RIP The Monster Librarian

Posted in Celebrity Passings on April 17, 2014 by cairnwood

I just got this email from Dylan Kowalewski’s wife, Kirsten —

I am sad to report that Dylan passed away early this morning. It was a complete surprise. He was in the emergency room yesterday, and in considerable pain, but they weren’t able to identify what was wrong and sent him home. He has frequently been in pain, so we didn’t realize anything unusual was going on.


Dylan was a great guy, a huge supporter of my work, and a good friend. My heart goes out to everyone who knew and loved him.

Godspeed, Monster Librarian. You will be truly missed.


Words of Fury

Posted in Writing in Theory & Practice on April 17, 2014 by cairnwood


In the Eye of the Storm.

See you on the other side.

My watch begins

Posted in Rants & Ramblings on April 15, 2014 by cairnwood

“Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night’s Watch, for this night and all the nights to come.” — Night’s Watch Oath

I must not fear

Posted in Rants & Ramblings on April 14, 2014 by cairnwood

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” — Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear

My review of The Hunt for Three by Yvette Melendez

Posted in Spotlight & Reviews on April 11, 2014 by cairnwood

I “met” Yvette Melendez via twitter a few years back. We shared mutual interests in magick, comics, music, and pop culture. I’ve found her to be charming and blessed with a keen artistic eye. I liked her instantly and imagine that if we lived in a similar zip code we would be good friends. In November of last year, Yvette self-published what I believe is her first novel, The Hunt for Three, and she recently asked me to give it a read and review, to which I readily agreed.

hunt for threeThe Hunt for Three is an ambitious book, an urban fantasy and first in a series. Let me first state that, overall, I enjoyed Melendez’ attempt at crafting such a complex story. That it, unfortunately, exceeded her grasp is no crime. It’s too often a writer’s curse, one I’ve fallen victim to as well. The Hunt for Three has its merits, however, and anyone willing to overlook certain pitfalls will find some terrific characters throughout. Therein lies the author’s strength.

This world she has built is as rich as any you’ll find in the genre, populated by fae/human hybrids, djinn, dragons, and ancient spirits. I was quite taken by Aria, the flawed protagonist of the tale. She’s headstrong and prone to error, but has a vitality and fire that is compelling and avoids the trap that so many urban fantasies fall into.

The Hunt for Three suffers from being half as long as it should be. Granted, its brevity makes for a fast and roller-coaster read, but there are moments that fly by too fast. Sometimes a novel needs to breathe. A stronger editorial hand and another draft would have served this novel well, but there is a lot to like in these pages.

Sometimes awkward prose and breakneck pacing aside, Melendez has a powerful imagination and tremendous potential. As she hones her craft she has what it takes to be a powerful storyteller. I look forward to reading more in this series and watching her grow as an author.

The Hunt for Three by Yvette Melendez is available for the Kindle via Amazon.

Game of Thrones Returns

Posted in Genre Movies & TV on April 7, 2014 by cairnwood


There are lots of sites posting recaps and reviews of Game of Thrones. This will not be one of them for the most part. It is a wonderful series, one of my favorite of all time. As a fan of the books I have come to the realization that this show is, quite frankly, an alternate universe, one that differs, sometimes subtly / sometimes drastically, from the source material.

I’m mostly okay with that.

I love the cast. I love the look and feel of the show. And I love the spirit in which it has been crafted.

I understand the limitations. I understand the need for changes. Sometimes those changes are out of necessity. Other times I’m left scratching my head.

Regardless, I love what I’m seeing and I’m through to the end.

As I said, I will not be recapping or reviewing Season 4, but I will be making a brief call out to something each episode. More often than not, it will be something positive.

For instance, the segment in last night’s premiere with Arya and The Hound.

Maisie Williams and Rory McCann stole the night. It was a scene with some humor, which I liked, and some extreme violence, which I loved. But there was also something heartfelt about it, played so marvelously by Ms. Williams. Just the look on her face as she crossed a name off her list. You could almost see her soul darken before our very eyes.

Special kudos go out to the composer, who kept the fight silent until Arya moved to action. When the drums kicked in and the music swelled, that was some exciting stuff, perfectly handled.

Can hardly wait for next week, as you can surely imagine.

The Purple Wedding is coming.


Posted in Illustration on April 2, 2014 by cairnwood



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