A New Year

Yes, yes, I know it’s a little late to be talking about the new year but things have ben a bit busy the last few weeks.
In December in the afterglow of Mystery Men & Women vol. 5 being published
I worked happily away on my latest aviation story. Unfortunately, I ran into some snags. This was intended to be a fun little flying adventure set in the Spanish Civil war . . . and it is but it got a little serious during writing and while the action sequences were all great, I was unsatisfied with some of the conversations that turned out to be the real point of the story. So, I decided to table that story for a while and moved on.
Next up was an airship story for volume 2 of Zeppelin Tales, an Airship 27 anthology series. Using the zeppelin world I created for Flight of the Wasp and my recently completed Alternate History book Zeppelins Over Afrika, I decided to branch out and write an American airship story. That’s the fun discovery I made; In my zeppelin world I have almost unlimited airship stories I can write (And, other alt. history stories as well).
Anyway, I started in and was making good progress when I came down with a nasty head cold at Christmas. Thank God it wasn’t this nasty flu that is going around the country but it did knock me out for a few days. That plus all the visits and activities of the Christmas and New Year seasons (not to mention football playoffs and bowl games) kind slowed progress on my story.
I finished it a couple of weeks ago and am quite pleased with it. I had been concerned that the characters and airship action would seem too much like my German airship stories but I was pleased to see that the airship procedure and flying scenes had a definite American feel. Something I was actually trying to do (Surprise!).
So I am now knee deep in revisions hoping to get this one off to the publisher very soon. The biggest problem I’m having is that the story came out at well over 18K words. Getting rid of at least 2K words without gutting the story is proving challenging. Still, I’m sure that “Soft Landing” will be great start to my 2018 writing.
2017 was a somewhat slow year publishing-wise. I had only three stories published, all published in the last quarter of the year. As late as September I was beginning to worry that I might not have anything published at all but then several things fell quickly together. The best thing was that the stories were published by three different publishers. Spreading the work around often means reaching different audiences; always a good thing.
So what can we expect in 2018? Lots of good things, I think. My sources tell me that the long awaited Moon Man vol.2 will soon be published by Airship 27. This contains a fun little Moon Man story I wrote a long time ago. An early work but one I will be pleased to see published. So, all you Airship fans or classic pulp fans keep watch for the book soon.
More good news is I’m told that my Purple Scar novel is progressing nicely. A cover artist has been assigned and the inside artist is apparently working away. I have high hopes we’ll see this novel published in the late spring or early summer. Updates to follow.
A couple of other short stories are also progressing and could be published this year. I’m also hopeful that my full length zeppelin saga might be published later in the year.
So, all in all it is looking like 2018 could be a very good publishing year for my work. I’m excited about the new year.
Oh, I almost forgot . . . I got outstanding news a couple weeks ago. It turns out that this year’s Guest of Honor at Windy City Pulp & Paper Convention in April will be none other than F. Paul Wilson! This is great news. Mr. Wilson is my favorite living author and a master of the written word.
I have met Mr. Wilson at three different book signings and three years ago I actually got sit down with him for a few hours of some very pleasant conversation. We had a wide ranging conversation that covered topics from favorite Western movies to the state of medicine in America.
A lot of writers have had big effects on my life over the years. I look back now and regret that I never reached out to most of them to let them know how their writing had influenced my life. I got that chance with Mr. Wilson and it is one of my more pleasant memories.
At any rate, I hope to renew our acquaintanceship in Chicago. I can only hope he remembers me. So, I’m looking forward to Windy City this year more than usual. It is always a good weekend to talk writing and make contacts as well as a lot of fun. This year there is even more to look forward to.
That’s all for now. More news soon, hopefully.

Mystery Men & Women volume 5 is here!

Yes, MM volume 5 is available on Amazon and at Airship 27’s website. I will have my copies here and ready for sale on E-bay any day now. It’s been a long wait but worth it to finally see my novella “Not That Kind of Girl” in print.
Over three years ago I was challenged to come up with a female, masked avenger type character. She was to have skills, assets and agents to rival the Shadow and be a somewhat larger than life hero. I was immediately intrigued by this idea and it seemed tailor-made for me. I have always loved the masked Pulp heroes with my favorite being the Shadow. Reading (and writing about) masked avengers has been fun and I have had a ball chronicling new adventures for Moon Man, Domino Lady and The Purple Scar but to have my own masked avenger to write about really got my creative side excited.
For weeks I researched and outlined the kind of hero (and stories) I wanted to write and came up with a template and cast of characters that I really felt at home with. From the beginning I decided that the adventures of my new character (I tentatively called her the Shrike) would need to be longer. !5K word stories just wouldn’t be enough. Novella or full length stories would be needed. Because, you see, I had decided that I would borrow a page from Walter Gibson’s style of writing. My hero’s agents would often have big parts to play in the stories. Often they would lead off the adventure with my mysterious hero hovering in the background, observing and manipulating events waiting for the time to intervene in a dramatic fashion. These kind of plots called for longer and more involved stories. On the plus side I got to write about a lot of other fun characters other than just my hero.
I also borrowed another idea for my hero. Anyone who reads my story will immediately notice that “Not that kind of Girl” is not an origin story. Despite it being the first appearance of my hero you will not learn a everything about her nor will you even learn her true identity. By the end of the story you will know a good bit about how the Shrike operates and have some idea of her skills and organization but there will be a lot of questions left unanswered. Who is the Shrike? How did she get to be what she is; and why? By the way, Shrike is not her only name. That’s just one of the names she has picked up along the way. Different characters (and opponents) will often call her different names. I believe heroes like this wouldn’t necessarily name themselves but often just acquire a name or names along the way.
This air of mystery is all intentional. The thing I loved most about the Shadow stories when I was growing up (and still do) is the wonderful air of mystery about the stories. Not just the plot but the mystery of just who and what the Shadow was kept me coming back for more. So if you like “Not That Kind of Girl” (and I hope a lot of people do) you’ll have to read her next adventure for clues as to who and what she is. Oh yes, more stories have already been written and more are on the way. Clues and reveals will be scattered through some (and perhaps) all of the Shrike stories I plan to write. Hey, if it worked for Gibson it ought to work for me . . . right?
As you can tell I’m pretty excited about this new novella. It’s one of my favorite works and I really enjoy writing her adventures. There will be more stories to come. I don’t know exactly where or when they will appear but I’ll find a way to get them into print.
So everyone should run right out and buy a copy of MM volume 5, I think you’ll like it. Oh, and there are a couple of really good stories in this volume along with mine. More reasons to get a copy.
I never get enough feedback on my work and encourage readers to write and let me know what they think. This goers double for “Not That Kind of Girl.” If you like the character or story write and let me know. If you don’t like it write me anyway. I’m gonna write more Shrike (The Arrow? The Archer?) stories and you might as well help make them better with some constructive criticism.
Finally, I hope readers of my story get as much pleasure out of reading it as I did writing it.
Oh . . . one last thing. A genuine No Prize (I have a couple left over from my Marvel fan days) goes out to the first reader who figures out what the Shrike carries at her waist. (Smile)

Good News

Well, there’s good news concerning a couple of my upcoming releases. As I’ve mentioned before, Airship 27 will soon be releasing Mystery Men & Women volume 5. This is an important book for me because it contains the debut of my Female Avenger character. I wrote this story nearly three years ago and will be really happy to have this one in print. She is an important character for me and I hope to publish many more of her adventures. In fact I have already written other stories but they are awaiting this publication of this first story.
Anyway, the book will lead off with my 30,000 word novella followed by two other shorter stories. In addition the cover art will portray my character in living color. And, here’s the exciting part; if any of you have listened to the new November Airship 27 podcast you will have heard Ron Fortier announce that well known pinup artist Ted Hammond will be handling the cover art for Mystery Men & Women. I have known this for a while but was sworn to secrecy. tough for me because I think this is a great decision. I love Ted’s art, especially his portrayal of women.
You airship fans should be very familiar with his work. Yes, he is the same artist that has drawn the covers for both Domino Lady volumes. Domino Lady books sell well for Airship 27. I do not think these sales are just about the cover art, either. The stories are good, plus Domino Lady is a sexy hero with a solid fan base out there due to some fun comics that have been published over the years. Having said that, it never hurts to have the cover art of a book portraying a sexy woman, especially by a talented artist like Ted.
I have seen a preliminary sketch of the cover art and I have to say I think it is dynamite. I won’t say too much about it except to say Ted has given my hero a real personality of her own. Yes, the classic Ted Hammond good girl art is there but he has given us something original and classy. His cover is not a clone of his Domino Lady covers. Not that they aren’t great and I do like them a lot.
So, you can see why I am excited about this release. It is a major work that I have waited a long time for plus it is going to be a great looking book (I have seen some of the interior art by Rob Davis and his drawings are also great). Let’s hope sales are strong. I would really like to get this out in front of a lot of readers.
Other good news is that Moon Man volume 2 is moving along and getting close to publication as well. Ron seems to think it should be out by Christmas. This also is a book that has been in the production phase for a long time. I will enjoy finally seeing my story out in print. So, it looks to be a strong finish to 2017. If both books hit the streets by the end of the year I will consider it a great Christmas present.
Hopefully, I will be making some announcements very soon.

4th quarter Projects

Lots of stuff happening in the writing department. I’m beginning to figure out Windows 10. I’m still irritated that I have to learn it at all but at least I’m writing again and . . . all the keys work. Some of my keys were starting to get cranky on the old computer.
Anyway, my air story for Airship 27’s Aviation Adventures is coming along. The flying scenes have gone well but since the story is overall more serious than my story in volume 1, the conversations and tone are a bit more important and are slowing me down. Still, it should be complete soon.
A project that kind of came out of nowhere is a new story for volume 3 of Moon Man, also for Airship 27. I wrote a story a long while ago for volume 2 (more on that in a minute) and then kind of moved on to other characters. Not that he wasn’t a fun character, it’s just I didn’t have any more story ideas that would fit him. Eventually, I came up with something but wasn’t sure how it would be received. To make a long story short, I recently ended up kicking that idea around with Ron Fortier and he really liked my MM idea. So now, I have been dividing time as I work out a detailed outline for my new Moon Man story. The story involves a crossover with my mysterious female avenger. Yes, I swore I would never write another crossover again but I am suspending that rule this one time to get my “Girl” out in front of the public again. More on this story as it progresses.
Now on to more exciting news; Moon Man volume 2 is nearing completion. This one has been in production for a long time. First, it seemed to take forever to get three additional stories written. This has baffled me. Moon Man is well-known character but for some reason no one seemed interested in writing about him. This wasn’t as shocking as the lack of writer interest in Phantom Detective but still was surprising. Once the book was finally filled story wise, things finally picked up but have still progressed slowly. I’m told the cover art Airship 27 have is dynamite and now I understand that the interior art is nearing completion. What this means is we should see MM volume 2 soon. Since I wrote the initial story over four years ago this is most gratifying. I’ve said before that publishing is often subject to the whims and fancies of the Publishing Gods and this is an excellent example of that. It will be very pleasing to finally see my MM story see the light of day . . . and it’s a fun little romp that any MM fan should enjoy.
Other news; I have seen the first interior art for my novella to be published in Mystery Men & Women volume 5. Rob Davis is doing the interior art and the drawings I’ve seen are great! Of course this is a story featuring my mysterious female avenger. Initially she was called the Shrike but lately I have de-emphasized that name.
Not that it’s a bad name, it’s just that I think it more mysterious if she doesn’t have a formal name. After all how many heroes name themselves? Sure some heroes choose their own name to strike fear into their enemies (think Batman or maybe Spider-Man) but I think it more realistic that an unknown mysterious hero would be called different names by different people. So from now on, she will be referred to by many names. I will still use the “Shrike” but also other names like; the “Archer,” the “Arrow,” the “Black Arrow,” etc.
Anyway, the art is progressing rapidly on Mystery Men & Women volume 5 and looks great. Rob’s street scenes and his interpretation of my character are first-rate. I don’t know if a cover artist has been assigned yet but having the twelve interior illustrations complete will move this book a lot closer to production. By the way, the title of my novella is: “Not That Kind of Girl.” A title that has more than one meaning for those of you who read the story.
Lastly, my Purple Scar story has been assigned an interior artist. I ‘m not sure if I should reveal his name, but I will say he is an award winning artist who I’m sure will do a wonderful job. By the way, it looks like my PS novel is being renamed. The editor wants to call it “The Purple Scar and the Black Fog.” I kind liked my original title but this new one sounds okay.
So a good bit of progress on some of my writing projects. If things fall right it could be a strong finish for me this year, publishing wise. Hopefully there will be more news on these projects soon.

Issue #1 of StoryHack magazine

Well, I’m excited. Not only do I have a new story in print but also a brand new outlet for adventure fiction is now available. Two weeks ago Bryce Beattie notified me that the digital version of StoryHack magazine was now available and the print version is soon to follow.
Why, you might ask, am I taking this long to announce it? Well, it has everything to do with me finding my laptop floating belly up in the fish bowl one day and the brand new laptop I am typing this on. I could say a lot about this but anyone who has suffered a similar crash and been forced to buy a new, unplanned computer can sympathize. I could also say a few words (all of them rude) about Windows 10 (I was just getting used to Windows 7!) but this is a family friendly site.
Anyway, I am pleased about StoryHack. My story in the magazine is the first Dream Master story I wrote and is a partial origin story for him. Brush Strokes was published in Legends of New Pulp Fiction but was actually the second written story of Thomas Manning’s adventures. It is gratifying that Dream Master is finally seeing publication. There are more stories written or being written and I hope to find new venues for them as well.
Take a look at StoryHack if you like adventure stories. I think it is great idea and wish Bryce lots of good luck with it.

I am busy working on several projects that I hope to send off to publishers in the next few weeks. More on that later. Also I am told that some long awaited projects are nearing publication. I really excited about this but announcements will have to wait for more concrete information. Watch for future journal entries.