Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Nugget #82 -- Heads, Hands, and Hearts

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


by Stanley Donwood

Thirteen years ago I wrote a novel as the result of a bet between myself and my publisher at the time. The result was Catacombs of Terror! I’m going to try to remember how this happened, although due to the passage of time and the vagaries of memory, much of what follows will be unreliable.

One afternoon in the pub, over several pints of cider, the eccentric publisher Ambrose Blimfield proposed that I write a novel. He promised he would publish it. But, he continued, lighting a cigar, I had to write it in a month. In fact, he said, to “encourage” me, he’d bet me five quid that I couldn’t do it.

“Don’t most publishers give writers an advance?” I asked.

“I’m not most publishers. Here’s the deal. I bet you five pounds that you can’t write a 150,000-word novel in one month. If you do it, you get the five quid and I publish the book. If you don’t, I get a fiver off you, and I have to go back to publishing local poets. I hate local poets. In fact, I hate all poets. And all poetry. I have a long-standing and deeply entrenched hostility to the form. Anyway. How about it? I’ll give you half the profits.”

At the time my finances were distinctly precarious.

“All right,” I said. “I’ll do it.”

Read the full article:

Sunday, October 16, 2016



An innovative publisher of Genre Fiction, Pro Se Productions proudly announces the release of THE CLOCKWORK CAPTAIN’S BRIDE, a steampunk powered tale of intrigue and love, written by Eve Milady. Milady’s debut novel is available currently in print and digital formats.

“Epic,” says Tommy Hancock, Editor in Chief of Pro Se Productions, “is a word that gets thrown about rather freely when talking about books, particularly those poised to grow into series. But, in all honesty, it is a rare occurrence when a written work truly deserves the word. Eve Milady’s THE CLOCKWORK CAPTAIN’S BRIDE is simply that-epic. From steampunk infused panoramas painted with words to characters burning with life as they leap from page to page, THE CLOCK WORK CAPTAIN’S BRIDE is ready to set sail, taking readers on a journey like no other they’ve ever experienced. And the ride is well worth all the action and danger involved!”

In a place of airships and steam-powered machines, where electricity is the finest commodity and education determines the shape of a family's entire existence, a ruthless warlord has assassinated the king. He sits on the throne in the magnificent Citadel of Aelstron as he orders the rightful heirs hunted down and eliminated in secret.

Gail Cowell enjoys the quiet, predictable life of a hat maker, locking her heart away to spare herself an agony like her widower father's never-ending grief. When her father is suddenly arrested and charged with treason, the nameless sailor they sheltered for a night is revealed to be Marcus Declan, the world's most wanted sky captain! Brought into his dangerous world of airships, pirates, and stolen thrones, Gail fights to reunite with her father -- even if she must offer herself to Captain Declan to do it.

Captain Marcus Declan sails the Aether's Damnation, battling to exact vengeance on a betrayer that delivered him to a frozen hell. When his quest goes awry, he is rescued from the brink of death by a hat maker - leaving him honor bound to help his beautiful, well-bred daughter when he discovers her stowed away on his ship! Although her graceful presence kindles an irresistible desire and long-buried dreams, duty and rage compel Marcus to continue his blood-drenched efforts for justice.
Featuring an evocative cover by the author and cover design and print formatting by Antonino Lo Iacono, THE CLOCKWORK CAPTAIN'S BRIDE is available at Amazon and Pro Se’s own store for 15.00.

Milady’s stunning debut is also available as an Ebook, designed and formatted by Lo Iacono for only $2.99 for the Kindle at  for most digital formats via Smashwords.

For more information on this title, interviews with the author, or digital copies to review this book, contact Pro Se Productions’ Director of Corporate Operations, Kristi King-Morgan at
To learn more about Pro Se Productions, go to Like Pro Se on Facebook at

Saturday, October 15, 2016

You Need Werewolves! (Dark Oak Press Announces LUNA'S CHILDREN: STRANGER WORLDS)

Edited by D. Alan Lewis

For countless centuries, mankind has watched as the sun goes down knowing that Luna will rise in its place, to rain her brilliant shards of light upon the Earth. But for the cursed and afflicted, that silvery orb brings horror and death.

LUNA'S CHILDREN: STRANGER WORLDS takes the stories of the werewolf and turns them on their pointy ears. From the American Old West to the Victorian-era streets of London, from the Far East to worlds undiscovered, from steampunk to Nazis, Stranger Worlds takes us on 21 horror-filled journeys from the twisted minds of some of the best writers.

The Tales:

Eagle And Wolf by Brad Ellison
Chimera by K.S. Daniels
Henge by Kimberly Richardson
The Hungry Stones by Josh Reynolds
The Shadow of the Wolf by Logan L. Masterson
The Perfect Present by Jodi Ralston
Bad Blood and Old Silver by Christopher L. Smith
The Were by Melinda LaFevers
The Artemis Gang by Jeff Provine
The White Tree by Jason Lairamore
January at Fort Wayne by Lucy Ann Fiorini
The Hand That Feeds by Ray Deen
You Can't Beat The Metal by Jonathan S. Pembroke
Wolfwere by A.B. Rinklin
Full Moon Man by Windsong Levitch
Have Gun Will Howl by Scott T. Goudsward
Ailsa by Michael Keyton
All That Glitters by Blaise Torrance
Burning Bridges by Aaron Longoria
Always Hungry by Zorknot Robinson
Another Solution by James C. Simpson

Friday, October 14, 2016


by Chuck Wendig

1. Story is, as I am wont to remind, the destruction of the status quo. A story begins when the expected course of events deviates — it’s like a bone breaking. Compound fracture, crack. The inciting incident is that break. High school is high school until a new teacher shows up and changes everything. The magical fantasy kingdom is doing its thing until the king is murdered by a murderous murdercorn (aka a once-innocent unicorn that turned super shitty). This isn’t hard to see in stories that exist: the original Star Wars trilogy has the Empire serving as the status quo, and then Luke, Leia and the gang provide the match-tip to the Rebellion powderkeg and boom, status quo shattered. This is true for the inciting incident and also true as the story progresses — any time the story threatens to return to a “new normal” or some kind of status quo, it is your job to once again break that bone just as it heals. Plot is born of this.

2. Plot is also born of agitation. Agitation is best served as conflict between characters — aka, drama. The drama llama is a storyteller’s best friend. Love the drama llama. Ride the drama llama. Make love to the — wait, no. Sorry! *sprays bleach on your brain* Characters with competing agendas, desires, and emotions agitate one another simply by dint of pursuing (or denying) these agendas, desires and emotions. It’s like putting a bunch of spiders and centipedes and beetles in a jar and shaking it up — they fight and crawl and try to escape or eat each other. Story basically starts to write itself once you’ve got these fundamental elements, because the characters will forever push the narrative forward. This isn’t magical, though, and you’ll still need to control the characters. Otherwise they will be literally born and you will wake up surrounded by them. They will have knives. Okay, maybe it is magic. Whatever.

Read the full article:

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

[Link] The Long Con: Conventions & Conferences

by Andrea Judy

I love conventions. I've been going to them for over ten years. I started at small anime conventions and graduated to DragonCon and GenCon in recent years. When many writers approach me for advice on what they can do to improve their craft, I usually tell them to find a convention with a good literary track, go to the panels and take notes.

Many fantasy and science-fiction conventions have a series of panels (a track) devoted to writing and publishing. You can learn a lot from listening to professionals talk about their craft and better yet, it can be a great chance to meet other writers and network. Many of the writers that come to conventions are happy to talk shop with you and answer any questions you have.

Now, there are also a lot of writing conferences, and I've been to quite a few of those and they are also a great resource for writers at many levels in their careers. I've found the main differences between a convention and a conference is...

Read the full article.

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now #351 -- Writers on the Writing Life (Bio-Journals)

What do you consider the best books about the writing 
life (not those about "how to" or that kind of thing)?

Excellent question. I love reading writers writing about the world as they experience it specifically as writers. (Hmm... I wonder if I can get the word "write" in that sentence one more time...)

For my money, Stephen King's ON WRITING is fantastic. It almost goes without saying to include this one is you are a contemporary writer. But that's only because it's such a great story of his life of crafting stories.

Another I absolutely adore is Eudora Welty's ONE WRITER'S BEGINNINGS. This one is as much a biography as it is a journal on becoming a writer. And trust me, it's prose is pure beauty.

Next would be one from my all-time favorite non-fiction writer, Annie Dillard. Here THE WRITING LIFE captures the beauty of creation through both the natural world and the internal world of imagination.

But perhaps no one understand the writing life better than that beagle of all authors -- Snoopy (with a little help from some of his biggest fans).

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Argosy, Black Mask, and Famous Fantastic Mysteries Return to Magazine Format


Featuring NEW stories by Frederick Nebel, Paul Bishop, and Kimberly B. Richardson

October 6, 2016 — Three of the most historic pulp fiction magazines of the Twentieth Century are set to return to magazine format.

This November, Altus Press will relaunch full-length magazines of ArgosyBlack Mask, and Famous Fantastic Mysteries in periodical format. These three pulp magazine titles were renowned for the high level of quality fiction which they published for decades.

ArgosyBlack Mask, and Famous Fantastic Mysteries will be composed of classic fiction from the backlog of The Frank A. Munsey Company, Pro-Distributors Publishing Company, Inc., and Popular Publications, Inc., along with all-new stories and articles.

Argosy features an ALL-NEW story by Frederick Nebel, along with stories by H. Bedford-Jones, Berton E. Cook, Ralph R. Perry, W. Wirt, Murray R. Montgomery, and Norbert Davis. Argosy’s focus will remain primarily on adventure fiction.

Black Mask is highlighted by a brand new story by award-winner Paul Bishop, as well as classic hard-boiled detective stories by Carroll John Daly, Frederick Nebel, Raoul Whitfield, T.T. Flynn, Merle Constiner, Richard Sale, and Norbert Davis.Famous Fantastic Mysteries is highlighted by a new short story by Kimberly B. Richardson. It’s rounded out by stories from G.T. Fleming-Roberts, Arthur Leo Zagat, Frederick C. Davis, High B. Cave, Paul Ernst, Wyatt Blassingame, and Wayne Rogers, among others. Famous Fantastic Mysteries will focus on the weird fiction genre.

Each of these magazines enjoyed decades-long publications by a variety of publishers, comprising several thousand total issues. Now owned by Steeger Properties, LLC, these titles will be published on a regular schedule and in print and e-magazine formats. These new magazines will be printed in black & white and each is heavily illustrated. Argosy, Black Mask, and Famous Fantastic Mysteries will available via the popular book and e-book vendors as well as at

Altus Press is accepting article proposals and advertising for placement in future issues. Please contact to be considered for future issues.


Saturday, October 8, 2016

The dead are rising to read the next installment in Howard Odentz's Dead (A Lot) trilogy!

The zombie apocalypse just got real.

Zombies rule. Almost everybody in the world has turned into one, thanks to a nifty little disease called Necropoxy. Sixteen year old twins, Tripp and Trina Light, however, are among the rare humans who are not only immune to Necropoxy -- they're super immune. Even a bite from a zombie won't infect them.

Great, right? Yeah, but...researchers are capturing every immune human they can find -- and experimenting on them like lab rats. Just yesterday, the twins and their friends narrowly escaped.

The researchers will do anything to get them back.

That means Tripp, Trina, and their small band of survivors are on the run from zombies, mad scientists, and who knows what else. What's worse, some people in their group are starting to act funny, which isn't funny at all.

This is so not how they planned to spend the beginning of their junior year of high school in Massachusetts.

Everyone is dead.

Everyone is wicked dead.

Available on Amazon.

Author and playwright Howard Odentz is a lifelong resident of the gray area between Western Massachusetts and North Central Connecticut. His love of the region is evident in his writing as he often incorporates the foothills of the Berkshires and the small towns of the Bay and Nutmeg states into his work.

In addition to the The Dead (A Lot) Series, he has written the horror novel Bloody Bloody Apple, the short story collection Little Killers A to Z, and a couple of horror-themed, musical comedies produced for the stage.

Visit BelleBooks online. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

The Power of Cautionary Questions: Neil Gaiman on Ray Bradbury’s ‘Fahrenheit 451,’ Why We Read, and How Speculative Storytelling Enlarges Our Humanity

by Maria Popova

“The important thing,” Ursula K. Le Guin wrote in contemplating the cultural role of speculative fiction and the task of its writer, “is not to offer any specific hope of betterment but, by offering an imagined but persuasive alternative reality, to dislodge my mind, and so the reader’s mind, from the lazy, timorous habit of thinking that the way we live now is the only way people can live.” In doing so, she argued, imaginative storytelling can intercept the inertia of oppressive institutions, perilous social mores, and other stagnations of progress that contract our scope of the possible.

Hardly any work of imaginative storytelling has stood as more enduring and full-bodied a testament to this ideal than Ray Bradbury’s 1953 masterwork Fahrenheit 451 — a love letter to books and to the people who care about them and, perhaps above all, to the very capacity for caring. This capacity was the animating force of Bradbury’s uncommon genius, and it finds a contemporary counterpart and kindred spirit in Neil Gaiman — a writer of firm conviction and porous curiosity, an idealist amid our morass of cynicism, writing to remind us over and over again who we are and who we can be if we commit to wresting goodness out of our imperfect humanity.

Read the full article:

Thursday, October 6, 2016

White by Default? A Character Assumption Roundtable

This new writers roundtable topic comes from a recent discussion on a Pulp Writers list of which I'm a member. I thought the topic a pertinent one, so I wanted to share it here as well. 

The key kernal for this discussion comes from an exchange my fellow pulp writer I.A. Watson had with one of his editors, and is as follows:

Editor: About this villain, Ms Zeuzi. Why is she White? Aren’t there enough White characters in your book? 
I.A. Watson: Where do I say she’s White? I don’t describe her appearance at all, except her business suit and mannerisms. 
Editor: You don’t say she’s not White. You could have mentioned she’s African American or Latino. You don’t. 
IW: There’s lots of characters in the book, some of whom are White, but I don’t say they are Caucasian or put in a description of their skin colour. Why do I need to specify that Ms Zeuzi is non-White if it doesn’t come up in the story? 
Editor: Readers default assume characters are White if you don’t say otherwise.

I’m really not sure about this. Advice?

Is this true in your experience? Why do you think that?

Lee Houston Jr.:  Only in regards to classic characters created before the late 1960s, and the writers of the day didn't dare challenge the "social norms" of their time.

Erwin K. Roberts: Before "enlightenment" came to the various media, there were occasional stealth minority characters. In his book,  Space Cadet, Robert Heinlein's three protagonists were a kid from Des Moines, a wild & wooly Texan, and a quiet fellow from colonial Venus. One presumes they all had white skin. After they finish training, the three spend a year or so on a spaceship with a crew of about a dozen. What is not revealed, until after they leave the ship, is that one of the ship's officers was "as black as the ace of Spades." Not exactly politically correct, but I'm sure a lot of younger readers circa 1950, or so, were shocked by the revelation.

Kristi Morgan: This is true, and applies to writing that has more than just humans in it too. I am in the middle of editing stories for a collection that contains humans, elves, dwarves, and kobolds. Every story started of with dialogue or what their characters were doing, but nothing about what they looked like. My mind assumed they were human and probably white unless the writer said otherwise, and most of them never did. Readers are not mind readers. Unless you describe the characters, we will make up our own descriptions in our mind.

Van Allen Plexico: I think readers consciously or subconsciously look for cues, even tiny ones, that tell them more about a character. Those cues can come via outright descriptions of appearance, yes. But also via tiny comments during dialogue, manner of speech, name, and so on. And those don't even have to be intentional or conscious decisions on the part of the author in some cases, I think.

So, no, I don't think all readers default all characters to white as long as there are any reasons not to... But likely some do.

Alan Lewis: In most cases, I'd say it is true. Or maybe, more to the point, we like to make the characters like ourselves, so we default many characters to our own race.

Lucy Blue: I know as a reader, i do this, and I always assumed that everybody just defaulted to their own race until told otherwise. But of course, that isn't true--readers of color have gotten so used to white being the "default setting" in fiction that they make that assumption, too. (May that someday not be so.) So yeah, as a writer, I struggle with this. I don't want to point out every character's race as soon as they're introduced, but if a character's race is important to the story, I want the reader to have a clear picture of them. That's one great thing about writing science fiction and fantasy; in those worlds, a lot of the time it doesn't matter what skin tone the characters have; readers can picture characters however they choose. But in writing any kind of contemporary or "realistic" fiction, it's definitely a concern.

Rose Johnson Streif: This is weird, but the characters tend to remain somewhat amorphous to me until they are described, or begin to take shape. I have a highly visual mind, but I want to see what the writer sees when I am reading someone else's work. I'll fill in the blanks as time goes by, but I want to see their world, not impose my own. (That's for my own work.)

And so, as to race, I'll pick up cues, wait until the author says it outright, or just not assume. But if it goes on for too long without description, I probably will default to white, because the author probably did too. (And I dislike not having descriptions. I don't need info dump, but show me these people you created, d@mmit.)

Marian Allen: I think it's true. If somebody's ethnicity doesn't matter to your third-person story or doesn't impose itself on your first-person narrator's consciousness, don't bother with it.
Herika Raymer: I usually default to the race of the writer, not sure who else does. It's usually the correct assumption, unless otherwise stated.

Gary Phillips: I once wrote a novel giving hints as to various characters' race -- she was a natural blonde, his name was Kurasawa and so on, but deliberately gave no indication of the main charater's race. And being black but with a "whitebread" name, left my photo off the back Of, and the anti-hero, the main guy is only called O'Conner, though plenty of black folks have Irish sounding last names.

How do you handles such descriptions of ethnicity or do you prefer to let the reader default to their preconceptions?

Erwin K. Roberts: I tend to sprinkle minority characters around my stories. But only if the story is not slowed down by explaining how and why the character happens to be there.

Sometimes there is a compelling reason for a minority character, or group, to be included, even it such a thing was not common to the period. In my Sons of Thor the first section is set in World War One. The French need a battalion of Infantry to provide security for a very important meeting. There can not, must not, be any German sympathizers or spies among them. Who they gonna call?

Well, there's this Regiment that the U.S. Army dumped on them. The Yanks just couldn't figure out what to do with the unit calling themselves The Men of Bronze. The 369th Infantry Regiment is best known as The Hellfighters From Harlem. How many Germans are in an all African-American (to include some of the officers) unit? This retired Missouri National Guardsman was proud to shine some fictional light on the former 15th New York Infantry Regiment.

Marian Allen: GENERALLY SPEAKING, I don't think of characters as being a particular ethnicity or race so much as I think of them as individuals OF a particular ethnicity, race, or background. I might specify this lady has milky skin and red-gold hair, or this guy might have tightly curled black hair, brown eyes, skin the color of bittersweet chocolate .... If there were no such thing as the concept of "race," or if we understood that "ethnicity" doesn't mean "everybody but white," how would we describe characters? That's what I try to do. It kind of pisses me off when writers don't describe characters unless the characters are people of color, or when writers do describe characters UNLESS they're people of color, in which case they're "black" or "Oriental" or some nonsense.

Lee Houston Jr.:  Unless I am writing either aliens in science fiction stories or contributing a story to an already established character, I usually don't mention ethnicity and let the readers judge/decide for themselves.

Alan Lewis: I only feel that the color of a character's skin should be important if it is a factor in the story.

For example, in my Black Wolf stories, the lead character is a black man, living in 1930's South Carolina. He lives in a predominantly black neighborhood and is always dealing with racist attitudes when he ventures into the white parts of town. He dates a young white woman, which was very taboo in those days. All these factors come into play in the stories, telling the daily struggles with racism while the man is simply trying to do his job.

Now take away the prejudice and time period and drop him into a contemporary setting, and those issues of race are greatly reduced. Therefore, the color of his skin isn’t an issue and doesn’t need to be made part of the story.

Van Allen Plexico: I will admit I do feel a responsibility to make the casts of my stories at least somewhat diverse in terms of race and gender, rather than monochrome and all guys. I don't do this out of any sense of trying to be "PC", but because it makes the story more interesting and more appealing to more people, and it's more logical in a world of diverse people, particularly one set in the future. The fact that it is the right thing to do is only a happy side effect.

To convey this, I try to provide as many cues as reasonably possible (short of doing any harm to the narrative) to make the characters "visible" in the minds of the readers as close to how I've imagined them as possible.

As a made-up example:

Hawk drew off his glove and stared down at his olive-skinned hand, flexing it carefully. 
Hawk glanced over at Falcon, then ran his hand back through his thick, black hair. 

I generally follow Roger Zelazny's rule that you should provide no more than three outright physical descriptions of a character when you introduce him or her (more than that and they get fuzzy in the reader's mind, rather than clearer), and then fill in any remaining visual blanks during the course of the narrative or dialogue later, as needed, as you go.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Sean Taylor Shares the Skinny on THE NEW DEAL: MASKS AND MUTATIONS!

If you need someone to blame for this book, here I am. It’s simple math. A + B = C, with C being this book. If you’ll keep reading for a moment or two, I’ll attempt to explain.

A: What If

“What if” is a writer’s favorite game to play. It’s the basis of all stories. What if King Lear happened on a farm but from the POV of a “bad” heir? That’s Jane Smiley’s A THOUSAND ACRES, for the record. What if spiritual samurai tried to hold off imperialism from an invading and technologically superior force? That’s both history of Japan and the basis for a little space movie called STAR WARS. What it space were the wide-open West and we sent people out to explore it? You guessed it, STAR TREK.

“What if” keeps the fictional world from becoming stagnant. It’s the remix that word-artists use to create something new from something borrowed, something blue. “What if” is the glue (sorry for the cliché) writers make from the hooves of both classic and often forgotten literary steeds.

Now that we’ve established that, what about this one: What if the American public had a scapegoat on which to blame all the bad stuff from the 1920s and 1930s, such as the stock market crash, increasing crime, etc.? And what it that scapegoat weren’t a race but a whole new kind of people, a new generation of people born with amazing powers, some that could stay hidden in public and others that didn’t have that luxury?

B: Man Vs. Man  

Two super hero-themed books have always stuck with me as being important to the American cultural/creative landscape. The first is the X-Men adventure God Loves, Man Kills. It’s a masterpiece of Us vs. Them literature. The second is the Wildcards series edited by George R.R. Martin et al, particularly the first book with its crazy trip through American history with the added benefit (or detriment) of Aces and Jokers.

But this Us vs. Them theme sadly isn’t confined to books and movies. We all know that. Without racism, the X-Men wouldn’t have been so popular since that was their story to tell (only slicing it in a fantastical way).  The Wildcards books would have had little to say beyond mere escapist fiction without the realities of McCarthyism and anti-socialist and anti-communist politics at their core.

I’m not talking about simple man vs. man plot structures here. This is far deeper than the noble sheriff vs. the bad cattle rustler, or even the disillusioned copper vs. the vicious gangster. I’m talking about the propensity of human beings to focus on the things that make us different and use those very things at best to segregate the greater (us) from the lesser (them), or at worst the right and proper (us) from the evil and should be gotten rid of.

It’s one of the things that makes us rightly and truly suck as people, but it makes us great fodder for stories, fantastic fodder for compelling stories.

It’s the fodder at the heart of this collection of stories, which brings us to…

C: This Book

At its simplest, this book asks the question, “What if the X-Men happened in a generic way right around the Great Depression and took all the blame for, well, everything?” But it didn’t stay there. With the input of several writers I trust, value, and am jealous of, it became more than just a rip-off of the X-Men. It became something wonderfully and truly pulp, something that took the ideas of masked men with guns and fedoras from the realm of possibility into the realm of the fantastic, of superheroics.

The pulp era is filled with costumed do-gooders, but most of them were what my first super-fiction editor staunchly referred to as “mere vigilantes.” (A super hero, after all, had to have super-powers, according to him.) Men and women with guns. Men and women who were tremendous athletes, but nonetheless merely human.

This volume takes those men and women farther. But rather than putting the superhuman on a pedestal and seeing him or her as a god or goddess, it takes a more realistic approach. As I said above, we humans don’t have a good track record welcoming the new and different, especially when it frightens the bejeeszus out of us.

The title is an obvious riff on President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s political stab at rejuvenating the country. Only in this case the new deal is not what history tells us. It’s a new kind of human. The new and different. The thing no longer in the shadows that frightens the bejeezus out of us.

How the people involved “deal” with that new is what makes the stories in this collection worth your time and money.


I hope you enjoy your trip to the past that never was.

Sean Taylor
Creator of The New Deal: Masks and Mutations
September 30, 2016
Atlanta, Ga.

Monday, October 3, 2016

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now #350 -- Fear the Future?

What is your biggest concern
about the future of publishing?

My biggest fear about the publishing world hasn't changed one little bit in the past fifteen years. It's the big houses' reliance on "epic" series that fill up the publishing schedules and leave new voices relegated to small houses where the largest percentage of readers are too lazy to look and will instead continue to take part sixteen of whatever epic series is being spoonfed to them.

I think the future of any kind of publishing of art (whether stories, music, movies, painting, mixed media, you name it, it counts) is ALWAYS dependent on new voices who bring change and growth and expansion and new ideas to the medium. ALWAYS.

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

But with the guarrenteed sales of big, epic, "don't make me look for something else since I'm familiar with this" series, those new voices are far too often overlooked.

And if you ask me (which you did), I believe that the whole of the publishing world suffers for that.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

What do The Watchmen and Rick Ruby have in common?

Watchmen fans, check out Rich Handley's new WATCHING TIME book, which looks at the links between Watchmen and gumshoe Rick Ruby (created by Bobby Nash and myself), a detective familiar to pulp fans from our book THE RUBY FILES, illustrated by the amazing Rob Moran.

Saturday, October 1, 2016


Airship 27 Productions is proud to announce the release of their newest title, “The Towers of Metropolis,” a prequel anthology based on silent sci-fi movie.

In 1927 German filmmaker Fritz Lang brought to the screen one of the most ground breaking sci-fi melodramas of all time based on the screenplay he co-wrote with his wife, novelist Thea von Harbou. Set in a futuristic urban dystopia, the story follows the attempts of Freder, the son of the city’s ruler, and Maria, a citizen of the lower levels, to bridge the gulf separating the economic classes of the city. It is regarded as a classic and one of the first full-length movies in the genre.

“I first saw the film at the World Science Fiction Convention years ago,” reports Airship 27 Productions’ Managing Editor, Ron Fortier. “It simply blew me away. That a film this sophisticated and brilliant could be realized during the earliest days of movie making was astounding. Those images of that futuristic city and its underlying cautionary tale simply became a part of me. I never forgot them. To put together this anthology and revisit that world has been something truly special for all of us here at Airship 27. We hope our fans will enjoy our efforts here.”

Now five visionary new pulp writers have envisioned four dramatic tales which unfold in this amazing world prior to the events of that film. The book begins with a special introductory essay by author Fred Lang, Jr. and then William & Michael Maynard join forces with Michael Panush, Kevin Noel Olson and Erik Franklin to guide readers back to those vaulted, shining Towers of Metropolis in this new collection inspired by Lang’s masterpiece.

Award winning Metropolis enthusiast Michael Kaluta provides the cover with artist Pedro Cruz offering twelve amazing interior illustrations. All beautifully assembled by Airship 27 Art Director Rob Davis to create a book any fan of the film will want for their personal library.

“Metropolis is something truly unique in the annals of science fiction history,” Fortier concludes. “I believe we’ve done it justice with The Towers of Metropolis.”


Available at Amazon in both hardcopy and on Kindle.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Remembering Shooting Star Comics: Gone But Not Forgotten

Note: As we approach the 15th anniversary of Shooting Star Comics, the indie comics publisher I served as EIC back in the beginning of this century, we've relaunched a website to help archive info and announce new outlets from former SSC members. The following is from that website. Join the Facebook group and share your own memories at

In December 2001, a group of online friends, all aspiring comic book writers, came together to produce a showcase for their talents. As readers who love the medium of comic books, they also had a desire to see their scripts given visual form. Since they were serious about their ambitions in this particular field, they decided to pool their resources, find artists (or in some cases, do the art themselves), and publish their short stories (all of it creator owned, original material) together in one book – and then to send that book out into the world, into the hands of the comic book reading public during the summer of 2002.

These friends are also not the least bit reluctant to acknowledge some of the main influences on their own progress in the medium. As a consequence, they decided to ask a couple of those influences to contribute to the endeavor. Chuck Dixon, whose articles on writing for comic books are almost as good as a writing course, was invited to contribute a Western story. And another of those influences, the legendary Denny O’Neil, was asked to write a foreword for the book. He very graciously agreed. The first issue of SHOOTING STAR COMICS ANTHOLOGY was the result of those efforts.

From 2002 to 2006, Shooting Star Comics expanded and became an independent publisher committed to releasing a wide variety of genres and styles in our books. Including both new talent and longtime legends in the industry, Shooting Star Comics produced a high-quality anthology series for six issues and a variety of one-shots and mini-series.

As the 15th Anniversary approaches, this website will expand in the days to come to document the history of our small independent publishing house and serve as an archive that recognizes the body of work produced. This site will also serve as a present day guide pointing to where you can work of the original creators now.

Thursday, September 29, 2016


A cutting edge Publisher of Genre Fiction, Pro Se Productions proudly announces the release of THE NEW DEAL: MASKS AND MUTATIONS.  A collection organized by Sean Taylor, THE NEW DEAL turns the best in New Pulp authors today loose on the concept of super powers in a real world setting at the end of the 1920s.  The anthology is now available in print and digital formats.

“THE NEW DEAL,” explains Tommy Hancock, Partner in and Editor in Chief of Pro Se Productions, “asks the question ‘What if Super Powers were a thing at one of the most explosive points in our history?’ And this taut, thrilling anthology is most definitely the answer to that.  Each story tackles both the nostalgic view we have of the Golden Age of Comics and Super Heroes as well as the actual ramifications of something like this happening when the world was well on its way to Hell already.  From sentimental to terrifying, THE NEW DEAL: MASKS AND MUTATIONS delivers on every note, pushing readers into a world of fedoras and movie matinees that has so much more hidden under the surface.”

The Jazz Age is over and the Great Depression and Dust Bowl are ravaging across the United States. People need someone to blame. Luckily for a population who needs a scapegoat, the next wave of human evolution has begun, and it couldn’t have chosen a worse time to be born.

Men and women with amazing powers now fly across the sky, turn their skin into gold, and block bullets with their bare hands. Some take to crime. Some hide their powers for their own safety. Some seek the Underground Railroad for safe haven and a new life in Mexico. Some try to fight the good fight and turn the tide of public opinion as heroes. All of them are in the wrong place at the wrong time in a wounded, terrified, and violent country.

In this collection from Pro Se Productions, Sean Taylor, D. Alan Lewis, Lance Stahlberg, Sean Dulaney, Andrea Judy, and Tommy Hancock spin history ’round like a top to create an alternate reality both comfortably familiar and strangely new for readers of action, adventure, and crime stories. THE NEW DEAL: MASKS AND MUTATIONS. From Pro Se Productions

Featuring an amazing cover by Timothy Standish and cover design and print formatting by Antonino Lo Iacono, THE NEW DEAL: MASKS AND MUTATIONS is available now at Amazon and Pro Se’s own store  for 15.00.

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Apex Publication announces Kentucky Kaiju!

Apex Publications has joined forces with Justin Stewart, Tressina Bowling, and Shawn Pryor to bring you a book unlike anything we have done before.

Coming this October, Kentucky Kaiju!

Kentucky Kaiju is part art book, part monster manual; combining the two to create the ultimate field guide to the kaiju of the bluegrass state. From 29 foot beavers roaming the forests of Black Gold, KY, to thunderous trees walking Thousandsticks, to a gigantic robot that fell from another galaxy to Future City, KY, this book has it all. Though photographic evidence of kaiju is rare, each one presented in this guide has been artistically rendered by Justin Stewart and Tressina Bowling, with descriptions of their creation, location, and proclivity to violence penned by Shawn Pryor.

Kentucky Kaiju lets you travel deep into the hills of Kentucky and uncover all of its monsters without ever leaving the safety of your home.

Whether you’re a diehard Apex fan, love monster manuals that fill your imagination with new kaiju, or enjoy stellar artwork, this is a book you will want on your bookshelf. Lucky for you, you can preorder your copy now ( and get in on an amazing deal!

Retail price: $14.95 (paperback)
Preorder price: $11.95
ISBN: 978-1-937009-45-8
104 pages

In addition to saving $3 off the MSRP, all preorders are eligible for free domestic shipping and will include a limited edition postcard featuring a kaiju by Chloe Teets that is not available in the book.

You can preorder your copy of Kentucky Kaiju at

"Kentucky Kaiju will make you want to leap right inside your favorite armored robot exoskeleton and go on a moster-jammed southern gothic safari."

"Kentucky Kaiju is what happens when imagination is allowed to run totally amok! You'll love every minute spent poring over the glorious artwork and meeting monsters with insanely clever names like Komodo Supremis! A new favorite on every page!"

"Kentucky Kaiju is an awesome cross between The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, 'Godzilla' flicks and Shadow of the Colossus! It's a must have for prospective monster hunters, crypto-zoologists and Dungeon Masters everywhere!"
—Ted Lange, WARP ZONE

"Beautifully illustrated and hilariously inventive, Kentucky Kaiju takes you back to a childhood spent wandering around in the woods looking for monsters. Just be glad you found them in this book and not out there."

APEX PUBLICATIONS ( is a small press dedicated to publishing exemplary works of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Owned and operated by Jason B. Sizemore, Apex publishes the thrice Hugo Award-nominated Apex Magazine. The Apex catalog contains books by genre luminaries such as Damien Angelica Walters, Catherynne M. Valente, and Brian Keene.

Apex Publications
Contact: Lesley Conner, Managing Editor