Mood Music

Christina here. Lots of authors seem to listen to music while they write in order to get in the right mood – sometimes the same song over and over again to inspire a particular scene they might be working on. Many of them have specific playlists for each book with one song per chapter, which they mention either on their blogs or at the start of their books so that readers can listen along with them. I can’t do that. I need silence in order to compose my thoughts and disappear into my own little world, and music would drag me out of it because when I listen to something I really like, I get lost in that instead.

ThorThat’s not to say I don’t find music inspiring. I do, but I like to listen to it before or after I write, not during the process. And I also love to watch music videos as some of them are mini stories in their own right and they can trigger plots or characters in my head. Today I thought I would share with you some of the songs, music and/or videos that I’ve found helpful while writing my Viking stories and the reasons why.

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A Journey Back in Time

StoneChristina here. I should have been in Norway right now on a research holiday, but for obvious reasons I’ve had to postpone. It’s a shame, as I was really looking forward to exploring that country, but hopefully I will get there next year. I had planned to tell you all about my journey too – hopefully with lots of wonderful photos – but I will have to take you along on last year’s trip to Denmark instead. As we’re all stuck at home, I hope you’ll enjoy a little bit of armchair travel!

For an author, seeing or experiencing things first hand is always the best way of doing research, and it’s a great excuse for going places. Of course it’s not always possible to find exactly what you need, especially when like me you’re writing about Viking times, but there are ways and means. With the whole of Scandinavia steeped in Viking history, one can definitely get a feel for the setting as a whole. And fortunately there are also quite a few museums where the curators have tried to recreate the past to really give visitors a taste of what it was like a thousand years ago. Two of the best ones are in Denmark and I came up with the idea of taking my mother (who lives in Sweden) on a little road trip, thereby killing two birds with one stone – she would get a mini holiday and I’d get to do some vital research while spending quality time with her!

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A Baltic Cruise, Part 2

IMG_4639By Mary Jo

Part 1 of our Baltic cruise covered Stockholm, Finland, and Estonia.  The cruise is called Viking Homelands, and many of the places we visited were founded as Viking trading ports. Now some highlights of the rest of our journey.


St. Petersburg, Russia was the easternmost stop of our voyage, and it's a city with more than its share of glamour and drama.  It was founded in 1703 by Czar Peter the Great as his "window on the west." At the time, the country was largely landlocked (Archangel, the only other port in European Russia, is far north on the White Sea and frozen for a good part of the year.)

Peter wanted to make his country 2017_Viking_Homelands Mapmodern and European, so he toured the great capitals of Europe for inspiration.  Built at the mouth of the Neva River, the marshiness of the area led to numerous canals as well as grand boulevards, elegant palaces, and splendid churches with characteristic Russian onion domes.


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Islands of Ice and Fire

Faroes 2
In the Wake of the Vikings Part 2

by Mary Jo

 Our North Atlantic cruise was so interesting that I'm breaking it into three parts.  (I could go on much longer, but I'll spare you. <G>)  I've already written about Norway, and now I'm writing about some of the wonderful places we visited.  

Faroese waterfallThe Mayhem Consultant and I both selected the same cruise from a fat Viking Ocean catalog, and the reason was the itinerary. In the Wake of the Vikings was scheduled to go to all kinds of fascinating places that are hard to get to. I mean, really, how many people do you know who have gone to Greenland who aren't military? Irresistible!

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