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  • Writer's pictureJ. R. Erickson

Norse Magic, Hauntings and More in Dead Stream Curse

I’m coming to this space after a nearly two month blog hiatus. It wasn’t intentional, mind you. I’m afraid my blog is often neglected in the throes of everything else that comes down the pipe in this life business. Summer is inevitably busy when you live in the north. The knowledge that winter is a only a few more breaths away puts us in perpetual seize-the-moment mode. Every weekend is stuffed with family get-togethers and beach days. Not to mention we moved recently, which wiped me out just in time for a hectic and fun-filled family vacation to Cedar Point (I’m still recovering). I love the summer. I love the warm sun on my face and walking barefoot in the soft grass and getting swallowed by Lake Michigan at the peak of the summer when the frigid waters have given way to something bearable. I also love the way summer trickles out this time of year, picking over stones like a slow moving stream as it flows back to the sea. The sun sets every night in a wash of orange gold and the trees seem to absorb the color, shifting from green to yellows, red, and bronze. Like most years, I feel ready for autumn, but also watch summer slip away with a tiny shard of yearning.

In writing, Dead Stream Curse releases next Tuesday, September 10th. I love this story, but it was also a hard one for me to write. I can’t exactly pinpoint why, but since I started consistently writing and publishing approximately two years ago, I’ve never had a manuscript that felt so cumbersome. I talked about it a lot, the frustration, the feeling of not being able to sift through the words and make the story come to life. In the end, it did. But it was a test of patience. More than a few times, I wanted to scrap the book and start a new story, but I couldn’t let it go. The story needed to be told. That’s a strange statement to make, and one you’ve likely heard from other writers, but it’s true. Whether it’s simply a stubborn brain or some magical muse moving in and taking up shop in your consciousness, certain stories won’t let you go until you tell them.

To give you a glimpse into Dead Stream Curse, it tells the story of Stephen Kaiser, the dark doctor from Some Can See, the first book in the Northern Michigan Asylum Series. Specifically, it tells the story of Stephen and his friend Liv. Liv is descended from Norse witches. Though she lives in 1945 America, and is in many ways a typical seventeen year old girl, she’s also a Volva, a woman who practices Norse magic in the tradition of her father’s people. It is her magic that draws Stephen to her and that same magic which binds them after a horrific event on Halloween night in 1945. Like many of my stories, the book weaves past and present. We meet a series of characters all affected by that fateful Halloween night.

I’ll sign off for now. It’s a cool Sunday here in northern Michigan. Tonight my husband and I and some friends are going to see a concert. The fifth book in the Northern Michigan Asylum Series has begun in earnest. I’m excited to share more when the time is right.

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