Vikings, Skalds, and Other Upstanding Citizens

“What’s a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?” said no one ever at a Skalds event.

It’s obvious what everyone is doing at the Festival of the Skalds. They are getting in touch with their inner Viking.

(Minus 10 points if you just mentally said, “Arrgh!” That’s not what Vikings say. Vikings say, “Uff da!”)


To be fair, some of us were more in touch with our inner Gypsy or bard. But that’s not all bad, since a skald was a poet in the court of a Viking or Icelandic leader. I suppose you could say a skald was a literate version of a court jester.

This past weekend we held the 2nd Annual Festival of the Skalds. We had a good showing of people in costume, and it was a blast. It was also the last invitation-only event. Next year we will be open for business to the public and we should be fully operational.

What do you do at a Skalds Festival?
As vendors, we hawk all kinds of cool stuff, including books by yours truly. Therefore the most important people at the Festival of the Skalds are the ones who buy books. Particularly, my books. I’m just being honest here.

Becky with the Falcon Series!

Becky with the Falcon Series!

Other fun activities that we indulge in include ... food. We eat lots of food. We probably eat way too much food. We also try our hand at primitive weapons, and I’m pleased to report that there were no injuries. And, naturally, everyone checks out the costumes of everyone else. I have to say, this year there were a lot of really good costumes.

Decide for yourself; who are the ladies, who are the peasants, and which one is the hooligan.

Decide for yourself; who are the ladies, who are the peasants, and which one is the hooligan.

So, now to the costume judging contest. There was not an actual contest, but there may be one next year.

There were several ladies of the court present. As you can see in the picture, they were forced to mingle with the commoners and other riffraff. This was not the entire crew, but you get a good representation of the cross section here.
One of these ladies looked like a princess trying to blend in with the rest of us peasants. Her prince was absent, but I suspect he was out with his valiant men rounding up highwaymen for the gallows.

In every gathering of hoodlums, there is an instigator. Jacinda and Micah are the chief instigators of the Festival of the Skalds. If the constable should come looking, we’re blaming them. They were, as always, convincingly dressed.
Which brings us to the award for the best costume. This year, in my completely unbiased view, I have selected Micah. His costume was pretty good, and he was well accessorized, and he had a weapon. In my view, weaponizing wins!


Stay tuned for next year’s Festival of the Skalds. You are invited …

A Timely Repost

(I posted this as a blog some time ago. Ironically, I don't remember how long ago it was, but it seems timely now.)

I am a Time Traveler

I have mastered the physics! So far I can travel forward in time at 60 seconds/minute! I have worked out the illusion of faster, and slower, forward time travel as well. But I'm still stumped on going back in time. I know that's where the big money will be waiting.

Conventional wisdom claims that time is money. Jim Croce sang about time in a bottle. And if I believe the Rolling Stones, time is on my side. In my experience, however, time is not money, you can't get time in a bottle, and time is not on my side! In fact, it seems to be working against me more each day.

I am, by nature, an extremely goal-oriented person. This characteristic sets me up to routinely miss the journey, as it is said, on the way to the destination. Being goal oriented is of itself not evil. However, in my case, it is undoubtedly unbalanced. It is a continuous struggle to keep my “to-do” list from ruling my life. I suspect others have the same difficulty.

So, what is the point of my little ramble here? Maybe it is to remind myself of the permanence of past time and the uncertainty of future time. Ultimately, for every minute that ticks by, we get to choose how to spend it. Actually, we have to choose how to spend it. There is no such thing as saving time. Unfortunately, there is a lot of “everything else” that simply takes up our time.

I want to encourage everyone to intentionally spend their time on things that will have a lasting value. Choose wisely. Don't waste time trying to go back in time, but intentionally value the time of now.

With that resolved, where would you want to go if you could get a free time machine ticket into the past?

(Stay tuned for more time-travel related posts ... )

How to Hire a Cover Artist in 27 Easy Steps

To be fair, it's not necessarily always that easy. Finding an artist with the style you want, conveying the picture you want, and all without messing up their creativity, can be a tricky process. It's like reading a mystery story that was never completed, so you have to piece together the clues and come to the final conclusion on your own.

What could possibly go wrong?

I basically got lucky when I needed an illustrator for the Boathouse Mouse series. Shawna is a friend of one of my daughters, and we met in a social setting some years back. I learned that she was an artist, and when the time came that I needed an illustrator, we already had a comfortable friendship to work from. When I presented her with the manuscript, Shawna magically became Boathouse's artistic DNA, if you will. When she sends me concept sketches, there are some pictures that are so beyond what I imagined, I want to hug the picture.

For our Boathouse Mouse friends, Shawna is currently working on Book 4. So don't despair.
She is also lined up for another children's book series. That concept art has instantly proven she is the right choice there too.

With the book Giants on Troglodyte Mountain, I really wanted to capture a hint of the tension that is in the story. I knew Shawna could make that magic happen. Only, there is a little problem. I have Shawna backlogged. And I don't want to jeopardize her work there, so ... I decided that I would do the cover art myself.


After I made a few abysmal attempts at artwork, I gave up and tried to edit coolness into a photograph. That little experiment turned out to be totally lame. And it left me at a complete loss for what to do.

Enter Kelly Canaday.

In an unrelated setting, I happened to meet a young artist whose work looked like the style I had envisioned. And she had an available schedule, which was also a good thing. Getting started with a new artist can be unnerving, and I had more questions than answers.
Tentatively, I submitted my humiliatingly-bad sketches to Kelly for her interpretation into concept artwork. In a remarkably short time, she had a pencil sketch for me to approve. And, above my expectations, the rest of the process went smoothly.

A short blurb about the book here: Buy the book. It's loads of fun.

Cover art by Kelly Canaday

Cover art by Kelly Canaday

Back to the artist.
Kelly turned out to be easy to work with. She picked up the project and filled in all the blanks that were in my mind. The end result is, I love the cover for Giants on Troglodyte Mountain!

You can view more of Kelly's work here: 

You can contact Kelly here:

And the Winner Is ...

The proof copy of Giants on Troglodyte Mountain has been inspected, analyzed, X-rayed, and read cover-to-cover. And it has passed!

Okay, it wasn't actually X-rayed, but it may as well have been. We even read the back cover.

What that all means is we will officially be in print on June 16th as we had planned. We expect to have Giants on Troglodyte Mountain in stock here at the Inkling Publications Store that day!



Weather Irony

It's been a day off that has been full of rain. Which translates to, I have spent the past ten hours writing. Actually, it's been ten hours of editing, but that doesn't sound nearly as romantic.

The book I am working on is titled Time Zone, which, as its name infers, is about time travel. The irony? It all began at a train crossing during a driving rain, when the cross bar failed to drop ... 
I'll share more about the book in the coming months.



#TimeZone #TheChanceToGoBackAndFixOneFatalMistake

Literary Birth Announcement

 Some decisions in life are downright difficult to make. Who to marry, what to study in college, and when to reveal the imminent birth of a new book, are a few of those tough decisions. But, armed with modern technology, I now have the ability to do a baby book reveal!

Yes, the ISBN has been issued, and we have Book's First Sonogram Picture! If you look closely at the picture, you can see it's going to be a Troglodyte! The due date is April 16th. 

Book Sonogram

Book Sonogram

This makes 8 ISBNs in my collection. For some reason that tickles me.

# GiantsOnTroglodyteMountain