Archive for January, 2009

Charles Saunders has just published the third installment of his epic Imaro series, The Trial of Bohu.  In this volume Imaro, warrior of the Ilyassai, has settled into life as a husband and  father in the fabled kingdom of Cush. Amid his growing restlessness, unspeakable tragedy strikes,sending Imaro on a grim mission of vengeance. His adversary has no face, but he does have a name: Bohu, the Bringer of Sorrow — a sorcerer of immense power and cruelty. As Imaro seeks a confrontation with his most  formidable foe yet, the continent of Nyumbani is wracked with turmoil.

The balance between the forces of good, represented by Cush, and evil, represented by the pariah land of Naama, has been disrupted. The gods themselves may have to go to war before that balance is restored. In the midst of the coming cataclysm, Imaro travels the length of Nyumbani in search of Bohu. Along the way, the warrior finally discovers his own identity — but will that knowledge help him as he battles a formidable array of enemies bent not only on his destruction, but that of Nyumbani itself?

You can order the book through Lulu.com.

This entry filed under Charles R. Saunders, News, Sword & Sorcery.

Here is an article from The Oregonian on a new US postage stamp designed by Conan artist Greg Manchess:

Collectors sing praises of Oregon’s new stamp

by Amy Reifenrath

January 14, 2009

She attracted a cult following after breaking out on the CBS reality show “Rock Star: Supernova.” On Wednesday, Oregon’s Storm Large sang the national anthem for a different kind of crowd: philatelists.

They’re stamp collectors, and people who study stamps.

About 100 of them — some taking time off work — crammed into the World Forestry Center in Portland. The celebration? The first-day-of-issue ceremony of the Oregon Statehood Commemorative Stamp.

The U.S. Postal Service issued the stamps to launch the celebration of the state’s 150th birthday Feb. 14.

About 30 million have been printed. The 42-cent stamps are available at post offices around Oregon and at major cities nationwide.

The organizers invited Large along with Oregon first lady Mary Oberst, Portland postmaster Shawneen Betha and other dignitaries to the two-hour event.

In the Oregon stamp, white waves made with broad brush strokes appear to crash against rocks along the coast. A tree leans to the right, as if fighting the wind, and the sky turns orange as if the sun is about to set.

“I wanted to make it an icon, an impression, of what the shoreline feels like,” said Beaverton artist Gregory Manchess, who designed the stamp using oil on a panel. It depicts a scene reconstructed from a photo taken just south of Boardman State Park, north of Brookings.

The agency issues dozens of stamps every year. Organizers described Oregon’s new stamp as a miniature billboard sent across the country advertising the state’s beauty.

Although Large is not a hard-core collector herself, she did go home with a first-day-of-issue stamp. The singer says stamps have their charm. In a day of e-mails and text messages, “Writing letters and using a stamp to actually mail them — it’s so romantic,” she says. “But I don’t like to lick them.”

Many celebrities collect stamps, says Ken Martin, spokesman for the American Philatelic Society in Bellefonte, Penn. They include Jerry Buss, owner of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team; actor Clint Eastwood; and the president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, who received a stamp book from President Bush during a recent visit.

“Maybe it seems dorky because it doesn’t require social skills and involves people studying fine details of little things,” Martin said. “But it’s a great hobby that can be done as a family at almost all ages.”

The stamp-collecting industry, he said, is booming. He cited a study from Lynn’s Stamp News, a collectors magazine, which found in 2007 that U.S. stamp sales by all dealers had reached a record $1.18 billion.

The postal service’s circulation doesn’t reflect such gains. The agency estimates it circulated 202.7 billion pieces of mail in the past fiscal year, a decline of about five percent from the year before.

First-class mail has been declining fastest, probably because more people send notes by e-mail and pay bills online, U.S. Postal Service spokesman Peter Hass said. The postal service, which supports itself without tax money, estimates that stamp collectors provide it with about $200 million, he said.

Collector John Blakeman, a 44-year-old from Portland, gave the new stamp good reviews. He was among the people who took the day off work to attend Wednesday’s stamp ceremony. An employee of the IRS, he began collecting stamps as an 11-year-old when he inherited a collection from his great-grandmother.

“Seeing those stamps for the first time was the best thing ever,” he said. This year, he stopped going out to lunch and saved $1,500 to buy himself three stamps that are part of a pictorial series he is collecting.

He and others acknowledged that stamp collecting is a poor investment. Dealers usually buy them at a fraction of their catalog price.

Oregon’s 42-cent statehood stamp will probably be worth 42 cents a decade from now, and dealers would probably only buy it for a couple dimes, stamp collectors said.

But by collecting stamps, Blakeman said, you are “collecting a history, something of consequence, substance and beauty.

This entry filed under Howard Illustrated, News.

This new volume from BlackBart Books features a stunning painting of Conan and Belit, plus number of the iconic Frazetta Conan paintings. Here is the information on the book, which can be ordered from Amazon.com:

As one of the three most important American pulp fantasy authors of the 1930s (with Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith), Robert E. Howard captivated readers with his indomitable, battle-scarred barbarian hero Conan. Though Howard’s life ended prematurely in 1936 at the age of 30, Conan lives on as one of the genre’s most enduring icons.

This beautifully designed collection contains nine essential Conan stories along with a full-length Conan novel. Also included is The Hyborean Age, Howard’s fascinating history of the raw, blood-drenched world Conan inhabited, an alternative Earth that preceded Tolkien’s Middle Earth. And Their Memory Was a Bitter Tree features a color map of this realm and an interior painting by cult artist Brom, along with a series of Frank Frazetta’s seminal Conan paintings, appearing for the first time with the stories for which they were created.

 Contents include:

“Whispers of Immortality” by Arnie Fenner (Introduction)
“Queen of the Black Coast”
“Shadows in the Moonlight”
“A Witch Shall Be Born”
“The Devil in Iron”
“The People of the Black Circle”
“Shadows in Zamboula”
“Red Nails”
“Jewels of Gwahlur”
Afterword by H. P. Lovecraft

Three poems by Robert E. Howard:

“The Singer in the Mist”
“Lines Written in the Realization That I Must Die”
“Recompense”

The long anticipated collection of all of Howard’s poetry has gone out of pint before it is even published.  Pre-orders have gobbled up the entire 150 copy print run.  There is talk of a second printing, if permission can be obtained from Paradox, but the fact is this might be the one and only print run.  

If you want to keep up to date on news of a second printing and information on other Howard Foundation Press publications, visit the Foundation website.

UPDATE:  The REH Foundation Press has announced a limited second printing of this out-of-print collection.  Order soon or you’ll miss out on this wonderful volume of Howard poetry!

This entry filed under Howard's Poetry, News.

Friend and frequent contributor to TGR, Charles R, Saunders has just posted “The Lovecraft Link” over on his blog. Charles comments on Howard, Lovecraft and Smith, but mainly reflects on the writings of The Gentlemen from Providence and his influence on Charles’ own writings.  Be sure to check it out, it is an interesting read.