Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Learning about oneself through fiction

I know that all of my fictional characters express fragments of myself.  It is fascinating, after writing a particular passage or pehaps some fifty pages, to look back and experience the "aha" moment.  There it is for all the world to read: some aspect of who I am, or wish I were, or wish I weren't.  With some characters it is more obvious than with others.

Bill and I have talked about parallels between myself and Ian Dyrnedon, protagonist of books 1, 2, and 4.  He usually sees these things before I do.  Last Friday, as we were chatting over pizza, I was rambling on about Vladje the wolf.  I made mention of Ian's death at the end of book 4 and suddenly choked up.

That happens a lot when I am planning scenes, writing them, or talking about them.  I get about a two-second warning and suddenly I can hardly speak.  Anything that strikes this deep suggests something going on in my guts.

We chatted briefly about some of the obvious elements such as my views on death and afterlife and dogs in heaven and Kazan being at the gate to greet me. (Forget Saint Peter, Kazan's the one who counts in my universe.)  Vladje, whom I see very much in terms of my beloved dog, and Ian's death could easily trigger emotions.

But there is more.  Who is Ian for me?

Grevedan Matthew Deveril, my nom de plume and the fictive redactor of the chronicles and descendant of Ian Dyrnedon, is my alter ego.  He has some nice traits that I lack but Grev is undoubtedly me: who I am.  He is an avid student of languages, literature, and history.  He's religious.  He's gay.  He is fascinated by both worlds that he lives in.  He is sarcastic and self-doubting, and very human.  He's a storyteller.  As I said, Grev is who I am on most obvious levels.

Ian is who I want to be.  Ian is viewed across centuries as a hero who saved peoples from a dark force, as a saint who helped the church spread in Midhris, as someone of great emotional connectedness and compassion, and - perhaps most difficult and praiseworthy of all - as a good husband and father.  Pure hero all the way, time having blurred his flaws.

Don't we all want to be heroes?  The one who discovers a cure for cancer, rescues a personal or animal in distress, gets the gold, turns back the mob, saves the town, invents something wonderful, makes the speech that inspires a nation, lands on the moon....

Nothing terribly profound in this. I am just noting that Grev is the bright lippy guy I am, a decent guy who preserves important memories.  Ian is the hero I'd like to be, viewed through all the distortions of rose-colored glasses and the elevation of epic poetry.  Major moments in his life touch me deeply as they capture something of deep yearning within myself.  I want to be this guy.  By 835 he is, literally, canonized as St Ian, the Old Believer.  Yet he remains distant, an idealized human being.

Oh yes, Grev is a potty mouth too.  As I wrote above: who I am.

This writing project, proceeding in fits and starts, is a fascinating journey.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Ulgi of Paç on war

 Ulgi, second child of the ruler of Paç, chats about war with Baron Tilar of Edanat:

Ah. Well, I live on the trade route that runs down the Ulava to the Mere. Bjupazh is on the other side of the river. In my corner of the world we believe that prosperous neighbors make for good trade and we all thrive together. Unstable neighbors make trade routes uncertain and dangerous. Warring neighbors are only good for armorers but not for ordinary folk. They threaten to embroil us all in death and disaster, slaughtered people, stolen cattle, burned villages, salted fields, and disease at every turn.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Civil war reenactment

No, not the USA in the 19th century; Fjorn in the 8th century.

With forces scattered all over I have to review, again and again, which troops are where and when.  If they had milk cartons back then they would have been plastered with photos asking, "Have you seen this person?"  Right now I am reviewing chapters 50-80 to see where in time time I have left The Little Princess while creating a fresh chapter list with times and events summarized.  An index to the huge spreadsheet, so to speak.

Once that is accomplished I can return to the latest assassination attempt on The Princess, aunt of The Little Princess.  By now, of course, The Old Princess is dead.  Are you confused yet?  Wait until you meet my cast of characters.

There is a reason I list indices of persons and places at the end of my books.

I just came across this comment by Vjendar and was reminded that I rather like it.

I promised Volume Three in 2013.  Pretty sure that deadline can be met.  I'd love to get it out before this year ends but we shall see.  Lots of territory still to cover.  Meanwhile, new readers of the tales have the first thousand pages in Volumes One and Two to get through.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Volume Two Published

It will take a while to show up on Amazon but Volume Two, The Light Bearers, has been uploaded for sale in both paperback and Kindle versions.

Paperback ISBN: 978-1477640487

Available from the CreateSpace e-store now.  If using Amazon, be sure to use the widgets at OCICBW (right sidebar).

And so, dear friends, if I left you hanging at the end of Volume One, here is the rest of the story of Darkslayer's great adventure.

The rest of his life is recounted in Volume Four.

Well, there is rejoicing at Desert Farne, anyway. lol


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Getting unstuck

While I do not think this will be the final cover for the third volume, it is motivational for me.

For several years I have been stuck in recounting the Fjorn Civil War.  It is not easy to have armies scattered all over a principality and keep track of who is where when.  Even with huge spreadsheets and maps.

As with all The Chronicles of Mídhris, I already know where the story goes.  This series has lived in my head for a few months short of four decades now.  But the journey is the thing.  I may know how the story ends before I begin writing but what I don't know, and love to discover, is how my characters get there.

Knowing that volume two should be available in a week gives me a huge push to complete volume three.  I doubt it will be available any sooner than 2013.  But I would love to know it WILL be out in 2013.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Hrapto of Uvna: Hostage and Champion

When I was in the early chapters of The Lion Throne (volume three), I had no idea that Hrapto of Uvna would prove to be an important character. I became very fond of him and he helps turn the course of the war and the entire story.

 Hrapto's arms would be differenced, of course, with flaunches for the third child (in Mithron heraldry).

The following is not part of the story proper:

The Lament for Hrapto

Hjelgi's sheep gathered that first day,
White puffs over the Heart of Fjorn,
But Dorgal's tears did not fall.
The second day their fleece was darker
And Mount Uvjor could no longer be seen
Yet still no rain came to bless the earth
As Ilga's cries echoed from the stone walls.
This was supposed to be the easy birth,
The third child, not the first,
But he did not come forth,
Reluctant to exit his mother's womb.
Not until the third day
When the rains came at last,
Giving drink to the thirsty land,
And Ilga's laments were turned to joy
Was a boy child born to Borgar the noble
And Ilga the Fair, his worthy wife.
Mi_ta and Vigwen smiled to see him
This handsome baby, their brother.
Hrapto they named him, after his grandsires.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Darkslayer: Part Two - The Light Bearers - was uploaded last night and I have ordered the proof copy.  I should have it by next Tuesday and I hope it is for sale by the end of next week.

Now the pressure is on to finish Volume Three of The Chronicles of Mídhris.  Tonight, however, my brain is fried and my body is not far behind.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Rachje be praised!

The proofing of volume two is complete.  I need to add the front material and maps, format, and upload.

A bit driven this weekend as it is now past midnight and I go to work ere long.  But done.  Including the indices as in volume one, the first two chapters of book three, and an author's photo.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

I have reached the point in the final proofing of the second book where, if you will, Ian joins Adam and Eve and realizes that he is naked.  That is to say: he becomes aware that he is not innocent and shares in the world's ills.

On Pentecost Sunday 2007 I was in a high state of emotional vulnerability.  As was the case this year, Pentecost fell on the same weekend that Memorial Day was observed.  I am exceedingly tenderhearted toward those who serve in the military (in sharp contrast to how I feel about war profiteers and those who start wars).  Driving to church that morning I was deeply moved by the beauty of music playing on the radio.  And when it came to me that the chapter I am proofing tonight had to happen I was reduced to sobbing.  I remember stopping at Coors and St Joseph by Pius X school and weeping profusely.  I was rather a wreck during Mass that morning too.

Tonight I can read the chapter calmly.  But I find myself pausing to consider it, to share this, to offer the graphic above.

I hope to publish volume two by the end of next week (for sale a week after).


Thursday, June 7, 2012

The second half of Darkslayer is full of romance

Desh, the Raven, is the goddess of love. As our band of heroes sail toward the Holy Isle of Vios it is said of two besotted star singers that "Desh flew between their eyes." It is fun to coin phrases based on another culture's mythology, maybe especially a mythology of my own creation. We all know the look when the Raven flies between the eyes of people in love.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Paperback available on Amazon

I just checked and the paperback edition is available at Amazon.

Join Ian, Vladje, and the gang in an adventure that spans the Northern lands.


Saturday, June 2, 2012

Cover for the next book is designed

The big question is how long should I make the avid fans wait for the second half?

It has not had the third revision and final proofing yet, so it won't happen immediately in any case.  But the third book is still off in 2013 no matter what.


Thursday, May 31, 2012

A review

Feedback from someone who just finished reading The Demon Chasers on Kindle.‎

Marguerite posted to Facebook: *Really* good book of the can't put down type.  Paul Strid, I hope the sequel is coming soon!

Thank you so much, Marguerite!


Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Available in paperback!

It will be 5-7 days before this shows up on Amazon.  It is available immediately from CreateSpace.  The price is $19.99 USD.  It is a hefty book, 6"x9" with over 500 pages of text.

The proof copy arrived today and I just went through it.  The maps came through nicely.

Enjoy, my friends!


Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Lion Throne is volume three of the Chronicles.  I had no idea that story was even in there when the first tale was written.  I thought there might be an episode in the third book and it became the entire third book.  It may be one of the hardest to write (I have been at it for several years) because it recounts a civil war and when you have armies marching in several locales at once it is easy to lose the threads of the story.  You would not believe all the spreadsheets and maps I use to keep track of it all.

Of course, once the first book is published the pressure is on to keep the next ones coming.  So, after a hiatus of three months, I got back to The Lion Throne and wrote a scene that has been hovering out there for a long time.

Primnel yielded to her curiosity and asked, “Did you have a love, my lady?” Embarrassed, she continued. “I mean, well, I am too young to know love and you sing so movingly. I’m sorry. It does not concern me. Please forgive me.”

A faint smile at last came to Vremja’s lips though her eyes were still sad.

“Yes, Primni.” 

The arms of the Barony of Dwar.  Vremja inherited the title when her father was killed in a slaughter that resulted from miscommunication. The Dwari are famous for their musical ability, symbolized in the three golden harps in chief.

Primnel is a precocious ten-year-old whose father is away, vying for the throne.

As announced earlier, I hope to have The Lion Throne published in 2013.  I still have about one third of it to write.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Publication draws nearer!

I just ordered the paperback proof copy and it should be in my hands by next Wednesday evening.  If all goes well eager readers should be able to order The Demon Chasers in paperback ere long.


Almost there

The book and cover are uploaded and being reviewed by the publishing arm. The price will be $19.99 for a 6x9 inch paperback of over 500 pages. Distribution will include libraries and European sales.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Progress toward paperback

I've been working on getting the paperback version on Create Space (another Amazon affiliate).  The text is formatted (it took several attempts and several files were corrupted along the way).  The graphics (mostly maps) did not have high enough resolution so I am going through several steps to resave them at 300dpi.  Hope to have the interior of the book uploaded tonight.  Once the cover is ready, we can publish.  Will keep you posted.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Mithron linguistics

Click to embiggen.

This chart showing interrelationships among the tongues of Mídhris is old.  I do not think I believe it any longer.

Just as languages change, so do the linguistic theories about how those changes have come about.

There is a great deal I need to ponder in terms of tribal migrations, ethnic and linguistic influences, trade, and the sheer matter of politics and economics (the languages of dominant groups end up dominating).  At the time of the tales recounted in the Chronicles the primary languages are Standard Mithron, Perrine, Druvic, and Hlvi.  Imperial Sivvaron is a foreign tongue and largely lost except in ancient records.  Missionaries from the Empire abandoned it quickly in favor of a language "understanded of the people."  Since gnords communicate telepathically there is really little sense in postulating a language for them.  Besides, they're birds, though certainly not ordinary ones.

I really do enjoy the perversity of having Nivan and Perrine related.   The Perrine Isles are far to the south of the Mere and Nivan only survives in areas like the hills above Nialt and Tolvith.  How the hell did that happen?  It would be a pity to smooth out that anomaly.

The materials from which The Chronicles emerge have developed over four entire decades.  I have changed my mind about many things in that time period.  It will be interesting to see what emerges as the stories are finalized and published.


Additional versions

I know we don't all have Kindles or like e-books.  That was the easiest way to get started.  I am working on a paper version of The Demon Chasers.  It will take a while to make that available so I beseech your patience.  At Jonathan's prompting I am also considering doing audio books.

Not lacking in self-confidence, I note that I am the only one who knows how to pronounce all those names in my books so that means I should be reading the stories for the audio version.  Well, I do love telling stories and reading aloud.  Self-publishing isn't called "vanity press" for nothing.

We'll keep you posted.


New Facebook page

I have just created a Facebook page to help fans and potential fans stay in touch with the progress of The Chronicles.  OK, to get the word out and push sales. Let's be real.

HUGE THANKS TO THOSE FIRST PURCHASERS!  I really appreciate your taking a chance on a new author.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Joys of Fantasy - The Mithron Calendar

A challenge for fantasy writers is creating a believable world.  For the most part the world of which Mídhris is a part operates by the same laws of physics and geological and historical developments as the word we know, good old Terra.  The planet is the same size as earth, with very similar lengths of days and years. 

Because it is fantasy I can play a bit.  I can also simplify.  So the Mithron calendar has 365 days, with no remainder and thus no leap years.  From there, of course, the rest is human convention.  Twelve months of thirty days each with five intercalary days.

The intercalary days are the first day of the year - Rushlatha, Birth Day [of the year] - which falls on the winter solstice; the vernal equinox - Fuhllatha, Blood Day [from the memory of fertility sacrifices no longer made]; the summer solstice - Shachlatha, Sun Day; the autumnal equinox - Veshlatha, Harvest Day; and the last day of the year - Baslatha, Death Day.

The months are as follows:
Odnaj - the Snow Month
Ardhaj - the Bear Month
Agraj - the Opening Month (when buds appear)
Daordhaj - the Bee Month
Kjoraj - the Cherry Month
Vechtaj - the Herb Month
Gwenthaj - the Wheat Month
Selivaj - the Plum Month
Enskaj - the Dancer's Month (when Senjir the Dancer appears in the heavens)
Veshnaj - the Harvest Month
Helaj - the Hunting Month
Dorchaj - the Dark Month

Before you panic trying to vocalize these names, remember that "J" always has the sound of "Y."  The months all end with the syllable "aj" which sounds a lot like "eye" but with an extra "y'" at the end.

Another time we can consider the lunar cycles and weeks.  The zodiac takes us into the star faith of Mídhris and its mythology.

Everything in the stories is plotted with the date, moon phase, constellations, and weather in mind.  If I can't believe it, neither will you.


Friday, May 11, 2012

This is invigorating

With news of a second sale in Asia (Wuxi, China, and Bangalore, India) I was so excited I have actually written the prologue of Book Four.  Granted, Book Three is not finished, but one must strike where the inspiration hits.


Monday, May 7, 2012

How can Ian understand Mithron?

Click to enlarge

Any reasonable person will wonder how Ian William Dyrnedon, born in Yorkshire, can possibly understand the language spoken in a parallel world.

Well, Njothila does suggest a rachthor's bite.  Rachthors are nasty critters in Mídhris whose bite, if one survives it, conveys the ability to understand even the languages of animals.  It is a gene-altering event that carries down bloodlines.  Ian, at that point, had never encountered one.  But one must have crossed from Mídhris to England because Ian's great-grandmother, Elizabeth Carver, was bitten by one.  So was an unknown ancestor of Ian's sister Annabelle's future husband.

Additionally, most Mithron words have cognates in the sundry languages of Europe and the Near East, suggesting a lot of ancient crossing between the worlds, back when languages were still fluid and developing.  Hard to tell what may lie in the collective unconscious.


I apologize for small graphics

When I attempted uploading the book I had a problem with graphics.  I reduced their size, fearing they would not fit on a Kindle page.  This one, especially, should not have been reduced but expanded.  My apologies to all readers.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Gentle reader, don't have a Kindle?

There's an app for that, as they say.

Free Kindle apps for all kinds of devices may be found here.


Who is G. M. Deveril, anyway?

The metafiction of The Chronicles of Mídhris is that it is the true story of an earthly family and its interactions with a parallel world.  There are many clues that they are not the only ones who crossed the dimensions but theirs is the story that is told.  The collector and redactor of all the family tales, and of the history of Mídhris, is a descendant of Ian Dyrnedon, the hero of Darkslayer.  His name is Grevedan Matthew Deveril and his ancestry is complex and fascinating.  Well, it would be, as he is my alter ego and in him I get to fantasize another life.  He is not a young demon slayer or an epic hero but a scholar, linguist, and student of history and literature.  He also has what I do not: an eidetic (photographic) memory, which makes him the ideal heir to all those historic and literary records in another world.  His Mithron arms appear above, the oak tree of Wolmsley from his mother and the flaming sword from his father.  The flower in his crest is Hermann's Peace, but that is a story from much later in the Chronicles.


Bjupazh and Westwaste

Once freed from the dungeon of Fjorn and safely through the Forest of Fjorn, our two parties of heroes reunite and head further west in the tracks of the Chegjan.  This map may help.  They cross the Ulava River by Vorç and then go up the Gnura and Athor Rivers to Mount Rggan.

I know the orthography is a pain but that mountain sounds like "urge-on."  I had to take out all the Eastern European characters that I prefer and since "j" is always like "y" I settled on a double g for the "g" in "gin," which makes no logical sense.  Enjoy the challenge!

As always, click on the image to view a larger version.


Map from Siot to Fjorn

This map traces the path of our adventurers overland from Siot-on-the-Wicket to Nimmoth, down the Mither River to Mimmoth, along the coast to Vothnell and then Fimmoth.  From there they journey north along the Fiona River to Thioth then Othen and head west.  Ambushed, some find themselves in Fjorn, unwilling guests of the Prince.



In about twelve hours the book should be available on Amazon.  Look for the title The Demon Chasers and the author name Grevedan Deveril.  Reasonably priced at $5.99 USD (where else can you get a 400 page book with maps at that price?).  If you can, please use the Amazon widgets at OCICBW since that costs the reader no more while it helps support a good friend.

For those who would like to see the maps in more detail, I will post them here where you can click on them to enlarge.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Let me take you on a journey

 Map and text © 2012 Paul E. Strid

Our journey begins in a parallel world, deep in the vast Forest of Norrast.  Soon the tribal people living there are joined by a Stranger from the world we know, a Yorkshire lad from Queen Anne's England.  From the Norrung capital of Vorthall this unlikely youth and his companions set forth on a classic quest to save their world from a demon.  They are joined by a wolf, a sorceress, a blustering aristocrat, some thieves, and a princess.

My greatest joys in writing come from rich texture, relationships, and character.  Nothing is written without topographical maps and genealogy charts that help me visualize a world of imagination.  Only a few of those make it into the text but they all underlie a saga that spans centuries.  I hope readers will enjoy this adventure.

With a little luck the first volume will be available in about a week and I hope to publish the second volume before Christmas.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Welcome to Mídhris

This is an initial posting to let y'all know that I will soon be publishing the first volume of The Chronicles of Mídhris to Kindle.  Mídhris is a region of a parallel world and the Chronicles recount the lives and adventures of those who cross from our earthly dimension to the other world.  This blog will contain supplemental material and provide a forum for discussion of, let us say, my rich fantasy life. All materials here except the comments of others are © by me.

It all began with a bedtime story for my fellow graduate students at UCLA in 1972.  After a year and a half I laid the Chronicles aside for over three decades.  In 2006 I resumed and have worked at them off and on ever since.  If I am granted life and health and time to write it will be a long series because there are so many tales to tell.

Look for updates.

-G. M. Deveril