The mouse that squeaked – or the story of a VERY short siege

There’s something about sieges, isn’t there? An encircled fortress—or city—and it is all one long waiting game as the cat outside wonders just how long the mouse will stay in its hole before lack of food and water forces it to venture beyond the safety of its walled haven. Mind you, I don’t think the …

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A surfeit of brothers doth a spicy soup make

Back in the good old days, men wanted sons. Well, OK: back in the really, really old good old days, mothers wanted daughters as most early societies seem to have been matrilineal—but that all changed when our nomadic ancestors settled down and started amassing belongings. Once you have things that belong to you, it becomes …

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A lady with a bite – meet fab writer Sayara StClair

I first came across Sayara’s books via twitter. (Yes, I am one of those who actually BUY books based on tweets) At the time, Sayara had published the second in her Dante’s Purgatory series, an erotic BDSM novel that was far more complex than your standard erotic romance. When she published Master Me, the third …

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A lost language, a lost identity, a lost people

The single biggest tragedy to befall the native people of the Americas was the arrival of Columbus upon their shores. Over the course of a couple of centuries, a deadly cocktail consisting of slavery, disease and warfare was to reduce the native population with 40-80% (it varies substantially from area to area) and what had …

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Schools, songs and epidemics – a mental ramble

In 1842, Sweden implemented seven years of mandatory schooling for all children, no matter social background. Prior to that, a relatively large percentage of the Swedish population was analphabetic, this despite the fact that the Lutheran religion advocated that people knew how to read and write so as to properly study and appreciate the word …

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I want out! – or how the history of divorce can inspire a book

It is estimated that approximately 40-50% of all present-day marriages in the Western Hemisphere end in divorce. A rather depressing statistic, some say. A consequence of longer lifespans, the anthropologist will counter, adding that few marriages in the past spanned several decades—usually they ended due to the untimely death of one of the parties. According …

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Spelling it out in Viking times – a post about runes

Today, I’ve invited Christina Courtenay over to share some information on runes, the Viking way of writing. Up here in Sweden, we have a number of runestones standing like silent sentinels over those that came long before us. These days, we consider them precious remnants of our past, some generations ago, they were viewed with …

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Gripping a lightsabre in a medieval world – Meet Char Newcomb

Ha! I bet that headline had your eyebrows travelling upwards. Seriously: a lightsabre in a medieval setting? Well, no, of course not: Char may excel at writing taut action scenes in her medieval novels, but she steers clear from anachronisms, and a lightsabre in the hand of Prince John would be…ludicrous (and scarily intriguing)   …

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A boring man begat a boring man who begat a dragon

Very many years ago, I read Edith Pargeter’s excellent quartet, The Brothers of Gwynedd. A sad and tragic story, featuring Llywellyn ap Gruffyd, the Last Prince of Wales and his baby brother, Dafydd (also the Last Prince of Wales – actually the Last Prince of Wales, seeing as he took over after Llywellyn was killed). …

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Jan Frans van Dael, Roses in a glass vase

Sometimes love is not enough…

…which, one would think, is not the best of topics on Valentine’s Day, but hey, love is love even when it isn’t quite enough, isn’t it? Today’s post is rather personal. I think (hope) it speaks for itself. ****************** She was fourteen the first time she saw him. He was a year older, a cocky …

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