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.
Halloween Season Reading
This looks like it is going to be a good month. I visited family on the last day of September and drove through six rainbows coming home from Port Alberni. If that isn't a sign of good fortune I don't know what is, especially as I have finally managed to arrange a reading for Secret Sorcerer, the same book I posted an excerpt from this month. The reading will be held on October 24th from 6-8 P.M. at 100 Jensen Avenue East, Parksville BC and is being hosted by that branch of the Vancouver Island Regional Library. It is part of their Halloween season events. I spent a good portion of last month arranging the event with the local branch manager of the Library. A few of you may notice the pedigree I've mentioned for a certain famous wizard in the excerpt posted for this month. In case anyone was wondering this comes from some of the more obscure Welsh myths in which his name is "Myrddyn Emrys" and the pedigree I've used is from those ancient myths. Most of the more familiar legends naming him are actually of Norman origin and tend to use the "son of a demon" version of his parentage. These are also the same myths from which his cousins' names and relationship to each other were taken and used in my books. I hope to see those of you who are in the mid-Vancouver Island area at my reading on October 24th if you can make it. I will let you know how it goes in next month's post.
The end of summer is nigh as the first hint of autumn chills the morning air. One can almost hear the whining of the local children as school is about to begin. How can you tell I currently live near a school? I am also currently writing two books at the same time, which due to summer heat and smoke from the British Columbia forest fires has been going a bit slowly. As I live on Vancouver Island, one of the areas where multiple fires have been burning, I found the appalling air quality the second worst I've ever had to deal with. The worst, on the east coast of the Island anyway, was actually a couple of years ago. For anyone who reads the piece I posted from Escape to Ellse Where there is a small homage to my late maternal grandfather in the dialogue of the character Hyllaell. It was a habit of his to always call my mother "Daughter." I never once heard him use her name. He claimed it was a habit learned from his Norwegian parents. I'm not sure if he was exaggerating about that or not, especially as my great-grandfather died when I was only three and my great-grandmother suffered from senility by the time I was old enough to remember her. In between writing segments of both new books I am also squeezing in a bit of editing on Book Two of the Ellfaerran Diaries. This is also going a bit slow, so I'm not sure when I'll have it ready for publication. I'm still trying to set up a reading in my local area, which is fairly anti-fantasy in most locations so that is not going too well. My hometown is a bit memoir and general fiction oriented, with only children's books being allowed any fantastical elements. I'll let you know if I have any form of success in that endeavor. I'd better get back to my pen and paper, as a scenario involving an extra-galactic alien and Rabbit from the Moon Child Memoirs series is tickling at my mind. As that is part of one of my current book projects I should jot it down.
Heat WAve 2018
The past month's extreme heat, by Vancouver Island standards, has been playing havoc with my ability to concentrate on either my writing or my editing. It has also been playing havoc with our British Columbia forests. A haze of forest fire smoke has been covering the sky for the past couple of weeks, which carries its own problems. It didn't help that I always find my attention getting derailed during the televised coverage of Wimbledon. I watch very few sports, but Tennis happens to be one of them. This month's excerpt contains one of the times I have a deity showing that he or she is not truly omniscient as Unicorn makes several mistakes when telling Feline about the creation of the Skethrylln, a group of parapsychologists from another galaxy. This is actually setting up the introduction of both a Skethryll and Sapphire, a High Sorcerer of Blue-Stone's from the world Unicorn speaks about and who was truly responsible for the planting of evil in that other galaxy's measurable power. The two become stronger throughout the book culminating in the events at the end. I am currently writing Sapphire's own series, which starts with the actual events of the tale Unicorn tells Feline in the excerpt from chapter three of Separated Soul. I have also started posting of few of the design sketches I made in 1997-2000 when I began writing both the Moon Child Memoirs series and the Ellfaerran Diaries series. For those who are wondering, Sapphire's home country was named Ellfaera and at least one of the survivors of that ancient world was smuggled into the Trader people (whom I based on the Beaker People) to become a very influential part of the culture of the Jewelled Isles and he brought with him the name of his lost people. It was eventually taken by his adopted people and shortened upon amalgamation with the Burrowers, who were based on the Wind Hill people. The name changed from Ellfaer to Ellf, something the Skethryll in Separated Soul clues in on and which feeds him obsession with finding Feline.
During this unfortunate heat wave I have spent more time reading my Alan Dean Foster and Andre Norton collections than writing my own books. Both were influential in the forming of my mind and imagination as I began collecting and reading their books when I was nine. I also peeked at the newest J.K. Rowling fantasy film trailer and got quite a giggle as those black cat creatures reminded me so much of Andre Norton's Eet from her Murdock Jern series. I think they may have been playing in the same Beastiary texts. I know Andre Norton had a love of using the Ancient Egyptian Beastiaries in her Sci-Fi novels, which is probably where Eet came from. I know that J.K. Rowling's novels have shown a fairly strong knowledge of medieval Beastiaries, so it is likely that they both used the same legendary creature from ancient mythology as the basis of their creations. Yes, I have read the Harry Potter books and both watched and thoroughly enjoyed Fantastic Beasts. I also read all of Professor John Ronald Reuel Tolkien's novels and translated works and I read David and Leigh Eddings' Fantasy novels, with a few of Anne McCaffery's for a change of pace, but I don't read that many authors in my chosen genre, probably because I tend to follow David Eddings' advice about that.
Most of the time I read Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, Geoffrey Chaucer, (untranslated. Translations are for language wimps,) William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Donna Andrews with the occasional Nora Roberts or Jayne Ann Krentz thrown in for a giggle. I also tend to lighten my reading with either a Belgian graphic novel by Peyo, a French one by Uderzo and Goscinney, the odd Weregeek by homegrown Alina Pete, or just some vaguely political humor from Berke Breathed's Bloom County or the classic 50's, 60's &70's humor of Len Norris. Foot Rot Flats from New Zealand and Peanuts from Charles M. Shultz add more than just a few giggles to the mix. Basically my reading is eclectic, which I believe widens the imagination of any writer. It can't hurt, especially when you spend so much time with your nose buried in Anthropology texts on Pre-Celtic British Isles and mythology texts from around the world. Peanuts is a great antidote to reading about the Aztec and Mayan myths and rituals, believe me on that! Never read about either of those two before a meal, you won't touch a bite if you do.
Happy Canada Day
Happy Canada Day to all my fellow Canucks. The past month has been interesting. While trying to figure out the third chapter of a book I started writing a few months back I started being inundated with ideas for a completely different book. As repressing an uninvited plot line can lead to confusion in writing or even a massive writer's block I have put aside the book I started to allow this other one to have full sway. I guess the characters Feline and Marigold were tired of being ignored as they were not part of the book I was writing about the Skethrylln of the Adlamar Spiral and Sapphire. The plot I started to work on also takes place in the Adlamar Spiral but a few thousand years later on and requires a Skethryll to work alongside a sorceress. It seems like it will be much more fun to write than an extraterrestrial world war that splits Parapsychology into its good and bad groups the Moribdim and the Skethrylln. I always find it that much more fun to write something that amuses me than something dark and grim where characters must confront their mistakes. It will also give me an excuse to slip one of my favourite collectibles from my childhood into the text. Speaking of which, I now have a full Smurf soccer team made up of 2018 and 2003 figures, much to my brother's amusement seeing as I finished that collection at the start of the World Cup and Belgium started out doing well. I'm more of a Wimbledon than World Cup person, so I'm not sure how the Birth place of the Smurfs and their creator, Pierre "Peyo" Culliford, may be doing right now. I'd better get back to the story of the Skethryll and the sorceress.
The time has come when I look at my book projects and cringe. June is always the beginning of the most painful time for my writing. Usually I spend the winter and spring in character sketches plot outlines and copious amounts of research and setting development. June is when I actually begin the work of writing, and it is work. My greatest pet peeve is when someone says "why should I pay for books, writers don't actually do any work, I mean I could do that in an afternoon." A friend of mine used to say that all the time until she actually tried to prove it. All she could concoct was just her own spin on someone else's book. Not one fully original novel or even a short story sprang from her pen. All she could do was just derivative doggerel. She stopped saying the above quote after that, which saved the friendship. I never look forward to June as I know it means long nights, neglected meals, cold tea, and knots in my back the size of dinosaur eggs. For one book--Secret Sorcerer to be precise-- I developed 27 knots, all at one time, ranging from the size of pigeon eggs to the dinosaurian. I was walking around like Quasimodo. Getting the knots massaged out was even more painful than the knots themselves and took a couple of hours to remove. I generally try to distract myself from the knowledge of summertime agony and hunger pangs by planning craft projects. To that end I have been collecting crochet patterns for dolls, a natural blend of my love of porcelain doll making and crochet. It began when I picked up a pattern for Diana, Princess of Wales' wedding dress, Tiara, and bridesmaids dresses specifically to try the tiara pattern for a porcelain doll tree-topper I made years ago whose Gothic angel costume I've never completed. I think that pattern of beaded thread in gold, green, and red beads would look stunning with her medieval green gown, red robe, and gold wings. Maybe I'll get to that some time before Christmas, at least I hope I will. For now I'd better get back to my pen, but first I would like to share this with you. This was Harold, my parents Norwegian Forest cat who died when I was five years old. I have vivid memories of having to carry his rear end when ever my brother carried Harold's front. The old boy was huge, the length of my parents' coffee table to be exact, and a real character to boot. He used to swim in the ditch and terrorize the neighbor's German Shepherd! He is also the model for Feline's cat form in my Moon Child Memoirs series.
The beginning of spring weather has arrived bringing with it a fair amount of dirt under my fingernails. I'm afraid I've been spending more time with my plants than with my pen, although I have still found some time to write a little bit. I have also been continuing my search for a venue to hold a reading for my third book Secret Sorcerer, Moon Child Memoirs book 2. I will post a location as soon as I have arranged everything; it has proved to be harder than I thought. I admit that I have also spent a certain amount of time trying to find a fairly available china pattern as Royal Albert discontinued mine over ten years ago. I'm having no luck there either as I can find nothing as perfect as the Winsome pattern I fell in love with back when I was thirteen. A small bit of it can just barely be seen on the header photo of the excerpt page. I don't know how many cups of tea I drank from that cup during the writing of the three published books, all I know is it must be several! With the beginning of spring I always like to add a new book to my reading matter, so I've started to peruse Arthur Conan Doyle's historical novel The White Company. So far I feel I can definitely recommend it not only for the story but also for Doyle's understanding of the speech patterns and formalities of the age he's writing about. It is nice to read a historical novel that has not been modernized in both speech and behavior once in a while, although maybe not to the Mrs. Radcliffe extreme!
Well here it is the third of April and it still feels like it may snow at any time. To make matters worse I have caught a fairly nasty cold. Fortunately I have been keeping busy by reading the Silmarillion lightened by the leavening of the occasional Tumbleweeds comic and Asterix graphic novel during the more grim episodes of the Noldors' lives in the first age of Middle Earth. Unfortunately, my cold also keeps breaking my concentration for my own writing as such my current projects are going extremely slow. Whenever I feel I just cannot concentrate I pull out a DVD of my favourite geriatric delinquents and just watch Last of the Summer Wine for hours on end. This usually helps me feel better, laughing does that for me, and I can pick up my pen again, although so far all I've really managed to do is draw out a map of Sapphire's homeworld! Oh well, I'm sure it will help in the long run. I have also spent a fair amount of time trying to identify a lovely cup and saucer I found at a thrift shop. it is a Royal Albert pattern called Rosamund whether or not it is still current I have no idea. My favourite pattern, Winsome, was discontinued before I'd managed to collect anything more than a few cups and saucers. I have found a few pieces in thrift shops but not a full size teapot. Why do all the patterns I like end up cancelled? Oh well, I guess I'm just a bit too individual in my tastes, which is probably why I spend so much time in my head creating worlds of my own. Speaking of which, all of this has given me a few ideas for one of the two stories I am currently writing so I think I'll end this post here and jot them down in one of my notebooks. Hopefully next month I'll have more to post on the writing front. By the way, for those who have a love of Irish mythology the title used by the mysterious woman in the excerpt for this month will identify her, although it is one of her more obscure titles. I stumbled across it while reading the Celtic Cycles section of the Larousse Encyclopedia of World Mythology and jotted it down in one of my notebooks back in 1997. I always study as much as possible about any existing mythology I intend to use in my writing for a touch of reality. The group of Greek goddesses who were connected to the moon helped provide me with Artemis's attitude problem about being the only deity connected to it as well as a possible connection between her and a group of aliens in another galaxy that I am using in a novel I am currently writing. I have always found research to be the largest well of inspiration for my writing; it leads me into so many strange places.
There seemed to be quite a few issues that had to be dealt with last month, one of them being the incomplete posting of last month's update, for that I apologize. I should never have posted an update when the British Columbia Men's Curling championships were in town. I think I was in a little too much of a hurry to get to the afternoon draw before the first rock. I love watching curling, probably because I am too short to play it! One of the other issues I've been dealing with is a small case of printer failure. For the rest everything else seems to be fine, although my scanner is also my printer which is causing a few problems for the posting of design sketches on my facebook page. Please, just bear with me on that. As is my custom while in the early stages of creating a book I am not reading any actual novels apart from a few Agatha Christie mysteries that can't provide any form of creative contamination to my own writing. Instead, as I am a compulsive reader, I am concentrating on my Asterix, Johan & Peewit, Footrot Flats, Peanuts, and Smurf Graphic Novel and Comics collections to which I am always buying new volumes. I will of course ignore my custom in a couple of weeks as I always read Tolkien's Silmarillion around the middle of March. I generally follow that with a few tales from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, untranslated of course. As I not only read but enjoy Middle English, I always prefer to do my own translating. As for spring, it seems to be in no hurry to arrive, seeing as it tried to snow this morning. Speaking of the book I am attempting to write, I still have a couple of pages of the second chapter to type out for a rough editing copy. I still haven't come up with a name for this book, all I can say is that it is the second book of Sapphire's series and it is set a few thousand years prior to Feline's arrival on Sapphire's home world thanks to a very nosy Parapsychologist from that planet.
This month began with a beautiful sight, a truly blue moon. It was very blue at 5:00 this morning. To those interested in the mystical views of the ancient world the blue moon is a very special sight indeed, for it foretells changes of fortune and miracles. I read mythology fairly heavily without any preference for location as I love Celtic myths as much as Greek, Norse, and Pre-Taoist Chinese. My bookshelves strain under the weight of various mythology tomes, which is why I take quite a bit of flack from family members about my tendency to read only comics while in the middle of writing my books. Mythology and anthropology texts share space with my various comics collections, most of which I have loved since early childhood.
I still remember the Anthea Bell translations my parents found of three Smurf comics back in 1979, two years before the little blue guys showed up on television. Those comics have long ago fallen apart but they led to the birth of my current collection. I developed a love of Johan and Peewit from a movie based on the first appearance of the Smurfs, but finding their comics outside of Europe is very difficult. They share shelf space with a political cartoonist from one of the Vancouver newspapers named Len Norris, whose humor I still enjoy along with collections of Peanuts, Footrot Flats and of course that argumentative little Gaul: Asterix. As anyone can see, I seem to gravitate to European and New Zealand humorists, especially while I'm working on a new book.
Speaking of which, I am currently writing Sapphire's series, a character who shows up in books 1 & 2 of Moon Child Memoirs. I have completed a very rough draft of his first book detailing how Parapsychology rose over Sorcery on his world, I have also finished typing out the first chapter of his second book where he acquires the code name "Sapphire" instead of his true name. As for books 3 & 4 of the Moon Child Memoirs and books 2 & 3 of the Ellfaerran diaries, I have written the rough drafts, but I fear there may be plenty of editing yet to do on them before they are ready for publication. Please be patient, they will be published as soon as they are ready.
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.