Sunday, January 29, 2012

Long Ago and Not So Far Away

Passionate research fuels storytelling. It can also remind us that some history should never be forgotten, lest it be repeated.

From Wikipedia:
"The Roman proconsul and general Julius Caesar pushed his army into Gaul in 58 BC, on the pretext of assisting Rome's Gaullish allies against the migrating Helvetii. With the help of various Gallic tribes (for example, the Aedui) he managed to conquer nearly all of Gaul...

As many as a million people (probably 1 in 5 of the Gauls) died, another million were enslaved, 300 tribes were subjugated and 800 cities were destroyed during the Gallic Wars. The entire population of the city of Avaricum (Bourges) (40,000 in all) were slaughtered. During Julius Caesar's campaign against the Helvetii (present-day Switzerland) approximately 60% of the tribe was destroyed, and another 20% was taken into slavery."

Ancient Gaul and its tribes.

Gaul was no small country, either. It encompassed current-day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine.

Yet Rome, under Julius Caesar brought Gaul to her knees in 58BC. They annihilated twenty percent of the population and enslaved most of the rest. The Gaulic culture and languages, including that of the Celts, disappeared, replaced by Latin.

Hmm, I no longer find myself sad that Latin is dead.

And yet, history does repeat itself. In spite of these (and many other) glaring examples, we humans seem to have learned no lessons. Are we doomed to barbarism, no matter our evolution?

And did anyone else notice that Rome marched in to Gaul on the pretext of assisting their allies? Sound familiar?


More poking around turned up one reason Rome was so pissed off in the first place.

"In 387 B.C....the first Brennus...(of Gaul) sacked Rome and as the Romans were paying tribute to him, he noticed they were trying to slight him. It is said that Brennus threw his sword onto the pile saying "Vae Victus" (woe to the vanquished)..."
But still!

This last (also taken from rather delighted me, in that it reads like fantasy.
"Brennus then advanced across Greece, looting everything he could find. Disatisfied with the paltry loot, he decided to go on to Delphi which was reported as the treasure house of Greece. Without waiting for Kicharos, Brennus and his army of 40,000 set off to attack the temple of Apollo, the ultimate goal of his expedition.

Here it is said that Brennus was defeated by earthquakes, thunderbolts which reduced the soldiers to ashes, snow storms, showers of great stones, and "ancient heroes appearing from the heavens". It appears that after a long battle the Gauls were forced to retreat before they could reach the Delphic treasures."
Ahh. Now THAT I can sink my teeth in to.

Does anyone else feel as small and insignificant as I, when going back through time? Rome ruled "the world" for 2200+ years. America, only a tenth of that.

What are your thoughts on the barbaric past, and present, of the human race?

Updated November 2, 2017

~ That Rebel, Olivia J. Herrell writing as O.J. Barré

O.J. Barré is author of the upcoming AWEN trilogy, a rollicking fantasy set in 2042AD, that draws upon ancient, current, and future history. Book One, AWEN RISING, is complete and in query. The first draft of Book Two, AWEN STORM, is nearing completion, and Book Three, AWEN TIDE, is swirling in the mists of creation.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Deliver Me

The New Year has delivered me to my writing. The manuscript, notes and characters I put down almost a year ago have come to life. The excitement is back, and building. My bedroom, my writing space, is adorned with various and assorted items that inspire me: posters, art, photographs.

Can anyone tell me why my iPhone
pics keep reverting to sideways?
While at Fernbank Science Center the other day, I bought a dragon (because, yes, there will be dragons), and was gifted a poster of the oceans and seas (because I love maps and this is maybe the coolest one I've ever seen AND it inspires me).

Now that I am writing again, I seriously need a new chair. And writing gloves. My current chair was a $20 thrift store purchase last year. It has served its purpose, considering I haven't spent that many hours a day in it. However, my left butt cheek sits at an angle and is about an inch lower than my right.
Dude. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that this can not possibly be helping a hip condition I wish to be rid of. Nor is it conducive to holding my head straight.

Vic Caswell suggested writing gloves. This house has no insulation and my crooked chair sits in a corner through which cold air seeps. Even with the heater at my knees and a blanket tucked behind me, my fingers get cold.

The rest is cake. I'm happy to be writing again, even cock-eyed. When I sat down at the first of 2012 and pieced together the already-written prologue, prophecy and main body of the story, I realized I had a substantial beginning.

But as with any muscle, the writing muscle is one you lose if you don't use. I literally have had to force myself to sit still in this lopsided rocker and write. But I perservere.

It is paying off. In the last three weeks I've added close to 10,000 words, upping total count to just shy of 18,000. Some nights the words flow. Other nights I edit. I am of the 'edit en route' variety of writer. It helps me with the flow, it helps me stay in character, and it keeps my butt in the chair.

Some nights I can't write at all, but my butt is in the chair to watch my television shows on Or to read.

Whatever it takes, I am telling this story. I'm doing it. And the only way that'll happen is by keeping my butt in this chair and my nose in the story.

~ ONWARD ~ Olivia J. Herrell

P.S. As usual, I searched for a song somehow related to my topic. Here is Sarah Brightman and a wonderful cast singing Deliver Me.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

You Little Ol' Busker, You

I came across a "new" word the other day: busking.

According to Wikipedia:
"Street performance or busking is the practice of performing in public places, for gratuities, which are generally in the form of money and edibles. People engaging in this practice are called street performers, buskers, street musicians, minstrels, or troubadours."
From the root word, buscar, meaning "to seek":
"Up until the 20th century buskers were commonly called minstrels in America, Europe and other English-speaking lands...The word "busk" comes from the Spanish root word "buscar", meaning "to seek" – buskers are literally seeking fame and fortune..."
And more from Wiki:
Folk music has always been an important part of the busking scene. Cafe, restaurant, bar and pub busking is a mainstay of this art form. Two of the more famous folk singers are Woody Guthrie and Joan Baez.
The delta bluesmen were mostly itinerant musicians emanating from the Mississippi Delta region of the USA around the early 1940s and on. B.B. King is one famous example who came from these roots.
Now there's Cyber Busking:
"In the first decade of the 21st century, some performers have begun "Cyber Busking". Artists post work or performances on the Internet for people to download or "stream" and if people like it they make a donation using PayPal."

Happy Busking, Olivia J. Herrell

And for my fellow blues and guitar lovers, here's a priceless video of the late, great Gary Moore and BB King swapping licks like, well, go see for yourself.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Frankie's Third Annual No Kiss Blogfest

This year my entry to Frankie's No Kiss Blogfest is an excerpt from the prologue of my newest work-in-process, Blessed Are The Peace Makers.
"The mail creaked and Awen grunted as she drew it from the prince's broad chest and arms. Shoving it aside, she summoned all her strength to drag him from the water. From the depths of slumber, William cried out. Awen probed his chest and shoulder for wounds, then wrapped her arms behind him to inspect his back. Her ear rested over his heart, listening for the beat of life. It was faint, but present.
The wounds had closed, save those that kept him from waking. She leaned in to confirm that he was breathing, and felt a light stirring on her cheek. It was present. She turned her face back and her lips barely grazed his.
Steel eyes flew open, startling her. Recovering, Awen’s face blossomed in welcome.
The eyes flickered, staring without seeing, then just as abruptly closed. His body was waking but his spirit still wandered.
Awen touched her lips to his cold, white ones. The eyes fluttered. She put her hands on both sides of the handsome face and slowly kissed him in the way of the druid. Forehead, nose, chin, cheeks. Then his eyelids and his temples. Finally, her lips came back to his. This time they were warm, and breath tumbled out of them like the water from the rocks.
Awen waited, her face only inches from the fallen warrior’s.
His eyes fluttered open. Sight was returning. He almost focused, then fell back under, the death sleep unrelenting.
Awen sat back on her heels and looked in to the forest. The glade had darkened. The light was waning. It was time to set a fire and a kettle. But first she must wake the almost dead."
Please leave a comment to let me know what you think of my little snippet. I'm counting on the Blogfest to inspire me onward. It's time to get onward with the business of writing, past time to get this story down for others to read. Oh yeah, and don't forget to click over now to read the other entries.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

So Long 2011, Hello 2012

If you're looking for a fun way to meet some cool writers, start 2012 with Frankie's Third Annual No Kiss Blogfest on January 2nd. Click on over to join in.

What a difference a year makes. This time last year I was blogging and writing on a regular basis after climbing out of a pit of depression. My Goodbye 2010 post had 25 comments. This year's had two, other than mine. Not that I'm counting. But it is a good indicator of what kind of blogger/friend/writer I've been this year. A sucky one at best.

For 2012, I pledge to do better, to get back out there, heart and soul. No guts, no glory, right?
2011 turned out to be a year for healing. 2012 is my year for charging forward.


Happy New Year, Olivia J. Herrell

P.S. And don't forget the No Kiss Blogfest. Here was my entry for 2011, an excerpt from my first work-in-process Churches, Chickens and ChiChi's:
It was dark when Sammy stepped from the Boeing 767 at the gate in Atlanta. She was glad she’d told her father not to pick her up, she wanted him at the hospital with her mother. She needed the drive to Gainesville to gather her wits. She had slept a bit on the plane, just enough to ease the hangover from the night before. Of course, the two Bloody Mary’s had helped.
She was still angry at J.C. And even angrier at herself. There was thinking to be done, decisions to be made and a huge mess to clean up. But right now, the main thing was Mama.
Fighting the tears that threatened again, Sammy shook them off and threw a brilliant smile at the man who had just deplaned. Tall and lanky with broad shoulders, dark hair and flashing eyes, he was exactly what her bruised ego needed. He looked crisp and fresh in black-on-black Armani, in spite of the five-hour flight across the country.
"Cherie,” he grinned, “you here for long?”
“Don’t know,” she replied, tossing silken hair from a pixie face that held sad, green eyes.

Lanky waited a beat for Sammy to fall in beside him. She had a designer bag over one shoulder and towed a laptop and carry-on behind her.

“May I?” He asked, reaching for the carry-on.

“I’ve got it, thanks,” she flashed another of those almost-famous smiles. “You changing planes? Coming home?” The report of her stiletto heels rang through the concourse, blending with the symphony of Hartsfield. One PA announced an arriving Delta flight, another, a last boarding call.

Lanky paced her, smitten. She knew that look.

“I’m just passing through. My next flight’s out of Concourse B. And you?” he asked.

“Oh, just visiting,” Sammy shrugged and stepped on to the escalator descending to the tram.

“Can I buy you a drink?” he asked, close behind. “I have a couple of hours to kill before my next flight.”

Sammy hesitated. What was another hour or two? She could use the diversion. When she’d called Daddy after landing, he’d said Mama was sleeping.

“No, handsome, I’d better not,” she concluded. “I have to grab a rental car and head north. I don’t want to get in too late.”

“Mon Cherie, are you sure?” he implored. “It’s early. One hour. No more.”

Laughing, Sammy waggled her head and gave him a little pout. “No, Handsome. I’m sorry.”

The tram pulled up and after everyone had gotten off, Lanky extended his arm for her to board. Sammy stepped in, chose a center pole and wrapped her arms and leg around it. The dark man took another and watched her with jet-black eyes, a speculative smile on his lips.

He was certainly a sight to behold. Too bad she didn’t have time to play. But still, she was tempted.

The tram announcement interrupted her thoughts. "The next station is concourse B. The color-coded maps and signs in the vehicle match the station colors. Please move to the center of the vehicle and away from the doors. Please hold on. This vehicle is now leaving the station."

When Lanky edged over to share her pole, Sammy unwrapped enough to give him a handhold.

“One little kiss, Cherie?” he leaned in and whispered.

“Non,” Sammy giggled. Then sighed. Oh, it felt good to be pursued. Even if only for a while.

“The train is approaching Concourse B. Please hang on.”

“Just one?” his breath tickled her ear.

“Non, s'il vous plait, non. Stop teasing.”

“Ah, mademoiselle, my heart breaks.”

“We have now arrived at Concourse B. Please step away from the entrance. The doors are about to open.”

“Your stop, handsome,” Sammy said. “Have a great flight. And thanks for the offer.”

Lanky chuckled, leaned closer and planted a warm kiss on her lips, his eyes never leaving hers. Then moving away, he stepped to the door and stood, watching her.

“Au revior, mon amour,” he laughed, stepping off the tram, and waved as he turned to go.

“Bye,” Sammy waved, green eyes sad again, watching him though the closing doors.

“Bye,” she whispered.
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