I’ve been interviewed

I’ve been interviewed by Diana Jackson, a UK based author of historical fiction including Murder now & then.  Check out Welcome to Author of Ghost Stories with a Difference ~ CR Hodges on her blog.

mnat

Maybe she has some ghosts hanging around over there to write about.

CR Hodges

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

All about valkyries

I write about valkyries.  A lot.  Based on old Norse myths, my variant of the archetype are ruthless, mortal and wingless female warriors who are engaged in an endless thirteen-sided chess match for global domination.

ValkyrieOnHorseThe mythos

In Norse mythology, Odin had thirteen winged valkyries who served Odin All-father, circling the battlefields on swan wings, waiting to pluck fallen heroes and take them to Valhalla. There, these heroes joined the brotherhood of the einherjar, who got to eat and drink for all eternity, waiting for Ragnarök, the battle at the end of the world.

According to the 13th century Icelandic historian, Snorri Sturulson:

Hrist and Mist
I would have bear the horn to me.
Skeggjöld and Skögul,
Hildr and Thrúdr,
Hlökk and Herfjötur,
Göll and Geirahöð,
Randgríðr and Ráðgríðr,
and Reginleif,
bear ale to the Einherjar.
 

These are called the Valkyries.

(Prose Edda, book one, Glyfaginning, stanza thirty-six)

 My take

So while the Prose Edda is a classic, it is also writer-chow, providing fodder for new tales of valkyries and their einherjar. And so I write about a sect of modern-day valkyries, always thirteen in number, who dream in Old Norse of world domination.  Behind every dictator, every revolutionary, and yes, every counterrevolutionary, there is a valkyrie.  Like lawyers, they each take  a side, for there is nothing a valkyrie likes better than a good fight.

But my modern-day valkyries, while super-humanly strong and long-lived, are mortal as well as wingless.  So when a valkyrie does die, one of the remaining twelve has to mate with a hero to produce a valkyrie infant.  The young valkyrie grows up fast to take her place as the power behind a future throne;  the hero is granted the gift of the einherjar: near super-human strength combined with an uncontrollable urge to fight.  Think General Custer, he was Sváva’s einherja .

The valkyries are coming

I have one novel and four short stories written in this milieu.  The first short story, “Preschool War Games,” was published in April 2014 in Cicada Magazine.  The other short stories–”How a Valkyrie Flies,” “The Einherja,” and “Riding Hel’s Horse”–as well as  my mythica novel, Ragnarök Willie, are still being shopped. and more to come I am sure.

CR Hodges

Posted in Mythica, Ragnarök Willie, Short Stories, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Gho is coming

After 5 years, endless rewrites, and a major compaction from novel to novella, I just received the galley proofs for the upcoming publication of my very first story.  Gho, a paranormal fantasy about Hildi Schreiber, a teenage inventor whose paranormal vortex detector inadvertently leads to her murder and return as a ghost, will be published in August as part of an anthology from Bards and Sages Publishing.  Details are TBD, but it sure is exciting to see those words all formatted up pretty and all.

Gho

For those of you who have read my short stories, this is the one that ties many of them together.  Nishi from “Walking with Great Uncle,” Ice from “Along Sand Creek,” and Granny from “The Confederate Cavalryman’s Saber” all play leading roles.

Stay tuned.

CR Hodges

Posted in Fantasy, Gho, Paranormal | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Excerpt of the week: Capture the Flag

In honor of the 4th of July, here’s an excerpt from a yet-to-be-published sci fi short story, “Capture the Flag.”  Set in the not so distant future, the world watches as astronauts rush to the moon to protect the first American flag planted there.

a12det6983Flag

Capture the Flag

by C.R. Hodges

 

Eagle II hovered over the Sea of Tranquility as I searched for an artifact-free landing zone. I needed to get us close enough for the boys to hike in with their heavy weapons, but without damaging any of the treasures we had raced to protect. We had no rover—the prototype had broken down on a training mission in Utah—so a lunar promenade was our only option.

Running around on the surface of the moon armed for interplanetary bear had not been the plan. I was supposed to captain next year’s Mars mission. My crewmates, all Marines, were supposed to be storming beaches or doing whatever the hell Marines do.

That was before Flagjacker.

“There,” Hank said, “just beyond the rise. But land quickly, Fay, the Chinese are coming.”

“Copy.” We landed fast. The lander had been designed for Mars’s gravity, so it was overkill for the moon’s. This entire mission was overkill, but the stakes were enormous. One of the proudest symbols of our nation was under attack: the Chinese were attempting to capture our flag. Neil and Buzz’s flag. The first flag planted on the moon, a century ago.

Happy Independence Day.

CR Hodges

Posted in Excerpt, Science Fiction, Short Stories | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Updated list of paying spec fiction short story markets: June 2014

I’ve updated my list of paying spec fiction short story markets, as of June 29, 2014

Updates:

The following markets have been added:

  • Semipro:
    • Triptych Tales  Urban fantasy or Earth based Sci Fi.  Pays $100
    • Alternate Hilarities  Short, funny fantasy.  Pays $0.01 / word
    • PodCastle  Podcast fantasy.  Pays $100.  But temporarily closed until July 1
    • Tales of Old  Historical fiction or alternative reality. Pays $25. But temporarily closed

The following markets have reopened:

  • Ares Magazine – Website is back up
  • New Myths–Now has reading periods.  Open trough July 31
  • Stupefying Stories

Misc:

  • Daily Science Fiction  is only accepting work up to 2000 words at this time
  • Crossed Genres has increased its pay rate to $0.06 / word
  • Comets and Criminals   now takes reprints only
  • Updated web links on several markets

The following markets are temporarily closed:

  • Apex — Closed until September
  • Fictionvale  – Will reopen in August
  • Darwin’s Evolution  – Web site down

CR Hodges

Posted in Short Stories, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Setting stories in the land of vikings and valkyries

As my long time readers know, I have a penchant for setting stories in the Nordic lands, be they tales from the Old Norse mythos or space operas set in Kiruna’s Spaceport.  While I cannot claim any Viking blood, at least that I know of, I have lived in Sweden and traveled frequently to the land of the midnight sun and pickled herring.  I still count many friends, and hopefully readers, there, and I can still make myself understood, at least enough to order a beer or find the restroom. My recent holiday in Scandinavia–including not only Sweden but also Finland, Norway and Iceland–only reinforced this bond, so its fair to say more stories set up there will be forthcoming.

IMG_0420

Besides the obvious personal connection, I have found many ways to bring stories to life set in the old lands of Odin and Loki.  While Norse mythology has been brought into popular culture over the years, ranging from Wagner to The Avengers, the actual mythos is deep and complex.  I have the Prose Edda on my Kindle, and while I cannot say  I have read it all, it offers up a bounty of complex myths.  Loki the trickster is part giant (or all, depending on who you believe) while Odin’s steed Sleipnir has 8 legs.  Valkyries have swan wings and are either battle maidens or beer maidens, depending on where you look. Ragnarök is the battle at the end of the world, or perhaps at the beginning.

IMG_0232

The climate and the latitude also offer intriguing opportunities for writers.  The despair and depression that accompanies winter nights a month long balanced against endless summer son in a stuga (cabin) by a lake. More interesting yet, at high latitudes the sun circles, never really setting in the summer just skimming below the horizon.

IMG_0226

And finally the culture and the people.  While I never write about any real people I have known, I do blend in various characteristics and ticks: Swedes in an elevator and Finns in a bar, the few words of a Norrlander and the drinking songs of a well-lubricated Stockholmboende.IMG_0321

Stories set in part in Scandinavia:

  • “How a Valkyrie Flies”opens in Stockholm, Sweden (and ends in Sydney, Australia)
  • Ragnarök  Willie is set in Kiruna, Sweden and in the ancient ruins of Valhalla, all while the long night of winter sets onto the north
  • Preschool War Games,” is set in Helsinki, Finland
  • Sci Fi stories like “The Trillionaire” is partially set at Kiruna Spaceport, while “New Svalbard” is set on Svalbard, the northernmost island in Norway, at least until they move everyone to Mercury
  • Both of my work-in-progress helhest stories, “Hel’s Horse Cannot Swim” and “Trampled” are set in Norway, as is “The Last Frost Giant.”

Other Scandinavian connections:

  • Ice Isgardsson, both as an FBI agent in Gho and as a young boy in “Along Sand Creek,” has a taciturn Swedish father
  • Anna-Jing, the spaceship pilot of my Martians series — “Three-Quarters Martian,” “Martian Rules,” “Stranded,” and “Godspeed, Martians” — is also half Swedish. She dreams of romping with the Swedish national hockey team while on Mars.
  • Many of my valkyries have Swedish roots, especially Geiravör (Ragnarök Willie, “How a Valkyrie Flies,” “Hel’s Horse Cannot Swim”), while Randgrid and Siggi claim Helsinki as home.
  • While I do write in English, my readers know my penchant for interlacing a few Swedish pejoratives into my dialog, from skit (pronounced with an h) to djävla (damn) to my personal favorite, fan och hans moster (literally, the devil and his aunt).

And it’s safe to say, after my recent trip to fabulous Iceland, there will be some Icelandic settings in the future.  “Valkyries in Volcanoes” anyone?

IMG_0392

Hälsningar,

CR Hodges

 

Posted in Gho, Mythica, Ragnarök Willie, Science Fiction, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tristy trasty plots

I’m a fan of complex, tristy trasty plots, both as a reader and as a writer.  There is something very satisfying about reaching the end of a superbly crafted book with a complex plot and realizing how nicely it all fit together.  But as a writer, it’s very very challenging to write a book based on a complex plot and do it well.

maze

To be sure, its complicated to write a good story with a simple plot–still need compelling characters, a satisfying arc, strong prose and impeccable grammar.  All table stakes.  But to tie all this around a convoluted plot,well that’s really tough.  But in the end the results are worthwhile.

So a few months back, in the depths of a writer’s block of epic proportions, I launched into writing three new novellas (all titles are just working titles):

  • Hel’s Horse Cannot Swim – Valkyries, the helhest, the Cuban Missile Crisis and love, spanning three centuries
  • The Faerie War — An expansion of my short story “Queen Méabh,”  this is Freaky Friday meets Lara Croft and Cruella de Vil.
  • The Choosers of the Slain — a paranormal yarn about a jewel thief who is murdered for his ghost, featuring Nishi and Hildi from Gho (which will be published next month).

Church yard in Trondheim

While they all have very different story concepts, they share a common thread–really, stupidly, insanely, complex plots.  Perhaps I thought that since I usually write short stories and these novellas had more length I could get away with tricky plots, or perhaps its happenstance, or perhaps I’m just wired for complexity.  In any case, while I am making steady progress on all three, none will see the light of day, aka publishing, anytime soon.  I’m stuck in my own web of plot twists on all three at the moment, but I’ll work it out.

CR Hodges

Posted in Fantasy, Gho, Mythica, Paranormal, Short Stories, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment