Sunday, January 31, 2010

More Egocentrism

Little questionnaire that got passed onto me by Kasie West.
Rules: Answer the following questions with Single Word answers then pass this along to 5 other bloggers. Make sure you let them know about it though.

Your Cell Phone? Slain
Your Hair? Shaven
Your Mother? Mom
Your Father? Dad
Your Favorite Food? Pizza
Your Dream Last Night? Cthuloid
Your Favorite Drink? Vanilla
Your Dream/Goal? Legacy
What Room Are You In? Office
Your Hobby? Lepidopterist
Your Fear? Butterfly's
Where Do You See Yourself In Six Years? Vilified
Where Were You Last Night? Inside
Something That You Aren't? Qualified
Muffins? Kentucky-Fried
Wish List Item? Dark-Side
Where Did You Grow Up? Telluride-CO
Last Thing You Did? Lied
What Are You Wearing? Ring
Your TV? Curious
Your Pets? Kids
Friends? 53
Your Life? #amwriting
Your Mood? Serene-Hedin
Missing Someone? Candy-Bars
Vehicle? Boots
Something You Aren't Wearing? Socks
Your Favorite Store? Bookstore
Your Favorite Color? Ebony
When Was The Last Time You Laughed? Lately
Last Time You Cried? Years
Your Best Friend? Debi
One Place You Go To Over And Over Again? Here
Facebook? No
Favorite Place To Eat? Couch

I pass this award to:
M. Gray because she's great.

Tamara Hart Heiner because she's posting as little as me lately.

Nichole Giles she is so nice, feeds my cats when I am away. Ok that was another lie.

Krista Lynne Jensen because she writes interesting Lamanites.

Voidwalker because I don't know enough about him.

There was an Over the Top award that went with this. Thanks Kasie but since awards would mess up my room I don't post em but I express thanks anyway. If any of all ya'll would like to grab the award though go to Kasie's blog and snag it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Writing, so I can't think to Blog

I am writing hardcore this week to meet a deadline (or two) and thus just can't think about any good blog posts-so here is a collection of quick pics-giving a rundown of inspiration on what I am writing at the moment.

Whispers of the Goddess for the Rogue Blades Entertainment Anthology: Roar of the Crowd. So there you are, a window into my madness. Main character-Tyr Thorgrimson, Northman with the Crusaders of 1204, enjoying a drink.

General feeling of said Northman toward others-emotional need.

General idea (but wrong artifact) of Tyr's placement in the Eastern Empire.

Tyr rough-housing with some of the Varangian guard-or Northmen who swore an oath to serve the Emperor of Constantinople.

You gotta know when to fold em and when to walk away.

My biggest distraction when it comes to writing.

He's just here to clear the palette.

How Tyr sees the Athena Partheno in the forum (replica at top)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Robert E. Howard's Birthday

Next to J.R.R.Tolkien, Robert E. Howard is my biggest inspiration as a writer. Today is his birthday so I wanted to raise a leather drinking jack to him and post a short yarn of his.

Red leaned his elbows upon the table and cursed. The candle guttered low. The bottle was empty, and a slow fire coiled in our brains--the fire which devours and consumes and destroys but never leaps into full wild flame.

I looked at Red with bleared eyes. He hid his face in his hands. He was thinking of a woman he knew. The cards, greasy with handling and stained with whiskey and candle tallow, lay scattered between us. The desire for gambling was gone, and there was no more whiskey.

"Cheer up, Red," I said. "Listen--I'll tell you: Somewhere in the world the sun is coming up like a red dragon to shine on a gilded pagoda; somewhere the bleak stars are gleaming on the white sands where a magic caravan is sleeping out the ages. Somewhere the night wind is blowing through the grass of a mysterious grave. Somewhere there is a gossamer sailed ship carving a wake of silver foam across the dark blue of the Mediterranean. This isn't all, Red."

"Oh, Christ," he groaned, reaching for the empty bottle, "I wish I had a drink."

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Great Quotes I Like

These are quotes related to what I am trying to accomplish with my writing.“There cannot be any ‘story’ without a fall—all stories are ultimately about the fall—at least not for human minds as we know them and have them.”
–-J.R.R. Tolkien, Letters

"The gods of yesterday become the devils of tomorrow."
--Robert E. Howard, "Black Colossus"

"When the gods wish to punish wicked men for their crimes, they allow them for a time a more than usual prosperity and an even longer impunity, so that they will suffer all the more bitterly when their fortunes are reversed"
--Julius Caesar, Gallic War Commentaries

“All the Greeks knew what was the right thing to do, but the Spartans were the only ones that did it.”

"When a nation forgets her skill in war, when her religion becomes a mockery, when the whole nation becomes a nation of money-grabbers, then the wild tribes, the barbarians drive in ... Who will be our invaders? From whence will they come?"
--Robert E. Howard, Letters

"Imagination is infinite"
--Me on twitter

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
--Invictus - by William Emest Henley

(thanks to Mike K. at the BioHazardBlog for introducing me to that last poem. I love it, because it captures that fierce indomitable will I hope to exemplify.)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Books Read So Far This Year

Pirate Latitudes, by Michael Crichton
First book of the year and overall I enjoyed it for what it is. Crichton generally always delivers an action packed romp with likable characters, atypical villains (his weakness) and general bits of info parcelled throughout the narrative. I've heard a number of complaints online about this or that factoid of his being off-but generally I say so what. Nobody is going to be right all the time on the small stuff or even DNA in amber-its a story-so what? Let it ride, if you're going to pick up a Michael Crichton book you know what you are getting, why complain?

With every Crichton I have read there is generally an inciting incident that moves the plot giving us the whys and wherefores and making us intrigued. You don't get that this time and I can't help but think its because Crichton died before HE could submit this. The jacket says it was found in his files. And this is the one weakness to me about the book. It starts slower than it should have-its all setting but even then it's so slow. I am sure if Crichton had lived he would have put a "movie" inciting incident to go with it as well as fleshed out a few more scenes but no real complaint from me on anything else in that regard.

The book is divided in 5 parts and by the time part 2 is going you should be hooked, Pirates, I mean Privateers from Port Royal are out to take a Spanish galleon in a tiny harbor guarded by a deadly fortress, the crew must execute am Entebbe like raid just to survive. Much more to it than this of course but I was thoroughly hooked.

If you like action and Pirates, its a great book. Little more on the graphic side compared to Eaters of the Dead and Timeline but I recommend if you get past the 1st part.

Flatland, by Edwin A. Abbott
Math is not my thing, and this book is the darling of fictionalized mathematics for its unique view on multiple dimensions as well as a biting satire of the Victorian class system. I cannot understand the fascination with period decorum and manners give me a lusty broadsword any day.

But Flatland also takes a surprising look at objectivity and what we think we perceive, even if you believe yourself above others-even a god in your own universe. Mr. Abbott must be given a dimension of credit for his revolutionary concepts, as Flatland was written in 1884.

The Aztec: Man and Tribe, by Victor W. Von Hagen
This was published back in 58 and it does seem a tad outdated in a number of places in comparison to some more recent texts, but it still has a very concise format
easily allowing me to quickly look at this subject or that.

I'm currently working on a short story within the Aztec realm and while I readily admit The Aztec's by Nigel Davies is a superior book, it jumps around whereas Hagen's lets me easily look up subjects grouped in one heading rather than 3 in four different places.

Midnight Sun, by Karl Edward Wagner
This is the collection of short stories by KEW about his immortal sorcerer/swordsman Kane, yes that Cain. I have read these before but was really in the mood lately to give some of them another annual go round. They are all excellent examples of Heroic Fiction, though Kane is hardly a hero by the standard definition.

To listen to an excellent discussion on Heroism visit Writing Excuses my favorite podcast going with Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells and Howard Taylor.

The only stories I don't supremely admire and love are the ones where Kane is outside the ancient fantastical realm and in ours-Those modern stories are terrible IMAO. But the rest of these S&S tales are among the very best. I Highly recommend The Dark Muse, Cold Light, The Other One and Lynortis Reprise.

This Land: America 2,000 B.C. to 500 A.D. edited by Wayne May
This is the fourth This Land series and is a collection of articles and essays from the Ancient American magazine, a publication devoted to the strange and curious finds of archeology predominately found within North America. Things always go in rounds for me and this book is also divided into 5 parts. See if any of these intrigue you, The Mound builders, Giants in the Adena Timeline, OOPARTS-Out of Place and Time Artifacts, Ancient Copper Mines of Upper Michigan and Afterthoughts.

Mr. May has a fantastic collection of lost history that opens the vistas of imagination, articles are culled from current feature writers and some from archaeologist writing their discoveries in mounds spread throughout the Midwest and then even some re-telling the legends of Native Americans and the evidence that these "myths" did happen at least in part.

I was also honored to have Mr. May give me a back cover endorsement for my own speculative historical novel Heroes of the Fallen His work has given me a vast amount of background for painting that forgotten world. I appreciate it very much Wayne-Thank You.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Odd Sights of the Week

Why does my daughter have to touch everything?
Towaway is Free.
Hold. Hold! HOLD!!!
I knew Chavez was a pirate!
Careful of that fine print, especially when its from R'Lyeh and in Miskatonic text.
Current Cali-Fornia economics call for drastic measures.
Who knew Sweetum's was so literal?
Can't even say how many times I heard this growing up.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Building the Perfect Beast: Character

I saw something quite humorous the other day and through the hilarious moments critiquing the Phantom Menace, I marvelled at the moments discussing what should have been done. Very good primer on basic storytelling magic. The analysis on Character especially.

It made me ponder the idea of, Can I describe my own characters without resorting to what they look like or what they do for a living. What is their true character-what is their core?

I came away pondering if my characters could be recognized outside of appearance and at least for myself (and I am biased) think I have accomplished that. Stereotypes with that most useful human twist-great flaws always help development throughout a book.

Can all of you writers out there say the same about your Prota-Gonists?

If you are sensitive to language or absurdity, skip this. If not enjoy it is pretty funny while giving a good lesson in the meantime.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Book of 5 Rings

One of my all time favorite reads is the Book of Five Rings by the legendary samurai Miyamoto Musash the Kensei, or sword saint of Japan. This is one of those classics I return to at least every other if not every year. While some have read it for the sake of a business strategy guide that is not how it was intended.

This blood and honor
the way of the warrior
my reverence found

That's my haiku-ya like it? Anyway, after killing more than sixty men Musahsi reflected on his life and sought to understand the way of the warrior, what he seemed to know on instinct. The Book of Five Rings is his 5 "Way"s-Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Void. Each represents a step in growth of both the warrior and the individual to be a better person-while admittedly using fighting terminology-but such was the way of life at the time.

I don't think any other book outside of scripture has affected my personal faith, philosophy and world outlook as much as the Book of Five Rings. Elements from it abound within Heroes of the Fallen. Like "To only study the sword will make you narrow minded and will keep you from growing outward." I apply this to my writing and life in general.
Here's another, "Everything has its value even if it is not apparent to you."
And "The ultimate aim of the martial arts is not having to use them."

In my various martial art instructions I am often amused at the various tales of so and so once beat Musahsi doing this or that. I call BS on all of those stories not for the sake that they aren't possible just for the sake that there are so many of them and not a single one of them I have come across is truly documented.

It's kind of like trying to give weight to some system or other by saying this almost beat Musashi. Why don't I believe any of those stories yet again? Because Musahsi wrote 5 Rings when he was sixty-he had already defeated all comers.

Pics-the awesome Toshiro Mifune-in the Samurai Trilogy (as Mushasi) at the top and the most excellent Yojimbo at the bottom.

Yojimbo has just killed two men and cut the arm off a third.
Yojimbo "Cooper. Two coffins... No, maybe three."

Clint Eastwood borrowed this line for Sergio Leone's spaghetti western remake Fistful of Dollars.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Poetry Saturday: The Nazirite

The Nazirite

Climbing the dusting hills
Skirting the dropping vales
I make my way
To catch this day
My enemies
To fight together this night
On the ground of my choosing
This plan is sound
For my judgment and my devastation
is directed accurately upon the

I swing the jawbone of an ass
Whereupon it breaks theirs as glass
Plowing the fields of bodies
Blood blooms brightly
Knocking single file over the crevasse
Lost in the blood rage-feral delight
My righteousness knows no bounds-No

Delilah, you have caused this My love
My destruction your delight
Some two thousand I have slain today
All because of what you would have me say
My weakness knows no bounds-No

Bound too long-again I am strong
Dagons old one cannot hold me
Blind but I can see you-for what you are
Blind but I can see
Bound too long-but I am the true pillar strong
And I bring it down
Blind but I can see

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Ages Undreamed Of vol.3

Here are some trailers for a movie I am going to go see this weekend for research sake. Looks like it covers a lot of the same ground I have for Heroes of the Fallen.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My Review at 2012 Hoax

On account of some snarky comments I made about the History Channel's Apocalypse Island, I was invited to do a review about it over at 2012 Hoax.Org which was interesting. Normally I am all about speculation and the possible "What-If's" but this time I'm on the other side.

Read my scathing/entertaining review of Apocalypse Island: Pulp Fiction here. It's also cool that I am now listed beside Penn and Teller on their guest spot.

What Turner (not the infamous pirate) wants you to see.
And what you get.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Choose Your Own Adventure: Apocalypse Island

Now don't get me wrong, I WANT TO BELIEVE but History Channel's latest offering Apocalypse Island really left something to be desired. The shots of the supposed Mayan monuments on a remote south pacific island looked more like natural weathering to me. In fact all of the pics on the net I could find look even worse than what I saw on the program and I found absolutely no reason to post them and try to show anyone. I can't get no satisfaction-sorry listening to my Pandora mix and hey it fit anywho.
This is what the History Channel actually posts about the program."Does a remote island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean hold the final clue to the Mayans apocalyptic predictions concerning 2012? One explorer thinks he's discovered the answers that have eluded man for centuries. Jim Turner stumbled on this remote artifact over a decade ago and has spent the past ten years preparing an expedition to prove that this is the place they foretold that the gods would come to watch the final minutes of civilization as we know it."It's sensationalist drivel. Yes it's a good spot to see an eclipse in 2012-but so what? In trying to put to words my frustration over the programs lack of any real data, I came away with the thought that these dudes were pulling a Choose Your Own Adventure. They were making it up-seeing what they wanted to see. Might as well have been seeing Mayan monuments in cloud formations. That hurts because I have done the same thing plenty of times but I had to call this spade a spade.For your nostalgic enjoyment take a look at the covers for some of my favorite old Choose Your Own Adventure books. Good stuff from my youth. Some of them may not be as popular as they could have been but still a good read back in the day.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year, Same Old Garbage

Good Thing I have editors.

This just made me laugh AND feel sorry for the youth of today.

How to resign with dignity and get back at those who stood against you.

No matter how chronologically out of place it seems-I am putting this bad boy in my weird western. Curelom's HO!

It's the economy, oh and the lackluster Spiderman 3 movie.

New implantable anti-terrorist tracking devices.

Polar bears read Al Gore's e-mail's?

My favorite Duran Duran album...oh wait. MY favorite Vampire album.

In case anyone wondered if I was pro-gun.