FwF 29 – #Christmas Calamities, Part 1: The Lost Helper

Happy Holidays, Fictioneers!

I start off this episode with a shout-out to some awesome author friends of mine who have been doing dynamite work recently: children’s author (and my illustrator for Hello, Halloween) Donovan Scherer; award-winning horror author Matthew Harrill; and hilarious master parodist Paul Erickson.  Pick up their books for your loved ones this Christmas!

      

Now, on to the meat of the show, where I read you the first story from my book Christmas Calamities.  ‘The Lost Helper’ tells the tale of a poor elf left behind in a family fireplace on Christmas Eve.  Things only get worse when the household children discover him.  Will he be able to get back to Santa in time?

Listen in to find out! 

And while you’re at it, pick up the book!  ‘The Lost Helper’ is only one of several fun holiday yarns therein.  It’s inexpensive, easily transportable, and makes a great stocking stuffer.  Enjoy!

 

FwF 25: Hemingway’s Cheerful Thoughts About Nothing (and FREE BOOKS!)

Welcome back, Fictioneer!

Today I read and discuss one of my favorite short stories: Ernest Hemingway‘s “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place“.  This tale poses the Existentialist question: What is Nothing, and what can we do about it?

                  

 Enjoy my lecturings!  I gave this talk to a group of 9th graders a few weeks ago, and they got a kick out of it (though I think I kind of terrified them).  Now it’s your turn to listen in, read along, and enjoy the fun.

And an announcement:

This weekend – Friday, February 27th through Sunday, March 1st – the books below are available for FREE on Amazon.  Pick them up!

     

 And for the next five days (through March 4th), the books below are ONLY $0.99!!  Grab them as well.

     

Enjoy the reads, and thanks for listening!

If you do like my books, please review them on Amazon!  And if you like the podcast, please rate and review it on iTunes, comment below with what you’d like to hear me talk about, email me at luke@funwithfiction.com, and most importantly, subscribe to the Fun with Fiction newsletter!  I’ll send you all kinds of free stuff and good news (but no more than once a week), 100% spam-free.

Once again, don’t forget to:

‘Like’ Fun with Fiction on Facebook.

Follow me on Twitter.

Pick up your free and discounted books, and…

Sign up for the newsletter!

Thanks again, Fictioneer.  Keep reading, keep believing, keep on rockin’.

Luke

FwF 23: Fun Fiction Books to Read in 2015

Happy New Year, faithful Fictioneer!

To start off, as a post-holiday gift, Cthulhu 4 Kids: Old Ones at the Beach is available FREE on Amazon today and tomorrow (January 2nd and 3rd) only. Go pick it up!

Now to business. After a two-week holiday hiatus, I have returned with a vengeance, ready to kick 2015 in the arse in the best way possible. And what better way to start the year than by listing some of the great books I plan to read in the next 52 weeks?

To begin with, I have had such a blast interviewing and getting to know so many cool authors these past few months, that I will be digging into their stuff post haste.

Right now, for instance, I am in the middle of Matthew W Harrill’s Hellbounce, book 1 of The ARC Chronicles. I interviewed Matt back in early November; if you haven’t heard that episode yet, go back and listen! Matt’s a Brit, so his accent alone is fascinating. Plus he’s a hell of a horror author and an all-around outstanding gent. And seriously, Hellbounce is wonderfully terrifying. Grab it now!

Next I intend to read Blur, by Orlando Sanchez. I did a two-part interview with Orlando back before Thanksgiving, and he’s a man after my own heart: a martial artist and unapologetic fantasy geek. He blends these together beautifully in his fiction. I’ve read his two $0.99 shorts, The Deepest Cut and The Last Dance, and now I’m looking forward to diving into his full novels.

Sometime this year I will crack Paul Erickson’s The Superfriends of the Ring. I have a paperback of the book that Paul signed for me at last year’s Chicago Wizard World Comic-Con, and I laughed out loud at his first novel, The Wobbit, so this will no doubt cheer up my winter. Paul and I spoke in early December about what the hell was so hilarious about Tolkien, and it’s one of the funniest conversations I’ve ever recorded.

Donovan Scherer signed a copy of his book Fear & Sunshine for me at Mighty-Con Comic Show shortly before I interviewed him on the weird and wonderful world of children’s horror. I read (and loved) the Prelude to the series (which is FREE on Amazon), so I eagerly anticipate what the series proper will deliver.

And here’s a list, in no particular order, of some other great fiction I look forward to devouring in 2015:

In truth, I have a lot more on my “to read” list (not even including all the non-fiction I have to dig through!). But I’d say that’s a good start, wouldn’t you?

What fun fiction are you most looking forward to devouring in the coming year? Let me know in the comments, or send an email to luke@funwithfiction.com and tell me there.

I have more great guests already lined up for early 2015, so make sure to keep tuned in! Subscribe and review the podcast on iTunes (if you haven’t already) to be sure you don’t miss an episode. And to really stay updated (and receive great free content), join the Fun with Fiction club!

Lastly, what would a New Year be without resolutions?

This year, I, Luke J. Morris, resolve to:

  • Post at least one Fun with Fiction podcast episode per week.  (Sorry if I’ve been bad about consistency.  I’ll get better!)
  • Publish at least six books, including:
    • Two full-length novels
    • Three children’s/young adult books
    • One non-fiction book
  • Get to know and interview at least twenty more great authors, delving into what makes them great
  • Meet a hundred or more fans and build a community of fellow acolytes of awesome who will spread the word about Fun with Fiction (and how great stories make all our lives better)

This I do resolve.  HOLD ME ACCOUNTABLE!  Don’t let me get away with short-changing listeners, readers, fellow authors, and everyone else who deserves my very best.  Contact me and call me out on any b***s*** I try to pull.  Tough love is the love that really counts.

How about you?  What outstanding resolutions will you follow through on in the coming year?  Is there some way I can help you pursue your goals?  Let me know!

Thanks for making 2014 fantastic, Fictioneer!  Let’s make 2015 even better.

– Luke

FwF 21 – TV, Branding, & Michael Bay: Discussion with Mo Simpson

 

First off, an announcement:  I (your host, Luke J. Morris) will be at Mighty-Con Comic Show in Wheaton, IL this Saturday (12/13/14).  The show takes place at the Dupage County Fairgrounds, building 1, from 10 AM to 5 PM.  I’ll be selling and signing copies of five of my best books, as well as posing for photo ops, networking with other creatives, and generally nerding it out with all the great fans who drop by my table.  So come on out and say hi!  I’d love to see you.

Now, on to the podcast.

Happy am I to welcome my best friend and illustrator Mo Simpson back to the show!

Mo, in case you’ve forgotten, is the guy who drew all those pretty pictures for Cthulhu 4 Kids 1, Cthulhu 4 Kids 2, and Tales from the Teeth.  He’s also the host of the Eyeteeth Podcast, a multi-themed NSFW show that I sometimes co-host with him.

   

Eyeteeth Podcast

This episode is similar to an Eyeteeth outing, in that we talk about everything.  Well, almost everything.  I think my initially-planned topic was going to be “favorite Christmas movies”, but we never touch on that at all.

We do discuss reality television, the nature of fame, the idea of branding yourself (no, not like a horse), and the benefits and hazards of building that brand.  Steven Pressfield‘s The War of Art comes up repeatedly.  I point out the similarities between the Kardashians, Honey Boo Boo, and Madonna – using Pressfield’s idea of employing yourself – and your image – as a brand (separate from your true identity as a person).

Mo laments Tim Burton‘s lack of fulfillment on his early, Batman-era promise.  Is Johnny Depp to blame for his recent string of less stellar movies?

      

And what’s wrong (and right) with Michael Bay?

Mo and I both hates us a poorly-written book.  (On an entirely unrelated note, Dan Brown will probably never come on my show.)  But we often love bad movies, and we tend to appreciate things that are over-the-top, a la Meat Loaf.  See the great Mr. Loaf team up with Michael Bay (and a young Angelina Jolie!) here:

We talk about a lot more stuff in our compact hour, but I’m tired of writing about it.  Listen to the podcast!

And once you’ve done that, rate it on iTunes.  Please tell your friends about us.  Spread the word that Fun with Fiction rocks!  (If, y’know, you think it rocks.  If you think it sucks, just keep your big mouth shut.  Thanks luv!)

As long as you’re here, sign up for the Fun with Fiction newsletter, why don’tcha?  You’ll get some great free fiction, and news about upcoming events and things that be going on with the podcast.  Don’t you owe it to yourself to know all that?

Again, don’t forget to visit me at Mighty-Con this Saturday!  It’ll be an awesome time.

Peace!

– Luke

FwF 14 – Happy Halloween with Mo & Tyrion

 

Happy Halloween, Fictioneers!

Mo Simpson and Tyrion Morris return in this episode to discuss our all-time favorite stories and movies for All Hallows’ Eve.  And I plug my brand new release, Hello, Halloween: A Monsters & Kids Novella.  (I talk about the book in a blog post here.)

We talk Stephen King, Edgar Allen Poe, Dean Koontz, and Ray Bradbury.  And of course, for kids of all ages, we can’t forget Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.

        

The conversation moves to movies.  In this medium many of our favorites tend more towards the humorous than the horrific.  I personally think the combination of horror and hilarity is one of the most effective in all of storytelling.  Make ’em laugh, and you can make ’em scream (and vice-versa).

Also check out Tyrion and I on the latest episode of Mo’s Eyeteeth Podcast!  You can hear that here:

Thanks for listening, Fictioneers!  Have a happy and safe Halloween.

Read on!

– Luke

P.S. Your moment of Zen:

FwF ep 13 – Gods & Monsters with Mo Simpson

Welcome back, Fictioneers!

In this episode of the Fun with Fiction podcast, Cthulhu 4 Kids illustrator and Eyeteeth Podcast host Mo Simpson returns to give us his thoughts on some of the best fiction for Halloween.

Yes, a lot of it appears on Fox News.

But beyond that, Mo has radical recommendations for October entertainment.  (Click on any of the links or pictures in this post to find out more about the item and pick it up from Amazon.)

Mo’s top picks for scary stories include Chuck Palahniuk, Neil Gaiman, and The Walking Dead.

Of course no discussion of Halloween would be complete without recommendations for great horror movies.  Mo and I both highly recommend Cabin in the WoodsJoss Whedon‘s twisted meta-horror take on the entire ‘cabin in the woods’ horror genre.  Seriously, even if you’re not a horror fan, watch this movie.  It’s so much more than you expect!

Back to books!  Mo delves into the mystical creepiness of Aleister Crowley, occultist and contemporary of the great H.P. Lovecraft.  Seriously – if you think Lovecraft and his creations (like Cthulhu) are weird, you ain’t seen nothing yet.  Crowley is the godfather of magick and the occult movement.  Wonderfully whacked out, and frighteningly fascinating.

Our conversation turns well beyond fiction and delves into the realms of religious tradition, philosophy, and the argument of free will vs. determinism.  We draw the connection between superheroes and gods, gods and monsters.  Examples range from the adolescent wish-fulfillment of Superman to the superhero deconstruction of Watchmen.

Mo and I each have viewing recommendations for this best month of the year.  His main squeeze is the Walking Dead TV show.  One of mine is John Carpenter’s Halloween – the only ‘slasher’ flick I’ve ever found worth watching.

Oh – regarding Mo’s top obscure suggestion of the day – click the pic below to get an illustrated collection of some of Aleister Crowley‘s best works – including the Book of Lies, which Mo most highly recommends – for only $0.99!

For this Halloween season Mo and I also recommend our own book, Cthulhu 4 Kids: Old Ones at the Beach!  (Totally unbiased recommendation, we swear.)  Cthulhu 4 Kids II: A Day in R’lyeh is coming out later this month, so grab the first one today.  We think Lovecraft would approve.

And lastly… this conversation isn’t over!  We continue our discussion into the Eyeteeth Podcast.  Mo and I start that episode with a discussion of troubles going on in the world today, but quickly transition into the much more fun topic of superhero movies.  If you like Fun with Fiction, you’ll love this!  Give it a listen below, and subscribe to the Eyeteeth Podcast on iTunes.  (And while you’re there, don’t forget to rate and review Fun with Fiction.  This helps me keep this podcast alive.  Thanks!)

Thanks for listening, Fictioneer!  Keep on reading, keep believing.

‘Til next time,

Luke J. Morris

P.S.  If you want to meet me, and get gorgeous prints and signed paperbacks of mine and Mo’s books Cthulhu 4 Kids and Tales from the Teeth, come out to Ultimate Con tomorrow!  The comic-con takes place at 3601 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL, on Saturday, October 11, 2014 from 10 AM to 5 PM.  I’ll be at the Parable Comics booth with some fantastic artists.  Hope to see you there!

FwF Ep 12 – Top 5 Fiction Authors EVER

 

Hello Fictioneers!

I had lots of fun putting this week’s show together for you.  That’s because this time I lay it all on the line and tell you my top 5 favorite fiction authors ever.

Okay, to be fair, the list is always adjusting, and picking an all-time top 5 is actually an impossible task… but I did it anyway!  Check it out below, and click on the pictures if you’d like to buy the books at Amazon and find out what all the fuss is about.

Also, let me know: do you agree with my picks?  Disagree?  Want to murder me with a hatchet for having such horrible taste?  Who are your top 5???  Comment below, review me on iTunes, and email me at luke@funwithfiction.com to tell me off.

Before I get to the list, though, one quick announcement: I will have a booth at Mighty Con Comic Show at the DuPage County Fairgrounds in Wheaton, IL this Saturday, 10 AM – 5 PM.  If you’re anywhere near the Chicago area, come on out and say hi!

Okay then.  On with the show.

  • I ordered my top 5 mostly arbitrarily, but I can say with near-certainty that my favorite fiction pharoah is and always has been J.R.R. Tolkien.  Author of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, and other masterworks, he is the father of fantasy and one of the greatest minds to ever put pen to paper.
  • Next on my randomly-ordered list makes the giant leap from fantasy to sci-fi: Robert Heinlein.  The founder of future history is one of the primary reasons science fiction became a major force in contemporary literature.
    • The greatest American author: Mark Twain.  (‘Nuff said.)

That’s my list!  I call out a dozen runner-ups in the show, and have another hundred that I could add (since truly picking a top 5 is, as I said, impossible), but I’m sticking to my story.   If you haven’t read any of these authors, click one of the pics above and grab it on Amazon (for cheaper than you’d get it in most brick-&-mortar bookstores).  This helps the Fun with Fiction podcast out, and doesn’t cost you a penny more.  🙂

What, you want to challenge my palette?  Bring it!  I’d love to hear from you.  (Also don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter for free books and stuff!)

Thanks again for listening, my friends.  Read on!

Luke J. Morris

 


Fun with Fiction ep 6: Lovin’ on Lovecraft (and Cthulhu 4 Kids SALE!)

 

 

Special Announcement!  Cthulhu 4 Kids: Old Ones at the Beach is on sale, this week only, for only $0.99!!!  Grab it here:

Written by Luke J. Morris (yours truly) and illustrated by Mo Simpson (of Eyeteeth Podcast fame), this is the perfect piece of Lovecraft lore for all ages.  As one reader says, “It’s got everything I wanted: extra dimensional gods, lost cities, destruction, insanity, and parents that are worse than me.”  What more could you want?

It’s our mission to bring the message of the Old Ones to new generations – but we can only do that with your help!  So please, consider dropping your one buck on our book, and giving our demented storytelling a try.  You’ll be glad you did!

(Note that this sale is only good until 11 PM Pacific time on Friday, April 11th.  So jump on it now before you forget and miss out!)

Okay, shameless self-promotion aside – in honor of the above-mentioned sale, I dedicated this podcast episode to all things Lovecraftian.  I discuss the mad genius that is ol’ H.P. Lovecraft, including his concepts of the Old Ones, the Elder Gods, Cthulhu (of course), R’lyeh, the Deep Ones, the Shoggoths, and other things that drive men to madness in the midst of their dreams. 

To the entities of the Cthulhu Mythos, we are as ants.  Less than ants.  Worthy of no notice whatsoever.  The horror of the Old Ones and their ilk lies in their entire alienness to us.  We are bound, in our puny mortal sphere, to the perception of 3-dimensional space and pure Euclidean geometry.  But what about beings who live among us, but exist in dimensions separate from and beyond those we can comprehend?  Dimensions where acute angles behave as if they were obtuse, and where the smallest beings are so massive in size they make Godzilla look like a chihuaha?

This was the world as Lovecraft saw it.

But my thesis is: the very fact that he could imagine such things proves that humans are far greater than he gives us credit for.

In this episode I give you readings from Lovecraft’s The Tomb, Azathoth, The Shadow over Innsmouth, At the Mountains of Madness, and (of course) The Call of Cthulhu.  I also read from my own Cthulhu 4 Kids: Old Ones at the Beach ($0.99!  Pick it up!   😎 ) and our upcoming Cthulhu 4 Kids II: A Day in R’lyeh (available soon!).

Enjoy your eldritch dreams, my beautiful Fictioneers!  May you have some happily horrified readings.

– Luke