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!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Stamp Stuff...answers

There is this really kewl stamp store based in Illinois that I usually go to when I have a dollar or two to throw at my collection. It is run by Ralph Schneider and I asked if he would look at the last post I made and answer some of my questions. I did not think he would have the time to do it or if he did get around to it, he would get back to me in a week or so. His answers arrived just a few hours after I sent him the link.

His store is here: R. Schneider Stamps

Scott # 1: (MI 1Xb) orange on hand made paper.
Scott # 2: appears to be hand made paper, but he wasn't sure.
Scott # 3: The first is hand made paper, the second he couldn't tell. Neither are laid paper.
Scott # 5: Both are type II printing (he did explain that how to be sure would be a very long answer.)

He did not mention # 4, but he did lead me to the book I need to get to do my research. I think I mentioned that neither Scotts, nor ANK provided adequate descriptions as to determining what is what. Mr. Schneider recommended the Michel Austria Specialized catalog. He also recommended that I join AUSPS (Austrian Philatelic Society) which I will look into. From what I can gather at this time, joining would be a great learning experience.

Vengeance of the Ghost is progressing. The editting session of last weekend was a great help. Some rather jumpy parts to the story were ironed out so that it reads much easier. Besides that, their input is always great motivation.

More later,

A couple more stamps:

This poor stamp (filler till I can get a better one) is Scott # 28: 3 kreuzer green from the 1867-72 issue.
This is Scott # 29: 5 kreuzer rose also from 1867-72 issue. I believe it is the Type II variety.

Scott # 41: 2 kreuzer brown from 1883.
Scott # 42: 3 kreuzer green, also 1883
Scott # 43: 5 kreuzer rose from 1883.

All of these stamps are fillers until I get better copies.

Stamp stuff

One of my many hobbies is stamp collecting. I've been playing around with it on and off for many years. My most recent delving into the hobby is focused on Austrian stamps. Stamp collecting, regardless of the country or subject, has many nuances that must be learned. For example: the first five Austrian issues have quite a few varieties. They were issued on two types of paper, handmade and machine made and there are several varieties to the actual designs and colors. I'm finding that the Scott's catalog and the ANK catalog are not much help with determining which is which.

Scott # 1. I have yet to discover how to determine the paper used for the issue. The Type I variety is supposed to have one heavy line around the coat of arms center. The Type III has two thinner lines around the center. I'm not exactly sure which lines they are talking about.
1 Kreuzer yellow. Either 1850 or 1854 (depending on the paper.)

Scott # 2:

2 Kreuzer black.

Scott # 3: I have 2 of these and I'm not sure if they are the same issue or one of each issue. The first one, when compared to the second one, appears to be handmade paper. This is a guess on my part. It could be 'laid paper' which is another variety for this stamp.
3 Kreuzer red.

Scott # 4: This one, like numbers 2 and 3, could also be on ribbed paper. I have yet to find out how to tell if the paper is ribbed or not. The ribbed paper variety is for the 1850 issue.
6 Kreuzer brown.

Scott # 5: I believe that these are both either type II or type III due to the '9' being much higher than the word 'Kreuzer'. Once again, the thick line or 2 thinner lines around the coat of arms will determine the final outcome. Once that is determined, the paper used needs to be identified.

9 Kreuzer blue

I'm posting this blog in the hope that someone sees it and helps rid me of some ignorance. I would be greatly appreciative if someone does that!

More later...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

More progress...

Vengeance of the Ghost has finally broken the 30,000 word mark and Chapter 11 is written. I'm finding the third book to be much darker than the first two. I believe Arienna, Mistress and Kht-dulm are the reason for this. Just like most nasty-bad types, they like to get a lot of attention. Chapter 11 features Kht-dulm and sets up some other stuff that will happen soon.

I know of at least one reader who had difficulty with seeing Karnak as evil. His role in the story makes it very difficult to show his 'true' self. I do try to bring out his nature in some of his dialogue. If it were his story, things would be much different. I mention that, because I don't believe the evil characters in Vengeance will disappoint that reader.

kaben nine has also made a return visit to me. Before long I will have to return to his story or he will begin depriving me of sleep again. As for now, Chapter 12 begins tomorrow. Next Saturday, I meet with my support group friends and I'm really looking forward to it. These meetings are usually quite unpredictable, but they always center my focus and make the writing process much easier. I don't think I'd have made it this far without those people.

More later,
Thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Progress, slow but getting there...

Vengeance of the Ghost is progressing. I've finally finished the first draft of Chapter 10. It has taken so long that I am going back over the story before beginning Chapter 11. This helped solve one of the problems I've been having. Chapter 4 originally had the seduction of Simon by his older sister in it. This being the third book of the series and that subject matter appearing for the first time, I decided to cut it. This left Chapter 4 rather skeletal and rushed. During the re-read, I worked on it again. The skeletal framework gave me a good start to building the new Simon. I think it reads much better now.

The second problem I've been having was that I was fighting the story to make it go my way. This began in Chapter 10. At first it was going to be the start of the war between the dwarves and the deep-elves. That didn't work so I changed it to concentrate on what was happening to Tal. The result was that a certain elf was going to die, or so I thought. Apparently, the story didn't want the character I wanted to kill the elf to do the deed. The story had other plans. After fighting to get my way for over a month, I decided to surrender to the story and things turned out much better. The elf that was going to die still lives, though probably not long and another problem that I would have had later has been solved. Hopefully, I'll be caught up with my re-read and moving on to chapter 11 tomorrow.

During the writing of the first two novels, I had several friends encouraging me along the way. They provided the support I needed to believe what I was writing was good enough to publish. Over the last few months, real life has made their lives too hectic to give the story much attention and my support and belief went with them. I have no bad feelings towards them, they are friends and I realize that other things are far more important than reading someone's story. It just makes the writing far more difficult. I find myself questioning every word I put on the word-processor. I'm sure they'll be back when things calm down, but until then, writing will probably be slow.

At this point, I still plan to have Vengeance out by May or June. That will be delayed if the book has not reached the standard of professionalism I expect my stories to have. I'll keep posting updates as the book progresses.

Thanks for reading.