Posts Tagged ‘Colonel Pen’

I hadn’t realized that there had been such a big gap since I last blogged…

I suppose a good place to start would be my Gratitude Log..

Gratitude Log:

  1. Tylenol–for three days this week, or longer, I have had back pains that I am sure have been another kidney stone. (I have had five now.) It may even be the stone I had felt in September that I never passed
  2. Motrin–Same deal, a mix of tylenol and motrin caused the pain to diminish, though not go away entirely
  3. Marie-Callenders and there 6.99 per pie sale. Doesn’t happen enough but it sure stops the monotony of desserts. I have not had Ice Cream since before the start of September so I rationalize that it is okay for an indulgence into Chocolate Cream Pie or Cherry Pie since we’ll only do this why the sale is on.
  4. Pets-Loveable scamps except that so often it is one way. We give, get up and feed them, clean up after them, and they just sit around like lugs all day.
  5. Music–Without the world would be a lot quieter.

The writing for the months since my last report went very well, in September outpacing much of what I had ever done before. My KoTohLan project grew to over 140,000 words during the time and i finished the first draft earlier in the week.

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Well last night, sunday, was the end of my writing cycle for the month. So where am, what have I completed in a month.

I scored a job! It cuts into my writing though. And my job search a little. I am editing three text books for a high school level curriculum. That has its challenges.

In writing, we finished the second draft of Graces and added a couple thousand words in the process. Colonel Pen doubled in size being about 2/3rds finished. It is now 71K I had gotten to a point where we still were not on the continent fighting the French, realizing this is a great deal of back story without action, so I began to put some action in. Going back a hundred pages, and then will do so again.

While this activity took place, my work on Colonel Pen, I thought of a new idea for a story: KoTohLan. Here are the first bits

The Interview

“Show me.”

Between them, the board with its Gold and Silver lines crossing, eleven by a eleven times, made the distance as great a divide as the social class that restricted them. Magnus, his true name, and that which he tutored under, thought of what to say. He had managed, a bow worthy of a prince, and had been effusive with praises that the Duchess had heard from many mouths many times.

“Show me.” Again she said it. Not a command, and not a request. Somewhere in between. Her blue eyes, Magnus could tell the color, was that of the sky at dawn, before the last rays of a straining sky fully burst with light from the sun. Flecks of indigo, the color of rays that reflected from a cloud during those dawns, swam around her irises. He dared not think of her any more poetically.

“Grace, you are familiar with the three tiers of the game.” For only the Ko board was between them. The simplest of the three games, but as all of them complex and difficult to master. Four years Magnus had played in tournaments. He did not feel a master of any of the three despite the success that he had achieved.

“Yes, and you have been hired to teach my step son only that of Ko.” Magnus nodded, his eyes were blue also, he reflected. Lighter then hers, and often remarked on. For his name, common in the kingdom of his birth, suggested that his eyes should be of the color of the Haltorians. The breadbasket of the empire it had been called, when men held the empire was powerful and in need of just such a country.

The Duchess Celeste had not been a nobel long, Magnus smiled as he took the two cups of stones and gently shook them, so that there rattle eviscerated the room. He found it pleasant. The Duchess smiled, and this touched her lips. She did not find the sound unpleasant. “Ko is the easiest to learn for we only have two stones, ours and the enemies. There is advantage in every part of the game, a master will tell you, and nothing is random. Including the selection of stones. Would you like to hear the philosophy of this, or shall I cut to an example of play?”

Generally, for his nine other students, he never asked, but told them of how even masters gave away something when they held the stones in their fist, beckoning their opponent to pick the left or right hand and reveal which side they would take. Gold always played first. That was an advantage, to be tempered it was held, by playing only on the even apexes.

Celeste shook her head, and her golden locks, Magnus had learned that it was near the same color as Duke Korman’s last Duchess, moved gently about her face. Celeste had been married three months, Magnus had been told, and had been warned that seeing her would be a blessing he would remember all his life. For a girl that had been a Novice to the Goddess Nuln but six months before, destine to be a holy sister and lead a life a celibacy, the road to marrying Duke Korman must have been strewn with obstructions. Magnus knew of obstructions in ones path. He presumed the Gods would have more for him.

“Then for this example, we are concerned with only the color of the center of the stone. The rim colors are important in KoToh, and the little triangles that point inward are part of KoTohLan.” She nodded.

“Yes, just the color of the stone. My son says he has learned much in the two lessons you have had.” Hired just five days before, this was his third visit to the Palace and he had been brought to her room. He though perhaps he had seen her once from a distance, looking into the courtyard where he instructed young Joran from a mezzanie above. He thought his eyes had betrayed him. Men had said that the Duchess was a beauty while a novice, but few men were to know this. Once the Duke found her, she blossomed even more.

Duke Mikal Korman might be the second most powerful man in the kingdom, or the third, or the fourth. Certainly he was one of those, Magnus’ father had told him. The Emperor of course potentially was the most powerful. Potentially was a term Magnus had come to appreciate. The previous emperor had ruled the seven kingdoms. As had his father, and that one’s father had before. The Dynasty of Larstier.

Since the overthrow of the Despot, that was what the new Emperor and his support like Duke Korman called the previous emperor, the Dynasty of Krache with Joss the first had seen five of the seven kingdoms that comprised the empire revert to their own autonomy. Include Magnus’ native Haltoria.

“We place the stones and try to surround each other. When two players are matched or close enough, we clench a stone of Gold in one fist and a stone of Bronze in the other. Yes, you know this.”

“The sisters and novices play in the temple a smaller game on a board with five lines crossing.” Called KoLan and dismissed as a woman’s game, it involved getting a line vertical, horizontal, or diagonal of all your color. Magnus knew it had nuance and its own difficulty.

“So Gold always places first and on even lines. Which means in terms of strategy that they are denied the safety of the border on the first move.” Magnus did not want to talk. He wanted to gaze upon the duchess and be unobserved. Magnus had known women, some. His uncle was a rich merchant. A large servant staff with several young girls of an age who had found Magnus good looking enough to bed. He suspected that he had more partners then the Duchess ever had. By law she was to have been a virgin if a novice of Nuln.

“Are there no exceptions?”

“Ah, in private games for the purpose of handicapping, or for trying out variations of rules to add dimension to the game. Otherwise, no. In tournament play the rules are sacrosanct.”

She laughed, gently, a little huskiness there, but ever soft as feathers. The laughter did not touch her eyes and Magnus now understood the phrase. This was the first person he had ever met whose face was not engaged with their voice. Either she had the ability within her to be a great player of Ko, never revealing her thoughts, or there was some deep gulf that kept her feelings from her eyes.

Magnus was sixteen. He felt older, but his uncle and aunt through him and their children day of birth affairs. Thus he knew this to be the years he numbered. The Duchess was not yet twenty if what his friends had told was true. She seemed either much older, or lost. “A game is not played quickly…” she began and lost her thought it seemed to Magnus. As she looked at board he looked upon her. He believed she knew he studied her, and that she enjoyed that. Perhaps she was not so lost or old after all. So many girls, and Magnus, part of a very wealthy mercantile house, and making a name and fortune as a KoTohLan master, knew pretty girls of higher class and status who encouraged men to look at them.

It was not an action of men drowning in their beauty, he had come to realize but that these women would drown if men did not worship them with their eyes, or their words. Rich men, strong men, and powerful men all desired companions of a wondrous look. Few were the women in society who showed their minds. His aunt and cousins, in the safety of their Emporium, and the women of the many merchants who worked for the family, did show their minds to those who wanted to observe. But only when strangers were absent. Only amongst the trusted.

Perhaps the Duches Celeste was the same. “A game may be played quickly, and may end before every stone is played for there is a point when the board favors one player. At that point the game may end, and the players may ask that a time limit, a round of speed be used to place stones. There are games that are played this very instant where a player has but seconds to place his stone. In tournament play this is not done. It is felt that speed play does not allow the strongest strategies to develop. Playing quickly in KoToh, or KoTohLan only results in disaster for each player.”

Where we stand after all this is said and done, 45K words for the last four weeks (I didn’t write the first week so about 15K a week.) A yearly pace of nearly 600K. 2 and half books finished this year. 5K in KoTohLan, 71K in Col Pen., Graces is 112K and Space Mine is 98K. I am editing the draft of Space Mine now and will also start on Cautions Heir. It is now time this month to send out my querry letters.

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So four weeks since my last posting.

I had writers block for a while. Depression. With the job situation it happens, but what has happened novel wise since my last posting. First ‘Julie and Julia’ is an inspiration and wonderful film. Cheryl went in thinking it would be horrible, but she loved it and we have tried a few Julia recipes ourselves since then.

I finished the second draft of Graces during this time, all the entries in the computer. My buddy Tom has been reading it with his son Thomas for fun these last months and he says he enjoys it. The writing group enjoyed it. Perhaps it really is as good as we all think. Needs a more defined title.

Then the newest novel, Colonel Pen has taken off. The development has been large, much larger than I thought. I am just about to go to training of the army with General Moore. Something that did happen prior to the army going to the Peninsula. (Colonel Pen, for Pennington, but Pen for Peninsula… I didn’t realize I had done that till now.) We are 51,319 words so far. And My plan it so get through the first two parts of the campaign to 1809 and Corunna. I may end up with the victory at Vimeiro if this keeps developing to the size it is. I have already had to shorten scenes because I think the development is becoming long. So we will see. My goal at 1500 words a weekday was to be at 15,000 words by the end of last week. I had reached 12,625, and this week we want to be at 22,500. So far to now, I am at 20,063. But still all today, Sat and Sun to write.

I picked up an actual paid job, i think. I am doing some copy-editing work, so can’t write for me as much as I was. And where I had weeks of 15,000 words last month was so bad due to really only writing one week before I got sick, I averaged 2500 words a week. This month much better so far.

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I have written since the 4th, honest.

I wrote a 1000 words yesterday. Colonel Pen is over 33k now.

I have been sick since last tuesday and so from then till yesterday, 7 days that I should have written I didn’t. Finally picked up where I left off though and began again.

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So today is the official end of the writing cycle month for me. Since it would be the normal day for a Brea Borders Writers Group meeting. But as it is the holiday, we are not meeting. It is a time to reflect on accomplishments since last month. Space Mine’s first draft was finished this month. It came in at nearly 98K words. It had a long rambling finish. But the finish revealed something, sure the mission could eventually be done, but the project would never finish. There is always tomorrow Tara… There will always be threats, and there will always be a need to respond to it. Ever vigilant, but plan to go forward.

Then Colonel Pen started, Pen for Pennington. I wrote through the first scene rather quick, and had that well thought out it, trying to establish our background for the character. But then there was not as much fire as before. I was writing my 1500 words a day, then by the end of the week I was writing nothing. With the first two weeks as I finished the Space novel, I was writing a lot more than 1500 words a day. Some days over 3000.

Pennington had no solid voice for me yet, the technical part of what I want to portray not too clear. But that picked up. I have over 23K now for Pennington in two weeks. Total for June is over 51K nearly 13K a week average. Not as good as April and May, but well over my goal of 30K.

I edited up to a third of Graces’ first draft and have those changes into the computer. I posted my short story from the 1632 entries. It was voted to be adopted for the Granteville Gazette. It was taken by them, then the editors lost it. I being trusting thought these people were nice and honorable. They weren’t and it shows in their writing these days. Even in the stuff Baen is pushing in hardback. Some of the stuff is just drek that you are paying a lot of money for and in reading the reviews, I can see that my feelings are shared. Eric Flint and I were at UCLA in the history program at the same time. He was a Graduate student there when I was there. He has let his beast develope into the many headed hydra and can’t say no. So you have a society that technology stops cold when they transition. Laptops circa 2000 can no longer be produced.

Generating electricity for them is not possible outside of certain areas so when one arrives a few years later in Venice, has any of these writers used a laptop. Those batteries drain away to nothing so that you have to plug the thing in. Then an hour later if you still had a battery you would have to recharge. Sure a laptop would be great, but it would be as good as a refrigerator without electricity. The Granteville world has a lot of writers that Eric is encouraging with no clue like that. I love the Ballet one. Here you have a world that is surrounded all around by war and struggling to make ends meet. And the failed dance teacher who writes these stories thinks that you can put together a cultural show of ballet and make a money making company right in the middle of everything. I had to suspend my disbelief. (But still couldn’t do it.)

The tangents that have gone on are ridiculous. The only stuff that really does make sense are the items Eric and David Weber write. But even then it has problems. Making an airplane… Once the people from the future can do it, the people from the past are going to be able to copy it and get their own into production too? They will need many scientists and engineers to figure things out, there should be years (decades) between. Advantage america, but that doesn’t happen.

So seeing those inconsistencies, is what I tried to address in Space Mine. It has to be a logical extension of the ability to mine the Asteroids from where we are now.

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I did write last week, I just didn’t blog for the week because I was mostly blocked. Yes got through 3500 words sometime on Wednesday and couldn’t think of what next to write. Then I finished the scene and projected to the next. I had already started a little of chapter two, so I had a scene to write in between. Well our hero is the son of a peer, so he has to have gone to Eton. We know that Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton, or not since it may have been attributed to Wellington three years after he died. And though he had been at Eton also, as had his brothers, he did not stay for the entire six years.

But looking further into the time period, Beau Brummel was also at Eton, a year ahead of my hero. In the form of my hero, William Lamb, later a prime minister. Of what riches to pull from. And I was off again. Now by the end of Sunday I had 10K words finished for the week. Now on monday. I have finished all my parents slides. All three thousand. I can take a break

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So the week has started and I started up again for the week. Achieving my daily goals.

I am doing my research so the early part of the story doesn’t have as much research, but focuses on back story to a certain In the meantime since starting the weblogs in earnest I have finished 2 books bringing my total to 9. I found that Tranquility HIlton does not exist in digital form in my files, so I am scanning that into the computer, along with digitizing my parents slides, I have done 500+ in the last 2 days.

I also edited some more of Graces, now finished four chapters and entering that into the computer.

Here is the first few words of the new story.

Young Jack

The boys were well dressed in their rugged clothes. A groomsman followed but he was more interested in making time with the young nurse who had their charge then actually ensuring that the boys did not get too messy. From past discovery, the boys could get into all sorts of scrapes, come back with their hair full of leaves, faces besmirched with mud, and their breeches town and shredded, but a half hour in the kitchen, and they would be as good as if they were newborns.
Michael George Bartholomew Pennington, was the older by two years, just seven. His brother Jack, John St. John Pennington, was the real troublesome one. He was only an inch shorter than his elder brother, who looked just a little corpulent. Tall and wiry at five and able to have two maids repair his clothing at least once each week, was sure signs that the lad was on the road to trouble. The grooms father had achieved his post and that of his sons by serving with the Earl in the Colonial fiasco. The nurse was the daughter of a rector somewhere in the east part of the country, but she liked his looks at the boys seemed to get further along.
All new the area of this part of the estate well. Their was a quiet patch as the river widened here, surrounded by trees on this side, but with a path that led to a small jetty. The Earl had put a small rowboat there, and given the boys rods. There were no fish, too speak of just there so at times when he took his sons in the boat, the earl would have a couple of the hands put fish into the river a little out of sight so the boys might catch something. In other parts of the estate there was good fishing, but that was too far for the boys to adventure.
“Jack… I’m stuck.”
The younger boy sighed. Michael was never able to get over the branch at that one yew tree. Never. He always needed help.
“Very well, I don’t know why you just can’t crawl under.” Jack had no problem climbing over the branch. He never got stuck.
“Rosie says not to dirty my knees so…” Rosie was the maid who washed them when they came back to the house with mud, unless their mother did. Everyone said the Countess shouldn’t be doing that, but she said she loved her two dirty boys. Unless she called them her two little potatoes. Jack thought that was because Nurse said Potatoes grew in the mud.
“Here when I get under, you push…” Jack maneuvered to behind his brother and put his shoulder under his brothers bottom. Then heaved.
“Oof.” Michael said as he slid through the branches. “Better, thank you Jack.”
“Sure. But next time, crawl under.” Neither of the boys thought that they could go around, that would not have been as much fun. It also wasn’t the most direct route to their boat. They went to their boat often. It was the most fun that they thought they had. Though they had many other adventures. Their grandmother was at the house, though she called the house a castle, and it was best to avoid her. She wanted them to be studying in the nursery and asked them all sorts of nonsense questions, like where was Africa? Or how many Peers there were.

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