Some fantastic milestones have been reached in my household this week.
My trusty dictionary describes milestone as:
1. A stone marker set up on a roadside to indicate the distance in miles from a given point.
2. An important event, as in a child’s development, the history of a nation, or the advancement of knowledge in a field; a turning point.
Earlier this week my grandson, almost 10 months, made the transition from doing flying belly shunts to what we call proper crawling. What does that mean for me? The days of parking him down nearby with a set of toys to play with will no longer pass muster. He’s on the move and on the move very, very quickly.
My solo childminding stints are going to be a lot more energetic now that I’m going to be split in half running after my 3 year old granddaughter and grandson. I’ll just have to make sure they’re travelling in the same direction!
The other major milestone for me this week is that I’ve eventually done and dusted all edits to my YA time travel adventure ‘The Taexali Game’. I can now move on to learning how to check the formatting for uploading to Amazon (that might be a big challenge for me). All I need now is for my front cover designer to come up with a spectacular image and when the front cover is decided on, that’ll be another milestone that I’ll have passed.
As one of my fellow Wrangler bloggers mentioned a couple of days ago – I need A PLAN. A big marketing plan because I’m hoping for a local market for my YA novel as well as a global one. Therefore, that being the case, I’ll need to be sure I know where my milestones are going to be placed. Am I going to be setting large pieces of stone in high visibility places like my favourite Ancient Romans did? Maybe not quite that. I may be covering some reasonable distances within my home area of Aberdeenshire, Scotland, to events when launching the novel but my markers are more likely to be on the virtual map.
In my neck of the woods, ancient milestones are still to be found at the edges of many roads, though none of those (to my knowledge) are from Roman times. In my Celtic Fervour Series (AD 84), and in The Taexali Game (AD 210), the Ancient Roman Army travel many, many miles to reach Aberdeenshire. The distance is some 600 miles from landing on the south coast of England, but since their roads were mostly of the simplest flattened earth type in Scotland it’s unlikely that they had stone markers on them. From my research on Roman tactics, it’s probable that the markers were of wood on the campaign roads in Scotland. Wood is great in the short term but not so lasting in the long term.
I’ll keep that in mind because I’ll need to have some short term milestones as well as long term strategies in place for MY PLAN.
When the Romans settled in an area in the longer term, some of their milestones resembled the one on the right. Around 117 Roman milestones still survive in the UK, though few are in good condition.
The second one below with the inscriptions (Llanfairfechan, Wales) would most likely have been picked out in red paint, as was usual, for easy viewing.
The very organised Romans set out these mile markers at reasonably precise distances, the stones laid at every 1000th double-step.
Can you hear them marching…sin..dex…sin…dex… ?
Why was this important to them even on roads that were unpaved? Marching from milestone to milestone improved the efficiency of the infantry and the timing across a route could be better reckoned. Once the roads were established, soldiers and supplies could move very quickly throughout the Empire.
Efficiency is something I definitely could do with!
In Scotland, there are some remains of Roman roads, mostly across the central belt between Glasgow and Edinburgh (the shortest point of Scotland from west to east). The remains of some of these roads are roughly along the route of The Antonine Wall (built AD 142) though some of the milestones were laid down during earlier Roman campaigns in AD 83/84 (or maybe even earlier since recent evidence is redrawing the dates of Roman occupation).
You’ll find more Antonine Wall info here:
In the third book of my Celtic Fervour Series – After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks – my Celtic warriors shadow the advance of Agricola, the Roman Governor of Britannia (AD 78-86) as he marches his troops from northern England to the north-east of Scotland. The flattened earth of Agricola’s legions, thousands of soldiers, left a legacy because it’s very likely that in AD 210 the Roman Emperor Severus marched along those same roads to the north-east of Scotland with some 30,000 men. The Emperor Severus and his thousands of men appear in my YA time travel The Taexali Game.
Like Agricola had done, Severus also came (probably annihilated a lot of Celtic warriors) and then he left Scotland fairly quickly, his troops marching back down south passing all of his milestones along the way- though the Emperor was carried the whole way in a litter. I should add at this point that the Emperor Severus hadn’t been in good health for some years (and don’t blame the infernal rainy Scottish weather or the delightful Scottish midges, *smiley face*here because we’ve got a lot of that/them). Severus made it to York in northern England via his vastly improved ‘metalled’ roads in England and died there in AD 211. Severus was apparently a very superstitious man and believed his soothsayer who had earlier warned him that Eboracum (York) was where he would die. (Make of that what you will but Severus was most likely very arthritic and quite old for the era at around 66 years of age)
Until roughly the mid 20th century many of the trunk roads in Scotland were partially laid down on what were still casually referred to as ‘the Roman Road’.
The Romans never properly conquered Scotland but I still drive on parts of their legacy even after almost 2000 years.
Back to my PLAN.
- Any ideas as to where I should place my marketing milestones?
- I’m thinking of writing an early Press release and sending it to the local newspapers, and some national ones.
- I could also try the local radio stations and see what they can come up with.
- Maybe I’ll try to book a venue for a real-live book launch as well as a virtual one on Facebook.
- A next milestone will be to find an affordable print option because if I take my novel around the public libraries and schools in Aberdeenshire, I’ll need some print copies for display.
Hmm… any suggestions?
Meanwhile have a great weekend.
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