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Trondheim Cathedral
Vikings Rule the World – Or They Should, Anyway

As y’all know, I really do think Vikings should have ruled the world.

Since I don’t have history on my side, I was thrilled to get word from Lorena Streeter from the Central Florida Romance Writers that Odin’s End has finaled in the 2010 Touch of Magic contest.
I actually served as one of the judges (not my own category, before you ask) and lemme tell ya, competition is stiff. I also forgot that I entered the contest… another story altogether!
So this list of finalists is from the Central Florida RWA site. Many thanks to the folks of the Dallas Area Romance Authors (unfailing cheerleaders, all), Diana Cosby for her unswerving devotion and chocolate torte, and the wonderful folks of the Norsefolk_2 Yahoo! group who keep Viking traditions alive.
Thanks, everybody – and I look forward to seeing all of us fine finalists in print!

TOM 2010 Finalists

Central Florida Romance Writers is pleased to announce the finalists in the
2010 Touch of Magic contest. Thanks to all the entrants, and to all the
judges whose hard work make this contest a success every year. The list is
in alpha order-we’ll announce placements in June after the final round of

Congratulations to:

Historical finalists

  • Jennifer Beane: Promises
  • Sue Webb: Scenting Scandal
  • Kayla Westra: Lady Knight

Novel with Strong Romantic Elements finalists

  • Dawna Rand: Odin’s End
  • Bobbye Terry: Coming to Climax
  • Sandra Tilley: Call Me Cinderella

Paranormal finalists

  • Tamara Hughes: Bewitching the Beast
  • Christal Murphy: Awaken the Dragon
  • Dawn Wolzein, w/a Dawn Marie Hamilton: Sea Panther

Romantic Suspense finalists

  • Jan Jackson: Runaway
  • Jean Mason: Buried in Plain Sight
  • Anna Sugden: Past, Imperfect

Short Contemporary finalists

  • Dani Collins: His Majesty’s Inappropriate Mistress
  • Brenda Hammond: Owe My Love
  • Cindy Taylor: A Family of Her Own

Single Title finalists

  • Stephanie Faris: The Get Him System
  • Dale Mayer: Hide-n-Go Seek
  • Robin Weaver: Book Learning

Young Adult finalists

  • Peter Andrews: Dream Crafters
  • Tracy St. Hilaire: Fifteen Forever
  • Bec Sampson: Alli’s Playground


Le Mans - The Viking Invasion Continues

OK – so I’m finally getting back into the groove of things. Which means I’ve finally loaded a chunk of the photos from my research trip to Flickr.

For the globally impaired, just a reminder that I visited Fontevraud Abbey, Saumur, LeMans and its Plantagenet City to research Adele’s world, which is France of the 1180s.

I also visited Trondheim, Norway to learn about medieval Nidaros (Trondheim’s name, back in the day) and the Viking age.

Wanna see the pics? Look to the page index on the left. Look for the pages that say “NEW!” All of those have pics loaded. Just click to the page – it tells a little about the trip and contains relevant links to museums and websites…and the Flickr page containing that day’s pics! YAY!

Feel free to use any of the pictures – just please mention that they were taken by Dawna Rand as research for Odin’s End. Preesh!

St. Julian's Cathedral - Le Mans

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!

Yes, but did they SPEND as much on their weddings as we do on ours?

Yes, but did they SPEND as much on their weddings as we do on ours?

OK, peeps –

As you know, in Odin’s End, our Viking hero Rorik captures Adele’s ship, killing the crew and taking her and her monk buddies captive. Obviously, not the most successful of blind dates.

Needless to say, these actions present some serious challenges to Rorik’s and Adele’s later romantic relationship. But there’s also another big challenge. OOPS – Rorik is betrothed. (He must have forgotten to mention it.)

So in researching betrothals, weddings, etc., I came across more wicked cool factoids about marriage in Viking society. Here you go:

  • The potential suitor had to start the negotiations; the father of the girl could never initiate his daughter’s marriage.
  • The woman was totally absent from the negotiations; in fact, frequently marriages were negotiated without the woman’s knowledge. Rarely did the couple meet before the wedding. And as for her approval? Irrelevant.
  • There were two levels of engagement, where the woman was either an “engaged woman” (festarkona) or a “promised woman” (heitkona). The promised woman had to wait for the suitor for 3 years, but after that she’d be available for other suitors.
  • A father couldn’t force his daughter to marry if she wanted to become a nun (OK – so if she can’t stand the guy, she can either marry him or become a nun. That’s one helluva choice!)
  • The marriage was considered legal if 6 witnesses saw the husband go to bed with the wife. (Think of all the weddings you’ve been to – is this something you’d REALLY want to see?)
  • However, this was preceded (thankfully) by a lavish banquet, and the partying lasted for days.
  • Divorce was easy to obtain, and this, combined with men being killed at sea or in battle, and women dying in childbirth, meant that a whole lot of weddings took place. (Wow – the Lifetime Channel could have a whole lot of those “Platinum Wedding” shows.)
  • Another little bit of trivia? The last Catholic bishop in Iceland, Jon Arason, had 6 known children with his acknowledge mistress. (I won’t bother to comment on this one.)

So yeah, Rorik has a problem. He’s betrothed. There are some real consequences if he breaks the engagement. (My, my. He’s offended a family’s honor. And what’re the consequences for that, in Viking culture?) And he’s considering it because of Adele, our heroine who really can’t stand him.

Hmmm….. what’s your average Viking guy going to do?

Barbarian Hotness - But (Oh Darn) Not Reality

Barbarian Hotness - But (Oh Darn) Not Reality

 OK, peeps – in my online wanderings, I came across this “oldie” article from National Geographic News.

Y’all know I’m all about Barbarian Hotness (aka “Hunky Viking Men”). So I was more surprised than anybody to find that Viking men filed their teeth (yep, you read it right!) as part of their grooming to render them attractive. Here’s the scoop:

  • Viking men filed their teeth into deep, horizontal grooves
  • These grooves were likely used to recognize some sort of achievement, like participation in a specific battle, or going on a specific journey
  • Sometimes these grooves might have been filled with pigment. (Imagine Barbarian Hotness with some scary-looking jack-o-lantern teeth)

You can read the entire article here at National Geographic News. And there are some cool pics, too. I’m wondering if Viking women really found this hot…. if the men were more marriageable…

So maybe my earlier picture of Flava Flav with his Viking hat and teeth grillz wasn’t so far off….

Barbarian Hotness - Really?

Barbarian Hotness - Really?




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

I had entered Odin’s End in a writing contest, Indiana’s Golden Opportunity 2009. This is a chapter of Romance Writers of America (RWA), an organization with a great support system for writers, regardless of genre.
Just got word from one of the contest coordinators that Odin’s End has finalled and is now on to the next step in the competition!
YAY!!!! My only hope for the contest had been that I wouldn’t embarrass myself. So now that I’ve gotten past that, I’m happy!
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 Barbarian Hotness, but My Kind of Guy Nonetheless

Not Barbarian Hotness, but My Kind of Guy Nonetheless

 This assumes, of course, that all other Vikings were “traditional”, and we know that can’t be true!

This pic was forwarded to me by a Facebook pal of mine who also happens to hang out here in the Dallas area. We’ll call her, oh, let’s see – I need a clever codename…..

Let’s see, I think we’ll call her…. “Jan”. YEAH. Nobody will ever guess her real identity with the clever codename I just gave her!

Anyhoos – “Jan” sent this along and I just LUV IT!!! Don’t think it’s one of the cats that pulls Freya’s chariot, but even more bad-ass than that.

As for “Jan” – well, Jan is a teacher (like I used to be). Only I bet she’s never:

  • Bailed a student out of jail
  • Bought clothes for a student’s baby
  • Accompanied a student to their appointment with their probation officer
  • Picked a student up for school after having knocked on their apartment door and nearly been bowled over from the smell of reefer wafting from the apartment. Their mom (who was holding the reefer) claimed they were “burning incense.”

But wait!!! I said I bet Jan has never done these things….. but then, she teaches SECOND GRADE. So actually, I bet she has!

Much love to you “Jan” – and keep sending me silly pictures!!!

For my US and international peeps:

Lloyd Loven and the Ormen Lange II

Lloyd Loven and the Ormen Lange II

91-year-old Lloyd Loven – founder of the Dallas chapter of the Norwegian Society of Texas 35 years ago and friend to Vikings near and far, was attacked by bees at home on Sunday.

He’s doing remarkably well –  a true testament to tough Viking nature.

Please see the video link below. It would be great if any of you would leave a comment for Lloyd here on my blog. Lloyd doesn’t use a computer, but we print things out for him.

I took this picture this past Syttende Mai – Lloyd built this reproduction of the Ormen Lange – at 91, he’s still “rah rah Norge!”

Everyone in the video is a member of the Norwegian Society of Texas.

Anyhoos – click “Leave a Comment” right above this post. We’ll print out the comments and give them to Lloyd. Won’t y’all wish him well?

Much love!!! Dawna

July 2018
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The World of Odin's End