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The Peregrine flies again

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NEW PULP’S ICONIC HERO READY TO TAKE FLIGHT ONCE AGAIN-OPEN SUBMISSION CALLS FOR ‘THE PEREGRINE’ VOLUMES 7-9

Without question, a character that has defined what New Pulp is for many since his debut in 2008 is Max Davies. Formerly known as The Rook, more recently renamed The Peregrine, Max and an entire limitless universe of heroes and adventure erupted from the mind and imagination of award winning author Barry Reese. Through six volumes of thrilling tales literally taking The Peregrine where other heroes have never been, thanks to Reese, as well as short stories by other authors featuring the masked vigilante, he remains a character dear to many fans’ heart. Now the property of Pro Se Productions, this innovative publishing company is ready for The Peregrine to soar once again in full length novel adventures.

“The Peregrine,” says Tommy Hancock, Editor in Chief of Pro Se Productions, “stands at the top of the most loved characters of the New Pulp Movement, right alongside such stalwarts as Dillon and Brother Bones. And Max isn’t alone. From stories about this one man troubled by horrific dreams and driven to don a mask and fight evil have come some of the most legendary tales and characters, all thanks to Barry Reese, the epitome of the modern day Pulp writer. With Pro Se adding Barry’s Universe to our properties, we feel its only fitting that the mask that started it all return to his own solo adventures, continuing with Volume Seven of THE PEREGRINE. And with Barry having no immediate plans to return to Max in that format, it’s only fitting that we reach out to other Pulp writers, many of which are die-hard fans of Max to help The Peregrine take wing once more.”

Pro Se Productions is currently seeking proposals from authors interested in writing THE PEREGRINE Volumes 7, 8, and 9. Each volume must be a minimum of 60,000 words and either be a novel length adventure or two thirty thousand word stories. The plan for these three new volumes is to produce Volume 7 in 2020 and potentially Volume 8 six months later and Volume 9 six months after that. The three volumes will not be published more than a year apart from the preceding volume.

Proposals should show a knowledge of the character and the universe he exists within. Interested authors may request materials from Pro Se Productions in order to build proposals.

Any authors who have not previously submitted work to Pro Se before must include a four page sample of their work. The first proposal accepted will be Volume 7, the second Volume 8, and the third Volume 9. Terms of contracts will be discussed after proposals are accepted on a per writer basis.

All proposals must be submitted to submissions@prose-press.com.

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

Promotional Piece by Sean E. Ali

Let’s Talk About Sex

mellisa_clark_unmaskedYep. Today we’re talking about S-E-X and, by extension, loving relationships.

In the classic hero pulps, there wasn’t a whole lot of sex. You’d have the occasional lurid cover, with some scantily clad woman (usually with stockings showing) in distress while our hero moved to protect her but for the most part, guys like Doc Savage, The Shadow and The Avenger were not very interested in knocking boots. Doc occasionally in later years would display a kind of boyish interest in the fairer sex and The Avenger’s love for his wife was constantly being referenced but even in the first book where you see The Avenger alongside his wife and daughter, you didn’t exactly get the image that they were passionate lovers. They were partners, friends and spouses, yes, but there was no sign of “heat” in the relationship.

There were some exceptions, of course. Jim Anthony was basically Doc Savage with a sex drive but by today’s standards, he was still a bit tame. In fact, the idea of Anthony was racier than the truth — he liked to lounge around at home in a speedo while working in the lab. Hell, what guy doesn’t? And then there was The Spider, who was very clearly a passionate lover of Nita Van Sloane. But most of the romance that was depicted between them were of steamy kisses and verbal flirtations.

The fantasy pulps (like Conan) got a lot of mileage out of ladies whipping one another and there was no doubt that Conan and others got into lusty embraces. But I’m focusing on the hero pulps because those were my favorites and that’s where most of the New Pulp writings out today fall into place.

So…

Now we’re in the age of New Pulp. Writers are now bringing in more modern ideas about race, gender relations, etc. into their pulp-inspired writings.

But we still don’t have much in the way of S-E-X. I’m not saying we *need* it, I’m just surprised there’s not more variety out there.

When I wrote Rabbit Heart, I deliberately made it dirty. Foul language, lots of explicit sex and gory violence. It was my Anti-Pulp pulp book. When I did The Damned Thing, I didn’t go quite as far but it was still a pulp novel, only with explicit oral sex scenes and rape. The reviews I got for Rabbit Heart all made direct mention of the dirty stuff because I think it’s hard to discuss the novel without it — and it was out of place in the pulp world. The Damned Thing, though, got high praise but few people mentioned the sexy stuff — maybe after Rabbit Heart, they weren’t as surprised?

We have guys and gals in the pulp field who can cover all sorts of things and do it well. I’d like to see more variety in relationships on display in New Pulp stories. No, we don’t have to go into the boudoir with the Moon Man and his long-suffering girlfriend, but if a writer could do it well, why not? Hell, just some acknowledgement that these heroes are human beings and are sexual creatures would be welcome sometimes, just for the sake of something different.

The number of unfeeling automatons I’ve met in real life are relatively few in number… so why do I see so many in pulp? Look, I have one hero (Lazarus Gray) who kind of fits that bill, too — but in his series, there’s also plenty of sexual beings who surround him and he eventually gets married and fathers a kid, so he must have the same physical desires that the rest of us do.

Yes, I enjoy pulp that features heroic figures, over-the-top villains and happy endings. I make no apologies for that. But I also like to have my heroes fall in love, make babies and grow old.

I had The Peregrine fall in love, get married, become a father, etc. His wife is his partner and his lover, equal in both regards.

I did this because I think of Max Davies as a man — and most men want those things.They want love, they want sex, they want a family.

So, New Pulp writers, don’t be afraid to bring the sexy back!

The (fictional) women of my life

scarjoI’m mostly known for my male creations — The Peregrine & Lazarus Gray, for instance — but I’ve spent a good bit of my career writing female leads. The Damned Thing, Rabbit Heart and Gravedigger all feature strong female characters and I’ve also written a couple of stories featuring Nightveil, from AC Comics’ comic book universe. I’m proud of those books, especially since the pulp field is still so testosterone-heavy. New Pulp does have The Pulptress, Elisa Hill and Callie but those are still just a drop in the bucket.

I’ve tried to add to the diversity of characters within the field while not making too big of a deal about it. The Lazarus Gray series not only features Samantha Grace as a major part of the storyline but I also have Eun Jiwon, a member of the team who is both homosexual and Korean. In Gravedigger, we have Li Yuchun, a Chinese American, and Mitchell, a British hero of African descent. I’m not doing this to make any kind of point, really — I simply want to reflect the real world, which the original pulps didn’t always do.

Continue reading → The (fictional) women of my life

The “Other” Hero of The Peregrine Chronicles

Today I figured we’d spend a few minutes talking about the ‘other’ hero of The Peregrine Chronicles. Will McKenzie is introduced in the second Peregrine story and soon becomes not only best friend to our hero Max Davies but also a frequent companion on his adventures.

Some of the highlights include:

1937 – Will arrives in Atlanta and is introduced to Max by the mysterious Benson, a man who has risen above tragedy in his own life to become a hero in the employ of the government. The youngest police chief in the nation, Will has movie-star good looks and a fierce attraction both both the ladies and to danger. As we’ll see, the combination of those two interests is a particular problem for him! In his debut appearance, Will heads off into the Atlanta underground to help foil a vampire uprising “Kingdom of Blood”, The Peregrine Omnibus Volume One).

1939 – Max and Evelyn become parents to a son that they name William, after their good friend (“Abominations,” The Peregrine Omnibus Volume One). Later in the year, Will and an ex-girlfriend named Violet Cambridge become embroiled in a horrific adventure surrounding a cursed object, an ancient cult and Aleister Crowley (The Damned Thing).

1940 – Will travels to Berlin with The Peregrine and The Domino Lady to confront the organization known as Bloodwerks (“Bloodwerks, The Peregrine Omnibus Volume One).

1941 – Kidnapped by a Nazi agent known as The Iron Maiden, Will is able to not only escape her clutches but convince her that she’s fighting on the wrong side. Kirsten Bauer and Will are soon married (“The Iron Maiden,” The Peregrine Volume One).

Later in the Forties, we learn that Will and Kirsten are struggling to have a child. As of this writing, we don’t know if they ever succeeded or not. Will is actually in most of The Peregrine stories after his introduction but the above are some of the best. If you’re a big fan of Will, I’d definitely suggest you seek out “Kingdom of Blood” and The Damned Thing, both of which feature him very prominently.

The Secret Origin of the Claws of the Peregrine

claws_front_smallAfter I’d finished several stories in The Peregrine series, it occurred to me that I’d introduced quite a few supporting characters that were worthy of stories in their own right: Leonid Kaslov, Catalyst, Revenant, Rachel Winters, Frankenstein’s Monster, etc. I decided it would make perfect sense to throw some of those characters together and create a spinoff project from The Peregrine Chronicles. I decided to leave out Kaslov and focus on the other four heroes I just mentioned, allowing The Peregrine to serve as their funding agent. I wanted to do the pulp equivalent of the old Batman and the Outsiders series: Batman brought together heroes to serve as his private strike force, handling things he didn’t have the time to do.

This strike force would be known as The Claws of The Peregrine, or simply “The Claws.”

The Claws of the Peregrine were originally meant to be introduced in their own volume. The Peregrine would appear in a major fashion in the first story, then fade into the background, to be used as needed. The first story (“The Diabolical Mr. Dee”) was written and I think it turned out fairly well, though I was obviously still finding my footing with the series.

Then came “A Plague of Wicked Men.”

I forget who came up with the idea of teaming the various Wild Cat Books heroes into one story but I know that Don Lee, Wayne Skiver, the Carney brothers, Ron Hanna and I were all involved in the plotting of the story, which would pit the heroes against a grouping of evil villains. Ron and Wayne wanted to kick the story off by killing an established pulp hero and they chose to make Captain Hazzard the sacrifice. I was worried about how this would look, since Hazzard was very closely identified with the editor-in-chief of one of Wild Cat’s major rivals but I wasn’t really the mover and shaker in the plotting. A scene (by Wayne) was written in which Hazzard was killed and I know Don Lee wrote a scene where the villains first came together.

Then, as is common in these sorts of things, the writers began flaking out. One person had legal issues, another had concerns about the plot, etc. The project seemed dead.

Then I asked if I could take the plot and twist it into a Claws of The Peregrine plot, rewriting the scenes already completed and tweaking it all into something that I felt I could handle on my own. Everyone seemed fine with that and Wayne was gracious enough to allow me to keep his character Prof. Stone in the story. I threw in the Black Bat, Ascott Keane and Ki-Gor to make it even bigger. The story turned out fairly well, though it struggled a bit under its own weight. There were elements of the original plot that I was asked to keep that I would have preferred to jettison but I worked with what I had.

There were now two Claws tales…

And then the decision was made to scuttle the Claws spinoff. Sales on the most recent volume of The Peregrine had been weaker than expected and it was decided to not dilute the brand at this point.

So what to do? I didn’t want to just shelve those stories but at the same time I was feeling burned out on The Peregrine and didn’t really feel like doing a solo Peregrine collection, either.

It was decided to take the two Claws stories and put them into The Peregrine Volume Five. A couple more Claws/Peregrine stories were added to flesh out the volume and voila, we had a book.

But it wasn’t a very good book, in my opinion. It suffered from the fact that you had a book entitled The Peregrine that spent a lot of time with The Peregrine not in it — I was fleshing out characters for their own series, remember, so I had deliberately tried to push The Peregrine into the background of those stories.

It was published, people seemed to regard it as weaker than its predecessors but still good.

Here’s where all the individual members of the team first appeared:

  • Catalyst (Nathaniel Caine) first appeared in “Catalyst.” The story is set in 1942. A predecessor named Andre Theirry also used the Catalyst identity in a series of adventures alongside Lazarus Gray in the 1937-1938 period of time.
  • Esper (Rachel Winters, later Rachel Caine) also first appeared in “Catalyst”. As stated before, the story is set in ’42.
  • Revenant (Sally Pence) first appeared in “Death From the Jungle”. The story is set in 1943.
  • Vincent (aka Frankenstein’s Monster) first appeared in “Satan’s Trial”. This story occurs in late 1943, after “Death From the Jungle.”

The group comes together as The Claws of the Peregrine in 1944, operating out of a two-story house on Peachtree Street nicknamed The Aerie. The group’s meeting room was in the finished basement and there was an extensive library and armory on the second floor. The team first appeared together in “The Diabolical Mr. Dee” before teaming up with several other pulp heroes in “A Plague of Wicked Men.” Both of those adventures were set in ’44. In 1946, they took part in the missions dubbed “The Devil’s Spear” and “The Ivory Machine.” During the latter story, their ranks swelled with the additions of The Black Terror and his partner Tim, Miss Masque, and The Flame. All of those stories are now available in The Peregrine Omnibus Volume Two.

Nothing is known about the majority of the members past ’46, though in one possible future (“The Four Peregrines”), we see that Catalyst is still alive into the 21st Century, having outlived his wife. Given that everything shown in the series post 2006 is just a potential future, it’s not carved in stone that this is anyone’s ultimate fate, however.

We also know that The Black Terror is still alive in 1964 as he plays a role in ASSISTANCE UNLIMITED: THE SILVER AGE.

I sometimes miss these characters but I’m uncertain if anybody would really want to see them revived. If I do, I’m not certain that the public domain heroes like The Black Terror and Miss Masque will remain with the group — I’d suspect that they’ll become secondary members, who might pop up if needed. I’d probably keep the focus on the main four (plus The Peregrine).

What do you guys say? Anybody want to see these heroes return?

Reese Unlimited Purchased by Pro Se Productions

sourcebook_cover_smallWhat follows is the press release announcing the sale of my Reese Unlimited properties to Pro Se Productions. For those of you wondering what this means, just know that I wouldn’t have done it if I hadn’t thought it was a good deal. I’ll still have the ability to write new Lazarus Gray novels (he’s the character nearest and dearest to my heart)… it’ll just be work-for-hire instead of being “mine.” I’ve been privy to some of Pro Se’s plans for this universe of characters and I’m pretty darned excited to see them! I’ll continue writing – and blogging – about Reese Unlimited. The changes are really just behind-the-scenes things – I know that some of these characters are beloved by many readers and, rest assured, they are in good hands.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PRO SE PRODUCTIONS PURCHASES AUTHOR BARRY REESE’S ‘REESE UNLIMITED’ PROPERTIES! MAJOR PLANS IN WORKS FOR ICONIC NEW PULP CHARACTERS!

In 2011, Pro Se Productions, then a fledgling New Pulp Publisher, licensed the property now known as The Peregrine, a well known character in the New Pulp Movement even at that time, from author Barry Reese. In eight years, now award winning author Reese has not only continued to publish with Pro Se, a cutting edge independent Publisher of New Pulp and Genre Fiction, but he has become prolific enough that Pro Se gave its first author imprint to his universe, calling it REESE UNLIMITED. Characters such as Lazarus Gray, Gravedigger, Babylon, and many others populate the literary world Reese has created. Today, Pro Se Productions announces the acquisition of all creations, publications, and all rights to concepts created by Barry Reese that are under the umbrella of REESE UNLIMITED.

This is an opportunity,” says Tommy Hancock, Editor in Chief of and Partner in Pro Se, “that doesn’t come along very often. First, to be associated with a creator of Barry’s caliber for so long and to watch a literal entire fictional universe grow from his work is an honor all by itself. But now, to be trusted with the creative future and success of these worlds he has created, to not only carry on the quality of work Barry has produced, but to be able to expand on it, both with more works from Barry and new projects featuring other writers, honor doesn’t even cover it. Now as a permanent part of Pro Se Productions, we will carry on the legacy Barry successfully started- to make REESE UNLIMITED not just the name of an imprint, but a proven fact. There’s no limit to where these concepts can go.”

Reese will continue as the sole author of THE ADVENTURES OF LAZARUS GRAY, seven volumes published and four more already completed. He will also contribute, by his choice, to future works. In the coming days, Pro Se will make announcements concerning plans and submission calls for a variety of characters in the REESE UNLIMITED catalog, including The Peregrine, Gravedigger, Babylon, and many others. Anthologies and novels are being considered for multiple characters, with the intent to produce 4-6 books a year in the REESE UNLIMITED line.

“All creative people understand that their characters are like children,” says Reese, “and there are very few people on this planet that I would trust with my ‘kids.’ The folks at Pro Se have been like family to me and I definitely feel safe knowing that the various heroes and villains of the Reese Unlimited universe will be safeguarded by the likes of Tommy Hancock. I’m looking forward to continuing my association with Lazarus Gray and I’m eager to see what Pro Se has up their collective sleeves for the likes of Gravedigger and The Peregrine.”

Any authors interested in being a part of the plans Pro Se has for the REESE UNLIMITED imprint, may email Hancock at editorinchief@prose-press.com for further information.

To learn more about Pro Se Productions, go to www.prose-press.com. Like Pro Se on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ProSeProductions.

Timeline of my Pulp Adventure Universe (updated 8/20/2019)

small_lazarus_batistaMajor Events specific to certain stories and novels are included in brackets. Some of this information contains SPOILERS for The Peregrine, Lazarus Gray, Gravedigger and other stories.

~ 800 Viking warrior Grimarr dies of disease but is resurrected as the Sword of Hel. He adventures for some time as Hel’s agent on Earth. [“Dogs of War” and “In the Name of Hel,” Tales of the Norse Gods].

1748 – Johann Adam Weishaupt is born.

1750 – Guan-Yin embarks on a quest to find her lost father, which takes her to Skull Island [Guan-Yin and the Horrors of Skull Island].

1776 – Johann Adam Weishaupt forms The Illuminati. He adopts the guise of the original Lazarus Gray in group meetings, reflecting his “rebirth” and the “moral ambiguity” of the group. In Sovereign City, a Hessian soldier dies in battle, his spirit resurrected as a headless warrior.

Continue reading → Timeline of my Pulp Adventure Universe (updated 8/20/2019)