Ancient Inspiration

Before I get to the main point of this post, I would like to take a moment to mention Windows 10. My laptop upgraded itself the other day. It’s all very well, I suppose – I have nothing to complain about. Unless, that is, you wish to count that I had only just got my head around Windows 8, and now I’m sure it will take me another century to work this one out too. One notable thing I must mention about Windows 10 is its sound. What pretty, delicate little noises it makes, no? Not like the earlier versions of Windows, like 95 and 98, which went DYOINK!! when you clicked on something sometimes. Remember that? And it usually gave you a heart attack, that strident noise. Goodness.

But this upgrade has caused me some grief in one respect: my phone input. I refuse to believe I am the only person who struggles connecting their mobile to their computer. With Windows 8, I had it sussed, all was well and life was splendid. Windows 10? I can’t. I don’t understand. It’s linked me to OneDrive and I cannot cope with such technological complexities. I am not good with technology, in case you hadn’t already gathered this, and, if I can’t cope with technology now, I dread to think what I’ll be like in ten, twenty, thirty years time. It took me about nine thousand years to get the photos from my phone to this WordPress post, with plentiful clawing at the face and near throwing-phone-and-or-laptop-out-of-window moments. But finally! Success.

Yet, one thing I found incredibly curious was how I rediscovered photos on my laptop which I KNOW I deleted aaaages ago. How on earth did Windows 10 bring them back…? Does Microsoft store all deleted stuff in some far-off, technological cavern to snoop on all your doings, or so they may haunt you with things you once believed to be gone for good? Hmm. Though, disconcerting as this thought may be, I did find it amusing trawling through old, once-deleted photos – namely the five hundred or so accidental photos I accidentally took with my temperamental laptop camera (I may be exaggerating just a smidge). Seriously though, how do you accidentally take so many photos? The stupid camera app thing on Windows 8 always got in my way, opening up in the middle of my work, and while my head was down or my eyes were elsewhere I heard a sly click; when I looked up, I saw my face looking back at me. Here are two examples:

WIN_20140214_095846 WIN_20140411_203740

I mean, there I was, minding my own business, TRYING to work, and my stupid camera takes a snap. I swear my laptop has a mind of its own. This is also quite a disconcerting thought. Sometimes, when I open up MS Word, the cursor does a mad jig across the page, or, when I’ve opened a large document (such as my manuscript), it scrolls endlessly down through the pages. Maybe it’s possessed. This is the only logical explanation, obviously. Although, I am pleased to say that accidental photos are a thing of the past, and it has been a long while since MS Word has had a funky jig. Mellowed with age, that’s what it is.

***

So, enough of Windows. In this post I thought I would write about writer inspiration (for myself, at any rate).

I am fortunate to live on the edge of Exmoor National Park, a beautiful landscape in the southwest of England. As a nature-lover, I can’t ask for much more. There are many beautiful walks and sights to see on Exmoor, all of which are no farther than a thirty minute drive away from me. The other day I visited a place called Tarr Steps. A slightly deceptive name on the face of it, for there are no steps at Tarr Steps – unless, that is, you associate the ‘steps’ with the physical stepping one does there. Tarr Steps is actually a Grade I listed (a very old protected structure of historical and architectural interest, for those not from England) clapper bridge, which is an ancient form of bridge usually built from stone found in UK moors and uplands across fords and rivers.

IMAG0228_1

There is some mystery surrounding Tarr Steps, since no one is quite sure how old the bridge actually is: it is believed to be a medieval construction, but that can range from anywhere between 500 – 1485 AD. The word clapper derives from the Old English wordcleaca’, which means “stepping-stones”, while the word tarr derives from the Celtic word ‘tochar’, which means “causeway”.

Causeway

noun

A raised road or track across low or wet ground

IMAG0232

The name “Tarr Steps” doesn’t seem so strange for this bridge now, does it? The causeway stepping-stones. But it is no wonder there is so much head-scratching about the age of Tarr Steps, since clapper bridges are constructions first recorded in the Middle Ages, yet its name, tarr, is of Celtic origin. It does annoy me when everyone associates the Celts to purely be the ancient folk of Ireland and Scotland, because, actually, the whole of Britain was once Celtic – the Celts were who dwelt on these lands in BC. There were three main groups of Celts across the northwest of Europe: the Gauls (France, Belgium, western Germany and northern Italy); the Gaels (Ireland and Scotland – Scotland was once called the Picts, I believe, but they merged with the Gaels); and the Britons (ENGLAND and Wales). So. There we go. It is only because invasions pushed the Celts up the country to Scotland, Ireland and Wales, and also down to Cornwall. Due to the hundreds of invasions Britain suffered over the centuries – from the Vikings, Romans, Angles, Saxons and Jutes – this country is a total, total mishmash of ancient cultures and languages, and the invaders ended up merging with the native Celts and their culture, though the Celts were mostly to be found in the corners of the country, which is why the country of England ended up differing and evolving more and more from the Celts they once were. It is, therefore, only fair to say that England has Celtic blood. Always has, always will.

Moving on from that history lesson (sorry about that, I’m a bit of a history geek), I often believe that we folk of Britain have a slight advantage over most other countries of the world when it comes to writing inspiration – certainly fantasy writing, at any rate. Why do I say this? Well, of course, there are fantastic fantasy writers from all across the globe – and certainly from America/Canada, which are very young countries compared to the UK and Europe – but dare I say their fantastical inspiration comes from the parts of history their countries never got the chance to live, to experience? The knights, the castles, the cavalry and the kings; the rituals, the legends, the magic and the myth. Whether we appreciate it or not, we Britons are immersed and surrounded by such rich, deep history, and indeed, it is so second nature for us to see an ancient building, to hear an ancient story, that many of us do not stop to think about it. We absorb this history. It is a part of our blood.

J.R.R. Tolkien changed the face of fantasy forever. Lord of the Rings. He was British.

J.K. Rowling captured the hearts of the world. Harry Potter. She is British.

C.S. Lewis. The Chronicles of Narnia. British.

Lewis Carroll. Alice in Wonderland. British.

J.M. Barrie. Peter Pan. British.

Beatrix Potter. The Tales of Peter Rabbit. British.

Terry Pratchett. Discworld. British.

Roald Dahl. (Too many to list). British.

T.H. White. The Sword in the Stone. British.

Needless to say, the United Kingdom has a pretty hefty list of influential fantasy writers. As children, our historical school trips consist of adventures to castles and ruins, and we are never more than a stone’s throw away from some historical sight or structure. I grew up by castle ruins. I used to go there and hang out with my friends, sat amongst the cathedral ruins in the outer bailey, or walked the dog up there frequently. When I was a kid, I vividly remember going to a castle on a school trip (Warwick, I believe – an AMAZING castle. Go there. Instantly) and we had to dress according to the times at court, so we girls were royal ladies with hennin (those weird hats) or with medieval hairstyles, and the boys were jesters or knights or other royal court people.

Stuff like this

How I wish I had a photo of my old class, but alas. You can imagine how thrilled we were as children to dress up as medieval dames and knights, parading around the castle and its ground to see jousting knight re-enactments and dances and music. What a marvellous country this is.

Needless to say, every time I visit/see an ancient place in this country, my mind swells with imagination, and ideas and thoughts zoom about. It is a joy. There is such wonder in inspiration from history. Of course, some places come to life for you, as demonstrated in the video, and so your mind does not have such an opportunity to thrive; however, even with that you can daydream about a maiden’s story, or a knight’s adventure. Let your imagination flourish!

Tarr Steps was busy with people on the day I visited – families making the most of the elusive sun – but the bridge itself is nothing but that: a bridge. What imagination can come from an ancient stone bridge? So much!

IMAG0223

Ancient places are so special. What stories do these ancient stones have to tell? What sights have they seen throughout the ages, and who have they greeted? I was but one more footprint to add to its immense history, already gone and forgotten. In centuries to come, will another stand upon these stones and wonder who walked there before them? Maybe they will stand in the exact same place I did.

***

Wander through an ancient place and listen to the tales the stone tells you. Your mind will hear! Let the grass or trees or river whisper to your imagination, and you may find the greatest story yet to be told.

May your mind be free and your heart peaceful.

-JKM

The 777 Writing Challenge – Peek-a-boo, Book 2!

My blogging buddy, Michael Fedison, has been around since the very beginning of my blog, offering support and kindness and encouragement, all of which I am incredibly thankful for. Mike is the author of The Eye-Dancers, which is a fabulous sci-fi/fantasy story about friendship and all sorts – I highly recommend 🙂

Anyway, he tagged me in the 777 Writing Challenge a little while back. And here state the 777 Writing Challenge rules:

The 777 challenge requires you go to Page 7 of your work-in-progress, scroll down to Line 7 and share the next 7 lines in a blog post. Once you have done this, you can tag 7 other bloggers to do the same with their work-in-progress.

How wonderfully simple, no?

Needless to say, my current work-in-progress is Book 2 of the Ilimoskus story. Regular followers will know that I forever refer to it as ‘Book 2’, though this is not because it is untitled – in fact, I named all three books way back when, such was the extent of my planning – but rather I refer to it as such because I wish for its title to remain secret. “Keep it secret, keep it safe.” So much is revealed as the story unravels and I wish no part in accidentally letting something slip, and so, as an extreme caution, my lips have been bolted shut. The nearer completion it becomes, the more I shall tell. But, for now, I must keep everyone in cruel suspense 😉

A while back I was thinking about sketching another character within the story, with the intention to… perhaps… share it with the world. This character is new in Book 2; this character is insanely important. I believe I have once disclosed that there are many new characters in Book 2, and let me tell you that ‘many’ is no exaggeration. You see, Book 2 is a joy for me in a vast variety of ways, though one of the greatest joys is the, I’m sure, long-awaited inclusion of the other ilyorz (or elements, to those of you unfamiliar with the story). Times of Old is wholly set within the Flamikus (fire folk) world, yet Book 2 welcomes the arrival of the Aeriikus (air folk), Agwikus (water folk), and Humiit-kus (earth folk) with open arms. Due to the other ilyorz being in this book, there are many new characters to meet within these other elemental worlds, and in turn many new dynamics and interactions. I so rarely get excited, but the thought of eventually sharing Book 2 with the world makes me buzz! I cannot wait to see what people think of the other ilyorz, or how they react to some of the new characters! And I know there is a good handful of people out there waiting for Book 2, and they have been for far, far too long. Life has been a bit cruel to me these past two years, and so writing Book 2 has been the last thing on my mind… Though I must deeply thank all those patiently waiting, for their interest and love for the story has not waned despite the length of time. It is truly touching. Thank you. And the Ilimoskus thank you, too 🙂 They want their story told as much as I do!

*

So! When tagged for this challenge, I was curious to know where Page 7 landed within the story of Book 2, and, due to my bolted lips, I wondered whether this landing would tell of something I was not willing to share. This would have made things quite the pickle, I’m sure you’d agree. In reaching my Page 7, I discarded the boring title pages of the manuscript, so, technically, this isn’t actually from the true Page 7, but it is Page 7 if counting from the very beginning of the told story. If that makes any sense. I have said “Page 7” too much.

To my relief, Line 7 on the not-true-but-still-is-Page 7 could not have been better. Anyone would think this had been strategically planned, it is so perfect. For those unaware of ILIMOSKUS**, the story is split by being told between two perspectives: fantasy (the Ilimoskus world) and reality (the human world). There are, therefore, principal Ilimoskus characters and principal human characters. The last few chapters of Times of Old are set wholly with the Ilimoskus, and so there may be a few readers out there wondering whatever became of poor Elizabeth, for last we knew she was in a dreadful state. Well, my friends, these wonderings may cease at the beginning of Book 2, for the book begins with the human world. This Page 7 lands within the first chapter of Book 2 – a human chapter.

And now, here is the excerpt:

Anastasia was about to fire back, but then she noticed the horror on her sister’s face as she looked into the sky behind her. Confused, she turned to look too, but there was nothing to see. Walking the remainder of the way to reach Elizabeth, she critically said, “What are you gawping at?” once arriving in front of her.

Elizabeth’s eyes followed its trail of flight. It was another great yellow bird, exactly like the one she had seen that fateful afternoon. Although her heart once again spun into overdrive, the bird was merely gliding around in silence, yet the lack of its piercing noise made it far less daunting. “C-can… Can you not see it?” she asked faintly, pointing up at it. “How can you not see it?”

Dun-dun-duuunnnnnnn. Well, not really. If you have read the first book, you will understand the impact of that there excerpt. Though, if you read Times of Old‘s blurb, it is hardly a secret:

‘Throughout this ever-growing tension, Fii’dezrhu Reotum – a rebellious Flamikus – discovers a momentous secret he then acts upon by venturing to the forbidden human lands; while there, he inadvertently reveals the Ilimoskus’ existence to one young girl.’

All Sherlocks out there would likely have clicked that this ‘young girl’ is indeed Elizabeth 😉 Needless to say, this ‘great yellow bird’ is a creature within the Ilimoskus world (called an espi’motoff, for those of you who wish to know).

I’m not going to lie, I am now slightly stumped on what else to say about this. I shall thus embrace my bolted lips once more. Though, for all of those people out there waiting for Book 2, I will say that I am very nearly halfway through the story. It’s only taken me three years to get to this point, but, you know. Whatever. How it pays to dally with the snails! And with the snails I shall stay. It’s exciting, though. I’m excited. I love Book 2.

*

And so now I move on to tag other writers and their WIPs. I’m supposed to tag seven, though would you believe it would seem I hardly follow any writers who have a WIP… Unless I’m just blind and unobservant, of course – which I wouldn’t put past me. But anyway, I tag:

Valourborn

Like Star Filled Skies

Concerning Writing

They’re all great writers, do check them out 🙂

***

Thank you for reading! I always appreciate it. I hope that little excerpt was a tantalising insight. Please, try to remain seated throughout your hysteria. I know it’s difficult. Hopefully I will have some more news soon. Keep your eyes polished! (Not peeled. Who wants peeled eyes? Such grim imagery.)

Icktis que yer kard fait ya phyde urma, dear world.

“May the light from your heart always guide you”

***

** For those unaware of ILIMOSKUS, it is a deep, environmental fantasy story about a race of elemental beings (fire, earth, air, water) colliding with the world of humans. Please click on this link if you would like to discover more. **

Dear World: No.

I am currently annoyed. This happened before nine o’clock in the morning, which is, as I’m sure you’d agree, a wonderful way to start your day. But I am annoyed due to a writing matter, and I am not sure with whom – or with what – I am grousing. I just know I’m annoyed, and now I am going to express it.

I am one of those writers who has a tendency to write long sentences. Long, complex (or compound-complex) sentences. So? So indeed. Is that not just my writing style? And is there a problem with having such a writing style? You’d think not, right? Do not our unique, individual writing styles encourage our unique, individual voices to be heard? I think so. This is why I get so, so irritated when I forever see people **other writers** moaning about long, complex sentences, because, to me, it feels like I am being criticised for expressing my voice. That is not fair. And what right does everyone else have to tell you how you should be expressing yourself?

“Er, I’m sorry, Sir, but the lyrics you write don’t appeal to the masses, and so all your music must be wrong.”

“Excuse me, Ma’am, but I don’t think explaining your emotions via analogy is appropriate, and thus your feelings are insignificant.”

Would we say things like this to people? No. Well, I certainly hope not, anyway. But can you tell me how that is any different to writing? No, you cannot, because there is no difference.

“Um, I find some of your sentences too long, and therefore I deem your writing to be sub-par.”

No difference.

So, what is this gripe the world has towards long sentences? I am not saying we all have to love every type of worldly expression, not at all – we all have our opinions, our likes and dislikes – but just because one type of expression may not be as commonplace in this day and age, that does not mean it is the wrong way to express it. There is no right or wrong with expression. Ever. Don’t let anyone tell you so. I absolutely hate too many short sentences – it makes me twitch – but that does not mean I cast aside a piece of writing expressed in such a way. Every difference has its place. And, indeed, short sentences can be incredibly powerful and effective, and I do quite patently use them, since I have used many in this here post.

I don’t like short sentences because I find them too harsh. Too abrupt. I am not a harsh, abrupt person – certainly not when it comes to my writing, anyway, or only if something has riled me. To me, short sentences are like a malice stomp, whereas longer sentences have a gentleness about them, flowing peacefully on like a little stream; for this reason, I only turn to short sentences when I wish to make a point, or indeed for effect. What is wrong with that? Yeah. Nothing.

Besides, not only are short sentences against my individual voice, but the Ilimoskus story would, quite frankly, be dire if it were written in a ‘shorter’ style. Let me make my point with the opening paragraph:

The sun was low in the sky as the day drew to a close; the faint remainder of light was shining through the trees of the forest in a soothing amber dusk, and birds were tweeting afar in their evensong. Amidst this idyllic setting, however, was Fii’dezrhu Reotum – infamous in the Flamikus ilyor as something of a troublemaker. — ORIGINAL

The sun was low in the sky as the day drew to a close. The faint remainder of light shone through the trees of the forest in a soothing amber dusk, and birds tweeted their evensong. But amid this idyllic setting was Fii’dezrhu Reotum, who was infamous in the Flamikus ilyor as a troubleamker. — ALTERED

I’m sorry, but no. Nuh-uhhhhh. I wonder how many people prefer the second version… Probably many. But it is not me, and it is not my story. With those few, minor alterations, I feel as though the charm of the original version has completely disappeared. I am not forsaking that charm – my voice – just because the world declares that longer sentences are obsolete and unnecessary. I have never been one to listen to the demands of the world around me, nor have I ever been one to oblige against my heart’s will.

It is times like these when I think back to my school days: I was fortunate enough to have the most amazing English teacher, Mrs. Jones, and she was one of the very few who made me feel like I could be something. Someone. One lesson, we were all silently working on our latest piece of coursework (Pride and Prejudice, actually – that old chestnut), and every now and then Mrs. Jones called someone up to her desk to discuss progress and suggest changes. My name was called, and so up I went to her with my work. Now. Mrs. Jones said something to me then that I have never forgotten, and which I will always keep with me, brandishing it whenever this matter emerges:

She pointed to my opening sentence. She said it was very long. But then she said that there were few people in our class who could get away with using such long sentences, and I was one of them.

“It doesn’t matter how long a sentence is, as long as it’s controlled.”

So said she. And how do we get such control over wriggly words? Punctuation. If you can manipulate punctuation properly, you can have controlled sentences that can cover six lines, for goodness sake. And, yes, I indeed have sentences in the Ilimoskus story that cover six lines. It doesn’t mean they’re bad sentences. Long, yes. But controlled. So what is the problem? It’s not like I write like this and include no punctuation whatsoever because that would just be silly and indeed very bad writing for who on earth would want to read a piece of writing that goes on in such a manner?

You are quite welcome to say, “I don’t like ILIMOSKUS, and I don’t like the writing style.” That is perfectly fine. In fact, someone SHOUT it at me! But do not tell me how I should be writing ILIMOSKUS. Do not tell anyone how their voice ‘should’ sound.

I am so sick of writing ‘rules’. They drive me mad. And, as earlier implied, I have always been a rule-breaker, and I will spend my entire life breaking the ‘rules’ of writing, in part to stay true to myself, in part to annoy the world on purpose, for that is just how I am. It’s a slight personality glitch. Or it is? You decide.

How can there possibly BE any writing ‘rules’ anyway? How can we put ‘rules’ on expression?

No. Just no.

Rise Above, Be Reborn

Here I am, running freely through Ilimoskus Valley. It is my hope to talk openly about much to do with Ilimoskus this year, for previously I had done so rather sparingly, as though I did not want to bother others with the mention of it. But, I realise now that the Ilimoskus story – the Ilimoskus world – is as much a part of me as my very breath, and to hold it in denies my heart of all its core values. So, here’s hoping for wonderful things to come out of this year!

*

And nor will I stay quiet about my mental health. I have a mental health problem. I am ill. And I have been for far too long, in honesty. Eight years too long. Modern society still sneers down on mental health as not being much of a problem (certainly in the UK, anyway), but truly I tell you to know that it is. It really is. Nobody asks to become ill. Do you think anyone asks for a mental illness? It is hideous, for you are trapped within your own mind, and every new step you take somehow leads you back into darkness, back into the eternal loop from which it seems impossible to escape. It is tough to get over an illness. I believe it is probably tougher to get over a mental one. The mind is a complex thing. Still! I am undergoing ‘treatment’, if you will, and I am sure I will be free eventually.

Fellow sufferers, to you I say: Please do not give up, please do not be overwhelmed. I know it is so, so hard, and there are some days you wake up and think, I cannot do this anymore, I cannot go on this way, and I know it can be tempting to do something about those feelings, but that is not the way. I know how lonely it feels. I know how forsaken life seems. But please do not give up. There is a way out of the darkness, and you find the light by seeking help, by forever seeking your inner strength. You will pull through. You can and you will.

Of course, finding your inner strength and clambering out of the darkness does not dig up roses, but rather it churns up thick mud and thorns spit in your face. But those thorns can only blind you if you let them, and the mud can only suck you under if you stand still. I don’t claim to have all the answers, of course I don’t – no one does – but I do know that finding the beauty and wonder in the world, in the tiny little things, allows the sun to shine upon you, and that is precious. I don’t know why bad things happen to good people, but I do know that the most beautiful people in the world are the ones who rise above their gloom and grab the sun for their own, shining its light – as well as theirs – upon the rest of us. A special grace and power comes to those who rise above the darkness. And their hearts, once so scarred and hopeless, turn into diamonds. Unbreakable and so, so beautiful.

But anyway… Enough of such sober matters. (Just don’t give up. Mental illness or no.)

*

I am here to talk about my precioussssssssss **gollum!-gollum!** That is, Ilimoskus. Lots to tell, lots to tell!

ONE) This is the most important, and so it comes first. I should have blurted this out ages ago, but, you know, I’ve been busy planting flowers in my mud. THIS POST <<- announced that my book, Ilimoskus: Times of Old, was no longer available for purchase, due a blumin’ publishing nightmare. BUT!! No more is this so! Back at the beginning of December (or maybe even the end of November, actually, I can’t remember) I was told that the book had been picked up by another company, and, thusly, it is back for the world to read. Hoorah, eh? So. If you would like to read the story, know now that you can. Jolly times.

TWO) I say ‘jolly times’, and indeed it is, but I was actually slightly miffed by this because I wanted to re-edit the manuscript before I put it back out to the world. Obviously that has not happened. Never mind. I’ll do it at some point. I am still re-editing Times of Old at the moment; I’ve cut some bits out, and I’ve made some alterations, such as the school uniform design for Anglarne Hill Independent School in the human world (which includes altering the colour of the house of Danebury, if anyone has read it and cares… It is now green, not red). I have also changed the little ‘dedication’ bit right at the beginning of the book… In my work-in-progress Book 2, the ‘dedication’ page is not a dedication at all, but rather a poem, and I have re-done Book 1’s to be of the same nature, and telling the same ‘story’, I guess. Because it might be a century before the new version is out, I shall share the new poem/dedication for Times of Old with you now:

‘A fire flares within a heart

as stone shields around;

in stormy skies it falls apart

into a sea where dreams so drown.

Can it see in the dark?

How does it stay so strong?

From where does its new life spark?

Do the depths help it belong?

The darkness beckons, olden one,

but you can see the dawn;

let these times go by – be done! –

for you will be reborn.’

THREE) The last thing to mention is a little something I have planned, which should be a treat for those who like the story. I had previously done this little sketch of the four ilyorz (or, in English, the four elements: fire, earth, air, water):

fourilyorz

But, long have I wanted to do more sketches of the Ilimoskus world and the characters in the story. And so, whenever I find the time, I have been trying to work on my drawing skills to do all my elemental friends justice (as within my artistic capabilities). My plan is to draw the most significant characters in the trilogy (which is a ridiculous number, I’ll have you know) and share them with the world on a new page on my website, in a gallery of some sort, with a sentence or two describing them. I thought it would be a nice thing to do! It will obviously take some time to draw them all, so I’ll upload the images as and when and subsequently announce it on my Facebook page and/or Twitter. Or maybe on here, actually. Who knows. But, given I haven’t even started creating the new page on my website yet, it’ll take a while until it’s sorted. I’ll keep you updated.

But, I also thought – assuming I find my sketches of the Ilimoskus at least tolerable – that I might create another page for them specifically, going into more depth about the four ilyorz (elements) and their clothing style. Because why not, I think you’ll find. It’s interesting, honestly 😉 You can see it slightly in the sketch above, but that isn’t really showing it very well. And, not only do they have different clothing styles depending on their ilyor, but they also have different clothing styles depending on their leoges (another strange word, yes: see here for clarification). There is great depth to the Ilimoskus world indeed!

And hey, maybe if I get really carried anyway, I’ll draw all the Ilimoskus creatures, too 😉 (which I’ve actually already done, just not very well since they are all in my rough notebooks).

So, yes! New things, new times, new hope. It is my aim this year to be kinder to the Ilimoskus story, and to be kinder to myself regarding it. I am telling you, I have been vicious to myself – and kind of vicious to my elementals as well (sorry, my friends) – over the past four years or whatever. Ilimoskus is a labour of love, not some hideous punishment I must endure, and so I have come to realise that this kind attitude is the one I must keep, despite external pressures or what have you. And, in being kinder, my love for it will ever soar, and I will travel to great heights with it, I am sure.

But I shall leave you now with two sketches I have already done of some characters within the Ilimoskus story. The main human characters!

Ana_Liz

This is Anastasia (right) and Elizabeth (left) Gott. They are sisters – Anastasia being the eldest. Here they are modelling the newly designed Anglarne Hill school uniform. Elizabeth (or ‘Lizzie’) is the main, main human protagonist within the story.

Dem_Leon

This is Demetri (left) and Leon (right) Carter. They are non-identical twins! They too are modelling the newly designed Anglarne Hill school uniform (don’t you just love the trousers?). These two are lovely characters, if I may say so 😉 – especially Demetri (or ‘Dem’, as he is often called)!

***

Fun, pointless fact for you all: Within this post, I have said that ilyorz means ‘elements’ in English. This is not actually true. That is just the easiest translation. The Ilimoskus word for the four elements of nature is rather ilimoss.


Thank you for reading, everyone. I know my posts can often be quite lengthy, and so I deeply appreciate anyone who takes the time out of their day to read my words.

Be well and true,

and rise above the beckoning darkness

to be reborn with your diamond heart

so to dwell amongst the stars

for evermore.

~~

With Regret…

Okay. This is very important. I have news. About ILIMOSKUS. And, unfortunately, it is not of a joyous disposition.

I cannot actually believe I am sat here typing this right now, but we all know how life likes to launch bombshells at you when you’re minding your own business strolling through a pleasant, golden meadow.

Now. How many of you know how torturous writing the Ilimoskus story has been for me? How many times have I threatened to throw it all away completely, to give up and never look at it again? How many times have I threatened to unpublish the story from the world altogether? So many times I have lost count. But, despite all the tears, despite all the unbelievable grief it has caused me, I refused – and still refuse, actually – to give up. However. I am afraid I have been on the receiving end of one of life’s bombshells. It would seem I should watch my tongue, because what I once threatened has now become reality.

But let me cut it all short.

Due to unexpected and unforeseeable circumstances, it is with deep sadness and regret that Ilimoskus: Times of Old has been unpublished. It is, from this moment forth, unavailable for purchase. Please accept my sincere apologies for any inconvenience this may cause. If you were planning on buying the book… Honestly, I really am so sorry. This was not the plan.

So. What does this mean for the Ilimoskus story? What about Book 2? Will it still be written? Is this the end for Ilimoskus?

Book 2 will still be written. As will Book 3. This is not the end of Ilimoskus.

Again, I am so sorry. I cannot apologise enough. I am sat here in confounded shock, quite frankly. But hey. Such is the way. Though, I think a long, lonesome walk is in order…

I wholeheartedly thank everyone who has supported me and the Ilimoskus story. I cannot hope to describe how much it all means to me. I couldn’t have done it without you. I feel as though I have let you down, though. And I am sorry. But, my dear friends, please do not be dismayed…

Times of Old will be back. ILIMOSKUS will be back.

Of this you can be certain.

***

I wish you well,

and may the light from your heart ALWAYS guide you.

– JKM

Simple Motivation, Complex Fabrication

I am a strong believer in simplicity – regarding most things, anyway. When it comes to creativity, I don’t like simplicity, which I guess isn’t too surprising given the story I’ve written. But everything else: simple does it.

I had a ‘moment’ not too long ago whereby I realised a great way to motivate myself, and it is also proving effective at battling the Voldemort of all words for writers – the dreaded Word-That-Shall-Not-Be-Spokenprocrastination.

Regular followers of my blog, or readers of my book, will know about good old Kurpian. That is, the Ilimoskus’ language. Well, one day I was working away at my desk and, as always, there was paper all over the place. One blank piece of paper in particular kept getting in the way, and it was annoying me, and so I shoved it underneath my mouse, essentially turning into a paper mousemat. And then I had my moment – my sudden burst of inspiration. I grabbed a pencil and wrote ‘kalas’ all over my paper mousemat, so that every time I happened to glance at my mouse, I saw a horde of KALAS staring back at me. I then decided to take this one step further and stuck a little strip of kalas-paper (I’m making up words all over the place here) onto my laptop, so I saw it all the more. This is my little motivation trick, you see, for whenever I am writing Book 2 and I can feel myself drifting away a bit, when I glance at ‘kalas’, it shunts me back into determination and focus.

kalas

Observe my lone-word motivation kalas-paper stuck on my laptop

And what on earth is kalas? Well, it is a Kurpian word, and it basically means “FOCUS, darn you!” *shakes fist* “Concentrate!”

Okay, it isn’t actually as assertive as I made it sound. It is, quite simply, the word meaning ‘to focus/concentrate on something’. It really is quite remarkable how well this is working for me; this one, simple word is the best motivation – the biggest kick up the butt – I have known for a long time. Don’t you just love it when simple things are so effective?

I appreciate I could have just stuck the word ‘focus’ in front of my face, but I just know that wouldn’t have worked anywhere near as well for me. For whatever reason, seeing Kurpian words or sentences taps into my concentration and determination far more effectively than English does. Perhaps that’s because it’s my language, my own creation, and so I remember how much it means to me to complete this little mission of mine (little mission…. ha). *shrugs* Who knows? I certainly don’t, but not like it matters. The important thing is that I am focused and can remain so for the foreseeable future.

Yes, there are many pieces of paper dotted about my desk with Kurpian sprawled all over them, in case you were wondering.

So, that is my simple motivation. What of this complex fabrication?

As I mentioned earlier, my story is a deep and complex one. There are so many themes and sub-plots that entwine together to give the whole story, like individuals strings that make up a rope; without one string, the rope wouldn’t hold together so well – or at all.

In fact, it would seem my novel is soooo complex (please note my sarcasm here) that even basic details get confused. Let me explain. Ever since Times of Old was published back in April 2013, every now and then I come across something that is wrong. The genre of the book, for example. According to some sites, it is simply ‘general fiction’, or ‘contemporary’. Hear me sigh. Technically, contemporary is correct, yes, but to say it is just contemporary and nothing more is wrong. Though, most sites do say it is ‘fantasy’, or even ‘epic fantasy’. I once had a moment where someone told me that my book was actually science fiction, but they had only read the blurb… Needless to say, that irritated me quite significantly. It’s a pretty bold move to tell the author of something that they’ve got the genre of their own novel wrong, especially before reading it, do you not think? Page number is also something sites get wrong. We have some saying it’s about 200-and-something pages long, some say 300-and-something… It’s actually 426. It is the publication date being wrong that I find most amusing, though. Some sites say January 2012, some say October 2012, some say June 2013, and (this is my favourite) I saw one just the other day that claims it was published in January 2014. Huh?

I really don’t know what has happened with all this information gathering. I just don’t understand how so many can get it so wrong. Again, I saw something the other day that really made me laugh: apparently, according to one site (and I wish I could remember where I actually saw this), the country of origin is the United States. Is it? Hmmmm, not so sure about that one 😉

I think we can conclude that if you see any piece of information about my book anywhere online which is not directly from me, chances are it is wrong. Horribly wrong.

But anyway, I’ve been focused on and thinking about Ilimoskus a lot recently, though unfortunately, despite my nifty little motivation trick, I haven’t had the opportunity to sit down and write for the past week or so. Oh, how I could angrily shake my fist at life because of this, but there is a time for everything… Even so, Ilimoskus has been on my mind a great deal. I would just like to share with you one of complexity that is within my story, and that I have been thinking specifically about recently.

Who is (are) the antagonist(s)?

Obviously I know the answer to that, but readers won’t. Although Ilimoskus is a fantasy story, and fantasy is often characterised by a very clear divide between ‘good’ and ‘evil’, there isn’t actually a clear ‘baddie’ in Times of Old… (And, I’ll just add, even when the ‘baddie’ does come to light later on in the story, are they really the ‘baddie’? – That is but an example of the questions I like to raise for readers when I write). Times of Old certainly does not follow the typical fantasy route regarding some aspects, but it most definitely does not when it comes to antagonists. So, if it’s a fantasy story, but it doesn’t have a ‘baddie’, can you even call it a fantasy? How can it be an interesting or good fantasy story when there is no evil to fight against? Undoubtedly, the Ilimoskus story has blurred lines when it comes to this matter. But sometimes, the divide between good and evil is not as clear-cut as we would like to think, or believe.

I could sit here all day and raise every complexity which makes up the Ilimoskus story, questioning the fabrication of each thread and presenting all the question marks for the world to view, and ponder over, and ultimately, to come to their own conclusion as to how and what and why.

There are many complexities in my story – I just gave you but one example. There are many blurred lines. And I love that. Though, I won’t lie, such complexity and blurred lines and crossovers between themes, genres and sub-plots has made marketing very difficult. How am I supposed to do it? What am I supposed to say when I have so much to say? Who am I supposed to aim it at when I could aim it at so many? People do not want to hear an author ramble on for half an hour about everything a story is and everything it entails; they want a quick, simple, brief explanation. That’s how you draw readers, or consumers, in. Right? But my problem is: I’m just too honest for my own good. I know the complexity and depth of my story will put so many people off reading it, but I am not afraid to say or acknowledge this. I’m not going to lie to potential readers by pretending Ilimoskus is something it’s not.

Ilimoskus is unique, and different, and it stands apart from other stories because of the way it is told, because of its themes, because of what it is. Ilimoskus walks upon the fine line between what is right and wrong, what is good and bad, and it is not afraid to raise deep questions and issues for the reader to answer – or even answer to. But maybe that is its downfall. Maybe it is too unique, too different. Maybe I have unintentionally created the outcast of all stories, for it stands too far away to ever ‘belong’.

All I can possibly hope for is that someone, somewhere, somehow feels intrigued enough to give Ilimoskus a chance, and that after they’ve given it a chance, they come to love it for what it is. All I can do is hope and pray it can find a home in someone else’s heart, other than my own. And, maybe, they could open the door to their little heart-house, sharing Ilimoskus by letting it spread out and fly into the hearts of others. After all, there is nothing quite like spreading the word…

***

Simple intentions spurred on by simple motivation

leads to complex fabrications with complex considerations.

***

Two other things to throw out there quickly:

1) Despite having been an ‘official’ author for over a year now, I’ve only just set up my Goodreads Author Profile. Nothing like taking your time with things, eh Jenny? 😉

2) If you would like to read an interview about Times of Old/myself with Author Alliance, click here.