Sunday, December 10, 2017


One of the most popular new pulp heroes to arrive on the scene in the past decade is Doc Atlas; created by veteran writers Michael A. Black and Ray Lovato.  Created as their homage to the classic 30s and 40s characters such as Doc Savage, Jim Anthony etc. etc. Atlas has appeared in many fast-paced adventures along with his aides, Thomas “Mad Dog” Deagan and Edward “Ace” Assante. These first appearances were offered via such outfits as Eclipse Publishing and Crossroads Press. Hundreds of pulp readers quickly became enthusiastic fans and continue clamor for more stories featuring this dynamic trio. Now they are about to have their wishes realized as Black and Lovato have entered into a partnership with one of the leading New Pulp publishers in the field, Airship 27 Productions.

Airship 27 Productions has been publishing New Pulp anthologies and novels since 2004 and in that time their books have won numerous awards.  Owned and operated by Ron Fortier, Managing Editor, and Rob Davis, Art Director, the company is one of a small group that pioneered the revival of pulp fiction and continues to set the standard in creative, original pulp fiction.

“Ever since meeting Mike Black, I’ve been an ardent fan of his work,” Fortier says. “There’s no pulp genre he hasn’t worked in and his stories are always top notch. Doc Atlas is by far his most popular creation.” Black, over the past few years, has become a regular contributor to the Airship 27 anthologies and eventually convinced Lovato to submit his own works. When the pair offered Fortier a new Doc Atlas short, it sparked an idea he realized was too good to pass up. “Doc Atlas and Airship 27 were made for each other. It seemed only natural to me that our company could provide a home that would allow Mike and Ray the freedom to focus solely on their tales and leave the publishing end to someone else; someone who very much wants to increase their readership in a big – big way.”

Echoing that enthusiasm, Michael Black offered the following.  “My lifelong friend, Ray Lovato, and I are honored to have Doc Atlas become a regular part of Airship 27’s cast of characters. We’ve both admired the work of Ron Fortier and Rob Davis for years, and are eager to join them in creating new pulp adventures for a new generation of readers.”

Beginning in 2018, Airship 27 Productions will produce one Doc Atlas title per year, whether a collection of shorts or full-length novels and be their sole publisher. Further announcements will be forthcoming.


Saturday, December 9, 2017

[Link] Why Some People Like to Read Sex-Free Romance

by Bryn Donovan

Most readers of my blog know that I write some steamy romance. A few of you even know that in the past year, I got a new job editing “sweet romance,” which is the industry term for romance with no sex at all.

I’ve always enjoyed all kinds of romantic stories and movies as a reader and a viewer, so I don’t find it strange at all to work on both. I’m even in the middle of writing a sweet romance right now.

However, I’ve always known that lots of people, particularly people who haven’t read a romance in twenty years, treat steamy romance writers with derision. They make jokes about the goofy euphemisms romance writers supposedly use for sex organs, although almost all romance writers have discarded these in favor of more direct language.

They also behave as though writers of sexy romance must all be bad writers. Most romance writers are women, and there is some sexism at work here: a discomfort with women authoring sexual content instead of being the object in it.

I’ve known all that for years. What I’ve learned in the past year, though, is that plenty of people also deride sex-free romance.

Read the full article:

Friday, December 8, 2017

AIRSHIP 27 PRODUCTIONS presents MYSTERY MEN ( & Women ) Vol 5

Airship 27 Productions is thrilled to present volume five of MYSTERY MEN ( & Women), their showcase anthology for debuting new pulp heroes created by today’s best action-adventure writers.  This book offers up a trio of amazing characters by today’s finest pulp writers.

Things kick off with a full-length novella.  THE SHRIKE – in “Not That Kind of Girl” by Gene Moyers.  A mysterious female mastermind recruits her agents to combat the forces of evil in this, her first adventure novella.  This is followed by THE NIGHTBREAKER – in “Lost in the Flood” by Thomas Deja.  Straight out of the pages of the Shadow Legion series comes Nocturne city’s masked avenger as he takes on a villain capable of manipulating water.  And finally, we have DOC ATLAS - in “The Death Ray,” by Michael Black & Ray Lovato. Inspired by the likes of Doc Savage and Jim Anthony, Doc Atlas and his teammates must stop a criminal intent on destroying the Statue of Liberty with his deadly new weapon.

“We love producing this series,” claims Airship 27 Productions’ Managing Editor, Ron Fortier. “Sure, it’s great fun doing new stories about the classic pulp heroes, but there is also something special when our writers cut loose in inventing their own unique and colorful characters. In this volume, we truly have three of the best.” Fortier also notes there will be an exciting news release concerning one of the heroes from his company very shortly.

Ted Hammond provides the stunning cover featuring the sexy but deadly Shrike while Art Director Rob Davis delivers twelve amazing black and white interiors.

So time to buckle up and relive the thrill of the pulps in these three outstanding, fast-paced adventures brought to you by today’s stellar pulp writers.

AIRSHIP 27 PRODUCTIONS – Pulp Fiction for a New Generation!

Available from Amazon in both paperback & on Kindle here.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Natural and Fun: Writers on Sex and Sexuality in Fiction

Okay, gang, we're going to get a little steamy for this week's Writers Roundtable. Let's talk about sex --and not just sex but also sexual characters, or, in other words, characters who have a sex life and inhabit your stories. How do you address it? Where do you draw the line? All right... enough teasing, let's get to the action. 

People are sexual creatures in real life, with a variety of modifiers from hetero- to homo- to a- to poly-. So, as a writer, how do you portray that aspect of characterization in your stories?

Danielle Procter Piper: In my sci-fi series, I have characters that run the gamut aside from pedophiles and necrophiliacs...although in the story I'm getting ready to publish my randiest character--a guy who refuses to be labeled because he does what suits him at the moment, engages in spontaneous intercourse with an alien species...with a fresh corpse involved, although I'm not going to reveal in what way (you'll have to read the story to find out). For the most part, I like to incorporate what's going on with myself at any given moment into my characters to add realism. If one of them suddenly gags and explains, "Backwash," odds are I have just experienced it myself while writing. My characters hiccup, they burp and fart, they lose their train of thought, they get each other's names wrong just like the rest of us. My female characters menstruate, my males experience wet dreams, they may wake up feeling aroused and masturbate--often without forethought from me. I allow moments to happen just as they do in real life. I've even had characters trying to get over colds for no other reason related to the story than the fact that people catch colds. My basic story ideas are loose, and the characters live and breathe and flow around them, so sex does occur. people may call it gratuitous, and to that I say, "You're welcome."

Gordon Dymowski: Part of this is actively cultivating relationships/friendships with queer, poly- and other forms of sexuality. That helps me write more rounded, full-blooded characters with nuance. (Plus, it helps me avoid cliches and create a more diverse range of characters). I also try to discuss the implications/experiences of those characters (great example - look at how Jonathan Kellerman writes Milo Sturgis, a queer cop in Los Angeles).

Bobby Nash: Sex is part of life so it stands to reason that sex is a part of my characters lives as well. That doesn't mean I expose their sex life. As with all writing, step one is get to know your character. That includes knowing if your character is straight, gay, poly, etc. Even though it is not the focus of the story, knowing the character helps define the character's response to questions and situations. As a writer, I want to be as true to the characters as I can.

Bill Craig: I try to not go into too much detail, especially when readers imaginations can make it better for them.

Hilaire Barch: I usually imply sexuality with dialogue and body language, but only if it matters to the story. (Does a character flirt? W/whom? Etc).

Nicholas Ahlhelm: I don't like to hide romantic relationships. I think it's an important part of genre fiction. It's not a feature in every story I've ever written, but I think it's essential to treat human beings like human beings, complete with different backgrounds and choices. Characters come in multiple races, genders, and histories I don't want to shy away from, and the same goes for sexual orientation. I really hate to use terminology however, so I usually let the character's attractions speak for themselves in the story.

John Linwood Grant: I can't say it crops up too often, but not because it bothers me writing about it. It's rarely integral to my tales, and so detailed descriptions would fall into the same category as describing every step of making a meal or going to the toilet - they're also both crucial aspects of life, but if they don't make the story move on or impart something important to the reader, why dwell?

Lucy Blue: Ooh, I may be the wrong writer to ask about this. Because I think the single biggest flaw in alternative worlds writing, science fiction, fantasy, horror, and all their progeny, is the prissy, puritanical, and/or barely-pubescent way these stories handle sexuality and sexual relationships. Writers who can describe the live evisceration of Brownie scouts or the rising of a tentacled moon over a distant planet suddenly turn completely terrified and tone deaf when faced with even the suggestion of physical attraction between their characters. There are exceptions, of course, but by and large, no sex, bad sex, or cartoon sex is so much the norm that most of us who write criticism about these genres dismiss any grown-up, straightforward portrayal of relationships within the story as romance -- the literal kiss of death. And I don't see why this has to be. What are we afraid of? People thrown together in high tension situations make connections; if it makes sense for the characters and there's room in the story, why not? If the relationship isn't the focus of the story, I won't put in a lengthy, explicit sex scene. But I won't half-ass or avoid it either.

Anna Grace Carpenter: With all the sex! Hah. Kidding (sort of). But I always like writing about relationships so I tend to show all of them as much as possible within the framework of the story. I find the more personal the characterization, the more real the story feels. And few things are as personal as who we love and how we express that as humans.

Susan H. Roddey: It depends on the situation in the story. Sex is a natural part of than life (I mean come on...procreation and all), but not all instances require the reader to be under the sheets. If your market is raw erotica, then by all means...let the reader smell it. It's a natural part of life so I don't draw unnecessary attention to it unless it becomes an integral part of the story. People are who they are, and sex doesn't define them.

Where do you fall on the spectrum of actually writing characters engaging, ahem, each other -- keep it subtle and just imply it happens, cut away to rain or fireworks like in 1940s movies, or go full coverage for a play by play? Or does it change from story to story? How do you determine where to draw the line, if at all?

Nicholas Ahlhelm: It depends quite a bit on what market I'm writing for and what characters I'm writing in the story. If I'm writing a superhero story I'm trying to make suitable for most readers, the sex is implied. If I'm writing an urban fantasy novel where one character is an actual succubus, it's anything but implied. Most of my works fall somewhere in between in that spectrum, but it's completely project based for me.

Kristi Morgan: I think it depends a lot on who your targeted audience is. With YA you have to be careful to just hint and leave it up to the imagination for the most part. But I don't think its something that needs to be ignored. Prude doesn't work.

Bobby Nash: For the most part, I show very little active sex in my novels because sex is not the main focus of the story. I will show characters at the beginning and/or the end of sex and let the reader's imagination fill in the blanks, which I've discovered works well and makes the scenes more steamy to the reader because he or she is bringing in their own sexuality to the story. Now, if I were writing a story where sex was the point or a big plot point, I might be inclined to show more. I play it by ear and show what is right for the story.

James P. Nettles III: Depends on the target audience -- and the genre, but most of mine is off-screen. Otherwise, it’s hard to tell the fight scenes from the love scenes- slipping everywhere, the clash of bodies, exotic tools for the job.

Susan H. Roddey: Most of the sex I write is less explicit and meant to help develop characters emotionally. Giving two characters that intimate connection builds a bond between them. In most cases, it also gives them a weakness. If they're emotionally invested, the reader is better able to relate. Sometimes my writing does tend toward the erotic, but only when the situation calls for it, and I choose those situations VERY carefully.

Frank Fradella: I'm a "pan over to the fireplace" kind of guy unless I'm specifically writing erotica.

Anna Grace Carpenter: It depends on the overall tone of the story. My general (and personal) rule is that if the violence is graphic, the sex is explicit/detailed. If the other “adult” aspects of a story (violence, language) are more subdued so are the physical interactions. But sometimes sex is such an integral part of the character arcs that I might spend more time on it. (In addition to being a mostly universal human experience, there is a metaphorical quality about it in fiction that is hard to pass up – especially with characters who are strong, silent types.)

Ellie Raine: For me, I go on a case-by-case basis, as far as "where to draw the line" and "How to address it". I did a story for a Hookerpunk anthology about Succubi, and sex in that, I felt, was better served by adding the steamy details. Though, in my fantasy series, I don't usually show the scenes themselves up front. Usually for those, I make it more romantic and describe the foreplay and amp up the emotions involved, then classily end right at the moment of contact. I'll probably have a different approach with the next story as well, but for some stories, I don't think sex is even necessary to make it a dynamic work. It really just depends on each story individually.

Derrick Ferguson: Like so much else in my writing, I just tend to go with my gut when it comes to writing about sex. I'm not as good at describing sex as I am describing action so when I do have sex scenes I tend to keep them brief and to the point. In my Dillon stories and novels, I give the reader just enough to know that my boy is ready to get it on and then I cut away to the billowing curtains and the fireplace. In my "Madness of Frankenstein" novel and my current "Diamondback" serial running on my Patreon page, the sex scenes are a bit more graphic, nasty and brutal. But that's because I'm writing about nasty, brutal people and the nasty, brutal sex just seemed to fit.

Gordon Dymowski: I tend to focus on the feelings/emotions rather than the mechanics. Having written two relatively steamy scenes (for AKA THE SINNER - COVER OF NIGHT, "Crossing McCausland" for TALL PULP and "Out There In the Night" for LES VAMPS), I find that it's much easier for me to write implicit than explicit sex. (Plus, it allows the reader to create the scene mentally - if they see a softcore-Cinemax-film-at-2:00-am-with-soft-jazz in their heads, that's cool; if they see hardcore pornography, that's cool as well).

Neen Edwards: Just my opinion as both a writer and a reader: I'm not big on stories revolving around sex. I'm okay with the writer insinuating something is about to happen and go on to the next scene or a brief description of what's going on. A good example of what I'm okay with would be work by Sherrilyn Kenyon. As much as I like Laurel K. Hamilton, I actually stopped reading her books because her plots seem to be revolved around sex. As a writer, I'll go where the story takes me. My characters have a mind of their own.

Bill Craig: It really depends on the book. A writer friend told me that the best love scenes got him aroused while writing...

B.C. Bell: I try to show the character's sexual attraction before and after the sex, and through dialogue, but much like a forties director I tend to focus the camera on the wall during the real event. The danger of a sexless character is that they aren't real, and the reader knows that. One reason Conan and Tarzan have a long shelf-life is that they liked women when other characters didn't. P.S. One of the first pulp stories I ever read climaxed (pardon the pun) with the hero touching a breast. Upon growing up I found that to be extremely silly.

Hilaire Barch: I range from implied, fade to black, to the whole detailed play by play. The genre and target audience often are considered on exactly how much I show. In addition, do I WANT the sex to be front and center or simply something that happens.

Ian Totten: It all depends on the story and characters. For some (such as my trilogy) one of the main characters is very sensual by nature and I only have to touch on the subject. Others, it needs to be more in-depth. I have one with teens where they do it as a way to bond to each other. Being that they're teens I have to attempt keeping it "clean" and go into their emotions during the act rather than explicit action. For someone like a serial killer, there's no emotion on their part and it is written fairly black and white with atmosphere and actions. One I'm working on now, because of the subject matter, will be mostly implied.

Allan Kemp: I wrote a lot of explicit sex scenes in my early stories, but then after I got it out of my system (no pun intended) I scaled it back to where I only do sex scenes if they move the story forward. And sex can move the plot forward just as a fight scene or a chase scene. I also like when sex is implied rather than a detailed tab A into slot B explanation. The stuff people imagine will always be wilder than what I write on the page.

Danielle Procter Piper: How graphic I get with sexual encounters depends on the story. In a short humorous horror story I wrote for a collection, the scene is so brief and sanitized I've had readers tell me it's too bad the two main characters didn't have sex... but they did! Not graphic enough! My sci-fi is famous for its graphic sex, violence, and language, so skirting it almost feels like a let-down, but I'll merely imply it if a well-developed, graphic scene would detract too much from the storyline. How characters react to each other in a sexual moment can tell the reader more about who they are. It definitely adds depth. I have a goody-two-shoes type who seems to get swept up in moments once in a great while, but who also exhibits his playful/naughty side, always paired with compassion for his lover. I have a hard-hitting, world-weary bruiser with an exceptional soft side due to the fact he is also telepathic and can feel what his partner feels--so doing everything his partner desires as they think it heightens the experience for him, doubling his own pleasure while marking him one hell of a lover. Then there's the guy who screws anything that isn't nailed down without consent...the character my readers tell me they love to hate. He's just... Mr. Experiment, push everything to its limits, no holds barred... but draws the line at minors. Their sexual identities are as unique as they are, and if the scene calls for some graphic content, I'm going to drag my readers in deep.

John Bruening: Working on the second novel in a series that will probably span five books altogether. So far, it's been nothing more than the suggestion of a mutual attraction between two co-workers. The relationship is going to progress, but exactly how far and in what way is hard to say at the moment. Whatever happens, I'm fairly certain that what generally happens behind closed doors in real life will remain behind closed doors in the stories. (Hey, we're talking about the 1930s and '40s. People were pretty private and discreet about such things in those days.)

Let's talk about the dangers of writing or not writing sex in contemporary novels. What are the potential pitfalls when you turn up the steam and write erotically? What about the other side... what are the risks if you choose to write about a world where sex is practically nonexistent or ignored? Does a happy medium alleviate those risks (from both sides) or not?

Anna Grace Carpenter: One of the first short stories I sold (a contemporary piece of flash fiction) focused on the moments right before a married couple gets down for some “make-up” sex. And although I didn't use any “naughty words” nearly half the comments on the story referred to it as porn. (There may have been a finger in someone's mouth, but… well. It was a story about reuniting.) Anyway. Right then I knew there was always going to be a risk in portraying a relationship realistically. And I also knew that story wouldn't carry the same weight if I had been more subtle. So, for me, it's always a question of “How real do I want to be?” And then, “Am I willing to lose readers over this scene or plot point?”

Gordon Dymowski: I don't worry about writing sex scenes in my stories because most of the time, my stories don't involve sex. Dealing with different sexual orientation, however, is a different matter...and one that I'm still trying to master.

Danielle Procter Piper: The only "danger" I've encountered with writing sex scenes is running into people who like to throw around the phrase "gratuitous sex". Let me let you in on a little secret... some of the most upstanding, beloved, Bible-thumping people you've ever met are likely into some of the weirdest, wildest, freakiest stuff you've ever heard of, but it's often no more than a fondness for particular types of pornography, and is not something they want getting out about them. Call my sex scenes gratuitous and I'll smirk, wondering just how much you really loved them. I suppose another drawback is over-exciting myself. Is that a drawback? I think it just smokes the scene up further. The reverse, writing stories sans sex, is readers coming up to me winking and smirking to tell me which characters they think should hook up. "Oh, I know it's not that kind of a story, but if you could, you know, maybe a little -- "sentence ends in a giggle fit. I think this is exactly why so much fan-fiction seems to involve characters hooking up even if the pairing seems unlikely in its original form. We all like to fantasize. We like to find the character most like ourselves and pair them with the characters we're most sexually attracted to. My fantasy novel is sex-free. It contains flirting and characters teasing each other about liking each other but goes no further. I wanted to write it as a children's book with themes kids encounter without getting too involved in them. To my dismay, younger audiences seem to prefer my sci-fi.

Nicholas Ahlhelm: I think in contemporary fiction it's very strange to pretend it does not. Some of the most popular books on the market today are either erotica or have heavy erotic elements. Sex should at least be a reality. I'm not saying it's essential to every work obviously, just as romance is not. But trying to write in a way where they're ignored completely feels more like science fiction than any story grounded in reality. The question of how detailed to get I think again should be based on the audience in the writer's head or even the writer as his own audience. I do think there are limits based on genre. I think most urban fantasy readers would be pissed if you cut away before anything happens for example. So the happy medium probably must be based on what you're writing rather than a nebulous point for all or most fiction.

Bill Craig: Donald Hamilton was a master getting it started, cutting away and coming back to the damage done to clothing during the throws of passion. Robert Parker, on the other hand, sometimes when over the top is describing Spenser's athletic sexcapades. It depends on both the writer, the book and the characters involved.

Susan H. Roddey: Society seems to be both more open to and more wary of sex. A happy medium is a good place to start, but how I begin will define the audience you collect. You can't please everyone, so I personally don't try. At this point, most people who read my romance know what they're in for going into it.

Hilaire Barch: I've read books w/o sex -- plenty of them. I've written a story or two w/o sex or romance. The stories weren't served by it. Now, larger tales, at least in my opinion, seem to ask for at least an element of attraction or romance even if no sex ever happens. If we look at our world, most living creatures spend an awfully large chunk of time pursuing mating of some sort. So, the more time, so to speak, we spend with characters, the more I as a reader or author, expect a natural response from the character -- i.e experiencing attraction or desire.

I don't worry about whether someone will have apoplexy over my characters getting it on the elevator ( a real scene I wrote LOL), or if the genders or races or sexualities expressed are the norm. That said, there will ALWAYS be people who don't like it, and as a writer, you have to understand that you can't take that sort of criticism personally.

Bobby Nash: There is always a danger of scaring off a potential reader by writing something they find rude or offensive. When my first novel, EVIL WAYS came out, I was terrified that my mother would read it. There's a scene where the killer does something a bit, well let's just call it pervy and inappropriate. I was really worried about my mom reading that. After she read it, she did comment on the scene, but not how I had expected. She said it made perfect sense for the character to have done that and thought I should have done a little bit more with it to amp up his creepiness factor. The lesson is, never underestimate your audience. Tell the best story you can and see what happens.

How can giving your characters a sex life improve your ability to create more authentic characters and tell stories about them? Or is that not necessary for your work?

Bobby Nash: Sex is a part of life. If I want my characters to be alive, then that is part of it. In what I write, it is rarely the focus, but there are times when I feel the need to focus in on it. On those occasions, I let the characters lead me where we need to go and do what's best for the story.

Bill Craig: Unless it propels the story forward, it is not a necessary plot device. However, in my first Mitch Cooper mystery, there is a lot of chemistry between Cooper and the lady he is trying to find and rescue and they discuss his theories on cosmic sex at the end, leading the reader to figure out exactly what the theories were...

Hilaire Barch: The more characters interact in a realistic, human way, the closer to them we feel. Does Jill like Mr. Tall Dark and boring, or the homely but fascinating inventor? Who Jill picks tells us about her. How she treats a paramour gives us more information. Yes, the same can be done w/o sex or romance, but it's fun built-in conflict (Because what two lovers agree on everything all the time forever and always?)

Anna Grace Carpenter: People interacting with each other drives the majority of what I write. When they do it naked the focus on who they are comes into even sharper detail. Do they make jokes? Are they super-serious? Do they cuddle afterward to try and make the connection and the moment last? Or is it really just a momentary distraction? And a sex life is not the only way to reveal these insights, so for some stories, it's not necessary, but it can be very revealing (and not just because the butt cheeks and body hair are all out in the open on the page). So for me, it tends to add that final polish to the character and helps me ground them in a common experience even if the way they behave is not the way my readers do.

Danielle Procter Piper: As I mentioned, how characters behave during sexual encounters adds another layer of depth to them, making them seem more real, therefore easier to relate to. Sex is actually integral to my sci-fi series, but it wouldn't work in my fantasy story because it's simply not a necessary aspect. I have to bring the realism out of my fantasy characters by putting them in other situations where weakness and vulnerability are pitted against cruelty and strength. The closest thing to sex in that story are encounters with a vampire, and those scenes are meant to remind us of moments when we were manipulated by someone more sophisticated into doing things we weren't yet ready for as juveniles.

Gordon Dymowski: Understanding my character's sexuality helps me create better, more well-rounded characters....but sometimes, leaving intimate moments on the cutting-room floor means a better story. Portraying sex in fiction is like portraying violence - if it fits and makes sense, great, but I don't feel the need to force it in order to sell the sizzle over the steak.

Nicholas Ahlhelm: It completely depends on how much I want to flesh out a character. A lead should probably at least have some reference to it in a full-length novel that features any romantic entanglements. It can be used to develop relationships, mindsets or pretty much other character traits. For me, it's another tool in the character development toolbox.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Nugget #113 -- Build a House

If you want to change the world as a writer, write great stories
that change people. If you want to change the world through
activism, go build someone a house, march in a parade, or
work a crisis hotline. If you want to do both, do both,
but don’t confuse storytelling with activism.

By No machine-readable author provided. Simonlo~commonswiki
assumed (based on copyright claims). - No machine-readable source provided.
Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 3.0,

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

[Link] How to Write your Book Fast

by Clara Ryanne Heart

Does this sound familiar at all? You get a great idea for a book. But between the rest of your responsibilities and taking care of any spontaneous problems that might arise, your great idea ends up taking longer to finish than you wanted. You pound away at the keyboard for what feels like forever, only to see a dismally small gain in word count at the end of the day. Between research, marketing, engaging, and planning, the day simply slips away from you. Then the week. Before you know it, a month has gone by and you're still not as far along with your book as you want to be. You want to be able to write your book fast, but you just can't seem to get there.

Here are a few things you can do to help speed up the process, make the most out of the writing time you have, and write your book fast.

Have a basic plan in place.

There is nothing more frustrating than staring at a blank screen, knowing you have a great idea for a story, but unable to figure out where to start. Having at least a simple plan can help with this. Even if all you do is list out four or five major plot points, those plot points can be used as a roadmap to help guide you to where you want to go. For many of us, myself included, trying to plot out the entire book can be daunting — especially for those of us who like the book to unfold as we write. Detailed outlines can sometimes feel as though they suck the creative process dry. Use only as many plot points as you need.

Read the full article:

Saturday, December 2, 2017

[Link] Plot twist ideas: 7 examples and tips for twists

by Now Novel

A good plot twist adds intrigue, suspense or surprise to a novel. Plot twists are particularly popular in suspense-heavy novels such as murder mysteries, because they prolong suspense-creating questions about cause and identity. Read 7 examples of effective plot twists and what they teach us:

First, a brief plot twist definition

A plot twist is ‘an unexpected development in a book, film, television programme’ (Oxford English Dictionary).

Plot twists are particularly popular in short stories. In many stories they are the main event of the story arc. For example, in Roald Dahl’s classic short story ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’, Mary Maloney kills her husband with a frozen leg of lamb. The dark-humoured twist is that Mary serves detectives investigating her husband’s disappearance the evidence.

Authors like O. Henry and Edgar Allan Poe perfected the art of the ‘twist-in-the-tale’ story. In these stories, the plot twist (like in Dahl’s story) is the climax. Yet plot twists are also popular in longer narratives.

Here are seven plot twist tips and ideas...

Read the full article:

Friday, December 1, 2017

You might need a Guardian Angel

Got a difficult to buy for teen?  Do they like action?  If so, you might want a Guardian Angel.

When Major Davian, the most decorated soldier in the guardian angel military, is sent to earth to guard seven-year-old Tommy O'Connor, he thinks the assignment is beneath him. However, he soon discovers three alarming and critical facts.

  • The fate of both Davian's world and Earth is tied to Tommy's life.
  • The demonic forces his people have been fighting are intent on possessing the boy.
  • A prophecy most of Davian's people have forgotten indicates that the existence of the child will coincide with the rise of a traitor who will take over Davian's homeland.

Davian is torn between protecting Tommy at all costs and preventing the conspiracy of his fellow soldiers to seize power.

The spiritual forces of legend are massing for war. The elite warriors of the Guardian Angels must act quickly to save those they protect and prepare for combat with their demonic enemies in the third great Battle for the City of Ezzer.


The prophecy Davian's people had forgotten has been fulfilled; Elysia is now slave to a tyrant. His mercenaries, the dreaded Black Guard, kill at will, casting a shadow of terror wherever they tread. Elysia's enemies, the mornachts, have overrun Earth, and the human child prophesied to rid evil from both worlds may not survive their attacks-or impending world war.

Elysia's only hope for freedom lies in Davian. Once a decorated officer, Davian now roams Elysia's outskirts as an escaped fugitive. Armed with only a stolen sword, he and three loyal soldiers vow to somehow return to Elysia through a wilderness full of mornachts, Black Guard, and a nameless evil that slithers in the darkness, watching Davian's every move. For Davian to succeed, he must gather an army and somehow convince the neutral races of dragons, unicorns, and gnomes to help him along the way. The closer Davian gets to Elysia, the more one thought haunts him: To free his countrymen, he must betray his country.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

What Are You Thankful For, Writer?

As we head into a holiday season that ranks high on the thankfulness meter, let's take this next Writer Roundtable to be thankful. What or whom are you most thankful for this year as a writer?

Lucy Blue: The space and agency to keep doing it. I might not be making big bucks, but I can write whatever I want however I want, and I have as much power to compete in the marketplace as I have energy and will to keep trying. So yeah, very grateful.

Derrick Ferguson: This past year I came into contact with so many people who have enjoyed my stories and even been influenced and excited enough by them to write their own stories and create their own characters. This past year has shown me that something I've heard most of my life is true; you never know how your actions will influence the actions of others and in turn how they will continue to influence others. This past year has shown me a lot about the spiritual side of writing, something I think I got away from for a while there. Thankfully, I'm getting it back.

J.H. Glaze: My full time writing gig.

Rory Hayfield-Husbands: The feedback I've got from members of my writing group and friends. Without them I would have been more unsure of my own skills but with their encouragement I'm starting to realise what I can do to fix problems.

Gordon Dymowski: The fact that I'm stretching myself in terms of what I write (both length and subject matter) and that I'm actually finding myself enjoying the process more.

Michael Woods: My team and my friends.

Martheus Wade: To be able to have the opportunity to write on a national level one more time.

Bobby Nash: This has not been an easy year, either personally or professionally, but especially on a personal level so being thankful hasn't been as easy as in the past. That said, I am thankful that my Dad's knee replacement went well and he is on the mend. I am thankful that I am here to help take care of him in the wake of my mom's passing and his surgery. It's not easy at times, but I am thankful that I can be here for him and my brother. I am tired but thankful to be here where I am needed.

Matt Hiebert: Spellchekker.

Scott McCullar: This year, I am thankful for the chance to revive my THRILL SEEKER COMICS series with the release of the archive collecting my very first stories. I am thankful for those Kickstarter supporters who contributed to the campaign and who helped successfully make a dream project come true. I just received the books fresh from the printer and they will be going out this next week in the mail to readers and fans. I appreciate the support from family, friends, and readers. I am also thankful for Erik Burnham for being my editor and encouraging me along the way. As a writer, I am also thankful this year that this revival sparked the chance for me to return to writing and drawing after an absence. I’m currently writing and illustrating new comic book stories and webstrips that will debut in the New Year.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Nugget #112 -- Doc Savage and Oprah Agree

Well-crafted visceral storytelling can reach every kind
of reader, from the Oprah book club zombie to the Doc
Savage collector. After all, even literary readers enjoy
a little gut clench with their cerebral exercise.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

[Link] Story plots: 7 tips to be more original

Clichéd story plots weaken an otherwise good story, a story where characters and settings are vivid. To tell a story that feels original and inventive, it’s key to learn plot clichés to avoid. Yet many original stories do use common tropes. The key is to make famous story types and scenarios your own:

1: Know common plot clichés within your genre

In story plots, clichés are frustrating because they’ve been hollowed out of their dramatic impact through overuse. Dragons that go on rampages overpopulate fantasy worlds. Women in distress who need men to save them overpopulate romance novels.

Here are a few more common plot clichés:

  • The chosen one: A character has been selected for a task but there’s no backstory or explanation why only this person in particular is capable
  • It was all a dream: Strange things happen but turn out to be dreams (often solving plot complications a little too conveniently for the author)
  • Representative of another culture gives clueless protagonist profound wisdom: Another example of a common plot cliché, especially in books from earlier times that either romanticized indigenous people or portrayed them as savages (this example courtesy of Strange Horizons)
  • In each of these examples, there is either a cop-out or an overused trope (a ‘trope’ is a literary device that occurs across multiple novels by various authors).

In the first example, there is nothing to explain what is so special about ‘the chosen one’. J.K. Rowling avoids the cliché of ‘the chosen one’ in Harry Potter by giving Harry a past link to the villain that explains exactly why it is he in particular who must fulfill the challenge.

In the ‘it was all a dream’ plot, there is always a risk of a cop-out. The revelation that characters have been dreaming can seem too trite or tidy an explanation for bizarre or puzzling events.

The third example is a plot point rather than an entire story idea. But it tells something valuable about being original: It’s better (for creative as well as political reasons) not to simply repeat received, dominant ideas. Stereotypes are the footmen of unoriginal stories and dangerous politics. The ‘exotic’ foreigner (or indigenous other) is likely to be just as full of flaws and folly as a protagonist.

Read the full article:

Saturday, November 25, 2017

The 9th book in The Pampered Pets Mystery Series is now available!

The Pampered Pets Mysteries, Book 9 
Don't wait to get your paws on it! 

"Such a cute series!" - Polished Nails and Puppy Dog Tales blog

Lights! Camera! Murder!

A star-studded fundraiser to help provide service dogs for wounded warriors sets tongues wagging...about Caro Lamont, pet therapist to the stars.

Caro's ex-husband Geoffrey is spreading rumors about her competence and snuggling up to the biggest stars, including Purple - the temperamental diva, who's the lynchpin of the celebrity line-up. All too soon, Caro is losing clients, her reputation, and patience with Geoffrey's shenanigans.

More trouble is unleashed when the high-strung headliner is found dead and Geoffrey was seen leaving her hotel room. With a potential killer on the loose, Caro is hounded by questions about who had reason to want Purple out of the picture. Though all the evidence points to her ex, Caro believes the police are on the wrong trail.

Even if her sleuthing puts her in the doghouse with Detective Judd Malone, Caro must dig up the truth before the real killer gets away with murder.

For more information, click here.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Nugget #111 -- Writers Are Anythings Writing Anybodies

The good news is that you don’t have to be White, Black, 
Latino, Asian, Male, Female, Gay, Straight, Trans, etc. 
to write a greater diversity of characters. You can be an 
anything and still write an anybody. Why? Because 
you’re a writer. It’s the nature of what you do. Period.

By Gordana Adamovic-Mladenovic from Windsor, Canada
(This morning we caught a rainbow...) [CC BY 2.0
(], via Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

[Link] Dialogue: 4 Ways it Goes Wrong

by Darcy Pattison

Dialogue is an essential part of fiction, the way an author shows a character through what s/he says. And it’s so easy to get it wrong. Here are some ways dialogue goes wrong and what to do about it.

Trivial. When characters talk to each other, the reader doesn’t need to listen to the trivial, or unimportant, things we all say to each other. We ask about the weather, chat about the inconsequential details of our days, or just generally avoid talking about anything of substance. That type of dialogue clogs your storytelling and drags down the pace. Cut the trivial and only leave the meat of the discussion.

Read the full article:

Monday, November 20, 2017

My Newest Hits Stores in December! Golden Amazon from Moonstone Books!

My newest hits stores soon. Have you ordered your copy? I'm thrilled to be sharing this volume to bring to the public some of the last work from the late Howard Hopkins, pulpster extraordinaire.

(W) Sean Taylor, Howard Hopkins
(CA) Jason Schaufele

The Golden Amazon is truly a wild character in the field of hero pulp, as not only is she one of the few female leads, but she literally is waiting for the time when she can rule the world! She is a fierce ruthless warrior who does not brook fools, and is constantly fighting the battle within of her two personalities. She has great abilities, but does not understand where they came from, nor can she trust her memories of where she came from.   The great author Howard Hopkins was a master of pulp fiction, and we are proud to have unearthed new stories all about The Golden Amazon!

In Shops: Dec 27, 2017
SRP: $11.95

Sunday, November 19, 2017


Pro Se Productions, known for both cutting-edge modern fiction and harkening back to classic genres, announces the release of its military-themed anthology -- PULP AT WAR!

War is frightening and often ugly. But heroes are forged on the battlefield. Action and adventure are not simply stories, but the very words men and women fighting for their beliefs, their countries, or just to stay alive live by every single day. Bullets flying and bombs blasting, PULP AT WAR takes one of the most popular genres of action tales, the war story, and through the pens of J. Walt Layne, Rob Mancebo, and Teel James Glenn, brings it to two-fisted, kill or be killed life.

PULP AT WAR. From Pro Se Productions.

Featuring a stunning cover by Larry Nadolsky and logo design and print formatting by Antonino lo Iacono and Marzia Marina, PULP AT WAR is available now on Amazon at for 9.99.

This action-packed collection is also available on Kindle formatted by Marina and lo Iacono for $2.99 at  It is also available on Kindle Unlimited and KU Members get to read it for Free!

For more information on this title, interviews with the author, or digital copies to review this book, contact Pro Se Productions’ Director of Corporate Operations, Kristi King-Morgan at

To learn more about Pro Se Productions, go to Like Pro Se on Facebook at

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Six-Gun Terrors Volume 3: The Slithering Terror

Airship 27 Productions is thrilled to announce the third volume in author Fred Adams Jr.’s weird western series, SIX-GUN TERRORS – The Slithering Terror.

When a plague of rattlesnakes descends on parts of the frontier, striking terror in the hearts of local farmers and ranchers, General Sherman, representing the federal government, once again seeks out the services of his two most reliable scouts, cow-punchers Durken and McFee. Content with their current occupation working for cattle baron Homer Eldridge, the ex-Union scouts are reluctant to answer the General’s summons. Such past missions have led them straight into encounters for the supernatural in truly horrific ways.

This new assignment is no different, as the two must lead a cavalry company into the heart of Indian Territory seemingly infested with poisonous reptiles. Their primary goal: discover the reason for this plague and whether it is merely nature gone wild or something a great deal more sinister.

“This is one of the most original weird western series on the market today,” says Airship 27 Productions Managing Editor Ron Fortier. “The bizarre adventures of Durken and McFee are really creepy good fun, giving us a nice dose of traditional western melodrama with the proper infusion of blood-curdling horror.”

Author Fred Adams Jr. once again blends authentic western action with gut-wrenching horror as he weaves a twisted, nightmarish tale of slithering terror that will keep readers up late at night. Artist Art Cooper provides the interior illustrations with Ted Hammond creating the beautiful horrific cover in the classic pulp vein. This is another great chapter in a weird western series quickly becoming a fan favorite.

Available from Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.

Friday, November 17, 2017


For Immediate Release

Pro Se Productions Presents the First Episode of the Future of Digital Storytelling - THE PRO SE THRILLER OF THE WEEK.

Each week, a new 'episode' of one of four rotating series will be released as a digital ebook for your reading pleasure. From Espionage to Supernatural, From Crime To Suspense, each week readers can find what they need in the PRO SE THRILLER OF THE WEEK.

“PRO SE THRILLER OF THE WEEK,” says Tommy Hancock, Editor in Chief of Pro Se Productions, “is a marriage of prose storytelling with a model that has worked for decades, first in radio, then in tv and even in comic books.  Regularly scheduled ‘episodes’ of stories released once a week, spotlighting four different series.  Ebooks allow for publishers to do so many unique things, and Pro Se intends to take full advantage of that, setting up our own network of sorts with scheduled ‘programming’ that will appeal to fans of all types and create an excitement for all the stories to come.  We are very excited to kick this concept off with PRO SE THRILLER OF THE WEEK and have so much more to come.”

The first episode of the PRO SE THRILLER OF THE WEEK is HARRIDAN.  A successful internet news reporter, the adventurous and somewhat antisocial Harridan, finds herself returning home to Memphis, Tennessee. Left there by parents she never knew with the enigmatic Aunt Belle LaForge, Harridan grew up with a particular gift, curse, or problem, depending on her viewpoint. Harridan, from the day she started puberty, attracted odd types of people. And happenings. And events. All of the occult nature, and all things most others do not believe. Now, as an adult, Harridan is a purveyor of news that most outlets won’t cover, and still she can’t escape the strangeness that seems to follow her around…or the monsters trying to kill her.

Shopping in one of Memphis' most unique shops, Harridan's latest story stumbles through the door - in handcuffs. Helping a friend's nephew quickly spirals into something dark and sinister as Harridan uncovers a plot that not only threatens human lives, but also may mean the summoning of something hellish. Author John A. McColley brings this unique purveyor of paranormal news, created by Tommy Hancock, to life in her first adventure as the premiere episode of the PRO SE THRILLER OF THE WEEK. Journey to a Memphis that is hidden in its own shadows and secrets in HARRIDAN: SACRIFICIAL LAMB.

Featuring a fantastic cover as well as digital formatting and logo design by Antonino Lo Iacono and Marzia Marina, HARRIDAN: SACRIFICIAL LAMB is available for only $1.49 at  The PRO SE THRILLER OF THE WEEK is also on Kindle Unlimited, meaning members can get each episode for free.

For interviews with the author or creator, contact Kristi King-Morgan at

To learn more about Pro Se Productions, go to Like Pro Se on Facebook at