Troll Story: Decorah, Iowa

Here are some pictures of Decorah, Iowa. A fictional version of Decorah is the setting for The Winter the Troll Danced with Old Nick, so I took several atmospheric pictures.


This is one of my favorites. You too can get a tattoo worthy of the Valkyries!


I know that there are several people who are looking at taking the urban out of their urban fantasy, even though I imagine UF will always be called UF. I wanted a setting with a different flavor, and the Norwegian immigrant town of Decorah seemed like a good setting for what I needed.

We have a couple of galleries left to post: the Opera House at the Winneshiek Hotel, and some interesting shots of Phelps Park.


I will have a story in the April issue of Drops of CrimsonTwo Vampires and a Panel Discussion, another humorous vampire adventure, this time starring vampire killer Reginald Rath and his sidearm-toting sidekick Mark Maxwell. I’ll link when it comes out in about a week and a half.

Hmmm…maybe there is a market for humorous vampires…


Feeling like you need a little writing kick start? This works for some. I’m considering it, because I’m a sucker for deadlines and reporting to others…


See you later with some photos and word count.


Why I Read the Classics: Gormenghast

A meaningful gap in my fantasy education was the books of Mervyn Peake, particularly Gormenghast. Gap closed!

Superficially, there could be a comparison between what Peake does and what Tolkien does in The Lord of the Rings. Most people will tell you that both books are masterpieces of world building.

Tolkien colored fantasy for around fifty years, as many authors tried to emulate his world building. Although I don’t want to digress into Tolkien’s work this entry, I’ve always thought that Tolkien’s story was primarily about character in a rich setting.

Gormenghast is the opposite of Tolkien. It appears to be about characters, but the story overall is the effect of the castle on its denizens. The characters are sketches against their lives of tradition, duty, and neglect, all centered on Gormenghast, which shapes them.

Should current authors of fantasy read Gormenghast? What would they gain by doing so?

Gormenghast is an exercise in gothic examination of place and its influence, freely exploring the macabre and the dark in its characters. These people are deeply flawed, and it is more the atmosphere and place that causes them to act than any other thing. Peake seems to be engaging not only in epic story telling, but also in a commentary on the nature of humanity.

Titus Groan is the first book in the series. It is dry, but necessary ground work. Gormenghast is Peake’s true endeavor. I recommend that folks who want to cheat could use Titus Groan for a reference, or maybe go back to the first book once questions have given them motivation to read it.

At some point in the future, I want to write more about Peake’s villain Steerpike, who dominates the first two novels as mad genius.


Spent writing time getting Blood around, and began to recapture what I lost from the other night. Some day I will have more that 13 percent, I tell you!

12013 / 90000 words. 13% done!

Blood is Thicker than Cerulean Rain

Since Mark Twain’s Daughter came home again, I sent it back out. To here. Cerulean Rain looks to be an experimental literary site that specializes in psychological stories. Since the story’s a little off beat, we’ll see if it can find a home there.

Meanwhile, you might enjoy checking out the e-zine for its beautiful art, poetry, and prose.


It’s not up yet, because I’ve been catching up on work. That said, you will soon be able to find the latest installment of Blood is Thicker than Water.

It’s nice to be back from Denver. It’ll even be nicer when I get my voice back. Con voice strain. It can happen to you.


Anna Korra’ti on the Drollerie Blog Tour

This month, the Drollerie blog tour deals with the topic of poetry. I’m happy to host Ann Korra’ti next Tuesday, and I’d like to introduce you to her.

Anna has a technical side, and a literary side. Apparently, there’s also music. Here’s her witty bio from her website. She has a wide variety of interests as well.

In regards to Drollerie, Faerie Blood comes out early this year. Here’s a little teaser.

Look for Anna here in the environs of the 21st. As turn around is fair play, I’ll actually be posting over at Anna’s place.

Final Vesterheim Galleries

Something that hasn’t happened for a long time…I’m not sleeping well. Harumph! I need that sleep for a long travel day tomorrow.

An unfortunate event. I lost all my words and organization from this evening’s writing session. I don’t mind the words so much. They were crap, and it was more like pre-writing, so I should be able to go forward tomorrow. I do mind the organization. I managed to reproduce most of that, but I must admit that I will be A LOT more careful about saving. Scrivener’s eaten my words twice, and this time, I was cautious enough to take precautions. It’s a bit of a mystery.


Since I’m up, I thought I would finish the Vesterheim galleries. Mind, I still have information about Phelps Park, an opera house, and the town in general to talk about, but that’s for another night.


The above picture is a wedding couple, because you want to see how the crown from the last entry is worn. Under here, lots of cool woodwork and craft.

Continue reading “Final Vesterheim Galleries”

Clothing and Metal Work; Word Count


Look at that beautiful example of Norwegian craftsmanship. The wedding crown is just one of the many beautiful things that Norwegians make out of metal. Every woman gets to wear the crown on her wedding day, and some of the crowns are passed from generation to generation.

Other examples of clothing and metal work are found in my clothing and metal work gallery.


Back to writing! I wrote crap, but as promised, I laid some pipe. I also organized some more details in the story. Next, we slowly and methodically describe tonight’s sketchy scenes. I’ll be in route to Denver tomorrow, but I’ll still take a stab at doing some writing sometime.

Notice how the word count isn’t changing…whackity whack!

12304 / 90000 words. 14% done!

Happy writing to you all.

Incubating? Yeah, that’s it!

You win this round, day job!

There will be no writing or cataloging of pictures tonight. Instead, there will be some glazed viewing of Fellowship of the Ring, followed by paper checking. Maybe not even paper checking. Students can’t read their grades if I drool on them.

The all day meeting schedule. Not recommended. I’ll try to administer the writer’s secret handshake with y’all again tomorrow.

Meanwhile, just imagine how cool that action scene will be when the Troll story is published in two years…