Writing, Writing, Always Writing

writingSo I finished off the Lilith novel and shared it with Tommy Hancock last week. Now I’m working on a story for the St. Germain project. It’s going to be a short (no more than 10k) and I’m sitting at around 3,000 words right now. Once that’s done… I have a mummy collection of stories that I’d like to complete. I’m hoping to have 4-5 stories in the book. I’m considering it shopping it to somewhere besides Pro Se – I’m very associated with them but they also have a huge backlog of material, much of it mine. I might like to see this book in print a little earlier than it would be if it comes out through my usual channel. The Lilith book worked so well for me because while it was part of my Reese Unlimited Universe, it also felt very different. The mummy book is just an exercise in doing something I think is fun and can stand on its own. In some ways I feel that my creativity has returned and I’m interested in doing various different things that may not always fit the ‘pulp adventure’ definition.

On another topic, hope that you’re not minding the Icons writeups I’ve been posting lately, ’cause there’s more coming. It’s a fun system and I like statting up various heroes and villains. Eventually I’ll probably do some of my own original characters, too.

Nearing the promised land

kiernan_shipkaI’m moving closer and closer to the end point for the current novel and it’s at this stage that I’m always bursting at the seams to go ahead and type, “The End.” I’m anxious to think about what’s next and the thrill of the current WIP has simply evaporated. I’ve lived with it for too long.

I was hoping that Assistance Unlimited: The Silver Age Volume One would be out by now… not sure what’s holding it up at Pro Se but I’m sure there’s a good excuse. I’m thinking I might step away from Lazarus Gray until they catch up on the backlog – soon, they’ll have volumes 8-12, plus the Lazarus/Nightveil crossover book.

I’ve begun watching The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and I’m really enjoying it. Same for My Hero Academia, which was introduced to me by my son. There’s so much great television out there! A lot of it really inspires me and I just wish I had the time to do all the stories that I have in my head. I know, it’s the writer’s lament…

Our post today is accompanied by an attitude-laced photo of Kiernan Shipka, the star of the Sabrina series.

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!


Pro Se Productions Licenses the Heroes of AC Comics!

Femforce107DarkGodsRampagePartThis press release went out overnight – and you’ll notice my name in it a time or two. What does this mean for down the road…? Stay tuned for more announcements!



Pro Se Productions, a leading Publisher of Genre Fiction, proudly announces a new licensing relationship with one of the best known names in independent comic books in the last 40 years. Beginning in 2016, Pro Se will be publishing the adventures of Paragon, DarkShade, FemForce, and an entire plethora of four-color heroes and villains from the pages of AC Comics, thanks to a licensing arrangement with AC’s founder Bill Black and his company, Nightveil Media.

“This,” says Tommy Hancock, Partner in and Editor in Chief of Pro Se Productions, “is in many ways a fan dream come true for me. I was, as a kid in the 1980s, the only comic collector my age, I thought, with any interest in the Golden Age characters. When AC Comics began reviving some of those characters and a whole slew inspired by that era, it meant the world to me. To be able to say that, thanks to the suggestion of writer Barry Reese and the wonderful working relationship we’ve already established with Bill Black, Pro Se will be bringing those wonderful characters with such vivid histories to life in prose is not just a fantastic business move. It makes the ten year old kid reading comics in me jump up and
down with joy.”

“Each of these characters,” continues Hancock, “still has pages and pages of stories to tell. And Pro Se has access to writers who grew up with these heroes, who understand what it takes to bring a comic character to life in Pulp Fiction. Translating comic characters to the Pulp page adds a certain edge, a visceral expression to them that I think lends itself well to Bill’s awesome cast of players.”

Evolving in 1982 out of Bill Black’s Paragon Publications, AC Comics® (Americomics in it’s first year of existence only, AC since 1984) was one of the initial quartet of independent color comics companies who pioneered the direct sales phenomenon in the early ’80’s. Within the framework of the four hundred-plus books AC has released, multitalented publishing maverick Bill Black has introduced a plethora of his own fascinating characters. From his new-wave super-hero universe of the companies’ early years (when costumed defenders like Captain Paragon, Commando D, The Scarlet Scorpion and Bolt gave readers an alternative to Marvel and DC fare) grew AC’s best known feature — The Femforce, Comicdom’s first and only successful all-female super-team book. In 1997, Femforce became the 229th comic book ever to pass the one hundred issue mark, and spawned an ever-increasing circle of spin-offs, support books and licensed merchandise.

A unique, eclectic and personal blend of tastes and influences have led publisher Bill Black to construct an engrossing matrix of fun and interesting comics and related publications. And now that creativity takes on new life in hands of today’s best Genre Fiction authors in new prose tales from Pro Se Productions!

“I’m truly excited,” says Bill Black, “about a new line of novels to be written about my comic book characters. This will open new vistas for Paragon, Nightveil, Femforce, and so many others. Comics and even the movies cannot come close to the in-depth characterization that novelization will bring. Prose adventures is something I’ve always wanted to do but never had the time. Pro Se, with talented writers like Barry Reese, will do it far better, so this promises to be an amazing joint venture. I can’t wait to read the first book!”

Even though the slate of AC characters is wide and varied and will be explored over time in various Pro Se volumes, the initial collections and books will focus on Paragon, Nightveil, DarkShade, and FemForce. Other characters that may show up in the first year of this arrangement include the Latigo Kid, The Black Shroud, The Haunter, and Alizarin Crimson. Hancock states that the first call for submissions would likely go out in late August/Early September 2015 with the focus for publication to begin in 2016.

For interviews with either Hancock or Black or to learn more about this project, contact Hancock at editorinchief@prose-press.com.

For more information on Pro Se Productions, go to http://www.prose-press.com.
Like Pro Se on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ProSeProductions. Discover all you need to know about AC Comics at http://www.acccomics.com.

Press Release: The Dark Gentleman Is On the Way

single_shotPro Se Productions, the publisher responsible for the recently revealed PRO SE SINGLE SHOT SIGNATURE imprint, announces that award winning New Pulp Author Barry Reese will bring his talent to bear on a series in this new line of digital singles.

Sovereign City has many champions but not all of them get the limelight. Reese’s THE DARK GENTLEMAN features one such hero. The Dark Gentleman is a crusader for justice, taking out the small fry criminals so that others can focus on the bigger picture. But for those whose lives are saved by the masked hero, he is just as important as Lazarus Gray or Doc Daye… He is the Dark Gentleman and he’s cleaning up Sovereign City, one petty thug at a time.

“The Dark Gentleman series,” says Reese, “represents a chance for me to do something a bit different within the confines of my pulp adventure universe. He operates on a smaller scale than most of my heroes and the focus will be on mundane (but still exciting!) adventures – no supernatural forces or globe trotting. This is straight-up, in your face pulp.

Barry Reese has been with Pro Se since the early days of the company’s foray into New Pulp and in 2011 brought his seminal New Pulp creation THE ROOK to roost as a part of Pro Se. Since then, Barry has opened his mind and let his vivid imagination pour out into various novels, including more adventures of THE ROOK as well as volumes featuring LAZARUS GRAY and GRAVEDIGGER.

Barry has spent the last decade writing for publishers as diverse as Marvel Comics, West End Games, Pro Se Press and Moonstone Books. Known primarily for pulp adventure works, Barry has also delved into slasher horror (Rabbit Heart) and crime noir (The Damned Thing). His favorite classic pulp heroes are The Avenger, The Shadow, Conan and Seekay.

Reese is also a winner of multiple awards for his Pulp work, including Best Novel, Best Short Story, Best Author, and most recently Best New New Pulp Character for his creation of Gravedigger in the 2014 New Pulp Awards.
THE DARK GENTLEMAN will feature cover art by Artist Jeffrey Hayes. Hayes is also the designer of the Pro Se Single Shots Signatures logo.

For interviews with the author or more information on the Pro Se Single Shots Signatures, contact Morgan Minor, Pro Se’s Director of Corporate Operations, at directorofcorporateoperations@prose-press.com.

For more information on Pro Se Productions, go to http://www.prose-press.com. Like Pro Se on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ProSeProductions.


Press Release

A leading independent publisher of Genre Fiction, Pro Se Productions announces an innovative new Fiction line today.

In 2010, Pro Se Productions debuted as a small press focused on ‘Puttin’ The Monthly Back into Pulp!’ The company originally produced a line of three magazines that featured ‘New Pulp’ short stories, that is stories written by modern writers very much in the style and feel of tales featured in classic Pulp magazines in the early 20th Century. When Pro Se made the move into publishing novels and short story anthologies, it closed the magazine line, only to restart the concept as a single magazine title due to popular demand. PRO SE PRESENTS grew into an award winning magazine that ran for 20 issues, its final installment released in February 2014. With the end of the magazine, Pro Se Productions closes one era to enter another, one that readers got a taste of in December of 2013.

“We are always,” says Tommy Hancock, Partner in and Editor-in-Chief of Pro Se, “focused on producing the very best in New Pulp and Genre Fiction in all aspects, including the format which we present it in. It’s no secret that Publishing in the last five years, particularly for independent presses such as Pro Se, has moved more and more into the digital realm. Not only can readers carry more books around on their Ereaders or their phones, but the price point is tremendously better in most cases over print books. Digital publishing also affords writers and publishers to produce any size work they wish, including single short stories that can be offered for less than a dollar each. Pro Se Productions decided to dip its foot in that pool and in December we held a grand opening of sorts for our new imprint- Pro Se Single Shots.

“The success we had,” continues Hancock, “with the first volley of Single Shots was quite amazing. No one’s getting rich on them, but the interest readers showed in being able to drop 99 cents and get a good, solid short story that they could read in a single sitting was staggering to us right out of the gate. This combined with the fact that our second magazine line had run its course we felt in its current format, gave us a few ideas. Chief among them was the fact that we could take each story that would have appeared in a PRO SE PRESENTS and offer it individually to readers in a digital format. That way a mystery fan could pick up the mystery stories he or she wanted for a reasonable price without having to feel like they were buying other stories they may not enjoy. But an even more intriguing idea presented itself rather quickly.

“The concept of digital singles affords Pro Se the ability to really bring the concept of Pulp storytelling and even, in a indirect way, the idea of recurring tales from a consistent stable of authors on a regular schedule –much like classic Pulps did- into the 21st Century. This kernel of an idea took root with us rather quickly and brings us now to possibly the most exciting announcement Pro Se has made in a long time. Pro Se Single Shot Signatures.”

The Pro Se Single Shot Signature line brings together 38 writers from across the spectrum of Genre Fiction. Each of these authors will be producing either an original series of his/her creation featuring recurring characters and concepts or writing an imprint of individual stand alone stories entitled ‘From The Pen of…’ and the author’s name. Multiple genres are represented, from jungle tales to horror stories to some that defy description.

Regardless if an author is doing a series or imprint, they will all be working on a regular production schedule established based on their own ability to produce quality work. Some will produce stories on a bi weekly, monthly, bi monthly, quarterly, or bi annual schedule. Each story will range in length from 3,000 to 15,000 words. Also, debuts of the individual series and/or imprints will be spread out over the remaining months of 2014, with at least three titles debuting in April.

Pro Se Productions proudly announces the inaugural cast of authors in the Pro Se Single Shot Signatures line. They include:
David Foster
PJ Lozito
Russ Anderson
Sean Taylor
Teel James Glenn
Fuller Bumpers
Tommy Hancock
Morgan Minor
Mark Bousquet
Philip Athans
Jim Beard
I. A. Watson
Joshua Reynolds
Bobby Nash
Greg Norgaard
Mark Gelineau
J. Walt Layne
Nikki Nelson-Hicks
D. Alan Lewis
H. David Blalock
Gary Phillips
Sean E. Ali
Barry Reese
Percival Constantine
Jeremy Hicks
Logan L. Masterson
Chuck Miller
Alexander S. Brown
Adam Lance Garcia
David White
Kevin Rodgers
Derrick Ferguson
Aaron Smith
Frank Schildiner
Brad Mengel
Richard White
Terry Alexander
Terrence McCauley

Each Pro Se Single Shot Signature Series and Imprint will feature cover art by Artist Jeffrey Hayes.

If the author of a series or imprint chooses to, print collections of his or her stories will be produced at later dates as agreed upon by Pro Se and the individual creator. Hancock also stated that Pro Se will continue to produce stand alone Single Shots as they did in December and again in March.

“The Signature line,” Hancock says, “is a very exciting prospect for Pro Se, the authors and artist involved, and the readers I believe. It puts these fantastic New Pulp tales in a quick, easy to digest format, makes them inexpensive, and opens readers up to a whole host of ideas and authors that they may never have been exposed to otherwise for whatever reason. It may not be the same feel as having a paper magazine to fold up in your hand, but the Pro Se Single Shot Signatures line definitely makes Puttin’ The Monthly Back into Pulp something Pro Se can do in a big way.”

In coming days, news concerning the individual authors and the series and/or imprints they are working on as well as production schedules will be released from Pro Se Productions.

For More information on Pro Se Single Shot Signatures, to be placed on a review list for upcoming releases, or for interviews with the authors involved, please contact Morgan Minor, Director of Corporate Operations for Pro Se, at directorofcorporateoperations@prose-press.com.

To learn more about Pro Se Productions, go to http://www.prose-press.com and like Pro Se on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ProSeProductions.
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marilynBack in the office after the holidays, though it’s not a typical work day since my 7-year old son has come to the office with me. Should be an interesting and fresh look at what my day is like.

I started work on the final Lazarus Gray story that will run in Volume Five. It’s off to a fine start and I think people will really have a smile on their face when they read this opening section. Without giving too much away, though, I have to reveal that this book leads up to a major event that takes place int his final story. I’m not 100% sure what that event will be because it could go one of two ways: one would be a “happy” ending and the other would be a big ol’ downer. Both would work with the characters but both would also have major ramifications down the line for the series. I’m honestly not sure how it will resolve itself until I get there. Until then, I’m letting the characters lead me. They’ll work it out all out for me in the end.

They always do.

Anyway, once I’m finished with this story, it’s on to the crossover novel.

Don’t forget that this is Reese Unlimited Month at Pro Se — so you’ll be seeing (and hearing) me all over the place. I’m the guest on this week’s episode of the Pulped! Podcast and I’m recording an episode of The Exploding Typewriter with Perry Constantine and Bobby Nash tomorrow. I’ll keep you guys updated as I bounce around elsewhere as January rolls on. If you scroll back to my post from yesterday, you’ll see that we’re currently giving away the first Gravedigger book right now so it’s the perfect time to jump in to Charity Grace’s adventures.

Hopefully all of this will bring new readers in to my pulp adventure universe. While I’d love to get rich and famous, I’ll gladly accept a ton of readers who enjoy the characters in lieu of such.

But I’ll still cash the checks if they come!

Take care, folks. 2014 is here and it’s big and brash!

To celebrate our return to “normal” posting around the blog, I give you a pleasant image of Marilyn Monroe. You’re welcome.

New Pulp Best Seller List (Based on Amazon Sales Ranks 10/29/13)

Air-72It’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 October 29, 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 October 2013, I’m only looking at books published since July 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) – 35,048
2) Doc Savage: The Miracle Menace by Will Murray (Altus Press, September 2013) – 66,749
3) The Crimson Mask Volume One by Various (Airship 27, October 2013) – 338,543
4) Six Guns and Spaceships by Various (Pro Se Productions, September 2013) – 378,707
5) Liberty Girl by Barry Reese (Pro Se Productions, October 2013) – 401,537
6) The Spider: Extreme Prejudice by Various (Moonstone Books, September 2013) – 439,760
7) Shadow Legion: New Roads to Hell by Thomas Deja (Airship 27, September 2013) – 569,546
8 ) The Queen of Escapes by Curt Fernlund (Airship 27, October 2013) – 921,831
9) New Adventures of the Green Ghost by Various (Pro Se Productions, October 2013) – 951,352
10) Sisters of the Shadows: The Cagliostro Curse by Rick Lai (Hollywood Comics, October 2013) – 1,257,199

Just missing the list were: Black Fedora by Various (Pro Se Productions, September 2013) – 1,287,973, Skorpio by Mike Baron (Wordfire Press, October 2013) – 1,478,224, Ravenwood, Stepson of Mystery Volume Two (Airship 27, August 2013) – 1,610,559, Pro Se Presents # 19 (Pro Se Productions, July 2013) – 1,664,049, The Bagman vs. The World’s Fair by B.C. Bell (Airship 27, August 2013) – 2,089,769, Behold the Night Wind by Christopher R. Yates (Borgo Press, July 2013) – 2,140,344, The New Adventures of Jim Anthony, Super-Detective: The Death’s Head Cloud by Josh Reynolds (Pro Se Productions, September 2013) – 2,200,036, Robin Hood – Freedom’s Outlaw by I.A. Watson (Airship 27, July 2013) – 2,285,174, Fight Card: Brooklyn Beatdown by Derrick Ferguson (Fight Card Productions, July 2013) – 2,623,610, Fight Card: Barefoot Bones by Bobby Nash (Fight Card Productions, October 2013) – 2,623,611,  and A Week in Hell by J. Walt Layne (Pro Se Productions, August 2013) – 2,817,771.

Another strong week in terms of sales as we nearly hit a top ten where everyone is under a million. That doesn’t happen all that often. The top two are unchanged but The Crimson Mask debuts strong at # 3. Six Guns and Spaceships jumps back onto the top ten while Liberty Girl continues to perform well for Pro Se. I’m a little surprised that The Spider isn’t higher on the list given the character’s popularity. Perhaps Moonstone needs to promote it a little more? Rick Lai’s newest climbs into the top ten this week, which is the first time we’ve seen anything from Hollywood Comics on this list.

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

Take it all with a grain of salt, folks.

Running With Wild Cats

Rook Volume 5Let’s travel back in time, to the long-ago era that was 2007. By this time, I had been writing professionally for a few years, having worked for Marvel Comics on their Encyclopedia series and the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe. Inspired by Ron Forter & Gordon Linzner’s The Hounds of Hell I had even begun self-publishing some New Pulp stories. Already I had released a couple of Rook novellas (Lucifer’s Cage and Kingdom of Blood), as well as Conquerors of Shadow, which was my love letter to Edgar Rice Burroughs.

I wanted more.

Self-publishing gives you tremendous freedom but it also takes away from what I really like to do — which is write. I’m fine with giving up a measure of control over the finished product if somebody else will handle all the formatting and editing that I really don’t want to do.

So I began to consider looking for a publisher. The obvious choice was the folks who had published The Hounds of Hell — not only had that book inspired me in the first place but at the time I didn’t know of anyone else who was publishing that sort of pulp fiction. Keep in mind that this predated Pro Se Press and so many of the others. So I wrote to the two Rons (Hanna and Fortier, who were working together at Wild Cat Books) and pitched them on my Rook series. Perhaps they could re-publish the first two novellas and I could add several new shorts to round out the package? They were agreeable and we were set.

Only about a week or two later, I got an email saying that the Rons had decided to part ways. I’m not going to go into the whys of that, though I’ve heard a good bit from both sides. What’s important for our purposes is that I was given a choice — I could go with Ron Fortier and his writers or I could stay with Ron Hanna, who planned to continue publishing New Pulp. Fortier was planning to start up his own company (this would become Airship 27) but initially had no idea how quick or how slow this might end up being. It ended up not being all that long but I didn’t know that at the time. I elected to stay with Hanna because he could get my book into print the fastest.

The first volume of The Rook came out and we were all happy about it. My buddy Storn Cook did the cover and it looked aces. Following on that, I ended up writing a lot for Wild Cat Books over the next few years — the first five volumes of The Rook series, Guan-Yin and the Horrors of Skull Island, The Damned Thing, Rabbit Heart, Savage Tales of Ki-Gor, etc.

Wild Cat was publishing other things, as well, but I think it’s safe to say that I had become their primary source for new books. I’m not tooting my own horn there because sales weren’t great — I’m simply speaking about the quantity of things I was producing.

WCB was wonderful in giving me tons of freedom. Too much freedom, in fact! They did little in the way of editing and hardly ever said “No,” which is a dangerous thing to give to creative types. Left to my own devices, I sometimes went off on weird tangents. I need an editor to occasionally say, “Um… Hmm. No.” So these were good and bad times — good in the sense that I was writing like a madman and having fun. Bad because some of the finished product was not particularly professional and I was making… well, nothing. Ron occasionally sent me money if I inquired about it but the sales he reported were miniscule. I’m not saying he was lying but I do think he’d agree that his business sense is not the best — he’s a fan of pulp and loves helping produce it but he’s not an entrepreneur in the money-making sense. With the eBook sales, I knew many people who claimed to be buying and reading my stuff but the sales indicated that this was not the case. There was also the issue of promotion — WCB generally released the books and that was it. I tried to push them myself, of course, but I wanted to have someone help me with the marketing.

Eventually, I decided to branch out. I wrote for other companies and once Pro Se Press came along, I took my creations over there and licensed them to Pro Se. I left my back catalog at Wild Cat Books out of respect for Ron Hanna as I didn’t want to gut the majority of their line. For awhile, I produced new Rook material for Pro Se, while the old books were still with WCB. I finally decided to remove my books entirely from WCB because sales at Pro Se were pretty good… and yet I was making nothing from the older books at WCB. That was strange to me — again, I’m sure that Ron was very honest with me about the sales figures but my thought was that if the new stuff I’m writing is selling this well, maybe new editions of the old stuff (with new packaging and editing) would, as well. So Pro Se began rolling out new editions of The Rook and Conquerors of Shadow (now called The Family Grace) — and soon they’ll do the same with Rabbit Heart and The Damned Thing.

Sales are much better on the new editions of The Rook. Go figure!

Ron was understanding when I began to ask him to pull my books from circulation. He did it quickly and efficiently and never complained. I told him honestly that I appreciated all the support he’d given me and for allowing me the opportunity to break into New Pulp. I felt then and do now that Wild Cat Books does not get the respect it deserves. With so many people producing New Pulp now, we need to remember companies like WCB who kept this alive when few others did. I salute Ron Hanna for being a true fan of classic pulp and for believing in the viability of New Pulp. I nominated him for both a Munsey Award and for the Lifetime Achievement Award (Pulp Ark) and was proud to do so.

A couple of days ago I was posting away on Facebook and put the following: Reading “Live and Let Die” by Ian Fleming and struggling to figure out how I should feel about this one. It’s undeniably a rip-snorting adventure but the casual racism of the book makes me feel all skeevy. I’m trying to remember the era in which it was written but I frequently wince as a great paragraph stumbles over something decidedly non-pc.

What I meant by this (and assume was obvious in the post itself) is that I’m really enjoying the book… but that when I run across things like Chapter 5 being entitled “Ni**** Heaven”, it gives me pause. I really like Ian Fleming, actually, but it’s still weird when you see an entire race being described in huge generalities. That’s all I meant. I’m enjoying the book but it makes me feel all skeevy. A classic conflict between intellect and emotion, as my wife pointed out — my intellect reminds me that it’s a product of its time, my emotion says “Ew!”

Ron Hanna took some issue with my post, saying I’ve been reading a lot of “Classics” recently: “Robinson Crusoe”, and stuff by Jules Verne and Mark Twain… If the “non-pc” aspects turn you off, despite realizing the times in which they were written, then maybe you should get over it… “Huckleberry Finn” was BANNED for many years, in many schools, yet it’s a CLASSIC… and since you are a Librarian, I would think that you would have a more open mind about stuff like that, Barry…

I explained that I thought Ron needed to get off his high horse! I didn’t think my status update was close-minded at all but whatever. Ron then asked me if I was to write a story set in the 1930s, how would I handle it. I responded by saying that I figured Ron would know since he’d published my stuff for years. Seriously, he published The Rook Volumes 1-5 — shouldn’t he be very familiar with what I would do with stories set in that era?

And this is how he answered that: LOL… Very true! And since I couldn’t afford to pay you what you truly deserved, I totally understand your taking your work elsewhere… I never had a problem with that… But when you talk about “High-Horses”? Well, you list yourself as “Pulp Author Extraordinaire” and have your own “Imprint” and you ARE a “Professional” writer… Yet you still work at a Library… so when will you finally make a LIVING off your writing? Not trying to be harsh… I guess I just get upset when people have to blow their own horns so much that they run out of breath… I’ve always wished you nothing but the best, and I hope that one day, you CAN become a TRUE “Professional” writer when you can devote ALL your time to writing fiction… FWIW… I’m a “Published” writer as well, but I know I’ll never make a living at it… I hope you can… Really, I do…

Well, now.

That was rather hurtful, I felt. Implying that I was blowing my horn so much that I was running out of breath… that I wasn’t a true professional because I also have a day job… and then taking a swipe at my humorous (I thought) “Pulp Author Extraordinaire” tag on my blog. Not cool. I decided to not feed the furor any further and simply thanked him for the concern.

Would I love to be living in a mansion and writing all day long? You betcha. But I’ve had so many dreams come true… seeing my name listed in Marvel’s solicitations and on their website, writing my childhood hero The Avenger, having dozens of books with my name on the cover, having people who tell me that they love my characters and my stories… All of that is worth more than money.

I appreciate all that Wild Cat Books has done for me. Without that company and without Ron Hanna, I would not be where I am today. If he’d blown me off when I’d first approached him, I might have never created Lazarus Gray or Fiona Chapman or Charity Grace. I owe him and genuinely wish him the best. I think it’s clear that he harbors some sort of resentment or jealousy towards not only me but others in the New Pulp field. I’d love to see WCB rise like a phoenix and become a true force in New Pulp again — hopefully that will happen.

I really do hope so.