Month: February 2014

New Pulp Awards Nominations Are In!

new_pulpThe New Pulp Awards final ballot is now out and I racked up quite a few nominations:

Best Novel (The Adventures of Gravedigger Volume One)

Best Collection (The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Three)

Best Short Story (“The Box of Flesh” from The Avenger: Roaring Heart of the Crucible)

Best Short Story (“Murder Unlimited” from The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Three)

Best Novella (“Eidolon” from The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Three)

Best New Pulp Character (Gravedigger, from The Adventures of Gravedigger Volume One)

Best New Pulp Character (The Darkling, from The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Three)

Best Author

Thanks to everyone who nominated me and my work! It really does make me proud and I appreciate the fact that you guys took the time out of your busy days to send in the nomination form.

If you’d like to vote, all you have to do is send an email with your vote to newpulp2014@yahoo.com – please remember that you can only vote once in each category!

For the full ballot and all the rules, head over to the New Pulp Awards 2014 Facebook Page.

A bit of trivia — the image accompanying this post is the official “New Pulp” seal that many publishers use on their books. It was created by my lovely wife! She doesn’t usually get the credit for it but she did a wonderful job in its creation, don’t you think?

Thursday Things

2Shadow01_00Hello everyone!

I’ve been fighting a bit of a cold this week but hopefully it will go away and not develop into anything more severe.

The 63rd episode of The Shadow Fan’s Podcast has been uploaded for your listening enjoyment  — on this week’s episode, I talk about the upcoming Howard Chaykin series from Dynamite and review two items — a radio script from 1938/1939 and a classic novel from 1935. It’s a fun twenty minutes or so of chatter about pulp’s greatest crimefighter!

A lot of folks know this but my dream job would be to write The Shadow — just once! I’d feel so much pressure to live up to the works of Walter Gibson but man, it would be awesome. My other favorite pulp hero — The Avenger — was a blast to write and I feel genuinely blessed to have been able to do it twice.

The ballot for the New Pulp Awards should be coming out soon and I’m curious to see if any of my works made the list — I always did very well when the awards were the Pulp Ark Awards and hopefully the changes in methodology and name won’t stop that. I’d really like to see some of my collaborators like George Sellas and Will Meugniot make the ballot, as well. Fingers crossed!

When the ballot is released, I’ll do another post about it here and let you know who my own picks for the various categories would be.

 

Things Are Moving Forward!

Gravedigger_06_smallHeard from my wonderful collaborator George Sellas that he’s about to move forward into the production phase on Gravedigger Volume Two! George will not only be doing another cover but also a two-page “Origins” strip like we did for Lazarus Gray. I think all of you will be very happy with what he’s going to come up with!

Also, got an update about Lazarus Gray Volume Four, which is now in graphic designer Sean Ali’s capable hands. I’m really psyched to see what you guys think of this one!

Something I did for Tommy Hancock and Paul Bishop is coming soon, too, and I’m very proud of the work I did on that. More info to come.

And finally, the story I did for Radio Archives is going to be on the way soon. Look for a full press release in the next few weeks.

Oh – I officially passed the 10,000 word mark on the current novel!

I know it’s a small post today but all the news was good, right?

Our artwork today is by Will Meugniot and comes from the first Gravedigger volume.

And Lo, There Came A Tuesday…

RU Ad smallerWelcome back to ye olde blog! As I mentioned yesterday, I’ll be attending the Middle Georgia Comic Convention, which is something that I’m very excited about. I’m also continuing to work on the crossover novel, which is slowly (oh so slowly!) approaching the 10,000 word mark. Since I’m aiming for a 60,000 or so novel, that means I’m getting close to the 1/6th mark.

Yeah, I know. I really shouldn’t focus on the word count but it makes me happy and I feel like I’m making progress by tracking it… so there!

Anyway, I’m really enjoying what I have written so far and I think the fans will appreciate it. So far, I’ve been mainly introducing all the heroes (the main cast will be The Rook, Lazarus Gray, Gravedigger, Catalyst (note: this isn’t Nathaniel Caine, who doesn’t become Catalyst until the Forties. This is his predecessor, who will be introduced in Lazarus Gray Volume Five) and The Dark Gentleman. There might be one or two others, as well, but we’ll keep them as surprises for now!

Tales of The Rook Volume Two is now available in print so if you don’t own a Kindle or a Nook or any other tablet, you can get the dead tree version and enjoy the rollicking works of Adam Garcia, James Palmer, Russ Anderson, David White and Sean Taylor! You’ll also get a sneak peek at a script for an animated adventure of The Rook — Pro Se was actively shopping this around at one point but as so many things do, it didn’t come to fruition.

Yet! You never know, after all….

Anyway, I hope everybody has a great day out there and we’ll be back with more pulpy goodness tomorrow.

 

Middle Georgia Comic Convention 2014!

MGALOGOfina_blk_topI’m pleased to announce that I will be attending the Middle Georgia Comic Convention on March 15 & 16. It will be held at the Coliseum and Convention Center in Macon, Georgia and runs from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm both days. In addition to myself, the Con will be hosting a whole host of other talented folks, including: Mark Bagley, Brian Stelfreeze, Colleen Doran, Tony Harris, Daniel Way, Francesco Francavilla, Jamal Igle, Joseph Linsner, Wilfredo Torres and many, many more! It should be a real blast and I’m definitely looking forward to it.

The entire event is owned and operated by Heroes & Villains Comics and Games, based out of Warner Robins, Georgia. I had a great signing event there a couple of years ago and I definitely recommend you check out the shop if you get the chance.

I’ll have loads of books to sign and sell — and if you’re in the area and have already purchased one of my books, feel free to bring it with you and I’ll personalize it for free.

Put it on your calendar today, folks! It looks like a lot of fun and it’s a wonderful opportunity to hang out with like-minded geeks, which is always a good thing.

See you there!

The Secret Origin of The Claws of The Rook

claws_front_smallAfter I’d finished the fourth volume in the Rook series, it occurred to me that I’d introduced quite a few supporting characters that were worthy of stories in their own right: Leonid Kaslov, Catalyst, Revenant, Rachel Winters, Frankenstein’s Monster, etc. I decided it would make perfect sense to throw some of those characters together and create a spinoff project from The Rook Chronicles. I decided to leave out Kaslov and focus on the other four heroes I just mentioned, allowing The Rook to serve as their funding agent. I wanted to do the pulp equivalent of the old Batman and the Outsiders series: Batman brought together heroes to serve as his private strike force, handling things he didn’t have the time to do.

This strike force would be known as The Claws of The Rook, or simply “The Claws.”

The Claws of the Rook were meant to be introduced in their own volume, which would be set in-between volumes 4 and 5 of The Rook. The Rook would appear in a major fashion in the first story, then fade into the background, to be used as needed. The first story (“The Diabolical Mr. Dee”) was written and I think it turned out fairly well, though I was obviously still finding my footing with the series.

Then came “A Plague of Wicked Men.”

I forget who came up with the idea of teaming the various Wild Cat Books heroes into one story but I know that Don Lee, Wayne Skiver, the Carney brothers, Ron Hanna and I were all involved in the plotting of the story, which would pit the heroes against a grouping of evil villains. Ron and Wayne wanted to kick the story off by killing an established pulp hero and they chose to make Captain Hazzard the sacrifice. I was worried about how this would look, since Hazzard was very closely identified with the editor-in-chief of one of Wild Cat’s major rivals but I wasn’t really the mover and shaker in the plotting. A scene (by Wayne) was written in which Hazzard was killed and I know Don Lee wrote a scene where the villains first came together.

Then, as is common in these sorts of things, the writers began flaking out. One person had legal issues, another had concerns about the plot, etc. The project seemed dead.

Then I asked if I could take the plot and twist it into a Claws of The Rook plot, rewriting the scenes already completed and tweaking it all into something that I felt I could handle on my own. Everyone seemed fine with that and Wayne was gracious enough to allow me to keep his character Prof. Stone in the story. I threw in the Black Bat, Ascott Keane and Ki-Gor to make it even bigger. The story turned out fairly well, though it struggled a bit under its own weight. There were elements of the original plot that I was asked to keep that I would have preferred to jettison but I worked with what I had.

There were now two Claws tales…

And then the decision was made to scuttle the Claws spinoff. Sales on the most recent volume of The Rook had been weaker than expected and it was decided to not dilute the brand at this point.

So what to do? I didn’t want to just shelve those stories but at the same time I was feeling burned out on The Rook and didn’t really feel like doing a solo Rook collection, either.

It was decided to take the two Claws stories and put them into The Rook Volume Five. A couple more Claws/Rook stories were added to flesh out the volume and voila, we had a book.

But it wasn’t a very good book, in my opinion. It suffered from the fact that you had a book entitled The Rook that spent a lot of time with the Rook not in it — I was fleshing out characters for their own series, remember, so I had deliberately tried to push The Rook into the background of those stories.

It was published, people seemed to regard it as weaker than its predecessors but still good.

Here’s where all the individual members of the team first appeared:

  • Catalyst (Nathaniel Caine) first appeared in “Catalyst” in The Rook Volume Three. The story is set in 1942.
  • Esper (Rachel Winters, later Rachel Caine) first appeared in “Catalyst” in The Rook Volume Three. As stated before, the story is set in ’42.
  • Revenant (Sally Pence) first appeared in “Death From the Jungle” in The Rook Volume Four. The story is set in 1943.
  • Vincent (aka Frankenstein’s Monster) first appeared in “Satan’s Trial” in The Rook Volume Four. This story occurs in late 1943, after “Death From the Jungle.”

The group comes together as The Claws of the Rook in 1944, operating out of a two-story house on Peachtree Street nicknamed The Aerie. The group’s meeting room was in the finished basement and there was an extensive library and armory on the second floor. The team first appeared together in “The Diabolical Mr. Dee” before teaming up with several other pulp heroes in “A Plague of Wicked Men.” Both of those adventures were set in ’44. In 1946, they took part in the missions dubbed “The Devil’s Spear” and “The Ivory Machine.” During the latter story, their ranks swelled with the additions of The Black Terror and his partner Tim, Miss Masque, and The Flame. All of those stories were recorded in The Rook Volume Five.

Nothing is known about the majority of the members past ’46, though in one possible future (“The Four Rooks,” The Rook Volume Four), we see that Catalyst is still alive into the 21st Century, having outlived his wife. Given that everything shown in the series post 2006 is just a potential future, it’s not carved in stone that this is anyone’s ultimate fate, however.

I sometimes miss these characters but I’m uncertain if anybody would really want to see them revived. If I do, I’m not certain that the public domain heroes like The Black Terror and Miss Masque will remain with the group — I’d suspect that they’ll become secondary members, who might pop up if needed. I’d probably keep the focus on the main four (plus The Rook).

What do you guys say? Anybody want to see these heroes return?

Saturday Matinee: The Ron Ely Tarzan

tarzanOn many Saturdays, I find a movie or clip that I think will appeal to the fans of this blog. Since most of you enjoy action/adventure, I tend to focus on something that falls into that category. This week we’re looking at the Tarzan series that starred Ron Ely. This was my first introduction to the Tarzan character and I often picture Ron Ely when I think of the jungle hero even now. What I loved about Ely’s portrayal of the character is that he was intelligent and well-spoken, just as Tarzan was in the original Burroughs novels. The whole “Me Tarzan, You Jane” thing always pissed me off.

Ron Ely, of course, went on to play Doc Savage in the ill-fated George Pal movie. Quite awesome to have played both Tarzan & Doc Savage!

First up, we have the full opening credits:

And a nice clip of season one action. Love the way it’s described that Tarzan prefers this jungle to “the other one.”

Great stuff!