Saturday, May 16, 2015

Folklore of the 'Nix'

In my novel, the Saxon tribe of the Wolf Sons (who give their name to the book’s title - WULFSUNA) face a terrifying entity. What, you wonder, could put the fear into the hearts of several scores of burly Saxon warriors? Mortal enemies with swords and spears can be vanquished. Those foes do not frighten them. Even death, though often gruesome, is a fate greeted bravely, for it means acceptance to Woden’s great hall and a feast before the last great battle of the world. It is something far more sinister and foreboding that grips these men’s hearts with ice.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Writing Historical Dialogue

At a recent library book club engagement I chose to openly explore the subject of writing dialogue in historical novels. As you can imagine, this is an area of the writing process fraught with difficulties posed by which period of history you have chosen and the availability (or lack of) detail about language during that age. My audience found it fascinating, evident from their own eager input during my talk, which became more of a group discussion. (I love it when that happens, don’t you?) I decided, therefore, to expand on it and share it here.

I have found historical dialogue to be a fine balance between staying true to a period and not alienating readers. Whilst there are those whose excitement mounts at every historical term used for armour, weaponry, clothing or day-to-day utensils, not everyone is after a language lesson. The majority of readers are in search of intriguing story and larger-than-life characters. One of the ways in which we authors can move the story forward and enhance the image of our characters is through the exchange of speech. We can immediately gain a sense of character when they open their mouth.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Hand Axe & Early Saxon Warfare

Hand axes have been with us for millennia, through the Stone and Bronze Ages, since man first crafted a tool. The precursor to the modern steel axe, flinted objects were used in everyday life for killing prey on the hunt, stripping meat from a carcass and for carving bone into tools or amulets. Revered for their functionality and the reliance early man had on them, they became worthy of decoration. A postgraduate study at the University of Southampton revealed the existence of two distinct Neanderthal cultures in Europe, based on the designs of their axe heads. The Neanderthals inhabited a western and eastern region, now France and Germany. The western Neanderthal culture made symmetrical, triangular and heart-shaped hand axes. During the same period, the eastern Neanderthal culture created asymmetrical bifacial blades. Furthermore, groups from both tribes living near their borders in modern day Belgium, crafted axes using a combination of both the western and eastern designs. Dr Karen Ruebens, of the Centre for the Archaeology of Human Origins (CAHO), believes this suggests “distinct ways of making a hand axe (that) were passed on from generation to generation”. To my mind, this also shows an interest in defining weapons and territory through art, and that they were open to accepting influences from neighbouring civilisations.

Monday, August 4, 2014

'The Wolf Talk' by Shaun Ellis - A Review

REVIEW OF ‘THE WOLF TALK’ BY SHAUN ELLIS
A Tool for Research on 'Wulfsuna'

            For me, this book began as a casual dip into research on wolf behaviour, intended to supplement a character profile. I anticipated a light read that would provide me with insights into the ways wolves move and communicate, thus enabling me to transpose those elements into the character. I wanted to know how these animals hunted, ate, slept, fought, played and spoke to one another. I wanted to understand pack hierarchy. The book did not disappoint.

            ‘The Wolf Talk’ is indeed a wonderfully light read. You can breeze through the pages and come and go as you please. Shaun’s prose is relaxed and familiar. You could be sat with him in the trees, watching the wolves as he relays all he knows. The subject matter is, however, by no means light. Shaun is informing, without being condescending; he is knowledgeable whilst humble. As per the spiritual connotation for the wolf, Shaun calls them his teachers. His book is not about training wolves, it is about learning from them. Having spent a lifetime engaging with Canids in the wild and in captivity, he has a unique insight. Shaun has lived among these secretive and intelligent creatures, sleeping with them, playing with them and challenging them to retain the status of a Beta wolf within the pack. In one amazing entry he recalls how an alpha male brought him a piece of meat from a kill because, although he had defended his Beta position at the meal itself, he had consumed no flesh. Alpha and Beta wolves feed on the more sumptuous areas of rump and shoulder, consuming the higher protein meat, thereby increasing their intake of nutrients and giving them a mental and physical advantage over lower ranking wolves.

Monday, July 7, 2014

I've been a little busy recently, so my blog has been a rather serene forest. I do bring good news though, so I hope you will forgive the lull. The first book in my 'Wolf Spear Saga' series required a final edit, which has not long been completed. Then, as some of you may have seen, I commissioned Lightweaver Productions to create a book trailer to promote 'Wulfsuna'. If you haven't seen it, you can view it here. Publication is a short way away, which is very exciting though also adds to the nerves! Hopefully I will have an update by the end of summer 2014 for you.


Monday, June 2, 2014

'Meet My Main Character' - a blog hop

Another blog hop! I do love doing these and reading everyone else's 'hops'. It's so interesting to see what other writers are up to and glean an insight into their writing world. This time I've been tagged by a fellow Dark Ages author Matthew Harffy. Matthew is currently writing a series of novels set in Seventh Century Northumbria, the first of these being 'The Serpent Sword'. You can read all about his main character in his blog hop here

As for me, come and meet my main character WULFGAR OF SACHSEN:-

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Antagonist or Protagonist?

ANTAGONIST: An opponent or adversary opposing action of another
PROTAGONIST: Principal character, supporter of a cause, from Greek = First Actor

Recently, whilst working on my WIP, I examined principal character interaction to solve some issues. Something interesting revealed itself. Let me explain (keeping names aside so as not to reveal plot spoilers!). There is an antagonist, one of my hero’s nemeses. He opposes the hero’s actions and becomes an untrustworthy adversary. However, he is opposing the hero because of something he believes in, a ‘cause’ (see ‘Protagonist’ above). Likewise I have a protagonist who, at the beginning of my story, opposes most things and people he comes across, including long-standing friends (see ‘Antagonist’ above).