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!

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.

Just Another Manic Monday

Gravedigger shortly after her rebirth.
Gravedigger shortly after her rebirth.

Busily going through the edits I received from Pro Se this weekend — making changes here and there to the Gravedigger manuscript. We’re still hoping to get this one out there before the end of the month so I need to put this on the front burner for now. If I get a chance, I can also wrap up the first draft of Lazarus Gray Volume Four today. I’m in the final major chapter now but there will probably be a wrap-up scene or two to follow, plus a little essay I’d like to include.

Very proud of my partner George Sellas’ strong showing in the Pulp Ark Awards. He’s still up for Best Interior Art in the Pulp Factory Awards, too, so maybe he’ll pick up even more hardware before Awards Season is over this year. Fingers crossed!

I’ve talked before about the differences in the two major pulp awards and this year shows it off again — Die Glocke wins Best Novel in the Pulp Ark but wasn’t even nominated in the Pulp Factory! Bizarre.

Anyway, I’m reading the new Will Murray Doc Savage book right now and I’m about six chapters in. I’ll do a full review of it when I’m done but so far, so good. I still loathe the “Stormalong Savage” name that Doc’s grandfather has been saddled with but overall, I’m enjoying this quite a bit. I think it’s refreshing to see more of Will Murray’s natural style showing through — I find that preferable to the Lester Dent pastiche that he normally does. If it stays this level of quality, I think it’s the best Will Murray Doc by a mile and a half.

Of course, I have a lot of book left to read! 🙂

This week’s The Shadow Fan should be a packed episode — I’m expecting another installment of Calling Burbank from Tommy Hancock, plus I have some Shadow news to share — along with reviews of The Ghost of the Manor, the first issue of ACG’s Pulp Action and a long look at the Duende History of The Shadow Magazine! Should be lots of fun.

Take Care, Everyone!

Awards Season!

nerf-gunIt’s that time of year, when folks are voting on various awards. In the New Pulp field, it’s the Pulp Factory Awards (voted upon by members of the Pulp Factory group) and the Pulp Ark Awards (voted upon by anybody and everybody). I’m thrilled to be on the Pulp Ark ballot several times and wish my buddy George Sellas luck in both sets of awards (he’s nominated for Best Interior Art over at the Pulp Factory & he’s got four nominations in the Pulp Ark Awards). I sent in my votes yesterday so I’m like everyone else at this point — just waiting to see who wins. There’s so much New Pulp stuff out there right now that it’s almost unbelievable. Just ten years ago, I thought we’d never see this kind of thing again. The changing technologies have allowed small and medium presses to compete much more effectively and that’s great for everyone, I think.

I’ve been kind of busy, trying to finish off an editing job for Radio Archives while also working on Lazarus Gray Volume 4 and reviewing the first couple of stories that have come in for Tales of The Rook Volume 2. Tomorrow I’ll be recording episode 18 of The Shadow Fan and it’s going to be a packed episode — got a lot of commentary from Shadow scholar Anthony Tollin to share, as well as my reviews of “The Thunder King,” Masks # 3 and The Shadow: The History and Mystery of the Radio Program, 1930-1954. I’m also hoping to debut the first segment of Tommy Hancock’s review portion but we’ll see if that happens or if it’s pushed off to next week. Tommy’s a remarkably busy guy, too!

Currently reading Dillon and the Pirates of Xonira by Derrick Ferguson. So far, so good, but that’s to be expected from Derrick. He’s a terrific writer! You really can’t go wrong with any of the Dillon books but my personal favorite story is “Dillon and the Bad-Ass Belt Buckle,” which is from Four Bullets for Dillon. Check it out!




Congrats to George Sellas!

rook_ron_fortier_smallArtist supreme George Sellas was nominated for Best Interior Art for his work on Tales of The Rook in the 2013 Pulp Factory Awards. The final ballot was sent out today and George was one of the finalists. Please join me in congratulating George on the honor and wish him luck in the final voting. George did a wonderful job on the Tales of The Rook collection and I’m very proud of our collaborations over the past couple of years — my hat’s off to you, George!

The art accompanying this post is one of George’s pieces from Tales of The Rook —  it’s a great example of his skill.

Question & Answer Day!

QASo I get asked a lot of questions over Twitter, Facebook & Email — usually I dash off a response and that’s that. But I got the idea the other day to save up some of them and answer them here on the blog. To protect the innocent, I’m not listing the names of those who asked the question. If it’s yours, you’ll certainly recognize it. So — let’s begin!

Who would you cast in a new Shadow movie?

Wow. That’s actually a pretty hard question since I never do well with these casting things. I’m one of those folks who hear other people’s cast lists and go “oh, yeah!” or “no way!” but I can never think of actors beforehand. For The Shadow, it would have to be somebody who can both be suave & handsome as Lamont Cranston but also believably brilliant and cold as The Shadow. It’s inevitable that Margo Lane would be a major character in the film, so I’d want someone pretty but capable as I’d like to see her treated as a strong agent/ally of The Shadow. Since the movie studios would want stars young enough to base a franchise around, how about: Michael Fassbender as The Shadow, Summer Glau as Margo Lane and Ryan Gosling as Harry Vincent? That’s a a trio of good-looking folks who have the charisma to carry off the roles, I think. Or not. Hell, ask me again tomorrow and you’d get three completely different answers.

Where do you get off attacking the Pulp Factory Awards?

Well, I don’t think that I did. I pointed out some actual facts about the Awards the other day. I think the mailing list is a great way of giving writers a way to interact with each other. Airship 27, which is linked to the awards but not entirely the same thing, is a quality publishing company. My opinions and viewpoints don’t always have to please everyone — sorry if you or anyone else took offense. This is my blog, though, and I share my viewpoints here. Don’t like’ em, you don’t have to read ’em.

Do you ever get tired of writing The Rook or Lazarus Gray?

Sure! Anyone who writes any kind of series gets tired of the characters and settings eventually. Doesn’t mean you can’t step away and come back to them later. I would definitely say that my main attentions have been focused on other characters than The Rook in the past few years but I did write “The Killing Games” last year and had fun with it. I also recently wrote an animation script for The Rook and enjoyed that. So it’s not like I’m never writing Max Davies again — heck, I he appears in Gravedigger, too! But I try to follow my muse when possible. So with regards to getting weary of the same series, it happens. You have to find ways to keep it fresh for you and for the readers. Comes with the territory since there are great things about writing series and also some drawbacks.

What’s your least favorite Shadow story by Walter Gibson and why?

That’s another hard one for a couple of reasons – 1) I generally like Gibson’s writing a lot and 2) If I really dislike a story, I tend to just move on and forget about it while remembering my favorites. But, since you asked, let me wrack this tortured mind of mine and come up with: The Shadow Returns. This is actually the 326th novel and was written in the 1960s as part of the Belmont line. It was the only one of that series written by Walter Gibson and actually has his name on the cover rather than Maxwell Grant. It’s not hideous by most writer’s standards but it’s just… it’s just boring. I’m also not a huge fan of The Yellow Band (8/15/37). The Yellow Band features a lot of Kent Allard, which I generally like, but it’s set in Miami and the plot just never grabbed me. I remember getting quite bored in the middle and having to really push through.

Would you be willing to give up control of your characters in order to get them made into a movie or tv series?

Well, if you mean give over authority as to how they’re portrayed, yes, I probably would. I’d love to have a say in it but I’d love to see Lazarus Gray on tv, even if they took some liberties. I would always want to retain control over their print incarnations.

Do you listen to music when you write?

Almost always. I like to write to up-tempo music. Makes my fingers dance across the keyboard 🙂 I was listening to “Rumour Has It” by Adele while writing Lazarus Gray this morning.

Hope you enjoyed this Q & A session, guys. If it proves popular, we might do it again sometime!

Wednesday Chatter

keanuPushing hard towards the 50,000 word mark on Lazarus Gray Volume Four. I think this book is going to be a good one! I think it might be a little funny if I can finish Volume Four before Volume Three is even published. I know that people still think of The Rook first when it comes to my New Pulp work but I think that eventually Lazarus Gray will take that spot in their minds — I like to think it’s more polished and well-crafted. Gravedigger Volume One rocked and as I add to that character, hopefully she’ll move up to really make it a triumvirate of characters that I’m known for.

Yesterday was the last day to make nominations for the Pulp Ark Awards so I hope everyone managed to get their emails in. I’ve been honored to win a couple of awards in the Pulp Ark voting in the past but this year, anything can happen. There are so many New Pulp books out there, being done by so many talented writers & artists that I expect a lot of close races and maybe some new folks picking up awards for the first time. I’m really hoping that George Sellas will get recognized for his work on the Lazarus Gray series, though — George is amazingly wonderful to work with and he routinely makes my books some of the best-looking on the market.

Over on the Pulp Factory list, Ron Fortier unveiled the list of short stories that have been nominated for their awards. Now, I’ve never done well in those awards, which are voted upon by Pulp Factory members only. In order to become a PF member, you have to be nominated by another member and then Ron has to approve you. Then you have the right to nominate and vote on whatever you want. I’d estimate at least 90% of the list are writers for Airship 27 and the awards conform to the same rules for stories that Airship 27 has: namely, that only stories set prior to 1940 or in the far future are eligible. Thus, most of The Rook series would not be eligible, for instance, given that they’re set in the 1940s. Anyway, in this year’s awards, I noted that I wasn’t nominated at all in the short story category — even though, for instance, every other story besides mine in Monster Aces got a nod. I found this a bit strange — even the year I won Best Author in the Pulp Ark Awards, I wasn’t even on the final ballot at the PF Awards. Now, with the Pulp Ark Awards, anybody can vote. Anybody.

I seem to do a lot better when the fans are given a say and it’s not more of an “industry” award (I call the PF ones that because they’re almost entirely voted upon by writers). That’s why I push for the Pulp Ark Awards — they’re for the people who read New Pulp. That’s not to say that folks on the PF list aren’t doing that but I’ve found that in the writing community, there are a lot of people who talk up other books or writers when they don’t really read them. And since the guidelines for the awards match up exactly with what Airship 27 publishes and almost everyone on the PF list is published by Airship 27, it’s not surprising that Airship 27 usually cleans up at those awards. I don’t think there’s any conspiracy afoot — it’s just the way it’s set up leads to that result more often than not.

Tomorrow I’ll be recording a new episode of The Shadow Fan so stay tuned for that! We’ll be talking about “The Devil’s Paymaster” which is the final book in Theordore Tinsley’s Prince of Evil series.