that the murder was added later by Christians who thought that Loki’s binding in the cave was too harsh for simply insulting all the gods at the feast (and boy, did he insult them. Whew!)
In I Bring the Fire I merged all three stories together to come up with my version of Baldur’s death. I made Loki (probably) the inadvertent killer of the servant—Loki was drunk, and his chaos caused the servant to die when Loki insulted him. A highly unlikely scenario—but likely with intoxication, anger, mixed with a healthy dose of chaos.
Anyway, I really enjoy mixing myths. If there is every any myth that you want the “real” story for, please let me know. I’d be happy to say where I got my inspiration—and where I went completely off on my own merry way. (Sadly, the story of Rind, I did not make up at all. The only thing I did was make Loki a witness to Odin’s misdeeds.)
Engraving is “Balder belurer Nanna” by Frederik Winkel Horn
For a fascinating discussion of how even Satan wasn’t really “evil” in the beginning, follow this link and expand the conversation with Megan Earley. She is a theology student (Ph. D. candidate? I’ll need to confirm. It’s fascinating stuff.)
A month ago I posted I Bring the Fire Part I Wolves on Free-Ebooks.net, and promised I’d follow up with a review of the service. I have a permafree first in series. The main objective of the story is completed (Loki finds out the fate of his missing children and former wife and lover), but then I wander off a little bit further and set up a wicked cliff hanger (if you do this, be prepared for hate…but also love.)
It’s free to upload your stories there, but I signed up for the homepage promotion service, and also to have it put in a weekly newsletter. The total cost was $190—my most expensive advertising outlay to date. Honestly, it was a moment of weakness—it’s normally more expensive I saw the words “SALE”, and I just did it without really even thinking and then later kicked myself. That said…I paid, and now you don’t have to!
- 970 downloads
- I saw no significant bump from being in the newsletter
- Being on the homepage *DID* give me a bump, after my homepage promotion stopped my downloads did too.
- Sell-thru: uncertain. I put links to the Amazon page in the front and back matter. *I THINK* that it kept sales stable through last month when my downloads on Amazon were low until my BookBub promo.
Will I do it again?
The Homepage Promotion, yes, probably. I’m going to update the back matter to have links to Smashwords, Google, and Barnes and Noble. I may even quote some reviews for Monsters and the whole series there too.
Typically, I can expect on a promo where I get 1,000 downloads to earn about $500 down the line...at least on Amazon. (It may be more than that with Fates being out now, and In the Balance being priced at $2.99).
Amazon sell-thru may be better because there are more reviews there, and Amazon offering 70% commission on sales. (B & N, Kobo, and Apple rates are about 50%. Smashwords is 80%, but the site looks dated, and I think it is slightly more cumbersome to upload Smashword docs to your eReader?) Google Play has a nice effective royalty of about 67%…so I’d like to encourage more sales there.
Why Wouldn’t I Do It Again? I am keeping an eye on traffic on Free-ebooks.net. If traffic starts to dip, and I don’t expect to get 1,000 free downloads for my money, I will not attempt it again.
Would I Recommend the Site to Anyone? YES! You don’t have to select a promotion option. Uploading your book is completely free, and if you get a 300 downloads for free, that’s better than some advertisers out there. :-P
Useful information for ALL creative people. Whether you’re writing code, fiction, designing webpages, or doing any type of commissioned art work.
I am reblogging soley on the merits of it’s artistic value.
I live in Chicago, and even before this was the POTUS hometown, GW would come this way every now and then. There were always military helicopters. I know what they sound like.
I wonder if my readers will believe that one of my militarily unsophisticated characters knows the sound? (It’s distinct: very loud, less a buzz and more a roar). If you live in a big city, you’ve probably heard it when the POTUS or other important folks come to visit.
I’m realizing that some of my readers are urban, and northern, and some of my readers are southern and rural. There is a big difference in life experience. In a description I wrote for Fates I had Amy and Beatrice walking along a city street and had a park appear on their right.
My southern, ruralish editor didn’t understand that. But when you’re downtown in Chicago, it’s like you’re walking through a canyon. You can be walking along, and you won’t be able to see a park or open space if it’s on the same side of the street as you are until you’re right next to it. You’ll pass a particularly high building, or come out from under some scaffolding, and it’s just “there”. It “appears” out of nowhere.
And then, some of my southern readers think that 50 degrees is cold. In Chicago, in the winter, kids are at the park if there’s snow and it’s above 15 degrees. If it gets up to 32 degrees it’s a party! I wondered if people wouldn’t believe the last scene in Chaos when the park was filled with children.
For everyone who’s left a positive review of I Bring the Fire in the past few days, thank you so much. They not only help authors attract new readers, they also help us weather the times when we get, oh, say, a bevy of negative reviews all in row. As an author, I know I can’t be all things to everyone, but it’s still no fun. Anyway, I just want to give a big thank you and shout out to Kathy Q, Dnvanselow, Gail K, paul h. bozewski, Digger, Jamie Hobbs, Genevieve Cherry-Sours, Tina Strohmier, Maria, Gary Saunders, and michelle.
Thank you Gary Saunders for your review of Monsters and Chaos. Thank you S. Coury for your review of Fates.
Thanks reviewers on Goodreads too: Verity Brown, Ukgardenfiend, Tina, Maria Victoria Peeler, and Ashley Bordin.
Your kind words and encouragement help me keep writing!
I think I’ve covered these before, but another opinion is always good. I have found that both times I’ve advertised with FKtips I wind up with bad reviews. I’m wondering if I should use it again (it does give a lift to downloads and it isn’t expensive) or skip it.
An update on my Google Play experience…
I was feeling like my Google Play initiative was a bust. After my BookBub promo these were my sales #s after the first four days:
But then…over the last few days, something began happening: My daily downloads of my permafree book are going UP not down on Google Play. It’s appearing near the top of the listings in its categories. The download rate isn’t HUGE; I had 30 downloads last night (whoopee!) But that is MORE than the night before—at Amazon my downloads have been on a slow downward slide since my promo.
Google Play uses Google Search algorithms to help people find books. And there is a reason that Google is number one in search. I have a feeling that crafting a search friendly blurb will become more crucial to Google Play success as the space gets more crowded.
Anyway, I think there is something to this Google Play thing. Looking forward to seeing where it is going.