1. I’m a World Traveler
My father was a fighter pilot in the Air Force during and slightly after the cold war. This was the heyday of the military services. Money and good-will back in the United States made it a pleasure to be in the military. As such my father took full advantage of the foreign assignments. We traversed the world going to Germany (where I was born), to Turkey, to England, and to South Korea. In between the foreign assignments we went to places in the U.S.A. going to California, Kansas, Alabama, Idaho, and Texas. He retired as a colonel. My parents delved into the history of each country, taking us to the Roman and Greek ruins in Turkey, the castles and museums in Germany and England, and the fabulous Buddhist temples, palaces, and museums of South Korea. This multicultural upbringing has made me a well-rounded individual. Hearing the foreign languages spoken during my childhood gave me an ear to recreate the sounds easier. This helps me to speak foreign languages and mimic their sounds. I speak tolerable German, a little of Spanish (of which I am still taking courses), and a smattering of Turkish, Korean, and Russian.
2. I’m a Roman and Celtic History, Buff
I am a Roman history buff and I’ll read anything about it. From happily plowing through the Masters Of Rome series by the glorious Colleen McCullough to the books on Cicero by Robert Harris, Gaius Julius Caesar’s The Gallic Wars to Rosemary Sutcliff’s series of books beginning with The Eagle Of The Ninth. In addition to all of those books, I had the pleasure of earning a BA in History from the University of Texas at Austin, minor in Classical Civilizations with Rome as the specialty. One of the Classics professors was my favorite, Dr. Gwen Morgan. I happily took all of his courses and because I loved them easily made A’s.
My interest in all things Celtic came from living in England. From England, we went to Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. We learned all about the peoples from the paleolithic to the present day. My favorite museum is the British Museum in London, UK. Learning about the Celtic Druids is a little tricky as they did not write anything down and the only written histories tend to be biased since they are written by outsiders such as the Roman historians. Since the Druids did not write down their religion/rituals and practices I took an artist’s prerogative to fill them in in my books. Reading great fantasy books such as Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists Of Avalon further flesh out the possible Celtic and Druidic rituals.. A great podcast on the subject of the great Celtic rebellion is from Dan Carlin’s Hard Core Histories titled The Celtic Holocaust https://www.podbean.com/podcast-detail/2pxby-2ef42/Dan-Carlin's-Hardcore-History-Podcast.
3. I Have Strong Opinions and Can Defend Them
Opinions I Like to Defend:
Religion vs. Atheism
Conservative Bent in Politics vs. the Left or Socialism
Private Schools and Home Schooling vs. U.S. Education
Owning a Business vs, Working for a Corporation
4. I Can Spin a Great Yarn
Excerpt from Chapter 4, The Eagle In Green Man’s Clearing
Word came down to the people of Gosbecks that the most hated person from the Roman government, the publican or tax collector Gnaeus Hortensius Aquila was going to come to make his rounds of the farms and business. Once a year he came for the preliminary determination of the upcoming taxes for the upcoming harvest time. Gnaeus Hortensius Aquila was known to be greedy and nefarious in his business dealings. He was also a moneylender who was willing to lend money to farmers who couldn’t make the tax payments but with a catch. He levied such high-interest rates on the money he lent out so the recipients often found they couldn’t pay back the loans they received. They would lose their farms due to the non-payment of the loan terms. He was also greedy in the amount of wheat he determined was the right amount in payment for the taxes. The last harvest was so poor in Britannia that he hadn’t even come to Gosbecks knowing that he’d not get a good amount from anyone. He just sent his toady Fabius to log in the numbers of farms who couldn’t pay their taxes last harvest. The numbers showed there were about two-thirds of the farms in Gosbecks deficient on their taxes from the previous year. Those who did pay their taxes saw a lean winter and a tough spring. Now he was here to see that he got his levies back.
He arrived with a flourish as was his wont. He arrived in an ornately carved and painted red with white, trimmed covered wagon pulled by two large, matched white, dray horses because he was so overweight he couldn’t sit a horse and no horse could carry him. The large wagon pulled up in front of Gosbecks only tavern. The tavern owner Oisin and his wife Grania both hurried out to see to the Roman publican.
“Well hail my lord. Good to see you back in Gosbecks,” bowed Oisin. Grania bowed next to Oisin even lower than he did.
Gnaeus Hortensius Aquila had been traveling laying back on his side so he huffed hard and hoisted his great weight to a sitting position. He shouted to his driver. “Stool!” His driver jumped down from behind the horses and got out a large stool for Gnaeus Hortensius Aquila to use when he got out of the wagon. It was a large reinforced affair but beautifully carved and painted red and white to match the wagon. Gnaeus Hortensiua Aquila moved his great mass to the edge of the wagon and raised himself to a standing position. His fat, bandy legs felt for the stool as he lowered himself down. Then he stepped out of the wagon and got to the ground after moving very slowly. At this time he let loose a large polysyllabic fart that lasted several seconds of varying stereophonic noises. “Much better.” He grunted. He straightened his handsome, snow-white toga that looked more like a white sail on a ship than men's clothing. He moved his belt lower and felt for his beautiful apportioned knife. He pulled out a silk handkerchief and moved it up to his forehead to wipe off the beads of sweat that appeared after he got to the ground as if he had just walked a long distance. “Do you have wine in this establishment?” He asked brusquely as he made his way past Oisin and Grania walking to the door. He went inside and stood looking around for a place to sit. Finding the best table he moved to it and sat down.
“Yes my lord, I have good red wine for you,” Oisin said obsequiously, brushing his greasy hair back from his sweating forehead.
“Is it Falernian wine?” Barked Gnaeus Hortensius Aquila.
“I believe so. I bought it the last time you came to Gosbecks.” Oisin murmured looking at Gnaeus Hortensius Aquila dubiously, expecting to be hit. “From a Roman wines agent. I’ve been waiting for your return to serve it.”
“Good. I’ll take the Falernian wine then. That is the best wine to drink, a full-bodied one with the right fruity grape undertones.” Gnaeus Hortensius Aquila was mollified. “And while you're at it serve me some olives with onions in wine. And some freshly baked bread with olive oil to dip it in”
“As you wish, my lord.” Oisin turned to Grania and she nodded her head turning around to get the food. Oisin ran to the bar to pour the wine for his Roman guest. They quickly pulled out the seat at the best table in the tavern and got him served. “Is there anything else you need my lord?” Oisin asked.
“Just bring me the most influential members of Gosbecks. I need to ask them about their taxes and what they will owe this time around. The weather has been good and I noticed good crops in the fields coming into town. I expect this year everyone will be able to pay up on their taxes and makeup from last years’ taxes that were in arrears.” Gnaeus Hortensius Aquila smiled and then tackled his food starting with the olives and onions. Then he broke off a big piece of bread and dipped it in the olive oil, then ate a large bite. He took a deep draught of the Falernian wine and smiled. “Good wine! This is Falernian after all. The bread is tolerable though, could be better.”
5. I Can Write Well Despite Being Handicapped By Multiple Sclerosis
I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2012 after my gait became increasingly unsteady, deteriorating to my “wall walking” or only successfully walking by hugging the walls. I had been successful in hiding this unruly gait by sitting down to talk to my two girls but they began to suspect a problem. My husband, an expert in solids/liquids separation in the oil and gas industry, travels a lot and had a couple of long term contracts that required a lot of back to back trips so when he saw the decline he encouraged me to go to the doctor. But because of my refusal to go to a doctor and be truthful about my symptoms I did not get the correct diagnoses, (just one about the pain in my back). When he finally got back from one of his trips and saw my distress he called our GP doctor over to see me. Our good friends the doctor and his wife came to see what the problem was and to my dismay told me to go to the emergency room immediately. I did and a CT scan and then a subsequent MRI in quick sequence led them to the diagnoses of MS. Initially I walked with a cane (a very beautiful ironwood cane given to me by the doctor’s family). Then I went to a rollator as my balance became too unsteady for the cane alone. Finally, I am in a wheelchair and an electric scooter (a fire engine red scooter because I have to have fun somewhere!).
Despite being relegated to a wheelchair, or maybe because of it, I began to write. MS is painful and writing gets my mind off of the pain. So four years later and uncounted hours spent happily researching all things Roman and Celtic (two of my favorite subjects), I completed my book. But after taking it to Archway Publishing they convinced me to split it into two books which I have done. So the first book, The Eagle In Green Man’s Clearing, to be available on Amazon and Apple Books and in paperback and hardcover (Barns & Noble, selected independent booksellers) Nov. 1 2019. The sequel The Eagle And The Colonia is to come out in winter 2020, the same distribution venues. My books are meant to be eBook read because they are heavily researched and the footnotes lead the reader to URL/websites which support them. For example, the Celtic roundhouses, although they are described the website goes further. I include: https://images.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search;_ylt=A86.J3aeEYFX8BYA6SgPxQt.;_ylu=X3oDMTByNWU4cGh1BGNvbG8DZ3ExBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzYw--?p=Celtic+Farms&fr=yhs-att-att_001&hspart=att&hsimp=yhs-att_001
No amount of descriptions can give you the visual that photos do. Other websites used are museum web pages, videos, encyclopedic definitions, or academic papers.