The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #307 and Like a Hood Ornament #34: The Rocketeer’s Sidearm

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #307 and Like a Hood Ornament #34: The Rocketeer’s Sidearm

Today, we’re taking a short break from toys and looking at the Rocketeer cartoon to discuss the Rocketeer’s sidearm, which we touched on last week at bit when looking at the clip in the 1991 film where he acquires a Mauser C96 pistol.

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I always thought it was odd Cliff is often shown (in both movie stills and the original Dave Stevens comics) holding a gun despite holding one for less than a page in the comic and for only a few minutes in the film.

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In this page of the original Rocketeer saga, what is shown is the Mauser select fire M172.  You can tell by the 20 round extended magazine and the selector switch on the left hand side.

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On this sketch done prior to inking and colors, you can see that the original idea was to draw something more akin to the older, more established Mauser C96 (usually chambered for the 7.63 mm x 25 round coming in an internal 10 round box magazine) – the one shown in the 1991 film and in most of the drawings that Dave Stevens did.

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Regardless of which version of the pistol was intended, this episode touches on some history and aspects of handing and usage and what might Cliff might have had to think about had he used the Mauser pistol he is associated with more.

For background, I read about the pistol in question in this book (plus a number of other videos you can find on Youtube).

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This picture shows the stripper clip method of loading – the main way the C96 would have been loaded since there was no detachable magazine, though on the M172, the bullets could have been loaded one at a time in the magazines also.

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The Mauser pistols came with hollowed out wooden holsters that could serve as shoulder stocks as well as protecting the gun from damage or foul weather.  The airsoft version I’m using below also a similar (but plastic) stock. 

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I’m using a gas blowback airsoft version of the select fire Mauser M712 (the one pictured in the original comic) made by the Taiwanese company WE. While the Rocketeer is often shown next to an American flag, you might think more Americana would have gone into the character design. But I think Dave Stevens intentionally picked something distinctive looking that fits with the aesthetics of the costume. The fact that Cliff does not “buy American” (so to speak) and use something like a Colt Peacemaker or a 1911 fits with the character in many ways, who is a compilation of a bunch of archetypes from the mid to late 1800s (the cavalry style leather jacket, jodhpurs, and riding boots) to the 1930s (the GeeBee and the art deco styling of the rocketpack and helmet). The intricate, well machined Mauser pistol falls solidly in between, a Victorian, already somewhat overengineered and steampunkish design by the late 1930s that was nonetheless still widely used not only by the Germans but by many other countries as well, especially China, where it even had its own nickname (盒子砲, literally “box gun,” named after the distinctive box magazine).  Interestingly the Mauser M712 was apparently quite popular there pre-WW2, as an arms embargo prevented rifles and machine guns from being imported (apparently pistols that could become carbines with fully auto capacity was an adequate workaround).   

There is a video segment to this podcast which can be found here:

 

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There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up (https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThirteenthHourStudio) and get them there.

If the past few months have got you needing a break, you may want to chill out to this 80s synth throwback track for a upcoming LP with the accompanying music video:

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

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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 #189: Fairy Tale Reading: Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters

Episode #189: Fairy Tale Reading – Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters

https://archive.org/download/Podcast189_201903/Podcast%20189.mp3

On this week’s episode, we’re reading from an illustrated children’s retelling of an African folk tale, Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters written and illustrated by John Steptoe, two years before his untimely passing in 1989.  Fantasy and fairy tales seem to be more often associated with Western Europe, but the reasons for that have always seemed more coincidental and historical than intentional; all cultures have their own myths and legends.  And though there are no faeries in this story, this story has many of the characteristics of a fairy tale.

Below are some of the wonderfully detailed paintings that the author did that adorn each page:

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You can also hear this story and see all the pictures in this Reading Rainbow episode.

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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 Hourplaylist 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 #157: Fairy Tale Reading: East of the Sun West of the Moon 2

Episode #157: Fairy Tale Reading – East of the Sun West of the Moon 2

https://archive.org/download/Podcast157_201808/Podcast%20157.mp3

Like last week, this week, we’re reading a reworked version of the traditional Nordic fairy tale, “East of the Sun, West of the Moon.”  This week’s version is retold and illustrated by Mercer Mayer.  This one has some traditional tale elements like the heroine’s journey and an ode to “The Frog Prince” as well as some updates that add a bit more depth and autonomy to the heroine.  Below are some of the wonderfully detailed paintings that adorn each page:

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This tale features the heroine going to different parts of the world to get information to accomplish the next leg of her journey.  Each segment is represented by a different element (Earth, Wind, Water, Fire).  Because of these two similarities to the story structure of The Thirteenth Hour, I’m guessing it must have been an influence in the creation of the story, though I don’t outwardly recall doing that consciously.  However, I do remember liking both this version of the fairy tale as well as last week’s as a kid, so it might have been an unconscious influence.

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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 Hourplaylist 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 #156: Fairy Tale Reading: East of the Sun West of the Moon 1

Episode #156: Fairy Tale Reading – East of the Sun West of the Moon 1

https://archive.org/download/Podcast156_201808/Podcast%20156.mp3

This week and next, we’ll be reading a traditional Nordic fairy tale, “East of the Sun, West of the Moon.”  This week’s version is retold and illustrated by PJ Lynch.  This one is more the traditional tale – although there are some anachronistic elements that put it pre-modern era, it features the heroine’s journey and a number of frequently encountered fairy tale staples.  It also is sort of a combination between “Beauty and the Beast” + “Cupid and Psyche” (from Greek mythology).  Below are some of the wonderfully detailed paintings that adorn each page:

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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 Hourplaylist 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 #149: Modern Fairy Tale Reading: Nicholas Pipe

Episode #149: Modern Fairy Tale Reading – Nicholas Pipe

https://archive.org/download/Podcast149_201806/Podcast%20149.mp3

Piggybacking off last week’s discussion on fairy tales, I thought we’d return to another fairy tale – the retelling of a 12th century tale – Nicholas Pipe written by Robert D. S. Souci and illustrated by prolific artist by David Shannon.  Here are some of the painted illustrations:

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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 Hourplaylist 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 #140: Creating “Aurora’s Lullaby”

Episode #140: Creating “Aurora’s Lullaby”

https://archive.org/download/Podcast140_201804/Podcast%20140.mp3

This week, we’re making a lullaby that was partially written as something to help my children go to sleep.  But it was also a little song that Aurora, from The Thirteenth Hour books, sings to help young children in the orphanage (where they are living as children) go to sleep.  Later in the books, she learns to play the lute and she and her husband (see the cover art) will sometimes play it with him accompanying her on the flute. When Logan is alone later in the story, he will sometimes sing it to himself to remind himself of happier times.

Aurora’s Lullaby

C Am
When the sun goes down and stars appear
C G
Comes a time when you shall hear
Am F
For now it’s time to close your eyes.
G C
And to you, I’ll sing this lullaby.

C Am
Rest your soul, lay your head
C G
The hour’s come to go to bed
Am F
For now it’s time to close your eyes.
G C
And to you, I’ll sing this lullaby.

Solo
E D E C
C D E G G E D
G F E F G C
G F E F G C
C E D C C

C Am
And so the day is done.
C G
Your failures, your kingdoms are won
Am F
For now it’s time to close your eyes
G C
And to you, I’ll sing this lullaby.

Am F
For now it’s time to close your eyes
G C
And to you, I’ll sing this lullaby.
G C
Yes, to you, I will sing this lullaby.

 

It took a few months to finish since I wanted ti try to learn to play the penny whistle for the little instrumental break in the middle.  You can hear the final version at the end of the show and stream or download it from Bandcamp.

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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 #130: Electrifying The Thirteenth Hour Theme

Episode #130: Electrifying The Thirteenth Hour Theme

https://archive.org/download/Podcast130_201802/Podcast%20130.mp3

This week, we’re making an electric guitar fill for future soundtracks to the Thirteenth Hour books using a part of the theme music.  It runs about 30 seconds long and is intended to accentuate parts of the story where a little theme music is appropriate (future Kindle editions of the sequels will hopefully have external links to the soundtrack on Bandcamp or Youtube.  Here’s some of the gear used this episode:

Coming soon, I’ll be posting about a little side work-in-progress.  Remember when I talked in the past about Hero Forge, the site that allows you to create 3d printed miniatures of characters of your own creation for tabletop games?  I’ve had an inkling to try casting little resin miniatures along the lines of those little pink M.U.S.C.L.E. (keshi) toys from the 80s.  The first step is creating a sculpt, so here’s a wireframe skeleton of Logan on Lightning.  Stay tuned!

Speaking of toys, check out the Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mom_gave_them_away/ for some great 1980s movie and toy nostalgia.  Haven’t seen some of those toys in years.  I mostly never knew what many of them were called or had just vague memories of them from commercials or just bits and pieces from various yard sales.  So it’s been cool finding out more about these artifacts from a few decades past.

Speaking of which, if you’re into new music that sounds like it could have been from an 80s movie soundtrack, check out the Spotify link in the bio of  https://www.instagram.com/ironskullet_synthwave/ – there are thousands of songs there, and the list keeps growing.

Lastly, speaking of synths and pixels, this podcast now has a new logo for 2018.  I figured that since fantasy, scifi, and electronic music collide so frequently here, why not showcase these things with background art for Long Ago Not So Far Away, and the pixelart dragon I made for that vaporware Thirteenth Hour game I worked on decades ago when I probably should have been studying for math tests or something 🙂

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Title image courtesy of http://www.orangecoast.com/life-style/better-together-best-group-activities-saturday/

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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 #129: Reading from Chip Mitchell: The Case of the Stolen Computer Brains

Episode #129: Reading from Chip Mitchell: The Case of the Stolen Computer Brains

https://archive.org/download/Podcast129_201801/Podcast%20129.mp3

This week, we are reading from a little blast from the past that I first encountered as a kid.  It’s a little slice of the early 80s called Chip Mitchell: The Case of the Stolen Computer Brains, about a middle school age boy named Chip who uses a personal computer in his bedroom (big deal in 1982) to solve crimes and various other problems in his neighborhood.

It was written by computer educator pioneer Fred D’Ignazio (more here) and illustrated by Larry Pearson.  Although quite difficult to find today (eBay and Amazon have a few used copies sometimes), this book and its sequels (which are even harder to find) are a treat for folks nostalgic for an era of dimly lit arcades when games only cost a quarter, dark skating rinks with flashing multicolored lights and pulsing music, the promise and hope as we looked ahead into what computers would do for us amid the secrecy of the Cold war, and the pixelated graphics of early video games like Pac-Man and Space Invaders.  (Click on the images below for more nostalgia.)

80s arcadeImage result for 80s skating rinkSo tune in this week as Chip, his pals, and his personal computer, Hermes (who can talk, has a robot arm, and a modem – remember, this was 1982) try to out outwit a university supercomputer (that probably took up a whole room at the time) in a test of speed and programming skill akin to something out of War Games or Real Genius

Some images from the book:

This is the computer problem that is referenced in the book – some Cold war era cloak and dagger stuff.

Chip and Legs are on the right, Kate and her gang on the left (these are the characters referenced in this story).

Included this part (from a different part of the book) since I couldn’t resist sticking in the part about the synthesizer (way before the sound card era).

Lastly, speaking of synths and pixels, this podcast now has a new logo for 2018.  I figured that since fantasy, scifi, and electronic music collide so frequently here, why not showcase these things with background art for Long Ago Not So Far Away and the pixelart dragon I made for that vaporware Thirteenth Hour game I worked on when I probably should have been studying for math tests or something 🙂

podcast new logo_edited

Title image courtesy of http://www.orangecoast.com/life-style/better-together-best-group-activities-saturday/

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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 #128: Reading from The Unicorn Treasury: “The Court of the Summer King” by Jennifer Roberson

Episode #128: Reading from The Unicorn Treasury: “The Court of the Summer King” 

https://archive.org/download/Podcast128_201801/Podcast%20128.mp3

This week, we are reading from The Unicorn Treasury, compiled and edited by author Bruce Coville and illustrated by Tim Hildebrandt.

The short story we’re reading from is called “The Court of the Summer King,” by fantasy author Jennifer Roberson.  Here are some illustrations from the story:

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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 #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 #117: “Born Again” and The Man Without Fear

Episode #117: “Born Again” and The Man Without Fear

https://ia601509.us.archive.org/30/items/Podcast117_201711/Podcast 117.mp3

When I was a kid, I really wanted to like comic books.  I really did.  But I ended up having about as much luck with them as I did with fantasy novels – meaning that, aside from a few isolated one-shot deals, it was a mostly a miasma of confusion and disappointment.  Of course, I had a few tattered Spiderman and Superman comic books, but for the most part, I didn’t have the fainted idea what was going on in them.  I’d mostly just look at the pictures and sort of guess what was happening since I was usually missing part 1 of whatever story arc it was and probably only had issue 3/7, like how someone who doesn’t understand the language might feel when watching a film without subtitles … one can appreciate the art … but everything else is kind of a gamble.

There were a few notable exceptions, though – Dave Stevens’  The Rocketeer and the only Daredevil comic I had a kid, a collection of stories in an arc dubbed “Born Again.”  Ripe with heavy Christian symbolism (sacrifice, redemption, Armageddon) and rendered in mostly dark primary colors depicting a grim and seedy vision of pre-gentrification NYC, writer Frank Miller and artist David Mazzucchelli created a world that you didn’t exactly want to inhabit, but like watching a train careen into a mountain, man, oh man, you couldn’t look away from, either.

In today’s episode, I reflect a little on this fine example of storytelling.

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Daredevil, sans costume, takes on one of the Kingpin’s enforcer’s trying to ventilate him.  Nice kick!  Time to visit the dentist …

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I read this story around the time I was starting martial arts and liked that it included some martial arts techniques for Daredevil, here fighting an impostor in his costume).    Another nice side kick above and a variety of spearhands below:

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At the time, when reading this story, I had no idea Daredevil was blind and always marveled at how he managed to not kill himself jumping all over the place.  I guess that is why he is the man without fear.

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I thought this quote was the coolest thing as a teenager.

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At their very core, superhero stories laud the best and worst of humanity.  But while they serve as idealistic examples of wish fulfillment, it can be hard to relate to a superhero. By making him fall to new lows, this comic did a great job making Daredevil into a relatable human being.  It’s symbolic he spends most of the story arc without his trademark costume and that the last page shows him as a regular guy walking down the street.  For those of us who haven’t quite fallen to those gritty depths, there is still hope.  Maybe that means we then have something to lose and thus, something to fear.  But in a world where danger seems to lurk around every corner (if you believe what the news says), feeling no fear may not be realistic or even prudent.  But it doesn’t mean we can’t put our best selves forward, one foot in front of the other, and at the very least, fake being unafraid.  In the end, who can really tell the difference?

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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 #95: “Elminster at the Magefair” by Ed Greenwood Part 3 of 3

Episode #95:  Forgotten Realms “Elminster at the Magefair” by Ed Greenwood Part 3 of 3

https://archive.org/download/Podcast95_20170520/Podcast%2095.mp3

Today’s episode is #3 in a three part telling of a fantasy short story by Ed Greenwood about Elminster the mage from the TSR Forgotten Realms anthology Realms of Valor. In this episode, Elminster meets his match and is helped by a friend.  There’s also an afterword that talks about how Ed Greenwood and many others created the Forgotten Realms universe – essentially an open source multisite project spanning decades.

Found this funny picture with a quote from our man of the hour.  I guess when you have lived 5 centuries, it’s easy to be zen about such things.

Image result for elminster

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 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 #94: “Elminster at the Magefair” by Ed Greenwood Part 2 of 3

Episode #94:  Forgotten Realms “Elminster at the Magefair” by Ed Greenwood Part 2 of 3

https://archive.org/download/Podcast94_201705/Podcast%2094.mp3

Today’s episode is #2 in a three part telling of a fantasy short story by Ed Greenwood about Elminster the mage from the TSR Forgotten Realms anthology Realms of Valor. In this episode, we find out why his going to the mage Con creates such havoc.  My daughter refers to him as a “trouble maker.”  But he’s sufficiently well known, trouble maker or not, to have his own wikipedia entry, where you can learn about him and his creator, Ed Grrenwood: 

File:Elminster rom.JPG

This illustration is from the cover of a companion to Realms of Valor, called Realms of Magic.

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 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 #93: “Elminster at the Magefair” by Ed Greenwood Part 1 of 3

Episode #93:  Forgotten Realms “Elminster at the Magefair” by Ed Greenwood Part 1 of 3

https://archive.org/download/Podcast93_201705/Podcast%2093.mp3

Today’s episode is a three part telling of a fantasy short story by Ed Greenwood about Elminster the mage from the TSR Forgotten Realms anthology Realms of Valor.  He’s apparently a kind of Gandalf -like figure in the Forgotten Realms D and D world.  In this episode, he goes to a wizards’ convention, and trouble finds him.

This picture by Ned Dameron shows Elminster and his travelling companion and bodyguard, Storm Silverhand.

unnamed (1).jpg

As always, thanks for listening!

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  • 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.
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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #92: “The Bargain” by Elaine Cunningham Part 2 of 2

Episode #92:  Forgotten Realms “The Bargain” by Elaine Cunningham Part 2 of 2

https://archive.org/download/Podcast92_201705/Podcast%2092.mp3

Today’s episode is part 2 of the fantasy short story from the TSR Forgotten Realms anthology Realms of Valor, “The Bargain” by Elaine Cunningham.  It centers around a half elf character called Arilyn Moonblade and her companion, Danilo Thann, and in the episode, we learn why the story is called as it is.  If you missed the previous episode, here it is.

As always, thanks for listening!

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  • 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
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  • 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 #91: “The Bargain” by Elaine Cunningham Part 1 of 2

Episode #91:  Forgotten Realms “The Bargain” by Elaine Cunningham Part 1 of 2

https://archive.org/download/Podcast91_201705/Podcast%2091.mp3

Today’s episode continues the theme of the last two weeks – reading aloud a fantasy short story from the TSR Forgotten Realms anthology Realms of Valor.  This one is called “The Bargain” by Elaine Cunningham and centers around a half elf character called Arilyn Moonblade and her companion, Danilo Thann.  Here a pic of the two striking heroic poses, painting by Fred Fields:

Related image

So, like the last two weeks, listen along as I continue to butcher the names left and right and try to avoid putting in running commentary when I don’t understand something. I’m getting a bit better.  I think if I had started with stories like these when I was a kid instead of books that just had cool covers, I might have made out better with fantasy in general.

To be continued next week!

The first page of the story had this title illustration by Ned Dameron.  He did a number of illustrations for the Dark Tower books if that name rings a bell.

As always, thanks for listening!

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  • 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 #90: “Dark Mirror” by R.A. Salvatore Part 2 of 2

Episode #90:  Forgotten Realms “Dark Mirror” by R.A. Salvatore Part 2 of 2

https://archive.org/download/Podcast90_201705/Podcast%2090.mp3

Today’s episode continues where we left off last week (in the reading of “Dark Mirror” by R.A Salvatore from the anthology Realms of Valor) as Drizzt, the dark elf, and his magic panther with the unpronounceable name continue their travails to free a band of prisoners from some bad, bad creatures.

So, like last week, listen along as I continue to butcher the names left and right and try to avoid putting in running commentary when I don’t understand something.  But, the great thing about this story is that although it starts off simple enough, like a traditional fantasy story with the bad guys (orcs) and the good guys (human farmers), it becomes less and less clear as the tale progress who the good and bad creatures actually are.  I feel like if I had read more of this breed of fantasy story when I was a kid, I might have had a better time with the genre in general.  Oh well.

Apologies for the audio quality on this episode.  I had a lot of trouble recording for some reason.  The only way to get rid of the weird buzzing in the background was to try to clean up the audio enough it softens parts a bit too much.

I finally found the artist, Todd Lockwood, who did the great picture, entitled “Orc King,” from last week’s show notes.  Click on the full picture below to go to his website:



The first page of the story had this title illustration by Ned Dameron, which makes a little more sense this week than it did last week.  He did a number of illustrations for the Dark Tower books if that name rings a bell.

As always, thanks for listening!

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  • 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
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  • 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 #78: The Enchanted Wood Reading

Episode #78: Storytime Reading of The Enchanted Wood – an Original Fairy Tale

https://archive.org/download/Podcast78_201702/Podcast%2078.mp3

Today, my daughter and I are reading a beautifully illustrated fairy tale written and illustrated by  Ruth Sanderson.  This tale, which being quite similar to the Grimm brother’s tale The Water of Life, which we read earlier this year, takes a number of fairy tale archetypes and shakes them up into a new variant.  Even though it’s intended for younger audiences, I remember really liking this picture book when I was a teenager, when I first encountered it.  Check out some of the highly detailed, almost photorealistic painting that adorn the book:

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Ruth Sanderson, "Suddenly Owen and the black knight emerged from

Check out Ruth Sanderson on Twitter, Facebook, and Amazon to find more of her work.

As always, thanks for listening!

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  • 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
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  • 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 #77: The Kitchen Knight Reading

Episode #77: Storytime Reading of The Kitchen Knight

https://archive.org/download/Podcast77_201701/Podcast%2077.mp3

This week, we are reading an old Arthurian legend, retold by Margaret Hodges and illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman:

kitchen-knight

I think the actual tale is a bit more complex and convoluted than this version, but this one distills it down nicely to the important bits.  And even if real life is more complex, it is good to remind oneself that sometimes good things do actually happen to good people, that appearances can be deceiving, and a bit of kitchen work, as menial as it might seem, never hurt anyone.

Thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #73: Happy New Year and The Water of Life Reading

Episode #73: The Water of Life Storytime Reading

https://ia601508.us.archive.org/11/items/Dropbox_201701/Podcast%2073.mp3

In this week’s episode, we start off the new year by reading a fairy tale that I loved as a child.  In many ways, I think the underlying theme of looking for a potion that grants the drinker life and health probably influenced my decision to include a similar plot device in The Thirteenth Hour.  This book is written by Barbara Rogasky and features the illustrations of Trina Schart Hyman, who had been featured many times here.

Related image

Happy New Year, and thanks for listening!

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  • 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 #50: Reading of Robert Browning’s Poem “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came”

Episode #50: Storytime Reading of Robert Browning’s Poem “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came”

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/Podcast%2050.mp3

Last week, we read the Old English fairy tale, “Childe Roland.”  This week, I’m reading aloud the Robert Browning poem, “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came” which was the inspiration for Stephen King’s Dark Tower series.  It’s quite different from the fairy tale and from King’s books, though it shares the dark psychological bent he gave his long magnus opus.  I found it a difficult poem to read.  Couldn’t quite get into a good rhythm, so there are parts that seem more staccato than I would have liked.  It seemed more like one of those works that tries to evoke a series of feelings and images rather than telling a narrative tale.  It reminded me of the Coleridge poem, “Kubla Khan” (In Xanadu did Kubla Khan / A stately pleasure-dome decree …).  

You can find an interpretation of Browning’s poem on Sparknotes.  One of the takeaways of the poem is there is always sacrifice in the single minded devotion to a goal and sometimes that leads to some culture shock when others can’t quite understand what the goal was all for.  Logan from The Thirteenth Hour figures that at the end of his own long quest, as mentioned here.

Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came, by Thomas Moran (clicking on the picture takes you to the Wikipedia entry to this poem).

If you don’t know the story of Roland a la Stephen King, I highly recommend reading them or listening to the audio books (which are excellent).  The first novel, The Gunslinger, has a great opening line.  Below are some pictures from the novels in the series.

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The beginning of The Gunslinger

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Susannah Dean takes aim with Roland’s revolver, by Ned Dameron.

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Jake Chambers and Oy on the attack, by Michael Whelan.

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Jake and Roland at the clearing at the end of the path, by Michael Whelan.

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #46: Storytime – Prince Nautilus Reading

Episode #46: Children’s Book Storytime Reading – Prince Nautilus (A Modern Fairy Tale)

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/Podcast%2046.mp3

On this week’s episode, I recorded a story I read to my daughter, Prince Nautilus, written by Laura Krauss Melmed and illustrated by Henri Sorensen.  We recently found it for sale in a small bookstore while traveling and decided to explore this modern fairy tale, which takes elements of classic tales and puts a few modern spins on them.  You can’t see the wonderful illustrations in the podcast, obviously, though I did attempt to describe them to my daughter (since that’s what you do with toddlers).  I’m not sure if the book is still in print, but you can find used copies on retailers like Amazon or Abebooks.

Prince Nautilus: Melmed, Laura Krauss; Sorensen, Henri

Like the storytime format?  Let me know (see email address below), and I’ll do more in the future.

Next week, stay tuned for the start of a massive 2 part interview on martial arts, gymnastics, breakdancing, learning new skills, and more with one of my best friends from college.

As always, thanks for listening!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

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  • Website: https://13thhr.wordpress.com
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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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Now Available! Thirteenth Hour Throwing Cards – Instructional Kit and Handmade Training Cards

Now you, too, can throw playing cards like you favorite superpowered mutant.  Like I mentioned in this previous post, it’s not hard to learn to throw playing cards like Logan does in The Thirteenth Hour.  But it does help to know a little about the technique and have the right cards.

Wait no longer.  Thirteenth Hour throwing cards are now here.  You throw heavier, more rigid cards first in order to get the technique down, then work your way down to lighter cards until you;re throwing regular playing cards.  This kit is essentially a pair of “training wheels” to jump start your throwing while keeping your confidence up and frustration low.  They’re handmade and contain pictures from The Thirteenth Hour and come in different weights:

1.) laminated cards with Thirteenth Hour illustrations (weigh 5 g each) x 2
2.) unlaminated cards with Thirteenth Hour illustrations (weigh 3 g each) x 3
3.) regular playing cards (weigh 1 g each) x 3

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So you start with #1, then go to #2 when you have the throw down, then go to #3 when #2 is too easy.  At that point, you’ll be able to use a regular deck of playing cards you can find anywhere.

Comes with a set of instructions showing the basic throw and grip variations.

You can get them on the eBay store here or on my Square online store here.

UPDATE (2/15/16): Well, the first time I posted these on eBay, they were removed since eBay doesn’t allow weapons to be sold, and I guess “throwing cards” were flagged as potential implements of destruction.  It probably goes without staying, but I’ll paraphrase what’s said on the packaging on the cards themselves:

These aren’t intended as weapons!  Even in the book, Logan uses them as a distraction.  The idea that could you could seriously injure someone from thrown paper playing cards is not without its legends (see the original post for a book by magician Ricky Jay about it), but if you have any doubts, check out this Mythbusters episode where the myth of the lethal throwing card gets busted.  Ricky Jay actually makes a cameo as well).  However, you should still exercise caution, since if you get really good, you can cause small paper cuts, and walls and doors may get chipped.  That said, these are primarily novelty items.  If you’re seriously looking at them as a way of defending yourself, I wish I could say different, but there are many, many more effective ways!!  Throwing cards for self defense is probably best left in the realm of fantasy unless done for distraction, like Logan did in the book.  Of course, a handful or dirt or some coins to the face would do the same with much less practice, too.

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This clip, posted on Instagram and on the Youtube channel, shows the creation of the drawing used for the label:

ezgif.com-video-to-gif

UPDATE (2/18/16): There’s now a video showing the cards in action!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #25: Why so White?

Episode #25: Why so White? Illustrating the Thirteenth Hour Characters, Racial Stuff, and More

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/13th%20hr%2025.mp3

-This morning I randomly woke up to theme music of one of my favorite movies of all time, The Last Starfighter, playing in my head.  Probably not a surprise, since it was an inspiration for The Thirteenth Hour and always had a kickass theme song to boot.  Here’s a little dose of morning 80s inspiration: https://youtu.be/BSf5tx4e_PA

The Last Starfighter main characters: Maggie (Catherine Mary Stewart) and Alex (Lance Guest).  Of note, Catherine Mary Stewart was in a number of other great 80s movies, like Weekend at Bernie’s and Night of the Comet, both of which I’ve seen innumerable times.  Click on the picture above for a great review of The Last Starfighter

-In other news, the radio show appearance I mentioned last week was rescheduled due to a station conflict.  It’s later this month.  More details in the links below.  Email the host, Wayne, with questions or comments for a chance to win a copy of The Thirteenth Hour.

-Author’s Hour show details:

http://waynebarbersauthorshour.blogspot.com/2016/01/brand-new-radio-show-authors-hour.html

Event Details (Live at 1380 AM WNRI or livestream, 9 AM EST 2/16/16)

-By the way, Happy Groundhog Day!

-If you want to learn to throw playing cards like Bill Murray does in the movie, check out this card throwing how-to:

https://13thhr.wordpress.com/2015/11/24/ever-wanted-to-be-like-gambit-card-throwing-101/

-Stay tuned for Thirteenth Hour throwing cards in the near future!

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-Writing and Drawing the Main Characters (Logan and Aurora) from The Thirteenth Hour: where I try to deconstruct the thought process behind creating the world these characters live in, why they were drawn the way they were, and why fantasy novels have been a predominantly Western European, white affair.

-We obviously all have prejudices and biases, and I think the thing is not the total eradication of these parts of being human, just an openness to try to understand these aspects of ourselves and see the world from the points of view of others.

-I will say, however, it would be refreshing to have more ethnically diverse characters in fantasy stories, but not just to make a social statement as the token ethnic character.  Let them be more than just a color, to paraphrase Michael Jackson.

-As an aside, this topic refers back to these post:

https://13thhr.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/writing-the-main-characters/

-There’s a question in the interview below about which Hollywood actor I’d cast to play Logan and Aurora if the movie were one day turned into a film.  Even though I pictured the book being more a cartoon, the question still stands:

http://www.angelabchrysler.com/featured-reads/the-thirteenth-hour/

-#NYNB2016 Epic Fantasy Author Feature: Joe Jackson – reading an excerpt from White Serpent, Black Dragon.

-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

-Easy Dinero Segment: Check out the Techslugs channel on Youtube for much more info and reviews of apps and programs to help you make some cash to support the starving artist lifestyle!

-As always, thanks for listening!

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