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Althingi Anthology Project

Althingi Anthology Project

It’s finally announcement time!

I have been keeping this secret for MONTHS, but seeing some others spill the beans, I couldn’t contain my excitement any longer!

A few months ago, I was approached by the excellent co-editting team of Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad and Joshua Gillingham (a good friend of mine, and the author of The Gatewatch.) These two legends offered me the incredible privilege to contribute a rip-roaring, Tenth-Century Viking tale for the Althingi Anthology, set to release in Spring 2021.

The Althingi was an annual gathering in medieval Iceland, whereby the Viking landowners and nobles used their influence to settle disputes, create laws, and hand out judgments.

The Anthology will tie in with the Althingi board game, a “quick set-up, fast-play game of strength and influence for 2-4 players based in Viking-Age Iceland. Each player takes on the role of a powerful Chieftain and tries to take control of the annual gathering known as the Althingi through bribery, coercion, and intimidation.”

The publisher is the venerable Outland Entertainment, known for many SFF genre projects with some incredible creators.

This particular project is truly epic in scope and concept. Currently there is a Kickstarter campaign for the game, with some amazing stretch goal upgrades available, so please check it out and share with your friends!

I’m so grateful to be counted among a host of talented and exceptional contributers for Althingi. I can’t wait to read their stories!

More details as the release gets closer, but for now, I am excited to share this news with you, and so pleased to be a part of such a wonderful and history-focused project.

Audio Drama – Out Now

Audio Drama – Out Now

After six months of hard work and research, the audio adaptation of my Norse-inspired folktale The Seeing Trees has landed!

“In the forests of Scandinavia a family is besieged by a malicious raven which watches and follows them everywhere they go.  How will they escape from this curse and at what cost?  The Seeing Trees is a dark nordic mystery with elements of violence, peril, horror, language and elements that some listeners may find disturbing.”

Fascinated by Viking mythology and history, I wanted to bring a darker angle to this story. Here is a short interview I did with the podcast, covering the influences and inspiration. You can also hear a fantastic monologue by Charis McRoberts (Follow her here!) My interview starts at 10:30 min.

From the Press Release:

“The Alternative Stories And Fake Realities Podcast has produced an audio drama based on a dark, psychological short story by American writer Kaitlin Felix, “The Seeing Trees”. Working with a team of actors all recording their lines separately from their homes, we’ve pieced together a production that is compelling and immersive and made entirely under lockdown.”

Watch the trailer here:

We had a range of brilliant actors for our cast. Here are a few, and a full list with links to their social media profiles:

Tiffany Clare, Charlie Richards, Lewie Watson, Amy Forrest

Charlie Richards as Trygve 
Lewie Watson as Harleif
Tiffany Clare as Mother
Amy Forrest as Freja
Chris Gregory as Magnus and Townsman
Annika Kordes as Townswoman 1
Karen Cooper as Townswoman 2
Kelli Winkler is the presenter

The Old Norse incantation is performed by Charlie Richards, Tiffany Clare, myself and Chris Gregory, who is the excellent director and podcast runner. He also created the original music and soundscapes.

Below, I have included the Old Norse text of the “Sigrdrifa prayer,” which is located in the Sigrdrífumál section of the Poetic Edda. The translation is by Dr. Jackson Crawford. We used the Reconstructed Medieval Pronunciation, taken from his youtube video here.

Old Norse:

Heil dagr
Heilar dags sýnir
Heil nót ok nipt
Oreiðum augum
Lítið okkr þinig
ok gefið sitjöndum sigr

Heilir æsir,
heilar ásynjur,
heil sjá in fjölnýta fold,
mál ok mannvit
gefið okkr mærum tveim
ok læknishendr, meðan lifum

Modern English:

Hail the day!
Hail the sons of day!
Hail to night and her sister!
Look on the two of us here
with friendly eyes,
and give us victory.

Hail the gods!
Hail the goddesses!
Hail the hospitable earth!
Give the two of us
eloquent speech, and wisdom-
and healing hands, while we live.

Alternative Stories and Fake Realities Podcast is totally free to listen, and you can find them on any podcast provider. You can also follow on various social media platforms. Click the image below to find them. Happy Listening!

I am incredibly grateful to Chris Gregory and to the entire cast for making the Seeing Trees a truly remarkable experience! I’m blown away by this production, and all the hard work that went into it. I am looking forward to working with Alternative Stories and Fake Realities podcast again!

The Curse of the Viking Hoard

The Curse of the Viking Hoard

Though you may travel far and wide,
No haven of life is found inside.
Viking hoard be cold as stone,
Hot be heart and breath and bone.
Like a sickness, curse’s fear will spread,
Infecting all who enter with death and dread.
When strength shall dim and bravery fail,
Your heroes shake in ruined mail.
Deserters flee, their shields all shattered,
Swords broken, and vain courage scattered.
From the darkness, where can one man hide?
No safe place from folly or pride.
Hot be heart and breath and bone,
Viking hoard be cold as stone.

 

 

Poem taken from my WIP Draugr

Set before the events of Wergild, this novella tells part of Leif Halfdan’s story before he meets Dana Oberson. 

Wild

Wild

I live in the thunder and ride the lightning
My sound is grand and big and bom bom bom
I taste like ash and gleam like fireflies in rhythm
I burst at the seams in my excesses
Gumming up the greasy wheels with my dust
I climb up up up the ladder to knock you over
And laugh at the mess
The dew of the dawn brings me serenity
And the rain of the twilight brings me death
I hiss at the world and fling my arms wide to the stars
Incense and grass and mud and fir trees are my palace
The river runs like a jagged gash through me
Ecstasy takes me, and I am
The Wilderness

This is a short poem I wrote after seeing an image of an untamed and chaotic woodland. The poem is not so much about the wilderness as it is about the torrents within humanity’s soul and its relation to Nature

Sundered

Sundered

What lands do separate –
Nay, what words, indeed!
For I know not that which
Can bridge the distance ‘tween.

Stumbling tongues and souls
Twined round a similar reluctance
Shadowed smiles and twinned sadness
Reminiscence is a familiar friend

Nostalgia trips along the lanes of soul
Shaking loose long-cherished joys
And oft-mourned loss – I miss you!
Must suffered silence be our cost?

Hand clutch on guilty heart
When fellowship is sundered
And I’m the one to blame
Fond farewells assuage nothing

Letting Loose Your Inner Child

Letting Loose Your Inner Child

We have all heard the little nuggets of wisdom and read all the articles on how to be a good writer. We’re taught grammar and punctuation in school. We are even taught that good writing looks a certain way, such as Steinbeck, J.K. Rowling, Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Steven King, Shakespeare, or all the other great story tellers of grandeur. We are also somehow led to believe that bad writing takes the waif-like, substance-less forms of works like self-published ebooks of the dinosaur porn variety, or even mediocre fanfiction.

I contend that if you write down anything at all, even if it’s one stanza of poetry, or a line of dialogue, or even just a single word of passion written down in haste simply because it stirs something inside you – You are a good writer.

Hear me out before you tell me how terrible your writing is, or how much you want to improve. We’ve all been there. We all want to get better.

“I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged. – Erica Jong

Isn’t this what we’re all afraid of? We’re all so scared of someone else – another writer, perhaps – judging our work and therefore judging us as not good enough.

Of all the writing advice I’ve ever encountered, there is one “rule” that sticks in my mind.

We all have two voices in our heads while we write. The Child and the Critic. They both are useful, if you let them do their job cooperatively.

The Child is the one with all the ideas, the joy, the sheer eagerness to pour your heart and veins onto the page.

The Critic is the one who tells you how to improve and how to edit and how to make it shine.

My Achilles’ Heel is the Critic. My brain is mostly attuned to the editing portion of the writing process, so I am always looking to improve it. But, like so many of us do, I take it too far. Like the Erica Jong quote above, I’ve never finished a work longer than a short story for school because I always got stuck a few chapters in, or right at the beginning of the “good stuff,” or conflict. I found myself hating everything I wrote and thinking it was too juvenile, too unstructured, not clear enough….you get the idea. I still struggle with these thoughts every time I sit down to a blank page.

Let me give you a bit of background:

The earliest I remember wanting to be an author was 7th grade. I was in a very small private school in the inner city. To improve the tiny arts program we had, the school introduced a creative writing teacher. He held all of two classes. I don’t remember much about what he taught before he left, but I do know that it made an impression to my barely-thirteen year old self.

A few weeks later, the school introduced a journalist. I knew him previously, he was a member of my church. I wrote a short story based on a dream that I had for an assignment and showed it to him. He showed me where I could improve and told me to bring it back to him when I’d rewritten it.

These two teachers encouraged me to see writing as something realistic, something I could do, something I had a talent for.

 I still have that story, in an old composition notebook. Later, I realized that my dream was based off a book I’d already read, so I’m glad I never showed that to anyone else. God forbid that a young girl plagiarize another author’s work!

As a teenager, I wrote Lord of the Rings fanfiction and dark poetry. My life was a turbulent wreck at that point, so these things were my escape. As I got older, my heart warmed up to the idea that this was my calling; this is what I was meant to do. although my mind continually pointed me in other directions.

So, back to my point. I took a Writing Class in East Texas in early 2010. I wrote more in that three-month period than I ever had up to that point. Every week, I was turning out work that I hated. Consistently. There was maybe one story that I didn’t want to rip up and burn. After that class, I was so burnt out that I didn’t put a pen to paper or finger to keyboard for a year. Aside from school assignments, the writer in me just didn’t think she “had it” anymore.

Everything I wrote seemed terrible, overthought, contrived, and immature.

But then I took a few classes in community college and I got a small measure of confidence back. I had a teacher who thought I had talent and asked me to be an editor for the campus magazine. While that didn’t pan out, it did renew in me the sense that this is something I could do for a career, or at least as a serious hobby.

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”  – Louis L’Amour

The Child portion of my writing does not like to come out and play too often. She is cautious, wanting to stay within the boundaries, always looking to the Critic to police her actions. And the Critic, too often, steps in to make sure everything is “as it should be.”

The last three years, I have worked on an urban fantasy novel. I am always embarrassed to tell people the genre because it’s “too nerdy,” and not serious enough. But I am proud to say I haven’t stopped working on it yet. Sure, I’ve gone months without touching it, but then I’ll come back to it and write ten pages before I get stuck for another three months. The first 10 chapters are absolute crap, but I won’t edit them until the whole damn thing is finished. When that will be, I have no idea. Sometimes it’s better to just tell the whole story, and then go back and fix it.

This is the primary function of the Child and the Critic. Let the Child out to play, unhindered. Children need to explore everything, need to see how things work, need to see what is in every nook and cranny.

Write your story, your poem, your essay, your memoir. Let it go where it wants to go. Just get everything out.

And then let the Critic out to polish it up. But always remember to let both of them respect the other.

However, you need to find the process that works for you. If you find you write better when you edit as you go, then do that! But if you find that you hate everything you write, and want to constantly change it, maybe it’s time to reexamine your process and let the Child have fun.

You are a good writer simply because you have the guts to open your veins to the page and bleed out words. Let yourself play. And then, once you have had your fun, let yourself make it shine, without worrying about someone else’s opinion.