Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Sorrowful Are the Souls That Sleep With Gold by Derrick Ferguson
A Night In Deadwood by Ian Taylor
The Steam Devil by Joel Jenkins
Ellie Froggett and the Charnel Pit by Dale Glaser
Sit By the Fire by Thomas Deja
Trail's End by Stacy Dooks
The Bone Picker by Kevin Ross
Pater Syn by Matthew Sylvester
The City of Hanged Men by Desmond Reddick
Death Comes For the Anglerfish by James Pratt
The Pulse by Kevin Thornton
In case you’re wondering, ‘Sit By The Fire’ features the return of frontier exorcist El Cuevo and his beautiful assistant Dolores set in the snowy Rocky Mountains.
If you haven’t read the first El Cuevo story, you can pick up the first How The West Was Weird on your Kindle here.
Saturday, February 8, 2014
First off, just a reminder if you haven’t picked it up yet, but New Roads To Hell is still available through Amazon and direct from Airship27.com. I hope those of you who bought it enjoyed the first adventure of The Shadow Legion, and rest assured there’s lots more where that came from.
...like The Shadow Legion Casebook: The Shape of Fears To Come! The book has been finished pending a polish of the last story, ‘A Prayer For The Toy God.’ This is a collection of four short stories, each one highlighting a different hero from the novel. When you buy this amazing book, you’ll witness The Ferryman fighting a bizarre figure over the fate of a young girl; The Nightbreaker learning about the legacy of super-heroes in Nocturne as an old enemy comes looking for his mentor; The Black Talon facing a cult devoted to destroying the protectors of The City That Lives By Night; and The Dreamcatcher trying to unravel a mystery involving a young boy...and encountering the macabre protector of the city’s children. If you’re looking for a preview, be sure to pick up Mystery Men and Women V. 4, which features stories by my good friend Derrick Ferguson and Joel Jenkins, and the first appearance of ‘A Waltz In Scarlet,’ the Ferryman story that will appear in The Casebook.
Before that comes out, we should see the appearance of Monster Earth 2 from Mechanoid Press, the anthology about an alternative Earth were the super powers wield giant monsters instead of nuclear weapons. This book takes place in the 80‘s and 90‘s, and my contribution, “Giants of Industry,” witnesses an attempt to utilize a genetically created monster fabricated by a corporation to manipulate the affairs of a foreign country. I had the most fun doing research for this story, and I hope you have a much fun reading it.
Also coming up is ‘Sit By The Fire,’ the new El Cuevo story that will appear in the third and final volume of How The West Was Weird from Pulpworks Press. My hope is to write some more stories featuring my frontier exorcist and his beautiful assistant, with an eye towards producing a new collection in 2015. If you like westerns with a touch of the strange, be sure to pick up the first two volumes of Russ Anderson’s excellent series, which features stories about El Cuevo and the steampunk scientist Doc Thunder.
And speaking of collections, I have started editing Amazing Alternity Stories, a collection featuring stories about historical personages in unusual roles. This has been on my desk for literally years, and I am glad that it will finally see print from Pulpworks Press.
I bet some of you might have questions about The Shadow Legion, El Cuevo and the other denizens of The Chimera Falls Universe--and this Wednesday, February 12th, you’ll get the chance! I’ll be appearing on my friend Viktor Aurelius’ podcast Whispers In The Dark, and I’ll be taking live calls from fans and readers. The show will be live at 9pm, and if you want to call in, do so at (347) 884-9923. I can’t wait to talk to some of you readers and find out what you think of my babies.
There’s other stuff in the pipeline, including new characters and adventures, but there’ll be more on that as soon as I know. So keep watching this space, and be ready for more from The Chimera Falls Universe!
Thursday, January 9, 2014
As you all know, I’ve been hard at work trying to close out The Shadow Legion Casebook V. 1. Three of the stories are in house at Airship 27, ready to go--and hopefully you’ll see the Ferryman adventure, ‘A Waltz In Scarlet,’ in the upcoming Mystery Men and Women V. 4--and I’m hard at work on the final tale. I’ve got roughly 8500 words to go before the book is closed out, and I’m really hoping that you’ll have it in your hands by the end of this year.
One of the cool things you’ll be seeing in this collection are some new characters that will add more depth to the city of Nocturne. Now most of them are villains....but one of them is kinda, sorta a hero. This was one of the characters I had included in my original pitch document I sent to Ron Fortier all those years ago. There was no place for it in New Roads To Hell, but I’ve found a place for it in the new book....and now I’d like to give you a small preview of what’s in store for you, from the unvarnished initial draft of ‘A Prayer For The Toy God.’ Enjoy!
Standing over them, however, was the true answer. It--if it had a sex, Maybelle could not see any indication--stood over what remained of the men who she assumed had arranged the kidnapping. It was bent over like an animal, but the disturbing thing was how its limbs seemed...fluid. There were no angles in its stance, just curves, as if there were no bones underneath. It was dressed in a badly stained children’s costume, a mockery of her lover’s secret identity with the name ‘Black Talon’ written across its chest in a tiger-striped pattern. The costume was too small, and it was ripped at the seams and frayed at the cuffs. A thin cardboard mask hung from its too-thin neck, this depicting the Talon channeling Brother Lion, ripped at the eyes and mouth.
It had the head of one of the unfortunate criminals in one long-fingered hand. The digits unfurled, allowing the corpse’s skull to fall to the concrete floor with a wet thud. Its head raised up on a stalk-like neck and swiveled around, revealing a mockery of a face, contours fashioned by mismatched swatches and uneven stitches, eyes that could have been black buttons if not for the strange, dim glow within them. A crooked mouth brightly colored like a crayon gash moved in what could be construed as speech.
This, Maybelle knew instinctively, was Playmate.
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....