Thursday, December 31, 2009

Fourteen, a magical number

‘Fourteen is the universal number upon which all magic is based…for the Valleur. It is true the rest of the universe also regards the number as important, but they essay various reasons. We build fourteen sacred sites per world in keeping with that philosophy, and that is also the first tradition. The second is the order in which these sites are erected; first the Lifesource, then the Throne-room and thereafter the rest. The third tradition is the passing of the Dragon from Vallorin to heir at the appointed time, although it is understood it is more than just symbolic tradition. The fourth is the safekeeping of the Oracles; the fifth, the scrying of a newborn’s name and the sixth is this ceremony of today. The seventh is the learning of sorcery beyond what we inherently know. The eighth is the absolute autonomy of the Vallorin; we are not, nor were we ever, a democracy. The Vallorin is the power. The ninth is Nemisin’s runes, to be known only to the House of Valla, and the tenth is our longevity both natural and enhanced through the ages by what we know. The eleventh is our total intolerance of evil…’ He stumbled there, but recovered well. ‘The twelfth is a belief in prophecy and the thirteenth…well, we regard ourselves as master-builders, and build with heart, soul and magic. And the fourteenth? For as long as one Valleur lives, we were first and will be last in all things.’

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Saturday's One Line (7)

An enemy could be seen in daylight; in the darkness of Lucan hearing counted for everything.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Universal Hour

Much can occur in an hour and did that final hour of that universal day, although the results would only be evident later. Big things, little things, all part of the whole.

In the Star Chamber there was no night or day, yet it felt like night with day awaiting. For Tristamil anyway; for all he knew it would always be dark now for Tymall. The twins continued to wrangle, although it was largely Tymall doing the talking, beseeching almost, attempting as he was to sway Tristamil to his path. Tris allowed him the voice, hoping hearing the futility of his imprecations his brother would hark to the disaster he was falling prey to. Despite all he’d seen and heard, Tris still wished his brother this final opportunity.

On Urac and Karakan it was deep night and, under cover of that darkness, armies mobilised. Vast numbers, Murs and Mysor would move out with the coming of daylight.

On Lucan tiny shadows flitted among the trees to stop and stare anxiously at the enormous traveller. At their head Thundor beckoned. He’d lead them aboard and hope for the return of the crew. Thundor was taking his people out of the Forbidden Zone.

The small Mysor force vacated Plural, recalled to Karakan.

Outside the Star Chamber, Kallanon paced, willing the hour gone so the next step could be taken. Watchers harked to the Murs and their movements.

The new day promised many things and foremost among those was change.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tuesday's One Word (6)

- Permitting little if any light to pass through because of denseness of matter

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Anonymous Elegy to the Reader – Hypnerotomachia Poliphili

Gentle reader, hear Poliphilo tells his dreams,
Dreams sent by the highest heaven.
You will not waste your labour, nor will listening irk you,
For this wonderful work abounds in so many things.
If, grave and dour, you despise love stories,
Know, I pray, that things are well ordered herein.
You refuse? But at least style, with its novel language,
Grave discourse and wisdom, commands attention.
If you refuse this, too, note the geometry,
The ancient things expressed in Nilotic signs...
Here you will see the perfect palaces of kings,
The worship of nymphs, fountains and rich banquets.
The guards dance, dressed in motley and the whole
Of human life is expressed in dark labyrinths.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Saturday's One Line (6)

‘I have had a long road…’ Torrullin paused and then leaned in close and whispered only for Neolone’s ears, ‘far, far longer than yours.’

Friday, October 30, 2009

Authonomy Comments (6)

'This is excellent. I was hooked from the last three words of your prologue - 'He was wrong', that made me laugh just as it sent shivers up my spine...honestly, there is just such attention to detail, yet smooth flow of prose and realism of setting. You write with your own voice. I look forward to see where you take this. All the best with getting published. You really deserve it!' - Ani

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The One

‘Goddess.’ Levin started to shake. ‘We heard of the One; he is Nemisin’s foretelling! One such as I will come, ages hence…and we tried to kill him!’

Vannis was grim. ‘You cannot kill him. No one can kill him. He is Immortal, he is Enchanter, Destroyer, Keeper of the Dragon, Dome Dragon and, Levin, I have never told anyone this- he is a Walker of Realms. However, that is his tale. All you have to remember is that he will do what must be done to the Dragon Neolone and then you must remember you are Valleur and he is Vallorin, with a bloodline to continue the Valla heritage. Somewhere along the way Atreidi will need to acknowledge him as supreme ruler, for he will not cast you adrift. He does not expect automatic loyalty; he will wait for you to discover it yourselves. Despite what I revealed, do not fear him…not as his name implies.’

‘So we should fear him?’ Levin said softly.

Vannis frowned and scrubbed at his face in irritation. ‘I am not explaining well…’

‘Perhaps the Vallorin can do so. Where is he?’

Vannis sighed again. ‘Gone.’

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Saturday's One Line (5)

'I do believe, boys, your father aims to, er, appropriate a ship,’ Cat murmured.

Authonomy Comment (5)

'...this definitely has the feel of a different world...It's very readable, good voice and I feel part of the action. The plot deepens in chapter with the unexplainable deaths. Some of your descriptions are excellent, 'leaves skittered across cobbles, driven by gusts of contrary wind' I like that one.' - Charlie

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Glittering Darkness

And one day they gazed around and noticed they had chased all life away, out of the universe, and what hadn’t fled, they had annihilated. They were alone.

Finally they paused. A truce was declared.

It didn’t last long, but it was lengthy enough for certain things to come to pass.

Such as the lone emissary despatched through a doorway into an alternate reality, a thinning of the spaces discovered when the birdmen were belatedly tracked. His mission was to locate the Q’lin’la and to bring them back; magic still lacking had to be learned. Darkness desired the sorcery of ultimate supremacy. In their single-mindedness they hadn’t understood the Q’lin’la wouldn’t have that kind of power.

The emissary did not return.

Such as the telling by Queen Rianna, twenty-third of the title. She foresaw the coming of a powerful leader, one who would lead the Light over all shadows, eventually to overcome the Dark eternally. She foresaw there would come a time when the Kallanon would exit their realm in search of this leader, and she foresaw, too, that their enemies, the dark Dragons, would follow, bringing their ages-old wars into that other, perhaps undeserving reality.

She told only her heirs that the One they sought would not be a Dragon.

The wars resumed, intensified, and continued without end.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


This photo reminds me of the city of Grinwallin in Tales of the Valla.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Power of Positive Thinking

Point 1: I am not one for self-help books. It's the one shelf I tend to walk on by quickly in a bookstore; I'd rather read about sports, and, folks, that is something I hate doing.
Point 2: Many writers amateur and professional suggest, nicely and sometimes not-so-nicely, to read certain books on style and grammar, etc.
As far as the craft of writing goes, yes, there are books that teach the basics, but they should NEVER be the bible you follow when you write. I believe rules are made to be broken if you want your voice to be unique.
Self-help for writing- take it with a pinch of salt. If you know your grammar and have a good vocabulary, you are already halfway there. The rest is your voice.
And now to my real point: The Power of Positive Thinking.
To succeed in this competitve environment of publishers, agents and readers, you need the tools of the mind. And this is the one area I move away from my stand about self-help books. You have to believe in yourself and your work, you have to visualise your work in published form for it to be published. This is not rocket science and many would mutter they already know that. I would agree and did...and then took it a step further.
Read these three books and tell me if I am wrong:
The Secret - Rhonda Byrne
Think And Grow Rich - Napolean Hill
Feel the Fear and do something about it - Susan Jeffers
I am still reading and taking it all on board, but already I feel far more positive for the future. One of these days Gathering of Rain will be in print!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Saturday's One Line (4)

‘Cease your chattering. I am here for the Q'lin'la, nothing else.’ Torrullin looked at Vannis, but there was no feeling in his eyes.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Authonomy Comments (4)

'What a riveting read! I really liked the prologue and found it intriguing, which surprised me because I don't usually like prologues. Great first chapter, providing the reader with just enough to stay interested and providing questions the reader will want to read on to get answered. The only question I had whether or not Rain as a sorcerer, but that was answered at the end of chapter 3, not a sorcerer but a necromancer.

This is my favourite book on Authonomy so far. Gathering of Rain will spend time on my shelf.' - Laurie

Thursday, October 15, 2009


When the forces of Darkness
Outnumber those of the Light
Then goodness will flee.
And life will become as nothing.
Hark, poet, to your actions,
Not your words.
Tanos, Lord of the Guardians, his diary - a note in a margin

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tuesday's One Word (3)


- A sword with a broad blade and (usually) two cutting edges; used to cut rather than stab

Monday, October 12, 2009

High praise!

Michael D Scott is a fellow writer on Authonomy and has offered this high praise.

Follow the link (title of this post) to see what I'm talking about.

Thanks, Absolution!

By the way, Michael has some astounding work up also!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Saturday's One Line (3)

Taking a deep breath, suspecting unrealistically a traitor in their midst, Vannis handed his sword to Kylan and unbuttoned his shirt, pulling it wide to reveal the Dragon.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Authonomy Comments 3

'I'm generally someone who skips past the sci-fi section at the bookstore. Too whimsical, too self-indulgent for me. Then I read this and wondered what I had been missing. This is beautifully written, excellent selection of words and not so 'off with the fairies' so a novice like me can still have an enjoyable read.' - David

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Nothing exists in a vacuum. Goddess help her
Children when the Sleeper returns…for he
Will awake only when we give him reason.
Beware your dark thoughts, my friends, for that
Is enough to reach out through the spaces of
Worlds to find him. He will hear you!

An excerpt from the speech of theHonourable Peacekeeper Le Moss Mar Dalrish on the day the Domes of Xen III came down forever.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Saturday's One Line (2)

The darkling glanced once at his dead companion, at his sword lying beyond reach, and turned and vanished through the door.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Authonomy Comments

'Science fiction and fantasy are my weakest areas, I don't read a great deal in either genre...I've read 5 chapters and dipped into later chapters with a sense of awe at the power of your imagination. From the blue skinned woman in chapter 2 through to the explanation of the gestation period of the Giantis in chapter 10, the words kept flowing in a relentless stream. Your descriptive passages are impressive and occasionally remarkable, but it is the power of your imagination that dominates this book. Hugely impressive writing and very enjoyable. A very pleasant surprise for a reader who should perhaps evaluate his choice of reading and consider more books of this nature, although unlikely to be of this quality.' - Jared

'May I say what a beautiful novel you have written? Your start is captivating and the names...Jesus, I am a sucker for good names! Vannis, Rain, Medaillon...the way they roll off your tongue!' - Shriya

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Authonomy's Editor Desk in the Fantasy genre

Gathering of Rain is at number 9!

Authonomy's All-time Fantasy List

Gathering of Rain is at number 18!

Music and Colour

As they walked, the music commenced; the beautiful spiritual melodies of the soul, once heard, forever yearned for when silenced. It grew in volume and intricacy with each chamber and each colour. Silver, rose, magenta, pale moonlight, saffron, turquoise, starlight, emerald, violet, palest blue, glaring orange…on and on it went, and with it the music. Voiceless angels, whispering flutes, crooning violins, transcendental, the distant notes of holy song, a celestial dirge. It was and it was not. Ancient philosophers had regarded the universe as a type of music, with different harmonies, octaves and notes, perfect in its creation, with patterns weaved in amongst the greater song…and perhaps they had been right. Hearing the melodies was akin to feeling the nature of all things, and it went far beyond feelings…for feelings were too subjective. Here there was objectivity, neutrality, logic, and yet it led and led, it created, and it could not be denied.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Time of day and light makes all the difference. Both these were taken before midday, but one is early morning in the mist and on the other the sun beamed benignly. Equally evocative.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tuesday's One Word (1)

Every Tuesday I'll pick a random word from a random page. Every word posted will be from
Tales of the Valla.


- possessing an extraordinary ability to attract, magnetic

Monday, September 28, 2009

In the family!

My talented daughter. View her work on her new blog Art and Beyond.
The painting of Saska to the right is also hers!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saturday's One Line (1)

Humankind, the Valleur’s eventual nemesis, was not the only evolving species at the time of Valleur mastery.

Tweaking the format

Mondays - general posts, anything that takes my fancy

Tuesdays - one word

Wednesdays - image

Thursdays - excerpt

Fridays - Authonomy comments

Saturdays - one line

Sundays - hmmm?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Comments on Authonomy 1

'Although I am not an ardent fan of mystical (based) subjects, you had the power to force me into it. That shows how compelling your writing is. A unique setup, convincing characters & locations and flawless narration.'

'I have started reading your book and I'm absorbed into its content. I'm enjoying every minute, your style and your imagination is extraordinaire. I am sitting here at my computer enjoying each word in amazement as it is presented by Authonomy in gold letters with a black background. There is the heat of anticipation to continue this exciting journey. I would comfortably recommend this book to all my friends.'


Guilt can be a realm.
Guilt destroys.
Guilt is a monster.
Redeem yourself.

Drinic Parable

Monday, September 21, 2009


Kismet had commenced the process of discovery.

Samuel had to conjure as he had for Lucan, beginning with small items, gradually progressing to larger. Kismet supplied requirements that ruled out the likelihood of chance success. Asking for a stone was to conjure a stone, nothing else.

Samuel brought forth that stone, a pot, a bag of potatoes, a framed mirror, and was then asked to explain from where these objects heralded. He didn’t know. Kismet proceeded to enlighten him. Either objects were summoned from a known location, or they were transported out of the ether, and Samuel, in fact, achieved both. The lifeless objects, always abiotic, the stone, the pot, the mirror, were called from sites on Valaris. He asked Samuel to bring forth an item from his home, something unique to him, and Samuel sent for his diamond cutter, knowing it was engraved with his name, and it came, proving the theory of known, existing sites and objects.

That, apparently, was the easier mode of conjuring. He held the cutter in his hands, bemused. He was a jeweller by trade, and here he was dabbling in magic.

The potatoes, Kismet revealed, a biological object, were summoned from the ether, for nowhere on Valaris presently was such a mundane thing in existence. Potatoes had recently been ferried in by Beacon…by the barrel. He added that it didn’t necessarily follow abiotic was local and biotic from elsewhere; he merely employed the difference to prove the two locations. It was an unconscious force, he explained, unless you were specific in your creation, something the Enchanter had mastered a long time ago.

Samuel then had to banish what he brought forth and did so, asking whether the items returned to their original places. The stone, yes, Kismet agreed, it being part of natural magic, but the rest went to a place for banished things, a kind of realm for unwanted goods.

Samuel balked at that, saying it had to be impossible, and how? He mourned the loss of his cutter, then.

Kismet merely smiled, saying the realm was a treasure trove, if one knew how to access it. The pocket of potatoes, for instance, would never spoil.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Updated avatar

Off the cuff

The last few weeks have been filled with the details that negate time to write. Thus, in order to nudge myself into creativity again, this is an 'off the cuff' piece about nothing in particular. They do say writers should write everyday...even if only a string of words on a blog!

(Wonder who 'they' are?)

I have never found it hard to write. Words flow, the story builds, almost of its own will and impetus, but recently I admit to a lull. I think the lull is due to where I am at in my work. It isn't merely the detail of life and a lack of time- I am on the final volume. The Valla's tale is about to end and perhaps I am unwilling to allow that to come to pass...

Admitting that nudges me...and typing words has started a new flow. As I write this my mind is moving off into that final volume, seeing threads, sensing words.

('They' might have a point!)

It appears this was about something in particular. Writing. Me. You.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Conversation between Torrullin and the creature residing under Grinwallin:

I am not one creature.

Then be mystical.

I am air and water and sunlight and darkness. I am song and dirge and laughter and tears. I am here and there, tomorrow and yesterday. I am wet and dry and harsh and soft. I feel, I see, I taste, I hear, I touch, yet I have no form but every form. I am wind and doldrums, depth of an ocean, highest peak. I speak, I think, yet no one hears or knows. Like you, I am animated. Unlike you I know where I begin and end. I am not Elixir of Life, but I am linked to that kind of reality.

Like Time. You are the link. Chaos and Time. You bind them, separate them, mix them up, stir them together. You are the stirrer. The Alchemist. You are Time’s Alchemist.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Divergent Path

There is an obstacle in the mind
Known as denial.
It is able to
Prevent knowledge entering,
But it can also force the mind to
Move sideways onto a
Divergent path.
Beware the divergent path.
The Ancient Oracles

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A saying

People who live amid rocks love to eat.

Lintusillem saying

Dreamer, dream large

Nature and dreams

Some places in our world aid the ability to dream. In fact, the more dynamic, vibrant and vivid a place is, the likelier dreams are. Nature determines the depth of nocturnal wandering. This observation is borne out when a dreamer discovers a peculiar lack in a place where nature is generally unchanging. Think thunderstorms, titanic winds, burning sun and furious rain versus a constant climate. In the former lies change and challenge and thus dreams are large; in the latter lies an insulated life and thus dreams are small.

There is an exception, for nothing is that absolute. A constant climate can be described as generally overcast with regular drizzling rain...or daily sunshine. The former tends to oppress creativity, but where the sun shines hot and water is scarce, life is by nature challenged. Constant sunlight leads to dreams. Sunlight is energetic...dynamic and vibrant.

History and dreams

Some places are layered with historical events. We move away from nature here into civilisation, as relative as that is. People and History and time. Basic shelter gives way to wooden structures, to rough stone dwellings, to incredible and marvellous buildings that can withstand the rigours of time far longer than sticks and thatch. And as the buildings progress so does the community. People live and die in roughly the same region over centuries, millennia, always adding a layer to what is already in place.

Other places are newer, recently discovered, recently inhabited. The layering will come only later.

In the former one senses history; in the latter one creates it. Theoretically, a dreamer would have a wealth of images to draw upon in a place layered in time’s events, and this is indeed true. However, the dreamer in a place where time still has to layer dreams larger, because nature is the true challenger.

Circumstance and dreams

A layered space can be stifled by too much suffering, too much persecution and fear. If a community is under the yoke of tyranny for centuries and the spark of revolution is bred from the psyche- acceptance of tyranny in order to survive- it eventually leads to a stasis extremely difficult to remove...even when the tyrants have moved on to greener pastures. This is often the case with heavy-handed religions as well, tyrants in flowing robes and words of peace. Free will is absent. Thus, despite a wealth of time and events, dreamers are sightless during nocturnal wanderings. There are few who dream at all.

Imagine a pioneer lifestyle. This can be a new farm carved from scrub or the challenge of a new land. There are may be layers in place, but there is no predisposition. The pioneer does not sense the yoke of tyranny even if it once was. Despite exhaustion, life is large even in sleep.


We are all of us, however, greater than nature, History and circumstance. Generalisations are not absolutes. How and when we dream is entirely at our behest. We may choose not to, we may not remember upon waking, but we are in control of our minds. This, I believe, is a generalisation that can be regarded as an absolute.

Dreamer, dream large.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Philosophical rambling...

A line is drawn in the sand. Do you step over or onto it? Do you contemplate it or don't you see it all? Does it intrigue or does nothing resonate inside you long enough for it to impact?

A stone balances precariously on a larger one. Do you wonder how it came to be there or do you simply accept its place? Do you wonder when it will fall and how, or does nothing resonate within you long enough for it to impact?

An unusual sound disturbs the quiet. Do you listen or not? Do you hope to hear it again or is the disturbance of no matter? Do you unravel its mystery or does nothing resonate within you long enough for it have impact?

Who drew the line in the sand? To what end? Who placed the stone on another? To what end? Who disturbed the quiet? To what end?

Who did what doesn't matter. What matters is that you see, think and listen. Only then do you speak. Only then will your words count- they will resonate inside and they will impact.

Gathering of Rain - Chapter One

Gathering of Rain – Tales of the Valla Volume I


In a time now passed beyond memory, a man whispered over a golden disc as he set it into a vice. He lifted an engraving tool to mark the first glyph. He murmured the words of an ancient enchantment, a repeated rhythm, until it was perfect, and then whispered some more as he polished. It took time, many months, and he rushed nothing. Spoke of it to no one. Only when the time was right would he reveal his handiwork.
He possessed the tools and skills to achieve his goal, as well as the voice that was impetus and creation. To infuse inanimate gold, to gift atoms sensitivity, to compel unassailable eternity, required tone, repetition and emotion. Imperative was emotion, for it determined the ultimate nature of the infused device. If fashioned in anger, the consequence was an instrument capable of confusion; indifference led to instability, hate to darkness, mockery to deception, egotism to arrogance, and love to illumination and enlightenment. He intended only love.
The Supreme Wisdom- the Maghdim Medaillon- of the Valleur was made tangible and it was beautiful. On the day he laid it in a protective casket, he thought: I am done now. The future is secure.
He was wrong.

Part I
The Game

‘A dark-eyed child will be born among you. She will be the Changeling who will return the Medaillon to the last Vallorin and release him from his tomb. He, in turn, will bring you freedom.’

‘There is a darkness coming, but I cannot yet see in what form…’
Vannis, last Vallorin

Chapter One

Three nights to New Moon

Rain was exhausted when he finally reached Farinwood. It had been four long days from Galilan, the latter two on foot after his horse lost a shoe, and he had chosen the Corridor to gain time; it was a treacherous pass, even now in high summer.
Farinwood nestled in a fold where the soil was fertile and moist all year, the town facing roughly west towards the Corridor Mountains. Farinwood was a bustling community, the town surrounded with productive farmland. It was the last centre before the might and influence of the Great Dividing Forest began.
The lower hills were shrouded in dense mist and the valleys appeared oppressed in murky shadow. It wasn’t natural. It was also the reason he had come. The town itself was gloomy with vapour trailing tendrils much like spooky fingers from a hell world. The quaint, old buildings were shuttered, blind; the cobbled streets slick, misshapen moss growing in cracks.
The first evidence of the dara-witch Infinity’s malevolence was a group of armed, surly men. Knives, cudgels, even a rusty saw. They were not looking at him, but past him, around him, unseeing after initial scrutiny, eyes skittish. Someone else was on their minds. When Rain hoarsely enquired after the nearest inn, they pointed him onward willingly enough, but their eyes darted all over. One man stared intently at him as if to say something, but his companion dug an elbow into his ribs and he quickly looked away.
He left the men behind. Avendeath would know what was going on.
Rounding the corner into a broader street, he came across other groups. There were no women and no children. It wasn’t a good sign; it meant women and children were confined. And as he passed he heard snatches of sinister mutterings.
‘…not normal this fog…’
‘...Farinwood is a portal to the netherworld...’
‘…darkness in their hearts…’
‘…Feon saw the dara-witch…’
‘…Infinity on Hogshill…’
‘…our poor children…’
‘…an ancient curse I tell…’
‘...the same war of three thousand years ago...’
The words were a continuing round of endless repetitions of fact and rumour and were spoken almost as mantra to relieve stress.
When he did see a group of children around a further corner he was relieved to think he had misjudged; if children were out, the situation in Farinwood was redeemable.
Across the intersection they stared at each other.
He began then to understand the men and their homemade weapons, their words and depression, their terrible wariness and the withdrawal from outsiders. He began to understand what Infinity had achieved. It was about the children.
He stepped back hastily, abruptly realizing he was in real danger. There was appalling knowledge in the children’s dead eyes and they were not afraid to attack and kill like rabid dogs, and, thus, as with rabid dogs, it was wise to retreat. Innocent children were now dark beings- incomplete at this juncture- but approaching the point where nothing would save them from an abominable fate.
He could do little to help them. He could do nothing and that meant Valaris was in real trouble.
He hurriedly turned another corner, the back of his neck prickling, and ahead saw a sign that proclaimed the Foaming Ale Inn.

A lobby sported a hat and coat rack and beside it a mirror in an old-fashioned frame. The floor was rough slate. As lobbies went it wasn’t pretty. The rack was empty; either he was early or the only customer or fear kept patrons away. The tension on the streets spoke of the latter. He hadn’t tended his appearance in days and was shocked when he looked into the mirror. Fair hair hung in long, damp strings and grey eyes were bloodshot, his face colourless. Nothing a bath and a good night’s sleep wouldn’t cure, although only Tanos knew when real rest was likely again.
He turned for the common room.
Without warning the inn door slammed inward and the new arrival barged in, glanced warily over his shoulder, shoved the door closed again, and then looked him over intently. A big man with flaming red hair and beard a shade darker, shoulders the size of an ox and a voice to match when he spoke. Rain’s eyes narrowed in suspicion and he automatically altered his stance.
‘Rain of the Mantle?’ the man boomed. ‘Name’s McSee. Relax, my lord, you have nothing to fear from me. You are Rain of the Mantle?’ He thrust his hand out.
Too flabbergasted to do much else, Rain nodded and took the proffered hand, wincing at the pressure the big man unconsciously exerted. Long after he’d wonder what would have happened had he said no to the query this day; would McSee have turned away not to be seen again, or were their fates already decided before that first handshake?
‘Been on your tail a few days. Just missed you in Galilan. You move fast…thirsty work. Let us see if this dive lives up to its name!’ McSee launched into the common room, not giving Rain a chance to get a word in. ‘An ale, barkeep! And one for my friend!’ He rolled like a runaway boulder across the empty room to a table at the hearth.
A fire blazed warmth and comfort. Rain followed the big man in bemused suspicion. He had no choice, for he was lumped in with him by the casual claim of friends sharing a drink; to appear stubborn would only alert the barkeeper.
Rain sat, nodding greeting to the barman. McSee watched the small, rotund man busy behind the bar counter, and the little man winked and then returned Rain’s greeting with a nod of his own. He had a friendly face and as he poured he asked: ‘Need rooms? No problem. We’re empty presently, the unseasonable weather putting the fear of who-knows-what into superstitious folk. Granted, I’ve never known weather like this in all my years here, not in summer. Still, superstitious nonsense!’ He came over with two foaming mugs.
Changeling children, and the man called it superstition. Rain frowned into his as he lifted it to his mouth to swirl the dust of travel away.
McSee paid. ‘Yes, rooms and hot water. I don’t know about my friend here, but I could sorely use a good soak.’
The little man pulled a face. ‘It’s all I can do to keep this fire going, my staff having left me in the lurch- I told them it’s fairytales and legends, but no one listens. We’re in for a spell of poorly weather, seeing as we always have it so good…you know, nature’s way of letting us know who’s in charge. Mist from a netherworld, ha! Superstitious nonsense,’ he added for good measure. ‘Name’s Julian.’ He looked pointedly at McSee, and then glanced at Rain, dark eyes inquisitive, and one couldn’t blame him; he was in the business of people and visitors were decidedly scarce.
McSee handled the introductions. ‘McSee,’ he said, thrusting his hand out again. Rain winced, having recently shaken that hand. ‘Just out from Gasmoor.’
Gasmoor was the second largest centre on Valaris, a university city two days ride from Galilan.
‘And this here,’ McSee continued, ‘is Rain of…’ Rain imperceptibly shook his head. ‘…ah, Rain of Galilan,’ the big man amended.
Julian extended his hand to enfold Rain’s in a firm grip. ‘He’s rather quiet, your friend Rain, isn’t he?’
‘Tired, Julian, more tired than I have been in a long while,’ Rain answered, ignoring McSee’s curious gaze.
‘Oh, apologies, sirs, apologies! Let’s see what can be done about hot water…yes, and something to eat, must feed my guests…excuse me…’ and, managing to curb his curiosity, Julian left.
‘Did you see them? The young ones?’ McSee murmured. ‘Is he blind?’ He gestured after the round man.
‘He is afraid. Denial is a form of defence.’ Rain settled back and took a deep pull of ale. The brew definitely lived up to the name above the door. He glanced at the big man. ‘McSee. From Gasmoor. Well, that’s a start. So, McSee, you seem to know a little more about me than I know of you. How is that?’ Flinty grey eyes dared the brown ones to lie to him.
McSee did not drop his gaze. ‘I mean you no harm, my lord.’
‘That remains to be seen. At this point answer my question.’
McSee sighed, set his mug down and, settling his big arms on the polished wood, twisted his fingers together. ‘I was chosen to find you, for we have noticed the same distressing signs the Mantle has…’
‘We?’ Rain barked.
‘A society, my lord…’
‘Do not call me that, for Aaru’s sake; I do not want unnecessary attention. Rain will do fine.’
‘Of course, I’m sorry, my…Rain.’ McSee briefly scratched self-consciously at his head.
‘A society,’ Rain prompted impatiently.
Brown eyes were sombre and expecting trouble. ‘Yes, a society of folk who think there’s great danger a-foot. We also believe what we see is a fraction of what’s coming. Allow me to offer my help. If nothing else, I find my size in odd situations is an advantage.’ There was a trace of embarrassed diffidence in McSee’s voice, but as his claim wasn’t a lie, he didn’t back down from it either.
Rain’s lips twitched. ‘You are not answering my question, friend. How is it you know of me? Perhaps twenty outsiders know of the existence of the Mantle.’
‘We at the Society know as well,’ McSee murmured, toning his voice down on hearing Julian scuffling in an adjoining chamber. The way he accented Society revealed it was more than a generic term for a gathering. ‘We know the Mantle is an organization studying signs and portents. You are the protectors, right?’
In a manner of speaking, Rain thought, but did not answer directly. ‘And what exactly does this Society of yours do?’
For the first time the big man was uncomfortable and wary. ‘They said this will be the hardest part, and now I see why…but, please, don’t get steamed until I have a chance to explain…’ He lapsed into tongue-tied silence.
Rain took a deep breath and released it on a long sigh. ‘Something like the Mantle?’
McSee nodded. ‘Our goals are similar, but we are more than mere academics…’
And so is the Mantle. ‘I get that,’ Rain said.
Something in Rain’s tone alerted the big man, for he sighed wearily. ‘I am instructed to tell the real truth, so here it is: The Society is a select group of…well, of sorcerers…no, no, wait,’ McSee interjected as Rain abruptly straightened in his chair, ‘…it’s really not what you think!’
‘How can you know what I think?’
‘We don’t do darak magic, I swear; we don’t practice magic at all, only theory.’
Rain lifted a disbelieving eyebrow, and thought that meant they were only academics.
‘It’s true,’ McSee continued. ‘We train generation to generation in an attempt to keep the old knowledge alive. Long ago someone understood we might need the theoretical arts one day. Folk forgot about the Society as time passed, especially after the Drasso catastrophe, but we were there during that time and saw what real danger is. We weren’t formal like now, maybe not so hidden, and probably not quite as unpractised as today, but that was then and I don’t know much about the past and only about the future we seek to protect. The way things add up, we need countering that can reach beyond traditional weapons. We are not a danger to the Mantle or Valaris, quite the contrary, and if you need to keep me nearby just to prove that, then so be it; I shall earn your trust soon enough.’
McSee leaned in. ‘You are of the Mantle, my lord…’ and he used Rain’s title deliberately, ‘… so you must know Valaris can’t hope to survive the coming darkness without trained sorcerers. Who will help us if we don’t help ourselves? I can sniff out danger and I can fight it also.’ McSee paused, concerned at the other man’s silence, by his expressionless gaze. ‘Rain, I would be honoured to stand at your side.’
Rain was a power in an underworld of powerful men. Did McSee aim to aid him with the different power of the Society? What, exactly, could the man do? And how much did he know of the Mantle?
In the ensuing silence they heard Julian throwing water. The innkeeper would return soon.
When Rain finally spoke his voice remained low. The men with weapons outside needed just a spark, a whiff of a whisper of a sorcerer inside, and all Julian had to do was shout.
‘You’re telling me there’s a group the Mantle doesn’t know of and you say this group has been in existence a long time. There are trained sorcerers running amok on this world…by Tanos, man, how do you expect me to react?’
McSee put up a hand. ‘Three thousand years ago Valaris was the battlefield for Infinity and Drasso and their darak fallen, and the Deities descended to aid us in that war. Today we don’t know how much is fact or fairytale, but we do know there was a war and our world was almost destroyed. A handful survived, the north was forever annihilated, and it took Valaris almost a thousand years to recover. We still have a forest separating us from the poison of the north! Someone like Drasso could be happening right now again.’
Rain gave a wry smile. The big man was on target. Infinity had returned, no doubt to exact revenge for the death of her son Drasso.
‘Will the Deities come to our aid? Dare we wait for that to happen? Do we allow it to get so bad that it takes another thousand years to recover?’ McSee leaned earnestly forward. ‘Better if we join forces…’ He broke off as Julian re-entered the common room.
‘Good news, gentlemen. Two tubs in the steam room out back. Fresh towels just inside the door…’ Julian’s bright eyes darted from one to the other, sensing the strained atmosphere.
Rain pushed his chair back. ‘We shall resume this later, McSee. Lead on, Julian.’
McSee followed, as yet without an inkling how mercurial Rain could be…or how dangerous.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Chapter One First Lines

Gathering of Rain:

Rain was exhausted when he finally reached Farinwood.

House of Valla:

Despite high summer elsewhere, it was bitterly cold in the far north.

Rock of Ancients:

Torrullin walked over the light-bridge.

Winter's Fire:

No sign. No trace.

Glittering Darkness:

Years ago Valaris was the battlefield between Infinity, the dara-witch, and Tanos, Lord of the Immortal Guardians.

Path of Shades:

Vannis discovered the stowaways three weeks into the journey.

Walker of Realms:

Close on six months had passed since the stolen ship left Valaris airspace on a mission to deal with Neolone, the Valleur Dragon, and the Dragon Taliesman.

Sword of the Sleeper:

Buthos stood at the raised white dais ignoring the flashing lights upon it.

Animated Spirit:

Nobody could now claim ignorance.

Elixir's Mirror:

Margus was dead, and ferried to his final resting place beyond the Rift.

Again, pretty enlightening. I find it astounding how we can look at our work and not see where we are going wrong. A writer is definitely too close to what he/she has written. Pulling the first lines out has given me an insight into what needs a fresh beginning.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Prologue First Lines

Gathering of Rain:

In a time now passed beyond memory, a man whispered over a golden disc as he set it into a vice.

House of Valla:

A frog croaked in the silence of night.

Rock of Ancients:

Dantian was ten years old when he finally understood what his name meant.

Winter's Fire:

The last Valleur on Valaris, of this universe, prepared the fire for the scrying ceremony in the centre of the Vannis’ gem-studded Throne-room.

Glittering Darkness:

‘So why are there no wolves on Valaris, father?’ Tymall asked, grey eyes wide with curiosity.

Path of Shades:

Saska gazed over the dry plateau spread akin to challenge before her.

Walker of Realms:

Fourteen long and wearying weeks passed.

Sword of the Sleeper:

A mother and her little daughter walked along the banks of a placid river giggling together, halting every so often when a bright flower or insect trapped their roving attentions.

Animated Spirit:

The smell of turpentine and paint filled the small space.

Elixir's Mirror:

On the rooftop humans and a Siric danced.

This exercise has been illuminating. I have a greater sense now of what works and what does not. No, I'm not telling you - you tell me!



It was a unicorn. A creature of myth and magic, one with the ability to walk in two realities simultaneously. A creature of great beauty, inspiring great awe, one tireless in every endeavour, be it a walk through a wood or a gallop between legend and truth. No one had yet seen one and still every culture knew it instantly, and even a child could scratch out a basic likeness in the dirt. Many tales surrounded it- silver blood that gifted everlasting life; to see one was to know good fortune all the days left to one; to kill one was to know eternal damnation; it stood guard over the innocent and the lost; it could outrun the wind; it could save one’s soul from evil…and so on. All one had to do was believe.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Sands of Xen

Earth? Dune? Or the sands of Xen III?

Authonomy Addiction

Recent months have seen me virtually glued to the Authonomy site. For those of you who haven't yet heard of this site, here it is in brief:

1. register
2. create a profile with avatar
3. upload at least 10 000 words of your book (with book cover)

The point is for other writers to read and comment on your work, and, of course, you would return the favour. As others read your work they have the option of watchlisting your book or shelving it. Every time this happens your book moves up the ranks, and the more you do so for others, the greater your personal ranking.

The real point: to reach the top 5 (monthly)...and that gifts you a read from HarperCollins! Give it a go!

That is it in brief, but be warned: HIGHLY ADDICTIVE!
Click on the title Authonomy and you will be redirected to that site...go, go, go, what are you waiting for???

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Universal Fourteen

Numbers are universal. Mathematics is the order of time.
It is also the creativity in nature, the music in cosmic travel, the rule in science, the language that transcends every barrier and the stuff of daily labour.
It is godly and it is mundane.
Without it life fails. Without it magic is impossible.
Various numbers have various powers, from the imagination of the smallest to the impossibility of the greatest, but in the realms of magic one number reigns supreme.

Tales of the Valla - the series

1. Gathering of Rain
2. House of Valla
3. Rock of Ancients
4. Winter's Fire
5. Glittering Darkness
6. Path of Shades
7. Walker of Realms
8. Sword of the Sleeper
9. Animated Spirit
10. Elixir's Mirror


These are working titles, although I would need a very good reason to change 'Gathering of Rain'!

The displayed covers are not professional or published.

All novels are complete, although will no doubt see edits (a never-ending task!)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Writer's Tools

Before you begin a novel, short story, essay, poem or whatever your forte is, you gather the tools to do so. Right? Of course, right...the first time.

You might start with a blank piece of paper and a pen, or you might have an old typewriter that does it for you and you get the ribbon, the paper, etc, or it might be your old pc or a new laptop with the program that fits your could even be a Dictaphone you hauled out of a drawer and put to use for the first time. It doesn't matter, there are certain tools you need to start. Right? Right...the first time.

These are your motivators- look, I have it all ready, surely now I can write....And time passes. And you realise something more. Almost profound.

Tools have zero to do with it. You realise a piece of paper will do, any piece, any pc will do, any pen, any ribbon...because the words become more important than the tools. Agreed, the right tools make it so much easier and simpler, particularly in this modern electronic age when most agents and publishers prefer email submissions (thank heaven), but it is not the factor that drives creativity. What drives you is far beyond how you achieve your goal. When all is right with your world of writing, your tools are dream prompts, a great photo, something someone said, a piece of music, a tear when your son or daughter said 'thanks mom', or simply the magic that goes on in your mind. You can be walking, driving, eating, sleeping, sitting, watching TV, reading, listening to music, talking, having a glass of wine...and if that tale or verse is trying to get out, it will erupt...and how you record it is beside the point.

My point is this: don't fret when you think your tools let you down. Allow your mind to be the tool, and everything else falls into place when the time is right. And don't fret about that timing either- trust yourself.Writers write because we love it, because we exist for it, because it is a grand passion, because we are complete when we do so. Follow your heart and your instincts and believe in yourself, and don't ever give up once you discover your grand passion.

Writers, I salute you.

Valaris Map

Read on Authonomy

I have uploaded chapters from the first four volumes on the Authonomy website for review, although only Gathering of Rain is available to read at this time. Feel free to have a look. Enter the title in the search bar...

Kicking off!

This is my third blog. The other two, however, are far to general and thus I have chosen to launch a blog in my writing name...which also enables a more efficient blog search for readers.

The purpose of this space is to share my experiences as a writer and also to update you on the progress of my work. And, of course, it is my hope to build a following for Tales of the Valla.

Check back every now again and feel free to leave comments.