Saturday, 15 October 2016

Fancy a jump? (reblog)

Happy Saturday to you!

I'd love to say it's really been a fine day but since it's been pouring down all day (please feel free to exchange that word pouring for whatever else you feel might fit in) I'll be a grouse and say that the weather's been pants but the rest of my day has been very pleasant.

I've been out all day signing/selling my novels at the Town Hall in Inverurie (Aberdeenshire, Scotland)  one of my regular FOCUS Craft and Design Fairs venues. I had lots of lovely conversations with customers and also with those who just wanted to be in out of the rain for a while and had no intentions of buying anything from me at all.  But I love the conversations and they may be potential customers, so it's nothing ventured, nothing gained. I'm delighted to have signed some/ and sold 10 novels today because they were hardy souls who ventured out.

It's also my slot at my every second Saturday Wranglers blog where I've been writing about it being National Bridge Day- only one among other weird and wild  celebrations on the 15th October 2016.

I'm re-blogging it here, since it's got some lovely references and some great videos.

"Wow! It’s National Bridge Day!

I’m endlessly amused when I check in to Facebook, or Twitter, or Google+ and find that it’s a ‘National SOMETHING Day”. I just happened to pick up a reference to today, 15th October, while I was looking for some inspiration for a topic for this blog post and it led me to do a tiny bit of research. That was in between the larger amounts of historical research I do pretty well every day. 

So what is the 15th October graced with? Should you prefer it you could celebrate it being National Grouch Day, National Cake Decorating Day, Global Handwashing Day, National Mushroom Day, National Chicken Cacciatore Day, I Love Lucy Day… and a whole lot more. (BTW - I love chicken cacciatore) Have a look at the following to see what else is celebrated on the 15th October.

or look at this one for the whole of October 

As we all know, there are 365 days in a year (and 366 in a leap year) but amazingly there are over 1200 ‘National SOMETHING days’!

Before I go on to National Bridge Day, here’s a little bit about having a ‘Grouch’ day. It seems this celebration was started by grouches who wanted to share their exceptionally grumpy lives. 

Why not? Indeed….so if you’re a grouch, celebrating on the 15th October, then you could give seriously backhanded compliments and share then on Social Media. Hmmm…I personally think there’s a lot of that going on every day on Social Media. 

Try this for more info:

Official National Bridge Day? I wondered if it had something to do with getting together with friends and playing lots of card games of Bridge. I know of a few women in my neighbourhood who regularly meet to play Bridge. They love the companionship, the pitting of their wits, possibly even the addictive gambling aspects should they go down that form of play, as well as honing their considerable skills in what some devotees would say is the most skilful card game of all. I, personally, would be a poor Bridge player, methinks, since some days I can barely remember the names of people around a table never mind which were the last five cards they have just played!

 So what is National Bridge Day? It isn’t to do with cards but it is for the daredevils amongst us who prefer much more physical thrills. You’ll love the 15th October if you’re like my son-in-law who loves things like jumping from bridges attached to a bungee cord or a dangling rope.

Fayettville, West Virginia, certainly has been doing the day proud. Since 1980, jumpers have been allowed to jump from the New River Gorge Bridge on this special day when all of the traffic lanes are closed, except to pedestrians…and to the paraphernalia that the jumpers need. The video below from 2012 shows that it can be a great day out with many fun activities to watch, or even experience, BUT personally I’m not into leaping off a bridge today or any other 15th October Day. 

 or there's this one as well...

More about BASE jumping and the

I may not want to leap into the gorge myself but I did write about someone called Nairn Malcolm in my contemporary humorous romantic mystery Take Me Now who is the owner of an Extreme Sports business.

I had quite a lot of ‘armchair’ fun researching what might be the kind of sports he’d be offering to customers via his Adrenalinn Adventures company and he certainly does offer B.A.S.E. jumping type activities, and many others that I probably would try so long as dropping from a great height isn’t involved.

How about you? Are you like me and prefer your daredevil leaping to be a bit more ground based? Or do you crave the BIG experiences? 


Thursday, 13 October 2016

Pre-historic decisions!

It's Thursday and one of my Grand child minding days. It's also a school holiday so I'll need to be thinking what to do to entertain when both have wakened up.

Yesterday, I managed to progress with my WIP and even made a major decision for me as an author. When pre-history leaves no written details, I feel that deduction is entirely down to me when it comes to writing new scenes in my manuscript. I want the detail to be as historically accurate as I can but, at times, this isn't possible. There are no written records to guide me.

I've pondered all sorts of things about what it was like to live in my part of the world, north-east Scotland, around 2000 years ago. One of my recent decisions is what made ancient tribes who inhabited the area decide on where a territorial border should be. It's not ground breaking thinking but it really does seem to me that a natural feature would be used as a barrier, whenever possible.

What do I know of the tribes of the north east of Scotland?

As far as I've researched, it's down to a map that #Ptolemy made somewhere around AD 120-150. We have no firm birth or death dates for Claudius Ptolemaeus but they are roughly AD 85 -AD 165, so we have to guess at when he might have been at his most prolific regarding the information he put on his maps. Even the earliest date of perhaps AD 120 is some 36 years after the time that I'm writing about, but it seems reasonable, to me, to surmise that tribal territories remained fairly similar for a long time and were possibly the same at AD 80 as they were in AD 120. Other problems with Ptolemy's maps are that his data is as hotly disputed as it is applauded. He most likely had inferior information to work with in the first instance so the tribal areas as defined by him on what is an askew version of the British Isles, is also in dispute.

However, understanding the limitations of Ptolemy's rough tribal borders, I still chose to use a natural barrier in the River Deveron for a tribal border. Along with other archaeological information about possible Roman Marching Camps in the surrounding area, I have planned my interaction between the local tribes and the Roman forces of Agricola.

Now, there are pros and cons to making the assumption of a natural barrier.

I've been to a few recent archaeological talks for the area involved and read a number of texts to glean as much information on 'pre-Roman' settlements in north east Scotland. A broad consensus of the historical and archaeological experts indicates that the tribes people of the area were subsistence farmers who probably only took up arms during minor disputes with neighbouring tribes before the invasion of Rome. Their day to day lives would have been such that only a major threat to their animals, food stocks or families would have made them war with anyone. Unlike the Celtic tribes of central Europe, who may have been more warlike for purely territorial gain reasons, it seems that the more scattered population of the north east was much less warlike - except when threatened by a mighty foe like the Roman legions of Agricola.

With thanks to Google Maps
Ptolemy's map indicated a large swathe of what is now Tayside, Angus and a large part of Aberdeenshire as being inhabited by a tribe he named as Taexali. This Taexali tribal area, according to Ptolemy, extended to the Moray Firth. Where the River Deveron flows out to the North Sea at Banff might have roughly been the border between Ptolemy's Taexali and Vacomagi tribes.

A natural feature like the River Deveron seems, to me, to be a very reasonable territorial border so that is where I have chosen to set my Taexali and Vacomagi border in book 4 of my Celtic Fervour Series. 

I choose to use the names given to us by Ptolemy because to invent new ones would be counter productive for me. I can make no guess at what the tribes themselves might have called themselves so I'm using Ptolemy's names in the hope that my readers can plot the locations of my scenes on a simple map (which I'll provide on publication)

Making the River Deveron my border is crucial to some of the incidents in my story, with regard to what General Agricola does with his troops, but more on that later...

I now have two other demands on my time today- one being 5 years old and the other 2 and 1/2.
Wishing you a lovely day!


Monday, 10 October 2016

#Monday Moments & Facebook hackers!GRRR...

 My Monday has been one of ups and downs.

First was the car problem. It’s due in for a full service next week but it seems to have developed a little problem that’s causing it to lose power and since it doesn’t have much oomph at the best of times – that’s serious! However, when the garage was contacted they told us that we can ignore the flashing or sometimes constant ‘engine alert’ light and just carry on till next week’s booking.
I coaxed it home from Westhill yesterday (Sunday) where I was selling my novels at a Craft Fair. That was only a return trip of about 14 miles but this morning I had a booking in Ellon to do an author presentation at the Ellon Forum, a group which meets every second Monday at 10 a.m. I got up bright and early at 7 a.m. so that I could leave in plenty of time for the return trip of around 40 miles which normally takes around 40 minutes.

I don’t normally have my husband tagging along to my ‘author talk’ sessions but I’m very glad he decided to accompany me today as he needed to really do some coaxing of the engine on the steeper hills. We got there far too early, of course, but it was a huge relief to get there at all.
The session with the Ellon Forum was absolutely perfect. The 40 or so people (I didn’t actually count them but it seemed about then many) were a wonderfully receptive audience during the general presentation about my books. It was even more fantastic when I sold 14 of my novels to them; potentially got 2 new beta readers for any new manuscripts and also potentially new bookings for talks to other groups. My thanks go to Lynne Copping for arranging my visit, and my thanks also go to the rest of the group for attending and listening… and the coffee for both me and my husband.

It was with trepidation we set off on the homeward journey. It was slow but we made it! 

Sadly, another downer was coming home to find that my Facebook profile had been hacked and lots of people who were already my friends had received a bogus friend request. I was not born in 1995 and I was also not joining Facebook at that same time! Hopefully I’ve got it all sorted now (having spent ages this afternoon) because I want to enjoy thinking about my lovely morning!
I hope you never have the distastefulness and violation of having some bogus nuisance illegally ‘borrow’ your persona.