Monday, April 29, 2013

Carnacki Anthology Extends Submission Deadline!

An anthology of all-new stories about Carnacki, the Ghost-Finder is NOW OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS!

Later this year, to coincide with the first issue of SARGASSO (The Journal of Hodgson Studies), I will be publishing an all new collection of Carnacki stories and I am currently looking for submissions!

Carnacki remains one of Hodgson’s most popular creations with not only new stories about the character appearing but he has been included in comic books as well as novels from other writers.  I’m looking for a fresh crop of writers to tackle the stories of this intrepid Ghost-Hunter!

So here’s the details: stories should be between 3,000-6,000 words (anything longer, please query first); stories should feature Carnacki in some aspect; no explicit gore, violence or sex, please; payment will be in 2 contributors copies; NEW DEADLINE for submissions is May 20, 2013 so, yes, this will be closing quickly.

CARNACKI: THE NEW ADVENTURES is planned for an August, 2013, release at the Necronomicon convention in Providence, RI.

Send your submissions (or questions) to me at: with the tag CARNACKI SUBMISSION in the subject line.

I look forward to reading all of these great new Carnacki stories and presenting to everyone an exciting new collection of tales about this timeless character.  Get your submissions in early!  William Meikle already did!

Friday, April 26, 2013

[Link] Editing Your Own Work: How to Dismember Your Darlings

by Jasper Bark

Sir Arthur Quiller Couch, the patron saint of modern grammar nazis and bedroom blog critiques, famously said: “writing is murdering your darlings”. While this quote might suggest that it probably is a good idea to keep most writers locked in their studies for days on end without any human contact, or a change of underwear, it’s not actually because they have homicidal tendencies.

I’ll quite happily admit it’s not a good idea to marry a writer, not because you’ll fear for your life every time they dig a big hole in the back garden (it probably is just for that triffid they’ve always wanted to grow). It’s simply because they’re not legendary for the size of their pay packets. I’ll also agree that you shouldn’t leave them in charge of a room full of school children, but only because of their irregular underwear habits, not because you’ll have another Columbine on your hands.

What the Edwardian uber-critic Sir Arthur was actually getting at was the ruthlessness with which all writers should approach their work, especially when it comes to editing. I’m quite aware of what a painful chore editing can be. So much thought, so much effort and so many beautiful words went into your story and now you have to throw some of them away forever. It’s like clearing out your bookshelves and deciding which of your six copies of Farenheit 451 you’re going to get rid of. The old battered edition was the copy you read in school, whereas this one has a really cool Kelly Freas cover – oh, and you bought this one cos the gorgeous book seller recommended it and that eventually got you laid. I mean how often does a book purchase get you LAID, you can’t part with this one…

Continue reading:

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Galactic Quest Welcomes CREATORS behind Iron man 3 & TMNT ON FREE COMIC BOOK DAY!


Buford & Lawrenceville, GA—It’s no secret that the comic book heroes are back in a big way. Iron Man and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are on the screen and in comics, and for this year’s Free Comic Book Day event, Galactic Quest is proud to the welcome the writers and artists who are busy creating their adventures.

“We’re pulling out all the stops this year,” said store owner, Kyle Puttkammer. “We’re thrilled to have creators Drew Geraci and Erik Burnham from two of the hottest properties in comics and we’re planning for our biggest Free Comic Book Day ever.”

Drew Geraci is one of the artists currently working on the Iron Man 3 prequel comic and has also worked for DC Comics on such famous characters as Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman and for Dark Horse Comics on comics from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Star Wars.

Erik Burnham currently writes the hit series The New Ghostbusters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Secret History of the Foot Clan. Burnham is also writing the Free Comic Book Day issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles the Animated Series, which he will be signing during the day.

“But that’s not all,” said Sean Taylor, manager of the Buford location. “We’ll also have other comic book creators on hand for the fun too, including Wilfredo Torres from The Shadow Year One and lots of local small press folks you should really get to know.”

Taylor and Puttkammer, in addition to running the store, also are creators in their own right. Puttkammer is the main voice behind the Galaxy Man book and the forthcoming Hero Cats comic, both designed for all ages. Taylor has worked with Gene Simmons of KISS fame to write for the Simmons Comics Group in cooperation with IDW Publishing.


Free Comic Book Day is a single day—the first Saturday in May each year—when participating comic book shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely FREE to anyone who comes into their stores. One of the goals of Free Comic Book Day is to reach out to those individuals unfamiliar with the comic book specialty market, not to mention a comic book shop. So, every year those behind Free Comic Book Day launch a massive promotional campaign that heralds the event and spreads the good word of comics to potential readers everywhere.

In addition to the aforementioned comic book celebrities, both the Buford and Lawrenceville locations of Galactic Quest will feature costumed heroes and live music throughout the day.

In Buford, bands will include:

2pm—Southeast Ukers
3pm—The Wonder-Nerds

The music line-up in Lawrence includes:

9am—Brook Shepard
3pm—Bad Bad Lola
4pm—Southeast Ukers
5pm—Ricky & Bambi
8pm—Hott With Harry Leggs

For more information about the event, contact Galactic Quest online at or call the Buford store at 770-614-4804 or the Lawrenceville store at 770-339-3001.
Kyle Puttkammer
(678) 707-1290

Sean Taylor
(770) 614-4804

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The 30 Best Graphic Novels Ever (Final Collected Version)

Here's the full recap of my choices for the top 30 graphic novels.

To hold off any argument, here are my qualifications I used to determine whether or not a book was actually a "graphic novel":

For the most part I'm not counting mere trade paperback collections from a series, unless the stories is conceived as a single, stand-alone tale independent of the rest of the series (hence no volumes of Terry Moore's Strangers in Paradise, which would top a list of best series ever). Also, in the case of a story being long enough to continued across two volumes, I'm just counting it as one story. Finally, I'm also allowing a single volume version of a maxi-series.

30. The Lump
by Chris Wisnia
Published Salt Peter Press

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

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

27. Earth X
by Alex Ross and Jim Krueger
Published by Marvel Comics

26. Legion of Super-Heroes: The Greak Darkness Saga
by Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen
Published by DC Comics

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

24. Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes
by Neil Gaiman and Sam Keith
Published by DC Comics

23. Batman: The Killing Joke
by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland
Published by DC Comics

22. The Infinity Gauntlet
by Jim Starlin, George Perez and Ron Lim
Published by Marvel Comics

21.Astro City: Life in the Big City
by Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson
Published by Wildstorm

20. Punk Rock Jesus
by Sean Murphy
Published by Vertigo Comics

19. Minor Miracles
by Will Eisner
Published by DC Comics

18. Crisis on Infinite Earths
by Marv Wolfman and George Perez
Published by DC Comics

17. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill
Published by Vertigo Comics

16. Fables: Legends in Exile
by Bill Willingham and Lan Medina
Published by Vertigo Comics

15. Sin City: That Yellow Bastard
by Frank Miller
Published by Dark Horse Comics

14. The Crusades
by Steve Seagle and Kelley Jones
Published by Vertigo Comics

13. Blankets
by Craig Thompson
Published by Top Shelf Productions

12. The Building
by Will Eisner
Published by W. W. Norton & Company

11. The Complete Bone
by Jeff Smith
Published by Cartoon Books

10. Maus
by Art Spiegelman
Published by Pantheon

9. V for Vendetta
by Alan Moore and David Lloyd
Published by Vertigo Comics

8. The Dark Knight Returns
by Frank Miller
Published by DC Comics

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

6. Watchmen
by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
Published by DC Comics

5. X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills
by Chris Claremont and Brent Anderson
Published by Marvel Comics

4. A Contract with God and Other Tenement Stories
by Will Eisner
Published by W. W. Norton & Company

3. From Hell
by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell
Published by Top Shelf Productions

2. Squadron Supreme
by Mark Gruenwald and various artists
Published by Marvel Comics

1. Camelot 3000
by Mike Barr and Brian Bolland
Published by DC Comics

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now #278 -- Which one to read?

If someone came to you and asked you what one work of yours, ONE only, 
they should read, what would you tell them? -- Jim Beard

At this point, I'd say it would be my iHero short story collection, SHOW ME A HERO, from New Babel Books. It's still the nearest and dearest to my heart, followed closely by ol' Rick Ruby.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Writers Workshop of Science Fiction & Fantasy Available!

Seventh Star Press is proud to announce that Writers Workshop of Science Fiction & Fantasy is now available in eBook format, with print availability in trade paperback on Wednesday.  Featuring contributions from a sensational list of writers such as Neil Gaiman, Orson Scott Card, Kevin J. Anderson, Ursula K. Le Guin, Harry Turtledove, Joe Haldeman, and many other top names in genre fiction, Writers Workshop of Science Fiction & Fantasy is a highly valuable contribution to the speculative fiction community developed by Bram Stoker Award-winning editor Michael Knost.

Writers Workshop of Science Fiction & Fantasy is a collection of essays and interviews by and with many of the movers-and-shakers in the industry. Each contributor covers the specific element of craft he or she excels in. Expect to find varying perspectives and viewpoints, which is why the reader will find many find differing opinions on any particular subject. It is a book with something to offer all levels of writers, from those seeking to get published for the first time to others who have numerous releases to their credit.

Writers Workshop of Science Fiction & Fantasy features essays and interviews with:
Neil Gaiman
Orson Scott Card
Ursula K. Le Guin
Alan Dean Foster
James Gunn
Tim Powers
Harry Turtledove
Larry Niven
Joe Haldeman
Kevin J. Anderson
Elizabeth Bear
Jay Lake
Nancy Kress
George Zebrowski
Pamela Sargent
Mike Resnick
Ellen Datlow
James Patrick Kelly
Jo Fletcher
Stanley Schmidt
Gordon Van Gelder
Lou Anders
Peter Crowther
Ann VanderMeer
John Joseph Adams
Nick Mamatas
Lucy A. Snyder
Alethea Kontis
Nisi Shawl
Jude-Marie Green
Nayad A. Monroe
G. Cameron Fuller
Jackie Gamber
Amanda DeBord
Max Miller
Jason Sizemore
This edition also features several original illustrations from award-winning artists Matthew Perry and Bonnie Wasson. In addition to their own illustrations, a special collaborative piece created by the two artists is featured in the book.

Available by mid-week in trade paperback format, Writers Workshop of Science Fiction & Fantasy is now available in eBook format for the Kindle and Nook at the following links for just $4.99

For further updates and information about Writers Workshop of Science Fiction & Fantasy, please visit the Seventh Star Press site at:

Contact: C.C. James
Public Relations, Seventh Star Press
ccjames (at)
Seventh Star Press is a small press publisher of speculative fiction located in Lexington Kentucky

Friday, April 19, 2013

[Link] 40 Inspiring Workspaces Of The Famously Creative

From tiny writing desks to giant painting studios, the only thing all of these creative studios have in common is that they inspired their successful inhabitants to create greatness

See the gallery:

E.B. White and his workspace

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Wizard Finds His Path: An Interview with Richard Lee Byers

It's time to meet one of the busiest writers I know, Richard Lee Byers. With all the groups we've been in together on social media, I'm really surprised it took me this long to get to interviewing him. 

All the more for you to enjoy now. 

Tell us a bit about your latest work.

Since December, I’ve had three novels come out. I’ll impose on everyone’s patience by plugging all three.

Blind God’s Bluff (Night Shade Books) is an urban fantasy novel about a small-time gambler who lands in a poker tournament for supernatural creatures. He soon discovers it’s a game played both at and away from the table, and magic and murder are standard tactics.

Prophet of the Dead (Wizards of the Coast) is my new Forgotten Realms sword-and-sorcery novel featuring my mercenary company the Brotherhood of the Griffon.

Pathfinder Tales: Called to Darkness (Paizo) is another heroic fantasy and my first set in the Pathfinder universe. It’s a homage of sorts to Edgar Rice Burroughs.

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

I write a lot about the standard themes of adventure fiction: courage, loyalty, and duty. Above and beyond that, though, I’ve noticed that my protagonists tend to be pragmatic, skeptical, and logical as opposed to dogmatic, fanatical, or inflexible. Basically, I think there’s a secular humanist flavor to my stuff.

What would be your dream project?

Given the financial insecurity that is the lot of many a writer, anything that makes me a ton of money!

But if you mean creatively, well, I’m already writing the kind of material—fantastic adventure and horror—that I love. Without abandoning shared-world work like my Forgotten Realms and Pathfinder novels, I do hope to do more non-franchise books like Blind God’s Bluff over the course of the next few years. I have plenty of ideas. The problem is finding the time to do on-spec work that will hopefully be lucrative in the long run but might not generate much income in the short term.

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

My horror novels from the late eighties and early nineties contain some strong premises and plots but, stylistically speaking, are crude compared to the way I write now. Again, if I had the time, they would benefit from rewriting. But I think it’s smarter to focus on creating new stories and let the old ones be what they are, clunky passages and all.

What inspires you to write?

All my life, I’ve loved language, wild ideas, and stories, and I think I always had a sense that I had the verbal skills and imagination to be a storyteller, and that I would enjoy it if I tried. It turned out I was right. For me, on a good day, writing is fun, and even when it’s not, it’s satisfying afterward when I look back on the work I struggled over and decide that it ended up all right, or hear from readers that they liked it. Getting paid is a motivator, too.

What writers have influenced your style and technique?

There are far too many for an exhaustive list. I’ll list some of those I idolized growing up because I suspect they influenced me most of all: H. P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, Fritz Leiber, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Roger Zelazny, Stan Lee, and Raymond Chandler.

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

Clearly, it’s an art. There’s a dimension of subjectivity and individual taste to it that’s foreign to the objectivity of science. If it were a science, then we would have rules that could guide a writer unfailingly to the creation of a story or essay that every reader would like, and clearly, such formulae do not exist. There’s no piece of writing in all of literature that everybody likes.

That said, though, writing, like every other art, does have principles of craft underlying it. We may not be able to define what makes a good or bad sentence or a satisfying or unsatisfying plot in the same way that we know how many electrons there are in a helium atom, but we do have some useful ideas about these things, and good writers tend to be those who understand the principles, how to apply them, and how, when, and why to deviate from them.

Any other upcoming projects you would like to plug?

In 2011, I self-published The Impostor #1: Half a Hero as an ebook. This was intended to be the first installment of a post-apocalyptic superhero series, a labor of love reflecting my lifelong love of comics and pulp icons like the Shadow and Doc Savage.

I meant to get Impostor #2 out well before this, but various commitments took priority. But I am working on the second installment now and hope to have it available on Amazon shortly.

Also, in early 2014, The Reaver: The Sundering Book IV (Wizards of the Coast) is coming out in hardcover. This is my contribution to the six-book series that is bringing the Forgotten Realms universe forward into an exciting new era.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Iron Man Cometh?

The technology behind the popular super hero is closer than you think.

Tony Stark—the brilliant engineer whose pursuit of a weapon of mass destruction caused him to suffer a massive injury, which necessitated the creation an elaborate suit of armor that gave him supernatural powers—is a fictional character created by Stan Lee. The superhero who would become known as Iron Man has enthralled comic fans since 1963 and has more recently become the star of the latest Hollywood superhero franchise. 

As played by Robert Downey, Jr. in the three recent films (including Iron Man 3 which opens on May 3), the character of Tony Stark was based in part on Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, but don’t let that fact (or the character’s comic book origins) fool you into thinking that Iron Man’s powers are strictly the stuff of fantasy. Much of Iron Man’s technology is already here, or will be in the not-too-distant future.

Here’s a look at a few of the things that may or may not be coming to a superhero near you soon.

Body Armor
The thing that makes Iron Man an iron man is his robotic exoskeleton. According to an article published in the MIT Technology Review in 2011, this technology is a mere five years away. And since the article is two years old, that means we only have to wait three more years. But don’t get too excited, the initial versions, being produced by RaytheonSarcos, will need to be tethered to a power source. A free-roaming version is another decade in the offing.

Augmented Reality
Iron Man’s ability to perceive an augmented reality, where information about what he is seeing and hearing can be shown to him in a heads-up-display manner, is important to his ability to fight the bad guys. The development of Google Glass is obviously a huge step in this direction. If it doesn’t end up being a massive distraction that causes people to walk into things, Google Glass, or some similar technology, could greatly enhance our experience of the world.

Bad-Guy Sensors
In one scene from Iron Man, our hero is able to separate the bad guys hiding amid a group of civilians using some sort of identity-recognizing sensors. While modern military technology has made so-called surgical strikes on enemy targets possible, if being able to tell the good guys from the bad guys was so easy, we’re guessing 9/11 would never have happened.

Advanced Voice-Control
Voice-control technology is also not in its infancy, but as anyone with an iPhone knows, it’s far from perfect. However, this is a technology that is being developed rapidly, so we expect to see Iron-Man-like abilities within a decade or so.

Healing Ability
Iron Man’s Extremis upgrade (comic version only) gave healing powers to the metal man, but so far there’s no such technology available outside the superhero universe.

Jet Boots
Let’s face it, without the jet boots and the ability to fly, Iron Man’s just a souped-up Roman Centurion. Despite their popularity in science fiction, jet packs and jet boots seem to remain a distant dream. There have been some almost-successful attempts at building jet packs, but their range is usually limited. The United States Air Force abandoned its research into jet packs, since already-available helicopter technology is far more practical.

Robotic Enemies
Drone warfare may be one aspect of the Iron Man movies that follows, rather than imagines, existing technology. The U.S. military has been using experimenting with aerial vehicles (UAV)—or drones—since 1916. Nikola Tesla imagined remote control combat vehicles in 1915. UAVs were used in Vietnam, the Yom Kippur War, and, most recently, in Afghanistan and Iraq.

While not exactly a secret weapon or superpower, alcoholism has been a defining aspect of Tony Stark’s personality since 1979’s Demon In a Bottle issue (Iron Man #128). Speaking in advance of the 2008 Iron Man film, director Jon Favreau announced that in the films Stark would retain this characteristic. "Stark has issues with booze. That's part of who he is,” Favreau said. "I don't think we'll ever do the Leaving Las Vegas version, but it will be dealt with.” Alcoholism affects fifteen-percent of Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health, making it an issue that is anything but futuristic.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Batesville, AR – 4/17/2013 – Pro Se Productions, a Publisher known for balancing tales harkening back to classic Pulp Fiction with stories pushing the boundaries of modern Genre Fiction, continues its publishing of books that do both. Pro Se proudly announces the debut of BLACK PULP, a collection featuring the work of various authors, including bestsellers Walter Mosley and Joe R. Lansdale.

BLACK PULP is an anthology of original stories featuring black characters in leading roles in stories running the genre gamut. Pulp fiction of the early 20th century rarely, if ever, focused on characters of color and the handful of black characters in these stories were typically portrayed stereotypically. BLACK PULP brings some of today’s best authors together with up and coming writers to craft stories of adventure, mystery, and more -- all with black characters in the forefront.

Co-editor of BLACK PULP, crime novelist Gary Phillips observed, “While revisionism is not history, as the films Django Unchained and 42 attest, nonetheless historical matters find their way into popular fiction. This is certainly the case with New Pulp as it handles such issues as race with a modern take, even though stories can be set in a retro context.”

Black Pulp offers exciting tales of derring-do from larger-than-life heroes and heroines; aviators in sky battles, lords of the jungle, pirates battling slavers and the walking dead, gadget-wielding soldiers-of-fortune saving the world to mystics fighting for justice in other worlds.

“The title is indeed BLACK PULP,” Pro Se Productions publisher and Black Pulp co-editor Tommy Hancock, "but these stories appeal to all. All of the basic needs for a story to touch a reader are there, including emotion, action, relevance, and more. To see all of that in a Pulp story funneled through characters that got the short shrift in terms of appropriate treatment in classic Pulp is definitely something worth sharing."

BLACK PULP also features a new essay on the nature of Pulp, both classic and modern, by award winning bestselling author Walter Mosley.

The other writers contributing original works to the anthology are: two-time Shamus award winner Gar Anthony Haywood, two time Award finalist Kimberly Richardson, Dixon Medal winner Christopher Chambers, critically acclaimed novelist Mel Odom, hip-hop chronicler Michael Gonzales, and award winning leading New Pulp writers Ron Fortier, D. Alan Lewis, Derrick Ferguson, Charles Saunders, Tommy Hancock, and Chester Himes award winner Phillips. This collection also features a classic story by Joe R. Lansdale, winner of the Edgar Allan Poe award, and multiple Bram Stoker awards.

BLACK PULP is available now from Amazon at
and via Pro Se's own store at! Coming soon in digital format to Kindle, Nook, and more!
With a pulse pounding original cover by artist Adam Shaw and stunning cover design by Sean Ali, BLACK PULP delivers hair raising action and two fisted adventure out of both barrels!

For more information concerning BLACK PULP, including interviews and review copies, contact Pro Se Productions at 870-834-4022 or at

Monday, April 15, 2013

[Link] On Writing Vampires

by Selah Janel

So my friend and co-conspirator in crime Susan Roddey had a blog post the other day about the popularity of anti-heroes and showcasing “bad” characters in fiction. This got me thinking. This also makes sense because we both have stories in the upcoming anthology The Big Bad, and that’s pretty much the theme.  I have to admit, I had a blast writing the story that’s in that anthology for a variety of reasons. One, it gave me a chance to let the snarky, cursey, gore-happy bad girl side out (For those who know me, no, that is not my usual personality and yes, it does get much worse). Two, I got to write a vampire story…and those who know me know how much I stinkin’ love vampire fiction.

However, because of the theme of the anthology and apparently I go about things in an unconventional way, this got me thinking. What makes a good vampire story? Now I’m not necessarily talking about vampire romance or vampires that just show up as one of a myriad of creatures in urban fantasy. What makes  a good modern vampire story? (Not that I’m assuming mine is brilliant, though John Hartness seems to like it alright, so there!)

For me, you have to know right away what your character’s strengths and weaknesses are. This will set the stage for the whole story. Are you following conventional folklore? If so, how does that affect life in the modern world? If not, can you make the changes make sense or at least feel like they make sense?  In my case, I tend to strike a middle road, and since an anthology submission doesn’t give a lot of room for explanations, I’ve learned to do more showing than telling.

What’s the hierarchy and political structure of vampires in your world, and does it matter? In my story, it very much matters. The two vampire characters are on the run from someone who can very much affect their future in many, many ways – none of them pretty. Where they end up may seem boring for urban fantasy/horror, but it’s a safe place for them to hide. 

How was your vampire turned? This will affect the character’s personalities. For instance, my characters love being vampires, but they have no love of how they were turned. They took a potentially crappy situation and made it suit them. They have no regrets, but they’re still being haunted by something (or someone) that was pressing them into being turned.

Continue reading:

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Congratulations to The Ruby Files artist, Rob Moran on his Pulp Factory Award Win For Best Interior Illustrations for THE RUBY FILES Vol. 1, published by Airship 27 Productions.


For the fourth consecutive year, the Pulp Factory Awards were presented at this year’s Windy City Pulp & Paper Convention.

These awards are given to the best in new pulp fiction and art published during the previous year as voted on by the 111 members of the Pulp Factory; an internet group made up of pulp writers, artists, editors, publishers and dedicated fans.

Writer William Patrick Maynard and artist Rob Davis once again co-hosted the award presentations, handing out the sculptured trophies done in the shape of a quill pen set against factory-like gears.

The pen represents both writers and artists, the gears paying homage to the assembly-line production of the old pulps of the 1930s.

This year’s winners for the best in fiction and art for 2012 were:

For Best Pulp Novel –
THE LONE RANGER – VENDETTA by the late Howard Hopkins, published by Moonstone Books.

For Best Pulp Short Story –
"The Ghoul" by Ron Fortier from the anthology, “Monster Aces,” published by Pro Se Productions.

For Best Pulp Cover –
Joe Devito for THE INFERNAL BUDDHA published Altus Press.

For Best Interior Illustrations –
Rob Moran for THE RUBY FILES published by Airship 27 Productions.

This year’s preliminary nominations and final ballot represented a total of twelve New Pulp Fiction publishers.

The Pulp Factory membership congratulates all the winners for their exceptional work.

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees!

The Ruby Files Team

Saturday, April 13, 2013


Contact: James Palmer

Mechanoid Press Goes to the Robots

ATLANTA, GA—Mechanoid Press, a small imprint specializing in science fiction and New Pulp e-books is about to be invaded by robots.

The young publisher is releasing an e-book only title called ROBOT STORIES, featuring three tales of mechanized mayhem. Included in this volume will be work by Joel M. Jenkins, James R. Tuck (author of the Deacon Chalk: occult bounty hunter novels), and Jim Kinley.

“With this many Jims involved, it’s sure to be a winner,” jokes Mechanoid Press editor James Palmer. “I’m super excited to have these gentlemen on board. It’s going to be a blast.”

ROBOT STORIES is scheduled for a mid-summer release, and will sport a classic cover by Rondo award-winning artist Mark Maddox.

About Mechanoid Press

Mechanoid Press is a new imprint specializing in science fiction, New Pulp, and steampunk e-books and anthologies. For more, visit or follow the robot revolution on Twitter. You can also like Mechanoid Press on Facebook.

Friday, April 12, 2013


Pro Se Productions, a Publisher known for Innovative Genre Fiction and New Pulp, announces one of its most interesting, unique projects to date! Author Joseph Lamere brings a wild concept to Pro Se in the first volume of his digest series, DRAMATIS PERSONAE!

The Truth isn't stranger than Fiction. Truth is Fiction! Find out in Joseph Lamere’s DRAMATIS PERSONAE: PUBLIC DOMAIN!

For your whole life secrets have been kept from you. Science and history books have gotten it wrong. They only tell part of the story. Maybe someday these books will be rewritten, but only if Diogenes Ra's secret gets out.

If you only knew what Diogenes Ra knew.

He knows something the rest of us don't. Fiction is real. All your favorite characters exists, their stories overlapping in one grand, timeless narrative. Diogenes Ra can access that narrative. For the right price he will even bring your favorite fictional characters here to our world. But they can't be gone long. They have to get back to their stories in time for you to read them or watch them on TV.

Diogenes Ra believes he alone possesses the ability to pass unchecked between this world and the one we mistakenly call fiction. He's about to find out he's wrong.

“One of the awesome things about being a Publisher of Genre Fiction,” Tommy Hancock, Partner in and Editor-in-Chief of Pro Se states, “is that it’s a fertile field for new and different takes on old standards. With DRAMATIS PERSONAE, Joseph has brought something to the table that’s part mystery/part mash up/ part family drama and most definitely all Fun. The characters jump off the page, literally within the story, but also Diogenes and crew are truly unforgettable on their own. This is a series that Pro Se will be glad to share with the world for a long time coming.”

DRAMATIS PERSONAE: PUBLIC DOMAIN by Joseph Lamere! With Cover Art by Terry Pavlet, Format and Design by Sean Ali, and Ebook Design by Russ Anderson! The first of a fantastically imaginative new series from Pro Se Productions!

DRAMATIS PERSONAE: PUBLIC DOMAIN is available for $8.00 in print from Pro Se’s own store at, from Amazon at and available in digital format for $2.99 for your Nook at, on your Kindle at, and for other formats via Smashwords at !

Interested in interviews and review copies of this title? Email Morgan Minor, Pro Se’s Director of Corporate Operations at!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Mark Bousquet: The Dreamer of Kraken Moor

How could I not have introduced you to Mark Bousquet already? Better late than never.

Tell us a bit about your latest work.

My latest novel is The Haunting of Kraken Moor (, which was designed to 1) get me out of my comfort zone, and 2) demonstrate to everyone who asks me, "How do you write a novel?" how to write a novel.

On the first count, I'd never written a horror novel before, I don't keep a journal, I rarely ever write in first person, and while I often use female protagonists, I'd never written "as a woman" using first person.

Enter Beatrice Sharper, a young woman of the Confederate South who ran away from home during the middle of the Civil War over objections to the Southern Cause that her father and fiance were fighting for. As her journal opens, it's New Year's Eve 18 years later, and she's run out of money and about to start work as a housekeeper in Kraken Moor, a castle in the east of England. Almost immediately, creepy things start happening: sleepwalking, bad dreams, werewolves, demons with goat heads who want to have sex with her, visions of her now-dead fiance being tortured in the pits of Hell ...

You know how some people will tell you to write what you know? The Haunting of Kraken Moor is an exercise in doing the exact opposite of that. (laughs)

On the second count, I wrote it as a journal, writing and posting nearly every day for two months so people could watch the progression. I tried to write it in "real time" as much as possible - thus, if I sat at my computer at lunch time to write, I tried to have Beatrice writing during her lunch break, too. There are moments when that's not possible, of course, but I think it added something to the project.

What was interesting about the writing process is that this is Beatrice's journal, after all, but my novel, and that tension between her desire to recap her day and my desire to tell a story often clashed. In the book, I set this up by introducing the idea that this was a journal I was hired to transcribe and that I left everything as it was - so there are some mistakes in spelling and there are some inconsistencies and there are moments of frustration where, as a reader, you want more than the writer was providing. But if you're keeping a journal and you witness a werewolf having sex with a 70-year old woman, you're probably not going to spend page after page describing all the silverware you polished - you're going to favor the big moments.

So now, when people ask me, "How do you write a novel?" or say "I'd love to write a novel, but I don't have the time," I can point them to Kraken Moor, tell them that most entries were written in an hour, and in just over two months, I had a book written.

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

That's a great question. In addition to the new horror novel, I've written 2 kids novels (Stuffed Animals for Hire and Adventures of the Five), a weird western (Gunfighter Gothic), an urban fantasy (Dreamer's Syndrome), straight up cosmic pulp (Harpsichord & the Wormhole Witches), and a book of movie reviews (Atomic Reactions: Marvel Comics on Film), yet there are similar themes that run through the creative works.

I like taking people who are comfortable in their environment and radically changing that environment. All of these novels spend time in settings that are alien to them. For Hanna and Jill in Gunfighter Gothic, it's the weird west. For the Stuffed Animals for Hire, it's Los Angeles. For the Five, it's a fantasy world with human-sized Nutcrackers and Abominable Yeti. For Harpsichord, it's the Deep of far space. And for the Dreamers, it's a world that, overnight, has been reconfigured by angels to mirror everyone's childhood dream.

I usually write groups of characters and I like to use the new environments to cause fractures in relationships. With Hanna and Jill, for instance, the two women grew up in the same house together as best friends, but with Jill being the rich, white girl and Hanna being her poor, Korean-American servant. Now that they're out west and out of Jill's father's house, they're equals, so we get to watch their relationship evolve. They first appeared in PulpWork Press' How the West Was Weird, Volume 2,and I purposely wrote that story in such a way that everyone would think Jill was Batman and Hanna was Robin, and then deep into the story another character laughs at Jill and says something like, "You don't even realize this is Hanna's story, do you?"

Full admission, too - I'm much more interested in characters than action, so by putting characters on the run and in new environments, I force myself to keep things moving.

What would be your dream project?

I want to be Kevin Feige.

Let me explain. One really great thing about writing in the print-on-demand world is that I can write whatever I want whenever I want, so in a very real sense, every project I work on is my dream project of the moment.

When I was an undergrad at Syracuse, I had a professor who basically told me, "I don't think you can cut it as a writer, but I can see you running a studio." I was much more successful in that class helping other people with their projects than I was in creating my own, and maybe because my professional training is as a literary academic rather than a creative writer, and maybe because I'm constantly either analyzing fiction or analyzing student essays or writing movie reviews, I'd love the "All Seeing Eye" challenge of being the point man in a shared universe.

I spend a lot of time thinking about how to construct multiple narratives. I'm much more a Marvel guy than a DC guy, but I'm constantly thinking about how I'd put the DC Cinematic Universe together, or how I'd put Marvel, Phase 2 together. So big scale, I'd love to have a Kevin Feige position. Small scale, I'd love to have a publisher give me the freedom to create a shared universe anthology.

My dream full time job, though? I'd love to work in creative for the WWE. All that thinking I do about the Marvel and DC Cinematic Universes? I spend just as much time figuring out how I'd make the tag team division or women's division interesting, since both divisions are currently not nearly as entertaining as I think they could be. About 10 or 15 years ago, I had a friend of a friend who worked at the company and had me send him my resume, but unfortunately, nothing ever came of it.

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

Dreamer's Syndrome. Maybe we all end up feeling this way about our first novel, but I wrote it originally as an online serial for Frontier Publishing (RIP), which closed up shop before DS was finished. Without having an outlet for it and being knee deep in grad school, I didn't finish it until Van Allen Plexico over at White Rocket Books approached me about finishing it. So I banged out the last 4 or 5 chapters and Van published it. What I should have done - and this is totally on me because Van gave me the freedom to go in either direction; he was incredibly supportive - was spend some time transforming the story from serialized novel into a regular novel. We put a note in the front of the book that it was a serialized novel but I still got some flak from readers who were unsatisfied with how every chapter was nearly the same length and almost always ended on a cliffhanger. I put out a Special Edition of DS a few years ago to take another step closer to turning it into a straight novel, but I think now the better option would have been to design the book's interior to mimic a serial rather than attempt to take a pie and call it cake.

What inspires you to write?

It's less about inspiration and more about compulsion, I think. I've been writing stories since first grade or second grade. I can remember getting a creative writing assignment early in elementary school and writing a line that said something like, "Things were so crazy on Crazy Street that you could see the air." From there, I was pretty much hooked and I've been writing stories ever since. Even during stretches where I wasn't writing anything creative, I was always thinking of stories.

What writers have influenced your style and technique?

First and foremost, early to mid-1980s Marvel Comics: Walt Simonson. Roger Stern. Steve Englehart. Mark Gruenwald. Ann Nocenti.

There were writers that influenced before them: Tolkien, Lewis, Lloyd Alexander, Thornton W. Burgess, Chuck Jones, George Lucas, Peter Gammons, Hanna-Barbera's stable, Maurice Sendak, whoever it was writing the Hardy Boys, Three Investigators, and Encyclopedia Brown stories. There are writers who've influenced me after them: Mark Twain, Nick Hornby, Elmore Leonard, Herman Melville, Bill Watterson, Quentin Tarrantino, Emily Dickinson, Steven Moffat, Roderick Frazier Nash, Wright Thompson, David Quammen, Ernest Hemingway, the writing team on Buffy, Neil Gaiman.

But at my core, I'm a guy looking to create the magic of Thor vs. the Midgard Serpent, of the Siege of Avengers Mansion, of the West Coast Avengers, of Captain America vs. the Serpent Society, and Daredevil vs. Typhoid Mary.

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

It's science, but you've got to do it artistically. Or it's art, but you've got to do it scientifically. It's a blend. Your idea? That's art. Your execution? That's science. Knowing a genre, knowing how to use a comma, understanding subplots, constructing a good fight sequence ... that's all science, but that part of writing that makes the story yours ... that's where the art comes in.

Any other upcoming projects you would like to plug?

Right now, I'm editing my next book of reviews, Atomic Reactions: Science Fiction Movies, Volume 1. I write reviews constantly at my webiste ( and this is a collection taken from those reviews. Unlike the Marvel Comics on Films book, which covered every single Marvel movie I could get my hands on (from Power Pack to Avengers), the Sci Fi book will be a much more random collection. I cover all the Alien/Predator movies, but after that it's an eclectic mix of films, covering a variety of moves from 2-Headed Shark Attack to Blade Runner. I'm hoping to have that available in May.

At the same time, I'm working on the next Gunfighter Gothic collection, called Under Zeppelin Skies. There should be four stories in the collection: "Waltzing Zombies Prefer Dixie," "The Vampires of Jesus Christ," "Colorado Kaiju," and "Chemical Winter." As is plain to see from up above, I like variety in my writing, but I'd to make Gunfighter Gothic my signature series. Even though it takes place a year earlier and on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, The Haunting of Kraken Moor takes place in the Gunfighter Gothic universe (and Hanna and Jill make a brief appearance in flashback). While I try not to plan too far out, I'd like for every other novel or novel-length collection to be set in the Gunfighter Gothic universe.

Ironically (or cruelly, maybe), I think Adventures of the Five is my best book but one of my worst sellers, and I'd love to return to that universe, too. I've got a Christmas book that's 50-60% complete and I hope to get that finished this year, too.

I've got a few short stories due to drop this year, as well, and I'd like to start doing more writing for other people because I think it helps to make you a better writer.


Mark Bousquet is the author of several novels and collections, including The Haunting of Kraken MoorGunfighter GothicStuffed Animals for HireDreamer’s SyndromeHarpsichord and the Wormhole Witches, and Adventures of the Five. He has also published a review collection entitled Marvel Comics on Film, which covers every cinematic and TV movie based on a superhero from the House of Ideas. A complete listing of all his work can be found at his Amazon author page.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Sex Scenes: It’s Not About the Sex

 By Corrina Lawson

To close the bedroom door or fling it wide open? That’s the question authors face when they reach the point in a story where characters are going to have sex.

The answer to the question is in knowing that sex scenes aren’t about the sex.

As my writing mentor, Jennifer Crusie teaches, a scene is a unit of conflict between two people with opposing goals. Conflict is what makes a scene work, what makes it pop so a reader pays attention. Think of the hottest sex scenes you’ve read or watched on television. At the heart, there is a conflict.

If there is no conflict, the sex scene fails to, um, climax. In those cases, it’s better to shut the bedroom door and leave it to the imagination.

A classic example of shutting the door on sex are Nick and Nora Charles in the Thin Man movies. Their conflict came from their verbal jousting. Once they were done with the banter, there was no reason to show the sex. (Though one wishes that movie censors of the time at least let them share the same bed.)

Castle, a television show that’s an intellectual descendant of the Thin Man, is a modern example of less is more. Castle and Beckett became a couple at the end of last season with a very hot kiss because it was about Beckett trying to show how much she cared about Castle, while he resisted. (At least initially.)

Cut to the current season. The show begins not with a sex scene but with a barely clothed Beckett bringing Castle his morning coffee in bed. Since neither is sure of exactly what the sex meant to the relationship, they talk and reassure each other that, yes, this is real, and, yes, they’re together. There’s a little banter at the end but instead of a sex scene next, they’re interrupted. Which is as it should be, because the conflict in that scene ended when they knew their relationship was on solid ground.

Throughout the current season, viewers have seen little of Castle and Beckett in bed or even kissing. Instead, the writers have defaulted back to their ever-present banter, albeit with an added sexual edge. It works wonderfully.

On the opposite extreme is the Spartacus series on Starz network. This is a show that specializes in conflict-ridden sex. Given the show is soaked in nudity, it’s surprising how much intensity individual sex scenes can contain. There is an obvious difference between the sex in the show as background noise and the scenes in which two people make love.

In the first season, the slave Mira is sent to Spartacus to make sure he can play his part as a stud to a rich Roman woman the next night. He refuses to touch Mira because he doesn’t care about her. But when they finally make love, it’s because Mira has fallen a little bit in love with Spartacus and truly wants him. For his part, he’s come to care for her as a person. Under those circumstances, he’s more than willing. Their first sex is full of Mira’s need to make him love her, whereas Spartacus isn’t even close to love yet, he only wants to feel alive. It’s their different expectations that fuel the scene and it’s absolutely necessary to see them in the act to understand their conflict.

Another conflict-fueled scene is in Spartacus: Vengeance between Illythia and her husband, Glabor. They’ve been busy fighting and hurting each other all season. But after Illythia gets rid of her romantic rival, they make love while caked in blood, a sex scene between that is both horrific and hot at the same time. She’s trying to bring him back to her life, and he finally gives in.

Finding that conflict to make a sex scene work is not easy. I’ve written only one erotica short story, Freya’s Gift, because of that difficulty.

Freya’s Gift has four sex scenes, with a climactic (pun intended) three-way male/female/male sex scene at the heart of the story. A plague has killed nearly all the women of this particular Viking tribe and only by making a sacrifice can the Chief’s wife become fertile and bring new life to the tribe. The sacrifice includes making herself available to another man in the tribe to ensure conception.

This means the Chief must agree to a three-way sex ritual before the goddess Freya with his wife and another man.

This creates all kinds of conflict during the sex. Will the Chief back away? What if his wife enjoys the ritual and her husband (who she loves) rejects her after? What if the other man pursues her after the ritual? What the men want each other?

To answer all these questions, the sex had to be on the page.

Conflict is the difference between tab A into slot B and a scene that keeps a reader glued to the story. Otherwise, it’s just naked bodies moving around.


Corrina is former newspaper reporter with a degree in journalism from Boston University. She turned to writing fiction after her twins were born (they were kids three and four) to save her sanity. Corrina is currently senior editor of GeekMom and a core contributor to its brother site, Geek Dad. Often you can find her hanging out on comic book writer Gail Simone’s forum on Jinxworld. She has been a finalist in the national Golden Heart contest sponsored by the Romance Writers of America and is the winner of several regional RWA contests. She is the author of three stories in the alternate history Seneca series, Freya’s Gift, Dinah of Seneca and Eagle of Seneca, and three stories in her superhero romance stories from Samhain, Phoenix Rising, Luminous and Phoenix Legacy. She is the co-writer of The GeekMom Book, was published by the Potter Craft division of Crown Publishing in October 2012. For more information, visit her website at

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now #277 -- There Can Only Be One

If you could be remembered for only ONE of your short stories, 
novellas, or comic books, which one would it be and why?

There can only be one? Well, that really sucks.
Ouch. This one is going to hurt. A lot.


Just one. Wow. This is tough.

I'm proudest of my work on Gene Simmons Dominatrix because I love that I was able to take what could have been a laughable idea and turn it into a compelling and critically acclaimed tale.

I most enjoy my work with the award-winning Rick Ruby (The Ruby Files) because Rick is such a fun character to write.

But if I could only choose one work, I'd have to go with (drum roll please) "Once Upon a Time." The story originally appeared in Cyber Age Adventures magazine and was also included in my Show Me A Hero short story collection.


Because the idea of that story still resonates with me. The idea that with all her powers, Starlight can't stop the onset of leukemia in her oldest son unless she makes a deal with one of her deadliest foes, still holds water for me. But what still gets me the most is the way the hero of the tale is Tad, her son, not the Starlight the super-powered heroine.

And it still makes me cry. Pretty much every time I read it.