Friday, December 22, 2017

Woman of the Sky Completed

Writing and rewriting is complete on my third and final Mora novel, 'Woman of the Sky.' There should only be line edits and proofreading from this point as we work toward a release sometime in the spring.

As its predecessors in the Mora and Malvern series, it followed a bit of a formula, my aim being to produce a fantasy adventure in four parts, and around sixty chapters and 60,000 words. I have done pretty much that five times before and this one came out about the same — sixty chapters, 64,000 words. I pretty much know how much space it takes me to tell a story. Or maybe I know how much story fits a given space!

The supporting character of Rahiniti has been a presence through the arc of the Mora Trilogy (it really is a trilogy now), a thread that linked the stories. Now she takes center stage and tells her own story. I readily admit that this book has less action than the others. Rahiniti is not any sort of warrior; she is a dancer, a small woman, who does not take part in battles! But plenty happens, never fear. Here's the blurb, more-or-less as it will appear on the cover and elsewhere:

A long journey it had been for Rahiniti. Born a Kohari peasant, trained from childhood as a dancer in the great Temple of Mihasa, she had followed the Mora warrior Hito over the mountains to a new life, a life as a noblewoman, adopted by the powerful Lord Temani'itu.

A life that turns on to a new journey when her friend Demba passes, leaving a grieving husband and a young daughter with hidden powers. There are those who mean harm to Lord Gordie, who hope to manipulate him to further their own ambitions. How can one small 'woman of the sky' oppose them?

The journey that began in 'God of Rain' and continued through 'Arrows of Heaven' comes at last to a conclusion here, as Rahiniti finds her true place in the realm of the Mora, in the third and final novel of the Mora Trilogy, 'Woman of the Sky,' by Stephen Brooke.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Misadventures in Computing

Within a couple weeks I had not one, but two, of my desktop PCs crash badly. First, my office computer, a not particularly powerful machine that I sometimes wrote on, and often used for editing and design work, as well as being my primary internet computer. Eventually I was able to get it up and running but in the process lost every file on it — some backed up recently, some not. So it goes.

As long as I needed to reinstall the operating system, I decided to switch it over to Linux and installed Ubuntu. Now, it will be my primary computer for online use, and for light office duties. Not so much in the cold of winter when I tend to hide in my bedroom and work on the laptop! It is sitting in the art studio area now and should remain there.

And I did replace it in the office with a faster and more powerful computer which is far more satisfactory for working with graphics (music, too). Bought as a refurb, which I think is the smart way to go for someone like me. But what do I know? :)

So — shortly after, I go into the music room/recording space, which I had neglected somewhat over the past year, and the dedicated music computer is quite defunct. Tried every possible solution but I am afraid it is not coming back. Now this was not a new PC but it meshed with my equipment. 32 bit, running Vista, with loads of good in and out solutions (digital) and Firewire. I am afraid this makes my old interfaces obsolete. Much of the equipment will not work with 64 bit architecture and/or Windows 10 and, of course, Firewire is pretty much a thing of the past.

I did crank up my even older, retired music computer, running Windows XP, and it worked as well as ever. I’ll use it for a while. It does provide a Firewire port but not enough computing power to run the M-Audio Lightbridge that was largely the center of my setup. So that particular piece of equipment is now pretty much a doorstop. Some USB-based stuff will still work on that machine (but not on the newer ones).

The fact is, the new office computer would do a better job and I may mix on it; I don’t go into the music room much in the coldest part of winter anyway. Sometime toward Spring I shall have to think about a replacement computer and probably a new interface setup. All I use on the newer machines right now are simple stereo USB devices (small mixers, actually) that will work on anything without special drivers. In truth, that is all I need most of the time. So I’ll be thinking about it, watching for deals, etc. It’s likely I’ll stick with Windows for recording, and use my copy of Adobe Audition 3 as long as it will work! But there, too, I’ll need to move on eventually.

In other news: I am somewhere around 85% finished with the narrative on the next novel, ‘Woman of the Sky.’ I say ‘narrative’ rather than first draft because I am constantly rewriting as I go so there is no real second draft. Just editing, proofing, designing.

And ‘The Ways of Wizardry’ is still set for a January 6 official release, but it can be purchased right now at the Arachis Press store. A lot of the publishing stuff got delayed thanks to the computer problems but we’re back on track — until the next problem, of course.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Hell is Naked Review

Review of the novel HELL IS NAKED, by Jean James and Mary James
Woodrock House 2017 — Print ISBN 978-0-984605-6-2

This is essentially the short review I might eventually post on GoodReads and Amazon.

As ever, an admission up front that the authors are relatives. Mary James is my niece, and the musical artist known as Mean Mary.

“Hell is Naked” is a fast-paced crime novel set in the world of the Los Angeles film industry — as seen from the vantage of extras, rather than stars. It seems authentic in its portrayal (both authors have worked as extras) of that setting.

Also authentic is the portrayal of the central protagonist, retired cop Warren Roberts, now working as a private investigator. His SWAT background is drawn from life (another family member). Roberts is in LA looking for a missing girl — ostensibly for her father. We can all guess that things are not going to be that simple!

And we can guess that all hell breaks out pretty quickly (whether it is naked, I couldn’t say). Plenty of action, in the city, in the desert hills and the Pacific waters around it, follows, with a sprinkling of comic relief. Much of that is provided by our protagonist himself. The plot holds together well, events pushing it forward, as our characters attempt to solve the underlying mystery as they run.

Well-written, readable, good characterizations, decent dialog, and a compelling plot. Recommended.

“Hell is Naked” is officially out on December 12

Woodrock House
13097 Highway 45 N.
Finger, TN 38334