Sunday, December 21, 2014

Looking Back at 2014

Been a good year. Always wish I'd done more - still, good to look back and see all that was accomplished.

My 2014 in Review


1/1 - Made the Vatican Assassin eBook Free

1/15 - Created the Vatican Assassin "Soundtrack" Mix at 8Tracks -

1/22 - Good Samaritan: Unto Dust #1 with Federico Guillen and Ken Lateer and The Adventures of Alibi Jones (Expanded) #1 with Meisha, Rhys ap Gwyn, Juan Carlos Quattordio and Federico Guillen Released at ComiXology!

1/29 Vatican Assassin – The Graphic Novel with Cristian Navarro Released

1/30 - Guest On Corey Hodgdon's "Maybe I'll Be Back - Tales from Artist Alley" Podcast -


2/1 Geek Mountain State Presents Vermont Science Fiction – Vermont SF Writers Series – Reading at Phoenix Books in Burlington along with Dean Whitlock, Rob Friesel, Rachel Carter, Ryan Meath and Rachel Mullis


3/14 Guest Host on Zone 4 #260 -

3/22 Column: Mike Luoma's Cosmic Crackle - Star-Lord: Part Four – The Return of Peter Quill with former Marvel Editor Andy Schmidt at


4/7 Car accident.

4/19 Glow-in-the-Dark Radio Podcast Episode #300!


5/10 Guest Host on Zone 4 #268 -

5/11 Created the Burlington Old School Rock Mix on 8Tracks

5/23-26 - Guest and Panelist at Balticon 48!

5/31 - The Summer of The Assassin Begins! Vatican Assassin on the podcast -


6/1 Literary Archaeology video release to the mailing list (Public 6/21) -

6/14 Literary Archaeology 2 video release to mailing list (Public 6/28) -

6/27-29 Guest and Panelist at 8 Pi-Con! 


7/22 Column: Mike Luoma's Cosmic Crackle: Guardians of the Galaxy - The New Team - Part One with writer Dan Abnett at -

7/30 Created Guardians Inspired Mix at -


8/15 Guest Host on Zone 4 #282 -

September – October

10/22 Comparison of Richard III & Ned Stark Audio Extra 10/26:


11/3 Vatican Assassin the audiobook becomes available at

11/15 Alibi Jones and the Hornet's Nest – First Draft Run-Through – begins on the podcast

11/16 Created Best of 2014 Playlist Because I Hear Everything – and Christmas Alternatives 2014 - - at

11/17 Alibi Jones and the Time War of The Devrizium audiobook published at


12/5 Top Ten Albums of 2014 published on the blog -

Leaving The Nest...

Alibi Jones and his new covert-ops team leave their base - the Hornet's Nest – on their first mission. Find out along with the rest of the ops team where they're headed –and what they're up to – in Chapter Six of the brand-new science fiction adventure Alibi Jones and the Hornet's Nest – on Glow-in-the-Dark Radio, with host, writer and reader Mike Luoma – another new chapter exclusive to this podcast!

Join the email list! Free stuff, updates, previews & more:


Top Ten Albums of 2014:

Best of 2014 Playlist:

Christmas Alternatives 2014 Playlist:


Public archive of Glow-in-the-Dark Radio on Google Drive:

We're part of the Comic Related Podcasting Network – Find Us Each Week at

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Nest Begins to Buzz...

Finding himself in sudden disfavor with most of humankind within the Solar Alliance, Alibi Jones is glad for his reassignment to a covert-ops base beyond its borders - the Hornet's Nest! Meet his ops team as it comes together in Chapter Five of the brand-new science fiction adventure Alibi Jones and the Hornet's Nest on Glow-in-the-Dark Radio, with host, writer and reader Mike Luoma! Mike catches you up on the story-so-far, gives you a little book news, and then narrates the new chapter – exclusive to this podcast!

Join the email list! Free stuff, updates, previews & more:


Alibi Jones and the Time War of The Devrizium at Podiobooks: and on iTunes:

Top Ten Albums of 2014:

Best of 2014 Playlist:

Christmas Alternatives 2014 Playlist:


Public archive of Glow-in-the-Dark Radio on Google Drive:

We're part of the Comic Related Podcasting Network – Find Us Each Week at

Saturday, December 06, 2014

No Future Fairy Tale...

Alibi Jones thought that the hero rescued the girl and his friends in a blaze of glory and explosions and everybody lived happily ever after – right? Well, there were plenty of explosions... but the girl broke up with Alibi, his other friend hated him, and the fact he – accidently – blew up a crime lord's city all of a sudden became public knowledge. He's public enemy number one? Find out what Alibi Jones' next move might be on a new episode of Glow-in-the-Dark Radio, with host, writer and reader Mike Luoma. Chapter Four of the brand-new science fiction adventure Alibi Jones and the Hornet's Nest!

Join the email list! Free stuff, updates, previews & more:


Top Ten Albums of 2014:
Best of 2014 Playlist:
Christmas Alternatives 2014 Playlist:

Public archive of Glow-in-the-Dark Radio on Google Drive:

We're part of the Comic Related Podcasting Network – Find Us Each Week at

Friday, December 05, 2014

Top Ten Albums of 2014

There they are, sprouting up all over: end-of-the-year album lists! Looked over Rolling Stone's "Top 50" saying "nope, nope, nope..." Had a teensy bit more in common with Paste's "50 Best" - their Number One is right up there for me, too, for example. Still many "nopes" - but I'd listened to more of their choices. Don't think you'll find another list like mine, however.

Making year-end lists is a fun exercise for music heads. My Top Ten Albums of 2014 are each solid, deep albums, highly subjective choices that spoke to me as a music lover beyond just one or two tunes. I'm allowing for serendipity of time and place, too - I don't think it's a coincidence that the metal of Mastodon's new album was just the thing for me to hear after I'd been in my car crash in April, for example.

2014 was another great year for music! Here's what I thought was good.

10. Greylag - Greylag. After hearing their "Yours To Shake" at a radio music conference in early August, I managed to get my hands on an advance copy of the self-titled debut album from Greylag and loved it!. Had it for two months before I could share it - the album finally came out in mid-October."Another" was released first, as a "teaser track" - a killer track, like "Shake" which followed as the first "single". Clear these guys have something real going on. They're based in Portland, Oregon, have a sort of Northwestern flavor. Lead vocalist Andrew Stonestreet sounds a bit like the late Andrew Wood of Mother Love Bone, at times Perry Farrell.

Some reviews have described Greylag as a folk-rock band, doesn't seem accurate. Their "folk" sounds more like an acoustic Led Zeppelin influence on tunes like "Black Sky" and "Mama"... is III a folk rock album? They play with some Zep-y chords, but also do their  own thing. Greylag know how put an electric guitar to good use, too, bringing menace and tension to "Shake" with its subtle threat, for example. On "Burn On" and "Arms Unknown" they certainly assert their right to shake off the "folk-" appellation. Closer "Walk the Night" is acoustic, but it's like so many album closers in rock history, the the quiet - and satisfying - ending to a rock album. Damn fine one at that.

9. Mastodon - Once More 'Round The Sun. Have a bunch of friends into hard rock and metal. My taste in that arena runs towards the Progressive Rock variety, when it does at all. Knowing that, many of those friends have recommended Mastodon to me over the last couple of years. I've checked out some videos, cool science fiction stuff, but nothing connected. All it took was a high-speed car accident. Got rear-ended when I was going 65-70 mph traveling down the highway to work one Monday morning in April. Guy who hit me got a DWI. The Camry bounced off the railing a couple times but I kept it together and walked away. Got this album right about then.

Right now? Listening to it to write a sum up... it's not the right album, you know? But it was such the right album at the right time, it makes my list. It became my driving album, you see. Yeah. Even helped me get back and forth to Balticon at the end of May. These guys are talented, with three distinct voices and melodic and at times intricate song structures. The entire album may not be in my rotation anymore, but the title track - which reminds me a little of early Monster Magnet - and "Asleep In the Deep" - which I love - are still on my playlist. Sorry, I work in radio, those are my metaphors.

8. Phish - Fuego. They're baaa-aa-a-ack! There's a moment during "Wombat" when they break and sing - "discovered by a man named Wilson!" - and when first heard it flashed through my head - my band's back! No, they don't belong to me. But I have been seeing them play since the Nectars' days. And I was the first radio DJ in the world to ever play them on the air. So, there's that. I'm biased. But also? Picky. That said, "Fuego" - the title track - opens the album strong for me, launching right into a jam, no apologies, Fishman on fire - Fuego? - and Trey with a sweet solo. Great long phrase of a bass line from Mike, tasty key fills from Page. Strong group vocals. This is Phish.

Not a lot of extra stuff here, sound effects, guests - just the band playing music. Okay, some horn players and singers on "Wombat". Fine. Works for me. Different sounds of theirs work for me now, though, it's funny. Rockers like "Devotion To A Dream" used to be more my cuppa, but now it's "Halfway to the Moon" that sucks me in. Still, "Sing Monica" is fun in its simplicity.

7. Pink Floyd - The Endless River. An unexpected album makes an unexpected and late leap onto my list. Had no idea until the news leaked in early July that we'd even get one, final Floyd album. Turned out the late Richard Wright had recorded a great deal of material back during the Division Bell sessions, with David Gilmour and Nick Mason and solo, anticipating a companion release to that album, one comprised of ambient and instrumental music. But The Endless River isn't that album. It's more than that. "Louder Than Words" - the only track with words - sums it up pretty well at the end, giving we listeners the sense of scope and scale they're covered here - this is what's it's been like to be this thing, Pink Floyd.

Gilmour, Mason and company have put together the capstone to Pink Floyd, the swan song, a fond reminiscence of a band gone bye. Filled with Echoes of their musical past, The Endless River recalls every era as they meander through the instrumental soundscape, freely pulling out sonic references from their catalog and recombining them. There are 18 tracks, but many are under two minutes, flowing into each other. The "Things Left Unsaid" intro leads into the sort of "Welcome to the Machine"-ish "It's What We Do" and the Wall-esque "Sum", then "Skins" recalls pre-Dark Side Of The Moon "Saucerful of Secrets". "Anisina" feints towards "Us and Them" before becoming its own slightly separate thing.

Love what I'll call "Allons-y 1/Autumn '68/Allons-y 2" with its opening and closing "Run Like Hell" inspired riffs and tasty keyboard center - my favorite part of the album right now. "Louder..." is a quality Gilmour-era Floyd tune, good Polly Sampson lyrics capturing the mood. Does seem to take longer to get to know instrumental albums - notice repeated listens to this one have me appreciating it more and more. Finally, a Bonus track alert - "Nervana" is a killer little guitar jam. Sounds like they're having fun!

6. Dan Wilson - Love Without Fear. Dan Wilson writes songs my heart sings. Was looking forward to this collection for a while! Got the Deluxe Book version, full of Dan's own drawings and calligraphy - you see his art in his videos for the album, too. Having been a fan since his days in Trip Shakespeare, I'm completely biased - everyone should love this! Many talented friends on here, too: Sara Bareilles, Lissie, Natalie Maines, Sean Watkins, Oliver Krauss, and more. Wasn't a chance this album wouldn't make my Top Ten. Only reason it's not higher? Came out early this year and I hadn't heard it lately. Listening again writing this sum-up... love every song!

Almost doesn't feel like a 2014 album."Disappearing" came out as a single in the summer of '13, follow-up "Love Without Fear" over a year ago. Dan also released some demos earlier - "Songs From the Ballroom" - thru his mailing list, like the majestic "However Long", folksy ditty "Your Brighter Days" and bonus track "Patience". "When It Pleases You" is Dan's version of a tune Sara Watkins released on her Sun Midnight Sun solo album in 2012. Been hearing parts of this album for a while. Still, "A Song Can Be About Anything" came as a fresh surprise - and an amazing pop song - and "Even the Stars Are Sleeping" with Missy Higgins surprising and simply sublime. Nice - now that I've had a break from it, I can listen again fresh!

5. Opeth - Pale Communion. First heard Opeth when they worked with Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson on their Blackwater Park, Deliverance and Damnation albums in the early 2000's. Originally Swedish metal, Opeth is evolving into a brilliant Progressive Rock band whose  new Prog sound has hints of the old, mellotron and keyboards, soaring guitar solos - think early Deep Purple and Genesis, even The Dregs. On Pale Communion they fully embrace the progressive rock mantle and lose the death metal trappings almost entirely. Singer, guitarist, and songwriter Mikael Åkerfeldt leaves the cookie monster, er, "death growl" vocals behind. Would rather hear him sing - Åkerfeldt has a great voice, reminiscent of pre-Asia, King Crimson-era John Wetton. He's also a talented guitar player - and an unabashed fan of 1970's Prog.

Didn't know I needed a good, new Prog album until "Eternal Rains Will Fall" opened and began the unfolding - an inner chord was sounded. There's still a hard edge to much of the album - the hard rock side of Prog, not the neo-metal Prog of bands like Dream Theater. "River" is my favorite - opening with a delicate, Steve Hackett-esque acoustic guitar and layered harmony vocals, adding stately keyboards and intensity, the piece builds to a near-metallic crescendo before easing to a close. "Moon Above, Sun Below" is an almost 11-minute-long epic. Instrumental "Goblin" recalls The Dregs as it repeats a riff in diabolical fashion in a style also similar to Wishbone Ash on "The Pilgrim". This is Progressive Rock for 2014 and beyond.

4. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Hypnotic Eye. Got this one early, but couldn't share the music right away. Embargoed by Warner Bros. until release time, all I could do is tell people how good it was - that Petty and the band had delivered some of his best stuff since Wildflowers! Great summer record, too. First song we could play was advance track "American Dream Plan B" - a pretty killer tune with a nice uplift to the chorus - but "U Get Me High" was the single, good Petty. Getting the entire album was a revelation.

I'm an old Petty fan - but Mojo didn't do a lot for me. To be honest, Echo, The Last DJ, Highway Companion... they've been good, some tracks keepers for sure - still have my "Swingin'" promo baseball bat - but as albums? Just okay. Hypnotic Eye doesn't weaken like those others. If rock ruled the radio as it did in the days of Into the Great Wide Open this would be a deep album on the air, with "All You Can Carry", "Red River", "Forgotten Man" and "American Dream..." all seeing play. And Petty's other facets are on strong display, too: funny on "Burnt Out Town", epic on "Shadow People"...named almost every track on the album! It is that good. Highly recommended for Petty fans.

3. S. Carey - Range Of Light. Love it when something hits me out of nowhere! I wasn't familiar with Sean Carey's work before listening to Range of Light - quietly unfolding, erupting, simmering - stark, yet surrounded by the silences - like walks in winter woods He's best known as the drummer and back-up vocalist in Justin Vernon's Bon Iver - so I learned. This is his second solo effort, and Vernon appears in a back-up capacity, most clearly evident on "Crown The Pines". My favorite is "Fire-Scene", but "Creaking" is close - all of "side one" is strong. There is a serenity throughout the album, and the video for "Fire-Scene" captures visually the feelings the work evokes.

2. The War On Drugs - Lost In the Dream. Didn't know I was going to love this one. Some albums slowly sink in under the skin - this was one. Though "Red Eyes" was the first single heard from the whole, I grew to love Lost In the Dream because it was such a strong entirety. The flow of the album made it a great driving record - listened to it in the car a lot. Then it seemed I was hearing it many places as it caught on. "Eyes To the Wind", "Burning", "An Ocean In Between the Waves" and opener "Under The Pressure" - there are so many beautiful, spacey, guitar-filled moments! Was great seeing Adam Granduciel and the band bring the songs alive in the misty rain of a September night on the Burlington waterfront, too - their set during the Grand Point North Festival was sublime.

1. Midlake - Antiphon. Though the album appeared in late 2013, I first heard Antiphon's lush harmonies and stately keyboards in early January, making it my favorite album this year. My list, my rules. I'd not heard of Denton, TX's Midlake before, so was not at first aware Eric Pulido had stepped forward as frontman to replace departed singer and songwriter Tim Smith. Smith left, but the rest of the band persevered, not bringing in anyone new but instead drawing strength and inspiration from each other - and their determination to carry on. "Antiphon" means "call and response" - and the band's response is strong, creative, and an overall impressive effort.

There's a timelessness to the music crafted by the six-piece. Harmonies recall modern Fleet Foxes, but pre-1970's Prog Rock as well. With Smith at the lead, Midlake had drawn comparisons to Jethro Tull. There's less of a Tull feel here than on their earlier material, but it remains rooted in the progressive rock realm with echoes of early Pink Floyd and Moody Blues. "The Old And The Young" received some airplay - trust me, I know these things - and the video is pretty cool. You can listen to the entire album on YouTube. Set it for "HD" for best sound. From the opening title track, through gems like "It's Going Down" and "Aurora Gone", to the finishing "Provider Reprise" it's an aural treat!

That's my Top Ten! Completely subjective. Loving the music of 2014!

Want to go deeper into 2014? Check out this mix at 8Tracks - you can listen for free to almost 2.5 hours of 2014 tunes: 32 tracks, including selections from the albums above and a bunch more, curated by yours truly.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The S#!% Hits The Fan...

Last episode, a ghost appeared on the bridge of Hector Ruiz's spacecraft, the Libracampista. We also found out Alibi Jones' responsibility for blowing up Kismet had been newly made public, which can't be good. Find out how, and why the accident is now being used against Alibi Jones, and what Hector and his crew do next, on this new episode of Glow-in-the-Dark Radio, with host, writer and reader Mike Luoma. Listen to Chapter Three of the brand-new science fiction adventure Alibi Jones and the Hornet's Nest – you'll only find the new podcast novel here!

CONTEST! Your chance to win a signed print by Mike Alibi Jones' Universe. Listen to the show for all the details on how you can win. There's a runners-up prize, too. Here's a link to this podcast on iTunes:

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Sunday, November 23, 2014


New this week! For the first time since they were aired on Mike Luoma's Glow-in-the-Dark Radio Podcast, the audio versions of the four stories that make up the cycle "The Time War of the Devrizium" are gathered together and offered for free download at!

 Now At Podiobooks! Click Here

"About Time" - "Remember Two Things" - "Memory, Yet Green" - and "The Last Battle" - tell the story of the time-travelling aliens The Devrizium and their attempts to wipe out Alibi Jones. Circumstances have somehow made Alibi's very existence in the current time-stream a threat to The Devrizium's own continued corporeality.

It all begins in "About Time" with a stolen Devrizium time-travel device. That audio story first appeared in The Adventures of Alibi Jones: Six Short Stories. It's repeated here to include it with the rest of the Devrizium tales. The illustrated "About Time" can also be found in The Adventures of Alibi Jones #1 - the comic book - with art by Meisha. At comiXology, DriveThruComics, and Indy Planet.

"About Time" - Alibi runs into an old... friend? She's brought a mysterious package with her and a whole lot of trouble on her trail!

"Remember Two Things" - The appearance of The Devrizium in "About Time" was just the beginning. The only problem is that now, Alibi remembers that incident happening two different ways! Time itself may be broken.

"Memory, Yet Green" - Alibi Jones is a 91 year old man waking up next to his wife as the blue sun rises on Rigel 4. Only problem? Alibi doesn't remember growing old!

"The Last Battle"- The Last Battle of the Time War! Alibi is captured and hauled before the ruling council of The Devrizium to answer for his "crimes".

Get them now as free, downloadable podcasts from and on iTunes. You can also get this collection in paperback at Lulu & as an eBook at Smashwords & DriveThruFiction, or both at Amazon.


Announced a new contest yesterday - a chance to win a signed print of Alibi Jones' Universe or a flawed-cover copy of VATICAN ASSASSIN - also signed.

The first person whose review of Mike Luoma's Glow-in-the-Dark Radio Podcast appears in iTunes wins!

 It's my attempt to add some incentive to the iTunes Podcast Reviewing Process. There are no reviews on the podcast right now. The first person whose review is posted will win a signed, limited edition print - one of the three made of Alibi's Universe.

Just head over here: If you want to get in on this, post a review, and then email me at to let me know you have. We'll watch the iTunes page. The first person whose review appears win the print. The second person whose review appears will win the runners-up prize - the new bad proof copy of Vatican Assassin that arrived this week from Lulu!

Both prizes will be signed and sent to their respective winners. I made a short video to show you the prizes:

There are more details on the podcast, too:

Good Luck!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Ancient Ships and New Vendettas...

The crew of the Libracampista investigates a mysterious, giant old spaceship that appeared out of nowhere. Meanwhile, Alibi Jones struggles with boredom, Krish fights for his budget, and Kit and Katie verbally spar on Dakhur. Conflict is in the air! Catch up with our characters as we get into more of the brand-new science fiction adventure Alibi Jones and the Hornet's Nest – our exclusive presentation of the podcast novel continues! Hear Chapter Two on this episode of Glow-in-the-Dark Radio, with host, writer and reader Mike Luoma.

CONTEST! Mike announces a new contest, too – your chance to win a signed print by Mike Alibi Jones' Universe. There's a runners-up prize, too – get all the details on how to win on the podcast. In case you need it, here's a link to this podcast on iTunes:

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

The New ALIBI JONES Novel Starts Now!


A brand-new installment in The Adventures of Alibi Jones starts on this show - a first-draft run through of Alibi Jones and the Hornet's Nest. Free science fiction audio adventure in a classic vein, narrated by writer Mike Luoma – exclusively here on Glow-in-the-Dark Radio!

Alibi Jones rescued friends from Kismet, accidentally blowing up and destroying the place in the process. Fought a Time War against the Devrizium everyone strangely forgets. Now he's been sidelined, and the inactivity has him bored. Never good. What's next for Alibi Jones? Meanwhile, out beyond the border of the Solar Alliance an ancient, giant, derelict ship has materialized. What is it doing in human space?

Listen and find out as we begin the adventure!

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Public archive of Glow-in-the-Dark Radio on Google Drive:

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Sunday, November 09, 2014

Perils Of Playing In A One-Man Band

Discovered a massive screw-up with the formatting on my VATICAN ASSASSIN this week - both on the eBook and the paperback. I *think* it happened a couple years ago when I switched from Open Office to Word for word processing, but I'm not sure. It's fixed, now.

About one-third of the text in the book – and so in the source file – which should have been in italics had, for some reason, reverted back to normal text at random, sporadic intervals! Where three paragraphs had been in italics, now only two would still be italicized, the other back to normal text. One sentence would hold its italics, the one after revert back to normal. Here and there formerly italicized phrases somehow reverted back to normal, throughout the book.

That meant much of BC's inner monologue was now out of context. And though thoughts can be in different tenses, as speech and dialog can be, with the italics removed the book now read with jarring changes in tense in what looked like the narrative, not BC's thoughts.

Discovered all of the new editions of VATICAN ASSASSIN I'd created at the end of 2012 suffered from this flaw, paperback and eBook. I was horrified. Baffled as well. Again, I don't really know how it happened, but I figure it was somehow tied into that change in word processors. Maybe switching from Open Office to Word caused the reversion? It's purely a guess.

Thursday night I started going through the source file re-italicizing BC's thoughts. Even spent some time on it before going out on Friday night. Saturday morning I started through the file a second time, catching phrases and words I'd missed first time through.

With the text corrected, I then prepped the files for all the different eBook stores and printers, uploaded them, and began getting the corrected version back out into the world again in the afternoon. That's why the podcast was so late on Saturday – wanted to get the text corrected first.

One consolation is that the eBook is Free and thus easy to replace.

The corrected eBook is already available at Amazon for the Kindle, at DriveThruFiction and at Smashwords. Other eBook retailers will catch up later as distribution filters the new version out. Paperback distribution takes longer. It will be a little while before the paperbacks arrive at Amazon and most other retailers. You can pick them up at Lulu right now.

Here are links to the corrected versions:
FREE eBook at Amazon (Kindle):
FREE eBook at Smashwords:
FREE eBook at Drive Thru Fiction:
Paperback at

The Vatican Assassin Trilogy – Omnibus Second Edition also suffered from this formatting error, and is also now fixed. As it retails for $6.99, I'll personally replace anyone's copy in the format of their choice. Just email me and let me know where you bought your original and in what format, and I'll send back a corrected copy. Although, if you purchased yours through Drive Thru you should be able to just grab the freshly corrected files from them. They're good like that. The Omnibus has been corrected at Drive Thru, Amazon and Smashwords, with distribution elsewhere in the pipeline.

Thanks for your patience and understanding.

- Mike

End of Summer? The Big Finish!

Hear the conclusion of Vatican Assassin - Chapter Thirty-One - on a brand-new episode of Glow-in-the-Dark Radio! And get a preview of the next book in the Trilogy, Vatican Ambassador! The UTZ Battle Cruiser Eisenhower drops BC - the Vatican Assassin - off on the Moon. What's left of Lunar Prime after the attacks? Find out along with BC! Science fiction audio adventure narrated by writer Mike Luoma. Get a little story set up, hear the latest news - including some important format news - and then the end of Vatican Assassin!

Be sure to listen to our next episode as Mike presents a brand new installment in The Adventures of Alibi Jones - we get into a first-draft run through of Alibi Jones and the Hornet's Nest!

Join the email list! Free stuff, updates, previews & more:


Vatican Assassin – The Novel
FREE eBook at Amazon (Kindle) - Paperback and Audiobook, too
FREE eBook at Smashwords
FREE podcast audio book at Podiobooks
Paperback & eBook at Drive Thru Fiction
Paperback at
Vatican Assassin the Graphic Novel – PDF Download
Vatican Assassin the Graphic Novel - Print

Vatican AmbassadorFree Downloadable Podcast Audio Book
On iTunes

Public archive of Glow-in-the-Dark Radio on Google Drive:

We're part of the Comic Related Podcasting Network – Find Us Each Week at

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Big Chapter, Big Announcement!

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT! Listen and find out what's going on... And hear Chapter Thirty – the penultimate chapter - of Vatican Assassin on a brand-new episode of Glow-in-the-Dark Radio! Science fiction audio adventure narrated by writer Mike Luoma. BC - the Vatican Assassin – escaped Fortune Station on the UTZ Battle Cruiser Eisenhower when the UIN attacked. They're heading to the Moon to reinforce the UTZ forces under fire there, with BC along for the very dangerous ride... Come along, won't you? Get the story-so-far, the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT with some other cool news, then Chapter Thirty of Vatican Assassin!

Join the email list! Free stuff, updates & more:


Vatican Assassin – The Novel
FREE eBook at Amazon (Kindle)
FREE eBook at Barnes & Noble (NOOK)
FREE eBook at Smashwords
FREE audio book at iTunes
FREE audio book at Podiobooks
Paperback at Amazon
Paperback at Barnes & Noble<
Paperback & eBook at Drive Thru Fiction
Vatican Assassin the Graphic Novel – PDF Download
Vatican Assassin the Graphic Novel - Print

Public archive of Glow-in-the-Dark Radio on Google Drive:

We're part of the Comic Related Podcasting Network – Find Us Each Week at

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Glow-in-the-Dark Radio EXTRA!

A Glow-in-the-Dark Radio Extra! Hear Mike Luoma read his piece comparing Ned Stark of Game of Thrones and England's King Richard the 3rd. Read it here:

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Escaping Fortune...

A new episode of Glow-in-the-Dark Radio with science fiction audio adventure narrated by the writer, Mike Luoma! As the UIN attacks, BC - the Vatican Assassin - escapes from Fortune Station on a UTZ Battle Cruiser. Will he be able to make it back to Earth or the Moon in one piece? And how will the ship's captain feel if he finds out he's got stowaways? Find out what happens next! Get the story-so-far, a little news, then Chapter Twenty-Nine of Vatican Assassin!

What Do You Want To Hear Next? Take the survey:
Join the email list! Free stuff, updates & more:


Vatican Assassin – The Novel
FREE eBook at Amazon (Kindle)
FREE eBook at Barnes & Noble (NOOK)
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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Back To Fortune Station

BC, the Vatican Assassin, returns to Fortune Station, where he'd been held captive by a religious cult. But now, the place is swarming with UTZ Battle Cruisers... what's going on? Find out what happens next on a new episode of Glow-in-the-Dark Radio! Hear a little about the story-so-far, some news, and then Chapter Twenty-Eight of Vatican Assassin, science fiction audio adventure narrated by the writer, Mike Luoma. BONUS: Hear Mike read his new piece comparing Ned Stark of Game of Thrones and England's King Richard the 3rd, some non-fiction after the fiction.

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Vatican Assassin – The Novel
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Sunday, October 12, 2014

On Richard The Third and Ned Stark...

Born this month, in October of 1452, Richard III has one of history's worst reputations, thanks mostly to William Shakespeare. "The Bard" – who turns out to be one hell of a spin doctor – wrote in part to please a Tudor court. The Tudors came to power by overthrowing Richard, and their historians blackened his reputation for the centuries.

In Shakespeare's History Plays, Richard III is a brilliant villain, a role actors still strive to play – his line "A Horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!" for example, is immortal. But historians have learned that Shakespeare's character bears little resemblance to the actual man, the final Plantagenet king who lost on the battlefield to Henry Tudor, founder of the Tudor line.

They found the bones of Richard underneath a parking lot in Leicester, England a few years ago, reigniting interest in this much-maligned king. Curiously enough, his reputation is still actively debated over 500 years later. British historians especially still wage the Wars of the Roses, including taking sides on Richard and his reign.

Game of Thrones began airing on HBO around the same time Richard's bones were found, adapting George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire books. In several interviews, Martin cited the Wars of the Roses as a source of inspiration for the fictional series. The end of Richard III's reign marked the end of those conflicts, by some historians' reckoning. Martin's mentions gave his fans and modern readers more reason to look into the era, a fascinating period of civil war in England.

Richard Plantagenet – Richard III – was the fourth son of Richard, Duke of York. Duke Richard had better hereditary claim to the throne than King Henry VI who ruled England in the mid 1400's. The Duke was actually put in charge of the kingdom when King Henry went "mad" – became catatonic, incapacitated, it was said, by mental illness, after he lost most of England's territories in France.

Duke Richard didn't have support enough to claim the crown for himself, however – it was still a sacred thing to be king. But he did eventually negotiate to be named heir to Henry, with his son Edward named heir in turn after him.

Henry eventually regained enough of his wits to be considered fit to rule. His queen, Margaret of Anjou, actually took power, and had the Duke and his people run out of the government and, beyond that attempted to have them branded traitors. The Duke rebelled, and powerful families took sides behind Richard, Duke of York and King Henry of Lancaster.

Duke Richard was killed in the civil wars that followed, which later became known as the Wars of the Roses. His eighteen year old son Edward rose up as leader of the "Yorkists" and eventually overthrew Henry VI and the "Lancastrians" to become King Edward IV.

About halfway through Edward's twenty-two year reign, the Lancastrians returned from exile, allying themselves with disaffected members of Edward's government. They surprised and ran Edward out of the country to put a confused Henry VI back on the throne. This is when the future Richard III first appeared prominently on the scene as brother to the king, Duke of Gloucester, a young, loyal and trusted man at the side of older sibling Edward in his exile.

Others were not so loyal. The surviving brother in between them, George, Duke of Clarence, was on the side that drove Edward out of the country! When George discovered the Lancastrians wouldn't be putting him on the throne, he patched things up with Edward, but was later executed for treason, for a whole new set of subterfuge.

Richard was the opposite, a loyal general to Edward in battle and later his surrogate, ruling in the northern marches of the kingdom. There are many contemporary reports of Richard's wise governance in the north during this period – the records of the city of York speak very well of him, for example.

However, when Edward died suddenly in 1483, Something Happened. Under odd circumstances, Edward's two sons disappeared into the Tower of London. Their uncle Richard, who was to have been their Protector, was instead crowned King Richard III, usurping the throne of his nephew Edward V, never crowned.

The contemporary records which remain of Richard's reign are few, but it does appear he tried to rule wisely and well. But as he only had a couple of years and was overthrown by the originator of a new dynasty, poor Richard's posthumous reputation didn't stand a chance. Indeed, many slanderous Tudor "histories" had already been written about Richard – including one by Thomas More – before Shakespeare did the hatchet job that would echo throughout all time.

The argument rages on. Historians do take sides. Some believe Richard was innocent of crimes. Some think him a man of his times, guilty or not; others still follow the Shakespearian/Tudor version. There is no consensus as to the "real" character of Richard III.

Yet labeling him "evil", "flawed", or "wrong" argues he should have, could have, acted differently. What if he just did what he had to do to save himself? What if he did what he thought was best for the kingdom? The debate continues – and not just in history books.

George R.R. Martin might have taken sides in the debate, possibly arguing through his fiction that Richard III had to play the "Game of Thrones" that he did or die... by creating an Anti-Richard who acts as Richard's detractors say Richard should have acted – the honorable Eddard "Ned" Stark!

There is some supporting evidence. In a recent Rolling Stone interview, Martin said, "I... one point thought of writing a Wars of the Roses novel. But the problem with straight historical fiction is you know what's going to happen. If you know anything about the Wars of the Roses, you know that the princes in the tower aren't going to escape." Those "princes in the tower" are Edward's two sons mentioned above, their deaths traditionally blamed on Richard.

There are many "echoes" of the Wars of the Roses in the Game of Thrones books. Martin doesn't copy characters or situations wholly from history. He instead adapts and echoes the past in small parts inside his fantasy world: the Yorks versus Lancasters in the Wars of the Roses find their echoes in the Starks versus Lannisters in Westeros; Hadrian's Wall in northern England becomes writ large in the The Wall of ice that guards the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros; England herself was seven kingdoms in the ninth century, before the coming of William the Conqueror – Wessex, Mercia, Northumbria, East Anglia, Kent, Sussex and Essex – to point out a few echoes.

There are many clues which tie Ned Stark and Richard III more closely together. Ultimately they're both placed in nearly identical, crucial decision-making situations. The result? Richard becomes king. Ned loses his head. Who acted correctly? Martin seems to be arguing through Ned Stark that Richard did what he needed to do – to save his own neck.

What are the clues that tie Ned to Richard?

For one, they're both "Lord of the North" – both rule the north of the kingdom for their king, and both are commonly referred to as the Lord of the North.

"In the name of Robert of the House Baratheon, First of His Name, King of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm, by the Word of Eddard of the House Stark, Lord of Winterfell and Warden of the North, I do Sentence you to die."

The first words spoken by the character of Ned Stark in the books make his position clear. 

In his recent biography Richard III, author David Hipshon – attempting to steer a middle course vis a vis Richard's reputation, though he betrays a negative bias as well – concedes a point to an earlier pro-Richard writer when he writes:

"In an indenture... (The Earl of Northumberland) Henry Percy agreed that he would serve Richard as 'his faithful servant' and accept the duke as 'his good and faithful lord'. The indenture stipulated that only the king, the queen, and their heirs, would have precedence over the duke. It was this legal instrument that led Paul Murray Kendall to dub Richard 'lord of the North', and few commentators have disagreed with his assessment."

Paul Murray Kendall, a scholar of the Wars of the Roses and an American, wrote a landmark, somewhat positive biography of Richard III in 1955 – Part Two of Book One "The Duke of Gloucester" is titled "Lord of the North". In it, Kendall wrote, "He obtained in the North the lands and the supreme command... Already Warden of the West Marches toward Scotland, he was given authority over the Earl of Northumberland, Warden of the East and Middle Marches."

The two men share very similar titles.

Another clue Martin may be setting Ned up as an ersatz Richard?

Both men helped a "brother" defeat a "Mad King" to take the throne.

Though Richard was too young to help his older brother Edward IV when Edward first took the throne away from the mad Henry VI, Richard was in the vanguard in battles ten years later when Edward, deposed and exiled, came back to retake the throne and dispose of Henry VI for good.

Ned and King Robert, we're told, grew up like brothers when they were fostered to Jon Arryn at the Eyrie. And Ned was at Robert's side during his rebellion, as they defeated the Mad King Aerys II.

"Robert would never harm me or any of mine. We were closer than brothers. He loves me," Ned tells his wife Catelyn early in A Game of Thrones.

And in both Ned's and Richard's cases, the good looking young king they'd served grew fat.  
In Ned's first point-of-view chapter he notes with alarm that Robert, "had been clean-shaven, clear-eyed, and muscled like a maiden's fantasy. Six and a half feet tall, he towered over lesser men... Now... he had a girth to match his height... A beard as coarse and black as iron wire covered his jaw to hide his double chin and the sag of the royal jowls, but nothing could hide his stomach or the dark circles under his eyes."

Edward IV was also a strong, young king when he first won the throne. "Unquestionably, he looked every inch a king: the handsome and vigorous nineteen year old hardly needed the trappings of royalty to draw a crowd. Contemporaries were greatly struck by his splendid physique (he was over six foot three inches tall and broad shouldered) and good looks, both attributes inherited from his Plantagenet ancestors," historian Hannes Kleineke wrote in Edward IV. He added, "which were only marred slightly in his later years by an overindulgence in food and drink."

But Peter Ackroyd was not so kind in Foundation. Edward IV died suddenly, three weeks before his forty-first birthday. Ackroyd writes, "There is a suggestion of death by poison. In truth the only malady may have been that of self-indulgence; he ate and drank copious amounts; he had grown fat and debauched."

King Robert dies suddenly as well in Game of Thrones and there's certainly the suggestion his overindulgences kill him – perhaps aided by poison.

As their kings die, the parallels between Richard and Ned Stark continue.

Both have to deal with a willful Queen and her powerful family.

As he lay dying, Robert called in Ned and told Ned to write what he told him.

"This is the will and word of Robert of House Baratheon, the First of his Name, King of the Andals and all the rest – put in the damn titles, you know how it goes. I do hereby command Eddard of House Stark, Lord of Winterfell and Hand of the King, to serve as Lord Regent and Protector of the realm upon my... ...upon my death... rule in my... in my stead, until my son Joffrey does come of age..."

Kendall paints a similar picture with Edward, with an elaborate scene on his deathbed including calling in his executors to change his will: "Then, aware that his minutes on earth were numbered, he added the all-important codicil to his will; he bequeathed his boy heir and his realm to the protection of his brother Richard, Duke of Gloucester. After that, the priests came bearing the Eucharist..."

Both kings have a twelve-year old heir. Maybe.

Edward's son and heir – Edward, Prince of Wales – had been "ruling" in Wales with a Council led by the Queen's brother, Anthony Woodville, Earl Rivers, and dominated by her relatives. They're in full control of the new Edward V when his father dies; they've been raising him.

Queen Elizabeth and her family the Woodvilles (or Wydevilles) have historically been portrayed as greedy and socially grasping after she married the king, taking full advantage of their family ties. The traditional nobility, led by William, Lord Hastings, the Lord Chamberlain, were said to be offended at their behavior. Kendall infers Edward named Richard Lord Protector because he didn't trust either side, Hastings' or the Woodvilles'.

The actions of the Queen and her family at the death of Edward suggest a power grab – as if the Queen expected to rule as Regent, Richard be damned. One brother of hers and her son began looting the treasures accumulated by Edward IV, taking some out to sea! The Queen told her brother Earl Rivers to bring the new king under guard to London to have him quickly crowned King, so there'd be no need of a Protector.

No official word of his Protectorship was sent to Richard, off ruling the North – although Lord Chamberlain Hastings sent a personal messenger of his own: "The King has left all to your protection – goods, heir, realm. Secure the person of our Sovereign Lord Edward the Fifth and get you to London," Kendall quotes Hastings' first message to Richard. Richard wrote to Earl Rivers to see when he'd be setting out from Wales with the new King, expressing his wish to enter London with them.

Hastings feared the worst from the Queen and her family, sending a second message to Richard soon after the first, warning Richard that the Woodvilles had usurped the direction of affairs, and were moving with force to London. Richard wrote to the Queen and Edward IV's council requesting they respect his position as Protector.

According to Kendall, Richard wrote that: "In leaving the kingdom to the protection of his sole surviving brother, King Edward had followed – Richard was reminding the council – a custom approved by over a century of practice. But the wishes of a deceased monarch, Richard knew, had not always prevailed." Italics added for emphasis. This is important knowledge.

Richard started to move south with a small force of his own, soon supplemented by a few hundred men with the Duke of Buckingham, who'd offered to come to his aid.

Richard finally heard from Earl Rivers, setting up a rendezvous with the new King on the road to London. He also heard from Hastings a few more times, panicking: "The Woodvilles had ignored Richard's appointment as Protector. They were moving to crown the king at once in order to keep power in their hands. Richard must secure young Edward at all costs. In his latest communication the usually debonair Lord Chamberlain had written wildly that he stood alone, that his very life was in danger because he espoused the Protector's cause," Kendall writes.

Richard might not have believed Hastings, but then Earl Rivers arrived at their planned meeting with an armed guard but without the new King. Richard and Buckingham had a convivial dinner with him and sent him and his men off to bed at another inn.

Early the next morning, Richard began to act. Earl Rivers was arrested at dawn, his men detained inside their inn. Richard and some of his men then rode hard and surprised his nephew, Edward V, already miles down the road to London, surrounded by the Queen's kin. Richard had more of the Queen's men arrested and took the young Lord Edward under his advice and control.

As the news of Richard's actions hit London, the Queen's family discovered they had less support than hoped among nobles who might come to their aid. The Queen escaped with her immediate family into sanctuary in Westminster Abbey.

Richard brought the young King to London and was confirmed as Regent and Lord Protector. Plans were made for a June coronation for Edward V. The Queen's co-conspirators already arrested, brother Earl Rivers, son (from her first marriage) Lord Richard Grey and chamberlain Sir Thomas Vaughan, were sent to cells in separate castles in the north, where Richard could keep them under trusted guard. The Queen's other major co-conspirator, her older son Thomas Grey, Marquess of Dorset, escaped sanctuary and disappeared.

But after a month of his Protectorship, Hastings and the barons turned on Richard and began conspiring with the Queen in sanctuary. Worse, a bishop came forward to Richard with an alarming report – Edward IV and his Queen Elizabeth Woodville had not been legally married. Edward had already been married, in a way. Their children were illegitimate.

After all this, Richard sent letters off to the north asking for men to rally to him in London. He thought he might need their support. Richard then took action. He confronted Hastings in a council meeting, declared Treason and had him taken out and beheaded immediately. He locked up Hastings' co-conspirators, including Thomas Lord Stanley and John Morton, Bishop of Ely.

For the Queen's involvement, he sent word north to have the Earl and Lord Rivers and Sir Vaughan executed. The young King Edward V already lived in the Tower of London. Richard demanded Edward's younger brother from the Queen, and the prince was moved to the Tower as well, ostensibly to keep his brother company. As mentioned earlier, the princes never left the Tower again.

With all the turmoil, the coronation of Edward V was postponed.

Finally, Richard revealed Edward IV's "precontract" – his betrothal to and bedding of another woman before he married his wife the Queen – to his inner circle, and then the Lords. Edward's children were illegitimate. Something had to be done.

Buckingham then started a campaign "asking" Richard to take the crown. He agreed, Parliament accepted, and on Thursday, June 26th 1483 he assumed the throne and was crowned King Richard the III.

That's how Richard Plantagenet handled the situation. How did honor-bound Ned Stark do? In fairness, Martin gave Ned much less time and space to work in than Richard had. But otherwise, the parallels between dilemmas demonstrate Martin argues through his fiction Richard did what he had to do, whereas Ned acted "honorably" – in a way some folks say Richard should have.

Both the heirs to the thrones were similar twelve-year old illegitimate bastards controlled by their mother's families. Ned Stark discovered his King Robert's heir was illegitimate for different reasons, Joffrey being the product of Queen Cersei and Jaime Lannister's incest. But Ned didn't know what to do with that information. He certainly didn't think to use it to his own advantage. In the end, he couldn't even tell Robert the news as he lay dying, not wanting to hurt him further.

Ned was a Good Man who did the Right Thing. In another possible "clue" Martin was playing with Richard III's situation, the character who suggested a somewhat Richard-like path to Ned was the dead King's second younger brother, a man in the same place in his royal family as Richard had been for the last twenty years.

After Ned left Robert, still dying, he ran into Robert's brother Renly.

Renly asked if the letter was what he thought it was, the regency – was Ned named Protector?

"My lord, I have thirty men in my personal guard, and other friends beside, knights and lords. Give me an hour, and I can put a hundred swords in your hands." Renly told Ned.

"And what should I do with a hundred swords, my lord?"


Renly gave Ned valuable advice: "We must get Joffrey away from his mother and take him in hand. Protector or no, the man who holds the king holds the kingdom. We should seize Myrcella and Tommen as well. Once we have her children, Cersei will not dare oppose us. The Council will confirm you as Lord Protector and make Joffrey your ward."

Advice which Ned ignored: "Robert is not dead yet... I will not dishonor his last hours on earth by shedding blood in his halls and dragging frightened children from their beds."

And Renly warned him: "Every moment you delay gives Cersei another moment to prepare..."

Ned declined Renly's help, wondering later if he should have taken it.

A little later, Ned summoned Littlefinger, who advised him to keep the illegitimacy secret and become the regent, take the power given him and become Protector. Littlefinger pointed out he could become a surrogate father to Joffrey, help mold the boy. He cautioned against putting Robert's next oldest brother Stannis on the throne, as he didn't forgive like Robert, and would bring blood and war.

Ned dismissed his advice, too. Told Littlefinger he'd called him in to ask for the help he'd promised Ned's wife. He wanted Littlefinger to get the City Watch to back him up when he faced Cersei.

Littlefinger's response was classic: "You wear your honor like a suit of armor, Stark. You think it keeps you safe, but all it does is weigh you down and make it hard for you to move..."

Ned's lack of movement left Joffrey in Cersei and the Lannister's hands. They struck quickly. When Ned handed Cersei Robert's letter, she ripped it up.

'"Those were the king's words," Ser Barristan said, shocked.

"We have a new king now," Cersei Lannister replied.'

As the historian noted earlier, even in reality the wishes of a deceased monarch had not always prevailed. In Martin's fiction, they were ignored, ripped up. Littlefinger sold out Ned. The City Watch was not his. His men were slaughtered, Ned was thrown in a dark cell, and, eventually, beheaded by King Joffrey.

And yet? Ned was "honorable" – but Richard was not, according to some historians' reckoning. Many British historians still trash Richard's reputation. But then there's Kendall, an American historian, who looked at the evidence and came away convinced Richard was a man of his times who did what he needed to do.

Another non-Brit, the popular historian Thomas B. Costain, a Canadian who wrote in the nineteen-fifties and sixties, came away with an even more positive assessment of Richard once he looked at contemporary evidence.

Costain's account of Richard's situations echo Kendall's to some degree, but Costain goes even further to exonerate Richard. He points out there would have been no love in England at the time for the reign of another boy king. Those monarchs who had assumed the throne as children in recent history had been spectacular failures – the most recent example Henry VI. Costain highlights the extensive evidence the Queen and her family were moving to at least sideline if not execute Richard. He argues the "precontract" rendering Edward IV's children illegitimate was taken very seriously, as evidenced by the actions of Parliament in passing the Titulus Regius declaring them so.

Costain finds much to recommend Richard take the throne, ultimately writing: "Richard may well have felt that the unpleasant duty of setting aside the sons of his beloved brother was imposed upon him by patriotic necessity... Definite conclusions are out of the question. But to anyone who has studied the character of Richard Plantagenet, and such facts as there are, without accepting the History blindly, as the Tudor historians and Shakespeare did, the conviction seems reasonable that he was actuated first of all by the dictates of patriotism."

Costain makes much of Bishop Morton's involvement in the early History written of Richard III's reign by Thomas More, as Morton was the primary source – More grew up in Morton's household. More didn't publish the History of King Richard III while alive. It was early work, found in More's writing after he was killed. Costain suggests he may have held off on publishing it, knowing his source, Morton, was one of Richard's arch-enemies.

Richard had Morton arrested at the council where Hastings was removed. The bishop helped engineer two rebellions against Richard and was later a major player in the Tudor court of the king who took Richard's crown, Henry VII. Morton's contributions would not have been laudatory. He was not a reliable source, and the History he helped create launched Richard III's blackened reputation.

Costain points out several inaccuracies easily checked against records and facts, and says it shouldn't be termed a "history" at all: "In fact, it deals almost exclusively with the many charges against Richard and is the only authority for most of them, although in no case does it offer proofs. The History, in fact, reads like a political broadside..." And yet it became the primary source for the reign. More's History is still cited by (mostly British) historians today.

Martin recommended Costain's histories at San Diego Comic-Con this year. A reading of Costain can lead one to surmise Martin is showing agreement with a more positive assessment of Richard III in his fiction, as it certainly seems he made a convincing case for Richard III taking the throne through his beheading of Ned Stark.


A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice And Fire, Book One) by George R.R. Martin (Bantam, 1996)
Richard III (Routledge Historical Biographies) by David Hipshon (Routledge, 2010)
Richard the Third by Paul Murray Kendall (W.W. Norton & Company, 1956)
Edward IV (Routledge Historical Biographies) by Hannes Kleineke (Routledge, 2009)
Foundation by Peter Ackroyd (Macmillan, 2011)
The Last Plantagenets by Thomas B. Costain (Fawcett, 1962)