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I wrote some books!


I’m back from holidays!  It’s been a while, so here’s a thing!

I’ve made mention of the fact that I’m having issues with my laptop.  So, to help me get a new laptop, here’s a thing!

I wrote two books!

The first is The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider, the story of two elven women as they travel together across the Union and the Confederacy.  Magic, monsters, gunslingers and more are wrapped up in this book.  Set during the time of the American Civil War, this book mixes high fantasy with the wild west.

Elven magic meets gunslinger grit. What happens when two elven travellers find themselves in the United States in the middle of the Civil War? The Adventures of Black Mask and Pale Rider tells the story of two elven women who’s curiosity gets the better of them.

The wild ride takes them from the Union to the Confederacy and back again. Along the way they make enemies and friends and learn a little bit about this world, and about themselves. An adventure of six guns and sorcery.

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The second is called Canyons of Steel.  Canyons of Steel is a modern day western that follows the decision of John T. Walker, a high ranking member of a militant organization that tries to keep power in certain hands throughout the world.  It also stars Maxwell Running Cloud and Naomi Simonson, brother and sister who take on the guises of Hawk’s Scream and Grey Kestrel.  Western, superhero and sci fi.

What happens when an old gun hand makes a decision to turn his life around and set a new course? In Canyons of Steel, Johnathon Tiberius Walker makes the choice of turning his back on the underground military of the Red Hand and try to make right his own sins. All because he wants his daughter to live in a better world than he does.

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The link above goes to my author page at lulu.com, and you can buy them in either dead tree format or in digital format.

Thanks so much in advance!

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Posted by on August 20, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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The Way I See It


Okay, first off, yes I know, I’m a bit late to the party.

Secondly, yes, I’m aware that my podcasting skillz are not leet, but that’s not the point.  Can you hear me speaking when you hit play on the podcast?  Good, that’s important.

I now have a podcasting site.  Does that mean that I’m going to give up wordpress and tumblr?  Hell, no!  I need some places after all to do a long rant in text form.  Sometimes the ol’ throat gets a bit harsh.

I’m also going to be posting up something else on this new podcasting site.  Along with my own opinions and observations about culture, entertainment and media, I’ll be putting together the serialized audiobook of The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider.  Maybe, just maybe, as I read it it’ll give me the opportunity to edit it again and add the things I’ve been wanting to add.

I suppose it might be a good idea to put down a link so people can view this endeavor of mine.  The Way I See It is hosted on Podbean, because it’s free and I’m not made of money.  I have to save money for buying decent recording equipment.

Take a view, follow me on Podbean if you wish, and comment on my rants and raves and even the serial series I’ll be posting.  There’s one podcast up already, and it’s about coded language.  I may post the text version here and at tumblr as well.

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2015 in Podcasts, randomness

 

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2014: In Review – Representation


2014 has been a mixed bag when it comes to representation.  By that, I’m talking about the representation of visible minorities and those who have different sexual orientations.  I say it’s a mixed bag due to the fact that it hasn’t been exactly the best year for such things.

We’ve been fortunate to have a lot of really good authors, both up and coming and some long time authors, make big strides in writing books and putting characters into them that do represent people of colour, women of colour, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.  So we’ve got a good representation there.  But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.

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Books, while good, aren’t visual catching.  Comic books, Television and movies, on the other hand, are pretty in your face when it comes to representation.  And this year has been pretty whitewashed, male, and heterosexual.  In other words, the same bland crap we’ve received all the time in the medium.  There have been strides, however.  The excellent tumblr blog DC Women Kicking Ass has gone out of it’s way to showcase good comics (not just from DC) that not only feature women, but a diverse range of women.  Storm came out this year, Ms Marvel had a great run this year, doulby good considering the book is about a Pakistani American teenager.  Captain Marvel, and others.  Marvel Comics has done well with their stable, but that doesn’t mean there’s still some flaws there.  It took them a while to finally announce a female lead movie in Captain Marvel, but the fanbase is still waiting on one for Black Widow.  And it hasn’t been sunshine and rainbows for female lead books, there’s been some cancellations, such as the Fearless Defneders, for example.

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Meanwhile, the Distinguished Competition hasn’t been doing much better.  Trying to follow in Marvel’s footsteps, they’ve announced a great deal of movies that are forthcoming with Wonder Woman being in the mix.  How it’s going to turn out is unknown at this point in time.  But at the comic book level, things haven’t been doing so well.  Female lead books aren’t doing well.  One of the best written books is being cancelled after a hack kneed decision of making sure superheroes don’t lead happy lives was announced.  Batwoman won’t get married, and to add insult to injury, the current writing team (who replaced the original writing team) decided a kidnapping and rape would have been a great story arch to the series.  There’s also the Huntress, both Wayne and Bertinelli.  Helena Wayne was essentially stuffed in a refridgerator, and Helena Bertinelli is hardly recognizable as the daughter of a mob boss anymore.  One good light is that the Secret Six is back, written by the pre-52 creator Gail Simone.

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Outside of the big two, there’s been other promising titles, such as Bitch Planet written by Kelly Sue Deconnick.  So, there’s some progress, but it’s painfully slow.  Here’s hoping 2015 picks up the pace a bit.

This is a screen capture from Dreamworks Prince of Egypt.  Which was a superior film than Exodus: Gods and Kings.

This is a screen capture from Dreamworks Prince of Egypt. Which was a superior film than Exodus: Gods and Kings.

Movies haven’t exactly been great either.  The biggest disappointment was Exodus: Gods and Kings, where every character is portrayed by a white person which is strange for a region that is predominantly filled with brown skinned people.  And to those who say that white Europeans were traveling around, think again.  It was Middle Eastern and South East Asian people (Arabic, North African, Pakistani and East Indian) who developed the Silk Road.   The movie didn’t do well at all at the box office, and one comment said it all.  For people of colour, don’t think of Exodus: Gods and Kings as a missed opportunity but as a bullet dodged.

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It isn’t all bad, though.  We’ve had a lot of really great discussions and education with people who have been working hard to turn the old stereotypes on their heads.  Laverna Cox and Janet Mock, along with Laura Jane Grace have been really working hard to show that transgender people are just everyday ordinary people.  And that there is a huge difference that comes up in interviews with transgender people as opposed to cisgender people.  There’s differences in the interviews with gay and lesbian people than there is with hetero people.

And there year did come to a close with a picture perfect ending.

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The Nick cartoon, Legend of Korra ended on a bang of a hote, as the finale for Book four showed something incredible.  For the first time in a kids cartoon (in recent memory, at least, and completely visible), Korra walked off into the sunset (spirit portal) with Asami, marking a same sex relationship.  This was confirmed by series co-creator Bryan Konietzko:

You can celebrate it, embrace it, accept it, get over it, or whatever you feel the need to do, but there is no denying it. That is the official story. We received some wonderful press in the wake of the series finale at the end of last week, and just about every piece I read got it right: Korra and Asami fell in love. Were they friends? Yes, and they still are, but they also grew to have romantic feelings for each other.

The only downside to all of this, is that it’s taken so long.  We’re almost at 2015, and we’re still fighting to have proper representation in books, comics, movies, and television.  We made some gains, but there was an equal number of failures and fumbled balls.  Hopefully, 2015 will see more major wins as far as representation goes.

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2014 in Fun, Life, randomness

 

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Stuff I’ve written, characters I’ve created


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Stuff I’ve written.  From clockwise top right:

  • Free Spirit II (Yolanda Morgan) – Ravenport
  • Yellow Jacket (Richard Hargrove) – The Heroic League
  • Pania Alow (The Pale Rider) – The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider
  • Lt. Senia Felix – Rocket Fox
  • Canadien (Jean Pierre Turgeon) – The Heroic League
  • Mannekin III (Elanor Tanaka) – The Heroic League
  • Johnathon Tiberius Walker – Canyons of Steel
  • Free Spirit I (Regina Morgan-Simms) – The Heroic League
  • Britannia (Col. Melanie Cooper) – The Heroic League
  • Shani Wennemein (The Black Mask) – The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider
  • Acadia (Michelle Villeneuve) – Flag on my Backpack
  • Canadienne (Dominique Turgeon) – Flag on my Backpack
  • Mannekin I (Donelda Stewart) – The Heroic League
  • Canad-ARMED (Ari) – The Heroic League

And here’s the downloads for each series.

Flag on my Backpack

Canyons of Steel

Rocket Fox/Swift Fox

Black Mask & Pale Rider

I’m still working on The Heroic League.  If anyone would like to purchase a copy of either Black Mask & Pale Rider or Canyons of Steel (which is a part of the Heroic League universe), this is how ya do it.

Lulu.com (where both books were published)

  1. Tim Holtorf Author Spotlight the front page store for my books on lulu.com.

Amazon.com (both in paperback and in kindle versions)

  1. The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider
  2. Canyons of Steel

Amazon.co.uk (both in paperback and in kindle versions)

  1. The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider
  2. Canyons of Steel

Amazon.ca (price not listed and currently out of stock)

  1. Canyons of Steel

Barnes & Noble (for the Nook)

  1. The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider

iTunes iBook store

  1. The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider

Or, go to your local brick and mortar book store and request that they bring the book in.

 

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Diversity in media


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Let’s talk about diverse characters in fiction.

The above is a depiction from Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series.  The series is about Roland the gunslinger in his quest to reach the Dark Tower.  When we first meet him, it opens with the words “the man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed”.  Once Roland reaches the man in black, he learns he must draw forth three people to aid him.

One of those people (in truth, two of those people) is Odetta Holmes.  Odetta is described as the heiress to a fortune her father had built by developing a better way to help dentistry.  She is a civil rights activist in the late 50s early 60s.  And she is disabled, having her legs cut off below the knee when she was pushed in front of a train.  She also suffers from a form of multiple personality disorder.  Odetta is one personality, who is a forthright, logical thinking, polite individual.  The other personality is Detta Walker, a spiteful, harsh, fear filled woman who spits venom when she speaks.  Detta has a hatred of men (mostly white men as described in the book), and often threatens to kill Roland and Eddie (another of the people Roland drew from the doors to help him on his quest).

At the third door, which the reader believes is to be the third person to help, we discover that the person is in fact the man who pushed Odetta Holmes.  At some point Roland gets Detta to look into the door and she sees herself.  Or rather, she sees Odetta.  This causes the two personalities to recognize each other and forces them into a new personality, which becomes Susannah Dean.

Even in a wheelchair, Susannah is recognized by Roland as being a gunslinger.  He does not discount her ability or her tenacity just because she is bound to such a device.  And she proves in the second and third book that she is indeed a gunslinger as Roland teaches her what was taught to him.  He also teaches Eddie, but Roland believes Susannah is the better of the two.

Susannah is also very adept at movement even though she is confined to a wheelchair.  At one point in the third book, she crawls along the ground using her arms to catch up with Roland and Eddie, making hardly a sound as she goes.

Susannah Dean is one character that represents diversity and how it can be done in popular media.

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2014 in Fun, randomness

 

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Book Review: The Dark Tower – The Drawing of the Three


995123Stephen King’s epic series continues in this the second book of the Dark Tower: The Drawing of the Three.

In this, Roland has to open three doors and choose three people to help him in his quest.  The first is Eddie Dean, a heroine addict who Roland first meets on an airplane bound from Florida to New York.  Eddie’s in the process of smuggling heroine back from suppliers to an Italian mob boss.  The second is Odetta Susannah Holmes, a wheelchair bound, black woman who is the heiress to a fortune.  But Odetta has another inside her; Detta Walker, a very cruel and spiteful woman.

What originally Roland believes to be the third person is in fact a way to make Odetta’s two halves see each other to become the third person.

Eddie comes from the late 1980s, while Susannah (as she becomes known) is from the late 50s/early 60s.  Neither of them are prepared for the strange world of the gunslinger’s.

As we progress through the story, we get to see each of their lives; Eddie and Odetta’s through Roland’s eyes and through their own conversations.  And little by little, a bit more of Roland’s as he is willing to offer it up.

This second book added another chapter to the series which makes for an excellent read.  Make no mistake, King’s style of writing is recognizable, but he manages to form and interesting world with the narrative.  With each person that joins Roland, it becomes more rich and interesting.  It also brings about questions that eventually get answered in the third book (only to be replaced with more questions).  But one thing is certain, the three join forces on the quest to the Dark Tower.

King’s choice of characters, time periods and even places is interesting.  Usually we’re used to his books taking place in Maine (at least in the horror genre and what was dubbed the Castle Rock stories).  Here, he chooses a black woman who had her legs below the knee cut off from a train accident (which we learn, wasn’t an accident at all).  And a white man, from the projects who has become a pawn in the trafficking of drugs.  Both come from New York City, and while they both come from different eras, Eddie still comes from a poor family and a poor neighbourhood (victimized by the mob that runs the place), Odetta is from an affluent family (although, she is still a black woman during the time before the Civil Rights Act passed and became law).  Roland gets to see all of this clearly, and even though the two come from different eras, he learns as much from one as from the other, and finds similarities.

Through Roland’s eyes, the things from our world seem magical, as he asks about things like Asprin (Astin) and flying coaches, believing alchemists must be sought after in this world.  But we can’t forget; Roland is a gunslinger, so even then he still has a different code.

The second book continues the journey and adds new and interesting characters to the quest.  But questions still remain.  Will the three survive together?  Will Roland find Jake?  What about the man in black?  And just how far are they from the Dark Tower?

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2014 in Fun, randomness

 

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Shameless self promotion AND fancast


Several months ago I made an entry giving a fancast of the book I’d written and the series I’m rebooting which gave faces to the names of the four elven characters.  I’ve recently been told that my choices may be a bit too old (which is rubbish, each of those choices is around the same age or slightly younger than I am, so I kinda take offense to that).

However, because of such things I decided that it might be fun to update the list with younger actresses to play the roles of the four gunslinging elves.  In order of appearance:

Shani Wennemein

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My choice for the role of the bullish and often times stubborn gunslinger and shadow walker, is Cara Gee.  Cara Gee was born in Calgary and is no stranger to stage and screen.  She was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for her role in the film Empire of Dirt and this fall stars as Kat Loving in the CBC drama Strange Empire.  A western set on the Alberta/Montana border, Loving attempts to seek revenge against her husband’s killer.  Cara would fit in well as the elven gunslinger, Shani Wennemein, who has a pragmatic and straightforward ideal of right and wrong.

Pania Alow

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My choice for the swashbuckler and herald, Pania Alow, is Natalie Dormer.  A well known actress for such roles as Anne Boleyn in the series The Tudors, Irene Adler/Jamie Moriarty in Elementary, and Margaery Tyrell in the series Game of Thrones.  She also plays the role of Cressida in the Hunger Games movie series.  Having played several roles which involves an outward confidence and even sarcastic attitude, Natalie would pick up the role of Pania quite well.

Wren Wennemein

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For the role of Wren, my choice is Tonantzin Carmelo.  A graduate of UC Irvine, her acclaimed stage roles include Anita in Exmagare, Christina Khalo/Paula in Frida Khalo, and multiple characters in Malinche. She is in national commercials and starred in the feature film King Rikki with Jon Seda and Mario López.  She is an Emerging Voice with the California Indian Storytellers Association and a mentor for the Native Voices Youth Playwright Project. She has recently provided her likeness and voice for the character Kendra Daniels in EA’s survival horror video game Dead Space.  Her likeness would also fit what I envision for Shani’s calm and placid sister, the Consoler and Healer, Wren.

Abisayo Temililou

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For the role of the paladin vowing to free her human cousins from slavery, my choice is Nicole Beharie.  Nicole is known for her roles in American Violet, The Express, Sins of the Mother, My Last Day Without You, Apartment 4E, and the Steve McQueen film Shame, where she starred opposite Michael Fassbender.  In 2013 she starred as Rachel Robinson, the wife of Jackie Robinson, in the historical baseball film 42.  That same year she began her role as Abbie Mills, a police officer from the small town of Sleep Hollow.  Nicole would be do well in the role of Abisayo, the oldest daughter of the chieftan of a Yoruba nation and a paladin and protector of her people, who would eventually become the lover of Pania Alow.

Those are some of my choices to play roles in the series I’m writing based on the book I’ve published, The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider, which is still available in print.

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Lulu.com

Tim Holtorf Author Spotlight the front page store for my books on lulu.com.

Amazon.com (both in paperback and in kindle versions)

The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider

Amazon.co.uk (both in paperback and in kindle versions)

The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider

Barnes & Noble (for the Nook)

The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider

iTunes iBook store

The Adventures of Black Mask & Pale Rider

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2014 in Black Mask and Pale Rider, Fun, Writing

 

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