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R.I.P. ?

Barry_Reese_cover_colI’m putting the finishing touches on the so-called “crossover novel” where all my heroes team up. I’ve finished the heavy lifting and now I’m working on a series of epilogues that both close off the story and set up the next stage of my pulp adventure universe.

Yesterday, I killed off a major character.

I’m not using ‘major’ lightly, either.

This will set in motion some pretty interesting stories and events so their death won’t be glossed over or forgotten, I promise you.

Having said that, I imagine that a few fans will be very, very upset with me.

Pro Se head honcho Tommy Hancock has said they’re going to fast track this one so hopefully you might still see it in 2015.

And that cover by Chris Batista is gorgeous, isn’t it?

Of Monsters and Men is here!

ofmenandmonstersMoonstone Books has just released this book, which contains a story by me featuring Richard Knight. The aerial hero is someone I’ve written before and in this tale he goes up against some zombie pilots that are possibly more than he can handle!

The book also contains work by Bobby Nash, Tommy Hancock, Adam Lance Garcia and many more!

OF MONSTERS AND MEN HC
300pgs, grayscale, 7” x 10”, squarebound, $24.99
ISBN: 978-1-936814-82-4(52499)

This special Hardcover features all the stories in the Soft Cover as well as 100 extra pages that reprint the previously published “Domino Lady vs Mummy”, Black Bat vs Dracula”, and “Phantom Detective vs Frankenstein”! If you’re looking to save a few bucks, the softcover edition retails for about ten dollars less.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Author Q & A

Every now and then I let some of the questions I’m asked pile up so I can answer them all at once.

Here’s the latest batch! And if you want to play along, just send me a question by replying here, sending me a message via Twitter or through Facebook! Heck, you can even ask me something via Tumblr! I do aim to please.

Let’s started:

When will we see a new Rook volume?

Volume six appeared in 2011 and since then, we’ve gotten re-releases of the earlier books and two Tales of The Rook volumes. In the past I’ve teased that Tommy Hancock was going to be writing a trilogy of Rook novels that would comprise volumes 7-9 but with his schedule, that may or may not be the case any longer. I don’t have any definitive plans to write a new Rook novel myself, either, but I can tell you that he plays a  major role in Götterdämmerung, the crossover novel that I’m currently writing. He’ll be teaming up with Gravedigger and Lazarus Gray in that one!

So don’t give up hope… I may do a new one at some point.

Which of your characters is your favorite?

I always have trouble answering this one. They’re all special to me in some way… I guess I’d lean towards Lazarus Gray as of today but Gravedigger, Fiona Chapman and The Rook will always be dear to me, as well. Hell, they all are!

I can’t answer that.

Next!

Any chance of you and George Sellas doing a comic together about one of your characters?

Maybe? We’d both be interested but it’s a matter of logistics and finances. To get something published through Image, for instance, would cost a couple of thousand per issue in addition to the creative costs. There’s always the self-publishing route via IndyPlanet or something but there’s smaller chance of something catching on there.

I’d love to see a book about the villains/the members of Assistance Unlimited/Leonid Kaslov! Could it happen?

I’m lumping all three of those together because I get asked them so frequently. All are possibilities and I’d like to see all of them happen, either spearheaded by me or someone else. I only have so many hours in the day, though! I’d also like to see a Handbook of my universe but, again, when would I do it? Anybody out there want to volunteer their services to help out? I’m game.

Who should play The Rook in a movie?

Anybody! Nah, seriously… I used to say Nathan Fillion, during his Firefly days. Now that he’s gotten older, I lean towards Matt Damon… but I could be swayed in other directions. I never play the casting game too often.

Why aren’t you writing any Shadow stuff for Dynamite?

They won’t let me? 🙂

I did send in a couple of inquiries as instructed on their website but I never got any response back from them so I assume they’re well-stocked on writers for the character. Given that they’re working with folks like Michael Uslan and Matt Wagner, they probably don’t need me.

Our image today is of the iconic Michael Caine. Enjoy!

 

Things Are Moving Forward!

Gravedigger_06_smallHeard from my wonderful collaborator George Sellas that he’s about to move forward into the production phase on Gravedigger Volume Two! George will not only be doing another cover but also a two-page “Origins” strip like we did for Lazarus Gray. I think all of you will be very happy with what he’s going to come up with!

Also, got an update about Lazarus Gray Volume Four, which is now in graphic designer Sean Ali’s capable hands. I’m really psyched to see what you guys think of this one!

Something I did for Tommy Hancock and Paul Bishop is coming soon, too, and I’m very proud of the work I did on that. More info to come.

And finally, the story I did for Radio Archives is going to be on the way soon. Look for a full press release in the next few weeks.

Oh – I officially passed the 10,000 word mark on the current novel!

I know it’s a small post today but all the news was good, right?

Our artwork today is by Will Meugniot and comes from the first Gravedigger volume.

Sunday Musings

lg07_morgan_watts_smallIt’s a Sunday here at Ye Olde Blog, which generally means that I enjoy a quiet day with the family. I try to sneak in some NFL viewing and maybe a nap, too. I don’t generally do anything writing-related on Sundays, though I often do “pre-writing” during that time. What the heck is pre-writing, you ask? Well, I’ll just think about the next few scenes I’m due to write and script them out in my head. It saves a lot of time when I actually sit down at the keyboard and start work. Sometimes I think the reason why I’m such a prolific writer is because I’ve generally written things before I ever start so it’s simply a matter of transcribing my thoughts onto the page — it’s different than outlining, though, which is too detailed and saps the fun out of the project for me. If it’s all in my head, I feel more able to change things as I go.

So far things have gone very well with the writing of Lazarus Gray Volume Five. I’m working on the fourth story now and I’ve tried hard to both keep true to the things that people love about the series while simultaneously doing some new stuff. In terms of villains, you’ll get to see mostly new ones, though Femi does make an appearance along the way. When I start work on the crossover novel (which is the project immediately following this one), I plan to introduce a major new menace for my pulp adventure universe, one that definitely requires all of my heroes to handle.

It’s going to be kind of fun to write The Rook again, as I’ve been so focused on Lazarus and Gravedigger over the past year that Max Davies had been relegated to the role of guest-star more than anything. The crossover novel will feature all three of my leads as equals, though.

In other Rook news, Tales of The Rook Volume Two should be out in the next few months and I believe Tommy Hancock is still working on Volume Seven (Tommy will be writing The Rook series for volumes 7-9) so if you’re primarily a Rook fan, there is new stuff on the way — plus a few other special little projects that I can’t reveal quite yet.

What lurks after the crossover novel? I’m not sure yet. I presume I’ll start thinking about Gravedigger Volume 3… but I don’t know. It might be time to do something completely different… but I’m sorry to disappoint those of you who have been waiting for Rabbit Heart 2 as I don’t think that’s likely to happen anytime soon. My wife did give me a great idea about how to continue things without using Fiona at all, though… so it’s not an absolute impossibility.

Take care, folks!

It’s My Birthday!

So today I turn forty-one years old. As always, such an event makes you want to look back on where you’ve been and also cast an eye on where you hope to be going. I was pretty happy with the words I wrote last year on this date so here they are once more. They’re just as applicable now as they were then:

I’m thankful that my birth father introduced me to pulp when I was a young kid. I love that stuff.

I’m thankful that my parents allowed me the freedom to pursue my own interests and to be a little bit weird. My father (really my step-dad but he’ll always be a father to me) passed away a few years ago and I still miss him. He was a great man and he taught me that you should always be able to laugh, no matter what the situation. I honestly think if you can do that, you’ll never be sad for long. His humility and grace are standards I’ll never be able to reach. My mom taught me that you love with all your heart and you don’t give up on the people that really matter, even if they disappoint you.

I’m thankful for my wife, who has stood by me through thick and thin. It hasn’t always been easy but our love remains firm — she’s my friend, my lover and my partner. She puts up with me when I’m being annoying and she’s with me through the triumphs and the tribulations.

I’m thankful for my son, who entered my life a little over seven years ago. He’s so smart and tries so hard to be good… I wish I could protect him forever. He’s reminded me of the fun of being a kid and how precious those first few years really are. I remember being his age and thinking I’d always live with my parents and always be safe with them watching over me. I’m sad he’ll have to learn that won’t be the case but I hope that he’ll end up having a happy life and be a good man. He’s off to a good start.

I’m thankful to Gary Dreslinski and Eric Moreels, who helped me get my job at Marvel. Because of them, I’ve had so many wonderful opportunities in the years since. Thanks, guys.

I’m thankful to the editors at Marvel, Moonstone, Pro Se, Wild Cat Books, West End Games and all the rest, for trusting me again and again. I’ve been able to work on The Avenger, The Green Hornet, G-8 and lots of other wonderful characters. I’ve been able to put my small stamp on them and that means I’ll live forever.

I’m thankful to my collaborators, like George Sellas, Anthony Castrillo, Tommy Hancock, Will Meugniot, Chris Batista, Tom Smith and so many others, all of whom have helped me along the way.

I’m thankful to you, my readers. I know I’m not the best writer out there but you keep coming back and trying my new projects. Thank you.

And most of all, I’m thankful to Life itself. Whatever force is out there, be it random bits of science coming together or some all-powerful entity that I’ll never comprehend, I’ve been here. I’ve smiled, I’ve laughed, I’ve made love and I’ve made my mark. I’ve made my share of screw-ups but all in all, it’s been a good life. Hopefully, I’ll get another 41 years to improve upon the first.

I Don’t Like Mondays

Lazarus_cvr_smallActually, I’m okay with Mondays – but it’s the title to a great song by the Boomtown Rats and I never miss the opportunity to borrow a great title!

Anyway, I’m still working on my Box Thirteen story and it’s going fairly well, I think. It’s always weird to handle a property for the first time — never quite sure if you’re veering too close or too far from what the editor will want.

Got a great idea for the opening to my next Lazarus Gray story and I might break down and write that opening chapter soon. I’ve also been doing research on another writer’s pulp hero as I’ll be guest-starring that character in a Lazarus Gray adventure. I’ll reveal all soon enough, I promise, but I will say it’s a character that I’ve been reading for years and who has a loyal following. In fact, a new adventure of the character was just published recently.

Sadly, I can’t focus much time on Lazarus Gray, despite the muse pounding on the door to my brain. After I finish Box Thirteen, I need to start work on my Pulse Fiction story for Pro Se Productions and *then* I need to work on my Sherlock Holmes novella and *then* I owe Pro Se another Thunder Jim Wade tale. I think. Hell, I’m starting to have trouble remembering all my obligations! As for Pulse Fiction, the newest episode of the Pro Se Presents Podcast features an interview between Tommy Hancock and Paul Bishop as they discuss the origins of that project.

Reading-wise, I just finished a history of the Vietnam War and now I’m reading an old Doctor Who novel from the early 1980s. I also read a great comic called Downward Spirals this weekend, written and drawn by John Simcoe. It’s a comic book about hockey-playing opossums. Yep, that’s what I said. It’s a gag strip, with each “daily” strip printed on a page, along with the results of that night’s game. Over the course of the book, you follow the Downward Spirals through their season. It’s great fun for fans of humor comics and/or hockey! If you’re interested in it, you can find John on Facebook at facebook.com/thejohnsimcoe.

Here’s the inspiration for today’s blog title, by the way — enjoy! It’s a classic.

‘Tis Tuesday! Huzzah!

lg04_walther_lunt_smallWent to the Georgia Renaissance Festival this weekend – my family goes at least once a year and it’s always fun. Definitely have to recommend that you check out the Tortuga Twins if you get the chance. Hilarious every time.

Continuing to write away on Lazarus Gray Volume Five – yep, I’m working on volume *five*! This one will return to the format we had in volume one, with a handful of shorter stories. Books 2-4 featured two novellas in each volume, all with an overarching storyline that tied them into a trilogy. With Volume Five, I’m loosening up and just having some fun stories for the team — in the first tale, we have a lost pirate treasure and a zeppelin crewed by beautiful (and dangerous!) women. I can tell you’re excited already!

The past few weeks, I’ve been recording The Shadow Fan’s Podcast a little earlier than usual, as my schedule has forced me to move the show to Tuesdays. This week, we’re returning to our traditional Thursday… so expect a new episode to be released on April 25, 2013! Should be another exciting one.

This weekend is Pulp Ark 2013 in Arkansas — sadly, I won’t be there. But I hope that you’ll be able to make it. It’s the world’s biggest and best New Pulp convention and this year’s schedule is truly packed! My novel Die Glocke won Best Novel, Best Cover and Best Interior Art (those last two awards were given to the amazing George Sellas!) so I wish I could be there to accept the awards on mine and George’s behalf… but it just wasn’t possible. Still, I hope it’s a HUGE success and that I’ll be there in 2014!

Waiting on the last story to roll in for Tales of The Rook Volume Two. This one will be the last in the series – but probably not the end of The Rook. Tommy Hancock is still supposed to write volumes 7-9 of the series and the plot he’s come up with is an epic one. Not sure when I’ll return to write more Rook, though. Most of my focus is definitely on Lazarus and Gravedigger at the moment. Pro Se’s formatting and design guru Sean Ali is currently working on The Rook Volume Two Special Edition – you can expect that one very soon! We’re slowly working on getting all these books back into print and I appreciate the patience you guys are showing!

By the way, Jen Broomall is doing a Gravedigger image for me so I’m very excited to see what she will come up with!

In other artistic news, George Sellas is working on finishing up the Lazarus Gray Origins pages – as I’ve mentioned before, we trimmed the original script down to just the two page Lazarus sequence. Samantha, Morgan, Eun & the Assistance Unlimited team will all have to wait for their respective days in the sun.

Our art today is by George Sellas and features the evil Walther Lunt, who fought Lazarus repeatedly in the first two volumes. He met his demise in Die Glocke but his shadow still looms large over volumes 3 & 4.

Thursday Stuff

lg_v3_darkling_vs_silver_wolf_smallThe weekend is getting nearer and nearer… just have to keep hanging in there! Last night, i was surprised to receive a phone call from Shadow expert and all around good guy Anthony Tollin. We chatted for almost an hour about all kinds of things and Anthony is full of fascinating insights and stories about The Shadow. I’m definitely going to try and get him onto The Shadow Fan’s Podcast because he’s just too valuable a resource not to share with everybody.  A very pleasant time, at least on my end 🙂 I’m sure I wasn’t nearly as interesting.

Got a call from GC360, which is a televised news program put on by the students of the local university. They say they’re interested in setting up an interview with regards to my writing and, specifically, the fact that Die Glocke won Best Novel in the Pulp Ark Awards. I’ll talk to them today and see what we can set up — I’m not too keen on a visual interview but we’ll see, lol.

Work is moving briskly on with Lazarus Gray Volume Five – it’s off to a very good start! The Lazarus story I’m currently writing is a good example of the intertwined nature of my pulp adventure universe. A pirate by the name of Hendrick Van der Decken was introduced in “The Phantom Vessel” (The Rook Volume Four), in which the undead pirate is freed from his watery grave in 1943. I really enjoyed his character, so when I wrote Guan-Yin and the Horrors of Skull Island, I used Van der Decken as one of the villains of that story, which was set in the 17th century. Now, Lazarus Gray Volume Five (set in 1937), Van der Decken’s lost hordes of treasure are referenced again, though the undead pirate himself won’t be appearing (after all, he can’t be freed until 1943, remember?). Now, these three stories are all unrelated, except for the way our villainous pirate crosses into each but it’s a set of fun Easter eggs for those who read them all.

Speaking of Lazarus Gray, Volume 3 should be out before too long — expect me to start pimping that one really hard soon. Volume 3 is the middle chapter of the huge epic that spans books 2-4 and it introduces a couple of major characters to the universe: Eidolon and The Darkling. Both of those folks will return for Volume 4, as well. The image that’s running with this blog post today comes from Volume Three and shows The Darkling squaring off a villain by the name of The Silver Wolf. I’ll leave it up to you to figure out which character is which! 😉

I continue to get great feedback from folks about The Adventures of Gravedigger and I’m thrilled by it all! I was really proud of the book and think that George Sellas did the best cover of his career (which is really saying something!). Don’t worry, there will be more Charity Grace coming in the future.

Tales of The Rook — I’m still waiting on one more story. The first four that have been turned in are being edited now. All are winners so far! I hope to get this one out to you before the end of the year. While the first book was a breeze, with pretty much everyone turning in their stories early, this one has been more problematic. Writers have come and gone on the project multiple times and the whole experience has just been a bit of a headache. As such, I think Volume Two will be the last in that series. Tommy Hancock is still scheduled to write a trilogy of Rook novels (which would be volumes 7-9 in the main series).

Yes, I’m Rambling Again. What of it?

mellisa-clarke900x675Another day at Ye Olde Blog and I have to confess, I’m feeling a bit sleepy this morning. Definitely one of those days where I wish I could have stayed in bed, snuggled under the covers. Ah, well. Gotta go make the doughnuts — or the literary equivalent, anyway.

Splitting my time between re-reading The Duende History of The Shadow Magazine (for this week’s The Shadow Fan Podcast) and the new Doc Savage: Skull Island book. Both are quite enjoyable.

Yesterday, I finished Lazarus Gray Volume Four… sent the files to my artistic collaborator George Sellas, too. George is going to do a couple of pages from the aborted Origins project, too. If you’ll recall, Anthony Castrillo was going to do a six page set of vignettes, detailing the origins of each member of the Assistance Unlimited team. That fell apart in spectacular fashion, though Anthony did turn in some mighty fine thumbnails. Anyway, the project as it once was has been set aside but George is going to be taking the Lazarus Gray portion of the set and doing those — the plan is for them to appear in The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume 3 and each volume thereafter, though I might beg & plead for Tommy Hancock to also include them in one issue of Pro Se Presents, just so you can see them at a larger size than you would in the novels.

I will, of course, share them here as well – especially since the Pro Se eBooks don’t include all those lovely interior illustrations. You guys are really missing out on those, though I do share most of them on the blog at one point or another.

I have to confess that I’ve had some stirrings about offering to take over All Pulp, now that Tommy Hancock has announced his retirement. If I did… and it’s still a mighty big if!… I would move the site over to WordPress, which I prefer over blogspot quite a bit. I’d also make a few changes here and there to streamline things and make it something that I’d enjoy updating daily. That would be the thing that might keep me from taking it on — I do daily updates here. If I know I’m going to be out of town or busy, I schedule a post and let it automatically update. I’d want daily updates for All Pulp, too, at least on a Monday-Friday schedule, if not 7 days a week. Do I want to spend *more* time blogging? That’s the question. What say you, faithful readers? Should I do this… or should I stand aside and hope someone else rides in on the white horse?

I haven’t done any Marvel Heroic writeups in awhile… nobody’s requested any, for that matter. I still adore the game system but the lack of print product is killing it for me. They’ve released several things as PDFs but only two of them have made it into the print format, which is my preferred method of rpg delivery. Yes, I could have an iPad at the gaming table with me but I like carrying around the books — and, yes, I know I’m old.

So… what’s next for me in the writing world? Well, I need to finish off my own entry for Tales of The Rook Volume Two. We ended up with fewer stories than we expected at the beginning but that’s okay — the ones we do have are great ones. I do think this is the final volume of this series, though. There are reasons why I’m not a publisher — I can’t stand hunting down people to make deadlines. Anyway, my story brings back and obscure villain from The Rook series and features some ideas given me by George Sellas.

After that, I need to do a Weird Western for Mechanoid Press.

And then…

Then, it’s either Gravedigger Volume Two or something completely different (cue the Monty Python music!)