Getting side-tracked


This is all too easy to do. I’m trying to concentrate on the follow-up novel to Voice in the Forest and In Search of the Best of All Worlds, but get side-tracked into the story of Nadja and Michael Raven; and then I get side-tracked further into developing the history of Orestol. I enjoy doing this, but it is not something that is ever likely to be published at any length, even on my own website. Being inclined to become somewhat plodding, with large numbers of names and dates.

The hidden valley of Orestol was my first fantasy creation. Originally it existed in a number of poems, now destroyed, which I wrote while in my mid-teens. They were not good. My concept of the valley then developed and expanded over the years, till when – in my early twenties – I was commuting weekly to Worcester and staying in a bed-and-breakfast during the week I started to write prose concerning an interloper into the valley. This developed over the next few years into a novel with variously titles, including Ancestral Walls and I’m Glad I Cracked the Rainbow. With it came the characters now called Alentir, Melior and Michael Raven. I worked on the history and geography and natural history of the valley, but also found my imagination spilling out into the surrounding lands.

I’m aware that many of these lands are based quite closely on my knowledge of various cultures on our world. Most of these should be fairly self-evident, for instance Orestol is an underlying Celtic culture, but a few may be less so – for instance: the names in Parasalaya are of Sanskrit origin; Usksumer is my foray into chinoiserie; and Seouleato is very loosely based on traditional Finnish culture.


There are certain things that are pretty certain to have me pulling out my hair – and trying to get dates straight – especially when they’re not all in the same calendar – is one of them. While working on the story of Nadja and Michael Raven it became clear there are errors in Alentir’s timeline; I have therefore amended the dates from the Birth of Agnortik (now 3470) and the beginning of Alentir‘s long wanderings (now 3831).

Hopefully everything is all nice and neat now.

I’d also like to take the opportunity to apologies if anyone is getting a 404 (page not found) when they try to access the pdf of In Search of the Best of All Worlds; it may be because they are trying to access an old version. I posted an updated one in March last, but did not make this clear at the time.

Bit of a block now

Although I’ve now decided to put some more day-to-day thoughts onto my website, I still suspect my thoughts will not be of interest to anyone out there – doing the self-deprecation thing that so many of us are so good at; but also I’m sure there was the idea that I only really wanted to put out fully formed ideas and finished pieces of work. I should have known better: Rembrandt’s sketches and cartoons are in many ways more interesting than his oil paintings. And on courses such as Art Foundation and Architectural Interior Design the keeping of sketch books and even blogs is – I understand – (in some ways at least) considered more important than finished projects. This is presumably about the process of forming ideas and showing the philosophy behind the work.

I am also aware of Brendon Sanderson and his putting the often rough drafts of his novel Warbreaker on his website. I’m far from sure that I am there yet – and he has a somewhat (ho hum) higher profile than I do.

I’ve just spent a very productive week or so writing furiously, trying to work further on Leif’s story, but have been side-tracked into looking again at Michael Raven’s tale of his time in Orestol, partly with Alentir, but most specifically of his relationship with a character currently called Nadja. And telling it from her point of view.

Having re-read all I wrote of that time in Orestol, I am still sure that the writing is nowhere near the standard I feel I’ve achieved since; and the motifs are somewhat predictable. But there is stuff that can be mined, though the story of Nadja is unlikely to reach novel length – I will see how it goes. And maybe I will start to post unpolished chapters on here/Wattpad.

But my momentum has slowed, and I have to spend some time working on more practical and mundane tasks. Hopefully not for long.

Integrated Text and Images


Well, I’ve finally got the pdf of The Marquis’s Destruction uploaded to this site. It is quite a large file and may take some time to download.

I’ve been looking at integrating text and images to create a cohesive whole on-and-off for many years – I am after all a fan of William Blake – but have been frustrated by illustrated fantasy books; not so much by the quality of the images (though many of them are too purely representational for my tastes – Pauline Baynes and Gor Blok being major exceptions), but because they are not integral to the whole. Philip Pullman and Mervyn Peake have created designs and illustrations to accompany their work, but are – to my knowledge – rare in this.

So I have produced the illustrated booklet of The Marquis’s Destruction, with various additions; which – I suspect – took longer and were almost certainly more enjoyable to create than the core text. The work is not exactly just an essay in the craft, but I doubt it’s as integrated as I would like it to be when I – in later time – reflect on it.

First Post


I’ve had this website up and running for a bit now, and have finally decided to risk putting on-going comment on here. The static pages are more-or-less as I want them at the moment (though this will doubtlessly change quickly), so here goes with some more ethereal stuff.

I have been working over the past few weeks on a new novel set on Kolchin, which will follow on from the short story In Search of the Best of all Worlds, which in turn follows on from Voice in the Forest, telling the story of Leif, daughter of Owel. It is in the early stages and though I have various ideas and themes in mind – such as linking up with the character mentioned briefly in The Migrator – Michael Raven (an unfortunate naming: his history has now changed) – who was the main character in my never-to-be-published first novel. But how their stories could meet is yet to be uncovered.

There are also a number of images and additional pieces to The Marquis’s Destruction that just need to be finalised before being added to this website and the story’s pdf.