I’m here to share myself on the web. To communicate with my family, friends and hopefully readers. I have stories from my life and stories from my imagination.  I believe I have some good stories to tell. Bear with me while I remember and conjure them.

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Leaving this world

I’m having a hard time exploring the world of the Dragon’s Spine. This world has been too much of a distraction. Too much drama here and now. Midgard calls. The characters Eric and Drew want to be drawn in more detail. Jae and Catherine are pursuing their relationship. Cu Lain and Ceri are discovering that the culture that appeared so welcoming and egalitarian is not.

Crow and Bait are once more pursuing information. They hope this time the pay is better. And the factions of the huldra are jostling for position.

I haven’t read the next letter from Catherine’s father. What secrets will it reveal? I have some hints, but she hasn’t opened it yet. That world calls. Perhaps tomorrow, I’ll find a thread to tug.

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Winter is defeated

Winter has been defeated. The snow may fall, and cold winds may blow. Still, winter has been defeated. As it always has been and always will be. Once more, we look forward to spring. You may say, “winter will come again. It is not defeated.” And that is true. Winter will come again. Life and love always win. Seasons pass, and life goes on. Love continues. Even in the midst of the storm, life and love have won.

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A little something I found.

On the trail back to Utroor.

“Jaernleik Tygeson from Hver Landnam?” The courier quizzed as he walked up to where Jae and Catherine were sitting. Jae’s ears reddened as he stood and acknowledged that he was indeed Jaernleik Tygeson. The packet had to be from his mother. She was the only one who insisted on calling him by his formal name. The one his grandpa Ingle had insisted he bear. “I have a packet for you. I thought you were in Boar Akarn. I probably passed you on the road on the way there. When I got there, they told me that you were escorting with the king’s party on the way to Goa Vollar.” He handed a small packet to Jae and began to turn.

“Can you take one I’m sending home?” Jae asked. The man was a military courier and might have orders preventing him from carrying it to the next station on the way back through the web of couriers that made Alfheim’s military’s communication network. In peacetime, they also took private letters between the various towns and villages. The small fees charged helped defray the king’s expense.

The man nodded his head that he could, so Jae reached into his shirt and pulled out the letter he had written to his family. He passed the courier a halfpenny as he entrusted the letter to him. With any luck, it would relieve his mother’s distress from the tales of the yetann raid that would have reached their village. She would recognize that he was in the area of the attack and be worried.  

“So, your real name is Jaernleik?” Asked Catherine.

For once, Drew did not attempt to redden Jae’s ears more. Jae knew his given name as well. He considered Dureast. How his mother derived that from dugr and oestr was beyond his keen. Naming a child “courageous noble” was by far worse than play of iron any day.

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Cu Lain and his problems

I’ve been considering Cu lain. our half-breed. He is a Konkur unacceptable to both side of his family tree. Most of is life has been spent in a drug induced haze. Does he have a place in the unfamiliar world he has found himself?

Does he have any real friends or is he a dispensable pawn? Can he hope to be the hero of his own story?

I hope to discover the answers

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I got a text from my sister last week, with a picture of her holding my book. I knew my acknowledgment at the end of my book was missing some people. Carrie, my wife, commented on how supportive my family is. And she is right. I live in an amazing support network. I hope I fill my part as much as all of those friends and family do in my life. How do I mention them all?

You see, I realize that this network stretches far beyond what I can see. There are my sisters, Anita and Patti) My children (David, Jenni, Lynette, Alison, and Tim), My wife (Carrie), My friends, their friends, and friends of friends I’m not aware of. Each person in this network strengthens it and helps each person extend themselves to offer that support to those around us.

Thank you! All of you. Despite the storms that may pass over each of us. We have those in our lives who form a shelter for us all.

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Who am I? Isn’t that one of the biggest questions we have to answer? How we define ourselves or let others define us cast us down the path of life. Early on, I was defined as a son, grandson, and great-grandson.

 I was cheerfully unaware of those definitions. I thought that I defined my world. They were Daddy, Mama, Big Pa, Little Pa, Little Ma, and Nother Mama. I spent a happy childhood even after my little sister came, and I had to share the orbit of the adults in our lives.

In this sphere of love and attention, I began my adventures and learned the passed down stories. When I was small, I boldly traveled down the precarious road from my home to my great grandparents’ house. Alone! Joyfully I walked down the path that had been carefully mowed to ease my journey. I was watched surreptitiously by my mother and great grandmother.

As we all do, I began to see other real people occupied the world. I wasn’t the only one. As I grew, I became a big brother, a student, and a friend. Some gave me unfavorable definitions. You know them as well as I do. And Like me, you try to ignore them.  

I have gained other definitions, as well. Employee, husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather were added. Now, in this season of my life, I am adding author to those other definitions.

I grew up hearing stories: family stories and fictional stories. Stories that were told by my dad as he read me the Sunday comics. Once I learned to read, I read everything. I read the “Book of Knowledge” encyclopedia and the dictionary that came with it. I read Heinlein and Asimov. Bored by the lectures during history, I read that book.

Now I have stories. I want to share those adventures in the worlds of my imagination. Join me, won’t you?

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A reference map

I thought you might enjoy having an idea of the size of the world of the dragon’s spine in relationship to Earth.

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Live on Amazon

“In the Shadow of the Dragon’s Spine” is now available for purchase on Amazon. It is in ebook and paperback

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Paperback coming

I submitted the paperback version of “In the Shadow of the Dragon’s Spine” today. I’ll let you know when its available.

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Strangers in town

A cold mist was falling. The wind blew just enough to give a body a chill. It had been like this the entire day. The tavern was filled with locals, each nursing a mug of mulled wine. The farmers had been out preparing the fields for planting. A group of them were sitting near the fireplace complaining about a late spring. Other groups of friends were discussing one bit of gossip or another. The room was full of the comforting buzz of their conversations until the door opened letting a bit of the cold and mist blow in.

At first glance, the stranger appeared to be a waif of a boy. But to one watchful set of eyes, she was recognized as a young woman of about 16 years. The rest of the patrons didn’t bother to look that closely and returned to their own concerns as soon as the door was once more firmly closed.

The man sitting alone at a table in the corner farthest from the door and to the right of the fireplace raised his mug to his lips and watched as the girl disguised as a boy walked across the tavern to the bar. Jacob was serving today.  His wife Mathilda was in the kitchen preparing a stew, probably rabbit.

“Boy, you’re soaked through,” Jacob observed. “Get by the fire and warm yourself. Henry, move out of the way of the lad. Let him warm himself. I’ll fetch thee a mug of hot tea. Just stand as close to the fire as you can.” He finished as he turned to enter the kitchen area and fetch that promised mug of tea.

She stood close to the fire warming herself unaware that she was being watched. The man in the corner had spent years learning to notice and not be noticed. She turned her back to the fire and steam began to rise from the soaked fabric when Jacob reappeared carrying the promised mug of tea and a bowl of stew.

“Come, lad,” He called. “eat.” He told her as he set the mug and bowl on the bar counter. She would have to eat standing all the tables being occupied.

“I have no coin.” She told him in a voice that convincedly cracked like a boy at that age.

“Never mind that,” Jacob told him. “There are dishes to wash or wood to chop. Eat.”

“I need to find the Gray Knight.” The boy told him.

“I’ve been told,” Jacob replied. “That the Gray Knight finds who he wants.”

Albert was sitting on the stairs to the upper level, just out of his father’s sight. He should be out on the floor helping with the guests, but he had a book of Arthurian tales. It fueled his dream of adventuring. He sat quietly and watched as his father attended to the boy.

His father’s first rule was to welcome a new guest as soon as possible. Quicker if they appeared in need.  The boy probably had no money, or very little. Albert had seen situations like this before. His parents would make sure the child was dry and fed before any worry for the needs of the tavern would be thought of.

He was drifting back to his daydream of adventure when he noticed a movement. The Count was looking at him. The Count’s left hand was below the tabletop and moved in a gesture that meant come here. As kind as the Count appeared Alfred knew better than to ignore this request, subtle as it might be. Reluctantly he stood. He placed his book in a space in the wall. He had hidden books there before. Then he descended the stairs. He bent over to hear the Count. He was speaking softer than usual.

“Tell your father that his guest needs to be warmed in the kitchen.” He almost whispered. “When you’ve done that. Walk back here with a pitcher of mulled wine. When strangers walk in set the pitcher down and volunteer to tend their horses. When you return from that if they allow it. Come get the pitcher and tell me what you saw.”

What a strange request Alfred thought. Strange it might be, but you never refused the Count’s request. No matter how quirky it might be.

“Father,” Alfred said as he drew near the bar.

“Where have you been boy? There’s work to do. Pick up the broom and sweep up that pile of dirt Henry walked in.” His father told him.

“Father,” Alfred interrupted. “The Count told me that your guest needs to dry in the kitchen. And to bring him a pitcher of mulled wine.”

“What?” Alfred’s father glanced up toward the Count. Alfred didn’t see what his father saw but whatever it was. He turned to the boy. “It will be warmer in the kitchen. Let me show you the way. Closer to the dishes that will need a washing when you’ve had your fill.” He scooped up the half-filled mug of mulled wine and walked toward the kitchen door. Leaving the boy to pick up the bowl of stew and follow him.

Soon Alfred’s father appeared with a full pitcher of mulled wine. No sooner had he handed it to Alfred than the door slammed open and the wind howled through. Two rough-looking men in hunters garb stood in the open doorway their eyes scanned the room. One was turning back to the outside when the other said “We best ask about a bit. They might have seen something.”

Alfred stared. How had the Count known these men were coming? “Alfred,” his father scolded. “Take that to the Count.” Remembering himself Alfred walked over to the Count filled his mug before sitting the pitcher down on his table. Then he walked over to the men standing in front of the now closed doors.

“Want me to tend your horses? ‘tis only a silver pfennig for two horses in the stable overnight. We give them a bit of grain as well.”

The men looked at each other. The taller one raised his eyebrow. In a gruff voice, the shorter man said, “Very well, Tend them.”

As Alfred started to open the door the taller man grabbed him by the arm and asked. “Has a young woman passed through here?”

“I’ve not seen any young women except villagers,” Alfred answered truthfully.

As he exited the door Alfred overheard the tall one say. “Suppose we stay the night here dry, Grego?” He didn’t hear the answer as he shut the door tight before running through the mist to the two horses tied to the rail in front of the tavern. He was in the stables then taking care of the horses. Saddles and tack off, hay and grain provided. He even rubbed them down with an old blanket.

The Count was at his table when Alfred returned. As he passed by the Count’s table on the way to his room to get dry clothing. He paused a moment. “Just two horses. I didn’t see any other man about.” The Count nodded his head at this. He and the lad in the kitchen were gone out the back door when Alfred returned to the tavern’s main room.

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