Saturday, October 11, 2014

Lords of Dyscrasia: Darkly bold and literate fantasy

Recent 5-star review of Lords of Dyscrasia on Amazon!  

5.0 out of 5 stars Lords of Dyscrasia: Darkly bold and literate fantasy -1st in a seriesOctober 9, 2014
By 
This review is from: Lords of Dyscrasia (Kindle Edition)


S.E. Lindberg leads us on an amazing adventure into character and danger with his first in a series, "Lords of Dyscrasia." Lindberg's work is dark, violent; sometimes beautiful, sometimes lyrical; always thoughtfully written. For an emerging writer, Lindberg takes many chances, and almost always succeeds. He is a more thoughtful writer than many, exploring the psyches of humans and their gods. Lindberg is a chemist, and in this story disease corrupts the the characters and their faith in themselves and one another. I loved it, but I am hesitant to characterize it. Is Lords of Dyscrasia it high fantasy, heroic fantasy? You decide.

A dyscrasia is a term the ancient Greeks used to describe imbalance of the four humors needed for life. In Lords of Dyscrasia, these medicinal or physical humors manifest as muses for artisans, dispensers of magical power, and the manifestations of disease. Lindberg twists this sophisticated ancient construct into an unexpected shape, as is his wont.

Lindberg is a bold and literate guide to a uniquely-imagined world, with a deep love for fantasy conventions and equally for surprises. When the soul of a dying queen becomes infused into the blood of a human artisan, the soul of the queen passes through his blood and into his offspring, preserving the bloodline... I'll say no more about Ante and the adventures swirling around him.

As I said, Lindberg takes chances; he's full of energy that infuses this book with passion. The raw power of story, when mixed with a literate intelligence and a taste for beauty, make this writer one to read early and follow on his quest for perfection. I can't wait to see what Lindberg does next, in Spawn of Dyscrasia... although I think I have an inkling....

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Heraclix and Pomp by Forrest Aguirre - Interview by S.E. Lindberg

Forrest Aguirre Bio & Previous Interviews:

Aguirre with Totenkopf

Forrest's short fiction has appeared in over fifty venues, including Asimov's, Gargoyle, Apex, and Polyphony. He is a World Fantasy Award winner for his editorial work, with Jeff VanderMeer, on the Leviathan 3 anthology. His novel, Heraclix& Pomp is releasing now by the Underland Press imprint of Resurrection House (Oct, 2014). Forrest Aguirre has been interviewed several times already (see selection below), but this aims to cover some new ground.The primary theme across all S.E.Lindberg Interviews  is “Beautiful Weird Art/Horror” and there is plenty of that in Heraclix & Pomp. 
  1. 2003: Interview by Trent Walters, capturing Forrest Aguirre’s creative process  and interest in Africa.
  2. 2013: Forrest Aguirre’s Fantastic Fugue – Interview by Bill Ectric, including Aguirre’s use of a real pen to hand write first drafts.  
  3. 2014: Lost in the Forrest: An Interview with Forrest Aguirre – Dan Schwent: The literary inspirations and RPG origins of H&P.
"As a child, I always thought I would die at age 36..." F.Aguirre 2014

How does weird fiction deliver beauty?

What about dark, surreal subjects do you find beautiful? You have a sustained interest in weird fiction, including being the editor of the 2002 Leviathan #3 and #4, collections you described as being "darkly beautiful surreal stories."  The paradox of finding beauty in dark things is the topic we want to explore here: what about dark, surreal subjects do you find beautiful?

FA: Before we begin, let me say that I find beauty in light, as well. I’m a bit of a brooder, admittedly, but I love, for instance, going to our city’s flower garden. I just happen to be willing to peek behind the petals at that dead frog lying on the wood chips and am able to appreciate the irony and pathos there, as well. I think the beauty in the dark and surreal is twofold. First, there is the notion of contrast. Sameness, to me, is not beautiful. Unfortunately, it’s not ugly, either. If it were ugly, at least it would be interesting. It’s contrast that I find intriguing. 

I’ll give an example (that may or may not work for you): a few years ago, my family and I had been out watching my two oldest boys running in a cross country race. It was a beautiful fall afternoon. The leaves were saturated with yellow and red, it was a cool, pleasant day, with blue skies and a few wisps of white cloud here and there. We came home and, as dusk fell, dark clouds started marching in across the western sky. These were odd, though, not your usual rain clouds. They were thin and tall, reminding me a lot of the famous Hubble space telescope shot of the “Pillars of Creation”.  I don’t know that I have seen anything like that before or since. The sun set, the stars came out, and the clouds kept floating in like some sort of dark ghost sentinels. The sky between each pillar was so clear that I could see the stars with no obstruction other than where the clouds occluded them. Then, as I watched, lightning arced from one of the clouds to another, then back again, across the stars! It was one of the most majestic views of the universe I have ever had, from my little vantage point on my front doorstep. I was stunned. Filled with awe. It’s this sort of contrast, lightning arcing between two dark clouds across a field of stars, that I find so compelling. It is unexpected, strange, and fills the viewer with simultaneous respect and terror. This is what I seek in the “darkly beautiful surreal”. 

Second, and the example I just gave leads into this, there is an expansiveness about the dark that is begging to be filled. When we’re filled with awe or wonder, it’s not about what we see, but about what we don’t see. When we stare into the void and the void stares back, the viewer is the source of both actions. Imagination fills in the gaps that the senses can’t grasp, and darkness leaves much to the imagination. White emptiness won’t do for this triggering of the imagination. While a blank page might be filled with awe-inspiring imagery, it’s not the white page that generates the artist’s ideas. It is in the dark recesses of his or her mind that the image is formed, then that emerging image is plotted onto the page. This creation from the imagination engages the viewer. 

This is why people of an artistic bent often enjoy books more than movies. How often have you heard someone say “I didn’t like the movie as well as the book because the way it was shown in the movie wasn’t what I had imagined”? When all the images are provided for you, you are merely a witness. When your mind creates art of its own volition, in the spaces left for you by the author, you become a participant in the art. Weird fiction just provides more quick focus for the imagination. By providing unusual imagery, it homes in on the experience of feeling the strange. I think of Mieville’s Perdido Street Station as a good example of this. Because we begin by focusing on Lin, who has a scarab beetle for a head, and we are introduced to a well-described artificial construct, a gaunt bird-like being who has had his wings sawed from off his back, and other minor, bizarre characters, it is easy for the imagination to populate the rest of the city with all manner of strange beings. We extrapolate, we expand, and our expansions are simultaneously bound and freed by the weirdness that has been provided us by the author. This, in our minds, creates a strange kind of beauty: a contrast to the “normal” world in which we live. I, for one, am appreciative of the gift of being able to enter this dark world and take in its beauty.

Comment on “art” born from death? Were you affected by hermetic muses?

“Think that you are not yet begotten, that you are in the womb, that you are young, that you are old, that you have died, that you are in the world beyond the grave; grasp in your thought all of this at once… then you can apprehend God.”  Hermes Trismegistus, Hermetica

Heraclix & Pomp opens with a quote from the father (god?) of mysticism, Hermes Trismegistus. Although the Thrice Great Hermes purportedly wrote 100-300 AD (long before the 1700’s in H&P), hermeticism enabled the connection of the intangible of nature (god, life, death…) with artificial, human powers (art, thaumaturgy, theurgy) and was influential during Europe’s Renaissance and Age of Enlightenment.  Indeed, before the 20th century, most scientists were also artists since they had to record their observations without photographs or computers (Da Vinci, Ernest Haeckel, Robert Hooke, etc.), so the scientists were the ultimate creators.   Assembling and resurrecting a human via necromantic rites (i.e., Heraclix’s birth) certainly demonstrates mystical beauty. Can you comment on “art” born from death?  Were you affected by hermetic muses?


FA: Death is the ultimate darkness, the ultimate mystery. As I stated before, the human brain has a way of filling in the gaps created by mystery. Now, the mystery of Heraclix is his past: what was he before he died and was reborn? The death itself is of little or no consequence. It was what happened before death that concerns him.  But, it is only as he travels through the veil of death and into Hell that Heraclix really begins to understand who he (or they) was (or were). I suppose losing one’s memory is a kind of death, in an abstract way. And memory and forgetfulness, change and rediscovery, were the main themes behind Heraclix’s journey. He is not who he thought he was, but he doesn’t know who he was. So many concern themselves about what is coming, about the inevitability of death. Heraclix is concerned with what came before life, a question which many people are even more terrified to explore than the fear of death. 

Pomp, on the other hand, has no innate concept of death. It is only when she realizes that there might be an end to her existence, that it is possible for her to die, that she begins to even understand a concept of time. Her question is: can one understand time, unless one is faced with death, the possible cessation of time? So death itself is merely a trigger to this question. She is not so concerned about what happens after we die. But because of death, the here and now becomes acute and comes into sharper focus. She can’t be as carefree and whimsical as she used to be, because she does not have an infinite amount of time available to her, or at least she realizes now that this is the case. Furthermore, death is the ultimate consequence. As a result of her brush with death, Pomp begins to realize that there are consequences to one’s actions, consequences that affect her and others. So the prospect of death creates empathy within her, as well.

These existential problems can inform art, though they don’t necessarily have to do so. Again, death is a mystery. And art that is drawn from death or that portrays death, allows the imagination to expand and fill in the gaps of knowledge that are inevitably caused by our inability to see beyond death or beyond birth, as in Heraclix’s case.

 "...art that is drawn from death or that portrays death, allows the imagination to expand and fill in the gaps of knowledge that are inevitably caused by our inability to see beyond death or beyond birth, as in Heraclix’s case." F.Aguirre 2014

Do you consider Mattatheus Mowler an artist?

Your necromancer Mowler is reminiscent of Mary Bryce Shelly’s Victor Frankenstein, the infamous artist and scientist, who pieced together body parts to create life via alchemy.  In her prologue, Shelly described how her muse worked though her:
“I saw-with shut eyes, but acute mental vision-I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together.  I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion.   Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavor to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world.  His success would terrify the artist...” (Mary Shelly, The Modern Prometheus 1818)

Were you affected by haunting muses?   Do you consider your character Mattatheus Mowler an artist?

FA: Mattatheus Mowler is motivated by fear. I don’t know that he would consider himself an artist, though he does have an artistic flair. He’s an artist, I suppose, in that he’s an actor, but all of his actions are based on his fear of death. If he’s an artist, he’s an accidental artist, except in the theatrical arts, where he is very intentional!

Do you have a curio cabinet at home, full of Etsy-purchased art? Where did you procure that Totenkopf (death’s head Fez)?

Like Mowler, you don a peculiar Fez cap. The juxtaposition of skull-and-crossbones on the timely headpiece (popular in the 18th century) represents the necromancer, indeed the entire book, well. You claim not to be an artisan as much as you are a writer, but you have a fascination with artifacts; collecting them seemed integral our creative process, at least in (your many virtual "treasuries" on Etsy).  Why brainstorm in a real marketplace of artifacts? Do you have a curio cabinet at home, full of Etsy purchased art? Where did you get that death’s head Fez?
Aguirre's Etsy Treasuries 
FA: Well, I’m not a hoarder, as such. The Etsy lists served many purposes. They helped me visualize things a bit better when I required some focus. They helped me to get the word out about the novel to people who might not otherwise get direct exposure to it. Finally, I just plain love Etsy and want to support the artists there. Since I can’t just go and buy everything on Etsy, I thought I’d give some of these Heraclix & Pomp related pieces a “signal boost”. I don’t know that I can take credit, but some of the pieces in those lists have sold since

 I posted them on my treasuries list. I do have a sort of curio cabinet or cabinets in my writing area. I collect a lot of knick-knacks that serve as writing prompts, distractions, or objects that spur the imagination. I have, among many other things, a small “crystal” (read: cheap clear resin) skull, a number of retro-rayguns, several metal miniatures (killer robots, martians a’la “Mars Attacks,” creatures from the Lovecraft mythos), a few European Renaissance-era and early modern silver coins, a meteorite, a bird cage filled with origami ravens (and a copy of Poes “The Raven” in paperback), and so forth. My Totenkopf was purchased from fez-o-rama.com. I couldn’t afford to buy an authentic Totenkopf (I think starting bids for these were around $2500 on ebay, last I checked). So the $50 I spent on my Totenkopf was well worth the price. They don’t make that particular style any more, but I do know that they recently put up another skull-emblazoned fez. And that reminds me, it’s not a “pirate fez” as I’ve heard so many people say. It’s a decidedly germano-slavic design. I am trying to educate the world about this, but it often feels like I am spitting into the wind. Cretins . . .

Is "mortality" one of your muses? Is there beauty in impermanence?

Heraclix & Pomp explores the boundaries of life and death, which a presumptive interviewer may assume is reflective of a mid-life crisis plaguing the rapidly again author.  Having recently celebrating 45yrs of youth, is "mortality" one of your muses? Is there beauty in impermanence?

FA: As a child, I always thought I would die at age 36. I have no idea where I got this notion from, but it was stuck in my head, nonetheless. As I approached my 36th birthday, I was less and less worried about the prospect. On that birthday, I woke up, looked around and thought “well, that’s over”. My mother’s mother lived to be 96, and since my father was adopted and I don’t know his biological parents, I have no idea what my genetic longevity could be like. For all I know, I’ll live to be 100 or I’ll die on the way to dinner tonight. I think that, more than mortality being a muse, adventuring into the unknown is one of my muses. And going into middle age and, hopefully, old age, is a bit of an adventure. I’m enjoying the ride.

Any tips on how to incorporate humor into Dark Art without ruining the ambience?

Trailblazing weird authors (i.e., Clark Ashton Smith, Howard Phillips Lovecraft) considered their dark fiction beautiful, but they steered away from incorporating humor.  You style seems is indeed “weird” but you include doses of intellectual laughs.  For instance, Pomp’s idiosyncrasies and mischief are a welcome contrast to H&P’s darker settings.  Any tips for writers who want to incorporate humor without ruining the ambiance

FA: Once I had Pomp firmly planted in my head, she did the rest. I’ve always had a strong sense of humor, partially because I lived in England during my teenage years and developed a dark, python-esque sense of humor while I was there. But for Heraclix & Pomp, I didn’t set out to write something humorous. Pomp just sort of took me there. I love Pomp’s whimsy. It’s a healthy contrast to so many grim things happening. The character of Von Graeb also brought a lighter touch to the novel, I think. He’s not hilarious, but he is good-natured, the kind of guy you like to be around at a social gathering: real, but willing to laugh at life. I think many works today are very sarcastic in their humor, and I can appreciate that, in fact the science fiction novel that I’m working on right now, Solistalgia, has a character with as sarcastic a sense of humor as anyone could have. But cynicism mingled with laughter has become endemic in fiction nowadays. In the case of writing Heraclix & Pomp, I wanted to keep the cynicism at a fairly low level, compared to my normal work. Again, Pomp and Von Graeb helped me out a great deal. They kept things lighter than they otherwise would have been, had I let my natural grim sense of humor have its way.

How does your Humanities and African History degrees (Brigham Young University and Madison-WI respectively) inform your weird fiction? 

Your The Butterfly Artist involved Africa, but many of your other works have a European focus (Cloaks of Vermin and Fish, Archangel Morpheus, and Heraclix & Pomp. You even went extraterrestrial with Swans over the Moon.   It seems your interests are shifting from Africa…to Europe…to divine realms.  How did your Humanities and African History degrees lead you on your journey?  Where are you going next?

FA: Keep in mind that I was raised as a bit of a gypsy. My dad was a sergeant in the US Air Force. I was born in Germany, lived in the Philippines (which I still can’t spell, after all these years - thank you, autocorrect), Italy, England, and even Nebraska, for a time. I’ve lived all over the US except the Deep South. And I mean lived in these places, not just visited. It would take me some time to enumerate the countries I’ve visited. So, from my birth, I’ve had a bit of the wanderlust. It’s just how I was raised. I’m amazed when I look back at my time living in Wisconsin. 18 years, it’s been. In my first 18 years of life I had lived in four different countries and four different states: Texas, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Wyoming. 

When I went to college at BYU (in Utah, for those unfamiliar with BYU), I studied humanities with a history emphasis. Most of my history classes were in European History, medieval, renaissance, and modern. It wasn’t until the summer between my junior and senior year, when I did my senior thesis on the Battle of Tanga in German East Africa, that I began to become interested in Africa. That’s what led me to apply to UW-Madison and pursue a Master’s in African History. After I ran out of funding and ambition, I quit grad school and worked in the “real” world (where I am still gainfully employed) and writing fiction whenever I could manage it. We write what we know, so, of course my travels and my studies inform my work. As I mentioned earlier, I’m working on a science fiction novel set, where else? In space. I guess I’ve moved beyond this planet, for a short time, anyway. But I’ll be back. I have a feeling that Heraclix and Pomp might just return at some future point. There are no guarantees, but I hear that there were some interesting things happening between the time of their first adventures and now, maybe something in colonial Africa or in the American west. I’ll ask them if they were involved.

Creative Processes

You already covered your writing process in other interviews, and revealed that H&P evolved, in part, from role playing games, and that you prefer to write the first draft of a story with a real ink pen (see interview list above).  Would you like to comment more on your creative process?

FA: It probably goes without saying that writing, for me, is a holistic experience. I typically burn incense when writing and am rarely without a dark chocolate bar of some kind nearby when I write. Music is critical, too, as you can see from the acknowledgements in Heraclix & Pomp. Each of my characters has his or her own soundtrack, really, and when I need to get into character quickly, I turn on the appropriate music to tune in to that character. Lighting is also an influence for me. My writing area is admittedly dim, as harsh lights tend to blind my imagination, a bit. I am a visual and kinesthetic learner/creator, so this is fairly important to me. I guess, in summation, writing is a whole body, immersive experience. Writing is one of my “happy places,” and you don’t get to your happy place without preparing for the journey!


"Each of my characters has his or her own soundtrack, really, and when I need to get into character quickly, I turn on the appropriate music to tune in to that character." F.Aguirre 2014

Do you find any of your own weird fiction as beautiful?   

FA: I do. And I don’t say that to be vain. There’s something in my blood, probably from my mother, that compels me to create. I don’t have the talent or the patience to be an artist (though my kids are wonderful artists), and though I’ve done acting in the theatrical realm a couple of times, I find that the preparation and execution of acting requires me to “stuff down” my personality. It’s a real chore. Creating through writing, though, comes quite naturally. The experience of writing is a drug, a hallucinogen that brings beautiful things out of my mind. Sometimes, I’m able to capture them and show others, sometimes not. But when I can, I’m not afraid to acknowledge their beauty. I can sometimes look at a sentence and say “That, Forrest, is a great sentence. You rule!” This is to counteract the many times when I have to overcome the sense of inadequacy that arises from those times when I know I haven’t quite captured what I’ve seen or heard in my thoughts. Take your victories as you can, I say. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge the beauty you create. But do be willing to acknowledge when someone else, usually an editor, finds an even better way to express what it is that you thought you had expressed well in the first place. Be proud. Be humble. Just be both at the appropriate times. There’s no shame in creating something beautiful and feeling a sense of satisfaction in not only the creative act itself, but in the results of your efforts. You’ve made the world a more beautiful place for yourself and others. Congratulations!

Thanks Forrest Aguirre for sharing! 

Heraclix and Pomp is available Oct,. 2014.  Check it out now.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Tales from the Dark Tower - Review By S.E.

Tales from the Dark TowerTales from the Dark Tower Illustrated by Joseph Vargo
S. E. Lindberg rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ghostly, macabre adventure; highly recommended for any read reader willing abandon hope and enter an abandoned Dark Tower
“This world in made of stories, to its core. And because the world is made of stories, you must be very cautious which tales you believe, which ones you tell and which ones you listen to. The right story, or the wrong one, can change you forever.” Russell Novotny co-author

Vargo’s History of Splendid, Dark Design:With that quote, a reader should expect a set of well designed, interconnected tales, and the anthology Tales from the Dark Tower delivers. Illustrated and co-authored by Joseph Vargo, this extends to Vargo’s media empire (the illustration portion shared with co-author Christine Filipak who form “Monolithic Graphics” … makers of spooky calendars and The Gothic Tarot, and the music brand “Nox Arcana” discussed below). This book was inspired by James Pipik (another coauthor) who proposed connecting Joseph’s art with a string of stories. Vargo agreed. In all there are eight collaborating authors (six from Ohio) teaming up to deliver thirteen ghost tale/adventures.

Connecting all these tales is the titular Dark Tower looming over the town of Vasaria. Prepare to venture with: ghosts, crusaders, succubi, vampires, gargoyles, and humans (both pitiful and honorable). Each successive story builds on the previous to unveil a rich history of a truly wondrous, dark place. The underlying story-arc is so well designed, the “voice” of the stories seems the same (despite the variety of authors). Some read as classic ghost stories; some as fairy tales; some as high-octane Sword & Sorcery. All are aimed at chipping away at the fantastic mystery of the Tower.

More Dark Tower: You’ll be left satisfied about Lord Brom’s (main character) inclusion into the Dark Tower, and still you will want more! Thankfully, there is an illustrated sequel : Beyond The Dark Tower.

But wait…there is even more! A Dark Tower Soundtrack: Vargo’s music talents fuel Nox Arcana Music, which has decades of experience producing Movie Soundtracks and Concept albums saluting all things weird (Edgar Allen Poe, Lovecraft, Zombies, Haunted Houses, Spooky Carnivals, Bram Stoker's Dracula, etc.). Many horror and fantasy writers listen to his work as they create. One may expect a Dark Tower album, and there is! The music album has 19 tracks, most with names corresponding to the chapter titles.


Tales Dark Tower    Beyond Dark Tower


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Monday, September 15, 2014

Donny Sword's Ways of the Stygia - Review by S.E.

Ways of the Stygia- Fallen SongWays of the Stygia- Fallen Song by Donny Swords
S.E. Lindberg rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fallen Song, a modern day Stormbringer for horror fantasy fans

Awesome Beginning: Donny Swords’s Ways of the Stygia- Fallen Song: Author's Cut has one of the best introductory sequences (i.e. 30% of the novel) that I have read in years. The reader is introduced to Donny Swords’s Stygia Series via the character Thomas Van Pelt, who has a strange ax in his possession (the titular Fallen Song). Thomas’ first person narrative unravels an intense mystery beyond imagination; by intense, I mean this is mature dark fantasy (not for the Young Adult crowd) delivered with direct punches and crime scenes that will make veteran horror readers flinch. The beginning chapters deserve a soundtrack (heck, it seems that the written word provides the music); chapters alternate with a heavy metal vibe to eerie orchestral (like the 1971 movie A Clockwork Orange); it reads as if Elric’s infamous demon-possessed sword “Stormbringer” was given to a modern day, vigilante policeman. The book summary accurately summarizes the rest without spoiling (copied below).

Holy Epic Battles, Batman! By the time the reader reaches the 30+% mark, s/he will be starving for some portion of the mystery to be revealed; this is delivered over the remaining chapters, in doses that explain as much as they complicate. The first-person narrative subsides and an abstract third-person style dominates; characters upon characters are introduced, titrating one’s mind until brimming with mythical concepts. This is truly epic conflict. Mid-journey, I admit to be being a little frustrated since the story seemed to diverge faster than I could keep up, and the style became less experiential and more journalistic reporting.

Closes Nice: That said, the ending was delightful and very satisfying. This was in part to the reemergence of Thomas’s voice, but the plot also closed succinctly (with unexpected twists). On the whole, Ways of the Stygia- Fallen Song: Author's Cut defines Stygia as a compelling temperament/emotion/location/substance (I am being deliberately obtuse, no spoilers here), and will show you the Way to Stygia as promised.

More Stygia This review is timely, since an extension of the series should be available in just days (Cult of Morgod releases Sept-19-2014). I recommend this to horror fantasy readers looking for entertaining, epic weirdness.

Book Summary (from Goodreads):
Thomas Van Pelt lived a normal life. On one dreary raining evening that all changed. His work as a CSI investigator had led him to yet another crime scene, and there, prompted by his primal senses he discovered the ancient artifact that would that day forward alter his own life and the fate of the universe itself. The ancient weapon Fallen Song summons Thomas, and reawakens his forgotten past. He embarks on his new calling- bringing justice to the guilty, the ones who would otherwise remain free to perpetrate their vile acts on the unsuspecting.

Thomas is reunited with past allies and embarks on an epic adventure involving demons, necromancers, deities, vampires, sorcerers and the terrorists of Purgatory itself, the night stalker. Get pulled away to new lands, terrible enough to cost you sleep and see what ends Thomas will go to in his quest to bring a new era of light to an ailing universe.





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Thursday, September 11, 2014

5-stars: Author Charles Gramlich reviews Spawn of Dyscrasia

5/5-Stars for Spawn of Dyscrasia

Author Charles Gramlich posted the first Amazon review of Spawn of Dyscrasia (just released last month). He has a keen ability for writing and teaching adventure fiction.  I've enjoyed his poetic dark fantasy, and am I'm flattered by and grateful for his comments. Charles Gramlich's review is posted on his Razored Zen BlogAmazon, and Barnes - Noble and Goodreads

"This is an entertaining fantasy novel that—I would argue—rises to the level of art... There are plenty of gore-rich scenes, enough to do a horror novel proud. But the language is so vivid and rich that you can just revel in it..."Gramlich Sept-2014




Monday, September 1, 2014

Dyscrasia - Word Useage and Definition

What is Dyscrasia?


"Dyscrasia" is a real word; and it is not a fictional land! According to Google's Word Viewer NGRAM,  it's peak usage was in 1881! So what does it mean?

Interactive Graph


Dyscrasia literally means “a bad mixture of liquids.”  Historically, dyscrasia referred to any imbalance of the four medicinal humors professed by the ancient Greeks to sustain life (phlegm, blood, black and yellow bile).  On the other hand, eucrasia meant a healthy mix/state.


Artisans, anatomists, and chemists of the Renaissance expressed shared interest in the humors; accordingly, the scope of humorism evolved to include aspects of the four alchemical elements (water, air, earth and fire) and psychological temperaments (phlegmatic, sanguine, melancholic and choleric).  In short, the humors are mystical media of color, energy, and emotion; Dyscrasia Fiction presents them as spiritual muses for artisans, sources of magical power, and contagions of a deadly disease. 

Dyscrasia Fiction explores the choices humans and their gods make as this disease corrupts their souls, shared blood and creative energies. Click on the Dyscrasia Fiction books to check them out on Amazon.com:

     

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Sorcery versus Swords : Groupread Announcement Sept-Oct 2014

elric and harold lamb group read

Sorcery versus Swords!

All Sword and Sorcery groupies,
Everyone who likes to read is welcome to join our two-month (Sept-Oct 2014) discussions on two opposing flavors of heroic fiction ("without sorcery" and "warrior-sorcerer Elric"), Focused on authors: Harold Lamb and Michael Moorcock:

1) Sept-Oct: Swords sans Sorcery - Read and Discussion
2) Sept-Oct: Elric Groupread Discussion

As always, a montage of appropriate art is showcased. Art credits:
Background: Elric: The Dreaming City, art by P. Craig Russel (art from interior depictions of Melnibone’)
Riders of the Steppes: The Complete Cossack Adventures, Volume Three, cover art by Darrel Stevens
Wolf of the Steppes: The Complete Cossack Adventures, Volume One , cover art by Darrel Stevens
Swords from the East , cover art by Darrel Stevens
Elric: Swords and Roses, cover art by John Picacio

Elric  The Dreaming City by Roy Thomas Riders of the Steppes  The Complete Cossack Adventures, Volume Three by Harold Lamb Wolf of the Steppes  The Complete Cossack Adventures, Volume One by Harold Lamb Swords from the East by Harold Lamb Elric  Swords and Roses (Chronicles of the Last Emperor of Melnibon√©, #6) by Michael Moorcock