Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wednesday Weird: The Nampa Doll

On August 1, 1889, professional well-driller M.A. Kurtz was working near his home in Nampa, Idaho, along with two crewmen, when their steam pump spat out a piece of brownish clay about an inch and half long.

The clay, though, was shaped like a man.

Which, wouldn't be that big a deal except for the fact that the little clay "doll" had come from below a 15-foot layer of lava rock, 100 feet of sand, 6 inches of clay, 40 feet of more sand, then 165 feet composed of clay, sand, clay nodules mixed with sand, and coarse sand layers - 320 feet down.

The small doll is composed of half clay and half quartz, and according to at least one expert not the product of a small child or amateur.

Though badly worn, the doll`s appearance is still distinct: it has a bulbous head, with slightly discernible mouth and eyes, faint geometric markings found mostly on the chest around the neck, and on the arms and wrists which may represent clothing or jewelry. The broken leg was most likely caused by the drill.

The pump for the drill only worked in one direction - meaning, if the doll had fallen into the hole from above, it would have been destroyed by the pump. In a study, a professor found quartz grains under the doll`s right arm had been cemented by iron molecules which also indicates extreme age.

Geologists know the lava rock layer occurred before the last ice age. Scientists estimate the layer in which the doll was found at is over 300,000 years old.

Today, the Nampa doll is on exhibit at the Idaho State Historical Society in Boise.

Thoughts and theories?

Monday, August 25, 2014

In Which I Spend Some Of My Advance

So, as I may have mentioned, my book ALL THAT REMAINS sold this year. WOO!!

It's still awesome when I think about it, (and sometimes it doesn't feel real).

I'd always planned that if I ever sold a book, I would buy something fun with some of my advance money. I think this is something that EVERYONE should do. Because, yes, I have bills. And house repairs. And pet repairs. And a bunch of stuff I should buy for responsible reasons. And I should also just sit on any money and not touch it unless I have to.

But also. I sold a damn book, and that's awesome and really the culmination of a crap ton of hard work over a lot of years. And, you know, living the dream and all that.

So, yes, there should be some celebration with that money. Something that you can keep forever, so you can always look at it and think "I bought that with the money I earned from writing a book".

I know some people buy art, which is an awesome idea. But I am out of wall space in my house, so that wasn't quite for me.

Jewelry was the obvious idea, but I also have a lot of jewelry and I don't get to wear it all, even the pieces I love. But my mom thought I should buy a ring, because I don't have any rings and it's something I could just wear all the time.

I was a little skeptical at first until we started looking at rings.

So I decided I would wait until august when the MN Renfest starts (and of which I hold a season pass) to check out the jewelers there before I bought anything. I figured the renfest jewelers would be good because A) a lot of them are small businesses so it's always nice to support those. B) because they are handmade, everything is unique. C) and because many of them sell wedding rings, I figured there would be some high-end stuff, which was what I was aiming for.

So this weekend I went ring shopping. I had narrowed it down to 2 shops, but one just won me over.
And here's the ring I bought!

I went with amethyst, since it's my birthstone

I will never be a hand model

So there you have it! I sold a book, and I bought a ring, so I can always remember this awesomeness.

How about you? Have you ever bought anything fun with money you earned from writing? Or if not, what would you think about buying with writing money?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday Fun

It's Friday! Woooo! That means it's time for the weekend! Which means a bunch of fun!

So let's get to it!



Chalk art


The Moeraki Boulders are a big attraction, found on Koekohe Beach near Moeraki on New Zealand’s coast. The huge, gray, spherical stones formed in sediment on the sea floor 60 million years ago and were revealed by shoreline erosion. The boulders, some of which stand alone and some in clusters, can weigh several tons and measure 10 feet across



Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wednesday Weird: The Hill Abduction

Today we're talking about one of the most formative alien abduction reports ever, a case that is still discussed today. It was the first widely publicized account of an abduction, and would later include a best selling book and a TV movie starring James Earl Jones.

Betty and Barney Hill were driving home to New Hampshire from a vacation in Niagara Falls in September 1961.

At about 10pm the couple noticed what they thought was an unusual bright star, until it began to move erratically. Keeping their eye on it, they finally pulled over and Barney used binoculars on the object. Through the lenses he saw that it wasn't a star or an airplane, but some sort of lighted object with people inside.

Terrified, Barney and Betty sped off in their car. They lost sight of the object, but heard a few beeps, then immediately heard the beeps again and suddenly found themselves thirty-five miles closer to home, with no idea how they'd gotten there.

When they reached home they were worried about what had happened. Betty thought maybe they'd had some sort of encounter with a flying saucer and put their luggage on the back porch for a few days, in case there was radiation. They both took lengthy showers, then tried to piece together their memories, but they could only remember flashes, like the moon sitting on the road, and Betty though Barney had turned off the road at some point. They drew images of what they thought they had seen and their pictured were strikingly similar. Their sense of unease continued.

Betty called Pease Air Force Base to report what they had seen and was told by Major Paul W. Henderson that the object had appeared on radar as well. Their account would officially be added to Project Blue Book, but, as usual, was later written off as the couple seeing Jupiter.

A short time later, Betty began to have nightmares. The dreams were extremely vivid and continued for 5 continuous nights and then stopped abruptly and she never had them again. She wrote down the details of her dreams, which included:

  • Men surrounding their car - they were about 5 foot tall, wore matching uniforms, looked mostly human except for bald heads large, wraparound eyes, small ears, almost non-existent noses and gray skin
  • Being marched through the forest and walking up a ramp to a disc shaped craft and then being separated from Barney
  • Two of the men examined her, and while both spoke English, she felt one didn't have a good command of the language and she had troubles understanding him
  • They took skin, fingernail and hair samples
  • When done, Betty had a conversation with one of the men, who gave her a book with strange symbols and said she could take it with her. She asked where he was from and he pulled down a map covered with stars.
  • They were escorted out of the craft and a disagreement broke out and one of the men took the book back from Betty and told her that she wouldn't remember anything that happened.
  • Betty and Barney watched the craft leave, then continued their drive.
Later, the couple would sit down and map their drive and realize that somewhere on their trip they had lost two hours.

Barney would continue to especially feel much unease and would finally see a therapist. A friend of theirs suggested they try regressive hypnotherapy and Barney's therapist was able to get them in touch with someone.

In Barney's sessions he would recall feeling compelled to drive off the road, where six men were waiting in the forest for them. His recall of the non-human figures were filled with fear and he said he kept his eyes closed during the encounter and examinations which were very similar to what Betty had written down when recalling her dreams.

Go to the 2 minute mark of this video to hear some of their regression therapy sessions.

In Betty's sessions, her memories would match very closely with the dreams she had had, but where they differed included their capture and release, the appearance of the men who had taken them and some of the technology of the craft. Though Some of Betty's regression therapies contradicted her dreams, both Barney and Betty's regression therapies were consistent with each other.

After the sessions the Hills were no longer plagued by anxiety over what had happened to them, and Barney finally agreed with Betty that he had felt they'd been abducted.

So, there you have it, the Hill Abduction case. Thoughts or theories?

Monday, August 11, 2014

In Which I Talk Pinterest (Again)

So, yeah, I've definitely written a post on Pinterest before. But I still love it and think it's time for me to do another post.

This one, though, will be more focused on how Pinterest can be awesome to use if you're a writer.

One of the main uses of Pinterest for writes is to make a pinboard for your novels or stories. You can keep any inspirational images or character photos or scenery related to your novel.

I have pinboards for both ATR:




And also for my still untitled WIP:




So for specifics, it works really well.

But another way I use it is to try and shore up things I am not great at. Like describing clothing. Nope, not great at that.

Then I realized I could make a more general pinboard for character clothing and weapons, and then whenever I was trying to describe what a character might be wearing, I could look through the board, see if there was an outfit that matched what I was going through, and then use that as a reference for more detailed descriptions.

So, yeah. I wish I had figured that out a lot sooner because it would have been helpful.

If you haven't given Pinterest a try, I highly recommend it! And if you are on Pinterest, fire me your user name, I'd love to follow you! I'm right here or you can search for me via Sarah Ahiers.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Friday Fun

Well, it's Friday, ape-friends. Which means it's time for the weekend!

This is a good thing, but the bad thing about the weekend is that it means we're one step closer to all the weekdays. But I'm going to close my eyes and pretend they're not there. Just like when my mom takes a photo of me.

If I ignore the camera and my mom, they don't exist

But anyway, onto the fun!









Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Insecure Writer's Support Group

Time for IWSG!

I am honestly shocked that's it's already August.

I mean, what the hell? I know time is relative and all that, but where did the summer go? Seriously! I feel like we JUST got out of winter.

But the good thing about August is it means it's time for the MN Renaissance Festival and the MN State Fair. I will attend both events multiple time and eat too much food and complain about the terrible summer heat.

Other things are going on, of course. Mainly, a lot of writerly things.

Writerly things on my plate:

  • Must tackle and complete all edits for ALL THAT REMAINS from my lovely editor
  • Must try and finish WIP (this is the goal set to me for this semester by my wonderful MFA Mentor Laura Ruby)
  • Begin (and hopefully finish ASAP) sequel to ALL THAT REMAINS.

So, yeah. I mean, it's only three things, but they're not little things. They're just like, oh I don't know, write entire novels and revise entire novels and all that fun stuff.

So, maybe I'm feeling a bit insecure about that. I mean, these are problems to HAVE, amiright? And I'm up for the challenge. I also think there's a good chance that maybe I'll be some sort of maven of productivity and manage to juggle all three of these balls at once.

But there's also a chance I'll drop them all.

Time will tell I'm sure.

Monday, August 4, 2014

In Which I Return From Residency

So I'm back from my MFA residency. Obviously since I  blogged last week and junk.

Residency was great! I got to catch up with any and all friends I hadn't seen for 6 months.

Mainly, these nerds:

But also peeps that aren't in the same class with me. There was also an incoming class and it was fun getting to know the newbs.

Workshop was frickin' awesome, as usual. My workshop instructors were Laura Ruby and Jane Resh Thomas. Tears were cried, but there was also a lot of laughing, and, most importantly, some amazing crits from my fellow workshop peeps and the instructor. I can only hope I gave as well as I got.

Then midweek or so it was time to get our new mentors. I had to say goodbye to the amazing and awesome Anne Ursu, and circle 6 new names for instructors I would want to work with. Then there would be a secret meeting (lovingly called The Sorting Hat) and we would be assigned new mentors based on whom we'd circled and what we wanted to work on this next semester.

I'm going into second semester, which is a lot like first semester except we're expected to write a ten page paper besides our three 5 pagers. This it to start preparing us for the 30 page Critical Thesis we'll have to tackle next semester.

But, Anne made me write a 10 pager last semester so I'm well prepared for that.

So after I circled my names and wondered who I'd get, I was assigned to lovely and talented Laura Ruby!!

I'm so so super excited to work with her, especially after having her as my workshop instructor. Going into the program I was really hopeful I'd get to work with her at some point, so I'm glad I do.

And that's a nutshell of what happened during residency.

How are things going with you? Fill me in on your summer!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Friday Fun

Can you believe it's already August, ape-friends??

This summer is going way too fast, which means I need to start sunbathing a lot more in order to sustain me through the cold, dark winter.

Because it's coming, ape-friends. Oh yes, in Minnesota, Winter is always coming.

So let's have some fun!








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