Page 2 of 4

Friday Fun….

So I created a mini stir on my Facebook fan page yesterday by suggesting that I was seriously considering stepping away from New Pulp and/or writing after the eventual release of both Lazarus Gray Volume Four and Gravedigger. I’m not backtracking from that statement but longtime followers of my writing career know that I have a love/hate relationship with writing in general. I would never say that I “enjoy” writing — it’s a compulsion that I have not been able to break.It’s very much a disorder that has brought me as much grief as it has happiness. I appreciate all the opportunities it’s given me and all the cool people I’ve met, but it’s also a royal pain in the behind.

Considering I have accumulated forty years of this affliction, it stands to reason that I’ll probably still be writing long after those books have been released.

But I do wish that wasn’t the case.

Anyway, I’ll probably do another Valiant heroes rpg post in the next few days — it’s not like anybody’s begging me to, but that’s never stopped me before! LOL

 

Another Day, Another Blog Post

I’m tired. Work continues on my writing projects and my day job is gearing up for a major fundraiser on Saturday – plus I’m planning a festival for 2013 that will bring people in from around the state. It’s all I can do to keep my eyes open!

Here’s my opinions on a bunch of different stuff:

Marvel NOW! has been mostly bleh to me. Right now, I’m reading Scarlet Spider and most issues of Amazing Spider-Man but that’s all from Marvel. I do plan to try Uncanny Avengers and Avengers because I’m a fan of The Avengers going way, way back and the creative teams have me curious. I’ll probably also try the first issue of Bendis’ X-Men… but beyond that, I’m not dipping my toes into the Marvel waters again. I’ve been burned too many times.

Still enjoying the New 52 from DC, though. In fact, every time they cancel a few titles and add new ones, I end up buying more than are going off my list! Ugh. DC, stop taking my money.

The Shadow continues to be good from Dynamite though it’s definitely its own beast — this isn’t the pulp Shadow nor is it the radio version.

From the reborn Valiant, I’m loving X-O Manowar and Bloodshot. Don’t care for Harbinger and I’m going to trade wait Archer & Armstrong.

On the New Pulp side of things, I still need to pick up the new Dillon novel. That’s probably going to be my next New Pulp purchase, in fact.

Beyond that, I’m kinda bored with New Pulp at the moment. That’s not to disparage the folks working in it or the books that are out now, I just don’t sense the excitement that I was feeling in the community earlier in the year. My growing dissatisfaction with the marketing of my own Reese Unlimited characters and concepts probably plays into this. I would love to see my characters move into other media but Pro Se doesn’t have the manpower to really push that and I haven’t taken the reigns the way I should. Perhaps when I’m done with Lazarus volume 4 and Gravedigger volume 1, I can step back from writing for awhile and do just that.

Saw “The Possession” — it was okay. Definitely a by-the-numbers horror flick but it had a few decent scares. I do detest PG-13 horror films, though. If it’s not rated R, I feel like I’m watching an edited-for-TV version.

Been dieting for the past few months and I’ve lost 33 pounds as of this morning. People have asked me my secret. It’s actually pretty simple: I’ve stopped eating food. LOL I jest, of course, but I have drastically reduced what I eat. I’m following Weight Watchers and I find its numbers-based approach works well for me.

Our art today is from Lazarus Gray Volume Three (coming in the near future!). It’s by George Sellas and I think it’s simply awesome!

Stuff. And More Stuff.

So it’s Wednesday around the Reese Unlimited offices and I’m still working hard on my Sovereign City stories. I’m enjoying both Gravedigger and Lazarus Gray but I’m also starting to get that anxious need to finish off both books. Wish me luck in pushing forward on them!

Still no word on Mystery Project # 2 for Moonstone. I’ve inquired about its status so we’ll see.

Actually had an idea for a Rook story this morning, which hasn’t happened in a long while. Maybe I’ll actually do another Max Davies story soon? I dunno.

I do want to also say that Anthony Castrillo, who did several covers and some interior art for me on my Rook series, is no longer associated in any way with my books. In fact, his artwork will not appear at all in the new Pro Se editions that are coming soon. If anyone would like the full details, they are free to contact me but I won’t go into the gory descriptions here on my blog. I will say this — if you take on a project, you owe it to people to finish that project or at least have the decency to tell someone that you’re not going to do it.

Our art today is by the amazing Barry Windsor Smith and is one of his Solar, Man of the Atom covers. I’ve been thinking about doing more rpg writeups of the Valiant heroes (I did X-O Manowar a few weeks back) but since they’re not pulp, I held off. I do like to keep the blog fairly on-topic… but then again, it’s my blog so I decide what the topic is, right? LOL So earlier today you saw Solar — and soon, you might see a few more.

Solar, Man of the Atom (Marvel Heroic RPG Stats) – Classic Valiant

SOLAR
Phil Seleski
Valiant Universe (VH1 Version)

Affiliations: Solo D10 Buddy D8 Team D6

Distinctions: D4 (+1PP) or D8
Godlike Being
Nuclear Physicist
Emotionally Unstable

Power Sets:
Man of the Atom
Molecular Manipulation D12
Space Flight D12
Energy Blast D12
Godlike Durability D12
Godlike Resistance D12
Godlike Senses D12
Self-Duplication D12
SFX: Absorption – On a successful reaction against an energy-based action, convert your opponent’s effect die into a MAN OF THE ATOM stunt or step up a MAN OF THE ATOM power by +1 for your next action. Spend 1 PP to use this stunt if your opponent’s action succeeds.
SFX: Area Attack – Add a D6 and keep an additional effect die for each additional target.
SFX: Constructs – Add a D6 and step up your effect die by +1 when using MAN OF THE ATOM to create assets.
SFX: Focus – If a pool includes a MAN OF THE ATOM power, you may replace two dice of equal size with one die +1 step larger.
Limit: Vulnerability – Earn 1 PP to step up STRESS TYPE inflicted by magic-based attacks by +1.
Limit: Growing Dread -Count 1s and 2s on dice as opportunities when using a MAN OF THE ATOM power.

Specialties:
Cosmic Master D10 or 2D8 or 3D6
Psych Expert D8 or 2D6
Science Master D10 or 2D8 or 3D6

Milestones:
Oops… I did it again!
1 XP when a use of your power inadvertently creates a new villain or puts the universe in danger.
3 XP when splitting yourself into multiple beings to try and take care of more than one emergency at the same time.
10 XP when forced to recreate the universe to undo a mistake.

I Need You With Me… Forever
1XP when forced to protect Gayle or another of your friends from harm.
3XP when bringing a loved one back from serious injury or death.
10XP when you choose to extend the lifespan of a loved one by a century or more.

Background Info:

Solar was the childhood hero of Dr. Phil Seleski, who thrilled to the green-skinned hero’s exploits in comic books. Seleski grew up to became a nuclear physicist who was exposed to a massive amount of radiation during a terrible accident. Seleski was reborn as a God, able to create whole worlds with his power. Seleski created the Valiant Earth, home to great heroes and villains. Here he adopted the guise of his childhood hero and fought to safeguard this world. Solar took part in the event known as Unity when Erica Pierce, who had survived the same accident that created Solar, sought to unify the timelines. Solar is constantly trying to balance his humanity with his God-like nature and is frequently kept sane by the love of Gayle Rogers, his co-worker and on-again, off-again girlfriend. Solar has the ability to split himself into alternate selves and has done this on several occasions, usually as the result of tremendous stress : one of his selves, Solar the Destroyer, went off into deep space in search of the Spider-Aliens; another one of his selves met with Void of the W.I.L.D.Cats and helped spark the “Deathmate” crossover between Image and Valiant.

In terms of using Solar in adventures, keep in mind that he is VERY powerful. In fact, with his Molecular Manipulation power, he can do virtually anything — he can make himself invisible, he can grow sixty feet tall, he can turn lead into gold, etc. He’s capable of going toe-to-toe with cosmic entities and emerging unscathed — most of the time when he does lose, it’s because of his own self-doubts more than anything.

Definitely play up his mental instability and his Growing Dread limit! Those really are the only things that keep Solar from being completely unstoppable.

Tuesday Tidings

So I continue to split time between Lazarus Gray Volume Four and Gravedigger Volume One — with Lazarus getting most of the attention the past few days.

I sent all the files for Lazarus Volume Three to the guys at Pro Se yesterday — the cover and interior pieces by George Sellas, along with the two stories I’ve written for that one. For the record, the stories are “Murder Unlimited” and “Eidolon.” I’d expect that it won’t see print until sometime in the first quarter of 2013 but hey, I’ve done my part for now.

Finished reading “The Man from Shanghai” last night — a really solid entry in The Shadow series. All Shadows are good but the better ones feature villains who are capable of really challenging The Shadow. This one features a plethora of baddies and was quite interesting.

Not 100% sure what I’ll read next — perhaps another Shadow, maybe the new Star Trek Voyager novel that’s out (based upon the cover it looks like they’re reviving Janeway, which is a good thing).

Did Marvel Heroic rpg stats for Gravedigger and then realized that I can’t post them without spoiling the story that won’t see print until sometime next year! LOL. So they’re being mothballed for now.

I know you guys can see my Twitter feed on the main page of the site but you can certainly follow me at @barryreesepulp — join today!

 

New Pulp Best Seller List 9/17/12 (Based on Amazon Sales Ranks)

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 September 17, 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 June 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) The Pulptress by Various (Pro Se Press, June 2012) – 178,177
2)
The Green Hornet: Still At Large by Various (Moonstone Books, August 2012) – 307,543
3) The Adventures of Lazarus Gray: Die Glocke by Barry Reese (Pro Se Press, July 2012) – 321,989
4) Sinbad – The New Voyages Volume One by Various (Airship 27, September 2012) – 641,185
5) Black Bat Mysteries Volume Two by Various (Airship 27, August 2012) – 669,975
6) Captain Action: Riddle of the Glowing Men by Jim Beard (Airship 27, July 2012) – 960,113
7) Tales from the Hanging Monkey by Various (Airship 27, June 2012) – 1,167,982
8 ) Aliens Among Us by Various (Pulp Empire, August 2012) – 1,302,412
9) Pro Se Presents # 13 by Various (Pro Se Press, August 2012) – 1,381,094
10) Pro Se Presents # 12 by Various (Pro Se Press, July 2012) – 1,666,196

Just missing the list were: Dillon and the Pirates of Xonira by Derrick Ferguson (Pulpwork Press, August 2012) – 1,812,375, Jungle Tales by Various (Airship 27, June 2012) – 1,993,497 and Blackthorn: Dynasty of Mars by I.A. Watson (White Rocket Books, July 2012) – 2,083,908.

Well, THAT was unexpected. The Pulptress has been a strong seller ever since its debut in these final weeks of its eligibility, I never expected it to shoot back up the list to land at # 1 again. Whether its the character herself, the stories contained in the book or the low price-point, this volume has been a bona fide hit. The Green Hornet continues to hold its ground at # 2 while the newest Lazarus Gray volume jumps back onto the list at # 3. Following that, we enter the Airship 27 portion of the list. The publisher locks down spots 4-7, with their newest titles clocking in at 4 & 5. The Sinbad book has been highly anticipated so its high ranking is no surprise. Pulp Empire continues to get solid sales out of Aliens Among Us.

From a publisher standpoint, we have four publishers represented. Airship 27 and Pro Se Press have four titles each while Moonstone and Pulp Empire each have one title on the list.

Take it all with a grain of salt, folks.

Gravedigger

October 31, 1936

This is not a decision entered into lightly. It is a tremendous gesture of faith that are you about receive.

There was a pause before The Voice continued. Charity stirred within the casket, fear beginning to mount within her. How long had she been buried beneath the earth? How much air was left to her?

You will have three years in which to redeem your soul. Find those who are unfit for the world of mortals and destroy them: man or demon, the enemy of the innocent is now your enemy. You will put them into their graves and shovel upon them the dirt that symbolizes their eviction from this plane of existence.

On Halloween Night, 1939, you will be called back to this place and you will be judged for a final time. If your soul has been made pure, you will find your reward. If your soul is still tainted black… Your suffering will never know an end.

Do you accept these terms? Do you want to live?

Charity had forced the words out, ignoring the pain it caused her. Her throat was dry and raw. “Yes. Yes! I want to live.”

So be it.

From the Vault: Turning the Tables

Tommy Hancock posted an interesting piece at his blog (“Ideas Like Bullets“) recently and I wanted to offer some opinion of my own in response. The gist of his post was that books become best sellers in large part through the promotional efforts of those involved — which should go without saying but often I find myself pointing it out to people who seem to ignore that fact. He then goes on to list what he feels is the responsibility of the publisher — “…although the writer(s) are encouraged to promote and obviously have a vested interest in doing such with their material, the publisher steps up and assumes the role of Promoter/Marketer/Singer of Praises from on high. This is the framework used in Publishing houses for many many moons and in the larger houses especially. Now, none of us are a large house, not even Moonstone, so getting the staff of a book involved in the process is still crucial, but there are some who would say that a Publisher, unless that company specifically says ‘I’m printing it, but not promoting it beyond an initial press release,” has a duty to be the primary promoter of that book in any way possible, getting as much out on the story, the writer, and all involved as possible.”

I agree with this wholeheartedly. There are, however, many publishers who do not fall into that model. They feel — and often will state this in a roundabout fashion — that their main function is to publish said work. They may send out a press release announcing it’s out (sometimes just on Facebook or their own mailing list) but the promotional work falls on the author. I understand that not everyone has the time or money to embark on major publicity campaigns but I do feel a publisher — if they’re truly a publisher and not just a facilitator — should help with marketing. I always try to market my own work but I definitely expect the publisher to do their fair share. When I was with my previous publisher, they mostly fell into the facilitator model — they did an excellent job prepping the book for release but the marketing aspect consisted of an announcement that the book was released — anything beyond that really fell upon me. Now, to be fair, they never promised me more than that — but there were times that I felt my work was being lost in the sea of pulp releases. So when I signed on with Pro Se, one of the main reasons I went with them over other publishers was because they promised to be more diligent about promotion.

There are many ways to promote material — via social media, blogs and news releases. You can run contests or offer incentives. You can go on GoodReads and offer up a prize drawing. All of those are things that all authors — and publishers! — should be doing. And you know what? They don’t really cost anything, other than time. To me, if a publisher isn’t going to promote material to the best of their ability, then an author would be better served forming their own publishing imprint and going it alone. You can always find artists, editors and more — many who are actually willing to work for back-end profits or even for free. You want your work to look good and be professionally presented but authors have many avenues of their own these days to make that happen. If you choose to split your profits with a publisher, then the publisher should do some of the legwork after the book is published.

Again, I am NOT saying that a publisher should do ALL the promo work. That’s not possible and it’s not even sensible. As an author, you need to decide what you want out of the publisher/author relationship and then take on the personal responsibility to push your own brand to the masses — and you should have the full assistance of your publisher. If you’re doing all the promo work on your own, though, I’d really ask you what you’re getting out of having a publisher at all. Is it the editing? The graphic design?

Things to think about, my friends. Writers no longer require a publisher. Keep that in mind. It’s not just about you crawling on your knees to please them so they’ll publish your book. Many successes out there, in print and eBooks, show us that you can flourish without a publisher.

And make your publisher work for you. After all, you’re paying them in the form of profits from your work. If your current publisher isn’t cutting it, shop around. Find one who will.

Take the reigns!

Fiona Chapman (Marvel Heroic RPG Stats)

rabbit_heart_smallFIONA CHAPMAN
Created by Barry Reese
First Appearance: Rabbit Heart
Cover Artwork by Jason Levesque

Affiliations: Solo D10 Buddy D8 Team D6

Distinctions: D4 (+1PP) or D8
Living Dead Girl
Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game
Kickass Heroine

Power Sets:
Hot Girl With a Sword
Enhanced Durability D8
Superhuman Reflexes D10
Enhanced Senses D8
Superhuman Stamina D10
SFX: Dangerous – Add a D6 to the dice pool for an attack action and step back highest die in pool by -1. Step up STRESS TYPE inflicted by +1.
SFX: Second Wind – Before making an action including a Hot Girl With a Sword power, player may move the STRESS TYPE die to the doom pool and step up the power by +1 for this action.
Limit: Growing Dread – Both 1 and 2 on player’s dice count as opportunities when using a Hot Girl With a Sword power.

Weapon D6
Limit: Gear

Specialties:
Acrobatic Expert D8 or 2D6
Combat Master D10 or 2D8 or 3D6
Covert Expert D8 or 2D6
Menace Expert D8 or 2D6
Mystic Expert D8 or 2D6

Milestones:
The Deadliest Game
1 XP when investigating a crime that seems related to another Archetype.
3 XP when confronting another member of the Furious Host.
10 XP when slaying another member of the Furious Host.

Something’s… Weird… About You
1XP when embarking on a friendship or romantic relationship with a “normal” person.
3XP when forced to either hide the truth about her nature from someone or when forced to reveal the truth to them.
10XP when forced to choose between the life of a friend or the completion of an investigation.

Background Info:

The time of the Hunt is nigh… Fiona Chapman was dead. However, her heart still beat and she breathed oxygen, no longer like the rest of humanity. Fiona was now one of The Furious Host, a race of mythical spirits who, in Archetype Form, rage through the centuries hunting for innocent victims to slake their thirst for blood. However, Fiona’s desire is different: she craves the destruction of the Host themselves. In her Archetype Form she begins her own hunt to put an end to the evil of centuries. Now the evil has descended on the small town of Milledgeville, Georgia in the form of Urhl, one of the bloodiest of killers. Young women are being murdered in the most savage fashion imaginable. With the aid of legendary occult investigator Ascott Keane, Fiona Chapman embarks on a blood-soaked battle to the death with the ultimate serial killer!