progress

Abandoned Sentinel is with the publisher; Seldi of Legend is just waiting for the art director to finish up the cover, and it’s basically ready to go. Episode 3 is steadily progressing, it has a working title of Ghost Ship Hunting, but I’m pretty sure that won’t be the final title. However the SNC is beginning to struggle to do what I need. It did well in getting me past the crisis when Old Faithful began making death rattle noises. But it’s time to bite the bullet, and get a new computer. Or, well, build a new computer 🙂

I’m trying to think what to name the new computer. (Yes, I name my computers) My new case is going to be a dark silver grey – so Silverback is a potential, as is Titus, or Digit. I have some time to think about it, while I wait for the components to be sent up (hazards of rural living) In the mean time, I have to clear all my research from my desk …

Hmm, maybe I should have started sooner.

 

snow dragon art

I love dragons, so much so that I am wondering why I didn’t write some dragons into my story. I have some very big* lizards in the series, though I’m a bit away from that part of the story yet, but no dragons.

So I was quite blown away by this dragon, created on snow for a movie. Just amazing in detail, and all done by walking!

* By very big, I do, of course, mean beyond gigantic lizards. Poisonous, meat-eating lizards.

when the writing doesn’t happen …

I read a blog piece by the talented Peter M Ball today, titled Putting on My Red Shoes, and Dancing the Blues. I have gone back to it a couple of times since. Writing is so very important to me, that I get antsy when I don’t write. Over the last two years, basically since before Lost Beginnings was first released, I’ve been very ill and in huge amounts of pain. I kept writing. There are all sorts of people who will tell you trying to write in that mind set is pretty much useless, and you’ll write a fair amount of crap. These people are correct.

But still I kept writing, and this year, between dealing with everything, has been devoted to re-writing. Because while I did get the story down, well … I’ll let Snoopy say it, I think snoopy editing

Review!

Ok, so I saw it a while back during all the computer dramas, and forgot to post a link to it, but I am really chuffed with this review of Lost Beginnings. However – ‘the director outside switching scenes and sound stages’ is my brain; how it is written is how I see the story as I’m writing. I guess it shows that I grew up watching Star Trek re-runs. Also – any time someone finds a way to compare any part of my work favourably to Harry Turtledove’s? Yeah, I’m happy 🙂

Boys into Men

I read a description of manhood, as seen through the eyes of a fictional medieval knight once. He watched a child with his wooden training sword pretending to be like the squires, the squires pretending to be like the senior men at arms, and the senior squires listening intently, and pretending to be like the lords that they served. The knight’s line has always stuck in my head: Pretending and pretending, we pretend ourselves into men.

Women do similar, it’s part of how humans learn to be adults, we watch how others do it, and try to mimic. It works, but sometimes it leaves out a lot. Men grow up feeling like they have to always be strong, and going to the doctor when you’re not dying, is seen as being weak.  In reality, going for a general check up on a regular basis, can protect men and keep them healthier for longer, so the pretending they are always strong is counter productive. On this International Men’s Day, I’d like to encourage all the men I know to take care of themselves too.

Watching the wheels …

Upgraded the memory in the computer – aka the SNC, (Yay, I can work on two documents at once without causing the SNC to have a hissy fit!) Then I upgraded to a new operating system (meh – but necessary) Then I went to reinstall my copy of Word, and it wouldn’t install. Apparently between all the switching between the in-it’s-death-throes computer to the SNC, and then the upgrades necessary for the SNC, my old copy of Word is out of use. *sighs* Didn’t feel like going for the 100+ km round trip to go get another copy of Word, so I installed Open Office.

Open Office is a bit of a trip down memory lane, but I’m enjoying it. In the process of all these upgrades, I completely cleaned off my desk, and polished it. The very first visitor walked in, told me it looked weird, and I need to put all the clutter back! 🙂 In between all this, I’ve gotten beta reader feedback on the first section of Abandoned Sentinels, seen the concept cover art for Seldi of Legend, and am almost down to 300 unread emails … just sitting back here with a cup of coffee, watching the wheels go round.

Happy World Dragon Day

It seems entirely appropriate to share some of my favourite dragon stories today – some are all about the dragons, but all would be the poorer without their dragons:

My all-time favourite dragon story is by the late, great Angus Wells, his stand alone fantasy – Lords of the Sky. I can’t remember how many times I’ve read, and re-read this, but I do know I’ve gone through a couple of copies of the book. It’s a first person narrative, entirely appropriate for the point of view character, who is a travelling storyman.

Blue Moon Rising, by Simon R Green not only has one of the best dragons, but also my favourite unicorn. It also introduces the reader to Rupert and Julia for the first time, and again, it’s been re-read (along with the Hawk and Fisher series, and Beyond Blue Moon) many, many times.

Pyramid Scheme and Pyramid Powerby Dave Freer and Eric Flint. These two dragons make me laugh. Out loud. Every. Single. Time. I’d almost be tempted to enter the Pyramid universe if I was guaranteed to meet these guys 🙂

The Demon Child trilogy, by Jennifer Fallon, has my favourite dragon that isn’t actually a dragon. The trilogy also has a very satisfying ending. Ok, if you are looking for a happy ever after ending, maybe it’s not the one for you. But for me, the ending to this was absolute perfection.

Dave Freer gets another nod with his Dragon’s Ringand Dog & Dragon, novels. All the novels of Dave Freer, and Jennifer Fallon, that I own (which is most of them, but I need to replace a couple) live on my re-read shelves. I like work that has a strong thread of humour, especially wry or dark humour, running through it. These are two authors I will buy a new novel from, sight unseen – they have never, ever disappointed me.

So there you have it, a short list of some of the dragons who have made my life better for their existence. There are so many others I also love, the dragons of Pern for instance, but these ones are the ones I return to again, and again.

Ohhh – shiny!

Growing up on a farm I learnt how to weld (not well enough to get a welding job, but well enough that anything I welded together stayed that way even if the weld didn’t look pretty) I’m better at soldering, though. But proper welding, and smithing of all sorts has always captured my attention. Swords have also been one of the things I really appreciate. I have a healthy respect for the sheer workmanship that craft such gorgeous tools, but I never forget how deadly they can be. Accordingly I wince when I hear the metallic sound of a sword being drawn in a movie (that’s going to damage the blade you idiots!) and I may have been known to lecture my television screen when a character grabs a sword around the naked blade, (what, you woke up today and decided, hey – I don’t really need all these fingers…)

One of the few youtube channels I watch is the Man At Arms Reforged one, where they recreate famous historical, as well as fantasy and sci fi swords. So this episode, where they recreated Narsil, from Lord of the Rings, using only 19th C techniques and equipment, I’ve watched a couple of times … for, research. Yeah, research. And not at all because they look like they are having so much fun hunting gel orcs with a pretty shiny blade. Research … honest. 🙂

No, I’m not entirely sure where I will use this research, but I’m sure I will use it -somewhere.

language and music

Today’s writing music had me drifting through old rock songs from my childhood on youtube. I came across the Ted Mulry Gang version of Darktown Strutters Ball, and while I listened, looked at the comments. One person commented about the distasteful song. I was puzzled by that, so clicked on the thread to read the responses, and she clarified by saying if people read the lyrics, they would find they were actually quite racist.

It’s a known fact that a lot of tunes from that era were indeed quite racist. However the history of this particular song – isn’t. The Darktown was an area in Chicago where mostly black people lived, and the Darktown Ball began by the ladies of the night from Darktown deciding enough was enough, they’d have a grand Ball, and dress up and show the world they were as good as anyone. It became a huge invitation only event, even the Mayor of Chicago couldn’t get in without an invite! The original songwriter, Shelton Brooks, captured how getting an invite to this grand Ball, was a social honour. Good music can do that, it can capture, in just a few words, the essence of an event, and immortalize it. Good lyrics are like telling a short story.

The song was a celebration of people at the bottom end of the social ladder, and what they achieved. It was written with respect and understanding. Modern sensibilities do, as they should, jerk away from calling a place Darktown these days, and they can find it distasteful that people did in the past. But a song like this should serve to remind people to never underestimate anyone.

And when I hear it, I’m back on the farm where I grew up, when all that mattered to me was that I like the rocked up version 🙂