Saturday, March 16, 2013

Rush - Presto

Rush has been one of my favorite bands since the mid 1970s. This album, which I recently dug out of the shelves, was one I did not enjoy when it was released. This was mainly due to the previous album, which I found very disappointing.
I've been listening to this one in my car whenever I leave the house. I've found a new appreciation for it. Alex's guitar is back to the forefront and the over abundance of keyboards is gone. The keyboards are still here, but they augment the music on this CD rather than dominate. The lyrics are intelligent and Geddy's voice is strong.
Instrumentally, the album is well put together. There is not a weak song on the disc. If I had to pick one song from this CD to add to a favorites list, I would have a lot of trouble deciding.
 Overall, this release is excellent.

The re-work of Shadow of the Ghost is going well. I've managed to find a way to get Lord Ky's real name (the one he couldn't say) into the story. This is something I could not find a way to do in the original version. I'm also trying to do some sketches for the interior. Hopefully, I can find a way to incorporate them into the kindle version.
 The new story is also progressing, slowly but surely. There are some interesting twists in this one. This story takes place within the Eldar forest. It will enable me to delve into the Eldar society a bit and step away from the elders that exiled Lord Ky in the first book.

More later...

Friday, March 15, 2013

New place for blog

I've moved my blog to my website. You can view new entries at Tanner's Blog. This gives me a place where I can better understand how to set things up. I also have a bit more control of the content there.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I'm back

It has been too long since I've posted here. For today, I'll post a little update. Shadow of the Ghost is being reworked and re-edited. When that is finished, I will publish the new version via Create Space. I'm hoping that I can simply replace the kindle guts so that those that have already purchased the original version can download the new version without buying it again. Since I've never redone a book, I'm not sure how that will work.

I'm also working on a new story, working title: Kyrean. This story starts about 250 years after the end of Vengeance of the Ghost. Most of the old characters will be there as well as some new faces. I'll include a sample at the end of this post. The story is about half completed.

I've also returned to college. I'm working on a degree in game programming. If all works out the way I plan, several games will be developed using the world of El-Elasia as a setting.

Excerpt from Kyrean:

Maki lay still. He could not remember where he was or how he had gotten there. It felt as if he were lying on cold stone. He opened his eyes. A canopy of dark leaves swayed gently and silently above him. He could not feel the breeze that appeared to be moving through the trees. Slowly, he sat up and looked around. He was in a forest, but everything around him was black: the tree trunks, the leaves, the undergrowth, the grasses. There was no variation in color. Maki could see a few shafts of light that broke through the upper canopy, but even they did nothing to brighten the landscape.
A strong breeze buffeted him and he thought he heard the word 'stand.' He was unsure if the word came from the breeze or his own mind, but he was sure that he was compelled to oblige. He stood and tried using his senses to determine if anything or anyone lived here.
Maki frowned. He should have been able to sense the plants he could see at the very least, but his senses revealed nothing to him. Once again the breeze stirred around him. 'Walk.'
Then he noticed that the pathway on which he stood differed from all else. It was a dark gray in color rather than black. He started forward. After the third step, the breezed commanded him to stop. He stopped and waited. He had no choice.
Maki had no idea what he was supposed to see, but he searched ahead and to the sides. Frustrated he shook his head.
Maki looked at the ground at his feet, then back where he had started. Footprints. His footprints. The breeze came again. To Maki it seemed to sigh with disappointment.
Maki frowned. The path he walked upon was packed to the consistency of stone. How did he leave footprints. He backtracked and covered his trail and tried again, concentrating on walking as softly as he could. Three steps, stop, look.
Footprints again.
He hid them and tried again. And again. And again. He clenched his fists, angry and frustrated. 'Impossible,' he told himself and turned to continue down the pathway. Before his foot could touch the ground on that first step, the wind blasted him and knocked him back to his starting point.
The back of Maki's head hit the ground hard. The canopy above him grew blurry as the pain of the impact shot through his mind. He tried to sit up, but the dizziness caused him to crumple to the ground again. He lay still staring into the swaying leaves above him until he could see them clearly, then tried to sit up again. Slowly. This time, he made it. His hand searched to back of his head where the pain was the sharpest. Nothing. No blood. Not even a knot.
He covered the footprints and tried again. He started to count his failures. Taking three steps, looking, backing up and erasing his trail. Over and over. He finally lost count. He felt he had been trying for days or weeks to move without leaving a trail. Finally, he succeeded.
Maki walked. The path led him through the silent forest. For a long time, nothing varied. Then he approached an area that felt vaguely familiar to him. 'An Eldar village,' he thought. The moment the thought passed through his mind, he knew he was wrong. There were no houses, no gardens, nothing that would suggest it would be a village. It felt like one anyway. He entered the village moving slowly, carefully.
Again the breeze came. 'Search.'
It had been so long since the breeze had spoken to him that it startled him. He froze, regaining his composure, then started searching. He moved through the village going from one side of the path to the other. Somehow he knew that he could not leave the gray area and enter the blackened forest, so he kept to the path.
The trees that lined the path were huge, completely blocking his view of the forest beyond when he drew near to them. Their trunks had what appeared to be cubbyholes in them. Some had many small ones, others had one or two large ones. They had not been carved into the trunks. Maki could see the bark covering the inner recesses. He had the impression that they had grown this way.
He searched the area for hours, examining hundreds of trees. He could not fathom the purpose of the cubbyholes but he had the feeling that they were like display cases for special collections. None of the cubbyholes housed anything though.
The path he walked spiraled inward. He finally arrived at the very center of the village of strange trees and froze. In the very center, a young Eldar, younger than he was, sat in a strange chair that had wheels instead of legs. Only the boys black hair and eyes matched the surroundings. The boy wore a dark green tunic and leggings and had the same olive toned skin that Maki had. He stared back at Maki placidly. No emotion could be seen in his expression.
Maki tried to go to him, but could not move. Then, as he watched, the boy and the chair crumbled in on themselves. In seconds only a small pile of black dust remained.
Then the breeze returned. It wound itself around Maki's body like a serpent.

I'll post more soon. I hope you enjoyed the teaser.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Almost a totally wasted day...

On, in the fantasy forums, there are several threads called KTT. The object is to be the last person to post and 'kill the thread' to win a signed book. The real pleasure is in actually participating in the conversations and enjoying the rather insane banter that goes on there. Somewhere during the last part of KTT 11, I got busy and did not keep up with it. Today, after a twelve hour effort, I finally caught up. It is now a 'zombie' thread, since the book has already been won and the thread killed per se. But people are still posting. I think one of my favorite aspects are the filks that get posted there.

As a result of wasting all that time catching up with KTT 11, I thought my 1k a day quota would fall by the wayside. Fortunately, my muse cooperated tonight and Vengeance is still progressing at just over 1000 words a day. I think I'm going to try to break the 50k mark tomorrow. We'll see.

Have a great whatever, more later...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Blasted muse and the tricky games she plays...

There are times when the muse gives you a perfectly played out scene then sits back and laughs at you as you struggle to find a way to get to it. Tonight was one of those times. It took over three frustrating hours to write the first fifty or so words of Chapter 16. Afterwards, the story flowed like a flash flood. In spite of the little games my muse likes to play, I made my daily quota. Unfortunately, kaben nine had to be neglected. He is currently sleeping off a rather rough day in Martel's torture cellar so probably needs the rest anyway.

Edited to add: I should wait until I'm awake to rant. The next paragraph is not targeted to the entire group of atheists/agnostics. I'm sure the vast majority of them are intelligent, open-minded people. The ones I had in mind are the obnoxious, ignorant, and noisy few who do not believe that their religious freedom rights end where the next person's begin. If they are so easily offended, that is their problem, and their problem alone.

On another note, I read an article in Linn's Stamp News that an atheist/agnostic organization is protesting the release of the upcoming Mother Theresa stamp. I find it a shame that these people, who must be very unhappy, can find nothing better to do than to try to make everyone else's life as miserable as their own. My thoughts are: if you don't like the stamp, don't buy it. On the last census I read, only 2% of our nation's population fall into the atheist/agnostic religious category. That works out to be about 2 people out of a hundred. Granted, there are other religions besides Christianity out there, this group seems to be the only one who is offended by such things. Since they are so few in number, maybe they should find an isolated island where they could all go and be miserably happy together without ruining everyone else's lives.

Anyway, more updates later...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Combined Council - 1

Chapter 15 is completed and with it the Combined Council loses another member. I won't go into details and spoil the fun. Both Vengeance of the Ghost and kaben nine enjoyed my attention today. The 1k a day quota was met, though barely. I'll be starting Chapter 16 tomorrow which will focus on a little chaos at the farm.

So far in this volume, Delmaria has refrained from kicking anymore buckets.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Updates and such...

Both Vengeance of the Ghost and kaben nine are progressing well. I've set a personal quota of at least 1,000 words a day for Vengeance. So far, I've been doing well with keeping that goal. kaben nine is the story I intend to finish after the release of Vengeance. There is no quota for it. I work on it when it becomes a distraction. It is a completely different style from the Lord of Chaos Trilogy. There is only one main character and it is a darker tale. The chapters are also much longer. So far, it fits more into the 'Horror/Thriller' genre with a bit of fantasy thrown in for good measure.

Vengeance will explain the origins of Stumpy. Several of the other gods have already been introduced this way in the first book. Some who have not, died before the opportunity to do so presented itself. The trilogy will end with the third book. Although some of the characters may appear in future stories, I'll be taking a break from them at least until kaben nine is complete.

I managed to find an older edition of Michel's Austria Specialized catalog rather cheaply priced and am now the proud owner of it. Mr. Schneider told me that even though it was written in German, it would be a great help in identifying the earlier stamps and their variations. I find this to be very true so far. Besides, Google Translate is very helpful. I've learned that sometimes I have to split the German words to get a translation, and with some fiddling here and there, everything I've encountered in the Michel guide, Google can translate.

I've begun working on a web site for my stamp collection. Part of it includes a cross reference of three of the major stamp guides and their numbering systems. I'm not totally happy with the layout yet, so expect it to change. It is also far from completed, although, the majority of my feeble collection is posted. You can find those pages here.

Slowly but surely, I'm getting my autograph collection scanned and posted to my facebook page. There are over a hundred there already and there will be at least that many more to come. Drop by and check them out!