While making the changes in style and layout needed for the transform into PDF format, I am also touching up a scene here or refurbishing an image for chapter headings there. I must say that GIMP2.10.10 has been a remarkably valuable tool for the purpose. My cover design, based on a stitching together of Chapter Headings was pronounced upon sight to be "perfect" by a graphic artist of my acquaintance who added further "I would not change a thing." and averred to being th kind of person who normally has to have the last word in design elements. So that was gratifying, my being a non-artist. Yay for GIMP!
There is going to be about another week's worth of production editing and then I will start to circulate the material to a limited set of beta readers.
It is done. I finshed the last chapter two days ago. There is still a lot of work to do in editing and copy editing, perhaps improving or replacing some of the chapter headings, and several other features of production work. This is helping me with a review of the text as well. Just today I found some text repeats lurking inside a chapter I had not touched for months, thinking it was done to a cow's thumb. But no, there they were, the little monsters.
So there will be at least another three to six weeks delay before I am ready to call this work complete to a shade. Therefore, if you wish to download the draft chapters posted here, it will be your last chance before I remove them all and prepare for the process of print publication.
It has been a journey I never meant to take. I was just listining to the last movement of Haydn's concerto in E-Flat Major for trumpets and I thought, yeah--that's what it feels like. So this site will be changing a good deal soon. Thanks for bearing with me all this while.
Falling behind. Four chapters short and probably will not finish any tomorrow either. Don't think I am going to make the deadline. Have made good progress, though. Touched on 31 chapters and sub chapters today alone in getting the shreds and pieces sorted into the correct slots and blending different versions of scenes. Whether I push through and make the goal or slack off enough to give things that much higher polish --it's all good.
A hasty runthrough and not too close an inspection, and there’s seven chapters done, which puts me back on schedule, more or less. Still running neck and neck with necessity, and likely to lose steam any minute. But there is just the chance, the s,lgith chance I might succeed. Getting closer than ever, anyway. That's got to be worth something!
Ran into some snarls and as soon as they were untangled, found a whole other nest of knots. Still working on it, nothing finished to standard, but again improvements along the way. Eh, this writing biz is hard work, y'all.
18Jan20 Due to household chores, outings and the sheer difficulty of the task, I have fallen behind schedule. However, I judge that I have much improved the flow and coherence of the storyline (such as it is) and made good progress in eliminating duplicate passages, re-grouping bits that go together better than in the ‘raw’ files. And so forth.
Not yet done but still a-doin’. And doin’ well so far.
Am focusing for now on the copy-editing and Chapter Heading images for chapters that are essentially complete. Am still on schedule so far.
The tangle in the midsection of story has been more difficult to unravel than I ever thought. This is the natural result of writing from instinct and inner auditory prompts instead of planning plots and doing outlines. Organic style writing is more fun but it makes editing more of a nightmare. Over the last day or three, I have found a tentative way forward. but it must be checked and back-checked before I can be sure. Excelsior and all that jazz.
Well, my sixth story placed with Into the Ruins has now been shipped out. I have done a lot of work on Rogue Star but have gotten stuck on a 12-chapter sequence of events that is still needing to be mulled over and worked out clearly. But Summer is coming to an end and the Harvest is nigh, so let us be of good cheer and sharpen our scythes and sickles.
Have now transferred 725,000 words+ from WP to LO for the booklet-size pdf release.
Now doing a simultaneous triple-edit: 1) copy edit for style, typos, punctuation, etc; 2) time//sequence/geo-locale error check edit; 3) author's creation edit. This last involves closely weaving & interpolating into the existing large framework the numerous small scraps of dialogue, fragments of setting description, and so forth that are consistent with the conception of the work as a whole and enrich the reading without slwoign down the action. Large chunks that are fun and interesting but do impede the smooth flow of narrative are being transferred to "side-rooms" and indices for the further enjoyment of readers who like to dwell a lirttle longer in the created textual world.
Have been building up a blog, not released yet but getting there. Episodic writings, as I mentioned are going into it, plus an image or so when I find the right ones. Tra-la!
Now comes the piper to be paid. The piper has been blowing us some splendid, perfect days and cool, pleasant nights--weather as heart-lifting as musical airs. But following hard on our dancing heels is the price: straightline winds of 80 mph, heavy rains, flood surges and maybe tornadoes for extra relish. The high and the low that bring us Spring's show / Blow wildly weirding airs also. Thinking about releasing my episodic writings as an outlet for encouraging stronger, steadier flow.
16Apr19 Mercury comes out of its own shadow and the weather has been spendid: brilliant sunshine, cool temps, colors vivid. Not conducive to writing but to experiencing. Which helps with the writing eventually, of course, but carpe diem, y'all.
Happy birthday TJ and TF.
Beautiful weather. A poem to celebrate and mourn
When the climate has changed forever,
and the ice caps are open sea,
great books are half-way to never,
April mornings will always be.
Let cities drown and lines sever:
April mornings will always be,
Though nothing remains
of the April we know,
save desire and memory.
As forests wither from acid rains,
and drought devours the midland plains,
anoxic oceans curl and die,
so long as Earth still has a sky,
April mornings eternally.
That green which is half-yellow;
those skies that are half-white;
the birds yelling each to his fellow,
half-ready to love or fight;
great crowds of catkin on willow;
arced angles of cool sunlight….
Whatever alters in future, April mornings will always be;
though they may not come in April, nor twice in a century.
It may happen once in ten thousand days
that someone will know in a myriad ways
what April has meant to me:
if they stand at a certain latitude
where Spring holds doubtful sway,
and a freak of polar attitude
shunts a gust of coolth their way.
Though civil law may crumble,
and the potters’ wheel be lost,
as the music of two millenia
melts from all minds like frost,
mathematics reduced to a mumble,
forgotten, like poetry,
and the climate is changed forever,
April mornings will always be.
Due to some scramnable and exCESSively stupid bug in Libre Office and/or the NOAA website, I had to go back and RE-Capture over 80 of the images I thought I HAD captured just before a thunderstorm struck here. I hit a motherlode of antique images at NOAA so Serial Skiller may use this lot for cover art even if the cover pix has nothing to do with the contents thereof. Altogether it took something like 400 web pages visited twice over, and there is another stupid bug in LibreOffice that makes downloading images a pain in the button: it defaults to png and does not allow you to retain your preferred filter setting or to have NO FILTER at all thank you very much. When you want it to default either to jpg or at least to ALL FILES, it flatly refuses to take your orders. It has no ALL FILES option which is doubly stupid. It is not bad enough that I dislike all this emphasis on artwork; nor that I have to spend my time on it when I had rather be writing; no, the technology has to be too stupid for words, a constant struggle and annoyance and piled on extra work too.
On the other hand, a fellow writer sent me word of a couple of newish app-outlets for writing in a serial format, one of which actually PAYS WRITERS; what a notion, eh? At present, both are focused on what was insultingly called ‘the slush pile’ when the publishing industry was exclusively in the hands of the Vahaahd and Vale crowd. It took a Chinese innovation and a Korean batch of young entrepreneurs to figure out how to tap into the ever flowing stream of creativity to make it possible for young and inexperienced writers to learn and earn at the same time. One fast learner is making a five-figure gross each month by writing cliffhanger chunks of historical-romance fiction. Now, why could not the U.S. publishing industry already have done this say, 15 years ago? I have my opinions on the matter; but I will spare you.
So, yeah, the fact that these fiction delivery platforms rely on an unsustainable wide-worldly habit of being glued to a ‘smartphone’ is unfortunate. But how comparable is it to the death of millions of trees to feed the pulp fiction mills of the past century? There is not enough information to be gathered from the shallow, sewage-polluted estuary called ‘the internet’ to do that math.
Speaking of which, did you know that the so-called information highway DOES NOT KNOW how many internal combustion engines there are in the world? Not just cars and trucks and marine vehicles but tractors, road tar rollers, standing generators, portable leaf blowers, and the like. My estimate is that there are at least 8 billion ICEs on the planet, all gulping down great green gobs of greasy grimy go-for gas. Even librarians don’t know. I asked several how to find this out and they all went, “Hmmmm….”
Reading is a drug, like wine and tobacco and other mind-altering substances. And it can be just as addictive. So is it better for smartphonies to be addicted to cute video games and clatter-chatter than to be using the devices to read a narrative, however trite or sensational? And if so, better how?
Anyway, at some point, these new platforms for delivering original works of fiction will likely morph over time into serial methods of distributing printed chapters monthly, as I have been snarking over the lack of for many years now.
My best case scenario is to have little printshops all over the world who receive the e-text and print-on-demand as wanted. The printshops take a small cut and the company that sends the secure (scrambled? dunno) transmission takes a small cut , and the AUTHORS (that’s you and me) get a large cut of the sale price. Oh, and I suppose the cover art and illustration people must have a pretty good share—this art stuff is a large and unwieldy ball of wax. Artists deserve to be paid. I say this as a texty person.
Spent another workday on unfamiliar and rocky ground. Viewed more than 250 webpages in an attempt to find and secure royalty-free images to use as covers for Serial Skiller and/or illustrations/cover art for my fiction. Out of that number of pages I captured about 25 potentially usable images. Most of them will need to be further transformed and/or resized and generally messed with in a way I do not have the skills to manage easily. Also met with my writers’ group. Discussed the vexed issue of leading for printed books, and the numbers of regular viewers to be expected for a homepage like this one.
The pollen here has been so thick that it looks like a dusting of greenish snow on the deck and brick stoop. It leaves a powdering of green on my boots when I walk through grass that is a maximum of two inches high. The air seems foggy with it. Blooming azaleas, dogwoods and pines all around are contributing to the effect. A haze of growing green is cast over the head and shoulders of the world like a filmy bridal veil.
Not pleased with the amount of time it takes to be/become a publisher in addition to being a writer. I have a backlog of steno pads with notes for future story development that could take the rest of my nacherl-born days to whip into shape. On the other hand, what kind of readership can one expect? Is it not better to focus time and effort in transmitting facts rather thatn fiction forward into an uncertain future, using the almanac format and the local mimeographic master? But, no! says the Muse. People remember stories and you can sprinkle facts in them like walnuts in brownies. Just the idea of replacing asphalted roads with macadam would be a great story idea and the technique would be simple enough to describe. No decision made, obviously. But still thinking.
Time. Time and money. Time, money, and a wildflower bouquet of interests. How to allocate them, how enjoy them, how to share them, though limited in place, purse and span. Meanwhile, the river rushes on around you, your boat is rocking and there are rocks up ahead. How? Where, when, and, more especially, why? And who? Navigating in fog. Slow uncertainty. One moment at a time.
The 2nd draft of the sketch is much improved over the first. Found some more leads on selfie-publicating. Still have a lot to digest. Might try out the process first on an idea I had to offer a 'zine-like PoD called Serial Skillers, with all kinds of tidbits that could be useful for a post-oil future with items to memorize and others to try one's hand at doing. Or might publish the Taluria-paedia here and see what kind of interest it stirs. Hmmm. still time to think about it before Mercury comes back out of its own shadow.
Visited about 50 sites and downloaded a wheen of new information--too much to process in one go. So over the next week, I will be returning to writing and editing for a bit with time out to read and organize and think about decisions to be made based on the information gathered. A great many changes have taken place over the past few years; but as far as I can tell no one has yet come up with a way to serve the needs of someone who wishes to publish in a serial format that allows readers to build-a-book out of the serial issues they most want to keep in one place. Also signature binding seems much too costly for the simplicity of the technique. But I suppose it is less easy to mechanize, hence costs more in skilled labor. I rather like skilled labor when it comes to making a good book even bettter. Don't you?
Got my first glimpse of the first draft of the cover art: basic line drawing, B&W showing the scene from Old Woan where Gladdis is whooping it up around the outside of the castle. Second draft will remove some elements, refine others--quite a process. Just like writing, in fact. No surprises there, eh? As for the book design biz, that is a bit of a pickle, and not a briny one neither. Having set up my pages with the margin I like, the PoD place of most promise (none of them are all that attractive) specifies a MUCH wider margin than I think is needful; but they are the pros, so must look into this further.
Have been looking into self-publishing 'help' sites. Each one adds a completely new wrinkle and complication to the process. Many of the services I was asking for 5 or 10 years ago are just now being made available, but mostly at an exorbitant price and/or nose dive in quality product. I went to a lot of trouble coming up with a book design; but all of the service providers want you to conform to their limited pre-fab designs instead of being agile enough to adapt to my preferred look-&-feel. Maybe in another 5 or 15 years they will be run by helpful robots who are willing to do things my way. Right.....!
An exhausting week dealing with hardware failures, techo-barriers and 'net glitches on top of artwork seeking/attempting and marketing efforts. Feels like a complete waste of time and disupts the modality of mind that works best for doing the actual writing and editing which is my natural bent. Guess it's going to be a roller coaster process.
Posted a want ad for an illustrator to create cover art for The Purple Orb (81,000 words+) and The Tale of the Old Woan (roughly 50,000 words). No response so far. Looked at a couple of art-for-hire sites and ...meh... Tried to mock up the ideas I have for the look I want, but, yah, art is a whole 'nother skillset. Oh, well, Excelsior with the strange device and all that jazz.
Congrats! (to me, I mean) The first round of book editing and design for Purple Orb is complete. Using LibreOffice, I had to first learn how LO stupidly refuses to allow one to carry over a style created in one document to apply on another document, so each chapter had to be reformatted from scratch each time. Same for headers, footers, recto-verso page assignment, plus all the usual suspects such as typos, widows, orphans, and whatnot. You would think if you set the toggle switch to ON for preventing widows and orphans that it would work in the middle of the page as well as at the end, but oh, no, children, this is not how programmers think. We mourn once more for WordPerfect 5.0. Still, phase one of book design is done. Moderate and mild Hooray! Onward we go.
As I suspected, the process of converting hastily styled inidividual chapters into a book-quality uniform style/design is, like they say, real work. S-l-o-w-l-y I turn, inch by inch step by step .....Don't say it! Niagara Falls (oof--he said it.)
Well, I did it--finished the last chapter of Purple Orb. The 'doughy middle' is finally baked and the loaf is on the table. Now to decorate the chapters with titles, check for typos and start the next process--publishing. Somehow, I do not think this is ging to be an easy downhlil slide....!
Well, life got in the way of writing for a while there; but back to the quill this week.
Finished Chaps 8,9, & 10 of Orb, but a new chapter grew and has to be inerpolated now. it's always something...(:-D
Finished a 7000-word short story and submitted it to a magazine editor.
Revised Chapter 7 & finished (I think) 8. Making progress!
Finished chapter 7 of Purple Orb, Only 3 and a half to go!
Following advice from my writers' group, I have started compiling into volumes the various fables, 'fairy tales' and accounts from the Gladdis world into collections. Am looking for an illustrator who can do basic, straightforward pen and ink sketches with an eye to self-publication. The Talurian Tales are an eclectic mix of dry humor, bouncy children's stories, and tragic historical accounts.
Have been meeting regularly with writers' group and putting in time developing the remaining chapters of Purple Orb, plus other projects. It is always odd to realize how much time goes into the act of writing. Even two hours a day adds up fast.
Happy New year and all that jazz!
Have been working with my writers' group on developing the Problem Chapters of Purple Orb. Problem Chapters are like Problem Children: they require patience, time, and TLC. Also feeding one's head with new information and consultation with intent to succeed. Excelsior!
Number jokes aside, my writers' group is re-forming for the New Year. See ya soon!
'Round MayDay, '18
Managed to add a subpage to display the chapters for Purple Orb as they come into being.
For the Write Out Loud project underway elsewhere.
If this new computing object allows, I can keep this site open. Time will tell.....
And the next short story has appeared in Issue 7 of Into the Ruins. I am at work on revising the Gladdis world stories and will probably be dismantling this site because Weebly has made some changes that destroy the original ease of use . I will notify my few loyal followers as this process continues. Thanks for reading and wish me luck in a new site.
Well, the contract is in the mail. Joel Caris of Into the Ruins fame has offered to publish yet another of my short stories. It should appear in Issue 5 (c.f. https:// intotheruins.com). This story fits into the PlagueWorld series and I hope to include it later on in a print-on-demand book form. The post-industrial age fiction that Ruins prints draws on some pretty startling new talents. I am pleased to be included in such good company.
The Halfway Place
Kendrusil stoked the main chamber of the arquette stove with practiced skill. Not a flipsworth of feedstock spilled on the floor as she tipped it in. Off to the side, the polished brass nozzle of the pilot flame gleamed in its own blue light. The heap of fuel caught fire on its edges, just as it ought.
Peering in and up, she saw that it was drawing beautifully and shut the fat-firebrick door. It swung fast to on its massive hinges without a hitch. She turned up the pilot and waited until the fire responded with a satisfying roar. Then she turned it back down to min and shut it off. Clank! The cast-iron shut-off valve routed the stream of couffar gas to the next burner in the boiler chain.
There! The bath water would soon be hot – with any luck, well before Leeanda had time to get shirty about it.
She grinned. Pregnant women must be Obeyed, she thought, half scornful, half in reverent awe. Drawing a left-handed Air-Crescent across herself she silently blessed our Lady of the Night that she herself had been born in a wanemoon cycle. Else it would be she who was in Leeanda's place, with a greedy, life-sucking babe blowing and a-growing in her belly. Eeook!
Say! Talk of the belly: might be enough hot sidled off into the parlour oven to bake a fresh loaf. Yum! Warm bread and butter with a topping of sweet applefrost. Best check to see if the dough Noona had sat out this morning was riz enough.
She dusted off her hands on the seat of her ironwool trousers and hung the great, hollow-handled chop-dwig loader back on its customary nail near the door. The bin was still half full of bark pulver and milled chippet, no need to refill it yet. Out of habit, she turned the paddle crank once or twice to make sure the feedstock was loosely packed and dry. All airy well.
Stepping out of the boiler room, she closed the door behind her. It too was lined with an insulating layer of firebrick. Not as thick as the stove, but enough to retard heat and exclude moisture. Their mother and their mother's mothers had been through many trials. They built well because they remembered harder times.
Ah! Kendrusil breathed in the crisp, cool autmun air, scented with cedar, balsam, and pine. Just a hint of well-seasoned oak from the vent of the nearly smokeless fire. She swept the floor of the area, replaced the broom, glanced rightly at the stackheap of thin-kindle, saw nothing amiss. The porchroof over all was sound, the trapdoor into the loading chute was secure. Leftly, the mild rise of the rampway up out of the area was clear, dry, and solidly footed. Well, what did she expect? It was the same as it had been for seven generations at least.
Why on earth or Moon was she so twitchy today? Must be halfway chalice-drunk herself, with so many expectant mothers in the House. She shook her head ruefully at herself. Getting all old and woanish, maybe. War-wanting and greedy for change. Not content with the ripeness of the old ways, the way things had always been. Second youth, maybe. Wanderfooted. Restless for novelty. Happens to her sort. May be time to visit the Temple, and not for a dalliance with a pretty Temple boy. A serious talk with the priestess.
She was about to have one – but not with her own comfortable, familiar homely-at-home priestess. As she ascended the ramp, a shadow fell athwart the upper doorway. Someone stood in the entrance to the adit. Tallish. Dark. A faceless silhouette against the light of the lowering sun. As Kendrusil came up out of the dim coziness of the area, the shadowy figure drew courteously aside to let her pass. A stranger. Hands clasped loosely before her. Sword slung over her back.
For the first time, a thrill of foreboding washed over Drusi. Not for herself. She was middling old enough, 'd'lived long enough, aye, and be'ent young chuks enough in the House to take her place any day of the year.
Not for herself alone was she afeared: for everyone and everything she knew. This was no common wayfarer, no cheery gossip from over Lulanor Bay. No! 'Twas a priestess of Swift Harmony, the Lyremark stamped plain on her face. No mistaking it.
As if in rebound from her clutch of fear, Drusi felt all of sudden glad to the core of her being that she was alive, alive, well and stoked like the fire with the fiercely burning will to live on. On and on into a ripe old age! She was not ready to give up anything that was left to her and hers. If fighting was required, she would fight and gladly, too. But she would not die. Not yet!
“Kendrusil of Lamanor, Clan Truworth-and-Seal, at home.”
“Gladdis of Rowanswood, at your service.”
“Welcome, Rowanswood. What service might you wish to offer?”
“I hear your land has oft been troubled by earthquakes.”
Drusi looked doubtfully around and about. Hadn't been an earthquake for...for who knew how long? She scratched the back of her head, saying,
'Never heard it from me, I reckon. Wonder whose tale it was you tread upon.”
The witch smiled at the jest. A natural, easy, human smile. It made her marked face seem much more attractive and less formidable.
“Perhaps I was misinformed,” she said lightly, “But the Underpeople are seldom mistaken about these things. Of course, they have different notions about time. What they consider 'often' or 'recent' may not seem at all so to us.”
The Underpeople! What folly. Myths and ghosts, Drusi thought to herself but said nothing aloud. Saying nothing is always the best course of action when one disagrees with a witch. Instead, she nodded peaceably and merely replied,
“Must step lively to put the bread on before the oven cools. Then I'm off to the barns to tump muck into the digesteer. Dunno who to hand you off to. Sounds like Ma-Matron's business to me. They're all afield and only breeders to home, save me and the bratlings.”
“Allow me to see to the barns,” she said (ever so politely – just like kingsfolk, but nicer-feeling). “I've no wish to disturb your daily rounds. There is always time enough for doing—that, is, I mean, to say there is no hurry. Please return to your household duties. I will attend you and yours at the Househall later, perhaps when you all have a moment of more leisure.”
“You'll join us for the meal, never fear. Want you anything just now? Sip at the well? Or fetch you an ale, if you like.”
The witch disclaimed any present needs for more substantial sustenance, but accepted a sip of well water, as was required by custom.
Drusi showed her to the barns and introduced her: first to the cows and then the children. The witch set to work on the muck pile with every appearance of competence. Drusi watched carefully to see that the stranger was not overloading the couffar digesters; but the witch had a neat hand and a evidently knew which end of a dungloy was up. Withal, she gauged the capacity of the first row with a knowledgeable eye. Hmm! 'Tisn't every one of that sort you can trust with a homely handitask. Satisfied with what she saw, Drusi left her to it. The children left off larking aboot to swarm around the curious stranger.
The gaslines that fed sweet blue flames to every part of the compound, from kitchens to bathhouses to laundries to workshops and forges were in perfect working order. Kendrusil had maintained them all her life and trained up a suite of successors who were still young enough to be enthusiastic about it all. The Halfway well deserved its reputation. Not only was it halfway between the mountains and the sea, between the lowlands and and the high, but in terms of fruit and good greens all year round it was halfway between here and paradise.
Their succession houses defied the power of piedmont winters with the help of blue flames from milchcow muck. Apricots in January! Fresh tea in February! Oh, aye, the goods of Halfway brightened many a child's eye in far off places. Even dried and fermented or distilled and baked into whiskeycakes, the fruits, fame, and freshness of Halfway foods spread a circle of health and happiness in wide rippling rings around their point of origin. Not to mention the herbed cheeses, forged iron, and fancy brasswork. Highhat and Downlands, their two sisterholds, achieved similar results with dung from their dairy goats and sausage shoat herds, respectively. But it was Halfway where the pipes and pipe fittings were made.
How glad is freedom to Woman's heart!
How satisfying to her soul! No cares or constraints, no tugs and demands; neither a sackful of baby on one's back, nor a chattering toddler by the hand; no parti-mooded tween haughty, secretive and sullen by turns, slounging about, apt to shirk holdworks and kick at stones for the pleasure of stubbing her toes!
No one to fret over, feel for, do for. Only one's self to consider and none but one's self to please. Of course, if you are as kind a woman as Glynnis, then all the above is about as convincing as any other cheer-chat meant to make believe that weeding an overgrown garden is child's play instead of woman's work!
What woman first discovered the uses of tools, I wonder? Who was she? An huntress, taking up a flake of flint to sever the sinews of her latest kill? Perhaps she had a mother burdened with orphans in the shelter of the woods and she ventured out onto the savannah with her atalatl and her spear to bring back home a string of juicy rabbits and gain glory for it.
Or was she a dreaming sea-child, idly thumping water-rounded rocks together to make a fine sound for the Dances of the Celestial Beings? Or an acorn-pounder, a cornflour grinder? Or a grub-picker imitating the ravens with a bent twig to dig out fat maggots and ants? Whoever she was that first discovered tools, changed the world foever. Woman's hands have been busy ever since.
Likewise, she, or the conquint of shes who first discovered the power of the Temple to enrich the harvest yields. The hidden lines of power that gently cook the soil and cause it to surrender up its milky goodness and its seed. Who was she who first knew of them? My own guess is that she was a Priestess of the Dark: for death and decay are at the heart of new life's generation. Perhaps her Goddess revealed to her these secrets: new life nestled in the dung of cattle and songs of the soil resonating through the graves of our longmothers.
However it happened, it was a long, long time ago. Since then, since men of the Barrens came with their own temples to shock the soil into submission and exhaust it with their intemperate demands, there have been many wars fought between those who love the land and those who wish to rape it and move on. Woman learned, at long last, to breed home-loving men and to shun marriage with the other kind. And the groom-price of that Knowledge was counted in yields of blood.
From mounds to plicatrices; from labyrinths to ziggurats, from pyramids to solarsquares, much has been tried to increase the fertility of the land. The Starfolk who found out the subtleties of planting by the Signs as well as the Moon have given freely of their Knowlege, hard won as it was. And for that alone they are to be honored more nearly than others who kept jealous holds on the secrets of increase that they might rule over the ignorant and employ them as mere tools.
Nowadays, when a great farming Hold has barns for cattle and barns for hay, stilt-towered grain rooms, wheeled fowl frames netted and framed, feeding hatches for goats and rabbits, luxurious pig stalls and sheds bigger than most temples to house all their carts, costers and barrows, we are become forgetful of the Days of Dearth that our mothers' mothers knew. Only our warriors fast as a regular rule and practice; we do it only for mourning and sickerness of soul.
All the tools and implements for working the land that Woman has invented will be of little use in a time of drought or the waste after the flood. Therfore, heed ye, women of the world and do your respects to the Lady who brings Death and Destruction: for she hath the last Word, even as she had the First.
'Lo. Had another computer scare, now resolved. Just as a heads-up: will be gradually moving stories and chapters off this site as I prepare them for print-on-demand publication. Lots to learn yet, but will keep everyone posted.
Another Many Nations story accepted for publication, yay! Slow and unsteady progress on Middle Chapters of Rogue Star.
Bogged down in continuity errors from having written one chapter at a time across many moons of effort, not in sequential order but in the mysterious order dictated by the Voice of the Muse. In other news, an alumnus of my college is having a Type-In at Mission Pie. Trust a Johnnie to do something weirdly practical.
Making some progress towards reprinting all finished chapters and deep editing of the rest. Looks good, if I do say so myself.
For the first time in about six months--ever since my old system began to fail, I have printed off a booklet format of a new chapter. Hurrah! Of course, I still do not have movie-making capacity among many other losses due to this industry's idiotic rush to PROGRESS without taking care to conserve. However, getting back to square one on this snakes and ladders gameboard is something to celebrate in a modest way.
Yes! Duplex printing with page imposition is a reality for the Open Source pdf maker I have. Of course, I have to reformat ALL of the files that I want to print in that fashion because the pdfmaker shrinks things when I do not want them to be shrunken. And I have to tell it which pages are verso and which are recto. Word Perfect did all this work without the need for templates, due to being a PS ready streaming formatter on the fly. But who cares about a competently made program that does work without having to be over-specified. Only a few. A rare and disguntled intelligent few. Onward, wearily on....
No, no duplex printing yet, but I did download a semistandard template for a couple of book sizes and am looking them over like a four leaf clover that I overlooked before. Sorry for bursting into song like a dumb musical. I must say that the company my story is keeping over at Into the Ruins is good company. What a suite of stories! It feels a little like I imagine it must have felt when SF magazines were new: finding a virtual community of like minds. In other news, juggling 4 computers, five operating systems and six word processing suites is ridiculous. Finding a working method to replace the one of the past 20 years or so is as tedious as it is unnecessary. If the home computer industry (and the business for that matter) were truly focused on productivity and ease of use, then making backwards compatibility a reality is the correct way to do that.
I have now recovered my fonts and the capacity to perform duplex printing. Next step: see if open source PDFcreation can produce ready-to-fold booklets with page imposition printing. If not, I will be obliged to install and learn an open source desktop publishing suite instead. All of which is more time-consuming than one likes and which detracts from the quite different mental/emotional "steady-state" that actual creative writing demands. C'est la guerre, n'est pas? However, on the plus side, a courageous guy over at Into the Ruins magazine has begun a subscription publication with print options which actually PAYS authors based on the number of subscribers. So if you approve of authors being paid for their work, and like post-industrial age fiction, you can put your money where your mind is.
It seems (if nothing worse happens) that I shall be able to rescue my fonts, in time. Perhaps.
Meanwhile I have begun writing again and am seeking the best method to share the process with readers as I go along. About half of the novel is in an unfinished state: some chapters to be interpolated into the narrative stream, others already completed and merely awaiting the finish line to be tacked on at the end. It is not unlike the process of making a movie wherein scenes are filmed out of order, trialled this way and that for variations on the theme, settings, and so forth, then edited into the final product or discarded, or kept as 'deleted scenes' that have merit but affect the pacing and flow of the story. Most of the encyclopaedic chapters will be collected together at the end. But I may publish them here, first. They contain so much useful contextual information and have an energy all their own that entertains in a distinctly different way than the narrative. These might be comparable to the 'making of' footage that appear in the 'Special Features' some movie-makers provide.
This process will not be thrown open to hoi polloi for many reasons, not the least of which is the amount of time it takes to moderate a public site. I have no intention of wasting away my days and nights filtering random acts of hostility from useful critiques. Therefore, only a limited number of commenters will be enabled to read the unfinished material.
I plan to extend invitations to a select group of persons who have proven themselves to be of good will, good character and good taste by the thoughtful, germane, and intelligent comments they make on other people blogs. Of course, such people are rarities on the Web and most of them will not accept my invitation; I can only hope to merit a few good 'Zen (a.k.a. NetiZen). (No doubt 'twill be harder for me to recruit good critics than for the Marines to land good officers. Cue martial marching music.)
That said, there is potential for substantiating the worth of the contributions made to the creative process by what may be styled a writer's 'crew' – those who work behind the big screen. Members of the Joint Editorial Committee (JEC) who make a firm commitment to supply a fixed number of hours devoted to critiquing will receive more than name acknowledgment: they will be paid a proportionate amount from future royalties, whether the book is self-published or gets picked up by a commercial firm.
Likewise, a few people who have enough proven experience in the publishing industry to foster the book into print and/or electronic publication – in particular those who thoroughly know the ins and outs of the print medium distribution network – will be invited to contact me in six months time. I am particularly interested in creating a serial publication format in hard copy that uses pre-paid electronic media for distribution abroad. There are “reading cafes” in parts of Africa and Asia that allow people to use photo-copy equipment to print out parts of books for a small fee. People with limited income can club together to purchase a whole book this way and share it with their whole circle, thus spreading out the cost while enjoying the book together as a group. With its dense archaic-style prose, I think Rogue Star would be most suitable for that sort of time-release capsule entertainment.
I also have thoughts about including in each chapter one or two public domain articles on low-tech and appropriate ag topics that can be printed and distributed along with the fiction. This could be a free incentive to purchase, kind of like the toy prize in the box of Cracker Jacks. My fiction may entertain for an hour, but acid-free paper could allow the articles to be passed on to inform the next generation, and the next. I think it could be done.
Today, a note of progress: I have (it is hoped) retrieved the two fonts I have been using for titles and drop caps, together with the capability to set up booklet formats. I have not tried to test the PDF page imposition print capacity; however, in theory, a dual boot system would allow me to proceed along these lines. Crossing fingers and walking as carefully as an old fox on thin ice... Note to Travis: Ecotone declined to publish Intinction; I just got the notice this week after about 9 months waiting. However, it is linked here (on the poetry page) for those who desire to read it.
Another disaster. First the leagacy files were inacessible so I changed permissions. Now the whole disk is unreadable by the new computer. Doggedly carrying on....
Hardware and software issues are slowly being resolved. Also working on how to set up a page just for the unfinished chapters. Hope you enjoyed the Daring Young Drone Song on the poetry page.
The new computer is home. Now for the process of transferring files and settings and software installation, and other system admin I had rather a professional do in my stead. But then the writer's mode of mind can return and burgeon along with the rest of the blooming world. I may, for safety's sake upload my unfinished chapters to a special area of the site for access by trusted readers. Comments would be enabled for only those favored few (a band of B-Readers!) and maybe this season's loss of impetus can be turned to good use, with a little help from my friends.
Still no computer home from the Old Electronics Care Facility. But some pretty good news otherwise. Check out this link http://intotheruins.com/ in early April to see one of my stories from the Many Nations world in print. Hoo-rah! Thanks Joel! Do send him your own stories and letters to the editor, if you please. And yes, the cherry trees are unfolding, along with redbud, forsythia, star magnolia, tulip tree, bradford pears, jonquils, spring beauties, henbit, and spirea.
My computer is so old that the shop kind of gave up on it, so lately I have learned a good deal more about the innards of my system than I ever wanted to know, TMI. Not up and functional just yet: this is a slow, step-by-step process. Especially because I do not know what I am doing and have to learn as I go. The good news is that this minor disaster has prompted me to make a stronger push towards setting up a system that will enable me to publish my work my own way. What else is one to do with troubles except despair? It is kind of like composting waste: turning the unwanted into support for the new growth cycle. On that note, let us look forward to Spring. The cherry trees will be blossoming soon...
I am not happy to report that my trusty tower computer that has served me so well for so long is showing anomalous behaviours and must go into the shop. I managed to rescue my current writing projects and have a loaner computer on which to continue writing. But this may slow me down as I learn to operate a different OS which I dislike. Changes, as a certain person said not too long ago... In happier news, I received a glimpse into the background world of the Angel Bill triptych of stories and may have a new project to add to the already too long list.
As you all may have noticed, I left off the weekly additions some time ago. Life happens, as they say. But in good sooth, I have found that my time was better spent on other creative projects including some practical skill development. The problem with being a writer who is more motivated by ear than by wallet is that texts in hand get left to languish in the best Gardner tradition, while daily matter composts between the ears.
But progress has been made, if invisible to the wider world. The second half of the Rowanswood tale is slowly being formed into a more coherent whole. Two or three more stories have been added to the Many Nations world, though not posted yet. And some desultory conversations have transpired about the feasibility of a local serial publication for mutually compatible authors, graphic artists, etc. Still, slow change is all I can promise on any of these fronts. Until the next big burst of work is ready to post, enjoy what is already present and may you all have a pleasant and productive Winter rest.
Slow but not steady: that's my method and I'm sticking to it. Or it to me, Whichever.
Honest, I posted a couple of weeks ago but it was eaten by the I-dog. Summer is really happening here: heat, humidity and all the good stuff plants like. I have been working on the chapters by a rotation method: sometimes I polish and sometimes I work on things I have not touched for a while. So the upshot is that no one chapter is ready for release. But they will be arriving soon. Some are very close to being finished. The writers' group has been helpful, and now that it is too hot to sit outside and goggle at the sky, trees, birds and whatever else crosses the Field of Vision, I will likely buckle down and tidy up the top of the list. It really helps to bounce back and forth between the chapters that are entangled like the Nightmare on Particle Physics St. One gets a perspective and can update the glossary of the Indices even while one is composing new stuff. Hope everyone is outside growing vegetable marrows and gourds this season. Remember: a day without gourds is like a day without bottles. (:-D
Well, I had intended to throw two more Indices into the Public Hopper, but I got into writing on other projects, so sorry about that, chief. Next week, is the plan. I ain't making any hard and fast promises. Besides, the weather has been GREAT.
Soaking up sun and air because you don't get a Spring like this every year.
The fallen electronic pillars of my home life have been re-erected. I have a phone, HVAC, videodeodo, etc. Now, I am taking the advice of my writers' group and extracting standalone incidents from the spaghetti bowl of the middle of the story and will polish them as far as I can leaving the transitionals and Fractalgeo work to another day. If I can get a third column on the list of chapters ready for viewing, I will start uploading and linking, as usual. There seems to be an incompatibility between the Weebly interface and my Linux O/S. as always, thanks for your patience!
You would not believe how many electronic haywires frayed this week. A/C out, phone in the rain, three-prong plug breaks off ground wire and leaves it inside socket...anyway, let's see if I can post the new chapters and Index pdfs, shall we?
I got sidetracked a little by the second story contest--some very fine writers out there!--and just had to do a rewrite of Vasalissa the Beautiful to Vasalissa the Brave. Couldn't help tweaking the end of the story towards a wicked-like reality. Next week, I think I will start posting extracts from the Encyclopaedia Taluria, so those of you who are caught up on the first 19 Chaps will have to go down a little side trail before re-emerging on the Processional Way. I must say that the weather has been remarkably co-operative in setting the scene and replicating the feel of May journeys in the world where Gladdis dwells.
It has been an UnevEn week: a death in the neighbourhood; daily fighting with my new o/s, learning the Wisconsin SF group does not offer any process at all for feedback on a developing novel; discovering that my characters' timetable will not wash if I let the ox-drawn team set the pace for the whole group, which means I now have to go back in and build a bunch of canals to the location where I want the action to take place... and it is finally beginning to be spring outside so my motivation for sitting glued to the screen is at an all-time low. However, I have finally got a fair handle on Fractal Mapper and have laid out a reasonable course for the different sets of characters to follow. Progress--of a sort.
Well, March came in like a lion and went out like a pekinese: snappish and rather nippy.
(Tip of the hat to fellow PG Wodehouse fans.)
It was worth rising early to meet with my writers' group at the café today.
Sound and solid they are, the “Juh” crowd (you know who you are!)
It seems there are some thorns on the fragrant sweet peas of Print-on-Demand (PoD) publishing.
For one thing, there is limited availability of acid-free, archival quality paper.
For another, there is a shocking lack of Quality Control on long-distance printing houses.
It is often just a matter of who's cheapest not who is best.
What do you think: are you all willing to wait a little longer for a local printing house?
And for a house that takes pride in its work but costs more?
Good, fast, and cheap: pick any two. Good and cheap is my preferred pair of options. YMMV.
I have not yet decided in which POD to place my precious pearly peas of literary promise (i.e., chapters of the novel); but when I do, I hope to line up a set of reliable printing houses, at least one on every continent.
I do not expect to find one on Antarctica, but if there is one, I want to know about it.
This is where Readiance Participation comes in. If you all know of a good, reasonably priced printer either offset or letterpress, do please let us know. I will post their contact information on my links page. By the time the Whole Book is ready for publication, I can stipulate with my chosen POD that they shall give first refusal to my recommended set of printers. So if your printer is your friend or relation, you can throw a little business their way, you see?
I am looking for folks who can handle archival paper and who have their own arrangement with distributors—who might also be your relations, but I do not wish to pay 50% of my book price for their services. Anyone who can undercut this rate will get my interest right away. Even in Antarctica.
Today I return to my blogspace for the first time since the viral infection that necessitated the untimely demise of my netbook o/s. (:-( However, I am gradually being reconciled to the loss of my favorite Gnome game, which wastes a lot of time anyway. Also I used the time somewhat productively by creating a Map of the continents and major island chains on the planet called Terraqieh, after the Great-Grandmother of the Heavenly Deities. Graphics R not Us, so this takes time and yields unsatisfactory results. Nevertheless, I persist chiefly because Fractal Mapper has a cool caliper tool that allows me to measure the distances travelled in my characters' imaginary journey which is bound to aid me in untangling the sequencing issues for chapters 20-42. So be of good cheer and let Spring bring on the blooms!
The little treasures Gladdis brought home to exchange for a sound crop of rootoes are gladly and gratefully received. Soon winter will be shutting in the mountain passes with snow. With no need to venture out into the world, the Witch of Rowanswood can enjoy some mulled ash mead of her own making
Summer returns after a brief fling with the cooler airs of Autumn. Ripening fields and orchards in the North make a sharp contrast with the sodden floodlands and stooked corn of the South. Looks like the King may have to bow to the necessity of Temple aid this year to feed his people. He can hardly object to Ishkor's incursions when he himself authorized the release of plague-bearers into the countryside. But all that's hush-hush. Shhhh!
Dry, cool air and dry, deadly humors: Gladdis and her troops start rounding up the draftees for the Center where Ishkor reigns not quite supreme....
Cool and rainy blends gradually into cooler and rainier--what will happen to the crops? Gladdis goes a-cheapening just in case her rootoe crop at home gets spoiled by odd weathers.
The festival of Waning Light--the days are growing noticeably shorter. Sandrey, the Queen-in-Exile of the Southern realms is beginning to shine; her more exasperating fellows are soon to feel the chill as they fall victim to her spellbinding tales and the stretch of her long, tall shadow....
Heat and big skies--muggy mornings in a low-lying country. When the Goddess wakes Gladdis rather suddenly it is not because danger is nigh--but to prevent Gladdis from becoming an inadvertent source of danger.
Sunshine and storm and storm and sun. On the day that the Fellows of the Mus Rose are restored to possession of their ancient home and their proper role as Logothetes of the Anaxway, there is one whale of a thunderstorm. But there is also a Darkness Invincible on the scene who cuts through the heavy clouds and brings the Light to bear on a grave injustice.
July has come in with a tropical air, as if meaning to walk on the beach barefoot and scatter thunderclouds like throw pillows across the sky. In the Rogue Star world, Gladdis is headed for home, riding in the back of Nissa's stonewain.
At this point, a great deal has been Changed in a way that Guerdon the Gold does not like. But he has at least attained his original objective...
It is the eve of Litha; like the thousands of Wanderluders on the Women's Way, I have had no sleep. Unlike them, I have eaten a continental breakfast and am not masked. It is a splendid day; the skywith is palest blue, the air is cool and the sun is soaring in its longest arc of the year.
At this moment, in the Sheylangananda Vale, the Trial of Chambers is about to begin at the Phalurian Fountains. Will they win all the way to the Omphalos and hear the year's Oracle? Or will the will of the Keepers prevent them? For the Keepers have had a disturbing vision....
Today is 08 June--the sun is shining, the summer heat has not yet begun to fight. Neither have the raucous Mollies of the Marmalade Moon--they are keeping a low profile as they cross at Fickleford Ferry landing. Gladdis, of course, is up to her usual smoky tricks....
Today is June 1st--it's a late spring-early summer day weatherwise. In the Gladdis of Rowanswood world the Weymooneans and Stellarians are past the Phalurian Fountains each on their separate missions