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

“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 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!

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!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

An Abundance of Dreamcatcher!

So as we’re between the release of New Roads To Hell and the next Shadow Legion book, The Shadow Legion Casebook: The Shape Of Fears To Come, and something unusual has come to light.

Namely, that people want to read more about Maybelle Tremens, the Dreamcatcher.

I honestly did not expect Maybelle to be a breakout star.  New Roads was primarily Nightbreaker and Ferryman’s story.  I did manage to put in some time to sketch out Black Talon’s background, but Maybelle?  Outside of a conversation, not a lot was paid to Dreamcatcher or the Tremens family.  Add into the fact that ‘A Prayer For The Toy God,' the Dreamcatcher story for the Casebook took the longest to write (there’s literally four story fragments representing four false starts, including a baseball-themed tale I’m tempted to revisit), and you’d think our magic wielding maven would be the character least likely to generate interest.

But first Joshua Reynolds, the creator of Charles St. Cyprian and Ebe Gallowglass and author of their first full length adventure The Whitechapel Demon, requested that I provided a story for the anthology of occult detectives, A Grimoire Of Eldritch Inquests.  This resulted in my coming up with a little mystery tale involving greed, murder and the undead that, for some frustrating reason, is untitled.  Once a title becomes apparent, I promise I will reveal it.

At the same time, the great Mark Bousquet and I decided to produce Strange And Cozy.  This is an anthology of cozy mysteries (think of Agatha Christie) written in different pulp styles.  The original idea was for me to contribute a Don Cuevo story, but it became apparent that a Dreamcatcher story would be a better fit.  This resulted in me beginning ‘A Bullet For The Bride,’ where Maybelle and her paramore, Colin ‘Black Talon’ Palmersdale travel to the glamorous city of San Cristobal for a wedding....and end up having to solve a locked room mystery!  I’m working on that right now, and it should be available in the fall.

(And if you’re a writer who wants to contribute to our anthology, you can find more information here.)

So those of you who liked New Roads To Hell and can’t wait to read more Shadow Legion should feel secure--there’ll be more Dreamcatcher stories than you can shake a magic wand at soon enough!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


This week, the esteemed Russ Anderson of Pulpworks Press announced the Table of Contents for the third entry in the How The West Was Weird series.  Check out this line-up!

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.

There’s more exciting news coming, including new stories featuring other members of the Chimera Falls Universe, but that’ll be showing up soon.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Do You Wanna Talk To Me Live And Other Updates

Hey, again, my fellow travelers, and Happy New Year!  Sorry for the radio silence.  Here's what's going down....

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  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. 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

Meet Playmate

Happy New Year, Nocturners!

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.