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Is Quality in Art Subjective?

Let’s leave writing for a moment and head into the visual arts. Is whether or not a piece of art “good” or “amazing” purely subjective? To a point, perhaps, but particularly in visual and musical arts, there is a clear objective component in their quality. This shouldn’t be surprising: Music is rooted in acoustical physics, art in geometry and the physics of light and color.

How can art be objectively measured? Artist Robert Florczak explains in this entertaining video. What do you think, art or rubbish?

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10 Publishing Trends for 2017

Robert Bidinotto pointed out this post at the Write Nook on what 2017 has in store for writers and readers:

The Write Nook

Another year is upon us. We all have a new “to-do” list, a new set of goals, and new adventures awaiting our arrival. Thanks to our friends at Written Word Media, they are making this year a little bit easier on us already. They have compiled a Top 10 publishing trend list for 2017 and I have to say, they are spot on. Take a look at the list below for things you should be looking out for to make this year your most successful yet.

2017

  1. Fiction sales are driven by e-books. The large majority of adult book sales are digital, especially for fiction. So, if that’s the genre you write in you will want to focus most of your marketing power there.
  2. Indie authors and small presses will keep growing. It’s no secret that the “Big 5″‘s market share continues to drop year after year. But, it’s encouraging…

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Lovecraft’s Dark Vision

H.P. Lovecraft is one of the legendary masters of the horror genre – before horror spiraled into shock and gore. His stories were atmospheric and creepy, in way, expanding on Edgar Allen Poe. On the surface, they seemed to be tales of good vs. evil, but on closer inspection, we find a dismal, fatalistic view of existence.

Lovecraft subscribed to cosmicism, which author Mike Duran quotes as being, “The philosophy of cosmicism states that there is no recognizable divine presence, such as a god, in the universe, and that humans are particularly insignificant in the larger scheme of intergalactic existence…” Continue reading

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War Among the Shadows Spills onto Facebook

Finally, on Facebook right here. This site will still be the main source on books and writing, but now it will be easy for everyone to connect. So head over to FB and let’s get linked up.

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Indie Film Fest 3

Last time I posted about films, I profiled some end of the world pics. Before that, a grab bag of everything from sci-fi to true stories.

This time I want to point you to Midnight Special, a story about a very special kid about to learn his destiny. This is from the director from the equally subtle Take Shelter, a new take on the end of the world.  Okay, 10 Cloverfield Lane is really not indie, but this sorta sequel to Cloverfield is small-scale and smart enough to deserve the title.

And then this:

Logan

Yes, I know, an X-Men Universe film is not low-budget nor indie, but after being burned-out on superhero films, this looks like one to change my mind.

Sometimes, less is more.

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1492

In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue…

That little rhyme was once taught to all kids. Now, the name Columbus isn’t uttered much, and people just know the mail isn’t delivered today, the banks are closed, and they might have they day off.

However, for a historical perspective on the man who rediscovered America, check out my post from last year.

And, perhaps, we can look forward to the day that mankind rediscovers its spirit of exploration.

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Freedom vs. Politics

The United Sates was founded by immigrants. Generation after generation of immigrants came here to escape oppression, war, violence and to seek a better life. Both those immigrants, and the citizens that live here, don’t want the evils and problems that they left behind to follow them here. The laws of our nation have kept those concerns at bay.

Yet now, politicians who only care about clinging to power and making a name for themselves (from both parties, by the way), seem to show little concern who is entering the country.

If you want border control or background checks, you’re called anti-immigrant. If you oppose en masse amnesty to illegals, you’re a racist. If you don’t support unlimited refuge to hordes of people, you aren’t humane.

If you believe any of these things, see how being humane is working out for Europe here, here or here.

Violence. Rape. Terrorism. Cover-up.

But don’t just believe the media reports, see it in their own words or this impassioned message from a German girl. Continue reading

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Kat Bloodmayne is Tainted

Kat Bloodmayne has a secret. She has the power within her to use nature as a weapon. Problem is that she doesn’t know where the power came from or how to control it all that well. People around her are getting hurt, and worse now that she is being hunted for her power.

Hunted by someone she knows well, protected by a man who may not be on her side and running in a world where the darkness is far more sinister than she she could have imagined.

This is Morgan L. Busse‘s new book Tainted. Set in a dystopian steampunk world — think Victorian with airships where science and the old world clash and converge.

Also think fantasy with a bit of Frankenstein simmering in the background.

I was very impressed with Morgan’s new page turner. There have many repetitive attempts at dystopia in book and film, and many failures or not-quite-there steampunk attempts. Morgan doesn’t succumb to these pitfalls and creates an original story in a well-realized world. I could see this story playing out on the big screen and Morgan has certainly established herself as a storyteller to pay attention to.

And Kat Bloodmayne is not a heroine to be trifled with.

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The Last Full Measure

Kenneth T. Jackson writes:

Decoration Day, later designated Memorial Day, began on May 5, 1866, when the small town of Waterloo in Seneca County, New York, organized an entire day of remembrance for its lost sons [of the Civil War]. The idea caught on, and exactly two years later, on May 5, 1868, Major General John A. Logan, commander in chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, the organization of Union Army veterans, issued General Order No. 11, designating May 30, 1868, “for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country.” Logan added that he inaugurated the observance “with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades.”

By 1890, all of the Northern states recognized May 30 as a special day to remember their fallen heroes…After World War I, however, virtually the entire United States accepted Memorial Day (later designated as the last Monday in May) as the primary occasion to remember all those who had died in battle.

“…for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.” – Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, 1863

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Writing and Launching Your Book

Need some book and writing related activities over the long weekend? Try these from author Jaimie Engle who has been busy this year:

She published the fantasy novel Dreadlands which I reviewed here. You can watch Jaimie discuss How to Launch Your Book where she explains the techniques she used to launch Dreadlands — what worked and what did not.

If that were not enough, she has also released Writing Your Novel: Using the Bible as Your Guide. This how-to takes cues from history’s most read book — and all the drama within — to show how your story can be dramatic, gripping and memorable.

And what writer doesn’t want that?

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