First, let me start off by saying the winner of the $10.00 Amazon gift card for the Naughty New Year bog hop was Jackie from TN. Jackie has received her gift card and is hopefully finding some good reading material.
2012 wasn’t too kind to me in some ways. I started the year at a job I really hated, and then in July was able to return to a team I knew and enjoyed, although at a major pay cut, like a 32% pay cut. I was sick a lot (pneumonia in May, strep throat in December and assorted other colds and flu and asthma troubles the rest of the year), and it affected my writing. Eddie’s Prize is quite a long book, and it took me literally more than a year to write.
However, 2013 is a completely different animal. I started writing Wolf’s Prize in October, and although I’m still not a terribly speeding writer, I feel good about the story. I’m at 20,900 words of a guesstimated 50,000. I really hope I can finish it by Feb 20, get it sent off to the beta readers by March 1, and have it submitted to the publisher by March 20. Then, at last, I get to dive into Sky and Rose’s story. Whoo-hoo!
I also plan to be more active in the SCA (my medieval history group). This weekend I’m going to 12th Night and even made a new outfit to wear. This is a very generic version of what might have been worn in the eastern Roman Empire around 900 AD. It’s pretty barebones now, but later I can pretty it up with pearls and gems and some embroidery. The colors of the pic (the before pic) on the left are accurate.
I wish you all a wonderful, productive and joyful 2013.
Before I started my second careeer as a writer, I sewed quite a lot of garb for myself and friends. I went to be part of a panel about the SCA at the sci-fy convention Core Con today, and had to wear something bling-y. That is, something eye-catching that showed off what we do in the SCA. I had a terrible time finding something to wear!
I couldn’t wear this blue/pink shot silk dress from 1530 Florence this because I gave it away.
I couldn’t wear this Indian dress because it isn’t really historically accurate. It’s the only one I didn’t sew myself.
This Viking Apron dress was out because the last time I wore it it got badly stained. Fine for camping, but not for a show-off opportunity.
I decided against this velvet dress from 1535 Florence Italy because it takes 2 people to get me into it, it’s an extremely tight fit and it’s hot to wear.
And this one was impossible because it isn’t finished yet. I’m stumped by it. I can’t fit the bodice no matter what and I’m too lazy to actually try to rip it out and start over.
So I wore this one. Purple and silver Byzantine silk/blend brocade.
You know what this means? I need to sew some more garb. Something that will wow the audience but is comfortable to wear, easy to put on and doesn’t weigh a ton.
This past weekend I went up to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada for the Barony of Castel Rouge’s 12th Night event. 12th Night is a common event celebrated in the SCA. I always have a good time up there in Castel Rouge. I’ll be up there again in May for the Crown Tourney. I drove up with Tiff and Chris and stayed at Dave and Robyn’s. One of the 12th Night traditions is to give small gifts to friends. Robyn gave me this terrific bowler hat. She said I could use it for my steampunk costuming. She’s right. I thought it looked pretty nice on me
The theme at this event was Indian, so many of the attendees wore saris and salwar kameez. Others wore the dress of their chosen persona.
A marvellous (really, truly, awesome) henna artist was there to create art on hands, arms and feet. If you ever get to see Kim at www.winnipeghenna.com, go for it! Her work is stunning. I chose a fairly simple design that went from the tip of my left forefinger to a band around my wrist. Kim sprinkled glitter over the wet henna. As the henna dried some of the glitter flaked off, but mostly it stayed until I showered on sunday night. Here is what it looks like now.
I had a wonderful time with old friends and made some new ones too. Here is my friend Lyndi (actually the person I based Rose Turner on) her dad Ron and me.
During court, seeing three knights swear fealty was stirring. Someday I really do have to write some medieval historical romance!
All in all, it was a great weekend!
This weekend my SCA shire is hosting our annual event, Rhythm and Bruise. The event consists of hours of armored fighting, with music and dancing along side. This year our theme is Tora Matsuri (Tiger Festival), and the emphasis is on medieval Japan. Click the link and click again on the line in the blue square to see a list of the japanese feast. I’m serving (on my knees, literally, as was the tradition in medieval Japan) while wearing hakama, three kosode and an uchikake. (I hope I have that right!) In honor of our event, here are 13 traditional Japanese weapons.
Traditional Japanese Weapons
The Katana – Not just a weapon, but the soul of bushi.It is the
most sophisticated form of the beauty of killing.The more beautiful it is, the
more deadly sharpness it has. Katana are distinguished from broadswords for the
extremely sharp edge and the slightly curved blade.The beauty of a katana
appears on its blade and edge.Its grace form and grim beauty has been
fascinating many warriors.
The Wakizashi – Shorter than the Katana (about 68 cm), this sword
was worn indoors by the Samurai, because the Katana was too long to fight in
The Tanto – This is a small japanese knife from the same steel as
the Katana and the Wakizashi. This knife was sometimes worn instead of the
The Kama – Originally a farming tool to weed plants. Because the
farmers were not allowed to carry weapons they used their tools to defend
themselves. This weapon is most know for its use by ninjas.
The BO - A large staff (about 2 M) used as a self defense weapon by
the common people, who were not allowed to carry weapons.
The Jo - A shorter staff (about 1.35 M) also used as a self defense
weapon by the common people.
The Keibo – A small stick (about 35 cm) used for fighting in small
The Ebo – A very small stick (about 15 cm) perfect as a defense
weapon and easy to cary around.
The Tonfa – A nightstick with a handle attached to the side of it.
many police forces have adopted it to replace the old police baton
The Nunchaku – Two sticks connected by either a small cord or
chain. Originally it was used as a farming tool to thresh grain. and the farmers
started using them as weapons to defend themselves.
The Shuriken - The word shuriken means “a dagger hidden in a palm,” so
all daggers small enough to hide in a palm were called by this name. They have
many variety in their shape and usage. Some are starlike shaped, and thrown with
spin. Some other are needlelike shaped, and thrown just like a throwing dagger.
Though a shuriken can hardly penetrate armor protection, it was enough because
ninja threw it at unarmed target mainly. Venom was used with shuriken
The Yari – The Japanese spear didn’t differ largely from that of
other countries. During the Civil War Era, spear was the most standard weapon of
The Naginata – A pole arm with a single, curved blade on one end,
is employed with sweeping, circular motions and, as an extension of the wielder,
channels energy in a harmonious display of beauty and precision. The Naginata is
a weapon with a rich history, utilized and refined from the Nara Period (710-784
A.D.) to today. Employed initially by the Bushi, it later found itself the
specific weapon of the Sohei or Buddhist monks. It is the school of the spear
and, as such, is a shafted weapon. The length of its oval shaft varied, from 5′
to 8′, depending on battle conditions and personal requests. The most striking
feature, however, was the blade; it could be anywhere from 10 inches to more
than 2 feet, and was sharpened on a single side, fashioned in the manner of
either Sakizori or Uchizori. As with most shafted weapons, it was most
devastating when utilizing sweeping, circular motions. However, thrusts with the
blade and also the heavy Ishizuki on the butt end were acceptable tactical
One of the things I love about the SCA (the medieval historical re-creation group I’m in) is the music. Some songs are beautiful ballads, lyrical, with breathtaking melodies. Others are filks, which are songs sung to a familiar tune but with very different–sometimes mocking–lyrics. Many songs are sung a capella, others are accompanied by drums, harps or flutes. Here are 13 SCA songs sung by SCA folk, some of whom I know and see often. I am not musically talented, but I sure make a good audience.
Born On the Listfield - a female fighter is made a knight
Pennsic Drum Song - funny! At Pennsic, which is the largest SCA event where 15,000 people all camp, fight, take classes and dance, the middle eastern drums pound ceaselessly into the night.
Master Daveed drumming - Master Daveed is a middle eastern drummer par excellence, and here he and Carmine are showing off their best riffs, trying to outdo each other.
My Mother’s Savage Daughter - the iconic song of my kingdom
Sons of the Dragon - One of those ballads with a great melody and lyrics
Haul On the Oars, Ladies - Viking women get bored and go shopping (aka pillaging)
Strike the Drum - A battlefield song
Beware of the Vampire Penguin - Hm. Can you say silly but fun?
Regin smidur - An actual Faroese song sung in Faroese. Great.
Mongol Doodle Dandy - Remember I mentioned filks?
Shoulder To Shoulder - Another rousing battlefield song
The Muster - Love it! What a voice!
If I Were A Young Man - Great ballad
Have youever read a historical romance where the hero has his lady out of her clothes in about 3 seconds flat? How realistic is that? I can say from experience that getting dressed takes some serious time and effort. Getting undressed would take less time, but still a heck of a lot longer than a few seconds. Here is an example of what a noblewoman in England in the year 1530-1545 might be wearing.
Layer 1: Chemise. shift. This is the layer closest to the skin, so it should be easily laundered (unless you’re high nobility, and then the chemise will be loaded with embroidery)
Layer 2: Farthingale/hoopskirt. In the 1500s this shape should be a cone, not a bell like in the 19th century
Layer 3: Corset. This was not intended to give an hour glass shape like in the mid-1800′s. Have you ever tried to edge your hand inside the top of a corset or had your hero do that to his lover? Not as easily done as you might think, depending on how tightly it is laced. This is an actual corset from the late 16th century
Layer 4: Bumroll. To make the skirt stand out from the body and take some of the weight off the hips. A stuffed half-donut that tied around the hips. (no picture)
Layer 5: Kirtle (or petticoat and bodies). In hot weather or for casual dress (or the lower class), this could be worn alone.
Layer 6: Partlet. A neck covering for warmth and ostentation rather than modesty. Often plain black, but sometimes richly embroidered or lined with fur, edged with pearls or other small jewels. Later in the century it evolved into the back standing open ruff.
Layer 7: Forepart. A decorative panel of rich fabric that was pinned to the kirtle to show through the split in the over skirt. Often matched the lower sleeves. A woman with a couple of these could mix and match to extend her wardrobe. The black and white photo is of an actual forepart rom the period.
Layer 8: Gown. Sometimes the gown was one piece. More often it was a skirt that hooked or tied onto the bodice edge. (no photo)
Layer 9: Sleeves. In Tudor times, uppersleeves were stitched to the dress, but undersleeves were tied on underneath and could be changed to match the forepart. (no photo)
Layer 10: Coife. A small linen cap to protect the heavier, more expensive headdress from oil in the hair. (no photo)
Layer 11: Head dress. In Tudor Engand in 1535, this would have been a Gable Hood or a French Hood. These would have been ornate and decorated with pearls and gems.
Layer 12: Shoes and stockings. Stockings would have been made from fabric cut on the bias and sewn together. Knitted stockings were still another 20 or 30 years from being introduced. Shoes were often a Mary Jane style, with very square toes.
Layer 13: Jewelry. For the high nobility, this would have included necklaces, brooches, rings and girdles (belts made from strung pearls and jewels, or silk cords). But just about every garment was embellished with jewels, from the neck edges of the dresses, the edges of the split in the skirt, to the sleeve slashes. One of these complete outfits probably weighed a ton! Or at least 20 pounds.
I think the layers would have been similar in other times. The Georgians? Definitely. The Victorians? Oh, yeah. Maybe not the Regency period as much, but still layers.
So after reading this, how quickly do you think your hero could get his heroine undressed?
Actually, these are from just the first half of the 16th century. I am thinking of making another formal gown for my SCA events. My persona is Italian, so I thought I’d make another gown in the style of northern Italy. It is comfortable to wear, and if made in a lighter weight fabric it can be cool as well. But I have some of those already, so maybe I should make a gown from England? These are more ornate, usually made from heavier fabrics so are hotter. If making a style after 1535 a corset and maybe a farthingale should be worn to produce the correct sillouette. But those can be darned hot … I have nothing from Germany. I think the hats are awesome. maybe you could help me choose what I should make. here are some examples to choose from.
1. Front laced, rounded neckline, with contrasting sleeves tied on to the shoulder with chemise pulled thru. approx 1506
2. Slightly higher waist, neckline somewhat more square, contrasting sleeves tied to shoulder w/ chemise pulled thru. approx 1505
3. More of the same style, full length. This style has a rounded bust, so no rigid corset. Skirt is gathered or pleated, the waist a little higher than natural waist. Necklines are edged with contrasting fabric.
4. Neck narrower, lower and squarer, sleeves hugely puffed from shoulder to elbow. Chemise is high necked. Waist raised. c 1535
5. Neck higher and wider, sleeve puff smaller. Waist at natural line, bodice stiff and flat. c 1545.
6. Neck very wide, filled with netted partlet. Waist at natural line and bodice rigid. c 1550.
7. Very early English. High square neck, tight sleeves, bodice is not rigid and hooks closed in center. Early gable hood. 1502
8. Neck is lower, bodice closes in back or on side, over sleeves turned back to show contrasting under sleeve. Bodice is smooth but not quite rigid. Neck is now lined with pearls and gems. Gable hood has lappets folded up. 1520.
9. Neck is even wider. Over sleeve is tight at the shoulder, then widens and is folded back to show embroidered lining. Lower edge of under sleeve is slashed to show chemise. Gable hood has both lappets and tails folded up. Bodice is rigid. 1535.
10. Neck is even wider again. Bodice is very rigid and a farthingale holds the skirts in conical shape. Over sleeve lined in fur, under sleeve slashed to show chemise puffs. Round or French hood. 1545.
11. Two-toned skirt pleated. Sleeves ornately pieces. Bodice laced in black accross a wide white placard. 1520.
12. Classic German look with heavy gold chains and wide collar necklaces, snoods with ornate feathered hats, pieced sleeves with chemise spilling out. 1525.
So which style do you like best? Which should I make?
I am in a medieval/renaissance recreation organization called the SCA. This weekend is Twelth Night in the Barony of Nordskogen (Minneapolis, MN) I am not able to go to that event due to work and possibly weather. That means I will miss seeing some of my favorite people. So I will feature them here. These are not the ONLY people I will miss seeing, but I am planning on going to the Twelth Night in Castel Rouge in Winnepeg Canada on the last weekend in January so I will see many friends there.. You will note that the majority of my friends wear Viking or Byzantine garb. Which type of garb do you like best?
1. Tarrach and Fina, wearing court Byzantine garb. One of the premiere power couples in the Kingdom of Northshield. They have ruled the midrealm and Nothshield, earning them the rank of Duke and Duchess. A few of their other titles include Mistress and Master of both the Laurel and the Pelican, Knight of the Society, Lady of the Rose, etc, etc, etc. When I was a brand new beginner in the SCA they were extremely welcoming and helpful.
2. Sigurd and Helena in Viking garb. My very generous next door neighbors, whom I call in an emergency. A fun young couple newly married. He does marvelous woodworking; she does card weaving and fights rapier.
3. The Honorable Lady Devon Ffrenche and Lord Roibaird in Elizabethan garb. My adopted niece and her husband. Both accomplished rapier fighters.
4. This lady is my friend Lusche, currently HRH Princess of Northshield. She’s in Viking and I’m in early Tudor. I think we might have had a little much to drink?
5. Baron Berwyn, newly made Master of the pelican, me and Baroness Ceridwen, part of the purple Byzantine Brigade.
6. The Honorable LadyEabblean of Castel Rouge in a Rus coat. A lovely lady of such generosity and grace that she is widely beloved in her Barony and Kingdom.
7. Two knights of my acquaintance, Sir Jurgen von Baden (kneeling) in German garb and Sir Yngvar inn Heppni in Vendel garb. Two of the finest men in my kingdom. Great fighters, honorable and generous with their time
8. The Honorable Lady Asny and Lord Ansila the Goth in Viking garb. Residing at the very Western edge of our Kingdom, they travel tirelessly. They are talented and generous. It’s always a joy to see them.
9. Lady Una in Viking garb. This lady would not have been at the event, as her first baby is due any day. I’ve known her husband for many years and he’s a wonderful man. But he’ll be the first to say how lucky he is to have won her.
10. My very good friend Hrodir Vigageir Toreson, currentlyKing of Northshield, in Elizabethan garb. he usually does Viking or Rus, but his queen had wanted a late period reign, and with his generous spirit he put on the garb she chose.
11. Baroness Ainsleah, Mistress of the Laurel, wearing her signature beaded and embroidered Byzantine/Rus garb. It’s hard to see in the pic but the white motifs are solid tiny pearls, which she hand-sewed on. That gown can practically stand on its own. Gorgeous!
12. The Honorable Lady Gwen, her daughter the Honorable Lady Katherine and the Honorable Lady Devon. My kinswomen who adopted me into the de Bohun household a few years ago. Gwen and Devon are wearing early Norman garb, and Katherine is wearing the parti-colored cote hardie from the late 14th century.
13. Baroness Greta, Mistress of the Pelican in Viking. A tireless worker for the Kingdom of Northshield. She has served as Exchequer, and done a fantastic job, even through knee replacement surgery and reading through the first manuscript I’ve ever submitted. It was accepted right away, and I’m pretty sure she’s one of the big reasons why. I love Greta!
Someday I’ll write a historical romance where I can get the clothing right. Which style of garb catches your fancy?
November has been a very busy month for me. Here are just a few of the things I’ve had/will have going on:
1. Mom’s surgery, Nov 2. My mom had a new plate and screws put into her arm. I was with her for quite a bit of that, from Nov 1 through Nov 7.
2. Embroidery Fail, Nov 7. I was making an Anglo-Saxon tunic for a friend, and I began embroidering a collar with my handspun wool, but I failed to meet the deadline. Instead I slapped a plain collar on it and called it good.
3. Final Line Edits for Sleeping With the Wolf, Nov 10. All done!
4. Drove on horrible winter roads, Nov 13. The first big nasty snowstorm of the year. Saw about a dozen cars in the ditch on a 20 mile stretch of road.
5. Spoke for Berwyn’s Pelican ceremony, Nov 13. This was a very cool thing, totally worth driving on icy roads for.
6. Survived the first day without company coffee, Nov 15. My job has decided to save some money by not providing free coffee. The cafeteria ran out of coffee the first hour, even tho its prices are ridiculous.
7. Learned how to work diabetic strips and lancets claims, Nov 16. Oy vey!
8. Had to update the status of 857 Accounts Receivable manually, Nov 17. This should take onlya few minutes but because I had to do it by hand, it took 3 hours.
9. Donated 15″ of my hip length hair to Locks of Love, Nov 17. I miss it. Sob. But hopefully some kids will benefit from it.
10. Sleeping With the Wolf will be released from Liquid Silver Books on November 22.
11. Thanksgiving, November 25! Because of mom’s surgery we’ll be doing a small dinner with only a few of the family. And that’s probably best anyway.
12. My Book Release Party, Nov 29. My friends are even more excited than I am that I get to be a published author. They are throwing a party for me at a local restaurant/bar. If you’re in or near Fargo North Dakota drop by the Green Mill at 7pm.
13. Must. Finish. The Wolf’s Glory!!! Unfortunately, NaNo has been a bust for me. November has been busy and stressful and disorganized. Hopefully December will be better.