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We talk about author branding and I think most of us get how to do it in cyberspace. But what if you are in a supermarket and someone recognizes you? Or a friend introduces you as "that writer". What do you do? Well, I had a great lesson. As you know I have been researching merchandising. I have a shop on Zazzle and the products are good. But a bit on the expensive side. When I ordered my buttons so I could see how they were made. I was impressed … Read More

via Self-Published Author's Lounge

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Still working out the kinks, but have no time to work on it. Sorry

berserker
Main Entry: ber·serk
Pronunciation: \bə(r)-ˈsərk, ˌbər-, -ˈzərk; ˈbər-ˌ\
Variant(s): or ber·serk·er \-ˈsər-kər, -ˈzər-; ˈbər-ˌ\
Function: noun
Etymology: Old Norse berserkr, probably from ber- bear + serkr shirt
Date: 1818

1 : an ancient Scandinavian warrior frenzied in battle and held to be invulnerable
2 : one whose actions are recklessly defiant
From berserker

I have talked a lot about my vampires, but what about the others that are in my novel?
The first one you met is Swen, the berserk.

Berserks are not used much in modern fantasy stories. You can find them a plenty in any stories based in Norse mythology. But what about modern times, could berserks be around?

First who where they?

The name berserker arose from their reputed habit of wearing a kind of shirt or coat (Old Norse: serkr) made from the pelt of a bear (Old Norse: ber-) during battle. In earlier studies, the element ber- was often misinterpreted as berr-, meaning “bare”, understood as indicating that the berserkers fought naked. This view has since been abandoned
From Wikipedia

The simplest explanation is given above. They were warriors that were unstoppable in battle that wore bear furs.

But there is more to it.

The berserker, too, was often said to change into bestial form, or at least to assume the ferocious qualities of the wolf or bear. Kveldulfr in Egils Saga Skallagrímsonar was spoken of as a shapechanger (Hermann Palsson and Paul Edwards, trans. Egil’s Saga. NY: Penguin. 1976. p. 21), and Hrolf’s Saga tells of the hero Bjarki, who takes on the shape of a bear in battle:

Men saw that a great bear went before King Hrolf’s men, keeping always near the king. He slew more men with his forepaws than any five of the king’s champions. Blades and weapons glanced off him, and he brought down both men and horses in King Hjorvard’s forces, and everything which came in his path he crushed to death with his teeth, so that panic and terror swept through King Hjorvard’s army…” (Gwyn Jones. Eirik the Red and Other Icelandic Sagas. NY: Oxford Univ. Press. 1961. p. 313).

From Viking Answer Lady

So Swen changes into a bear. Doesn’t sound too bad.

Berserks were tied to the god Odin.

It is likely that the berserk was actually a member of the cult of Óðinn. The practices of such a cult would have been a secret of the group’s initiates, although the Byzantine emperor Constantine VII refers in his Book of Ceremonies to a “Gothic Dance” performed by members of his Varangian guard, who took part wearing animal skins and masks: this may have been connected with berserker rites (Hilda R. Ellis-Davidson. Pagan Scandinavia. NY: Frederick A. Praeger. 1967. p. 100). This type of costumed dance is also seen in figures from Swedish helmet plates, scabbard ornaments, and bracteates which depict human figures with the heads of bears or wolves, dressed in animal skins but having human hands and feet. These figures often carry spears or swords, and are depicted as running or dancing. One plate from Torslunda, Sweden, may show the figure of Óðinn dancing with such a bear figure.
From Viking Answer Lady

So Swen changes into a bear and worships Odin?

Correct.

In my story Swen is an Asatru. A former Marine that is now the bouncer at the Burgundy Rathskeller. He can turn into a bear when provoked. The problem is once he is a bear, or a bear-like being, he is unstoppable and will attacks friends as well as foes. He has to literally cool off. I can no longer find the reference of one berserk that had to be dragged behind the ship in the ocean, until he calmed down. But that passage influenced how I see Swen

Swen is loyal and expects loyalty back. If he finds you to be an honorable person (or vampire), he will help to protect you. But when he turns no one should stand in his way. The people around him have learned how to help him control his rages. His girlfriend Cassie, is easy going, and loves Swen dearly. He would never harm her, even in his rage (he says). Vincent can order him, but is still cautious around him.

I do promise Swen’s role becomes much larger as the series progresses, but for now, just don’t piss off the bouncer.

Overall, being a first time author, with no name recognition. It went good. Oh hell, IT WAS AWESOME!.

I sold nearly half of the books I brought down. I was hoping to sell all (we all hope that), but I think the amount I sold was still very good.

Some highlights and praises.

One woman had taken a copy she got last week to California. Her niece is a big Twilight and True Blood fan. So one day, her niece makes the woman sit down to watch Twilight. The niece picks up my book, scans it, starts reading it while the movie is going. She didn’t realize the movie had ended and WOULD NOT give the woman my book back! So she had to buy a new copy!

Necks were bitten, but sorry until the pictures come out, it’s hard to explain why….

I got another local bookstore interested in carrying the book, the woman did not have the authority to say okay, but she will help me set up a meeting with the right person.

I met another woman that has fallen in love with one of the characters (Vincent). When she found out that he is the main character of the next book. She wanted to pre-order three copies that night.

But the best part of the night was meeting the people and talking with them. The conversations were about the book, how I did it, why I did it, how much they like it, etc.

I could get used to this.

One of my best customers, didn’t buy a thing, but purred encouragement.

By the way. It was such a success, we are setting another up in the middle of the summer on the weekend.

Cross post with mariminiatt.com

You will notice I call my current novel a dark, urban, fantasy. Why didn’t I call it horror?  Because as a horror fan, it did not scare me. I know a couple of readers got scared, but I still would not call it horror.  Some might for one reason. Vampires.

Unfortunately, now a days, putting a vampire in the story doesn’t guarantee it’s a horror story. Think of the two biggest vampire fictions out there now; Twilight and the Dead series (aka True Blood). Would you seriously tell someone to watch or read them because of the horror? No.

My vamps are more traditional. They can be frightening, so why not call it horror? Because there are no scares. Well, not a lot. I wanted to tell the story from the vampire’s side. So what they might do would be horrific from the human stand point. To them it’s just part of their unlife. Why should it be such a dilemma to ingest blood, when that is what you were made to do? Only a human would find it disgusting.

I have a few horror stories, shelved away for future use. Another vampire story, a ghost story, even kicking around the idea of a mummy story, too.  Those are more horror because I focus on the fear.  Fledgling focuses on adjustment and acceptance.

And even though two of the characters end up a couple. I will not call it paranormal romance either, but that is a whole other blog topic.