Winds of Change & Pockets Review: reflections on Chetwin’s new book, The Lost Legend.

August 27th:
I posted an account on my podsite – http://bookreadings.gracechetwin.com/ on the makings of my new book The Lost Legend, which as explained earlier is the third book of the Meg & Sue trilogy – (I have already been asked for a fourth, which would be this book’s sequel!) I must admit that there is an opening for one.  Good grief!

Today I post The Lost Legend as a Kindle ebook  on Amazon  together with a review by The Pockets, a lively trio of young readers who in the first years of the podcasts discussed some of the Gom books in round table format. They lay out the plot as far as they can without spoilers, and introduce the book’s major characters. Both of these posts offer as much as you should know about The Lost Legend without actually reading it or listening to the podcasts which begin Monday, September 3rd.
See you there!

About the Pockets – their avatars were created by artist-illustrator Yosua Wisnu, (who designed both my podsite and this one,) for their new and upcoming animated review show in which they will examine books, games, and movies. This is their first review!

Lost Legend Almost Lost!

I did not realise that I had not posted in here about The Lost Legend–have posted in so many other places. As you may know, this book is the 3rd volume of the Meg & Sue trilogy. #1, On All Hallows’ Eve, was my first published novel, first edition 1984. #2, Out of the Dark World, its sequel, 1985. Wishing to take it to a trilogy then, while on a visit back home to England, I swung by Wales, Barmouth to be exact, to make notes and draw pictures of the area. I had decided to have Gran Jenkins live there and I planned to take the action there, having Meg & Sue visit Gran one summer. No idea why or what for as usual. But my editor had other ideas. Gom on Windy Mountain was the 1986 book and from then on poor #3 was left behind. In hindsight I am glad, for it was not time for The Lost Legend. I find that things always have a way of turning out.

The end of book 2 leaves open strands to be completed in #3. Only now have I gotten around to doing just that. There is the mystery concerning Gavin’s sudden snub, the ongoing Arthurian thread, especially concerning the Fay. And it was no accident that Gavin got his name–it is the modern version of Gawain.

I have been asked for my views on the Fay quite a few times. I have carefully avoided any personal opinions on her but rather have portrayed her from Meg’s viewpoint and in different ways. #3 is no exception. But I do have some underlying themes concerning the legends and together with my view that magic is science unexplained have come up with a well-hidden hint that the whole pack of them are not of this world and are outside our time references. Make of that what you may but I like to blend sci-fi and fantasy in many of my books.

Another thematic string focuses on the unfair judgement sometimes passed on people when all the facts are not known. In The Phantom Tollbooth, it features as an island where one jumps to Conclusions.

In the plot,  wrongs  ancient and modern are tackled, and a royal battle is waged, a chess game covering a thousand years–or no time at all–with shadowy players moving the pieces–Meg & Sue & Gavin et al–around the place and no guarantee of who will win. Can’t say more without spoilers!

I plan to publish LL first as a Kindle book but before that, coming to the end of my Collidescope readings, I plan to begin the audio version on my podcast site (bookreadings.gracechetwin.com) August 3rd.

NOTE: Those of you who listen to the podcasts may recall the bonus round table  discussions in the Gom series. These 3 reviewers are now starting their own place very soon and I shall publish  with their debut that being the first book on their list. Before then, on the last Thursday of this month, I shall feature them, auditing their preview of The Lost Legend and I hope that you will check in to hear what they had to say about it.

Writing: the hook

We all find our Muse in different ways. For me, it is the hook. Some little thing that sticks in the mind like that tune you just can’t get out of your head. An image, an event, an encounter–all kinds of items.

Other day, I was standing in my kitchen joking around with family and Christopher Robin cropped up, and his poem, Disobedience:

James James Morrison Morrison Weatherby George Dupree
Took great Care of his Mother, Though he was only three.
James James Said to his Mother, “Mother,” he said, said he;
“You must never go down to the end of the town, if you don’t go down with me.”

Charming little boy, charming poem. But it masks a real terror of a small child who somehow senses he could lose his mother. Not so charming: it happened.

Next in this (unusual) personal blog, shortly after, I was walking around local lake when one of our party vanished around fork in the road. Another party member said that the person had taken  the lower road, not the upper one. We did not believe. We were wrong. Person had scooted around corner to gather a native root for our woods.

After completing The Lost Legend few days ago, I resolved that it would be my last book, that now I could play and I have lots of “play” lined up. But the hook tweaked inside my mind, fortified by that lake walk and so this morning–just now–I opened Word and found myself back on the treadmill. No prior conscious thought, reflectlion, or intent. Quite the opposite.

Result? I’ve just finished a draft of Chapter 1 of another book. I share this rough draft with you now. Please feel free to comment or ask questions–they have certainly been raised already I am glad to say!

Chapter One.

 

Ryan plodded along the gravel track. He was hot. His feet hurt.
He was eight.
He eyed his sisters ahead of him. Giggling, noisy, lurching all over the road.
Ahead of them, his mother strode along, eyes front, as though they were not there.
To his left, the lake, a dammed up river, really. The first rays of hot sun burned its surface, morning mist writhing and curling as though in pain.
He didn’t want to walk.
Didn’t want to get left behind.
Why Deb and Cassie had come he had no idea. It wasn’t to be with their mother.
Directly ahead, the track split. Left to carry on around the lake,  tracing the lake’s fingers. Right to curl up a steep hill, its left side a cliff overhanging the lower track.
The left track walk to the end of the lake was five miles long there and back.
The hill track round and back home was three.
They always took the hill.
Distant hammering came across the water.
The far shore was all huge estates, owned by old, wealthy families. Even at that early hour someone was making their boathouse even bigger. He glanced across and back again.
Just in time to see their mother disappearing around the bend.
For a second, he stood, frozen. Then panic struck.
He started forward. “Hey!”
His sisters stopped fooling, turned.
“Mam!”
He raced past them, and around the bend. Then the next. And the next. There the track straightened some, enough to see a way ahead.
No Mam.
His sisters had stopped at the foot of the hill.
“What’s up little bro?”
He could hardly breathe. “Mam’s gone!”
They glanced to the bend, then up the slope.
“Don’t be silly,” Cassie said. “She went ahead is all. Come on, race you to catch her up.”
Ryan shook his head.
“She went that way, I tell you. I saw!”
Deb took his arm, pulled him towards the upward track.
“Nuh-uh. We never walk that way. Let’s go!”
Ryan followed them up the hill, walking close by the cliff edge that overlooked the lakeside fork, vainly peering down. Maybe she had gone to pick a flower. She often did that along the way. By the time she got it home it would be almost dead but she’d stick it in a glass of water, anyhow, and set it on the table.
With each step on that homeward way, Ryan got more scared.
No Mam.
Not on that track. Not all the way home.
Ryan raced ahead, shot through the front door, ran into the kitchen.
“Mam?”
No reply. He ran upstairs. Not in her room. Not in the bathroom.
Not anywhere.
“Well,” Deb said, looking around the living room. “Whaddyaknow.”
“I was right,” he said. “She went straight, I saw.”
“Well, if you just missed her, what’s the big deal? Maybe she wanted to go the long walk this time. And she’s way too fast for you, Slowpoke. Chill out. She’ll show when she’s done.”
Ryan didn’t answer. What would be the use?
He just knew.
His worst dread had come to pass:
She had left them.

It is draft and chapter 1 often ends up as chapter 6 but it happened and for once I share. As to what happens next, your guess is good as mine.

 

 

 

The Dark World Revisited

 

Note: I have designed a new cover for OODW, which I post here to mark the podcast readings. As for the sound: where songs are part of the books, as in the first four Gom books, I have used them to start and end the readings. Where there are none, I have composed sound of some kind, usually music, offering the whole of it as a bonus at the start, and parts of it to open and close the chapters. OODW music is a telling of the story in sound, and so I use the beginning and ends of the piece to serve that purpose.

Reading On All Hallows’ Eve and Out of the Dark World stirs a certain nostalgia. While Gom and most others of my books are high fantasy, these are of the low kind. High fantasy has a virtual setting, while low fantasy has one foot in the real world, and the other in some other place. This presents a challenge: in order to make the fantasy world convincing, the real world has to be totally correct in every detail. Asked to write the Halloween book, and being English, I made the family English newly settled in America, thus covering any anomalies. (There were none!) Out of the Dark World, set three years later, involved a greater local knowledge not only of the place but of the era. It now proves a cameo of the emergence of the pc into the house. Many readers and listeners will not be aware of how it was then, its coming out of the equivalent of ham radio. Miscrosoft had not yet raided Apple; the only mice outside Macintosh were the furry ones living under the floor. I wrote the first book on a black screen via ms-dos – a far memory. So when Gavin appears on Meg’s father’s screen it was much more shocking than it could be today and hinted at some sinister agent at work. In addition to forays into future fantasy pcs, I folded in experiences of the Silva Mind control system, blending them both to make a book about the two parts of Meg’s psyche, creative and practical. I’m enjoying the visit to those past times and hope that you are getting a whiff of them too. Happy listening!

Season’s Greetings!

Seasons Greetings to you who listen from all around the world! It is hard to believe that this space is in its third year. Reading to you has proved more fun than I ever had expected. So it is only on account of resting my poor voice that I take a break over this holiday period. On Thursday I shall post the prologue to Out of the Dark World.
On January 15th I shall finish On All Hallows’ Eve with its final 2 chapters then move onto the first chapter of Out of the Dark World, its sequel.

Enjoy the season, have fun, don’t eat too much and take a well-earned break from your year’s labors!

See you!

TIMELY TIMING

    On All Hallow’s Eve was begun around that event. Now, at Xmas and New Year, we begin the sequel, Out of the Dark World which is set around that time.  Happy coincidence. The third book of the trilogy is underway!
I compose all my own book music, in print or podcast format. Thinking about a theme for OODW I came upon a digital Oval. The software is available as a free app for an android or ipad. I was amazed to discover its power and range. Most of my music until now has been composed on the piano and rendered into various instruments and effects on a regular digital keyboard. The Oval Synth has expanded the range considerably. Since the Dark World is a surreal zone, the sounds produced fit right in, combining with regular ones for accent. The piece – around 7 minutes in duration – is a tonal odyssey  trekkingthrough the book in 5 distinct sections:
#1 goes to where Meg takes the 3 steps down to the Quiet Place.
#2 places Meg there for a breather.
#3 takes Meg into her Deep Level to meet her 2 innermost selves. (no spoilers.)
#4 recounts the climax of the book. Meg actually makes 2 separate journeys to DW, here they combine, the first, dreamy yet ominous, morphs into the second one where she battles to save Gavin’s life.
#5 nicknamed “Hustle”, is self-explanatory.

Special thanks to webmaster Yosua Wisnu who referred me to the Oval Synth – try it –  it’s amazing.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ovalsound.Oval&hl=en

Chapter 1 of Out of the Dark World begins January 15, stay tuned! For a sneak audit of the tonal piece hit the image below:

Warning: mp3 format is a little harsh. If you are wearing earphones set to lowest possible as the sound levels vary considerably.

Whew!

June, 2015 Chetwin’s Space began my podcast book readings with GWM, and Gom made his debut there. Now, two years plus and nine books later, his series is almost complete. Two more weeks, and the next book is up: On All Hallows’ Eve, right on time for the season. Normally, just for the heck of it, I compose a piece of music for each book, or adopt a song from the book and then use bits to begin and end the chapters. To celebrate this timely reading, I shall begin the first chapter with the whole of its piece, (around 2 minutes) and from then on start and end with excerpts as usual. Hit the book cover to hear Meg & Sue go into the wood and hints of what happens then:

Bookreading Podcasts Newsflash:

The third week in October wraps up the nine-book Gom series podcasts. http://bookreadings.gracechetwin.com/

Coming up next –   my first published book, On All Hallows-Eve, just in time for the event. This followed by – naturally – its sequel, Out of the Dark World. Meg & Sue – a trilogy?

I always saw the Meg and Sue books as a trilogy but after the first two I had others to write and #3 had to wait its turn. At last The Lost Legend is under way and I hope to have it done by the end of the book #2 podcasts. It is set in Barmouth, Wales, (Abermaw) which I visited while writing Out of the Dark World, sketching, making notes, walking the hills – and the shore to Harlech nearly drowning on the way as the tide rushed in – boy! did I scramble up those cliffs! I stayed in a tiny pension on the clifftops that could well have been Gran Jenkins’s town house.

The whole is an interesting region with atmosphere, great topography, and history.   As Wiki describes it:
Barmouth (Welsh: Abermaw (formal); Y Bermo (colloquial)) is a town in the county of Gwynedd, north-western Wales, lying on the estuary of the River Mawddach and Cardigan Bay. Located in the Historic county of Merionethshire, the Welsh form of the name is derived from “Aber” (estuary) and the river’s name, “Mawddach.”


Steeped in Celtic history, sculpted by ancient glaciers,  it is a good milieu for Arthurian legend. And don’t be mistaken – there are many versions of those tales and countless sources arguing their case.  The whole gang is suspect really: Merlin, the Fay, the Knights of the Round Table. There is no consensus as to their origins, who they were, what they did, or even how they died. But the magic persists, and the lure of their mystery remains and we all make our own choices.

There is absolutely no historical evidence that Arthur even existed, and certainly not that he ever went to Abermaw, and you sure won’t find that castle or the inn but I was determined to bring them all together. Why not? One legend is as good as any other! Feeling the mystery of that region I went out exploring every day with camera and notebook. Up in the hills, I found a barrow, and way stones and … sheep.  I had marked that place from the very beginning for future adventure and was delighted to find it living up to expectation. With mysterious vanishing stones, a medieval castle, wandering knights and an inn straight out of Chaucer what more did I need to bring it all together?Why Merlin and the Fay, of course!
Stay tuned!

Printed Books, Audio Format, Animated Format – soon all 3 Combined!

How?

We have created a group, Wildwind Productions, with plans for short 2D animations aimed at You Tube with links to the quieter confines of Chetwin’s Space.

( Opidah riggable & Opidah sketch)

  1. We begin with the simple tale, Opidah and the Fish, telling of a girl who lives in a “far, far wood.” Invited to ask a single question about anything she chooses, she delivers and raises more questions then ever this author intended! Wonder what yours would be…
    Stay tuned.
  2. After Opidah, our next 2D animation will be Box and Cox (illustrated by David Small in the paper version) with visual concept by Wildwind team member Yosua Wisnu.
  3. Meanwhile, we finally begin work on an animated Gom on Windy Mountain. (the initial background for the credits form the banner of this site.)
    Lots of work ahead, but, hey we’re up to it!

And the Meek – the Last Legacy Quartet Complete at Last!

This 4th and final volume in the series is now in the Kindle store on Amazon, the paperback follows soon. A sci-fi saga linking a dying Earth and an alien world light years distant. With the human race all but gone, a small remnant is offered refuge on Phrynis, a planet in the Pleiades star system.

Each of the four books depicts a crucial point in the alien history, spanning a period of over one thousand years. As the stories of those involved reach Earth, the Earth survivors struggle against hostile forces to meet with their alien counterparts and so begin their epic  journey.