Friday, August 21, 2015


So the timewasting exercise of the blog strikes again as I give you my ideal casting for the Shadow Legion and related people.  To wit, it’s time to cast Alan Dennings, The Ferryman.

The thing about The Ferryman is that he’s a man of influence who, due to tragic circumstances, gains an ability that, as we’ll learn as the saga of the Legion continues, is going to drive him a little nuts.  Besieged by the spirits of the newly murdered, he is driven to avenge them and silence the howling in his head.  So we’d need somebody who’s classy but a little off, as if something will snap at any time.

Now last time I gave you a retro casting as well as a modern one.  If I had somehow gone back in time and somehow convinced a studio to make a SL movie, I would have ideally wanted Martin Landau to don the cloak and crimson blindfold for it.  There’s an intensity to Landau that I think will translate well to the Ferryman’s visage.

Now onto the here and now....

There was one actor who I had considered who turned out to be too old, so I ended up going with 39 year old Irish actor Cillian Murphy for the role.  Ever since I first saw him in the Wes Craven trifle Red Eye, I’ve always been struck by
the way Murphy is good looking  A lot of it is, of course, those far away eyes of his that always make me think he’s plotting something unsavory.  More importantly, we’ve seen him play sober and serious as well as massively deranged--in the case of Batman Begins, in the very same movie!  I can easily see him slowly transitioning from urbane socialite to tortured avenger over the course of a movie until the point where he’s actively scary.

Incidentally, given that my first two casting choices were in their late 30‘s, I’m thinking I may have to adjust my requirements upwards so everyone can appear to be, well, peers.

Do you agree? Disagree?  Have another idea?  Let me know.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

BEING LIGHTWEIGHT: Nicholas Ahlhelm on his super-hero saga

Every writer has a dozen projects for every one they produce. It’s the great ones that stick in your head, hold on tight and don’t let go no matter what. I created the first version of Lightweight when I was thirteen. Twenty-five years later, I’m embarking on the third novel in his now ongoing adventures.

In many ways, Lightweight fits the tropes of the modern super-powered hero. He’s still in high school, he’s got as many everyday life problems as he does hero problems. He has a crush on his best friend. But Kevin is different because he understands the trappings of a hero. Costumed adventurers have ran around his world for decades. He knows what it entails to put on a mask. He knows that it could endanger everyone he knows if he can’t keep his identity secret in a world filled with cameras. He knows that all, yet he still sets out to make his city a better place.

That tale is told in the pages of Lightweight: Senior Year and Lightweight: Black Death, both available right now. But as his career expands so does his universe. In Lightweight: Beyond, he literally finds his universe expanded as a hero that has never left his hometown finds himself stranded on an alien world.

The planet Nill opens up tons of new story elements that will change the course of Lightweight’s life and continue to revolutionize a new format for continuing superheroic adventures: prose. He will make new friends, gain new enemies and start on a path that will alter his life forever. Meanwhile, a new person will don his old costume in an attempt to carry on his legacy, but it is a path built for disaster for the friends he left behind.

Lightweight: Beyond is now funding on Kickstarter. Production costs are higher on Lightweight than anything else I have ever produced, which makes pre-orders an essential part of bringing the series to life. Anyone can put any amount of money they want behind the book, but $5 scores an ebook, $10 scores all three ebooks, $15 gives a print edition and for the bargain of $25, backers can get all three volumes of Lightweight.

Stretch goals will fund Lightweight’s next year of adventures in their entirety. Lightweight: Golden Age and Lightweight: Universal will conclude the second year of Lightweight’s adventures, while The Adventures of Lightweight would allow other authors a chance to create their own Lightweight adventures.

I’m not a person that asks folks to put money down sight unseen. The first chapter of Lightweight’s adventures is now free online. Read it, see if you like it and if you do, please give Lightweight your support. The Kickstarter runs through September 14th.

You can always find me at where I am always happy to answer any questions anyone might have.

Nicholas Ahlhelm
intergalactic storyteller

Friday, August 14, 2015


Sorry about the delays, everyone.  We should be back to normal service soon.

The big news since this site went dark is that Strange And Cozy, the anthology I co-edited with the creator of Gunfighter Gothic, Mark Bousquet, is out, available in paperback and Kindle format.  The book features tales that fuse pulp genres with the cozy mystery, including new stories by NTA contributor I.A. Watson, Joel Jenkins and others as well as ‘A Bullet for The Bride,’ a new Dreamcatcher tale where Maybelle and Colin travel to San Christobal for a wedding...and a murder!  This is the first story that explores a city outside of Nocturne, and it should be a doozy.  Go get your copy from Amazon here.

It’s also not too late to get a copy of A Grimoire of Eldritch Inquests, the Josh Reynolds edited collection of tales featuring psychic detectives.  My contribution, ‘Body Of Proof’ sees Maybelle trying to determine why a man is still walking around after his son murdered him.  Get your copy here.

The illustrations are being done for Shadow Legion: The Shape Of Fears  To Come, the next Legion book.  While I can’t show you them just yet, let me just say they’re knockouts!

‘Strange Weathers,’ the new El Cuevo story for this year’s Pulpworks Christmas Annual has been turned in.  This story will be significant, as it will both make a connection between the Cuevo tales and the Shadow Legion and give fans of the frontier exorcist the biggest hints as to his true nature.  And if you enjoy that when it comes out in the end of the year, wait until you see what I’ve got planned for Halloween next year....

The next book in the Shadow Legion, the second novel, is in the process of being written.  All the characters will be back, including a few from Shape in some new circumstances, and a new type of adventure as the Legion moves into a new era of history.

So there’s plenty to explore now, and plenty to look forward to.  And I’ll be back with more stuff soon!