Podcasts You Might Enjoy

 

 

PODCASTS YOU MIGHT ENJOY

(An article that originally appeared in my June Newsletter. Like this? Sign up for my newsletter here:  https://jdhornauthor.com/newsletter-sign-up/)

Of late, on my longer runs, I’ve begun listening to various podcasts. I thought I would share a few I think you all might enjoy. This newsletter, a trio of fictional stories: 

I got hooked by “The Black Tapes Podcast” in which Alex Reagan, a reporter for the Public Radio Alliance, a fictionalized version of Seattle Public Radio, begins a series about people with odd jobs, and stumbles into an occult conspiracy to bring about the end of the world.

Tanis” is a spin-off of The Black Tapes Podcast. In “Tanis,” producer Nick begins investigating stories surrounding something (or someone) known as “Tanis,” a big part of the mystery is that no one seems to know what or who or where this Tanis is.  “Tannis” has more of an “X-Files” vibe than its parent program.  MK—a young woman Nick hires to do deep dive research, aka “hacking”—might be seen by some as a “Mary Sue” character, but if so, she is an incredibly fun Mary Sue character.

My only real issue with “Tanis” is that it begins during the second season of “The Black Tapes Podcast,” and features two colleagues who are both investigating potential apocalypses. There is a lot of crossover between the two, with Alex popping into “Tanis,” and Nick a main character of “The Black Tapes Podcast.” Never is there a moment, though, where they turn to each other and say, “Hey, isn’t it odd that we are both involved in separate, unrelated conspiracies to end the world as we know it?” But, what they hey, they’re just stories, and really entertaining ones.

But wait, there’s more. “The Last Movie” is a spin-off of the spin-off, “Tanis.” MK and Nick, while concurrently dealing with mysterious and lethal “Tanis” forces, investigate a lost movie, reputed to drive those who watch it insane.  This one is actually my favorite of the three. One short, fast-paced season. “The Black Tapes” really needs one more season to wrap the story up, whereas “Tanis” has kind of run its course. “Tanis” has been optioned for development by M. Night Shyamalan.

 

 

 

Hasta la Vista, Twitter

 

 

Hasta la Vista, Twitter

 

After some deliberation—honestly not a lot of it, as I’m just so fed up with social media—I’ve decided to kill my Twitter account. There are a few reasons why I’m doing so:

First, for me it’s a waste of time and creative energy. I get caught up in anger at the atrocities committed by our current so-called leaders and end up going down a rabbit hole that eats up many hours of my day. That would be fine if I believed I was actually improving the situation with my furious likes, retweets, and ever so clever bon mots. I’ve loved seeing what the Parkland students have done of late, and there are a few other powerful voices, but I’ve come to believe that Twitter is FOR ME only providing the illusion of activism. If I’m going to inspire likeminded individuals and change the hearts and minds of those who don’t see the damage being done to this country and the world, I’m more likely to do so through the stories I tell and the characters I create than through social media.

Next, I am appalled that Twitter continues to provide a safe space for Nazis and white supremacists.

Twitter supposedly has standards, but to me it looks like they only enforce the rules when it comes to people they aren’t afraid of. One orange shitgibbon can threaten nuclear war. A domestic terrorist organization can put out videos threatening everyone who dares to stand up against them, but since the terrorist organization is the NRA, Twitter is too damned afraid to shut them down.

Twitter supposedly has standards, but to me it looks like they only enforce the rules when it comes to people who lack influence. It appears to me that there’s a different, much looser set of rules for the rich and famous.

Then there’re the bot accounts— from the now quaint “Buy Followers Now” accounts to the Russian MAGAbot accounts that are helping to erode our democracy a bit more every day—Twitter just doesn’t seem to have the will or wherewithal to clean out. Oh, by the way, did you know the Russians are now adding bots that agree with liberal values to sow further discord into our society. Twitter and Facebook are the greatest tools of war the Russians have ever found.

On the business and personal side, Twitter has not struck me as the best place to put my marketing/promotional resources. I have thousands of followers but am pretty sure only around 20 are going to notice I’ve closed out—and only about half of those are going to care. Even though I’m probably going to kill my Facebook account—for many of the same reasons as my Twitter account—sometime later this year also, at least my page followers are there to interact with me. Communicating via Twitter is like shouting across a football field in the middle of the Super Bowl halftime show.

If you’re actually interested in what I’m up to, the best place to find out now is by signing up for my somewhat quarterly newsletter at https://jdhornauthor.com/newsletter-sign-up/ or (at least for now) slipping over to catch me on Facebook.

 

 

 

Newsletter, Giveaways, Anthology

Lots of Updates

 

  • First of all, I’m down over 40 pounds and have signed up for my first half-marathon (in like a million years) in February.  Yay!
  • I’ve created a somewhat quarterly newsletter. Sign up for it here:  https://jdhornauthor.com/newsletter-sign-up/
  • I’ve created a discussion group (Scribbles and Tantrums) on Facebook. Doing a lot, and I mean a lot, of giveaways of some pretty nifty prizes (signed books, Kindles and Kindle Fires, gift cards, etc.) between now and January 23rd when “The King of Bones and Ashes” debuts. To join the group, go here:    https://www.facebook.com/groups/1136147649849026/
  • There will be a release event on the group Scribble and Tantrums for “The King of Bones and Ashes.” Giveaways, chatting, and a “Ask Me (almost) Anything.”
  • My publisher, 47North, will be hosting a Goodreads giveaway of the Kindle version of “The King of Bones and Ashes” 12/26/2017 through 1/22/2018. They’ll be giving away 100 copies.   https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/271797-the-king-of-bones-and-ashes
  • I’m scheduled to appear at Emerald City Comic Con:

Saturday, March 3

Title: Making the Impossible Possible: Creating the Rules of Magical and Futuristic Worlds

Description: Whether they’re creating a brand-new system of magic or designing a future world inspired by real-life science, great sci-fi and fantasy writers understand that even make-believe has to have some rules to make it work for readers. Join this panel of bestselling authors as they reveal how they invent, reinvent, and create worlds that defy the possible while being completely believable.

Date: Saturday, March 3

Time: 12:15 PM – 1:15 PM

Location:  WSCC 603

Speakers: Jason Kirk, J.D. Horn, Jeff Wheeler, Charlie N. Holmberg, Emily R. King, Marko Kloos, Peter Klines

Post-Panel Autographing Time: 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM

  • “The Demons of King Solomon” anthology,  edited by Aaron French and featuring stories from Seanan McGuire, Jonathan Maberry, Richard Chizmar, Whitley Strieber, myself,  and others great writers, has just been released by JournalStone.  My short story “Class of 72” appears in it. “Class of 72” features the demon Abyzou. I know many of you are sensitive to stories featuring children, so if you pick it up, promise you’ll hang in there with me till the last sentence. You know I’ll take you dark places, but I always bring you back. Get “The Demons of King Solomon” here:  https://www.amazon.com/Demons-King-Solomon-Aaron-French-ebook/dp/B078HW9LMY/   OR order through your favorite Indy bookstore OR even better, ask your librarian to order a copy for you local library branch.

 

100% of My Royalties for September Sales Going to Non-profit Orgs

This posting is a bit of a laundry list.

First of all, I’m happy to announce that 100% of my net royalties (my royalties less agent cut) for all sales in September will be going to non-profits who combat the sins of racism, misogyny, homophobia, and hatred of Jews and Muslims.

My net royalties for September sales will be split evenly among the following organizations:

Human Rights Campaign
NAACP
Southern Poverty Law Center
Lambda Legal
The Trevor Project
EMILY’s List
ADL – Anti-Defamation League

So, if you’ve been considering picking up a new short story or one of my novels, September would be a good month to do so.

I’m also on my way to Dragon Con in Atlanta. 

Dragon Con – September 1-4, Atlanta, Georgia (http://www.dragoncon.org/)

Friday:

10:00 p.m. A Delicate Balance: Darkness and Light in UF
It isn’t always easy to find humor when the fate of the world may be at stake, but our panelists will share how they lighten the serious aspects of their stories and worlds with humor.
Panelists: Patricia Briggs, Delilah S. Dawson, J.D. Horn, Chloe Neill, R.R. Virdi, Jeri Westerson,

Saturday:

10:00 p.m. Malevolent Magic
Often in urban fantasy, magic proves more detrimental than helpful. Our panelists discuss this aspect of their own magic systems, and the role it plays in their stories.
Panelists: Myke Cole, J.D. Horn, James A. Hunter, Kevin O. McLaughlin, Chloe Neill, Linda Robertson

Monday:

1:00 p.m. The Daily Grind: Mundane Jobs and the UF Protagonist
Fighting supernatural threats doesn’t always pay the bills, so some characters have to also have regular, mundane jobs. Our panelists discuss how their protagonists balance the two aspects of their lives.
Panelists: David B. Coe, J.D. Horn, J.F. Lewis, Gail Z. Martin, Samantha Sommersby, Debbie Viguié

And finally, I’m still coming along  with the weight loss program. Down around 15 pounds, aiming for another 20-25.  I’m hoping to be in decent enough shape to run the Carlsbad Half Marathon this upcoming January. So far, prospects look good.

Run, Fat Boy, Run

I’ve gone back and forth about whether I should publicly address the weight loss journey I recently began. I’ve decided that I would for a couple of reasons. First of all, it well help keep me on track, and secondly, I suspect many of you might identify with the issue.

I’ve always struggled with my weight. I was a fat kid up until my sophomore year in high school. (And every ex-fat kid knows, you carry that kid with you no matter what shape you’re in.) From that point on, I worked hard through diet and exercise to maintain a healthy weight. My weight fluctuated a bit over the years, but stayed within an acceptable range.

Around fifteen years ago I started working for a major tech company that will go unnamed (although you’re probably using at least one of their products to read this post).  There was a lot of travel, a lot of restaurant food, and a long commute each way.  These factors plus my propensity for stress eating combined to take me from a 180 pound guy who once jogged to work to a guy who was pushing 240.

After I left the company, I made some significant changes in my life. I ended up joining Weight Watchers and over a period of around six months worked my way down to around 170. I was feeling good and started running again. This time, I took the running more seriously and trained to do a half-marathon. Had great fun doing it, and over the next few years completed around thirty half-marathons and two marathons.

And then I injured myself.

I am a total and complete klutz. If you hear the sound of breaking glass, it’s a good bet I’m nearby. Part of my gracelessness includes having seriously sprained my ankle a half dozen times.  On a trail half-marathon, I flipped it one direction, thought my run was over, realized I could still run-limp my way back down the mountain, then flipped it the other direction about a mile later. I still had four miles to go.

I made it down under my own steam, but the damage was done. My foot wobbled. I underwent a surgery to stabilize my ankle, figuring I’d get back to normal in a few months. My surgeon told me I would never be able to run a full marathon again as the work he had done couldn’t handle the stress of it, but I could work up to doing half-marathons again. Not a huge loss for me as I love running half-marathons and despise running the full ones. (I mean, a marathon isn’t two half-marathons. It’s more like six as the difficulty grows exponentially with the miles. Just my take. Don’t hate on me.)

But I never made it back. Another injury (told you I was a klutz) to my knee took me out again. Even though I’ve continued to work out (weights, kettle bells, spin), I’ve allowed my eating to spin out of control. Yep. That old enemy stress eating.

Additionally, as you may have guessed, a writer can end up leading a sedentary lifestyle if she or he doesn’t make a point of keeping moving.  I’ve written three books over the time I’ve been gaining weight, the tightly-spaced deadlines helping to keep me tied to the desk. (Not complaining. I’m thrilled to have a publisher that wants to publish my books and readers who want to read them. It’s only I failed to take responsibility for my health during this period, and used the writing as an excuse–all the while my hand moving from the bag of tortilla chips to my mouth.)

I hit a bottom with my weight a week and a half ago, and realized that I needed to regain control of my eating and my life. I was letting my shame over having put on a lot of weight keep me from taking the steps I knew I needed to take. I mean, the thought of stepping on a scale to see how bad things had gotten took a lot of effort. But, I did it, and, well, I found myself needing to lose 33 pounds.

I’ve gone back to what helped before (Weight Watchers), and have since come down around 4 pounds. So that’s 29 to go.  I’ve committed to running a half (first half of the San Francisco marathon, one of my favorites) with my step-daughter next summer, and am considering signing up for the Carlsbad Half that will take place in January.  I’ll check back in on that one with you in a bit.

Anyway, if you identify, I’d love to hear from you. I’ll share every so often about my progress, and I hope you’ll share about yours with me.

 

 

 

 

Obsessing Over Twin Peaks

Okay. I’m one of those people who, after episode 8 of Twin Peaks 2017, have been obsessing about the surreal segment that dominated the episode. Here are a few things that have popped up during my cogitations.

A Damn Fine Cup of Coffee

Okay. This is a bit convoluted, so hang with me.

David Lynch and Mark Frost first collaborated on a screenplay about the life of Marilyn Monroe (http://www.harpersbazaar.com/culture/film-tv/a9914699/twin-peaks-marilyn-monroe-inspiration/).

The project was shelved, Lynch has been reported as saying for political reasons. He reputedly believes that Monroe was murdered because of her connection to the Kennedys. Laura Palmer’s murder was inspired by Lynch’s theories about Monroe’s death.

President John Kennedy’s life was, of course, also tragically cut short when he was assassinated on November 22, 1963. Millions of Americans, mostly housewives, were watching As the World Turns when Walter Cronkite broke in to the program to announce that Kennedy had been shot. In the scene immediately preceding the announcement,  Will “Pa” Hughes and his daughter-in-law Nancy–two well-loved characters–were shown sitting down to coffee. The news break occurred, and was followed by a commercial.

Here’s that commercial:

Enter the conspiracy theorists.

Now, please keep in mind, I am in no way a believer in what I’m about to report. And I am also in no way aligned with the political, or religious, or any other views of the person who shared this video to Youtube. This was simply the least outrageous version of the commercial I could find to share.

As you watch the commercial, you may connect, as many conspiracy believers have, the swinging pendulum of the clock (mirrored by the swinging spoon), to a hypnotist’s pendulum.  Some conspiracy theorists believe that the commercial’s aim wasn’t to sell coffee, but to hypnotize viewers into accepting spurious information about the assassination.

Now, I don’t believe the masses were being hypnotized any more by this commercial than we are by any commercial out to inspire us to part with money. But I do believe this is precisely the type of thing David Lynch would seize on and weave into the fabric of Twin Peaks. “Wait a minute. Wait a minute.” Agent Cooper–who due to his wardrobe and hair bears more than a superficial resemblance to the 1963 commercial coffee drinker–holds back the waitress before he declares the coffee damn fine, echoing the commercial’s plea for extra time when brewing New Minute Brew Nescafe.

A Small Box of Chocolate Bunnies

“Dianne, I’m holding in my hand a small box of chocolate bunnies.”

So my line of thinking may seem a bit tenuous here, but I believe in many ways, David Lynch keeps telling THE SAME STORY.  I believe he revisited the Palmer family in 2002 with his web series Rabbits.

This small box of brown (chocolate) rabbits reminds me of the Palmer family. How about you?

The Rabbits series also made an appearance in Lynch’s 2006 film, Inland Empire. I haven’t seen the film–though I now intend to.  In the film, a young prostitute, referred to in the credits as “the lost girl,” watches the program while weeping. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inland_Empire_(film))

Laura. Laura. Laura.

The Origin of Bob

Inland Empire appears to bring us full circle back to Twin Peaks.

In Inland Empire, there’s a reference to a folktale where “…a boy who, sparking a reflection after passing through a doorway, ’caused evil to be born.'” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inland_Empire_(film))

Just a little thought here, but sparking a reflection after passing through a doorway sure sounds like an apt description of the Trinity nuclear bomb leading to Bob invading our reality.

That’s it from me now. Maybe more after this week’s episode.

 

Travels with Quentin

Just came across the videos I made of my dear little Quentin during one of the research trips we made to the Lowcountry of Savannah and Charleston.

Daddy still loves you, my little buddy.