Being an author is like being in charge of your own personal insane asylum.

- Graycie Harmon

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Burns and Bruises

My flatmate appears to be extremely jealous of the horrid bruise I have on my left forearm. It is there courtesy of the bow string from Equestrian Archery training on Sunday. Her comment last night was, "Man, I want an epic bruise." I almost gave her one. Not really. I giggled at the absurdity of it. It got me thinking though.

I very much like my bruise. No, I'm not a masochist. I didn't like getting the bruise. It hurt like hell. Now that it's here, however, I like it. It's a bizarre badge of honour... in a world where training bow and arrow is entirely unnecessary.

Man, I was so born in the wrong era!

The thing I have at the moment that is less a badge of honour and more a reminder of how pale I am, is my horrific sunburn. Acquired during the trail ride Sunday afternoon, it has now become so painful as to have me wishing for an ice bath and the day off work. My arms and face have returned more or less to normal. It's the back of my neck and shoulders that are constantly on fire.

My scalp, of all things, as well.

This also had me thinking. Perhaps I should move to the UK, where the sun is both less strong and less frequent. It also had me thinking this:

For all my aches and pains, burns and bruises, I would not trade my life for any other's right now. This is a big deal for me. I spent most of my life wishing to be someone else, somewhere else. Could it be that I'm getting comfortable in my own skin? I would never have dreamt such a thing to be possible.

Only becoming published could possibly make my life better right now. Speaking of publishing, I must write so that there is something to publish. I shall leave you with today's Forgotten English and get on with it.

Hen-Blindness

A name given in allusion to hens, to that kind of defective vision which is comparatively good by day but lost or obscure by night.
- Rev. John Boag's Imperial Lexicon of the ENglish Language, c. 1850

Hens ... cannot see to pick up small grains in the duck of the evening, and so employ this time in going to roost; [this] is sometimes called hen-blindness.
- John Good's Study of Medicine, 1834

Monday, May 30, 2011

Epic Adventures of Which There is No Evidence

Yesterday was an epic, epic day. I like using the word "epic." You may have noticed.

In any case, yesterday was my mother's birthday and I apparently missed a wonderful day. Next time I'll have the funds to fly home for it. Though I could not fly to Australia, I celebrated my mother's birthday in style.

The morning saw me, J.M-B., K.M-B., and A.G. head off to equestrian archery lessons. It was a fantastic lesson. The first round of arrows I shot were extremely well placed. J.M-B. hit the target dead on three times. The string was very loose when my turn came and so the first round went well... but it all went down hill from there. J.M-B. finally managed a blister on her thumb, and was proud. She became slightly miffed, however, when I managed to acquire a very nasty bruise on my forearm from the bowstring. Apparently, my one-up-manship is annoying.

J.M-B. did extremely well on her runs, hitting the target on all three of her passes. I did less well, hitting on the first pass, and missing the next two. I was given a pity run, and I hit then.

Deciding that we weren't ready to give up on horse-riding yet, we headed off to Pinto Valley Ranch for a trail ride. It was muddy, but glorious. The sun came out as we waded through puddles up passed the horse's hocks, and trampled through mud just as deep. We managed a lovely trot on the drier ground. Drier ground was patchy, so our trots didn't last very long.

The day was spectacular fun and I took some wonderful pictures of the day. Videos of our passes in the lesson were excellent. Only you're never going to see them because somewhere between the middle of the trail ride and its end, the camera went missing. It must have fallen out of my pocket and it's safe to say that it's now buried in mud or lost at the bottom of a puddle somewhere on the trails of Pinto Valley Ranch.

It was J.M-B.'s camera.

I feel like the worse person ever. I was so upset, I spent much of the drive home, and the preparation of today's lunch last night trying hard not to cry. The person who should have been crying was J.M-B., but she was positively angelic about it. She's a little sad about the photos that have been lost, but didn't seem all that bothered by the camera.

I'm thoroughly despondent over both.

There's not much that can be done, however. Still, I feel so bad.

Such is life, I suppose. I did promise on Saturday to catch up on the Forgotten English today. So here it is:

Exlex

An outlaw; Latin ex, out, away and lex, law.
- Robert Hunter's Encyclopaedic Dictionary, 1894

Dern

Of actions proceeding the secret, or in the dark; kept concealed; hence of evil or deceirful nature. Of persons, secret in purpose or action; reserved; hence, underhand, sly, crafy. Of a person, treated as a confidant; entrusted with hidden matters. Of places, serving well to conceal, as lying out of the way.
- Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1897

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Forgotten English

Right, so, quite normally, this slot would be filled with the weekend's Forgotten English. However, my work computer decided to be a right [insert expletive] and I wouldn't allow me on blogger Friday afternoon to pre-schedule the post.

Rest assured, come Monday, you will have that missing Forgotten English word. I shall make it a double bill.

Assuming my work computer isn't being a right [insert expletive].

Friday, May 27, 2011

Ahhhhh!

That, ladles and jelly-spoons, was a sigh of satisfaction.

I am up 5 000 words on my target for the week, meaning that I can take to day off and not worry. I could also take Monday off writing, and still be starting the week 2 000 words ahead of schedule.

I'm feeling awfully smug about it right now, which has me worried. Will there be another terrible bout of writer's block in this book? This was the section of story, after all, that I had a severe six month argument with.

So far, things look on the up and up. If I manage to keep pace, I could be finished my rough draft well before the planned date of 12 July, 2011 (assuming a word count of 100 000). Then I'll only have one more book to write.

If I manage to write that as quickly, I'll be finished the rough draft in a little less than three months. That means the series will finally be complete this year.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. One goal at a time.

Since I can take to today off, I'm using the time as an opportunity to catch up on other obligations. There is a short story competition needing judging, so I'd best get on that. For now, here is today's Forgotten English:

Butternuts

A term applied during the Civil War to Southern country people from their home-spun clothing.
- Gilbert Tucker's American English, 1921

Derived from the colour of the uniforms worn in the early part of the war by Confederate soldiers in the West, which, being homespun, were dyed brown with the juice of the butternut (Juglans cinerea).
- John Farmer's Slange and Its Analogues, 1890.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Good Kind of Utter Exhaustion

Man am I tired! My muscles hurt like they haven't in a long time, and I could just curl up in bed right now and go back to sleep. It would form a bad habit, though. I'm already having trouble waking up, most especially if the cat curls up with me. For some reason, I find her weight against me so soothing that it sends me into the deepest, most untroubled kind of sleep providing the most comic, unwelcome, damn-it-I'm-late kind of wake up.

Luckily, the buses are running, and I got to work on time. I even managed to take out the rubbish this morning... though I forgot the recycling. Damn.

In any case, I'm here. I'm sore, and I'm tired, but it's the best kind of sore and tired. The right kind of muscular pain can be quite satisfactory. In my case, I feel like I've accomplished something - hours of really good training, for example.

Mentally, I'm not even a little fatigued. My imagination has been going strong, and my fingers are struggling to keep up. In the happiest news in a long time, I'm almost a quarter of the way through writing Puppet Master. A quarter! In just ten days of writing.

That's crazy amounts of progress.

I'm not sure how I managed it, or even what the quality is like - I'll find out when it comes time to edit, I'm sure - but I'm really enjoying the writing at the moment. I feel like I can just turn my brain off and let my fingers fly. That might not last, however.

So, though I'm well ahead of where I need to be, I'll keep striving for 3 000 words to save up some time-off should I ever need it. That way, I can take the time I need and not stress that I'm falling behind my deadline (albeit self-imposed).

Speaking of, I should get back to it, so here's today's Forgotten English:

Dead-Nip

A blue mark in the body, not produced by a bloc, contusion, or any known cause ... sometimes called a witch's nip.
- John Jamieson's Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language, 1808

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I'd Rather Write

This post may make me sound like a snob, but it cannot be helped. I feel I owe an explanation to the various online groups I belong to. The explanation is fairly simple:

I'd rather write.

I write all day. Then I either go home or, more often, head off the training. I don't have the time to spend hours in forum threads chatting. I try to touch base as often as I can, but you've probably noticed that it's not very often at all.

That's because, I'd rather write.

Writing is a powerful force, I'm sure you can all agree. It cannot be ignored and, at times, can take over completely. I'm not so strong of will that I can ignore it. I have to write. I don't really have a choice.

So, please don't be mad that you hardly ever hear from me. I'm trying to keep a good balance, but the writing, well, she's a demanding mistress.

On that note, today's Forgotten English:

Vinomadefied:

Soaked with wine; formed on Latin madefieri, to be soaked.
- Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1928

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mwah hah hah hah!

An evil laugh was entirely necessary. I'm not sure what for, but it was most definitely necessary.

I feel great. Really, really, really great. I don't know why. Perhaps it was the monstrous cup of coffee I've just imbibed. Perhaps it's the prospect of training tonight. Perhaps it's because I practically slept all weekend, or that I have another Equestrian Archery lesson coming up on Sunday.

I might be the sleep, actually. I've been feeling pretty tired and run down, and I think I really needed that long weekend.

The other thing that might have an effect on my mood is that I'm now well ahead of my word count goal and need only write 500 words to reach today's target. I'm going to try for 3 000 nonetheless, but I only need 500. That's a good feeling.

I have cut and paste to thank for that really. Much of the early part of book 6 has been removed from book 6 and placed into book 5. I cringe a bit when I do it, but it needs to be done.

After all this writing, there is going to be one hell of an editing job ahead of me! I couldn't expect otherwise, having torn up three books, turned them into five books (book 1 was relatively untouched) and mixed old writing with new. It sounds like a mess - and it probably is. For now, however, it will do. At least until I get the entire story out on paper... or computer screen or what have you.

Well, I should get to it. Here's today's Forgotten English:

Fen-Nightingale

A frog; otherwise called a March-bird. It is that month when frogs are vocal.
- Rev. Robert Forby's Vocabulary of East Anglia, 1830

Fen-nightingales, toads and frogs, for their continued croaking at night. [From fen, swamp]
- John Camden Hotten's Slang Dictionary, 1887

Oddly enough, I knew this one. I can't recall how or why.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Wagpastie

It is Monday the 23rd of May, 2011. This is a pre-scheduled post as today is a statutory holiday, and I'm not actually anywhere near the computer.

Of course, if the world ended on Saturday, just ignore this post.

A term of contempt; a rogue.
- Walter Skeat's Glossary of Tudor and Stuart Words, 1914

A deceiver of folks by subtill craft and guile.
- Nicholas Udall's Roister Doister, 1553

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Did It End?

I'm given to understand that today, 21 May 2011, is the date of the biblical rapture. This message is pre-written and scheduled to go out today, so I'm not actually online to report it.

So, was it true? Did it really all end?

Just in case it didn't, here's today's Forgotten English:

Writative

A word of Pope's coming, not to be imitated: 'Increase of years makes men more talkative but less writative to that degree I now write no letters but of plain how d'ye's.'

- Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language, 1755.

Friday, May 20, 2011

I'm There! Now What?

Before I start this post properly, there's just something I really need to get off my chest:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JAZZ!
SQUEE!

Ahem, now back to your regularly scheduled programme....

Ladles and jellyspoons, I've made my 10 000 word mark on Puppet Master. Squee!

Now, I used to give myself Friday's off writing. That went out the window while rewriting Overlord. The question is, should I give myself the day off? I don't know. My fingers are a little achy, and my mind is a little sluggish... but Monday is a statutory holiday, and I won't be at a computer to write.

That means, if I don't make 3 000 today, I'll be 3 000 behind come Tuesday when I sit back down to write....

I think I've just answered my own question. I shall attempt 3 000 words today. I won't beat myself up if I don't make it, however. I'm pretty wiped.

So, on that note:

Month's Mind

An eager wish or longing. A very ancient phrase, many centuries old.
- Rev. Robert Forby's Vocabulary of East Anglia, 1830

Used allusively as a playful synonym for mind; an inclination, a fancy, a liking. Also (rarely) to be in a month's mind, to have strong expectations.
- Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1908

Then I'm going to read. There is nothing better than a good book. Nothing. There are periods of time when I don't read anything at all, sometimes for months on end. Then, when I pick up a book at long last, there is nothing I'd rather be doing than lying in bed, with a hot cup of tea and that book.

I might have just talked myself out of writing...

No! No. I must write. At least a little bit.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Blah Kind of Day

It's that kind of day already, and it's only 9:00 in the morning. I only just got to work.

I woke up atrociously late this morning, despite kind of half-waking when J.M-B. got up and got ready for work. I didn't have time to pack my training gear, which means no Kung Fu and Kick-boxing for me tonight. GRRR! I forgot to pack my iPod and, worse still, my book, so I had nothing to do during the bus ride in. It's dull and raining for the fourth day in a row; and I'm tired as hell.

What the deuce?!

It's going to be one of those days, I just know it.

All I can do is grumble, so I'm going to leave it here. If you have nothing good to say, and all that...

Overmirth

Insult.
- Herber Coleridge's Dictionary of the Oldest Words in the English Language, 1863

To make merry over; [1300].
- Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1914

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Worries and Wonders

Will wonders never cease? Yesterday, I was asked to join the LinkedIn network of Holly McClure of Sullivan Maxx Literary Agency. For those of you who have no idea why that's a big deal for me, Ms. McClure was one of the first agents I ever submitted to.

I was ultimately rejected, but Ms. McClure was very kind and I now have her letter taped to my computer screen so I can read it every time I feel discouraged. Read it I do, and I feel better.

So I'm very happy to be in contact with her again, even if I don't make it through this time around (of course I've resubmitted).

The resubmission cost me valuable writing time, so I didn't quite make my target yesterday. I'm a little closer though, and only have to write 3 500 (only...) today to get myself back on target for the week. I all goes well, I'll have written 10 000 by the end of the week. It's a bit ambitious, but whatever. It's a goal.

Right, must get on with it then. Have a great Wednesday all!

Swilking

Drunken. Said of a man who drinks till the liquor can be heard swilking about in his stomach.
- Fracis Taylor's Folk-Speech of South Lancashire, 1901

From swilk, the noise made by liquid in a partially-filled vessel.
- Joseph Wright's English Dialect Dictionary, 1898-1905

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Oooh... Shiny! and Other Silliness

As the title may have implied, I'm having a little difficulty focusing. Yesterday I got so distracted by a completely dorky idea (which, if it comes to pass, you will see for yourself), that I only managed to write 1 500 odd words for Puppet Master. I'm a little mad at myself. I shouldn't have gotten so distracted.

But all that leather armour and stuff was just so cool.

Yup, I'm a dork.

I wish I could afford it...

Last night I went with friends to see Thor. I was thoroughly entertained. It was supposed to be my reward for the first 3 000 words of Puppet Master. Instead, it turned out to be a night out just 'cause. For those of you who haven't yet seen Thor, go see it.

Don't expect much of it when you do, or your likely to get disappointed.

There are some cartoon-ish moments that simply made me laugh because they were so silly. Some of the scenes at the end with Thor flying Superman-style (but with a hammer) were silly. Some of the scenes at the beginning were pretty silly - one character's continual laughter for example.

On character was definitely a cross between Gimli (of the Lord of the Rings universe) and Obelix (of the Asterix and Obleix universe), and struck me as rather silly.

What I loved about this film, however, was that it took all the silliness in stride and sometimes referenced to it directly for extremely humorous comic effect. One of my favourite scenes in that film would have to be (SPOILER ALERT) the arrival of Thor's friends and their very epic walk up the streets of a small New Mexican town - in epic costume - much to the confusion of everyone around them.

A lookout for S.H.I.E.L.D asked his partner, "Is there a renaissance fair or something?" When they called it in, they said (something to the effect of), "Uh, we've got Jackie Chan, Xena Warrior Princess and Robin Hood..."

It gave me an idea for more epic silly. One day, I'm just going to get friends together and walk down a random city street with a purposeful stride - dressed in epic costume. It'll be like a flash mob, only with less dancing and or singing...

And now I'm done being silly. I have to get writing. If I'm to make today's target count, I have to write 4 500 words. I'm not sure I can. I'm still a bit distracted by all that shiny, expensive armour...

Oh, I am such a dork.

Fifishness

The term... had its origin from a considerable number of the principal families in the county of Fife having at least a bee in the bonnet.
- John Jamieson's Supplement to the Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language, 1825

Right, back to work for me. Have a lovely Tuesday all!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Some Stuff About Some Stuff

Happy Monday all, or at least it would be if this damned computer would work.

Just so you all know, it was 8:50am when I turned this computer on. It's now 10:10 and only now am I able to type out my blog post. I really do despise this computer.

There's actually quite a bit to go through... I think... there was this morning at 8:50, at least. I'll have to try to remember it all. Let's hope I leave nothing out.

I suppose I ought to start with writing news, since this is this blog's primary function. Today is the first day of my return to writing The Great Man. I make a start on book 5 - Puppet Master. I like the title. I also like the fact that this one is darker than the others, darker and melancholic. For some reason, that makes me absurdly happy.

It might have something to do with the weather. It's been gloomy, rainy and cold all weekend. I should be sad about it, but to be honest, I quite like this weather (though I actually do get S.A.D (Seasonal Affect Disorder)). Which reminds me, must take my vitamin D.

Saturday was wonderful as always. Lion Dance practice in the morning went well, and now that we're switching dancers on the fly, it's even more fun. Exhausting, but fun. The troupe goes out to lunch after, and that is always a good time. Then the afternoon was spent teaching Kung Fu. I say the afternoon like it was the entire afternoon, but really it was just an hour.

That evening I went to dinner with my father, and we attended a concert at a church. One of the lawyers in the office at work is in the Ottawa Centennial Choir and they performed Celtic songs (including some really awesome mouth music) for the evening. There were also instrumental pieces.

I have to say, the Uilleann pipes are one of my favourite instruments. Closely followed by the erhu and cello. I was very pleased to see a set there, and happier still to close my eyes and listen. It was a great concert and a lot of fun.

Sunday morning was lesson 2 of Equestrian Archery. It was rainy, cool and generally miserable, so of course I had an awesome time! The drive up was terrible. The rain poured down so hard I could barely see out the windscreen. It had lessoned significantly when we arrived.

We arrived to some bad news... the arena was taken, so we had no choice but to work outside in the cold and rain. It was easy, given the weather, for my imagination to run riot and I was briefly transported to another world where we were preparing for battle in early Iron Age Europe. Yup, I'm a dork.

It was a brilliant lesson, despite the ankle-deep puddles and Nash's attempts at a hostile strike (as in a union strike, not as in a kick or blow to any part of the person). I hit the target twice at a canter. Missed thrice and on one of those misses, lost the knocking and had to reset the arrow to fire... only I wasn't quite fast enough to manage it and was almost past the target by the time I drew. Sigh. Oh well, practice must continue in order for me to improve. Happily, practice will!

Also, I fell in love with a kitten who fell asleep with a goofy smile on it's tiny little face as I cleaned the gunk from it's tiny little eye. Most of the kittens at the stable have cat flu. I didn't take the kitten home, though I was sorely tempted. It was so cute, clinging to my thumb and sleeping, with it's teeny tiny back legs just hanging down...

Le sigh.

Photos and video of lesson two will go up on my Facebook page. If you're not there yet, just click on the link to the right, and you will be.

As most of us know, blogger was having a few issues, and some posts vanished, and for a time, I couldn't post at all. One of the posts that vanished, but has been replaced, was this one by Pam Asberry, who very kindly awarded my another blog award.

Many thanks for it. Unfortunately, I can't pass on the award as I don't have 5 new blogging buddies to pass it along to. The only new blog I follow is George R.R. Martin's blog (entitled Not a Blog). Thus, though I am flattered, I'll spare you all the blog roll.

I think that about covers everything. Here is today's Forgotten English, before I dash off to start writing:

Byspelt

A strange, awkward figure... acting contrary to reason, or propriety; as if labouring under the influence of a spell.
- John Brockett's Glossary of North Country Words, 1825

Byspel, one whose worthlessness is proverbial.
- Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1888

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Boanthropy

A form of madness in which a man believes himself to be an ox.

- Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1888

Was this a common problem in the 19th century, do you think?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Book Review: A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

Sorry this post is so very late. Blogger was having issues and I couldn't log in until now. To make it up to you, there is a book review and today's Forgotten English.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I put down this book for many, many months when I was about halfway through. I'm ashamed to say that I picked it up again only after starting to watch HBO's A Game of Thrones, the TV series based on the first book. In my defence, I was knee deep in several projects at the time I laid aside this book, and had very little spare time.

I remedied this oversight a fortnight ago, and I'm very glad that I did.

This is by far the best of the three books I've read thus far. There are some things that happen that really, really upset me (Spoiler Alert: Robb Stark). There are other things that really, really pleased me (Spoiler Alert: Jon Snow, Arya and (major spoiler) Cat Stark).

The fact that I so quickly became so deeply emotionally involved in this story after such a long time away from it is a tribute to George R.R. Martin - the finest tribute I think I can possibly offer.

His world lacks the complexity or cultural/anthropological genius that I so much admire in Steven Erikson, however the world is rich and vibrant and still very much alive. The characters are thoroughly believable and, so very importantly, many-faceted.

Characters I despised throughout the first two books have grown on me. A good sign. Characters I thought were brave and noble turned out to be rather foolish, really, and prideful. Another great sign.

Sufficed to say, a very solid four stars. If Goodreads would allow it, I'd have given 4.5 stars.

Oh, and one more piece of advice for those considering or currently reading this book: read the Epilogue. You won't be sorry.


Ratt-Rime

Originally, a rhyme or piece of poetry used in charming and killing rates. The term... came to mean halting metres, doggerel, a tirade of nonsense.
- David Donaldson's Supplement to Jamieson's Scottish Dictionary, 1887

The fanciful idea that rats were commonly rhymed to death, in Ireland, arose probably from some metrical charm or incantation used there for that purpose.
- Rober Nares' Glossary [of] the Works of English Authors, 1859

Rhime them to death, as they do Irish rats/ In drumming tunes.
- Ben Jonson's Poetaster, 1601.

Edit to add: If anyone from blogger is reading this, Thursday's post is missing. Kindly put it back.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Today, I Curse My Imagination

Last night I had two extremely vivid dreams, two extremely vivid nightmares. I say nightmares, but the sun was just about up when the first one started, so day-mares? The cats normally wake me at around 4:30 - 4:45 am just 'cause. This morning, I suppose, they figured I could use the extra half hour and woke me up at 5:15am instead.

As I drifted off to sleep, the first dream started.

I was in a castle, on the walls beside someone showing them the view... or something. That someone was roughly my age, perhaps a family member, perhaps a fiancée (yes, in this dream, I was a guy), it's unclear. I do know that I was very fond of them.

Then the alarm sounds. It's a dragon alarm - a siren to warn of an approaching dragon. We all descend the stairs to a courtyard that has a roof and wide rectangular (lengthwise) windows. The shadow of the dragon passes overhead and someone screams. A woman, about to cross to an uncovered part of the courtyard to get into the castle proper turns back to us. I think she's a caretaker of some sort. She looks suspiciously like the woman who plays Lady Stark in HBO's A Game of Thrones.


Yep. Exactly like that.

She beckons to us and tells us to hurry before scurrying forward. We follow. The shadow passes again and then a massive pair of jaws drops down and poor Lady Stark (who isn't actually Lady Stark in this dream, that's just the face she wore, but whatever) is snatched up before she gets to the door. I grab the girl I'm with (I remember she wore a dress of crimson velvet), and pull her back to hide flat against the wall of the covered courtyard. The red jaws come through the opening from the covered courtyard, sniffing.

I find a crevice in that wall and drag the girl in. It's a tight squeeze, but the crevice turns out to be a tiny corridor with three sharp left turns. At the end, there's nothing but dirt and stone walls. We wait there a while.

We can hear sounds of battle. Knights have shown up to battle the dragon, and are losing badly. There are screams, and the sickening crunch and snap of bone and breastplate as the knights are devoured or burnt alive.

By chance, a knock to the dragon's head tilts it up over our little hiding spot, and the dragon sees us. We're the new target and the dragon scrambles to dismantle the tall stone walls so it can get at us. We are trapped and terrified.

More knights arrive, distracting the dragon, and myself and the woman in crimson make a dash for it. We run away from the fighting, back out of the crevice and across the covered courtyard to another little crevice. This one is little more than a rain trap with a grill covering the drop into the storm drain, which will eventually lead into the sewer and thence out of the city.

I grab the gill and lift. The dragon sees and turned back to us, snapping at us, straining against the walls of the courtyard to reach us.

I lower the girl in first, and follow and even pulled the grill back over our heads.

The storm drains are huge. I, tall for my age (though I couldn't tell you what age that is), can stand entirely upright. We follow the tunnels to the sewers, and follow the sewers to the outer wall of the city encircling the castle. I jump into the filthy water to see if there is a place to get through the bars that cover the sewage exit. There is a smallish hole where the bars had rusted through, but we both would be able to fit.

I come up to relay the news to the girl, who helps haul me out of the very deep sewer. Just then, the light is obscured briefly as the dragon flies overhead. Then it wheels around. I see it approaching, and so pull the girl backwards into another hole (it's another storm drain, I think, though intended for water storage during flooding. That is to say, there is a shallow round hole cut that only extends back enough so we can press ourselves against the back wall and just be out of sight from the exit. Into that back wall is cut a rectangular hole which opens out into a very short ledge followed by a fairly long drop into what is essentially a stone drum.

I can hear splashing further up the pipe and assume that others from the city had the same idea as I did, and are trying to escape the dragon, which has since claimed the castle. We can only watch as the group reaches the grill, dives under to escape to the other side to be promptly snapped up by the dragon.

The screams are terrible.

The light is obscured once more and I hear an intake of breath. Without really thinking, I grab the girl and push her through the afore mentioned opening, with me behind. We both make it out onto the ledge, upon which we have only precarious footing and move to either side of the opening just in time to avoid the extremely hot exhalation of flame.

The dragon torched the sewers not once, but twice before the light flooded back into the tunnels. The girl made to crawl back out, but I stop her. With a shake of my head, I indicate that we should wait until dark, when the dragon is sleeping. I suspect he's still just outside the sewer, awaiting any others who are foolish enough to think him gone.

That is where that dream ended. I woke in a cold sweat, shaking and with a pulse that couldn't be controlled, even though all throughout the dream I was almost outside it watching on fully aware that it was just a dream. I'm not sure if that makes sense.

I also have to note that this is the first time a dragon has been the villain in my dreams. They're most usually allies/heroes.

I did my best to control my breathing. I looked at the clock. 6:40am. I had an hour to try and rest until I had to get up and get ready for work. I closed my eyes and somewhere between trying to stop shaking and trying to calm my pulse, I fell asleep again.

This time, the dream featured people I know, and I'm very much me, not some random castle-owing bloke. The stand out was Kung Fu brother K.C. I'm not sure why he was in the dream. I'm assuming it's because we just finished training not too long ago. He looked and sounded, incidentally, EXACTLY like he does in real life.

You know how sometimes you have dreams with people you know in them, but the people you know look completely different, but you still know it's them? Not this time around. He was the exact same, right down to style of dress.

The other characters in the dream were people that I know, I think, but I couldn't tell you who they were. They were simply people I know or, at least, people I knew in the dream world.

In this dream, K.C. and I and three other people were kidnapped, and taken to a big-brother style house. There is no way out of this house. Everyone starts panicking, except K.C. and I. We decide to go on a food hunt to try and find out how long we can survive without having to resort to eating one another.

Then K.C.'s mobile rings and he answers and this gravelly voice says, "There's no way out. Only the survivor escapes. Fight."

I look at K.C. after the call. He just looks at me, shakes his head and we continue to search for food. We find a large, fast-food style kitchen with quite a bit of food. K.C. finds a door that opens out into a garden beyond which is a gate. It's twilight out.

I ask K.C. if he's going for help. He nods and ducks down the path to the gate and vanishes.

World's. Easiest. Escape. Ever.

Anyway, immediately after K.C. leaves (and I have absolute faith that he did, in fact, go for help and not just buggered off thankful he's no longer in the house), this kid shows up saying very boldly that he's K.C.'s replacement, as there must always be the same number of people in the house or the kidnapper, whomever he is, will get suspicious. Never mind that the kid is, like, 10-years-old and as blonde as can be, and K.C. is in his 20's and couldn't look more Asian.

The weird thing is, it seemed perfectly logical in the dream world. So this kid and I return to the other, still-panicking house mates in the living room and then everyone's mobile phone rings (even, strangely enough, K.C.'s who is no longer in the house. I know this because my brain cut to him in his car looking at his ringing mobile... don't ask me how he got his car).

Everyone puts their mobiles on speaker phone.

It's my sister, Z.C. She greets me with false merriment and a very strong Australian accent: "Hey Sonia, it's your sister Z! How are ya?"

When she asks how I am, I burst into tears and can't respond.

There the dream ends. My eyes open, and I see the clock and it's precisely ten minutes after I should have gotten up. I swear and roll out of bed.

I am exhausted! I am so tired. I feel like I've run a marathon, only without the fun endorphins that come with actually running a marathon. I just want to sleep today!

So today, I curse the imagination I usually bless.

I'm going to leave it here, after another really long post (sorry!). Here's today's Forgotten English:

Behindhand

In arrears as to the discharge of one's liabilities; probably [formed] on the analogy of beforehand.
- Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1888

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Flattery of the Highest Order

Yesterday afternoon I received the loveliest email from a friend I've made via facebook. Apparently, for my birthday I shall be given a pencil drawing portrait. In the meantime, he sketched this:


with profound apologies because he feels it doesn't much look like me. I'm flattered all the same, and am very grateful.

What a great afternoon I had yesterday because of this!

That great afternoon was replaced by a great evening, as I spent it at training. Three hours of training, and the final hour was pretty intense. I'm tired and achy now, but won't complain overmuch as 1) I brought it on myself and 2) It was frikkin' awesome and this is a good tired and achy... if there can be such a thing.

For a while yesterday, I was debating on whether I should write my script now, or wait until Script Frenzy next April to start the actual writing. I'm pretty much ready to write the thing, but I've decided to wait. Next year's Script Frenzy will be my first, so I don't want to ruin it.

In other news, I am completely addicted to HBO's Game of Thrones. It's actually very close to the book (from what I remember) and very, very, very well done. Also, it has Sean Bean, so it can't really go wrong. If you haven't watched it yet, I highly recommend it. It's television that won't rot your brain.

Right, I'm off to do nothing in particular. Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Yoke-Mating

Marriage; from yoke-mate, a yoke-fellow.
- Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1918.

Can anyone tell me what the hell a yoke-fellow is?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Branching Out

Those of you who are on my Facebook page (click the link on your right to get there) know that while I'm taking a break from anything to do with The Great Man, I've decided to expand my skill base and tackle a script. I'm writing a movie at the moment.

I'm not actually going to sit down and write the script until April 2012 (as April is Script Frenzy month), but I'm doing all the research and prep. work beforehand. I have to say, it's stupid fun. Not literally stupid, but so much fun it's stupid.

I've found script writing exceedingly different from the way I tackle novels. Those who aren't pantsers will probably find it less different. I've been planning a whole lot this time around. I just finished the index cards detailing the character arcs and arranged them all in chronological order yesterday.

Also, unlike my novel writing, I'm using software. It's a free software download called Celtx. It's actually pretty good. I didn't take the tutorial, so I'm probably doing things oddly, but much of it is fairly intuitive.

There is a central database for all your script writing needs - characters, sets, hair and make-up, special effects... the list goes on. The software formats the script correctly for you right off the bat, so you don't have to worry about that when it comes time to write the thing. My favourite feature thus far, however, has to be the index cards. They are colour-coded for up to six plot-lines. I've used all six for the characters that matter. Also, you can rearrange the index cards as you see fit until you come up with a pleasing arrangement of scenes.

There is even a storyboard feature. Not sure I'm going to use that. After all, I'm just writing the script, not directing the film.

In any case, I'm having a great deal of fun delving into the screen-writing business. I'm not taking this one seriously. There's no way I'm going to try and shop this script around. It really is a just for fun venture for me.

Having filled out each character, and plotted their respective arcs, I'm now researching and creating sets. Speaking of, I should get back on that but not before today's Forgotten English.

Good-Father

A father-in-law; also, a step-father; 1500s-1600s
- Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1901

Monday, May 9, 2011

For The Win

*Happy dancing*

I made my flatmate cry! *Off key singing* I made my flatmate cry!

*More happy dancing*

I might be a little sadistic...

No, I didn't hit her, or otherwise strike her in any fashion whatsoever. I had her read the ending of Overlord (Book 4 of The Great Man series). When she teared up, I laughed, because I'm supportive like that.

What? I cried when I wrote it. It's only fair someone else cries when reading it.

There's something strangely satisfying at watching someone else be touched by your words. Of course, now she's mad at me for making her sad. Whatever. I can live with it.

Don't forget that The Dying God, the titular short story from my e-Book The Dying God & Other Stories, is being serialised at All Things Books. Part 2 is up now.

Read Part 1 first, though, or it won't make sense.

Today's Forgotten English is a little confusing in that it's not what you might think it would be...

Beestings

The first milk after a cow has calved, which is thick and clotty, and in Northampton called cherry-curds. [From] German biest-milch... Anglo-Saxon beost, byst... French calle-bouté, curded or beesty, as the milk of a woman that is newly delivered... The earth was in the Middle Ages supposed to be surrounded by a sea of so thick a substance as to render navigation impossible. This was called mer bétée in French and lebermer in German - the loppered sea.
- Hensleigh Wedgwood's Dictionary of English Etymology, 1878

Fore-milk. To draw the first portion of a cow's milk.
- Thomas Darlington's Folk-Speech of South Cheshire, 1887

Colostre, the first milke, tearmed beest, or beestings.
- Randle Cotgrave's Dictionarie of the French and English Tongues, 1611

A disease caused by imbibing beestings; [from] Latin colostratio.
- Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1888

See, told you.

I'm still on break from writing anything to do with The Great Man, so I'm off to play. Have a wonderful Monday everyone!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Foremother

A female ancestor.

- Rev. John Boag's Imperial Lexicon of the English Language, c. 1850.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Nothing's Happening

Well, there's nothing much going down at the moment.

I started and finished formatting yesterday. Today, I have nothing to do. That's alright, though. I don't mind.

That said, last night I came up with the opening three odd chapters for Puppet Master, Book 5 of The Great Man. At least, I think it'll be about three chapters. I have to get down the main points of that sometime during the day so I don't forget about it completely by the time I sit down to write that book.

I'm still determined to take a break from writing, though. My fingers are all achy from spending all day, almost every day pounding out word after word.

The only problem is, I don't know how to spend my time. I should have brought in a book to read...

Speaking of words, today's Forgotten English is:

Filching Cove

A man thief; filching-mort, a woman thief.
- Capt. Alexander Smith's History of the Lives and Robberies of the Most Notorious Highwaymen, Footpads, Shoplifts and Cheats of Both Sexes, 1719

Now how's that for a title?

Have a great weekend all!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Aching Like You Wouldn't Believe

Ouchies!

I am so very, very sore this morning. The first time on horseback in a very long time has me walking like John Wayne. The muscles on my inner thigh have decided to protest almost audibly. They've stopped working. I literally need to use my hands to help myself cross my own darned legs.

The first two nights of Chinese Martial Arts training has every other part of me aching in protest (though nowhere nearly as strongly as those thigh muscles).

My muscles are in such a state, it took me ten whole minutes longer to walk into work today, making me a couple of minutes late (hence the tardy post today). Oops!

I knew I was moving slower despite working harder, and would thus be late, when a man with a cane overtook me on the footpath.

My pride will never recover.

It's always like this the first two odd weeks back at training. I ache and can't move properly and am constantly tired and grumpy. After about two weeks, I fall back into the routine and everything is much smoother.

For all the aches and pain and difficulty moving, I absolutely adore what I do: Equestrian Archery, Kick-boxing, Kung Fu and Chinese Weapons... If the world ever ends, I'm prepared!

News on Overlord has improved. It took me all day, but I've been through all 407 pages doing a very preliminary edit (spelling, grammar, and plot things that are large enough for me to detect and fix quickly). Today will be spent formatting. Once that's done, I can safely leave the novel and work on something else.

I've downloaded free script-writing software, so I might play around with that for a little bit in preparation for next year's Script Frenzy in April. I'm planning ahead, I know.

Onto today's Forgotten English and thence formatting.

Pay in Cats

To pay in cats and dogs is to pay, not in cash, but in inconvenient or useless commodoties.
- Richard Thornton's American Glossary, 1912.

I should note here that I am copying these definitions faithfully from my Forgotten English 2011 Calendar, and that any spelling errors belong to that calendar. I've been assuming that it is because these definitions were written (mostly) before spelling was formalised. It could also just be a printer's typographical error. Who knows?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Preparing for the Apocalypse

Or, rather less dramatically put, Equestrian Archery lessons.

That's me on Nash. Nash is a bossy mare, but once she gets going, she's very good.

So, Monday evening was the first ever Equestrian Archery lesson of the season. It was cold, wet and generally miserable, so we headed into the arena to train. Nash doesn't much like the arena, so she was a little... uh... bitchy. Still, it was good fun.

The trainees were myself and J.M-B. as the other interested parties found they didn't have the time. My Kung Fu sister N.T. joined us for a gander to see if she might be interested in taking it up.

Neither J.M-B. or myself had ridden for a while, nor had we shot in a while, so this lesson was a reintroduction to riding and shooting. I was on Nash first to warm ourselves both up. And J.M-B was doing this:

Then we switched. J.M-B. did this:


While I did this:


We shot with the thumb release. I managed to give myself a blister without knowing it. The sudden pain in my thumb when the blister tore open alerted me of that fact.

Owie!

Without a plaster handy, I just had to suck it up. I tried shooting left handed. Yeah, that was abysmal. Then we decided it was time to shoot from a canter, and then the fun really began. Now I'm not so skilled that I can nock an arrow whilst riding (yet), but I did manage to shoot the target and hit it. The first pass I shot and missed. The following two passes, I couln't even pull the bow as the arrow kept dislodging. Then on the fourth pass, this happened:

video

I have trouble keeping my heels down, you can see, but I'll correct that soon enough.

And then it was J.M-B.'s turn:

video

It didn't take her quite so many passes to get it right.

All in all, a brilliant evening, and I can't wait to do it again! The trainer, Chris Kovach, is fun and easy to learn from. He's also extremely accommodating. He rearranged his schedule to take us on Monday, and will be again to accommodate us on Sunday mornings. It's just awesome fun. I'm so happy to be training with him!

If you're in the Ottawa area, and have the means and the time to get to Kemptville, do go and check it out. Chris' website is here. Check it out. You won't be sorry.

Last night was the first night of Martial Arts training in a couple of weeks. Already achy from riding, it was absolute torture... but so, so good! The last hour of training has been devoted to an exceptionally traditional way of training, and the focus is on Mantis Kung Fu for that hour (our school focuses on Mantis, but also teaches a number of other styles including San Shou, Pi Gua, Baji and Ba Gua. The philosophy is one of inclusiveness and openness to other forms of Martial Arts). It was intense, but so much fun!

Writing wise, I did nothing, of course. I mucked about until late in the day when I decided to start the preliminary spelling and grammar check. I didn't finish it as I had started so late. I might finish it today. I might not. I've given myself permission to slack off.

Right, I'll stop boring you and get on with my day. Here is today's Forgotten English:

Fire-Fanged

Fire-bitten. Spoken of oatmeal &c. that is overdried.
- Francis Grose's Glossary of Provincial and Local Words, 1811

Burnt, overheated, dried; fire-fangitness, the state of being overheated, burnt.
- Joseph Wright's English Dialect Dictionary, 1898-1905

Cheese is said to be firefangit when it is swelled and cracked, and has received a peculiar taste in consequence of being exposed to much heat before it has been dried.
- John Jamieson's Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language, 1808

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

So Much (Political) Rage

I can't believe it. I just can't. After all the terrible things he has done, even going against the democratic principles of this country (which is why the election was bloody called, you fools), you voted the most malignant person possible to a majority government. A majority. That's right. That's who you voted for, or didn't, as it turns out. Voter turnout was only 1% higher than last time, and last time was the worst ever recorded voter turnout.

Congratulations, Canada. Your political apathy has cost you your country.

If you really want to know why I'm so angry that this horrible example of humanity has gained power (in a bid to acquire votes in a Quebec riding (where asbestos is mined), he told them that he vehemently supports the selling of asbestos where it is still legal, i.e. third world countries who lack the training and equipment to handle it in a safe manner - and that is not the only un-Canadian, undemocratic stunt he's pulled), you need not look further than this site:


I do believe I feel exactly the same way sane Americans felt when George W. Bush was elected. Twice.

And to think, I was going to spend this post showing off some snaps of my first Equestrian Archery lesson of the season. The election results, however, has put me in too foul a mood. You'll just have to wait until tomorrow for those.

Oh, Canada, our home native land, true patriot love WOULD HAVE GOTTEN YOU TO VOTE!

ARGH!!!

Alright, I'm done shouting. I'm going to go whimper in a corner about this for the rest of the day.

A couple of silver linings, however. The NDP is now the official opposition. That's a good sign that many Canadians (especially Quebec - Je suis tellement fière de toi) were informed when they voted. I'm praying they do a very good job of it, and keep Harper and his cronies as honest as they possibly can. It's not easy, I know, but don't let me down, NDP!

The other thing that made me exceptionally happy was the election of Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party, in her riding. It's official, the Green Party has a seat. I hope she makes herself heard, because Canada needs a green voice, especially since Harper's environmental policies has scientists calling for the removal of Canada from the Commonwealth (a request not made since Apartheid rule in South Africa. Well done, Harper. Well done). A HUGE congratulations to her, and I hope this is a sign of better things to come.

Having recounted some of the better results of the night, I'm much calmer. Also, training begins again tonight, so I'll have an outlet for my political vexations.

Now, I know that everyone's political orientation is not the same, and running posts of a political nature can be tricky. That said, someone has to speak up. I'm not afraid to, nor am I ashamed to. Nor should I be. You are welcome to disagree (democracy and free speech and all that), but keep the comments civil.

Right... so... in other news, I have officially finished the writing portion of the first draft of Overlord. At 110 824 words, it is my longest manuscript yet. All that remains today is to do a cursory spelling and grammar check, and divide the novel into chapters (the way I write, having to make chapters comes second). After that, I'm leaving it the heck alone for any number of months as I work on other projects.

I quite normally give myself the rest of the month off writing at all, but since it's so early in the month, I might just give myself the month off writing anything to do with The Great Man, and work on other projects instead.

Oh, and here's some much happier news. A massive thanks to Pam Asberry of the blog Sometimes It's Cloudy, Sometimes It's Clear who has awarded me with:


Ta-dah!

Now the rules of accepting the award are as follows:

1. Thank and link the person who nominated you.
2. Share seven random facts about yourself.
3. Pass the award along to five buddies whose blogs epitomize the theme.
4. Contact those buddies to congratulate them.

Number one, check. Number two:

1. When I first meet someone, I'm actually quite shy and reserved, leading them to think I'm cold. Those who know me well, however, know I'm a complete goof and not cold at all.
2. I chose my friends extremely carefully. I might be friendly, but that doesn't make you my friend. Sorry.
3. I want a house with an orchard... and a vineyard... and a few horses. Man, I'm going to have to be a millionaire to pull it off!
4. I can't dance or sing, but will do both anyway.
5. I might have a spiral fracture in my left foot. They said random facts. That's random, and a fact.
6. I have trouble keeping my heels down while in a canter. I will be correcting that.
7. I think that worldly experience improves a person more than career experience. I hope to be well-travelled and have children who are well-travelled.

... check.

And number three:

I award this to:

1. Genevieve Hopkins of Our Watership Down
2. Rosa Christian of Per Rose Oddities
3. Gerard de Marigny of The World According to g.
4. Rita Web of Rita's World
5. Debbie Maxwell Allen of Writing While the Rice Boils.

... check!

And number four..... check!

This is an absurdly long post. I'm leaving you alone now, but before I go, Forgotten English:

Canvas Opera

A circus.
- Maurice Weseens' Dictionary of American Slang, 1934.

Considering the election, this is very appropriate.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Weekend and Wonderment

Good morning all! Happy Monday.

It's a happy Monday for me, as on Friday, I finished the main body of Overlord (The Great Man, Book 4).

SQUEE!

I only have to write the epilogue now. The epilogue is actually quite emotionally difficult, so it might take me a while to plod my way through that horrific mess. All the same, I expect to be finished my (new) first draft of Overlord this week.

Double SQUEE!

I will be celebrating by attending the first ever equestrian archery lesson of the summer. I'm so excited to get riding again!

Triple SQUEE!

In non-writing related news, the weekend was very busy for me. I stayed out late Friday, so slept in on Saturday. I missed Lion Dance practice. Ooops. I still feel terrible about that! I taught Kung Fu in the afternoon as usual. Then in the evening, I went out to dinner with friends before heading over to my Kung Fu brother's place to watch the fight (G.S.P. vs Jake Shields).

Yes, I watch M.M.A. I can't help it. It's barbaric to be sure. However, it's also fiercely fascinating to watch from a technical point of view, and if you want an example of technical, strategic fights, you watch G.S.P. (that's George St-Pierre to the uninitiated). He always has a game plan, and he's an intelligent fighter.

Round two, G.S.P. took a strike to his left eye and lost vision in that eye. He still fought a further three rounds, and though took some heavy blows on his left side, still managed to win the fight (on points). It's not the usual G.S.P. people are used to watching (he usually goes for a knockout or submission but after round two was, understandably, extremely hesitant to engage), and so in that sense was disappointing. Props, however, to that man who got up and fought with only one eye, and still won.

I refuse to fight with two good eyes!

I hope that the damage taken wasn't serious. A serious eye injury could mean an unplanned retirement.

We hung around until quite late, or rather, very early the following morning. I got home and stumbled into bed around 4:30. Needless to say, I spent most of Sunday lounging around and doing nothing. A huge thanks to R.S. and his lovely wife L. for hosting us. A massive thanks to K.C. for being the designated driver!

In writing related news again, because today I feel like being all over the map, I was given an author spotlight on ebookcracy.com. You can read it here.

Right, I just realised that my serial is late today, so I'd best email that off! I'll leave you with today's Forgotten English.

Balditude

A state of baldness; [found in] The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
- John Farmer's Americanisms - Old and New, 1889