Friday, January 29, 2016

Ideas Like Bullets -- HEY! DON’T CHANGE A THING! IT’S MINE!!!!

by Tommy Hancock

I recently became involved briefly in a discussion on social media with a person I consider a friend of mine, someone who I interact with online because of shared interests and have done so for a number of years.  The discussion involved a recent announcement about a major comic company getting its hands on some television cartoon concepts that many would consider classic and doing their own updated comic takes on them, in some cases changing the status quo of the idea dramatically.  This person I consider a friend commented that he wasn’t that interested in all this because this particular company had a habit of not doing right by its own characters so he didn’t trust them not to be “screwing things up” with the aforementioned concepts.  I responded with my thoughts on the term ‘screwing things up’ in connection to different creatives handling concepts that were not there on and dearly loved by some sort of fandom. What ensued after that was a discussion, he continued to stand by his assertion and I acknowledging that and standing by mine.

What follows in this column is not about this discussion and not at all about this friend.

But I do bring up said conversation and said friend to both clearly point out that what I’m about to say is not about him and the majority of fans of most anything out there AND to identify what I think the majority of supporters of any fandom are like.  I truly believe, although these days it is more like hoping than believing, that most people who are fans of a movie universe or a comic character or a tabletop game, or anything that might qualify for those of us who identify as geeks as having a fandom are actually normally functioning, reasonable people who just happen to feel strongly about a particular thing they like, maybe even love in a completely appropriate fashion.  They can make strong statements when they disagree with how a property they hold dear is being handled and on the same hand, they have the ability to comment positively when someone does something stellar with same property, be that by telling a story that keeps the property true to what they love about it or by doing something completely new and different that they actually feel works for the property.  That group of devotees to various and sundry properties is where I’d place my aforementioned friend, as I’ve seen him respond appropriately in every situation and even making positive comments on different takes on the things he loves when they have been done in a way that he thinks is appropriate to the concept he likes.  Again, that is how a fan should be and act and I really DO hope that most of us are still that way. 

No, from this point on I am not addressing the likes of my oft mentioned by never named acquaintance above or those like him.  Where my attention turns to now is the other type of ‘fan’, a term which I am hesitant to use because really, for the individuals I’ll now be discussing, the actual word from which fan is derived is probably more appropriate.  Fanatics.  People who not only like certain properties, enjoy certain stories, shows, characters, etc, but people who apparently have an unhealthy obsession for them,.  These fanatics, who not only voice their disapproval of how a particular character is being handled, but who believe that it is their place and function to comment on every sniggling point that is wrong with said handling are to whom I speak now, or at least speak about.  Because it’s not just this completely over the top arguing and reviewing of just what clause of the intergalactic law the character who would never violate that actually did violate, thanks to the new writers that we see so much of now that bothers me.  No, I am completely overwhelmed, angered, and saddened sometimes to be called a geek or a fan because that means that those I call the uninitiated lump me in with those nutbar fanatics who talk disparagingly and often disgustingly of the creator who has perpetrated this malfeasance of applying their take on said concept, to the point of insulting them or anyone who supports their version of the idea.  Those admirers so ardent over an idea that they loved as a kid or discovered while reading on a bus trip to somewhere that instead of acting like civilized human beings with one another, seek to discourage, incite, and be downright ugly to any who disagree with them.

I think what bothers me most of all about this class of ‘fan’ is that they often dig in their heels up to their armpits and become not only unwilling but whatever is ten parsecs beyond unwilling to even entertain anything new related to the concept they covet.  They refuse to go see the new movie, yet they critique the holy hell out of something they won’t even deign to damage their eyes with.  They won’t even read a page of a new author handling a character created by someone else because whatever trailer or preview they’ve seen just ticks them off to no end, so there can be nothing redeemable. 

Now, the friend I focused on when I started this? He’s not this type, and I know this for fact because I’ve discussed and witnessed his discussions of trying different takes on things and usually not being happy with the treatment of his favorite characters, but sometimes finding himself surprised.  No, again, a fan, as I now define them, will staunchly stand by whatever aspect of their favored concepts they believe in, but they will also not shut themselves off from any other takes on said idea and will be respectful not only of others who like the different takes, but also will have enough respect for people in general and the creative process specifically to at least try the different version, if for no other reason so that when they do argue about it and say it stinks to high seven heavens, they can say they have at least tasted of the rotted meat!!

But, no, the ‘fanatics’…or maybe they’re just really close minded, mean spirited…nah, wherever I was going with that was just going to be too long and hard to remember… what I am about to say is aimed at them.  Yeah, you out there who got butt hurt over the fact that The Force Awakens did have story beats from the first Star Wars movie, but you only know that because you stayed in your little dark cave and read your computer screen, wouldn’t even put out the effort to go see the movie before you attacked it based on what other people said and spoke of it as if you were some sort of vaulted expert.  Yeah, you who won’t pick up a Sherlock Holmes book up that doesn’t have the name Doyle in the author’s spot, but you’ll get on your mailing list and your Facebook page and not only malign stories you’ve not read, but make personal comments about an author’s parentage or whether or not they should live to write another Holmes story.. Oh, and yeah, you too who at conventions see some kid cosplaying their favorite character and proceed to walk up to them and ridicule them for using cheap face paint or duct tape or drawing the S they wear on their chest on a piece of construction paper because that’s not how it’s done and they’re nothing but a disgrace to the character that You know so well, even though you’re standing there in your street clothes, wearing a bat symbol t-shirt.

So, yeah, all of you who fall into the above, who probably haven’t hung on long enough to get this far, what comes next is for you.

Get. Over. Yourselves. Now. Today.

Before your own damned ignorance and stupidity on how your infatuation with a made up story forever cripples you in having any appropriate social interaction with human beings, muggle or otherwise. 

It has been said many times that the advent of the internet and of things like Facebook and Twitter has made it easier and more acceptable for people to make more personal attacks, to release more vile vitriol than ever before at one another.  My big round Death Star it has.  If you’re one of those people who are wishing ill will on creators who just don’t agree with you, whether that be the ruin of their career or something even more heinous, then the fact that you have an Instagram account didn’t make You that way.  You, something about You, allows you to be a brazen idiot where the whole world can see it. And guess what? Only You can make that any different.

Here’s the weakest argument, really, for any fan related tirade, even the ones I sometimes go on.  Though we may find a story, a movie, a show, an idea that we absolutely in many ways quite literally fall in love with at some point, and yes, my own list is very long, it is still just a fictional creation, albeit a world we feel at home in.  And, here’s the important part of this, we fell in love with the version we encountered.  Not the ones before it, were there any, and not the ones after it, but the singular one that impacted us the most.  To believe that our dislike or at least ambivalence toward the other versions gives us any more right to do more than grumble and complain and harken back to what we loved the most, which is what most sensible people do, is completely off base.  We are not experts in any fandom enough to claim that we know any better what should happen with an idea that 99 percent of us are never going to touch.  We can be saddened, we can even be angered by what X author does with Y character in Z universe, but that does not give us the right and shouldn’t even be enough to make it occur to us to be nasty and mean and vindictive or outright stupid enough to wish bad things on people we don’t know or to spend endless hours and days arguing about how bad something is that we’ve not even tried to partake of.

Seth Rogan made a movie a few years back.  The Green Hornet, some of you might have heard of it, most probably didn’t it because it had a mediocre showing at the box office. Now, although many fans of the character, myself included, went into the movie and all the hype before it with hope, it became pretty clear early on that this was not going to be the Green Hornet we wanted.  Not the version as originally conceived in the radio show in the 1930s and not the TV version which gave a young Bruce Li a leg up in Hollywood.  This wasn’t even going to be based on one of the better comic versions of the character that has come along in the last 20 or so years.  No, this was going to be a trainwreck of monumental proportions.  And, yes, it proved to be such, for Green Hornet fans and those who had never heard of the character alike.

At the time of all the fervor about the film, there were fans, like me, who said, “Okay, not hopeful, but I’ll at least give it a watch, to see what it’s all about.” I always want to know about whatever I may be arguing about in the near future.  Other said, “Nope, not gonna see it. Not gonna waste my time or money.” And some of those same people, when the reviews came out verifying what they felt was wrong with the movie, chimed in with an ‘I Told You So’ or two, maybe. And of course there were all sorts of responses between the two, including some GH fans, maybe two at last count, who liked it enough to say so.

Then one particular response stuck out to me, from someone I’d known a tad through the internet.  And it went something like this.  “Seth Rogan should die.  Anyone involved in this piece of Shit should rot in hell. How dare they do this to my Hornet!”

Yeah, that.

Don’t be that fanatic. Please. Ever.  That serves no purpose other than for someone to add to a probably already sizable mound of evidence they’ve been building for your upcoming commitment hearing. 

Love your fandoms.  Defend them if you feel you need to.  But don’t forget…and this is coming from a writer and a Publisher who would love someone to be uber passionate about some of the stuff I’m doing and my writers are doing as they are about the bigger properties… it’s not yours, only the feelings and emotions a particular version of it gave you are.  And why dishonor something that gave you pleasure, and maybe even acted as a way for you to feel good about yourself, by reacting like a complete and total lunatic when someone comes along that has a different bent on it?

Makes no sense to this fan.

Thursday, January 28, 2016




Lombard, Illinois – January 25, 2016

Every year in April, fans gather at the Westin Hotel near Yorktown Mall to celebrate the best in classic and New Pulp literature. As part of those celebrations, nominations for the Pulp Factory Awards are open.  

As new leadership drives the Pulp Factory Awards forward, the nomination process will be as follows:

1. Members of the Pulp Factory E-mail list have until Monday, February 15th to submit their initial nominations for the Pulp Factory Awards. Any book published in print in 2015 can be considered for nomination (Digital-only books are excluded) Reprints are not eligible for individual awards such as Best Short Story, but may be included in collections if those collections feature new stories published in 2015.

2. Nominations should be e-mailed directly to, with choices in the following categories:


3. The Best Pulp Anthology category covers any anthology or collection featuring a multiple stories by a single author (a collection) or stories by a variety of authors (a normal anthology). The book must have been printed in 2015 and must have contained at least one new story. In the case of a new story plus reprints, the book is eligible for Best Pulp Anthology but only the new story is eligible for the Best Pulp Short Story category

4. Fans are encouraged to submit multiple entries for each category by February 15th – although members are encouraged to discuss their choices on the Pulp Factory list, only those e-mailed directly to will be considered for the Award.

5. After February 15th, the committee will tally and craft a final ballot for voting (deadline to be schedule), and that ballot will be submitted for fans to vote electronically for the awards. Awards will be distributed during the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention from April 22 – April 24th, 2016.

Questions and nominations should be directed to This will insure a more prompt response than reaching out to individual committee members.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Chuck Dixon announces Levon's Run!


The FBI, ATF, Homeland Security and police from seven states are on the trail of Levon Cade and his daughter Merry. More vigilante action with man-killer Levon Cade in his third thriller as he leads his pursuers into the heartland where he means to lose them forever. But his plans turn to a desperate fight for survival and he enters the shadowy world of human traffickers.

For more information:

Friday, January 22, 2016

Ideas Like Bullets: Old Stories, New Takes, Same Spirit

My first novel was a little missive called YESTERYEAR.  This is a tale that is seen by many as a deconstruction of the hero concept. Still, others see it as the exact opposite, a tale of how heroes transposed from Pulp Style to Super Type and the hopes for the magic not be lost in the change. Regardless of your viewpoint, this is not only my first novel length work, but is a labor of love in the largest way.  A concept that I’ve worked on since the early 90s, writing down character ideas in notebooks scattered all about like fallen leaves.  YESTERYEAR was the culmination of many years of storycrafting and also was always intended to be the first of a trilogy, with multiple spin offs afterward.  That was 2011.

There is still only one book.

So, yes, to answer the question I am asked most often as a writer, the YESTERYEAR universe trilogy will be completed and all the original plans I’ve had will see fruition over the next few years.  But I’m going to do something that isn’t done as a matter of course typically. In rereading YESTERYEAR, I found things that I didn’t care for. Not necessarily simply areas where I improved as a writer skill wise, but I also stumbled across story points that had me going, “Why did I ever do THAT?”  So, because I am the author and because of the wonders of technology and such today, I am already at work on a ‘Creator’s Special Edition’ of YESTERYEAR to be released later this year. This is part rewrite/part improvement and yes, it may have a different outcome than the original work did.  Some of the characters from the first version may not fare as well this time around, either.  Now, I know that will irritate some, but I feel that what I will be producing this time around will be the better book and make a much improved stage for what is to come next.

What I don’t expect to change, however, is the introduction included in the front of the book.  One of my dearest friends and one of the best writers I know, Derrick Ferguson, provided the introduction to the first novel and hopefully he will find the new version worthy of the same words.  I have many great, and not so awesome things said about my work, but very few sentiments have touched me the way Derrick’s introduction did.  So much so, that I had Derrick record the introduction when Pro Se was doing its own audiobooks in the past for inclusion in the YESTERYEAR audiobook that never came to pass.  So, as a special treat for all who might care and as a special thank You to Derrick, please click below and listen to Mister Ferguson’s introduction to my novel, YESTERYEAR.

Online recording software >>

Wednesday, January 20, 2016



Pulp Ark, a convention focusing on New Pulp Fiction and Culture, was held from 2011 to 2013. In 2015, Pulp Ark returned as a major component of the River City Comic Expo in Little Rock, AR. A primary part of Pulp Ark for its first three years were The Pulp Ark Awards, fan voted awards for Genre Fiction defined as New Pulp.
According to Tommy Hancock, founder and coordinator of Pulp Ark and the Awards, The Pulp Ark New Pulp Awards are continuing in 2016 and will be awarded at the River City Comic Expo June 11-12, 2016 in Little Rock, AR.

“It feels right,” says Hancock, “to return the Awards to their association with Pulp Ark, especially with the successful return of the convention in a slightly new form in 2015. We’ve reviewed the slate of awards given in the past and have reduced the number for a variety of reasons, and although we may add removed awards back or even new categories at a later date, we feel like the awards offered are comprehensive for the state of New Pulp today. Pulp Ark was conceived to bring the best and brightest creators to the public’s attention and the Awards proved then and will again prove to be one of the best possible ways to do just that.”

Nominations for the 2016 Pulp Ark New Pulp Awards are now open and will close at 5 PM CST on February 1, 2016. Anyone can nominate in any of the available categories for work that was published in 2015, either in print, ebook form, or in an established internet venue, such as an e-magazine. Postings on personal blogs do not qualify.

All nominations that are made that fit the qualifications of New Pulp will be placed on the final ballot, regardless of the number of nominations any one work or individual receives. NO CREATOR MAY NOMINATE HIM/HERSELF OR HIS/HER WORK FOR A PULP ARK NEW PULP AWARD. Publishers may, however, nominate works from their own publishing houses as long as the Publisher is not a writer or artist involved in the nominated work. This is also a change from previous years.

To determine if a work or creator qualifies for these awards the definition for works that qualify is as follows-New Pulp is fast-paced, plot-oriented storytelling of a linear nature with clearly defined, larger than life protagonists and antagonists, creative descriptions, clever use of turns of phrase and other aspects of writing that add to the intensity and pacing of the story.

Hancock also states, “Every year we held the awards, we received nominations that, due to the subjective way that New Pulp is defined, might be questionable in terms of qualifying as New Pulp. As we have done in the past with the Awards, there will be a selected committee of 4-5 New Pulp creators who will, when such questions arise, be consulted to determine inclusion of said work as a nomination.”

The only works eligible for the 2016 New Pulp Awards are those produced between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015. Anyone can make a nomination and anyone that makes a nomination will receive a ballot on February 2nd and voting will be open until 5 PM CST on February 17, 2016. Also, ballots will be posted on the Pulp Ark New Pulp Awards 2016 Facebook page and available for anyone who wishes to cut and paste and email the ballot to Each ballot must contain a link to a Facebook page, a Twitter account, an email profile, or some other verifiable source by which the identity of the voter can be affirmed.

In the past, the Pulp Ark Awards were physical plaques presented to each winner. The final form of the 2016 Awards has not be determined at this point, but a physical award of some sort will be given to each winner.

The Categories open for Nomination until 5 PM CST February 1, 2016, are as follows.

Only One Nomination allowed per person per category in:

1. Best Novel (This includes E-books as well as print books and length must be 40,000 + words)

2. Best Collection/Anthology (This includes single author story collections and multi- author anthologies. This includes E-publications as well as print books)

3. Best short story (this includes stories that appear in short story collections, anthologies, magazines, and e magazines. If from an e-mag, the story must appear on a site identified as an e-magazine, not simply be posted on a site or blog. It includes e-publications as well as traditionally printed works. Length must be 17,500 words or less.)

4. Best Novella (this includes stories that appear in short story collections, anthologies, magazines, and e magazines. If from an e-mag, the story must appear on a site identified as an e-magazine, not simply be posted on a site or blog. It includes e-publications as well as traditionally printed works. Length must be 17,500- 40,000 words)

5. Best Cover-(This is restricted to prose book publications, including e-books)

6. Best Artist (This reward refers to the artist only and any artist with work published in New Pulp works, including novels, short stories, magazines, e-publications, and covers or interiors as well, in 2015 is eligible).

7. Best Author (This reward refers to the author and any author with work published in 2015 is eligible, including novels, short stories, etc. This includes e-publications as well).

8. Best New Writer (To be nominated, a writer must have been published for the first time in the pulp field in the calendar year of 2015. This includes e-publications as well).

Send all nominations or any questions to

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now #343 -- Making Monsters

When you write horror, what goes into making a creepy, horrific monster?

In all my horror stories, even in those with creatures such as zombies and monsters -- especially in those with monstrous creatures -- one thing remains the same for me as a writer. People make the best monsters in fiction. You don't need claws and fangs to bring on the evil, creepy, or scary. For example, in my first published zombie story, the big bad isn't the zombie itself, but the man who has created an art project of his late wife's undead corpse.

I think it comes from the influence of Gothic horror movies. Sure, the castles were filled with ghosts and monsters, but the evil that always seemed to be most at play was that of the living humans. Greed brought out the ghosts. Lust ignited the passion of vampires. The human evil always trumped the supernatural one.

I think that's a trait of much of the best horror fiction.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Ideas Like Bullets -- The Perilous Adventures of Anabelle Flagstaff

A few posts ago, I issued an IDEAS LIKE BULLETS challenge.  For those unfamiliar, I tend to have lots of ideas and I will share some of them on this column sometimes and encourage people to run with them. If you missed the first post about this one, THE PERILOUS ADVENTURES OF ANABELLE FLAGSTAFF, then look back through the archives for it. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Or click the handy link I provided.) It’s still one You can do!

Below find a tale from the first hardy individual to take on the challenge! And remember, though some ideas I share I will give away freely, this one is still mine, therefore all submissions are to be considered ‘works’ for hire.

Read on and enjoy Ray Dean’s take on….

The Perilous Adventures of Anabelle Flagstaff:

by Ray Dean

Anabelle Flagstaff created by Tommy Hancock

Montgrove Manor had a rather illustrious past amongst the occult. Both the practitioners and the merely curious had heard of its curious history, but only the most adventurous and some of the most foolhardy ventured into the moors to seek out its rather inhospitable halls.

But for Anabelle Flagstaff, a weekend spent at the Manor had nothing to do with curiosity and everything to do with settling old scores.

The Earl had once been a robust man of steely nerves and a steady constitution. Inheriting the lands and possibly the malevolent specters of Montgrove Moors had nearly hollowed him, aging him far before his time. That was the fate of the man revealed to her upon her arrival, seated behind his desk, drawn and pale.

"Forgive me for not standing to greet you, my old friend."

Anabelle waved off his concern. "No need to stand on formalities, Edward. This isn't a friendly visit."

"True enough," he sighed and gestured to the file on the edge of his desk. "Everything I know is contained there is my-"

"That's not how I work, Edward." She gave him a soft nod, her red curls dancing along the alabaster column of her neck. "I walk in blind, for that is the only way to take true measure of what lies in the dark."

The Earl crossed himself, a gesture of habit more than hope, for the Earl seemed to be short of hope as of late. Given his weakened state, it must have been his dogged devotion to the stringent manners that he would have acquired growing up as a member of the peerage that aided him now. As Anabelle bid him a good evening she turned to leave the room and saw the sag of his shoulders reflected in a cabinet door.


Cullen, the butler with his stern mien and tight lips, showed her about the house from eaves to the cellars. He had no kind words for her and she preferred it that way. Kindness was for the weak and Anabelle had backbone enough for three men. She cared little for the way that Cullen watched her as she moved through the house, his eyes narrowed, his hands clutched behind him as he led her from room to room as though he could not trust himself to leave them loose.
She felt no malice from him, only distrust and worry. Anabelle did not hold it against him, this house had known too little joy of late and she aimed to leave some peace in her own wake. She’d suffered worse than his dark looks.
Once she knew the floors and rooms by placement and feeling, she let him go back to his duties and he went with all speed, turning his back on her as if to forget she even existed. She preferred it that way. It was hard enough to look over her shoulder and keep herself out of harm's way. To have others at her side, or even nearby, was a danger for all concerned, for there was something inside of her that seemed to call to monsters, a beacon for darkness and pernicious entities. If she could find it within herself, she would, without a doubt, cut it free and dispose of it, for she longed to have some measure of peace in her own life.


For days, there was nothing. No mysterious sounds. No screams in the night. No dire warnings from unseen frights. And yet, instead of calm and peace descending over the house and its occupants, it only brought dread. The servants whispered about their business, Edward’s wife took to her bed, and the Lord of Montgrove paced a weary rut into the rug in his study.

At supper, Anabelle was the only one seated at table, a single candle lit to illuminate her meal. She picked at the broiled piece of lamb and made her paces through the potato beside it. But when she took her final sip from her cup, what she felt wasn’t the warm infusion of wine into her blood; it was the cold frisson of fear that prickled along her skin.

She had waited for days to discover the origins of trouble at the moors, and tonight she knew was her best chance to get a good look at the mythical creature that had so many fearing its appearance.
Done with her meal, she retired to her quarters to await the first sign of danger.


When a tremor rolled through the floorboards of the old keep, Anabelle had her boots on the floor a moment later.  She didn’t move. She waited for the odd sensation to tremble through her body one more time before she stood and deadened the elusive vibrations a bit. But like a bloodhound she had the scent and that was all she needed.

One step and then another led her from the door of her room and down the hall. The staircase, constructed of stone and part of an old tower, was a blank and dead space. Her boots, worn soft with hundreds of miles trod, made quick work to the floor below and there, she felt the tremor again.
She was closer. She could tell by the heavy twist of the muscles in her gut. It wasn’t easy for it to happen, but somehow beneath the thick duck cloth and metal stays, the tension she felt transformed her insides into a knot.

Turning one way in the hall, she felt the air cool as she moved through the space, the tension easing in her middle.

Anabelle turned back and moved down the opposite wing and stumbled, catching her balance with an outstretched hand pressed flat against the wall. Her skin burned hot, frosted over with a shiver.
She hung her head, taking in one breath after another, willing the sensations to slide beneath the surface and give her a chance to rein them in.

A soft hiss of sound to her right, something beyond the heavy wooden door, drew her away from the wall. Her hand fell to her side and she moved on, following her ears.

The study.

Pushing herself forward, she moved along the hall, grateful that she had been in this state before. It hurt like the dickens but at least she had the fortitude to put one foot in front of the other, because somewhere in the study there was at least a clue that would help to end this frightening mystery.
And maybe she’d be one step closer to finding the answer to her own mystery. To make the monsters the hunted, instead of herself.

The door wasn’t locked. None of the rooms were. It had nearly driven Cullen into fits when she’d made the request. Cullen wanted to refuse but with the Earl’s insistence, the butler had allowed the rooms to remain open.

Anabelle slipped inside the study and felt the bracing cold air buffet against her body, rocking her back on her heels. It wasn’t an unfamiliar feeling. She was used to unseen forces, and those that were seen, knocking her around. A wind was child’s play.

And the open window across the room, the obvious culprit.

Had this all been an open window? An errant maid distracted by the impending doom? Moving across the room, using only the ambient light of the slivered moon outside and the umber flicker of the fireplace, Anabelle was steps away from the window when the heavy wooden frame slammed closed.

There was a distinct noise somewhere beyond the tick-tick-tick of the grandfather clock behind her.  Somewhere above the hungry flicker of the fire eating up the logs behind the grate of the fireplace. And somewhere outside of the soft thump of her pulse in her ears.

There... There! She could hear it, but could it hear her?

Could it hear the quiver of her muscles from bone-deep exhaustion as she moved inch by inch about the room?

Could it hear the clicking of the lapel watch that had ridden up just under her ear?
Could it?

Ah, a scratch. Metal or bone against hard wood.

She smiled and heat flooded through her fingertips, bringing back the needle-like prick of feeling that the cold of fear had stolen away.

Another scratch and a huff of breath, a twist of sound that said 'it' had a head that turned away from her. What was it looking for?

The answer came to her in a rush that stole her own breath.

The door.

She didn't hear, so much as feel, the shift of weight in the room. It had moved... and stopped... between her and the door. She reached down into a pocket tied under her skirt and felt the slim handle of her dirk warm against her palm. By the sounds she could tell that the beastie wasn’t going to be very wee at all. She would need to put a great deal of effort in if she was going to subdue it enough to answer her questions.

But she doubted that it was going to be in the mood to be helpful. A floorboard creaked and she turned, the tip of her dirk slipping through the heavy fabric of her skirt, and nicked her long drawers and the skin beneath.

She heard the sudden intake of breath, the heated flare of nostrils, and knew that her prey had now become the hunter. It smelled her blood, and if the wet smack of sound was any indication, it was hungry.

Damn... Double damn.

She smiled.


Monday, January 11, 2016

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now #342 -- Details

How much detail is too much detail for a story?

The cliched answer is still the correct one: When the amount of detail pulls you out of the story, it's too much.

Only you and a reader can know that sweet spot it, and it's going to change with each story. In fact, both you and the reader may have differing criteria for the "how much is too much" question.

But I don't think so much it's the "amount" of detail as it is the "choice" of details you reveal. Those that forward the plot and build on character tend to work better than those that merely drone on about the shape of the rocks. Use world-building details carefully. I'll repeat that. Even if you're writing epic fantasy, be very careful when using world-building details unless they also help advance the plot or reveal character.

I know there's a history of epic tales that focused (some might say overfocused today) on the details of the geography of the mountains, the castles, and even the Gothic mansions, but those were written for audiences who hadn't been over-inundated with image-based media. Modern readers are so used to pre-established visuals that best-selling fiction tends to use short-hand that gets the details out quickly and them move directly into dialog and action.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Nugget #71 -- Monkey Wrenches and Jazz Rhythm

For my money, I prefer the monkey wrench a femme fatale 
brings into the world of the crime story. She’s the literary 
change in time signature to shift the jazz of the tale from 
Benny Goodman to Miles Davis. Either one is good, and 
really good, but one has that something special that 
 makes it a lot spicier to the ears.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016



Wonder Woman may be the first heroine people think of when the Golden Age of Comics is mentioned, but she in no way was alone, or even the first woman to take up the quest for justice in illustrated fiction of the day! And with an open call for submissions, Pro Se Productions wants to bring some of the forgotten females who carried the banner for right in the eary days of comics back to life in prose and New Pulp in the anthology FEMME FOUR COLOR! Heroines from Comic’s Golden Age.

Stories for FEMME FOUR COLOR must involve a character that originally appeared in comic books before 1950 and is, by all possible means and understanding, clearly in the Public Domain. That character must also be a woman. Pro Se Productions will make the final call on whether or not a character meets these criteria when submissions are reviewed. A partial list, by no means complete, of available heroes is below. Information, although limited in some regards, is available on each of these characters from various online and print resources.

Characters available for this collection include (only suggestions):


Stories for FEMME FOUR COLOR must be 10,000 words in length. A proposal of 100-500 words must be submitted to Authors not previously published by Pro Se Productions must submit a writing sample of at least two pages with their proposals. Authors whose proposals are accepted must submit the first four pages of their accepted stories as quickly as possible for review by Pro Se staff. Final deadline for completed stories is 90 days following acceptance of proposals. This anthology is a royalty pay opportunity, percentages to be decided upon once all proposals are accepted and stories are submitted for final review.

FEMME FOUR COLOR! Heroines from Comic’s Golden Age is a part of the Pro Se Anthology Project, THE PRO SE OPEN, and is scheduled to be published in the 2016-2018 calendar years, depending on submissions and other factors.


One of the most popular character types in Genre Fiction is the policeman. Paid too little to do a job too big for just one man, heroic men and women in uniform go out each and every day in reality to face crime and lawlessness so the regular citizen does not have to.

Likewise, the Police Officer is a character that many writers have adapted and now Pro Se Productions is putting out the call for submissions for an anthology featuring policemen and women in tales worthy to be called POLICE PULP!

Stories for POLICE PULP! must feature a police person, someone employed by a police force of some sort, as the primary character and in a reasonably heroic, albeit realistic light. The tales can be set in any period up until the present that would have had a police force and must be set squarely in reality, with no supernatural or extranormal influences included. An equal emphasis must be put on action and adventure as well as accuracy. Research will be a benefit for stories submitted to this volume.

Stories for POLICE PULP! must be 10,000 words in length. A proposal of 100-500 words must be submitted to Authors not previously published by Pro Se Productions must submit a writing sample of at least two pages with their proposals. Authors whose proposals are accepted must submit the first four pages of their accepted stories as quickly as possible for review by Pro Se staff. Final deadline for completed stories is 90 days following acceptance of proposals. This anthology will be a royalty paying anthology, a percentage to be decided when final number of authors for the collection is determined.

POLICE PULP! is a part of the Pro Se Anthology Project, THE PRO SE OPEN, and is scheduled to be published in the 2016-2018 calendar years, depending on submissions and other factors.


The most remembered character from Jules Verne’s classic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is of course Captain Nemo. A favorite of many readers, however, from the book is sailor and master harpooner Ned Land. And now Pro Se Productions wants to give readers a peek at what came after his time on the Nautilus for this man of the sea by opening a submissions call for an anthology entitled THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF NED LAND.

Stories for THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF NED LAND must be set in a period reasonable to when Land would have lived, according to Verne’s novel AND must be set after the Nautilus adventure. Any elements of any genre will be considered appropriate in submissions and left to the discretion of Pro Se Productions to allow. This means that the supernatural, monsters, aspects of science fiction and fantasy, and so forth are allowed to be included in submissions.

Stories for THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF NED LAND must be 10,000 words in length. A proposal of 100-500 words must be submitted to Authors not previously published by Pro Se Productions must submit a writing sample of at least two pages with their proposals. Authors whose proposals are accepted must submit the first four pages of their accepted stories as quickly as possible for review by Pro Se staff. Final deadline for completed stories is 90 days following acceptance of proposals. This is a royalty pay anthology, percentage to be negotiated upon story acceptance and determination of number of writers involved.

THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF NED LAND is a part of the Pro Se Anthology Project, THE PRO SE OPEN, and is scheduled to be published in the 2016-2018 calendar years, depending on submissions and other factors.

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now #341 -- More on POV

How do you choose the POV for a story? Does it happen organically, or is it something you put a lot of thought into before you begin? Or perhaps it's something assigned by your publisher?

For me, POV is something that has to be settled before I begin the act of writing. I can pre-write for days and months without it, but I can't put fingers to keyboard without knowing who is telling the story and how. For me, that's as intrinsic as a story to the plot, theme, and tone. In fact, that single decision can affect plot, theme, and tone drastically, I believe.

Sometimes, that decision is out of my hands, actually. There are a few publishers who have a preference, and request that writers write only in a certain POV, and as a writer who likes to earn a paycheck for my work, I have to abide by their call on that.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Apex Publications Opens the Doors to Fiction Submissions!

Apex Publications is kicking off 2016 by reopening Apex Magazine to short fiction submissions. Poetry submissions will remained closed at this time. Our full submission guidelines and the link to our online submissions form, can be found at

Saturday, January 2, 2016

25 Reasons Why You Don't Make Any Money at Comic Cons

by derpygurl

First of all this list is in no way comprehensive. (I could probably list 50 things). Second, this is just my opinion. I know a LOT of artists and I keep seeing the same things happening at cons year after year. I feel people need to start operating differently, otherwise cons really are going to be a waste of money and time. So this is what I think most artists are doing wrong when they try to sell their stuff at cons…

  1. Keeping your head down at your table -  I see rows of people with their heads down drawing instead of looking up and engaging the people walking by. (What? are we boring you?) Offer to give a custom drawing to someone AFTER they’ve bought something.
  2. Not being able to describe your book or product - If you can’t describe your book in one sentence, you’re doing it wrong. If you are uncomfortable describing your work, find someone who isn’t and bring them (If you hate people, go back to your cave and sell your stuff online)
  3. Not telling anyone where you are -  2 weeks before every con you should be on FB, Twitter and IG telling everyone what your row/booth number is. Make sure to include your twitter handle and the hashtag for the Con itself. Cons notoriously run out of maps and have bad wifi, leaving the masses to wander aimlessly. If your fans can’t find you, they will NOT buy from you.

Read the full article:

Friday, January 1, 2016

Ideas Like Bullets -- The Legend Speaketh...

First, an Ideas Like Bullets Happy New Year to One and All!

Usually, my comment on years as they pass about every 365 days or so, is that the one we’re leaving was ‘interesting’ and the one we are going into is ‘full of hope.’  This year is a bit different for me.  2015…sucked. It was not just bad, did not simply have some ups and downs, it was perhaps the worst year I’ve ever experienced on several levels.  And 2016? I won’t put the burden of ‘hope’ on it, because it really doesn’t have to work hard to be better than its predecessor.  We’re only a few hours in and it’s already leaps and bounds over the entire last 12 months.

Let me explain.  My health, though in decline for a little more than two years now, took a real nosedive in 2015, particularly right around my Birthday in June when I was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure.  And not just a ‘Oh, We can fix this easily’ sort but more of a ‘What You have is rare and You could die at any minute, so we need to fix things’ thing.  Then, my father passed suddenly in July, a month to the day I was diagnosed. 

Now, let me say, the grief has passed, as much as it does.  And I’ve had surgery and finally am feeling very much as I once felt, so healthy and back to the top of m y game, most likely.  But, in the midst of all that, something wonderful did happen.  And that’s what this column is really about.

Being the sort of businessman I am, I let those I work with through Pro Se and other companies know what was going on with me as soon as possible in June.  Of course, I was inundated with well wishes, statements of prayer and good vibrations, all of which were greatly appreciated.  I also received another email.  Ron Fortier, one of the partners in Airship 27 Productions and a fellow writer and editor and friend, emailed me saying that Jaime Ramos, a writer who works with both Ron and myself, had contacted Ron and his partner Rob Davis about doing something for me, some sort of benefit.  Ron and Rob jumped right on it and began recruiting writers and artists for a benefit book to help my family with some of the medical costs.

That book debuted just before Christmas.  With 60 plus writers, 30 plus artists, a few editors such, bringing the grand total of people involved in LEGENDS OF NEW PULP FICTION, the title of this tome, to over 100.  And all of them not getting a friggin’ farthin’ out of it.  Not only that, but I was invited to submit a story to this aptly named volume, which was also a great honor.

I simply cannot, and have tried a few dozen times, explain what this action, what this book, what these people mean to me.  I am touched to the depths of my soul and tears and joy bubble up each time I think about what went into this book. What all these people, most who I have never met, not even online, did for me.  Thank You. Thank You all.

If you want to see the best in Genre Fiction, then get Your copy of LEGENDS OF NEW PULP FICTION at Amazon today, either in print or digital.  I was also asked to write the introduction for the book, which is presented below.  Again, thank You and Happy New Year.

An Introduction by Tommy Hancock

Being a writer and a Publisher of New Pulp, there is a question I am often asked.  Sometimes it is simply put forward as a polite query.  In other situations, it’s been almost put forth as a dare, egging me on to state an opinion someone can argue with.  Regardless, it is a question that still comes up on a regular basis and this collection is finally the answer to this recurrent interrogatory.

What is New Pulp?

Now, normally I answer it with a pretty pat definition that I and around 40 other writers mostly agreed on a few years ago.  But to me, personally, as a fan of Pulp of all types, there’s a simpler answer.

New Pulp is about Heroes.  Larger than life figures that go above and beyond the call of duty and many times go just as far beyond their own comfort zone.  People who see a problem and instead of debating a solution or whose responsibility it is, they pull together and attack it, individually and as a team when a cross over event is necessary.  Men and women of unique talents, both skilled in the specific and masters of the general enough to know a bit about everything and put it to use.  Beings that can create entire worlds, even universes with just a thought and a little work.  That is New Pulp.

And I’m not talking about the characters in the stories you’re about to read. I am speaking of the writers and artists who make up what is considered New Pulp today, a massive number of them being represented in this book.  A book put together…for me.

I was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure on June 8, 2015.  Now, although CHF is not completely uncommon in this day and age, the reason for mine is a bit different.  The nerves that feed my heart electricity are essentially dead and any power that was getting to my heart was just purely accidental. This means that my heart was not only pumping out of rhythm, but it was working harder than it should have to and, like any muscle, it grew bigger the harder it worked.

If you know me, then you may realize how devastating this was for me.  Not simply the diagnosis, but the fact that the months, nearly year and a half before that I’d felt awful and couldn’t understand completely why completely disrupted my usually pattern of being me.  And to finally have a name on it, to know what it was and to hear a plan on how to fix it, that was both depressing and hopeful. 

Because of my responsibilities as a New Pulp writer and publisher, I came home from the hospital in June and wrote a letter to the multitude of writers, artists, and publishers I work with and for, simply explaining what I had learned and what the next few months might hold.  I received many more emails and well wishes than I thought I would and was touched by each one of them.  What happened, though, that I in no way predicted and that completely floored me was the discussion and immediate commencement of a benefit book.  For me, for my family, to help with medical costs and other needs.  And that is the book you’re now holding.

This collection, beyond being something that I am most thankful for and truly have no words to properly address how I feel, is potentially the penultimate gathering of the best creators New Pulp has to offer.  Stories ranging across the Genre spectrum, each accompanied with an illustration by the top artists today, all beautifully packaged within a cover by the legendary Doug Klauba.  Even if this were just another book, not a benefit, it would not be just any other book.  And the fact that this terrific assembly of imaginations came together for me…truly does leave me speechless.

I thank each and every author and artist involved from the bottom of my now better functioning heart, surgery having been completed in late September.   A special thanks goes out to Jaime Ramos, the originator of the idea, and Ron Fortier and Rob Davis of Airship 27 Productions, who took Jaime’s concept and molded it over months, gave their time and effort just like every author and artist in this book did, to make this anthology the best representation of New Pulp possible.

You want to know what New Pulp is?  You’re holding it in your hands right now.

Tommy Hancock
October 20, 2015

Happy New Year!

And here's my goal for the year! Feel free to make it yours too.