Pathfinder Chronicler Vol. 4

I’m happy to have another short story, The Orphan Crusade, published in the pages of Pathfinder Chronicler which was released at this year’s PaizoCon. PFC is a fan fiction publication featuring fantasy stories set in Golarion, the home world setting for Pathfinder adventures. The cover art for this volume is the best yet, I think.

 

 

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Pathfinder Chronicler Availabe On Paizo

You can now download the fan fiction inspired works published in the Pathfinder Chronicler Anthology Volumes I – III on Paizo! Especially volumes II & III, since they have tales by yours truly in them. Check it out here:

http://paizo.com/products/btpy90io?Pathfinder-Chronicler-Anthology-Vol-2-Download

http://paizo.com/products/btpy98dj?Pathfinder-Chronicler-Anthology-Vol-3-Download

http://paizo.com/products/btpy8lcz?Pathfinder-Chronicler-Anthology-Vol-1-Download

 

 

Pathfinder Chronicler Anthology, Vol. 2 Download

Pathfinder Chronicler Anthology, Vol. 3 Download

Pathfinder Chronicler Anthology Vol. III

My copies of PFC vol. 3 arrived late last week. Like the previous volume, it’s a nice looking book with more fantastic cover art by Carolina Eade. My story Monsters in the Attic kicks off on page 91, and takes place in that most wonderful of places, Nidal (Hellraiser, meet Pathfinder).

Before now, about the only way you could pick up one of these fan fiction packed anthologies was to attend a convention–but no more! If you would like to have one of these for youself, you can secure it by making a donation to Pathfinder Chronicler. Visit the site at http://pathfinderchronicler.net/ to find out how to get that, art posters, or to submit your own story. The next fiction contest is underway right now!

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The Gorgon’s Love

Love fantasy? Steampunk? Then you should check out the latest collection of short stories from Nevermet Press in Stories in the Ether Vol. 4. It’s an ePub, and should be compatible with all readers. It is my honor to have my story featured on the cover, and kudos to Paul Hagwood for the outstanding Medusa art he created to compliment the tale. Follow the link below to check it out, and while you’re at it give a look at A Feast of Frights if you haven’t already, which holds within it my short story Midnight Passage.

With two works available on Amazon now, it seemed appropriate to start an author profile there, although that is still a work in progress when it comes to the finer deatails.

I continue to hone away at my novel. I’ve discovered as a writer that perhaps my greatest weakness is a penchant for long-ass paragraphs. So a lot has been going back and breaking those babies up with the word hammer. Plus I’ve had several ideas that add some layers of complexity and depth to the story. In the mean time, I’ve also had a short story tickling the back of my brain that I’m probably going to have to spill onto paper here soon.

http://www.amazon.com/Feast-Frights-The-Horror-Zine/dp/0615594476/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1337181761&sr=1-1-catcorr

http://www.amazon.com/Stories-Ether-Storytelling-Quarterly-ebook/dp/B0082CIA0U/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1354592444&sr=8-8&keywords=stories+in+the+ether

 

 

Feast in Hand

Today I was finally able to put my hands on my own copy of A Feast of Frights from The Horror Zine.  It’s a good-sized book, has a great cover and feel to it. Weighing in at 473 pages, it’s a big chunk of dark horror and fantasy. If you love the genre at all, there is bound to be something in it for you. And there is my story, right on page 223. But since there is so much more to the book, I don’t feel a bit narcissistic. But there’s a nice warm fuzzy from seeing my work in such a well-presented attractive volume. My thanks to Jeani Rector at The Horror Zine for all her hard work and dedication to bringing this book to print, and including me within its pages. You can find A Feast of Frights on Amazon here:

http://www.amazon.com/Feast-Frights-The-Horror-Zine/dp/0615594476/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1335205677&sr=8-1

It should be available in both print and kindle format. If it isn’t available on kindle yet, it will be very soon. The only thing better than seeing your name in print is hearing that other people enjoyed your work, so give it a read and come back and tell us what you thought!

Waiter, there’s a cross in my horror.

I’m a person of skeptical bent, which means I remain dubious of most any and all faith claims as fact. But my mind postulates that without religion and myth, two of the things I enjoy most in life, namely supernatural horror and fantasy, would not exist. What creature of the night or flighty god of fancy does not owe something to a mythological predecessor?

Perhaps that explains my continuing fascination with theology and mythology, which to me are much one and the same. Asked to concisely define mythology, Joseph Campbell answered, “Mythology is what we call someone else’s religion.” Mythology today has come to be equated to “a fiction,” whereas I prefer to think of it as Campbell put it, “symbolic images and narratives, metaphorical of the possibilities of human experience and the fulfillment of a given culture at a given time.” Myth is storytelling with meaning. It can carry truth, and it carries on today.

In the past,  as often as not, supernatural horror did not come without the inverse supernatural good. There was kind of a karmic balance. That’s changing somewhat in this modern era, and can particularly be seen with vampires. Anne Rice writes about vampires that can be fond of crosses, taking away the Church as antagonist and leaving the vamps to a carnal, dark underworld of their own making. In fact, being a vampire these days seems more of a sleek, sexy lifestyle with a couple of social glitches and hang-ups than being a curse. An American Werewolf in London (best werewolf movie EH-ver) dispensed with the notion of silver bullets. What seems to be happening is that the mythology surrounding the core ideal is stripped away, leaving just the creature. Sometimes that mythology is reimagined and replaced with a more modern interpretation, which can be a lot of fun. Or it can result in plain, unadulterated Evil, like sparkly vampires. Regardless, that is the nature of myth for each new age. It is never static. The novel I am currently working on carries many theological and religious overtones, drawn from a variety of  sources. These are our metaphors for relating to the universe.

I doubt supernatural horror will ever be completely free of religion, any more than man will. Like horror and fantasy, religious myths adapt and move with us too, and give birth to new ones. There is a natural progression. Scientology comes to mind as a recent example.  In many respects, belief in alien life is only the transference of belief in gods to belief in gods with space suits. Religion, in one form or another, will continue adding flavor to our cups of horror for many moons to come. We are hard-wired for it.

For my part, not all religions are built equally, though, and some make for more entertaining storytelling than others. The aforementioned Scientology is prebuilt for sci-fi. Given its creator wrote science fiction, perhaps that is not really surprising. It gives me pause that its faithful don’t quirk an eyebrow at this. But then again it makes sense–our myths come from our storytellers. Modern storytellers tend to be entertainers; L. Ron Hubbard went the extra mile to establish a new religion. The Mormons took us to space with Battlestar Galactica. Star Wars carried a quasi-Eastern religious feeling with the Force, until Lucas went and screwed that all up with “midi-chlorians.”   And the Roman Catholic Church gave us rich tradition and the cross which was the bane of evil for hundreds of storytelling years and remains so today. Catholicism is the standard foil for many a horror flick. It’s filled with awesome pageantry and ritual, making for great storytelling and visuals. It’s played such a huge role in history, both positive and negative, its influence on myth and faith is found across the globe. Modern day Protestantism, in comparison, is just damn boring. They don’t do flashy.

It’s also trendy to cast the man of god into the dark role, which may be somewhat a product of our age, but something the Church has lent itself to both historically and in current affairs. After all, when your local preacher gets busted for porn or theft, they’re guaranteed to make headlines. You can’t preach a higher standard and not expect to be excoriated for it when you yourself fail. Stephen King’s werewolf in Silver Bullet was the town preacher and the Da Vinci Code stirred the Catholic conspiracy pudding to such a degree some people thought it was real. But it’s good, even refreshing, to have an unspoilt (even if troubled) man of the cloth now and again. Father Karras and Father Merrin from the Exorcist come to mind. I liked those characters. I may not be a person of by-the-book faith, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t positive metaphors there to be used, one that most often involves sacrifice or atonement.

I’ve really enjoyed seeing fantasy and horror reestablish themselves in today’s culture. When it comes to fantasy, I credit a lot of that to Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings films. Being a fantasy and horror lover is no longer equivalent to being a social pariah, as a rash of new book series and movies will attest. It has begun to enter television media now, with HBO launching Game of Thrones last year (a personal fan favorite for me), and networks airing Once Upon a Time and Grimm. And forget Disney, these are shows with something of a darker bent–as is right and proper.

No matter how they are used, these are powerful themes and archetypes used to build the fantastic metaphoric tapestries that spring from our imagination and express the depths of the human mind, and I welcome them.