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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Name that Backstory!



My newest release Valkyrie’s Vengeance will be released in March and with that said; it had an interesting birth to say the least. I thought I would introduce you to the backstory of the book today.
I was on my way to work and my husband came across a movie on tv. The first image I saw was the elaborate prow of a Viking ship surrounded by patchy fog. An old Indian woman walked through the trees and then into this abandoned ship to find bodies lying inside. Forward to the part where she finds a young Viking boy who had been left behind and this is where the story idea of Valkyrie’s Vengeance blossomed. I went to work without watching the rest of the story (I still to this day haven’t finished this movie) and my mind took flight. For the rest of the day I imagined and couldn’t wait to get home again. Once I walked into the door, without even speaking to my family, I rushed to my computer and the first chapter was born.
It was a wild rush of words that poured from my soul. This was a story that needed to be told, a Viking maiden stranded on foreign soil who later declared war on her own people. I only stalled out once during this story and it was because the epic battle scenes at the end of the story were so large and I’d never written anything like it on such a grand scale before. So after a few weeks of struggling over how to write such a large battle, I pulled out my dry erase board, picked my husband’s brain for ideas, and we plotted it out from beginning to end like a play by play for a football game. It was brilliant. And it worked. 
Now almost a year and three months later, this story is about to be released to the public. I am very proud of this story as it took some major work and it is my best writing to date. The story idea is somewhat original in that it’s about a girl who declares war on her own people but it grew into a series that became much larger than that. This is the first story in the Maidens of the Shield series and I’m really looking forward to writing the subsequent stories Valkyrie’s Vow and Valkyrie’s Vision.
So now that you know the story’s origin I’m giving away a free copy of the story, once it’s released, to anyone that can name the movie that inspired it based off what I’ve told you, along with the few photo’s I’ve included from the movie. Can you name it? If no one can name it I will then have one of Lady Scribes randomly pick a name to win a copy of Valkyrie’s Vengeance. Make sure to leave your email address so that  you can be included in the drawing. 
Here’s the book trailer, blurb and excerpt of Valkyrie’s Vengeance. I hope you enjoy these samples as much as I enjoyed creating them. Good luck on the movie trivia! PS please take a moment to tell our very own Heather Boyd what an excellent job she did on the book cover. It's perfect for this story! 

Stranded on foreign soil. Rescued and raised by the enemy. Tyra Svensdottir declares war on her own people after witnessing the death of the very woman who’d saved her life. Kidnapping the man who wields the sword of the underworld —Hel’s Hammer — Tyra forces him to repair her shipwrecked vessel. Her quest to kill the swordsman’s king takes them across frigid waters on a myriad of adventures and a voyage of sensual discovery.
Rorik Thorlicksson uncovers treachery within his clan but in order to return home to warn of the impending attack, he must yield to the woman holding him captive. Along their voyage he unravels the mystery behind his captor. He discovers she is the woman promised to him in wedlock at birth though her disappearance years ago released him from his betrothal. Dissuading the little heathen from her purpose and into his bed becomes a more appealing prospect with every passing day.
Blood vengeance brings them together even as desire binds their hearts. Amongst the secrets and obscurities of their destinies, they find a love that spans a lifetime as well as an end to A Valkyrie’s Vengeance. 


Excerpt: 

The man, who stands at a strange threshold, should be cautious before he crosses it, glance this way and that: Who knows beforehand what foes may sit awaiting him in the hall?


~Chapter 1~

Off the coast of England
901 AD
Thwack, thwack, thwack. Arrows embedded into the beached ship with every step Tyra Svensdottir took, missing her ankles by mere inches.
She dove for cover inside the grounded longship’s hull. Her heart stalled and then nearly pounded its way outside of her chest. She placed a hand there as if she could stop the horrendous hammering, or at least quiet it somewhat. Eyes wide, she spat the mouthful of salt water out and rose to her knees, making sure to stay hidden.
The hull tilted on its side like a great fish dragged from the sea. Leaning against the wooden planks, she summoned the courage not to cry. Who shot at her? How had they found her?
For the last three days, she’d wandered this beach alone. She wasn’t even sure where she was. Her gaze roamed her surroundings. Early morning mist swept the beaches in its wispy grasp and limited her visibility. But she could hear voices. She just couldn’t locate from whence they came.
Tyra slogged through the calf-high water, leaning low, to the front of the ship. Her fingers shook as she reached out to grasp the edge of the jagged planks where the hull had struck stone, causing the vessel to sink. Waves lapped at her ankles and washed the sand out from under her bare toes as she stepped over one of the bloated, dead bodies. Bile rose in her throat and she tamped it down. The rancid scent of rotting flesh permeated the air around the longship’s belly and her empty stomach protested the smell.
Her lips quivered. From fear? Cold? Both. She only wished to go home. Her father had warned her - When the Gods grant our desires we may find we no longer wish for them, Tyra. An ache developed in her chest and she could almost hear the deep timbre of his voice. Why hadn’t she listened to him?  
Bodies littered the beach in various positions. Her brother...her cousins...all dead. She’d been the sole survivor. Of the twelve men, only four had washed ashore so far. One of her hands covered her mouth, to hold in the scream forming in the back of her throat.
A deep, hearty laugh caused her to stiffen as she waited for further movement. She peered around the edge of the shattered boards and a single arrow thumped into the side of the ship next to her face. She leapt back with a gasp.
The laughter grew louder. They were toying with her now. They must know she was alone. Her legs were weak and wobbly from lack of nourishment and her vision blurred. Voices carried to her and she knew the enemy was closing in.
Tyra could not wait here to be slaughtered like an animal. She must move to a better battlefield. She scanned the area. The beach faded into a dark cluster of trees. If she made it there, she would have a better chance of survival.
But running from here to there...a single arrow would kill her. Tyra choked off her tears.
Taking a deep breath, she burst from the opening and plunged headlong down the stretch of open beach toward the cover of the trees. Her legs pumped furiously and she squealed at the swish of an arrow flying past her.
She gasped for breath and her lungs burned from lack of air. Plink. Plink. Two arrows hit the face of the rocks ahead of her and fell harmlessly to the ground.
Tyra grabbed one as she ran past. A weapon would even the odds somewhat. She might be only twelve—winters—old, but her father had taught her from an early age how to protect herself. He appreciated strength in a woman and had encouraged her to take up arms. A woman’s place was beside the hearth, but a woman also protected the hearth while the men were away.
Steep, craggy rocks settled at the base of an incline. She leapt over a small boulder and burst through the edge of the trees. There was no path here and knew not where to go but she could not falter now.
The sound of the chase followed her as the enemy crashed through the brush behind her. She could almost hear the soft gasps as the men sucked air into their lungs. Tree limbs slapped against her face and the sting made her grimace.
How many were there? Did she dare look? If she fell she would never be able to get away once they caught her. She could not look and risk losing her edge.
They laughed and taunted in a foreign tongue, and they were closing in. Lengthening her strides, she dodged a maple tree and leapt over a fallen trunk.
Why had she stowed away on her brother’s ship? Why had she not stayed home where she belonged? Hugh had been headed to Jorvikskyr on a trading expedition, and her father had forbidden her to go. Determined, she had hidden away in an empty trunk. A storm had brewed so suddenly, near dropping right atop them, leaving the crew little time to sail safely to land.
The terrain dipped and she slid down an embankment. She sprang forward and raced north. Several seconds later she realized she heard no sound.
Her footsteps slowed. She gasped for breath and leaned a hand against a thick oak, while her other settled against her heart. Dropping to her knees, she hid behind the large trunk, and she searched the area.
Where had they gone? Had they given up the search?
The mist thickened amongst the trees and descended into a moist cloud just above her head. Everything beyond her reach faded into a grey haze.  
A limb snapped. She shrank back, the bark of the tree scrapping against the soft flesh of her forehead. Hot, silent tears coursed down her cheeks. She’d wished for adventure. And now she wished for home.
Silence hung in the air like the weighty fog. It was there and she felt it. But it was the danger within she feared, not the fog itself.
She swallowed. Her parched tongue scratched against the roof of her mouth. Three days since she’d had any nourishment. Three days since she’d had shelter. And three days since she’d seen another human being. Alive at least.
To have endured the storm stowed away in a trunk and survived the crash—only to die on land at the hands of strangers seemed one of Loki’s cruel jests.
By Odin, she refused to be his entertainment and she refused to die here in a land not her own, amongst a people not her own. 


30 comments:

  1. Suzie sounds like a great read! Look forward to its release! The movie sounds very much like 'Pathfinder' ..a very good movie that one:)

    Melodi Flakes
    melodiconner.flakes@yahoo.com

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    1. I forgot my Google email lol the anonymous post above is me! Lol:) movie is the Pathfinder...I'm certain of this now. Hubby made me watch it multiple times very good one:)

      Melodi Flakes

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    2. I forgot my Google email lol the anonymous post above is me! Lol:) movie is the Pathfinder...I'm certain of this now. Hubby made me watch it multiple times very good one:)

      Melodi Flakes

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    3. Mel I will reveal the answer and the winners tonight at 9pm eastern! Thanks for joining in, this was actually really fun!

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    4. Melody you're the winner! I'll send you the digital copy of the book in the mail once it's released! Congrats and I'll have to watch the movie now that you say it's an good one! Thanks again for stopping in and playing the little trivia game with me. It's been really fun!

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  2. I have no idea what the movie might be, but thanks for sharing your story of inspiration! It's weird and wonderful and really interesting --where we get pieces of our stories.

    Best of luck with VV, Suzie! I'm looking forward to reading it!

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    1. Oh, I love to hear where people get there inspirations from. I think it's fascinating how the human brain can turn something into a story. Thanks for stopping in Deb!

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  3. Suzie ~ This looks amazing! I have no idea movie-wise. If I have ever seen anything like that, I have long since forgotten it. :)

    Good luck to everyone else!

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    1. Thanks for stopping in Ava! I kinda figured if you had seen it before than your son most likely dragged you to the theater LOL. That's okay, I still <3 ya!

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  4. The movie shot looks familiar but I can't place it. :\ Thanks for sharing your inspiration; we really can ind it anywhere!

    Congrats on the upcoming release!

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    1. The hero of the movie also played in Lord of the Rings. He's certainly a cutie. And I love how inspiration for a book comes out of nowhere and usually right when you can't write anything down! Ugh! The irony of it all. Thanks for dropping in, Marquita!

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  5. I have NO idea what movie this is from, lol! But it looks cool. I love historicals, and Vikings. One of my favorite Vikings is the very yummy Eric, from the Sookie Stackhouse novels, heehee.
    Good luck with the release!

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    1. I love Eric! I'm also a huge fan of Jason Stackhouse. He cracks me up, and he's gorgeous, at least on the show. I've never read the books, but maybe I should. I'm tired of waiting for season four to be released on DVD.

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    2. I'll tell you what Olivia since I haven't seen the whole thing yet either, the next time I am up that way we'll all pile in at Erin's house and have movie night. Of course, what's movie night without Pride and Prejudice (w/Colin Firth of course.) We should totally do that! I still haven't seen this Eric you guys keep talking about. That's it, I'm googling him! Thanks for dropping in!

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    3. I'm opposite of Olivia, I love True Blood but haven't read the novels. I heard that the director was taking a different direction and decided to wait until the series was done before I read the books. So my head wouldn't blow up comparing them! :-)

      But Eric...Oh, Eric, how I love thee--but only when you are badass Viking vampire Eric, not the short-sleeve sweatshirt, puppy-eyed, amnesiac Eric.

      Hee hee.

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    4. Oh, and Jason Stackhouse is adorably stupid! Love him, too!

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    5. LOL! Deb ~ You ALWAYS crack me up when you talk about "the short-sleeve, puppy-eyed, amnesiac Eric". I particularly love the look on your face when you say it. :)

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  6. It's not a movie I've ever seen! When you let us know what movie it is, I'll have to check it out. Congrats on *almost* having VV out, and I can't wait to get my copy.

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    1. I still haven't seen the entire thing yet, so I'm hoping it's good. It looked really good from what I saw of it. We definitely have to get together again and have movie night with hot guys in them lol. I'm due for another night out with the girls and I can't wait till you move closer! You definitely get a copy, Catherine! Thanks for stopping in!

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    2. I would love that, but I have to warn you- I LOVE the novels, but HATE True Blood. I feel like they ruined the series. You couldn't get me to watch it if you tied me down, a la Clockwork Orange...lol...
      Sam, you have to read the books, they are SO good!

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  7. Susie,

    I've never heard the story of your inspiration for Valkyrie's Vengence, but how cool. I love when an author feels such passion for a story and has to write it. I've had the honor of reading some of the story, and it's really good. I look foward to reading the whole thing.

    Was the movie "How to Train Your Dragon?" JK!!! I have no idea, but I can't wait to find out. :)

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    1. I'll tell you the truth, Samantha, I haven't felt passion for a story like that in a while so if The Devil's Daughter is the book of my heart, this is the book of my soul because I put everything into it lol. It's great to feel such a passion for a project. Not that I don't love them all but there are some that I am more passionate about than others. Thanks for swinging by, Samantha!

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  8. Suzie,
    I have no idea what movie this came from, but your story sounds great! Can't wait to read it.

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    1. LOL that seems to be the consensus. I don't think this movie hit the big time lol. Thanks for dropping in, Julie!

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  9. Although I don't have a clue to the movie, I think your plot for VV is awesome! I know your book will bring in lots of sales!

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    1. Thanks so much, Marie. It means alot to me for you to say that. Thanks!

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  10. I cannot wait for VV to come out. The trailer's had me hooked since I first saw it. No idea about the movie though. Sorry.

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    1. LOL Thanks Heather! I'm glad you liked the trailer, because I worried how historical readers would react to the modern music. But so far so good. Thanks for dropping in! You're the best!

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  11. I can't think of what the movie would be. If my hubby was home I would ask him. I am pretty sure he has seen every movie made and remembers them all. It boggles my mind. Congrats on the release. I know how excited you have been about this book. And yes, it is an awesome cover.

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  12. My hubby is the same way, Amy...I truly think it is a male thing. Thanks so much for stopping in, you guys are great!

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