August 2008

I have been engaged in an interesting project over the past few days, drawing up a ‘Family Tree’ for the characters of Song of the Arkafina.  I may or may not include the finished diagram as an appendix to the last volume Beyond the Gyre.  It might be helpful, because there are A LOT of characters.  But on the other hand, it would give crucial aspects of the story away.  Fine, as long as the reader waits until they finish all the books before looking at the charts.  But what if they don’t?

I am amazed at how complex the interrelationships of my characters have grown over the course of the four books.  Some characters married people to whom they were related.  The closest are first cousins, which is legal, but only in some places. 🙂 There are adopted children, half-brothers and sisters, multiple spouses, children of affairs–you get the idea.  Somehow charting all this has made it seem even more real to me.

I used a free program called Family Tree Maker, available from My Heritage, a site dedicated to genealogy.

Even if I don’t decide to use the finished chart, I still think the exercise was worthwhile.  I plan to base several more books around the world I built for Song of the Arkafina, which I named the Gyre Cosmos.  The characters and their descendants will be making cameo appearances in the later works, and I know I will not be able to carry around all those complex relationships in my head forever.

What I am listening to:Live in Central Park/Simon&Garfunkel

What I am reading:The Call of the Sword/Roger Taylor

add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank

I have just finished some site renovations, and added a couple of new tabs.  Rather than having all the books of Song of the Arkafina listed, I have grouped their pages under a new tab.  I have also added a short information page “about me” and added a new picture, of me playing my hurdy gurdy.

I haven’t had this instrument out of the box in awhile, and hopefully this picture will encourage me to do so.  It is  difficult to play, and quite rare, so I haven’t been able to find anyone here to give me lessons.  The sound is unique, and seems to elicit strong emotion–you either love it or hate it!

add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank

Though I haven’t managed any new words on Wintermoon Ice for the last couple weeks, I am still thinking about it. Just over half of the book is set in the present day, and I am worried that it will date once a few more years have passed.

It reminds of an incident that happened last year when my daughters and I sat down to watch the movie American Gigolo. I had told them about the famous scene with the gravity boots at the beginning and they were keen to see it. But when “Julie” (Richard Gere’s character, the gigolo) appears for the first time, they broke into derisive giggles.

“Look how high his pants are,” they laughed. “What a dork.” (Actually they said something else that I can’t repeat in a family blog, but you get the gist.

Ketha's Daughter paperback cover

It hadn’t occurred to me that they would notice this, because I grew up in the era when men, even cool and sexy ones, wore their trousers up to their waistline.  Now, in the strange way that culture has of grandfathering trends, anyone who wears trousers like that is a dork.

So have I written a lot of present-day coolness that is going to turn into dorkiness in a few years time?  I hope not, but trends date quickly.  By avoiding extended descriptions of my character’s clothing and hairstyles I might be safe, but what about language–and technology?

I thought my difficulties with transport in the pre-car era were painful and that is why I chose to set this novel in the present.  But now, I am beginning to wonder if I am happier in the past after all.

On a different note, here is something I have been working on for the last week–the paperback cover for Ketha’s Daughter.  See what you think.

What I am listening to: Plan/Death Cab for Cutie
What I am reading: Main Chancers/Warren Karno

add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank

I have been given the publication dates for the paperback versions of Song of the Arkafina.  It looks as though Volume I, Heart of Hythea, will be out by the middle of next month, assuming we can get everything organized.  The cover art for a book is a bit different than that for an ebook cover, because you have a spine and a back to fill up as well. I have made a little icon for the series to go on the spine.

I will post more information as I have it, but right now the idea is to have all the books in paperback by Christmas!  (Hmm…  Guess I know what everyone is getting for a present this year!)

On a different tack, I found the most amazing internet comic this morning.  I am the last person who ever hears about anything cool, so forgive me if this is old news.  Check out:


The strip is set in prohibition-era St. Louis, and has the most beautiful artwork imaginable, especially if you are a cat-lover like me!

What I am reading: Nothing.  My daughter has my ebook reader…

What I am listening to: Blood, Fire, Death/Bathory

add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank

Spent all day yesterday rebuilding my system after DH replaced my hard drive with something bigger and faster.  It took a looonnng time to reinstall all the software and configure it the way I like it.  But now it is about 90% finished and I can get back to writing.  Hopefully.  But since I also have this awful, awful cold, it might be difficult to concentrate.

I have been reading the poetry of Robert Service, who was born in Scotland but wrote his most famous poems about the Canadian wilderness.  A lot of people think it isn’t terribly sophisticated stuff, but it has a lovely rhythm and picturesque use of language that I find appealing.  I have also written some poetry, but not much of it has ever seen the light of day.  It tends to be a thing I do when I am depressed, and so doesn’t make terribly cheerful reading afterwards.

I  just returned a contract to my publisher for printed versions of Song of the Arkafina, and I am looking forward to being able to hold my work in my hands.  (Even though technically I can do that with the ebook reader, it just isn’t the same thing.  Maybe that is why they haven’t taken off the way people predicted they would?)

We are shooting for Sept 22nd as a target date for Beyond the Gyre, so I had better get cracking on a new page and some cover art!


What I am listening to: Creatures of Habit/Billy Squier

What I am reading: Ballads of a Bohemian/Robert Service

add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank