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.
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.
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.