Death’s Master

Posted in Liber et Auda on May 26, 2015 by cairnwood

tleeOne of Brent’s favorite authors passed away on Sunday.

As soon as I read that Tanith Lee had passed I immediately flashed on a ragged copy of Lee’s The Dragon Hoard that Brent and I read and reread when we were schoolboys. There wasn’t a lot of fantasy in the school library, so this one got a lot of wear and tear from us. The little card in the back that you had to sign was virtually a back and forth between us.

Tanith Lee was a prolific and poetic wordsmith, and I know that, even after I had moved on from her works, they remained important to Brent.

In fact, maybe a year back or so, he had encouraged me to read Lee’s Lionwolf series.

I never got around to it and really wish I had now.

One of my favorite things to do with Brent was to talk books. When we were younger, we traded them often and would spend long hours discussing and dissecting them.

Gods, I miss that.

Anyway, today I will track down The Dragon Hoard and give it a read and I will keep both the author and my friend in my heart for a while longer.

Happy Spectre Day

Posted in Media Macabre, Occult Detectives with tags on May 21, 2015 by cairnwood

standard238 years ago today, the 21st of May, 1977, Gene Roddenberry’s Spectre, a TV Movie pilot, debuted. It failed. Miserably.

original_spectre5Why Spectre didn’t catch the attention of American viewers is beyond me. It had a terrific cast — which included Robert Culp, Gig Young, John Hurt, and Majel Barrett — and a compelling story. Oh sure, there were minor quibbles to be had. Sam Peeples and Gene Roddenberry’s screenplay played fast an loose with their mythology, but the tone and acting were just delicious.

Spectre was everything one could hope for in an occult detective tale.

It spawned a rare and much sought after novelization (which my lovely wife procured for me on Valentine’s Day, 2012) and a highly coveted Lincoln Enterprises Mailer Catalog (I still have the one I received in the post all those years ago).

original_spectre3In a perfect world we would have been blessed to watch the weekly adventures of criminologist and occult detect William Sebastian, his sidekick, Dr, Hamilton, and Lilith, his resident house-keeper and practicing witch.

But it was not meant to be.

I’ve sent out feelers to the Roddenberry Estate, hoping to get permission to continue Sebastian’s adventures in book form, but the requests have thus far fallen on deaf ears.

Someday perhaps.

Acta Sanctorum

Posted in Liber et Auda on May 19, 2015 by cairnwood

16 weeks. Doesn’t seem right, does it? It’s one of those harsh realities that is so visceral, so raw and serrated, that it feels like yesterday and a million years ago all at the same time.

Brent missed turning 49 by 110 days. He missed the 31st anniversary of graduating high school by what? 111? He’ll miss the birth of his first grandchild, he’ll never read the end of A Song of Ice and Fire. No more campfires. No more Dungeons & Dragons.

No more late nights pondering the mysteries of the universe. Those are all solved for him now.


Brent’s passing has defined for me a truth I have always known, that I have preached from living rooms, gaming tables, campsites, forest trails, sacred canyons, and everywhere else I have had an audience.

Time is fleeting and life is god damn short. If you have not got down to the business of living it, not as others would define it for you, but by being true to yourself, then you’d best get to it right now.

This is it.

You bought the ticket. This is your ride. The secret is, and this is something Brent knew all too well, the ride is yours to create.

Too many hop on a ride somebody else made for us.


Get off.

Trade in that ticket for the ride of your choosing.

Live. Now. Love. Now.

There is no bloody reason to not embrace life to its fullest, to be the person you want to be, who you are destined to be.

I’m of firm belief that we’re here for a reason, that each of us has a special purpose, and it is our duty to seek that purpose out and fulfill it. It doesn’t have to be complex or hard. In fact, it’s pretty simple. Why? Because the universe wants you to fulfill that purpose. It will not hinder you, it will open wide its arms and invite you forward.

Life becomes difficult when you fight against it.

Smile. Be happy. Love yourself. Love one another. Feel sorrow for those who cannot grasp this simple truth.

Life is now, in this moment. Make the most of it.

And, by the old gods and the new, do not ever miss the opportunity to remind the people you love that you do, absolutely, because you never know when your last moments together will come.

A few thoughts on Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

Posted in Media Macabre, Sword & Sorcery with tags on May 18, 2015 by cairnwood


Season 5 Episode 6

“Unbowed, Unbent, & Unbroken”
or “Un-bronn-ed Melody”



First off, let me acknowledge Bronn’s marvelous singing voice, or should I say Jerome Flynn’s. Why Jaime saw fit to cut off his traveling companion’s song is beyond me. It was the only thing bloody tolerable about Dorne. The Sand-Snakes are bad, from the acting to their costumes to their (lack of believable) weapon training. And I mean like, C-Movie bad.

I do believe Bronn’s days are numbered. The Martells, at least those spawned from Oberyn’s loins, are fond of poison. Hopefully he’ll go out with a song on his lips.


Far more tolerable was our return to King’s Landing. Littlefinger’s Machiavellian Mustache-twirling  is in fine form as we get a better glimpse into his long con. Of course it’s the Faith Militant and the “Trial” of Loras (and arrest of Queen Margaery) that takes center stage here.

I could watch an entire hour of Diana Rigg and Lena Heady going at each other, their “tart” scene was delicious.


Jorah and Tyrion being snapped up by Mr. Eco and the Lost Boys was a fun little diversion, chock full of equal parts bravado and dwarf cock jokes. Two bits stand out: Tyrion delivering the news of the death of Jorah’s father and Jorah recounting his victory in single combat against a Dothraki Bloodrider.


Of course my favorite scenes of the night all belonged to Arya and Jaqen. As with the books, it’s Arya’s tale that is the most moving. While watching, I turned to my wife and said, “Of everyone, Arya is the only one I need to have a happy ending.” To which she replied, “Well, she’s not going to get it.”

I suspect my wife is correct. She usually is. But still, I hold out hope, fully expecting that hope to be dashed by a shape-shifting Arya with no memory of her former life as she becomes a faceless assassin sworn solely to the God of Death.

There are worse fates.


Speaking of which, there was another wedding on Game of Thrones. You know what that means…

Let’s see, there was the Red Wedding which saw Robb, his mother, his pregnant wife, and his freaking dog all slaughtered.

There was the Purple Wedding, in which Joffrey was gloriously transitioned into whatever constitutes an eternal damnation in Westeros.

“I’m Sansa Stark of Winterfell. This is my
home and you can’t frighten me.”

— Sansa Stark (soon to be Bolton)

And now we’ve had, what? The White Wedding? No, that doesn’t seem right, but there has to be a color to it. Maybe Off-White?


It was a lovely affair, really… I mean, despite the guest list and the groom and his family and Theon giving her away and all… but the setting was lovely and her dress was to die for. And, after the vows were shared, I’m pretty sure Sansa wanted to. Die I mean.

First thing this morning, my twitter feed was lit up with foul cries and tears and teeth gnashing.

How could they do that to Sansa???

Do these people know what show they’re watching? Have they not read the books?

Trust me, Sansa’s Wedding could have ended a whole lot worse had they hewed closer to Jeyne’s storyline. George R.R. Martin unleashed some unbelievable cruelty down upon poor old faux-Arya/Jeyne Poole, whose wedding night with Ramsey (and Theon and the dogs) was nothing short of monstrous.

Not to belittle the rape of Sansa Stark. It was horrific and not easy to watch. My heart broke for her. But she is a Stark and she can and will overcome this, and, I believe, she will get her revenge.

Game of Thrones is a hard show, brutal and unforgiving. So are the novels on which it is based.

Being a voyeur into the World of Ice and Fire is not for the weak and squeamish.

If anything deserved a “Trigger Warning”, it’s this…

Tonight, We Ride

Posted in Dice Upon A Time on May 16, 2015 by cairnwood


Have Dice, Will Travel.

Hic Vigilans Somniat

Posted in Writing in Theory & Practice on May 15, 2015 by cairnwood

Last night, with Kim and brother-in-law Nick’s assistance, we finally got Connor’s bedroom prepped for drywall. This means the project which has all but consumed us since December is at long last near its end point. Yes, there’s still the business of hanging the drywall, finishing the drywall, painting, doorhanging, and walltrimming… but that light at the end of the tunnel, well, I’ve just bloody caught a glimpse of it.


For whatever reason, I have not been writing much of late. And by much I mean virtually none. The desire is there. There’s just so much going on, and I’ve such peculiar writing habits and rituals, that it is simply a matter of the world is unrighted and thus the words shall not come because there’s no time for them.

Not now. But soon.

Although I’ve written little, I have actually been giving my career (if you wish to call it that… I used to, because I believed it, but now I’m less sure) a lot of thought. As in, what do I now wish to accomplish.

I’ve been published many times over. Sometimes good. Sometimes bad. More often bad. My work has largely been praised. Sometimes, but not often, a piece has been regarded as less than adequate. But rare. Overall, people, at least in my circles, tend to like what I scribble on about.

nuapThere was a time when being published meant the world; when praise and acknowledgement mattered to me.

Now, I have to reevaluate what I’m doing. What am I bloody doing? Why am I doing it?

Essentially, I am no longer the green of spring and summer has long since gone. I have become autumn and if I am to continue in this world, I must define my place in it.

I have stories to tell and less time to tell them in.

I need to kill the dreamer before the dream itself is dead.

Green, and the Lack Thereof

Posted in Liber et Auda on May 14, 2015 by cairnwood

I have never been a slave to money.

I am a content person by most accounts. I’ve never chased fancy cars, clothing, jewelry. Never been overly fond of debt.

I do have one particular sickness: books.

An opportunity has arisen, in which the personal library of a man I greatly admired is being offered up.

As I’ve never been a slave to, desire for, or obsessed over the accumulation of greenbacks, this is soul-crushingly painful.

Especially considering I’ve a roof still in need of mending.

Almost 50… Would’ve been nice had this whole writing thing panned out differently. But it is what it is. Life is short and I already have amassed more than I would ever need.

But the sickness is there. Gnawing. Hungrily wanting fed.

I am reminded of this, which I could not afford at the time and still have nightmares about:

crowley wellmanI may not covet the green stuff, but I sure do covet some of the things one can get with it.

C’est la vie


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