Press Release: St. Germain

For Immediate Release

PRO SE PRODUCTIONS LICENSES CHARACTERS OF ALLEGED LOST PULP PUBLISHER-42 WRITERS SIGN ON!

Every field of work, every career, every fandom, every anything that catches peoples’ interest and involves creative types producing works comes with its own mysteries. Obscure players and disregarded pieces that get lost to history and end up nearly completely forgotten, except for whispers of ‘Do You remember…?’ and tales of ‘Someone told me about…’

Such are the rumors of Vincent St. Germain and his nearly literal flash in the pan self-named pulp publishing company-St. Germain Publishing. Pro Se Productions announces that after exploring the nearly unknown stories and whispers about this extremely short lived publishing outfit, it has licensed from the owner and potential creator’s estate all characters featured in five apparently and two unpublished magazines.

“As little is known about the man St. Germain as is about his alleged almost momentarily St. Louis, Missouri based magazine publishing concern,” says Tommy Hancock, Editor in Chief of Pro Se Productions. “I have uncovered no written records confirming his existence, except potentially a few pieces of paper held dearly by reclusive collectors of such ephemera. No copies of signatures, of his own handwriting, not even of checks issued by his company. This last matter has led to speculation among the few who still discuss St. Germain that he may not have had many employees beyond what it took to physically publish magazines. In other words, there is a belief that Vincent St. Germain, ‘Vinny’ to a very few apparently, may himself have written every story that his company published, all of them under a variety of pen names. This is further potentially supported, based on lists of the works he published, each story by an author that had not published before or since St. Germain Publishing’s one month rise and fall. It is curious, though, that a Vincent St. Germain died in New Orleans, Louisiana in late 1938. Also, other than supposedly eyewitness encounters with the man, the only possible proof that he ever lived are two images, taken a few years apart apparently, that, based on my own personal deductions, are likely Vincent St. Germain.”

“There is even less available evidence of the five single issues, each one the first of a hopeful magazine within the St. Germain line, that the company allegedly released on the same day in the first week of April 1938. I have been allowed access to information and such surrounding the characters and contents of each magazine, six stories in each issue, all intended to be the first in series within each title. If the magazines ever existed, actual issues are either in the hands of the very protective collectors I mentioned earlier or hiding possibly in someone’s basement in a box thrown in the corner. Fortunately, the creator, if St. Germain, or creators, if multiple writers, made detailed notes and character descriptions and synopses, all supposedly at the direction of St. Germain, another way that he stood out from other Pulp publishers of the era.”

Also, there were allegedly two magazines prepared to debut the month after the first five. Though they were reportedly never published, Pro Se does have access to purported notes and details of these two books, and they will also be a part of this project, meaning that there will be seven anthologies featuring new stories starring these characters alleged to have appeared in St. Germain’s works.

The magazines that were supposedly published included ENDLESS MYSTERY, EVERLASTING TERROR, IMMORTAL ACTION, FOREVER WESTERN, and TIMELESS TALES. UNDYING LOVE and ETERNAL FANTASY were the two unpublished magazines. All these titles indicate that Vincent St. Germain was aware of the folklore associated with his surname and the infamous Comte de St. Germain, possibly a relative.

Based on a few notes left by St. Germain, it was intended that every story in each magazine would continue as a series. This did not occur, however, because there was no second issue of any of the five periodicals, or anything else ever published by St. Germain Publishing. The characters in St. Germain’s magazines at least on the surface resembled types made popular in other Pulp magazines. But, upon closer review, it turns out that Vincent was not only revolutionary in how he chose to do business, but he attempted to be tremendously forward thinking in both style of storytelling and crossing certain boundaries.

“This has been,” Hancock states, “more than just a research project for a curious publisher, though. In the weeks I’ve invested in putting together the scarce remains of St. Germain Publishing, I have made progress that I did not expect. Pro Se Productions has licensed the characters believed to be included in St. Germain’s seven magazines from the person who currently owns them. To this end, Pro Se intends to bring all seven magazine titles back initially, each one as a book, an anthology. Each will feature a story for all the characters that reportedly debuted or would have debuted in the original pulps in the order in which they first appeared. The intent is to publish these seven new collections over the next twelve to eighteen months, twelve being the target. Following this ‘re debut’, we would then most definitely do novels, anthologies, digest novels, and even standalone digital short stories of the characters and expand them in their own series, hopefully as St. Germain might have intended.”

Pro Se Productions proudly announces that artist Kristopher Michael Mosby has agreed to provide a cover fore each anthology, each one bearing the title of a St. Germain magazine. Also, 42 writers have signed on to be a part of this project. The writers involved are-

Ron Fortier, Melinda LaFevers, E. W. Farnsworth, Adrian G. Delgado, Ariel Teague, Joshua Pantalleresco, Troy Osgood, Atom Mudman Bezecny, Andrew Butters, Rich Steeves, Raymond Embrack, HC Playa (Hilaire C Smith), Davide Mana, Quenntis Ashby, Paul Brian McCoy, Richard B. Wood, Colin Joss, Mark Bousquet, Derrick Ferguson, Sean Taylor, Neal Litherland, Susan Burdorf, Gary Phillips, Barry Reese, Frank Schildiner, Rob Howell, Gordon Dymowski, . Richard White, Ernest Russell, Thomas Fortenberry, David Farris, Barbara Doran, Aaron Bittner, David White, Erik Franklin, Mike Hintze, Guy Worthey, Emily LaFlame Jahnke, Mandi M. Lynch, Derek M. Koch, Aubrey Stephens, and Dewayne Dowers.

Please follow Pro Se’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/ProSeProductions for regular updates on this project as well as Pro Se news at http://www.prose-press.com.

Contact Tommy Hancock at editorinchief@prose-press.com for interviews or further information.

Ready or Not…

readyornotThings went kind of crazy after the announcement that Pro Se had bought my intellectual property – my Facebook lit up and we got a lot more traffic here on the blog than usual. I think it’s all calmed back down now and I’ve begun writing Lazarus Gray # 12.

Went and saw Ready or Not this weekend and I highly recommend it – if you love horror movies, it’s a must-see. It had me grinning from beginning to end. The film has a wicked sense of humor, plenty of action and a star-making performance from Samara Weaving.  I truly loved it – it and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood are my favorite movies of the year so far.

Since I’ve returned to podcasting with In the Stacks with Barry & LaToya, I’m thinking of starting up another show – no, it won’t be The Shadow Fan making a return. I want to do something new but I have too many options! We’ll see what I come up with.

What’s Up Next?

dead_of_nightSo this week I hope to put the finishing touches on a novella that I’ve been working on for awhile… I’m looking forward to putting it behind me. I’ve enjoyed the characters but I always end up reaching the point where I’m ready to move on to the next project.

Speaking of projects, I have a few that are in various stages of the pipeline at various publishers. Pro Se has completed edits on The Adventures of Gravedigger Volume 3 and The Second Book of Babylon… they also have manuscripts for Assistance Unlimited: The Silver Age, The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume 8 and a Reese Unlimited/AC crossover that brings together Lazarus Gray, Gravedigger and Nightveil. Moonstone also has a Johnny Dollar story from me that’s waiting for ages to be published. Fingers crossed that 2018 will be the year for that one!

When I finish the current work-in-progress, I have nothing immediate that I have to work on. I might begin brainstorming ideas for the next Captain Action novel… and I have a few ideas for new projects, though I definitely don’t need to start any more series!

The art accompanying this post is by Storn Cook and depicts Max Davies, aka The Peregrine!

The Rave Reviews Keep Rolling In!

lg4_frontispiece_smallLongtime reader Pat Casey has reviewed the newest Lazarus Gray volume on Amazon.ca and this is what he had to say as he gave it five-stars:

Lazarus Gray and Assistance Unlimited finally return in five stellar tales in Lazarus Gray Vol. 5.

I have been waiting for months for Pro Se and Reese Unlimited to release this new volume. It was worth the wait!

“The Felonious Financer” introduces us to Wilson Brisk, a wealthy business man who uses his underworld connections in Sovereign City to track down the missing treasure of Hendrik Van der Decken(an infamous pirate). Brisk has financed an incredible air weapon, crewed by a group of top notch female pilots/bodygurads, who come against Assistance Unlimited. What exactly is the treasure? Will it mean certain doom to the residents of Sovereign? You’ll have to read to find out!

“Shadows & Phantoms” has Lazarus Gray on the hunt for Brother Bones, a pulp crime fighter created by writer Ron Fortier. Assistance Unlimited must determine if the Undead Avenger is simply a man taking the law into his own hands, or a true”ghost who walks” on a mission of vengeance. Will Gray join Brother Bones’ crusade to rid Cape Noir of local crime boss Sabastian Hawkes? Will Brother Bones let Assistance Unlimited walk away from Cape Noir unscathed?

“Stare of The Basilisk” introduces a new crime lord in Sovereign City, one who can kill with a simple glance. This masked man tries to unify the various gangs under his rule. Those who oppose him will meet certain death. How will Lazarus Gray face a being who can kill with a blink of an eye? How many will die under the Basilisk’s stare?

“Immortals” ties the book together when Assistance Unlimited butt heads against three beautiful but deadly beings from ancient times. We also see the return of the dark queen Princess Femi, who intends to lead the Immortals to world conquest. Assistance Unlimited is joined by an elder sorcerer who aims to destroy Femi and her cohorts. Egyptian god Sobek also appears, but will he kill Lazarus Gray and any others in his hunt for Femi?

“Wedding Bells” is the final entry in this volume and is more of an epilogue of sorts. Lazarus Gray and Kelly Emerson are ready to tie the knot. How will Assistance Unlimited ensure the safety of Lazarus and Kelly? Grey has made his share of enemies in five volumes!

The excellent cover art is by Chris Batista. “Lazarus Gray -Secrets of The Dead” illustrated story by Reese and George Sellas starts this volume (as it has in volume 3 & 4) with only one other piece of interior art (which may have been used in a previous Gray volume) in the book.

It is unfortunate that Pro Se no longer emphasizes interior art in their pulp printings. These images, when posted online, started the wheels in motion, the chain of excitement that a new Reese Unlimited pulp novel was coming out. They were great for marketing purposes and George Sellas is one damn fine artist! Having these illustrations reminds me of how old pulps had b&w interior art that was done by the best artist in the business. Hopefully we can see Sellas and Reese collaborate together in the future. Their illustrated story shows they work very well together. In fact I would love to see an art book published featuring Sellas’ Reese Unlimited work

Lazarus Gray, The Peregrine, Gravedigger, The Darkling, Leonid Kaslov, the list goes on and on. Barry Reese has introduced characters that can cross over to any media: graphic novels, animation, live action. You name it, it could happen. I’m always entertained by his work and I’m patiently waiting to read Gotterdammerung, his highly anticipated team up novel.

Thanks, Pat! I’m really pleased with the reaction we’ve gotten to the newest Lazarus edition. As for the lack of interior art, Pro Se is a great publisher and they’ve made their decision to (for the most part) move forward without interior art for a number of different reasons. I can tell you that there WILL be some interior pieces from George Sellas in Lazarus Gray Volume Six (which I’m now writing).

Thanks again!

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.

Sunday Morning Chat

revengeWelcome back to Ye Olde Blog! I hope everybody’s weekend is going well – I’m getting my supplies together for next weekend’s Free Comic Book Day event. I’ll be at Avalon Comics in Macon, Georgia, selling and signing copies of my work. Artist Craig Hamilton will be there as well and I’m looking forward to meeting him. Craig worked on Aquaman (1986), Green Lantern (1990), Starman (1994) and The Spectre (2001), among many other things. Should be fun! If you’re in the middle Georgia area, please consider stopping by and saying hello.

Work continues on the fifth volume of Lazarus Gray. The fourth volume has been sent to George Sellas, who will read over it and come up with ideas for the cover & interior images. As you may have noticed, Reese Unlimited is the only imprint at Pro Se Press still doing the interior art thing. Airship 27 still does it on their titles, as well, but otherwise most folks in New Pulp land seem to be moving away from it. I still like it, though – the classic pulps of the 1930s featured interior pieces and I think it adds something to the package. I have, however, heard from folks who think that interior art (along with “comic book style” covers) keep the books from reaching a wider audience. If I were writing stories set in the modern day,  I might agree with that more — but would a huge audience buy Die Glocke if it had a different cover and no interior art? I don’t know about that. What do you guys think?

Spent most of this week reading non-pulp stuff but I’m going to dive back into a classic Shadow novel this weekend. Not sure which one yet. As always, I’ll share my opinions of it on The Shadow Fan’s Podcast.

I really miss the New Pulp Bestseller List. I did it for well over a year, every Monday here at the blog, before turning it over to All Pulp. Then All Pulp ground to a halt shortly thereafter. They’re still alive and supposedly about to do a big reboot with new owners but I haven’t heard about them continuing the list. Even when it was at All Pulp, I felt the focus was becoming less focused. There were things on the list that required a really broad definition of pulp and there were weeks you could have renamed the entire thing The Sherlock Holmes Bestseller List. Then I heard that the White Rocket Podcast was going to be doing a list but I haven’t heard anything about that since. All of that is a long way of me saying that I’ve considered reviving it here… but the big thing is that it was a lot of work to do it. I originally set out to focus on the ‘core’ New Pulp publishers (Pro Se, Wild Cat, Airship 27, etc.) and I’d probably do it that way again, which wouldn’t sit well with those who think we need to broaden the net, so to speak. I think if you broaden it too much, you lose sight of the core group to begin with. Ah, well. It’s likely I won’t do anything about it — I did my time. It’s someone else’s moment now… but it sure seems weird not to have a list out there anymore.

Hope you all have a nice and relaxing weekend (or what’s left of it!).

Busy on Multiple Fronts!

gravedigger_cover_low_res_cropped_with_copyWelcome back to Ye Olde Blog!

I’m going through the edits I received from Pro Se on The Rook Volume Two – Special Edition. Hopefully it’ll be complete and in the hands of graphic designer Sean Ali soon… I’ve heard from multiple people that they’re really waiting for the eBooks for Volumes 3-6, since those have been never been available. All I can say is that you have to be patient. I have to be patient, too. I don’t like having my books out of print or unavailable any more than you do. But Pro Se has a schedule to keep and artist George Sellas doesn’t work on my stuff 24/7 (though I keep him plenty busy! lol).  Everything will come in due time, I promise.

What should be out very soon is Gravedigger… I understand that Sean is working on that book right now! That usually means we’ll see it for sale within a few weeks. I can’t wait for you guys to meet Charity Grace, aka Gravedigger. I really, really think you’ll enjoy this book… and with that gorgeous Sellas cover and some wonderful Will Meugniot interiors, it’s gonna be one fine looking tome!

In other Gravedigger news, artist Jen Broomall will be doing a Gravedigger image for me soon. Not sure if it will be a print or a cover (or both) but I’m sure it’ll be beautiful. I’ve really liked Jen’s work in the past and can’t wait to see her take on this character.

Started work on my Weird West story that will be published by Mechanoid Press. My heroine is a cool character and I’m enjoying the story so far. Hopefully that will translate into some fun for the readers, as well. Since this will be my first work for Mechanoid, I’ll try to make it a special one.

Looking forward to tomorrow’s episode of The Shadow Fan, which should be action-packed. Hopefully we’ll have another segment of Calling Burbank, then I’ll be covering some Dynamite comics news and reviewing Masks # 4 and “Foxhound,” an old Theodore Tinsley Shadow novel. Should be tons of fun so be on the lookout for it.