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 friendly colleagues in the Ubergroup on Scribophile and though 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 ProWritingAid, 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-space hardcopy, so I had two copies 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 …

View original

Historical Novel Blog Tour

Intro 

As an author of a mere half of a book, I feel greatly honoured to have been invited by the enterprising Tiffani Burnett-Velez to participate in her Historical Novel Blog Tour, mingling with such illustrious writers as Meara PlattDouglas HawkinsA. David SinghClaudia LongGreg MichaelsBarbara Eppich StrunaEleanor Parker Sapia. Thanks for the privilege.

Who you are, where you’re from, your writing credits

The bearded one

I wrote this bit under palms in the Brazilian jungle, sipping a freshly-made caipirinha. All nine family members – including two charming grandchildren – were visiting our daughter-in-law’s relatives for Christmas.

Born in (old) Jersey GB, my father was Swiss, my mother of French Huguenot stock. I studied physics in London and met my Finnish wife in Geneva during a research project at CERN. After many moves, we have settled in a beautiful village near Zürich, Switzerland. I’m now facing the prospect of retirement. Continue reading

I asked a Hippie for an Eagle

Kili and Kwee were real eagles. Nothing to be afraid of. Not like the fearsome AquilaAquila, who never took his eyes off you, always looking for a chance to punish you for things you hadn’t actually done.

Silvanus had spent many an hour watching them – masters of soaring – as they hunted for dormice or frogs, or repaired one of last year’s nests in preparation for a new family. Continue reading

Why the Geese?

Cerbonius and his geeseCerbonius was a colourful character — priest, refugee, hermit, bishop, bear-tamer, animal-lover, miracle-worker and sensational papal visitor — who was later canonised by the Roman Catholic Church. He is remembered for his intimate relationship with God, “a man with a venerable life, who gave evidence of great holiness”, as St. Gregory the Great wrote in his “Dialogues”. Continue reading