Welcome to HerdingTheDragon.com!

I'm a writer, a freelancer, a crafter, a nail polish mixatrix, a tea drinker, an unconventional life-liver, a journaling junkie, an introvert, a chronic-pain-sufferer, an idealist, a geek, a TV-lover. Welcome to my corner of the web!

My Instagrammed Life

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Summer Solstice reading for the world!

I have a complicated relationship with summer. I don't do well with heat and excessive light, so I spend most of the summer hiding from both. On the other hand, this is when swimming is an option and when the garden and everything else is most productive. Spring's allergies are gone, but fall, my favorite season, hasn't come yet. Summer in the South lasts a really long time and June is barely the start of it. 

It always weirded me out that the Solstice is also called "midsummer", even though this is just the beginning of it here. 

But I'm in the middle of a project of trying to like the seasons for what they are, so as part of my celebration of summer, here's a five-card reading for you all!

Which means:

Nature's Law is the way the world works independently of humans and their ideas of how it should work; since it's reversed, it means there's an issue with it: either things are not acting naturally, or that's not where we should be focusing. Maybe both, as in, things aren't working because we're looking in the wrong place.

Light is a good card to draw today, the longest day of the year, when we'll be getting the most literal light we'll ever get. This card means everything shining and outward: happiness, activity, movement, the ability to see things as they are before we run into them, not being heavy, not being dark. It tells you to get out there and do stuff and know things.

Ordinary World means the world before the quest--where things aren't necessarily great, but you don't know that yet. The fact that it's reversed means that maybe you do know it now: this isn't the world you started in, and the fact that this is literally a reading for the world makes that interpretation even more pointed. The point of the quest we're all always on is to figure out what we're going to do with that knowledge.

Synchronistic is a cool card: it means the way things that need to be together seem to magically just come together. You find out what you need to know at just the right moment. You find yourself in the right place at the right time. The people you need to know appear in your life right when you need them. It's a card for chance and happenstance, but the sort that's on your side, the sort that's like a gift from the universe.

Air is the card for mental pursuits: talking and communicating, singing and telling stories, thinking and learning. It's about being light and not tied down to more practical things so that you can form the really good ideas. It's a creative card.

All together, this is a pretty good set for a solstice, one about moving forward and learning new things, about things changing and new things moving into place. There's a little bit of a warning in Nature's Law being reversed, and in combination with Ordinary World being reversed, maybe we should look out for stuff we normally wouldn't expect this quarter--probably storms or metaphorical storms, since it's these two cards. Acting and doing and learning and taking advantage of new opportunities never did avoid shaking up the world, though.

And some questions to ask yourself this longest day of the year:
  • What is your relationship with heat and light like? Is there anything you can do to make it better? More useful for what you want to do in your life?
  • What are your absolute favorite summer activities? What can you do to get more of those out of this summer?
  • What would your ideal summer look like? What's keeping it from looking like that and what can you do to make it closer to that?
  • What do you have ripening on the vine? It's not harvest time yet, but what have you been working on that you hope will give you big rewards? Is there a way you can keep it going well?
  • Where are you shining your brightest these days? Is it where you want to be shining?
Happy Solstice!

- For more posts like this, consider giving to my Patreon, linked below! I'll be doing spreads between the ones I do here for my Patrons!

- Today's Change: Now is the perfect time to lighten up and get shining; you're in control of where you put that energy, so where will you put it?

You can find me around the web here:
And on Youtube myself and with Joy for (un)Professional Fangirl

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Chuck Wendig on Twitter, talking about writing, by way of Tumblr


- Today's Change: Figure out your own way to do things, and then ignore people who tell you some other way, so long as the way you figure out is a) healthy and b) getting done what you want done!

You can find me around the web here:
And on Youtube myself and with Joy for (un)Professional Fangirl

Monday, June 19, 2017

Interlinear Books Blog - Bringing Literature to Language Learning

What a cool thing! Interlinear books publishes classic literature in both it's original language and in english so you can practice reading the languages you're learning! They don't look super pretty, but they're definitely useful!

It's a joint project with their website Cooljugator, which helps with verb conjugations in a whole bunch of different languages--which, let me tell you, is super useful.

- Today's Change: Learn a new language! Americans don't learn enough of them, and it helps you see the world differently! 

You can join my mailing lists here:
And you can find me around the web here:
And on Youtube myself and with Joy for (un)Professional Fangirl

Sunday, June 18, 2017

New developments at Sami HQ!

Announcement the first:
I'm freelancing again, and open for work!
If you've got something you need edited or written, contact me for details! I'll have a proper post on costs and services up sometime next week!

Announcement two:
I'm renovating my Patreon!
I've had the account for like a year, but I didn't know what to do about it. Now, however, I think it'd be useful to me and to you, and I'd like to ask your opinions on what you'd like to see there? Here's some stuff I was thinking about including (tho I haven't decided on what levels or whatever; I need to do more research). Likely not all of it would work right off the bat, but I'd start with what has the most interest, you know?:
  • Poetry (I'm also adding this to the blog here, a little)
  • Fanfic
  • High-quality scans of my collages (which will later be available to buy on Redbubble or Society6*)
  • Nail Polish (basically an easy way to get into the Polish of the Month Club without having to pay for the whole thing up front)
  • Flashfic and short stories
  • Mini writing lessons
  • Q&A Posts to answer writing and related questions you guys may have about writing, creativity, journaling, creative living, etc etc
  • Reviews
  • Peeks at new books when they're still raw and fresh
  • Writer worksheets
  • Journaling and Planner printables for creative types
  • Market lists each month--where to publish things
  • Brainstorming sessions with me to help you guys through things
  • Shout outs on my blog for donors, with a link to something you want to get eyes on
  • Space on my guest-blogger list, if you'd like to write something for me
  • Posts for your blogs
  • Card readings for something other than the Full or Dark moons (which are staying here on the blog)
  • Exclusive discounts in all my shops**
  • Character and / or story breakdowns (probably usually of TV or movies) to get the writerly goods out of them
  • Researching and reports on what I find when I do the research
  • A limited number of copyediting sessions each month
  • A limited number of structural edits each month
  • Essays? You guys could pick topics and I'll write about them?
  • Videos?
  • Access to a writing zine I've been thinking about for ages--as in, you'd get the printable pdf, maybe the actual thing, and also you'd have the chance to contribute pages?
  • Off course, random freebies because I'm always doing or making something and I'd love to share with the people who support my doing and making!
  • Lots of pictures and updates and discussions and stuff
  • Maybe writing prompts? Journaling prompts? Monthly competitions where the winners get posted on my blog?
  • And I've wanted to do this for a long time: A publicly-written novel! Donors would get the month's pages and then decide, as a group, where the story should go, to see how it works!
I'm interested in helping people out and using all this stuff I know, but also in collaboration and figuring out new ways of being a creative in a world that kind of isn't built for us. I know I'm not the only one in this position; I'd love to figure it out with you guys.

What do you guys think? 

*Also accounts I have and haven't been using much!
**I have a bunch of them, because of how I randomly start things all over. I want to tie the whole together into a lifestyle.

- Today's Change: Figure out how to take the things you do and make a cohesive whole out of them.

You can join my mailing lists here:

And you can find me around the web here:
And on Youtube myself and with Joy for (un)Professional Fangirl

Saturday, June 17, 2017

ICYMI - Week 24 2017 in links!

This week we skipped the Doctor Who ep to talk about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol2! Daddy issues and pop culture and Baby Groot and all!

And then on Wednesday, we talked about the first eps of our summer shows, Dark Matter and Wynonna Earp! In a few weeks, Killjoys will join the weekly rundown, too!

Here's this week's posts:
I was super super sick all through the middle of the week, which apparently had at least something to do with a massive stormfront moving in! As soon as it started raining yesterday, I went from being crushed under the pressure and unable to even open my eyes or eat, to being pretty much okay, though wiped out by three days of pain and dizziness and nausea. It's not great being sensitive to big changes in weather, and it made it so almost nothing else got done this week, but I made most of my planned posts!

And this week's awesome linkery!

What awesome stuff did you guys find this week?

*Isn't the Continental that ladies-man Christopher Walken character off 90s SNL?
**I flipping LOVE mashups!

You can join my mailing lists here:

And you can find me around the web here:
And on Youtube myself and with Joy for (un)Professional Fangirl

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Danielle Laporte, one of my fav people out there, has a New Thing!

I love everything I've read from Danielle Laporte. I use her Desire Map to help my plan out my months and to figure out my progress through the year. I want those Truthbomb cards like nobody's business. I get them delivered to my email every day, but there's something about how clean and smooth they look...

And now she's got White Hot Truth! "Clarity for keeping it real on your spiritual path" is basically the subtitle of everything she does, I think. Some of what's in the book:

I can't wait to sink my teeth into it! If you can't either, here's the link!

- Affiliate link! If you order, I'll get a little back, but I can assure you that I only recommend stuff I love! Using my links helps me keep my head above water and my blog updating regularly, so have no fear!

Today's Change: Are you sure that you're following the best path for you? Look at what you're believing--and more importantly, why!

You can join my mailing lists here:
And you can find me around the web here:
And on Youtube myself and with Joy for (un)Professional Fangirl

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday - Worldbuilding

I like worldbuilding. It's one of my fav parts of writing--getting to literally create a world and then wander around in it and see what it's about. Here's some stuff I've learned about doing it well:

  1. Know your world as well as the people who live in it, but don't fill whole paragraphs with telling the reader about it--once in a while, something will need to be explained, but do it in the smallest bits you can, and preferably through the characters interacting with whatever you're describing. Try not to have one character explaining things at length to another character if it's something both of them should know; that's super-obviously just you talking to the reader and it ruins the flow.
  2. Not everything needs to be different than the real world--You're allowed to have clocks or cars or cities or electricity or whatever, if that's what you want, it just has to make sense. And if something should be there and isn't, you'll probably be asked to come up with a good reason. In Married to the Wind, I don't have guns because there's battle-mages, but I do have clocks because the whole thing is vaguely 1700s and clockwork was A Thing then. And in the final version, neither thing really matters to the story, so they're just details mentioned in passing.
  3. Start either really big or really small for the building, don't muck around too much in between--Like, either start with the continent or kingdom and how it works, or with the person and what sort of world they'd need to exist. The first will shape what the macro-scale story will allow, and the second will affect the actual day to day of the story more. The middle will figure itself out, for the most part, as you tell the big and small stories.
  4. Don't have things be overly complicated just for the sake of weirdness--Things can be weird, but if they don't say something about the world or the people in it when you encounter them, they're just decoration. They're also a missed opportunity, because noticing things in the narrative sets the reader up to expect that thing to matter somehow, and if it doesn't, that's a loose thread you didn't tie back up at the end!
  5. Think about the history of the place and how it set up for where you are now, as the story starts--What are your characters and cultures and worlds built on, what are they reacting to, and what are their opinions on what happened to their families and lands beforehand? A person from a place that's been wrongly conquered six times isn't going to have the same view of being an attacker as someone who has never been conquered, you know?
  6. At least have an idea of how things like religion, politics, culture, and environment interact--You don't have to know every blow-by-blow of extended history, but nothing exists independently of anything else. Was there a religious shift at some point and what's left from before it? Is the place fair or not fair, politically? Are there interactions with other cultures from near or far? Are they located in cold places, warm places, places protected by mountains or the sea, places with no defenses, isolated or not? Are there normal seasons, or something different? It'll determine how easy it is for people to move around, at least, and if you really want to get fancy, it'll determine what "baggage" they bring with them and how complicated their family histories are.
  7. Ask yourself: How do the classes interact? What are the acceptable behaviors and roles and duties of different sorts of people? Why do people believe or disbelieve this set up? How does the society support itself? How does it treat it's own people vs people from outside? Who counts as an outsider? Who is aware of injustices and what is a usual response to it? Will your characters interact with different levels of society or will they only talk about them and stick to their own?
  8. What sort of actual physical place does this story happen in?--Have some idea of usual weather, basic terrain, whether it's urban or rural, how people will generally travel and how long it'll take, whether it'll be mostly inside or outside, etc. All that is setting and tone: a mountainous, rainy place will feel a lot different than a sunny flat one, no matter what the story is doing!
  9. Have a few things that signify a culture or a status in contrast to others--You don't need to mention it every time, but if one culture is known for embedding jewels in their bodies while another wears only white, or one is known for a specific morning ritual, or piece of jewelry, or tattoo, or way of organizing a household, it's a good way to shorthand which culture new characters belong to on first sight. And the characters dealing with each other's cultural signifiers and objects can lead to interesting developments for their arcs along the way!
  10. Before you make your final draft final, ask yourself: is this here because it's cool, or because it has a purpose? There's such a thing as a "rad herring"*, something that's introduced because it's an awesome idea, but it winds up not having much to do with the actual story; that's fine, but you can't use that excuse for everything! Most stuff should build characters, illustrate how the world works or some aspect of it's history or workings, or directly matter to the plot. Sometimes, there'll just be piles of neat ideas laying around a story, and it hurts to trim them down, so here's what I do: make a file for all that stuff. Then you can post them as backstory on your blog when you hit it big and people ask, or you can use it later in follow up stories!
What are your favorite hints and tips about worldbuilding? Comment below!

- How's that header for a blast from the past?? I made that flipping AGES ago for a post!
*I don't have the link, but I got the phrase from someone on Tumblr.

You can join my mailing lists here:

And you can find me around the web here:
And on Youtube myself and with Joy for (un)Professional Fangirl

Monday, June 12, 2017

Sunday, June 11, 2017

ICYMI - This week's links, week 23 of 2017!

We had to skip Sunday's show because Stuff*, but here's Wednesday's show, catching up on Doctor Who!

And here's an announcement!

This week's blog posts:
This week's offsite links:
And here's a rundown of awesome stuff I found online this week! If you want to see even more, follow me on Twitter**, because in between talking about 12 Monkeys almost daily and livetweeting TV shows, I'm constantly posting links to cool stuff!

As you can see, my brain is in a place of mostly Wonder Woman and Space, even tho I haven't even seen WW yet! Where are you at this week? Share your fav stuff in the comments! The really cool stuff might make it on a list itself!

*It's always because Stuff.
**I'm @pirategirljack there; if you ever sign up for a social media account and there's a pirategirljack there, it's like 98% likely that it's me. I sign up for all the things.

- I think next week I'm going to limit myself to only ten links, maybe...or list them instead of embedding tweets...but this week: ALL THE LINKS

- Today's change: Collect up all the cool stuff you see and do and find and love, because the world is super un-cool right now and we need a hedge against the story of doom and gloom they're feeding us!

You can join my mailing lists here:

And you can find me around the web here:
And on Youtube myself and with Joy for (un)Professional Fangirl

Friday, June 9, 2017

A Full Moon reading for the world - June 2017

Once again, my camera is cruddy, but this month's Full Moon cards are:


DARK reversed means the opposite: Light. So, brightness (both mental and physical), movement and activity, daytime and all the associations with it. It means not to get hung up in dark things--depression, inactivity, sleep, restfulness, alone time. I don't think dark is a bad thing, but the opposite of it isn't necessarily good or bad either; you have to find the balance.

DIPLOMACY reversed means that the time for talking things out may be past. It doesn't automatically go to violence--none of my cards are about violence--but the give and take of a good debate isn't what's needed now. Fight for your beliefs. Stand up for them. Battle back whatever badness is coming at you.

EMERGENCE means something new is just coming into view--and this card has been coming up a lot since this year started. There's always some new thing! Keep your eyes out for not just the new good things, but also the new bad ones that we need to be vigilant of. The uprightness indicates that what's coming could be good, but the other two being reversed and being about being active, seems to warn that it could be rough.

So to sum up:
  • Go out into the world and be bright and active and get stuff done.
  • The time for peaceful and respectful dialog is done, which means the time for standing up for your beliefs is starting.
  • Watch out for new things coming onto the scene.
I'll be back with another reading on the Dark Moon in two weeks!

- If you'd like a personal reading, I offer them for 3$ a card, as many cards as you like! Contact me for details.

- Today's change: Think about where you can get guidance and what that guidance tells you. How can you best make use of it for the world and for your own place in it?

You can join my mailing lists here:

And you can find me around the web here:
And on Youtube myself and with Joy for (un)Professional Fangirl


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