Monday, March 28, 2011

Rolling in the Deep

I just heard this song by Adele: Rolling in the Deep last Thursday, and the title grabbed me-so I had to steal it for a short story. The short has nothing to do with the song in any way shape or form, I just like the title that much.

I came at the story itself pondering how much I dislike the Superman complex-the idea of a character being invulnerable, it leaves you nowhere to go. The only Superman graphic novel I own is Death of Superman because something previously unexpected happens = he dies!

So I was pondering this while working on a couple different drafts for Porter stories-the problem with Porter is he can't be harmed by bullet or blade (that's a historical fact regardless of anything else), so how do I create tension with a man who can't be cut or shot? You have to find weakness/suffering/pain somewhere.

For example the very best Wolverine stories are when Magneto pulled the adamantium out of him. His healing factor doesn't work and no cutting through anything = most challenging stories.
see Wolverine #75 thru to around #110 (best run ever *before the relaunch)

It has made me get a little creative with some of the foes Porter has battled, but worrying over some of these scenarios being accidentally repeated, I started taking some historical truths about the man and pushing into the speculative realm a little. Everything always still theoretically possible-just speculative.

Throw in a bit of weird I had been pondering anyway, being shanghaied, & my sons always suggesting colossal squids (they are the ruler of the deep after all) and I am very excited for this tale to be told.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Read as of Late

The Haunted Mesa, by Louis L'Amour

This is one of my three to five favorite L'Amour's. It has been quite some time since I gave it a read. Long enough that a whole lot more hits home now.

While the nearly modern day novel is also L'Amours most speculative work (so far as I know-let me know if there is one that top's it) I believe he threw an awful lot into it that was also his own opinion about ancient mystery (and my own as well). Haunted Mesa also isn't the only novel he did that with, I recall he mentioned in To the Far Blue Mountains a character finding a Roman coin in early America-he hinted that it wasn't necessarily from a Roman but at least someone who traded with them. And again in Haunted Mesa, while it has discussions on dimensions and such, there was a lot about the Mound Builders and what happened to their civilization? That perhaps the standard academia had missed some things.

At the top of page 180
There had been excavations at Cahokia Mound, at Hopewell, and other places, as well as speculation about the Mound Builders, but much had been ignored that did not fit the accepted theory. Too many workers in the field were inclined to ignore, as an intrusion, anything that did not fit previously conceived ideas. It was time for all such ideas to be set aside and for each bit of evidence to be examined with a completely open mind.

Anyway, so far as gripping action story and prose, L'Amour is tops-but a reread of this great novel reminded me of some of our shared thoughts and wonderment. The very same kind of stuff that Heroes of the Fallen and Blood of Our Fathers were born from.

Hellboy: Strange Places, by Mike Mignola

So Hellboy has left the B.P.R.D. and is out there trying to find himself. I admit I was worried about where this angle of the story was going-but its good. The collection is several shorter stories woven together and I greatly enjoyed them all especially The Third Wish, a tale dedicated to Hans Christian Anderson-complete with a dreadful sea witch the Bog Roosh. The art is as always surreal and perfect for what it is-I don't know if anyone else could pull off so much shadow and feel like they are giving us so much detail. Excellent book overall.

B.P.R.D. Hollow earth & Other Stories by Mike Mignola and others

Now this is what was happening with the rest of the team since Hellboy quit. We get the introduction of Johann Kraus (he is in Hellboy 2 Golden Army). Now Liz Sherman has also been missing for some time and the team discovers that she is in peril in Tibet-action ensues. Malevolent beings from deep within the earth are about to do something bad and its up to the team -to work as a team and make things right-its actually a better story than I just made it sound, but you know...

Hawks of Outremer, by Robert E. Howard, adapted by Michael Alan Nelson and Damian Couceiro

The covers by Joe Jusko are fantastic. The interior art is good, not the best but certainly better than some of the old Marvel Conan's. We are in 1190 A.D. and our protag is Cormac Fitzgeoffrey, arguably the most Conan-like of all REH's other characters. He is in the Holy Land during the third crusade and he is out for revenge.

It's been awhile since I read REH's actual prose of Hawks, but I wasn't seeing any gratuitous over zealousness with fixing a story that ain't broke (see the Conan movie later this year for instance).

Hawks is a pretty straightforward historical action piece about revenge but because it is REH, it always does you one better. I love the appearance of Saladin at the end (and I love that they made him look like Ghassan Massoud as Saladin in the film Kingdom of Heaven, Massoud's portrayal was one of my favorite things about the film.)

Mark Finn did a great afterword too.
I anxiously await BOOM Studio's doing another Cormac Fitzgeoffery tale. Fingers (and swords) crossed for The Blood of Belshazzar and after that how about Shadow of the Vulture too!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Strange Sights of the Week

The awesome work of Loopydave-more & link below

My kinda Seeing Eye Chart*thanks to Nathan Shumate

You have got to visit Loopydave's Deviant art site here to see if you can identify everything pictured.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Book Review: Star Scout Rising-First Trail

Star Scout Rising: First Trail by Gary Darby

This is the first in a trilogy of YA sci-fi adventure. We follow a couple story lines throughout but mainly that of young junior scout Del Baldura and his team-which were my favorite parts.

Del and his team mates are about to begin their final training mission when trouble with interstellar poachers arise-add to that the drama to overcome a bad family name/reputation. (I could have done without that trope-but still) The characters were different and yet easy to relate too. You feel like you are beside Del on his training mission in the jungle.

There was some exposition with other characters far away from the action, both good Starscout Command and bad guys Gadion Faction, some of those scenes tended to take a little longer than I would have liked and risked losing some momentum in the story. But I am also sure Darby is building foundation for things later in the trilogy-I just would have liked them tightened up.

Most of the chapters with Del however, move at a breakneck pace and Darby has captured the magic for ending a chapter and making you want to read on to the next. I had to force myself to put the book down a couple times.
Darby does an excellent job of world/universe building, I loved the little asides sprinkled throughout explaining this detail and that historical precedent. They flowed within the story very well and flavored the storytelling stew. The extraterrestrial creatures also come from a great imagination and add to the wonder of the saga. Love the Garther Ape (see the cover creature)

The ending seemed sudden and wasn't quite as satisfying as I would have liked-but I suppose I am being overly picky and it is a trilogy, so there is still the story continuation happening. Overall, I am sure this is a book my kids will greatly enjoy and I will be more than happy to pass it on to them.

You can order a copy here.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patty's Day

Happy St. Patricks Day

In honor of this one day that allows me to discuss going green without coming off like a tree hugger, I have chased all the snakes out of my backyard.

I will also have to watch a couple of my favorite Irish films.

Darby O'Gill and the Little People
and Boondock Saints
Have a frank and productive holiday (on a thursday).

Monday, March 14, 2011

Writing Role Models-Man Cave Authors Post

I have a new post up at the Man Cave Author Blog.

Just me, going on about writing role models, influences and differences - you know the drill.

Hope I have a little something edifying in there as well.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Strange Sights of the Week

Personally I would abide by the Ron Swanson pyramid from a couple weeks ago before I would even consider this one.

You will never picture bearback riding the same again.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Friday, March 4, 2011

Shadows & Light 2 : Book Review

Shadows & Light 2 is a fantasy anthology, that has a story of mine along with 12 others.

It opens pretty strong with Choices in the Dark, by Ray Tabler. It has a Nordic flavor while at the same time the hero of this piece is an Orc-you don't see that everyday and I like Tablers presentation. He catches your attention immediately-I don't want to give away anything more-because it had some good twists.

Master Race, by Gerald Costlow has Nazi's breaking into a fantasy dimension and the havoc an territorial dragon gives them.

Then there is my tale, The Hand of Fate ~ (the actual first pro short story I ever wrote) in case you missed an earlier mention-its about a desert warrior and his code of honor he must live up to-lot of action and sword fighting & Mongolian Death worms transplanted to my fantasy desert realm.

Azierian:The Secret in the Mist by Christopher Heath. This was probably my favorite story in the anthology (next to mine hehe). Heath has great prose and timing and it makes me want to track down more of his stuff which is set in the fantasy world of Azerian.

Mania's Children, by Gustavo Bondoni. I love the concept behind the struggle of Etruscan's against encroaching Romans (this has to be the first story I have read of that historical event) Bondini's writing is great-but I have to admit I really didn't like the ending of this tale~maybe that's why its the one I think about the most out of all of these, now that I have finished.

Champion, by Marc Sorondo is the next tale that juxtaposes fantasy and a at least semi-current setting (like Master Race) This involves a bit of a love story between a couple engaged and touring Europe. An evil sorcerer kidnaps the bride and the fiance must rescue her-to do so he defeats a dragon first which offers him great deal of help in the process. I was lost on the motivations of the sorcerer though.

Night Ambush, by Scott Harper and Diane Smith. I thought this had great pacing and prose, even while I anticipated the ending.

The Tithe of Hell, by Edward McKeown. I love the title and McKeown has flawless style-but I don't care too much for the modern day setting of fantasy tales. I may have missed something, but I had to keep wondering why the Double-D vampire chick was even helping the Templar knight against the gnomes and fairies? Just not my cup of tea.

The King of Sorango, by John Whalen. I liked this one a lot. The setting and characters reminded me of the old Sinbad movies I loved as a kid (and still do for that matter) The story had a great ending and I look forward to the next installment with Whalens S&S characters.

Zhea, by Gregory Norris. This story about a girl named Zhea is also a modern set piece and I had a very hard time getting into it.

Spread Your Wings and Die, by Lydia Sharp. Enslaved dragons are manipulated into being engines of war. I liked the use of copper (you'll have to read the story). Treachery, war, and a good twist at the end.

Son's of Odin, by John Richard Albers. Great prose and setting detailing the struggle of the Northern European pagans and the coming of Christianity in medieval Europe. Again I may have missed something, but the very last sentence made me go "Huh?"

Aquila's Ring, by Cat Rambo. This last tale left me a little torn. Rambo has very fine prose-some of the best in the book-but I just didn't care about the story itself.

Overall its a good fantasy collection and you can get it HERE. Support the Death Worms.

Quick aside in other news~ my novel Heroes of the Fallen has been discounted for the Kindle down to 2.99 ~ SO for the price of a Death Worm sandwich you could read more of me HERE.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hellboy: Reading Obsession of the Year

What can I say-when I'm on a kick, I'm on a kick.

Been reading more of the Hellboy graphic novels and getting kind of bummed that there are only a few more for me to track down and read.
Once I'm done with those I suppose I'll have to transfer to Mignola's B.P.R.D. (Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense) title. The only problem is I already know from Conqueror Worm that Hellboy ends up quitting the B.P.R.D. and is doing his own thing-as in the next few collections-Darkness Calls and The Wild Hunt.

Each of those 2 books are building toward something big and at times I almost wonder what is taking Mignola to get us there-don't get me wrong I am greatly enjoying the ride-Mignola and I after all have read a lot of the same books so its very cool to see where he gleaned inspiration-but its almost like I can see the end of the ride coming and its giving you that sinking feeling even though you are still flying high.

Another in the collection Masks & Monsters takes place before Hellboy quit the B.P.R.D. and is roughly two different tales. In the first he teams up ever so briefly with Batman and then Starman (I don't even know who that is) to stop a South American Nazi/Lovecraftian plot. Mignola did the art and its fantastic but the story itself, scripted by James Robison, was a little weaker. It has Batman (who I also like a lot) but he really brought nothing to the tale-it could have been anyone.

The second story was written by Mignola but drawn by Scott Benefiel-he's good but I prefer Mignoal's art. The twin 45's wielding heroine known simply as Ghost was the guest star this time around. I think I actually have Ghost issue#1 around somewhere. The tale itself was alright but almost too weird/gory (and thats me talking). So Masks & Monsters was kind of a trade off book and not as good as the regular series.

At the rate I'm going I may finish off the last few Hellboy graphics by next month-and like I said when I'm on a kick I'm on a kick.