Monday, December 28, 2009

Art for The Shard

I love art. As a child I had some small talent at it, but I didn't pursue it. I really admire those who have the talent to create great art. My favorite artist is Alan Lee, though Ted Nasmith and John Howe are not bad also. Obviously, my love for Tolkien bleeds over into my art interest, but I have to say that Alan Lee is just amazing. His colors and subtle attention to detail blow me away.

I have long dreamed, in an ideal world, of being wealthy enough to commission Alan Lee to do loads of art for my novels. Of course, that would never happen. I am trying, though, in some small ways to hunt around for some art that I can afford. I am doing a little search here in Azerbaijan, and a friend of mine has a daughter that wants to take a stab at a painting. I have also hired an artist, named Shane Tyree, to do a scene from my novel. He is very good and seems to be a nice and reasonable fellow. He has similar tastes in fiction as myself, which is what made me try writing to him in the first place.

Today he sent me a position sketch, and I think it is very promising. I can't wait to see what he does with it finally. Naturally, it is too brightly lit for a single torch, but that is just because it is a position sketch. This is a scene where the ancient elf lady Alvanaria enters the lair of the terrible black dragon Kathkalan only to find it has died a natural death. Lord Midas, though frightened half to death, is more than fond of Alvanaria, and so has followed her into the beast's lair (a vast hall inside a deserted city under a mountain). He just about has a heart attack when Alvanaria lights a torch...

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Despite my basic worship of the writing of George R.R. Martin and J.R.R. Tolkien (or anyone with R.R. for middle initials?), my manner of writing is very different from both of them. They tend to write quite significant chapters, telling a full story in each one, while I like writing small chapters. I am not sure that my style works professionally, because I can not think of other writers who use this 'snapshot' style that I like.

I view it as if I am showing photographs, that when shown all together tell a complete story. I don't worry about whether any individual chapter tells a tale or not. The reaction from those who have read the book has been mixed on this element, though mainly positive. Several of the readers have specifically told me how much they liked the short chapters. It was only when I tried the Share Your Work pages on Absolute Write that I got some negative comments.

These comments basically stated that my small chapters did not have enough character development. I don't disagree that this is the case; I just disagree that it is necessary. I prefer to be faithful to my Point of View character and describe things completely realistically, and thus have my character development spread out through multiple snapshot chapters. I can't, for instance, have Midas describe himself in his intro chapter, because he is the POV character. He also is not in the mood to be talkative (not to mention it is not in his character to be so) given the scene he is viewing, so I can't develop much of his character through dialogue in that intro chapter either.

So, a critic may ask why even include that chapter? Well, to me the point of my snapshot chapters is to hit important moments, and what could be more important at the beginning of a book than to show the moments that completely changed the life of the POV character? When Midas is gazing at the dead at the edge of the forest, he knows that the 800 years of peace the lands have known is cracking, if not shattering completely, and he is internally despairing, because nothing matters more to him at that time than to raise his sons and daughter to be healthy, happy people.

Is it wrong to do snapshot chapters? I honestly would like to know. I do it because it feels natural to me, and I enjoy unfolding the story in this manner. But, I can see why many readers could be put off by it.

Monday, November 16, 2009

eBook Readers

I haven't bothered to look at eBook readers yet, because I love old-fashioned books on paper. However, the little I have read about them offers up some intriguing possibilities. I like that they came up with eInk to reduce strain on eyes, though I have yet to see it myself.

I hope that any good eReader will have easy access buttons to maps and/or art that the book may contain. When I am reading, say, The Sword of Shannara, then at any point in the book I should be able to push a button and see the map. And, when the appropriate scene comes up, I want to be able to see the corresponding artwork.

How long before a book has a soundtrack developed specifically for it? I can imagine reading along in The Lord of the Rings and hearing the soft strains of Enya's "Council of Elrond" floating up from the eReader at just the right time. Probably it would be annoying, but of course you could turn it off.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Publishers Should Rethink Advances

In my opinion, some publisher should innovate in this bad book economy and rethink the idea of advances. This could help authors like me get books published that wouldn't normally be given a chance. I don't need an advance. I have a good career and can take care of myself. I just want my book published.

The drawback of advances is that this is how agents make their money, so no agent is going to want to deal with a book that brings no advance. There have been some new publishers who do smaller or no advances, and I would bet few agents bother to direct books to them. Why should they if they will not get paid? I say try a new model, in which no advance is paid, but the agent can get a percentage of whatever the author makes on the book. That way agents will be happy to direct books to such publishers, and authors like me can have a better shot at getting our work published. By making it a percentage of the book's profits, this forces the agent to still work to make the book the best it can be. Sure, there would be a number of bad agents who would be willing to just toss any trash out there, hoping to make money from whatever the book happens to take in, but I think such agents would be identified pretty quickly by the marketplace, or at the very least the good agents would become identifiable.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Editing My Book

I am still in the long process of editing my first novel. I began editing on my computer, which saves a lot of time when doing searches for certain words or doing mass substitutions. I also followed the standard advice about reading the story out loud - I read the book to my wife and kids, and this did allow me to find other obvious mistakes.

However, I have found a far more useful way of doing the editing, and I have not seen anyone mention doing this before (though I admit I have certainly not read everyone’s blogs). I 'published' my book on I did it only for myself and did not reserve an ISBN number. What I found is that holding what appears to be an actual book in my hand allowed me to find so many more problems than I have ever found while reading the text on the computer. Somehow, just seeing the story as a book is both satisfying in some odd way (odd since it is not a truly published book) and also gives me a deeper view of the material as I read it, thus letting me fix things better. I highly recommend this method!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

First Paragraphs

Nathan Bransford put up a contest to see who can write the best first paragraph - Of course it is subjective, but there are so many good entries already that it will be interesting to see what he picks. I know mine won't be chosen, because fantasy is not one of Nathan's areas of interest, but I posted anyway.

I had to cheat a little. First, the paragraph that used to be my first paragraph is a little too short, so I combined it with the second to add a little meat to it. Second, well, it isn't truly my first paragraph; I have a prologue. However, so many people hate prologues that I don't mind simply not counting it in this case.

I guess I should go ahead and post my first chapter here: (Hmm, I tried to put indentations on the paragraphs, but they didn't take upon publishing)


Midas had never heard of elves killing men before. He slumped in his saddle, staring at the bodies scattered near the forest edge. Crows hopped about just out of kicking range, cawing at the interruption of their meal. The horses stamped their hooves and flicked their tails at flies. The smell of corruption was still mild.

“I don’t recognize any of these men,” Midas murmured. He should recognize them; he knew the people on his lands. These men hadn’t just been passing through. Three axes lay near the corpses, and two of the trees showed chop marks. Red sap flowed over the silver bark from the cuts, making the trees look as if they bled.

Laithtaris -- called the Elf Wood by men -- bordered the tiny province of Welby. It was home to the elven folk -- their only remaining home since the race of man had come to the Known Lands more than two thousand years ago. A treaty was signed at the time promising these woods to the elves, to be untouched by man for all time. Midas had rarely heard of any encroachment of the forest; if it happened it was usually an accident and elven rangers would politely but firmly let the offenders know that they must leave immediately.

Three bodies were near the trees and two more lay in the brown grass and weeds a few yards away. Each of them had a single silver-fletched arrow jutting from their chest or back. They were elven arrows. No man could make arrows so perfect.

Midas shifted his gaze to the woods. Silverbark trees towered into the sky, their canopies forming a ceiling over the tangled shrubs and dead leaves below. The edge of the forest was thin and the summer light shone down in beams to the forest floor, but there was no sign of elves. That was nothing unusual; Midas had never seen an elf in all of his thirty-eight years. There could be dozens of them staring at us right now and we’d never see them.

He twisted in the saddle to speak to Fridrik. “Bring a wagon from the village. Post a guard on these bodies until they can be loaded up and brought to Welby. Something's happening and I want to find out what it is.”

“Yes, milord,” the squire said. He detailed two men to guard the bodies, picked out two more as escorts, and rode off toward the hamlet they’d passed on the way here.

Midas sighed and glanced at Sir Brindor, who was gazing blankly into space as usual. Amidst the stubble of his gray hair, the crater in Brindor’s head was clearly visible. A few years ago, Sir Brindor had taken part in a tournament melee, during which his helm had been knocked from his head and a mace had bashed in the side of his skull. Healers had given him up for dead, but Brindor slumbered in a coma for three weeks and then woke up. He wasn’t the same man -- his speech was slurred and he had little memory of his previous life -- but he remained a ferocious fighter and devoted to his liege lord.

“Brin!” Midas said. Sir Brindor swayed on his mare, but then his eyes focused and he turned to Midas. “Brin,” Midas repeated. “That dwarf merchant who sold you the elven dagger, where can I find him?”

Brindor’s mouth worked silently for a bit and his face took on the confused look it always did when he was required to remember how to speak. “Iskimir,” he finally managed. “Sh- shhhop in Iskimir.”

Midas nodded to Brin and bent to examine the closest corpse. The man was filthy and wore ragged clothing. He looked like the beggars or thieves one might find in any of the big cities.

“How could they think to get away with this, Voor? Even desperate men…”

“I don’t know, milord,” Voor said.

“Someone paid them to do this.”

Voor nodded.

“Have Dalthis and two guards ride to Iskimir. I want them to find the dwarf merchant who sells elven goods. I want to know how he gets his goods; how he makes contact with the elves. Make sure Dalthis takes enough coin to persuade the dwarf. If he won’t speak to Dalthis, see if he’ll come to Welby and talk to me.”

“Yes, milord.”

Dust rose in clouds as the group cantered over the dry field. Even in the light of day the small red moon was visible just above the horizon -- an evil omen if there ever was one. Why would someone want to provoke the elves?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Publisher Decisions

My favorite agent blogger, Nathan Bransford, had an interesting post today about the pointlessness of complaining that such and such a classic would never have been published in today's writing world. It reminded me of one of my own complaints that is similar but a little different.

I see over and over again books by established authors that sell by the tons, yet if an unpublished author attempted such a book, no publisher or agent would even look at it. One obvious example is the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin. It has so many main characters that even Mr. Martin could not possibly write a synopsis that would pass muster with any agent if Martin were a first-time author. If I had as many major characters as Mr. Martin in my story, no agent would bother to read past my query letter.

Yet, it is from such authors that new writers like myself draw inspiration. I thought up my story long ago due to my love of Tolkien, but it was reading Martin's stories that made me actually decide to sit down and type out the first chapter. I would have preferred to have a larger cast of main characters than the three I used, but I knew that even my three main characters would be a tough enough sell for a first-time author.

I guess what bothers me about it is that the publishers don't appear to me to be looking at what actually sells so well and allowing new authors the leeway to mimic such bestsellers in the structuring of our books. Martin's books are too long by newbie standards and have too many main characters, yet they sell fantastically well. Perhaps it is not just due to his great writing. Perhaps there are a ton of fantasy readers out here who love long, involved stories. That is what I think, and that is why it perplexes me that publishers and agents won't allow a new author to have a long, involved story.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Reconciling Story vs. History

When writing any kind of story, publishers and agents expect a tight plot where every word counts and every plot point has a reason. My book doesn't quite do this, and the reason is that in my novel I am writing not just a fantasy story but also a history. Sure, it is fantasy, so I should just be able to change any detail I like, because I created it, right? Not really. This story existed in my head for so long - more than twenty years- that it has essentially become historical fact within my created world.

This is a problem, because history doesn't tie things up nicely the way publishers and agents want stories to be. I have an almost war between the races of elf and man, halted due to the threat of a far more dangerous invasion from out of the East. I imagine many agents would tell me to ditch the whole approach to a war that never takes place. It's boring, because there is only a threat of action, no true action. To me, the threatened war between elf and man is something that actually happened, so I can't just cut it out. I imagine my created world as a real place with a real history, and history muddies up tight stories. I like it that way; it feels more realistic to me. Life doesn't work in neat, logical plot points.

Friday, September 25, 2009

My First Novel

I am torn by wanting to post some examples from my first novel, but not wanting to run into any future issues should I be lucky enough to get an agent and try to publish the book.

I really love my book, though the more I read on the internet, the more I continue to edit it. I keep wondering if I am actually making it worse rather than better! Correcting punctuation mistakes is one thing, but rewriting chapters because I worry they are not exciting enough or have pretty enough prose is another.

My book is fantasy and stands alone as traditional epic fantasy, yet it is planned as part of an arc that is mostly science fiction. That makes me concerned about whether I need more hints within this fantasy novel about the origins of certain characters, or if I should just not worry about it and let the future novels deal with that issue. I worry about this because some readers might question why my fantasy world has earth-like flora and fauna. I actually have an explanation for this, but I don't deal with it at all within the novel, because there is really no way to address it. Only one character in the book knows what has happened previously, and the issues are so complex that he doesn't wish to speak about them to other characters because it would open a Pandora's Box of further questions.

Anyway, I need to make a decision on whether to continue editing on this first novel, or begin writing the next. I am torn between the two so much that I am doing neither. I have a legitimate excuse in some ways, having just moved from Iceland to Azerbaijan, but this excuse goes only so far once I get settled into the new residence.

I've noticed that I don't really have any readers on this blog, and I suppose that is fine for now. I haven't tried to advertise it, and it may be better to build up a body of decent posts before I worry about readership. I'll try to think of a good chapter or snippet to post soon...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fantasy Cover Art

Like most writers, I dream of one day being published by one of the major houses. However, there is one point about publishing that truly bothers me and makes me at least consider the possibility of self-publishing someday. I don't like it one bit that the author is given little or no input regarding the cover art.

I have very strong feelings about what I want on my cover, enough that I could see saying 'no' to a publishing contract if they wouldn't back down over a cover that didn't do what I need it to do. Regardless of whether it is wrong or right, I believe many books are judged by their covers. Covers sell books. I have even bought books solely based upon fantastic cover art.

The part that worries me most is that the majority of art done for fantasy novels is terrible, in my opinion. They are generally far too colorful and splashy. I like realistic and gritty. When I see covers for, say, the Wheel of Time series it makes me want to shove the book back on the shelf immediately. The kind of cover art that really speaks to me is the darker, grittier stuff such as the Frazetta work seen on some of the Conan books, or even better, the Alan Lee work you can see on the Iron Tower trilogy by McKiernan. I loved the covers of the McKiernan books so much I bought them just because of the covers; it was an added bonus that I loved the stories, too.

I am looking into the possibility of finding an artist here in Baku to do some cover art for me in the style of Alan Lee. I don't know if I will find one, but it is worth trying. If I like an artist well enough and he/she will be reasonable about prices, I would ideally like to do a series of paintings to put in the book, covering various scenes. I saw this in The Sword of Shannara and I really enjoyed it.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cliches in Fantasy Writing

I've read many pieces talking about clichés in writing, but it seems to me they generally focused on clichés within the plot. What has long bothered me about fantasy writing has been what I see as a cliché pertaining to the protagonist. Book after book what I see is the author making the protagonist stand out as something special. Perhaps he/she is royalty (whether they know it or not); perhaps they have hidden magical powers that will soon be unleashed. In many cases the author makes the protagonist be 'one of the best' (if not THE best) in their world at something, whether it be wielding a sword or being a sneak-thief. I don't hate such stories - I love the Gray Mouser or Shadowspawn or Conan as much as the next reader - but I do get tired of how each fantasy book I pick up seems to follow this same trend.

I wrote my novel with many plot clichés, because I don't see any problem with this in traditional epic fantasy. Where I chose to make my story different was that I refused to have my protagonists be too special. I hunger for stories that feel realistic. I want protagonists who are normal people thrown into extraordinary circumstances and forced to sink or swim.

I love my story because of this, but it comes at a steep price. When agents read query letters they focus on plot. My book may be fresh and new story-wise due to the way I incorporate true-to-life characters, but all the agents will think about is that some of my plot elements have been seen before ("Elves and dwarves again...a magical item....ugh."). They'll miss the fact that the story itself will have a completely new feel to it due to the characters themselves. Since query letters have to make the sale in around 300 words, it is almost impossible to sell the story to them based around character rather than plot, especially if one uses multiple protagonists like I do.

How does one make the protagonists seem interesting to an agent within a 300 word limit when my whole idea is that my protagonists are NOT special people (or at least that what makes them special are the ordinary heroics that we average people are all capable of)? I want to push average people to the limits and see if they can prevail. I think my story succeeds in this, but I can't figure out how to sell that in 300 words to an agent.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Afraid to Seek an Agent

I've been dithering on seeking an agent. Okay, part of it is that I'm not completely satisfied with the editing process. There is some true work to be done to make it just right, but I have a feeling that I will be thinking this way for another year, perhaps longer.

I am afraid to seek an agent. I followed all the 'rules' about writing what I myself want to read, but I am afraid that agents will say that my story is derivative. True, it certainly incorporates many of the traditional fantasy elements so brilliantly done by Tolkien, but how many other novels have done that sort of fantasy well? People say they have read too many novels with these elements, but I would ask them how? I have read tons of fantasy, but few that did the traditional elements anywhere near as well as Tolkien did. I loved Tolkien so much I never wanted it to end, so naturally what I want to read is more that echoes Tolkien's vision.

Now, I don't want to duplicate Tolkien. I prefer a grittier feel to my stories, more realistic. That's why I love George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series. I created my own world and over twenty years thought about it until I felt I knew it. Only then did I begin to write. I wrote to fulfill my own dreams of what I love to read, so I aimed at making a world with the traditional flavorings of Tolkien, but with the grittier feel of a Martin story.

What kills me is that I think agents will automatically reject such a book, saying it is derivative, yet I believe there is a vast, hungry audience that loves this type of traditional fantasy. I think other people than me want to read books like this. The LOTR movies weren't so successful just because Peter Jackson did a great job with them. They were successful in part because that story has such tremendous appeal. I think the Hobbit movies will do the same as long as the director does a decent job.

I'll just go on editing it until I can convince myself that I can do no more to make myself happy with it. Then I'll see if I have the nerve to seek an agent, or if I'll just write another book.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Nitpicking Harry Potter

My kids decided to rewatch all of the Harry Potter DVDs this week, and watching them made me see a few things that bothered me. Overall I think the movies have been pretty good. I liked the third one best, followed by the first. The later movies suffered from being too chopped up. They should have learned lessons from Peter Jackson and released extended edition DVDs that flesh things out better.

The most glaring problem for me was that Lavender Brown was black in the early films and then was changed to white. I don't think it is too much to ask for some simple consistency.

Kudos to those who cast the films. The casting was so well done for most characters that I can't imagine them any other way than they look in the films. This does lead to another problem for me - the love interests don't work in my opinion. Watching the actors, Ron definitely doesn't fit with Hermione. She seems more suited to Harry. Ginny seems a better fit with Neville to me.

I was most disappointed with the latest film. The Half-Blood Prince feels so chopped up that some scenes don't even make any sense unless one has already read the book. There is too much cut out and there is little character development. From the Goblet of Fire onward there should have been extended editions at least, if not two movies for each book. I hear they will do that for the final book, so hopefully it will be better.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Elves, Dwarves, Goblins, etc.

Since beginning my own novel I have been reading quite a number of blogs and articles by other writers, agents, and publishers. One common theme seems to be that most of them are sick and tired of the 'standard' fantasy creatures, such as elves, dwarves, wizards, dragons, Orcs, goblins, etc.

I find this attitude dismaying. I must admit that while I read a broad spectrum of sci-fi, my tastes in fantasy are quite narrow. I love the traditional when it comes to fantasy. If someone wants to make up an entirely new fantasy creature, that is fine, but don't expect me to buy the book. I'm probably a minority, but I want my fantasy traditional. That's what I love. When I finished the Lord of the Rings, I wanted more. When I finished the Silmarillion, I dreamed that great authors might flesh out the brilliant story outlines into full-blown LOTR-type tales. It seems perfectly logical to me to love the traditional in fantasy. For me fantasy taps into something ancient and magical, the legends and lore of our all but forgotten past. When you make up completely new creatures you are abandoning this lore. That is what science fiction is for, in my opinion.

I wonder how it is that people are sick of reading about the traditional creatures of fantasy? It's not like I've seen many great tales incorporating these beasties. Other than LOTR, I can only think of The Sword of Shannara and the Iron Tower trilogy/Silver Call duology that did a good job with these fantasy standards. Who else has? The few Dungeons & Dragons novels I read were terrible. Clearly many people believe that these creatures have been overused, yet to me they have hardly been tapped at all, at least by good writers. I am starving for good stories using the old standards of fantasy.

Okay, so I wrote my novel based upon this very point. I incorporated all of my favorite traditional elements, and I didn't change the elves and dwarves and such to do things that they shouldn't be doing just to make them different. I made them act according to the way they should act. Yes, I set my baseline for how such creatures behave basically as Tolkien viewed them. Dwarves like mountains and mining; elves like forests, dragons like mounds of gold upon which to sleep, and so on.

Naturally I expect little but criticism from other writers. That is what I have had so far from those few who read my first chapter on Absolute Write. That's their choice, of course, but it seems to me that liking or not liking a story should be based upon how well it is written, not upon whether the story uses an element that you have arbitrarily decided you don't want to see again.

They say that one should write what one loves. I have tried to do that, but it seems to me that today's agents will simply ignore my writing for this very reason.

I guess I view this issue along the same lines as the old rant about Led Zeppelin's 'Stairway to Heaven'. If a garage band dares to play the song, people whine and complain that it is so played out and overdone. How can that be though? I have never heard it played live. True, I wouldn't like to hear the song if done poorly, but I would LOVE to hear a band actually play the song well. The same thing with traditional fantasy creatures - I don't see how people can be sick of something that hasn't actually been done well very often.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


I know, I know. I shouldn't worry about the issue of covers until I am fortunate enough to have something published. I just read on Nathan Bransford's blog about various cover issues, and it made me think about just how much it bugs me that publishers don't want to allow most authors any input on their covers.

I have very strong opinions on what I want for a cover on my fantasy novel. Strong enough that I would rather it not be published than have the wrong cover on it. I've been considering trying to commission the artwork myself and self-publishing, but I really don't want to self-publish if I can help it.

My issue with most fantasy covers is that they are far too colorful and splashy. I like them gritty or realistic, and certainly not splashy. The fantasy books that I purchased solely because of the fantastic cover art were the Iron Tower trilogy and Silver Call duology by Dennis McKiernan. Alan Lee did the art for the trilogy, and the artist who did the duology was told to mimic Lee's style. I love those covers, and I sure wish I could get Lee to do mine. He is far too famous for that these days, though.

If there are any good artists out there who can mimic Lee's style, let me know and if I can afford it I would love to have a cover painting done for my novel. I am thinking of checking out some of the local artists here in Baku and see if I can't find one who can do a reasonably priced piece of art for me.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

On Writing and Everything Else

For more than twenty years of my life I dreamed of writing books, but I always figured it would remain an unfulfilled dream. I love to procrastinate. Why do something difficult like write when I can watch a movie instead?

One day while living in Beijing, China I typed up a chapter for no particular reason. I don't know what got into me. However, once I wrote that first chapter I felt compelled to continue the story even if at a very slow pace. Over three years in Beijing I managed to write only a handful of chapters. I felt daunted by how much I knew lay ahead.

When I moved to Iceland I forged slowly ahead and by New Year's of 2009 I had fifteen chapters done. That might sound okay except that my outline showed something around a hundred chapters for the entire book. One of my New Year's resolutions was to complete fifteen more chapters in 2009. Imagine my shock when I banged out the entire rest of the book by March! I wrote approximately 90,000 words in three months, fifty thousand of them in the last month alone.

I felt mixed emotions upon completing the first draft. I am proud to have done something I never thought I would do, but the editing process is overwhelming. I know the story is good, but not good enough to publish yet. The major problem is that publishers and agents these days insist that the reading public no longer has the patience for books that take their time unfolding. People growing up on television, movies and the internet want instant gratification apparently. I, however, most love those older books that took their time with character and world development before taking off. I love how Tolkien took his sweet time getting to the action in his books. I wrote my book the same way, the way I wanted it to be, but I suspect I'll get no interest from agents. They'll say nothing happens for the first hundred pages. That's not true, of course, but I can see why they would say it.

I love the book. I read it to my wife and children and they enjoyed it. My youngest son, who is nine, even began writing his own stories. So, at least I have that satisfaction. However, I would truly love to see a novel of mine make it into print before I leave this earth. I may not submit this first one to agents, but I think I will try to write a second novel now and see if it will be more palatable to them. It may be difficult to find time to write now that I have moved to Baku, Azerbaijan. Work is much busier here than it was in Iceland. We'll see.

I hope to use this blog to put down my thoughts on writing, but also upon any other subject that strikes my fancy. In other words, this will be another excuse to procrastinate!