New Pulp Recommendation: The Bone Queen

bone_queenEvery now and then I focus on a New Pulp work that I think merits your attention. Sometimes it will be something that’s brand new, other times I’ll look at something that’s a few years old. This week, I’m encouraging you to check out The Bone Queen by Andrea Judy.

Before we talk about the book itself, let’s see how the publisher describes it:

From the Pages of THE PULPTRESS Comes A Villain Like No Other-THE BONE QUEEN by Andrea Judy. All of humanity shares one inescapable experience, one inevitable fate. They all die. And in death, one woman finds her destiny. To be a Villain, to stand toe to toe with the ultimate heroine, The Pulptress. But first, evil had to rise from somewhere dark. Renata, a devotee of Mene, Goddess of Death, is on a singular mission during the era of the Black Death: to kill the Necromancer who is bringing the dead back as chiffoniers, rag and bone men. With a small band of men who have survived the Plague, Renata must find who is attempting to steal away the power of death and destroy them once and for all. Chiffoniers dog them every step of the way. And when death itself finally comes for Renata, everything changes. Once hunted, she becomes the hunter, tracking down the necromancer at any cost to herself and those around her. THE BONE QUEEN by Andrea Judy reveals the origin of its title character, first featured in THE PULPTRESS from Pro Se Productions. Proving as popular as her foe, The Bone Queen now stands at the center of Judy’s first digest novel. From devotee to deliverer of death, follow Renata as she discovers her true purpose lies in what comes after life. May The Gods Help Us All.

Having read (and enjoyed) this character’s prior appearance in The Pulptress anthology, I was curious to see her back-story fleshed out. What we have here is definitely a fantasy novel, complete with zombies and supernatural entities galore. The opening prologue is set in the modern day but from there, it’s more Robert E. Howard than the masked vigilante genre that The Bone Queen made her debut in.

The author does some mighty fine combat scenes and handles certain details with true creepiness. The descriptions of The Bone Queen munching on her bone snacks was well-done each time. The inevitable fall of Renata is clearly choreographed (we’ve seen her ultimate state in the modern day, after all) but still compelling reading.

I found myself very interested in the supporting characters and their fates. In fact, while I’d prefer to see The Bone Queen in the modern day in the future, there’s obviously more stories to be told with these characters. Heck, if Judy wanted to, she could go back even further and do a prequel to THIS story, showing Renata’s path to becoming the warrior we find her as in this novel. I’d be interested in that, too.

Well-written, tightly plotted and powerful in its characterizations, The Bone Queen is, I think, the best villain yet created in the New Pulp field. I’d love to see her continue on in not only her own adventures but she’s perfectly built for more throw-downs with The Pulptress or other New Pulp heroes. The biggest compliment I can give is that I really wish I’d created her.

Great stuff.

The Bone Queen (Marvel Heroic RPG Stats)

bone_queenTHE BONE QUEEN
aka Renata
Created by Andrea Judy

Affiliations: Solo D10 Buddy D8 Team D6

Distinctions: D4 (+1PP) or D8
Devotee of Mene, Goddess of Death
Enemy of The Pulptress
Grim Avenger

Power Sets:

Servant of Death
Enhanced Reflexes D8
Enhanced Strength D8
Superhuman Stamina D10
Undead Creation & Control D10
SFX: Second Wind. Before you make an action including a SERVANT OF DEATH power, you may move your STRESS TYPE die to the doom pool and step up the SERVANT OF DEATH power by +1 for this action.
Limit: Growing Dread. Count 1s and 2s on dice as opportunities when using a SERVANT OF DEATH power.
Limit: Grinding Bones Between Her Teeth. Renata’s powers begin to wane unless she eats human bones. If she goes without sustenance for over 72 hours, add a D10 die to the opposing roll when you or others try to recover your STRESS TYPE.

Undead Warriors – Solo D6, Buddy D8, Team D10; Distinctions – Shambling Undead, Scary!, Bound to The Bone Queen’s Will; Superhuman Durability D10, Superhuman Stamina D10, Superhuman Strength D10; Menace Master D10 or 2D8 or 3D6

Mistress of the Blade
Sword D8
SFX: Dangerous. Add D6 to dice pool for an attack action and step back highest die in pool by -1. Step up STRESS TYPE inflicted by +1.
Limit: Gear. Shutdown the Power Set and gain 1PP. Take an action vs. doom pool to recover.

Specialties:
Combat Master D10 or 2D8 or 3D6
Covert Expert D8 or 2D6
Menace Master D10 or 2D8 or 3D6
Mystic Expert D8 or 2D6

From the back cover of the first novel: From the Pages of THE PULPTRESS Comes A Villain Like No Other-THE BONE QUEEN by Andrea Judy. All of humanity shares one inescapable experience, one inevitable fate. They all die. And in death, one woman finds her destiny. To be a Villain, to stand toe to toe with the ultimate heroine, The Pulptress. But first, evil had to rise from somewhere dark. Renata, a devotee of Mene, Goddess of Death, is on a singular mission during the era of the Black Death: to kill the Necromancer who is bringing the dead back as chiffoniers, rag and bone men. With a small band of men who have survived the Plague, Renata must find who is attempting to steal away the power of death and destroy them once and for all. Chiffoniers dog them every step of the way. And when death itself finally comes for Renata, everything changes. Once hunted, she becomes the hunter, tracking down the necromancer at any cost to herself and those around her. THE BONE QUEEN by Andrea Judy reveals the origin of its title character, first featured in THE PULPTRESS from Pro Se Productions. Proving as popular as her foe, The Bone Queen now stands at the center of Judy’s first digest novel. From devotee to deliverer of death, follow Renata as she discovers her true purpose lies in what comes after life. May The Gods Help Us All.

New Pulp Recommendations: The Bone Queen by Andrea Judy

bone_queenEvery now and then I focus on a New Pulp work that I think merits your attention. Sometimes it will be something that’s brand new, other times I’ll look at something that’s a few years old. This week, I’m encouraging you to check out The Bone Queen by Andrea Judy.

Before we talk about the book itself, let’s see how the publisher describes it:

From the Pages of THE PULPTRESS Comes A Villain Like No Other-THE BONE QUEEN by Andrea Judy. All of humanity shares one inescapable experience, one inevitable fate. They all die. And in death, one woman finds her destiny. To be a Villain, to stand toe to toe with the ultimate heroine, The Pulptress. But first, evil had to rise from somewhere dark. Renata, a devotee of Mene, Goddess of Death, is on a singular mission during the era of the Black Death: to kill the Necromancer who is bringing the dead back as chiffoniers, rag and bone men. With a small band of men who have survived the Plague, Renata must find who is attempting to steal away the power of death and destroy them once and for all. Chiffoniers dog them every step of the way. And when death itself finally comes for Renata, everything changes. Once hunted, she becomes the hunter, tracking down the necromancer at any cost to herself and those around her. THE BONE QUEEN by Andrea Judy reveals the origin of its title character, first featured in THE PULPTRESS from Pro Se Productions. Proving as popular as her foe, The Bone Queen now stands at the center of Judy’s first digest novel. From devotee to deliverer of death, follow Renata as she discovers her true purpose lies in what comes after life. May The Gods Help Us All.

Having read (and enjoyed) this character’s prior appearance in The Pulptress anthology, I was curious to see her back-story fleshed out. What we have here is definitely a fantasy novel, complete with zombies and supernatural entities galore. The opening prologue is set in the modern day but from there, it’s more Robert E. Howard than the masked vigilante genre that The Bone Queen made her debut in.

The author does some mighty fine combat scenes and handles certain details with true creepiness. The descriptions of The Bone Queen munching on her bone snacks was well-done each time. The inevitable fall of Renata is clearly choreographed (we’ve seen her ultimate state in the modern day, after all) but still compelling reading.

I found myself very interested in the supporting characters and their fates. In fact, while I’d prefer to see The Bone Queen in the modern day in the future, there’s obviously more stories to be told with these characters. Heck, if Judy wanted to, she could go back even further and do a prequel to THIS story, showing Renata’s path to becoming the warrior we find her as in this novel. I’d be interested in that, too.

Well-written, tightly plotted and powerful in its characterizations, The Bone Queen is, I think, the best villain yet created in the New Pulp field. I’d love to see her continue on in not only her own adventures but she’s perfectly built for more throw-downs with The Pulptress or other New Pulp heroes. The biggest compliment I can give is that I really wish I’d created her.

Great stuff.

New Pulp Best Seller List (Based on Amazon Sales Ranks 11/5/13)

bone_queenIt’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 November 5, 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 November 2013, I’m only looking at books published since August 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) – 139,344
2) Six Guns and Spaceships by Various (Pro Se Productions, September 2013) – 176,257

3) Doc Savage: The Miracle Menace by Will Murray (Altus Press, September 2013) – 249,052
4) The Bone Queen by Andrea Judy (Pro Se Productions, October 2013) – 393,128
5)
The Crimson Mask Volume One by Various (Airship 27, October 2013) – 498,030
6) Liberty Girl by Barry Reese (Pro Se Productions, October 2013) – 503,268
7) Skorpio by Mike Baron (Wordfire Press, October 2013) – 727,034
8 ) The Queen of Escapes by Curt Fernlund (Airship 27, October 2013) – 812,083
9) Sisters of the Shadows: The Cagliostro Curse by Rick Lai (Hollywood Comics, October 2013) – 856,776
10) Shadow Legion: New Roads to Hell by Thomas Deja (Airship 27, September 2013) – 1,011,879

Just missing the list were: The Spider: Extreme Prejudice by Various (Moonstone Books, September 2013) – 1,091,156, New Adventures of the Green Ghost by Various (Pro Se Productions, October 2013) – 1,252,330, Black Fedora by Various (Pro Se Productions, September 2013) – 1,605,962, Ravenwood, Stepson of Mystery Volume Two (Airship 27, August 2013) – 1,959,386, The Bagman vs. The World’s Fair by B.C. Bell (Airship 27, August 2013) – 2,479,664, The New Adventures of Jim Anthony, Super-Detective: The Death’s Head Cloud by Josh Reynolds (Pro Se Productions, September 2013) – 2,520,901, A Week in Hell by J. Walt Layne (Pro Se Productions, August 2013) – 3,171,214 and Fight Card: Barefoot Bones by Bobby Nash (Fight Card Productions, October 2013) – 3,206,223. Zeppelin Tales Volume One by Various (Airship 27, November 2013) is now up on Amazon but since it was only released yesterday it has no sales rank as of yet.

Since we’ve moved into a new month, several books are now no longer being tracked because we’re now only counting books released since August 2013. Once again, we nearly have the entire top 10 with sales ranks below a million — very strong! But with our top book coming in with a rank of over a hundred thousand, the top spot was there for the taking! Heck, even Doc Savage is down at # 3 this week, which is unusual. I’d think Pro Se has to be happy with the sales of the Six Guns book, which is nestled in at # 2 this week. The Bone Queen by Andrea Judy also debuts strongly, peaking at # 4. Airship 27 continues to get strong sales out of The Crimson Mask, The Queen of Escapes and Shadow Legion. Mike Baron’s newest work cracks the top 10 after just missing it the past two weeks. It does this at the expense of The Spider: Extreme Prejudice, which ends up on the outside.

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

Take it all with a grain of salt, folks.

Working for the Weekend

20121205-172701.jpgIt’s Friday! I’m very happy to be able to type those words, believe me. We’re now a week away from the 2013 Georgia Literary Festival and I’m thrilled about that, as well. I’m the co-chair of the Planning Committee and it has been a lot more work than I’d ever imagined. Still, November 9 will be here before I know it and I’ll be able to say hi to several of my New Pulp friends — Van Plexico, Sean Taylor, Bobby Nash and Andrea Judy will all be here as part of our Thriller Track! For those of you who are in the area, the Festival is FREE TO ATTEND! It will take place in downtown Milledgeville and if you’re a fan of New Pulp, you can look forward to the following panels:

Noon
Thriller Track: Rise of the New Pulp- Sean Taylor, Van Plexico, Andrea Judy & Barry Reese in Georgia College Library Information Technology Center

1:00 pm
Thriller Track: Blending Genres- The Hardboiled P.I. in Different Eras- Alex Hughes, Sean Taylor & Bobby Nash in Georgia College Museum Education Room

2:00 pm
Thriller Track: Heroes from Beyond- Van Plexico in Old Governor’s Mansion Education Room

3:00 pm
Thriller Track: The Graphic World of Comic Books- Bobby Nash & Sean Taylor in Mary Vinson Memorial Library Children’sTheater

4:00 pm
Thriller Track: Georgia (and Murder) On My Mind- Alex Hughes, Barry Reese, Bobby Nash & Andrea Judy in Old Governor’s Mansion Education Room

And, of course, there will be MANY, MANY MORE panels and authors — but those are the ones that would be of most appeal to my New Pulp friends.

I’ve been continuing to work hard on the current Lazarus Gray story and it’s going very well. I’m definitely on track to complete this one next week! After that, I need to work on the Sherlock Holmes novel and then I’ve got some Phantom Detective ideas that are kicking around. I recently acquired three of the Regency reprints that were published in the Sixties and I plan to read those ASAP – I picked up The Trail to Death, Yellow Shadows of Death and Stones of Satan. Most of my Phantom Detective knowledge comes from reference works, comic books and the Phantoms in Bronze collection that Altus Press published. I want to read some more stories before I delve into really handling the character myself. I don’t believe in writing a pre-existing character without feeling like I have a really strong grasp on his history and personality. I’m still not there yet with PD but I’m getting close.

I’m supposed to be the guest on tonight’s recording of The Book Cave with Art Sippo — and I believe Tommy Hancock will be guesting as well. We’ll be talking about the recent release of Liberty Girl. It just received its first review, courtesy of Paul J. Fausz Jr. He gave it 4 out of 5 stars and wrote:

Interesting. Did not get to see the comics when this came out originally. Fun read. Would recommend if into Doc Savage, pulps, comic books etc.

Thanks, Paul! Reviews are always appreciated — and I’m glad you enjoyed this one. I wondered how it would play to people who didn’t read the comics and I’m glad to know you weren’t lost. 🙂

Take Care, folks!

Sunday Talk

bubbleJust got a few things to share today — and then I’ll be off to begin preparing for the Super Bowl. Though I’m primarily a Falcons fan, I’ll definitely be watching and hoping for a great game. I’m pulling for the Ravens!

I’m currently reading a couple of Shadow novels — the first two books that brought Margo Lane into the pulp series. She’d been on the radio since ’37, of course, but it wasn’t until 1942 that Walter Gibson was directed to write her into the novels. I’ve always had mixed feelings about Margo. Like a lot of Shadow fans, I kind of resent the way she’s elbowed her way into being The Shadow’s primary aide. As a result, we hardly ever see Harry Vincent, Burbank, Shrevvy, etc. and that’s a real shame. On the other hand, The Shadow stories can be a real sausage-fest at times so having the lovely Miss Lane around isn’t a bad thing. She’s quite capable and entertaining, as well, so it’s not like she doesn’t have skills.

On the writing side of things, still working on Lazarus Gray Volume Four. I’m probably going to call this one “Leviathan Rising,” since that’s the title of the 38,000 word story that kicks off the volume.

Our first submission for Tales of The Rook Volume Two has come in! Congrats to Russ Anderson for winning this distinguished prize 😉

In case I haven’t mentioned it before, the Georgia Literary Festival will be in my hometown of Milledgeville, Georgia this year — so on the weekend of November 9, 2013, there will be a lot of familiar faces to New Pulp fans in the area: Bobby Nash, James Palmer, Van Plexico, Andrea Judy and Sean Taylor are all going to be there with me so make plans to be there!