Monday, October 31, 2011

Soccer is over

Another Fall Recreational soccer season is over (just about). Maybe it's time to get some writing in.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Beautiful Game

Men, women, kids, the USA v. Brazil woman's world cup game was one of the best, most entertaining I've ever seen.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Footnotes on the Web

Maybe I'm late to the party, but the way that the newish website Grantland utilizes the right sidebar as a home for footnotes (example) strikes me as both effective and elegant.  I propose that it become the "web standard".

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Research

To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research. ~ Steven Wright

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

E-book now available!

I'm happy to announce that Burgundians in the Mist is now available in a variety of e-book formats--including Kindle, Epub (supports Nook, Sony, etc.) and even PDF--for only $2.99! The neat thing about the Kindle version is that the footnotes are hypertext, so you can select a note, read the supporting sources and notes and then return to the main text.

You can still purchase a dead-tree version for $8.99 via the publisher (more $ for me!) or Amazon.com. Thanks to those of you who have purchased BitM already and please let me know what you think!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Burgundians in the Mist Update

The book is now available at Amazon.com and will be available at other online retailers soon.  Next up: getting it into e-book form.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

3rd Proof on the Way

3rd and hopefully last proof on the way.  Formatting issues, particularly pagination, vex me.  Mostly having to do with MS Word's method of doing page numbers. There has to be a more straightforward method, Microsoft.  By trying to be an uber-publishing software, you made what should be a simple requirement too confusing with your different page breaks, odd/even page numbering, etc.  I didn't have these problems in the 1990's.

Friday, May 27, 2011

I Like Martin's ASoIaF, but...

As the first season of the HBO series based on George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series 1st book (A Game of Thrones) reaches it's climax, I've been re-reading the series in anticipation of the of the 5th book, A Dance with Dragons, set to be released in July. I just started the 4th book, A Feast for Crows, and, because I've read them one after another, have been struck--well, "jarred" is more like it--by the way Martin chose to open the 4th book with completely new POV characters in locales either only briefly visited (the Iron Islands) or never visited (Dorne).  It was an interesting gamble and, so far, I have to agree with this blogger: I don't think it works.

But in AFFC George has got us going on a sight-seeing trip all over the goshdanged place, from one "exotic" locale to another. We're reading stories about characters we've only just met and don't give a fig about, and the whole thing has gone from the tale of a family -- the Starks -- and their feud with another family -- the Lannisters -- to a tale about a whole bunch of randoms from exotic, fantastical realms, and isn't the whole thing just so *epic* now and soon there will be a world battle and dragons and magic and typical epic fantasy crap and blech! It's like, now we get exotic, strange, foreign DORNE! And weird, unpredictable, barbaric GREYJOYS! And crazy-ass, mumbo-jumbo death cult religion, and exotic, foreign city that is WHEREVER THE HELL ARYA ENDS UP! I can't even remember the name of the place, that's how much I care... the Free Cities? I. Don't. Care.


I find the Greyjoy characters boring and Dorne is only OK and bordering on uninteresting to me. I think a little more familiarity--especially to open the book--may have been a better way to go.  Of course, Martin acknowledges some problems with the 4th/5th books. Basically, both will cover about the same time period. The original 4th book was getting too big, so he stripped chapters out, put them in the 5th and got it done.  It looks like most of the chapters stripped were of familiar characters, though.  Anyway, we all have opinions, though. I'll see if my mind changes as I go and, perhaps, it will all make sense once I read 4/5 back to back.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Proofed--now another Proof

Proofed the first proof.  Changed formatting of footnotes, added, some blank pages, re-did Index, re-worked the Intro. Re-submitted, approved and now...another proof is on the way. Hopefully this will be OK.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Israel Hebert

I recently discovered that my Great-great Grandfather Israel Hebert was quite an upstanding member of his community, Racine, Quebec. July 16th (my birthday, coincidentally) will be "Israel Hebert Day" and the town is naming a street after him. More can be found at www.israelhebert.com .  Cool!

Proof received

Got the proof yesterday. Kind of weird to see your work in book form. Looks like the footnote formatting is good. I'll be checking it for the next couple days.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Proof on the way

Proof is on the way, be 5-7 days. Hoping not too much revising to be done. Worried a bit about the way the footnote formatting came out.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Burgundians on the way

I'm pleased to announce that, thanks to Createspace, I'm publishing my first (and probably only!) historical monograph, Burgundians in the Mist.  If you're interested, check out the preview chapter.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Game of Thrones

Luckily, HBO offered a free preview weekend for the unveiling of their new series "A Game of Thrones", based on the series by George R.R. Martin.  As a reader of the series, I have to say that the first installment was pretty good.  Entertaining, pretty faithful to the book and good "look and feel". 

I'm not alone in this, particularly amongst medievalists, but fantasy actually led me to history.  Tolkien and a few others (notably the seemingly forgotten Horseclans series) turned me onto medievalish times and I eventually scratched that itch at Providence College.  Even though I majored in U.S. History, I was given the opportunity to produce a thesis in a Medieval topic and ran with it. (That's how the Burgundians in the Mist came about). 

Anyway, back to "Game." It's appeal is the sense of realness to it.  All the people are, well, people, with very believable motivations and everyone has shades of gray. (Yes, some have more black or white, but there is a lot of gray).  Since it's on HBO, the nudity and sex is being played up, but real people actually do get naked and have sex. Often with multiple people.  But it is in the politics and intrigue that "Game" hooked me and I've yet to be disappointed in the books.  I just wish Martin wrote faster.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Historical Medals

Two of my writing "heroes", the historian Bernard Bailyn and the harder to classify Jacques Barzun, both received National Humanities Medals last week. Bailyn's Ideological Origins of the American Revolution was an eye-opener for me and changed the way I view history by turning me onto the role that ideas play (instead of just "players"). My first introduction to Barzun was his work on writing and researching (The Modern Researcher) that was required reading for my history courses at Providence College.  I then ran across a collection of his essays and another book on writing, which I keep handy. A well-deserved honor for both men.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Damhsa

See the girls
With bouncy curls
See the boys
Serious, poised
Pointed toes
Arms pinned close
Ghillies tied tight
(We hope!)

Fiddle plays the tune
Music fills the room
Dancers spring
Clasp hands in a ring
Twirling, whirling
Weave through a maze
Heads unfazed
Leap apart
Hit the mark
Stillness

Take a bow
Then take two
Go offstage
Change those shoes
(Quickly!)

Now move the feet
To the bodrhan's beat
Legs fly up
Feet come down
Hard shoes smack
Clackity-clack
Stomp!
Stillness

Whether Hornpipe,
Or reel
Or a jig
That is up
Smiles erupt
Because of the joy
That is damhsa

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Leaf

A leaf long fallen
Flew again
Lifted by a familiar breeze.
It floated up, then down
Twirled 'round and with a bound
Danced with seeming glee.
Yet its airy parade
Was but a charade.
As the animating wind
Faded again,
The leaf rocked down
Floated to ground
Lifeless and brown as before.

Monday, February 7, 2011

I was a teenage T-Bar Jockey*

As I was driving to my soccer game last night, the snow was coming down, the roads were a mess and the Beastie Boys "No Sleep 'Til Brooklyn" came on the radio. This confluence of events called to mind the winter I spent working the T-bar at Hermon Mountain ('86-'87). Weekends and late week nights spent in the cold, earning some $ and screwing off with a bunch of Hermon and Bangor guys were a blast. A bunch of college-bound kids tasked with keeping a diesel-engine driven ski lift running? Yeah, that worked out well! Then there was the T-bar rocket seating method, where we would put the smart-ass little kids on the lift, but hold the bar long enough to get the spring inside the bar full of tension. Then RELEASE and aaaaahhhhh! Hey, we thought it was funny. Snowball fights, sliding down Cloud Nine on snow shovels, working in the rental shop and setting bindings without having a CLUE as to what the hell I was doing...good times!

*Originally written 12/21/2008

Friday, January 7, 2011

Omni*

Oh! little mover of teenagers long ago.
You suffered indignity
sliding to and fro'
along wintry paths
hitting telephone poles
and snowbanks.
And rolling rolling rolling.

You took your charges safely
from home and back again.
Running on gas or fumes.
And hope.
Yet rarely did you fail
of your own volition.

Always faithful.
Always true
whether parked
or idling
or on the move.
'Til you could move no more.


*Originally written 1/30/2009 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

The end of the year calls to mind
All the days left behind
People newly met and those we've lost
Mistakes that were made and what they cost

Happily the year-end also inspires
A rekindling of coals that fire desires
For wishes born out, more laughter and love
More kindness and hope and blessings from above

Every year-end is another's begin
A time to start ...

Consolidation

It's a scattered existence, blogging and commenting, tweeting and facebooking - who did I say what to whom and when?  I'm not sure there really is a way to capture it all, but this simple page is meant to be a place to aggregate my web presence. If anyone cares.