Lazarus Gray Volume Three

I’ve begun work on the third book in the Lazarus Gray series — what’s that, you say? Where’s Volumes One and Two? Ah, welcome to the joys of publishing! Writers are generally pretty far ahead of the actual publishing schedule so frequently I’ll be doing promotion for a new release that I wrote at least a year before — and I’ll be currently working on a book that won’t be released for 1-2 more years. Lazarus Gray Volume One is in the hands of Pro Se Productions and should be released in September 2011. Volume Two (the novel DIE GLOCKE) is penciled in for a January 2012 release.

And I’m about to start the third volume when none of you have read the first! Trust me, though, this set of characters (Lazarus and his friends in Assistance Unlimited) are going to be worth the wait. Someday, I expect them to be neck-in-neck with The Rook in terms of popularity.

Weekly Sales Update

A new week, a new sales check. Let’s see what’s moving and shaking over at Amazon, shall we? The five bestselling Barry Reese titles are:

1) The Rook Volume Six

2) The Rook Volume One

3) The Rook Volume Five

4) How the West Was Weird, Volume Two

5) The Rook Volume Four

Looks like The Rook series is dominating the sales charts, eh? Nothing wrong with that!

Dream Gigs

I’ve been lucky enough to write both The Avenger and The Green Hornet but there are still a few classic pulp or pulp-inspired heroes I’d love to handle in either novel or short-story form: Doc Savage and The Shadow are probably on every pulp writer’s dream list, but I’d also throw in The Phantom, Seekay, The Phantom Detective and Indiana Jones.

Another Pulp-Related Film Recommendation

I told you guys about my appreciation of The Shadow film a few days ago but for my money, this one’s even better: The Phantom starring Billy Zane. My son and I love watching this movie, which has all the heart and soul of an old-time movie serial. I’m a huge fan of Lee Falk’s creation and I think this movie does a good job of capturing what makes it so enduring. Is it great cinema? I don’t know… but is it fun? Yes.

Preview Pages from The Rook’s Comic Book Debut

Art by the incredible Craig Wilson — this story will appear in an Airship 27 anthology that should be out soon. Here’s two pages from the story, which will blow your socks off! These are pages 1 & 3 of the 8-page strip. Keep in mind that these are in-progress pages so any typos you see will be removed from the final product.

Major News Regarding Stan Lee Foundation Project

Press Release –

New Pulp, a recently organized Branding Movement to unite creators and publishers of modern Pulp fiction under a collective banner, announces today its first collective New Pulp publication. According to New Pulp founder Tommy Hancock, this project is a twenty chapter novel currently being written in a round robin style, that meaning each chapter is written by a different author. This multiple author narrative, entitled PARIAH AND THE PURPLE PRINCE, is the inaugural project of writers and publishers under the New Pulp Banner.

“New Pulp,” according to Hancock, “is a designation that applies to creators and publishers who, having found their inspiration in the stories and style established by the writers of classic Pulp stories in the early Twentieth Century, are continuing to write, draw, and publish tales of action and adventure in that tradition. New characters, new stories, new ideas, all owing a debt to the Pulp greats, but also written to be the two fisted, high octane adventure stories of today and the New Pulp classics of tomorrow.”

“This current project,” Hancock states, “actually sprouted out of the first New Pulp convention, Pulp Ark, held this past May in Arkansas. Possibly the single largest gathering of New Pulp creators to date, more than 25 creators representing at least nine publishers attended this convention and, of course, many ideas and concepts were discussed and debated. One of those discussions centered around how this collection of writers, artists, and publishers, now standing together under the banner of New Pulp could not only present and produce a unified product, a work representative of all the variety that New Pulp has to offer, but also a way that we could contribute something worthwhile, not just great stories. That desire quickly became an idea for a novel, round robin style.”

PARIAH AND THE PURPLE PRINCE is a novel in progress that started with a bare bones minimalist plot suggested by Hancock. Twenty authors were invited to participate in this project, their names being written individually on single strips of paper. As these names were drawn, each writer was assigned a chapter in the order their name was selected, the first writer getting Chapter 1 and so forth. Each writer gets a month to complete their chapter, although Hancock reports that the fourth writer is nearly done with Chapter Four and the project is just over a month along. “We are all taking this very seriously,” Hancock reports, “not only because we want the world to see what New Pulp is about, but also we are excited about the opportunity to give of ourselves, our time and effort and whatever money this novel might raise to not only a worthy cause, but toward something we all have a stake in-Improving education and literacy.”

All proceeds resulting from the sale of PARIAH AND THE PURPLE PRINCE will go to The Stan Lee Foundation. Founded to carry on the legacy of Stan Lee, the creative genius behind Marvel Comics and creator of a literal universe of iconic characters, the Stan Lee Foundation’s primary goal is to make literacy, education, and involvement in the arts accessible across America. A non-profit organization, The Stan Lee Foundation develops, designs, and sponsors programs and events with the singular purpose of bringing literacy, knowledge, and artistic enrichment to Americans from coast to coast.

“It is an honor,” Hancock states, “for each and every writer and creator involved in this project to be a part of giving something to an organization started by a man that has given us as fans and the world itself so much. The chance to contribute to The Stan Lee Foundation, to help this group further the fantastic efforts into education it has already initiated, to be just a little part of the progress and success that its various endeavors will see, is the best payday any of us could receive. With the opportunity of New Pulp working with the Stan Lee Foundation in other ways in the future also being possible, we truly want to give our best to this novel project and intend for this work to benefit future artists, learners, and readers everywhere.”

PARIAH AND THE PURPLE PRINCE will be published by Pro Se Press, the New Pulp publisher Hancock is a partner in. The writers contributing a chapter each to the novel include Hancock, Joshua Reynolds, Ron Fortier, Barry Reese, Thomas McNulty, Megan Smith, Wayne Skiver, Terry Alexander, Sean Ellis, Van Allen Plexico, Derrick Ferguson, Nancy Hansen, Adam Garcia, Wayne Reinagel, Mike Bullock, Andrew Salmon, Jim Beard, Bill Craig, Rich Steeves, and Tim Byrd. Collectively, these writers represent work in nearly every genre imaginable, from western to science fiction to crime to horror and beyond within New Pulp and as a group have worked with multiple prose and comic publishers producing the finest New Pulp has to offer.

For more information concerning New Pulp or the round robin novel PARIAH AND THE PURPLE PRINCE, contact Hancock at proseproductions@earthlink.net and follow New Pulp on http://www.newpulpfiction.com/.

Favorite Characters

Awhile back, I talked about some of my favorite books that I’d written but I also occasionally get asked about favorite characters. It’s a sticky question, since to some degree, I love all my creations — they’re my “babies,” as it were. But there are definitely ones that have a spot closer to my heart:

1) The Rook — Obviously, Max Davies would be near the top. I’ve written six books about him and he’s my most well-known creation. But I do have a love/hate relationship with him, in that when I do other projects, people always want to come back around to talk about The Rook. I’ve “finished” his series multiple times and always get sucked back in. Still, Max and his family are the backbone of the fictional pulp universe I’ve created and all the other characters exist in his shadow.

2) Lazarus Gray — For  years, I tried to create a viable second “series” to The Rook. I did some good projects along the way but nothing that really felt like I could do this series for years — until Lazarus Gray and his friends in Assistance Unlimited came along. Taking all the things I loved about The Avenger and mixing them up with my own supernatural-tinged style, Lazarus has quickly become one of my all-time favorites. The first seven stories featuring him should be out in September from Pro Se and then a full-length novel, Die Glocke, will follow in 2012.

3) Fiona Chapman — The star of my controversial novel Rabbit Heart, Fiona is the fictional outlet for my most visceral desires. Beautiful, intelligent and deadly, she’s the epitome of the “hot bad-ass girl with a sword” archetype. Though I may never do a sequel to the story, she’ll always be close to my heart.

4) Ascott Keane — Not my original creation but I feel connected to him because he’s appeared in multiple Rook stories and co-starred in Rabbit Heart. Though the original character fought Doctor Satan in the Golden Age of the Pulps, I think I’ve tweaked Ascott enough that I can feel a sense of ownership over him.

5) Violet Cambridge — Violet starred in The Damned Thing and had a cameo in The Rook Volume Six. A tough-as-nails lady P.I. in the late Thirties, Violet is a well-rounded character in my opinion. Her quasi-romance with Rook supporting character Will McKenzie was quite charming, in my opinion. Her novel was one of my most tightly-written works and I think it holds together very, very well.

Honorable mentions: Leonid Kaslov, Guan-Yin and The Furies.

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