Thyra Dane

Author of Romance. Blogs about Scandinavia, Vikings and books.

Today is May 1st, the International Worker’s day. Here in Scandinavia that means time off from work and large gatherings with speeches from politicians.

It’s often the unions and the socialist/social democratic parties that organize the May 1st demontrations, gatherings and speeches.

Back in the days Conservative politicians would frown and ridicule May 1st, but this is not the case anymore. Now you’ll often hear Conservative politicians praise May 1st, and even praise the unions. As is the case with Conservative politician Heidi Nordby Lunde.

Why is that? What has happened?

Conservative politician Heidi Nordby Lunde held a May 1sth speech on Facebook where she praised the unions

“Trepartssamarbeid” – three group cooperation

In Norway, and the rest of Scandinavia, we have a model we call “trepartssamarbeid”, which can be losely translated into “three group cooperation”.

Unions are one of those three groups, and they’re an important group. The other two are the employers’ organizations and the government. These three come together to negotiate important sides of the Norwegian workers’ lives. Not just their wages, but pensions, work hours, and even various safety measures for employers.

The idea behind the three group cooperation is that things are much better solved by negotiation than through conflict and strikes. The labor organizations may want more than the employee organizations are willing to give, but by talking things through, they may find a compromize everyone can live with.

In some cases the negotiations end up in agreements and in some cases the negotiations even end up in changes to the labor laws.

Social Democracy – the Scandinavian way

Why would conservative politicians support this?

In some countries conservative politicians would be all about abolishing and even outlawing labor organizations. They would support employees’ in their demands for cheap labor. Unions would be seen as the enemy.

That’s not really the case in these parts of the woods. Conservative politicians have seen the value of negotiations instead of conflicts and strikes. There is something to be said for sitting down at a table and talking things through instead of seeing the other part of the work life as an enemy.

Unions also hold an important role at the work places. They will voice concerns among the employees and can also be a part of local negotiations on anything from how high the yearly raises will be to making sure the best person gets the job.

From a Norwegian demonstration. Not from May 1st, though.

Scandinavian worklife is all about negotiations and talking, which is a good thing, really. That give us a better chance at solving problems in the long run.

This is why it always surprises me when I hear about politicians – or employers – in other countries trying to ban or restrict labor unions. Do they really know what they’re doing?

Happy May 1st!

Read a romance about spring in Norway - and support breast cancer research!

It’s been a month since the anthology LOVE IN BLOOM was published and what a month!

This is the first time I’ve ever published anything so I must admit there was some nailbiting going on. What if everyone hated my story, Cosplay? What if it didn’t make sense to anyone?

Would people from other countries understand Scandinavian romance? Would they get the humor?

Luckily it seems they did. The book is out and the reviews are in, and I’ve been dancing around myself ever since (and writing on my next Scandinavian romance)!

Curious about Scandinavian dating? Read my blog post “So you want to date a Scandinavian?”

The reviews for Cosplay

Review for the story Cosplay in the anthology LOVE IN BLOOM

A review for the story Cosplay in the anthology LOVE IN BLOOM

My heart skipped a beat whenever I read a review where my short story was mention. Luckily, all reviews were good <3

My heart skipped a beat whenever I read a review where my short story was mention. Luckily, all the reviews were positive <3

Five star reviews for the anthology

The whole anthology had some amazing reviews. And I can certainly see why. I didn’t get to read most of the stories until after LOVE IN BLOOM was published, but I was amazed with how great they all were. Steampunk battleship captains, vampires, police officers, dog handlers and cosplayers all found true love in the spring.

One of the five star reviews for LOVE IN BLOOM

Another five-star review for LOVE IN BLOOM

Another five-star review for LOVE IN BLOOM

Buy a book, support a great cause

LOVE IN BLOOM has been such a fun project to be a part of, especially for a newbie like me. I’ve learned so much from all the more experienced writers in the project.

It was also great to be a part of a project that can actually help people. Every cent we make from LOVE IN BLOOM will be donated to breast cancer research and that means a lot to me. Several of the reviewers seemed to like the charity part of the book.

Everything we make from LOVE IN BLOOM will be donated to breast cancer research

Everything we make from LOVE IN BLOOM will be donated to breast cancer research

Cosplay – a Scandinavian romance

My short story, Cosplay, is about online friends who meet offline for the first time. It takes place in Norway, but the heroine is from Arizona, USA. She’s traveled all the way to Norway to meet her online friend, but how well does she really know her friend?

How well do you know your online friend? Cosplay - a short story by Thyra Dane

How well do you know your online friend? Cosplay – a short story by Thyra Dane

You can buy LOVE IN BLOOM here

Have an "utepils" with me

Spring is here!

Don’t be fooled by the snow everywhere. Norwegians have decided that it’s spring now, no matter how deep the snow is.

There is still snow in my garden

There is still snow in my garden

How can you tell it’s spring? Here are five signs of spring in Norway.

1, Everyone talks about the sun

We’ve been sun-deprived for months and when it’s finally here–even in small glimpses–we talk about it. You’ll also see people standing randomly in streets and at bus stops with their faces turned towards the sun. They are trying to catch a few rays, or more specifically, they’re trying to get those 20 minutes of sun we’re all recommended to have every day.

At workplaces and among friends people start to talk about those 20 minutes. “Did you get your 20 minutes of sun today?” <– that’s the big question. We’re all low on Vitamin D after a long, dark winter and we’re looking to the sun to fix that.

Sunscreen is definitely not in use. Not yet. Maybe not ever. We need those Vitamin Ds, you know!

2, People start wearing shorts

Yesterday, I saw the first shorts-wearing Norwegian which is one of the clearest signs that spring is here. Yes, the temperatures are freezing and yes, there is still snow. But this guy had seen a glimpse of the sun and that meant digging out the shorts from the bottom drawer. Sun = shorts = spring, no matter how cold it is. It’s a Norwegian fact.

Spring is the season where you’ll meet people in heavy coats and boots next to people in shorts and sneakers.

3, Bicyclists are everywhere

Some masochists will ride their bike all year around, but spring is the season where everyone will pull out their bike–and their bike shorts–and catch a few sunrays while getting from A to B.

4, The “utepils” season begins

“Utepils”–or outdoor beer–is one of the most important signs of spring in Norway. The restaurants will set their tables and chairs outside as soon as the snow is gone and everyone will enjoy their “utepils”. The first utepils always has to be photographed and shared in social media–or it didn’t happen.

My Facebookfeed is currently filled with pictures of people drinking outside. And here is a picture of me with my beer in the snow:

 

Have an "utepils" with me

Have an “utepils” with me

5, Norwegians follow the snow and seek to the mountains

One would think Norwegians would appreciate the spring and enjoy not having to shovel snow anymore. Don’t be fooled. Norwegians may enjoy their shorts and bikes and sun and utepils, but they also enjoy the harsh climate. They enjoy feeling at one with nature, feeling like Nansen or Amundsen working their way towards the Poles, fighting the cold and the snow.

Most Norwegians have a family cabin in the mountains. Spring and Easter are high seasons for visiting this cabin, shoveling snow and skiing, and feeling like true Norwegians.

The joy of the Norwegian cabin

The joy of the Norwegian cabin

Digging the door free at the cabin

Digging the door free at the cabin

Do you want to read a romance about spring in Norway?

I published a novella in the Love in Bloom anthology. A female cosplayer flies over from Arizona to Norway to visit her online BFF and finds that her friend is not quite who she thought.

Read a romance about spring in Norway - and support breast cancer research!

Read a romance about spring in Norway – and support breast cancer research!

This is where you can buy Love in Bloom:

Amazon US
Amazon UK

 

Do you want to read romance from Scandinavia? Or maybe from North Carolina? How about some Steampunk? We have it all–and so much more–in the new anthology Love in Bloom.

Love in Bloom has short stories that are steamy, short stories that are sweet, and everything in between. The best part? You’ll support breast cancer research if you buy the book as all proceeds will be donated.

Love in bloom stories Thyra Dane Suki McMinn

Love in Bloom stories

Here are all the great stories, and a little bit about the authors behind the anthology:

Thyra Dane – Cosplay

Thyra Dane loves the freezing Scandinavian winters. She was born in Denmark but moved north to Norway where she lives with her husband and their two teenagers. She runs a blog (this one!) where she writes about everything from Vikings to How to Date a Scandinavian.

Charlotte has one close friend. Unfortunately, that close friend lives in Norway, and Charlotte has never seen her before. A cosplay convention in Oslo is Charlotte’s chance at finally meeting her online BFF, but when the masks come off, Charlotte is in for a big surprise.

 

Thyra Dane - Cosplay

Thyra Dane – Cosplay

Sherri L. Hollister – R&R

Sherri Lupton-Hollister, author of the Leeward Files romantic suspense series, dreamed of being a romance writer. Later, she learned she enjoyed murder and blowing things up but that might have something to do with raising six sons. Married to an almost-reformed bad boy, Sherri and her mechanic husband enjoy camping, biking, swimming and hiking along the shores of eastern North Carolina. They are active with their family and in their community.

Sherri is the chairperson of the Pamlico Writers’ Group and the hostess of Book in a Week with her local Romance Writers of America group.

A career ending case, a beautiful young police officer and the healing waters of the rural North Carolina shores. Agent Alejandro Hernandez shouldn’t be thinking about romance, he should be trying to salvage his what’s left of his career.

Restless, Officer Jamie Smith, is a small-town cop looking for something more. She never expected to find it with her brother’s handsome and haunted partner, FBI agent Alejandro Hernandez.

When a crime boss bent on revenge comes looking for Alejandro, anyone close to him could end up dead. Will he be able to save the innocents this time, or will history repeat itself?

Sherri L Hollister - R&R

Sherri L Hollister – R&R

Miranda Jameson – Cherry Blossom & Blood Bonds

Miranda Jameson grew up in India immersed in stories of gods, goddesses, elephant-riding princes and bejewelled princesses. She firmly believes there is magic all around us if we only take a minute to look.

She now lives in North Yorkshire, England, where she translates her passion for art, history, mythology and travel, into writing action-packed paranormal romances with all the ‘feels’.

She loves honourable badass heroes with undiscovered depths, and smart dauntless heroines who can save themselves.

When not clicking away on her laptop, she runs mum’s taxi service and the bank of mum. In other words, she’s got teenagers. Coffee, gin, and good friends, keep her sane.

Kids, duty, politics, and grieving – a vampire’s life is a lot like yours. Vampire couple Henri and Ysabeau have enjoyed one hundred and three years of mated bliss. They’re unbreakable, aren’t they?

But happily ever afters aren’t all hearts and flowers. When life, death, and the stuff in between drive this powerful couple apart, fate and a good friend may need to come to the rescue.

Sometimes, all you need is love.

Miranda Jameson - Cherry Blossoms &

Miranda Jameson – Cherry Blossoms & Blood Bonds

Suki McMinn – The Iris

Suki McMinn writes contemporary paranormal fiction. Drop Dead Gorgeous, the first novel in her L.A. Vamps Series, is an adult vampire romance with an L.A. supermodel who bites. Suki’s Hogback Series begins with The Vampire of Waller County. These novelettes are cozy vampire mysteries with sweet romance and humor. “The Iris” takes place in Hogback, but there are (*clears throat*) adult activities.

After working as a model and commercial actor in Los Angeles and a newspaper columnist in North Carolina, Suki now lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with her husband and dogs and spends her summers in Tryon, North Carolina. She’s a member of the Desert Rose chapter of the Romance Writers of America and a founding member of Tryon Writers. Suki writes nonfiction as Susan McNabb.

Jackson was once just the pottery teacher Amber drooled over, but now he’s invited her into his world. Will she take a chance on a new life, or will Jackson’s dark secret turn her dream into a nightmare?

Suki McMinn - The Iris

Suki McMinn – The Iris

Rachell Nichole – Blooming for Sir

Rachell Nichole is the contemporary erotic romance author of over a dozen romances, including The Marietta Hotels Series, The K Club series, and the Dommes by Night series. She loves creating memorable characters and putting them through the paces on their discovery for and journey to love. Rachell lives in Pennsylvania with a mountain of books and the man of her dreams.

It’s springtime in Spartan Nevada, and that means it’s time for the K Club’s 2nd annual fetish ball to raise money for a good cause. This year, one of the club’s owners has chosen a cause close to his heart – the Madison Foundation that helped him when he was a homeless LGBT youth.

Syneca Madison Lexington is delighted Dusty wants to help her foundation, particularly since she’s quickly running out of the trust fund money she could still access when her own parents disowned her for being bisexual. But a submissive auction? She doesn’t know if that’s something she can get behind or not.

When Jensen Elmwood enters the K Club, intent on purchasing himself a submissive for the night, the last thing he expects is to run into the one woman he’s loved since he was a kid, the same woman who’s been engaged to his brother since high school.

When the sparks reignite between them, can a springtime romance bloom into something more? Or will their past hurts and old family influences tear them apart?

 

Rachell Nichole - Blooming for Sir

Rachell Nichole – Blooming for Sir

Catherine Stein – Love is in the Airship

Catherine Stein is the author of sassy, sexy stories set during the Victorian and Edwardian eras and full of action, adventure, magic, and fantastic technologies. Catherine lives in Michigan with her husband and three rambunctious girls. She can often be found dressed in clothing that was purchased at a Renaissance Festival, drinking copious amounts of tea.

Her Potions and Passions series takes place in a Victorian-era world where magic potions drive technology and feisty heroines and dashing heroes risk it all for life and love.

Things to remember when fleeing your own wedding:

🗹 mechanical serpents could lead you astray

🗹 accidental kidnappings always involve the former boy-next-door

🗹 sky pirates hold grudges

🗹 sometimes all love needs is a second chance

🗹 Happily Ever After. Guaranteed.

Catherine Stein - Love is in the Airship

Catherine Stein – Love is in the Airship

Jess Taylor – The Rain in Spring Falls Mainly …

Jess Taylor is a freelance ghost writer living in southern West Virginia. While most of her work is on lockdown with non-disclosure agreements, she specializes in all things romance.  She has a fondness for good coffee, good tea, and good friends.  She’s the proud human for three rescue dogs, Mugsie, Delilah, and Scruff.  She possesses a Bachelor’s degree in English from Concord University and welcomes new friends on Facebook.

Tara is a woman in desperate need of a love makeover.  While she is successful in her occupation and hobbies, she has a few phobias which keep her out of reach from anyone interested in dating her.  Enter Laura.  In a case of mistaken identity, Laura gives Tara hope for a future, but will her own cold feet destroy the relationship before it begins? Can these two women overcome all the obstacles in their own hearts to dance together when the rain falls mainly on the plain?

Jess Taylor - The Rain in Spring Falls Mainly ...

Jess Taylor – The Rain in Spring Falls Mainly …

Lara Temple – Second Chance at Stonybrook

Lara Temple writes strong, sexy regency romances for Harlequin Mills & Boon about complex individuals who give no quarter but do so with plenty of passion.

Lara lives with her husband and two children who are very good about her taking over the kitchen table for her writing (so she can look out over the garden and dream). She loves to travel (especially to places steeped in history) and read as many books as possible.

Years ago Sophie fell in love with billionaire Adam Tarrant while on a journalistic assignment in Brazil, only to discover she was nothing more than a spring fling. Eight years later she finds herself forced to share a cottage with him in the Lake District. Will a weekend with the man who broke her heart mean more pain, or a new beginning?

Lara Temple - Second Chance at Stonybrook

Lara Temple – Second Chance at Stonybrook

Anna Volkin – French Kisses

Anna Volkin loves fresh starts disguised as new challenges. Writing is her newest one: as she takes snippets of inspiration from reality, her brain tricks her into building stories upon them.

Her contemporary romances are seasoned with a pinch of sass, a spoonful of heat and a dash of humor, serving up the happy endings her characters deserve.

An uptight fashion designer who needs to get his dog under control. A tough dog trainer who can’t tell fuchsia from magenta to save her life. Do they stand a dog’s chance at love?

Anna Volkin - French Kisses

Anna Volkin – French Kisses

Get Love in Bloom here

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Abba won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974

Which Scandinavian winners of the Eurovision Song Contest do you remember? Bobbysocks? Olsen Brothers? Surely, you remember ABBA?

Denmark and Norway have chosen the winners of this year’s national Eurovision song contests and Sweden will pick theirs next Saturday. I figured I would celebrate this by looking back at all the Scandinavian winners of the Eurovision Song Contest.

Abba won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974

Abba won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974

The last Scandinavian winner was Sweden’s Måns Zelmerlöv with Heroes in 2015

Two years before, in 2013, Denmark’s Emmelie de Forest won with Only Teardrops

Just one year earlier, in 2012, Sweden won with Loreen’s Euphoria

In 2009 Norway won with Alexander Rybak’s Fairytale

Four winners in six years – impressive! But before Alexander Rybak we have to all the way back to 2000 to find another Scandinavian winner.

Continue reading

Every Norwegian over 30 remembers the Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer. Norwegians under 30 wish they did. The Lillehammer-Olympic games were important for the national soul of Norway. And these days we celebrate the 25th anniversary.

The Kristin-doll from the Olympic Games in Lillehammer, is everywhere.

The Kristin-doll from the Olympic Games in Lillehammer, is everywhere in the streets of Lillehammer.

The Olympic games in Lillehammer were important. I remember being there, enjoying the athmosphere, the pride over the games being fairly well organized and how everyone felt connected to one another.

It was 25 years ago the “floka”

One thing I remember very fondly is the Olympic Games “floka” which was a special dance everyone did when we were cold (it was minus 25 C) while watching the skiiers, skijumpers and biathletes.

The music was typical Scandinavia mid-90s. And if you’re wondering why the beginning is much older than 1994, then it’s because the lyrics are referring to the Winter Olympics in Oslo in 1953.

Kristin, Håkon and the Northern Lights

The designers behind the Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer really dived into the national pride of Norway when they made the logo and the mascots. Kristian and Håkon were two semi-Viking children.

Håkon was one of the two Viking children you could meet at the Winter Olympic Games at Lillehammer

Håkon was one of the two Viking children you could meet at the Winter Olympic Games at Lillehammer. Now you can meet him outside shops in the main street of Lillehammer.

You could buy them as dolls but you could also meet them in person. A number of kids were hired to act as Kristin and Håkon, meeting celebrities and being young ambassadors for the Olympic Games.

Kristin and Håkon outside a shop in Lillehammer

Kristin and Håkon outside a shop in Lillehammer

The Northern Lights were an important part of the design as well. The Northern Lights were featured in the logo even though it’s fairly rare to see the Nothern Lights in Lillehammer, as the city is situated way too south for that.

A 25th anniversary celebration in Lillehammer. The Northern lights were the logo and a modern remake of the old "helleristninger" were illustrations

A 25th anniversary celebration in Lillehammer. The Northern lights were the logo and a modern remake of the old “helleristninger” (petroglyphs) were illustrations

They also used a modern version of the old “helleristninger” (petroglyphs) that can be found several places in Scandinavia. The petroglyphs were used to illustrate all the different sports.

Watch a full reminder of the Winter Olympic Games in Lillehammer.

 

The Norwegian parliament in LEGO

Is Scandinavian politics just about free education, free healthcare, long maternity/paternity leave and high taxes to pay for all of this? Lately many non-Scandinavians have pointed to Scandinavia–either as a political system to copy or something to scare people with … because, you know, socialism.

The Norwegian parliament, built in LEGO, can be seen inside the Norwegian parliament. Notice the protesters in front of the parliament - they're an important part of our democracy.

The Norwegian parliament, built in LEGO, can be seen inside the Norwegian parliament. Notice the protesters in front of the parliament – they’re an important part of our democracy.

So are the Scandinavian Social Democracies (we do not call them socialist democracies, for the record) just about a lot of free stuff and high taxes? Definitely not. The Scandinavian Social Democracies are complicated systems that depend on a number of small parts to make them work. I’ll run through those small parts here.

These points come from a lecture I heard a while back by Yngvar Åsholt from the Norwegian employment- and welfareorganization NAV. I use Norway as my example but Sweden and Denmark have the same system, with minor differences. 

Well organized work force based on negotiations

In many countries unions are seen as a bad thing. Not so in Scandinavia. I’m an employer myself and I love the unions because they give me a well organized opportunity to discuss and negotiate big changes with the employees, which again gives me and the company happier employees. Happy employees are an asset so even if you’re just thinking with your wallet, you should welcome anything that makes your employees happier. You might also consider thinking with your heart and not just your wallet.

Did the Vikings have unions? Were they happy with their Earl?

Did the Vikings have unions? Were they happy with their Earl?

Unions are not just important locally but also on state level. The Scandinavian countries practice something called the three-party-cooperation where the unions, the employer organizations and the government negotiate big changes to pensions, wages, maternity/paternity leaves, vacations etc. The unions speak for the employees, the employer organizations speak for the employers and the businesses and the state tries to keep spending low and satisfaction high. These yearly or bi-yearly negotiations are incredibly important and there’s a system surrounding them to make sure it’s a give and take on all three parties.

Continue reading

Finally, the moment is here! The anthology I’m a part of, will go live on March 8th – and the book is ready for pre-order!

Love in Bloom is a collection of great stories

Love in Bloom is a collection of nine romances and I can promise you the anthology holds something for everyone. You get steampunk, vampires, dog handlers–and in my story you get two cosplayers who’ve been online friends for years but are now meeting up for the first time.

How well do you know your online friend?

How well do you know your online friend?

This is the blurb to Cosplay, my story in the anthology:

Charlotte has one close friend. Unfortunately, that close friend lives in Norway, and Charlotte has never seen her before. A cosplay convention in Oslo is Charlotte’s chance at finally meeting her online BFF, but when the masks come off, Charlotte is in for a big surprise.

Links to Love in Bloom:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/LOVE-BLOOM-Spring-Romance-Collection-ebook/dp/B07P6FHS1R/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07P6FHS1R

Today is Mother’s Day in Norway. Why do Norwegians celebrate Mother’s Day the second Sunday of February?

Flowers from my daughter on Mother's Day

Flowers from my daughter on Mother’s Day

I had a great surprise waiting for me this morning. My daughter, who lives at home, woke me up with eggs and bacon, presents and some very pretty tulips. My son, who is currently in Japan with his school, FaceTimed me with hugs and kisses.

The reason? It’s Mother’s Day in Norway today.

Why does Norway celebrate Mother’s Day in February?

Mother’s Day started in the USA over a hundred years ago. In the USA, and in large parts of the world, Mother’s Day is celebrated in May.

But if Norway had chosen the second Sunday of May as Mother’s Day it might have collided with another great day in this country: The 17th of May, Norway’s National Day.

So Norway ended up, as the only country in the world, with celebrating Mother’s Day on the second Sunday of February.

Do you celebrate Mother’s Day?

Mother’s Day is celebrated a number of different dates, according to Wikipedia.

Do you celebrate Mother’s Day?

When and how do you celebrate Mother’s Day if you do celebrate it?