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Sunday, October 21, 2018

Guest Blog--Stephen Crabbe


I am happy to have Stephen Crabbe as my guest today. Thank you, Stephen, for joining me on my website.



Stephen Crabbe Portrait

      Author Stephen Crabbe



Stephen, can you tell us about yourself and your background? What do you currently do outside of writing?


Well, it’s a real pleasure to be here, Jess! I’m on the leading edge of the baby-boomer generation, hitting earth just after the end of World War Two in Adelaide, South Australia. My family on both sides goes back to the early colonial years in that State; before that they were in Scotland, Germany, Cornwall and a few other parts of the British Isles. In 1993 I moved to Western Australia with my family.


I’ve worked in several different fields, but teaching predominated until my later years and I specialized for much of that time in music education. It was when I began to reduce my teaching hours that I started to write for publication. In 2016 I stopped teaching altogether and decided to pour my energy into writing books.


Apart from writing, I still have a deep interest in music; I was trained as a classical pianist from the age of five and it’s an integral part of my being, even though I no longer teach it. I’m also very keen on sports of various types, but these days I only participate in Masters Athletics. I’ve won a few medals for sprinting at State and National level. Amongst all that, I spend hours caring for grandchildren and simply communicating with my expanding family—all of which, of course, is a labor of love.


100 M race 2016 World Masters Athletics ChampionshipsPerthWA.jpg

Stephen in the 100 Meter 2016 World Athletic Championship Perth, WA



What books have you written, and what are their genres? What audience are they aimed at?

Song of AustraliaConflict on Kangaroo Island

             Song of Australia and Conflict on Kangaroo Island


I write fiction for adults, which so far is of the historical kind. Song of Australia was published in 2013, Conflict on Kangaroo Island in 2016. The third book is still in progress, but I expect it to be published early next year. All three are set in South Australia 1913-1918. As you have probably guessed, World War One looms large in the stories, but the narrative concentrates completely on the home-front. There are no battle scenes, and not even a glimpse of life on the battlefield, and yet the impact of the war twelve thousand miles away permeates the lives of the characters.


What prompted you to write what you did? Where do you get your writing inspiration


I’m sure there are powerful unconscious motives determining the content of my stories, but I’m conscious of several. At the start of my first book, there was an urge to show how fundamental and potent music is for human life and civilization. There was also a conviction that Australia, my country, sorely needed to come to terms with unresolved issues left over from the period around the First World War—the national adolescence, so to speak. Moreover, in the process of researching and writing, I felt pleasantly close to some of my ancestors and my childhood piano teacher, all of whom lived through that period. I wanted to honor them through my stories. The characters are not those people, but they are inspired by them.


My fiction attempts to tell absorbing stories that put readers in the shoes of the characters, but I hope they also give an insight into the human condition. When I look back over my work, it seems I’ve been exploring some fundamental questions. What does it mean to be human? What impedes us from being the best people can be? What is human goodness? How should we relate to other people and to the rest of the universe? I don’t consciously address these questions as I write, but I think they operate in the background nevertheless.


Do you write short stories, articles, or have a blog?


Years ago, I went through a period when articles and a blog were my focus, but eventually I abandoned them because writing fiction was much more satisfying.


What do you find the hardest about writing? The easiest?


Writing the first draft is so hard! I tear my hair out at times because, while I know the basic story I want to tell, it is so difficult to decide how to present events and information in the manner and in the order that will make the best reading experience. I suppose what comes easiest is the research; I do heaps of that before and during the writing. It can be so interesting that I often struggle to wrench myself back to focus on my story.


What’s next for you after your Book?


My work in progress is a novel which brings together characters from my earlier books to grapple with life on the home-front over the course of World War One. It’s taking me much longer to write this one, partly because interruptions from general life have been much more frequent lately. But what is slowing me down immensely is the far greater complexity of this novel. Again and again, I have revised sections, discarded one general plan after another … Thank goodness I’m just a few chapters away from the end now!

How can we follow or contact you?


My website:                StephenCrabbe.com  

My Facebook Page:      Facebook/StephenCrabbe 

Goodreads:                 GoodReads/StephenCrabbe 


Where can readers buy your books?


My Amazon page:  Amazon/StephenCrabbe


My books are also available at The Book Depository and Booktopia.


Thank you for an insightful interview into the life of a writer.




Next month, my guest will be Author Wylie McLallen.



For now, Salve Atque Vale! Hail and Farewell!




2:06 pm pdt          Comments

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Guest Blog: Gigi Sedlmayer



Guest Blog:


I am happy to have Author Gigi Sedlmayer, a resident of Australia, as my guest today. Thank you, Gigi, for joining me on my website.



Talon Author Gigi Sedimayer


Gigi, can you tell us about yourself and your background? What do you currently do outside of writing?




I was born in Berlin, Germany, on 19 May 1944. Escaping to the West before the wall went up, we moved a lot around. Changing schools many times, (Because my father had to go where he found work after the war) was not good for me, since I didn’t make any friends. Why should I? I would lose the friend anyway, when we are moving again. I crawled into a block hole, as I said, or into the shell of a turtle. Since I had to wear glasses from my young age, I was laughed at. That didn’t help either, to get more confidence. I put my face into books, and that a lot of them. I was reading, mostly animal stories, or adventure.

Finally, we settled in Munich.


Mum put me into a school to study architectural drafting. Because she knew, I was good with my hands. Copying pictures. I met Albert there in 1965, marrying in December 1967. (He must have seen something in me. and he still does.) I was still in my shell and started to write short animal stories. I loved it.


In May 1975 we moved to New Zealand. Because of language challenges, I started a handcraft business. It was very lucrative. (Parrots, sleepy tigers, koalas.)


In 1988 we decided to adopt and became adoptive parents of twin girls from Fiji the year after.

In September 1992 we immigrated to Australia.


In 1993 I was diagnosed with cancer. Surviving, I started to write short stories, as I remember I have written some before. One of the short stories was about handicapped Matica and her giant condor, Talon. Since she faces a lot of challenges, Matica is me and about my life.




What books have you written, and what are their genres? What audience are they aimed at?




Talon book coversTalon Books


I have written up to now five books and they are all published. They are aimed for children, reading age and even for parents to read to their younger children. But, as many reviewers said, they are for all ages. Because they can benefit from it as well.




The sixth book, TALON, WINDSONG in the series is nearly finish. I am re-writing it in the moment. I have to do that many times. I can’t let the first or second go.  The seventh book, TALON, MYSTERY OF LIFE I have started to write.









What prompted you to write what you did? [or Where do you get your writing inspiration?] What message(s) do you want readers to take away?


Because of my own life, and surviving cancer I couldn’t go back to work any longer. Thinking back where I wrote some stories, when I was younger, I started again to write. And there I wanted to let the world see, what damage can be done to a child, when a child is rejected. I wanted to put that in the story, but not in a boring way, just telling my life, no I put it into an adventure, so children and parents can read the stories and see and feel the heart ache children face they are rejected. But, when you put your mind to something you love, you can change and see the world, not with dark eyes, but with the light.




The message is:



“Teaching Children Self-Confidence through Service to Others.” Children today face immense pressure to fit in with their peers. This pressure is leading to record rates of depression among preteens and teenagers and this to suicide. Parents look for ways to build their children’s self-esteem; however, teens look to their peers and popular culture for acceptance rather than their parents. This puts parents in a challenging situation. Most children of this age group have issues with acceptance and this is explored and resolved in a positive manner within the story line of the Talon series, Matica shows children and teens that they can overcome great obstacles with love, patience and a selfless attitude toward helping others and experience exciting adventure on the way.


I wanted to let children and parents know, that they don’t need to suffer more than they already do. So:


Children suffer from all sorts of afflictions and through my book they can learn how to coup with everything, as Matica did, the main character in my TALON books. She had to learn it in her early life. Children can find a “Condor” as Matica did. Not literally a condor, but every child or adult for that matter, they are battling with non-curable afflictions, should find something that let them forget what is happening to them. Finding a “Condor” would help them to overcome that.


Parents can read my book to younger children so they can see that they are not alone, but that they can overcome it in a positive way, not in a negative way.


I say:  Children with special needs or with disability, or are handicapped don’t have an illness, so there is no cure and it’s not contagious. They want what we all want, to be accepted.


My books are not only for children. As I said, adults face some illnesses as well, so my books are for adults as well as for children.

‘Sometimes the worst and greatest problems in life cannot be solved. They can only be outgrown.’ And I have been outgrown them. Many times, I might say.


I wanted to write a story about a handicapped or challenged girl to show readers what they can achieve if they put their minds not to the negativity but to the positivity. (As Matica had to learn it as well, and I have done nearly my whole life myself. Being rejected in school as well, I was always an outsider, keeping to myself in the shell of a turtle, had hardly any friends.) And since I love birds, I decided to let her have a bird. But then came, what bird? And then the idea went even further. What is if she could fly on the bird? That would be something. But to do that, she has to have a disability to be very small. But again, the bird has to be big as well. And there the condor came to my mind. I loved the condors before. Amazing birds. They are the biggest land birds (vulture) on our wonderful earth. And so the story about Matica and Talon came to existence. And then I had to set the scene in Peru close to the great Andes where the condors live. And so it came, that I decided to let her family go to Peru as missionary from Australia.




Do you write short stories, articles, or have a blog? Where can we find them?


I have written a lot of short stories, before I started to write the Talon series. All these short stories I put into my books, mostly as dreams of Matica, my main character.


No, I don’t write blog and so I don’t have a blog. I have a website,






Amazon-Gigi Sedlmayer


Barnes & Noble-Gigi Sedlmayer


My website: http://www.gigised.com   


Facebook-Gigi Sedlmayer





What do you find the hardest about writing? The easiest?


The hardest for me was, when I started to write the Talon story, to face myself. Because Matica is me. I don’t have her disability, but others. It doesn’t matter what affliction you have, or incurable disease, it all is the same.


The easiest? Well, when I think about the story what I would like to write next, nothing comes to my mind, absolutely nothing. But I know, as soon as I put my fingers on the keyboard, the ideas floating at me. Then my fingers can’t type fast enough over the keyboard. You should see, what sometimes comes out of my sentences. I laugh out loud. It’s really funny.




What’s next for you after [Your Book]?


I like to finish the sixth book, TALON, WINDSONG so it can be published soon. But as I said, I have to re-write it again. I though I was finish, but reading it again, oh boy, I am making too many changes. But I know, one time I have to declare, it is finish. After that re-write, I guess. And then go on with the seventh, TALON, MYSTERY OF LIFE.





What special thing about yourself would you like to share with readers?


Since Matica is me, I let her talk and tell you all about her and me. That is special for me.


"My name is Matica and I am a special needs child with a growth disability. I am stuck in the body of a two-year-old, even though I am ten years old when my story begins in the first book of the Talon series, TALON, COME FLY WITH ME.


Because of that disability, (I am saying ‘that’ disability, not ‘my’ disability because it’s a thing that happens to me, nothing more and because I am not accepting it as something bad. I can say that now after I learned to cope with it.) I was rejected by the local Indians as they couldn’t understand that that condition is not a sickness and so it can’t be cured. It’s just a disorder of my body.


But I never gave up on life and so I had lots of adventures roaming around the plateau where we live in Peru, South America, with my mum’s and dad’s blessings. But after I made friends with my condors I named Tamo and Tima, everything changed. It changed for the good. I was finally loved and accepted by the Indians. I am the hero now and I embrace my problem. In better words: I had embraced my problem before I made friends with my condors Tamo and Tima. I held onto it but I still felt sorry for myself and cried a lot, wanting to run away or something worse.


But would it have helped me? Would it have become better? Would I grow taller? No, nothing of that would have happened. I didn’t have those questions when I was still in my sorrow, but all these questions came to me later, after I was loved and was cherished.


One day I looked up into the sky and saw the majestic condors flying in the air. Here and now, I made up my mind. I wanted to become friends with them. I believed, if I could achieve that, all my sorrow and rejection would be over. And true enough, it was over. I was loved. I even became famous. (You can read all about it in the series) And so, if you are in a situation, with whatever your problem is, find something you could rely on and stick to it, love that and do with that what you were meant to do. And I never run from conflicts."





How can we follow or contact you?


 Amazon-Gigi Sedlmayer

 Barnes & Noble-Gigi Sedlmayer

 My website: http://www.gigised.com 


 Google + -Gigi Sedlmayer

 Linkedin-Gigi Sedlmayer-Talon

 Twitter-Gigi Sedlmayer


 GoodReads-Gigi Sedlmayer


Where can readers buy your books?


My books are everywhere to find and can be bought. See above.






Awards and Recognition for the Talon Series


TALON Book One Silver Award 2016TALON1FINALISTIANbookoftheyearaward2015.jpgTALON5goldforcover2016.jpgTalonNewAppleaward.jpgTALONENCOUNTERbronzefirstlines2017.jpg




BOOK 1:Talon, come fly with me


5 star Review by Readers Favorite,

Silver for BOOK COVER competition with Authorsdb,

Finalist with: BOOK EXCELLENCE AWARD, 2017

Finalist with: IAN Book of the year award 2017 -  The Independent Author Network

4 out of 4 stars review by Online Book Club



BOOK 2: Talon, on the wing


5 star Review by Readers Favorite

BOOK 3: Talon, flight for life

5 star review by Readers Favorite

SEMI FINALIST for BOOK COVER competition with AUTHORSDB  2017

3 out of 4 stars review by Online Book Club



BOOK 4: Talon, Connected


5 star review by Readers Favorite

FINALIST  in First line competition with AUTHORSDB 2018

BOOK 5: Talon, Encounter

4 out of 5 - star review by Reader’s Favorite




Sole Medallist Winner with New Apple in the Young Adult General Fiction category of our Annual Book Award 2017 Book Awards for Excellence in Independent Publishing

Finalist with: BOOK EXCELLENCE AWARD, 2018





Thank for this wonderful eye-opening in-depth look, as to why you wrote these books, but into your own journey through life as well. 


In my next blog, I will interview Author Stephen Crabbe.




For now, Salve Atque Vale! Hail and Farewell!





11:42 am pdt          Comments

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

August Update-The Peacekeeper




Book Launch-Signing Follow-Up  New Reader Jenniferat B&N Spokane Valley.jpgNew Reader Victor at B&N Kennewick,WA.jpgThe Peacekeeper

                                                                Jennifer at B&N Spokane Valley,             Victor at B&N Kennewick, WA,                    The Peacekeeper Imprint


The book launch of my latest historical, The Peacekeeper, started at Barnes & Noble-Booksellers, Spokane Valley, Washington, August 4th, and continued at two other B&N's at Kennewick and Spokane - Northtown Mall, Washington, August 11th and 18th. Sales of this particular book were moderately successful, but as a whole, across the board, all five of my books did well as these events. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the Northtown Mall store did not receive copies of The Peacekeeper in time for the August 18th signing. Assistant store manager, Bryan, is looking into the reason for the delay. Regardless, my other four novels, did well, sales wise. All in all, the three events were successful, and I will return for encores at each store (see book signing page).


Book Sales BritanniaRomanusphoto5pics.jpg

                                                                   Britannia Romanus Series Book Covers


For the month of July, 2018, all five novels in the Britannia Romanus series were in the top 20 in sales for Sunbury Press' Milford House imprint. They were as follows: (3) The Peacekeeper; (6) The Wolf of Britannia, Part II; (10) The Broken Lance; (12) The Wolf of Britannia, Part III; (17) The Sign of the Eagle


The Emperor's Hand - Continuation of a new novel in progress Roman London Overview

                                                                                                                                                                   Roman London Overview


The work on this novel continues at a slow pace. I have gone back to the beginning to rewrite. Only a few changes made to chapter one. Chapter two required major changes and a lot of rewriting. I will probably return to it for more, but now I am focusing on chapter three. I made what I call a couple of "left turns," and that is why I returned to the beginning. My publisher was hoping I would complete this novel in less than two years, but this is doubtful. I could, but it would be a piece of junk. That is not me.



How The Ancient Romans Made Better Concrete Than We do Now  Pantheon

                                                                                                                                                          The Pantheon


If you've ever wondered why the ancient structures of Rome have endured for millennia, when our own modern concrete is susceptible to cracks and crumbles, well, now you have your answer. Researchers recreated the Roman recipe and discovered that the formation of a certain kind of crystal in the concrete is the reason for the durability.


Image: The Pantheon by the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World


In "Mechanical resilience and cementitious processes in Imperial Roman architectural mortar" published in PNAS, researchers, led by Marie D. Jackson of the University of California at Berkeley, detail their work and the results. The team reproduced the Roman concrete recipe, allowed it to harden for 180 days, and then examined it using X-Rays.


The Roman recipe used by the team involves adding volcanic rocks to a liquid mortar. To make the mortar, ancient Romans — and the modern research team — started by heating limestone into quicklime, and then added water and volcanic ash. The key ratio for this mixture is three parts ash to one part lime. Rome had no shortage of volcanic ash to use, since volcanoes lay to north and south of Rome. But the ancient Romans settled on the Pozzolane Rosse ash from the Alban Hills volcano to the south. For additional information see link below. Roman Concrete 



On a Personal Note Chatty introduces himself Chatty and Lionel become friends

                                                     Chatty introduces himself                                           Chatty and Lionel become friends


A new cat has become part of our family. His name is, Chatty, a Siamese-tabby mixture who is probably no more than a year and one-half. He wandered into our yard from our pasture, we don't where he came from. We made inquiries, but no one claimed him. He is very friendly, apparently, he had been around people, but our veterinarian believes he might have been abandoned. He seemed to be more of a feral cat, but now he is getting use to coming into the house, but for now he still sleeps in the barn. We hope to have him fully use to being in the house by winter, as we want to protect him from the elements. We get nearly fifty inches of snow each winter and experience several arctic freezes as well. Fortunately, he and our other cat, Lionel, get along very well. 




For now, that's all there is until next time, Salve Atque Vale! Hail and Farewell!





-Jess Steven Hughes




8:54 pm pdt          Comments

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Peacekeeper is Published!

The Peacekeeper is Available, Now. The Peacekeeper



The Peacekeeper, the fifth historical novel in what has been now designated as the Britannia Romanus series, was officially released by Sunbury Press.  Followed by Amazon in paperback and Kindle.

It is also available through Amazon's international outlets including Great Britain (.uk), Canada (.ca) and Australia (.au).


The official book launch, where I will conducting the first signing of my new novel, will take place at Barnes & Noble, Eastside, 15310 E. Indiana Ave., Spokane Valley, Washington, Saturday, August 4th, 11 a.m./5 p.m. I will also be signing copies of the other four novels in the series. For additional signing events, please check the book signing page.


Book Signing Successes  DyesInletPugetSoundSilverdaleWA.jpg New Reader Jennifer Silverdale B&N

                                                  Jennifer and Dyes Inlet from Silverdale, WA         New Reader Jennifer at Siverdale B&N




I continue to do well at Barnes & Noble, Spokane Valley, Washington, where I conducted a signing, Saturday, June 9th. I live only about ten minutes from the store and am considered the unofficial resident writer. Once  again management was pleased with the large number of sales and the store will be the site of my book launch for The Peacekeeper. 


The book signing at Barnes & Noble, Silverdale, Washington (next to Bremerton US Naval Base), Saturday, June 23rd, located near Dyes Inlet, on Puget Sound, was successful beyond my expectations. I met a lot of interesting people, passed out many flyers and signed many copies of The Broken Lance and The Sign of the Eagle Trilogy. To say the least, management was pleased. "This is the best book signing the store has seen in a long time," store manger, Martha, said. "I'm pleased you made arrangements with Amy (events coordinator) to return in September 8th."


I want to thank store manager, Martha, events coordinator, Amy, assistant manager, Sarah, associate, Jordan, and the rest of the Barnes & Noble staff who contributed to the success of this event.



The Sign of the Eagle Success Continues The Sign of the Eagle



Once again, my first historical novel, The Sign of the Eagle, placed in the top fifteen in sales for the Milford House imprint, in position number two. This novel has been one of Sunbury Press' best-sellers in fiction since it was first released in 2012. I believe part of the popularity comes not only from the story's time period and suspense, but also because of the number of strong female characters within the novel.


Roman Discovery from Turkey  Emperors290AD.jpg

                                                                 Two Emperors 290 A.D.


Recently a major discovery was made of the statues of two emperors (a Diarch), Diocletian and Maximian, embracing one another. This comes from Nicomedia (Turkey), dated approximately 290 AD. What is so remarkable is that it can be seen in its painted (albeit fading) form. Usually, most statues from the classical world have been bleached white of all paint by modern times. 


Restoration of an ancient fountain from Pompeii


           Fountain from Pompeii   


Members of the the Marco Aurelio Project have done an wonderful job of restoring this fountain to an incredible level of color.           




On a Personal Note - Confession of a Writer  StarbucksBNSpokaneValley.jpg

                                                                                Writing at Starbucks B&N in Spokane Valley, WA


Many of you know me on FaceBook as a writer of historical novels. You may also know I am one who likes model railroading, Roman history, horses, weight lifting, etc.


For many years my first passion has been writing. I realize a lot of you have no interest in that or any other literary activities. I respect that, we all have different interests. But at age seventy-six, like my other activities, it gives me reason to live and keep going on, I'm not one to sit around doing nothing.


I have a confession to make. I am not a natural-born writer. Every page I write is a struggle of creation. Every page means re-writing and more re-writing. And I am not the most eloquent writer. I am slow; a plodder. It takes me a long time to produce a compelling (I hope), readable work. It is why for many years I attended the writers support group, Red Ink Fictioneers. This group of established authors kept me honest; learning about writing fiction.


Over the years I have observed many perspective writers who were endowed with far greater talent than mine, who gave up before completing what would have been great books. Why? Because they were quitters, they lacked self-discipline and persistence.

In the meantime, I kept plugging away, continuing to learn from my mistakes, despite one set-back and rejection after another.


I am grateful to have found a publisher, Sunbury Press , a traditional press, who believed in me, and gave me a chance to succeed. Even then, the editors assigned to my novels, made sure to get the best out of me. In each one of my four published novels, I did major rewrites of chapters, added new chapters and changed endings. The goal was not a good novel but a great novel.


Whether or not I have succeeded, I am not sure. However, I will continue to promote my novels (some of you FB friends find it boring) and will to continue to write. This is my passion, and this with the support of my wife, Liz, an my other interests keeps an old guy like me going.


I hope I haven't bored you too much. I know the writers out there will understand, if no one else does.


Another Personal Note - Wedding Anniversary   weddingdayLizSteve.jpg

                                                                                                  Liz & Steve's Wedding Day



As of Wednesday, July 11th, Liz and I will have been married thirty-seven years. This was my second (and last) and Liz's first marriage. We have had our ups and downs and in most marriages, but it has passed the trials of time; this one is a keeper. I love you, honey, you truly are my soul mate.




That's all for now. I wish everyone a great Summer! Salve Atque Vale! Hail and Farewell!



8:35 pm pdt          Comments

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Peacekeeper Update




The Publication of the Peacekeeper Draws Closer The Peacekeeper


As the picture says, The Peacekeeper is coming soon, either June or July. I finished the review of the formatted PDF copy (this will be used to format the actual book), finding very few errors, and emailed it back to the editor for her final review. From there it will go to the production manager and the publisher of Sunbury Press, url:Sunbury Press, Lawrence Knorr, for final approval and publication. It has been a long process, but worth the wait.


The following is a partial review by a person who prefers to be called, Convoke. This person is author of several excellent historical and fantasy novels and whose review should not be ignored.


"If you haven't read this fourth book in the Sign of the Eagle series, better read the Broken Lance next, because #5 is coming soon. Everything you want in an historical novel of quality: mystery, adventure, romance, and command of the period that makes your read so real you'll think you've been to Roman Britain yourself! Few can equal Jess Steven Hughes. So come spend some time in Roman Britain with characters you'll never forget."


I will keep you updated when the novel is about to be released.


Book Signing Successes  Broken Lance Reader Gunnar Bozeman   Broken Lance Reader Dave B&N Northtown Mall


                                              New Reader Gunnar at Bozeman B&N,              New Reader Dave at B&N Northtown Mall

I conducted several more book signings since the last blog entry, including: EntertainMART, Coeur d'Alene, ID; Yoke's Fresh Market, Liberty Lake, WA; and Barnes & Noble stores: Northtown Mall, Spokane, WA, Spokane Valley, WA and Bozeman, MT. The events at B&N outlets were far the most successful. I will be returning to all five stores in the future (see book signing schedule) plus encores at several other venues.


Exhibition - Julius Caesar - Museum of the Rockies Roman Armor Museum of the Rockies.jpg Roman Machines Museum of the Rockies  Julius Caesar Armor

                                                                                         Roman Armor Display Museum of the Rockies, Roman Machines, Julius Caesar Armor


When I was in Bozeman, Montana, for my book signing (April 28th), I had the opportunity, the day before to visit the Museum of the Rockies (it's just across the street from Montana State University) to visit the phenomenal exhibition: Julius Caesar: Military Genius and Mighty Machines. Presented by The Niccolai Group, Artisans of Florence PTY Ltd, Italy, showcases over 50 interactive machines, reconstructed scaled models, recreated artwork and frescoes.


The exhibition covers four themes: 


Military Genius:The machines are interactive, reconstructed to scale by the Niccolai Teknoart Artisans, using only materials available in Roman times. Follow the exploits of Gaius Julius Caesar, reformer (inventor), military and political leader, and who played a crucial role in the transition from a republican system of government to an imperial one. Through the conquest of Gaul, Caesar expanded the Roman “res publica” from Egypt to the Atlantic Ocean and led the Roman armies to the first invasions in the written history of Britain and Germany.


All Roads Lead To Rome:The Romans understood physics and excelled at controlling natural resources (the aqueduct), and used the abacus to manage their finances. To communicate with and better administrate (control) their multi-ethnic populations in such a vast Empire, they adopted a sophisticated strategy of propaganda images, which we now refer to as Public Relations or even “Spin”.


Building Rome:The Roman Empire was in a state of constant expansion. Engaging in large-scale construction projects, from roads and bridges to baths houses and majestic monuments such as the Roman Arch that was symbolic of the Empire’s greatness. What made these feats of construction engineering so remarkable and durable was the sophisticated Roman use of construction materials. Inventions like cement, glass windows and large-scale production of an incredible variety of brick and marble products are examples of such.


Entertainment and Lifestyle:They built amphitheaters (the Oval Arena is their invention) to host gladiatorial games, their favorite sporting event. The Colosseum is one of the world’s most famous monuments. This stadium, technologically advanced even by today’s standards, was fitted with features such as the velarium, the vomitoria, lifts, turning platforms, and turnstiles. The skilled Teknoart artisans have meticulously reconstructed these features to scale, and have even recreated the gladiators in their dramatic final act. Other forms of entertainment and lifestyle are examined (gambling with dice, playing with dolls and fast foods). In fact, Roman citizens enjoyed a busy calendar of religious rites and social events aided by gadgets such as pocket sundials and personal “notebooks."


You have to see this exhibition to truly appreciate the work that went into putting it together. Unfortunately, the exhibition closes May 13th. However, if you go to the link, you will find many pictures displaying the exhibition in all its glory, go to the following link  Museum of the Rockies: Caesar Exhibit


CaesarJust to go along with this, I am currently reading: Caesar: Life of a Colossus, by Adrian Goldsworthy. This is a very readable biography about Caesar which I would recommend to anyone who wants to read about this extraordinary Roman. 


Monthly Best-Sellers


For the month of March, all four novels were listed among the top fifteen best-sellers for the Milford House Imprint. They were as follows: The Sign of the Eagle, No. 2; The Broken Lance, No. 8; The Wolf of Britannia, Part I, No. 12; The Wolf of Britannia, Part II, No. 13. 


Dozens of Roman graves found under York Hotel Swimming pool  (Insert picture Roman graves, etc. here)


MORE than 70 Roman skeletons were discovered on the site of a former hotel in York.


The grade two listed building, formerly the Newington Hotel in Mount Vale Drive, overlooks Knavesmire and has been stripped back by developers to create seven new family houses.

During the renovation of the Georgian building, developers were surprised to find human remains, and the York Archaeological Trust were called in to assist with the recovery. For further information see enclosed link: Graves Found under York Hotel Swimming Pool.


Personal Notes


Once again, I am cleaning my outdoor model railroad to run this Spring and Summer. A lot is involved, but is worth the effort. The first picture is me weeding around the tracks and second picture of what the area will look like when I start running trains. 



   Steve Weeding Rail Road Tracks  Roman Graves Found Under York Hotel  Daylight train passing under trussel bridge

         Steve Gardening the Rail Road Tracks            Roman graves found under York Hotel                  SP Daylight passing under trussel bridge




I am pleased to announce that my granddaughter, Veronica Hughes, will be graduating from Presentation High School, San Jose, California, June 2nd (I will be attending) and has been accepted for admission at the University of Alabama this Fall. Liz and I couldn't be more proud.


Granddaughter Veronica Happy BD  University of Alabama GrandMOMUniversity of Alabama Grand Dad

Happy Birthday Veronica and Congratulations!                          Ready to proudly wear our University of Alabama Shirts




That's all until next time. Salve Atque Vale! Hail and Farewell!




Jess Steven Hughes



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