Dragon*Con 2012!

Dragon*Con is here! I’ll be in Atlanta all weekend long, hanging out with my good friends Bobby Nash, Van Plexico and lots more. Follow me on Twitter (@barryreesepulp) to read about all my adventures!

Here’s the panels I’ll be on:

Title: Pulp History
Description: From western penny mags to early sci-fi digests, great literature has come on cheap paper. Past, present & future collide in serialized dime fiction.
Time: Sat 11:30 am Location: International BC – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)

Title: New Pulp
Description: What is new pulp and why are we enjoying a resurgence of the genre at this time?
Time: Sun 04:00 pm Location: Greenbriar – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)

Please try to come by and say hello! I’ll have books with me that you can buy and get personalized!

Drawing Back the Curtain

Gravedigger continues to claw her way to the surface but it hasn’t been an easy journey. Unlike Lazarus Gray, who sprang pretty much fully-formed in my head, this character has gone through a lot of transformations that you’ll never actually see on the page.

Originally, she was a he and was going to be a kind of globetrotting supernatural Indiana Jones. But that was scrapped when I decided to keep allowing Assistance Unlimited to venture out of Sovereign — Gravedigger, I decided, would be a homebody, adventuring within the confines of our fictional city. I thought about giving them a base in the cemetery but changed that when I added Goldstein, an elderly mentor. Around that same time, Gravedigger’s gender got switched and I came up with the idea that she was actually tied directly to the “origin” of an Assistance Unlimited member (feel free to go over what’s been established and try to guess which one).

George Sellas designed a look, we talked back and forth and it was tweaked until we got one that we feel works.

Then I wrote the first 5,000 words of her origin story. Only it felt… too much like an origin story. So now I’m going to set that aside and start fresh, diving straight into an adventure of Gravedigger and using bits and pieces from her origin where appropriate. I think it’ll make for a more exciting introduction (thanks to my wife for the push to do it this way).

We’re still on track for a 2013 debut and I think each revision is making for a stronger character — so stay tuned. Things are about to get real bloody in Sovereign.


Dragon*Con is bearing down upon me so I thought I’d share a few things before I end up lost in the Con:

Because I’ll be in Atlanta, the Best Seller List won’t be posted until next TUESDAY. Sorry for the delay but for this one week only, no list will be compiled until Tuesday morning.

If you’re going to be at Dragon*Con, I will have books with me in case you’d like to buy one.

Sales on Die Glocke started strong and it spent well over a month in the Top Ten on the Best Sellers list. Now, I assume all of you have already bought it because sales have ground to a resounding halt. Oh, well. 🙂

Supposed to be doing edits on my Johnny Dollar story for Moonstone. I’ll be honest that I’d been mostly unfamiliar with the character before being drafted onto the project but I enjoyed the episodes I listened to and found some interesting hooks into his personality with my story — of course, most of those hooks were apparently wrong 🙂 So I’m revising that now.

I expect to get the final Gravedigger image from George Sellas soon — the approved look is AWESOME and really sets her apart from the other members of my pulp universe.

Currently reading the newest book by Steve Berry — as soon as I’m finished with it, I’ll be diving into Jim Beard’s Captain Action novel.


So… coming in 2013, I’ll be adding a new character to my pulp universe. This one’s called Gravedigger and she’ll be a dark, deadly presence in Sovereign City. I don’t want to give too many details yet but I can say that the story starts in late 1937… and it will run until Halloween 1940.

That’s right. There’s an end date involved and it’s one that will factor large in Gravedigger’s actions. See, she’s aware of this date and its significance. Beyond that, I don’t want to tell you too much but I promise it’ll be cool!

She has strong connections to Lazarus Gray, having crossed paths with him prior to her donning the Gravedigger identity. And she’s actually a sibling of one of his Assistance Unlimited aides, though that hero may not be aware of that fact at first!

Anyway, I hope to spring her on you guys soon (“soon” in publishing terms means early 2013). I approved her design by George Sellas last night and I’m about 5,000 words into her origin story now.

Fun days lie ahead!


New Pulp Best Sellers List (Based on Amazon Sales Ranks 8/27/12)

It’s that time again! Before I unveil the Top Ten, let’s go over a few of the ground rules, shall we?

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 August 27, 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 August 2012, I’m only looking at books published since May 2012. Please keep that in mind before complaining that Title X is not listed. Also, keep in mind that for the most part, I’m tracking sales from smaller press publishers who actively publishing New Pulp material. I don’t generally track sales from Simon and Schuster or places like that — they have the New York Times Bestseller List for that. If one of the major publishers starts doing The Shadow or something, I’ll track that… but I’m not tracking Hard Case Crime or similar publishers any longer. The playing field is simply not level enough.
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) Captain Action: Riddle of the Glowing Men by Jim Beard (Airship 27, July 2012) – 170,518
2) Doc Savage: The Infernal Buddha by Will Murray (Altus Press, May 2012) – 201,147
3) The Lone Ranger Chronicles by Various (Moonstone Books, May 2012) – 230,353
The Green Hornet: Still At Large by Various (Moonstone Books, August 2012) – 260,466
5) Kolchak and the Lost World by C.J. Henderson (Moonstone Books, May 2012) – 407,896
6) Sgt. Janus, Spirit Breaker by Jim Beard (Airship 27, May 2012) – 700,251
7) The Lone Ranger: Vendetta by Howard Hopkins (Moonstone Books, May 2012) – 713,115
8 ) Modern Pulp Heroes by Various (Pulp Empire, June 2012) – 791,312
9) Jungle Tales by Various (Airship 27, June 2012) – 826,747
10) The Pulptress by Various (Pro Se Press, June 2012) – 1,434,792

Just missing the list were: The Adventures of Lazarus Gray: Die Glocke by Barry Reese (Pro Se Press, July 2012) – 1,448,379, The Huntress of Greenwood by Nancy Hansen (Pro Se Press, August 2012) – 1,600,027 and Presidential Pulp by Various (Pulp Empire, June 2012) – 1,607,542.

Folks, Jim Beard has accomplished something very special this week. Not only is his Captain Action novel the # 1 book (I believe this is the first time an Airship 27 book has topped the list but please correct me if I’m wrong) but he has a second book in the top ten as well — Sgt. Janus returns for one last hurrah at # 6. Two solo-written books by one author on the list is very, very rare. Congratulations to Jim Beard, Airship 27 and Captain Action Enterprises for topping the list. I can only assume I helped push it to # 1 by posting my roleplaying game writeup of Captain Action on Sunday — JUST KIDDING! 🙂 Elsewhere on the list, we nearly saw Pro Se shut out for the very first time — but they do manage to hang in there at # 10 with The Pulptress. Pulp Empire snags the # 8 spot on the list — let’s hope they’re a new permanent addition to the list. For the most part, their titles show a lot of volatility in sales ranks but this is the second week in a row that they’ve had a title in the top ten. Next week’s list will be the first in September and several books will no longer be eligible — in fact, the books in spots 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7 are all in their final weeks on the list! So expect next week’s rundown to be quite different.

From a publisher standpoint, we have five publishers represented. Moonstone leads the way with four books, followed by Airship 27 with three titles. Altus, Pro Se and Pulp Empire have one each.

Take it all with a grain of salt, folks.

Captain Action (Marvel Heroic RPG Stats)

Miles Drake
As Depicted in Captain Action – Riddle of the Glowing Men
Copyright Captain Action Enterprises

Affiliations: Solo D10 Buddy D8 Team D6

Distinctions: D4 (+1PP) or D8
Heroic Man of A.C.T.I.O.N.
Alien Hunter
Super Spy In the Swinging Sixties!

Power Sets:
Alien Fighter!
Enhanced Reflexes D8
Enhanced Stamina D8
SFX: Second Chance – Spend 1 PP to reroll when using any Alien Fighter! power.
Limit: Exhausted – Shutdown any Alien Fighter! power to gain 1 PP. Recover power by activating an opportunity or during a Transition Scene.

Plastiderm D10
Lightning Sword D8
Laser Pistol D8
Communication Devices D8

Acrobatic Expert D8 or 2D6
Combat Master D10 or 2D8 or 3D6
Cosmic Expert D8 or 2D6
Cover Master D10 or 2D8 or 3D6
Crime Expert D8 or 2D6
Tech Expert D8 or 2D6
Vehicle Master D10 or 2D8 or 3D6

Background Info (courtesy of Jim Beard):

Captain Action is Miles Drake, a 1960s special operative for the A.C.T.I.O.N. Directorate, a secret government agency dedicated to identifying and eliminating extra-terrestrial threats.

Drake’s training comes from his time as a Navy SEAL and includes weapons-handling, covert operations, hand-to-hand combat, linguistics, tactics and strategy. He’s also a natural mimic and possesses an inherent acting ability which aids him in his most specialized skill: disguise. Using an incredible substance called “plastiderm,” Drake can alter his appearance to be able to fool just about anyone, even those close to the person he’s posing as.

Captain Action’s equipment includes his lightning sword, a nigh-unbreakable cutting weapon; a laser pistol; the Silver Streak, an amphibian-automobile crossover vehicle; and various high-tech communications devices.

Drake is near-fearless and dedicated to his duty as an A.C.T.I.O.N. agent. He balances a keen, analytical mind with an almost unquenchable drive to action when danger presents itself.

New Pulp Links (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:

Coming Attractions — The # 1 place to find out out everything pulp-related that’s out there. You’ll be amazed though your bank account may not survive the experience.

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!

Princess Femi (Marvel Heroic RPG Stats)

Created by Barry Reese
Art by George Sellas
First Appearance: “The Corpse Screams At Midnight” (The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume One)

Affiliations: Solo D8 Buddy D6 Team D10

Distinctions: D4 (+1PP) or D8
Egyptian Royalty
Feeds on Human Flesh to Maintain Youthfulness
Despises Lazarus Gray

Power Sets:
The Undying
Enhanced Durability D8
Enhanced Stamina D8
Enhanced Strength D8
Mummy Creation & Control D12
Sorcery Adept D8
SFX: Dangerous – Add a D6 to your dice pool for an attack action and step back highest die in pool by -1. Step up STRESS TYPE inflicted by +1.
Limit: Growing Dread- Both 1 and 2 in dice pool count as opportunities when using a The Undying power.

Mummy Warriors – Solo D6, Buddy D8, Team D10; Distinctions – Shambling Undead, Scary!, Only Do What They’re Told; Superhuman Durability D10, Superhuman Stamina D10, Superhuman Strength D10; Menace Master D10 or 2D8 or 3D6

Menace Master D10 or 2D8 or 3D6
Mystic Master D10 or 2D8 or 3D6

Background Info:

A beautiful Egyptian princess, Femi was involved with a cult known as The Undying. This group repudiated the Gods, believing that mankind was itself the highest form of life – they frequently shouted “God Is Dead!” as a way of displaying their blasphemous beliefs. In retribution, the priests of Egypt captured Femi and mummified her, using special magicks to keep her alive, in an eternal sleep. In the modern day, she managed to make a psychic connection with a man who had bought her corpse, intending to display it in his house. The man used a powerful gem to revive Femi, who was reunited with the remains of The Undying. Femi was now able to control the undead but her power came with a price — she now had to feed on human flesh to remain young.The exact process that Femi uses to create her armies of mummified warriors is mystical in nature and bestows upon her followers great strength and durability.

Though she was destroyed in her first battle with Assistance Unlimited, she was later revived by Walther Lunt. Since then, Femi has been revived on several occasions and even served as a member of Murder Unlimited.

Thursday Teasings

So last night George Sellas emailed me with an idea for Gravedigger that coincided with some of my own musings on the subject. As a result, Gravedigger is undergoing some changes that will better help the character fit into my pulp universe. Gravedigger will be a contemporary of Lazarus Gray and The Rook so rather than create another major male hero, we’re tweaking things and making Gravedigger a woman — and, yes, I’m well aware that the name is something generally associated with men. You’ll find out in the very first story, though, why and how she gets that monicker. Since I’m viewing Gravedigger as the final piece of my major triumvirate of heroes, it makes sense to go this route. I’ve written strong female characters before (in Rabbit Heart, The Damned Thing and Guan-Yin and the Horrors of Skull Island) so I think I’m quite capable of making her stand toe-to-toe with my previous creations. Look for more details soon… and look for the years 1937-1940 to be very important ones for both Lazarus and Gravedigger. That’s all I’m sayin’ for now.

I’m splitting time right now between writing the first Gravedigger story and Lazarus Gray volume 4. Bliss.

George has one more piece of art to turn in for Volume Three and then that one is a wrap. I don’t think it will see print until early 2013 due to how tightly packed the Pro Se schedule is — and they still have to get volumes 1 & 2 of the revamped Rook Chronicles out before the end of the year!

Dragon*Con is just around the corner. Remember that I’ll be there this year, sitting in on both of the pulp panels they’re offering. I’ll remind all of you of the exact schedule as we get closer.

New Pulp

Over the past few months, a lot of different folks have become aware of the New Pulp movement and penned blogs or articles about it. Look here, here, here and here for examples. In some cases, the authors of said pieces seem to be mostly unaware of the actual, defined movement and are mostly just casting about, recognizing that there seems to be something moving in the bushes of the literary world. The “Old Pulp” crowd was somewhat slow to embrace New Pulp, many of them dismissing it as nothing more than glorified fan fiction (Hello, Pulpster!). But now it looks like the Old Pulp crowd is coming around — the new issue of Blood and Thunder features coverage of New Pulp and PulpFest held a “New Fictioneers” panel (boy, do I hate that term).

For the most part, I don’t like to over-think things. I just do them. I write without an outline. I refuse to take part in weighty discussions of theme and metaphor.

I’m too busy writing stories to give a rat’s ass about the process of writing.

So I find the whole “What the heck is New Pulp” discussion a bit counterproductive. Whenever someone on Facebook or wherever pipes up and asks, I back away, knowing others will gladly step into the ring.

For me, pulp is like pornography — I might not be able to define it but I sure as hell know it when I see it.

To me, the spirit of pulp is that you constantly write. You write as quickly as possible and as smoothly as possible. Distractions get hit in the head with a stick.

I’ll be speaking at the Crossroads Writers Conference again this year, which I always feel odd about, since I think that talking about writing is one of the things that gets in the way of writing! But I generally stand about and say that, then talk about the adrenaline rush that should accompany a good bout of writing and how everyone in the room should stop listening to me and go write something.

I’m thrilled that people are noticing the New Pulp movement, even if everyone who does seem to think they’ve just invented something (Hey, look, I’m gonna call it “New Pulp!”). The more people who are aware of the movement, the more people who might get their heads out of their asses and start embracing what the core of the movement means: We tell stories. We tell a lot of stories. We leave the pretentiousness at the door, where all the English grads are standing around, discussing that Great American Novel that they’d love to write but just can’t find the time to do.

I gotta go. A story is calling.