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24 October 2012

New Work Published: Air Out My Shorts #162

Well....."work" in the sense that it took some time and effort to create something that someone else can use.  Certainly nothing of any lasting or redeeming value, but fun all the same.

The literary (for want of a better word) and very comedic podcast "Air Out My Shorts" features another of my short stories in their latest, and in my opinion one of their best, episode, # 162 - Cake or Death.
Longtime readers who are keeping count will realize that this is indeed my fifth time going to this well, previous appearances being in episodes 39, 80103, and 122.  This time around, I take a crack at their patented Plot Plunger and come up with something that I can't describe in 25 words or less, but to which you should give a listen.  Show hosts Preston Button and the Word Whore really do a tremendous job of butchering the story in their signature way, and it makes for a very entertaining experience.

Click the link to download the episode directly, or go to their website to check out the other great things they have to offer.

22 October 2012

New Work Published: Sky Pirates of Valendor 2.6

Fresh up from Jolly Rogue Studios, it's "Sky Pirates of Valendor" Vol. 2, Issue 6.   I had the pleasure of doing the cover for this one, my second piece of work for this series (I had a pinup back in Volume 1).

From the book's description:

"Welcome to the World of Valendor, a bold new world where steam-powered ships sail across the sky and where you’ll find that the standard heroes come in any shape or form—even Pirate!

Change is coming to the Elven people of Galia. The oppression of the Death Guard will come to an end. Change is a very dangerous and deadly game though. No one knows this better than Tobin Manheim. Good thing he brought back up and his name is Bryan Sprighammer. With hammer and gun in hand, Bryan has a tough enough job fighting the hordes of the Death Guard. Imagine the added responsibility of watching Tobin's backside.
 
Join us for the epic conclusion to Volume 2 of Sky Pirates of Valendor!"
 
 It's got steampunk, action, elves, a catwoman and a talking bear with a warhammer.  What more do you want from a comic book?
 
The current issue and all back issues are available right now at DriveThru Comics. Sky Pirates of Valendor...check it out!


18 October 2012

New Work Published: Lovecraft Ezine # 18

I've been very busy lately with a series of small, private commissions that I, unfortunately, cannot run here.  Meantime, though, I've been able to squeeze in a couple of more public pieces of work that I will be sharing here as they become available.  First and foremost is the latest issue of Lovecraft Ezine, issue #18.

I've sung the praises of this magazine here before, not only for having the wisdom to accept me onboard as an illustrator, but also because I am a rabid Lovecraftian fiction fan who regularly scours the net for new sources of eldritch fiction.  The Lovecraft Ezine is, at present, one of the two best and most reliable feeders of my particular addiction (the other being Innsmouth Free Press, who haven't had the wisdom to take me on board yet, but I'll work on that...).  Editor and publisher Mike Davis works tirelessly each month to put together a package that's sure to please any fan of HPL's work, and lovers of good, dark fiction in general.  And let me tell you...this month he's outdone himself.

Issue 18 of Lovecraft Ezine is a tribute to not only Lovecraft himself, but also to another writer who, until recently, I had no idea had written anything in the Mythos....Roger Zelazny.  I've long appreciated Zelazny's "Amber" series as one of the most entertaining fantasy/sci-fi series of its time, and I've read a few short pieces by Zelazny that I thought were entertaining, but to my chagrin, that's about as far as my involvement with the writer went.  Then, recently, Mike Davis announced that this month's issue of the Ezine would be themed around Zelazny's novel, "A Night in the Lonesome October", which I had never before heard of, let alone read. 
Unable to resist the call to illustrate something related even loosely connected with such a writer, and discover some new Lovecraftiana at the same time, I grabbed a copy immediately and plowed through it as quickly as possible.  And thoroughly enjoyed it.  For anyone who hasn't read it, Zelazny's novel brings together a group of important 19th Century literary figures in a series of events closely related to the Mythos of Lovecraft's fiction, in a story that crosses genres from mystery to horror to historical fiction nimbly and enjoyably in a way that few writers can.  Here's the kicker:  the story is told from the perspective of the characters' pets.  Mainly from the viewpoint of a dog.  See, each character has an animal "familiar" - a dog, a cat, a snake, etc. - who assist their human counterparts in the proceedings of the novel, and the story told is as much, if not more, their story as it is that of the significant figures involved.
Aside from lifting the story from a pastiche of Lovecraft, this device allows Zelazny to inject a level of wry humour into what could otherwise be a very serious, almost bleak, story.  It is this unusual perspective that provides much of the raw entertainment of the story and makes it stand out from most of the other works written in the context Lovecraft created.

With this issue of the Ezine, Davis put the call out to writers to submit stories based around the events and characters in "A Night in the Lonesome October", and got back a wealth of fantastic work.  The list of authors includes authors such as William Meikle, Edward Morris, and Orrin Grey, among many others.  Eight stories and an essay in all, each illustrated by the talented crew of the Ezine, including yours truly.  Here's the thing:  the introduction for this issue is written by none other than Trent Zelazny, Roger's son and a successful author in his own right.  It's as close as the magazine could come to getting a blessing from the man himself.

This time around, I had the pleasure of illustrating "A Counting Game" by Derek Ferreira, a macabre tale featuring a certain prototypical vampire hunter and a famous detective...and a small menagerie of animals, including a vampiric bunny rabbit.  No joke. 
For this one, having recently been inspired by the art of Mark Summers in a Poe collection we had kicking around the house, I decided to try out a new style.  I'll let you decide how well I succeeded at it.

So, while I know I've urged this before, let me say with all sincerity that if you only ever try one issue of Lovecraft Ezine, it should be this one.  Not that you're likely to stop at one, what better place to start?
Remember, this thing is free to read online.  Of course, I highly recommend you do as I will do and support the magazine by purchasing a Kindle or Nook edition to read on your e-things, but that's up to you.  Either way, you should check it out, and don't forget to leave a comment, either here or at the Ezine's website, to let me or the other creators know what you think of the work.

Lovecraft Ezine #18 - perfect pre-Halloween reading.