Saturday, October 21, 2006

Monster Blog Tattoo.

A new entry at last! ... also, I reckon I should have called this page the above - except that people might find it harder to discover.

MBT Act 2: Lamplighter is certainly coming along, will be of greater girth than Foundling, but i warn all those who hated the 'Explicarium' - it is the plan to have another, so watch out at the rear parts of the tome: the story will be ending sooner than you think... and for those who love it, well there will be more.

I reckon a sneek preview might be in order, so here is an illo (that's what we call them in 'The Biz'...) of a new character. Let me introduce Threnody... but that's all I say on her.

Madbomber asks: "I have a question, what games do people play in HC? I'm thinking particularly in Taverns, when they want to gamble with one another. Dice or cards, or something else?"
Well, first the rivet counting: there are no such things as 'taverns' in the Hc, there are ale-houses, wine-shops, rum-stops, and of course way-houses - amongst other places. But as to what you are actually asking, checkers is a popular pass time - played for money, of course - many types of card games: casino, lesquin, rustic dig; plus, at the right places billiards is provided. More illicit 'games' include the fighting of various animals against each other, a pass-time which has connexions with the dark trades.

For breakfast I had Vita Brits [TM] and sultanas, swilled down with a delicious pineapple and strawberry smoothie my spectacular wife made for me. Yes marriage agrees with me indeed - and not because of the food! but the care, the new life-lessons.

And now: Half-Continent synonyms for real-world terms #006
Thank you to two of my regular blog-buddies for yet more of a challege!

rainbow = well, just rainbow, sorry, though if I wanted to get really technical, a habilist might term it a luxicromatofornix.

university = hmm, as a broad term you might have a collegium or bibliotheca where many kinds of habilist will go - for example: a tungolatrium for the study of tungolitry (what we would call 'astronomy'). Add to this, however, that skolds and some dispensurists train at a rhombus, and physicians and surgeons at a physactery, mathematicians will study at an abacus, and concometrists at an athenaeum... and so it goes.

Here is a challenge for those who want to take it on: give me a word and I'll attempt to render it into Half-continent speak.

NOTE: MBT = Monster Blood Tattoo, Hc = Half-Continent

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I am the nerdiest nerd that ever did nerd.

Hello deliberate friends and accidental visitors, "Well betide you", as is often said in the Hc. Thank you to those who have offered well-wishes at my nuptials. Sure am a lot calmer since that sweet, strange day... so much so people are commenting. Enough of that.

Had a great session with Dyan (my wonderful, pain-in-the-posterior, insightful slave-driving publisher at Omnibus here is South Terra Australis - which is a tautology, actually) a few days ago, feeling uber güt about Book 2 - certainly more happening now Rossamünd is at Winstermill. Hope people dig it when done.

A friend of mine, Andre, asked me by email, "maybe it's answered in the last couple of chapters, but what is the importance of wearing a hat for travellers? maybe I missed it..." Good question, I say, and here is an answer:
Hats are worn a) for protection as most have at least a proofed headband in them, and b) because it's the done thing for polite people to do, see as bad manners to not to have a hat upon your pate when out of doors. No other significance. (at this stage...)

As to the football 'league' of the Hc (madbomber) : it is actually more like soccer or Gaelic football - more European, and a fully fledge 'league' does not exist in Rossamünd's time, but is an advent of later centuries, though there are smaller, privately organised competions hereabouts. The whole idea is not fully formed yet - beyond team names (need to dust this stuff off and revisit, one of the MANY loose threads that await more fiddle-faddling.) As for black-&-red (sable and rouge = "shrewdness & eagerness") mottle for the best team, well of course - though rouge and leuc ("justice & integrity") might have something to say about that... Hmm, project!
(Get your orders in now for team names and colours, while idea is still coagulating in my soul!)

Kaollaku asks: "If MBT grows in popularity, like to where it is a well know book with a large fan base, will you consider a movie?"
Well, truth is, it is currently under consideration for an opption but it is very early days - so breath holding is unadvised. Still, I'm excited. Will keep you posted on this'un.

Two questions from random missfit:
1/ "I was just wondering, does Hc have its own number system?"
I am sure there were (may still even are) cultures surrounding the Hc that have unique or unusual methods of counting (my favourite is prime numbers 1 2 3 5 7 11 13 17 19 23...), but the standard number system in the Hc itself as of the time of Rossamünd is as our own, perhaps with a little more use of what we call 'Roman' numerals (or capital-numbers in Hc)
2/ "if the Hc was on earth what sort of time is it set in?? (or the main type of weapons used)"
I always hesitate to answer what time on earth questions, simply because I am keen for things to be about the Hc in and of itself - making corollaries with our own world surely ruins a little of the charm. Yes? No? Let's just say that, for reasons of plausability, I use 1815 in our world history as a technology cut off for my ideation - to check if certain mechanisms or systems are 'allowable'. But don't be going "oh so it's 1815 our time, cause you would be off there, that's just my "no greater than" mark... Am I making any sense??? As to main weapons - well, read on. If it is not clear already after book 1, I hope the sense of most used anything will become more apparent over subsequent volumes.

Which dovetails rather nicely into the next and most commonly asked question.
"When can we expect the next instalment of Monster Blood Tattoo?" Inez
"How long till the next one! i dont think i can wait! :(" Andre
"Does anyone have any word on when the sequel to Foundling is coming out? My crew keep hounding me, and I can't find any word online." Jessy Griffith from yslsa-bk
In answer to this, I'll do my majic revealing trick right here, right now (and you were there to see it happen!):

May 2007 MBT Book 2 - ANZ/ US with other regions to follow
(indeed, I strain away at this very work even now... poor little Rossamünd...)
May 2008 MBT Book 3 - ANZ/US with other regions to follow

*blare of trumpets*
*crash of drums*
There y'are.

For breakfast today I had Granola [TM] with this wierd maple syryp flavouring - hmm, a journey into the culinarily bizarre.

And now: Half-Continent synonyms for real-world terms #005
Just one today, only one person stepped up to the challenge since the last post.

honeymoon = well for a start, this is not a common event in much of Hc culture; marriage certainly happens, just not 'honeymoons'. When they do they are typically called congigoes or nuptial-rests.

... and no problems Mr Missfit for any misspelling - I'm an unspecified age above mid-twenties and I still can't spell to save myself.

Here is a challenge for those who want to take it on: give me a word and I'll attempt to render it into Half-continent speak.

NOTE: MBT = Monster Blood Tattoo, Hc = Half-Continent, ANZ = Australia/New Zealand

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Now for excuses... (and what is with all the dots at the end of the titles anyway?)

Well, having been threatened with harassing for not posting here I am, back at it once more.

But first the excuses - the excuses for no posting for a whole month:
You see, not content with the crazy merry-go-round that writing has become in my life, I decided to up and get married, and have been away on my honeymoon for the last three weeks. A wonderful, bizarre, surprising and very real experience with my beautiful best friend.

Yet that is now all done, and the rush of life returns.

Since I have been gone, people have left such enthusiastic and encouraging remarks, many brilliant insights and questions, and not a few Half-continent word challenges. I shall now endeavour to address all these.

Kaollaku asks: "Any plans to release a version of the Almanac that he carries around as a companion book?"
random misfit asks: "i know ur making another 2 books but have u considered the wandering almanac orthe incomplete book of bogles?"
There is hope that this might be possible, certainly Dyan my publisher at Omnibus Books (the lady who discovered me as it were, who took that risk) and I have talk with great enthusiasm about such things, but it remains to be seen if MBT is successful enough to allow such volumes to be made. Sure would love it, both exist in very rough draft forms. We'll just have to wait and see.

midwishin asks: "Is it just me or does the half-continent have a vague resemblance to the south-eastern corner of Australia. If so, does this mean that Rossamund is traveling to Adelaide, or is it Melbourne? (My bet is on Adelaide.)"
Yes indeed the Hc does quite intentionally have resemblance to the south-east of Oz. Being raised in Adelaide has shaped my instinctive internal landscape and I naturally find it the foundation for an imagined world. That being said, the connection is not absolute, so High Vesting is not a corollary for Adelaide (that honour belongs more to Brandenbrass, but even then the compass points are turned on their heads = north is south, south is north), neither is Wörms or Gottingenin a proxy for Melbourne. The landscape of Rossamünd's peregrinations is much like the places I know so well, behind the Adelaide hills, from Stirling to Strathalbyn, via Meadows and Maccelsfield - a strange hodge-podge of European and native vegetation, straw brown hills and cool gully breezes. Those who know Kuitpo forest, for example, might recognise something of the Brindleshaws there. It's a well known axiom that a writer should write what they know, and I know these places well.
Even so, I do not tend to transplant a whole real place into the Hc as is - it is more the sense, the impression, the vibe, the general view of it I use, to help make the Hc places more real within, more like a memory of somewhere I have really been than just a vague, hard to grip invention.

midwishin asks again: "The title of the series is Monster Blood Tattoo, however in the book it's always written as monster-blood tattoo. Why is there no hyphen in the title?"
Being that I am a illustrator and designer by training and trade, I felt the omission of the hyphen on the cover worked better visually, and that it would be acceptable to address this apparent 'error' by using the hyphen correctly in the text itself. I did not intend to offend, just sometimes practice needs to be subordinated to aesthetics - but only sometimes, and I hope those who struggle with this will extend me a little leeway for the sake of a nice design.

markus asks: "Quick question: Was the word "Fulgar" derived from the word "Trafalgar"? "
The answer to that is "no". Fulgar comes from the Tutin (Latin) 'fulgur' = lightning, thunderbolt, 'fulgoris' = lightning, flash, brightness -and is also found in fulgaris, the metal-bound rods used by fulgars, coiled in copper (also known as fulgurite).

The Hc was and continues to be conceived for adult tastes - for my tastes - I want it to be solid, for consequences in it to be real and genuinely dangerous, for concepts to feel plausible even if they are make-believe. As a I child I loved reading books that did just this, and so in inventing for myself as a adult, am doing the same for me as a child too. I intend Rossamünd's story to be enjoyed by all, not just children, that though the protagonist might be a child, and the books released by children publishers, I do not want people thinking that means it is only for children - I intend it just as much for adults.

And just a note regarding the Explicarium, for almost every entry in it, I could have included ten times as much information and each of those entries were there only because they occurred in the story itself. There is definitely much more of the Hc to be explored, and I have no intention of covering it all in just the MBT series.

... and I thoroughly approve and am powerfully encouraged by the use of Hc words as handles or in everyday conversation. Very cool.

For breakfast I had Coco Pops [TM] and a banana smoothie (very expensive with banana prices as they are).

And now: Half-Continent synonyms for real-world terms #004
Several folk have taken up the challenge and given me nice meaty words to tackle. Thank you.

football = football (sorry about that but that is the honest truth - I considered this one years ago, even figured out teams that play in an inter-citystate league) though the Tutin for it is follisa, and for a football player a follisator.

tweezers = unguidigia said "un'gwi'dij'ee'ah" or privers.

stethoscope = viscerausculator said "viss'ser'orz'skew'late'or" or cardiausculatologue said "kar'dee'orsk'kew'latt'oh'log".

lighter = flint-and-steel (I gather you mean a cigarette-lighter or such like).

obsolete = hmm, well in one sense the word is just the same but there are vernacular renderings: "gaffed" or "turned to vapours" or "gone to snot" - which is a reference to the Phlegms, an ancient race, the progenitors of the Attics and the Tutins, now extinct, also found in the term Phlegmish science, meaning ancient, hard to understand or defunct ideas.

Is this ok Ninjana, it's been a while I know, but dread of your heckling is motivation indeed!

NOTE: MBT = Monster Blood Tattoo, Hc = Half-Continent

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Sorry for the wait...

Well I must firstly apologise to any and all who are wanting more of Rossamünd and his confrontations with the wider world sooner than the offered release time of mid next year. All I can add to that apology is that the next book will be longer - quite a bit longer. I hope this makes up for the wait in some way... possibly... I hope...

Thank you to all those who have left yet more encouraging remarks. It so very much helps.

As to a larger version of the map - I'll see what I can do about putting up a .pdf of it perhaps, either here or at - my STILL UNDER CONSTRUCTION web page for all things MBT and beyond - or at the official website. I will speak with my publishers about this. The idea has already occurred to me; indeed I am dead keen for people to see it in its right size, being 1 metre x 780 mm. Even at those dimensions it still has 4 & 5 point type on it. So yes, a lot of detail lost in the reduction of it, but we shall see. What do people think?

It has been offered to have MBT put on a uni reading list. There is a use for it I had never considered. It would be interesting to know how it would stand up to such scrutiny.

Oh almost forgot, for breakfast today I had Allbran[TM] and Milo[TM].

And now: Half-Continent synonyms for real-world terms #003

telephone / telegraph = astrapenunticon or transpositional.

Here is a challenge for those who want to take it on: give me a word and I'll attempt to render it into Half-continent speak.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

If I could have anything at all...

... right now it would be time. Time time wonderful time - and the energy to exploit it.

As we can all see, it has been nearly a month since my last post which reflects just how manic life is right now. Yet, with a little gentle prodding from an appropriate quarter, here I am at last. Progress on books 2 & 3 is steadily frenetic or frenetically steady or are these oxymoron. The aim is (Lord willing) to have Book 2 - called Lamplighter - out May next year, that being 2007, and for Book 3 - of a name I shall not at this time disclose - a year later.

Thank you to those who have taken the time to comment here, or email me. Such encouragement - constructive or enthusiastic - is sheer gold and makes this whole writing thing a doubled delight.
(Apologies to Alex for my absence from Redifinition camps - I've taken a hiastus from youth group leading to live other lives.)
(Apologies also for any distractions from study. Ah... procrastination, friend and foe...)

It has been asked if there will be other series after this'un - I sure hope so. Depends on the success of MBT I suppose, but if it were up to me, most certainly. The Half-continent was and is still being made for many many many stories to happen in. It was made first for the stories to come second. Which leads me to a misconception I have encountered regarding "Foundling": that some think I spent 13 years on that one story, which bain't the case. 13 years and counting for the world itself (think of it as researching my subject matter, only I invent as I research. Yeah?) & about 18 months for the 'Foundling' story, from go to whoa, using the setting of the Half-continent that I have been constructing.

Today for breakfast I ate All-Bran [TM] with Milo [TM] liberally sprinkled on top. Mmm.

Half-Continent synonyms for real-world terms #002

car =
pull-caboose or autalentum/lentumauta or necessarium - sometimes abbreviated to necessary, as in "Please, let my man convey you forthwith in my necessary."

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

An initial, awkward foray into the world of blogging...

Well here I am ... and the very first thing I will tell the world is what I had for breakfast this morning = crazy stuff called Nutrigrain [TM] with vanilla yoghurt and peaches. This truly bizarre combination was eaten at a hotel in Melbourne as I waited for my first-ever TV appearence to talk about MBT with the sweet, friendly and welcoming Kim & David on Channel Ten ... but more on that tomorrow.

Half-Continent synonyms for real-world terms #001

computer = astrapegnologue or astrapegnicon

MBT Test Blog Post

Hey, Hey. This is Courtney...