Before you read anything…


Here is a cautionary note from my author, mysteriously edited out of the book about me. 
Could be important. You be the judge.

(And, if you’ve already read The Secret Viking, bear with me.)


 “Defying logic and advice and possibly good sense as well, let us interrupt this book before it begins. A few prefatory words are in order.

“Though my name appears on the cover of this volume and I am described as its author, I cannot, in all conscience, take credit for what you are about to read. Truth to tell, I did not write the tales that follow. They are the work of Seth Whittle, a former colleague, with whom I taught in the Writing Seminars at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1968 and 1969.

“As both teachers and writers, Seth and I had a great deal in common. During my two years at Hopkins, we often shared notes, becoming friendly in the process. After I left, Whittle also moved on and I lost track of him. No one seemed to know where he’d gone or what had become of him. The university records were no help. Whittle appeared to have dropped off the map. Though I tried repeatedly, I was unable to locate him. That might have been the end of it, but for two things that happened more than twenty years later. First, I received a manuscript mailed from Mumbai, with the stories that appear here. There was no accompanying letter of explanation, only a yellow post-it on the cover page that read, “When we taught at Hopkins, you reacted positively to some of my shorter pieces. I thought you might like these, as well. I have no plans to publish them. I am currently writing screenplays for Indian films.” There was no signature.

“Rather cryptic, I thought. I didn’t know what to make of it. Still, I read the stories, enjoyed them, put them in a file and forgot about them.

“Then, about five years ago, the media suddenly went berserk over the discovery by a University of Toronto English professor of a 1300-year-old Viking, Thorsten the Rood, who had stopped aging at 44 and was still secretly living in our midst. He had hidden himself behind a series of identities over his long life. And one of those identities, I was startled to learn, was my old colleague, Seth Whittle.

“I immediately tried to contact Whittle, or Thorsten as he was now revealed to be, but without any success. He did not respond to my messages or acknowledge me in any way.

“In any case, there I was with a stack of unpublished stories by the long-lived Viking in my possession. At that point, I felt I had to take advantage of the media phenomenon generated by the disclosure of the long-lived Viking and to publish his stories crediting him as the author.

“When I knew Thorsten as Seth Whittle, he used to call these pieces short novels. I can understand why. In some ways, they feel like short stories that want to be expanded into longer works. Still, you will be the final arbiter and I hope you enjoy reading them. But if you don’t, we’ll all be able to lay the blame on a 1300-year-old Viking who, once again, is nowhere to be seen.”

So, what does all of this mean?
You may well wonder.

But I couldn’t possibly comment.

Perhaps The Secret Viking will offer more clues.

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Go, Dog. Go! *

In my author’s latest novel, THE SECRET VIKING (heard of it?),
recently published as an Amazon Kindle ebook (you know that),
one of the principal characters is a suspicious, smartass wheaten terrier named Satchimotomonkeyman.

I like dogs, so I’m glad to tell you a bit about Satch. He certainly surprised me!
Honestly, at first I doubted him.
And then he annoyed me.
Then we became friends.

The witty and self-taught Satch has learned to read and write and type and he also authors a weekly newspaper column called The Dog Log in a local paper. (If you are an avid, or rabid, reader, you may wish to know which local paper. I’m not telling!). He was once asked to anchor a radio news programme with a focus on the arts. Because of Satch’s lack of on-air skills (he does not actually speak), he was forced to decline that prestigious invitation. As for his typing skills, Satch is a touch-typist, but, with paws, he types with pause. So don’t be expecting 120 wpm! If you are the hunt-and-peck, two-fingered typist type, however, he will leave you in the dust.

In the first person (or first dog, as we like to say), the smart, modest and very charming Satch shares with readers of THE SECRET VIKING the tale of how all this reading and writing came about. I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but suffice it to say that Satch was bored and figured out how to read, on his own. Smart pup, that one!

Hah! You may wonder: is Satch one of my alter egos?


Of course, as far as fictional characters go (if, indeed, Satch is actually fictional), the “super dog” is not a new concept.
But Satch’s role in THE SECRET VIKING works particularly well because it is based on an actual dog.
Who did all of the above.
While raising four kids as a single parent.
Doing set design for the Canadian Opera Company.
Selling real estate (quite successfully, I might add).
And also finishing up a Master’s degree in animal husbandry.

Of course our author and I realize that the intense study of animal care and feeding is a bit archaic, as career choices go. Even Satch himself worries that such a pursuit may only leave him trapped in the exciting world of barn-sweeping, or, perhaps worse, lead him to esoteric academia. (“Publish or perish.” Been there.)
The wonderful wheaten is currently considering a transfer to veterinary sciences.

Keep reading!

*For very fond reading memories: all hail, and sincere thanks to the late, great P.D. Eastman.
(Don’t know him? Bloody hell! Go here, now!)

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Sincere thanks

Hello friends,

It’s delightful to meet new friends and, if you’ve just picked up The Secret Viking from Amazon, I hope you’ll enjoy the read!

We now have readers in Japan, the UK and all over Canada and the US. Amazing! Thank you all for such a fun and busy weekend.

When you finish the book… and want to share your thoughts with friends: please visit Amazon and leave a review there.
Amazon and the Viking,
and the author too,
all love reviews!

And keep checking here in my journal. There is adventure ahead.
A tiny bit at a time!

Happy reading to all of you!


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Another little teaser…

“My daddy was a Viking.

One day he up and left.

His leaving was not to our liking

And we were left bereft.”

Son of a Viking

Need more? Start at the beginning of the book! (I’ll meet you there!)

Today only, still FREE to download.

Adventure and (if you hadn’t guessed…) frivolity, just ahead!

(maybe I’m the Son of a Viking , or maybe I’m the daddy…
You’ll see.)

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Thanks, readers!

Ⓓear Ⓦeekend Ⓡeading Ⓒompanions,

Thank you all for making this weekend so busy and satisfying.
My author offered the book for free before, but now we’re reaching more readers, world-wide.
We’re both delighted to share my rambling, writing, riddling story with everyone.

Do you have friends in Italy, France, Spain or Brazil who’d enjoy a nifty literary mystery?
Any family in the US, Canada, UK or Japan who have not read about me yet?
This is their chance!

Share this link with them, so they can grab the free ebook download this weekend.
The Secret Viking will be available, for FREE, until 3:00 am (North American) Eastern Standard Time,
the dark and early morn of Monday, 20 May, 2013.

And, dear readers, if you enjoyed the book, we’d be honoured if you’d post a review on Amazon.

Have I mentioned it lately?
You’re wonderful!


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Oh, that Mildred!

(I agree. She does go on!)

Dear Mildred:

Recently, my husband started barking at me to signal that he would like his dinner.
I thought this was charming at first, but it has become embarrassing.
Can you help?

Yours truly,


⟡   ⟡   ⟡   ⟡   ⟡

Dear Embarrassed:

Often, the barking can be relieved with a tincture of green tea and clover honey.
If that doesn’t help, you might consider taking your husband to a veterinarian.
Sometimes, just suggesting this cures the barking.



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Want to read more about Mildred? And maybe more about a Viking, a dog, a professor, Bob Dylan, rocky road ice cream, thunder and lightning, Cleveland (just outside Cleveland, actually), and a few hundred other exploits, odd ducks, artefacts and warrior poet adventures?

Forsooth, hasten thee here, and download a copy of ye olde ebook (post haste!).
That means: free download of the Amazon Kindle ebook, THIS WEEKEND!


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