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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Back at Last!

Summer's almost over, Autumn is fast approaching and my time in the boonies has but three days to run as I write this. I have had fun up there in Polebridge, but it did shorten my free time to the point where I had none left for this blog, for which I am quite sorry.

Even so, we have not been idle. We have delayed the publication of the one-volume edition of Transgression until October to allow the development of new cover art for the series. 

Jan became disenchanted with the original series covers, and deemed new art was in order. For Transgression, she adapted her original digital painting of Menannon and Nirna for the trade paperback and we were able to use the full painting for the d/j on the limited hardcover edition.  I'll post the pb cover on Face Book when she is done with it. The full painting can be seen here.

The cover for subsequent books will be uniform in style, as before, but will all have new art, as we wanted to better showcase her work. She has already begun work on the cover for Retribution (book 2 in the Lindensaga) featuring brand new art and she has as well begun completing the MS which should be finished in time to make the November publication date.

December will see the publication of book 3 in the series, Prince of the Teluri, which is also the first part of a duology, The Gift of the High One. The MS for this is essentially completed barring only a few small tweaks to bring it into line with Transgression/Retribution as it was written some time ago.

The short time I had available for blogging has come to an end, so I bid you goodbye until next time.

-- Richard 
    for J. R. Hardesty


 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Paradise at Polebridge



Last summer whilst accompanying Jan on her “Roam the Park” daythe “gate Rangers” in Glacier National Park get one work day to wander around the park and get to know it betterwe headed for the North Fork country as she was least familiar with that semi-remote area of Glacier.
    The North Fork of the Flathead River serves as the western boundary to Glacier for part of its length and the North Fork valley is home to some awesome scenery as well as the little hamlet of Polebridge. The Polebridge Ranger Station, guardian of the NW entrance to Glacier, is located nearby.
    There are many who consider the North Fork Paradise on Earth, and I would not dispute that claim. There are more residences up there than appear to the eye, most of them being for summer occupancy only, but there are a few hardy souls who live up there year around. Polebridge itself is home to two institutions of far-reaching fame: the Polebridge Mercantile and its awesome bakery, creators & purveyors of divinely mouth-watering treats fit for the gods, and its next-door neighbor, the Northern Lights Saloon.
    On our little jaunt up the North Fork with Kintla Lake as our ultimate destination, we stopped in Polebridge, of course. After indulging in some heavenly pastries, we headed north on Glacier Drive for the one mile drive to the Polebridge entrance to Glacier National Park. After chatting with the gate Ranger (the official Park Service name for those folk is Visitor Use Assistant or VUA), we headed on north for Kintla. As we left the entrance, I opined somewhat wistfully that it would be a grand place to be assigned for the summer and wouldn’t it be fun! She whole-heartedly agreed.

    Be careful what you wish for.
Paradise at Polebridge
    Around about November last, I brought up the topic of our future plans for our books and observed that we need more capital and perhaps I should get a job of some sort, but that I definitely refused to work retail ever again. She nodded in agreement and understanding, then asked me, ”Well, why don’t you apply for the Park?” I knew that some of the VUAs would not be returning and I said, “What he heck? Why not?” I’d rather sit in the kiosk at the West Entrance where Jan worked than work retail any day. And it might work out that we would work together some of the time which was fine with both of us.
    So, I applied.
    I jumped through all the hoops and was eventually notified that if I was still interested and available, I had a job—West entrance, of course. Cool. I was tickled pink and quite excited. After filling out more paperwork and getting my fingerprints taken (for the background check—we handle money after all), I settled into a regular routine of checking my e-mail daily for any other communications from the Park people as I did not wish to miss anything.
    So one fine day, I found an e-mail not from the usual roster of folk I had been dealing with. Curious, I opened it up, read it, blinked, read it again and then shouted to Jan who was out in the kitchen.
    “Hon, they’ve offered me Polebridge!”
    “What??”
    “I’ve been offered Polebridge!”
    “Super! You’d better take it or I’ll hurt you!”
    Of course, there was no way I was going to turn that offer down anyhow, so I quickly responded in the positive.
    So now, I will take up my station at the Polebridge Ranger Station May 23 after four days of orientation and training. Because of its remoteness, I will be staying in a little cabin up there during my work week and driving home for the weekend over one of the nastiest dirt roads in the state.

    But the rest of the week, I’ll be in Paradise.

-- Richard

Sunday, December 6, 2015

NOW IN FT. MYERS, FLORIDA!

We are very excited! Our books will soon be on the shelf at P. J. Boox in Ft. Myers, Florida. This store is unique. It features only indie or self-published books and the authors get to keep 98% of the revenues! It is an imaginative solution to the self-published author's problem: getting one's books into a brick-and-mortar store. Thanks, P. J.!!

-- Richard, for J. R.

Stumbling Through Fantasyland

Hands on hips, brows lowering, Emerson stood gazing fixedly at the recumbent ruminant. A sympathetic friend (if camels have such, which is doubtful) might have taken comfort in the fact that scarcely a ripple of agitated sand surrounded the place of its demise. Like the others in the caravan, of which it was the last, it had simply stopped, sunk to its knees, and passed on, peacefully and quietly. (Conditions, I might add, that are uncharacteristic of camels alive or moribund.)  — Elizabeth Peters.

 You may well ask what this quote, the first paragraph Elizabeth Peters’ delightful book The Last Camel Died at Noon, has to do with fantasy, as she is a well-known mystery writer.
    To answer that, we must first mention Allan Quartermain, and in so doing we find ourselves in the realm of Henry Rider Haggard, a writer of adventure tales, many set in Africa. Of the many books he wrote, he is most widely known for two: King Solomon’s Mines (1885), with Allan Quartermain and set in Africa and She, A History of Adventure (1887) with Horace Holly & Leo Vincey set in Africa, both of which had fantasy elements in them. She is considered a foundational work of the fantasy genre and, I think, deservedly so.
    Quartermain went on to star in many other African novels by Haggard, including his own encounter with Ayesha (She-who-must-be-obeyed) in She and Allan (1921). Mr. Holly has a further adventure with She in the sequel, Ayesha, the Return of She (1905), which is set in Tibet.
    These are lost world/lost race novels and King Solomon’s Mines is regarded as having started that particular genre and both are fun reading. As it happens, Elizabeth Peters shares with us an enthusiasm for H. Rider Haggard. Her novel, The Last Camel Died at Noon, one of her books about Amelia Peabody and her husband Radcliffe Emerson, is an entertaining tribute to Haggard’s books and involves—you guessed it—a lost race and city. Since her Peabody books are all set primarily in Egypt (Peabody & Emerson are Egyptologists), the lost race is tied to the civilization and culture of ancient Egypt as exemplified in the 25th Egyptian dynasty & its successor kingdoms of Napata and Meroë. We loved it and its sequel, Guardian of the Horizon, which takes place ten years later. Peters
nods to Haggard dont stop there, however. In her novel The Snake, the Crocodile and the Dog, a major character is one Leopold Vincey, who, as mentioned above, was one of the main characters in Haggard's novel She. I have no doubt there are other such tributes to Haggard scattered throughout her Peabody series.
    We strongly urge you to investigate not only Elizabeth Peters (particularly if you also like mysteries which most of her Peabody books are), but most especially H. Rider Haggard.
    Stumbling along off the beaten track, we find an interesting book which is only nominally fantasy, the adventure novel-with-a-spin, The Sunbird (1972) by Wilbur Smith. It’s a lost city tale of sorts. The first half of the book is set in modern times and details the trials and tribulations of the search for the lost city of Opet and involves a rich mining executive, his archaeologist friend and the archaeologist’s lovely assistant/girl friend who, not surprisingly, create a problem for themselves in that the rich guy steals the assistant away from the potboy (yeah, I know — bad cheap pun). The twist:  the second half of the book is set a couple of thousand years ago in the ancient city of Opet and concerns a strangely familiar cast of characters. Are they the previous lives of the book’s three-some? Or...?? It’s a bit violent, as Smith’s books tend to be, but it is a romp, certain. Give it a go and see for yourself.
    Tripping further along the periphery of Fantasyland, we stumble over some books by Arthur O. Friel. He made a six-month exploratory journey up the Orinoco River in Venezuela back in 1922 and used his knowledge of that area to write some fun adventure novels with fantasy elements thrown in for good measure: The Pathless Trail (1922), Tiger River (1923), King of No Man’s Land (1924) and Mountains of Mystery (1925). Of these, I have read only the first two and thoroughly enjoyed them. Jungle adventure, green men, lost races, man/ape hybrids...oh, yeah! They were reprinted in mass market paperback with cover art by Jeff Jones in 1972 by Centaur Press (a small paperback company established by Donald M. Grant and Charles M. Collins. see Wikipedia). All of Friel’s books can be found in the used market, with Pathless Trail and Tiger River being readily available at a decent price.
    Friel also wrote about his journey up the Orinoco in The River of Seven Stars (Harper, 1924), which is also fun reading. Unfortunately, this book is not so easily found. I was fortunate some years ago to find a copy in a local used book shop and still have it, although it suffered some water damage a couple of years ago. It is still readable, however. The book was never, to my knowledge, published in paperback and the used market has copies of the first (and only) edition priced at $75.00 and up. If you can find a copy, it would be worth the money, but unless you are bent on having a hardcover, a library would be your best bet for this title. WorldCat shows 70 copies in libraries in the U. S., copies in the National Library of Scotland, Trinity College Library of Dublin, Oxford, St. Pancras, Cambridge University and the University of Essex. Copies can also be found in Germany, France and Australia.
    OK, we’ve stumbled along enough. I think next time I’ll discuss mysteries that have had an influence on us one way or another and a some we just read for the love of a good story.

– Richard, for J. R. Hardesty

Sunday, November 1, 2015

WHAT DOES A WRITER DO WHEN NOT WRITING?

The MS for Part 2 of The Last Giant: Transgression is in the publisher's hands, which means that I doff my authorial hat and don one of my other hats, in this case, two: Editor and Designer/Typographer, with a little CEO (of Purple Mammoth Publishing LLC) thrown in for good measure. Yes, we---with two others---own our own publishing company, such as it is.

*switching hats* 

I am now speaking to you as The Publisher: Part 2 is partly published, with the Kindle version available from the Kindle store and the print version to arrive within a day or two. The design/typography is completed and is undergoing review by a backup pair of eyes---our Art Director who is also the other half  ("J") of J. R. Hardesty. We both wear many hats in this operation. Project director is one hat neither of us wear. That honor goes to Dave Blythe, and he cracks a mean whip!

And then I get to don the Marketing Director hat, but that is another story entirely.

That partly answers the question in the title for us, but what other writers do when not writing would be a topic for a series of blogs which I have no intention of taking on.

*switching hats* 

Authorial hat back on. Now off-duty, we have been having a marvelous time doing other things that are utterly unrelated to writing.

The primary project involves moving 10" x 11.5" x 12' railroad bridge ties from the pile along the back fence to a new location along the front fence to act as a footing for Greg's garage. Greg is Jan's step-daddy and we are helping him build a garage for the convertible he bought himself for his 80th birthday. Bridge ties are not like a rail tie. Uh-uh. They are bloody HEAVY. We rented a Bobcat KT-55 mini track loader to move them. Had to, otherwise they'd still be sitting on the back yard pile.



 That should give you some idea of what I mean, but to give you a better idea of how much fun this actually was, here's the video for you.




But all work and no play make for a dull person, so we play a little, too. A few weeks back, we went hiking in Glacier National Park on the Highline trail with Greg who was dying to try out his new off-road walker. It is the product of Swedish engineering. It lets him walk on rough ground so he is no longer limited to pavement & sidewalks. We were very impressed with how this walker allowed him to go where otherwise he could not. The weather was great, the view magnificent and we had an absolute blast. Greg had a grand time of it as he had not been able to hike that trail for many years and he used to hike it all the time. It was something of a homecoming for him.
   These photos give you something of the experience of the day, and certainly show how remarkable that walker is. It is called a Veloped and we got it from Trionic USA  and you can definitely consider this a product recommendation! And no, we aren't getting any kickback from them!                                                                                     
 
That's Greg taking in the view with me behind him soaking it all in.
 
The view south along the trail. That ribbon-looking thing down below is the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Looks rather small from up there on the cliff.

Well, that's what these writers do when they aren't writing. We work and we play.

Until next time!

-- Richard, for
   J. R. Hardesty   


Saturday, August 22, 2015

Where the heck is Part 2!!! and other woes.

Ahhhh....yes. Where, indeed? The bad news is that it took far longer to finish Part 2 of Transgression than we anticipated for a variety of reasons and we've had to completely re-do our publishing schedule based on reality, not wishful thinking.

The good news is that Part 2 will be out in October! The initial edit is complete. We now have the read-through and the final edit yet to do. The read-through usually takes a couple of days, and the final edit wherein the whole is viewed with a jaundiced eye can take a few days. I take on the role of "evil editor" for that one. Whole scenes have been known to get cut in that process, but it should result in a better book. Unfortunately, the first part was not subjected to as rigorous a final edit as it should have (not that I was easy on us) as we were under a self-imposed (and unrealistic) deadline tyranny.

We are now looking at getting two books out per year and as some of the future volumes are already written and need only some minor tweaking to bring them into sync with the Last Giant books (two books in three volumes), we should not have any trouble in making that happen.

The third book in the series, Prince of the Teluri, is complete but for some tweaking, so will not hold up the schedule at all. That is scheduled for Fall of 2016 and it follows the second book of The Last Giant (Retribution) which is now scheduled for Spring of 2016. 

Following Prince will be High King of the Teluri, in Spring 2017. The two Teluri books have a common title of The Gift of the High One.

The next mini-series within The LindendagaTM will the 4 book series, The Harper of Rhindol Vale. The first book (The Key of Tanguroth)  is complete and needs the afore-mentioned tweaking to be ready to publish in October 2017. It is a big book, running to over 600 pages, but it's a kicker!

So, to recap:

Books in the Lindensaga:
      The Last Giant  - centers on the Giant, Menannon who is a recurring character in all subsequent books, but in a supporting role.
            1.  Transgression
                    Part 1  - Pub Dec 2014 
                    Paft 2  -  October 2015
            2. Retribution   -  April/May 2016
       The Gift of the High One  - centers on a new character, Lindrahier, a Teluri
            3. Prince of the Teluri  - October 2016
            4.  High King of the Teluri  - April/May 2017
       The Harper of Rhindol Vale  - centers on Siglin Lightbringer, a Teluri of unusual gifts
            5.  The Key of Tanguroth  -  October 2017
            6.  The Orb of Making
            7.   The White Tower
            8.  The Frostrill Stair

If it is at all possible, we will publish a book earlier than stated, but the above is the official publication schedule as of today and should be considered as close to final as is possible.

Best wishes to all!

-- Richard
   22 August 2015