Thursday, February 29, 2024

February 2024 - Update #5

 Rare it is to have five Thursdays in February, but this year we do. Their abundance, however, has not helped my rate of progress with the book. I did finish chapter 11, and started chapter 12 ("the bend of the Boyne"), partly through reorganization of material, but since Monday I have been working on another project. Our local ADF group, Chokecherry Grove, is putting on a series of Zoom workshops on divination methods in two weeks (Saturday 16th), and since I signed myself up to speak on the ogam, I have been preparing a PowerPoint of my material. It's about finished now, and it's time I got back to Gwernin et al, who have arrived in Ireland at last.

Aside from some brief but intense snow on Tuesday morning, the weather has been mild and dry, and windy enough that we had fire weather warnings on a couple of days. Next week looks colder and wetter again - typical March weather here.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

February 2024 - Update #4

 I'm still working my way through chapter 11, the title of which is still in flux. Last weekend was busy, and Tuesday I had a dentist appointment (as a result of which I have another one today for repairs), so that's three days shot. A lot of my progress yesterday was "recycling" again for Gwernin et al's journey to Ireland. I've got 1,529 words so far, but some of it still needs polishing, so I'll be working on that today and tomorrow, then trying to finish the chapter over the weekend -- an average chapter is about 3,000 words. They are currently on their way to King Díarmait’s ráth, where Taliesin plans to petition the King for pack ponies to replace the ones they left at Aberffraw before going on to look for their friend Fráechán.

My orange cat, Ruay, is having his morning outside time, when he likes to chase the squirrels. He's developed a habit of jumping onto the plant stands under the window and looking in at me and Mulberry. That won't work come summer, when the plants come out of the garage, but in the meantime it's amusing.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

February 2024 - Update #3

 I finally finished chapter 10 ("Aberffraw") yesterday. This takes Gwernin et al to the King of Gwynedd's court in search of a ship to Ireland. Again I pulled pieces from previous books - "recycling". Part of this is so that people and descriptions will match up with previous books, but also to cover things so that someone who is reading this book without having read the previous five, or hasn't read them recently, is more aware of the background and what's going on. Since this book is the third of the second trilogy, I'm also tying off some things - "closing the circle" as Gwernin said in the fifth book (The Old Gods Endure). I need to solve some puzzles from that book, too, and will - mostly. I'm starting chapter 11 (title not fixed yet) today, where the first problem for Taliesin et al is whether to take all, some, or none of their ponies with them to Ireland. If they can take all of them, they arrive not needing to acquire more, but it may complicate finding a ship or ships that can bring them all back, because they'll need them then to get home... and as Gwernin said in the fourth book (The Fallen Stones), ship captains do not deal in songs of praise.

Only about three inches of snow last weekend, and it's already melted - mostly. Not much more forecast for a while, so we may be able to have our first quarter moon ritual outside this month - more about that another day.

Thursday, February 8, 2024

February 2024 - Update #2

 I finished chapter 9 ("togidubnos") in a rush over the weekend, and am working slowly on chapter 10 ("aberffraw"). This will take Gwernin et al to the King of Gwynedd's court, in search of a ship to Ireland, and finish the first third of the book. I spent some time yesterday re-reading the first part of the manuscript, noticing things that need to be added on my next pass - mostly more descriptions of people and just general background stuff. So far I'm at about 30,000 words and 100 pages.

Last weekend's storm dropped 5-6 inches of heavy wet snow, followed by a hard freeze - a real mess. I've finally got the walks and driveway cleared, and plan on running a few errands later today. The forecast for this coming weekend is another 4-5 inches. Sigh.

Thursday, February 1, 2024

February 2024 - Update #1

I've finished chapter 8 ("the dark path") and am working on chapter 9 (tentatively "togidubnos"). Last weekend was busy, and it took me a couple of days to get going again. I need to finish this chapter by Saturday morning at the latest, because we will be celebrating Imbolc Saturday evening and Chinese New Year Sunday. This chapter should finish off Mael's Dark Path, and the next one will take Gwernin et al to the King of Gwynedd's court at Aberffraw and a new problem.

Mild weather this week, but a rain/snow mixture forecast for the weekend. Our Imbolc celebration will definitely be indoors.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

January 2024 - Update #4

 Good progress this week - I've almost finished chapter 8 ("The Dark Path") and am looking forward to chapter 9 (title still to be determined, but possibly "Togidubnos"). I've almost finished the "recycling" stretch and am now into new material, which goes more slowly but can include bits I hadn't thought of before. That can be exciting. 

The weather continues mild (for January) and dry, with some sunny mornings. This pleases my orange cat Ruay, who like to chase squirrels, but not in the snow.

Friday, January 19, 2024

January 2024 - Update #3

 I finished Chapter 6, and have almost finished chapter 7, bar a little polishing. There's been a lot of "recycling" again, as I mentioned last week, because these chapters are mirroring Neirin's "Dark Path" experiences from The Ash Spear. The difference, however, is that this time Gwernin will be one of the three Master Bards who will prepare the mound chamber for Mael and spend part of his "three days in the dark" with him while he journeys in trance through the three realms. What Gwernin himself will encounter there is another story. Stay tuned for chapter 8!

The weather is finally returning to normal - highs in the 30s and 40s, lows in the teens and 20s - a pleasant change from our sub-zero weekend!

Thursday, January 11, 2024

January 2024 - Update #2

 I made a good bit of progress on chapter 6 over the weekend, but have since been stalled again. I have almost a chapter's worth of material, much of it "recycled" from passages in Storyteller and The Ash Spear - inevitable when Gwernin is revisiting the same places he's been before, where location descriptions and people need to match up. I still have to work on integrating this reused material better into the current story. Once I get that done, I can move on to the next chapter.

Wintry weather here this week, and worse in store, with four nights close to 0 deg. F. forecast. Brrr! My orange cat Ruay wants to be outside, but can't stay long. This results in him being restless and me distracted.

Thursday, January 4, 2024

January 2024 - Update #1

Not as much progress as I would have liked in the last week, partly due to holidays. However, I finished chapter 5 and am a couple of pages into chapter 6 ("The Druids' Island"). To meet my planned publication of Samhain this year, I need to have the first draft finished by Lughnasadh, and to do that,  I need to average a chapter a week, and so far I've managed nothing near that. Hopefully I'll pick up some momentum soon, but it will be done when it's done.  

A cold gray morning today - should be good for writing... But I need coffee first. :)

Thursday, December 28, 2023

December 2023 - Update #4

A cold clear morning, and my last update for this calendar year. I've made better progress this week, but that is partly due to some recycling, as Gwernin et al are traveling along routes I described in The Ash Spear and Storyteller. I'm hoping to finish chapter 5 in the next couple of days and at least start chapter 6, which will take them to Ynys Môn at last.

In the meantime, one more holiday to celebrate here before the old year dies. Happy New Year, all! See you next year.