Marai, like many Middle Eastern wilderness dwellers raised sheep and goats. He shelters them in his own home in a cave in bad weather. I don't go much into his life as a shepherd except to say that he was skilled as a rock climber, industrious and a hard worker, but that he preferred being alone with his thoughts. He is at home in nature and in the wide open spaces. He's kind, compassionate and naturally honest. These are qualities you'd expect of a man who cares for animals and the countryside in which they live. The reason I don't go into it too much is because quite early in the story this changes and he becomes a sojourner, which was an ancient term for refugee or immigrant.
As for Leg of Lamb Day here's what the internet gives us...
May 7 is Roast Leg of Lamb Day
Sheep have had a long history as part of the culinary delights of the world, whether you think of the ubiquitous roast mutton that permeates British culture, or the sheep that were in the manger with Joseph and Mary when the Christian Messiah was born, sheep have been with us a long time.
Roast Leg of Lamb Day celebrates that most popular of sheep based dishes, the roast leg of lamb, rich, savory, and all too often served with Mint, it’s hard to go wrong with a good roast leg of lamb.History of Roast Leg of Lamb Day
When we say sheep have been with us for a long time, we mean a loooooong time. The origin of the domesticated sheep goes back to 11,000 BC in Mesopotamia, and share the distinction of being one of the first animals domesticated by mankind. These sheep were known as mouflon, and weren’t quite the woolly sheep we know today.
Then they were raised for their meat, milk, and skin for parchment and vellum. In fact, the wool that we so often think of sheep for today wasn’t an important part of their use until 6000 BC in Iran.
What Roast Leg of Lamb Day serves to remind us of, is that when we indulge in this wonderful dish, we’re sharing a meal that our ancestors have shared for thousands of years. Mutton and Sheep’s milk have a staple protein since we first transitioned from hunting and gathering to an agricultural lifestyle.
Now mutton is a much-loved meat, an important staple in cultures all over the world, while their wool is vital to many an economy. So on Roast Leg of Lamb Day honor this noble animal and its contribution to the human culture!
How to celebrate Roast Leg of Lamb Day
How best to honor it than by indulging in a delicious dish of Roast Leg of Lamb. If you’ve never made Roast Leg of Lamb, it’s remarkably simple.
Simply place it in a roasting pan and rub it down with olive oil, then give it a solid dusting of salt and pepper.
Broil it in the oven for 5 minutes, flip it over, and broil it again, and then apply a healthy measure of rosemary and garlic.
Cover it with aluminum foil, and roast it for one hour at 325F.
Voila, you now have a magnificent roast leg of lamb, and you and your family can rejoice!
Last Week I introduced Dr. Wesley Britton, author of The Blind Alien. Today here's his character: Dr. Malcolm Eric Renbourn
1. Go ahead and introduce yourself.
I’m Dr. Malcolm Renbourn, who, at the beginning of The Blind Alien, has a Doctorate in American History I earned from Shippensburg State University in 2000. At the beginning of the novel, I was captured by a cross-dimensional device that drug me from Alpha to Beta-Earth where I was blinded in the Bergarten Institute of the Science of the Species.
In The Blind Alien and the next four books chronicling my life, I become the only human in history to live in three universes.
2.Tell us where and when were you born.
I was born March 29, 1985 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. However, I spent most of my formative years when my little family lived in Charleroi, Pennsylvania, a small town sitting on the banks of the Monongahela River north of the city of Pittsburgh.
3. How would you describe yourself?
I guess I’m attractive enough. Nothing special, at least I don’t think so. I have to admit I’m very intelligent, at least in certain things. Not in science and math, as my father constantly complained. Because I wanted to pursue a career in teaching history precisely at the time when few colleges were hiring full-time history teachers, I was pretty much a very poor man in my early adulthood. So I felt embarrassed and humiliated to have hooked my wagon to an impossible dream, at least in terms of a lucrative vocation.
So when Dr. Mica Brann transported me from my home planet to hers, I felt myself to be a simple failure with nothing to offer anyone. It took a long time for me to see myself as anything but a failure.
4. Tell us about where you grew up.
I must admit, Charleroi was a pretty good place to grow up. As I loved history, it was good to live where so much history, and prehistory of indigenous peoples as well, was all around. A large river was good to play by and on as were all the forests and fields in the region.
But living in such a relatively unimportant area had its drawbacks. Western Pennsylvania was a region to pass through, not stay. For one thing, when they closed the mines, the economy dropped lower than a mine shaft. Everyone I knew of my generation wanted out. Anywhere else. Everywhere else was somewhere to go.
5. How old are you?
At the beginning of The Blind Alien, I’m 33 years old. The Blood of Balnakin, When War Returns, and A Throne for an Alien are books that reveal my story, and that of my tribe, for twenty years on Beta-Earth. The Third Earth shares what some of us did on Sarapin-Earth for about four years.
6. Did you have a happy childhood? Why/why not?
Ah, not really. My very religious family tended to annoy many of the neighbors, especially many of the boys my age, with their “holier than thou” ways. At least, many people saw us that way. In addition, I was more interested in reading and had no real fire in my belly to accomplish much in sports or group activities.
Most importantly, my Mom died when I was 12 under the wheels of an alcoholic preacher’s car. From that point forward, my Dad grieved and he tried to make sure his wife’s keenest desire would be fulfilled—that I would be a professor in a college classroom. He succeeded. But he hadn’t anticipated the doctorate wouldn’t mean the prestige and success you’d think such an achievement would lead to.
7. Past/ present relationships? How did they affect you?
On Alpha-Earth, the only folks I care to remember are my parents. Sorry—just reliving my past on my home earth remains very painful to me.
The present, well, which present do you mean? There are the wives that came to me in The Blind Alien—Bar, Lorei, Elsbeth, Joline, Alnenia and little Doret. Each of them impacted me, and each other, in countless profound ways.
And our children. In each of the sequels, new characters become very important to me and my family. Somewhere in there, I observe my saga doesn’t remain my solo story for very long. It becomes that of the Renbourn tribe of Beta-Earth.
8. What do you value above all else in life?
At first, it was freedom. What else would you expect for an alien considered a slave by the country of Balnakin? Then it became independence as growing conflicts brew with various entities who wanted to control my family’s lives, especially our genetics. The ability to control our own lives and make our own choices becomes a twenty-year quest.
But what do I value above all else? The love of my wives and children.
9. What are you obsessed with?
I just answered part of that. The ability for us to make our own choices and control our own destinies which always seemed elusive and subject to the wills of various governments. The ability to control our own genetics as Beta scientists hope what I am might include the cure to the Plague-With-No-Name—the curse of Beta that kills 3 out of every 4 infants their first year.
I’d also like to someday not be under the thumb of the deities. On Beta, our tribe seemed to always be steered by the will of Olos and I never came to like our goddess that much for her relentless manipulations of our lives. On Cerapin-Earth, it was the dual god/goddess Cerapin that continued to keep my family subject to their cosmic missions.
10.How do your beliefs make life better for yourself and the people you care about?
I don’t think it’s my beliefs that shaped our lives. It’s Lorei, the farmgirl prophetess who has a special connection with Olos. It’s Lorei who reveals what must happen over and over again. She is the Mother, the architect of our tribe. Doret, the mutant dwarf who is a priestess-born, helps keep our connection with the Church-of-All-Domes that unites the spiritual life of most Betans.
11. Biggest fear?
Being captured and held captive by the Collective or any of the governments who want the Renbourns under their control. And I got a bad heart near the end of The Blind Alien, so I have to worry about being overwhelmed by our adversaries. (Like the relentless press.)
12. What line will you never cross?
That’s a good question as I don’t know the answer. I don’t intend on ever taking a life and try my best not to impose my will on others. I spend much of my life trying not to get close to any lines, much less crossing any.
13. What is the best thing that ever happened to you? The worst?
Without question, crossing over from Alpha to Beta turned out to be, after the first harrowing moons in the Bergarten Institute, was the best thing that could have happened to me. Crossing over from Beta to Cerapin turned out to be a mixed bag. Very unhappily, I learned to accept what happened to all of us forced to come to Cerapin. True, there were a few wonderful gifts for us. But also the haunting, miserable loss of the lives we had built for twenty years together on Beta. There’s nothing worse than leaving behind all you built and worked for against nearly every force you can think of to start a new life on yet another planet. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.
14. Most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?
That would have been my short life as a part-time teacher on Alphan In fact, the entire time in between earning my doctorate and my first cross-over is a period I’d just as soon forget.
15. Biggest secret?
I have to admit, after scribing my “Confessions” interwoven with my Betan wives in our first four books we wrote together and my solo memories written on Cerapin, I have no secrets. Well, there’s lots about our sex lives I never committed to writing. Never will.
16. What is the one word you would use to define yourself?
I’ll use the word Lorei always accused me of—stubbornness. It was sometimes a saving grace, sometimes a certain path to disaster.
17. What is your current goal?
To live out my final days as peacefully as possible on our hidden island on Cerapin-Earth. I understand the deities have finally finished needing me or my wives in their yet unrevealed ultimate quest. I am sorry to realize some of my children will be the generation that will have to bring everything full circle, to bring knowledge of the multi-verse to my home planet. I won’t see it again. Not sure I really want to, to be honest.
Dr. Wesley Britton,
Author, The Beta Earth Chronicles
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It's on the way!
COMING SOON!!! Watch for promos, launches and specials
Here's the blurb and a teaser for the cover created by my son Thomas Woldering using Adobe Illustrator. It's a departure from the photo-manipulated images of the other books in the series, but fits well indeed!
“When the death of a man comes near him
The summation of what he has done yesterday is made
He will be buried as one who is despised
In the city of the dead”
From the Instructions of Hordjedtef – of the Wisdom Texts
CHILDREN OF STONE - THOSE WHO ONCE BECAME GODS.
Where LEGEND, HISTORY, AND MYSTERY MEET
EMOTIVE, EXOTIC & BEAUTIFUL!!
AWARD WINNING DRAMA CONTINUES
Heart of the Lotus is Book 4 of the Sci-Fantasy Series Children of Stone.
As Marai makes plans to return to Ineb Hedj, he knows not all is settled.
Old and new foes position themselves, each seeking control of the Children of Stone.
New allies find strength and wisdom from beyond the stars, while older foes emerge from that which is hidden.
Each destiny interacts and becomes a lotus petal in the Flower of Life.
WHO – WILL – WIN??
Today's new author is Andrew Cairns, Author of The Witches List
Here is the blurb from the back of the book:
Sandy Beech doesn't believe in witches and the supernatural. However, certain strange events occur which put his scepticism to the test: a burning book, a falling crucifix, a mysterious illness, and a fire in a convent which kills all twelve nuns.
On her deathbed, Bernadette, the last surviving nun, warns him to control his lusts and avoid African women. Sandy finds this difficult, since he is attracted to exotic, dark-skinned women and after his hedonistic university exchange year in Paris, marries Rocky from the Ivory Coast.
Five years later, childless and with the marriage souring, they decide to visit Rocky's home country. Sandy is drawn into a world of strange beliefs and practices: he finds out about the Witch's List - a list of people destined to die, and is attacked by various animals starting with a ferocious dog in Abidjan. He delves further and further into the realm of African witchcraft, but the horrific truth remains obscure... The Witch's List is the first of a trilogy.
Now on special promotion at 0.99 $/£/€ for the whole month of May.
Who are you as a person? (brief bio paragraph)
I'm a Scottish guy who enjoys traveling. I'm currently based in the Paris region where I live with my wife and two daughters. I visited the Ivory Coast in 1999; experiences and stories which I encountered out there inspired my first novel, The Witch's List.
How long have you been a writer?
My first book was published in 2016, but I have been writing for a good twenty years - since my early twenties. I have written some travelogues, short stories and novellas. The Witch's List is planned as a trilogy and I hope to finish the second part this year.
Are you Traditionally or Indie published? If not yet, what are you considering?
I went for a hybrid publishing model for my first book – with John Hunt Publishing. I'm considering staying with them for the next two books in the trilogy, or perhaps going full Indie.
What writers inspired you? Favorite Authors?
Tahir Shah is a big inspiration. He is author of The Caliph’s House, Sorcerer's Apprentice, Scorpion Soup, etc. He published his first books via traditional publishers but now does self-publishing. I highly recommend his books, both non-fiction (travelogue quests) and fiction.
My favorite authors include Iain Banks, Paul Auster, Kazuo Ishiguro, Eowyn Ivey, and Chuck Palahniuk.
What is your book/series about (elevator speech or quick tweet post)
It's about a young man called Sandy Beech who grows up in Scotland, moves to France, and marries a Rocky – a woman from Ivory Coast. On a visit to her home country. Sandy is drawn into a world of strange beliefs and practices: he finds out about the Witch's List - a list of people destined to die, and is attacked by various animals starting with a ferocious dog in Abidjan. He delves further and further into the realm of African witchcraft, but the horrific truth remains obscure...
What is the setting and genre?
It takes place in Scotland, France, and the Ivory Coast – from the eighties to the near present. It as mixture of genres: Horror / coming-of-age / travelogue.
Who is your favorite character from your book and why?
Favorite character is an Ivoirian guy called Kwadjo – based on a real person I met. He's the village simpleton, but is not as stupid as he at first appears. He is actually a skillful salesman, always knowing what his customers would like and persistently plying his wares. He also has something of a sixth sense, and knows before anyone else in the village who has been added to the witch's list. I like this character because he is something of a mystery and a contradiction – retarded, yet cunning in his selling; derided by all but nevertheless respected for his predictions.
What character is most like you?
The main character Sandy Beech is most like me. It's no big secret – the book is partly autobiographical, inspired by various events in my life. It is rather worrying, though, that some of my family think the whole book is 100% true with just a few name changes!
If you had a supernatural power, what would it be?
To turn people into frogs! Or more seriously, to read people's minds – that could come in useful.
Would you say your book has a message or underlying theme? What is it?
Despite all the hedonism in the first parts of the book, and Sandy's apparent lack of moral direction, the underlying theme is about opening up to other cultures/beliefs and finding one's spiritual path. This will be further developed in the next two books of the series.
How are you marketing your book?
I have done quite a few signings, readings, Q&A sessions in bookshops and libraries. I've also used social networks – facebook, twitter, goodreads and run some $0.99 promotional campaigns with online advertising.
A wonderful thing has happened! Hollywood wants to make a movie of your book! You get to pick the actors & actresses. You want________________for your lead characters.
Jamie Bell would make a good adult Sandy Beech
As for Rocky, the talented Lupita Nyong’o would fit the bill.
What music do you hear (what songs) remind you of your story?
Typical West African percussion music (see my youtube clip for a sample) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69eApoF4fV8
What Favorite foods
Ivoirian favorites like atiké (ground manioc) with barbecue-grilled fish or alloco (fried plantain bananas).
I love zany comedies like There's something about Mary.
As for crying, I'm a sucker for movies like The Mission or more recently Lion.
What do you want written on your head stone and why?
Something really creepy, to freak people out, like the inscription at the entrance to the Paris catacombs
"Arrête! C'est ici l'empire de la mort!" - Stop! This is the empire of death.
Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I enjoy playing musical instruments: keyboards, guitar and the djembé (West African drum).
What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
TV shows include Game Of Thrones, Homeland, Daredevil, and True Detective.
Some recent films I've enjoyed are and
If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Artist. I also enjoy drawing, but don't have enough time to spend on it.
What are you working on right now?
Currently working on the second book in The Witch's List trilogy. Hope to complete it and have it released in 2018.
How much research do you do for your novels? Bonus –what’s the weirdest thing you have Googled?
I do quite a bit of research: taking notes on my travels, reading, watching films and of course the unavoidable google and wikipedia.
I Googled 'What is it like to take LSD?' for research on my second novel.
What’s the scariest thing you have ever done, and did it end up in a story?
Taking a bike-ride through the forest area near my house, past a gypsy encampment and getting attacked by their dogs.
I had to use my feet to alternatively pedal, and kick to fend them off; or at times raise my legs like some kind of circus-trick-cyclist to stop them biting at me. I eventually out-rode them and escaped unscathed.
That incident didn't end up in a story, but the dog-attack incident in The Witch's List was inspired by an encounter in Abidjan with some stray dogs.
Name 5 fictional characters you would invite to a dinner party. Where would the party be?
I would invite 5 of the most renowned detectives in fiction - Sherlock Holmes, Hercules Poirot, Philip Marlowe, Miss Marple and Jules Maigret - to a murder-mystery party on a desert island and get them to fight it out to settle once and for all who is the best detective.
What links or website do you have? List them below.