Friday, August 31, 2012

Hey Kindle and Nook owners!

Click here for Show Me a Hero on Kindle!

Click here for Show Me a Hero on Nook!

"...More fully-rounded, more realistic and, as a direct result, more human than all but the best superhero comic book work."
—From the introducton by Dwayne McDuffie

“Sean Taylor’s stories focus less on the obvious trappings of the genre, instead homing in on the conflicted, flawed human beings for whom greater-than-mortal powers don’t convey greater-than-mortal morality.”
—Tom Brevoort, Executive Editor, Marvel Comics

“Show Me a Hero delivers a series of stories that are dangerous, intriguing, fun and lathered with that sense of character readers will be sure to love. Once you’re done reading, you’ll know you read a well-crafted, fully rounded piece of work.”
—Dan Jurgens, author of The Death of Superman

“Hitting a heavy beat on the ’human’ in superhuman, Taylor’s stories pulse with a visceral reality. The biggest villains his heroes face might be their own bad habits; their greatest challenges are working through relationships—not surviving the battle. Show Me a Hero lives in the place where modern fiction meets mythology.”
—Barbara Randall Kesel, author of Alien vs. Predator, WildC.A.T.s, Rogue Angel: Teller of Tall Tales

“’Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy.’ Sean Taylor takes F. Scott Fitzgerald to heart in a selection of stories that reveal the high price even super heroes often pay to do the right thing. If there are any tears in these riveting tales— and, I’m afraid, there are—they do not diminish the courage of Taylor’s champions or the power of his writing. These are the quiet pains that stay with the readers and, hopefully, help them appreciate the heroes in their own lives.”
—Tony Isabella, author of 1000 Comic Books You Must Read, Star Trek: The Case of the Colonist’s Corpse

A Gift from the Muse

The gracious Calliope, the muse 
of knuckle-busting pulp heroes.
Just wanted to mention that inspiration can hit in the weirdest ways. Like today, for instance.

While discussing the confusion between the movies Mulholland Falls and Mulholland Drive, I made a joke about creating a new pulp character named Mulholland Rhodes (the former prize fighter and now brass-knuckled avenger of those the big city would abuse and discard), just to confuse the issue even further.

I know it started as a joke, but now I'm thinking that when I clear my next six or seven deadlines off my plate, I may actually write the debut tale of Mulholland Rhodes.

I guess I really am a glutton for punishment. Either that or I don't want to abuse the gifts from the muse when she deigns to give them.

Dragon*Con, here I come!

Well, tomorrow begins the ordeal of geekdom that is Dragon*Con. That time of year where I prepare for meeting fans and eventually coming down with the con crud. 

So don't expect to see me much around these parts during the con (other than the pre-scheduled articles), but I hope to have a full con report shortly after the ordeal is over and normality reigns again.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Rip Regan: Powerman goes live!

"RIP REGAN-POWERMAN", written by Sean Taylor,  with art by Eric Johns is now online at Excelsior Web Comics!

Click the link above for the full story.

Press Release: Announcing Runemaster Press!

Runemaster Studios, in partnership with Amazon, Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace, is proud to announce the launch of Runemaster Press, the publishing arm of Runemaster Studios and home to a variety of new and existing properties in the Runemaster Pulp line.

"The arrival of the Kindle and other eReaders has opened an entire new frontier for authors," states Runemaster President Mike Bullock. "A frontier where, with just the click of a mouse, anyone on the planet who has internet access can instantly get their hands on a treasure chest full of great stories."

Beginning with the first offering,
Dr. Dusk: Sentinel of the Shadows Book One, Runemaster Press will launch new stories on Amazon/KDP frequently throughout the rest of 2012. By 2013, the new line will branch out into print, with a variety of books available through CreateSpace.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

[Link] Vanity, Vanity: Turning The Label Around

by Victoria Strauss

In the war of words that rages between advocates of self-publishing and proponents of traditional publishing, one of the long-standing weapons is the term "vanity publishing." It's often leveled, dismissively and contemptuously, at self-published authors, especially if they've paid for one of the POD-centric self-publishing services such as those provided by Author Solutions.

Understandably, self-published authors resent this. Some have come up with their own equally contemptuous epithet for traditional publishing: "legacy publishing," a term that's intended to convey the uselessness of a ponderous, outdated system that clings blindly to its established rut even in the face of rapid and overwhelming change.

But now, it appears, some self-published authors and self-publishing advocates are taking possession of the term "vanity publishing"--one of the best revenges when you're called a nasty name--and turning it around. It's really traditional publishing, they say, that's all about authors' oversized egos. Traditional publishing is, in fact, the new vanity publishing.

Continue reading:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Grandchildren of Pulp (Or, How I Learned That Pulp Never Really Died) -- part 2

Last week, we talked with Bill Cunningham about the legacy of pulp. This week we're honored to revisit the topic, only with another pulp creator, B. Chris Bell.

What happened to the heroes of the pulp era as the 30s became the 40s and 50s, and how did they change?

Bell: A lot of them faded out. The popularity of Science Fiction made many heroes more science oriented. More of them got interested in the opposite sex (think Captain Zero). I think eventually Doc Savage became James Bond. 

How did this change reflect the changing times and what readers were looking for from popular stories?

Bell: After the war a lot of men came home and the old pulp excitement didn’t seem so real. So we got writers like Jim Thompson, David Goodis and Charles Willeford. Protagonists were far from heroes, and home was no longer a safe place. Paperbacks whose covers promised more sex than ever before while rarely living up to it became the norm. And then came Spillane. As genre markets moved to paperbacks the appeal was to be an “adult.”

At which point do you feel pulp shifted toward the more gritty and bleak version called noir? What triggered that?

Bell: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and one of America’s most conformist eras. A lot of these guys were veterans who had become counter culture, and then, later on, the baby boomers began to explore new areas of expression. Remember, by the late forties we already had beatniks.

Between the heyday of noir and the birth of new pulp, what was going on in the publishing world that still carried on the tradition of the classic pulp story? Were they simply dead and gone, or was some other type of fiction keeping the "faith" alive?

Bell: Many of the adventure heroes went into paperback series ala Nick Carter or the Destroyer. Detective fiction had series like Mike Hammer and Ross McDonald’s Lew Ayres. The format changed, some heroes went to the movies and comic books, new ones appeared in the paperbacks.

Finally, what are the proofs in popular fiction today that pulp style and tone is here to stay, no matter what the marketers call it?

Bell: The greatest proof is that so many of those old heroes are still around and still loved. People will always enjoy reading exciting adventures of people triumphing over impossible odds. A good yarn is a good yarn.

For more info about Chris and his work, visit

Monday, August 27, 2012

Getting To Know... Pamela Turner

Pamela Turner's writing career began in middle school. And if a writer needs an interesting life from which to work, she's got it. Here's a bit from her bio:

"I’ve worked as a freelance magazine writer, exotic dancer, artist model, secretary, and substitute teacher. I’ve been homeless, lived in shelters, and taken flying lessons. (I had to give that up because of bad depth perception.) These experiences have helped shaped me as a writer."

See? I figured you'd want to get to know her. 

Tell us a bit about your latest work.

I’m currently revising a short dark fiction suspense story, “Family Tradition,” about an artist who’s facing eviction from his studio when he’s commissioned to paint a portrait of a mysterious, faceless model. It was recently contracted by MuseItUp Publishing and is scheduled for release this winter. I’m also revising two angel urban fantasies and recently submitted a short necromancy story.

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

Vengeance and obsession seem to be two themes that show up regularly in my writing. Quite often it’s my angel characters who seem to be the most driven. For example, in Death Sword, Samael is obsessed with getting Xariel back. In Serpent Fire (currently a work in progress), the Seraphim are determined to kill Samael to get him “out of the way.” Zaphkiel, the titular character in another angel urban fantasy, wants revenge against his boss, Ophaniel, after the latter orders the execution of his lover. In a short  necromancy story, Corinne is obsessed with finding a way to get her dead boyfriend to admit he loved only her.   

What would be your dream project?

I would love to have one of my books turned into a graphic novel.

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

I have a screenplay about a widowed homicide detective and his retrocognitive partner. I’m thinking about turning it into a novel. But I also plan to revise the screenplay now that I’ve learned more about homicide investigation.

What inspires you to write?

I can’t not write. Seriously. I tried. It didn’t work. I love the creative process, watching how a story unfolds, seeing the characters take on a life of their own.

What writers have influenced your style and technique?

Rod Serling, Ray Bradbury, Algernon Blackwood, Robert Arthur, Madeleine L’Engle and shows like Night Gallery, Thriller, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, etc. Even if I don’t remember specific details or titles, certain scenes stay with me. For example, it’s been decades since I’ve read Ida Chittum’s Tales of Terror, but so many scenes still resonate with me. That’s what I want to accomplish. When the reader finishes one of my stories, I want a memory to linger in the subconscious.

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

Interesting question. If you’d asked me that a few years ago, I might have said “Art.” But over the years, I’ve learned how art and science interconnect and influence each other. On a side note, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time researching the Transit of Venus, planetary harmonics, and neurobiological resonances for one book. How much of this information I’ll use is debatable.

I found it interesting that Leonard Shlain mentions in Art and Physics how certain authors actually predated scientific theory, including Einstein’s “Theory of Relativity”. For example, in his essay, Eureka, Poe writes, “Space and duration are one.” Shlain goes on to say, “The first sentence of this passage thrusts right to the heart of relativity’s fusion of space and time into the spacetime continuum – sixty years before Einstein” (page 299).

Of course, one cannot forget Wells, author of the Time Machine , who explored the idea of traveling to the past and future. Then there’s James Joyce who, in Finnegan’s Wake, “has created a literary analogy of the recursiveness of the geometry of non-Euclidean spacetime” (page 303).

And science and art don’t complement one another? I beg to differ. LOL   

Any other upcoming projects you would like to plug?

This isn’t an upcoming work, as it came out in June, but another short story, “Family Heirloom”, was recently published in the digital anthology, Scared – Ten Tales of Horror. It follows “It’s in Your Blood” which was published in Bites – Ten Tales of Vampires.

To learn more about Pam and her work, visit

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now (#215) -- DC Reboot

Last Friday you posted your reboot of the Marvel universe. What about 
the DC reboot? What would your version of that have looked like?

Personally, I would have loved to see the New 52 as a way of breaking from the silver age just as it broke from the golden age, and keep the names and replace the heroes completely (keeping some of the already third or fourth generation ones already established, such as Wally and Kyle and the new Blue Beetle).

In light of that, I was thinking that (and this would be radical indeed and either win me publisher of the year or get me run out of town on a rail) the New 52 should have included:

Superman - with Superman permanently off-planet and his costume and role being usurped by Shazam or Apollo

Batman - the son of Kirk Langston, more Manbat than Batman, but with all his intellect intact, under the watchcare and training of Nightwing, Dick Grayson, against the Ghul Organization run by Damion Wayne

Wonder Woman - Donna Troy, the cosmic defender of the universe, so gifted by the Titans of Greek Mythology

Green Lantern - Kyle and Bleez, leading a new Corp of all colors, and with the Guardians at his beck and call, kept in a jar like Candor
Flash - Wally, just doing his thing

The Metal Men - A group of androids from the Victorian era are resurrected by the souls of dead heroes of the silver age (Hal Jordon, Barry Allen, Kara, Ollie, and Tora)

Challengers of Doom - when an accident erases both the Challengers and the Doom Patrol from existence, their significant others and spouses and kids band together to track them down, come hell or high water

Primal Force - Jack O'Lantern, Mind Bender, Letifos, Damage, Wylde, and Katana explore the dark edges of the DC universe

Birds of Prey - Hawk, Dove, Hawkgirl, and Red Robin on the chase for the assassin known only as Hawkman
The Books of Magic - featuring Deadman (a suicidal teen who kills himself to temporarily become ghostlike), Kid Faust (the preteen granddaughter of Felix Faust), Ragman, Zatana, and The Enchantress (June Moon's daughter) on a quest to destroy all magic in the DCU in order to save the future of the world from Trigon and his army of demons

Red Robin and the Outsiders - Red Hood, Red Robin, Nightwing, Azrael, Batwing, The Spoiler, The Huntress (Cassie Cain) and the new Batman harness the power of the Wayne Foundation to fight super-powered terrorism on a global scale.

The Justice Society - featuring Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Flash, Wonder Woman, Blue Beetle and the Tangent Universe Joker

The Joker
- featuring the Tangent Universe Joker and her best friend and confidante Ms. Martian

Swamp Thing and the Guardians of the Green - Featuring Swamp Thing, Aminal Man's daughter, Poison Ivy, Solomon Grundy, and (what?) Alec Holland

Infinity Inc. - Damage, and all new Doll Girl, Wyldeheart, Amazon (Cassie Sandsmark), Superboy, Impulse, the new Obsidian, Chameleon Boy, and Knockout take on the challenges the Justice Society is too busy to be bothered with

Green Arrow - Arrowette is all grown up and taking care of the streets of Star City with a vengeance.

Supergirls - Power Woman oversees the training of a team of four recently rescued teenaged alien females who each have one of the Kryptonian powers thanks to implanted fragments of the planet Krypton put into them while being experimented upon by their Dominator captors

Chameleon Boy
- Trapped in the present from the future, a Durlan teenager tries to fit in among humans.

Plastic Man - Undying, this former joke is now an elder statesmen among the new batch of heroes.

Blackhawks - Genius pilots build space-age jets that look like bi-planes and use them to become heroes in a world where they're seen as interlopers by the real police.

Action Comics featuring Hourgirl and Wildcat - A young model finds a necklace that grants her 1 hour of superpowers and ends up in a love-hate relationship with a burglar named Wildcat, who is one hell of a scrapper with an actual nine lives. Can she reform her, or will she have to take her to prison?

A Man Called Hex - Old west tales featuring Johan Hex and other DC old west characters.

Detective Comics - Renee Montoya (the Question) and Harvey Bulloch work with a varying cast of costumed heroes to teach them the ins and outs of detective work and make them more effective crimefighters.

DC Presents - for stories to introduce other characters

The Suicide Seven - A brand new Red Bee, Shining Knight, Vigilante, Captain Boomerang, H.E.R.O., Phantom Lady (Tinya Wazzo, transplanted from the future), and Countessa Vertigo are a team of Marines trusted with the missions that normal soldiers might never survive.

Legion of Super Heroes - Jump 1000 years into the future where the Time Trapper has been defeated along with most of the universe, and in an effort to reform searches the cosmos for any young people with great power he can form into an army to replace the hive mind that is ruling most of sentient space.

Amethyst - a full reboot on the princess of Gemworld, taking it back to the original idea

Shade and Jack - An elderly Jack Knight is rescued from a heart attack by Shade and given the opportunity to be a younger man again -- as long as he uses the staff (without it, he risks aging again and dying again).

Lanterns Inc. - a book of tales featuring various members of the The Lantern Corp.

The Thunder of Shazam! - Re-introducing Thunder into the modern timeline as the new heir to the power of Shazam while Billy is playing Superman.

Catwoman - The daughter of Catman is an assassin who specializes in capes.

Deathstroke and the Titans - Rose Wilson trains a new generation of teen heroes.

Resurrection Man - featuring Deadman (see The Books of Magic)

Adventure Comics featuring Beast Boy - An eight year old foster child can command the entire animal kingdom. Can he learn to be a hero to a world that doesn't want him?

Agents of C.Y.B.E.R. - featuring new versions of Voodoo, Spartan, Zealot, Void, and Grifter as secret agents infiltrating the world of the super-powered teams.

Aquaman - A cop discovers he has the power to manipulate water and make it do his bidding. He adopts a costume as Aquaman to clean up the streets in ways he never could during the day job.

Kobra - A young woman is sacrificed to an ancient snake goddess but is reborn as the living embodiment of the goddess with all her powers.

Blue Beetle - keep the same as now

There you have it. My plan for either killing or re-inventing the DCU.

Sunday, August 26, 2012



Greetings Fight Card Team and friends of Fight Card ...
We are pleased to announce our brand new Fight Card website:
Thx and appreciation to Jeremy Brown (author of the dynamite MMA themed Suckerpunch, the upcoming sequel Hook and Shoot, and one of the first Fight Card MMA novels for publication next year) who volunteered his skills and patience to make the site a reality.  As always there are still a few tweaks to be made as we add more Fight Card authors, books, links, and other content to the site, but please take a look and tell us what your initial thoughts are ... Suggestions and ideas are always welcome -- This is a team effort.
In other Fight Card news, our next title (September 1st) is Bluff City Brawler from Heath Lowrance, followed by The Knockout from Robert Randisi, Irish Dukes from Mike Faricy, and Rock-Face Bred from Robert Evans.
David Foster is busy working on the next issue of Fight Fictioneers, which will also premiere in September.  Be sure to check out David's new fight fiction short story, Bushwhacked (written as James Hopwood and his retro-spy novel, The Libro Deception (also written as James Hopwood
We have a number of big things planned for Fight Card in 2013, including the premiere of Fight Card MMA and other Fight Card brands.
Thanks to all of you who have helped support the Fight Card novels on your blogs and with reviews.  And thanks to the Fight Card Jack Tunneys who continue to astound me with the quality of their prose and the high standard of storytelling.  Great work!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

[Link] D.A. Adams on the Solitary Endeavor of Writing

by D.A. Adams

This is my opinion and nothing more.  I don’t typically write advice to other writers or aspiring writers because it feels too pretentious on my part.  Also, the world is already full of authorities who spend the majority of their time and energy telling others how to write, but this particular topic is rather important to me, so here goes:

Writing at its essence is a solitary endeavor, one of the most intimately solitary activities a person can do.  If you need applause and cheers to motivate you to create, you should be a musician or a stage actor, not a writer.  Live performers have live audiences.  Writers spend the vast majority of their creative time alone staring at a computer screen or notepad, allowing ideas to flow through them onto their medium, with virtually no feedback from anyone until after the project is complete.  This solitude can lasts weeks, sometimes even months or years, before an author gets feedback on their project, and usually that first round of feedback is from an editor or first reader who points out most of your mistakes.  It can take literally years before your work reaches its intended audience, if it ever does.

If you need instant gratification, prose writing is not the creative endeavor for you.

Continue reading;

Friday, August 24, 2012

New Blackthorn Review!

Blackthorn: Thunder on Mars edited by Van Allen Plexico 2011 White Rocket books.

Review By Brad Mengel- New Pulp Reviewers Round Table

I’ve long been a fan of the planetary romance; an Earthman travels to another planet and has adventures. Van Allen Plexico’s Blackthorn is a fun addition to the genre.

Plexico’s introduction tells us about the inspiration of the character, mixing Burroughs with Kirby to create a new hero with a contemporary twist.  John Blackthorn is a United States Army General who is killed in duty on a mission in Afghanistan, he and two of his men awaken on a post-apocalyptic Mars in new bodies through the magic or science of The Black Sorcerer.  Blackthorn escapes the custody of The Black Sorcerer and begins adventuring with two Martian companions Princess Aria and Oglok The Mock-Man (a sort of Lion-Human hybrid) .

The three travel around inciting rebellion against The Black Sorcerer and the other three First Men who ruled Mars as well as any number of petty tyrants and warlords.  This is concept that can be played out across any number of volumes as this future post-apocalyptic Mars has become a collection of feudal states.

The eight stories in this volume are exciting and interesting adventures. Series creator Plexico opens and closes the volume.  “Bastion OfThe Black Sorcerer” introduces John Blackthorn and his companions in a way that gives us all the information that we need to understand the stories and is still an exciting adventure.  The other story “Epilogue: Red Planet Blues” finishes the collection and hints at the direction that the series will continue if there are future volumes.

Each story manages to explore some facet of Martian society and coheres together with no detail in one story contradicting another story.  “Quest for the Eye” by Joe Crowe is the shortest story in the collection but tells a funny side adventure and “Ghosts of Acheron” by I.A.  Watson offers a major revelation about one of Blackthorn’s companions as well as a dangerous new enemy.   I like the fact that the series has the scope to allow for these different types of stories. 

Indeed the concept allows itself open to any number of books and stories with Blackthorn and his allies travelling Mars.  The fact that this future Mars has been terraformed makes me wonder if other planets in the solar system  have been similarly transformed and colonised  if so the series might travel the solar system.  I look forward to future books in the series.

Buy now: Amazon | B&N

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now (#214) -- Marvel Reboot

With all the information online about the Marvel Comics 
reboot, what would you do if you were editor's chair?

Okay. Here's what I'd do. Cancel all titles, and make a clean break with a hard reboot like DC had between the Golden Age and Silver Age. Sure, longtime fans would hate me at first, but I think we might win them over eventually. 

The Abominable Hulk
The bloodline of Bruce Banner can’t be stopped either, and when the aging daughter of Bruce and Betty Ross dies during childbirth, the baby is a tiny bundle of green. Raised by S.H.E.I.L.D., the child grows up to become one of the agencies top agents. But on his 21st birthday, everything starts to change as he begins to begin transforming into an even more powerful monster with a terrible rage. Can he control his changes or will he become just another monster to be hunted down by his friends?

The Amazing Scarlet Spider
Andrew Osborne Reilly is the grandson of Harry Osborne and the son of Ben Reilly. Now he’s being trained by Kaine to take over the mantle of the Scarlet Spider so that Kaine can finally die and rest. Or so he’s been told. But the truth could be far more sinister.

Marvel’s greatest new heroes band together to battle the foes none of them can handle alone. The Hulk, Nightdevil, Iron Maiden, Marvel 3, Foom, Scarlet Spider, Gorgilla,
Sif and Hammer are the Earth’s mightiest heroes.

Brotherhood of X
When the Legacy virus returned with a vengeance, mutants died. Period. All of them. Now, a full generation later, some teens are having signs of mutations again, and it’s up to Jubilee and Random (thanks to the Scarlet Witch) to train this new generation of mutants and help them learn how to defend and protect not just themselves both all of humanity. Only, other ex-mutants are also tracking them down to build a new army of mutants in the name of the long-dead Magneto.

Deathlock vs. The M.A.C.H.I.N.E. Corps
In a bunker beneath Mt. Rushmore, a computer awakens and runs the Pym Protocol. It brings back to “life” three powerful androids: Vision, X-51 and Jocasta. Their purpose: To hunt down and destroy the human training to become the new nuclear-powered Deathlock.

The Fantastics
While trying to cure their mutations with gamma rays, teen super-scientists Angelique, Hammer, Silk and Bubble trigger a second mutation that traps them in severely mutated forms. Hammer becomes a man of living metal with no sense of touch. Angelique’s arms mutate into wings and her feet become like those of birds. Silk loses her 3rd dimension and becomes a living flattened figure with the consistence of cloth. Bubble’s body breaks down into a mass of attached spheres, and within each sphere is the power to alter the laws of physics, but only within the space of the sphere.

Goblin Force
Is it a strange coincidence when the twin granddaughters of the original Hobgoblin and the grandson of Flash Thompson meet at college? Or is it the machinations of someone who wants them together for some ulterior purpose? And when they “accidentally” discover a lab filled with Hobgoblin and Green Goblin armor, what then? Will they turn hero, villain, or just college kids out for a wild ride?

Hydra Unhinged
Thomas Martin was just a grunt at Hydra until the day he let it slip that he had doubts. That’s the day Hydra killed his family. Now the former Hydra grunt fights alongside other secret defectors to bring down the organization from the inside.

Iron Maiden
Emily Jarvis knows her grandfather worked for the Avengers back in the day, and she learned a great deal at the side of her godfather Tony Stark, Jr. But when Tony’s life is on the line, Emily must rebuild and upgrade the Iron Man armor to protect Stark from those who would make him a target. 

Man-Thing and the Monsters
The nexus of all realities is coming apart. And only the Man-Thing can repair the damage. But he’s not exactly himself. And only the monsters of the new Marvel Universe can put him back together in time to save all of well, everything. See The Frankenstein monster, Morbius the Living Vampire, the new Ghost Rider, Gorgilla, Grottu and Werewolf by Night work together (we hope) to restore Man-Thing and save the world.

The Warriors were a street gang who was just like any other gang—at least until the day they were captured by Kree and subjected to tests that killed most of the gang. Those who escaped found themselves changed and charged with new powers, and are taking the fight to the far corners of the galaxy to exterminate every Kree they can find. As Marvel Prime and Marvels 2-6, they are torn between the responsibilities of using their new powers for good and getting vengeance.

Evading the Legacy virus, Nightcrawler escaped into the dimension through which he teleports and remained there until he died. His son, however, born blind from the atmosphere and chemicals in the dimension, ventures to the regular world to search for his mother. Questions abound, the chief one being why did she leave his father for the regular world so many years ago?

The Power of Foom
Isaac Benton is a normal preteen boy. Fin Fang Foom is a dragon. When Foom is sentenced by the celestial courts for his crimes, he is bound to the form of Isaac Benton. Now the two much learn to co-exist and share one life to meet the terms of the sentence, and to protect the boy and his family from Foom’s enemies that see him as an easy target.

Punisher America
When the registration act was re-instated for good, the U.S. Government needed someone to enforce it. That man is Punisher America, judge, jury and executioner. With legal backing. But who is he, or was he? Not even he knows. And when he learns the truth, his vengeance will hit every level of the government.

The Sensational Spider-Woman
Who is the amazing six-armed woman swinging above New York’s skyline in the traditional red and blue costume of the long-dead Spider-Man? And what is her tie to the Parker bloodline? And why do the Fantastics and the Avengers want to capture her?

Sif, Goddess of Thunder Everything
Ragnarok has hit, and it leaves Asgard devastated. The sole survivor of the gods, Sif must master the power of Thor and the other dead gods in order to rebuild that world of the Norse gods. Only, fighting villains is a lot easier than creating a religion based on old warrior gods. But without faith, her world will never return.

Having been plucked from an alternate timeline and kept alive in stasis on Murderworld, the T-bolts are back and on the run from Mojo and his cameras. Citizen V, Baron Zemo (What?! Both? Yeah.), Songbird, Mach-12, Atlas, Jolt, Techno, Meterorite and Hawkeye journey through the galaxy to try to return to Earth, even if it’s not the Earth they remember. But when they’re caught in the middle of a galaxy-spanning war, will they be forced to choose sides and delay their journey home?

A band of former mutants who lost their powers in House of M, led by Marrow and Spike, search the decimated wastelands of what used to be the Australian continent for the lost fragments of the Phoenix Force to repower the mutant race. Along the way, they encounter monsters and mutations brought about not by atomic testing like the old movies, but by the infusion of Phoenix energy in the land ecosystem itself.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Grandchildren of Pulp (Or, How I Learned That Pulp Never Really Died) -- part 1

This week, let's look at pulp again, or more specifically how it has shaped and affected everything that came after it.To get the low-down we went to Bill Cunningham, a pulp writer and aficionado.

What happened to the heroes of the pulp era as the 30s became the 40s and 50s, and how did they change?

Bill: They changed because society changed. We went from a Great Depression to a second world war. We also became more sophisticated and media savvy. Radio and TV filled a portion of our lives that wasn't there before.

How did this change reflect the changing times and what readers were looking for from popular stories? And at which point do you feel pulp shifted toward the more gritty and bleak version called noir? What triggered that?

Bill: First off - there has never been a literary movement called "noir." The source of what you are referring to is "FILM noir" which is a french term describing the post-war, bleak crime cinema coming out of the USA and England from 1949 onward. It's a term used by film critics and misused by everyone else. The term came about from the bleak way the films were lit -- primarily due to the fact that they were mostly cheap crime films shot in 9 days or so. There wasn't any time to use fill lights so the images ended up being very shadowy and stark. Ingeniously enough the look modeled the storytelling in the movies.

In France and across Europe they adopted a term called "roman noir" which means "black novel", and is again modeled after film noir which itself is modeled after the hard-boiled writers like James M. Cain, Thompson, et al...

Interestingly enough, Italy created an offshoot called the "giallo" (jee-all-oh) which were bloody thrillers featuring remorseless killers and driven detectives and other types of broken heroes, many of who had to overcome their own major psychological problems in order to solve the crime or save their own lives. The name giallo comes from the italian word for "yellow" the color of the covers of these grisly thriller books.

Germany had "krimi" thrillers....

Post war America fostered a lot of crooks and people started to understand psychological terms like "PTSD" though they called it "shell shock." The world was no longer black & white, but a very bleak gray landscape. This contributed to the HARD-BOILED genre fiction of the time (Mike Hammer) as writers realized they could tell stories where the hero doesn't always win. It was a flip of the pulp standard.

You'll also note this time was the rise in paranoia over communism and the potential annihilation of everyone on the planet via nuclear weaponry. We understood the sword of Damocles we had hung above our own heads.

Between the heyday of noir and the birth of new pulp, what was going on in the publishing world that still carried on the tradition of the classic pulp story? Were they simply dead and gone, or was some other type of fiction keeping the "faith" alive?

Bill: Well, hard-boiled fiction was derived from the pulp ficition of earlier which evolved into the paperback fiction and so forth. Pulp has never "died" -- it has evolved.

Finally, what are the proofs in popular fiction today that pulp style and tone is here to stay, no matter what the marketers call it?

Bill: The Executioner books are still selling.... Tom Clancy's work - through well-researched - is still dealing with fantastic scenarios. Jeff Rovin, one of the ghost writers for Clancy's OP-Center, and Splinter Cell series has often referred to those books as adopting the Doc Savage and five assistants model.

On TV we have Person of Interest which is The Shadow (if Burbank ran things), 24 which follows the pulp formula of escalation, and Leverage which is another five person model with roots in the pulp world.

For more info about Bill and his work, visit

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now (#213) -- Research Adventures

What non-book research would you most like to do in preparation for your writing?

I love to get down and dirty in the field to research for what I'm working on, and when I was writing about cavernous trolls once I took the opportunity to visit caves and walk through part of the tour with my eyes closed just to be able to write about the feels and smells rather than just sight details.

But the two most adventurous research excursions I'd really love to experience would be:

1. A ride-along with a police detective.

2. A paranormal ghost hunt.

If I could find a police detective on a paranormal ghost hunt, even better, but that might be dropping too big a hint...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

[Link] 12 Cliches All Writers Should Avoid

by Brian A. Klems

Cliches drive me bonkers, especially when it comes to writing. They are boring and abused and about as fun to read as the instruction manual of a Dustbuster. Writing is supposed to be a creative process, and there’s nothing creative in rehashing some trite phrase that is so old it was probably used by Moses as he parted the Red Sea.

So I asked the Writer’s Digest team of editors to help me compile a list of the 12 cliches in writing that need to be permanently retired. Here they are (in no particular order):

1. Avoid it like the plague
2. Dead as a doornail
3. Take the tiger by the tail
4. Low hanging fruit
5. If only walls could talk
6. The pot calling the kettle black
7. Think outside the box
8. Thick as thieves
9. But at the end of the day
10. Plenty of fish in the sea
11. Every dog has its day
12. Like a kid in a candy store

And those are just the tip of the iceberg (oh wait, there’s bonus cliche #13!).

Continue reading:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now (#212) -- Prove It

You keep saying you're busy. Prove it. What work is currently on your plate?

Yeah, it can make me get like this on occasion.
Okay. Here's what I'm currently writing or needing to write in the upcoming months (in what started out as some semblance of order, but quickly fell apart).

1. Something secret. (not for you to know yet)
2. Lance Star (Airship 27)
3. Senorita Scorpion (Pulp Obscura)
4. The Wraith (Airship 27)
5. Monster Road Trip (Pulp Empire)
6. Rick Ruby (Airship 27)
7. Danger People (New Babel)
8. The New Deal: Masks and Mutations (New Babel)
9. Ulysses King (or is that not public knowledge yet?)
10. Hookerpunk (Kerlak)
11. You Never Forget Your First (hard-boiled novel)
12. Drought: A Love Story (YA urban fantasy adventure novel)
13. Eyes Bolted Shut (Kerlak)
14. Sinbad (Airship 27)
15. Blackthorn (White Rocket Books)
16. A Rick Ruby novel to be titled later
17. An Abyss Walker short story for an anthology (New Babel)

And that's just the prose.

I also have to finish lettering the Lance Star story for All-Star Pulp Comics #2.

And for comics writing...

1. Issues 2-4 of A Stitch in Time: The Return of the Invisible Man (IDW)
2. Turra: Gun Angel (Maw Productions)
3. Issues 2-3 of Last Chance School for Girls (Arcana)
4. Issues 2-3 of Jesse James in the Mayan Underworld (Arcana).
5. Fishnet Angel: The Manga
6. High School Changes Everything, manga with Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki's Kittyhawk

And I think that's it. For now.

Monday, August 20, 2012

James Palmer and Mechanoid Press Proudly Present a Different Kind of Pulp Detective

Atlanta, GA—James Palmer and Mechanoid Press have just released another Kindle exclusive melding elements of Dashiell Hammet and H.P. Lovecraft, in the first in a series blending 30's noir with urban fantasy and supernatural fiction.
Slow Djinn begins the adventures of Sam Eldritch: Occult Investigator for Hire. Eldritch is a private eye in 1930s New York, trying to cope with his newfound ability to see the world of magic that lies all around us, yet just beyond our reach.
Sam Eldritch is down on his luck. His partner was murdered by a Chinese demon, but it gave Sam a gift. Now he sees ghosts, demons, and even worse things. Things that no one else wants to know about. Kicked off the force as a laughing stock, Sam hires himself out to those who need his special "gift."
But when a mysterious Saudi businessman hires him to retrieve a stolen ring, Sam realizes he may have bitten off more than he can chew. Haunted by the ghost of his murdered partner, his only friends a Chinese sorcerer and the ingénue of a jealous crime boss, can Sam find a force so powerful it destroys everyone it touches before it falls into the hands of the local mob? Can he learn the secret of the demon who destroyed his life?
"I had a lot of fun writing this one," says Palmer. "And I have a few more stories in the beginning stages. If readers like Sam, there will definitely be more adventures."
The photo cover is by the talented J.R. Blackwell (, and represents the classic pulpy noir feel of the story.
"A lot of paranormal and urban fantasy is set in the present day," says Palmer. "And that's great, but I wanted to take it back to its pulp roots a bit. I think fans of classic occult detective characters will really dig Sam Eldritch."
This universe has several influences, from the gritty dime novel detectives to Carl Kolchak and The X-Files and books like Richard Kadrey's Sandman Slim.
"All of the characters are really colorful and interesting," says Palmer. "And there's a twist at the end I don't think anyone will see coming."
Slow Djinn is available for Kindle and in PDF format from and and
About James Palmer
James has written articles, interviews, colums, reviews and fiction for Strange Horizons, Tangent Online, The Internet Review of Science Fiction, and New Pulp Publishers Airship 27, Pro Se Productions, and White Rocket Books. For more, visit or follow James on Twitter @palmerwriter.

About Mechanoid Press
Mechanoid Press is a new publisher specializing in science fiction, New Pulp, and steampunk ebooks and anthologies. Their first anthology should be out by the end of the year. For more, visit or follow the robot revolution on Twitter @mechanoidpress.

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now (#211) -- Person to Person

Is it harder to write a novel in 1st person as your narrator must now see all the action?
I ask because I recently read where the writer'cheated' by randomly switching to a 3rd person POV.
(Thanks to Drew Harris for today's question)

I wouldn't necessarily call that cheating, because I've seen it done effectively before, but that's always in the eye of the beholder.

But to address the question in particular, that is the drawback to writing in the first person. I work with  publishers actually who request (insist) that their writers only write in third person because when you begin in the first person, you've already destroyed the suspense of whether or not the key character will survive.

I don't necessarily agree with that -- The Lovely Bones being one wonderful example. But I will abide by the publisher's preference (as any working freelance should).

That said, I've written stories that include both first person and third person accounts that switch back and forth. Check out my story "Death With a Glint of Bronze" in Dreams of Steam II from Kerlak Publishing for one such example. The trick/art/skill/name your poison is to understand why you're doing it.

If you're only doing it to get yourself out of a corner you didn't plan for, then you deserve a smack on the hand with a ruler from your third-grade spelling teacher. If you're doing it as part of a conscience choice for the reader's benefit and to enhance the telling of the story, then go for it.

A caveat though... This kind of POV jumping doesn't always sit well with readers (can come off a little to avant garde) or publishers, so be sure what you're doing works out with your publisher's goals. If you don't have a publisher already lined up, then go for it and knock it out of the park. A well told tale that breaks the "rules" will still beat out a poorly told tale that follows them.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

[Link] I Will Not Read Your F**king Script

by Josh Olson, screenwriter of A History of Violence

WARNING: This linked article contains adult language, or bad words, or vulgarity, whatever you prefer to call it. Don't read it if that sort of thing offends you. 

I will not read your fucking script.

That's simple enough, isn't it? "I will not read your fucking script." What's not clear about that? There's nothing personal about it, nothing loaded, nothing complicated. I simply have no interest in reading your fucking screenplay. None whatsoever.

If that seems unfair, I'll make you a deal. In return for you not asking me to read your fucking script, I will not ask you to wash my fucking car, or take my fucking picture, or represent me in fucking court, or take out my fucking gall bladder, or whatever the fuck it is that you do for a living.

You're a lovely person. Whatever time we've spent together has, I'm sure, been pleasurable for both of us. I quite enjoyed that conversation we once had about structure and theme, and why Sergio Leone is the greatest director who ever lived. Yes, we bonded, and yes, I wish you luck in all your endeavors, and it would thrill me no end to hear that you had sold your screenplay, and that it had been made into the best movie since Godfather Part II.

But I will not read your fucking script.

At this point, you should walk away, firm in your conviction that I'm a dick. But if you're interested in growing as a human being and recognizing that it is, in fact, you who are the dick in this situation, please read on.

Yes. That's right. I called you a dick. Because you created this situation. You put me in this spot where my only option is to acquiesce to your demands or be the bad guy. That, my friend, is the very definition of a dick move.

Continue reading:

Friday, August 17, 2012

[Link] 30 Indispensable Writing Tips from Famous Authors

Continue reading:

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now (#210) -- Collaborating Characters

Have you enjoyed collaborating on projects in the past with other writers and how
did you approach writing other characters than your own? -- John Morgan Neal

I thoroughly enjoy collaborating with other writers. In fact, it seems that I get more work based on characters who aren't my own than I do for characters I've created. Even with that said, though, in most cases, I'm not "officially" working with another writer, just being paid to create a story for the character(s) in question.

Case in point, when I was writing Gene Simmons Dominatrix for IDW, I was the sole writer on the book, but obviously Gene had to approve the plots and final versions (along with my editors). The same goes for the work I did on The Bad Girls Club. Although I was the only credited writer on the book, at times it felt as if the book were being written by committee, which is normal for a TV-tie in, because there are advertisers, cast members, etc. to be taken into account.

Most of the fiction I've written works the same way, with characters such as Lance Star: Sky Ranger (owned by Bobby Nash), Blackthorn (owned by Van Allen Plexico), Zombies vs. Robots (owned by Chris Ryall) and others, but in those cases, I have carte blanche pretty much as soon as the creator of the character signs off on my plots. As for the work I've done in a more collaborative way, I think some of the most fun I've had the crossover comic book story I did with John Morgan Neal that featured his Aym Geronimo and my own Fishnet Angel in the pages of The Shooting Star Comics Anthology #4. It was an odd pairing, no doubt, because Aym's world is one of science and FA's is one of magical goddesses. The twain don't usually meet, so we had to work together to come up with a plausible way to mesh those worlds together that remained true to the nature of both characters. 

And I'm currently collaborating on a few other projects as well -- Turra: Gun Angel with Martheus Wade and an as of yet officially unannounced manga project with Kittyhawk, the creator of Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki. With each of those, the collaborating begins at the plots and character level, long before we ever start writing the first word of the script. 

And not to forget, Bobby Nash and I collaborated two create the 1930's gumshoe Rick Ruby for Airship 27 Productions' new book The Ruby Files. We actually sat down over dinner and hashed out the beginning of the story bible for that one then finished it up via email.