Monday, 29 October 2018

Gerald and Saints and Miracles

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, and is continuing with more interesting facets of his life and work. If you want to read the series from the beginning, go here.

Gerald may have been unsure about the existence of fairies, but he had no doubts about saints and miracles. He believed, as did the vast majority of British people at that time, that saints were holy men and women, and the miracles they did during their lifetime or after death were a demonstration of the power of God and the sanctity of their lives. He witnessed four miracles personally during the journey through Wales: the cure of the old woman of Haverfordwest, inspiring the audience in Haverfordwest who didn’t understand Gerald’s language, punishing the Cardigan woman and the scornful young aristocrats of Anglesey.

Saint David


Saturday, 27 October 2018

A Brief History of the Future

I’ve been writing about my science research for my science fiction writing. One of the books I bought was called, in full, A Brief History of the Future, the Third Millennium and Human Colonization of the Solar System: The Terraforming of Mars and Venus (HHcSS Book 1) by Charles Joynson.

A Brief History of the Future

The blurb says, 

This is a history of the progress humans made in colonising the solar system between the years 2000 and 3067. It includes descriptions of how our ancestors terraformed Mars and Venus, how they gave these planets atmospheres and oceans, how they used life to make them habitable and how science changed both the people and their machines.

Monday, 22 October 2018

Gerald and Demons, Prophets and Fairies

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, and is continuing with more interesting facets of his life and work. If you want to read the series from the beginning, go here.

In the 12th century there was no question about whether you were religious or not. The church was a given and threat of excommunication was enough to keep most people in line. At the same time, science was in its infancy, and anything that couldn't be explained by faith was attributed to demons or fairies. Most people believed that demons were allowed by God to tempt people.

Demons St Catherine of Siena

Sunday, 21 October 2018

The Mars Society

I've been sharing things from research for my science fiction, particularly from Exploring Space by Robert Zubrin. Frustrated with the lack of response to his The Case for Mars, which advocates working towards a human colony on Mars, he gathered like minded people together and formed the Mars Society in 1998. I went to their website to check them out and was so impressed with their founding declaration that I decided to share it with you.

This declaration describes the motivation for the Mars Society.  It was ratified by 700 attendees at the organization's founding convention held in August 1998 at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado.

Mars Society logo

Monday, 15 October 2018

The Medieval Castle Haynes Manual

I will be returning to the last few articles about Gerald of Wales next week, but I thought I would share the book I just bought in The Works. For those outside the UK this is a chain of shops that sell remaindered books and end of lines. You get really good books really cheap, which is brilliant. And toys, and art and craft materials and calendars etc.

Anyway, let me introduce you to the Haynes Manual for The Medieval Castle.

The Medieval Castle Haynes manual

Monday, 8 October 2018

Gerald and the Creatures of Wales

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, and is continuing with more interesting facets of his life and work. If you want to read the series from the beginning, go here.

Falconry1

Gerald of Wales was at his best describing creatures he observed himself. He described not only creatures around in every day life, like falcons, hunting dogs and all varieties of fish, but he was concerned about wildlife for its own sake. This was almost unheard of in the twelfth century. He took advantage of his journey through Wales to observe and record all sorts of wildlife.

He noted the song of the oriole, the habits of beavers, and noticed that the jackdaws of St Davids were so used to the priests that they showed no fear of anyone dressed in black.

Beaver coat of arms

His notes on beavers were remarkably accurate. He reported that when transporting wood for their dams they got into teams. One team gnawed down trees, another team would lie on their backs clutching a log to their bellies, with another branch in their teeth. A third team would bite onto the branch in the others' teeth and haul them to the river, where they carried the log to the dam like living wagons. Here is Gerald's description of the dams:

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Science Fiction and Fantasy Promotion 6-7 October


Patty SFF Promo 6-7 Oct 2018
Patty Jansen’s 99c promotion is on this weekend [click here] and Alien Secrets is in the Adventure Science Fiction category! But hurry, the promotion ends on Sunday and by Monday the price for Alien Secrets will be 1.99. Flight of the Kestrel book 1, Intruders, is also reduced.
Alien Secrets cover
The book launch is going well, and if you missed the Facebook Live launch on Thursday the link is here.

Alien Secrets is about Shom Reuel, the Altairian crewman on the Kestrel. Shom Reuel and two crewmates rescue a man after a failed mission to look for a secret weapon. Their ship is pursued and damaged. On another planet for repairs and medical treatment, the man disappears, and is rescued again. When pursuing ships are inexplicably destroyed, both Reuel and his captain struggle with the man’s identity, and the shock triggers something in Reuel that is a closely-guarded secret among his people. Can this man be trusted? How should they deal with the people hunting for him, and what should they do to protect not only the crew, but the galaxy?

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, and book two Alien Secrets, are out now. Follow her at http://eepurl.com/bbOsyz

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Alien Secrets Launches Today!

Alien Secrets cover

The eagerly awaited second book in the Flight of the Kestrel science fiction series, Alien Secrets, is launched on Kindle TODAY!

On a failed mission to look for a secret weapon, Shom Reuel of the Kestrel saves a man – twice. It seems everyone wants him, but is he a friend or a deadly enemy? And will the shock of his identity cause Reuel to reveal his people’s greatest secret?

There are some exciting things happening…