The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #108: Chad Derdowski, Author/Illustrator of Fortune Favors the Bold, Part 2 of 2

Episode #108: Chad Derdowski, Author/Illustrator of Fortune Favors the Bold, Part 2 of 2

https://archive.org/download/Podcast108_201709/Podcast%20108.mp3

Today, we conclude our 2 part conversation with author and illustrator Chad Derdowski, who came on the show last week to talk about his book, Fortune Favors the Bold: The Saga of the Scissorwulf.  This episode picks up right after Chad did a short reading from one of the story lines from the book, which if you missed last week’s show, is essentially a tongue-firmly-planted-in-cheek R rated Choose Your Own Adventure style with a Conan style hero:

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And if you’d like Chad to do a personal reading for you, perhaps in the same faux-English accent, follow the links below to get a copy of the book for yourself, write a review on Amazon, and send proof to Chad on Instagram.  Just for podcast listeners and until the end of September 2017!

Much of today’s episode touches on Chad’s creative process.  If you’ve ever wanted to create a book (or something similarly creative), but have gotten forestalled along the way, you may find quite a bit of motivation in this week’s show.  Speaking of which, here’s a link to the book, Write or Wrong: A Writer’s Guide to Creating Comics, Chad was referring to by Dirk Manning.

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

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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!  Next week, Brent Simon!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #107: Chad Derdowski, Author/Illustrator of Fortune Favors the Bold, Part 1 of 2

Episode #107: Chad Derdowski, Author/Illustrator of Fortune Favors the Bold, Part 1 of 2

https://archive.org/download/Podcast107_201708/Podcast%20107.mp3

In this week’s episode, author and illustrator Chad Derdowski comes on the show for a two part episode to talk about his book, Fortune Favors the Bold: The Saga of the Scissorwulf, a blast to read and even more entertaining to learn about.  It’s basically an R rated Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-style book  with lots of references that former children of the 80s will well appreciate.  If you want a Cliff’s Notes version of the podcast, the main hero, the Scissorwulf is basically as follows:

 = 1uefrazetta-thebarbarian Warduke from Dungeons and Dragons by MassimoAtlas + Darkwolf (Fire and Ice)... + 

Scissorwulf = Conan (by Frank Frazetta here) + Warduke (from D and D, redrawn on deviantart by MassimoAtlas) + Darkwolf (From Fire and Ice, drawn by Frank Frazetta) + Jack Burton (from Big Trouble in Little China)

And Fortune Favors the Bold is basically a mix of HP Lovecraft, comedic parody, pulp men’s fiction, comic book, and Choose Your Own Adventure all mixed in one (plus probably a few other references I’m missing):

AstonishingTales25.jpg + GEORGE GROSS - Nightmare in New York (Executioner 7) by Don Pendleton - 1971 Pinnacle Books + Related image + Image result for hp lovecraft + Image result for shaun of the dead + Image result for choose your own adventure

Chad also does a reading of one of the storylines in the book, so you get a preview of the writing and the beginnings of one of the adventures.

Image result for fire and ice frazetta darkwolf

Dark wolf says: stay tuned for more 80s references next week in Part 2!

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

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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!  To be continued …

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #106: The Twelve Dancing Princesses and The Six Swans

Episode #106: Reading of The Twelve Dancing Princesses and The Six Swans

https://archive.org/download/Podcast106_20170820/Podcast%20106.mp3

Today’s podcast is the double fairy tale reading of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” and “The Six Swans” (a version of which was featured on episode 97) from The Candlewick Book of Fairy Tales by Sarah Hayes and illustrated by PJ Lynch (see the some of his wonderfully detailed illustrations below):

 

By the way, there’s a new section to the show: if you ever have a question or something you’d like to hear addressed, read, or discussed on the show, just comment in the show notes or email.  Same goes for a guest you’d like to see on.

Speaking of which, in the next few week, we’ll be hearing from author and illustrator Chad Derdowski as well as musician and now drone pilot Brent Simon, who we first heard about in the interview with Jeff Finley!  Stay tuned!

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/ 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!
  • Ask a question or make a suggestion for the show!  Email or comment below.

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #105: Author/Illustrator Missy Sheldrake Returns Part 2 of 2

Episode #105: Author and Illustrator Missy Sheldrake Interview #2 Part 2 of 2

https://archive.org/download/Podcast105_201708/Podcast%20105.mp3

Today, fantasy author Missy Sheldrake returns in part 2 of her interview as we catch up on all the things she’s been up to this past year (find her first interview here).

We spend the first part of this episode talking about podcasting, which Missy was thinking about doing.  Indie author Angela Chrysler (who came on the show back on episode #35) has been doing a youtube storytime reading series.  Putting shows on youtube would probably be one of the easiest way to put out a podcast.  If you are interested in learning more, here is also a quick start guide on producing a podcast quickly and without spending a lot of money that I put together here.

We also talked about making the transition to doing live events and a recent cover commission Missy did for one of her fellow authors, Christina McMullen.  There is a time lapse video of how she created the picture here.

A Space Girl From Earth Kindle Cover.jpg

We talk about our fantasy art influences and bemoan the loss of old-school hand painted covers in favor of the emphasis on hyper realistic, photorealistic digital photo covers that all end up looking the same.

Case in point/aside – take this movie poster/cover for the 80s scifi movie Solarbabies and a more generic photo cover to the right:

Image result for solarbabies Image result for solarbabies

Anyway … follow Missy on Instagram gallery for more pictures and updates on her illustrations.  I’m sure we’ll see more as she works on her fifth book in her Keeper of the Wellspring series.

There’s also a fun little easter egg for those who stick around until the end of this episode!

 

Click on the banner below to learn more about the series on Amazon.  If you haven’t read them yet, Missy let me know that this week, on 8/16/17, the first book, Call of Kythshire, is free, so take the chance to grab a copy!


Thanks again, Missy, for coming on the show, and good luck writing book #5!

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 and movie soundtracks from that era.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #104: Author/Illustrator Missy Sheldrake Returns Part 1 of 2

Episode #104: Author and Illustrator Missy Sheldrake Interview #2 Part 1 of 2

https://archive.org/download/Podcast104_201708/Podcast%20104.mp3

In this week’s episode, fantasy author Missy Sheldrake comes back to the show to catch us up on all the things she’s been up to this past year (find her first interview here).  We spend much of this episode talking about the creative process, how writing takes on a life of its own, illustrating books, and what a shame it is that books for former children tend not to have pictures anymore.

Here are some screenshots from Missy’s Instagram gallery, where she posts pictures of works in process:

tib

This progression is of her character Tib, who was introduced in Call of Sunteri.

guild 0

guild 2

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This guild portrait is the one we’re referring to in the podcast (the one that took 59 hours).  Click on the picture above to go to the actual post on IG.

Click on the banner below to learn more about the series on Amazon.  If you haven’t read them yet, Missy let me know that on 8/16/17, the first book, Call of Kythshire, is free, so take the chance to grab a copy!

 


Thanks again, Missy, for coming on the show, and good luck writing book #5!

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.  Podcast listeners can still download the album until 8/10 (minus the bonus track) here http://bit.ly/2txyAaM  (access code is on episode 100 at ~31:30).  

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 #103: The Tinder Box

Episode #103: Reading of The Tinder Box Fairy Tale

https://archive.org/download/Podcast103_201707/Podcast%20103.mp3

Today’s podcast is the reading of a fairy tale called “The Tinder Box” from The Fairy Tale Book by Marie Ponsot (translator) and Adrienne Segur (illustrator) from The Golden Book of Fairy Tales.  You can read the tale in full (as written by Hans Christian Andersen) here.  There is even a commentary with history and analysis here.


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One of the illustrations from the tale:

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By the way, there’s a new section to the show: if you ever have a question or something you’d like to hear addressed, read, or discussed on the show, just comment in the show notes or email.  Same goes for a guest you’d like to see on.

Speaking of which, next week, we’ll be hearing from author and illustrator Missy Sheldrake, who came on the show about a year ago.

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/ 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!
  • Ask a question or make a suggestion for the show!  Email or comment below.

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #98: The Thirteenth Hour Sequel Updates

Episode #98: The Thirteenth Hour Sequel Updates – Fanciful Fantasy Vehicles and Zork Choose Your Own Adventure Style Reading

https://archive.org/download/Podcast98_20170625/Podcast%2098.mp3

In today’s show, I’m talking about some previews coming from a draft I’m working on for the sequel(s) to The Thirteenth Hour, some of which takes place in a technologically advanced world with strange aspects of future life, like fanciful ways to get around.

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A vapor rider is basically a magic powered boat with hydrofoils that allows it to skim across the surface of the water.

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A cloud rider is magic powered flying wing to skim above the clouds.

You can see both vapor riders and cloud riders in the title graphic above.

Over the next few months, we’ll occasionally be reading from these old Zork stories, which essentially function as Choose Your Own Adventure style game books.  Just like that series, there are decision points requiring you to go to different points in the book and black and white inked illustrations for many of the pages.  I think these books are long out of print, but click on the image of the book below to see if you can find a used copy of your own.

The synthesizer music in between the sequel updates and the Zork reading is courtesy of Brent Simon, an internet sensation from the mid 2000s (yes, his music clips from his old MySpace age still miraculously work).  You’ll hear more about him in a few weeks.  Jeff Finley, who made a documentary about his friend that made it big a number of years ago, will be coming on the show in a few weeks!

Speaking of music, episode 100 will have more details about an upcoming EP, the sequel to Long Ago Not So Far Away.  Podcast listeners get first dibs!  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 #97: The Wild Swans

Episode #97: Reading of The Wild Swans Fairy Tale

https://archive.org/download/Podcast97_20170616/Podcast%2097.mp3

Today’s podcast is the reading of a fairy tale “The Wild Swans” from The Fairy Tale Book by Marie Ponsot (translator) and Adrienne Segur (illustrator).  There’s an updated version called The Golden Book of Fairy Tales.


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We’ll read from it a few times in the future.  It was one I recalled from childhood and has some wonderfully detailed illustrations with a number of traditional fairy tales, meaning that they aren’t the sanitized Disney versions.  In fact, the worlds the characters inhabit are often cruel, and although they often do have happy endings, the characters really do go through a lot of pain and suffering to get there.  Case in point:

 

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As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #96: Visualization for Healing

Episode #96: Zen Visualization for Healing and Learning + New Synth Track Preview

https://archive.org/download/Podcast96_20170610/Podcast%2096.mp3

Today’s podcast about focusing the power of the mind to help heal injuries goes out to Ryan, a friend of mine who sustained an unexpected injury.  Hope it helps (at the very least, it can’t hurt!)  Get well soon!

We talked about zen in archery back in episode #62 and a year ago back in episode #44.   As before, we’ll be reading from a chapter in the book, Zen in the Martial Arts, by Joe Hyams:

Image result for zen in martial arts

Click on the picture of the book above to find a copy of your own.

If you’re at all interested in martial arts or philosophy (or both), I’d highly recommend reading it.  I first read it when I was introduced to martial arts at age 13.  There was a lot I didn’t understand or only understood partially at the time but have found that with each re-reading, I take away a new lesson.

The chapter I’m reading from today is about using positive visualization to make changes in your life: i.e. not letting negative thinking get the better of you, maintaining a positive outlook while injured, or learning something new.  It’s important to remember that before our bodies can do something, our brains must plan it out first.  It may happen unconsciously, but the body does do what the brain sees first!  Sounds simple (and it is – though that does not necessarily mean easy), but that’s zen for you.

In case you don’t have access to the book, here are a few snippets from the chapter:

The version of the book I have has black and white photographs accompanying the chapters.  For this chapter, there’s a flame, probably to accompany Bruce Lee’s idea of imagining negative thoughts burning up in his mind.

And since today was all about fire and focus, we’ll end with the first half of a new song I’ll be releasing in the next few weeks called “Ember.”  I wrote it years ago and have been trying to rework it into a synthesizer track for the sequel to Long Ago Not So Far Away (which, coincidentally, you can now find for streaming off Spotify).  It’s been a slow going process (as these things often are), but so far, I’m pretty happy with the way it’s been going.  It’s about growing up, which involves a certain amount of questioning who you are and what you believe.  But it’s also about believing in yourself and not losing the fire that drives your passion.  In the words of Mr. Miyagi (Karate Kid 3), “Daniel-san, focus!  … Best karate still inside!”

Join the mailing list for an upcoming EP with “Ember” and number of new tracks!

As always, thanks for listening!

Glowing ember photo courtesy of Anastasia Zhenina.

 

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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 #80 – Musical Interlude: There’s a Wild Heart Beating

Episode #80: There’s a Wild Heart Beating 

https://ia801501.us.archive.org/9/items/Podcast80_201702/Podcast%2080.mp3

This week marks the release of a new track for a new album that goes with a new book.  How’s that for a lot of newness?  It’s for the unnamed album that accompanies the unnamed sequel to The Thirteenth Hour!

Back in Episode 72, I showcased the creation of backing track of this song (which had its first germinations back in October 2016  and has since grown into a full fledged synthesizer ballad).

The following picture accompanies the track:

h-ld-heart_edited-z

In it, Logan (the silhouette on the right), is playing a reed flute, which happens to carry the melody of this song – hoping that it will reach the ears of Aurora, who he thinks may be in the castle in the center of the picture.  It’s a little homage to Lloyd Dobbler from Say Anything:

Image result for lloyd dobler

You can find more info and lyrics about this track, which you can download or stream at Bandcamp.

And, if you happen to be in and around New York City, on March 11th, I’ll be a panel of other authors discussing creating sci fi and fantasy worlds at the Big Apple Con.  Use the code ART007 for a discount when you buy your tickets.  See you at the show!

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 #60: A Storytime Reading of Sleeping Beauty

Episode #60: Sleeping Beauty Reading

https://archive.org/download/Podcast60_201609/Podcast%2060.mp3

This week, my daughter and I are reading The Sleeping Beauty, written/retold and beautifully illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman, who also illustrated St. George and the Dragon, which we read on episode #52.  Below are some pictures:

Image result for trina schart hyman sleeping beauty

Image result for trina schart hyman sleeping beauty

As an aside, my brother recently told me that Stan Bush, the man behind “The Touch” created a new 80s-style anthem for the game Shadow Warrior 2 – something that is incredibly awesome on so many levels I don’t know where to start.  You can listen to the EP on Souncloud! (click on the link above to listen).

Speaking of which, the soundtrack to The Thirteenth Hour, Long Ago Not So Far Away is done and will be coming out on 11/13/16.  It will be available digitally and on CD.  If I can find a few cassette tapes, I may even try to make a few cassettes that will be available on the eBay store for the truly old school.  (Remember making mix tapes?  This assumes I actually remember how to do that 🙂  If you want an advance preview in the next few weeks, sign up for the mailing list for a free advance digital copy!

cover-80s-style_edited-33

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.
  • 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 #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!

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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 #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?

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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 #53: Rocketeer Reflections

Episode #53: Reflections on Rewatching The Rocketeer and How it Influenced The Thirteenth Hour 

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/Podcast%2053.mp3

I recently rewatched the 1991 film, The Rocketeer, one of my favorite films from childhood, if not my all-time favorite.  It encapsulated just about everything a kid could hope for – airplanes, jet packs, shootouts between gangsters and Nazi storm troopers – not to mention a great cast of characters with a plucky heroine and a dashing hero that was just enough of an Everyman to be easily relatable.  Sometimes, movies that seemed great as a kid don’t always make for great films for adults.  So although I owned the DVD of The Rocketeer and have rewatched bits through the years, I was always a bit hesitant about watching the film start-to-finish again, I guess out of fear that it would inevitably fall from grace after years had tarnished the nostalgia factor.

Nope.

I’m glad to say that didn’t happen.  Not only did I watch the whole thing, I was glued to my seat and daresay I enjoyed the movie more than I did when I was a kid.

In many ways, it was ahead of its time.  Superhero movies weren’t really as big at the time as they were now, and in this age of global terrorism, it is comforting to think that heroes exists in our midst that can stand tall when they’re needed.  And in many ways, that’s what the Rocketeer (a.k.a. pilot Cliff Secord) was – just an ordinary guy who, though a mixture of good/bad luck (depending on how you look at it) and the serendipity of circumstance, becomes a reluctant hero in an uncertain age (at the dawn of WWII).   Part of me suspects that the original creator of The Rocketeer comics, illustrator Dave Stevens, created Cliff with exactly that I mind – not so much a hero chosen to have superpowers but an average citizen who ends up in the role and has to balance using his rocket pack for the greater good (fighting crime/Nazis, saving innocent people) vs. his own personal agenda (making money, impressing his girlfriend).

While I was watching the film this time, I was struck by how many similarities there are between Cliff Secord and Logan, the protagonist of The Thirteenth Hour. In many ways, it’s not surprising, since The Rocketeer was one of my favorite movies all throughout high school, and The Thirteenth Hour was written the summer after I graduated.  Both have a boyish, child like sense of gee-whiz! wonder about them.  While both are, at heart, good people doing their best, both are getting by on a lot more than special abilities and natural talents.  They’re carried along as much by a combination of pluck, luck, help from others, and just, plain old bumbling incompetence that favors the optimistic, idealistic, and brave … the very image of characters that are holding it together not because they are super prepared or organized but with a combination of chewing gum, spit, and twine.  (In fact, Cliff’s rocketpack is held together by chewing gum at one point.)

So, it’s not surprising that there are some parallels, both in character and appearance.  Here are a few of the latter:

-I think ones of the reasons I drew Logan with the haircut he has was largely due to an the unconscious influence of Dave Stevens.

Logan pushupsWM

This is one of the tamer pictures of Cliff Secord’s do out there.  He usually is a bit more disheveled:

-Cliff also worn a leather button-up jacket that, while looking a real pain to put on and take off, sure looks cool).  I gave the Imperial Rangers in The Thirteenth Hour tunics with a similar aesthetic, though I didn’t opt for the buttons.

logan kick rockWM

-And then, of course, both characters can fly owning to special machines.  Logan’s flying machine, Lightning, is talked about in episode #45.

I'll Fly Away Flying IG_1

I recently found a little replica of the hoverboard from Back to the Future 2 in a thrift store – that made my day.

If you’re interested in learning more about real-life attempts to create rocketpacks, you can check out the book Jetpack Dreams (an excerpt on The Rocketeer is below):

You can also read more in this magazine article:

img_8806-1img_8799-1img_8800-1img_8801-1img_8804-1img_8805-1

More on the Rocketeer in the future!  Listen for the clip from the soundtrack by James Horner on the podcast as well as more postings on social media.

There are many excellent depictions of the Rocketeer since Dave Stevens’ passing.  This is a fine example by Alexey Mordovets.

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 #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.

2016-06-24 14.14.42

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.

2016-06-24 14.31.38

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

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!

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.

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Childe Roland on his quest.

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

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The King of Elfland.

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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!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #48: Guest Conversation with Justin Part 2

Episode #47: My Friend Justin Joins the Show Part 2 – Diets, Fitness, Food Envy, Body For Life, Protein, and a Supreme Amount of GI Distress

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/Podcast%2048%20Justin%202.mp3

Last week (ep. #47), my friend Justin joined the show for a discussion on gymnastics, martial arts, and breakdancing.  He returns this week for more fitness talk. Here’s some of what we discuss this week:

-Fad diets such as Whole 30, the Cookie Diet, and Paleo – how hard it is to eat out on these diets and the level of food envy/fixation that go with them

Aside: While this recipe is probably not kosher according to most of these diets, it is good and relatively carb free, mainly consisting of a spaghetti squash, cheese, onions, and a few other basic ingredients:

  • 1 cube vegetable bouillon
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black olives, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
    • 1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
    • 2 (14 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes
    • 1 tablespoon dried basil

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Spray a baking sheet with a thin layer of cooking spray. Place squash halves cut side down on the baking sheet.

Bake squash 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife can be easily inserted. Remove from oven, and cool.

Meanwhile, spray a non-stick saucepan with cooking spray. Over medium heat, saute the onion and garlic until golden brown. Stir in tomatoes, basil, bouillon cube, and black pepper. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until you have a medium thick sauce.

Remove squash strands with a fork, reserving the shells. Layer each half with a spoonful of the sauce, a layer of spaghetti squash strands, olives, and mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers until shells are full, or until all of the ingredients are used. Top with Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until Parmesan cheese melts.

The Latte Factor

Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead (definitely worth a watch, if just for some of the inspiration stories in the film)

Nomnompaleo – recommended by Justin for good Paleo recipes

-Justin’s long term plan – the blue food diet – why eat blue and purple foods?

-A walk down memory lane – Justin, Sherwood, Tim, and I go down to protein shake avenue and leave with GI distress.  In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have gone with the bootleg brand.

Bill Phillips and the Body for Life transformation experiment in college – my brother loved listening to Bill Phillips’ tape nightly for a time

Epic bars – an example of trendy, overpriced meat bars.  Want a homebrew example?  Learn how to make your own pemican.

-Justin’s take-away message: keep learning; keep trying new things.  It’s never too late to reinvigorate an old hobby or pick up a new one.  Fine words to end on.

Check out Justin’s blog (https://dietisa4letterwordblog.wordpress.com/) for a humorous and honest look at fad diets and other thoughts on health and fitness.

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.
  • 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 #47: Guest Conversation with Justin Part 1

Episode #47: My Friend Justin Joins the Show Part 1 – Gymnastics, Breakdancing, Martial Arts, Learning New Skills, and Not Giving Up

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/Podcast%2047%20Justin%201.mp3

Get ready for a massive interview spaced out over the next two weeks!  One of my best friends from college joins me for a walk down memory lane as we reminiscence about the years we spent training in gymnastics, breakdancing, and martial arts.  If you have any interest in those topics, you’ll likely find something of interest in this week’s episode.  Some of the topics covered:

-Trying to learn breakdancing by watching old, grainy VHS tapes of pioneer bboys like Crumbs, Ivan, and Storm

-There was only one or two digital video clips we had access to in the beginning (no Youtube).  We watched this unnamed guy doing windmills in his garage countless times and must have dissected it hundreds more – whoever you are, late 90s windmill guy, we are grateful.
ezgif.com-video-to-gif.gif

-The bboy crew Justin and started with two other college friends, Sherwood and Tim, Sympoh, is still around and continues to amaze us.

-The freeform aspect of hip-hop/beaking vs. the emphasis on doing things a certain set way in gymnastics and many martial arts

-How doing gymnastics is involved in learning your limits and conquering fear, applicable to other aspects of life (i.e. “there are no dumb gymnasts” per my high school coach)

-How to reconcile the “stay tight in the air” philosophy of gymnastics with the “relax in the air” philosophy of martial arts (we don’t actually resolve this, but it’s an interesting contrast)

-If you were two college kids who wanted to be ninjas, what do you do?

-How we found ninjitsu training

-You can still buy this grappling hook online (though you may not want to)

SZCO Supplies Grappling Hook with Cord

This series of explanatory ninjitsu books by Stephen K. Hayes were the ones I recall most vividly from childhood 

-Unlike in our childhoods, you can now easily find ninjitsu books by Stephen K. Hayes and his teacher, Dr. Masaaki Hatsumu, on Amazon.  The man who taught Justin and I years ago, Jack Hoban, now has training videos, referenced here.

-We spend a fair amount of time touching on the process of learning new skills, e.g.:

-What’s the Dunning Kruger effect?

-What’s the Feldenkrais method?  And how can slow, deliberate movements done with good form in optimal conditions counterintuitively help learn new skills faster?

-We debate whether innovation can/should be taught from the get go or should fundamentals be stressed first

-The beginner’s journey – even as a “master,” hopefully you are still continuing to learn (symbolized by the journey from white belt to black back to white again as the outer coloring of the belt gets frayed with time).

-The importance of not giving up too early – fitting given the meaning of the characters for ninja (忍者 – “one who endures” in Chinese)

-We discuss how martial arts and these other skills have shaped us as people.

There was a natural breaking point here, so I’ve split the interview into two parts for ease of listening.  Justin will return next week with more discussion on fitness and healthy eating.  In the meantime, check out his blog at

 https://dietisa4letterwordblog.wordpress.com/

In other news, since Instagram changed the amount of video they will allow to 60 seconds, I’ve been trying to distill songs that influenced the soundtrack and writing of The Thirteenth Hour down to 1 min in synthesized form.  There are also a few snippets from the soundtrack itself there – all at the Instagram account of @the13thhr.ost.

-E.g.: The Thirteenth Hour Theme, heard in the intro and outro of these podcasts

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.
  • 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 #44: Zen

Episode #44: Zen Practice, Martial Arts, and Everyday Life

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/Podcast%2044.mp3

Today’s podcast is all about Zen.

Zen, a philosophy that carries much ado and marketing buzz, really can be summed up in one simple idea – being present right where you are now.  It’s obviously easier said than done, but certain activities naturally lend themselves to discovering this state of no-mind easier than others, martial arts being one such avenue.

George Lucas incorporated these ideas into the character of Yoda (essentially a Zen master in a galaxy far, far away) in his teachings of the Force and the way of the Jedi to a young Luke Skywalker, so that’s an easy way to think some of the ideas behind Zen if you’re familiar with the films but not Zen.

This synth Yoda-Zen montage clip is from a fellow bandcamper, melodysheep.  You can listen to the full song here and check out the rest of his work at https://melodysheep.bandcamp.com/

But you don’t have to travel far to find Zen and its applications in daily life.  This episode focuses on a few segments from the book Zen in the Martial Arts by Joe Hyams:

There’s an excerpt on being present in the moment, accepting your limitations and using them to your advantage, and deep breathing, a gateway to meditative practices.

For years, I’ve found aspects of tai chi practice helpful as a kind of moving mediation.  I like this particular video since it’s so easy to follow along with, as the movements are reversed for the viewer so you don’t have to mentally adjust left and right in your mind to match what the instructor is saying (a common issue with learn by video):

Scott Cole: Discover Tai Chi AM/PM Workouts

Click for an excerpt

Aspects of Zen were behind this particular passage in The Thirteenth Hour, where Logan eventually does the counterintuitive and, after centering himself, relaxes instead of struggling to get out a magic spell that makes him immobile.

No, I won’t give up …

logan ground rm.jpg

I summoned all my energy and with a shout that rang in my ears long after it had faded, I slowly scooped myself off the stone floor. I fell back immediately. I tried again and managed a short stumble to the wall. I clung to it for support. Tears and bad words. You didn’t give up. Good. Now relax. Relax your muscles. They screamed in protest, as did I, with them. Boy, I must have been a sorry sight – sputtering and crying, unshaven and haggard, malodorous and malnourished – but in my own dystonic way, I managed to lurch along, bit by stumbling bit …

… My arms and legs still seemed incredibly heavy, like lead. I could have made better ground running in quicksand. But by concentrating on relaxing my cramping muscles, I had broken the spell, and with every step I took, the life that I had almost given up flowed back into my veins.

Now that you have a sense of what Zen is, how have you encountered it in your life?  Leave your comments below, and we can  discuss in a future episode.

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.
  • 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 #43: Guest Author Interview with Fantasy Author/Illustrator Missy Sheldrake

Episode #43: Author and Illustrator Missy Sheldrake Interview – Digital Art, Fairies, Fantasy Writing, and a Hidden Benefit to Video Gaming  

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/Podcast%2043.mp3

In this week’s episode, fantasy author Missy Sheldrake joins the show, so fairy tale fans, authors, and illustrators sit back, relax, and enjoy the one hour plus show!  Missy is unique in that she’s one of the few authors out there who also creates her own covers (see them below) and illustrates her novels.

You’ll find out more in the podcast, but early elements of the series actually came from this game:

(Missy definitely got her money’s worth out of this game, since she got not only a book series from it but a husband and a job – who says playing video games doesn’t pay??? 🙂

Her creations aren’t just 2D – some are sculptures.  Check out her page for a gallery of hand-crafted fairies.

Check out some of her books featuring the fairy world she created below:

missy1missy2

Books 1 and 2 in the series (click on the covers to go to the Amazon pages).

missy3

You can download this short story (which takes place after book 2) for free on Amazon.

missy4

Book 3 is coming this month – click on the image above to check out the pre-order page on Amazon.

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Illustration for Call of Sunteri available on amazon.com and createspace.com

Digitally created illustrations that Missy did in the Call of Kythsire (first 5) and Call of Sunteri (last one).  Click on the pictures to go to Missy’s illustrations page.

Thanks again, Missy, for coming on the show, and good luck with the new release!  Learn more about her work below:

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

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.
  • 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!