Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy 25 Anniversary to my best friend!

Photo: For those who have given up on the idea that one man and one woman can love each other for a lifetime, that marriage is merely an antiquated notion of a bygone era, or that people can't be expected to learn how to compromise and be a team rather than be lead by the "what's in it for me?" mentality, I submit to you my best friend, Lisa Taylor. 

If this otherwise sane woman can put up with my quirks, failures, selfishness, temper, general childishness, emotional/psychological need to live as a writer, fandoms, fascination with flirting, apparent inability to keep food on the table, and ego (in spite of all that), then I believe there is hope for ANY couple. 

If I could have a New Year's wish for all those reading it would be simply this: I wish for you the same kind of self-sacrificing, enduring, patient, determined love with your loved one that I have found with this absolutely astounding woman. 

But, that said, you can't have this one. She's mine.

For those who have given up on the idea that one man and one woman can love each other for a lifetime, that marriage is merely an antiquated notion of a bygone era, or that people can't be expected to learn how to compromise and be a team rather than be led by the "what's in it for me?" mentality, I submit to you my best friend, Lisa Taylor.

If this otherwise sane woman can put up with my quirks, failures, selfishness, temper, general childishness, emotional/psychological need to live as a writer, fandoms, fascination with flirting, apparent inability to keep food on the table, and ego (in spite of all that), then I believe there is hope for ANY couple.

If I could have a New Year's wish for all those reading it would be simply this: I wish for you the same kind of self-sacrificing, enduring, patient, determined love with your loved one that I have found with this absolutely astounding woman.

But, that said, you can't have this one. She's mine.

Monday, December 30, 2013

I'm coming to Knoxville!

This just in!



I'll be a guest at the Knoxville Comic and Anime Convention on April 27-28, 2014.

For more info, visit http://www.knoxvillecomicanimecon.com/

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Book Devil Speaketh...

Two new reviews of my work:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-xm4OwIayuKM/TtRPQVg5iRI/AAAAAAAAASA/G0aCTa_1qyQ/s1600/requiredreadingremixedcover_med.jpg

"The Fairest of Them All: Symphony of Revenge" from Classics Mutilated (and Required Reading Remixed)
http://bookdevil.tumblr.com/post/68352402106/fairy-tale-catfight-snow-white-vs-alice

" It has ways of touching deep, ugly things with utmost grace and feigned innocence. It’s a parable of ego."

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-8Y-eO7JjNJo/UL6svdD2YkI/AAAAAAAACoU/v-T8MwUUoSA/s1600/ows.jpg

"To Gnaw the Bones of the Wolf-Mother" from The Old Weird South
http://bookdevil.tumblr.com/post/71290925352/wendigo-stand-off

"Lucky us (again), he has the yarn-spinning knack, backed by brains, to keep us locked in fear, at least until the final punctuation, the last period, the ultimate dot, the metaphoric fat lady belting it out. But I bet you’ll keep thinking about it after you’re finished reading."

It's a good thing I learned not to believe my own press. *grins*

Thanks so much for the reviews, Book Devil.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Chuck Dixon's BAD TIMES now in paperback!

Now you can own Bad Times Book One: Cannibal Gold in a brand new paperback edition!
 
Follow the link to the frist in a sensational new series readers are calling "lean, mean, bloody fun!"
 

 
 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

'THE BONE QUEEN' BY ANDREA JUDY NOW AVAILABLE FROM PRO SE PRODUCTIONS

In 2011, Pro Se Productions, now a leading publisher of New Pulp and Genre Fiction, debuted a new character initially as a live spokesmodel to promote both the company and New Pulp in general-The Pulptress. Proving popular in the New Pulp Community, the Pulptress appeared in her own volume of adventures by various writers in 2012. One story and one character besides The Pulptress within that volume in particular captured the minds, tongues, and hearts of fans so completely that she now comes to life in her own digest novel.

Pro Se Productions proudly announces the upcoming release of THE BONE QUEEN, a digest novel by Andrea Judy. Judy, a contributor to the original THE ADVENTURES OF THE PULPTRESS collection, titled that short story ‘The Bone Queen’, but the new book is something more. It is that most hallowed of stories-The Bone Queen’s origin.

"Readers," Tommy Hancock, Partner in Pro Se Productions and Editor in Chief, states," love villains. We cheer for the hero, but when the villain is engaging and stands out, we want more. We need to see not only how bad they can be, but why they're the all kinds of evil they are. THE BONE QUEEN is Andrea Judy's answer to all the questions and requests about the character she first spun for a fight against The Pulptress. This digest novel not only gives the origin of one of the most interesting antagonists in New Pulp, but it shows how someone who fully believes they are right can so easily become what is wrong."

From the Pages of THE PULPTRESS 
Comes A Villain Like No Other.

All of humanity shares one inescapable experience, one inevitable fate.

They all die.

And in death, one woman finds her destiny. To be a Villain, to stand toe to toe with the ultimate heroine, The Pulptress.

But first, evil had to rise from somewhere dark.

Renata, a devotee of Mene, Goddess of Death, is on a singular mission during the era of the Black Death: to kill the Necromancer who is bringing the dead back as chiffoniers, rag and bone men. With a small band of men who have survived the Plague, Renata must find who is attempting to steal away the power of death and destroy them once and for all. Chiffoniers dog them every step of the way.

And when death itself finally comes for Renata, everything changes. Once hunted, she becomes the hunter, tracking down the necromancer at any cost to herself and those around her.

May The Gods Help Us All.

I’ve always loved the villains in a story,” says Judy, “so I was thrilled to have the chance to tell a story from a darker point of view, showing the reader where a villain came from. It was a struggle at times to write, to remember that this wasn't a story about light overcoming the dark, but about embracing that darkness. I’ve had an amazing time working with Pro Se getting this book together, and I’m thrilled to share it with the world!”

THE BONE QUEEN, featuring an absolutely gorgeous cover by Ariane Soares, an artist with Fitztown, and format and design by Sean Ali and Tommy Hancock as well as Digital Formatting by Russ Anderson, is now available in print on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The digest novel is also available for the Kindle, the Nook, and for most formats through www.smashwords.com.

For review copies or to interview the Author, please contact Pro Se Productions’ Director of Corporate Operations, Morgan Minor, at MorganMinorProSe@yahoo.com

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

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Welcome to the Imaginarium!


Bobby Nash, Sean Taylor
Announcement time!

The Ruby Files' very own Sean Taylor and Bobby Nash will be guests at the Imaginarium Convention to be held September 19 - 21, 2014 in Louisville, KY.

Bobby and Sean will be on hand with several other authors for panels, conversation, book signings, and more. It looks to be a great time. We hope to see you there.

Learn more about the guests lined up so far here.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

GEORGIA LITERARY FESTIVAL 2013 PANEL SCHEDULE


Just a reminder that The Ruby Files writers and creators Bobby Nash and Sean Taylor join Van Allen PlexicoAndrea JudyBarry Reese, and more at the 2013 Georgia Literary Festival, which is being held on November 9 - 10, 2013 in Milledgeville, GA. Panels take place on Saturday, November 9th. Click on the panel schedule grid above for a larger view.

You can learn more about this amazing event here and here.

We hope to see you there.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Famed Comic Book Artist Nick Cardy Hospitalized

Nick Cardy, one of the most influential comic book artists of the 1950s and ’60s, is in a Florida hospital, friends and family say.

Yesterday, Perhapanauts artist Craig Rousseau told fans via Facebook that Cardy had been admitted to the Intensive Care Ward, and asked for thoughts and prayers.

Shortly thereafter, Perhapanauts writer Todd Dezago, who had spent all of Thursday sharing spooky Cardy covers for Halloween, shared a status from his niece, who said that Cardy’s heart and lungs had fluid in them and that Dezago had flown down to see him at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

Later, Dezago updated with some additional details:

After all those great Halloween covers he scared us with the other day, the biggest scare my pal Nick (Cardy) gave me was calling me from the hospital. 94 years old, his health took a turn a few weeks ago when he got a cold that, despite assuring me was going away, only got worse. He lost his appetite, several pounds, and is in congestive heart failure, where he’s having difficulty breathing and talking.

I am here with him at the hospital now and updating him with everyone’s prayers and well-wishes, which brings a smile every time. Thanks for your warm thoughts.

See original post at: http://comicbook.com/blog/2013/11/02/famed-comic-book-artist-nick-cardy-hospitalized/

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Writers for Relief Vol. 3

The Writers for Relief anthology series feature collections of short fiction by top talents in the realms of fantasy and science fiction writing. The first and second volumes have brought help to Hurricane Katrina survivors through the Red Cross and Bay Area Food Bank, respectively. This third volume turns the focus to those who suffered in Oklahoma and features some of today's best known speculative fiction authors: Kevin J. Anderson, Ben Bova, Stephen Euin Cobb, Jason Sandford, Bobby Nash, Todd McCaffrey, A.H. Sturgis, John Hartness, Edmund Schubert, Mike Resnick, Danny Birt, Jaym Gates, Gray Reinhart, Janinie Spendlove, and Eugie Foster.

For more information: 

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1492391344/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_dp_duLCsb0FD3EC77XW

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

HEROIC PUBLISHING'S 'LIBERTY GIRL' FLIES INTO PROSE FROM PRO SE PRODUCTIONS!

The Bronze Goddess of Freedom Flies Again thanks to two Companies known for independent creations and innovative storytelling. LIBERTY GIRL by Barry Reese, adapted from and based on works by Dennis Mallonee, is now available from Pro Se Productions via a license with Heroic Publishing.

Pro Se, a leader in New Pulp and Action/Adventure Fiction, and Heroic Publishing, a force in independent comics since the mid-1980s, proudly announce the debut of the first volume of adventures featuring one of Heroic’s best known characters- Liberty Girl.

The Liberty Girl is a World War II heroine ripped from her glory days and rocketed forward in time to today, where she’s needed more than ever! Noted Pulp and Genre Fiction Author Barry Reese adapts Comic Creator and Publisher Dennis Mallonee’s debut Liberty Girl Mini Series into a prose novella. Also included in this volume is an original Liberty Girl short story penned by Reese. The book also opens with an introduction provided by Comic Book Legend Roy Thomas, the creator behind All Star Squadron, Infinity Inc., and more. 

“It’s a really big deal,” Tommy Hancock, Editor in Chief of and Partner in Pro Se Productions, says, “when two companies from different aspects of the publishing arena, especially two independents known for their own unique stories and styles, bring the best they have together to produce landmark work. LIBERTY GIRL is just that. Arguably one of Heroic’s most recognized characters has now been interpreted and realized in prose by one of Pro Se’s- and to be honest, one of Genre Fiction’s- most talented authors. Barry embraces the groundwork that Dennis built in the Liberty Girl comic series and builds a wonderful tapestry of heroism, power, and hope in what is truly one of the best works Pro Se has ever produced.” 

“Sometimes,” Hancock continues, “everything just falls in place for a book. The right concept, the right writer to not only handle transition from comics to prose, but to create a brand new story for the book as well, and the right voice to weigh in on such a character with an introduction. Roy Thomas, the man who is responsible at least in part for me –and quite a few others, I know- pursuing my dreams to write, kicks off Pro Se’s LIBERTY GIRL with just the right words to set the mood for the stories to follow. And then wrap that in an absolutely stunning cover by the ever-talented Jeff Hayes, and this book- there is no other word. LIBERTY GIRL is the perfect storm of books.” 

Edited by Thomas Fortenberry and Morgan Minor, LIBERTY GIRL is now available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in print and in Ebook at Amazon for the Kindle, at Barnes & Noble for the Nook, and in most formats at www.smashwords.com. 

In coming weeks, Pro Se will announce more Heroic projects, including another Liberty Girl centered book as well as an anthology featuring another one of Heroic’s best known super heroines, Flare. 

For review copies or interviews with the parties involved or further information, please contact Morgan Minor, Pro Se’s Director of Corporate Operations at MorganMinorProSe@yahoo.com. To enjoy Heroic Publishing’s fantastic comics, go to www.heroicmultiverse.com. For more information on Pro Se Productions, visit www.prose-press.com and like Pro Se on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ProSeProductions.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Pro Se Productions Looking for Editors

EDITORS WANTED- Pro Se Productions is currently seeking to expand its editorial staff. Pro Se maintains two teams of Editors. These positions are outlined as follows:

CONTENT EDITORS- Content Editors are assigned to any work Pro Se produces except for the Pro Se Presents Magazine (which has its own editing staff). Content Editors are required to understand the subject matter/genre/story being told in works assigned to them and to help authors follow parameters for stories, either established by a Bible, if the work is part of a certain imprint, or simply to make sure it meets the qualifications of Genre Fiction. Content Editors review works assigned to them for continuity issues, plot holes, implausible beginnings, events, and conclusions, as well as any other content problems. The Content Editor will be the first editor assigned and will work closely with the Author as well as the Director of Corporate Operations in completing the task assigned. Although deadlines are flexible, Pro Se encourages that 30,000 word books be content edited within 30 days of being assigned to a Content Editor and 60,000 word manuscripts be content edited within 60 days of being assigned.


COPY EDITORS- Copy Editors are assigned to any work Pro Se produces except for the Pro Se Presents Magazine (which has its own editing staff). Copy Editors are required to review manuscripts after Content Editing is completed. Copy Editors review manuscripts checking spelling, grammar, sentence construction, and other issues related to presentation and clarity. The Copy Editor will be the second editor assigned and will work closely with the Author as well as the Director of Corporate Operations in completing the task assigned. Although deadlines are flexible, Pro Se encourages that 30,000 word books be content edited within 30 days of being assigned to a Content Editor and 30,000 word manuscripts be content edited within 60 days of being assigned.


COMPENSATION- These positions are currently unpaid, although each Editor will receive free digital copies of Pro Se's entire catalog upon request. Also, Pro Se will provide positive references in the form of letters and/or other form of contact for anyone who serves in either of these positions and performs well.

If interested in either position, email Morgan Minor at MorganMinorProSe@yahoo.com to receive a short piece as a test edit. Although experience is not required, it is preferred. Please list any editing experience you have had in your inquiry. Refer any questions to the same address.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Comic Book Man speaks...

This week on BK on the Radio, we covered four of the best scary and horrific graphic novels that you need to read. 

And here they are...



-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Harpe
by Chad Crawford Kinkle and Adam Shaw
Published by Cave in Rock


Based on the story of the USA's first serial killers, this historical graphic novel is as long on the story as it is on action and violence.







-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Children of the Grave
by Tom Waltz and Casey Maloney
Published by IDW Publishing


I almost took this off the list because I'm a good friend of Tom Waltz, but in the end I just couldn't. It's that good, a fantastically creepy ghost story about military incursions, terrorism, and parental issues. And Maloney's art sets the mood perfectly.

Waltz's time as a soldier really lends a realistic tone to what would otherwise be a merely supernatural tale. Not only that, he has a way of pegging both the protagonists and antagonists (I dare not say good guys and bad guys for this one) with believable stories and motives and drives.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

I Am Legend
by Richard Matheson, adapted by Steven Niles and Elman Brown
Published by IDW Publishing


At the risk of being self-indulgent, Steve Niles adaptation of I Am Legend is the stuff of legend. It's a near perfect pairing of prose and illustration. And yes, I did say "prose" not "script."

More akin to Prince Valiant than to modern comics, this version runs the text of the sci-tinged vampire tale around Brown's amazing artwork, using one to bring the other to life and back again. Even with so many words on a page, the book never becomes "heavy." Easily one of my favorite horror graphic novels ever.

However, this one is not a light, fast read, so be warned. You'll  need to carve out some quality time for this one.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

Sandman: A Doll's House
by Neil Gaiman and various artists
Published by Vertigo Comics


Ah. I've been waiting to get to this one. This is the quintessential Neil Gaiman volume for me. Coming of age tale, a girl on the run, serial killers, misnomers, dry and dark wit, humorous violence, serious violence, all wrapped up in the mystery-enigma two-sided paper from the nice wrapping paper store, not the cheap stuff you'd find at the local dollar store.

This is Gaiman hitting on all the cylinders he really nails perfectly. It's the literary equivalent of a Gypsy Rose Lee dance number -- mesmerizing, embarrassing, titillating, vulgar, and undeniably compelling.

A Doll's House is Gaiman at his best, at his most at ease with himself as a storyteller.

To say more would be to spoil it, so I'll add just this: So many of the favorite Sandman characters to come appear in this volume, so it should not be missed -- yet it stands by itself beautifully even if you've never read any other Sandman volume.


Friday, October 25, 2013

Permuted Press Looking for Horror and Sci-Fi Novels

Permuted Press is currently looking for sci-fi and horror titles, whether they've been published before, currently being written or unpublished, or even in the idea stage. If you have friends whose work you really believe in that might like to have their books published by Permuted, send them my way (michael@permutedpress.com) to skip the public slush pile. 

We also continue to be especially interested in PA novels, and have even recently picked up more zombie books, some vampire books, werewolves and even some very selective YA titles. There are still authors telling us that they are under the impression that we don't do sci-fi and horror, so I thought it was worth mentioning that we are interested in these genres.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Georgia Literary Festival Schedule

Hey, kiddos, here's my schedule for the Georgia Literary Festival on November 9:

12:00pm:
Thriller Track: Rise of the New Pulp- Sean Taylor, Van Plexico, Andrea Judy & Barry Reese in Georgia College Library Information Technology Center

1:00pm:
Thriller Track: Blending Genres- The Hardboiled P.I. in Different Eras- Alex Hughes, Sean Taylor & Bobby Nash in Georgia College Museum Education Room

3:00pm:
Thriller Track: The Graphic World of Comic Books- Bobby Nash & Sean Taylor in Mary Vinson Memorial Library Children’s Theater


Don't miss it if you find yourself in the area. It's gonna be a blast.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

My Memphis Comic and Fantasy Convention 2013 schedule

Hey, guys and gals, here's my schedule for next month's Memphis Comic and Fantasy Convention 2013:

Friday – 8pm: BAD TO THE BONE- Villainy in Pulp and Genre Fiction (DR1F8P)

Friday – 9pm: PULP, PULP EVERYWHERE-The influence of Pulp Fiction on All Entertainment (DR1F9P)

Saturday – 1pm: FASTER THAN A SPEEDING AUTHOR- Super Hero Prose Fiction!

Saturday – 2pm: LEGENDARY AUTHORS OF PULP:  The Writers of Classic Pulp That Everyone Knows..and a Few No One Remembers (DR1S2P)

Sunday – 12pm: PULP'S FOR KIDS, TOO!-How Genre Fiction and Pulp appeal to Young Readers-(DR1SUN12P)



Saturday, August 17, 2013

Nugget #1 -- Who am I?

There is no greater mystery for a writer to 
pursue than to have his or her characters ask, 
"Who am I, and who am I going to be?"

Monday, August 12, 2013

[Link] E-book sales are leveling off. Here’s why.

By Neil Irwin

Nicholas Carr parses some new data to show a fascinating trend: Sales of e-books are no longer rising at extraordinary, double-digit rates. In the first quarter of 2013, sales were up only 5 percent from a year earlier, compared with 28 percent in the same period of 2012 and a whopping 252 percent in 2010.

It’s evidence that e-books (whether for Kindle, Nook, tablet computing devices or any other device you might wish to use to read many thousands of words) are starting to become a more mature technology. They seem to be through their explosive growth phase.

It was inevitable, of course. The question was always “at what share of the book market will e-books settle,” not “when will print books cease to exist.” Old technologies never die, they just fade into a smaller, niche offering; television supplanted radio as the dominant mass medium in the middle of the last century, for example, but radio is still a big business.

But the fact that that leveling off is already happening with e-books suggests that the ratio of printed books sold to electronic books is going to stabilize at a higher level than it had seemed likely a year or two ago in the era of extraordinary e-book growth. Carr has a number of good ideas for why; I find his first most compelling.

Continue reading: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/08/08/e-book-sales-are-leveling-off-heres-why/?wpisrc=nl_cuzheads&clsrd

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Jones, Taucher and Vance reveal THE EQUATION!

The Equation is a novel. The equation is not.

Written by Frank Taucher, Michael Vance, and R. A. Jones, the premise of this new suspense-thriller is simple but deadly: if you knew the secret of the equation and had the will, you could bring the United States to its knees!

Savy stock broker, Dianne Jassinsky, is certain that is exactly what someone is planning to do, but to save the nation she first has to convince someone, anyone that the danger is real and imminent.

Her only ally, the only one who will believe her, is discredited journalist Frank Palm, whose checkered past threatens to come back to haunt them both.

The clock is fast ticking down toward America's downfall -- and Dianne now finds herself in the murderous crosshairs of a faceless stalker!!

Taucher unleashes his expertise and imagination in this tense, gripping novel of economic and political intrigue. Majoring in Agricultural Economics and statistics, he became a very successful stock and commodity broker with several different brokerage firms. In his work, Taucher studied weather patterns, Fibonacci numbers, and different natural cycles that he was convinced guided the markets, and this research was the catalyst for writing his wildly successful, annual stock and commodity trading manual called The Supertrader's Almanac. Taucher's relentless desire for trying to figure out cycles and patterns in the commodity, bond and stock markets inspired The Equation.

Co-authors Michael Vance and R. A. Jones have written novels and short stories, for television and motion pictures, for national and international magazines, as syndicated newspaper columnists, and for comic books and strips. They are both listed in the Who's Who of American Comic Books and Comic Book Superstars.

The Equation is now available as an e-book as well as in paperback. It is available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Equation-Frank-Taucher/dp/1490948767/

Thursday, August 1, 2013

ADVANCE DIGITAL REVIEW COPIES AVAILABLE OF 'A WEEK IN HELL' BY J. WALT LAYNE!

Continuing its tradition of action packed two fisted books featuring the best in New Pulp and Genre Fiction, Pro Se Productions announces the first in a Crime/Noir Series from Author J. Walt Layne! A WEEK IN HELL will hit the hard bitten streets on or before August 15th and Pro Se wants established reviewers interested in an advance digital copy to get there first!

Welcome to Champion City. A megatropolis it isn’t. But you couldn’t arrive at that conclusion by looking at the police blotter. Most everyone in the city would tell you that a day in Champion is like… A WEEK IN HELL!

Pro Se Productions introduces the first volume of the Champion City Series of Novels by author J. Walt Layne! A WEEK IN HELL

It all starts with a girl and a bag of cash. Candi was the kind of gal who could give a guy indigestion. She was poison, with looks to kill, a reluctant moll looking for a way out. Thurman was a young flatfoot, not necessarily the knight in shining armor. He went to shake out a brawl and nearly fed her his gun, was it any wonder he got a date? They spend an evening on the run, but where does it lead? Just when it looks like its over, BOOM! Is it a dead girl, a bag of somebody else’s dough, or both?

Written in the style of slang ridden, bullet riddled classic crime Pulp and mystery fiction, Layne’s A WEEK IN HELL drops the reader square into all the corruption and corrosion of human spirit that is Champion City. Dames, gats, gumshoes, and brass cupcakes die, shoot, run and glitter from every page. Edited by David White and David Brzeski, this book features a beautiful cover by Terry Pavlet with design, logo, and print formatting by Sean Ali and Ebook formatting by Russ Anderson. A WEEK IN HELL by J. Walt Layne courtesy of Pro Se Productions!

If you are an established reviewer of books either through a site or other venue or you have established yourself as a reviewer with a site of your own, contact Morgan Minor, Director of Corporate Operations at MorganMinorProSe@yahoo.com to request a digital copy for review. Also anyone interested in interviews with the author or other information concerning the book or Pro Se Productions may contact Morgan at the above address as well as going to the Pro Se website - www.prose-press.com.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now #281 -- Recent New Favorites

Who's your favorite golden age pulp character that you discovered relatively recently? -- Jim Beard


For me, these new "faves" came from accepting gigs to write them for anthologies. I knew nothing of them prior to the research required to begin the writing, but felt instantly drawn to the characters as if they were old friends I'd been writing and reading for years.

For prose, they were Armless O'Neil and a certain beauty I can't discuss at the moment. But I really, really (can I add another really and get away with it?) loved writing and reading Armless O'Neil. He was a character I was immediately hooked on and felt like I "got" right off the bat.

To boil him down to his key character is simply this: Take Humphrey Bogart's Charlie Allnut out of The African Queen and give him a hook for a hand, then saddle him with adventures more typical of Allan Quatermain, then shake and pour, voila!

For comics, it would have to be The Blue Lady (whom I wrote in All Star Pulp Comics #1). She grabbed me the same way Armless did. She's a typical old-school pulp supporting lady rather than a heroine at first, but when she receives a ring that gives her the power to beat back guys to a pulp, she does what any other lady of the era would in a comic book and puts on a mask and costume to fight crime.

Even though she was only in three back-up features in Amazing Man Comics in the early 1940s (October '41 - January '42, to be precise) , I felt she needs and deserves more stories --which is something Jim Ritchey and I are currently working on. We'll keep you posted.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Rick Ruby is "Celluloid Cool"


I would back up that assertion up by saying there's a celluloid cool about the gumshoe and he makes a seedy den of smoky, sultry jazz his home. Along with that, Ruby is also one sardonic shamus who is always cracking wise; as opposed to  a PI  like Mike Hammer, who broods and has an ultra violent temper.
"Every story a gem..."  is what the tagline reads--and you will find much truth in that shibboleth. -- Whit Howland

The Ruby Files team would like to thank Whit Howland at Huey Dusk’s Lounge and Clown website for their kind review of The Ruby Files Vol. 1. You can read the full review here.

Tell 'em Ruby sent ya.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

MICHAEL VANCE JOINS AIRSHIP 27 STAFF

Michael Vance has been named Marketing Director for Airship 27 publishing.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have such a talented, experienced writer/editor joining our editorial staff,” declared Managing Editor Ron Fortier enthusiastically. “Michael Vance is one of the most respected pros in the literary community, and having him aboard brings that wealth of knowledge and creativity to Airship 27 Productions. Michael’s contributions are clearly going to allow Airship 27 to fly to new heights. Count on it.”

Vance's magazine work has been published in seven countries in magazines including Starlog, Jack & Jill and Star Trek, The Next Generation. He briefly ghosted an internationally syndicated comic strip, and his own strip, Holiday Out that was reprinted as a comic book. Vance also wrote comic book titles including Straw Men, Angel of Death, The Adventures of Captain Nemo, Holiday Out and Bloodtide. He is listed in two reference works, the Who’s Who of American Comic Books and Comic Book Superstars.

His thirty short stories about a fictional town called “Light’s End” were published in more than a dozen magazines, and have been recorded by legendary actor William (Murder She Wrote) Windom.

Vance's published novels include Forbidden Adventure: The History of the American Comics Group, Weird Horror Tales, Weird Horror Tales: The Feasting, Weird Horror Tales: Light End, and Global Star (with Mel Fox and R. A. Jones).

Vance’s weekly comics review column, Suspended Animation, was continuously published for more than twenty years and read by approximately 4,000,000 readers annually.

In his career, he worked in newspapers for twenty-two years as an editor, writer and advertising manager, creating three successful newspaper magazines. He also worked as an advertising copy writer, journalist, historian, graphic designer, in public relations, and as a grant writer. Vance also created the Oklahoma Cartoonists Collection housed in the Toy and Action Figure Museum in Paula Valley, Oklahoma, and was a keynote speaker at the Uncanny Adventures of Ookie Cartoonists exhibit at the Oklahoma Historical Museum in Oklahoma City.

AIRSHIP 27 PRODUCTIONS -
Begun in 2004 by comic book creators, Ron Fortier and Rob Davis, Airship 27 Productions is one of the leading companies of the New Pulp Movement; a concentrated effort to keep alive the classic pulp literature of the 30s and 40s while producing newer pulp themed titles by today’s brightest writers and artists. Today the company has over sixty titles, both novels and anthologies, in their ever expanding catalog and all their new titles are available digitally via Amazon’s Kindle. Employing their artistic sensibilities from their experiences in comics, Fortier and Davis has consistently produced the best looking new pulp books on the market today.

The company’s dirigible logo is emblematic of Ron and Rob’s high flying goals; to produce the finest quality books that are always fun to read, again and again.

AIRSHIP 27 PRODUCTIONS – PULPS FOR A NEW GENERATION!

For more information, visit http://airship27.blogspot.com/.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

OPEN POSITIONS WITHIN PRO SE PRODUCTIONS

EDITORS WANTED- Pro Se Productions is currently seeking to expand its editorial staff.  Pro Se maintains two teams of Editors.  These positions are outlined as follows:

CONTENT EDITORS-  Content Editors are assigned to any work Pro Se produces except for the Pro Se Presents Magazine (which has its own editing staff).  Content Editors are required to understand the subject matter/genre/story being told in works assigned to them and to help authors follow parameters for stories, either established by a Bible, if the work is part of a certain imprint, or simply to make sure it meets the qualifications of Genre Fiction.  Content Editors review works assigned to them for continuity issues, plot holes, implausible beginnings, events, and conclusions, as well as any other content problems.   The Content Editor will be the first editor assigned and will work closely with the Author as well as the Director of Corporate Operations in completing the task assigned.  Although deadlines are flexible, Pro Se encourages that 30,000 word books be content edited within 30 days of being assigned to a Content Editor and 60,000 word manuscripts be content edited within 60 days of being assigned.

COPY EDITORS- Copy Editors are assigned to any work Pro Se produces except for the Pro Se Presents Magazine (which has its own editing staff).  Copy Editors are required to review manuscripts after Content Editing is completed.  Copy Editors review manuscripts checking spelling, grammar, sentence construction, and other issues related to presentation and clarity.   The Copy Editor will be the second editor assigned and will work closely with the Author as well as the Director of Corporate Operations in completing the task assigned.  Although deadlines are flexible, Pro Se encourages that 30,000 word books be content edited within 30 days of being assigned to a Content Editor and 30,000 word manuscripts be content edited within 60 days of being assigned.

COMPENSATION- These positions are currently unpaid, although each Editor will receive free digital copies of Pro Se's entire catalog upon request.  Also, Pro Se will provide positive references in the form of letters and/or other form of contact for anyone who serves in either of these positions and performs well.

If interested in either position, email Morgan Minor at MorganMinorProSe@yahoo.com to receive a short piece as a test edit. Although experience is not required, it is preferred. Please list any editing experience you have had in your inquiry.  Refer any questions to the same address.

Friday, July 19, 2013

HUGH MONN IS BACK IN HIS FIRST FULL LENGTH NOVEL!

Pro Se Productions once more proves to be a leader in genre fiction with its latest release. A man of the far future plying his dangerous trade like one of the past.  1950s Sensibilities collide explosively with Science Fiction Action and Danger once again as Lee Houston, Jr. follows up his debut 2012 collection with HUGH MONN, PRIVATE DETECTIVE: CATCH A RISING STAR!

Thick, red lips were just a shade darker than her crimson skin tone, but both were in striking contrast to her long orange hair. Her eyes appeared to be only irises, as black as a starless corner of the universe resting on a field of white, but that toothy smile was brighter than a supernova. She was dressed in white like everyone else, but her outfit was a sleeveless, short hemmed number at least one size too small, that did everything possible to accent every aspect of her figure.

“Do I have the pleasure of addressing Hugh Monn, the private detective?” asked the older man with an accent I couldn’t place. After all, it’s a pretty big universe and xenology wasn’t one of my strong suits, so I couldn’t identify any of their races or species. Besides, the woman was the only one present any insensitive jerk would call ‘alien’. Outwardly, all the men appeared to be as human as me.

“There’s no pleasure involved from my perspective,” I said, while motioning my head to indicate his traveling companions. -- From Chapter 1 of HUGH MONN, PRIVATE DETECTIVE: CATCH A RISING STAR

Hugh Monn, the private detective of the far flung future, is back in his first full length adventure!

In Lee Houston's latest installment of his 1950s style detective in the future, Hugh is hired as a security consultant when actress Ruby Kwartz comes to the island nation of Galveston 2 to record a new vid.  What is supposed to be an easy assignment turns deadly when Monn discovers that everyone around Ruby has a hidden agenda and someone wants to make sure this production will be her last.  Can Hugh Monn catch a rising star before she falls?

"After writing short stories for his first book," states Houston, "I wanted to create longer adventures for Hugh in a second anthology, but CATCH A RISING STAR took on a life of its own and became his first full length novel.  Fans of the private detective in the far flung future not only get more action, adventure, and mystery in this tale; but more Big Louie too."

"We're excited," comments Tommy Hancock, Pro Se Partner and Editor in Chief, "to not only have Hugh back for another adventure, but to see Lee push both himself and this wonderful world he's imagined into a full length novel.   The definitely different mix of Science Fiction with the Detective genre as well as Lee's placing of Hugh somewhere along the center of the Private Eye spectrum makes the concept a fun, exciting one and one that appeals to many types of readers."

As for Hugh Monn's first adventures, Ron Fortier, noted Reviewer, Author, and Publisher stated: "What is particularly refreshing in these tales is that Houston wisely opts not to make his hero a hard-boiled, typically cynical type. Hugh Monn is a genuinely nice guy who likes people and aliens alike and is sincere in trying to make his world a better place for all to live in. He's a good guy I liked meeting and hope to see him again real soon."

HUGH MONN, PRIVATE DETECTIVE: CATCH A RISING STAR features an excellent and evocative cover by David L. Russell as well as stunning cover design by Sean E. Ali and e-book formatting by Russ Anderson!  Available in Print at Amazon and from Pro Se's own store for only $15.00!

This stunning addition to Hugh's adventures is also available for $2.99 as an e-book! Available for the Kindle, via the Nook, and at Smashwords in multiple formats!

For More Information on the author, visit his Pro Se page.  For more about Pro Se itself, go to www.prose-press.com.

For interviews, review copies, and questions, contact Morgan Minor, Director of Corporate Operations at MorganMinorProSe@yahoo.com.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Airship 27 presents Robin Hood Freedom

Airship 27 Productions' seventh title of the year is out!

THE GRAND ROBIN HOOD FINALE!


Airship 27 Productions is extremely proud to announce the release of I.A. Watson's third Robin Hood adventure novel, "Robin Hood – Freedom's Outlaw."


As depicted in the first two books of this amazing trilogy, King of Sherwood and Arrow of Justice, the upstart outlaw of Sherwood Forest has become a thorn in Prince John's side. All the efforts by his sadistic stooge, the Sheriff of Nottingham, to capture the elusive figure known as Robin Hood have failed.


Now, in this climatic final chapter to I.A. Watson's exciting trilogy, Freedom's Outlaw has Robin's enemy devising a devious scheme to draw him out into the opening by laying siege to the castle of his ally, Sir Richard at the Lee. But the trickster of the greenwoods may just be two steps ahead of them. Meanwhile the Lady Marion uses her royal connections to bring all parties together before the High Nobles Court in London Town where the brash rogue's fate will be decided.


Surrounding all these events is the whispered talk of the appearance of a White Hart in Sherwood Forest, a powerful symbol to the people for whoever captures her will be acknowledged the true King of the Forest.


"I've always loved Robin Hood stories," explains Airship 27 Productions Managing Editor Ron Fortier. "He's such a classic hero figure and it is fun to watch each new generation discover him for the very first time; be it in books, on TV or in the movies. With this particular trilogy, Ian Watson has recaptured the thrills and excitement of this well known saga and made it fresh and new again. No easy task."


Now I.A. Watson brings his stunning, clever and historically based adventure to a rousing, crowd cheering conclusion that will leave all Robin Hood fans applauding. The book features a stunning cover by Pulp Factory Award winner Mike Manley with interior illustrations and book design by fellow PF Award winner, Rob Davis and includes a very special post-essay on the character's role in British history by the author. At last the finale is here and it is one you will never forget!


AIRSHIP 27 PRODUCTIONS - NEW PULPS FOR A NEW GENERATION!


The book is now available at Create Space –
(https://www.createspace.com/4367207)


And should be at Amazon & Kindle within the next few days.

See the Mike Manley cover here (http://pulpfactory.blogspot.com/)

Friday, July 12, 2013

[Link] A Literary Agent Answers Your Fevered Questions

by Ginger Clark

When an agent has your manuscript on submission, do they recommend working on a sequel (if it’s built that way) or something different?

When is a good time to tell an agent that you have other completed material? In your query, on request, when you’re made an offer or otherwise?

How do you write a good synopsis?

Do literary agents generally consider international submissions, or do they prefer home-grown talent?

What can people do to prepare themselves and make themselves more qualified for internships?

Is the fantasy genre played out? Is there hope for fantasy authors who passionately love the genre and must be published?

To see Ginger's responses, go to: http://the-toast.net/2013/07/10/literary-agent-advice/

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Mine or Yours: The Comic Book Edition

Well, we did this last week with prose writers, so this week let's run the same roundtable -- but instead from the comic book side of the fence.

I chose these writers specifically because not only do they have the goods of writing corporately owned characters (Erik Burnham on TMNT, Ghostbusters, and now Scarlet Spider, Chuck Dixon on Robin, G.I. Joe, Punisher, and nearly everything under the sun, Dan Jolley on Voltron, Vampirella, Angel, and more, and John Jackson Miller of Star Wars and Iron Man) but they also seem to have a lot of fun playing off each other during interviews. You'll see what I mean. Just keep reading.

Do you prefer to write new adventures of existing characters, or would you prefer to create new characters outright?

Chuck Dixon: Both are cool. But that depends on the existing character. I rather take a job at Arby's than write an issue of Firestorm.

Erik Burnham: Shucks, Chuck said exactly what I would. Except having seen my local Arby's, I'd probably opt to write Firestorm.

Chuck Dixon: But with Firestorm there's no free fixin's!

Dan Jolley: Given my love of jamocha shakes, and having spent a year writing Firestorm, yeah, I think I'd work at Arby's.

Erik Burnham: Seriously, I agree with Chuck on this. I really have no preference for one over the other. That sounds like a weak answer, I know, but I'll find a joke for whatever set of circumstances the character I'm writing has to face.

John Jackson Miller: Yeah, they're just different kinds of jobs. In one case, you're free to figure everything out and there's work involved with that; in the other, there's a little research involved. (Which doesn't mean you can't make changes to a character or his or her characterization, but it helps to know what the audience expected before you start moving things around.)

What are the advantages and disadvantages of each that you've found?

John Jackson Miller: I agree that doing your own thing has its benefits -- but also, doing someone else's character can be fun if there's a good relationship with the editor and/or licensor and there's something in the character and world that appeals to you.

Chuck Dixon: Again, depends on the character. But most times you can fall back on their history. Plus, being established, they already have an audience prepared to be entertained.

But creating your own characters and universe is like free falling.

Erik Burnham: I suppose the advantages comes down to time. Less people to say yea or nay to any given idea. That can be a big advantage, however.

Dan Jolley: Writing original characters is a much greater risk, definitely, but you get to make up your own rules and you don't have to worry about accidentally duplicating or contradicting a storyline from the 70's. Original characters take it for me by a wide margin.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Watson Report: Magic Swords and Their Makers

by I.A. Watson

Magic weapons are a staple of many fantasy stories because they’re a staple from many myths and legends. They’re engrained into our storytelling DNA – with good reason.

Go back three and a half thousand years or more. In England and Northern Europe, wandering hunter/gatherer tribes are transitioning to herder/farmers. Population has grown so there’s competition for territory. Conflict is inevitable. There is a place for strong warriors. There is a place for powerful weapons.

The best weapon available is the bronze sword; this is the Bronze Age, after all. Bronze is the best technology. A dagger of bronze is more effective and keeps its edge better than a dagger of flint. New techniques are becoming available to increase the reach of those bronze blades, combining the reach of a spear with the versatility of a knife. The first two-foot long bronze swords appeared around 1600 BC. A man with such a weapon had a significant combat advantage. A man with such a weapon could be king.

Then came the discovery: fallen stars contain iron. Not the polluted, difficult to work stuff that could be grubbed from the ground, but pure, elemental stuff given by the gods. Meteor iron could be smelted just like bronze, and it made blades that were slightly stronger and lighter. And then the secret, passed down in guilds from smith father to smith son, making their line so important that their descendants cover the Earth today, making Smith the most common Western name: add a pinch of carbon to the molten iron and it becomes steel!

A thousand years BC where the bronze blade was formerly the pinnacle of technology, iron was the magic metal. A steel sword could slice through even those amazing bronze weapons. A steel sword could pierce boiled leather armour like it wasn’t there.

We know quite a bit about these swords. We’ve still got a lot of them, for a very odd reason.

In Northern Europe you can’t throw an axe-head without hitting archaeology. So we’ve got plenty of evidence of the social and economic phases in the long millennia between the last ice age and the “start of history”. One of the more distinctive emphases was ritual behaviour with rivers.

The oldest names in Britain are the names of the rivers, presumed to be the names of the gods and goddesses to whom each watercourse was sacred. In England, the Don and the Sheaf, the Mersey and the Ouse, the Cam and the Thames all give us a glimpse back to a time when rivers were not only the safest highways but the vital resource for a struggling population: food, transport, security, industry and status all began with a good river location.

It is perhaps not surprising then that there was ritual activity at these rivers. Again and again archaeologists discover deposits of valuable items tossed into the waters, buried in the mud. In some places hundreds of finds have been discovered, with post-holes where wooden walkway platforms were raised over the flood to reach the appropriate sacrifice spot.

Archaeologists love wetlands. For good scientific reasons we won’t go into here, wooden and metal artefacts buried in the right kind of river mud don’t oxidise or rot. We know what the weather was like in England in 3500 BC because we’ve got the tree-ring growth patterns from wood preserved from that era in wetland deposits. And we’ve got hundreds of broken swords from those same deposits.

Hold on, though. Broken magic swords? How magic could they be if they broke in battle? But they didn’t. Nearly all the river sacrifice items are broken; many show signs of deliberate destruction. The swords have been snapped in half. Its tempting to speculate that “killing” these treasures was meant to send them to the afterlife, for the use of gods or ancestors; but our forebears left no instruction on their motives.

Hold on again! Iron weapons were valuable. The Iron Age is named after them but in Northern Europe they were rare right up to the coming of the Roman conquerors. Surely a warrior who broke a coveted near-impossible-to-find magic sword was the most pious of men to offer such a sacrifice?

Well, yes and no. Yes, it showed a massive devotion to the gods. Yes, it showed his generosity and power off to the world. But there’s probably a more pragmatic reason as well: One man can only hold one sword. If you fight an enemy and kill him and take his magic sword as well, then you have two. If you give it to an ally, even a son, then two of you have miracle blades; you have a potential challenger. But if you break the weapon and send it to the gods, you have credit, fame, and a less itchy pair of shoulder-blades.


At least that’s the way the archaeologists and historians like to spin it.

Dipping into myth for a moment, remember that King Arthur received Excalibur after the sword he’d drawn from the stone snapped in battle. Merlin brought him to a river and the Lady of the Lake caused a hand to rise from the water bearing the enchanted weapon. At the end of Arthur’s life, he had his oldest friend Bedevere hurl Excalibur back into a river, whereupon it was caught by that same hand, waved thrice, then taken under the waves again until it was required in a different age.

But what of the men who forged the magic swords? Where did they come from? How did they learn their craft? What became of them after?

The most famous smith in Northern legend is Weyland, (proto-Germanic for “battle-brave”), also called Volundr in the Norse, under which name he stars in the Völundarkviða, one of the poems of the Prose Edda. He also features in Þiðrekssaga, the saga of Theoderic the Great, and in the Old English sagas of Deor, Waldere and Beowulf. His legend is depicted on the Franks Casket and on Ardre image stone VIII. All of these sources are twelfth century AD or later, of course, but they seem to distil the surviving lore of smiths and smithies from an earlier time.

There are a couple of variants about how Weyland got started. In the most prevalent story, he and his two brothers spy upon three bathing swan-maidens. It’s well known that if you catch such a damsel and steal her clothes then she has to stay with you as your wife, and that’s what the three brothers did. Their valkyrie lovers taught them strange lore – including possibly what to do with the big iron missiles that Odin cast down from the heavens on occasion.

After nine years, the women returned to their own lands. Weyland’s brothers went with their wives, but Weyland remained behind with his son. His departing lover, Hervör Alvitr (strange, all-wise creature) leaves him a ring to remember her by. Weyland forged himself a magic sword and became a renowned warrior and smith.

Weyland is credited with casting many magic blades. These include Gram, Sigmund’s sword which Odin broke and was later reforged for Sigurd Sigmundson to slay the dragon Fafnir (Völsunga saga); Ogier the Dane’s Curtana and Roland’s Durandil (Karlamagnus Saga); Mimung, which Weyland forged to fight rival smith Amilias (Thidrekssaga); Hatheloke, the sword of Torrent of Portyngale, (Torrent of Portyngale); and a good number of others. He also created the magic ring of Thorstein Vikingson in the saga of that name. His claim to forging Excalibur/Caliburn is of relatively recent origin.

Enter the villain: King Niðhad in Nerike struck by night, capturing Weyland in his sleep. He had Weyland hamstrung so he could not escape, then imprisoned him on the island of Sævarstöð where he would forge weapons that would make Niðhad unstoppable. Niðhad took Weyland’s sword and wore it as his own. Hervör’s ring was given to the king’s daughter Bodvild.
As all storywriters will know, it is a capital mistake for the bad guy to lock the main character up in a workshop, especially then that main character is the greatest smith of legend, and a man with a grudge.

King Niðhad had two sons. Weyland worked on their enthusiasm and ambition, eventually winning their loyalty against their father. Then he murdered them in his workshop. He converted their skulls into goblets for their unsuspecting father and transformed their eyes into jewels and their teeth into a brooch for their unsuspecting mother. He burned the other remains in his forge as he crafted wings to escape to freedom.

Weyland had also made friends with Princess Bodvild, who visited him often to see the wonders of his workshop. Before he fled he drugged her, raped her, and retrieved his wife’s ring, leaving her pregnant with the child who would later become the hero Viðga.

For the Scandinavians this was a pretty good ending to a revenge saga, and showed Niðhad that he’d messed with the wrong smith.

Of note in our present discussion, however, are the traits that Weyland was attributed in the legend. First off, he was lame. There’s physical evidence – in the form of skeletons – that occasionally Iron Age folks had half their foot deliberately chopped off, including a few folks who, judging by what their bones can tell us about their diet and health, were otherwise of high status. This might simply be a way of non-lethally removing a competing family member from a leadership contest, but there are sufficient traditions about lame smiths (c.f. Hephaestus) for us to at least suspect it was a traditional means of ensuring that a valuable and dangerous resource could be controlled and contained.

Second, we have the idea that smithlore was secret. Niðhad’s sons were fascinated with it, lured in by hopes of learning the mystery through hidden initiation. It seems likely that there were craft secrets passed down by family or guild. After all, the ability to make magic weapons is a sure ticket to as good portion of the hunt-meat.

Third, the smith’s work was art as well as craft. Weyland made rings and jewellery as well as weapons of war. He made tools as well as killing devices. A man who can make a magic sword of star-metal can forge a cunning finger-band of fairy gold.

And fourth, we learn that smiths were dark and dangerous men to cross.

The lore of swords and their makers have come down to us today via many generations of storytelling. Every magical tool, every SF miracle-weapon for that matter, comes from Weyland’s workshop and from those ancient kings breaking their enemies power over their knee before casting it to the gods. Every cunning scientist or technologist who solves the problem and overcomes the brutal adversary by using brains over brawn is a smith at heart.

Now go throw something in a river.

Monday, July 8, 2013

An event to remember -- Charis Taylor's birthday!

Happy birthday today to my grown-up baby girl, the writer on whose merits and fortune I intend to retire, and the child who will surely surpass her father, Charis Taylor!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

ESO and I celebrate H.G. Wells!

I had the joy of taking part in the newest episode of the ESO Podcast, the station was full to the brim with folks celebrating the life and career of “The Father of Speculative Fiction,” “The Patron Saint of Steampunk,” “The Shaper of Things to Come,” “History’s Awesome Outliner,” and “That Strange Gent from Kent,” Herbert George Wells. Showing the Wellsian love along with Mike Faber, Michael Gordon, Jennifer Hartshorn, and the award-winning author Bobby Nash are Mark Maddox and myself (two award-winners in their own right), Doctor Q (soon to win an award in something), and Drew Meyer (who should get an award for suffering through The Geek Seat).

Join us for yet another episode of The Earth Station One Podcast we like to call: The World of H.G. Wells at www.esopodcast.com

Friday, July 5, 2013

Mine or Yours: New Characters vs. Existing Characters

"What's mine is mine, and what's yours is mine." 

While it may be true in marriage (snicker, snicker), it isn't always the case in authorship and creative control. So, to find out whether writers prefer to create their own characters or work with existing properties, we asked. (We're smart like that... Sometimes.)

Do you prefer to write new adventures of existing characters, or would you prefer to create new characters outright?  

H. David Blalock: Having done both as well, I can't say I prefer either. All in all, I think, pressed to choose, I would go with making a new character. For one thing, I can put my own spin on it without being criticized for "ruining" a classic.

Bobby Nash: I don't look at it as an either/or type of thing. Not all existing characters are created equal. If the choice was between writing The Fantastic Four and creating a new character then I would probably take on the FF. If it were a character that I did not connect with or feel an affinity toward then my answer might be different. Ideally, I like to do both.

Ray Witte: I prefer new adventures for my own characters. Particularly in pulp, which I associate with shorter pieces, having an established personality and universe allows the focus to be on story rather than exposition. Operating in an existing universe is more essential to this than an existing character, as pulp can work very well with characters who are well crafted but shallow. Those types work as long as the universe is tight.

Krista Cagg: Currently I am writing new adventures with existing characters.  I write monthly episodes that come out on Kindle, and the plan was always to have this continue for a while.  There are a lot of questions about the characters that have been left unanswered specifically with this in mind.  Keep 'em coming back for more!

Troy Hickman: I've done both, too, and it can be fun to put a new spin on established characters, provided you don't crap on the fans by deconstructing characters they love. Overall these days I'd say I prefer doing my own characters, as they don't have the unfortunate baggage that so many classic characters have taken on over the last twenty-five years.

Joel Jenkins: My personal preference is writing new characters.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of each that you've found? 

Stephanie Osborn: I've done both. The advantages to established characters are that they are already well known, may have an established fandom, and you don't have to spend a lot of time developing them. The advantages to creating your own largely lie in the satisfaction of seeing your own creation come to life and flesh out. There's also no concern over potential copyright infringements.

Joel Jenkins: Existing characters come with built in expectations and in some cases rule books about what you can do with the character and what you can't. Often a writer isn't allowed to change the status quo.  As a writer, I like to have the option to change the status quo, if that's the way the story and the characters lead me.

Krista Cagg: The advantage is that as a writer the characters begin to take on a life of their own, and once I start writing the characters kind of take over.  It sounds like I belong in the looney bin, but sometimes I've had a plot go in an entirely different direction because a character insists on going in that direction.  Fortunately, I've ended up with the plot where I've wanted it so it works out.  Another advantage is I'm learning the characters really well.  I don't have to spend a lot of time wondering if a character would do something and why.  I understand their motivations a lot more.  A disadvantage that I have not run into yet but can see happening is growing bored with the characters.  You just get to a point where there is nothing new, nothing fresh.


Bobby Nash: Existing characters come with baggage and continuity. This can be either an advantage or disadvantage. They also come with established fans who may or may not like what you've done with their favorite characters and are ready to tell you in great detail why your writing sucks. With existing characters there is often an extra approval process as the right's holders sometimes have to sign off on stories beforehand. Sometimes this means you can't tell the story you might want because it doesn't serve the best interest of the characters. On the positive side, you get to work with characters that you might be a fan of and that's usually a lot of fun. A disadvantage is that you don't hold any rights. If they make a movie based on your story you probably aren't in the loop on that unless it's spelled out in your contract.

Creating a new character is a fun experience. In contrast to writing existing characters that already have a fan base, with a new character you have to build that fan base. At the end of the day, however, you own it. Any supplemental rights are yours. If Hollywood or a toy company comes calling then you're the one they talk to about licensing options.

H. David Blalock: In many ways it's nice to be free from the need to develop an existing character, but the limitations are daunting at times. On the other hand, introducing and developing an audience for a new character carries a risk that can be just as difficult.