02/8/19

Streetwriters: Micro-blogging for authors and poets.

This week I’ve been spending time evaluating Streetwriters, a new writing app for Android devices. I spotted a tweet from the developers under the #writerscommunity hashtag on Tweetdeck and decided to give it a try.

At first blush it wasn’t great. Lots of functionality just didn’t work, and being one of the first users to take it for a spin meant I didn’t have many other writers to interact with. I counted less than a dozen on the apps ‘Discovery’ feed.

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06/12/18

Swear Like A Viking: Rings, Swords And Right Hand Men

I was asked by the leadership at Asatru And Heathen Order to write a short article for their Facebook page on the topic of swearing oaths in the Viking period. This was the result, penned over a weekend.

Swear Like A Viking: Rings, Swords And Right Hand Men – by Trudi Hauxwell

Amongst modern Heathen groups the arm or ‘oath’ ring is a popular way to display one’s Heathen faith. These rings, which are worn as an item of personal adornment, are also used as a ceremonial tool in rituals and public declarations of fealty to a group or group leader. But what do we know of their use in the Viking period and how much do modern practices reflect the beliefs and customs of our ancestors? Continue reading

02/10/18

Flash Fiction: The Gluemn In God’s Eye

For years I’ve been fascinated by the idea that life may exist under the icy crust of Jupiter’s moon, Europa. In particular I wondered how an intelligent species might mythologise their landscape when the limit of their universe is a miles thick ceiling of ice. This is a glimpse in to life beneath a frozen ocean. Continue reading

02/9/18

Book Review: Wild Chamber by Christopher Fowler

Wild Chamber (Bryant & May, #14)Wild Chamber by Christopher Fowler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m a huge fan of the Bryant & May novels by Christopher Fowler and have read them all with relish. They’re particularly fun for me as a Londoner and a history nerd. The author blends historical fact with fiction so well that on occasion I have found myself fact-checking several of the novels in order to distinguish between historical fact and flights of the author’s fancy.

Crime buffs will notice straight away that this story is a variation on a classic crime set up; the locked room mystery. A variation that could only really work in a London setting. The author does a great job of misleading the reader with several red herrings, and I didn’t start to zero in the the killer and his motive until the last few chapters. Even then it remained a rather nebulous notion until the denouement, when all was revealed. Continue reading

01/8/18

The Right Tool For The Job: Dabble Writer

When I signed up for NaNoWriMo last year I decided to take a chance on a brand new writing platform. I had tried several, including Scrivener (too complicated), Apollopad (unreliable), and one which was so relentlessly awful I can’t being myself to name and shame it.

As I write in various locations and on several different devices, my main priority was finding a platform that allowed me to save my work to a remote server, something I had been waiting in vain for Scrivener to provide for years.

Fortunately, I found just such an application was one of NaNoWriMo’s sponsors for 2017, a new platform called Dabble. Usually I’m a bit wary of being a pioneer for a new piece of software. I prefer to wait until other users have identified the major bugs before I bog myself down in frustration, but this time I figured, why the hell not? I could always resort to pen and paper if it all went wrong. And besides, the creators of Dabble were providing a free month long trial for everyone who signed up during NaNoWriMo. Count me in, I said.

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10/18/17

GoodReads Review: A Talent For War by Jack McDevitt

A Talent for War: Alex Benedict - Book 1A Talent for War: Alex Benedict – Book 1 by Jack McDevitt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I know some readers found this book boring. Perhaps they were coming at it as readers of the ‘blow stuff up, shoot anything that moves’ kind of sci-fi. Personally, I find that kind of thriller unsatisfying, whether it’s sci-fi or not.

I actually chose this book, not as a fan of sci-fi, but as a mystery junkie, and I loved it. Its a real slow burner, with a narrator who’s not some war-grizzled veteran, or retired gunslinger. Instead, Alex Benedict is an antiques dealer, whose mentor and uncle was an archaeologist and academic. Hence, this is sci-fi for history nerds, those of us who are familiar with long hours in dusty library stacks, pouring over the barely legible journals of the long dead. It’s one for those of us who know the crushing disappointment of excavating a promising archaeological site, only to get to the bottom of the hole and find absolutely nothing. It even has a little something for the English literature student, with a vital clue being hidden in a piece of heavily symbolic poetry. Continue reading