The Ridderwold is Ablaze!

That statement probably doesn’t mean anything to you, unless you you’ve been keeping up with my book on Wattpad.

Even then, you probably don’t while away your day concern with the condition of a fictional land from an unfinished book (like I do).

Anyway, just wanted let everyone know that the latest chapter of Stormrider is up.  It involves a fire, in case you couldn’t tell.

Stormrider – A Fateful Wind

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I’d Like to Buy a Vowel, Please.

Constructing a secondary world and writing fantasy novels generally requiers one to construct a language in addition to the usual things of places, customs and the like.

I enjoy language in general.  I think being a writer, one should probably have at least a passing affinity for language.  Generally, I tend toward the languages of western Europe and Great Britain.

Having studied several real world languages, I feel fairly confident in constructing a language or two of my own.  That being said, language construction is time consuming to the point that the actual process of writing takes a back seat.

I’m not Tolkien. I have neither his aptitude for language, nor the desire to contruct my world around my languages.  For me, my conlangs (slang for constructed languages), are just one aspect of my world and a means to an end.

That being said, anything that will expedite the construction process is a welcome tool.  One of the most useful of tools I’ve found is the Language Construction Kit at zompist.com.

For a long time I’ve used the advice of the website to aid the construction of my languages, but recently I’ve begun to use a couple of actual tools via Java programs made by the site’s owner, Mark Rosenfelder.

The first tool I’ve found is the Language Generator.  For a long while I’ve had an idea for a language in my mind, but had been unable get it down on paper.  Thanks to the language generator I’ve gotten quite a bit closer.

After applying a few rules and playing around with the consonant and vowel structures, I finally came up with something resembling what I’ve had in mind this whole time.  Even if you do not plan, or need, to construct a language I recommend checking it out as it’s just fun to play around with the various possibilities.

Gol am annadh odhath dhel!

How exciting.

The second tool is basically an automation of something I’ve been doing manually.  The Sound Change Applier.  Basically, it takes a lexicon and applies rules provided by the user to construction a descendant language.

Basically, it’s a synthetic version of the Great Vowel Shift.  That’s how I’ve been going about constructing Menskr, a languages in my Stormrider novel.

It’s times like this that I’m glad to be living in the internet age.  It certainly gives me a deeper appreciation of what Tolkien did all by hand years ago.

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What Does Your Dishwasher Say About You?

No, your dishwasher hasn’t been talking about you behind your back; tattling about how many helpings of meatloaf you had last night. I promise.

Whispers to dishwasher, “It’ll be our little secret.”

But serious. No really.

This weekend I was fortunate enough to have some guests over. These well intentioned guests are the type who insist on helping by doing chores while visiting. Ultimately, I do not like that as, being a control freak, I have a certain way of doing things, which I do not like hindered. But, they are guests and I let them help because that’s what they wanted.

Now, I won’t name any names or throw anyone under the bus here in the event said guest winds up reading this blog. (If you do, I’m sorry Cindy.)

Anyway, said guest left me a dishwasher full of dishes, which I had until today neglected to wash (read: flip a switch). Naturally, I examined the contents of the washer before initiating any cycle. What I found was not some horribly encrusted food stuff. No, rather, the sight which met my eyes looked something more akin to a scene from the Iliad. I love the Iliad, but not when portrayed by my dishes.

Dishes strewn about in chaotic display.

Then it hit me. What does your dishwasher say about you? Specifically, the way you load it.

The slain upon the field of battle.

Then it hit me. I must be really disparate for blog material.

Having let that line of thought run through my mind, I proceeded to set things in order, to right wrongs long wrought (thumbs up for iambic pentameter).

Ah, order restored.

So, what does my dishwasher say about me? Probably, that I am indeed a control freak; that I’m super anal (retentive).

So, what’s my point? Hmm, not sure I have one. This blog post sounded a lot better in my head. I guess the point is I’m really picky about how my dishwasher is loaded. Don’t touch!

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Why Am I Blogging, Again?

Yesterday’s post marked my return to blogging.  Honestly, I had forgotten I even had this blog, or why I started it in the first place. Probably just a lark.

Years ago I had another blog, that was back when I was heavy into New Age positivity, intentions, manifesting desires, etc.  I had it in my head that I was helping people gain a more positive perspective on things.  Maybe I was; who knows?

So, why am I blogging again, now?  As you might have read in yesterday’s post, I am working on a book (or at least trying to).  My hope is to someday self-publish and hopefully be a modest success.  *fingers crossed*

I’ve heard from a friend who is self-published, as well as having read in several articles, that it is important to have a web presence.  Wattpad is my initial foray to establish my presence, and blogging is the next phase in the grand plan.  (Muhahahaha!)

I’m certain much of the success of my friend’s book is due in part to her blog.  It established a connection with readers that might otherwise not know about her work.  And I am hoping that this initial investment of time and (little) effort will pay off should I ever actually finish and subsequently self-publish my book.

By the by, you should check out my friend’s book.  Vanessa’s a great writer and the story is fantastic.  It’s about a plus sized fashion producer who finds love in an unexpected place.  I’ll say no more, you’ll have to read for yourself.  The title is Fatshionista.  Do have a look.

Vanessa also has her own blog at that other-big-blog-site-that-shall-not-be-named. (Whew! That was a mouthful).  Check her out on Vanessa’s Musing.

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Elementary, My Dear Wattpad!

For those of you that don’t know, I’ve been working on my own literary fantasy world for many, many (many) years.  Unfortunately, this work has resulted in a quite a few unfinished novels, histories and legends.  The greatest hindrance to finishing anything tends to be (you guessed it) a lack of motivation.

That, and quite a bit of negative self-talk.  “You’ll never be published.” “No one would ever want to read this nonsense.”  “You’ll never finish, because you never finish anything.”

You know, the usual.

However, I recently found Wattpad, an online publishing website where readers and writers (mostly aspiring writers) come together in a common interest: stories.  Writers on Wattpad publish their stories–for free–and readers have access to great (sometimes not so great) content.

After debating the merits of publishing for free on Wattpad, I decided that it might be the best I can do.  And at least I won’t die without anyone having seen my work.

So far I’ve only published a story of one of my characters, Eomund, titled “Stormrider”.

Right now it’s up on Wattpad, in its unfinished glory.  No, I’ve not finished.  But Wattpad has motivated me to add new content and my hopes are that this motivation will see me through to the end.  If you are interested in seeing what’s available so far, just click on over: http://www.wattpad.com/story/5332786-stormrider

STORMRIDER

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Halloween Update

So, after realizing I do not have time to complete either an Iron Man suit, or full medieval suit of armor, I have decided to simply do something more “subdued”.  I already have a shirt of mail and a cloak.  My plan is to build a medieval knight costume by adding vambraces, pauldrons/spaulders, a surcoat and possibly (fingers crossed) greaves.  I have already completed the vambraces and part of one pauldron.

For the armor I am using craft foam from Michael’s.  I first cut out a pattern (generally doing a test piece [several pieces] in poster board first).  Then the piece is shaped using a heat source and a form (usually a pot or a cup).  After that, I coat the piece with Plasti-Dip to seal the foam, and simulate leather.  For the metal portions I use silver metallic spray paint   The important point here is not to spray the paint directly onto the piece.  Instead, spray the paint onto a paper towel then wipe the piece down–respraying the towel as needed. This gives the armor a more distressed look and gives you more control over the coverage.

These vambraces consist of one piece in Plasti-Dip and silver paint over another piece in just Plasti-Dip, to simulate leather. The battle scar on the left vambrace was done with a soldering iron before being coating in Plasti-Dip and wiped with silver paint. The “rivets” are foam as well. Using a paper hole punch, I punched several holes out and hot glued them to the top of the bracers.

Image

For some really great techniques on using craft foam for costuming, checkout the following videos.

The following is where I got the wipe-on silver paint idea.  This guy uses a dremel to add battle scars to his armor, which might be an option for some of you.

Great video on making vambraces from craft foam. As an alternative to the leather tools, I simply used a paper hole punch. Works great!

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Halloween Crisis

With Halloween quickly approaching I want to do a really great costume this year. Unfortunately, between my lack of tools, lack of funds, and overall indecisiveness, it’s starting to look pretty grim. I’ve started a medieval(ish) knight costume and an Iron Man suit. Both of which are woefully far from being completed. So, even if I lock in on one now, there is a good chance I will not finish in time.

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