Spending Time in Sovereign

aidra_fox2Spent much of the past week in Sovereign City, revising and adding to the twelfth volume of Lazarus Gray. I know that some of you have gotten mighty impatient waiting for these books to be released (the seventh book was released three years ago) but I think they will be on the way relatively soon. Until then you do have Broken Empire to tide you over – it’s an Assistance Unlimited book set in 1964.

Once all twelve of the Lazarus books are out, I think I’ll be able to sit back and feel pretty proud of them. While it may not get too much (read: any) attention from the Pulp Factory Awards and it’s not considered as groundbreaking as Derrick Ferguson’s rightfully-beloved Dillon series, I think there’s a place for Lazarus and his friends in the New Pulp landscape. Besides, not many series in the New Pulp landscape reach 12 books (plus spinoffs!).

Whenever I’m feeling down, I always end up starting a new Lazarus story – so it’s unlikely that I’ll stop at 12 books. I was worried that selling the property (along with the rest of the Reese Unlimited catalog) might result in less enthusiasm but whatever doubts I had were lifted when I wrote the Lilith novel, which was the most fun I’d had writing in a couple of years. When I returned to the twelfth Lazarus book, I found that I was able to add about 3,000 words to it and really thought they were good ones.

Our Icons writeups continue to get major traffic for the site, which is an unexpected pleasure. Hopefully some of our visitors will check out my writing, as well! I’ve had a few requests to do stats for Lazarus, Gravedigger, etc. and I’m sure I’ll get around to that eventually.

Johnny Dollar brings home an award!

j_dollarYours Truly, Johnny Dollar has been voted Best Anthology of the Year in the Pulp Factory Awards. I contributed “The Swamp Manor Matter” to this collection, which featured brand-new stories starring the classic old-time radio character of Johnny Dollar. Moonstone published the book, which also featured stories by Gary Phillips, Bobby Nash,  Ron Fortier, Eric Fein, Joe Gentile, and Joshua M. Reynolds. The book won best cover as well, so congratulations to Douglas Klauba! I’d also like to extend congratulations to Tommy Hancock, who edited the entire package.

I’m pretty proud of my story and if you’re looking for some good, old-fashioned detective-work, you could do a lot worse than picking up a copy of this book. Thanks to all who voted.

Pulp Factory Awards

thumbsupThe Pulp Factory is now open for nominations. To nominate, you have to be a member of THE PULP FACTORY GROUP so join at right here today!

A list of my projects that are available to be nominated are…


The Second Book of Babylon by Barry Reese

‘The Swamp Manor Matter’ by Barry Reese (Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar – Moonstone Books)

Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar (Moonstone Books)



Lombard, Illinois – January 27, 2019

Every year in April, fans gather at the Westin Hotel near Yorktown Mall in metro Chicago to celebrate the best in classic and New Pulp literature. As part of those celebrations, nominations for the Pulp Factory Awards are open. The 2020 PFAs will cover works published during the calendar year 2019.

The nomination process will be as follows:

Members of the Pulp Factory Facebook group have through Monday, February 24 to submit their initial nominations for the Pulp Factory Awards. Any work published in print in 2019 can be considered for nomination. (Digital-only books are excluded.) Reprints are not eligible for individual awards such as Best Short Story but may be included in collections if those collections feature stories published for the first time in 2019.
Nominations (by members of the Pulp Factory only) should be e-mailed directly to PulpAwards@gmail.com, with choices in any or all of the following categories. (You may nominate as many works in each category as you wish.)


The Best Pulp Anthology category covers any anthology or collection featuring multiple stories by a single author (a collection) or stories by a variety of authors (a normal anthology). The book must have been printed in 2019 and must have contained at least one new story. In the case of a new story plus reprints, the book is eligible for Best Pulp Anthology but only the new story is eligible for the Best Pulp Short Story category. Members are encouraged to discuss their choices on the Pulp Factory FB group but note that your nominations must be e-mailed directly to PulpAwards@gmail.com to be included.
After February 24, the committee will tally and craft a final ballot for voting (deadline to be scheduled), and that ballot will be submitted for fans to vote electronically for the awards. Awards will be handed out to winners during the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention on Friday, April 17, 2020
Questions and nominations should be directed to PulpAwards@gmail.com. This will ensure a more prompt response than reaching out to individual committee members.

Thank you for your interest, and looking forward to your nominations!

Legends Fiasco

So in a post that was in the New Pulp Facebook group (sadly, it seems to have been deleted…), we were all informed that proceeds from the Legends of New Pulp book were no longer going to be given to New Pulp writer and publisher Tommy Hancock’s medical bills but were instead going to be given to Airship 27’s Pulp Factory Awards to help all the members of that group not have to pony up so much every year.

I, and others, donated our work and proceeds to help out a fellow writer in need not to help fund a set of awards whose legitimacy I’ve questioned in the past. This seems like quite a bait-and-switch… I never would have contributed if I’d known I was donating to the ‘charity’ that is Airship 27’s awards. We have guys in the community like Jaime Ramos going through rough times and the money could go to him if Tommy no longer needs it… or maybe a fund could be set up to let New Pulp authors draw on the funds as needed whenever these terrible situations come up… but instead this is supposedly going to “benefit” all of the New Pulp community. No… it’s not. And even if you quizzed a handful of folks at Windy City and they all said it was fine and dandy with them, doesn’t mean it’s okay to unilaterally tell sixty writers and thirty-six artists that the cause they donated to is no longer the cause being funded. Right there on Amazon it says “…And all of it generated as a benefit project to aid and support writer/editor Tommy Hancock.”

For having questioned this decision, I was told that I was the only dissenting voice and that they couldn’t please everyone. Then all my comments were deleted.

As I said in the thread, I would like my story and name removed from the contents of this book. I have donated to the Airship 27 awards in the past – WHEN I WAS ASKED TO – but this particular book was not supposed to pay for awards, it was to help a fellow writer in need.

I don’t mind being the only dissenting voice when it comes to this – but, to be honest with you, I don’t think I’m the only one feeling this way. I’m just the only one that’s said anything so far.

UPDATE # 1: I have been informed by Ron Fortier that my story will be removed from the Legends book, as per my request.

UPDATE # 2: Ron Forter posted the following on Facebook about four hours after I posted this blog entry – RADIO ARCHIVES TO SPONSOR PULP FACTORY AWARDS. Recently Ron Fortier, moderator of the Pulp Factory Group, suggested that in the future, proceeds from the benefit anthology, LEGENDS OF NEW PULP FICTION, go to supporting the cost of the Pulp Factory Awards. Sadly, several contributors of the volume were not in agreement with that decision, wanting the tome to remain solely for benefit purposes. After some deliberation, Tom Brown, Manager of Radio Archives, which is in the process of recording LEGENDS OF NEW PULP FICTION, magnanimously stepped up to solve the issue. As of now, Radio Archives will sponsor the Pulp Factory Awards. As for the anthology, Editor Ron Fortier, is open to suggestions from all contributors as to where they would like to see the proceeds go.

Musing about awards…

grave3So the Pulp Factory Awards nominee list was revealed today and, once again, it’s heavily weighted towards Airship 27. 18 of the 23 nominations went to Airship and the ones that didn’t still feature writers that also work for Airship. This is not surprising given that the only people that can make nominations are members of the Pulp Factory Mailing List, which is overseen by Ron Fortier, who just so happens to run Airship 27. Airship 27 membership is open to anyone as long as Ron approves them but I’d guess that at least 95% of its membership also does work for Airship. A few years back, I had a conversation with a fellow New Pulp writer about how the Pulp Factory Awards were basically the Airship 27 Awards and he had a lot to say on the subject… then he decided that the best way to get nominated was to offer to work on putting the awards together. Suddenly he was a regular part of the nominee list! It’s amazing how that happened… and now he is a staunch defender of the Awards themselves.

Look, I’m not saying that anyone is out to deliberately mislead the public… but it makes sense that a mailing list composed of people that primarily (or, at least, partially) work with one single publisher are going to skew the nominees towards that publisher. That makes sense — but it also means that these awards are not as “open” to everyone as you might think.

I confess that there are some sour grapes here. I’ve been writing New Pulp for nearly 14 years… I’ve won tons of awards… but it wasn’t until 2018 that I even received a nomination for an Airship 27 award.

And guess what?

It was for a Captain Action novel… that I wrote for (wait for it)… Airship 27.

IMG_2098This year, the final book in my Gravedigger series was one that I would have thought might have gotten a nomination – at least for the amazing cover by George Sellas. But all the covers nominated are for Airship 27. Likewise, Christ Batista did some amazing interior art… but, once again, all the interior artists nominated were for Airship 27 books.

Oh, well. I went and voted for the people I believe deserve to win off the nominees list. I just hate for anyone to look at that list and believe that they’re seeing a representative sample of what New Pulp has to offer. There are great things on there but there’s a lot more to be found, as well.

A Cold & Wet Monday

The Adventures of Lazarus GrayA new week begins — and it’s a darned chilly one! In my neck of the woods, we’re experiencing the coldest temperatures in over twenty years. Hope wherever you are, you’re able to stay bundled up today!

Reese Unlimited Month continues to roll along and the one negative about it is that I’m spending so much time doing podcasts and responding to interview requests that I’m barely able to have any time to actually write! Oh, well, this Lazarus Gray story isn’t going anywhere and I should still finish it this month, which will let me move on to the next project.

Over on Amazon.com, a reader named Mark S. Marcum posted a brief review of The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume One. Here’s what he had to say:

If you like action and good old pulp stories you will enjoy this book, I thought books with characters like these were no longer being written glad I was wrong, lots of fun.

Thanks, Mark! I’m glad that you enjoyed it! There’s a lot of other great New Pulp books out there, too, so if you’ve been looking for some quality old-time thrills, you might have stumbled onto something you’ll really enjoy. I hope you read more of the Lazarus Gray series and continue to enjoy them.

Nominations for the Pulp Factory Awards have been opened up — nominations and voting are restricted to members of The Pulp Factory mailing list. Even so, hopefully we’ll see a couple of my eligible works make the list. Historically, I’ve done far, far better in the Pulp Ark Awards, which are more fan-oriented. Also, The PF Awards are restricted to stories either set in the far future or pre-1941, which has always wreaked havoc with The Rook series, which is mostly set during WW II. Still, both Gravedigger and Lazarus Gray are set in the Thirties, so they’re eligible for the PF Awards.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more updates on what’s happening in my little corner of the New Pulp world.

Spring Fever

mellisa_clarke_14_007The weather has been warming up around here and I think everybody’s getting a case of Spring Fever. Like everyone else, I want to be outside, going places… and visions of the beach are dancing in my head.

From my perspective, I’ve been bouncing around on various projects, unable to focus on any of them for very long. I’m over halfway through with the weird west tale that’s due on June 1 but I got sidetracked by a return to the Rabbit Heart sequel. But I didn’t get too far on that one because I got distracted by a great idea I had for the opening to Lazarus Gray Volume 5… Hopefully I’ll be able to pick one and stick with it for awhile. I *can* work on multiple projects but I tend to get frustrated with all of them when I do that, feeling that none of them are making adequate progress.

I *think* I’ll focus on Lazarus Gray for the next few days but if something shiny catches my attention, I might end up working on Gravedigger Volume 2 or something lol

Anyway, the Pulp Factory Awards were given out at the Windy City Con this weekend — congrats to the various winners. George Sellas was up for Best Interior Art but he didn’t win a Pulp Factory Award to match the one he picked up in the Pulp Ark Awards this year.

This week’s episode of The Shadow Fan should be a packed episode — I’ll be talking “The Spoils of The Shadow” (a classic novel), Masks # 5 from Dynamite *and* the first storyline from the Andy Helfer Shadow series that DC published back in the late Eighties. I will say this about Masks… I love issue one but every issue since has been worse than the one before. It makes me very worried for Chris Roberson’s upcoming run on The Shadow comic book. Based upon issue 1 and a couple of pulp-related interviews that I had read, I was excited about his tenure. Now, I’m not so sure.

For dedicated followers of the blog – are there are any regular features that you’d like to see? Right now I do a New Pulp Recommendations on Friday and a Saturday Matinee on (duh) Saturdays. I’ve noticed that the New Pulp Recommendations hits have been extremely variable on Fridays – some weeks they’re through the roof and sometimes my site hits crash on that day. Saturday Matinee, on the other hand, has proven surprisingly popular! But would you like to see more of that kind of thing? Marvel Heroic RPG Wednesdays? A regular movie review feature? Or do you prefer when I just shoot the breeze every day?

Not sure if I’ve mentioned it on the blog (I know I did on Twitter) but I’ve received the first Origins page from George Sellas. The ‘cursed’ Lazarus Gray Origins project has been discussed at length before – originally it was going to be Anthony Castrillo working on it, then it was Mark Propst, then it was Castrillo, then it was Sellas, then it was Propst and now it’s back to Sellas. Instead of doing the original five pages, George will be taking just the Lazarus page and expanding it into two pages. The other pages of the script (origins for Samantha, Morgan, Eun & Assistance Unlimited) will hopefully appear at some future date.

Long story short, page one looks INCREDIBLE. You guys will *really* like this!

Our model today is Mellisa Clarke, a glamor model who was one of the visual inspirations for Charity Grace (aka Gravedigger).