This guy…

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Is going right into Sunrise or the next book on (War, I think). I bet those who haven’t read this entry don’t pick he is real!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMeuwYvlBI0

Landmark

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I just sent to my publisher these four things: the ms of Somewhere Else, the first chapter of the ‘sapling’ now known as Sunrise, a stylesheet and a map of Camp Flotsam aka The Academy of Heroes. How does that feel? Incredibly, deeply satisfying. I have done it; I have reached a goal. I’m happy with what I have done and eager to do it all over for Sunrise. I don’t think things get better than that.

This last week one of the giants in the forest of writing, Ray Bradbury, fell. He was a man who understood and ran arms open to the addictive pleasures of writing. I am trying now, instead of being scared, to open my own arms to the powerful compulsion to write more and more. These quotes from Ray say it like I want it to be:

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”
― Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

“You grow ravenous. You run fevers. You know exhilarations. You can’t sleep at night, because your beast-creature ideas want out and turn you in your bed. It is a grand way to live.”
― Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

I often feel the latter sensation and it is a grand way to live.

Finally I have two links to share. One is a great series of thoughts about story telling from one of Pixar’s staff and the other is the art of a great designer, Francois Schuiten,  from Brussels. He created cities that shaped his characters and I really love some of what is pictured (via Dylan Horrocks).

Peato

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I share my home with three lovely people. One of them, Peato, has just been diagnosed with cancer. He has a large carcinoma on his arm and encephalitis to boot. He needs lifesaving brain surgery and surgery to remove the fist sized lump on his bicep.

Peato is the dad to a seven year old who needs his father. Peato’s older brother died of cancer when he was 28. They really don’t need to lose Peato, aged 30, as well. Any help funding his surgery so he can have it more quickly would be much appreciated! Please share this.


Shoots and Leaves

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The second book in the Rift Tide series is underway. For now I am calling it the Sapling; the actual working title I have for it seems more apt for the book coming after it. So the name of this new book is elusive. However, it is steadily putting out new shoots. I call each page I write longhand, in my small lined book, a leaf. Yesterday there were three new leaves and today there have already been two. This book just wants to come out it seems. Long may it continue so. Rewrites on Somewhere Else continue, as always slowly. I find rewriting torturous, until I hit my stride each day, and so I am slow to begin. I need to work my way over this! It is limiting me.

Today I have also spent a lot of time in research. A likely unmentioned aspect of  the history of the two realms is that the last time Kalesskin and other creatures journeyed from Else to Earth (instead of vice versa) was during the Minoan period (*coff coff*). People and animals journeyed from Earth to Else around 100ad – 900ad taking the technology of that period with them. Then 1450 – 1600 AD Else spawn traveled back to Earth on the return tide, heavily influencing Aztec culture. Now, today, that tide has reversed again. At the time of  Somewhere Else people will have been traveling from Earth to Else for 30 years.

At the moment I am collaborating with some really clever artists and programmers. I have no idea what the outcome will be in terms of output but I am very much looking forward to seeing what they come up with. Today I had a huge amount of fun identifying what aspects of Minoan and Aztec culture were influenced by the cultures of Else as it arrived where these civilizations were centered. I sent my artist co-conspirators Aztec and Minoan images to work from with an added dash of Dark Crystal related art because I adore Brian Froud. He and Miyazaki influence nearly everything I do. :)

Reading wise I have had an enormous amount of inspiring stuff on the go. Which may also explain why my dreams are currently so heavily populated by dimension shifting magical visitors, zombie stabbings, vampires, and fantastic rollicks through the Middle East. I have read the first of the collected volumes of  Fables stories by Bill Willingham (yes, in some things I am a late bloomer! But better late than never right?!) and am onto the second. I thoroughly enjoyed Robin Hobb/ Megan Linholm’s new anthology Inheritance. It joins Smoke and Mirrors and Daughter of Regals in the category of best short story collections that I love. ;) Any fan of Hobb and Lindholm will enjoy it.  I have also explored Marvel’s releases of Soleil’s comics (they are a French Graphic Novel house). Ithaq was nice. But my heart was won by the characters and art of Daffodil. I especially liked the badger headed fellow, and wished for more of his back story, and the two human children featured who rather stole the show from all the vampires. Daffodil is charming.

This week I also discovered the wonderful Atlas of True Names which I now covet! What a great source! It looks beautifully done, too.

And now? Alors, more rewriting T__T

Reaching Out

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I am pretty much finished rewriting Somewhere Else. Phew! It is a great feeling.

This is a particularly interesting time for me because it is when other people get really involved in the book. Most of the time an author works in complete, or near complete, isolation. Now though, I am working on getting together some character drawings of the inhabitants of Else and doing further work to revamp this site. Other goodies are in the works. Various readers have been giving me feedback on the book (It has been great to hear more responses to the story). All this involves reaching out to a lot of people and being unafraid to show them what I am doing with all its warts and bumps. I love the contact and the discussions these processes generate.

I have also been contacting schools in the real world neighborhoods of my fictional characters. My hope is that some students will read for me and tell me what would make the children in my story more real to them. Unfortunately, I am finding that often, when faced with someone claiming to be an author from half a world away, school principals not unreasonably suspect they are being pranked!

I live in hope. It would be so exciting to have contact with teachers and students in West Ham, the Bronx, Sapporo, Minnesota, St Petersberg and the exotic locale of Twizel! What might they tell me about my characters that I didn’t already know? I will update this blog with any news I have of success and reports on what the kids tell me.

But right now? I have to hurry along my archery expert (is what I did to those bows really ok?) and see if I can track down a martial artist. All part of the proofing process. And so much fun!

Cleese and Dracula

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This talk by John Cleese is a wonderful ”how to” on the basics of creativity. I found it well worth the 36 minutes that I spent listening to it and I will probably listen to it again.

I also really enjoyed this story about Bram Stoker writing his own contracts for Dracula.  He sounds a very capable man.

Cochlear Implants for the Deaf

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Radio New Zealand just ran a news story about the difficulty of getting cochlear implants in New Zealand. Each implant costs $40,000 to $50,000 and the health system currently funds twenty per year.  Cochlear implants are most effective when implanted in children and, for that price with a little ongoing support, a profoundly deaf child will be able to hear speech – for instance – for the rest of their lives.  Typically people who receive the implants are unable to get benefits from other devices such as hearing aids.

For those who want cochlear implants in our public health system there is a wait of four to ten years. Most patients get one implant so they can hear from one ear only. Of course, two implants per patient would boost the amount heard by each recipient dramatically.

Today a petition with 7680 signatures was presented to parliament to request more funding for cochlear implants. Mojo Mathers “says the implants need to be funded through the public health system, not the disability services.” (Radio NZ). If cochlear implants were funded this way many more would be available.

I think it is important that profoundly deaf New Zealanders are given then chance to hear. Good luck Mojo – I hope parliament hears and acts on the message this petition presents.

Centaur Skeleton on display

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If you wonder about Drinan’s skeletal structure in days to come you could visit this museum.

A Belated Christmas Thank You

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The Amazing and Tremendous kids of Room Three at St John’s Hill School in Wanganui sent me this splendid Christmas card. I love it! Thanks all you former Room Three denizens and Ms Pickett! You guys rock! I hope you kids all get a teacher as cool as Ms Pickett next year and have heaps of fun over the holidays. Stay in touch! <3

Beagles and Resurrection

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I was delighted to hear that Peter S Beagle is finally being paid some of the profits from the movie of his book The Last Unicorn. Well done to the new CEO of ITV for a sensible and ethical response to the situation. I am really looking forward to seeing the new, remastered movie. Hopefully, he might screen it at Worldcon in 2013.

I am also thrilled that Chapter 11 of  Somewhere Else is wrapped. It ended up coming in at just over 5000 words. I have already written and typed up Chapter 13 – so I am hard at work on Chapter 12 – titled “Resurrection.” It has currently got 511 words all of its very own – aww bless ^^ It should be really coming to life shortly! [/puns].  In the week ahead, there should also be baby steps on this website and on the map Nani Mahal is making for me of the camp.

Finally, a message of support for people occupying cities all over the world. Thank you for providing a voice for so many people who don’t have one otherwise.