Website difficulties and other problems
The website builder and host site I use has been pestering me to update my login via their commercial partner for the past few weeks. I wouldn't mind except every time I try to do the update I get thrown onto an error page because the next page in the update line is having issues. I have limited time to use a computer between my writing, new furry companions and running a household that my late mother used to keep running smoothly. So far that error page thing has happened every time. It's not like I require the commercial site in question as I'm a writer, not an e-merchant. I let my publishers and their distributers take care of all the selling, I just promote my work a little with chapter excerpts when I have the time to post them and this monthly post to let my readers know what's going on. I'm hoping to get back to work properly on the two books I was writing before my mother became terminally ill, or rather before her heart began to fail. Time has been an issue as I've had to take over the task of looking after my father, who is only now starting to come to terms with what happened last November. I never used to be that close to him, but mutual grief can forge a very strong bond between family members. It was my mother I was truly close to.
As far as ongoing projects go, I dusted off Feline's adventure between Separated Soul and Secret Sorcerer and began editing it once again a couple of months ago. The first three chapters of Stolen Sorcerer have been out in a publisher's slush pile for the past month or so now, which means I have another couple of months in which to wait for a yes or no reply. I wrote Feline's adventure away from Moon Child and La Lune basically by accident. Events in the Adlamar Galaxy (based on M81, the first galaxy I ever saw through binoculars) have repercussions on the second Moon Child Novel so I had to know what happened, inevitably a novel was born. Oddly, my sighting of M81 was just as accidental as the writing of Feline's novel. I was about nine or ten years old and my parents, who were avid star watchers and backyard astronomers, were trying to show me Polaris. M81 was a happy accident, as was its sister galaxy M82. Lots of people yammer on about Andromeda as she's so close and the most visible galaxy in the northern night sky, but spiral M81 and spindle M82 are very special to me. I guess that's why I had a character end up there when he followed the North Star. I must say I had a lot of fun inventing the races in that galaxy, as well as assigning minerals in their blood to be the oxygen carriers, just because we have iron in ours doesn't mean others can't have copper-sulfate or even pure silica doing the same job for them. That's as much of a hint as I'm going to give, except that it's lucky for Feline that in his non-sorcerous spare time he's also a jeweler. We'll just have to wait until a publisher decides to give the book a try to find out more. Unfortunately, anyone who has already read Secret Sorcerer knows how Stolen Sorcerer will end, for Feline anyway.
Well, August came in and went out as a real scorcher and it left frayed tempers as a result. I used to think my brother and I got on fairly well after we grew up, childhood and adolescence was a different matter, but after losing my mother I learned just how wrong I was. He obviously didn't want to upset her by constantly sniping at me or complaining about something every time he saw me when she was alive as I was the one looking after her after she was diagnosed with a very rare late-onset type one diabetes.
It seems a flu she contracted in the late 1990's caused severe pancreatitis, which killed her pancreas so she was unable to produce any insulin herself. I didn't know a common flu could do that until the diabetic specialist who basically saved Mom's life 22 years ago told my father the cause of her diabetes. I am very pro flu vaccinations because of that. Started getting them back in 2000 and not a day lost to influenza since, pretty good especially as that disease killed more people in just 11 months of 1919 than the entirety of WW1! The things you learn about diseases when you start looking into their history prior to vaccines, like the fact that there was a time when the flu was looked upon as a death sentence back in the Middle Ages, as it was a guarantee the patient would die.
There's been a lot of arguing in the family lately, especially as my father decided to officially place my brother and I on the title of my parents' house after Mom died, just to make things easier for us when he passes. Nice idea, but now Dad and my brother argue all the time especially as my brother now acts as if he's sole owner of the house and Dad is just there on sufferance to pay his bills. Hopefully everything gets worked out soon.
It may just be this heat causing all the problems. I certainly hope so, all this dissension is wreaking havoc with my writing time. Still, I did manage to finish a fifth edit of the stand-alone novel I wrote about Feline's adventures in the Adlamar Spiral. Now all it requires is a publisher to like it.
Heatwaves and other problems
I'm afraid that between one thing and another I was unable to post a chapter excerpt during July. If it wasn't vet visits, or family functions (if you can call an uncle's funeral a function) it was the heatwave that hit my area of BC and still has us in its grip. I don't handle heat very well, especially since 1987 when I suffered from heat stroke during a school excursion to one of the beaches in my town. I find it very difficult to concentrate, or even think, when the temperature goes over 25 degrees C. I also can't eat anything with milk or cream in it in those temperatures since that school trip, so I can't use ice cream to help me cool down like I used to as a small child. It's funny, if the temperature if warm but not hot, I can eat all the dairy I want, but once it gets hot out I can't. Cooked cheddar is something else that was taken away by that ill-fated trip. My doctor says such dietary issues are not unknown from heat stroke as it can leave permanent health issues in its wake, including brain damage, so I would advise everyone to avoid it at all costs!!! Be careful out there during the summer and keep hydrated.
My severe allergies to tobacco smoke and alcohol were not caused by it, as far as I know, but they did help turn me into a writer. If a person couldn't go anywhere that even a hint of cigarette might be found, or was unable to consume alcoholic beverages during the 1990's, that person just could not go out...Period! Enforced isolation inevitably resulted in a passion for not only reading, but also living in one's own mind. I already had a very vivid imagination, and a habit of storytelling from a very young age, which naturally turned me in the direction of writing as opposed to brooding. It also made me very content with my own company and reluctant to leave the security of my writing desk, hence my reclusive tendencies. The only true problem was making people understand that I didn't make these allergies up. My breathing automatically stops when I catch even the slightest hint of tobacco smoke, and I can neither swallow nor breathe if a drop of alcohol enters my mouth, yet practically every one of my peers ridiculed these issues. That was another reason for my reclusiveness. No one likes to be ridiculed for a health problem, no matter how severe it is, or how unlikely it may sound. It can be so easy to hurt a person emotionally, without even meaning to do it. Remember, it's not your body or your ailment, so when someone tells you of a health problem or allergy you've never heard of don't scoff, just be kind.
Last month my feline family grew by two. I adopted a Mamma cat, named after the title character in the second book of La Lune's currently unpublished spin-off series, as well as her only female kitten. I must apologize for the lateness of this post as the dual adoption has taken up quite a bit of my time especially as the kitten (who I named Katara) was spayed at the very beginning of this month and looking after her has been very time consuming. She is a decided handful, but so very cute! I will not give the mother cat's name until the La Lune series has been published as it is one of my own creation for an alien character I created a number of years ago specifically for inclusion in the Ellfaerran cycle, especially the series devoted to Surraell.
Yes, I am working on his series at this time. Surraell's history makes its first appearance in Ellfs' Enchantments just as he does in his aid to Llaeron. Readers of both the Ellfaerran Diaries and Moon Child Memoirs may have started to notice some similarities between certain characters, possibly may even have recognized a few. Just a reminder, all the Ellf names in Moon Child Memoirs are codenames, even the name of the spectral sorcerer! Can you guess who he is?
As for my time consuming little furry handful; there is a very good reason why I named her after my Unicorn Sorceress. She's a beautiful little tuxedo kitten with a very interesting set of markings. Here is my little feline Katara. Isn't she sweet? As you can see her name was somewhat self-explanatory; to me anyway.
The past month has been extremely busy with an emotional roller-coaster thrown in. Trying to adapt to having a rambunctious kitten in the house while attempting to not only write but look after the house as well has been a bit of a challenge, add in the passing of my father's older brother and the birth of a cousin's baby girl has added to the turmoil, which is why this post is a bit late. I apologize for that. The kitten is now 7 months old, still hyper, but also highly affectionate to the point of trying to get into my lap as I'm attempting to work. She almost always wants to play as well. Both my writing and editing have been de-railed for a bit, but I hope to get them back on track in a month or so when the new kitten arrives. She is more shy than Phoebe and much younger, but just as playful so they should get along well.
I am currently transferring the ink edits I made on the hardcopy of La Lune's second book onto the computer file of the novel. The first book of La Lune's own trilogy is currently in submission to a publisher. I am hoping to give a broader look at the changes in La Lune to my readers by creating this series that does not include Moon Child. It helps to plot the changes in the character of the dark witch from the Yorkshire moors to pave the way for the eventual conclusion of Moon Child's series. It may take a while as the best publishers insist on manuscripts being sent to them and no one else until after they've made their decision. Unlike Moon Child's series, La Lune travels the gamut from Fantasy-Thriller/Horror, to Science-Fiction, to Science-Fantasy in the series. All three books are already written, I'm just polishing the text and editing the Science-Fiction novel that is set in another galaxy (M81 to be precise) that I've called the Adlamar Spiral in my books. The third novel is set in both the Milky Way and the Adlamar Spiral, I will begin editing it as soon as I have the pen and ink edits of the sci-fi transferred to my computer.
It's kind of fun creating different races while sneaking in a bit of a warning into the text, especially when it's hidden under both humor and a celebration of two iconic Canadian comedians from both my childhood and my mother's. Can anyone guess how Wayne and Shuster could become heroes in another galaxy? La Lune knows the answer, as do a race of blue-skinned aliens who reveal it in book three.
Month of Adjustment
The end of April began a period of major adjustment, not just with the new laptop but also with my cellphone and in the household itself. I have just managed to upload a cover photo to go with the excerpt from Separated Soul I posted at the end of April, but my old dinosaur of a cellphone was almost forcibly replaced by Telus as it could no longer be supported being far too old. The new one's so high tech, while still being a flip-phone, that I'm scared of touching the stupid thing. I hope no one's tried to text me on it as I've never figured out how to open them, even on my old phone, I haven't got a prayer of figuring it out with this new one. My land line phone is modeled upon a design made by Alexander Graham Bell. It's more my style. The major adjustment, however, was the entrance into my home of a six month old kitten whose colouring makes one think of a New Zealand rugby team: she's all black. She is also a mischievous ball of hyper energy with pure gold eyes and a trilling meow, not to mention an adventurous spirit. I've spent more time chasing after her than I've spent on my writing so far. Still I have a weakness for pure black cats, I don't know why but I think they are the most beautiful of all. Phoebe (the kitten) is also a decided cuddle-cat, which makes it very hard to stay angry at her when she misbehaves. I did, however, have to put all my crystal balls and wands behind glass, as they fascinate her. Pity, as I have more faith in crystallomancy than either my laptop or new cellphone.
The old order changes, or at least the old laptop
It finally happened, my eleven year old laptop gave up the ghost. Well, it went squirrely while I was transcribing scribbled text onto a computer file, luckily on a thumb drive, and locked me out of the book I was writing. Worse, all the text I'd just typed was lost. Fortunately I always work with pen and ink on paper in either a clipboard or notebook first, then type it all out. I can't create while looking at a blinking curser but I can scribble for hours. I have a sealed computer that I've been avoiding of late as it is in a room my late mother used all the time until her heart gave out in November. I've been having some emotional issues about using that room ever since. I re-typed all that lost text on the sealed computer and even added a few extra paragraphs that weren't in the scribbles and introduced a character I didn't originally plan on using in that book. I was going to introduce him in book four, not book two of Sapphire's series. The result of all this was an all day attempt to get a new laptop up and running yesterday, hence this update being a day late. I have no use for a laptop I can't write on, especially as I am socially non-conscious media-wise. I can just barely manage the updates on this website and facebook, that's why my other computer is not hooked up to the internet. It is strictly a writing PC, therefore it possesses neither a cable hook-up or an antenna. I feel very secure with that computer. I just hope I can get the hang of using this new laptop, especially as the old one gave out before I was able to post last month's chapter excerpt. I should hopefully have the published books uploaded to the new unit, as well as a word program on which to save an excerpt, by the middle of this month. Considering my lack of computer skills I can't give any firm promise on that, just a bit of hope. Well, fingers crossed, this should start to go well soon. I hope everyone enjoyed last month. Stay safe and Stay healthy everyone.
Spring is on the way...maybe.
Obviously our groundhog saw its shadow as spring weather is not really here yet. March came in roaring like an angry lion and morning frosts still cling to everything when sleet isn't falling. As for the writing front, it is not going too well. Still dealing with the loss of a family member to whom I was very close. Unfortunately, my sealed computer on which I type and edit all of my writing is in the room where said family member spent a great deal of time, especially during the short period of healing after initial heart surgery before complications set in. Too many memories in that room. It makes it very hard to work. As for further book publications, that can take some time. Editors must evaluate everything that comes in using a first come first served system that can keep a book waiting in their pile for several months before they can even look at it, it is especially time consuming if a writing is seeking a new publisher as I am doing. My current publisher is okay with a good distributor, and the books look great but they don't have the clout to get that many books on store shelves. I am currently distracting myself by re-arranging the house to bring a furry companion into my life, and as I am a decided cat person that means a kitten...eventually. I am still kitten proofing the house. It could be another few weeks before I feel it is ready for the adoption of a meowing companion. To make matters worse, my eleven year old laptop has decided to slowly die, while I am using it to type book two of Sapphire's novel series. I have not updated my facebook page very often because of the dying laptop and it is also why this update is a little late. I guess I'll have to get a new one one of these days. I just got used to it too. Yes, I am more than a little old-fashioned, not to mention reclusive. Getting a new laptop would mean going out and talking to people, not my strong suit. It was hard enough getting a new writing computer a little while ago. Oh well, as long as I can get Sapphire's second book typed out, or at least as much as I've currently written, on the old laptop things will be fine. Listening to music and watching DVDs of "Last of the Summer Wine" has been keeping me sane these past couple of months after losing my mother to complications from heart surgery. This has been a long and depressing winter.
I finished editing the first book in L'Enfant de La Lune's off-shoot series on the last couple of days of last month. It's a little different from Moon Child's as La Lune is in the recent past, 1999 to be precise, as opposed to the medieval age in which Moon Child's series is set. The second book in La Lune's series is actually set in Sapphire's galaxy and is more science-fiction in feel than fantasy with Rabbit taking a more forceful role in events, even going so far as to become the mystical protector of an alien Parapsychologist. I'll start editing that novel in a few days, after I've rested a bit from editing the first book, especially as I still have the third book in the series to edit as well. As you can guess by this, all three books are written, or at least scribbled out on paper in my tiny scrawl. I have at least 15 unpublished manuscripts scribbled in notebooks and on lined loose leaf paper in binders lying around the house that I have to transcribe onto the computer. One of these days I will have to find homes for them in a publishing house somewhere. I've already sent out a copy of the first book in La Lune's series. Just one copy, with everything that's been happening on a personal level of late I'm in no rush for publication right now, besides finding a publishing home for a new series can take some time. I'll just concentrate on editing the remaining two books in La Lune's series. I hope everyone is safe and well in this Lunar New Year.
OUt with the horrible and in with the good?
Happy New Year to every one who celebrates in the month of Janus, the twin-faced God of classical mythology. The Romans celebrated the new year on the last day of December (10th month classical calendar) and on first of January (1st month of same.) Janus possessed one face that looked ahead to the future and another on the back of his head looking toward the past. An appropriate deity for the changing of the year. Unfortunately, there is not that much in 2021 that anyone would want to look back at; between COVID-19 and natural disasters 2021 was not a good year, especially for those like me who lost close relatives in that year.
I wish I could say that my loss was not due to incompetence and pride on the part of a regional hospital, but I can't. If my mother had been transferred to a larger hospital within a day of her collapse she would still be here, especially as she required immediate heart surgery and the regional hospital did not possess a surgeon. By the time they recognized that they were not up to the job and transferred her, the infection and heart damage were too advanced for a truly successful operation. She tried to hold on, but the complications were too many and even a Viking like my mother could not conquer as much damage as she bore.
It was not a happy or merry Christmas for my family this year without my mother's vitality and presence in the house. I know COVID and natural disasters have done to many what heart disease and staph infection did to my mother. My heart is with all of you who lost loved ones in 2021. Perhaps this year will be a time of healing, for all of us, and a turning of the tide.
Hello, I am a writer of High Fantasy utilizing ancient myths mixed with modern anthropological discoveries to create the worlds in which my characters live. Please join me in my journey to uncover those mystical worlds of myth and pre-history.