Sunday, August 8, 2010

It's too easy to buy books nowadays!

Arrrgh!!! Long ago in the dark ages, I used to carry around pieces of paper with my list of books I wanted to find, and once in awhile in a used book store, I'd stumble across one or two and be all happy and excited. Now I get obsessed about some subject or other (telling myself it's RESEARCH for my work-in-progress, RESEARCH, damn it!) and spend a morning and way too much money on amazon.com and everything (mostly) gets delivered to my doorstep in the next week or so.

ARRRGH! Do I have enough book shelf space for these books? No. Am I going to have enough time/energy to READ all these books? No. Will I ever manage to resell these books? No. (I can't stand to part with books. I might want to read them! Someday!) Did I ever finish reading all the books from my previous obsession/book-buying binge? Hell no! All I've accomplished is to make my kids sad when all these packages start arriving for me and not for them...

But I do look at the pretty pictures and maps. I love pictures and maps. Hrmph.

Ok. That's it. No more ordering anything online until October.

*mumbles guiltily and swears to read something from the previous set*

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Another day, another peach crisp!

Ha ha! The box is empty. Finally. Well, it was peach (and blackberry) season in Maryland again, and we could hardly miss out on that, could we? So last weekend I took the kids to our favorite pick-your-own farm. It's weird how the boxes seem so small while we're at the farm, but once we get home they suddenly seem to grow bigger...

Argh! So once the peaches start getting moldy and mushy, I have to do something with them. It's a good thing "crisps" are easy to make and eat. (Gone within hours, usually.) I'm sure the same will happen when apple season rolls around, though the apples do tend to keep better. (But I think we end up picking more of them!)

Mmm... peaches.... so yeah. I'm just killing time until it's done cooking.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The subconscious has spoken. Shambhala it is!

Or at least, snippets of the story keep writing themselves in my head while I walk the dog every morning. More of the background is coming to me, and reasons why X did Y. So yeah. I'll try to finish this one between now and November so I can start something fresh when NaNo rolls around again.

Cliche of the day: the misunderstood dying confession. "I should never...never have taught him..." (dies) Name names, people! Is that too hard for you? *facepalms* Of course, as I don't know what their damn names are, either, it's hardly fair of me to blame the characters! (Once I know their names, I think I'll start on my first draft.

Not just the names of the characters, come to that. I need names for their Super Secret Elite Powers. So far, all I have is the "Blood Tuning Sutra", which is some kind of psychic tick magic. And I know the Shambhalan adepts use mandalas to trap alien spirits into human time to use as energy sources. (The evil bastard half-brother of the prince is trying to get more dams and windmills built, and he'd like a nuclear plant but that's difficult without kidnapping a bunch of foreign engineers...)

P.S. No, coal is not really an option because they exhausted their coal deposits hundreds of years ago, during their "Golem Empire" phase. Remember what I said about golems being energy-hogs back in story 4? Hmm? Hmm? (Though they wouldn't be called "golem" there. Obviously a translation convention.) Same with natural gas. The Shambhalans don't want to rely on imports from the rest of the human world.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Onward to Shambhala!

Mwah ha ha ha! More mythical lands to ravage! Last time, it was Kukayne (aka Cockaigne), which I had set under the rule of Mother Goose and her order of weregoose nuns, which got invaded by the goblins. This time it will be the fabled Buddhist "Pure Land" I'm gonna mess with (along with Shangri-La, while I'm at it.)

Actually, this is a side-step from the main "Salt Gang Chronicles" sequence. I had two new characters which I planned to introduce in story 7 or 8 (I know, I know, I haven't even written number 6 yet!), but had no clue about their backgrounds. Then it came to me they they were a romantically bonded couple, and that they came out of this romance plot (hey, I've always wanted to write a romance), and the details slowly solidified. By which I mean, a bunch of cliches accrued in the rough outline I'm scribbling in my notebook. The love triangle! The evil-but-handsome prince! The good-hearted monster framed for murder! Revenge! Misunderstandings! The bastard half-brother of the prince who turns out to be just as evil! The political prisoner/revolutionary! But I didn't know where exactly it was set, except that it should be a kingdom connected to, but hidden from, the ordinary world.

And then it came to me that it was obviously Shambhala! I can set it without much trouble in the geographical region I want (roughly speaking, in the mountains between China and India, well, probably in the western Kunlun range on the edge of Tibet). I still have to come up with names for the characters. Looks like I'm gonna end up mutilating bits of traditional Sanskrit and Tibetan words/names. Ah ha ha ha ha! (It's either that, or continue referring to people as V, W, X, Y, Z, etc. as I do in my preliminary notes.) And of course my Shambhala will not exactly be such a holy place... the inhabitants will be more highly magical than those of the outside world, and in the past they did come out and meddle with Tibetan (and others in the area) politics/religion, but the Shambhalans are as corrupt as anyone... And it looks like Time is going to be an element here again. Cycles! Periodic blah! Mandalas!

Looking into it...there's tons of interesting small kingdoms that existed all over Asia that I never learned about in school. It's a pity! The world is so big, and history so long, compared to the size of textbooks and school hours. I come across them here and there and wish I knew more. (For example, I never heard of the kingdom of Dali until I started reading Jin Yong's books. Now I want to visit it...must have some cool historical sites there!) So yeah. I'm gonna make up my own version of a small secluded magical kingdom. The problem now is that it feels like it'll take at least a whole novel to do this...hrm...yeah. I dunno. Start it now? Or use this as my NaNo writing project and write the next two Salt Gang stories first? I've been doing them in order so far. I suppose I shouldn't let myself get distracted. But I do want to write this one sometime!