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JD Stanley – Writer, hired gun

JD Stanley - Writer, hired gun

I’m a writer. Author even, though that sounds a bit fancy to me. I collect skulls and am partial to walking through graveyards and pictures of mausoleums and headstones. I like death. It’s part of the circle of life and all that jazz. It’s the things that happen within that circle that most fascinate me.

sword and chainmailIn my stories, the hero usually dies. Why? It’s most often the logical conclusion. Okay, they don’t all die, but a higher-than-average number snuff it. The high-brow answer? I’m partial to the classical tragic hero. There’s evil in the world and bad guys should always get their comeuppance. Sometimes, regular guys find themselves in extra-ordinary circumstances and become grudging heroes fighting insurmountable odds to make that happen. They don’t always get to reap the rewards. Art reflects life.

Why do I write at all? Hmmm… Remember that weird kid in grade school who whipped through all the readers and then won contests for story writing, but couldn’t talk to you at recess? You know,  the librarian’s helper? Yeah, hi. I have no real answer that would make sense except when I don’t write, I get weird. Current theory is it siphons off some of the insanity, but let’s not poke at that, shall we?

Commercial copy writing for live radio during the late 80’s burned that whole “the-moon-and-stars-need-to-be-in-the-correct-alignment-whilst-I-set-upon-a-cushion-next-to-a-waterfall-before-I-can-be-a-creative-writer” thing out of me pretty quick. Thirty-plus years later? I can write on a crowded subway car in downtown Toronto. The location makes no difference when I’m in writer mode.

My comfort zone is historical fantasy, heavy on the history for accuracy and usually with a side order of mythology. Speculative is mixed in there, too – it’s the same thing to me. Just questioning and poking at things from a unique perspective, no? Really, though, I’m just a hired gun, a working writer, a grunt. I’ll edit or write anything outside of my long fiction to pay the electric bill. Guilty purple prose pleasure? Mickey Spillane. Don’t judge! Tolkien, Arthur C. Clarke, Morgan Llywelyn, Heinlein, Anne Rice, Michael Crichton, Colleen McCullough, Jeffery Deaver, Mary Stewart, Neil Gaiman, and John Jakes all rock. Though in a much less purple way – obvie.

Still digging Stephen King and have been since the first book, if you can remember that far back. Remember when you had to wait for him to finish the next one? Torture. It created this vacuum of nothing interesting during which you’d be forced to read everything else in the fiction section of the library, a lot of which consisted of only hackneyed murder mysteries, because that’s all the little library had.

There was no online Amazon or Indigo back then, y’know. I remember, and I can tell you, it sucked.

I used to dabble in film, too. Why? Maybe because it was fun to see the pictures in my head show up somewhere else. My partners and I started our own little production company, Bony Fiddle Entertainment – the avenue for our combined creative insanity while promoting indie artists, screenwriters and film makers. Sadly, not much time for that lately, but we’ll circle back to it at some point and go all-in again. I don’t remember how that idea even came into being if I’m being honest, but I’m sure alcohol was involved. Probably tequila. With lemon, not lime, please. Which, by the way, also goes quite well with those really cheesy black-and-white ‘B’ horror films like “The Head That Wouldn’t Die” or “Village of the Damned”.

18th century British three-masted square rigged sailing shipTall ships are fabulous as are their pirate crews. So are mummies, samurai warriors, gladiators, Druids, unicorns, fairies and dragons. I have no idea why capes went out of style and I believe all wars should be fought hand-to-hand by the people who started them. With swords. But mostly I’m about basics, so bare fists are preferable. Just leave the rest of us out of your little territorial pissing match. Honour and service to those around us before all. Global stewardship is a responsibility, not a suggestion. Tempering fires must be braved. Quests pursued. Promises kept. And to those who shit upon the weak? Try it in front of me sometime and see how that ends.