*** This is a cross post from my daily blog because I feel guilty about not posting anything here for weeks. *** photo by Jennifer Durham Around my wrist I wear a set of 73 carnelians cut and faceted in Roman workshops in the first century. They were a present from Kelley for our tenth […]Read more "2,000 year-old carnelians"
Medieval stocking stuffers! What a cool idea. (Via Heavenfield.) Pewter whatchamacallits from Aebba Art Gallery. I’ve always been very fond of pewter–though I hated polishing it when I was a child. It was always my job before Christmas: rub rub, polish polish, tuh. It was the old-fashioned kind of pewter, too, with lead; hand-hammered. Beautiful […]Read more "pewter Hild"
I know very well (that is, I think I know) that ‘harps’ in Hild’s time were essentially lyres, like this: reproduction of Sutton Hoo lyre at the British Museum However, story-wise my notions of ‘harp’ are so strong that I’ve taken the liberty of giving Anglo-Saxons gut-strung lyres, like the one above, and the British–especially […]Read more "most heinous use of a musical instrument–so far"
illustration of 10th century (I think) sleeping arrangements I’ve been working on my Hild novel for a year now. She is twelve. I have 75,000 words. (To put that in context, most novels are around 100,000.) If you believe Bede’s suspicious symmetry, she lived to the ripe old age of 66–so this is turning into […]Read more "Update on Hild, plus Where do they sleep?"
I don’t know much about dogs; my sister had one when I was seven, but I’m a cat person. Nothing against dogs, I’ve just always lived in cities, which I think is a hostile environment for large dogs (and small dogs, in my experience–small though it is–tend to yap). So, regarding dogs: utterly ignorant. I’ve […]Read more "dogs in the 7th century"
Hild is still prepubescent, but I’m already turning my research attention to sexuality. (In writing terms, I need to have facts about four years ahead of character and plot development so my unconscious brain can be knitting things together without having to worry about taking things to places my conscious brain later finds impossible.) So […]Read more "The Beautiful Sin"
I’ve been asked twice in the last week (once over at my personal blog, once during a discussion with an Oregon book group about my most recent novel, Always) about charts: do I use them? What are they like? Are they on the wall? So I thought I’d talk a little about my process for […]Read more "Charty process porn"
Today I got my copy of British Archaeology (May/June 2008) in the mail. On p.30-37 there was a wonderful, detailed article, “The Lost Royal cult of Street House Yorkshire,” on the finds at Street House Farm, near Saltburn, North Yorkshire, the ‘possible cult centre’ graves with the fabulous jewellery. Everything is now beginning to make […]Read more "no comparison"
Time to confess: I’ve been taking unconscionable liberties with a well-known historical character. I took a very brief and most definitely dubious mention of a possible siege of Bebbanburg by Fiachnae mac Báetáin of the Dál nAraidi, turned it into reality (well, fiction). But that’s not the worst of it: then I had one of […]Read more "Most Heinous Use of an Historical Character (So Far…)"
I now have 37,000 words. Hild is ten. She has just deliberately assumed the uncomfortable mantle of lightbringer, per her mother’s prophetic dream. She knows she has no otherwordly gifts, but she knows this is the only way to persuade the king to do certain things she–being a very bright and observant child–believes to be […]Read more "General Update"