Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Watson Report: Getting to know Aria, a Princess of Mars (no relation to that Thoris woman)

To quote the great Pythons, "And now for something completely different" -- an interview with the princess of Mars herself, Aria.
(thanks to I.A. Watson for facilitating the interview)

Sean: Well, we’ve interviewed quite a few authors on this website by now, but I think this might be the first time we’ve ever interviewed a character here.

Aria, Princess of Mars: Just because some of the Earthmen of your time happen to have visions of the actual future wherein all life on your planet has ended in devastating war and Mars has been terraformed as humanity’s new home there is no need to confuse me with some fictional heroine. Proceed with your interview, barbarian.

Sean: Um, okay, right. So you’re the, er, the Princess of Mars who appears in the BLACKTHORN: THUNDER ON MARS anthology edited by Van Allen Plexico, and most recently in the novels DYNASTY OF MARS and SPIRES OF MARS by I.A. Watson…

Aria: That much is evident. As a contributor to the chronicling of my adventures in your account “City of Relics” you are presumably familiar with the rudiments of my situation. Be astute in your questioning. The Ancients’ technology that allows this temporal conversation is unstable and may fail at any moment. Also there are several hundred genetically altered rat/human hybrids trying to break through into the Chamber of Chronal Insight.

[Sound of muffled squealing and the shriek of an enraged Mock-man in the background]

Sean: Let’s get to it then. Could you tell us a little bit about future-Mars, your highness?

Aria: In my time the red planet has long been transformed into a habitable, diverse terrain. But the god-like technologies that accomplished this have been lost to civil war, long decline, and finally the Great Burn. Mars is now a divided feudal world where recovered technologies and magic dwell side-by-side and monsters roam.

Sean: Magic? Where did the magic and monsters come from?

Aria: Monsters are the side effects of long dirty wars with genetic, radiation, and arcane weaponry. Magic… the same great machines that preserve life on Mars, that alter its gravity and atmosphere, project an energy cocoon across the planet, an arcanosphere. Those with sensitivity to that field can store and project the power as magic-like effects. Those are the mages, witches, tekes, sorcerers and so forth.

Sean: And sorceresses like yourself.

Aria: There are no sorceresses like myself, Sean Taylor. I am unique and puissant, tuned from birth to the arcane fields of Mars by descent from the very Ancients who set it there, enhanced by the careful addition of thaumaturgic wetware grafted to my nervous system, honed through many hours of diligent study.

Sean: Of course. Sorry. You got your, your wetware from your father, right? He’s one of the rulers of Mars.

Aria: The Black Sorcerer is one of the four First Men who rediscovered some of the Ancient secrets and rose to power as puissant users of magic and science. Each is a very different kind of tyrant. Lord Ruin believes that endless war will winnow the weak. The Sorcerer of Night is obsessed with undeath. The Lord of Fatal Laughter works his insane cruel humours on a planetary scale. The Black Sorcerer tends towards weird science and Byzantine plots.

Sean: You know, we’re pretty fond of bad-girl villain’s daughters on this site.

Aria: Control yourself, barbarian. It is true that I was raised by one of the absolute despots of our troubled world, and that I opposed him by commissioning the champion John Blackthorn to stand against him. That does not make me any kind of ‘bad-girl’. My plots and manipulations are entirely benevolent and… excuse me…

[Sound of arcane bolts roasting something that squeals as it dies]

Aria: Blackthorn, do you think you could possibly take your friends outside to fight them? I’m trying to commune with the past here. Oglok, kindly block that doorway. It’s about time we found some use for you other than as a museum of odours. Now… what were you saying, barbarian?

Sean: I was just asking about being a villain’s daughter, and I guess why you ended up fighting on the side of good.

Aria: Mars is oppressed and dying. Someone has to stand for it. If not the Princess of Mars then whom? When prophecy singularly failed to provide the promised champion I took it upon myself to acquire one by other means.

Sean: You’re referring to two-star U.S. General John Blackthorn, who died in a military conflict sometime in the early twenty-first century only to have his consciousness rehoused in new flesh on future-Mars.

Aria: Indeed. Another barbarian, although useful when things need to be blown up or smitten. And… to be honest, he does seem to have a way of getting people to follow him. Perhaps it is those antique notions from your time, of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness, of justice by law, of universal franchisement and so on. Or perhaps he’s just very good at plans that upset my father and the other First Men.

Sean: He’s not the only twenty-first century human to get zapped to the future though, is he?

Aria: When my father attempted to recruit him as his warlord there were three barbarians shifted to new flesh. Blackthorn’s comrade General Yuen elected to have no part in the Martian conflict – although that did not work out as he had hoped. Colonel David Morningstar, Blackthorn’s second, was the one who betrayed him to his original death. Obviously, David and John have a few differences to settle.

Sean: And all this is covered in the BLACKTHORN volumes?

Aria: I imagine so. You’d have to ask the various Earthmen who produce them. There are several apart from yourself, I’m given to understand. Each of them has also produced other literary works, so one can only hope that they have some level of competence at chronicling our struggle.

Sean: That’s Blackthorn’s exploration of Mars to recover old tech that could be used in his fight against the First Men, and the building of an alliance intended to eventually mobilise the planet in war against the ruling Sorcerers?

Aria: Crudely speaking, yes. We have a duty to the people of Mars to save them.

Sean: That’s you, Blackthorn, and the genetically-engineered Mock-man Oglok?

Aria: It is all men and women of conscience in every age, who are called to stand against those who oppress the weak and use force to supplant freedoms. Hmph. Now I sound like John Blackthorn. The man is pervasive.

Sean: And rumours about you and him having something of a spark…?

Aria: Are none of your business. I am certain that your chroniclers would not have such poor taste as to refer to such matters, nor their readership any interest in any romance should it occur. Which it does not. And shall not. At all. Next question.

Sean: Why are the books called THUNDER, DYNASTY, and SPIRES OF MARS?

Aria: You’d have to ask your fellow barbarians. I presume the Thunder refers to the wild lightnings my father used to draw energies to bring Blackthorn to Mars, or else allegorically in. regards to the growing revolution. The Harmony Spires are the crystal towers which maintain our world, and they prove central to the narrative of the online serial novel currently being released twice weekly in your time period. The Dynasty refers either to my father’s ill-considered attempts to wed me to some unsuitable minion with whom I might breed more magic-viable offspring or else to my Ancient lineage on my mother’s side. I imagine you’d have a better idea if you perused the chronicles in question and so would your audience.

[Sound of heavy machinery nearby, of a wall collapsing, and of something exploding]

Aria: It appears that I will have to curtail our conversation, Earthman, and go assist John and Oglok in bringing down one of Lord Ruin’s mobile chain cities. I’m setting this device on overload now so it does not fall into the hands of a First Man. You may want to cover your ears and eyes.

Sean: Well, thanks for taking time out of your busy, um, revolution to talk to us, Princess Aria. I’m sure we all…


Sean: Aaaaghh! Aaagh! My ears!!! My eyes!!!


BLACKTHORN: DYNASTY OF MARS is now available in paperback through Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Blackthorn-Dynasty-I-A-Watson/dp/0615676545/ and at good bookshops, and in Kindle at http://www.amazon.com/Blackthorn-Dynasty-Mars-ebook/dp/B008NYCVLQ

BLACKTHORN: SPIRES OF MARS is posted free online at the Blackthorn website every Monday and Thursday at www.whiterocketbooks.com/blackthorn

I.A. Watson takes responsibility for facilitating this interview with Princess Aria.

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now (#197) -- Need a Break

What do you do when you're tired of writing a character 
or a type of story, but your fans only want more?

This may sound a bit mercenary, but it said character or genre is one that helps pay the bills, then I write it. Paying the bills is a good way to stay inspired, after all.

If the character or genre is something that is primarily written for fun or for a low- or no-paying gig, then I may not can it outright, but I will have to move it to the "to be done later" stack of work.

When you write for income (even part-time), that's just the way the cookie bounces.

Now, if all things are equal and I have the freedom to table the uninspiring character or genre, I simply throw myself into something new that does grab my fancy and excite my palette for creating again.

Monday, July 30, 2012

BLACKTHORN: DYNASTY OF MARS Continues the Apocalyptic Saga!

Award-Winning Author I. A. Watson’s New Novel—in Paperback and on Kindle 

White Rocket Books proudly announces the release in trade paperback and Kindle e-book formats of I. A. Watson’s BLACKTHORN: DYNASTY OF MARS, a new novel that reveals the shocking secrets of Princess Aria while continuing the bold and exciting adventures of John Blackthorn, PulpArk Award winner for “Best New Character of the Year.”

Eldest child of her world’s ruling dynasty, Aria is also the daughter of the evil Black Sorcerer—one of the dreaded First Men of Mars—and has been imbued with his sorcerous might. Rebelling against her father’s tyranny, Princess Aria has joined forces with a human soldier and a savage Mock-Man, and now dares to challenge the First Men’s rule. Will Aria’s power be enough to tip the balance in John Blackthorn’s favor, and free her world—or will she betray the rebels to her father—or worse—and bring all they have fought for crashing down?

BLACKTHORN: DYNASTY OF MARS, by award-winning author I. A. Watson (Robin Hood; Sherlock Holmes) and with a spectacular cover painted by Adam Diller, takes the saga of John Blackthorn and his brave companions to the next level—and beyond—with a grand adventure stretching down the centuries and across the war-torn face of post-apocalyptic Mars!

Created by Van Allen Plexico (Sentinels, Lucian) in the spirit of “Thundarr the Barbarian” and “John Carter of Mars,” the Blackthorn Saga has already been nominated for seven PulpArk Awards and one Pulp Factory Award.  Now, says Plexico, “ Ian Watson has pulled back the curtain and given readers the chance to dig into the rich history of future Mars, and to witness the rise of Princess Aria from pampered aristocrat to powerful leader of a planet-wide rebellion—along with a couple of guys named Blackthorn and Oglok. If you thought you knew the Blackthorn story, you ain’t seen nothing yet!”

White Rocket Books is a leader in the New Pulp movement, publishing exciting action and adventure novels and anthologies since 2005, in both traditional and electronic formats.   White Rocket books have hit the Amazon.com Top 15-by-Genre and have garnered praise from everyone from Marvel Comics Vice-President Tom Brevoort to Kirkus Reviews.

On sale as of July 28, 2012, BLACKTHORN: DYNASTY OF MARS is a $15.95, 6x9 format trade paperback from White Rocket Books, and a $2.99 e-book for Kindle.

250 pages

ISBN-13: 978-0-61567-654-8  (paperback)
ASIN: B008NYCVLQ  (Kindle)

On Amazon.com:

Trade Paperback : http://www.amazon.com/Blackthorn-Dynasty-I-A-Watson/dp/0615676545 
Kindle edition:  http://www.amazon.com/Blackthorn-Dynasty-Mars-ebook/dp/B008NYCVLQ

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now (#196) -- First Comic Book

What was the first comic book you ever bought?

That's easy. It was Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #255. I had owned plenty before that one, but they had been hand-me-down books from cousins and uncles and such, or gifts from relatives who didn't  know what I really wanted to read.

Needless to say, it was the cover that hooked me. Baby Kal-El and rushing, panicked Cosmic Boy. I just had to know what was going on.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Pro Se Productions Unveils Pro Se Presents #12 -- Featuring Brother Bones!

Pro Se Productions, a leading New Pulp Publisher, proudly announces the latest issue of its award winning magazine, PRO SE PRESENTS #12!
Keeping its promise of 'Puttin' The Monthly Back Into Pulp', Pro Se Presents finishes out its first year with two fisted action, strange mystery, science fiction terror, and the return of a classic New Pulp Character! 
Ron Fortier's Brother Bones leads off this month's issue in a brand new story entitled 'The Butcher From Bavaria!' 
Kevin Rodgers introduces readers to the mystery and horror of 'Energy Siphon' and Don Thomas rounds out the issue with the introduction of Nathaniel Dante, a stranger who visited 'The Town That Demanded Recompense'! 
Featuring Art, Design, and Formatting By Sean Ali, PRO SE PRESENTS TWELVE is the crowning achievement on the magazine's first year! Pro Se Presents- Puttin' The Monthly Back Into Pulp!

PRO SE PRESENTS #12 is now available at http://tinyurl.com/d3r2wd7 for only $6.00 and coming soon as an ebook in all available platforms!

Pro Se Productions- www.prosepulp.com

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now (#195) -- Licensed Properties, Part 2

If you could have a licensed character appear with YOUR character -- Fishnet Angel teaming up with one of the Bat-clan or a writer's hard boiled dick teaming up with Sam Spade?

I'd love to see Fishnet Angel team up with DC's The Spoiler (yes, as Spoiler, not Batgirl). I think that would be a fun team-up to write.

I'd love to see Rick Ruby have a team-up with a little-known female PI from the era named Eli Donovan (the PI with curves, according to the book's promo copy).

And she's not owned by me, but since I created her initial adventures, I feel a sense of ownership of her in a non-legal sense, but I'd love to see Dominatrix have a grand adventure with She-Hulk AND perhaps with H. Rider Haggard's "She." Oh, the fun that would be to write.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

[Link] Badass Women of the Pulp Era

by Jess Nevins

The pulps of the world were full of tough men. The iconic pulp characters — the Shadow, Doc Savage, Tarzan — are all men, and the common perception of the pulps is that they were written by male writers, about male characters, for male readers.

However, the pulps were more progressive than mainstream fiction (and film and comic strips, etc.) in a number of respects, including and especially the number of formidable female characters who appeared in them. Even excluding those characters whose writers forced them into marriage and respectability, the list of Women Badder Than You is long. Here are 14 of the most badass fictional women to appear during the pulp era. Excluded are the best-known female badasses: Isaac Asimov's Susan Calvin, C.L. Moore's Jirel of Joiry, John Russell Fearn's Golden Amazon, and Lester Dent's Pat Savage. You already know them. Here are some you don't - but you should.

Continue reading: http://io9.com/5802941/badass-women-of-the-pulp-era

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now (#194) -- Licensed Properties, Part 1

If you were given the chance to write something authorized by a big license what would it be -- i.e. an episode of Doctor Who, a graphic novel of Superman, Star Wars Episode 22 1/2, etc.? 

I know lots of writers would jump at the opportunity to write Star Wars, and as much fun as writing Doctor Who would be, neither of those would be my primary answer. 

For comics, the licensed property I'd most like to write is no secret. I've posted about it here before. It's DC's The Metal Men. I just love those goofy robots with their responsometers and Platinum's schoolgirl crush on the Doc. I could have a field day writing them. 

As for TV properties, I'd give my eye teeth to write the adventures of Steed and Mrs. Peel. I've loved the BBC's Avengers since I was a kid, and there's enough sexual tension between those two repressed agents to give the adults all kind of fun too. 

So there you have it. The Metal Men and The Avengers (the funny-speaking ones). 

Friday, July 27, 2012

May December Publications Call for Submissions

The deadline for at least one of these anthologies/projects is the END OF AUGUST (next month):

Guidelines for several new anthologies from MAY DECEMBER PUBLICATIONS (NOTE: Pay is not listed for all anthologies):

From http://maydecemberpublications.com/submissions/:


Open Anthologies

A new anthology is opened. We are accepting submission for a new anthology Midnight Movie Creature Feature vol 2. You should probably read MMCF vol 1. We are looking for unique, quirky, b-movie esque, and even the truly terrifying. If it is something that the guys at MST3k would make fun of, then it is definitely the story for us. Deadline for this will be July 30th, 2012.

The story must be between 3000 and 10,000 words and should be e-mailed to submissions@maydecemberpublications.com attached as a .doc (preferred) or .rtf. Please send in your submissions using 12 font Times New Roman, single spaced, justified. No hard breaks between paragraphs (hitting return twice to break between paragraphs). Following paragraphs can be started on the next line. Scene breaks or changes in point of view need to be separated by a hard break, centered asterisks (* * *) and a hard break.

The title page should contain your contact info and word count.

Payment for this anthology is a contributors copy and shared royalties paid quarterly.

Welcome to the second anthology from THE HORROR SOCIETY.

Since this is an election year I thought that it might be interesting to publish a horror anthology about politicians. Throughout history many of our political figures have suffered painful events or tragic deaths.

What we are looking for is stories that twist this event--I.e. What if the doctors that treated George Washington were vampires, or the reason it took so long to bury Abraham Lincoln was because he kept wandering off. Don’t change history but feel free to play it.

Have fun while researching your politician. You will need to make your selection and contact May/December before you start writing. The reason for this is that you will need to reserve your choice to avoid multiple submissions on the President or the politician. We are looking for a wide assortment of figures for this publication.

There will be No political opinions allowed! We don’t care what political affiliation you are. This is about the horror not politics.

4000-10,000 words.--No less, and no more--No living politicians will be allowed. Message Denise Brown with selection, we will make a daily post (and keep it updated) of which have been selected to avoid duplication. Please e-mail: submissions@maydecemberpublications.com =Payment $25 advance paid upon publication with quarterly payments after advance has been met.= Times New Roman. Size 12 font. Single Space. First line indent by .3; =All stories will be stripped of author info and forwarded blind to editor who will score each story. Top (seeking a total word count of 70,000 words) will be accepted.=

All submissions are DUE AUGUST 31, 2012

A new anthology is opened. We are accepting submission for a new anthology Zombie Lockdown. What happens when you are an inmate in prison and the outbreak happens? Are you an inmate? Are you a guard? Is it safe inside? or are the monsters inside as well? Deadline for this will be September 30th, 2012.

The story must be between 3000 and 10,000 words and should be e-mailed to submissions@maydecemberpublications.com attached as a .doc (preferred) or .rtf. Please send in your submissions using 12 font Times New Roman, single spaced, justified. No hard breaks between paragraphs (hitting return twice to break between paragraphs). Following paragraphs can be started on the next line. Scene breaks or changes in point of view need to be separated by a hard break, centered asterisks (* * *) and a hard break.

The title page should contain your contact info and word count.

Payment for this anthology is a $25.00 per story upon publication.

We are looking for submissions for our new e-Lit line of ebooks. We are paying 25.00 for accepted horror novelettes of 9000-14,999 words and 50.00 for novellas of 15,000 – 40,000 words. Send your stories to submissions@maydecemberpublications.com or contact Denise we questions at dlbrown@maydecemberpublications.com

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now (#193) -- Female Protagonists

What's with your preference for writing female protagonists? 

The Fool, from Show Me A Hero.
Let's face it, women are far more interesting than us men. It's just truth that we need to accept. Both genders of characters have their stereotypes to break out of, but both also have so much fun to be had while playing fast and loose with those stereotypes.

Part of it, I think, stems from that fact then when I was a beginning writer, I couldn't write the female voice at all, well, not without sucking bigtime anyway. The only clues I could provide that a character was female were the physical ones, such as references to wearing a bra or pantyhose.

Whoa. So talented!  I know. (Yes, that's sarcasm.)

So I drove myself hard to learn to write the female voice. If I'm going to be a real writer, I figured, I needed to learn to write anyone's voice, red or yellow, black or white, man or woman, boy or girl or two-headed Beeezlesnord from Planet X (they are precious in his sight). Anyone.

The best compliment I ever received as a writer came from a fan who wrote me an email fan letter during my time on staff with Cyber Age Adventures magazine. She told me how wonderful it was to have another woman writing kick-ass super hero fiction. I felt bad to have to tell her (so far as apologizing for it) that I wasn't a female. Still, what a powerful compliment!

Female characters to me have so many more depths to explore. Perhaps that's just because I'm a man, and to a female writer, writing male characters would be the same. I don't know. But for me, that's how it goes.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Rick Ruby in the Book Cave!

The Ruby Files creators Sean Taylor and Bobby Nash visit Ric Croxton and Arthur Sippo on The Book Cave podcast. 

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now (#192) -- Titles and Timelines

At what point in the process do you usually title your stories? And what's your philosophy for titling?

I'm an odd writer in that I usually have my title set in stone (or at least soft concrete that's firming up quickly) before I ever write my first word of a story. For me the title drives the tale. The title can come from a  mental image that spawned the story in the first place, a quote that triggered the telling, or from a line of narration or dialog that's always waiting for its place in the text of the tale. But it's usually there.

Occasionally, and this is quite rare, will the story dictate to me a new title. This happened recently in my story for the Armless O'Neil volume published by Pro Se Press/Pulp Obscura. It was originally titled "From the Liquor to the Lady," but by the time I had finished writing of O'Neil's frustration at his "sidekick" Tommy's eye for the ladies and how it always causes him to make poor decisions that lead to dangerous adventures, the story made me change to title to the final one: "There's Always a Woman Involved."

But as I mentioned earlier, that's rare.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Ruby Files review

There’s a great review of The Ruby Files over at Joe Bonadonna's The Dowser’s Delusions blog.

"The blurb above the title reads, 'Every story a gem!' Man, they weren't kidding!

"Created by writers Bobby Nash and Sean Taylor, The Ruby Files, starring Rick Ruby, Private Eye, adheres and pays tribute to guys like Sam Spade, Philip Marlowe, Mike Hammer, Peter Gunn, and Richard Diamond. But they've set Ruby apart from the others by giving him more of a wicked sense of humor (which is something I find makes a character that much more real), easing back on the cynicism, making him a little more nasty when it comes to the rough stuff, and making him a shade more fallible: he doesn't always think before he acts, and he sometimes makes the wrong decision. I like that about him. Oh, and unusual for a series set in the 1930s, Rick is romantically involved with Evelyn Johnson, a black nightclub singer. Four novellas by four different writers comprise this excellent volume...

"The fourth and final tale is the dark Die Gifttige Lilie, by co-creator Sean Taylor. When a German national, Gerta Stein, a very unusual femme fatale, hires Ruby to help her Uncle Oscar. See, he's a German scientist hoping to escape the Nazis traveling with him and defect to pre-WWII United States. Gerta fears that the Nazis have gotten wind of her Uncle's wish to become a citizen, and she believes they may kill him, or beat and force him to return to Germany. Ah, but things are not quite what they seem, and they soon turn into a deadly game full of surprises and plot twists you won't see coming."

Check it out the rest here.

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now (#191) -- Fighting Steampunk

We're all punks. And steamed.
What was your biggest hurdle in attacking steampunk, both as a consumer and a creator?
(From Consolidated Organization of General Steampunk Writers)

I can't speak for other writers who work in steampunk, but for me, the biggest hurdle is fighting the "purists" who lock the definition of steampunk into little more than costumes and airships. I prefer to look for those more roundabout ways to approach the genre.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Steven Cumming: "Cute that Kicks Butt"

Steven Cumming's resume includes artwork on such varied titles as Knights of the Dinner Table, Green Lantern, Deadshot, The Darkness, Star TrekFlash, Pantheon High, and Skullkickers. But I'm biased. I think his specialty is cute that kicks butt. Trust me. If your protagonist needs to be adorable with a dangerous side, Steven's your artist.

I first met him through a mutual friend named after a shelled oval that basically comes out of a chicken's butt. I really did. But I liked him anyway. (And Egg too.) But I fell in love with his art. Trust me again.

Now it's your turn to get to know him, because, well, I'm magnanimous like that. 

Steve and Devin's newest book.
Tell us a bit about your latest work.

I just finished up a second graphic novel adaptation of the hit YA series Uglies, written by Scott Westerfeld. The adaptation was scripted out by Devin Grayson and is being published through their imprint Del-Rey Spectra. It was a fun, if long, project and I think both books together weighted in at 335 pages including covers and maps. The story was about a very dystopian future where everyone undergoes radical plastic surgery upon reaching the age of 16 to eliminate any differences that might cause unrest. We follow as our main character a young girl named Shay who is a side character in the original novels. This gives the readers the chance to see her side of the story while we broaden the world a bit. 

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

Personally I tend to look at ideas of what comes after the perfect (or utopian) future. I also love history and working ideas around the events and figures of our country. And of course sci-fi has a spot in my heart.

What would be your dream project?

Zombie slayers can be cute too.
Anything with a publisher here in Japan. The amount of freedom the creators get here is incredible. It is something I really want to be able to do myself one day.

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

I would love the chance to redo Pantheon High. Pantheon High was an original creator owned graphic novel series I did with my buddy Paul Benjamin for Tokyopop. There were some limitations placed on us by Tokyopop at the time that I would love to go back and remove. There also some parts that we weren't able to include into the story due to the book structure and lengths that I would enjoy getting to add back in to see how the story would change and evolve. Also, I don't suck as much as an artist as I did back then, so it would really nice to draw it up all awesome and whatnot.

What inspires you to write?

Life. The things and people I see. Too much free time is bound to start me thinking about stories.

What writers have influenced your style and technique?

Cover to Skullkickers #7
The Japanese Manga artist Morita Masanori was a huge influence on me with his work Rookies. Also, from an art angle Norman Rockwell was a giant in my eyes.

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

Right in the middle. It requires a little of both to come out right.

Any other upcoming projects you would like to plug?

My current project is a reworking of the old video game classic Dragon Spirits for the Bandai online initiative Shift Look. The writing on this is being handled by Jim Zub, the clever writer on Skullkickers and the Pathfinder miniseries.

For more information about Steven and his work, please visit him online at http://stekichikun.deviantart.com/

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now (#190) -- Greatest Fear

What is your greatest fear when it comes to writing?
(From Consolidated Organization of General Steampunk Writers)

This is going to sound awfully vain of me, but I honestly believe my greatest fear as a writer is to be forgotten, to have never really mattered as a writer to the point that within the scope of a generation or two, it will be as if my work never existed, was never out there for people to read, never affected a reader in any lasting way.

Now to all you other writers who read this blog, what is your greatest fear as a writer? And dig deep. Be painfully honest. It's good for the soul.

Monday, July 23, 2012

[Link] Amongst The New Pulpeteers (Or, “What The Good Goddamn Is ‘New Pulp,’ Anyway?”)

By Chuck Wendig

I’ve long admired writers who bend genres to their whims instead of being bent to the strictures of genre — a guy like Joe Lansdale is all over the fucking map in terms of what he writes. Everything from crime thrillers to sci-fi to satire to Southern Gothic to Weird Westerns to whatever the hell wants to come out of his head at any given moment. Sometimes this turbid genre muddiness is found in a single book. Hell, look at Stephen King’s Gunslinger series. What is that? Horror? A little. Fantasy? A little. Western? A little. It’s its own thing, that series. You might describe it using one of my favorite non-words: “unpindownable.”

A New Pulp writer doesn’t know what to call himself. He can’t say, “I’m a thriller writer,” or, “I write crime.”

He just writes. Whatever crazy-ass shit enters his head goes to the page one way or another.

It isn’t just psychic dinosaurs. Or noir tales of moral doom. Or sex, or heroism, or Batman, or serial killers, or steampunk assassins or any of that stuff. It isn’t about what’s written. It’s about what can be written.

New Pulp says, “Fuck genre.” Then it clubs genre on the head like a sailor clubbing an unruly tuna.

Continue reading: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2012/07/17/amongst-the-new-pulpeteers-or-what-the-good-goddamn-is-new-pulp-anyway/

Monday, July 16, 2012

Zillah Anderson presents The Inheritance

Remember when everyone else thought they knew you? Remember when everyone else thought they knew better?

Layla’s a small-town teen trying to be herself and is misinterpreted at every turn. She’s not popular because her dad’s a minister and her interests never seem to match those around her. She’s learned to keep to herself and her music – big mistake. When her love of classic rock makes her parents wonder if she’s “getting ideas” she finds herself shipped off to church camp. There she’s faced with horrible food and her day is planned out by the millisecond. To make matters worse her bunkmate is the cheery, tow-the-line sort and Donna, her nemesis, is at the same camp and is determined to make things hard for her. The only thing Layla has left to cling to is her music, but when her interests and character are challenged will her faith in herself and her shaky trust in something more be strong enough to see her through?

For more information: http://noboundariespressstore.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=23_24&products_id=21

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Pro Se Productions, a leading publisher in the New Pulp Movement, announces an addition to its already dynamic publishing calendar for 2012!

“Even though the New Pulp Movement,” stated Tommy Hancock, Partner in and Editor in Chief of Pro Se Productions, “is still in its infancy, relatively speaking, there have already been some writers and works that stand out.  Authors and books who will truly be remembered as being the best of what New Pulp has to offer and considered classics by those after us, and even by many today. One such book from the last two years was "Sun Koh: Heir of Atlantis" written by Dr. Art. Sippo.   Pro Se is extremely proud to announce that we will be publishing and promoting Volume Two of The Collected Stories of Sun Koh, tentatively titled ‘ Quest of the Secret Masters’ written once again by Dr. Art Sippo.”

According to Sippo, “Sun Koh was a character created by Paul Mueller for Germany’s pulp magazines who was based on Doc Savage. He was intended to be the Nietzschean Übermensch. He was an Aryan prince from ancient Atlantis who came to the future and descended out of the sky to land in London. He had come to prepare for the coming of the next Ice Age when Atlantis would rise again from the ocean. He would save all those who were fit to survive and use them to repopulate the lost continent. Of course, those he considered to be most fit were of Aryan/German extraction according to the theories of the Theosophists whose mythology had been taken over by the Nazis.”

“Between 1933 and 1938 there were 150 Sun Koh stories published. Sun Koh epitomized the Aryan ideal and fought all sorts of villains and super-science threats very similar to those from the Doc Savage stories.  Strangely enough, the Nazis found these stories frivolous and in some cases subversive. Eventually they forced the series to end and Mueller had Sun Koh discover and conquer the newly risen Atlantis inside the Hollow Earth in 1938. That brought an end to the series.”

Sippo continued, “Sun Koh was the most successful of all the Doc Savage clones (if we exclude the comic characters like Superman and Batman). I was fascinated by the idea of such a character having so many adventures in a language that I could not read. I became frustrated and decided to write my own stories about Sun Koh preserving as much of the original adventure ideas as possible and excluding all the Nazi nonsense.”

“We are ecstatic,” Hancock stated, “to be a part of the work Art is doing with this great character.   He has taken a character that could have been lost to history and even more, marred by the country and period it originated in, and using the original tales and roots of the story, created and woven an intelligent, action packed adventure that not only does not skirt the philosophical issues involved, but instead turns them on their ear by showing Sun Koh to be more than what label anyone puts on him.   Art writes him as, even as a Prince of Atlantis, a very human hero who has to make choices about what sort of man he will be in the world around him.”

“Quest of the Secret Masters” is currently in production and will be published in late 2012 from Pro Se Productions!   Press releases featuring more information and interviews with Dr. Sippo and more will follow in coming weeks as publication approaches!

Pro Se Productions-Puttin’ the Monthly Back Into Pulp!

For interviews and further information, please contact Tommy Hancock at proseproductions@earthlink.net.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Pro Se Productions, a leading New Pulp Publisher proudly announces its latest release.  From Reese Unlimited, an imprint of Pro Se Productions, and Pro Se's Sovereign City Project comes the second volume of one of New Pulp's most popular and newest heroes- THE ADVENTURES OF LAZARUS GRAY VOLUME TWO: DIE GLOCKE! by Veteran New Pulp Author Barry Reese!

Lazarus Gray and his aides in Assistance Unlimited return for what may prove to be their greatest challenge... What is the secret of Die Glocke? Will Lazarus Gray and his teammates discover the answer in time to stop a power hungry madman and his undead soldiers? The Adventures of Lazarus Gray returns with an epic adventure where the fate of the world is at stake. Is even Lazarus Gray up to a task that could take him to the very gates of Hell itself? Also, Assistance Unlimited takes a case that will bring them face to face with Terror and the making of a Hero! Included in this volume is an updated timeline of Reese's works and an interview with the author himself!

THE NEW ADVENTURES OF LAZARUS GRAY VOLUME TWO: DIE GLOCKE most definitely builds on what Reese established in Volume Two, but also explodes with new concepts and themes.  “I never really think about themes when I’m writing a story,” Reese says, “but in hindsight, sometimes I can see recurring ideas. With Die Glocke, I really wanted to focus on the family dynamic that we’ve established with the members of Assistance Unlimited. These people would die for one another and I wanted to show why that was and how far that loyalty could be tested.”

“The story is also about paying homage to the many things that went into the creation of Lazarus Gray,” continues Reese. “Obviously, there are elements of The Avenger in the series but I also drew heavily upon Indiana Jones, the Hellboy stories by Mike Mignola and Andy McDermott’s novels. I wanted to incorporate elements from all of those, in terms of plot elements, specific scenes and just the overall feel of those works.  Hopefully, I’ve taken all of that and combined it with my own creations to feel fresh and new – but with all my New Pulp work, I feel like I’m standing on the shoulders of giants.”

 Featuring cover and interiors by George Sellas and one interior piece by Anthony Castrillo and logo, format, and design work by Sean Ali, DIE GLOCKE-THE ADVENTURES OF LAZARUS GRAY VOLUME TWO: DIE GLOCKE is a must have for any fan of Action, Adventure, and New Pulp! Available now at Amazon - http://tinyurl.com/c9rs42f , and directly from Pro Se’s own store at http://tinyurl.com/7gj2axb. Coming Soon in Ebook Format!

THE NEW ADVENTURES OF LAZARUS GRAY VOLUME TWO: DIE GLOCKE! From Reese Unlimited and Pro Se Productions- Puttin' The Monthly Back Into Pulp!

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Watson Report: The Baffling Story of Spring-Heeled Jack

By I.A. Watson

Every pulpster should know about Spring-Heeled Jack. He inspired the rise of the shock newspapers like London Illustrated Crime Weekly and the Penny Dreadfuls, the forerunners of the pulp magazines. And he's a great bogeyman.

According to the broadsheet newspapers of October 1837, a house servant called Mary Stevens was returning from visiting her parents in Battersea to her employers' house in Lavender Hill. At that time the sprawl of London hadn't yet engulfed these villages so she'd be travelling along winding hedge-lined country paths. She cut across Clapham Common and was grabbed by a dark figure that leaped from an alley. He pinned her, kissed her  face, and tore at her clothes and bare flesh with "claws" that were "cold and clammy like those of a corpse". The girl screamed, people came, and the assailant fled.

The next day the same man struck again at another maid quite near to Miss Stevens' Lavender Hill address. This time his escape included impossible leaps, including over a nine foot high boundary wall. He was laughing manically. At some point during the chase he bounced in front of a horse and carriage, causing it to swerve and crash, seriously injuring the driver. The press took up the description of him leaping as if her had "springs in his heels" and he got his name.

Sightings and attacks continued, and fear spread. A written complaint submitted by "a resident of Peckham" to Sir John Cowan, Lord Mayor of London, brought the matter to official attention and has become the much-quoted staple of Jack-lore:

"It appears that some individuals (of, as the writer believes, the highest ranks of life) have laid a wager with a mischievous and foolhardy companion, that he durst not take upon himself the task of visiting many of the villages near London in three different disguises — a ghost, a bear, and a devil; and moreover, that he will not enter a gentleman's gardens for the purpose of alarming the inmates of the house. The wager has, however, been accepted, and the unmanly villain has succeeded in depriving seven ladies of their senses, two of whom are not likely to recover, but to become burdens to their families.

"At one house the man rang the bell, and on the servant coming to open door, this worse than brute stood in no less dreadful figure than a spectre clad most perfectly. The consequence was that the poor girl immediately swooned, and has never from that moment been in her senses.

"The affair has now been going on for some time, and, strange to say, the papers are still silent on the subject. The writer has reason to believe that they have the whole history at their finger-ends but, through interested motives, are induced to remain silent."

The Times reported the case on 9th January 1838, elevating its profile to a national level. A flood of claimed sightings followed from all parts of London. By now Jack was said to have iron claws with which he disfigured his victims. Some women were said to have been driven to fits and others to have died of fright, although no names were given for the latter. Vigilante patrols began to search for Spring-Heeled Jack after dark and several “suspicious characters” were beaten within inches of their lives. When the Brighton Gazette reported that a Sussex gardener had been terrified by “a four footed apparition” that had escaped over a high wall the papers were quick to proclaim that Jack was now roaming the country at will.

On February 19th of that year, pretty Jane Alsop answered urgent knocking at her father’s door to someone claiming to be a policeman, shouting, “Bring a light! We have caught Spring-Heeled Jack here in the lane!” When she hurried out with a candle, the visitor cast off a dark cloak to reveal tight-fitting “oilskin” clothing, a helmet, and eyes like “red balls of fire”. He vomited blue and white flame into the girl’s face, then tore at her with iron claws. She struggled free but he caught her again at her doorstep, tearing her gown, arms, neck, and breasts. When Jane’s sisters answered her screams the attacker raced away. A subsequent search did not locate him.

On February 28th, 18 year old Lucy Scales and her younger sister cut down Green Dragon Alley on their way home from visiting their married brother in Limehouse. A stranger in the alley blocked Lucy’s way and breathed blue fire into her face, blinding her. Lucy fell to the floor in a fit that lasted for hours. Her sister screamed and her brother responded. The stranger, dressed like a gentleman and carrying a bulls-eye lantern, slipped away.

Police treated these cases very seriously. A self-confessed Spring-Heel Jack was tried at Lambeth Street Court then acquitted. “Spring-Heeled Jack – the Terror of London” became an early Penny Dreadful. He even began to appear in the popular Punch and Judy puppet shows, taking the role usually reserved for the Devil in those gory morality plays. The first Spring-Heeled Jack stage play debuted in 1840. By 1885 his fame had crossed the Atlantic, with “Spring-Heel Jack; or The Masked Mystery of the Tower”, appearing in Beadle's New York Dime Library #332.

In 1843 he was reported in distant Northamptonshire. Later that year he was attacking lone coachmen in rural East Anglia. Some linked him with the mysterious “Devil’s Footprints” in Devon in February 1835, where miles-long tracks of bipedal hoof-marks snaked over the snow-covered landscape, including passing across rooftops and over high walls.

Various theories competed in public opinion. For every one that proclaimed Jack a demon, spectre, or vampire there were those who thought him a lunatic butcher, a mad nobleman, or a cabal of rich men’s sons reviving the antics of the famous Hell-Fire Clubs. Several copy-cats were caught; some were dealt with severely without recourse to the authorities.

The various traits of Jack’s numerous claimed attacks were conflated: classic Spring-Heeled Jack had iron claws and burning eyes, belched fire and leaped great distances. He could change shape and melt into shadow. Weapons did not harm him. He dressed like a gentleman except when he was a bear or a ghost or wore tight-fitting oilskin beneath his flowing cloak.

So Jack entered folklore. His appearances diminished but his fame grew. He returned again in 1872 in Peckham and the next year in industrial Sheffield where a huge crowd turned out to see him jumping across the rooftops. But surely his most outrageous exploit was his haunting of Aldershot Army Base, then and now one of the UK’s top-security military training camps.

In August 1877 a sentry there challenged a cloak-swathed figure that raced up and slapped him. Bullets appeared not to harm the assailant. The intruder disappeared into the night with uncanny bounds. A series of other appearances in and around the camp provoked news articles about “The Aldershot Ghost” and are mentioned in memoirs of officers serving at the time. Lord Earnest Hamilton’s Forty Years On offers details but seems to fudge dates, and posits that the culprit was a prankster called Lieutenant Alfrey.

Jack sightings continued into the 20th century. His last “official” appearance after a couple of decades touring the country was in Liverpool in 1904. The most recent claim was of a family travelling home by car who encountered a “dark figure with no features” that climbed a fifteen foot wall in seconds “just like Spring-Heeled Jack” – in February 2012!

See what I mean about the pulpiness of Spring-Heeled Jack? From him proceeded Varney the Vampire, the Mad Gasser of Matoon, Pérák, the Spring Man of Prague, Jason Voorhees, and a host of other characters claimed as real or creations of fiction. There is even a shadow of him in the Shadow’s chilling laughter.

So a tip the pulp hat to the scary old ghost – but don’t look him in the eye lest he blind you with his fire!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Airship 27 and Captain Action!


Airship 27 Productions, one of the premier publishers in the New Pulp movement, and Captain Action Enterprises, licensors of the popular Captain Action toy line, have joined forces to produce the first ever Captain Action pulp novel, “Riddle of the Glowing Men,” by Jim Beard.  The book debuts this Aug. at Pulp Fest in Columbus, Ohio.

“We are tremendously excited to be working with Joe Ahearn and Ed Catto of Captain Action Enterprises,” said Airship 27 Productions’ Managing Editor, Ron Fortier.  “This is the first time we’ve ever put together a title based on a highly popular and successful license.”

Captain Action is based on the action figure created in 1966 by Stan Weston for Ideal Toys. He came equipped with a wardrobe of costumes allowing him to become many different heroes such as Batman, The Lone Ranger, the Green Hornet and many more. In 1967, Captain Action proved so popular that the line was expanded to include a sidekick, Action Boy and a blue skinned alien foe with bug eyes, the nefarious Dr. Evil.  The following year, DC Comics licensed the character from Ideal and published five issues of Captain Action featuring industry luminaries such as Jim Shooter, Wally Wood and Gil Kane.
Since 2005, Captain Action Enterprises, has been producing an array of exciting new collectibles, including statues, toys, comics, trading cards, and apparel.  Still, the one remaining venue the enduring hero had yet to conquer was that of a prose novel.  Enter veteran writer Jim Beard, a life-long fan of the character.  “Jim approached us late last year with this idea for a Captain Action pulp novel,” recalls Catto. “We were immediately intrigued by the possibilities and began seriously exploring the idea.”

It was Beard who then brought Ahearn and Catto to Airship 27 Productions.  “At the time I’d just finished my first book for Airship 27,” Beard elaborates.  “Impressed with their industry leading quality and professionalism, I knew they were the right people to usher Captain Action into the fast-paced world of pulpdom.”

The challenge of doing a licensed property appealed to Fortier and his partner and Art Director, Rob Davis and they signed on.  Their first goal was to assemble the finest art team possible. This was achieved by recruiting the talented cover painter, Nick Runge.  Runge’s work on such IDW titles as Angel & Terminator –Salvation has spotlighted him as being one of the finest new artists in the graphic field today.  Davis himself took on the task of doing the nine interior illustrations while also designing the entire package. 

Riddle of the Glowing Men,” is set in the sixties where secret agent, Miles Drake, aka, Captain Action, is attacked at A.C.T.I.O.N. headquarters by several assassins whose green skin glows as if radiated.  In the process of learning the identity of these killers and the reason behind their attack, Captain Action teams with a beautiful female Russian agent and their quest leads them to a hidden civilization under the frozen wasteland of Siberia. “Jim Beard has written a terrific, authentic Captain Action adventure,” applauds Fortier. “It perfectly captures the break-neck speed and thrills of the early pulps only with today’s modern sensibilities. This book is sure to appeal to both Captain Action fans and new pulp enthusiasts alike.”

Joe Ahearn and Ed Catto will be hosting a Captain Action panel at this year’s San Diego Comic Con with further details about other exciting plans for the classic hero.  Artist Nick Runge will also be present at his table in Artist Alley.  Fortier, Davis and Beard will be in attendance at Pulp Fest and will announce the book’s actual publication date.

About Captain Action Enterprises
As Retropreneurs, Captain Action Enterprises, LLC specializes in taking old properties and rejuvenating them for a new generation. Captain Action now appears in an on-going comic book series, lithographs, statues, action figures, T-shirts, model kits and an iPhone app. Additional properties include Lady Action, the Zeroids and Savage Beauty. For additional information, contact ed.catto@bonfireagency.com.

About Airship 27 Productions
Begun in 2004 to produce new novels and anthologies featuring classic, public domain pulp heroes of the 30s and 40s, Airship 27 Productions was one of the major factors behind the pulp renaissance which evolved into the New Pulp Movement.  Today they have over fifty titles in their ever expanding catalog, sell both hard copy and digital versions of their books and will soon be launching audio books of their titles. They can be found at airship27hangar.com

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

BLACKTHORN: SPIRES OF MARS Online Serial Adventure!

Press Release – For Immediate Release

BLACKTHORN: SPIRES OF MARS Online Serial Adventure!

Continuing the Adventures of the Award-Winning New Pulp Warrior and his Allies!

(July 10, 2012)  A young man desperate to save his sister from the raiders who kidnapped her into slavery…  An ancient undead released after half a millennium… Four sorcerous First Men who will kill half a world to keep their darkest secret…  And three champions who will stand for Mars against horror and tyranny—or die trying!

Award-winning author I.A Watson’s online novel set in the futuristic Martian world of BLACKTHORN offers readers a serial adventure in the tradition of old-time pulps, showcasing the vibrant characters and lush settings of this popular and successful series. 

 Join Earth General John Blackthorn, Princess Aria of Mars, Oglok the Mock-Man and an ever-expanding cast of rebels, monsters, magicians, and villains as the mystery of the ancient Harmony Spires is explored.  Following on from BLACKTHORN:  THUNDER ON MARS and meshing with the upcoming BLACKTHORN: DYNASTY OF MARS novel, also by Watson, this stand-alone full-length serial adventure offers a glimpse of a future where magic and technology are one and humanity must face its ultimate challenge.

“This serial adventure gives readers everything they could ask for,” says White Rocket Books Publisher Van Allen Plexico.  “An award-winning character, written by an award-winning writer—and set in the fantastic world of post-apocalyptic Mars.  It’s an absolute grand slam!”

Jump in on the ground floor at www.whiterocketbooks.com/blackthorn with Chapter 1: “A Night in the Deadlands.”  A desperate young man must cross the wasteland where everything dies – but nothing stays dead!

Tune in for new chapters every Monday and Thursday!

White Rocket Books is a leader in the New Pulp movement, publishing exciting action and adventure novels and anthologies since 2005, in both traditional and electronic formats.   White Rocket books have hit the Amazon.com Top 15-by-Genre and have garnered praise from everyone from Marvel Comics Editor Tom Brevoort to Kirkus Reviews.

Find new installments of the series and links to buy copies of the original THUNDER ON MARS anthology by visiting www.whiterocketbooks.com

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Enter... The Shadow Legion

There has always been something strange about Nocturne, Florida.

Built over some of the most dangerous swamp land in the 18th century, Nocturne has become known as The City That Lives By Night due to its multitude of night clubs, music venues and other sources of entertainment.  But it has another reputation, one spoke of whispers in places the revelers and tourists don't go.  That reputation is one of dark doings, of violence and hate and eldritch evil.

Luckily, The City That Lives By Night....has a darker shade of protector.

Nightbreaker: He spent his life hiding who he was...and now he fights to prove that he exists!

Dreamcatcher: There is magic all around us....and she can bend it all to her will!

Ferryman: He's the conduit to the other side...and its instrument of revenge!

Black Talon: He is the embodiment of the unfettered fury of the African Veldt...stalking a jungle of concrete and glass!

Together they are The Shadow Legion, a secret alliance of mystery men who battle the fantastic threats that can tear apart the metropolis they call home--and beyond!

The saga of The Shadow Legion begins with New Roads To Hell, which reveals the secret origins of Nightbreaker and Ferrymen, and features the menace of Rose Red, the crimson tressed devil with a magical talent for murder--available soon from Airship 27 (airship27.com) and the mind of Thomas Deja!

For further information, including exclusive artwork from Michelle Scuito (character designer for the series) please visit the Nocturne Travel Agency at welcometonocturne.blogspot.com.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Pro Se Releases The Family Grace

Pro Se Productions, a leading Publisher in the New Pulp Movement, proudly announces the release of its latest volume, the first of a new size and type of books from Pro Se. THE FAMILY GRACE: AN EXTRAORDINARY HISTORY is the first extra sized omnibus edition of a writer’s works produced by Pro Se Productions!

From a leading New Pulp Author comes The First Family of Adventure! Barry Reese, creator of the Rook, Lazarus Gray, and more brings together the classic early adventures of a cast of characters that are truly a family. THE FAMILY GRACE: AN EXTRAORDINARY HISTORY collects the hair raising, action packed tales of Eobard Grace and his family of adventurers, always on the edge of Hell ready to save the world!

Featuring stories that have never appeared together in one volume, THE FAMILY GRACE is an omnibus spotlighting Barry's creativity and skill at universe building! And features his seminal creation, THE ROOK!

This volume is also the first omnibus under Barry's own imprint, Reese Unlimited! Featuring stunning cover and logo work by George Sellas and fantastic design by Sean Ali as well as being newly edited by Lee Houston, Jr., THE FAMILY GRACE: AN EXTRAORDINARY HISTORY is full of all the best action, adventure, chills, and thrills New Pulp has to offer! From Reese Unlimited and Pro Se Press- Puttin' The Monthly Back Into Pulp!

Available at www.prosepulp.com and on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/dx9htec and other retailers soon! Also coming soon in an omnibus e-book edition!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Scott Mallory and the Cupcake Monster

Scott Mallory makes monsters cute. He really does. That's really all you need to know.

But it wouldn't be fair to leave it at that. So I'll add this: If you don't have a copy of his children's book Bad-Off Boris and the Cupcake Cave-In, then stop reading now and go buy a copy.

Done? Okay, now read the interview and get to know this genius.

Tell us a bit about your latest work.

Bad-Off Boris and the Cupcake Cave-In is about a little cupcake man whose bad luck gets worse. The story literally started out as a dream. I knew I wanted to make it a children's book so I added more accessible elements for younger readers-classic monsters and sweets. I also thought since those elements were two of my favorite things that it would appeal to kids of all ages. I reached out to artist, Rob E. Brown, who did the artwork on my novel Tales of a Washed-Up Neverwas and asked him if he'd be interested. Rob has done some incredible horror stuff, so I was hoping he'd take on the project. I also knew it might be a challenge to pull back or adapt his style for kids. What he first sent me blew my mind. I knew we had something pretty cool that wouldn't talk down to kids, but of course some parents might not give the book a chance because it wasn't your typical, cutesy characters and themes. The reaction has been very positive so far.

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

Staying true to yourself to overcome loss and adversity.

What would be your dream project?

I love film and comic books and always wanted to be involved in those industries, so I may be working on my dream project now. I'm writing a Horror-Western graphic novel and hope to get Rob to do the art.

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

Well the only other project that I have is my radio novel Tales. It was my first effort and I learned a lot while doing it, like editing. My original manuscript was 660 pages long. I eventually cut it down to 258 pages. After it was published, my idea for my website was to post the chapters/stories that didn't make it into a "Cut Tales" section. As I went back to retool and polish I realized there was a reason those chapters didn't make the book and that I should stick to my gut. Radio was my first career and I always knew (or convinced myself that I knew) what I was doing, with writing I always question myself. I'm very unsure as I write the piece, but once it's done it's done. I'm very satisfied and proud of the finished project.

What inspires you to write?

A thought will get in my head and not let go until I write it down or explore it more. I don't write because I want to, I do it because I have to. It's like desperately trying to sleep while hearing a dripping faucet. That damn thing's not going to shut off until you scribble down notes or bang on the keyboard.

What writers have influenced your style and technique?

I always loved reading C.S. Lewis and Stephen King, but I'm also heavily influenced by comics and film. I love Quentin Tarantino! His stuff is an attack on my senses, like a kick to the head that I need. I was lucky enough to interview him once when I was still doing radio and he met all my expectations.

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

You have to have the proper building blocks but once the ball is rolling you're kind of along for the ride. I'll have a plot and outline most of it, then something that I never thought of will influence the writing, add a nuance, or take an altogether crazy left turn. It blows my mind how organic the process can be.

Any other upcoming projects you would like to

I always have projects, it's getting to them that's the problem. I've got the graphic novel, another children's book that's pretty fleshed out, a horror anthology, horror novel, superhero comics... The question is when will that dripping faucet get me off my ass?!


For more information about Scott Mallory and his work, visit http://www.blackcloudbooks.com/

Saturday, July 7, 2012

[Link] Creating an Author Brand to Boost Your Platform

by Matthew Turner

You all know how important a book cover is, right?

After all, you’re on Joel’s site, and if there’s one thing he discusses in detail, it’s how to create a killer cover.

But let me tell you, it’s a tough world out there, and it’s tough to get noticed.

Amazon has opened up many doors, and not just for you; the same possibilities exist for everyone.

We all have a book in us, so they say; well, now we can publish it too!

A good book cover can help you stand out, as can an author platform, and a good branding strategy, and everything else a modern author needs in their arsenal. My big question is:

How can you combine all of these different things into one consistent message?

Brand Identity, that’s how!

Continue reading: http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2012/06/creating-an-author-brand-to-boost-your-platform/

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now (#189) -- Connecting with Readers

How do you make connections with your readers?

For the purpose of today's question, I'm going to assume that we mean outside the work itself. For me, it includes both online presence and in person appearances.

Online, I think there are a few places that are "must-haves" for any writer or artist who actively wants to connect with his or her fans.

1. Facebook -- Yes, Facebook. It's easy and in spite of all its privacy drawbacks, it's still the best way to connect with fans.

2. A professional website -- Not a personal page in the sense of pics of your kids and that kind of thing, but more a site to highlight your work as a professional creator. It is okay to put some personal info there as well though since that's the stuff that helps your readers feel like they know you.

3. A blog -- And one that allows people to join or follow and allows them to get updates via email.

4. Twitter -- (Thanks to Erik Burnham for reminding me.)

In person, I think book signings and conventions are the two outlets I enjoy the most. While I'm doing them, I love to ask the folks who drop by the table a few questions that help me and show an interest in them.

1. What's your favorite story or book of mine you've read?

2. What other authors do you like to read?

3. How far did you travel to the con?

That sort of thing...

The point is to be genuine. If you are sincerely interested in getting to know your readers, I think that can translate well whether online or in person and people will respond to it. If you fake it, people will see right through you.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now (#188) -- Writers and Relationships

How important to you are your relationships with other writers?

Writing is a solitary life. You become best friends with your computer (or typewriter for you old-school purists) more than with any person you know, or so it seems to me. And far too often, it's those human relationships that intrude rather than add to your writing life, pulling your focus and attention away from the work you're trying to finish.

However, that said, my relationships with other writers are very important to me. They've become some of my strongest friendships and working relationships. But, if you'll allow me a caveat, what I look for and get out of a relationship with a fellow writer is a little different and more special than what I look for and get out of my "regular" relationships.

How so? Well, what I get out of a good relationship with a writer is:

1. Friendship (nothing new here, but it needs to be stated that we're friends first and all the rest of this stuff is only a secondary layer).

2. Networking (by knowing someone well, you also know his or her friends).

3. Editorial sharing (friends don't let friends write crap).

4. A kick in the pants (my friends won't let me wallow in being unproductive for long).

Bear in mind, of course, that this relationship is a two-way street, based on give and take, freely offered and not expected as some sort of "friendship contract." In the best relationships, all this occurs organically and in time and is never forced.