From the Vault: My Introduction to New Pulp (Guest Blog by Mark Beaulieu)

rook_v1_cover_cropped_smallI’ll be spending most of this week with my family so we’ll be showcasing some of my favorite “From the Vault” posts. If you’ve read them before, it’ll be a good time for you to go back and refresh your memory about some of our more popular (and controversial) topics. If they’re new to you, all the better!

Unfortunately, there will be no New Pulp Best Sellers List because of the holiday season. It will resume next week! Sorry for the delay.

To kick off this week’s programming, here’s a repeat performance of Mark Beaulieu’s guest blog from awhile back. I hope you enjoy it!

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Today we’re turning the blog over to Mark Beaulieu, whom I’ve known since our shared days at Marvel Volume One (MV1), a huge fanfiction project that now seems to have existed in some long-ago semi-mythical era where talented writers argued over rules and regulations of a completely fictitious fanfiction “company”… and worked together to weave a tapestry of epic excitement.

Or something like that.

Anyway, Mark is a longtime friend and I was thrilled when he asked if he could contribute a guest blog post to my site — and I was even more humbled when I read the words that follow. Without further ado, here’s Mark Beaulieu:

I remember where I was when I read the first volume of The Rook. There was construction going on at the University of Hartford while I was teaching a summer course. I couldn’t go to the normal cafeteria for lunch so I’d lug over to the Hawk’s Nest (a cafeteria in the student dorms). I’d read The Rook while eating lunch and eating Buffalo chicken wraps.

Mmmmm….sorry I’ll get back on track.

I was blown away by Barry’s writing style. I had read some of his fan fiction, but this was much better. He had really grown as a writer. The Rook was a well-developed character that engaged in high action stories with supernatural baddies. And I’m a sucker for Nazi villains. I blame the old Captain America comics I read as a kid and of course the great Raiders of the Lost Ark movie (easily one of the best movies ever made). After reading this book, I looked for more like it. I got the next few Rook books and The Damned Thing. I enjoyed them all.

Barry’s books led me to look at other titles. In particular, How the West was Weird volumes 1 and 2. I absolutely love the second volume of that series. The first volume is good, but the second is much stronger, in my opinion. This introduced me to the work of Derrick Ferguson and Ron Fortier. The Sebastian Red stories in those two volumes are absolutely fantastic. Ron’s story in the second volume is also great. I knew Tony Wilson and Mark Bousquet before seeing their stories in the second volume, but Tony’s story is my favorite one in the anthology. It’s a Jonah Hex type story and it’s excellent. Mark’s story is part of a much bigger story arc and works on its own, but the later stories really add to that universe.

Now I’ve started copy editing for Pro Se Productions and I’m really enjoying that. I wouldn’t be editing for anyone if it wasn’t for Barry’s Rook books. This may bother Van Allen Plexico, but I was reading his books in a vacuum. I didn’t realize he was part of a larger movement. I really enjoyed Van’s Sentinel books and I’ll buy and read anything Van writes, but I was buying those as a friend and didn’t pay attention to any discussion of new pulp. Sorry Van. I also read Mark Bousquet’s stuff and I owe him for being a major supporter of my writing (what little I’ve done) but again I was reading his stuff in a vacuum. I feel strongly that I owe it to friends to buy their stuff if I like it and I’ve always enjoyed Mark’s and Van’s books. Heck, Dreamer’s Syndrome hit every button I could ask for as a reader. I couldn’t believe how good that book was when I read it. There aren’t many books I enjoyed more than that. However, I was reading these without understanding there was a larger world of small press books. It was really Barry’s The Rook that opened my eyes to the larger world of new pulp.

And I think my life is better for it.

Mark Beaulieu is the writer/creator of the upcoming Ulysses King anthology from Pro Se.

Guest Blog: My Introduction to the World of New Pulp

The Rook COVERToday we’re turning the blog over to Mark Beaulieu, whom I’ve known since our shared days at Marvel Volume One (MV1), a huge fanfiction project that now seems to have existed in some long-ago semi-mythical era where talented writers argued over rules and regulations of a completely fictitious fanfiction “company”… and worked together to weave a tapestry of epic excitement.

Or something like that.

Anyway, Mark is a longtime friend and I was thrilled when he asked if he could contribute a guest blog post to my site — and I was even more humbled when I read the words that follow. Without further ado, here’s Mark Beaulieu:

I remember where I was when I read the first volume of The Rook. There was construction going on at the University of Hartford while I was teaching a summer course. I couldn’t go to the normal cafeteria for lunch so I’d lug over to the Hawk’s Nest (a cafeteria in the student dorms). I’d read The Rook while eating lunch and eating Buffalo chicken wraps.

Mmmmm….sorry I’ll get back on track.

I was blown away by Barry’s writing style. I had read some of his fan fiction, but this was much better. He had really grown as a writer. The Rook was a well-developed character that engaged in high action stories with supernatural baddies. And I’m a sucker for Nazi villains. I blame the old Captain America comics I read as a kid and of course the great Raiders of the Lost Ark movie (easily one of the best movies ever made). After reading this book, I looked for more like it. I got the next few Rook books and The Damned Thing. I enjoyed them all.

Barry’s books led me to look at other titles. In particular, How the West was Weird volumes 1 and 2. I absolutely love the second volume of that series. The first volume is good, but the second is much stronger, in my opinion. This introduced me to the work of Derrick Ferguson and Ron Fortier. The Sebastian Red stories in those two volumes are absolutely fantastic. Ron’s story in the second volume is also great. I knew Tony Wilson and Mark Bousquet before seeing their stories in the second volume, but Tony’s story is my favorite one in the anthology. It’s a Jonah Hex type story and it’s excellent. Mark’s story is part of a much bigger story arc and works on its own, but the later stories really add to that universe.

Now I’ve started copy editing for Pro Se Productions and I’m really enjoying that. I wouldn’t be editing for anyone if it wasn’t for Barry’s Rook books. This may bother Van Allen Plexico, but I was reading his books in a vacuum. I didn’t realize he was part of a larger movement. I really enjoyed Van’s Sentinel books and I’ll buy and read anything Van writes, but I was buying those as a friend and didn’t pay attention to any discussion of new pulp. Sorry Van. I also read Mark Bousquet’s stuff and I owe him for being a major supporter of my writing (what little I’ve done) but again I was reading his stuff in a vacuum. I feel strongly that I owe it to friends to buy their stuff if I like it and I’ve always enjoyed Mark’s and Van’s books. Heck, Dreamer’s Syndrome hit every button I could ask for as a reader. I couldn’t believe how good that book was when I read it. There aren’t many books I enjoyed more than that. However, I was reading these without understanding there was a larger world of small press books. It was really Barry’s The Rook that opened my eyes to the larger world of new pulp.

And I think my life is better for it.

Mark Beaulieu is the writer/creator of the upcoming Ulysses King anthology from Pro Se.

Hump Day Musings

jen_artIt’s been a busy week so far and there’s only more to come. It can sometimes be a challenge to balance my writing with my day job and my home life but I feel that if something is really important to you, you’ll find a way to get it done – somehow, some way. The second Gravedigger novel is in the stretch run now – I could possibly complete it sometime tomorrow but early next week may be more likely. After that, I need to talk to George Sellas about how we can approach the cover and whether or not we want any interiors for it. George is currently working on The Rook Volume Three Special Edition and then he still has to look over the fourth volume of Lazarus Gray in preparation of the that book’s cover. Yes, I keep him busy.

Speaking of art, I got another sketch from Jen Broomall, who will be working on a Gravedigger image for me. I’m not sure what it will be used for (possibly the back cover of volume two?) but it’s looking gorgeous so far. I’m a big fan of Jen’s work and I’m thrilled to have her depicting Charity Grace.  Our art for today is a piece by Jen and I think you’ll agree that her style is very well suited for Gravedigger.

The New Pulp world has been fairly quiet lately with a lot of folks gearing up for Pulp Fest. I wish everybody a fun time – one of these days I’ll make the trip, I promise.

I released a new episode of The Shadow Fan Podcast this week, which was the 41st in the series. Wow… it’s hard to believe I’ve done so many!

Also, I’m a guest on this week’s episode of The White Rocket Podcast. It’s always fun talking with Van Allen Plexico and our discussion ranged from my influences to the writing process and beyond. Definitely check it out!

Wish me luck in putting this newest Gravedigger adventure to bed. I have a lot of other commitments that are beginning to press upon me and I’ve got to start hitting the keys to avoid a deadline crunch!

See you guys tomorrow.

A Monster Aces Review

monstersIt’s a good day for reviews here at Ye Olde Blog! Bruce Blanchard posted the following review of Monster Aces over on Amazon.com. Here’s what he had to say:

You say there are no monsters? Tell that to the Aces, experts hunting and destroying the monsters plaguing human kind. Meet the team. The leader is Cap’n of a secretive past. Joker is a man who can sweet talk their way in and out of situations. Gats, formerly a gangster, knows the power of firearms. Digger, big as an ox, is one with the earth, sussing out entrances and exits. Trill, the darling of the dangerous Aces, makes a point of showing up uninvited making their situations better…or worse. Carrying them around the world is the Whale, a ship with the able Mariner at the helm.

Monster Aces is a gathering of five stories written by Jim Beard, Barry Reese, Van Allen Plexico, and Ron Fortier. They will take you on a tour of the world with your points of entry: the primitive village of Nacht, Geeter Swamp, the deadly Amazon, Aroostook County (Maine), and Bahia Blanca in Argentina.

The Aces are no slouches, neither are the monsters they face and definitely not the stories written by these fine gentlemen. The descriptive words in each story flourish in the flavor of their locales. The main characters stand out strong and distinctive. Not even one of the secondary characters are throwaways. The battles within the pages are perilous and the quests up to and meeting the monsters are adventures we can only dream about. You will find the reading is escapist and also exciting and heart-stopping. Get Monster Aces now; you will not regret it. This comes with my personal promise and reputation as a reviewer.

Thanks for the review, Bruce! I really enjoyed working on Monster Aces and if there’s ever a volume two, maybe I’ll be invited back to the party.

Monster Aces scares up its first review!

Doc Panic gave a 5 star review to Monster Aces in an Amazon review. I have a story in this volume, which features a bunch of monster hunters created by Jim Beard. You should check it out if you’re in the mood for some creature killin’!

Here’s his review:

Wow what a great book, really enjoyed it. The book consist of 5 stories all together, with two of them being by Jim Beard and serving as book ends for the other three. The stories revolve around a group called the Aces, who have basically giving up their own personal lives to rid the world of monsters. It is as stated, they look to kill the monsters…no exceptions. The group is shrouded in mystery even among themselves, no one knows each other’s true identity, all looking for the day when they can return to the life they left behind.

The first story finds the group in Europe battling a certain eight legged variety of monster “Nuff said” It flows well and the action and suspense is there from start to finish.

The Second story by Barry Reese takes us into swamp country, to battle beings that very well may have been there before man, but now are struggling to keep from extinction. What creatures you may ask? Well use your imagination, but really buy the book, great reading.

The third story takes us and the Aces on a wild trip down the Amazon, where a alien life form if raising hell and must be stopped. The story was written by Van Allen Plexico.

The fourth story by Ron Fortier gets its start on the battlefield of WWI in France, but brings the Aces into it when a Ghoul makes its way back to Maine, and causes havoc on the folks living in the northern woods.

Jim Beard’s second story ends the book, and brings us in touch with a couple of classics, one who you can tell by the cover, and the other, well I will let that remain a surprise. If you are a fan of Horror and good Pulp, then this book is a must have. It reads well and keeps your interest from start to finish.

Thanks, Doc! I appreciate the kind words. I’m sure there will be more Monster Aces collections in the future, so stay tuned.