Monday, August 22, 2016

Cold War memories

Last night, we had heavy weather in our county. Rain thunder and wind. Potential for tornadoes. Some places had damage, fortunately we did not.

Some of my friends reported their smartphone weather apps squawking in the middle of the night.

But for me, it was a little different.

We leave our daughter’s radio on the classical station overnight. I was awoken at 3:30AM by the emergency broadcast signal. The old-fashioned way.

I thought about it this morning and realized that is the first time in my life I’ve heard that signal for real and not just as a test. I can remember having afternoon cartoons interrupted by that squeal for testing. For someone who grew up in New England, hearing that signal for real was a little weird. In the midwest or South or areas more prone to tornadoes or other bad weather, you might have heard the signal otherwise.

This heightened weather awareness in our local media came a few years ago when a tornado touched down and there were fatalities. Tornadoes are still a very rare phenomena around these parts, though we get our share of wind microbursts. But now we get reports and weather notices and live hype, of course.

Pondering it a little more, I probably rarely thought of that signal as weather-related. Growing up under the Cold War, if we were ever to hear that signal for real - it was more likely that the missiles would be flying, and we would be screwed.

Friday, August 12, 2016

recent read; Honourkeeper by Nick Kyme

For a while, Black Library kept intriguing me with back cover synopses and I was buying them like crazy. I made myself stop, but I still have a shelf full. It occurred to me it had been a long time since I read a Warhammer, so I picked one.


Irascible dwarfs almost always get my attention in fantasy works. I went with Nick Kyme's Honourkeeper, the third title in a loose trilogy concerning dwarfs in the world of Warhammer.

In the ancient days of the Old World, long before the time of men, the dwarfs and elves are at the height of their prosperity. As King Bagrik of the dwarfs and Prince Ithalred of the elves forge a trade pact, a vast horde of northmen attacks the elf settlement. When King Bagrik's son is slain, the dwarfs join forces with the elves, eager for vengeance. Can the dwarfs and the elves put aside their differences long enough to prevail over foe?

Much like its predecessor, Oathbreaker, this novel delivers on the sweeping battlefields, amazing dwarf halls, aloof elves, bloody Northmen of Chaos. I really liked the dwarf queen. There is also drama and intrigue between the two races - elves and dwarfs. They are attempting for forge a trade alliance, but they get along about as well as oil and water from the start.

I enjoyed this one.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Placeholder

Eh, not much new but I haven't posted since mid-July.

I've had some fun reads, I've signed up for Audible - trying to shift some 'reading' time to my new, longer commute to leave me more writing time at home.

Attended NECON which was a hoot (and sold out) as always. A bunch of us have already registered for next summer's NECON 37. I'm really riding the post-NECON bump this time and committing even more effort to my writing.

Hopefully, I'll have more interesting things to post in the near future.

Cheers!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Warriors of the Wild Lands Kickstarter is live.



I just backed this Kickstarter; WARRIORS OF THE WILD LANDS: TRUE TALES OF THE FRONTIER PARTISANS. If you're a history buff, you should get in on this - or at least check out Jim's blog - Frontier Partisans.

If you believe history is a boring discussion for college rooms, you should think again. There are rousing tales to be told.

And I feel this book arrives at a good time. Too many people are insisting on an "us or them / black or white" world. There are few times in human history when that has truly been the case. History is full of grey. Perhaps, no darker shades than on the frontiers and the men (and women) who lived & walked the trails there.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

A Lonely And Curious Country (Kindle edition)

Ulthar Press have been busy!

In addition to the newest tome, CARNACKI: THE LOST CASES, last year's Lovecraftian anthology, A LONELY AND CURIOUS COUNTRY has been given the Kindle treatment. If that is your preferred ebook platform $4 gets it on your device. Includes my story, "Down By The Highway Side."

http://www.amazon.com/Lonely-Curious-Country-Matthew-Carpenter-ebook/dp/B01HOWULVE

Monday, June 27, 2016

Carnacki: The Lost Cases, now available from Amazon



Carnacki: The Lost Cases

This anthology is now available. I'm excited to be in this one. Instead of inventing new tales from scratch, editor Sam Gafford asked us to use pre-existing titles of  'cases/adventures' specifically mentioned by Carnacki in the original stories while he was investigating other cases.These are tales William Hope Hodgson - creator of Carnacki - himself never got around to writing.

It was a good challenge to write within the framework of Carnacki's world and the given title.

Here is the announced table-of-contents;

THE DARKNESS by A. F. KIDD
THE SILENT GARDEN by JASON C. ECKHARDT
THE SHADOW SUNS by JOHN HOWARD
THE STEEPLE MONSTER CASE by CHARLES R. RUTLEDGE
THE MOVING FUR CASE by PAUL R. McNAMEE
THE DELPHIC BEE by JOSH REYNOLDS
A HIDEOUS COMMUNION by JAMES GRACEY
THE DARK TRADE by JOHN LINWOOD GRANT
THE GRUNTING MAN by WILLIAM MEIKLE
THE DARK LIGHT by ROBERT M. PRICE
THE YELLOW FINGER EXPERIMENTS by JAMES BOJACIUK
THE GREY DOG by JOHN LINWOOD GRANT


(Kindle edition is also listed for pre-order)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

recent read; The Redeemed Captive




A few weekends ago we spent the weekend in western Massachusetts - "western" being the Pioneer Valley of the Connecticut River, not quite so west as the Berkshire mountains.

I took a very brief stop in historic Deerfield and got the bug to read about the raid of 1704. During Queen Anne's War, one cold winter morning, a combined force of native forces and French soldiers attacked the English settlement, carrying off over one hundred prisoners and marching them to Canada (New France.)

The gift/bookshop didn't have any very short reads about the raid. I forewent any thick history books and tried to go to a source - the narrative of John Williams - minister of Deerfield who was taken in the raid and spent three years in Canada until he was finally "redeemed" (prisoner exchange/ransomed) back to Boston.

I grabbed the Kindle edition. As it turns out, Williams's own narrative is hard to come by. The common edition available is a book written by one of his descendants decades after (1833.) The descendant gives highlights and excerpts from the original narrative.

Not having the original, I don't know how it was presented. But this later rehash is concerned with the details of the raid and the march to Canada for only about 20% of the volume. The other 80% describes all of Williams's hardships while living among the heathens (Indians) and idolaters (the French Catholics.)

What you get is much more The Temptation of Williams in the wilderness instead of Last of the Mohicans. He is tortured, beaten, roughly handled, debated by Jesuits on all sides. But he refuses to convert to evil Popery. I don't know if the original narrative has such an imbalance. But given that Williams was a Protestant (Anglican) minister, and so was his descendant, this is the track the book takes.

One thing I did find revealing was the French alliances with the Natives. It is clear - between the lines - that the French were in no way all-powerful in matters with their native allies. They were outnumbered and cautious. There are constant references to various French agents negotiating on Williams behalf - both with Natives and Jesuits priests who worked among the natives. The French could not simply order the Natives to comply.

Interesting read for a while but by the end I was skimming large portions.

p.s.- While searching for a cover image, I came across this nice, short article about the place of the execution of Williams's wife, Eunice. Great photographs.

The Ghost of Eunice Williams