$5 Reward (from my Patreon page)

I added another image file:

“I realized I hadn’t added a jpeg file of Barnacles and Butterflies so, problem solved.  This was the first image I used as my banner for this site.”


Also, I am working to improve the look of the page so you will have a better sense of what I am about.  I am thinking a redoing my video and making a better write up because the original stuff is bland.  Hey, at 51, I am still a work in progress.  Check into Robert Garbin’s Patreon page to see what’s going on and don’t forget to pick up your fee copy of “The Fall of Blessing and Prosperity”.

Boo (from my Patreon page)

I am not a horror story  or movie aficionado.  They never turned me on especially the movies, since for the most part they telegraph their gotcha moments way to much.  In addition, many seem to equate gore and violence with terror.  For me terror is much deeper than that.  One of the few books I have read that managed to creep me out a bit was “Mythago Woods” by Robert Holdstock and only at the beginning.  It had to do with the separation of the protagonist from any kind of help when strange things are happening, the loss control over your fate.  Having no way of seeking help when you are faced with something outside your abilities is unnerving.

Think of it this way; pretend you are on vacation with your beloved mate far from civilization and they are attacked by a wild cat at night.  You have no weapon, no medical supplies or training, and no way to signal for help.  You have to fight off the cat then find a way to save your loved one by getting them to help, all while the big cat stalks you.  Worse yet, it is just you and a single-minded big cat miles from help.  That is what gets me; however, conveying that on paper is difficult because a lot of the feeling rides on tension.  The tension of the protagonist’s fear.  The adrenaline surge that you have to create within your audience.

So far, this is an area of writing I have not tried tackling.  Mainly because I don’t feel I have the ability to convey the emotion as I have with other areas.  If you read my stories you will find a lot of sadness, some hope, humor, and thinking but only mild horror.  I do have an idea bouncing around my head that I might share with you when I manage to tinker with it.  I will use you as guinea pigs for my scary learning.  Buahhhhhh, ha, ha.

Food for Thought

Just something for you avid readers out there.  Since joining Librarything in 2008 I have won 36 books in their early bird reviewer program.  Most have been e books but there were some physical copies and even two audio books (unabridged versions).  So, if your money is tight but you have to have a book to read like I do, this is a way to fill in the gaps with, for the most part, some quality reading.  Every month has a new batch of books to choose from.  Oh, by the way, two of the physical books were the last two books in the “Last Chronicals of Thomas Covenant” by Stephen R. Donaldson and  one audio book was “The Prince of Fools” by Mark Lawrence.  Not bad.

New $5 Reward added to my Patreon Page

This week’s $5 reward is a copy of the digital painting I did after finishing “Leviathan Wakes” by James S. A. Correy. The painting depicts the climatic scene of the asteroid Eros breaking apart and falling into the planet Venus where it will be a source of dread for stories to come. The ending was so epic that I had to bring it to life, which pushed me to learn more about Gimp 2.8 and tricks to achieve better images. I had a lot of fun coming up with this image because the book was so great. I highly recommend the series.

The City of Dreaming Books (from my Patreon page)

Today’s post is not about my writing or artwork, but the material I have fed into my brain over the years, which influences my imagination and creativity.  So, today, I give you a book review of a very quirky yet deep book call “The City of Dreaming Books” by Walter Moers.  I found this book on Amazon by accident and the title alone drew me in.

The story is about a Dinosaur searching for the author of a manuscript that he feels is the best example of writing he has ever read.  Yes, I said dinosaur.  The book is populated by all kinds of creatures including sentient, intellectual dinosaurs that read and critic books.  Humans also make an appearance; however, that does not come until later in the story.  At this point you may be thinking that this is a children’s book or at best young adult but I would like to mention that it is 456 pages long.  While the setting and characters may lead you to believe that you are about to read such a book, the story itself is very adult and the ending is deeply profound and emotional.  The main characters search will take him to the title city where his innocence will be removed through manipulation and betrayal, as well as, the learning of a profound evil.

Walter Moer’s writing is elegant, rich, and visual.  There may even be some metaphor involved about the publishing industry as the main character uncovers the truth about the writer he is seeking.  In addition, the book is illustrates throughout.  So, do not let the blurb or the cover trick you into missing out on a unique and engaging read.

Art Does Matter (from my Patreon page)

I want to make a case for funding the arts for obvious reasons and I don’t mean because I am an artist.  Of course, I am an artist so I do lean toward an artistic point of view.  Also, the arts are more than just images, they are music, they are writing, and they are theater.  How many of these affect your life?  Well, by how much money actors, singers, and writers can and do make, I would say a lot.

Where to begin?  First, let us deal with the fact that Republicans once again want to scrape funding for the endowments to the arts and public television, which make up a small percentage of the governmental budget.  Why do they target these programs?  One, they are rich and can afford to get any art, entertainment, and learning for said they want so they feel they shouldn’t have to be taxed to help people who cannot afford access to same.  Classic “if it does not benefit me directly, I don’t want to pay for it”.  Unfortunately, it does benefit them greatly but they are too myopic and greedy to see that.  I will explain later.  In addition, they are not the only ones being taxed for these programs and the voters should have more say in what is cut.  You know, that whole  “taxation without representation” jazz the Republicans spew when it is not in their favor.   Two, cutting such programs make them look like they are fiscally responsible without having to dig into programs that benefit their largest donors.  Note, I do not say base because their base does not count, only their largest donors.  Finally, the artistic community is in general one of their biggest oppositions, so it is logical to do all they can to undermine that sector.

Now, let us focus on why the arts need funded.  The basic reason, and one that is directly in their favor, is that the arts take peoples minds off their woes.  After dealing with all the pressure of work, what is one of the first things people reach for to relax, TV – entertainment.  What makes entertainment possible?  Art, music, and theater.  The arts help soothe the frustrations we all feel.  Music calms the savage beast.  Next, the arts directly influence scientific discovery.  How many times have you heard that Star Trek has influenced a scientist or astronaut to become who they are?  How many ideas have been generated from artistic endeavors?  Also, the arts help to relax the minds of people so that they can better focus on the work tasks that are given to them.  Finally, by limiting art access to only those you are willing to pay for directly, you risk becoming frozen in a set of artistic values that will eventually erode their worth.  You in effect create a stagnant pond that begins to have a negative affect on scientific and technological creation.  How many great artistic and technological innovations have come from random citizens in our country?  The bigger the pool of talent, the better the results.

So, are the arts important?  Hell yes!  Where do the Republicans think the ideas for their ad campaigns come from?  Where do they think the ideas for wrist watches and cell phones came from?  Star Trek and Dick Tracy!  How do scientists and movie makers visualize for the public their ideas?  Artwork!  Where do scientists and engineers get a lot of their ideas about the future from?  Science Fiction Writers!  Life without the arts would be dull, meaningless, and dangerous.  Hey, I can understand that cuts need to be made, but you don’t have to totally wipe out these important programs.  Try dipping into all the items in the governmental budget evenly and quit lining your pockets with our tax dollars/future.  Quit shifting the burden solely onto the middle class you claim to care for so much.  Try trimming some of that corporate welfare fueling the 350 to 1 income differential between the top 1% and middle class incomes.  Take your stinking paws off the arts you damn dirty apes!

Dragons are My Friend (from my Patreon Page)

As you know, I kind of like dragons.  Not only writing about them but reading about them.  To me they are the ultimate mythic beasts, almost God like in their influence over us mere mortals; however, anyone who is widely read in fantasy, or even science fiction, knows that dragons come in many forms.  They can be brutish beasts who’s only objective is to wreak havoc.  Or maybe, they are long-lived creatures full of wisdom to impart unto us lesser beings.  Or better yet, they are something in between.

I am currently re-reading Barbara Hambly’s “A Knight of the Demon Queen”, which features one of my favorite dragons Morkeleb the Black.  He is first portrayed as a force of nature that wreaks havoc on the kingdom of Bel in “Dragonsbane” but later you realize that he and his kin are immortal star travelers whose names are literally music.  After nearly being killed by John Aversin, the dragonsbane, he is rescued by Aversin’s lover and witch Jenny Waynest since he helped her save John.  His interaction with Jenny unlocks a hidden power within her that draws her to him.  Thus, for a time she decides to leave John and her children to become a dragon and explore time and life as a dragon does.

She later rejects this gift in favor of a human life and love.  You would think that was it; however, in a new trilogy of books started with “Dragonshadow” we encounter a changed Morkeleb who shuns the company of his brethren.  Like Jenny, he is haunted by the changes his contact with the her has opened within him or as he would say “Not a Thing of Dragons”.  As the story unfolds, you will see Morkeleb change from an aloof archmage to reluctant friend to a curious student of what it means to be human.  A depth of caring for those that have become surprisingly important to him will emerge as the trilogy unfolds.

Wow, multiple styles of dragon all wrapped up in one creature.  But this is only the tip of the iceberg for dragons in the fictional realm.  Take for example, Anne McCaffrey’s Pern dragons from the series of the same name.  They are genetically altered native creatures that were created by colonists to help them survive a devastating otherworldly attack.  They are at once intelligent and animal like in nature, more akin to very smart pets and just as loyal.

Then there are the dragons found in Melanie Rawn’s “Dragon Prince” and “Dragon Star” trilogies.  Creatures of immense power and moderate intelligence, they become mostly wild companions to several key figures in the series after first contact is made through magic.  They are unpredictable because of their more animal view of the world, but when harnessed, they are devastating weapons.

Finally, I give you the dragons that appear in Tad Williams’ trilogy “Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn” that are totally mysterious yet unavoidable.  We are never given clear insight into their intelligence, nature, or role in the world.  They are long-lived yet dormant most of the time.  Key figures in the world’s past and present have suffered grave damage from battling them; however, nothing more is revealed.  Oh what a tantalizing web left dangling before our eyes.  As for my own dragons, I tend to make them a mix of all these gnarly beasts.  They are cunning and shrewd and unknowable for the most part.  Then something happens to throw everything up in the air.  What could be more fun?