So you can read my books

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


It was an odd night at Meilori's.

The shadows were thicker, the customers more ... unique.  It was my birthday and that of my friend, Siv Maria, half a world away.

Her book, SECRETS OF THE ASH TREE, was a fine book.  A novel of coming of age, of wanting to know the truth behind family illusions ... and the price of that truth.

"PRICE OF TRUTH," intoned an eerie figure. 

He seemed made of stained glass.  His hood was grey.  His eye was one.  The patch covering the other was obsidian.

The two ravens sitting on his shoulders peered at me.  "Memory," cawed one.  "Mind," cawed the other.

Wotan, as I knew my guest to be, said,
"A taste for truth at any cost is a passion that, like all passions, consumes all it touches.  Thou mayest have truth or peace.  Thou cannot have both."

He disappeared leaving the wavering image of Yggdrasil, the World Tree.  Ratatoskr perched on its huge trunk. 

He gazed up at the distant branches (You see Meilori's has no ceiling -- only mists)

He bounded to my table top.  "Friend Roland, you are in danger.  Birthdays are the crossroads of Fate."

He leapt to my shoulder, "Fear not.  I, Ratatoskr, will fight by your side."

I reached up and nuzzled his chin.  "I feel better already."

Suddenly, three females sat at the base of Yggdrasil:

The very old one, Urðr I knew her name to be, graveled, "Thy destiny is thine own and cannot be shared."

The young woman of the three (Verðandi) said, "Think not overmuch of tomorrow. This moment is all that thou hast.  All else is mist."

Skuld, the young girl with the face of a skull giggled,
"It is dangerous for mortals to be examined by too strong a light. The torch of Truth shows much that we cannot, and all that we would not, see."

Ratatoskr chirped, "If I promised to miss thee, would thee leave?"

They did, and the surprised squirrel turned to me.  "That was easy."

The carpet bulged to our right, split with the sound of splintering floor boards,

and a huge scaly dragon head the size of the National Debt burst through.

"Nidhogg!" shrilled Ratatoskr, hiding behind my head, his tiny clawed fingers holding on painfully to my throat.

"Miss me?" asked the dragon, sounding like Anthony Hopkins magnified a thousand times. 

Glasses on every table shattered at his voice.

"Not really," chittered Ratatoskr.  "Why not go away and see if I do then?"

Eyes that were molten pools of lava bored into me.  "Would thou like to become Jonah?"

Ratatoskr squeaked in surprise as a cat made of azure stained glass leapt on the table, calmly walked in front of me, and sat down as if to defend me.

"Gypsy sent me," she purred.  "From Valhalla."

A brittle voice of death and dawn spoke beside me, and I looked up at a beautiful blonde warrioress made of glowing stained glass.

 It was Freya, gleaming rose shield in hand.  She twirled her spear in a wheel of spun fire. 
"I was told thou weret going to pick thy favorite Norse God or Goddess.  I came to hear.  So, mortal, who is thy choice?"

Stained glass flames eerily flickered in a dance of razored shards beside her as Loki appeared at her side.  He looked like a beared Brad Pitt.  "Why me, of course!"

Nidhogg chuckled, "Oh, DreamSinger, how wilt thou get out of this one?"
I smiled, "That is an easy choice: Ratatoskr.  He came to stand by my side though the odds were impossible, and he was afraid."

Freya nodded approvingly.  "Thou spoke well ... and true."

She imperiously waved her spear and all but Ratatoskr were gone.

Ratatoskr breathed out slow and ragged.

He jumped down to the table-top and turned to me, dancing in place.  "Where is the Little Squirrel's Room!"


  1. Happy birthday, my friend!
    Ratatoskr would be wise to watch his words before speaking.

  2. Alex:
    Thanks. And this is Ratatoskr we're talking about: gosssip and loose lips are his trademarks!

  3. Aww, Ratty. An excellent choice. He's adorable - and fun. Nice combo.

    Is it really your birthday? If so, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

    And congrats to Siv - hope she's having a ball during the fest.

  4. Happy Birthday to both you and Siv! I recognized Wotan; interesting that you show the gods as shattered glass fragments. Too bright for human eyes?

    Good luck to Siv and Secrets of the Ash Tree! Michael's cover illustration does look more fierce with fire searing it's bark.

  5. A big happy birthday to both of you! What a wonderful way to celebrate. Such a fun post, and I loved the book trailer!

  6. Nicki:
    Yes, Ratatoskr is a fun pal. The 9th is my birthday but I am a bit off on Norwegian time zones! :-)

    Here's hoping Siv's birthday is the greatest!

    You guessed it. The Norse gods are too intense for this reality.

    Yes, Michael's illustration lookes awesome moving in fire!

    Thanks. And a HAPPY UN-BIRTHDAY to you, as the Mad Hatter would say!

    I had fun writing this, and I am glad you found it funny, too. :-)

  7. Happy Birthday, Roland!!

    A very fitting post. Hilarious!

  8. Thanks, Wendy:
    Ratatoskr is going to give me grey hairs early! I'm happy you enjoyed my mutual birthday party with Siv!

  9. Happy Birthday Roland! Ratatoskr really cracks me up :) Is there really a little sqirrels room at Meiloris? A wonderful tribute to the gods and I am sure they are smiling at you today. You and I share a magical number, did you know that? I believe that I am 7 hours ahead of your time. Hope you have a day full of pleasure!

  10. Birthdays!!!

    Is there a par-tay?

    Can I come? I've got extra Blue Hawaiian cocktails...

    Happy Birthday, Roland !!

    Congrats on the book, and "Gratulerer med dagen" to you, Siv :)

  11. I scream, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! like a crazy person... make it a grand day and the echos of my screams stay with you all day.

  12. Love your little story! Excellent choice!

    just don't lose your hat or you'll end up a snowman again...

  14. Greetings my dear friend and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!

    What a wonderful presentation for this special day! I am a huge fan of stained glass and using it to reinforce your prose was shear brilliance. Well done!

    I hope you have a wonderful day today and will be doing something FUN! Not running your tail off!

    ALL THE BEST!!!!

  15. What a great post. I think I have just realised I made a booboo - I wrote about the God, not a story with her in it? *Groan. Anyway, loved your and the book trailer. Happy birthday to you too. Happy blogfest, too!

  16. AND...

    CONGRATS to my CYBER SISTER, SIV and her intricate tale of modern day with Norse mythology... WELL DONE!

    I hope everyone enjoys your novel as much as I have, Sis!

  17. I love the tale of Ratatoskr. It's one of my favorites. Here from the Norse Gods Bloghop! Happy blogging.

  18. Very exciting story. Happy Birthday!

  19. And, I meant to write that your illustrations are great. The stained glass impressions are wonderful.

  20. Siv:
    That's the great thing about Meilori's -- if there wasn't a Little Squirrel's Room there before, there was when Ratatoskr needed it!

    May your birthday be full of happy surprises -- as I write this, it is still your birthday! :-)

    You saw my Par-ty! Meilori's never gives you what you expect!

    The screams are all mine when I have to work on my birthday!

    I loved that you picked Ran for your Goddess. Fits to since you like to write in the tub!

    Are you calling me Frosty! You know since I read your comment, I can't his tune out of my head!

    Alas, I will be running all over the countryside, delivering rare blood today! Highest of sale to Siv. Tune in tomorrow when my HER BONES ARE IN THE BADLANDS is released -- just in time for Halloween! Silent films on location and mysterious deaths. Shivers!

    There are no boo-boo's in a blog hop -- only friends getting together to have a good time. :-)

    Thanks. I had fun. I'm happy you had fun here, too.

    Ratatoskr is the reason my Hibbs got his third brother, Surt! I always loved his myth, too.

    I wanted to do something a little unique with my illustrations for today. I'm glad you enjoyed them!!

  21. What a fun approach to this -- and I loved the stained glass images, and the way you touched on a number of the norse gods and their monsters!

  22. Amalia:
    Ratatoskr always makes it fun for me. Like Coyote, he always stirs things up but manages to save the day somehow! :-)

  23. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ROLAND! And what a fun way to celebrate! This little story was by far the most entertaining thing i've read all day!

  24. A very happy birthday to you, Roland. This has been a very interesting and informative blogfest. Great story.

  25. David:
    A second birthday greeting? I'm a lucky guy!


    You've given me one of my best birthday presents (besides the day off!) I've gotten with that compliment. Tune in tomorrow for my BIRTHDAY/HALLOWEEN book, HER BONES ARE IN THE BADLANDS!

    Thanks for liking my story. Hasn't this been a fun blogfest?

  26. Happy birthday, Roland, and many happy returns.

  27. Kittie:
    Thanks. Please visit tomorrow when my Birthday Book is released, HER BONES ARE IN THE BADLANDS! :-)

  28. Also, Happy Birthday! Don't know how I missed saying that in my first comment!

  29. Nice. You captured a lot! Happy Birthday :)

  30. LOL; the little squirrels room. This was fun Roland.


  31. Amalia:
    I always fudge on my birthdays anyway! :-)

    I had fun -- both at Meilori's and outside today!

    Ratatoskr is, indeed, a hoot! I think the little guy will be a regular visitor at Meilori's from now on. :-)

  32. Hi Roland and Siv - Happy Birthdays - and hope you can par-tay (as Mark says) some more over the weekend ..

    The Norse myths and their exposure at Meliori's then into the 21st century - will be a great read - congratulations Siv on publishing - love Michael's cover and blurb ..

    While Roland your story line here is fun - so pleased Meliori can build things in at will .. then Ratatoskr will have that permanent home ..

    Happy years ahead .. Hilary