Tuesday, March 3, 2015


Yeah, that’s right....it’s time for that ‘killing time’ segment all authors with a series do.  As we wait for Shadow Legion: The Shape Of Fears To Come to be released and I work on not one but two Legion novels, I’m going to do some fantasy booking and tell you who I would cast in a Shadow Legion movie.

And we begin with what has become The Legion’s most popular character--at least judging from the number of stories people have demanded about her--Maybelle ‘Dreamcatcher’ Tremens.

Anyone who’s listened to the podcast I co-host with Derrick Ferguson, Better In The Dark, might not be surprised to learn that I patterned Maybelle after Hammer Films icon Caroline Munro.  Hell, the depiction of our favorite sorceress with a white streak through her dark hair is a conscious tip of the hat to that timeless beauty.  And if the Shadow Legion had been created in the 70‘s or early 80‘s, she would be my choice.

However, we are talking about casting someone in the here and now.  And I have to also keep the cast relatively in the same age as each other.  I’ve always pictured the quartet of heroes that are my protagonists as being in their late 20's or early 30's, so I’m going for actors in this general vicinity.  And since I’m also a person who claims exact looks don’t matter as long as the essence is there, I’m not bound by casting exact replicas.

Which is why, for Maybelle, I would choose 38 year old English actress--and original member of The Better In The Dark Hottie Hall Of Fame--Rhona Mitra.

Yes, I will admit that Ms. Mitra might be a touch older than my stated age range (even though she’s only five years older than my choice for The Black Talon), but she beats out another Hottie Hall of Famer for a number of reasons.  I think she’s always had this air of  elegance that I always imagined Maybelle as having (I love how one reviewer for ‘Jolly With A Pistol,’ the Dreamcatcher story for this year’s Pulpwork Christmas Annual, referred to her as ‘nattily dressed.’), but with this undercurrent of fierceness that I imagine someone in a committed relationship with The Black Talon would have.  Plus she’s got these long, wavy tresses like I’ve always imagined her as having that would look great with a white streak through it.  Sure, her hair is more brown than black, but I can deal with that little variant.  I can just imagine her in Dreamcatcher’s signature ‘battlecoat’ over her heroing uniform...and to be fair, given that her uniform is mainly khaki shorts and a white shirt, I know Rhona ‘they based Lara Croft on me’ Mitra can rock that outfit perfectly.

What do you think?  Do you agree or disagree with my choice?  Who would you cast?  Let me know!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Shadow Legion Time Line!

Good day, Nocturners!

In the past few weeks, I’ve gotten word that some of my Shadow Legion stories have been accepted to various venues.  That means that soon you’ll have new tales of Nocturne to tide you over until Machina Ex Deus hits the stands, hopefully sometime late in 2015 or early in 2016.

Now I know a lot of readers don’t like reading series out of order.  So, as a way of both letting you know what stories are going where and giving you a proper reading order, I’ve set up a Shadow Legion Time Line that will be updated from time to time.

So, as of October 2014, here’s the proper reading order of The Shadow Legion Series:

1. New Roads To Hell
2. “Ghost of Steel” (Shadow Legion: The Shape Of Fears To Come; portions of the story happen concurrent to New Roads To Hell; publication date TBA, Airship 27 Press)
3. “A Bullet For The Bride” (Strange and Cozy, coming late 2014, Atomic Anxiety Press)
4. “Body of Proof” (A Grimoire of Eldritch Inquests, publication date TBA, Embry Press)
5. “A Waltz In Scarlet” (Mystery Men and Women V. 4/Shadow Legion: The Shape Of Fears To Come; publication date TBA, Airship 27 Press)
6. “A Prayer For The Toy God” (Shadow Legion: The Shape Of Fears To Come)
7. “The Ascension Of Indio Blaque” (Shadow Legion: The Shape Of Fears To Come)
8. “Jolly With A Pistol” (The 2014 Pulpworks Christmas Annual; coming late 2014, Pulpworks Press)
9. Machina Ex Deus (Airship 27; publication date TBA)

Granted, there may be new stories written and published (one I’m working on hints at a history between one of our Legionnaires and a certain Royal Occultist that’ll also be appearing in A Grinoire of Eldritch Inquests), but this is how you should read the series if you're doing so in order.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

TWEED FOR SPANDEX: THE BRITISH SUPERHERO: I.A. WATSON offers excuses for his latest novel

The Brits do superheroes differently.

It’s a cultural thing. If an American gets bitten by a radioactive spider then he’ll dress up in bright spandex, develop a secret identity, possibly get hunted by a mistrustful government, and punch people through walls. If a Briton gets bitten, and assuming he doesn’t turn into a ravening monster lurking in the shadows of society preying on the weak, he is more likely to end up working for a secret government agency assisted by an eccentric professor and a plucky sidekick, or else as a crumpled trench coated outcast thumbing his nose at society. Far less masks and body-hugging
costumes, rather more saying “bollocks”.

The British superhero tradition traces it pedigree back to Dan Dare and his generation, and to heroes who used gadgets or remarkable vehicles as their special advantage. When Americans create a British superhero he’s a mansion-dwelling Union Flag-wearing equivalent of Captain America. When Brits create one he travels round in a police public call box and sometimes wears a really long scarf or a bow-tie. All of which is a really long-winded preamble to introducing Sir Mumphrey Wilton.

A year or two back when I was talking with Pro Se supremo Tommy Hancock he wondered why I hadn’t evolved any “signature” characters. After twenty-plus publications in print into my time as an author, most of my work had been on legendary and public domain characters – the Robin Hood series, Sinbad, airman detective Richard Knight, Africa merc Armless O’Neil – or on other folks’ creations like Blackthorn and Gideon Cain. There’s a list at http://www.chillwater.org.uk/writing/iawatsonhome.htm

“People keep asking em to write things,” I excused myself. “I don’t like to say no.” It goes back to school, I think, where it was drilled into me that every educated person should be able to write a decent essay on any set subject.

But what did I want to write?

On any list of literary influences I’ve ever prepared, Stan Lee of Marvel Comics fame looms large. I discovered his Fantastic Four, Avengers, Spider-Man etc. at exactly the right age for them to forever impact on how I think; and how I think a story should go. So what I wanted to write should be steeped in Lee, and Kirby, and Ditko, and all the rest of those extraordinary talents that gave us 1960s comics.

But... I’m British. Therefore out with the lycra and in with the tweed. Less utility belts, more pocketwatches. Overlay any melodrama with stiff upper lip. Bad behaviour from the ungodly is no reason for a proper hero to be unsporting, what?

Sir Mumphrey Wilton coalesced over many years from several sources: from Simon Templar’s distinctive parlance in Leslie Charteris’ earliest Saint books; from Dr Who’s unorthodox methods of dominating a room of vile monsters by sheer force of personality; from all those intrepid imperial colonialists in politically-incorrect boys stories of the 1900s; from student roleplaying and fansite drafts; from a general desire to see what happened if John Steed got cast instead of Indiana Jones in Temple of Doom.

Like all characters that come alive in an author’s mind, somehow Mumphrey demanded what the world in which he adventured must be. He needed a great conflict as his backdrop, and surely there is no such sweeping panorama as World War II? He needed a vibrant female companion who could stand her own against him. He needed grotesque villains worthy of being smitten in the name of decency. He needed a super-power, but let’s keep that in the spoiler zone.

Most of all, it became clear that Sir Mumphrey insisted on being a Saturday matinee hero, leaping from one cliffhanger to the next, occasionally blurring into a black and white map with dotted travel lines on it before a new caption appears to read “Hong Kong: Three Days before the Japanese Invasion” or whatever.

And so it was.

So, SIR MUMPHREY WILTON AND THE LOST CITY OF MYSTERY is what happens when an editor doesn’t give me a suitably restrictive brief. It’s what happens when the secret origin happens to someone who is perhaps not a typical square-jawed hero. It’s about a very British superhero.

Jolly good show.

I.A. Watson

Saturday matinee cliffhanger adventure meets weird science

Out 7th OCTOBER 2014 from CHILLWATER PRESS in print and kindle

ISBN-13: 978-1502438485 ISBN-10: 1502438488

Available at https://www.createspace.com/5008409 and on Amazon Kindle

Saturday, September 13, 2014

MACHINA EX DEUS....It’s Begun! And Here Are Some Things You’d Like To Know!

I know it’s been a long time since the Agency has been updated, and there’s lots to talk about--the acceptance of ‘Jolly With A Pistol,’ the finding of an artist on The Shape of Fears To Come--but the biggest news for all Shadow Legion fans is that I’ve begun writing the second full novel featuring the dark defenders of Nocturne, Machina Ex Deus.  Now I’m literally taking the very first steps in transcribing the next adventure of the united heroes of The City That Lives By Night, and the stuff that’ll reach the page a year or so down the line may be different from what’s in the outline I’m working from now...but here are some teases for what you can look forward to.

It’s set in the 60‘s, which means this will be a Silver Age tale much as New Roads To Hell was a Golden Age tale!

There will be two new heroes making the scene!

Legacies will be passed on, one more than once!

Someone is going to change sides!

Someone is going to fall!

The villains of this piece aren’t human!

The team will face opposition not only from the new bad guys, not only from older bad guys, but from the organization called....W.E.I.R.D.!

There will be pirates!

There will be monsters versus pirates!

There will be more revelations about the plans of everyone’s favorite Mistress of Murder, Rose Red!

There are elements and threads that will be carried over from The Shape Of Fears To Come, the first ‘Casebook’ collection of short stories--but I hope that you could read this book on its own, or directly after New Roads and not be lost.

(Incidentally, if you haven’t read the first Shadow Legion novel, it’s still available in digital and dead tree version here.)

Now once again, I want to warn you--this novel is still a long ways off, but there will be lots of Shadow Legion stuff coming your way before then....and I’ll tell you more about that in an upcoming entry.  So stay tuned!

Friday, June 27, 2014


Good afternoon!  As we enter into summer, I continue to be busy, and Dreamcatcher is primary in my mind.

Right now I’m doing the rewrites on ‘A Bullet For The Bride,’ a new Dreamcatcher locked room mystery for Strange And Cozy.  This story gives you a lot about Maybelle Tremens’ backstory, as we meet a number of friends from her past!  The tale also features her paramour, Colin ‘Black Talon’ Palmersdale, in his first appearance outside a Shadow Legion book.

The other major Dreamcatcher project I’m working on is ‘Jolly With A Pistol,’ a Christmas tale for the Pulpworks Christmas Annual 2014.  This is another murder mystery take, as Maybelle is asked to investigate the killing of a toy maker wrapped in tinsel and dubbed ‘Naughty.’  It wasn’t until I was deep into writing it that I realized it was something of a tribute to one of my comic book writing heroes, Steve Gerber.  You’ll have to wait until Christmas to find out how!

Now I have been asked to do one more Dreamcatcher story.  I’m not sure what it’s going to be about, but it’ll probably the last solo story for Maybelle Tremens for a bit, as I’ll start working sometime afterwards on the second novel, Machina Ex Deus.  However, she’s not the only Shadow Legionnaire about to venture out solo; I’ve been talking to an artist friend of mine about doing a Nightbreaker comic book story.  More on that as it develops.

As for Shadow Legion: The Shape of Fears To Come, an artist for the twelve illustrations has been found.  This morning I sent off costume and character notes for the four main character and Playmate (who serves as a kind of ‘guest star’ in the Dreamcatcher story).   This means that shortly after Mystery Men and Women 4, which contains ‘A Waltz In Scarlet,’ the Ferryman story that will serve as a preview of the book, you’ll be able to experience a fistful of solo Shadow Legion action!

(And wait until you see what the next Case Files book will contain.  I’ve been talking to some people, and it’s going to be insane!)

There are two non-Legion projects in the hopper.  One is still super-secret, but the other is ‘The Domino Lady Goes Mad,’ a 15000 words tale for an upcoming Airship 27 anthology.  I had so much fun doing that Domino Lady comic strip with Michelle Scuito for All Star Pulp Comics that I wanted another crack at Ellen Patrick, and this is my chance.  In it, the daredevil doll faces off against a peculiar scientist--and herself, as she falls prey to his handiwork.

So don’t worry, pals and gals.  There will be plenty of new stuff coming from me in future months.  Keep watching this space.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Periodic, Western Flavored Update Post

Hey, everyone!  It’s time for another general check in on what’s going on.

The biggest news is that How The West Was Weird Volume Three, the final volume of bizarre tales of The Old West edited by Russ Anderson and released by Pulpworks Press, will be released as an e-book this Monday, May 12th.  Amongst the stories in this collection is a new El Cuevo story by me that was inspired by the amazing spaghetti western The Great Silence (and if you don’t know about this beautiful, powerful and dark movie, check out my 10 Statements on the film and seek out the DVD!); a new Sebastian Red adventure by my Better In The Dark partner Derrick Ferguson, a spooky tale of hanged men and ghost towns by Dread Media maven Des Reddick and more!  And if you prefer a dead tree version, it will be forthcoming in July.  Check out the cover by Jim Woodring, and if you haven’t read the first few volumes and the spinoff Campfire Tales, be sure to order them from Amazon!

Also, don’t forget that Betrayal On Monster Earth, Mechanoid Press' anthology of stories where giant monsters are the weapons wars are fought with edited by James Palmer and Jim Beard, is still available from Amazon.  This book features my story about corporate dragons, “Giants Of Industry,” and other amazing stories.  Pick it up now!

I’m already hard at work on some new things.  Presently, the thing occupying most of my time is “A Bullet For The Bride,” a new Dreamcatcher story for the upcoming anthology I’m collaborating with Mark Bousquet on, Strange and Cozy.  In this tale, Nocturne’s psychic detective travels to San Christobel for a wedding party and has to solve a locked room mystery in a movie star’s mansion!  “Body of Proof,” the Dreamcatcher story where Maybelle has to figure out why a dead man is acting as if his demise never happened, has been submitted to the occult detective collection A Grimoire of Eldritch Inquests, and is awaiting a decision.  Finally, I’ve just begun another Dreamcatcher story, “Jolly With A Pistol”....can you guess what this uses as a backdrop?  At this rate, there might be a Maybelle Tremens collection coming sooner than anyone thought!

And maybe I shouldn’t say anything...but I have been working not only on the outline for the second Shadow Legion novel, Machina Ex Deus, but I've written a tiny bit of it as well!

There are some other things I’m working on that are Super Top Secret, but once I’m told I can spill the beans, beans will be spilt!  But until then, enjoy How The West Was Weird Volume Three!

Sunday, March 23, 2014


Hey, gang!  Just wanted to let you know that Betrayal Of Monster Earth is finally here from Mechanoid Press in Kindle format on Amazon.com!

This is the second collection of a series where the major super-powers have invested their defense money into the discovery and training of cryptids.  Beginning with World War Two, battles are fought not with nuclear weapons, but with monsters.  This new volume covers the 80‘s and 90‘s, as the recovery of genetic material from a lost dinosaur in the Congo allows countries to tailor make future monsters...but the material also falls into the hands of a secret cabal conspiring to pave the way for something from beyond Earth itself!

My story for this volume, ‘Giants of Industry’ tells of a multinational corporation trying to manipulate world events for their own ends using their own monster...but the leader of this project soon finds out that the agenda of his bosses is much more difficult to carry out than he thought!

And if you haven’t done so, be sure to pick up Monster Earth, the first volume in the series, which chronicles the history of Monster Earth from the 40‘s to the 60‘s.

I’ve got my hand in another secret project from Mechanoid Press which I’m sure fans of The Shadow Legion will love...but more on that when it becomes available!