Tuesday, February 27, 2018

[Link] How to Use Twitter to Get More Freelance Clients

by James Parsons 

Twitter is a surprisingly good platform for connecting with people. Sometimes it seems like a one-sided connection, but over time, people begin to recognize each other, and you can facilitate the process until you’re successfully networking throughout your industry.

Describe Your Specialty in Your Bio

One of the keys to getting more clients is letting people know what it is you actually do. Your Twitter bio should include your elevator pitch. My basic formula is [personal item][profession][joke][exceptional clients][CTA].

Example Freelancer Twitter Profile
So, for example, you might have something like this:

Husband and father, freelance graphic designer, and organizational ninja working with @coke and @disney. Check out my portfolio at <link>.

It’s a short profile but it does a lot of work. It tells people what kind of profession you’re in, an idea of your sense of humor and what your personal life is like, and what other companies have worked with you in the past. Plus, it has a link to your portfolio so any interested parties can check you out. I recommend tracking that link specifically with some UTM parameters so Google Analytics can pick up more data, as well.

Read the full article: https://follows.com/blog/2017/10/twitter-get-freelance-clients

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Nugget #122 -- A Little Bit of Scary

A little bit of scary can often improve even the best
love story, or perhaps a dramatic literary book.

Sunday, February 18, 2018



True crime, cold cases, criminal dramas… From the Whodunits to the How’d-he-do-its, the world has forever been enamored with the criminal mind. Law-abiding citizens, who would otherwise never dream of committing such heinous acts, nevertheless savor every scandalous, wicked, and macabre detail. Columnist Jim Doherty has compiled a sampling of such twisted true tales just for you in JUST THE FACTS: TRUE TALES OF COPS AND CRIMINALS from Pro Se Productions, now a top quality audiobook produced by Radio Archives!

Fiction is filled with fantastic crime fighters, people who put on the badge and solve every mystery and put every criminal where they belong. But those same sort of people have always existed beyond the page. Real-life lawmen who went above and beyond in the pursuit of justice and the law. Jim Doherty, "Just the Facts" columnist for Mystery Readers Journal and a third generation policeman, tells the stories of law enforcement legends in Just the Facts: True Tales of Cops and Criminals.
Bill Tilghman, legendary Oklahoma lawman and town-tamer from the territorial era to the Roaring Twenties. Richard Crafts, an airline pilot who killed his stewardess wife and fed her frozen body into a rented wood chipper. Hawaiian policeman Chang Apana, the real Chinese-American detective who inspired Earl Derr Biggers to create Charlie Chan.

Their stories and many more are brought to life in this new edition of JUST THE FACTS: TRUE TALES OF COPS AND CRIMINALS , featuring articles new to the collection as well as three exclusive to this edition from Pro Se Productions.

"This is a well researched, addictive collection of true case studies, some sensational, others little known, all intensely interesting. And one, ‘The Mad Doctor and The Untouchable,’ will no doubt become a terrific movie." - Joseph Wambaugh

Featuring iconic cover art by Jeff Hayes and a thrilling audio performance by Dan Order, JUST THE FACTS: TRUE TALES OF COPS AND CRIMINALS is available now on Amazon.

This exciting True Crime audiobook is also available on Audible and Itunes.

JUST THE FACTS: TRUE TALES OF COPS AND CRIMINALS is available in print and ebook at Amazon and www.prose-press.com.

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

Check out Radio Archives and the fantastic audiobooks, classic radio collections, and the fantastic variety of classic Pulp eBooks they offer at www.RadioArchives.com.

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

Saturday, February 17, 2018



Lombard, Illinois – February 5, 2018

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

The nomination process will be as follows:

Members of the Pulp Factory E-mail list have through Wednesday, February 28 to submit their initial nominations for the Pulp Factory Awards. Any book published in print in 2017 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 2017.

Nominations (by members of the Pulp Factory only) should be e-mailed directly to PulpAwards@gmail.com, with choices in the following categories:


A special award will be given out by the Awards Committee in 2018 (details to follow)
The Best Pulp Anthology category covers any anthology or collection featuring 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 2017 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.

Fans are encouraged to submit multiple entries for each category by February 28– although members are encouraged to discuss their choices on the Pulp Factory list, only those e-mailed directly to PulpAwards@gmail.com will be considered for awards.

After February 28, the committee will tally and craft a final ballot for voting (deadline to be scheduled), and that ballot will be submitted for fans to vote electronically for the awards. Awards will be handed out to winners during the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention on Friday, April 6, 2018.

Questions and nominations should be directed to PulpAwards@gmail.com. This will ensure a more prompt response than reaching out to individual committee members.

Thank you for your interest, and looking forward to your nominations!

Friday, February 16, 2018

[Link] 25 Books You Probably Should Have Read Already

In life, there are things you could do, things you should do, and things you must do. These same categories apply to your choice of what to read next. You could read any number of books, for reasons ranging from guilty pleasure to the fact that your book club meets in two days. You should probably read any number of classic novels that will expand your literary palate or teach you a thing or two. And then there are the books you must read, no matter who you are. There are a lot of reasons books become “must reads,” and it’s not necessarily just their literary quality. The 25 titles below have much to offer anyone who picks them up.

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
Harper Lee’s classic is one those rare perfect novels, which by itself makes it a should read. It’s further elevated by the evergreen nature of its central conflicts and plot; nearly six decades after publication, the story of a small southern town’s struggle with racism and injustice remains disturbingly current. It’s also become a must read because it’s widely the quintessential 20th-century American novel.

Ceremony, by Leslie Marmon Silko
One of the most powerful novels of the modern era twists World War II, the traditions of the Navajo and Pueblo people, and mental health into a story that introduces a culture and point of view missing from most American and Western experiences. Its presentation of a spiritual aspect to life that isn’t traditionally monotheistic, and its beautiful, hallucinatory writing make it essential.

Read the full article: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/25-books-probably-read-already/

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Nugget #121 -- White-Washed Pulps

Historically, the world of the pulps is a very white-washed world, 
much like the movies and radio drama of the time. It’s not that 
people of color didn’t exist to inhabit stories of The Shadow, 
Secret Agent X, or Philip Marlowe. It’s that they didn’t have 
the social power to prove they mattered to the narrative.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

My Open Letter to the Market

Dear publishing world:

I know it isn't as popular now, nor is it as marketable, but I have to shout it out: "I am a short story writer, and I love it!"

I simply adore the art of the short story. I have recently been re-reading Shirley Jackson, Kurt Vonnegut, Ernest Hemingway, Robert Chambers, Ambrose Bierce, Algernon Blackwood and Ray Bradbury, and their short works have reminded me all over again who I am. I'm a throwback, apparently.

Will I continue to write longer works? Yes, just as Jackson, et al did, but I admit that my heart is in the 2k to 5k word count. That's where I thrive. That's where my drive to create burns the most passionately.

That's probably also why I have trouble with the 10-15k wordcount of pulp novelletes and the 30k+ digest novels/novellas, not to mentions the 40k+ novels, trouble not so much with the technical aspect of writing them, but with the emotional aspect of staying interested in them.

I love the stories that don't have to have three acts or beginnings, middles, and endings -- stories that can thrive in the moment, beginning way after beginnings and ending long before their endings.

Thanks for listening.

I still love you in all your glorious formats.


Sunday, February 11, 2018



Noted author H. David Blalock enters the world of New Pulp and masked heroes with THE VELVET WASP, a brand new collection of short stories featuring his own original Pulp Heroine!

A nightclub entertainer named Adele Fornost has been found dead, an apparent suicide. Her friend, another entertainer named Diane Green, is convinced that she was murdered and that the Outlander Mob is behind it. Known for racketeering, prostitution, and money laundering, the Outlanders are run by a man known only as Sir. Diane is unable to convince the police to take on the case and decides to take matters into her own hands. Although she is able to get the goods on the Outlanders, she has to fake her own death to do it. Thus, Diane Green dies, but the Velvet Wasp is born to take flight in four adventures, courtesy of H. David Blalock and Pro Se Productions.

With a captivating cover and logo design by Jeffrey Hayes and print formatting by Marzia Marina and Antonino Lo Iacono, THE VELVET WASP is available now at Amazon and Pro Se’s own store for 14.99.

This action packed collection is also available as an Ebook, designed and formatted by Lo Iacono and Marina for only $2.99 for the Kindle.  This book is also available on Kindle Unlimited, which means Kindle Unlimited Members can read for free.

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.

Saturday, February 10, 2018


For Immediate Release

Airship 27 Productions is thrilled to announce the release of “Secret Agent X Vol 6,” continuing the adventures of Pulpdom’s premier spy in three new pulse-pounding adventures. The Man of a Thousand Faces is confronted with the most threatening challenges to America imaginable and only his incredible talents as a super spy can overcome each.

From destroying a world spreading plague launched from a giant airship to stymieing Nazi subterfuge at a mountain enclave and then having to fight dead men under spell of an evil mystic. All in a days work for the Agent X. Writers Fred Adams Jr., Kaushik Karforma and Frank Schildiner deliver three top-notch pulp thrillers that will have fans turning pages at break-neck speed.

“Our fans can’t get enough of Secret Agent X,” reports Airship 27 Productions’ Managing Editor, Ron Fortier. “From the day we launched this series of brand new X tales, pulp fans have enthusiastically supported these books. Although a B character in the golden days of the pulps, we’ve truly enjoyed giving this great character the center spotlight he truly deserves.”

As always, Art Director Rob Davis provides the black and white interior illustrations and also does double duty with his action themed cover based on a scene from Kaushik Karforma’s story, “Escape From Zakopane.” 

If you are still unfamiliar with this great pulp hero it’s high time you discovered the master spy who inspired Nick Carter, James Bond, Matt Helm, and all the great heroes of espionage fiction; Secret Agent X.


Now available in paperback from Amazon.com and soon on Kindle.

Friday, February 9, 2018



Pro Se Productions proudly announces the release of the eighth novel featuring the most unique spy in genre fiction.  Author Nicholas Boving’s man of mystery and intrigue returns to battle evil in MAXIM GUNN: SHEBA’S NECKLACE, available in print and digital formats.

King Solomon's Mines, She Who Must be Obeyed. Did Wanda Liszt finally find the secret to eternal life when she recovered Sheba's Necklace from the bottom of a Swiss lake? “It should have worked, Maxim.” Wanda's words came out huskily and with great effort. “It did for a while, didn't it? I was going to be young and beautiful forever. The flame, the necklace, they were the secret. It should have worked. Where did I go wrong?”

Words Maxim Gunn has heard a million times over as the world has loomed on the edge of supernatural chaos. This time is no different, as the world’s ultimate occult secret agent tackles the immortal mystery of SHEBA’S NECKLACE, the eighth Maxim Gunn adventure from Author Nicholas Boving and Pro Se Productions.

With a stunning cover by Adam Shaw and and logo design and print formatting by Marzia Marina and Antonino Lo Iacono, MAXIM GUNN: SHEBA’S NECKLACE is available now at Amazon  and Pro Se’s own store for 15.00.

The eighth Maxim Gunn novel is also available as an Ebook, designed and formatted by Lo Iacono and Marina for only $2.99 for the Kindle. The book is also available on Kindle Unlimited, which means Kindle Unlimited Members can read for free.

The ninth Maxim Gunn novel will be available from Pro Se Productions in mid 2018.

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.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Economic Diversity in Fiction

Here on the blog we've talked about gender and racial diversity quite a bit as it pertains to fiction (both on the creator and creation sides), but something we've neglected thus far is a economic diversity of our characters (although we indie writers and small to medium press writer often bemoan the the difference in economic diversity among writers -- *grins*). So, let's remedy that.

For this roundtable, we're going to look at the class/economic considerations that go into building worlds and characters. 

Going back to Victorian fiction and before, so much of the fictional world was middle class (or higher) or the undertrodden class, and with a few notable exceptions, the twain didn't meet. Why? How much of that is a holdover in contemporary fiction?

Gordon Dymowski: Much of that, I think, is due to past writers not being aware of class distinctions. It's much easier to focus on aspirational writing (middle class) or "socially conscious" writing (about lower income people) because the greater implications can easily be avoided. Class issues are very touchy in our culture, and addressing how classes interact -- even in fiction -- was a bit of a challenge. If you come from a position of relative economic privilege, it may be tougher to identify with people who are struggling; if you are someone who is struggling economically, middle/upper class people were easy to idealize and resent... often in the same sentence.

In contemporary fiction, having both classes interact has become slightly more common.. .but not by much. Except for a few series like The Wire and Law & Order, most series focus almost exclusively on middle-class people. With many people struggling to stay afloat, having honest depictions of working or middle class life would be extremely helpful...but seem to be rare in media.

I.A. Watson: There's a direct historic correlation between class and literacy and a still-existing one between income levels and consumption of literature. The Victorian era was perhaps the first ever where literacy and economic capacity of the lower class was sufficient to support reading habits (and therefore the emergence of the first proto-pulp industry in the "penny dreadful" serials). Before that, almost all depictions of the lower classes were from upper and middle class perspectives, with the inherent prejudices and assumptions of those writers.

Even when the lower classes could choose literature, they either self-selected or had selected for them by publishers a great deal of "aspirational" subject matter - stories of royalty, nobility, the rich and powerful, rather than "kitchen sink" narratives of daily poverty. Where poorer people appeared, it was often as a background to a main character escaping to a "better life", as comedy or criminal supporting cast, or as domestic servants.

I'd argue that though such class distinctions have been much blurred in the West today, our literary roots still guide our reading expectations. It is still somewhat true that if the story is set in a "lower class" setting, that is what the narrative tends to be about, or it is a distinctive flavour necessary to the backstory.

What literature then and now tends to be quite poor at reflecting is "everyday" poorer working people -- not the "We grew up dirt poor in a crate under a bridge" dramatic poverty or the "Everyone on our street had to join a drug gang to survive" stuff, but the "We had a limited income all the time and couldn't afford college" or "Dad worked hard in a middle-class suburb" stuff. That's probably because it is harder to find story hooks in that kind of environment.

Michael Woods: I'm not sure how much people from different social or economic strata really interact. Everyone I know, I consider to be working class lower middle class or poor folks. We go to work, we bust hump, and hope for the best. I've never really had the chance to interact with folks who have never had to struggle to get by. Even the people I know who aren't struggling now, we're struggling for a long time.

Looking back through modern bestsellers it still seems that authors tend to center in on one demographic for their cast (particularly seen in TV fiction). What are the benefits of keeping the core cast homogeneous? What are the detriments?

I.A. Watson: In life, most people's core casts are a bit homogeneous. It's self-selecting, based on job, neighbourhood, or family. Wildly diverse multi-cultural multi-sexualitied, multi-social-classed groupings seem quite rare outside PC sitcoms - at least in my somewhat limited provincial social circles.

The benefits of the homogeneous group are that the story doesn't have to take time to reflect the differences, detracting from the main narrative, and that it helps solidify the immersion in that particular "world." We don't need to know about Hermoine's black transgender friend from before she went to Hogwarts or devote time for scenes with him. On the other hand, that kind of tight character set can reinforce the clique self-identification of a cast and can bypass a lot of "difference" drama or humour that so many stories benefit from. There's a reason so many mismatched cops buddy up to solve crimes.

Richard Laswell: I've seen more diversity on TV lately with costume dramas. I'm thinking of Victoria on PBS or This Is Us. By and large though, even these shows mostly show the higher and lower rungs of the economic ladder.

Gordon Dymowski: It's easier to "write what you know" and focus on characters who are just like you...it also allows for greater intentional reader identification. (If you're writing Young Adult literature, you probably want your characters to be young adults.) "Writing only what you know", however, is incredibly lazy and self-indulgent – it means never moving outside your comfort zone, never telling engaging stories, and rarely (if ever) getting new readers.

And for most writers, getting people to read your books should be paramount.

Writing a homogeneous cast also limits your storytelling ability. After all, if your stories are based on the same person (or worse, idealized versions of how the writer perceives themselves), why should anyone else care? Writing creates insight into how others live and experience the world, and having only one demographic as your main character set only limits that ability to share the world.

(And yes, I am talking about diversity and inclusion on all levels, including economic. If you think that's being "politically correct", well...that phrase is so 1998. You might want to step away from the keyboard and check out the outside world.)

What can we do as writers to better integrate all socioeconomic classes into our fiction?

I.A. Watson: I think many of the lessons we try to apply in other diversity representations probably apply here: reflect diversity accurately, avoiding stereotype; only use homogeneity as it is and if it is required; ensure that the worlds we build have sufficient depth to accommodate a range of backgrounds; research any culture enough to represent it with some credibility.

Michael Woods: When I write characters from diverse economic backgrounds, I have to create a situation in where they would meet and circumstances around how they could be friends. It can get pretty convoluted and as entertaining as the situations they get into that leads up to them being friends, it's mostly not important to the reader or the story, but I still need to do it so that I can feel the characters. I don't think modern fiction treads that ground all that much outside of fantasy fiction.

Gordon Dymowski: Part of the challenge is that as writers, many of us don't examine our own biases. We tend to operate as if "we know better" without looking at our world view. One of the ways in which writers can better integrate socioeconomic considerations into our characters is to look at how *we* perceive the world. Do we perceive people who receive government aid (SNAP, Medicaid, etc) as "gaming the system"? Do we internally mock wealthy people because they don' t have "dirt under their fingernails"?

It also means stepping outside our comfort zone and actually getting a sense of *how* different groups live? Know someone who visits a food pantry regularly? Offer to go with them and help. Talk to people where you socialize - church, meetings, etc. Consider attending open 12 Step meetings (I'm serious: addiction crosses socioeconomic boundaries). Think of it as a natural extension of research before writing a story – identifying and feeling compassionate towards others of different classes helps writers integrate that perspective into their writing.

How accurately does modern fiction address the realities of various socioeconomic groups? How can we better illustrate these realities?

Richard Laswell: I'm not sure how one could write major characters from diverse economic backgrounds interacting. Could a story about two friends, one of which is struggling in a paycheck to paycheck situation while the other lives a life of ease on his inheritance be more than about the economics?

Michael Woods: A group of kids or adults from the same background will be able to understand each other better than the rich kids and their poor friend or whatever.

Gordon Dymowski: I would say...not well, but getting better. As more diverse voices are being heard, we are seeing some unique portrayals of class and race (like Blackish, The Wire, Showtime's The Chi). Unfortunately, many writers stick to well-worn cliches: the dive bar with neon, ratty walls in an apartment, etc. to connote the reality of various socioeconomic groups. On the other hand, the wealthy are often portrayed as being in an ideal state. (And no, I did not like Wolf of Wall Street, why do you ask?) We've gotten to a point where wealth and status are considered ideal, and that those who attain it are somewhat "bad".

How do we better illustrate these realities? Focus on building strong characters. Not every rich person is greedy or benevolent; not every poor person is looking for the "big score". Despite being harsh, the reality is that many people are struggling day to day fighting off despair and futility...and that's very heroic. Surviving with their optimism intact and avoiding cynicism can be the most glorious task a human being performs. We need to remember that heroism comes in all shapes, sizes, genders...and socioeconomic statuses.

I.A. Watson: Some socioeconomic groups have become well-known enough to develop their own tropes and stereotypes. The "working-class rogue rebel antihero", often with his cheeky regional accent (e.g. Constantine from DC's Hellblazer), the hard-working kid from the dirt-poor company town who brought up seven siblings, the gang kid who clawed his way from the gutters with blood on his knuckles etc. But these have now often become romanticed and fictionalised to the point of being separated from their original sources.

Better illustrating the realities is harder. It requires some plot relevance to that reality, which in turn requires a plot that supports that; so part of the challenge is in crafting stories where such reality is integral to the content. It requires careful understanding of a situation, and that's hard to gain without "write what you know" first-hand experience. So, for example, I could probably set a story in the 1980s bleakness of the UK national Miner's Strike, with the riots and horrendous poverty and the social division it all caused. I might be able to port some of that across to a story set in 1890s Appalachia or another similar historical occurrence. I would really struggle to properly portray a poor Asian kid growing up in San Francisco in the 1960s.

Actually,, I could do a better job of portraying a poor working-class Roman plebeian of the 1st century AD  to a modern audience. An actual 1st century Roman would laugh my interpretation out of the forum, or would find it offensive, but the setting is so far removed from any modern frame of reference that there are no accurate benchmarks. Whereas there are benchmarks for poor Irish migrants of the 1920s or economic slaves in Chinese sweatshops today. The audience judges with a different set of criteria and a different standard of suspension of disbelief.

What are the tropes and cliches we need to be wary of when integrating classes in fiction, such as the Dickinsian model of poor kid comes into money through adoption or some other means?

Gordon Dymowski: One of the more insidious tropes that I'm seeing play out in fiction is that of the "entrepreneur"- you know, the John Galt-type who pushes forth with great success, wealth, etc. The person who "pulled themselves up by their bootstraps" and built a business, and who will tell you *precisely* what you need to do. You know, the kind of person who might appear on Shark Tank?

This trope needs to end. Pronto.

I know a lot of people (including myself) who are working to build their own business. Unfortunately, "gurus" like Tony Robbins, Seth Godin, and Gary Vaynerchuk make it sound like its easy, and glorify the idea that if you're not an "entrepreneur", you have no worth. Fiction tends to focus on this glorification, and this 21st century variation of the "self-made individual" trope is overused. (I would include descriptions of "bro culture" as well). If we're constructing stories that fully engage readers, we need to focus less on the ideal and more on the everyday in terms of class...because the reality can be even more dramatic than anything we can create.

I.A. Watson: I think by now we're all a bit wary of the hero's jaunty, jive-talking, happy and cool supporting character/"street" friend, the Huggy Bear character. I shy away from things like the Pretty Woman romanticising of prostitution as glamorous or even sexy, even though it's a very old trope (it dates back to things like The Threepenny Opera with it's representation of cool antihero Mac the Knife, pimp, rapist, and murderer). I also try to avoid the counter-prejudice that everybody with money was an incompetent twit or an utter bastard.

Michael Woods: I use the fish out of water cliche more than any other because it can easily explain almost anything going on.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Nugget #120 -- Bypassing the Brain

Visceral writing means to me writing that 
seeks to bypass the brain and aim straight for 
the emotions and a tight feeling in your gut.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Gordon Dymowski: AKA The Writer of AKA The Sinner

By day, Gordon Dymowski is a writer/blogger for a variety of outlets (including I Hear of Sherlock and Chicago Now). He also consults for a variety of nonprofits and small businesses and runs the Chicago Doctor Who Meetup and Freelancers Union/Spark Chicago.

By night, he writes stories of action and intrigue. Tales which stimulate the intellect while tugging at the heartstrings. Tales of mystery, intrigue, and imagination. His work includes stories for Pro Se Productions, Space Buggy Press, and Airship 27 Productions. Gordon also has a small number of academic articles on popular culture and frequently serves as a panelist for several conventions.

Tell us a bit about your latest work.

Back in November, I was fortunate enough to have my first novella, AKA THE SINNER: Cover of Night published by Pro Se Productions. Earlier in 2017, my short story “In the Frame” (featuring the hardboiled detective duo of Buster Keaton & Harold Lloyd... yes, you read that correctly) was included in Pro Se’s Hollywood Mystery collection, and I had two essays -- one focused on Firefly, another on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, included in the DePaul Pop Culture Celebration collection Time Lords & Tribbles, Winchesters & Muggles.

What happened in your life that prompted you to become a writer?

I grew up an only child, so I ended up relying a lot on creating my own adventures. My mom would often bring home unused computer paper (you know, the kind that you needed to place on spindles), and I would often draw – and write – long stories. (In fact, I recently found an old story I wrote in the third grade about heading to an old house and finding a lost dog). I realized that my talents were mostly verbal (I was the near stereotypical “fat kid” in high school), and so relied on that... mostly through bad love poetry and essays.

Throughout the years, I kept my hand in it, even starting my own personal blog called Blog THIS, Pal about 14 years ago. I began co-writing a blog for Chicago Now seven years ago and currently write my own blog for Chicago Now while building my fiction career...and it was all because I was bored.

What inspires you to write?

Whenever I think of a story, whether I’m pitching for a specific work or simply putting together a tale, I usually start with a general idea and then work through the emotional implications. It’s usually a case of letting the tale flow and working through the complications.

However, I am finding that my current writing has a certain political tinge to it. (It’s unconscious, but it’s there). I’m also more than willing to let other factors influence my writing. AKA THE SINNER: Cover of Night was initially inspired by last year’s events in Charlottesville. However, another source of inspiration was reading conversations about Asian American representation in media (sparked by a casting director’s comments). Thanks to two friends posting and retweeting these conversations, I was able to write a more well-rounded character in Amy Hirano, a Japanese-American lawyer who lives in Chicago’s Rogers Park. So I can honestly say that my friends provide some inspiration…and I owe my friends thanks as well as baked goods. 

Another novelette for another publisher started as a pure Western… but as I wrote it, I realized that it was a deeper political allegory. Plus, one of the plot points I had initially conceived was historically inaccurate. So taking both, I chose to let them influence the story to the point where I was comfortable with those factors being totally invisible. (Meaning that when you read it, you won’t feel like you’re being indoctrinated)

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

I’m not sure I’m conscious of all of the themes in my work; I would rather tell the tale and let others make that judgment. It’s not arrogance on my part -- more that it’s easier for me to write and examine it later than think, “Here are the great themes of my work.”

One of the subjects that I find myself writing about frequently is the idea of supremacy over others. Many of the antagonists in my stories have unrealistic or near-narcissistic beliefs, whether based on racism (AKA the Sinner: Cover of Night, some future stories for Pro Se), a belief in their individual “superiority” ("When Angels Fall" in Dreamers Syndrome: New World Navigation and "Crossing McCausland" in Tall Pulp), or the belief that their “uniqueness” entitles them to specific rewards (“The Magnificent Anderson” in Black Bat Mystery Volume 3, “Cowboy of the Dakotas” in Pulpternative). I don’t know why that has a fascination for me -- maybe it’s the idea that villains consider themselves the hero of their own story. (Maybe it’s a reflection of something about me that I do not want to admit). But I am interested to see where my writing takes me, and more importantly if I can start writing a more diverse array of characters.

What would be your dream project?

Purely from an old-school nostalgic standpoint -- the Three Investigators. It was the “young adult” mystery of its time, has elements of pulp, and ironically is still big in Germany. (Trust me – there were two films made of these characters). I think there’s room for a good, solid, pulpy take on young adult literature…and I’m more than happy to make it happen.

What are the books that made you want to be a writer? What are the reasons they "got" you like they did?

If I look back at everything that I’ve read, I think there are a few books/series that really struck home for me. When I was in high school/college, it was Stephen King’s work, especially Danse Macabre.

I know a non-fiction work that discusses horror sounds unlikely… but the fact that he took a nuts-and-bolts approach to a subject made me realize that there was more to storytelling than just putting it out there. With Phillip Jose Farmer’s Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life, there was a fascination with the fact that a fictional “world” could exist.

In terms of fiction, several books that I encountered in college were critical in helping me realize, "yes, I can do this." Robert B. Parker’s Early Autumn and Piri Thomas’ Down These Mean Streets really had an impact on me because they both had a unique view of the world…but also a really engaging prose style. (I revisit both books on a regular basis). I’m also a huge fan of Mark Evanier and Dan Spiegel’s work on Crossfire for Eclipse Comics. After reading these, I realized that I could tell the kind of stories that I wanted in the way that I wanted -- after all, these three works were able to articulate a specific worldview in a very specific manner. If these authors could do it, well… so could I.

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

Years ago, I had the opportunity to revive the public domain character Wonderman for Excelsior Webcomics. Click on the link and… well, it was my first comic work. It’s good, but it’s a little too wordy. I also could have sharpened the script a little more so the artist had a much clearer understanding of what I was going for. (Example: a panel with a violent act was supposed to be in silhouette…but the artist made it blatant). I have improved since that time, obviously, but that’s one project that I know I can improve.

Any other upcoming projects you would like to plug?

I have several stories coming out via Pro Se Productions, including one classic character, one “cult” pulp character, and my first novel which is a Leverage-style take on a classic pulp character. I have two stories (including a Masked Rider novella) in the publication queue at Airship 27 Productions. In addition, I have written a six-page Black Bat comic for the Always Punch Nazis benefit anthology, and my work for Last Ember Press on The Crimson Badge will make its debut as a webcomic in the near future.

For more information, visit:

For those interested in checking out my work, you can visit my personal website at http://www.gordondymowski.com or my Amazon page at http://bit.ly/GDymAuthor

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Chuck Dixon Goes To War -- Levon's War!

His word is his bond.

A promise made in the past takes Levon Cade from the hills of Alabama to the caliphate of ISIS.
The US Marine turned backwoods vigilante returns to the Iraqi desert on a mission of mercy that will take him to the heart of terror.

It will take all his skills, all his courage and all his will to survive the hell that Mosul has become.

It’s time for Levon’s War. Available at Amazon.

“Chuck Dixon’s prose is a perfect weld of muscular writing with razor edge wit and storytelling.” -- Beau Smith, creator of Wynona Earp

“Chuck Dixon is a writer who brings his A Game to the table all the time.” -- David Finn, author of the Asanti series

“Chuck Dixon writes in a visceral, matter-of-fact voice that erases the barrier between reader and page, grabbing you by the throat and dragging you through the story, until you look up and it's four a.m. and you finished the book.”  -- Mike Baron, creator of Nexus, the Badger and author of Whack Job

For more information:

Saturday, February 3, 2018



Author Ellie Raine brings her own unique twist to the Private Investigator genre with NIGHTINGALE, now available in print and digital format from Pro Se Productions.

After a lifetime of seeking revenge for his murdered father, Alastor Déus finally has his chance to capture the killer: his mother. She’s come to town and her welcoming present is a bullet through her teeth. But this family reunion isn’t going to be what he expected… Bullets aren’t going to work.

Blending mythologies and reality, focusing on Death and its myriad implications, Ellie Raine takes Deus and her readers on a roller coaster of danger and explosive passions in NIGHTINGALE. From Pro Se Productions.
With a haunting cover, logo design, and print formatting by Marzia Marina and Antonino Lo Iacono, NIGHTINGALE is available now at Amazon and Pro Se’s own store for 9.99.

This unique take on the Private Eye tale is also available as an Ebook, designed and formatted by Lo Iacono and Marina for only $2.99 for the Kindle. This book is also available on Kindle Unlimited, which means Kindle Unlimited Members can read for free.

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.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Vampires For Valentines!

We have a vampire for you. Check out these two new novels!

The Cabin
Young healthy men and women are dying mysteriously after being found non-responsive at different places around town. No matter what the ER team tries to save them, they fail. The only clues left on the bodies are minor scratches and small puncture wounds. Detective Mason knows that he is on the trail of a careful yet bizarre serial killer. He has followed the deaths and clues from city to city. Now, with the help of a nurse, he may finally be closing in on the killer if he can control his own dark secret before more bodies come in drained of blood.

Chalice Moon
A seemingly random attack exposes Kimie and her best friend to a part of the world the girls never knew existed. A world where vampires and shape shifters not only exist, but are people they know. However, when another attack nearly kills Kimie, her friends must find out why some of the magical beings are after her.

Could this simple human girl be the legendary Chalice mentioned in that old tale they found? The story said the Chalice is bound to the delicate balance between the forces of good and evil. While the part of taking from evil and giving to good didn't sound too bad to Kimie, it never said so many people would want to see her dead.


Thursday, February 1, 2018

[Link] Noir Fiction

by Warren Bull

I’ve been asked what inspires me to write noir fiction.

“Noir” (black in French) was reportedly first used by film critic Nino Franklin in 1946 to describe the downbeat, bleak themes of American crime movies released in France such as The Maltese Falcon, Murder My Sweet and Double Indemnity. Those films reflected the anxieties and disillusionment of the times. They stand out in contrast to the optimistic comedies and musicals also made at the time.

Writers like Dashiell Hammett, Cornell Woolridge, and James M. Cain helped to establish the form. Hard-boiled detective stories often portrayed a cynical, underappreciated man dealing with lying clients, threats and violent hard cases in a corrupt world. The primary difference between hard-boiled and noir fiction is that the hard-boiled detective has an ethical core, even if no one else does. The ending may or may not be happy, but the central figure is definitely heroic. As Otto Penzler has written, in noir there are no heroes and no happy endings. The focus is on “losers” driven by destructive impulses such as greed, lust or revenge who make choices that lead them further along a downward spiral toward doom. Although sometimes described as hyper-masculine writing, Patricia Highsmith and Dorothy B. Hughes among other women writers produced excellent noir fiction.

Noir continues to evolve over time expanding to locations, eras, and characters beyond what the originators of the form imagined.

Read the full article: https://www.goread.com/buzz/warren-bull/article/noir-fiction/