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The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider at Goodreads


The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider at Goodreads

Rinna
Rinna rated it 3 of 5 stars
Dec 20, 2013

Callum Muir
Callum Muir rated it 4 of 5 stars
Nov 05, 2012

There’s been two ratings on Goodreads for Black Mask & Pale Rider (which sits at 3.5 stars out of 5), and it looks as though there are two more people who have it marked as to-read.

I love getting ratings on the book, but I’d love to even read a review. What did the reader like, what did they not like… that kind of thing. Ratings are awesome, but they don’t really matter if there’s not a review. Yes, I do know that often times readers can’t put into words how a book made them feel (even I’m lazy that way, and I need to do a review of a book I recently finished).

If you’ve read (by you, I mean all of my followers) The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider, please give it a review. Either at the site where you bought it, at goodreads, on my about page at wordpress, or send me an ask here. I appreciate any feedback that’s well crafted and considerate.

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2014 in Black Mask and Pale Rider, Fun, randomness, Writing

 

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A different kind of shameless self promotion


I’ve read many many different posts about being inclusive, adding more diversity, and about how books, TV, comics, and movies still have a long way to go.

I’m still learning about a lot of this myself, and I’ve been trying to use this knowledge in the rewrite of Black Mask & Pale Rider.  However, the original work is still available, and I’ll leave it available because even with it’s bumps and bruises, I’m proud of the work that went into it.

The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider for Barnes & Noble Nook

The book features not one, but two women.  Shani Wennemein and Pania Alow.  Both come from very different backgrounds and in the rewrite I’ll be much more clear that Shani’s ancestry is First Nation/Native American.  And let’s not forget, both characters are elves.  Elves exist in more than just European folklore.  Mohawk/Iroquois folktales have stories about elves, as do Miqmak folk tales of the Maritimes.

The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider at Amazon.com

It also features a lesbian.  Pania Alow makes no apologies for her sexual orientation, and doesn’t just hand wave it away.  It’s as much a part of her as is being a singer.

The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider at iTunes iBook Store

In the rewrite, there will be some expansion, as two more characters are being added.  Wren, Shani’s sister, and Abisayo, a Yoruba elf.  The rewrite will also explore more of the friendships and relationships between the four.  But as I said, the original work will still be available because I think it will be just as much a part of the series as the new work.

The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider lulu.com epub edition

The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider lulu.com paperback edition

 
 

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A 10 Book Layout


For the rewrite of Black Mask & Pale Rider, the series is going to end up being ten books long.  Each focusing on the location that the four elven riders will end up in.  This so far is just a layout, and it may change.

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Shani and Pania are introduced, along with their companions, Verit and Scales.  They discover the fabled gate between worlds, discuss the situation for a time, and eventually walk through.

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Shani and Pania find themselves in very different parts of a new world, as Shani learns she is in Carrolton, Arkansas, and Pania is in the young city of Chicago, Illinois.  The year is 1863.  This new nation, not yet 100 years old, is torn by war.  Shani and Pania have one goal in mind; find each other, and find a way home.

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After the two elven gunslingers meet up outside Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, they travel along the road toward a small village not far from Reading.  It turns out the village is plagued by a vampire.  Shani and Pania determine they need help, and make a call across the planes to Shani’s sister, Wren.  It is here that the three learn someone on Earth opened the gates, someone who wished to capture and enslave an elf.

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Having put down an ancient vampire, the three ride on south, stopping in the peculiar town of Franklin, West Virginia.  On the outside, it is a normal, everyday town.  But it is protected by outcast orcs, peace loving goblins, a mischievous leprechaun, and a werewolf who has become a United States Marshal.  And here in Franklin, the Devil’s Rider has come to haunt.

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The three return to their homeworld, delivering the final story of an ancient evil that plagued the elven world, as Wren presents the very story of the last years and death of this elven mage to the librarians at the House of Wisdom bordering the Desert of Semerkhet.  But they know they must return to Earth, and put an end to an even greater evil.

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The three come to Oxford, Mississippi, where a vicious band of outlaws controls the townsfolk with an iron fist.  Only the figure of J. C. Walker fights back as best he can.  This old Confederate soldier finds himself between a rock and a hard place when he accepts the assistance of Shani, Pania, and Wren, along with a Chinese migrant worker named Ming.  Can they put down the villainy that is Dorval and his boys?

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The deep south.  The three riders make it to Shreveport, Louisiana.  They follow the clues that will hopefully lead them to a powerful sorcerer and necromancer, but find themselves partnered with a newly freed slave as they investigate the strange occurrences at the Kingston Plantation.  They also meet a new ally in the lost Yoruba Elven Princess, Abisayo Temililou.

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Having transported the recently freed slaves from the Kingston Plantation across state borders and into the Free State of Indiana, the four riders hope to find some solace in Bloomington, Indiana.  What they discover is a lich.

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The experience of the Iron Horse, as the four elven gunslingers meet up with the charitable and reserved Reverend Carter Stewart.  But this train becomes a death trap that only the five can put down, as an old foe proves she wasn’t as dead as one would expect.

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The last stand.  Pania is stricken by malady.  Abisayo reaches out to those they have met through the world of dreams.  As the three elves find refuge for Pania, a group of First Nations people protects them, as Chief Whitecap agrees to find a cure for Pania.  Meanwhile, Slowhand Adams, Aurela Dorchester, Sherrif J. C. Walker, Marshal Martin Derringer, Ezekiel Morgan, Dieter van Bueren, Shontaya Jackson, Ming, and the Reverend Carter Stewart hit the trail to put an end to this evil once and for all.

Creative Commons License
The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider by Tim Holtorf is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada License.
Based on a work at http://taholtorf.wordpress.com/bmamppr/the-series/.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://taholtorf.wordpress.com/.

Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2014 in Black Mask and Pale Rider, Writing

 

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Tales of Six Gun & Sorcery FAQ


These are questions I’ve received from time to time about the work I’ve done with Black Mask & Pale Rider (Tales of Six Gun & Sorcery).  Some I’ve received as messages in different social media platforms, others have been direct face to face questions.

Why the mix of fantasy and western? Those two genres are so far apart.
Not really, they aren’t that different at all.  The only real differences is the setting and the manner of speech that we come to think with either genre.  Both are epic tales of heroes who are confronted with an epic problem and set about to over come it.  We often think that each genre is different thanks in part to where they take place or what technology is involved.  We often see a novel series like the Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks as being a fantasy series that takes place in a completely different universe.  Read the book though, and it’s a story that’s about our future.  Westerns and fantasy have been easily mixed in the past.  One of the best portrayals of this is Stephen King’s Dark Tower Series, beginning with the first book, The Gunslinger, with that ominous opening line “the man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed”.

You’re main characters are female.  Wouldn’t it be more relatable if they were male?
To whom?  We live in the 21st Century, where men and women consume media at a relatively even pace.  Women like fantasy, action, comic books, and other things that were always considered male.  Even if women weren’t an option for a reading audience, there have been successful properties that have had women as the main character in the past.  Look at the Tomb Raider series, Witchblade, Xena: Warrior Princess, and even Wonder Woman (though, we’re still waiting on a movie).  There’s a really awful thing that happens whenever a movie or book does not do well.  Those in charge believe it didn’t do well because it was showcasing a woman.  Because a woman was the lead, the movie was a bomb (Halle Berry’s Catwoman as example), when in fact the movie failed because the writing or directing was terrible (Halle Berry’s Catwoman as example).  But no one ever points to movies or books with male leads when they do terrible and say “that movie was lead by a male action hero so it was bound to fail”.
If Shani and Pania were a pair of men (even as elves), the story, while being different, would still be the same as everything else out there.

So, you’ve got two women as the leads.  Is this a Thelma and Louise type book?
On the one hand, Thelma and Louise was a great movie, it pushed boundaries and had a decent story.  The idea was great.  On the other hand, not every book or movie or television series that comes out with two women in the lead role is a Thelma and Louise clone.

One of your characters is a lesbian.  I don’t think that’s appropriate for younger readers?
I don’t think conservatives are very appropriate to Christianity.  Yes, Pania is a lesbian.  No, there is not any sex scenes.  There is implied and hinted sex, but nothing in your face.  Which, if I had any talent at writing erotica I might do, but I don’t, so I leave it as implied.  There’s also a lot of violence in the book.  People getting shot and killed, beaten up, skewered with a rapier, stabbed with daggers.  Yet, there’s not a complaint about that, just that Pania happens to be a lesbian.

There really weren’t any female gunslingers during the era of the Civil War.  That’s not really historically accurate.
This is a fantasy western.  With elves, and magic, and a U.S. Marshal who happens to be a centuries old werewolf, there’s a vampire, and a lich, and undead.  And even with the historical accuracies, there were women who were gun fighters.  Annie Oakley is one of the more famous, and just because she could do what a man could do, she was branded a trick shooter.  Even Calamity Jane, who was a professional scout and frontierswoman, was called a trick shooter.  Historical accuracies would deem that the majority of the gunslingers in the book should be Native American and African American.  Even some of the lawmen should be African American.  The bottom line, this is a work of fiction, and fantasy fiction at that.  Historical accuracy isn’t something I’m too worried about, though I do want to make sure when I mention a town’s name that it did indeed exist in 1863.

You’ve mentioned your changing things up in the rewrite.  Why?
Diversity.  Diversity matters.  Shani was never identified as being Metis, or half Mohawk, but pointing that out is important.  Making Clayton an escaped slave and a gunslinger brings about something different as opposed to generic stubbly white guy.  Mixing things up, adding people of different backgrounds, makes for a unique story.  But it still has to be done well, and you have to try and steer clear of some of the obvious tropes and stereotypes.  You’ll never get away from every single trope, but you can make an effort to avoid the obviously offensive ones.

You’re adding two characters to the rewrite?
Yes.  Shani’s sister, Wren, and later on, Abisayo, who is a Yoruba elf.  Wren is obviously Metis, or half Mohawk.  First, it’s to add diversity.  I remember reading an article about why people of colour are never cast for the elves in a movie like Lord of the Rings, but they sure get cast as the orcs.  Elves aren’t a Eurocentric idea, the Iroquois and Mohawk have their own folklore about elves.  Every culture has folklore which is similar.  As Africa is so close to Europe as it is, there was a very good chance that stories of elves migrated south and were changed to seem more familiar to an audience in Northern African nations.  After all, dragons are a very ubiquitous notion as there are folktales in Europe and Eastern Asia about dragons.  Why is it so hard to conceive that maybe, some of the fairy tale creatures that we assume are European, were also told in some form in Africa or Asia or North America.
There’s also another reason for adding the two characters.  I really wanted to show case good relationships between women.  Strong friendships, good family ties, sisterly love, and, shamelessly I wanted to give Pania a love interest.

Will this mean the book is getting longer?
Most definitely.  It means it’ll probably be more than one book.

Do you ever think that this would be a cool movie?
Sure!  I even have given a list of actors and actresses I’d love for the roles.  But for now, I’d love it if people read the book, and hopefully enjoy it.  I’ve received several good comments about the premise and I’m pleased with that.  Obviously I can do much more to improve it.

Are you afraid it’ll get banned?
No, not really.  If it gets banned in certain locations, it’ll happen.  Lots of books have been banned for absolutely silly reasons.  I’d be impressed if the book was banned because there’s violence in it, but realistically it’ll be banned because there’s a lesbian character.  That’s pretty sad, when you stop and think about it.

Have you always liked female characters?
I have.  I’ve felt drawn to them for different reasons in my life.  They just felt more alive and very different than what was seen as the norm.  It’s hard for a male writer (which I am) to write a female character than a male character.  I know what it’s like to be a dude, so I’m pretty confident in writing dudes.

What’s your biggest inspiration for this book?
The Dark Tower Series, by Stephen King, along with Dungeons & Dragons (especially 2nd Edition, Combat and Tactics, Skills and Powers, and the Neverwinter Nights video game).

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2014 in Black Mask and Pale Rider, Writing

 

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Tales of Six Gun & Sorcery


Tales of Six Gun & Sorcery.

This tumblog will be dedicated to all the things I’m writing in the world of Black Mask & Pale Rider, hence forth known as Tales of Six Gun & Sorcery.  This is a writing blog.  Here, images done by myself and Clarissa Renee Hummel (who did all of the artwork for the original publication of The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider), along with original drafts of the work and poetry will be posted.  New information will be posted as well, as it’s made available.

It’s a new tumblog dedicated entirely to the writing of Black Mask & Pale Rider.  From displaying artwork, to reposting the original pdf downloads, and even putting up new information as it comes.  From poetry to prose, this will be the place for all things related to the gunslinging elves.

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2014 in Black Mask and Pale Rider, Writing

 

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Tales of Six Gun & Sorcery: The Consoler


The following is a short story to help give an idea of the motivations of each characters that appear in the Black Mask & Pale Rider series.  All will be written in the first person. This is Wren Wennemein.

Creative Commons License
The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider by Tim Holtorf is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada License.
Based on a work at http://taholtorf.wordpress.com/bmamppr/the-series/.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://taholtorf.wordpress.com/

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2014 in Black Mask and Pale Rider, Writing

 

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Hey Sister


thefourriders

Hey Sister! Know the water’s sweet, but blood is thicker.
Oh, if the sky comes fallin’ down, for you
There’s nothin’ in this world I wouldn’t do…

Using my characters from Guild Wars 2, here are the Four Riders.

Wren Wennemein: The Consoler, the caregiver, the guardian, the defender, the sister.

Shani Wennemein: The Shadow Walker, the thief, the rogue, the adventurer, the sister.

Pania Alow: The Herald, the bard, the mesmerizer, the enchanter, the evoker, the lover.

Abisayo Temililou: The Paladin, the maker, the engineer, the champion, the princess, the lover.

What if I loose it all?
Oh, Sister, I will help you back home
Oh, if the sky comes fallin’ down, for you
There’s nothin’ in this world I wouldn’t do…

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2014 in Black Mask and Pale Rider, Writing

 

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