Mark Neumayer

author of the Valda & the Valkyries series

Category: Words

Looking for Critique Partners and Beta Readers

By Leonid Pasternak [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Ideally, these people would like fantasy work geared towards upper MG/lower YA, because that’s what I write. I have one book up on Amazon and the next is done awaiting final polish at 89k words.

I am thick-skinned about my work and prefer to hear honest reactions to it. On the flip side if you want me to look at something of yours, I will nicely tell you what I think is wrong with it. I like reading all sorts of stuff myself: fantasy; science fiction; mysteries; action/adventure/espionage and more.

If you’re interested in working with me get in touch and we can start small with a chapter exchange and take it from there. Thanks!

Stand Up and Write

StandingDesk (Small)This is the 99th post here at As I have approached post number 100 on the blog I have been thinking a lot about why I do this and what I want to do going forward from this point. I have also been trying to pick up on the intersections between what you all like to read and what I like to create.

You might have noticed that I rarely blog about the process of my writing. Yes, I write novels and I have them up for sale and I would be immensely happy if lots and lots of people bought them. But I think there are way too many writers out there already who delight in sharing the minutiae of daily word count and every other imaginable detail of their writing lives. That just isn’t me.

I like to share cool things I have run across online, point out odd things I see in the myths, or highlight an artist that is doing great work. I’ll post my own artwork as well although I am the first one to admit that I am still developing in that area. It has all been a lot more fun than I thought it would be and that is what I want to keep in mind going forward from here: this should be fun for you and for me.

I am going to break with my usual trend and share a tiny bit of my process today. This is my new writing space. It is in the same room where my wife makes and ages her handmade soaps so the place smells great. We had a stack of scrap wood in the shed. I have been wanting a stand-up writing desk for some time. This past week I put those two things together and came up with this desk. Not the fanciest thing in the world. It is a little clunky in shape because the wood wasn’t long enough and I had to splice a lot of it together. But it works like a charm and I am very happy with the stand-up writing experience. I have got a chair standing by in case I get too tired. However I cranked through a 1,500 word session the other day without a problem so things are looking good right now.

I am putting together something special for post #100.  Still a bit of polish to go on it but I will be sharing it soon. See you then.

Kennings are Cool

Viking Dragon Ship from a Northumbrian manuscript

Kennings are a kind of word-play that originated back in Old English, Old Norse and Germanic poetry. Kennings create a new compound word or phrase that replaces another one. The best kennings are creative and make you think about something in a new way. Probably the most famous kenning from the olden days was using the phrase whale-road to talk about the sea. (Since a whale travels through the sea in the same sense that a man travels along a road.) Blood became slaughter-dew or battle-sweat, the sun becomes a sky-candle and a king is giver-of-gold. These were poetical phrases and we’ve lost some of the alliteration as the words are translated, but you can still see the beauty of the imagery in many of the old phrases. You can find a list of more Norse kennings here.

When I first read about these I thought they were the neatest thing. I’ve been writing a long time and I love witty word-play and that is what kennings are all about. I was a little bummed that we don’t have modern day kennings. This wouldn’t be the first time that my first impression was wrong because while I was looking for more kennings I came across this page from one Dr. Wheeler of Carson-Newman College and I saw that there are more kennings around us than we may first realize. Have you ever told a rug-rat to shut their pie-hole? Then you’ve used a kenning. Some other modern ones are beer-goggles, gas-guzzler, boob-tube, tramp-stamp, eye-candy, cancer-stick, fat-cat and wall-flower

Try making up some of your own and add them into the comments, but please, keep them clean, we don’t allow potty-mouths on the blog.

Posted by Mark Neumayer

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