Saturday, June 24, 2017

Ron Fortier announces the first New Pulp movie -- Brother Bones!

Dear Friends, Families & Colleagues,

After 45 yrs as a professional writer, I’m about to see one of my fondest dreams come true. A feature-length motion picture is now in production in Seattle, WA, based on my pulp character – BROTHER BONES – THE UNDEAD AVENGER.  He has appeared in short story collections, novels and comics since I created him over ten years ago. But for that to happen, Franklin-Husser Entertainment LLC, need your support. Making a film of this kind is not going to be cheap.

Thus a Kickstarter Campaign has been launched at the link below. I would ask you to take a few minutes to look it over. The talented assembled for this movie is truly outstanding, including two veteran Hollywood film composers. Again, we need your help and note, even taking this letter and forwarding it to the other recipients in your e-mail files would be of tremendous assistance in helping to spread the word. So in the end, my heartfelt thanks.

Ron Fortier
Fort Collins, CO

(https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/333395674/brother-bones-the-undead-avenger)

Friday, June 23, 2017

Scout Media now accepting submissions for A Contract of Words!

Scout Media is currently focusing primarily on our short story "Of Words" anthology series. We are not accepting submissions for novels at this time.

The 4th anthology in the 'Of Words' series will be "A Contract of Words."
Submissions will begin on July 1, 2017.

A Contract of Words:

Theme guidelines - All stories must involve, be the result of, or the final product of two or more people/things entering into a contract with each other (the NOUN version of contract; not the verb). Think about all the contracts we agree to ever day: signing your debit/credit card slip is a contract to pay for your purchase, a lease on an apartment, a deed, a will, a marriage, a divorce, an adoption, joining the military, bands signing with labels, authors signing with publishers, actors signing on to a movie, hiring someone to murder your wife, staying at a hotel, hiring a plumber/electrician/contractor to work on your house or business, buying a plane ticket, buying a concert ticket, selling your soul for something you desire… Contracts can be finalized in a multitude of different ways: written agreement, verbal, a handshake, mixing blood or spit (blood brothers pact), and pinky swears (or anything else you can come up with). A stipulation is that if the contract is breached, (or even not breached, based on the ruthlessness of your characters) then there is a consequence; either legally, financially, or personal, etc.

ALL WORK SUBMITTED TO SCOUT MEDIA REMAINS PROPERTY OF THE AUTHOR. SCOUT MEDIA WILL NEVER SHARE YOUR WORK, OR RELEASE YOUR WORK, WITHOUT PERMISSION.

For more information: http://www.scoutmediabooksmusic.com/submissions/

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Crossing Through No Words Land

by Andrea Judy

Sometimes in life, you hit a patch where the words just won't happen. I don't just mean a writer's block or the dreaded soggy middle. I mean the times when your whole mind turns into an arctic tundra where nothing thrives. You can't think of a new idea, you can't think of writing at all. The idea of writing fills you with sickly dread. It sucks. So what can you do? Well put on your snow boots and let's figure this out.

1. Take a break.

Sometimes you just need a break from writing. Take a day or a week and just rest. Give yourself some slack and time to recharge. This is especially true if you have been really pushing yourself hard for a while.

2. Read out of your usual genre. 

If you write romance, pick up a western. If you write horror, pick up a space opera. Read something totally different than your usual fare. Sample something different and give yourself some fresh ideas and new genres to look into. You never know when you might find your next beloved book.

3. Enjoy a nap. 

Seriously, sleep is rad. Take a nap and see how you feel after some well deserved shut eye.

4. Skip that scene you hate. 

If you're avoiding writing, unable to write or just hating everything about the certain scene or chapter you're working on... just skip it. Put in a placeholder in and move on. If you hate that scene than does it have to be like that? Figure out a way to make it fun for you and the reader.

5. Get help. 

Sometimes this kind of a block is a big red flag that something is wrong. I know for me, when I found myself unable to write for months I knew something was wrong and went to find help. For me, this tundra of no words is a big ol' sign post that I am entering the depression badlands and it's a good time to talk to someone and get help. There's no shame in needing help.

So that's what helps me when I enter the tundra of no words. Is a sucky place that I don't even like to visit but sometimes you just have to cross it and get to the other side. Writing is hard mental work and it can be taxing to do. So keep on plucking on and we'll get to the other side together.

Note: Originally posted here. Reposted by permission.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Nugget #100 -- Ears > Eyes

My ears are better proofreaders than my eyes. It’s a concept
I’ve proven over and over again in my own work. When
I read a story aloud, I catch far more mistakes than
simply reading the words silently in my head.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

"Cherry Hill" is the Story of the Day on Scriggler!

My story, "Cherry Hill," is the story of the day on Scriggler today! 

This was also my first published story way back when and the first story I won an award for, in a competition judged by awesome author and poet Judith Ortiz Cofer!

Looking back on it, even though this story isn't a by-the-numbers pulp, I can see the pulp influences on my style. What do you think?

Sunday, June 11, 2017

JEZEBEL JOHNSTON’S ADVENTURES CONTINUES

Airship 27 Productions is thrilled to present the third installment in Nancy Hansen’s epic saga of the rise of Pirate Queen Jezebel Johnston.

Having escaped the clutches of the sadistic French pirate, Julien Levesque, young Jezebel Johnston and her companions, Walter Armitage and Pakke, throw their lot in with the inexperienced captain Emile Gagnon and his crew. Fleeing in his speedy sloop rechristened Sea Witch, their audacious plan is to recruit additional sailors and raid the pearl-rich islands beyond Port Royale.  But to do so they will need to avoid the larger pirate ships relying on stealth and cunning.  If they succeed, a treasure beyond imagining awaits them. If they fail, a cold and watery grave.

“With book # 3, Sea Witch, Jezebel’s life takes a drastic detour,” says Airship 27 Productions’ Managing Editor, Ron Fortier.  “New allies are formed and plans formulated to evade old enemies. Hansen’s research is as meticulous as ever as she continues the saga of this truly memorable character. Anyone who has read the first two books will be thrilled to dig into this new chapter.”

Once again Nancy Hansen sets a course for action and adventure with pulpdom’s newest, most daring hero, Jezebel Johnston, pirate maid.  Award winning Art Director Rob Davis provides the interior illustrations and Laura Givens a stunning, action-filled cover.  “Jezebel Johnston – Sea Witch” is a seagoing pirate tale filled with colorful rogues and a lush, historical background. Soon to be an instant pulp classic.

AIRSHIP 27 PRODUCTIONS – PULP FICTION FOR A NEW GENERATION!

 Available in paperback from Amazon and soon on Kindle.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

[Link] The “Superhero” Trademark: how the name of a genre came to be owned by DC and Marvel, and how they enforce it

by DG Stewart


Our publication has a category devoted to “superheroes”. It is a genre to which we have paid disproportionate attention, primarily because it is in English (the language of most of our contributors) and because of the sheer volume of superhero-genre material generated primarily by American publishers.

But what does the word “superhero” actually denote? The words “super hero” was first used in 1917, when it was used to describe a “public figure of great accomplishments”

In so far as use of the word “superhero” in the course of commerce is concerned, however, there is a severe limitation. The word “superhero” is jointly owned in many parts of the world by two US publishers, DC Comics and Marvel Characters Inc, an affiliate of Marvel Comics. The road to joint ownership of the word “SUPERHERO” in the United States is well-explained in this link.

But perhaps a more concise explanation comes from both DC Comics and Marvel themselves. The following paragraphs come from a United States trade mark notice of opposition filed by DC Comics and Marvel in May 2015:


Read the full article: http://www.worldcomicbookreview.com/index.php/2017/06/01/superhero-trademark-name-genre-came-owned-dc-marvel-enforce/

Friday, June 9, 2017

PALM TREES, OCEAN BREEZES, AND MURDER! ‘CRIME DOWN ISLAND’ DEBUTS FROM PRO SE PRODUCTIONS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Terror in the Tropics! Peril in Paradise! Betrayal on the Beach! It’s just another day of murder and corruption under the palm trees in CRIME DOWN ISLAND, now available from Pro Se Productions in digital and print formats.

Six heated tales of manipulation and mayhem set in the dream destinations most fantasize about. Sun baked days and moon kissed nights along the ocean, where love and hate walk hand in hand. And the shrill of tropical birds can be drowned out at any moment by a horrified scream and the last gasps of someone dying. Evil takes vacations in the same places we all want to, thanks to authors Shannon Muir, Gordon Lendrum, Sharae Allen, Louis A. Rodiquez Jr., Jeff Hewitt, and Shane Bowen. CRIME DOWN ISLAND from Pro Se Productions.

With an exotic cover by Larry Nadolsky and logo design and print formatting by Marzia Marina and Antonino Lo Iacono, CRIME DOWN ISLAND is available now at Amazon and Pro Se’s own store at  for 15.00.

This tropical crime anthology is also available as an Ebook, designed and formatted by Lo Iacono and Marina for only $2.99 for the Kindle and for most digital formats via Smashwords.

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

To learn more about Pro Se Productions, go to www.prose-press.com. Like Pro Se on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ProSeProductions.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Watson Report: On Barbers

Let us consider the legendary and mythic roots of barbers.

First, recall that in some early cultures hair was sacred. Some holy men and holy warriors made vows never to cut their hair (c.f. Samson). Many traditions held that hair could be used for malefic magic against the person from whose head it was taken; hence, for example, the hair and nails of the Pontifex Maximus of classical Rome could only be clipped by a free man and must be buried under an arbour felix (divine tree, preferably an oak). So some of the earliest barbers were men with holy duties.

The earliest shaving razors in the archaeological record come from Egypt c3500BC, with tweezers and tongs in a specially-made case, found amongst a cache of religious items. The first recorded barbers were priests and medics. Given that and the barber’s necessary skills with a razor it is unsurprising that barbers were also known as surgeons and dentists; it is only in the last two centuries that the professions have parted company.

By the time of the ancient Greeks, trimmed hair was a mark of civilisation, of sophistication and status. Only savages and country bumpkins – and slaves - wore their hair long and tangled. Discerning men of status went to the agora to see and be seen, to visit the cureus who would very publicly shave and hairdress them while those around shared debate and gossip. Indeed, the forum barber was the best source of gossip and a fount of information. This old function has led on to the “wise barber” trope of such stories as the Arabian Nights.

The Romans stole barbers from the Greeks, of course. By 200BC, tonsor shops were common in major cities across the Empire, part of the daily hygiene routine that included gymnasium and public baths. They were meeting places and sometimes plotting dens. A young man’s first shave was considered a major event in his life, sometimes preceding his first intercourse. Barba is Latin for beard, the origin of our name for one who shaves and cuts hair.

By the middle ages, barbers had stopped being priests or monks. The Pope had issued orders forbidding clergy from spilling blood (Council of Tours, 1163), which precluded dentistry and surgery. Hospitaller clerics therefore had lay assistants who would handle such necessaries of healing, along with applying leeches, enemas, lancings, and fire-cuppings. Those priests were clean-shaven too; another Papal decree in 1092 ordained that no clergyman should have facial hair.

By the 14th century, London was home to the Guild of Barbers; in 1308, the Court of Aldermen elected Richard de Barbour to keep order amongst his colleagues. In 1462 a royal charter upgraded the Guild to the Worshipful Company of Barbers, an organisation that continues to the present day.

A 1540 Act of Parliament merged in the Fellowship of Surgeons to form the Worshipful Company of Barbers and Surgeons, specifying that surgeons may not cut hair or shave people and that barbers could not operate on them; both groups could extract teeth. Barbers received higher fees than surgeons at that time.

It was probably this merger that led to the recognised shop sign of a barber, a long striped pole with red and white stripes (red for surgery, white for dentistry). In some modern versions blue stripes are also included, perhaps because red white and blue are patriotic colours in both the UK and US. Originally the pole also included brass bowls at top and bottom, the upper one for the leeches and the lower one for catching blood. There are a number of current US lawsuits underway regarding barbers’ objections to cosmetologists using the pole to advertise their services.

The Worshipful Company also had an educational role in the late medieval period, being a legal source of public autopsy anatomy lessons, conducted four times a year in an auditorium designed by Inigo Jones (the hall was destroyed in the Blitz). The Company’s crest features an opinicus (English gryphon) supported by chained lynxes. This is presumed to demonstrate the keenness of vision required for barber-work. The motto is De Praescientia Dei – “through God’s foreknowledge”. Root back to the ancient origins of the trade as far as you like.

Hairdressing as a term first appeared in the 17th century, along with the first women who are described as hairdressers. The first were French, of course; the most famous was Madame Martin who popularised “the tower” as a style and influenced every depiction of rich Aristos in every movie ever made. Champagne was the first famous male hairdresser of women; his Paris salon survived until his death in 1658.

By the 19th century, barbers were associated with gossip, with minor surgery and medication (including contraception, often in the form of pigskin condoms – “something for the weekend, sir?”), with fashion, with local knowledge, and with community meeting places. During that century in America, Black barbershops became a significant factor in the development of Black culture and society. In the UK barber salons served as a lower-class version of the coffee house as a meeting place to form opinion and foment political change.

In addition to shops, though, there were still the itinerant street barbers who would shave and clip a customer right then and there, maybe also shining shoes and offering manicures. There were door-to-door barbers and seafront barbers and in-club barbers. There were the first common womens’ hairdressing salons, as a more liberated distaff population with disposable income but not enough of it for personal maids with hairdressing skill began to demand services.

There was enough scandal about for Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street who murdered his customers and turned their corpses into pie-meat to become a bestselling Penny Dreadful. There are still members of the general public who believe him to be non-fictional. The story goes to show the darker aspects of barbers that were in cultural currency at the time. Demon Barbers come from the same place as Killer Clowns.

So, barbers: wise gossips, social hosts, purveyors of advice and contraception to young men coming of age, hedge-surgeons, community mainstays, sacred servants, sudden butchers – rich characters rooted in old story, well deserving of being maintained in our fictional universes today.

Cut.

IW

Sunday, June 4, 2017

DAVID STOKER is BROTHER BONES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DAVID STOKER is BROTHER BONES

Seattle-based, actor, David Stoker, has been cast as the lead in the new Franklin-Husser Entertainment LLC production of “Brother Bones – The Undead Avenger.” Based on the New Pulp stories by Ron Fortier, Brother Bones is the first of the New Pulp heroes to be adapted to film. Auditions were held last week for twenty speaking parts and press releases focusing on each actor and role will be forthcoming. This is company’s third and most ambitious project to date.

A Kickstarter Campaign will soon be launched to fund the project and if successful, principle shooting will begin in late August.  Brother Bones is a period tale set in the mid-1930s in the fictional Northwest metropolis of Cape Noire.

Stoker is a veteran of both stage and screen and lists his acting skills as martial arts, voice over and improvisation.

“I was blown away by the level of intensity David brought to his readings,” Fortier reported. “He has a level of energy that is crucial to playing a character such as Brother Bones and I personally cannot wait to see him don the skull mask.”

“The funny thing is,” Erik Franklin (writer, director, co-producer) said “he came in to read for another part altogether, and he would have been perfect for it. But when I saw that he could project menace as well as vulnerability, I asked him to read for Tommy/Jack on the spot. With only a few minutes of preparation, he nailed the part!”

Saturday, June 3, 2017

[Link] Darkness in Fiction: 7 Tips for Writing Dark Stories

by Hannah Heath

I enjoy dark stories. I like reading about characters that struggle, worlds on the brink of destruction and in need of saving, words that go into the deep, little-seen parts of the soul. I like writing them, too.

And that's why I'm so disturbed by what darkness in fiction has turned into. It seems like each year the books get darker and darker, and each year they become more and more abused by authors who don't seem to understand (or care about) the ramifications of their words.

As a writer and lover of stories with a dark side, I'd like to point out what makes a dark story good with the hopes that we can get away from the current "Darkness without meaning" trend that's running around like a rabid dog (*cough* or a certain DC director who thought it would be a good idea to turn a certain character into a murderer *cough* *cough*). So here it is: 7 tips for writing a dark story that's not just a black hole of death and depression and strangled puppies.

Read the full article: http://hannahheath-writer.blogspot.com/2016/11/darkness-in-fiction-7-tips-for-writing.html

Friday, June 2, 2017

[Link] Do I “Tell” Too Much?

by Nicole L. Ochoea

“Show vs. Tell,” that’s a phrase we hear a lot on the writing circuit, but as a new writer it can be hard to identify those places where we need to show more.  Here are two easy steps to help you “show” your story, giving your readers a chance to step inside your pages.

Step 1:  Do a search for emotion-themed words

I recently finished an excellent book called Deep Point of View by Marcy Kennedy where she recommends doing a search for “emotion-themed” words in your manuscript.  At the end of this post you will find a list of words you can search for in your work in progress.

Step 2:  “Show” the emotion instead of “Telling” the reader about the emotion

Now that you have identified your “emotion” words, what do you do with them?  How do you turn them into something a reader can see, hear, touch, taste, or smell?  I like to use the Emotional Thesaurus.

Read the full article: https://nicolelochoa.com/2016/08/16/do-i-tell-too-much/

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Nugget #99 -- New Voices


It's the new voices who prompt old voices to listen and adapt. 
It's the new voices who push the envelop and seek out either 
romantic returns to old (i.e., new again) or mash-ups of what 
has gone before to create new out of old (something borrowed, 
something blue) or listening to current and changing viewpoints 
in culture to same something about the now, not just the then.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

[Link] Wisdom from the Fedora on the Mountain -- Egos Checked At The Door, Please...

by Tommy Hancock

I have been accused of wearing many hats.  

In theory, that may be true. In reality, I typically only wear one, although I do have a backup fedora and a ball cap or two for bad hair day rush trips out and about.  But, usually, that appellation is given to me because of the fact that within the Pulp/writing world, I do many things.  I am a writer.  I am an editor, not just for Pro Se Productions, my company, but others as well. I am also a publisher, a partner in the aforementioned Pro Se Productions.  

In each of those roles, and we’ll be lumping editor and publisher together this time around, I experience many things.  Ups and downs. Successes and failures and all manners of things in between.  There are moments of sheer happiness, sometimes bordering on a creative ecstasy of sorts. There are also periods, unfortunately lasting too long often to be considered moments, of depression, sadness, that ‘give up and walk away’ feeling.  What is funny is that although I know that both groups I’m addressing here have a collective narrow view of this, that only they feel this and the other side of the line doesn’t, the issues and feelings that writers and editors/publishers experience are often very similar, if not exactly the same.  They only differ in which side of the creative room the person happens to be standing on.

What I’m about to write is not intended to anger, incense, or push anyone away, although it might.  I made a commitment to myself when I renewed this blogging endeavor that I would use it in ways that would be useful to me, first and foremost, and hopefully to others as well.  What you’re about to read is useful to me in that it allows me to get things said that I feel need to be in a cumulative manner, all at once, and off my chest and out of the way.

It should also be noted and remembered as You proceed through this, that I am guilty of everything I am about to spout against and attack.  I am no better than those of you who may do some of what is about to be listed and in part, this is an exercise to exorcise some of those things from me.

Is this a Pet Peeves post? Yes, in a sense.  But it’s also about some of the biggest stumbling blocks that writers and editors/publishers have in building relationships that can be mutually beneficial.  But, yeah, these are things that get under my skin and scratch like a burr buried deep beneath a newly broken mustang’s saddle.  And, again, I have done and even at times still find myself as the example of every one of them.

It must be noted, creatives of any brand are a passionate, emotional lot.  That happens to be the best thing about us. We invest ourselves fully and wholeheartedly in all we do, if we are doing it right, and we give a chunk of our very being into the work we produce.  That is writer, editor/publisher, sculptor, dancer, and the list goes on.  But, that also means that oftentimes feelings are worn on their sleeves and we sometimes look for any reason to be offended, or to think someone is being thought of better than us, or whatever thing we need to justify the sudden onset of creator doldrums we all go through.  To hopefully limit that before probably inciting full on episodes of it, let me say that I am beginning this discourse by focusing on writers, only because that is where the process between these two sides of the same coin begins.  Editors/Publishers would have nothing to do if it were not for writers, so writers get to go first, only for that reason.

A few thoughts for Writers, first.  You are a big part of the reason that there is even a publishing industry to begin with.  The fact that people feel it is their job, destiny, and/or disease to string words together and get them put on paper, either the print or digital page, so they can be consumed by the ones, hundreds, or millions that might read them makes you a pretty important cog in the literature machine.  

But don’t forget, especially in the way the market has evolved today - You are a cog in a wonderfully colorful rainbow and storm producing machine.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Submission: Fireside Fiction: $500 for Short Stories


Fireside is a short story magazine that has two goals in mind: Publish great stories, and pay writers well. They pay above normal rates for their category of magazine: 12.5 cents per word, up to 4,000 words.

They aim to publish 10,000 new words of fiction each month – paying writers for every word published. They do have a strong preference for stories that are 1,000 words or shorter, because of their limit of 10,000 words a month. A longer story must be quite strong in order to be accepted. They previously accepted stories up to 5,000 words in length. They have changed their policy to just 4,000 words, capping the maximum pay at $500.

They are currently accepting submissions of Flash Fiction until March 25th. On April 16th, they will accept short stories and flash fiction.

According to their submission guidelines:

“Fireside’s goal is to publish great storytelling, regardless of genre. What do we mean by great storytelling? We want stories that go somewhere, with plot and a beginning, middle, and end. We’re not looking for character studies or metafiction or hallucinatory visions. (We LIKE those things; it’s just not what we publish in Fireside.)”

To get a sense of what they publish, browse their back issues.

To learn more about submitting, read their submission guidelines.

Friday, May 26, 2017

A New Book Release from David Alastair Hayden -- Announcing Rogue Starship!

Welcome Back to the Benevolency Universe!

For over three thousand years a superintelligence called the Benevolence guided humanity through an age of unprecedented peace, prosperity, and technological advancement. Now, a century after its collapse, our enemies multiply as we struggle to maintain our starfaring civilization and recover technology we once took for granted. But the Benevolence kept many secrets to itself, secrets that could shape the future of humanity.

When renowned archeologist Gav Gendin finds an Ancient starship, and a stasis chamber with a living member of the extinct alien race inside, he knows something strange is going on. Visions and dreams aren't the normal way archaeologists uncover artifacts, but that's what guided him to the Ancient ship.

The discovery should be the greatest triumph of his career. Instead, it ends in disaster and leads to his son, Siv, being placed in cryogenic sleep.

A century later, Siv wakes to a world in decline, a world where you do what you must to survive. With the help of Silky, his father's old neural-interfacing AI companion, Siv becomes the best procurement specialist on the planet. But his services belong to the criminal Shadowslip Guild who owns him. After a job goes sideways in the worst way possible, the last thing Siv expects is to be offered his freedom. But there's a catch. His target is so hot that rival criminal guilds, foreign governments, and religious extremists will risk war to get it.

The Outworld Ranger series packs all the action and sci-fi fun of the stories that inspired it: Star Wars, The Fifth Element, and Guardians of the Galaxy. It has sentient AI’s, alien mysteries, starship battles, quirky robots, and a space messiah.

>> Read Now <<

Thursday, May 25, 2017

No Writer Is an Island

Thank you, John Donne, for allowing my paraphrase. 

Every writer can look back to someone who either inspired him or her to start or to stick with it. With Mother's Day all around us, and folks still in a mood to express thanks to those someones who helped make us who we are, let's keep it going this week by honoring those folks who inspired us to write and to write better.

Who was it who helped you have the faith to begin writing? What they that person do to encourage you? 

Sean Taylor: I'm going to jump in on my own roundtable this time, if just to honor those folks who so deserve it. I have to credit three people with instilling in me the courage to write. The first is my high school English teacher, Geraldine Warren. I didn't remotely enjoy "school literature" until she made it fun and helped me to understand what it actually consisted of and how I could interpret it through my own experiences. The second is my wife, Lisa Taylor, who encouraged me to give it a try and see what happened, though she may likely regret that decision now. The third is Frank Fradella, who was there to encourage me at just the right time in my writing life and help me begin the network of writers I would need to have around me to succeed and become both better and published.

Brian K Morris: My mother, probably to spite my boring, uncreative father as much as nurture me. She initially taught me to read then encouraged me to read "real" books along with my comics as well as how to use a dictionary, an encyclopedia, and a library to supplement what I didn't know.

Bobby Nash: There were a few who helped a lot. Wilma Clark was an English teacher in high school. She caught me drawing/writing comics in class one day. Instead of scolding me for it, she asked to read it and then encouraged me to continue... so long as I continued doing well in her class. Harriette Austin was a great cheerleader and friend. I took her creative writing class at UGA's non-credit adult education center. I learned a lot about writing, but also about reading and talking to groups, a skill that still serves me well to this day. Sandra Gentry was also very helpful with that as well. She refused to let me hide behind my paper to read and forced me to look at the rest of the room. Jeff Austin also gave me some good advice that helped me move my writing in a direction that helped me a great deal.

Bill Craig: My parents and friends that I showed my stuff too were always encouraging but Mark Howell, then an editor with Gold Eagle gave me real encouragement and started buying some stories as fillers for short books.

John Morgan Neal: My homeroom teacher Mrs. Meyers at Crutchfield elementary. My high school English teacher Mr. Needham. My school buddies Chris Sakowski, Jeff Criger, Steve Walker, Kenny Maxwell, and John Bock.

Who was it who helped you keep going when you felt like stopping and just "settling" into some other plan? What did that person do to keep you going? 

Sean Taylor: Before I had a strong network or writers to help keep me going, I had my wife, as I mentioned earlier. She was my best cheerleader, and read (and edited) all my stuff up to a point. After I had built a better network of writing compatriots, I noticed that she was able to spend more time on herself, and I was able to lean on folks like Bobby Nash and Tommy Hancock to be my new "cheerleaders" and keep me from settling for something else, particularly when I was going through some dry and dark time for my writing career.

Brian K Morris: My wife, who knew writing was my dream, and when I lost my job five years ago, she encouraged me to follow my bliss.

Bobby Nash: I mentioned quitting once to my mother, just an offhand comment. She reminded me how much work I had put in and how far I had gotten and that she would hate to see me throw that away. I have friends who are also creators that I talk to when the stress of things gets to me. I won't name names here (although Sean and I have had several discussions about being a writer). Talking with someone who shares the same job and same job stresses helps.

John Morgan Neal: My Shooting Star buddies Sean Taylor, Scott McCullar, Erik Burnham, Scott Hileman and etc. Sarah Beach who has been invaluable as a sounding board. Becca Sue Upson has been a constant supporter and believer in me. Chuck Dixon has been incredibly generous and vitally important to me as a writer both in inspiration from his work and work ethic and belief in my talent and support of it.

Bill Craig: Through Mark Howell, I met Jerry Ahern and Don Pendleton, both were great mentors when it came to encouraging me to continue writing and because of that I now make a living at it.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Nebula Award Winners Announced!

The annual Nebula Awards awards were presented at the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America’s 51st Annual Nebula Conference at the Pittsburgh Marriott Center, on May 20, 2017.

The Nebula Awards are given every year by the members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Along with the Hugo Awards, they are the most prestigious prizes recognizing excellence in science fiction and fantasy. The Nebula Awards for 2016 were announced last night at the 51st Annual Nebula Conference in Pittsburgh.

Here are the 2016 Nebula winners and nominees. The winners are in bold text.

Best Novel

All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders (Tor; Titan)
Borderline, Mishell Baker (Saga)
The Obelisk Gate, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
Ninefox Gambit, Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris US; Solaris UK)
Everfair, Nisi Shawl (Tor)

All the Birds in the Sky is also nominated for a Hugo Award.

Best Novella

Runtime, S.B. Divya (Tor.com Publishing)
The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe, Kij Johnson (Tor.com Publishing)
The Ballad of Black Tom, Victor LaValle (Tor.com Publishing)
Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing)
“The Liar”, John P. Murphy (F&SF 3-4/16)
A Taste of Honey, Kai Ashante Wilson (Tor.com Publishing)

Every Heart a Doorway is also nominated for a Hugo Award.

Best Novelette

‘‘The Long Fall Up’’, William Ledbetter (F&SF 5-6/16)
‘‘Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea’’, Sarah Pinsker (Lightspeed 2/16)
“The Orangery”, Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)
‘‘Blood Grains Speak Through Memories’’, Jason Sanford (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 3/17/16)
“The Jewel and Her Lapidary“, Fran Wilde (Tor.com Publishing)
‘‘You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay’’, Alyssa Wong (Uncanny 5-6/16)

Best Short Story

‘‘Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies’’, Brooke Bolander (Uncanny 11-12/16)
‘‘Seasons of Glass and Iron’’, Amal El-Mohtar (The Starlit Wood)
‘‘Sabbath Wine’’, Barbara Krasnoff (Clockwork Phoenix 5)
‘‘Things With Beards’’, Sam J. Miller (Clarkesworld 6/16)
‘‘This Is Not a Wardrobe Door’’, A. Merc Rustad (Fireside Magazine 1/16)
‘‘A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers’’, Alyssa Wong (Tor.com 3/2/16)
‘‘Welcome to the Medical Clinic at the Interplanetary Relay Station│Hours Since the Last Patient Death: 0’’, Caroline M. Yoachim (Lightspeed 3/16)

Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation

Arrival, Directed by Denis Villeneuve, Screenplay by Eric Heisserer, 21 Laps Entertainment/FilmNation Entertainment/Lava Bear Films/Xenolinguistics
Doctor Strange, Directed by Scott Derrickson, Screenplay by Scott Derrickson & C. Robert Cargill, Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures
Kubo and the Two Strings, Directed by Travis Knight, Screenplay by Mark Haimes & Chris Butler; Laika Entertainment
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Directed by Gareth Edwards, Written by Chris Weitz & Tony Gilroy; Lucusfilm/ Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures
Westworld: ‘‘The Bicameral Mind’’, Directed by Jonathan Nolan, Written by Lisa Joy & Jonathan Nolan; HBO
Zootopia, Directed by Byron Howard, Rich Moore, & Jared Bush, Screenplay by Jared Bush & Phil Johnston; Walt Disney Pictures/Walt Disney Animation Studios

Arrival is also nominated for a Hugo Award.

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy

The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Kelly Barnhill (Algonquin Young Readers)
The Star-Touched Queen, Roshani Chokshi (St. Martin’s)
The Lie Tree, Frances Hardinge (Macmillan UK; Abrams)
Arabella of Mars, David D. Levine (Tor)
Railhead, Philip Reeve (Oxford University Press; Switch)
Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies, Lindsay Ribar (Kathy Dawson Books)
The Evil Wizard Smallbone, Delia Sherman (Candlewick)

Additional awards presented:

2017 DAMON KNIGHT GRAND MASTER AWARD: Jane Yolen
SOLSTICE AWARD: Peggy Rae Sapienza (Posthumous), Toni Weisskopf
KEVIN O’DONNELL JR. SERVICE TO SFWA AWARD: Jim Fiscus

The Nebula Awards are voted on, and presented by, active members of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. Founded as the Science Fiction Writers of America in 1965 by Damon Knight, the organization began with a charter membership of 78 writers; it now has over 1,500 members, among them many of the leading writers of science fiction and fantasy.

Since 1965, the Nebula Awards have been given each year for the best novel, novella, novelette, and short story eligible for that year’s award. The Award for Best Script was added in 2000.

An anthology including the winning pieces of short fiction and several runners-up is also published every year.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Armand Rosamilia: The Fear of Pants Keeps Him Working

Armond Rosamilia is a force of nature -- a writing and podcasting force of nature. I met him at a literary convention a few years ago, and immediately liked him. I think you will too.

Tell us a bit about your latest work.

Keyport Cthulhu is an expanded and new edition of this horror book, originally released in 2013. Author Chuck Buda loved this release so much he lobbied for me to keep it in print but I had a better idea: I asked Chuck to write a short story for a new edition. He wrote two and they were both great so I added them as well as a new short story I'd done for it.

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

I'm a big fan of writing characters who are broken and don't always get to redeem themselves. Like real life. I've expanded my writing away from just horror stories over the years but there is still the redemption (or not) of characters that flows throughout most of my work.

What would be your dream project?

Co-writing a novel with either Dean Koontz or Brian Keene. Koontz is the reason I am a full-time writer today and Keene is the reason I first wrote zombie stories, which led me to write full-time.

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

Tool Shed, a horror novella that was released only in eBook by a small press. It never found the right audience and it's still a great story I'd love to someday rewrite or find another press to release it. I'd expand it into a full novel since there was a lot of scenes I cut or revised to get it down to a shorter word count.

What inspires you to write?

Not having to put pants on each day and leave the house. If I stop making money doing this for a living I'll have to go back to retail management, which I hated every day of my life. So... fear drives me.

What writers have influenced your style and technique?

Dean Koontz was the first author I dove into and never looked back. I was never a King fan. Still not. Robert E Howard was also a big influence when I was a kid and some reviewers have pointed out they can see the influence. Later it was Keene and Masterton, Laymon and Everson. Those just scratch the surface.

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

Somewhere in the middle? I try not to think too hard on it. Writing is just another part of my life. Something we do when we can't help it. I consider myself a pulp fiction writer. Fun stories, even if they're horror. The story a reader hopefully won't put down or have to look up big words while reading. The books I loved reading and still do.

Any other upcoming projects you would like to plug?  

Green River Blend 3, a supernatural thriller about coffee (yes, coffee) is now available from Devil Dog Press. It wraps the trilogy up nicely and it's easily my favorite book in the series.

For more information:

Website:
http://armandrosamilia.com

Keyport Cthulhu:
https://www.amazon.com/Keyport-Cthulhu-Armand-Rosamilia-ebook/dp/B06XJCH3P1/ref=pd_rhf_dp_p_img_5?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=7G34MRZ4NYBFKEASXMQF

Green River Blend 3:
https://www.amazon.com/Green-River-Blend-Armand-Rosamilia-ebook/dp/B06XNQ6YD6/ref=pd_rhf_dp_p_img_3?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=DMMSTPC3VYZJDXV1EEPM

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Dave Creek Releases THE UNMOVING STARS!

In the midst of a galactic war, a sneak attack leaves the starship Shen Kuo with half its crew dead and the ship itself crippled and adrift thousands of light-years from home. Now, with Captain Kiernan Taylor facing a return journey that could take decades, he must seek out a "shortcut" home even as he perceives the first glimmerings of a mutiny!

"THE UNMOVING STARS is a gripping tale of humans fighting against time and vast interstellar distances to return home. Fans of Star Trek Voyager and The Lost Fleet will enjoy this series." -- Jason Sanford, two-time Nebula Award finalist.

THE UNMOVING STARS is available in paperback and ebook editions on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2q9ct9Y.

Although THE UNMOVING STARS can be read as a stand-alone novel, it's also The Great Human War #3.  Anyone who wants to check out A CROWD OF STARS/Great Human War #1 and THE FALLEN SUN/Great Human War #2, can take do so at the links below.

A CROWD OF STARS: http://amzn.to/2qKz3CS
THE FALLEN SUN: http://amzn.to/2qBE7fS

Bio:
Dave Creek is the author of the novels SOME DISTANT SHORE and CHANDA'S AWAKENING, along with the short story collections A GLIMPSE OF SPLENDOR and THE HUMAN EQUATIONS.

His short stories have appeared in ANALOG SCIENCE FICTION AND FACT and APEX magazines, and the anthologies FAR ORBIT APOGEE, TOUCHING THE FACE OF THE COSMOS, and DYSTOPIAN EXPRESS.

In the "real world," Dave is a retired television news producer.  Dave lives in Louisville with his wife Dana, son Andy, Corgi/Jack Russell Terrier mix Ziggy Stardog, and two sleepy cats -- Hedwig and Hemingway.

Stay in touch with Dave:

E-mail
Dave@davecreek.com

Website:
http://www.davecreek.com

Twitter:
@DaveCreek

Saturday, May 20, 2017

[Link] From Katanga to Hiroshima; or the Pulp Fiction Author Who Was a Spy

by Tanth J. Graysmoke 

"In a book review last week, I mentioned that the uranium used to explode Hiroshima and Nagasaki (pictured above) came from the Belgian Congo.  Today, I’ll look more at that through Spies in the Congo (2016) by Susan Williams, with an audio book narrated by Justine Eyre.  The book is about how OSS agents and their “cut-outs” secured the American monopoly on the uranium from Katanga, a region in what is today southern Congo-Kinshasa. ...

"There are some great characters populating Ms. Williams’ narrative. The star of the book is Wilbur Owings “Dock” Hogue.  He seemed like a pretty normal dude to be chased around by Nazi agents.  He’s interesting to me, mainly because he was an amateur author of pulp fiction.  He published Adventure stories under his own name and Mystery stories under the name Carl Shannon, using his own experiences to write a thriller about a spy hunting Nazi diamond smugglers in Africa.  He seemed to have a promising little side career going before he died of radiation poisoning at age 42."

Read the full article: https://afeastknown.wordpress.com/2017/05/05/from-katanga-to-hiroshima-or-the-pulp-fiction-author-who-was-a-spy/

Friday, May 19, 2017

PULP HEROES - SANCTUARY FALLS HAS FINALLY ARRIVED!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

KNIGHTRAVEN STUDIOS ANNOUNCES THE IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF THE LONG-AWAITED FINAL CHAPTER IN THE PULP HEROES TRILOGY, WRITTEN & ILLUSTRATED BY WAYNE REINAGEL.

The Pulp Heroes saga is an epic adventure spanning two centuries in time and linking the incredible lives of history’s most popular Victorian Age adventurers of the 1800’s with the greatest action heroes of the 1930’s - 1940’s Pulp Era and an assortment of well-known, real-life figures. Two generations of heroes, one incredible destiny.

As the final novel in the Pulp Heroes trilogy, Pulp Heroes - Sanctuary Falls features the thrilling conclusion to the massive storyline. The main portion of the novel is situated in the year 1949. An extraterrestrial warning, originating from beyond the infinite gulf of space and time, is brought to the attention of Earth’s greatest pulp heroes, predicting the annihilation of the Earth. Even worse, if it cannot be prevented, this tremendous wave of Armageddon will expand beyond the solar system, encompassing the entire Multiverse; consisting of more than a hundred billion worlds.

While investigating the interstellar menace, the fellowship of Mystery Men (Doc Titan - The Ultimate Man, The Darkness - The Master of Shadows, Guardian - Steel and Ice Justice, and The Scorpion - The Deadliest Man Alive) band together for the final time and, along the way, unearth a succession of incredibly complex government secrets, interlaced with subterfuge, both foreign and domestic.
Pulp Heroes - Sanctuary Falls weaves an incredible tapestry, perfectly integrating dozens of outwardly random events, involving UFO’s, the 1908 Tunguska Event, the Cold War, the 1897 Aurora, Texas UFO incident, Majestic 12, Time Travel, CIA & KGB, Area 51, Nikola Tesla's Wardenclyffe Tower, the 1947 Roswell UFO incident, missing ships and planes in the Bermuda Triangle, Nazis in Antarctica, the 1908 New York to Paris Race, covert military operations, and much, much more.

**********


As mentioned above, Pulp Heroes - Sanctuary Falls is the final chapter of this massive three-part trilogy. Earlier chapters in the careers of the astounding Mystery Men are chronicled in the highly acclaimed Pulp Heroes - Khan Dynasty and Pulp Heroes - More Than Mortal. Although each novel is a self-contained story, painted in bold sweeping strokes, this massive three-part trilogy is best read as a combined series.

The first book, Pulp Heroes - Khan Dynasty, is situated in the year 1938. In this epic novel, the world was initially introduced to the four greatest crime fighters of the 1930’s. These incomparable champions of justice were Doc Titan, The Darkness, Guardian, and Scorpion. Aided by their loyal agents and steadfast associates, this fearless quartet of Mystery Men banded together to fight evil and dispense justice, traveling to the farthest ends of the globe and clashing against dastardly villains and ruthless madmen.
Risking life and limb, the four heroes encounter the illustrious Asian devil-doctor Hunan Sun and the roguish, Victorian man-monster Edward Hyde. Beginning in Cairo, Egypt, nearly a century in the past, a series of seemingly random events lead to danger and intrigue, as two generations of valiant figures race to stop the diabolical duo from unleashing a devastating wave of death and destruction upon the Earth.

Volume two, Pulp Heroes - More Than Mortal, takes place in the year 1945, near the end of World War II. The heroes must stop the faceless Nazi mastermind Black Skull, and the satanic, anti-hero Victor Kaine, before the scoundrels can unleash a deadly force that will swing the outcome of the war in favor of the Axis forces.

This massive trilogy is reminiscent of the great action-adventure pulp hero stories of yesteryear. Our bold heroes travel around the world and, utilizing a series of well-timed flashbacks, voyage 150 years backward through time. And as the adventure continues, the heroes soon discover that there are many dark and dangerous secrets that have been kept from them and the world at large. Secrets that could destroy them all. And, perhaps, the Earth itself.

The Pulp Heroes trilogy of novels are fast-paced chronicles about relationships between bold, humorous, entertaining characters. It is a story about daring adventure. About fathers and sons. The passing of the heroic baton. Unexpected storyline twists. Long hidden secrets exposed. It is about how everyone is linked in some way and how actions in the past affect the present. It is not merely their abilities that show who these heroes are; it is about the choices they make. Above all, it is an action-packed thrill ride. And, most importantly, it is a story about great adventure heroes and daring heroines. Together, they face enemies unlike anything they have encountered before.

What will they have to sacrifice to succeed? Who will survive?

They were … PULP HEROES!!

**********

In addition to being a great epic story, the three Pulp Heroes novels also function as the backbone of the much larger Infinite Horizons universe.

Infinite Horizons is an ongoing series of action-adventure novels published by Knightraven Studios, featuring the astounding untold chronicles, extraordinary exploits, and hair-raising escapes of the greatest adventurers and explorers in the history of mankind. These incredibly diverse stories explore two hundred years of legendary heroes and villains during the Victorian age, the Pulp era, and the Golden Age of comic books, tightly interwoven with real-world events and individuals, standing alongside history’s most interesting fictional characters.

In addition to the 1930's pulp heroes, these extraordinary stories also feature famous fictional characters from Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Around the World in 80 Days, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly's Frankenstein, Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes and Professor Challenger series, Chester Hawks' Captain Hazzard, J.H. Rosny’s Ironcastle, John W. Campbell’s Who Goes There?/Thing from Another World, H. Rider Haggard's Allan Quatermain, Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Philip Wylie's Savage Gentleman and Gladiator, and many more.

In terms of its sheer size, scope, and potential, Infinite Horizons is truly the ultimate crossover universe. It’s an endless, bottomless, literary Sargasso, linking together hundreds of novels, short stories, and characters, both real and imaginary. In 2011, the ultimate Gothic horror Steampunk novel, Modern Marvels - Viktoriana, joined the 'Steampulp' novels, Pulp Heroes - More Than Mortal, Pulp Heroes - Khan Dynasty, and Pulp Heroes - Sanctuary. Then, three smaller novels, the action-packed Hunter Island Adventure, the fantastic, center-of-the-Earth Inner World Adventure, and the Gothic horror novel The Cast Away added further depth to the ever-expanding Infinite Horizons universe. All the Pulp Heroes and Modern Marvels novels are written and illustrated by Wayne Reinagel, creator of the Infinite Horizons universe. Each of these epic novels feature incredible, full-length stories like nothing you've ever read before.

**********

Knightraven Studios, an independent publisher, has been dedicated to serving Truth, Justice, and the American Way since 1980 and extends an invitation for you to explore the incredible Infinite Horizons universe!

Looking for thrilling, action-packed stories, with lots of fun? Pulp era adventure at its best? Lightning in a bottle? Novels guaranteed to knock your socks off? We highly recommend you climb aboard and enter the Infinite Horizons universe!! All of the aforementioned novels are currently available in print and digital formats. They can be found at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and book shops worldwide.

To order:

Sanctuary
More Than Mortal
Khan Dynasty

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Wayback Machine: The Pulse Interview with Stefan Petrucha

This interview is an article I did more than 10 years ago
for The Pulse, a comics news and features magazine.

============================

A Walk on the Weird Side with Stefan Petrucha
By Sean Taylor, special to The Pulse

He’s perhaps one of the most famous comic book writers whose name you mispronounce.

 Stefan Petrucha (Steh-fahn Peh-trook-ah) has been the writer behind two of the creepiest comic book adaptations of sci-fi and horror television series in the history of the medium. For longer than any comic book should be allowed the spot, his X-Files #1 (with artist Charles Adlard) was the most sought-after back issue in comic shops and online. He’s been involved in comics publishing as a writer in both the indy and mainstream scene. But not only that, he’s also a published novelist, and is most recently the creative voice behind a new Dr. Who-based novel series.

 For those of you who’ve been living under a rock, that’s who Stefan Petrucha is, and he was kind enough to spare a little time to talk with the Pulse about what’s been going on in his world.

 Pulse: So, you’re written for some of the world’s most popular characters, from Mulder and Scully to the cast from Doctor Who. What’s it like to have the futures of such well-known and well-loved characters at your fingertips?

 Stefan Petrucha: To clarify, Time Hunter isn’t a Doctor Who novel, it’s a spin-off series. Telos Publishing did a very successful series of novellas starring the good doctor, but Time Hunter begins where those end. The Time Hunter story gets its start in The Cabinet of Light, which does feature Doctor Who. It also introduces the time-hopping escapades of Honoré Lechasseur, an African American vet who stayed in London after WW II, and Emily Blandish, who appeared mysteriously in town one evening, wearing what everyone took to be her pajamas. Lechasseur’s a “spiv” -- a black market operate, which was most of London’s economy at the time. It also turns out he’s “time sensitive” -- he can see the past, present and future. Doctor Who puts him in touch with Emily, who is a “time jumper.” He finds coordinates, she takes them there. The Time Hunter series itself, The Winning Side, and now my own Tunnel at the End of the Light, feature the ongoing adventures of Honoré and Emily. And it’s a genre-hopping hoot if I do say so myself!

 Pulse: How did Time Hunter your gig come about?

 SP: Publisher David J. Howe reviewed and enjoyed one of my White Wolf stories. He was also familiar with my X-Files comic work, and asked if I was interested in pitching. Their proposal for the series struck me as
exciting and a lot of fun. After we batted around a synopsis a bit, I was on my way.

 The only problem was all the ‘Americanisms’ I wound up using, you know, being American, which they had to carefully cut out. I did have a lot of help from London resident Lesley Logan, my sister-in-law, who helped me out with selecting the appropriate neighborhoods for the various scenes. I think in the end it worked out pretty well.

 Pulse: Can you share a few examples of some of those ‘Americanisms’?

 SP: Oh, it was mostly spelling, like color/colour, realized/realised, candy/confectionary that sort of thing.

 Pulse: How is working on novels different than working on comic books?

 SP: Primarily one doesn’t have any pictures to rely on to tell the story. In the full comic book script, the writer pretty much describes all the pictures, and you can do that with some evocative flair, to get the artist in the mood, etc. but it’s not the same.

 Comic book production is also much more a partnership between the artists and writer, and you have to have a good match to do your best work. In novels, while the editor is certainly a partner of sorts, and incredibly invaluable, the writer is obviously more center stage. For me, there’s a terrific satisfaction in having a product that’s complete when I’m finished working on it -- something that I can’t say about screenplays or comics.

 Pulse: How is what you do for both mediums similar?

 SP: On the level of plot, characterization, themes, and so on -- all the structural elements are basically the same. Comics and film are inherently more ‘surface’ mediums, in the sense that they can more naturally show you what they mean, whereas novels and prose more quickly lend themselves to the internal, more naturally reflecting the inner workings of characters.

 Pulse: As a novel writer and a comic book writer, why do you think there is such a disconnect between readers of the two art forms, whether in reality or just the perception?

 SP: I think people in this country simply don’t read comics the way they do in much of the rest of the world, a state of affairs that, I think, can be traced back to Seduction of the Innocents and Frederic Wertham, which stigmatized the media not only as something that was directed toward children, but also as something ‘dirty.’

 I think they recovered a bit as a mass medium with a wider audience with Spider-Man in the sixties, but these days, they’re too expensive and too self-reflective. When they were cheap, they were a real “peoples” medium -- much the same way the Internet may be today.

 Pulse: While we’re discussing comics, how did you newest project for Shooting Star Comics come about?

 SP: “Roses Bedight” was a story I originally pitched to 2000 AD -- and honestly, I couldn’t believe they didn’t like it. Not edgy enough, or some such. But it stayed in the back of my head as something I wanted to do for the longest time, so you and I met at DragonCon, it seemed a natural opportunity to tell the tale.

 Pulse: How would you say the project has been influenced or inspired by other sci-fi that has gone before?

 SP: It’s a commentary on the over-consumptive society -- where everything exists to satisfy some personal urge -- starring the all-consuming parent and helpless child.

 Pulse: What would you say makes it different and new?

 SP: Technology simply brings that to a point where people can stay children all their lives, and have no need for the responsibilities of parenthood, which many happily drop with the same heedlessness with which one cuts down the rain forest to make more cattle for fast food hamburgers. I think that sort of social commentary runs through the best of science fiction, troped, of course, with fancy gadgets and wonderfully rendered dystopian backgrounds.

 Pulse: Why did you decide to release this story through Shooting Star Comics?

 SP: What I’d seen of the early issues gave me a great feeling about the company, so it seemed like a no-brainer. And I’m thrilled to be working with new artist Jeziel [Martinez Sanchez]. I think his art’s terrific, perfect for the story.

 Pulse: What are your plans for the characters after their appearance in Shooting Star Comics Anthology #5? Are you planning any follow-up appearances?

 SP: No, not really. I think it’s a one-shot. It makes its point and then you move on, but who knows?

 Pulse: What’s the difference, as you’ve seen it, between working with mainstream and independent publishers?

 SP: Same old, same old. Indies give you much more freedom, the mainstream gives you much more money.

 Pulse: Let’s look back for a moment at your work on the X-Files comic book. What was the most fulfilling aspect of being the writer for one of the hottest books in the world at the time?

 SP: When we started, the show wasn’t hugely popular, it was just a small cult hit, so it was great to be a part of that upswell in popularity. It was overall terrific, I was writing stories I loved and cared a great deal about, AND they were terrifically popular. An incredible amount of contact with readers was, I think, the chief reward, next to the overall fame and fortune. The series gave me some terrific opportunities, including doing TV and radio interviews and having my work appear in TV Guide.

 Pulse: Oh yeah, I had forgotten about the TV Guide story? How’d that one come about?

 SP: I believe TV Guide actually approached Topps about the whole thing.  The fun challenge was to try to tell an X-Files story in five pages -- reduce the show andcharacters into some sort of quick formula (something Chris Carter once claimed the show didn’t have.)  It helped codify that formula for me:

Something strange happens.
Mulder says, “Hey, something strange happened!”
Scully says, “Did not!”
Then something else strange happens.  The End.

I was pretty pleased that I was able to pull it off.  That story got the single fastest approval from Fox and 1013 -- probably because it had to be so simple, by virtue of its length.  TV Guide’s done comics since, but ours was the first, and I was terribly proud to have my work in front of millions of peoples.  Didn’t hurt sales on the comic, either!

 Pulse: What were some of the hassles of writing a book about characters that were coming from such a popular TV show?

 SP: Everyone seemed to enjoy my work, except the creators of the show. As of the second issue, we were constantly butting heads. I was trying to do different things, material more appropriate to the medium, and
they were interested, naturally, more in replicating the series as much as possible. It was an increasingly painful process -- and the more popular the show became the less yielding they were. I’m happy I made it through 16 issues!

 Pulse: What did you think about the X-Files movie a few years ago and the series ending? What would you have done differently had you been writing it?

 SP: I think early on the X-files started a long spiral down. By the time they made the decision to keep the original back story going, without seemingly having a clue as to where it was headed, I think, aesthetically they were doomed, forced to make it more and more incoherent, leading to the mediocre film and the deeply embarrassing final episode.

 Since you ask, I would have run it much the way Buffy was done in her heyday, one large arc per season, surrounded by standalone stories. Each season the arc gets resolved, and you move on. For the film, I would have done a single, great standalone mystery starring Mulder and Scully, bigger budget, bigger effects, etc., but nothing whatsoever to do with the mythos.

 Pulse: If you were offered the gig again today, would you be up for it, and what would you do to make X-Files a hot comics property again?

 SP: Pretty much what I’d been doing -- exploring paranormal mysteries across the globe -- the stuff that might be real -- go back to the core believer/non-believer dialect that made the characters tick, and let Scully be right more often!

 Pulse: Let’s talk Moonstone and Kolchak. Some might say that your work on The Night Stalker isn’t far removed from your work on Mulder and Scully. Do you think your successful run on X-Files helped you land the Kolchak book because of their similar directions?

 SP: Oh sure, in fact Topps was considering a Kolchak book as a companion to the X-Files, which I was going to write -- it just never got off the ground.

 Pulse: Granted, the two are very similar, but what do you think makes the two properties different and unique?

 SP: Kolchak is more noir -- focused on his narrative voice, his moralistic, Chandler-light, worldview, where he faces the monster to save the day, but gets put down by the Man because of it. The issue isn’t whether the monster is or not, but simply that it exists. The strength of the X-Files, when it was good, was in the dialogue between Mulder and Scully about what is and isn’t real -- in other words, whether the monster is or not. There’s a lot of overlap there, and I think ultimately the differences are more about which elements are more to the fore.

 Pulse: What are your future plans for Kolchak?

 SP: Right now I’m doing an original ten-page Kolchak story for an upcoming trade paperback collection. The plot hasn’t been approved yet, so I don’t think I should discuss it here.

 Pulse: Out of all the comics work you’ve done, what have you found to be the most fulfilling?

 SP: Oh, that’s tough to say, many offer different rewards and I’ve enjoyed practically all of them. My own material is always special to me; Squalor, Meta-4, Lance Barnes, The Bandy Man -- but the X-Files and Kolchak still stand as some of the best writing I’ve done, plus they’ve had wider exposure. I also write Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck comics for Egmont in Denmark, and get a terrific, but completely different, kick out of them as well.

 Pulse: What’s the difference for you between working on your own concepts and working on characters that belong to other companies?

 SP: When I’m working on my own stuff, editorial feedback goes directly to the quality of the story and the characterizations. With licensing, there are all sorts of other character rules and such that must be obeyed. When you’ve got great partners, either can go well -- when you don’t, either can go badly.

 Pulse: After being in comics for so long, what haven’t you been able to do yet that you’d love to have the opportunity to do?

 SP: Earn a steady living!

 Pulse: What else should Stefan Petrucha fans be looking for in the months ahead?

 SP: Lance Barnes: Post Nuke Dick, a mini-series I did for Epic in the early 90’s, has been reassembled into a trade paperback, out this June. It has an all-new cover and a new prose story starring Lance, by yours truly. Meanwhile, Director Rick Friedberg (Spy Hard) is working like the dickens to assemble a budget for a feature film. Past that, I’m currently trucking around a paranormal novel that I’m very excited about. And, of course, I can’t wait to see how “Roses Bedight” comes out!