About ten years ago, archeologists discovered a Roman-Germanic battle field not 20min car drive away from where I live. They kept it quiet for a long time to keep pot hunters away. Eventually they had to talk about it though because it was a sensation.
Up to the discovery of said battle filed, scientists had thought that no big Roman army ever ventured far into Germany after the disaster of Varus’ lost battle (9 aC). However, coins found in this dig dated the site to 235/236 aC. It was later discovered that a translator of an ancient Latin text had thought the claim that Maximinus Thrax took his army all the way to the Elbe as an exaggeration and adjusted the given mileage downward by a generous margin (several hundred miles less).
My husband and I became interested from the very beginning and visited many presentations, the only exhibition of the original finds so far, and (naturally) several guided tours over the Harzhorn (always worth it if you’re near). So when we were faced with the “hard” decision what too look at during our first kid-free holiday in years, “Roman culture in Germany” was a no-brainer.
By the way, you can click on the photos for full size.
We started in Haltern am See (Haltern at the lake) with the Roman museum there. It wasn’t a very big museum, but the folks running it had given a lot of thought to it. Most of the exhibits were thoughtful and interesting for all ages. There were lots of fun things to see or do for children (like the village of Asterix & Obelix), but also plenty of interesting displays for teens and adults (diorama or a full sized pottery kiln; see below).
Haltern was an important military fort, called a Kastell in German, where boats brought supplies up the Lippe river. Therefore the Roman army had fortified the place. But they were also open for trading with the locals (mainly blond hair, pelts, carvings and fresh vegetables and fruit).
The length of the army of Varus’ legions in Playmobil was impressive. There were ten donkeys carrying the tents for each Centurie. The row of little figures went all the way through the room and back and then another bit diagonally. People at the front of the train probably never realized what happened a mile behind them. That surely was part of there reason Arminius won that battle. A really interesting museum that my husband and I have visited several times already is in Kalkriese near Osnabrück, Northern Germany. Scientist are fairly certain that they’ve discovered the battle field of the so called Battle of Varus there, and the museum is quite interactive.
The tents housed six Roman soldiers when the army was on tour. When they stayed at a Kastell, they shared a barely bigger room in a barrack (we saw that the next day in Xanthen). Every day they had to set up a camp surrounded by a rampart and ditch and a wooden palisade, dig latrines, put up their tent and cook their own food. In the mornings they had to take everything apart again and fill in ditch and latrine. Each soldier carried 14kg (that’s nearly 30lbp) luggage plus just as much for protection (helmet, chain mail and so on). These guys must have had bigger muscles than the average body builder, and they were probably a lot faster and more agile too. My husband surely is no weakling, but he was glad when he could put the carrier down again (btw, did you notice the difference in luggage back then [carrier] and today [trouser pants]? :D).
I was most impressed by the tiny glass fragments. I had known that Romans already knew how to produce glass (I mean that alone is incredible. After all, it was still only the Early Iron Age). However, I wasn’t aware how colorful their glasses could be. From the bits that I’d seen so far, I’d concluded (prematurely) that their glasses were dull-ish and normally colorless or grey or brown-ish. That isn’t true. Just marvel at the brightness of the shards… Romans seemed to like bright colors (we saw more proof for that later).
But the highlight of the museum stood on a separate field just a few minutes away by foot. They had reconstructed the wall of the military fort the Romans used to have there. Well, that was impressive. Although it was only a small part of the wood-earth-wall that used to surround the whole fort, it made me feel insignificant and small. To imagine being a historical German farmer, used to living in a small village of 3-6 houses and low fences (e.g. to keep animals out of gardens) who took provisions to the Roman army the first time, spawned a whole string of new stories. The fort must have been awe inspiring for the locals (although they’d probably rather died that admitted it).
Since the birth of my grandson, I’m having problems to keep my blog up to date. I know you don’t mind (much). However, it’s not only his fault. I couldn’t think of anything beside “buy my books” (naturally you may do that but I don’t want to be reduced to that). So I came up with two themes that have been on my mind recently and decided I’ll post about them.
First, there’s all this cool and weird stuff I do for research. I discover so many interesting facts that it’d be a shame not to share. I’ll start with the Romans, because hubby and I were lucky enough to be able to go on a journey through parts of Germany. During that trip we visited many historical sites with remains from the Romans (you see, immigration happened 2000 ago too). I’l try to post these regularly on Mondays from the beginning of October on (I need to build up a buffer).
Closer to the end of a week, maybe on Fridays, I’ll talk about my path toward a cure or at least a betterment of my Diabetes Type II. In a first step I’ll tell you what I’ve been doing the last three years since diagnosis and what helped. After that, I’ll post a fortnight worth of data collected from a healthy person (I couldn’t find those on the Internet, and hubby graciously agreed to be my guinea pig) and then, I’ll post my progress. Maybe that way I can help people with similar problems.
If there’s still time (or just in between), I’ll point out new releases like my Upper Middle Grade or Lower Young Adult book “Beasthunter”. It can be pre-ordered as an eBook already and will be delivered on October 21.st, the day the paperback will be available on Amazon too.
Here are the blurb and the cover:
To turn his ghostly sister back into a human, twelve-year-old fraidy-cat Tom must fight the Beast, a century old demon stealing kid’s souls.
Tom is afraid of his own shadow. What if it turns into a monster and attacks? Luckily his older sister, Sally, protects him from everything that scares him: classmates, teachers, shadows…
One night during a heavy thunderstorm, a real monster attacks Tom in his very own bed. At the last moment, their new neighbor’s dog saves him from the Beast. But even the Beasthunter and his not so doggish dog can’t stop the creature from turning Sally into a ghost.
Will Tom find the courage to confront the Beast to find out if he can rescue his beloved sister? He has no effective weapons. All he can count on are his ability to see through the Beast’s disguises and the imagination that has given him scares for all his life.
Naturally we didn’t throw him, that’d be a bad idea. 😀
Niklas is my first ever grandchild, and my daughter didn’t even know she was pregnant (or didn’t want to know). Tuesday morning we went to see a doctor to find out why she’d gained so much weight, and 6 1/2 hours later, my daughter was slender as a young birch and our grandson Niklas greeted us with his screams.
We’re absolutely delighted, turning like mad to get everything we’ll need before the two leave the hospital, and slowly adjusting to the idea of grandparenthood. Of course that does add an additional challenge to my goal of 52 short stories incl. translations, but I won’t give up so easily. We’ll see how it goes. For now, I’ll enjoy having a baby in the house once again.
I sent in one of my fairy tale retellings (an adaption of Cinderella) to the Writer’s of The Future Award, one of the best known competitions in the US where hundreds of aspiring authors present their manuscripts every quarter. Naturally I had hoped for the best, but I didn’t count on it, being a non-native speaker/writer. And now this (self-explanatory):
I’m bursting with pride and had to tell you right way. Go on, celebrate with me. Here’s sparkly wine (German naturally, but I’ll have still water please) and chocolate (yummy). 😀
I should be writing, translating, or at least creating covers, but …
In June I decided to participate in Camp NaNo in July. There, a writer can set an individual goal and write toward it, communicating with other writers that are assigned to the cabin. I jumped right in on July 1st and wrote quite a lot. But then the time I have for things like this got shorter and shorter and shorter. The kids are on summer holiday. Somehow that influences all and everything.
I love having my kids around, and since we can’t go on a summer trip this year, I’m trying to do small things with them that they can enjoy (like going to the cinema, visiting Hamburg for a day, etc.). Strangely enough, not getting my writing done leaves an empty feeling in my heart. It’s as if my Muse is jealous. When I manage to sit down to write, it takes quite a while to tease her out of hiding. It’s hard to make her understand that my family will always come first.
I’m doing my best to adjust my routine to accommodate the kids’ needs and my Muse’s desires. Do you have a similar problem? Or are your children grown? Are you a reader and find it hard to make time for the next book? Share your struggle with me in the comments. I might learn something from it.
This music fills the gaps between my worry and my joy – effortlessly. I hope you’ll like it.
Sorry for the long silence. Many things happened and I’m still in recovery mode. But my next release is nearing.
Also, something broke the theme on my blog. I’m going to fiddle with it over the next few days. Don’t be surprised by surprising looks or strange behavior. I’ve got it all under control (well, more or less).
Life has been busy throwing stones in my way. Of course I had meant to post the cosplay pictures from Leipzig again this year, but so many family things happened that I just never got round to it (and no, I’m not going to tell you about the family matters, they’re family matters, not www-matters, right?).
As far as publishing is concerned, my next release is nearly ready and with only a 2 week delay nearly on time. It’s the fairy tale retelling of Sleeping Beauty from her point of view. I’ll reveal the cover as soon as I finish working on the blurb.
Also, the audiobook of “Scotland’s Guardians” is now available on Audible and Amazon, but I’ll do a blog tour some time soon (I’m still looking for interested bloggers) where I’ll be giving away a couple of audible coupon codes. So stay tuned.
The booth of my fellow Qindie authors and me at the Leipzig Book Fair was very successful. We ran out of most advertising materials shortly after lunch on Sunday. Everyone, even my daughter who had only come as a visitor, distributed enthusiastically, and most people we talked to were happy to take our material. Naturally we’re going to repeat the experience in 2017 if we can gather enough money for that.
Like last year, I will post photos of Cosplayers I took at the fair. But I can’t start before April 15th since I’ll be in a health resort with my kids for the next 3 weeks, and they don’t have Internet access. Sorry. Until then …
Isn’t it normal to set resolutions in January? So I’m going to jump in too. This came to me when my parents brought my middle daughter back on January the 5th and announced surprisingly that they wanted to renovate her room. The room was a disaster area (she’s a teen) with lipstick writing on once pink walls and piles and piles of unwashed laundry, books, discarded toys, and waste paper, so the renovation was overdue. Naturally I didn’t let my parents do it all on their own (they’re in their late 70’s), and this is the result:
The colors were chosen by my daughter. She loves them.
The fake window was originally planned for the kitchen but never made it there.
When the room was done and my daughter happy, I felt a deep sensation of accomplishment. Improving something felt good. So I vowed that I will manage to update all those novels that are published but not perfect enough before the year is out.
Don’t worry though, I haven’t forgotten about my new stories. After all I wrote enough new words in 2015 to publish at least one novella every three months.
I’m wishing all my readers a happy New Year. May all your wishes come true eventually (not all at once though because that’d be pretty overwhelming). May you remain (or become) healthy and may you live with love and tolerance. This also applies to those readers whose New Year is yet to come. 😀
Looking back at 2015 I must say that I managed to do a lot more things that I had thought I would. The kids are becoming more and more independent, so that left more time for writing. Still unbelieving I stare at my numbers. I wrote 169,054 words on new stories (the next 4 fairy tales, a couple of short stories, a love-story novel with dragons, and the beginning of the sequel to Scotland’s Guardians), PLUS I translated 151,516 words from the English first draft back into my mother tongue, German (most of what I wrote new).
What does that mean for you?
Glad you asked. 😀
In 2016, I can guarantee that you will see the publication of one fairy tale every three months (I don’t yet know if I’ll be able to keep up that publication speed in 2017, but I’ll try), PLUS the publication of several other projects in between (I’m doing my best to finally get my non-linear fairy tale murder mystery done).
And then, I’ll create some more. But before I can get back into writing, I set February 1st as my official starting day, I need to get the mobile theme for my website done (I had a very talented web-programmer do the basic layout and now I’m fiddling with the details. Here’s a (not yet fully functional) preview), I must sort my bills and prepare my tax papers so I can hand them in first thing in February. Also, I’ll need to find book-bloggers interested in reviewing my first ever novel-length audio-book: Scotland’s Guardians, and some who want to read “Juma’s Rain”. Also, I’ve got several novellas, short stories, and novels in the publication pipeline.
You see, this year is most likely going to be just as busy as last year was. So, let’s raise our hands and dance a happy dance — may merry times come to all of us.