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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Book 2

Greetings to the world.

I've been away from my blog for far too long.  Sorry 'bout that.
I'm back now and I have some catching up to do, clearly.

First of all, "The Boy Named Topaz" is alive and well and sitting on the Amazon lists. 

I have had a book signing at my local Indigo / Chapters, sold and signed many copies.  That was a dizzying, heady time, let me tell you. 

I have attended the Ad Astra 2015 Sci-Fi Convention in Toronto.  Another first for me.  That was a marvelous time.  I got a chance to meet other authors, attended panels on topics pertinent to my craft here.  First time that I was known as an author first.  That was a marvelous feeling too.

Now I am chugging away on the sketching phase for Book 2.  The element that I need this book to reveal are fairly clear, but there are gaps between the conception and the implementation.  My first book was a grand voyage of discovery of the process that a writer uses to pull together such a volume of words.  The Crafting of the bigger story, and how it links to the bigger story that I can see in m'head. 
My overall Story Arc is set in my head.  Each of the episodes in it are fairly fixed as to when they occur.  The problem with being a non-linear thinker is that I can see the final battle clearly in my head, and elements of books 3, 4 and 5....when I need to be focusing on 2.
Naught to be done about it.  My Muse likes leading me through music-induced mazes made up of crystal-clear clips from bigger mental vids.

Feel free to find me on Facebook or Twitter. 


Fate Favour You


Friday, August 22, 2014

And, in the end...

Hello folks.
Well, we have reached the goal.  My novel, "The Boy Named Topaz" is launched and live on Amazon!
Thank you all for the questions and comments over the years.  I really appreciate the feedback that was posted.
As a promotional deal, if you download the book between August 24-28, 2014, then it will be free! 

Enjoy, folks.  Work on the next book is underway.  Expect new postings soon.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

New networking

Hey folks.
Update for ya.
I now have a fully formatted version of my manuscript, which is now called "A Boy Named Topaz".   I got the template from the Createspace website connected with Amazon Direct-to-Kindle service. Was quite an effort, given that when I went from one medium to the other, all the quotation marks became capital A's and &'s. Still proof reading and processing it, but not far off.
I will like upload it to Amazon, and see where that takes me.
I have posted the prologue on a page here. Feel free to peruse it, at your leisure.


Jeff Gartshore 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Interesting possibility

Hello there, everyone.
Yes, it has been a long time since I wrote last.  I've been focused as much as possible on my teaching career right now, and this project is on hold - which means that I've been processing things subconsciously, of course.

1)     Concept....I think that Ebbella is actually TWINS!  Ebba, the true Clear topaz sister, and Ella, whom the Heart of Light has gifted differently.   Ella is a extremely rare Pink topaz!  (in RL, pink topazes ARE that rare.  Their crystals are usually so tiny that they are useless for jewelry.  When you do find one large enough to polish and mount, it is quite valuable.  Therefore in the stories, Ella has a variant of the Clear topaz powers.  Haven't worked the details out on that one yet, but I'm sure it will bubble to the surface when I'm least expecting it.
She and her sister are identical, and in the Hidden villages, when you are "gemin", there is a strong tradition of twins trading places continuously.  It means that they both have the same knowledge as each other.
How would they be able to do this?  Heh heh heh.   This one jumped out at me.  They see things that are invisible to most people, even in the Realm of Light.  They would be able to see the tiny EM emissions that are distinctive to different gem-types (which resembles opalsight, which sees every hidden thing, and the Peridot's sense about what Power an individual has.)   That means that, like the Opals, they can see the Hidden Pathways between the Realms. . . . secret trans-dimensional worm-holes that criss-cross the universe in every which way.  The Clear topazes use them to appear and disappear in secret.    Hence, Ebba and Ella are BOTH in the Squad with Elpis.
(I figure one of them has a deep abiding crush on Elpis, too.  ;-)

This little tidbit will not be surfacing in the stories until Elpis reaches the Diamond Realm during his Academy Journey, which is quite a ways off, given that the first book is still being chewed on here.    I just keep filing these little connections away, and eventually they will be able to be woven together.

Thanks for following my ramble.


p.s. This post resembles one posted a while ago, where the idea of Pink topaz surfaced.  This thought was developed a little further than the last one, imho.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Ebbella, a mystery girl

Greetings all.
Into the school year now, and my workload is heavy but manageable.
I have been processing thoughts on the least defined of the characters in Toivo's little squad:  Ebbella, the girl from the Hidden Villages.  She is a Clear topaz, and as such, her range of the Spectrum is up above the Visible, into the ultraviolet and above.
I have been treating her char as that quiet girl who is sitting on the side of the room, silently reading a book or some such...but when you look again, you can see  that she is gazing intensely at you, her eyes full of questions.
I had originally based her appearance on one of the girls that I was teaching many years ago, but then I saw a face in a National Geographic article about the Sami people....and then, like a splash in the face, I was looking at Ebbella.  Triggered all sorts of side-thoughts:


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Still here, and chugging subconsciously

Hello all.
Yes, August is here and soon we teachers will be grinding out our plans for the new school year.  The re-drafting of the manuscript is still on the back burner at the mo', but that is not to say that the brain is mush.  In the process of getting my head organized, that durned creative spark just keeps making connections...
Ebbella, understated girl in Elpis' squad...member of the secretive clear topaz region.   I got to thinking about her the other day.  I already see her as clear as day in my head, but her region to is NOT visited while Elpis is a boy. The reason for that hit me whilst wandering around in the rocks and minerals section of the Royal Ontario Museum, in Toronto.  There is no possible way that Elpis would have been sent to visit there: the mineral opal glows when exposed to ultraviolet light, which is the range of the topaz Spectrum that the clears command.  His opal powers would have been lit up like a beacon, and that would have been the end of one of the shorter-lived plot lines in all of literature.
Heh, I am beginning to think that she is unique in her tribe too...because I have envisioned a moment when she has to use her powers at full adept level, and it is revealed that she is a PINK topaz...rarest format of the gem.  ( true fact topazes are usually so small as to be useless.  Get one big enough to facet and mount and you have a truly valuable jewel.)

We shall see if that can be woven into the tale when I get to that end of the narrative.

Take care.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

draft #7

Hey all.
Have't posted in a while, but I've returned to my job as an elementary school French and Music Teacher, so I've been 'Real-World' occupied.    That's the way of things.

Just a note to say that the most completed Draft I have generated, #6, is nice and all . . . but I find that I am able to conceive of how to modify the story to make the narrative more immediate.  Draft #7 is my attempt to bring the tale of Elpis and his friends into a format that is more gripping.  I must say that I have been guilty of wanting to reveal my wonderful fantasy world as fast as I could.  I'm a first-time author, what can I say?  Well, having read "The Lost Gate", by Orson Scott Card, and "The Hunger Games" since I last blogged has shown me that my chronicle-style narrative, hopping from moment to moment through Elpis' young life, is less immediate than I am wanting. 
Therefore, I am now able to conceive of how to delay the revalation of him being from Opal until well into the story....the strangeness of his powers is a mystery to him and to the reader, and they discover it together.  Uncle Saul's secretive meetings and mysterious connections will still be there, but the reader won't have the answer to SOME of the questions until graduation day, and those will help move Elpis / Topaz towards the right questions that he has to ask to get the answers that he needs.

(Confession:  It is a very exciting thing for me to actually be able to conceive of this level of reformatting.  The sheer size of this task is not as daunting as it might of been, at some earlier part of my life.  Not sure why, but not complaining either.  This manuscript WILL be ready.  It might have to be middle of August now, but Focus is no longer the Foe that it used to be.)



Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Author's voice

I'm pondering, of late, how one goes about finding one's voice, as an author.  To all you still in school, that is part of your Language Arts learning.  (I know it is.  I have read the Curriculum documents.  Heh.)

Here's a couple of good links that speak to the idea of "voice":

It bears thinking.  The concept of "voice", as it applies to the stories that you write, is one that you learn as you go.  The more you write, the more you learn about your own writing process, the more you learn what your voice feels like when it is present on the page.

I feel that many of my chapters do have elements of voice to them.  They are inconsistent, though.  I'm learning how to recognize this sort of thing as I go here.  I do not relish the thought of a total re-write on this manuscript, but I'm thinking that some kind of process like it will be the only way that I can get all the styles to line up better. 
I know that I need to find a better literary vehicle to drive the plot given that the chapters jump forward through Topaz's life, sometimes 3 or 4 years at a time.  As I have it now, there's not a through line yet.  The chapters are episodic.
Maybe I need to treat this as a series of short stories.  Hrm... limiting, perhaps, but it is a way to address the discontinuity. 
Saul is probably going to have to be the through line, then, since he's the constant in Topaz's ever-changing life.  The story is about Topaz growing up, but the central character could be Saul?  NO.  That's too much of a change. 
More research is needed here.  I will finish the adjustments that I'm making right now, but these topics need to be addressed. 

I have a goal now....several actually.  Good.  One needs goals in one's life.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pre-chapter blurbs

When you read stories, sometimes it's the little extra bits that add depth to a created world.  This is an interesting side task.  I'm finding that this little tidbit is a neat challenge...a chance to set the tone for the chapter, maybe even a key to understanding what is to follow.

Here are a few examples:
In Dream, we visit our other selves
so that we remember what we learned
when we were them.
      One of the Pearl Realm Mysteries

Everything grows
when you know how to nourish it.
     Saying from the Emerald Realm

“But, sirrah, you are but one. How will you survive battling so many?”

“Majesty, I am but one, but if I bear your favor, then I shall be many times more than myself.”
     from “The Peridot Queen and the Opal Knight”, a children’s tale.



Monday, February 20, 2012

Thoughts about the process

Hello everyone.
I've read this tidbit in various resources, and once again it makes sense for me.
Read.  Read voraciously.  Absorb stories and sentences and cool turns of phrase into your brain from it all.  This is the bank of words that you use when you create your own stories.
Having recently finished "The Lost Gate," by Orson Scott Card, I was reminded of the simple fact that the man can assemble words together in a truly masterful way.  His prose is very easy for me to absorb. 

Choose your favorite author, re-read a book of his/hers, then go and write something.  It's how you grow.  After all, you are the one who knows your story first . . . the trick is making it so that others can know it too.

J.A. Gartshore