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Exquisite St. Julian's Cathedral - Le Mans

Writers – are you prepared to meet fabulous people?  And no, I don’t mean meeting Oprah (although that would be cool, too!)

 What I mean is, you meet people every day who are truly awesome. But do you know just how great they really are?

Y’all know that I hoofed it to France and Norway at Christmas to research Odin’s End.  My visit included a trip to Le Mans, France (yes, home of the auto race) and after a jaw-dropping visit to the Plantagenet City and  St. Julian’s Cathedral, I was ready for lunch.

That’s when I wandered into the Tourist Office. I was hunting for info on a good place to eat. I got the information (and the pizza and crepes were divine) when I noticed that the office happened to be running an exhibit on the city’s Viking invasions (now tell me – how opportune was that??). But more importantly, I met Pierre Poirrier, this incredibly nice guy who works at the tourist office.

I gave Pierre my business card, and I told him about Odin’s End. And I gushed over Le Mans, the Plantagenet City, St. Julian’s and the exhibit. Because I had to. They were fabulous.

But Pierre has been beyond fabulous. I got an email from him a couple of weeks ago. “Hey, we have some new documents in English and we thought you might like them!” So Pierre sends them my way, and included in the envelope were these incredible postcards of St. Julian’s Cathedral. When I say “incredible”, this means “frameworthy.” And they meant the world because they were images of the “Angels and Demons” light show at the cathedral. I had desperately tried to capture these pictures, but my camera just couldn’t deliver.

I am so grateful to Pierre and the other folks in Le Mans. They remembered me, and they remembered Odin’s End. Pierre, you’re the best! When I sell that story, we’ll schedule a booksigning in the Plantagenet City.

So I have some wonderful new pics – and new memories – of Le Mans.

But go there for yourself. The city – and its people – are worth the trip.

Click here to see the postcards Pierre sent me.

More pictures of Le Mans are listed on the left, including St. Julian’s,  L’Epau Abbey, and the Viking invasion.

The Lights of St. Julian's

Trondheim Norway

Beautiful Trondheim

Whoops, I think I forgot to mention it, but I had entered Odin’s End in the West Houston RWA’s 2010 Emily Contest – and it finaled! Barbarian Hotness does it again.

Final placement will be announced in February. Anyhoos, the finalists:

2010 Emily Finalists

Single Title Finalists

  • UNOPENED DREAMS by Jan Aldridge
  • GETTING LUCKY by Katie Graykowski
  • DEAR PRUDENCE by Ann James
  • MURDER, CURLERS, AND CANES by Arlene McFarlane
  • CLAIMING ANNIE’S HEART by Judythe Morgan**
  • ODIN’S END by Dawna Rand

Paranormal Finalists

  • DARKNESS DAWNS by Leslie D. Duvall
  • TIGER PRINCESS by Amber Finitzer
  • WARRIOR by Allison Leake
  • INNER EYE by Michelle Miller
  • BLOOD BORN by Kylie Short

Historical Finalists

  • THE DEVIL MY CARE – RACHEL by Elisa Beatty
  • GUARDIAN – GARETH by Patricia Patton
  • SECRET – NICK by Patricia Patton
  • THE LAST WOMAN by Karen Stuyck

Contemporary Series Finalists

  • REDEMPTION by Nancy Evertz
  • HIS DARK PAST by Rebecca Sampson
  • GRAVE SECRETS by Linda Trout

Anyhoos – I’m so excited! As always, thanks to my readers – Pat and Aelle – and cheerleaders – Diana Cosby and Pam and all of the Dallas Area Romance Authors. Long may Barbarian Hotness reign!

richard bremmer as skeldOK, peeps –

For those who’ve been following, you know that Odin’s End had won 1st place in its category – Mainstream With Strong Romantic Elements – in the Indiana Golden Opportunity 2009 contest. It went on to compete with the winners from the six categories for the title of “Best of the Best”

Paige Wheeler of Folio Literary Management was the category judge – and she requested the full manuscript. (Yay!)

Just got word that, while Odin’s End did not win the title of “Best of the Best” that it did receive another request for a full manuscript by Meredith Giordan of Berkley Publishing Group.

So – barbarian hotness does it again!

I’m dying of curiosity to see who did win – and I hope I can find an excerpt of their stuff somewhere! I got in touch with both Cathryn Pritchard and Barbara Binns (the 2nd and 3rd place winners in the MWSRE category), and they’re lovely and talented ladies, as you might guess.

Again, many thanks to all my readers – like Pat and Aelle – who put up with me and my fascination with barbarian hotness. And to Diana Cosby and the many lovely folks at DARA who are supportive of all of us struggling scribblers. Hugs, y’all!

viking shipJust got the email off the Dallas Area Romance Authors loop.

Remember, Odin’s End took first place in its category, Mainstream with Strong Romantic Elements, as part of the Indiana Golden Opportunity 2009 contest!

Paige Wheeler of Folio Literary Management was the finalist judge in this category – and she requested my full manuscript!

Again, thanks a million to my readers and cheerleaders!! You know who you are – and I LUV you!!

So, the official results from the Indiana Golden Opportunity 2009!

We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2009 IGO Contest.

The First Place Winners have advanced to the Best of the Best category, judged by Meredith Giordan of Berkley. That winner will be announced approximately November 20th.

Congratulations to all our finalists!
** indicates a full manuscript was requested by editor/agent
Garthia Anderson
IGO Contest Coordinator

1. The Soldier – Patricia Patton
2.  Love and the Heir – Patricia Patton
3.  The Yard Man Affair – Jill Stone

1. Odin’s End** – Dawna Rand
2. The End at River’s Bend** – Cathryn Pritchard
3. Damaged Goods** – Barbara Binns

1. Darkness Dawns – Leslie Duvall
2. The Story Queen – Joe Fraser
3. In Like a Lion – Karin Shah

1. Degrees of Death – Linda Lovely
2.  Dangerous Choices – Donna Meier
3.  Trail of Secrets – Greta MacEachern

1. Chocolate Kisses** – Kelli Zeiher Riley
2. Uncivilized – Meghan Murphy
3. Once Upon a Margarita – Heidi Luchterhand

1. Personal Demons – Lisa Desrochers
2. The Dead Guy Downstairs – Sheri Adkins
3. Seaside Sorcery – Laurel Wanrow

viking4As promised, here are the official results for the 4th Annual Dixie Kane Memorial Contest, sponsored by the Southern Louisiana Chapter of Romance Writers of America.

Odin’s End placed third in its category – Novel with Strong Romantic Elements. YAY! The results will be published in the local New Orleans paper. This thrills me to no end, because I never thought my name would appear in a newspaper in anything other than the obituaries or Most Wanted listings.

Much love to my many critiquers (who suffer in noble silence and put up with me), and to the Dallas Area Romance Authors. Y’all rock!!!


The Southern Louisiana Chapter of the Romance Writers of America, Inc. congratulates the winners of its 4th Annual Dixie Kane Memorial Contest:


 First Place                     Defending Hope by Dianne K Burns

Second Place                The Road to Love by Anne Wolfe

Third Place                   Murder on Ocean Drive by Gloria Ferguson

Honorable Mention      Light the Fire by Mary Manners

 Short Contemporary:

 First Place                     No Bull by Dee S. Knight

Second Place                The Perfect Holiday Mix by Wendy S. Marcus

Third Place                   Beauty and the Feast by Chana Alexander

Honorable Mention      A Thread of Shells by Lucy J. Dixon

 Single Title Contemporary:

 First Place                    Marryin’ the Librarian by Wendy Qualls

First Place (tie)            Murder, Curlers, and Canes by Arlene McFarlane

Second Place                Chasing Miracles by Linda Chubbuck

Third Place                   Courting Disaster by Ellie Kirkland

Honorable Mention      Worth Fighting For by La-Tessa Montgomery     

 Novel With Romantic Elements:

 First Place                    The Choice by Pamela Kopfler

Second Place                Tragic Choices—Far Off Voices by Margot Pleasants

Third Place                   Odin’s End by Dawna Rand

Honorable Mention      Wild Rodeo Nights by Sandy Sullivan


 First Place                     A Mad Passion by Laura Hirneisen

Second Place                The True Confessions of a Lady Novelist by Emily Becher

Third Place                   A Frenchman’s Secrets by Rhoda Fort

Honorable Mention      Thief by Night by Connie Queen


 First Place                    Rocky Mountain Howl by Kinsey W. Holley

Second Place                Intergalactic Brides Series: The Triple Bride by Dee S. Knight

Third Place                   Demon Soul by Christine Ashworth

Honorable Mention      A Vision of Death by Gretchen Stull, writing as Evelyn Grady

 Romantic Suspense:

 First Place                    From Baghdad With Love by Gail Zerrade

Second Place                The Light of Truth by Shelley M. Masog

Third Place                   Anytime Darlin’ by Julia Barrett

Honorable Mention      Saving Sarah by Robena Grant

 Winner of the Highest Overall Score resulted in a tie:

 No Bull by Dee S. Knight  

From Baghdad With Love by Gail Zerrade

Skeld_superstitiousOK, peeps – more great news!!!

The notice just went out – Odin’s End took third place in its category (Novel with Strong Romantic Elements) in the Dixie Kane Memorial Contest 2009, sponsored by the Southern Louisiana Chapter of Romance Writers of America.

Just so you know, this contest allowed only the first 5 pages of your story. That’s Chapter 1, parts 1 and 2 here on my blog.

Odin’s End has placed in both of its contests!!! And remember, the verdict is still out on final placement for Indiana’s Golden Opportunity 2009. (Click here to see my earlier ecstatic blogging on finaling in that contest!)

I’ll post the official notice when it’s sent out. Many thanks to my critique partners, Patricia Lewin and Aelle Ables, for kicking me when necessary, and for the patient ladies at the Medieval Fiction Writers group on Yahoo…

And of course, this is yet another victory for Barbarian Hotness!

The 13th Warrior Leads to Twinkie Diplomacy - World Peace Through Twinkies

The 13th Warrior Leads to Twinkie Diplomacy - World Peace Through Twinkies

To prove that truth really is stranger than fiction….

As y’all know, there are a few things I just LUV in life, primarily hunky men, Vikings, writing, and meeting new people all over the world (not necessarily in order, but I assure you that the hunky men DO come first).

So in the last couple of months, I’ve gone from musings about the movie 13th Warrior, to helping out the U.S. State Department with a new strategy called “Twinkie Diplomacy.” Proving that there are, in fact, 6 degrees of separation between anything. So here’s how it went:

  • On Facebook, Dawna joins a fan page dedicated to the movie the 13th Warrior (a film that celebrates Barbarian Hotness, and perfectly satirized by Rod Hilton)
  • On this page, Dawna gets into a drool-fest with another fan about Barbarian Hotness (whom we agreed was Richard Bremmer’s Skeld.)
  • These fans begin discussing additional weighty topics, such as hunky men and (other kinds of) sweeties.
  • Dawna desperately tries to describe the merits of Twinkies. She fails. The fans agree to a swapping of “sweeties.” (Sadly, due to shipping costs, boxes will not contain hunky men.)
  • Texas-originating box will include Twinkies, which are cultural icons in the U.S. Engineering students in Texas even created a page solely based on Twinkie experiments.
  • Twinkie Diplomacy  commences. World Peace Through Twinkies!!!

So there you have it. From The 13th Warrior to Twinkie Diplomacy. Don’t you wish the State Department had thought of it first?

viking3OK, peeps – see below for the official announcement from Indiana’s Golden Opportunity 2009 Contest.

Final placement is being determined by category judges. Again, main thing is that Odin’s End didn’t completely reek!!!

And many thanks to all the members of the Dallas Area Romance Authors who’ve sent me their congratulations for finaling – I’m a firm believer in the power of writers writing together!


Congratulations to all our finalists!
Winners will be announced approximately October 18th.  Best of luck to all!

*****Permission to forward*******

Historical Finalists
Judge — Jesse Feldman, NAL

The Yard Man Affair by Jill Stone
and the Heir by Patricia Patton
The Soldier by Patricia Patton

Mainstream Finalists
Judge — Paige Wheeler, Folio Literary Management

Odin’s End by Dawna Rand
Damaged Goods by Barbara Binns
The End at River’s Bend by Cathryn Pritchard

Paranormal Finalists
Judge — Kerry Donovan, NAL

The Story Queen by Joe Fraser
The Chimera Courtships: In Like a Lion by Karin Shah
Darkness Dawns by Leslie Duvall

Single Title Finalists
Judge — Latoya Smith, Grand Central

Once Upon a Margarita by Heidi Luchterhand
Uncivilized by Meghan Murphy
Chocolate Kisses by Kelli Zeiher Riley

Romantic Suspense Finalists
Judge — Megan McKeever, Pocket Books

Degrees of Death by Linda Lovely
Dangerous Choices by Donna Meier
Trail of Secrets by Greta MacEachern

Young Adult Finalists
Judge — Holly Root, Waxman Literary Agency

Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers
Seaside Sorcery by Laurel Wanrow
The Dead Guy Downstairs by Sheri Adkins

Northlanders - Viking Age Crime Saga

Northlanders - Viking Age Crime Saga

A pal of mine forwarded a link to me. Hadn’t heard of it before but thought it sounded way cool. Thought our Viking reenactment people in particular would raise a horn to this one.

Northlanders is a comic/graphic novel series about (according to the creator, Brian Wood) “millennial fears, clash of cultures and the death of the pagan way of life and the relentless march of progress. About one man, a stubborn Norse warrior in massive denial about who he is, reconnecting with the remote lands he grew up in.

And, since this is a book about Vikings, there’s a lot of sex and a lot of death – desperate men locked in shield walls fighting for their land and their lives yard by blood-soaked yard.”

Hey, that’s according to the author. To visit the official Northlanders site, click here. Interested in buying Northlanders online? Click here to go to Khepri Comics, an independent online seller of comics and graphic novels. A bad ass retailer to match the bad ass Vikings.

NORTHLANDERS is a comic book series created and written by Brian Wood, published monthly by DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint. Dave McCaig colors the series, and cover illustrations are by Massimo Carnevale. (I’ve included a bit of his cover art below. Truly awesome!)

Book One, entitled Sven The Returned, is illustrated by Davide Gianfelice.

Book Two, entitled The Cross + The Hammer, is illustrated by Ryan Kelly.

Book Three, entitled Blood In The Snow, is illustrated by Dean Ormston, Vasilis Lolos, Danijel Zezelj, and Davide Gianfelice (due 3/2010)

Some Bad-Ass Northlanders Cover Art

Some Bad-Ass Northlanders Cover Art

I’ve got a comic book store practically around the corner from me – I need to see if they carry it. With these photos and promo, no copyright infringement intended, Brian.

So anyhoos, peeps, go check out the awesomeness of Brian and the rest of the Northlanders creative team!

Not to Be Mistaken for Barbarian Hotness - Either of Them!
Not to Be Mistaken for Barbarian Hotness –

EITHER of Them!

OK , a very NON-literary topic today. But see – you find Vikings in all walks of life!!! Had no idea Flava Flav was a Viking. Decidedly not Barbarian Hotness, though!

 Anyways – today’s silly pics are courtesy of a site called Search their database of lookalikes, or piss off your friends by creating your own.

We have other guests on today’s post, including Sean Connery, Ringo Star, and the Dalai Lama.



















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The World of Odin's End