Happy Birthday Ernest Hemingway!


I just wanted to do a quick post to celebrate one of my favorite authors, Ernest Hemingway, because it is his 115 birthday today!  So, here to keep your day afloat is one of my favorite Hemingway quotes:

Ernest Hemingway

 

*Also, to keep the nerdery afloat, I would like to mention that it is also Ryu’s 50th birthday today, as well. #StreetFighter

Edgar Rice Burroughs: A Personal Discovery


Edgar Rice BurroughsEdgar Rice Burroughs is a favorite author of mine, however my interest in him and his work is relatively new.  Burroughs captures some of my favorite genres easily and comfortably by exploring science fiction through character development and creating modern day fairy tales which represent philosophical movements.  His prose his clean and simple which really wasn’t a popular style till about a decade later after his first foray into publishing.  Both accounts amaze me, but alas I was and still am a neophyte.  I was clueless and ignorant (as I often am), until I watched Disney’s film adaptation of Burroughs second most popular series, “John Carter.”

Personally, I enjoyed the quality of the film, but what I got most out of the movie was the love and appreciation for an author that (at the time) I knew next to nothing about.  I dived headlong into his work.  I quickly read the first three John Carter novels in a collection that I purchased off of Amazon for a small, paltry sum.  They are truly magnificent.

If you ever get a chance, gobble ‘em up.  They are incredibly well-written, but the human quality and realism that Burroughs brings to his writing makes the otherworldly settings and characters background noise rather than the main spectacle.  From there I dived into Tarzan.  Contextually it seems oddly, but in actuality it is a fairly logical segue considering Burroughs’ work.  I’ve made limited headway on the series (partially because there are over 20 novels), because honestly I am not a big fan of the character.  Unfortunately, I am several generations removed from enjoying the meaning of the series.  The primitive movement was big after the second World War and it just has never connected with me as it did to so many upon their release.

At the Earth's CoreHowever, I did dive into Edgar Rice Burroughs’ “Pellucidar” series, which begins with the Vernian “At the Earth’s Core.”  “At the Earth’s Core” is a quick read (it only clocks in at roughly 150 pages), but it does create a great founding point for Burroughs to expand upon and unlike Jules Verne’s “Journey to the Center” Burroughs builds an entire franchise (and thus universe) upon the back of the ideas originally laid down by Verne a generation before.

I have yet to find a copy, but I have heard that there was a film adaptation of “At the Earth’s Core” in 1976.  I haven’t explicitly removed everything from my plate to seek it out, but I am positive that I will one day find a lazy afternoon in which I will be able to sit down, find, and watch “At the Earth’s Core.”

Tangentially, I first discovered “At the Earth’s Core” at a wonderful bookstore out in Coeur d’Alene, ID called, Browsers (not to be confused with Mario’s archenemy).  I ended up purchasing “At the Earth’s Core,” “The Land that Time Forgot,” and “Llana of Gathol.”  All of which were copies re-published throughout the 1970’s, which greatly pleased me because I am exceedingly tired of solely coming across movie and television book covers.  For whatever reason, they sour the experience for me.

Regardless of cover, I encourage all to read at least something of Edgar Rice Burroughs.  He is an amazingly talented author, and his breadth of work has spurred various schools of thought, inspired millions, and ultimately helped shape current pop culture even though he began writing over 100 years ago.

 

My Open Love Letter to Music


Feeling the quick-paced displacement of your heart, as it flutters to the beat of a specific drum, is nothing shy of facing mortality.  Music gives you the momentum to strive for inner greatness.  Immortals lack creativity, because that one moment that gives life meaning…never comes.  It hangs stagnant in the air, being ignored by those that don’t care; however for us mere mortals we thrive off of the thought of death.  We design our society around it– For death not only accentuates life…it gives it meaning.  Music is an extension of this elongated metaphor.  It makes my heart beat rapidly, just as it does when I think of Celeste, or put pen to paper.  It is an eternal muse, that I will always try to please, because it has given me so much.  Thank you musicians of the world.  Thank you.

A Rough Draft of the Introduction of “At the Top”


“At the Top” is an idea that I originally had centering around the concept of a serial killer pyramid scheme.  I wanted to write a story about a hierarchy of serial killers, however, I ran into a speed bump almost immediately.  Pyramid schemes only exist and work because the lower layer always give something to the layer above them, some sort of commodity like currency.  What commodity do serial killers possess to be able to provide that would make an interesting and believable story?

Nothing.

Coincidentally enough, the next day I ran into my writing partner Josh Bartylla at work and I posed him my conundrum.  After  several minutes of conversation we came up with a solution.  What if instead of a serial killer pyramid scheme it was an assassin’s pyramid scheme?  That way the incentive would exist, and we could nuance it.  From there we started adding layers to it, and now the project (which has been named “At the Top”) includes a poignant look at our memories, aging, and the importance of friendship all framed out by Frank Sinatra’s album, “September of  my Years.”

Check out these opening pages to “At the Top,” which will one day soon be a complete manuscript that Josh and I plan on adapting into a screenplay to submit to Amazon Studios.  Cheers.

“At the Top”

Prologue

The plantation was settled deep within the confines of a Cajun bog in one of the most remote regions of the Louisiana wetland.  At one point the white pillared beacon of the old world aristocracy had sat dead center in one of the largest production lands of the South, but as the decades had waned, the land had turned against the ones who had spent generations taming it.  The family had perished or fled once the house had practically burned to the ground in the latter part of the 19th century.  The rest of the outlying buildings slowly rotted from the outside in as the once profitable lands began to slowly turn to mush and the swampland turned against the rich soils.

The first half of the next century was just as unkind to the manor as it was the surrounding area.  At the conclusion of the Civil War economic turmoil after economic turmoil plagued the region, and thus the Lebeau family plot was never purchased or truly lost to the family.  However, it wasn’t till 1970 that the sole heir of the decrepit mansion returned, and returned to rebuild it.  By the time the long, lost scion came into possession of the house that was no longer a home, it was near collapse, but that didn’t dissuade Remi from buying the land and the manor in an effort to refurbish it to its former glory.

Now, almost thirty-years later, Remi sat contemplating in his office overlooking the same marshlands that had encroached upon the Lebeau lands a century prior.  He sat alone.  He cradled a Brandy in his palm knocking the ice cubes back in forth in a repeated riposte and parry.  In his other hand he held, masked by shadows save for the ember tip, a rare cigar to match his drink and mood.  He was in a large overstuffed chair with his feet upon his Oak desk.

Thinking.  Always thinking.

Papers and books laid askew, and the steeping bookshelves on either side of the room were just as disheveled.  He blew a single waft of smoke up into the air and let it catch the moonlight from the recessed, latticed windows.  Below, his glass ensconced pool reflected and refracted the softly lapping waters’ light, resulting in a dance of shimmering waves across the ceiling of his study.  Between the smoke, the moonlight, and the mirrors Remi was overcome with introspection.  This meditation allowed him to remember.  It allowed him to recall, but more-importantly, it allowed him providence.

Memories

Memories are fiendish.  They have far-reaching, burnished talons that can stab into the cerebrum with fervency and lust.  They are malignant because all memories are apocryphal.

For those individuals with poor memories their ignorance is as the saying goes, ‘blissful.’  The beast still lurks within, but instead it has evolved.  These memories exist in the wretched.  The lonely thugs who play with children and drive nails into coffins.  They are brutish to say the least, but on the whole they are as weak and fleshy as is anything without a spine.  However, these ingrates are protected by their own lies.  The falsities that have secretly roosted into their thoughts.  These birds of prey live and breath in the shadows.  They blend when searched for and are always finding there way into the folds and tears of the remaining gray matter, entrenching itself like a solider in the darkest days of the Great War, except with memories there is no neutral zone, there are no shared Christmases, just fear and nerve gas.

Those with eidetic memories can recall the past immediately, however, it is always in sepia.  No matter how much the Polaroid is flicked back-and-forth it never achieves focus.  It’s blurred, hazy.  It exists.  It can be put in box, lost under the bed, pulled out to reminisce, and shoved back under to be forgotten by the unfaithful.  The photo is a lie though.  It was always a lie.  It exists in a separate, fabricated reality, guarded by the ego, but by most it is irrevocably regarded as the truth.  It is never quite right, nor will it ever be right.  These individuals are dangerous, and here is why: with upmost conviction they believe that they remember the truth.  They believe so wholeheartedly that their past is grounded and accurate that it borders on religious faith.  They rely on it, they believe it, and they adhere to it.  It is always right, and therefore no questions are ever asked.  It is has divine as the Lord, and just as intangible.

Faith is a powerful beast, and it has a way with ambitious men.  It forces them to do things with unwavering judgement and persecution.  Nothing is off limits, and no one will ever present an argument that will dissuade them from their path.  It forces men like Remi to contemplate their past…to remember the stings and the horrors, first kisses and Sinatra songs.

Lloyd

His cheek stung and he could taste the blood dripping from his left nostril into his swollen lips.  It was salty.  Tangy.

“Fuck you,” he spat.

He took another smack.  This time he fell back upon the stained carpet and his left wrist twisted awkwardly.  He screamed and received another backhand for the noise.  He laid whimpering, holding his arm upon his back.  The fucker stood over him like he owned him, and unbeknownst to the boy there was some truth to that.

Lloyd was a brute.  In and out.  He always wore the same wife-beater, a dusted cowboy hat, and a pair of carpenter jeans.  Remi surmised that those were the only clothes that Lloyd owned, but the one time he had cracked that joke within Lloyd’s earshot his other arm had been broken.  A long time ago, Lloyd had worked for Tony Slates crackin’ skulls for pennies, but one drunken night, Lloyd broke the nose of Tony’s nephew; Slate cut him and then cut him loose.  Lloyd still sported the deep scar across his left cheek like a badge of honor.  Once a Scout always a Scout.

He stood over the eight-year, reeking of moonshine and piss.  He scowled, sauntered off, and collapsed into the most prominent lawn chair of the living room.  His pants around his ankles, loudly snoring off whatever booze and drugs Lloyd had consumed before striking Remi.  Quickly violent, and quickly asleep.  The women loved Lloyd.

Still nursing his arm, Remi scuttled out on his back, trying to make sure he held his cries.  As-soon-as he hit the backdoor of the sprawling ranch-styled house, Remi ran for it.  He hit the alley hard and kept running.  He didn’t make a sound, but tears were streaming down his face.

Remi ran almost two miles straight before he made it to Miss Rose’s farmhouse.  As always, she was sitting upon her porch softly rocking and reading on of her famous novels with her big Basset Hound, George, at her side.  She was young in a way that her beauty was true and her years were low, but she was old in the same way Remi was.  She understood him, and during all the years that Remi was with Lloyd Miss Rose was there as well.  She never ratted on him, and she never caused him trouble.  She only helped him.  Rose was the first and last person to ever do that for Remi.  The rest of his life was hard, but Rose never was.  As Remi aged he thought about Rose more often and that small farm town.  Winston, MI was a hard place for Remi to forget, but in his age he realized that, that is how it would always remain and that there was nothing wrong with that.

As he ran holding his ruined forearm, he let the wheat part and the burrs catch in his dirtied hair.  He didn’t care or notice.  He just ran.  He ran with a heavy heart and a purpose.  Miss Rose would help him.  She was his savior.  She would make everything better.

Rose saw Remi break the field, she was up in a shot and came running down the creaky steps to meet Remi before he even made it halfway to the porch.  She held him as he cried.  They didn’t exchange words, nor did they need to.  On that hot afternoon, she clutched the son that was never hers as he sobbed into her shoulder.  She cried to a God that didn’t seem to care.

This was Remi’s first memory.

The only sepia that remained from this particular memory was the part that existed between the breaking of Remi’ arm and the removal of Lloyd’s jeans.  If prison had taught Lloyd anything it was that he liked boys, and like a gift from God he had been given one from the man in the cocked Bowler.

 

Stephen King’s “Doctor Sleep” Cover Revealed!


%22Doctor Sleep%22The hotly anticipated “Doctor Sleep” by Stephen King is the sequel to his immensely popular and famous novel, “The Shining.” The idea has apparently been toying around the horror master’s brain for several years now, but was not confirmed till the audiobook of “The Wind Through the Keyhole’ was released and a prologue to “Doctor Sleep” was included as a bonus. For those interested in a text version of the aforementioned “Doctor Sleep” prologue check out Stephen King and Joe Hill’s joint eBook endeavor, “In The Tall Grass” found on Amazon.com.

“Doctor Sleep” is set to release September of 2013, and until now the cover has been a closely guarded secret amongst the folks at Scribner. However, the cover has finally been released!  While you are gandering at the beautiful cover image up top, check out Cemetery Dance Publications special slipcase edition of “Doctor Sleep” by visiting their homepage and ordering now.

Although, “Doctor Sleep” is being published by Scribner, Cemetery Dance Publications has produced custom-made slipcovers for the past several King novels and has decided to included “Doctor Sleep” within this catalogue. These slipcovers add to an already great product by creating a wonderful talking point amongst friends, family, and bibliophiles.

Here is a synopsis of “Doctor Sleep”:

Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.

Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood winter, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”

Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival.

On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and tween Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of hyper-devoted readers of The Shining and wildly satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.

(SOURCE: Stephen King’s “Doctor Sleep Cover Revealed!)

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