Greg Scowen Greg's Comments

Greg's comments from the Historical Fictionistas group.

Note: Greg is no longer a member of this group.

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Dec 21, 2012 07:47AM

22454 My western concept of time is also circular, Nell.
When I watch a clock and it gets to 12, it goes around again.
Dec 21, 2012 04:47AM

22454 Apparently, Central America was rife with celebrations of the new time that was starting. Only in the west did we put a spin on it being the end of the world.

Of course, the Mayans were right.... their world ended long ago and the calendar was more than adequate.
Oct 08, 2012 12:16PM

22454 Little self-plug - free for the rest of today as a promotion before the Frankfurt Book Fair where it is featured for the rest of the week.

The Spanish Helmet (Dr. Matthew Cameron Series, Book 1) by Greg Scowen

Anyone going to Frankfurt that would like to meet me and have a copy signed can find me on the New Zealand Society of Authors stand in Hall 8.
Aug 06, 2012 11:56AM

22454 The Spanish Helmet

Something a little different. Historical fiction blended with modern thriller (two timelines intertwined).

Barely any of the story occurs in Spain, however the entire novel is based on the controversial theory that a lost Spanish explorer discovered New Zealand (true story... maybe).
Jun 05, 2012 03:14PM

22454 Anything by Bryce Courtney. The Potato Factory is a good one set in Tasmania.

Otherwise, The Power of One is a good place to start.
Vacation Italy (89 new)
Mar 27, 2012 02:38PM

22454 I also suggest the Cinque Terre as being very special. Likewise, the medievel hill villages in Tuscany are stunning.
Renting a car and driving is a very goo d option because the Italian trains are terribly unreliable. But, parking in and around Venice is frustrating. Also, the Cinque Terre poses some car hassles.
I also like Verona. Amazing villas and the cliche of seeing Juliet's balcony.

The best thing you can possibly do is invest in a copy of the Rough Guide to Italy The Rough Guide to Italy and have a good read through it. Guide books don't get better. At least, not in English.
Word Association (49652 new)
Mar 08, 2012 02:47AM

22454 Growth
A Question of Age (119 new)
Feb 24, 2012 01:10PM

22454 Ah, Lavendar, the mere mention of the word menstruation had my dry retching. All of us men are that weak.

I am guessing this happened on Authonomy (or one of the other like-designed sites). It is a worthless comment from a moron. As I stated earlier, readers like that are not your target audience, so don't worry about it when they say stupid things. Laugh, and move on.

I am guessing the guy who wrote it is 45, lives with Mum, has never been kissed, and Mummy hid these things from him while he peacefully watched Star Trek and ate frozen dinners.
A Question of Age (119 new)
Feb 24, 2012 06:49AM

22454 Hmm, yeah, Hugh Bonneville isn't a bad choice either.
Feb 24, 2012 06:38AM

22454 Don't forget that the Hapsburgs (Habsburg) have their roots in Switzerland and a lot of history here, too.

You can visit the Habsburg castles here.

Some English information about the family in Switzerland, before they put focus on Austria:

I live 5 minutes away from one of their original castles:
A Question of Age (119 new)
Feb 24, 2012 06:24AM

22454 I can't comment on what kids knew and talked about throughout history (I presume they knew a bit though, through biology schooling).
But having worked in schools for a few years as a teaching assistant (some time ago, I was close to the kids ages), the stuff they talked about made the hairs on my back stand on end.

I hope I can keep my kids from being the same... but who knows what they discuss in the school yard?
A Question of Age (119 new)
Feb 24, 2012 06:05AM

22454 Kate wrote: "Sean Connery improves anything."

If I wasn't married, and batted for the other team...

I noticed that no men had pitched in on this one. Let's see if I can change that. It's a tricky conversation, sometimes, but one that should be had.

I see the problem (perceived) that can occur with these early marriage and sexual encounter situations in HF, but using film and television (period drama) as a frame of reference, I think I would find it odd when a girl had reached 18 at marriage in HF. Surely most HF readers have seen one of the Romeo and Juliets, a Jane Austin film, something or other by Dickens, etc?

As stated earlier by Becky, the concept of 16 (18 in the US?) is a modern construct. Certainly, many countries around me in Switzerland (Italy and Austria, perhaps France too) have an age of consent at 14. Other countries in Europe and Asia go as low as 12 I believe. The increase in that age is a Western construct and most-likely stems from the church. Though I am no expert on such matters. Bound to be someone here he can enlighten us?

The 60 and 17 age gap thing is a difficult one though. Despite many teenage girls having crushes on Sean and Harrison (hi Kate), if I had a sexy 60 year old neighbour that hit on 17 year olds (even if they liked it), I would see red and never trust him again. For sure, I would lock up my daughter.
But, if these ages are established in history and are true to your story, then I think it is vital they are accurately presented. readers who cannot stomach the truth probably don't fit so well into your target audience.

So far as the members in Sarah Louise's book group, I am saddened that they could be so affected by the content. One can only hope it wasn't due to their own bad memories or experiences, which is of course an unseen factor that can cause disapproval of your work.

I'm rambling.

BTW, when I wrote my modern male lead (their are two time-lines in my debut work, one is HF), I imagined Colin Firth playing him. My villain, an older gentleman, was based on Trevor Eve (both British). I wonder if either of these were good choices?

I need a 60ish male, a 40ish farmer, a 40ish farmer-woman, a 40ish broken police officer and a 15 year old boy for my next novel. Any suggestions for winning over readers?
Introduce Yourself (2344 new)
Feb 23, 2012 12:10PM

22454 Jackie wrote: "Welcome lurkers :)"

If only I had the time for lurking before last week. It has taken me hours to read all these threads back a few months.
Becky's rule thread alone, with all the 'Read and understood' comments took me the best part of 10 minutes. I kept looking for someone who said 'read and misunderstood'.
Which One? (2669 new)
Feb 23, 2012 07:50AM

22454 Mountains! (I grew up in NZ on a beach but live in the Swiss Alps now - almost)

Oh darn, another one...

toothpick or fingernail?
Feb 23, 2012 07:44AM

22454 I also have a poor history in history. Erm.

I didn't study history in high school beyond the compulsory courses until about 14 years of age.
At university, I studied information systems and German. I eventually was offered a place on a Masters program in archaeology but turned it down and studied Library and Information Management instead because of where I work.

As other have said, the history taught in schools has often put us off. It is so stale, dry, just... boring. It is when you get into the life stories of individuals or see history through the eyes of your ancestors that it gets interesting. This probably explains why Genealogy is such a popular past-time.

Prior to writing my debut, I researched the story it revolves around for about 3 years. But it deals with a psuedo-history theory, so was even harder to get concrete information about.
Which One? (2669 new)
Feb 23, 2012 07:29AM

22454 screws (OK, it depends on the application)

Your Men: Clean shaven or a little stubble?
Introduce Yourself (2344 new)
Feb 23, 2012 07:24AM

22454 Hello,

I too have been in the group for a few months but failed to write an introduction. It's incredible how many authors pop out of the woodwork when the featured reads are announced, isn't it?

I'm a New Zealander (= we don't really have any real history, too new) but I live in Switzerland (a lot of history!). I work in Switzerland's largest library and dabble in writing. I love to read historical fiction, thrillers, and anything else that grabs my attention. Very seldom do I read fantasy or sci-fi. OK, never. But who knows what book lies around the corner?

For reasons of simply having too many projects on the go, I haven't had much time for reading of late. Instead, I multi-task and watch period drama and other TV series while I work. Of the HF novels that I have read over the last few years, The Pillars of the Earth still probably rates highest. I have enjoyed some Bryce Courtney work too, though.

I look forward to reading the hundreds of books that have been listed in the Top 10 thread and to discussing some of these with you all.
Feb 23, 2012 07:12AM

22454 The language issue is an interesting one. My debut featured two intertwined stories. One was set in modern day, the other was essentially the journal of a Spanish explorer in 1526.

This left me with a two-fold problem. One, how can I write this in English and still have it authentic to the Spanish? Two, how can I write this in 16th Century English and still have it understood.

In the end, I read the journals of James Cook and used similar wordings and language to him and researched the Spanish measurements of the time, so as to at least portray those accurately.
It was a challenge but resulted in satisfaction when it was done.

Now, the novel is being translated into German and my translator had the same problems. She had to read Goethe's works and uses language like he did. Still nothing like the Spanish would have used in the 16th Century.

As you agree, keeping to historical facts is vital (except where the story calls for speculation). Keeping to the language would be near impossible and likely only deter readers.
Steals & Deals (243 new)
Dec 20, 2011 12:14AM

22454 Luckngrace wrote: "Feel free to peruse my reviews if you get bored. "

I already have been...

200! Wow, if I only had time. Well done.
Steals & Deals (243 new)
Dec 20, 2011 12:11AM

22454 Get a Kindle Fire and then you can put Sony eReader books on with an app designed for that purpose.

I doubt the other direction can work.
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