The Important Business of Being Lazy

I’ve been a little busy lately…and a little lazy. First, my old laptop died. Looks like I will have to get another one. I’ve been expecting that because it was old. Other things have been pressing upon my time. The net result is I haven’t been writing.

I’m not too irked about that, either. I’m just in a place right now I don’t really care whether I write or not. I’ve been here before. It will pass. I know from experience it’s not a big thing. Meanwhile, I am still planning my US/Mexico border trip to research the new Haxan novel. I plan to leave April 23, but that date is not set in stone.

Weather has gotten better here in the last week. It has warmed up outside and I need to go walking. It always helps to clear my head and the exercise is an added benefit.

I am debating whether or not I will do a vegetable garden this year. I think I will. Last year it was so hot and dry the garden didn’t do well. I haven’t seen any news it will be better this summer, so I’m not sure how it will turn out. Also, there are some house repairs that have to be done. Everything seems to be crowding in.

But as for writing I am feeling pretty good about where I am so far. Even if I’m not currently writing. I am still excited about the new novel, excited about the trip, and looking forward to getting back to work on it. As I mentioned, I’ve been in this place before. I u+sed to get all upset and angsty about it. Not anymore. I”ve been doing this writing thing long enough to know the current phase will pass.

I know I have also been neglecting this blog. Part of it is because while I am using another laptop, it’s not my laptop. I have to get a new one. I definitely have to get a new one before the border trip! 🙂

All in all, things have been going pretty well. Considering. Quite honestly, I don’t have any room to complain. I need to write more. But every writer always needs to write more so that isn’t earth shattering, either.

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Diana Damrau as Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Die Zauberflote

Many divas have tried their hand at this role.  No one can match Diana Damrau.  She is the Queen of Night.  She’s beautiful and evil and she scares the living hell out of you. Which is what the character is supposed to do.

When she comes at you  with those eyes you can’t help but cringe. She not only sings the part, she plays the part to the hilt and will tear the stage apart in the process.  Other women sing the role but they don’t act it.  Or vice versa.  Damrau does both to perfection.

I’ve seen Damrau twist arms, throw Paminas across the stage, force them to their knees and generally browbeat them into sobbing puddles.  If you’re cast as Pamina against Damrau’s Queen of Night then you’re plain out of luck.  You don’t have to act scared.  You will be scared.

Here are the song lyrics:

The vengeance of Hell boils in my heart,
Death and despair flame around me!
If Sarastro does not through you feel the pain of death,
Then you will be my daughter nevermore.
Disowned may you be forever,
Abandoned may you be forever,
Destroyed be forever
All the bonds of nature,
If not through you Sarastro becomes pale! (as death)
Hear, Gods of Revenge, hear a mother’s curse!

Poor Pamina.  Well, we don’t get to choose our parents. By the way, those are High Fs Damrau is hitting in the signature notes. And she’s so menacing and exudes such venom when she stalks Pamina across the stage.  It sends a chill up the spine.  She’s ready to devour poor Pamina.

Die Zauberflote is not a true opera. There are spoken parts in the production and a lot of idiotic Masonic ritual garbage.  But no one goes to Die Zauberflote to see that, they go to hear Mozart’s music.  I think it’s safe to say if you don’t believe in the Queen of Night character the entire opera suffers.  Some queens you can’t help but laugh at when you see them. They come across as clowns. You will never laugh at Damrau in this production.  She was made for it, and it for her, and it’s well known throughout the operatic universe this was one of her best performances as the Queen of Night.

Damrau retired this singing part in 2006.  Most opera stars sing the role and then put it away forever because it’s so hard on the voice.  Well, like I said, those are High Fs.  A lot of them.

Cow Cabin Camping in Palo Duro Canyon

I got back from my camping trip in Palo Duro and I had a very good time. I have done a lot of tent camping over the years, but I am now a big believer in cabin camping. Or at the very least Cow Cabin Camping.

These cabins were built by the CCC during the 1930s. There’s not much to them inside other than important appliances like a microwave, refrigerator, heat and air conditioning, haha. They also have double bunk beds and ours had a wooden table we could eat at. It was quite comfortable.

I thought they did a very good job landscaping the outside as well. We had a patio and an aluminum picnic table out back along with a water faucet and fire pit. We couldn’t use the fire pit or the fireplace inside the cabin because of the burn ban.

We didn’t see a lot of wildlife like we usually do. This may have been because we went during Spring Break and there were a lot of people in the park. It was nice and quiet and deserted where we were, though.

There are only four cow cabins available and you have to make a reservation. I like Palo Duro Canyon a lot and I hope to get back soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Western Horror, My Interview with Kenneth Mark Hoover” by Darke Conteur

Darke Conteur interviewed me recently and we talked about a lot of things including the current state of publishing and genre. I had a good time doing this interview and I hope you like it, too.

Here’s the link to the interview. Hope you enjoy it and don’t forget to leave a comment and let her know if you enjoyed the interview!

 

Western Horror, My Interview with Kenneth Mark Hoover

 

Dark Secrets of Blood and Mythical Power in the Streets of Haxan

When I wrote “Alpenglow’ I knew I was going to be pushing a boundary or two. Which is fine because that’s how I write anyway and that sort of viewpoint always works well in Haxan.

I’ve had several readers remark how this story creeped them out. I can see why and I’d be less than honest if I said I wasn’t going for that effect. This was a deliberate attempt on my part to show what the Old West was really like (at least from a cultural point of view) and how people reacted to those pressures. Naturally, being Haxan there is a dark undercurrent of fantasy and horror running throughout the story. Well, what else can you expect when a lone mountain man comes down out of Taos into Haxan carrying scalps….?

I am really glad this story is being offered by Argo Navis Publishing. I hope you enjoy reading it and being shaken by it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Have fun!

 

Alpenglow: when the last rays of a setting sun illuminate the snowy peaks...and remind you of your own mortality.

Product Description: A brand new Haxan story! An ancient trapper named Cesar Coffin comes unannounced out of Taos, New Mexico into the grinding maelstrom of Haxan. He has fresh scalps hanging on saddle pommel…and an even darker secret hidden in the fragments of his soul as he seeks to destroy the demon who rules Haxan: Marshal John T. Marwood.

“The Haxan universe is rich with character, history and mythology. Every story is a joy to read.” —Jennifer Brozek, editor and author

Leontyne Price Sings Her Farewell in Aida

Leontyne Price was a famous African American singer.  She was best known for her role as Aida, the black slave girl in the opera of the same name.

During the 50s and 60s she endured racism and other humiliations like not being allowed to sleep in the same hotel as the white singers.  Nevertheless her voice and her talent endured and she became one of the best known and best loved singers in the entire pantheon.

Her signature role, as I said, was as the slave girl in Aida.  During this opera Aida realizes she will never return to Ethiopia and she sings of the love and the heartache she has for a land she will never see again.  It’s heartbreaking.  When Ms. Price left the stage, of course her signature song was going to be “O Patria Mia”.  Everyone was waiting for it.  Emotions were already very high. Everyone throughout the world of opera knew how much the song meant to Ms. Price personally, and could only guess what emotions were raging inside her

This was to be her final curtain call as Aida — she was leaving the world of opera forever.  And then the time came when she had to sing the song on stage…and then she had to stand there and endure the fantastic reaction she knew was going to come from the audience.

Yeah.  It brings the house down. Most times those are just meaningless words. Not this time. Ms. Price brought the house down.

Watch as she stands there and endures the waves of love and emotion that break over her.  She’s about to completely crack open and begin sobbing uncontrollably — the audience is already sobbing and shouting “Brava!” — but she can’t break down because if she does the opera is ruined and she has to go on to sing the next song.

Watch it yourself…and try not to cry as the audience breaks down and says goodbye to a true artist.

http://youtu.be/xGfP38nd-U0

 

Fishing the Styx: Moby-Dick and Dante’s Inferno, with horror and revenge served cold in Hell….

As a writer I like all my stories. I would not submit them for publication if I felt they had nothing to give readers. But I have to admit there are some stories that are very important to me for one reason or another. “Fishing the Styx” is such a story.

I have always loved reading Dante’s Inferno and Melville’s Moby-Dick. They are my favorite classics ever. But I got to thinking about what might be living in the River Styx…and what would happen if you actuallywent fishing for it….

I don’t want to say much more about this unusual story. I will leave it for you to discover what it’s all about. It scared me when I was writing it, and I hope it make you feel the same way after you read it. It’s being put out by Argo Navis Publishing and is available on Kindle. I do hope you give this story a read and leave a review. I honestly hope you like it a lot.

 

Fishing the Styx: A new short SF story from Argo Navis Publishing!

Product Description: “If you can imagine a mashup of Dante’s Inferno with Melville’s Moby Dick, with a little mathematical horseplay along for the ride, maybe you might come close to imagining “Fishing the River Styx”.

“Kisa, a former Russian mathematician is in Hell because that’s what happens to nearly everyone, ferried there from earth by the great Leviathan that swims the mobius strip that is the river Styx, which borders the infnity that is Hell. Enraged by the blatant injustice of it all, Kisa decides to do something about it, and that something is to hunt and kill the Leviathan itself.

“But as the demon Talon points out, “Hell isn’t about punishment. It’s about learning.” So maybe Kisa has something yet to learn. Or not. You have to decide that for yourself. After all, demons lie.” —Richard Parks, fantasist and SF author

Camping Trip

I’m headed to Caprock Canyon and later Palo Duro Canyon this weekend and will be gone through most of next week. I’ll Tweet when I can, but cell service out there is spotty at best.

I’ll take pictures and post them when I get back.

 

“Stagger Lee” by Lloyd Price

As a writer I am fascinated how small and seemingly insignificant events have, through oral repetition, come to play an important part in our culture.

One of these events is the (very real) murder of Bill Curtis by Lee Sheldon, also known as “Stag” Lee.  Down through time his name has become corrupted into Stagger Lee, or Stagolee, sometimes Stackalee, or any other variation you might think of.

I don’t know about you but when viewing this through the lens of a writer I find it fascinating. The acts are so simple and yet they carry so much power. This is a good lesson for a writer, I think.  Here we are with a barroom brawl, and a Stetson hat in 1895, and it becomes legendary in our culture and a mainstay of music.  Wow.  I just can’t wrap my head around that.

Most of us know this song either from the 1995 Nick Cave cover, or the 1959 hit by Lloyd Price. Speaking for myself I prefer the Lloyd Price rendition.  It’s more evocative and much the better constructed narrative.

My New Story! Lisetta Lawrence is a myopic graduate student with knobby knees and a troubled love life….

In the story “Tennessee Waltz” Lisetta Lawrence is the main character. Which is interesting because she was a secondary character from an unpublished novel. But I have know over the years there was more to her story that needed to be told.

I am a writer. I talk about writing in this blog all the time. But I was trained in physics. Lisetta is a character who can bring some parts of that academic world to light, I think. I wrote this story when I was living in Mississippi. I’ve always liked it and I drew on my two years in Tennessee as source material.

I’m very proud of this story put out by Argo Navis Publishing and I really hope you like reading it. There are even a few autobiographical aspects to it as well. You can find it on Kindle and if you do read the story I would very much appreciate if you would take the time to post a review on Amazon. Thanks, guys! 🙂

 

What hidden secret does Lisetta Lawrence find in a Tennessee hollow? And what part does the nameless cat play? Read the story to find out!

 

Product Description: Lisetta Lawrence is a myopic graduate student with knobby knees and a troubled love life. She is sent on a hopeless fact finding mission into a distant Tennessee hollow and discovers a reclusive genius who keeps bees, and a nameless ginger cat that grins at her.

Working together they reveal the true nature of the universe which will change quantum physics, manned space travel, and Lisetta’s life, forever!

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