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Chris Ryan did an amazing job on the cover for Book 1 of The Forest Knights (Altdorf). If you’re interested in seeing some initial sketches and how he transformed them into a beautiful cover, check it out here. I’ve asked him to do the cover for the second book (Morgarten) and I am psyched that he is going to take it on. If anyone out there needs some custom artwork done, Chris is your man. You can get in touch with him through his website.
He also did the covers for my Keepers of Kwellevonne short story series. I’m going to post them here because I can’t stop looking at them! (click them to see a full size version)
I was reading some cool stuff about the Iceman today. And no, I’m not talking about some hitman for the mob (although…he does have a certain “look” about him).
Oetzi was about 159cm tall (5ft 2.5in), 46 years old, arthritic, and infested with whipworm.
But he still netted German hikers Erika and Helmut Simon $216,000.
The discovery of Oetzi in 1991 in the Northern Italian Alps is old news, but I had never heard the amount that the people who found him actually received before. Wow. It pays to keep your eyes open when you’re hiking.
Read the article here.
Here’s the article the picture was taken from: Oetzi the Iceman’s nuclear genome gives new insights
I swear I’ve seen that guy before…
Sursee Gansabhauet swissworld.org
*Since my Forest Knights novels have a character, Seraina, who is one of the last druid priestesses, I thought it would be fun to describe some modern-day Swiss festivals with Celtic ties. So that’s what I’ll be doing in the next few posts.*
Where do I start with this one?
How about with the rules:
- Hang a dead goose by the neck in the town square
- Put a big sun mask on a guy with no eye slits so he is blinded
- Hand him a dull sword
- Back away quickly
Each competitor gets one blind swipe at the goose with the dull blade. Kind of like a macabre “pin the tail on the donkey”. Whoever successfully decapitates the goose is declared the winner and gets to take the mangled goose home.
Here’s a quote from swissworld.org just so you don’t think I’m making this stuff up!
Gansabhauet, or Beheading the Goose, takes place on St Martin’s Day (November 11th). Alongside the main event are various events for children, including climbing a pole to knock down one of the presents attached to a tree at the top. The Gansabhauet itself involves blindfolded competitors using a blunt sword to attempt to decapitate a dead goose, strung up by the neck over a stage in the town square.
Canton Valais (Wallis)
This is the Canton where Pirmin (a character in my Forest Knights novels) is from. If you’ve read the book, you know Pirmin is quite enamored with the opposite sex (and they with him!) so you can imagine how he would thrive in this particular festival which takes place in February:
Tschäggätta in the Lötschental in Canton Valais (Wallis)
(Lötschental mask© picswiss)
Young unmarried men and boys roam the streets of the villages of the valley, wearing demonic masks and tunics made of sheep or goat skins, and ringing bells. The name refers to the black and white colour of these tunics: “tschäggätta” means “piebald” in the local dialect.
By tradition the Tschäggätta wear gloves smeared with soot, and take the occasional swipe at anyone they meet (particularly young women).
The masks are handcarved, and each one is different. They normally feature crooked teeth and bulging, uneven eyes. It is said that they reflect the untamed nature of the valley. They have also been interpreted as an expression of anarchy and rebellion in a peasant society that was largely dominated by the church.
The tradition stems from the time the valley was cut off from the outside world in winter. Unlike other mask-related customs in Switzerland, the Tschäggätta were never formally organised in any way. Processions have only been held on specific dates since the late 1960s, when custom looked in danger of dying out as young men left the valley in search of work.