Yoik and a very Cryptic Clue about Bear Naked Four

What is Yoik?

Yoik is Sami singing. Though maybe it’s easier to show than tell.

The Sami are an indigenous people from Northern Europe. The more familiar term Lapp, or Laplander is actually offensive. Lapp is Swedish for patch, a reference to the patched clothing of the poorer northern people. They are most commonly known for being the reindeer herders of the far north.

The Sami people have a long rich history and culture of their own. Their traditional homeland spans Norway, Sweden, Finland and parts of Russia. Some of these countries treat the Sami well, in other places they still struggle for their rights, particularly to maintain their traditional herding, hunting and fishing grounds.

Singing and drumming are vital parts of the Sami’s heritage and in recent years there has been a movement to revitalize the ancient tradition of yoik.

I’ve posted my soundtrack for previous Bear Naked books. As I start in on Bear Naked Four, yoik has joined the playlist, including Sofia Jannock’s White.

What does Sami singing have to do with the plot of Bear Naked? Remember from Bear Naked 2, Jay has agreed to train as a Noaidi, a pathfinder, which is a kind of Sami shaman or medicine man with Corey’s uncle. So while the wolves have their big council to deal with, Jay’s got a subplot of his own in this installment.

For now I will leave you with another example of yoik:

Sci-fi Music

I write to music most of the time. I’m always looking for good mood music, stuff that gets in the right space for a piece of writing. Sometimes I will create very specific soundtracks for specific books. Often there is a certain general match between genres of music and writing. For example, when I was working on a historical romance I was listening to a lot of folk music and celtic music.

But what about science fiction? Especially the kind of space oriented stuff I’ve been writing, like the Galactic Consortium. Finding music that fits that story can be a bigger challenge.

Then about a year ago I have the opportunity to hear this electronic violinist at a local coffee shop.

Huge shout to the Ritual Cafe for keeping local music alive!

ritualTo say Dixon’s violin is unworldly, is an understatement. The man plays by intuition and energy, often creating songs as he goes along rather than playing from a set list.

I bought one of his CDs that night and I have since downloaded others. It’s phenomenal mood music for writing sci-fi, I have discovered. So I would like to share his gift with my blog readers.

The Inter-stellar Whalesong on the Live at the Hilltop CD is my favorite, by the way.


If you enjoy this sample, his website can be found at:




The Soundtrack for Bear Naked 3

A long time back now I posted about the music I was listening to while writing the first Bear Naked book. It proved a popular post so I repeated the post. For this weeks Bear Naked 3 teaser, I am reposting this, the soundtrack for Bear Naked 3: The Hunted.

I listen to music a lot when I write. Most of the time it’s simply to drown out distractions, what I am listening to isn’t that important. But music can also help set the mood, and I will find myself listening to the same albums and artist over and over through some novels, only to switch when I start a new project.

The entire Bear Naked series has a folksy feel to it for me. Not surprisingly, Turn of the Wheel by Tempest remains at the top of my play list as I wrote The Hunted. Tempest is a celtic rock band with a very unique sound. It fits the feel of the neo-pagans in Bear Naked, Uncle Darren and his whole family.

Bear Naked 3 finds Uncle Darren missing somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Amanda and her pack have to find him. It’s Skinwalker territory and these Native American cousins to the werewolves aren’t always on the best terms. The Skinwalker’s relation with other tribes is complicated by Native American history and they are suspicious of outsiders like the Leidulfs.

One of my favorite Native American artists, Robbie Robertson climbs to the number two spot on my playlist for Bear Naked 3. Music for the Native Americans by Robbie Robertson and the Red Road Ensemble is the album that plays the most while I write.

Coyote Grace has an incredibly folksy feel and they continue to be among my most listened to artists, especially Boxes and Bags. I can almost imagine my characters listening along as they hike through the mountains.

I used to refer to the Irish band Clannad as “the most famous band no one’s heard of.” Irish music buffs know the name, but outside that group you will mostly get blank stares. But their music is everywhere. From movies like Harry’s Game and Last of the Mohicans to TV shows and commercials, everyone has heard their music. Listening to their greatest hits you’ll see why. Their music is powerfully evocative.

I have an eclectic collection of music with over a hundred albums on my laptop and two or three times that on my CD shelf, slowly accumulated over the years. It ranges for Bjork to the Best of Bollywood, with a fair amount of classic rock, pop and folk music. My listening tastes change with my mood and I could list a lot more albums, but these are the ones that seem most connected to Bear Naked 3.

Fellow writers, do your listening habits change with your writing? Are their particular songs that seem to go with certain novels?

Readers, do you like hearing about the music I am listening to? Does it add to or take away from the reading experience?

Ten Music Parodies that are Better than the Original

I have to tip my hat to pop musicians. They are good at what they do. What they do is write catchy tunes that get stuck in your head for days at a time.

What pop musicians seemed to less good at is writing songs with depth, positive messages or, in some cases, showing a bit of common sense.

Thankfully parodies have come into their own. In the eighties, when I was a teen, we would stay up late listening to Doctor Demento on the radio to get our parody fix. Later on I would lurk at the back of the filk room at science fiction conventions. Now parodies abound on youtube, with high production qualities, great videos and often, better lyrics than the original.

Here are my top ten parodies that are better than the original.


  1. Word Crimes


Weird Al is the master of parody, so it’s not surprising that he tops this list.

However catchy the original tune is, it’s lyrics are more than a little problematic. Even the title Blurred Lines, is about the supposedly blurry lines of sexual consent. Nothing like a creepy rape vibe to kill a songs appeal.

Weird Al’s rendition, Word Crimes skewers the internet’s poor grammar and spelling.


  1. A Brief History of Robin Thicke’s 2013 summer hit “Blurred Lines”


The puppet combo of Glove and Boots gives you a thorough run down of Robin Thicke’s legal woes over the copyright suit, all set to the tune of his song.

  1. All about the Base (no rebels)

In Meghan Trainor’s defense, I like the message behind her song, all about the bass. But I can’t help like this nerdy star wars parody a little more.


  1. Talk Nerdy to Me

Talk Sexy to Me gets a nerdy make over in this catchy parody with nods to almost all corners of geekdom.


  1. Roll a D6

Who would want to go out and party “like a G6” when they can stay home and play Dungeons and Dragons?


  1. Sorted this Way

For the record, I do really like Born this Way by Lady Gaga. It’s one of the best pop anthems of the last few years with a powerful message about self acceptance. It’s so great in fact, that its strong enough to share the limelight with a couple of witty, geeky parodies, like this Harry Potter video.


  1. Form this Way

Or this Minecraft video.


  1. Do you wanna go to Starbucks

I am probably the last person alive who hasn’t seen Frozen. The music, however, is inescapable. It’s been turned into some great parodies, but this one about coffee is the nearest and dearest to my heart.


  1. All about those Books

Another great Meghan Trainor parody, advocating reading. What’s not to love?


  1. I’m Nerdy and I Know it

Sexy and I Know It was 2011’s inescapable pop sensation. The song makes fun of the beach body builder culture, but it was ripe material for someone to come along and make fun of it. Thankfully someone did.


Honorable mention:

It’s not a parody but if you’ve watched any of the guild, you’ve probably seen Game On:

If you haven’t watched the Guild yet, what are you waiting for? It’s one of the geekiest, funniest shows out there. It started as youtube channel and can still be found on the site, as well as Netflix and elsewhere online.


The Soundtrack of Bear Naked

Every story or novel I write has its own unique feel to it. In the case of my upcoming YA novel, Country Girls, it was the main character’s voice. She dominates the action and she narrates as well. I found her voice actually changed my writing style, for that book at least.

I have started listening to music while I write recently. It helps drown out the distractions. It doesn’t really matter what the music is. It’s just background noise anyway.

Then I started planning Bear Naked. For some reason this novel required a very specific soundtrack. I found myself listening to more folk music, especially a couple of smaller bands that I know. My favorite local band, and one of my favorite bands period, was top of the list of tracks I have been listening to. Thankful Dirt is the duo of Molly and Darren Matthews (pictured below).

A local indie/folk band. I listened to their album almost incessantly while writing Bear Naked.

A local indie/folk band. I listened to their album almost incessantly while writing Bear Naked.

One of my favorite bands back in the mid-nineties was Tempest. They are a celtic rock band from Norway. When I conceived the character of Uncle Darren, I knew he too would be a Tempest fan. I also knew I had to dig out some of my old Tempest to listen to while writing. There was one album in particular that I listened to frequently while working on this novel, Turn of the Wheel. The folk ballad Bonden og Krakka is even in the novel itself.

There were other albums and artists that I listened to. Overall the soundtrack has a distinctly folk feel to it. Here is a list of the artist and albums I regularly listened to while writing Bear Naked.

  1. Thankful Dirt by Thankful Dirt
  2.  Turn of the Wheel by Tempest
  3.  Boxes and Bags by Coyote Grace
  4.  Cross of Changes by Enigma
  5.  Touch by Sarah McLaughlin
  6.  Under the Pink by Tori Amos

The first three albums are folk rock. They are smaller bands that I have seen in person. The first album and the last three all take me back to the mid to late nineties. At that time I was active in the local Renaissance fairs and festivals. This is the life I envision Amanda and her Uncle Darren living.

I listened to other CD’s at times, depending on my mood and inclination. But this list is the music I choose most often and the stuff that put me in the mood of this book. I am working on Bear Naked Volume Two: Wolf Camp currently and it is interesting how this list is changing and evolving. I will post a list for that work when the time comes.