At Last … Zanzibar Circus

Yes, I know: I’ve been threatening to release this comic tour-de-farce for months. Sorry, but there were so many other endeavors with which to occupy my questionable interests that I never got around to it until now. For example, it took me a significant amount of time to figure out how to operate the many sinister and relentless updates & upgrades foisted upon us tech-weary types by the erstwhile user-friendly Apple corporation. User-friendly. Talk about “once upon a time.”

Too, there were the recent holidays, a week’s impromptu sojourn in Las Vegas, and scattered bits of that random stuff they call “work.” Of course, a fair amount of existential anxiety about the state of our spiraling civilization had to be conjured, endured, and finally processed through the powers of my inestimable comprehension, to boot. You didn’t think I’d just interrupt the perfectly healthy flow of a Lifelong Panic Attack to draw little cartoons, did you?

At all events, it’s here. Zanzibar Circus. Rudimentary. Simple. Speaks for itself. No further introduction or explanation needed. Expect an installment every week or two.

IMG_2768

______________________________________________________________

Jonathan Kieran is the author and illustrator of Confessions from the Comments Section: The Secret Lives of Internet Commenters and Other Pop Culture Zombies (Brightbourne), along with the Rowan Blaize series of contemporary fantasy books. He is also the creator of the Zanzibar Circus comic strip. Learn more about his books here at jonathankieran.com or buy them on Amazon by clicking the cover-links above on the right.

Midwest Book Review Gives Us Some Lovin’

With the Goodreads promotion of Confessions from the Comments Section complete and the New Year finally rolling into some semblance of high gear, your friendly, neighborhood Existential Troubadour was especially pleased to receive word about Midwest Book Review’s sparkling praise for our latest literary emanation.

Midwest Book Review has been one of the nation’s most respected and comprehensive bastions of literary criticism since the mid-1970s, when it was founded by James Cox, who still wields his scepter with aplomb as the institution’s Editor-in-Chief. Midwest has always selected books for review with great care and acuity, ever on the lookout for worthy titles–not only from houses glittering with the incandescence of New York prestige, but also from the sturdy, less extravagant domiciles arranged in hopeful suburbs across the publishing landscape. Mr. Cox’s editorial prudence and the judicious enthusiasm of his seasoned team of critics are to be commended.

Especially when they treat our work in such appreciative fashion.

Confessions from the Comments Section: The Secret Lives of Internet Commenters and Other Pop Culture Zombies, was reviewed by Midwest and will indeed appear in the January 2016 installment of their venerable publication. Behold:

Humorous and insightful, Confessions from the Comments Section is a browse to prepare one’s self for the digitally interconnected 21st century. Remember, the internet is “written in ink”; your comments today will very likely be viewable decades in the future–perhaps by a potential employer or love interest doing a background check! As funny as it is forewarning, Confessions from the Comments Section is both a showcase of what not to do while exercising one’s right to free speech online … and a sparkling prize of inspiration for crafting Internet comments that convey a valuable and memorable message. Highly recommended!

-Clint Travis, MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW, Reader’s Bookwatch/January 2016

I would like to take the opportunity to express my gratitude to the stalwart forces at Midwest Book Review for this INCONTROVERTIBLY ACCURATE and CATEGORICALLY UNASSAILABLE assessment of my work. Long may such obvious and impeccable standards of uncompromising quality be maintained amid the chaos of contemporary publishing!

Of course, if you are one of the precious few who has yet to buy the book and see what this well-deserved fanfare is all about, I urge you to click the link to Confessions from the Comments Section on the sidebar and demonstrate both your admirable good sense and your Amazon One-Click skills.

Now, I really must get hopping on that comic strip I’ve been promising for months. Hundreds are awaiting this auspicious birth with bated breath! Celebratory cigars are growing stale in their humidors as we speak! But fear not, ye watchers and ye holy ones: Zanzibar Circus is about to be born. A few more contractions and one good yank of the sardonic forceps ought to do the trick.

Patience, kittens. Patience.

~Jonathan

When all else fails, pose with an electrified cat. #Standards

Lately I am loathe to play any sort of role as just one more babbling voice in what I call the “Great Cacophony” — this seemingly infinite and overloaded universe of disparate, narcissistic voices clamoring and competing for attention in the cyber realm and elsewhere. I do not want to become one of those paragons of vanity who bombards fellow human beings with pointless and banal quips, quotes, updates, adages, jokes, links, sound-bites, snippets, essays, recipes, shout-outs, opinions, ejaculations, emanations, contemplations, and all manner of self-absorbed and/or self-serving eruptions that, in general, amount to little more than a truly apocalyptic trumpet-blast of garden-variety flatulence accosting the already befuddled senses of Earth’s inhabitants.

Too many people are making too much noise … when so precious few have anything truly valuable to say.

Be that as it may, the masses will always determine what does or does not possess inherent value, and what merits enthusiastic adulation and attention — divided or undivided. Admittedly, the track-record of “the masses” in this regard has been (and remains) rather spotty throughout the history of civilization, cf. Witch-burning, Vegemite, Fifty Shades of Gray, Velveeta, A Walk to Remember, The Kardashians, etc. etc.

Nevertheless, it behooves any true artist in this potentially cataclysmic epoch to let his or her work speak for itself, without the frightful din of too much self-obsessed explanation or the adornment of superfluous exposition. Create and reveal, then let the precious chips of widespread approval or acclaim fall where they will, that’s what I say! I have learned few greater lessons in life than this one: people do indeed define “success” quite differently and according to their own measure of personal happiness and satisfaction.

It is for this reason that, keeping in mind the noble self-restraint about which I have so eloquently pontificated, I shall henceforth endeavor to promote and market my work solely by the means of posting naked and near-naked super-duper sexy photos of myself.

The rest can be managed by a particularly loquacious and over-caffeinated publicist.

Standards, after all, have got to start counting for something, again.

Happy November, y’all.

Yours Truly, Halloween 2014, The Clift Hotel Party, San Francisco. (Don't know who the electrified cat was, but few could keep their paws off me that night. Must have been the hat ...)

Yours Truly, Halloween 2014, The Clift Hotel Party, San Francisco. (Don’t know who the electrified cat was, but few could keep their paws off me that night. Must have been the hat …)


__
Jonathan Kieran is withdrawing from contemporary human society to protest a multitude of offenses against taste and decency, but that doesn’t mean you need to head for the hills. No! Let Mr. Kieran become your Vicarious Hermit, serving all of your needs for solitude and isolated contemplation by proxy, as it were. Otherwise, stick around: some form of epic and expectation-shattering work is slated for release in 2015. News about future books and Jonathan’s in-development multimedia production company will be forthcoming.

For your current reading pleasure, Jonathan is the author of the classically appointed Rowan Blaize books and novels. Visit Mr. 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 works. Click on the book covers to the right or have a look below to learn more.

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

Blame Twitter when your kids call you an old drunk. #trends

"Now where'd I put that grilled cheese?"

“Now where’d I put that grilled cheese?”

For fellow professional “Tweeters” who languish in realms reserved for those not nearly as famous and gifted as the demure Kardashians, participation in the chaos of Twitter can sometimes seem like an exercise in abject futility. Sure, it’s easy to trade a “Follow” for a “Follow” and confect the illusion of skyrocketing Worldwide Cyber-Popularity, but when someone boasts 100,000 followers simply because they engaged in the tedious trial-and-error strategy of following hordes of strangers and then waiting for them to “follow back,” no one is really fooling anyone these days. And “good luck” when it comes to discovering comprehensive and meaningful Twitter content to share (or RT) when your homepage is filled with a previous day’s worth of 100,000 streaming, screaming tweets tweeted by tweeters as preoccupied with quantity-over-quality as you are. A humongous cache of Twitter followers gained in this manner has its place as some sort of vaguely impressive statistical calling-card, certainly, but as everyone else catches-on to the trick, the chances of disseminating valuable information that has a chance to be noticed and appreciated grows ever more unlikely and the reason to even bother doing it grows ever more pointless. Little wonder that industry observers are highlighting this practice as one of the chief liabilities in Twitter’s recent, highly publicized mudslide toward the Cesspit of Irrelevance.

Regarding the social network’s ultimate fate, the jury is still out and huddled in feverish deliberations, in my opinion. There are still great things to discover and great connections to be made on Twitter. I do, however, agree that the only thing we’re proving via the exponentially relentless “Follow for a Follow” approach is that our thumbs are exceedingly industrious, or that we’re staying up way past bedtime in some claustrophobic home-office nook, a half-eaten grilled cheese draped, soggy and forlorn, across a plate beside us, with a wine glass as empty as the bottle that filled it four times in the past hour alone. We are wrapped in our blankets, shivering slightly, with the light of a computer screen casting its ghoulish green glow around our mesmerized faces until we look like something a wayward passel of Shakespearean rogues might discover in a misty midnight bog, perched over a cauldron and eager to cackle an arcane, eldritch prophecy that’ll make no sense to anyone (at least not until the end of the play). We, however, are not waiting in the dark for wanderers eager to hear us say our sooth. Oh no. We’re slogging through the list of 3,759 people we followed on Twitter earlier that day and are now doing the abominable drudge-work of “unfollowing” those who had the temerity not to return the favor.

Tomorrow, the ophthalmologist will have more than a few choice words about those knock-off Luis Vuitton handbags (each with its own matching fanny-pack!) dangling underneath our eyes like the swollen overflow from a storage bin that even the most wiry and resourceful of veteran airline stewardesses could not manage to secure on her very best day. Yep. And the doc will really rip us a new one when it comes to the state of our failing vision. We’ll deserve every last bit of that tongue-lashing, but with a proud jut of the chin and a haughty shake of the vibrating, coffee-addled skull, we’ll each look at the ophthalmologist with those red, swollen eyeballs and say:

“But I’ve got 65,000 Twitter followers, Doctor, and you only have twenty-two. Ha! I know that because I followed you yesterday and waited for you to follow me back, but you didn’t, even though I could plainly see that you tweeted something between the time I followed you and the time I checked for your follow-back, so of course I had to unfollow you, and you were one of the last people I followed that day, anyway, so if you want to blame someone for my deplorable eyesight, blame yourself for not following me when you first had the opportunity, because every time someone doesn’t follow me back I have to stay up late to make a couple of extra maneuvers to ascertain why they didn’t follow me initially and then make a decision between continuing to follow them in hopes that they will return the follow or else unfollow them completely, and I have to do it in the dark or else I’ll wake-up the kids and I don’t want them to come out of their bedrooms and catch me drinking that much wine. So it’s your fault I can’t see anything anymore. Follow what I’m saying?”

Yeah, yeah. Go ahead and pay your doctor’s bill with an air of smug triumph (you earned it!) and be sure to make a quick stop at BevMo on the way home, but get the big box of wine instead of a puny little bottle this time. Boxes never tell embarrassing tales of overindulgent emptiness. A box of wine will always look “FULL” … at least until somebody has to kick one out the door in their bedroom slippers toward the overstuffed recycle bin. Then the jig will be up, sure, but you have plenty of time until then. Maybe even a couple of hours. Remember: you’ve got a long night ahead of you — a night of building Worldwide Cyber-Popularity. And building illusions makes a body thirsty.

See you round the #hashtag cooler!
___

Jonathan Kieran’s new novel is slated for release in Autumn 2014. Look for news about the book 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

Swan-dive into the refreshing waters of 2014. Naked, if possible.

Time to Take Some WD-40 to the Windmills of Your Mind? Join the Club.

Time to Take Some WD-40 to the Windmills of Your Mind? Join the Club.

How have we possibly arrived at the very brink of yet another New Year together? Is it just me, or have the mischievous goblins of hyper-informed “modernity” been wreaking havoc with the attention-spans of other fine citizens of this spinning ball of slowly cooling molten rock, whipping us all into a frenzied population of cynical, disconnected automatons as the planet hurtles through space and time towards a perpetually unknown destiny?

Okay, it’s just me. I thought as much.

Anyhow, whether we have come to park our toes at the edge of this beckoning abyss with the comprehensive faculties of fruit-flies or with keen eyes spiritually fixated upon momentous changes desperate for actualization in the coming months, we really are standing here together. It’s probably best to get used to that. If you’re like me and you can’t believe you completed even half of what you set-out to do around this time last year, pat yourself on the back, go buy yourself something ephemeral and unhealthy (possibly from the liquor store) or take a well-deserved nap. Congratulations. We’ve worked hard to survive 2013–not to mention all the years that came before that; well, at least the ones in which we were not in prison–and a brand new vista opens-up before us as the Western calendar prepares to make one of its trademark hairpin-turns.

Lots of new developments are on the horizon for Yours Truly. In February I shall have completed two brand new novels that are just snarling to be published, and the audiobook version of Rowan Blaize is slated for release (at last!) before Summer 2014, along with a very special and celebratory promotional giveaway aimed at members of the (dis)Enchanted Community. Naturally, there shall be any number of accompanying resolutions, diminutions, evolutions, retributions and sundry. Bullshit will be kept to a bare minimum, if at all possible. For the most part, however, I am intent upon clearing a year’s worth of collateral garbage out of my poor brain in order to launch the New year in appropriately productive fashion. To that end I have been looking into a number of the new “Personal Soul-Drive Erasers” on the market these days. All are very tempting, but no single brand has “leapt out at me” in terms of eradicating the metaphysical flotsam and jetsam of a year that hovered perilously on the brink of existential anguish time and time again.

I think I’ll just go for a nice 7-mile run on Wednesday and try to sweat the nonsense out. That typically does the trick. But first I’ll close the windows, turn off the lights, make a pot of spicy spaghetti and screen a cathartic offering from the realm of cinema–something fit to purge any and all demonic entities that may have attached themselves like barnacles to my worldview during the course of this particular yesteryear. I could watch Beverly Hills Chihuahua, for example. Someone gave it to me as a gift six years ago and it’s still in the library. Unwrapped. Mint condition. Begging to be seen. Or perhaps a selection from Lindsay Lohan’s oeuvre? That would indeed require a dive into the labyrinth of Netflix, but when the good of one’s very character is at stake, no exploration is too intrepid. Drastic measures may be required. You know … something powerful and soul-scorching. Eye-burning. Nostril hair-curling.

A guy has gotta do what he’s gotta do. Come what may, I’ll see you on the First. Good luck in your endeavors, beware of stray dogs with purple eyebrows, and above all be mindful of the good things you hope to achieve in 2014 and the fine specimens of humanity you hope to encounter. Good Luck.
____________

Jonathan Kieran’s (as-yet-untitled) new novel is 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

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

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.
______________

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