Sunday, May 21, 2017

Asheville Comic Con After Action Report

It was a blast! That is all….

No, not all. I wish I could post more pictures of the awesome cos-plays, and the general crowd. I was just too busy at my own table to wander much, and took far too few pics! But cos-play pics can be found on their Facebook page. Asheville Comicon

This was the first year for the convention put on by the League of Extraordinary Geeks, Zumbawolf Cosplay and Pmpfan13 Cosplay. I couldn’t tell you the numbers but the turnout was great, set back in the Agriculture Center in Fletcher, NC, think cattle yard but much nicer, in the Expo Center with awesome AC! Almost 90 degrees outside and people wearing sweatshirts inside.

So, I loaded up the yellow beast, my Jeep, with table bling (the bloody shield wouldn’t fit) the Erlik Saga books with awesome art by Michael Munson, and to the mountains I went. Those that have been to Asheville, NC already know how gorgeous the drive is, but it was particularly nice with the green valleys and low hanging mist. Then though a green tunnel of trees in Fletcher to the Expo Center.  

With my trusty sidekick Stephen Light Fingers, (if ever a kid exemplified the innocent wonder and fun of Kender, it’s this one), we got set up to sell.

That was the purpose but not the reason.

I forget why I love doing this, not the writing, but doing conventions. It’s the sheer fun of fandom and the people. You don’t need to go to Disney to see adults having a child-like good time. Even those with their kids, or grandkids, that have not been involved in a fandom taking it in with an unabashed smile on their faces.

I want to thank all the folks that visited my table. Those that bought a book, said hi, and commented on the beautiful sword nearby. To just talk about their own love of all things geekery, Dropkick Murphys and Great Big Sea.

A special thanks to Jacob and Timmy for letting me come play in their yard. And a thanks to all those that bought books like Molly, Buddy and Steven of the Kilt. A shout to Walter who attended his first con ever and loved it.

Check out my vendor neighbors: Kayla Leonard at Season of the Geek (Look for the Blue Call Box)  and J. Rutland with his Robot (Samurai) Penguins, and the spooky cool Antler Hill.

Closing time actually came too soon. Here is looking forward to the next show in Asheville and the next convention to experience all again.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Ilustrated Havamal by Sam Flegal

The Havamal was written down around the 9th or 10th century, and like most Northern European literature it was put down after Christian conversion. Attributed to Odin as “sayings of the High Ones” collected in the Codex Regius around the 13th century it is like many other sayings and advice from other cultures on how to conduct oneself and how best to live.

There are numerous sources and places where the work is gathered, one in particular is an illustrated version that I backed as a kick starter from Sam Flegal.

Sam is an impressive artist and not because I am partial to his Nordic themes. He can be found here:

The hard bound edition is a quality production with a red cover and pen and ink art throughout. Flegal utilizes the 1923 translation by Henry Adams Bellows with annotations on stanzas themselves, in their relations or how they might have been combined though not related or from different authors. The right column is English translation with the Norse to the left. The stanzas are laid out in the traditional “books”.

His table of contents consist of introductions followed by seven sections.

The Wisdom of the High One

The Story of Odin and Billing’s Daughter

Odin and the Mead of Song

Odin’s Tale of the Runes

A List of Charms

A couple of my personal favorites:

On friendship:

A bad friend

is far away

though his cottage is close.

To a true friend

lies a trodden road

though his farm lies far away

Work Ethic:

Wake early

if you want

another man’s life or land.

No lamb

for the lazy wolf.

No battles won in bed.

Again, like many of the sayings of other cultures, the Havamal of the Norse resonates today. Sam Flegal’s edition is a beautiful work to find that timeless advice.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Podcast: Brannon (Ashy) Hollingsworth

I just wanted to spread the news. My good buddy co-author and sometimes public-house wingman, Brannon (Ashy) Hollingsworth was featured in a recent podcast with Rocking Self-Publishing Podcast.
This master of self-promotion touches on the business model that is Four Fools Press which has been dubbed a "publishing cooperative".
So he talks about the writing process, multitasking, and what Four Fools Press is all about!

So here is the link with all the gobbledygook:

Brannon (Ashy) Hollingsworth

Four Fools Press: Four Fools Press is an all for one and one for all publishing organization formed by several good friends with a common love for writing, adventure, and getting the opportunity to make a little money along the way. Ultimately, to us, this endeavor is all about having the opportunity to tell stories and having someone enjoy what we've done.

Four Fools Press is as much a publishing venture as it is an experiment: We're trying to do the self publishing thing in a totally different way. By dividing the work load of writing, editing, layout, art design, and marketing each of us in Four Fools shoulders part of the responsibility of producing quality digital creations.

So, if you're interested in top shelf story telling, compelling characters, beautiful art, and well composed tales, this is the place for you! And, if you like a little "crazy" thrown in as well, then our name says it all. We welcome you to try our products, and let us know what you thinks, precious.
Brannon Hollingsworth: Brannon Hollingsworth was born to create. An author, speaker, poet, publisher, game designer, content creator, script writer, art director, and unapologetic Christ-follower, Brannon is a passionate creator and teacher of youth who promotes family-oriented ministries. Brannon is the proud father of five, four of whom are home-schooled. By day, he writes and produces entertainment and educational content from his top-secret, hidden base in north Alabama. By night, he creates new ideas with boundless enthusiasm.

Brannon is the co-author of
H20 the novel, the first in the Eternal Elements Series, from AMG Publishers. His other recent works include the comic "Sundered", for Awful Good Games, “Tenet’s Tale”, part of the mosaic novel Skein of Shadows from Dark Quest Publishing; “Firestarter”, part of The Guestbook, an Amazon best selling horror anthology from Four Fools Press, The Truth Is Out There, the first part in the new supernaturally-laced Tenet's Tales series, and last but not least, Robot Dad, which is his first foray into fully illustrated children's' books.

Brannon has also been published extensively in the role-playing industry, writing fiction and designing games for several publishers including: Paizo Publishing, Sword & Sorcery Studios, Green Ronin Press, Bastion Press, Sovereign Press, Necromancer Games, Atlas Games, Fantasy Flight Games, Eden Studios, Skeleton Key Games, Ignitus Innovations, Wandering Men Studios, Dark Quest Games, Ambient, Inc., and Citizen Games. Brannon has also been published in several role-playing periodicals such as Dragon Magazine, Gaming Frontiers, and The EN World Player's Journal. He was also a co-creator and producer of his own card based role-playing game, Untold, called “…a clever idea well executed…” and “Excellent” by Forbes.

Brannon’s publications are not limited to game design and fiction, however, as he also creates online content, such as educational and entertainment videos for sites such as YouTube, Udemy, Curious, PublicVine, and others. Recently, a children's video series he wrote and co-created,
The PicTrain, was optioned by TBN, the Trinity Broadcast Network, also known as the largest Christian cable channel on the planet.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Introducing the newest addition to the jester's table of writing fun from Four Fools Press. Davis Riddle. I had the pleasure of meeting Davis at Omega Con in Birmingham Al. eons ago along with the majority of the Fools. A great student of history and an outdoor adventurer and do it yourselfer.

Possessed with an enduring love of the outdoors and an explorer’s soul, Davis started backpacking before he was old enough to shave. Tied with his love of the mountains, where good hard stone could be found under foot, is a passion for experience. He has hiked with nothing but a traveling kilt and a bed roll through the mountains, drank from running streams, bathed in roaring waterfalls, and slept in the wilderness in earshot of mountain lions. 

He has flown in antique bombers, slept on floating warships, chased tornadoes, swam salt-marshes, descended into abandoned mines, and ate his meals on the crumbling remains of a lost fortress. His explorer’s heart has brought him miles down lonely bayous to explore forgotten Spanish ruins, led him on journeys down the mighty Mississippi River where he slept on desolate islands, and guided him through the remnants of ghost towns now lost to the world from Hurricane Katrina’s wrath.

Davis has conducted workshops in creative writing and has led numerous backpacking expeditions in Alabama, Georgia, and the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina. Following Hurricane Katrina, he was involved with relief efforts on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, roofing disaster sheds, running chain saws, as well as flying numerous damage-estimate flights in a small, two-seat Cessna.

Davis E. Riddle is married with two children and lives in southern Mississippi. He is a consulting forester and president of his own firm. He also teaches mathematics, bringing his real-world experience to students in the rural South. His other works include the novel Rise of the Dark Son, as well as “Boared to Death” in the horror anthology The Guest Book, “Fiend Fighter” found in the mosaic novel Skein of Shadows by The Wandering Men, “Mountain Ghost” in Southern Fried Weirdness, as well as the web serial “Grey Beginnings.”

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Signing the Guest Book: A Writer's Retreat

This past Valentine Weekend was the first writer’s retreat for Four Fools Press. This quickly became a tag line since this ill-fated venture kicked off on Friday the 13th. We found ourselves in a secluded cabin in the middle of the woods with little cell reception, no internet to speak of, and we sat directly on the Eastern and Central time zones. One side of the room was an hour behind the other. You see where this train is headed right?

Six writers in the woods…. Friday the 13th…. Yup one anthology of horror and silly homages to the genre and good natured ribbing at each other.

Corey Blakenship and Brannon Hollingsworth
The actual get together was not as pretentious as it sounds. It was six guys who love beer, food, and camping. It was deer camp, without rolling out of bed early to get to the deer stand. But it was also a creative smorgasbord of ideas, brain storming, and working on individual projects without the interference of normal life and especially actual jobs. Writing and the end result: publishing, is hard work. It just doesn’t seem like it when it is fun, rewarding, and feeds the soul.

The location of course lent itself to the idea and joke that we were a horror movie waiting to happen. So we decided that a horror anthology was the answer to this all too obvious situation.

This was not to be an anthology of separate horror tales with a central theme, like having it all take place in a secluded cabin on Friday the 13th. No, that is too easy. No, we were going to write about the same events, happening at the same time, to the same people, from six perspectives.

The result became The Guest Book.  
The news paper account of the mysterious events

It was a Free For All with only a few ground rules for something that might resemble consistency. I shall not state them here as they would lead to some spoilers for the actual story. I will only give the List of Tales to be found within:

Red Rum By John Langley

Running Scared by Corey Blankenship

Firestarter by Brannon Hollingsworth

Boared to Death by Davis Riddle

20 Paces by R.R. Hunsinger

Road Rage by Brannon Hall

Brannon Hollingsworth and John Langley
John Langley and Davis Riddle authored the Prologue and Epilogue respectively. Brannon Hollingsworth Edited the anthology and Brannon Hall the art direction.

The events within the anthology, that really clocks in at about 10,000 words so in essence a collaborative short story, the resemblance to the actual authors is frighteningly accurate only in caricature.

For a horror story that is part stream of consciousness and Hat Tip silliness read The Guest Book and let me know what you think.
From left to right: Brannon Hall, Brannon Hollingsworth, Davis Riddle, R.R. Hunsinger, John Langley, and Corey Blankenship

Monday, January 12, 2015

Four Fools Author: Corey Blankenship

Introducing a talented young man who is a story teller and wanderer in the old Celtic style.
Be sure to check out his collection of poetry that ranges from thrilling adventure as the sagas of old to the introspection of a man alone before a camp fire.
Wander's Musings and Mutterings

I’ve been a traveler since a wee lad and a lover of literature almost as long. My favorite tales come from myth, British literature, and Medieval lore. I would have loved to have been a Medieval traveling scholar, a bard, or simply privy to the British think-tank known as the Inklings. That said, I am thankful for my own adventures, educational exploits, and literary brotherhood. I spend my “free” time continuing the life of a peregrine storyteller--exploring, reading old or obscure books, writing my own, and connecting with people across cultures.
Corey Blakenship

You can find these traveler's tales at Amazon for Kindle!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Rod Taylor: RIP
It has made the rounds that Rod Taylor has passed away at 84. The stories ran in EW and out of Australia here. And of course other numerous outlets. He starred in films like The Birds and of course the film that impacted me The Time Machine.

This is more about my experience with The Time Machine and Rod Taylor as the lead in that awesome film rather than Rod Taylor the actor. To eulogize the man here is to only repeat what his family and other fans have said about him and his body of work over the years. Better that I focus on how he was to me in The Time Machine.

The Time Machine was a novel by H.G Wells, published in 1895. This is now the well-known tale of human hubris, the horror of mutually assured destruction, and strong social commentary. All wrapped in an epic adventure that helped set the tone not only for the sci-fi tales that would come, but time-travel as a sub-genre all its own.

The 1960 film that stared Rod Taylor was this and more. This film also introduced me, subconsciously, to the Renaissance Man as a pulp hero. This was not the Over The Top Man of Bronze, but a thinking man’s hero all the same. A match for his adventure intellectually as well as physically.

Rod Taylor, playing H. George Wells an inventor (the novel only called the narrator The Time Traveler), invites his friends to dinner at the turn of the 20th century and appears quite dramatically with an amazing story.

The film sees Wells witness the First and Second World Wars and then witness the destruction of his world through nuclear destruction. He is entombed for millennia, to find himself in the year 802,721, where he becomes embroiled in the gruesome relationship between the elfin, surface dwelling Eloi and the trollish subterranean Morlocks.

The movie ends with Wells in his own time with his cautionary tale, but then returning to the far future to the waiting Weena.

This was the best of all the films and adaptions of Well’s story as far as I am concerned. The time lapse filming, the sphinx, the sets and of course the glowing eyes of the Morlocks made this movie all kinds of awesome to me.

Taylor looked like an adventurer, of course he had the leading man good looks, but his physical presence spoke of his ability to handle the hardships ahead. He also carried himself with intelligence and insight. When he is among the Eloi he seeks the knowledge that was lost, he asks after books and finds them to be little more than book-shaped piles of dust. He rails against the loss of knowledge and the degeneration of the human race, himself holding intellect and science that truest, greatest pursuits of man. Yet, this hero takes to the Morlocks with thundering fists. He practically weeps at the folly of man that led to its near total destruction, in the end, he abandons man to his fate to return to the far future to help them start again.

When he departs his friend David Filby (Alan Young) sees books are gone. When Well’s house keeper asks after them, Filby replies: “Which would you take?” Of course what books would you take to restart civilization?  

The hero Rod Taylor portrayed is an icon of boyish adventure. He stands with Guy Williams’ Zorro, Errol Flynn’s Robin Hood, and James Mason’s Captain Nemo in my Saturday Matinee reality. I appreciate that late actor for creating that celluloid hero for me to emulate in my back-yard play as a boy.

Thank you, Sir.