The Other Stories Podcast: A Skeleton Reads Shakespeare & Other Publications! — Tylor James

Greetings friends,

Consider the following a bit of a newsletter. There’s been a bout of good news lately, writing/publishing wise, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t share it with you. First, this awesome podcast:

The Other Stories Podcast has published my short story, “A Skeleton Reads Shakespeare” as a fifteen minute dramatic narration. I think they did a stellar job. The narrator (Justin Fife) is spot-on and the sound effects are chilling. All of their episodes are of high quality, and I highly recommend checking them out. “A Skeleton Reads Shakespeare” is a fine episode to start with. You can listen to it here, on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fja9JZklAZI

Or, one can access “The Other Stories” via Acast, Amazon Music, Spotify, or iTunes.

In other news:

My eerie, poignant tale “Behind the Door” has been published in Vol. 9, issue 2 of HYPNOS MAGAZINE. I was impressed by the accompanying illustrations. If you’re a fan of dark fiction/strange tales, you will not go wrong picking up one of their slick, hefty issues! Trust me on this: https://radiumtownpress.com/store.html

“Box of Chocolates”, possibly one of the strangest tales I’ve written, is a feast for the imagination. It’s now published in issue #27 in The Literary Hatchet. I’m honored to have been included in a publication alongside so many talented writers: https://lizzieandrewborden.com/HatchetOnline/LiteraryHatchet/

Last bit of good stuff: “Independence Day in Holebrim, Texas” begins as an unnerving slow-burn type of story . . . then utterly explodes with mayhem and horror! It’s one of the favorite stories that I’ve written, and if you’d like, you may read it alongside many other great tales in SCARE ME, the new book anthology from Esskaye Books. I read through this volume in a day or two — that’s how good these stories are! Check it out here, https://www.esskayebooks.com/scare-me.html

And that concludes some thrilling, recent publications. I had a good time writing these tales, and can only hope readers have just as good a time.

If you enjoy short stories, keep an ear out for my upcoming book, MATTERS MOST MACABRE, which will be out in mid or late 20201. Until then, you might enjoy my debut collection, DAYDREAMS OF THE DAMNED: TALES OF HORROR & ODDITY, available in paperback/kindle via Amazon at reasonable prices: https://www.amazon.com/Daydreams-Damned-Tales-Horror-Oddity/dp/B08732MN1J/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=daydreams+of+the+damned&qid=1606327066&s=books&sr=1-2

Well! That’s all I have to report for now. Thanks for tuning in, fellow readers and writers. I’m grateful for your readership.

All the best,

Tylor James.

The History of Philosophy by A.C. Grayling (a book review!)

I didn’t merely devour AC Grayling’s The History of Philosophy — I lovingly savored it. I occasionally even re-read sections, taking my time and genuinely enjoying it.

The amount of content covered within these 700 pages is prodigious! Yet Grayling’s writing is accessible and engaging, often with a charming touch of wit. While a more seasoned philosophical student may not be as blown away, I was quite impressed. Although familiar with most of the names in this book, I was not as familiar with their various metaphysical/epistemological ideas.

2500 years of humankind’s most ingenious thinkers and philosophical schools of thought serve as quite a formidable subject to pen within a single volume. Yet the author succeeds in this task brilliantly.

I did think the Analytical Philosophy section got (just a little) dry, but I continued reading, and am certainly glad I did. After having finished this mind-expanding tome while soaking in the sun up at the lake, I can confidently say that The History of Philosophy is now among my very favorite books.

I also high recommend listening to any talk/lecture by AC Grayling (British author, philosopher, and Master of New College of the Humanities in London) that you can find. His wisdom, knowledge, and rationalistic approach to life is of high value, especially in such precarious times as these.

Thanks for reading.

Your friend and fellow book-dragon,

Tylor James.

history

Daydreams of the Damned: Tales of Horror & Oddity.

Fellow bloggers, readers, and writers,

I have written a book. A book which will thrill you, keeping you turning the pages to find out what happens next. A book which will creep you the hell out. A book which may even make you laugh, from time to time . . .

Daydreams of the Damned: Tales of Horror & Oddity is a collection of twenty-two short stories. Need some new, thrilling reading material? Ha! What a silly question.  If you’re anything like me, you currently have a stack of unread paperbacks on your book shelf, BUT there’s always room for a new, exciting book. Even if you have to make room.

In short, I’m hoping you’ll make room for Daydreams of the Damned. I don’t believe you’ll be disappointed. Even better, this book is priced cheap.

Only $9.99 for a paperback

Just $4.99 for kindle

How about that?

Thanks very much for putting up with my sales pitch, friends. I’m just a writer trying to make ends meet.

Regards,

Tylor James.

PS: If you’d like additional info on Daydreams, just keep on scrollin’.

Daydreams of the Damned - Tylor James

Imagine the following, if you will:

Subterranean monsters with crimson eyes and needle-teeth.
A blood-thirsty tow-truck driver.
A professional gabber discovers a magic telephone.
A mad scientist feeds his failed experiments to “the Beast”.
A cursed lake with a pair of haunting eyes at its murky bottom.
A skeleton whom enjoys reading William Shakespeare.
A married couple doomed to an afterlife of bickering inside a shared coffin.
A small-time criminal doomed to transform into an underwater creature.
Two young boys discover the dark magic of Halloween in 1933, the final year of prohibition.

Daydreams of the Damned, a collection of twenty-two stories, has all the horror, weirdness, and gallows humor one can handle! Tylor James offers readers a diverse selection of tales which will terrify and entertain for hours on end.

 

Available Now: “DAYDREAMS OF THE DAMNED: TALES OF HORROR & ODDITY”

Dear gentle reader: This book is 311 pages of horror and oddity. Imagine the following, if you will:

Subterranean monsters with crimson eyes and needle-teeth.
A blood-thirsty tow-truck driver.
A professional gabber discovers a magic telephone.
A mad scientist feeds his failed experiments to “the Beast”.
A cursed lake with a pair of haunting eyes at its murky bottom.
A skeleton whom enjoys reading William Shakespeare.
A married couple doomed to an afterlife of bickering inside a shared coffin.
A small-time criminal doomed to transform into an underwater creature.
Two young boys discover the dark magic of Halloween in 1933, the final year of prohibition.

Daydreams of the Damned, a collection of twenty-two stories, has all the horror, weirdness, and gallows humor one can handle! Tylor James offers readers a diverse selection of tales which will terrify and entertain for hours on end.

And best yet, the book is cheap! $9.99 on paperback  and $4.99 on Kindle

What a deal, eh?

***

That is my pitch to you, gentle reader.

To be honest, self-promotion makes me uncomfortable. BUT, I believe in this book. I’ve worked hard on it for a year and a half. I think it’s a good read with some really interesting stories. Therefore, you may want to consider buying it!

I’ll leave it at that.

Thank you for reading. May you all stay safe out there.

Regards,

Tylor James.

 

Daydreams of the Damned - Tylor James

READING in 2020 (Books I Read in 2019 — Books I want to Read in the New Year).

Greetings to my fellow writers and readers.

I was impeccably fortunate to have read so many fascinating and entertaining books this year! I read an eclectic selection of hard-boiled pulp, horror fiction, the cross sections of science and spirituality, existential philosophy, and fantasy.

Some of the authors of these books have even responded to my fan mails (I have no shame in geeking about this fact)!

Having a bunch of extra time on my hands this year has especially enabled me to diversify my reading.

I’m wondering what books my friends have read this year? What books do you desire to read in 2020?

In my humble opinion, books are the among one of the best reasons to live. I also find that I value my public library card far more than even my driver’s license.

reading

Here, in chronological order, is the listing of every book I read to completion in 2019, two of which I was lucky enough to get published in!

1) Hot Water Music by Charles Bukowski

2) Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion by Sam Harris

3) The Outside by Colin Wilson

4) Tao Te Ching: A New English Version (Stephen Mitchell translation)

5) Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

6) Just After Sunset: Stories by Stephen King

7) Strange Weaterh by Joe Hill

8) Einstein’s God: Conversations About Science and the Human Spirit by Krista Tippett

9) God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens

10) Freedom From the Known by Krishnamurti

11) No Death, No Fear by Thch Nhat Hanh

12) Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Joe IDispenze

13) Mother Teresa In Theory & Practice: The Missionary Position by Christopher Hitchens

14) Secret Windows: Essays & Fiction On the Craft of Writing by Stephen King

15) Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

16) The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum

17) I Have No Mouth & I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison

18) Houses of the Unholy by JG Faherty

19) On Writing Horror: A Handbook by The Horror Writers Association

20) How to Write Pulp Fiction by James Scott Bell

21) Emerging American Horror Writers: Midwest Region (in which my story “Welcome Home” was published)

22) Hell House by Richard Matheson

23) The Ocean At the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

24) The Edge of Dark Water by Joe R. Lansdale

25) Offspring by Jack Ketchum

26) Red by Jack Ketchum

27) The Courage to Create by Rollo May

28) The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

29) Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury

30) A Thousand Names for Joy by Byron Katie and Stephen Mitchell

31) The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

32) The Essential Harlan Ellison: A Retrospective

33) Darkness on the Edge of Town by Brian Keene

34) High Cotton: Stories by Joe R. Lansdale

35) Pulp by Charles Bukowski

36) Living Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg

37) Gwendy’s Button Box by Richard Chizmar and Stephen King

38) Existentialism Is A Humanism by Jean-Paul Sartre

39) Smoke & Mirrors: Short Fictions & Illusions by Neil Gaiman

40) Hitch-22 by Christopher Hitchens

41) Stardust by Neil Gaiman

42) Ghost Story by Peter Straub

43) The Lottery & Other Stories by Shirley Jackson

44) Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween by Lisa Morton

45) Ghosts: A Haunted History by Lisa Morton

46) Turn of the Screw by Henry James

47) Catch & Release by Lawrence Block

48) Shearing Time by Sara De Luca

49) Pop the Clutch: Thrilling Tales of Rockabilly, Monsters & Hot Rod Horror

50) Five Novellas by Jeff Strand

51) The Legend of Sleepy Hollow & Other Stories by Washington Irving

52) The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury

53) The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield

54) The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King

55) The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Moral values by Sam Harris

56) Bag of Bones by Stephen King

57) Thinner by Richard Bachman

58) Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

59) On Writing by Charles Bukowski

60) Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman

61) Locke & Key Vol. I by Joe Hill

62) The Death That Walk (edited by Stephen Jones)

63) A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

64) Accursed: A Horror Anthology (in which my story, “The Typewriter” was published)

65) Psychedelic Healing: The Promise of Entheogens for Psychotherapy and Spiritual Development.

 

Now, as for books I’d like to read in 2020 . . . Well, the list is possibly infinite!

But, I suppose I’d like to read some more classics. Perhaps Dickens, Shakespeare, and Dostoyevsky.

As for particular titles, I’d like to read The Future of an Illusion by Sigmund Freud, Moby Dick by Herman Mellville, How to Live: Or A Life of Montaigne in One Questions & 20 Attempts to Answer by Sarah Bakewell.

And oh yes, my friend Jack Ontario will be releasing his debut book of poetry this upcoming January! A fine volume of poetry entitled, “Sunburst Woman”.

How about you, fellow friends and bloggers? What might you be reading? And what books have you read in 2019?

 

The Muse of Creative Agony & Other Such Mobile Perversity

First, a few aphorisms of divine intoxication…

Perhaps the most unappreciated invention of all time: the zero. So unappreciated, in fact, that it can (and often is) used as an epithet. What did the poor zero ever do to us, besides provide the very organization of our numerical system?

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An imaginative exercise: imagine what your life would be like if your brother (or sister) were an only child.

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Books are a life support system for the mind. A library is a mental hospital. The reader is the ailed patient. The authors are our doctors, our healers, our cerebral nutritionists. For maximum health, I advise one to read, read, read…

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Writing is a form of cerebral sex. It just feels so damn good.

The Muse of Creative Agony

As any writer whom has suffered from writer’s block will tell you, the muse can be quite the elusive and frustrating bitch. Once she has been absent for some period of days, weeks, or months…you might even begin to wonder why you bothered with her in the first place. That is, until she returns, and kisses your smitten mind, turning everything exultant and beautiful and ravenous once again. Then you will be saying to the muse, dare you never leave me again! I cannot bare the thought of any length of time without you! Oh yes, and you will be making love to her, night after night, like a return to bliss. Your spirit will be that of a cancer patient upon news of full recovery. You will make love to the muse for as long as humanly possible. After all, no Adam or Eve desires to forsake the garden once he is there.

The muse lifts one up to heaven and upon leaving suffers the artist to the fates of stark gravity. Indeed, the muse is one holy, abusive bitch of agonizing delights – any artist shall tell you. Even writing of her now causes me brief heart palpitations of vague superstition. It is as if she will hear my curses and grievances and out of a cruel and casual spite, totally abandon!

***

Mobile Information

I love to pick up a book of history, science, or art and eagerly consume its pages until my brain begins to feel overfed and lethargic. An evening of learning for me is very much akin to the enjoyment of a large meal.

I like to brain-bathe in the information. I like to swim around in it. Soak in it, relax in it. The goal from there on, is to bring some of this information with me wherever I go, like a traveler’s hefty suitcase. This mobile store of information is what we tend to call, one’s knowledge.

The key, of course, to maintaining one’s knowledge, to keeping it up to date, is to utilize it throughout daily life as much as possible. Otherwise, one is apt to forget his or her learned facts. This is a simple case of cliché: “If you don’t use it, you lose it.

Whenever we are going about the daily routine, or are idle, waiting in line, driving our cars, riding in an airplane, etc., we must consistently work to compare our learning with our external environment. This is to say, we must work to externalize our internalities and observe if they sync up with each other. If they do not sync, it’s likely our thinking about a given subject is faulty.

 

The Multi-Universe of the Written Word

The Multi-Universe of the Written Word

The ability to read is among the most beautiful and abundant gifts of human life. Each book can be seen as a miniature universe unto itself, and the library as a collective multi-universe. Authors are mini-gods, popping in and out of existence all the time, gifting us with their creations. Our minds and imaginations are versatile spaceships, intricately connected with two seeing eyes which serve as the perfect coordinate communicators.

Each letter is an atom, each word a molecule, each sentence a planet, each paragraph a star. From page to page, from cover to cover, the open mind and hungry heart yearn for those miniature Gods to deliver us some beauty, some insight, some fantasy, or even just some plain amusement.

Whenever I see a child nestled in a cozy corner, oblivious to his external environment, lost in the little universe of his book, smiling bemused, there is inevitably a glow stirred within my heart. It reminds me to think back to those quiet, undisturbed summer days, sitting beneath a tree in my backyard, reading a paperback, and feeling happy as the sun shone down through the leaves, scattering light between shadows upon the pages of my book. True peace, true happiness, is often just as simple, just as easy as getting lost in a well-crafted, enticing story created by the adoring mind of an author, whom was merely trying to write the truth of his mini-universe as well as he possibly could.

So remember, the next time you pay your library fines (if you have any) or donate to your local public library, you are effectively funding an expanding, undulating multi-universe of human ingenuity, legend, and happiness.

***

A Few Aphorisms…

A neglected soul shall fly only by tattered feathers upon shattered wings. Some will say this is not flying at all.

Interests may change, but one will always return to what one loves.

Whenever someone creates something out of the fabric and goodness of one’s soul — a book, a poem, a painting, a sculpture, etc. — I want to applause.

With the tools of the mind, plying the materials of chaos, the artists constructs therefrom a cosmos.

I must be approaching death. How does a man as inept as myself hope to survive the ravages of daily life combined with an utter lack of common sense?

***

My books are ready for you to read and buy!

I am happy to announce that I have two 50 page booklets of my work ready for reading and sale! If you would like a copy of either, it is only $5 or buy them both for a bulk price of just $8! Love From Another Place is a collection of my best poetry. The Decadent Romantic is a collection of odd, philosophical musings and short stories/essays.  I did the fold-and-stapling myself. Payment may go through PayPal and my email is: fireontheroad5@gmail.com    😃

Reader’s Indigestion for February, 2018.

Continuing on with this year’s reader’s indigestion series, here are the seven books I’ve read in February, and what I thought of them.

  1. Imperial America by Gore Vidal

This is my first venture into Vidal’s wealth of prolific political work, and I cannot be happier to be introduced to this man’s genius. I have since read a number of his books (as this February entry will attest to) and have been informed, enlightened, and moved to great smirks and occasional bouts of laughter from the joy of reading his work. In this book, Vidal highlights the imperial traditions of the USA and the thrashing of our Bill of Rights through congress and various administrations. Among my favorite lines in the book, “We are permanently the United States of Amnesia. We learn nothing because we remember nothing.”

2. Death of the Liberal Class by Chris Hedges

Mr. Hedges is much more somber writer than Gore Vidal. Yet I found this book to be nonetheless fascinating and informative. Death of the Liberal Class centers around the fact that liberal apologists and their out-casting of the radical left in favor of more “centrist” or more accurately, right-wing political candidates and/or writers/speakers have decimated liberalism to a subservient and tattered status of ideology. The word “liberal” has in many fashions been downgraded to a pejorative, especially since the 1940’s and 50’s headed the Communist witch hunt, in which the left were demonized as either communist or communist sympathizers. Thus, the left of politics watered itself down. Indeed, the left spends too much time rolling in the muck of old, social democratic rhetoric and too little in the way of radical congressional action. The Democrats are corporate-sponsored wolves in sheep’s clothing, most no better than the Republicans. Topics such at the rise of the Federal Theater, WWI paradigm setting of propaganda during the Woodrow Wilson administration (among the most hilarious things I’ve read about — “liberty cabbage!”), and the shallow distractions of our consumer culture. A tremendous read.

3. Hegemony or Survival?: America’s Quest for Global Dominance by Noam Chomsky

Here is yet another of my first ventures into the work of an iconic political/linguistic intellectual. I must admit, I find Mr. Chomsky’s lectures to be full of vital information — yet his vocal delivery is dry and monotonous. It is difficult for me to sit through an entire video lecture of his. So, I prefer his writing, as his voice is easily substituted for a preferable one, my own. In this books, concepts such as “humanitarian intervention” and “noble uses of force” are widely held excuses for ripe abuse of US military power — primarily, an excuse for further imperialism and domination of an other country’s land and resources. Also discussed is our administrations’ lack of care for UN advisory. The US has a history of invading other countries whether the charters agree or even the opinion of the rest of the civilized world agrees or not. We do what we want, and often take force over the law in the interests of our “national security”. We topple democratically elected governments in favor of dictatorships which will serve as better sports to US foreign property interests — to often include, oil and natural gas.

4. The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

A classic and important political document which I made sure to visit, along with a regular re-visiting of the US Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights. I believe the Communist Manifesto has a few viable ideas worthy of contemplation — though I do not identify with such a pure democracy. The words “bourgeoisie” and “proletariat” are cemented in the popular lexicon for all time, I believe, due to this vital pamphlet which argues against the rich minority oppression of the working class majority.

5. Dreaming War: Blood for Oil & the Cheney/Bush Junta

After reading Imperial America, I had to search out more of Vidal’s latter works regarding our century of American history. In a matter of no more than a night and a morning I had finished this short book, and despite its brevity in length, I found it very informative. In Dreaming War, I learned that Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor was not unprovoked by FDR, that Harry Truman did not necessarily have to drop atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (as Japan wanted to surrender by May 1945 after the devastation of Tokyo by US B-29 bombers), and that Stalin did not start the Cold War via denying our access to Berlin. I have much research to do on these topics still, but I am intrigued.

6. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

My first official introduction to Stoic philosophy. It occurs to me how much better off this country would be if it unilaterally decided to ditch the Gideon Bible from every hotel room in the country in favor of Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. The Stoics believe in the rule of our will/reason over our passions and desires, that we should not worry about things out of our control (which happens to be most things), that we should accept death gracefully and set our sights not on immortality, but on the present as it exists. Also curious is the ancient physics theories of Stoicism, which posits a universal substance out of which is manifested you, me, that tree in the backyard, the planets and stars, etc. etc. This universal material is referred to by many names such as “Reason”, “Nature”, “Logos”, “Mind-fire”, ETC. I’m partial to that last title, myself.

Marcus wrote a series of very wise and reflective proverbs and aphorisms over a period of ten years while serving as emperor of Rome from 161-180 AD. I have many favorite passages, but for now I’ll share just one, from Book Twelve, passage number 21:

“Soon enough, remember, you yourself must become a vagrant thing of nothingness; soon enough everything that now meets your eye, together with all those in whom is now the breath of life, must be no more. For all things are born to change and pass away and perish, that others in their turn may come to be.” 

I think we could all due with a little resilience and fortitude and acceptance of things as they are. The Stoics had a lot of things right, I think.

7. Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: How We Got to be So Hated by Gore Vidal

My last read for February required that I return again to Vidal, whose writing is clear, direct, powerful, and incredibly brilliant and witty. The man was an incredible writer and personality. I highly recommend his books, as well as watching the very well-made documentary about Gore Vidal, “The United States of Amnesia”. Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace is another book about American imperialism, especially centered on the fact that counter-attack terrorism or “blow-back” is a real and serious reality for countries whom spend most of their time attacking and establishing constant military presence in lands foreign to their jurisdiction. Subjects such as 9/11 and Timothy McVeigh are highlights of this short book, along with a list of 200 unprovoked attacks by the US military on other countries. Can we not see how other countries might not be a bit grumpy with us?

Hope you enjoyed this list of authors and books.

Happy readings!