The Troll Story Begins

I’ve updated my links page. This version reflects people I know and my current tastes. The new additions are artists, because I know a few artists whose work you should probably see, and a hats off to my web guy, who is responsible for keeping Writer Tamago running smoothly.

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The Troll Story is started. Half way through the first scene, what I thought was happening wasn’t, so I will ramp it up and turn it around tomorrow night.

You know, I’m going to need a better title than The Troll Story.

910 / 90000 words. 1% done!

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To make up for being Spammy McSpamerton today, I’ll be gone tomorrow. Routine gastroscopy for reflux girl, followed by versed forgetfulness. If I get to write here and in manuscript land, I’ll be lucky.

Catherine

Scandinavian Folklore: Hug

You might think the above title is the word for “embrace,” but actually it is the Norwegian word for “soul.” Sort of. Hug (pronounced hoog) isn’t exactly the soul. Let me try to explain.

In many cultures, including mine, the soul is thought of as this thing that leaves the body when you die. Your corporal self and your spiritual self are separate. Another way to look at this is that the body contains or layers the soul.

Hug considers the spiritual self an extension of the physical self, much like a cat’s whiskers. Your hug goes out before you, and can affect the universe in all sorts of interesting ways. If your mind wanders, that’s bad, because lord only knows where your hug is off to!

Sickness is attributed to wandering hug. By injecting your hug into others’ lives, you can control them (spit in a shoe, think about them). People with super powerful hug can kill cows with a look, or heal people their hug has affected by mistake.

Hug . Today’s folklore concept. I hope you are all practicing good hug hygiene.

Catherine

March Drollerie Blog Tour

At the beginning of the month, Drollerie Press authors travel to other people’s blogs for our blog tour. On April 1st, I’m happy to host Meredith Holmes, or rather, an interview with Meredith’s character Du from Meredith’s Drollerie novel Unseelie.

Let me tell you a little about Meredith and her work. Meredith’s Drollerie page , notes that Unseelie is her first novel. Meredith reads world folklore and enjoys romance novels. Elements of both are found in her novel. More information can be found about Meredith at her website. A sample of Unseelie is available at the top of Meredith’s Drollerie page.

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Where will I be while Meredith is at the Tamago? I won’t be anywhere, but Ted Finch, the main character from Sister Night, Sister Moon will be back over at Fraser Sherman’s.

Catherine

Decorah Research Trip

I’ll try not to gush too much.

Bryon and I were going to go to Decorah, Ia last weekend for a research trip for the troll book I’m writing as part of the Gossamer and Veridian project. Instead, I had a bed and breakfast at the Marengo Hospital.

This weekend we were much more successful. We visited the Vesterheim Museum. We looked at all the great exhibits and took representative pictures of crafts, clothes, and home lifestyles. It was wonderful. In the museum gift shop, I picked up two great books: one a children’s book on the Scandinavian troll, and another book about Scandinavian folklore.

We stayed at the Bed and Breakfast on Broadway, which was very nice, and we visited LOTS of places of local color, because they would be useful for the book. Notably, we checked out The Hotel Winneshiek and its opera house, and Harts Tea and Tarts, locations that will be worked into the story in some incarnation. We walked around and took loads of nice pictures of the town, Phelps Park, and so on.

And we’ll go back. We couldn’t do much Norwegian stuff this weekend, but during Nordic Fest in July, we sure can, and I’ve already got it in my calendar. I also want to take a trip up around Christmas time.

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So, the book? Originally, I thought it would be a YA, but I want to do it with a two part structure, a kid’s part and an adult part, like It. There will be all sorts of fun things: trolls, frost giants, faerie godmothers in bunad, and mischievous nisse. I’m working on the outline (and will really settle down to it after I finish my HH:PW materials, which are almost done).

Okay, so I’m gushing. I can see the possibilities for the book. That makes me upbeat, and I’m certainly not turning down any upbeat these days.

I hope your weekends were equally enjoyable.

Catherine

World Domination: End of Round One

As I work on my power point and study guide, today, that concludes round one of the author journey. I still have loose ends from round one, but at this point, I find its psychologically wiser to not expect anything more than I have gotten, and to move on to round two.

Round one hasn’t been bad. I’m a published small presser, I’ve received my first advance, and I’ve had some very good advice and promising nibbles from agents.

Here comes round two, mostly focusing on earnest work on the next novels. In the end, after therapy and pills have improved me, but I still have my shadowy days, I will be alternating between the troll YA piece with Grant and my retelling of The Count of Monte Cristo. I’m going to write for my own happiness and joy for a little while as the stories develop, and not even worry about their marketability until muuuucchhh later. Because (bwah ha ha!) I *can*.

Of course, I’ll still be around to sling writer hash, pimp my and other people’s projects and works, give you word counts and excerpts, and well, just generally be more upbeat than it has been in my power to be the last several months. (You might not have noticed. Believe me, I noticed.)

Eventually, I’ll be hot to try to take over the world again, and round two will begin. Lay in some sandbags for the assault, people. You have time.

Catherine

Why I Read the Classics: Psychology of Dostoevsky

Crime and Punishment is a psychologically taut study of the criminal mind. Raskolnikov, student in St. Petersburg, feels that he can pull off the perfect murder, that if it is well planned, no one can catch the criminal, and if the criminal feels no remorse, he can get away with it. Raskolnikov unravels throughout the rest of the novel. Crime and Punishment is a psychological thriller that appeals to modern sensibilities. It’s my favorite Dostoevsky book so far, and one of my favorite novels, so I had high hopes for The Idiot, another Dostoevsky novel.

Dostoevsky does not disappoint once again, although I did not like The Idiot. Again, a caricature of a man’s psyche is sketched by the author. Initially, Myshkin appears to be a noble soul that has a wisdom beyond his years. He is pulled into a web of dysfunction, and steadfastly clings to his illusion about the good of broken people, even though steady alternatives are presented to him. This ultimately leads to his downfall, his return to idiocy.

I can bring myself to find Myshkin foolish, but I can find no flaw in Dostoevsky’s portrayal of him.

Why should you read Dostoevsky? His books are long and full of moralizing, true. If you want to see how to do a psychological study, he’s your man. His characters are various shades of gray, and his world is seldom a happy one, but his characters are capable of great heroism, as well as deplorable acts, and the realism of their portrayal has jolted audible commentary out of this reader on several occasions.

Really, though. Read Crime and Punishment if you’re only going to read one.

Catherine