Sorry I'm a bit late with this, but I'm traveling. It's also going to be light on pictures because I don;t have a way to insert them right now. I may be able to add them later.
First I attended RomCon in Denver, which was excellent. The events and panels were just structured enough to keep things in line, but also allowed a lot of fun interaction between authors and readers
Then I came up to Canada, to Ottawa, to visit family where I spentost of the time polishing off An Unlikely Countess, which had been a bit delayed by the preparations for a month in North America. It is now with my editor, and I'm very pleased with it. It's set in the Malloren World, and follows on in time from The Secret Duke, but it's not strongly connected to any other book. Though I enjoy writing linked books and find it hard to imagine not doing so, it's very liberating to sometimes start with a completely blank slate
I'll be talking more about the book, of course. It's due out in March 2011.
Now I'm in Toronto, and yesterday I went to the Royal Ontario Museum, the ROM, mostly to see the special exhibit on the Chinese Terracotta Warriors. They only have a few of the actual statues, but there's a lot about the China of that time, about 200 BC. I was particularly interested in the weapons, for the clay warriors carried real weapons, and many were in excellent condition because of the addition of some chromium to the bronze. Its anti-corrosive properties weren't known in the west until, I think, the 19th century.
There's a pictrue of the excavation in China of the warriors. Truly amazing. And in addition to those, they're also discovering musicians, artists, gymnasts and a garden with water birds.
I also spent a little time in another special exhibit there about Josiah Wedgwood, 1730-1795. He's part of my Malloren World, though still early in his career then. He rose from being an apprentice potter to one of the great industrial developers. In he 1760s, when my books are set, he had not yet developed his famous innovations, the black basalt ware, and the blue jasper ware that takes the white raised designs.
I have a personal connection there. Back in another life I was a careers guidance officer in Staffordshire, and the Potteries, as Stoke on Trent and area are called, was in my region. I lived in Burslem, where Josiah Wedgwood was born, and if I had access to our old photos, I could share pictures of the bottle kilns there, remnants of a former age.As it is, you can see some here.
Part of my job was to go around workplaces to learn about the work and what would be required of the students leaving school to work there. I visited the modern Wedgwood factory at Barlaston a couple of times, and even tried my hand at molding one of those delicate figures to go on jasper ware. The skilled workers make it look so easy, but I failed completely!
I couldn't help wondering if one of the older workers shown in the accompanying film was someone I'd helped find a job there a long, long time ago.
This is the front left of a gorgeous Georgian waistcoat of the type my better dressed gentlemen might wear.
At the end of the month I'll be at the RWA conference in Orlando, hoping to see some of you there.
Anyone here want to suggest an interesting museum or special exhibit?