The Artists of Purgatory the Novel

Book Cover Artwork and Design:

Starla Huchton
A geek of all trades, Starla Huchton has been crafting stories in various genres since 2007. She is a three-time finalist for Parsec Awards for her podcast fiction work, and was the first place winner for Science Fiction & Fantasy in the Sandy competition in 2012. Her work spans science fiction, fantasy, New Adult Romance, Young Adult titles, Steampunk, Contemporary, and various other varieties of stories. She is greedy and likes all the genres!

When not writing, Starla trains three Minions, a black lab, and a military husband whilst designing book covers for independent authors and publishers at Designed By Starla.

Podcast Cover Photo:

J.R. Blackwell

J.R. Blackwell is a writer, photographer and performance artist.

Her essay “Evidence of a Baker” was published in the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster in March 2006.

Her stories have been published by Escape Pod Magazine, Aoife’s Kiss, Kaleidotrope, Bewildering Stories, Static Movement Magazine, EMG Magazine, HeavyGlow Magazine and in the first Podiobook anthology “Voices: New Media Fiction”.

She is one of the founding members of which produces a new piece of science fiction daily.

J.R. has produced the covers to the Anthology “Voices: New Media Fiction” and the novels “Playing for Keeps”, “The Case of the Singing Sword” and “The Case of the Pitchers Pendant”.

Her photography has been featured in SubLit Magazine and Flames Rising Magazine.

J.R. holds a Masters of Liberal Arts from the University of Pennsylvania. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband, artist Jared Axelrod.

Podcast Cover Layout and Lettering:

Evan Dodge


Jeff Wahl

Upon first listen to a recording of Solo Acoustic Guitarist, Jeff Wahl, you might think that it’s a recording of several guitarists playing together at once. However, it’s all just one guitar with no overdubs. Audiences who see Jeff play live are also often surprised to see one guitarist sitting on stage yet hear what sounds like 2 or 3 guitarists playing together. Often compared to guitarists such as Leo Kottke, Michael Hedges, Joe Pass, and Will Ackerman, Jeff’s style ultimately is a blend of many styles that defies categorization. Jeff’s live repertoire encompasses the genres of Folk, Jazz, New Age, Classical and even Indian Ragas.

“For me, the guitar has always been my therapist and counselor. Playing the guitar and writing music came to me mainly I think because I’ve had to go through a lot of hard times in my life completely alone. The guitar has always been there for me through it all and I can’t imagine how difficult my life would be without it. The inspiration for all of my songs is always a particular emotion I’m experiencing. I usually compose with the guitar in altered tunings so that I can’t analyze the sounds through traditional music theory. Although I have a degree in music composition, I find it much more satisfying and authentic to compose through intuition rather than relying on rules of theory. Composing in this way keeps me humble to what the instrument wants to say and helps with keeping my ego out of the way when I write music.”

Jeff’s music has been featured often on local and national public radio programs during the last several years. Upon release of his first CD, Guitarscapes in 1999, Jeff was named one of America’s best undiscovered guitarists by Guitar 9 Record’s online guitar magazine.

Jeff grew up on a farm on the eastern plains of Colorado. He played the piano and trombone before discovering his connection with the guitar. He has degrees in music composition and music education. Jeff currently resides in the beautiful city of Fort Collins, Colorado.

Jan Hanford

Classically trained in piano and composition, Jan Hanford enjoys many styles of music but her first love is the piano.

Jan was born in Philadelphia, PA and currently lives in the San Rafael (California) and London (England). She started piano lessons at the age of 7. By high school she was composing solo piano music and then in college progressed to chamber music.

She says, “I like music to be intimate. Small ensembles and solo instruments really touch me the most. Music is my passion.”

Jan also creates melodic electronica under the name Human Response.

Justin Bianco

Born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Justin Bianco has been writing and playing music since he was tall enough to reach the keys of the keyboard. Now composing in addition to playing, Justin is known for his ability to blend modern and classical elements for a clean, contemplative sound. Although he has spent time in Iowa, Oregon, and even Costa Rica, he still finds his home in San Francisco, California, where he records his latest electronic and modern piano compositions.

Finality and Phoenix are graceful, almost meditative combinations of classical and electronica, while Forge is a beautifully hushed series of original compositions for piano.

Ehren Starks

Born in Tulsa Oklahoma but raised in Kansas City, Missouri. Currently attending the University of Kansas studying Art History Drawing and Painting. I now live in Lawrence Kansas USA.

I began playing at the age of five under the suzuki theory and continued with lessons until the age of 18 or so. I became bored with playing other peoples songs and the piano in general. I really started making a lot of progress when I got into improvising and composing my own pieces. This was around the age of 13 or 14.

I recorded and released my first solo album at the age of 17. The Depths of a Year was written from the age of 18 to 19 while I first attended the University of Kansas. Much of the album came from a need to cope with a failed relationship. I wrote the album and called Kate who I barely knew. I did know she could play and she gladly joined on. I dropped out of school to play piano and organ with a rock and roll band called the gadjits ( now the architects) and a band called the belles. I toured for two and a half years, playing over 300 shows in all of north america and the UK.

Being burnt out by the road and rough lifestyle, I have happily returned to school to study visual arts and focus on my composing, drawing from the likes of Radiohead, Interpol, and many others. I am now 22 and hope to keep pushing the boundaries of my creativity and composing in general.

Lines Build Walls, my second album took two to three years to write and complete. Most of that time was spent constructing the vision of a cohesive album before it was ever written. I listened to hundreds of albums while on tour with my band and patiently developed the sound I wanted. I grew from listening to Wilco (Yankee Hotel Foxtrot), Interpol, New Order (Get Ready), Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (B.R.M.C.), Medeski Martin and Wood, Spoon (Girls Can Tell), Primal Scream, Ryan Adams (Heartbreaker), and Radiohead (everything). The discovery of Amnesiac, the first radiohead album i heard and then OK Computer turned my world of music on its head. All these albums posses the juxtaposition of beauty, anger, joy, and melancholy…which is something that i strive for. As time passed, my inspiration was fueled by two emerging themes: True love and the end of the world…and how these two are interconnected. Each song title was meticulously chosen as well as the album title….. Lines Build Walls…the idea that once you cross a certain point you can never go back………………………(maybe).

Rob Costlow

Music lovers of all ages will be transported to a less complicated, more relaxed world with Costlow’s collection of original piano melodies that showcase the talent and universal reach of his passionate and raw sound. Even though Costlow’s music is often placed with certain genres, his style is neither new age, classical or jazz. Costlow simply delivers independent, sincere and contemporary music to which listeners can easily relate.

A Little More About Rob

By the time he was twelve, Rob Costlow was trying his piano instructor’s patience by adding his own endings to songs during lessons and recitals. “I literally despised taking lessons and especially practicing other people’s music. It just wasn’t for me. I had so many notes running through my head, I wanted to create my own music,” admits Rob. This soon brought an end to the lessons that began at age five. Rob realized that his musical future was going to take a different path than the one set by his teachers.

Rob is a true Hoosier born and raised in Indiana. Growing up in a large family helped Rob become focused and tenacious. As the youngest of six boys, Rob got used to seizing every opportunity. In fact, it was one of Rob’s brothers that introduced him to contemporary piano music. “It was so different than the music I studied in lessons,” says Costlow. “It helped give me the courage to try my own hand at composition. I said to myself ‘I can do this!’ It was an immediate outlet to express myself and also provide a sense of calm when times were stressful.”

At age eleven, Rob lost his mother to ovarian cancer. Even as a young boy, Rob was affected by his mother’s constant courage in the face of such adversity. His Mom had and continues to have a huge impact on Rob’s life and music.

Rob received a Bachelors and Masters degree in Kinesiology from Indiana University, Bloomington (IU). Before transferring to IU as a junior, Rob began his college career as a Piano Performance and Composition major at Ball State University. He then changed majors to Kinesiology as a sophomore, giving an ironic twist to the meaning of Rob’s first album, Sophomore Jinx.

At IU, Rob was hit by a drunk driver and suffered injuries in both hands resulting in a broken left-hand and carpel tunnel syndrome in his right. Through surgery and physical therapy Rob has recovered, but still feels aching in his hands after an especially extensive piano performance.

While working on his Masters Degree at IU, Rob unofficially started his own record label based on a business class project. In 2002, Rob released his first professional solo project, Sophomore Jinx (re-released 2005), containing all original music. In 2004, Rob officially founded Tourist Records. Through Tourist Records, Rob continues to create and license music. He hopes to inspire other artists to make their own impact in the world.

Professionally, Rob has spent the last decade working for influential Internet companies. It is through the Internet that Rob has connected with many people of different backgrounds and cultures. He has gained fans of all ages worldwide and has come to the realization that the world is in need of much more than just your typical “top 40” music.

Rob admits that he is a perfectionist and from time to time he’ll carry on a conversation longer than it should go. Rob loves to travel, “cut a rug” when the mood is right, eat pizza and twizzlers, put ketchup on everything, and spend time with his family.

While Rob has come a long way since his childhood lessons, his love for creating original compositions is still at the heart of his contemporary piano music. “Music is what inspires me,” says Costlow. “It is in my soul. I never force myself to write. I do it when it comes to me. I take things a day at a time.”

Falling You

Falling You (John Michael Zorko, with the vocals of Dru Allen, Aimee Page, Jennifer McPeak, Sara Ayers, Krista Tortora, Victoria Lloyd, Erica Mulkey and others) is known for ethereal, emotive music—music best heard when the moon is high and the atmosphere, serene.

Known for fusing dark ambient soundscapes with darkly beautiful female vocals, Falling You speaks a melancholy, yet hopeful language, recognizable to all. If the lifeless moon could sing of the blue-green world it orbits, it might sound something like this.

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One Response to The Artists of Purgatory the Novel

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