Sunday, December 6, 2015


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


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 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Update: Where's Part 2 of "The Last Giant: Transgression"? (Lindensaga v. 1)

It's coming, we promise! In fact, a preview (the first 3 chapters) is now available on the publisher's website or right here. It's a PDF file and contains a bonus: a pencil drawing of Princess Nirna by Jan!  

This drawing has never before been published and in fact, only one other person has seen it. That person won one of the 5 copies of Part 1 we gave away on Goodreads a while back. Each copy had a different printed drawing by Jan tipped in and I have no idea who got what, but they each have very unique copies.

We don't know when or if we'll ever again reproduce that portrait, so now's your chance to see it. Just get your FREE PDF of the first three chapters of Part 2 NOW!

The balance of Part 2 is 98% written and needs to be edited & formatted. We've been held up by a number of things that have taken up time we normally would have been devoting to writing. When you are a writer, life has a way of blocking you at times, but it's been rather more than our fair share, it seems. Consequently, despite our assurance that it would be out in May, latest, it looks that we will have it out by the end of this month, God willing and the creek don't rise!

That's it for now. I have to get back to editing.......

-- Richard,
    for J. R. Hardesty

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Sorry for the Long Silence

Arrrgh!  After several weeks of bronchitis, we are back in harness. We lost writing time and a lot of other time, but we are now once again making progress. Unfortunately, this has further delayed publication of Part 2 of The Last Giant: Transgression until late May. Sorry about that, but we surely did not plan this!

Sunday, February 15, 2015


WARNING: If you found grammar boring in school, you might want to skip this entry!

It seems that worlds aren't complete without at least one new language or part of one, even if it's only a slim vocabulary. Not being a philologist like JRRT, nor even a linguist by training, I at least have had some exposure to other languages—excluding Tolkien’s creations—having had two years of Spanish in high school and gotten through a nine-month intensive Russian course while in the US Air Force. Consequently, I know how to conjugate verbs and all that sort of thing.

In the early volumes of the Lindensaga™, the foreign vocabulary is limited to a Teluri word (malinir) and the name of that insidious drink, volnaka, which has its origins in Old Aridian and is ultimately derived from the word for water (volna). Volnaka actually means “little water” and was formed from volna simply by adding the diminutive suffix -aka. The world for water actually means “breath of life” and was derived from volno (water) and ona (breath) and was originally vólona, but over time it has been shortened to simply volna as the middle “o” was typically barely pronounced and eventually disappeared altogether.

In later volumes, things get a little heavier. Some interesting Teluri cultural concepts are explored and they required a new vocabulary to represent things which are not found in human cultures, either on Linden or on Earth. When those volumes are published, I will go into that subject in detail.

In order to conjure up the required words, it was first necessary to explore the linguistic origins of those words. For example, there is a poison that translates into English as “freezing death.” I could have just come up with some exotic sounding word, but the thing is that both “freezing” and “death” are very useful words and we might want to use them in some other context in the books. Consequently, I spent some time working up the etymology of both those words.

In creating many of the Teluri verbs, etc., I was influenced by modern Finnish as a starting point. Like Tolkien, I find that Finnish has a certain appeal that other languages lack. I don’t speak it at all, but the written tongue is very interesting. What’s not to like about heroes named Väinämöinen, Lemminkäinen or Kullervo? Some of our Teluri folks have Finnish-sounding names as you will notice.

Back to Freezing Death, our poison. I had previously worked up the verb ‘to die’ and from that derived the noun death=narô (to die=narir), so all I needed was a verb for ‘to freeze’ and its companion noun. Basically, I took the word ‘cold’ and played with it to come up with a root ‘kld’ then converted that to a new word kládar for the infinitive ‘to freeze;’ the noun form derived from that was kladû.

To illustrate the process, here is the full conjugation, etc. of kládar:

to freeze (inf) = kládar          (-ar, infinitive ending)
    1st person sing. = kladir    1st person, pl. = kladár
    2nd person sing. = klador    2nd person, pl. = klador
    3rd person sing. = kladore    3rd person, pl = kladorema

    Noun (cold) = kladû
    Adj (frozen) = kladoja (sing), kladojama (pl.)
    Part. (freezing) = kladojina (same for sing. & pl.)

The Teluri language has only two verb endings, -ar and -ir. Both are regular verbs. There are four irregular verbs, but we’ll save that for some other time. The above example illustrates the -ar conjugation. The -ir conjugation below of 'to die' (narir) shows the second conjugation.

to die (inf) = narir

    1st person sing. = nara        1st person pl. = naráni
    2nd person sing. =naren        2nd person pl. = nareno
    3rd person sing. = narenna        3rd person pl. = narennanos

    Noun (death) = narô
    Noun (the dead) = urinari   [a special noun, from uri (men, people) + nari, a special comb.  form of narô
    Adj (dead) = naroja (sing.), narojama (pl.)
    Adv (deadly) =narojan (sing & pl) [also as adj, i.  e.  narojan malinir (deadly blade) ]
    Part. (dying) =naroja (sing & pl)

We put together freezing (kladojina) and death (narô) thus: kladojinanarô (stress on middle syllable: kladójinanar’). Note: final vowel is often dropped or only partially voiced, indicated by the ’. Over time, speakers tend to shorten things and this word was no exception. By the time we wrote about this poison in a volume that hasn't been published yet, the word had lost the -na- from the middle and had shortened to kladójinar’

Kladójinar’ is a nasty substance. It is often used to treat sword blades. A cut by such a blade causes the victim to go into intensive hypothermia and eventually die. It works very quickly and can be administered in food or drink as well.

That’s enough for today, methinks. If you want more, let me know and I’ll provide it.

– Richard
 for J. R. Hardesty

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


We consider our 5-day give-away a resounding success, as 475 hopeful people entered. Five lucky people will be receiving signed copies of Part 1 of The Last Giant: Transgression, each of which has a full page (6" x 9") original pencil drawing by co-author & cover illustrator Johanna laid in.

Congratulations to the winners: Jeremy Adkins, Susan Gannon, Nancy Jones, Jennifer Scull and Kathy Purpura. We hope you will enjoy your book and drawing. The drawings included a portrait of Nirna (the Princess Royal and Menannon's true love), a drakta and a spiral-horn. 

-- Richard
    for J. R. Hardesty

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

THE NEW YEAR BEGINS! and a giveaway is announced.

A new year, a new blog. Happy New Year to all and may this year be a prosperous one for you.

I had intended to get a blog out in December, but just did not have the time, as we were in a crunch to get Part One of The Last Giant: Transgression out before Christmas. Between getting a final MS ready, getting the typography done, proofing, getting final cover art ready, etc., it was a tight go, but we managed. The downside was that many typos got through into the printed product. We are currently engaged in tracking those down & correcting them so subsequent printings will not be so burdened.

And I cannot begin to tell you how frustrating it was getting the Kindle version done. I had never done that before and it took a while to wrap my head around the Kindle concept, which is basically an electronic scroll. And with my limited ability in Word/HTML, the fancy typography had to be jettisoned in favor of a simple but readable text. Getting the maps to work was also a major pain in the, ahhh, neck. At least I now know what to do with Part 2 and won’t have the same ration of problems to deal with.

However, it is done! The book is out there awaiting our marketing Genius to get off his backside and do his job. We’ve sold some, but since we haven’t really begun to market the book, we don’t expect much ... yet. We plan to make a big effort once Part 2 of Transgression is published, as then the entire book will be available.

Part 2 should be out late Jan or February, assuming the imps of perdition don’t decide to descend upon us and wreak havoc. Dealing with the Typo Tyrant is bad enough, I can tell you!  Per ardua ad astra!

Now, about that give-away. We will be giving away 5 copies of Part 1 on Goodreads beginning 15 January and ending 21 January. Each copy will have an original signed pencil drawing by Johanna tipped in. Be sure to sign up! You may be one of the lucky winners!

With the new year comes the new Tax Season! Erggh. I am just glad we are no longer doing tax prep work. That was a 20 year wild ride!  We quit a few years back and will never go back. I get chills down my spine just thinking about it.

I’m afraid the well is dry for now, but I should be back in a couple of weeks with a progress report and Lord know what else. You may take that as either a promise or a threat. 

– Richard
   for J. R. Hardesty