Of Gods and Demons

I woke up the otheTonttur morning to find this little fellow threatening me with his lightsaber! I had thought he was a wee harmless angel, who just sat there, minding his own business. Had he come to life? What made him so unfriendly, all of a sudden? Or was it, perhaps just me, imagining things? Continue reading

Why is book-writing like renovating a patio?

PatioI took a week off work to write my book… and to renovate the patio. The latter won.

I won’t say I made no progress at all on the book, but it was minor. Instead, I set to work planning the garden job, clearing the area, ripping up worn-out paving stones, relocating ants’ nests, tearing out weeds, buying requisites and hiring a van to take them home, asking permission to unload on the neighbour’s drive, to avoid having to carry the heavy stuff up the steps, and persuading my son and daughter-in-law to help.

Continue reading

My Preciousss!

Poverty is a major issue in the life of Silvanus’ family. It’s hard enough to find food each day, let alone being able to afford new clothes, tools, or – in the case of Dad, Cornelius – a fishing boat.

Together with poverty, there is often a deep-set longing for riches. If only I had the money…

  • … I’d buy new shoes
  • … I’d go to a proper school
  • … I’d travel
  • … I’d be able to marry, support a family.

So it’s not surprising, when Silvanus happens to find a cave full of crystals, that he gets excited and begins to dream big… Continue reading

Show or tell?

Some gleanings from from the Zürich Writers’ Workshop, 13.-14.4.2013

ZWWI was in the Storytelling Fundamentals stream with instructor Sam North, who teaches Creative Writing at Exeter University. We were about 15 participants from all over the world – Philippines, Sweden, Nigeria, India, USA, UK, Switzerland – mostly living in the Zürich area. A very interactive, stimulating group. I hope to keep in contact with you guys and gals! Continue reading

Who knows the answer?

How much was a pound of fresh mussels worth at the Fabricia market in 570 AD?Books

Writing a historic novel set on Elba in Late Antiquity involves a great deal of background research. Books do exist, which relate events and discuss political and economic developments, as well as religious and social aspects of life in those turbulent times.

But getting answers to some of the simple everyday questions is not always so easy: Continue reading

Extremely useful authoring tool

Among many interesting bits and bites, the December 2012 issue of The Woolf plugged the personal writing editor and coach Pro Writing Aid. Perhaps you all know and use it already.

I tried out the free online version and very soon subscribed to the premium edition, which, among other things, builds the proofing features right into the WordPress editor, so one doesn’t have to copy large chunks of text back and forth. An incredible boon for bloggers! Continue reading

Trial by Trek

Aquila, Chapter 1, Excerpts

Slowly – ever so slowly – we trudge on up the steep hillside, from terrace to dilapidated terrace, all of us heavily laden, dripping with sweat. Crispus is no problem; he’s a follower. But it seems Hercules doesn’t like going just with me, without Dad to lead him. Perhaps he’s right to object. Why did Dad send me anyway? It’s a man’s job. And me all alone! It’s not fair of him, giving me such a difficult task at my age. Usually, we’ve been away for about two weeks; can I cope that long alone? What if something goes wrong? I might break a leg. Or get lost. Or robbed. Continue reading

Food and Clothing, etc.

Food

Cereals, vegetables and fruits were certainly more common on the table than meat. But since these – unlike bones – are seldom preserved, this is difficult to verify. Common foods were certainty oats, spelt and einkorn; somewhat less common barley, rye, cone wheat, emmer, and millet. From these, porridge, grit and flour were made. Legumes, olives and various nuts, fruits and vegetables were also cultivated. The diet was enriched by collecting wild herbs.
Pigs were especially important as a source of meat. Milk was also produced, which was sometimes processed into cheese. Continue reading