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Wednesday, 31 December 2014


For those who loved the Narnia books and/or those who have read his papers, the biography on the BBC is worth catching. It paints a poignant picture of the sensitive academic behind the written word. 

There were a number of great writers who emerged at the same time as C.S.Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.  If you are not familiar with his works, I highly recommend E.R. Edison - The Zimiamvian Trilogy and The Worm Ouroboros for beautiful prose and wonderful characters.

Xmas Cheer and next New Year ;)

So that was Christmas and a Happy New Year....

Nothing quite like a good family Xmas so it was good to gather the family around and to enjoy each other's company. The house feels so much warmer and like there is something waiting to happen around each corner.  Now everyone has gone and even the nearby family won't be around for dinner until January, the house has fallen silent, losing that soft buzz of voices and thoughts. 

It's still the peaceful house even when it is full of folk. This Xmas, it was so good to be able to sit down and talk about writing styles and content. With my daughter editing a novella and working on a novel, it has been even more of a family subject than normal.

Good, too, to mix a few old favourites amongst our many board and other competition games with some newer ones over the last few weeks.  This year, we all learned to play the Japanese card game, Titchu, which was good fun, had a go at the Star Trek deck builder (we thought some of the criticism levelled at the game was unfair), got to grips with the Pandemic card game, Contagion as well as playing La Cittia, Seven Wonders and Dominion.

One of the gang gave us Thunderstone - The Elementals so we have three sets of the game, now, to torture people with. Such a beautiful game to look at, I have always felt it just falls short of being one of the greats, even with the amended rules that we have introduced.

Something else I wanted to mention. It's always a huge pleasure when an old friend gets in touch. I was thrilled to see an email from one of the finest on-line role players I have ever had the privilege to play alongside and the creator of Ared. Look forward to hearing from you again, my old friend. We have much catching up to do.

I hope to hear from more of you. I long ago lost ,most of the Sigil email addresses when my old lap top went suddenly and I found the backup had been corrupted, also. We saved some of the files using hard disk extraction tools but some data was hopelessly distorted.

Happy New Year to you all.  I hope 2015 brings you things that you wish for.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Xmas at Hogenroast Malpractice (Pronouced Hoonroast)

Hello all
I bet you thought I had forgotten you.  Yes, this is indeed Squire Townshend St John De Grincheux signing in to spread a bit of Christmas Cheer.

Maddie and I will be hosting the usual eighteen to twenty odd for dinner.  Cook and her team are all prepared, turkeys have been stored, hams salted and one thing and another.  I have taken the liberty of picking the drinks to be served, of course.

Nothing like starting the day with a bit of a halloo over the moors, before lunch. A stirrup cup of spiced rum or mead and then off to dinner.  "Freddie" Flingstuff is going to be along to add a bit of celebrity colour as well as the usuals, Nigel Snipe-Razzell, Geoffrey Loosely-Gaye, "Bogroll" Bligh, "Wingit" Hershaw and, of course, our new MP for our adjacent county Upper Middleshire & Blazering, "Perkie" Perkins or Sam as he prefers to be called.  Dashed good thing he beat off that UKVIP candidate, Joseph H. Snottham. Borderfolk & Sheepshire is a staunch Conserve-IT seat. We'd like it to stay that way next year.

I did invite Henry Treadsoftly but it sounds like my sister Hildebrande has some things for him to do before they pick up dear old Colonel Somewhat-Vague and Henrietta from Crumbleigh Towers and the Much Vexing mob come to join us for lunch.

At one time, the Colonel would have led the charge, of course but in those days we would have been chasing real foxes instead of a chap dressed as one who the winner "shoots" with a foam lump loaded ina toy gun. Oh well, at least we can use a few hounds.

The economy hasn't been the same since the days of the hunt.  I'm not a lover of blood sports and don't like seeing foxes killed or birds shot but I have to say that a lot of people who had jobs which relied on the extra income from those sports have left the area, now. The kennels are largely closed, the blacksmiths and farriers went,  makers of all sorts of gear, a local brewer, I could go on.   The town folk won't have it until the foxes start on their bins and become a nuisance but we had a delicate control here in the country.  We did know what we were at, even if it looked like we were a lot of rich old farts overdoing it.   No gamekeeper on my estate ever gassed a badger, shot a bird of prey or saw off wildlife.  I saw to that. I still have the odd hen harrier but not like we did since the grouse moor closed. I couldn't have all those protesters stomping about. Same with the fox hunting. We stopped it but I tell you, now, if you live in the country, you get a different perspective and maybe you should think on that. It's easy to make judgements about things you don't understand because you aren't close enough to care.

Now, let's get back to enjoying a good Xmas. Wherever you are, I hope you enjoy the company of your family and some time to relax.  We could do with more time off in this little nation of ours. It's quality time when well spent and we should all have that opportunity.  So grab a bottle of something you like and here's a toast to a great new year in 2015.

Damson where did I put the Damson Gin? Excuse me, folks, I have a couple of important bottles to dig out. The home made stuff is just nicely ready for the festive season. Hope you grabbed some of those bunches of sloes back in the Autumn.

Happy Christmas All
So I got to the end of the second book and set it aside to edit later.  I have a couple of the readers looking at it, already but won't distribute it as widely until I have run through at least once.  I may have edited three chapters or so out of 32.

Onto the 3rd book. I had written an opening some time back but that was amended, then again and then partially returned to the original style.  Getting into the third is proving harder as it's not as interesting a line of plots as the 4th and 5th but I have a lot of material that needs to get out before we get into those two plot lines. Also some new characters to introduce, not least, Finn's muse and love of his life, Sylvander.

Also entering this one are Zira, the arabic blood thief and lightweight magess, Gorwen, the fey dragon with his butterfly wings and low attention span, Goric the dwarven smith and Grimstob, the ex dwarven lord who wants to forget his past, Caliban, a young assassin who becomes Finn's shadow and possibly a few others. There's a rumour that Seabharinn may make his appearance but although a first chapter is written, use of his name is still under negotiation with Ross.

In the second book, we met Thunderchild, properly, Bo, Jeffery, Marcabru and Ylloelae again and Finn's companions who work for him, Targ and Prendar. I would have liked to bring in so many others but there is so little space when it comes down to it.

If any of you ex-Sigil players are reading me and you are happy for me to use the rp characters you created, let me know.  I know I own the rights on Sigil and the copyright to its plots but I regard the characters as yours and won't put them in without written permission. I'd love to feature more of them so... you know the mail addys. They are still the same as ever.

For the rest of you, if you have a character idea you'd love to see in the tale, I'm always open to creative ideas.

Until next time.