Monday, February 8, 2016

Life, The Universe and Everything

This weekend Thursday the 11th, Friday the 12th and Saturday the 13th are LTUE
a supremely awesome genre centered writing conference. Held in the Provo Marriott, its conveniently close to home (and where I'll be for World Horror Con this April). I don't know of any other writers con where you can rub shoulders with so many greats at one time, and of course I am also a guest and speaking at 8 different panels myself.

I linked the schedule above but for clarity here is my own

from 1pm to 2pm - Non-Tolkien-derivatives, Beyond noble elves and burly dwarves in the Amphitheater
and from 6pm to 8pm I'll be co-hosting Sibyl’s Scriptorium Contests Award Ceremony

from 10am to 11am Sympathy for the Devil (writing great villains)
from 12pm to 1 pm Screenwriting (which will be more of me faking it til I make it)
from 3pm to 4 pm Horror Games: Incorporating Theme Effectively
from 4pm to 5 pm Conan the Barbarian and the adventure fiction of Robert E Howard (finally one I feel pretty damn confident about!!!)

from 1pm to 2pm Greek Mythology in the Modern Day
from 2 pm to 3 pm Coffee, Tea, and Revolutions

These are all writing related so I can use writing related chops, but I was surprised I was flagged for the Horror Games and Screenwriting tracks, I've read and researched both but I sure don't want to come off as a clown who doesn't know his stuff on these two.

And what I like most of all on these type things is the camaraderie of hanging with other cool writers who Ii consider friends. In this day and age its hard to get together with people anymore and I don't see old friends like I did way back when so these events are nice to mingle and laugh in person with folks.

One fine day, I'd like to make it out where you my regular blog readers are at! Til next time.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

YOR: The Hunter From the Future

I saw this when I was a kid and because it was part of that 80's craptastic fantasy revival its always been in the back of my head to see it again and the other night, Amazon Prime obliged me.

Opening with a theme song about Yor, that sounds like it was a rejected Yes track, I was sure that they chose a place with the most phallic looking rocks possible. Took me awhile to find a screen shot online, that still doesn't do it disturbing justice.

Yor played by Reb Brown (70's Captain America, Space Mutiny-which I just watched via Mystery Science Theater 3000) oh and he was Blaster, in Uncommon Valor - a movie I actually like.

Anyhow he shows up just in time to save the damsel in distress and her dad? from an enraged triceratops. After he kills it with a few good whacks in the head with his ax, he tells them to help him with the best cuts of meat. All in a days work for our hero.

Later the bad caveman attack and take the girl, so Yor and her dad go after them. Rather conveniently Yor kills a bat/pteranadon some winged beastie I never got a good look at and he hang glides into the bad cavemen's open cavern. Unbelievable as that was it is still better than Ator's similar maneuver in Cave Dwellers. Then he has to run with the girl - I'm spacing her name but she was a Bond girl in Moonraker (so she has done better movies)  and they cross a defile
and then run up the cavern past the death god altar and LO! There is a dam at the top of the cavern so that Yor can break it down and flood out the pursuing baddies. Pretty damn convenient.

Later he gets word that there is a goddess who has a similar medallion to his, so he goes in search of her to learn who he is.
Of course its not that hard to find said blonde wench and she tells him the little that she knows before she lets him and the girl and her dad know they are to be sacrificed. And then they escape, not much to go on here it is a sad movie.

Moving along they go to a beach and rescue some peaceful villagers there from some monster then discover that the people had to deal with some kind of futuristic attack and left behind technology nobody understands and say it comes from some kinda forbidden island and so of course Yor is going there.

So moving along, they go to the island, get attacked by some black wannabe Darth Vader bots, find out a guy named the Overlord is behind it and that he = Yor now, is actually one of these futuristic peoples and that his father took him and crash landed in the barbaric wastes. So after a brief incarceration and struggle against the Overlord, Yor triumphs and flies away and the movie ends on the question of will Yor be able to save the remaining members of humanity from destroying themselves through nuclear annihilation?

In hindsight, my memory of watching it on video with my Dad when I was maybe 10 made it a better movie than it really was, but whadaya do? Also, its funny how most of these movie posters make for better entertainment than the actual movie, the story you think you will see always tops what yu get with these = Deathstalker, Barbarian Queen etc etc.

I also watched Fire and Ice with my boys recently and they loved it.

I thought it had its moments but sure wasn't profound by any stretch, I can only hope the upcoming live action one is a little better. I still have hope for S&S cinema.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Doing the Work or Status Report

I had a goal to try and get something in to the Angry Robot open door, and I almost made it. (It closed yesterday)

I guess I did make it as far as the writing goal is concerned but I wasn't satisfied with my edits yet and didn't want to rush something out there that wasn't up to par yet.

Angry Robot would be a great company to get published with, but I'm going to finish my edits etc and start pitching the book to agents.

The book itself is In My Time of Dying. I started it this last summer, only intending a novella or a short novel and it grew and grew, and my wife and I talked about the commercial appeal and so I put it on hold to do another pet project Whispers Out of the Dust but now I'm back at it and I'm going to make this one helluva fun action adventure novel, with a little bit of Steampunk and whole lot of occultic magicks. I was born out of jamming to Led zeppelin and thinking of my own story to go with it.

I think if it as True Grit meets The Prestige. I need to come up a great synopsis and pitch and all but in a nutshell, its has dueling sorcerers, I'll hold ff on you the reader knowing which one would be the good or bad guy. Our heroine, Eliza Dee gets recruited in San Francisco 1875 to valet or transport one of them, she also gets Porter Rockwell to be her muscle (as my regular readers may know, I've done a lot with Porter in weird westerns and this touches on that but he is a supporting character here) I utilize a  lot of real 1875 historical persons and events, which for me is fun.

It is kind of a road trip action adventure book and I'm excited for it, but when it comes out who knows?

Also I've spent a good bit of time this year so far on my tale for the forthcoming Redneck Eldritch, a twisted companion to the earlier Space Eldritch books. At first I was like what? I don't wanna do that, but then I thought about how much I loved Sam Peckinpah's CONVOY when I was a kid, so I'm running with that and doing a twisted Trucker in the Dreamlands tale. Its bigger than I planned it is a full blown novella, so IF for some reason, Nathan Shumate of Cold Fusion Media does't like it/doesn't fit the theme well enough, I'll self pub it and give him a shorter darker tale.
Because I did have an awful lot of fun with this one too, my two main characters channeled a lot from the Big Lebowski and that's just the way it came.

That's just a promo cover, I expect we'll have the fabulous Carter Reid do another but I don't know much other than I have read a few of my co-authors tales and they are top notch!

Monday, January 25, 2016

A Discourse in Steel

A Discourse in Steel, by Paul S. Kemp

 Sequel to The Hammer and the Blade, A Discourse in Steel tops it! Picking up not too long after events in THaTB, we have Egil ad Nix trying to go legit and quit their not completely legal ways. But it can go hard when you're looking out for the ladies you saved last time around and they run afoul of the Thieves Guild and become marked for death. I don't want to give away too much but its an original set up and at the same time has some that universal roguish/reluctant hero charm.

The action is top notch and I love Kemp's gift of language, his characterizations AND he has some of the best prose going. It is perfect for mood and atmosphere in the sword and sorcery genre.

ADiS also ups the world-building and we see a lot more of the expanse and historical events far beyond our protagonists. It all wraps up in a surprising but satisfying conclusion and I can't recommend it enough!

Everyone that enjoys S&S = Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, Conan the Barbarian etc will go on a helluva ride with this one.

I'm looking forward to reading Kemp's Lords of the Sith and the
forthcoming Egil and Nix book, A Conversation in Blood. I'm sharing all the covers here because they are all good.

Oh yeah, I do enough driving around that I got thru about half the book thanks to the audio book narrated by Nick O'Dell who does a fantastic job of reading/performing the varied voices.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Half the World

Half the World, by Joe Abercrombie

I'm a huge Ambercrombie fan. He has a way of writing things that you think must turn out one way and then sets them on their ear and yes, it was right and plausible and not forced at all and he delivers that time and again.

This is the second installment of the Shattered Sea trilogy and we meet new characters including Thorn Bathu, Brand, Skiffer and Empress of the South, Vialine; and of course some great characters from the first book Half A King, Yarvi, now chief minister of the kingdom of Gettland and Grom Gilgorrim the Breaker of Swords.

Events set years earlier in the first book are now coming to fruition and Thorn, a warrior woman is forged and honed to the deadliest edge. She is instrumental in Abercrombies intriguing way of tying things together. As always Abercrombie has great doses of hard bitten wisdom and dark humor, these and wonderful similes make him one of my favorite writers.

Its strange to say that while this might be one of his weaker books it is still head and shoulders above so many others in the current fantasy line up. A low point for Abercrombie is still peaks above the rest. Don't let my awkward complaint dim my enthusiasm, I'm looking forward to the next book Half A War which will bring to a head all the machinations and tempers that have been brewing and I'll bet its gonna be a great one.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Gods in Darkness

I met my goal of releasing 12 projects in 12 months - one exactly every month in 2015.

The final one was my new anthology of new and previously released sci-fi horror materia titled Gods in Darkness - get it HERE

Some of these stories might be familiar - the titular novella was released just over three years ago in Space Eldritch, and several new tales follow that same strange semi-lovecraftian vein. I also wrote some dark poetry that I put in as some spacers between the short stories. Some of it is pretty weird and I sometimes wondered what was running through my head when I wrote those lines and yet, I also felt like letting the Muse take me where she would. So in some respects it makes me feel vulnerable putting that kinda weird out there - so I haven't promoted it all that much by comparison to earlier books like Whispers Out of the Dust, and LO what to my surprise do I find as I'm putting this blog post together but Gods in Darkness is already in the top 100 Anthologies on Amazon!

Makes a writer who does struggle with - nobody cares about what I write feel pretty good.

Thanks to whomever you are out there getting a copy. I do suspect its some of you guys (My handful of blog readers)

As for just a little more of my motivations for this antho: granted at least half of it is previously released and I wanted to meet my goal for the year, but also I love those old pulp collections with a variety of stuff like Wolfshead  and the Cthulhu Mythos. I have several stories kicking around but decided to keep them all on a science fiction kick and am saving my weird western and fantasy type tales for some other project - (one weird western/aliens tale did go into Gods in Darkness- but I decided I no Porter Rockwell tales would make it into this one - so it was rewritten).

So I had this one keep to a theme as it were. Thanks again and Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

What a Year its Been

Where to begin?

My daughter Athena was born this last august and she is doing amazing!

I accomplished a lot this year writing wise, I've had a personal goal for some time to have something creative of mine come out every single month in a year and I've finally done it.

Granted six months out of the year it was my ongoing serial, Walking Through Walls in the pages of Utah Geek Magazine but that is still more than 15,000 words in a novella getting in front of thousands of people locally - I'm hoping it pays off in the long run with some local fanbase - between you - my regular blog friends (because you are) I  haven't seen much in the way of that working out yet, but I'll at least finish the novella and self-pub it and I'm pretty damn happy with it.

Those other six months saw several collections of my stories and a new weird anthology project that I never planned on doing until right before I did it - Whispers Out of the Dust. That was the fastest I ever wrote in my life yet. about 56K in four weeks, eventually cut down to 53K but still.
I also released, The Mad Song in January and The Hand of Fate in June. I was a part of an improv  rock/spoken word album with the Freestyle Gargoyles II - my song was 'Read Em and Weep', and I've heard good things by those that heard it. I also contributed a few stories to an anthology put together by some writer friends - 5 Blades. 
And just in time to still meet my goal, I just put up on Kindle and Create Space - Gods in Darkness, a collection of sci-fi horror and prose. It has a 4 previously released stories and a few new ones and some dark poetry with a Lovecraftian flavor. I'll put up another post when I can actually see it on Amazon.

I also attended some great cons and will do so this coming year to an even greater degree - so good things are coming.

All the best to the rest of you and have a great New Year!