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 took weeks on foot to get here, climbing steep trails through unforgiving wilderness. But the punishing journey is just as much a part of the pilgrimage as the majestic heights and glorious views. The spirit soars; the mind and body are broken, until you fall to your knees in awe and humility at a doorway that seems to be a gateway to the very end of the world. Who waits to welcome you, and what mysteries do you find on the other side?

Title and Artist Unknown


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

 

 

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What’s New Wednesday

There are a lot of free book promotions going on this month. I usually only share these with my newsletter list, but today I thought I’d post them on my blog for What’s New Wednesday. Click on the images to check them out and fill your e-readers with some free books.



 

North-easterly VII: A final grace

The Silent Eye

“…Manifest thy light for my regeneration, and let the breadth, height, fullness and crown
of the solar radiance appear, and may the light within shine forth!”

Abbe de Villars, ‘The Comte de Gabalis’

“We’ve just got to the top of the slope by the castle,” said the voice on the phone, in answer to my query. We had been a few minutes late arriving on Holy Island, and our companions had begun to stroll out towards the medieval castle that dominates the island landscape. Having failed to find them in any of the three cafés where we had looked, we had located them by phone and, putting on a bit of a spurt, finally caught up with them. From here we could look back at the beginning of our journey, over the water to Bamburgh Castle, just as the spiritual pilgrim looks back on his inner journey and sees with…

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Medieval Monday: Lighting

With electricity still far in the future, Medieval lighting came in the form of fire. Rush lights were the simplest and cheapest form of lighting, though they weren’t particularly bright. Wild rushes were gathered, dried, then stripped of their skins. They were then soaked in animal fat, which left the rush itself to serve as a wick that could be lit. As many as needed were placed around the home to give off light.

Candles were the next step up from rush lighting—they were brighter and lasted longer than rushes.  Tallow candles were the most common type. These were made from tallow (animal fat) that was boiled and strained, turning creamy white once it had cooled and hardened again. The best type to use was from sheep, the next best from cows. Fiber strands were twisted into wicks that were dipped into the melted tallow over and over again until the candle shape was gradually formed. These types of wicks were not like modern ones that completely burn up as the wax melts away. They had to be trimmed at regular intervals. Tallow candles were easy to produce, but there were some drawbacks. The process of making, and burning, tallow candles was very smelly. These candles were also drippy and produced a lot of smoke that left soot stains on everything around them.

Though tallow candles could be made at home when animals were slaughtered, they were only made in large quantities by chandlers. The making of tallow candles and tallow soaps was often a side business of butchers. Though their products were in high demand, these shops were widely avoided due to the unpleasant odors they produced.

The nobility and the church had access to a different type of candle that was more expensive and of far better quality than tallow—beeswax. They burned the brightest of all the candle types, and lasted longer. They were produced in a similar way than tallow, but did not smell and burned clean. Just as making tallow candles were a natural side business for butchers, beeswax candles were often made by bee keepers. Since these types of candles were favored by the nobility, and burned exclusively by the church, making beeswax candles was a highly profitable business.

Oil lamps were also used for lighting, but only in southern regions of Europe where oil was easy to come by, and the weather was warm enough that it would not solidify.

Some candles could also be used as clocks. They would be made to a specific thickness, and the person watching them would have to know how far down they would burn in a certain amount of time.

Larger than candles or lamps were torches, which could be fixed to walls, carried, or staked into the ground. They were typically made from branches or bound sticks made of green or wet wood that would not quickly burn down. Rags would be bound on one end, then soaked in something flammable like pitch, oil, animal fat, or tree sap. Like tallow, torches did not burn clean and had an odor that varied depending on which flammable substance was used. Torches gave off a lot of light by comparison to candles, but had to be replaced often as they burned out.

I’ve included a short video that talks about medieval chandlers and the process of making candles. Some of the information is repetitive, but it adds some nice visuals. Enjoy!


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

Inspiration Sunday!

I have decided to bring back Inspiration Sunday, pairing an inspiring quote or bible verse with a beautiful image from God’s creation.  I hope that these simple posts will serve as a weekly reminder of how awesome is our God, and how glorious the world He has made.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:20  

 

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.


Soft, blue light filters down from above, illuminating this mysterious underwater city. The schools of fish swimming overhead would seem to be the only life if not for the train slowly moving along the tracks. Who might be inside?  Is this a place of the past–a sunken city now inhabited by sea life and haunted by memory? Or is it a place of myth, where mermaids play?

Title and Artist Unknown


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

 

 

How Life Intersects with Writing

Andrea Lundgren

This is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog-hop, designed to help encourage authors and foster discussions about writing topics across the internet and the world. This month’s question is “How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?”

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Most of the time, life affects my writing by overturning my scheduling and making it so writing doesn’t happen (like last month, when I had so much work to do, I didn’t even get to write a blog post). Thankfully, my work involves the world of writing, as I get to coach authors and edit manuscripts, but it can still be a challenge as it reminds me regularly that I’m not getting to my own work.

When I do get to write, I’m reminded how much it helps me. I’m a happier, better person when I get to write, and here are a…

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