10/18/2015 - 11/30/2015
Medieval Ireland AD 1000-1600
The course will concentrate on Ireland ‘beyond the Pale’, the areas where lived the Gaels, barbarous and uncouth in English eyes. The people who lived in ‘the Pale’, that is, the stockade or boundary of ‘civilisation’, were the English whose chief city was Dublin.
Six weeks to cover six hundred years of history seems a short space of time. However, Gaelic society in this period was one of the most conservative in Europe; there were differences as in landholding, marriage customs, holidays, belief in the supernatural, etc. When one king per country was the norm, Ireland was still ruled by three levels of kings. It annoyed the Elizabethan administration greatly when Irish leaders ‘pretended’ to be kings. At a time when mainstream Europeans found it difficult to divorce a wife–Henry VIII of England springs to mind–Irish kings and chiefs blithely ‘put aside’ wives and contracted secular marriages with other women. The second Earl of Clanrickard (died 1582) was married six times with five wives living at the same time.
You’ll learn about the ‘clan system’, the kindreds who ruled Gaelic Ireland (which was similar to Gaelic Scotland) and the end of it after the defeat of Hugh O’ Neill, king of Ulster. You will find out about the influence of various invaders: vikings, Anglo-Normans and the Tudors.
What you learn may not agree in all aspects with what you have read in novels and seen in films. But your knowledge of this special country will be greatly enriched, and the use you make of the material is entirely up to you.
Instructor: Sheila Currie
While living over eight years in Europe, Sheila studied the languages and history of Scotland, Ireland and France. She learned Gaelic at Xavier College in Nova Scotia (now UCB) then received a MA (honours) in Scottish History and Celtic Studies from the University of Glasgow. She received a bursary to study the older forms of the Gaelic language at the Dublin Institute of Advance Studies for a summer.
She now lives in British Columbia, Canada and teaches medieval, Scottish and Irish history part-time at university. She is currently writing an historical fantasy.
11/01/2015 - 11/30/2015
Military 101 with Merien Grey
One of the many new markets for contemporary romance is military romance. The United States Military is like a small country. It has its own culture, customs and laws. This workshop touches on branch structure, culture in and out of uniform, the lexicon and slang, tradition and various other details of what it is really like beyond the gates and guns. It will also touch on common myths and misnomers. We will cover why in certain cases, soldiers who work together and get involved romantically can be prosecuted, as can adulterers in any case and why there is really no such thing as off duty. We will talk about special operations and why females being allowed to enter those fields has generated strong kickback within the services. Hint: It has far more to do with logistics, standards and administration than social acceptability. This class is designed to give writers with little to no experience enough military knowledge to know where to begin their research and how to find what they need to write a credible military novel.
Merien is an eleven year US Air Force veteran. She spent her tours of duty traveling the world as an intelligence analyst working various multi-service and multi-national assignments. She has worked in twenty-two countries and lived in four of them. She has worked missions in the Middle East, South America and throughout Asia. She has degrees in Anthropology, Sociology, English and Communications Technology. Before becoming an author and speaker, her occupations ranged from soldier (obviously) and bartender to infrared security system instructor and developer. She even spent a few years as a 911 operator working police, fire and medical emergency dispatch. She currently lives in the shadow of Mount Rainier with her retired Ranger husband, Baghdad pup and a kindergartner who rules the land with an iron hand at least until bedtime.