Monday 30 June 2014

Starting on the Woodwork

Thought I’d get one last post in for June, since I’ve managed a few this month. I didn’t get as much done this Sunday as I would have liked, for various reasons. 

One being the need to take some faulty goods back on Sunday morning – and transport on a Sunday is not good taking twice as long to get anywhere. 

After that it was a game of dodge the showers in order to use the garden table to cut the strips of wood for the beams used to build the framework for the ground floor. These beams are made from the old firework rocket sticks stored up since last year.

I started to fill in the panels that are just going to be planking using the good old fashion coffee sticks, but the panels where windows are going to go I’ve left for the time being.  Hopefully I’ll get a chance later in the week to get this basic set of features completed for the ground floor.

Previous article in this series: Piece #7 the Corner Tower.

Sunday 29 June 2014

Piece #7 the Corner Tower

A quick update from Friday evening, which provided a little time to continue the latest building work. Before I can start putting the wooden beams and planking around the ground floor there is one last piece of the framework to be added. This is the corner tower. 

This has now been attached and the DAS stonework extended around the base to meet up. With the exception of the stone pillar that will support the other corner this is the ground floor structure complete.

The rest of the light granted by the long summer days allowed me to use the garden table to finish the tiles on the main roof structure. This allows me to throw away the remaining biscuit boxes I had put by to allow me to keep the same cardboard for all the tiles.

Next article in this series:
Starting on the Woodwork
Previous article in this series:

Monday 23 June 2014

Mystery Model Takes Shape - Part Two

And the second session on the Mystery Model from Sunday.

Rear view of ground floor
The next piece to get my attention is numbered #4 in the grand scheme of things.

As you can probably guess this is the main roof for the building. Made in the same way as the last roof pieces from foam–board sides with an old cardboard envelope used as the main roof section. I used the existing fold in the cardboard at the apex of the roof. This made cutting the shape and size a bit easier since you are cutting both sides at once from the edge of the envelope.

Roof showing various stages of building

Each of the chimneys is made from two pieces of foam-board off cuts glued together with a V cut at the same angle as the roof slope. These were glued on before I tiled up to them, but were held in place with a couple of pins to allow be to continue work on them.

I then covered them in the DAS putty spread that I had reduced the old block down to, and like the walls, once semi dry I carved in the stones. The tiles are just more of the same small squares cut from the remains of the same biscuit box used previously.

Now comes the exciting bit. Piece #2. Seen here in all its glory. First Floor.

Piece #2 Which up does it go?

I fooled myself when I marked this piece up. I wrote the details and number on upside down. It took me a while to figure out when I went to glue it in place what was wrong. Then it struck me, it was upside down. What seemed to be the top was the bottom, once I had this figured out I was able to glue it in place. This is the main part of the first floor of the building. I wanted to get this in place before I put the wood work on the exterior of the ground floor so that they sit snugly in place.

Piece #2 now fixed in place

(Oh & BTW -  it appears that the local council do not care that they have missed collecting the garden waste from an entire street and we now have to wait another 2 weeks before they can be bothered to have another attempt  - just thought you’d like to know.)

Next article in this series: Piece #7 the Corner Tower.
Previous article in this series: Mystery Model Takes Shape

Sunday 22 June 2014

Mystery Model Takes Shape

This Sunday was quite a nice day, and since our beloved council failed to collect the garden waste from my street this week my wheelie bin is full preventing me from taking on another of the overgrown bushes. This meant I spent the day working in the garden in a different capacity. Up went the sunshade and out came the Mystery Model. I still have not found the original plans I drew up for this, which went walkies sometime during the winter months when my attention was elsewhere. Fortunately I had taken some photos of the original foam-board construction when I had pieced it together, so I have those for reference still. The advantage of these smart phones where we simply photograph just about anything that does not move these days. (What is with all those plates of food on Facebook and Twitter?)

Piece #1
Anyway I digress. I got a couple of sessions done on the Mystery Model along with a period of rewrites for the final installment in Karl’s story. The Beta Readers are sending their feedback through and I’m responding accordingly.

But you want to know more about the model. Piece number 1 came into play today. This is the main body of the ground floor of the building. It was marked out with a row about 3cm high which has been covered in DAS Putty. 

One of the two corner pieces attached

The reclaimed putty has been turned into something of a paste and with a little PVA glue it has been spread over the bottom part of the ground floor. Once it had dried out a little, I carved the stone effect in. I will certainly be taking the advice offered by Greg, when he commented on the last model post. I had kept it wrapped in its original foil but it was not sealed and not kept in the refrigerator either.  I will certainly remember this for the next packet I open, but I think it’s just a little late for this one. But it is still being used to good effect.

Piece number 5 also stepped forward today. This is the front reception area. It was attached to the front and the brickwork brought round the sides. Pieces 13 & 14 from the other week were attached to the rear of the ground floor making most of the base framework complete. 

There are still a couple of pieces to add yet to really finish the structure of the ground floor.

To allow me to continue working on the model whilst the glue holding the pieces together dried I held them all in place with the old favorite Dressmakers Pins. 

Mystery Model takes shape

Next article in this series: Mystery Model takes Shape - Part Two
Previous article in this series: Mystery model parts #13 & #14

Tuesday 17 June 2014

Gag Reel and Fight Director

Trapped in Karl's dungeon whilst
editing book three
I’m now in full edit mode for book 3 of Karl’s trilogy, which is keeping me from the model table at the moment. There are three parts to the final book, and part one has come back from the read through crew and the proof reader along with a selection of comments. Despite my own initial attack at the printed page with a red pen there have still been some interesting typos that have come to light.

This has got me thinking, maybe on here or on Karl’s Facebook page I might present a book’s equivalent of a Gag Reel that features on the extra’s of many TV boxsets.  It’s amazing just how one missing letter can change the meaning of a sentence and since the word is genuine it would not be picked up by a spell checker.

Just one example of an edit found in book 3, and I’m picking this one since it does not give any spoilers away.

“...whilst the surrounding buildings had been allowed to gather the grim of years.”

Guess what TV series I might have been watching recently?
This is just one; others have raised even my eyebrows when I saw them.

Old way with figures.
The other area of note is the rewrite of the last chapter.  Initial feeling was that the final battle didn't quite give it enough punch.  Reading a fight or battle in a novel is not the same as watching it on screen.  Several blows get traded on the screen quickly and the action moves fast, but different camera angles and fast cuts making each move fresh and exciting. In a book a detailed blow by blow account would become quite monotonous even with the aid of a brilliant thesaurus.  Now in the past I have used some of the models and lead figures to block the movements of characters before committing pen to paper. However in this instance I needed to go further afield and call in the help of an expert.

Yes, in the credits of this book there is now a Fight Director.  

I’m not going into the details of who is fighting who, since that would give much of the story away. But I required a bit more guidance on how the fight could work since I had armed my characters with an eclectic collection of weapons, which did not make the fight technically easy to choreograph so that it would be believable.  However I am now certain that with the help of Andy this finally works and the conclusion to the adventure is far better than it would otherwise have been.

So allow me to introduce my Fight Director, Andrew Ashenden. He has devised fights for tv and stage and taught in several prestigious drama schools, but he had to admit this was the first time he had been asked to help with a fight scene for a novel.  

Notice I said novel and not book, since he has also written two books on the subject of stage combat.

Wednesday 4 June 2014

Countdown Continues

Well the countdown deal  on Karl’s first two volumes is now in full swing, the first book remains at 99p/$1.66 until Saturday night when it returns to its full price, the second has just stepped up to the mid price range £1.99/$3.34 where it will remain until Saturday night. 


Quite a few people have taken advantage of the offer even though the Countdown deals do not seem to be widely publicised by Amazon.  Don't miss out on this chance as these deals don't come round very often. Also Amazon Prime customers can still borrow the books for free on their Kindles.

Just go to or and search for "Karl Axilion" or follow the links in the previous post.

Latest news on book 3 – the original handwritten draft, yes somewhere in the region of 344,000 words all scribbled out in longhand have been typed up, reviewed and is now undergoing proof reading and review with the read through team. There have already been some interesting developments which I’ll talk about in a later post.

Some people do ask why I don't just type up the work instead. For me the creative flow comes from putting pencil to paper. If I’m typing like I’m doing now for this blog and I mystipe something up pops the red underline or whatever colour Word throws up for grammar and punctuation and I feel compelled to go back and correct. 

This breaks the creative part of my brain which is trying to get the story out, by handwriting I can get it to paper and then step back and tidy up and make corrections during the transcription process. I can also write anywhere using a note book providing I have my pencil and a sharpener. They are much lighter than the laptop and the battery capacity on the old thing is not up to much these days. I know there are new super fangled gadgets out there now but hey I’ve just stopped using a quill give me a break.

Greetings from Miltonburg.
For more postcards from Miltonburg why not LIKE Karl's page on Facebook.

Monday 2 June 2014

Mystery model parts #13 & #14

The hard brick of DAS putty has spent some time soaking and once it became soft enough I was able to break it down and use it again. 

So time to get started again on the mystery model. 

I’ve misplaced the note book with the designs in but I still know how the model goes together. 

Two ground floor corner pieces are going to be stone work. (These are #13 & 14 on the plan.)

I smothered the pieces with PVA glue then spread the putty over. 

Left it a few minutes to dry out slightly then carved the stone pattern into semi dry putty, then left them to dry out.

It’s not much, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Next article in this series: Mystery Model Takes Shape
Previous article in this series: New Mystery Model, parts #9, #16 & #18

Sunday 1 June 2014

Karl’s Clock is Ticking

As the third and final part of the Karl Trilogy goes into its second draft now is a good time to join the adventure, especially since this week both volumes are available in the Kindle store on the Kindle CountdownDeals.

Kindle countdown deals start low then the price slowly rises back up to the original price during the run of the deal.  So why not try something new for summer.

Book 1 will run for 99p on Amazon UK and for $1.66 on for the whole week, you have until Saturday night.

Book 2 starts at the same price as book 1 but only for a couple of days before it rises to £1.99 ($2.65 approx*) on Tuesday night, then remains at that price until the end of the deal next Saturday night.

(*) I don’t  have the exact US price step available to me since I am UK based.

A postcard from Miltonburg

PS I’ll be posting an update to the mystery model quite soon.