Thursday, 29 March 2018

Brecon to Abergavenny (Gerald’s Journey Through Wales 1188)

This is a series about the journey that Archbishop Baldwin and Gerald of Wales took in 1188 to preach the crusade throughout Wales. Gerald kept a detailed account of the journey and their surroundings, which he later published. The series began with some background posts about Gerald. If you want to read the series from the beginning, go here.

There were three routes from Brecon to Abergavenny in Gerald’s time, and for some unknown reason, the party took the most difficult.
Brecon to Abergavenny
The easiest route ran east of the Black Mountains, down the Rhiangoll and Usk valleys and past Tretower.  Tretower’s castle and manor house are the best surviving medieval monument in the region today. There was also a route down the Vale of Ewyas via Llanthony Priory. The route they took was the most difficult of the Black Mountain passes, though an established route in the twelfth century. The route climbs over two thousand feet above Talgarth and drops down to the heavily-wooded ravine of the Grwyne Fawr stream.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Machinations by Hayley Stone

This week’s recommended book is Machinations by Hayley Stone.

Machinations

Perfect for fans of Robopocalypse, this action-packed science-fiction debut introduces a chilling future and an unforgettable heroine with a powerful role to play in the battle for humanity’s survival.

The machines have risen, but not out of malice. They were simply following a command: to stop the endless wars that have plagued the world throughout history. Their solution was perfectly logical. To end the fighting, they decided to end the human race.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Brecon (Gerald’s Journey Through Wales 1188)

This is a series about the journey that Archbishop Baldwin and Gerald of Wales took in 1188 to preach the crusade throughout Wales. Gerald kept a detailed account of the journey and their surroundings, which he later published. The series began with some background posts about Gerald. If you want to read the series from the beginning, go
here. Brecknock Castle
We left our travellers last week at Llanddew, Gerald’s home. The next part of the journey took them to Brecon, a large town, where they presumably recruited more men for the coming crusade. Gerald, however, had a fascinating story to tell about William de Braose, the lord not only of Brecon but also of Radnor, Hay and Abergavenny. He was the most powerful, ruthless and hated of all the Marcher barons of this time.
Abergavenny Castle pixabay
Broken Reed (396x612) (72dpi) WebStories cover (396x612) (72dpi)Web




Friday, 16 March 2018

Return of Amazing Stories Magazine

Amazing Stories revival

Are you old enough to look back with nostalgia to the days of the pulp science fiction magazines? If not, do you wish you were? I wrote about them as part of my history of science fiction. Well, sigh no more (as Shakespeare said). Amazing Stories has been an ezine and then a website for some time and is now running a Kickstarter campaign to go into print as a proper magazine, paying authors proper rates for their short stories. I’ve backed them and I urge you to do the same. The campaign finishes on 7 April, so don’t hang about. Click on the Kickstarter link and pledge some money.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Hay on Wye and Llanddew (Gerald’s Journey Through Wales 1188)

This is a series about the journey that Archbishop Baldwin and Gerald of Wales took in 1188 to preach the crusade throughout Wales. Gerald kept a detailed account of the journey and their surroundings, which he later published. The series began with some background posts about Gerald. If you want to read the series from the beginning, go here.

Gerald was now in country he knew very well, and his book changes its character. Instead of confining himself to describing the mission, from here on he wanders off into long digressions of the stories he heard about the regions he passed through.

The first set of stories probably sprang from a yarn spinning session (perhaps at Cruker Castle) about the horrible calamities awaiting anyone who offended the local saints. The castellan of Radnor, for instance, had irreverently used the church of Llanafan Fawr (not far from Builth Wells) as a temporary kennel for his hounds – which promptly went mad, while he himself was struck blind. Those who denied their pennies to the miraculous boil-curing relic at St Harmon’s (near Rhayader) found their boils breaking out again, while the huntsman who shot a freakish dear – a doe with stag’s antlers – lost the sight of the eye he aimed with. Quite how he had offended heaven is not clear, but that tale had the authority of the newly recruited crusader Einion o’r Porth, so it must have been true.
Hay Castle Hay on Wye

Monday, 12 March 2018

News of Alien Secrets

As you will know if you follow my blog, I had a nasty dose of the flu lately. The one good thing that came out of it was that I managed to finish the latest edit of Alien Secrets, Flight of the Kestrel book 2.

Kestrel on stars upper

I finished it once and had it professionally edited. I made all the corrections, leaving the biggest problem until last: what’s known as the ‘muddy middle’. The problem in the middle was the timeline went out. I had two things going on at the same time, starting and finishing together, but one took a week and the other, two days!

It took more plot and ten thousand words to fix it, but I’m sure Alien Secrets is a much better novel for it. I have a final edit booked for April, which I hope will turn up very little to fix, and I should be launching in May or June. I’ve already started work on book 3, working title Planetfall, so it’s all happening. Watch this space.

Ann Marie Thomas head shot (80x90) (300dpi) Web GravatarAnn Marie Thomas is the author of four medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, is out now. Follow her at http://eepurl.com/bbOsyz

Saturday, 10 March 2018

New Radnor (Gerald’s Journey Through Wales 1188)

Before I was ill we were looking at the life of Gerald of Wales, and had started to consider his journey through Wales in the company of Archbishop Baldwin. They were travelling to preach the cross, but it could have other implications as the Welsh were determined that the English have no authority over the Welsh Church. Gerald was part of the company because he could preach well, but also hopefully soothe the Welsh suspicion.

The series began with some background posts about Gerald. If you want to read the series from the beginning, go
here.
Gerald of Wales

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Stray, Lab Rat One & Caszandra: the Touchstone trilogy

While I was ill I raced through the Touchstone trilogy by Angela K Höst. I was totally captivated and recommend them to you this week. Here are the covers, blurbs and my reviews.

Stray

On her last day of high school, Cassandra Devlin walked out of exams and into a forest. Surrounded by the wrong sort of trees, and animals never featured in any nature documentary, Cass is only sure of one thing: alone, she will be lucky to survive.