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Still Alive!

After a crazy Oklahoma spring (floods, hail) I’m happy to report that home and auto repairs and a long hot summer are nearly complete.

And after a long absence from Storm of the North blog, I’m looking forward to posting more routinely very soon.

Stay tuned for ongoing Norse goodness!

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Tuesday Althing: Viking vs. Samurai

Welcome to another Tuesday Althing! I discovered today’s Scandinavian randomness while performing a bit of rare but fortuitous channel surfing Sunday night.

I landed on SpikeTV and what to my wondering eyes did appear? A what-if battle between my two favorite brands of historical fighting men: Viking vs. Samurai.

The program is called Deadliest Warrior, in which weapons and armor are put through various controlled tests to measure effectiveness against the opponent at hand. Some pretty cool analytics — including laser measurements for strike-speed and pressure measurements for power — are involved. But the best part involves actual blows by expert fighters against anatomically correct dummies that explode in fake blood and bone and brains. Amazing stuff.

I’m not going to tell you which warrior Spike’s team deemed superior, but if you’d like to check out Viking brawn vs. Samurai finesse, here’s a link to this episode of Deadliest Warrior:

http://www.spike.com/full-episode/viking-vs-samurai/31558

Thanks for stopping by. See ya next time!

Tuesday Althing: Heroic Fantasy Quarterly — Issue 4

I’m happy to say we published Heroic Fantasy Quarterly Issue 4 last week — right on time! We found two cool stories and poems this go ’round. This issue’s banner art is by Jesus Garcia Lopez, whose website and other work you can find a link to at HFQ. I hope you’ll check it out when you get a chance.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday Althing: Testament — Hammer of the Gods/Thor tribute

Check out this cool montage of panels from the (not so) new Thor comic book series. The art on this series is really good, but I wasn’t down with the story. Excellent choice of music: Testament’s Hammer of the Gods.

Enjoy:

Thanks for stopping by. I hope to start posting more routinely in the coming weeks — real life (all good) has gotten in the way of my virtual one.

Tuesday Althing: Four Norsemen T-shirt

For the NFL fans out there: did you happen to watch FOX Sports last weekend? (The best NFL broadcasting and commentary team in the business, IMO.) Did you see the awesome (Norse) T-shirt worn by a Minnesota Vikings defensive player during the Michael Strahan interview?

I couldn’t believe my eyes! THUNDER AND PLUNDER was emblazoned atop the design, with THOR D FORCE beneath. THOR D FORCE? Seriously — I had to rewind the DVR to make sure I hadn’t misread the more traditional expression “TOUR de FORCE”.

Clearly, this is a Vikings team that knows its roots. Even though they beat my Cowboys like adolescent thralls, I’ll be pulling for the Vikings against the Saints. Vikings defensive ends Jared Allen and Ray Edwards along with defensive tackles Pat and Kevin Williams are a force indeed, and I heartily endorse the name they’ve come up with for their unit: THUNDER AND PLUNDER. I’ve looked high and low for an image of the shirt and have struck out. But rest assured I’ll post it when I find it.

Until then here’s an image of the almost-as-cool Four Norsemen T-shirt depicting Bret “Old Man” Favre, Adrian “Butterfingers” Peterson, Percy “Headaches”  Harvin, and Jared “Mullet” Allen:

With monikers like those, you gotta wonder how the Vikings keep winning. Or do you? If you understand Norse lore, you already know: individuality and ferocity can combine to make a formidable team — fashion, finesse, and age be damned.

Thanks for stopping by. See ya next time!

Tuesday Althing: Heroic Fantasy Quarterly — Issue 3

We published the third issue of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly on New Year’s Eve. (Yes — HFQ editors DO have lives! We’d done all the work already and merely needed to push the virtual publish button. Sweet!) HFQ Issue 3 features a very cool Samurai tale, a decidedly original Arthurian story, and a gun-wielding dragon-slayer yarn.

You can check out these stories here:

http://www.heroicfantasyquarterly.com/

Thanks for stopping by!

Thor’s Day Alert #32: Robert Howard

Happy Thor’s Day, everybody!

I haven’t posted on Thor’s Day since August, and while I normally reserve Thor’s Day posts for things strictly Norse today I’m making an exception. Why? Because yesterday the world lost another Robert Howard.

This is an important name. If you’ve followed this blog and/or my involvement with the ezine Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, then you doubtless know of my great respect for (and influence by) a writer named Robert E. Howard. You know, the guy who gave us Conan the Barbarian. (Among other things.)

Until yesterday, I thought this Robert Howard (REH) was the greatest of all Robert Howards who ever lived.

But then a US Soldier named Robert L. Howard died.

And if you’ve read any portion of my novel excerpt, you probably understand the tremendous respect I have for honorable warriors. Which is why Robert L. Howard trumps Robert E. Howard for the title of Top Bob at Storm of the North blog.

If you’re not familiar with the soldier and great American named Robert L. Howard, do yourself a favor and check out his page at Wikipedia. If you don’t feel like reading further, then just hit RLH’s Wiki and scroll down to see the images of his many, many medals and bars — word has it he’s the most decorated US soldier of the 20th century.  (Eight Purple Hearts. Eight?  Seriously — did this guy ever get tired of being wounded? Had he no fear at all — not even of military hospitals? Did I mention his winning of The Congressional Medal of Honor — America’s highest military award — alongside two other recommendations for the same award within barely more than a year. I’m guessing 99% of soldiers never receive a single recommendation in an entire career.)

Truly, truth is stranger than fiction; no mere writer could’ve dreamed up this man’s exploits and made them believable. Thus in the case of Robert L. Howard the warrior vs. Robert E. Howard the writer, actions speak way louder than words.

So Robert L. Howard you deserve the best of all toasts, offered here for a true warrior as written in the Havamal and translated by the incomparable H. R. Ellis Davidson:

Cattle die, kinsfolk die,
oneself dies the same.
I know one thing only which never dies —
the renown of the noble dead.

Hey! (For the uninitiated — drink!)

RIP, RLH.

For more information on Robert L. Howard, visit the RLH Tribute website.