Saturday, February 28, 2015

THE FINAL BATTLE COMES DOWN TO ‘BLOOD AND BONE!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

‘THE PULPTRESS VS. THE BONE QUEEN’ BY ANDREA JUDY DEBUTS!

Two of the most popular characters from Pro Se Productions return to clash one final time in the cutting edge publisher’s latest digest novel release. Author Andrea Judy’s final chapter in this battle of good and evil debuts in print and digital format- The Pulptress vs. the Bone Queen: Blood and Bone!

“Being the creator of The Pulptress,” Tommy Hancock, Editor in Chief and Partner in Pro Se Productions says, “I am honored that so many people enjoy her adventures. What was even better for me, though, was that Andrea Judy, when she wrote her story for the first Pulptress collection, found something in the character worth creating a suitable enemy for her. And man, did she ever with The Bone Queen. Equally tragic and horrific, The Bone Queen has everything a good Pulp villain needs and Andrea delivers all of it with a two fisted, yet concise style all her own. The Pulptress Vs the Bone Queen: Blood and Bone is not only a fitting close to the battle between these two characters, it’s also a fantastically told tale that is part quest for vengeance and part redemption story. And all fantastic.”

The Pulptress- Raised from birth by the world’s greatest heroes- and some of its villains as well – to be the greatest Champion for Justice and Right ever known.

The Bone Queen- Once an idealistic priestess to a Death Goddess, now the depraved embodiment of Death and twisted Resurrection, walking the Earth in search of unbelievable power.
These two women walk very different paths, paths that crossed explosively. But as they clash one final time, the Pulptress and the Bone Queen have something in common, the one thing that may kill them both- They thirst for vengeance!

Author Andrea Judy, creator of The Bone Queen, returns to the world of The Pulptress for a third time to bring to a close one of the most hardly fought and horrific duels New Pulp has ever seen- The Pulptress Vs The Bone Queen: Blood and Bone! And in this battle, no one may get out alive.

"I'm excited,” says Judy, “to share the amazing story of the Pulptress battling it out with the Bone Queen. It's been an amazing opportunity to have the Bone Queen grow into a villain truly wicked and worthy to go toe to toe with the Pulptress. I'm proud to let these two amazing women kick butt in the New Pulp world."

The Pulptress Vs the Bone Queen: Blood and Bone features stunning art work by Jeffrey Hayes, the Pulptress logo design by Sean Ali, and all other logo work by Hayes. The print version formatted by Forrest Bryant is now available for $9.00 via Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/kl9x93o and at Pro Se’s own store at http://tinyurl.com/q8uhrjn. It is also available as an eBook formatted by Russ Anderson for the Kindle at http://tinyurl.com/ppl9equ and for most formats at http://tinyurl.com/pac9tcl for only $2.99.

For more information on this title, interviews with the author, or digital copies for review, contact Morgan McKay, Pro Se’s Director of Corporate Operations, at directorofcorporateoperations@prose-press.com.

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

Friday, February 27, 2015

[Link] 5 Sites to Promote Your Book on a Shoestring Budget

by Elise Abram

When it comes to promoting your book, you have to spend money to make money.

How many of you have been told that?

The first time I heard it, my heart filled with desolation. I live in the real world where disposable income is as rare as the unicorn–in other words, it doesn’t exist. What chance do I have of being successful with my marketing endeavours without the coin to back it?

The answer is: I don’t know. My book is relatively new (just over a month old at the time of my writing this) and it’s really too soon to tell. Nevertheless, I thought I’d share some of the places I’ve found online that allow me to advertise my book for free. Here are the 5 sites that top my list so far.

Continue reading: http://indiewritersupport.com/profiles/blogs/5-sites-to-promote-your-book-on-a-shoestring-budget

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Do Your Read & Write Faves Connect?

This week's roundtable is a short, and hopefully simple one, the answers to which have been nagging at my brain for some time.
What is your favorite genre to read? To write? If they're not the same, why is that?

Robert Krog: My favorite genre to read is sometimes history/archaeology, and sometimes fantasy and sometimes, well, you get the picture.  When I look at my bookshelves, I see that I own about an equal amount of history as I do fiction of whatever genre.  These days, I probably read slightly more fantasy than anything else, but I've probably read more history, over all.  I don't have a favorite genre, though.  I move as easily through one as through another, with the exception of romance and erotica, which I do not enjoy, though I have nothing against a love story. 

When I sit down to write a story, it is usually fantasy that jumps out from my fingers first, so that may be a subconscious admission that I like to write fantasy more than anything else.  I certainly fall into that mode most readily. Still, the story that came to me fastest and was written most cleanly in the shortest amount of time was a piece of science fiction.  Furthermore, I limit myself to no genre and have written the gamut from literary fiction to steampunk. 

Why do I think of fantasy first?  Fantasy was what I read most when I was young, and that seems to have formed me.  Also, I spent many hours each week running around outside pretending with my siblings and friends that we were knights and wizards, elves and dwarves and such.  That is probably why.  There is also the fact that fantasy, as much as or more than, any other genre, allows the writer and reader to explore themes that they might not otherwise explore.  The distance fantasy affords is of inestimable worth. We can, through fantasy, symbolically explore questions. The exercise of imagination that fantasy affords is equally useful.  And fantasy is a natural extension of the sorts of stories told in every culture from the dawn of history on.  What is mythology but an attempt to understand the world through fantastic storytelling?  Then, too, fantasy touches us to the heart just as much any other type of well-written literature, engages our sense of wonder, and provides the reader with entertainment that can be edifying or merely escapist.

Ralph Angelo, Jr.: For me, the genre's are essentially the same. action packed Sci-Fi/ Epic fantasy. The same stuff I like to read I like to write. I usually get inspired by what I read at times and new ideas start to flow. My favorite stories to write occur out of the real world. They are in deep space or worlds filled with powerful beings be they magical or scientific in origin.

Kristofer Upjohn: I like writing horror, both non-fiction about horror and fiction. "horror" is a broad term here since some of my fiction isn't strictly horror based on content but rather in terms of darkness or bleakness. I also write stream-of-consciousness slash surrealist stuff. I like to read fantasy, comic books, noir/crime, a little horror (mostly Anne Rice and Brian Lumley) and some sci-fi. I've often pondered why I write one thing and read another and have yet to arrive at a satisfactory answer. Reading and writing are two different activities and I guess what pleases me to read is different from what I find fun to write (and what I'm good at writing).

Marian Allen: NOT simple! ~sigh~ If I HAD to choose ONE genre to read to the exclusion of all others, I suppose it would have to be fantasy, if fantasy could be sufficiently broad to cover magic realism, literary fantasy, urban fantasy, and science fantasy as well as the more traditional forms. And that would be the genre I would choose to write, too, given a broad enough interpretation of the term.

Armand Rosamilia: I write a few different genres but mostly horror and zombie fiction, although I have dabbled in contemporary fiction, thrillers, erotica, and even romance under a pen name... but I usually only read nonfiction books. I love biographies and memoirs. I can't remember the last time I read a horror book, and it has to do with me not wanting to inadvertently bleeding in other author's ideas into my stories, I guess...

Richard Lee Byers: My answer to both "What do you like to read?" and "What do you like to write?" is that it varies according to my mood. Lately, I've been reading a lot of Lovecraftian horror and writing it as well. I will say that although I've written and likely will continue to write more swords-wizards-and-castles fantasy than anything else and love the sub-genre, I don't read nearly as much of that as I used to. I think that's partly because I'm so familiar with the beats and tropes that it's hard to surprise me and partly because if I'm writing a particular type of fiction, reading it in my leisure time isn't always pleasurable. I want something different. My final thought is that I may have reached the point where I don't look for particular genres so much as particular authors. If, for example, Joe R. Lansdale writes something, it doesn't matter if it's horror, crime, or whatever. I'm interested.

Andrea Judy: I love writing action adventure dark types of stories. While I also love reading horror and action adventure, I really enjoy reading romance. I love these because the happily ever after is soothing, the stories are fun, and it gives me an uplifted feeling after I've read them.

Lee Houston Jr.: I mainly read science fiction, fantasy (and despite the commercial applications, these are two separate genres), mysteries, and superheroes. I have written short stories in all four genres, but as far as books are concerned, I've combined science fiction and mysteries to create Hugh Monn, Private Detective and the Alpha series is my contribution to superhero novels. For whatever reason(s), I've yet to write a fantasy novel, or do something in science fiction or mysteries independent of the other genre book wise.

H. David Blalock: Speculative fiction. Both.


Selah Janel: My favorite genre to write is probably cross-genre, because I have a terrible time choosing just one, and I feel like a lot of elements in different genres line up well and play off each other in interesting ways. I also feel that, for me, the genre I write in depends on the actual story idea, and often times a fusion, if done well, is the best course of action for me. I love dark fantasy, love horror elements, but I couldn't give up folklore or fairy tale elements, and a lot of my leanings are firmly rooted in fantasy. I have a healthy respect of literary fiction and try to bring at least some of that to the table, and I don't mind romantic elements...So I guess my favorite genre to write is: yes.

I actually read more nonfiction than I do fiction, depending on the day. I love learning, and I like gleaning things that may help my own writing. That being said, in genre fiction I tend to read a lot of dark fantasy and a lot of comics and manga, but I also delve into cozy mysteries and chick lit/romance, too - it actually depends on the time of year: I have a definite dark mode and a definite fluffy mode. I think authors need to read everything - or if not everything, they absolutely cannot only read the genre(s) they write in. That may keep the focus on your genre(s), but it also really keeps a small circle of things you could be influenced by. Because I tend to embrace everything when I write, I suppose I have no trouble embracing everything when I read.

Stephanie Osborn:
I have several fave genres: SF, fantasy, mystery, science. And those are pretty much what I also write.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Percival Constantine: A Lot of Art Goes In

Percival Constantine say in his online bio: "Born and raised in the Chicagoland area, I grew up on a fairly consistent diet of superhero comics, action movies, video games, and TV shows. At the age of ten, I first began writing and I’ve never really stopped."

And he's gotten really, really good at it. But you don't have to take my word for it. Let's talk to him about it.

Tell us a bit about your latest work.

At the moment, I’m in the middle of the release schedule for season one of Vanguard. It’s a superhero serial featuring a world in which a small percentage of Earth’s population mysteriously acquired superhuman powers. Due to the potential threats the powers of these specials could pose, the President secretly forms a response team to deal with any rogue elements. The first season consists of five episode, each one a self-contained story with a different threat all leading up to the fifth episode. There’s also a special Episode #0 which as a prequel to the series and it’s available for free to subscribers of my mailing list.

What are the themes and subjects you tend to revisit in your work?

That’s a good question. Thinking back to the things I’ve written, I think there’s a lot of stuff in there about redemption or escaping the past.

What would be your dream project?

Writing the X-Men for Marvel Comics. I grew up with the X-Men, my very first piece of writing was X-Men fanfiction, so that would be a childhood dream come true for me.

If you have any former project to do over to make it better, which one would it be, and what would you do?

Chasing The Dragon, my second book. There are a lot of things I would change with that. For one, I’d go back and rewrite it so it’s in third person instead of second person perspective. Two, I would probably completely throw out the second half. Three, I think I’d use it as the beginning of a serial. And four, I would definitely redesign the cover. I’ve actually already unpublished this book because these are things I’m contemplating doing at some point in the future.

What inspires you to write?

I write because I like making stuff up. If you’re talking about what inspires my ideas, that can be just about anything.

What writers have influenced your style and technique?

Elmore Leonard is a definite influence on my technique and to a lesser extent, so is Kurt Vonnegut. Other major influences are comic book writers like Chris Claremont, Kurt Busiek, Mark Waid and Grant Morrison, or screenwriters like Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez.

Where would you rank writing on the “Is it an art or is it a science” continuum? Why?

I’d say it falls somewhere in the middle. There is a lot of art that goes into writing, but it has more to do with characterization, description, word choice, and story execution. But there are a lot of technical aspects that go into it as well, such as grammar, spelling, sentence and paragraph construction at one level and on a larger level, story structure. Whether a writer thinks about it, I’d say they’re being influenced by story structure on some level, be it consciously or subconsciously. We’ve all been bombarded with so many stories pretty much since birth that it’d be impossible for us to not internalize some kind of story structure, and that structure is a technical aspect to writing.

Any other upcoming projects you would like to plug?

Absolutely! This is a big release year for me and I’m shooting for monthly releases. All five episodes of the first season of Vanguard will be available by May. June will see the release of my third Myth Hunter book, Curse of the Necronomicon. And if all goes well, July will be the release of the third Infernum book, Gentleman Rogue. The third Luther Cross story for Pro Se Press, Bloodlust, will also be somewhere in there. I’ve also got some stories in the queue at both Pro Se and Airship 27, but I’ll leave Tommy and Ron to make those announcements.

I’m still working out what I’ll release in the second half of 2015. In the meantime, readers can head over to PercivalConstantine.com to keep up with my plans.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now #314 -- The State of the Comics Address

What do you think about what's currently going in comic books with all the 
crossovers and reboots and multiple books featuring the same characters?

As much as it's easy to bag on the crazy reboots and stuff going on in comic book publishing today, it's important to remember that many of the best comic book stories ever told are being published right now.

For every overblown crossover, there's a perfectly pitched book for lovers of nostalgia.

For every "been there done that" plot, there's a curve ball that surprises readers and renews their faith in the medium's ability to be relevant as more than mere nostalgia.

For every self-indulgent adolescent male fantasy, there's an gripping story about the power to be heroic in reality.

It's important to never forget that because the freedom that today's comics offers to creators can be overwhelming and send some scurrying back to the "safety" the past and the familiar.
But it can also send some stepping boldly into the future and the untried and unknown.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

SHERLOCK HOLMES CONSULTING DETECTIVE Vol 7 available now from Airship 27!

Airship 27 Productions, a leading publisher of New Pulp fiction is thrilled to announced the release of the seventh volume in its bestselling mystery series, “Sherlock Holmes – Consulting.”

A thick fog envelopes the streets of London and nefarious agents set about their evil plots and schemes.  Murder most foul rears its ugly head and baffling mysterious confound the good men of Scotland Yard until they’ve no recourse by to call upon the greatest Consulting Detective of them all, Sherlock Holmes of 221 B Baker Street.

“One of the reasons this series has done so well for us,” explains Airship 27 Productions’ co-founder and Managing Editor, Ron Fortier, “is that we offer readers no-frills, straight up mysteries done in the Conan Doyle style.  There are no fantasy elements in these adventures.  No Martian invaders, no vampires or other such nonsensical elements.  Simply old fashion puzzles that the Great Detective must solve with his brilliant intellect and powers of observations.  All, of course, narrated by his loyal friend, Dr. Watson.”

In this seventh volume of the series, Holmes and Watson, set out to solve four brand new cases, each a unique challenge unlike any they’ve encountered before.  From confronting the legendary Spring-Heel Jack to battling a fictional foe become real, Holmes and Watson will have to employ all their considerable talents to unravel these complex and insidious crimes.

Writers I.A. Watson, Aaron Smith, Alan J. Porter and Greg Hatcher have offered up a quartet of intriguing mysteries that will challenge even the most ardent readers as they attempt to match wits with Arthur Conan Doyle’s ageless hero, Sherlock Holmes!

The book features a wonderful painted cover by Michael Youngblood that pays tribute to the late British actor, Jeremy Brett, and twelve stunning black and white interior illustrations by award winning artist, Rob Davis.  It is a truly fitting addition to this critically successful series.

AIRSHIP 27 PRODUCTIONS – PULP FICTION FOR A NEW GENERATION!

Available now at Amazon.com in hardcopy and soon on Kindle.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

My Connooga Schedule!

Come to Chattanooga and see me! (And the rest of the fantastic authors and artists too, of course.)

Friday          
4:00 PM Writing Dialogue

Saturday          
10:00 AM Writing for Graphic Novels
5:00 PM Diversity in Fiction: What is it, How to do it, and Why
8:00 PM Plot or Die! Gameshow Panel with Authors

Sunday          
1:00 PM Writing For an Anthology

CON NOOGA is Chattanooga’s first and only Multi-Fandom (Multiple Genre) Convention covering everything from Celebrities, Artists, Authors, Film Makers, Sci-Fi, Horror, Fantasy, Anime, Comics, Paranormal, Haunting, Costuming, Concerts, Shows, Contests, Gaming, Console Gaming, Seminars, Workshops, Families, and Fun.  Not to mention the numerous DEALERS, and EXHIBITORS in our 75,000 Square Foot Exhibitor Hall.  Over 150+ Special Guests, dealers and fan groups help to make Con Nooga complete.  Enjoy 3 Days of Programming, Seminars, Workshops, Concerts, Acts, and Fun based upon numerous genres and fandom.  Encompassing both the Chattanooga Choo Choo and the Chattanooga Convention Center.

Con Nooga will invade the entire Chattanooga Choo Choo complex and over 75,000 square feet of space within the Chattanooga Convention Center.  Shuttles will run every 10 to 15 minutes from each location and the Free Chattanooga Electric Shuttle will also be available.  Or it is a mere 8 block walk from the Choo Choo to the Convention Center.

For more information, visit http://connooga.com/

Friday, February 20, 2015

Apex Announces Upside Down: Inverted Trops in Storytelling

Apex Publications
Contact: Lesley Conner, Editor
lesley@apexbookcompany.com

Announcing Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling
Anthology Slated for Fall/Winter 2015 Release


Apex Publications is pleased to announce the addition of a new anthology to its 2015 release schedule. Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling is an anthology of short stories and poems that will highlight the long-standing tradition of writers who identify tropes in science fiction, fantasy, and horror and twist them into something new and interesting.

Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling will include original contributions from Maurice Broaddus, Shanna Germain, Laura Anne Gilman, Sara Harvey, John Jacob Hornor, Rahul Kanakia, Haralambi Markov, Sunil Patel, Kat Richardson, Nisi Shawl, Lucien Soulban, Wrath James White, Alyssa Wong, and many others.

“I am excited to be working with two fantastic, smart, and gifted editors like Jaym Gates and Monica Valentinelli,” says Jason Sizemore, the publisher of Apex Book Company. “They should only enhance the Apex reputation as one of the genre's leading anthology publishers with the release of Upside Down.”

Edited by Jaym Gates (War Stories) and Monica Valentinelli (Haunted: 11 Tales of Ghostly Horrors), the anthology will debut in Fall/Winter 2015 in both digital and print. The anthology will be Gates’s second collection with Apex Book Company and Valentinelli’s first. A Kickstarter and open submissions period are also planned for this fall.

To find out more about Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling, be sure to watch for milestone-related updates from the editors on the Apex Book Company website at www.apexbookcompany.com.

APEX PUBLICATIONS (www.apexbookcompany.com) is a small press dedicated to publishing exemplary works of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Owned and operated by Jason B. Sizemore, Apex publishes the thrice Hugo Award-nominated Apex Magazine. The Apex catalog contains books by genre luminaries such as Damien Angelica Walters, Catherynne M. Valente, and Brian Keene.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Finding and Working with Beta Readers

Beta readers. That illustrious feedback group of superhero readers who lets you know if your story works or not. We've all heard the glory tales of great beta readers. We've also all heard the horror stories of (let's just say) bad beta readers. How does a writer find and keep an effective group and what does one look for?

What do you look for in a beta reader? How do you find readers who fit your needs?

Lee Houston Jr.: Someone friendly who understands the material, yet realizes that they are only reading the first draft, or that even the later draft(s) may not be completely ready to go when they read them, compared to the final version of the story that is eventually published.

At the very least, it would have to be somebody I know and trust to go over my writing, because I would not want to take the risk of either having details of my forthcoming works blabbed all over the place before they're published or get ripped off by someone I thought I could trust.
Both instances have happened to me before, so it was literally years between my current reader and my last one.

As far as how do I find readers, I seriously lucked out with my current one, for my friend and writing buddy go over each other's material as time permits in our respective schedules.

Ray Dean: First, be VERY clear about what you want in a beta. Some people say they want one, but their idea of what it is may be very different from what the other person thinks. You must say what you want to know about your writing and the other person needs to agree to it. Not setting the parameters ahead of time can be VERY frustrating. It doesn't help the writer and wastes the time of the Beta. I have always found my betas from my friends that are writers. We tend to value the same things in writing and are willing to take the time to help each other.

Stephanie Osborn: I need someone who knows science and has good grammar, AND will not gossip or even remark publicly on what s/he has read. There’s no point in putting out the book if someone has already told the plot to the whole world.

Generally finding beta readers is not hard. I have beta readers among my friends – some established, who get every book, and others that I call on just for specific books, when I’m looking for a certain kind of feedback. About the only time anyone turns me down is when s/he just doesn’t have time at the moment.

Have you ever had to let a beta reader go? What was it he or she did or didn't do that caused you to have to take that step?

Lee Houston Jr.: Believe it or not, writing is hard work, and every author does their best to create something unique in every story.
To have details of your story revealed before it is published, or to have your work plagiarized by another are unforgivable sins to a writer.

Ray Dean: Actually someone stopped using me. They asked me to 'beta' read and I went through and picked out the grammar errors, the jumped heads, the problems in logistics... thankfully I was doing the edit in Google Docs... after I'd made it through half of the document they sent me an 'Instant Message' and said... "Wait... wait! I didn't want you to look at THAT stuff... just tell me if you like it." So we agreed that I wasn't the 'beta' for her.

Stephanie Osborn: Not so far. I’d have to let one go if s/he violated my trust and publicly posted details from the book, I think.

What is the benefit of using beta readers for you?

Lee Houston Jr.: A fresh pair of eyes to go over your material, looking for possible mistakes that you might have missed, as well as giving you an honest opinion of how the story is, and what might be done to make it better.

Ray Dean: They catch the little things that your own mind 'glosses' over... one extra letter here, a missed word there... the stuff that your own mind 'adds' in as you read it, because 'it' knows what you meant. Those invisible add ins are easily caught by someone that hasn't read the thing over and over and over.

Stephanie Osborn: Oh! That’s easy. I get another set of eyes on the book before it goes to the publisher. It gives me a chance to polish it, to find out if there is a plot hole, or if I have gotten enamored of a particular word and overused it, or if I have some grammatical errors, or (in the case of my science beta readers) if the science needs tweaking to be realistic. I can get a LOT of VERY useful information from only one or two well-chosen beta readers.

My current principal beta reader is an old friend – we go back to grad school together. He’s a PhD particle physicist with a lot of experience in several different science fields, and he does a bit of essay writing himself, and is knowledgeable/skillful in grammar. He’s VERY trustworthy, and I get a lot of good info from him.
What are some of the drawbacks of having a group of beta readers?

Lee Houston Jr.: The obvious one is disagreement. What happens when you get different opinions on the same material? Do you go with the majority opinion? Or do you listen to the "lone voice in the wilderness" who disagrees with the others instead? That is why I only have the one.
I often refer to Nancy Hansen as my "friendly neighborhood beta/proofreader". As friends and writing buddies, we go over each other's material to help each other out whenever possible.

Ray Dean: The most I've ever had was two at one time. One caught more of the 'big picture' stuff, the other the smaller points. I had no complaints.

Stephanie Osborn: The more beta readers you have, the more apt your project is to be publicly discussed. Also not all of them may understand what you’re trying to do, or the direction you want to take. It can be quite annoying when this happens to a strongly opinionated beta reader, who then won’t let go telling you how you need to “fix” your story. And then, of course, there’s the simple, “Beta A said 0 degrees, but Beta B said 180 degrees.” So you can get very contradictory feedback, which can be hard to reconcile.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Nugget #39 -- Grab Me

If a writer can't grab my interest from the get-go, 
then what makes me assume he or she will be able 
to rectify that a few more pages into the tale? 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Means to Tell a Story -- The Rocky Perry Q&A

The following is from Rocky Perry's Goodreads page:

I have traveled many places and had many experiences, but it was my personal obstacles that gave me the gift of creativity. Some people are just made to create things. I feel like I was put on Earth to tell stories. I wrote my first book back in 2009 while I was studying Early Childhood Education at Dalton State College in Georgia. I have always tried to do the things that are hardest for me. I learned to read and write later than most people due to my Dyslexia, which I was diagnosed with in the early eighties. It was so hard that I never cared to read. Like many others, the things that made life hard caused me to develop into the person I am today. I was never good in school and was always labeled as a slacker or lazy by teachers who didn’t understand how difficult it is to live and function in a regular school with Dyslexia. This fact is the reason I went back into education and teach children today. I spend each week teaching every child and keeping in mind that we are all different and smart is a measure of what you can create and the problems you can solve. Writing a book, like getting my degree, presented some unique challenges, but I did finish the book and when I looked back at all the things I learned from the experience, I knew I had to keep writing. In early 2011 I started work on Luke Banderloft and The McFarven Pirates. A ten book series that tells a story that has been in my head since I was very young. An entire world that I am ready to share with the world. Luke, like most of us, has his strengths and his weaknesses and must rely on his friends to overcome his obstacles.

And that is why you need to know Rocky Perry.

Tell us a bit about your latest work.

In 2015, I have a novel called The Change coming out.  I am working to get it done right now.  It explores race, religion, and culture in the south through the eyes of three unlikely strangers who come together through extraordinary circumstance.  One is a Katrina survivor and the other two residence of Chattanooga, Tennessee.  The story takes place in Chattanooga and New Orleans.

What are the themes and subjects you tend to revisit in your work?

I don’t tend to go back.  I am always looking for something new to talk about in my work.  When I start looking for a theme in my work, I tend to find really general aspects of humanity, like love, revenge, and justice.  I don’t know if these are a theme, but rather a reflection of my work’s constant topic, humanity.  I’ll let someone else decide.  Metacognition is not part of my process.

What would be your dream project?

I love working in film and I really enjoy collaborative works.  I guess my dream project would be to work on a feature film, something with a budget.

If you have any former project to do over to make it better, which one would it be, and what would you do?

I don’t normally like to revisit projects.  I am always looking ahead.  I am however always looking to work with certain people again.  I had a great time with Cook Box Productions, The Daily Show, and MintyPineapple film.  I would love to work with them again in the future.

What inspires you to write?

Writing is a means to tell a story.  I write to tell stories that I want to tell.  It is really the only way one person can have so much control over the process of telling a story, unlike film. I have a unique relationship with writing.   I didn’t learn to read until I was ten years old.  I was on a third grade reading and writing level when I graduated from high school.  My disabilities made writing a very unlikely career choice for me, or maybe it made it the only career choice.  Either way, I am always working on becoming a better writer because I ultimately want to better tell my stories.

What writers have influenced your style and technique?

I couldn’t read for a much of my life, so I was read to by my mother a great deal or listened to book on tape from the library.  They tended to be the classics.  I was influence by To Kill a Mockingbird or On the Road more so than any modern writer.  My mentor and I never talk about technique.  One of his books turned me on to fantasy when I was in middle school.  It was the first fantasy book, outside of C.S. Lewis or Tolkien I had ever heard.  I am very lucky to have him as a friend and mentor. 

Where would you rank writing on the "Is it an art or it is a science continuum?" Why?

Well, writing is art.  Any process that yields a product which has the ability to be judged with subjectivity is art.  I think art is much broader than some people give it credit.  Writing, like most processes that create enter their product into the world, a world that wants very badly to answer all the questions and be definitive and absolute in their judgment and understanding of the product.  It is one of the failures of humanity.  We think we know and we don’t know anything, just like in science.  The two are really the same, we just make them very different because it makes us uncomfortable to consider both exist on a spectrum or continuum in which each of us has their own set of tools to measure.  If science and art are eggs, the chicken is man’s unique ability to tell a story or speculate on the unknown or uncertain.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now #313 -- Preferred POV

In which, if any, point of view do you prefer to write? Why?

It's no secret that I write most of my stories in either first-person or third-person limited. Of those, I tend to write third-person limited most frequently. However, a lot of that comes from the preferences of my publishers.

If it were up to me, I'd write more from the first person, because I always found that to be the most fun. Why? Well, I think it stems from reading a lot of first-person stuff as I was forming my core reading habits as a young reader. I still feel like first person writing puts me inside the story more effectively.

The danger of first-person though, is that I have to choose the right character in which to "reside." And that's not always the main character. Sherlock Holmes stories would be far less enjoyable and poignant told from Holmes' head. In that case, the reader needs to see how Holmes works from the outside. In pulp detective tales, the reader needs to be in the head of the detective, who is often not anywhere near a Holmes-type deducer. The reader needs to feel the failure and confusing red herrings as the private dick experiences them.

Yes, I know writers can do all this from the third-person limited too, but even that small bit of distant between the two can be just enough (sometimes) to over-limit the reader's identification with the protagonist.

At least those are my thoughts on the matter. Your brain may take you in other directions.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

FIRST AUTHOR FOCUSED IMPRINT IN PRO SE SINGLE SHOT SIGNATURE LINE DEBUTS - FROM THE PEN OF ADAM LANCE GARCIA!

For Immediate Release

Pro Se Productions, the home of the Pro Se Single Shot Signature line of digital singles, announces the first of its Signature imprints. From the Pen of Adam Lance Garcia is the company’s first writer focused digital single imprint within its highly successful Pro Se Single Shot Signature line. Featuring stand-alone tales by today’s best writers, From the Pen of… will feature stories of all genres by both up and coming and notable authors.

“Sometimes,” says Tommy Hancock, Partner in and Editor in Chief of Pro Se Productions, “writers have stories to tell that are simply one and done. Short tales that have a purpose, a point, and a whole lot of action, horror, and passion in them. Not everything is a series and the From the Pen Of… imprint within our Pro Se Single Shot Signature line is designed for those stories by some of the best Genre Fiction Authors today.”

“Adam Lance Garcia,” continues Hancock, “is one of the most consistently great authors in New Pulp and Genre Fiction today. And one of the things that makes Adam so good and such a value to anything he’s involved in is his diversity, his ability to write in multiple styles and, more often than not, completely outside of the box. That’s why the From the Pen of Adam Lance Garcia is perfect for him. It’s his own playground where he can tell the stories he wants to the way he wants to.”

In Testament, the first story in award winning author Adam Lance Garcia’s From the Pen of…, a desperate man literally relates his last words amid a miasma of murder and madness. Writing as the seconds of his life fall away like sands in a busted hour glass, the once confident, happy soul reveals that terror not only has a face and that the Devil may indeed wander through the snow. Testament by Adam Lance Garcia is the first digital single in his author imprint from Pro Se Productions.

From the Pen of Adam Lance Garcia features excellent cover art and logo design by Jeff Hayes and eBook formatting by Russ Anderson. Testament is only 99 cents for the Kindle via Amazon and for most digital formats on Smashwords.

For more information on this title, interviews with the author, or digital copies for review, contact Morgan McKay, Pro Se’s Director of Corporate Operations, at directorofcorporateoperations@prose-press.com.

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

Saturday, February 14, 2015

St George and the Dragon are now fighting

ST. GEORGE AND THE DRAGON -- Book One

As the Roman Empire crumbles a much older power awakens. With him rise pitiless monsters from legend and prehistory. Astorat the Dragon demands gold, power, and virgin flesh. Most of all he demands Princess Sabra, Nymph of the Sacred Pool. Only a miracle can stop him.

Unfortunately, the appointed saint has other ideas. And he's no saint.

But will he be a hero?

I.A. WATSON brings a slice of legend to life in the first of two enthralling volumes of sword against serpent, passion versus dragonfire, for the future of all humanity.

Map of Roman Cyrenaica
Map of Roman Cyrene

"St George and the Dragon - Book One"
ISBN-10: 150580793X
ISBN-13:9781505807936
Published by Chillwater Press
Release date: January 2015
Retail Price: $13.20 from Createspace
Kindle Edition available

Friday, February 13, 2015

VAN ALLEN PLEXICO’S SPACE OPERA CONTINUES!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

VAN ALLEN PLEXICO’S SPACE OPERA CONTINUES!

ALPHA/OMEGA EPISODE TWO- THE SMARTEST MAN ON THE MOON DEBUTS!

Taking Genre Fiction and New Pulp to another level, Pro Se Productions, an innovative Publisher of Genre Fiction and New Pulp announces the release of the second issue of noted author Van Plexico’s Pro Se Single Shot Signature Series. Taking his love for space opera and military science fiction to the page, Plexico’s Alpha/Omega Book Two: The Smartest Man on the Moon is now available for only 99 cents as a digital single.

“Van Plexico,” says Tommy Hancock, Editor in Chief of and Partner in Pro Se Productions, “is a fan of Science Fiction. That is what makes his work on Alpha/Omega even that much better. Not only does he bring his practiced skills as a writer to bear, but his passion for the genre, for the characters and conflict unique to science fiction, comes shining through.”

A peaceful, international scientific research base orbiting Alpha Centauri-A.

A military coup aboard a starship headed to resupply that base.

A terrible, dark secret concealed on the moon of Amphion.

Secret tunnels and passages twist and turn across the moon as betrayal, political intrigue, and hushed whispers ripple through the people on Amphion, threatening stability and even their very lives.

General Thomas Jefferson Davis and his UN commando squad have just jumped head-first into a hornets’ nest of cosmic proportions. But—are they the good guys in this story… or the bad?

ALPHA/OMEGA: EPISODE TWO: The Smartest Man on the Moon –Who is it? And does he hold the solution to the problems facing Amphion and its residents…or is he the cause?

ALPHA/OMEGA is a Pro Se Single Shot Signature Series, a serial novel being released as individual digital episodes.

Alpha/Omega Book Two: The Smartest Man on the Moon features fantastic cover art and logo design by Jeff Hayes and eBook formatting by Russ Anderson. The second episode is available for the Kindle via Amazon and for most eBook formats via Smashwords for only 99 cents.

For more information on this title, interviews with the author, or digital copies for review, contact Morgan McKay, Pro Se’s Director of Corporate Operations, at directorofcorporateoperations@prose-press.com.

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

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Writing through Nostalgia-Colored Glasses

We're all inspired to write, at least in part, by things we've seen and experienced before. It's just human nature. When those experiences are looked back upon fondly, that's the birth of nostalgia. It can influence everything from the kind of TV shows we like to watch to the way we dress -- and even we kinds of stories we tell and the way we tell them.

So, that's what we're going to look at this week, this idea of nostalgia and how much it can influence our work as writers.


How much does a sense of nostalgia influence (or inspire, and is there a difference) your current body of work?

Gordon Dymowski: I would definitely say nostalgia inspires my writing: I want readers to feel the same thrill that I experienced reading certain genres. I don't think nostalgia influences my work - I really work hard to have a modern, contemporary voice despite being set in a particular time period. I'm always thinking of what I would like the reader to experience, but work hard to make sure that my prose has a quality of immediacy rather than wistfulness.

Selah Janel: I think nostalgia tends to influence me a great deal, but it does so in different ways. There’s the obvious ploy of dating stories or writing them around pop culture to speak to readers, and I may do that a little with themes of music and the like, but I more or less gravitate to what I really enjoyed while I was growing up. Theme-wise, I’ve always loved folk and faerie tales, I’ve always enjoyed speculating about what else could be out there, and I still continue to hold to those themes. I also think I’ve had this weird romanticism of mundane life since I was a kid, and I find myself going back to that a lot when writing. Genre-wise, I think a lot of my sensibilities were probably shaped by the eighties in some form or another: you could argue that the rock music that creeps into my worlds comes from there, that the vampires I write are a throwback to being influenced by The Lost Boys, all types of things. Still, I don’t like making anything a carbon copy of those influences…I prefer to let it inspire me than to redo it wholesale. If anything, those feelings I got as a kid of being overwhelmed or feeling in love with life or spooked by what I love influence me as much as what I saw on the toy shelf any given day.

Percival Constantine: I think there's a sense of nostalgia in my work, particularly my current serial, VANGUARD. It was very much inspired by the X-Men/Avengers comics of the 70s and 80s. Lots of done-in-one tales that feature a villain and a story while there are plot threads that carry over in the background from issue to issue. My other stories feature this kind of influence as well--my fantasy novel SOULQUEST was very much inspired by Final Fantasy VII, one of my all-time favorite video games, and THE MYTH HUNTER's Elisa Hill wears the influence of Indiana Jones on her sleeve.

What are the benefits of having a strong sense of nostalgia in your work? What are the dangers?


Selah Janel: I think emotionally, people can connect to a very strong sense of nostalgia. If you make it too obvious, it might as well be product placement, but I think if done well, you can really have a type of conversation with your readers. When I read Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine, it doesn’t feel dated to me. I remember what it’s like to have a friend move away, I used to love getting new shoes, that sort of thing. That whole book is nostalgia, and it works tremendously well and has touched a lot of people.  The danger is that if you load something with too much detail, too much pop culture, or too much of your singular experience, it becomes harder for people to relate to, and they’re picturing a materialistic image rather than what that object or experience may have meant to them. In some ways it’s why all these movie remakes miss the mark so horribly: because people are nostalgic for certain franchises, studios assume it’s because of one or two key reasons instead of realizing that it’s much more of an emotional thing, something that’s much harder to reproduce. In a lot of ways, that’s easier to do in books, but you still have to tread a certain line and give a reader a certain amount of space after drawing them in. Otherwise, you risk turning people off or distancing them.

Percival Constantine: The benefits of having a strong sense of nostalgia is that it gives readers something familiar. As much as audiences say they want something new and different, the truth is the majority cleaves towards the familiar. It's why sequels, reboots, and adaptations are so popular in Hollywood, because that's what audiences will go to see in droves. The downside is that too much nostalgia can make it seem like your work is nothing more than a cheap knock-off of whatever property influenced you. So there's a fine line to walk. You want the work to be familiar enough so that audiences will feel comfortable giving it a shot, but at the same time it has to be different enough to set it apart from what's come before.

Gordon Dymowski: Having a sense of nostalgia makes it much easier to build credibility with a reader - after all, if your tale of a two-fisted masked vigilante is like other tales of two-fisted vigilantes, your work is half complete. The danger (and I see this in quite a bit of New Pulp....especially in my own work) is the tendency to be blinded by nostalgia. Sometimes, it's easy to do variations on a theme without bringing anything new, original, or even distinctive. Nostalgia can only take you so far; the rest is dependent upon telling a good story.

How do you know when it becomes too much and starts to impact the story in a bad way, and how do you remedy that in your work?

Gordon Dymowski: My immediate tell-tale sign is when I identify too many plot elements or storytelling tricks that I've picked up from other writers, or I feel conflicted about a particular character's progress in the story. For me, the challenge is to remember that I'm writing within a distinct time and place, and that my writing needs to reflect *now*, even if I am writing in a familiar genre or with a familiar character.

Percival Constantine: That's a tough question. I think if you get to a point where you could replace your main character's name with the name of the character that influences your work without it seeming out of place, then that's a problem. I think nostalgia is good as a starting point, but once you have that template, you have to differentiate it from your influences and help the character come out from under the shadow of those influences. One thing I do is I try to focus more on a tone of nostalgia than nostalgic characters, or to mix and match influences from different characters. For example, if you compared those Avengers comics of the 70s/80s to The Ultimates revamp, there's a clear difference. The Avengers takes a much more hopeful, maybe even idealistic view of the world whereas The Ultimates approaches superheroes with a very nihilist view. I try to keep a similar tone to the former as opposed to the latter. So the world the characters are in, the way I choose to structure my stories, the types of characters I write about, these are all influenced by the Avengers. But the characters themselves aren't just ciphers for the Avengers. You can't point to Gunsmith and say, "that's Captain America" or Paragon and say "totally the Wasp." I may have used aspects of those characters as a starting point, but I built past them in order to stop the characters from being cheap knock-offs. So to answer your question after a very long-winded response, it basically comes down to character.

Selah Janel: For me, it’s not just overdetail, but it’s a certain type of overdetail. If I’m reading something and it’s way too concerned about what characters are wearing and dating every little thing within a certain time period, that’s going to get annoying and slow the story way down, especially if It’s set in the real world.  I lived through the eighties and nineties, I can picture it, I don’t need every little thing to help me live through it again. I think, too, that if people are writing about experiences or time frames that they’re not fully committed to or haven’t lived through and they don’t do the research and really get things wrong, that’s also damning. That just tells me that you were trying to play nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake and not because you care about what you’re writing about. There has to be some sense of emotional connection there and not “oh I’m writing about this geeky thing because people dig it, or this decade because it’s in right now.” People eventually catch on, and will stop reading if they feel that the nostalgia isn’t there for a real reason. At the end of the day, part of nostalgia is not just a love of what’s come before, but a longing for it, a sort of hollowness left by that love, and that’s what you really want to convey. It’s not just “oh, do you remember this?” It’s “Do you remember why you loved that, why you miss it now?”

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Nugget #38 -- Why Should I Care?

Why should I care about a story or character if there's really nothing ever really at stake either physically or emotionally?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Gary Phillips -- The Pulpster Soul of Angeltown

I should have known Gary Phillips and his work for a lot longer. I really, really should have. After all, I've been a fan of both noir and the Vertigo imprint for years, and Gary blended the two seamlessly in his neo-classic comic book series Angeltown. But alas, I came late to the party. In an effort to keep you from the same fate, here's Gary to introduce his work to you. 

Tell us a bit about your latest work. 

I’m very happy with my latest, a collection of six original short stories featuring Nate Hollis, a modern day, rough and tumble private eye in the big, bad City of Angels, Los Angeles.  He began in comics a few years back for a DC/Vertigo miniseries, Angeltown.  In fact that sequential effort was collected under one volume brought out by Moonstone.

But this new prose anthology from our friends at Pro Se, Hollis, P.I., has two new stories by me, one of them featuring not Nate but his sometimes rival, the bounty hunter Irma Ducett, aka Irma Deuce.  But my buddy, New York Times bestseller Juliet Blackwell (the Witchcraft Mystery series) wrote a Hollis story, as did acclaimed young crime writer Aaron Philip Clark (A Healthy Fear of Man) and new pulp heavyweights Bobby Nash (Domino Lady: Money Shot) and Derrick Ferguson (Four Bullets for Dillon).

What are the themes and subjects you tend to revisit in your work?

I think genre and so-called mainstream writers wrestle with themes of redemption and sacrifice, selfishness and obsessions.  That all of us are capable of both good and bad, that there are days we might engage in both in big or small way and though writing fiction we capture the big acts in our characters.

What would be your dream project?

Writing the short story, novel, graphic novel, radio script and screenplay, each chronicling a part of the overall adventure of one of my characters – one big story arc across those various mediums.

 If you have any former project to do over to make it better, which one would it be, and what would you do? 


If I could do a reboot of my first novel, Violent Spring, which introduced my other private eye character, Ivan Monk, back in the ‘90s, that’s the one I’d like to write over.  Since I wrote that book I think I’ve gotten a better handle on how a mystery should flow, unfold, and sharper dialogue.


What inspires you to write? 


Writing is therapy.  If I can’t write or think about what I want to write, I’d go nuts.  I guess then keeping what passes for my mental health keeps me writing.

What writers have influenced your style and technique? 


The one that always come to mind are Dashiell Hammett, Richard Wright, Ross Macdonald and Jack Kirby – I mean, the King did write but it was his visuals that inspired me to want to write and draw comics that set me on the road to prose.

Where would you rank writing on the "Is it an art or it is a science continuum?" Why?

That’s an interesting question.  I teach in a MFA writing program part-time.  As I’m the genre guy, I get those who either write that stuff or want to try their hand at it from writing the supposed mainstream work.  As Raymond Chandler advised long ago, there are only something like 8 or 9 plots when you boil it all down.  Then you figure the human factor; greed, lust, guilt, and so on.  We know too a mystery or crime novel or pulp demands certain convention yet you also know you have to make it fresh, somehow different enough so the reader comes away entertained and dare I say, possibly even think about the work afterward..  Now with the aforementioned in mind, since I have to take apart my student’s work and explain what works and what doesn’t, it has forced me to be more critical of what I write.

Part of that can be broken down into an equation, x amount of action versus introspection, how much narrative versus dialogue.  But each story is its own thing, so we also know conventions are made to be broken and should be routinely in writing.  The story’s pace and flow emerges and takes us along and that’s the trick, that’s the art; doe sit feel like it works the way you’ve written the tale?

Any other upcoming projects you would like to plug?

I have a short story, “Bulletville” in the, wait for it, 50 Shades of a Gray Fedora anthology out in e-book initially this February from the newly formed Dagger imprint of Riverdale Avenue Books to capitalize of the infamous 50 Shades movie version also debuting in February.  In March, will have out Day of the Destroyers.  This is a linked anthology I edited featuring Jimmie Flint, Secret Agent X-11 as he battles coup plotters out to overthrow FDR.  The Green Lama,. the Phantom Detective and the Black Bat guest star.  In hardback and trade paperback from Moonstone.

And since I’m plugging, for more of my work, folks can check out my website at: www.gdphillips.com.

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now #312 -- The Grand Theme

Looking over your body of work, does a cohesive theme seem to be present in it? If so what is it?

I think perhaps the most noticeable theme in my stories thus far centers around redemption, or at least the possibility of it.

I tend to write characters looking for redemption because of some past failure (that in many cases lead to present failure too), but when they have it just within reach, they either falter and make the choice that leads them further away from it -- or they manage to find it, but at some great cost to the person they are at that moment, for example, something physical like losing life or a limb or a lover, or having to admit something crucial to their psychological identity, such as having to face the truth about something they didn't already realize about themselves.

I think this comes from my background as a Calvinist. I'm a firm believer in the concept of original sin (kids don't have to be taught to lie or be greedy, but they do have to be taught not to). I also believe as a religious person that redemption, no matter how hard we fight for it, can't come through our own efforts alone, and that seeking it in and of ourselves will always lead to failure. But, on a hopeful note, that failure then leads to finding true redemption after all.

Sadly, that doesn't always lead to my characters' happiness.

I also tend to share the notion of the existential hero, the protagonist who realizes the universe doesn't care about him, but stands up in the face of it all and perseveres anyway. Just living and trying to eek out some small stake in the world is a profound act of victory and demonstrates the miracle that is humanity.

Both of these, I know, sound like hoity-toity, lit-major kinds of things, but let's face it, even though I'm a genre writer today, I did get my start as a lit-major and a lit-writer. So, I'm stuck with it.

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