Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Chester to Shrewsbury (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.

Chester to Shrewsbury

Gerald seems to have enjoyed his Easter break. He wrote about the cheeses made from deer’s milk which were made by the dowager countess of Chester, local freaks and oddities, and two mysterious Chester hermits, whose identities were only revealed when they died. One was supposed to be Harold Godwinson (with one eye) who had escaped from his defeat at the battle of Hastings.

The other was the German emperor Heinrich V, who was supposed to have faked his own death and lived as a hermit for years in Chester. But this story had scandalous repercussions because Heinrich was the first husband of Henry II’s mother. If he did not die then her second marriage was bigamous, and the king was illegitimate!

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Science Research: Launching

I’m doing some science research before starting seriously on my next book. My first book is Entering Space: Creating a Space Faring Civilisation by Robert Zubrin, published in 1999.

Entering Space

The first thing I learned was that the biggest obstacle to space travel is gravity.

Current-day rockets [1999]... can deliver about one percent of their take-off mass to orbit - - most (about 90 percent) of the remaining mass is propellant. 

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Rhuddlan to Chester (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.

Rhuddlan to Chester

The travellers set out from Rhuddlan the Wednesday before Good Friday and although they were in a hurry they made a detour to St Asaph's cathedral where Archbishop Baldwin said Mass. This completed the assertion of his authority over all four Welsh dioceses. This was an important part of the purpose of this journey. The Welsh Church had declared its independence from the English Church and Baldwin took the opportunity of travelling round the country, to celebrate Mass in the Welsh cathedrals.

Monday, 20 August 2018

Science Research

Science Fiction can be categorised by how much science is in it. Some hard SF books are written by people who have science qualification and try really hard to have genuine science in their books, or a plausible extrapolation of what real science might achieve in the future. I'm currently reading a book with so much detailed science in it that it goes right over my head, but the book is so good that I'm still absorbed in it. The science lends authenticity, even though the story is set thousands of years in the future and a lot of it must be made up.

The Complete Intrepid Saga

Monday, 13 August 2018

Bangor to Conwy (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.

Following their recruiting efforts on Anglesey, the group crossed back over the Menai Strait and stayed the night in Bangor. In Bangor they were shown the tomb of Prince Owain Gwynedd, which was a mistake.

Saturday, 11 August 2018

Are You Divergent?

Science fiction is not all aliens and space battles. In the best books the scenarios the characters battle through change them and teach them lessons we can all benefit from. Think about this from Allegiant in the Divergent series by Veronica Roth:

Allegiant film

“Take away someone’s fear, or low intelligence, or dishonesty... and you take away their compassion. Take away someone’s aggression and you take away their motivation, or their ability to assert themselves. Take away their selfishness and you take away their sense of self-preservation. If you think about it, I’m sure you know exactly what I mean.”

I tick off each quality in my mind as he says it—fear, low intelligence, dishonesty, aggression, selfishness. He is talking about the factions. And he’s right to say that every faction loses something when it gains a virtue: the Dauntless, brave but cruel; the Erudite, intelligent but vain; the Amity, peaceful but passive; the Candor, honest but inconsiderate; the Abnegation, selfless but stifling.

What about you? Would you fit into one of the factions or are you more well-rounded? Does your bravery make you cruel, your intelligence make you vain, your peace make you passive? Worth a bit of self-examination.

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

Monday, 6 August 2018

Anglesey (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.

From Bangor Archbishop Baldwin and his party took ship across the Menai Strait to the island of Anglesey (Ysys Môn). The local Prince was Rhodri ab Owain, and he had gathered all the local inhabitants in a nearby natural amphitheatre to hear the preaching. Tradition marks the place as Cerrig Y Borth, which today is not far from the Menai suspension bridge.

Anglesey

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Flight of the Kestrel Major Change

Kestrel on stars upper
The Flight of the Kestrel series consists of four novels so far. The first, Intruders, is published. The second, Alien Secrets, is almost ready to publish. The other two are outlined but barely started. While I do the final polishing on Alien Secrets I have started work on the third book, Planetfall, but I have just changed my mind. I surprised myself!

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Nefyn to Bangor (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.

Towyn to Rhuddlan

The reason Archbishop Baldwin and his party came to Nefyn was not so Gerald could find Merlin’s prophecies, it was to preach the crusade. This they did on Palm Sunday, and had a good response. But the Archbishop was keen to push on, and the next stage of their journey was a long one. So they set off immediately for Bangor. It was exhausting.