Skalds 2019 - So It Begins

Viking swords clashed against battle-scarred shields!
Arrows sliced through the air in search of their targets!
Axes were hurled with bone-jarring accuracy!
And a Fire Master spun his blazing poi with impunity!
Everywhere one turned, something out of the ordinary was taking place.

No, this was not the first day of seventh grade. It was the Festival of the Skalds!
What is that?
I’m glad you asked. Skalds were purported to be the scribes, historians, and storytellers of the preliterate era of the Scandinavian world. The event was styled similar to a Renaissance Fair, but probably a bit more primitive. And … it was a blast.

Despite all the aforementioned shenanigans, no one got injured.
It is entirely possible that everyone was extra cautious and followed all safety protocols for the festival. Or, it could be that while channeling the essence of the great Viking era, everyone leveled up a few notches and just sucked up the pain from their injuries. Then again, perhaps the notable lack of injury, or lack of reporting, is actually a credit to the Medic Tent that was prepared to attach leeches to any injury. (There were no takers, by the way.)
As always, Safety First!

If you were there, you undoubtedly have a lot of great memories. I hope to see you all there again next year. I am already designing the next Treasure Hunt., so sharpen your wits, because it will be leveled up several notches!

If you missed the festival, then you certainly do not know the basics of Dragon Hunting Safety, you might not know there is going to be a book titled The Last Dragon Hunter, and you definitely don’t know the true ingredients in Friar Bob’s sandwiches. Tisk, tisk. I feel sorry for you. But, fear not, for you are invited to join the festivities next year. However, you had best make your lodging arrangements now, because I have a sneaking suspicion it is going to be decidedly larger and more captivating!

Stay tuned!

The winners of the treasure hunt!

The winners of the treasure hunt!

Dragon Hunter Safety Training!

Dragon Hunter Safety Training!


Allowing kids to read imaginative books can lead to building tree forts, couch tents, and chair caves. It could also expose the child to all manner of wild and dangerous beasts!
Buy books for someone's children this Christmas!

Dangerous beast sighting!

Dangerous beast sighting!


When is this book coming out? December
What is it about? It starts:

Bad ...

I landed facedown on the cold floor. The crashing jail cell door reverberated violently, and then all was silent except for a persistent drip. I assumed that came from the tiny sink in the corner. The place smelled like an animal cage that needed to be cleaned. I tried to move. Everything hurt.

I probably shouldn’t have fought against those guys, I mused, reflecting on how I had frantically struggled against the two burly guards. At that point there was nothing I could have gained. But what it got me was cussed, kidney punched, and body slammed through the doorway.

“They must have been holding back on account of my age,” I moaned under my breath.

My anger dried up quickly. But I was still desperate. I was especially desperate.

Urgently, my mind raced through my plight. What am I now? Sixty-seven? I hate this instant-aging thing. And they’ve got my phone. I’ve got to get the phone and get out of here. But then where? I’m running out of safe places.

My mind flitted around out of control for a few minutes. The sound of the cell door replayed in my memory, and I mused wryly, At least that sound is constant. Well, everywhere I've been so far. It made no logical sense, but I found some consolation in the consistency.

When I finally mustered the willpower to push myself up to my knees, it was abundantly clear that the age factor was not working in my favor. I attempted to reach where the TASER had bit into my back. I was certain it was still bleeding. It was not.

Another irony struck me: Those things seem to be getting hotter every time I get hit with one. Or maybe, I considered, that’s an age thing too.

As I cataloged my sources of pain, a nagging concern surfaced. Why had I not been read my Miranda Rights?

It was disconcerting that the police had been dismissive, even contemptuous, of the notion of any suspects' rights. I wondered if that was a sign of the times or if the officer had taken it personally when I had yanked his TASER and tried to use it against him. I made a mental note not to do that again. It was too bad, as that had worked particularly well a couple of times in the past. I muttered to myself, “Electric shielding incorporated into body armor. It’s brilliant. Why didn’t I invent that one?”

With some effort, I reached for the corner of the cot in the cell and gingerly pulled myself to my feet. It was more difficult than I had anticipated. But once I got straightened up, I found myself face-to-face with my own reflection in the polished stainless steel that passed for a mirror. I looked like something an alley cat had regurgitated.

The shock of that view drove home an agonizing realization: I had failed.

I put my hands on the wall on either side of the mirror and leaned my forehead against my reflection. It was cool against my skin. I felt like crying. “I’m sorry, Farren,” I whispered. And I knew at that moment there was no longer any possibility that I could rescue him.

Then my mind briefly skipped back to the day that Ellen had died. In a flashback, I relived that nightmare for several surreal seconds before I stuffed it back into the recesses of my memory. It had been a fool’s hope to try to undo that day. Again I whispered, “I’ve failed you too.”

I tried to force myself to rationally assess my current predicament. There was no denying that I had been flirting with death at every jump. And at that moment, my reflection candidly affirmed that I had flirted too much.

“It’s 2046. You’re sixty-seven years old,” I accused my reflection. “Beat up. Locked up … again. And if you go any further, you’re going to get yourself killed too. Idiot.”

As I tried to comb my hair down with my fingers, I muttered, “But you’re not going anywhere without your phone.”

Then, for the hundredth time, I asked myself, “Am I completely insane? Maybe I do belong in a psych ward.”

The old man in the mirror did not reply, but the look of defeat was an unmistakable indictment. In despair I chided, “They’ve got your phone. They’re going to set off World War III.”

The chance to go back and fix one fatal mistake!

The Impolite Visit of Florence the Terrible

Our visitor was not very polite. In fact, her manners were so reprehensible, that I left town before the dreaded guest arrived. But even that did not stop Florence from paying the visit. And now we are beginning the clean up and recovery. So, please bear with us for the next few weeks as we reassemble our lives here in eastern North Carolina.


Thank you!
#HurricaneFlorence #LivingLikeARefugee #SomeOfOurNeighborsWereHitHard

She Took Me by Surprise

She's a beauty, she's coming my way, and I wasn't even watching. Turns out, Florence came into my life at just the right time. 


I've been way too busy lately. But I have been pondering what kind of contest to do next for a book give away, and then Florence waltzed in.

Florence, also known as Hurricane Florence, stumbled onto my radar, and that's sort of the same thing as waltzing. Trust me, if you have ever seen me waltz, you would agree.

I don't actually love hurricanes, but we have this tradition in North Carolina of having a hurricane party after all the preparations are completed. It's really a way to pass the time when it's too nasty to go out. I'm not a particularly fun guy, so my idea of a party is a cup of coffee and a movie. Naturally, we have to get the movie in before the power goes out.

So, here's the contest. Guess which movie I have chosen for the hurricane party? (I have already made my selection.)

First correct guess wins a free copy of TIME ZONE as soon as it is released. (That is expected to be in October.)

Post your guess on the Facebook page RV Hodge Author, so I can keep track.

Hint: If it seems obvious, it is wrong.