Tuesday, 21 September 2010

You are summoned to my Viking Valhalla Feast to celebrate Soul Chaser! *a very unique Blog BBQ/Fest

*Soul Chaser is now 30,000 words old! YAY! And there is still so much more of this norse fantasy to tell!*
Welcome dear friends and those who have just been awoken to this humble place where the ways of the old world and the old Gods still live and will never die. To this, my Valkyrian Sanctum.

Here is where I proudly proclaim my love for all things Vikingy be it their history, people, culture, explorations but most importantly to me was their mythology and the great sagas of their heroes and gods.
This fascination led me to writing my norse fantasy WIP novel Soul Chaser, which doesn't focus on any of the main Gods such as Odin, Thor or even Loki but on the little known characters in the great realm of Asgard, the Valkyries - the Viking version of Angels. It is these fair shield-maidens who select the worthies warriors from the battle fields but also serve the Gods at their great feasts in Valhall, Odin's great hall. Let them by your servants as I host this virtual feast in honour of Soul Chaser becoming 30,000 words old!


 You may partake of as much food as you like and as we are feasting in Valhalla itself for this special period of time Thor has even lent me his goat which we can kill and roast as many times as we like so we will never be short of some good meat. And of course we have an unlimited supply of the genuine drink of the Vikings - MEAD!
The only condition you must fulfill to feast in Valhalla with these great Gods and Heroes of old without having your soul remain here for eternity is to leave a comment complimenting food and drink and inform all in attendance where you are from *aka leave personal blog details* and kindly listen to others tales of adventure in reaching this holy heights *aka visit other peoples blogs in return* and spread the word of these festivities far and wide so many can rediscover the joy and pleasure gained by reliving the old ways! Or if you prefer listening to the voices of Skalds please do sample from the seven chapters of Soul Chaser available for all to hear at the top of the page. *please note it is still in it's first draft so I humbly apologise for all visible mistakes.
So have some roast goat, grab a hornful of mead and shout to rock the roofs of Valhall
"May Vikings Rule Forever in Great Jorvik!"

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Becky Bookworm Book Review: Viking Age England by Dr Julian Richards

Viking Age EnglandViking Age England by Julian D. Richards

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Overall this book is a very interesting read and does make the reader aware of a lot of important and influental factors affecting not just the Anglo-Saxon people at the time period its writen about but also the factors that influenced many of the Norwegian and Danish viking settlers and their lives since the founding of the Danelaw.



It is rather dry in its tone though, it isn't as informal or as enthusiastic than some other factual books on the middle ages and viking era I have but it did prove to be interesting and a worthwhile read if you want a deeper insight into this time period.



View all my reviews

Monday, 13 September 2010

Soul Chaser - Chapter Seven - Secrets of Runes

Chapter Seven – Secrets of Runes

Mist had told me it would get easier once I gained basic control of my wings but like many things in my new life it was easier said than done. That first training session that liberated my wings from my subconscious was what felt like the toughest challenge I’ve ever had to do. And that’s saying a lot when you think about the hoops Freya makes you jump through to join her ranks at an unwinged level. Yet I thought wrong.
    After six independent stretches from each feathered limb Mist persuaded me a bit deeper into the shiver-creeping sea lapping the beach. She had me stood in it up to my waist and I had to stretch my arms up and at the same time stretch both my wings out.
    “It’s a bit harder than patting your head and rubbing your belly at the same time.” She teased, perching on a rock nearby.
    “No kidding.”
    “Like before just try doing it slowly so you feel when each set of muscles are beginning to tense and twist.”
    “Ahuh.” I grunted trying to remain upright as each wave attempted to push my stomach out of the way.
    “Don’t look so disappointed. You’ll get to fly eventually, we’re not as gifted as young birds born with the knowledge of how. We have to learn how to fly like you learn how to walk, by crawling first.” She gave me a smile of encouragement. “Now, first lift your arms to shoulder height and then focus on your wings.”
    I practiced and repeated each set of simple actions until I was doing them confidently enough to string them together, one step after another. After an hour or so I could managed to perform the exercise twenty times before my muscles began to complain.
    “Well done, you’re making good progress. Now fall into the water, let it cool your back.”
     I did so a bit too enthusiastically at the opportunity to rest and found my face under the murky water. When I came up Mist was joining me off the rocks.
    “Come hold on to here; let the waves wash off the seaweed scrub.”
    I strode towards her, accidentally flaring my wings out with my arms as I battled the waves I was crossing.
    “You’ve got to learn to be wary of what your wings are doing in all your movements. Maintain the control long enough and it will become instinct. Just because you’ve mastered a few moves doesn’t mean you won’t fall head first over them.” She laughed at me.
    I stopped, independently lowered my wings to my back and tried to walk through the waves keeping my arms by my sides as much as possible. It wasn’t elegant but it was the simplest course of action to take and it worked. When I had reached her side I stuck my tongue out at her.
    She laughed again. “You always were too eager to jump the next hurdle.”
    “What’s that meant to mean?” The waves started to push up against my back but I’d misjudged how hard they would push my front up against the rough rocks. The chill tickled between each of my feathers as it crept up my wings.
    “It means dear student you have the unfortunate habit of believing that once you’ve mastered one challenge you can master everything else. Remember when you first learned how to use the rune Is?”
    “Yeah.” I admitted, it was the first runic charm I had learnt to conjure and control.
    “You were so proud with what you had achieved; you pestered me into showing you Ken, which is a stronger and more difficult rune. You nearly burnt your hair off with its flame because you underestimated its strength in comparison with Is.”
    My hand was in my hair needlessly as I recalled those tender days of my new life with these new and very different people.
    “You did learn to master it, eventually, but only after further time spent studying it and other runes in comparison. You must take the same approach with your new wings because if you make a mistake once you’re up in the air – well, only years of experience teaches you how to pull up after a fall.” I sensed a deep gentle wisdom in her gaze compared to the threat contained in Freya’s. “Take time to understand what you are learning and not the simple actions of how.”
    I just nodded no words to defend myself against the truth which she spoke. After a few more minutes in silence amongst the beating waves and sea breeze she led me back onto the beach and scrubbed off the remnants of the seaweed scrub.
    “Now for some fun, run up and down the beach flapping your wings slowly and gently, just to dry them of sea water. I don’t want to see both of your feet off the ground. Just do as I do.” She then began jogging out in front of me and held her arms out like the wings of an aeroplane and lifted them up and down at a relaxed pace.
I followed her after watching her movements thinking it was easy but as usual I misjudged things. I managed to flap my wings and my arms in similar movements but I only got complete synchronicity a few times, most of the run they were completely out of sync. But to be honest I wasn’t really trying that hard to be perfect as it turned out to be more fun than I thought. Well it was more liberating, feeling the ground racing by beneath my feet and the wind rushing between my damp feathers and the force of air being pushed away from me. I couldn’t not laugh with delight at this new sensation, the closest thing I’ve felt to flying so far. I began to run faster and flap my wings faster, screaming with laughter like a little girl discovering the joy of running free. I was a short distance from the rocks and began a long curve to go back the way I came, a silly grin on my face as I nearly collapsed at Mist’s feet.
***
The rest of the afternoon was spent resting and doing shoulder rolls occasionally but Mist further confirmed I was going well with these early exercises. Whilst she cooked a fish soup for tea she gave me a leather bound book to read. It contained her writing on various Bindrunes, the more advanced level of rune casting, where several individual runes were marked together. The various combinations surprised me as there were some elements that I didn’t think would work together, kind of like mixing fire and ice.
    “Each rune could be described as having two faces,” Mist explained when I voiced my puzzlement. “A positive face and negative face depending on how you cast the rune of course. Take Daeg for example,” she drew it in the sand with her fingers, its shape that of an N with another line running across its inside diagonally from bottom left to top right. “It aids with insight when the caster is in a situation where deceit may exist but if cast deliberately incorrectly it will do the opposite, create misleading visions for those within its influence. This, if you are in need of a quick Houdini style escape may ultimately be beneficial. But utilising this negative side has great risk for it could backfire and lead to your downfall in various ways.” She drew another rune in the sand beside Daeg which was the classic diamond shape. “But if you use Daeg opposite with Ing in a positive position, then it balances out and Ing will aid the success of the faulty vision so it doesn’t impair your own.” She smoothed the sand of her runic drawing and returned to stirring the cooking soup pot. “Bindrunes are tricky to create because of these complex meanings. Many young Valkyries have suffered injury and humiliation for making such a casting and failing to see that one feature of a rune actually leads to the failure of the entire casting. It’s a lot like creating a pyramid of cards, you must select and use the right ones that will not only support but compliment the rest for your desired result. Pick the wrong one and the whole stack will unravel and cause chaos.”
    The serious nature of combining runes dawned on me slowly but even then I still had deeper thoughts of what runes I could combine to create certain ends. I rested the book by my side as I was handed a bowl of steaming fish flesh amongst muscles and thin strips of seaweed. We ate in silence as the tide began to creep towards us and the sun was beginning to glimpse the edge of the horizon.
    “Will we have to move the tent further up when the sea comes in?” I asked realising that this cove probably floods at night.
    “No, Aegir has sworn to give us our space.”
    “Wow, that’s nice of him.”
    “It is, he is the hardest of the Aesir to bargain with.”
    “What was promised to him for such an oath? Freya’s not going to sleep with him is he?”
    Mist bellowed a big laugh, nearly making a mess of her soup. “No, no, it has been many years since Freya offered her body as part of any bargain. I believe Freya promised to claim the souls of a few whale trawlers up in the arctic.”
    “Oh, I’m surprised he cares.”
    “The Aesir aren’t as hard and cruel as they appear to be. Each has their favourite creature and whales are Aegir’s just like Odin loves his wolves, Freya has her cats and Thor has his goats. They all work hard to protect their favourites from the harshness of man.”
    “What’s your favourite animal?”
    “Owls, in particular the Little Owl.”
    “Any particular reason?”
    “The Little Owl was the first owl I saw. How about you?”
    I thought for a short while, trying to sort through my memories which always seemed to become a foggy swirl when searching for the answer to a personal question. It was as if the afterlife coated any remnants of my former life in some kind of goo forever blurring out faces, muffling voices and making names always fade just out of my mental reach. “I think I liked dolphins when I was alive.” I lied boldly plucking the first animal that came to my mind when I glimpsed out to sea in the struggle for the truth.
    “And you don’t now?” She asked curious.
    “I just ... don’t feel much of a connection to this to have much of an interest, even in my favourite animal.”
    “I can understand that. The world changes to us all once we are outside it.”
    With nothing more really to add a morbid feeling filled my gut as I admitted to myself unknowingly that this land didn’t feel like home anymore. That my twenty odd years here really was a part of me that was as distant as Denmark is to the coastline I sat on. I knew it existed out there but the sea of time and change was an unbridgeable void between my old life and my new afterlife.
***
It was dark outside when I heard the owl hoot. I thought it was merely an echo from my dreams so rolled over but then that was disproved by the distant howl of a wolf. I lay there, straining to hear any other random calls of the wild, trying hard not to rustle my wing feathers the slightest. For a brief time there was no other sound and I was ready to return to sleep when there was a noise of wind beneath wings. I could hear two voices speaking quietly, one was female and so had to be Mist but the other was deeper and older and male. I climbed out of my bed, keeping my wings in their closed position and crawled towards the door of my tent which was tied shut. Prizing the flap open slightly near the ground and peeped out into the darkness.
    My suspicions were correct for there were two figures including Mist sat around the bright embers of the open hearth. Yet the other figure was not of a man but of a large bird that was so black I only glimpsed it by the beak and eye shining in the dim light. It was from this creature that the deeper voice was coming from even though the beak never moved. Both were speaking in the old language, a very old form of Norwegian although many scholars that have since joined our mass in Asgard have tried to determine its true origins and they still can’t confirm anything.
    I let the flap close slowly once more and quickly thought of which runes to cast to let me eavesdrop on this secret night time meeting. I cast out Ansur to amplify and translate their conversation in my ears and Peorth at the same time to hide my runic magic as Mist would certainly detect the small power I used. It worked perfectly but was very disorientating at first because the sound that attacked my ears wasn’t their voices but the load roar of the sea as it swept up at the rocks and cliffs outside the cove. I fought not to groan out loud for it was a truly deafening cacophony in my head but as the runic magic began to settle into my immediate area the pair of voices were depicted clear to my ears.
    “I’m surprised these new wings ruffle Freya so much.” The deep male voice commented rather critically.
    “Anything that even attempts to rival her beauty ruffles hear feathers, Father, you should know this by now. Remember how she sought the Brisingamen necklace?”
    “Yes, yes, the dwarves are constantly reminding me about it each time I bargain with them.” The voice muttered abrupt and irritated.
    “They are nowhere near her eagle markings though, just a tint of gold and browns along the edges, that is all. The rest is white.”
    “It is intriguing though is it not? After all, out of the eight of you with white feathers this one should arise with colour.”
    “I agree, the pattern does make me curious, even Jennifer asked about it and Freya simply told her it was due to the mixed blessings of both Sun and Moon. I think it’s the fact that she is a soul. We were all converted instantly upon our deaths. Jennifer has been a spirit for ten years already.”
    “Hummmm, that is the more reasonable theory. Did the girl believe what Freya told her?”
    “Yes I think so although she hasn’t really questioned or pondered the immense transformation she has gone through or the powers that enabled it to happen.”
    “That is good, the less questions she asks the better. What are Freya’s plans for her?”
    “Teach her to fly and then set her to protecting the twins.”
    “Who’s protecting them whilst she is training?”
    “Geirölul at present but I think they are taking it in turns.”
    “Has the boy spotted them yet?”
    “No, but I can’t say anymore for certain as I’m no longer part of that operation. But I think they will remain unobserved a lot better than Jennifer.” It sounded like Mist was smirking and my stomach was already as tense as a tectonic plate with the way they were talking about me.
    “Indeed, hopefully the boy will merely dismiss her sighting as another bizarre feature of his blindness.”
    “You can’t blame her; she was only doing her duty against a Werewolf. It was that incident that got her introduced to them.”
    “Did you know she was the one that was even sent to collect their grandfather from hospital that same night?”
    “What? Really?”
    “Would I lie, Mist?”
    “No, of course not, Father, but, it’s just so...”
    “It’s another worrying coincidence that links the trio together. I don’t like the way your Mother is weaving these events at all.”
    “She never weaves any fates deliberately, only what occurs due to a set of decisions, you know this, so don’t start blaming her.”
    The male voice grunted loudly. “Have you sensed any future from her as you’ve taught her?”
    “I tried but it’s like searching for the bottom of a dirty pool. Her future is as blank as paper because her past is so faded still.”
    “Your apprentice is as full of riddles as Mimir was when he got drunk. Freya was wise in entwining her so close to her ranks. A soul so full of unknowns as this one has the capacity to become a liability.”
    “It is strange how she struggles to recall her mortal life. Because she remembers little we know even less about her. All we know is that she died in the Poole area, October 2001. We don’t know how or where, she was a wandering soul.”
    “Hummmm, wandering suggests traumatic death and it must have been to impact her memories ten years on. That does not bode well at all. I fear she may be more trouble than we think and the way events are forming I’m afraid I might be right.”
    “As of yet, Father, I have sensed no threat or darkness within her. As she works closer with us, I and the other Valkyries will be able to watch and guide her. Mother always said hindsight is only given when the knot is tied in the thread, whilst the needle still works nothing is certain.”
    “Innocent until proven guilty in plainer speak.”
    There was a pause and I could hear the crumbling heat of the embers.
    “Have you found Katherine yet?” Mist asked, her voice sounding nervous.
    “No, whoever has her is using every trick in the book to mislead our search and keep her hidden.”
    “Have you spoken to Hel?”
    “Yes, many times and each time she denies any involvement. She says her warriors haven’t claimed any holy being since the tsunami. Loki is still keeping company with my python so I am still unsure as to who might be keeping her body.”
    “That’s presuming she’s dead.”
    “It’s the better outcome because if and it is a rare chance, that she is somehow alive but captured, she will be tortured by gods knows what and that will corrupt her spirit so badly it would be a mercy for her to have faded to oblivion.”
    Another uncomfortable silence allowing the sea to fill it with its presence. I heard a crunch as a log was thrown onto the embers.
    “Have you asked the Vanir for help?”
    “No, not yet, I may do if we have no evidence of her soon. However even if that occurs I am sure I can find plenty of answers whilst on the Great Hunt.”
    “Ah yes, is it that time of year already?”
    “Not yet, but nearly. Sleippnir is already getting restless.”
    “I know, he rode to Mother’s recently. She fed him and was allowed to stroke his mane.”
    “So that’s why the little stallion looked so pleased with himself. I will have to visit your Mother again and try and persuade her to not make my best mount fat with her treats.” The old voice chuckled, a sound warm with hints of affection.
    “She would like that.” Mist replied hopeful.
    “Maybe I shall, once this mess is sorted out.”
    “Father?” Mist asked cautiously.
    “Yes?”
    “If we do find Katherine, will she be able to return to us?”
    Fire began to crackle and crack the log as the man in the guise of a raven thought. “I cannot say. But if we have not found her by the start of the Great Hunt then I fear the powers that have her may be too strong and corrupt her soul to much to face our light again. The Great Hunt season doesn’t just make my powers peak and allow me upon Midgard. It’s the reason why we hunt the shadows of the midnight moon.”
    “It will be a pity to lose her.”
    “I know it will be, but if your Mother had not woven the fate she has now than the twins would still be protected and you wouldn’t have a juvenile with wings in you ranks.” He added a bit harshly.
    “You can’t keep blaming everything on Mother, Father. She hates the position she’s in.”
    The man gave a weary sigh. “I know, I have drunk from the well of Mimir and even have his head still speaking prophecies in a jar and to top that I even hold a Norn’s heart but I still can’t change anything despite knowing nearly everything.”
    “What will be, will be, que sera, sera.” Mist began to chuckle to herself.
    “What does that mean?” The man demanded roughly but only causing Mist to laugh louder.
    She muffled her voice quickly realising she was getting louder and managed to calm herself. “It’s just something a mortal told me once a long time ago. I didn’t know at first but Mother explained it well, you’ll have to ask her.”
    “You make it sound like she is wiser than me.”
    “No, Father, there is just a difference between knowing everything and being wise about everything.”
    “Ugh riddles!” He complained.
    Mist began to chuckle again.
    “You even laugh like her.”
    Mist instantly became silent.
    “I will let you get back to your rest, daughter.” The last word was spoken slowly with care.
    “Thank you, it was nice of you to visit.”
    “Just making sure you are safe, I don’t want another shield maiden of mine missing.”
    “It is kind of you to care.”
    “I am the All-Father, am I not? I care for all under my rule as if they were my own family.” Pride and prestige stiffened his voice into a false imitation of a king.
    “It is a great honour to be protected as such.”
    “With you, daughter, the honour is mine. Compared to our dearly adopted Freya, you thankfully have more sense than her vanity. Return to Asgard as soon as you can so I can keep a closer eye on you.”
    “I will do when things are in place, Father. But you’re always watching me so do not worry.”
    “That may be but when you are home there is less of a distance to cover. Keep on guard, my daughter.”
    There was a rustle of feathers, a deep throated squawk and a whoosh of air.
    “Goodnight, Father. Keep the ravens flying.” Mist sighed, poured sea water onto the fire, watched the embers hiss and sizzle before walking slowly into her own tent by the fire.
    I quickly scrubbed out my runes and made it silently to bed. Lying there in the dark I surprised myself by not feeling shock at such a conversation involving me and Kate, instead I felt pity for Mist. I know understood why Freya termed offspring of the Aesir ‘bastards’ not because they were simply out of the wedlock between Frigg and Odin but because she herself was in command of one of them. One of her own Valkyries was a bastard child, the culmination of Odin having an affair with a Norn, Skuld, I believe from the reference to weaving people’s future fates. It will explain why Mist is so gifted at runic magic compared to her shield maiden sisters and perhaps even her name as the Norns are thought to have born out of the mists of the Gunningagap, otherwise known as Oblivion, the Great Void from which all divine life originated. It led me on to wonder if Mist became a Valkyrie out of choice? Talent? Or maybe Odin asked Freya to do it as a favour? Did Mist really ever want to be a Valkyrie? Did she want to live with her mother, Skuld, instead and learn to weave the fates of all living things? Although having thought that she would be waiting until the time of Ragnarok, which hopefully is many an eon away yet. Did Frigg know about Mist’s blood ties? Did she approve or disapprove? Or was Frigg always more concerned with her own offspring such as Chloe and Nathan? Which actually was the more frowned upon affair as mixing divine blood and mortal blood always lead to trouble, just look at the all the chaos caused by Hercules as the earliest example not to mention the most famous one ever known in human history, Jesus.
    All these questions I wanted answers to just kept evolving into more and more complex conspiracies and theories until I eventually thought myself back to sleep not considering the uncertainty the following day would bring and the disregard I had treated my own involvement in Odin’s night time conversation.

*Drum roll please* 15 Blogs are about to be honoured on Valkyrian Sanctum....

15 Versatile Blogs that are recommended by Valkyrian Sanctum


  1. The Publishing Guru is a fantastic blog written and contributed by those in the Publishing industry and if you're brave enough you can even submitt some of your own work to their company. Also follow on Twitter @PublishingGuru
  2. All Things Urban Fantasy is exactly what it say on the tin and more - jam packed with latest book releases in the genre, top author interviews in the field, competitions, giveaways and loads of book reviews. Follow on Twitter @Abigail_ATUF 
  3. Attack of the Muses is the many interesting revelations experienced by one writing Mum who has one book soon to be published under the title 'Must Love Dragons' but the other reason why I love her in particular is that she does some great flash fiction with some rather interesting norse characters. Follow on Twitter @lil_monmon
  4. Bang out the Prose is a fantastic blog following the trials and tribulations of an aspiring author like myself who just happens to be writing an awesome supernatural Chick-Lit where it turns out the Devil really is a woman - the catch? She doesn't know it! She's always chirpy in her posts and there have been times where she has made me feel guilty for my lack of determination with my novel as this is one cool mother who won't give up the fight. Follow on Twitter @SuzKorb
  5. Chronicles of a Novice Writer is another nice and super friendly blog to follow one of the many aspiring novelists who share their experiences on the internet and Stephanie definitely takes her writing seriously with weekly Work in Progress updates encouraging us to share and try and keep up with her. Follow on Twitter @StephanieLMcGee
  6. Dark Faerie Tales is another wickedly cool place to keep up with and with over 1000 followers she surely is doing something good - she covers all things fantasy be it dark or urban including graphic novels, lots of book reviews, book news and ARC tours going on. Follow on Twitter @DarkFaerieTales
  7. Paranoram Haven is similar to Dark Faerie Tales and All Things Urban Fantasy but each cover a different range of books as well as authors so if you're writing in this genre field it's always good to keep an eye on the competition or even take away from inspiration for the author interviews.
  8. Sisters in Scribe is a cool blog written my many deadline dames, sharing their efforts to become published YA writers.
  9. Thoki and Lor blog is a specific blog to host the flash fiction chapters of the amazingly modern and funky norse tale written by Monica Marier from Attack of the Muses - go and have a read, it will make you laugh if not least smile.
  10. The Feckless Goblin is a young wity and rather clever writer blogging about horror fiction, writing and everything involved and welcomes guest posts be it fiction or non-fiction input. Follow on Twitter @ZiggyKinsella
  11. The Norse Mythology Blog does a lot more than discusses various views and gods in Norse Mythology but also looks at the impact of vikings and their faith as well as how vikings feature in various modern mediums including some north european rock and metal music. Follow on Twitter @NorseMythNews
  12. Vampires and Tofu does what it says its there to do except without the tofu. This young lady loves all things dark fantasy and of course vampires and so you will find lots of reviews of not just books but latest TV series such as TrueBlood vs Vampire Diaries? Follow on Twitter @VampireAndTofu
  13. Writer's In Their Own Words is a great website full of inspiring writers published and unpublished sharing their experiences, their writing habits, writing falls and successes - even I have been featured *hint hint* - so if you feel you need someone to make you feel guilty about your own writing this is the place that will make you want to spout out a story in no time. It did with me!
  14. From Reclusive Writer to Published Author is written by a very nice lady Karen Gowen who not only holds editing competitions and more and also shares her writing advice and experience but also encourages other writer bloggers to meet up at her own virtual blog BBQ. I met some lovely writers via that great virtual online event. Follw on Twitter @KarenGowen
  15. Constant Revision is the only other blog I follow thats written by a man apart from Norse Mythology and Publishing Guru, he's a generally nice and friendly guy and comes up with some unusual writing courtesy of teaming up with his other writing mates for a show-down almost. Follow on Twitter @WritingAgain 
Congrats to all the lucky few of chosen - you have all played a roll in my own writing life so far I thank you.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Valkyrian Sanctum is honoured with the mark of the Versatile Blogger Award

Well it was a nice surprise for me to find amongst my recent comments that my latest blog follower and fellow writer Jeffery Beesler has awarded me a Versatile Blogger Award - which I am quite proud with as it's the first blogger award I've received and I do think my blog posts are quite versatile as it either covers my writing, book reviews or some kind of viking news.
Now apparently the rules are I must reveal 7 things about myself and then pass it onto 15 others I feel deserve it so first off I will reveal 7 facts about myself but I might not spread the blog award love until tomorrow as I am currently celebrating 2 birthdays with in-laws and as I follow 86 blogs I will need time to select the chosen few.

1) I was born in the summer of 87 at York District Hospital
2) I have lived with a ranging number of family pets during my life consisting of 5 guinea-pigs, 3 rabbits, 4 goldfish, 2 hamsters and 3 dogs.
3) When I was at school I wanted to become a Vet, then an Actor and only discovered the many joys and trials of being a Librarian recently.
4) I began writing at the age of 16 just before my mock exams.
5) When I had finished my first book at the age of 17 I foolishly submitted it unedited to 20 publishers and only got 5 responses - all rejections but one did give me a really encouraging letter and it's now up on my wall to keep me going.
6) What caught my interest about Vikings was the 1990's documentary Blood of the Vikings and the way they tested peoples blood to identify their DNA to see how many were descended from Viking invaders.
7) I have read several books to do with Norse gods and Norse Legends and two Icelandic Saga's that of Grettir the Strong and Egil's Saga but I have only recently started reading the many non-fiction books on viking culture and history I have filling my bookcase.

Check back tomorrow to see if your blog (if one of the giant long list down the left side) is going to be one of the chosen few I pass this award on too.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Sneak peak at Soul Chaser Chapter Seven: Even the Gods have secrets...

 *** Extract ***
It was dark outside when I heard the owl hoot. I thought it was merely an echo from my dreams so rolled over but then that was disproved by the distant howl of a wolf. I lay there, straining to hear any other random calls of the wild, trying hard not to rustle my wing feathers the slightest. For a brief time there was no other sound and I was ready to roll back over into sleep when there was a noise of wind beneath wings. I could hear two voices speaking quietly, one was female and so had to be Mist but the other was deeper and older and male. I climbed out of my bed, keeping my wings in their closed position and crawled towards the door of my tent which was tied shut. Prizing the flap open slightly and peeped out into the darkness.
    My suspicions were correct for there were two figures including Mist sat around the bright embers of the open hearth. Yet the other figure was not of a man but of a large bird that was so black I only glimpsed it by the beak and eye shining in the dim light. It was from this creature that the deeper voice was coming from even though the beak never moved.
    I let the flap close slowly once more and quickly thought of which runes to cast to let me eavesdrop on this secret night time meeting. I cast out Ansur to amplify their conversation in my ears and Peorth at the same time to hide my runic magic as Mist would certainly detect the small power I used. It worked perfectly but was very disorientating at first because the sound that attacked my ears wasn’t their voices but the load roar of the sea as it swept up at the rocks and cliffs outside the cove. I fought not to groan out loud for it was a truly deafening cacophony in my head but as the runic magic began to settle into my immediate area the pair of voices was depicted clear to my ears.
    “I’m surprised these new wings ruffle Freya so much.” The deep male voice commented rather critically.
    “Anything that even attempts to rival her beauty ruffles her feathers, Father, you should know this by now. Remember how she sought the Brisingamen necklace?”
    “Yes, yes, you don’t have to remind me, the dwarves are constantly reminding me about it each time I bargain with them.” The voice muttered abrupt and irritated.
    “They are nowhere near her eagle markings though, just a tint of gold and browns along the edges, that is all. The rest is white.”
    “It is intriguing though is it not? After all, out of the eight of you with white feathers this one should arise with colour.”
    “I agree, the pattern does make me curious, even Jennifer asked about it and Freya simply told her it was due to the mixed blessings of both Sun and Moon. I think it’s the fact that she is a soul. We were all converted instantly upon our deaths. Jennifer has been a spirit for ten years already.”
    “Hummmm, that is the more reasonable theory. Did the girl believe what Freya told her?”
    “Yes I think so although she hasn’t really questioned or pondered the immense transformation she has gone through or tried to understand the powers that enabled it to happen.”
    “That is good, the less questions she asks the better. What are Freya’s plans for her?”
    “Teach her to fly and then set her to protecting the twins.”
    “Who’s protecting them whilst she is training?”
    “Geirölul at present but I think they are taking it in turns.”
    “Has the boy spotted them yet?”
    “No, but I can’t say anymore for certain as I’m no longer part of that operation. But I think they will remain unobserved a lot better than Jennifer.” It sounded like Mist was smirking and my stomach was already as tense as a tectonic plate with the way they were talking about me.
    “Indeed, hopefully the boy will merely dismiss her sighting as another bizarre feature of his blindness.”
    “You can’t blame her; she was only doing her duty against a Werewolf that got her introduced to them.”
    “Did you know she was the one that was even sent to collect their grandfather from hospital that same night?”
    “What? Really?”
    “Would I lie, Mist?”
    “No, of course not, Father, but, it’s just so...”
    “It’s another worrying coincidence that links the trio together. I don’t like the way your Mother is weaving these events at all.”
    “She never weaves any fates deliberately, only what occurs due to a set of decisions, you know this, so don’t start blaming her.”
    The male voice grunted loudly. “Have you sensed any future from her as you’ve taught her?”
    “I tried but it’s like searching for the bottom of a dirty pool. Her future is as blank as paper because her past is so faded still.”
    “Your apprentice is as full of riddles as Mimir was when he got drunk. Freya was wise in entwining her so close to her ranks. A soul so full of unknowns as this one has the capacity to become a liability.”
    “It is strange how she struggles to recall her mortal life. Because she remembers little we know even less about her. All we know is that she died in the Poole area, October 2001. We don’t know how or where, she was a wandering soul.”
    “Hummmm, wandering suggests traumatic death and it must have been to impact her memories ten years on. That does not bode well at all. I fear she may be more trouble than we think and the way events are forming I’m afraid I might be right.”
    “As of yet, Father, I have sensed no threat or darkness within her. As she works closer with us, I and the other Valkyries will be able to watch and guide her. Mother always said hindsight is only given when the knot is tied in the thread, whilst the needle still works nothing is certain.”
    “Innocent until proven guilty.”
    There was a pause and I could hear the crumbling heat of the embers.
    “Have you found Katherine yet?” Mist asked, her voice sounding nervous.
    “No, whoever has her is using every trick in the book to mislead our search and keep her hidden.”
    “Have you spoken to Hel?”
    “Yes, many times and each time she denies any involvement. She says her warriors haven’t claimed any holy beings since the tsunami. Loki is still keeping company with my python so I am still unsure as to whom might have kept her body.”
    “That’s presuming she’s dead.”
    “It’s the better outcome because if and it is a rare chance, that she is somehow alive but captured, she will be tortured by gods knows what and that will corrupt her spirit so badly it would be a mercy for her to have faded to oblivion.”
***  End of Extract ***

Friday, 3 September 2010

Important dates for all Viking lovers in the UK - Counting down till Jorvik Viking Festival 2011!

Now if you're new to this site or not you can probably tell that there is a deep medieval theme going on in this blog and you would be right but the extact theme is viking orientated. You see I LOVE VIKINGS! AND ANYTHING REMOTELY LINKED TO THEM! Be it culture, history, language, books fiction and non-fiction but most importantly their Norse Mythology as that is what's inspired my latest novel in progress Soul Chaser *chapters 1 to 6 are up listed at the top if you would like to have a scan through* But the highlight of any genuine Viking fan in the UK at least is the Jorvik Viking Festival held at Jorvik (aka York in North Yorkshire to those who are unfamiliar with the danish name) each spring half term.
Now I've been attending these festival for the past 5 years in a row and each one has inspired me to be that bit more daring my wearing my medieval mythic costume: here I am 
The dress I cunningly got from a fancy dress shop but the cloak is all hand made with the help of a good friend of mine who put the base together then I embellished its side and back with many mythical symbols of Norse mythology and plenty of dazzling runes. Please visit my Valkyrie Creations section for closer detail pictures of it - listed at the top.
Now I can proudly proclaim that next years Jorvik Festival dates have been released with a teasing detail about the first opening event. Please follow this link http://www.jorvik-viking-centre.co.uk/viking-festival/ to book that week off in your calendar and come celebrate our rich Viking heritage in part of the Old Danelaw itself (aka North Yorkshire).
Do hope you can make it because I most certainly will be there!

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