Conquering the Gauls

Conquering the Gauls

Image courtesy of Pixabay.

From Puck Curtis by way of Michael J. Walsh, via Facebook.

Two Roman commanders were tasked with conquering the Gauls.

One of them, Marcus Maximus, has vigorously trained his fighting men to within an inch of their lives. He thinks he is ready for any eventuality.

The other, more senior commander, goes by Brutus Quintus. He also has highly trained men under his command but he never goes anywhere without a unit of half-naked northern men painted blue. They are, in fact, a group of Pictish barbarians.

On the morning of the battle Marcus Maximus charges forward and destroys the Gauls almost immediately. It is total supremacy on the battlefield and Brutus Quintus just watches it all happen silently without committing a single soldier to the battle.

The following morning the army awakes and there, through some sorcery, is the Gaul army untouched and waiting again for battle. Again Marcus Maximus leads his troops into the fight and wipes out the Gauls only to awaken the next morning to find them magically waiting again.

Five days running Marcus defeats the Gauls and yet each morning his victory is undone by the magics of the Gauls.

Finally on the sixth day Brutus Quintus lines up his troops with his Pictish barbarians in the vanguard. They charge into the Gauls wiping them out. The next morning Marcus Maximus awakens ready to taunt Brutus for his failure but there on the field of battle is all the evidence of the defeated Gauls. Somehow, Brutus Quintus has defeated the Gauls and their magic.

Marcus Maximus looks to Brutus Quintus and asks him, “How did you undo these magics?”

Brutus Quintus calmly replies, “Simple, Marcus. You must understand that you need Picts or it didn’t happen.”

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Inspiration: Warships

The guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher welcomes the French tall ship replica the Hermione off the east coast of the US, in 2015.

Photograph: US Navy.Warships

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Inspiration: Sunset on Mars

Sunset on Mars

Sunset on Mars, as captured by the Mars Curiosity rover on April 15, 2015.

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Inspiration: Werewolf, Stalking

Werewolf, Stalking

Love this picture of what seems like a werewolf stalking through the woods, which was forwarded to me by Marty Wilsey (though he’s not the artist). It’s brutally simple, probably just a charcoal drawing. But it’s certainly effective. I’d use it as a book cover in a heartbeat, if I had a story that matched the picture.

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Inspiration: Titanic Dogs

The Dogs of the Titanic

One of the few existing photos of some of the dogs that were taken aboard the ill-fated Titanic by first-class passengers. The only pets that survived were a couple of small ones that passengers brought onto the lifeboats.

This was also the subject of a presentation that I’ve done, Titanic: The Forgotten Passengers, which is available on this site.

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Inspiration: Into the Blizzard

Inspiration: Into the Blizzard

What is this pair doing out in the middle of the blizzard? What are they hunting? Or is something hunting them?

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Inspiration: Grav Speeder on an Alien World

Grav Speeder on a Alien Planet

I love the colors and the sense of speed in this image of a futuristic vehicle, perhaps some sort of grav speeder, flying over an alien landscape at dizzying speed. Plus, it looks like it would be really cool to pilot one.

As a writer, can you imagine an aerial chase involving these things?

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Author Chow: Taco Bamba

Author Chow: Taco Bamba

Well, apparently I am (temporarily) a full-time author. The Day Job ended on Friday and the New Day Job has not yet officially started (due to paperwork, drug testing, bureaucracy, etc.). So this was my post-employment lunch at Taco Bamba, with their patented steak taco, a crispy shrimp taco, tortilla chips and four kinds of salsa.

It’s a fast casual dining place, with a few indoor tables, a few outdoor tables, a standing table, and a bunch of stools lining a ledge eating area. It’s casual, but it’s good food. They also have other things on the menu besides just tacos (although I’ve never actually gotten past the tacos, myself).

Did I mention they have four kinds of salsa?

Yes, indeed, my kind of place…

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Author Chow: Sirloin of Roast Beef

Scottish Wedding Dinner

This is the Scottish wedding dinner provided by my brother-in-law, Tommy Brady, and his lovely bride, Jacqueline Mckweown-Brady, at their wedding reception on June 30, 2018. Easily one of the best meals I’ve ever had in Scotland.

Prepared by the Normandy Hotel, this is their sirloin of roast beef with a sea salt and herb crust, accompanied by Yorkshire pudding, a rich roast gravy and a selection of vegetables and potatoes. It was preceded by an Atlantic prawn salad with a marie rose sauce. And followed by strawberry cheesecake.

Another interesting feature, the “Hangover Kit” in the upper left corner, composed of Iron Bru (a popular Scottish soft drink; the other national drink, apart from whiskey), chocolate, a satchel of Nescafe coffee and several little packets of tic tacs.

My Scottish relatives have done a splendid job of feeding their “hungry American”…a most excellent roast beef dinner. And a fitting accompaniment for a truly special day.

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Author Chow: Bangers and Mash

Bangers and Mash

If you want your favorite authors to keep pumping out those stories, they gotta be fed properly. That’s what these Author Chow entries are all about.

This is a meal called “bangers and mash” from the Rose & Crown Restaurant in Disney’s Epcot park in Florida. It’s basically English-style sausages with mashed potatoes and gravy.

This is actually an Americanized version of the dish. In Scotland, they put the sausages in a bowl with mashed potatoes on top. Then they cook the entrĂ©e until the mashed potatoes have been slightly browned on top. The next time I’m, in Scotland, I’ll post a picture of the true version of this dish.

This is also a meal that’s featured in my story, “Road Trip,” which was published in the anthology, Reliquary. When Rocco Fitch, a down and out military vet, and his irascible neighbor find themselves in London by magical means, Rocco insists that his friend try a local dish. That story, by the way, is being published as a standalone in September.

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