Monthly Archives: June 2010

Announcing a hiaitus

Hello Alpheans,

As many of you know, politics is very important to me; and as we are gearing up for an extremely frenetic mid-term election season I have many commitments I have made. I have joined the executive committee of my party and applied to be a precinct committeeman, I have joined the local party club for my city, I have joined a political grassroots organization where I have volunteered to work on several committees, and I have also volunteered to work on two local candidates’ campaigns. It will be nearly impossible for me to focus well upon writing and researching the novel when I have so much else to do.

So, being pragmatic I have decided that the responsible thing to do is to put the book on the back burner until after the mid-term elections in early November. Of course, my mind will probably not recognize my decision and is likely to throw random things at me just because that’s what it does. I will do my best to document those things and even work on them a bit if time and opportunity permit, but I do not expect to get much of anything significant accomplished until after the mid-term elections are held in November.

I appreciate your support, and I hope to see you all when I resume in November.

My new blog

Hello, everyone…

I’m not going to promote this heavily, but I’ve started another blog. The new blog is devoted to a personal passion: politics. It’s called “Sweet Freedom’s Song” (http://libertyuprising.wordpress.com/) and I’ll be blogging about political topics from ideology to current events.

I invite all my friends to take a look and subscribe if they like.

Thanks…

If you can’t write, do more research

Hello, Alpheans!

I’m still moving at glacial speed on Chapter 4, but I’m starting to implement a pattern which I think will bear fruit. I’m writing whenever I can, and when I get stuck I dive into research. Eventually, something in the research will trigger something and give me something more to write about. This time, I am looking at some details in the story which I have so far filled in with ‘generic’ placeholders, mainly these are personal names and the names of cities and towns. I have replaced some of the personal names with Hungarian names. Charles and Belinda Goodman are now Charles and Eva Rózsa, for instance (that change is in the ‘official’ draft but not fully implemented on this site). But I think I’m at a point now where I should be focusing with a bit more precision in the setting and determining where, exactly, in the medieval Kingdom of Hungary (much of which is now modern-day Romania) this story will be occurring.

Some things are relatively decided. I very much want to keep Kolozsvár, but for no other reason than that I have developed an attachment to having the name of the city in the story. I know that’s a pretty weak reason, but there it is. Torda I can take or leave and am more inclined to let it go than keep it. I started with the understanding that it was situated in the foothills of the Eastern Carpathians but I have since learned that it is actually on the Transylvanian Plateau and near the Apuseni mountain group, but nowhere near the Eastern Carpathian range.

But more important than which mountains it may be in or near is the fact that Torda has relatively flat terrain and that just won’t do. For the first setting I need a small town (or large village). It should be small in population but of enough geographical importance to have some sort of castle or fortress associated with it (and a castle would be better). There should be both a forest and a river not too distant, and it should not be very far from the Kolozsvár to Felvinc road (in modern times, this is Route 1 which runs from modern-day Cluj [Kolozsvár] through modern-day Turda [Torda] and south to modern-day Unirea [Felvinc]).

So, I need to take a close look at the topography around Kolozsvár. What I am looking for is a large village or a small town, preferably to the south or west of Kolozsvár, that is in the foothills of the Apuseni mountains; with a nearby forest and a river between the castle and a nearby road, and about a day’s ride by horse from Kolozsvár. Sounds easy, doesn’t it?

Then, I need to find another couple of towns (or villages) about another day’s ride from that town to be the location for Dmitri and Anya Corvin’s cottage, and another nearby village to be the home of Charles and Eva Rózsa. Then, I need to make a final decision on the city where the fictional Church of the Holy Trinity will be located where the convent of nuns operates the children’s orphanage. Unfortunately, the city of Szeged is too distant to be a practical choice.

So, that’s a lot of work to be done, and I’m hoping that in the midst of all of that, my creative juices will start flowing again.

Oh, one last thing… In my research today I discovered that during Roman times this entire region was called Dacia. In Dacia, there was a Roman Legion called Legio quinta Macedonica (Fifth Macedonian Legion) and their history is somewhat interesting. It seems that they were based in the medieval village of Torda during the first century A.D. and were sent to the Roman province of Iudea (Judea) during the Jewish Revolt in 66 A.D. After suppressing the revolt, this Roman legion returned to Dacia and subsequently were involved in the military defense of the province against ‘barbarian’ tribes.

Now, not all of that is interesting, but what I do find interesting is that the Roman legion based in this province was sent to Judea for the purpose of putting down the Jewish Revolt that occurred 33 years following the Crucifixion of Christ. Might this legion be the very one that sacked Jerusalem? Might this legion have even plundered the Temple of Solomon? If so, did all of those Hebrew treasures make it back to Rome, or might some of them have been kept in Dacia, in the Roman provincial capital of Napoca (the medieval city of Kolozsvár)?

Just stuff that I tend to think about…

Exciting research to shape the series

Hello, Alpheans!

I’m using some very off-the wall sources as research for “Mortality, Interrupted”. As a result, I’m going to be making some very outlandish ‘claims’ in this book, not unlike the claims made in books like ‘The DaVinci Code”. Some of the research I’m following is being done by folks like Zechariah Sitchin, David Icke, Alex Jones, and Laurence Gardner, all renowned conspiracy theory researchers. Now, I AM doing everything I can to verify their research with independent sources, but that isn’t always possible.

I’ll be doing my best to be as fact-based as possible. I want the ‘history’ presented in this series of books to be completely plausible. I want historians to be able to read my books (assuming I am privileged enough to be able to write more than one) and find themselves wondering if it could be true. I know that’s a very tall order for someone who never spent a day in college to be able to make a historian say, ‘Holy crap! Look at this!’, but that’s what I want to do here. I want to knock historians on their collective butts. And then I’ll look down at them and grin. Cuz I’m an ornery cuss.

Site Security Changes & New Cosmetic Changes That Aren’t Just Cosmetic

Hello, Alpheans!

Security Changes:

I finally found the right balance of visibility and security for the site. I had previously decided that I needed to protect my current and future projects against potential theft since some of the people in my workshop groups had reported seeing an uncanny number of their creative ideas show up in the media, particularly in episodes of television shows. Now, WordPress is great at the main thrust of what it does; namely, providing good-looking websites to website newbies like myself for little to no cost. One thing they don’t do well, in my experience so far, is make it easy for someone getting started to know just what WordPress sites can and can’t do. I initially thought that in order to guarantee that my work could only be viewed by the people I wanted to view it, I would have to make it a members-only access site and lock down the site to all but WordPress members that I then could specifically grant access to. This saddened me because one of the main reasons I made the site was so that I could send prospective agents and publishers to it so that they could see examples of my work.

Recently, however, I found that I could add password protection to individual pages on the site, meaning that I could assign the same password to all of the pages related to a specific project (like “Mortality, Interrupted”) and provide that password to people I trust, leaving the rest of the site open to all visitors. I have since done so, and the following projects are password-protected:

“Mortality, Interrupted”
“The Jezebel Diaries”
“Redemption Road”

Everything else, including my poetry, is open to the public. If you are one of the people who got a WordPress account so you could view my page, I thank you very much for doing that. You can still create a WordPress site (a great blogging tool, too) if you want. If you only got a WordPress account to view my site, then I want to give you (along with everyone who has WordPress credentials) some kind of perk for going out of your way for me. What I have decided to do is give all WordPress members permission to post on the site and add content just like I do. You can post blog entries just like I can; and now, if you have questions that you think others might want to know the answers to as well, you can post them right in the blog for me to answer.

I hope you’ll make use of this. I can’t tell you how good it makes me feel when I see you all using this site to post comments and ask questions. Now, since those of you with WordPress accounts will be able to do more, I hope the site will become more interactive. I know that some of you email me privately, and I do like that; but the more open the discussion, the more I enjoy it, and the more I think others will enjoy it, too.

Cosmetic Changes:

I know that the sidebar menu of the site was difficult to navigate. The text was too small to read easily and with everything on top of everything else that made it very difficult to distinguish at a glance what pages were actually available on the site. I think most of you didn’t look around at the site much because it was just too cumbersome. The text size this template uses for the menus is not something that can be changed without editing the template directly with CSS (an HTML formatting method called ‘Cascading Style Sheets’) which I would have to pay WordPress to be able to use, and that’s just not in the cards for me right now.

But, doing some digging, I found that there was something I could do to make things a bit easier. I found that I could remove the “Pages” menu completely and replace it with several ‘customizable menu items’ which I could use to break up the pages into easier-to-navigate groups. So, I separated the menu into the following groups:

-Alpheus Essentials
-My Current Project
-Other Projects
-My Poetry

The ‘Alpheus Essentials’ menu group will have links to the ‘Welcome’ page, the blog page, the ‘About Me’ page, the ‘Underground Stream’ article page, and the links page to other local writers. All of these pages are now grouped together in a single menu and should be more visible and easier to view.

The ‘My Current Project’ menu group lists all of the scene pages for “Mortality, Interrupted”, but with this type of menu item I can list them in a hierarchical style with all the scenes within a chapter indented in a cascading fashion which should be clearer visually and make navigating from one scene to the next much easier than before. I’ve also edited the introduction to “Mortality, Interrupted” to account for the changes to the site.

The ‘Other Projects’ menu group lists my other works, “The Jezebel Diaries”, and “Redemption Road”, and I edited the ‘Selected Excerpts’ page to refer specifically to these projects.

The ‘Poetry’ menu group starts with a new page introducing my poetry and then lists links for each poem.

Also, for the ‘Current Project’ and ‘Other Projects’ menu groups I note that they are password-protected to keep that from being an unpleasant surprise.

I made one more change, too. Every website has what’s called a ‘landing page’, which is the page that loads when the site’s main web address is entered into a web browser like Internet Explorer. So far, I have always used the blog page as the landing page, but I decided to make a change and make the ‘Welcome’ page the landing page. This should be a better introduction to the site for new visitors, and for those of you who have subscribed to the blog (you all HAVE subscribed, haven’t you?) you’ll get all of the blog updates in your email
inboxes.

I hope that the new site changes and menu groups work out better. Let me know what y’all think!

It’s that old, familiar feeling…

Writer’s Block.

The bane of every writer. For a lot of writers an outline helps, but not all writers can write to an outline and even an outline doesn’t mean you won’t end up dealing with it at some point. As for me, I found that an outline was essential when my first draft of my story (The Jezebel Diaries) hit a wall after I completed Chapter 6. I sat for a month trying to start Chapter 7, but I couldn’t think of a thing. For a whole month!

So, when I started this draft (Mortality, Interrupted), I knew I would have to write an outline to keep my plot from running into a dead-end. I got ten chapters into the outline when I was encouraged (in very strong terms) to quit working on the outline and start writing the story, so that’s what I did. I found that having an outline was very helpful. It enabled me to write with more confidence. I had a sense of certainty about the story. I knew where I was, I knew where the story was going, and I could see where the part i was writing fit in relation to the beginning and the end of the story. My writing really felt like it was clicking. I found, though, as I started to get further into the story, some of the details I was adding moved the story incrementally away from the outline. By the end of Chapter 3 I ended up with a detail that made perfect sense. It made perfect sense and totally fucked up my outline. And now I’m stuck. I’ll get through it, I’m sure. But I just have to find my way. I’m still new at this, but I’ll get there.

Thanks for listening…

An apology, many ‘thank you’s, and a celebration are due

Hello Alpheans,

I owe you all an apology. I have not posted in eleven days, and I am sorry for letting you down. I’ll post more about it later tonight, but I’ve been having trouble with where the story is going right now and I haven’t quite figured out what to do about it. I should have blogged about it, but I didn’t. But, despite the lack of new content, many of you continued to visit my page and I cannot thank you enough. Just knowing that your interest in my work persists when there is no ‘new’ bit of writing to read I find exceptionally moving. Thank you all so very much.

Also, during the past eleven days a significant milestone was passed when this site reached 1,000 hits! Can you imagine?! One thousand hits! Wow! Thank you!