Call for Alpha Readers

Anyone interested in alpha-reading the draft of Against a Rising Tide, the third Powers novel? If so, please contact me at AlmaTCBoykin AT aol DOT com.

You don’t have to have read either of the two previous books.



Romanesque Piles: Those Old, Round Buildings

Before the pointy, stained-glass rich cathedrals and palaces of Europe came Romanesque. It tends to get overlooked because, well, it’s round and lumpy unless it is square and lumpy. You have the Glory that was Rome, and then everything is romantic (or Romantic) ruins until poof! Cathedral and the high Middle Ages and architecture gets cool and soaring again. Except that’s not quite how it works. Continue reading

Carolingians, Salians, Ottonians, Oh My!

Quick! List the rulers of the Holy Roman Empire from 800 to 1200.

[Waits for dust to settle from fleeing readers]

Just kidding. Unless you are really interested in Early Medieval history, there’s a bit of a blur between Charlemagne and, well, probably Charles V of Austria and Spain. Most of us in the States and Canada vaguely recall Charlemagne, then jump back to England and Alfred the Great, then 1066 and the Norman Conquest. There was a Holy Roman Empire on the continent, but that’s not where we draw most of our history from so we sort of nod at it and go back to the Normans and Saxons. Continue reading

Into the High, Dark Forest…

Silva Nigra, the Romans called it. The dark, or black, forest: a wall of dense trees and mountains that hemmed in the Rhine and that could conceal all sorts of troubles. Behind it to the south rose the fangs of the Alps. Aside from a few hot springs, there was nothing worth venturing into the woods for. The gold and silver and lead were all on the western side of the Rhine, anyway.

You hear that? What was that? I can’t see anything!

Continue reading

Perigrination – Whys, Wherefores, and Wheretos

There’s always one who can’t sit still. That kid, the guy over there, crazy Uncle Fred who comes back from strange places with the coolest stories and stuff for the kids… Especially from Central Asia west, people have had an itch to move around. Sometimes entire populations moved, either because of a push (drought, no food for the horses), a pull (Roman trade goodies), or a few times just for the heck of it, or so archaeology suggests. Mostly it is one or two people who wander off and keep looking over that next hill, or over the river. In the Medieval time, these wanderers were called Perigrini, and their trips peregrinations. Pilgrim is related, although not all those who wandered were looking for spiritual comfort. Continue reading

Insta-Pot Stew

Short version – wow, it was pretty darn good and very tender.

Long version. I started with four pounds of stew-meat, an onion, new potatoes (as in small round ones), and the usual garlic, red wine, chicken broth, and so on. The carrots got overlooked in the back of the veggie drawer in the ‘fridge. I think they hid deliberately. Continue reading