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Brian Stansell


Hello, Calidris!

Very nice to meet you!

My favorite movies are LotR (I also really like Interstellar and Into the Spiderverse), my favorite show is Haikyu!! and my favorite fiction books are LotR and the Silmarillion.

I am a LotR fan as well and have the Extended Collection of the DVDs to get the most out of the movies, as well as owning the books by the Lore Master (Mr. Tolkien) himself.  I am a big fan of both he and C.S. Lewis and of their predecessor George MacDonald.
It is interesting that you enjoy The Silmarillion since it is densely packed with more collective legends than an average novel might be.  I have the three-part CD Audio set collections (read by English Actor Martin Shaw) that comprise The Silmarillion and have both read the book and listened to it several times. But I’ll be honest with you, it is a hard read since it does not follow traditional storytelling structures or follow a specific main character throughout.  I believe The Silmarillion was the collected notes that Tolkien used to build the backstory of Middle-Earth and his son Christopher published the work posthumously.  For die-hard Tolkien fans, it is a fascinating look behind the scenes of J.R.R.’s world-building acumen, and a treasure of craft and collections sourced in the real-life studies of ancient cultures for which he was so venerated as a Professor.

I have lots of nonfiction/history books that I really enjoyed,  so feel free to ask me for recommendations!

Oh, yes!  I do love history too.  Especially historical mysteries and cryptic references that beg for exploration in a…well “fictional” story. 😉  I especially love biblical mysteries, and there are several.  The more you look, the more you find that the Divine Author, Creator of Heaven and Earth, (and the unseen worlds in-between), who occupies an eternal existence outside of and transcending time, has hinted at many treasures unrealized in His Word.  My current WIP explores a few of these.
It is difficult, in the modern era to be certain which historians to trust have done their due diligence, so I have to corroborate some of the accounts I read from documented evidence.  I particularly like William Federer and David Barton and have books by David Ackroyd on ancient England, as well as biblical archeological books, and reference books of historical trends and timelines.  I have a large map of world history with biblical chronology that I love to reference as well.  I particularly enjoyed William J. Bennett’s two volumes of American History called “America: The Last Best Hope”, and I have read them completely.  I also am reading “Earth’s Earliest Ages” by G.H. Pember.
What historical periods do you like to study?  If you were to write again, do you know where (geographically, if earth-based) and when (epoch) approximately you might base your story?  Have you read any of the Historical mystery novels by the secular author Steve Berry or James Rollins?

As for birds, my brother and I actually had two young barn owls that my dad brought home one evening.  We raised them and fed them pieces of rabbit until they were able to go off on their own.  They eventually stood about 18-20 inches tall, before we released them.  Their mom had been killed so we took care of them.  I have always been fascinated by birds of prey.  I have seen eagles in the wild, and vultures, hawks, falcons, ospreys, and, of course, buzzards, ravens, and crows, (being from Texas). My wife and I traveled, at least we did before the “pandemic”, so we’ve seen many animals and birds indigenous to the areas visited.  As a kid, dad raised chickens, ducks, geese, etc. (Pretty much any farm animal you can think of, and some you might not.  [We had an opossum, a raccoon, and two baby skunks (before they discovered their “unique ability” 😆), at one time.])

Your artwork is very good!  I love the linear and angular structure of it.  It exudes power.
I also draw too, but I haven’t in a while.  I minored in Art and Design in college with a British & American Literature major in my undergraduate B.A. degree.

I have experimented with digital a little but not much.  I still enjoy sketching on paper, though I’ve used several different mediums: pencil, pastel chalks, colored pencil, charcoal, oil paint, acrylic, watercolor, ink and quill, woodblock carving, paper mache, puffy-paint (don’t ask 😏), fabric paints, etc.  I also did some woodworking and building, but not in a long while.  Back in the day, art portfolios used to be easier to capture and preserve in a slide portfolio, so I guess I just need to digitize that.  I have some sketchbooks, but most are back at my parent’s house, though I have one here for those times when…well, the mood hits.

I always was fascinated by the artwork of M.C. Escher and his visual illusions.  Do you have a favorite artist: historical or contemporary?

So, let me encourage you to try your hand at writing again, and you can encourage me to break out my sketchbook once more and do some visual art.  That way we can both encourage each other in the gifts we may have neglected on the shelf for a while. Deal?

Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
I was born in war.
Fighting from my first breath.

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