Working on the cover blurb!

I’ve received the paperwork from my publisher to fill out for the cover blurb of Seiðman.  This isn’t necessarily the way all publishers do this, but Harmony Ink likes to ask the author for descriptions of the key characters and the setting, as well as the general idea and tone of the story, so the editor who comes up with a blurb can have some idea what to aim for.  They also asked me for the brief description of the novel in my cover letter, which is almost a blurb in and of itself.  I’ll have the chance to tweak what they come up with later.

One of the questions that’s still baffling me is the one that asks me to list adjectives that describe the feel of the story.  Is it “realistic”?  Perhaps.  What about “harsh”?  Well, the environment it takes place in can be, but I’m not sure that the story is.  Then again, Kol (the main character) does have to escape from a hall that King Olaf sets on fire, with several of Kol’s friends trapped inside.  That’s pretty harsh!

I’m not going to hold my publisher to anything yet, but I’ve been told that a summer release date is likely!

My first YA novel will be published soon!

I’ve just received a contract for my first YA novel!

Seiðman is the story of a boy in Viking Age Iceland who studies an ancient form of magic called seiðr, while struggling with his love for another young man with a very different destiny.  Here is the unofficial blurb I put in the cover letter, when I submitted it:

In Viking Age Iceland, where boys are expected to grow into strong farmers and skilled fighters, there is little place for a sickly 12-year-old boy like Kol.  That is, until he catches the eye of a seið-woman — a sorceress — and the old woman takes him on as an apprentice.  Kol’s journey to become a sorceror takes him from Iceland to Norway and eventually to Sweden, and along the way he discovers something else about himself that is different:  he has fallen in love with another boy, Thorbrand, the grandson of his mentor.

But the world is changing in ways that threaten those who practice the ancient arts.  A new religion is sweeping through the Norse lands and King Olaf Tryggvason is hunting down and executing sorcerors.  A decades-old feud forces Thorbrand to choose between Kol and his duty to his kinsman, and Kol finds himself cast adrift with only the cryptic messages of an ancient goddess to guide him to his destiny — and possibly to his death.

Seiðman depicts the vast upheaval in the northern lands at the end of the Viking era, as seen through the eyes of a boy who is not only struggling with homosexuality in a culture which places an extremely high value on manliness, but whose chosen trade throws him directly into the path of a king who will stop at nothing in his quest for power.

I spent three years writing Seiðman and researching the time period and culture.  I was also lucky enough to have people who lived in Iceland and Norway critique it for me, as well as a friend who is a medieval scholar and several others.  I won’t claim the historical information is perfect, but it’s as close to perfect as I could get, and it explores aspects of Viking Age culture that I’ve never seen covered in much detail in fiction.

The story itself intersects with events in Icelandic sagas, focusing on Olaf Tryggvason conquering Norway, and follows Kol’s adventures for five years, ending with him as a 17-year-old.

Seiðman will be released under the YA imprint, Harmony Ink, and although I haven’t yet been informed of a release date, I think it will be late this year, or at most early in 2013.  I’ll keep everyone updated on its progress.

But today I received the paperwork to fill out for the cover blurb!