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Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Well, I hope you guys like EPIC, long books, because this one is now almost 40k words past my original estimated length of 145k words. Lots of drama and several subplots going on that all tie into the main external plot.The last 25% of the manuscript has not even had one edit/major revision done to it, so that still has to happen as well. I am going to finish this manuscript by hook or by crook, however. :D
Thanks for sticking with me these past (almost) four years while I wrote and wrangled this story into shape!
I'm in the last chapter or two (maybe three, but I hope not :/) of the book. The climax scenes have been written and I am now tying up the loose threads with the subplot love stories---yes subplot love stories. More than one. Which is why this manuscript is HUGE! Prior to edits, it is now at approx. 182,000 words. This is a big family saga, with lots of drama (and humor, and romance!), so please just bear with me. No one---I mean NO ONE---wants this manuscript finished more than I do, lol!
In the meantime, enjoy the cover and the teaser blurb!
Thursday, October 19, 2017
I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, folks. This manuscript (Nordic Moon, aka "Grímr and Vika's story") has nearly kicked my ass, but I am finally coming close to the happily ever after! I haven't quite made it to the climax/dark moment/resolution, but I am speeding up to it with every new word I write.
As I had posted months ago, I had to cut a HUGE portion from the front of the manuscript and then it took me about eight months and revisions in the high double digits to restructure the story, figuring out where to use the stuff from the excised portion that I still needed and how to change the remainder that I kept to reflect this new beginning. Oh, well! As they say, that which does not kill us, makes us stronger!
I will keep you posted, and please send loving and positive vibes to me and this book, because we really need it!
October 19, 2017
Tuesday, September 6, 2016
If you have never entered your work in a contest before, I highly recommend doing so. It is a wonderful way to get some feedback from other writers, who have been trained in doing thorough and kind (i.e. truthful, helpful, but not mean and nasty) critiques of your work in progress. I entered this one and quite a few others when I was very green and just learning how to tell a story. I got SO much good advice on the first few chapters of Highland Vengeance back in 2007 and, I think, 2008, when I was still doing revisions on the story.
Click HERE for the Contest Rules.
Here are the categories and final round judges:
Contemporary – Long includes romance novels of 70,000 words or more, with a more complex plot (including sub-plot) set in contemporary times, in which the romance is the main plot line.
♥ Editor: Danielle Marshall, Amazon / Lake Union Publishing
♥ Agent: Paige Wheeler, Creative Media Agency, Inc.
Contemporary – Short includes romance novels of between 40,000 and 70,000 words that fall within more specific category lines, set in contemporary times, in which the romance is the main plotline. These novels normally have only two points of view, that of the hero and heroine, and a more focused plot line.
♥ Editor: Brenda Chin, Entangled Publishing LLC
♥ Agent: Carrie Pestritto , Prospect Agency
Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal includes romance novels in which paranormal elements constitute an integral part of the plot.
♥ Editor: Angela James, Harlequin Enterprises
♥ Agent: Moe Ferrara, BookEnds Literary Agency
Historical Romance includes romance novels set prior to 1950.
♥ Editor: Janet Clementz, Soul Mate Publishing
♥ Agent: Patricia Nelson , Marsal Lyon Literary Agency
Romantic Suspense includes romance novels in which the romance is the main focus but is integrated with suspense, mystery, or thriller elements.
♥ Editor: Deb Werksman, Sourcebooks
♥ Agent: Elaine Spencer, The Knight Agency
Young Adult includes romance and non-romance novels geared toward readers 12 – 17, and feature protagonists of the same age group.
♥ Editor: Alice Jerman, Harper Collins
♥ Agent: Tricia Skinner, Fuse Literary
Best of the Best is a competition between the first place winners of each category. The winner will receive $100.
Best of the Best Judge:
♥ 2016 RWA Steffie Walker Bookseller of the Year: Anna Brown, Katy Budget Books
Enter the Emily
Contest is open until midnight on October 2, 2016. ENTER NOW
Saturday, July 2, 2016
I am so thrilled to let you guys know about this completely awesome sale on eBooks that is going on at Smashwords from July 1-July 31, 2016---and...you got it! I've included some of my most popular eBooks in this sale! Click HERE to go to my list of books on Smashwords.
This sale works with the use of discount coupon codes, which are listed on the right sidebar on each book's Smashwords sales page, and are required at checkout. However, I thought I'd go ahead and post the discount coupon codes for my books below, to make it easier for any of you who would like to check one or two (or more) out. ;)
I have my Highlands Trilogy Collection in this sale, along with the fourth, and latest book in my Medieval Highlanders series, Song of the Highlands, as well as all my contemporary works available for steep discounts using the coupon codes provided on the book's Smashwords page.
Here is a list of my book titles that have discount coupons available:
-The Highlands Trilogy Collection (75% off coupon code SSW75)
-Song of the Highlands (50% off coupon code SSW50)
-A Stranger's Kiss (Free/100% off coupon code SFREE)
-Love is the Drug ($1 with coupon code SSW75)
-Diamonds and Toads: A Modern Fairy Tale ($1 with coupon SSW75)
Again, click HERE to go to my book page on Smashwords.
This is a fantastic eBook sale, folks. There are coupons to get free, 75% off, 50% off, 25% off book prices in most popular fiction, and non-fiction genres. Check it out!
Thursday, May 26, 2016
At 6:11 a.m. this morning I opened up my revision notes for my latest manuscript (working title: Vika and Grímr's story), and the first note for the day (after having left off on this revision yesterday), was a note about doing a bit more research on the Norse völva or spaekona.
So... off I went on another journey around the internet. My first stop sent me here, where I became curious about learning more about the Yggdrasil, which, according to Wikipedia, is "an immense mythical tree that connects the nine worlds in Norse cosmology," so I then went here.
|The norns Urðr, Verðandi, and Skuld beneath the world tree Yggdrasil (1882) by Ludwig Burger.|
Then on and on from there---in other words, I've gone down quite a rabbit hole! Three hours later, and forty-one websites later, I have learned a bit more about the life of the female shamans in Norse society, but I've also learned a tad more about a host of other intriguing pieces of Norse history.
Did you know that a Viking ship was excavated back in 1904 at the Oseberg farm near Tønsberg in Norway which held the skeletal remains of two women have been thought to be either Queen Åsa of the Yngling clan, mother of Halfdan the Black and grandmother of Harald Fairhair and her lady's maid, or a very important and renowned völva and her daughter?
|Oseberg ship during 1904 excavation.|
|The Oseberg ship on display at the Viking Ship Museum, Oslo, Norway.|
|Drawing: Items excavated at Oseberg.|
Although there were many items excavated that fascinated me, the one that really captured my imagination was the "Buddha Bucket." The bucket has an ornament of a buddha-like figure seated in a traditional lotus-style position on both sides of the handle, with a cloisonné enameled front in a very traditionally Indian svastika design.
|"Buddha bucket" (Buddha-bøtte)|
There is a very similar, contemporaneous Buddha-like figure that was excavated in Norway as well called Myklebostad. I've seen it mentioned as the "Myklebostad hanging bowl," but have not been able to find further specifics on this item, as every site I've found links back to a museum site in Norway that will not open for me at present.
There is some speculation regarding both figures that they were actually products of the British Isles, but I am more swayed to believing their origin to be India at present.
This connection to the east and middle east sent me on another journey on the 'net. And via those clicks I found out the following:
That the Norse Vikings were frequent visitors to Constantinople.
That Istanbul was called Constantinople into the 20th Century (and evidently still is by many Europeans), and that Constantinople was called Istanbul at least by the 11th Century by the Turks.
Well, I hope this post sends you on your own journey down an even more fascinating rabbit hole!
- Norns under yggdrasil: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yggdrasil
- Oseberg Ship Excavation: http://irisharchaeology.ie/2012/09/the-oseberg-viking-ship-burial/ (originally from http://www.khm.uio.no/utstillinger/oseberg/indexE.html)
- Oseberg Ship on Display: http://irisharchaeology.ie/2012/09/the-oseberg-viking-ship-burial
- Drawing of items found at Oseberg: http://www.coast-alive.eu/node/12352
- Lozenge-twill pattern:
- Buddha bucket: http://www.vikingrune.com/2009/08/oseberg-buddha/
- Myklebostad: http://arno.daastol.com/history/norsetrade.html
Saturday, March 12, 2016
Women and Magic in the Sagas: Seiðr and Spá
The Norse practitioners of the various arts of magic were highly respected professionals whose services were valued by their communities (Jochens, Old Norse Magic and Gender, 307; Ellis-Davidson, 37). In the Norse literature, men as well as women appear wielding the arts of magic, however, it is explicitly stated in several places that by doing so these men were taking on a female art so thoroughly that it endangered their reputation and manhood (Ynglingasaga, ch. 7, for instance). Since Norse magic was so intrinsically a woman's art, throughout this paper I will deal with magic as practiced by women, using the feminine pronoun, but it should be remembered that men as well as women practiced the art as recorded in the sagas.
Many of the most important cult practices of the pagan Norse religion occurred in the housewife's domain, where the woman of the house would act as priestess or gyðja (Steffensen, 191). From the time of the ancient Germanic tribes, women were revered by the Northern peoples as being holy, imbued with magical power, and with a special ability to prophecy, a reverence which endured in Scandinavia until the advent of Christianity. It is therefore necessary when examining materials dealing with women in general, and most especially with women involved in pagan or magical activities, to carefully evaluate the effect that Christian attitudes may have exerted upon the author recording the material in question. In general, Christian accounts, most especially those describing the Conversion of Scandinavia, have a hostile view of magic and pagan religion, demoting gods to devils, pagan worshipers into malevolent sorcerers, and those practicing magic in a pagan context become regarded practitioners of the most perverse and evil deeds (Simpson, 165). The further an account is removed in time from the pagan era, the more confusion and inaccuracies creep into the accounts. This is especially demonstrable in the confusion over the concepts of seiðr and spá, as will be discussed below.
It has been noted that women's magico-religious activities are always associated with their socially accepted and defined roles. Sometimes women's magic and religion reflect their domestic duties, while at other times magic and religion are the antithesis of a woman's socially expected role, acting as an outlet for rage and frustration but abhorred by the men who define a woman's role in their society (Geertz, 126-141). This is likewise true for magic in the world of the Norse woman. The woman of the Viking Age found magic in her spindle and distaff, wove spells in the threads of her family's clothing, and revenged herself on the powerful using the skills of sorcery.
Magic as described in the Norse sagas was not a single art: there was seiðr, spá (spae), galdr, and runic magic, and quite possibly other categories of magical arts that the saga writers failed to discuss, did not properly understand as they were the province of women, or dismissed as simple superstition.
Of these terms, seiðr is the most common, as well as the most difficult to define. The term seiðr is most commonly translated as "witchcraft," and is used to describe actions ranging from shamanic magic (such as spirit journeys, magical healing by removing "spirit missiles" such as elf-shot from the body, magical psychiatric treatment in the form of recovering lost portions of the soul-complex, etc.), to prophecy, channeling the gods or the gods' voices through a human agent, performing magic that affects weather or animal movements, as well as a wide range of malefic magic. The single most characteristic element of seiðr, however, seems to be magic of a type which works by affecting the mind by illusion, madness, forgetfulness or other means. The practitioner of seiðr was known as a seið-kona (seið-wife) or seið-man, but these terms tended to suggest a "black magician," so that frequently a seið-worker is called a spá-kona or spae-wife instead to avoid blackening their name with the negative connotations of seiðr. This "politically correct" title usage for the seið-worker has resulted in much confusion over the types of native Scandinavian magic since the categories between seiðr and spá became blurred by later writers. seiðr could give the worker knowledge of the future, but rather than directly perceiving ørlög or fate, as a spá-kona or völva would, the seið-practitioner summoned spirits to communicate the knowledge of the future. Other terms in common use for those practicing seiðr include fjölkunnigr-kona, "full-cunning-wife, knowledgeable women" and hamhleypa, "hamingja-leaper, shape- or skin-changer" (Simpson, 183).
Seiðr was a solitary art, where the seið-witch was not a member of a coven, as in found in other European witch traditions, although a seið-practitioner might have attendants or a chorus to assist her in the practice of her magic. In a very few rare instances only do the sagas report a group of seið-workers practicing together, there they are usually kin folk, such as a pair of sisters, a father and his family, and the like (Ellis-Davidson, 37-38).
The second type of magic was known as spá, or in a slightly archaic English or Scottish term, spae. Spá is often referred to as spá-craft or spae-craft, and the practitioners of spá as spá-kona or spae-wife. spá is intrinsically the art of determining ørlög, usually by intuition or personal gnosis. Ørlög is literally "ur", meaning ancient or primeval, and "lög" is law: ørlög is the law of how things will be, laid down by wyrd or fate by the three Norns. The Norns, Urðr ("That Which Is"), Verðandi ("That Which Is Becoming") and Skuld ("That Which Should Become") are the embodiment of wyrd. In fact, the Norns are the prototypical Weird Sisters who are found in Macbeth, and their seething kettle is both the bubbling Well of Wyrd and the seið-kona's cauldron. Many of the goddesses wield the art of spá: in Lokasenna we are told that Frigga knows all ørlögs, though she does not speak of them; and that Gefjion knows all ørlögs as well as Óðinn; and the Prose Edda says that Thórr's wife Sif was likewise a spá-kona.
Another term for practitioners of spá is völva, usually translated as "prophetess" or "sybil". Völva comes from a root meaning "magical staff," and throughout the Norse literature one sees female prophetesses and witches bearing a staff. The term völva dates back to the early Germanic tribes, where the term is found in the name or title of some tribal seeresses. The völva was an especially honored figure: Tacitus tells us of one such prophetess called Veleda, who prophesied the victory of her tribe over the Romans and saw that a general uprising against the legions would meet with success:
They believe that there resides in women an element of holiness and a gift of prophecy; and so they do not scorn to ask their advice, or lightly disregard their replies. In the reign of the emperor Vespasian we saw Veleda long honored by many Germans as a divinity; and even earlier they showed similar reverence for Aurinia and a number of others -- reverence untainted by servile flattery or any pretense of turning women into goddesses.
--Germania, ch. 8
The völva appears many times in Norse myth as well, for Óðinn routinely seeks knowledge of the future by using his powers over the dead to interrogate a völva in her grave.
Galdr means literally "to sing" and refers to magical songs that were sung with a range of notes. Galdr is usually associated with men's magical incantations. When occasionally we see a Norse woman "chanting," the verb is usually "to speak," indicating a chant rather than a song.
The magic of the runes was largely the province of men, although it is likely that some women, at least, knew something of the runes. Certainly the sagas record instances of seið-witches cutting runes in wood in order to work a spell:
When they reached the shore, she hobbled on by the sea as if directed to a spot where lay a great stump of a tree as large as a man could bear on his shoulder. She looked at it and bade them turn it over before her; the other side looked as if it had been burned and smoothed. She had a small flat surface cut on its smooth side; then she took a knife, cut runes upon it, reddened them with her blood and muttered some spells over it. After that she walked backwards against the sun around it and spoke many potent words. Then she made them push the tree into the sea, and said that it should go to Drangey and that Grettir should suffer hurt from it.
--Grettis saga Ásmundarsonar, ch. 79
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