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Wednesday Weirdness

frenz_shadowHowdy, folks!

Just uploaded episode 59 of The Shadow Fan’s Podcast. This week we talk about a 1934 novel (“The Circle of Death”) and the 19th issue of Dynamite’s comic book series. I also get into some of the rumors surrounding a possible Will Murray-penned Doc Savage/Shadow novel and take a look at the October 2013 sales figures for Dynamite’s various Shadow offerings. If you love The Shadow (and if you don’t, what’s wrong with you??), hopefully you’ll enjoy the episode.

Work continues on the current Lazarus Gray story — I’ve introduced a new supporting character in this one and I really, really like her. I’m planning to possibly do something terribly, terribly mean to her, too.

I’ve settled on a title for the big crossover novel that’s coming out in 2014, too, but I’m not ready to share it yet. You guys have already seen the awesome Chris Bastista cover, which brings together The Rook, Gravedigger and Lazarus Gray — now I just have to ensure that the story itself is as good as that cover! That’s no small order, I’m afraid. We’ll also see a brand new menace introduced in this book, one that is big enough to threaten not only our three heroes but all of creation.

Recently, I was deeply honored to get a quote from Michael Uslan for use on my future books. Mr. Uslan is a legend in several fields and his words definitely touched me. I’ve shared them on various social media sites but it occurred to me that I hadn’t done so here. Please forgive me for squealing a bit like a schoolgirl! Here’s what he had to say: “Barry Reese is not only an exceptional author who vividly captures the thrill-a-minute essence of pulp fiction in his work from The Rook to Gravedigger to Lazarus Gray, but he’s also clearly a fan at heart who loves what he’s doing. That passion seeps into every spine-tingling chapter he writes. Bravo!” – Michael Uslan, Executive Producer of all the Batman movies from “Batman” to The Dark Knight Trilogy and author of his memoir, The Boy Who Loved Batman.

Wow, right?

And to think that all the great things that have happened to me arose from my love of the great pulp heroes of the past!

Good times.

The artwork that accompanies this post is by Ron Frenz and, of course, shows off The Shadow. My buddy Pat Casey sends me lots of awesome Shadow artwork and this was one of them. Thanks, Pat!

Wednesday Things

Barry_Reese_cover_colWelcome back to Ye Olde Blog!

I finished work on the latest Lazarus Gray short story yesterday — this one is the third of a projected five tales that will make up the fifth volume in the series. So far, so good. There’s a running subplot through the first few stories that will take center stage in the final piece so I’m continuing to build towards that.

Now I’m doing research for this Holmes novella I’m supposed to write. I’m still very daunted by the prospect. I suspect the best thing to do is to simply start writing and not worry about the reception it will receive. If people hate it and my version of Holmes, I’ll just shrug my shoulders and keep writing something else. That’s the only way to do it. Obviously, I’ll try my best to honor the character since I’ve always loved him but I know I’ll never be Doyle and won’t even try. I can only be Barry Reese and hope that’ll be enough.

Uploaded episode 57 of The Shadow Fan’s Podcast today so if you’re a fan of that, get to downloading! This week I review a 1946 novel and two recent Dynamite releases: the excellent Year One # 6 and the not-so-excellent Shadow Now # 2.

Our art today is the color version of Chris Batista’s cover for the upcoming crossover novel. Colors are by Tom Smith.

This one will bring together The Rook, Gravedigger and Lazarus Gray for a major adventure. When will it see print? Well, you really need to read Gravedigger Volume Two & Lazarus Gray Volumes Four & Five first… So it will be 2014 but I can’t say for certain when. Trust me, though, I’ll do everything I can to make it important enough that it deserves to be Lazarus gray Volume Six, Gravedigger Volume Three and The Rook Volume Seven, all rolled into one 😉

Thanks for supporting me and my little pulp adventure universe, guys. I never thought I’d get to write the sort of stories that I loved as a kid — and I hope my enthusiasm for the work translates its way onto the page. See you all tomorrow!

Lots o’ Stuff

lg01_lazarus_solo_with_text_smallWelcome back to Ye Olde Blog!

Sometime in the next 24-48 hours, the new Pro Se Press edition of Rabbit Heart should go live. The cover is by Jason Levesque and the graphic design on the book is by the amazing Sean Ali. When I wrote this book back in 2010, it was meant to exorcise some demons I had rattling around in my soul but along the way, it became something more. It’s not only the most person of my works but I’ve found that in the eyes of many, it’s my best. I’m not sure I’d say that myself as I’m very proud of my various pulp adventure novels and I think The Damned Thing is a Damned Fine Novel but I can understand why Rabbit Heart resonates as it does with a segment of the audience. It’s violent, it’s nasty, it’s filthy, it’s full of degradation… but I also think people recognize a certain Truth to the story and its characters. If you’ve never read it before, I hope you’ll give it a shot… and if you have read it before, this one will be completely reformatted and edited so the experience of enjoying it again should be all the better.

For folks who enjoy The Shadow Fan’s Podcast, I’m aiming to record an episode on Friday of this week. I’m currently reading a really, really good Shadow novel and I plan to review it on the next podcast.

I continue to work hard on the newest Lazarus Gray story. This one is the third short I’m planning for the fifth volume of the series. Book one contained multiple short stories but with books 2-4 I did two novellas in each one, all of which eventually formed a grand story that spans all three books. The fifth volume will contain five short stories as I sort-of return to the way the first book was laid out. I say “sort-of” because this one has elements introduced in the first story that pop up again in later ones, until they take center stage in the last tale. So it’s five separate stories, all tied together by a steadily growing subplot.

Anyway, once I’m finished with this current story, I’ll be working on a Sherlock Holmes novella for Pro Se… then I have several things waiting for me on the other side of Holmes: completing the last two Lazarus stories for Volume Five; Working on a Phantom Detective project; and writing the big crossover novel that will bring together Gravedigger, Lazarus Gray and The Rook.

I either need more time in the day or a clone of myself to get  it all done…

This Saturday will see the Georgia Literary Festival take place in Milledgeville, Georgia. I’ve been co-chairing the Planning Committee for what feels like the last ten years so I’m anxious to have it over and done with. I will enjoy seeing some of my New Pulp buddies at the event but I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to hang out with them since I’ll be running around all day, frantic and worried about this or that. Give me strength!

I hope to get the colored Chris Batista cover from Tom Smith soon — Batista did an amazing job on the crossover book’s cover & I’ll definitely share when I’ve gotten the finished piece.

Our art today is by George Sellas!

Wednesday Updates

20121228-083913.jpgWelcome back, my friends!

Several things to share with you today — first off, I uploaded the 53rd episode of The Shadow Fan’s Podcast this morning. I’m afraid I go a bit negative in the direction of The Shadow Now # 1. It genuinely pains me to do it because I really want every Shadow comic and product to be the very best. As a fan, it’s in my best interest to see these things succeed. Having said that, this… was disappointing.

In better news, I finally (!) finished my Pulse Fiction story last night. Yep, I sent in the exciting tale of Doctor Darkness and The Insanitors to my editor and now I’m wiping my hands of it. The characters are fun and I hope they have a long life ahead of them but I really struggled with the story for some reason. Still, I think it works and hopefully folks who read it will be interested in the characters and they’ll continue on in other people’s hands.

So what’s next for me? Well, I’d like to belt out the third short story for Lazarus Gray Volume Five. I may lay some seeds in that one that will bear fruit in the crossover novel that’s coming down the road. That one will pair Lazarus Gray, The Rook & Gravedigger for the first time… and feature a heavy dose of my old character Catalyst, as well. “But wait,” says the one person who has dutifully studied my universe’s timeline, “Catalyst isn’t introduced until 1942! Gravedigger and Lazarus Gray are both back in 1937 right now… Are you skipping a few years?” No. If you read Catalyst’s introduction, you’ll know that there were Catalysts who preceded Nathaniel Caine… I’m pretty much spelling it out for you, right?

I’m expecting to get the color cover back from Tom Smith in a few days – Tom is a legendary colorist and I’m expecting to be amazed at what he does over Chris Batista’s artwork. I only hope my story will match the dazzling cover!

After I finish off that third Lazarus Gray story, I’ll be moving on to the next work-for-hire thing I have to do: the Sherlock Holmes novella I owe Pro Se Productions. As I’ve said before, this will be written in my style but featuring Holmes & Watson. I am not doing a pastiche.

The Liberty Girl book is coming very soon, as is the new Rabbit Heart release. I hope you’re excited about both!

Updates Galore

SM_003_CVRWelcome back to Ye Olde Blog! I hope to make some good progress over the next few days on this Shadowman story I’m working on for Kindle Worlds. Given how busy I was last week, it’s kind of stalled out at around 10,000 words but I definitely plan to type THE END in the next few days. It’s been fun… kind of reminds me of my old fanfiction days before I turned pro. The difference being that if this one is accepted, it’s officially licensed and I might make a few pennies off of it. That’s kind of fun! I wish more companies would consider going the Kindle Worlds route — I’d love to write Batman… or The Shadow… or any of a dozen other concepts that are either being ignored by their license holders or are simply unlikely to ever come my way.

Once I’m done with this current project, it’s on to several deadline-bearing work-for-hire jobs before I can return to my own characters.

Got to see the mock-up cover for my Liberty Girl book yesterday. Folks who have followed this blog for awhile know that I adapted the first Liberty Girl trade (and a few other issues) into a novella and then wrote an additional all-new story featuring the Heroic Publishing character (“America’s Bronze Goddess of Freedom”). It was an interesting experience! I can’t share the cover with you but I will say it’s *very* sharp. This is supposed to kick off a whole line of Heroic-inspired prose projects from Pro Se Productions and I hope the other books do very well.

I’m still getting positive reaction to the Chris Batista cover I posted last week, the one that will eventually appear on the Gravedigger/The Rook/Lazarus Gray crossover novel. Can’t wait to have the time to work on that book! Someday….

Sometime this week I hope to post a “guest blog” written by a prominent New Pulp author. It will be the first time I’ve turned over the blog to someone else and in this case, I think it’s very much warranted. This author has sparked a few interesting threads on Facebook with his ideas and they’ve been received fairly negatively by some. I think we need to discuss these issues and I hope that this blog will provide a forum for it. Stay tuned!

I’ve made a few pitches in recent months to major publishers about the use of their characters. Fingers crossed. These things always take time but nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Today we have another Shadowman cover courtesy of Valiant Entertainment, in the hopes it will inspire me to finish off this story!

Tuesday Things

Shadowman-1-Valiant-2012-BHello, folks!

As some of you know (if you follow me on Twitter), I’m currently working on a story for Kindle Worlds — the officially licensed program that allows you to write stories set in some pre-existing universes (or “worlds”). As a longtime fan of Valiant Comics, I decided to dabble in the Kindle Worlds stuff with one of those characters. I chose Shadowman because not only do I really like the character but he’s the closest to what I write on a regular basis. I’m over 7,000 words into this short story and I hope to have it up and for sale in about a week or so – I’d love to have it up even sooner but I have a busy life in the “real world” this week. Still, it will be fun to see if there’s anybody reading/buying these things… the terms of the Kindle Worlds program are that they’re ONLY available as eBooks so you’ll need to fire up the Kindle to give it a looking over.

I will say that I hesitated to do one of these things mainly because I thought I should hold on to my ideas for one of my own stories… but then I figured that maybe this would expose my work to new readers and it’s always good to take a chance on that. If it fails to get me any new followers, the worst thing that happened was that I spent a few weeks writing about a character that I like anyway.

To celebrate my new story, I’m using a cool piece of Shadowman artwork on the site today. Enjoy!

Tom Smith, longtime Marvel Comics’ colorist, is currently working on the Chris Batista cover that I posted yesterday. The crossover novel still needs a title — if you have one you’d like to suggest based upon the art you’ve seen, feel free to pass it along. I’ll give you a “thanks” in the book itself if I choose to use it.

I’ve been talking to a prominent New Pulp author about doing a guest blog on the site… he’s raised some interesting issues in recent months on his Facebook page and I think they’re worth exploring here. I’m sure that many people may not agree with all his points but I think it’s a discussion we all need to have as pulp fans — how’s that for teasing you, eh? I love doing that.

See you guys tomorrow!

 

A New Review… And Some Chris Batista Artwork!

barry reese low resWelcome back to Ye Olde Blog as we kick off a new week!

This weekend was an exciting one – not only did we celebrate my son’s 7th birthday and I got to watch the kickoff to the NFL season, but I also got a look at Grant Miehm’s cover for Tales of The Rook Volume Two and Chris Batista’s cover for the still-untitled crossover novel that will feature Gravedigger, Lazarus Gray and The Rook. Both are amazing pieces of work and I think that people will really like them. In fact, today you can get a look at the penciled image of the crossover novel — it’s lo-resolution for now but I think it will more than whet your appetites!

Pretty damned snazzy, eh?

Meanwhile, over at Amazon, a new review was posted for Mystery Men (& Women) Volume One, which was an Airship 27 release that I contributed to back in 2010. Darkendale Raven posted this:

Today I would like to recommend Mystery Men and Women Volume One to all readers out there who love new pulp fiction.

This volume collects four new stories, staring four new heroes of pulp fiction, each created by a different author!
BC Bell brings us yet another adventure of criminal turned vigilante, The Bagman. Frank “Mac” McCullough now fights the very gang bosses he grew up admiring in defense of the poor and helpless in his Chicago neighborhood. The Bagman had smashed the crime rackets in his neighborhood, but now a collector for a protection racket has come to his cigar store. Now the Bagman goes to war with this latest threat. But is his new store clerk involved in the crime or merely a witness to events beyond his control?

Aaron Smith brings us the story of The Red Veil. Maria Smith’s husband, a dedicated policeman, is found gunned down in a deserted apartment. Maria and her mother-in-law try to console each other through this time of grief. Then when nothing is settled on the case, Maria discovers that the case was ordered closed and no investigation actually happened.

Furious with righteous anger, Maria makes a costume from her wedding dress and investigates as The Red Veil. And either by bullet or by the claws she made from her husband’s police badge, The Red Veil is going to make her husband’s murderer pay in blood…

Gordon “Gory” Burrell is a football player with quite the reputation for his skillful play. He is approached by mob members who demand he `throw” a game. When he angrily refuses, the mob breaks both his legs beyond repair.

Then a mysterious Oriental Doctor tells Gordon that he can cure his legs. The operation is a success, giving Gory unbreakable metal bones, but an accident also gives him metal skin. Unable to return to football or his fiancé, Gordon assembles a makeshift costume and becomes Gridiron.

In smashing the mob, Gordon is found by his fiancé, and discovers that not everything went down as he believes it did…

And the final story comes from the prolific Barry Reese, creator of new pulp icons The Rook, Lazarus Gray, and The Gravedigger.

This new heroine is a woman called Dusk. Her strawberry blonde hair and general build seems to indicated that she is, in fact, Sue Timlin, Police Detective Roland Moore’s lovely aide. She also seems to be in any area where Dusk has been seen. But is she really one and the same woman?

She deals with criminals on their own level. She doesn’t hesitate to put a bullet into any evildoer, but she does have a special punishment for the truly wicked. There is something about the face under the mask that causes crooks to relive all of their misdeeds, and to suffer as the victims suffer.

Now a criminal mastermind is after the legendary “Fourth Nail”, a Christian relic said to be unused at the Crucifixion where it was to have pierced the heart of Christ. Now it grants forgiveness for anyone who touches it as well as healing from any disease. One cannot die of natural causes as long as they have that nail.

But Dusk is determined that the crooked leader will never have it, no matter what she has to do.

The Bagman. The Red Veil. Gridiron. Dusk. Four gloriously new pulp heroes and heroines. I do hope that, like the Bagman, the other three will continue to have their adventures recorded.

Quoth the Raven…

Thanks for the review, Raven! I had fun creating Dusk and actually incorporated parts of that story into my Rook universe later on. I don’t have any plans to return to Dusk but it was still fun and I really enjoyed the little twist ending I gave that story.

See you guys tomorrow!