Wednesday, 19 September 2012

An interview with an emotional vampire.

As promised I will give you the interview that I made with my new character quite a few years after the 1st book of the series ends. He is a bit of an unforgiving bastard. Also included is my terrible first sketch attempt to draw him. You will notice that his nose looks different which is on purpose and will be explained further in the book. The drawing of him is meant to resemble what he looks like when our heroes pick him up in 1920s  Boston. And yes I am well aware that I should not quit my dayjob in pursuit of drawing ;)

So Julian. You have come here today to tell us a little about yourself.

I suppose a little will have to do unless you have the time to dedicate quite a while to the cause but yes I have agreed to shed some light on myself.

First things first. Of the little information we have about the EV3 project it seems immensely complicated. You are very young to be leading a space-program of this magnitude. How does it make you feel to know that most of personal are twice your age and could never hope to have reached the position that you find yourself in right now.

I suppose that my human reaction would be to say that I am incredible proud of myself although I am probably older than what your mind can conceive from just looking at me. I am a product of a larger program initiated many centuries ago after all and although my bodily exterior might be that of a young man I can probably put your mind to ease a slight by telling you that I am the most competent man for the job.

I know from earlier interviews that you grew up with a human family. How has this affected your upbringing do you think?

I am very happy to be blessed with the foster parents that chose me. I feel extremely privileged to have experienced a normal upbringing that many of my kind are denied.

You are of course referencing the facilities where many of your race are fostered without ever knowing the outside world.

Yes. I am not here today to discuss the reasoning behind these facilities only to recognise that I am grateful for the chance given to me for a normal life.

Can you once and for all confirm that you were an inhabitant of planet earth before its destruction?

It is true that I grew up on planet earth as a part of a classified project yes, but I can assure you that I had long since been removed by the time the earth died out and was never in any immediate danger.  Before you ask the question that I know many of the people here on EV2 are dying to ask. Planet Earth was neither as wonderful as the legends want us to believe. Humankind was corrupted and living in filth. They treated those who could not fend for themselves little better than animals with beatings, poisoning and weird medical treatments which either made their own kind mad or killed them. I am happy that the human race has been given another chance although I wish that the choice had been offered to them when time came.

I thought we were not going to discuss politics.

Indeed. Excuse that interlude it is something that is very near to my heart as an adopted child of other surviving members of the original inhabitants of earth.

Tell me and the readers more about earth that was then.

Ah see I don’t understand this odd fascination of the past but very well I shall indulge you. The town I grew up in had very tall buildings and many humans living close together. I was placed at an institution as a small boy because of my looks which they dubbed eerie and because I refused to talk to them. They probably thought I was mad but then again how could they know that I was suffering from separation from my home planet? When I grew older and started remembering the place I had left behind I took up drawing. They brought me to live in the city and to be shown off as a freak. They thought I could communicate with the dead and that I was a medium, but when they found out that I never conveyed any messages but only drew all day they put me back in the institution only to be taken out at special occasions. It was at one of these outings that I was picked up by an expedition sent from the future to save me and bring me here.

Colonel Aldrich’s expedition as far as I recall reading?

Indeed. Although back then he was not yet colonel.

And you remain close to him?

I was brought up by his oldest daughter and son in law. They already had responsibility for the colonel’s daughter and son, so another child was hardly any big difference.

The colonel is very private about his family life and rarely ever speaks of his children. Are they not close?

I would prefer not to comment on that. This interview is about me and my work so far as I recall. All you need to know is that his children are all well. His youngest daughter is showing great potential and will if the universe is willing follow in her father’s footsteps someday.

I can understand that you yourself have tutored her?

I can’t deny that. We are very close and always have been. My biggest hope is that we can work together on future projects.

Can you explain this big project a bit further?

To put it in simple words that your readers might understand. We are in the process of either finding another suitable planet or creating one from scratch that will hold a substantial amount of people which, if calculations are correct, is exactly how many too much we will be on this planet with more expeditions incoming every day and human beings in general reproducing far faster than this planets resources will be able to sustain.

And when will this planet be ready for habitation?

Well first of all nothing is certain in these cases. But within a generation of human-beings we should be able to send the first colonists.

So not in our lifetime?
Well not in your lifetime at least. But then you get the satisfaction of marvelling at the brilliant future that is offered to your children and grandchildren.  And should you live long enough to experience this miracle of the universe it is very doubtful that you would be sent there in any case. I don’t mean to be callous but at that point the crucial task will be to put together a couple hundred fit human-beings with the knowledge needed to survive on a somewhat barren planet.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Research day

I don't know about you guys but I really love fall if nothing because it gives me time to snuggle up with a blanket and drink tea (and eat cake if I was allowed to do so. Soooooon the diet will be over) and research. No matter where I am in my life when this time of the year comes around I am always in the middle of a project, planning a project or more than often both. Right now I am keeping myself busy until the 24th of september where my fate my very well be decided. For those who don't know what I am talking about I can fill you in with two simple words; horrible jobmarked! I applied for a job, got an interview the day after sending my application but they are sadly bound by some law to let it go the full submission period before they make their decision known. It sucks for me, it sucks for them and it probably sucks for the unemployment people who get to listen to me moan about it tomorrow.
What am I keeping myself busy with you ask? Well I will tell you my lovely readers. I have been researching!  All of sudden someone on one of the forums I frequent put up an article that explained that Harper Voyager are looking for new unsolicited authors within a short timeframe between 1st-14 oct. So I thought I would dust off the old goodie project and get to writing. Oh how wrong I was. When it came down to it the most likely reason for my putting the manuscript away in the first place was that it was someone lacking in content. It lived up to the 50k word count that was required of NaNo but content wise it needed a major overhaul. After culling it with a giant axe I was down to 46k which has now crept back up to 49k after this last week. It is not quite enough writing to get me done in time for my personal deadline but most of my time has been put into researching a new character that I came up with very last moment but will fit perfectly into the story. When I am done researching insane asylums and spiritualism I might sit down and drawn him for you as he came to me in my dreams; A little wide-eyed boy who possesses the key to unlock a great secret of the universe but who is sadly stuck in a world that does not understand his abilities at all and thinks he is a nutcase.
I leave you with something to do for me. I posted a very puzzling question on facebook the other day that at least some people went to the effort to answer in very creative ways:

If you were stuck in a pocket in time and space. How would that room/place look? Would it be one color, full of memories floating about, maybe feel like some amazing kind of Alice in Wonderland hole in the ground where you kept falling? Lend me your ideas and you might just get included in my WIP. 

Thursday, 6 September 2012

A short story about creation.

My good friend Oreon is selling all things Oreon from her facebook page; 

To promote it further she asked people to write a small story about this guy:

Here is my suggestion for a story written in quick style (as in 10-15 writing, no editing). This is just a bit of fun to motivate me to write and give some free promotion to her so go have a look at her awesome stuff! 

The story of Levi Van Damme. 
Once it had entered his mind he couldn’t shake the feeling that somehow writing about Levi Van Damme was his life mission. He had been at a hotel enjoying the comforting feeling of a tightly secured cover hugging his body all over when the idea had struck him as lightning from a blue sky. What happened to the characters he came up with for his stories when he discarded them? As he drifted uneasily in and out of sleep he imagined a special city where all unused characters lived. The city was divided into two parts, one white part where all the good characters lived and one black part where all the bad characters lived. He also imagined that in this city there was a grey zone in the middle where all the characters that were neither good nor bad had their quarters. And in this grey zone lived a doctor named Levi Van Damme who took the discarded limbs of horror story protagonists and created his own unique beings that he sent out to haunt the good people living in the white part of the city. He imagined that Van Damme sent these beings into the nightmares of the authors who had willingly cut the limbs off their subjects and that, in turn, would mean that they would be reinvented and put into a story, in part restoring them to their former selves in new wrapping.
As the cool moonlight hit his face he sat up covered in cold sweat realizing just like Doctor Frankenstein had once done, that he himself, in his pursuit of imagination, had created this horrible monster called Levi Van Damme and by just producing these thoughts he would have to write a story about an insane doctor with a big heart who tried to give severed limbs another chance at life. He dreamed that the doctor would one day be visited by a grey woman who wanted to be created and that he would fall in love with her and therefore she would be written into his story as well creating herself. He dreamt that they came to a big void at the edge of imagination and that they stood there screaming for his attention and threatening to jump and be forever deleted from his thoughts. And thus as he woke up the following morning he knew he would write their story and save these characters from the oblivion that all the others had disappeared into.       

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Character creation 101.

On a recent trip to England I somehow ended up buying yet another of those smart self-help books for wannabe authors that seem to be floating around our circles. I wasn't really convinced that I needed another of those books but I bought it anyway after flipping through it. I won't go so far as to state that it is the best book on writing I have read, but it is certainly not the worst and at this point I need to write to live pretty much and felt I could well do with some more advice. The book is called; Your Writing Coach and is by Jurgen Wolff.
I must admit that now I am half-way through it the book has turned out to be an interesting read. Especially his notion that new writers would do well with following a simple lay-out for character creation as the one laid out by Lajos Egri in his book The Art of Dramatic Writing struck a cord with me. It sent me back to the drawing board and forced me to reevaluate some of the characters I have been plotting for my newest work in progress. If anything it made me realize that even characters in a romance/fantasy novel need to be fleshed out. As Wolff states it is crucial for the reader's experience with your book that your characters are believable and in order for them to be believable you need to know everything there is to know about them, but reveal only 2/3 of it to still keep some suspense. What follows is my retyping of Egri's scheme for character creation that I at least will be using this time around even if it is fairly time consuming. (I apologize for the color coding system, it is merely a tool I use when writing in scrivener)

1. Age:
2. Appearance:
3. How does the character feel about their appearance:
4. Describe the character’s childhood in terms of:
A: relationship to parents.
B: Relationship to siblings if any:
C: Relationship to other key people from his or her youth:
D: Lifestyle while growing up:
E: Education:
F: Childhood activities: (hobbies, interests)
G: Locations where he or she grew up:
5: Describe the character’s education during and after the teen years.
6: Describe the character’s current relationships with:
A: Parents:
B: Sibling:
C: Other key people from his or her youth:
7: Describe the character’s romantic life and any relevant background:
8: Describe the character’s sex life and moral beliefs:
9: Does the character have any children? If so describe his or her relationship with them. If not, how does he or she feel about children?
10: What is the character’s religious background? Current beliefs?
11: What is the character’s occupation:
12: Describe the character’s relationship to his/her boss and co-workers:
13: How does the character feel about his/her job?
14: What are the character’s current hobbies or non-work activities?
15: Describe the character’s philosophy of life:
16: Describe the character’s political point of view:
17: Sum up the main aspects of your character’s personality:
18: What is the character proud of?
19: What is the character ashamed of?
20: What is his or her state of health?
21: How intelligent is he or she?
22: Summerize the character’s relationship to other major characters in your story:
23: What is the character’s goal in the story?
24: Why does he she want to achieve this goal?
25: Who or what stands in way of the character? Why?
26: What strengths or qualities will help this character achieve the goal?
27: What weaknesses will hinder the character from achieving the goal?
28: How articulate is the character?
29: Are you planning on killing this character off?
30: Will this character be in the sequal?

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The New Death and Others by James Hutchings.

So very caught-up at the moment by preparations for LARP, pagan summercamp and going to England! Even in the midst of all the chaos I have still found some time to read and follow up on a very old promise. So here follows a review of The New Death and Others by James Hutchings. This is his blog page. If you are not already following him I suggest that you do.

A while ago I was approached by James and asked if I would do a review of his new book (available on smashwords) possibly highlighting its suitability as a background for roleplaying games in the tabletop genre. As I already had a group starting up a new campaign I said yes and got to reading. I quickly found myself emerged in the fantastic world and characters of The New Death and found plenty of inspiration for my campaign.

The book itself:

As a person who usually steers far away from short-story collections (too many bad memories of University) I was pleasingly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. The stories are short and sharp, but even for a fast reader like me there is many hours of relaxed enjoyment in the company of Gods, humans and all those in between. Most of the stories contain some kind of fantastical element in them, heavily influenced by myths and stories. A mix of Lovecraftian horror and One thousand and one nights makes this book a page-turner. Be advised though, that if you are a traditionalist in the fairy-tale department you will find this book very frustrating. I am more of the opposite as I love new interpretations of old stories. In my opinion this helps keep the craft of story telling alive and The New Death is an excellent representation of what happens when fairy-tales are viewed through the eyes of a more modern audience. As stated this is just a warning as I have done plenty of University courses with people who would instantly discard this as rubbish, new interpretations are not for everyone! The reader must be prepared to see their favorite childhood characters in new settings, like the story of Rumpelstiltskin (now popularized by the hit series Once upon a Time) who is bested by google in his search to find a poor girl who he can goat into spinning gold from bullshit. From this we are taught that if you can’t do anything else, get into politics.
I won’t go into details with all the stories as it would spoil the surprise, but if you are into quirky characters and fantastic backgrounds, then you will find stories in here for you.

Adaption into a table-top game.

For our campaign I chose the story of How the Isle of Cats Got Its Name as a lead-in to the setting of the game itself. The story goes like this. A sorceress named Abi-simti would sacrifice everything to gain new knowledge until the only magic she does not know comes directly from the gods. To gain an audience with the only god whos magic she does not know, she builds a harp which is powered by the sound of cats being prodded by nails. Unfortunately for her she has forgotten that the witches of said god are cat-lovers and they of course have their revenge.
In our campaign the character of Abi-simti was also a mighty sorcerer with the power to douse a whole town and make them oblivious to her activities in stealing every cat she could find. Except these were not really cats of course, but cat-people who she forced into staying in their cat form so she could torture and sacrifice them to gain the attention of evil goddess of death and lust. But to finish her contraption she needed the most pure item in town, a flagellant whip owned by the high priest of the Dungar, God of war. Of course the high priest was not exactly willing to give up something so holy. Enter the adventurers who were sold the story of the high priest being a heathen and sent to steal the whip from him. How they got the whip is a long story, which involved hiring a rent-boy and other such things.
Somehow they did manage to steal the whip and get away without being caught, only to discover that their good natured host was in the midst of a blood-rite in the local druid circle. In the end they did stop her evil rites just to be told by the poor captured cat people that this was only the beginning of their hardship and that she was in reality a part of a much larger conspiracy.
For any budding GM this book will offer a multitude of ideas and characters to use in various campaigns and game settings from the Dungeons and Dragons that we used to a Call of Cthulhu setting.

Monday, 4 June 2012

A teaser from my WIP

Here is a little teaser from my current project. Just to clarify I don't edit along the way, only when I am done so there might occur mistakes etc and the text might seem a bit rough around the edges. 

They followed the overgrown path out of town as they had done so many times before, walking in silence as the moon cast eerie shadows around them. With every passing day they both felt an urgency to have these secret meetings that neither of them could really explain. It was common knowledge that the two young ones had a very special relationship and were rarely seen around town without each other, so why this sudden need for secrecy Merija pondered on once again.  The path cleared ahead of them and revealed a small meadow with a large tree in the middle. In front of the tree a small plot had been dug and a small improvised wooden cross marked the spot where they had laid to rest the dog that they had both cared for. The dog had been a stray left by a knight at the baron’s last banquet almost 7 years ago. These days the baron did not entertain much and it was rare that the local town-folk saw anything of him or his family. The dog that they had lovingly named Half-tail had not been popular with the trades-men always sniffing and licking, sometimes even marking its territory, but it had not deserved the fate it was given. Early one morning Merija had woken to find the whimpering dog outside the bakery, seemingly it had been attacked by a larger animal and died soon afterwards in her arms. It had licked her hand to the end and when it died she felt a little part of her die with it. Even now tears came to her eyes by the mere thought. Eigan shrugged impatiently when he followed her gaze and started the journey up the tree. Something about the whole incident always stirred weird reactions in Eigan that she could not quite understand. Sometimes he seemed almost remorseful as if he had been the one who had killed the dog.
 Almost concealed to the world around them they both climbed the tree with ease having in-depth knowledge of the nooks and holes best suited for such a thing. In the treetop they had hung various instruments of entertainment; a book, a lantern, a pouch with some left over dried fruit and a deck of cards. Sometimes Merija would bring some sweet rolls from the bakery if she had made mistakes and they had to be thrown to the pigs anyway, but lately she had been too good at following her father’s instructions. Eigan motioned to turn on the lantern when they heard heavy footsteps stepping through the canopy below them. He froze and drew the hood over his head once again. Merija hoped that the thickness of the branches and the fact that the moon was not partly concealed behind clouds would hide her from view. The penalty for being outside the town after darkness was not harsh, because the creatures that sometimes hunted in these parts would deal a harsher punishment than anything you would experience in town. Shaking with fear she reached out for Eigan’s hand and clung on to it as she found it, her heart pounding so hard against her rib-cage that she was convinced whatever was down there would hear her. There had been no reports of wild creatures taking any of the villager’s live-stock so this would be the first anyone would hear of them before the killings started again. Merija and Eigan had only been small children when the last pack of rat-men had haunted the forests surrounding the city. Further south it was normal to see these half-breeds among normal people, but here north of the capitol the creatures had become feral with hunger and the prosecuting that the King could do little to stop. The northerners had traditions that meant more to them than some fancy high lord down south and the division of normal humans from beastly half-breeds was one of them. This was the unwritten laws of the north that they did best to follow even if they did not agree with it completely. Merija allowed herself to glance at the movement below them in hopes to catch a glimpse of what ever awaited them when they descended from the tree. As the moonlight broke through the clouds it became clear that these creatures moved too clumsily to be any form of beast and she inhaled more freely again. Most likely it was just a pair of lovers looking for a safe place outside the city walls to declare their love to each other and whatever else people in love did. Merija had little knowledge of what went on between a man and a woman, but she had heard her sister’s friends whispering about the pains that a woman must endure when giving herself to her husband. Judging by the sounds she had overheard between her parents she was inclined to believe them. A head of blonde hair tied up with a ribbon finally emerged in the clearing below them. A girl, not much older than herself but much nicer dressed than she had ever been stomped through the thick canopy followed by a gruff looking man wearing a suit of leather armor. She did not know either of them, but she recognized the sigil that was carefully woven into the man’s tabard. These people belonged to the Baron and judging by the elegant clothing and blonde hair Merija guessed that this girl was related to the Baron himself. Only Baron Eiekheart’s family had blonde hair around here. True northerners like herself and Eigan had red or dark brown hair, but the Baron’s family was not from around here. He had been appointed lord protector of their area for services in the war against some island country to the east and had replaced the old Duke who had resided in these parts for as long as people remembered but who was no longer in the king’s favor.  The girl paused below them and looked around seemingly in an attempt to make sure that they were alone.
“Are you sure this is where we are meeting them?” Judging by the sour expression of the guard this was not the first time she had asked this question tonight.
“I am sure Lady Elina. Only a handful of people know this path even exists and I would like to keep it that way. “

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Camping and yoga.

1st of June has always meant first exams of the year, waiting another long hard month for vacation time and last year it marked the impending doom of a serious deadline waiting at the other end of the hot wet summer; Master's thesis! I finished, got my diploma and life went on even if it did not seem to be the case while I was writing. I had seriously neglected writing, reading, exercising, seeing friends and family (and probably many other things) to get to this point in my life. I had opted out of competitions that I would have stood a good chance in and enjoying the things in life that mattered. Now almost a year later I find that life is slowly returning to normal albeit a bit more stressful. I still have the same crappy boss for freelance work, I am still looking for that dream job I know is waiting for me out there (might have found it, but that is another story), my husband is still as loving and caring as he has even been, the cats are still bastards, my family estranged and my addiction to food is still overwhelming. But I have slowly started the progress towards becoming a more rounded me; I started a 30-day yoga program today that I will work hard to finish!
Go here to take a look:

And thanks again Becca!

Besides from making yoga a firm addition to my lifestyle I am also participating in Campnanowrimo both in June (now) and August. In between I am of course doing the Coursera course in literature - see for a blog post about this.
I have so far written 808 words in 3 days which is way too little and I must get going today, once shopping is settled and over with. I am thinking notebook, allotment and me might be a good bet for what I will be doing most of this afternoon. Anyway, my nano project in June is called A lost city (working title) and is a fantasy romance set in a very warhammer-ish background, without falling victim to copyright infringement of course, starring childhood sweethearts reunited in a time of crisis. It includes knights in shining armor, maidens not wanting to wait for said knights to fix their problems, scoundrels with big hearts, priestesses that are anything but pure, crazy bakers/sales-men/council members, zombies, demons, magic and fire. It will be epic! I might set  up a donation version of my august trials, but it is yet to be seen. Is it really fair to extort money from friends and family if you are not sure you can sell the damned thing? I leave you with the synopsis for my work in June:

When childhood sweethearts Merija and Eigen are reunited after years apart, much has changed between them in their separate quests to forget the tragic event that forced them apart. Returning now to her childhood city to mourn the death of her parents, will Merija be able to forgive and forget, and will she once again find a home in the lost city where nothing is as it seems? Battling supernatural horrors and the corruption of the city council they are facing a race to reconcile in time to save their families, their city and possibly their love before they too are consumed by the evil that lurks both in the forest, but also in the hearts of men.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Still alive

Hello blog-land.
First off, I am still alive and in fairly good health, I have just been more than normally busy the last couple of weeks with slave-work and real editing jobs. I also had quite a run in with the unemployment people and their stupid rules for what I can and can't do, and most of all what they can't seem to agree on in regards to my case.
Other than that I have been gardening; cauliflower, strawberries, kale, potatoes, soya-beans, broad beans, cucumbers, chili plants, herbs, radishes, blueberries and tomatoes have all been yearning for my attention.
But I am still alive and kicking. I am starting prep for next months CampNaNo which has been even more confusing this year as I have many great ideas and I am not quite sure which one to work on. My old NaNo project is still lying dormant somewhere on my hard drive and I have pretty much not touched it since November. Am I destroying all my joy in writing by doing it this way or am I in reality just preparing myself to a life of many sleepless nights to meet deadlines and whatever follows when I get my head around self-publishing?
I dug out this old article for a fellow writing colleague today and was once again fighting my temper with this man.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The morning after....

Even if I only joined the for second half of this years A-Z challenge I still feel absolutely pooped out. And yet I signed up for aStoryaday. There will be a story coming up later tonight, but right now I will enjoy the rest of the sun and Beltaine.

Monday, 30 April 2012

A-Z: Zephyrus, the gentle wind.

I end on a highly geeky note with the Greek Anemoi; Boreas, Notus, Zephyrus and Eurus, the 4 winged guardians of wind. Zephyrus, or just Zephyr (Greek: Ζέφυρος, Zéphuros, "the west wind"), in Latin Favonius, is the Greek god of the west wind. The gentlest of the winds, Zephyrus is known as the fructifying wind, the messenger of spring. It was thought that Zephyrus lived in a cave in Thrace.
Zephyrus was reported as having several wives in different stories. He was said to be the husband of his sister Iris, the goddess of the rainbow. He abducted another of his sisters, the goddess Chloris, and gave her the domain of flowers. With Chloris, he fathered Carpus ("fruit"). He is said to have vied for Chloris's love with his brother Boreas, eventually winning her devotion. Additionally, with yet another sister and lover, the harpyPodarge (also known as Celaeno), Zephyrus was said to be the father of Balius and XanthusAchilles' horses.
One of the surviving myths in which Zephyrus features most prominently is that of Hyacinth. Hyacinth was a very handsome and athletic Spartan prince. Zephyrus fell in love with him and courted him, and so did Apollo. The two competed for the boy's love, but he chose Apollo, driving Zephyrus mad with jealousy. Later, catching Apollo and Hyacinth throwing a discus, Zephyrus blew a gust of wind at them, striking the boy in the head with the falling discus. When Hyacinth died, Apollo created the hyacinth flower from his blood.[2]
In the story of Cupid and Psyche, Zephyrus served Cupid by transporting Psyche to his cave.


Zephyrus' Roman equivalent was Favonius, who held dominion over plants and flowers. The name Favonius, which meant "favorable", was also a common Roman name.

Yet again taken from Wikipedia, I thought it would serve well as the last blog post of the challenge. It feels like the gentle winds of the west have been breezing through blog land this last month, inspiring some and extinguishing others. It has been a wild ride folks and you have all been a part of it!

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Sunday is lazy day

Except for all the work that I need to do. But in between all the editing I have been commisened to do I still have a bit of time to surf the interwebs.

Is the daily deviant. Check her stuff out and tell me you are not awestruck and inspired by it? I wish I could draw like that, but someone like her comes once a lifetime I reckon.

Saturday, 28 April 2012


My discussion topic for today is which genres of fiction are generally portrayed as less worthy literature. First though a little anecdote. This is a true story no matter how cheesy it sounds:  
When I was a little girl and sitting on my grandfather's knee on Christmas eve and he asked me what I wanted most for Christmas my instant answer was to ask for a typewriter. My dad laughed at this and asked me what on earth I wanted something like that for and I answered that real writers had typewriters. My dad (who passed away some time ago) was not the most supportive admirer of the creative crafts and shrugged me off with the following words: Don't ever do anything to do with creativity for a living as you will die young and poor. Of course I did what any other sensible child would and started crying, inwardly believing his words to be the true wisdom of an adult. Admittingly I never really had a good relationship with him after that but moved ever closer to my new foster family and my granddad who just for some reason always seemed to get me better than any other person on this planet. When I turned 16 and moved away from home my grandfather was there by my side packing boxes and helping me assemble my new furniture and as I sat in a half empty apartment that first night on my own feeling a bit sorry for myself and wanting to go back to my grans house and just stay there if anything just to avoid the smell of burnt food, I heard a knock on the door and outside was a delivery man who apologized for knocking on my door so late, but the person who had ordered the delivery had insisted that it was sent out that day and so he had stayed an extra hour to make sure that it got there. I signed for the box feeling very adult and a bit flabbergasted as he was good-looking and well, I was a 16-year old geeky looking girl who hoped he had not seen any marvel posters in the back-ground when I opened the door.
In the box was a brand new computer with a note that simply read: I know it is not a typewriter, but it will have to do. Just write anything you want. I recognized my grandfather's handwriting and realized that after all those years he had managed to remember the look of utter disappointment on my face while I sat crying on his knee.
I still have the computer although it is an antique by modern standards now. As if it is blessed with some special kind of love it still works, even now after 10 years. As a trusty companion it has outlived both my beloved grandfather and my father, it has suffered moving apartments a multitude of times and being thrown at exes in rage. It might run the oldest version of windows you will ever find on a laptop and weigh a ton, but it will never be thrown out!
So what was the purpose of this story? I often get people asking me to try and define what genre of books I tend to write and every time that little note of write anything you want, pops back in to my head. I have worked on romance novels, none-fiction books on Shakespeare and many other things, I have written fantasy, sci-fi, I tried my luck at a western but never quite got my head around it, but the fact of the matter is that I have never even thought that one of these genres was worth less than any other. It seems that many other people disagree with me on this topic. Through different writing and reading groups I have found that there is a general tendency for admiring everyday fiction and look down on romance novels and the like, judging them as light literature. Maybe people are forgetting that even a romance novel writer has to have a certain amount of skill to be popular enough to sell books and that even writer like that spends many hours drafting, writing, pitching etc.  So next time you shrug at someone or point fingers (you know who you are) because they are only a romance novel writer or can never write anything "serious" remember that inside of them they have a small boy or girl who wants to know that their work is still worth something even if it doesn't bring in the big bucks or wins a fancy reward!

Friday, 27 April 2012

A-Z: ToXic

I know it is technically cheating, but we don't make use of the letter X in the danish alphabet and I am already feeling pretty handicapped as it with all these weird end of alphabet letters that we either don't have or don't use.

Here is an article from Wiki on Danish language:

Here is one on the alphabet in particular:

My headline should probably be expanded on a bit. I have just finished reading Maria Snyder's Yelena Sultana series and not to put anyone off but as far as young adult goes it was not the best I have read. Here is what the caption says about the first book, Poison Study (Hence toxic):

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly's Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.

As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can't control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren't so clear…

Whereas the premise for the story is really good and the first book is a very entertaining read it is one of those series that you end up wishing had just stopped after the first installment because it gets weirder and weirder and not in a good sense. Anyway, if you are in the mood for some YA fantasy then try the first book, but do consider yourself warned. 

A-Z: W a little late

My W stands for World of Warcraft and yet another character back-ground that I started writing about but never finished. It was supposed to be the story of a young girl who expectantly is given a path that she was not quite expecting. Her teacher is a rough roguish kind of man who has killed almost as many as he has broken hearts and who has found a way to communicate with her through dreamworlds by tapping into unknown and quite dangerous magic.
I never wrote more than a chapter of her story as I stopped playing the character all together, but I imagine that it would have made quite a nice coming of age novel if it had been completed. Hopefully for the none WoWers following this blog it will still make sense. As with other stuff I have posted this story is not edited nor has it seen any public sharing at any point.

The story of Jinni:
The dream.
The night was cool and quiet. The only sound heard in Darnassus was the walking of the sentinels as they patrolled the streets.
But somewhere the moon fell on a young nightelf, who in her dreams could not find peace. The same dream almost every night for the last year. Since she had been sent to the temple of Elune by her father.
First it started of peacefully, her dream self was playing in her room with a doll of some sort, but the dream always changed character after a while. Men and women screaming, a door that flew open and a man who told her to get in the closet and hide. She had a sense that he was someone important to her, maybe a relative.
From the closet her dream self had a view through a crack to everything going on. Another man, she did not know entered the room. But this man was different, there was something frightening and yet beautiful about him. He was graceful as he sliced the other man’s throat. Her dream self gasped and the killer turned around. Those eyes as he searched the room, had some magical in them, she could not explain. She was sure that he knew she was there, but he didn’t do anything about it. A shiver ran through her young body. He just smiled, with a smear of blood across his face. And then he was gone.
Jinni awoke, heart thumbing hard in her chest. The moon that fell in the room brought her back to reality. Why this man and why now? She got up and put on her shoes and a shawl. Again she would spend the night by the altar of Elune seeking answer to questions which she didn’t want to carry. She walked cross the path in the moonlit town of Darnassus and sighed. She had long been a woman, but still had no purpose in life. Her father had sent her here in hopes that maybe priesthood would suit her, but she had soon given up and distanced herself from the daily work of the other priestesses. She now cooked and cleaned for them and they treated her as one of their own, telling her that Elune eventually gives everyone a path, but she did not believe them.
She entered the temple and saw to her astonishment that she wasn’t alone this night. At the altar sat a lady, younger than herself. She was the one that the high priestess had warned her about. She had taken her faith in her own hands, divorced an unfaithful husband and found another father for her child, a human Paladin. Disgrace was what the High Priestess had said. And yet she had been given a chance to redeem herself. They had cut of her hair and made her start over, but not once had Jinni heard her complain. They had even taken her child away and forbidden her to see her lover again, but the young nightelf still had a smile on her face and did all the unwanted chores without ever saying anything.
She looked up as Jinni sat down by the altar.
“Another sleepless night Miss Jinniye?” Jinni winced, only her father and the High Priestess insisted on calling her by her full name.
“Please, it’s just Jinni” The younger woman nodded and smiled. They sat there in silence for a while, both praying in their own way.
“You know it helps to talk about it Jinni, I know that you are down here every night.” Jinni looked at her puzzled.
“Every time a baby cries I think it’s my Moradae and I have to get up. I have often seen you walking towards the temple. Now please tell me what is on your mind.” Jinni sighed and looked at her hands. Maybe the priestess was right, maybe she would understand.
“I have this dream, a dream about a family being murdered and I feel like it’s a past that I have been a part off. Like some distant memory from another life, but that’s impossible. My family is safe and I’m sure my father would have told me if I had been witness to such a thing. “
“Have you talked to your father about this dream? Maybe he can explain it for you.” Jinni blushed and looked away.
“I sense there is more, something you are not telling me.”
“There is a man, the killer. There is something about him I cannot tell, like he is still out there waiting for me and I’m not sure that it is a bad thing. I mean he obviously killed that family, but in my dream when he looked at me, I sensed something else. A sense of warmth and love that he is not able to let out.”
The priestess looked a bit paler than usual, but still looked at Jinni.
“I knew a man like that once. He was a killer, but at the same time a friend. He did things, unforgivable things, but yet he still has a place in my heart.” The priestess got up and looked at the altar without really looking at it. 
“You need to talk to your father about it. Maybe Elune is showing you your path at last. It might be that this man needs your help, just as you need him. You must find him, I am sure of that.” Jinni arose as well and dusted herself off. She had the feeling that the conversation was over. She bowed to the priestess and left the temple, a little wiser on her path.

Priestess Anáwiel looked after the nightelf. She had recognized something in this young girl that she had carried herself not long ago. A determination to find her fate and pursue it. She sighed, embracing herself. There had been something else in the girl, something that stirred Anás memory and she wished she could remember what. She would write to her mother about. Maybe the wise older lady would have all the answers.  

Wednesday, 25 April 2012


I almost forgot this because my day has been generally stressful and I should have posted this yesterday under U. I must confess to have the hugest crush on Mrs. Amanda Fucking Palmer and her Ukulele. I am on her mailing list and found myself at 4 in the morning getting a notice on my phone telling me that I had an email from her. Now I had been out to a party the night before and was in that middle-ground of being drunk and sleepy, but my head was still buzzing from the love I had felt all night from my friends. So I opened the mail and listened to her new song and I cried a little, I laughed a lot and I just loved it. The message was pure as only she could tell it and made me want to learn even more than before to play the Ukulele. I give you the Ukulele song for your enjoyment:

A-Z: Vikings.

As some people might have figured out by now I am from Denmark which by most people is mainly known for Bacon, Carlsberg and Vikings... (And as the capital of Ikea by most of the Americans I have met)
Alright so here goes:
Bacon! First off it seems that we export all our good bacon to England and keep all the shite stuff for ourselves. When we go on holiday to visit my loving mother-in-law she enjoys making bacon-butties for me with loads of nice crispy meatful bacon and although she buys one of the cheapest brands she can find, it still tastes loads better than the crap we can get at home and get this... it is all danish bacon.
Carlsberg: So every other nation in the world seems to enjoy this liquid, I on the other hand do not. Carlsberg is for me what Stella Antois is for brits, something moderately cheap that I associate with terrible family parties and have friends that still insist on buying because it is cheap enough to get drunk on, but not quite as bad as the stuff you buy in Lidl or Aldi.
Vikings: Now I don't know why it is generally believed that all danish men are 6.2 tall and blond (Maybe watching too many movies) but that is really not the case. I guess every country has that one thing that everyone always associates them with and which can drive you absolutely mental when you go abroad. Vikings are that thing for me. Now I feel the need to educate some of those people reading this who might be lead to think that me and my family are all big burly people who eat mushrooms and go berserk at any given time. (although it would make the family parties that much more fun)
I am 5.5, my sister is 5.3... My brother might be 6 foot but he is as skinny as a stick and is as likely to be able to survive a battle situation as I am to ever buy a Bacardi breezer. Here are some more misconceptions taken from Wiki that should set some thing straight for you.

Common misconceptions concerning the Vikings

Horned helmets

Apart from two or three representations of (ritual) helmets – with protrusions that may be either stylised ravens, snakes or horns – no depiction of Viking Age warriors' helmets, and no preserved helmet, has horns. In fact, the formal close-quarters style of Viking combat (either in shield walls or aboard "ship islands") would have made horned helmets cumbersome and hazardous to the warrior's own side.
Therefore historians believe that Viking warriors did not use horned helmets, but whether or not such helmets were used in Scandinavian culture for other, ritual purposes remains unproven. The general misconception that Viking warriors wore horned helmets was partly promulgated by the 19th century enthusiasts of Götiska Förbundet, founded in 1811 in Stockholm, Sweden. They promoted the use of Norse mythology as the subject of high art and other ethnological and moral aims.
The Vikings were often depicted with winged helmets and in other clothing taken from Classical antiquity, especially in depictions of Norse gods. This was done in order to legitimise the Vikings and their mythology by associating it with the Classical world which had long been idealised in European culture.
The latter-day mythos created by national romantic ideas blended the Viking Age with aspects of the Nordic Bronze Age some 2,000 years earlier. Horned helmets from the Bronze Age were shown in petroglyphs and appeared in archaeological finds (see Bohuslän and Vikso helmets). They were probably used for ceremonial purposes.[52]
Cartoons like Hägar the Horrible and Vicky the Viking, and sports uniforms such as those of the Minnesota Vikings and Canberra Raiders football teams have perpetuated the mythic cliché of the horned helmet.
Viking helmets were conical, made from hard leather with wood and metallic reinforcement for regular troops. The iron helmet with mask and chain mail was for the chieftains, based on the previous Vendel-age helmets from central Sweden. The only true Viking helmet found is that fromGjermundbu in Norway. This helmet is made of iron and has been dated to the 10th century.

Use of skulls as drinking vessels

The use of human skulls as drinking vessels—another common motif in popular pictorial representations of the Vikings—is also ahistorical. The rise of this legend can be traced to Ole Worm's Runer seu Danica literatura antiquissima (1636), in which Danish warriors drinking ór bjúgviðum hausa[from the curved branches of skulls, i.e. from horns] were rendered as drinking ex craniis eorum quos ceciderunt [from the skulls of those whom they had slain]. The skull-cup allegation may also have some history in relation with other Germanic tribes and Eurasian nomads, such as the Scythiansand Pechenegs, and the vivid example of the Lombard Alboin, made notorious by Paul the Deacon's History.
There may also be some confusion between "skull" and the Norse/Icelandic word for a drinking cup, skál. This is a common toast in Scandinavian countries.


The image of wild-haired, dirty savages sometimes associated with the Vikings in popular culture[clarification needed] is a distorted picture of reality.[1] Non-Scandinavian Christians are responsible for most surviving accounts of the Vikings and, consequently, a strong possibility for bias exists. This attitude is likely attributed to Christian misunderstandings regarding paganism. Viking tendencies were often misreported and the work of Adam of Bremen, among others, told largely disputable tales of Viking savagery and uncleanliness.[53]
The Anglo-Danes were considered excessively clean by their Anglo-Saxon neighbours, due to their custom of bathing every Saturday and combing their hair often. To this day, Saturday is referred to as laugardagur / laurdag / lørdag / lördag, "washing day" in the Scandinavian languages. Icelanders were known to use natural hot springs as baths, and there is a strong sauna/bathing culture in Scandinavia to this day.
As for the Vikings in the east, Ibn Rustah notes their cleanliness in carrying clean clothes, whereas Ibn Fadlan is disgusted by all of the men sharing the same, used vessel to wash their faces and blow their noses in the morning. Ibn Fadlan's disgust is possibly because of the contrast to thepersonal hygiene particular to the Muslim world at the time, such as running water and clean vessels. While the example intended to convey his disgust about certain customs of the Rus', at the same time it recorded that they did wash every morning.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

A tiny blog post

Is all I have to say.


Okay so sometimes life catches up with you a bit and you don't have time to make a long blog after work. I should save this for my wikipedia blog post coming up some day, but I might as well share my little dirty secret now. I love Wiki and can spend hours just clicking on the next entry, sometimes filling up my whole browser bar with things I find interesting. Sometimes these Wiki searches can bring out the most wonderful and inspiring information. This is where the US comes in (don't worry I will stop babbling soon). I was reading an article about communism and that again lead me to BBC and a very weird news article:

About Lana Peters aka  Svetlana Alliluyeva, Stalin's only daughter. 

The stuff below is from 

GettyWith her father
One of history's greatest monsters had a kid who not only survived into the 21st century, but was living in Wisconsin, of all places. Wisconsin. Can you imagine going out to your dairy farm to harvest your cheese crop and finding out your little old lady neighbor was the daughter of a man responsible for the murders of up to 20 million people? How do you even process that? Do you just drop your cheese harvest and run? Do you try to make like you don't know, but accidentally drop the phrase "Uncle Joe, Slaughterer of Millions" in everyday conversation? No one has written a guideline on the situation, so we don't know.
As for Svetlana herself, she was plagued with daddy issues from the start, as you can imagine. Her dad abused her mom, who died of a "burst appendix," which might be Soviet code for "suicide and/or murdered by Joseph Stalin." Her dad exiled her first boyfriend to the Arctic Circle, refused to meet her first husband and arranged her marriage to her second husband, which lasted 10 years.
It was after marriage two dissolved that things got really interesting for Svetlana. She met and fell in love with an Indian Communist, whom she was not allowed to marry, presumably because her father's ghost was still pulling her love-life strings. Nevertheless, after her boyfriend's death she was allowed to travel to India to scatter his ashes in the Ganges. Aaaaaand pop into the U.S. embassy to apply for political asylum in America.
So in 1967, the daughter of one of the architects of Soviet communism denounced the regime and fled to the U.S. Then she met Frank Lloyd Wright's apprentice, who had once been married to Frank Lloyd Wright's daughter, also named Svetlana. So naturally Svetlana Stalin and the former son-in-law of Frank Lloyd Wright married -- and that was how Svetlana Iosifovna Alliluyeva became known as Lana Peters.
Now after reading all this I started at once to write a story in my mind about Lana fleeing the Soviet for completely different reasons. It had something to do with Rasputin's magical abilities being transferred to this small girl and her father being scared of her as the first and only thing he had ever feared in his life. Of course being a lazy author I never sat down and wrote it but it is still there brewing away in the back of my mind. Eventually I will get it done I am sure!