Thursday, April 10, 2014

National Poetry Month: Solomon Kane's Homecoming

In observation of National Poetry Month, I present one of my favorites: Solomon Kane's Homecoming, by Robert E. Howard. Even if you loathe poetry, read it. It's awesome.

The white gulls wheeled above the cliffs, the air was slashed with foam,
The long tides moaned along the strand when Solomon Kane came home.
He walked in silence strange and dazed through the little Devon town;
His gaze, like a ghost’s come back to life, roamed up the streets and down.

The people followed wonderingly to mark his spectral stare,
And in the tavern silently they thronged about him there.
He heard as a man hears in a dream the worn old rafters creak,
And Solomon lifted his drinking-jack and spoke as a ghost might speak:

“There sat Sir Richard Grenville once; in smoke and flame he passed.
And we were one to fifty-three, but we gave them blast for blast.
From crimson dawn to crimson dawn, we held the Dons at bay.
The dead lay littered on our decks, our masts were shot away.

“We beat them back with broken blades, till crimson ran the tide;
Death thundered in the cannon smoke when Richard Grenville died.
We should have blown her hull apart and sunk beneath the Main.”
The people saw upon his wrist the scars of the racks of Spain.

“Where is Bess?” said Solomon Kane. “Woe that I caused her tears.”
“In the quiet churchyard by the sea she has slept these seven years.”
The sea-wind moaned at the window-pane, and Solomon bowed his head.
“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, and the fairest fade,” he said.

His eyes were mystical deep pools that drowned unearthly things,
And Solomon lifted up his head and spoke of his wanderings.
“Mine eyes have looked on sorcery in dark and naked lands,
Horror born of the jungle gloom and death on the pathless sands.

"And I have known a deathless queen in a city old as Death,
Where towering pyramids of skulls her glory witnesseth.
Her kiss was like an adder’s fang, with the sweetness Lilith had,
And her red-eyed vassals howled for blood in that City of the Mad.

"And I have slain a vampire shape that drank a black king white,
And I have roamed through grisly hills where dead men walked at night.
And I have seen heads fall like fruit in a slaver’s barracoon,
And I have seen winged demons fly all naked in the moon.

"My feet are weary of wandering and age comes on apace;
I fain would dwell in Devon now, forever in my place.”
The howling of the ocean pack came whistling down the gale,
And Solomon Kane threw up his head like a hound that sniffs the trail.

A-down the wind like a running pack the hounds of the ocean bayed,
And Solomon Kane rose up again and girt his Spanish blade.
In his strange cold eyes a vagrant gleam grew wayward and blind and bright,
And Solomon put the people by and went into the night.

A wild moon rode the wild white clouds, the waves in white crests flowed,
When Solomon Kane went forth again, and no man knew his road.
They glimpsed him etched against the moon, where clouds on hilltop thinned;
They heard an eerie echoed call that whistled down the wind.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Nightmare Escapade is now available on Smashwords!

My first book, Nightmare Escapade: A Horror Anthology, is now available via Smashwords! Your purchase of the book gives you access to it in various formats, so it'll work on most any electronic device you may have, including your Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Ipad, smartphone, etc. You can get it right here! Of course, if you prefer to get a physical copy of the book, you can always order the trade paperback here, and get the Kindle version for free!

Just for fun, here's a screenshot of Nightmare Escapade on the Smashwords front page:

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Happy 100th birthday to Bill Finger, the true father of Batman

NOTE: This was supposed to go up earlier today. I just realized it hadn't been posted, and discovered that I'd accidentally scheduled it to post at 11:30 p.m. instead of 11:30 a.m. D'oh!

Today would have been Bill Finger's 100th birthday. Unfortunately, there's a good chance you've never heard of Bill. that's due to a number of circumstances, chief among them the way he was consistently marginalized and screwed over by his frequent collaborator and "friend," Bob Kane. Does that name ring a bell? It most likely does, and more's the pity. Credited with the creation of Batman, one of the most popular and beloved characters in the world, Kane is actually the man who should be no more than a footnote in comics history, not Bill. These are bold claims, and fortunately, there are mountains of evidence to back them up. I won't recount all of it here, because frankly, it's been done far better here. There are many places across the web where you can find evidence of details of exactly how Bill was cheated at every turn by Kane, but that is definitely one of the most damning collections.

I also highly recommend the book Bill, the Boy Wonder by Marc Taylor Nobleman and Ty Templeton. The research that went into this book is astounding, turning up all sorts of new information. It's also a very even-handed portrayal of exactly what went down between Bill and Kane. (Many would argue that it's far too nice to Kane; the authors definitely took the high road there.)

Speaking of Templeton, the fan-favorite artist recently did a wonderful piece demonstrating exactly what kind of character we would have had if Kane had truly created Batman on his own, without Bill's involvement. Check it out here.

Since this post is going up late, I'm able to add this: I've been made aware of this project by Athena Finger, Bill's granddaughter. A film documenting the true story of Batman's creation, and celebrating Bill Finger and his legacy, is long overdue. It's less than $10,000 away from being fully funded, so by all means, go and donate something, even a dollar, if you're so inclined. I know I look forward to seeing it!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

WTF is the deal with the Blacula box?

Okay, so here's the deal: I'm helping a friend of mine sell some stuff online, and while going through some of it Sunday, I was suddenly confronted with THIS. As someone with a lifelong fascination with old horror movies, B movies, and '70s blaxploitation movies, this thing appealed to me far more than is probably healthy. "If you want that box, you need to take it right now, because if I leave this house with it, it ain't gonna find its way back over here," I told him. He didn't want it, so this glorious prize is now mine! the only problem: I have no friggin' idea where it came from. He had similarly gotten it from another friend years ago, and likewise has no clue to its origins. The box gives no indication, and the only text on it (aside from the Spanish on the front) is some copyright info on the bottom. A few Google searches turned up nothing relevant. I like to think that a really nice bottle of liquor was originally housed within it, possibly in a drawstring bag. Who knows?

EDIT: Before this post went live, I did some more digging, and finally found a little information about this box. Evidently, it was intended as a storage box for trading/playing cards. I can't find any other information about it, but at least that lays to rest the mystery of its intended purpose. Even with the central mystery solved, this thing is still interesting enough to share. I certainly feel my home is a bit better for having a Blacula box in it!

Friday, January 17, 2014

WHO is joining the Justice League in April?!?? (Spoiler alert!)

Justice League and Forever Evil  writer and DC bigwig Geoff Johns revealed in an interview earlier today that none other than Superman's nemesis Lex Luthor will join the Justice League in April's issue #30! The team will consist of Batman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Aquaman, Shazam, Luthor, and another villain-turned-hero, Flash rogue Captain Cold. For those who have been reading the Forever Evil series, this actually seems like a natural progression, as the series sees Luthor struggling to unite a team that can stand against the Crime Syndicate(evil versions of the Justice League who have invaded from a parellel universe) after they've apparently killed the Justice Leagues. Luthor truly attempting to reform and give the hero thing a go is sure to be fascinating, however long it lasts.

Oh, and in the last line of the interview, Johns tosses this tidbit out: "Ted Kord returns to the DCU in Forever Evil #7, and plays a role in Justice League post-Forever Evil." For long-suffering fans of the second Blue Beetle, this is very welcome news!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The print edition of NIGHTMARE ESCAPADE is now on sale on Amazon.com!

As noted in this post Monday, Nightmare Escapade is now available in print. Amazon.com got it up on their site a few days earlier than expected, so you can now order from them right here! You can still get it from the link in the previous post too, of course. I'll earn a bit more money from each copy that way, but if you prefer to order from Amazon.com, which is certainly understandable, you now have that option. Expanded distribution of the print copy, including overseas territories and libraries, will be coming in the next few weeks. I've also enrolled it in the Kindle Matchbook program, so if you buy the print copy, you can then download the Kindle version for free! I think that's a pretty great program, so expect to see that for all my books going forward. If you have a Nook or an Ipad or a Kobo reader or something and prefer read in that format rather than via the Kindle app, I'll have you covered there as well in a month or so. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

My New Year's Reso-- er, writing goals for 2014

For various reasons, I just didn't get as much done last year as I wanted. There were many factors that lead to that, and not all of them were my fault, but the fact remains that I didn't publish anything new, and this blog was largely neglected during the second half of the year. Unless I spontaneously combust or the world blows up or something, we're not gonna see a repeat of that this year. These are my goals for this year.

Finish APEX PREDATOR
This is the big one, and the one currently getting most of my attention. I was nearly done with it a few months ago when disaster struck, as you may recall. I was so sick about the whole situation that I wound up taking a break from it for a month or so, though I did work on some other things during that time. I recently dove back into it, and it will be released this year. I'm not sure about a release date yet, and that will obviously depend on when I finish it, but my goal is to have it done by the end of March at the latest. The issue with backing up the file more often is now moot, as I setup Skydrive to automatically sync the file whenever I use it, so it's automatically backed up. Reeeeeaaally wish I'd known about that last year, but there's no use in fretting over it now. What's done is done, and all I can do is charge forward.

Publish print versions of my books
This one has actually happened! I spent the first bit of the year working on getting Nightmare Escapade ready for printing, and it went on sale Monday. Now that I've familiarized myself with the process, it should go much more smoothly when it comes time to publish future books. In the meantime, just having an actual physical copy of my first book sitting on the shelf feels pretty amazing.

Get the local bookstores to carry the print versions of my books
Pretty self-explanatory. We have two bookstores in town that have sections for authors from our region, so hopefully it won't be too tough to make this happen.

Get better at self-promotion
This one is really crucial. My sales are not where I'd like them to be, and the brutal truth is that I'm just lousy at promoting myself and networking with people. I need to really double down and make some serious effort to change that. 

Post on this blog more often
This is a problem I tackled last year as well, and I made a big effort to post at least once a week. I stuck with it for a few months, but eventually, things just got in the way, and I began posting less and less. So, I'm going for it again this year. Hopefully I'll do better this time. 

These are not all the goals I have set for myself for this year, but they are the major ones. If I can accomplish all of them, I'll consider 2014 a rousing success! If not, well, I figure any year in which I don't die is still a pretty good one. ;)

Monday, January 13, 2014

NIGHTMARE ESCAPADE print copies are now available!

Been enjoying your Kindle ebook copy of Nightmare Escapade, but wishing you had a print copy of it to display on your bookshelves, give as a gift for Valentine's Day, smash bugs with, and whatnot? You're in luck! You can now order your very own old-school printed-on-paper copy of Nightmare Escapade! It will be available on Amazon.com in about a week, and via other channels a few weeks after that, but if you can't wait, you can order a copy right now if you click here! (I'll make another dollar or two per copy if you buy it via that link too, so, there's that.)
Tell your friends! Tell your enemies!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy xmas, everyone!

Of course, this is auto-posted, since I don't have to be up this early on xmas because I don't have kids. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Sadly, circumstances prevented me from doing an excessive amount of Halloween and horror-related posts this October, but you can celebrate the day by revisiting all of the previous posts right here! Hope you all have an awesome Halloween!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Bad news, everyone!

Today is the day that Apex Predator was supposed to go on sale. So, where the hell is it? My PC has been having stability issues lately, crashing on me abruptly and freezing up with some regularity. A few days ago, it happened to slap me with the blue screen while I was putting some finishing touches on Apex Predator. Computer restart, and WHAM! File corrupted.

Yeah.

Thankfully, I'm not totally up shit creek here, since I had backed up the file on a flash drive. Unfortunately, I had not been as vigilant about that as I should have been, so that backup is a couple of months old, and needs a lot of work done to get it to the point the now-corrupted file was at. So, I guess you could say that I am up shit creek, but at least I've got a paddle.

So, the book is still coming. I'm not sure exactly how long it will take me to re-complete it, though I'd be shocked if it were to take me more than a month or so. Not sure if releasing it smack in the middle of the holiday season is the best timing, so I'll likely hold onto it for another month or two after I finish it before it actually goes on sale. I'll have to play that bit by ear, but have no fear; I'll keep you all posted. Hopefully, this won't affect the release of the book I have planned to release after Apex Predator. I've already done some preliminary work on it... but it's altogether too soon to start talking about it. all I'll say for now is that it is not another Grant Mercer novel. (More of those will be coming eventually, though.)

Anyway, apologies for the entire debacle. I gotta get back to work. That book's not gonna re-write itself!