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The Habitat: Using Bing’s Image Creator to visualise a novella

Queen Astrid of Norway

Happy Sunday, everyone. Today started out with a test of Google’s Bard AI Experimental software. Sign up for the waitlist and they should let you in. Bard is powered by LaMDA and in some instances, it feels faster than ChatGPT.

Ken Watanabe, Maya Singh, Hurricane Nisto and Lars Johansen

Then I updated my Bing app, and I noticed their Image Creator tool. How to get in? If you have an Outlook account, you have to sign up to New Bing. And once you’re in, you will see the image creator app powered by DALL-E.

If you’re as picky as I am, you’ll max out your credits. When I accidentally signed out of my account, I couldn’t remember my password, so I had to create a new one. I maxed out the credits on that too. The great thing is that after you’ve maxed out your credits, you simply need to wait 30 seconds for each image to render.

Sleeping quarters and bathroom

Today, my challenge was to write prompts that would encourage the software to visually render the habitat I designed for my WIP, How to be rich by Hurricane Nisto. For my first novel, The Quarter Percent, I paid artists to create artwork for the story, including a mural which became the cover of the novel. This time, I’m on my own.

Detailed descriptions of the habitat are already written in the novella, which was why this was challenging. I had mixed results.

Greenhouse, kitchen, and pantry

That activity took longer than I expected because the software has limitations. For example, you need to use strong keywords with abstraction. If you use too many details, you might get strange results.

The software was not good at rendering rooms with specific dimensions. It simply would not render a living room or office without windows. And it struggled to imagine a circular space with minimal furniture that also had a relaxed atmosphere. The habitat is strictly climate controlled and because it’s in Antarctica, I wanted to maximise space and minimise heat loss.

Loft office space, Hurricane’s room, laundry area and office bathroom

Thankfully, the Image Creator did a very good job rendering the electric all-terrain vehicle, the boiler room, laundry area, pantry, and greenhouse. It had no issues creating a restroom with mini shower and waterproof furniture.

Greenhouse view, pantry interior, boiler room with energy stations, electric all terrain vehicle

Hurricane’s hemp bread with pecan butter came out looking delicious. And as you can see, the greenhouse, pantry and boiler room were shown inside an upcycled cargo container.

Where I really struggled was with rendering the main character from a detailed description. But the other characters looked fine. The second graphic in this post shows Kai, Lars, and Maya, the group of scientists Hurricane met when she arrived on the island of Skartøya.

Kitchen, kayaking, Bellneck Point, common area

I was happy with the images of the sleeping quarters and bathrooms, and they are already in my Instagram Story.

If you’re not already using it, I highly recommend trying out Bing’s Image Creator app to render original visuals to go with your poetry or fiction stories.

Alicia Martinez, Jason Kim, Michael Wong and Mallory Williams

Even if you don’t share them, it’s a great way to really look at your concepts. If you’ve had any success with writing prompts, please let me know. I would love some pointers.

Thank you for viewing my presentation, and if you’re beta reading my WIP, double thanks. Have a brilliant week ahead.

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The Golden Birch Tree: A Norse Tale


The Golden Birch Tree: A Norse Tale

Once upon a time in Mediaeval Norway, goes the story, there was a wise ruler, Harald, who was loved and respected by his people. He was celebrated for his military skill, through which he brought peace to all the Scandinavian kingdoms.

King Harald had two sons: Olav, his firstborn, and Magnus. Olav was a handsome and noble warrior. His fighting skill and bravery on the battlefield had earned him the respect and admiration of his soldiers. Magnus, his brother, was known throughout the land for his unwavering loyalty to his family.

Freya, Olav’s wife, was praised for her generosity and compassion. During many seasons of war, Freya supported the families of fallen soldiers. She fed many of their children from the palace’s kitchen. She had earned her place in the hearts of the people.

Despite the love the royal family received, however, they were not immune to the destructive power of jealousy.

Ingrid, the woman who Magnus married, was once a lowly dishwasher in the palace kitchen. Magnus was captivated by Ingrid’s self-confidence. Her grand ideas reminded him of his childhood idealism. Ingrid understood his desire to escape the horrors of war, and she encouraged him to indulge his fantasies.

Truth be told, Ingrid was infatuated with Magnus’ older brother, Olav, and longed to be with him. But he never noticed her. Olav was already married with two children by the time Magnus started courting Ingrid. Naturally, she was overjoyed to be welcomed into this legendary family. When she and Magnus married in a lavish ceremony, it was attended by all the nobles of Scandinavia.

But soon, the princess was consumed by hatred for Freya, her sister-in-law. She felt that she deserved Olav’s affectiom and that she should be queen when Harald died. She grew to resent being married to the second son of the King.

One fateful winter, Ingrid’s jealousy reached a high point. She threw her niece, a young girl of seven, outside on a cold, rainy night. The child fell ill and later died. King Harald was horrified by Ingrid’s actions but still felt compassion for his second son. He sent Ingrid and Magnus southward to Maitheland to live out their days in exile.

But Ingrid refused to make amends and once settled in at court, she started to spread lies about the King hating her for having been a lowly kitchen servant.

Such was her anger, that she alienated the people around her. King Harald, his son Olav, and daughter-in-law, Freya, said nothing to defend themselves. They chose to mourn quietly. Eventually, however, news spread overseas that the King’s grandchild had died because of Ingrid’s actions. She was stripped of all honours and privileges she received in Maitheland, and banished from court.

After enjoying much adoration and respect as Magnus’ wife, Ingrid was humiliated to find herself living in a forest hovel. She blamed her husband for marrying her so his family could treat her like a peasant.

One day, Ingrid made her way deep into the forest to search for a cottage. She had heard about a witch who lived there. After telling the witch more lies about her husband’s family, Ingrid was granted one wish. Her wish was for Harald and his family to disappear so that their memories would be turned into dust.

The witch was kind and patient, and she warned Ingrid that as a member of the royal family, she would also be forgotten once the wish was granted. But Ingrid did not care about what it would cost her.

After the witch cast the spell, a triumphant Ingrid stomped out of the cottage. If she couldn’t be queen, neither could Freya. But as she made her way back home, she stumbled. She tried to get up but found herself firmly rooted in the ground. She had turned into a birch tree, adorned with bright yellow leaves.

Magnus searched everywhere for his wife, but could not find her. She was deep in the forest, hidden from the world. Sensing his despair, the kind witch transformed Magnus into a white fox so he could keep searching for his wife.

Weeks later, some game hunters noticed the sudden appearance of the beautiful birch tree with its golden leaves. They whispered that it was Ingrid, finally making amends for her actions. But people soon forgot about the woman who had caused such chaos and devastation.

Years went by, and stories of King Harald and his family were passed on through generations. Today, as promised by the witch, they remain a distant memory.


The story of Ingrid and her tragic fate reminds us that our choices have consequences that can reverberate long after we are gone. Ingrid’s jealousy and greed caused her to act impulsively and hurt others. But her inability to take responsibility for those actions led to her own downfall. After turning into a tree, she became a symbol of the dangers of unchecked envy. We should always strive to live a life of peace and contentment. And as we do, let us leave positive examples for those who come after us.

Thank you for reading this folk tale featuring the nature goddess, Frigg. I created this story as the epilogue to my WIP, How to be rich by Hurricane Nisto. The protagonist, Hurricane, names her company ‘What the Frigg’ and I was inspired to create a bedtime story she would have heard about this goddess in her childhood.

The final beta edit is available to read here.

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How to be rich by Hurricane Nisto (Beta)

Temporary cover for novel "How to be rich by Hurricane Nisto", a novel by Lil Nicole

Happy Monday. I’m totally wiped out after going on a full grind with writing this story. I have published updates on my progress with writing. And I will now invite you to read the beta draft in Google Docs. As of the date of this post, the final part is not complete but the end is there, and so is the beginning.

Read Beta: How to be rich by Hurricane Nisto (Scroll down for the summary)

As I was writing, I faced many roadblocks. At times, the protagonist had nowhere to go and nothing to do. But that was the point of the story. I wanted to follow a character with low aspirations and watch her move through life in a reactive way. Often, a bright idea would end up a logical failure. Then, it occurred to me that I could write all of these issues as her experiences.

Another highlight was that I wrote the entire manuscript on two smartphones. It was tight, but editing on small screens helped me focus on what happened. At almost 40,000 words, this is going to be a novella, but this is the story I want to tell.

On Sunday, four artist friends of mine volunteered to be written into scenes. So, as you read the beta version, real artist names will appear. It was fun doing a live edit while discussing their roles.

On a different note, I should point out that I haven’t published my second novel, Maitheland, and the most diplomatic response I have right now is that it will be published when I am ready.

Thank you for supporting me this far. Good luck out there.


Story Summary

After an incident at her secure government job in Oslo, Hurricane Nisto finds herself shipped off to Skartøya, a desolate wedge of an island in Antarctica. She is tasked with taking care of a cutting-edge habitat and supervising a weather outpost. 

Hurricane struggles to adjust to her new situation but through her memory and imagination, works to render a new version of herself. Lonely and often lost, she strives to find harmony with her surroundings. She eventually finds comfort in promising creative projects. But soon enough, she finds herself drawn into a battle of wills in order to eject an unwelcome guest from the habitat. 

She learns some harsh life lessons and through a force of will, finds the strength to stand up for herself and push back. As she does, she discovers a warmth in her own heart that she never knew existed. 

She may have been sent to Antarctica as a punishment, but in the end, finds herself promoted to a life of independence and self-discovery. Hurricane Nisto is a late bloomer and her story will inspire anyone who has ever felt trapped or held back by their own circumstances.