Tag Archives: binary-star-system

Vokhtah – cover reveal and an excerpt

First and foremost, the cover!

The blurb on the back cover hasn’t scaled properly, but that’s okay as the image used for the actual print cover will be the right size. The width of the spine will be adjusted as well, once I’ve got the trim size/page count finalised. Other than those small changes, the cover is done. 🙂

Oddly enough, the thing that gave me the most trouble with the cover was the red dwarf sun. Even as a binary, it will never look that big, but I had to take liberties with the size in order to make the image tell a graphical ‘story’. Getting the colour and ‘haze’ to look okay was hard too. Overall though, I am really, really pleased. I wanted something that looked more obviously sci-fi, and I think I got it. I also wanted the figure to be ‘brooding’ without giving too much away. The one thing I will say is that the figure is not wearing a cloak. 😀

And now for that excerpt. I rarely post excerpts because they rarely work well divorced from their context, but…well, I really like this scene. -shrug- To provide a little bit of context, the Yellow is the most powerful Healer in the Guild of Healers, and it’s also one of the bad guys. 🙂

The Yellow

“Forgiveness Honoured,” the young healer said as it skidded to a halt a respectful distance from the Yellow Councillor. “Traders confirming Messenger looking like Blue leaving with last caravan two circuits ago.”

The stocky, powerfully built iVokh standing over by the table continued studying the deep blue gem in its hand for a moment longer before turning to face the young healer.

“And Junior of Needlepoint?”

The question sounded casual, almost to the point of disinterest, however the young healer knew its master too well to ever mistake self-control for indifference.

“Junior being too… mmm…sick to leave with caravan,” it said carefully. “Triad estimating not being fit to travel for five, maybe six more circuits.”

* * *

The Yellow’s expression did not change, however there was a slight jerkiness to its movements as it dropped the gem, and its chain, into a pouch. It pulled the drawstring tight with a vicious snap of its wrists.

It had known the Master’s ridiculous story had to be true from the moment it had seen the Blue’s gem, lying abandoned on the table. But still, it had hoped. Now that hope was gone.

The Blue had made fools of them all by doing the unthinkable, and by now it had a two day head start. However it would soon discover that it was not the only one capable of doing the unexpected.

Turning towards the Master Timekeeper, who stood silently wringing its hands by the wall, the Yellow flicked its fingers in dismissal and waited in stony silence as the Master shuffled out backwards. The fool would have to be given a suitable reward for its incompetence, but for now it could wait; there were more pressing matters to deal with.

Throwing the pouch at the feet of the young healer, the Yellow said, “Taking that to Blue faction and then returning to Traders. Informing Quartermaster that Council needing special escort for Junior. Caravan must leaving at first-light on the morrow.”

“But Honoured—” the young healer began. Its cilia locked shut a moment after the words were out, but of course by then the damage was done.

“S’so?” the Yellow asked, its voice deceptively mild.

“N-nothing, Honoured…”

“Perhaps thinking needing authorisation, mmm?” the Yellow asked, knowing full well that was not what its assistant had been thinking at all.

The young healer blanched, making the finger-length scar beneath its left eye stand out even more. Nevertheless, its shoulders remained straight as it gave a silent nod.

The Yellow narrowed its eyes as it dropped a small yellow shard onto the sand at its feet. Authorisation. And a lesson in humility.

The young healer bent and slowly reached for the gem. The tips of its fingers were just curling around the shard when the Yellow’s foot descended on its hand.

“Being grateful for reminder,” the Yellow said in a genial tone as it ground the healer’s hand into the sand.

* * *

Crouched at the Yellow’s feet, the young healer knew better than to move, or make a sound, however it could not stop the sheen of sweat that suddenly broke out all over its body.

Only after the Yellow finally raised its foot and strode from the cavern, did the young healer release the keen of pain it had been holding back.

As it rose, cradling its bruised fingers against its chest, it spat on the ground where the Yellow’s feet had been. Then it fumbled the gem shard into the tiny bag it wore around its neck, gathered up the pouch and left at a quick trot.

On a different, but related note, you might be interested in this amazing article about Iron Age jewellery:

http://www.blog.poppyporter.co.uk/wordpress/2018/05/08/the-celtic-torc-how-iconic-iron-age-treasure-is-beginning-to-weave-its-magic-into-my-jewellery/

[My thanks to Dawn of Dawn Gill Designs for the link to that amazing article]

Even if you don’t have time to read the whole article, have a look at this:

Electrum torc with ornamented terminals. The torc is made from just over a kilogram of gold mixed with silver. It is made from sixty-four threads. Each thread is 1.9mm wide. Eight threads were twisted together at a time to make 8 separate ropes of metal. These were then twisted around each to make the final torc. The ends of the torc were cast in moulds. The hollow ends were then welded onto the ropes. The terminals are ornamented with embossed ridges, contrasting with areas filled by chased 'basket-work'.

That, my friends, is the Snettisham Great Torc, and it was made about 2000 years ago! Just goes to show what so-called primitive people can achieve. It also confirms that it would be possible for the iVokh, despite their low level of technology, to craft the kind of jewellery I’ve written into the story.

That may sound like nit-picking, but I believe that authenticity in the little things makes the big things easier to believe. And let’s face, I’m asking people to believe in flying, psychopathic aliens that happen to be hermaphrodites! lol I need all the help I can get. 😀

cheers

Meeks


The Piano Guys dispel writer’s block!

I’m sitting here listening to the Piano Guys CD and waiting for inspiration to hit. I’m really enjoying the music as I love both the cello and the piano but I’m not sure whether this elegant classical style is going to get my muse out of hiding. Nonetheless I’m going to keep writing whatever pops into my head because Bluey’s advice to just ‘write anyway’ is as good a way to get past this block as any I have discovered.

So who are the Piano Guys? The public faces of this interesting artistic endeavour are Jon Schmidt [piano] and Steven Sharp Nelson [cello], however behind the scenes are highly talented gremlins who create the amazing video clips that go with the Piano Guys music. In a very real sense the concept of The Piano Guys is a fusion of sound and image, often with a delightful sense of humour thrown in for spice.

I was first introduced to the Piano Guys through their Star Wars video clip which takes the idea of duelling light sabers to a whole new level. Steven Sharp Nelson [cello] plays the musical and visual roles of both Light and Dark and at times his bow becomes a light saber! The whole thing is fun and fantastic, great music as well.

In another video clip Nelson plays all four members of a chamber music quartet. The scene is a wedding and ‘they’ are playing Pachabel’s Canon as the bride walks very slowly up the aisle. But then one of the cellists begins to fall asleep from boredom and the music changes to a very up tempo riff upon the theme. The congregation begins to dance and my foot starts a-tappin’ as well. The clip is hilarious and takes serious classical music to a whole new level.

After seeing these two video clips I was so impressed I went to the Piano Guys website to find out who these brilliant maniacs were. I’m not a ‘joiner’ but I was so impressed I joined up as one of their founders and received their CD in the mail a few weeks later. [Everything takes forever to reach Australia].

One of the most beautiful tracks on the CD is ‘Bring Him Home’ from Les Miserables. The first time I heard it I was gobsmacked because I have never really like the sung version of that piece all that much. Somehow the lyrics and the difficult melody just never quite did it for me. It always sounded strained. The voice of the cello though  is so perfect and effortless that it makes me ache with the wistful pathos of the melody. Watch and tell me what you think.

Well I don’t know about you but I am feeling a million times better. The Piano Guy’s music has soothed my frustrations and, wonder of wonders, the advice to ‘write anyway’ has actually worked. Now hopefully I’ll be able to get some work done on The Book as well. I still have to rework my ideas of how the light from twin suns would actually appear to a native of the planet but… the kettle’s on, I have lots of coffee and I’m sure I can work this out. After all, a binary system can’t be that difficult to work out… can it?


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