Showing posts from September, 2009

Saxon Gold

Gold Hilt Fitting

It might interest my Medieval author friends, that over the past few days a hoard of Anglo Saxon gold has been unearthed in a Staffordshire field. British archaeological experts say this is one of the largest caches of Anglo-Saxon treasure ever found.

The 1,500-piece find is on par with the Book of Kells, one of the best-known illuminated manuscripts in the world.Among the treasures, which authorities believe date to the 7th and 8th centuries AD Anglo-Saxon period, are sword hilt fittings, helmet pieces, crosses and a strip of gold bearing a Latin inscription from the Bible.

This gold strip carries the Latin inscription: "Rise up O Lord, and may thy enemies be dispersed and those who hate thee be driven from thy face." It has two sources, the Book of Numbers or Psalm 67, taken from the Vulgate, the Bible used by the Saxons.

The hoard is a very male-oriented, war-related collection; possibly a private cache of an elite Saxon warrior or warriors, or had been stol…

Research Is Great . . .

I was fortunate to be invited by Victoria Bradley, the National Trust Collections Manager at Ham House to talk about the history of the Murray family. Victoria kindly let me loose on her bookshelf and filing cabinet, which I thought was very generous of her as we had never met before. Anyway, I found some very interesting snippets I didn't know about that happened at Ham during the Civil War, and how the Sequestration Committee hounded the Murrays.

A few things I found contradicted other sources, including Elizabeth Murray's official biography, which means I will have to re-write at least one chapter of my work in progress, possibly two. Courtesy of Victoria, I am now in possession of photocopies of some of these documents, one of them being an almost complete survey of the plants and trees in the grounds - the detail is fascinating. One interesting point is that events are marked not by actual date, but by 'Feast of St Michael the Archangel', and 'Lady Day'.


Historical Fiction Is Back

James Frain, who played Thomas Cromwell in 'The Tudors'

According to the daily Mail, and probably other higher brow newspapers I don't read - The shortlist for the Booker Prize was unveiled on 8th September, and an historical novel by a Derbyshire born author, Hilary Mantelis the hottest favourite to win.

Wolf Hall, is the story of Thomas Cromwell, adviser to Henry VIII, and set in and around the Tudor court. Literary experts [whoever they are] say its success has proved the rising popularity of historical fiction. Janine Cook, fiction buyer for Waterstone's, said: 'Historical fiction is huge at the moment. It's fantastic to see it get the recognition it deserves.' [hear hear from this blogger]

A Ladbrokes spokesman said: 'There's only one novel in town as far as punters are concerned. 'Mantel has attracted more money than the rest of the field combined.' The winner will be announced at London's Guildhall on October 6.

That's got to be…

Kreativ Blog Award

I have been asked to accept and pass on this award by Ginger Simpson in the interests of author promotion. I apologise now to those on the list below for loading you with something else you have to pass on, but I for one always look at the blog lists and I am sure others will look at yours too.

Thus I hope by giving this to you, more people get to see your blog.

Rule for Passing on the Kreativ Blogger Award
It functions as a meme---list 7 of your favorite things, 7 of your favorite activities, 7 things no one knows about you.

Seven of my favorite things: my laptop, chocolate, family, gorillas, chilli, anchovies and books.

Seven of my favorite activities: writing, reading, visiting historic houses, dinner parties [giving and attending], travelling, cooking, [cannot think of a seventh, well OK I can, but I wouldn't want to shock anyone]

Seven things no one knows about me: Tricky one, as the reason no one knows those things is because I don't want them to! So I'm missing this one o…

Rules Are Made To Be Broken?

As many of my regular visitors know, I also write book reviews for the Historical Novel Review Blog and not simply books I buy myself. Publishers actually ask us to review books for them and post them on our blog. Yes really!

Anyway, the reason I mentioned this, was I have recently finished a novel that has evidently found an enthusiastic publisher despite the fact the writer ignored many of the rules - perhaps to be kinder I ought to say sidestepped - editors tell me are vital for a manuscript to be considered for publication.

The author constantly dips into omnicient PoV and out again, writes really short scenes which launch the reader into another location with a new set of characters before you have any vision of the previous ones, and then head hops from one character to another and back again. There is also lots of passive voice where it isn't necessary: e.g. one character asks, 'What are you recommending?' The attributions often come before the dialogue: i.e. She sai…

FTC Guidelines

In accordance with FTC guidelines concerning blogging endorsements, any books reviewed on this site I have either purchased, or received from the publisher in return for an honest review and without financial incentive.

As an affiliate, I receive a tiny dividend from books purchased through the Amazon links displayed on my blog and/or blogs on which reviews are posted.