Thursday, February 27, 2014

Back to the Grind

I  just bought a new laptop, touchscreen etc etc. Really not sure I care about that feature at all, I get enough of that on my iPhone, but I wanted to get something as current as possible, my last computer is 7 year sold now and I have had strange word processor problems that would sneak into almost all of my projects not matter what format I used. So I decided it was high time to upgrade and move forward and hopefully leave all that chaos behind.

So new chaos is figuring out this system and it took much longer than I would have liked to get going on all my doc's but it is what it is.

I'll get some viable, worthwhile, if not entertaining content up soon.

As well as releasing my sword & sandals novel for charity, BLESS THE CHILD any day now, just formatting things etc etc.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Madness in the Written Word

I'm thinking about the incredible highs and lows that come with reading and writing works that move you.
It is madness. For the reader we are moved by drama, comedy, tragedy, action and the sheer beauty of language and metaphor as well as a phrase that strikes us just so. I often wish I had written something I find particularly moving and lament upon my own skills at not doing so yet.

It is madness.

"In a mad world only the mad are sane." - Akira Kurosawa

It is madness because I slip back and forth between thinking I am both terrible and the greatest. I'm guessing, but I think my fellow writers tend to feel the same way at times. I take comfort in knowing that while there is nothing new under the sun, there is no one putting all my thoughts, experiences and imagination down on paper the same way I can. Our humanity and very separate lives make us unique individually. Likewise the reader will take my words down and absorb them through their own filter taking that uniquely as well.

“If I am mad, it is mercy! May the gods pity the man who in his callousness can remain sane to the hideous end!”  - H.P. Lovecraft, The Temple

So back around again to madness and the thrill of writing and griping  the reader, I think we do need a certain kind of madness to do what we do creatively, to keep that tension, because if we have that passion in our minds and convey it to paper, the reader will sense that and be taken along for the ride.

And we want them on that ride.

"Madness in great ones must not unwatched go." - William Shakespeare, Hamlet

Certainly there are those who don't want such things in their reading materials, cozy mysteries perhaps, but the cozy crowd doesn't read my work and I don't write for them. I write for me and for you.

"There is nearly always is a method in madness." - G.K. Chesterton

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Good Kind of Curse

I am on the edge of releasing my charity Sword & Sandals novel BLESS THE CHILD. 100% of the profits will be going toward the Hannah's Hope Fund in so doing I am hoping for both a good amount of press and funds to get to the charity for the sake of research etc, and of course I should like some good karma coming my way for the effort.
I've wondered at the what if? of my lead character and story actually becoming popular enough that a sequel is asked for. Do I want that?

Of course I do.

There is not a sequel planned as yet, it is a standalone novel, I've learned a lesson by having my first novel HEROES OF THE FALLEN end on a cliffhanger and its not something I wish to do again.

But again with the question. What If something is popular and you have to write to it? Robert E. Howard certainly had that problem with Conan the Cimmerian. Had Mr. Howard not suffered an untimely death there would have been a clamor for him to write more Conan stories and yet some scholars have suggested he wanted to leave the Barbarian behind and concentrate on his westerns. I for one enjoy the westerns but hunger for more tales of the Hyborian age over those of Breckenridge Elkins.

Farnsworth Wright, the editor of Weird Tales magazine turned down the notion of any one else writing Conan pastiches for his magazine after the famed authors death even though this would have been a continuing golden egg - it certainly was L. Sprague deCamp.

Other writers have had this conundrum too, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, another Conan! His Sherlock Holmes stories grew wildly popular once he went from novella to short story form until he reached a point of not being able to keep up with with the deadlines of what he deemed low brow entertainment.

I feel for his notion that it was not his best work, but it is what the people wanted. Several years after supposedly killing off Holmes, he had to bring him back. All in all it probably helped the Holmes stories to stay top notch, giving a break and letting people hunger for them rather than becoming routine and formulaic. It effectively increased Holmes immortality.
The Sherlock Holmes enduring popularity is the classic example of a good kind of curse for the writer - one that torments you BUT keeps you in demand, working and making a living.

Would that all of us writers could have that kind of commercial curse.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentines to My Sweetheart

Gotta share a couple pics of my lovely wife for Valentines. She is kicking me in the can to get out there and write a bestseller, so more work is commencing shortly...tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Monstrous Perspective

The Blog: Fortean World recently posted a very familiar article to me about the Beast of Gevaudan, it follows :
The Beast Of Gevaudan
In the 1760s, an area of south-eastern France was terrorised by an enormous, wolf-like beast. The animal attacked and killed over 70 people, most of which were children, by leaping on them and landing a fatal bite to the throat.
General descriptions of the creature refer to reddish fur with black stripes and a large, long-snouted head with short, pointed ears. Some cases also mention exceptional leaping abilities as well as bullet-proof skin and an alleged ability to stand bipedally.
Both military attempts, led by Captain Jean-Baptiste Duhamel, as well as attempts by a famous wolf hunter named Denneval (under direct employment of King Louis XV) to kill the beast failed.
Although the singular identity of the Beast of Gevaudan has never been 100% determined, many large wolves and even an escaped hyena were killed in the area as suspects of at least some of the attacks.

I LOVE the film Les Pacts Des Loups or Brotherhood  of the Wolf, I've mentioned it before here numerous times, in any case, it wasn't long after reposting this snippet on my tumblr page when I saw another picture that gave me pause and had me wonder at how we all have preconceptions that can lock our brains into thinking that answers have to come in one set way or another - its this way with stereo instructions, philosophy and religion, all too often we have to open our minds and find a way outside our own blinders.

This photograph, that I imagine most of you have already seen, would have seemed monstrous to the French of the 1760's and no doubt it is still scary today - especially if it is coming for you, and I found myself wondering if this diseased creature could possibly be that particular beast??? Further research said that Bears can be susceptible to rabies as well, though anything with rabies couldn't survive as long as said Beast was attacking people, not to mention being clever about it. I suppose there may be something to the idea that a creature can get a taste for human flesh and be wily about it, lions and tigers certainly do. So just some theories on a a cryptid I've thought about.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Read Somewhat Lately

The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell

I'm late coming to this bestseller, I had to look it up and its been out for about 14 years. Like Freakonomics (which I greatly enjoyed last year) The Tipping Point gives us insights into how things work outside our usual perception. The analysis on how things worked out for Paul revere's ride to be so successful while simultaneously 'what's his name?' ride wasn't...
That was a joke - it was William Drake, but it shows how some people can work things out according to their own connections etc and others don't.
Like Freakonomics this left me wanting more knowledge more insights if only for the sake of better understanding human nature for the sake of my fiction. I don't read these books as I imagine so many others do to better get a handle on business etc, I want to understand human nature and write believable stories where the coincidences work and don't sound too far fetched.
So I'll have to look for more works like this - highly recommended for the sake of understanding humanity.

Last Argument of Kings, by Joe Abercrombie

This is a favorite reread of mine, yes I do that quite often. This took awhile though since I was doing it all on audiobook while taking short drives, same with People of the Black Circle. As before this is an absolute favorite of mine and it was great to revisit some favorite heroes and villains yet again. Abercrombies writing is visceral and fast paced but also with wonderful metaphors and imagery.

LAOK is the third part of the Last Law Trilogy and wraps up a complex tale involving one of my favorite secondary world fantasies. Like things mentioned in Tipping Point, small yet believable little things can ripple and create big differences.
Abercrombie has become one of my favorite living writers of fantasy.

Three Uses of the Knife, by David Mamet

A quick yearly reread, this is David Mamet's examination of Drama and how we need it. I'm reluctant to espouse too much, but this rather short work really makes me think about why we do art and how it gives us a cleansing awe. I just found another one of his essay books today and will start on Some Freaks, right away to continue that artistic high and push to keep working that his work gives me so strong.

The People of the Black Circle, by Robert E. Howard
Always a favorite passion of mine is to return to Robert E. Howard's worlds of wonders. People of the Black Circle is among the best of Conan's adventures, rife with swordplay and magic; its a great entrance to the Sword and Sorcery realm.
Capturing the Devi of Vendyha, Conan soon become embroiled in multiple twists with backstabbing sorcerers and the tumultuous nature of his own raiders. When the Black Seers of Yimsha become involved it only gets more desperate.
I just started The Hour of the Dragon on audiobook so I'll be keeping up with that state of adventure for my short drives for awhile.