Protestant Martyr: Anne Askew

Anne Askew
Anne Askew

When we think of King Henry VIII, the first thing that comes to mind is his six wives and his yearning for a male heir.

If any of his wives betrayed or displeased him, they would more than likely end up headless…

In truth he was a medieval tyrant who wanted his own way.  He couldn’t get a divorce approved by the Pope, so he became the Head of the Church of England.

During his reign a number of his subjects were prepared to die for their beliefs.

England’s history is scattered with accounts of many women breaking free from their teachings.  According to the church, they were considered inferior to the man, and be the original sinners.

This account tells of one of those people: Anne Askew.

Anne Askew was born in 1521, in rural Lincolnshire, at a time in our history when it was considered dangerous, for one to hold religious beliefs, which was opposite to those of the King.

Aged just fifteen, her father; William Askew forced his rebellious child Anne into marriage with Thomas Kyme, son of a local farmer.  Under pressure she agreed.

Anne was an avid reader of the bible, and turned to that of a Protestant, which put her at odds with her church, her husband, her King.

In 1543, King Henry VIII made it illegal for those men and women of lower rank’s in society to read the bible.

This angered Anne so much, she would no longer be silent and went to Lincoln, where she openly read her bible in the Cathedral, openly defying the new laws of the land.

Her actions led to the separation of Thomas and Anne.  Some historical accounts state Thomas kicked her out, whilst other’s say Anne left of her own free will, to spread her religious beliefs.

Anne moved to London in 1544, resuming her birth name and became a preacher, reading and quoting from the Bible to Protestant and Evangelical men and women, of all societies of life.

Anne was a believer in the Reformation, when Martin Luther opposed corruption and greed within the Roman Catholic Church.  Such followers were known as Protestants; as such they were outlawed and prosecuted for their beliefs.

In the year 1534, when Anne was thirteen years old.  King Henry VIII proclaimed himself Head of the Church of England.  John Fisher a Roman Catholic cardinal and Sir Thomas More were executed during the Reformation for refusing to accept him as the Head of the English Church.

In 1545 Anne Askew was arrested on the charge of Heresy, with no witnesses the charges were dropped, and she was released.

On the 28th June 1546 she was arrested and charged yet again with Heresy, found guilty by her own admission and sent to the Tower of London to await her execution.

By order of Sir Thomas Wriothesley and Sir Richard Rich she was put on the rack, thus stretching her body until she revealed fellow Protestants … this she never did.

On the 16th July 1546, unable to walk from the torture she had undergone, she was carried out upon a chair to Smithfield, and tied to a stake and burnt as a heretic.

The punishment of a heretic would see one burnt at the stake for witchcraft or non-agreement of religious beliefs of the time, as was the case against Anne Askew.  Her death had been hastened by loyal friends who paid for gunpowder to be placed around her neck.

Anne Askew has become a famous Protestant Martyr, who was willing to be tortured and burnt at the stake for her beliefs…


Tower’s Ghosts: Young Princes

Young Princes
The Young Princes

One mystery that has never been solved has to be the disappearance and highly probable murder of the two young princes: Edward and Richard in 1483.

Here are the facts, for you to make up your own opinion of what happened to them:

When King Edward IV died in 1483, the throne should have gone to his son, Edward V, with Edward’s brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester as his Protector, until Edward V could rule.

Within three months, Richard Duke of Gloucester had convinced Parliament to rule the young princes as illegitimate, for they were actually his other brother’s children, The Duke of Clarence, who was executed privately for treason.

This proved to be enough evidence and Parliament conferred him to be the rightful heir to the English Throne, making him King Richard III.

King Richard’s reign had been overshadowed by the threat of a Tudor invasion.  It was in August 1485 they landed, and both armies clashed on Boswoth Field, where he was slain in the battle. His time as King was short lived.

So the obvious question that is asked by so many.  Did he kill the two young princes, or did he order their execution.

Which ever way we look at it, Prince Edward V, stood in his way of him becoming King of England.  Once they were both declared illegitimate he couldn’t have them around, for he did not know what trouble they could cause in later years, and what supporter’s they had.

The Tower of London, like so many other historical buildings has its own collection of ghosts roaming the corridors.

According to the definition of what a ghost actually is.  The soul is not able to rest in peace and they remain in old but familiar places.  It could be caused by the brutal way in which they died, for that reason they are unable to pass from this world to the next.

According to one account by guards in the latter part of the 15th century.  Two small figures were spotted gliding down the tower stairs, and believed to be none other than the two young princes… Prince Edward V and his brother Prince Richard, Duke of York.

In 1674 workmen found a chest that contained the skeletons of two young children, they were thought to be the remains of the young princes, and were given a royal burial not long afterwards.

Tower’s Ghosts: Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn

Anne Boleyn is said to be one of the most memorable of ghosts to haunt the Tower of London in the area of the White Tower and the chapel of St.Peter and Vincula, where her headless body was interred in an arrow case under the floor.

On the 1st June 1536 Anne Boleyn was crowned Queen of England, and on the 7th September she gave birth to a daughter; Princess Elizabeth, much to the disgust of Henry who wanted a male heir.

On the 2nd May the Queen was arrested and charged with committing adultery with Sir Francis Weston and William Breton, and plotting against the life of the King.

On the 19th May Anne Boleyn was led out to Tower Hill and beheaded, and her remains were buried in the Chapel of St.Peter ad Vincula adjoining Tower Green.

It is said that in 1864 a sentry challenged a headless figure thought to be that of Anne Boleyn, and his bayonet passed right through her.

In another account the Captain of the Guard witnessed a light from the locked Chapel Royal in the White Tower.  He peered down into the chapel and witnessed a procession of people all dressed in old clothing with one Anne Boleyn leading the procession.

Publishing Poetry is like Arranging a Marriage – Make it a Happy One

An interesting article on poetry and publication… well worth a read…

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If you’re here, you may have read this (or something like it, elsewhere):

We appreciate your submission. However, we’ve decided that your work isn’t a good fit for Vita Brevis, and we won’t be publishing it. But don’t be dissuaded–very few of our poets have been published on their first try! Read over some of our work, make sure your submission meets our exact guidelines, and then choose a new batch that you deem relevant. We make these decisions based on theme- and style-based criteria, so don’t take it personally! Thanks so much for your contribution! We hope to hear from you again.

We’re rooting for you,
The Vita Brevis Team

That’s a rejection email. Chances are, your first submission to Vita Brevis earned you one of these. If that’s the case, you’re in a pool of about 75%. Or maybe I only accepted one poem of the five you sent in for…

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Scotland’s Sacred Spring

St. Catherine's Well - Scotland

A Scottish legend tells of a pilgrim who dropped a single drop of oil, which had come from Mount Sinai.  The oil used to embalm St. Catherine of Alexandria, was on route to Queen Margaret.  From a single drop of oil, grew a healing spring.

An ointment from this well was an effective treatment in skin complaints and burns.  The well was visited by many Scottish monarchs.  In 1504, James IV visited, in 1617 James VI ordered a well-house complete with steps for easy access be constructed, following his visit.

In 1650, destruction came to the well at the hands of Cromwell’s troops.  In 1889, a new well-house was built.

Music Legend: Glen Miller

Glen Miller
Glen Miller

Born in 1904 in Iowa, bandleader and musician Glenn Miller inspired the World War II generation. He was one of the most popular bandleaders in the late 1930s and early 1940s with such songs as “Moonlight Serenade” and “Tuxedo Junction.” In 1942, Miller enlisted in the U.S. Army and was assigned to lead the Army Air Force Band. He boosted the morale of the troops with his many popular songs before mysteriously disappearing on a flight from England to Paris, France. Miller’s original recordings continue to sell millions of copies. He died on December 15, 1944.

Early Life:  Born in Clarinda, Iowa, on March 1, 1904, bandleader and musician Glenn Miller started out playing the mandolin as a child, but quickly switched to the horn. His family moved several times in his youth—to Missouri, then to Nebraska, and finally to Colorado in 1918. In high school in Fort Morgan, Colorado, Miller played in the school band. He turned professional after graduating in 1921, becoming a member of Boyd Senter’s orchestra.

In 1923, Miller quit the orchestra to go to college. He spent a year at the University of Colorado before dropping out to return to the music business. Moving to Los Angeles, California, Miller worked with Ben Pollack’s band for a time. He then headed to New York City, where he freelanced as a trombonist and an arranger. In 1934, Miller became the musical director for Tommy Dorsey’s band with brother Jimmy Dorsey. He then formed an American orchestra for British bandleader Ray Noble.

He first recorded under his own name in 1935, Glenn Miller struggled for several years before establishing himself as a musician and bandleader. He formed his own orchestra and then reconfigured it several times until he found the winning combination. It was his band’s gig at the famed Glen Island Casino in New Rochelle, New York, in 1939 that helped put Miller on the map. Their performances there were broadcast on the radio, giving them great public exposure.

Miller scored his first hit with “Wishing (Will Make It So)” that same year. He penned his even bigger successful single, “Moonlight Serenade,” which climbed the charts in 1939 as well. With their distinctive swing jazz style, Miller and his orchestra became the country’s top dance band. They dominated the music charts with such tracks as “In the Mood,” “Tuxedo Junction” and “Pennsylvania 6-5000” in 1940.

In 1941, Miller made his first film, Sun Valley Serenade, with Sonja Henie. The film featured another one of his signature songs “Chattanooga Choo Choo.” The following year, he appeared in Orchestra Wives (1942). That same year, Miller had to put his successful music career aside to serve his country. He was inducted into the U.S. Army, later transferring to the Army Air Force.

Miller headed up the U.S. Army Air Force Band, which gave numerous performances to entertain the troops during World War II. He was stationed in England in 1944 when he learned that his band was to go to Paris

On December 15, Miller boarded a transport plane headed to the newly liberated French capital. He intended to make preparations for his group’s new series of concerts there, but he never arrived.

What happened to Miller’s plane remains a mystery. Neither the plane nor Miller’s body was ever recovered. He left his wife Helen and their two children. Miller’s military band continued to play for months after his death, and the Glenn Miller Orchestra was revived after the war to honor his legacy. Collections of his greatest hits did well on the charts for several years after his passing as well.

Glen Miller - James Stewart

Jimmy Stewart later starred in the popular film The Glenn Miller Story (1954), which was loosely based on Miller’s life.

Charlotte Bronte

Charlotte Bronte
Charlotte Bronte

Charlotte Bronte was born on the 21st April 1816 in Thornton, daughter of Rev Patrick Bronte and his wife Maria.  Charlotte would grow up and have stories and poetry published in the mid 1800’s.

In 1821, Charlotte’s mother was struck down with cancer, and lost her life.

In 1824, Charlotte along with her sisters; Maria, Elizabeth and Emily attended the Clergy Daughter’s School at Cowan Bridge, Tunstall.  They suffered the harsh regime imposed by the school, cold conditions and poor food.  In May of 1825, Maria Bronte was withdrawn from the school, and died at home of consumption, and Elizabeth also died of consumption in the June.

In 1829 Charlotte writes “The History of the Year.”  In 1830, painted watercolour of wild roses and wrote her poem “Morning.”

In January of 1831, enrols at Roe Head to complete her education, and in July 1835 works as a teacher for the school.  In May 1838, returned home.

In March of 1839, wrote her poem “Life.”

In March of 1841 Charlotte accepts the position of governess for the White family at Upperwood House, Rawdon.

Charlotte and Emily Bronte left England in February 1842, to attend the Heger Pensionnat school in Brussels and in the December of 1843 received her diploma.

In May of 1846 Charlotte Bronte contributed nineteen poems to a book of poetry published under her pseudonym; Currer Ellis and Acton Bell.

In October of 1847, Jane Eyre is published and becomes an overnight best seller.

On the 29th June 1854, Charlotte Bronte marries the Rev Arthur Bell Nicholls, curate to her father.

The marriage had given her happiness, but that came to an abrupt end when she died on the morning of 31st March 1855 in the early stages of pregnancy, and was buried in the family vault at Haworth Parish Church.

How to hook your reader…

Medieval man writing

The opening of your novel or short story is crucial. It must be well written, catchy, and evocative. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, your opening doesn’t move the story forward in the proper manner. This is a reflection of an improperly framed narrative.

Many writers’ create a story, but have a fixed idea how it should work.  In their minds, the narrative doesn’t exist outside of the bounds they’ve chosen for the beginning and end. Sometimes the story is simply lacking context that might be provided by a scene that comes before the writer’s current story beginning.

Meet Your Reader:

All right, we’re ready to begin the story. First, look around and find your reader; they maybe Men? Women? or Both? From now on, those readers will be looking over your shoulder while you write. What you create should appeal to their tastes. In fact, they will help you write the story, and you will entertain them.

The concept of the reader helping you write the story is important for all of us who have problems with info dumps and other authorial intrusion problems. Readers often see themselves as a character in your story, usually the protagonist. Give them elbow room to bring their imagination into play. Let the reader contribute some of the finer details. For every two or three details you put in, make allowances for the reader’s collaboration.

With the reader on your left shoulder, it’s time to pick a place in the narrative to begin.

Show the protagonist in focus:

The protagonist is on screen and in focus. Scenery is nice but dull. Don’t get bent out of shape… We know you can write beautiful, eloquent descriptions of your lovely world. Do yourself a favour — show us later. At the beginning, simple is good…  Your focus should be on the character’s emotional and physical details and getting us into that person’s head. If you stop the story to give the reader a guided tour, you may lose them.

Establish the protagonist in context:

The focus is on the protagonist. Now, provide opportunities to establish the characters in their primary social context. Are they at odds with the world or in sync with it? Context is just like that sentence: It shows how things relate and mesh with one another. Simply put, show whether your protagonist is a round, square, or hexagonal peg — and the hole into which life is trying to fit him or her.

Offer a scene that reflects the overall book or story conflict:

The scene should mirror the overall conflict of the novel in some way. For instance, if the book is about the protagonist getting back a kidnapped child, then a good way to start might be with the character seeing a child being taken from their parents, or two parents battling over custody of the child. There is even the blunt and obvious approach: the scene where the child gets kidnapped. Your first scene sets the tone for the rest of the book.

Portray an evocative situation:

Show the protagonist in a vivid uncluttered scene, preferably doing something that is signature to that character. If he or she is awesome with a sword, but hates swordplay for some reason, that should be revealed.

Establish that the protagonist has something significant at stake

Conflict must be present in your start. Make sure something that the protagonist feels an attachment to and cares for is on the line. Blood does not have to fly. People do not have to die.

How the main characters are motivated to deal with the conflict and the establishment of a personal stake is essential to driving your story forward. These details will provide important characterization. If the character is a nature type, and the theme is man against nature, then make the conflict deal with that issue in some way. Use indirection such as depicting an incident where the character hears about it, throws back his or her chair, demands to know where the atrocity is taking place, then storms off to confront the evildoers.

In choosing a scene of conflict, we single out that person’s passion and show them grappling with it. Our demons reveal telling contrasts in our values and character. When gripped by powerful emotions, we sublimate our learned social behaviour and act as our basic nature dictates. During these moments, potential is uncovered, hidden beauty can be revealed, or ugliness unmasked. Unveiling these aspects of the protagonist exposes flaws that make them more believable people, it also provides depth and shows that person’s potential for change.

Show the rules of the world at work:

Simply because your novel will be sitting on the fantasy rack doesn’t mean you can break rules on a whim. Yes, fantasy readers will suspend disbelief to an extent. However, a wise writer will start with the most plausible fantastic elements first.

Your best tools for getting a reader to buy into your fantasy are something sacrificed for something gained, action versus reaction, cause and effect. If fantastic elements play a key role in the plot, whether derived from magic, fanciful creatures, or simply some skewed aspect of the world, then some hint of the governing rules should play a role in the opening.

If the protagonist is in some way more confined by or less bound to those rules, you need to show or give evidence of this special relationship to the reader.

Introduce story Question’s:

Every protagonist will have a question. This question may have nothing to do with the plot, but it does reflect their personal needs and motivations. (Why me? – Why am I alone? – Why did she have to die? – Why go on living?). The story creator should know this question, and by the end of the story, answer it. Make sure this is on your list of things to accomplish by the story’s end.

In every plot, there is a need line and a desire line. Characters follow their aspirations, but cannot be at peace until they’ve fulfilled their crucial life’s necessity.

Good story structure dictates that the protagonist will at some point stand at the juncture between their needs and their desires. That decision is often a turning point in the story.

Establish tone and pace:

Your opening scene sets the overall mood of your material, be it dark and gloomy, violent or whatever. This is where you play fair with the reader. If your piece on a whole is bloody and violent, then initial scene should resonate with that feeling. This is key. Rules broken for creative purposes can be effective, but this has to be done in a sensitive way; a smooth transition often works.

If something important to the protagonist is threatened, you have your conflict. What remains is to ask a story question, and to depict the character displaying their signature characteristic. Your story’s tone and pace should take care of itself simply by loading the opening paragraph with this writing approach.



August 9, 1969 – actress SHARON TATE was murdered in the infamous MANSON FAMILY murders. Here is a look at some of her films and some old newspaper headlines. Charles Manson himself, died in 2017. I am glad that retard is finally dead!                                                                           mansonda3e4d670d60b42410d657404466aef3--sharon-tate-august-AP_7908061356-Horizontal1943-sharon-tate-scan0106_166original (1)60b4dac728173dba45da515a4f86f680image0270a67f270c307f8be050e2d55c2e9d672--innocence-lost-charles-mansondaily-news-front-page-sharon-tate-1$T2eC16V,!)kE9s4Z+z+-BP8iv8SG9g__60_35        il_340x270.801671664_f0w15e9450b786908a2be079e34b44b321e1580e10f8873447b0dc4442fd90ab70e5--lifestyle-blog-movie-postersThe Manson MythSharon Tate Quotes-12

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The Manson Murder’s

Manson Family Cult

In the latter year’s of the 1960’s, thousands of US youngsters,  hippies as they were known dropped out of society looking for a different lifestyle.  Many headed for rural communes where nudity and drugs were an accepted part of life within.

One such commune outside Los Angeles was set up by Charles Manson.  A disturbed individual who had spent much of his life in correctional institutions.  He had drifted into the commune scene in 1967, gathering around him young middle-class dropouts, mostly female.  They were uprooted from their social back ground and spaced out on drugs and found Manson irresistibly charismatic.  They followed him out into the desert to pursue a savage alternative life of acid trips and orgies.

Manson had convinced himself that a race war was imminent, believing black and whites would destroy each other in a tide of blood, across America.  Manson set out to light the fuse of his apocalypse, by ordering the massacre of privileged whites.

On the 9th August 1969 he led four of his followers on a mission in Beverly Hills.  Over a period of two nights they killed … Sharon Tate (Actress) wife of Roman Polanski, who was hacked to death, along with three house guests and a passerby.  Leno and Rosemary Bianca were also butchered to death.

In the December of 1969, Susan Atkins, Leslie Van Houten and Patricia Krewnwinkel three members of the Manson’s family of followers were arrested and charged with the Beverly Hills murders.  At their trial they were all defiant and unrepentant for their acts of murder for Charles Manson, and the court found them guilty in the March of 1971.

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