The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #121: Reading from “Swan Lake” Accompanied by Music

Episode #121: Reading from “Swan Lake” Accompanied by Music

https://archive.org/download/Podcast121_201712/Podcast%20121.mp3

Today’s show is a reading from an illustrated children’s book version of the fairy tale, “Swan Lake,” accompanied by the music from the suite by Tchaikovsky.   It comes from a book written by ballerina Margot Fonteyn and illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman, whose work has been featured many times here.  Although maybe not a fairy tale with the same vintage as, say, the Grimm’s tales, at this point, I think the tale penned by Tchaikovsky for the ballet has all the elements of a traditional fairy tale, and at this point, is sufficiently old and famous enough to be timeless.  This version has Hyman’s usual beautiful illustrations, some of which are below:

The reading is set to a truncated version of the Swan Lake Score (was looking for one that was about 30 minutes):

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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  • QR code email signup Signup for the mailing list for a free special edition podcast, a demo copy of The Thirteenth Hour, and access to the retro 80s soundtrack!
  • Follow The Thirteenth Hour’s Instagram pages: @the13thhr for your random postings on ninjas, martial arts, archery, flips, breakdancing, fantasy art and and @the13thhr.ost for more 80s music, movies, and songs from The Thirteenth Hour books and soundtrack.
  • Listen to Long Ago Not So Far Away, the Thirteenth Hour soundtrack online at: https://joshuablum.bandcamp.com/ or Spotify.  Join the mailing list for a digital free copy.  You can also get it on CD or tape.
  • Website: https://13thhr.wordpress.com
  • Book trailer: http://bit.ly/1VhJhXY
  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at writejoshuablum@gmail.com for more details!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #120: The Making of a Thirteenth Hour Love Theme

Episode #120: The Making of a Thirteenth Hour Love Theme

https://archive.org/download/Podcast120_201711/Podcast%20120.mp3

I’ll freely admit I’ve always been partial to love themes from movie soundtracks.  Especially if they came out in the 80s, when there were plenty of synthesizers to give it that 80s feel.  So today, we’re creating a track like that for the third Thirteenth Hour book for a scene when our two main protagonists, Logan and Aurora, are reunited after a long time spent looking for each other, not knowing if their true love was even still alive. I wanted it to be a mix between some more traditional sounds (mostly) to evoke tender longing and just enough synth to fit in the rest of the soundtrack.

It’s called “Because We May Only Have One Night,” and while this one is mainly instrumental, I think I may add some vocals for a separate song later or do a reprise which takes some of the elements of this melody, such as the chord progression (G Em C D) or the main riff and intersperses it for later introspective scenes.  That’s the great thing about making soundtracks!  You can rest assured that if you have one melody you like, you can dress it up and change a few things here or there and use it for a new piece somewhere else, kind of like using the leftovers of Sunday’s dinner for Monday’s lunch!

Today’s track was done all on the synthesizer with a small vocal part (whistling) added to the intro.  It was mixed on the synth and in Audacity.  Look for it in the near future on bandcamp.  You can hear the demo version at the end of the show.

While we’re on the subject, one of the tracks featured on the show a few weeks ago, inspired by Chad Derdowski’s book, Fortune Favors the Bold, is now a feature on the Youtube channel Synth Heaven.  Check it out:

Here are the original tracks embedded in the page for your playing convenience:

Speaking of which, Chad has a sequel just out – Fortune Favors the Bold 2!  More Scissorwulf!  Like the last volume and the Choose Your Own Adventure books that inspired it, it comes with black and white line illustrations that Chad drew to complete the experience.  Click on the cover below to check it out on Amazon.

scissor1scissor2scissor3

Lastly, Missy Sheldrake, who was on the show this past summer, is also releasing a book in the near future – just a few days from when this episode will be out.  As with her previous volumes, this one is richly illustrated.  Click on the book spotlight below to get a copy of your own, and check out her social media links following the illustrations as well as the following book excerpts  (one and two).

Call-of-Elespen-Book-SpotlightExcerpt 1Call of Hywilkin illustrationTib-PromoKeepers-of-the-Wellsprings-banner

Website: http://missysheldrake.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/missysheldrake

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/m_sheldrake/

Tumblr: http://etsyfairydawn.tumblr.com/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/MissySheldrake/and https://www.facebook.com/muralsbymissy

GR: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13672249.Missy_Sheldrake?from_search=true&search_version=service

Amazon: www.amazon.com/dp/B00UVLQWGY

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

  • QR code email signup Signup for the mailing list for a free special edition podcast, a demo copy of The Thirteenth Hour, and access to the retro 80s soundtrack!
  • Follow The Thirteenth Hour’s Instagram pages: @the13thhr for your random postings on ninjas, martial arts, archery, flips, breakdancing, fantasy art and and @the13thhr.ost for more 80s music, movies, and songs from The Thirteenth Hour books and soundtrack.
  • Listen to Long Ago Not So Far Away, the Thirteenth Hour soundtrack online at: https://joshuablum.bandcamp.com/ or Spotify.  Join the mailing list for a digital free copy.  You can also get it on CD or tape.
  • Website: https://13thhr.wordpress.com
  • Book trailer: http://bit.ly/1VhJhXY
  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at writejoshuablum@gmail.com for more details!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #119: Reflections on Rewatching “Fire and Ice” With Jeremy and Chad

Episode #119: Reflections on Rewatching “Fire and Ice” With Jeremy and Chad

https://archive.org/download/Podcast119_201711/podcast%20119.mp3

Today’s episode is a discussion on rewatching the animated film, Fire and Ice, directed by Ralph Bakshi and produced by him and Frank Frazetta, who provided many of the character designs.   My brother, Jeremy, and author Chad Derdowski came on the show after watching the film to give our reflections (click on the movie poster below, painted by Frank Frazetta, to get a copy of your own):

We cover quite a bit, from pulp fiction, racial and gender stereotypes, to fantasy art and the dearth of painted novel covers and movie posters (like those done by Drew Struzan in the 80s for films like Back to the Future, Adventures in Babysitting, Big Trouble in Little China, and Blade Runner), and what ages we’d let our kids watch the film.

A few factoids covered in this episode.   For example, did you know that:

James Gurney, creator of Dinotopia, worked on the backgrounds to the film.  He chronicled his experiences working on the film on his blog.

Thomas Kinkade, “The Painter of Light” also worked on the film. Reading how he and Gurney worked together and pranked folks on the set is a good read!

-Not that it needs one, but Fire and Ice may get a remake (allegedly … supposedly … possibly … you know how these things go).  Some concept art here.

-Dark Wolf later inspired a similarly clad comic hero called Jaguar God … the first issue cover was a borrowed Frazetta painting.

Image result for jaguar god

-Despite different directors and different studios/animation styles, you can buy the whole (well, kind of) animated Lord of the Rings saga:

The Lord of the Rings Deluxe Edition/The Hobbit Deluxe Edition/The Return of the King Deluxe Edition/ (3-Pack/Giftset/DVD)

And a bit on the Dark Wolf character from the film, which we touched on during previous episodes Chad featured in (hear parts 1 and 2 here) – a combo of a “sword and sorcery” Batman (as Jeremy put it) crossed with the Death Dealer character Frazetta created and painted numerous times:

Image result for death dealer

Lastly, I leave you this image of Blackstar, a similarly clad figure that went with a sword and sorcery cartoon of the same era about an astronaut that lands on an alien planet.  He has a tagline that reads “Astronaut defender of freedom with glow in the dark star sword.”  Does it get any more 80s than that?  🙂 (You can watch the series on youtube.)

Image result for blackstar figure

 

And if you like sword and sorcery, check out Chad’s books!  The following tracks were inspired by them:

I’ll end with more info on where you can find the book that inspired these tracks:

Image result for fortune favors the bold chad derdowski

Get a copy of your own by clicking here or on the cover above: https://www.createspace.com/6289426

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fortunefavors_the_bold/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/TheScissorwulf/?ref=br_rs

GR: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32842665-fortune-favors-the-bold?from_search=true

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2wnHPfV

Thanks, Chad, and Jeremy for coming on the show.  Look for more in the future!

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #118: Creating Tracks for “Fortune Favors the Bold”

Episode #118: Creating Tracks for Fortune Favors the Bold

https://archive.org/download/Podcast118_201711/Podcast%20118.mp3

Not long after author Chad Derdowski came on the show this summer (hear parts 1 and 2 here), talking about his brilliantly humorous … oh, how shall we say, R-rated Choose-Your- Own-Adventure-style book, Fortune Favors the Bold, I wondered what a soundtrack to the book might sound like.  Something out of an 80s movie, I thought, like Ladyhawke or Legend.  And then, the muse struck.  Of course, it was in an inconvenient place (in the shower), but as soon as I could, I found a keyboard and tapped out the little theme that formed the backbone of these two tracks.

I got Chad’s input and okay to proceed, then went to town.  He didn’t put me up to this or anything, and I didn’t want him to think I was trying to steal his creations … I guess in the tradition of fanfiction, you could call this “fanmusic?”  =)  Anyway, I talk more about the creation of the tracks, called “Gleam of the Widowmaker” and “One Adventures Ends, Another Begins” on the episode and read a few choice bits from the book which inspired the tracks, which you can listen to below or by clicking on the song titles above.

The latter track was made on the iOS app Auxy, like “Flight of the Cloudrider” (listen here or see the music video below) and “There is Magic Inside.”  You can learn more about Auxy, download a copy to your phone, and Henrik Lenberg, the creator of the program, by clicking on the highlighted links.

By the way, in case you are curious, here is a youtube tutorial that shows a little about how to use Auxy:

And here are some screenshots from “One Adventure Ends, Another Begins”:

If you enjoy synthesizer music, creating it, or just living your life as if it were accompanied to an 80s soundtrack, check out this great synthwave playlist on Spotify curated by Preston Cram.

I’ll end with more info on where you can find the book that inspired these tracks:

Image result for fortune favors the bold chad derdowski

Get a copy of your own by clicking here or on the cover above: https://www.createspace.com/6289426

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fortunefavors_the_bold/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/TheScissorwulf/?ref=br_rs

GR: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32842665-fortune-favors-the-bold?from_search=true

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2wnHPfV

Thanks, Chad, for inspiring this fun project!  Hope you enjoy it!  Look for more from Chad next week!

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Between Two Worlds, the synth EP follow up to Long Ago Not So Far Away is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

The bonus track, called “Flight of the Cloudrider” has a 80s movie mashup music video (see if you can identify all the movies!) which is available on youtube.   This app was largely created with the iphone app Auxy.

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #69: Holiday Trees

Episode #69: Baby Trees in the Holidays

https://archive.org/download/Podcast69_201612/Podcast%2069.mp3

That first day began a month of basic training that all recruits were required to go through. Nobody told us why the King had sent for us, and when we asked, we were told to just shut up and stop trying to think. I had some trouble with the training in the beginning, but after that, I surprised myself by being able to keep up just fine. I was used to physical labor, and this wasn’t much different. A few of the older men, though, unused to climbing, running, and crawling on the ground, collapsed after the first week and had to be carried off the field on stretchers. This happened to one of the Aquarians a few days into our training. He happened to be not far from me, and when I saw him collapse on the field, I went over to see if he were okay. But he pushed me away and, spitting out some mud, said something that sounded like “piss off.” I think he also spat out something about going back to the orphanage, but I couldn’t make it out. Whatever it was, it wasn’t friendly, and I left him to the medics.
Every morning at six sharp, we had to line up for morning exercises. Then came the obstacle course, which was pretty hard at first because the old soldier babysitting us – fat, half–blind, and unable to do half of the things he made us do – didn’t feel like showing us how to do it. He was also frequently hung–over, which didn’t help.

His first lesson, dare I even call it that, was on marching. I was a miserable failure at marching, and, to be honest, never did learn to do it right. Our marching exercises consisted of an endless and, in my opinion, rather pointless array of drills. March left. Now right. Spin left. Then right. Whatever! I always ended up in the first row since I was the shortest, and although I could manage forward and backward, every time we had to turn left or right I got all mixed up. My right or the instructor’s right? If I had eyes in the back of my head, I could have cheated by seeing which way the other recruits turned, but inevitably, I screwed it up and got glares and whispered threats from the proud Aquarian men.

So you might be wondering, what about the good stuff? Well, the drill instructor was technically responsible for teaching us how to use weapons – things like swords, spears, and bows. The problem was that there were never enough to go around, since the “real Army” got preference over us recruits. So we often spent most of this time sitting around waiting until someone else was done with the rusty sword or whatever we were supposed to be using that day. Not that it really mattered in the end; after one of the men accidentally shot himself in the foot with an arrow, the old soldier in charge of training us didn’t trust us with live weapons. He was afraid he might accidentally–on purpose be in the way the next time. Can’t say I blamed him; morale was pretty low, even in the “real Army,” and no one felt like extending himself any more than he had to, especially if there was danger involved. After the arrow incident, all we got were branches chopped off a tree.

“Here, pretend this one’s a spear,” the drill instructor would say, handing out the wobbly saplings. “But that’s no damned excuse for not put the ol’ killer instinct to work!” he would yell. “Stop thinking these are sticks. Like I told you yesterday, they’re spears, damn it! Spears! So when you thrust, yell! When you charge, yell! I want some spirit! All together, now, lemme hear it! Kill! Kill! Kill! Hey, why am I the only one shouting?”

Really, I’m not kidding. The old man was nothing if not cracked. And, true to form, every day, he had us line up at the western corner of the training field, where there was a thin row of midget–sized trees.

“Come on, ladies, one tree to a man, just like yesterday. Now watch the master.”

He delighted in this demonstration. He’d take a stance about ten feet from some poor shrub and begin to twirl his stick around. Then he’d stop, look menacingly at the pint–sized tree, and, with a blood curdling whoop, charge forward and begin smacking the trunk, each time, shouting his “Kill! Kill! Kill!” routine punctuated with an occasional, “How do you like that, huh?” One time I swear he even said, “Not so tough, now, are ya … tree!”

After a bit, he’d get tired and, turning to us while leaning on his stick and sucking in more wind than a geriatric racehorse, he’d explain that was the kind of energy you needed to attack with.

“Now you!” he would bark, and a recruit had to repeat what had just been demonstrated.

The instructor had been satisfied only once, when an unlucky recruit had hit a patch of mud on his charge, and instead of hitting the tree with his stick, hit it full force with his sliding body instead. The young, slender tree simply recoiled from the blow, sending the recruit flying back into the mud. Tree: 1, human: 0.

“Yeah!!! That boy has the kinda attitude I want!” He even went over to help the dazed boy to his feet. “That’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout, boy. Next time you just make sure to show that tree who’s the damn boss. Watch and learn from the master.”

Then he took a swipe at the errant shrub himself but missed and, cursing and spitting, fell flat on his ass. That was the end of the lesson for the day. Tree: 2, human: 0.

logan and aurora castle grounds moonRM.jpg

Logan and Aurora look up at the night sky near the trees referenced in this passage near the end of the book.

Thanks for listening, and happy holidays!

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  • QR code email signup Signup for the mailing list for a free special edition podcast, a demo copy of The Thirteenth Hour, and access to retro 80s soundtrack!
  • Follow The Thirteenth Hour’s instagram pages: @the13thhr and@the13thhr.ost for your random postings on ninjas, martial arts, archery, flips, breakdancing, fantasy art, 80s music, movies, and pictures or songs from The Thirteenth Hour books.
  • Listen to Long Ago Not So Far Away, the Thirteenth Hour soundtrack online at: https://joshuablum.bandcamp.com/  Join the mailing list for a digital free copy.  You can also get it on CD or tape.
  • Website: https://13thhr.wordpress.com
  • Book trailer: http://bit.ly/1VhJhXY
  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at writejoshuablum@gmail.com for more details!

 

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #62: Zen in the Art of Archery

Episode #62: Zen in the Art of Archery

https://archive.org/download/Podcast62_201610/Podcast%2062.mp3

On today’s episode, I’m reading from a little book called Zen in the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel.  We talked about Zen in episode #44, and while that episode focused more on empty handed martial arts, this one is about the practice of archery, and how that can be used as a pathway to understand Zen.  It’s a book I first read when I was about 13, didn’t really understand, and re-read a number of other times afterwards, each time taking a slightly different set of ideas from it (never entirely understanding it, I will say).

I can say for sure, though, that the best shots in archery, and perhaps this is so with many things in life, come from that place where Zen resides, the land of no conscious thought, that retreat your mind wanders to when it’s fully present and occupied by what it’s doing at the moment.

As always, thanks for listening!

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  • QR code email signup Signup for the mailing list for a free special edition podcast, demo copy of The Thirteenth Hour, and access to the new upcoming retro 80s soundtrack!
  • Follow The Thirteenth Hour’s instagram pages: @the13thhr and@the13thhr.ost for your daily weekday dose of ninjas, martial arts bits, archery, flips, breakdancing action figures, fantasy art, 80s music, movies, and occasional pictures or songs from The Thirteenth Hour books.
  • Free online streaming of the growing Thirteenth Hour soundtrack: https://joshuablum.bandcamp.com/  Stay tuned to a full 45+ min album coming 11/13/16.  Join the mailing list for a free copy.
  • Website: https://13thhr.wordpress.com
  • Book trailer: http://bit.ly/1VhJhXY
  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at writejoshuablum@gmail.com for more details!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #59: The Thirteenth Hour Soundtrack Preview

Episode #59: Long Ago Not So Far Away: Music from The Thirteenth Hour (Preview)

https://ia601502.us.archive.org/3/items/Podcast59_201609/Podcast%2059.mp3

This week, it’s all about retro 80s, starting with a preview of the upcoming official soundtrack release for The Thirteenth Hour, entitled Long Ago Not So Far Away.

It ended up being about 47 minutes long with a combination of synth instrumental tracks and songs with lyrics played on the guitar, piano, or a both.  Some were songs that I came up with originally when I wrote the book, others were ones that I wrote a few years later but had not fully completed (i.e. had the lyrics and chords for the guitar, making for a skeleton of a song … but all the little riffs and fills that make a song a song, especially a retro style 80s song, weren’t there).  There were two I kept more bare bones (mostly just acoustic guitar with a minimum of electric effects or synthesizers) because I wanted them to sound like folk songs out of the pseud0-medieval world the novel is set in.

It really ended up being a lot of fun.  In contrast to the tortuous process I had creating the cover for the book version of The Thirteenth Hour, making the cover for Long Ago Not So Far Away felt like a breeze, since I decided that the best course of action was to make it look like something out of the 80s.  I have a healthy collection of 80s CDs, tapes, and movies that helped provide entertaining inspiration.  There were also tons of synthwave (neo 80s synth music) covers on the internet (some of which looked more 80s than actual 80s album covers!). I also found this great Instagram page by @synthenebrism which links to a Spotify page with hours upon hours of synthwave music for your listening enjoyment.

In terms of making the cover itself, I found this great step by step tutorial that captured the look I was going for almost perfectly.  It walks you through using Photoshop to create your own retro synth cover.  I wanted an aurora for the cover to fit with the content of the book, so after a bit of searching, found this free stock image (click on the image to go to the page):

scotland-1564096_1280.jpg

Thanks to Blackmoons32 on deviantart for making a great free lightning bolt stock image already with an alpha channel (meaning the background is already transparent), making it easy to paste into your picture.  I thought about adding a rainbow or a unicorn to really round out the 80s fantasy images but thought that might be laying it on a little thick.  Instead, I just added the pixelart Logan on Lightning I made for the vaporware Thirteenth Hour game I started years ago.  In the end, it ended up looking like this:

cover 80s style_edited-33.jpg

It should be out later this fall.  But if you’d like a free advance preview, there are a few ways to do it.  Check out the bandcamp page, which has many of the tracks already uploaded, though not the fully remastered ones.  You can also look for former entries of this podcast or the Instagram page for some live versions or early drafts of songs.  Lastly, if you haven’t already, sign up for the mailing list if you’d like a free digital copy of the album to download with album artwork and all.  Stay tuned!

As always, thanks for listening!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

  • QR code email signup Signup for the mailing list for a free special edition podcast and a demo copy of The Thirteenth Hour!
  • Follow The Thirteenth Hour’s instagram pages: @the13thhr and@the13thhr.ost for your daily weekday dose of ninjas, martial arts bits, archery, flips, breakdancing action figures, fantasy art, 80s music, movies, and occasional pictures or songs from The Thirteenth Hour books.
  • Free online streaming of the growing Thirteenth Hour soundtrack: https://joshuablum.bandcamp.com/  Stay tuned to a full 45+ min album coming in the next few weeks!
  • Website: https://13thhr.wordpress.com
  • Book trailer: http://bit.ly/1VhJhXY
  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at writejoshuablum@gmail.com for more details!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #58: George Sirois Redux – The Making of the Excelsior Audiobook

Episode #58: Author George Sirois Returns to Discuss the Creation of His Audiobook

https://archive.org/download/Podcast58_201609/Podcast%2058.mp3

Back in episode #36, fellow author George Sirois came on the show for a great conversation, and today, he’s back!

As you’ll see in the show, George decided that the way he wanted to get his young adult scifi tale, Excelsior, out there as a audiobook was to record it himself.  Way back when I was learning about making covers for The Thirteenth Hour, I came to the realization that when it comes to things like this, it all comes down to money or time.

If you decide to go the professional route and outsource parts of the creative process, you might get a professional product but you give up some autonomy and generally pay quite a bit (that you justify to yourself as an investment in quality and peace of mind).  But if you opt to do it yourself, you have to deal with the sometimes exponentially steep learning curve of cramming years of knowledge into the bare minimum needed to shoehorn yourself into getting the job done.  There may still be significant expense (sometimes due to trial and error), and there’s the significant time sink that comes with what a professional might be able to do more efficiently.

However, one thing debates such this sometimes forget when focusing on practical talking points such as these is simply the enjoyment to be had in simply doing.  As sole proprietors of businesses (as independent authors essential are these days), it pays to understand as many different aspects of the business as possible.  There’s no better way to understand those details than by doing them yourself (at least once).

And that’s what George did to make his ideas into a reality.  There’s a lot there in his story, so like minded souls, take note.  What’s the harm in going for something you want, George says in the interview.  And why not?  At the end of the day, who else is there to give the necessary permission?

61mthl2nunl-_aa300_

Click on the link to check out the audiobook version of Excelsior on Amazon.

And audiobooks seem to be getting their due after years of being the red-headed stepchild of the literature.  Here’s the full text of the Wall Street Journal on the rise of audiobooks.

George will be making appearances (if you’re local to St. Louis, MO USA) at the following places in the next few wks:

-https://www.facebook.com/WritePackRadio/

-http://www.stlwritersguild.org/writersinthepark.html (now since past, though more good info if you’re a writer hoping to connect with others in and around St. Louis, near where George lives)

Connect with George online at:

blog: http://www.georgesirois.com/

GR profile: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4103079.George_Sirois

Google+: https://plus.google.com/+GeorgeSirois/posts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/georgesirois

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/georgesirois/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/excelsiorbooks/

References George discusses on the show:

No Plot? No Problem by Chris Baty, on writing a novel in 30 days

The Stressed-Out Writer’s Guide to Recording Your Own Audiobook by Kirk Hanley

On that note, as always, thanks for listening!

P.S. If you have any interest in getting into audio like George did or wanted to start your own podcast, check out this free guide here.  It’s a guest post I did for fellow author Kelly St. Clare on podcasting as cheaply as possible and has a wealth of info on audio production in general, most of which I learned by trial and error!  Check it out, and start podcasting as more than an amateur!  WIN!

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  • QR code email signup Signup for the mailing list for a free special edition podcast and a demo copy of The Thirteenth Hour!
  • Follow The Thirteenth Hour’s instagram pages: @the13thhr and @the13thhr.ost for your daily weekday dose of ninjas, martial arts bits, archery, flips, breakdancing action figures, fantasy art, 80s music, movies, and occasional pictures or songs from The Thirteenth Hour books.
  • Free online streaming of the growing Thirteenth Hour soundtrack: https://joshuablum.bandcamp.com/  Stay tuned to a full 45+ min album coming in the next few weeks!
  • Website: https://13thhr.wordpress.com
  • Book trailer: http://bit.ly/1VhJhXY
  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at writejoshuablum@gmail.com for more details!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #57: Reading Chapter 1 of Mark Salzman’s Lost in Place

Episode #57: Reading an Excerpt from Lost in Place: Growing Up Absurd in Suburbia by Mark Salzman

https://archive.org/download/Podcast57_201609/Podcast%2057.mp3

This week, I’m reading the first chapter of perhaps my favorite book of all time, Lost in Place, by Mark Salzman.  I first read the book as a teenager and still find it hugely entertaining two decades later.  It’s probably not surprising that aspects of Mark’s writing style have influenced how I portray characters in books like The Thirteenth Hour.

He writes about his coming of age with an honest, Wonder Years-style of sardonic narration infused with just enough boyish innocence to capture both the magic and despair of adolescence and young adulthood.  That’s not everyone’s up of tea, of course, but when I first opened up the book, I immediately felt at home.  I imagine if John Huges (screenwriter and director of 80s teen movies like Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club), had written a memoir, it would probably be something like this book.

On a personal level, I suppose it’s extra special since he writes about his experiences in the martial arts and early desires to be an astronaut (a lifelong hobby and short-lived career aspiration that my mother and father, like Mark’s decidedly earthbound parents, humored for years, for which I’ve always been grateful).

Image result for lost in place mark salzman

I found out a short movie clip of Mark talking about aspects of his writing and some of the themes that crop up in his books as well as this clip discussing his first kung fu teacher in action.

As an aside, you can watch a movie Mark wrote and starred in based on his first book teaching English in China while training in Chinese wushu.  Watch Iron and Silk here.

And, if in the unlikely event that this page makes its way across your computer screen, Mark, PLEASE COME ON THE SHOW!

Ok.

I’ve gotten control of myself and will tone down the rampant fanboyism.  Can’t help it.  =)

As a side note, if you hear a sound in the background that sounds like Darth Vader, it’s because I was reading this episode while holding my daughter, who was sleeping.  Just so you know.

On that note, as always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #56: Labor Day Reading

Episode #56: Labor Day Reading from The Thirteenth Hour

https://ia801509.us.archive.org/23/items/Podcast56_201609/Podcast%2056.mp3

This week, in honor of Labor Day in the USA, I’m reading a few excerpts from The Thirteenth Hour that go out to all those unsung folks doing jobs that keep our world running smoothly, often behind the scenes.  For example, Aurora here is a dishwasher, and how often do they get their due?

That evening, I met Aurora in town at the pub for a meal before our work shifts started. She received a discount on food there and could bring a guest for free, so it worked out better than the soldiers’ dining hall in the castle, which offered no discounts, absolutely no guests, and was awful to boot. When we sat down at a booth, I discovered the book in my back pocket.

“Whatcha got there?” She looked the little book over. “Oh, knitting. Interesting. Do you know, I learned how once, at the orphanage, but I never really got the hang of it. Hmm, let’s see if I remember any of this stuff,” she said as she flipped through the manual…

…“Nope, don’t remember a thing about knitting, unfortunately,” said Aurora, knocking me out of my reverie.

Just then, a waitress with a sour expression on her face brought over two bowls of stew, two glasses of water, and a hunk of bread. Aurora invited her to sit down with us while we ate, and the woman’s annoyed expression brightened for a moment as she welcomed the opportunity to avoid work for a few more minutes. She poured herself a pint of ale from the tap behind her and collapsed heavily onto the booth next to Aurora. Aurora introduced me to the waitress, who said, “Oh, so you’re Logan. Aurora mentioned someone like you.” Her eyes came to rest on the book on knitting.

“You were reading this?”

Aurora smiled and nodded.

“What the hell for? You work for a living now, why do you want to go back to this garbage? They got stores for this, you know.” I noticed that the waitress had repositioned herself towards Aurora in the manner that women did when they wanted to create a third wheel.
“Oh … well, sure. I just thought it was, well, interesting.”

“Ha! That’s gotta be the overstatement of the year. More like the most uninteresting thing ever. What the hell’s it good for?”

“Well … you’ll always be able to make clothes if you can knit,” I reasoned.

As the waitress shifted back to look at me, her eyes narrowed to slits. They said, “I didn’t ask you.” But her mouth said, “You know, I once had a husband who said that to me, and look where it got him. Humph.” She gave Aurora a stern, teacherly kind of look as she got up to go. “Get rid of this guy now,” it seemed to say.

Aurora looked embarrassed but shrugged it off. “Sorry, she’s like that to everyone at first.”

Just then, a door at the back of the room swung open and a deep voice yelled, “Aurora, where the hell are you? We’re opening in five minutes! Look at all these dishes! There’s no end to these …” the yelling trailed away as the door swung shut.

“Uggh, I guess I gotta go, Logan. Sorry,” she tossed her hands up a little as she stood and dropped her napkin on the table.

“Ah, it’s alright, Aurora. Tomorrow, at the gym, then?”

“Sure, I …”

“Aurora, did you hear me, dammit! Get your ass in here!” yelled the voice from the back again.

Aurora rolled her eyes and sighed. “Yeah, I’ll be there in a minute!” she yelled over her back. I helped her gather the dirty dishes.

“Thanks, I got it.”

“Now, dammit! Do I have to come out there?”

“Jeeze, go on before that guy busts a vein or something,” I said. She kissed me quickly then ran through the swinging back door. In her hurry, she forgot one of the bowls, which I scooped up and placed on a tray of other dirty dishes. The waitress that had sat with us happened to look over and gave me a dirty look as I walked out.

“No tip again,” she muttered. “Bastard.”

I heard her but did not understand. Since I had never been able to afford restaurants before, I was still pretty new to eating in one; perhaps there was some unspoken custom I was not aware of, probably involving money or work – the things adults typically complained of – and my general ignorance about both was probably what had incurred the waitress’ wrath to begin with.

You can hear more excerpts on the show.  Enjoy your day of rest, and know that if you have one of those essential buy thankless jobs, whether it pays or not – stay-at-home parents, take note – there people out there who are grateful. =)

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #54: Falling Leaves Don’t Weep

Episode #54: Reading of The Thirteenth Hour Epilogue Short Story, “Falling leaves Don’t Weep”

https://archive.org/download/Podcast54_201608/Podcast%2054.mp3

This week, I’m reading the short story “Falling Leaves Don’t Weep,” the stand-alone short story epilogue to The Thirteenth Hour.  It’s a short tale about how one night of insomnia leads to a surprising amount of insight for an elderly monarch (actually King Darian IV from the novel as a much older and wiser man who is looking back on his younger days with a mixture of regret and embarrassment).  I figured Darian needed an epilogue since we never really found out what happened to him in the story.

I can’t say for sure, but when I rereading this story, I was reminded of the story The Fall of Freddie the Leaf, a book my mother used to read to me as a child, and am guessing it was an influencing factor in the creation of this story.

As an aside, I’m in the process of trying to transition old episodes of this podcast (episode #53 and prior) to a new host.  This is the first one on the new host.  There should be no change for you, the listener, either accessing new episodes directly here or via iTunes.  But after 8/31, there may be some issues accessing old episodes of I’m not done updating the old links.  But in that case, it should be resolved in a few weeks.

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #52: Storytime Reading of St. George and the Dragon 

Episode #52: Storytime Reading of St. George and the Dragon

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/Podcast%2052.mp3

This week, we’re reading an illustrated adaptation of the first part of Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queen – the tale of St. George and the Dragon.  The one we’re reading from was illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman (check out a tribute and bio on this blog) and penned by Margaret Hodges.  You can find a copy online at retailers like Amazon or you local library.  There are a few pictures and excerpts includes below.  I’d recommend any of the books written and illustrated by this duo if you enjoy fairy tales and/or fantasy art.

The tale is an abridged version for children of the original, which was a lengthy poem.  You can find a summary of the original Faerie Queen tale and a commentary here.  It’s more adult oriented than this version and has more overt allegorical/religious/moral overtones as opposed to this one, which reads more like a traditional fairy tale and mirrors the end of the original poem, a summary of which you can find here.

Personally, I have always wondered why everyone had it in for the dragon, who also fought a good fight, and I kind of felt bad for him.  Here he was minding his own business and … well, I guess that kind of flips the story on its head, doesn’t it.  Maybe someone one day can rewrite the tale from the dragon’s point of view.

But that’s neither here nor there.  Anyhow, I posted a few pictures from the book on Instagram before from the book, which you can find here:

https://instagram.com/p/BDx0pE7Mg4y/

https://instagram.com/p/BDqIyd5sg7d/

Here are some others:

It’s also in these pages that we learn that the name George means “Plow the Earth” and “Fight the Good Fight.”  Georges of the world, take note and take heart.  You have a fine lineage.

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #51: Musical Interlude Piano Ballad

Episode #51: “Love, Grey Dresses, and Other Things” – a Thirteenth Hour Piano Ballad

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/Podcast%2051.mp3

For this week’s episode, I’ve included snippets from upcoming Thirteenth Hour soundtrack tracks.  I recently wrote an untitled piano theme that I was thinking would become an introspective musical track on the soundtrack.  There’s a preview of it in its infancy on Instagram.  Then, about two weeks ago, I toyed with the idea of turning it into a ballad with words.  Once I got to thinking about it, lyrics came to me in the span of a few minutes and became the song featured in this episode, which I finally titled, “Love, Grey Dresses, and Other Things.”  There’s a a snippet of the final instrumental version and a live performance on the piano included as well.

2016-07-12 23.27.56

Still haven’t transcribed the lyrics onto the computer.  The most I had at the time when the muse hit were a few pieces of scrap paper, so that’s what this “final” version is written on.

The song is written from the perspective of Logan, the main character of The Thirteenth Hour, as he realizes that the friendship he with Aurora, his childhood friend, has changed for both him and her.

logan and aurora together

Final versions of this song, both in instrumental and lyrical versions, can be found in the near future on the Bandcamp soundtrack page.

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #49: Fairytale Storytime – Childe Roland

Episode #49: Fairytale Storytime Reading of “Childe Roland”

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/Podcast%2049.mp3

This week, we are reading a narrative form of the old English fairytale, “Childe Roland” as he quests after the Elf King in the Dark Tower from this illustrated book:

img_8693

Click on the picture above to be taken to an Amazon link (book now out of print, unfortunately).

Illustrations by Moira Kemp that accompany the text:

img_8698

Childe Roland encounters Merlin.

img_8697

Childe Roland getting schooled by Merlin.

img_8700

Childe Roland on his quest.

img_8703

Childe Roland tempted by food as his sister, Burd Ellen, is unable to keep from giving it to him.

img_8705

The King of Elfland.

img_8706

Next week, we’ll read the poem by Robert Browning, “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came.”

This story provided inspiration for Stephen Kin’s epic fantasy, the Dark Tower series.  More on this in the future.  Here are some illustrations by Michael Whelan of Stephen King’s version of Childe Roland, Roland of Gilead, the Gunslinger:

2016-06-24 14.13.28

Roland and a young Jake Chambers, the real “childe” version of the adult Roland.

2016-06-24 14.13.20

Roland looking into a pond, probably contemplating all the sacrifices he’s gone through on his quest for the Dark Tower.

As always, thanks for listening!

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  • QR code email signup Signup for the mailing list for a free special edition podcast and a demo copy of The Thirteenth Hour!
  • Follow The Thirteenth Hour’s instagram pages: @the13thhr and @the13thhr.ost for your daily weekday dose of ninjas, martial arts bits, archery, flips, breakdancing action figures, fantasy art, 80s music, movies, and occasional pictures or songs from The Thirteenth Hour books.
  • Website: https://13thhr.wordpress.com
  • Book trailer: http://bit.ly/1VhJhXY
  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at writejoshuablum@gmail.com for more details!

New Fantasy Release – Fire and Lies

Angela B. Chrysler, who has been featured on this blog a number of times before, has a new book coming out today, just in time for Indie Pride Day and the Fourth of July (if you’re in the USA).  It’s the second in her Norse-inspired dark fantasy series, entitled Fire and Lies:

fire

Click on the picture above to go the the Amazon page

Summary:

Blood waters the fields of Alfheim. War rips across the land of usurped kings and elves. The Fae gods draw near, and Queen Kallan’s strength is tested as she follows King Rune into Alfheim. But the Shadow Beast caged within Rune’s body writhes in hunger, and Kallan’s newest companion, Bergen the legendary Berserk, is determined to end the conflict with her life.

As the witch, the king, and the berserk come together, the truth buried within the past resurfaces. Now, Kallan must master a dormant power or watch her kingdom fall to the Fae who will stop at nothing to keep their lies.

Fire and Lies (Tales of the Drui Book #2) picks up right where Dolor and Shadow left off, concluding one chapter of Kallan’s life as the next chapter begins.

Trailer

She gave us excerpts of the first novel in the series, Dolor and Shadow, in this guest post she did about the psychology behind creating fictional characters and aspects of the backstory behind the creation of the series when she came on the podcast.  You can listen to that show in its entirety here or by simply going to iTunes and looking under “The Thirteenth Hour Podcast, Ep #35).

Check out her site here,  and help celebrate Indie Pride Day by giving one her books a read!

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  • QR code email signup Signup for the mailing list for a free special edition podcast and a demo copy of The Thirteenth Hour!
  • Follow The Thirteenth Hour’s instagram pages: @the13thhr and @the13thhr.ost for your daily weekday dose of ninjas, martial arts bits, archery, flips, breakdancing action figures, fantasy art, 80s music, movies, and occasional pictures or songs from The Thirteenth Hour books.
  • Website: https://13thhr.wordpress.com
  • Book trailer: http://bit.ly/1VhJhXY
  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at writejoshuablum@gmail.com for more details!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #39: Gymnastics and Acrobatics in The Thirteenth Hour

Episode #39: Gymnastics and Acrobatics

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/Podcast%2039.mp3

Today’s episode is all about flipping!  Although it’s pretty common to see acrobatics on TV and in video games today, at the time The Thirteenth Hour was written (1998), the whole extreme martial arts tricking community was still in its infancy, and it hadn’t really permeated popular culture to quite the same degree yet.  There were a few exceptions – video games like Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Tomb Raider (plus its many clones) that came out around then had flipping protagonists.  And there were Jackie Chan movies, plenty of older kung fu classics, and Gymkata showings on late night TBS.  But if you wanted to see traditional gymnastics, you generally had to wait four years for the Olympics.

I wanted Logan and the other Imperial Rangers from The Thirteenth Hour to learn acrobatics not only because of my own personal interest but because I thought it would make them more agile and help them push their limits.  In the book, they grumble about it a lot, but it’s hard to ignore the element of danger in learning movements that turn you upside down and occasionally have you landing on your rear, head, or neck if you’re not careful.  And although it’s totally anecdotal, I think finding your personal limits and working through the fear translates into better focus and confidence in yourself.

Here’s a representative excerpt from the novel:

“…That’s how we ended up in the tall, airy room that’d been built to train the Army’s special soldiers. The large room with mirrored walls was carpeted with thick, vaguely carpet–like mats. On those mats we were taught how to transfer the momentum of a fall to a roll without getting hurt, how to stand on our hands, and how to spring from our hands to our feet and back again. We were also taught how to flip in the air and how to run up a wall, flip backwards, and land on our feet. In the process, we were introduced to a new language, one born of bodies in motion.

So, it was awkward at first, but exhilarating in a way, and looking back, a lot of it had to do with conquering fear, so in that sense, it really was essential to our training. After several months of trying, I was able to fling myself over backwards and kind of land on all fours with all the grace of a drunken ape. And then one day, I succeeded in landing without putting my hands down on the floor …”

Logan flip

Sketched animation of one of the Imperial Rangers doing a front flip – note he gets plenty of air and does not bust his ass on the floor (that happens a lot, though).

output_agpPUo

Pixelart animation of Logan doing a backflip.  This was from The Thirteenth Hour game that didn’t get finished.

As always, thanks for listening!  Next week, part 2, focusing more on martial arts.

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  • QR code email signup Signup for the mailing list for a free special edition podcast and a demo copy of The Thirteenth Hour!
  • Follow The Thirteenth Hour’s instagram pages: @the13thhr and @the13thhr.ost for your daily weekday dose of ninjas, martial arts bits, archery, flips, breakdancing action figures, fantasy art, 80s music, movies, and occasional pictures or songs from The Thirteenth Hour books.
  • Website: https://13thhr.wordpress.com
  • Book trailer: http://bit.ly/1VhJhXY
  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at writejoshuablum@gmail.com for more details!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast Musical Interlude – “Song of an Unsung Hero”

Song of an Unsung Hero: an 80s New Wave Inspired Song

https://archive.org/download/Songs_201608/joshuaBlumSongOfAnUnsungHero.mp3

In The Thirteenth Hour, “Song of an Unsung Hero” is the name of the second half of the book. The name comes from a poem featured in the story about a person who has returned from a long and dangerous quest, successful, but battered and weary, and narrates his inner thoughts while he’s being honored for his success. However, he doesn’t really want accolades. He’s lost something precious in the interim, and no honors or medals will exactly fill the void. He also finds himself thinking that people at the celebration ironically seem more excited than he does – they’re at the party to eat, drink, and be merry – but the real reason for the gala seems lost on them. He feels a bit bitter, self-absorbed, and self-righteous, thinking that, but can’t entirely help it and leaves the celebration alone.

Both the poem and song get at the separation that people sometimes feel after they’ve done something difficult (e.g. returning home from war or some other traumatic situation) and are dealing with the culture shock of not entirely knowing how to relate to the world they once knew in the same way they did before.

The book touches on this theme tangentially, since the main character, Logan, chooses to deal with these feelings in his own lighthearted way, but writing the music to the song allowed me to delve into it further. I thought the somber, introspective nature of the song would fit an 80s new wave emo-style song, like the kinds done by bands like New Order, Fiction Factory, Anything Box, and Tears for Fears.

Though I originally wrote the song with the chords below, I played in the key of C on the track, so if you’d like to play along on the guitar, capo up 1 to transpose these chords up 1/2 step.

B                      A

I saw the world today.

B                                       Esus2

A thousand faces laughing through me.

B                               A

The celebration planned for me,

B                        Esus2

All forgotten instantly.

 

C#m

After all I did and gave

B                                    A

I’m still outside in the rain.

 

B                     A

Outside, looking in.

B                                      Esus2

Don’t want to leave, can’t bear to stay.

B                         A

Who am I?  Who can I be?

B                              Esus2

I don’t know; no one to blame.

 

C#m

So I turned, looked at the ground,

B                              A

Walking away, without a sound.

 

C#m                        A

And the way isn’t lighted, nor are the stars

C#m                                  F#m     B   A   B   A

All alone here, here in the dark.

 

B                A

No, I’m not sad.

B                                    Esus2

I realize this was meant to be.

B

But where can I go?

A
And what do I say

B                                   Esus2

To those that helped along the way?

 

C#m

And I’m turning, looking at the ground,

B                                A

Walking away, without a sound.

Esus2                      C#m

After all I did and gave

B                                 A

I’m still outside in the rain.

Esus2                                        C#m

And I’m turning, looking at the ground,

B                               A

Walking away, without a sound.

Esus2                        C#m                B

Who will speak my name, sing for me?

A                   A

My song to sing, sing for me,

E        A       E

My song to sing.

 

2016-04-28 20.28.44

 

You can find this song as well as other songs written and recorded for The Thirteenth Hour soundtrack in high fidelity here.

Thanks for listening!

 

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  • QR code email signup Signup for the mailing list for a free special edition podcast and a demo copy of The Thirteenth Hour!
  • Follow The Thirteenth Hour’s instagram pages: @the13thhr and @the13thhr.ost for your daily weekday dose of ninjas, martial arts bits, archery, flips, breakdancing action figures, fantasy art, 80s music, movies, and occasional pictures or songs from The Thirteenth Hour books.
  • Website: https://13thhr.wordpress.com
  • Book trailer: http://bit.ly/1VhJhXY
  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at writejoshuablum@gmail.com for more details!

 

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #37: Guest Spot with Author Kelly St. Clare

Episode #37: Prince – In Memory and Guest Q & A with Fantasy Author Kelly St. Clare

https://ia601504.us.archive.org/12/items/13thHrEps16On/Podcast%2037.mp3

Before we get to the podcast today, a note on Prince’s passing.  It took me three tries of recording the intro to not sound totally down in the dumps, so I apologize in advance if I sound more sedate.

* I refer to interviews Prince did in the podcast – they were rare, but you can find some on youtube.  This is part of a thoughtful interview where he talks about mentorship, having high standards held to you, and the value of persistence.  Good talk!  

Prince was one of those people who a true artist in every sense of the word – difficult to categorize, independent, someone who paved his own way.  Though many tried to emulate him later, he was always a hard performer to cover.  There was always such a unique flair to the multi-instrumentalist from Minnesota with such range to his voice and the presence and swagger to pull off wearing heels and ruffled shirts.  So, Prince, truly, “Nothing Compares 2 U.”  He was his own man and showed us what it meant to be an individual in a world where conformity ultimately often becomes the path of least resistance for most people.

So long, thank you, and may the rain color purple coming down from the heavens.

images

#RIPPrince – click on the photo above for an extended live version of “Purple Rain.”

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On a happier note, welcome, Kelly and your readers, to the podcast.  Kelly St. Clare and her books have been featured on this blog a number of times (e.g. see her post on her experiences with Thunderclap).   It was also Kelly who suggested George Sirois, who was on last week, for the show – so thank you.  (That show, which I think is the longest yet, can be found here).  For those of you who may be new to her work, here’s a link to an interview she did to give you more info.

Kelly St. Clare

Click on Kelly’s photo above to be taken to her Goodreads profile.

Click on the books above to be taken to Kelly’s Amazon profile to check out her books.
Website: http://www.kellystclare.com/ – there, you can join her exclusive club (can I call it that, Kelly? =) for updates and well, exclusive stuff you can’t find elsewhere
-Wattpad: http://w.tt/1MJs4hl – get a great introduction to Kelly’s work by reading Fantasy of Frost, the first book in her (soon to be) tetrology free on Wattpad.  You can find more samples of her other books on her website.

-Twitter: https://twitter.com/kellystclare

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The last clip of the song I’m working on now, “Song of an Unsung Hero” (which takes its name from a poem in the novel, The Thirteenth Hour), has lyrics here.  Stay tuned for more info in the coming weeks!

You can find more about The Thirteenth Hour soundtrack on bandcamp or on Instagram @the13thhr.ost.

Thanks for listening!

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  • QR code email signup Signup for the mailing list for a free special edition podcast and a demo copy of The Thirteenth Hour!
  • Follow The Thirteenth Hour’s instagram pages: @the13thhr and @the13thhr.ost for your daily weekday dose of ninjas, martial arts bits, archery, flips, breakdancing action figures, fantasy art, 80s music, movies, and occasional pictures or songs from The Thirteenth Hour books.
  • Website: https://13thhr.wordpress.com
  • Book trailer: http://bit.ly/1VhJhXY
  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at writejoshuablum@gmail.com for more details!

 

 

 

Preview of Weekend Festivities

This upcoming Monday, on the podcast, fantasy author Angela B. Chrysler, will be on!  She’s been featured on this blog a few times before, and she’s heading up a huge cyber convention that’s also going on this weekend: the Brain to Books Fantasy Cyber Convention, starting this Friday (i.e. tomorrow), 4/8/16.

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Click on the picture above to learn more about this novel on Goodreads.

There’s a massive book giveaway as part of the convention.  You can see the books here.  I’ll be donating an e-copy of The Thirteenth Hour.  You can enter the contest here.

Speaking of which, I’ll have a “virtual booth” at the convention, as well, which will mirror real life, since I’ll be at a library event on Saturday.

I have a free raffle for both events going on using the same Rafflecopter.  You can win one of the three ebooks:

 

 

See you at one of these events!

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Your Star Will Glow Forever – Free x 48 hrs!

The illustrated children’s book, Your Star Will Glow Forever, that I wrote and illustrated this past fall as a Xmas gift for my daughter is now up for grabs on Amazon free:

http://amzn.to/1RzlrFI

This is a little essay about how the book was created:

http://marthareynoldswrites.com/2015/11/28/nov-28-meet-ri-author-joshua-blum/

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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Win a Free Copy of The Thirteenth Hour

You can win a free Kindle copy of The Thirteenth Hour in this rafflecopter that author Kelly St. Clare was kind enough to host on her site:

Enter the Raffle Here!

Not sure what this is all about?  Inspired by 80s fantasy, scifi, and teen movies, The Thirteenth Hour is a fairy tale for adults about growing up, staying young, and finding the unsung hero inside.  And you can get a copy free by entering this free raffle.  There are a few little tasks to do that helps determine who wins.  You’ll be awarded points depending on what you choose to do. Some activities are worth more than others. The more points you get, the higher your chances of winning!

For example, tweeting a message earns you 1 point. Leaving a comment below an article on Kelly’s site gets you 2. Subscribing to the free weekly podcast on iTunes yields 3 points, and so on.  You’ll see when you enter the raffle.  All activities are pretty painless, and none require to do anything idiotic like give your phone number, credit card info, or the usual internet marketing rigmarole.

The contest runs for a week, until 2/29!  Good luck!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #28: 80s Movies Part 2 – Teen Movies

Episode #28: 80s Teen Movies, Author Coreena McBurnie Reading

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/13th%20hr%2028.mp3

Man, this was a super long episode.  I guess I got carried away talking about the 80s teen movies 🙂  Anyway, these were all influences, one way or another, for The Thirteenth Hour and the themes running through the book (i.e. figuring yourself out while straddling the line between childhood and adulthood, then trying to find your way in a seemingly inhospitable world).

-More on the writer of many of these films, the late, great John Hughes, as remembered by a teenage penpal he kept correspondence with for a number of years.

-Movies discussed (that link to Youtube clips):

Sixteen Candles 

-always loved the song at the end (done by The Thompson Twins)

The Breakfast Club

great scene – Bender falls through the ceiling – cracks me up every time!

Some Kind of Wonderful

-Ahh, first kisses.  Something special about them, especially when it’s with a longtime friend.

-As an aside, the John Hughes film Pretty in Pink was similar in some ways, but the genders were switched and had a great ending song by OMD.

Real Genius

-The great ending song by Tears for Fears

-Speaking of ending songs, The Thirteenth Hour is getting its own 80s-style ending song soon!  Details to come.  Watch for it on the soundtrack page on bandcamp!

-Ever want to learn to throw playing cards?  Now you can learn to throw like Logan from The Thirteenth Hour with, well, a handmade Thirteenth Hour throwing card kit.  Available on eBay.

Kelly St. Clare, who recently wrote a post here about her experiences with the social media crowd blasting site Thunderclap, has been kind enough to host a raffle for free copies of The Thirteenth Hour on her site starting 2/22 (today)!

-Guest reading by historical fantasy author Coreena McBurnie from Prophecy, a novel about Antigone, from the Greek myth Oedipus Rex.  Welcome to the podcast and thank you for sharing a segment of your work!

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-Starving Artist section: make some passive $$ by watching videos on your phone (yo udon’t have to watch ’em!) – Checkpoints

As always, thanks for listening!

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Interview With Author Coreena McBurnie

Today, I’m delighted to present to you a recent interview I did with mythological fantasy author Coreena McBurnie.  She interviewed me on her blog a few days ago, so today, I get to return the favor.  Coreena is also interested in appearing on the weekly podcast, so watch for those details soon.   But without further ado, read on below for further details on how she successfully turned a Greek myth with controversial content into a young adult novel, what she wished she’d have known before starting her author’s journey, and where she’d go if she could time travel for one day. 

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How did your book come to be?

I have always had a great love of ancient Greek mythology and studied Classics in university. While there I read the Oedipus plays by Sophocles. I was immediately taken with Antigone, Oedipus’ daughter — she’s strong, stands up for herself, and does what she thinks is right even in the face of death. When I was looking for a novel idea several years ago (because I was participating in National Novel Writing Month — a challenge to write a novel in November), I thought it would be fun to write about Antigone. I wasn’t sure how to go about it, especially as a young adult novel because some of the subject matter is delicate (i.e., she’s the child of an incestuous relationship), but finally decided just to tackle the story head on and not to make any apologies for what is the in the myth. Once I did that, Antigone found her voice very quickly.

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What’s it like to tell other people you’ve written a book?

It’s an interesting thing, this sharing of a story that is a part of you, but then it’s out there for the world to see and critique. I’m quite an introverted person, so I actually don’t bring it up much. I get really nervous when I tell people, but so far, everyone is very supportive and happy for me.

If you could share a meal with any of your characters, who’d it be and why?

Antigone. I think she’s fun and amazing. And how great would it be to participate in an ancient Greek feast?

What are your influences?

I love the ancient Greek and Roman stories and they inspire a lot of my writing. My favourite book is probably Homer’s Odyssey. Growing up I loved CS Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe series, along with anything by Agatha Christie or Douglas Adams. Recently, I’ve read Kristin Cashore’s Graceling series, Neil Gaiman, Rick Riordan, Eoin Colfer… One of the things I’ve really been enjoying is reading so many new and innovative indie authors.

Your hobbies?

Hobbies… Well, I love to read and I’m trying to learn to paint a bit, though this is more of a creative exploration than a mastery thing. I enjoy being outside around trees or water. I also have three kids, so is taxi driver considered a hobby? And recently I’ve become addicted to Supernatural on Netflix.

How do you find readers for your books (i.e. your audience)?  Friends?  Family?  Social media contacts?  Local library?  …?

This is my first published book, so I am still working on that. Family and friends are definitely my first readers. I’m having a book launch party in a couple of weeks, which hopefully will attract some attention where I live, and I’ve donated a copy to my local library. I’m also working on social media by reaching out to book bloggers who might be interested in reading my book and offering them review copies. So far, all of this is slow, but building (I hope).

What’s one (doesn’t have to be just one) thing you wish you could have told your pre-published author self?

Get beta readers sooner. I spent a lot of time editing and perfecting things, just to have the beta readers point out changes that needed to be made, and then I had to change everything again.

Your spirit animal is _____ and why.

A black jaguar — I dream about them a lot and love the protective, shadow qualities of a jaguar, especially a mother. When I am stressed out, I imagine a black jaguar looking out for me. I know it’s strange, but there you are.

How do you feel about clowns?

Really not my thing, they’re kind of creepy.

You see your book being sold on ebay.  You are ______ (fill in the blank).

Happy. Someone read my book and thinks it has enough value to resell it. Now maybe someone new will read it, someone who might not have otherwise found my book.

Your superpower of choice is:

Flying. I would love to see the world from high up, like birds. There is also a certain freedom to flying that is enticing, being able to go anywhere, any time.

Now imagine you’re a time traveler for a day.  Where and when would you go? 

To Alexandria right before they burned the library and find a way to stop that somehow. Can you imagine what was lost there?

Thanks for having me here today, it was fun! I love to connect with other authors and readers, so feel free to email me: coreenamcburnie@gmail.com

Other ways to connect with me:

Website & Blog: Coreena McBurnie

Facebook: Coreena McBurnie, Author

Twitter: @CoreenaMcBurnie

Goodreads: Coreena McBurnie

Amazon: Coreena McBurnie

Tumblr: Coreena McBurnie

Newsletter: Coreena McBurnie

Thanks, Coreena, for joining us today!  Congratulations on your debut book and wish it the world of success.  Looking forward to having you on the podcast!

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New Year, New Books 2016 Blog Tour – Featured Author: Joe Jackson

The first stop on the #NYNB2016 Blog Tour stars Rhode Island based epic fantasy writer, Joe Jackson.  All pictures below link to Joe’s Goodreads pages for the books.

joej1

Now here’s a fight you don’t want to be stuck in the middle of!  Unless, of course, you have a howitzer or something …

Synopsis:

The War was over, the Devil Queen cast down.

In the wake of the Apocalypse, veteran demonhunter Karian Vanador understands that the vigilance of her Order means there is rarely any time to rest. Even with a paragon of evil cast down, it isn’t long before another rears its head, and for Kari, the War never ends.

She will head into danger again, for it is the life she’s chosen and the only path she really knows. Along the way she will face the tests of friendship, the fires of love, the heat of battle, and the limits of her faith, and in those trials, she will seek the answer to her most pressing question:

“Why was I resurrected?”

Here’s an excerpt of what Joe has to say about the story: “The end result is a story of courage, love, and trust, with a strong female protagonist that both men and women should be able to identify with to some degree.  Whether it’s the sword fighting, the magic, the alien races, or the depth of the characters, I believe Salvation’s Dawn has something for almost everyone, and I hope you join me on Karian’s adventures.  Right now, the Eve of Redemption series is planned for thirteen or fourteen books, with many spinoff possibilities as the series unfold.”

Salvation’s Dawn on Amazon

Joe recently (1/5/16) added the second volume in the series, White Serpent, Black Dragon, that brings back Karian, the main character from the first volume.  At 180k words, you’re really getting your money’s worth with this one!

joej2

Ouch.  Don’t think a trip to the dentist is going to fix that …

Synopsis:

Things have been quiet since the incident on Tsalbrin, but veteran demonhunter Karian Vanador recognizes the calm before the storm all too well.

When one of the Order’s most prominent mortal enemies arrives on campus demanding help with an underworld threat, Kari knows there has to be a connection to the incident on Tsalbrin. Harried by a deadly foe, Kari must call upon friends old and new to track down a serial killer from the underworld.

Along the way she must figure out: are the killings just the act of a depraved demon, or an ingenious plot to shatter the barriers between Citaria and the underworld? And will the people she goes to help prove to be her allies or her enemies in the end?

White Serpent, Black Dragon on Amazon

Be sure to check of Joe’s blog for an impressive amount of background history he created for the world in his books.

Follow Joe on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ShoelessAuthor

Watch for more discussion on Joe’s work on The Thirteenth Hour Podcast – date pending.

BLOG TOUR GIVEAWAYS

Don’t forget to sign up at the Rafflecopter link below for a chance to win some free stuff supplied by the authors themselves.

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/6ac455060/

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Thanks for stopping by!  Next stop on the tour will be Loarna Green, author of the All the Colors series – coming 1/19/16!

Stay up-to-date with the latest blog info at the main page here.  Stay tuned!

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New Year, New Books Blog Tour 2016 + Giveaway

Over the next two weeks, I’ll be featuring three independent fantasy authors as part of a blog tour called New Year New Books 2016, arranged by Ama et Bemma, who keeps a book review blog herself.   As part of the lineup, The Thirteenth Hour will be featured on Joan’s Fiddler Blue blog.

(**If you have no idea what a blog tour is, you are not alone.  I had zero clue a year ago.  In simple terms, it’s where bloggers feature other authors’ work on their page.  It’s called a tour since there are usually a whole slew of blogs all doing this at the same time, all linked together under the same organizer.  Plus, if you’re an author, your book may be featured more than once during the rotation.  There is sometimes a significant financial investment required in order to join.  However, this one is free.)

Here are the authors who will be featured on this blog (covers from Goodreads and the authors themselves):

1/16/16: Joe Jackson, author of the Eve of Redemption series.

Salvation's Dawn White Serpent, Black Dragon (Eve of Redemption, #2)

1/19/16: Loarna Green, author of the All the Colors series.

All The Colours All The Darkness

1/22/16: Malinda Andrews, author of the Incalescent Trilogy.

Through the Mountains: A novel of the Ryder Chronicles (Incalescent Trilogy Book 1) IMG_4121 IMG_4120

I’ll also be talking more about their work on the weekly Thirteenth Hour podcast – probably a segment of each show over the next three weeks (one author per show).

BLOG TOUR GIVEAWAYS

Don’t forget to sign up at the Rafflecopter link below for a chance to win some free stuff supplied by the authors themselves.

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/6ac455060/

I have a Thirteenth Hour magnet and a dropcard containing the book in various ebook formats with some bonus media in the raffle.

Stay up-to-date with the latest blog info at the main page here.  Stay tuned!

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