The Battle of Waterloo took place on the 18th of June, 1815, and marked the end of Napoleon Bonaparte’s career, bringing a peace to Europe that lasted for more than forty years. The battle itself is well documented elsewhere and far too complex to write about in a blog post, but there is an interesting offshoot I would like to share.
In September of 1815, the Duke of Wellington wrote to the government, recommending that a medal be issued to each soldier present during the campaign and subsequent battles, of which there were three (Quatra Bras, Ligny and Waterloo). The medal was eventually issued in 1816/17, and each survivor was credited with extra service and pay, giving them two years of added seniority. In addition, the medal was also awarded to the next-of-kin of those that died in the campaign, a first for this type of thing.
Later on, the government would issue a General Service Medal that would award soldiers for their experience prior to Waterloo, but that particular award was not issued until 1848. This means that the Waterloo Medal is the first British medal to be awarded to all soldiers present during a battle. It was also the first medal to include the recipient’s name, rank and regiment, which were inscribed around the edge, a technique that is still in use today (although the regiment is not always applicable).
While researching things for my latest book, Flames, I stumbled across an article about something called an Enteledont, a prehistoric creature that ranged the earth for several million years. It is sometimes called a hell pig or terminator pig, but the truth is it isn't a pig at all, rather it is more closely related to whales and hippos.
I found their physical description to be quite interesting, for these creatures reached nearly seven feet tall at the shoulders, with bulky bodies and cloven hooves. They also had extremely powerful jaw muscles within a mouth that could open more than ninety degrees at the jawline. Thankfully, they died out many years before humanity evolved, but it is interesting to wonder how they might be seen if they were still in existence.
For comparison's sake, these enteledonts may have weighed as much as 900 kilograms or more, remarkable considering that a draft horse weighs in around 850 kg. Whether or not these creatures were carnivores or not is up for debate. They have canines, but also flat, crushing molars, leading experts to believe they were, in fact, Omnivores. Scars on bones would indicate they fought each other as well, leading one to the possible conclusion that they were solitary. Of course, we are looking at all this evidence through the mantle of time, and bones and fossils can only provide so much information.
Still, it is a fascinating idea and one that I have decided to adapt for use in my own story.
To find out more about these fascinating creatures, simply search for 'Enteledont', or, if you prefer, look for 'hell pig or terminator pig'. There's even a video of one, prepared for the BBC documentary series 'Walking with Beasts'.
Until next time, Happy reading!
I just finished the first draft of Tempered Steel, my new prequel, and I have to say I’m really looking forward to diving right into writing Temple Knight, book one of my new series, Power Ascending!
This is my thirteenth book and it also marks almost a complete year of full-time writing! I must admit, when I started this journey with Servant of the Crown, little did I realize how many people would enjoy tales from my fantasy world.
I look forward to sharing even more stories in the future!
In my newest work, Tempered Steel, readers are introduced to a female smith named Charlaine deShandria. Purists might balk at the thought of a woman working in a traditionally male profession, but a little digging into history reveals that such a thing was not only possible but actually happened!
A book called the Holkham Bible clearly shows a woman working a forge. The story that accompanies it indicates that the smith refused to make nails for the crucifixion and so his wife made them instead. In 1435, a guild in London, called the Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths, noted the membership of 65 brethren and 2 sistren, which is an odd term to use these days, but still illustrates that women held that position. It was not uncommon for women to take on the role when a smith had no sons, or for a woman to take over the business on the death of her husband.
Now it was not, admittedly, all that common, but it was certainly not unknown, and even in the case of the guild, there is no mention that this representation was unusual in any way.
Fantasy is, of course, entirely up to the author, but it always nice to have a little corroboration from history.
Until next time, happy reading!
Hard to believe, but I’ve now been a full-time writer for a little over ten months. When I first started writing Servant of the Crown, I only had evenings and weekends to complete my first story. Now, having just completed the first draft of my twelfth book, I can honestly say I am feeling fulfilled. It’s always nice to be able to work at something you like, and while I thoroughly enjoyed my career in IT, it doesn’t compare to being able to write stories all day long!
I often think the best part of writing, for me, is being able to work with my wife, Carol. We have collaborated on a wide variety of things over the years and enjoy working together, something that has made the transition to a full-time author that much better. We are now approaching our thirty-fifth wedding anniversary and just getting started!
Here’s to many more years of working together!
Till next time, happy reading!
Though work on Defender of the Crown is continuing, I have also been hard at work on a couple of other projects. Those readers who subscribe to my newsletter will now have part of that work in their hands in the form of Into the Maelstrom, an origin story.
It’s a tale about how Cyric, a secondary character in Ashes, became a Temple Knight. Of course, that’s not all, as this week's newsletter will reveal. I’ve also spent some time starting the outline for my next series, Power Ascending.
This storyline will deal with two people who meet several times during their careers as they both climb to the heights of power, one within the church, the other within a political landscape. The prequel will introduce both characters when they are young, forming a friendship that will last a lifetime, despite their separation.
And what else have I been up to? Research, of course. I’ve had to delve into a number of subjects to make sure I can give the characters their due. Thank goodness for YouTube!
Until next time, Happy reading!
I was reading through a Facebook group today and came across an interesting posting that led me to do so some research. Here, thanks mainly to Wikipedia, is the story of an attempted coup in the US and calls for an American Dictator.
First off, I need to set the tone, for this all occurred during the ’30s, in a far different time than today. Then, the Italian Dictator Mussolini was quite popular, and fascist regimes existed in several countries. This was, of course, before World War Two and the US, and much of the world was in the grip of the great depression.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, the president that would rise to the world stage in the Second World War, was newly elected, waiting on his inauguration. People at the time, including some newspapers, were calling on him to be given extraordinary powers, including the ability to abolish government departments and suspend congressional appropriations.
At his inauguration address of March 1933, he stated that he was considering taking authority equal to what a president might be granted during an invasion. Shortly after taking office, he addressed the American Legion in his first public speech. Thanks to archives, it is now known that the first draft of his speech included a call to arm them and have them swear allegiance to him, personally.
In the end, he changed his mind, coming to the conclusion that dictatorship was unnecessary, but his political adversaries continued to use the threat of this suggested dictatorship against him. Roosevelt went on to become one of the most respected presidents in history, guiding the US through one of the most challenging events of the twentieth century, World War Two.
For more detail on this fascinating subject, simply search Wikipedia for “Roosevelt Dictatorship”.
Until next time, Happy Reading!
I have now been a full-time author for eight months, an accomplishment I never thought I’d reach when I first started writing Servant of the Crown. One of the greatest joys of being an author (other than writing, of course) is the feedback and friendships I’ve made along the way. It’s always a thrill to read reviews of my books, not to mention receiving emails from fans around the world.
The impact of social media has also been an immense help, allowing me to come into contact with other authors and aspiring authors along the way. Of course, I couldn’t have done any of this without the love and support (and editing) of my wife, Carol.
This is a journey we are taking together, and I cannot imagine the ride without her. So here’s a special shout out to Mathew Harffy, Griff Hosker, and Carolyn Arnold, who all make social media so much more fun.
Earlier this week, I finished writing the first draft of Embers, the second book in The Frozen Flame series. It feels good to complete a book, and I’m quite happy with the way it came out. Of course, there’s always editing to do, and eventually, feedback from the BETA team may lead to changes, but the main writing is done, and now I can begin work on my next project.
Writing a book tends to immerse me in the characters and so between major works I use a ‘palate cleansing’ technique. This consists of writing a short story (sometimes not so short) before returning to one of my series. In this case, I’ll be playing around with a story about Cyric, who’s a secondary character in Ashes. This story will likely be short, but then again Albreda’s origin was meant to be brief, and it ended up being close to 40,000 words.
After Cyric, I’ll be returning to the world of Merceria for Defender of the Crown, the follow up to Burden of the Crown. I already have a fairly detailed outline for that story, though I need to do some tweaking to make it flow better.
On a side note, last week, we passed the second anniversary of the release of Servant of the Crown. I never would have thought, at the time, that two years later I’d have so many books available!
Now it’s time for me to get to work on my twelfth book.
Until next time, Happy reading!
Let me start by saying that I like Minecraft, and I also played Pokemon Go when it first came out
Now, Mojang, the developers of Minecraft have combined their premiere game with Augmented Reality to create Minecraft Earth. This is a mobile game that allows you to travel around the real world and work with Minecraft inspired items. The technology that allows this is impressive, and the effect, judging from early videos, looks mind-boggling.
Of course, it’s too early to say how successful this will be, but I have an idea that it might be a game-changer. In the same way that Pokemon Go pulled people from houses, I suspect that millions of people, of all ages, will find this fascinating.
Apparently, your creations will only be visible to your friends, a wise move, or else your local park would soon fill up with Minecraft structures. They also have little adventures for you to participate in, as showing in this VIDEO on YouTube.
It’s still early days yet, but it goes live sometime this month. I see a new mobile game in my future, how about you?
Paul Bennett is a self-published author of Epic Fantasy books.