An introduction to the writers of the Grimdark group part 5

Part 5 so soon? Yeah man feeling slightly better and there are so many authors to introduce! I remember this all started as an idea for a pinned post in the group on Facebook and it somehow turned into a blog, not to mention the group grows bigger every month. I’m planning at least another 6 posts about the authors and after that it’s on to my fellow bloggers/reviewers and of course the team behind Grimdark Magazine.

 

Brian Barr has written short stories, comic books and novels. His writing is pretty unique considering he doesn’t steer clear of LGBTQ characters instead he embraces them. His short stories have been featured in anthologies and his most recent work The Head inspired by a dream he head came out just last month

A woman finds a head in her mother’s garden.

Things get weirder when the head talks to her…

The Head

http://www.brianbarrbooks.com/

 

Richard Writhen Originally from Rhode Island, Richard Writhen also lived in NYC for about ten years. He has been e-published on several notable sites such as the MightyThorJRS Blog, Techzwn.com, Grimdarkmagazine.com and Ragnarokpub.com and is the author of three novellas on Amazon KDP; A Kicked Cur, A Host of Ills and The Hiss Of The Blade. Richard also writes short form in the styles of Gothdark, Grimdark, GDSF and Psychological Horror, and will eventually be exploring the weird west.

Two petty mercenaries are falsely accused of switching sides in a feud between two rich and powerful magnates; an ex-miner on the run from a murder charge becomes a reaver and embroiled in a romance; an industrial lieutenant is recruited to help capture a serial killer and an entire city is in danger of being ensorcelled by an ancient monk.

The Hiss Of The Blade (The Celestial Ways Saga Book 1)

https://richardwrithen.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/wrychardwrycthen/

https://mightythorjrs.wordpress.com/2017/02/08/guest-blog-the-planet-the-gods-and-the-magic-by-richard-writhen/

 

Wade Garret author of Genesis is one of my favorite new authors on the block, he writes dark fantasy with a steam/dieselpunk twist. His first novel inspired by Dune and the Dark Tower is called Genesis (Kingdom Come Series) and was published in 2013

Jak Hartlen, 19, the son of William and Mary, will face many thresholds of flesh and mind on his road to reaping the Whirl Wind; seeds of grief and guilt only now coming to fruition.
If only they’d know what they were doing…
The Gan and their Areht who shape the world behind the scenes will hate him, because he’s a threat they’re not sure can be chained. The Pillars and their Faithful who spread the world’s leading religion will fear him, because his existence, once known, will challenge Ages of dogma and accepted history.
The Crimson King and its Servants who seek to return to power, destroying all that remains of The White, will hunt him, because even in death, they’re not sure he’ll ever bow to the Dark. They all Should. For as One of Five with the power to shake the world, they will hollow his heart and mind through countless sacrifice and vengeful selfishness.

 

Genesis (Kingdom Come Series, #1)

http://wjgarret.blogspot.com

 

Among the many authors of the Grimdark group there are also quite a few familiar faces like James A. Moore you know the guy from Bloodstained Oz and Buffy the Vampire Slayers novelization Chaos Bleeds. He’s been nominated for the Bram Stoker Award for best novel for his book Serenity Falls. James has written so much in several genres his most recent novel is called The Last Sacrifice

Since time began, the Grakhul – immortal servants of the gods – have taken human sacrifices to keep the world in balance and the gods appeased. When they choose the family of warrior Brogan McTyre, everything changes.

Brogan begins the toughest battle of his life to free his family from their terrible fate. But when you challenge the gods, you challenge the very fabric of society. Declared an outcast, Brogan and his kin are hunted like criminals – but nothing will stand in his way.

The Last Sacrifice

http://www.jamesamoorebooks.com/

 

Last for today is Josiah Bancroft his writing is as beautiful as his art. He also writes poetry which has been featured in dozens of magazines luckily for us he also writes fantasy. His first novel is Senlin Ascends ( The Books of Babel ) and came out in 2013 it is part of a quadrilogy.

Senlin, a mild-mannered school teacher, is drawn to the Tower of Babel by the grandiose promises of a guidebook. The ancient and immense Tower seems the perfect destination for a honeymoon. But soon after arriving, Senlin loses his young wife, Marya, in the crowd.

Senlin’s search for Marya carries him through slums and theaters, prisons and ballrooms. He must survive betrayal, assassination, and the long guns of a flying fortress. But if he hopes to find Marya, Senlin will have to do more than survive. This quiet man of letters must become a man of action.

Senlin Ascends (The Books of Babel, #1)

http://www.thebooksofbabel.com/

 

I’ll try to keep up this time around wouldn’t want y’all to get bored + you know we have to keep stacking up on our tbr piles. Something I didn’t mention before is that many of the authors featured also sell their books doodled through Facebook and their websites so feel free to poke them about it just don’t poke about release dates

https://www.facebook.com/groups/grimdarkfiction/

Here’s a picture of our Lord Dark Matheny in his younger years

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Featured post

Suicide and depression

Just because you watched 13 reasons it doesn’t make you a suicide expert. I speak from experience a lot of it sadly, in most cases you don’t notice the person is suicidal and they don’t leave notes or tapes. It’s not a split second decision a lot of thought is put into their final moments and in most cases talking won’t help one bit, once the decision has been made there’s not a thing you can do.
My best friend ended his life 21 years ago, nobody knew he was depressed if anything he was the life of the party. He was also schizophrenic a thing he hid well from everyone in fact I only heard about this a few years ago from his older brother. On the morning he decided enough was enough, he went into his little sister’s room gave her a kiss on the cheek and left for the highest building in town (8 stories high). When he arrived we’ll never know neither do we know how much time he spent there before he jumped from the 6th floor, he folded some of his clothing neatly, took off his shoes and jumped. A friend of us who lived in the building found him shortly before 6 in the morning as he was on his way to work.
 
Another friend of mine also committed suicide, a lot of my friends ended their lives, only 2 died not by their own hands. This friend also killed his girlfriend again nobody knew what was going on. It was a hot day in July i was out with friends when I got the call. A lot of people will always condemn him for what he did me however I understand it completely, I don’t approve but I understand. He was also a very cheery person and one of the few people who was always good to me. He left behind 3 kids.
Thing is it doesn’t matter how many friends you have or if your family loves you, if you want to end it you will end it. 1 of my friends even managed to kill himself while he was on suicide watch at a facility specialised in suicide prevention. I could tell all the stories about each of my friends who chose to end their own lives. Truth is you will never know exactly what’s going on in a person’s head until it is too late. In my experience the ones who talk about ending it are the ones who never do it. I’ve had 1 friend who kept saying he was with life, so me being me I offered to help him out right there and then, obviously he never did it he’s actually a very succesful artist now and happily married.
Having struggled with depression for well over 20 years myself I consider myself somewhat of an expert on suicidal tendencies. No matter how much therapy or medication I take I am in fact always depressed I’m just really good at pretending to be normal like all of my friends who ended their lives. There are good times and bad times, sometimes you really just have to cherish those few minutes you feel joy. I have tried to kill myself a long time ago I overdosed on pills and in most cases any other person would’ve died had they taken what I had taken, I just spent a couple of days drifting in and out of consciousness. I lost my job, lost some friends but I got over it and moved on without any help.
Some people will always be depressed and some overcome the depression. Others will choose to end their suffering. Sometimes you as a friend or family member you’ll just have to let go of the one you love. If you’ve never been severely depressed you simply can’t know how it feels, books, series, movies won’t help you understand the feeling of despair a person feels when they end it. I’ve spoken to a few people who tried suicide multiple times and they always felt at peace when they felt their life slipping away. A few of them managed to end it eventually and I hope they’re in a better place if such a thing exists others are still fighting for survival and others are still trying to end it.
If you think you have the right to judge a person because they chose their ending you’re wrong (that’s the civil way of me saying go f… yourself). You don’t have to approve but you can attempt to understand what it was like to walk a mile in their shoes. Don’t be a dick about it on social media or to the people they left behind

It’s my blog and I can rant if I want to

They say writing your feelings down helps so let’s see if it actually works. There’s a lot of stuff on my mind and it’s not simple things like oh how’s the weather or what shall i eat today, a lot of things have been annoying me the last year or. Some might say oh you’re grumpy all the time but that’s not the case usually I’m only grumpy later on in the day, usually after I’ve been reading all the shit on Facebook and some in real life things.

I don’t think some of you really understand how the world works. Racism has always been around in some countries worse than others it’s not something recent. Poverty does exist in your country and more than you know, yes even Dutch people are dependant on food banks, charity and in some cases really good friends. People have been getting away with rape for as long as humans have been around. Women still don’t have equal rights and pay. Don’t even get me started about the LGBTQ people you’d think in 2017 they could finally be themselves without getting attacked. ISIS has been around since early 2000 maybe even before that but only know when they attack in Europe we’re suddenly all full of care.

So here’s a (huge) list of things that irk me.

All this whining about movies/series and their cast. Seriously I remember a time where people went oh Tom Cruise shitty actor and moved on with their life. Bloody hell all this crap about the Dark Tower, Wonder Woman and soon Star Trek or Ghost in the Shell. Whitewashing isn’t so new you know, hell if you actually had bothered looking around you would’ve noticed it way sooner. I’m not saying whitewashing is a good thing but it’s been around for so long and everyone stood around and tolerated it but now with social media the urge arises to vent. Here’s an idea join a rally against it, don’t just sit there typing all tough, do something!

Racism pisses me off ever since I was old enough to know what it was. Do I make racist jokes yes but I joke about everything it’s my way of dealing with things. Just because a person comes from Syria to your country doesn’t mean they are here to steal your jobs,wives and children, most of them are fleeing from an actual dictator who’s torturing and killing them. I come from a family who got “lucky” in the war, my family had to flee  Indonesia because of the Japanese. When they got back in the northern part of the Netherlands the Germans had already arrived luckily we were quite rich back then and nobody had to suffer. Also 1 of my grandfathers supposedly hung out with the Germans a lot I have no idea what his role exactly was since he died way before i was born. People from different countries have different habits it doesn’t make them less of a person than you it’s just a different style of life. Not every refugee is here for the money… When it comes to the money part let me explain a few things. They are not getting free things! They get a loan from the city/government which is around 5000 euro to decorate their house and get other things like baby strollers or phones. Yes they get welfare in the beginning till they can sustain themselves just like you, welfare isn’t such a huge amount I see people going around saying oh look at the welfare they get it’s 2k euro a month bla bla, bitch no!

Welfare numbers are as follows;

1333 euro for a family regardless of the size of it

933 euro for a single parent regardless of the amount of kids

If you’re an adult and share a house with other adults related or unrelated and regardless of the fact if someone works or even helps pay rent the numbers decrease really quick. I share a house (not voluntarily) with my mom who had a stroke and can not work and my brother who works but doesn’t contribute anything. I get 533 euro a month and so does my mom so that’s a whopping 1066 euro a month. Average living costs for a month are around 900 now this is just rent, water and electricity this isn’t insurance and all the other things you actually have to pay for. This goes for all people who share a house with 2 other adults related or not so it really isn’t that much

The oh I’m so sick every 5 minutes posts..

Look I get it you’ve got the flu or you sprained your ankle it’s annoying but do you really need to post about it every damn day? I know some of my friends on Facebook have serious illnesses and they barely complain about it all. Am I saying stop complaining, no not at all but you could tone it down a little.

Complaining

Yes I am complaining right now but it’s been building up for months maybe even longer. I really try to complain as little as possible since it’s annoying. Instead of complaining all the time try to see the good things around you.

Which brings me to my next point. I’ve been battling depression for well over 20 years now and I’m well aware that I am negative most of the time, it’s really hard to stay positive if everything is so damned negative around you. Everything is an issue for people. Seriously y’all complain and get depressed about the dumbest things, though you might say oh you’re playing my problems down it’s not so, I’m just saying instead of getting all worked about armpit hair look around and count your blessings. I have people around me who have everything a job, loving family, good health, a house, a pet etc. yet I see them being depressed about such menial things. Now of course having a dent in your car can be really serious for some but from my point of view it’s just not working.

I’ve had to deal with shit all my life, my parents never wanted me (and they let me know regularly), parents getting a divorce, my dad fucking anything with a pulse,(I’ve had 13 stepmoms that I can remember), my mom has been depressed since 1974, all my friends literally all my friends are dead sure I made new ones over the years but all my friends from my teen years are dead, I had to bury everyone. I’ve had years with 3 to 4 funerals, I’ve been sexually abused multiple times, did my rapist get punished? Hell naw he didn’t even get arrested because apparently what i was wearing was egging him on. My health has been shit for 10 years now and when I mean shit i mean i can’t even eat normal anymore. I have chronic headache, IBS, PCOS and a whole list of other things. I almost died in 2015 and spent the entire week on the ICU in isolation alone, yeah that’s right nobody visited most people didn’t even bother calling. Through all this I am still fighting to get better mentally and physically.

I’ve seen all those suicide awareness posts and people saying oh if you need help I’m here truth is you’re not nobody picked up the fact that I was about to jump off a bridge 2 weeks ago. You’re all too busy with getting upset about Ed Sheeran in GoT or Dr.Who being a woman. Thing is don’t post things like that it’s not helping anyone and neither do those balloons bring back a kid or some silly status doesn’t raise awareness for anything. If you want to help talk to people if you’re wanting to raise awareness about whatever it is don’t be vague say it!

The whole idea of Facebook is connecting people from every part of the world. Thing is lately Facebook is only worsening my depression with all the crap I have to put up with, whether it’s random nudes, sexual propositions or random authors asking if I feel like promoting their books. While I do enjoy most of the friendships some also really take their toll on me, there’s so much negativity.

What I’m asking is really simple try being less negative, enjoy life, stop arguing on the internet, hug a loved one, stop getting upset about meaningless things, enjoy life it could be over before you know it. In the end you’re only getting worked up over things you probably can’t change at least not by arguing about it on Facebook

p.s This is not a cry for help I don’t need any messages or more friends. I’d have posted this on Facebook but I don’t need all the negative/positive comments I just needed to write it down

 

 

Jaded by Blogging

The Tattooed Book Geek

jadedbyblogging

I decided to take a break from both blogging and social media over this past weekend and yesterday, I doubt any of you even noticed but I wasn’t around with my usual humour and sarcasm. It took over a year of blogging but I had my first case of minor blogger burnout, guilt and feeling jaded and despondent. I found myself questioning why I was even bothering to blog.

I’m not entirely sure that it was all down to blogging as I wasn’t in the best place myself, the two poems that I posted on the Wednesday and Thursday (Empty Throne and Darkness Decides) attest to this and my unhappiness. Yes, for those unaware I’m not always a happy person and the dark poetry that I post isn’t simply ‘words’ but a cathartic measure to bleed emotion through the written word, it’s better out than festering within and…

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An introduction to the writers of the Grimdark group part 4

It’s been a while since I posted, reason being my poor health. Now I’ve gotten some snarky remarks about how I handle my blog and the way I write, I’d rather keep it as simple as possible and let the books do the talking. Besides we all know people will go TLDR if lengthy posts are written. So without further ado here are 5 guys you must check out.

Disclaimer: No cats were killed during the writing of this post

 

Starting off with Ben Galley when he isn’t trying to give his dad a heart attack dressed up as a golem he writes books and helps other authors with self publishing. Having written the Emaneska trilogy his next book, Heart of Stone is out in just 10 days! Be sure to keep an eye on his Facebook page

Merciless. Murderer. Monster. He has been called many names in his time.

Built for war and nothing else, he has witnessed every shade of violence humans know, and he has wrought his own masterpieces with their colours. He cared once, perhaps, but far too long ago. He is bound to his task, dead to the chaos he wreaks for his masters.

Now, he has a new master to serve and a new war to endure. In the far reaches of the Realm, Hartlund tears itself in two over coin and crown. This time he will fight for a boy king and a general bent on victory.

Beneath it all he longs for change. For something to surprise him. For an end to this cycle of warfare.

Every fighter has a last fight. Even one made of stone.

heartofstonebengalley3d

http://www.bengalley.com/

https://www.facebook.com/BenGalleyAuthor/

 

Next up Ulff Lehmann born in Germany but so stubborn he writes in English because well German only sounds good when it’s Rammstein. His first book Shattered Dreams was released in june 2016. Think of Gemmel’s hero Druss the Legend, Ulff’s main character is called Drangar and is way cooler. Shattered Hopes the second installment will be out soon

For two years the mercenary Drangar Ralgon has kept his back to his dark past. Afraid to live, afraid to die, Drangar tries to ignore the abyss that lies behind him. Now, faced with a war he wants nothing to do with, he finally turns around and gazes back.

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https://www.facebook.com/Ralchanh/

 

Martin Owton is a scientific researcher for a major pharmaceutical company but also a very talented fantasy and science fiction writer. His book Exile part 1 in the Nandor tales came out last year book 2 Nandor came out recently
Aron of Darien, raised in exile after his homeland is conquered by a treacherous warlord, makes his way in the world on the strength of his wits and skill with a sword. Both are sorely tested when he is impressed into the service of the Earl of Nandor to rescue his heir from captivity in the fortress of Sarazan. The rescue goes awry. Aron and his companions are betrayed and must flee for their lives. Pursued by steel and magic, they find new friends and old enemies on the road that leads, after many turns, to the city of the High King. There Aron must face his father’s murderer before risking everything in a fight to the death with the deadliest swordsman in the kingdom.

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https://martinowton.wordpress.com/

 

Dave De Burgh is a South-African is a jack of all trades, writing, editing, bookseller and even a paranormal investigator pretty awesome! Dave’s first novel Betrayal’s Shadow ( Mahaelian Chronicle ) came out in 2015

Betrayal casts long shadows – none know this better than Brice Serholm.
As a decorated general in the kingdom’s elite Blade Knights, Brice had to overcome the taint of treason and betrayal to attain his rank. When Brice and a force of Knights are sent on a mission to investigate claims of rebellion in one of Avidar’s provinces, their ship is magically attacked, and the resulting investigation tests every oath Brice swore before his king.
Meanwhile, an inhuman infant escapes the capital’s Slave-Hold, the king’s mistress comes into possession of a unique dagger, and Del’Ahrid, the king’s most trusted First Advisor, begins to question everything he built his honour and life upon.
Events are in motion that will test every man, woman and child – and a conflict is coming that will shake the kingdom to its very foundations.

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http://davedeburgh.com/

https://www.facebook.com/davedeburghwriter/

 

 

Next up is Scott Oden! Scott is probably best know for his historical novels set in ancient Greece and Egypt. His next novel A Gathering of Ravens got me well excited! The main character is an orc! A Gathering of Ravens will be released on june 20th of 2017

To the Danes, he is skraelingr; to the English, he is orcneas; to the Irish, he is fomoraig. He is Corpse-maker and Life-quencher, the Bringer of Night, the Son of the Wolf and Brother of the Serpent. He is Grimnir, and he is the last of his kind–the last in a long line of monsters who have plagued humanity since the Elder Days.

Drawn from his lair by a thirst for vengeance against the Dane who slew his brother, Grimnir emerges into a world that’s changed. A new faith has arisen. The Old Ways are dying, and their followers retreating into the shadows; even still, Grimnir’s vengeance cannot be denied.

Taking a young Christian hostage to be his guide, Grimnir embarks on a journey that takes him from the hinterlands of Denmark, where the wisdom of the ancient dwarves has given way to madness, to the war-torn heart of southern England, where the spirits of the land make violence on one another. And thence to the green shores of Ireland and the Viking stronghold of Dubhlinn, where his enemy awaits.

But, unless Grimnir can set aside his hatreds, his dream of retribution will come to nothing. For Dubhlinn is set to be the site of a reckoning–the Old Ways versus the New–and Grimnir, the last of his kind left to plague mankind, must choose: stand with the Christian King of Ireland and see his vengeance done or stand against him and see it slip away?

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https://scottoden.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/scottodenauthor/

 

Final words (just on this post no worries) If you read books and enjoy them please do leave a review on Amazon or goodreads. If you haven’t joined us on Facebook already

https://www.facebook.com/groups/grimdarkfiction/

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On the Grim and the Dark in Video Gaming by Richard Writhen

The past twenty years or so have seen the increased fusion of horror and dark material with electronic gaming, it having been pretty much the artistic forte of literature and movies up to that point; notwithstanding that moment in a Super Mario title when a koopa showed up. For example, I picked up the first Resident Evil (1996) for PS1 the week it came out, based pretty much on the cover and font and other considerations; I had never played its DOS spiritual predecessor Alone In The Dark (1992). Unlike MK3 (1995), which I had purchased the console to play, or something like Super Mario 64, which had prompted me to buy the Nintendo 64, I didn’t have an opportunity to play it before purchasing, but I was drawn to it on instinct. Imagine my surprise when I found the game to be not only highly cinematic, in a manner that video games hadn’t been up to that point, put surprisingly deep as more and more areas of the mansion that it takes place in were revealed. About the time I was playing that at home, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 (1995) hit the arcades, during what was pretty much the last hurrah for such establishments. More characters, more backgrounds, including a sort of Shao Kahn version of Hell, made it night-and-day more exciting than the original version of the game. This was followed a couple of years later by the first 3D MK game Mortal Kombat 4 (1997), which even has a delightful fatality involving ripping off your opponent’s leg at the hip and then beating them to death with it; I was quite impressed with that one. The console-only Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance (2002), which I played on Gamecube, was even better, involving a collusion of the franchise’s two greatest villains against the rest of the characters, with a sick story mode and a brand new demon character named Drahmin which was my new favorite. And the most recent iteration of Mortal Kombat now has Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees and Leatherface, some of the best-known horror movie villains, as playable characters; if that isn’t a testament to the franchise’s darkness, then I just don’t know what is. But the best game that I played on Gamecube, and probably my favorite of all time, was Eternal Darkness (2002), which virtually dripped Lovecraftian themes and used Mythos Fiction tropes to create a huge tapestry of a plot featuring humans being used as puppets by a pantheon of gods to fight their petty battles on earth.

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Later, along came Resident Evil 4 (2005), and everyone was expecting pretty much the standard formula; so when I began to hear rumors of how awesome the game was, I was unconvinced at first. Yet, I bought a second GC to play it anyway, and found it to be so different from the others, so deeply immersive with its more authentic weapons and roving third person viewpoint. Add to that the grueling Mercenaries minigame, which was literally worth the cost of the game by itself in terms of replay value, and you had one of the grimmest games out there; decapitations by chainsaw, impalements on razor-sharp sword claws, it treated the player to hundreds of gruesome ways to die. It also made you responsible for rescuing the US president’s annoying teenage daughter from her doomsday virus cult kidnappers; if she was subsequently killed by any of a plethora of enemies, your game would be over too, and protagonist Leon S. Kennedy would sink to his knees, muttering, “OH … NO …” and doing a facepalm before collapsing in utter despair. Eventually, I purchased an Xbox, but as I was unimpressed with Halo, I wound up trading it and sought out something with a little more dark flavor to it. Rockstar Games’ Manhunt (2004) was the first game for that system that really spoke to me; a third person, weapon based game with quick fatalities induced when the player came up behind an enemy through the use of stealth, though there were also some firing weapons such as a shotgun for the head-on fighting.

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Looking for that same fix, I later picked up The Suffering (2004), which had a Session 9 -esque vibe but rather than take place in an abandoned lunatic asylum, it took place in an old prison that was haunted by the twisted ghosts of former inmates. While an excellent premise, the execution was a bit buggy and I later moved on to the remake of Ninja Gaiden (2004), which had originally been an 8-Bit NES game, legendary for its unforgiving difficulty level. The X-Box game was no different, as I was smacked down again and again and had to learn elaborate combos and fight god-like bosses to make progress in the game. Tecmo later released an even more heartless remix, Ninja Gaiden: Black (2005); it was far superior, adding a master ninja mode, a staff-based weapon called the Lunar and more side trials which players could post online. The X-Box 360 also had a few notably dark games on it, probably the best of which were Resident Evil 5 (2009), Ninja Gaiden 2 (2008), Dead Rising (2006), Bioshock (2007), Bioshock 2 (2010), Gears of War (2006), Condemned: Criminal Origins (2005), and Dead Space (2008). These games extrapolated on both first and third person viewpoints, storefront functionality, player upgrades and interactive environments to provide even more immersive electronic gaming than ever before. Add to that the X-Box 360’s immense graphical power and players were soon lost for months at a time in the dark worlds of their choice. I have yet to purchase a console this generation, but I often find myself in my local department store looking enviously at them and the many new day one editions, special editions and the like which are now available for them, often at a discounted price once the initial demand dies down for that particular title. One day, I hope to get back to it …

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Magic, Pick a Book, Any Book

Might Be Mad

Fantasy and magic are pretty much synonyms of one another. Whenever someone who hasn’t touched a fantasy novel ever says, “Oh you’re into fantasy are you? What with all the magic and fairies?” Usually said with a smirk. But Magic is perhaps one of the most integral parts of fantasy, what sets it apart from other genres. Where physics can go away and sit in the corner and logic can jump out of the window. This won’t be me talking about how I wistfully wish that I could hold the destructive powers I need for world domination. But my opinions on magic in fantasy. What makes some magic more interesting than other or more believable.

Magic 1Magic and it’s Limits

(Ooh I used underlining and purple there, first time for everything I guess.) 

Magic needs limits in the same way that ballistics do. If I stood up in front of a…

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Guest post by author Ulff Lehmann

I am not a number, I am a free… character
by Ulff Lehmann

or something like it. To be honest, it sounded wittier in my mind. The point the heading is supposed to make will become clear, I hope. Since I am writing this more stream of consciousness than I have everything figured out-lined I may hit some speed bumps, but as long as I get to a point I believe it’s cool.

Anyone with a bit of writing experience will surely have come across this particular issue: a friend asks you to review something and within the first few lines you stumble across a problem. A character is at a bar or some other place people usually only visit when they want to or already have performed a certain activity. The character’s mood is gloomy.

My first question is based upon a specific line of thought: why is the character at the bar? If they’ve been nursing a drink for a while, the author should have mentioned it. Were they supposed to meet someone? Has the person they were to meet already left? That sort of stuff, the proverbial egg or chicken question. To the newcomer writer this may not seem like a matter of importance, and maybe I am putting more emphasis on this sort of stuff than is necessary. But I don’t care — I don’t think so… you pick one.

The thing is this: as writer we don’t necessarily record every second of a character’s life, unless you write a Ulysses type story. In fact there are large portions we leave out, and while many of them are irrelevant to the story, to the character they are not. And if they are relevant to the character they are relevant to the writer. The newbie writers may now ask “If it’s not relevant for the story, why should I bother with it?” and that is a perfectly relevant question. Although I hope many of us have stumbled across the answer long ago, not necessarily in novels but in other forms, like audio dramas and movies.

Imagine you are following a group of people, they are talking about altering human behavior from birth on. The group enters a building, you follow, but you are too slow to catch them in the elevator. That door closes before you and you are forced to run upstairs to hear more of their nefarious plan.

Of course such a scenario is impossible in real life, but that is beside the point. The point is that the conversation will continue without you. It’s not the case of a tree crashing in the woods without anybody hearing it, yes it will make a sound, same as the occupants of the elevator will keep on talking. They won’t stop for your benefit.

Same goes for characters in novels. Since we writers don’t necessarily capture all of their actions on proverbial paper, it is only natural that we “miss” certain things for no other reason than dramaturgic effect. The reader benefits from such cuts as it elevates tension, but as writer we must know what has happened before in order to avoid gaps in character or logic.

So, our character Paul (I always name my random characters Paul nowadays, it used to be Ed, Ted, or Tom) sits in a bar nursing a drink. The reader doesn’t care why, he’s just meeting the fellow, but we as creators of Paul (don’t you feel all-powerful now? mwhahaha) know there is more going on. Or should know. If he’s just there waiting for a pal, him nursing a drink is nothing more than getting a pre-party buzz. If his date never showed up, that drink is about as much consolation as he will get. Why is he at the bar? The reader doesn’t care, the writer should always care. It’s not as if the characters stop acting as soon as we close a chapter. The scenes we describe are not like theater scenes where the actors remain motionless until the light comes on… Problem is, a lot of newbie writers don’t understand that. If Paul is at the bar distraught over his date not showing his mood will be different to the pre-buzz party mood.

The problem is that many newbies don’t see it that way, they see only what’s on the page, or try to avoid thinking about this stuff because they have never thought about it other than theater scenes. The light goes on, the scene begins… the chapter opens the scene begins. Mood is relevant to any scene and every character, and while we as writers do not have to explain why Paul is miserable, we writers need to know because it allows us to mold his behavior accordingly.

Some might disagree, and that is their right. To them I just say that the more you know about your characters, the better you can predict their actions. Always ask yourself “Why is that character doing this stuff?” even a psychopath has his reasons, they probably are so far beyond us that the answer will probably always be “He’s a fucking psychopath” but at the very least he is consistent in that.

A reader might not care about why a character is at a bar, and the majority might never care, but as author we should always care. “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” doesn’t set much of a stage, but aside from the obvious question “wtf is a hobbit” we are immediately handed the answer to our second question: it ain’t no mud hole but a hobbit hole and we get all the explanation as to what that hole is, and quite frankly, it sounds nice, I wouldn’t mind living there. And since it is a home, we do not need anymore explanation why the hobbit lives there.

Another example: Paul sits at his table, brooding. Why does he sit at his table? Is the first question out of my mouth, and until I get an answer that makes sense, I will keep asking. Because he does makes as little sense as because it’s comfortable. Why do people sit at a table when there is an armchair or a sofa around? Supper, work, hobby would be answers, although while I don’t care what he had for supper, his work and/or hobby might be relevant as to why he is brooding. Maybe he likes to build world war models; maybe he was assembling a tank and is reminded of the misery the world is in, fuck knows that’s enough to get me brooding. Maybe he works as an accountant and has taken home some work he was unable to finish at his firm. Maybe this particular account belongs to a gang of human traffickers, a fact that he has just found out and he does not know what to do with that bit of info, once more reason enough for him to brood. Maybe the reason he is brooding has nothing to do with why he’s sitting at the table; a situation anyone familiar with mental illness will disagree with. Sure we might wake up cranky, or in a fouler mood even, but we do need a trigger to begin brooding. If depression is triggered in bed, we’ll stay there. And if we make it to the table only to start brooding there, there best be a damn good reason as to why.

Cause and effect, even on a book’s pages a necessity. If the warrior drives a blunt sword through someone else’s eye, they have to have a reason for using a blunt weapon and killing that person. The situation is more dramatic than Paul at a table, brooding, sure, but it requires the same questions: why do they hold a blunt sword? Why do they kill that person? In this case we better get an explanation in the previous pages, but the same logic applies. Be it brooding or stabbing, we need a reason for both… unless the character is a psychopath, in which case all reason is kind of useless.

Not the end

Hello everyone! It’s been quiet from my end and I feel the need to clarify it a little. As some of you know my health is quite shit. I’ve been struggling to get back on track after my brush with death in 2015 but due to my allergy for antibiotics it’s all taking much longer than I hoped. And then there is my housing and financial situation which only adds more stress. So while I do want to keep on blogging often I’m just too sick to do it, simple stuff like Facebook/Instagram is manageable most of the time. I don’t want the blog to look like shite so I just don’t blog at all.

When I started the blog my health was somewhat stable but the last 5 months it’s declining slowly but steadily. I’m currently on the waiting list for a neurologist specialised in cluster headaches and migraines in the hopes of her being able to help me. For those of you who have no idea what a cluster headache is I can attempt to describe it, it’s basically the worst pain you have ever felt multiplied by 100. At first I had maybe 1 or 2 attacks a month but the last few months it’s 4-5 times a week, it affects everything in my daily life, however the medication I have for it greatly affects my short-term memory basically I’m a goldfish. Reading is close to impossible and I have to make notes just so I know what’s going on in a book. Also it does take half a day or so to recover from an attack so by the time I’m sort of normal the next attack is already lurking. I also suffer from Aphasia which means I can’t write or talk at times this coincides with my migraines and cluster attacks. So if you see my comments on Facebook and they’re not making sense or if they’re full of grammar faults it’s a safe bet that I’m having a good time^^

In november I also started to lose my hearing so audiobooks aren’t an option most of the time either. At first doctors thought it had something to do with an infection or fluid behind my eardrum but recently they found a small tear in my eardrum wich causes it to pop a lot ( you know that annoying feeling you get during a trip by airplane). I’m going to get a hearing aid and I’m starting lip-reading classes come summer.

I’m not going to quit blogging I am taking a break till life returns to normal if that’s even possible

Anyways enough about my health. I’d like to apologize to everyone for not reviewing your books which you generously gave me. I’d also like to apologise to everyone who i promised to introduce here on the blog, I will eventually continue with that particular thread because well you deserve it. I can’t put a time on it but I’m hoping to get back to it in 2-3 months. This also means I will have to decline every beta read I was offered in the last months, i simply can’t do a good job right now.

I will keep on promoting all the books on Instagram and Facebook as it’s not bound to time

I wish my memory wasn’t this shoddy so I would remember everyone I owe so much too.

Thank you all for your understanding and support

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