We’re down to it. As I type this, Tamarind Hill Press is doing a final read-through of Spirits of the Ice Forest before it gets approved for release – the date is still April 30th. It might feel like a long time but what has to be packed into that time is immense. Fortunately, I’ve seen the typesetting and it’s beautiful – no need for adjustments there. This is the home-stretch. The cleaning up, the dotting of I’s, the crossing of T’s, etc.

I’ll go into it in another blog post – maybe next month, the last before it’s on the shelves and hopefully in your hands.

Before that, I want to fill you in on where the idea came from. Aside from history, of course. I first came upon the Vinland Sagas way back – what was it? Around Dino Hunt time… 2015, I guess. The idea that Vikings actually landed on the shores of Canada and encountered Native Americans was fascinating enough to drive me to that pre-undertaking obsession that all writers would know about. Imagining what it was like for each side. How they interacted. How they fought each other. What actually was it about the Native Americans that ultimately made them victorious – I don’t mind giving that away because… well, obviously Canada was not a Nordic state when John Cabot set foot on her shores in 1497. Vikings were, after all, known for their successes, not their failures.

It was exploring the verité of Viking ruthlessness that I stumbled on the mentions of Freydis Eiriksdottir. Much of the wickedness and bestial cruelty that is written about Vikings comes from Anglo-Saxon literature, so, of course, it is a little sensationalized and overblown. Not so Freydis. She seemed to embody every ounce of the malice and unstoppable power depicted in Anglo-Saxon poetry. In every mention of Freydis in the Nordic Vinland Sagas, she is either slaughtering people or fending off attacking hordes that vastly outnumber her. And most enticingly, there was no personal reason for her ambition other than ambition itself. Female antagonists often have some other motivation going on – personal revenge, some allusion to rape, and (thankfully not so much anymore) some physical disfigurement. It’s the men who get to be bad just for the sake of it…

To be continued…