The Ferryman & the Sea Witch – a review

I just submitted this review on Amazon:

The Ferryman and the Sea Witch by [D. Wallace Peach]

The Merrow are creatures of the sea – sirens or mermaids if you will – but like humans, they like making bargains. Unlike humans, they believe in keeping them.

At the start of the story, it seems as if the Sea Witch, the ruler of the Merrow, is the villain of the piece. She struck a bargain with the Ferryman, and the two countries on either side of the ocean trench that is home to the Merrow. According to that bargain, she will allow the Ferryman to sail his ship across the trench safely, but only if he sacrifices a human life before each crossing.

Monstrous and cruel. There is no other way of looking at that bargain, yet the machinations of the two rulers on either side of the trench are just as monstrous and cruel. But they only keep their promises under duress. And they test the boundaries to see how much they can get away with.

Honestly, by the climax of the story you can’t help wondering who are the real monsters – the merrow or the humans.

Cast against this dark background are three and a half very likeable characters – Callum the Ferryman, Daylin his estranged wife, Airlee their daughter, and Grier, a bit of a rogue who kind of steals your heart even though he’s only the half character. I can’t say more without giving the story away, but I can say that it is extremely well written, fast paced yet quite beautiful, and the characters literally jump off the page at you.

From start to finish, ‘The Ferryman and the Sea Witch’ is a compelling read that will stay with you long after The End. A fantasy for the thinking woman, or man. Very highly recommended.

I’m sure no one will be surprised when I say I gave The Ferryman 5/5 stars. If you love rich, finely woven fantasy then you really must give the Ferryman a read. I promise you won’t be disappointed. 🙂

Available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Ferryman-Sea-Witch-Wallace-Peach-ebook/dp/B095J5X8DW/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=The+Ferryman+and+the+Sea+Witch&qid=1624100413&sr=8-1

Oh, and in case anyone wonders, I provide the entire link so you can be sure of where you’re being sent before you get there. I know I’m paranoid, but with billions of passwords hacked recently, you really can’t be too careful.

Have a wonderful weekend,

-hugs-
Meeks


My first how-to video! Kinda sorta…

In a recent post, I wrote about my search for a screen capture app and showed you two short videos I made using Bandicam. Unfortunately, I soon discovered that I was not using a free app. I was using a demo version with severe limitations. I was tempted to buy the app, but the price was a little too high for my liking.

After some more searching, I discovered RecMaster which combines dead easy screen capture with a [very] basic video editor. I bought a year’s subscription for $19.99 USD and made a video…but when I inserted it into this post, I was horrified by how hard it was to read!

The problem is two fold. First, the default Windows fonts used in titles and menus are so small that when you reduce them even further to a standard video format, they become impossible to read. Then I discovered that WordPress makes them even smaller. Vimeo does have a fullscreen setting:

Click to toggle full screen on and off

But I worried that people would not know to turn it on. So I fiddled with the Windows screen settings. They are now much too big for normal use, but they’re just about right for a video…on Youtube. Here on WordPress, the size is still impossibly small.

I was going to update all my how-to posts, especially the self-publishing ones, by adding videos of important bits, but now I’m not sure I’ll bother. Or maybe I’ll bite the bullet and get a Youtube account.

Do you use the fullscreen mode in either Youtube or Vimeo? Is it more trouble than it’s worth? Should I keep experimenting and make the default Windows fonts even bigger?

Anyway, the video below was recorded using the larger fonts. To me it’s still horribly squint-worthy. What do you think. Please be honest as I don’t want to waste my time making videos that no one will watch.

How to change image compression and resolution in Word 16

Many thanks,
Meeks


Innovation, art & craft [for fun]

I’ve reblogged articles from My OBT before, and they all showcase beautiful things, but this one delighted the child in me:

Somewhere, in a quaint little village in Mumbai, India, lives an couple who make some of the most darling, beautiful, needful paper thingies I’ve ever seen. Welcome to Amit and Misha Gudibanda’s Sky Goodies. The pair designs darling little paper things in their shared studio and shop “in the giant metropolis that is Mumbai, in India.” They then digitize them and sell them as downloadable PDFs so you can print them and make them yourself!

https://myonebeautifulthing.com/2021/06/16/sky-goodies/

The video below shows how to assemble a ‘Masala Chai Kettle & Cups’…from paper.

And best of all, you can download these lovely craftables without having to worry about Covid! Enjoy.

Meeks


ESO, Lion’s Cradle and Bandicam

The video above is the first part of an ongoing walkthrough of a house I built in Elder Scrolls Online, ESO for short. This house is probably the most ambitious thing I’ve built in-game, and you’ll see why when I show you what the original looks like:

Thank god a friend hadn’t built anything on her version of the house yet so I could get a ‘before’ video.

As you can see, the estate appears to be quite small, with just a single room house, a below deck area and a wide deck out front. But…this house has the best view of any house in ESO. So I built out [from the fence] and down as far as the envelope would allow.

In coming videos I’ll show views from the new areas so you can see how much extra space you can make by building out. For my money, Lion’s Cradle is an unsung gem.

And now a bit about the process of creating these videos in the first place. Let’s just say it’s been fraught. In the last three days I’ve tried out:

  • Shadowplay video capture [nVidia GEForce Experience]
  • Democreator [Wondershare]
  • Movavi Gecata
  • OBS
  • Bandicam
  • and Ease-Fab video converter

Shadowplay uses the nVidia graphics card [if you have one] to create great videos, but because they’re created with variable framerates, I couldn’t upload them to anything. It may be possible to make them compatible with Vimeo etc, but I couldn’t work out how, so, no go.

Democreator I couldn’t get to work, can’t remember why. Again a no.

Movavi was okay but I simply don’t have the money to buy software that I may only use once in a blue moon. So, no.

OBS…this is open source software and the most popular app around at the moment, but I had major problems with it. For starters, my operating system [Win 7] is not supported by the app, but I read that I could still use it. So I tried. I could get a screen capture going, of sorts, but the hotkeys didn’t work so I had to record manually from within the app. As a result, I had junk at the beginning and the end. Also I couldn’t get it to record in mp4. So then I tried Ease-Fab to convert it to mp4 but the result was…ick.

And finally, I tried Bandicam. Almost fell off my chair when it worked first time, straight away. I had to experiment with different resolutions, but I think the ones in the videos above are a reasonable trade-off between quality and size. Plus my pc is oldish so it’s not that great with super high resolution.

If you’re using Windows 10 you’ll probably find that most of these apps work better simply because your pc is likely to be more powerful. But…if you use Win 7 like me, it’s nice to know that we still have options.

And finally, to salve my conscience, I have to say that learning how to do all this will come in handy as I try to create video tutorials. That, however, is still some way off as I need equipment and a video editor, none of which I currently have. But knowledge never goes astray, right?

Have a great weekend,

Meeks


Jo Blankenburg – Bitter Sweet

This track came out in 2018, but I’ve only just discovered it. Blankenburg has to be one of my absolute favourite Indie composers of all time:

Enjoy. 🙂

Meeks


She’s a monster – by Adam Taylor

I read the Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood a long time ago, and loved it in the way you love something so horrifying you can’t stop reading.

I knew there was a TV adaptation, but I’ve never wanted to watch it, so this music is completely new to me. And I love it. I’ll be listening to ‘She’s a monster’ a lot today as I write the scene in which Hands discovers that it’s been betrayed. 🙂

If you’re still enjoying your weekend, have fun. If, like us, you’re yawning your way through Monday morning…take heart, the sun’s shining!

cheers
Meeks


We’ve got this, Melbourne!

To all the people of Greater Melbourne – we’re almost half way through.

We can do this because we’ve done worse. Much worse.

Just like Black Saturday, no one else really understands. Only other Victorians do. That makes all of us one family. We look after our own. That is our ‘gold bloody standard’!

I love you.
Meeks


An excerpt from Kahti

Before I begin, I’d like to apologise for being MIA lately. I discovered, or should I say, re-discovered that I write best first thing in the morning, when this ageing brain is still fresh.

As a result, social media has taken a back seat. But I’m happier than I’ve been for quite a while because the second book of Vokhtah is happening again. 🙂

So, what have I been up to? For starters, I went back and re-wrote the character of Death. Without meaning to, I’d made it too, um, nice. That’s the awful trap when writing about a race that’s varying degrees of sociopath.

Anyway, Death is now more like one of our corporate CEOs – not totally bad, but definitely driven by expediency rather than empathy.

In the following shortish excerpt, the Master Smith knows something that could get Death killed.

Enjoy!

From Kahti, book 2 of Vokhtah – not quite gospel yet but very close. 🙂

Early the next day, Death made time to visit the storage caverns and pick up three small gourds of pippa juice. That night, it shared two of the gourds with its escort but drank only enough to wet its lips. Once the second gourd had been opened, it excused itself and retired to its pallet, leaving the Messengers to finish the pippa juice on their own. Face turned towards the wall, it listened as they laughed and joked, their voices gradually growing more raucous as their speech slurred.

At some point, the Messengers must have decided they could stand guard sitting down, because when Death eventually crept out to check on them, it found them both slumped against the wall, fast asleep.

Knowing firstlight could not be far off, Death quickly opened the last remaining gourd of pippa juice and poured a generous pinch of the yellow powder inside. A quick shake and it was done.

More relieved than it cared to admit, Death returned to its pallet and fell asleep with the gourd cradled in its arms. The next morning, it rose early and headed off to the forge, to fulfil its promise to the Healer from the South. As before, its escort stayed out in the passage, a safe distance from the noise and heat.

The old Smith accepted the gourd with pleasure and took a healthy swallow before promising to give the Healer’s chain a higher priority.

“Thanking,” Death said. “Healer being difficult and expecting Yellow to intervene!”

“Pah!” the old Smith cried, shaking its head in disbelief. “Healer being too long from Settlement!”

“Thinking so too,” Death replied as it watched the old iVokh take another long swallow. By the time it left, the gourd was empty. Smithing was thirsty work.

Death was in the feeding cavern a few days later when it heard two Healers at a nearby table gossiping about the death of the old Smith.

“Being sick?” one of the Healers asked as it opened the cage by its side and reached in for a fresh akaht.

“Ki, just old,” the other opined as it bit down on its own meal. “Although some saying not being well day before.”

“S’so? What happening?”

“Going to sleep and not rising.”

“A good death then.”

Over at the next table, Death silently agreed. It had always liked the old Smith, and was glad its end had been peaceful.

Have a great Tuesday, Australia! And good night to all those in the Northern Hemisphere. 🙂

cheers
Meeks


A different ‘tiny house’

I popped in to Stine Writing’s blog this morning and found this:

I love mini houses and couldn’t resist sharing the post.

You can also buy this little work of art on the writer’s Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/StineWriting/listing/1020425313/going-home-villa-miniature?utm_source=Copy&utm_medium=ListingManager&utm_campaign=Share&utm_term=so.lmsm&share_time=1621211511616

To see more of Stine Writing’s work go to : https://christinebialczak.com/about/

cheers
Meeks


Electric vehicles that charge as they drive

I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to afford an electric car, but I would love one, so the idea of being able to charge the EV from the road itself is incredibly exciting.

“Wireless power transfer is based on the same underlying physics used to send messages through radio waves to spacecraft in deep space, things like Voyager,” the researcher said in a statement. “Except now we are sending much more energy across much shorter distances, to moving vehicles.”

https://futurism.com/roadway-charges-electric-cars-while-driving?mc_cid=93c2f6287b&mc_eid=bbf5c06f50

The technology is still some way off, and even when it’s finished it will take time to re-engineer our roads and sort out a way for users to pay* for the electricity their cars consumer, but the idea is so elegant I hope it happens in my lifetime.

cheers
Meeks

*I’m no expert, but it occurs to me that Blockchain would make it possible to charge the right amount to the right person without fear of the transaction being hacked or otherwise misused. Time will tell.


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