The Worlds of Val Fassnight

Programs 

Workshops
For Writers

I have several workshops and programs to offer historical writers of all shapes and sizes. Whether you are writing romance, mystery, or any other genre, I'm happy to offer the below programs for your chapter, writers groups, or writers conferences.

Please contact me regarding reimbursement. I will work within all budget needs.

The goal is to educate!

About the Instructor

I have a Bachelors of Arts with Honors from Wichita State University, focusing on ancient and medieval history. I have one year's Master's study under my belt as well and finishing it is on the bucket list. My undergraduate honors thesis was on the Macedonian and Ptolemiac attempts at divine ascendance through their own hubris and later adoption of Egyptian culture.

 I have a deep-seated interest in Alexander the Great and Macedonian studies. I also focus on ancient Egypt, Greece, Roman Britain, Medieval Britain and Renaissance Italy. I also ferverently read anything I can find on the Tudor dynasty.

I am a former historical reenactor with two museums, Old Cowtown Museum in Wichita, KS, and Pawnee Bill Museum and Buffalo Ranch in Pawnee, OK. My family have been reenactors since I was a small child, focusing on the fur trade era of American history. I am also known to haunt Renaissance Faires and have served in a couple of courts.

History is more than a passion with me. It's a way of life. 

Writing ancient greek lives

Ancient Greece seems to be an under-used time period in fictional romance but the greatest romantic epics comes from this time: The Iliad and The Odyssey. Each story is a thrill a minute ride of military derring-do, seduction, love, elopements, murder, betrayal, clever manipulations, bravery, cowardice, and temper tantrums… and that’s just talking about the human characters. The Gods of the Greeks and Trojans are a whole other tennis match to read and watch in the stories. 

The time of the Ancient Greeks is not as long as the ancient Egyptians or even the Romans, but they have been a monumental influence on Western civilization since their very beginnings. So frankly, let’s give the Greeks some love. 

Within the history and varying cultures of the Ancient Greek city-states, there is a cornucopia of plots and characters that can be used. Wars from the Seige of Troy to the Romans defeating the Macedonian Empire in the Macedonian Wars almost a thousand years later give a plethora of external conflict. The precariousness of citizenship, and the removal of citizenship, also gives a lot of external conflict. Greece, especially Athens and Corinth, became huge merchant traders throughout the Mediterranean, taking control of the many Greek islands, displacing the natives and putting in their own colonists. Sparta, Thebes and Macedon exemplified the fierceness of the Greek military states, each different and effective. 

In this course I seek to give an overview of being Greek: daily life, religion, politics, a bit of history, military life, theater, education, and, of course, sex. The Greek idea of sex and what was acceptable sex is a far cry of what modern people consider acceptable or sometimes ethical. Th class will go from the of the Greek poleis to the Roman occupation and preoccupation with Greece.

tHE agE OF 
aLEXANDER THE
gREAT

The intent of this class is to give an overview of the life and death of Alexander the Great, including details on daily life of the age, how the Greek city-states were setup, background on Alexander’s childhood and development, his adult career, death, and what happened afterward. 

Alexander III of Macedon is one of these most important figures in all of Western history and some of Asian history as well. His influence on his conquered territories affect those areas even to this day, 2500 years later. Legends about Iskandarmah, Iskander and more litter the religious and literature histories of the Middle East and India. In some religions, he is considered a devil, in others an angel. Medieval Romances featured him doing fantastic miracles and traveling to wonderous locations under the sea or to the moon. Julius Caesar was ashamed that at the same age Alexander died, Caesar himself had accomplished so little. Napoleon intended to follow in Alexander’s footsteps, starting with Egypt but was thwarted by Great Britain and her allies. Alexander’s megalomania and overzealous desire for conquest has been compared, unfairly, to Adolf Hitler. Alexander’s tactics are still taught in military academies throughout the world. His life and times fascinate and scintillate historians and laymen alike today as much as so long ago. 

He is Alexander the Great.

WRITING ANCIENT EGYPTIAN LIVES

Egypt has been a source of fascination since they began constructing their civilization on the banks of the Nile. From Old Kingdom Dynasties starting at 2700 B.C. to the Arab conquest in 600s A.D., Egypt has been one of the most powerful or influential countries in the ancient world. The unique ebb and flow of the Nile River made Egypt one of the primary grain producers, making it rich through trade and allowing it to expand one of the most powerful empires at the height of the New Kingdom. 

The names of pharaohs and the gods the people worshipped are household names even today: Hatshepsut, Ramesses II, Tutankhamun, Akhenaten, Narmer, Cleopatra, Bastet, Osiris, Isis, Set, Horus and more. Archaeology has brought to life not only their funerary practices of mummification but also their lives alive, through excavations of villages, individual homes, and studying funerary art. Egypt gave us the color blue before trade with the Far East was established. The idea of ‘taking it with you’ was given a whole new meaning when Egyptians died. 

In this course I will seek to give you a taste of being Egyptian, from the life in the tomb makers village, civic and priest obligations, to being royal with all the duties and dangers that entailed.

VICTORIAN DRESS: 
HOW THE ICONIC FASHIONS 
OF THE MOST FAMOUS 
AGE CAME TO BE

 This live class features a slide show with information on the development of Victorian fashion starting with the Georgian/American Colonial fashions of the late 18th Century to the death of Victoria in 1901. The Regency fashion developed as a rebellion against the garish styles of the generation before and the Victorians took dress back to iconic extremes. Wide bell-skirts, tight bodices, bustles, and even the ‘pigeon’ look, women’s fashions swung in great variety over the course of a century and influenced the world over. 

From dressmaking superstars such as Charles Worth to the poor seamstresses whose plights of near-slavery was revealed by Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel Mary Barton, we will explore Victorian clothing from the inside to the outside, layer by layer.  


As this features a slideshow, I can present it on Skype, Zoom, Google Meetings, or whatever presentation/online meeting software you use.