Yearly Archives:: 2014

Character profile: Mia

January 19, 2014 Character profile, The Plains of Kallanash 2

Mia is one of the two main characters in ‘The Plains of Kallanash’. At the time the story opens, she is twenty five, and has been married for ten years.

Mia was born into a Karninghold family. Her mother was the second wife in the marriage, and, like all the wives’ children, her official father was the lead husband. In this case, he was also her blood father, for her parents had been a settled couple for many years. Her father was well into middle age when she was born and her mother over forty, a rather unexpected late child for both of them. Read more »

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‘The Plains of Kallanash’: Chapters 1-6

January 10, 2014 The Plains of Kallanash: Chapters 7

For backgound information on the book, click here.

 

Chapter 1: A Death (Mia)

The hour bells sounded, reverberating through the tower, then faded to silence. Mia and both her husbands were on time. Tella, her co-wife and sister, was late.

Hands folded in her lap, Mia sat perfectly still.

Across the table, Hurst tapped his fingers on the polished wood. Jonnor rose, paced twice round the room, pausing to look through the tower window at the everyday life of the Karning below, then took his seat again. Although they were cousins, the two men were not alike. Hurst’s rough features and plain brown jacket made him look like an ordinary Skirmisher, rather than a Karningholder. Beside him, Jonnor looked like a prince from the old stories, his blue woollen coat enhancing his figure.

Mia forced herself to take her eyes off him. She smoothed away a crease in her russet tunic, then stilled her hands.

“Do you think perhaps we should begin without Tella?” she said.

“Let’s wait a little longer,” Jonnor said. “She’s only just back from the Ring, so she’s bound to be a bit unsettled today.”

“Did she tell you what the Voices wanted?” Hurst asked.

Jonnor’s hands clenched for a moment. “We… discussed it.” Discussed! That was a mild word for the shouting Mia had tried very hard not to listen to. “She wasn’t very forthcoming.”

“I imagine it was just the usual,” Mia said quickly. “She missed her interview last winter, because of the baby.”

“The usual interference, you mean,” Hurst said, one eyebrow raised.

Mia clucked at him, scandalised. “The Voices are there to help us. They have to ask searching questions.”

Hurst grunted, shifting his bad leg to a more comfortable position. “If you say so. I’d just like to know if anything out of the ordinary came up.”

“Gods, Hurst! You do go on. She’d tell us if there was anything to worry about,” Jonnor said, rubbing his eyes. He looked as if he hadn’t slept well, but then he was just back from a difficult skirmish, and that always made him a little tetchy.

Mia wished she could soothe him, but he rarely accepted her help. Still, she knew countless little ways to increase his comfort. She would order his favourite dishes for meat that evening, and have plenty of good northern wine to hand. That always helped him to relax and return to his affable self. ‘Ah, there’s nothing finer life can offer than red meat, red wine and the company of both my wives.’ How often had she heard him say so?

The small bells sounded, and they too faded to silence.

The door flew open, and Mia’s co-wife stood framed in the doorway, her curves clad in shimmering green silk. Read more »

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So why post a complete book on your blog?

January 5, 2014 Publishing/marketing 2

Writing a book isn’t easy. ‘The Plains of Kallanash’ took me almost a year to write, and there will be several months’ work to revise and get it into a fit state for possible publication. There will be expenses, too – cover art, and professional editing, for example. And it’s a big book, epic in size as well as scope. So why post the entire book, so that anyone who wants to can read it for free? Why give it away? Read more »

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Raising children in ‘The Plains of Kallanash’

January 3, 2014 The Plains of Kallanash 0

Adulthood is achieved at the age of fifteen. At that point, any adult can have sex and have children, married or not (Slaves excepted). Contraceptive herbs are freely available. There is a lot of local variation, though. In the villages, children are a haphazard occurrence, and people rarely marry at all. In and around the Karningholds, matters are rather more orderly, and people tend to marry or form other regular relationships before having children. There are economic considerations, too, so amongst craftsfolk and those setting up businesses, marriage will be considered only when they can afford to raise the children (since men and women both work, supporting a wife isn’t a consideration). There is a certain amount of experimentation, sometimes even before the proper age, and some of it is same-gender (which isn’t an issue). Read more »

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