Hate when the Mormon lady critiques my selections at the movie-rental counter! #awkward

I can only imagine what the DVD/Video purveyor thinks of me when I barge into our tiny, local Mom & Pop shop on occasion and, after half an hour of milling-around and scrutinizing titles, end-up selecting a heap of the most disparate films imaginable to pile on the countertop. That’s how I roll, when it comes to film.

storeitself

Maybe (make that “Likely”) it’s just me, but I start feeling more than a tad self-conscious about the wildly diverse nature of my selections when the cheerful, lace-collared Mormon clerk, ostensibly for the sake of small-town friendliness (or perhaps for sheer lack of anything more interesting to do), feels compelled to discuss each of my viewing choices as she checks them against her computer inventory. Whatever the reason, I can’t stand it when she’s working the place and I always dread that awkward ritual. It creates uncomfortable scenes, because then I feel obligated to explain my picks. Why can’t she just go hunt my movies down in the back room, ring the damn things up, and stare in malignant silence as if every customer were a pestilential inconvenience, like the teenagers do when they work the counter? But noooooo:

“Oh! I see you’ve rented Chariots of Fire! Now, isn’t that just one of the great classics that doesn’t seem to get the appreciation it deserves these days? So full of humanity. So rich in moral triumph. So inspiring!”

“Um … Yeah. It’s … well, it’s a truly archetypal elucidation of the brutal courage of the human spirit captured in one incomparable cinematic narrative.”

“Oh, I’ll say it is! And look at this. You’ve also picked … Why, it’s House of 1000 Corpses. Well, now, that’s a startling image on the cover there, isn’t it? With a sort of skinned skull staring out from what looks like a kind of mucous membrane, or possibly the lining peeled from someone’s eviscerated intestines. And then there’s that rivulet of blood dribbling down onto the woman’s heaving breasts, there. Hmmm. Now. Isn’t that something.”

vidlady

“I … er … um … it’s … uh … one of Rob Zombie’s productions and I … well … for me he seems to grasp, by his unique use of imagery, certain otherwise overlooked aspects of the metaphysical quandary posed by the graphic depiction of human slaughter, and I … um …”

“Oh, sure. Sure! That quandary. Well, we all wonder about that, don’t we? Sure we do. Okie-dokie, let’s have a looky-loo at what else you’ve got in this stack today? Awww … Anne of Green Gables! That’s just one of the most adorable and wholesome stories ever told, what with Colleen Dewhurst as ‘Marilla’ and Richard Farnsworth as ‘Matthew’ and that wonderful little girl–I forget what the heck her name is–who played ‘Anne.’ This must be for your little girl at home! Oh, how old is your little girl? She’s going to love this! You know, I played this for my daughters when they were about eight or nine and it opened up a whole new world of imagination and reading for them. Why, it was just …”

anne marilla

“Um. Well, I don’t have a daughter, you see, I … um …”

“Oh?”

“No, I … see … I grew up only five miles from the Canadian border, and this series was filmed in Canada when I was still a kid, where the story itself originated, and the program was pretty much a cultural phenomenon for anyone remotely connected with Canada. Like a national treasure, really, and huge? Whah! Man, it was Star Wars huge … I mean, if you were Canadian, or pseudo-Canadian, so … um … the movie possesses a considerable nostalgic value for people like me who grew-up around the place and time it was made, therefore I like to revisit that sort of …”

“Of course you do. Sure! I understand. Look, we’ve all got our touchstones, right? Personally, I couldn’t watch a movie featuring that lovely Green Gables farm and then switch right over to a house full of a million corpses, but to each his own, I say.”

“It’s … um … a thousand corpses.”

“What?”

“A thousand corpses. It’s House of 1000 Corpses. Not a million. I mean, that’d be a lot of corpses for one house, don’t you think? Still, I could envision a thousand corpses being contained in just one house, depending upon how they were stacked and stored, mind you. Now, take a house like Anne’s at Green Gables, you know? That house, to me, could hold a thousand corpses, no problem, what with the upstairs bedrooms and that cute little parlor, there, where Anne invites Diana Barry over for tea and there follows the ill-fated Raspberry Cordial incident? Yeah, you could stuff some bodies in that room. Not to mention Marilla’s root cellar, which is only alluded to, I realize. And then there’s Matthew’s barn, but then I suppose you get into the question of whether the barn can be considered a part of the actual house or merely as a dependency of the house, and that’s a matter of debate, so when it comes to corpses and storing them …”

“I … I see. Yes. Yes, I absolutely understand. It’s … it’s … it’s a question of space, really, isn’t it?”

“Essentially, yes.”

“Well, um … heh heh. Let me go and find these videos for you and I’ll be right back as soon as I can …”

“Wait, you forgot these last two I’d like to rent!”

“There’s more, are there?”

“Yeah. I’ve got Fried Green Tomatoes with Kathy Bates and Jessica Tandy, and … oh, yeah–John Waters’s Pink Flamingos. You know, where Divine eats the dog turd in the climactic scene?”

divine

“I … uh … (gulp). Say, have you ever considered Netflix, sir? I hear they have some wonderful services for the viewer of exceptionally eclectic tastes.”

“But don’t you want my business as a small-town video emporium struggling to compete with the corporate monoliths that threaten your very livelihood?”

“Oh, sure. Sure! I’ll get this line-up of movies for you today, no worries, but you should know that the owners are about to retire from the business.”

“My gosh, really? When?”

“This afternoon.”

“This afternoon?! Uh … I had no idea. No one in town has said anything. When did this decision come about?”

“Today.”

“I see. I suppose it’s going to take you awhile to find all of these movies in your stock room, huh?”

“Probably, sir.”

“So, I’ll have time to, say, run over to the corner market and pick up a few things while you look, won’t I?”

vidlady

“Probably, sir.”

“And the door to the shop will be locked and the ‘CLOSED’ sign’ll be in the window when I get back, won’t it?”

“Definitely, sir.”

Admit it: You know you’ve “Death-Googled” someone on a hunch. #iamnotalone

Ah, the amazing power of Google to ferret-out important (and often regrettably belated) information in a matter of mere seconds for the intrepid or even for the plain ol’ nosy among us. I found myself thinking about an old friend last night and wondered where in the world he might have ended-up since we inadvertently lost touch ten years ago, not long after I moved to Southern California.

I am a bit embarrassed to admit this, but I have the distinct feeling that I am not alone when it comes to “Googling” elderly friends and acquaintances with whom I have lost touch specifically because I have a sudden and random inkling that they could very well be … er … deceased. I suppose it’s more than a trifle morbid, but what else do you do when the whereabouts of someone who was 68 the last time you saw or heard from them remains unknown? Consult a Ouijah board? I don’t think so. Not even for this Recovering Catholic.

Perhaps it’s a sad commentary upon the transitory nature of friendships that didn’t quite manage to segue into some form of the social media sphere (where it’s creepily easy to stay perhaps a bit too much “in touch”), but I was wondering about my old pal, Monsignor John O’Connor, former Pastor of the historic Mission Dolores Basilica in San Francisco, as well as the cavernous St. Mary of the Assumption on Gough Street. Oh, those were the days! A number of us smarty-pants types always used to call the latter church “St. Mary Maytag” or “Our Lady of the Rinse Cycle” because St. Mary’s was designed and built in an architecturally adventurous, postmodern style that ultimately reminded people of a gigantic, cumbersome, space-age washing-machine that had been inexplicably abandoned in the middle of a vast parking lot in downtown San Francisco. It looked like something God (or Godzilla) might do His socks in, or, if you recognized a dryer instead of a washing-machine, you could easily imagine the Blessed Virgin pulling down the apse like a door to toss-in a few of those sky-blue veils and set them on “Air Fluff” for an hour or two. [She would never need to change the Holy Filter, either: her blue veils are lint-free and any machine she uses must be classified de facto as an Immaculate Contraption.]

St. Mary Maytag ... er ... St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral on Gough Street in San Francisco. Cleanse your soul (and possibly your socks) in this fabulous, space-age washing-machine-of-a-church.

St. Mary Maytag … er … St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral on Gough Street in San Francisco. Cleanse your soul (and possibly your socks) in this fabulous, space-age washing-machine-of-a-church.

All kidding (and possible sacrilege) aside, St. Mary’s on Gough was clearly not my favorite example of brilliance in contemporary ecclesiastical architecture, but Monsignor John O’Connor (“Father Jack” to most of us) was one of the best and most respectable priests I ever had the pleasure of knowing and working with back in my churchy days. And, yes, my impromptu Google search revealed that he had indeed passed-away on March 15 of this year at the age of 78. I hate when I have a hunch like that and it turns out to be true. I felt like some sort of twisted cyber-ghoul, in a sense, and the news was definitely a bummer, but in the case of someone who still espouses a few scattered wisps of the Catholic faith, I have no doubt that Father Jack is now part of that great “cloud of witnesses” or whatever you want to call the paradisiacal, nebulous Formation of Fabulousness comprised of all the Good that can be found in the created sphere. Ba-da-bing.

I first met Monsignor in 1994, when I became active in political and archdiocesan circles not long after moving to San Francisco and began attending Mission Dolores Basilica. The Mission was only a block from my apartment and I felt, via the welcoming guidance of Monsignor O’Connor, a genuine and immediate sense of belonging and possibility within the framework of what was, for me, a totally brand new community. The congregation of the Mission itself was a delightful and affirming melting-pot of people from all sorts of local neighborhood cultures: Latino (of several South American backgrounds); Irish; Italian; Vietnamese; Korean; Chinese; etc. Heck, there was even a fair sprinkling of gay folks from the nearby Castro district–everyone was welcome at Mission Dolores, and the accomplished Monsignor O’Connor’s compassionate, exquisitely diplomatic leadership was one of the big reasons for the ongoing spiritual “oasis atmosphere” of California’s oldest mission establishment. Some of my best memories of the city include Monsignor: the look of relief on his face when I managed to assuage an angry local crowd with a few diplomatic maneuvers of my own while moderating one of former-mayor Frank Jordan’s reelection stops at the Parish Hall; being asked to attend Midnight Mass at the Basilica Chapel with Monsignor personally, as a congregant, on a magical Christmas Eve 1994; his hearty vote of confidence in asking me to sit on the Parish Council of one of the most prestigious Catholic religious institutions in the United States in early 1995.

We stayed in touch, off and on, after I moved to the Monterey Peninsula and then to Southern California in 2002, and it was a year later that he dropped by my house for a long visit and a glass of wine to reminisce while he was in town to see a number of other friends, too. “Father Jack,” whose distinguished career as a priest was marked by an intense dedication to issues of social justice, never lacked for the irreplaceable treasure of friends in his life, and this bounty remains a testament to his grace, faith, warmth and inimitable charm. I’m sorry I lost touch with him in the ensuing years, but I was soon traveling all over the world (again) and he was preparing to launch his ship into the tranquil waters of a well-deserved retirement. I’m a bit sad to know that my “Google hunch” was proved correct, but quite happy to render a truly extraordinary man a great deal of gratitude for past friendship and wish for him an incomparably peaceful eternity. Godspeed, Father Jack. You really were one of the Good Ones.

father j
____________________

Mark Your Calendars! To Celebrate Halloween 2013, Jonathan’s wild & witchy All Hallows Eve-themed novel, Rowan Blaize and the Hand of Djin Rummy, will be available for FREE KINDLE E-BOOK DOWNLOAD from 12AM October 27 until midnight October 31! That gives readers five days to scoop up this delectable cauldron’s brew-of-a-tale, set amidst the magical mischief and mayhem of St. Augustine, America’s Oldest City. Click HERE when the time comes to join warlock Rowan Blaize and his twisted supernatural posse for a Halloween-novel that will fire-up the imagination (and your Kindle) like no other enchanted read this holiday season! See below for more details about the book …
Jonathan Kieran’s (as-yet-untitled) new novel, an epic supernatural thriller, is now finished and slated for release in late Spring 2014. Look for news about the release here and at Amazon.com in the coming weeks and months.

Jonathan is also the author of the classically appointed Rowan Blaize series of modern fairy-tales and novels. Visit Jonathan Kieran’s Official Facebook Page and give it a “Like,” if you are so inclined. Meanwhile …
Escape the Imminent Collapse of Civilization, if only for a few hours. A sweeping modern fairy-tale is born with the Rowan Blaize series of books. Click on the book covers to the right or have a look below …

Watch the Rowan Blaize Book Trailer HERE.

Book One = The magical cornerstone – a lavishly illustrated epic narrative poem … a genuine “spell” for the young and young-at-heart to treasure for a lifetime, telling the story of sorcerer Rowan Blaize’s battle to regain his magic powers. (Think Beowulf-meets-Dr.Seuss or an epic story-in-verse of a scope similar to Tolkien’s soon-to-be-released The Fall of Arthur, only contemporary.)

Book Two = The rip-roaring novel that continues the adventures of Rowan Blaize and introduces the three hilarious witches of the Ancient City, along with its dysfunctional werewolves, wraiths, ghosts, vampires, dryads, banshees and a beauty pageant brat that just might destroy the world.

Book Three = The next novel that finds Rowan trapped by a spell in another world, caught between a faery-squashing sorceress who’ll stop at nothing to conquer the kingdom … and a feisty teenage prince who’s determined to get it back.

Click here to purchase the Kindle e-books and watch a video of Jonathan discussing his work.
__________________________________________
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound
Books-A-Million
Rowan Blaize Official Website
Goodreads

There really is a town called “Spuds” and it has been #immortalized.

~The World of Rowan Blaize: Character Profiles~ by JONATHAN KIERAN

CHARACTER(S): The Hobgoblin Brothers of Spuds

IMDb DREAM PORTRAYAL by:

Um ... not sure who they are, but if they've got an agent and valid SAG cards, these dudes could definitely play two of the three "hobs" in any film or stage production of Rowan Blaize and the Hand of Djin Rummy. It would be a casting coup, for sure.

Um … not sure who they are, but if they’ve got an agent and valid SAG cards, these dudes could definitely play two of the three “hobs” in any film or stage production of Rowan Blaize and the Hand of Djin Rummy. It would be a casting coup, for sure.

NATURE/OCCUPATION: Hobgoblin siblings and monstrous gourmands/caterers par excellence.

AGE: At least as old as the American Civil War Era

BACKGROUND: The Hobgoblin brothers of Spuds are a triad of siblings who specialize in preparing exquisite culinary wonders that send the secret magical community of North Floridian foodies into fits of gastronomic rapture. Their talent in the kitchen does much to distract the immortal gentry from the fact that the brothers are extraordinarily ugly … even for hobgoblins. Never the less, legend has it that the hobgoblins looked so much like a set of human triplets living in the small farming-town of Spuds that, when these brothers died in the Civil War, the hobgoblins simply took over their abandoned plantation and posed thereafter as the ill-fated trio. With the help of goblin-magic and a great deal of privacy secured by patrolling alligators and other watchful beasts, the hobgoblins maintained the ruse for well over a century and no one was ever the wiser. Ugliness, apparently, has its merits in the supernatural sphere.

PERSONALITY TRAITS: Unrivaled work ethic, meticulous attention to detail, and incomparable discrimination when it comes to procuring and confecting the finest foods that magic can muster.

UNIQUE POWERS/ABILITIES: The Hobgoblin Brothers of Spuds have a (Nether)world-renowned and truly alchemic flair for bringing Thaumaturgical Fusion Cuisine to heights hitherto unattained. From impromptu werewolf bar mitzvahs to opulent soirees like the one Rowan Blaize hosted on Halloween night at the Castillo de San Marcos, these gents have the chops to make any supernatural event unforgettably delicious. To discover exactly what manner of devilish delicacies might grace a five-star hobgoblin menu, buy the novel.

FEATURED IN: Rowan Blaize and the Hand of Djin Rummy
______________

Mark Your Calendars! To Celebrate Halloween 2013, Jonathan’s wild & witchy All Hallows Eve-themed novel, Rowan Blaize and the Hand of Djin Rummy, will be available for FREE KINDLE E-BOOK DOWNLOAD from 12AM October 27 until midnight October 31! That gives readers five days to scoop up this delectable cauldron’s brew-of-a-tale, set amidst the magical mischief and mayhem of St. Augustine, America’s Oldest City. Click HERE when the time comes to join warlock Rowan Blaize and his twisted supernatural posse for a Halloween-novel that will fire-up the imagination (and your Kindle) like no other enchanted read this holiday season! See below for more details about the book …

Jonathan Kieran’s (as-yet-untitled) new novel, an epic supernatural thriller, is now finished and slated for release in late Spring 2014. Look for news about the release here and at Amazon.com in the coming weeks and months.

Jonathan is also the author of the classically appointed Rowan Blaize series of modern fairy-tales and novels. Visit Jonathan Kieran’s Official Facebook Page and give it a “Like,” if you are so inclined. Meanwhile …
Escape the Imminent Collapse of Civilization, if only for a few hours. A sweeping modern fairy-tale is born with the Rowan Blaize series of books. Click on the book covers to the right or have a look below …

Watch the Rowan Blaize Book Trailer HERE.

Book One = The magical cornerstone – a lavishly illustrated epic narrative poem … a genuine “spell” for the young and young-at-heart to treasure for a lifetime, telling the story of sorcerer Rowan Blaize’s battle to regain his magic powers. (Think Beowulf-meets-Dr.Seuss or an epic story-in-verse of a scope similar to Tolkien’s soon-to-be-released The Fall of Arthur, only contemporary.)

Book Two = The rip-roaring novel that continues the adventures of Rowan Blaize and introduces the three hilarious witches of the Ancient City, along with its dysfunctional werewolves, wraiths, ghosts, vampires, dryads, banshees and a beauty pageant brat that just might destroy the world.

Book Three = The next novel that finds Rowan trapped by a spell in another world, caught between a faery-squashing sorceress who’ll stop at nothing to conquer the kingdom … and a feisty teenage prince who’s determined to get it back.

Click here to purchase the Kindle e-books and watch a video of Jonathan discussing his work.
__________________________________________
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound
Books-A-Million
Rowan Blaize Official Website
Goodreads

We all have a “Swamp THANG” in the woodpile, I suspect. #literarycharacters

~The World of Rowan Blaize: Character Profiles~ by JONATHAN KIERAN

NAME: WarrowWize

IMDb Dream Portrayal By: Steve Buscemi

You can't get any swampier than the great Steve B.

You can’t get any swampier than the great Steve B.

NATURE/OCCUPATION: Dithering, Blithering, Nostril-Hair Withering Swamp THANG

AGE: 275 Years

BACKGROUND: WarrowWize obviously didn’t emerge ex nihilo from a bit of dead driftwood or a particularly gelatinous porridge of pond-scum. He had a rasping, wheezing, water-breathing Mama and Papa like any other humanoid lizard-man with amphibious characteristics and gills draped like mud-flaps across his collarbones. WarrowWize was somebody’s bouncing baby boy, at one time. How long he has been inhabiting his favored stretch of swampland along Old Moultrie Road in St. Augustine, Florida, is anyone’s guess. The evidence seems to indicate that WarrowWize is a Swamp THANG who likes to wander about and see what’s happening in the wider world, every now and then, so we cannot rule-out the possibility that he may have wandered into his current haunt from some other mucky locale long, long ago.

PERSONALITY TRAITS: Sloppy, soppy, with skin-folds floppy, WarrowWize is a gentle soul behind his decidedly grotesque and terrifying visage. He enjoys moonlit walks through woodland and town, so long as the weather is suitably and stiflingly humid. It isn’t easy maintaining a respectably slimy complexion while out of the brackish water, after all. WarrowWize is also a gregarious fellow, who, unlike most males of any species, is unafraid to stop and ask politely for directions if he finds himself lost on the way to a kickin’ party.

UNIQUE POWERS/ABILITIES: Canoe-tipping, alligator-wrestling and (Other)world-class spelunking.

SHINING MOMENT: Knocking at a human stranger’s midnight door to seek directions just as The Creature from the Black Lagoon was playing on basic cable. Timing is everything in worlds both magical and mortal.

FEATURED IN: Rowan Blaize and the Hand of Djin Rummy
_______

Jonathan Kieran’s (as-yet-untitled) new novel, an epic supernatural thriller, is now finished and slated for release in late Spring 2014. Look for news about the release here and at Amazon.com in the coming weeks and months.

Jonathan is also the author of the classically appointed Rowan Blaize series of modern fairy-tales and novels. Visit Jonathan Kieran’s Official Facebook Page and give it a “Like,” if you are so inclined. Meanwhile …

Escape the Imminent Collapse of Civilization, if only for a few hours. A sweeping modern fairy-tale is born with the Rowan Blaize series of books. Click on the book covers to the right or have a look below …

Watch the Rowan Blaize Book Trailer HERE.

Book One = The magical cornerstone – a lavishly illustrated epic narrative poem … a genuine “spell” for the young and young-at-heart to treasure for a lifetime, telling the story of sorcerer Rowan Blaize’s battle to regain his magic powers. (Think Beowulf-meets-Dr.Seuss or an epic story-in-verse of a scope similar to Tolkien’s soon-to-be-released The Fall of Arthur, only contemporary.)

Book Two = The rip-roaring novel that continues the adventures of Rowan Blaize and introduces the three hilarious witches of the Ancient City, along with its dysfunctional werewolves, wraiths, ghosts, vampires, dryads, banshees and a beauty pageant brat that just might destroy the world.

Book Three = The next novel that finds Rowan trapped by a spell in another world, caught between a faery-squashing sorceress who’ll stop at nothing to conquer the kingdom … and a feisty teenage prince who’s determined to get it back.

Click here to purchase the Kindle e-books and watch a video of Jonathan discussing his work.
__________________________________________
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound
Books-A-Million
Rowan Blaize Official Website
Goodreads

A voice that could peel the barnacles from a boat. #literarycharacters

~The World of Rowan Blaize: Character Profiles~ by JONATHAN KIERAN

NAME: Dendara Cubbidge

IMDb Dream Portrayal By: Monica Horan

Hands-down, the gleefully goofy and girlishly glorious Monica Horan would be ideal in a cameo role as Dendara Cubbidge, banshee vocalist extraordinaire.

Hands-down, the gleefully goofy and girlishly glorious Monica Horan would be ideal in a cameo role as Dendara Cubbidge, banshee vocalist extraordinaire.

NATURE/OCCUPATION: Local manifestation of the Bean Sidhe (a freakin’ “Banshee,” okay?)

AGE: I’m getting the distinct impression (from my own mind, of course) that Dendara Cubbidge is an Irish immigrant at least a century older than the Floridian community to which she relocated … ostensibly to get out of the fogs and the bogs and embrace the steamy, sun-drenched groves draped with Spanish Moss. This would make her roughly 550, give or take a decade.

BACKGROUND: Dendara is, as mentioned, one of the Bean Sidhe and hails from some unknown woodland clime on the Emerald Isle. There, she presumably spent her salad-days honing various skills in the weeping, wailing, whistling, moaning, howling, groaning, and alerting-otherwise-unsuspecting-mortals-to-the-approach-of-imminent-death departments. Despite the mist-shrouded obscurity of her origins, we may deduce a couple of interesting things about Dendara’s milieu. First, it seems likely that she had an Egyptophyle in the immortal woodpile, since she is named after the Greek designation for the ancient city that served as the cult center of the love-goddess, Hathor, along the sultry banks of the Nile. Maybe Dendara’s mother booked a cruise and was inordinately impressed with the Land of the Pharaohs at some point in her harrowing existence. Who can say? Banshees deserve to benefit from top-notch travel arrangements and exotic experiences abroad like anyone else. It also seems probable that Dendara’s particular branch of the Sidhe was one that boasted significant musical inclinations–at least when it came to inclinations above and beyond the entirely work-related “Primal Scream” mode of vocalizing.

UNIQUE POWERS/ABILITIES: As the lead singer in her namesake “Dendara Cubbidge’s Banshee Band,” Dendara could sing like no other denizen of the magical community in sleepy, witchy, ghostly St. Augustine, Florida. Her multi-octave range was said to have the power to smash windows as thick as the ones guarding the bloated patrons in Dunkin’ Donut restaurants along San Marco Avenue and could likewise, at its zenith, peel the barnacles right off the boats as they bobbed in the idyllic bay. Residing, it is said, just outside St. Augustine in the town of Elkton, where she was apparently active in the parish church of St. Ambrose (would you expect anything less of a good Irish Catholic Sidhe?), Dendara’s exquisite musical stylings were accompanied by an incubus from Palatka and a druid hag from Anastasia Island, who played the sawgrass-flute and an ogre-ivory keyboard, respectively. One presumes this uber-hip trio never had trouble packing any joint in the metaphysical sphere along Florida’s First Coast.

SHINING MOMENT: If warlock Rowan Blaize hired Dendara and her band for his de rigeur All Hallow’s Eve gala, you know they were as satisfying as the roasted echidna scales that the caterers were dishing-out.

FEATURED IN: Rowan Blaize and the Hand of Djin Rummy (Enchanted Heritage Chronicles Book Three)
_______________

Jonathan Kieran’s (as-yet-untitled) new novel, an epic supernatural thriller, is now finished and slated for release in late Spring 2014. Look for news about the release here and at Amazon.com in the coming weeks and months.

Jonathan is also the author of the classically appointed Rowan Blaize series of modern fairy-tales and novels. Visit Jonathan Kieran’s Official Facebook Page and give it a “Like,” if you are so inclined. Meanwhile …
Escape the Imminent Collapse of Civilization, if only for a few hours. A sweeping modern fairy-tale is born with the Rowan Blaize series of books. Click on the book covers to the right or have a look below …

Watch the Rowan Blaize Book Trailer HERE.

Book One = The magical cornerstone – a lavishly illustrated epic narrative poem … a genuine “spell” for the young and young-at-heart to treasure for a lifetime, telling the story of sorcerer Rowan Blaize’s battle to regain his magic powers. (Think Beowulf-meets-Dr.Seuss or an epic story-in-verse of a scope similar to Tolkien’s soon-to-be-released The Fall of Arthur, only contemporary.)

Book Two = The rip-roaring novel that continues the adventures of Rowan Blaize and introduces the three hilarious witches of the Ancient City, along with its dysfunctional werewolves, wraiths, ghosts, vampires, dryads, banshees and a beauty pageant brat that just might destroy the world.

Book Three = The next novel that finds Rowan trapped by a spell in another world, caught between a faery-squashing sorceress who’ll stop at nothing to conquer the kingdom … and a feisty teenage prince who’s determined to get it back.

Click here to purchase the Kindle e-books and watch a video of Jonathan discussing his work.
__________________________________________
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound
Books-A-Million
Rowan Blaize Official Website
Goodreads

When a sledgehammer will take care of the rest … #tectonicshift

Things are going to be changing at the Pop HazMat blog, although I am not quite certain about the exact nature of those changes, yet. One thing I can reveal is that aforementioned changes will indeed have a great deal to do with a number of rather gradual tectonic shifts and (strangle me now for using a vapid, dancing-through-the-flowery-fields-of-Self Improvement term) “life-changes” that have been occurring in the last … well, quite frankly, these things have been occurring all my days, and more often than not in a less-than-gradual fashion.

Have a seat and enjoy a beer with Jonathan Kieran, Existential Lifeguard.

Have a seat and enjoy a beer with Jonathan Kieran, Existential Lifeguard.

Mine has been a tempestuous existence–not entirely by choice, not entirely by happenstance, and not half because I have been more than a bit of a deliberate Mad Hatter, in my way. Mine has been a life decorated with portents both ominous and enlightening, ever since I can remember. Secrets and murmuring shadows have lurked at the outskirts of perception without cessation since I was a child, beckoning with the allure that only the irresistible glimmer of Mystery can command. Demons and gremlins and angels? Oh, my! There has been a multitude of those interlopers and pestering forces, creeping or tip-toeing along the switchbacks and hairpin turns of The Bewildering Quest. These are the wayfarers who do somersaults with gleeful ease up the assorted mountains that I have labored to climb, the high chaparral through which I have sought to claw some sort of trail skyward for myself. The smug little sting upon the consciousness in the midst of it all, at least with the onset of some measure of entrenched, irreversible maturity, is the realization that the demons and the angels are so alike in their purposes and their packaging as to be indistinguishable. Most of the time.

There exists, at this juncture, not the slightest interest in exploring or writing about the things I have in common with my Fellow Travelers. The way I discern the faint-spoken but glistening Vision that inhabits the sacred territory at the periphery of my Understanding, it’s my job to plunge forthright into the depths, breath held and pulse-pounding against the currents that fight to repel me, to snag what uncommon treasures only I may find in perilous, darkling pools at the bottom, and hoist them aloft above the waves, surfacing victorious and gasping for air from the sheer toil. Then, if any strength remains within me, these strange artifacts and potentially dangerous dainties may be brought to shore for shared scrutiny and celebration or, perhaps, a swift toss back into the murk from whence they came, if it is determined that I have wasted my energies and obstinate pursuits and have, by mistake or misperception, snatched-up handfuls of mere misshapen rock that can be observed with all ubiquity by anyone, anywhere, at any time. All else is pointless, now, even if I am pointless without realizing it.

It all falls down ...

It all falls down …

Witty little captions beneath comical pop-photographs poached from the Internets are just not cutting it. Not for me or from me. They have their place in human commentary, to be certain, but if such things (no matter how clever) occupy my particular place in the contribution to public discourse, as bloodcurdlingly cacophonous as that discourse has become, then I am a fool. A fool among fools. A thing must be what it is, according to its nature. All else is dishonesty and illusion that leads to unwitting disillusion, and societies are already so saturated with that wretched effluvia –so easily and willfully mistaken for ambrosia– that they do seem to be in that peculiar jeopardy of a permanent descent into a tomb rife with the odors of some pervasive slumber, a soullessness that betokens no hope, no eventual glimpse of transformation or resurrection.

Lights hidden under bushels. Pearls strewn before swine. “Gaze no more in the bitter glass.” A number of images and adages and metaphors spring to mind, even on cloven hooves. Now is the time for honest work in the world of men and women, and it is within this world that I live, like it or not. Now is the time for each thing to be what it is, according to its nature. We need not be humorless, pompous or vain. We need only be true to our talents and diligent in what we create, particularly if we are artists. I don’t care one whit about what you create. But here’s the magic –the mundane, marvelous magic: You can make me care, if you demand my attention with integrity, and with excellence in craftsmanship. I shall expect the courtesy to be returned.

A friend recently suggested, merely in passing, an artistic endeavor that involves original comic/cartoon work combined with satirical commentary. Most noble, with a long and illustrious history this specific medium. My friend had no way of knowing that I have indeed explored those avenues in the past, with success, and that for some time I have been mulling another ongoing project of broad strokes across a canvas capable of sustaining appreciable depth, both visually and spiritually. It is not beyond the pale to think my friend’s suggestion might have emerged from the sphere of the Providential, particularly at this Moment of Exquisite Cataclysm, when all facades are torn crumbling from their foundations and destroyed, to be replaced with vast gardens waiting to be nurtured, and pristine wetlands welcoming all manner of Life–mischievous and mild, retiring and wild–eager to nest and dwell therein. Home at last?

We shall soon see. The edifice and the artifice and the pointless scaffolding have been collapsing in great sprays of mortar and tempests of obliterated stonework for years, thank God, to reveal the intricate mosaic laid at the True Foundation. The siege is nearly over and I think a sledgehammer will just about take care of what remains. There are some satisfying days of work ahead.
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Jonathan Kieran’s (as-yet-untitled) new novel, an epic supernatural thriller, is now finished and slated for release in late Spring 2014. Look for news about the release here and at Amazon.com in the coming weeks and months.

Jonathan is also the author of the classically appointed Rowan Blaize series of modern fairy-tales and novels. Visit Jonathan Kieran’s Official Facebook Page and give it a “Like,” if you are so inclined. Meanwhile …

Escape the Imminent Collapse of Civilization, if only for a few hours. A sweeping modern fairy-tale is born with the Rowan Blaize series of books. Click on the book covers to the right or have a look below …

Watch the Rowan Blaize Book Trailer HERE.

Book One = The magical cornerstone – a lavishly illustrated epic narrative poem … a genuine “spell” for the young and young-at-heart to treasure for a lifetime, telling the story of sorcerer Rowan Blaize’s battle to regain his magic powers. (Think Beowulf-meets-Dr.Seuss or an epic story-in-verse of a scope similar to Tolkien’s soon-to-be-released The Fall of Arthur, only contemporary.)

Book Two = The rip-roaring novel that continues the adventures of Rowan Blaize and introduces the three hilarious witches of the Ancient City, along with its dysfunctional werewolves, wraiths, ghosts, vampires, dryads, banshees and a beauty pageant brat that just might destroy the world.

Book Three = The next novel that finds Rowan trapped by a spell in another world, caught between a faery-squashing sorceress who’ll stop at nothing to conquer the kingdom … and a feisty teenage prince who’s determined to get it back.

Click here to purchase the Kindle e-books and watch a video of Jonathan discussing his work.
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Barnes and Noble
IndieBound
Books-A-Million
Rowan Blaize Official Website
Goodreads

“Earl Grey has never gotten anyone through a real muddle.” #dowagerwisdom

Jonathan Kieran: Author, Illustrator, Existential Interrogator

POP HAZMAT “CAPTURED MOMENTS” presents EAVESDROPPING at the OUTSKIRTS of EXCESS by JONATHAN KIERAN

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If you’re bored and don’t have any Japanese eyeballs to lick, hop on over to Jonathan Kieran’s Official Facebook Page and give it a Like!

Escape the Imminent Collapse of Civilization, Friends, if only for a few hours. A sweeping modern fairy-tale is born with the Rowan Blaize series of books. Click on the book covers to the right or have a look below …

Watch the Rowan Blaize Book Trailer HERE.

Book One = The magical cornerstone – a lavishly illustratedepic narrative poem … a genuine “spell” for the young and young-at-heart to treasure for a lifetime, telling the story of sorcerer Rowan Blaize’s battle to regain his magic powers. (Think Beowulf-meets-Dr.Seuss or an epic story-in-verse of a scope similar to Tolkien’s soon-to-be-released The Fall of Arthur, only contemporary.)

Book Two =…

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