Thursday, January 1, 2015

Quills: Snark Hunt!



ЖЖЖ

A Scavenger Hunt is fine for parties and kids in college. What we have here is a Scavenger Hunt involving books, and therefore, I deem it a Snark Hunt! Since I am often easily charmed with smiles and soap, let us search for these ten things on our bookish Snark Hunt: 
  • the letter “J”
  • a fantasy classic
  • a dragon on the cover
  • oldest book on your shelf
  • a shield on the cover
  • an animal in it
  • a cover with only words
  • a cover with gold lettering
  • a book written by an author with a common last name
  • a red colored book 
Patricia is up first. 

PATRICIA REDING
Author of Oathtaker
Patricia's Website

The old year is behind us (and I cannot say I am sorry about that) and 2015 begins. What better way to move forward than to join my fellow Quills in a treasure hunt.  Our search will take us through our book shelves.  So, here goes!

A book with the letter “J” - This one is fairly easy—Jekyll and Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson.  Oh yes, I know, the full name is The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but most refer to it by its shortened name. This is a great read, showing . . .

(Read Patricia's blog!)

ЖЖЖ

And now, Robin!

ROBIN LYTHGOE
Author of As the Crow Flies and two short stories
Robin's Website

Rummaging through my bookshelves (both physical and digital) makes me feel like a dragon admiring its treasure. I have silver and gold, precious jewels, priceless collections of beautiful words at my very fingertips! The hardest part of this task? Getting sidetracked. I want to read this! no, this one! And that one, too! Oh, it’s been a long time since I’ve read <fill in the blank, there are lots of options>! I got so sidetracked, in fact, that it took me three attempts to collect the actual goodies.

(Read Robin's blog!)


ЖЖЖ

KRISTIE KIESSLING
Author of the short story Sanguis Dei 
and the poetry collection Light and Dark 

My turn to meet the ten requirements for our Snark Hunt. Naturally, I endeavored to find ONE book with all ten. When that didn't work, I settled on six that did the trick!  First up... 

Tarzan Lord of the Jungle by Edgar Rice Burroughs has a "J", only words on it's red cover and many animals in it. Mostly great apes. Four in one! I chose this first because my mother adored the Tarzan books and it was her excitement over them and this one especially that intrigued me, beginning my journey along this fabulous road.

While Tarzan looks like it might be the oldest book in my collection, it was published in 1928. Whereas, a book that meets the "red cover", "gold lettering" and the "animal in it" requirement may also be THE oldest book on my shelf. Tied at four! The only date inside this book is 1862, but that is the Penning of the Preface date. According to most internet sources, the date of publication of this Thompson and Thomas edition of Les Miserables by Victor Hugo is 1895. Though, no one seems quite sure...


My copy of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain is a contender for the gold lettering and it is as close as I could come to a "shield" on the cover. I may be squeaking by with that one.

Uncertain if Twain's book counted as a fantasy classic with all the science going on in the Yankee's tale, I chose The Hobbit as my classic. Prompted again by Twain and Camelot, I chose The Once and Future King by T.H. White for my "book written by an author with a common name." We've cousins who are Whites and friends who are Whites. For "common" I'd say it fits.


As for "a dragon on the cover" (and I have many), this edition of Anne McCaffery's Moreta: Dragon Lady of Pern is my choice. Gorgeous art by Michael Whelan.

I hope this Snark Hunt through our shelves has left you beamish! For me, it has been utterly frabjous. See you in February!. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Quills: Gifts



ЖЖЖ


ЖЖЖ


ROBIN LYTHGOE
Author of As the Crow Flies and two short stories
Robin's Website


(Read Robin's blog!)


ЖЖЖ

KRISTIE KIESSLING
Author of the short story Sanguis Dei 
and the poetry collection Light and Dark 


The holidays have always been a time of illness for me. When I was a kid, I got sick every Christmas. Sometimes, as early as Thanksgiving. This year, I got sick after Thanksgiving for several days. I survived. Barely. But I did survive and I won Nanowrimo. Yay!!

This month's Quills topic is a Treasure Hunt. A topic related to our stories. Gifts make up a large part of the relationship between Mikkayl Arrayn and his bondmate Sherakai. In the spirit of gift-giving, I read a blog article by Kristen Lamb: Test Your Holiday Style—Tiffany Crystal or Pre-Paid Bail Money?

I didn't take the quiz, though I read it through. It's all in good fun and amusing, mostly. Some a bit sad, really.

Sherakai gave Mikkayl a gorgeous journal, because Mikkayl, like me, writes--though he writes mostly poetry. The tooling is remarkable and the dedication, heartfelt. Gifts like these, that have meaning to the person they are given and meaning to the giver, are amazing. But this post is not just about the stories and Kai's gifts to Mik or his to Kai. I felt something deeper here and needed to share it.

For my part, I can't afford Christmas anymore. If I can get one gift for each member of my immediate family that means something to them, I'm able to sigh with relief. That's FIVE gifts. That's pretty much it unless I can bake some cookies for the stockings.

Construction paper cards or Cyber art I make myself doesn't count, right?

I don't send cards when e cards or a message on Facebook will do. And even with those, I can't afford the postage. (I'm not kidding, the best ones are subscription only and that's pricey!) I stopped trying to convince my kids that Santa was real when my son became a Buddhist. I swear, I SAW him when I was a kid--Santa, not my son the Buddhist--In the sky, in his sleigh. Everyone says I was dreaming! I used to tell them how he made the fireplace bigger and about the time travel machine he had and the amazing tech at the north pole... and then The SANTA CLAUSe came out and I realized I should have written down everything I told them because THAT was MY story! ARGH

The one I'm really angry about (I'm not bitter!) is the Polar Express. I wrote a very similar story called "The Santa Train" in 1993 and then my husband thought it would be a good idea to do a "span disk" save. The one disk that was destroyed by magnetic field? The source disk. So screwed. All I have left is an inaccessible file on a reformatted AOL floppy with "The Santa Train" scrawled across the label.

The best thing about being financially challenged at Christmas? The gift of my family. Family has always been the focus around here. My parents, my in-laws--it's what we know. I listen and enjoy and think. It is very, very good. I meditate on what I believe about the adult Jesus and why he came as the "Baby Jesus" and grew up (like Bambi, a part of the story which everyone seems to forget), to become Prince--of Peace, King of Kings.

It helps me. Gifts and lights are nice, and the gifts between Mik and Kai are given out of an overwhelming response to the love and sacrifice shown between these two men. The gifts we give at Christmas are sometimes thrilling, sometimes surprising; but they, too, are a response to the Gift we are all given: the redemption of God's own sacrifice; the freedom to really understand what love is because a Child was born unto us, a Son to seek and to save those who are lost.

Be known to Him. Merry Christmas.

Friday, November 7, 2014

NaNoWriMo - The World Needs Your Novel!




ЖЖЖ

KRISTIE KIESSLING
Author of the short story Sanguis Dei 
and the poetry collection Light and Dark 

NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month is upon us! If it's possible that you've never heard of it, the NaNoWriMo website says this:

"National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000-word (approximately 175-page) novel by 11:59:59 PM on November 30."

Sound crazy? You bet! But it's wonderful, too. Why? Glad you asked!

William Wallace - 1814 Statue
commissioned by David Stuart Erskine,
 11th Earl of Buchan
FREEDOM!

The freedom of "nano" is writing without limits. Writing without rules so that you can get that story out and 'on paper'. It is the joy of ebook authors everywhere. But no matter what the means, paper and pen, computer, tablet, iPhone, ancient typewriter, or crayons, NaNoWriMo gives the writer every possible excuse to blatantly and without shame ignore the inner editor--that right-brain critic that says we cannot possibly show anyone improper grammar--and simply tell the story.

In NaNoWriMo *telling* isn't bad! Nothing is bad! Everything is word count, get it out, spew it forth so that it can be seen for what it is: a piece of absurdity wrapped in imagination and sparkling with the gems of joy. What a relief! Because storytelling IS joy and editing gets in the way of that first honeymoon blush of the guts and glory of a tale.

I've found that telling actually leads to writing more complex and intriguing action/showing scenes later, when you ARE editing. You know, after the excess of the holidays ... down the road ... in January or June.

But November, ah, sweet November, is FREEDOM month, baby.

A recent commercial for a well known credit card features Tina Fey, writing in her laundry room and breathing in dryer sheet fumes for inspiration. "A lawyer that's a monkey!" she shouts. That is exactly what NaNoWriMo is about: exploring the wild ideas that come to you when you're sucking in dryer sheet fumes, or in a crowded restaurant. Whether soaking in a hot bath or sipping tea on the veranda, if you imagine it, NaNoWriMo is for exploring it.

If you've never done it before, DO it. It's exciting, demanding, nerve-racking and absolutely a hoot and a half. I have written so many fun and unbelievable things during NaNoWriMo. I am open to the possibilites of what really works (and what doesn't!) in a solid story.

If you're a veteran of NaNoWriMo, then check out Robin's tips for using programs like Scrivener to improve both word count and productivity during Nano so that when you've found that perfect scene, it will work without a lot of editing later. Organization brings progress.

I will being writing this November, with absolute abandon. I've done it every November (turkey comas not withstanding) since 2006--the only year I didn't "win." That still bugs me, by the way. BUT, I hope to attempt it every November for the rest of my life. Not because every year of nano means I publish a novel when I've finished those 50 thousand (50 THOUSAND!) words; but because I learn and grow. And there are always some amazing goodies when it's done.

Discover the novel inside you!

ЖЖЖ


PATRICIA REDING
Author of Oathtaker
Patricia's Website

I admit I’ve never participated in the event known as NaNoWriMo. I can’t even pronounce it, and I have to check other sources for how to spell it every time I need to use the word, or acronym, or whatever it is. Suffice it to say, I don’t know much about it. Still, from what I’ve heard, it sounds like an amazing venture.

The closest I’ve ever come to a NaNoWriMo effort was during a summer week when the rest of my family went camping. Blissfully alone (and, I confess, not lonely), I set out to write the opening of my new story . . .

(Read more!)

ЖЖЖ


ROBIN LYTHGOE
Author of As the Crow Flies and two short stories
Robin's Website

You may also have noticed that it is November, and November means NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). While Patricia is off flitting about the countryside, Kristie and I are knee-deep into the crazy, wonderful writing frenzy that is NaNoWriMo.

Do you know what that means? Hundreds of thousands of people around the world leap headlong into the challenge of writing a novel (50,000 words long!) in thirty days. (Though if I wrote through Thanksgiving Day, I would probably be stuffed and roasted!)

(Read more!)


ЖЖЖ

See you in December!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Inspiration!

Happy October!


ЖЖЖ

To begin our Quills topic, INSPIRATION, we have a guest author!

Josh Interview!
JOSHUA GRASSO
Author of  The Count of the Living Death and The Astrologer's Portrait
Josh's Website

Joshua Grasso: “Finding Inspiration”

My ideas always come from the same source: usually a work of art, but sometimes, a stray moment or character from an old book. As a professor, I spend even more time than most people in books, and my teaching and research requires me to delve into all kinds of documents: epic poems, Renaissance art, odd biographies ... As a teacher/scholar I’m looking for context for a paper or to explain something in class; as a writer, however, my eyes are alert for some small, teasing detail that suggests a larger narrative.  I always believe the best material is just waiting for you to stumble over ... (read more!)


ЖЖЖ


PATRICIA REDING
Author of Oathtaker
Patricia's Website

Patricia is taking this month off. We'll see her in November!


ЖЖЖ


ROBIN LYTHGOE
Author of As the Crow Flies and two short stories
Robin's Website

Inspiration comes at me from every direction! Music, other books, news, dreams, conversation, pictures, quotes, you name it! Any of those things can easily set me to wondering how one of my characters might react or how the setting or culture or plot could be changed by employing the “what if” factor. They can spark ideas for new characters and settings, or generate an idea to help me fix problems. In fact… (read more!)


ЖЖЖ


KRISTIE KIESSLING
Author of the short story Sanguis Dei 
and the poetry collection Light and Dark 

My story ideas come largely from life. As a young poet of five, I heard my kindergarten teacher say, "Write about what you love and what you know." Write What You Know has become a motto for me. I delve into the people I know, the place where I live, the situations and dramas around me to provide the fodder for my lyrical and literary creations. It is very simple, really. I'm a woman, an artist, a mother, a wife--all these things are in large part instinctual for me. The visceral manner in which I respond to everything I come in contact with inspires me. Emotion and reaction is key. If something moves me, then I am confident it will move others.

Music sets the mood of many a scene I've written. Battle, romance, melancholy all live in the music of Hans Zimmer, John Williams James Horner, The Piano Guys and many others. I find popular Christian music fuels my imagination about a relationship that stands the test of time and all the forces of Hell that might rise against it.

If I come across something I want to write about yet don't know about, I do research. That means note-taking. I'm keep files on my stories. I put pictures, notes--elaborate and simple--about the things I've discovered and how they might apply. With computers, the note-taking has become more complete, more organized than ever before. Programs like Scrivener provide a virtual buffet of options to gather and connect the threads of a tale. Whether by phone, tablet or in the time honored fashion of pen and paper, I write down what I see. I visit the library, watch television for programs about warfare, marvels of history or figures throughout our past who represent similarities to characters and situations about which I'm writing.

Art inspires characters and places. I love museums not only for the art but for the armor, the sense of history, the reality spread before me. But I can be inspired by friends at the grower's market or the grocery store or the bowling alley. I'm excited by life and living it. There's so much going on! I'm always open, always willing to learn. The world and all that's ever happened in it is my inspiration oyster.

ЖЖЖ

Thanks folks for these contributions into how he finds inspiration! Join us again in November for our next installment AND NaNoWriMo!

Friday, August 1, 2014

A Drift of Quills: Picture This!




ЖЖЖ

Welcome to our First Friday Feature. This time, we're letting you see what we see. Read on!


ЖЖЖ

PATRICIA REDING
Author of Oathtaker
Patricia's Website

AS I SEE IT

This month, we Quills decided to select a picture or pictures that represent some person, place or thing in our work. I decided I would go with pictures for a couple of my characters.

A reader recently asked me, if Oathtaker was a movie, who did I see playing the characters? For me, the real difficulty in this question is knowing that whatever celebrity names and faces I choose, someone will not like them. It is amazing what strong feelings we have about celebrities, either because of their past work, or possibly as a result of the bits and pieces we hear about their private lives . . .

But I will give this a shot, nonetheless.

I thought I would start with my main character, Mara...(Keep Reading!)

ЖЖЖ

ROBIN LYTHGOE
Author of As the Crow Flies and two short stories

The character Crow, from my novel As the Crow Flies, is the obvious choice for this endeavor, so I'm going with him. When I wrote the book, I didn't have a picture sitting by my computer to prompt or inspire me, but I had a very strong sense of him. In fact, I didn't have a picture to represent Crow until after I started a Pinterest board for the novel. Crazy, right?

I found one fine-looking fellow, then another, then... my daughter came to me one day and said, "MOM! I know the perfect guy to play Crow!” (Keep Reading!)

ЖЖЖ


KRISTIE KIESSLING
Author of the short story Sanguis Dei and the poetry collection: Light and Dark  

I have always loved deep forests and mountains. It seems natural, then, that when I
Wales
began to write stories I would set them in such green and mystical old places of the world. Some of the most inspiring images in my head are things I have seen in this world: the ancient woods of Wales, the deep canyons and caves in Pennsylvania and Arizona. There are wonders to behold in our very backyards that strike me as otherworldly.

I chose a place this month's Quill: Seqir, as the humans in Sons of the Dead call it. Yni'se Qir, or God's Land as the Seqirens themselves name it.

More specifically, I chose Yn Teyen, The Slash. The Slash is swampland where my main character Mikkayl Arrayn and his twin brother Ricoh grow up far too soon. It is both deadly and beautiful, dark and ruinous yet full of magical light. It is a land of contrasts that in it's very essence reflects the twins themselves.

I've come to love Seqir and The Slash more than I ever imagined I would. I've discovered that amazing creatures live there. The Kel Dahys'en: the Forest Dancers, a breed of horse as maneuverable in dense woods as the hart, but sturdy and with tremendous stamina. In the darkest parts of Yn Teyen lurk the kathraul'en, nightmare servants made from the depths of a mage's broken mind. In this land dwells spectacular magic, and resilient people. It is my hope with the brief glimpse these images provide that you will be intrigued and desire to explore the land of Seqir even as I and the Arrayn brothers are still exploring it. I dearly hope that you will come to love it too.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Hero's Call

Today is our Independence Day. As you enjoy the barbeque and the fireworks, be safe and remember those who fought hard for your freedom. Thank a soldier today and hug your children.

This is also my father's birthday. He was an amazing man. I have written about him before. The Fourth is like that for me, a day of remembering. I am thinking of him today.

This month: Freedom.


ЖЖЖ

To begin our Quills topic, we have a guest author!

RAYMOND BOLTON
Author of  Awakening, the Ydron Saga
Ray's Website

Here is a taste of what Ray has to say:

Freedom is a difficult concept to wrap one’s mind around. It doesn't refer to things one is permitted to do. The possibility that permission can be revoked implies constraint, and constraint implies license. One who is licensed is on a tether and tethers can be yanked, or tied to something. On the other hand, lack of all constraints whatsoever leaves open the possibility of trampling on the rights or freedom of others, and such acts lead to consequences. Consequences, of course, are tethers. So are laws. And since we live within a society, and society is governed by laws, it begs the question how can anyone be truly free?

Read more on Robin Lythgoe's Blog.

ЖЖЖ


ROBIN LYTHGOE
Author of As the Crow Flies and two short stories
Robin's Website

Freedom...  As tough to grab onto as a cloud, but weighty as the earth itself. As Raymond pointed out, it's a difficult concept to pin down.

"To be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." --Nelson Mandela

Right away we see that freedom does not, cannot, exist by itself ... (read more!)

ЖЖЖ

PATRICIA REDING
Author of Oathtaker
Patricia's Website

As today is July 4, it is appropriate to give thought to the concept of freedom. What is it? What does it mean to me? How does it play into my fantasy novel, Oathtaker?

Dictionary.com defines freedom in several ways ... (read more!)


ЖЖЖ

KRISTIE KIESSLING
Author of the short story Sanguis Dei and the poetry collection: Light and Dark  

I love the 4th of July. Not just because of the BBQs or the fireworks. In fact, my dog hates the fireworks, and runs to me for comfort. Her fear is a reasonable thing and though she doesn't understand, she points to one of the reasons we send those rockets skyward. The colorful explosions inspire us and are a visceral reminder of the noise and smoke of battle. We oooh and ahhh, but the cannon-loud "duds" that made me cover my ears as a child, while designed to be beautiful, also make me soberly recall those who have gone before.

Thankfully, because of men like my father and uncles and my oldest brother (and probably yours, too) most of us will never know these fears up close. The honorable men who journey to foreign soil to hold tyranny at bay go to protect their families and their homes and something we can't see or touch. I don't know what it was like for them to be under the guns, on the shores, in the trenches though I have heard tales both frightening and humorous. My keenest imaginings are merely a shadow of what occurred there. How then can I be so touched, so moved by celebrations across the nation? The practical application of the sacrifice of these good men is that I am free. Free to write, to speak and to dream up whatever mayhem I can conjure. What they put on the line for freedom, their very lives, I see as the ultimate expression of love.

"No greater love has any man than this--that he will lay down his life for his friends." Sounds like sacrifice, but that is precisely the point. It is the deepest sort of freedom to let go of fear and do what is right because it is right. This truth shapes my life. It intricately shapes the characters I create. My heroes fight to preserve freedom and they struggle against oppression. They do it because I have seen it in action. We are in this world together and we must stand up for those that are not strong enough to do so for themselves. That is the hero's call.

May your celebrations be full with remembering and with the joy that comes from freedom.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Social Media Spotlight

Thanks for joining me and my fellow writers for:

ЖЖЖ


ЖЖЖ

Good morning! How are you? Please, let me know in the comments how your May went, I'd love to know. I am still pounding out my first draft of the first book in the Sons of the Dead series. Some of the characters are giving me grief, but that's how my characters can be. Especially the "borrowed" ones like Ricoh, Mikkayl's twin brother. I'll have to explain that one of these days, but sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. That is where this month's Quills comes in.

As promised, we're beginning a new Quarterly Quill Feature: Social Media Spotlight. This month, we're talking about Pinterest and what a clever and valuable tool it can be for writers and readers alike. If you've never heard of Pinterest, here's how Wikipedia describes it:
Pinterest is a visual discovery tool that people use to collect ideas for their different projects and interests. People create and share collections (called “boards”) of visual bookmarks (called “Pins”) that they use to do things like plan trips and projects, organize events or save articles and recipes. There is also a like feature to save certain pins that may not fit with a board. The site was founded by Ben Silbermann, Paul Sciarra and Evan Sharp. It is managed by Cold Brew Labs and funded by a small group of entrepreneurs and investors.
I'll let you enjoy what the other Quills Authors have to say and I'll meet you at the end of the piece.

Enjoy!

ROBIN LYTHGOE
Author of As the Crow Flies and two short stories
Robin's Website



Authors + Readers + Pinterest = Connection and Creation

I love Pinterest (http://www.pinterest.com). If you haven’t been to the site, it’s an awesome visual discovery tool. Sometimes I spend more time on the site than is practical, but it’s such a nifty, exciting site for so many reasons: You can admire beautiful pictures, learn amazing things, find heart-warming photos and stories, laugh at memes, and collect all kinds of ideas. ALL kinds.

For readers and writers it’s an excellent place to share ideas.

As an author, I gather visual story research: interesting places and people, buildings, maps, customs… The neat thing about this is that readers can look through these pictures and gain some insight about the world where a book is set. How cool is that? Check out my board for “As the Crow Flies” and you—yes, you!—can see what Crow and Tanris look like. You can see the moors they crossed, and the dragons atop the temple pillars. Go look, I’ll wait. Here’s the link: http://www.pinterest.com/robinlythgoe/novel-as-the-crow-flies/.

I also have inspiration boards for characters, landscapes, armor, castles, dragons (of course), and fantasy-related things. When the reader looks at these pictures I’ve collected, they get a peek into the way I’m thinking. What’s more, they can contribute, too, and get involved in the process of creation. How? Pinterest has it covered. They’ve provided a button at the top of a pin (picture) that says “Send.” Click on it, add a message giving your thoughts (“This would fit as the temple in Hasiq perfectly!”), and type in the author’s name or email address. Voilá. Couldn’t be easier. And many authors have a “follow me on Pinterest” link on their websites, so you can track them down even when they’re using tricky names.

I love looking at the pictures people send to me and hearing their ideas. It’s wonderful to discover how they’re seeing things, and it’s a great help for developing even more stories. So what do you think the Temple of Nadimesh looks like? Show me! I can’t wait to see!

ЖЖЖ

PATRICIA REDING
Author of Oathtaker
Patricia's Website


ЖЖЖ
KRISTIE KIESSLING
Author of the short story Sanguis Dei and the poetry collection: Light and Dark  



I have a bulletin board in my office. One glance at it and I can SEE college class schedules letting me know who is where any time of the day. I don't have to rifle through manilla folders in a file drawer for my dog's next vet appointment. I can always see the flower my daughter made for me when she was ten, the pictures of my kids I don't put in frames, the doohickeys and special things I like to keep in view. I even have an embroidery hoop and one of those magnetic gyro rail toys pinned to it.

My Pinterest boards are like that. If you look at my open boards you will see some of the many and varied things that I like to keep "before my eyes." I use this amazing tool to supplement my writing much the way Robin does (we are partners in this game, after all). I follow many white rabbits and fall down many virtual rabbit holes to leap out in places I never imagined I'd wind up. That is its beauty. As a writer, I see things in my head in brilliant technicolor before I write them down. Sometimes whole stories flash by and I can't type fast enough. I express myself in written words, but I think in images, in scenes and facial expressions and Pinterest helps me capture them. I have always wished that I could let others see just exactly what is in my head. Pinterest lets me do that. It also lets me wander the minds of artists who post their work on their boards. I can utilize their talents to show others how I see things in my stories and promote their work at the same time.

The process of discovery that goes along with the mechanics of saving pins to my boards is akin to working with art directors, special effects geniuses and award winning maestros. I am the producer and Pinterest my secretary. To pin is even easier than saying, "take this down." One image can be a place marker for reams of information. It's free to use and it is absolutely fantastic. I've only just begun to explore the endless realms of possibilities.

As for the trouble I mentioned that my characters are giving me--if you look at the faces of the twin brothers on my Sons of the Dead board, you might understand why.