it's a cop-out, but ...

I was away this past weekend and did not have time to compose a lengthy blog post. Instead, I have (after about twenty false starts) achieved the opening of Dolorosa. This is the keeper version, and rather than break the rhythm, I thought I'd roll with the novel in lieu of a blog post. Then I was overcome by intense guilt for having no blog post--okay, that's a lie, I just like the attention.

As a compromise, I thought I'd share a little news in the making and give you a list of non-fiction books that I'm reading for research purposes.

Look ... it was this, or a picture of my cat.

Okay, the news first:

I've been hanging out with a group of real shady characters who have enticed me to join them for a new collective blog called BookSworn. So far, Mark Lawrence, Mazarkis Williams, Courtney Schafer, Anne Lyle, Helen Lowe, Elspeth Cooper, Bradley P. Beaulieu, Doug Hulick, Stina Leicht, Jeff Salyards, Zachary Jernigan, Kameron Hurley, and Betsy Dornbusch have signed the pact in blood and ink and bytes. We are hammering out the details and the secret handshake now. Of course, as soon as everything goes live, I'll send you an update along with a link. Meanwhile, follow @BookSworn on Twitter so you don't get left out.

I'm working on two guest posts and doing a bit of research, so that means non-fiction books. During my research for In Midnight's Silence, I found two items of interest:

Medieval Iberia: Readings from Christian, Muslim, and Jewish Sources (2nd ed.) edited by Olivia Remie Constable (Philadelphia : University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012).

An interesting tidbit from "Administration of an Urban Militia" taken from Fuero de Cuenca (ca 1190) and translated from the Latin by James F. Powers. From section XXX.I. The government of the military expedition and the guarding of the city:

Before taking a military expedition against a foe, the council is required to appoint watchmen to keep an eye on the city. The watchmen's responsibilities were clearly stated:

"After sunset, if the guards find anyone walking in the streets without carrying a light, they should seize all his belongings and put him in confinement until the following morning. In the morning, he should be brought before the [acting] council, and if he was a citizen or a son of a citizen, he should be absolved; but if he was a stranger, let him be hurled from the city cliffs."

Rough town.

Next up is Queer Iberia: Sexualities, Cultures, and Crossings from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, edited by Josiah Blackmore and Gregory S. Hutcheson (Durham : Duke University Press, 1999).

I had to get this one from a used bookstore, but it was well worth the price. I'm about a quarter of the way through it and enjoying it immensely.

Favorite quote thus far is from "Queer Representation in the Arcipreste de Talavera, or The Maldezir de mugeres Is a Drag" by Catherine Brown:

"He [the Archpriest] presents them [the Beghards], that is to say, as figures of the Hypocrite, whom Gregory the Great defined thus: 'Hypocrita, qui latina lingua dicitur simulator, iustus esse non appetit, sed uideri' (Moralia in Iob 18.7) [The hypocrite, who in Latin is called a simulator, does not want to be just, but rather to appear so]."

That has to be the best definition of a hypocrite that I've ever read.

I'm also doing research for Dolorosa with Codes, Ciphers, and Other Cryptic and Clandestine Communication: Making and Breaking Secret Messages from Hieroglyphs to the Internet, by Fred B. Wrixon (New York : Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers : Distributed by Workman Pub., 1998).

Thus far, my favorite code is ... well, that would be telling, now wouldn't it?

Check them out if you have a minute, and don't forget to follow @BookSworn for more updates of our dastardly doings as we soar through the interwebz seeking redemption, glory, words, and chocolate ... something ... something ... something ... until next week ... write on ...