Book Covers Part II. If it was easy, where would the fun be?

And so to the Book Cover creation processes, thus far…..

In this my intention is three-fold:

  1. A narrative about someone creating a cover, not for self-aggrandisement but addressing those in a similar position to give them ideas such as ‘Hmm. That gives me an idea’ or ‘Well, if he can try it I think I can’ or ‘OK, maybe I can get make my own cover’ or even ‘Oh yeh! I am definitely going to back to those professional sites!’ and especially ’I need to read another blog or six on this subject’ All these reactions and any permutations of them are valid, and you go for it! I’m with you all the way !!

2. Since I now embrace the idea that telling folk about your book before you publish it is important, this is in part giving Of Patchwork Warriors another airing.

3. The case for the defence when the evidence comes under the dispassionate gazed for those better versed in the skill.

Laying Down The Strategy

As previously acknowledged since my skills in this subject are minimal it was essential to include any scrap, sliver or mote of imagery which bore relevance to a central aspect of the narrative while at the same time being very basic. In sticking to simplicity this production would be shorn of any figures or faces, which would place emphasis on the props and the atmosphere. This at one gave a certain freedom of movement while concentrating the mind on the type of items to be placed.

Narrative and Imaging Working In Harmony (Sort of)

Central to ‘Of Patchwork Warriors’ are the actions and relationships of three young women set with a task they were not expecting. It is never made truly clear if they were ‘Thrown Together By Chance’ or ‘Manoeuvred By Forces’. What is clear they do not act as others or each other expect them to. This lends an air of the ragged and improvisation which suited my Cover-Work just fine! To reflect this I was relying on these three characters and their backgrounds:

Arketre Beritt– Soldier. Medician in The LifeGuard (medic in an elite regiment). Southern drawl when being intense. Used to roughing it on active duty. Adept at making her own potions.

Karlyn Nahtinee– Mysterious. Self-appointed hunter of evil (aka Whychery). Acrobatic. Uncanny sense of smell and empathy with Nature. Adept killer. Skewed and whimsical. Vulnerable (And a heck of a struggle to stop her being read as a Harley Quinn ‘knock-off’- Frustration was ….I thought of her prototype before I started reading Batman again).

Trelli– Housemaid by profession. Thanks to the incautious effects of the household son’ Infected’ with the ‘power’ aka ‘The Ethereal’. Tracked and rescued/abducted by Arketre and Karlyn (long story). Trying to maintain her composure, control this intrusive power and not be overwhelmed by Arketre and particularly Karlyn.

The dynamics of the trio’s journeying, overcoming tribulations and growing relationships comes to dominate the narrative as they become the effective opposition to destructive powers. Therefore, a cover which illustrated their collective and individual passages upon a landscape would be a valid and importantly an attainable image.

On Taking Holes and Adjusting Them To Fit Pegs Into

So three folk travelling. Campsite. Ideal to scatter items around which should also figure as signatures of the circumstances and maybe the characters. This actually turned into a two-way street, when it struck me that if I bought a cheap, plastic prop sword it would look like a cheap…plastic….prop..sword?  And what was with those cheap fancy dress pirate boots?, They shone like something….cheap. Some thought was required. Back to the Campsite:

Small Fire?-Of course. And naturally some battered mugs-easy we have a surfeit of old mugs, just paint them dingy. These were folk travelling a long road in an uncertain situation so it was all in the rough. Trelli being practical would have the others reasonably clean, so socks and shirt/top drying after a sort of wash. Arketre making potions, one discarded pot would not come amiss. Trelli being bothered by the Ethereal which manifests in Red and Blue, so scatter some red and blue bits. Karlyn what about her? No sword, well I have a wooden stave in the house from the time my son was practicing some martial art stuff. Yes that would fit. Just do a bit of a re-write to include a stave, in her weaponry, which made sense since she liked to sit up trees and a big sword while balanced on a branch does not seem a good idea. And I can build in Trelli’s slippers (my wife discarded a pair recently, I smeared them with some goldish paint). Yeh, that all fits.

Best of all it hopefully it will look odd and make folk wonder…..I hope(d).

That’s All Very Well But Does It Fly?

Well, let’s look shall we……….

And my back garden/yard in its ‘wild’ theme (gardening is not our strong suite)

Cover 4

(This is one of the 30+ shots taken on a damp early autumnal morn…..problem one the events are taking place in the spring. Can’t wait. Karlyn is given the statement that some trees are confused, which is useful, underlines her unearthliness. But green and brown. Does it look interesting enough for Fantasy? My wife said ‘No’ and I trust her implicitly with colour sense. (I kept Karlyn’s lines in anyhow)……..)

Since Reds and Blues figure in the theme I took what was available in the editing process in Word and tried a blue.

Cover 5 

Ok, so everything I wanted to appear is appearing and the atmosphere looks somewhat unusual, and you can’t see anyone., not seeing anyone leaves the appearance up to the reader’s imagination. There’s a bit of a pathway showing; one important chapter does take place in ruins, but is this ruined enough? So I tried to edge it out with some paintbrushing, lines of red and blue (Ethereal or officially titled ‘Stommigheid’)

Cover 2

Yes, so there are these two pronounced patches of red and blue. Question is. Are they too cartoony? Do they look unreal enough?  If I put my author’s name in that corner would that distract? Should I leave the red and blue out and use the previous picture? I’m something of a believer of ‘Leave it settle. Come back in a few days and look at it again with fresh eyes’ Thus the project is left for those few days. I have to admit to a certain degree of satisfaction. Let’s hope to the Good Lord God (that’s a phrase you’ll find in the book, or variations thereupon) this will translate onto an Amazon Kindle format and the title will fit. Anyhow some more tinkering maybe required, that’s assuming this Windows 10 format can handle it 

At least I know how my characters feel, having to make things up as they go along.

Book Covers- Part I The Journey Begins

Of Patchwork Warriors Part 1

“Of Patchwork Warriors” – Let The Book Be Launched

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Covers- Part I The Journey Begins

 

Book Covers

51vnj7ZqupL__SY346_ (actually this image has nothing much to do with the post, it’s just a shameless plug…..on sale on Kindle, the first volume in a peerless work of history of the Isles of Wales, Ireland, England and Scotland- yeh!…. and also how to use a stock photo and almost get away with it)

This is a post of two parts.

For ease of navigation and convention you are reading the first part.

This part serves several functions:245px-1271754717_william-e.-gladstone

It is a useful read for those who have not yet considered book covers, as it is a frank account of the dilemmas you will encounter.

Me

For folk who take the production of book covers seriously it is an insight into a mind of someone who would take the production of book covers to a respectable level if someone thwacked him about the head.Gunner Sargeant Hartman

Fans of whimsical posts which skirt with Reality are invited to My World.manners

Students of Human Nature are allowed to reach their own conclusions.imagesKUX2E4NS

Facing the Unavoidable

Once upon time, I resided in a frame of mind which abjured the harsh realities of making a book known to the public. When a narrative had been framed into chapters and reached a conclusion that was that. The book cover was something to be chosen from a limited supply of publishers’ free covers; the notion being the irony of my choice would be so obvious to the public they would clamber to purchase my volume(s).

NNQP Vol 1(No kidding folks, that’s the cover of Vol I of the Nearly Not Quite Paladins trilogy…..a comic fantasy work)

Sad, isn’t it? (don’t go there, one day it will turn up on Kindle…free)

Anyways, having signed up to WordPress and read a number of intelligent, informative and helpful blogs the truth finally sunk in.

Take the cover as seriously as the writing yo-yo!

Thus, ever lurking in the middle of my mind was the inescapable finality; I would have to have a unique cover to my book otherwise the best part of two years would wither or worse go perrffft!!

Oh What To Do??

The Professional Approach

A few posts went into practicalities of paying for a design. Now this made irrefutably good sense, after all established and successful writers aren’t renowned for designing their own covers? There was a problem there- the budget did not extend to cover such a cost. It could be argued the capital spent would be an investment. A fair enough argument for many and I would not stand in their way; but Ah me……the paradox and the conflict of not being able to justify my expenditure on my work.

The Skilled and Artistic Approach

Much to my surprise and fascination there were indeed numerous folk out their designing covers for their own books, and the skill I could only admire. One example; Rachael Ritchley whose YA series of book glow with imaginative and beautiful covers.

I concluded, therefore this was for me, I shall design my own. All I need is to find the write….sorry….right format/programme/something-or-other.

The…Uh?….What Do I Do Next?…..Where Do I Save This?…Where’s the Other Half of The Cover Gone? Approach

When faced with the process of choosing the right format/programme…etc, there was my usual problem. In studying these formats etc I have the attention and perception span of an adolescent male attending a history class dealing with the politics of choosing a 14th Century Holy Roman Emperor while said male has just witnessed the school cheerleaders in practice.  In short I…am…very…..annoying. (If it is any consolation to those who have the maturity to handle the serious production of book covers I am equally annoying to myself).

Once more…’Thus’ did follow the usual internal debate as to how to circumvent this.

I desire a book cover which reflects the content.

But, like hey man, all this procedure….Like man, it’s too heavy for me, y’know. Like too intense man; too far out.

Usual answer, Do It On The Hoof and See What Happens.

Here We Go Then….

Within these strictures I set to work, solidifying ideas swilling about my head for months

I had a notion on the nature of a cover which would represent one central facet of the narrative. I had worked out an image, which was possible to replicate onto a photo.

I had a location.

I had a thematic to work with.

And I had Windows Gallery, which I could work with.

All on the proverbial Hoof fitting in with:

My intention to produce a book cover

A workable format

A system

In the next post will be a narrative of the progress, so far.

 

A True History of the Isles Vol II Chap 9 – The Celts A Necessary(Socialist) Overview

 

 

Something of an Introduction

As the narrative has now reached the commencement of the 15th Century and has dealt mostly with the events and kings of England (with Scots’ interference) it is essential we now look back over the 14th Century and events in Ireland (with Scots’ interference), Scotland (with their own and English interference) and Wales (which, quite frankly went into a bit of a sulk).

In the spirit of fairness, equity (and mischief) a separate chapter will be given over to each nation. This is chapter is therefore simply an overview and background.

Of Disclaimers and Justifications

Whereas and hither to thereupon, any history of the Celtic races of these Isles is bound to cause offense to someone or other, in advance the author asserts the right to make harsh judgements and controversial statements on the grounds that he is:

Welsh and thus, apparently Celtic, so can’t be said to be English and therefore entitled to say anything he wants to about apparently fellow Celts

A socialist and thus has the predisposition to be critical of any royal or titled household of which there were a positive surfeit until the 20th Century; irrespective of what allegedly noble causes they claimed to have espoused while grabbing more land and power.

A dedicated misanthrope and thus entitled to be dismissive of any accounts or heritages which show the slightest hint of romance or alleged acts of the proto-democratic nature on the rather obvious grounds that we are discussing the 14th Century ( and earlier)  in Europe.

Catholic– which hasn’t got much to do with anything in this chapter but might irritate people who deserve to be irritated.

The Basic Histories

A Sad Fact of History

To look back upon the history of the Celts, one aspect which cannot be avoided is the Celts invaded someone else’s land, massacred, subjugated or drove out the native folk. Some historians of Celtic history are a bit queasy about this and prefer the term ‘Settled The Land’. Actually, they should not be so squeamish, as on a world-wide basis aside from a few aboriginal peoples on the very margins of lands discovered by humans, everyone did it. By all means one should complain about being massacred, pillaged and enslaved. However, they should not carry on so as if being conquered was personal and only happened to their people.

A Brief Overview of The History.

Once the Celts had spread out all over the Isles they set to fighting, betraying and subjugating each other; which in Human terms was the usual business. There was a brief interlude (in historical terms) when the Romans arrived and being very civilised took advantage of local rivalries conquered and subjugated a large portion in a very formal way, massacring being reserved for those who would not co-operate. Those living in the large portion generally liked this, until one day the Romans declined to subjugate them anymore, went away to fall and left the lands to deprivations of various peoples some Celtic, some not.

Eventually as narrated in the previous volume some Celtic kings invited Saxons over to help the Celtic kings with their attempts to be bigger kings. The Saxons stayed, did their own conquering and subjugating, until the Vikings and Normans turned up.

At this stage the Celtics had organised themselves in Welsh, Scots, Irish and Cornish, with no one paying any attention to those who lived on The Isle of Mann. Although the Vikings did some subjugating of anyone who had survived their conquering, they were far too restless and angst ridden to stay very long. This did not apply to their descendants The Normans.

The Normans had been Vikings but since they’d settled in France they felt sailing about and pillaging as a means of government was now beneath them. So, they stole lands and fought amongst themselves and the locals, in the meantime inventing Aquitaine, Anjou, Maine, Brittany, Normandy, etc. Thus, by the time and opportunity came to invade and seize the throne of England they were fairly well versed in the professions of conquering, subjugating etc, whereas the Anglo-Saxon and Celts were still steeped in the lesser arts of squabbling and betraying. With these advantages The Normans conquered England, Cornwall, parts of Wales and discovered there was also Scotland and Ireland.

It can be seen, therefore that conquering, subjugating etc were part of the Historical Process, which was of no comfort if you happened to be in the way of The Conquerors and Subjugators, particularly as their followers and hirelings were usually Pillagers, and Slaughters.

The Harsh Truths

There Were No English       

Unfortunately for Celtic folk in terms of accuracy concerning romantic ballads, legends, etc in the formative times of the Middle-Middle and Early-Late-Middle Ages, this was the case. There were indeed Folk and Communities, along with a few Tribes, but no nationalities as we would recognise them. To be accurate there were peoples who lived in places we now have clumped together as countries and that was that.

In these times Normans Who Followed William (The I or Conqueror) were given lands by William on the basis that he had won a battle and a crown and also that was that. Wherever they might be, the Common People were common and to be pushed around and thus again that was that. This trend was to continue until experiments by Henry (The V) who chose recently deceased folk to block up walls and granted them the posthumous title of English. This system quite fell apart when he died, and was buried not used to fill gaps in places.

In point of fact when one considers England, folk only looked as far as six villages in either direction, and anyone beyond spoke funny and was foreign. To suggest to someone living in Kent they were associated with someone who lived in York would get you at least dumped in a pond or at worse suffer farming implements/ tools of their trade.

All deprivations, privations, complications and implications were therefore the results of the actions of kings (remote/ couldn’t give a dead bishop’s socks about you/ So what? They’re common) or local lords (regrettably not remote/ grasping/ greedy/ couldn’t give a dead bishop’s socks about you, etc). A sensible commoner thus gave loyalty to their lord (opportunist/ conniving/ the one with the armed men, etc).

Under this system nationalities were therefore the preserve of kings who decided who was who, when and why.

Who Cares Who Your Grandparents Were (If you were common, that is)

As in general throughout History, for a leader the idea was to grab influence, authority and land. The rest was all useful stuff to get the Common Folk thinking you were worth following. For the Common Folk following a leader on a knobbly cause was a great opportunity to grab other people’s stuff without being punished, unless you got the tough break and were involved in a battle. It didn’t really matter who you were assailing or in which direction you were marching, that sort of stuff would be left up to later generations of chroniclers, balladeers and folk who wanted to start up their own cause.

Celts Didn’t Learn

We shouldn’t be too harsh on the leaders of those times (allegedly romantic), because various emperors of great civilisations (Roman, China, Persia, etc) had done the same thing.

“ie- We’re having trouble with Rebel Lords, Common People, Rivals etc, let’s get a few of those tough folk from over the border to help us out and pay them- no gold? No problem we’ll give them some of that scrubby land we don’t really need”

The flaw with this sort of plan was that the tough folk from over the border were led by people just as grasping, conniving and cunning as those issuing the invitations, and had lots of tough followers who knew what to do with swords, spears, bows, etc. So, once you got them in, you couldn’t get rid of them, and they would decide

“Hey. This is just what we were looking for. Move over loser we’re taking charge”

Naturally there would be some locals who having been honed on generations of in-fighting would object to this and so later generations of chroniclers, balladeers etc could dress it all up as a knobbly cause for freedom, justice, national identity (whatever that was) etc. Whichever way you looked at it, folk grabbed land, followers grabbed stuff and the poor folk in between got stamped on.

As we will see in later chapters successive waves of Celtic rulers really got their people a large amount of misery for this sort of business, although this part didn’t really trouble them too much, just so long as they got their land back (or better still, in the chaos, more of it)

The Celtic Identit(ies)

There were two great advantages the folk resident in what we term today as Wales, Ireland and Scotland had:

Romantic Nationhood

The first had foundations in strong leaders knocking (in most cases literally) into the heads of populous the notion that the bigger your tribe, the better chances you had. The Celts had been experimenting with and refining this since the Romans had turned up. Progress had been patchy due to arguments over whose tribe was the biggest, rebellious relatives, savage but indeterminate invaders etc.

When things had settled in Europe  Saxons, Angles, Jutes, Vikings Normans, etc came in by ship and like all invaders didn’t see why they should care two stabs of a sword why they should adopt local customs. Some of the more recalcitrant surviving local lords said these new folks were particularly foreign. This proved useful when the said lords wanted to stir up a land-grab, try for a throne or title or just fight back because the Saxons, Vikings, Normans etc ‘were who they were’. This excuse could be passed down from generation to generation of lord, noble etc and anyone who didn’t join in was a traitor to The Nation (whatever that was at the time).

The Arts

The second and more important being The Celtic Cultures.

Since the Celts had got rid of the locals very early on they had had a long time to utilise arts, crafts, writing, music, folk tales etc. This allowed whoever you were, whenever to record or have recorded in some shape of form yourself and your ancestors in the best light, and throw in a few villains for dramatic effect. It also allowed you to turn around some embarrassing defeat, betrayal, switching of sides or downright villainy into something heroic and even better tragic.

Because of the geographical separations of the three principal Celtic groupings this cultural significance diverted when it came to literature and music.

The Irish could turn individuals irrespective of their actual historical background into cheerful, irreverent fellows who if they were feeling a bit down just went out and slaughtered foes. In later ages, these sorts became more pernickety and only fought and or slew those they thought to be English. There was a divergence in this art form in that some subjects were wont to brood and stride the lands and slay supernatural creatures, or English. Either type of hero was possessed of wit, wisdom and a big sword.

The Scots developed that most fearsome of lyrical weapons, The Lament. Through this style Scots balladeers were to record any defeat or set back in such magnificently romantic and forlorn tones that even those who had bested the Scots loved the lament so much they sung it too. Thus in Scottish history there were only ever heroic defeats which wouldn’t have happened if there hadn’t been traitors and English gold. In later times the subjects became individuals who normally lived in the Highlands and had annoyed some lord (always English) so much that the hero was obliged to travel overseas and wander this way and that, singing about home.

The Welsh having laid claim to the assertions that they were the original Celts, had a language even older and more classical than Latin and allowed to lurk in mountainous regions of the western bumpy bit of the main island did utilise druids. These druids were the cultural and intellectual foundation of the culture and were such an encompassing influence within, the Welsh affinity with the arts reached a high level embracing poetry, music and song to an extent unsurpassed. In this milieu indivual heroes and defeats were not included unless there was enough material for two or three volumes or a song which could only be done justice to by a choir and a harp. Eventually religion was to a valuable source material.

Bottom of the League

The English being still uninvented were unable to cope with this. Luckily a fellow called Chaucer did record some tales, he was so unique they still survive to this day, even if unreadable in the original form. All was patchy though until Shakespeare turned up, and even then it was not until the arrival of The Romantic Poets, Jane Austin, Jerome K Jerome, Kipling and Turner that the English could truly say they had a grasp of The Arts.

Conclusion

Against this backdrop each people’s doings in the 14th Century will be examined in the next few chapters.

 

A True History of The Isles Part 10 – The Fall of The Britons

Good People Doing Good Things — Maria Conceição

Jill has a weekly post where she makes known the large number of generally unsung heroes making a difference somewhere.
Here’s one- a wonderful young lady

Filosofa's Word

Today I have a wonderful young woman and her foundation to tell you about, but first, I must make an apology for my faux pas in last week’s Good People post.  My Ghanaian friend Senam, who I call ‘little brother’, gently pointed out the error of my ways, and I must admit he is quite right.

“I loved your recent article about the Nigerian woman, Olajumoke Olufunmilola Adenowo on Good People Doing Good Things…..

Like you wrote, the US doesn’t have a monopoly on good people so it was cool of you to shine the light on the works of this lady….

I have a little concern tho, and forgive me if this is a bit presumptuous…..

You started with “Can’t pronounce it?  Neither can I”, and while I’m sure you really can’t pronounce it correctly, saying that feeds into the stereotype that African names generally are difficult to pronounce…

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Fae: An Ode to the Generous

Gwin’s heartfelt message says it all…

seekthebestblog

Faeshouse Photo taken by LadyG during a morning walk

If a man says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who doesn’t love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?

–1 John 4:20

Just behind this door resides a noble little fae

Who has an open heart of gold for those who’ve lost their way.

She gathers all her eensy friends;

They know just what to do.

They share their food,

They offer care,

They teach eternal truth,

No questions asked;

No judgments made;

No hoarding of “the loot.”

They know that one can’t pull a strap unless he has a boot.

-Lady G

A simple rhyme from LadyG’s imagination!

Anyway…

Lately, I find myself so disheartened by current events; especially in the U.S.

Seriously! I often wonder if people realize that our children are looking…

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Writing a Novel – The Four Steps I Use

This is a typically very interesting and intelligent post from Don. There is much to be learnt here- please take note- literally.

Author Don Massenzio

I am on the verge of publishing novels seven and eight of my writing career. I wouldn’t say that I’m anything close to being an expert, but I decided to use my Hurricane Irma downtime to look back on the books I’ve written and the process that I followed.

1-ideaStep 1 – The Premise

The premise is just a general idea of what a book will be about. I’m going to use my second novel, Let Me Be Frank, as the example for this post.

The premise for this book was simple. I had just binge watched the 1970s television show, Columbo, and I was intrigued by the structure of most of the episodes. The show almost always started with a murder and very often showed the murderer and the method used to do in the victim. It was then up to Lieutenant Columbo to solve the case and…

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Writing Links 9/11/17

Starting out? Losing direction? Just plain baffled?
This post in an invaluable source of links to genres, writing and just plain inspiration

Where Genres Collide

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Writing Links…9/11/17

Traci Kenworth

Fantasy/Dystopian/UF/Paranormal/SF:

  1. http://storitorigrace.blogspot.com/2017/09/so-your-character-is-from-lebanon.html Need help with a character from Lebanon?
  2. http://www.magicalwords.net/announce/we-did-it-ooooooour-way/ Time to say goodbye.
  3. https://fantasyhandbook.wordpress.com/2017/09/05/please-stop-using-initial-caps-as-a-substitute-for-creativity/ Using words as proper nouns when they’re not.
  4. https://legendsofwindemere.com/2017/09/07/monster-make-2017-foundations-needed-also-a-windemere-monster-poll/ What monsters will you choose? I like those I’ve never heard of, it makes it fresh and interesting.
  5. https://phsolomon.com/2017/09/07/how-do-you-like-your-fantasy-genre/ What books hooked you to fantasy? I started with Marrion Zimmer Bradley, Mercedes Lackey, and Robert Jordan.
  6. http://storitorigrace.blogspot.com/2017/09/villain-necrologies-and-debacles-lord.html Tolkien’s villains and how they were dispatched.
  7. https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/2017/09/09/63224/ Steampunk and its blur of genres.

MG/YA:

  1. http://www.talesoftheravenousreader.com/2017/09/when-music-and-ya-collide-behind-song.html Fourteen YA authors share the music behind their stories.
  2. http://www.fromthemixedupfiles.com/2017/09/ideas-case-study/ Some answers to where we get our ideas.
  3. http://www.adventuresinyapublishing.com/2017/09/calla-devlin-author-of-right-where-you.html On telling the story in you.
  4. http://avajae.blogspot.com/2017/09/on-college-and-authoring.html Do you need a degree to write? I agree with Avajae—it’s not necessary. A degree to support yourself while writing is the best bet.
  5. http://www.adventuresinyapublishing.com/2017/09/km-walton-editor-of-behind-song-on.html Ever been inspired by a song?
  6. http://scbwimithemitten.blogspot.com/2017/09/3-ways-to-rediscover-your-writing-mojo.html A way to rekindle the flame.

Romance/Women’s Fiction:

  1. http://romanceuniversity.org/2017/09/08/moving-target-using-thematic-macguffins-to-focus-a-story-by-damon-suede/ Macguffins are…

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A True History of The Isles Vol II Chapter 8 – The End of the 14th Century and Richard II (well also his beginning too)

 

 

As was the case of his great-grandfather Edward the II, had the fates been kinder to Richard( born in Bordeaux 3rd January 1367) and people hadn’t kept dying, he could have lived out his life in the said city and ruled all of Aquitaine or at least stopped the French from having it. However, his father an Edward, son of Edward III, had become so very famous and popular by defeating the French while wearing black armour campaigned too much in foreign climes and died of them in 1376.  His father own Edward the III, neatly expired the following year on 21st June 1377(of age and a pushy mistress). Thus, Richard was made The II on the 16th July 1377.

The Early Years

In these formative times Richard was advised (a polite term for ‘do as you’re told’) by his uncles the very stern and thin John of Gaunt and Thomas The Wooodcock who ruled Buckinghamshire. The first challenge being the Revolting Peasants of 1381(see Chapter 7) and whereas the nobility were unhappy that his uncles advised him, they took comfort that he lied to the rebels and had them massively executed afterwards, so there was hope for the lad.

Richard and his Court

Unfortunately, being a teenage king meant that Richard naturally disliked his uncles telling what to do and began to choose his own advisors in particular Simon de Burbblery, who was probably common and the haughty Robert de Sneer. Many of these preferred dressing in fashionable clothes and ‘indulging’ so were heartily disliked by the average noble for not wanting to fight either The French or Scots or even massacre peasants. Things became worse when it was found out that Richard was making some of his advisors favourites, especially Robert de Sneer who for some obscure reason wanted to rule Ireland disguised as a duck. John of Gaunt was so disgusted with the whole business that he left England to try and be a king of a bit of Spain. Further revelations that three of the favourites were named Bushy, Bagot and Green and thus sounded like a firm of untrustworthy lawyers raised matters to breaking point.

Parliaments and Lords

In 1386 there was some concern that France might invade England just to see how England liked it. Richard’ Chancellor Michael of the Maypole asked for money, the parliament said no, because the king had been spending too much on Robert, shoes, jewels and Soothsayers (who he should have sacked as they hadn’t warned him this was coming) and anyway the Parliament didn’t like the Chancellor so he could go too. Richard was furious not only with their temerity but that everyone was going around calling them Wonderful. In his temper, he spun around the country, installing Robert just in time to rule Chester which by the laws of those days enabled Richard to claim the Parliament was not wonderful, but in fact was treacherous, treasonous and probably onerous.

This was of little use, for inspired by the Wondrous Parliament several lords got together and told Richard why he was not being a good king. So eloquent and reasoned were their arguments they were known as The Lords Intelligent. One of Richard’s cronies tried to raise his spirits by referring to them as The Lords Repellent; Richard did not see the funny side of this because he knew these lords had large armed retinues and he didn’t. Even so he sent Robert (The Favourite) with whatever troops could be found. A great battle was fought in December 1387 at Radcot which was supposed to have a bridge but this was stolen by The Lords. The Royal army adopted the tactics of running away, standing still or if they were lost advancing. Robert (The Not Very Good General) lost his armour and trousers, so was obliged to flee to France where he died (probably still without trousers) in 1390(ish).

Thus, victorious the Lords Intelligent invited a Merciless Parliament to arrest all of Richard’s surviving favourites and have them executed on the grounds of treachery (ie being on the losing side) and wearing silly shoes (and thus offending God). Richard in order to remain The II was obliged not to get involved.

Fate and Richard

A reader could be forgiven at this stage for thinking Richard although still II was doomed to be insignificant, however at this stage Fate intervened in a not particularly kind but certainly advantageous ways; for historians that is.

The Scots (again)

In August 1388 The Scots, under the pretence of fighting for independence once more invaded northern England. The two armies met at the curiously named Otter’s Bum where the Scots won a famous victory which was made even more memorable by the glorious death of their leader James, Earl of Douglas (regrettably Douglas, Earl of James was not in attendance). The Scots at once celebrated by composing romantic ballads, going back home to seize each other’s lands and try to overthrow their own king Robert the II who was in his 70s and thanks to a papal dispensation had fourteen children.

The English did not see any cause to compose ballads, though missed the opportunity to compose a lament, instead they all rallied around Richard II who was now twenty-one and might grow out of his surliness and favourites. Although under the terms of Magna Carta Richard should have suffered for being king during a Scots’ Victory in this case he was exempt on the grounds of not being there at the time.

Queen Anne

Anne who despite being Bohemian and thus foreign was of such gentle, kind and generous nature that she managed the amazing status of being greatly loved by king, nobles and populace all at once, even convincing Richard not to chop off a few peasants’ heads. They had such a pure, goodly and caring marriage that no children arose. Sadly, she died of plague in 1394 and everyone mourned, particularly Richard.  Without having anyone of decent character and compassionate nature around him Richard, justifiably went mad but only slightly so he couldn’t really be deposed.

Uncle John

Despite being a great influence on Richard in the lad’s early years, because of trying to be Spanish, a mild delusion that he could be a castle and his third wife, also called Anne, but who was very common by now John of Gaunt wasn’t paying much attention to Richard. In fact, he did not notice that Richard had had John’s younger brother Thomas murdered and his own son Henry exiled. Both having been Lords Belligerent. Henry escaped execution on the technicality of having broken bollens. His father John, after years of public service, three wives, eight children and far too much Spain died in 1399.

As it can be seen without any restraining influences and with everyone scared of The Scots Richard now firmly ensconced as a II he had a free hand and decided to try out Tyranny.

The Very Interesting Era

The exact date when Richard decided to become a Tyrant is open to speculation, particularly as he never made a formal announcement on the subject. Conjecture suggests he would have started to dabble in it about 1388 on reaching the age of 21 and thus attaining his majority; ie he was the only king in England.

Richard felt that a lavish life style was befitting a king and so in addition to borrowing lots of money he also organised extravagant jousting tournaments, the prizes being so grand that knights from all over Europe attended. As there were any number of wars taking place in Europe these men were thus professionals and usually better than the home-grown completion who had to make do with the less challenging ‘disputes’ and ‘rivalries’. There was thus much grumbling from the English knights about professionalism ruining the game.

Richard was not concerned as he felt such a high profile would help him in his plan to become Holy Roman Emperor. This he believed would make him so important he would only have to worry about arguing with the Pope. Those who had been close to various Emperors and the dozens of princes, hundreds of lords and clutches of city states comprising the Empire would have said something in Latin which equivalented to ‘Good luck with that!’. Anyway, there had only just recently nearly been an English emperor called Richard, so no one continental wanted to risk another another one.

Short of money and not caring to be involved with the French militarily, Richard married the French King’s daughter. She being, six years old meant Richard had a large dowry and did not need to worry about her for another ten or so years. With the money, he was able to hire a large number of welsh archers on the understanding they could shoot at as many Englishmen as they liked, which ensured their loyalty.

Thus, feeling very secure when his uncle John died in January 1399 Richard said he was entitled to all of his uncle’s lands since John’s son Henry of the broken bollens was exiled and since he was traitor should be grateful for just being exiled.

Richard then noticed Ireland whose nobles and lords were so unruly that they were in rebellion against each other and simply not taking the king seriously, he therefore resolved to invade Ireland. This was a rather curious decision since it was supposed to be his and so he should be putting it down, not invading. His mistake was probably due to the large number of new Soothsayers he had hired to tell him The Sooth, The Whole Sooth and Nothing But The Sooth. They did not notice Henry son of John had landed in Yorkshire in April intent on getting back his lands and thus everything for Richard was suddenly going Sooth.

The Tragic Fall

Leaving the Irish to annoy each other Richard wisely landed in Wales in June or July (1399), but by then most of the nobles in in England had decided Henry should not just have his lands but also the throne. Henry decided they had a good point as he had male forebears whereas Richard’s were mixed up with female forebears, which proved by the laws of those days why he was a bad king and thus a traitor to himself. Richard had intended to discuss all this with Henry, but became so cross that he threw bonnets about the place and so was consigned to the Tower of London.

No one was quite sure to do with him, so they asked a bishop who gave thirty-three reasons why Richard had been a bad king; this naturally took a long time which only lawyers and other churchmen really appreciated and admired. Henry chaffed at the delay which had allowed some nobles who had profited from Richard’s reign to plot. In consequence Richard was moved from the Tower in a hurry and was misplaced, only to be discovered at Pontefract where either taking a very stubborn dislike to the cakes had starved to death, or preferably for Henry had expired of remorse at being a bad king. In either case Henry was obliged to place him sitting up in his coffin to prove he was dead.

This was such a tragic end people were able to write plays and novels about Richard II (who although weak supplied more interesting material than Richard the I) Also as he died so neatly in January 1400 he is only of the few kings to have memorable date of death and thus is of some benefit to folk who wish to appear to have some knowledge of history.

Legacy

Richard’s reign was so controversial and his fall so sudden, Henry was able to repair his bollens and the indulge in being two kings thus giving later generations barons a splendid excuse for a proper civil war.

All of which will be discussed in future chapters.

A True History of The Isles Vol II Chapter 6 – An Era of Everyone Getting Involved With Everyone Else (more than usual)

Write Better Books – Storytelling: Filtered or Unfiltered?

Now, here is some very useful and solid advice, take note.

Dan Alatorre - AUTHOR

dan your humble host

You get a note from a critique partner or editor friend that says, “Cut this filter.”

And you are like, Huh? What?

What’s a filter?

Filters are stuff you write that takes us out of the Main Character’s head for a nanosecond. Usually they aren’t needed. You don’t say to yourself, “I notice it’s raining.” It just rains.

EXAMPLE:

When I came out of the store, I noticed it was raining.

OR

When I came out of the store, the rain was coming down in sheets.

“I noticed” is the filter. We – the readers – are “I.” We notice whatever the MC notices, feels what she feels, etc. Saying I noticed in a story is like narrating to yourself in real life. Vagrants on New York City street corners do that, not your character.

I saw

I felt

I noticed

Your story is more reader-centric and…

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Past Solar Eclipse

I love the science of an Eclipse, but in Nature there are always more than one side.
This post says so much.

This past Solar Eclipse brought us a release of the lesser ego – that being what you have kept yourself from; now would benefit your soul. If you told yourself “I’m not good enough for that” and “I don’t deserve that”- that conversation is over. An outpouring of unconditional love is flowing through our planet right now allowing the genuine and full worth of your being to be revealed. It signals the end of one era of your life and brings in the beginnings of another.

simple pleasures2Right now, it’s atime of practical sights – seeing things from the simple lenses of life – a time to help your neighbor, a time to choose freedom over burden, and a time to reunite with family and look to the horizon. It is a time to work together, build stronger relationships and plant seeds for positive growth.

Much peace.

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