Saturday, October 30, 2010

Watched The Wolfman (2010) for Halloween

Watched The Wolfman (2010) last night to get my Halloween on. It was a toss-up between that and the latest Predators flick. Went for the classic theme and was pleasantly surprised at how well done it was, not just in special effects but the excellent build-up that didn't throw all of it in your face all at once. The scenery and mood were perfect, and the plot exceeded expectations. As an intermittent writer of horror, a decent plot almost brings a tear to the eye, as opposed to the superficial monster/bad guy just laying waste around him/her.

The actors were excellent as well. Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, Art Malik, Hugo Weaving, and others.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Robert E. Howard: A New Manifesto by Mark Finn

As a HUGE fan of Robert E. Howard's writings, and the man himself, I find it odd there are those who disparage him four decades after his death. Mark Finn, noted REH scholar, has a manifesto on the subject that I have posted here. From the REH Forums:

A New Robert E. Howard Manifesto

I am a fan of Robert E. Howard, the Texas author who created a multitude of unique characters, wrote original and inventive fiction, defined the genre of epic fantasy as we understand it, and inspired me to become a professional writer. There are tens of thousands of other fans just like myself. As fans of Robert E. Howard and his works, we are interested in reading more about our favorite author. We are interested in sharing and exchanging new ideas about his life and work, and we actively seek out these new ideas online, in print, and elsewhere.

What we do not want to see are semi-uninformed retreads of the same discussions that were in vogue circa 1984. The field of Howard Studies is alive and well, with new discoveries and voices appearing all the time. Interest in the author is high and remains so. If you have a thought or an opinion, even a controversial or untested one, and want to share it with the world at large, we encourage that you do so.

We expect responsibility and accountability on your part. We are not interested in your grand pronouncement on a subject which has yet to be settled by people who have spent decades studying the issue at hand. We expect you to do your homework. There are a number of websites and literally stacks of new books that likely cover or answer most of your questions regarding Robert E. Howard. To not utilize those sources when doing your research smacks of willful ignorance and will not be tolerated by the fans of Robert E. Howard.

If you want to write a review about how much you didn't like Kull: Exile of Atlantis, have at it. Take it apart for any and all textual reasons you choose to invoke. We may not agree because Howard's work isn't for everyone, and we understand that. But the minute you start bringing Robert E. Howard's life story into your Kull review, it will garner a much more careful reading, and if you don't have your facts straight, or your opinions backed up by same, then we will call you on it.

The online Robert E. Howard fanbase calls itself the "Shield Wall." Some writers who have been on the business end of the Shield Wall's attacks have accused us of being bullies and overly-obsessed for the protective stance we take.

While it is not our intention to bully anyone, and while we may get a little carried away on occasion, let me be very clear here as to why this is so: Robert E. Howard has not had a voice for 75 years now. For four decades after his death, he had very few advocates who would defend him against the libel and slander of those who stood to profit from his work. He has been misunderstood and misrepresented for years. The Shield Wall's goal has been to stop in its entirety the kind of character assassination employed by L. Sprague de Camp and others who would adopt his methodology.

Consider this a challenge to survey the amount of work that has been done in Howard Studies in the last ten years alone and then try to come up with your own take on a topic or angle of discussion that has not been beaten to death. Do not make the mistake that so many others have made; just because Robert E. Howard isn't considered a "classic" author by the literary establishment that you can beat his literary reputation (or his personal life) like a rented mule and you will not get kicked for your efforts.

We expect you to accord Robert E. Howard the same respect as any other 20th century American author with continued and perennial popularity. No more back handed compliments. No more snide insinuations. No more rampant and irresponsible speculation with no basis of fact or evidence to bolster it. And for God's Sake, no more "oedipal complex" crap, either. Those theories are thirty years out of date, and we are sick and tired of seeing it. Give us something new, or keep your parochial and backwards thinking to yourself.

Mark Finn
Author of Blood & Thunder: The Life and Art of Robert E. Howard
And Commander of the Texas Shield Wall

Mexican sunflowers on a beautiful fall day in Raleigh

Temps in the upper 70's to low 80's, and saturating sunshine. Was on the the deck taking it in with my wife and reading Bradbury's Something Wicked. I planted two patches of Mexican sunflowers that come back year after year. Today they enjoyed the sun as much as we did. Couldn't help but wonder how Vincent van Gogh would have painted the photo I took ... even one of our dogs took advantage and did some poolside sunning.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Van Gogh, Encore receives first reader review

Reader Review on Kindle site of Van Gogh, Encore:

Interesting idea expertly handled, October 11, 2010
By bandcandy "bandcandy" (UK) - See all my reviews

This review is from: Van Gogh, Encore (Kindle Edition)
I tend to approach with caution any book which starts with a rather original and interesting premise - in this case re-examining the last year and a half of Van Gogh's life in the context of modern America and with the benefit of a genuinely loving female companion - because I often find that the promise of that idea is not always explored with enough thought and sensitivity. In this case, however, Karr as both writer and thinker is well up to the job. Van Gogh, Encore makes for a sometimes gritty, challenging read, - inevitably because we are being invited inside the mind of a troubled, possibly mentally ill and certainly disillusioned genius. We are also witnessing the difficulties encountered by anyone considered an outsider and a failure with all the issues of identity and self-worth that this raises. The balance of the book is good, however, and we are given some lights to offset the darks in the course of the narrative and there are some enjoyable and charming descriptions of how Van Gogh relates to Lynn and her son David. I was also interested to see how Karr handled the tricky job of transporting Van Gogh to modern times whilst keeping the integrity of his life and character and also allowing himself some room for manoeuvre in making the story his own. In this I think Karr was masterly and I found the characters and happenings at all times credible. We follow Van Gogh through familiar episode in his life (Gauguin's visit, Van Gogh's mutilation of his own ear) but there was scope for significant changes and I must confess that right up until the end I wasn't sure how the book would conclude. Suffice is to say that I had tears in my eyes at the end, but whether they were tears of joy or sorrow, I will not reveal.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Van Gogh, Encore now available in print

Van Gogh, Encore now available in print

Product Description

Imagine Vincent van Gogh in our modern world. Suppose, during the last year and a half of his life, when he severs part of his ear and commits himself to the insane asylum, he stumbles into the very circumstance he has longed for his entire adult life -- a family. Would his life change for the better, or would his self-destructive tendencies again prevail? Van Gogh, Encore is a speculative novel based upon the last year and a half of Vincent van Gogh's life. The tale, set in the United States, presents an alternative dimension to the complex and fascinating artist who died impoverished and unappreciated ... while the images he created went on to have global impact, and can be found on everything from vodka bottles to vehicle dashboard covers, television commercials to t-shirts, and whose original works sell for millions.

About the Author

Fiction writing each day helps keep the demons at bay. Van Gogh, Encore is the novelization of my interest in Vincent Van Gogh and the connections I have with aspects of his life and so many of his works. My horror novel, Dark Resurrection, was revised in October 2007. Asylett Press published my medical thriller, Hippocrates Shattered, and Wild Wolf Publishing has pubbed my heroic sword and sorcery novel, Rhone, in trade print. Rhone will soon be available in ebook from another publisher. My short stories have appeared on webzines, including Allegory and The Absent Willow Review, and now Expressions. More novels are in the marketing queue. I work as an IT Analyst in Raleigh, NC, and attempt to balance family life with writing.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 394 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace (September 18, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1453816828
  • ISBN-13: 978-1453816820
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)