Fantasy Art Friday

Get inspired with this week’s Fantasy Art Friday, where fun fantasy artwork is combined with a writing prompt to get your creative juices flowing.


It has been a long, exhausting day of walking through harsh mountain terrain. You’re cold, hungry, your muscles are aching, and the sun is about to set. Suddenly you come upon this place, nestled onto the top of a nearby peak. The windows are lit up with a friendly glow, and there is smoke rising from the chimney. The musk of burning wood that carries on the wind makes you long for warm, dry clothes, and a hot meal. But this is a strange place to live, remote and barren, with no good place to grow food, keep livestock, or even hunt for game. Who lives there, and how do they survive in this harsh climate?

This image made me think of my short story about Delevan, a young man whose village was destroyed by wyverns during the Era of Desolation in my world’s extensive history. Salvaged from the wreckage was an important tome, and Delevan was entrusted to deliver it to a monastery in the mountains for safekeeping. The journey was not a simple one, and he met an unexpected foe on the way… But that is only one possible story. What’s yours?

House in Mountains

(Artist Juan C. Barquet)

 

What’s New Wednesday: Get a Free Copy of my Short Story Collection

Progress Update
2019 had a promising start with the publication of Shards of Faith in early spring. But it ended up being a challenging year for me personally, which made it difficult to get substantial writing done on the next book. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t working, however. I used my creative dry spell as a time to get other things accomplished, like a much needed re-edit of Journey to Aviad, and my series timeline, which is now quite extensive and current to the chapter I’m writing now. Though it’s not something readers will ever see, it was important for me to make sure I hadn’t accidentally made any mistakes, and that I don’t make any going forward.

By the end of 2019 I was really starting to feel the pressure, and I managed to get my writing back on track. Now in 2020, I’m making up for lost time and really kicking things into high gear. Between Jan-Feb I managed to get out 30,000 words, which is a pretty significant chunk. So far I’m on track in March to best my numbers from February. Numbers aside, the point is that I’m making good progress toward keeping my promise of publishing the next book this year. If I can stay on track, I’ll have this book finished before summer, which will be a huge relief to me, and great news for all you readers who have been waiting patiently.

In the meantime you can get more progress updates and stay connected to my book world by subscribing to my author newsletter which comes out twice per month. Check out the latest newsletter and get a free copy of my short story collection when you help me out by sharing this week’s Ancient Voices sale on your social media. (Details are in the newsletter.)

 

 

Medieval Monday: The Role of Knights

I recently happened upon a wealth of fascinating information about the medieval world that I’ll be sharing with all of you in my Medieval Monday posts. They are very short, yet informative and allow you to experience history, not just through text, but through sight and sound as well. I am really enjoying this series and I hope you will too!

The first video is an introduction to knights and the role they played in medieval society. Next week will continue that theme, giving you a deeper glimpse into how they lived.

Welcome to Modern History! In this first episode, Jason introduces us to the concept behind Modern History and in particular our first series, “The Knight”. Jason has been fascinated by history his whole life, in particular the medieval period and the life of knights. But how much of what we see and hear on TV and in film is accurate? Reading history books can only tell us so much. In Modern History, join Jason as he explores the myths and legends and attempts to discover what the life of a knight might actually have been like.


Use the Medieval Monday Index to discover other topics relating to daily life in the Middle Ages.

 

Inspiration Sunday!

Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Ephesians 4:29 – 5:2

Fantasy Art Friday

Get inspired with this week’s Fantasy Art Friday, where fun fantasy artwork is combined with a writing prompt to get your creative juices flowing.


There’s got to be a good story behind this striking image. What is that horrible creature lurking below the water’s surface? Its tentacles wrap around the doomed ship, but also seem to be holding up the chest filled with gold. Did those on board try to appease it with wealth, only to anger it instead?

The second boat is trying to make a hard turn away from the creature. With prayer and luck it just might get away, or else it will share the same fate as its sister ship. Should any of these sailors survive, their tales will no doubt spark legends, many of which will grow over time to have a life of their own. It’s no wonder sailors are such a superstitious lot!

What does such a creature want with gold anyway? Does it collect wrecks as a dragon hoards treasure, or is there perhaps someone waiting on the ocean floor to receive it? Someone who is using the beast to hunt, much like hawks can be trained and released to bring back game.

But these are only some of the possibilities. What do you see?

by Nicholas Ferrand

Artwork by Nicholas Ferrand

Medieval Monday: The Green Valley in February

Today’s post is actually a video that I really think you’re going to enjoy! It’s half an hour long, but well worth the time to watch! A small group of historians and archaeologists restored and brought back to life an abandoned village in Wales, re-creating over an entire year what life was like in the early 1600’s. This would be considered the Renaissance period, but the humble agricultural lifestyle really hadn’t changed a whole lot. Much of this would be applicable to the medieval period as well.

This episode is not the start of the series, but it is the video from February, so you can see what would have been happening at this time of year hundreds of years ago. Really, really fascinating stuff. I encourage you to take the time to watch. I will include one episode each month going forward until the year’s worth of videos run out. Aside from doing this type of thing yourself, I can think of no better way to really put yourself back in time, to see and vicariously experience life from another era. Hope you enjoy it!



Use the Medieval Monday Index to discover more topics relating to daily life in the Middle Ages.

 

Medieval Monday: Labors of January

winter-snowball-fightWinter had tightened its grip, and the most important labor of January was staying warm! With only hearth fires for heat, the cold was a very real danger for everyone, but especially the young, the elderly, and the poor. There were still several feasting days to be celebrated, which continued to be a blessing for those who needed help getting through winter. January 6th, the day after Epiphany, was the Feast of the Three Kings. Christian tradition was often blended with agricultural ceremonies rooted in pagan tradition, even though the Church frowned on these practices. The plow and distaff, symbols of male and female societal roles, were both honored. There might be plow races, or processions though villages. The plows might also be pulled around a bonfire to bring good luck for the new year. Actual plowing could not begin until after Candlemas (February 2nd) which was the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary. At that point, the winter respite from the fields was officially over, and they were tilled in preparation for spring planting.

harvestingclayThere were other things to do during the month of January. On the coldest days, medieval people completed any type of work that could be done indoors. Spinning thread, weaving, repairing hunting and fishing nets, making utensils, and repairing or sharpening tools were among them. With spring not so far into the future, all the necessary farming equipment would need to be in working order. On milder days, people could do some outdoor work, such as gathering firewood, mending fences, pruning vines, or using a hoe to harvest clay from riverbanks.


 

Enjoy one last “Tales from the Green Valley” episode. We’ve now followed this team of experts through an entire year on a medieval farm, and the information given has been amazing. Lots of really fascinating details in this one, including tending cattle, harvesting timber supplies, repairing tools, building work, hedge laying, breaking ice, mucking the cow shed, harvesting oak apples (for dye or ink), making ink, repairing shoes, preparing and using medicines, distilling water, preparing the field for spring, harvesting kale, winter foods and recipes.

Though I won’t be posting these at the start of each month anymore, you can still watch the videos anytime,  or read my labors of the months posts, by using the Medieval Monday Index.