I.V. Frost is here!

Last winter I had three stories published in a matter of six weeks or so. Since then nothing. You can attribute that to the whims of the Gods of Publishing. Nothing ever happens quickly in publishing and sometimes it seems as if projects move at a glacial pace. So I have seen nothing published for nine months. That drought has been broken.
Today I received my copies of I.V. Frost Tales of Mystery and Scientific Detection in the mail. It’s been a long wait for this one but it was worth it. I must say the book looks good. I love the cover art. I believe sales are directly related to cover artwork. Also I have to say that the art in some of the books I’ve been published in leaves something to be desired. As for the stories; there are nine of them written by such well known New Pulp authors as Ron Fortier, Frank Schildener and Chuck Miller. I haven’t read all of them yet but they look good averaging between ten and fifteen thousand words each.
As I’ve mentioned before Frost is an interesting character. I was a bit hesitant to try writing an adventure for him because he is so complicated. He has that Sherlock Holmes deductive thing going and that is tricky to write. You have to write lots of little clues that all make sense when explained. This is harder than it looks. It’s one of the main reasons I have not attempted to write a Sherlock Holmes story for Airship 27. The other reason is I have some doubts about my ability to do a “Victorian English” voice. At any rate once I got going on my story I had a lot of fun writing the adventures of Frost and Jean Moray (his sexy assistant). I think I caught the flavor of the Frost stories pretty well.
So if you’re looking for a slightly different Pulp hero you might give Frost a try. I don’t know if the book is available on Amazon but it is available at Moonstone Books’ website (retail is $16.95) and will be available here soon. You might try E-bay as well.
So my publishing drought is over. I hope to finish the year strongly with several new stories published, including some original characters and stories that have been awaiting publication for a long time. Will post more news as I get it.
See you next time.

The Lost Month

Well, there’s good writing news and bad writing news. The good news; I have a new story in print and another story will go to print very shortly. Newly available is a anthology published by Moonstone Books. It is I.V. Frost: Tales of Mystery and Scientific Detection.
Two years ago I was approached by Joe Gentille of Moonstone and asked to participate in this anthology. I new very little about the character of Frost except that he was a minor Pulp hero from the mid 1930s. I accepted and bought a book containing eight reprints of the original stories. I found out very quickly that Frost is an unusual and interesting character. I have heard him referred to as a cross between Sherlock Holmes and Doc Savage. Probably not a bad description. Set in the ’30s, Frost is both a Professor and brilliant detective. He has the Holmes-like ability to “read” crime scenes and see things no one else sees. He also has some of Holmes’ idiosyncrasies such as high energy when working and bouts of lethargy between cases. He also is a scientific genius who uses all kinds of high tech items to combat crime. Couple this with his beautiful, intelligent and spunky assistant and you have some fun stories. Substitute an  armored limousine for a Hansom cab and you get an idea what a Frost story is like.
I had a lot of fun writing The Suicide Murders and cranked it out in a couple of weeks. Joe liked it, helped make some useful improvements and accepted it happily. The book has been held up a while (due to copyright issues, I’m told) but is happily now available. Look for it at Moonstone Books website. I will have copies available here soon. It also has stories by Ron Fortier, Frank Schildener and a lot other talented writers. Also, though I haven’t seen it but I hear the cover art is really cool.
The second piece of good news is I have found a home for my Dream Master story. I wrote Dream Master three years ago for an another publisher. It started out as a traditional villain pulp for an anthology called Shudder Pulp but ended up launching an original character for me that has already appeared in Legends of New Pulp Fiction published by Airship 27. Shudder Pulp, unfortunately, never got off the ground and after a couple of years the publisher offered the story back to me. I took it and have been searching for the proper place to publish it. Well, enter Storyhack magazine. Storyhack is a brand magazine that will specialize in adventure stories. That’s all they are going to publish; adventure. Adventure stories set in any time and any place. This is an exciting project. I think we are sadly in need of independent magazines publishing short fiction. These kinds of magazines have been a traditional venue for new authors to get started in writing and I would like to see more of them. I have high hopes for Storyhack, not withstanding that Dream Master will appear in the first full issue to be published early this Fall.
So check out I.V. Frost and Storyhack magazine if you get a chance. There is also more good news concerning some of my other writing projects but that will have to wait for a later journal update.
Now for the bad writing news; I have written relatively rather few words in the last month. Normally the summer months of recent years have been fairly productive for me but not this year. June got off to a rough start with me being gone for two weeks on research/ vacation. I thought July would be better but I was way wrong. The problem: We are doing some major renovations here at home. I knew there would be some disruption but I sadly underestimated the chaos. I also seriously underestimated the time frame. What we all figured would be a three week project turned into a six week project. And as anyone who has undertaken such a project knows there are always road blocks and surprises that happen along the way (as a friend told me, ‘when you start opening up walls there’s no telling what surprises you’re going to find’). I was prepared for some of all this but the cumulative total of starts, stops, problems, emergencies (yes, running to Home Depot because the light/ fan unit I had purchased wouldn’t fit and the contractor was threatening to move on to another project that day) caught me unaware. It seemed that every time I sat down at the keyboard the phone would ring or the contractor du jour would have questions or start hammering away. Plus the electricity and water always were going on and off as people worked under the house or in the attic.
Anyway, I did not get a lot accomplished the last month. Not that it was totally unproductive; I did a lot of revisions on my Zeppelin Saga and it is nearly ready to go off to the publisher. And I am off to a solid but slow start on my next aerial adventure but I expected to be much more productive in July and August. No matter; The new bathroom is complete and looks great. More importantly the “Boss” is extremely happy with the whole project and the one person I have to keep happy is her. And with the renovation behind me I expect to get a lot more written in the coming weeks.
That’s all the news for now. Looking forward to fall and the start of Football season. Go Ducks! Go Titans and Seahawks!

 

Back again

I haven’t written in this journal in a couple of weeks. This was because I was traveling out of state. This trip was one part vacation but also about three parts research trip for future writing projects.
I have been thinking about a writing a novel or possibly two set in St. Louis and New Orleans. These would be set in the late 1930s and feature a classic hard boiled detective (you know fedora, trench coat, .38 under his arm) who allows a woman to drag him into something that is more than just a mystery. One story would be set in St. Louis and a possible sequel would be set there and in New Orleans.
Since my wife had commitments in Louisiana I took the opportunity to make a trip own that way myself. Although I spent a some brief months in the South courtesy of Uncle Sam a long time ago, I haven’t really traveled there much at all.
First I spent a few days in St. Louis doing research. I have to say while I thought the climate atrocious (the heat and humidity is brutal in the summer), I found the people warm and friendly. I spent considerable time at the State History Museum, The State Historic Society and the archives at the old Federal Court House and everyone I met was incredibly helpful. I came away with old maps of St. Louis from 1935, a list of books about St. Louis to order and access to huge historic photo archives.
Combine that with all photos of historic buildings I took as well as just driving around various neighborhoods for hours and I now feel comfortable setting a novel in old St. Louis. For those of you who haven’t visited St. Louis the old Union Station downtown that was the main train station is still there. The huge building was designed to look like A French Chateau and has been restored and is now a very large hotel. St. Louis’ City Hall, also designed to look like a European palace with turrets ornamental cornices everywhere, is still in use as the City Hall. There is a long list of historic building s in Downtown St. Louis that I visited and photographed. They will make a great background for my novel. St. Louis prides itself on it’s history and it showed in my time there.
Since I am a big history buff, I also took the time to stop off and visit the Vicksburg Battlefield Park in Mississippi, Fort Morgan and Fort Gaines in Alabama (yes and a side trip to the Battleship USS Alabama) as well as the Chalmette Battlefield in New Orleans where future president Andrew Jackson defeated the British in 1815. And, yes I geeked it up running around taking photos and oohing and aahing . . . but I had a lot of fun.
Finally I met up with my wife and we spent four days in New Orleans seeing the sights and hitting a lot of historic places and museums. So outside of the weather I had a great time. For the record, New Orleans is hot and humid in June as is most of the deep south; 95 degrees and 70% humidity is too much for me. By the time I left I was really missing our mild Oregon summers. Oh, I almost forgot; we got caught by Tropical Storm Cindy while we were on the Gulf Coast. I’ve never been through a full blown hurricane and after experiencing Cindy’s winds, heavy rain and local flooding I’ve decided I don’t want to have anything to do with any real hurricanes.
All in all it was a great trip that my wife and I will remember for quite a while. And I got a lot of good background material which will hopefully see the light of day in future stories.
So now it’s back to my keyboard. I am working hard on my new aerial adventure for volume 2 of Aviation Aces.
More on that later,

Kickstarter Campaigns

In an interesting bit of sychronicity, I received news yesterday concerning a couple of Kickstarter campaigns I have been keeping an eye on: one beginning, one ending.

1. The Kickstarter campaign for Storyhack magazine issue #1 ended successfully yesterday. This is a brand new adventure fiction magazine that will serve up original action stories of any kind in any time frame. This looks interesting. The publisher is a big adventure fan and feels we need more outlets for this type of fiction. He will be accepting submissions for issue #1 very soon. I too think we can use another outlet for action stories and I have high hopes for this new magazine. Best of luck to them.

2. I have been watching carefully for the debut of the Kickstarter campaign to fund the new Brother Bones movie. Well, it kicked off yesterday with lots of neat giveaways for those participating. I kicked in a modest amount (not too modest) and am very hopeful that this project will get off the ground.
The producers have done a lot of work already, including casting and they are hoping to start filming in the fall with a premiere early next year. The movie is being filmed in Seattle (just up the road) and I hope to attend the premiere next winter.
Their financial goal is a big one and the timeline is somewhat aggressive so pass the word around to anyone interested in Pulp, New Pulp or just adventure movies. It’s looks to be a be a fun film and I am glad to be a small part of it (yes, Kickstarter contributors will appear in the credits).

So two new outlets for adventure Pulp. Things are getting interesting out there..

Question

Of course, as soon as I saw my new website I realized it was a great way to communicate with fellow writers, editors and readers. But it just occurred to me that it can also work the other way as well. Meaning I can get information from people reading these journal entries.
I get a lot of feedback on the books my stories have been published in and by extension the stories themselves. I see sales figures and ratings and read specific reviews that talk about specifics of the books and often about the individual stories. Thus I have a good idea about how popular characters are and what people like about them.
For instance I can tell a lot about what readers think about a character like, uh Domino Lady, for instance. I can tell how the books sell and even get feedback on my specific story as well as others.
However, there is one story that I have written and published that I know nothing about. It is one of my favorites and featuring a character I hope to write more of but I am somewhat baffled concerning this particular story.
The story is Brush Strokes and was published in Legends of New Pulp Fiction. Now before I go any further I will say that Legends is a spectacular achievement. It is a huge book filled with work of some of the best writers and artists in New Pulp today. It justifiably has sold very well. In fact, it has sold far better than any other book that any of my stories have ever appeared in.
Normally that would mean that the topic, story or character was popular. Unfortunately, Legends is not like other books. It’s size, scope and the fact that it is a benefit book make it an instant classic. It also makes it hard for a writer like me to draw any conclusions from.
Since sales numbers are no help, we can look at reviews. But again considering the sheer size, scope and vision of the book, none of the reviews talk about the individual stories except to repeat what I have already said; that the book is filled with lots of great work. Flattering to be a part of but of little concrete help.
A lot of people have bought Legends but I have no idea if anyone has actually read my story. The hero in Brush Strokes is an original character and I consider it some of my best work. It would be nice to know if anybody liked the story or character. Heck, it would be nice to know if anybody has actually read it, since it is buried deeply in among a lot of other very good yarns.
So here’s the information I’m looking for; if any Legends purchaser (and I know there are a lot out of copies out there) has read Brush Strokes, I would like to hear from you. This is not a fishing expedition for compliments. I long ago learned a writer needs to develop a thick skin when it comes to his work. I would honestly be interested in anyone’s thoughts about the story. Comments, criticisms and suggestions are equally welcome.
Brush Strokes is a favorite of mine and I believe the character has a lot of possibilities. Feedback would help me improve the next story he will appear in.
If there are a lot of Legends purchasers out there but few readers, meaning the book is kept proudly on bookshelves but not read, I understand. At over 750 pages it is somewhat daunting. I myself have only managed to plow through a little over half the stories. When I finish them all I intend to get a T-shirt reading “Legends: I read the whole thing.”
Hope to hear from all you Legends fans out there.