Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Help! Converting Scanned Articles...

I thought I could do this.   But no.   Admittedly, this is the first time I have tried since getting my new computer but now for some reason I can't seem to convert the scan to Word in order to edit it.   If anyone has any suggestions they would be VERY welcome!
In the meantime, here is a picture of the Yorkshire Dales in April - as you can see on the day of our visit it was glorious...

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Bound to the Barbarian

I may have mentioned working on a medieval romance set in 11th century Byzantium.  It's called Bound to the Barbarian and tells the story of an Anglo-Saxon warrior who commands the Emperor's personal guard (the Varangian Guard) in Constantinople.    I met my editor for lunch in Richmond, did a few more revisions for her, and I'm thrilled because last week it was accepted!  It will be out first in the UK at the end of 2010.

Hopefully it will be the first of three in a mini series, the title and strap-line of which is:
Palace Brides
Beauties of Byzantium, Claimed by Warriors!

Below is a plan of the Imperial Palace in medieval Constantinople.  At the bottom, by the blue section you can just about make out that the Boukoleon Palace must have had a marvellous view of the Sea of Marmara.

And here is a Byzantine lion which must be similar to the ones that decorated the quays in the Imperial Harbour, which adjoined the Boukoleon Palace...
I don't think the lions in the Imperial Harbour would have had their paws on a marker-stone though!
Finally, here's a picture of me standing in front of what is left of the Hippodrome in Istanbul.  You can see lines of Roman brick in the stonework.  The Hippodrome was the great arena used by Byzantines for staging public events such as theatre, chariot races, horse-racing, dancing and even executions...

Monday, 12 April 2010

The Trouble with Sutton Hoo...

The trouble with visiting Sutton Hoo is that is a little too inspiring.   We have been here before and each time you go you notice something new.     The helmet is the most dramatic of the finds, this picture is a replica of it.

It might have been a ceremonial helmet, but whatever its use, it would have been daunting to come face to face with someone wearing it!     Below is a picture of the interior of the great ship as it might have looked with the warrior buried inside.   There was no trace of any skeleton, which could have been dissolved by the acid in the soil, or perhaps the warrior was lost at sea.    In the replica of the ship, you can see the warrior's helmet and his shield and weapons.   There are gaming counters; cauldrons and buckets; a beaver bag with a lyre inside it, food, drinking cups, and eveb a whetstone topped by a beautiful stag finial....

Currently I'm working on a novel set in eleventh century Byzantium, and what struck me on this visit was the fact that some of the silver in these grave goods came from Constantinople.    If this grave really did belong to Raedwald, trading with Byzantium was clearly going on - in the seventh century!

Perhaps one day, it might be interesting to write a novel set in those times too...

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Mother and Child

When we went for a walk near Oxford and came across this lamb sitting on top of its mum, I couldn't resist sneaking a picture.   You really know spring is on the way when the fields fill with lambs.

Here's wishing we all get some sunshine over the Easter weekend!