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!

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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 #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

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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 #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!

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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 #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.

2016-05-24 14.23.59

 

2016-05-24 14.23.41

2016-05-24 12.37.08

2016-05-24 14.03.51

2016-05-25 12.49.35

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!

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  • 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 #41: Pocketknives

Episode #41: Pocketknives, more Knife Throwing, and EDC

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/Podcast%2041.mp3

Today’s episode is all about gadgets people carry in their pockets (or in bags), though it mostly focuses on pocketknives.  Those of who who’ve watched Angus Macgyver at work know he can do pretty much anything with a Swiss Army knife and a paperclip, so these things are handy to have.

Clicking on the above link will take you to an exhaustive page that showcases all the different Swiss Army knife models he Macgyver used through the series – in case you were wondering.

The Great Brain (Great Brain #1) More Adventures of the Great Brain (Great Brain #2)

Two of the covers of the Great Brain books witten by John D. Fitzgerald.  There are 5 others (plus one published from the author’s notes after his death).  I do believe these books made me interested in carrying a pocketknife when I read them as a child, though I probably would have shredded my hands with one.

My folks wisely had me wait a few years.  My father eventually bought me one like this at a local hardware store:

old timer 34OT middleman knife

A Schrade Old Timer Middleman stockman-style pocketknife.

The box had a little manual that distinctly read “never throw your knife!” (whoops)  The one I had was made with high carbon steel (which is softer than stainless steel- meaning it can be sharpened to a finer edge – but prone to rusting if not kept oiled/dry).  The blades looked darker than those in this picture if I remember right.  I had it through most of adolescence until it eventually slipped out of my pocket somewhere while in college, going to that mysterious place where lost pens, umbrellas, and socks go.  Schrade as a company unfortunately went out of business in the 2000s.  Taylor Knives took over this particular line and continues to manufacture them, through that has been outsourced to China now.

Logan from The Thirteenth Hour loses his knife, too.  In fact, he loses all his gear in the beginning of the quest, though he finds some new pocket swag in the course of this travels, including a new knife that he muses might be good for throwing.  That’s written about elsewhere, but I eventually found some knives made by the same company that wouldn’t get lost so easily – the Schrade Cliphanger line, which has a little detachable carabiner that clips to your pocket but doesn’t interefere with the rest of the knife.  They only have one blade, which was stainless steel, but at least that means less maintenance.  Plus, the blade locks in place.  I’ve had a number over the years.

Unfortunately, they’re not so easy to find these days, either, but I recently found an older one made in the USA on eBay.  It needed some work, but after some minor fixes and resharpening, it was good to go.

2016-05-17 23.28.05

Sharpening the blade took a fair amount of work since one edge came heavily beveled, but I eventually got it sharp enough.  Not going to use it to shave anytime soon, but good enough to cut paper and such.

2016-05-17 23.29.19

For whatever reason, this knife makes a great thrower.  That’s written about elsewhere, so I’ll just let the video clips provide explanation:

10 ft

Overhand no spin throw from 10 feet.

15 ft

Overhand no spin throw from 15 feet.  More than this distance, and I find it difficult to control the rotation of the knife with this small a throwing implement.  This particular blade is especially forgiving.  I think it has something to do with the clip point style blade and the thumb stud, which on this model is metal, and adds some extra weight to the blade, which balances it better (most pocketknives are handle heavy and not very well balanced for throwing).

fppov.gif

Overhand no spin throw from 15 feet in first person point of view.  I tried to keep the camera steady but obviously failed.  The plus side is that you can see the rocking back motion and the follow through, especially the right index finger which imparts some backspin on the thrown knife to retard its rotation.  More about this technique here.

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In other news, The Thirteenth Hour soundtrack has a new track!  “The Imperial Ranger March” was released on the soundtrack’s bandcamp page this past Friday.  You can find more tracks there plus previews and discussion of music and movies that inspired the soundtrack on Instagram @the13thhr.ost.

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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!
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  • Website: https://13thhr.wordpress.com
  • Book trailer: http://bit.ly/1VhJhXY
  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at writejoshuablum@gmail.com for more details!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast Musical Interlude – “The Imperial Ranger March”

The Imperial Ranger March:

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

The marching music of the Imperial Rangers, the special unit of soldiers from The Thirteenth Hour.  Logan, the main character, is chosen to be among their lofty ranks, though he feels entirely out of place and incompetent most of the time.

It’s a pretty simple melody, played in the key of C, and there are no lyrics, so ready for some interpretative bull caca?   Here goes:

… the deep, rhythmic, ominous bass line represents inevitable conformity needed to subsist in a hierarchical organization like the Imperial Rangers, responsible for carrying out a narcissistic King’s irrational demands.  Its pulsing thrum contrasts with the much softer flute melody, which still features prominently enough to be clearly heard amid the noise of societal influence.  The melody stands alone but marches to its own tune, representing Logan attempting to find his way in an unfriendly world, echoing the conflict between individual rights and those of a nation with the power to conscript citizens and demand sacrifice in the name of patriotism.  In the end, Logan finally comes to terms with these struggles and, in so doing, becomes his own man, signified by the trumpets sounding over the last stanza …

I learned how to write this kind of shite in college.

You can find the track in high fidelity here along with the other tracks in the growing soundtrack. Go to @the13thhr.ost for more updates and info on soundtrack influences.

imperial rangers

The Imperial Rangers in 8 bit form for the unfinished The Thirteenth Hour game (Logan is at the far left, trailing behind).

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  • 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 #40: Martial Arts in The Thirteenth Hour

Episode #40: Martial Arts

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/Podcast%2040.mp3

Last week’s episode on the influence of gymnastics on the writing of The Thirteenth Hour leads to today’s episode which focuses more on martial arts.  Although I’ve alluded to other martial activities on this blog and in the podcast before (like archery and knife throwing), I figured it was time to devote more time to martial arts itself.  My experience since I was about 13 was with Eastern martial arts, so I borrowed elements of those arts in the style of unarmed martial arts Logan and his Imperial Rangers comrades learn and practice in the novel.

Here, he talks about how sparring sessions would typically go for him:

“… at this fledgling state in my career, things would progress something like this. In a somewhat paradoxical concern for safety, the instructors had us tie cloth pads around our shins, feet, hands, and head in an attempt to prevent injuries and simulate body armor but said that donning groin protection was “unrealistic” because no one walked around wearing it in daily life. Well, I’ve never seen anyone walking around boxing gloves or pads on their arms and legs either, but hey, that’s just me.

At any rate, then we’d each take a stance and start beating the living shit out of each other. Our trainers strictly informed us “don’t kill each other” since this was just supposed to be practice. “You have to help each other,” they said. Well, that was a load of bullshit if I ever did step in a pile.

Inevitably, the matches would revert to the following: your opponent, in an effort to impress the instructors, would throw a really hard shot, and if it connected, you would show your manliness by getting pissed and creaming him. Unless, of course, you happened to be me. I generally didn’t stand an ice cube’s chance in hell against those older guys.

Maybe the instructors noticed my incompetence and felt I needed more practice, or maybe it was just a punishment, but it always seemed that I had to spend twice as much time on fighting drills as anyone else, part of which involved more time with the practice dummy …”

Logan may have just been more honest about his shortcomings, but actually his isn’t an uncommon experience for folks.  Of course, consistent practice takes care of a lot.  Eventually, though, Logan learns enough to defend himself quite well.

logan profileWM  logan hook kick2 rm

Logan kicks!  He wouldn’t be doing these kicks prior to his training – guess it paid off.  These high kicks make for flashy pictures, but I mostly envisioned he and the other Rangers spending most of their time practicing more utilitarian low and mid range strikes as well as those that utilize the body’s naturally hard spots (like knees and elbows – which he uses in the final fight).  

output_MEMyey

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

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!
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  • Website: https://13thhr.wordpress.com
  • Book trailer: http://bit.ly/1VhJhXY
  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at writejoshuablum@gmail.com for more details!

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

Episode #39: Gymnastics and Acrobatics

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

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

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

Here’s a representative excerpt from the novel:

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

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

Logan flip

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

output_agpPUo

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

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

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  • 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 #38: Knife Throwing

Episode #38: Knife Throwing

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/Podcast%2038.mp3

Today’s episode is all about throwing knives and other pointy things, like screwdrivers.  It refers to a few past posts:

https://13thhr.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/logans-everyday-carry-edc-from-the-thirteenth-hour/

-A section of The The Thirteenth Hour where the main character, Logan, finds a pocketknife and contemplates fleetingly whether it would make a good throwing knife as well as the ending fight, where he lobs a large sword.

https://13thhr.wordpress.com/2015/11/29/ever-wanted-to-throw-knives-like-chuck-norris/

-A previous post that discusses no-spin knife throwing, inspired by Ralph Thorn’s teachings.  The post step-by-step how to perform the technique.  Includes many links to references as well as a few video clips, like this one, where I’m throwing a screwdriver and a large cut-down nail:

 screwdriver and spike

 

That post also formed the basis for the short how-to article for The Backwoodsman magazine, a bi-monthly outdoor publication (where to get it).  The article came out in the most recent (May/June) issue, and you can see a picture of part of the article on this past Thursday’s instagram posting.  I didn’t realize this when I recorded this episode, but the magazine is also available in digital format as well.  I encourage you to see if you can find the article through the magazine to support the folks that put it together (plus, there are lots of other great DIY articles).  But I know not everyone will be able to find a copy.  So … mailing list subscribers can get a .pdf of the article I originally submitted to the magazine, so check out the link below to join if you haven’t already if you’re interested.

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In other news, The Thirteenth Hour soundtrack has a new song!  “Song of an Unsung Hero” (which takes its name from a poem in the novel, The Thirteenth Hour), has lyrics here and was released on Friday.  You can find more tracks on bandcamp plus previews and discussion of music and movies that inspired the soundtrack on Instagram @the13thhr.ost.

2016-04-28 20.28.44

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!
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  • Website: https://13thhr.wordpress.com
  • Book trailer: http://bit.ly/1VhJhXY
  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at writejoshuablum@gmail.com for more details!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

B                      A

I saw the world today.

B                                       Esus2

A thousand faces laughing through me.

B                               A

The celebration planned for me,

B                        Esus2

All forgotten instantly.

 

C#m

After all I did and gave

B                                    A

I’m still outside in the rain.

 

B                     A

Outside, looking in.

B                                      Esus2

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

B                         A

Who am I?  Who can I be?

B                              Esus2

I don’t know; no one to blame.

 

C#m

So I turned, looked at the ground,

B                              A

Walking away, without a sound.

 

C#m                        A

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

C#m                                  F#m     B   A   B   A

All alone here, here in the dark.

 

B                A

No, I’m not sad.

B                                    Esus2

I realize this was meant to be.

B

But where can I go?

A
And what do I say

B                                   Esus2

To those that helped along the way?

 

C#m

And I’m turning, looking at the ground,

B                                A

Walking away, without a sound.

Esus2                      C#m

After all I did and gave

B                                 A

I’m still outside in the rain.

Esus2                                        C#m

And I’m turning, looking at the ground,

B                               A

Walking away, without a sound.

Esus2                        C#m                B

Who will speak my name, sing for me?

A                   A

My song to sing, sing for me,

E        A       E

My song to sing.

 

2016-04-28 20.28.44

 

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

Thanks for listening!

 

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

 

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #35: Interview with Author Angela B. Chrysler

Episode #35: Swords, Flux Capacitors, Norse Myths … Interview with Angela B. Chrysler

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/13th%20hr%2035.mp3

Angela, the creator of the Brain to Books cyber blog tour, took time out of her busy schedule to talk for an hour.  We covered a vast amount of info: Back to the Future Delorean shirts, why having a flux capacitor is a good life decision, the Moon Patrol soundtrack, how her personal collection of weaponry influences her writing, why all the fuss about book reviews from the point of view of a reader and author, how persistence factors into writing, publishing, and life, and much, much more.

 

 

Email Address: angelabchrysler@yahoo.com

Website:  http://www.angelabchrysler.com/

Author Bio:

 Angela B. Chrysler is a writer, logician, philosopher, and die-hard nerd who studies theology, historical linguistics, music composition, and medieval European history in New York with a dry sense of humor and an unusual sense of sarcasm. She lives in a garden with her family and cats. Read More

Social Media Links

Official Site
Amazon Author Page
Goodreads Profile Page

Twitter
Pinterest
Facebook
Google+
Story Time on YouTube – if you ever have have had a desire to create a podcast, consider doing what Angela is currently doing, as referenced on the how to create a podcast post done for Kelly St. Clare’s blog.

Dolor and Shadow (Tales of the Drui Book #1) Official Page

Fire and Lies (Tales of the Drui Book #2) Official Page
Broken Official Page

Books Discussed on the Show

DOLOR AND SHADOW (TALES OF THE DRUI BOOK #1 … BOOK #2 TO BE RELEASED 7/1/16).

 Dolor and Shadow Large

Genre: High/Epic Fantasy

YouTube Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovHqM9cHGDE

Summary:

 

As the elven city burns, Princess Kallan is taken to Alfheim while a great power begins to awaken within her. Desperate to keep the child hidden, her abilities are suppressed and her memory erased. But the gods have powers as well, and it is only a matter of time before they find the child again.

When Kallan, the elven witch, Queen of Lorlenalin, fails to save her dying father, she inherits her father’s war and vows revenge on the one man she believes is responsible: Rune, King of Gunir. But the gods are relentless, and when a twist of fate puts Kallan into the protection of the man she has sworn to kill, Rune obtains a power he does not understand.

From Alfheim, to Jotunheim, and then lost in the world of Men, these two must form an alliance to make their way home, and try to solve the lies of the past and of the Shadow that hunts them all.

BROKEN

 Broken by Angela B Chrysler 1600x2500

Genre: Memoir/Psychological Thriller/Non-Fiction

Awards: Finalist of the 2015 Wishing Shelf Awards

YouTube Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqfR928fpWE

Summary:

And Death it calls as the stone crow breaks. Streaks of blood malform its face. Death becomes its withered eyes and the shadows whisper, “Lies.”

When a young journalist, William D. Shaw, seeks out Elizabeth, an acclaimed author, in hopes to write her biography, the recluse grants him twenty-four hours to hear her story. What unfolds are events that teeter on the edge of macabre and a psychological thriller.

While toggling the lines of insanity, Elizabeth examines her past filled with neglect, rape, abuse, torture, and pedophilia. The more Elizabeth delves into her psyche, the more William witnesses the multiple mental conditions Elizabeth developed to cope with a life without love, comfort, protection, trust, physical human contact, affection, therapy, or medication.

With the use of existentialism, I wrote Broken in an attempt to philosophical determine what I had become and why. Instead, I found the awareness I needed to seek help. Broken is the road map I took to arrive at “Awareness” and seek medical attention.

Angela B Chrysler BUSINESS CARD back

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Starving Artist Section: where I talk about making a few bucks on the internets!  This week’s app is Nextrack, which pays you (via gift cards, albeit slowly) to work out.  It works via mpoints/mplus points, which is a point system used by a number of other games and apps.  You can only redeem so many per day, but you can also earn free coupons and such.  Nice little bit of positive reinforcement for maintaining an exercise habit.  Available for Android and iOS.

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Schedule for the next few weeks:

4/18/16: Episode #36: a conversation with author George Sirois

4/25/16: Episode #37: fantasy author Kelly St. Clare

5/2/16: Episode #38: knife throwing

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 Musical Interlude – “Ending Credits” Song – “Searching for Forever”

Searching For Forever:

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

Since The Thirteenth Hour was a book inspired by 80s fantasy movies, I thought it needed its own ending theme to pay homage to the kinds of songs that always tended to play over the ending credits, often done by bands like Survivor and such.  You can check out the soundtrack page on instagram, this post, or the accompanying podcast on musical influences for the book (mostly new wave 80s synth stuff), but I was going for a song that had vague references to lyrics I recalled from songs from this genre plus the requisite synthesizers and electric guitars.

There are some references to the storyline itself (e.g. “searching for forever,” referring to Logan’s quest to find the secret to eternal life; “riding on a rainbow,” referring to Lightning’s trail of rainbow colored exhaust; and “aurora borealis,” a reference to the aurora Logan and Aurora see at the end of the book – which is an aurora australis, technically, but I took some artistic liberties with the lyrics since the syllables of borealis fit better in the song.)

I also wanted to make it a happy song, so the rhythm is fairly quick (about 125 beats/min).  You can listen to it above on on the main soundtrack page on bandcamp, where you can download a high quality mp3 for the backing track and the full version with vocals.

Lyrics 

Intro

C Am F G

 

 

Verse 1

C

Look into my eyes

                       Am

Can’t believe I found you

                                   C

We’ll find our way together

             F          G

In this crazy world

 

Verse 2

Fly into tomorrow

Riding on a rainbow

The future is ours

So hold on tight

 

Chorus

F                        G

Searching for forever

C                             Am

Who could have known 

F                          G

Searching for forever

C                      Am  F   G

I’d find it with you …

 

Verse 3

Look how far we’ve come now

Shoreline under night skies

Aurora borealis

Will guide us home

 

Verse 4

We’ll find our place yet

Dreaming is believing

We only need each other

So don’t let go

 

Chorus

Instrumental solo

Chorus x 2

 © 2016 Joshua Blum

I just finished this accompanying image to go with the song – watch it being created here!

Logan & Aurora Searching For Forever Final Big.jpg

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #30: Homebrew Video Games with My Bro

Episode #30: My Brother Joins the Show and Talks About Homebrew Video Game Creation

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/13th%20hr%2030%20Jeremy.mp3

Today, I have my first live guest!  My brother, Jeremy, who writes about video games on his blog, Pixel Grotto, joins me for a conversation about the video games we made (and tried to make) when we were kids.  It all started when Jeremy got interested in a graphical video game making software program called Klik ‘N Play (this was in the late 1990s), and started making homebrew games.  The nice thing was that because it was graphical, the learning curve to making games was considerably lower.

TRUQ1

Eventually, I became interested, too, and decided to make fan games of my own, starting with one called Tomb Raider: The Unicorn Quest, where a young Lara Croft goes on a search for a unicorn with her mentor, who is ambushed and killed not long after they locate the mythical animal, leaving Lara stranded on a quest to save the unicorn and avenge the death of her mentor.  It sounds better than it really was!  But I’ve recently relocated the game files – those and more about the game can be found in the separate post here).

I wrote in a previous post about plans to make a sequel that I think I was going to call Tomb Raider: Shadow of the Wolf, with better animations … but that ended up in development hell, as they say.  You can read more of here).

Links to download the other games we talked about (games about chimp fighting, breakdancing, etc) are here.

Links to the gamemaking software we talked about:

Klik ‘N PLay

The Games Factory

Multimedia fusion

Clickteam Fusion – the modern, free version of the above programs

Unity

You can follow Jeremy on Twitter as well to get real-time updates and his unique insights into games and how we play them.

Here are a few links to his articles on his Tumblr site:

http://pixelgrotto.tumblr.com/post/131556691816/mobile-for-sommerlund-and-the-kai-when-i-was-a – on the Lone Wolf game books and how they were visual novelized

http://pixelgrotto.tumblr.com/post/129636036426/now-playing-knightfall-warning-lots-and-lots-of – on the Batman: Arhkam Knight

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #27: Special Edition – Podcasting for Authors

Episode #27: Podcasting for Authors

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/13th%20hr%2027.mp3

This is an episode that breaks a little from my so-called tradition of talking about escapist entertainment and discusses things that may actually have, well … practical use to you if you’re an aspiring writer or artist.

This past week, fantasy author Kelly St. Clare was kind enough to host an article I did on podcasting as easily and cheaply as possible.  (If you haven’t checked out her great series, The Tainted Accords, do yourself a favor and do so!)  She, in turn, discussed her recent experience with the social media crowd speaking site, Thunderclap.

In any event, this particular episode touches on some of the material in the post above.  But whereas the post walks you through the creation of a podcast, this audio clip is more of a dialogue about why podcasting may be of help to you as an author/artist and discusses some suggestions about what you can do with it as a platform (e.g. interviews with guests, behind-the-scenes stories, influences, etc).

I reference the article “1000 True Fans” by Kevin Kelly in the podcast.  It’s talked a lot about in marketing circles, and folks like Tim Ferriss often cite it as a model for developing a dedicated following.  On a smaller scale, working towards a dedicating podcast following has the potential to accomplish much the same thing in a way that’s more difficult to achieve with traditional social media, which can be more superficial and ADHDish.

Stay tuned for more on this subject in the future, as well as a live guests on the podcasts!

Lastly, Kelly St. Clare was kind enough to host an upcoming rafflecopter giveaway for The Thirteenth Hour on her site.  Stay tuned for more info in the coming days.

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #26: 80s Movies Part 1

Episode #26: 80s Movies Part 1

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/13th%20hr%2026.mp3

-News: Upcoming radio show appearance on 2/16: Email the host, Wayne, with questions or comments for a chance to win a copy of The Thirteenth Hour.

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)

-More News: brand new audio page for songs on Bandcamp – two new songs in the works!  Stay tuned for more info.

-Even More News: Read most of The Thirteenth Hour ebooks for free!  The standalone prequel, A Shadow in the Moonlight, is free on Amazon and Smashwords.  The standalone epilogue, “Falling Leaves Don’t Weep,” is now free on both Amazon and Smashwords.  And, you can get about 25% of The Thirteenth Hour free when you join the reader’s group.  WIN!

-Film influences for The Thirteenth Hour – this is a big topic that will probably take at least two episodes.  This post I did about a year ago is an outline of some of what I talk about on the show.  About the same time, I wrote an Amazon listmania about some classic 80s fantasy movies.  Amazon doesn’t use these anymore, but the post is still up on the internets:

http://www.amazon.com/So-You-Want-to-Watch-an-80s-Fantasy-Movie/lm/R1H34IQ5YOD1PV/ref=cm_lm_byauthor_title_full 

-Check out this podcast preview on Bandcamp that talks about 80s fantasy films and the nostalgia coming from rewatching these films, flawed as they often are.

-Featured Author Section: Epic Fantasy Author Malinda Andrews

-Read an excerpt from Through the Mountains

coverTtMtns

-Starving Artist Section:

Bing Rewards – get gift cards for searching the internet!

-Referral link: https://www.bing.com/explore/rewards?PUBL=REFERAFRIEND&CREA=RAW&rrid=_0ff6bda3-4386-4da3-b4f8-61f9628e1bc6

-As always, thanks for listening!

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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!

2016-02-01 11.12.39

-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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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast Musical Interlude: “Dreams Go Far”

“Dreams Go Far”

https://archive.org/download/Songs_201608/Dreams%20Go%20Far.mp3

One of the things I wanted to do with this podcast was showcase music written for the book.

I finally got around to recording “Dreams Go Far,” the song Aurora writes and sings for Logan when he’s going through a rough time (sick, weak, imprisoned) in The Thirteenth Hour.  I’ll talk more about its creation next week, but for now, the lyrics and guitar chords are below (visit the audio page to download them on a handy one-page sheet) and the song is above.

 

 

C       Cadd9    Fmaj7

Where are you now?

Am                         C                     G

Won’t you tell me what you’re thinking?

C              Am          C      (Cadd9)    G

I’ve been there; no resting for the weary.

Am                   Dm   Am

But in the end, hold true.

             C        (Cadd9)

For the best is yet to

Am             C

Happen to you …

C             Cadd9  Fmaj7

Sometimes – it’s hard,

Am                C              G

To keep your head up high.

C               Am               C                           G

You walk alone, feeling cold and scared inside.

Am            C     Am      C     Am      Em

So close your eyes, open up your mind.

Am         C            Am                                    

For it’s when you listen that you hear

C    Cmaj7  Cadd9  C

All there is inside.

C                  Cadd9   F

‘Cause dreams go far,

     Am         C             G

No matter where you are.

           Am                      C

If you wish for me, I’ll wish for you,

                 F                                    C

And we’ll make our dreams come true.

C       Am        

Long ago –

C        Am                                G

Could you guess this is where you’d be now?

C           Am         C          Am            (Cmaj7)   G

Yes, I know, it’s hard to watch your world unfold.

  Am                       C         Am

But on this long, winding road,

  C            Am          Em    Am                  C

How you think you are is what will come true.

Am           C          Am      C      Cmaj7  Cadd9  C

For it’s when you look that see all that you can do.

C                  Cadd9   F

‘Cause dreams go far,

     Am         C             G

No matter who you are.

           Am                      C

If you wish for me, I’ll wish for you,

                 F                                    C

And we’ll make our dreams come true.

C                  Cadd9   F

‘Cause dreams go far,

     Am         C            G

No matter how you are.

           Am                      C

If you’ll believe in me, I’ll believe in you,

                 F                                    C

And we’ll make our dreams come true.

 

**guitar chord fingerings**  (eBGDAE)

C = 01023x

Cadd9 = 31023x

Fmaj7 = 0123xx

Am = 01220x

G = 330023

Em = 000220

F = 112311

 © 2014 Joshua Blum

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #24: The Last Unicorn

Episode #24: The Last Unicorn and #NYNB2016 Author Lo-arna Green

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/13th%20hr%2024.mp3

After hearing enough people say I should find out more books like The Princess Bride and The Last Unicorn, I finally sat down with my daughter to listen to an audiobook of The Last Unicorn, read by the author, Peter S. Beagle.  Later, I watched the cartoon, which, by the way, has a great voice acting cast.  So in this episode, I talk a little about this fairy tale fantasy classic.  I thought it would be an appropriate follow-up for last week’s discussion on what makes a fairy tale fantasy.

Quotes:

You have all the power you need if you dare to look for it.

Then what is magic for?  What is the use of wizardry if it can’t even save a unicorn? … That’s what heroes are for.

The Last Unicorn

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On a different note, as mentioned, over the next few weeks, I’ll be featuring the same New Year New Books 2016 blog tour authors I talked about on this site.  This week, we’ll hear from author Lo-arna Green.  Please see her feature from last week here.

Interestingly, she wrote that her books started as a story she began mainly for a writing contest: “I entered chapter 1 as a short story to a competition with a publisher and couldn’t stop thinking about what I could write next after I sent it off. So I decided to give up my place in the competition (I know, I know) and finish the book so I could get some peace.”  Isn’t it funny how that works?

#NYNB2016 BLOG TOUR GIVEAWAYS

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

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

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Before I forget, I’ll be appearing on local radio show (1380AM WNRI) this Tuesday, 9AM EST.  In a twist or ironic humor, I’ll be talking about a podcast on a radio show, and it should all be good fun.  You can listen live over the internet as well.

Lastly, for anyone (but especially you aspiring authors out there), from here on out, I’ll occasionally talk about some ways to make a few bucks online.  There are many sites out there that basically pay you to watch videos (in reality, watch ads), and they tend to pay in gift cards.  It can be handy to have some money in your Amazon account to be able to send books to friends, family, reviewers, and giveaway winners and offset the cost of buying the books yourself.  One such site is earnhoney.com, which you can use on your computer.  If you’re interested in learning more, check out this channel on youtube for more info.  Good luck!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #23: What is Fairytale Fantasy?

Episode #23: What’s Fairytale Fantasy? NYNB2016 Blog Tour Intro

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/13th%20hr%2023.mp3

In this episode, I attempt to explain what fairytale fantasy as a genre is.  My take on it, anyway.

At some point, I’ll have to delve more into this, but based on what other people have told me after they read The Thirteenth Hour and its spin-offs is that there are a few titles in the same genre (fairytale fantasy) that I should check out, as they’re similar in style.  All are very established, classic titles, so comparisons to such giants make me uncomfortable, but based on what I know, I think the tone and overall feel is similar (I use the term ‘title’ since in many cases there’s a movie and a book, and it becomes hard to separate the two):

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (read the book, watched the movie) – I’ve spoken about this one a lot and can say it directly influenced the writing of The Thirteenth Hour – though probably moreso the movie than the book.

The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle (recently listened to the audiobook read by the author; still need to watch the cartoon)

The Princess Bride by William Goldman (saw the movie in college for the first time; in the process of going through the book, which starts quite differently from the movie and seems a bit more cynical than the movie so far)

The Discworld series by Terry Pratchett (on the list to read)

Stardust by Neil Gaiman (about halfway through the book; never read anything by him before aside from maybe a few Sandman comics as a kid which I don’t remember well and probably didn’t understand)

With the possible exception of the Discworld books, which I haven’t read and can’t really speak to, all fit into the genre of fairy tales aimed primarily at adults.

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On an entirely different note, thank you to everyone who helped support The Thirteenth Hour in it’s recent 3rd edition re-launch, and thanks to everyone who helped to support the Thunderclap, which was success – so many thanks for helping me spam the hell out of social media!! 🙂

Don’t forget about the Goodreads Giveaway for the chance to win a copy of The Thirteenth Hour!

Lastly, over the next few weeks, I’ll be discussing three fantasy authors from the New Year, New Books blog tour (see this post for more info).

#NYNB2016 BLOG TOUR GIVEAWAYS

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

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

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

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

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #22: 80s Music! (Alphaville, When in Rome, Van Halen)

Episode #22: Musical Influences from the 80s

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/13th%20hr%2022.mp3

This week, I experimented with playing music in the background while recording this episode in music that influenced the writing of The Thirteenth Hour.  The sound quality leaves something to be desired, but I only played a few short clips anyway.  I may experiment with ways to make the sound quality better in the future but clearly opted for the low-tech option today 🙂

So … here’s youtube links to the full songs discussed so you can hear (and see) them in all their 80s big hair glory:

(Alphaville) Forever Young (courtesy of Atlantic Records at the time)

(When in Rome) The Promise (courtesy of EMI Records).  This is the song I pictured as Logan flew on Lightning:

I'll Fly Away Flying IG_1

(Van Halen) When it’s Love (courtesy of Warner Bros at the time).  This is song I had in mind for these scenes in the book:

marriage b and wWM

island in dreamRM

The theme song to The Thirteenth Hour, heard in the intro and outro of the podcast and influenced by these kinds of 80s songs, is found on the audio page, as is “I’ll Fly Away”.

More details on these and other musical influences come from this original post:

https://13thhr.wordpress.com/2015/04/24/influences-behind-the-thirteenth-hour-part-4-music/

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #21: Special Edition

Episode #21: Special Edition for the Third Edition Launch

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/13th%20hr%2021.mp3

Today is another special edition of this podcast, discussing the upcoming launch of the 3rd edition of The Thirteenth Hour (special editions are longer – this one is 30 minutes – and less frequent; the other special edition is the episode on A Shadow in the Moonlight for subscribers of the mailing list – see link below for free access).

The following links are referenced in the episode.  i.e.:

-Talking about how the book came to be in print (unofficially) as early as 1998:

https://13thhr.wordpress.com/2015/07/01/the-evolution-of-the-thirteenth-hour-in-print/

-Illustration updates to this newest edition: 

https://13thhr.wordpress.com/2015/10/11/the-evolution-of-a-thirteenth-hour-illustration/

Like the above link, here are a similar progression of images showing the creation of an image (this time of King Darian) from sketch to computer edited image:

darian 1darian 2darian 3darian meme

-The saga of cover creation:

https://13thhr.wordpress.com/2015/09/27/work-in-progress-new-thirteenth-hour-drawing/

https://13thhr.wordpress.com/2015/11/21/whats-in-a-cover/

-And what you can do to personally support the launch:

https://13thhr.wordpress.com/2015/11/21/help-support-the-thirteenth-hour/

-Other ways to get a sample of the book and see if the writing style is to your taste:

->download a sample on amazon

->download a free copy of the prequel, A Shadow in the Moonlight, on Smashwords or Amazon

->download a free copy of the standalone short story, “Falling Leaves Don’t Weep” (may contain vague, obtuse spoilers) on Smashwords

->email me for a sample chapter @ writejoshuablum@gmail.com

->email me @ writejoshuablum@gmail.com if you’d like to review the book – you get a gift copy for free.

->download the first 15 episodes of this podcast on itunes (granted, an earlier draft of the book, but it’s all there, start to finish).

So, lots of ways!  Best wishes for the new year!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #20: “Children’s” Literature

Episode #20: “Children’s” Literature

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/13th%20hr%2020.mp3

I’m deviating from the previous episodes today to talk about a few books generally classified as “children’s” literature, though in reality, they can probably be enjoyed as adults as well.  While not directly related to The Thirteenth Hour, they were books I enjoyed as a child, which influenced my love of reading, and later, or writing and creating stories.

The following links all go to Goodreads.  I also used the cover illustrations for the versions of the books as I remembered them, though there are updated covers now that make these ones look dated in comparison.  It just goes to show that these things are cyclical, and what’s popular and fashionable in one era may not be twenty years from now.

The Chronicles of Narnia

The cover for the fourth book in the Chronicles of Narnia series, The Silver Chair, which is different from the photorealistic covers fashionable in today’s books but still striking in my opinion.

A Wrinkle in Time

My Teacher is An Alien

The Girl with the Silver Eyes

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Happy holidays and best wishes for the new year!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #19: Video Game Influences

Episode #19: Video Games that Influenced The Thirteenth Hour

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/13th%20hr%2019.mp3

This episode refers to video games (Ultima V, Ironsword) discussed in this post:

https://13thhr.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/influences-behind-the-thirteenth-hour-part-3-video-games/

Check out this cover art for Ultima V!

Unfortunately, the inside of the game looked like this:

But there’s a remake/mod for Dungeon’s Seigehttp://www.u5lazarus.com/

Gauntlet, also featured on this episode, at least the 1985 PC version, has an entry on wikipedia.

Gameplay and picture above courtesy of old-games.com.  I’ve included links on old-games.com for the games below:

Incidentally, my brother wrote about Quest for Glory in his blog, as well as many of the games of that era, here.  (His experience playing games was much different from mine – more positive).  He also followed that post up with discussion of fan-made remakes of QFG, Quest for Infamy and Heroine’s Quest: The Herald of Ragnarok.

We have recently been playing the game Magicka, which has a similar sense of humor to some of the above games, as well as The Thirteenth Hour.

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #17: Books That Influenced The Thirteenth Hour

Episode #17: Books That Influenced the Writing of The Thirteenth Hour

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/13th%20hr%2017.mp3

This episode talks about literary influences to The Thirteenth Hour, partly based on a post which can be found here:

https://13thhr.wordpress.com/2015/01/09/influences-behind-the-thirteenth-hour-part-1-books/

I also refer to the TSR Endless Quest series of gamebooks, similar to the Choose Your Own Adventure books of the time.

Image courtesy of Elfsteaks and Halfling Bacon

Here is a link on Goodreads to the historical gothic romance adventure books written by Madeline Brent, pseudonym for author and comic book written Peter O’Donnell.  He was creating great independent female characters before it was as trendy to do so as it is now.

“When You don’t know what to do, just do whatever comes next and go from there.”
Madeleine Brent, Moonraker’s Bride

Although not mentioned in the podcast, another book that I remember enjoying in grade school that is somewhat similar to books like The Neverending Story (but written for a somewhat younger audience) is The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster.

The Phantom Tollbooth

Episode 18 will talk more about comic books and illustrations.

Thanks for listening!  Feel free to leave comments below!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #16: The Thirteenth Hour Podcast Returns!

Episode #16: How It Began

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/13th%20hr%2016.mp3

After about a year, I’ve decided to resume the podcast that I originally set up to read an earlier draft of The Thirteenth Hour.  In regular 15-20 minute episodes, I’m going to be talking about the creation of the book as well as some topics that are also featured on this blog that relate, in some way, to the book (archery, martial arts, backflips, etc).  Sometimes the episodes will refer back to previous posts, as they do in this first one.  I’ll include relevant links in these posts when that happens.  Here are the posts referred to in this episode – technically episode #16, though really the first one of this format.

How the book began

How I envisioned it as a futuristic book with flexible screens

How the main characters were created

I think it will be a nice venue for other things as well, like playing ot performing music and songs written for the book and its cousins.

I have changed the podcast cover image to reflect the book’s new look:

new cover square 1400x1400 dropcard podcast

FYI, you can download episodes 1-15 on itunes (they’re essentially a reading of the book, though the text differs slightly from the one ultimately published).  If all goes well, you should be able to get the rest of these episodes on itunes as well, though there will always be separate posts about each episode here.

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“The Thirteenth Hour” Is Finally on iTunes!

Well, it only took forever, and a lot of trial and error, but the reading I did of The Thirteenth Hour  is finally on itunes!

If you’re seeing this for the first time and have no clue what this is all about – well, The Thirteenth Hour is a fantasy book I wrote that’s coming to amazon in a few days.  In the editing process, I read it aloud to catch grammar and spelling errors while audio recording it.  I’m not a voice actor, and there aren’t other actors doing the different roles or a sound effects guy, but hey, that’s for a future project!

There are 15 “episodes,” each about an hour in length.  Start with #1 and progress upwards.  You can find them all here, on this site, in .mp3 format, but itunes may be more convenient for some.  They’re all free, so if you’re curious what this book is about, download a few and see what you think.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-thirteenth-hour-audio/id955932074

 

Logo for podcast

 

 

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-Website: 13thhr.wordpress.com

-Art: 13thhr.deviantart.com/gallery

-Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpcIUpwTiFY

-Read free excerpts at https://medium.com/@13thhr/in-the-army-now-852af0d0afc0 and the book’s amazon site.

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #15: Audiobook Chapter 26 Continued and Epilogue

Episode #15: Chapter 26 Continued

https://archive.org/download/13thHr1to15/13th%20hr%2015.mp3

This marks the fifteenth Thirteenth Hour podcast episode, where I read an early draft of the book during the fine-tuning stages, shortly prior to publication of the first edition.  There are 15 episodes in total, each about an hour in length.

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Listen to the whole book free on The Thirteenth Hour itunes page!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #14: Audiobook Chapters 25-26

Episode #14: Chapter 25-26

https://archive.org/download/13thHr1to15/13th%20hr%2014.mp3

This marks the fourteenth Thirteenth Hour podcast episode, where I read an early draft of the book during the fine-tuning stages, shortly prior to publication of the first edition.  There are 15 episodes in total, each about an hour in length.

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Listen to the whole book free on The Thirteenth Hour itunes page!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #13: Audiobook Chapters 22-24

Episode #13: Chapters 22-24

https://archive.org/download/13thHr1to15/13th%20hr%2013.mp3

This marks the thirteenth Thirteenth Hour podcast episode, where I read an early draft of the book during the fine-tuning stages, shortly prior to publication of the first edition.  There are 15 episodes in total, each about an hour in length.

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Listen to the whole book free on The Thirteenth Hour itunes page!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #12: Audiobook Chapter 22 Continued

Episode #12: Chapters 22 con’t

https://archive.org/download/13thHr1to15/13th%20hr%2012.mp3

This marks the twelfth Thirteenth Hour podcast episode, where I read an early draft of the book during the fine-tuning stages, shortly prior to publication of the first edition.  There are 15 episodes in total, each about an hour in length.

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Listen to the whole book free on The Thirteenth Hour itunes page!