Hello again! The Green Castle is re-opening. :)

Hello again,

I am happy to re-open the main doors and lower the drawbridge of The Green Castle and resume the blogging activity about the vast range of Speculative Fiction. 🙂

The months-long ‘closing the castle’ time was unplanned. After the post about experiences at Conflux9/NatCon in Canberra over the Anzac Day Long Weekend, many other things started to demand attention…and the blogging momentum was lost. The blog itself wasn’t forgotten, though: I took some notes of new ideas for things to blog about, investigated more  Speculative Poetry and started writing some, saw some new movies including the new ‘Star Trek’ one – and one or two that were ‘old classics’ but I hadn’t seen them myself. Magazines such as SFX and SciFiNow also gave me many hours of interest-filled reading.

I want to resume blogging at The Green Castle at least a couple of times a week. My increasing interest in Speculative Poetry, both in terms of reading and writing it, will get a fair bit of blog-post space from now on. Short personal essays on various aspects of specfic will also ‘get an airing’. 🙂  This blog also seems to offer a good incentive to write some micro-fiction/flash fiction and also share some information about ultra-short story forms and maybe links to related author interviews on websites/blogs, plus any promising writers’ guides that deal specifically with these forms of stories.

My first post of my own recent/new writing is coming up very shortly, in a separate post.

For now: welcome back to The Green Castle! 🙂

cheers, Tim

Re-opening The Green Castle!

Hello! 🙂

I have decided to re-open and substantially re-model The Green Castle blog, after nearly a year and a half of not doing anything with it. It will still be a blog focussed on my major interest in Speculative Fiction in various forms and sub-genres, as well as related topics such as specfic conventions and Fantasy Art, but this time I’ll leave out the Resident Nobleman narrator character and simply write and reply as myself.

Recent reading and re-reading about blogging, plus some great experiences at Chicon7/Worldcon in Chicago last year and some more general thinking about new writing projects for 2013 all led me to start thinking about personal blogging again and what it could offer. This afternoon, when I signed back into WordPress for the first time since about Halloween of 2011, and re-read the ‘About’ page for this blog in its earlier version, the description seemed to cover a fair bit of promising territory. Re-starting and re-modelling The Green Castle blog, plus learning/re-learning to use various WordPress features and tools (including some that have been created since late 2011), ended up being more appealing than making a new blog just for the sake of it being new but not really very different.  Hmm, that’s not unlike a new lot of residents occupying a pre-existing castle, now I think of it… 🙂

Initially, I’m looking at posting at least 2-3 times a week and covering a range of categories in that time, without trying to do a daily blog. This blog is, as per last time, is a solo creative project for the main part and I’m still keeping a full-time job – so there will be various very real off-line limits to the speed of its growth and expanse. 🙂 That said, I will be experimenting with various ways to ‘spread the word’ about the blog, get in some guest bloggers from time to time and see what can be done about connecting to other forms of Social Online Media if that seems to match the spirit and purpose of various posts or, for that matter, the general focus of the blog. Also, if I do a post about a particular business such as a favourite book-shop/publisher/author’s page/home page for a convention, then I’ll certainly include link/s for it or them and any additional information that might seem useful. That will be pretty much the extent of advertising on this blog.

So, with all that said: I’m really happy about this new blogging project and look forward to meeting people with an interest in/love of the huge range of  ideas, stories, people and activities included in the ‘multiverse’ of Speculative Fiction. 

Thanks for visiting! 🙂

Yours in Speculative Fiction,

Tim

New feature: “a chat in The Throne Room with…”

Warm Greetings from The Green Castle! 🙂

One of the new things I want to do on the revived blog ‘The Green Castle’ is to start an informal interview-by-email series, using the working title of “a chat in The Throne Room with…[insert name]”. The basic idea is to invite writers, illustrators, editors, costume makers, folklore specialists, book designers, librarians, awards judges, publishers, film-makers (and more later), to ‘talk’ about various personal experiences in/with and views on speculative fiction, perhaps favourite projects and how/when they first ‘got into it’. 🙂 Venturing some forecasts and/or inspired guesses about the future/s of speculative fiction is also good. But please, only use virtual chicken gizzards, troll hairs, sparrow feet, vultures’ beaks etc. if doing the whole reading-signs business as aprt of any forecasting.

In the longer term, this interview series will hopefully provide both an ongoing content feature as so many other interview series do in both print and online forums and publications, and also build up a kind of informal oral history of activities and people in various parts of the vast range of Speculative Fiction worlds.

The Green Castle’s roomy, secure and well-appointed Throne Room will be made available to provide an atmosphere of sorts, or at least a fitting kind of  ‘backdrop’ effect, and keep a not-too-serious thematic connection between the present-world people and blogging world, with that of the castle and its characters. 🙂 Naturally, respectable catering and accommodation services will be provided, as well as transport assistance if needed – to and from the castle and nearest large town.

Live audiences will certainly be given entrance to the Throne Room for the interviews while they are in progress. Indeed, the visitors coming for their chat in the Throne Room are gently but clearly advised to even expect live audiences at some time. They, in turn, are welcome to attend other chats. In castles in general, what happens in throne rooms tends to excite strong interest in times of war or peace. The Green Castle is no exception in this. 🙂

My staff and I look forward to welcoming the first visitors for the chats in the Throne Room, to begin this new feature of castle life.

Keep well and travel in peace, good folk!

The Resident Nobleman

The Green Castle opening again soon

Hear ye! Hear ye! The gates of The Green Castle will soon be opening again to visitors!

The Resident Nobleman and castle staff offer their apologies for unexpected long shut-down and suspension of visiting hours and also services to and from the nearby large town. The castle now has more staff and has had substantial improvements made in various structures and facilities, including expanded stabling area for visitors. More updates very soon.

Yours in revival, The Resident Nobleman

Building/repair works and re-staffing at ‘The Green Castle’

Greetings from all of us at The Green Castle!

My apologies for the quietness and lack of recent activity on the castle’s blog, and do be assured, good readers and castle visitors, that your company has been missed.

A little over a month ago, when I last posted on this blog, it became clear that various parts of the castle itself need substantial repair works, or in some cases even complete replacement and new furnishings -and as often happens with big, complex structures like castles – you find one thing to repair then several more seem to magically show up just after that, all needing to be fixed and many of them in hard-to-get-at places. So, much coin flowed out of the castle’s coffers and into the -strong-boxes of various building-trades guildhalls, as well as into the coin pouches of assorted individual merchants and the messengers taking orders for business.  Not forgetting that tiresome monk from the abbey, the one who dragged on negotiations about which apprentices and journeymen would or could be hired at castle vs the abbey or in the town. He invited himself to the castle one day and the new Chamberlain –  ‘Alendorath’, from some distant seaport I can’t remember the name of for now- merely expressed token sympathy for what I had told him about the monk, then invited the …. to lunch. ?!! If he ever offers the monk some temporary work in the Scriptorium, I’ll be looking for another Chamberlain.

In addition to the building and repair works, and new furnishings, various castle staff were wanting a change of scene, or to visit family after  a long absence.  They kindly assured me that the castle itself was agreeable, and only a couple of staff cited any difficulties about other staff – mostly in the stables and kitchen areas. Not wishing them to feel imprisoned, I agreed to request for end of service, gave them strong references (which kept a few of the scribes in the Scriptorium quite busy for a few days), some extra coins of the realm and wished them well on their travels.

I look forward to resuming more regular social activities at the castle and more blog posts, in this brand-new month.

Good health and good blogging! 🙂

Resident Nobleman at The Green Castle

The troubled troubador and a rogue minstrel – Part 1

Greetings to all at The Green Castle!

Firstly: Thankyou! to all the visitors who have given such encouraging and sometimes extremely very flattering comments about the new foods and services on offer at the castle. And thankyou also to the fine staff who cheerfully and reliably provide them!

And now, alas, I have to give some unhappy news about the castle’s staff: the great entertainer Elrichus, my pioneering Troubador-In-Residence, recently had to beg my personal leave to end his term at the castle and urgently return to his family home in the distant Margonian Highlands. A messenger had been sent by an expensively long relay of privately-hired riders, to highlight the importance of the plea from his family. The written missive did not,  I’m afraid, give any hint of whether the problems could or would be remedied or defeated quickly or not. Elrichus could not tell me much himself, as the note had not been detailed – there was only something about a wayward younger brother, mysterious debts and many goblins trying to steal the family’s hoard of savings.

Given such a dire situation and that it was obvious to even a village idiot that the troubador would not be concentrating on any performances at the castle while the family woes  preyed on his mind,  I felt I had to let him leave as soon as he could be ready, and  for an unknowable period. I had one of the scribes woken up in order to prepare a glowing testimonial, on very special parchment – on the chance he finds the commendation helpful for later employment. It will be a sad loss for everyone at the castle and for visitors and town folk alike, as Elrichus was both highly talented with his voice and instruments, had a rare gift of storytelling  and did not cause any troubles or tensions with other castle staff either during performances or in off-duty times. He even proved to be quite adept at simple blacksmithing and woodwork jobs and was fit enough to keep up with seasoned deer-hunting parties when he had occasional chances to join them.

Truly, The Green Castle was most blessed to have this troubador among us. Go well, you prince of courtly entertainers!

************** Here endeth the account of the troubador and beginneth the account of the minstrel.***********

And so to the rogue minstrel, “Partanbrask” as he styled himself, who started as a promising temporary new Chief Entertainer after his  singing and juggling at big monthly markets were rated highly by a few guild masters I have come to trust.

“Partanbrask” presented himself most confidently at the castle gates, one recent late morning. A youthful-looking sort, he was plainly but neatly dressed, carried most of his tools of the trade and his costume in a cloth bag and had a small harp slung on the back of his workday/travelling tunic. Leiharl Roughbeard (my trusty main man-at-arms and Guard Captain) later told me that on being confronted by the Gate Man On Duty for the morning, Partanbrask happily flourished a surprisingly large variety of references from no less than: a goldsmiths’ guild master, an abbott (not the one described earlier, re: problems with supply of apprentices and journeymen), a notable senior wine merchant and a moderately prestigious apothecary! Does anyone except the most hardened and suspicious type even start thinking “this is too good to be true” on the very first day, in such a situation? The castle was simply in very serious need of a new minstrel/troubador, and I needed to secure the services of one as soon as possible, so we welcomed him through the gates…

To be continued…

Go well, fair people, and may your dreams be untroubled by rogues

‘timatgreencastle/Resident Nobleman

New foods and new services at The Green Castle

Salutations and blessings from everyone at The Green Castle!

Today I am happy to give you some news about new foods and new services at the castle, after many months of castle staff being busy with planning, gathering new wild ingredients, learning new recipes and – in the alchemist’s case, creating some new cures.

1. From the kitchens:

Hearty Traveller’s Lunch (needs to be ordered a day ahead, by messenger  – apply in the town for details) –for guests staying overnight at the castle: choice of roast boar or venison with mushroom sauce; served with pumpkin, beans and the new-season wine;

Pilgrim’s fare, for those travelling onwards for the day (available by early-morning request at castle gates): new-season wine, fresh-baked dark bread, slices of cold roast boar or venison, fruits of the season;

Stew and bread: generous one-person serve of vegetable stew, with a thick slice of fresh-baked dark bread (a regional specialty) –this can be made as either a lunch at the castle or packaged securely for travellers;

Apple-and-mead pudding with cream: the new dessert sensation at the castle! Highly recommended as a final complement to the new roast dinner options. Served warm in colder months and will be tried as a cold dessert in the next Summer.

Please note: the food for travellers will be put in suitable containers, flasks, skins etc, which do not need to be returned to the castle. A small saving on the meal cost can be achieved if travellers going to/through the nearest big town after leaving the castle are willing to leave their food containers with one of the tavern-keepers. The keepers regularly return containers to the castle via the same messengers taking advance meal orders.

2. New medicine:

Stronger cure for common insect bites and stings: a new bland-coloured soothing cream concocted earlier this year by the castles alchemist. I have personally had to test this preparation a few weeks ago and was delighted with the result!

3. Quick scribing service: the newest service of all- for regional and visiting merchants/ambassadors urgently needing additional copies of brief contracts (up to and including three pages), notices of sale/purchase/loading of goods and various letters of introduction. Please introduce yourself and state your business/a sponsoring business or guild -at the castle gates and ask for the Scriptorium Assistant. A room has been set aside for transcribing documents that need to be kept in confidence.

In most cases, all copies will be available – in a “standard business” form or with some illumination and a higher ‘aristrocratic’ grade of parchment, if that required for special state occasions – by end of the next day after the request is made, if that request is made before end of standard lunch services. If enough spare staff are available, this time can be decreased further.

The castle staff and I hope you will enjoy the new foods and/or benefit from the services if you need them.

Please feel welcome to visit us again,

‘timatgreencastle’