Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Very Merry Un-New Year!

For me this is a totally artificial, made-up holiday still Ill bow to tradition and hope that the Wheel of Fortune turns well for you all in 2015.

We are bound, unfortunately, to the Christian calendar  but the pagans actually have this right: the year ends on October 31 and begins on November 1.

And really  if youre vowing to do something differently today, then youre doing something wrong the rest of the year. In the words of the Great Sage Buster Brown: Its the fellow who does wrong who resolves to do right."

Looking Back Through the Playbook

... I am reminded by my friend BC that I posted my Pornographic Version of "Frosty The Snowman" way, way back in 2010 when the blog was still in its early, unformed days and I was still basically a mess and using this as self-therapy.

Well, I say some things are too good to get lost in time! Here it is, in all its glorious Disrespect:

-- Freder.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Duck Soup's Un-Holiday Graphic Novel Sale!

I have a few too many copies of my graphic novel series sitting here in my office, taking up much-needed shelf space. So -- because I want to A) get rid of them and B) encourage folks to try them -- especially B -- I'm offering them on sale here for about half-price.

That's the equivalent of a movie matinee ticket for all the adventures in Space and Depression-Era Hollywood that you can shake a stick at. Although why you'd shake a stick at it is anyone's guess. 

The running time of the sale isn't limited, but the quantities are very limited. This special price on the books is only available on this page, in this post, using the special PayPal links below. 

If all this has you scratching your head and thinking "What the heck?" you can learn all about Tinsel*Town by clicking here, and all about Quirk by clicking here -- or click around over there in the sidebar for both -- plus a whole lot of other stuff worth your attention. 

QUIRK vol. 1, "Pulp Friction" and QUIRK vol. 2, "Termination Alley"

TINSEL*TOWN vol. 1, "Ashcan Blues" and TINSEL*TOWN vol. 2, "Love & Death"

QUIRK vol. 1, "Pulp Friction" -- single copy SALE:

TINSEL*TOWN vol. 1, "Ashcan Blues" -- single copy SALE:

Happy Un-Holidays, Y'all!


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I See Dead People

I saw my mother in a dream again last night. This happens on average about once a month.

I went over to the old house and found her there, looking a decade younger than was when she died, and standing on her own two legs -- no canes and no prosthetic.

She's unhappy about what's happening there, as am I. I do honestly think that it's a sin to tear down something that other people built and cared about. 

We came up to the back of the house, the northwest side, and saw that all of the walls had been ripped out and the house was standing open to the air. We went in, and there were just piles and piles of things that I had left behind, being sold in a kind of rummage sale by the new owners before they take the whole place down. While she kept them occupied I loaded up my car with stuff, telling myself that it wasn't stealing, because it was mine, I had simply not been able to take it with me at the time. Then the dream changed into something else, and I was far away in another situation.

Mom now knows that she is dead. This is a change from earlier encounters with her in the dream world.

She is not happy with me. The last time I saw her, before last night, was in a dream that was quite similar, except that she just stared at me, not speaking, from the back seat of the car while I loaded it up with all the cherished things that I had left behind. 

The house actively started falling apart almost the moment that she died, as if she had been the glue holding it together. Once, during the summer after she was gone, I found water literally running down the inside walls ... true, I had left the windows open that day, but it had not been raining. I attributed it then to the awful humidity we had been experiencing but I lived in that house for 35 years in all sorts of conditions and never saw water running down the inside walls before. It was like the house was weeping.

Now I worry that she's stuck over there, all alone with the house coming down around her, leaving her with no place to be connected to. Is it possible to invite a ghost to come and live in another place? Would I even want to do that? No wonder she's not happy with me.

-- Freder.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Leaving The Zirkus...

At last, at last, at lonnnng last, the companion book to my Tarot of the Zirkus Mägi is finally completed, in the can, and on sale now. This was easily the most painful aspect of my whole “tarot journey” and I’m pretty much ecstatic to have the thing behind me.

But it’s more than just the book: and it comes with a sense of both accomplishment and sadness to note that my time with the Zirkus Mägi — at least my active, creative time — is now done. Of course I’ll still be spending some time promoting the finished product, something I need to do with all my various creative “children,” but the time of actual work, of The Making, is All Out and Over, to paraphrase one of the card meanings.

This brings to mind an aspect of work that faces all creative people at some point: the issue of Completion.

In one facet or another, I have been actively working on the decks and their offshoots for (conservatively) the past twenty months. That’s a fair chunk of time to be focused on a thing: it takes me about that long to write a novel. The Tarot of the Zirkus Mägi has been one of the most significant projects of my creative life, and now it’s done. Complete —

Finishing something can actually kill a creative person. The wise writer, the wise artist, has another project already in the works that they can take up immediately. This can mean the difference between a smooth transition from Route 66 to Highway 99 — or driving off of a cliff.

Just Starting is the hardest thing that any creative person, no matter their discipline, has to face. It’s a lot like trying to start your car when it’s ninety below zero out there. Everything inside you that needs to be flowing in order to accomplish the work is frozen up harder than an Ice Palace. 

So, when you’re faced with the situation of having to start something new while you are simultaneously in free-fall over the ending of your last project, a project that may have been the primary focus of your life for some considerable time… this is a recipe for disaster. 

You must have another project already In Progress when you finish something major. It’s the only way to avoid what could become a catastrophically fallow and depressing period. 

In my case, I have two, and a third in the wings. And thank goodness for that. As an alcoholic, the last thing I can afford to have in my life are Empty Days. 

Take a moment to look back and savor the completion, yes. Take a moment to pat yourself on the back for Having Accomplished Something, and even allow yourself to feel the sense of wistfulness that naturally comes when something that you have been intensely focused on for a long period of time is finally ended. But be sure that you have something else in motion so that you can grab hold and keep right on plugging along. Not following this simple rule will have consequences that some artists never overcome. 

My Tarot of the Zirkus Mägi and its offshoots can all be found here:

Meanwhile, over there in the sidebar you will already find links to the “new” projects that will keep me going. This is one god-damn time in my life where I have been a Good Boy Scout and am fully prepared with something to get me through the let-down.

Good fortune to you on all your great works, my friends.

— Freder.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Just a Thought

I'm going to take the unpopular path on eBooks. Here's why Amazon is right about the cost of eBooks: when you can buy a used copy of the physical book for significantly less than the eBook, eBook prices are too high! Neither the author nor the publisher benefit when we buy used books. But as long as eBooks are more expensive than used, I'm going to buy used every time, or not buy at all. Mainstream Publishers are so freakin' short-sighted on this issue and others that it's no wonder they are dead in the water and don't even know it.

When I publish an eBook version of one of my books, I make sure that it's $5.00 or less. The Kindle version of my novel Persephone's Torch is just a buck-ninety-nine. I don't feel that eBooks should cost more than that. They cost nothing to produce and are 100 percent add-on revenue. In asking publishers to reduce the cost of eBooks, Amazon is still allowing them to sell eBook versions for considerably more than they are worth. 

I've been in the book trade for thirty years and I know how it works. Mainstream publishers are simply Being Greedy on the one hand, and Fearful on the other: fearful that cheap eBooks will kill their sales. This is pure myopic bullshit. Publishers cannot continue to live in the Dark Ages for much longer and expect to survive. 

-- Freder

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

It's a Good Thing...

One year ago yesterday, the Majors version of my TAROT OF THE ZIRKUS MÄGI was funded at Kickstarter! It was the best birthday present anyone could possibly get. Its been a whirlwind year since then with a second successful Kickstarter to fund the complete 78-card deck, and all the activity surrounding the production and distribution of two decks  single-handedly, I might add! Thanks to everyone whose support  and I dont just mean the funding  made it possible. This has been the only truly successful project that Ive ever had, and watching it unfold has been one of the happiest  and most anxious  times of my life. Whats ahead? Not even the cards can tell that...

-- Freder

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