Tag Archives: research

Bright House… How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.


Nope. Still at ZERO.

As most of you know, the genre of my primary project is Alternative History. Somewhat speculative, somewhat paranormal, but definitely alternative. To do this right, the better job I do of getting the actual history right, the more genuine and believable the fictional history will be. This takes research. LOTS and LOTS of research. Wikipedia may not be suitable for academic purposes, but for novel research, it’s plenty sufficient, in my opinion.

So, when I lose internet access, it’s a very serious problem. My internet perormance had been steadily declining over the previous couple of weeks, but it happened gradually so I scarcely noticed it. But when I suddenly couldn’t navigate to any websites at all the other night, I was in a bind. It’s hard to plot things according to when a particular king reigned when you can’t look up the years of his reign, and it’s hard to do research on which medieval families were in the same political faction if you can’t use the internet. As I’m at the point of creating the plot, losing my internet access the other night left me dead in the water, and my access has been sporadic ever since.

Bright House is my service provider and the earliest they could get a technician out was today. The guy seemed fairly sharp (surprisingly) and said he had several similar complaints from my area, indicating that there was a problem with their pole equipment or trunk cable. They started a trouble ticket on the issue and they’ll get to that in 24 – 48 hours. Great.

Meanwhile, if my posts or replies seem a bit slow, that’s why. Thanks for listening to me gripe. I’m not usually such a downer, but even Pooh had a down day once in a while.


If you can’t write, do more research

Hello, Alpheans!

I’m still moving at glacial speed on Chapter 4, but I’m starting to implement a pattern which I think will bear fruit. I’m writing whenever I can, and when I get stuck I dive into research. Eventually, something in the research will trigger something and give me something more to write about. This time, I am looking at some details in the story which I have so far filled in with ‘generic’ placeholders, mainly these are personal names and the names of cities and towns. I have replaced some of the personal names with Hungarian names. Charles and Belinda Goodman are now Charles and Eva Rózsa, for instance (that change is in the ‘official’ draft but not fully implemented on this site). But I think I’m at a point now where I should be focusing with a bit more precision in the setting and determining where, exactly, in the medieval Kingdom of Hungary (much of which is now modern-day Romania) this story will be occurring.

Some things are relatively decided. I very much want to keep Kolozsvár, but for no other reason than that I have developed an attachment to having the name of the city in the story. I know that’s a pretty weak reason, but there it is. Torda I can take or leave and am more inclined to let it go than keep it. I started with the understanding that it was situated in the foothills of the Eastern Carpathians but I have since learned that it is actually on the Transylvanian Plateau and near the Apuseni mountain group, but nowhere near the Eastern Carpathian range.

But more important than which mountains it may be in or near is the fact that Torda has relatively flat terrain and that just won’t do. For the first setting I need a small town (or large village). It should be small in population but of enough geographical importance to have some sort of castle or fortress associated with it (and a castle would be better). There should be both a forest and a river not too distant, and it should not be very far from the Kolozsvár to Felvinc road (in modern times, this is Route 1 which runs from modern-day Cluj [Kolozsvár] through modern-day Turda [Torda] and south to modern-day Unirea [Felvinc]).

So, I need to take a close look at the topography around Kolozsvár. What I am looking for is a large village or a small town, preferably to the south or west of Kolozsvár, that is in the foothills of the Apuseni mountains; with a nearby forest and a river between the castle and a nearby road, and about a day’s ride by horse from Kolozsvár. Sounds easy, doesn’t it?

Then, I need to find another couple of towns (or villages) about another day’s ride from that town to be the location for Dmitri and Anya Corvin’s cottage, and another nearby village to be the home of Charles and Eva Rózsa. Then, I need to make a final decision on the city where the fictional Church of the Holy Trinity will be located where the convent of nuns operates the children’s orphanage. Unfortunately, the city of Szeged is too distant to be a practical choice.

So, that’s a lot of work to be done, and I’m hoping that in the midst of all of that, my creative juices will start flowing again.

Oh, one last thing… In my research today I discovered that during Roman times this entire region was called Dacia. In Dacia, there was a Roman Legion called Legio quinta Macedonica (Fifth Macedonian Legion) and their history is somewhat interesting. It seems that they were based in the medieval village of Torda during the first century A.D. and were sent to the Roman province of Iudea (Judea) during the Jewish Revolt in 66 A.D. After suppressing the revolt, this Roman legion returned to Dacia and subsequently were involved in the military defense of the province against ‘barbarian’ tribes.

Now, not all of that is interesting, but what I do find interesting is that the Roman legion based in this province was sent to Judea for the purpose of putting down the Jewish Revolt that occurred 33 years following the Crucifixion of Christ. Might this legion be the very one that sacked Jerusalem? Might this legion have even plundered the Temple of Solomon? If so, did all of those Hebrew treasures make it back to Rome, or might some of them have been kept in Dacia, in the Roman provincial capital of Napoca (the medieval city of Kolozsvár)?

Just stuff that I tend to think about…

Exciting research to shape the series

Hello, Alpheans!

I’m using some very off-the wall sources as research for “Mortality, Interrupted”. As a result, I’m going to be making some very outlandish ‘claims’ in this book, not unlike the claims made in books like ‘The DaVinci Code”. Some of the research I’m following is being done by folks like Zechariah Sitchin, David Icke, Alex Jones, and Laurence Gardner, all renowned conspiracy theory researchers. Now, I AM doing everything I can to verify their research with independent sources, but that isn’t always possible.

I’ll be doing my best to be as fact-based as possible. I want the ‘history’ presented in this series of books to be completely plausible. I want historians to be able to read my books (assuming I am privileged enough to be able to write more than one) and find themselves wondering if it could be true. I know that’s a very tall order for someone who never spent a day in college to be able to make a historian say, ‘Holy crap! Look at this!’, but that’s what I want to do here. I want to knock historians on their collective butts. And then I’ll look down at them and grin. Cuz I’m an ornery cuss.

Character name change – with apologies

Hey everyone,

I made a name change to one of the characters: Charles Goodman’s wife. Her name was Belinda, but I changed it to Eva.

Some of you have noticed that I have gone to great lengths to make the setting as accurate as possible. One of the ways I’ve done that is by not only using the names of actual villages and towns in Hungary, but researching those towns and villages to find out what they were like in the 1500s. Some of them didn’t even go by the same name back then and to make sure that my descriptions are accurate I have used as much information as I could find about the towns and villages as they were back then. This research is necessary to make sure that the story works. Incorrect information here can potentially create a glaring error in the story or even wreck a plot entirely.

But, to avoid getting bogged down in too much research during the draft, one area where I have decided (in general) not to do this is with peoples’ names. Some of you have probably noticed that the names I’m using are familiar: Charles Goodman, Matthew Miller, Daniel Paris, et cetera. These names are not at all Hungarian names, but very Anglo-American. At some point these names will have to be swapped for Hungarian names to make the setting feel more authentic. It’s not necessary that I do this during the draft because these characters’ names don’t really affect the plot or the story in any way. Right now they are simply convenient “handles” to help me keep the various characters straight in my mind as I compose the draft.

What happened with the Belinda Goodman character was that a Hungarian name simply came to me, so I went ahead and stuck it in, replacing Belinda with Eva. But being very late when I posted the story I forgot to go back and make the changes or make note of them here in the blog. Sorry for the oversight and I apologize for any confusion. Also, my thanks to Nonie who pointed it out to me.

Thanks, Nonie!

Sorry everybody!

See you all soon!