the winterborn

independent.co.uk
The boneyard of the bizarre that rewrites our Celtic past
Ancient Mediterranean cultures thought nothing of splicing different animals together to form fantastical mythical beasts, such as the half-lion, half-goat chimera or the half-lion, half-eagle griffin.

Until now, however, ancient Britons were not credited with such imagination. That is all about to change following the discovery of a series of animal skeletons near Winterborne Kingston in Dorset, which raises the possibility that Britain’s ancient Celtic population had hybrid-animal monster myths similar to those of the ancient Greeks, Mesopotamians and Egyptians.

The bones, discovered in Dorset by archaeologists, appear to have been deliberately rearranged by Iron Age Britons in order to create hybrid beasts, half one creature and half another.

The Dorset ‘hybrids’ all discovered by archaeologists from Bournemouth University, include:

• A cow which, after probable sacrificial death, had had its own legs removed and deliberately replaced by four horse’s legs.

• A sacrificed sheep with two heads – its own somewhat fragmentary one and, protruding from its hind end, that of a bull.

• A horse with a cow’s horn protruding from its forehead – with the horn pointing inwards.

• A cow’s upper leg bone with a horse’s hoof

I keep reblogging posts about Devil in Spring, but I’m personally terrible at getting books right when they’re published (unless it’s a new Immortals After Dark book, that is). It’ll probably take me… say, a year to get around to actually reading Devil in Spring.

Especially since I got Marrying Winterborne right on publication and didn’t enjoy it to anywhere near the level that others did, which makes me feel like a grump and gun-shy about Lisa Kleypas in general. 

Is anyone else on Team Don’t Run Out and Buy It, Wait Until the Hype Dies Down and Maybe You’ll Enjoy It More Because There’s Less Pressure? If so, can you think of a better team name?

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Some gifs from the ‘Stranger Than Fiction’ documentary on the end of Mark’s Doctor Who spin-offs. I have no ability to transfer the video to DVD, so these have been rather mangled through the medium of mobile phone technology…

(in the second one he’s claiming there’s a ‘sort of Carry On ethic’ to the series. Which anyone who’s seen them may well attest to!)

This is a character dubbed simply Winterborne; her backstory is her complete lack of a backstory.

A murder victim, Winterborne somehow resurrected deep in the frozen northern reaches of Skyrim with an absolute command of frost-based magic and a total invulnerability to cold.  On the contrary, she finds the frigid wastes and the bitter air refreshing, and often goes barefoot through the iciest, snowiest parts of Skyrim.

Being reanimated from the dead, Winterborne had a good deal of trouble re-adapting to society; for a time, she wandered the frozen northern regions, killing mercilessly anything she came across, man, mer, or beast.  In time, she did regain a sense of humanity after assisting the ghost of Katria in discovering the Aetherium Forge.

Through that adventure, she realized that the mages at the college might have some answers for her as to her nature, so she made her way back to Winterhold and joined their ranks, receiving training in destruction magic that only made her incredible raw talent as an ice mage far, far deadlier.

Winterborne has no memory of her previous life, only fleeting brief images, and the certainty that her previous life ended violently.  But, whether that happened four days ago or four eras ago, she has no inkling.  She hopes to recall more as time progresses, but in the meantime, she has little idea of who or what she may truly be.

My novel is available now on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited!


Talia Winterborn wore a wedding gown, but she felt like she was going to her funeral.  Today, she was being sent as a sacrificial bride for Vayn the Dragon God - in hopes he would end the merciless heatwave devastating her country.

Vayn is cold, arrogant, and frighteningly beautiful.  It’s a mystery to all why he has chosen to lock himself away in his castle for the past decade, but Talia is determined to uncover his secrets.

However, that means playing at the politics of the Gods.  Casual treason and shameless backstabbing are common amongst the pantheon at the City of the Gods, and among the most ruthless is Kayn, Vayn’s twin brother.  Talia must choose her alliances carefully in this new world.

As threats loom around them, can Talia be any help to the Dragon God she was sent to marry?  Can a human make any difference in a world of Gods?  
          

Here’s a link if you want to check it out!

Mark Gatiss on being disease-free and IMMORTAL

@idioticonion and I did this interview in 2005 (after ‘The Vesuvius Club’ was published but before 'The Devil in Amber’). I don’t think it exists on the interweb anymore…

What made you decide to turn “The Vesuvius Club” into a graphic novel. And just how “graphic” will it be…?
God made me do it. Actually, I knew how much Ian Bass loved  comic books and I just suggested to Simon and Schuster that there might  be some interest in a graphic novel. They did some costings and said  ‘off you go!’ Ian then had to compress a huge amount of work into a very  short space of time, I really only had to approve the ‘script’. It’s a  teensy bit graphic – one page in particular is raising eyebrows – but we  don’t want it shrunk-wrapped at W.H.Smiths where no-one can have a  browse. There might be an ‘adults-only’ sticker on it but I
really don’t  know what all the fuss is about. You can have sex on live TV now.

Early references to “The Vesuvius Club” suggested  that it would be set in the late Victorian period - and the tone of the book rather indicates that the time period was changed at a very late stage. Why was this?

That’s true. I’d envisaged a high-Victorian setting, 1895 for  choice, the
perfect Conan Doyle year but I realised that I’m far more in  love with the Edwardian era and became quietly possessed by the whole  Art Nouveau feel of the thing. Having said that, it’s obviously a  pastiche of lots of different styles, incorporating Holmes and Fu Manchu  etc. I deliberately kept the date vague so I can play about with how  old Box is.

Have you made any more progress on “Devil In Amber”? Is it still set in the 1930s? And will Charlie Jackpot appear in it??
It’s ‘THE Devil in Amber’! This is like ‘League’ of Gentlemen all over again! I see the book is even on Amazon with the definite article missing! Rant over.

I’ve done a very detailed outline of the  next book and have written the first two chapters. It has a vague  late-‘Twenties setting and will be a wintry story in contrast to the  sultry tone of the first one. As to who’s in it, well…All I’ll say is  that Box has a rival agent called Hugo Furst snapping at his heels…

You’ve written and recorded a large number of audio dramas. Do you have anything more coming up in this area?
No ‘Doctor Who’s planned. Too busy with the real thing! Have  just finished recording the second series of ‘Nebulous’ for Radio 4, though. I’ve been asked to play Gold in ‘Sapphire and Steel’ again.

Writing for Doctor Who was seemingly a  lifelong ambition for you. Now that that’s been realised, what’s your  next burning ambition? (apart from actually playing the Doctor of  course!) And is it strange writing for David Tennant, since he’s a good  friend of yours?
I’d love to play Jacob Marley in ‘A Christmas Carol’. That’s a  childhood
ambition. It’s actually really helpful knowing David because I  can hear his voice (albeit Scottish) in my head when I’m writing. The  whole thing is a challenge, though, because the re-invention has been so  successful but now we’re kind of re-inventing it again!

Bisexual characters seem rather in vogue at the  moment - after Lucifer we know have the dashing Captain Jack Harkness.  Do you think this is feeding on the prevalence of slash fiction in  certain genres? You’ve admitted to reading slash - any you’d recommend??
Is Slash fiction a story that’s someone’s weed on? All I know about this
dubious practice is that someone handed me some sheets of  foolscap on the last TLOG tour and I was fairly astonished to read of  Chinnery’s amorous encounters with Ross. We had a good laugh on the bus.

PROBE is very popular among League of Gentlemen  fans - for various reasons. But why on earth was THAT shot of Reece  getting out of bed in “Devil Of Winterborne” kept in (minute 21, for those who haven’t seen)?? And have you ever  tried the PROBE drinking game?
‘For various reasons’. What can that mean? I haven’t seen them  in years and I’m sure they’re pretty ropey but we were all finding our  way. Tread softly, for you tread on my dreams…
I don’t know which shot of Reece you mean but if he was getting  out of bed, can you see his tackle? I have mostly very fond memories of  those days, of working with Jon Pertwee and a fairly idyllic summer at  that school location at the height of Brit-Pop. Ah, youth…
As for the ‘drinking game’, I don’t know what that is. I only drink when alone. Or in company. Or if the day has a ‘Y’ in it.

Why are you so obsessively suspicious of morticians? The great Bernard Spilsbury is turning in his grave…
As Box says in ‘The Vesuvius Club’, like choir-masters, you  have to suspect them a little, no? ‘Now what shall I be?’ says the Young  Person. ‘An architect? A doctor? A dancer? No! I’ll voluntarily fiddle  with corpses!’ Besides, I knew one once and he told me such stories…

What’s happened to all the trappings of a Victorian  gentleman you used to affect? The lab.. the velvet suit… has your  fascination faded?
I love to dress up. Always will. However, I long ago realised  that you can feel stylish and comfortable without having to pretend it’s  the Golden summer of 1913 all the time. I spent far too much of my youth wanting to be older and dressing accordingly. What a twat I must  have appeared! As for the laboratory, it was a similar case. I’d always  dreamed of having such a room then, once I’d done it, it was like a  folly. I’d show visitors round it but it was never used. I’ve now split  up the contents around our new house because it’s nicer to live with these pretty things all around you.

Would you rather suffer from consumption or the pox?
I remember being terribly excited when Jeremy Dyson caught TB  in the early ‘Nineties. I insisted on referring to it as Consumption.  Personally. I’d rather have neither and remain disease-free and  IMMORTAL.

The boneyard of the bizarre that rewrites our Celtic past to include hybrid-animal monster myths

Ancient Mediterranean cultures thought nothing of splicing different animals together to form fantastical mythical beasts, such as the half-lion, half-goat chimera or the half-lion, half-eagle griffin.

Until now, however, ancient Britons were not credited with such imagination. That is all about to change following the discovery of a series of animal skeletons near Winterborne Kingston in Dorset, which raises the possibility that Britain’s ancient Celtic population had hybrid-animal monster myths similar to those of the ancient Greeks, Mesopotamians and Egyptians.

The bones, discovered in Dorset by archaeologists, appear to have been deliberately rearranged by Iron Age Britons in order to create hybrid beasts, half one creature and half another. Read more.

Pre-Roman town found during Bournemouth University dig

A pre-Roman town of 150 roundhouses has been found by university students during an archaeological dig in Dorset.

The discovery of the town lying along a hill-slope near Winterborne Kingston has been described as “extremely significant” by archaeologists.

Miles Russell, of Bournemouth University, said: “What we’ve discovered is one of the earliest and largest open settlements in Britain.”

It is hoped the finds will show how life was before the Roman invasion.

Animal remains, a number of quern-stones used for grinding corn to make bread, weaving and metalworking materials were also uncovered. Read more.