Monday, May 20, 2024

Riddle Me This, Batman

The word riddle was first recorded before 1000 AD in Middle English. Close to the Old English rede, meaning story. A puzzling question stated in such a way as to require a clever answer.

The oldest recorded riddle is actually a mathematical problem written in cuneiform from around 1650 BCE, called the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus


Rhind Mathematical Papyrus : 
detail (recto, left part of the first section 

To see the answers, highlight the space between the asterisks.

Usually written as follows:

There are seven houses;
In each house there are seven cats;
Each cat catches seven mice;
Each mouse would have eaten seven ears of corn;
If sown, each ear of corn would have produced seven hekat of grain.
How many things are mentioned altogether?

The usual answer: ***   one (1)   ***

Other answer(s) are a bit disappointing.

The most famous old (470 BCE) riddle is The Riddle of the Spinx from the myth of Oedipus.

The riddle: “What being has four legs, then two, and then three?” 

The answer: ***   “Man, who crawls on all fours as a baby, then walks on two legs, and finally needs a cane in old age.”   ***

Check out the medieval riddles located HERE and HERE.

The ever-prolific Voltaire wrote this riddle:

"What, of all things in the world, is the longest and the shortest, the swiftest and the slowest, the most neglected and the most regretted, without which nothing can be done, which devours all that is little and ennobles all that is great?"

The answer: ***   Time   ***

My attempt at riddle writing:

Born earthbound and starving, I sleep in my shroud and hatch to soar less than a lunar cycle.

The answer: ***   a butterfly   ***

Friday, May 03, 2024

Romancing the Tropics Volume 2 - Ready for Pre-Order

 


These five short tropical romances, spanning from 1901 to the present day, will
put you in the mood for sunshine and love. This collection offers sweet to edgy stories
perfect for lazing on the beach or poolside.

Join these couples as they defy the conventions and expectations of their worlds
to embrace love’s fullest connection with their happily ever after waiting to be
discovered.

Saturday, April 06, 2024

In the Bag - Introduction (an Anachronistic Project [AP001])

My mother's side of the family is from Austria, where they lived in the small towns around the city of Salzburg.

Salzburg Castle painted on Two Man Tuttle Tooth Saw blade by Vanessa Victoria Kilmer

My Oma and Uroma went grocery shopping every day. They had very small refrigerators and very little space in their apartments. I grew up using net bags, so the trend of reusable bags in the USA in the 1990s was no big deal to me and made sense. 

I think people have been using net bags for as long as they have been making fishing nets. You can see some information about Roman recruits using them. The Bullock Museum in Texas has a net bag from around 2000 BC. 

Net bags would be perfect for hunter-gatherers as they are light and compact and require less material and energy to make than baskets, leather pouches, or pottery. They are also perfect as storage containers, easily hung from the rafters of a hut, thus protecting the items from pests.              

They are easy to make in small spaces, require no tools or special skills, and use cheap native materials. 


Thanks to travelers from all parts of Asia, Hemp has been used in Europe since the Bronze Age for food, rope, and fabrics. I'll be using hemp twine to make a net bag without tools. I'll go over other types of fibers in the next post.

This will be the first project in my series of anachronistic items related to the time periods of my books.

I'll be doing each of the process steps in real life as TikTok videos and blog posts with pictures of each step, and when it's all done, I'll combine the videos into one YouTube project video.


Thursday, March 21, 2024

Lady Mary Wroth, Poet and Prose Author

 

Lady Mary Wroth
Painting attributed to John de Critz c 1620 
(public domain)

Lady Mary Wroth, 1587-1651, was a contemporary of Shakespeare and a friend to Queen Anne and Ben Jonson. Educated at a time when most women were illiterate, she wrote poetry and prose. She wrote The Countess of Montgomery's Urania, the first prose romance with possible autobiographical elements in English written by a woman.

Title Page of
The Countess of Montgomery's Urania
Folger Shakespeare Libray

Pamphilia to Amphilanthus is a sonnet sequence, the second known published by a woman in English. The first, by Anne Locke is disputed. 


Love leave to urge, thou know’st thou hast the hand;

’T’is cowardise, to strive wher none resist:

Pray thee leave off, I yeeld unto thy band;

Doe nott thus, still, in thine owne powre persist,


Beehold I yeeld: lett forces bee dismist;

I ame thy subject, conquer’d, bound to stand,

Never thy foe, butt did thy claime assist

Seeking thy due of those who did withstand;


Butt now, itt seemes, thou would’st I should thee love;

I doe confess, t’was thy will made mee chuse;

And thy faire showes made mee a lover prove

When I my freedome did, for paine refuse.


Yett this Sir God, your boyship I dispise;

Your charmes I obay, butt love nott want of eyes.


The seventh sonnet, from the only extant Pamphilia 
manuscript in Wroth's own hand.
Mary Wroth - Folger Shakespeare Library Digital Image Collection

Monday, March 18, 2024

National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award (NERFA)


Did you publish a Romance novel or novella in digital format in 2023?

Submit your story to the 
National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award (NERFA) contest
until the end of March 2024.

This is a contest for romance writers and is judged by romance readers.

Find all of the details at