Month: October 2013

Halloween Treats – No Tricks!

vampirella_2_cover_by_paulrenaud-d2zjprzHappy Halloween, folks!

In a totally self-serving entry, I’m going to post links today to my scariest works. A couple of them are currently out of print, with new editions on the way from Pro Se Productions. I do apologize for that but you’ll still be able to scare up copies from second-hand vendors.

Anyway, let’s see what terrifying Barry Reese books you could be reading right now:

Rabbit Heart – Probably my most infamous work, this one features more blood and sex than you can shake a machete yet. I went all out on this one, in a story that really kicks off when our heroine dies. It’s that kind of tale. A new edition should be out any day now.

The Damned Thing – All Pulp once reviewed this and called it a masterpiece. I’m not sure it’s that good but there will be a new edition coming next year and I do think that I successfully crafted a terrifying homage to The Maltese Falcon. Everything from zombies to Aleister Crowley to the world premiere of Gone With the Wind factors into this one.

The Adventures of Gravedigger Volume One – She has three years to redeem her soul… and she’s willing to kill anybody who stands in her way! Part of the Sovereign City Project, this one features Lazarus Gray, The Headless Horseman and features a scene where our heroine has to crawl out of her grave. Oooh! Seriously, though, it’s good.

The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Two: Die Glocke — This book won the 2013 Pulp Ark Awards for Best Novel, Best Cover and Best Interior Art! Just look at the cover and you know you’re in for some fun (and spooky) times: mummies! Yes, mummies. There’s also a gorilla who smokes cigars in this one.

Hope you find a book that you can huddle up under a blanket with!

Our art today is by Paul Renaud and features the lovely (but deadly!) Vampirella!

The Cover to Satan’s Circus… Revealed!

lg4_cover_final_paint_smallWelcome back to Ye Olde Blog!

Today I’m proud to share with you the cover to Lazarus Gray Volume Four, which should be coming your way in early 2014! The art is by my friend and collaborator, George Sellas! I really love it… it shows off Abigail Cross, who went missing at the end of Volume Three. Looming in the background is one of my all-time favorite villains, Doctor Satan. Let me know what you think of this image — I think it will be really eye-catching on the printed book.

All the story and art files for Volume Four have been turned over to my publisher so it’s just a matter of it being slotted into their schedule and formatted for release (including editing). I can’t wait for you to guys to read it as it ties together things that ran through Volumes Two and Three! When it’s all said and done, you’ll see that it was all one big story… And the title to volume four? The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Four: Satan’s Circus.

Work continues on the current Lazarus Gray story, which is simply kicking all kinds of ass. I’m really enjoying it. I’ve gotten into a nice groove with Lazarus where even the uneven stories are still damned fun — and this one is firing on all cylinders. I should finish it sometime next week, which means I have to switch gears and start doing prep work on the Sherlock Holmes thing I’m writing. Wish me luck on that one — I’ve used Holmes before in a supporting role (see The Rook Volume Five) but it will be quite different doing a full novella. Thankfully I’m not supposed to ape Doyle’s writing style… I’m just doing a Barry Reese story with the characters. Obviously, I typically insert supernatural elements into my stories but I promise that Holmes won’t be facing Cthulhu… though that could be damned cool. Several of my non-supernatural stories that I’ve written have simply not seen print — hello, Box Thirteen and Johnny Dollar, for instance. Hopefully you’ll get to enjoy those soon.

I uploaded Episode 55 of The Shadow Fan’s Podcast this morning. I offer up reviews of The Shadow # 18 and The Shadow/Green Hornet: Dark Nights # 4, both published by Dynamite Entertainment. There are lots of great Shadow comics out right now… but there are also a few that are not-so-good. I’ll leave you to the episode to figure out which I think these two are.

I think I’ve started to give up hope on acquiring the license I was seeking. I pitched to someone pretty major, hoping to snag one of the smaller but still significant characters in their catalog. Unfortunately, it looks like it’s gone quiet on their end. In similar news, I submitted a writing inquiry to someone else that already has a license I’m interested in but no response there, either.

Oh, well. It’s really their loss!

In future release news – Rabbit Heart, Tales of The Rook Volume Two and The Rook Volume Three Special Edition are all in various stages of production. I’m sorry we missed the Halloween release date for the new edition of Rabbit Heart, but now you can get a bloody Christmas present instead.

Take care, folks!

New Pulp Best Seller List (Based on Amazon Sales Ranks 10/29/13)

Air-72It’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 Tuesday morning October 29, 2013. Please read that part about sales RANKS. I am not tracking actual sales, as I don’t know those figures. A sales rank of 40,000 means that there are 39,999 books selling better at that moment on Amazon. You want to have a low sales rank, which means you’re closer to # 1.
3) In order to keep the focus on new releases, eligible works must have been published within four months of the current date. So, since this list is being done in October 2013, I’m only looking at books published since July 2013. 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 Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs by Various (Baen, October 2013) – 35,048
2) Doc Savage: The Miracle Menace by Will Murray (Altus Press, September 2013) – 66,749
3) The Crimson Mask Volume One by Various (Airship 27, October 2013) – 338,543
4) Six Guns and Spaceships by Various (Pro Se Productions, September 2013) – 378,707
5) Liberty Girl by Barry Reese (Pro Se Productions, October 2013) – 401,537
6) The Spider: Extreme Prejudice by Various (Moonstone Books, September 2013) – 439,760
7) Shadow Legion: New Roads to Hell by Thomas Deja (Airship 27, September 2013) – 569,546
8 ) The Queen of Escapes by Curt Fernlund (Airship 27, October 2013) – 921,831
9) New Adventures of the Green Ghost by Various (Pro Se Productions, October 2013) – 951,352
10) Sisters of the Shadows: The Cagliostro Curse by Rick Lai (Hollywood Comics, October 2013) – 1,257,199

Just missing the list were: Black Fedora by Various (Pro Se Productions, September 2013) – 1,287,973, Skorpio by Mike Baron (Wordfire Press, October 2013) – 1,478,224, Ravenwood, Stepson of Mystery Volume Two (Airship 27, August 2013) – 1,610,559, Pro Se Presents # 19 (Pro Se Productions, July 2013) – 1,664,049, The Bagman vs. The World’s Fair by B.C. Bell (Airship 27, August 2013) – 2,089,769, Behold the Night Wind by Christopher R. Yates (Borgo Press, July 2013) – 2,140,344, The New Adventures of Jim Anthony, Super-Detective: The Death’s Head Cloud by Josh Reynolds (Pro Se Productions, September 2013) – 2,200,036, Robin Hood – Freedom’s Outlaw by I.A. Watson (Airship 27, July 2013) – 2,285,174, Fight Card: Brooklyn Beatdown by Derrick Ferguson (Fight Card Productions, July 2013) – 2,623,610, Fight Card: Barefoot Bones by Bobby Nash (Fight Card Productions, October 2013) – 2,623,611,  and A Week in Hell by J. Walt Layne (Pro Se Productions, August 2013) – 2,817,771.

Another strong week in terms of sales as we nearly hit a top ten where everyone is under a million. That doesn’t happen all that often. The top two are unchanged but The Crimson Mask debuts strong at # 3. Six Guns and Spaceships jumps back onto the top ten while Liberty Girl continues to perform well for Pro Se. I’m a little surprised that The Spider isn’t higher on the list given the character’s popularity. Perhaps Moonstone needs to promote it a little more? Rick Lai’s newest climbs into the top ten this week, which is the first time we’ve seen anything from Hollywood Comics on this list.

From a publisher standpoint, we have six publishers represented. Pro Se and Airship 27 have three titles each, while Altus, Moonstone, Baen and Hollywood Comics have one each.

Take it all with a grain of salt, folks.

Monday Chatter

PD1BIt’s the start of a new week and things are really beginning to pick up pace. The Georgia Literary Festival is just around the corner (November 9) and I’ll be there with a whole host of other New Pulp fan favorites like Bobby Nash, Van Plexico, Andrea Judy and Sean Taylor. Should be a fun and exhausting weekend. I’m also rocketing forward with the current Lazarus Gray story… and then I need to start work on the Sherlock Holmes novella that I owe Pro Se.

I’ve also been kicking around Phantom Detective ideas. I promised a PD tale to Airship 27 ages ago and while I think the character’s original stories weren’t the best that classic pulp has to offer, his very fluidity of character makes him something that I feel I could do something with. I’ve even had a few thoughts about doing a full Phantom Detective novel. And,  of course, I’ve considered taking the easy route and just having PD team up with one of my own heroes.

We’ll see.

My “Favorites” lists that I’ve been doing the past two weekends have proven to be pretty popular. Maybe I’ll keep doing them until I run out of ideas — I’ve thought about doing my favorite New Pulp heroes & villains, my favorite classic pulp covers, my favorite pulp movies, etc. If you have a suggestion, let me know.

There was another new review posted at Amazon recently. Ralph Angelo reviewed The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Two: Die Glocke and he said the following:

I recently read Barry Reese’s Lazarus Gray: Die Glock, the second in a series of New Pulp Adventures featuring Barry’s character, the aforementioned Lazarus Gray. As with the first volume I enjoyed this one immensely. The series is set in the mid 1930’s in the fictional Sovereign City. In this volume Lazarus and his team of adventurers (professionally known as Assistance Unlimited) travel outside of Sovereign City in a search for a weapon(The Die Glock) the Nazi’s want for their own nefarious use, which can be used as a doorway to another place. A place where something very evil lurks and stirs, and has waited a very long time to return to the earth. Enter Lazarus Gray and Assistance Unlimited. Members of the team travel around the globe to search out and destroy the weapon. But will they do so before whatever lurks on the other side of that wall between places Die Glock connects to steps through into the world of Earth in the 1930’s? You’ll have to read it to find out. Suffice to say, `Die Glock’ Is a good, rousing adventure that does not bore and does not disappoint. Also there is a bonus second feature featuring comic hero “The Black Terror” which is just as enjoyable as the main feature. If you like two fisted stories with lots of action as well as sexy women, demons, disfigured madmen and magic wielding villains, then give `The Adventures of Lazarus Gray: Die Glock’ a read. There’s really nothing not to like here.

Thanks, Ralph! I’m so glad that you enjoyed the book. I like to think that each Lazarus volume has been better than the ones before so I suspect you’ll enjoy Eidolon quite a bit… and, of course, Satan’s Circus should be out in early 2014!

I’ll be a guest on The Book Cave this Friday, talking with Art Sippo about the Liberty Girl book. I’ll let everyone know when it’s been posted for your listening pleasure. I also recorded two episodes of a new podcast that Perry Constantine is debuting soon — one episode featured a discussion about the “pulp mindset” and the other one dealt with writing strong female characters. I expect at least one of them to go up in November.

On Twitter, I asked if people would be interested in seeing a guidebook to the characters in my pulp universe… sort of along the lines of DC’s Who’s Who or Marvel’s Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. I’ve accumulated so much artwork of my characters over the years that I’d be able to get some re-use of it here. The few responses I got were positive — what say you, my blog readers?

Our artwork today shows off The Phantom Detective and a sultry female. Can’t go wrong there, can we?

See you folks tomorrow!

A New Lazarus Gray Review!

The Adventures of Lazarus GrayGordon Dymowski was kind enough to review the first volume in the Lazarus Gray series over on his blog recently. This is what he had to say:

Ironically, although I starting blogging as a comics blogger, I’m finding myself increasingly drawn to pulp fiction. Much of it is the poor quality and inappropriate shenanigans of certain Distinguished Companies, but when I had the opportunity to review The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume 1 by Barry Reese, well….life got in the way, until now.

And I regret that, because after reading it this past week, I have to state that this is a really great book.

Don’t let the John Byrne-style cover by Anthony Castrillo fool you: Lazarus Gray (published by Pro Se Press) is  not a pastiche, not a parody – it’s a pretty strong set of tales. It would be easy to dismiss this as “Richard Benson as played by David Bowie”….but that would be patently unfair. Reese takes some of the stalwarts of pulp fiction (action hero, band of assistants, various supernatural elements) and weaves some fine, enjoyable tales.

Plus, the great advantage is that there is a distinct lack of nostalgia – concepts that would have been out of place or even extreme back in the “classic” pulp era fit well in these tales. This isn’t the kind of book I would give, say, a ten year old….but I can heartily recommend it for older readers. People who are seeking alternatives to some of the less-than-stellar modes of entertainment.

(Plus, Mr. Reese is no slouch when it comes to knowing his pulps – he is the mastermind behind The Shadow Fan podcast, which…if you’re not listening to it already, you really should be)

The first volume of Adventures of Lazarus Gray is available in paperback (via Createspace) and Kindle (and yes, you can actually read it online via Kindle Web reader). If you like great pulp, you’ll dig this book. If you want a good read, you’ll dig this book. And you have no excuse not to read this book.

Thanks, Gordon! I’m really glad you enjoyed the book! Lazarus has quickly become one of my favorite characters and I’m glad that the reading public has embraced him so warmly. I hope you move on to volume two and beyond!

The Huntress (Marvel Heroic RPG Stats)

huntressThe Huntress
Helena Wayne
New 52 Universe

Affiliations: Solo D8 Buddy D10 Team D6

Distinctions: D4 (+1PP) or D8
Daughter of the Bat & the Cat
Displaced Hero of Earth-2
Worlds’ Finest

Power Sets:
Heir to Greatness
Enhanced Reflexes D8
Senses D6
Stamina D6
SFX: Second Wind – Before you make an action including a Heir to Greatness power, you may move your STRESS TYPE die to the doom pool and step up the Heir to Greatness power by +1 for this action.
SFX: Focus -If a pool includes a Heir to Greatness power, you may replace two dice of equal size with one die +1 step larger.
Limit: Exhausted – Shutdown any  Heir to Greatness power and gain 1 PP. Recover power by activating an opportunity or during a Transition Scene.

Crimefighting Equipment
Body Armor D6
Crossbow D8
Grappling Hook & Swingline D6
Utility Belt D8
SFX: Tracer – Use an effect die to create a TRACER complication on a target
SFX: Immunity -Spend 1 PP to ignore stress, trauma, or complications from Gas Attacks.
Limit: Gear -Shutdown a Crimefighting Equipment power and gain 1 PP. Take an action vs. the doom pool to recover.

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

Character Background:

The current Huntress is the daughter of Batman and Catwoman from Earth-Two. As Robin, she was present when Batman sacrificed his life against the forces of Darkseid. Alongside Power Girl (the Supergirl of Earth-Two), she was thrown into the primary DC Universe five years ago, forcing her to adapt to a strange new reality.

Now calling herself The Huntress, Helena has created a number of different identities for herself and forged a new life. She and Kara have become best friends and taken part in numerous adventures. She became close to Damian Wayne before his death and considered him her brother, despite the differences in realities.

Beautiful, capable and extremely dangerous, The Huntress has the potential to become the equal of her illustrious parents.

My Favorite Pulp Villains

the-hand-of-fu-manchu-book-coverLast Saturday, I listed out for you my favorite “classic” pulp heroes. I had fun making my little list so I thought this time, I’d flip it over and look at the other side of the coin…

The bad guys.

Yep, as we all know, heroes are often defined by their villains. If you think of the greatest heroes, they almost all have at least one villain that is closely related to them in terms of public perception. Batman has the Joker, Holmes has Moriarty and The Road Runner has Wile E. Coyote.

Or something like that.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s my list of my favorite pulp villains. Again, I kept it to ‘classic’ pulp villains — so nothing from New Pulp is on this list.

Here we go:

10. Fantomas
9. Wu Fang
8. Doctor Death (Dr. Rance Mandarin)
7. The Voodoo Master
6. Shiwan Khan
5. Thoth-Amon
4. John Sunlight
3. Doctor Satan
2. The Prince of Evil
1. Fu Manchu

What villains top your personal list?