Thursday, November 21, 2013
First off, I want to thank everyone who picked up New Roads To Hell. The first adventure of The Shadow Legion spent the entire month on Barry Reese’s New Pulp Best Seller list, and contributed to one of the best months in the history of Airship 27! If you’ve already read the novel, why don’t you take the time to leave a brief review on Amazon to help other people find the book. Hell--over the next two weeks, I’ll randomly choose a reader who places a review on the Amazon page and gift them with a sampler that contains excerpts from three of the four novellas that will make up The Shadow Legion Casebook! Just be sure to leave a link to your review in the comments below.
As for The Shadow Legion Casebook itself....a few weeks ago, my present laptop had a bit of a coma (the Best Buy Geek Squad member who helped me called it ‘the Blue Screen of Death’), and had to have its entire hard drive replaced. This resulted in my losing a slew of data, including 6000 words of ‘The Ascension Of Indio Blaque,’ the Black Talon novella. I’m presently doing a rewrite of the 9000 words I still have in anticipation of trying to recreate the rest of the story. Finishing up this book so that it can be released sometime late in 2014 is one of my primary goals.
Remember--members of The Shadow Legion will be appearing in Mystery Men and Women 4 and 5, so if you’re still hungering for more Ferryman, Dreamcatcher and Nightbreaker, be sure to pick those books up.
Then it’ll be time to gear up for writing the next full length Shadow Legion adventure, Machina Ex Deus. What’s it about? Maybe knowing a little something about Greek Theater may give you a hint!
I’m presently at the end of my publicity podcast tour. If you’re not tired of hearing me talk about the novel, you can hear me on The Gentleman’s Guide To Midnite Cinema, Earth Station One and Dread Media!
There are, of course, other things I’ve been hard at work on. My new Don Cuevo story, ‘Sit By The Fire,’ will be featured in the third volume of How The West Was Weird, available in 2014. I also just submitted the first draft of ‘Giants of Industry,’ my contribution to Monster Earth 2, forthcoming from Mechanoids Press. And I’m going to begin doing research for a novella that will witness my return to writing a blonde daredevil doll I had so much fun writing before! And that’s just the most immediate stuff.
I hope you’ll keep following the Travel Agency to learn when these and other projects come out.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
And I'm sure some of that lot have encountered, at least partially, Detective Munchen, who becomes a friend to The Nightbreaker and an ally to The Shadow Legion in their battle against Rose Red.
And I'm sure some of that smaller sub-group might have a suspicion that our urbane detective is based on another, more famous urbane detective who holds the record for appearing in more television shows than any other television character.
You'd be right.
Today, on the day of Detective John Munch's retirement from his present home as a supporting character on Law And Order: SVU, I can reveal that Detective Munchen was based on Richard Belzer. I've been a fan of Belzer reaching back to his comedian days, and followed his career as a character actor. Back when I was writing fanfiction, I needed a detective character based in Baltimore for GREEN LANTERN: YEAR ONE. Since Belzer was playing John Munch in Homicide: Life On The Streets, I choose to create Munchen as a not-very-subtle tribute to the Belz. And when I wrote FURY OF FIRESTORM for DC Legends and needed a detective character, it made sense to have Muchen transfer to New York as Munch transfered to L&O:SVU.
Of course, sending my own version of Belz back in time and relocating him to the New Orleans manque that is Nocturne is probably the most audacious thing I've done. But it seemed right, given that Belzer had appeared on two super-hero shows in the past (Lois And Clark and The Flash), to place him in my own super-hero universe. And I admit, he seemed to work real well with The Nightbreaker; so much so that he makes an appearance in 'Ghost of Steel,' the Nightbreaker novella that'll appear in The Shadow Legion Casebook V. 1.
I don't know if Belzer is aware of his alternative literary version of himself; I hope that if he is aware, he'll realize it was meant as a fond tribute to a performer I love, and look upon it as further proof that John Munch is the glue that holds the pop culture multiverse together.
Happy retirement, Munch! Hope you enjoy your new posting in Nocturne!
Sunday, October 13, 2013
Also, in case you missed it, I talked with Ric Croxton and Lee Houston, Jr. on Ric's Comics here, and did a little prose back and forth with my BETTER IN THE DARK partner Derrick Ferguson here.
Coming up...I'll be talking about the 20th Anniversary of THE X-FILES with the crew of Earth-Station One, and talking about the horrific elements of NEW ROADS with Des Reddick at Dread Media! And there's more coming soon! So don't miss out on a single stop on the Nocturne World Podcast Tour!
(And maaaaaybe, if you're in the general New York City area, there might be a chance to meet me in person and get a signed copy--keep watch for more developments!)
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Hey, gang. Since the book is now out (and if you haven’t picked up your copy, why haven’t you)?, I thought I’d share part of the original proposal document I sent to Ron Fortier back when he offered to publish New Roads To Hell. This section outlines our quartet of heroes, and presumed a modern day setting for the novel. As you’ll see, some of these characters went through some pretty radical changes as they made their way to the page; there’s even a reference to two who didn’t make the final version of the novel but might debut in the future.
Hope you enjoy this little behind the scenes glimpse, and don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon if you liked the book!
Isaiah Copper, The Nightbreaker
Isiah Copper begins his road to being a hero by being what he is not. As a light skinned black man, Isiah passed himself off as white to gain better access to what society could offer him. As a voice actor, Isiah pretended to be The Nightbreaker, a pulp hero who thrilled the children of Nocturne every Wednesday and Friday night on WDSK.
And his practice of wearing social masks worked; WDSK's owner, Alan Dennings, was planning on exploring the idea of syndicating the Nightbreaker show...and to publicize the move, the station threw a charity ball...
And that's where everything went to Hell.
For you see, the ball was targeted for the debut of the woman calling herself Rose Red, obstensively a robbery, but in reality a distraction for the desperate woman to test her abilties. Just as Alan Dennings was blinded attempting to save the life a family, Isaiah was murdered by the ruthless killer in the second between 11:59 pm and midnight...
And Isaiah discovered that, since he died in the literal ticks between days, he was not going to die ever. He slipped out of phase with reality, neither dead nor alive, a physical being who might as well be a ghost. People on the other side of this schism didn't even recognize he existed unless he concentrated, and even then that recognition would fade the moment he left their presence.
Most people would go insane. But Isaiah chose a different method of coping--by becoming something akin to the mask he hid behind professionally, acting to right wrongs an repel evil in a continuing crusade to prove to the world that yes, he still exist. This has been an uphill battle, although recent innovations in video technology has enabled him to be caught on camera as a smudgy, ill-defined form...so the story of man dressed as an old-time radio hero has been added to the library of weird and mystical stories that make up Noctune's heritage.
Luckily, there is another group of people who can perceive and interact with. Those people who are sensitive to mystical energies are able to perceive Isaiah's presence constantly. This is an island of relief to our friend, knowing there are people out there who do recognize he exists as more than a legend. He may become the one member of this Legion who actually thinks this is a formal Legion.
Alan Dennings,The Ferryman
Even though he was left alive after trying to prevent the death of occultist Maybelle Tremens (the grandaunt of April, and maybe one of the reasons her descendant has become the equivalent of a mystical bug zapper) at that Halloween Charity Ball, but Alan Dennings might as well have died.
Yes, he attempted to carry on with his career in spite of his blindness...but the voices started. Voices that registered in the back of his head, voices telling their stories and demanding he deliver vengeance. There were so many, and when Alan tried to ignore them, they just got louder until he couldn't hear what was going on in the real world. Alan quickly was ousted by his investors from WDSK, was evicted from his home and took to wandering the streets....
...where he was found by the retired Black Talon, Colin Palmersdale. Having struggled with the Talon's own curse, Colin was able to train Alan to master his condition, and endeavored to bring him back from the brink of insanity.
Colin Palmersdale failed. All he succeeded in doing was give Alan the means to transcend his mortal form and become something greater...something that allows him to assuage those voices. With each transgression he avenges for them, he lives a little longer, his body held in a sort of mystically sanctioned stasis until every last one of these voices are satisfied.
Alan is...well, he's not well at all...
April Tremens, Dreamcatcher
To the Narrow World, April Tremens is a mentally ill young woman who suffers from one of the most extreme forms of Disassociative Personality Disorder known to man. Psychiatrists have mapped out a staggering amount of personalities in April, almost all of them malevolent. Even with heavy medication, these personalities manifest--but they are at least managable.
The Wide World, the world that the Shadow Legion operates in, know better.
April Tremens' codename is equal parts sarcastic and ironic. Just as a dreamcatcher is supposed to catch nightmares in its web before they get to the dreamer, April Tremens is a giant paranormal scoop, catching demons and other malignant supernatural entities inside her corporeal form before they can manifest on our plane and wreck havoc. Having all these monstrosities rattling around inside her head has driven her hopelessly insane, and only a heroic effort on her part allows her to retain control of her body the majority of the time.
Oddly enough, April is a vital resource to the Legion, as she has a unique insight into the way evil works. I envision her allowing one of the myriad entities to surface so her fellows can gain knowledge that will help them in their battles. Also, I figure having mystical creatures literally dwelling inside her has given April a working practical knowledge of magic. She can do minor spells at will...and as she gains a modicum of freedom through her association with the Legion, those abilities will grow.
I also envision a sort of strange, symbiotic relationship between April, mentally disabled by the constant war she wages in her mind against these unwelcome lodgers, and Playmate, drawn to the delicate young woman due to its instinctive motivation to protect children. This might be what keeps the strange creature around, cooperating with the adults it usually shuns.
Oh, and sadly, Ron--April will most likely be the one Legionnaire who will not have a costume or unform...although I imagine Playmate might try to make one for her, and fail, down the line.
Mawbry Palmersdale, The Black Talon
For centuries, the Black Talon has been the enforcer of The Circle, the strange morphogenetic field that binds all life of earth. The Talon wears a ceremonial tribal mask that allows him to tap into the Circle's abilities, borrowing specific animal traits to give him special abilities. A Talon can briefly become as strong as an elephant, agile like a cheetah or blend into the background like a chameleon. However, accessing a single ability for too long allows the Circle's representative to leave a little of itself in the user, resulting ultimately in physiological changes in the wearer. Each Talon ultimately has to be put down when his body becomes twisted into an impossible patchwork of animal traits.
For the last two hundred years, the custodian of the Talon legacy has been the Palmersdale family, and for the last eighty of those years the Palmersdales have called The City That Lives By Night home. And the Palmersdales have had a rather unique hand in shaping the Legion through the years...
It was a Palmersdale who tried to save Alan Dennings from becoming the Ferryman. It was a Palmersdale who gave shelter to the Tremens family when they fell on hard times in the 80's. It was a Palmersdale sponsorship which allowed Tsura Boswell to go to law school, and a Palmersdale who suggested she use her pyrokine abilities to benefit others. One would almost think that the Circle wants there to be a unified force of protectors in this small Gulf Coast city....
Monday, September 16, 2013
Sunday, September 15, 2013
“Thomas proposed this idea to me last year,” explains Airship 27 Managing Editor Ron Fortier, “and I thought it contained fascinating perspectives on the whole idea of supernatural beings.”
“Every sci-fi, pulp fan knows comic book superheroes evolved from the pulps heroes,” Fortier goes on to say. “The idea of turning the tables and doing prose stories of superheroes isn’t anything new and there have been several publishers who have explored that hybrid world recently. We didn’t want to copy what others had done; which is why SHADOW LEGION appealed to me in the first place. In creating the city of Nocturne and its unique characters, Thomas has put a decidedly fresh spin on this genre and we think our readers are really going to enjoy these adventures.”
There has always been something strange about Nocturne, Florida; the City That Lives by Night. It is an entertainment nexus luring tourist from around the world to its night clubs, music venues and other, more adult entertainment venues. But there is a darker side to which these carefree revelers never see; one of dark doings, violence and eldritch evil.
Now a new sinister force threatens Nocturne and only a handful of unique, gifted beings can protect the city’s innocent.
Nightbreaker; a radio star turned vigilante, he exist in a strange limbo world.
The beautiful Dreamcatcher who bends all magic to her will.
The mysterious Ferryman, a living conduit to the world beyond!
And their leader, Black Talon, the embodiment of the unfettered fury of the African Veldt...stalking a jungle of concrete and glass!
Together they are The Shadow Legion, a secret alliance of mystery men and women who battle the fantastic threats that can tear apart the metropolis they call home!
Their saga begins here in New Roads To Hell, a gripping novel by Thomas Deja that reveals the secret origins of Nightbreaker and Ferrymen, and features the menace of Rose Red, a crimson haired devil with a talent for murder! The book features interior illustrations by Chris Kemple and a cover by Pulp Factory Award winning artist, Mike Fyles with designs by Rob Davis, another PFA art winner.
AIRSHIP 27 PRODUCTIONS – New Pulp Fiction for a New Generation!
Now available at Amazon.com & on Kindle.