Monday, May 28, 2007

Italian Lions etc

Just dropping by to say that this is the Italian cover for The Greatest Knight. My Italian publishers, however, are going to call it The Scarlet Lion, to match the device on the cover, and they'll find a new title for the UK The Scarlet Lion. A bit confusing for me the author, but a good idea for the Italian publication. I love the translation of the title. Doesn't it just roll off the tongue!

In other news, I've almost finished with the proofs for A Place Beyond Courage and we're almost there with the cover too. I've also been sorting out future projects in my head. Too soon to talk about them at the moment, but the ideas department is bustling away in the background.

Current Research Reading: The Domesday Book: A Complete translation published by Penguin - rather heavy to hold up in the bath it has to be said!

Fiction: Recently finished New Moon by Stephenie Meyer. Superstar author in the making, mark my words!
About to start Brethren by Robyn Young.

Music - Currently being inspired by HIM and Wicked Game. Cor!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The proof is out there!

This morning the page proofs arrived for A PLACE BEYOND COURAGE. It's my last chance to add any final tweaks to the novel. After this it'll be cast in stone and any mistakes will be there for posterity. It's been quite a journey writing this novel about John Marshal. I was curious to discover more about the man behind the notorious 'Anvils and hammers' speech that John made when faced with the hanging of his 5 year old son. 'He said that he did not care about the child, since he still had the anvils and hammers to produce even finer ones.' What I've found through my own digging and what he has chosen to reveal to me, have made me realise that despite that apparently callous speech (and sometimes things are not what they seem) without John Marshal's absolute bravery in the face of impossible odds, William himself would not have come to greatness.
I hope to return to more regular blogging soon, but for the moment I beg a moment's indulgence to visit with John.
I open the novel with a few lines from the Histoirede Guillaume le Mareschal and they are, I think, fitting indeed to the personalities of theMarshal men.

Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n'i chasront

The brave and the valiant are to be sought
often between the hooves of horses
for never will cowards fall down there.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Conroi de Vey

As many of you know, I re-enact with living history society Regia Anglorum - which means Kingdoms of England. The society's brief is to accurately portray the peoples living in the UK between the years of 954 and 1066. However it does go outside these parameters and the membership has expertise stretching from early Anglo Saxon through to the late Norman/early Angevin period.
The society is divided into various local branches who take on a particular ethnicity valid to their area during this period. Being as I live not far from Nottingham, and I have a yen for all things Norman, I belong to the Notts branch of Regia, the Conroi de Vey, who are Norman orientated, but also have a very strong Saxon contingent. Recently, thanks to the efforts of Nathan - big beardy chap in the middle of the photo, De Vey has its own website - still an infant, but coming on well. Here's the url.
Generally speaking, a conroi is a Norman warband of around 25 troops. (I read the other day that a constabulary was ten. Something I didn't know!). Due to writing and family commitments I don't always get to the shows that Regia Anglorum puts on round the country, but I will be slaving over a hot cauldron at the Tollerton village show next month in good company with the rest of de Vey. Among our ranks we have a skilled weapons smith, a woodturner, a leather worker and a textile expert. I dabble on the cookery side. I may not be able to spin wool worth a bean, but I do manage a mean beef and cumin stew!