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.


The existence of this pool seems nothing short of miraculous. Aside from rain, what could be feeding it so high up on that tower of rock? I imagine this would be a place of pilgrimage, where the waters of this hard-to-reach place are surrounded by speculation and myth. Perhaps they heal, or impart hidden knowledge. They could be transformative, changing one substance, or being, into another. Could it be that in the pool’s reflective surface you can see things beyond normal human sight? Or the water might serve as a hidden gateway from one realm to another. Maybe it’s not really water at all. There are so many possibilities, limited only by the bounds of your imagination…

Titans Grail by Jameswolf

“Titans Grail” by James Wolf

Medieval Monday: The Labors of March

plowingWarmer March weather meant it was time to finally put most indoor tasks aside and get out into the fields. There weren’t a great variety of tasks associated with March, mainly because preparing the fields for plowing and planting was such an onerous chore that began at dawn and ended at dusk.  Getting the spring grain into the ground was one of the most important tasks of the season.

Medieval farmers generally had a three field system, where each season one of the fields was left unplanted. But leaving it fallow didn’t mean there wasn’t any work involved. The fallow field would have to be plowed several times during the year to keep the weeds under control and at the same time enrich the earth with organic matter. Every time the field was plowed, new weeds would grow, and livestock would be sent out to graze on it, with the added benefit that they would fertilize it with manure as they went.

plowing-and-pruning-in-marchPruning vines and trees continued in March, as did calving. By the end of March, some of the calves were ready to be weaned, which meant milk became available once again. Cows whose calves had been weaned were milked twice per day. The same was true of sheep. Another important food source which returned to the medieval diet in March was eggs. Hens require at least 12 hours of daylight to produce, which meant they began laying around the spring equinox at the end of March, and ceased production around the autumn equinox at the end of September.

This week you can also enjoy another episode of “Tales from the Green Valley” which focuses on what daily life would have been like during the month of March. As I watched, I was reminded that even though certain jobs took priority in specific seasons, many of them happened to some degree all year round. In this video, you will see in action some of the tasks that have been mentioned in past Medieval Monday posts, such as threshing and winnowing, milling wheat into flour, sending pigs out to forage, playing games, and brewing ale and beer for every day drinking. You’ll get to see some period recipes being made as well (like what they did with all that dried, salted fish saved up for winter). Again, it’s worth setting aside half an hour to watch this BBC production. It makes for excellent research and really sends you back in time!



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

 

Inspiration Sunday!

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

 

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.