Tuesday, July 15, 2014

On Vampires

Hello Liam B Hershtale here again to shoot you some knowledge. Today I’m going to talk about vampires. Now before you cry about Twilight and try to burn me at the stake you should know two things. One is that the entire embodiment of what we know today about vampires is made up of ideas from people who added to the myths themselves in order to make their literary or cinematic works not only more dramatic but also to make more sense. Yes this includes even Stoker the author of Count Dracula written in 1897. In this novel Stoker put curtain limitations on Count Dracula including the whole vampire coffin myth that is of course not originally apart of the vampire myth.  Stoker’s inaccuracies can be attributed to the oldest human condition death. That is so deeply ingrained in our reality that even when something is brought back from the dead there must be a way to kill it. You might ask yourself. “Isn’t Stoker the father of the modern vampire?” Well the answer is yes and no where he might have a direct connection to the way we may view vampires today he wasn’t the only one make changes to the way people thought about vampires. F.W. Murnau the director of 1922 Nosferatu is widely believed to be responsible for at least one of the daylight myths. You know the one without all the glitter. The second thing you should know is that the culmination of multiple myths across the entire planet can be seen as the sole reason for our total understanding of vampires. I’m serious every major civilization dating back to the first records of human history has a vampire myth in some shape and form. Now why is this? Well as humans we are prone to systematic fits of hysteria throughout history which are typically caused by two things lack of knowledge and fear of death. It’s not our fault we only try to make sense of the world around us so when we are confronted with what we personally can’t explain we reach out for explanations. Usually when this happens someone comes up with a theory that then drives others to attempt such theories until a favorable outcome is achieved. This is why we see weird and strange rituals like staking the bodies of loved ones into the ground and placing large rocks in the mouths of suspected vampires in order to stop them from feeding.  I guess the main reason for me writing this is to explain that people from our past used these myths to give us certainty in uncertain times and we today use them for entertainment. So if there is something you don’t view as correct to these myths or just that you don’t even like a particular take on these myths just remember that any of the stories surrounding vampires are the random interpretations that our human brains have formed to assist us in understanding. This means even you can come up with your own horrifying or beautiful spin on possibly the oldest monster myth of all time. Do you agree? If so leave a comment below and as always give us something to talk about so send us a topic. Thanks and have fun

-Liam B. Hershtale

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Thoughts on Dragons

Everyone knows about dragons. There have been stories of dragons since before the medieval times from all over the world. All of the tales speaking of dragons refer to them as huge serpentine or reptillian creatures, but accounts differ on the number of legs and possession of wings. Asian dragons are said to be mostly serpentine with other animal forms and usually have four legs. European dragons can be snake-like or lizard-like, have wings, and can have four legs, two legs, or no legs at all. Both European and Asian dragons are said to be magical, but European traditions say dragons are evil while Asian traditions say dragons can be benevolent. In both cultures dragons can also be of the land or of the sea. Sea dragons from both cultures are said to have elemental magic over all water if not just the body of water they reside in.

With all of the dragons in stories today do you think that the usage of dragons is becoming cliche? What kinds of "upgrades" so to speak would you give dragons? What do dragons make you think of?

Also, I appologize for not posting sooner, but at least "Scrolls of Armathose: The Haunted Forest" is out now. We should be posting every couple of days or so from here on out. Again feel free to comment, like, dislike, whatever you want. Your feedback is appreciated.

-Michael D. Ballard

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Liam B. Hershtale Introduces himself

Hello as you may already know my name is Liam B Hershtale. I got started writing in the 6th grade when it was common to find my engrossed in a novel. I often struggled with dyslexia as a child which is why I began reading more and more. As time advanced I became more confident and began writing poetry along with my friend Micheal D. Ballard. We often drew inspiration from video games; however we really did not get into fantasy style writing until I returned from Afghanistan. We have co-authored a book as a beginning of a series entitled Scrolls of Armathose.  In order further "toot our own horn" the first installment is the book titled The Haunted Forrest where our main character William is faced with adversity. In this fun filled adventure there are dragons and mystery as William does battle to save his beloved Kaleen. Before you think that our book is just another fantasy novel cursed to follow in the footsteps of Tolken and his beloved evles first understand that this book is far from the boy who cries wolf. We will further talk of our book along with the genius of others in posts to come so stay tuned for insight and wisdom as we share fun new topics with you the reader. oh and if there are any topics you would like us to cover please comment below.

Friday, June 20, 2014


Hello. I am Michael D. Ballard. My enjoyment of writing led me to dabble in poetry at a young age. By the time I had graduated high school I had written poems beyond count and tuned my writing skills a bit more towards essays and story books. Shortly after highschool some of my works were published in the book "Look I Think I See A Martian" and I began to look into publishing a novel. My friend and I wrote for a good long time on a fantasy novel which is in it's last stages of publishing as this blog is being posted.

My friend is Liam B. Hershtale. I know the website above says "William B Hershtale," but I assure you that that was a mistake. Liam was in the army stationed in Afghanistan somewhere when he took up writing more seriously. Since he got back we have been working together to write some of our best works yet. Right now he is away at a family reuinion, but when he returns I will have him give a proper introduction as well.

Hello all and welcome to our blog! Feel free to comment or ask questions about anything. Have a good one!

-Michael D. Ballard

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Fathers of the Fantasy Genre

In honor of Fathers day this first post will be dedicated to who I believe are the fathers of modern fantasy mythos.
Is it not true that all forms of media influence eachother in some way? If you believe so then you will understand why I include not only an author of books, but games as well.
I will start with J.R.R. Tolkein. He is considered by many to be "the" father of modern fantasy because of his well known works such as "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings." Tolkein was also a professor of the Anglo-Saxon and English language and literature. Tolkein was an avid fan of the Old English epic poem "Beowulf." By the end of his life he had fully translated the text and given a lecture about it titled "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics" which argued that "Beowulf" was not simply a monster tale trying to display history and make enemies seem ghoulish, but instead was outlining what they believed as human destiny as a whole. Much of this understanding can be seen in his writings.
On the subject of creation of mythos and games there is much to be said for Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax who together first created "Dungeons & Dragons." Dave Arneson out of a love of board games and role playing combined the two elements in a game called "Blackmoor." Dave Arneson showed the game to Gary Gygax who co-founded the company TSR, inc. with a different friend of his in order to publish board games. They worked together setting the guide-lines and creating creatures, items, weapons, characters, and story for the game "Dungeons & Dragons" before publishing the books of official rules. After four years of working together Gygax began publishing a new series of books called "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" to which Gygax claimed he owed Arneson no royalties. It went to court and they found that Arneson was not owed royalties. I would take it that that was the end of their friendship.
These are who I would have to say are the Fathers of modern fantasy. Do you agree? Who else would you have added?

-Michael D. Ballard.