Month: November 2017

How Far Is Too Far?

I keep most of my New Pulp writing in the PG-13 range but I’ve been known to cross “the line” on occasion… some of you may remember when Sun Koh mutilated a rapist in an old Peregrine story, for instance. And my novel Rabbit Heart is basically a study in excess! Whenever I thought that I might be pushing the envelope too far in that book, I went ahead and tore it open.

But when is it *really* too far?

I’ve kept hardcore sex and violence out of Lazarus Gray, for instance, but there’s an element of subjectivity there, as with all artistic endeavors. When I wrote The Damned Thing, there was a scene early on that involved oral sex. To be honest, I’d forgotten about it by the time it saw print — it was just a brief character moment and believe it or not, not every scene sticks in the mind of the person who wrote it (I write a lot of scenes…). So when it came out, I had a reader who went on and on about that scene and how much it disturbed them. I didn’t even remember what they were talking about! See, for them, that was shocking and extremely memorable. For me, it was no big deal. So you never know how folks will respond.

But there are times when even I know that I might be going into territory that would be best left undisturbed. I’ve mentioned before that I started writing a sequel to Rabbit Heart — it was going to be titled Starstruck. In fact, I wrote about 12,000 words on it, meaning it’s about 20% complete. But even as I was writing the opening scenes of Starstruck, I knew that this probably couldn’t see print. Despite how far I’d gone with Rabbit Heart, I went a lot further into the disturbing territory with just the first 12,000 words on Starstruck. There is at least one scene in there that I think would be hard for people to get out of their heads when they thought of me… and I’m not quite sure I want to go there.

Nobody’s read Starstruck – not even people who’ve really begged & pleaded! I’ve thought about finishing it but it’s so dark and if I didn’t publish it, what would be the point? I’ve considered completing it and then sticking it in a box with a note to say that it could be published after I was dead & gone but then I’d miss the perverse pleasure of seeing people freak out!

On the other hand, I don’t want to tone the story down, either. If I’m going to write disgusting smut then by God, I’m going to write disgusting smut!

Anyway, I think that I’ll continue staying on the PG-13 path for most of my New Pulp work – I often try to craft stories that will appeal to adolescent boys the way that classic pulp did me when I was that age. A little titillation is fine but I try not to veer too far into adult territory. Of course, sometimes the characters demand their course of action (like Sun Koh did in that Peregrine story) and often what I consider PG-13 isn’t what someone else would. In fact, I had one lady tell me she’d never let her 15 year old son read my books because they contained too many “demonic” elements.

In the end, the work puts whatever restrictions on itself that feel appropriate. When I’m writing The Peregrine, there’s a certain feeling to the world that lets me know the basic parameters, even if I sometimes bump against the guard rails.

Book Review: Bishop & Hancock’s Pulse Friction: Anthology

A nice review of a book I contributed to!

When My Worlds Collide

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Craving adventure? Pulse Friction has all you could want. This anthology will take you on a whirlwind tour of pulp stories. The collection does a good job of presenting various archetypes from Masked heroes, Mercenaries, Cat Burglars, Westerns and Hard boiled detectives and all undeniably Pulp.
Pulse Friction is a great buffet of authors. I am familiar with and have enjoyed three of the authors in both other anthologies and their own work, D. Alan Lewis, Barry Reese and Tommy Hancock are all favorites sitting on my shelves and they do not disappoint. I enjoyed the sampling the works of Eric Beetner, James Hopwood and Brian Drake and will be looking for more of their work. Each author brings their own flavor and the result is a series with a good rhythm. Each story has a plot with memorable characters which drive you forward in the action. A complaint I…

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A small commitment

Karavansara

OK, I’m writing this off the cuff, and I am not really sure of where it will go, or if it will go anywhere at all.

Nazis.
Yeah, right.
I hate these guys.

Nazis are a sort of one-size-fits-all bad guys for a certain kind of entertainment – be it books, movies, comics, games.
Nazis are easy to identify – ah, those iconic uniforms! – and even easier to dislike. Or, Indy-style, to hate. And of course they believed in such a cartload of crackpot theories, that you can drop them in any adventure/fantasy thriller and be sure they’ll fit the bill.
Someone – can’t recall who, sorry – called the standard Nazi “the orc of pulp gaming”. And it’s pretty accurate.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

girlturkeyIt’s Thanksgiving here in the United States and as always I want to take a moment to thank all of you for supporting my writing — without you guys buying and reading my works, I wouldn’t be able to continue producing new stories.

Have a great day if you’re in the States and if you’re elsewhere and not celebrating Thanksgiving, just know that I appreciate you.

The Immortal Princess Femi

lg03_femi_smallA good villain can make all the difference.

With The Peregrine, most of his enemies were dead and buried by the end of each adventure, though he had a few (The Warlike Manchu, for instance) who made return appearances. When I created Lazarus Gray, I knew that one of the things I wanted to do with the series was to create a series of recurring villains. I wanted him to have a vibrant rogue’s gallery that could return again and again.

But which of his enemies stands above the rest? If our hero is defined by his villains, which of those foes is his dark mirror?

Obviously, Lazarus Gray has Walther Lunt, his former mentor. Lunt was a major force in Volumes One and Two but his death in 1936 (“Die Glocke”) has yet to be undone so aside from casting a looming shadow over the series, he hasn’t been a physical force since then.

So is he really Gray’s arch-enemy? I think he still qualifies but I do think honorable mention must be given to the immortal Princess Femi.

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It’s Been a Banner Year!

71a83a70-33b2-4e9c-89be-b9a98cf8220eWe still have quite a few weeks left in 2017 but it’s ended up being one of my more productive years, at least in terms of publications. I’m not sure if we’ll see anything else released before the end of the year but so far I’ve had the following books published:

Those five books come from a total of four different publishers, too, so I’ve done a decent job of spreading myself around! It’s an interesting mix, too, because three of those books feature characters that I did not create — I.V. Frost is a revival of a classic pulp hero, Captain Action is a pulp-style reinvention of the action figure and Nightveil is a longtime member of the Femforce, one of the longest-running female-centered comic books in the world.

I’m proud to have contributed to all of these books (the Frost and Restless titles are anthology collections) and I hope that if you’ve bought them over the course of the year, you’ve enjoyed them. There’s still a chance that the third volume of Gravedigger might join the above before 2017 comes to a close but we’ll have to cross our fingers on that one.