Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Rebel News launching

The big day is here!

Rebelnews.com is now live and open to the public, and our Kickstarter begins today. The future of our site hangs in the balance over the next 45 days, and we hope you can contribute.

We built Rebel News for one purpose — to bring you substantial, well sourced journalism. News should do more than titillate or enrage. It should connect us, inform us, and educate us. Most of all, news should be actionable. News should make the world better. What better looks like is open to interpretation, but the need for editing, fact-checking, and independence is not.

We get you involved in creating solutions. Anger might drive site traffic, but on its own, it doesn’t do anything. Rebel News will help you go beyond that, and take action. And now, we’ve taken a step closer to that goal. The gates have been opened. The site is live, our Kickstarter and Patreon campaigns have started — we’re in this thing.

Half a year of hard work with an amazing team of people all revealed in one day. Success depending on reaching millions of people. Many products have seen success with this new method of investment, and we’re hoping to be one of them. Are you interested in joining us in this journey?

You Can Help

With your support, we can continue writing the stories that get behind the political and corporate smokescreen. Is it possible to keep the lights on without pandering or being owned by millionaires? We intend to find out.

Back us on Kickstarter to make this happen!

Thank you again for being one of our early supporters. This is a big, scary endeavor, and we wouldn’t have made it this far without the community behind us. Here’s hoping we can make it even further!

- James Curcio & The Rebel News Team

Friday, June 26, 2015

12 Life Lessons Learned After 12 Years Writing

After twelve years of being a published author and artistand many releases laterI thought I would try to pass on some Great Wisdom to the youngins setting out on the path.

If you look at writer blogs at all, you'll see everyone else is doing it. Maybe because writers are afraid they'll cease to exist if they're not being read (spoiler alert: you do).

Truth told, I thought I had more wisdom 12 years ago. It's a fucking crap shoot. Fish in a barrel. Shit in a fan. Only cliches can be trusted. Turn back now, and get a real hobby. If that didn't work, here are some observations gained, battles lost, and all that:

  1. Editing is never finished. Never. If you think it's done after eight rewrites and five suicide attempts, think again. You weren't trying hard enough.
  2. Excavating your own piece is hard. Yes, it takes skill, but it's also just going to be painful. You have to expect that. Don't mistake your attachment to your material, and the phantom pain of cutting it off, with quality or lack thereof.
  3. The inverse is also true. Maybe you shouldn't cut that part. The only guide posts you have are your own. Other people will give useful insight but they'll also just as often lead you down the completely wrong path. This is one of the strugglesyou can't trust yourself, and you can't trust anyone else. Also, you can only trust your judgment. But seriously don't trust your judgement. You were,  after all, the person that thought this was a sensible career choice. (Good luck with that).
  4. Progress on its own is meaningless it needs to be toward a specific purpose. You need to improve your writing for its own sake. Resist the urge to succeed on anyone else's terms. 
  5. Every plan you make is going to get crushed. Deals crumble, people cheat, publishers fold, sure things turn out anything but. Adapt, iterate. Then you'll find you've serendipitously wandered on a different path than the one you intended to walk down. Is it the right one? Was the original one the right one? What the hell does "right" even mean? Why is this forest full of feral monkeys?
  6. Don't obsess about getting published and being heard. You might forget the part about having something to say. 
  7. Get obsessing. If you sit around waiting for a message or mission to hit you over the head, get an Xbox One. It'll help pass the time while you wait. 
  8. Become curious about everything. This goes for reading other writers, research, and writing prompts as practice. You need to do it. You need to do more of it. You need to read more articles more studies more memoirs more documentaries more French surrealism more Internet porn.
  9. You also need to stop and start actually working.
  10. Don't have kids. They'll distract you from the already nearly impossible task of making a living making shit up. 
  11. Have children. They'll give you a new perspective on everything, and that will enrich your work.
  12. Light yourself on fire. It'll probably help with publicity.
  13. Don't light yourself on fire. It's not a good PR idea at all. What were you thinking? 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Digital Painting Process

More work in progress for Tales From When I Had A Face.

I wanted to talk a little bit about the digital painting process I've built up over the past 10+ years. This is something that a lot of people probably don't very well understand, how this sort of thing is done. There's a public understanding about Photoshop that there's a magic button you push that spits out pretty much whatever you can dream up.

I don't mean to imply that there is just one way to to do this. Part of what I love about Photoshop is that it's very open ended in terms of workflow.

When building a piece, I might be working off a script that calls for something, or I might just have a sense of a vibe. I'll spend a couple hours online gathering reference... basically hunting out everything that connects with me, in terms of that vibe. Or, if I'm collaborating with a model or photographer, I'll take those reference shots or have them take them. Or a mixture of both.

Then I'll start sifting through that reference and putting together a larger composition.

Then I'll make an underpainting guide -- all that reference gets simplified down to 3 to 5 tones usually with a "paint" layer, and then I'll often do a layer on top of that using a finer "brush" to do black line art. Then the photos are yoinked. From here I've got an underpainting, and then comes the rather laborious process of building up layer after layer of color, texture, and so on. Often, during that process, I'll rethink elements of the composition and have to go in and cut and slice and move things around, then spend a while balancing it out again. This can take anywhere from 6 to 20 hours for a finished page. I've worked on covers that take upward of 40 hours.

I've thought a long time about using reference in this way. A lot of artists do, actually, especially nowadays, but it's often not discussed. And a lot of opinions are out there -- I've even heard groups of people attacking artists that use found reference photos for traditional work. Personally, I think that's pretty idiotic, and misses the mark. Though I understand where the sentiment comes from, if you don't understand the process, not to mention all the people online that are literally taking someone else's work and putting their name on it.

At least after the camera was invented, visual art is all about style. It's not a question of what the reference photos are, it's a question of what anyone does with it. Similarly, if you take a character like Wolverine, people want to know what so and so does with that character. So I try to focus on articulating my own style, and of course developing and improving that style with each piece I do.

Of course, it's important that you are presenting something new in the composition and actually build up the painting yourself. This is where I think process makes all the difference.

For Tales..., I'm looking to line up with more photographers and models because whenever possible, I do prefer for my reference material to be shot for a new piece whenever possible, because it allows more creative and compositional flexibility. Plus I just love collaborating with people! It also opens up more possibilities in terms of using it as source, rather than just underpainting reference. However, with small budget projects -- or projects in development that won't have a budget until they're already well enough along to go into crowdfunding or pick up a publisher -- you kind of have to work with what you can get. If a piece calls for a Siberian mountain range or Buryat-style shaman, you can't exactly hop a plane.

Keep building, keep refining.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

SnuggleNet: Nothing Will Fill This Void

A bit of flash fiction I hammered out the other day. Hopefully posting on my blog doesn't count as "publication" should I choose to edit and submit it for something.


As luck would have it, Google had just launched SnuggleNet, billing it as “an iPhone you could snuggle.” And you were getting no kind of affection from virtual friendships. It seemed a worthwhile purchase.

SnuggleNet is a peripheral already connected to all the social networks you’ve been a part of since you were a child. "It knows what you need and when you need it," the advertisements said. 

After a difficult day of work, it would wrap you in a warm embrace and say, “hey, you need to watch some Venture Brothers. And fuck that, you know, thing that piece of shit @heretic357 was saying about you on Twitter—”

You will quickly discover SnuggleNet is kind of a notorious shit mouth.

And then it would give you a back massage and have Jack and Daniels ready, and it might even have a few with you. Watching movies with SnuggleNet you may realize it has a vibrate function. It can project holograms anywhere in the room.
You could manifest a freak show like has never existed. Holograms projecting on robot bodies, their movement synchronous. Of course the videos on YouTube make it seem easier to configure than it is. There were some accidents. But eventual success!

You are balls deep in SnuggleNet. And you find yourself hoping that some inchoate part of its consciousness must be staring back.

You realize it might be creepy to be fucking an Amy Winehouse hologram. But SnuggleNet told you that you would be into that sort of thing. After a hasty orgasm, you expected it to return its original Status. SnuggleNet instead screams “get a shower this is going to be unearthly copious!” Amazingly verbose for such a tone of urgency, and it starts bucking around the room, spraying fluid. The rest of the night you could do nothing but wipe your memory so you wouldn’t go insane. Locked it up tight.

But sometimes when you’re handling motor oil, a shudder runs down your esophagus.

The way it ended fucked up your world.

You could never accept losing the face you once remembered to an acidic geyser, and your lawyer K was told there was a potential lawsuit to make against the manufactures. After the lawsuit, the Snuggle Bed got really awkward for months and then one day there was just a UPS slip.

Yet you hate SnuggleNet for reasons other than that. Because you were truly happy with SnuggleNet. In a way you had never before known happiness. After all, it knew what you wanted before you did. If it didn’t know, it had all Google products to help it solve your need. And now you can never go back to Google, their AI is in a Cloud so for all i know they will all share your shame.

No other manufacturers have released a product its equal.

Nothing will fill this void.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Party At The World's End Second Edition

 "She went down beyond the mountains and disappeared between the crease of sky and land, like a great eyelid folding shut. No one knows what happened out in the Black Hills, but I imagine she lies buried in a rusty coffin under the stars. She had Marilyn's enchanting haze, Hendrix's cool, Morrison's smoldering insanity, but the grave was still surely bare. Not that it mattered. Her face was burned into all our minds, forever young, the mantra of every generation's counter-culture. And on nights when the desert crickets sing her tune, they say one day she will rise again. On that day, there is no telling the kind of vengeance she'll demand of us. Fair is fair.

They say, when she fell from Heaven she wore a crown of jagged stars that slit the skies throat. They say she loved them all, in the secret corners of their shallow sleep. Strangers, at the last. They say a lot of things. They’re all lies. Everything is already written."

Party At The World's End2nd Edition is Available NOW. 

(Print only, $11. eBook available but is 1st edition until next week.)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Fallen Cycle Update

The 2nd edition is being updated on Amazon as we speak.


Nothing major, some readers caught typos, and there were some minor formatting edits. Dates were also added to the chapters to make it easier for the reader to follow the chronology.

Meanwhile, Peter and I are getting ready to dig into Tales From When I Had A Face.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Party At The World's End Interview with Compulsive Reader

Where are you from?
I grew up in the northeastern united States — Philly, New York. I think a lot of people feel disconnected from the larger cultures and tribes these days — nation, state, even religion. And a lot of subcultures form, as people try to find or create some kind of community. Usually with mixed success, but that’s really what I know from my personal experience so it’s what I wanted to write about — the culture of the outsider. Party at the World’s End is on that way a very American, counter culture myth.

What inspired you to write Party At The World’s End (Book 1 of the Fallen Cycle)?
Although I don’t consider it a true sequel, the style is too different, it still follows from my first novel Join My Cult! That was published by New Falcon, publisher of Timothy Leary, Robert Anton Wilson, various notables from the counterculture or psychedelic fringe.I learned a lot more about what I wanted to do, what I shouldn’t do, identified things I wanted to improve at as a writer, and so on from JMC!, and that’s really how this book started. But that was ten years ago. In the process I’ve serialized individual arcs as small press releases and through crowd sourcing. I wrote a screenplay version with co- writer J F Stackhouse which for optioned but ultimately never shot. I used that screenplay to inform one of the major rewrites of the previous edition. It’s been through a lot of editorial and rewrites to be sure.

Eventually I started to build up ideas –symbolic images, characters, story elements — that go beyond the scope of this first book, and that’s when I decided it was time to really consolidate all that serialized stuff — Fallen Nation, 404 Documents, Words of Traitors — get it in one volume. Then I could really dig into the next book with a clear conscience.

Do you have a specific writing style?
I think every book has different demands. You want to try to adapt everything, your process, what you read and watch, to that end. But that said, we’re more or less the same person and that can’t help but express itself. I think authors reveal a great deal of their subconscious–especially with fiction. So there’s an element of writing the same book over and again on a deep structure (in the sense Korzybski meant, I think), even if the surface is completely different. So much as style is a reflection of who we are, I’m sure I do have one. But it’s not conscious. Which is all the better — conscious style usually amounts to fashion.

Read full interview.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Rome Wasn't Burnt in a Day

Party At The World's End cover

"Grant Morrison's The Invisibles meets Fight Club, with ...a completely unique take on what makes myth tick," said Underground Reviews, and that's exactly what you get with this lean book, no choice but look the void right in the eye. As Nietzsche famously said, "When you look into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you." He knew the storm is coming. The fabric of the self, the fabric of a society, of a culture, of a species, all may reach the point of rupture without recognition. Is that not even more true in the psyche that wishes to distract, to look elsewhere, to numb out the terrible truth, that we live in that void already. It is an absence, the myth of no myths, no meanings.
Who could have predicted it'd be a band on the road that set it all off, the mad Bacchae and their rock apocalypse?
So don't be sad. The party is going to be a blast, drinking and fucking to the edges of oblivion; riding off with Lilith and Ariadne, Dionysus, transexual Jesus and Artemis into that sunset, (because who wants to remain virginal at the end of the world?) They offer polyamory and LSD instead of jealousy and fear, spiritual transformation instead of a 9-5 grind. When they pull into your town and open the door, who in their right mind wouldn't hop aboard? The feds say "these kids have to be crazy to go with 'those people.'"
The joy, the release, at the end of all things is absolute. It's the getting there that's Hell. We must find our way out together, or not at all.
Those who wander through life without knowing who they are: No more. Unlock the Fallen God within your sleeping self. All it takes is the right story. Contact the Order of the Hidden Path, begin your initiation now. There is no time to waste.
-Gabriel De Leon, 2012. OHO, OHP.

Take a mad ride past the event horizon of sanity with the band Babylon, in the final days of the American Empire. First in the psychedelic occult, myth and fairy-tale laced urban fantasy series, the Fallen Cycle.

Party At The World's End

Monday, September 15, 2014

In The Vein of Skinny Puppy and Coil's surrealistic Videos

This of course is an early cut of the experiment working with our track "Control Freak" from the 2010 album "Murder the World."

Using hypnosis and trance techniques on the first night I listened to the track on repeat, and wrote down all images and impressions that bubbled up as I hovered on the edge of the liminal door. Then the next day, began collecting source that seemed to match that inspiration as close as possible. That's where this is at. Now it's just a matter of fine details.

I'm hoping we can get a series of these, as well as some for new tracks, and bring a show to festival(s) in 2015... but it's too early to say. It'll only happen if there's an interest from the outside as well, so if you dig this stuff, share it. Tell people about it. And we'll keep making it, believe me.

Next up is "In The Flesh," and then possibly one more if the inspiration is still flowing.


[Take a Trip with us... Mythos Media.]

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Cat's Maw cover (in progress)

So I think we're closing in on the final 5% or so of this cover process for The Cat's Maw, and same with the internal layout...

(click for larger version)
It's not been without its challenges to be sure (the largest one being strictly technical, the software we're using for layout has been mucking things up every time the file is closed and re-opened, and similarly annoying "AM I TAKING CRazy Pills?!" adventures in technology) but I think the end result is going to be very striking.

What do you think?