Rick Wayne's Blog

April 18, 2019


Portrait of Countess Y. P. Samoilova and Her Ward Amacil...

[image error]


Portrait of Countess Y. P. Samoilova and Her Ward Amacilia Pacini Leaving a Ball. Karl Pavlovich Brulloff (circa 1842)

 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on April 18, 2019 07:32

April 16, 2019

(Art) Giant Robot Tuesday

[image error]


Once upon a time, when I was very active on social media, I posted a giant robot picture every Tuesday. While I’m out of the habit, I still run into quite a few images.





























 

 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on April 16, 2019 07:15

April 15, 2019

(Fiction) The Disemboweler

[image error]


The Disemboweler stroked the child’s head and smiled from under his severed mask. He had cut it in an arc under the cheeks to reveal his mouth and the tip of his nose. It obscured everything else but his eyes, which were black and soulless. Like a shark’s.


The mask was reptilian—once a crocodile or snake—but its painted green scales were dirty and scuffed at the ridges. Like its owner, it was disfigured beyond recognition. It was a horror strapped to the man’s head by a cracked and frayed leather belt.


“There, there,” he told the little girl.


Her white eyes shone up at him. Her skin was jet black. She clutched a striped short-haired cat.


“See? No need to be scared.” The big man squatted next to the pigtailed child. He held her arm with one hand and took the cat with the other. He lifted it and the two beasts stared at each other. “What’s his name?”


The girl didn’t answer. She was terrified, as were all the residents of Figtree Cove. They stared in silence from under the bagassa trees or fanned themselves under the equatorial sun. Only the insects chattered. Boraro the Disemboweler had earned his epithet thrice-over—at least—and no one dared challenge him, not even to spare an innocent.


Boraro, still squatting, stroked the cat and addressed the dozen or so members of his audience. “We are looking for Xana Jace.”


Everyone knew “we” meant Mama Enecio, almost certainly watching from behind the tinted glass of the Mercedes idling on the dirt road. Mama was a big woman and kept to air conditioning. Three more of her men stood around the car. They held machetes and stakes.


No one spoke.


Boraro smiled again at the child. His dark eyes danced under the mask as he stroked her best friend. “Do you know Xana?”


The child nodded.


“Do you know where she is?”


The girl shook her head. She stared at her purring pet and looked as though she were about to cry.


Boraro sneered. He disliked children. They were loud and unreasonable. Only good for one thing. And it wasn’t time for that.


Yet.


He waved his hand for her to leave and she ran across the dirt and grass to her mother, who waited in front of their dilapidated shack. Of the seven so-called houses that rimmed the cove, two were leaning so heavily as to be uninhabitable. The water behind them filled a deep depression in the ground, runoff gathered from a tributary of the Demerara River. Figtree Cove was nearly dry for three months of the year, a muddy depression that fed flies and mosquitoes. The rest of the time it served as bath, fishing hole, and irrigation well for the tiny community.


Boraro stood tall in the sun still holding the lazy feline. The man’s dry, scaly brown skin was covered in fine black hairs. He wore a plain t-shirt and work pants. His long legs ended in mud-caked boots. His heavy arms sprouted from his shoulders and bulged like twisted-steel cables. His hands made fists like club heads.


“I have a message. I want you to give it to the freak Xana.” He rubbed his fingers back and forth over the cat’s ears. The animal closed its eyes. “Tell her I will face her tomorrow under the noon sun. One on one. In the junkyard by the Dutch market. Tell her, if she does not come . . .” He swept his hand across the scene. “We will burn every one of these houses to the ground.”


The crowd stayed silent.


“Tell her she cannot run. Tell her.” The Disemboweler grabbed the cat’s head and twisted. The animal squealed and went silent. The crowd gasped. The little girl hid her face in her mother’s faded dress. The woman put a hand on her daughter but said nothing.


Boraro ripped the cat’s skull from its body. Strips of torn skin stretched like taffy. He tipped the head over his open mouth as if drinking from a coconut. He swallowed blood. A dribble ran down his throat. He tossed the head to the dust and yanked the cat’s fur to reveal its muscle-covered ribcage. Boraro cracked it with bulging arms and pulled out the animal’s heart. It looked like a juicy plum in his fat fingers. He tossed the carcass to the ground and took a bite from the organ. Red liquid squirted and drained over his fingers like juice. Many in the crowd turned away.


The masked man chewed. His reptilian cowl moved up and down with each clench of his jaw. Then he motioned his men forward. They walked toward the closest shack and everyone saw. Those weren’t stakes in their hands. They were torches.


“No!” A skinny, shirtless man stepped forward.


One of Mama Enecio’s men knocked him down and kicked him as another lit a gasoline-soaked torch with his Zippo and tossed it into the closest shack.


The skinny man put his face in the dirt and covered his head to hide the sobs. Everyone else watched as flames rose and surrounded the door frame.


Boraro swallowed the last of the heart and wiped his hands back and forth on his pants. He watched the flames grow. Dry, sunbaked wood crackled and snapped. In moments, the shack was an inferno.


“Noon,” the Disemboweler repeated. “Or I will come back hungry.” He waved to the little girl. Then he turned with the others, walked to the car, and drove away.



selection from Episode Two of my superpowered sci-fi serial, THE MINUS FACTION.


cover image by Erikas Perl

 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on April 15, 2019 07:24

April 14, 2019


Brilliant new work by “Breath Art,” previously featured ...

[image error]


Brilliant new work by “Breath Art,” previously featured here.

 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on April 14, 2019 07:09

April 12, 2019

(Art) The Far-flung Worlds of Fred Gambino

[image error]


UK artist and illustrator Fred Gambino makes classic sci-fi art, but with modern tools and sensibilities. His images of space travel, alien worlds, asteroid mining, and wars between interstellar empires have been used on book covers, for Charles Stross and others, and as concept art for films, such as Thor: Ragnarok.


His panoramic painting of the surface of the planet Trantor, from Asimov’s “Foundation” series, was split into six covers and, when recombined, is especially stunning — see below.


You can find more by the artist on his ArtStation.
























 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on April 12, 2019 07:08

April 10, 2019

(Art) The Enchantments of Errol Le Cain

[image error]


Born in Singapore, Errol Le Cain (1941-1989) spent his early childhood in India until he moved to the U.K. by himself at the age of 17 to study animation. Settled in the U.K. until his death, Le Cain’s first self-authored picture book was the English legend “King Arthur’s Sword” and was inspired by a rough sketch he drew for a movie in 1968.


Le Cain’s whimsical and colorful illustrations mix Western-style conventions with Eastern artistic influences in works such as “Princess Cabbage,” “Cupid and Psyche” and “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.” [Japan Times]







































Man in medieval dress before a door in the forest

 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on April 10, 2019 07:24

April 8, 2019


art by Mary GrandPré

[image error]


art by Mary GrandPré

 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on April 08, 2019 07:27

(Art) The Enchantments of Errol Le Cain

[image error]


Born in Singapore, Errol Le Cain (1941-1989) spent his early childhood in India until he moved to the U.K. by himself at the age of 17 to study animation. Settled in the U.K. until his death, Le Cain’s first self-authored picture book was the English legend “King Arthur’s Sword” and was inspired by a rough sketch he drew for a movie in 1968.


Le Cain’s whimsical and colorful illustrations mix Western-style conventions with Eastern artistic influences in works such as “Princess Cabbage,” “Cupid and Psyche” and “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.” [Japan Times]







































Man in medieval dress before a door in the forest

 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on April 08, 2019 07:24

April 7, 2019

(Feature) A Cretin Speaks

[image error]


I was interviewed recently.



What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?


The biggest mistake is trying not to make one. I’m not being glib. You’re going to make mistakes. You should make mistakes; it’s the only way to learn.


Mistakes are the battle scars of the hardened veteran. Stop worrying about how to avoid them. Focus instead on identifying your mistakes and learning from them.


 


How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?


Oh man, that’s like asking how to deal with internet comments.


Sci-fi author Nathan Lowell likes to remind people that if you’re not getting any one-star reviews, you’re not reaching enough people.


If all you’re getting are one- and two-star reviews (minus that one from your mom), that’s a sign you needed more practice before going live. If you’re getting a mix: welcome to publishing.


 


Tell us some quirky facts about yourself!


So, one of my favorite quotes of all time comes from mythologist Joseph Campbell, who, shortly before his death in 1987, gave a television interview at George Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch:



“People say that what we’re all seeking is the meaning of life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences will have resonance within our own innermost being, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive. That’s what it’s all finally about.”



I love that quote because it reminds me not to over-complicate things, which also happens to be a guiding principle of fiction.


It also reminds me that a full life is an experience-rich one, and so I need to leave room for things that scare me, like jumping out of airplanes and eating scorpions and dissecting dead people and feeling the blast of a terrorist’s bomb — all of which I’ve done.


 


How do you deal with creative block?


Women used to be diagnosed with hysteria. It was believed to originate in the uterus (hystera in Greek, which is why we call the surgical removal of the uterus a hysterectomy). Smart, educated people — some of the smartest of their time — believed this.


The problem is, it doesn’t exist. There’s no such disease. People can act hysterical, men and women both, but the somatization of psychological stress has any number of causes, most of which will have nothing to do with the uterus.


Smart, educated people — some of the smartest of our time — believe there’s a thing called Writer’s Block. Only there isn’t. Just as people can sometimes be hysterical, sometimes they can struggle creatively. The potential causes of that are too numerous to contemplate.


When your computer stops working, a simple reboot is often the answer. When the words stop coming, I step away and do something else. That doesn’t always work, but it’s a good place to start.


 


How has your creative process improved over time?


If it ever stops changing, I’ll let you know.


 


Do you have any creativity tricks?


Yes, read. If that doesn’t work, read more.


 


Please introduce your books!


My latest, THE MINUS FACTION, is a serial novel (which is different than a novel series) about four underdogs who use their extraordinary abilities for both good and ill in the service of an enigmatic mastermind. It is available now.


Later this year, I will be releasing an occult mystery called FEAST OF SHADOWS that has a very unique narrative structure. It is five mysteries, each told from the point of view of a different narrator, that relates the epic battle between a reclusive eccentric and an unseen adversary.



cover image by Moon Patrol.

 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on April 07, 2019 09:09

April 6, 2019


New from “Clockbirds,” previously featured here.

[image error]


New from “Clockbirds,” previously featured here.

 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on April 06, 2019 10:14