Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Pict, by Jack Dixon, A Review

Of Scarecrows and Scots: The Pict, by Jack Dixon, A Review

Thank you, Mr. Yelton, for that excellent and encouraging review. I'm glad you enjoyed reading The Pict; thank you for taking the time to do so.

Jack

Monday, November 12, 2007

13th Century Languedoc

Doing a lot of research lately for Novel Number Two, set primarily in 13th century Languedoc, Acre, and Scotland. Unlike The Pict, there's quite a bit of detailed documentation of the culture and events of that time. Won't have the creative liberties I enjoyed with The Pict.

I'd be appreciative of any and all tidbits of knowledge, especially obscure facts, about how people lived from 1250 - 1350: how classes interacted, common language usage of the day, clothing, economics, disease, etc. I'm most interested in these things as they apply to Cathars (known by their contemporaries not as 'Cathars', but as 'The Good Men,' 'Albigensians,' and a few other names), Templars, Mamluks, Catholic officials (including Inquisitors). All input welcome!

Independent Publishing
For writers planning to publish and not certain of how to go about it, take a few moments to check out a new organization, the Independent Authors Guild. There's a discussion group and a website for the organization. Of course, I'd be happy to discuss the process of publishing your book independently, as there are tremendous and growing resources available for those who would rather write, publish, and retain the rights to their work instead of playing the lengthy, costly, hazardous, and daunting courting game with agents and publishing companies.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Review: Scarecrow in Gray, by Barry Yelton
In Scarecrow in Gray, Barry Yelton has artfully captured the harrowing battlefield experiences of a humble and unassuming Southern farmer who joined the Confederacy for no cause other than that of honoring his fellow man. Mr. Yelton paints a vivid picture of a simple man with a powerful spirit, caught up in a complex war that made ghosts of such men.

Francis Yelton is the humble farmer, a peaceable man with a virtuous heart. Francis is driven by love for his family to stay home from the war and to protect them through unusually perilous times. But he is also driven by his conscience to honor the sacrifices of those who gave up the security of home to fight for a higher ideal. While Francis may not fully share the ideals of “The Cause,” he enlists to do his part, that the sacrifices of those who went before him should not be in vain, and that his family should not bear the dishonor of his failure to serve.

My favorite books are those that transport the reader to the scene, and that effectively convey the experiences and emotions of the characters involved. In these things, the author has succeeded admirably. Mr. Yelton has made the horrors of war palpable, and the futility of that war real for us.