I’ve been reading webcomics for quite a while now – some I’ve stuck with, others, due to time constraints I’ve let drop.  I’m a big fan of them and how they go about telling there stories.  Now if only I could draw…

But I can’t, so I write.

Webcomics, for the most, sell there stories differently than authors.  They give it away for free upfront.  You go to the webcomic and there it is, available to read.  And yet, even doing so, some authors of webcomics earn a living.  They do this by building up a fanbase through there works who then buy copies of the book, the merchandise, sponsor them like old fashioned patrons etc.

Authors tend not to work that way, at least not for those who write full length novels.  For those that write short fiction and serials there are some who do so.

It is something that I am starting to try out now.  I have started a new blog, Tales From a Thousand Worlds, where three times a week I’ll post my short stories in small parts of about 1000 words at a time, give or take.  It is both an experiment and an effort to hopefully begin building up a collection of people who enjoy reading my stories, and do so on a regular basis.

We’ll see how it goes.

It has been a while since I have last updated what has been going on writing wise.  Probably about time I did.

I have today just finished off the rewrite of a brand new short story, in the Peregrine and Blade series.  It comes in at around 11,000 words and is titled The Oasis of Broken Bones.  The series has been the main focus of my writing as of late.  There are currently 16 stories completed in that series, ranging from 2000 to 25000 words in length. Between them they number some 166000 words, which is a fair amount.  Only seven of those have ever been seen so far.  In addition, 8 more are in various stages of planning.  All of them will be coming to light soon I hope.

In addition, there are some 24 other short stories and novellas in other collections gathering dust, with a number more planned.

More news on what is going to happen to them all should happen soon.  At least that is the plan.

 

The Melancholy of Old Towns

Posted: April 13, 2015 in General
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Last week my wife and baby daughter and I spent a few days on her uncle’s farm out in the country.  On the way there and back we passed through a number of small country towns.  As is often the case, I get a touch melancholy when passing through small towns like that because many have obviously seen better days.  All the old and abandoned churches, shops, houses and schools speak of a time when they were thriving, and to see them slowly wither away touches me.

Part of the problem, as I see it, is that transport is both too fast and not fast enough.  When these places were settled, there were no cars and transport was much slower.  So the towns were self contained communities.  As transportation became faster and faster, the need for all the services was reduced and people could move more freely.  The cities sucked in all the people looking for work and the decline began.

Now imagine if we had super fast transportation, where instead of being three hours from the city, these little places were only half an hour.  You’d probably find people moving out again as jumping on a fast train to take  30 minute ride into the city followed by a short walk to work is a lot faster than many commutes people make by car as is.  At least I’d hope so.  The big cities are getting too crowded and congested.

One thing I want to do, if I ever become a multi-millionaire best seller, is buy one of these fading old towns, or at least a part of it, and bring it back to life somehow.  Maybe make it a writers retreat.  Which would really require a cafe/bakery as well.  Its a nice dream, though one doubtful to ever happen.

It is amazing what you can sometimes stumble across on the internet when searching for an almost totally unrelated subject.

For me, it was this guy, Prince Khaemweset.  He was the grandson of Seti I, and son of Ramesses II.  That is right, THE Ramesses.  Ramesses the Great.

Khaemweset was the second son of Ramesses, born in the 13th century BC, and became a priest, the Sem-Priest of Ptah.  What he is best remembered for is restoring the monuments of earlier kings and nobles, for which he is sometimes called the first Egyptologist.

Consider this; by the time he was born, Ancient Egypt had been around for almost 2000 years already, and many of the monuments he restored were well over 1000 years in age.

Fast forward to the Greco-Roman period over 1000 years later and Khaemweset is reborn in Egyptian literature, albeit more as a mythological hero, called Setne Khamwas.  Setne was a corruption of his title, setem-priest.  There are two stories we know of, and I’d like to think there are more out there waiting to be discovered.

In the first, Setne Khamwas and Naneferkaptah, he comes across as something of an adventure archaeologist, a sort of precursor to Indiana Jones, seeking out for the Book of Thoth in the tomb of Prince Naneferkaptah.  Needless to say, it doesn’t go entirely as planned.

The second, Setne Khamwas and Si-Osireinvolves trips to the afterlife, a magician from the past and an evil magician from Nubia out to destroy Egypt.

I’m hoping to get a chance to read them soon as they sound rather interesting.  Plus I am sure there are parts of them I can use as ideas or inspiration for stories.  I’m guessing that by now they have also fallen into public domain. 🙂

Yes, I Am Still Around

Posted: March 15, 2015 in General, writing
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It had been a while since I last posted to my blog – much longer than I had realised when I checked it out.  Over a year.  That is just a little too long a break.  But I am still around and will get back into the swing of things.

Life over the last year has been busy.  Between being newly married as well as starting a new job, our world was changed by the arrival of a baby daughter, Aubriana Skye, 5 months ago.  As with all bundles of joy, she doesn’t allow much time for writing.  For the first 4 months of her life I got none done, but now, as she gets a bit older, I have started up again.  Not that I’d change any of it.  Being a dad is an amazing experience.

The blog will be undergoing an update as well at some point, and a whole backlog of stories will start making an appearance.  I hope.

As for the million word challenge.  Didn’t quite make it.  Think it clocked in at around 330,000 in the end.  But with last year as hectic as it was, it was understandable that I didn’t make it.  I hope to try the challenge again someday – not this year though.

I can’t remember when I first started reading Terry Pratchett – sometime in the late 80s I think, when Discworld was just starting out.  Nor can I remember what the first one I read was.  But I have been reading Discworld every since and I have a large collection of books on the bookshelf.  He quickly became one of my favourite authors.  I wasn’t alone in that – during the 90s he was UKs most popular author, only being surpassed by J.K. Rowling later on.  And his fame was not limited to the UK.  His 70 books sold 85 million copies around the world, in over 40 languages.

Waking up yesterday to hear the news of his passing hit me harder than I had expected.  He’d been sick for some time so it wasn’t unexpected and nor am I the type to get caught up in the death of famous people.  Yet in this case it did and I spent a lot of yesterday rather down.

It is sad to think that we will never get another Discworld book, which after getting 2-3 a year at his peak, will take some adjusting too.  But his prolific nature left us a large body of work to go on reading over the years.

RIP Sir Terry Pratchett.  You will be missed.

The string of not quite meeting the challenge targets has continued this week, aided by having three days of relief work that saw little done on those days.  Plus today I have a job interview to see whether it becomes a more permanent arrangement.  I have also temporarily paused writing up notes on the background on the fantasy epic series while I do research on a number of matters; language, mythology, cultures, history etc, looking for ideas and inspiration.

Block 1: Target: 3500 words. Output: 1057.  Overall total: 31232 (Target: 31500).

Block 2: Target: 7000 words.  Output: 6232. Overall total: 62755 (Target: 63000).

Block 3: Target: 10500 words. Output: 10808.  Overall total: 119566 (Target: 94500).

2014 total to date: 213533 (Target: 189000).  Daily average: 3390 words.

We have now completed the second month of the year so it is time to look back over the progress of it.

I did not have quite as much time to write this month, given I was doing relief work for two days a week during it, and as a result the output did drop a bit.  Compared to the 120,000 from last month, this month was only 81,458 in comparison.

Of that 13818 words were written on the background notes for the new epic fantasy under design.  I had been aiming for 14,000 so fell just short.

24812 went into drafts of new stories, a bit short of the 28,000 I had been aiming for.

42,828 was of rewrites of old drafts and stories, slightly above the 42,000 I had set for the month.

There are now 1 novella, 11 novelettes and 2 short stories complete, an addition of 5 novelettes from last month, still all from the same three series.

Obviously the proofread, edit and covers didn’t get done last month.  No promises for this month either…

The last week I didn’t get as much done as I should have.  Occasionally these things happen, which is why I went hard at the beginning to bank extra words, so to speak, to cover such periods.  But I picked up in the last couple of days, finishing off one rewrite (the thirteenth) and a new rough draft of over 16,000 words.  By the time the rewrite is done it will probably be closer to 20,000.

Block 1: Target: 3500 words. Output: 3745.  Overall total: 30175 (Target: 28000).

Block 2: Target: 7000 words.  Output: 5489. Overall total: 56523 (Target: 56000).

Block 3: Target: 10500 words. Output: 11084.  Overall total: 108758 (Target: 84000).

2014 total to date: 195456 (Target: 168000).  Daily average: 3429 words.

Diving Into An Ancient City

Posted: February 21, 2014 in History
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Have you every wanted to dive to ancient city lost beneath the waves?  No, I’m not talking about Atlantis here.  I’m talking about a city sunk beneath the waters deliberately by man.  I’m not talking about the Aswan Dam in Egypt either, but a place in China.

In 1959, a hydroelectric scheme in China created the Qiandao Lake (literally the Thousand Island Lake).  In the process of doing so, it sunk an ancient city, called Shi Cheng (Lion City), which was founded somewhere between 25 to 200 AD, to a depth of between 25 and 40 metres.

Now enterprising types are offering tourist dives to see the city.  If I ever go to China, it is certainly a place I’d like to visit.

Australia, despite its young age as a nation, is not without its abandoned settlements.  Many of this are from the Gold Rush era, quickly springing into existence, and just as quickly fading away.  As the population has become more urbanised, it has continued on.  I’ve walked in a few of these places, and there is a melancholy air to them.  These were places people lived, worked and loved, and now only the memories remain.  I can only imagine diving in such a place would be even more so.

And as a writer, sunken cities are filled with all sorts of possibilities…