Release Time – Free Giveaway!

JANUS PATER

The Memoirs of the Veturii, Book I

To celebrate the release of my novel, JANUS PATER, I am giving away free copies of my novel for five days on KDP.

If you are interested in Historical Fiction, Roman History or Stoic Philosophy, do NOT miss out on this giveaway!

The Route Map

Getting around the Roman way

One thing that the Romans are famous for is their roads. What would a story about ancient warfare involving Romans be without a worthy mention of their advanced mobility?

Also, a shoutout goes to Sarah Davidson at thesketchdragon.com for putting together an awesome route map for Drusus and his comrades to get from A to B! Also, a shoutout to her patience with all of my odd instructions (There are no “U” or “W” letters, only “V” and please change this word to that on account of my awful Latin). Indeed, I am really grateful to Sarah for her help in this project, just as I am to her for her for her help in the previous one.

Just a side note on Roman roads:

To achieve the final product of the true via munita, Roman roads of this sort had more than one layer:

  1. Levelled Earth, compacted if necessary
  2. Stones roughly the size of a hand
  3. Concrete or broken stones of lime
  4. Good old Roman cement
  5. Cut rectangular blocks in an elliptical shape with the apex in the centre – this shape would help with run off in rainy climates
  6. Sidewalks and gutters were often skillfully added by civil Engineers.

Let’s have a look at the route which Drusus and his men pound out under their boots:

The Cover Reveal

Below you will see the final cover for the eBook version of “Janus Pater” designed by Fiona Jayde of Fiona Jayde Media:

I highly recommend that you take a look at more of her work, because Fiona has a breathtaking portfolio which contains covers that she has designed over a wide variety of genres, and for a large base of authors.

On my cover, the dominating figure in the middle is a statue of the Roman god, Janus. The most frequent epithet of this god in Roman mythology and culture is Ianus Pater, due to the nature of his primordial role as a father figure in Roman paganism. Janus represented aspects such as transition, time, doorways and duality and it is no coincidence that the first month of the year is named for this god.

In my novel, the main character, Drusus has settled down as a retired veteran of the Roman Army, having been discharged with the rank of a first order centurion. Roman law at that time allowed discharged veterans to marry a local woman once-off, and she would be considered a Roman citizen, as would their children. In the beginning, it is clear that Drusus comes to terms with the culmination of his career at this rank instead of what he was aiming for, and he looks forward to a happy and fulfilling family life (despite the difficulties and challenges of the time) with his longtime partner, especially now that their union is official.

However, the novel takes place during the Boudicca uprising which happened around A.D. 60/61 and Drusus is called back into service unexpectedly. He then has to come to terms with the duality of being both a family man and a soldier – someone who is both caring and brutal.

In light of the above, I felt that a depiction of the god, Janus on the cover is incredibly fitting in relation to the themes of the story, though it provides a slight hint of the nature of the story in conjunction with the title. However, before coming to this conclusion, I had a myriad of not so bright ideas, many unrealistic and probably quite cliché. Fortunately for me, Fiona stepped in and provided me with a concise and creative art board for a cover, the result of which can be seen above.

I have worked with Fiona in the past and would recommend her services to any author who is serious about creating an enthralling, relevant and meaningful cover for their work!

The Bibliography Grows!

In my attempts to make my work in progress more authentic, the bibliography has had a few extra titles added to it:

  • Stoicism for Beginners by Kevin Garnett
  • Literature and Religion in Ancient Rome by Dennis Feeney
  • Infamy: The Crimes of Ancient Rome by Jerry Toner
  • Roman Religion by John Scheid
  • The Religious Experience of the Roman People W. Warde Fowler
  • De Brevitate Vitae by Lucius Seneca (If Gaius probably read it, then so should I!)

Oh my! Now I need to add in some of Cassius Dio’s embellishments for dramatic effect when I get the manuscripts back from my loyal beta readers!

For now, it is simply relief to have finished the first draft and to be able to take a short break before the editing process begins.

Please enjoy some photos that I took whilst in Caesarea in Israel (where the story progresses to in one of later novels) until then 🙂

The Historical Fiction Update

Oh wow! I think that I am going to spend all year working on these two novellas! I intend to release them in 2021 as polished, proper and as true to the time period as I can possibly do so, yet without neglecting to put forward compelling – if contrasting – narratives.

“Janus Pater” should be the first novella, or so I am inclined to believe at present. I intend to show the readers the Boudicca Rebellion through the eyes of a Roman centurion returning to service. Gaius Veturius Drusus will haveto come to terms with his situation and not let his frailties shine through if he is to see himself and those under his care through such a trying conflict! Janus was – to the Romans – the two-faced god of time, transitions and duality. Pater is Latin for father.

Please don’t hesitate to read up on this conflict for yourself: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boudica.

Boudica was a woman who stood up to (albeit viciously – if historical accounts are to be believed) an invading society with extremely different values to her own! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npwM2touF08

The second novella will (most likely) be titled, “The Autumn Road” and it will follow the experiences and personal growth of Isolde, a young British woman who is taken as a slave by a Roman centurion after the fall of the Iceni capital town. Most often, people forget that civilians have always had to pay the terrible toll of warfare. Bear in mind that this was very much so before two millennia.

My updated reading list is as follows:

  • Dobson, B. (1955) The primipilares of the Roman army, Durham theses, Durham University. Available at Durham E-Theses Online: http://etheses.dur.ac.uk/8434/
  • Evans, M.M (2004) The Defeat of Boudica’s Rebellion, Osprey Publishing, Oxford
  • Coello, Terence Arnold (1995). Unit sizes in the Late Roman army. PhD thesis The Open University.
  • D’amato & Summer (2009) Arms and Armour of the Imperial Roman Soldier, Volume 1, Pen and Sword Books Ltd.
  • Chivers-Wilson KA. Sexual assault and posttraumatic stress disorder: a review of the biological, psychological and sociological factors and treatments. Mcgill J Med. 2006;9(2):111‐118.

This is only the beginning though, as one must be fully aware of who one’s characters are and how their experiences shape them in order to portray them with the correct character depth. A reader should also be prepared not to judge my characters as one would judge people in a modern situation. I feel that the world of our ancestors was so vastly different from our own and I am attempting to portray this!

The Bibliography (at present)

I do not believe that there is a viable way for me – as one who does not work in the fields of archaeology or classical civilizations full-time – to constructive a narrative worthy of the historical fiction genre without a substantial amount of research.

Here is my reading last up until now (no it is NOT in any academic format):

  • The Roman Invasion of Britain: Archaeology versus History, Birgitta Hoffman
  • Legions of Rome, Stephen Dando-Collins
  • Re-Kindling History, Boudica – Queen of the Iceni, David Carl Schafers
  • Roman Centurions 31 BC – AD 500, Raffaele D’Amato
  • Roman Army Units of the Western Provinces (1), 31 BC – AD 195, Raffaele D’Amato
  • Roman Britain, Henry Freeman
  • Lectures and Fragments, Gaius Musonius Rufus
  • Complete Tactitus Anthology (Agricola), Gaius Cornelius Tacitus
  • The Annals (Various parts pertaining to my setting), Gaius Cornelius Tacitus
  • De Bello Gallico, Gaius Julius Caesar
  • Legio XX, Valeria Victrix, Stephen James Malone
  • A Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood (I need to see more of the ‘1st person present’ style)
  • I, Claudius, Robert Greaves (‘1st person past’ is also relevant as is the setting)
  • Eats, Shoots and Leaves (Lynn Truss)

Needless to say that this is only the tip of the iceberg. The trick though, is to immerse readers into an entirely different world to the one they know without making it seem like a boring history lesson!

Lifting the Spirits! (Not raising them… yet)

Given that we are all under some form of lock-down or curfew and most of us are doing our part in the fight against COVID-19 by staying on the couch, I have decided to help others to alleviate the uncomfortable mix of boredom, apprehension, and uncertainty by providing some much needed escapism.

My intention is to upload one short story a month to this website for people to download FOR FREE. Now, I am not going to upload anything straight off the bat as soon as I finish a third draft. Instead, I intend to upload a manuscript which can range between 2000 to 10000 words, which has been edited and proofread by a paid professional, and I may even invest in a graphic or two per story.

Each story will fall into one of the series which I currently write in. This includes some prequel stories to “The Solati Series” as well as “The Galesinger Series.” I am a little bit apprehensive when it come to producing content relating to my historical fiction series because I may still send out the manuscript of my first novel to a publisher and we all know how they look at previously published content or a submission which relates to such. At least the fantasy readers will be well entertained!

The formats of these short stories will be in .pdf, .mobi, and .epub so please make sure to keep tabs on the “Publications” section at the end of every month.

NOTE: Featured image from www.freepik.com

The Release of the Print Version!

Dearest Readers and Potential Readers

It has been an interesting foray into self-publishing as of late and the adventure is only beginning! The time has finally arrived for me to release my first self-published (and self-formatted) novel in print format.

 “The Redemption of Anaìr” is now available as a print novel through amazon for only $6.99 along with the e-book which is priced at $0.99. Both versions are on sale until the end of 2019.

In addition to this, I have also compiled a mailing list for whoever is interested in following my progress as a writer and reading the various stories which I hope to release in both the Historical Fiction and Fantasy genres.

Those who wish to be removed from this mailing list need only to reply to it and tell me to remove them. One can also follow updates by subscribing to the blog on the website http://alexfindlayauthor.com

As always, reviews and feedback are always welcome and will be a real help in my quest to one day becoming a successful author. For now, please enjoy the updated book trailer and if you have not already purchased “The Redemption of Anaìr” I recommend the glossy covered paperback from this link: https://www.amazon.com/Redemption-Ana%C3%ACr-Alexander-S-Findlay/dp/9659277504

Alternatively, there is always the e-book link: https://www.amazon.com/Redemption-Ana%C3%ACr-Alexander-Findlay-ebook/dp/B07Y2KQP7Z

                Lastly, if you have yet to enjoy the book trailer (edited by yours truly) here is the updated link on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JssOhXCViJE

Yours Faithfully

Alex Findlay

THE E-BOOK LAUNCH: “The Redemption of Anaìr”

The day has finally arrived!

My e-book version for “The Redemption of Anaìr” is now available from amazon from this buying link below:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Y2KQP7Z/

If you are a reader of fantasy and a supporter of Indie artists, please download it and give it a read and a review on amazon and/or Goodreads.

I am sure that you will find it an entertaining story!

The Cartography of S.E. Davidson

I knew that when the time came to put forth my world onto paper, it would need some sort of map to help people develop an idea of the land itself. Solatus is a small island nation, the mainland is barely fifteen thousand square kilometres and the population numbers something like half a million people if one were to include pure blooded Solati, half-blooded Solati and permitted residents.

Most of the Mainland is inhabited by the upper caste of Solati society: The Pureblooded group. This is an ethnically and culturally homogeneous group which could roughly be divided into five sub cultures which have developed over the four hundred years of Solatus’s existence as a nation.

The differences between groups vary slightly, mainly in nomenclature, willingness to allow marriage to certain foreigners or into certain other Solati households, war-paint and variations of some religious rituals in each of the five sacred groves.

The Norreians occupy the north eastern section of the Mainland, mostly in Mother City Norreia, but also in the surrounding mountains, mining communities and rural settlements.

The more rural Westfold folk occupy the north-west of the Mainland, having no cities of their own. People who dwell in communities in the Western Range and the Noldair Forest also tend to identify as “Westfolders.”

The people of White Sands and the only accessible coastline into Solatus are referred to as “Coastal Folk.”

Marshmen in the Eastern Frog Marsh are referred to as “Marshfolk.” They are probably the most reclusive of the Solati purebloods, preferring to fish and hunt the Solati wetlands. They trade mainly with the “Farmfolk” and maintain an almost semi autonomous hold over their small portion of Eastern Solatus. Nevertheless, they fulfill their obligations to the State and to the Matriarchy in the forms religious obligations, taxes to the regency as well as muster to the Solati Guard.

The residents of the rural communities spread out across the Fenlands, Plough Lands and Mannien Moors are referred to as the aforementioned “Farmfolk.”

The other map which I felt that I HAD to have in my story was the battle map. I remember watching Braveheart as a kid. When I got older and read up on Scottish history, I felt that Braveheart didn’t really do as much justice to the facts as people think.

To name but a few of those facts:

1) During the battle scenes, feudal Gaelic speaking Christians are prancing about in wode. This is a blue dye which was either painted or tattooed onto the bodies of the ancient Picts who once inhabited the south eastern parts of what is now Scotland, were pagans and probably spoke a language closer to Brittonic.

2) Kilts? In the late 1200s? I think that they only popped up later…

3) And then there’s the battle of Battle of Stirling Bridge… Where the hell was the BRIDGE??? Come ON Hollywood!!!

Nevertheless, My protagonist seemed to be of like mind to both William Wallace and Andrew Moray with his approach to the Battle of Thane’s Bridge. Though, I think that my Chief Warden had far more time to prepare and fortify in the manner by which a Republican General of Rome (Caesar perhaps?) would have done.

Given that Anaìr did train through the large Imperial War Academy of Teyrras-Lene far to the east of Solatus prior to the events which take place in the novella, the newly appointed Chief Warden had to mix and match and make do with what he had.

I would like to thank Ms. Davidson for putting things into a geographical perspective so wonderfully for my readers! I would also advise anybody perusing this blog to check out The Sketch Dragon website.

Lastly, I think that the best way to experience the whole story – and not just The Battle of Thane’s Bridge – is to actually buy the book from this link.