The Viking Secret Diaries: Rites of Passage

with apologies to Cassandra Clare and Michael Hirst

The Diary of Ragnar Lothbrok

Day 1

Survived battle. Destroyed all my enemies singlehanded. Lost sword plunging it into opponent’s sternum.  Damn. Was favorite sword.

Day 2

Taught Bjorn how to use sword and shield. Planning to take him to the Thing tomorrow. Lagertha says he’s too young. If she had her way he’d still be in diapers. Women.

Day 4

Rollo failed to see the genius in my plan to sail west. I’ll show him. I’ll show them all.

Day 6

This kid. I don’t even know. First he doesn’t vote for beheading, then he didn’t want to throw apples at the guilty. Have a bad feeling he’s going to cause trouble one of these days. Still, he got his arm ring from the Earl and his kiss from Siggy. He is a man now. And getting more action than I’m going to see. Dammit, why did I promise Lagertha?

Oh, yeah. She’ll cut my balls off if I try anything.

Day 7

The Seer said we should sail west so I’m taking Bjorn to see Floki. Wonder how to explain that Floki is a pervy tree-fancier…

…no, wait, that tree-groping did a pretty good job of it for me. Thanks, Floki.

Day 8

Rollo showed up just in time for dinner. Going to rope him into sailing west with me and Floki.

Day 9

I’m sailing.  I’M SAILING!

Still not Earl.

The Diary of Rollo

Day 1

Survived battle. Ragnar claims he destroyed his enemies singlehanded. That braggart wouldn’t have survived five minutes without my help.

Day 4

Nephew Bjorn old enough to go drinking and whoring now. Score. I needed a new wingman.

Dear brother Ragnar is on about sailing west on the open ocean. Something about a wooden wheel with a pin in it and a magic rock. Whatever he’s been smoking, I want some.

Day 6

I gotta hand it to Ragnar, he isn’t afraid to start shit with the Earl. Even if he still thinks we should sail west.

Day 8

Lagertha’s got a bug up her ass just because I said she used to be a shield maiden. I haven’t seen her use a shield lately so what’s the big deal? She didn’t seem impressed with tales of my conquests in town, either. Why won’t she let me show her how I handle my sword?

The Diary of Earl Haraldson

Day 6

I love a good beheading. Fuck that guy and his ZZ Top beard.

Fuck Ragnar too, with his newfangled ideas about sailing west. My ships, my raid, my decision. I am the Earl… this can’t possibly go wrong.

The Diary of Lagertha Lothbrok

Day 2

Ragnar gets to go out and destroy his enemies while I am stuck stabbing eels for dinner. Came home to find him preparing Bjorn to pledge loyalty to the Earl. Bjorn too young but my dear husband insists. Men.

Politely asked Ragnar not to screw any other women while he’s in Kattegat. He agreed. He knows I’d cut his balls off if he tried anything.

Day 3

Was teaching Gyda how to weave when two assholes showed up at my door looking to get laid. I beat, burned and stabbed them, then threw them out the door.  I’ve got skills they’ve never seen.

Day 8

Ragnar’s back. Finally got laid. Totally not telling him I kicked two guys’ asses while he was off drinking with Rollo.

Why is it every time Ragnar leaves, some scumbag tries to put the moves on me? I mean, I know I’ve got it going on, but really? My pig of a brother-in-law? Please. I have standards.

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Woman Writer Wednesday: Lucy Woodhull

Welcome to this week’s Woman Writer Wednesday, my new feature where I profile, review or interview women whose words I’d like to bring to your attention.  For today’s post, I interviewed romance/humor/space-opera writer Lucy Woodhull, whose Ragnar and Juliet II: Concubine Boogaloo and original recipe Ragnar and Juliet are available for sale at Amazon, AllRomance.com and Liquid Silver Books.

1. What/who inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve always enjoyed writing, and was good at it in school and stuff.  (“And stuff” — that’s the kind of subtle brilliance I’m unfamous for.)  A few years ago, I began commenting on a Certain Ladyblog and got a bit of a following for being funny.  It made me think well, hrm, self, maybe you could be writing of the funny for to make monies!  Monies = good, my brain concluded.  I love romance as a genre, so I decided to write a funny romance novel.  Thus Ragnar and Juliet was born.  The first pub I sent it to told me it was too funny — I wasn’t allowed to just have a funny romance novel for no good reason!  It must have terribly SERIOUS parts to balance out the funny parts.  I said, “LOL nope,” and kept the book as-is.  I enjoy being edited and getting critiques (how else do you grow?), but I have learned, over time, to respect my voice.  I get further when I trust in myself, and I have more fun.  If I’m not having fun, what’s the point?  I’m not in it to write someone else’s version of a book.  I then submitted Ragnar and Juliet to the magnificent Tina Burns (at that time with Liquid Silver Books) and sold it in twenty-four hours.  Hooray!  I’ve subsequently written a sequel to R&J and a straight-up humor book, and gotten myself an agent for it, so things are proceeding apace.  By “things,” I mean “my plan for universe domination, and also unlimited Cheez-Its.”
2. What do you like most about the genre[s] you write in?
In romance, I love the happily ever after.  This is a part of the genre that people shit on a lot, claiming that there’s no suspense when you know the hero ain’t gonna die when he runs through a hailstorm of bullets to rescue his dog.  But lots of genres are predictable that way.  In a long-running series about a male detective, the dude probably isn’t gonna bite it with three books in and three more sold.  Happy endings are the best!  (Pun intended.)  Life’s a piece of shit when you look at it, so what’s so wrong with reading a book about love and sexy times that you know will end with hearts and flowers?  During the tough times of life, especially, I dig some escapism with my free time, and that doesn’t make me a moron.  Plus:  SEX!In humor, I love the silliness of it, the incongruity, the anything-goes nature of what is possible.  (But I say “anything goes” with an eye to avoiding jokes that are racist, sexist, ableist, homophobic, and all the other “ists.”  When humorists say they can’t make a joke without being an asshole, I say they must not be very good at it.)  I also adore and respect the power of parody and humor to right the world’s ills.  One needs only to look at something like Blazing Saddles to know how powerful humor’s statement can be.
3. What’s the best piece of writing-related advice you’ve received?
My best friend and sometimes-writing partner told me, in the midst of that first rejection and my struggles with the “rules” of writing, to stay true to myself and honor my voice.  And she was so, so right.  When I stopped trying to simultaneously play by the rules and be myself, everything was so much better.  Write what and how YOU love.  It’s the only thing that can possibly keep you going in this soul-sucking journey we call art.I’ll use this gif here, for these are my people.
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4. Is there any type of writing you would like to try that you haven’t already?
I would love to write a half-hour comedy or film.  I figure I’ll write books for now until Mel Brooks comes a-knocking to adapt one of them into a film.  What’s the point of dreaming unless it’s big?  Mel:  call me!
5. You’re a fan of satire… tell us why you enjoy it and what you feel its significance is.
Satire is a way to poke fun at the world’s ills, and thereby help to improve them.  It combines humor and activism, two of my favorite things, and when it’s done well, is so damn clever it hurts.  Just look at the way The Onion sometimes blurs the line between reality and satire in such a scary way, you almost can’t tell what’s real.  Especially during an election cycle.  Some folks respond well if you stand up and say, “Hey, racism is bad!” but others will watch Blazing Saddles and get a perspective on race they never had before… all undercover-like while they laugh.  And maybe, ever so slightly, their mind will be changed for the better.
Many thanks to the ever-fabulous Lucy.  You can find her on Twitter here or at her website.