A Very odd Summer
Well, maybe not that odd, we've had summers like this before: wet and cold, but not for a while. If this follows true to form the winter will be both sloppy and snowy. Not something the incomers to this island like, especially the almost constant grey gloom that coats our skies. For some reason they think an island, even one that reaches further north than Toronto (or even Calgary,) must be tropical. We have cold weather trees growing native here, but they insist on importing palms and other tropical plants for the proper "look." Thanks to unnaturally warm winters over the past ten years they honestly believe it a) never rains here [in a north western rainforest] and b) never snows here. Both belief systems were, until 2009, completely erroneous. 2009 was the first winter I remember that did not have any snow, and I was born here! I will not say how many years ago that was as it was decidedly before the 1990's. As for my writing it's coming slowly as my outside job takes up a great deal of my time and energy. Writing only truly pays if your name is either Nora Roberts of Steven King. Anyone else requires a day job.
One of the things I've been doing is going over a lot of the unpublished work I've stockpiled over the years including a children's mystery series I started to write involving ancients myths and legends invading the modern world in a suburb of Victoria (probably Sooke, although I've never stated exactly where it is.) The mysteries are investigated by an unusual cat, a group of three dogs and a garden sculpture that isn't. Maybe I should see about finding a literary agent for those as well as my Science Fiction & Fantasy novels. To be frank, I threw out a lot of Christian folklore when writing the series and concentrated of the actual pagan religions from which the myths originated. My purpose was to teach these cultural myths within the context of a slightly goofy story with the animals. I wonder who would be interested in that? As for my published work, this month's excerpt is from Separated Soul chapter seven. It is now posted on the excerpt page.
Shoe Problems and fun with growing things
Did you ever have someone tell you that you required a specific type of shoe for something? Naturally you have, but what if you have awkwardly sized feet? I'm thinking of this right now because it happened to me in June and being under five feet in height my shoe size is quite small. By small I mean I generally wear either a child's size 1 or 1 & 1/2 as very few places carry a ladies size 3 (size 1 in U.K. and size 33 in Europe.) Occasionally I will buy a size four and stuff the heck out of it with insoles and cotton balls in the toes, but once in a while a place will carry and actual 3 or 3 & 1/2 (again the insoles come into play with the 3 & 1/2.) I finally managed to find something that sort-of works, but is not perfect in the children's department, but I cannot help thinking that between my height problems and shoe-size issues that this world is either trying to ignore or punish smaller people for being short. This is something I really have to think about, especially as I am not shaped like a child, and I haven't been since I was twelve.
Oh well, apart from that I am still attempting to find a literary agent who'll be willing to represent my books, including the Dark Witch of the Moors series I am currently putting through a final writer's edit. All three books are already written, just as all of the Moon Child Memoirs and Ellfaerran Diaries fantasy series books are written, just waiting in line for me to finish my last edit. I have a few other books sitting in binders on my shelves that I've completed preliminary writing on, such as what happened in the Adlamar Spiral when Feline was taken there, and the first book of Sapphire's own series showing who he was and how he became what he is. I'm playing with horticulture again, I seem to have a wide Hobbit streak as I'm always trying to see if I can grow something from the very start, this time I have to build a mini-green house. I wonder if it's possible to grow a pineapple from it's top in a Pacific Northwest (fairly chilly) rain forest? It should be fun finding out.
Spring/ Summer colds
As you could probably guess by the title of this post I am currently fight a nasty spring/summer cold. I caught the wretched thing on the 24th of May, just before I was supposed to go to the other side of Vancouver Island to watch a cousin's daughter dance. Normally that wouldn't be a problem, but I caught it from my father who was also going to the performance and my mother can't drive. Neither my father nor I was in any shape to drive a car so we ended up missing the performance. I am not the happiest person over that. To make matters worse the shop where I buy my favourite brand of Crochet Cotton closed down that same week. I spent more time running to the shop to pick up various colours before the doors closed for good. The Annoying part is, it's the only shop in the Mid-Island region that sold the brand in question. As you can tell, the last couple of weeks of May were not the best for me.
On the upside, I had plenty of time to do some fiddly minor edits to L' Enfant de La Lune: Dark Witch of the Moors over the past couple of weeks. That's the one I'm trying to place with a Literary Agent right now. The fun part will be editing the second book, the horror/thriller/mystery aspects of the first book get tossed out the window as La Lune and her cohorts switch over to the Adlamar Spiral (Feline mentions it in book 2 of the Moon Child Memoirs) and start interfering in a space-based culture there for fun--sort of. They are ultimately trying to help Sapphire and locate the original homeworld of the Ellfaers, but who says they can't have a bit of fun with the Extra-terrestrial locals while they're at it? The third book also involves that galaxy, but the reasons for interfering are a bit more personal and connect back to book one. There is always method to my literary madness.
In case anyone is wondering, the Adlamar Spiral is loosely based on the first galaxy I ever saw with binoculars, and no it is not Andromeda. I have a love of the Northern sky, and galaxy M81 in particular. Look for the Northern Star and somewhere up there is where I set the galaxy I invented for the Parapsychologists who torment Feline and Sapphire. Speaking of which, the two books I'm writing right now are set there, one is the second book in Sapphire's series, and the other follows the lead female character from the second of the Dark Witch of the Moors' books as she gets drawn into something she doesn't understand through a bargain she is tricked into making with La Lune and Rabbit.
Busy Spring days
Well, it's that time of year again. My June bearing strawberry's various runners have sprouted into separate plants that I have been busy re-potting so they don't either strangle their parent plant or become so root-bound they kill themselves. It is also a time of weeding and digging over various gardens for planting so that the yard is a riot of colour in the summer. I've been so busy with gardening that I'm a day behind on updating my website. Sorry about that. I can get very involved with horticulture if I'm not careful. Maybe it has something to do with my height. I'd say it's the Hobbit in me, except Hobbits were invented by Prof. J.R.R. Tolkien of Magdalene College Oxford back in the 1930's. Ancient mythology of the Norse does, however, attribute small stature and horticulture to the Elves so maybe that's what I am. (How can you tell I utilized the smaller stature elves of the Norse to the 4 feet nine to five feet and three inch elves of Germany for my novels?) Come to think of it, the Norse elves were a pretty shy and reclusive bunch, which makes them another good fit for me. If you look closely at the excerpt from Separated Soul you will see a connection between the Moon Child Memoirs series and Escape to Ellse Where within the text. A side note, that connection will provide a clue to Feline's true identity to those who know how to look for it. Still haven't had any luck trying to find an agent to help place another series I'm currently working on, however a primary character from that series is named in the excerpt I've posted for this month. His relatives are still certain he needs some sort of therapy as he's a definite loony! Can you guess who he is?
New PLans for Spring
The flowers are beginning to show through the grass in the lawn and the lilacs are beginning to show leaf buds in the yard. All is bright and new, especially when the morning frost glints from a crocus bud and that has made me re-evaluate a few things a little. So far I've managed to have three books published without the aid of an agent, but I think it's time I started looking for one. With the land in rebirth it makes one realize that new thoughts about how to do things are in order and I think an agent's help may revitalize my work a little and possibly help to have my future books, like Sapphire's Series and possibly the trilogy I'm currently editing that follows the philosophical changes in La Lune that occur separately from her adventures in Moon Child's series as well. I've already started sending out queries (well one actually) as I tend to act upon my decisions fairly quickly, I also prefer to avoid annoying anyone multiple submissions. Some places don't like it when you query someone else at the same time as them. Funnily enough, as I was planning this post earlier today I bumped into an old friend from my school days. I will admit that I was not really sure what to post as I was undecided about posting the agent decision here, but while talking to my former school friend I realized that maybe I should. With luck I will manage to find an agent who can help with placing my writing with a more mainstream publishing house that has the ability to have the novels they publish placed on bookstore shelves as a matter of course. Right now my books are only in the online catalogs of various bookstores but that kind of requires people to look for them deliberately, as opposed to just seeing them on a shelf and having an impulse to buy it from a quick perusal in a store. Oh, well, only time will tell and hopefully it will breathe new life into my writing's appeal as well.
Spring is Here...maybe
March: the month when spring begins in the Northern hemisphere, except I live in Canada and spring looks like it's in no hurry to arrive. Yes, there are spring bulbs showing their frozen little heads as snow fills their flowers, but I can't touch them as their stems are frozen too. Already one iris has snapped off when its stem shattered from too much ice build up. One thing about the snow, it gives me time to work on things such as a bright pink shawl I crocheted for myself as a Valentine's present so I could stay warm, and I started editing the first book of a satellite series to both Moon Child Memoirs and Ellfaerran Diaries. It also sort of connects with Sapphire's series as the last two books take place in his galaxy.
The interesting thing about the series I've just started to edit is that I wrote it about four years ago and just consigned it to a dusty bookshelf while I worked on polishing the Moon Child and Ellfaerran novels. I found I was editing it as if it was written by somebody else, except of course for the inclusion of such characters as L'Enfant de La Lune, Rabbit, Marigold, and Huge from the Moon Child novels and Alberon from the Ellfaerran books. It's kind of funny seeing Alberon as an adult character in the story I started editing, as he's a child in the first two Ellfaerran novels and still very immature in the third. I think the fact that it's set near the beginning of this millennium is another break from the other two series as both are set before the last millenium, or in the case of book three of the Moon Child books in the 1060's. I'm not certain if I'll try publishing this series as the first book is a murder-mystery type and the other two are more Science-Fiction than Fantasy, but it was fun to write and I'm finding it fun to edit. It has also helped in the writing of the two books I'm working on from Sapphire's series. I'll have to come up with a name for the series before I think of publishing it. I find I keep assigning Sapphire's series to Galaxy M81 in my mind. I hope nobody minds, especially as I have--so far--never done more than hint at the direction of the Adlamar Spiral where Sapphire and the Parapsychologist live.
Here it is: the Second Month of the Julian Calendar and the incipient start of a new Chinese Year. For those who may have checked out the first reading post on my facebook page I would like to mention that I will be posting a second reading video around Saint Valentine's Day. Again, it will just be a montage of the book the reading is from and a few items connected to it while I read off-camera. I still have not conquered my reclusive tendencies, if anything I'm heading more toward hermit than before, therefore I never conduct any kind of business over the internet if I can help it and I never permit anyone to know my address. In that regard I have gotten a post office box exclusively for writing correspondence. Those of you who might wish to contact me by post the address is: P.O. Box 143 Parksville British Columbia, Canada, V9P 2G3.
Perhaps juggling two different plot lines at the same time could be the root cause of my need to be by my self although it could also be an innate shyness, which most writers happen to be cursed with. If we weren't solitary people we'd never get the time or inclination to write now would we? Maybe that's the reason why I always seem to write two books at the same time. Separated Soul and Escape to Ellse Where were written in this same tag-team arrangement. I would complete a chapter of one book then move into the other while gathering my thoughts about the former. It's a good thing I always write out character sketches and plot lines before I even consider writing a book. Drawing out the characters and places with a pencil and some coloured pencils also helps.
A New Year and new experiments in Writing
2019 will soon be upon us with a few good changes along the way, I hope. I have started a new experiment with my facebook page: I am posting readings from my books every so many months to see how they go over. Unfortunately, this has taken a while due to my inability to resolve the publicity issues of writing with my naturally reclusive nature. I have finally gotten around this by aiming the camera at a montage of the books and a few props while I read off-camera. In the spring I'll probably try the filming outside where the local fauna will more than likely try to get involved.
Thank you to those of you who have sent me messages through the contact page, I have been extremely busy of late and a couple of them were in leet speak, which I can't understand that well. I can read Middle English without a problem, and French with a little patience, but I'm afraid the special language of the computer community defeats me. Still, I appreciate your messages.
I did another little experiment in December. I wanted to see if I could alter the appearance of a rather colorful doll from the 1980's, basically it was just my toy-maker tendencies leaking out. She's almost done, just a few feathers left to glue to her hat. I was attempting to make her look more elegant and timeless than her original design could manage. I think I succeeded. Can you recognise her?
Hopefully 2019 will see the completion of two novels I am currently writing in Sapphire's series and maybe the final pre-publisher-ready edit of book two of the Ellfaerran diaries. I will let you know how that goes. I hope everyone enjoyed their Holiday Season. May 2019 be a good year for you all.
Winter is Here
Well December has come with a vengeance. I say that as I've spent the past few days looking out at a frost-covered landscape while bundled up in multiple sweaters. Fortunately, as bundling inhibits both typing and my preferred writing style of pen scribbling on paper, it has warmed up enough for me to be comfortable in just one sweater today so that I can type out this update. I spent the beginning of November quite happily in Victoria for a few days when I took my younger (but much taller!) cousin to see the Celtic Thunder performance that played there on the second of November. It has become something of a family tradition for me to get four tickets to the show whenever it comes to Victoria for my parents, myself, and my young cousin, as all four of us are quite fond of that group's musical performances and tendency to act a bit like a comedy troupe on stage, meanwhile my parents spring for a two-night stay in Victoria. It's a nice little vacation every couple of years and helps to reinforce my connection with a cousin I helped raise when she was very small.
Meanwhile I have finally seen the latest movie from J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World. Very interesting, but there are a few continuity questions concerning the Lestrange family (who did Bellatrix marry if not a Lestrange?) and the Dumbledore family history as given in the seventh Harry Potter book. I'm sure these questions will be resolved by the end of the fifth film, and probably quite amusingly and entertainingly if Ms. Rowling's past writing history is anything to go by, so that the friend I go to the films with will have nothing to complain about after the series is finished. On the whole I was most impressed with the film, especially the parallels with real history that lace around the story.
I sound like Feline there, saying most like that. I have to admit he is my favorite of the characters in my books. He also is one of only two characters in my magical world who possesses a power Dumbledore claims does not exist. You see, Feline does possess the power of full resurrection, but his power is also so massive that he has to use a crystal wand as wood will just disintegrate under the immense force he projects, when he bothers with a wand at all, as he doesn't really need one, being a High Sorcerer, or Divine delegate, as he is. The way I've set up my world that is what all magic workers are, delegates of a god's power such as priests and druids who perform that divinity's works on earth. I sort of based that on various ancient mythologies that speak of sorcerers and the like. The Judaic/Christian belief systems are the only ones that actually equate magic directly to the Devil. Naturally there were some who did try to gain power through that source, but not that many who were born to it took that route. In that direction I was heavily influenced by my favorite of all Elizabeth Goudge's books: The White Witch. It's a pity that book is out of print, but if anyone can find a copy I heartily recommend reading it as it juxtaposes the born-to-power White Witch with her Dark equivalent whose powers were devil-bought. The temperature is dipping again so that's all for this month. Hopefully I'll be a little closer to the beginning of next month. I hope everyone enjoys the Holiday season.
Thank you to everyone who attended my reading at the Parksville BC branch of the Vancouver Island Regional Library on the 24th. To every one who may be reading this post 'May the Tuatha de Danann come forth from their sidhes this Samhain to protect you and yours from marauding Fomors,' or as we say today: Happy Halloween. I am currently working on the editing of book two of the Ellfaerran Diaries, not sure when that will be available yet, and on the writing of the second book of Sapphire's story, the third of which will include Feline's adventures in Sapphire's world. I am thinking of holding another reading sometime next spring for Escape to Ellse Where but that depends on whether or not it's sequel is getting close to publication readiness and on whether or not I can locate another venue to host it. Currently I am decorating every room with Halloween ornaments and pumpkins, I love Halloween. I may even watch several episodes of the original Addams family television series and the British comedy series, Mulberry, to help the mood. I've already watched The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh as I do every year since I found the DVD. I do, however, maintain the tradition of watching my DVD of Carry on Screaming every Halloween. Many people love frightening movies at this time of year, but the only thing scary in that one is how bad the puns are! I will always take laughs over fear.
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.