Swag and Rune Research

I’m gearing up for the blog tour for the release of Murder Once Seen in December, and the question came up about prizes for giveaways and swag.


About my only knowledge of swag is from a fantasy book I wrote under another name that I created bookmarks for. That book never did very well, and I never needed to think about other types of swag that authors use. But now I have to plan not only this book, but several more since it’s a series.

So I started doing some research.

Derwin Bryant is one of the two main characters–he’s a bounty hunter, plus he also hunts demons for extra cash. (The government pays people like him to help rid the cities of the demons which are like vermin, infesting any area they can and preying on humans). As a protection against demons he has a rune around his navel. In the book I describe it as circular, so I started searching for designs that would fit and have some real historical background. My thought was to use it as the basis for some kind of logo for the series, where I could print it on various items like perhaps key chains or knives, and make a temporary tattoo as well.

While searching Google images, I came across something I thought might work nicely–it was an amulet called a “Seven Seals Kabbalah.”


This got me wondering what “kabbalah” was–at first I thought this particular amulet was tied to Jewish kabbalah, which is a branch of Judaism that apparently goes back to the Middle Ages. (This made sense to me, as I could imagine people in the 12th century wanting amulets to ward off evil spirits.) But most Jewish kabbalah’s use Hebrew script; the theory is that there is a power to each Hebrew letter to invoke things. When I dug deeper into this particular amulet, I learned that this one actually is Islamic. The seven seals in Islam are the seven letters that makes up the “Great Name” of Allah, in Judaism seven great words that stand for God, and in Christian faith are the seven seals mentioned in Revelations.  In Islam, the magical uses of the symbols include exorcism, curing epilepsy, evading execution, releasing a prisoner, winning battles, finding hidden treasure, and securing respect and love.

Neat, huh? And oh so very appropriate for Derwin Bryan to use as protection against demons in the Oddities books.

Once I get a final design for the tattoo, I’ll post that here as well.


Research on the fly


God, I love the Internet.

Time used to be, if you were writing a book or a story and you needed to know more about a subject, you had to stop writing, head over to your local library, and dig up books about the subject. When I was younger I used to collect books about all kinds of subjects, so that whenever I needed to know something like medicinal herbs or the name of that one little piece on the underarm of a suit of armor, I’d be able to look it up at home.

Of course this was before the Internet.

Nowadays I’ll be typing along, tippity tap, and then I realize, hey! I need to know what kind of plants grow in gardens in the forests outside Seattle, WA. So I just type into my search engine, and voila.

Instant research.

And with that little tidbit, I go right back to writing

Gotta love modern technology and all the knowledge we now have at our fingertips.