August 17, 2018 Low barrier of entry

Darkness and horror stories from Carl then some encouragement I know you need. Finally two fantastic comics you will want to check out.  Let’s get started and nerd it up.


Links in the episode:

Art of Lee Bokma

MEGA podcast

That One Time I was abducted by Aliens 

Nation of Nerds podcast.


As full disclosure, certain products and links to products on this site are affiliate links, and I will earn a commission for any purchases you make. There is no additional cost to you.




We continue diving into local creators by looking at two books by Carl D Smith The Darkness Out of Carthage and L is for Loon.   But first I want to comment on the advantages self-publishing has brought to creators. They now have the advantage of putting out the content they want with zero changes by an editor or publisher.  The barrier of entry for creators is low with the age of self-publishing.  As a writer you can put together your book and publish it much faster and easier than a writer could have only 15 years ago.  I remember talking with someone about how easy it is now versus 20 years ago.  He said now anyone can publish a book, as if that was a bad thing. I get what he’s saying to some extent. He’s saying almost anyone can publish book makes achievement less significant.  I don’t necessarily agree, after all it still takes a lot of work to complete a book and still more to have the guts to put it out for the world to see and criticize. My hats off to anyone who has decided to publish their work, whether it’s books, comics, art music.  No matter what anyone says you are still among the elite

If you’re looking for an historical fiction book then The Darkness Out of Carthage is a gem of a story. Carl does a fantastic job mixing Roman history during the Punic Wars with HP Lovecraft style horror. He comes up with a story that will keep you turning the pages.  You can tell Carl has done his homework in describing the soldiers uniforms, weapons, terrain and names of locations.  Carl keeps the reader guessing whether the narrator (Roman soldier) is delusional or if it’s all real. A contrast to this story maybe Carl would consider would be the same story from the perspective of a soldier of Carthage. The book is well paced jumping from present to the near past enough to keep the reader from getting to set on one timeline. This was a good move on Carls part. It Also gives the reader the opportunity to find out more about the main characters origins.  It’s a fast read, even for me who reads at a snail’s pace.

Carl is meticulously detailed when he describes his surroundings here’s what I mean “Gloom clung to the streets between the gutted building. The entire city was drowned in obsidian fog. To breathe was to choke on hot ash.” When you read those few sentences you can picture the broken buildings and almost start coughing from the ash as you read the words. The whole story has the HP Lovecraft vibe, but also a bit Conan flavor too with some of the combat scenes the main character gets involved with. Some of the sorcery versus sword add to the Conan feel to it as well. If you like this type of genre then you won’t be disappointed. I hope he does some sort of sequel/prequel that takes place in the same time. If you haven’t read it I suggest you do you won’t be disappointed, plus it would help Carl out financially and boost his moral too.

His other book I read is L is for Loon. It has one main story, but mixed in is a collection of short horror stories as well. I like how he uses local locations for a few of his stories and even mentions Eisner award winning Legends Comics and Coffee as a scene for one of his stories. In that particular story it wasn’t the typical gory way people die like most horror stories.  It was the uncanny feeling the antagonist made his victims feel when he would torture them in a way that would hurt each victim.  It was like the move seven where the way he killed his victim mirrored their personality.  It’s hard not to spoil it without having gone too far so I will just say when your read what he does to each victim you will feel uncomfortable, but not grossed out. The description of each event is done in such a vivid way you almost felt like the victim yourself. It’s a short read at 118 pages, but the stories are vivid and entertaining.  I am not big horror fan, but this one was a good read. At the end of each story you will get a twist you were not expecting.

Two great books by one great writer. I will put a link to his books in the show notes.

One thing I want to mention again and for those of you who listen regularly you will be thinking to yourselves.  Here he goes again.  Just start that book you have been thinking about starting, or that comic book you have been “working” on to 5 years, but it’s not perfect enough to be released. Or that song you have redone for the 100th time. You are never going to get to issue 100 until you release issue number 1.  You are never going to get your 1,000th download until you get your first download.  You are never going to sell you 100th book until you sell the 1st.

Carl is a regular guy, just like you.  He has a job that sometimes he hates. He has a wife that he sometimes gets into arguments with, a school loan payment that seems like it will never end, kids that sometimes get sick. Maybe all of those don’t apply to you, but the point he’s a normal guy now (albeit talented) guy who decided to start. I guarantee you if you asked him about the stuff he wrote 15 years ago he would say most of it is awful.  However he kept at it, got feedback from others people then published it.

I went back and listened to my intro episode, YUCK! The sound was hideous, I had a bunch of echo and intake of breath.  Now my sound is a little bit better and I know more than I did then about podcasting. Progression is slow, but I started the process and who knows maybe in 5 years I’ll have a mediocre podcast.

There’s a young artist I saw at one of the first Fridays at Behind the Glass. For those of you who don’t know what a First Friday is, it’s an event at Behind the glass where local artists can bring their projects to sell. There is no cost to the artists all Nate asks is they pay 10% of their sales to him.  There are other event like cosplay and drawings. You can use the hashtag #firstfriday on Twitter to see what I am talking about.  Anyway she was asked by one of the other artists who was selling when she was going to sell her stuff.  She was hesitant and said I don’t think I am good enough yet. However a few months later I saw in a Facebook post she was selling her stuff at Behind the Glass first Friday. She stepped out and hasn’t missed a first Friday since.

We all need encouragement because sometimes this world kicks us in the teeth.  Remember some people rain on your parade because they don’t have a parade of their own to rain on. I want to be that encouragement to you. You are most likely better than you think you are, but you won’t know until you start. You can do it, go out and start whatever it is you have been putting off.  Let me know what it is and I will do what I can to help.  Email me with a message or record a message and email it to me. Go to to find all the ways you can reach me.


The Long Con by Oni

This one is a fun book to read playing off of the insanity that are cons here’s the solicit

Five years ago, a cataclysmic event obliterated everything within a fifty mile radius of the Los Spinoza Convention Center — including the attendees of Long Con, the world's biggest (and longest) comic convention.

But unknown to the outside world, the con-goers not only survived, they kept the convention going.

When proof of their survival surfaces, reporter Victor Lai is sent to investigate. After all, he was covering the con that fateful day, and escaped mere minutes before everything went kablooie... abandoning his nerdy pal Dez in the process.

So clearly he's the perfect person for the job, and he won't get trapped inside like some kinda idiot.


Monstress Writer: Marjorie Liu

Monstress is an Eisner award winning comic.  So far I am only 2 issues in, but it’s artwork is gorgeous and detailed. I hear it’s been slow to release new issue, but since I start a year or so after the first issue I should have to wait long. The universal Monstress is in, is vast and rich with potential story lines. So far I dig it, and you will most likely like it too, here’s the solicit:

Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steampunk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both.

In the next few episodes might be a little different as I am experimenting with trying other formats, so you might be hearing other people with me.  Remember when I started the podcast last year it was going to be a journey as I figure this out. Who knows what I will settle on, but I do like just me a mic.  It’s simple and more personal, because it’s just you and me. So stayed tuned for what might be coming next.

A big thank you to all of those who listen and comment on social media.  Like Lee Bokma you can see his work on FB at Art of Lee Bokma.  Also Jeff and Eddie over at MEGA podcast.  Jamie and Bri That One Time I was abducted by Aliens or TOTIWABA. Also the Nation of Nerds podcast.  If you want to be on the show you can send me an MP3 and email it to me or simply send me message via email or Instagram and I will read it on the air. Website is

Thanks for listening and until next time nerd it up.