Inspiration Sunday!

He will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, a sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth.

Isaiah 25:7-8

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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.


Darkness begins to close in on this harsh and frigid landscape. The snow is deep, shaped by the mountain winds into lofty drifts that rise up over men’s heads. Spring will reveal the frozen corpses of the unlucky, and the foolish–those who thought they could press on and reach the other side before succumbing to the cold.

But you are no fool. The door of the Great Hall beckons, its timber frame offering life-saving shelter and warmth. From the open doorway, the enticing smell of roasting meat carries toward you on the wind. Your stomach growls and your mouth waters in anticipation. As you get closer, the sounds of music and laughter emerge as well. You head for an opening in the spiked wooden enclosure, the path already pressed down by those who entered before you. You look forward to a night of fellowship. Who will you meet, and what new songs and tales will you hear? Which ones will you share in return?

Artwork by Noah Bradley


Want to see more Fantasy Art posts? Find them here.

 

 

What’s New Wednesday: Progress Update

I’ve been working diligently on my next novella which features Broguean the Bard, and for those of you who have been waiting so patiently, I’m happy to announce that the wait is almost over!

I am down to the very end now, having just written the climax of the book, and I’m on track to finish up within the next couple of weeks. Then I’ll be on to the business of looking for a few beta readers, editing, and polishing everything up for publication.

As you can see, the artwork is finished, provided once again by the very talented Alfredo Pachicano! All I need now is a title so that it can be turned from a single image into an actual book cover. If all goes according to plan, this novella will hit ebook shelves sometime in March. Stay tuned for more specifics as they become available.


Interested in being considered as a beta reader for this and future books?

In an upcoming newsletter I’ll be asking for volunteers who are already familiar with my series. Subscribers also get the chance to win prizes and gain inside information about my world, characters, and inspirations that can’t be found anywhere else. When you sign up, you’ll get a free copy of my second book, Ancient Voices: Into the Depths.

 

Why You Should Always Write Down Your ‘Shower Thoughts’

Novelty Revisions

About once every few weeks — sometimes more, depending on my mood and the state of my mental health — I accidentally write a song while taking a shower.

This is not something I’ve really felt the need to talk about until now. It’s weird. And I’m not particularly fond of explaining why I have written many of these songs throughout my life but have no plans to expose them to the world because, uh, priorities.

But this doesn’t change the fact that I am proud of where my ideas come from. We are all so distracted by the people and noises and shiny objects around us that we rarely give our brains the chance to run wild while we stare at a blank wall and wait for our conditioner to soak in.

Why do shower thoughts happen? Well hopefully it’s because you’re not really doing much in there other…

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Medieval Monday: Game of Thrones and the Real Middle Ages

I will say up front that I do not watch Game of Thrones–I’ve seen enough of it from my husband’s binge-watching sessions to know that while the storyline is good, the visuals are just way too graphic for me. I found this article interesting anyway, because Game of Thrones is not the first book, movie, or TV series to paint an overly dark picture of the Medieval era.

That’s not to say that there wasn’t plenty of brutality and tragedy (as there is in any era), but there were also many peaceful days in between during which ordinary people lived out their lives, working the land, learning skills, plying trades, and raising families. European culture flourished, bringing us incredible architecture, art, music, scholarship, and other worthwhile things that have endured to the present day. With so much focus on the dark aspects of this time in history, it is my hope that in some small way I’m helping to bring a more complete picture into the light with my Medieval Monday series.

Anyway, enjoy the article, and don’t hesitate to browse the Medieval Monday Index while you’re here.


What The New Footage From Game Of Thrones Can Teach Us About The Real Middle Ages by Matthew Gabriele

HBO just reminded us that Winter is here. In its new trailer for 2019, fans of Game of Thrones were only offered a few seconds of what will happen in the coming season, the show’s final one. We see a meeting of fire and ice, dragons and wolves, as Daenerys Targaryen with Jon Snow meets Sansa Stark at Winterfell. From last season, we know what’s to come: the wallas with all walls, didn’t work and the great war between the living and the dead approaches.

Although none of us fans can know for certain what’s to come, it’s probably fair to guess that the season will be dark, that Westeros will be filled with violence, that there will be tragedy. How do we know this? For one, we’ve watched the show. But for another, the show plays off a popular conception of the medieval world as dark, treacherous, and violent. In other words, it uses our assumptions about the Middle Ages to help tell its story. And as a medievalist, and having taught a course on Game of Thrones at Virginia Tech since Winter 2015, I fight against these preconceptions whenever I teach.

How – and even if – to teach the relationship between a fantasy world such as Game of Thrones and the historical European Middle Ages has admittedly caused controversy among scholars. But to my mind, the fact that the show both reinforces and at the same time challenges our assumptions about the period is precisely what makes Game of Thrones so interesting.

The Middle Ages are known as the “Dark Ages” for a reason. It doesn’t have anything to do with the 12th century though. Instead, the idea came much later. During the Enlightenment, the medieval came to be known as the antithesis of the modern, a repository for whatever we considered “bad.” These thinkers built themselves up by tearing their medieval predecessors down. Basically, what they created was nostalgia, which can take 1 of 2 forms. First, it can believe that an ideal past has been lost and needs to be reclaimed. Second, it can say the past has no value and should be wholly discarded. The first is the friend of authoritarianism, while the second excuses modernity by placing all its sins in the past.

Game of Thrones relies upon that second kind of nostalgia, the one that my students so often bring with them to my courses. They have a set of preconceptions about what they’ll find in the Middle Ages…

Continue reading: https://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewgabriele/2019/01/13/game-of-thrones-real-middle-ages/#5b7aac4f43c7


 

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

 

Medieval Monday: 10 Medieval Jobs that No Longer Exist

Today many people are concerned that their job or profession will become obsolete due to changing technology. In you go back to the Middle Ages you can find several occupations – some that involved a great deal of learning, and others that were a choice only for the desperate – that have disappeared. Many of these were also made redundant by technology. Here are ten of these jobs.

Alchemist

One of the main ‘scientific’ beliefs throughout the medieval world was that it was possible to change chemicals and metals. Scholars experimented with various processes and techniques to purify metals and convert them into new forms. One particular goal of medieval alchemists was to turn lead into gold or silver, but for others the objective was to create medicines to heal or sustain the human body.

Some of the leading scholars of the Middle Ages dabbled in alchemy, including Albertus Magnus and Roger Bacon, but by the 17th century the ideas behind alchemy were gradually dismissed, and the science of chemistry replaced it.

Alewife

In medieval England, the profession of brewing was often dominated by women. In towns and villages women could be found running side-businesses in brewing and selling ale. As Judith M. Bennett explains, brewing was “a small-scale, low-investment, low-profit, low-skilled industry – suited especially well the economic needs of married women. Because ale soured quickly and transported poorly, it was unsuitable for large-scale, centralized businesses. As a result, wives who sought to sell ale on a modest and ad hoc basis could compete effectively in the trade.”

By the 15th century this practice began to fade, as brewing became more commercialized and society sought to restrict the independence of women.

Cup Bearer

An important position in many royal courts was to be the person that served the monarch their drinks. It was widely feared that one could easily be poisoned, so this person was responsible for making sure the drinks were safe, even if that meant tasting the beverages themselves. A king needed to be very trusting of his Cup Bearer, so the person with this job could be very influential in court politics.

Click to read more of this post, shared from medievalists.net


Learn more about the daily life in Middle Ages by browsing previous posts in the Medieval Monday Index.

Inspiration Sunday!

Listen, you heavens, and I will speak; hear, you earth, the words of my mouth. Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.

I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.

Deuteronomy 32:1-4