Just the Beginning

May 21, 2017

   Welcome to my website. As you can see, it’s hardly boring, no recipes, ho heartwarming quotes, no photos of pets, a website entirely devoted to my fantasy character Cullen the Outlander or Cullen Redgust. He’s a sword-swinging muscle boy in the mold of Achilles, not from earth’s distant past but from a distant planet, a planet with twin suns. I haven’t named the world nor have I decided if it’s in this galaxy or some other. Doesn’t matter. This isn’t about space travel or Star Wars crap. It’s about old-time fantasy, a bit reminiscent of the Iliad except its more like the Iliad on steroids (with some peyote mixed in).

   Well, Dennis, you might say, epic fantasy is a dime a dozen. Yes, it is, O insightful one, but this isn’t epic fantasy, it’s swords-and-sorcery, a big fucking difference. Epic fantasy is a long drawn-out tale about some kid on a quest who, along the way, meets up with kindly old wizards, flute-playing elves, dragons, evil sorcerers and fairy maidens, usually a coming-of-age chronicle. In other words, clichéd characters, boring story-lines, and colorless dialogue, writers trying unsuccessfully to copy Tolkien or Game of Thrones. If you’ve read one, you’ve read them all. The Cullen series has nothing but mean motherfuckers with swords. There is magic, but most of it is wielded by creatures that would make Satan wince. And, best of all, it’s on the cutting edge of imagination, imagination that's fresh and original. That's because I write in a vacuum. I don't read fantasy literature because I don't want to be tainted by other people's works. Besides that, I wouldn't wipe my ass with the fantasy lit that's out there.

   As you read my books, you'll find that Cullen's world is dark and foreboding, a place I would never want to visit. Usually though Cullen kicks enough butt by the story's end to let in some light. Unlike most fantasy writers, I write not to escape the world but to try and come to grips with it. I title my stuff Action Fantasy, to distinguish it from other genres, but it's really good ol' swords-and-sorcery. One epic fantasy author told me that his stories have a lot of action like mine. Sure they do. If his stories can compare to the intensity of the Cullen series then I’ll eat dog shit off my lawn. Fantasy writers and enthusiasts despise me because I'm going against the grain, not abiding by any formula or rules they have established and because I don't salute the gods of the field, such as Tolkien, Robert E. Howard, George R.R. Martin, or whomever. I also boast a lot, which is a crude term for marketing. They can go eat dog shit off the lawn.

   My latest novella, "Deathsteel", (yeah, the title is campy but it draws attention) is the third in a trilogy where Cullen, his compadres, and his adversaries are introduced. This third installment probably took over 400 hours to write and rewrite. I ended up with 120+ pages, officially too short for a novel. Now, I don’t know who determined the length of novels, novellas, novelettes, or short-stories. Maybe it was a group of tea-drinking biddies or maybe it was Oprah’s book club. Anyway, "Deathsteel" is longer than Orwell’s "Animal Farm", which is classified as a novel. Go figure. I’ve read "Animal Farm", of course, and my novella is a hell of lot more entertaining and, believe it or not, a lot more complex. All my stories are deep despite all the hacking and slashing, but you'll have so much pleasure reading them that you won't notice, comparable to asparagus covered with chocolate.

   "Deathsteel" was produced during one of the worst times of my life. Consequently, it has a very bitter edge. 2017 started out promising. I wrote my first Western, "Gods and Gunslingers", in January and felt productive and energetic as hell. Then financial difficulties came. I was in danger of foreclosure. A woman who was going to turn one of my stories into a script said I too untalented writer to work with and unfriended me. Fuck the two-faced bitch. A woman was about to sue me because I didn't use her sorry ass illustrations in one of my books. Fuck the scammer. My Western was denounced by women and liberals as being politically incorrect, like I really give a shit. Fuck the liberals. A great job opportunity fell through (all the way to the bottom). Fuck them. A friend and co-worker accidentally killed himself under circumstances I still think are suspicious. Fuck the detectives. And the litany could go on so I’ll stop here. In short, 2017 collapsed around me.

   But I continued writing undeterred. Fuck the world. That’s the difference between a doodler and a writer. A writer writes under the most shitty of circumstances, even if it involves the death of a family member. A doodler writes when he or she is in the mood, when inspiration calls. Oooooooo. Mark Twain wrote without interruption, even on the day his daughter died. Do see the distinction?

   I started a couple of yarns but pushed them aside because I couldn't figure out where they were leading. That happens. I'm letting them stew a while, maybe for a few months or a few years. Always have a beginning and ending in mind when you write fiction and the middle will always fall into place. Finally, I penned a short-story in a few days entitled "A Woman Lost", a psychological-horror tale about a young woman snared between two worlds. Either one could be real or imaginary, a quandary I left the reader to decide. Incredibly, the story sparked no criticisms, no outages, no debates, not even from the feminist crowd. The piece was a colossal departure for me because I was writing from the perspective of a female.

   Now, I’m the last male on earth who, after two marriages and a daughter, can understand female psychology. Women to me are more inscrutable than the pyramids of Giza. This defies the old adage "Write about only what you know about." If that's the case I'd only be writing about good ol' boy rednecks drinking beer and driving pickups. A better adage would be "Write only from your own perspective."  That doesn't necessarily mean race or gender. it could also mean socio-economic conditions. The protagonist in "A Woman Lost" comes from working class background such as myself. My novella "the Hoodoo Kid" examines the struggle of poor blacks in rural Louisiana in the early 1900's. Cullen Redgust hails from a modest family living in a modest village. He lives a simple almost Spartan existence, no frills, no luxuries, no niceties. If Cullen were living in present-day America, chances are he'd be driving a pickup, getting in brawls, listening to George Strait, and throwing his beer cans in the truck bed. Hmm, that's an idea. Maybe next year he could teleport to earth.

   Well, enough of this dribble. Look around my website, there's a lot to explore. I'll try to update it off and on. So, keep coming back. As Cullen might say,"May the Holy Mother and Father bless you."

 

 

 

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