I would like to present you, dear readers, with some backstory.
While Barbarians are attributed to living in and near Scotland, they were more commonly found in the Scandinavian Peninsula, Iceland, and Greenland. In fact, by the 900s, they'd left the British Isles for good. So how did the Barbarians end up on St. Anne's Cleft? For that, dear readers, I had to bend history.
The internet tells us that Vikings raided Scotland and Ireland during the 5th and 6th centuries--four hundred years before the events of Where the Clouds Catch Fire. Eventually, they got pretty comfortable with the Irish and assimilated themselves into their culture. They even founded Alynn's hometown of Limerick. (True story.)
In the north of Ireland, however, there lived a large (and fictional) congregation of particularly Norse people. These people had grown up hearing stories about Viking raiders and Barbarian chieftains, so they decided to return to their roots. They gathered their families, sailed north, and found a group of islands that was just perfect for living in.
No singular island was large enough to hold the entire Barbarian population, so they split into seven tribes. Each tribe elected a chief. Idir the Bold, a strong and charismatic young warrior, was chosen to lead the seventh tribe. Bold as he was, Idir forced the Second Tribe off the southernmost island and named it Diaparn.
The Second Tribe wasn't so thrilled about being kicked off their island, especially since they'd just finished killing off the monastic natives. They found a rock in the far north, called it Gythia, and sulked there for thirty-nine years.
The tribes were called by the names of their islands--Diaparn, Gythia, Hrafney, Shivalka, Eitravik, Darsidia, and Fiochan. They learned Norse and taught it to their children, picked up a few traditional recipes, and went on a few raids now and then. Eventually, they forgot that they'd ever lived in Ireland.
Idir the Bold passed away 13 years after inhabiting Diaparn, leaving the chieftainship to his immature, power-hungry, 19-year-old son, who later became known as Konar the Conqueror. Konar let pride get to his head, then slowly descended to madness until he became the murderous warlord we see in Where the Clouds Catch Fire.
And that, dear readers, is how the tribes were formed.
If you were chief of a Barbarian tribe, what would you name it? Tell me in the comments below, and who knows? I might end up using it in a later book! Happy New Year, and God bless y'all!
Most people don't pay attention to the historical accuracy in books and movies. It's either not there, or too subtle to notice, or so glaringly obvious we feel like we're reading nonfiction. The fact that most people wouldn't know the difference makes it easy for us authors to tweak history here and there.
I'm pretty sure I'm guilty of that.
For the most part, however, I've tried to stay faithful to the past. Here are a few historical truths that I've includedin the Clouds Aflame series:
Historical accuracy is one thing, but natural accuracy is another. In other words, are the laws of nature followed? A plant called milfoil is used to stop bleeding at least once in the book. Milfoil is a real plant, though it's more commonly called yarrow in the U.S., and its leaves really do stop bleeding.
Above all, I've tried to make Where the Clouds Catch Fire spiritually accurate. Spiritual accuracy, unfortunately, is subjective. But what I included in Where the Clouds Catch Fire is proved by what the Bible says. There really is a God. I've seen Him move. I've seen His healing, in my own body as well as other's. He really does love you, more than anyone on this earth can. He loves you so much He sent His Son to die on the cross, taking the punishment for our sins so we didn't have to. And we accept this precious gift of salvation, not by working for it, but by receiving it by grace through faith.
I wish you all a merry Christmas, and God bless you!
Hello, my dear readers, and merry Christmas! I'm sure you're as excited for December 25th as I am. Unfortunately, it's easy to lose sight of the wonder of Christmas in all the hustle and bustle of making sure everything is perfect. As a perfectionist (and an overachiever), I completely understand. I'm currently in the process of crocheting an afghan, and today I found in my almost-finished masterpiece an extra hole that's not supposed to be there. (God's healing my perfectionism, so I'll just crochet over it. No one will know the difference! *Insert evil laughter here....*)
"It's brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, I tell you!"
Unfortunately, laughing like Yzma and quoting Disney movies doesn't solve all the world's problems, especially around Christmastime. It just takes your mind away from the fact that you need gifts for your hard-to-please siblings and your grandpa who never needs anything. What to do, what to do....
It's about enough to drive anyone batty.
Kind of like Yzma.
This Christmas, I challenge you to unwind a bit. Listen to "Carol of the Bells," have a snowball fight, decorate cookies with friends and family and enjoy it. You're not going to remember this Christmas because the garland on your tree was perfectly twisted, or because you had the most lights on your roof. You might even forget the perfect present. What matters most is the time you take to spend with your family and with Jesus, the real Reason for the season.
My most memorable Christmas wasn't the one three years ago, the one I spent crocheting my parents an afghan. It wasn't the year I got the American Girl doll I'd been wanting for months. Really, it's all the years--helping my mom in the kitchen, visiting with family, decorating the Christmas tree. Acting out the Christmas story with candles at my grandparent's house, like we do every year on Christmas Eve. God bless you this holiday season, and remember--it's the little things that make a memory.
--Quote and picture from Disney's The Emperor's New Groove.
Hello, dear reader! My name is M. J. Piazza, and I'd like to introduce myself.
I live about an hour north of Dallas. I have one little sister, am decidedly single, and have a taste in music that varies from TobyMac to Celtic Woman. And I am also a firm, Bible-believing Christian.
I know you didn't care about any of that, so now we're going to play a game. I'm going to ask a question. I myself will answer it, and I'd like you to play along in the comments. Are you ready? Let's play!
1: What's your favorite type of movie or TV show to watch?
2: What's a very interesting fact about your life?
3: What's the most extreme thing you've ever done? If you've never climbed a mountain, bungee jumped, skydived, etc., would you like to?
4: What's your favorite thing to eat that you only get at special occasions (birthdays, holidays, etc.)?
5: How would you describe yourself by using the letters in your name?
1: I enjoy movies that have plenty of humor and action in them, especially movies with a faith-based content or historical setting.
2: I've only moved once--950 miles from northern Illinois to northern Texas.
3: I climbed the rock wall at summer camp, but I only got halfway up because my hands were sweating in the 113-degree heat index. I'm a very cautious person, so I would say NO to anything more extreme than...well, climbing rock walls at camp.
4: It has to be my mom's black raspberry bars. Basically, it's two layers of cookie dough in bar form with black raspberry jelly between them. There's four sticks of butter involved in making them, so they have to be delicious.
5: This one was a bit tricky, but I would describe myself as:
What about you? How would you describe yourself? Tell me in the comments below! God bless you, and happy reading!
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.