Back from Hiatus

I am almost done with my contest judging and I am now writing again. At work, things are quiet as we wait to see if there is going to be another layoff with this expected reorg. So I will attempt to resume my twice-weekly posting schedule, one personal (like this one) and one something-else.

I’ll be taking a staycation soon, and during it I need to determine whether I keep this site where it is or move it to another host. Right now, this site is hosted on WordPress.com, which is good, but does not have the flexibility of a self-hosted site. However, flexibility = time commitment, and I’m not sure if I need another of those. This site may have to remain good enough for now.

East of Yesterday is up to 82,000 words. I’ve been retrofitting the first 100 pages before I launch into the ending.

I have also been thinking again about Magic by Starlight. Once I finish EOY, maybe I can finish up MBS and have two books to market.

And I have been thinking epic fantasy again. I have always wanted to write one, and I have a new idea. I am still in the early idea stage, but I did start a wiki for it yesterday.

I have not been reading many books that I can review lately because I think I ought to remain discreet about my contest judging, but I still get review copies from time to time and some of them look amazing, so I may have some book reviews soon. (I still don’t take review copies–these are unsolicited books from publicists who have my address.)

I discovered a very cool website that I’ll be posting about on Wednesday.

Do any of you use Office 13? I am able to get it inexpensively through work, but I don’t want it if it is too tightly-coupled with their online services. I may jump ship and use OpenOffice because they appear to have vastly improved their Navigator functionality. Any word processor I use must have some sort of document navigation tool, which is what has kept me with MS Word all this time.

19 thoughts on “Back from Hiatus”

  1. I’m glad the judging is far enough along you can get back to writing. That sounds like a real improvement. {Smile}

    The writing sounds like it’s making progress, which is nice, too. {SMILE}

    I really don’t think my Microsoft Office is as recent as 13. Sorry. {apologetic Smile}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

  2. Welcome back! 🙂 I’m so glad you’ve been able to get some work done on your books (for purely selfish reasons). You said you’re thinking about Epic Fantasy. So… what do you consider makes fantasy epic? I always think wars and quests -but especially wars- with a sinister villain and a massive battle at the end -but I grew up on quest stories. It took me a while to figure out that people could be heroic right in their own village. I would always spend so much time developing their hometown that I had trouble leaving it to follow my plot, so figuring out that I didn’t actually have to make my heroes go anywhere was a huge breakthrough.

    My question about epics is partly a conversation starter, so if the answer is too time consuming (or would reveal too much of your secret yet epic plans) feel free to ignore it. 🙂

    1. It sounds like our visions of “epic fantasy” are pretty similar. I love the Warrior Woman trope, and I have written such a novel, but it is something of a mess and my current editor told me that she could tell it was an earlier work because it lacked my “usual polish”. Ouch. I love, love, love that story, but … I potentially like this new one too. Maybe I have moved on.

      This one will involve a quest, but the nature of it I don’t know yet. I think a battle could work very well in the story. Right now, I just have a few opening sentences, and some odd bits of worldbuilding.

  3. I’ve never really played with the Warrior Women trope. I’m not sure if it’s because I grew up semi non-resistant or because I saw some really bad examples in my impressionable youth. (I can’t think what they were, I just know I got very frustrated with stories where people thought they could replace characterization with `she’s a girl- but she has a sword! That’s, like, deep!’) I would be happy to see you take the trope and treat it properly. 🙂 Looking back, I see the Warrior Woman story isn’t the one you’re currently working on. (Oops.) But since you love the trope, it’ll probably pop up again in your writing and I’ll still see it.

    My latest story started out all Epic, with an Evil Dark Lord and everything, only… I’ve read so many articles on giving your villains strong motives that my Dark Lord sort of devolved into a minor bandit and instead of a war, the intrepid band of heroes are trying to stop a border skirmish. The stakes for my main character are a lot higher now, though.

    1. Evil Dark Lords are kind of hard to pull off these days anyway, so maybe the smaller, more personal stakes are for the best.

      My paladin story (for that’s what it is) is going to have two kingdoms at war, so the “evil dark lord” will only be the neighboring king … or queen. I’ve given my kings a particular bond with the land, and the paladins share the bond with the king. And the neighboring king uses some kind of magic that subverts the bond somehow … yeah, still working it out.

      I do NOT want to make my paladins bonded with some deity. I was thinking of the original paladins–those who served Charlemagne and (although not known as such) Arthur.

  4. Sort of a `Fisher King’ idea? (I probably only thought that because you mention King Arthur.) I haven’t done much reading on Charlemagne, but I can get the idea of paladins by your mention of Arthur and thinking how closely the knights were associated with their king, and of course the chairs that would magically inscribe their names if they were meant to be knights of the round table. That’s a bit of magic that’s under-appreciated. (Maybe I should write `geek-out warning’ the way people put `spoiler alert.) 🙂 I think the paladin story sounds interesting. I think one thing with the whole Evil Dark Lord trope is that it kind of forces you to deal with empires when really, before modern communication -well there were some empires (Rome. Babylon. Egypt. The Mayans.) but a lot of communities were pretty isolated. Some of the early empires were rather small by modern standards. As an American that’s hard for me to wrap my mind around. I’m used to living in a country that stretches over a large portion of the continent (even if it is divided into states). I think that has a bigger affect than we realize on how Americans, at least, write fantasy cultures.

    1. I don’t think you need to apologize for liking King Arthur. My favorite knight of his are Gawaine, and Carradoc of the Shrunken Arm. I think they show up best in their own legends, especially “Gawaine and the Green Knight” for him. For Carradoc, I’ve only found Bulfinch’s summaries, but I’d love to read the stories he summarized. They’re amazing even in summary. {GRIN, wink}

      Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

    2. Replying to both Chicory and Anne–I don’t think the paladin story is going to be much like Arthur or Charlemagne. I only drew that comparison because the paladin stories I have read– THE DEED OF PAKSENARRION really being the only one–or paladins based on game systems are beholden to a god. The knights of Arthur and Charlemagne were beholden to a king, instead.

      And then I started wondering where a paladin’s evil detection and other abilities might have come from, if not from some god. I’ll probably play with the trope quite a bit and bring it closer to the medieval sources, but the story itself has already taken shape, and the Barefoot King is barefoot for a reason, and can have a bond with a limited number of paladins for a reason. He is both powerful and vulnerable. And he will have an heir, a young princess who will form a bond with her first paladin early on.

      I am really thrilled that you guys are interested in the concept.

      1. Dad is reading another Paladin series right now, Tia. It’s David Weber’s fantasy series… Baen calls it “the War God” series. Yes, more gods, but with that short a list, I thought another take on Paladins might help even with Gods. {Smile}

        I really am interested in your paladin idea, Tia. I tend to prefer books where the gods aren’t too close to the foreground, if you know what I mean. {Smile, wink}

        Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

        1. Okay, this time my comment won’t move out of place because I hit the reply button.

          A Barefoot King is such an interesting concept. Contradictions are always attention grabbing. I’m definitely interested now. 🙂

          I’m with you both on the whole gods thing. I do enjoy classical and Norse myths about temperamental deities, but I never actually think of them as gods. They just seems like regular main characters with weird abilities.

          1. Like badly behaved superheroes! I can’t imagine a serious paladin worshipping one of them. So yeah, I’ll just avoid the concept.

            I absolutely love my Barefoot King idea. Really, I’m having a hard time concentrating on my current WIPs.

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