Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Roar of the Crowd ~ R.I.P.

After waiting a couple of years for something to come of a tale that I was particularly fond of, I recieved the email that Rogue Blades Entertainment had to concede that Roar of the Crowd is dead. The Editor Jason Waltz has been overwhelmed with a number of issues and could not keep the project on hold continually.
(Ironic I posted this was still forthcoming last week on my birthday.)

So I now have Whispers of the Goddess back.

Looking it over and giving it a reread after sitting for so long, I definetly want to polish it up, not a lot but some. I am proud of what I put together in a white heat weekend to make the deadline for the antho and I was excited to be sharing the TOC with quite a few of people I call friends now among them...

Mbogo Returns ~ Milton Davis
Carcass and Mallet ~ Ty Johnston
Race to Dragonhead Rock ~ Bill Ward
For the Light ~ Gustavo Bondoni
Spirit of the Maya ~ Robert Waters
Winter’s Game ~ Kate Martin
The Last Refuge of Piyamaradu ~ Ryan Harvey
Up the Gladiators! ~ David Bischoff
Panathenaic ~ Bruce Durham
Naumachia Magic ~ Alva Roberts
Hard Crossing at Luhinmov Ford ~ Adrian Simmons
Love and Revolution ~ Jeff Draper
The Turul Spreads its Wings ~ Boglárka Takács
Whispers of the Goddess ~ David J. West
Ulemet’s Wager ~ Lyn Perry
The Dream Horn ~ Howard Andrew Jones
Shini-tai ~ C.L. Werner
Foreword ~ Michael Ehart

I'm thinking now that I'll likely throw my hat into the eRing and release the novella as an ebook. That means polish, polish, edit, edit, edit and a fantastic cover to boot. I'm gonna make a goal of september, just to have plenty of time to get some good help on all facets of this project.

Friday, June 22, 2012

39 & Turning Pro

I just finished Steven Pressfield's  The Art of War and Turning Pro and was quite moved-I highly recommend them for my writer friends and I'm also urging my wife to read them.

In a nutshell, Pressfield shares his experience to help the artist overcome resistance (anything that stops you from doing what you should be doing) and grow. To have the ambition to succeed and truly excel at one's ultimate goal requires a paradigm shift which he refers to as Turning Pro.

From Turning Pro ~ "Turning Pro is free, but it demands sacrifice. The passage from amateur to professional is often achieved via an interior odyssey whose trials are survived only at great cost, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. we pass through a membrane when we turn pro. it's messy and It's scary. We tread in blood when we turn pro."

I'm 39 today and taking stock of my writing career. Turning Pro is what I want and am doing, too long I have let my own distractions and self-doubts (a universal writers malady I believe) slow me down. Time to banish the shade I've let loom over myself and do the work I believe in.
As such, I need to look at what I have accomplished and be proud of that instead of beating myself up over what I haven't done yet. Time to live in the present and have joy.

My published works and awards so far.

April 2009:

LDStorymakers Writers Con - 1st place General Fiction First Chapter Contest

Dance the Ghost with Me

February 2010:

LDS Publisher Blog Short Story Contest

1st place Song of Saphir ~ 2nd place Covenant of the Scalp

April 2010:

WiDo Publishing ~ Heroes of the Fallen

October 2010:

IRON BOUND magazine issue #1 ~ Sailing to Valhalla

February 2011:

Shadows & Light II ~ The Hand of Fate

April 2011:

Monk Punk ~ Fistful of Tengu

May 2011:

Lovecraft eZine issue #4 ~ Curse the Child

October 2011:

Utah Geek Magazine issue #1 ~ Midnight Son’s part 1: Cold Comfort

November 2011:

Monsters & Mormons ~ Fangs of the Dragon

March 2012:

Sword & Sorcery Magazine #2 ~ Hel Awaits

June 2012:

Unnatural Tales of the Jackalope ~ Tangle Crowned Devil

July 2012:

Wandering Weeds ~ Garden of Legion

In Situ ~ The Dig

And in some indeterminate near future (these have already been accepted for publication)

Blood of Our Fathers

Roar of the Crowd ~ Whispers of the Goddess

Challenge Discovery ~ The Serpents Root

The Evil Twin ~ The Cry of Carrion Birds

Dark Eclipse Magazine ~ A Good Home for the Spoon

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tying the Tales All Together

I love how some writers link a lot of the stories in their own universe together.

Robert E. Howard does it (the Ring of Set turns up in tales all through time)
Stephen King does it (The Dark Tower saga)

And I love the concept so much that while I have thought on it at length (already in my own mind some of my tales do connect in the same universe) I have yet only briefly mentioned points that touch.

But in the current tale I am working on, Cold Slither - a weird western with Porter Rockwell, it directly relates to another project The Bastard Prince an adventure historical that is itself very loosely based on the Welsh Prince Madoc ~ (and how I think Conan of the Isles should have been done) and if you read between the lines they link to Heroes of the Fallen/Blood of Our Fathers.

I never planned it that way, it just came about~but I have to admit that when I realized it was doing that on its own (the Muse, as Steven Pressfield calls it) I was excited.

While I am sure that some of my tales will never tie in to anything else, these in particular are beginning to weave together and its just something I as the creator/writer enjoy.

How about you?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Strange Sights of the Week

I lean Right on this one, just because...
 Meanwhile in the Superstion's

 Some TV series you migt want to watch

 George R.R. Martin - Master of Surprise

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Read Just Lately

Lost Cities & Ancient Mysteries of the Southwest, by David Hatcher Childress

The latest in the Lost Cities collection (I need to get the rest I'm missing) and this one is a doozy. Full of all the folktales, cryptids and legends that make the southwest mysterious and magical. As a fiction writer this is one of those books that is a must, an absolute goldmine of its own to grant inspiration and ideas. I had to keep stopping and taking notes whenever new ideas sprang into my head.

I can't recommend these Lost Cities books enough. I would have liked to have seen a little more of some of the legends I personally knew about from Utah/Arizona but then again I know those and a lot of the ones contained herein were new to me.

B.P.R.D. Garden of Souls vol.7, by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi and Guy Davis

The B.P.R.D. series was a little slow going to me in the beginning. I hungered for more Hellboy and that is what was denied me in this storyline with the rest of the characters. I have actually had most of the entire run for awhile now but wasn't super motivated to keep up the insatiable pace I did with Hellboy. That has started to change as I get farther on. The last collection Universal Machine was awesome and while I perhaps didn't like Garden of Souls quite as much it is still a serious page turner.

Abe follows strange clues that lead him to the jungles of Indonesia and we find out a whole lot more about Captain Daimio and this all ties into weird Dr. Moreau type creatures and awakening mummies.

Cahokia, by Timothy R. Pauketat

This gave me mixed feelings. On one hand it started out so very slow and tedious. I was disappointed that it had only a single map as far as graphics/illustrations --why not some of the artifacts it talks about so candidly? why not the fascinating Thebes Gap rock art panel-Its the oldest map in America! I had to hunt and hunt online to actually find the map-very, very cool. (And its only on pdf.) *[so hard I can't even find it again]

An awful lot contained is speculation and not even inspiring speculation-that the game chunkey somehow brought about the ancient American supercity? I find a sport doubtful (at best) at being what made the metropolis come together. Stories about the archaeologists themselves were what you might expect~ except for Preston Holder-he is awesome-he took a break from Cahokia for WW2 and convinced some retired headhunters/cannibals to get back into it and feed on the Japanese! Then after the war he went back to dig.

The last few chapters is what really made the book for me and I have to say that Pauketat is more open to the accomplishments of the ancient peoples than some more conservative diggers. I don't understand why some must deny that the ancients travelled all over the America's and traded everywhere, the evidence is there-get out of your box!

Snake Handlin' Man, by D.J. Butler (great cover by Carter Reid)

Book 2 in the Rock band Fights Evil series. There is no rest for the 'sort of' wicked. This time around our pulpy heroes are relaxing with a cup of java and such when a pregnant waitress gives birth to flying poisonous serpents, the same type mentioned in the bible that Moses had to ward off with his staff. In the RBFE series anything cropping up out of Hell is possible.

A number of Butler's fantastic fight scenes later we meet a snake handlin man and start to learn the awful truth about the snake worshipping cult of Apep. (I love that somebody is writing about Apep=Apophis besides me) These were some of my favorite moments in the book. The blending of myth, pseudo-Christian lore and just whacked out blues rock action.

I can't recommend these ebooks enough if you dig action packed occultic pulp!

The End of the Trail, by Robert E. Howard

I missed out on the Robert E. Howard weekend in Cross Plains, Texas again this year-I will make it one of these days when I can afford it. So I thought I would read the masters work again and this time around considering how many Porter tales I have been sending out, it felt best to read the westerns.

Favorites like The Dead Remember and The Man on the Ground I had read long ago. I also enjoyed Vultures of Wahpeton and I may stand alone but I lean toward the happy ending myself. To me the happier of the two possible endings does not take away from the impact of Corcoran's character nor any of the grimness overall. I couldn't help but think about the true tales of the west (dirty sheriffs like Henry Plummer) and how Vultures compares.

All in all Bison puts together a great collection that I know I will return time and again to.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Jackalope Roundup

My weird western "Tangle Crown Devil" is coming out shortly in Unnatural Tales of the Jackalope. Put together by John Palisano and Western Legends Publishing this promises to be truly strange horror collection--not the only one of mine coming soon ~Wandering Weeds as well, but for the moment I thought I'd list the TOC and see if any of you recognize some of these other contributors.

Here's the table of contents for our very first release, "Unnatural Tales Of The Jackalope", due out June 30th, 2012

The Lonliest Jackalope – Jeff Strand

Running With Jackalopes – Sèphera Girón

The Night My Jackalope and I Fought the Chupacabra –

Rick Pickman

Thumping– Rachel Towns

The Thing Inside – Kristi Petersen-Schoonover

Beware of the Danger – Brenda Knutson

The Mascot – Michael Bailey

... The Easter Jackalope – Jack Horne

Tangle Crowned Devil – David J. West

Miles and Miles Still – Eric S. Grizzle

New Jackalope City – Aaron J. French

Johnny Versus the Creatures – D.T. Griffith

Wayward Gulch – Erik Williams

Cautionary Tales – Abbie Bernstein

The Holy Carrot and the Horned Hare – Matt Kurtz

Declaration – Misty Dahl

The Jackalope and the Jellybean – Fawn

War Dance – Jezzy Wolfe

Same Kind Of Bad As Me – Dean M. Drinkel

Drawn To The Light Of Science – Mike McCarty
A couple of the names are familiar but I have only actually spoken/worked with Aaron J. French (MonkPunk editor among many others)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Doorway to Inspiration: Ray Bradbury

"People ask where do you get your ideas. Well right here. All this is my Martian landscape. Somewhere in this room is an African veldt. Just beyond perhaps is a small Illinois town where I grew up. And I'm surrounded on every side by my magicians toyshop. I'll never starve here. I just look around, find what I need, and begin. I'm Ray Bradbury, and this is" The Ray Bradbury Theater. "Well then, right now what shall it be. Out of all this what do I choose to make a story. I never know where the next one will take me. The trip, exactly one half exhilaration, exactly one half terror". ~ Ray Bradbury ~ August 22, 1920 - June 6, 2012

While I generally talk about my fantasy writerly influences Tolkien, Howard, Wagner etc etc; when I really stop and think about it, Ray Bradbury has shaped how I live my life (and work) more so than even they. And it is the above quote that sparked that.

When I was a kid I used to watch the Ray Bradbury Theater on HBO (two seasons 85-86) and every episode opened with Mr. Bradbury in his office narrating that opening before it would launch into whichever story it was. I loved that, I was so taken with that doorway to inspiration.

My grandfather had an eclectic Dr.'s office and Mr. Bradbury's was even more fascinating from the glimpse I saw for maybe thirty seconds and I said, "someday, I'll have that too."

And I am still working on this doorway to inspiration in my own office and I'll never stop. Thank you Mr. Bradbury, Rest In Peace.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Altercation: Book Review

Altercation releases today! It is the sequel to Perilous (review here) by my good friend Tamara Hart Heiner.

Perilous is a thrill-ride, but it left us on a bit of a cliff hanger-the kidnapped girls are safe? but far from home and the bad guys are still out there and after them.

Altercation picks up with this summary: ~  The FBI promises Jacinta Rivera and her friends that they are safe. Jaci wants desperately to believe them but weeks of hiding from their kidnapper, alias "The Hand", have left her wary. Hidden from the public eye in an FBI safe house, Jaci must reconcile both the mysterious disappearance of her father and the murder of her best friend.

A betrayal lands Jaci back in the grasp of The Hand, shattering her ability to trust and leaving her to wonder if she will ever piece together her broken life.

So...without spoiling anything we know the girls are given a temporary reprieve and then right back into the frying pan. New challenges rise and unexpected twists are around every dark corner.

My understanding is that Altercation is the second in a trilogy and as such has some of the issues of  the Second Act. Some of the big mysteries from Perilous are added on and slightly explained but I am still left wanting to know more (as does Jaci the main character). I am especially excited to see more on what the real deal is behind Jaci's father.

I did enjoy the new and expanded characters, and the subtleties about them, (inside jokes perhaps) in fact I probably liked the scenes with Seth and Megan more than some of the ones with Jaci, Sarah and the twins.

I would have liked to have seen a bit more with Jaci's father-the action seemed a bit lighter than in Perilous but that is also my taste = ACTION. I had the mental image of a scene from The Professional but it was just too quick. I don't like the cover-but maybe that's just me-what do you all think? We all know what they say about judging a book by its cover.

While you would not have to read Perilous to appreciate Altercation, I would still recommend picking it up, (I liked it that much I blurbed the back cover!) You can get the paperback for Altercation here or the ebook here. And check out Tamara's blog for her contest as well.