So Many Words To Write, So Little Time!

Spent a large part of yesterday emailing back and forth with George Sellas, hammering out details for my upcoming series, Gravedigger. I’m setting it in the same universe as The Rook and Lazarus Gray but he’ll be very different in some ways. I think  you can definitely expect sparks to fly if this new character crosses paths with either of my other major heroes.

Have a Skype call scheduled for later today that should be interesting. If all goes well, there might be some big news coming soon… if it doesn’t work out, though, it was still a fun idea. You can’t get something big if you don’t go out on a limb every now and then.

We still have one slot open in our Lazarus Gray review contest — the first two people who post reviews of Die Glocke on Amazon.com are entered into a drawing for a free signed edition of The Rook Volume One (the new fully revised edition coming from Pro Se). David White has already posted a review so he’s got a 50/50 chance of winning… will you be joining him? Our art today, by the way, is the cover to the book that you might be winning!

About halfway through with a story that has an August due date and then I plan to split time between finishing the Lazarus Gray/Thunder Jim Wade team-up and starting the first Gravedigger story. I might also begin work on my Phantom Detective story for Airship 27.

So many words to write, so little time.

 

 

New Pulp Best Sellers List (Based on Amazon Sales Ranks 7/30/12)

It’s that time again! Before I unveil the Top Ten, let’s go over a few of the ground rules, shall we? These rules have been fairly stable for some time now but I have recently added rule # 5, so please take note.

1) This list only tracks sales through AMAZON. It does not keep track of sales through Barnes and Noble, face-to-face or anything else!
2) This list only tracks PRINT sales. We do not currently track e-books. Exactly how Amazon calculates these things is mostly a trade secret and they vary wildly from day to day. If I checked this tomorrow, the list could be very different. This list reflects sales ranks as of Monday morning July 30, 2012.
3) In order to keep the focus on new releases, eligible works must have been published within three months of the current date. So, since this list is being done in July 2012, I’m only looking at books published since April 2012. Please keep that in mind before complaining that Title X is not listed.
4) I am no longer tracking pre-release orders. Some publishers never actually release their books and when they do, it’s months after they were supposed to be released. Everything listed in the Top Ten is currently for sale.
5) Like the name suggests, we’re tracking “New” pulp — I’m not tracking sales rankings for reprints of classic material. In order for something to qualify for this list, it has to be at least 50% new material that has not been printed in book form before.
6) I am human. I make mistakes. If you are aware of a title that should be listed below (keeping in mind all the rules above), please let me know and I will make sure to remedy the situation.
7) I get most of my information from All Pulp, New Pulp, the Pulp Factory mailing list and a few other sites. If you think I might miss your release, let me know in advance — drop me a line and tell me when it’s being released.

Without further ado, here’s the completely and totally unofficial New Pulp bestseller list as of right now (title, then publisher, then release date, then sales rank):

1) False Negative by Joseph Koenig (Hard Case Crime, June 2012) – 35,308
2)
The Lone Ranger Chronicles by Various (Moonstone Books, May 2012) – 190,332
3) Doc Savage: The Infernal Buddha by Will Murray (Altus Press, May 2012) – 203,174
4) Kolchak and the Lost World by C.J. Henderson (Moonstone Books, May 2012) – 212,931
5) Captain Action: Riddle of the Glowing Men by Jim Beard (Airship 27, July 2012) – 219,073
6) The Lone Ranger: Vendetta by Howard Hopkins (Moonstone Books, May 2012) – 278,768
7) Pro Se Presents # 12 by Various (Pro Se Press, July 2012) – 355,609
8 ) The Adventures of Lazarus Gray: Die Glocke by Barry Reese (Pro Se Press, July 2012) – 467,834
9) Tales from the Hanging Monkey by Various (Airship 27, June 2012) – 535,940
10) Sting of the Silver Manticore by P.J. Lozito (Pro Se Books, April 2012) – 588,505

Just missing the list were: The Pulptress by Various (Pro Se Press, June 2012) – 708,433, Jungle Tales by Various (Airship 27, June 2012) – 848,206 and Tales of The Rook by Various (Pro Se Press, May 2012) – 1,079,360.

For those wondering, Blackthorn: Dynasty of Mars by I.A. Watson (White Rocket Books) has no sales rank yet on Amazon but I’m betting it will hit the list at some point — the cover is gorgeous and Ian Watson is known for writing quality stories. There are two debuts on the list this week, with the Captain Action book landing at # 5 and the new issue of Pro Se Press (with the return of Ron Fortier’s Brother Bones character) hitting the seventh spot. The rest of the list is fairly familiar at this point, with several classic characters holding down spots 2, 3, 4 and 6, and the rest of the list featuring new creations. Sting of the Silver Manticore, in its last week of eligibility on the list, remains a strong seller.

From a publisher standpoint, we have five companies represented. Pro Se and Moonstone have three books each, followed by Airship 27 with two and then Hard Case and Altus, with one each.

Take it all with a grain of salt, folks.

Sunday Thanks

Been receiving some nice feedback about the new Lazarus Gray book – very appreciative!

Earlier this week, I got the first inklings of a new series, that would take place in the same universe as The Rook and Lazarus Gray. I’m so mired in projects with due dates that I can’t develop it right now, unfortunately.

Sometimes I’m frustrated by my lack of “bigger” success – but when I step back, I’m amazed by all the things that have happened to me. I’ve won awards, been a guest at cons, written The Avenger and The Green Hornet… How cool is that?!

Thanks for supporting me this far – the best is yet to come!

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Recommended Comics

Comics and pulp go together like peanut butter and jelly! So here’s a list of my favorite comics series out there right now (in no particular order):

Bloodshot: I’ve only read one issue so far but I’m very intrigued. I really liked the original version from the Nineties but this a real reboot, with some major differences. The art is nice, the story has some great twists and I’m really interested in seeing where this thing goes.

Batman: The recent Court of Owls storyline was brilliant and the upcoming Joker crossover looks very cool. Scott Snyder is, hands-down, the best Batman writer around at present.

The Shadow: It’s a different Shadow than the classic version but I’m enjoying the ride so far.

Green Lantern: The story arc featuring Sinestro was interesting and Geoff Johns keeps doing some incredible world building here.

Rachel Rising: I don’t know what’s going on but it’s creepy as hell. Features the usual awesome writing and art that you’d expect from Terry Moore.

Frankenstein, Agent of SHADE: Very pulpy. Feels like Hellboy in the DCU. The art is sometimes a bit wonky but good stories.

Scarlet Spider: The story of Spider-Man’s clone Kaine as Houston’s new superhero has been surprisingly good. I enjoy it more than the main Spidey book.

X-O Manowar: The story is too decompressed for my tastes but I’m still enjoying it. Solid art.

I read lots more than the above but those are my faves at present — what about you?

Die Glocke Gets Its First Review

The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume II: Die Glocke is currently for sale and the book has just received its first feedback on Amazon.com. This means that David White (aka Doc Panic) has been entered into our drawing for a free, autographed copy of the new edition of The Rook Volume I, coming later this year. If you’d like to be entered, also, just be the next person to submit an Amazon.com review for Die Glocke — it can be positive or negative. As long as you’re one of the first two reviewers on Amazon, you’re entered!

So here’s what Doc Panic had to say about the book:

“Well, after anxiously awaiting this book it didn’t disappoint me. Laz takes on some old foes as well as new, and meets some friends along the way. Barry carries the action from start to finish, leaving you wanting more. The story centers around an ancient bell. I won’t say more, because that would ruin it. The second story brings the Black Terror into play. They meet a new threat and journey to South America for a battle royale in the jungle. Great stuff that I read in two days because I didn’t want to put it down. Highly recommended reading.”

Thanks so much for the review!

Our art for today is by George Sellas and depicts one of the characters from Die Glocke, Prof. Murder. Unfortunately, the image in the book accidentally carries the caption of Doctor Metropolis, who is another character altogether. Nobody’s perfect, especially not me. Still, our simian villain wreaks a good bit of havoc along the way so check it out.

Captain Hazzard (Marvel Heroic RPG Stats)

Captain Hazzard
Kevin Douglas Hazzard
Created by Chester Hawks, Reimagined by Ron Fortier
First Appearance: “Python Men of the Lost City”

Affiliations: Solo D8 Buddy D6 Team D10

Distinctions: D4 (+1PP) or D8
Honorary Captain in Army & Navy
Fiercely Patriotic
Inspirational Leader

Power Sets:
Man of Bronze – Almost, But Not Quite
Enhanced Senses D8
Enhanced Durability D8
Enhanced Stamina D8
Enhanced Reflexes D6
Hypnotism D6
Telepathy D6
SFX: Bond of Brothers. When communicating with his aides, Telepathy is stepped up +1 die.
SFX: Focus. If a pool includes a Man of Bronze – Almost, But Not Quite power, Captain Hazzard may replace two dice of equal size with one die +1 step larger.
Limit: Exhausted. Shutdown any Man of Bronze – Almost, But Not Quite power to gain 1 PP. Recover power by activating an opportunity or during a Transition Scene.

Pistol
Weapon D8

Specialties:
Acrobatic Expert D8 or 2D6
Business Expert D8 or 2D6
Combat Expert D8 or 2D6
Crime Expert D8 or 2D6
Medical Expert D8 or 2D6
Psych Expert D8 or 2D6
Science Master D10 or 2D8 or 3D6
Tech Master D10 or 2D8 or 3D6
Vehicle Expert D8 or 2D6

Milestones:
Did you know I used to be blind?
1 XP when recounting the fact that he was blind for the first fifteen years of his life.
3 XP when mentoring a Watcher character who is blind, offering hope or inspiration to them.
10 XP when something temporarily restores Hazzard’s blindness, forcing him to overcome it once more.

The Fabulous Five – Almost, But Not Quite
1XP when realizing that he needs to consult with one or more of his aides.
3XP when either placed in a situation where he needs to rescue one of his aides or when their individual skills come together to form the solution to a problem.
10XP when realizing that his aides are truly his “brothers” and that they alone truly understand him.

Capt. Hazzard was blind his first 15 years, giving him the opportunity to enhance his other senses — including his mental powers — far beyond that of the average human. His years spent studying hypnotism and other Oriental mysticism prepared him for crimefighting after surgery restored his sight. His adventures, research and inventions earned him amazing wealth and the honorary rank of captain in the Army and Navy Air Corps.

Hazzard pulled together a team of scientists and adventurers, some skilled in the art of telepathy. His aides are Jake Cole, Montana sharpshooter; Martin Tracey, surgeon; Washington MacGowen, scientific genius; Tyler Randall, ace pilot; and William Crawley, tabloid reporter.

He and his team operated out of Hazzard Laboratories, a Long Island complex of massive buildings that housed scientific and mechanical labs, as well as aircraft hangers.

New Pulp Links You Should Know About (Newly Updated)

There are a lot of great blogs out there and it’s easy to miss many of them. So here’s a few that I think might be of interest to my own readers:

The Nocturne Travel Agency – Tom Deja has been spending a lot of time recently talking about his newest work, The Shadow Legion. Good stuff.

Pulp Cosmic – Van Plexico’s newest blog focuses on a sub-genre of a sub-genre: cosmic-flavored pulp fiction!

The Black Centipede – Chuck Miller’s New Pulp hero is one of the most intriguing out there and this site keeps you informed of all his doings.

Runemaster Studios – Mike Bullock has written many of the classic adventure heroes and now he’s moving into New Pulp with characters like Xander!

Pulp Fiction Reviews – Author Ron Fortier does a lot of New Pulp reviews on this site and he always has great points to make.

New Pulp Fiction – A great catch-all site that features news releases, reviews and columns.

All Pulp – Like the New Pulp blog but a bit more news release-heavy.

Bad Girls, Good Guys and Two-Fisted Action – Author Sean Taylor provides a nice mix of interviews and essays.

Ideas Like Bullets — Infrequently updated, this blog has plenty of author Tommy Hancock’s views about New Pulp.

Bobby Nash, Writer @ Large – A promotional website for author Bobby Nash.

Sgt. Janus, Spirit-Breaker – Jim Beard’s ghost-busting hero is featured here, with serialized adventures and more.

Dillon – Everybody’s favorite New Pulp hero and his creator (Derrick Ferguson) are featured on this site.

InterroBang – Duane Spurlock’s blog, where he keeps everybody abreast of his upcoming work.

Fortress of Pulpitude – Geek Syndicate’s look at all things New Pulp.

Go and spread the New Pulp love!

Our art for today is by George Sellas and features the lovely Samantha Grace, one of the members of Assistance Unlimited. She appears in our Lazarus Gray series.

Wacky Wednesday

A new Table Talk episode is up, as Bobby Nash, Mike Bullock and I talk about pulp hero team-ups and the difficulties of transitioning from one medium to the next.

Managed to get a few pages written yesterday on my project for Jim Beard. Hopefully he’ll like it — I might be veering a bit from his original intentions but I think he’ll be pleased. I’m not blowing anybody up, just tweaking the horror level a teeny-tiny bit.

Reading “Voice of Death,” a Shadow novel. It’s been good — nothing amazing but a solid entry in the series. The narrative flows very quickly and I just realized I’m not far from the end. There’s no great bad guy in this one, which is sometimes my pet peeve with The Shadow. There are very few villains that are really worthy of him.

The Indiana Jones movies are about to be released on blu-ray and a new trailer was released at the San Diego Comic-Con. Looks amazing!

Ramblings

I’m in one of my love-hate moments with writing at the moment. I feel creatively spent and the act of pounding the keys isn’t bringing me any satisfaction. But I have a new book to promote and a looming deadline on a project so it’s off to writing work I must go.

Got a lot of nice responses to my Avenger announcement from yesterday – thank you, one and all. It was truly an honor to write the Justice, Inc. crew once again. I still have a second Moonstone Mystery Project that I can’t speak of just yet — fingers crossed that I’ll be able to do so soon. It’s in many ways a “smaller” project but it does deal with a classic pulp hero and I imagine fans of said character will be very intrigued.

Still hoping that the Lazarus Gray Origins project will get off the ground. Originally, I planned to run it in the Die Glocke book but obviously, that didn’t happen. Anthony Castrillo is the artist who was originally attached to it and I’m still hoping that the finished pages will end up in my inbox at some point. Anthony’s been busy with a lot of personal stuff as well as some super-secret work for a major comics publisher. For those who don’t remember (and it’s been awhile!), the Origins project consisted of five comic-book pages — basically one each detailing the origins of Lazarus Gray, Samantha Grace, Morgan Watts, Eun Jiwon and the Assistance Unlimited group. I wrote the script and I posted the layouts ages ago. Should be things of beauty when they’re done. I’ve toyed with the idea of having them run first in an issue of Pro Se Presents, just so you’ll be able to see them at a larger size than they’d be reproduced at in a standard Lazarus book. I’m including the first Lazarus Gray Origins layout page with this post so you can stare at it in awe.

Lots of good stuff out there in New Pulp land. Sometimes I think we’re growing too fast but other times I think we’re not moving forward at all. I’m just glad that more people are taking notice!

Mystery Project Revealed: The Avenger!

As anyone who knows me well will tell you, my favorite pulp hero is The Avenger (followed not too far behind by The Shadow). Debuting in 1939 and written first (and best) by Paul Ernst under the Kenneth Robeson pseudonym, The Avenger was a character forged by tragedy. After the mysterious disappearances of his wife and daughter, Richard Henry Benson became something more and less than human: he became a relentless manhunter, dedicated to the eradication of evil in all its forms. Eventually forming a group of like-minded individuals dubbed Justice, Inc., The Avenger went on to star in 24 novels written by Ernst, six short stories by Emile C. Tepperman and another dozen stories by Ron Goulart. He’s also appeared in a few different comic book versions.

But most recently, The Avenger has found new life at Moonstone Books. Moonstone has published two anthologies featuring the character: The Avenger Chronicles (2008) and The Avenger: The Justice, Inc. Files (2011). I was deeply honored to be able to contribute an Avenger story to the Justice, Inc. Files book and that story (“The Devil’s Workmen”) won the 2012 Pulp Ark Award for Best Short Story.

Moonstone is currently compiling stories for a third volume in the anthology series and I’ve recently finished final edits on a story that’s intended for that book. Entitled “The Box of Flesh,” the story is a sort-of sequel to “The Devil’s Workmen” but doesn’t require you to have read the earlier tale.

Getting a chance to work on The Avenger once was a dream come true. To get to do so twice is an amazing honor. You never know if such an opportunity will ever come around again so you have to take it when it comes. Now, obviously, things may change and Moonstone may decide that “The Box of Flesh” doesn’t fit in with the rest of the book’s contents or whatever — but that’s beside the point. I had a blast writing The Avenger and it’s been fun to be, even for a short time, “Kenneth Robeson.”

Thanks to Joe Gentile for giving me the chance to work on The Avenger. And thanks to Paul Ernst for writing some of the very best pulp stories *ever*.