The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #151: The Five Elements (“Godai” or 五大) and the Imperial Rangers

Episode #151: The Five Elements (Godai or 五大) and the Imperial Rangers

https://archive.org/download/Podcast151_201807/Podcast%20151.mp3

After my brother and I finished the D and D campaign we’d been playing for the past few months, I started thinking about other elements of Thirteenth Hour lore that I’d largely edited out (mostly in the interest of brevity).  This episode is about the Imperial Rangers, the group of 8 special forces soldiers that are specially trained and tasked to find the answer to eternal life for King Darian IV, who nearly gets assassinated in the recent campaign.  While we know the most about Logan, the main character of the book, the others are also important despite having only brief mentions since they serve as contrasts. I did have other scenes planned that I ended up cutting, so the original idea of having each Ranger with a special ability fitting with their unique personality and physical makeup was only hinted at, never really fully developed.

In this episode, we use a bit of Japanese Esoteric Buddhism as an analogy for the explaining the different alignments the Rangers had. I’m not sure that’s what I had in mind when I originally wrote the story (the idea of different elements was definitely there, since it’s referenced in games like Ironsword and shows like Voltron and Captain Planet – I was familiar with those when I wrote the initial draft of the story at age 19.)  But the godai, literally “big five” from the Japanese esoteric tradition (referenced in texts like A Book of Five Rings) sums up what I was trying to convey more accurately.

Below you can see a quick sketch/watercolor showing the eight Rangers. Their names are color-coded to correspond to their elemental alignment. As you can see, there are five categories: earth, water, fire, wind, and void. There are plenty more details about this philosophy in the book Ninja: Spirit of the Shadow Warrior by Stephen K Hayes; however, here’s a quick rundown.

Earth personality qualities are stable, traditional, and rooted. Water is flowing, changeable, and reactive. Fire is energetic, driven, and explosive. Wind represents growth, freedom, and open-mindedness. Lastly, the void is any one of those four elements that best fits a particular situation and typically goes with creativity, imagination, and things in our experience that we understand intuitively but are difficult to explain – such as spirit, soul, and consciousness. There are more details in the episode about the individual qualities of each ranger and how he fits the elemental color coded in the picture, so I won’t repeat myself here. But the fifth element, often (somewhat problematically) translated as “the void” is the most abstract and amorphous, just like how in the book the fifth “corner of the world” was actually the dream world where the mysteries of life and death finally made sense. Logan is the only one of the eight to make it there and due to his particular makeup, is the one most aligned with the formless form that characterizes the void.

Ironically, as the youngest and physically smallest of the group, Logan ends up having trouble with much of the training and has to spend more time on basic skills than the other seven. As a result, he ends up never really having the time to pick up a specialty, though the flip side is that he actually becomes more well rounded at basic ranger skills than his teammates just due to repetition. I’d originally envisioned a ceremony scene where each ranger was presented with his weapon of choice based on his special talent (I guess the soldier equivalent of finding out one’s spirit animal), and Logan isn’t given anything, which disappoints him and gives his teammates yet another thing to tease him about. In the end, I ended up not including that scene (maybe it will become a short story one day), but the essence of it, that having a special sidearm was less important than utilizing one’s inborn gifts to their fullest potential, was hinted at in the book in a few conversations a confused Logan has with the wizard, Wally. For the other seven men, the weapon served as an extension of themselves, but for Logan, whose greatest assets were creativity, imagination, and persistence, none of those qualities really fit a weapon. In fact, one might say another career choice would have made more sense. Or, another interpretation might be that those qualities didn’t need a physical reminder. However, although those are all things an older Logan would have been able to appreciate, I always imagined that the eighteen year old Logan would have been somewhat jealous that his teammates got something special, and he ended up having to do the same old drills over and over 🙂

An Imperial Ranger “class portrait” showing each ranger with his special talent and weapon of specialization

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

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

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

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

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #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 #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!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

  • 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 #102: Con’t Conversation with Author, Artist, Musician, and Filmmaker Jeff Finley Part 2/2

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #102: Con’t Conversation with Author, Musician, and Filmmaker Jeff Finley Part 2/2

https://archive.org/download/Podcast102_201707/Podcast%20102.mp3

Jeff Finley is back this week to pick up where we left off.  If you happened to miss last week’s show, find episode 101 here.

Today, we talk about a lot of fun things – e.g. travelling in a new country and discovering not only new cultures, foods, and languages but aspects of yourself that come from putting yourself outside your comfort zone.  Travel naturally does this, as we’ve talked about before, fine tuning your senses and kicking you out of whatever routine day-to-day stuff you have going on.  There definitely comes a point when that gets to be too much of a good thing (as Jeff discusses here and on his blog), but like a spice, sprinkled here and there, it can do wonders for keeping things interesting in your life.

We also get to learn more about Jeff’s long career as a music producer (see below) as well as how he got into bboying.  It’s so rare that I find someone with as many diverse interests that it was such a pleasure to discuss these aspects of creative life with Jeff.

Check out Jeff’s portfolio here.   If you’d like one of this patches for your own, check out his etsy site.

Click on the covers of Jeff’s below to find a copy of your own.

Image result for thread's not dead  Image result for jeff finley astral projection

Social Media Links:

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Just for podcast listeners!  Get early access to a new upcoming EP, called Between Two Worlds, the sequel to Long Ago Not So Far Away.  Go here to download the album:

http://bit.ly/2txyAaM

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

The album will be available for one month (until 8/10/17).  The access code is on episode 100 at ~31:30.

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 #101: A Conversation with Author, Artist, Musician, and Filmmaker Jeff Finley Part 1/2

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #101: A Conversation with Author, Musician, and Filmmaker Jeff Finley Part 1/2

https://archive.org/download/Podcast101_201707/Podcast%20101.mp3

For the next two weeks, we’ll be having a special guest on the show, so please welcome Jeff Finley!

I first came across his work when he and his friends made a little documentary about their friend, keyboardist and bit-torrent user extraordinaire, Brent Simon, back in 2006, when Youtube was just in its infancy.   (Believe it or not, you can still listen to a few of his songs on myspace).  It was a fine example of “day-in-the-life” style indie film making.  Brent was not only a captivating subject, but he was unabashedly himself, much to the delight of the many people who saw the film, identified with his interests (the original PSP, computers, bittorrent, Spacecamp, synthesizer music, etc), and propelled him to stardom.  If you’re interested in any of those things, you can and should watch (or rewatch) the film by clicking on the screen shot below.  Brent, if you ever come across this, know you’ll always have a warm welcome on the show.

Capture

Brent rocks out without looking at the keys.

Jeff served at Brent’s manager while continuing to pursue his own projects, which spanned a variety of fields, many of which we discussed on the show, such as writing a successful book on creating a t-shirt business (see Thread’s Not Dead below) and starting the creation of the Weapons of Mass Creation multimedia art festival (still going on today).

Of course, if you talk to many a creative soul, they’ll often tell you that making art isn’t “work” in the traditional sense.  It certainly can be hard, time consuming, and frustrating – don’t get me wrong – but it’s yours.  The “work” part comes from getting other people to notice and/or care, and for many, the business and promotion inevitably leads to disillusionment and/or burnout with the whole process.  We talked about this, too, and Jeff shared how those experiences led him to adopt a slower pace more in tune with maintaining a more centered existence.

Since the recording went on for about 90 minutes, I’ve broken the interview into two parts since there was a natural transition about halfway.  This week, we’ll focus on Jeff’s filmmaking days, his time with Brent, and experiences starting his own business, writing books, and repairing his mental health by getting back in touch with the important things in life.

AS you might imagine from the title image above, he is a skilled artist in many ways, so check out his portfolio here as well as the patches he sells (click on the picture below to go to his etsy site).  We’ll talk more about them at the start of next week’s show.

Astral Traveler Patch - Metaphysical Fashion Accessory - 3

We’ll also touch on travel, Jeff’s own music, and breakdancing next week, so in the meantime, check out some of his books and music.

Click on the covers of Jeff’s below to find a copy of your own.

Image result for thread's not dead  Image result for jeff finley astral projection

Social Media Links:

To be continued next week!

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Just for podcast listeners!  Get early access to a new upcoming EP, called Between Two Worlds, the sequel to Long Ago Not So Far Away.  Go here to download the album:

http://bit.ly/2txyAaM

between 2 worlds EP cover 2

The album will be available for one month (7/10-8/10/17).  The access code is on episode 100 at ~31:30.

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 #100: A Trip Down Memory Lane with an Old Ideas Notebook and New EP

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #100: A Trip Down Memory Lane with an Old Ideas Notebook and New EP

https://archive.org/download/Podcast100_201707/Podcast%20100.mp3

I recently uncovered an old notebook that had ideas for a Thirteenth Hour game (which I wrote about here).  Since I was trying to do it from the ground up, I wrote a number of songs (or at least tried to, anyway).  I also found an old animation sequence of Logan flying Lightning through a rising sun cloudscape.

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Those images must have inspired these ones:

Episode 100 also marks somewhat of an occasion.  Podcast listeners get early access to a new upcoming EP, called Between Two Worlds, the sequel to Long Ago Not So Far Away.  Go here to download the album:

http://bit.ly/2txyAaM

The album will be available for one month (7/10-8/10/17).  The access code is on the podcast (you can skip to 31:30 for the code).

Coming next week, we’ll have artist, musician, and filmmaker: Jeff Finley.  His documentary about his friend Brent Simon, who sang songs about Spacecamp, means that there’s only one thing to be done sometime in the near future: rewatch the 1986 film, Spacecamp, and do an episode on it. And if that happens will Howard the Duck be far behind? Until then, we’ll be hearing from Jeff soon.

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 #99: Reflection on Rewatching Back to the Future

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #99: Reflection on Rewatching Back to the Future

https://archive.org/download/Podcast99_201706/Podcast%2099.mp3


In today’s show, I’m talking about something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time – rewatch Back to the Future, one of my favorite movies of all time.  As I’ve mentioned before, sometimes I’ve deferred rewatching the films I loved as a kid in the event  time rendered them in a more negative light.  “I’d rather remember you the way you were back then,” I’d rationalize to myself, not without some melodrama, and put the movie back on the shelf.  

Which is, of course, ridiculous, since part of the draw of any good story is its ability to be appreciated on multiple levels, by multiple ages.  And despite knowing this, I still sometimes wanted to protect my childhood favorites.  

I need not have worried with Back to the Future.  If anything, rewatching BTTF was like tasting a fine wine that’s been left to age a few more decades in the casket.  One taste reminds you of everything you’ve missed, sweeted by time.  And you think to yourself, “Why did I wait so long?”  

Truth be told, BTTF has had over thirty years to let the embers of time add to its flavor.  So there were a number of layers to the film that I couldn’t have appreciated as a child of 8 or 9.  The teenage mix of independence, idealism, and bravado to hide the yearning for unconditional love and acceptance.  The wall of middle age, with its inevitable disappointments and losses, that has dulled the keen blade of adolescence to a blunted, beveled edge.  The lonely journey of the scientist, plodding away amid failure after failure with only the glimmer of rare success to guide the way.  The social commentary on gender roles and racial stereotypes.  The multigenerational themes that get passed from parent to child.  It’s all there, though I missed it the first few times around.

I also was surprised to see how much the Marty McFly character influenced the creation of Logan from The Thirteenth Hour.  I initially thought he was kind of like a young Indiana Jones type (like the character portrayed by Patrick Flannery).  Then after rewatching The Rocketeer, I was impressed how much Cliff Secord there was in him. And now, after rewatching BTTF, I can’t help but recognize how much Marty there is in his DNA.  Not surprising since The Thirteenth Hour paid homage to these films in various ways.  But I just forget all the myriad ways the films permeated the fabric of the manuscript from the very beginning.

In any event, speaking of beginnings, episode 100 is coming next week, and shortly thereafter, we’ll have artist, musician, and filmmaker: Jeff Finley.  His documentary about his friend Brent Simon, who sang songs about Spacecamp, means that there’s only one thing to be done sometime in the near future: rewatch the 1986 film, Spacecamp, and do an episode on it. And if that happens will Howard the Duck be far behind? Until then, we’ll be hearing from Jeff soon.  

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!

Starving Artist Section: Rewardable TV

This app for iOS and Android is a remarkably stable but passive way to earn some cash online by viewing short videos or animated gifs. Check out the link below for more info:

http://dl.rewardable.com/

As always, thanks for listening!

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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.


IMG_1004

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

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

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

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

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

Image result for elminster

As always, thanks for listening!

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

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

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

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

File:Elminster rom.JPG

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

As always, thanks for listening!

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

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

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

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

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

unnamed (1).jpg

As always, thanks for listening!

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

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

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

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

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #91: “The Bargain” by Elaine Cunningham Part 1 of 2

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

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

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

Related image

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

To be continued next week!

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

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #90: “Dark Mirror” by R.A. Salvatore Part 2 of 2

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #89: “Dark Mirror” by R.A. Salvatore Part 1 of 2

Episode #89:  Forgotten Realms “Dark Mirror” by R.A. Salvatore Part 1 of 2

https://archive.org/download/Podcast89_201704/Podcast%2089.mp3

Today’s episode starts a two part reading of a short story called “Dark Mirror” by fantasy author R.A. Salvatore from the D and D Forgotten Realms world.  It comes from a compilation of short stories in the book Realms of Valor.  Listen along as I butcher the names left and right and try to avoid putting in running commentary (everything probably would make more sense if I were more familiar with the world or Dungeons and Dragons).  I enjoyed it, though – I feel that since I write in this genre, I should at least try to educate myself a little …  This story, which we’ll finish next week, has the popular dark elf character, Drizzt.  (I mangle his name, too, and holy smokes, forget about his cat’s name.  I tried.)

https://www.pinterest.com/troysheff/drizzt/?lp=true

The first page had this title illustration by Ned Dameron.

To be continued next week!

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #88: The Lord’s Daughter and the Blacksmith’s Son Reading

Episode #88: Storytime Reading of The Lord’s Daughter and the Blacksmith’s Son

https://archive.org/download/Podcast88_201704/Podcast%2088.mp3

In honor of International Women’s Day (3/8/17), a few weeks ago, we read some stories about heroines from a book called The Serpent Slayer And Other Stories of Strong Women by Katrin Tchana and illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman.  (See Episodes 84 and 85).  Today’s tale from the same volume has more of a humorous spin about two teenagers who fall in love at first sight and rely on the wee folk to make things right.  It reminds me of something Disney would have put out in the mid 90s (for better or worse).  As usual, the illustrations are wonderful:


 

As always, thanks for listening!

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #87: Fantasy Author Joshua Robertson Returns to the Show!

Episode #87: Dark Fantasy Author Joshua Robertson Returns

https://archive.org/download/Podcast87JoshR2/Podcast%2087%20Josh%20R2.mp3

Today, Joshua Robertson, whose work has been featured a number of times here, comes back on the show to catch up and talk about exciting new developments.  He was last on the show on Episode #32 over a year ago, so a lot has happened since then!  His fan base has grown considerably, and he’s made the leap to being a full time author.

This year, he completed this trilogy of novels:

melkorkaboxset01jpg

The last volume of the series, Maharia, just came out.  Click on the picture of the book below to read a preview!  Stay tuned in the near future as this series is becoming an audiobook trilogy.

Maharia

He will also be a regular contributor to the fantasy site Fantasy Faction with a column on writing, cover design, and many other tips for aspiring and current authors.  (By the way, he recommends the book, The Fantasy Fiction Formula, as a great guide for writing in this genre.)  As with the last time he came on the show, there are lots of great writing tips for aspiring authors, so check out the episode for a listen.  If you are and were a Dungeons and Dragons player at any point, you may also find his take on how D and D has helped his writing.

Here’s how to reach him and find more of his work:

Website

Amazon

Goodreads

Facebook

Twitter

Youtube videolog/podcast – The Writer’s Edge

Youtube Goblin Horde – Josh and his partner have an unbelievable 9 kids together, and they run a Youtube channel about some of the things they do with their can as well as parenting tips

Crimson Edge Facebook Page and Book Club

He just finished up a gig at this year’s Brain to Books Convention, like last year, and will also be at the Soda City Comic Con this summer and Pensacola Comic Con next winter.

Lastly, he has a novelette available for free on Amazon, which you can download to checkout his writing and get a taste of his Thrice Nine Legends fantasy series (click on the cover to go to the page).

The Name of Death by [Robertson, Joshua]

 

It was great having Josh again on the show.  Look forward to hearing about the exciting things in store for Josh in the next year.

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The ending track, called “Between Two Worlds” was inspired by some of the introspective parts (like this one) from the soundtrack The Crow by Graeme Revell.  Watch for it on bandcamp in the next few weeks.

As always, thanks for listening!

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  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at writejoshuablum@gmail.com for more details!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #86: Worldbuilding in Scifi and Fantasy Audio From Big Apple Con 2017

Episode #86: How Scifi and Fantasy Authors Build The Worlds of Their Books 

https://ia801501.us.archive.org/26/items/Podcast86AriaBigAppleConPanel_201704/Podcast%2086%20Aria%20big%20Apple%20con%20panel.mp3

Ever read a fantasy or science fiction novel immersive enough to make you want to finish it in one sitting?

Ever wonder how the author created something convincing enough to make you sad when it ended?

That’s what today’s show is about.   It’s a Q and A panel from the Big Apple Comic Con a few weeks ago.  Think of it as a behind the scenes window into the minds of six authors who write a variety of styles within scifi and fantasy.  Some of the topics covered:

-What’s your creative process like: outline? freeform?

-Which is more important?  Characters vs. plot?

-How to create full realized characters you want to read about

-How to create characters that are true to themselves and the world you’ve created for them

-How do you find the time to write?

-Writing through writer’s block

-How much time should it ideally take for a reader to get a sense of your world?

Here are the authors on the panel.  Click on their names to go to their Amazon or GR profile pages and the book cover by their name for a representative fantasy work.

Tabitha Lord

86horizon

Heather Rigney

 86mermaid

Mike Squatrito

86overlords

Sean Faye Wolfe

86elementia

Joshua Blum

13th Hr BookCover6x9 amazon bigger text thumbnail3 500x759

Chris Paniccia

86gridiron

Many thanks to Mike Carbanaro and the staff at the Big Apple Comic Con for inviting us to speak, and thanks to Mike Squatrito for doing the legwork to get us there.

images

If you’re a writer or illustrator yourself (or are interested in becoming one) and are interested in the organization we were representing, you can learn more about ARIA, the Association of Rhode Island Authors, here.

The ending track, a synthesizer remixed version of “Reed Pipes That Echo,” is now out for download or streaming off of bandcamp.  (Music has always been both an inspiration and essential part of the stories I’ve created.  So you could say, it’s one of the ways I “world build.”)

reed pipes remixed.jpg

Next week, fantasy author Joshua Robertson comes back on the show.  It was great to catch up after over a year, and we covered a lot – if you liked what was discussed today, it only gets better next week, so stay tuned!

As always, thanks for listening!

(Image at the top of the screen courtesy of lemerg.com)

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The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #84: Sun Girl and Dragon Prince

Episode #84: Storytime Reading of Sun Girl and Dragon Prince

https://ia601503.us.archive.org/2/items/Podcast84_201703/Podcast%2084.mp3

In honor of International Women’s Day (3/8/17), over the next few week’s we’ll be reading stories about heroines from a book called The Serpent Slayer And Other Stories of Strong Women by Katrin Tchana and illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman.

This week, we’re reading an Armenian tale called Sun Girl and Dragon Prince.  It has many of the traditional fairy tale archetypes you see again and again in Grimm-styles tales.  I found the end kind of odd, but maybe because it didn’t wrap up as neatly as some fairy tales do.  It also has that classic, but sometimes annoying theme of downtrodden-yet-beautiful-girl-with-a-heart-of-gold who tames wild beasts into civilized men.  There’s a reason that story is classic … but it’s probably inspired plenty of young maidens to go kissing more than their share of frogs, hoping they’d turn into princes of their own.

There are parallels to those themes in The Thirteenth Hour prequel, A Shadow in the Moonlight, so what can I say?  Fairy tale characters don’t always make great role models for real life 🙂  Interestingly enough, although I’d never read this tale before, there’s a hunter in it who has a lot of parallels to the cursed hunter in A Shadow in the Moonlight as well.  (You can read that tale free and find out for yourself.)

2017-03-05 11.24.22

2017-03-05 11.24.31

2017-03-05 11.25.18.jpg

As always, thanks for listening!

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  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at writejoshuablum@gmail.com for more details!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #83: Business Card Throwing

Episode #83: How to Throw Business Cards

https://ia601501.us.archive.org/7/items/Podcast83_201703/Podcast%2083.mp3

Today, we’re talking about throwing business cards, a companion to last week’s episode on throwing playing cards.   Throwing business cards, which are lighter and more rectangular, are more challenging.  There are some tips in this episode.

2017-03-05 10.14.46

You can use the same hand position as for throwing playing cards, like we talked about last week.

2017-03-05 10.14.53

The power all comes from the wrist curl and release to make the card spin.  It’s just harder to achieve that given their shape and weight.

2017-03-05 10.15.04

A more unorthodox way to throw business cards involves folding them in half.  Even if the corners are bend down to secure it, they are much easier to throw since all side are symmetrical.

2017-03-05 10.15.10

It’s like throwing a shuriken (almost).

If you’d like a systematic, self contained kit to learn how to throw cards, check out the handmade Thirteenth Hour throwing card kit!  Available on ebay here!

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 #82: Playing Card Throwing

Episode #82: Throwing Playing Cards

https://ia601501.us.archive.org/28/items/Podcast82_201703/Podcast%2082.mp3

Today, we’re talking about throwing playing cards.  There are step-by-step details about how to do the actual specifics in a previous post here.  Then, there’s a short reading from The Thirteenth Hour where Logan, the main character, uses card throwing to good effect.  Next week, we’ll talk about throwing business cards, which is more challenging.

If you’d like a systematic, self contained kit to learn how to throw cards, check out the handmade Thirteenth Hour throwing card kit!  Available on ebay here!

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.   See you at the show!

As always, thanks for listening!

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  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at writejoshuablum@gmail.com for more details!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #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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