Thursday, March 31, 2022

Narrowing the Target -- Publishing with a Single Audience in Mind

Let's talk about the idea that certain types of stories are traditionally for specific genders or targets. For example, romances were clearing published throughout much of publishing history with women readers in mind. Men's adventure magazines clearly wanted to appeal to the manly man (or those who imagined themselves to be) market.

Today, with our focus on diversity and inclusion, we have books that are targeted to fill in gaps traditionally missed in publishing, such as books specifically for certain racial audiences or for lesbian, gay, and trans markets (different things to marketers). And then there are books published (even fiction) for those of a certain political bent as a reaction to real or perceived slights in the culture (I'm looking at you, Comicsgate). 

What does all this mean for us are writers and readers? I was lucking enough to get some time from two of my favorite folks -- HC Playa and John L. Taylor -- to pick their brains about just this issue.

Traditionally single publishing has been divided along gender lines -- adventures for men, romance for girls. How do you see that changing? Are those divisions beginning to fade as men and women are reading similar things? Or do they still control a significant place in the publishing world?

HC Playa: So I am mostly answering as a reader vs as an author. I literally started writing BECAUSE so much fiction aimed at women seemed to be formulaic or focus only on romance and the writers I admired most found a way to write a damn good story with good characters and a dash of romance only made it that much better.

On gender division--TBH it rather depends on how our society progresses or regresses. Thanks to some big name authors (Like Laurel K Hamilton, Sherrilyn McQueen and many others that I don't know off the top of my head) many a male reader discovered that so-called "romance novels" were just adventures with some spice and well crafted characters. The gender division in writing reflected society. "Men's fiction either excluded women in the plot or used them as plot devices whereas "women's fiction" paints larger than life men that can do all the things AND treats their women right...well mostly. There are plenty of project-save-an-a**hole plot lines 🤣 in books out there. It was never that women only wanted to read romances or cozy's all that was marketed to them. The divide is and was a pillar of mysogeny, the idea that men and women are so inherently different that she can't possibly be interested in adventures and vice versa that a man can't possibly want to read a story that puts him in touch with emotions.

I think to some degree there will always be a market for fiction aimed at specific audiences. There are are plenty of people that find a reading genre niche they like and stick with it, but I don't know that hard and fast gender-divided marketing has as much a place as it once did.

John L. Taylor: As a horror writer, I feel this very much as huge amounts of the genre are aimed at young men. So here are my takes. I don't see my genre as becoming any less gender focused in writing, just more youth focused. Series like Goosebumps and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark were some of the bestselling horror books of the last 30 years, and I'm seeing renewed interest in youth driven projects. Those seem to trend more in a gender neutral direction. But in terms of gender specific genre fiction, I'm seeing more self aware or apologetic works. Men's Adventure specifically seems to be in the doghouse with editors right now. Titles like the Executioner were discontinued by Harlequin recently, and I see this continuing. 

Do you see single audience publishing becoming more propagandized and/or reactionary rather than driven by markets? Are new single issue or single audience models becoming more based on reactions against the way the world is changing or are publishers just trying new directions in an ever changing world?

John L. Taylor:
Yes, in many ways. Horror in particular has a reputation for misogyny it's fighting to shake off. That has been of mixed success. While "post horror" movies are going strong and producing amazing films like Midsomer and Get Out, it's a genre trying to fit into a culture where it's traditional tropes are simply no longer relevant to it's core market (lower middle class men ages 16-25). Most genre fiction is becoming more message/virtue driven, as is media in general. Romance is also in a tug of war at the moment. with trope bending progressive narratives aimed at a media savvy urban readership or an ocean of Amish bonnets and "All American Country Girl" romances aimed at rural Evangelicals fight for shelf space while competing with Harry Potter for the same audience. I believe the emphasis of message over substance is really hurting their appeal right now.

HC Playa: I hadn't given this much thought before and to be honest the idea is rather frightening. I write views that speak of tolerance and I admit that I have a hard time enjoying anything that smacks of misogamy or racism or anything along those lines. So I suppose the answer is: quite likely.

Art reflects life, so unless we as a society become less polarized, then yes.

Let's look into the future. Of the single audience markets that are trending nowadays, do you think many of them will still be around in the next 20 to 30 years? Do you think that proves that the markets are a good idea for publishing or that as a people we will continue to divide along cultural lines and publishers will still be trying to keep up?

HC Playa: I have no idea what's trending. I am always late to the game or do it absurdly early and then like 20yrs later people are like, ooooh this is cool. 👀

Trends come and go, so give it enough time and the answer is always yes, it'll again be popular.

John L. Taylor: Some single audience fiction will never fade totally. The longing for adventure, romance, and horror are to deeply ingrained in the human psyche to lose appeal. The subgenres, however, will change quite a lot. Westerns will die off. There's no way to separate those themes from a very dark period in U.S. history. Military adventures will take their place, as well as things like Sword and Sorcery and Sword and Planet will take their place. Master Chief is the new Mack Bolan, it seems. Post Horror will continue to grow and explore new themes and audiences, as horror always does. Romance, I believe will find a new, untapped market: Men. Many young men are socially isolated and dream of genuine emotional connection, and editors will soon realize this. New classics are on the way that will be cherished for decades. But I think this is all about ten years down the road from now. Works from the period between 2014 and 2025 will not age well, in my esteem. They'll be a perfect time capsule of the Culture Wars era, but I don't see any of them having the timeless appeal of what came before. Hell, the bestselling movies in America right now are based on Marvel comics from 30+ years ago. I doubt material being produced right now will have that kind of staying power. 

Here's the big one. What are the "good" uses of single audience markets? What are the "bad" uses of it? Or is it just way too complex to be defined that narrowly?

John L. Taylor: Defining good or bad uses of single audience fiction is based on a logical fallacy: that it was ever single audience. Every genre has some crossover appeal. For example, despite the male nerd stereotype, half of the Dungeons and Dragons players I know are middle class women with college degrees. They like the appeal of adventure outside the office, as men before them did. Tapping that longing, with whomever it lies, is the way forward.

HC Playa: Good uses: well as a parent I liked age demographic lines at least until they graduated out of easy readers and small chapter books and into actual novels.

I don't really pay the slightest attention to how a book is marketed. I read the blurb and the first page or so and if it intrigues me, it's a sale.

I suppose some good uses can be to market more diverse fiction, so that people see that there ARE stories out there that they connect with. Bad uses would be to spread propaganda and hate.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Oh, Oh, Oh, It's Magic! Building Magic Systems in Fiction.

It's a staple in the worlds of fantasy fiction. Not just that, but you also encounter it in some sci-fi tales and quite a few of the various "-punks" that scatter the literary landscape. But outside of just copying the classics, how do writers actually put together a system of magic that makes sense in their settings?

How much thought do you put into your magic systems in fantasy (or even sci-fi in some situations)? Is it similar to the world building or even like another character or setting in its own right?

HC Playa: How deeply I delve into the system rather depends on the story. Generally there are some things that I have to consider:

  1. Does everyone use magic?
  2. Is it attached to divinity/religion?
  3. Is it innate or conferred through special objects or rituals?
  4. Do all beings in the world use or view the magic similarly?

Ernest Russell: Great Topic! I have found codifying the basics is important. I liken it to Asimov's laws of robotics.. here are the guidelines now, normally more than three, then ask can this work according to these guides in attempt not to break the system. Of course, someone often ends up breaking or trying to break the system. Intentional- they're usually a villain. Unintentional - often the McGuffin for the story.

Marian Allen: In my fantasy trilogy, Sage, the "magic" and "religion" are pretty much the same thing. I did quite a bit of research and thinking and note-taking to separate this into two different attitudes/approaches, one of harmony and one of domination. I wouldn't say the two are characters, but they certainly reflect and define the "good guys" and the "bad guys."

Frank Fradella: When I write in a magical setting, it's important for me that magic is vital to the story. If I can take magic out of the story and still tell the story, then I'm doing it wrong. For me, it can't be something you tack on for flavor. Magic IS the setting.

Tamara Lowery: My magic system is pretty soft, and I tend to make things up as I go. I have been pleasantly surprised when my subconscious applied known science on some aspects. For instance, I have gold coated vines which are carnivorous. Most real carnivorous plants develop in environments which don't afford much sunlight for photosynthesis. I didn't do that on purpose, but it works.

Sean Taylor: For me, magic is not a typical part of my fiction, but in the case when it is important, I like to take the time to figure out why and how it works. I like to get beyond the sort of "djinn" approach, where anything goes. I like the idea of tying magic to things like the five senses, the four humors, or the base elements, that sort of thing. 

What are your rules/guidelines for designing a magic system in your novels and stories?

Marian Allen: The rules/guidelines are the same as anything else: a magic/religious system has to have its own internal logic and has to have a solid reason for being part of the story or novel, not just be window dressing.

Frank Fradella: I try to think of magic as "science we don't yet understand." I don't bend science to fit my stories, and I give magic the same respect. I have clearly defined rules for how magic works, what it can do, and what it can't do. I work within the broad limits of those rules.

Mari Hersh-Tudor: I have two magic systems in my fantasy world: one for humans and one for nonhumans. Humans require study and spells and accoutrements. Nonhumans have an innate ability and require only discipline and willpower.

Kaleb Kramer: I tend to do a lot of thought, and no real rules, because it is very different for each project, and so much of the thematic and symbolic elements are tied into magic, that addressing magic is, for me, fundamentally addressing the theme, tone, and feel of the entire project

Sean Taylor: The best idea for magic I ever heard, and the one rule I've stuck to throughout my career came from you, Frank. It's this: If magic is energy, then it must follow the laws of energy. If something happens, an equal and opposite happens elsewhere. Nothing new can be created without pulling from something else. The law of energy conservation must be maintains. We even wrote a pair of stories that did this for a holiday themed posting on iHero. So much fun. And such a good rule for energy-based magic. 

Ef Deal: I put a lot of thought into it. Recently I researched both zombies and vampires before literature or film defined them. Once I realized the variety of types in myth and legend, I had to establish my own world’s version of these, and my workshop members who were not genre readers insisted it was a huge mess of disinformation. EVERYONE knows vampires sparkle and burst into flames in sunlight. EVERYONE knows zombies are the result of science gone awry—radiation or patient zero. But I spent hours and hours of research that didn’t involve watching movies. I had to take info time refuting the misapprehensions. In the end, I had my MC mock the sources of those tropes.

Ernest Russell: Another aspect to figure out what type of magic and is there more than one type? Will it be physical magic? Energy based? Spirit based? Is the mana high, low, none.

I have a series of short stories all set in a low mana version of our world. The magic is based on will and is channeled through the pineal gland. A few people can use a focus to do magic. Others have to make intense preparation, have large number of people, ritual and so to create magic. And the vast majority don't have a clue. The currently published is in All That Weird Jazz. Another, following different character will arrive in a Gothic horror anthology.

HC Playa: Much like with my plots, in my early writing magic tended to be as I go, making up the rules as I went. The more I have written, especially after taking a world building workshop, I tend to treat it as part of the world building and decide the things listed above before diving into the story. One of my most common choices is to apply different "rules" OR different views of it to different groups, which automatically builds conflict into the system and plot.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

[Link] Gold Key, the Original Star Trek Comic Book Publisher, Revived Under New Ownership

by Brandon Schreur

Gold Key, the first company to publish Star Trek and Twilight Zone comic books, is under new ownership and is now poised to make a major comeback.

The Spec Tales podcast interviewed Lance Linderman, a comic book enthusiast who purchased Gold Key -- now operating under the license Gold Key Entertainment LLC -- alongside Adam Brooks, Mike Dynes and Arnold Guerrero in late 2021. "The more I thought about it, I was like, you know what, if I could acquire Gold Key, that gives me a front of the door entrance to whatever meeting I want -- maybe not whatever meeting I want, but it gives me a really good step into the industry to have conversations with people like you guys and other people in the industry," Linderman said of the purchase. According to Linderman, the final acquisition for the company included not only cash but also a comic book -- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1.

Since the purchase, Linderman said Gold Key is mainly focusing its attention on two different areas. The first involves finding working and talented creators within the comic book industry. "We have a writer and we have some artists we're talking to," Linderman said. "I can't say the names of those people, yet, but some of the names [are people] you guys are definitely aware of... As much as we recognize the value of getting a big name, we're really more interested in pulling a bit of a passion play. We're kind of going after the names of people we collectively really love and respect, also. There are still some big names in that pool, but it's not like I'm going after just the biggest guy right now -- although, they're all really talented. We're kind of sitting and [looking at] who we've read, looked at and think could illustrate stories in a way that's really thoughtful and angular."

Read the full article:

Friday, March 25, 2022



From an actor’s stage to the crime ridden streets goes the mysterious figure that means death for all who consider evil- The Revenant Detective. Follow this unique hero’s exploits in THE ADVENTURES OF THE REVENANT DETECTIVE by P.J. Lozito, available in print and digital formats from Pro Se Productions. 

Ready for action, even if it means his own death, The Revenant Detective begins his vigilante career to stop an assassin with a longbow picking off men he served with during World War II in the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops. Their mission was deception. Everything points to an old enemy, who should be dead...but in games played in the shadows, not even death is always permanent.

This adventure leads into even more thrilling tales where the line between life and death, supposed good and apparent evil become blurred, and standing in the gap is a mysterious figure in a mask and top hat, ready to fight even the long thought dead to protect the living! From P.J. Lozito, the creator of The Silver Manticore, comes three tales of The Man Unafraid of Death-The Revenant Detective!


Featuring an intense cover by Jamison Challeen and cover design and print formatting by Antonino lo Iaocono, THE ADVENTURES OF THE REVENANT DETECTIVE is available for 11.99 via Amazon

Formatted by Antonino lo Iaocono and Marzia Marina, Lozito’s eerie vigilante’s adventures are available as an ebook for only 99 cents from Amazon. Kindle Unlimited members can read for free!

For more information on this title, interviews with the author, or digital copies for review, email

To learn more about Pro Se Productions, go to Like Pro Se on Facebook at

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Copycat, Copycat: Writers on Copying Our Inspirations

It's a common story. Writers get into writing because they're inspired by certain authors who have influenced them. And, almost always, at first they emulate them in at least style, if not substance and theme.

But let's move it from the general to specific and talk about YOU, writer.

Which author or authors were your beginning models to copy when you started? When did that copying start to shift into something that would grow into your own voice and style?

Ef Deal: My earliest influences were Bradbury and the Alfred Hitchcock anthologies. Then Tolkien. The handwavium aspect of Bradbury is the basis of all steampunk, if you think about it, so yes that fantastic element is still in my works. But mostly I was influenced by my studies in French literature, where words were chosen for their greatest effect. Poe said all elements of a story should work together to create a unified effect, and that has been my guiding mantra.

Rob Cerio: Douglas Adams, Issac Azimov, and Clive Cussler. I think my style grew into its own after I stopped worrying about making jokes that sounded like "Bad Douglas Adams" Jokes, and just let them be funny on their own.

John L. Taylor: At the beginning, I was an imitator of Ray Bradbury and John Updike to a vast extent. All my work from that period was soundly rejected as it was a pale imitation of a superior author. I had tried to write a novel manuscript, but the early draft was a meandering pile of exposition. Note I hadn't tried writing horror or New Pulp yet despite being a major fan of the genres. I began developing a voice of my own, oddly, while writing erotica under a pen name for a now defunct website (Ironically, those unpaid stories are still my most widely read at 6k or more reads). I somehow connected with an audience by writing the type of story I wanted to read. My voice in writing finally emerged while writing The Rocket Molly Syndicate for the Dieselpunk E-Pulp Showcase Vol.2 in 2013-14. My Mom was fighting ovarian cancer as I was working on it, half was written in hospital waiting rooms. I needed a release and wrote pure escapist fiction. It connected, and the anthology it appeared in moved about 775 copies across all platforms and was adapted as an audio drama for the Coffee Contrails Podcast, adding another 200 or so downloads. It is still my most successful work to date. I dug further into New Pulp, but with a strong influence from Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard. My next works were The Legend of the Wild Man, a 100 line narrative poem that ran in the Mythic Circle, and The Thing in the Wexler House, an audio narration that Otis Jiry performed for me on his YouTube channel. Both got solid receptions. As I branched into poetry, more growth happened, and My current style was cemented. Eerie, dreamlike narratives with a pulp twist. Also, writing online narrations helped a lot, as I was introduced to horror voices different from what I'd read before. Variety helps a lot.

Anna Grace Carpenter: The first I remember trying to imitate was Cordwainer Smith. He had a flair for not letting story get in the way of the occasional stylistic flourish and I loved it. Later Tad Williams and Raymond E. Feist made an impact on how I used characters to best tell the "exciting" parts in ways that actually had an emotional impact, plus a particular style of world-building that has stuck with me. (I would be hard-pressed to explain this, but I know that it's there because of reading their work.)

Things started to be less copycat once I really started writing a lot. The more I was using words in storytelling regularly, the more my own style began to emerge from the way I pictured certain scenes and the dialog I heard from my characters. At which point those authors moved from a category of imitation to one of influence.

HC Playa: So there are 4 authors that spurred me into writing: Sherrilyn McQueen, J.R. Ward, Karen Marie Moning, and Patricia Potter.

All four build intricate worlds, whether it's dropping you into the romantic lives of people in 1100 AD Scotland, a hidden Vampire society, a murder investigation turned apocalyptic collision of Fae realms and human, or weaving mythology into romance and adventure.

I didn't copy any of them directly, but they all made characters breathe on the page. They weren't afraid to weave love into blood and gore and battles. One of my favorite things that I did copy was the reoccurring cast that doesn't necessarily feature the same POV from book to book.

Ernest Russell: My earliest influences were Poe, Verne, Wells, and an anthology called Tales of Time and Space. Later Lovecraft and the circle of writers from Weird Tales.

Of these early influences, there is one that influences every story. That is Jules Verne. One of the things I LOVE about Verne's stories is he did research and did his best to not only incorporate the science and technology of the story's time period but to project it forward into what might become. As such I try, even in my fantasy writing to research what I am writing and make it plausible within both the world rules for the story and what I find historically or current science and technology and translate it into the story.

Frank Fradella: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Robert B. Parker, and Chris Claremont. Remove any one of them and I'm not sure I'd be a writer at all. My college professor in English told me to look at Parker for dialogue, and he was right. Fitzgerald showed me how to make prose feel like poetry, but it was Claremont who taught me how to tell a story. I had been reading comics books off the spinner rack for years, but the first comic book I *remember* is Uncanny X-Men #131.

Tom Powers: A weird mix of Walter Gibson, Paul Ernst, and H.P. Lovecraft. Still echoes of them all, plus a bit of Norvell Page. Much of what I write is in the traditions of those writers' genres.

Pj Lozito: I wanted to write like Lester Dent, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Raymond Chandler and Sax Rohmer.

Teel James Glenn: Robert E Howard, Lester Dent, Peter O'Donnell, Dash Hammett.

Krystal Rollins: My inspiration: Mary Higgins Clark from my past, and my present is you,, Sean. Her work continues to inspire me in how I create my characters. Her words are printed in black ink and white paper but in my mind, it's blooming with color. I keep writing Sean because of you. (Editor's Note: Awww... Shucks. Thanks, Krystal.)

Charles Gramlich: Ray Bradbury for one

Murky Master: So Dragonlance and the anime Escaflowne, above all else, got me into writing seriously when I was about 13 years old. It took another ten years before I returned to that old dream, but I wrote part of a fantasy novel in those days that I am still surprised at its quality compared to what I wrote today.

John Morgan Neal: Stan Lee, John Broome, Gardner Fox, Bill Finger, Bob Haney, Denny O'Neil, Archie Goodwin, Len Wein, Steve Englehart, Jim Starlin, Roy Thomas, Doug Moench, Michael Michael A. Baron, John Ostrander, Mike Barr, William Messner-Loebs, Bill Mantlo, Marv Wolfman, and last but opposite of least, Chuck Dixon.

Michael Dean Jackson: When I started writing (as Jack Mackenzie) I was inspired by a lot of military science fiction; Heinlein, Jack Campbell, David Weber, Lois McMaster Bujold, etc. It was with those inspirations that I wrote THE PARADIGM TRAP and THE MASK OF ETERNITY.

Do those elements of your inspirations still show up in your current work? Howso? Are they things you do consciously or have they just been internalized by the years of doing them?

Frank Fradella: Completely internalized. I took Parker's style for a spin on its own, and it felt like wearing one of those 1970 Halloween costumes that comes with the hard plastic Batman mask attached by a string. It was a conscious choice to find me in that amalgam, and that's the writer I became.

Anna Grace Carpenter: I do still love a stylish bit of storytelling. Voice, unexpected use of language and grammar (or lack thereof) to catch the reader's attention at a critical moment are some of my favorite things. And that all grew from early attempts to mimic Cordwainer Smith. And the storytelling inspiration I got from Feist and Williams is still there too. Using all the characters to tell the story whether we see their PoV or not. Allowing heroes to not always be heroic and villains to not always be villainous without diving into a grimdark grey. And allowing tragedy to occur, sometimes in very small ways that adds a bittersweetness to big triumphs.

I don't think it's deliberate, it's just how those inspirations encouraged my own voice and writing the kind of stories I like to read. Because that was what first made me want to imitate them - they wrote stories I loved. And now I write stories I love so the influence is still there, but organically after years of practicing my own storytelling.

HC Playa: At some point, I found my own writing voice, but for all my novels, these elements remain, including having two central protagonists (usually a male-female romantic pairing, but like JR Ward, I branched out the more I wrote).

Depending on the story it can almost seem like a hero and side-kick type of casting, especially as I pit them against larger-than-life dangers. (As I type this I suddenly see why my publisher says my writing is pulp 😂.) I don't lean into the romance aspect as much as those authors tended to. More like Moning's Fae Fever series, the romantic aspects take a back seat to the apocalyptic events and characters dealing with their issues.

I have read plenty of classics of multiple genres, but it would be disingenuous to say I am influenced in style by those stories.

I don't aim to write the next classic that future college students dissect to figure out what I meant when I said the sofa was an ugly flea market reject.

I write to entertain. I use elements from the stories I love reading. I love weaving in magic and the amazing, because life always needs magic.

John Morgan Neal: Yes. I'm a big ol' ape in more ways than one. But never outright. The stuff I love is in my DNA. So it has to shine through.

John L. Taylor: Many facets of my inspirations are like a reflex now. A subconscious thread. I still lean on Lovecraftian themes and first-person narrations in horror but avoid the adjective salad pulp writers often used when stories paid by the word (Lovecraft was great at taking a whole paragraph of them to say "it was an amalgam of parts that defied description, an offense to biology itself.") I guess that's the real difference between me and my inspirations: I prize concise writing. I suppose that's the last vestige of Updike left in me. But it's a great influence to retain/

Rob Cerio: I still feel like I use Cussler's "opening Gambit" formula and basic formatting of action scenes. Azimov's use of "working-class schlubs" is something that still crops up all the time in my work.

TammyJo Eckhart: I can't answer question one so question two also doesn't apply. While there are authors that I loved and still love, the idea of copying them in any way never entered my mind. I was writing stories from kindergarten onward.

Murky Master: Things I took from Dragonlance were:

  • mixing cultures is both hugely interesting and creates lots of conflict, from Tanis Halfelven's internal identity drama. I'm biracial myself so it was interesting seeing someone "like me"
  • Bad guys are F-ing Awesome. Raistlin made a permanent mark on my picture of wizards and magic and the lure of power magic brings. You need no further proof than to behold my profile pic, after all. Nothing makes me hahaha quite as much as my hourglass-eyed boi. Lord Soth was pure mother finding METAL as well and remains my fave Ravenloft Darklord.
  • Escaflowne was a romance and an epic fantasy all at once. Later on, I would actually sit down and read a romance novel and find it totally awesome, and I like to have strong, real relationships in my books because of that anime.
  • also, the anime was grand in scope, full of pathos and beautiful at times, unspeakably cruel at others (looking at you Dilandau). It helped me understand PTSD and the weight of honor as well as the power of dreams to destroy and create. Dilandau also made me like insane villains.
  • the Adventures of Batman and Robin cartoon with Bruce Tim as the art director also made me love art deco and Pulp sentiments. The episode featuring "The Grey Ghost" and Brendan Frasers The Mummy sealed my fate. Now I can't help but have all cap titled like DESTROYERS FROM WALMARTS BEYOND and COURT OF THE GLISTENING LUNCH LADIES and such.

Chuck Dixon: I read so much before I started writing for a living that I have no idea who's work I've intuited over the years.

Michael Dean Jackson: However, around the time I was writing my books I discovered the television series SHARPE on the History Channel. I loved every episode and I loved Sean Bean as Richard Sharpe. So I figured I would try the novels by Bernard Cornwell and I loved them even more. The books were, I found, immensely better than the show.

And it was those novels and the character of Sharpe who fired up my imagination and helped me come up with my own, military SF version, a character called Jefferson Odett.

I have only written two Jefferson Odett books, DEBT'S PLEDGE and DEBT'S STAND, but I do have a third one that I may eventually get to. Nevertheless, Jefferson Odett is more than a little inspired by Richard Sharpe, in the same way that Horatio Hornblower, C.S. Forrester's seafaring adventure hero, inspired Bernard Cornwell's character.

I am under no illusion that my novels have anywhere near the quality of Cornwell's or Forrester's, but the inspiration is there.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Movie Reviews for Writers: Dirty Work

Sometimes reviewing films is hard work. When you have to weigh the lessons that writers can pick up from the movie and basically divorce that from the movie itself (in some cases), that can make the review even harder. 

That's kind of the case with this steamy thriller about, Arabella Childs, a young woman pulled into a plot by a erotic female novelist, Marylin Blacklock-Charterhouse, who is apparently at the mercy of an abusive husband. Yes, Virginia, that does sound a bit like a lesbian retelling of Body Heat and Double Indemnity. And it is basically a soft-core version of the noir standard. While this flick isn't a product of the 1990s, it would have been right at home on USA Late Night back in the day. 

Okay, now that all that is out of the way, this is a sort of fun little thriller that is not for all viewers. But if you enjoyed movies like the two mentioned above and DePalma's Dressed to Kill, well, this isn't on that level. But, if you like a little cheese and low-budget fun with your murder and seduction, then you might enjoy this one. 

But does it actually have anything to say about being a writer between all the kinky stuff? Actually, yes. And some of it might ring really close to home (pardon the cliché) for some writers who watch it. 

For example, one of the key arguments that leads to the marital discontent is that Marylin hasn't had a real hit in a year. Not only that, she has been writing her own sexual frustrations with her husband into her work. 

We all tend to include stuff from reality in our fiction, but we tend to be a bit more subtle than sharing our significant other's inability to, shall we say, keep us satisfied. 

Particularly, indie and mid-list writers face the lack of income issues that can come up with spouses/significant others who feel they are supporting the writing partners dream without any return. And trust me, that can become an issue. So, like I said, that hits close to home. 

However, the one key moment in Dirty Work that I want to zero in on is this one. While doing an interview to promote her upcoming book, Marylin is told by the interviewer how much he feels like he knows her based on her work that she has read. She is quick to correct him. 

"You know the me from the fantasies I used to have, not the the ones I have now." 

Do you ever feel this way? You've changed and your writing has changed, but your readers still only see the you from the past. It's probably most common for series writers, particularly those who move on from the fan-loved series to something new, or, God forbid, a new genre. 

People grow. And that includes writers. But books don't. (We're not counting movie adaptations here, just the words as they appear in our works.) The opinions and interpretations by critics and reviewers may and will change, but not the works they are critiquing and reviewing. 

Whether The Awakening is viewed as feminist literature or universal literature 100 years from now, or even some new literary understanding we haven't encountered yet, none of that will change the actual words Kate Chopin wrote. The same applies to your work. 

Your readers will always know you by what you've created and published, not by who you are. They will never have a window to the present you, only a recorded history of the you that used to be. And that will always be the way they judge you. 

What does that mean for the writer? In a perfect world, nothing, because as the writer grows the readers should either fall by the wayside or grow with us. But in a smaller, net-connected world, sadly, there will be those who refuse to see beyond the work of your past and expect you to keep bashing out the same themes and styles and genres and stories you did fifteen years ago. Their sense of entitlement will demand it of them. 

Your job doesn't change. Grow. Write. Grow some more. Write some more. Keep revealing the new you with every stroke of the pen (sorry, every click-clatter of the keyboard, though that doesn't sound nearly as fancy -- damn you, technology for ruining our pretty metaphors).

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

See Me at MidSouthCon 38 this weekend in Memphis! Cons are back, baby!!


I'll be a guest for MidSouth Con 2022 this year in Memphis again! Come visit me on Pro Row or at any of the following panels (maybe one or two more to be added). I'll also be doing game beta demos for some of the games I have in development from time to time in the game room.

Friday, March 26, 6 PM
Pulp Fiction for Today's Market

Join the New Pulp Movement as discuss how to formulate and write a Pulp story for today's market.

Friday, March 25, 8 PM
Boardgames: A Gaming Movement 

Board games are exploding in popularity in America. There are a dozen different types, all of which appeal to various players for a gambit of reasons. Panelist discuss trends, from gateway games to the newest and hottest, and why this type of game is growing is popularity.

Friday, March 25, 9 PM
Pro Row

Meet your favorite MidSouthCon professional, maybe get their autograph or buy their works. Pro Row is located in the hallway outside of the Tennessee Ballrooms.

Saturday, March 26, 10 AM
Self-Marketing for Authors

You have published your works, either independently or through traditional publisher - now what? Our panelists discuss how to market yourself.

Saturday, March 26, 4PM
Pro Row

Meet your favorite MidSouthCon professional, maybe get their autograph or buy their works. Pro Row is located in the hallway outside of the Tennessee Ballrooms.

Saturday, March 26, 9 PM
Short Stories: How to Fit It All In

Writing a short story can be harder than it seems. One of the biggest challenges is to figure out how much detail is needed without having to be minimalists.

Sunday, March 27, 10:00 AM
Reading: Sean Taylor

Sean Taylor reads his from his collections Giddy and Euphoric and Show Me A Hero.

Game Demos
Saturday & Sunday, March 26 and 27, between other sessions after 11:00 PM

I will also be running game demos of the beta versions of several games I have in development between my other posted sessions at MidSouthCon. Come look for me at Table 23 any time after the Open Gaming Room opens at 11:00 on Saturday and Sunday!

"What games?" you ask. 

  • Last Mouse on the Left
  • Cap'n Kelly's Custom Critters
  • The Battle for Classic City
  • Shark Detective

Come join the fun as a beta tester for new games!

Saturday, March 19, 2022

[Link] An Urgent Mission for Literary Translators: Bringing Ukrainian Voices to the West

Valerie Plesch for The New York Times.
by Alexandra Alter

As Russian forces breached the border with Ukraine late last month, Kate Tsurkan issued an urgent call for help on social media.

Tsurkan, a translator who lives in Chernivtsi, a city in western Ukraine, wanted to give international readers a glimpse of what ordinary Ukrainians are experiencing — and to counter President Vladimir V. Putin’s claim that Ukraine and Russia “are one people” by highlighting Ukraine’s distinct literary and linguistic heritage.

What she needed, she said, was to get Ukrainian writers published in English. She needed translators.

The response was swift and overwhelming: Messages poured in from translators and writers like Jennifer Croft, Uilleam Blacker and Tetyana Denford, and from editors who wanted to polish and publish their work. As the war escalated, so did their effort. Soon, they had a dedicated group of literary translators — who often spend years working on books for small academic presses — speed translating essays, poems and wartime dispatches.

“We need to elevate Ukrainian voices right now,” said Tsurkan, an associate director at the Tompkins Agency for Ukrainian Literature in Translation, or Tault.

Bringing nuanced and reflective writing from Ukraine and about the war to English-language audiences is a project as political as it is cultural, several translators and Ukrainian authors said.

Read the full article:

Friday, March 18, 2022

Brother Bones -- Grave Tales now available!

BROTHER BONES - GRAVE TALES is now up at Amazon. It is Airship 27 Productions very first hardback and collects the first two Brother Bones anthologies; "Brother Bones - The Undead Avenger" and "Brother Bones - Tapestry of Blood." All 12 stories as illustrated by Rob Davis with a fantastic wrap-around cover by the amazing Adam Shaw.

Thursday, March 17, 2022


What is it that attracts you to writing and reading thrillers?

I love thrillers. That edge of your seat, nail-biting, suspenseful, almost anxiety inducing type of storytelling really gets my blood pumping, both as a writer and a reader. As with everything, character is at the heart of a good thriller. I like to get to know my characters, care about them, and then put them through hell. That’s the beginning of a good thriller. As a reader, I get drawn in by the character’s plight. As a writer, writing the characters in those situations is part of the fun. The other part is figuring out how to then get the characters out of the trouble they’ve gotten themselves into. Everything starts with character. Once I get to know and trust my characters, they will tell me how they want to handle a particular situation. That also opens up some cool story beats and plot twists. Sometimes my characters won’t do what I want them to do.

Another good thing about thrillers is that they mix very well with other genres. You can have a mystery/thriller, crime/thriller, sci-fi/thriller, political/thriller, medical/thriller, suspense/thriller, action/thriller, literary/thriller, pulp/thriller, and so on and on. Almost everything I write has a little bit of thriller in it.

What are the key elements of a thriller?

There are no hard and fast rules for writing a thriller. As soon as we put together rules, a writer will come along with a novel that proves the exception to them. In general, thrillers tend to include these elements.

A powerful antagonist (villain) who can challenge the protagonist (hero) is important. Thrillers generally need both. Most often, there is a personal stake involved or it becomes personal as you go along. A detective keeps interfering in the killer’s plans, so the killer puts focus on beating or taking out the detective. A stalker and their prey. Someone out for revenge. The villain needs a good motivation or presence. Character is everything.

Your protagonist is just as important as your antagonist. Character is everything. This is usually your point of view character for the reader as well. We get to know them, root for them, like them. Usually, though it’s not a requirement, the protagonist is flawed or under some pressure outside of the main story. It gives them one more obstacle to overcome. For example: Harry Bosch is worried about his daughter working undercover and meddles while trying to solve his own case. Tension and anxiety are traits used often in thrillers.

As your thriller moves along, the stakes should get raised. The killer fixates on a detective or the victim that got away, a tragedy separate from the main plot derails your protagonist, or something that raises the stakes as the story progresses. A ticking clock or deadline works well to raise the stakes. We have to catch the killer before he strikes again. We’ve got twenty-four hours to find the antidote before our poisoned protagonist dies. We have to get across town before the assassin finds his target. This keeps your story moving. Thrillers tend to move at a fast clip.

Thrillers often have twists. This is not always necessary, but as a writer, I love writing a good twist. Twists can elevate your story, but it’s important that the twist makes sense. It can’t simply happen. The twist needs to make sense and have things setting it up so the reader has that “Ah Ha!” moment when they realize why something that happened a few chapters back totally makes more sense now. Twists are tough but can be rewarding.

MacGuffins are also a staple of crime and mystery thrillers. Sending your readers down one path to think that the wrong character is the villain can be fun. Like twists, however, they can be tough to pull off. Make sure your clues are there so when we find out the MacGuffin character is not the villain, it makes sense. I sometimes struggle with this because when I write a clue, because I know it’s a clue, it feels supremely obvious to me even though it might not be to the reader. That’s where a good editor and beta reader can help. I was convinced that everyone would know the identity of the killer in my first published novel, Evil Ways as soon as introduced. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that this was not the case.

Tell us a bit about your thrillers.

My first published novel back in 2005, EVIL WAYS, was a mystery/suspense/thriller with a bit of horror tacked on for good measure. It allowed me to mix together various story styles I wanted. I think it worked. It also made for a good elevator pitch: Die Hard’s John McClane finds himself in a horror movie. That was the pitch, and most people knew what to expect from that. The sequel, EVIL INTENT, was released last year. It too has a thriller vibe, but it’s more crime/thriller. The plot is less horror and more crime, but it still feels like part of the same series starring FBI Agent Harold Palmer.

DEADLY GAMES! was my second published novel. It falls into the action/thriller vein. I love writing action and adding the thriller elements allowed me to tell a suspenseful story and still ramp up the action. Deadly Games! is a revenge story. The villain of the piece has plans for his enemies. Can they survive those plans? Homicide detective John Bartlett and reporter Benjamin West are the main protagonists in this one. The action and thriller tropes blend well together. I’m working on the sequel, DEADLY DEALS! now and it is also an action/thriller. The main characters return to face off against a new foe. Can they catch a killer before the next victim is discovered?

The SNOW series mixes thrillers and action, but also brings other genres into the mix as needed. One book is all action. Another is a mystery. Yet another is a crime story. The thriller part ties the series together and connects each book. Abraham Snow is a former undercover government agent when his cover is blown, and he is shot and left for dead on a South American airstrip. He survives but is forced to retire as his injuries make him unable to perform undercover. Still, Snow can’t help himself. He tries to help others, becomes a private investigator, and is still trying to find the man who shot him while trying to build a normal life for himself. I’m currently writing book 7 of Snow’s adventures.

The TOM MYERS series is a mystery/thriller series set in the small town/county of Sommersville, Georgia and starring Sheriff Tom Myers and his deputies. Sommersville was created for Evil Ways and also appears in Deadly Games! and the Snow series so the potential for crossovers is there. Sheriff Myers appears in Evil Ways, Deadly Games!, and Evil Intent. The character connected with me so well that he kept reminding me that he deserved his own stories. It took a while, but I finally found the story for him. I’m currently working on book 3 of this series. I love playing with the crime and suspense of a small community. There’s a lot of room for thriller stories to be told in this setting.

SUICIDE BOMB was my attempt to work in a bit of sci-fi to a mystery/thriller. A mystery villain known as The Controller has developed a way to turn ordinary people into cold-blooded assassins who them take their own lives once the mission is complete. Homicide detective Catherine “Jacks” Jackson and Secret Service Agent Samantha Patterson join forces to stop him before he goes after his ultimate target, the President of the United States. This one is a stand-alone, but I would love to revisit these characters one day.

What are some of the techniques used to put thrills and suspense into a novel or short story?

Unlike movies and TV, my novel doesn’t have the mood music to evoke a reaction. I also can’t do jump scares or have odd camera angles and lights and shadows to heighten tension. There are still ways to evoke those type of reactions in prose. Even though readers do not all read at the same speed, the pacing of the action is mine to control. If I need to speed things up, short, choppy sentences are read faster, giving the illusion of urgency. To slow things down, larger paragraphs work well. Then, once your reader is calm and reading at the slower pace, you can throw the literary equivalent of a jump scare or rising music by switching back to short, choppy sentences to ramp up the urgency. Word usage also plays a role here. Big words slow down the action. Shorter, harsher words can propel it.

Action scenes are less descriptive. I’ve already set the stage before the action starts. You know the location and details about obstacles, colors of walls, other information about where things are happening. When the action kicks off, we’re running, jumping, but not describing. Here’s an example:

    Officer Sean Taylor hated working security during tech conference weekends, but he drew the short straw and his captain had given him the assignment. When he was younger, crowds didn’t bother him, but these days, the thought of being shoulder to shoulder with thousands of people made him sick to his stomach. It wasn’t just the potential for catching something, especially in a world where pandemics seemed to happen on a regular basis, but after being trapped inside that hotel basement last year when the earthquake caused a collapse, he preferred to be outside where he could see blue skies and fluffy little clouds, not inside with the recycled air and piped in muzak.
    The hotel might have been five stars all the way, but it still felt like a prison. Couches lined the lobby, soft and relaxing. The open floorplan offered wide open spaces with high ceilings where chandeliers hung freely, but it didn’t matter.
    He still felt trapped.
    “Get it together,” he muttered. “You can’t afford to lose this job.”
    Before he could dwell on those thoughts more, he heard a familiar crack!
    A gunshot!
    He looked left, right, to the upper floors.
    The first shot had been a surprise.
    The second shot resulted in a dropped body.
    Nearby, someone screamed.
    Panic took hold seconds later.
    Instinct took over and Sean ran toward the downed victim.
    "Shots fired!” he shouted into the mic clipped to his collar.
    He dropped next to the bleeding victim.
    “Don’t move!”
    “He… hel…” the bleeding man gurgled, drowning in his own blood.
    “Don’t talk! Help’s on the way!”
    Another shot echoed off the wall. 
    Realizing how exposed he was, Officer Taylor missed the crowd.

The scene starts out slow. You get to know the character, in this case one based on our host. You also get part of the setting. In an actual novel, you would probably get a bit more, but for the purposes of the example, it works. It’s a pleasant read. No urgency. No real anxiety, although I’ve placed the thought of it in your mind because he doesn’t like the crowd.

When the gunshot happens, the action moves faster. Short sentences then on to the next short sentence, etc. If I’ve done my job correctly, you feel that urgency start at this point.

What thrillers would you recommend outside of your own novels?

Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch novels are a must read. Alex Kava’s Maggie O’Dell and Ryder Creed novels, Beverly Conner’s Lindsay Chamberlain novels, anything by Elmore Leonard or Stephen J. Cannell, Lee Goldberg, Paul Bishop, or Max Allen Collins. There are a lot of great thrillers out there to choose from.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a writer. I am not a hero. I am not an adventurer. I am not a detective (though I did play one on TV once). I am the guy who tells stories about these types of characters. I love getting to know characters and team up with them to tell stories that I hope readers will enjoy. I want readers to be entertained.

In addition to my own creations, some of which are mentioned above, I have been fortunate to write some tie-in fiction with amazing characters I did not create, but like. A few of these include Zorro, Sherlock Holmes, Domino Lady, The Lone Ranger, The Green Hornet, The Spider, The Avenger, and others. It’s fun to play with someone else’s toys from time to time. I just have to make sure I don’t break them. Ha! Ha! 

I have been fortunate to win an award or three for my writing, which is always a tremendous bonus. You can check out all of my work at and Find me on social media and say hello. 


Bobby Nash is an award-winning author. He writes novels (Snow, Evil Ways, Deadly Games!, Nightveil: Crisis at the Crossroads of Infinity), comic books (Edgar Rice Burroughs’ At The Earth’s Core, Domino Lady, Operation: Silver Moon), short fiction (Mama Tried, Domino Lady, Yours Truly Johnny Dollar, The Avenger), and the odd short screenplay (Starship Farragut “Conspiracy of Innocence, Hospital Ship Marie Curie “Under Fire”). 

Bobby is a member of the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers and International Thriller Writers.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Movie Reviews for Writers: She Makes Comics


Some movies tell stories. Some movies teach. Some movies inspire. Some movies really (we're here to) pump you up. And some fortunate flicks manage to do all of that. 

While being a straight-up documentary, She Makes Comics is also the biographic story of the changing role of women in an industry that is largely considered THE home of the adolescent male fantasy trope.

I'll admit I haven't reviewed a lot of documentaries for this series of movies about authors, but so many of them suffer from being so scholarly that they don't really hit the proper cylinders for the mass market viewer. Well, this one overcomes that potential pitfall admirably. In fact, the director, Marisa Stotter, actually addresses than in an online interview with Bleeding Cool: 

"The trouble with a documentary that tries to span a long period of time is avoiding the 'classroom movie syndrome,' where you're throwing a lot of facts at the viewer and little of it has any emotional resonance. So we tried to find the middle ground between demonstrating the breadth of women's involvement in comics and highlighting particular women's stories that we felt were representative of the major milestones of comics history."

The real beauty of this documentary is not that it just has something to say not just about (and for) writers but about (and for) readers as well. In fact, historically, prior to the comics code pretty much reducing comics to a single market -- super heroes -- the readership was about 55 percent female. Quite an accomplishment. Now, that's a time when comics might be anything from westerns to sci-fi to horror to crime to romance to, yes, even superheroes, and women enjoyed them as much as men. The advent of the comics code pretty much wiped out a lot of the non-costumed hero books (either for being unsavory with all that kissing or all those creepy ghoulies and those violent goons with guns), and with them went that high percentage of female readers. 

Of course, that started to change again when a certain young editor, Karen Berger, climbed the ladder at DC and was allowed to start her own imprint, Vertigo Comics, for the company, an imprint renowned for opening its doors for more diverse topics and creators. 

And since then, the market and comics publishing world has continued to change and be a lot more welcoming to female artists and writers and editors. 

All the greats you'd expect are here: Louise Simonson, Trina Robbins, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Gail Simone, Marjorie Liu, Karen Berger, Jenette Jahn, Colleen Doran, Amy Chu, Jill Thompson, Wendy Pin, Nancy Collins, Ramona Fradon, G. Willow Wilson, Ann Nocenti, Felicia Henderson, and more. Their stories are tales of struggle, tales of endurance, and most important, tales of triumph. 

If there's a writer's theme to this film, it's this -- persevere. Stick it out. Chase the dream. Even when -- no, especially when -- the whole world stands against you and tells you it's pointless. 

Without women who chose to live that theme, well, this documentary wouldn't exist, and neither would so, so, so many of the industries favorite titles and characters. 

It works for comic books. And it works for major publishing houses. And it works for mid-size and indie houses too. 

It works for women. But it also works for all disenfranchised writers. Even you guys who can't get a leg up. It's not a gender thing. It's a keep at it thing. Write. Write some more, and then when you feel it's not getting you anywhere, keep at it and write even more. 

She writes comics. But you write what you write. And it'll take perseverance from you too, my friends.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Writer’s Corner – Five Podcasts Serious Indie Authors Won’t Want to Miss

by Kaye Lynne Booth

In my publishing courses at Western State Colorado University, my instructors and mentors, Kevin J. Anderson and Allyson Longuiera have introduced us to several useful podcasts for independent authors and/or publishers and I’d like to share them with you here.

Writing Excuses

Hosts Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Kowal, Peng Shepard, and Howard Taylor offer up tips and writing advice, mainly on craft. This podcast provides short sessions, they claim 15 minutes, but the session for the link above is closer to 30. It’s an interview with Kevin J. Anderson about paying it forward, and it’s really good, so I tought you all might enjoy it. Kevin started out with traditional publishing way back when, but has now established his own independent press in WordFire Press, so he speaks to both sides of the industry, and this interview is proof that whether published traditionally or independently, authors are a good bunch. I’m proud to be counted amoung this tribe.

But the episodes really are brief, so take a little time and explore the site. They have many interesting topics of value to authors at all stages of their career. Here’s the main page link:

Six Figure Authors

With hosts Lindsay Baroker, Joe Lallo and Andrea Pearson, this podcast offers publishing and marketing tips, more than craft advice, but as six figure authors, they are crushing it and they are willing to share their advice with their listeners. I enjoy binging back episodes on my lengthy commute to and from my day job. They have a Facebook group which listeners can join, where they can pose questions to the hosts or their guests to be answered on the podcast. Lots of valuable information for authors here, whether just starting out or if you’ve been at it for a while.

The Creative Penn

I love this podcast! Host Joanna Penn (with a double N), is an author/entrepreneur and a futurist. Her podcast is filled with interviews and discussion about industry trends and where things might be headed. She’s got a killer accent which makes her fun to listen to, too.

The Self Publishing Formula

Host Mark Dawson is a best selling independent author provides interviews and master classes on self-publishing. He and his co-host, James Blatch both have accents that are heavier and more difficult for me to understand, but they do offer up some valuable information on the independent publishing world.

Quick and Dirty Tips

This is every writers go-to podcast for all of your grammar questions, with Grammar Girl, Mignon Fogarty, who discusses proper grammar and common grammar mistakes. A quick reference for all grammar questions you are unsure of during writing and editing processes.


Reprinted by permission of the author from the original post at Writing To Be Read.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

[Link] Comic Books, for the Next Generation of Civil Rights Activists

Join host Ashley C. Ford in conversation with political aide Andrew Aydin, whose idea for a thrilling new retelling of Congressman John Lewis’ life and role in the Civil Rights struggle is helping a whole new generation of students and activists connect with their past. Dive into the power of writing, of storytelling — and the magic that happens when you shine a light on the ongoing struggle for justice.

Visit the podcast.

Friday, March 11, 2022


by Mark McLaughlin & Michael Sheehan, Jr.

All available in trade paperback and hardcover formats, and on Kindle Unlimited.

HORRORS & ABOMINATIONS: 24 Tales Of The Cthulhu Mythos

Enter a midnight world of grotesque creatures and ancient deities from nightmare dimensions.


NIGHTMARES & TENTACLES: 13 Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos

Stories include Shoggoth Apocalypse; Stainless Steel Sarcophagus; Pyramid of the Shoggoths; Horrors of the Trash Island; The Idol in the Hedge Maze; Just Another Afternoon in Arkham, Brought to You in Living Color; and more.


THE HOUSE OF THE OCELOT & More Lovecraftian Nightmares

Tales of Lovecraftian fantasy and horror, as well as an epic poem regarding the return of Nyarlathotep to the modern world.


THE PRISONER OF CARCOSA & More Tales Of The Bizarre

Tales of the bizarre, featuring Lovecraftian horrors, alien nightmares, oceanic monstrosities, an account of The King In Yellow, and much more.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

No articles this week.

The articles for the blog will be taking this week off since I'm in my final week of prepping for the GACE to become a special education teacher. They get to sleep so I can study and then take the exam on Thursday. Then I'm going to sleep the whole weekend away guiltlessly.

Sunday, March 6, 2022

The Pulp Factory Awards 2022

Voting is now open for this year’s Pulp Factory Awards and is open to the public, so get on over there and vote for your favorites. Categories include Best Pulp Novel, Best Pulp Short Story, Best Anthology/Collection, Best Pulp Cover, and Best Pulp Interior illustrations. Voting closes March 28, 2022 so get your votes in soon. Winners will be announced at this year’s Windy City Pulp & Paper Con in Chicago in May. 


  • Captain Hawklin and the Invisible Enemy - Charles F. Millhouse - Stormgate
  • Fangs of the Sea - Fred Adams Jr. - Airship 27
  • The Great Chicago Fire Conspiracy - George Tackes - Airship 27


  • Saturn’s Child – Mark Allen Vann – Saturn’s Child And Other Tales – Xepico Press
  • Snow Shorts: Snow Ambition - Brian K. Morris - BEN Books
  • Strigoi - Jonathan W. Sweet - Ghosts of the Jackal - Brick Pickle Pulp


  • Blood on the Blade - Flinch Books
  • Mystery Men (& Women) Vol. 7 - Airship 27
  • Occupied Pulp - Flinch Books
  • Pulp Reality #2 - Stormgate Press
  • Pulp Reality #3 - Stormgate Press


  • Chris Nye - RUNEMASTER – Shield Maiden’s Blade – Airship 27
  • Ed Catto - THE MUSKETEERS – New Adventures – Airship 27
  • Gary Kato - PULP MYTHOLOGY Vol 2 – Airship 27
  • Guy Davis - THE SILVER PENTACLE – Airship 27
  • Rob Davis - C.O.JONES – Hometown U.S.A. – Airship 27
  • Stephen Burks - PULP REALITY #3 - Stormgate Press

BEST PULP COVER (larger images below)

  • Clayton Murwin - PULP REALITY # 2 – Stormgate Press
  • Adam Shaw - FANGS OF THE SEA – Airship 27
  • Adam Shaw - JEZEBEL JOHNSTON 7 – Mastiff - Airship 27
  • Douglas Klauba - SATURN’S CHILD And Other Tales – Xepico Press
  • Rob Davis - JEZEBEL JOHNSTON Vol 8 REVELATION – Airship 27

Vote here.

Saturday, March 5, 2022

[Link] AMC Networks Publishing launches with graphic novels, Stephen King, Kirk Hammett and more

by Heidi MacDonald

As long as I’ve been writing the Beat, I’ve heard rumors of TV networks starting their own comics lines to cheaply (sorry) generate IP in-house.  (Remember when Netflix was going to start a comics line because they signed up Millarworld?) It’s never quite happened that way yet, but AMC Networks Publishing might just be the closest thing yet – a publishing spin-off of the network that will put out fan-friendly, genre-forward specialty books, comics, original graphic novels and more.

The line is headed up by publishing veteran and Head of AMC Networks Publishing Mike Zagari, who worked at Marvel, DC, Disney and Aftershock before moving over to AMC, so he certainly knows the territory.

Upcoming projects include several comics, a graphic novel and a coffee table book, in partnership with talents like Kirk Hammett, Brendan Fletcher, Greg Nicotero, Stephen King and many more.

The first AMC publishing venture was a coffee table book, The Art of AMC’s The Walking Dead Universe, published in partnership with Image Comics and Skybound. The new AMC Publishing output will have various print partners, including Titan Books and Every Cloud.

“We’re excited to launch this new initiative with talented creators, writers, artists and storytellers to further engage our passionate fanbases with the stories and characters they love, as well as open the doors to discover new and compelling worlds,” said Zagari in a statement. “From deeper dives on AMC’s The Walking Dead Universe, Shudder’s Creepshow and Acorn TV’s Miss Fisher, to a brand-new collection of fantasy and comic-based tales from Kirk Hammett, Marcel Feldmar, Brenden Fletcher and more, we can’t wait to entertain and thrill our audience and fans in new and innovative ways.”

The line-up...

Read the full article: