The Watching Dead podcast and Pennerstories Update

How many of you out there watch the AMC’s Walking Dead? In case you don’t know this is an original television series based on the comic books The Walking Dead. It’s about zombies. Not completely…it’s really about a group of characters survival through a zombie apocalypse and the new world in which they live. This post is not really about zombies as it is about the pod cast I stumbled upon called the Watching Dead. Two hosts (Jim and A.Ron) talk about the episodes and comment about it. I must say it is a really funny and insightful podcast commentary. I must warn you that this is not for younger kids as the content and language might not be suitable for all. If you are interested you can take a look at their website BALDMOVE.

I’ve only browsed through the comics at the bookstore, but have watched the Walking Dead since its inception several years ago. The show has gone through its ups and downs, periods of greatness to the point I almost quit watching. All in all its a good show, but I will be honest there are times and situations within the show that sometimes make me want to stop watching. I can attribute the well-developed characters that keep me coming back. We will see how it goes in the future, but as long as I keep watching the show I will tune into Jim and A.Ron to get the current breakdown. Good job guys and keep up the good work!

In the meantime I am still reading through Terry Brooks Heritage of Shannara series and am enjoying it completely. I am getting through it slowly as I only read a few pages each day before I fall asleep. Work has kept me from starting my next novel and I am beginning to get a little frustrated about the lack of commitment on my part to get started. Exhaustion is a big part of it. I have an outline almost complete, but I am not satisfied with it thus far. In the past week I’ve been thinking of re-doing the outline because better ideas have popped into my head. I’ve also listened to some fantastic writing and writing/marketing podcasts and feel I could benefit from some writing workshops to help improve my craft. Since most workshops are out of my budget I’ve purchased some do-it-yourself type workshops. As a writer, especially an Indie/self published author, improving on ones craft is a welcomed experience we all must continue to work at in order to produce a better product. If you’ve read any of my works you will find out that I am not a perfect writer (no one is), but I hope you’ve found the stories to be entertaining. The entertainment has always been my goal aside from being a writer. Reading a good story…long or short…allows us to escape this busy world for a time and enter in to something good. Reading really is a mental reset of sorts. If you haven’t read any of my works please buy Dark Moon Shadow, or download (or read it on this website) the free pre-story to see what it’s all about.

Until then…happy reading my friends.


Fantasy and Television

Most of us love fantasy. That is why you’re here on this web page and on other pages like mine. I love fantasy…I read it, write it, and watch it. But why is fantasy so successful on written page as opposed to television? I ask myself that all the time as I thirst for more quality fantasy on television. On the big screen fantasy is a hit and miss sort of thing. Either you get a quality showing like Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and I dare say the Hobbit. Some others speak out such as Harry Potter films, The Princes Bride, and Narnia films. The rest of movie fantasy are usually animated films. I might add Sci-Fi fantasy such as Star Wars and Stargate into the mix, but I mainly want to focus on pure High Type Fantasy. Although I wish there were more quality movies involving fantasy I desire for more on television. Here are some that I watched in the last recent years:

Merlin: I loved Merlin. Although it wasn’t this high budget/ CG sort of fantasy it was a show that quenched my thirst for fantasy and magic. It was a very predictable show, but the characters were well written and I fell in love with them. That is usually what makes a series successful. There was humor, action, adventure, and magic. All that makes a great fantasy. This series lasted five seasons.

Legend of the Seeker: Legend of the Seeker was a series I had much anticipation for when I heard that it was going to be made. This television series is based off of the novels by fantasy author Terry Goodkind. Mr. Goodkind writes doorstop fantasy books. I read only one of his and this is the one that was made into a series. Although it started well, it ended poorly and was canceled quickly after two short seasons. I was not surprised that it was canceled as I lost interest in it. This is one example of how hard it is to put on a great fantasy television series. I was sad that this one ended because the author is so good and I think this series did not portray the written page to screen very well.

Revolution: Revolution is a post-apocalyptic fantasy in the realm of steam punk that had little magic, but I fell in love with almost immediately. NBC had a good thing going and cancelled this show way to early. The story was just beginning to arc when he show got the axe. As with most television, ratings drive everything. There is not much love or connection front he network to its viewers. NBC yanked our hearts out when they cut the show short and rushed a lame ending. As I get older I am learning not to get attached to what I am watching… a lesson that is hard to learn.

Grimm: Currently I am twelve episodes behind on my DVR for this series, but that doesn’t mean I lost interest. I love Grimm. Although there some lagging story lines I still love the show and the characters. The next twelve episodes may change my mind, but as of now it still holds a place in my fantasy loving heart. Since the show is still on it has proves its salt in longevity. What I love about this show is the loosely Grimm brothers tales that are used as story line anchors.

Game of Thrones: This is by far the best and most successful fantasy on television. Hands down. Characters!? who needs them? If you get used to one they die. The production value is top notch and no cent is held back and it shows. It has a movie feel with quality acting, gruesome death scenes, and well as a well written story line that follows the novels somewhat closely (so I’m told…I’ve never read the novels as of yet). The leg up that this series has over the others on my list is production value. It has no cartoonish or comic book features to it as do the others, but instead a real medieval old world reality. I love this series.

Lastly, Shannara: My favorite fantasy author is going to get his shot at television as the world of Shannara is going to be played out on MTV of all places later in 2015. I can hardly wait, but have much fear that it will wind up as Legends of the Seeker and Revolution did. I hope not as his books are full of quality fantasy and deserve a play on television.

In summary…it is hard to sell and put a good fantasy series on television. Most of the ratings suggest that the average person in not that interested in fantasy as they are in reality shows, and crime solving shows. Even if there is not much in the way of motion picture and television fantasy there is plenty for the movie of our minds eye in print. Never a shortage of fantasy for sure.

For a new fantasy fix help support fantasy by purchasing my latest novel Dark Moon Shadow. I thank you for being a Patron of the fantasy arts.

Happy Reading

Robert Penner

Elven Magic

Elven Magic

What kind of magic does your Elf use? If you are a writer in fantasy there is a good chance that your world has Elves. If your world does have Elves do they have magic? If they do wield magic, what kind do they use? I may be a little ignorant on the subject because I haven’t studied all the mythological histories of Elves, nor have I set out to mimic any other writer of Elves. What I have done is read some really great fantasy authors and understood that their world of Elves differ from the other. For instance Tolkien, the most famous, and Brooks, my favorite, use Elves in their fantasy worlds, but both are very different. Although there are Elves in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings their magic was not as prevalent as they are in Brook’s Shannara tales. I love this about writing fantasy. It doesn’t matter what any other author has done before or what mythology tells us about any specific species or creature, your fantasy world is your own and you make the rules. In Dark Moon Shadow, the Elves have magic, but their magic is almost all but forgotten and rarely used. In Shannara Elven magic is used often in the quest of the hero, and holding the common rules of magic there is pros and cons to its use. I love the way Brooks creates magic with his Elven characters. The magic is creative and exciting to read. Elven magic is very old and extremely powerful. It doesn’t appear that all Elves have the power to use Elven magic. Elven magic is different in each of the characters that have its ability. Keep in mind I am on the fourth and final tale in the Sword of Shannara series, Wishsong being the one I am reading currently. If I rewind to the beginning, The Sword of Shannara was an object of magic that an Elf used to defeat evil. Later on the Sword gave way to another object of Elven magic called the Elf Stones. These stones appeared twice in the series, each functioning differently than the time before, although they were indeed the same stones passed on from the previous generation. Lastly, we come across the Wishsong. The wishsong here is not an object of magic, but something that is innate and part of the Elf altogether. Even though the sword and stones are objects, one still must be an Elf and have the ability to use its magic, thus the Elf and object work together. I particularly love the way each of these magic’s are different and especially how finally it is born within. Wizards in Dark Moon Shadow are born with innate magic, much the same way. I’m sure magic and Elves will continue to grow and change as I read more from Terry Brooks and I totally look forward to it. So, do your Elves have magic? If they do, be creative with it and don’t worry about what other authors have created in the past, or use currently with their stories. Your magic is unique and your own. Keep it real.

Dark Moon Shadow is available in a format that is right for you. Download, or order your copy today and become a patron of the arts. Thank you!

What Fantasy are you reading?

There is no doubt that I love Fantasy. Not Urban or Romance, but Middle Earth type fantasy with magic, dragons, wizards, and fantastical creatures full of imagination and wonder. When life is full of stress, work, bills, and traffic there is nothing better than a time of escape in a book of adventure fantasy. That is why I write fantasy. When Dark Moon Shadow is released many of you will have the opportunity to share in the adventure that spins in my mind. In the mean time, while I am working on my book release, I get lost in the world created by Author Terry Brooks. Terry Brooks is a master story teller, and has been weaving his tale since the 1977 when the first book of the Sword of Shannara Series was released. ImageThe prequel to this book First King of Shannara, is so far, my favorite one. However, his stories are so magical and enjoyable that I keep reading and can hardly wait until the next book in the series. The great thing for me is that I discovered Terry Brooks when he’s written so many books already. I don’t need to wait for the next book of his, I just look for the next one in the series and off I go. Up to date I am half way through the Elfstones of Shannara and what a treat it is. My praise for Mr. Brooks is that he inspires me to write and tell a story that goes beyond the normal and bring an escape to, not only me as I write, but to anyone who is willing to share in the tale. He has often been labeled as the modern Tolkien and I certainly would agree with that. Although Tolkien is a much different writer, it’s in the term of Fantasy that makes the comparison legit. If you have time visit Terry’s website Shannara and get lost in his magical words. Elfstones is also being made into a television series that will be on  MTV of all channels. I won’t hold my breath, or get too excited until they actually air the program. Until then, I recommend giving Terry Brooks a try if you haven’t already. As for me…better late than never. I’m glad I discovered Shannara.


Fantasy TV

I love reading high fantasy, you know the stories that have castles, swords, magic, and mythical creatures. Each story, good or bad, is an attempt to steer us from the every day stress and reality of life to a world of imagination and adventure. That is why I always love it when I hear that a great authors imaginary universe is getting made into a television series. Even if it’s not an authors series that is getting produced, but that an attempt to bring good fantasy to TV is on the way. If you are a watcher of fantasy TV then you may have some opinions on how that has fared in recent years. Because it is such a hit and miss kind of thing I am a little concerned when I read that author Terry Brooks’ Shannara series is going to be made and aired on MTV. That’s right…MTV. Didn’t that used to stand for Music Television? Not sure what network is actually airing content that it set out to do anymore? Take a look at Travel Channel, A&E, TrueTV, AMC etc. Here is the article from Terry Brooks website that announces the project: It just so happens that I am in the middle of that very same book Elfstones of Shannara.Terry Brooks is quickly becoming my favorite fantasy author. I’ve read his previous two books in this series and I must say I am loving every word. I particularly wish they would have decided to start the TV series with the first book in the series The First King of Shannara. So all this leads me to say, will they get it right? Too many times a good book story is destroyed by the television version. Can we say Dracula (NBC),  and I dare say the new take on Frankenstein…although I know it’s called I, Frankenstein…even though I havent seen it yet, but the trailers tell me so much. The most recent before that was author Terry Goodkinds adaptation to his Sword of Truth series called Legend of the Seeker. I had high hopes for that when it came out and then was greatly disappointed as the series went on.  They took a fantasy series that was medieval and edgy and made it cartoonish and full of costume and make-up. Will MTV do the same? From my perspective and taste here are some good fantasy television: Merlin, Grimm, and Game of Thrones. Merlin gave me just what I wanted in a high fantasy legend series that was youthful and fun. I loved the whole series and was sad when it ended. Grimm is current and I enjoy the play on the Grimm stories. It’s totally made up and has hardly anything to do with the actual writings but makes for good modern fantasy. Lastly, The Game of Thrones. Television wise I think the production value and the money put into this series along with the acting is superb, however I have long been a critic of the unnecessary foul language and nudity. If you watch any of the series above you will quickly understand why Legend of the Seeker failed. If you haven’t had a chance to watch Merlin it is on Netflix streaming, and Grimm is still currently on NBC. Game of Thrones is in-between seasons and should start-up again in March (I think).