A Troll Snippet

That was a fairly successful night. I added a more hooky beginning, and then revised the first scene I wrote last week, which seemed to be in fairly good shape.

Bryon’s also been kind enough to download my Vesterheim pictures, so I’ll start getting those cataloged and organized shortly.

Onward with a word count meter, and then…a snippet!

11178 / 90000 words. 12% done!


Nick snapped his black whip. His eyes flashed red, and he smiled toothily. The massive horses pulling his wagon were the fastest on and off earth. He wasn’t worried about being caught, but certainly, it would be worth the amusement factor to slow down, and let his pursuer think he had a chance.

He glanced behind him. Rattling about in the back, a wicker basket bounced off the floor. Its contents would stay safe because his magic would keep it so. Over the top of the cart, barely visible in the mist, he could see the sole rider, the most persistent of Feldspar’s loyal minions. Give me the precious cargo, he would say, or something equally cliche. Nick loved that you could count on the heroes and villains to react as expected. Thinking outside the box? Reserved, it seemed, for only an annoying few.

An armored war horse pulled alongside the wagon. The faerie that road him was obsidian black, with gold veins rivering his visible face and arms. “Stop!” he yelled over pounding hoofbeats. “Stop in the name of the king!”

Nick smiled broadly. “I wouldn’t stop for the highest king. Why would I stop for yours?”

Continue reading “A Troll Snippet”

The Devil Made Sven Do It

Here’s another Scandinavian folk figure for you zombie fans–the draug or drowned dead. Imagine a nice scene of undead draug stumbling up the beach at Normandy…

I promised some commentary on Scandinavian folklore about the devil. I find these stories almost as captivating as those about milk!

The devil is blamed for pretty much everything in Scandinavia. Of course, he teaches witches. He has a black book which he writes names of the dead in. He causes miscarriages. He gives wild rides to hitchhikers. He shows up at dances playing his magic fiddle, and dancers dance their feet off, literally. Yup, the devil. He’s everywhere, whether he’s called Satan, Old Nick, or the Devil.

But fear not. There are ways to exorcise and/or banish the devil. A clever person can outsmart the devil as well. Sometimes, holy people can rid you of the pesky devil.

What strikes me about this is how much the devil is a part of the folk legend. Kvideland and Sehmsdorf (the authors of my primary text) suggest that the devil is both a religious and folk figure in Scandinavia, suggesting that religion has been taken to the people in a way they understand and can interpret.

This is actually backed up, because there are both old and modern “Jesus sighting” stories in the culture as well. My personal favorite is about the driver who saw Jesus hitchhiking on the side of the road, and it’s current day.

That pretty much wraps up my interesting Scandinavian folklore highlights. I’ll try to spend some time this week sorting through my Vesterheim pictures, and discussing some of the cultural things Bryon and I learned there.


And, I did write.

10705 / 90000 words. 12% done!

It doesn’t look like much of an increase, but I moved yesterday’s research out of the Scrivener manuscript portion, so it’s quite a bit.

Tonight, I sketched some place marker scenes. My organization skills kicked in and I added more detail to my master outline for part one. I think I will revisit the parts I have sketched, and think them through, and then continue into new turf. You may remember from HH:PW that I do this recursive thing. It all works out.

The scheme is to write the kid story for 45K, and then switch over to the adult story for another 45K. That’s the plan.

See you all tomorrow.



It’s Monday, so it must be time for Blood is Thicker than Water.

AND, while I didn’t follow, or wasn’t involved in more !fail discussions on the internet, I link you to a good article that reminds us agents are human beings too.

I agree about people being more than their careers, and that includes agents. They were people, last time I checked. Being a workaholic is a disease, and not all it’s cracked up to be. I am constantly astounded at how much our society advocates for it. I’d like to ask dissatisfied authors if they’d like to constantly work on their writing, or even if they can.

I’ll see you guys later with troll count and folklore…


Scandinavian Folklore: The Nix

Honestly, I’m still in Michigan. My car comes to pick me up at 10:30 EST, so like a good little writer, I thought I would put in some time on the book this morning.

But first, here’s a little write up on the nix. The nix are water faeries in Norway. They can look like people, but often they look like horses. The nix’s gimick is to get people to ride it, and then either drown them, or throw them off into the water.

One final kind of invisible that I think is worth mentioning is the Silver Mother. She is not as active in Norway, where there are fewer mines, but she appears to warn miners that there will be an accident, or she rescues them from accidents.

Stay tuned for Old Nick tales.


On the writing trail, I did a little research into the folklore of Mexico, and I wrote a couple of fairly sketchy scenes that need much more detail. We’re back to the troll scenes next session.

Here’s the word count, which will get mightily trimmed when I prosify some research.

10573 / 90000 words. 12% done!

It’s a Wrap

This is me, live, from Monroe. I learned a lot of things about this town that time forgot today. Now, thanks to Obama, it has a new national park. AND Custer lived here. They have a big statue of him on town square.

It’s been quite a day. I had a successful presentation on Master and Margarita. I am being teased and tempted by the opportunity to teach in Viet Nam for a month. There’d be talking to with the husband and the boss, and it wouldn’t be next year, you betcha, because of the maiden launch of the new curriculum, but it would be a short term teaching assignment, and I’m mighty tempted.

Um…dinner was pretty good tonight, which was good, because the food here isn’t all that. Culinary arts students, you rock. I’m talking to you, Brazillian Orange Cake Boy!

And, I wrote. Here’s that meter for ya.

9948 / 90000 words. 11% done!

Yup. Writing during conferences. What agent wouldn’t want me? I hope my dean isn’t reading here.

Back to Iowa! Fast as lightening. Okay, ten thirty tomorrow I leave the mitten.


Troll Word Count

Wow…am I fried. I have been playing academic schmooze hound all day, and I’ve just gotten back to my room. I thought I would at least post my word count meter, do some other computer things, and then charge my introvert batteries.

I’d like to say something useful. I’d like to, but you’d just get some babbling about the United States Institute of Peace, chicken marsala, and weird buddha candles. That’s all I’m saying.

8890 / 90000 words. 10% done!


Scandinavian Folklore: Nisse

Hello from the Eastern Iowa Airport, where the Internet is free, and the accessibility is wonderful. I will be MIA for the majority of the day in transit to Toledo, OH and then Monroe, MI for the Midwest Institute for Intercultural and International Education (or MIIIE, as that’s much less of a mouthful!) Over the next few days I’ll check out Rosetta Stone, read some books, and get moving on the troll book’s next scenes. I think. Oh, and attend a conference.

Yesterday was one of *those* days, where the interruptions flowed fast and furious. For Pete’s sake, we had a bomb threat at school, which we took seriously, because on Monday, there *was* a bomb that blew up a pop machine at the student apartments. Not a lot of opportunity for my job yesterday, let alone the next kewl scene of the troll story.


However, I can’t let the day pass without talking to you about the nisse. My last post was serious, and some of you are missing your folklore fix.

Many cultures have small and helpful household faeries. For the Norwegians, those helpful faeries were the nisse, little red capped men reminiscent of David the Gnome. In exchange for porridge or new clothes, they would usually do farm chores, like bringing in grain, or taking care of animals.

In our troll story, while the trolls are busy doing troll things, the nisse help them maintain their cover as Iowa farmers.

I suppose next time we’d best have a conversation about the nix, although I’m not using the nix in my story. I’ll also round out the collection by chatting about the Silver Mother.

On the Planet of Decent Men

April is SAAM, or Sexual Assault Awareness Month. I’d like to link to a couple of cogent journals on the subject and a few relevant sites, because the writers sound off better than I think I could, and the sites are excellent resources.

Jim Hines


The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network

Men Can Stop Rape


My life started out shakily, as the repeated victim of sexual abuse. If you’ve been riding the Writer Tamago train for a while, you probably knew that, and actually, I’m not going to talk about that. What I am going to talk about is the good fortune I’ve had since my unfortunate childhood, because since I left my good-for-nothing family behind me, I seem to have landed my star ship on the Planet of Decent Men.

Here on the Planet of Decent Men, men are actually my friends. They listen to me with love and concern. They think before they act. They do not engage in pointless macho positioning.

On the Planet of Decent Men, the men I know who have SOs listen to their SOs. They don’t stereotype the people they love. There is no eye rolling, no jokes about beef and football, no posturing like bull apes in season. As a matter of fact, these people treat each other like…people, not like gender stereotypes.

Some of the Decent Men father carefully and thoughtfully. Two of my Decent Men friends are raising a daughter, careful of the roles they portray to her as she has two dads. Another Decent Man flew over with me from the Planet of Abused Children, and he takes anger management classes, and is very careful to sit down and talk quietly and respectfully with his daughter.

You might even say I’ve gone native. I’ve married a Decent Man. He is a kind and considerate man who once told me that men are not ruled by well, you know. He is thoughtful, and mutual respect and consideration, especially in the bedroom, are very important to both of us.

What does any of this have to do with SAAM? All of the Decent Men I know believe that there are ways to stop sexual assault. All of the Decent Men I know have friends who have been through this, and are outraged, or saddened, or both.

I think that they would approve of the Men Can Stop Rape site, and I think they would never see sexual assault as a woman’s issue, but as a human issue we must all work on together by being very clear, communicative, and respectful of each other.

I want to thank my Decent Men, for letting me settle on their planet, even though I was a stranger when I first arrived. I want to communicate our hope to the people of earth that your young men grow up to be Decent Men, and that we do everything in our power to help them change the way society conditions them to think about sex.