It’s Greek to Me: Five Surprising Facts I’ve Learned So Far Researching the Ancient World

Ancient Greek men at a symposium (being entertained by a female musician) (painted mixing bowl, c. 420 BC)

It took me two whole years, which is at least a year and a half too long.

Ever since I decided my next writing project would be my first (incomplete, shelved) novel – a fantasy – rewritten as historical fiction and set in Ancient Greece, I knew I had to seriously beef up my knowledge of that period in history.

In many ways, this would be me starting from ground zero in my research.

Continue reading

For the (Carnal, Courtly, and Hypocritical) Love of Books

Books I’ve stolen borrowed from others (and haven’t even read yet)

I almost never lend people books.  But I have no problem borrowing those that belong to others.

I fully acknowledge the hypocrisy, and perhaps even level of selfishness, that applies to this policy of mine.

I’m not even a particularly good borrower of other people’s books.  Or rather, good returner of them, I should say.

Continue reading

Medieval (Forest) Law & Order (Medieval Mondays #6e)

No examination of medieval hunting would be complete without a more thorough discussion of forest law.

1225 reissue of England’s 1217 Charter of the Forest

To say nothing for the corresponding legend – one that lives on to this day – that grew up surrounding it.

As mentioned in my first post about medieval hunting, forest law stipulated such matters as who was permitted to hunt what and when, what the punishment for poachers would be, and even how many talons were permitted on dogs that lived in households and villages within a royal forest.

Continue reading

All the Bells and Jesses: Falconry in the Middle Ages (Medieval Mondays #6d)

In the medieval times, hunting with dogs was the most typical form of the sport.

It wasn’t, however, the only way to bring down prey – or even the most popular one, particularly among the noble class.

Neither were deer and boar – which were restricted to all but the king and his favourites – foxes, hares, squirrels, and other beasts of the warren the only quarry that was hunted during the Middle Ages.

Continue reading

On Writers, Sensitivity, and the Supposed Threat to Free Speech

Last week, I wrote about sensitivity readers.

That is to say, about those who are subject matter experts on different forms of marginalization in society, who writers can recruit to help them bring verisimilitude to the portrayal of marginalized characters in fiction.

The use of sensitivity readers is a growing trend in fiction as more and more stories about marginalized characters are being published – particularly since more and more of these sorts of stories are being written by writers who themselves are not marginalized.

Continue reading

On Writers, Sensitivity, and the Savvy of Modern Readers

Fiction writers have always employed the advice and experiences of subject-matter experts to help bring authenticity to their stories.

Sensitivity readers, as it happens, are subject-matter experts on experiences with different types of marginalization in mainstream society.

Continue reading

My Cheating Writing Heart

good-and-evil-hearts

Usually, it’s writing that I cheat on other activities with.

Many years ago, in a fluke of proprioception I’m largely unable to reproduce with my moods and in other activities, I mastered the skill of daydreaming with a neutral expression on my face.

This revolutionized the way I move through the world, for it enabled me to almost always be working on my writing, even when I’m not literally writing.

Continue reading