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Archive for August, 2012

Chapter 50 c’est fini…

August 27th, 2012

I’ve just finished the first draft of chapter 50 (the last chapter) of Dancing the Maypole. The story decided the last scene should be an epilogue (which will make sense when you read it) so the story is finished, but not finished. At the moment the story has about 138,700 words (the length of two of my novels). One thousand or so words more and it will be finished. I feel like dancing!

Dancing the Maypole

Book review: Monsters & Grotesques…

August 26th, 2012

On Friday I spent several pleasant hours in my favorite bookshop. I found three books I had to have; one of them a slim paperback called Monsters and Grotesques in Medieval Manuscripts by Alixe Bovey. If you’ve ever looked at photos of old manuscripts you’ve probably noticed the weird creatures in the margins. Bovey’s book is only 59 pages long (and less than ten inches high), but it has lots of lovely colour photographs and offers a fascinating glimpse into why our Medieval ancestors wanted these fantastical creatures in the margins of their books (assuming I had Medieval ancestors who could read let alone afford a book).

What I didn’t know was that a lot of these monsters were actually considered real. I just assumed they were the creations of drunken monks bored out of their minds after transcribing the same book for the umpteenth time. I didn’t know that most of these odd looking creatures were believed to be real monsters living in far away lands or that books describing these monsters went back to the Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD Rome). This is an amazing example of fiction passed down through centuries as factual information. Read more…

Book Reviews, History Notes

Friday in Stamford…

August 25th, 2012

Yesterday I spent the day in Stamford. It was my turn to help clean the chapel, but we didn’t have to do much as intrepid Bill (an Irishman in his 70’s with a bad shoulder) had already cleaned half the building. Thank you Bill! While waiting for my fellow cleaners in the garden the sun came out and then a strange cat appeared. All black except for the tip of its tail which was white, it was long and lean with a long face, like an ancient Egyptian cat. And as soon as it saw me it started talking and staring at me as if attempting to hypnotize me into producing some nice tinned tuna out of the air. The day was pleasant if exhausting (not so much the cleaning as the walking around carrying a heavy bag). After several hours in the bookstore I bought a sandwich and walked to the meadow near the river where I found some photos as it started to rain. These were some of my favorite shots of the day. Read more…

I've been taking photographs

The Day the saucers came…

August 15th, 2012

They say a change is as good as a rest. Children slaving in Victorian mills twelve hours a day might have disagreed, but I write romances. I don’t crawl through machinery worrying about losing a limb or my life (though I suppose there’s still time – who knows what the future holds) so when I came across a challenge on Chuck Wendig’s blog to write a 1000 word story using one of three opening sentences he’d chosen from a previous challenge (I thought my sentence was the best – clearly he disagreed) I had to give it go. I picked the one I liked least and this is what I wrote… It’s a dialogue between two boys…

“Everyone else remembers it as the day the saucers came, but I remember it as the day a man in a suit shot my father…”

“Your old man was run over by a lawn mower. Suits and Saucers my ass…”

“Your ass is large enough to land a saucer on! I saw the man in the suit with my own eyes…”

“Your dad was pushed off the mower by that lady golfer because he came mowing out of nowhere and ruined her eagle. It was on the news. They even had footage of your dad’s head missing, at least it looked like it was missing. It might have been pressed into the grass. It was hard to tell with all the blood. The woman got ten years for aggravated assault. Aliens don’t show up at court wearing butt-ugly plaid pants.” Read more…

A Short Story

Millais must have been haunting my camera…

August 15th, 2012

On Saturday I got to go out for the day. Outside the sun was shining through the trees over this little pond. I only had my i-phone so I didn’t think any of the photos would turn out, but I got several magical shots (at least I think they’re magical). When I was taking the pictures I was focusing on the light and shadows on the water… Read more…

I've been taking photographs

Update on Dancing the Maypole…

August 9th, 2012

I was hoping to be done by now, but the last three weeks (months) it’s been one illness after the other before during and after the Goblin’s summer holiday (which was a wash out as it rained almost every day). Today the sun came out. I finally felt well after getting some decent sleep (so my brain was working) so I was able to finish chapter 49 (for the third time). I think there’s only one more chapter and then it’s done done done. I live in hope.

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