For the most part, my heritage is American mutt, but my maternal grandfather came here from Sweden, and we have a strong tie to the Viking realm in our family mythology, yet when Rose appeared in the pages of Team Fear book 1, it surprised me that he was a Viking. Sure, he was from Iowa, but his family came from the Old Country.
My mother's step dad (her father died when she was 6) always said the following in his thick Scandinavian tongue:
When they got to this country, they traveled west until they found a land as miserable as the old country.
For Reuben, that was South Dakota and Minnesota and the rich farmland there, but for Rose, it's Iowa. Rose grew up in farm country, but he's a warrior at heart. As often happens with my characters, Rose evolved from the ether. I believe they become people, not characters, the more I let them have their head. I knew in the opening chapter that Rose had a tattoo, but I didn't know what it was. It's meaning was hidden from me until after the first round of edits when I searched for Viking tattoos. The Vegvisir (Icelandic, but Viking...we can't all be Swedes) is symbolic, the symbol to help the bearer navigate through storms, heavy seas, and other stormy weather. Other sites say it's the equivalent to "all who wander are not lost." Either way, the symbol of the Vegvisir is for travelers in a storm. A means of finding your way. Which is exactly what Rose needs. The Army used him to create a fearless fighting force, but Rose has more than a country to defend and protect. He has his mother and six sisters, which I pulled from my father's genealogy as he was the oldest sibling with six sisters (and also from Iowa). A warrior is made, not born, and some men could walk away from the responsibility. Not Rose (or my father, but that's a story for another day). Rose stepped up to protect his family, and in so doing, he opened himself up to experimentation by the U.S. Army.
Rose didn't have an easy life, so the Viking Compass--as the Vegvisir is also called--is a reminder to him. There is guidance in heavy storms, there is help along the way, and despite the way it feels inside, Rose is not lost or broken or forgotten. While Rose is willing to sacrifice himself for those he loves, Debi hopes he won't have to go it alone.
Rose is one of those "people" who changed me, because I understand his intense need to defend and protect. I would give my life to protect my children, and Rose would do the same for his sisters. The Viking Compass on his back is a reminder and a comfort. He is not alone.
For years, I have considered a tattoo, but never had a strong enough desire for one particular image or symbol to be eternally on my flesh. The Vegvisir (the Viking Compass) is a symbol of my ancestors that I would proudly wear. If you go to my Pinterest page, you'll see several examples of wonderful tattoos that I'm currently considering.
Do you have a tattoo? What is it, where is it, and what does it mean to you? :)
(this is a repost of an article I wrote for the old blog that mysteriously disappeared)
I've studied Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces and Christopher Vogler's The Writer's Journey, and if that weren't enough, I've tortured my children and made them study both books (it's never too early to learn story structure, everything from video games to teen melodramas revolve around story). PLUS (pity my children), I've had them study Greek Mythology. So going to see Hercules was a no-brainer.
And I'm not going to discuss story or heroes of anything of the sort (no, that's a lie, I just reread this, and I kinda/sorta discuss it, but not in an academic way).
The power of myth is important, and certainly relates to the idea of "romance and other fairy tales." Mythology, Greek or otherwise, is the basis of our human story structure. It's the way we're wired to tell stories and the way we're wired to hear them. God bless the Greeks, they discovered something that took us centuries to relearn and reclaim. Myth is story, from Twilight to Gone with the Wind to everything Shakespeare.
Of all the stories, I think we're especially drawn to dark heroes (Rhett Butler, anyone? So much more interesting than Ashley Wilkes). I'm currently writing a dark hero who happens to be female, and she has struck a chord so deep in me, I can barely wrest myself from the laptop. I wrote 10,000 words yesterday (not typical for me), tears streaming down my face, because she is so broken and so flawed and so human. I have a deep seated NEED to know what happens next. Broken people don't respond to stimuli in ordinary ways.
Dwayne Johnson's Hercules is no less broken. He is a product of the 12-labors, a result of his dead family, and he has sold his soul because everything he valued is gone. His crew is equally flawed, equally broken and equally fascinating. Maybe I like flawed characters. No maybe. It just is. I am intrigued by Ingrid Berdal who plays the Amazon female who is a serious kick-ass heroine (also significantly younger than the men in her crew, but that's a Hollywood thing), but I am more drawn to the English professor type, of which there is no shortage. Ian McShane plays Amphiaraus and the voice you hear in the trailer. He could read the TV guide and I'd listen. Rufus Sewell of the gravelly voice (a personal weakness) is the epitome of the handsome English Prof (also a personal weakness). Why is it men in Hollywood age so well? And there's Dwayne Johnson who flat takes your breath away. The man knows how to work his body. The statue of David has nothing on this man.
I don't know what the critics have said or will say about this movie.* I don't care. I go to movies for escape (not unlike the Romans who went to the amphitheater for blood and gore). I want a story with the power of Calgon to "take me away."
Hercules took me away.
"Are you only the legend? Or are you the truth?" When The Ian McShane character has his monologue near the end (lovely part), he asks of Hercules what we should ask of ourselves. "You don't have to be a demigod to be a hero." You just have to act heroic.
Enjoy the movie. There are enough accents, beautiful people, and one-liners to satisfy anyone, and if that's not enough, the fight scenes are pretty cool. Mythic, maybe. :)
Ok, I lied. When I went looking for a link, I glanced the following quote (I tried not to look, but it was highlighted with bold letters): "Oafish pleasure." Get a grip Mr Hollywood Critic. You're too full of yourself. Remember the line from Trix cereal. "Trix is for kids." Hercules is for real audiences. It's about pleasure. Oafs like this critic need not apply.
Sorry, short rant, couldn't be helped. I'm not a fan of critics, but my mama raised me with the adage: "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all," to which critics do not ascribe (and therefore don't earn its protection). I'm not a critic. I talk romance, myths and fairytales because I like them. I'm an easy audience. Plus, I don't talk about movies I don't like. End of story.
Funny story. During the Mercury Retrograde Incident in September 2016, Cindy's original blog disappeared. Five years, gone in a random act of chaos. Now she gets to repopulate her blog world one post at a time. Join her if you dare. :)