The Wolves of Midwinter

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

In our world of sensory overload, finding quietude can be an impossible task. Religious discussions can be a difficult task due to the reality of this fabricated world. Temporarily, it coaxes us and dangerously distracts us from our intimate connection to the unknown qualities of the metaphysical. When refaced with these unanswerable questions once again, we grudgingly accept them to filter through our heads for a few minutes. As the delirium overtakes from the confusion these questions create. We divert ourselves once again into the passive, ignorant world whose spectacles lightly remind us again of these troubling questions.

I bask in this unfamiliar realm of incessant questions. For me, this world inspires me to write when the other world only deters me effectively. In this insular world filled with unverified notions, I can craft some narrative that seeks to offer a viable explanation for the mysterious forces that pervade this separate, uninhabited dimension.  Even when these stories require me to stall the constant stream of anxiety within my body. This constant stream of anxiety, this miasma of hypothetical thoughts, allows me to breathe in this world.

What do I speak of when referring to this world? I am speaking about the imagination, the muse, the world crafted by our pensive selves.  The Greeks beheld this world because sometimes it was the only safe realm to inhabit. They resided in it and allowed the thread of questions to draw lines between the innumerable stars that stretch themselves across the sky. With their imaginations, they could conceive ideas of love that are largely restricted in their material world.

Now in our material world, we're neglecting this internal world of ours. We fear that this beautiful sanctuary of ours is not permissible in a pragmatist's world. Instead, we must attempt to eradicate or repress any inclination to once again visit this world. Futilely, we must do the unthinkable and suppress our  one connection to the metaphysical. Instead, we must make the metaphysical practical and easily explained.

With institutionalized religion, we simply codify religious information. There will never be one more moment of thinking of a God that's free of boundaries or prejudices. Soon enough, we ascribe to the belief in the institutionalized God. This God is devoid of mystery, wonder,love, forgiveness, and prudence. Instead this God is corporeal, limited, petty, and vindictive. We allow him to exist through our fear of defying the greater human power. They've indicated to us that this God provides the only pathway to heaven. Any type of extrapolation about an alternative would lead oneself down to hell.

With this, we neglect our spiritual bodies or our only pathway to the enigmatic metaphysical realm. Our minds become inundated with  facts remembered by rote memorization. A large percentage of our brains becomes unused and forgotten. Only the paltry 20 or 30% becomes utilized and these only work as memory cells that retain the religious information. Anxiety and depression threaten to surmount our minds through the determination of our spiritual selves. Yet we prescribe these things with trite prayers and uninspired mantras. God only becomes our Lexapro that's  taken to suffuse us with a pretense of meaning to the world.

Through God's eyes, we've always been dead. We're thoughtless, ignorant, and belligerent robots. Our souls have been seeking that connection through ourselves by wanting us to become catatonic. Because, only through that would a few humans see the wonders of our souls and possibly find our true destinies. People will barrage us with judgments because they only understand the dark world without mirth. But, we do not need to sustain ourselves through feigned happiness or acceptance. According to our souls, we are meant for something far greater than the imposed sense of ourselves.

We are the ones who are spirited in our protests against all forms of injustice. Through our ensouled selves, we sight the troubles of the world. Empathy becomes our means of synthesizing the many types of information or knowledge in the world. Because we see with empathetic eyes or discerning ones, the world abhors us. All types of archaic classifications are destroyed in our minds. We know these sorts of classifications were designed to preserve the superficial world that sees without empathy. These classifications are a means of controlling every single individual. We're the ones who can see past the falsity of the "matrix" world. Our souls have allowed us to do that. The fabricated hierarchy has been used to disguise the true evil for far too long. The inquisitive know that the gay population, the feminists, the artists, and the liberals are not the antagonists.

We've abandoned the indoctrinated information that we digested with our soulless selves. For a time, we saw the world that was void of artistry. Our only aesthetics were  the artificiality of your beliefs, the lack of love that you seem to exude. Reading books, appreciating art, and listening to music has rendered that world of yours an illusion. In ourselves, we hunger love, substance, and authenticity. With the short allotted time to exist, we are no longer abiding by your laws of a empty world.

Like the Greeks before us, we will stare at the myriad of stars  that are resplendent in the sky. This panorama gives justice to the mystery and the glory of this universe and the incorporeal universe. Internally, we believe in the cause that wrought this effect, God. But the God we sight cannot be manipulated or modified. Our lives themselves become manifested by the attempts we make to understand the inexplicable. We'll live our short lives with love and autonomy. Moreover, we want our spiritual journeys to be authentic rather than created by some human force.

Monday, August 09, 2010


Anne Rice has reentered the minds of many with her recent statement about her need to leave the church of her childhood. Without too much focus being put upon this statement, I'll simply say that I greatly admire her for the honesty and authenticity involved with this statement. Many prolific authors are greatly inhibited by the reality of their fame. They cower from the reality that any comment made by them  about religious views will be divisive. As result, their book sales could be negatively impacted by their statement. In Anne Rice's case, I note that the honesty associated with her causes her to be a greatly admired individual. Therefore, I firmly believer her book sales will be positively affected due to her close adherence to her true feelings about certain issues. 

Now her book, "The Witching Hour," predated her 1998 conversion and was written during her famed atheist years. The book itself contains about 1,000 pages, making this one a prodigious novel of hers. Glancing at it, anyone can see that the book's size was inspired by her reverence for Charles Dickens works.  With opulent environments, eccentric personages, and rich prose, her books certainly are respectful of the unappreciated 19th century form of writing. Nearly every sentence of this novel proves that Anne Rice continues to be a rare talent who has been unfairly scoffed at. Like Charles Dickens or even Thomas Hardy, she's an unsullied writer who abides by her rules of writing rather than another individual's restrictions. For these reasons, her novels are purely her product rather than a novel whose various elements were compromised in efforts to please a certain critic.

Throughout reading this novel, the experience itself reflected one of appraising artwork. From the beginning, we are thrust into the enigmatic world of the Mayfair Witches. The omnipresent dark tones of the novel obscure the various pieces of the witch's history. Similar to Thornfield  manor in Jane Eyre, we form the picture of the melancholic mansion in our heads. We initially question the veiled elements of this family's history or the back story of certain residents of this mansion. Anne Rice tactfully hides these characters and slowly pulls the descriptive curtains of the story away. Slowly, various elements of the story are cast in the light of knowledge. In nearly every gothic novel, the darkness is dimly presented so we are able to explore the unexplored regions of the world. Normally, in reality, we are restricted from these dark regions due to the widely accepted belief that they may taint our spirits. Good Gothic novels, like "The Witching Hour," allow us to safely explore these elements and begin to see potential paths of redemption for many of these misunderstood characters.

Anne Rice's infamous flowery prose attests to her appreciation of nineteenth century literature. Her sentences, out of context, are a work of art to behold and attempt to replicate. There's been instances where I have purposelessly slowed the pace of my reading to admire the beauty of her sentences. One of her greatest skills lies with her ability to instantaneously transport the reader  to the world of her narrative. The world itself is beatific and full of richly detailed objects. Sometimes, I desperately want to remain camped in one of her environments without proceeding to the story's narrative because they're so intoxicating.

Thematically, the story truly reveals the author's ever-present faith in God or the fervent need to understand God. Nearly all her characters reflect those individuals who live in a realm separated from God. While they do practice their family's Catholic faith, many of the individuals are mentally apathetic to God. They haven't had any real experience with something metaphysical that would prove God's existent. Therefore, they have remained in their insular world of riches and have made the progression of their family's line their top priority. Their dynasty in some sense has been shaped into their replacement religion. While the Catholic religion they allege to follow acts as a decoy that dissuades people from delving into their true history. 
Anne Rice unknowingly has perfectly fabricated a earthbound hell dimension. The Mayfair witch manor works as an inescapable purgatory that worships self progression over the selfless discovery towards God. Michael Curry penetrates this world and encourages the uninvolved Rowan to participate with him. Some unknowable force actually thrusts Michael into this entire conflict. God never represents himself in this novel but he works inexplicably in the hearts of Michael and Rowan. He aids them in a treacherous battle against an maleficent spirit and the godless world of the Mayfair's.   In the remainder, one can only deduce that this battle will begin to manifest while the story develops the many supporting details that enrich the experience.

In  conclusion, I'll admit that I greatly misunderstand the belief that Anne Rice happens to be a heretical writer. How could I defend that erroneous statement when nearly every novel read by her has revealed the opposite? Anne Rice has always unconsciously written spiritual novels that reveal the inherent need for substantial meaning in our lives. Without that persistent belief in something that supersedes us and can ultimately fulfill us, we become disconsolate much like the Mayfair Witches. Furthermore, we begin seeking out other means to satiate that void. In this book, the witches depend upon shaping a cult and the vampires do so by living immortally by the aid of drinking blood.  Both series are integral pieces to fully understanding the complicated nature of Anne Rice's beliefs. 

Sunday, August 08, 2010


1.Instead of asking the generalized question of "When did you know you wanted to be writer?" I wanted to ask if you vividly or vaguely recall any early story ideas during your childhood? If so, what one story idea did you have?
1. It seems like I was always making up stories for my own enjoyment. The earliest memory I have of that involved a writing assignment in third grade. We were supposed to write a book report, but instead my submission was a complete rewrite of the book?s ending. Sadly, the teacher made me do the assignment over.

2. What particular writers consciously or unconsciously inspired aspects of your story?
2. I think I was most inspired by the S&S writers I enjoyed as a young adult (Howard, Leiber, Moorcock). I'm not sure how much of that bleeds through into my own writing, but mentally that?s where my stories begin.

3. After reading through your story, were you able to note any unintended themes which unknowingly crept their way into the story?
3. Sure. The first draft of any story is a mishmash of ideas. It's not until I go back and comb through it that I can identify anything resembling a theme. One theme that I did not intend, but it crept into the book anyway, was the idea of redemption. I really didn't know Caim (the main character) had such depth until I saw for myself the lengths he was willing to go to redeem himself

4.Was the impetus of your story a dream or a hypothetical situation? If not any of these, could you describe the beginning stages of the story?
4. It began with the situation: an unsuspecting person caught up in a political/quasi-religious drama. The idea that the main character would have the ability to manipulate shadows also came very early. But I didn't know he would be an assassin. That came later when I borrowed some aspects of a novella I'd written some years before.

5. Do you utilize music as a means for story inspiration? Meaning, do you play certain songs, while writing, in an attempt to enhance a certain emotion or bolster the effect of a specific scene?     

5. I do listen to a lot of heavy metal while I'm writing. Perhaps that had something to do with the energy of the fight scenes.

6. About assassins, what type of research was involved in helping to form the story? 

6. Did I actually kill a few people to see how it felt? No, believe it or not, hit-man jobs are hard to come by. Maybe it's the economy. As far as research, I rely mainly on my imagination. I mean, I've been studying martial arts since I was a child, but beyond giving me some perspective on what it is like to be in a fight they don?t really lend much to the equation.

7. Did any of your research involve the psychology of a murderer or murder in general? (From my experience, I know that I have been meticulously researching the psychology of murderers to enable me the skills to make a murderer's malicious choices believable. Then again, my story's mainly a psychological story that involves a boy with innate ability to foretell the deaths of people with who he mistakenly looks in their eyes.)
7.I've been working in juvenile corrections for fourteen years, so I have a sliver of insight into the criminal mindset. And I stole some gum from a store when I was nine years old. Besides that, no. Interviewing real-life murderers doesn't appeal to me. I don?t think they deserve that much attention.

8. Here's a lighter question that does involved too much depth; What's your favorite movie overall?
8.I'm a big fan of movies, so I'm not sure I could choose just one. Does the original Star Wars count as a single movie in three parts?

9. What's your favorite book overall? (You are allowed to list more than one; since I happen to have a myriad of favorite books. It's a number that's so vast that I cannot even recall the exacts any more.)

9.My favorite books are: Anna Karenina, Lord of the Rings, Stranger in a Strange Land, and The Black Company. I could talk all day about any of them.

10.The Conventional question that involves being the Yoda of Aspiring writers: What tips would you offer any aspiring writers?
10. Be fearless. Read everything you can get your hands on (especially in your chosen genre, but outside it as well). Write everyday.

11. Can you offer us the basic premise of the upcoming sequel to "Shadow's Son?" Will it involve a greater number of assassins? More specifically, will there be more intriguing explorations into Caim's psyche?
11. The sequel, Shadow's Lure, will take Caim back to his homeland in the north, where he'll learn how far the Shadow's reach extends.

12. For the final question, this will be the product of my unconventional way of thinking. Could you describe to us concisely how a Valek (from Maria V. Snyder's Study series) and Caim would play out?

12. Hmmm. Well, Caim obviously has the edge in a straight-up duel (*ducks pen hurled by Maria*), but I wouldn?t put it past Valek to slip something into my boy?s drink before the fight. But Kit might warn Caim before he drank it, so he would switch cups with Valek. Ah, but is Valek immune to his own poison? (Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line!) Oh, well, the world may never know...


Shadow's Son by: Jon Sprunk review:

        A normal comment in my book reviews, pertaining to adult fantasy books, includes mention of the surplus of generic fantasy novels that are packed with tireless exposition. Finding these sorts of fantasy novels becomes common when you're the reader like me with a great interest in fantasy books. Except when you envision exceptional fantasy books, you envision one of George R.R. Martin's brilliant books. Because his books immerse immediately and wisely use certain exposition that pays some importance to the plot.
           Shadow's Son was originally discovered by chance through Maria V. Snyder's Myspace Blog. Seeing her review, I gained an immediate interest in the novel. This interest was not developed through my trust alone with Maria V. Snyder's reviews. But also, I noted the appearance of an enigmatic assassin  based upon the cover. Knowing well enough my fascination with assassin stories, I decided to take a chance with this novel.
       Upon first reading it, you are plunged into the action without any cryptic prologues or verbose environment descriptions. The novel begins with the pivotal figure in the novel and proceeds to the main conflict. More specifically, we are offered expert uses of foreshadowing to help us gather an idea of the novel's conflict. With our adrenal energy tapped and working industriously, the reader flips the pages hurriedly in order to continue the novel's fast paced action. During the entirety of this well fashioned first scene, we are not bombarded with useless facts about the universe itself. 

    Wisely, the author carefully utilizes this information appropriately and uses it at a rightful spot. Doing so, he enhances the effectiveness of various scenes. The best example that supports my views lies with the manner that Caim's back story is slowly unclouded.  Simultaneously, we are presented new revelations about the dominant plot while being made more aware of the subplot of Caim's repressed past.  These various plots are handled tactfully by the author who understands the mechanics of story telling. This book's writing style happens to be the antithesis of the represent book of the market. 

     Instead of fashioning a story that resembles a never ending encyclopedia, he vies for a story that is written in a cinematic manner. By stripping away the unnecessary details, he does this successfully. All throughout the story, the story is told from various perspectives. The main focus upon the development upon the focused character permits the readers to imprint themselves onto these various characters. One of my general rules of good story telling involves emotive writing that desires readers to fully participate their complete selves in. When you are not writing a litany of facts about your universe, you enable yourself as a writer to mainly focus upon the characters and the various conflicts that create the needed tension to attract the reader.

  Personally, I felt though certain elements of this story have been used multiple times in many highly recognized works. The author was still able to write a novel that was never pedantic in any  way. When aspects of the story's universe were explored, they were tactically placed in important spots to improve the effectiveness of the story. None of these elements pervaded the wrong sequences that would have otherwise stifled the flow of the story. I honestly was greatly engaged in the story's action throughout. Sometimes the psyches of certain characters were not explored deeply enough or key action sequences seemed a little tiresome. Overall though the novel enthralled me which rarely happens to a highly critical individual like myself. For those reasons, I could easily overlook the novel's few shortcomings because the entertainment value of the novel was high. Yes, I did not glean any fascinating pieces of philosophical information or happen to note many sequences of deep introspection. But the novel is neither a novel that wants to wander too long in those areas. It's predominately a rich cinematic experience that begs to be read in one sitting. In all, I highly recommend it to any readers who want to read something that's purely an entertaining story.  Readers who abhor fantasy books that are pure drudgery to read will especially love this one.