In November, posting will be spotty at best. I urgently need to finish writing and translating “Crowned by Fire”, the last volume of my High School Dragon trilogy. I’ll be using NaNoWriMo for that.

For those who’ve never heard of that, the National Novel Writing Month (November) is dedicated to writing at least 50K words in a single month. Thousands of writers all over the world participate and also communicate with each other. It’s not only fun, but also productive.

If you’re a writer, feel free to join. If you’re a reader, you can follow my progress here (strangely enough you’ll need to sign up for seeing the participants. That used to be different. I contacted the organizers about that). I’ll see you all in December. 😀

 

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And another one of those … But this time I’m better prepared. I’ve got all my NaNoWriMo-stuff lined up (more about that tomorrow). And I’ve got a good Halloween-ish story for this Bloghop (I hope you’ll agree it’s good; it’s surely not for everyone). I sent this in to the best writing related podcast I’ve ever listened to: “Alone in a Room With Invisible People“, AND IT GOT ACCEPTED. YAY! So you will hear it on the podcast some time soon.

Here’s my story. Happy Halloween for those who celebrate it:

Her Majesty

Satisfied with the makeup that made her look like a deathly pale Victorian vampire, Anne closed her compact mirror and walked through the doors of the golf club. Tonight she would mesmerize her future husband, someone with money. No man in his right mind could resist her allure. Scanning the crowded room for unfamiliar faces, she hoped none of the regulars would notice she was wearing the same costume as last year. The hairdo had eaten up the last of her money.

She dismissed guys with expensive wedding rings, for she needed someone unbound. Two well rounded buttocks in an Armani suit swaying to the music caught her attention. The hands were unadorned. The face, when her potential husband turned, was nothing spectacular but would do. She wasn’t looking for Mr. Universe anyway.

It only took a few heartbeats to draw his attention. With a smile, he asked her to dance. Pressing her body close to his, Anne felt his erection through their clothes. Hook, line, sinker! They didn’t talk. When she looked up, her lips moist to invite a kiss, his eyes glowed a dull red.

“You’ve been tantalizingly close all this time.” His voice was husky. “Come with me. I’ll give you everything you’ve dreamed of.”

He limped, and she lost her synchronicity. Something seemed wrong with his leg, but her eyes were glued to his face. His smile hardened her nipples with arousal and fear. He had promised to fulfill her dreams, hadn’t he? Her gaze fell past him, and she frowned.

People around her had changed, wearing dull colored brocade clothing adorned with golden threads, and so did she. Where were they? Or was it when?

“You could be mistress to a pope.” Her partner pointed to a fat man with a hooknose in a red cloak. Countless jewels studded Hooknose’s fingers. When he smiled, his teeth were twisted black stumps. She shivered.

“Well, if Roderic de Borja is not to your taste…” Her partner whirled her around and the scene and their clothes morphed again. Now he wore a stiff necked suit, and her bosom fought a dress with a whale-bone crinoline. He nodded to a portly man she had once seen in a history book—a king of England or some such.

“Interested? He’ll make you his queen.” His eyes sparkled.

Wealth and power! All she’d ever wanted. That one was Mr. Right. But a question remained, “Why can’t I stay in my time?”

“Because death awaits you tonight.” The red glow in her partner’s eyes intensified. In them, she saw herself lying in a puddle of blood. She swallowed hard.

“What will it be, pope or king?”

She didn’t ponder for long. As queen, she’d be rich and powerful. No man would dare to object to her advances even when she grew old. Also, the king wasn’t as fat as the pope.

Before she could voice her answer, her dancing partner bowed, kissed her hand, and said, “Fair thee well, Anne Boleyn. We’ll meet again.” Bowing once more, he faded away.

_______________________________________

Chris Bridges hasn’t a story this time but she’s promoting the Storytime Blog Hop. Give her shout out and say Hello!

Don’t forget to visit the other participants. Enjoy their stories:

Black Moon     by Lauren M. Catherine
Poe’s Heart     by J. Q. Rose
Hanks A Lot     by Joe Bouchard
In The Gray Lake     by Karen Lynn
The Right Honorable Brotherhood of Spirits, Poltergeists and Ghosts     by Vanessa Wells
Life of a Pumpkin     by Bill Bush
Why Should I?     by Gina Fabio
Reaper     by Juneta Key
Snow White Tabloid Style     by Fannie Suto
Starving Artist     by Samantha Bryant
The Halloween Dance     by Barbara Lund
The Ghost In My Yard     by Elizabeth McCleary

 

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One of the shops we visited was a smithy. I was surprised by the tiny size of the fireplace (that’s the little gridiron in the middle of the red painted wall). I think in winter, it must have been quite cold for those people who didn’t have floor heating. After all, Germany was colder, wetter, and all in all less comfortable that Italy. I’m sure many of the inhabitants wished they’d stayed in Rome.

The smithy worked with silver if I remember correctly. For an iron forge, the furnace is too small. Not too far from the recreated houses were the remains of a iron forge, and it had three furnaces and ground heating. However, it hadn’t been reconstructed, so one had to use one’s imagination.

Everyone who owned a little shop worked and sold their wares from home (on the other side of the bellows, outside the picture, is the room-wide wooden counter for selling wares; the whole front of the room could be opened to the street). There was no separation between small and medium sized businesses and the owner’s living quarters. They were mostly in the same house. Only big industries (like the dockyards, farming, or stone masonry) had their work-spaces outside the city.

Romans loved luxury, and those who could afford it, wanted to celebrate like in Rome. So there were restaurants with bed-sofas. Each of the little rooms (see picture) could hold nine men (no women allowed there unless they were whores). It surprised me to learn that Romans didn’t always lie down for eating. That was only done for feasting. At home, they had wooden tables with chairs or stools. The children often stood while eating.

Romans also insisted on cleanliness. Bath houses were spread throughout the city so every citizen had access. There was a really big one for the higher classes near the town center, but the park’s owners had built the museum on top of it. Still, there were enough foundations to understand the basic layout. Also, they had reconstructed on of the bath houses.

The genders bathed in different facilities. The first room a customer entered was a cold room for undressing. The next one was already quite warm and had basins with warm and cold water. It as often used for shaving and washing before one went on to the last room. Upon one’s return it also served for cooling down slowly. It was heated extremely well and the water was as warm as it is in one of today’s bathtubs. The main point of this room was relaxation (and surely talking business as well). The big bathhouse had some smaller rooms at the side for massages or whoring or simply for resting, but the reconstructed bathhouse didn’t have those.

I was most delighted by the colorful designs of the houses. The archeologists used historical finds from other areas to recreate the rooms, and they were much more colorful than what I’d anticipated.

 

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Liebster Blog Award 2011