Not the whole scene, but a good bit for Hild.


Sheriff Bill Tucker moved the group into the staff room. Three trolls, although to his eye they looked like basketball playing adolescents; two godmothers, the tough one and the silent but elegant one; and Al Huesinveld, who couldn’t see faeries yet, but swore his mother could.

Bill closed the door. It was a little crowded. Al perched on the chair by the wall, tipping back on two metal legs. The godmother in the hat thinned her lips, and he put the chair square on the floor.

“Tell me again,” said Bill. “How did you kids find out about Susan Engle?”

“The nisse on the farm told me,” said Grant. He was the oldest Heierdahl. Having a conversation with him seemed like having a conversation with Petar, which he did from time to time in the office. His attention wandered a bit, but Bill could see that, given what had happened to the kids.

“How did they find out?”

Hjalmar’s daughter said, “There are little people all over this town. Word gets out.”

Little people. Bill tried to flatten out his face into a more neutral, less skeptical snapshot. “I know that the town puts a great stock in you, but I’d just as soon you’d leave this to us.”

The tough godmother opened her mouth, but Al cleared his throat, interrupting her.

“You have something you want to add, Al?”

“You know how the town feels about the trolls, Bill.”

Bill picked up a pen and tapped it end over end on his desk. “I get that border stuff. I’ve got to draw the line at involving minors in a missing person’s investigation.”

David rolled his eyes. “At least it isn’t what it is in Hildi’s books. It’s not because we’re magic and they don’t believe it. This time they don’t want us around because we’re kids. It’s like being in an episode of Scooby Doo or something.”

Grant shot David a dark look. “Listen, Sheriff,” said Grant, “we’re passing along information. I would recommend a curfew for the kids, which I don’t figure would be unusual in this situation.”

“Would that include you?” Bill asked.

“Probably not,” said Hild. “Because I could probably go one-to-one with the Widow better than most of your men, being trained from an early age in how to use magical weapons and all.”

Bill glanced at Al, who was red with effort at not laughing. Jenny smiled slightly at Hild. Bill knew she was hard to get approval from.

“Miss Hrothgar, that still doesn’t change that in the state of Iowa, you are a legal minor.”

Hild shrugged. “Send an adult with me. I’ll protect them.”

Real Life Intrudes Again

Ah…Craig passed out this morning and is back in the hospital.

No word yet on why. I’ll keep you posted. We have quite the phone chain set up.

ETA: The going theory is that they may have left something unstitched during all the excitement of his resurrection a couple of weeks ago. They’re running other tests to rule things out, but they’ve reassured folks that it isn’t his heart. Which is one big phew.


Fraser Sherman on Music

Here’s Fraser Sherman’s post on music. You can find me at Isabelle Santiago’s Twisted Fairytale.

And while I’m at it, please visit the Drollerie Chat Room on September 27th at 4 pm EST, 1 pm PST. New books will be given away. You know you want some.


Music baffles me.

I can’t begin to imagine how composers create music.

I can understand how they write lyrics, even though I’ve never tried. Lyrics are writing, they’re words, putting them together makes sense to me. But music?
While I enjoy music, I don’t have any technical understanding of what makes it work: Why one note sounds better than another, why certain notes belong together. I’m not even sure notes do belong together: For all I know, a nice but of music from the Beatles or Mozart would have worked just as well if they’d put a whole different set of notes in.

I imagine my more musically educated friends can see the structure of a symphony or a jazz trio the same way I can see the nuts and bolts of a story if I want to analyze it. to me, it’s just a lot of pretty notes, followed by a bunch more pretty notes.

As a result, I can’t for the life of me imagine the creative process of someone writing music. They say Mozard could conceive the structure of an entire symphony in an instant; I can’t even imagine what a musical structure is.

I have the same problem with some of those incredibly busy paintings that were popular a couple of centuries ago: How do they artists decide where everything will go, what everyone will be doing, how it all makes sense. But I come closer than I do with music: I can imagine someone sketching out a painting, crossing out a few figures, adding stuff, finally getting the draft. But how does that work with music?

I suppose this makes me the musical equivalent of those people who ask writers “where did you get all your ideas?” It’s oddly fascinating to me; there are many, many skills I don’t have but most of them I can still comprehend how they work and how people make them work. Music? Not so much.

If nothing else, i guess it will help to keep me humble.

Writer Blue Print

I have 5 chapters of The Winter the Troll Danced with Old Nick in good shape. From here, things are changing mightily, although the ending is still good and sturdy. Next move? Go back to writing the plot lines through. I’ll start with the trolls and see where we go from there. I hope this works. It’s such a recalcitrant story.

However, Grant surprised me on Friday by deciding that he, David, and Hild were going to be an army of three. They intend to do active stuff. I want to see what he’s got in mind.

This week:

Monday 6-8
Tuesday 12-3
Wednesday 6-8 (Squid Boy Check in–we’re getting close to posting)
Thursday 6-8

This weekend it’s up to Minneapolis to catch a glimpse of the famous Maggie Stiefvater and get a copy of Ballad, and to have brunch with friends Twilight Angel and Caroline Stevermer.

In closing, a shout out to the newly married Catherine Lundoff and her partner Janna. You guys looked beautiful, and that was some cake.

Herculean Efforts

My last official act as the author of Hulk Hercules: Professional Wrestler? The acknowledgments page.

I’ve seen the title prototype, and I hope to share it with you as soon as I can. Otherwise, I think it’s going to come down to publicity efforts.

But Cats Curious could yet surprise me. I’m very naive about these matters, but game to learn.

In other news, I’d like to tell you about some good things that are going on, but they certainly could come to nothing. However, I am the proud owner of a shiny medium-sized bubble which could pop at any time.


Connecting the Dots

Now that work is (less) crushing, I’m going to try to get back into the habit of doing a bit out of Tamago outreach.

Nothing crazy. The big obligation is still to my writing. However, I may be approaching some of you about being interviewed, and posting cool things about you here. One of the things I try to do is interview writers NOT about writing, because it’s interesting to know what multi-faceted people you all are. However, I’d love to talk about books or careers if that’s helpful to you, and what you’d really like to do. So, expect some more of that again, starting with Monday’s Drollerie Blog Tour and Fraser Sherman’s guest stint.

Meanwhile, my writing landscape shifts. Today, I’m doing something unusual. I have lunch with my friend, LaDawn. She works at Kirkwood part-time, and one of her many other activities is that she writes press releases for a local entertainment story. When she was at the “family reunion” this summer, she suggested she should write some sort of press release for me.

I suggested that it might be a bit too soon for that, given my world wide fame, and she suggested I was cracked. She thinks people would be interested in all my small press work. So, today, over drippy barbecue sauce, we’ll talk about my stories and *sniff* my career as a fantasy writer.

It’s amazing how we rely on the good will of others that we connect with, and how surprisingly handy those accidental connections can become. And that sounds like a seg into pimping Jon’s interview.

Jon Gibbs was interviewed over at The Book Bundle. In the interview, Jon talks about the power of blogging as an author. Here’s a really relevant quote for me today.

“It’s true that developing an online journal takes time and effort, but in my opinion, the benefits are well worth it. Aside from the fact that a blog can help you get your work seen by new readers, there’s a wealth of knowledge and writing know-how on the web. How much would you pay for helpful advice from successful authors, agents and editors in your genre? An online journal gives you access to people from all around the world. Many of them share their knowledge and experience on their blogs, for free.”

I’m finding this to be very true as I continue my writing journey and connect the dots.

Continue reading “Connecting the Dots”

Mahabharata: 1-800-Bets-Off

Just when you began to think this phoenix wasn’t coming out of the ashes, we pick up where we left, oh, about a month and a half ago.


At this point in the epic poem, there are two sets of brothers that are rivals: The Pandavas, who are the sons of Kunti and various gods, and the Kauravas, who are the sons of Gandhari and Dhrtarastra.

Duryodhana, the eldest of the Kauravas, hates the Pandavas the most. He sees Arjuna as his chief rival, and he’s tired of being bullied by Bhima. He would like to cause their downfall.

It turns out that his uncle, the brother of Gandhari, is excellent with dice. They decide to play the Pandavas at dice.

Yudhisthira, the eldest brother of the Pandavas, has a gambling problem. The dice game is on, but Yudhisthira has rotten luck. He loses everything–his kingdom, his brothers, and himself. In a last desperate gamble, he bets Draupadi, the wife of the five brothers, and he loses.

Duryodhana sends his brother Duhsasana to fetch Draupadi, because she is know his slave. Draupadi is off in her seclusion because she is menstruating, but Duhsasana drags her in front of all the men in disgrace because she is now Duryodhana’s property.

Draupadi is pretty angry. She is angry at the Pandavas for getting her into this situation. She is angry at the elders of the family for not protecting her honor. She is angry at Duhsasana and Duryodhana because they disgrace her.

Duryodhana makes lewd comments, which makes the Pandavas vow vengeance. Especially, Bhima says he will kill Dusasana and drink his blood in revenge for dishonoring Draupadi. Duryodhana orders Draupadi stripped naked to show her slave status.

Krsna (the god!) is on the Pandavas’ side, and he will not allow this to happen to Draupadi. She is suddenly wrapped in the never ending sari, and she stays clothed, much to the amazement of everyone.

The Kauravas decide that it’s a bad idea to make the Pandavas their slaves, so they send them out to the wilderness instead, because exile is better than nothing, and the Pandavas obviously have the divine on their side.

So, what about the wilderness anyway? That’s next time.


This Week’s Snippet

Here’s a brother sister moment from The Winter the Troll Danced with Old Nick.


Siegfried ducked around the corner just as Quartz climbed the stairs, wrapped her scarf around her neck, and ducked out into the cold winter morning Sigurda bumped into him from behind, and he turned, cross.

“I wasn’t the one that stopped short,” she said in answer to his look.

“You were right.”

“I often am. In what way?”

“Quartz just went outside.”

They wandered past the information kiosk toward the fireplace. A trip to one of their warehouse stores had given them the right props and clothes. Sigurda wore a white nylon jacket and white leggings, which made her look even more like she was made of snow. None of the college students noticed that she was wearing her crystal sword. He had settled for jeans and a cable sweater, and Sigurda had observed that mortal women were staring at him. He had suggested that this was usual behavior when he had been among the Believers, so why shouldn’t it be here. Sigurda suggested she’d let the air out of his vanity by using Aud as a surgical aid.

Outside, Siegfried saw that it was snowing in lazy, lacy flakes.

“Quartz,” he reflected.

“We need to divide and conquer.” Sigurda leaned toward him and lowered her voice. “The question is where can you do the least harm.”

Sigfried snorted. “You really think I’m that reckless?”

“Honestly?” she teased. The flames flickered in her eyes. He knew she was laughing at him, on the inside. Her voice softened. “I don’t want you talking to Quartz.”

Siegfried’s eyes narrowed. “I’m not weak. I can handle Quartz.”?

“It’s not that, Sieg,” she said flatly. “I imagine it will feel like having your heart clawed out. Why would I want you to go through that?”

He opened his mouth to retort, but since she said something he hadn’t expected, he closed it again to regroup. Finally, he said, “I’m no diplomat. You should see the trolls.”

“Maybe we should do it all together.”