Kieran Shea is always a joy to publish because of his unique perspectives and professionalism. His latest "The Way Of Our Now" is available to read at the BEAT to a PULP webzine.
Sunday, December 13, 2020
Tuesday, December 8, 2020
Western Fictioneers: Mrs. Sundance (1974)
Sunday, December 6, 2020
Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Saturday, November 28, 2020
The Church at Auvers (1890) by Vincent van Gogh
The Church at Auvers, an 1890 oil painting by Vincent van Gogh. In a letter to his sister he revealed some of his creative process:
I have a larger picture of the village church — an effect in which the building appears to be violet-hued against a sky of simple deep blue colour, pure cobalt; the stained-glass windows appear as ultramarine blotches, the roof is violet and partly orange. In the foreground some green plants in bloom, and sand with the pink flow of sunshine in it. And once again it is nearly the same thing as the studies I did in Nuenen of the old tower and the cemetery, only it is probably that now the colour is more expressive, more sumptuous.
Trivia: And Doctor Who aficandoes are well aware what lurks behind those stained-glass windows.
Thursday, November 26, 2020
Westerns, Poems, Hope
I'm doing a post for the Western Fictioneers blog on an old televison film about what happened to Ms. Etta Place, a Western enigma. That'll be coming up in a couple of weeks. Until then, I believe I haven't shared here the link to my last WF write up on Scott D. Parker's Empty Coffins novel. In the review, I also tease an upcoming project both Scott and I are working on (hint: Cash Laramie, Gideon Miles meet up with Calvin Carter).
Also, a couple poems of mine have been published at Punk Noir Magazine. These make a complete baker's dozen of my verse to be published over the last two years. Here are links to some of the others I'm partial to:
The Killing of Jamal Khashoggi
More importantly, thank you to all who've reached out to me about my Aunt Pat. She was recently taken off the ventilator and transferred to a rehab where they will try to wean her off the oxygen. She's not out of the woods yet but there's hope on the horizon.
Saturday, November 14, 2020
My Aunt Pat
Friday, November 6, 2020
Saturday, October 31, 2020
The Nightmare (1781) by Henry Fuseli
An irrepressible tremour gradually pervaded my frame; and, at length, there sat upon my very heart an incubus of utterly causeless alarm. Shaking this off with a gasp and a struggle, I uplifted myself upon the pillows, and, peering earnestly within the intense darkness of the chamber, hearkened --I know not why, except that an instinctive spirit prompted me --to certain low and indefinite sounds which came, through the pauses of the storm, at long intervals, I knew not whence. Overpowered by an intense sentiment of horror, unaccountable yet unendurable, I threw on my clothes with haste (for I felt that I should sleep no more during the night), and endeavoured to arouse myself from the pitiable condition into which I had fallen, by pacing rapidly to and fro through the apartment.According to Wikipedia, "Poe and Fuseli shared an interest in the subconscious; Fuseli is often quoted as saying, 'One of the most unexplored regions of art are dreams.'"
Friday, October 30, 2020
Close To The Bone
Four new poems, of mine, are published at the Close To The Bone webzine. Many thanks to this outstanding publishing team, and, especially, poetry editor Stephen J. Golds.
Thursday, October 29, 2020
"The Replacement" by Nikki Dolson
I've published the latest Nikki Dolson (ALL THINGS VIOLENT, LOVE AND OTHER CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR) short story called "The Replacement" over at the BEAT to a PULP webzine. If you've never read Ms. Dolson, you are in for a treat. The rest of you, I'm positive, have already clicked away to read.
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Sunday, October 18, 2020
Wanderer above the Sea of Fog
“Wanderer above the Sea of Fog" (c. 1818) by Caspar David Friedrich. One of my favorite oil paintings. From Wikipedia: “He looks down on an almost impenetrable sea of fog in the midst of a rocky landscape - a metaphor for life as an ominous journey into the unknown.” This iconic image is one of the inspirations for the latest series of poems that I’ve written, that will be appearing at the Close to The Bone webzine October 31st.
Friday, October 16, 2020
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
A wind shear knocked out our power, a week ago, and it was fully restored today. So a few catch-up links of what was happening while I was away include my article Modern Western Films Written Better Than Ever at LitReactor. And remember I told you I had more to say about MAN OF THE WEST? Well, here I am at the Western Fictioneers with an appreciation for the Gary Cooper film along with a new poem. Lastly, speaking of poems, Close to The Bone webzine announced that they will be featuring four of my poems in what they are calling the 4.4. Very honored to say the least.
Okay, now I will zip around your blogs and see what I've been missing.
Friday, October 2, 2020
Western Fictioneers: NEW RELEASE: UNDER WESTERN STARS
Thursday, October 1, 2020
Writing to Music
I write to music, as I suspect many others do, too, and perhaps not just writers but anybody at an office, garage, warehouse, etc. where the drudgery of the day needs a little relief. Recently classical music has taken over for my standard go-to jazz or rock categories. In particular, my charmer introduced me to Erik Satie's "Gnossienne no. 1" which is a moody, gorgeous composition. This particular piece plays as the soundtrack in my mind when I think of the gothic poem "The Long Return" that I wrote about a missing person.
What is your preferred musical inspiration while the job is getting done?
Monday, September 14, 2020
Man of the West (1958)
Tuesday, September 8, 2020
Move It On Over
Sunday, August 30, 2020
Buddies in the Saddle: Ron Scheer
Monday, August 24, 2020
The Hired Hand (1971)
Hannah Collings (Verna Bloom) gives her wayward husband a justified cold welcome assuming he will once again leave her. She's a progressive thinker and has done quite well without him once she got over the initial hurt. Hannah allows Harry and Arch to stick around to work as hired hands, maintaining her distance; still, the married couple eventually find a route back to each other's hearts. Arch realizes he needs to move on since not only is three a crowd but he finds Hannah attractive as well. Ms. Bloom dominates every frame she's in, building a complicated, nuanced character. But this is still a Western, and there's a violent shootout after Arch is kidnapped by some thugs who he and Harry had run afoul at the beginning of the story. It's about one of the most realistic, choreographed gun plays I've ever watched.
Peter Fonda does an adept job of directing though I could do without the slo-mo and the ocassional out-of-focus angles that were all the rage of the late sixties and early seventies cinema. That trivial note aside, this is a fine film for fans of westerns and Warren Oates aficionados alike, especially those who wish to get away from exhausted tropes that plague the genre. And perhaps because of the unorthodox approach, I wasn't surprised to read The Hired Hand was a commercial failure on its initial release—now it's regarded as one of the defining films of the 1970s. I obviously agree, and the next time I'm watching, I'll plan on making it a double feature with another revisionist gem, Robert Altman's acclaimed McCabe & Mrs. Miller that was released the very same year.
Thursday, August 20, 2020
Johnny Cash: Love, God, Murder
Johnny Cash (1932-2003) was one of the voices surrounding my cradle. In a small home in Varna, New York, would have been my dad, mom, and sister, and a baritone voice from an 8-track tape player singing about heady topics which I would learn to understand in the years to come. My musical interests expanded beyond country to rock, classical, and my go to favorite jazz. But even today, that deep voice and those songs still capture my attention, and before he died, Johnny Cash gifted us with a compilation titled Love, God, Murder (2000) with liner notes by Bono, Quentin Tarantino, and Johnny's lovely wife, June Carter Cash.
The "Murder" collection of songs has been playing on my Bose nonstop for weeks, whether I'm tinkering with a poem, editing a crime story for the BEAT to a PULP webzine, or riding the killing trail with Cash Laramie, who, yes, I partly named after Johnny. Inspirations abound. Take a song like "Don't Take Your Guns to Town," about a young man named Billy Joe who wants to be respected and rides into town with his guns hanging at his side. Hear that song just once and a movie begins playing out inside your head that could have been directed by John Ford. You see his mom crying over him and that dusty cowpoke laughing him down at the bar. It's not just a song but a narrative that gets into your ear and under your skin, and no matter how much you don't want Billy to make that fatal mistake to draw his pistols, he will again and again.
Another classic, "Delia's Gone," is about an unfaithful wife who's killed by the narrator. Unlike "Don't Take Your Guns to Town," there is no sympathetic protagonist, rather a jealous husband who appears to gleefully enjoy the path he takes—Cash was never afraid to go there in what Tarantino calls hillbilly thug life. I especially relish this particular compilation for the various points of view, whether from people witnessing a president's assassination in "Mister Garfield," a prisoner fantasizing about breaking out of Folsom prison, a man admitting to a murder to protect his best friend's wife from the shame of their affair, or an honest policeman allowing his criminal brother to get away "'cause a man who turns his back on his family ain't no good." That song, "Highway Patrolman," was written by Bruce Springsteen, and it has always impressed me how Cash could interpret other people's songs, slipping them into his own music book for a seamless listen. He's covered songs from a wide range of artists, from Hank Snow to Trent Reznor, with the ability to make them his own. How does he do it? I believe it's because his voice speaks with an authority that seems from The Almighty himself.
Any other Cash aficionados? What's your favorite song or album?
Monday, August 17, 2020
Cash Laramie, The Outlaw Marshal
I'm not sure why Cash Laramie returned, and quite frankly, I wasn't looking forward to it because I thought his story arc had been fully realized. Still, a few weeks ago, the antihero I created many moons ago tapped on my shoulder with a well formed short story. Over the course of an afternoon, I knocked out the rough draft and have been polishing it up ever since. It reminded me that stashed in my coffer was a Nik Morton* novel called Death For a Dove featuring both Cash and his fellow marshal, Gideon Miles, and I immediately began readying that dynamite for publication.
On Twitter, I teased Cash's return and was astonished anyone had remembered, but many did with enthusiasm. To tease a bit further, my story takes place in 1902 when Cash is fifty years old and has pursued a wanted man from his home base in Cheyenne to New York. Nik's upcoming piece occurs in the 1880's on a riverboat with owlhoots, gamblers, a European princess, and a tiger! I enjoy working with Nik -- besides being a top wordsmith, he's been with me and these creations since the beginning. We've already begun plotting more Westerns for 2021. Well, time to stop yapping and get writing.
*Nik recently wrote about the previous Cash and Miles adventure, Coffin for Cash (2015): Disinterring Coffin for Cash - 1 | Disinterring Coffin for Cash - 2.