Cerbonius’s Counsel

scrollAware that he was soon to die, Cerbonius bequeathed all the wisdom he had garnered over his long and colourful life to his spiritual son, Silvanus, in the form of a scroll of warnings and admonitions for young Christian believers.

Silvanus would have liked to read Cerbonius’s advice out loud and ask for explanations where necessary. But the aged Bishop was too weak. So I’ve taken the liberty of here reproducing the headlines of that catalogue, together with some comments the Saint would have voiced had he had the strength: Continue reading

Translating English into English

I’m afraid she did exactly what I feared. Much to my grief, the good lady editor said my book was unworthy. And she begged me not to take steps toward self-publishing, like finding someone to design a cover for it.

‘It’s far too long. The plot is all over the place. Most of the action happens off stage. It doesn’t resonate with a young adult readership. And it’s too preachy.’

I was devastated.translator

One point she made, which others have also mentioned, was that Cerbonius‘s archaic speech didn’t work. I had given him that antiquated argot because I wanted him to come over as old and provincial. But if it didn’t work, it needed to be changed, I told myself. It needed to be translated from English into English.  Continue reading

Re-Vision

It’s one thing to say I have completed the first draft of Aquila – all 34½ chapters – but quite another to say my book is finished.V+Aquila

I’ve benefitted greatly from the constructive and critical feedback I’ve received over more than two years through kindly colleagues in the Ubergroup on Scribophile and through less tolerant friends at the OtherWorlds Writing Group in Zürich. Considering all the – sometimes contradictory – remarks and suggestions was a major job. Then I started on some other issues I knew needed attention.

The next stage was a chapter-by-chapter Combo Check with Pro Writing Aid (Have a look at their Special Offer), which revealed a huge number of stylistic weaknesses, such as sticky words, far too many adverbs, repeated words, long sentences and overuse of things like ‘think’, ‘believe’, ‘then’, ‘heard’, ‘just’, etc.Revision ToDo's

A professional editor requested a double-spaced hardcopy, so I had two drafts printed. The second is for my own use – to read aloud (my wife has volunteered as a captive audience) and for further reviewing.

There’s still a way to go and – unless the editor says it’s unworthy of publishing – one of the next steps will be to have a cover designed.

Aquila won’t be on the shelves tomorrow!

My new office

IMG_20151217_161526Snow-covered Alps in the distance, a red kite complaining about having been chased from its realm by angry crows, a waxing moon and last rays of sunshine at 4 pm on the 17th of December!

Having completed the first draft of my book, much revision is called for. One approach I’ve discovered is to read it out aloud, chapter by chapter, and listen to what it sounds like. What better place to do that than a hunter’s hide at the edge of the woods? The deer, foxes and hares don’t object.

Mending and recycling clothing in Late Antiquity

Originally posted at Visualising Late Antiquity by

Clothing in Late Antiquity was not the disposable commodity it is nowadays; it was valuable enough to be named in a will, used as surety for loans, or included in a dowry. Literary sources suggest that wealthy and high status individuals had many and beautiful clothes, however for the middle and lower classes clothing was an expensive necessity that was not to be wasted. This was true for the majority of the population, and ranged from enslaved and poverty stricken workers to the relatively prosperous members of the working middle class. While we might expect the former to have ragged and patched clothing, the evidence indicates that even members of the latter group might have needed used or recycled clothing as well as materials to embellish, mend and maintain their clothes.

A child’s wool tunic featuring skilful darning in matching wool (Whitworth Art Gallery T.8375). [Photo: Faith Morgan]

Faith Morgan’s examination of Late Antique garments shows that even high quality garments were …

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