Monday, October 29, 2007

And the dust settles

I must say the thorough-going discussion in last post's comments about what evil might or might not be was deeply interesting and thought provoking and I thank everyone who had a word in it. A most excellent debate. I hope it was edifying to both commentators and readers alike.

It makes me wonder whether open questions are better than closed answers - by which I mean is it better to always be searching? And if we do find answers, what happens if we do not like them? Discard them and keep searching? What if the answer with the best fit is the most uncomfortable?

Anyway, enough philosophising - this is a blog about a frivolous adventure story not the depths of the human condition.

On that note I am happy to say that (for the ANZ edition at least) MBT Book 2 goes to the printing press in a little over a week - around the 7th of November. I'll see what I can do about other parts of this world of ours. I am running my eye over the actual typeset pages and am becoming more confident with the text as a worthy continuance to Foundling - and for those who thought Book 1 not long enough, I can say the actual story text of Book 2 will be ...

600 pages!

Give or take.

The Explicarium will be about the same length as Book 1 - roughly 100 pages, with whole new maps, floor plans, schedules and drawings of clothes and equipment.

I hope this is happy news.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Meet the Herdebog Trought

This will be, from now until I change it I suppose, is to be my new profile image (along with a new title graphic too, it seems). It looks more like me than the previous illo - and it also happens to be a sneek peek into Book 2.

Which makes think of a question for you all:

What or who is your favourite monster of all time?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Quack! (of Interviews, Illustrators & Gazeteers)

Just a quick post to say that there is an interview with Miss Erin over on her blog. Thank you to her for the opportunity!

Also, it was Coz I believe who asked me a little while ago about illustrators in the Half-Continent. Sometimes they are called imagineers or fabulists (a name they happen to share with artists and sleight-of-hand men) but typically they are called simply illustrators. As it might be for some in our own lands, they consider themselves distinct from artists in the

Some of the more famous currently are Pill and Berthezene (who was the etcher of the plate of the Slothog Rossamünd reads of in his pamphlet early in Foundling) and the near legendary Gouche. My own favourite is a relative obscure fellow, Economous Musgrove (originally of Fayelillian but now residing in Brandenbrass) - who studied under the master Frabritis - and struggles to find enough work to keep he and his wife "in biscuits". His most constant source of work is for a radical periodical called Quack! (a word whose closest equivalent in our world would be "blah, blah").

With a wide yet secret readership, Quack! spends most of its articles railing against the government and the Empire and the borish attitudes of the mass. All too frequently this vaguely monthly publication finds its self being shut down by local authorities under (dubious) Imperial direction; its gazeteers and emenders are served brief stints in gaol and all those who rely on its patronage (such as Economous) now looking for other work. As the "game" goes, almost as soon as they are released the gazeteer and emenders find some new secreted location to set up new presses (the old ones having usually been confiscated or destroyed), call in all the old "gang", reconnect with the ghostly crowd of their many mysterious distributors and begin to publish once more ... until they are once again raided and shut down. They are able to carry on so because of the patronage of some figure of great substance and circumstance who remains unknown to the authorities and even the gazeteer themselves.

Ok, I am done now.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Deutologalgia (or Secondbookitis)

In a bit of a private conversation madbomber asked me "Is it wierd to be considered a professional writer now...?" to which I answered:

"As to being "professional", an "author" and all that - yes it is weird. Indeed, I think my struggle through the entirity of Book 2 (Lamplighter) has been coming to grips with seeing myself as a writer, as being able to truly consider book writing as an actual future path for me. Not only was it the 2nd book in a series (always the hardest, they say) but it was my second book ever (which is also historically difficult).

So my troubles were doubly doubled!

Very glad to be nearing the end of the Book 2 journey, many folk have worked hard to make it as good as can be - and [just so you all know] it is off to printers soon."

I would just like to say to all those who have taken the risk to come along on this whole MBT journey with me even when the rest of the series is not done yet: thank you. I intend to make it worth your while.

...btw, anyone tried the AUDIO CLIP function under links yet? It is a brief excerpt from the English audio version of Foundling. Opinions? Is it even working? For those speakers of the German tongue, there will be a Deutsch audio version of MBT coming soon.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

A happy holiday

Well, I am back from a break in Sydney-town - should anyone be asking where I have been you may say I have been there, with my wife, re-energizing.

But now I have returned.

So there we go...

Given that I was born and raised on the south central coast of Australia (and that I am an indoorsy kind of fellow) I have never seen the marvel I saw on Foresters Beach on the New South Wales central coast. There had been a storm a few days before (or so we - my wife and I - were told by a stranger - a fellow walker - along the strand) and washed up on the whole length of the beach were dead, sun-dried blue bottle jellyfish. Their air-sacs were like brittle plastic, that popped loudly when trodden underfoot.

Later we found more recently washed specimens still firm and rubbery, spasming and curling in on themselves when touched. The largest would have been no bigger than an apricot, fitting neatly in the palm of hand, yet their bright blue stinger stretched out across the sand for three feet or so.

Nature-nerd that I am, I was astounded and amazed and immediately inspired as to what such things might be in the Half-Continent: small mucosa spawn, living, mindless buds released from their "parent". Storms wash them ashore where, depending on the species, some might wither and die; others dry and become dormant - waiting to be washed into the vinegar seas again some other storming night, revive and grow into terrors. Yet others might actually take up home on the shore, slowly burrowing to make treacherous toothy or sucking pits of themselves to trap crabs and gulls and the occasional careless limb (this might be too Star Warsy, hmm...)

I have visions in my head of some story of such a wash-up of these gelatinous spawn. I see the local fishers and sea-side village folk come down to the beach to squash and hack and burn the little, defenseless jellies, wishing to destroy at least some of the sea-monsters while they are vulnerable and spare later griefs. This might all get written down someday. Hmm... again.

Meanwhile, I have to pop off to spend the afternoon with my editor as we go over some of the last tweaks to MBT 2, Lamplighter. Almost there folks, almost there. As to the excellent questions posed last post, they have really got me thinking (and indeed one of them is answered in Book 2) and I shall get to them.