Most authors I know would happily avoid the whole publicity thing. Write books, somehow they magically sell themselves.
Doesn’t work that way in the 21st century, unfortunately. Once you’ve “made it,” maybe. JK Rowling doesn’t have to flog her novels, and she does OK (she is the United Kingdom’s best-selling author since records began, with sales in excess of £238,000,000). But for the rest of us, not so much.
Galahad’s coming out party turned out to be a quiet affair of a couple hundred of The King’s closest friends. Tradition demanded that initiates spend the night in contemplation before being sworn into the Fellowship of The Round Table on the morrow, but Galahad got to eat and tell his story before heading to the chapel. I was too busy to stand around and listen, so I posted Oswald to get the skinny and report back.
“His mother was a barmaid,” he told me later that night when things had quieted down. “Elaine. She caught Lancelot’s eye when he was home during a break in the Saxon wars. Lancelot forgot about her by noon the next day. Never even knew she was pregnant.”
“So how did he learn to fight like that?”
After my glorious win and my ignominious defeat, I took time to return the ribbon to Lisle, knowing that she would treasure it. “I’ll wear it forever and never ever wash it again,” she vowed. “I swear by the Holy Mother who guided me to wear it today. Can you tie it in my hair, Mum? You’d have beaten that dastardly Sir Lionel if he hadn’t cheated.”
“Sorry, luv. Sir Lionel is a good man and would never cheat. His only character flaw is that he’s a much, much better knight than I am, particularly with the bâton de faux guerre, and also with the lance and sword and undoubtedly in unarmed combat too. But if I ever get him to agree to a dual with long division, I’ll have him begging mercy.” Continue reading
I case you’ve been vacationing in Tanzania and missed it, Strange Bedfellows is out. Many/most of you read it when I was serializing it chapter by chapter, but it’s actually better when you read it like a regular book.
What does “read it like a regular book” mean? To me, that means you stay up late at least one night because you can’t put it down. Which wasn’t possible when you were only getting 1 chapter at a time. Tess frequently expressed her frustration at such an unnatural relationship with a book (others too, but she was the most vocal).
Strange Bedfellows available at Amazon
Thanks to all who got their reviews in early. For the rest of you, there’s still time. How about tomorrow?
And yes, I know I have to update my blog home page to have a cover link. Just don’t remember how to do that.
Also, Stella did a very cool interview in The Examiner. I love to do interviews. Gives me a chance to be a little witty, a little snarky–all favorite things of mine.
And more Sir Kay tomorrow. Life is good.
Tournament Day dawned crystal clear. I confess one side of me was hoping for a late spring cloudburst. Not a 40-day deluge so I’d have to build Arthur an ark, but a downpour nasty enough to hold the crowds down and make the horses slip. But even with the miracle of my opponent’s horse slipping, I wasn’t going to survive past the 2nd round no matter what. When Merlin visited Greece, the bards and troubadours there sang lays written by a blind poet named Homer that told of the gods and goddesses getting jealous with each other and intervening in men’s battles as part of their petty games. But those gods never venture this far north, so there was no help to be had from that quarter. When Jesus picks favorites, according to the priests, they always die in painful and messy ways to become saints and martyrs. So I’m just as glad I’m not one of his faves.
Christianity plays a huge part in the traditional Arthurian legend, which high Middle Age writers magically teleported into their own time. But when you move the story back into the background where it would have taken place if it is has historical roots, late 5th and early 6th centuries, the religious picture becomes much murkier. Particularly since we have very limited sources (written, archeological, etc) that contribute to our knowledge of the period.
When developing your own legend, it’s always good to start with what you know. Fiction isn’t bound by any of this, of course. But if it gets too far afield it becomes Alternative History or Fantasy. None of that is really my intent.
THE HISTORICAL FACTS AS WE KNOW THEM
Camelot was filling up fast, and Pentecost was still two days away. Pentecost is Arthur’s favorite feast day. Hard to say why, exactly. The Court wasn’t Christian by any means; in fact, a decade ago we only heard of the new religion through stories told by sailors from faraway places. Arthur didn’t celebrate Easter, so why Pentecost? My theory is that Pentecost fell on Arthur’s birthday the year that Monsignor Dagrezia arrived and began to teach the basics of Christianity to any who would listen, and the king had adopted it on the spot. The Holy Spirit descended on the disciples, Arthur descended on Britain. Sometimes the High King was a self-absorbed prick, but I think that comes with the office. Other times he had a wonderful sense of humor. This seemed to be a little of both; at least, that’s the best explanation that I could come up with.
But Pentecost is a pretty stupid choice for a feast day, if you ask me—it moved around every year. The old sun days were easy to keep up with. Shortest day of the year, that’s Yule. Any druid-in-training with a stick could measure its shadow and tell within a day or two when the days started to get longer. Close enough, right? Carve a notch in a stick every time the sun comes up. Forty-five notches later, it’s Imbolc. Ninety-one more, Beltane, everybody’s favorite holiday. Time to lay restraint aside and get baked, to howl at the moon and rut for the health and fertility of the land.
True contentment has never been my lot in life. I have no clue why the gods made me that way. I mean, I know I should be content. Compared to most other people in the world, or even compared to myself twenty years ago, my life is unquestionably good.
For example, I’m almost always warm. Back when we were out on those long campaigns against the Saxons and it rained for two weeks straight, the earth turned to mud; it was impossible to light a fire, and your teeth never stopped chattering. Now I can summon a servant to lay a fire in my chamber anytime I want one.