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 ūüôā

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 ūüėČ

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 ūüôā 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 Рa 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‚Ķ 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 ‚Äď a rebellious Flamikus ‚Äď 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 ūüėČ 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 ūüôā

***

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. **

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 ‚Äď be done! ‚Äď

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 ūüėČ 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 ūüėČ (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 Рand kind of vicious to my elementals as well (sorry, my friends) Рover 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 ūüėČ – 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.

~~

What Sights Await?

There is beauty in the simplest acts. Simplicity, despite all its definitions and connotations, is far more powerful than its outward impression suggests. I am a great lover of simplicity when it comes to living life. I like quiet, I like understated, I like simple. My most beloved moments and memories with those special people in my life Рpast and present Рare the simplest of times. For example, I used to sit by the river with that special someone, and there we quietly sat, dipping our feet into its cool running waters while watching the natural world pass by, and often we would comment on the little fish that daringly ventured close to our feet, or sometimes he would try to teach me how to skip stones (I am hilariously awful at it, by the way); never in our whole time together did we go to a restaurant or needlessly waste spend money on each other. And I am glad, for the times we did spend together were therefore infinitely more precious.

But one of my favourite simple things to do is to gaze out a window. Are they like portals? I think so. You’ll always see something different out of every window, a different scene through the tear in the incorporeal gateway between worlds. Perhaps it’s merely the glass that causes this divide – so near it is touchable, but still always seeming just out of reach. Since moving house in January 2014, most of the windows I now gaze out of are over the garden. Of course, this is lovely for me, for I so love the outside world. But I do find myself missing my old bedroom window at times. Maybe it’s just nostalgia, for I had spent my entire life in that bedroom, and the amount of times I gazed out that window… It was a big bay, and I could sit on its windowsill. And so I did. I sat on that windowsill all the time, since childhood, and gazed out at the road on the other side. I watched the world go by. I loved that window.

As many of you may know, I am an author. In Times of Old,¬†one of the main characters is fifteen year old Elizabeth Gott. I see a lot of myself in Elizabeth. This wasn’t actually intentional, but upon reflection I now realise that she was partly inspired by myself. She is shy. She¬†is sensitive. She is a loner. She loves simplicity, and she loves the outdoors. Elizabeth finds great comfort in gazing out of her bedroom window, out over the woodland she lives by, and she does this many times throughout the course of the Ilimoskus story.

The very first time the reader meets Elizabeth, she is gazing out of her bedroom window. There is a storm. She watches the wind dynamically sway the trees while the lightning illuminates the world. The next time Elizabeth looks out of her bedroom window in the story, the sky is grey and overcast. The third time she gazes out of this window, the sky is clear, the world is bright, but she ends up yanking the curtains shut, frightened and repulsed by the outside world. Why?

A window is a simple thing. It is one of those objects in life that most people do not stop to take a second thought about. But sometimes simple things can be very important. Sometimes it is the quiet, understated things that end up making the biggest impact. Elizabeth’s bedroom window may be just that – a bedroom window – but it is also so much more: it is¬†the gateway between two worlds; it is the divide between the near and the far, the physiological and the psychological; it is the obstacle of illusions and certainty. It is her sweetest dream and her worst nightmare.

The location of a window may remain the same, but they have the power to reveal new sights as time ever continues on. The window realm never settles, never ceases. You can see so much through one simple pane of glass. So, next time you casually look through a window, stop for a moment to truly take in what your eyes observe. What sights await?

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-Spoken:¬†procrastination.

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 ūüėČ

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? ūüėČ

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

Time Flies

Times Flies

© Jennifer K. Marsh 2014

Hey, my little olden friend,

tell me what it’s like to fly

through the eyes of times gone by!

Did you grow visionary wings

so you could soar over everything?

Is your heart a silver key

that unlocks sight to secret dreams?

Hey, my little olden friend,

know that soon it will be the end!

But you know, deep down inside,

that this is not the last goodbye.

One, two, three: rise and shine!

You’ll be here¬†for¬†all of time,

right up there in my sky.

In my sights.

For you are His,

yet also mine.

***

I suddenly realised the other day that I have been working on the Ilimoskus story since 2011. I mean, I’ve obviously always known that, but it only just hit me. 2011. Time is a funny old thing. This story has been such an unchanging constant in my life that it has made time fly by¬†– ZOOOOMMMM! – to the right here right now; but then, at the same time, it has plodded on right alongside me, taking in every slow little development and savouring it for the precious thing it is.

It’s been a year since my debut novel, the first part of the Ilimoskus trilogy – TIMES OF OLD – was published. It has the capability to fly all over the world if it so wished, but, for now, it is quite happy¬†to inconspicuously¬†hover in the British and North American skies (that may have sounded a little¬†presumptuous, but I didn’t mean it like that at all).

After all, because it is mine, only I can shove it off the edge of the cliff so it can make use of its God-given wings. I’m clearly not very good at shoving. But maybe my little olden friend and I can¬†unlock something instead… Something, something…

fourilyorz

My own personal drawing of the Ilimoskus themselves (left to right: fire, air, water, earth)

We Ilimoskus, we elemental folk, are peaceful beings, unknown to the likes of you humans. We were, that is. Before, you could not see us; before, you could not hear us. We were nothing more than the crackle of fire, the gushing of water, the whisper of wind and the rustling of leaves ‚Äď always there, but never truly acknowledged.

– Times of Old, Prologue

Maybe we can unlock a heart to see something that was not there before.

Jun daiamel, zhouujostlebako!

What a year it has been.

What a journey!

And what more times are to come?

We will find out. Together.

***

Technically, there is now a second edition of Ilimoskus: Times of Old, although this is not actually stated in the book itself. Even so, if you have a copy of the book from April 2013 – March 2014, you’ve so got a first edition ūüėČ

And here is an update about the online magazine I work for, Pie, if anyone’s interested.¬†It’s having a bit of an overhaul!

Sipra Kei! (That is, Celebrate One Hundred!)

“Celebrate good times, COME ON!”

It’s time to crack out those party poppers and toot those party horns while wearing a most dashing cone hat where its elastic cuts off blood circulation under your chin. And I shall bake a marvellous cake appropriately decorated with ‘100’ iced across the top, and you shall eat it and all will be splendid.

But do not be mistaken in thinking that we are celebrating an 100th birthday, oh no. You would be tremendously mistaken, in fact. So, what is this one hundred all about? Let’s see if you can guess…

If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you are likely to be aware that I am in the process of writing Book 2 of the Ilimoskus trilogy. You are also likely to be aware that is has been an¬†utter NIGHTMARE. Technically, I have been ‘working’¬†on Book 2 since November 2012,¬†would you believe it¬†(ugh, the thought), but self-publishing Book 1 took up so much of my time I cannot even tell you, and so I had to leave Book 2 completely for a while. In April 2013, Times of Old¬†was published out in the big, wide world, so I foolishly assumed that I would be able to work on the second book¬†again. Goodness knows how many blog posts I’ve done where I claim to be “back on the case with writing Book 2!”¬†only to write another post a few months later claiming the exact same thing, thus implying I never actually got back on the case at all. Because I hadn’t. And that¬†was because, emotionally (and physically, for a while), my life carelessly threw me about all over the place, and I just couldn’t do it. Everything regarding Book 2 had been going wrong, or badly, or just not at all. Writing¬†Book 2 had been struggle after struggle, hardship after hardship, misery after misery. The whole experience felt like I was running as fast as I possibly could, but never moved anywhere¬†– you know, like in those horrible dreams – and if I did miraculously run at all, it was only to stumble over my own two feet and fall flat on my face.

Have you noticed something? I’m using past tense. I would hate to speak too soon, but things have been different with Book 2 recently. There hasn’t been struggle and hardship and misery – or, at least, not like it was before. It¬†suddenly feels as though my vision¬†has been relieved of some dense fog that had been clouding it the whole time, and when I try to run now, I can actually move forwards.¬†Slowly, perhaps, but movement nonetheless. But I can see clearly now, so even if I do stumble, I can see where I’m placing my feet.

“I can see clearly now, the rain is gone”

Do forgive these sudden bursts of song, I am just so overjoyed

“Oh, I feel overjoyed (when you listen to my woooooords)”

Little bit of Bastille, right there

Have you guessed what one hundred is about¬†yet? The other day, I reached¬†a landmark point with Book 2…

I have broken the 100 page mark, my friends!

I could still scream with joy, even though this happened a few days ago. It really did – does – feel like a miracle. Okay, some people out there might be reading this thinking, ‘She’s been working on Book 2 since November 2012 (!!) and¬†she’s¬†only just written 100 pages?!?’¬†Well, yes, basically. But so what? Were you me, experiencing my life with my mind/emotions¬†as I did, you would understand, and you would also appreciate just how monumental this is for me. I really like to think of this as a turning point. THIS IS IT. Book 2 is getting serious, it’s coming, be prepared ūüėČ I mean, given previous rates of progress, I probably won’t be done until 2018, but you know. Who’s counting?

Given this is a special occasion, I am going to treat you all.

Admittedly, this isn’t much of a treat because I cannot draw, but still.

bk1-chpt5-pg34

As the smoke faded away, Fii’dezrhu saw Nax making his move, for he was not about to waste this perfect opportunity.

“Slowly, Nax ‚Äď move slowly,”¬†Fii’dezrhu whispered as Nax untied his rope.

He made a large loop and poised himself ready to lasso. Tossing the rope down from the tree, it slipped neatly over the orneck’s neck, but as he tugged it, the orneck charged away, yanking him out of the tree. He thumped to the ground and was briskly dragged along, wailing as he went, with leaves and dirt flying into his face.

Fii’dezrhu laughed at his friend’s misfortune, naturally.¬†

– Times of Old, chapter 5, pg. 34

So, here we have a poorly done sketch of mine, depicting this precise moment in Book 1. As you can see, Nax is in the process of being dragged out of the tree by the orneck (which, if anyone’s wondering, is basically a fire horse), while Fii’dezrhu – Nax’s best buddy – is laughing at him. As any best friend would, right?

***

I’ve always distinguished¬†my landmarks by 100 pages at a time, so maybe, when I reach 200, I’ll treat you all again ūüėČ

On a heartfelt¬†note, though: thank you for the support and encouragement, and thank you for being so patient! You’re all amazing.