Way, way back in March I wrote a blog post talking about how a new plot idea had bubbled to the surface of my brain and I was intrigued by it’s possibilities. As part of this year’s Camp NaNoWriMo I immediately wrote the opening 6000 words of this new story, before a bout of writer’s block persuaded me that I needed a better understanding of my topic; Norse Mythology.
I was asked by the leadership at Asatru And Heathen Order to write a short article for their Facebook page on the topic of swearing oaths in the Viking period. This was the result, penned over a weekend.
Swear Like A Viking: Rings, Swords And Right Hand Men – by Trudi Hauxwell
Amongst modern Heathen groups the arm or ‘oath’ ring is a popular way to display one’s Heathen faith. These rings, which are worn as an item of personal adornment, are also used as a ceremonial tool in rituals and public declarations of fealty to a group or group leader. But what do we know of their use in the Viking period and how much do modern practices reflect the beliefs and customs of our ancestors?
About a month ago I was in a bit of a rut with the story I was working on, a science fiction tale set on a distant planet. In order to head off an approaching case of writer’s block I decided to take part in a few Twitter challenges, which resulted in the micro stories you can see on this blog.
The one image that stuck with me the longest during that couple of weeks was of Lucien and Aldous, my vampiric characters. It was enormous fun to come up with little vignettes for them and it got me to thinking about vampire fiction in more detail.
Finally, Lucien was reminded why vampires loved Christmas. As the huddled group of carollers trudged through the snow to his front door he turned from the window to face his companion.
“Aldous.” He said, unable to disguise his glee. “Dinner has arrived.”
“I’ve always preferred the eighty-nines myself.” Aldous announced with a noticeable slur. “A more full-bodied vintage for the true sanguinarian.”
Lucien picked a shred of flesh from his teeth with a fingernail. The nail was long and scarlet and didn’t belong to him.
“Aldous, you are such a snob.” He muttered.
For years I’ve been fascinated by the idea that life may exist under the icy crust of Jupiter’s moon, Europa. In particular I wondered how an intelligent species might mythologise their landscape when the limit of their universe is a miles thick ceiling of ice. This is a glimpse in to life beneath a frozen ocean.
I’m a huge fan of the Bryant & May novels by Christopher Fowler and have read them all with relish. They’re particularly fun for me as a Londoner and a history nerd. The author blends historical fact with fiction so well that on occasion I have found myself fact-checking several of the novels in order to distinguish between historical fact and flights of the author’s fancy.
Crime buffs will notice straight away that this story is a variation on a classic crime set up; the locked room mystery. A variation that could only really work in a London setting. The author does a great job of misleading the reader with several red herrings, and I didn’t start to zero in the the killer and his motive until the last few chapters. Even then it remained a rather nebulous notion until the denouement, when all was revealed.
Lucien stared in glum resignation at the tightly drawn curtains. One chink in their folds and the sun would burn them both to a crisp.
“You appear upset.” Aldous ventured.
“This is the true curse of the vampire, Aldous.” Lucien sighed. “To always be denied the matinee discount at the movie theatre.”
For the #writethurs challenge in Twitter.
Lucien slurped at his bloody fingers. Gobbets of crimson gore oozed down his chin. Aldous was appalled.
“Manners.” He hissed, proffering a napkin.
Lucien grimaced at the crisp white linen.
“Seriously?” he said, sucking a juicy clot from this thumb. “Who taught you how to be a vampire?”
In response to a one word writing prompt: liminal
Whitechapel is never silent. The ghosts of two millenia crowd the lanes, beckoning, with crimson allure from shadowed doorways, calling to you in brash Cockney from long dismantled stalls. They grasp at your feet as you stroll, oblivious over their plague-rotted remains.