Month: October 2018

A Spooky Time of Year

hands.jpgHalloween is almost here and the crisp bite of Autumn is definitely noticeable in my neck of the woods.

I just got a hardback copy of The Adventures of Gravedigger Volume 3 and it’s a beauty. This is the first time I’ve seen one of my books in hardcover – well, some of the anthologies I’ve contributed to have had hardcover releases but this is my first solo work that’s gotten the treatment.

Work continues on the tenth volume of Lazarus Gray – closing in on 30,000 words. I might take an extended break from Lazarus after this. I’m not tiring of the character, it’s just that volume 7 is the last one to see print from Pro Se and having three full books in the can is a bit silly. I think I’ll wait to write more until at least volume 8 is in print!

The Johnny Dollar collection from Moonstone should be the next book of mine to come out – I have no idea when The Second Book of Babylon will come out from Pro Se. Soon, I hope.

Once I’m done with this book, I’m not sure what to work on next. I have a new female hero in mind that I might do something with… or there’s Nature Boy, a character that Pro Se recently got the license for. I find him interesting and plan to pitch something once they open up that anthology. I might also do something with the AC/Femforce characters… heck, I have a fully written Lazarus Gray/Nightveil/Gravedigger book that needs to see print at some point! There’s a lot of material out there waiting for publication!

Hope everyone has a nice, spooky time tomorrow – and save some of that candy for yourself!

 

Robert E. Howard’s Conan

Red-NailsI grew up devouring the Conan novels, both those written by his creator and the many pastiches that followed. Indeed, it was really Conan that inspired my lifelong love the pulps — which is kind of strange, when you think about how my writing career has been devoted almost entirely to the ‘hero pulps’ and not the sword & sorcery genre that Conan belongs to.

Over the years I’ve dived back in here and there to re-read my favorite Conan tales but recently I set out to make my way through the entire REH canon and it’s reminded me of which tales are my absolute favorites.

Topping the list is “Red Nails” (1936). This story has so much great action, a wonderful female foil for Conan and is just a wonderful ‘meat and potatoes’ adventure story. Coming in close behind, though are several others that deserve special mention: “The Tower of the Elephant” (1933), “Black Colossus” (1933), “The Slithering Shadow” (1933) and “Queen of the Black Coast” (1934). Really, there’s not a bad one in the whole bunch but my least favorite tales are probably the ‘King Conan’ era stories… something just doesn’t feel as lusty and bold in those tales. “The Slithering Shadow” isn’t one that I see pop up on many ‘best of’ lists but I quite enjoyed it – not one but two sexy females in the tale, a ‘lost city’ setting that is slightly reminiscent of the one in “Red Nails” and some terrific descriptive writing from REH.

The only downside to reading so much REH? Realizing how badly my own writing stacks up against his! The man was a master when it comes to adventure, suspense and on-the-fly characterization. He could make you feel like you understood a character in just a few lines. Yes, they tended to be rather simplistic characters but you still felt like there were depths to them that you just weren’t seeing.

Great stuff.

Writing Update

IMG_0210I’m closing in on the 30,000 word mark of Lazarus Gray volume 10 and it’s shaping up to be an unusual book… it starts with the attack on Pearl Harbor, sets up our heroes for their wartime exploits and also features some rather unusual love stories. Is it a romantic book? I don’t know if I’d go that far – but there are certainly plenty of moments where the action takes a backseat to characterization.

Don’t worry, though – lots of stuff gets blown up! I’m not forgetting this is an adventure novel, after all.

Looking forward to seeing the Johnny Dollar book I promoted the other day in print. It’s been nearly seven years since I wrote that story! That’s the longest time I’ve ever had go from creation to publication.