Down the Dark Path Books, Paintings, and delicious darkness from J Edward Neill

101 MORE Reasons to Break Up

November 20, 2017 | Books!, humor, Love & Relationships, Relationships | Permalink

Oops, I did it again.

Over six weeks during a rainy autumn, I collected hundreds of break-up stories from friends, strangers, Facebook pals, random people on Twitter & Instagram, and several tipsy folks at the local bar.

And then…just because…I cleaned the stories up and put them into this book:

Every story is true. Some are anonymous. For others, the storyteller’s name is proudly displayed.

Sample break-up stories from the book are here.

The original 101 Reasons to Break Up is here.

Making Fun of Everything I’ve Ever Done

November 20, 2017 | Books!, Coffee Table Philosophy, Hollow Empire, humor, Machina Obscurum, Tyrants of the Dead | Permalink

A few weeks ago I got super sarcastic with my list of alternative movie blurbs.

Now that I’ve made fun of everyone else’s artistic work, it’s time I turn the cannon on myself.

Here’s everything I’ve ever written, but with smartass descriptions.

Have fun…

Hollow Empire Front Cover

Hollow Empire – Night of KnivesFive homeless people with crappy hygiene do their best to avoid living normal lives. The five include an overweight leper, two lovers who refuse to have sex, and the world’s most negligent mom.

 

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Down the Dark Path – Book I – A redheaded girl decides the best way to improve her social status is to follow a murderer into the woods. Meanwhile, a guy with a beard builds a shitload of boats.

 

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Old Man of Tessera – A teenager runs away from home and shacks up with the first guy he meets, who happens to be a creepy octogenarian.

 

101 Reasons and 101 More Reasons to Break Up – A tipsy loner harasses people at the bar while attempting to collect bizarre break-up stories.

 

Lys & the Heart Stopper – A cute medieval co-ed gets out of jail and decides to party with a mass murderer.

 

 The Hecatomb – An art lover and his offspring stay up late at night to torment local villagers and build Legos out of dead stuff.

 

Reality is Best Served with Red Wine – A lonely writer glamorizes his alcoholism using uncomfortable stories from his childhood.

 

Life & Dark Liquor – Already sloshed from too much wine, an author lurks in his kitchen while pounding scotch and talking about his grandma.

 

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101 Questions for Humanity – An asshole who never studied philosophy in college decides to ruin everyone’s buzz by asking complicated questions.

 

101 Questions for Midnight Front Cover

101 Questions for Midnight – The aforementioned asshole shows up really late and craps on the party. This time he brings a pile of immoral, morbid questions to pester everyone with.

 

2

Down the Dark Path – Book II – Rather than live happily in a beautiful city where everyone loves her, a lonely woman stalks a clueless soldier directly into the battle he’s trying not to fight. The soldier’s friend (his hopelessly lousy wing-man) starts killing everyone with a purple sword.

 

DoorNeverDreamedPaperback1

A Door Never Dreamed Of – Two racists decide to impress their girlfriends by using high-tech gadgets to slaughter a bunch of people who can’t even move.

 

Darkness Between the Stars – An uneducated farmboy happens to notice the world’s about to end while fixing his father’s tractor.

 

Shadow of Forever – The aforementioned farmboy picks a fight with a gang of space vampires, accidentally triggering an interstellar war.

 

The Little Book of BIG Questions – This guy didn’t even graduate college, and yet he thinks he can match wits with Socrates and Stephen Hawking.

 

101 Questions for Couples – Two people with zero romantic experience pair up to write a book about love, sex, and what it might be like to not be utterly alone every night.

 

101 Questions for Single People – After being swiped left too many times on Tinder, a guy groans about how hard it is to land a date.

 

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Down the Dark Path – Book III – A bearded douchebag uses his sword to turn his enemies’ country into Seattle. Meanwhile, five guys try to end a war by marching through a swamp and bitching endlessly about the weather.

 

101 Questions for Women Cover

101 Questions for Women – A sexist pig attempts to disguise his chauvinism by approaching women with inappropriate, misogynistic questions.

 

101 Questions for Men Cover

101 Questions for Men – Too terrified to go out and get laid, a guy poses questions about sex and beer to other guys.

 

4

Down the Dark Path – Book IV – After ruining a bunch of people’s lives, a woman decides to marry a creepy old wizard. In a petty act of revenge, her boyfriends and their cohorts sneak into the wizard’s house and start breaking his stuff.

 

SleepersImageForBlogging

The Sleepers – After a family trip to the zoo, a rich kid lets his dad talk him into genocide.

 

The Skeleton Sculptor – Rather than actually pick up a sword and fight, a lazy soldier writes a diary about all his missing friends.

 

The Circle Macabre – A cranky woman swear off men and annoys the locals in her bid to become a Ghostbuster.

 

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Let the Bodies – A little girl counts her grandpa’s money while watching everyone else die.

 

101 Deeper Darker Cover

101 Deeper, Darker Questions for Humanity – Not content to ruin just one party, the asshole returns with the goal of depressing even the most optimistic people.

 

101 xxxy Questions Front Cover

101 Sex Questions – A sex-addict with no relationship skills breaks into normal people’s bedrooms and begs to watch them do nasty stuff.
  Dark Moon Daughter New Kindle CoverDark Moon Daughter – Thinking it’ll be the life change she needs, a red-headed woman dyes her hair black and starts having an affair.

 

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Nether Kingdom – Fully gothed-out, a woman wanders the countryside in search of her dad’s house. Meanwhile, a guy starts a war just so he can have a séance in a cave.

 

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444 Questions for the Universe – The party-wrecking A-hole returns, compiling a crapload of philosophical BS to annoy and frustrate his friends.

 

The Ultimate Get to Know Someone Quiz – Too cheap to hire a proper cover artist, an author asks his five-year old son to paint a book cover.

 

Big Red Shiny Buttons – There aren’t any actual buttons in this book. It’s really just a bunch of questions designed to help parties be 4% less dull.

 

Machina Front Cover

Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows – A morbidly obese guys runs a day-care center, a pothead decides to get pizza, a woman starts dating the dude she murdered, an arguing couple kills in the name of train-hopping, and much, much more…

 

* * *

I’d love to say these were all jokes and that none of these descriptions are accurate.

But let’s not kid ourselves…

J Edward Neill

 

The Hecatomb gets new cover art

November 15, 2017 | Art!, Books!, Horror | Permalink

Hecatomb – ‘heka’tom/ (noun) – An extensive loss of life for some cause.

or…

The name of my terrifying novella.

In a drowned village, on a dark shore, in a city of white stones, an ancient evil stalks.
It has no name, no face, and no desire but to see the death of everything…
…and everyone.
Down through the ages it exists, sleepless and void, a relic from the world before humanity.
One dead. Every night. Forever.
Until nothing remains.

J Edward Neill

How to Write 10 Books a Year (and how not to)

November 8, 2017 | Art!, Life, Writing! | Permalink

Part 1 of 2 – The ideal schedule

6:30 AM – Wake up, enjoy a light breakfast, read a few writers’ blogs, look up new art posted by my favorite artists

7:30 AM – Drive to the nearby forest trail, walk briskly for 90 minutes, return home feeling amazing

9:15 AM – Shower. Open all the windows in the house. Fire up a brooding soundtrack to get in the right mood for painting a masterpiece or writing the next great American novel

9:30 AM – Create for the next two hours. Spare not a single glance at fake news, real news, or anything resembling social media

11:30 AM – Drive to my favorite café. Sip a glass of wine while overlooking the vineyards of North GA.

1:00 PM – Return home. Glide through an hour of marketing, blogging, and prepping spirited press releases for my latest book

2:00 PM – Power through an invigorating workout on the back deck. It’ll hurt less because of the wine. The weather will be ideal…not the muggy, no breeze, mosquito-laden climate typical of Atlanta’s suburbs

3:00 PM – A second shower, a snack, and then two hours of writing, editing, and painting a masterful cover piece for my newest short story. The lights will be low, the incense powerful, and the atmosphere serene

5:00 PM – It’s date night. Dress in something light, but not too casual. Splash on a tiny drop of cologne.

5:15 PM – Hop in the car, launch a thrilling playlist of Hans Zimmer, Depeche Mode, and Slayer

5:45 PM – Arrive at one of my favorite spots downtown. It only took 30 minutes to get there. No traffic today!

6:00 PM – Sit down across from my beautiful, confident date. Sip red wine. Discuss anything but politics, religion, or the socio-economic ramifications of another major land war with North Korea

8:00 PM – Dessert at a nearby spot. A sip of scotch. A slice of cheesecake. Candles, music, the thrum of a busy restaurant…

8:30 PM – Arrive home, slip out into the evening with a fully-charged laptop and a glass of Balvenie scotch – minimum 17-year aged.

8:45 PM – While relaxing to the sounds of crickets, owls, and bats fluttering through the night, write for two hours. No mosquitoes tonight, only fireflies

10:00 PM – Relax in the basement with a movie, an enthralling video game, or a while spent strumming the guitar

11:00 PM – Finish a last sketch on which to base tomorrow’s new painting. Enjoy a gentle nightcap. Tumble into a bed with the ceiling fan on and the night’s breeze drifting through the wide-open windows

***

And now…

The real-life schedule

7:30 AM – Stagger out of bed, dress my son while he’s still half-asleep, shuttle him to Montessori school, return home in a daze.

10:00 AM – Stagger out of bed a second time, drink a quart of water to rehydrate after too much scotch last night. What happened between 8-10 this morning? No fucking idea

10:05 AM – No coffee for me. Can’t stand the stuff. Heat up some frozen Eggo waffles and whip up three mimosas. Consume it all within 10 minutes

10:20 AM – Look at Facebook

10:21 AM – Review yesterday’s book sales. Grumble about Amazon’s KU (Kindle Unlimited) pages read algorithms

10:22 AM – Review yesterday’s art sales. Realize I haven’t sold a goddamn thing…and that there’s a reason artists are poor

10:23 AM – Avoid my Twitter account like the fucking plague

10:25 – Write for 90 minutes. It’s shit and I’m still tired. I’m pretty much editing the stuff I wrote last night.

Noon – My laptop powers down unexpectedly. Rather than crush it into powder Office Space style, I throw on some shorts and head to the forest for a run

12:45 PM – The second part of my run hurts like a motherfucker. I drank too many mimosas. I power through it anyway, but I look like haggard hell to other runners on the trail

1:30 PM – Head to the café bar for lunch. Consider the smoked salmon and risotto, but ultimately decide on steak and scotch. Glance around the bar looking for interesting people/beautiful women to chat up, then realize I’m alone

1:45 PM – Check my phone compulsively while eating. Nope…still haven’t sold any art, though someone just reported my latest graphite sketch to Facebook for containing nudity

2:30 PM – Return home. Sit in a stupor for 15 minutes while deciding whether to paint, draw, write, or play nine consecutive hours of Witcher 3

2:45 PM – Paint for an hour. Spill watercolors on the floor. My blind cat wanders between my ankles, causing me to smudge the eyeball which I’ve slaved 30 minutes to perfect. Shout at the cat. She’s pretty much deaf. She wanders off with a self-satisfied meow

4:00 PM – Check Facebook for the 20th time today. Consider posting a grand plea for book reviews, realizing I’d be wealthy as fuck if just a fraction of my readers slapped down a few stars. Decide against the plea. Realize that everyone in the industry is already bitching about the subject without any success

4:01 PM – Sit down to edit. Get distracted by articles in which other authors talk about being distracted

4:30 PM- Realize I have to pick up my son in 30 minutes. Plow through a 15-minute workout, then drive to get junior

5:00 PM – Pick up my son. Ask him if he’d like to paint, draw, play baseball, or take a long walk. He decides on an hour-long discussion about Play-Doh, a commentary regarding Bowser from the Super Mario Bros. series, and a firm but polite request to drink two gallons of chocolate milk

5:30 – Give in. Pour him the chocolate milk. Respond to his inquiries about latest painting. “What is that?” he asks. “A demonic woman ready to wage eternal war on humanity,” I answer. “Cool,” he says. “Why are her boobs so big?”

6:00 PM – Squeeze a 15-minute workout, a shower for me, a bath for junior, 30 minutes of homework, two additional after-school snacks, a play-by-play of every scene from every Zelda game ever made, seven hugs, 3 minutes of backyard baseball, and 4 minutes of painting…all into one hour

7:00 PM – Dinner should take an hour, right? Wrong. It takes two. At least there’s wine.

9:00 PM – Put junior to bed. Ask him if he wants me to read something other than Ul De Rico’s Rainbow Goblins. He doesn’t. We read it again

10:00 PM – Stagger downstairs in the gloom. Turn on the music. Try to sit on the patio, but get eaten alive by mosquitoes. Girl calls. Sorry, no date tonight. Check book sales. Learn that British people read…Americans don’t. Check Facebook. Enjoy the deep discussions of my art…but despair in zero painting sales for the day

10:15 PM – Finish a bottle of cheap scotch. Write for three hours while tipsy. Avoid the internet only because I know I’ll say something stupid if I post during the late, late hour

1:15 AM – Consider wandering up to bed. Decide to write for another hour. Would consider writing while in bed, but junior snores like a motherfucker

2:15 AM – Fall asleep while playing video games

3:00 AM – Who needs sleep, anyway?

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I want to tell you this is all hyperbole.

But it isn’t. Go here if you don’t believe me.

J Edward Neill

This article is a mirror of my original Tessera Guild piece.

Questions for the Everyday Philosopher

November 8, 2017 | humor, Life, Philosophy | Permalink

This is a series of articles collectively titled A Thought for Every Thursday.

Each one contains quick, light questions about modern morality, simple philosophy, and human relationships.

Here. Get some…

Deep Space Drama – Part 1

Deep Space Drama – Part 2

Do you agree with these 5 famous quotes?

The 7 Quickest Questions you’ll ever Answer

Life & Death Shopping w/ $100

Are these famous quotes true?

Your Chance to Time Travel

3 Absurd Scenarios

Choose Your God Carefully

 

We’re Probably ALL Wrong

Choose your own Adventure

We Didn’t Ask to be Here

Which ‘ism’ are you?

The Singles Bar

Love by the Numbers

Wanna be a monk?

Hot-Math-Teacher-350x250

Human Algebra

Eyedol

The Human Lens

Not the Ending you Expect

For Lovers Only

Is Reincarnation Pointless?

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Three Questions for the Dead

Rewriting the Bible

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Our Footprint

101-Questions-for-Single-People-Crop

Grassroots, Groceries, and Guilt

Thunderbolts

Thunderbolts from Above

Thanksgiving

A Thought for Every Thanksgiving

Soul Food

Soul Food

Opinions

So Many Opinions

Omega Project

The Omega Project

How YOu Gonna Roll

How You Gonna Roll?

How or Why

How or Why?

Heart

What’s in a Heart?

Great Divide

The Great Divide

Gotta Love it

Gotta Love It

Contradictions

Walking Contradictions

Consquences

Consequences, Consequences

Believe

How Far are you Willing to Believe?

Angels Demons

Angels vs Demons

A thought for every

Don’t Shoot the Messenger

***

The Thought for Every Thursday series is inspired by the Coffee Table Philosophy series of books, which can be browsed here.

Replacing Createspace? – Amazon’s KDP offers softcover print service beta

October 31, 2017 | Books!, Kindle Countdown Sale | Permalink

(Nov 1, 2017 update!!! – I’ve now used the new Amazon KDP service extensively. My commentary regarding my personal experience appears at the bottom of this article.)

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Authors who use Amazon’s Createspace or KDP services might want to take a look at the new option recently released.

Apparently Amazon has decided to consolidate some of their print-by-demand services by offering softcover book sales via KDP.

What does it mean? Situation: not quite certain

Right now the KDP softcover print option is in beta mode, meaning Amazon is testing its viability. But if it takes off, and if it expands print services to include non-standard book trim sizes, (right now it doesn’t) one wonders if the shift in focus away from Createspace will benefit authors. Will KDP-like marketing services (similar to Kindle Countdown) be made available? Does Amazon have additional marketing services in mind?

Here’s the basics straight from Amazon’s help page:

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Move Your CreateSpace Paperback to KDP (Beta):

Moving your CreateSpace paperback to KDP will consolidate your paperback and eBook publishing on a single website. You will receive combined royalty payments for the marketplaces you sell your eBooks and paperbacks to. You do not need to do anything extra – your current account settings, payment information and tax details do not need updates. With KDP, you can distribute to Japan in addition to the US and European marketplaces. We also offer a multilingual user interface and customer support in German, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, and Japanese.Although KDP doesn’t yet offer author copies, proof copies, or expanded distribution, we will be adding those features in the future.KDP’s print features won’t affect any existing CreateSpace titles unless you choose to republish them on KDP. It’s up to you whether you want to start publishing new paperbacks on KDP.

KDP and CreateSpace feature comparison chart

Feature KDP CreateSpace
Distribution to Amazon.com (US) Yes Yes
Distribution to Europe (Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.it, and Amazon.es) Yes Yes
Distribution to Japan (Amazon.co.jp) Yes No
Order physical proof copies Not yet Yes
Order wholesale author copies Not yet Yes
Expanded distribution to bookstores and non-Amazon websites Not yet Yes

How to publish your CreateSpace paperback on KDP

  1. Set up a new paperback title on your KDP Bookshelf.
  2. On the Paperback Details page, enter the same metadata used for your CreateSpace book.
  3. Select “Yes” when asked whether this book was previously published on CreateSpace.
  4. Click “Save and Continue” to move on to the Paperback Content page.
  5. Under the ISBN header, enter the same 13-digit ISBN used to publish your book on CreateSpace. If you have a 10-digit ISBN issued by CreateSpace, use the ISBN converter to find your 13-digit ISBN equivalent.
  6. Click “Continue” to sign in to your CreateSpace account and validate your ownership of the title.

Once you’re redirected back to KDP, you’ll want to enter the same book details (publication date, trim size, paper type, cover finish) and upload the same manuscript and cover files you used to publish on CreateSpace. KDP’s print specifications are similar to CreateSpace, except we don’t support custom CreateSpace trim sizes. See the trim sizes KDP supports

With our Online Previewer, you can proofread your paperback manuscript online or download it to view offline.

After you publish your CreateSpace book on KDP, we’ll automatically remove your CreateSpace paperback from sale, and your KDP sales will be tracked in your KDP sales and royalty reports. You can still access historical sales reports on CreateSpace but you will not need to take any additional action there.

Files made with CreateSpace templates

In most circumstances, if you used a CreateSpace template to format your cover or manuscript file, you can reuse the same files to publish your CreateSpace paperback on KDP. See exceptions where you’ll need to edit your Cover files and Manuscript files below. If you paid for a CreateSpace cover or interior service, contact CreateSpace customer support to get your files.

If Online Previewer finds errors in your uploaded files, you’ll want to correct the formatting and reupload the files. Troubleshooting tips follow below, and you can also see our KDP Print Publishing Guidelines for detailed help with formatting errors.

Cover files
Some older CreateSpace cover templates include white space around the edges that trigger errors on KDP’s Online Previewer. If you used a CreateSpace template to create your cover, make sure it matches your book’s intended trim size and remove any extra white space. Learn more about KDP’s cover size requirements.

Manuscript files
KDP does not support custom CreateSpace trim sizes. If you used a CreateSpace interior template to create your manuscript file, make sure it’s in a trim size that KDP supports. If not, reset the trim size and reformat your manuscript file to match your new trim size.

* * *

I’m intrigued (and maybe a little bit hopeful) about this move.

Although, considering the huge issues with Amazon’s reporting of page-reads via the Kindle Unlimited program, maybe I shouldn’t be so optimistic.

What do you think?

* * *

November 1st update!!

Over the last several months, I’ve moved about half of my paperback titles over to the KDP system. I did this as a trial run to gauge KDP’s effectiveness for in-print titles.

My findings are as follows:

  • The KDP reporting interface is significantly simpler than Createspace. It’s always nice to centralize sales reporting in a single database, and KDP does it nicely, meshing e-book sales with print sales in quick, clean fashion. Reports are easy to download, and sales charts are clean and accurate.
  • Moving titles from Createspace to KDP is about as easy as one could hope. Just plug in the book’s Createspace ISBN, and boom, the manuscript, cover art, and meta-data move over within minutes. Also…no lag time. Books published or changed in this fashion don’t go offline for days (like they do for Createspace.) Authors who wish to edit/change their best-selling books will appreciate the streamlined process and the lack of lost sales.
  • However…and this is a BIG deal…since moving a total of sixteen softcover titles from Createspace to KDP, I’ve seen a precipitous drop in sales volume for a number of my titles. I didn’t change meta-data, keywords, cover art, or the manuscripts, and yet sales of this, this, and this instantly fell from about 60 per month to near-zero. It’s inexplicable to me, and is the deciding factor to NOT move any additional titles to KDP.
  • And then of course, the big problem remains – KDP still doesn’t allow authors to buy copies of books at wholesale pricing. Meaning, if you’re hosting a book signing, selling books face-to-face (like I do) or selling direct to bookstores (like I do) you’re pretty much out of luck. Rumor is this will eventually change, but as of yet I haven’t seen any movement toward allowing authors to buy at wholesale.

While it’s possible a wild coincidence may be to blame for three high-selling titles to fall off the map completely at the exact same time they were moved to KDP, I’m just not buying it. At this time, I’d recommend against authors (new or established) using the KDP print system. Stick with Createspace for now. It’s clunkier and has its issues, but buying wholesale is invaluable, as is not risking a meaningless sales-plummet.

KDP Softcover Grade – D

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J Edward Neill

Author of sci-fi hit A Door Never Dreamed Of

Creator of Coffee Table Philosophy

J Edward Neill

Author of sci-fi hit A Door Never Dreamed Of

Creator of Coffee Table Philosophy

A Door Never Dreamed Of…opens.

October 25, 2017 | Books!, Sci fi novella | Permalink

A thousand years from today, nearly all of humanity is jacked-In.
We sleep, connected to machines, dreaming our lives away.
For most people, it’s the perfect life.
But for the few who never jacked-In, it’s exile.
Abandoned, persecuted, and betrayed, the Outs plot their vengeance across the centuries.
And when they open the Door, only one way of life will survive…

dnd

Buy A Door Never Dreamed Of here.

And learn more about my other titles here.

Thank you for reading,

J Edward Neill

 

My Top 10 Painters of All Time

October 18, 2017 | Art! | Permalink

Here’s ten artists who’ve shined a powerful light on me (and my walls.)  They’re in no particular order.

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Allen Williams

Allen Williams, master of graphite powder, lord of charcoal, is among the most interesting illustrators and conceptual artists I’ve ever stumbled upon. He’s done film work, but the works I’m struck by are his weird, ghoulish drawings, posted regularly for sale right here.

My absolute favorite piece by Allen? This monster here – The Lotus King.

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RK Post

Back in my days of playing Magic the Gathering, I discovered the best part of the game is the card art. A host of excellent illustrators toils to create some pretty fascinating monsters, angels, and otherworldly entities, all for players’ enjoyment. RK Post’s art is likely my favorite. His sometimes harsh, often dark images bring MtG to life.

His website is here. He creates unique alternate versions of his MtG cards here.

And one of my favorite RK Magic cards is:

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Terese Nielsen

If RK Post is my favorite MtG illustrator, Terese Nielsen is a close, close second. She blends strong realism with wild, barely controlled elements, and I love it. Angels, goddesses, beautiful women, strong men, powerful animals…she’s a master of them all.

Her website is here. A fine selection of her best Magic the Gathering cards is here.

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Bastien LeCouffe DeHarme

Sometimes one stumbles upon an artist whose concepts and execution demand immediate attention. Bastien is one such person. Based in France, he specializes in women, often mixing them with mechanical and/or fantastical elements. His themes are often dark and tormented (my favorite) and his execution when blending realism and the abstract is stunning.

I have several DeHarme prints on my walls. Just sayin’.

Enough of my gushing. Go look at his portfolio right here. And yes, some of his work is NSFW.

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H.R. Giger

Sadly, the lord of the Xenomorphs has passed to the next world. Thankfully his creations remain. Surely most people have watched the Alien movies, and yet H.R. (Hans Ruedi) Giger created far more than just a few creepy extraterrestrials. His mastery of biomechanical, necromantic paintings, sculpture, and other media are unparalleled.

I first discovered Giger’s work (Meister und Margeritha) on the cover of a Danzig album.

A selection of Giger’s art books is here.

Necronom IV. (Photo: H.R. Giger)

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Jeremy Mann

It’s true. I accidentally discovered Jeremy Mann years ago while Facebook stalking a mutual fan. Whatever. Simply put, Mann’s oil paintings and photography are stunning. He specializes in portrait work and breathtaking cityscapes, sometimes blending his subject matter with a dark edge.  Like most of my favorite artists, he walks the line between utter realism and abstract fantasy. Just look at his women here (NSFW.) And his unbelievably haunting cityscapes, implying rain and twilight, are here.

It’s worth mentioning Mann prefers not to sell prints. You’ll have to hit up one of his galleries or buy one of his premium (and personalized) art books if you really, really want to be a fan.

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John Howe

It’s probable that during the creation of the Lord of the Rings movies, Peter Jackson could not have chosen a better illustrator than John Howe (and Alan Lee.) John’s sketches, landscapes, and character work captured LOTR’s theme in a way perhaps no other could match.

His website is a bit clunky. Doesn’t matter. Check it out anyway.

It’s definitely worth mentioning that John Howe is also an experienced and talented swordsman. He believes the best way to understand objects and motion is to hold, use, and touch the object to be drawn or painted. I tend to agree. Completely.

You owe it to yourself to check out the special features on the LOTR DVD boxed set. Kick back and check out John Howe and Alan Lee’s superior art

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Alan Lee

The second half of LOTR’s dynamic art duo is Alan Lee. He’s a master of watercolor paintings, often depicting surreal landscapes with incredible detail. His creation of faerie-like forest scenes, with writhing branches and strange, ethereal colors, is particularly inspiring. Alan not only worked as an illustrator for the movies, but also has his hands in several Tolkien-related art books, all of which are worth every penny.

Chase Alan’s fascinating art on Facebook.

An interesting bio of Alan appears here.

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Marcela Bolivar

I count myself lucky to have found (again by accident) Marcela’s art via Facebook. Marcela is a photo-illustrator specializing in digital recreations of stunning photos. While I don’t typically adore digital art, for Marcela (and a few others) I make exceptions. Her work, especially her women and surreal natural scenes, provide elegance and eye-candy all art-lovers can likely appreciate.

You need to check Marcela’s website here. Especially the stunning piece ‘Hydroponic.’ Thank me later. 🙂

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Amanda Makepeace

Lady Makepeace is a humble dweller of the central Georgian woodlands, and just so happens to be my personal favorite cover artist. Yeah…I’m a fanboy; her painting Autumn Waters hangs right next to my favorite art pieces at home. She’s an illustrator, using both digital and traditional media to portray mythical creatures, magical birds, wondrous woodlands, and the occasional terrifying sci-fi monstrosity.

Her website is here.

Amanda has created stunning cover work for several of my novels, including:

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My own not-nearly-as-amazing-as-the-ten-artists-above art can be found here.

J Edward Neill

This article is a mirror of my original Tessera Guild post.

Three Dark Fantasy Epics…in One

October 5, 2017 | Books!, Dark Moon Daughter, Down the Dark Path, Nether Kingdom, Tyrants of the Dead | Permalink

Deep readers, consumers of dark fantasy, lovers of epic tales…

My massive trilogy, Tyrants of the Dead, is now available as a three-book Kindle set.

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The Tyrants series contains three epic stories. Each can be read on its own or as part of a larger, darker adventure.

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Of course, the individual books are available on their own:

Soul Orb New DDP Cover Second Try*

Down the Dark Path is book I in J Edward Neill’s Tyrants of the Dead trilogy. When a young woman leaves home in search of a better life, she plunges into a world-ending war. The deeper she falls, the more she senses dark powers rising within her, and the more she realizes she is not so different than the enemy.

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Dark Moon Daughter – Book II in the series. Three years have passed since the Furyon war, but the memories of her time in Malog haunt Andelusia every night. When an emissary from a distant land arrives in Graehelm to beg her aid, she sees a chance to uncover the meaning of her inner darkness…and learn the source of her unnatural powers.

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Nether Kingdom –  Book III. At the world’s edge, Andelusia awakens to the terrible realization that all her dreams have come to nothing. When the shadows in her heart cause the seasons to change and deadly storms to sweep across Thillria, she knows what will come. The Black Moon will descend. Grimwain will return. The Ur will rebuild their haunted civilization atop humanity’s graveyard. Unless she alone wages war against the nether kingdom, the world will burn.

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Tyrants of the Dead

Darkest of ALL dark fantasy trilogies.

J Edward Neill

 

Why You Should Buy the New Fire HD10 Tablet

October 3, 2017 | Books!, Devices | Permalink

Whoa, whoa, whoa…

What’s this?

Amazon’s got a new Fire tablet coming out on October 11th. And it looks stunning.

As an author and a reader- and a recent convert to using e-readers– it’s fair to say I’m excited. Amazon has always offered killer price points for their tablets, and the new Fire HD10 appears to be no exception.

Let’s break it down:

  • Packs a full HD 1080p display
  • 10 hours of battery life
  • Always Listening Alexa feature (meaning even if your tablet is off, you can still wake it up with voice commands.)
  • Dolby Audio speaker-quality sound

The display, battery life, and sound quality are things we’re pretty much used to from the Fire series. I’d hesitate to call them special. (Although I paid a lot less for my latest Fire than I did back in the day for my similarly-powered iPad.)

But…

The HD10 is all about the ‘Always-Listening Alexa’ feature. A voice-commanded tablet is like using a remote control…but without the remote. And the 10.1″ display means comfortable viewing at a distance even while you’re busy at home. For someone like me who has trouble sitting still for long periods, using Alexa to boss around my less-expensive-than-other-tablets tablet is a deal-maker. Honestly, I need everything in my house to be Alexa-powered – my cat, my six-year old son, my wine…all of it.

Alas, I’ll stick to my tablet for now.

The price is what sells the HD10. The base model 32GB version is only $149.00 (Compare that to Apple’s mini iPad 4, which clocks in at $349.00.)  Buyers can step it up to 64GB for $189.00, while both are expandable to 256GB using a microSD card.

More memory. More shows. Mo’ freedom.

I’m sold.

You can pre-order the HD10 here.

The official release date is October 11th.  Hopefully it’s still available, unlike my much-desired Nintendo Switch, which I still haven’t been able to buy at a reasonable price.

Anyway, I think it’s worth checking out.

And once you get yours, you’ll need something to e-read. I’ve got you covered.

J Edward Neill

 

 

New 3D Painting – Perfect Organism

September 23, 2017 | Art! | Permalink

When in doubt, emulate H.R. Giger.

At least…that’s what I say.

Recently, sculptor Tahina Morrison carved out a beautiful woman and paired her with a face hugger.

And then tasked me with the not-so-easy job of painting a terrifying background.

As ever, I do her bidding…

 Perfect Organism

18″ x 24″

Thanks for stopping by. More paintings are soon to come.

For art inquiries, hit me up on Facebook, Twitter, or via email.

If you like Perfect Organism, you might also like these.

J Edward Neill

Painter of shadows

Author of darkness

New Beautiful Girl Sketch – Nadya

September 22, 2017 | Art! | Permalink

For my latest round of short stories, I’ve decided to sketch my own cover art.

It’s a challenge.

…and I love it.

This next piece is a sequel to this.

Here’s a quick progression:

Nadya – or at least half of her. I started with strictly pencils, sketching her face on a huge sheet of watercolor paper. Surprise, surprise….watercolor paper is excellent media for fine pencil sketches, especially realistic pieces.

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I used a blend of charcoal, graphite, and dark pencil lead to deepen Nadya’s eyes and hair. Here’s my arsenal….

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The red will probably feel stark and out of place. It definitely contrasts with her face. But soon (very soon) it’ll be on a book cover. And it’ll make a bit more sense. At least…I hope so.

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Nadya, the Deathless – a character in the novel Hollow Empire.

Thanks for stopping by. More paintings are soon to come.

Prints are available here.

For purchase inquiries, hit me up on Facebook, Twitter, or via email.

If you like these, you might also like these.

J Edward Neill

Painter of shadows

Author of darkness

101 Questions for Midnight – Coffee Table Philosophy

September 19, 2017 | Books!, Coffee Table Philosophy, Non Fiction, Writing! | Permalink

Stay up late.

Very late.

The best conversations begin while everyone else is sleeping.

101 Questions for Midnight

The latest entry in the Coffee Table Philosophy series.

Jump starting every conversation with a tendency toward darker topics: death, war, sex, and the dark side of human behavior.

Available now on Amazon…

 

With 101 Questions for Midnight in your hands, you’ll need a sweet coffee table to display it.   Go HERE to find some of the nicest DIY tables you’ll ever see.

And check out the rest of the Coffee Table Philosophy series here:

101 Questions for Men Cover101 Questions for Humanity

Fun with Wood Panel Paintings

September 17, 2017 | Art! | Permalink

At DragonCon 2017, I wandered the art gallery for what seemed like eons.

I encountered stunning fantasy art of all kinds. I found light, darkness, and everything in-between.

But then I stumbled upon something I’d never really seen before. An artist – I admit I don’t know her name or website – had created a large quantity of long, narrow paintings on slender wooden panels.

For me, a guy who has always focused his work on canvasses, gesso boards, and plain old paper, the idea of painting on peculiar-sized chunks of wood transfixed me.

I knew at once I had to try a few of my own:

I started with these:

Pieces of an old picket fence. About 20″ long – 4″ wide. Cut, dried, and sanded to a smooth finish.

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And I moved on to these:

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Here’s an up close shot of my favorite plank, The Sorcerer:

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After finishing a ton of smaller planks, I tried a giant plank. This one’s 6′ tall and 12″ wide. It was a true pleasure to paint:

Started with this…

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…and finished with this.

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I admit I loved making these so much, I’ve got another six planks drying on my deck right now. Meaning…more are soon to come.

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Want to learn more? Hit me up on Facebook, Twitter, or via email.

And…you might also like these.

J Edward Neill

Painter of shadows

 

New 3D Painting – Ariel

September 10, 2017 | Art! | Permalink

I recently collaborated with sculptor T. Morrison to create another 3d painting.

She sculpted the girl; I splashed deep blues and greens all over the oceanic background.

Presenting Ariel, the not-so-little mermaid:

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Check out those tentacles!

And yes…the shells are real. A few years back,  I plucked them from beneath a wrecked ship off the coast of Clearwater.

Prints are available here.

For purchase inquiries, hit me up on Facebook, Twitter, or via email.

If you like Ariel, you might also like these.

J Edward Neill

Painter of shadows

Author of darkness

101 Reasons to Break Up

September 5, 2017 | Books!, Coffee Table Philosophy, humor | Permalink

In this unique take on dating and relationships, dozens of real-life strangers sit down for interviews, and all of them provide the true-life tales of their craziest, most unusual break-ups.

Every break-up is REAL, and each one is more bizarre than the one before.

You think your break-ups have been wild? Think again. Here’s 101 of the WILDEST.

Once you read one, you’ll want to read them all…

Oh, and here’s nine sample stories.

From Coffee Table Philosophy creator – J Edward Neill