Sunday, 29 April 2012

April's Writing Update

Despite being very quiet here, work has progressed steadily, if somewhat slower than anticipated.

Markan Sword - eighteen chapters and 80 thousand words into the first draft.  This is roughly the halfway point, with a target of 150k words (I usually overrun this), but quite a bit behind schedule.  But the book is shaping up nicely and should (fingers crossed) be ready sometime this year.

Markan Throne - the re-edit of this book is almost complete and the revised version will be posted on Amazon and Smashwords in the very near future.

Sylph Language - this was originally supposed to be put into a book format and released last year, but other projects caused me to set this aside. A lot of people have expressed interest in learning more about the sylph's language.  Though the present mass of notes, jottings and scribblings makes perfect sense to me, I suspect not to anyone else. This will probably become a series of blog postings instead!

Gifted Avenger - the third Sallis ti Ath novella. At the moment this is nothing more than a title and a very hazy outline.  Watch this space!

And that is about all I have to say on the update.  I'll keep plodding along!

Panorama Walk (Above Barmouth)

Another short walk today.  I had intended going for another, but instead spent a lazy few hours wave-watching in the fresh breeze.  Yes I know, lazy old me!

Panorama Walk allows for wonderful views of both the Mawddach Estuary - definitely one of my favourite places in Wales - and the Cadair Idris range.  Pictures below:

 Mawddach Estuary from the railway bridge.  I'm amazed how deserted this place always looks first thing in the morning.  Yet there are busy roads along both sides of the river and plenty of houses.  And birds, and sheep, and wild animals...

Eye candy :o))  Moored boats.

Looking inland along the Mawddach Estuary.  This will always be one of my favourite places.

Looking across to Mawddach Cresent, with part of the Cadair Idris range in the distance.

Looking out to sea, with the railway bridge to the left.

A view of the distant Lleyn Peninsular, before I settled down to some serious wave-watching.  I know, idle.

Higher quality versions of these pictures  can be found on my other blog, Nick's Wicked Walks

Until the next walk, be well all.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Leibster Blog Award

Ilvenworld.blogspot is the recipient of a Leibster Blog Award.  My thanks to Ron Leighton (Twitter: @Ron_Leighton) for choosing my blog.

I'm happy to nominate the following excellent writing blogs for the award:

Caffeine's Not A Crime Jane Isaac's blog, crime author. (Twitter: @JaneIsaacAuthor)

Tirfo Thuin  Andrew Butterworth's blog, fantasy author. (Twitter: @TirfoThuin)

Convergent Space  John-Paul Cleary's blog, science fiction author. (Twitter: @ConvergentSpace)

Burning The Candle  David Leadbeater's blog, thriller author. (Twitter: @dleadbeater2011)

Jeff Whelan Jeff Whelan's blog, YA science fiction author. (Twitter: @SpaceOrville)

Remember to pass it on!

Many thanks for the award, Ron!!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Saturday's Walk: Stwlan Dam

A quick, short walk today.  Llyn Stwlan is a reservoir tucked into the Moelwyn hills, its dam visible for miles around.  The access road grants easy walking, though the dam itself is not accessible to walkers.  Pictures below:

 Path leading into Cwm Orthin - another walk another day!

Looking ahead to Moelwyn Bach.  Sadly, the blue skies did not last.

 View from the access road.  Dinorwic power station and Tanygrisiau Reservoir in the foreground, the decommissioned Trawsfynydd nuclear power plant and Llyn Trawsfynydd at centre of picture.

Waterfall along the way.  Not a lot of water, even here rainfall has been below average.

First view of Stwlan dam.

Llyn Stwlan, tucked discreetly out of sight - unlike the dam which can be seen from miles around!

The nearest I'm going to get to the dam.

View over Tanygrisiau and Blaenau Ffestiniog.  This small town and its environs are not in the National Park; when Snowdonia was established in 1951, the slate quarries were still in full operation.  For the most part, only the spoil heaps remain today.

Just a quick walk, making the most of a break in the weather.  The rain returned just as I arrived back at the car, so I should think myself lucky!

Until the next walk, be well all.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Glyderau Ridge (East - the Quieter End!)

Today's wonderful walk in Snowdonia took me from Capel Curig over the eastern outliers of the Glyderau Ridge.  The route was wonderfully deserted, though the squelchiness underfoot might put a lot of people off!

Higher resolution copies of the pictures can be found on my other blog: Nick's Wicked Walks

Pictures below:

Looking down onto Capel Curig during my ascent of Cefn Capel.

Moel Siabod during my ascent.

A distant Snowdon Range - had I got up earlier, I might have been over there instead.

Looking north to Pen Llithrig y Wrach (right) and Pen Yr Helgi Du (left).

Looking across to Pen Yr Ole Wen (left), Carnedd Dafydd (centre) and Carnedd Llywelyn (right, summit in cloud).

Another shot of the Snowdon Range while crossing boggy ground to Gallt Yr Ogof.

Llyn Cowlyd, sandwiched between Pen Llithrig y Wrach (left) and  Creigiau Gleision.

Retrospective view of my route so far.  Capel Curig is hidden by the ridge.

Looking ahead to the main Glyderau from Gallt Yr Ogof.  Tryfan (right), Bristly Ridge and Glyder Fach (left).  A distant Elidir Fawr is in the centre.  My descent route is sunlit in the foreground.

Zoomed shot of Tryfan from my descent.

The old road leading back to Capel Curig.

Until the next walk, be well all.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Can't get my free books well, for free? Kindlers read on...

A few people have noticed that, while my novellas (Gifted Apprentice & Gifted Hunter) are free on Amazon's Kindle in the USA, they are not free in the UK and some other countries.  This is because Amazon will match prices on a territory by territory basis.  As there is no comparable ebook UK-based website, Amazon cannot price match in the UK (if anybody knows of one, please please let me know).  This posting will also be of interest to anyone who wants to learn how to send personal documents to their Kindle, or who live in territories where my novellas are not free on Amazon.

However, there is a way that does not involve setting up email accounts.

My novellas are uploaded to another US company, Smashwords (Smashwords website is here).  This is the company Amazon price matches to.  And there is a way to get these books onto your Kindle.  To "buy" the free books, Smashwords will ask you to create an account.

I recommend you do this with your desktop or laptop.  Download the book/s from Smashwords in .mobi format, which is the format kindles use.  Using one of Amazon's free applications, you can send the books to your Kindle!

But how do I get the app?  Simple.  Click here: Send-to Kindle (for PC) and follow the on-screen instructions!

More information about this new app (only released in January) can be found at the website.  It sure beats messing about with e-mail addresses.

Note for Mac users: sadly this app is not yet available for AppleMac users, but Amazon say they are working on it!  Hopefully soon :o))

Note for fellow writers: this app also beats humping manuscripts around for discreet editing and proofreading.  However, I do recommend saving your manuscript in the .mobi format before sending it to your Kindle.  Word docs *are* converted, but I've noticed some strange results with the formatting!  Mobipocket ebook creator (free) is available here and if you want to check the conversion, a free Mobipocket reader can be found here (note that this software can be used on other reading devices!!)

Happy reading!

Monday, 9 April 2012

Daily Postcard 4 - Cleared Villages on Skye

Spent a pleasant, if "soft" day on the Isle of Skye.  Today's walk visited the cleared villages of Suisnish and Boreraig.  Both villages were forcibly cleared in 1852/53 and, despite a short attempt at repopulating Suisnish in the 20th century, both places remain a sad reminder of more turbulent times.

I do apologise if the pictures appear a little pixelated here and there; I had to shrink the resolution to get the pictures to upload at all!  Higher resolution pictures are posted on my other blog: Nick's Wicked Walks

 The ruined church at Kilchrist.
 View of the so-called Red Cuillins.

A distant Bla Bheinn.

Camas Malag and Loch Slapin.

Looking inland, with my route visible to the right.

My descent path to the beach.  Well, looking back up it anyway!

One of the two waterfalls - neither are named on the OS maps.

Standing stone at Boreraig, looking out over Loch Eishort.
Looking out to sea on my climb out from Boreraig.

This was the longest walk so far on this holiday.  For most of the round, the rain stayed light, if persistent.  But, as the locals would say, no rain = no whisky!

Until the next walk, be well all.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Daily Postcard 3 - A Walk To See An Aristocrat

Today's walk took me to Golspie, home of the Dukes of Sutherland (well, one at a time usually).  My walk took my onto Ben Bhraggie, which proved to be quite camera-unfriendly, where a statue to the first duke stands.  Misty on top, but I certainly enjoyed the walk!

Pictures below:

Falls on Big Burn

First glimpse of the duke's statue on my ascent.

Zoomed in on the duke.  The dedication on the statue reads "Raised by his tenants and friends."  Since this man instigated the infamous Highland Clearances, I doubt if there were many tenants left, and they definitely would not have counted among his friends!  By the time I got up there, the cloud had come down.

View of Golspie, as I dropped out of cloud.  The turrets of Dunrobin Castle can be seen peeping above the trees.

I love some of the architecture used by the railway builders.  A simple yet beautiful arch.

A peaceful spot beside Big Burn on my return to the car.

For higher resolution pictures, visit my other blog, Nick's Wicked Walks

Until tomorrow's walk, be well all.

Daily Postcard 2 - A Tale of Two Walks

Anybody familiar with Britain, particularly the west of Britain, will know how changeable the weather can be in this country.  Today is a classic example.  This morning's walk, on the heights of Kinlochleven, can be best described as a washout.  The camera mostly stayed in its bag, and I stayed relatively low.  Much of my gear is still hanging up to dry.

Not many pictures, but a small selection follows:

 The stalkers' road above Kinlochleven.

Loch Eilde Mor. One of today's target hills is opposite, shrouded in mist.  As the route is pathless, best avoided today!

The narrow fjord of Loch Leven makes a brief appearance in between rain showers.

This being the UK, the weather cleared later, so I had another short walk, this time on Cow Hill, above Fort William.

 Looking along Loch Linnhe towards the sea from Cow Hill summit.

Looking towards Corpach.

A glimpse of Loch Linnhe in the gathering dusk.

Fort William at night.

Here's hoping for better weather tomorrow!

Higher resolution pictures are available on my other blog: Daily Postcard #2 on Nick's Wicked Walks

Be well all!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Daily Postcard 1 - Scottish Highlands

Spring is here, so it must be holiday time again!  I'm spending Easter weekend in the Scottish Highlands.  Hopefully the weather will turn out better than the forecast, but I've got two chances there.  Drove up through the night and cat-napped in the car.  Now these are views worth waking up to!

Looking north:

Looking east:

And looking west:

Cheeky deer at the Nevis Visitor Centre car park:

Hopefully, I'll be posting my walks daily.  This depends on the weather and the reliability of the internet connection!

For better resolution photos, see my other blog Nick's Wicked Walks

Until tomorrow, be well all.