Welsh Musings

Whitedragontwolegs

White dragon (wyvern). Adapted from wikipedia image of the wyvern flag of wessex. This two legged dragon (or wyvern) follows the style of the two dragons in Harold Godwinson’s death scene in the original 1066 Bayeux tapestry.

I’m not Welsh, either by heritage or because of where I was born. I don’t speak Welsh – I don’t think knowing “bore da” and “nos da” heralds more than the day or the night… and my struggle to pronounce other simple phrases.

I have to admit that I am a white dragon in red territory. I’m English with a touch of Scottish and a quarter Chilean blood to add some spice. An Englishman living in another country. Our puppy, Quetzal has more claim to being Welsh by birthplace – Garndolbenmaen.

However, my American wife, Juanita and I live in Wales. Our home on Pant Mawr Residential Park in Harlech has views that captivate us, giving life to the dreams that were impossible when linked to the States or Canada. One autumn weekend, in the light-sculpting rain, we made the decision to move.

22_PantMawr

Now, gazing at the mountain panorama watching the spring light etch shapes or soften edges enchants our eyes. There are days when the house is wrapped in a white blanket but the sea mist stirs us, its aroma rich with estuary life. Birds are everywhere dawn through dusk, calling for mates, warning off interlopers, and enriching our ears.

Our lives and our hearts are in Snowdonia. So my musings must be Welsh for this land inspires them.

I have a novel, “Fates Maelstrom”, which was set on the edge of Dartmoor in its first draft. However, the land plays a crucial part and it calls out for more mountains, wild terrain and mists. In this land of legends there have to be the roots of the novel’s new life. “Accused of murdering her grandfather and condemned by her Romany blood, Twyla Locke faces prejudice,  family tradition, a mysterious double and declining health as she fights to prove her innocence and save her eviction-threatened community.  The arrival of Brogan Keyes, an American journalist offering his assistance, seems too contrived, especially when he claims to know about the Lockes’ past. Twyla fears that she is the victim of a scam that can only end in her death.”

I will post my Welsh Musings on my Blog but the Welsh Musings page will be their home. From there you can travel to each post with ease. Join me on this adventure and share your thoughts.

Snowdon & Portmeirion ~ Juanita Clarke

Snowdon & Portmeirion ~ Juanita Clarke

Forty Days & Forty Nights without Internet

Could you survive without your internet connection for 40 days and 40 nights? What about your phone?

Okay, it’s not like living without food or water or shelter as too many people do in this unjust world. But for those of us that have been pampered by modern technology it’s a big ask. One that BT aka British Telecom seems to feel is reasonable, or do they mean excusable. My multiple sclerosis disability has little if no bearing.

As I type this, on Saturday February 22nd, we will be sans broadband and sans phone from Friday February 28th to Thursday April 10th.

The outlook is bleak. The meaning stark and troubling. The portents are… okay I’m exaggerating but I’m still worried. Whinge warning.

Imagine no emails, or rather over 50 a day piling up in my AOL inbox = 200 plus by the time we get back online. Forget about sending out review copies of ‘Spiral of Hooves’ or promoting the novel. Surfing social media like Facebook and Twitter will be abandoned, as will any appearances in the cyber-world.

“Get a dongle”, I hear you shout in mass cacophony, and I know that you are right. With a dongle, and a signal, we can check our emails at least. If the charges are not too massive we can do a little more… others do from their iPods, Androids etcetera, from all kinds of locations, including Internet cafes. But going out to find the right place is not the same as working from our new office in our new home, where the desktops will be, with all the software. At least I don’t have to be online to create using Scrivener… just to back the work up on Dropbox or OneDrive.

In fact blog posts, either mine or anyone else’s are a non-starter. This one will have to be posted in advance, set for public consumption on Wednesday March 5th as part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Whether anything will appear in April is a prediction that I cannot make… the crystal ball is dim. I’m meant to be taking part in the 2014 A to Z Challenge in April, but it could be hard.

If I find time in the midst of packing, I might attempt to write the first ten posts – A to J – and schedule them to appear on time. At least I know the theme – the World of Gossamer Steel.

With that reference I know that my alter-egos will suffer too. No gaming for 40 nights is almost worse than no surfing. How will I live if my avatar is unable to stop monsters pouring through Rifts or perverting Good in Middle Earth? The Sith Empire will conquer the galaxy in my absence and Conan will be deposed.

Oh wait, they’re not real and there are others to continue the struggle.

But ordering groceries and other goods is essential. There are local shops crying out for our custom, but being disabled there are advantages in having things delivered. Maybe we can do that by dongle as well. Reminds me, have I downloaded enough books onto my Kindle?

I envisage a problem occurring when we begin ordering from a dongle – the security guys at our bank will query the purchase in their diligent way. I’m pretty sure that online banking will be tough, although not impossible. But sending money to my wife’s kids in the US will be very hard, The only consolation is that my accounts package is offline.

As a writer I have some worries but know that I can continue to scribble without the internet. In fact removing it might lead to more productive days, as well as more days exploring the real world and making useful observations. Time to bring out the parchment and quill notebook and pen. So my scribbling life will be okay, if I ignore my other insecurities…

However, for my wife there is a more real problem. All her family are in the States and staying in touch with the USA by mobile/cell phone will be extremely difficult. Her mother is elderly and poorly. She keeps falling down and she would be unable to ring. It will be very expensive phoning the States on a cell phone, even with an international service.

Ultimately life with only a cell phone becomes a major problem in an emergency. We can call for help, if there is a signal. Being disabled I feel vulnerable, but that doesn’t seem to make any difference to British Telecom; any more than it does to the British government who sees us as a drain on the system, along with other scroungers.

Whinge over. Our situation is not dire. In retrospect there are others with far greater issues. Ours are just frustrating and grrrr.

Wife says we’ll live off the land and be sending smoke signals. Maybe the pigeon can come out of retirement along with the pony. The positives outweigh the negatives. New home, bespoke design to meet our needs, fabulous location, wonderful neighbourhood. I can feel another post coming, once we have explored the immediate area and have some great pictures. Just need to find a means to post it. But here’s a taster:

22_PantMawr

22 Pant Mawr Park, Harlech, Wales

If all goes to plan, this will be my third posting of 2014 for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. This is when we release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the logo and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

The awesome co-hosts today are MJ Joachim, Elsie, Elizabeth Seckman, and Julie Flanders! Many thanks to all you co-hosts for your time and effort towards making all IWSG members feel welcome.

Two Futures: Facts or Fiction

What is the best way forward for this blog?

Ever since I wrote my post Eight Headless Chickens I have been wondering what the most important next step is.

The clear priority has to be our move to Wales, and – Beware Cliché – fingers & toes crossed, that is proceeding smoothly thanks to my wife and special friends, but no thanks to immediate family. By the end of February, I should be blogging from a new desk with a view of Harlech, the sea and mountains in Snowdonia.

But even with the inspiring view what will I blog about?

I have two, or is it three futures that are churning around in my mind.

  1. Facts: the simplest way forward. I continue posting my usual observations on my experience of the writing process, interspersed with thoughts on issues of the day. As a relative newcomer to writing, at least in getting published, I feel unable to offer great insights on good writing techniques. There are far better sites/blogs for that, some in my Links.
  2. Fiction: tasters of my writing. Should my blog become a means to release short fiction strategically over time?  Since the start of the year, I have been working on short stories and now have seven at various stages. They are loosely connected, in that they are set in the same world, one akin to the game Gossamer Steel, so that is their collective title.
  3. Dual carriageway: a mix of both Facts and Fiction. So when a story was written and edited it would be available, and when I was inspired to supply concrete Facts that would be the post.

Which do I choose, 1, 2, or 3? What would you the readers of this Blog prefer? Why do you tune in here to what I write?

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Of course life is never simple, especially here at Writing Wings where there are challenges.

There is another element, a Newsletter. It’s an option that I have given serious thought to. The factual blog would continue to share my thoughts and experiences as a writer, and as a retiree with MS. The tasters of my fictional worlds would continue, whether as interviews or as extracts.

However, for those of you that sign up to my Gossamer Wings Newsletter there would be treats: the tasters would become short stories for free. In that way you could see how the Gossamer Steel universe evolved. I would also be extremely grateful for your comments and feedback, as they would contribute to the ongoing story, providing an invaluable asset in developing the world.

As part of the ongoing creation, I am using Aeon Timeline to construct a Chronology into which the short stories fit. In the same universe, I also have two novellas that I intend to self-publish and release later this year so everyone can experience the world of Gossamer Steel.

Should newsletter subscribers benefit with the novellas in some way? Is having a pre-taste of the world enough? There would be other news and fictional snippets in the newsletter as well.

What about a life of crime? Have I abandoned my criminals and their victims? Never.  As well as a stand-alone psychological thriller, there is the cyber-crime novel, ‘Wyrm Bait’. This is the first of a series that has the gaming world of Gossamer Steel as its background.

Plus there is the sequel to ‘Spiral of Hooves’ that I wrote for NaNoWriMo 2013. ‘Tortuous Terrain’ the second part of the Chasseur series has to have a future as well. The reviews on Amazon and elsewhere have been five star, so I have a lot of positive thoughts looking ahead.

So what do you feel is my future? Please, gaze not into your crystal ball but into the past at what you enjoyed. What do you want next?

Painted Lady Butterfly (Vanessa cardui)

Painted Lady Butterfly (Vanessa cardui)

 

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what_works_III

On Monday I will be taking part in an exciting blogfest and sharing my experiences, so far, on marketing. Do I dare mention my past in the film industry?

What Works…

The first ever “Online Marketing Symposium!

A blogfest with information you can use.

The event happens on Monday January 20, 2014.

 what-works-jan-20 copy

http://www.yolandarenee.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/marketing-what-works.html