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Sunday, January 20, 2019

January Update

 

 

 

Guest Blog Interviews

 

During the past several months, I have conducted guest blog interviews with authors writing in a variety of genres. This has proven popular enough that I plan additional interviews, beginning February with guest author and Roman historian, Lindsay Powell. His latest books include, Marcus Agrippa: Right Hand of Caesar Augustus and Augustus at War.

 

 

 

Current Blog Update

 

For the month of January, it is time to update my status.

 

 

 

The Emperor's Hand Roman London overview

                                          Roman London

 

 

 

The writing of The Emperor's Hand, a sequel to The Sign of the Eagle, has slowed to a snail's pace. I had to return to square one and re-start at the beginning. Although the first three chapters have remained basically the same, more detail was added. Chapters four and five were too plodding. Starting with chapter six, I have changed the basic theme, from murder mystery to rebellion and the abduction of the main character, Macha.

 

She is kidnapped by rebels, who want her to be their next queen, when they overthrow the Romans, because she was the daughter of Caratacus. She is horrified and wants no part of the plan. The Boudiccan revolt, which was put down the Romans, ten years before, is still a vivid memory in the minds of Britons and Romans alike. She knows any new revolt would be crushed immediately and tries to persuade the rebels to give up their disastrous plan. The story must worked out in greater detail.

 

 

 

Family Medical Problems

 

What has contributed to the slow progress of the novel has been a series of medical problems, beginning in October 2018, that have struck Liz and I, and have continued to the present time. Hopefully, the end of these problems are in sight. In October, Liz was thrown from her horse, Darby, and broke the Humerus bone in her upper left arm and damaged the rotator cuff. This required surgery and four days in the hospital. For six weeks, I did most of the house work and caring for the horses. Then in December, I was diagnose with pneumonia and was on back for nearly two weeks. I had completely from that when on Monday, January 14th, I had successful cataract surgery to the right eye. That will be followed, Monday, January 28th, with surgery to the left eye. I am already seeing better out of the right eye. I should see better out of the left eye when all is said and done. That will allow me to return to writing The Emperor's Hand, and continue with a new round of book signings this Spring.

 

Book Signing Update  B&N Northtown Mall Debbie  RomanBrittania2019.jpg      Milford House Logo

                                      B&N Northtown Mall Longtime Reader Debbie,                      The Sign of the Eagle...The Wolf of Brittania,                                   Milford House Publishing                                                            


 
 

During the past year, including Fall, 2018, I conducted several successful book signings. Because of Liz's injuries, I had to cancel three signings in October/November, but rescheduled them in December. Overall sales, for the month of December, were particularly successful. Four of my five novels were listed in the top twenty best-sellers for Sunbury Press' Milford House imprint. They were: #2. The Broken Lance; #3 The Sign of the Eagle; #4 The Wolf of Britannia, Part I and #13 The Wolf of Britannia, Part II.

 

See Book Signing page for the list of Spring 2019 signings.

 

Facts in Roman History

 

From time to time, in the future, I will present some interesting facts from Roman history and articles regarding modern day discoveries from the ancient world (this I have done on a fairly regular basis).

 

The Festival of Juno  Festival of Juno

                                               Festival of Juno

 

 

 

January 18th - The Ludi Palatini, & the Festival of Juno Lucina 

 

A woman's festival for Juno was held on this date on the Esquiline Hill for Juno Lucina. "Beneath the Esquiline hillside there was a grove, unaxed for years, named after great Juno "(Ovid, Fasti 2.435-436).  The hill had received its name from the many oaks planted on it by King Servius Tullius.

 

"There stood the grove of the Goddess, dark-shadowed, immemorial - one step inside and you know that some spirit resides within the place. There's a rough old altar, raised by divine hands, where worshippers mutter prayers over incense plumes. Through garland streets, with solemn chanting to the skirl of flutes, and the cheers of bystanders, comes the annual procession, leading snow-white heifers, sleek on Falerian pastures, and young calves, un-bellowing, with yet buds on their foreheads. Humble pigs from the sty come next to placate the God, and whethers with horns curved round their temples. Only the goat is banned, by Juno's command. When She fled from Jove's wedding bed, and sought shelter deep within this forest, the bleat of a goat gave Her away. So to this day little children cast sticks at the tattler, and whoever scores first, by Her law, wins a nanny goat as prize. Ahead of the Goddess walks youths and shy virgins, their hems sweeping the broad streets, the girls hair all entwined with gold and jewels, gilded shoes peering out from underneath embroidered mantles. Veiled, white-robed in Greek fashion, maidens bear the sacred vessels on their heads. The crowd falls into silent reverence as Juno Herself passes on a gilded float drawn by Her priestesses." ~ P. Ovidius Naso, 'Amores' 3.13.7-31

 

Caesar Augustus  CaesarAugustus.jpg

 

 

 

January 18th. On this day in 27 BC Octavian was granted the title "Augustus" which means "revered" in honor of the great peace and order he had established throughout the empire.

 

 

 

That's all for this month. Don't forget, I will be hosting a guest blog interview with author and Roman historian, Lindsay Powell, in February. Until then, Salve Atque Vale! Hail and Farewell!

 

 

 

JSH

 

9:15 pm pst          Comments

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Guest Blog: Author Mike Weatherley

 

 

Author Interview

 

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

 

Author Mike Weatherley

            Author Mike Weatherley

 

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

 

I was born in 1964 and grew up in the county of Kent (whose Latin name was Cantium), which was the earliest part of Roman Britain to be conquered by invading Anglo-Saxons in the late 5th c. AD. Born in the Chinese year of the dragon, I always felt an affinity with those mythical creatures, as well as being fascinated with the legends of the mysterious ‘Arthur’, the British hero who fought those first Anglo-Saxon colonists. I’ve always lived in the north-eastern part of Kent, which is the county known as the ‘gateway’ to the Continent. It was here that the Roman landings of both Julius Caesar and Claudius took place, and later the first of the Anglo-Saxon landings.

 

Since graduating in Chemistry, I worked for 25 years in the drugs industry, helping to manufacture – among other things – Viagra (which was discovered at the Pfizer research laboratories here in Kent). Despite a career as a scientist (as that was the best way to pay the bills), I always harboured the dream of being a writer, and had a flair for creative writing. That took the form of poetry and song-lyrics printed in biology magazines at university, and later in palaeontology magazines on the subject of fossils (another hobby). Like most people growing up, I was fascinated by dinosaurs, and have found the odd dinosaur bones here in the UK, though we have nothing like the remains that can be seen in the USA. I did visit the Museum of the Rockies, while on holiday in America years ago, and was very envious of some of the specimens on display. Indeed, it’s very likely that the dinosaur fossils of the Gobi Desert in Mongolia were the origin of the Chinese legends of dragons, as they have their own species of Tyrannosaur, called Tarbosaurus. And it seems that the trade route of the Silk Road brought those Chinese stories about dragons to Europe – ultimately combining them with the legends of the historical Arthur, as I explain in my book: ‘Pendragon’.

 

Away from writing, I’m passionate about preserving our modern native mammals here in the UK. I’m campaigning to see the garden pesticides that are implicated in poisoning our wild hedgehogs banned, as the species has crashed from ~50 million to ~1 million during my lifetime. I’d hate to live in a land where our native hedgehogs had become extinct due to Human activity and ignorance. My other hobbies include classical music, gardening and tennis.

 

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

 

Pendragon the Arthur Chronicles

      Pendragon: The Arthur Chronicles: 1

 

 

My current book, Pendragon: The Arthur Chronicles: 1, is the first of a trilogy of historical novels explaining the documentary, linguistic & archaeological evidence for the historical Arthur who was the 5th c. British hero that has always been behind the much later 12th-16th c. fictionalised version. The authors of those later centuries were not historians – as we are, today – and were only capable of depicting an Arthur suitable for their own times, as anachronistic as he turned out to be in their hands. My book contains a mini text-book at the end of the novel (including a list of scholarly references) to explain to the reader where the story evolved from. I incorporated this because my version of Arthur’s story is so different to the one most people are familiar with that I knew they would not believe it unless I presented them with the evidence. It’s very important to read both the short Historical Note at the start of the book and the much longer Author’s Note (the mini text-book) at the end of the story, if you want to understand where my version of Arthur’s story comes from.

 

The story is aimed at anybody of any age, so long as they have an enquiring mind, and are (like me) not satisfied with the traditional (but heavily fictionalised) medieval version of Arthur’s story. Indeed, it seems a pity to me that it is the fantasy medieval version that we are all brought up with, and that’s the only version most people are aware of. The fact is, the original version (which can be deduced by going back to the earliest evidence about Arthur) is far more interesting and true-to-life.  

 

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?

 

As well as a fascination for Roman Britain, I’ve always had a love of the historical Arthur, and the evidence shows us that the two seem to be inextricably linked. Although I love the movie musical Camelot, with its courtly romance, that story (and most other versions of Arthur’s story that we are familiar with) was largely invented from the 12th c. onwards, and bears little relation to reality. It’s a medieval fiction, portraying Arthur as a pseudo-Norman/Plantagenet king and does not represent the origins of Arthur in Roman/post-Roman Britain, where he was only ever described as a soldier. We have to go right back to the earliest sources that mention Arthur’s name (and even further back than that), to the real-life armoured cavalry on whom the much later ‘Knights of the Round Table’ were based.

 

As soon as I realised that there was a more true-to-life version of Arthur than the fictional version most of us have been brought up with, I knew that I (along with the scholars who have worked so hard to reveal him) had to try to promote him. More than anything else I’ve written, I always harboured the dream of writing a definitive version of Arthur’s story. How appropriate, then, that 15 years of research on the subject revealed just how closely intertwined the worlds of the historical Arthur and the legends about dragons (ultimately originating from China) actually were. But the historical sources and the archaeology combine to show that there was not just one Arthur. We know of at least two men of that name, living 300 years apart (with perhaps other, unrecorded versions in between). There was the famous 5th c. British soldier who defeated the invading Anglo-Saxons, of course. But there was also an even earlier 2nd c. Roman soldier, recorded with the family name of Artorius on his grave-stone as having led a cavalry unit in Britain.

 

If readers take anything away, I hope it is that truth – as is often the case – is even stranger than fiction. And they shouldn’t be too surprised that armoured lancers existed in the Roman cavalry (and among the other peoples they encountered) for a thousand years before the Normans under William the Conqueror (who are usually – wrongly – assumed to have invented lancing/jousting on horseback). There are even bigger surprises than that in the story, but I wouldn’t want to spoil it for the reader. Suffice to say that I hope I‘ve given back to the British people their greatest cultural icon, who was previously stolen from history by writers of medieval fiction and Norman/Plantagenet propaganda.

 

In addition to the true origins about Arthur, I hope that my story also educates the reader about Roman Britain. The truth is – as many historians and archaeologists know – that Roman Britain did not end in 410 AD. That date only comes from a scribal error in a work that wasn’t even describing Britain at all, but a province in southern Italy. We also have no contemporary written sources that describe any Roman troops being removed from Britain in the 5th c. And the latest archaeology confirms how many Roman towns and forts were still occupied through the 5th c. But all of this (and much more) is explained in the Author’s Note at the end of the book. So I hope the story is of as much interest to those who like Roman Britain in general as those who have a particular fascination with the historical Arthur. 

 

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

 

I do have a website: http://www.pendragonbooks.net/

 

I don’t write a regular blog, but here is an example of something similar. As it’s nearly Christmas, to be seasonal, I’ve included one of the kind of parodies I used to compose - based on famous poems and song lyrics - for my fellow Arthurian scholars on Arthurnet.

 

 

                                      

 

THE   NIGHT   BEFORE   CHRISTMAS

 

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when, all through the fort, Not a creature was stirring (or, so it was thought). 

     

                       The lances were stacked in the arsenal in rows,  While the watch-tower fires dimmed to pale orange glows. 

 

The cavalry troopers lay snug in their beds,  While visions of battlefields danced in their heads.  With each in their tunic or thick woolen vest,               

            

                      They’d all settled down for a long winter’s rest. When, out of the shadows, a figure passed by,                                                           

And his long purple cloak, from my bed, I did spy. 

 

              Peeping out from my blankets, the better to see,  I wondered just who this intruder might be. The moon, through the window, gave just enough light,  To                                           

 show to my eyes such a wondrous sight.  For, pulling his hood down, appeared our warlord:   

                 Ambrosius Aurelianus... with his sword! Then, drawing Excalibur silently out, out,                                                                        

                    He held it before him – a Christian devout.  And with this, at first, quite perplexing behavior,       

                           He transformed the hilt to the sign of our saviour.

    Thus, clutching the sword out in front of his face, He was the embodiment of holy grace.

                 Then through the whole barrack-room he made his way, And whispering under his breath he did pray:

           

             “Sleep Galahad, Gawain, sleep Dagonet, Bors,  Sleep Bedivere, Tristan, and dream not of wars.                                                     

                         You’ve fulfilled your duties and conquered them all, From the wild Saxon Shore to the Picts o’er the Wall.”

               “As dry leaves, before the wild hurricane, fly,   Our enemies, scattered, in graves now do lie.                                                        

 

             In many a charge have I, all of you, led,  With the howl of the dragon high over our head.”       

                    Then with his free hand, in his tunic he felt,  For the pouch that was hanging just under his belt.                                                       

           And drawing a handful of coins of the realm,  He dropped one gold solidus into each helm.

                   He re-sheathed Excalibur, quiet as he could,   And withdrew is features back under his hood.                                                         

      Though I just heard him whisper, ‘ere out of my sight:  “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a: ‘Good Knight’!”

 

 

 

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

 

The easiest thing about writing is deciding on the beginning & the ending of the story, as they are the fixed reference points. For me, the ending comes first, as that’s the most important part of any story. Then I decide on where the story should begin, in order to justify the ending. Lastly, comes the hard work of joining those two dots. That’s where the 99% perspiration gets added to the 1% inspiration.

 

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

 

Waiting to see how well this first book sells, before trying to get the next two books in the trilogy (which are already written) published as well. In the meantime, I’ve written a children’s book about hedgehogs which I’m also trying to find a publisher for. I’m also running a petition to have the most toxic garden pesticides banned here in the UK, to prevent our wild hedgehogs from going extinct. It’s currently up to 12,000 signatures, but we need a lot more to get government action. A link to the petition is here:

 

Save our Hedgehogs

 

 

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

 

Don’t, for one minute, imagine that the Arthur in my story is in any way based on me. I only wish I could be as brave, resourceful & well-organised as he is.

 

How can we follow or contact you?

 

You can email me at my website: author@pendragonbooks.net

 

My Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Mike-Weatherley-140451796685908/

 

I also have an author’s page on Amazon at ‘Amazon: Mike Weatherley’

 

Where can readers buy your books?

 

In the UK from: Amazon UK/Pendragon Arthur Chronicles  

 

In the US from:  Amazon US Pendragon Arthur Chronicles                        

 

Also, directly from my publisher:   http://www.pendragonbooks.net/

 

I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas/Happy New Year/Happy Holidays and to my Roman History friends, Io Saturnalia!

 

Until next time, Salve Atque Vale! Hail and Farewell!

 

 

-Jess Steven Hughes

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                 

 

                                                     

    

            

 

    

   

 


     

 

                                               

                                                                                            

 

                                                         

 

      

 

 

 

                                                               

 


    

                                                    

                                                    

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

         

9:17 pm pst          Comments

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Guest Blog: Wylie Graham McLallen

 

 

Author Interview

 

 

 

I am happy to have Wylie Graham McLallen as my guest today. Thank you, Wylie, for joining me on my website.

 

 

McLallen portrait

 Author, Wylie Graham McLallen

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

My father was a businessman who was an avid reader of history and so there were always interesting books around the house to read and absorb. I grew up a reader, and as a reader, naturally became a fluid and interested writer. I received a BA in History at the University of Tennessee and worked for various corporations in various positions, but always I read and wrote. My wife and I have been living in Vancouver, British Columbia for thirty years and have raised two now grown children. Even though I have now reached the status of “senior citizen” I still consider myself to be in growth mode, maybe more than ever, and am interested in, if not all things, most things.

 

 

 

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

 

Tigers by the River

Book Cover: "Tigers by the River"

 

 

Although "Tigers by the River" was written to appeal to anybody, the genre is definitely Sports History, and I realize that sports fans, particularly football fans, and history buffs would be more interested in reading it. The audience is for all ages.  I have provided a link to the book: Tigers by the River

 

 

 

What prompted you to write what you did?  Where do you get your writing inspiration? What message do you want readers to take away?

 

I was writing a novel about a young man who is such a complete football fanatic that his mood and temper is determined by how well his favorite professional team does on the field each week. I felt I needed more historical background and knew of an old pro team in Memphis that my father watched growing up and said were the best in the nation. So I went to the library and could find nothing about them in the stacks, not even an article in a magazine. It was suggested that I go through microfilm of old newspapers. This is what I did, and as I scanned the old newspapers a great story was being told as it happened fifty years before and I knew it had to be shared. What I would like readers to take away from Tigers by The River is a better sense of the beginning of professional football, how different it was, and the extraordinary effort many people made back then in the struggle to achieve something lasting in sports for both players and spectators.

 

 

 

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

 

 

I have written dozens of short stories and a couple have been accepted by publications. Below is a link for one of them.

 

Short Stories

 

 

 

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

 

 

When writing becomes a true and elemental expression of the world as you see it, then you are achieving something that is very difficult to do because it takes much deep thought and discipline. There’s nothing easy about writing, just like there’s nothing easy about living.

 

 

What’s next for you after your book?

 

 

I am working on a book about a literary icon as a young writer before he becomes famous.

 

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

 

 

That hope springs eternal and life gets better the longer you live it.

 

 

 

How can we follow or contact you?

 

WGMcLallen on Wordpress.com

 

 

 

Where can readers buy your books?

 

 

Amazon.com and Sunbury Press.com

 

 

 

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

 

 

I wish everyone a happy and wonderful Thanksgiving.

For now, Salve Atque Vale! Hail and Farewell!

 

 

 

Jess Steven Hughes

 

 

3:50 pm pst          Comments

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.

 

TALON, COME FLY WITH ME

TALON, ON THE WING

TALON, FLIGHT FOR LIFE

TALON, CONNECTED

TALON, ENCOUNTER

 

 

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,

 

 

 

Links:

 

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 

 Facebook-Sedlmayer

 Google + -Gigi Sedlmayer

 Linkedin-Gigi Sedlmayer-Talon

 Twitter-Gigi Sedlmayer

 Pinterest-Pucara 

 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

 

AWARDS FOR ALL TALON BOOKS

 

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

BRONZE for FIRST LINE COMPETITION with AUTHORSDB 2017

GOLD for BOOK COVER COMPETITION with AUTHORSDB 2017

Nominee by GLOBAL EBOOK AWARDS 2018

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!

 

 

-JSH

 

11:42 am pdt          Comments

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