V is for Vidda

VV is for Vidda: In the world of Gossamer Steel the Vidda is the northern area of The Country (Scandinavia) and the location of many inhabitants’ spiritual journeys, not least as the most sacred seat of learning is on the northern tip, where Veles is honoured alongside Jarilo.

Finnmarksvidda, is a plateau in northern Norway, the interior of Finnmark, the country’s largest but least populated county. Though it has no exact natural boundaries, the plain’s principal section is about 60 miles (100 km) from east to west and 50 miles from north to south. The Finnmarksvidda, made up of ancient crystalline rock, is characterized by numerous small lakes and bogs, with a few branched river systems draining northward to the Arctic Ocean. Important among these are the Altaelva (west) and the Anarjåkka (Finnish Inarijoki), forming the border with Finland (east). The region is sparsely populated. Most of the inhabitants are Sámi, many of whom live on their herds of reindeer.

Panorama of River Neiden in Finnmark, Norway ~ Photo byOdd-Arild Knutsen

Panorama of River Neiden in Finnmark, Norway ~ Photo by Odd-Arild Knutsen

Veles is a major Slavic supernatural force of earth, waters and the underworld, associated with dragons, cattle, magic, musicians, wealth and trickery. Wikipedia also says, “Ancient Slavs viewed their world as a huge tree, with the treetop and branches representing the heavenly abode of gods and the world of mortals, whilst the roots represented the underworld… Veles, seen as a huge serpent coiling around the roots, was ruling the world of dead. This was actually quite a lovely place, described in folk tales as a green and wet world of grassy plains and eternal spring, where various fantastic creatures dwell and the spirits of deceased watch over Veles’ herds of cattle… In folk tales this land is called Virey or Iriy. Each year, the god of fertility and vegetation, Jarilo, who also dwelt there during winter, would return from across the sea and bring spring into the world of the living.”

V is also for völva, vǫlur, and vísendakona, names for Seiðr sorceresses that are fundamental to the spiritual life of The Country.


A is for Array ~ B is for the Blood-Marked ~ C is for Corylus Avellana ~ D is for Duskweald ~ E is for Energy ~ F is for Feeniks ~ G is for Garuda ~ H is for Herders ~ I is for Ithaka ~ J is for Junk ~ K is for Kitsune ~ L is for Lorelei ~ M is for Mojave ~ N is for Native~ O is for Outcasts  ~ P is for Punk ~ Q is for Quisling ~ R is for Ragnarök ~ S is for Seiðr ~ T is for Technology ~ U is for Urdu


The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behaviour.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. Please visit other challenge writers.

My theme is ‘The World of Gossamer Steel, the SF-fantasy setting for a series of short stories and novellas that portray the tales behind the MMORPG that is central to my crime novel ‘Wyrm Bait’.A2Z-BADGE-000 [2014] (1)

Black Cats Or Black Hats At Halloween?

All Hallows greetings from the fastness of the Duskweald, in the fog of England. If there are monsters lurking outside, we have our ninja kitties on full alert – oops, make that on cat nap duty.

Our Halloween kittie, Kefira, has fur as dark, and talons and fangs as sharp, as obsidian. In the US I believe that black cats are bad luck and can fall prey to those with evil in their hearts. Would we be burnt as witches? Here in England a black cat can be as lucky as a horseshoe or shamrock; except when it crosses your path the wrong was. But that’s an old wives tale and I’m only here for trick or treat.

Halloween is a time when our world is close to the spirit world, offering a bridge both ways; and in one of my stories, it is celebrated as the Veles. Today my writing is crossing a bridge, the transition between one mystery to another journey into the unknown, albeit with a rough map.

The Last Leaf will never fall

The Last Leaf will never fall (Photo credit: Behrooz Nobakht)

Yesterday I finished another edit of Wyrm Bait, a crime mystery set against the world of computer gaming, where the monsters lurking are black hats – but not wearing witches hats. This is the realm of computer hackers and gold farmers. The edit gave me draft 2, or maybe it was 2.5 as I scribbled in red over a printed manuscript first and devised key changes like protagonist 2’s POV.

I’ll leave the draft to ‘marinade’ for about six weeks, then tackle the crucial polish-edit, honing each word and phrase into jewels fit for my beta readers.

If you would like to be a beta reader please contact me. I have some gaming experts but need the writer input.

NaNoWriMo 2012

So on to November and NaNoWriMo 2012, which will be my second attempt at the challenge having completed a 50k first draft of The Last Leaf, a fantasy mystery, last year. The theoretical strategy this time is to write the first draft of Wyrm Blood, the sequel to Wyrm Bait and again linked to cyber-crime. I have done an outline, some of the characters are the same, although the ones driving some of the main plot are newcomers. I aim to do 50k during November but the first draft will be more like 80k and take six weeks.

I’m fearful of the pressure from writing 1,600-2,000 words per day, as other priorities loom including the crucial time needed to ensure my wife gets her ILR – her leave as a US citizen to settle in the UK. There are also the vagaries of my MS (Multiple Sclerosis): although the pain of the spasms is finally under control with Gabapentin, the spasms still continue and there are days when even checking emails is impossible. But it all makes for a greater challenge.


Here’s hoping that black cats bring us all luck, and the black hats remain fictional in our books and get tackled by the gals in white; witches to those computer-challenged.

In the Lair of the White Witch 2

In the Lair of the White Witch 2 (Photo credit: chrisjfry)

Good writing and screaming from The Silver Scribbler.