söndag 31 maj 2015

Lies, Damn lies and Google Analytics

As a writer and website creator one becomes very eager to see what kind of people reads your stuff and, how many they are and if they return after visiting the page once. In this blog-post I shall study three such tools to find the best one. The  three tools I have chosen is One.coms internal statistics tool, the well known google analytics and wattpad, a community for writer. Naturally, a link to the latest chapter of jackalopes follows below.

One.coms internat statistics tool is a bit hard to read and not very wide in what it studies, but it is useful for seeing if people return after already having visited the site.

Wattpad is very usual for finding out if a reader reads more than the first chapter, which chapter was most liked and so on. The only thing I miss is a function to jump straight to unread comments, as note system is quite cluttered, making new ones easy to overlook.

Google analytics is well known but may be a bit confusing to implement to those that do not know anything about coding. For anybody knowing even a little bit about website making will find it very easy to use. Google analytics measures a lot of thing, but the most useful things not measured on the two other is age and country statistics.

And now for the links!

söndag 24 maj 2015

This week, two chapters of jackalopes!

Jane, the heroine of jackalopes, is bad at magic. The reason for this is twofold. On one side every hero must have a flaw. Jane´s is being bad at magic (and her curiosity making her fiddle around with machinery she knows nothing about and reading every private letter and report she comes across). The second reason is that it prevents the plot from being resolved too easily. By making Jane bad at magic I am forced to come up with more interesting ways for her to handle her problems than just waving her hand. I also dislike putting some ancients law in place that governs the rule of magic, like:

Oh Mr Wizard, a great beast is attacking us! Could you find it in our heart to perchance throw a few fireballs his way?”
Oh, but I am bound by the vague and not to mention ancient laws not to interfere, so have fun being chewed to bits. Maybe I could offer some advice about your destiny as a hero? Oh, guess you are already dead...”

The only series I have seen that has restrictions on magic and makes it come over as natural is the Discworld series, where magic is repeatedly demonstrated as being rather like nuclear power and you really should not overuse it.

When I read a fantasy story I usually like to think about how magic works in the world described. Even if a author´s world is full of wizards and may even have some as main characters the nature and mechanics behind magic is not usually described in detail. The reason for this can vary. Perhaps the author feel silly describing methods that do not work in the real world, thus forcing an unnecessary suspension of disbelief. Perhaps the authors wishes to avoid religious people going crazy about how “the book teaches witchcraft”. Nevertheless I have though a little about it and decided on how magic works in my stories.
While rereading the Harry Potter series as well as my all-time favorite book Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (in anticipation of the upcoming BBC series in May) I came up with a few neat ideas. Magic in Harry Potter seems to come down to innate talent and repetition. You repeat words and motions with your wand and the magic is done. In most cases you must do something special, like imagine something funny to ward of a boggart or something happy to drive off a dementor, but magic seems to come down to training and will. In Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, magic comes down to studying and changing and improving existing spells according to general principals, and anybody can do it. Often the characters have to createe their own spells using magical theory. There are however some spells that simply do not work since there are not enough magic left in England (where the novel takes place) since the magician king and his fairies left. Personally I think, if magic worked and being a magician was a job just like any other, I figure it would be a lot like programming. At first you learn easy things like:


<p>Hello World!</p>


And changing it to:


<p>This is my magical spell!</p>


In my mind, learning magic would be more like sitting with dreary textbooks and learning the multiplication-tables instead of the somewhat colorful magic of both Harry Potter and Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell and being a magician is rather like being an overworked civil servant. At first you will not be able to do that much, and even then only accomplish things others have created for you, making small changes as you go along. Only after learning the basics can you learn to change the programming (or spell) to create your own stuff.
After enough training, you may even be able to use several languages (or schools of magic, red, blue, grey and so forth) to make your very own website (or spellbook)! I imagine code be like spells, it is easy to make them work but a really talented programmer or mage may streamline the code/spells so that little memory/mana is used. The code must also be tidy so other magicians can use it easily and co-operation for big magical projects made possible.

Hope that made sense...

Link to chapter 4-5:

söndag 17 maj 2015

Jackalope chapter 3


Most of the action in jackalopes takes place in the underworld. The underworld of this story is a very dangerous place that all dead souls must pass on their way to paradise. In my design document I noted that the it should be based on equal measures of Mayan (the monsters and traps), Greek (general dreariness) and particularly Egyptian (the knowledge of protective spells and the one safe path) view of the afterlife. Egyptian mythology is very fascinating to me and the focus on knowing about the one true path is somewhat similar to the Christian view of Jesus as the one true path. As I wrote in the blog-post before this one, I want the main idea of the story (jackalopes leaving paradise to help dead souls to safety) to be relatable to all kind of people. Guarding the soul of the dead can be like being a security guard or police-officer, for example.
As I write in the last post Jackalopes is in essence, a story about giving up or temporarily leave a privileged position. I do not necessarily mean that in the religious sense, either. I also meant this story to be applicable to for example rescue-workers or similar. Even office workers fit into the story as Jane has to go through quite a lot of paperwork, induction and training before becoming a jackalope.

But what of the underworld itself? The first and foremost feeling I want to convey when designing the underworld is confusion. Not only for the shades being stuck in a strange and dangerous place with no hope of returning to life but also for the jackalopes sent to protect them. The main two ways I have used in my writing in order to make the underworld confusion is firstly to make the transition of time and space somewhat dreamlike. Characters and places can move around with no rhyme or reason. For example a character the main heroine met can be sent away on a faraway mission and then reappear quite suddenly from a nearby room without anyone noticing anything weird. Time is also vague, and it is always uncertain how fast the days go by since the underworld is always dark, and characters are always surprised when talking about what time it is.
The second way I have made the underworld confusing is by adding elements from different mythologies, myths and surreal things that simply do not make any sense (exactly what I mean by that you have to read the story to find out). I wanted to imply that people have built cities, towns and temple all over the underworld for times immemorial and as they left everything just crumbled or was reused by people coming after leaving a mix-maxed world of strange architecture and machines that a few, but not all shades know what they are for. The underworld itself has had many rulers leaving their mark on it, its borders changing constantly (the underworld has two neighbouring countries, so to speak, Hell and the borderworld of Xibalba).
Even for the jackalope lot of it is very mystical and weird. The only constant though the underworld is the safe path!

I do plan on making a series of jackalope books (although very slowly since I have several other ideas I wish to explore in-between books) and in this first one we explore just the first third of the underworld. We explore the outer darkness (a term lifted from the bible) the borderworld of Xibalba (lifted from Mayan mythology, Sami dream shamanism and er, Half-Life). Lastly, and most importantly, we explore thirteen of the twenty-three pylons and are dotted along the safe path through the underworld. These pylons are the main base of the jackalopes and there the heroine of the story, Jane, will meet several different friends, mentors and other denizens of the underworld. This story was very interesting to write because the main villain changed three times during me writing this. All three characters are still in the book.

Can YOU guess who were originally the main villain?

I guess I should provide a little of the text or otherwise provide a favourite scenario of mine. Since the whole book will be provided for free on my website I think I will just discuss some of my two favourite scenes. Actually, the two scenes are related. The first is Jane stumbling upon the kitchen of a pylon and conversing with one of the chefs. I wanted to show that work to save others is not all about heroics but also providing for them and feeding them. The hustle and bustle of the kitchen with people running to and fro and small imps pushing down ingredients into the cauldrons and pans below is quite vivid and a scene I am very happy with. The other one is Jane camping with a couple of other jackalopes and a emissary from the religion of Ray, the fox god. It is a nice little example of ecumenism and understanding between religions as Jane and the emissary compares notes between what their gods are like.

Chapter 3:

söndag 10 maj 2015

Jackalope chapter 2 is up!

These series of articles shall discuss Jackalopes, a story I have been working on for the past two years and which is finally coming to its end. Jackalopes concerns Jane, a rabbit living in paradise. This paradise has more to do with the more earthly paradise of celtic mythology than the monotheistic concept of Heaven or the enlightenment of Nirvana. A great inspiration was the Irish Tír na nÓg, the land of the eternally young. This paradise is ruled over by a being called The Silvercrowned One and his wife Permeter.
In this setting, all dead souls must pass through the underworld, a dark and dangerous place where demons or other dangers can destroy or trap your soul forever. Souls that pass the underworld can reach the paradise of The Silvercrowned One or any other realms they chose to go to. After seeing some new arrival walk into paradise for the first time, Jane decides to join the elite guards of the underworld, the eponymous jackalopes. Jackalopes is, in essence, a story about giving up or temporarily leave a privileged position. I do not necessarily mean that in the religious sense, either. I also meant this story to be applicable to for example rescue-workers or similar. Even office workers fit into the story as Jane has to go through quite a lot of paperwork, induction and training before becoming a jackalope.
This article shall discuss designing this paradise, which was quite fun. Places such as the aforementioned Tír na nÓg is usually ruled over by some fey creature whose name must not be spoken. The Silvercrowned One is identical to Tymor the Trickster in my earlier works. This paradise is located over several planets (which the spirits within can jump between freely) but centered on two particular places; the silver city and the smiling moon.
Silver is the metal of magic, purity, the unconscious and the feminine. themes I wish to explore in jackalopes. Magic and the unconscious refers to the underworld and its dreamlike landscapes and buildings (one of the stories stronger points if I do say so myself). The female refers to the fact that most of the main characters of the book, as well as Jane´s companions, are female. As a writer you may regard yourself as a SJW feminist and still make all your characters male and the few females you create passive out of habit and/or genre conventions. (To take an example from my own writings, Super Power and The mushroom-shaped giga ship has ten main character with just ONE being female) In order to force myself to avoid this.
Silver is also a symbol of the moon, which ties nicely into the smiling moon. The smiling moon is the abode of The Silvercrowned One and the symbol of the jackalopes. As you may imagine it is a perpetual crescent moon with thin dark channels dug into it, making it looks like a giant grin hangs in the sky. The moon connotes the subconscious, once again referring to the underworld.

We never visit the smiling moon in this first book but see a little of the silver city. It is described as a abnormally large city with gigantic gates and grand streets with statues of all the mayor players in lapine mythology. There are shops and little restaurants coupled with large white mansions. There are also more traditional dwellings of tunnels just outside the city itself. We hear about two other paradises as well (but do not visit them); the kingdom of Ray Firecrowned and the battlefields of Id on Mars. The first one is vaguely based on the Egyptian afterlife of Aaru and the battlefields are vaguely Valhalla-ish. We do not actually visit these places because I want the story to focus on the underworld (paradise is only briefly seen at the beginning and very end of the book). Naturally we visit a few places along the way, such as the borderworld of Xibalba and even a faraway planet, but more about that later.

For the next article we shall take a closer look at the underworld, the dangerous land Jane will traverse as a jackalope. Until then, enjoy reading the second chapter of jackalopes on my website. Chapter two can be found:


lördag 2 maj 2015

Jackalopes introduction; Lepus Cornutus Invictus

Traditional rabbit song from Smilitass, West Virginia
Where´s the way the shades are walking?
Where´s the feet that crushed the cleavestones?
Are you asking
What´s that thunder
Rolling in the caves and caverns?
I am urged, yes forced to tell you
Of the rivers and the grottos
Of the fierce-proud jackalopes

They are in the deep of cosmos
Under borderworld Xibalba
They are skull-flames in the darkness
Lighters of the smoke and builders
Of the pylons and the great roads
That leads from here into hereafter
By the shores of river Lethe
In the mountains, near the forest
Betwixt the dream cave and the danger
Of the deep-steep walls of fire
In the house of shades and ladies
Horns of fire, ears of heart-smoke
Steps held windward, will-hearts flaring
Teeth to cut the ancient demons
The sound of thunder all beneath us
Is the stomping of their laughter
Rebounding from shaman to scrivener
Of the fierce-proud jackalopes
Hear me sing the song of legends
And the hope of the departed

Chapter zero; the sermon of the mall

Although the man was eager to get home as soon as possible after a frankly terrible day at work he could not help but leaf through the little book somebody had left on the shelf just beside the vegetables. It seemed to be some sort of comic deciphering a man dying. The man in the comic was confidently saying I know there is nothing beyond here; you are DEAD and that is IT. I have always believed that!. It then showed the man awakening in shock in some sort of dark realm, lost and panicking. He fell from a cliff as he blindly stumbled and fell into a flowing river of sharp scissors. WHY did no one warn me of THIS!?” he said with accusation to the reader as he was cut apart. It was so silly, yet so grotesque in its cartoonish simpleness, that the man reading could not help but continue to read out of a sense of morbid curiosity.


It is said that the only place of the underworld mortals can enter is the dream cave. Shamans like to say that only they know the road to that cave and bring back hidden wisdom, but it is not true in the slightest. Like a priest that try to monopolize spirituality, or worse, make it into a general sort of hoppityhop of beliefs where anything goes. You shall avoid them all like the pain of the myxomatosis! Wait, that is a curse fit for a rabbit, and you are a human (I think…you can never be too sure nowadays!) The point I was making is that anybody can access the underworld and the dream cave. You enter them when you dream, of course.
Do not expect to learn anything of value, though. Maybe the shamans and priests were right after all…work experience do pay off, in spiritual as well as mundane matters! And the way to see the underworld is to die, needless to say, so you will definitely enter that place at some point, good for you!


Everything was crooked and strange, and she gasped for breath. What was going on?
Hurry, hurry! Hurry and wake up, get a doctor quick!” he was shaking her violently, making her head crack and her view become even more crooked.
Stop, you fool” she thought.
You are just making it worse!”
Despite her predicament, she smiled up at him and closed her eyes. That a simple after-training walk could go so wrong…And to add insult to injury this had been her chance to finally exchange silver for gold!


Four thousand and four hundred years is a very long time, or at least it is as long as you are alive. But the more time you experience, the less a year seems (especially if those are years of pure bliss and peace). And what is four thousand years, after all? The universe, our universe, is after all about 14 billion years old. Thinking about such great spans of time is like looking into an abyss, giving you both a headache and a fearful sense of vertigo, for such amounts of time are more than we can grasp. Mortals prefer to think about time in smaller measures, but those in the otherworlds do not.
Oh, we study and measure time easily enough, they are after all nothing more than just more big numbers, but we can't truly FEEL them. We all know what a second, a minute, an hour, an week or a year feels like; a million (or 14 billion) years is beyond all human experience. But there are actually beings that have lived for that long, and longer still. One of these beings is Tymor, normally called The Silvercrowned One after the light that emanates from the head of Tymor. Tymor is the deity and creator of the hare and rabbits. If you asked Tymor from where it had come from, Tymor would laugh and claim to have pulled itself out of a hat long ago. This, however, is just a answer stemming from god´s unwillingness to answer the questions that truly matter.
What then, about the demons? Well, nobody seems to know that, exactly. Research has been made, but nothing in the land of mortals, the underworld or the otherworlds seem to be able to explain how they came about. The only one who claims to know is the hell-god Tanas, and he is extremely hard to get a hold of for a little one-on-one talk. The general consensus is that the demons come from somewhere beyond these realms, otherwise known as the borderworld of Xibalba, although even this is uncertain.

Anyway, that is really not what I wanted to talk about. This is not even the true start of the story, but rather an introduction to get you into the mood. The source of all evil, the demons and devils in this world may be inexplicable, but the source of goodness is not! This story is about one of the most selfless and good organizations there are. Every day they put themselves in danger, their very souls being the stake, for the sake of everyone. And this is quite ironic, since you cannot even be saved by them until after you have died! Confused? I am naturally talking about the jackalopes!

Link to chapter one: