Showing posts from September, 2007

An Introduction to Historical Research

If you ask any author of historical fiction, they will tell you the most important aspect of writing novel steeped in history is the research. Readers of historical fiction want the authors to transport them to another time and era. They want to visualize and experience everything about a particular century or country of long ago. Historical research seeks to discover the connections between the literary work and the historical time period in which or about which it is written. The basic materials from which historians gain their vision of the past are the artifacts and documents preserved from earlier historical eras. Because these resources are in its most basic form, they are referred to as "primary sources." All good historical research begins with a careful analysis of the best primary sources obtainable. Therefore, before taking up any serious historical project of your own, you need to know what primary sources are, where to obtain them, and how to make the best u

The Evil Eye

The Evil Eye has been around since the beginning of time. It simply means sending someone a thought that seems intrusive or invasive or has the power to hurt him or her. The bad fortune that results is considered to have been caused by envy. The evil eye is not necessarily considered to be intentional or associated with witchcraft or sorcery. Oddly enough, this thought form could actually be complimentary in nature. The origins of the Evil Eye are Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean. The concept was introduced into the Americas, South Pacific Islands, Asia, Africa and Australia by European explorers. Sending someone the evil eye comes from the concept that we all have a Third Eye, located in the center of our forehead. Blinding, fogging or obscuring the third eye is often the intent of the energy’s sender. Most of us have experienced the weird power of the phenomenon. All it takes is a gaze that seems to be unfriendly, indifferent or blank and seems to a couple of seconds too long. We thi

Mirrors - An ancient history

The history of mirrors starts in the III Century B.C. Most ancient mirrors were made from metal and had a round shape. The back side of the ancient mirrors was beautifully embellished with ornamentation. Mirrors were made from highly polished bronze and silver. The first glass mirrors were invented in I Century by Romans. From ancient times special qualities had been given to mirrors, that no other object had. The Greek philosopher Socrates gave advice to young men to look at themselves in the mirror, and those who were handsome should focus their life on keeping their souls clean and stay away from the temptations of life that could take them on the wrong path. If a young man would find that he is not handsome, he should compensate for his look from his heart, and get known for doing a lot of good things. In Medieval period glass mirrors completely disappeared, because during those times religious confessions stated that devil is looking and watching the world from the opposite side o

The History of Soap

In the course of writing my novels, I have had to research nearly every aspect of medieval life, and still, I sometimes either get it wrong or find myself digging even deeper. So I thought it would be interesting to share my research with my readers. In chapter 15 of The Treasure of Bloodstone Castle, I have a scene where the hero and heroine argue while she is in the bath. A bar of soap becomes a weapon between them. One of my critiquers questioned whethere there was such a thing as soap in medieval times. Yes, there was soap. Here is its history. The origins of personal cleanliness date back to prehistoric times. Since water is essential for life, the earliest people lived near water and knew something about its cleansing properties - at least that it rinsed mud off their hands. A soap-like material found in clay cylinders during the excavation of ancient Babylon is evidence that soap-making was known as early as 2800 B.C. Inscriptions on the cylinders say that fats were boiled wi