Category Archives: The Raven’s Wing

Help Moss Swear in Irish

Jen feathers cropA major character in The Raven’s Wing (hi, Moss!) occasionally lapses into her native Irish. From a variety of sources I’ve put together the following phrases, but I could do with someone fluent to check them out for me. Please do let me know if you can see any errors, and give me a good translation? There’s a credit in the book for you if you do.

And yes, The Raven’s Wing is set in 1322, but for the sake of readability and my own sanity I won’t be trying to replicate how people really spoke back then, save for the occasional word for ‘flavour’.

Mo thóin, fear an cheoil. My arse, music man.
Dia trócaire. God’s mercy.
Anraith finéal. Fennel soup.
Gabh transna ort fhéin. Go fuck yourself sideways.
Téigh trasna ort féin, agus an t-asal marcaíocht tú ar. Go fuck yourself, and the donkey you rode in on.
Go raibh maith agat. Thank you.
Dia dhuit ar maidin. Good morning.
Cailleach. Old hag, witch.
Dia a thabhairt duit lá maith. God give you good day.
Bí láidir. Be strong.
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A conversation from The Raven’s Wing

1KWWhZs8.jpg large“A mistress of manipulation, eh?” said Moss. “I’ve met a few of those in the past. Come to think of it, according to Muireann I sodding well am one.”

“Oh, you’re not so bad once a person gets to know your odd ways,” John told her.

“I have ways?”

“More than I could shake a stick at. It’s a wonder I can keep up sometimes. Still, there are compensations.”

“Tell me a compensation, Blondie. Note the subtle way in which I’m asking you to compliment me. That’s one of my ways, isn’t it?”

“Subtlety? Yes, that’s definitely a way. Let’s see, a compensation … well, you have learned to shape both fire and your dancing self into pleasing shapes. The grace with which you move when not dancing is a pleasing side benefit.”

“Are you suggesting that I’m graceful?”

“No, I am declaring it to be so. It is not a subject for debate.”

“I’m not used to being flattered without there being an ulterior motive. It feels odd. I keep expecting you to—”

“Well, I won’t. I can admire you without wanting to touch. Actually, that’s not true. It would be more honest to say that I can want to touch without touching. The admiration is unconditional, the desire suppressible. Were I not married, and were you partial to quail, I would woo you enthusiastically. As it is, I am simply and only delighted to have you as friend.”

“Woo?”

“Yes, woo. Shut up.”

“You are an unusual man, Blondie. You’ll do. Did the cunning woman satisfy your curiosity?”

“She said that she could improve my hand. She told me to go back tomorrow, early.”

“And will you?”

“I doubt it. I have better things to do with my time. You and I should rehearse, for one thing. But enough introspection! How was your day, aside from the rabbit hunt?”

Happy Birthday Warren Peace

Warren PeaceFour years ago today, encouraged by Alex Brightsmith, I published my inoffensive little “Magnificent Seven with fur” tale about rabbits and cats working together against seemingly insurmountable odds. I doubt Alex knew what she was unleashing back then, but I’ll be eternally grateful that she did.

There are now nine substantial books out there with my name on the cover as either author or editor, along with a couple of other small things. These days you can buy some of my stories translated into Russian, and even get yourself a Wombie audiobook to listen to while driving. You can buy Wombie jewellery and stationery, and you can employ me to edit your manuscript and format it correctly for publishing (yeah, I’ve not made that page yet – I ought to get my finger out). The tenth book and fourth full-length novel***, The Raven’s Wing, is well on its way to completion now that I’ve fallen back in love with it again.

I’ve met numerous authors, attended signings and book fairs, and made a lot of new friends. I’ve had “Oi, Wombat!” shouted at me in a busy town centre. Cover imagePerhaps my favourite meeting, though, was in Michigan when I was introduced to a stranger whose first words to me were “You asshole, how could you end Fog like that?”. In short, I’ve had the BEST bloody time, and it’s down to you lovely buggers who read all my blather. Thank you *snogs your faces off*. And if you don’t like my writing (a) what are you doing here? and (b) blame Alex.

***if you can’t actually count four, that’s probably because you’re not aware of the privately published novel called ‘Murder at Wombat Towers’ which was written about and for a dozen Americans to thank them all for their remarkable hospitality and friendship over the years.

The Raven’s Wing extended 4-disc version

Book First LineMy Scrivener file for The Raven’s Wing is enormous. I’ve done so much research, spending a big gobbet of time making sure I get as many details right about 1322 as I can. One of the best things about research is the learning process itself, and this quest for accuracy is a lovely bunch of fun. How much do you know about the 14th century? No, nor did I until I began to write this book, but it’s an intriguing period. Did you know they didn’t have orange carrots yet?

I’ll pop a lot of the fascinating things that I’ve discovered into Author’s Notes at the back of the book, as usual, and you’ll perhaps be interested to learn that as with Fog, there will be a Raven’s Wing Special Edition. Think of this as the extended DVD version – the four-disc Lord Of The Rings type extended edition. It’ll be in hardback for a start, and will contain a lot more historical background information than the paperback.

There will also be “Deleted scenes” – chapters not in the paperback that cover events that happen ‘behind the scenes’ of the main plotline. There may also be a few versions of events written from a different character’s point of view.

Owl_Skull_Tattoo_Flash_by_DickStarrAdd to this the added graphics, medieval art, character sketches by Kit Cooper, maps, my drawings of locations – and perhaps, just perhaps, I’ll tell a backstory that cries out to be told; that of Moss, the one-eyed fire-dancer who hints at a secretive, violent past. FYI Moss is named for my author friend Sophie Moss. whom I’m pretty sure doesn’t have a shady past.

I only wish I could include a CD of all the songs that are scattered through the book (my hero is a minstrel after all), performed by me and Blondie, my uke. Perhaps I’ll post a series of YouTube videos. The book’ll be a few more months coming, but it’ll totally be worth it. It’s going to be FUN.

Orgasm as a medical treatment

Snogging women from the  “Bible Moralisée”“The church maintained that a man’s penis was required to have fulfilling sexual activity, and therefore frowned far less on women lying with women than it did on male homosexuality.

Indeed, medically there existed a school of thought that the womb of a woman contained a build-up of her seed, and without penetrative sex this would cause suffocation of the womb. The cure for this was to find a midwife or cunning woman willing to place hot items upon the woman’s privities and bring her to release.”

– a little snippet there from the ongoing The Raven’s Wing.

Why’d I have to go and make things so complicated?

The Raven's WingSo, I get back from the gym and I’m ready to start writing. The problem is that I can’t think of a sub-plot to delay my protagonist by a day underground while parallel plotlines 11B (Moss) and 11C (raven/reeve) reach plotpoint GAMMA. Were I less of a stickler for continuity I could just write the strands and sod whether they match temporally, but no. I’m a stickler for stuff like that, me. I stickle.

Or, you know, why can’t I ever just write a novel-length story that just goes in a straight line? Warren Peace had two parallel plots, chuntering on together in alternate chapters. In Fog I kind of folded Finn’s tale of mystery, weirdness and showers back on itself and plaited the strands (that was fun!). In The Raven’s Wing there are, let me see, at least four things going on at once in different places, all important to the tale.

Herein, though, lies the beauty of Scrivener. First of all it makes stickling easy by allowing me to look at parallel timelines by judicious use of keywords. In addition, I can actually leave John festering underground not caring what he’s doing while I write future chapters, secure in the knowledge I can come back to him at that moment later when a light bulb hits me about what he might actually be doing there.

Looks like I’m writing after all. Well played, Scriv.

Moss

Character sketch from The Raven’s Wing, coming this summer. Drawn for me by the talented @TheRogueHeart.

Moss

A taster

Here’s a little taster for those of you who’ve been patiently waiting since 2014 for The Raven’s Wing to take flight (looks at @ericafairs). You’ll find clues, but no spoilers, I hope. Click to see a larger version, if you’re lucky and WordPress doesn’t play silly buggers with resolutions again.

TRW Scrivener

Visiting Rollie

Inscription

Nobler men
May yet redeem our clay
When we and war together
One wise day
Have passed away.

 

St. Nicholas, North CotesWar gravesIf you’ve been paying attention* then you’ll know that as well as my ongoing medieval saga The Raven’s Wing and my regular gig over on Daily Picspiration I am putting together a biography of Rollie Buckolz, an American airman who hitch-hiked five hundred miles to join the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1940, way before the USA joined the second world war, so that he could come over here and fight for freedom. Although I suspect he was beguiled more by a sense of adventure than by any feelings of duty.

HeadstoneThose who died youngRollie is buried a long way from his South Dakota home, in the churchyard of St. Nicholas Church in North Cotes, Lincolnshire, where his squadron was based in World War II. Yesterday I drove across the country to visit him.

*although there’s absolutely no reason why you should have been, let’s face it.

The Raven’s Wing stirs once more

After spending far too long being distracted by short fiction in all its forms, I have today finally re-immersed myself in my medieval saga of blood, of magic, and of music, The Raven’s Wing. A happy three hours this avvy reacquainted me with the intricacies of the plot and characters, aided in no small part by the remarkable writing software, Scrivener. Tucked away in the rather large research section was this little gem, which may or may not make it into the final story. I thought you might like it, though.

Alonso Cano, The Miraculous Lactation of Saint Bernard, c. 1650The holy breast milk of the Virgin Mary was an extremely popular relic in the middle ages. An entire church was built outside Bethlehem on a rock which had miraculously turned white after coming into contact with the Virgin’s milk as she breastfed Christ. Another legend says that St Bernard was praying before a statue of the Madonna when milk sprayed from its breast into his mouth. Many vials of “breast milk” began to appear all over Europe. The French theologian John Calvin said:

“Had the virgin been a cow her whole life she could never have produced such a quantity.”

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