The Queen and her Brook Horse, An Orc Saga Novella, Book 2.5, is Available Now!
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hiatusly Happening

So, here is the deal, blogfriends. I am coming down with a case of Houseguests for the coming week (arriving today!), during which my computer access will be severely limited, and following that is the mad dash of finishing Orc Romance (77.5K and counting!) in time to gorge myself on Heracles Myths for NaNoWriMo, and following that is NaNoWriMo itself, and following THAT is Thanksgiving-Palooza-Two-Week-Festival-of-Family-and -- well. Of Family.

Basically, what I'm trying to say is that regularly scheduled blogging must be suspended until December. At which point, I will be returning just in time to see you all off to YOUR Holiday Hiatuses (Hiatae? Hiati?). I am sorry, blogfriends, truly, but the way things are, I do not see how I can blog, finish Orc Romance, and whip through the requisite 50K for NaNo before November 16th when my Thanksgiving plans kick into overdrive-extreme.

I will do my best to keep you posted on my NaNo progress, and possibly I will be able to squeeze in some fun Heracles facts and figures, but I can't make any promises! DO tune back in, same bat times, same bat channels, come December! I will, at the very least, have one HECKUVA(n) awesome happy holidays image for you, courtesy of friend and follower Zachary Tringali, and you really, really, really do not want to miss that. I will say no more, but it is even better than Thor with the santa hat from last year.

Good luck to all of my fellow NaNoWriMo participants! I'll see you at 50K! Um. I hope.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Oh Avengers, Please Be AWESOME

Better late than never and also because I'm busy Romancing Orcs. Or um, with Orcs Romancing. I have a new favorite character named Fossegrim, if you're wondering. He is SUCH a cranky old man, and I would not be shocked if he yelled at someone to get off his lawn.

Anyway: AVENGERS! A real trailer at last! It does look like it is kind of Iron Man and friends, maybe but you know, as long as they do not screw up Thor, I can live with that. (What is this nonsense I hear about taking Thor 2 deeper into the Cosmos rather than back to Earth to develop his love story with Jane Foster?!)

Can Avengers be out now? Or at least can we start seeing Avengers toys? There are all these Avengers Assemble toy signs at Target and it just gets my hopes up every time, only to see the same old. And! While I'm talking about toys, let the record reflect that the only Thor movie Toys that were worth anything were the super hero squad editions and the small Nerf Thor Hammer. All the action figures just looked AWKWARD, and if it is the same for Avengers I am going to be really, extremely sad.

This post seems like the posterchild of my new slogan: Come for Thor, Stay for More! I promise it was an accidental coincidence.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


If you hadn't heard, they're doing a wickedly cool reconstruction of the bronze age settlement Pavlopetri, which was found underwater. My friends, it is awesome. It is even MORE awesome, because the reconstruction shows us how the other half lives, so to speak. We have so much (relatively) information on the palaces of Mycenae and Crete, but so little about regular Joes and non-palace life. Just seeing the way the settlement is laid out offers us a glimpse of something more. And as you all know, I am a big fan of computer reconstruction type things. Especially faces. I love when they give people faces SO MUCH.

Every time something new pops up in my radar for Bronze Age Greece, I start to hyperventilate, thinking about HELEN, and how much I may or may not have to change for historical accuracy. I pore over the article asking myself "Am I close enough to what they've discovered to get away with it?" "Was I right?" "Am I totally off base?!" Which of course then prompts a reread and spot revision of the entire manuscript. I don't even want to talk about the Great Citrus Debacle of failed research that I discovered a few months back. (I was so ashamed of myself. All fixed now, I promise!)

I have a feeling this is going to go on for some time. Especially since the next project I have lined up (after I finish the Orc romance--59K baby!) is Heracles, set in the same time period.  In that respect, the Orc Romance is a nice break. The only thing I really have to worry about for accuracy is linguistic, and even there I have as much wiggle room as I want to take. (As a side note, finding names for Elves is not NEARLY as easy as finding names for Giants in Norse mythology.)

Even when I've done all the research, I still haven't done all the research. It's my love/hate relationship with historical fiction.

Friday, October 07, 2011

In Progress: Orc Romance (III)

Today I will hit 50K in the Orc Romance. In honor of making it this far in what was supposed to be a short story (Dag Nabbit Orc Romance!), and to appease my aunt who asked for a sample paragraph, allow me to share this very small bit of Bolthorn and Arianna.

What you need to know: Arianna, a human princess, stumbles across a room in which an orc, Bolthorn, is trapped inside a mirror as her father's prisoner and by accident, realizes she can free him. They strike up a... well, uneasy alliance, I suppose. At first. You should also probably know that Arianna uses "Of course" the way some women today abuse the word "Fine."

If he never heard her say those words again it would be too soon. Of course. It was a curse from her lips, a judgment of his worth, and he had no doubt she found him lacking. Could she not believe for a moment that he cared for her, even when he felt her suffering as his own?

He clenched his jaw. “If you cannot trust me, princess, this journey will be a hardship for more reason than your wounds.”

“You ask too much,” she said, stiffening.

“I ask only for you to see me as I am,” he said, rising from the floor where he had knelt. “I am not your king or any of his lords. I am orc, sworn to your protection, sworn to serve my people.”

“Yes,” she said. “Two oaths at cross-purpose. I am not a fool to mistake where your loyalties must lie.”

So this was the heart of it. “My loyalties must lie with you in equal measure, it is the choice I made when I offered you sanctuary behind the glass. I do not regret it.”

“And when you do?”

“That day will never come.” He stepped toward her, glad to see she did not shrink back, and caught her hand, pressing his thumb to the cut across her palm. “I am not human, to betray you so easily, princess. I am orc, and our bargain has been struck in blood. There is no going back now, not until my death. That is the bond between us!”

Her lips moved without sound, her eyes wide upon her hand, then his chest where he had pressed her bleeding palm, mixing their blood together.

“We move forward together,” he said, gentling his hold upon her hand. “Or not at all.”

And now, I am back to it!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

The Nix of Tiveden

Näcken och Ägirs döttrar (Nils Blommér)While writing the Orc Romance, I found myself researching place names, particularly in the Saga of the Volsungs, since I have it so conveniently close to hand. King Volsung ruled over a land called Hunland, and his enemy and son-in-law, King Siggeir, ruled over Gautland, a land associated not just with the Saga of the Volsungs, but Beowulf (the Geats of Geatland) and Roman history (the Goths of Gothia). But more importantly, it happens to be bordered by a forest called Tiveden, and the lakes of Tiveden have a Nix.

I had never heard of a Nix (aka Näck, among other variations) until I found Tiveden, but now I kind of want to make one into the main character of a story. (Or I would if I wrote fantasy of that kind. Orc Romance not withstanding.) The Nix is the Germanic water spirit, sometimes a merman but mostly a shape shifter, which puts me almost directly in mind of the river gods in Classical myth (especially the story of Poseidon impersonating the river god to get into Tyro's pants). 

Gutt på hvit hest
The water-horse version of the Nix, with a boy
In Scandinavian folklore, they are supposedly great musicians, often appearing as a man with a violin (though their name comes from a word meaning river horse) able to enchant their listeners with their music. They can be jerky, making demands and luring people to drown in the water, or friendly and even willing to teach others how to play as well as they do. And the story of the origin for the red water-lilies in Tiveden forest? It's just heartbreakingly fascinating. 

Guys, I have not delved deeply into the research (wikipedia so far), but so far, I'm taken. 

What's your favorite folklore-ish water-related creature?