Butterbeer

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I have to tell you this!  The other day we were walking along this tiny street near where we live, and after my wife sort of stumbled off the footpath, she noticed an overgrown, pot-holey pathway, that led behind one of the shops and looked to be a shortcut to the next street.  So we followed it, finding a tiny shop tucked improbably behind the ones on the street, and it was there I bumped my head on one of those old-style hanging signs.  That’s when I noticed some rather odd-looking items through the shop’s window and found myself opening the unfriendly, creaking door.  If it wasn’t for the sign, I would’ve sworn it felt like intruding into someone’s old house.  Despite the coziness of the inside of the shop, there was a long wooden bench along the wall, with a silent old man sitting there smoking a pipe, but our attention was drawn to the wooden bar, behind which was an older woman, her long, grey hair and staring eyes causing us uneasiness.  I suppose she was kind, however, since she asked, ‘Not lost are you, my dears?’

I have to admit that it was somewhat overwhelming, and I stuttered, ‘Th-th-that stuff in the window there.  Is- is it for sale?’  So began a brief conversation that saw us leaving with the curious little skull and a four-pack of butterbeer that you can see in the above photograph.  When we returned home, we were already talking about going back for more, but somehow couldn’t recall the name of the street we had been on when we found the old path.  We found some of it though, actual butterbeer, that we had fancied for so long.  I found it very tasty, and it reminded me of the best-tasting butterscotch hard lollies my grandmother always put out, but mixing soda water with it diluted the thick sweetness and made it last a bit longer.  You know the scene in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince where Harry, Hermione and Ron enjoy butterbeers at the The Three Broomsticks?  How many people have wanted that delicious elixir since then?  Or even earlier, when they read this passage in the book:

‘Harry was still fuming when Hermione returned to their table a few minutes later holding three bottles of Butterbeer.’  -J.K. Rowling

 

 

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DriveThruRPG and Blog of Holdings’s Flying Buffalo bundle

In a time when D&D was all the craze and it still felt new and full of possibilities, my favourite thing in the world to do was to go into Bud’s Hobby Shop and browse all the RPG books he had on offer while becoming intoxicated on his pipe-smoke.  I just had to have all those amazing adventure modules, rule books and dice, but one day I slid out one book I hadn’t seen before – Grimtooth’s Traps.  It gleefully described some of the most devious and dastardly ways adventurers could die in a fantasy dungeon exploration.  What fun!

Fast forward to now:  One of my favourite sites, DriveThruRPG, is selling a Flying Buffalo Bundle that has all their Traps books, all their imaginative CityBooks and one that I’m particularly excited about – Mercenaries, Spies & Private Eyes.  I rate Raiders of the Lost Ark as my favourite film of all time, and being able to play someone like Indy in an adventure sounds like a great time.  As they say, all it takes is some imagination, but dice and an adventure modules are welcome additions.  I can hardly wait to try out the Adventure of the Jade Jaguar!

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/Catalyst

$T2eC16h,!ykE9s7tye9FBRyyGzTPyw~~60_3517901187_1_l

 

Science Fiction Horror

Although they’re 98% science fiction adventures, I’ve realised that the Adventures of
Haldan Thane also sometimes cross into science fiction horror, or sci-fi gore.  For those of you who’ve read any of them, you’ll know what I mean; that, in some scenes, it gets a bit graphic, which is probably why one reviewer said they’d love to see them in graphic novel form.

I’ve found an interesting list of science fiction horror films at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_science_fiction_horror_films, and there are some movies I’ve enjoyed listed, such as the Alien series, the Body Snatchers series, the classic Creature from the Black Lagoon, Frankenstein, The Fly, X-Files, Predator and the terrifying I am Legend.  Probably the closest in tone (that I’ve seen) is Saturn 3 (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079285/ and the full film at5cb288dcc147a7f866602432a5204f03
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omsdQ0hPRY8 although I had to decrease playback speed to 0.75), which I saw on cable TV at my uncle’s house years ago.  It had Farrah Fawcett in it and I had a big crush on her.  Just add a bit more humour, aliens, spaceships and laser guns and it’s getting really close to HT.

Why did I include these scenes in the adventures?  It’s a hard question to answer, but I can tell you that it just felt right, that I wanted to show that there are dangers in space and horrible things can happen to you, especially when there are aliens around that are very different from humans.  It’s fantasy instead of sci-fi, but the film The Dark Crystal is like this too.  In the documentary series, The World of Jim Henson, author and illustrator Maurice Sendak, described how that for Henson, ‘there was a darker, cavernous place he was busting to get to’ (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEWB0zuZvlI&t=3822s; at about 57:13).

UPDATE 10 July 2017:  Bad news:  The above Youtube video has been blocked due to copyright violations.

 

Errata – Rylomos

I was disappointed to come across an error in Rylomos over the weekend.  It’s what’s usually called a ‘word choice’ error and in this case, it was a homophone.  On page 10, it reads, ‘Stagnus made an impatient waiving-forwards gesture with his hand’.  The error is that I used the word ‘waiving’ when it should’ve been ‘waving’.

According to Merriam-Webster, to waive is to give up a claim to something, although one meaning which is a bit closer is ‘to dismiss with or as if with a wave of the hand’ (e.g. waived the problem aside).  It’s considered to be an archaic transitive verb, but I was aware of the difference, even if it did creep into my writing.  And of course, the closest meaning of ‘to wave’ in the context of the scene is ‘to motion with the hands or with something held in them’.

A side note is that in the hyphenated word I used, which was a stylistic choice of verb-adverb, ‘waving-forwards’, includes the adverb ‘forwards’.  I did a bit of research into forward vs forwards (e.g. moving forward vs moving forwards), finding that in British English, the added -s is favoured, aside from when it’s used to describe something in a particular relative position, such as the forward viewscreen.  There was much research like this that went into the word choices that were made in the series.  Although it’s now been corrected, please accept my apologies for the stuff-up.  😦

 

 

It’s been a dark morning

I was stunned to learn about Carrie Fisher’s death this morning.  My books are a sincere flattery of one of the great loves of my life – Star Wars, and of course Princess Leia Organa / General Leia Solo was an iconic character.  Fisher was one of my childhood heroes and loves.

Haldan Thane, Book 6 early draft

Hi all, it’s been such as busy year as we’ve done a lot of building and still have much painting to do.  I’ve been dreaming of writing, but have been so busy, I haven’t been able to do much more than jot down a few ideas here and there.  But now I’m on Christmas holiday, and I’m sitting outside in my favourite spot under the wisteria, with a breeze blowing and a sleepy dog lying nearby.  And so, without further ado, I present an early draft of a new adventure for my Haldan Thane readers:

‘What are you reading?’  Vyalla sat next to Haldan, leisurely stretching out her legs on the extended chair in the visitor’s room.

‘The Record’, Haldan replied.  ‘Some grublifters tried to make off with one of the androids at Gearmid Lanta.  They’re saying that there hasn’t been this much excitement in Iqium since the former mayor was arrested’.

‘Hey, that was your friends and I’.  Vyalla smiled.

‘I still can’t believe you melted Wort’.  Haldan grinned at her.  ‘We’ll have to keep you away from Rylomos for awhile’.

Vyalla slipped her arm around Haldan.  ‘I was trying to rescue you’, she whispered in his ear, before kissing it.

Haldan scrunched his neck and shoulder, laughing.

‘Didn’t you want me to save you?’  Vyalla poked at his belly, making him spasm with laughter.

‘Look you’, Haldan said, grabbing her hand and leaning close to her face.  ‘Now who’s teasing who?’  He kissed her sweet lips.

After a minute, she lay her head on his shoulder, then raised it again when a clacking sound came from outside the door.

‘Sir!  Sir!’  Reginald squawked as the door swished open.  ‘Sir!  Oh, and Lady Vyalla’.  The skinny robot stood there looking at them with his green lens, wearing a new yellow chest plate.

‘The cargo ship’s ahead of schedule?’ Haldan guessed, raising his face to the robot.

‘No, Sir and Lady’, Reginald corrected.  ‘Tutherin said it was a starfighter of unknown ownership.  It’s on it’s way here!’

‘What?’  Haldan and Vyalla leapt to their feet, with Haldan dropping the newspad onto the chair cushion.

‘It’ll be here by the time we return to Mine Control’, the robot reported.  ‘In fact, there it is now’.  He raised one of his scrawny arms and pointed to the viewport.

A black ship, red lights streaming down its sides, was slowing and hovering over the landing platform just outside.

Rushing to the little control room, they found the communications panel chiming insistently.  Haldan and Vyalla pushed a few buttons, then a voice speaking Standard came through.

‘Calling mine station.  This is the Orpethic.  Do you copy?’  The voice sounded human.

Haldan leant to the communications microphone, hesitating.

‘This is the mine station, Crilum.  We copy, Orpethic’.  He glanced at Vyalla.

‘We copy that, Crilum.  Permission to land and enter.  Repeat, may we have your permission to land and enter?’

‘Orpethic, permission granted.  I’m unlocking the airlock now’.

‘Oh, visitors!’  Reginald fretted.  ‘And I’m not wearing my best shirt plate’.

I’d love to see a new category for the WA Premier’s Book Awards

Today the State Library announced the 2016 WA Premier’s Book Awards shortlist, the books from which the category winners will be selected.  Crilum didn’t make the shortlist unfortunately, but I am pleased that the judges accepted it for review and a few people know about it now.

I think that my book may have had a better chance had there been a category of independently published works.  All of the books that did make the shortlist were backed by big publishers and I have to think that carried a lot of weight with the judges.  Another thing is that I’m disappointed that a ‘longlist’ wasn’t released.

 

 

 

2016 WA Premier’s Book Awards

I’m excited that Crilum has been entered in the Fiction category for the awards.  The great thing is that even if the book doesn’t win, there should be sCrilum_cover SMALLome exposure for my relatively unknown series.  And who knows, maybe the judges enjoy science fiction.

I think it’s a good pick, as it was the first one I wrote and stands alone better
than the others.

Proof copy of Koleos

It was pretty cool to get the proof copy of Koleos in the post and here it is with the proofs of the earlier books, along with my favourite writing app and notes the old-fashioned way.  You can barely see two of my ‘inspiration pics’ of Vyalla and the mystery villain.  Pictures, drawings and music are a big part of my writing process.

Koleos should be available to order in print for $10 USD by the end of the week. I had to include a pic of Lucy, who lets me to read to her for snacks.