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The Gift Giver, The Blessed Child, and The Brave Warrior

I’ve had the idea for this story for a long time and started working on it about a year and a half ago. Between computer troubles, having to transfer all of my work to an external hard drive, getting a new PC and losing track of it, I’d completely forgotten that I’d wanted to post this last year. I found it recently and finished it. Please enjoy this little tale of wonder and love. Happy Christmahannukwanzmayulstice, and have a wonderful day.

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Keep the Good Cheer Going!

Hey guys, I started writing this in a FB post and it got sort of long, so I made it a blog.  It’s just a bit of advice and thoughts regarding the new year and the concept of New Year’s Resolutions.  I hope it helps you, or at the very least entertains you.  Happy Yule!


Kevin’s Advice for the New Year: Ok so everyone’s getting started with the new year tomorrow.  We’ve all likely enjoyed a nice long weekend and if you haven’t know off the bat that that sucks and I’m sorry and also, maybe get a new job, because wth?. First things first: I’m an Asatru Pagan, which means that I celebrate Yule, which is basically Christmas Sans Christ. Tree, Gifts, Good Cheer, Fellowship, all the good stuff. Thing is, for me (and for a LOT of other Pagans too) the season isn’t over. It technically doesn’t even start until like my birthday around the 20th or so and it keeps going until the end of January. I personally choose to celebrate starting the day after thanksgiving, to keep that sort of thankfulness and good cheer going, and keep it going until some time I feel like in February. This is where my first piece of advice comes from. KEEP THE GOOD CHEER AND FELLOWSHIP GOING! It’s so disheartening to go out in January and see all the decorations gone almost immediately and everyone seems so ready to “get back to normal”. This is not a good thing. We all NEED that positivity more in January than any other time (ESPECIALLY November where it is more often than not intrusive) as it is the coldest and darkest time of year and, for most, filled with depression. So leave your lights up. Leave your tree up. Give out those last minute, even afterthought gifts to people. A little love this time of year can REALLY change a person’s outlook and make their day. Let’s not let December be the excuse for being nice to people. KEEP showing kindness and generosity, even and ESPECIALLY if it is generosity of spirit. So #1, keep the good cheer going.

Number 2! This goes along with it being cold and depressing outside. STOP STARTING THE NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS RIGHT OUT THE GATE! They are something that is for the entire YEAR, you have the time!. Let yourself fall back into normal work patterns and eat off the last of those Holiday goodies! I still got 2-3 boxes of Red Velvet Christmas Tree Cakes, and I’ma eat ’em, you best believe! Enjoy the fruits of last year’s labors! Stop shopping on Black Friday and shop NOW. This is when everything is ACTUALLY cheap and not just imaginary cheap. THIS is the time to buy decorations and such for next year’s festivities for sure. Have a big dinner at a friend’s house and play games (or whatever activity that you enjoy). Indulge and enjoy it, because the fact is, most people try to get started with the whole weight loss thing WAY too soon and it almost NEVER works out. I think the main reason for this is that we kind of track years based on the Julian calendar which is frankly counter intuitive. It’s too cold and dark outside for most people to dedicate themselves to any kind of physical activity whole heartedly and most everyone is so car crazy with all the weather that we all get sort of frustrated at each other with the added stress of trying to care about exercise. For the purposes of your own personal growth, I suggest starting the new year in like mid March, or even April, at the TRUE beginning of the seasonal cycle. The last of the winter chill will be shaken off and you will feel SO much more ready for it. If you want to go hard core, start in February, by the time March rolls around you’ll be ahead of the curve, but PLEASE stop trying to lose 100 lbs by Valentines Day. It doesn’t do a damned thing but make you feel sad and unattractive. Which is a shame, because you’re all gorgeous.

Number 3! ANY PERSONAL GROWTH IS A VICTORY! If you eat ONE less cookie, If you take the stairs one more time than you did before, if you hold your tongue or speak your voice one more time than normal THAT IS A VICTORY! You are not a loser because you didn’t treat every single person with more deference, or lose three inches off of your waste, or finish that novel you’ve been working on (easy for me to say I know). If you have made even the smallest inch toward your goal, you have WON. Don’t let anyone tell you different!  You can do even one of the things on it NEXT year and that is progress!  Especially if those things are cross offable tasks or goals.  Go ahead and write a list of all thatyou want to accomplish.  Try and calendarize it.  If you do what you planned to on the day you planned to do it, put a check mark on that day instead of an X.  At the end of the year, count up your check marks.  If you have more than zero, guess what?  You’re fucking rock star astronaut ghostbuster ninja pirate jedi!  Eve if all you manage is to make a list of all the things you plan to do THIS year, well guess what you DON’T have to do next year?  Make that list!


I know I’m referencing exercise a lot in this, and that is because weight loss is the most common New Year’s Resolution. But this advice can be applied to almost any other resolution. At the end of the day my point is only this: You have all the time in the world to do all of those things you plan to. Right now when it is still cold and dark and kinda sad, spend time with those you love and who love you, doing things you both like to do. Don’t let the magic of the good cheer of Christmas get lost in the pandemonium of a not so new year. I love you all and you are ALL beautiful and wonderful.  Happy Yule and Solstice and Happy not-so-New-Year!

Come for the Luke Skywalker, stay for the Stephen Colbert, and other thoughts on Star Wars…

Hey guys, this is likely to turn into a pretty lengthy tome as I go on, but it’s kind of important stuff if you happen to like Star Wars, so bear with me.

I’ve been thinking about the good old Star Wars galaxy a lot lately.  Far more than I had since, oh, around Force Unleashed 2.  It probably stemmed from a mix of seeing the new trailer for Episode 7: The Force Awakens and also from being introduced to the Auralnauts parodies by my friend and my brother-in-law for the first time.  After seeing the latter, I was reminded how much I really liked a lot of the Prequel Trilogy.

[An interjected thought here, for any of you annoying fanboys who think that I’m not a REAL SW enthusiast, because I enjoyed these movies: I’ve forgotten more about the Star Wars Galaxy then most of you likely know.  So pull up your pants and GET OFF MY LAWN!]

Ahem.  As I was saying, I remembered a lot of things I liked.  Like all of the really cool lightsaber battles, or seeing the cityscape of Coruscant sprawling outward, or Naboo.  Yes, I fucking like Naboo.  I LIKE Captain Panaka.  There are a ton of things I liked and still like about the newer movies and I’m not going to list them all.  There were some bad things too, but frankly…I’m kind of over being bitchy about some of it.  Most of the stuff EVERYONE hated about the Prequels were artistic choices of George Lucas’, which he was damned well entitled to make.  He created Star Wars for HIMSELF, just like Gene Roddenberry created Star Trek for HIMself.  Neither of them owe you, or me, or anyone else a damned thing and that’s just a fact.  You can go on about how Star Wars has affected so many people that it’s no longer his, and I myself have made such points in the past.  I was as wrong then as anyone making that excuse is now.  Gene Roddenberry told fans where the hell to go at a con when they went after Wesley Crusher too hard.  George Lucas just has more self control, or tact.  Not sure which.

But I’m getting ahead of myself and going off on tangents that lead to rants I don’t want to go on today.  The rant I want to go on today IS about fanboys, but is NOT about defending artists, it’s about calling out the whiners.

I am absolutely SICK of hearing people use the phrase “Ruined my childhood.”

I hear it every single time somebody makes a movie about or involving an established franchise.  Smurfs, G.I. Joe, Transformers, etc.  It’s bullshit and it’s, frankly, petty.  You’re holding an artist or group of artists that created a work responsible for YOUR insecurity and false ownership of a world that you lived in when you were young.  By saying that phrase, you prove that, first, you’re kind of a troll, and second, that the subject matter was NEVER really that important to you in the first place.  Hence you allowed an outside source to “ruin it” for you.

If you let something as small and silly as Midichlorians take away Luke Skywalker walking out onto that sand skiff plank, saluting R2, jumping off, catching himself on said plank and triple flipping BACK onto said skiff to catch his newly crafted green lightsaber and proceed to kick ass all over the place, well then, you, my friend, are a weak-minded fool.

This scene is one of the most memorable for me.  I acted it out thousands of times in my front yard, while my mother was drinking herself into oblivion and my dad was doing fuck-all.  It is one of my most treasured memories and I will not allow it to be “ruined’ by anyone.  Least of all Jar-Jar Binks…who totally didn’t annoy me as much as he seemed to annoy everyone else!  I don’t know why, I guess maybe it was because I was watching a new Star Wars movie, impossibly!  Maybe we should simply be grateful that these movies are being made, HMM?!?!  Maybe we should be happy and grateful that we HAD Star Wars in the first place, because not everyone did.  I mean, can you even imagine a world without it?  I find it difficult.  I really do.  Though, perhaps I lack vision.

That rant has brought me to an epiphany of sorts.  It’s one I’ve KINDA had before, but it was much more clear to me now.  First and foremost:  Luke Skywalker is an INCREDIBLY under-appreciated heroic character.  People like to complain about him because he whines.  Got news for you: ALL TEENAGERS WHINE.  I did, you did, your parents did.  It was all  just a matter of what we whined about.  Luke whined about typical teenager things:  Not being able to go away to college when he wanted, his professors AT college expecting too much out of him, Han shooting up the entire joint and attracted all KINDS of unwanted attention.  He whined about things most of us can relate to.

Oh yeah, did I mention that his ENTIRE life was simultaneously broadened by Obi-Wan’s revelations that his father was a Jedi Knight, and then sent right into the shitter BY said father?  This is where Luke’s relateability starts to break down a bit.  Over the course of the trilogy, he goes from being a plucky hero to a tragic savior.  The duel at the end of Empire Strikes Back is, as far as I’m concerned, THE most intense lightsaber duel in any of the movies.  Luke isn’t fighting his father, here, at least not from his own point of view.  He’s fighting the man who killed his father AND his mentor AND indirectly, his Uncle and Aunt.  He’s fighting the man that orphaned him thrice, and he’s fighting with everything he’s got and more.  He’s not even as well-trained as Obi-Wan was in Phantom Menace.  He started his training at what, 19?  20?

Granted, Vader is not 100% himself, but he IS the Chosen One and even though Luke loses the fight, Vader knew damned well he’d been in one.  This is when we come to the climactic and soul-shattering revelation:  It’s amazing how much we gloss over this part of the story, because everyone sort of just knows, right?  But put yourself in Luke’s shoes.  If someone you cared about had died and you’d thought the person that killed them was Hitler, only to find out that they had BECOME Hitler, how would YOU take it?

I can’t say myself, but Luke took it on the chin and kept going and here is where we come to the part that gets a bit personal for me:  I’ve come to understand, after careful review of movies, shows, and other media that I enjoyed as a child, that I’ve patterned myself at different times in my life after roughly four major fictional characters.

The first, as many already know, is Batman.  Then there is Goliath from Gargoyles <— this one is easy to spot in my daily life.  Then there is the friendly stranger in Crocodile Dundee. (Yes, I love this movie and when I was in my teens would say hello to EVERY SINGLE PERSON I saw on the way to and from anywhere.  This was especially difficult and worrisome in a city like Baltimore, as you can imagine.) Then there is Luke.  I wanted to be him, or at least be LIKE him, as I’ve never really not wanted to be myself, just a different version of myself.  One with Force Powers.

This actually came out last year in a game of D&D. I was playing with some friends and my wife was DMing.  My party was, shall we say, morally-fucking-bankrupt and we were in Freeport, so, I, being a good-aligned Cleric, was a pilgrim in an unholy land.  (Oh yeah, we also had a Paladin in the group, figure that out.)

Anyway, at one point we come into direct opposition with the city’s criminal element, as I had purchased a small building that I’d converted into a clinic for the sick and poor, which said criminals burned to the ground.  I kind of went to a dark place at this point, but I’d always offered my foes a way out.  I told the guy that he could pay for the damages and change his ways, or suffer.  Then the sorcerer lit the building on fire and we basically became Super Hero Terrorists after that until the big Elder Thing bad guy was revealed and all was set right…

BUT I realized only today that this is the exact kind of behavior Luke displayed in the beginning of Return of the Jedi!  “Nevertheless, I’m taking Captain Solo and his friends.  You can either profit by this, or be destroyed.  The choice is yours, but I warn you not to underestimate my powers.”  <—THIS is way more badass than ANYTHING Mace Windu did, but no one will FUCKING ACKNOWLEDGE IT.  He even gives Jabba the out KNOWING he won’t take it, and just sets up a plan where he and like two or three other people COMPLETELY 86 Jabba and his floating social club.  Wizard.

I’d actually kind of felt bad about turning that Freeport Mob Boss to stone until I realized I was emulating Luke.  Felt better about the whole thing almost immediately.  Oh, and another awesome thing Luke did?  Built a lightsaber from scratch in a time when lightsaber parts are illegal.  No one taught him how, he just found a book at Kenobi’s that had schematics in it.  Did I mention that if you don’t align that shit PERFECTLY it explodes?

Which brings me to the lightsaber from the trailer with the cross guard.  At first, I was super annoyed for reasons that no fanboy has yet to express…  Mostly that it seemed less an innovation in lightsaber design and more a cool-looking prop that would make a fast-selling toy, but we are dealing with Disney here, so I shouldn’t be surprised.  As for it being impractical…that hardly matters does it?  See, cause the Sith are SUPER into weapons that are scary when in use and just as likely to kill THEM as their Jedi enemies.  A double lightsaber is a perfect example of this.  In fact, in every description of a double sided lightsaber I’ve ever read it states that a wielder is just as likely to kill themselves as their opponent.  If you want to talk about completely crazy weapons that are WAY more trouble than their worth, check out the the Light Whip.  Shit is ridiculous.  The cross guard on the Sith’s lightsaber in the trailer is likely not meant to be useful, it’s meant to be intimidating, which it is. The Sith are into intimidation.  That’s why they use, almost exclusively so, Red Lightsaber Crystals, which have a chance of overloading an opponent’s Lightsaber and causing it to short.  The Sith like subtle psychological weapons like these.  Then again… having a red lightsaber does not mean the wielder is, in fact, a Sith.

THIS brings me to Mr. Colbert, or Dr. Colbert as it were. Just this evening, I watched a clip of him giving a dressing down to some fanboys about the same subject. Here it is: The Lightsaber Controversy.

I supremely respect his declaration of “amateur hour” being over.  His status as a Star Wars fan 2 weeks before anyone else was warms my heart.  That is why it is so hard for me to point out the fact that his theories about the lightsaber cross guard are so completely and hopelessly wrong.  That is not…that has never been how a lightsaber works.  You see, if you were to cut down onto the hilt and damage the emitter, you would break the circuit between to focusing crystal and the emitter lens.  If this occurs, one of two things will happen:  Either A) The lightsaber will expel ALL of its abundant energy, resulting in a Turbo-Laser like discharge.  Or B)  The lightsaber will simply explode and if the focusing crystal cracks, then it will be like a grenade going off.  We saw this to a lighter degree in Phantom Menace when Obi-Wan sliced Darth Maul’s double saber in half.  If it weren’t for the fact that he dropped it right away, Maul would have been eating blast.

So that’s kind all my points for this one guys, sorry it’s a bit disjointed and all over the place, but then again so are my feelings on this subject which I DO care so much about.  I have to admit that Colbert’s words stirred something in me.  At first I thought it was anger at being called out about not liking the hilted saber, but now I see it for what it truly was at the time.

I had sensed a worthy opponent.  I had found an equal in the ways of my passion that I wished to test myself against.

Well Stephen, I have cast the gauntlet.

May the Force be with you all, and as always, have a wonderful day.

Big Announcement: Pre Order Now Available!


It’s finally here! The White Wolf and The Darkness will be available in print and in e-book for delivery in just 30 days, but you can reserve your copy now. Pre Orders for the print version are available starting today through and e-book pre orders can be placed through I’ll be updating you as other e-book distributors join the list, including a version for Kindle, Barnes & Noble, iBookstores and more.

How to pre order your copy…

Trade Paperback via

E-book via

Thank you!

I want to thank everyone who helped spread the word. I’m really proud to be able to share the Soul Star Galaxy with you. Here’s to the first of many tales. As always, have a wonderful day!


What scares me…

Since it’s Halloween, one of my favorite holidays by the way, I’d like to talk about what frightens me.  Fear is one of those things that, for some people at least, is somewhat difficult to discuss.  It’s kind of a big thing to admit that you’re frightened at all, let alone what might have frightened you.  To some it’s about not appearing weak, for others it’s about not wanting to think about what scares them, for fear of….well, being afraid.  Still others refuse to speak of their fears because they feel dwelling on one’s fear for too long diminishes their experience of life and living it; that it gets in the way of the more enjoyable things in life. For myself, I embrace fear, for it is only in accepting and examining our fears that we overcome them.  The path to courage is through fear, you might say.

I’m afraid of a lot of things, actually, and my fears have evolved and changed as I have grown older.  For example, I used to be afraid to go into certain parts of my house, because that shit was haunted.  I’m still afraid of haunted places, but for very different reasons than I had been before.  I no longer think of what could come out of the darkness to”get” me, but what might follow me home and become interested in my life in a way I don’t want it to.  I’ve also found great comfort in my own courage about that sort of thing.  I used to be afraid of getting jumped and getting the shit kicked out of me after school, but these same kids who would beat on me would also never enter a haunted house alone, and I would.  I took my beatings and my humiliation (by far the more terrifying aspect of an ass-whooping for me) but they would not and could not take the….spooking?  BLOODY COWARDS!!!

It’s funny how we have different kinds of fears, too. There’s the palpable, serious fears of adulthood, like worrying about losing a loved one, or a job.  Then there’s the more ethereal fears like a fear of the dark, or the fear of the unknown, which I think everyone experiences at some points in their lives.  The more elusive fears are the far more serious ones, I think.  They’re the ones that creep up on us when we aren’t paying attention and suddenly make us feel completely out of control.  There is also the irrational psychological fears, like spiders, needles or sock puppets.  Mine is wasps and hornets.  I turn into a crazy person when it concerns those flying, stinging assholes.  **Disclaimer:  This does not include most honeybees!  Honeybees make honey and are directly responsible for the creation of mead.  They are a global treasure and must be preserved.  That is all!**

I think what I fear most is that I will somehow be the instrument of my own misery, that somehow my whole life will fall apart in front of me and I will lose everything that I care about and everyone that I love, and that it will be my own fault.  Again, this is a variation of a fear I held when I was a teenager: that I would completely lose control of my anger and explode, hurting everyone around me.  I overcame this fear as an adult, as I realized that for all of my own seething anger at the world, I am far more in control of my temper and my temperament than most people think I am and, more importantly than most people are.  One of my favorite lines from The Avengers is,  “That’s my secret, Captain…I’m always angry.”

I have to say, without arrogance, that one thing I’ve never feared is death, and I mean that.  I’ve never been afraid to die, not even when I was a little kid.  When I was in Ireland with my mother for a summer trip,  we were on the second level of a double decker bus and a couple of… let’s call them hooligans…. were giving my mom and I shit because we were American.  They came up and sat right behind us and one of them pulled out a gun and put it to the back of my seat.  He looked at my mom and menacingly sneered at her, which caused her to almost throw up and start blabbering about how she was born in the country and how very Irish she was.  A nine year old Kevin promptly mocked the shit bird for his “little” gun (I think it was a .22) and how it didn’t look at all real.  The guy looked at me with what I can only describe as a combination of frustration, amusement and respect, assuring me that it was real.  I assured him that if his gun was real, it was so small it didn’t look like it would have hurt me much.  He laughed at me loudly and after a short conversation with us, got off at the very next stop, telling us both to have a good day.  I realized many years later while looking at some pictures of firearms that his gun was likely very real.  Dodged that bullet I guess, HA!

Now having said that, I can tell you that had these two Irishmen wanted to beat me up, I’d have been terrified.  Again I think that I was far more afraid of the humiliation of getting beat up than any actual physical danger.  How that makes sense, I do not understand, but hey – that’s fear.  It usually doesn’t make sense.

What are you afraid of?

Care to share your inner most terrors with the rest of us?  Leave your fears in the comments below!  Thank you for reading and have a fucking amazing Halloween!

P.S.  Don’t forget to get your treat on Halloween and pre-order your copy of The White Wolf and The Darkness!



5 Horror Movies You Should Watch Right Now

Halloween is almost here and I thought I’d give you guys my top five list for scariest movies.  These are movies that scare the shit out of me and leave me feeling apprehensive and nervous for days after I watch them.  Some are classics, some are not as well known, but all are perfect for your scare fest for the season.  I’ll first say that almost all of them are supernatural horrors.  I don’t get scared at slasher movies because I FEAR NO MAN and torture porn just makes me sick to my stomach and makes me worry for the world as they seem to be so very popular.  No, all of the movies on my list are about shit being completely out of the average Joe’s understanding, let alone control.

5.  The Exorcist


I know what you’re thinking.  “The Exorcist?  Wtf?!?  This should be like number one on the list!”  Yeah, I agree that as far as supernatural horrors go, this is kind of the creme of the crop.  The problem is that I saw this one when I was 5 and then many,-MANY times thereafter, so some of the shock and creep is taken out of it for me at this point in my life.  As with most of the horror movies from this era, the scariest thing about them (for me at least) is the sound.  Not the sound track, but the actual SOUNDS.  The voice of the demon is terrifying to me.  The crab walk, not so much.

4. Session 9


Session 9 is a movie I found all on my own one day when I was around 17 years old.  This was again one of those films where the voices or sounds of the movie scared me more then what was actually happening.  The voice on the tape terrifies me and we still aren’t sure what it is.  The relatively mundane tone of the film at its beginning coupled with the idea that this could have easily been me (I used to do a lot of contract/painting and the like in my youth), made for an atmosphere that was all too frighteningly familiar.  Session 9 also leaves the watcher feeling not just scared, but really sort of depressed and worried about their state of mind.  Plus, it was before David Caruso wore cool sunglasses, so there wasn’t even any comic relief.

3. Phantasm


Ah, this one is easily my favorite.  I saw Phantasm before I could form words, I think.  This movie has solidly the most memorable main title theme in a horror movie ever.  Just hearing the theme can make my hairs stand on end.  I’m listening to it now and…eep, there they go.  The Tall Man, the Dwarves, the portal to fucking Mars it seems, the silver death balls, THE FUCKING BEE MONSTER AT THE END!!  All of these things come together to craft a solid B horror title that never ceases to terrify me.  Fun fact:  I met Angus Scrimm when I was 8 at a convention with my dad and sister.  He was VERY nice and took a pic with us all.  He even called me BOY!  Another fun fact:  My Dad kind of looks/looked like Angus Scrimm and was also fond of calling me BOY!  I had an exciting childhood.

2.  The Shining


I don’t think any list of good horror films could be complete without at least mentioning The Shining.  Jack Nicholson has arguably never been scarier in anything else.  Jack’s slow decent into total madness and Danny’s creepiness (yes, Danny was a creepy little kid, I said it) made the atmosphere oppressive to say the least.  The thing that always got to me, though, you know, aside from the evil twins, bear costume weirdness and psycho with an axe, was how sweet Shelly Duvall was in this movie.  More than many a damsel in distress, I really felt for her in this movie.  She was just always so sweet, which made the idea of harm coming to her more terrifying.  These days, you can’t wait for someone to die in a horror movie, because everyone is always so mean or asinine.  More than anything though, room 237 lives in my memory and my nightmares.

1.  The Haunting


The Haunting is hands down the most terrifying movie I’ve ever watched.  Once again one I saw, or rather, was forced to watch it when I was very young.  With relatively few true special effects, The Haunting scares the viewer with strange cinematography, a dark and oppressive setting and one damned creepy actress.  This movie scared me more with a close-up of a small section of wallpaper and some weird sounds in the background than most movies can with all the bloody make-up they can muster.  Anytime I’m thinking of scary movies, I think of the Haunting.  There are so many solid scenes that could be considered the scariest in the movie, I can’t really choose one.  If you are a horror movie fan and haven’t seen this one, you OWE it to yourself to watch it alone in the dark.

What horror movies should I watch Right Now?

What horror movies do you watch? What do you love about them? Is there one I should drop everything to watch right now? Let me know in the comments and have a nice, spooky day.

Paranormal Experiences

Hey everyone, I hope you enjoyed The Inspection. Things will be getting back to normal this week with a regular post today and a lore post on Thursday.

Today I’d like to talk about the paranormal.  Specifically paranormal experiences that I’ve had, some that folks I know have had, and some that folks I’ve never even met have had. I grew up in a very active house, as far as the paranormal is concerned.  I have five siblings older than me who grew up in that house before me and most of them have had some kind of experience or another.  As for me, when I was very young, I used to see shadow forms a lot.  Some looked like small animals, some looked like standing humans and some looked like hooded figures.

Once, when I was about six or seven, my sister and I were home alone.  She was babysitting me and the rest of the family was out for the evening.  It was quite late and I was in my sister’s room laying on a daybed near a window, trying to fall asleep.  I could not even remotely sleep; my mind was  racing.  Suddenly, I saw a silhouette on the shade of the window from the outside.  At first I thought it was a bird or something, but I realized almost  immediately, and to my horror, that it was in the shape of a human skeleton wearing a Parson’s hat.  I started to cry and woke my sister who was sleeping nearby.  She turned on the light and, of course, the silhouette disappeared.    My sister was skeptical, but went and looked out the window, finding nothing.  This wasn’t surprising, as it was a (roughly) twenty foot shear drop to the concrete ground out the back of the house.  She let me sleep in her bed for the night and I never saw the figure again….while I was awake.  Chronically after this event, I had a recurring nightmare.  Not about a skeleton with a hat, but featuring a wicked old man with a hat, dressed all in black, including a huge black cape.  As I grew older I stopped having the nightmare and dismissed the event as the overactive imagination of a very imaginative child.  I later discovered a phenomenon called the Hatman, which brought back all of those memories and had me wondering just what was outside that window that night.

I’ve heard a ton of stories over the years and I admit I seek them out.  If you know me, I will likely ask you about any experiences you’ve had as candidly as I might ask about any movies you might have seen.  By far the strangest story I have ever heard was from a coworker of mine from when I worked as a janitor at a university which will remain nameless for the time being.  She told me she had been working in a building on campus which at one time had been a morgue.  It was not her regular posting, but she was a thorough cleaner so she looked for something to do.  She found a bathroom on the sub-basement level and cleaned the entire thing.  Pulled the trash, disinfected, cleaned the toilet and wiped everything down.  She later informed her coworkers that she had done the work, so they did not need to worry about it.  They were very confused, insisting that there was no bathroom in the area that she’d indicated, to the point at which they insisted she show them the room.  When she brought them down to the area, the hall in question was not there.  The hall simply dead ended after a turn.  Needless to say, she was very worried and confused.  She even went so far as to seek therapy, concerned she may need assistance with her own metal health and faculties, but there wasn’t anything wrong with her that any doctor or therapist could find.  She was later relating the experience to another coworker, who informed her that there had at one time been a bathroom there, back when the building had been a morgue.  When she told me this story I was completely floored.  I knew I would never forget it, just because it was so damned strange.

Which brings me to the experiences of folks I’ve never met — you!

Please share any strange experiences you’re comfortable with in the comments.  I look forward to reading and, of course, retelling your stories.  Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day.

A Writing Soundtrack

Photo credit: XLucas

Photo credit: XLucas

I need to listen to some kind of music when I am writing, though sometimes when I’m really engrossed, the  music shuts off I don’t even realize it.  To get started though, I need some kind of immediate inspiration.  I tend to listen only to instrumentals while I am writing directly, as lyrics can distract me from the story at hand with whatever concepts are being expressed in a song.  I really like any form of electronica, but while writing there is nothing better than a good ambient track to put me in the mood and keep me in the mood.  Through the Ergosphere by Simon Wilkenson was of particular help to me while writing White Wolf for it’s eerie atmospheric tone and dark resonance.

Sometimes, for specific characters, I do have songs that I think express a character’s personality or actions.  I’ll usually listen to these songs just before I start writing a chapter about the character, to get myself revved up.  Fury Oh Fury by Nico Vega immediately struck a cord with me in reference to Asala the first time I heard it.  Its her ass whoopin’ song for sure.  For the character of King I often think of softer Johnny Cash songs like Help Me, which could not express that character’s struggles more.

Whenever I write typical or high fantasy, which I often do, I tend to like inspiring epic tracks like Over the Misty Mountains Cold from The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey (I’m a much bigger Hobbit fan the LotR, from an early age), or perhaps the Pirates of The Caribbean theme from Curse of the Black Pearl.  Adventure movies almost always have soundtracks that inspire.  Classics like Star Wars and Indiana Jones are always good for getting the wheels turning in an exciting way.

And, of course, I am often inspired by the music from video games I play.  Dragonborn from Skyrim is fucking AWESOME and always makes me want to fight something big, and I mean that.  The entire sound track from the Mass Effect Trilogy is just so gods-blessed good I can’t stand it.  Vigil always gives me chills.  It makes me think of how important Earth is and why we need to protect it, but the best part is that I have no idea why.

I’m also heavily influenced and inspired by super hero themes.  The intro to Batman: The Animated Series, in particular, made a 5-year-old me button the top button of his dad’s long coat around his neck and leap off the porch in search of criminals…..that same boy very promptly landed RIGHT on his face and busted his lip open, but it is the intent that counts!  Remember that, folks.


What’s your soundtrack?

What’s your favorite adventure music?  Shit, what’s your favorite music?  Let me know in the comments.  Once again, thanks for reading and please, have a wonderful day.

Swords I Have Loved

I love swords.  Really, I love most forms of weapons that might appear in a fantasy setting, but swords hold a particularly special place for me.  I’ve collected them since I was a teen, with my first Duncan MacLeod Katana, which was kindof a cheap piece of crap.  One day while I was practicing with it on the roof of my parent’s garage in my home city of Baltimore (Yes, that likely looked as cool as you are thinking), the blade of that sword flew completely out of its plastic handle, severing several bush limbs and landing in our back neighbor’s courtyard.  The profanity on that day was quite loud, indeed.  Retrieving the blade from my neighbor was an ordeal and required much explanation.  “Why do you have a sword?” was asked more than once.  My answer was always the same:  “Why DON’T you?”


This is the really nice one, a gift from my best friend.

I now own a variety of swords and many have come into my possession only to pass on to others, as it is my considered opinion that everyone should own at least one sword.  Some of my favorites are my MUCH better version of the Duncan MacLeod sword that was gifted to me by a very good friend, and one of my other katanas known only as Defender (and of which there are apparently only 75 like in the world).

Defender - a beautiful blade.

Defender – a beautiful blade.

Defender with its scabbard...

Defender with its scabbard…

And… of course, my wedding gift from my wife, my Irish Ring Sword which sits right next to her wedding sword on our wall, where our cat likes to cuddle up beneath certain doom. Don’t ask me why, because Cat.

Sword2 CatSword


Some other swords I love, but don’t own (though I wants them, precious!) are the Oslo Two-Handed Viking Sword from the Darksword Armory (as I’ve always wanted a Viking or Norse sword that I could use with two hands) and the Celtic Wolf Leaf Blade by Odin Blades (This is what inspired Asala’s Sword from White Wolf, incidentally) and, of course, just about anything from Fable Blades.  There are a ton more I’d like to have and I could write a whole series of blogs about all the different awesome weapons that should be mine – like I don’t own a saber and I really should get one and there are a lot of varieties just within that….man, I really ought to get one of those… ..

Swords are AWESOME, right?

Swords are awesome and people who make swords are even more awesome!  What’s your favorite sword or weapon?  Doesn’t even have to be a fantasy one, if you prefer plasma cannons or shot guns I want to know about it, so leave your answers in the comments!  Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!

P.S.  Oh and I almost forgot, I WANTS Twinkle and Icingdeath, the Scimitars of Drizzt Do’Urden.  Had to mention that.