Thursday, May 31, 2012

Xander: Guardian of Worlds Debuts!

The newest, and yet oldest, New Pulp hero Xander: Guardian of Worlds made his debut this month in the pages of Pro Se/Reese Unlimited's critically acclaimed Tales of the Rook anthology.

In The Onyx Raven, a short tale penned by creator/author Mike Bullock, Xander must seek out The Rook to help thwart a nefarious plot by the arch demon Cirith Ungol to turn our world into a living hell.

Following on the heels of his debut in Tales... Pro Se Press is gearing up to deliver an anthology of Xander tales written by Bullock later this year.

Watch for more tales of Xander: Guardian of Worlds, as well as Death Angel, Dr. Dusk, The Runemaster and more coming soon from Runemaster Pulp


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

PRESS RELEASE: Beard Launches Spirit Blog

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

NEW BLOG PROMOTES AIRSHIP 27’S NEWEST TITLE

The Official Sgt. Janus Spirit Blog is now active!

SGT. JANUS, SPIRIT-BREAKER author Jim Beard announces that the blog will not only reveal behind-the-scenes secrets about the crafting of the book in interviews with its creators, but will also feature both exclusive Sgt. Janus fiction in the form of “newspaper articles” from the Mount Airy Eagle and contests in future postings.

Check out the Official Sgt. Janus Spirit Blog today at http://sgtjanus.blogspot.com and get into the spirit of Sgt. Janus’ world of spectral happenings and supernatural adventures.

For more information on Airship 27 Productions, visit them on-line at www.airship27.com and www.gopulp.info.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

PULPED! is Back!



After a hiatus the likes which will never be seen again, the Boys of Pulped! Are Back!  This week Tommy Hancock hosts fascinating guest and author Lee Killough, author of Checking On Culture: An Aid to Building Story Background!  Published by Yard Dog Press, this book is  A MUST HAVE for anyone writing today!  Tips on how to build societies, what things to look for in all areas, including agriculture, technology, personal interactions, and more!  Doesn't matter if you're setting your tale in 1930s New York or in a far off future on a distant planet where amoebas are the dominant life form! Culture is everywhere and Lee's book is a GREAT guide on how to build it properly!

Also, Barry Reese begins his REVIEWS FROM THE 87TH FLOOR, taking a look at Classic and New Pulp works and giving you his thoughts and commentary on them, like it or not!   

PULPED! is back and be sure to follow the show in the coming weeks because it's exactly the same, but man, ONLY WAY DIFFERENT!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Tales of the Rook debuts at #1

Tales of the Rook, the latest release from Pro Se Press, under the Reese Unlimited banner, has debuted in the #1 sales spot of New Pulp Fiction releases on Amazon.com.

Tales of the Rook features six brand new tales of the New Pulp hero The Rook, authored by his creator Barry Reese, as well as Ron Fortier, Bobby Nash, Mike Bullock, Percival Constantine and Tommy Hancock.

You can purchase your copy of Tales of the Rook here

To see the full top sales list, click here


Saturday, May 26, 2012

PRESS RELEASE-Reese Unlimited Releases TALES OF THE ROOK!



Reese Unlimited, an Imprint of Pro Se Productions, proudly announces the release of TALES OF THE ROOK!  The Rook, a character created by Barry Reese, now lives on in stories written by Reese as well as five other premiere writers of New Pulp!

"When The Good Is Swallowed By The Dark...There The Rook Shall Plant His Mark!"

For years, New Pulp Author Barry Reese has masterfully written the thrilling adventures of The Rook, a masked Hero of Reese's creation who is compelled through dark dreams to hunt down and destroy evil wherever it might hide! Assisted by loyal friends and a vast array of allies from the annals of Classic and New Pulp as well as Comics of a bygone era, The Rook's escapades have been a hallmark in the world of New Pulp!

Now, for the first time and under the REESE UNLIMITED imprint, Barry Reese has invited some of New Pulp's finest authors into The Rook's world to put their unique spin on the character and tell their own tales...TALES OF THE ROOK! Featuring stories by Ron Fortier, Bobby Nash, Mike Bullock, Percival Constantine, Tommy Hancock, and a brand new ROOK tale by Reese himself! 

Concerning the popularity of The Rook and his cast of characters, Barry Reese commented that the concept was still with him, six years after its debut.  In the book’s introduction, Reese says, “Others have felt the siren's call, as well. The Rook has appealed to them to the point where they agreed to write new stories featuring my hero. I'm flattered and thrilled to present the results to you. Some of the greatest writers in New Pulp have crafted their own takes on The Rook and it's a lot of fun to see where they went when given the chance. “

TALES OF THE ROOK also features an explosive cover by Bob Hall, stunning interior art by George Sellas, and outstanding format and design by Sean Ali! Ready for the best in New Pulp? Get it today in TALES OF THE ROOK! From Reese Unlimited and Pro Se Productions!

Available now on Amazon -

EBOOK COMING SOON!

Pro Se Productions- Puttin’ The Monthly Back Into Pulp! www.prosepulp.com

Friday, May 25, 2012

Press Release: Sgt. Janus Debuts


SGT.JANUS – SPIRIT BREAKER

Airship 27 Productions is thrilled to announce the debut of the newest occult investigator in the grand tradition as such notable pulp heroes as William Hodgson Hope’s Carnacki, Seabury Quinn’s Jules de Grandin, Manly Wade Wellman’s John Thunstone and the popular Ravenwood, Stepson of Mystery.

Situated in the rural back country of Edwardian England is an old, mysterious house whose unique owner earns his living as a Spirit-Breaker, a hunter of ghosts.  A former military veteran, Sgt.Roman Janus has devoted his life to aid those haunted, both emotionally and physically by obsessive wraiths whose spirits are still anchored to our world.

Sgt.Janus – Spirit Breaker is the creation of new pulp writer Jim Beard.  Part detective, part occultist, Janus is himself a man of mystery whose own past is shrouded and the motivations behind his calling kept hidden.  Within this volume you will find eight tales as narrated by his clients, each with his or her own perspective on this uncanny hero and his amazing career. Filled with suspense, terror and agonizing pathos, each a solid mesmerizing journey into the unknown world beyond.

Featuring a cover by artist Jeff Herndon and eight stunning illustrations by Eric Johns, with design work by Pulp Factory Award winning Art Director, Rob Davis and edited by Managing Editor Ron Fortier, Sgt.Janus – Spirit Breaker is the first in a new series by one of today’s leading stars in New Pulp Fiction. 

“…Beard’s fiction is anything but pat and routine. While he may deliberately conjure the spirits of authors of Victorian and Edwardian occult fiction before him, Beard’s prose is fresh and entirely modern in his, at times, frank and unsettling tales of the wages of his characters’ past sins. Each story breezes by and like the best tales told round the campfire, it leaves the reader hungry for more.”   William Patrick Maynard (The Terror of Fu Manchu & The Destiny of Fu Manchu.)

Airship 27 Productions – Pulp Fiction For A New Generation!

Available from :

Airship 27 Digital Hangar as a $3 PDF (http://robmdavis.com/Airship27Hangar/airship27hangar.html)


And soon for $14.99 from (http://indyplanet.com/store/)


Undercover Review: Choke Hold

Review by Nick Ahlhelm

Christa Faust knows pulp. Her first novel for Hard Case Crime, Money Shot, was a spicy pulp updated for a twenty-first century audience. The sequel to that novel continues the spicy pulp styling of that book while also adding a bit of classic sports pulp tradition as well.

As Choke Hold begins, Faust reintroduces porn star turned talent agent turned vigilante Angel Dare very quickly. It’s important, because within pages she’s back on the run with the son of a former co-star. Cody is a young MMA fighter on the rise, but he’s in with the wrong people. His trainer Hank is in bed with the same criminal group that promotes the local fights in the area.

Angel quickly ends up with both men on the run from the criminal cartel as well as a pair of Croatian assassins bent on killing Angel. Plus a third enemy lurks in the shadows, responsible for the dangers and murders that rip through the fast paced novel.

Angel’s first person narration carries tons of emotional wait without ever slowing the narrative. The book moves at a relentless pace. It moves flawlessly between one action set piece to the next with wild abandon but perfect storytelling.

Ultimately the tale wraps up in Las Vegas as Angel, Hank and Cody try to get the young MMA fighter on a fictionalized version of The Ultimate Fighter. Things don’t go quite as planned though and a lot more blood is shed before book’s end.

Sex and violence are well on display in the novel, perhaps giving it a bit harder edge than classic pulp fiction. But Faust never lets it overwhelm the book. Instead Angel makes her way through her actions rationally, even when they might not be for the best.

The book’s only real weakness is a rather open ending. With this being the sequel to Money Shot, it ends on a note that seems to make it clear that Faust wants to make this a trilogy. While the reader gets an ending of sorts, it is one that leaves an obvious need for her to continue Angel Dare’s tale.

Choke Hold is now available for $9.99 in trade paperback format. 


Thursday, May 24, 2012

So... Why Pulp? ~ On Staying Accountable



I got to witness an interesting online debate a couple days ago. The topic was page count vs. word count as a way to judge writing performance. Both sides had their supporters and detractors, and there were some very telling comments. One thing writers of any ilk—but especially New Pulp writers—love to talk about is how to use these neat little tricks that keep the words flowing. And you know, there’s just something about a regular tally that brings out the competitor in all of us. Let’s see… if I did 1100 words or 5 pages today, can I write 1500 or 7 pages tomorrow?

You know what? I don’t think it matters one way or another whether you count words or pages, because depending on what you’re writing, how it’s formatted, whether you have lots of white space due to staccato dialogue or virtually none because of packed action scenes, your count is going to vary. What does matter is that you are aware of approximately how much you write when you’re comfortable and things are flowing well, so you have something to judge a story’s progress by. So count those beans the same way each time, and at least strive for some kind of consistent middle road. But don’t beat yourself up because every day doesn’t end with you having logged a certain number. Writing is not a sporting contest; it’s an art with a bit of science thrown in. Art has to evolve slowly sometimes, more rapidly at others. Science supports the theory of evolution, so there you go.

Yeah I’ve fallen into that self-competitor category too. I’m a word counter. These days though, I don’t drool or pull my hair out over tallied amounts as much as I use it to measure effort. I still do a daily word count, not so much to try and make it to some self-imposed average or beat a past record, as to reassure myself something significant is getting done, writing-wise. Having the evidence in front of me at the end of a session tells me a lot of things beyond how much or how little I got on those pages. It shows me that I actually did more than sit in front of the monitor, staring at pictures of ogres and battleships, or reading Wikipedia articles and watching Youtube videos. Oh I do all that, most of it in the course of researching ideas for a story, now and then just for a momentary distraction (I’m human) or in fascination leading to fodder for another project. But having a word count tells me I used a good portion of my time for actual writing. And when it’s a very low word count, it shows me that either I got too distracted, had a lot of interruptions, or struggled with something. A low word count on more than one day in a row says I seriously have to change something about this story.

I keep a hand written tally sheet for each story until it goes out to the publisher, and then I throw it away. It’s really nothing more than a small piece of scrap paper shoved in a mini clipboard along with others, each one bearing the name or acronym for the story I’m currently working on, and each day’s total. No, I don’t date them, I just add the newest count on the bottom of the list, but I do the math to see what the actual difference is. Besides the incentive of watching that word count actually climb, I have a rough idea of where I am in the story in relation to the minimum and maximum length allowed. That’s a very important balance to understand because most of the small New Pulp publishers have pretty tight parameters for what constitutes a short story, a novella, and a novel, and word count can make or break your tale fitting into a specific publication schedule. If I see word count climbing past what should be the three quarter mark and I’m not halfway through the story, it’s got to be reined in somehow or at least rethought. Conversely if it is supposed to be a 10,000 word short story for a specific slot and I am at 6500 words and about done, I’ve either been pretty terse or the plot might have been too simple. I usually fall into the overage category, but by keeping track on a daily basis, I’m getting better about hitting close to the optimum size while still getting the entire story told. Generally speaking, it’s better to be under than over, because there is always going to be someone else with a bang up story that is a tad too long. In the end it all tends to even out.

Now, I know some of you reading this are snorting at me and saying, “Oh, I don’t worry about word counts or getting X-amount of pages done—I let the writing flow naturally, and it takes care of itself!” Well yeah, I do that too; I don’t obsessively check word counts all day long. Generally it’s only at the very end of the session, right before I save and shut the file, that I do a final tally. I agree that it’s best not to get too wound up in setting goals and writing to a formula. But if you write for a specific publisher or publication, you are now a professional. That means you have deadlines to meet and certain things are expected of you. Having some system of checks and balances is going to keep you honest, especially on those days when the distractions are myriad and tempting. You may think the morning read through all the news sites and afternoon email checks with evening solitaire and all day long Twitter updates aren’t affecting your writing, but if you find yourself doing more of that and the bean counting productivity is going down… you have the truth staring you in the face. Time to cut back a bit, and maybe set the smart phone aside, and get yourself offline.

Let me mention some things counting beans can’t show. It can’t tell you how hard you worked on the bad days when the words don’t flow, the phone is ringing off the wall, the kids have strep, and you can’t for the life of you describe 1925 New Orleans from a hot air balloon or what a troglodyte looks like when it’s angry. We all have those days, and there’s absolutely no sense in beating yourself up over them. You look down and see you got maybe 2/3 of a page written over five hours between running after a toddler and cleaning up cat barf. Or you see 350 words and wish it was more, but you worked late and it’s now ten PM, your mother is sick and she’s going to be in and out of the hospital for a long time. Yeah, life does get in the way of all vocations, so the way I see it, most people would have given up after the first five minutes or the first 35 words. Some folks would not have even attempted to write. If you sat there for whatever time you had, and have at least something to show for that session, you’re still ahead for the day. Making an effort to get something on the page shows a sense of commitment to getting the writing done, no matter what’s going on in your own personal sphere. That’s what the pros do, so pat yourself on the back for being a dedicated New Pulp wonk.

There have been days when a few hundred words or even well under a hundred were all I got done, but I was perfectly pleased with that. I might have finally gotten through a difficult scene, one I had to do a lot of research for. Sometimes it was just a late in the day effort, after company left or I came back from shopping, and that little bit was a catalyst start of a new section that I can’t wait to dig back into. Maybe it’s just the seminal beginning of a brand new project. Whatever prompted that little bit, at least I wrote something that day, and I can close the file feeling smug and fulfilled. Which makes it all that much easier to open it next time and get right back down to work.

So bottom line here is, it really doesn’t matter how you account for your writing time, by number of hours invested, word count, or how many pages you planned to do. Be flexible but be consistent in what you’re counting and how. Stories and novels don’t generally get written in one sitting, although I’m sure it does happen. Writing is something you need to be doing on a regular basis if you want to call yourself a professional author and have a string of published works to back that claim up. Each project starts and ends with a writing session, and you need to at least show some progress for the time spent. So count it up folks, and before you know it, you’re going to have a whole lot more done than you ever expected, and the habit of sitting down and getting right to work will become automatic.

Now go forth and pulp up the world, make me proud of you!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

PRESS RELEASE-Epic Conclusion to SONS OF THOR Explodes in Pro Se Presents 10!


Pro Se Productions, a leading New Pulp Publisher, announces the latest issue of its award winning magazine! PRO SE PRESENTS 10 is now available and features the fantastic, literally explosive conclusion to Erwin K. Roberts' SONS OF THOR!  

Freedom Fights! The Sons of Thor Move Toward Destiny! As nations focus on the growing conflict with Nazi Germany, a devastating mission begins that threatens to unleash a horror that could lay waste to the world. As the Sons of Thor begin their final gambit, is there anyone who can stand against them in the face of certain doom! Find out in the Thrilling Conclusion to THE SONS OF THOR by Erwin K. Roberts featured in Pro Se Presents 10!

Featuring Public Domain Pulp Heroes Against a Menace Like None Before! The Black Bat! Jim Anthony! And More!

Available now on Amazon for $6.00!  And Coming Soon as An Ebook!  THE SONS OF THOR PART TWO by Erwin K. Roberts, Cover and Design by Sean E. Ali!  Get Your Copy Today!

Pro Se Productions- www.prosepulp.com-  Puttin' The Monthly Back Into Pulp!

Monday, May 21, 2012

UNDERCOVER REVIEW-Ron Fortier Takes On 'Four Bullets for Dillon!'


FOUR BULLETS FOR DILLON
By Derrick Ferguson
PulpWork Press
142 pages

Over the past few years several new pulp writers have created terrific heroes that easily compare with the classic characters of the 30s magazines. One of these is Dillon by the talented Derrick Ferguson.  Dillon is an African American modern day adventurer who travels the globe aiding people in desperate need of rescue and at the same time taking on insidious villains of every imaginable form.  The thing I absolutely love about Dillon is that even in the midst of the most dire situations, when death practically is assured its ultimate victory, he manages to retain his sense of humor making him the coolest pulp hero of them all.

After offering up a couple of fast paced novels which first introduced us to Dillon and his exploits, Ferguson this time collects four short tales that were published in various projects over the years and this fan is most grateful for this.  These four action packed thrillers display the range of settings and atypical missions our hero takes on, each is a fast, mile-a-second read that will leave blisters on your fingers.

“Dillon and the Bad Ass Belt Buckle,” finds our hero and his mentor, Eli Creed, in the jungles of Cambodia to rescue an American film actress.  Their mission is successful up to the point they lose their transportation and have to seek refuge in a fortified camp called Cheap Prayer. It is by a mercenary outlaw named Kudro Mayoka. I won’t spoil the fun with any more details except to add the plot revolves around Dillon challenging Kudro to a survival race with the winner becoming the enclave’s new leader and claiming a giant belt buckle studded with jewels and emblazoned with the words BAD ASS.  Honestly, I don’t think I stopped laughing once while reading this one.

“Dead Beat in La Esca,” is a real collector’s treasure as it was co-written by Joel Jenkins and has one of Joel’s pulp characters, guitar player Sly Ganlet meeting up with Dillon one night in a fancy nightclub.  Unbeknown to the both, they’ve been set up by a mysterious organization that wants them both out of the way.  The irony is both men may actually do the bad guys a favor by killing each other first.  A different kind of story and though worthwhile, was the weakest in this collection.  Guess I just like my Dillon flying solo.

“Dillon and the Escape From Tosegio,” is another one of those oddities.  It’s a rollicking, non-stop thrill ride which was penned as a prequel to the first Dillon novel.  It reminds one of those opening action prequels in the James Bond movie, done to set the stage and get the audience in the proper mood.  Having read “Dillon and the Voice of Odin,” when I came to the end of this short, I could easily envision the opening credits of the bigger movie.  Really happy to see this one in print for all Dillon fans.

Finally, Ferguson saves the best for last in “Dillon and the Judas Cup.”  Although I likened Dillon to action heroes like Bond, there’s also a great deal of Indiana Jones in his adventures and they revolve around arcane lore long forgotten in time.  Such is the plot of this yarn wherein a chalice made from the thirty pieces of silver paid Judas Iscariot for betraying Jesus, has survived through the ages bringing both power and tragedy to any who possess it.  Dillon is hired by a dying rich industrialist to procure the cup and once and for all hide away so that it can never again curse mankind.  To do so he must recruit two of his associates, a cat-burglar and a computer hacker.  Along with the industrialist beautiful daughter, they fly to the remote island where it is being held and launch their Mission Impossible-like plan to steal it.  Of course, like any other Dillon caper, things never go as smoothly as envisioned and soon all of them are racing for their lives to flee the atoll before its volcano erupts and sinks them all.  It’s a grand finale to a wonderful anthology.

If you’ve yet to meet Dillon, this the book is your invitation to a world of thrills and spills as delivered by a writer at the top of his game.  Ferguson’s love of action adventure explodes from every page and he always leaves his readers both satisfied and begging for more.  “Four Bullets For Dillon,” is a hands down winner and I’d be remiss not to mention it comes wrapped by a gorgeous cover by artist Anthony Castrillo.  What more could any pulp fan want?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Undercover Review: Hell is Empty


HELL IS EMPTY
(A Walt Longmire Mystery)
By Craig Johnson
Penguin Books
309 pages
Review by Ron Fortier

“Hell Is Empty” is as much about the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming as it is about the people who live within their shadows.  Absaroka County Sheriff Walt Longmire is transporting several prisoners to an out of the way wilderness locale to unearth the remains of a slain Indian boy murdered by one of the convicts; a psychopath named Raynaud Shade.  Upon meeting Longmire for the first time, Shade tells him he hears ghosts and believes the sheriff possesses the same ability.  Longmire, having fulfilled his duty in getting this human monster to the site, packs it in and starts down the mountain.

Within hours of digging up the boy’s bones, the convicts, following a plan devised by Shade, escape; killing several federal agents and marshals in the process.  When the news reaches Longmire, he realizes he’s the only lawman left on the mountain able to give chase and sets out after the killers alone.  Thus begins his incredible journey that will ultimately test both his body and his spirit as a savage winter storm is descending on the mountains and becomes a deadly participant in the drama.

Johnson’s title; “Hell Is Empty,” is an homage to Dante’s classic fantasy, “Inferno,” where the lowest levels of hell are not hot but numbingly frozen over much like the very peaks Longmire must conquer to capture Shade and save the female marshal he holds  hostage.  Now a resident of Colorado, I am daily reminded of the power and majesty of these mountain ranges and threat they pose to any who venture into them naively without the proper outdoor skills.  This book is more an adventure odyssey than a mystery. Longmire must confront his own inner demons while climbing higher to reach the snow blanketed Cloud Peak which is Shade’s final destination where both will confront each other in a primal contest of good versus evil.

The book is multilayered and despite it Heminwayesque narrative style, Johnson adds a new twist by having his protagonist guided by a giant Crow warrior called Virgil White Buffalo; his version Dante’s Roman poet guide. There is a crucial connection between the giant Virgil and the fleeing killer that Longmire slowly uncovers as the pair make their way through the brutal storm.  Soon the physical suffering the sheriff has to endure begins playing tricks on his consciousness until the reader realizes his companion may simply be the hallucination of a fevered mind.

“Hell Is Empty,” is the seventh book in the Walt Longmire series by Johnson and a terrific, gripping read unlike anything else on the market today.  It is fresh with interesting characters and skillful in its economic storytelling.  As the book’s cover announces, the series has been turned into a new A & E television series that will soon premier on Sunday evening June 3rd and features Australian actor Robert Taylor as Walt Longmire with Katee Sachofff of Battlestar Galactica fame as his chief deputy Victoria “Vic” Moretti and Lou Diamond Phillips as best friend, Henry Standing Bear. If the show is as much fun as this book, then we’re all in for a treat.


Undercover Review: The Shadow

Review by Nick Ahlhelm

Even with new abilities, Dynamite’s Shadow stays true to his origins

From the beginning of the first issue, the creative team of Garth Ennis and Aaron Campbell make it well-known that their new take on The Shadow isn’t for everyone. This Shadow seems to have a clearer cut enemy than just the common criminal. His enemy is Imperial Japan, though how exactly that ties in to Lamont Cranston’s history has yet to be revealed.

Still, the most troubling change for old school readers is almost certainly the Dynamite Shadow’s new power. Every fan is award that the Shadow “knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men”, but this Shadow literally knows. Lamont Cranston can see people’s futures, a power he regularly uses in his quest to stop his enemies.
The book opens with a gunfight between the Shadow and a group of armed men. With twin guns blazing, he makes short work of them and gives the reader a few ideas what they can expect from this take.

The remaining pages are spent on setting up the plot of the ongoing story, meeting Margo Lane and explaining the Shadow’s new ability. It gets a little wordy but Ennis uses the mystery of the new power to drive the tale forward and set up the big happenings that come in to play with issue two.

I guarantee a lot of people will hate this book. I can’t say that I am one of them. While Ennis makes changes to the character, he seems to understand the Shadow’s core: a dark man drawn to do darker things to those who would do evil. The enemies may be more focused, the method may be a little more super-powered, but every word out of Lamont’s mouth could easily be spoken by Orson Welles on the classic radio-play.

The Shadow #1 will see a second printing hit comic shops very soon. In the mean time, Comixology offers the issue at half the cover price, only $1.99.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

News: Attorney General Alleges E-Book Conspiracy


May 11, 2012 4:25 PM
BOSTON — Alleging that two of the nation’s largest book publishers and Apple Inc. colluded to raise the prices of electronic books and undermine free market competition, Attorney General Martha Coakley joined 33 attorneys general today seeking to file a complaint in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York claiming violations of state law and the federal Sherman Antitrust Act.

“Collusion among competitors to raise prices is one of the most fundamental harms prohibited by antitrust law,” Coakley said. “We allege that through their actions the defendants and their co-conspirators collected more than $100 million worth of overcharges from consumers across the country.”

For years, retailers sold e-books through a traditional wholesale distribution model, under which retailers — not publishers — set sales prices. The complaint alleges, however, that Penguin and Macmillan conspired with other publishers and Apple to artificially raise prices by imposing a distribution model in which the publishers set the prices for bestsellers at $12.99 and $14.99.

The complaint further alleges that when Apple prepared to enter the e-book market with the iPad and iBookstore, it agreed with publishers to adopt an agency distribution model as a mechanism to allow them to fix prices. This guaranteed Apple a 30-percent gross margin on the sale of e-books. It also provided the publishers the ability to raise e-book prices. 

To enforce the scheme, the publishers and Apple relied on contract terms that allowed the publishers to set the prices of e-books. According to the states’ enforcement action, the coordinated agreement to fix prices resulted in e-book customers paying more than $100 million in overcharges nationwide. 

The antitrust action seeks injunctive relief to reverse the effects of the defendants’ anti-competitive conduct as well as damages for customers who paid artificially inflated prices for e-books.

Massachusetts was joined in today’s enforcement action by Texas, Connecticut, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Sixteen of these states filed the original complaint against the same defendants on April 11.

This case is being handled by Michael Franck, Assistant Attorney General, and Helen Hood, paralegal, in Coakley’s Antitrust Division, as well as William Matlack, Chief of the Antitrust Division.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

So... Why Pulp: Shakin’ Your Groove Thang…


You know how it is, you get into a comfortable groove with writing or whatever it is you do in the pulp world, and it just feels kind of… well, not effortless maybe, but comfortably routine. You sit down at the keyboard or drawing table and think about what you’re going to do, and pretty much the mind goes on autopilot as the words or images start to flow. And baby, that’s a beautiful thing, no doubt about it.

Whatever works on a daily basis is one of the reasons those of us in the pulp world turn out such an amazing amount of material. Some of us are generalists, some like me have very specific tastes; but it’s so much easier to work day in and day out in that secure zone where we know what the characters and settings will be like. Most times it’s just a matter of getting the names and the finer details right. Oh there’s skill involved in telling or illustrating any good story, but by the time you have a few things in print, you should have a pretty darn good idea of how to do what you do. Pulp thrives on plot formulas and stock characters, and it’s the action that moves the tale along anyway. So the big source of tension over, “Holy hand grenades, how am I going to pull this off?” is generally gone, usually replaced by a workmanlike attitude of ‘get ‘er done’ and some complacency about the actual output. Crushing deadlines can cause a lot of angst and sleepless nights on their own, but that’s more about scheduling than the challenge of the piece. It’s a good place to be, where you’re comfortable with what you do.

It’s a dangerous place to be as well! Having a well worn groove can lead to getting into a rut, where all you seem to do is the same old thing, the same old way. Now and then, you’re going to need a change of pace; a chance to break out and tackle an entirely new project. If you don’t, you’re going to get stale, and like a low budget TV show, that cowboy is going ride around that same clump of cactus in every chase. The same old Nazis are going to attack from that blasted zeppelin again. The heroine is going to pull out her ray gun and it will misfire for the umpteenth time. Yeah, it happens. We depend on what we know well and repeat ourselves.

Sometimes you need to break out and do something different. I mean really different, like write in a genre you’ve never tried. Spread your creative wings and see what’s around the next bend, or over the mountains. Do a little exploring. Get yourself in dangerous circumstances where you have no idea where you are going or even why.

I’m probably the world’s worst example of that kind of diversity. I learned my craft with that old adage about ‘write what you know’ engraved on my brain. It’s very limiting for me, because I’m not well traveled, I have always lived in the same area of the country, and until I had the internet at my disposal, I really didn’t know much outside my own little insular world. Introverts might make great poets, but the kind of action adventure tales that make good pulp often demand specific time frames and exotic locales. Now I came into writing as primarily a fantasy fan, and when I say fantasy, I’m talking epic/heroic high fantasy—the wonderful sword & sorcery quest tales that make me stay up late at night turning pages and sighing wistfully for a magical life I’ll never experience. So yeah, it’s understandable that after reading so much of that stuff, I’d wind up writing it too. I resonate with the characters and worlds those stories lay out as well as the mindset of readers who gobble them up. I like to think I write them well. But that’s not all I can write, or all I should write either. And here’s why: Some folks don’t read or enjoy fantasy. Yeah, I’m missing entire potential audiences by painting myself as a one-pattern writer.

Now, there’s some ongoing discussion in various quarters as to whether pulp is a totally separate genre or a blanket style that can encompass many genres. I’m not going to argue it with you here, though I do think it is a distinct style of writing. I’ve been able to successfully modify my mainstream work to qualify as New Pulp. All pulp has a strong and diverse fan base because the stories have run the gamut in covering so many genres. The uniting factor seems to be the fast pacing and high action. I’ve found I can write that way quite easily, but the kind of fantasy I usually author is just one small niche in that huge encompassing world of pulp. So if I want to be known as a New Pulp writer rather than simply a fantasy writer, I’d better diversify too. And oh yes, I have.

I can’t get too specific with my examples here, because many of these works have yet to come out, and I owe the publishers the opportunity to announce them. But I have stuck my toes in other genres.

It all started with The Silver Pentacle, something edgy I created for an ongoing short story series. It is a big mash up of genres like science fiction, horror, time traveling, mythology, a bit of steam punk, and whatever else I could shoehorn in there. It’s set in a post apocalyptic world and is still technically fantasy, but it’s creeping into a lot of other story dimensions. It has been challenging to write! I had to do a lot of research to figure out how to integrate everything. I have juxtaposed prehistoric creatures in a world with plasma cannons and pulse rifles, various eras of sea going vessels, mechanized war robots, genetic mutations and environmental upheaval caused by long term radiation exposure, pirates with an airship and a civil war era iron clad, roaming undead, Atlantean merfolk, super beings with distinct elemental powers, forgotten gods and goddesses, walk-ons by resurrected historical figures… the list could go on. Not the easiest stories I’ve ever written, I’ve only completed three of them so far, and the first one debuted in Pro Se Presents #2. It was a departure from the norm for me that I’m glad I took, because it wet my thirst for more interesting destinations with my writing.

I got involved in charity tome based on a talented youngster’s superhero and arch villain creations. I am not a big comic book or superhero fan per se, but I love writing, and using my talent for a worthy cause really appeals to me—so much so that I wound up doing a 30,000 word young adult story based on two characters, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Not as much research with this one as resurrecting my own childhood, where stacks of bundled comic books from the town dump whiled away the summer vacation hours and gave an already avid reader something new to peruse. I had never pictured myself writing costumed superheroes and villains before taking on that challenge, and it had been a while since I had written anything for the younger set. Looking forward to when that collection comes out. Would I do another superhero story? That’s a good possibility, with the right project.

I got involved in an ongoing project to write new adventures for old public domain pulp characters that have kind of fallen by the wayside. There was a list of open possibilities and I picked several that sounded as if I could master them. That is where it became very apparent to me that there really wasn’t a lot epic fantasy in traditional pulp, though the stories or characters who would qualify for that genre are very much beloved to the point of being continually resurrected in novels, anthologies, comics, and movies. Of the two tales I’ve completed so far, one qualifies solidly as a western—something I have never written or read, though I have watched and enjoyed. That took a lot of research, because there was jargon and information in the original material I had no idea how to interpret. Many times I had the feeling I was so out of my league that the first person to read it was going to scoff at my lack of knowledge. Since this had to be done as close to the original pulp author’s design as possible it was a bit nail biting for me, and there were days I had to force myself not to walk away from the keyboard in disgust. Still, once I was finished, I was quite proud of my tale. I’ve heard no complaints from the editor so far…

The second story I wrote for that project is in my final editing stages before I send it off. Once again, way out of my league, a period-set action adventure with a specific type of character. Not as much research on this one as trying to get the well-known original author’s voice just right. Following in hallowed footsteps is daunting at times, but I’m glad I took the challenge, because the story I created makes me feel proud to have continued a pulp legacy. It very much resembles the adventures of a far better known pulp character by the same author, and since that work is tied up in other copyrighted franchises, this is likely as close as I’ll get to doing anything above the fan fiction level with that sort of character.

Speaking of challenges, sometimes they land in your lap. I was suddenly ‘gifted’ one day with the opening paragraphs of what was to be a private eye story. The idea was for me to build on that. Now I don’t generally read mysteries, PI stories, or cop dramas, but I have watched a few. I initially said no, I’m not really interested, because at the time, I had a lot on my plate as far as unfinished projects with comfortably close deadlines that I didn’t want to push back, as well as some impromptu editing jobs. I don’t write well when I’m rushed and I know that if I am going to write outside my comfort zone, I have got to do plenty of research. Most PI series are written first person and set in bigger metropolitan areas with lots of crime and mean, gritty streets; and I’m a country girl in a rural area who likes to write third person most of the time. I felt pretty certain I couldn’t pull it off, though my unconscious mind was saying, “Maybe…if,” at the same time. So once I had turned the project down, I had no pressure on me when I started thinking about how I could modify the setting to some place I do know well, like say—modern day Southern New England. Hey, Robert B. Parker made Jesse Stone work in a small and corrupt Massachusetts town, and Connecticut—my home stomping grounds—has plenty interesting places and situations to work with. Around the same time, I sat in silent witness to a discussion by some other authors about how you just can’t write a good PI mystery story in this age of electronic devices. Well that was the final straw, and so I got right to work to disprove all of that. The Keener Eye series will be debuting later this year in Pro Se Presents; I’ve written two so far and a third story has been gradually plotting itself out in my head. Once again, I am way out of my normal groove and doing something I would not have dreamed of tackling a few years back.

Writing pulp tends to do that to you. It’s much harder to cross genre lines successfully in the market-driven, branding world of mainstream fiction than it is in New Pulp, where there is just so much to choose from in any publisher’s listing. The point I am making here is you’re better not to be known as a one trick pony like I have been. Challenge yourself, get out of that groove before it becomes a rut, and you won’t be typecast as that writer or artist who does only X, Y, or Z. Once you show yourself to be willing and able to shake off that label, more offers and opportunities will come. Pulp readers have varied tastes and publishers want to cater to that, so those of us who work on the books have to be just as disparate in what we offer up. And in all honesty, challenging work keeps your mind fresh. If this New Pulp ever gets dull for me, I might as well go get a boring and better paying job somewhere else.

Now go write something… different!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

PRESS RELEASE: THE SPIDER #1 SELLS OUT AND GOES TO A SECOND PRINTING!

May 8th, 2011, Runnemede, NJ - Dynamite Entertainment's The Spider #1, which has received unanimous critical praise, has sold out at Diamond and will go to an immediate second printing!  Keep in mind that while the series is sold out at the distributor, your local retailer MIGHT still have first printings available.  Go check your store to see if they have this amazing collector's item still in-stock!  The series is written by acclaimed writer David (Black Panther: The Man Without Fear) Liss and drawn by Colton Worley, with covers by Alex Ross, John Cassaday, Francesco Francavilla and Ron Lesser!  The Spider, one of the greatest pulp characters of all time is now re-launched into the 21st century!  The issue #1 Variant 2nd printing offers an incredible cover variation to John Cassaday's issue #1 cover.

In The Spider #1, the world knows Richard Wentworth as a decorated war hero and the son of a wealthy industrialist - but only a few confidants know the truth. As New York City slides into violence and despair, Wentworth has transformed himself into a force of justice as The Spider! With only his wits, his technology, and his pistols to aid him, he fights a one-man man war against crime, but when a mysterious new villain threatens the city with an unspeakable horror, it may be more than even The Spider can handle. How far will a sane man go to restore order to an insane world? Find out in The Spider #1, which is going to a second printing NOW!

And ask your local retailer to order issue #'s 2 and #3.  #2 ships in June, and #3 is available for orders through the newest Previews Catalog.

And check out the dynamite Colton Worley interior pages shown here.  Seeing is believing!

And speaking of seeing, check out the glowing comments people have had for The Spider #1!

THE SPIDER #1 (COMICBOOKRESOURCES.COM): "The Spider" #1 is a fantastic slice of action and world building. It's bleak and it's harsh but it's all in service of the story and not just for the sake of it. Liss has previously shown some really good writing prowess and here it is capitalized upon. I just found my new favorite pulp comic."                                                                                             

THE SPIDER #1 (ONEGEEKNATION.COM): "The Spider #1 caught me completely off guard. I had no clue what to expect, and to be honest I had never heard of the character before. But, that didn't stop me from diving right in and loving this first issue. It's rare to read a first issue and love absolutely everything about it. The mythology of the character is deep, and easily accessible. The art is absolutely fantastic and you honestly because of those two things you don't want the issue to end. David Liss writes a superb issue, it's honestly the kind of issue that should get him noticed in the comic book community as a great writer."

THE SPIDER #1 (GEEKSOFDOOM.COM): "All in all, I can't recommend this book any higher. It sucks you in from the very first page and doesn't let go until the last. And that's what a comic book should do. I found myself actually lost for the 15 minutes that it took me to read this book. This is a book that I can see myself reading at LEAST twice a month. Once when it comes out and once before the next issue comes out… and probably a couple times in between. It's over-flowing with art and story, and I guarantee you'll want to revisit it between issues. So, when you go into your local comic shop this week, make a b-line for the Independent section and grab this book!!!"

THE SPIDER #1 (BLOODY-DISGUSTING.COM): "All in all, this a very healthy dose of awesome. It's a solid first installment and shows a lot of potential for future plotlines. Pulp is back, my friends, get it while it's hot!"

THE SPIDER #1 (MAJORSPOILERS.COM): "This issue is a great introduction to The Spider for new readers (or dilettantes like me), setting our stage, giving us his methods, his history and his fascinating world-view in the space of a single issue. It's not a traditionalist take on the character, but it seems to be a faithful update of the pulp hero, setting him firmly in the present and making him work in that setting. The art is beautiful throughout the issue, and The Spider himself looks phenomenal in action. I was worried about some of the cover images, as the red/black web motif made me worry that the creators were taking a bit too much from Wentworth's cultural offspring, Spider-Man, but the balance of this issue is just right. The Spider #1 hits all the right notes, and makes the rare jump straight into my pull list, earning 5 out of 5 stars overall, and serves as a perfect example of relaunch done right"

THE SPIDER #1 (CRAVEONLINE.COM): "If you like dark and surly crime noir, villains like The Cholera King and The Silver Falcon, and a strange pseudo zombie mystery, not to mention twisted emotional entanglements, asshole cops and a lot of smoldering cigarettes, The Spider is your book. And if you're not sure about any of that, just take a good gander at how cool this guy looks. It's undeniable."

The Spider was created by Harry Steeger at Popular Publications in 1933. He fought crime by donning a black fedora, a black cape, a trademark ring and a brace of .45 automatics to terrorize the criminal underworld, while driving in his sleek black specially outfitted Daimler.

The Spider novels were mainly written by Norvell W. Page, who filled them with danger, impending doom, fantastic villains, and great action!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Press Release- DOC SAVAGE'S NEWEST ADVENTURE-THE INFERNAL BUDDHA!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 8, 2012



THE INFERNAL BUDDHA


Altus Press is proud to announce the release of the third volume in its acclaimed Wild Adventures of Doc Savage series, written by Will Murray and Lester Dent, writing as Kenneth Robeson.

Set in the Fall of 1936, THE INFERNAL BUDDHA tells the epic story of Doc Savage’s desperate quest to control the Buddha of Ice, a relic of unknown origin—and
what may become the most dangerous object on Earth!

When a mummy arrives at Doc Savage’s New York headquarters wearing
the clothes of his missing assistant, engineer Renny Renwick, Doc, Monk, and Ham rush to Singapore where they get on the trail of a swashbuckling pirate who calls himself the Scourge of the South China Sea, in whose hands a piece of the infernal Buddha has fallen. The trail leads to Pirate Island, the fate of Renny, and a mysterious box
containing a terrible, unstoppable power.

But that is only the beginning of the quest into which the Man of Bronze plunges—one that will take him to the upper reaches of the Yellow Sea and a series
a wild ocean battles against the vicious factions fighting for control on the infernal Buddha.

Before it is all over, every human life on Earth will tremble on the brink of eternity, and Doc Savage will face his greatest test.

“This may be my wildest Doc novel to date,” says author Will Murray. “THE INFERNAL BUDDHA is a fantasy epic full of corsairs, criminals and other culprits. The menace is planetary. The threat, extinction. Doc Savage has a reputation for saving the world. This time he does it on the greatest scale possible. I began this book back in 1992, working from an opening situation Lester Dent started in 1935. Together, we have produced a true Doc Savage epic. And it only took about 75 years….”

THE INFERNAL BUDDHA will be released as a trade paperback and e-book in May, with the hardcover edition following in June. All editions will feature a startling cover painted by Joe DeVito, depicting Doc Savage as the Buccaneer of Bronze! This cover was painted from a still taken in 1964 of legendary model Steve Holland, and is a variant pose shot for famed illustrator James Bama’s classic cover to THE MAN ON BRONZE. There has never been a Doc cover like it!

The hardcover edition will include two bonus features—an Afterword by Will Murray detailing the creation of this story, and a memoir by James Bama of his days painting the Bantam Books Doc covers.

For ordering information, go to www.Adventuresinbronze.com

Monday, May 7, 2012

Pulp Perusals: Pulp Takes to the Air




Rocket packs, autogyros, Zeppelins and a Boeing 777.

Seems like an odd, and somewhat anachronistic, combination. Yet they all came together for me last week. To while away the time on a ten-hour return flight from a business trip to Europe I had rented a copy of one of my favorite movies to watch on my iPad The Rocketeer.*

Although based on a comics series** from the late-lamented Dave Stevens, this is a movie that is full of pulp style action, adventure, and iconography. After finishing the movie I started to muse on the apparent close connection between the pulps and aviation.

Ace High, Arnold Adair American Ace, Bill Barnes Air Adventurer, Dusty Ayres and his Battle Birds, G-8 and his Battle Aces, Tailspin Tommy, The Red Falcon just to name a few; plus numerous variations on Aeroplane, Aircraft, Airplane, Airship etc. titled heroes  - the list goes on. So why were pulp stories about fliers so popular?

As much as anything it was an alignment of historical eras in the respective industries. Pulp magazines reached their height of popularity in the late 1920s and on into the 1930s, at just the same time that aviation was providing the new heroes and celebrities for the American media. Following his historic transatlantic flight in 1927 Charles Lindbergh had become an American icon, an early twentieth century embodiment of the American pioneer spirit.

The American pioneer was no longer those of the Wild West, but those of the sky. Cowboys and explorers had been replaced by inventors and daredevils exploring the next frontier, and pushing the boundaries of endurance and physics. They were a new type of hero for a new age that made them ideal subjects to capture the publics imagination.

The exploits of people like Lindbergh, female aviator Amelia Earhart, and others provided perfect fodder for a nation hungry for heroes in the midst of a massive economic depression, and the pulps were only too eager to feed that need. Hollywood helped with the release of movies such as Wings (the first Academy Award winner) and Howard Hughes Hells Angels reminding people of heroic World War 1 fighter aces.

The first of the so-called flying pulps to appear were anthology titles such as Air Adventures, Airplane Stories, and Air War. However following the success of The Shadow and other solo heroes heroic fly-boys*** soon followed: The Red Falcon, The Three Mosquitoes, Sky Devil took to the skies in the early 1930s.

The two longest lasting aviator pulp heroes, Bill Barnes and G-8 arrived on the scene in the mid-1930s both running, in both their own titles or as back-ups in others, for another ten years.

It is estimated that at the height of its popularity the flying-pulp genre consisted of at least forty different titles, many short lived, but others that saw the boom through until the end. Perhaps it is both fitting and ironic that a genre devoted primarily to the exploits of the air heroes of one global conflict lasted until the return of the air heroes of another, for most of the books ceased publication in 1944 or 1945 as the Second World War was drawing to a conclusion.

Many of those pilots cited the flying pups of their youth as a contributing factor in their decisions to become combat pilots, but when the terror and the adventure becomes reality, who needs the fantasy any more?

While the actual air pulp magazines may have disappeared, the concept of the larger than life hero from the early barn-storming days of aviation has never really faded from popular culture, from the aforementioned Rocketeer, to the Sky Captain of Tomorrow, or even the pulp-like aviation aspects of the Howard Hughes bio-pic The Aviator Hollywood keeps coming back to a source it helped inspire.

The appeal of Zeppelin stories continues to this day and the airship itself is both an iconic image, and an oft-cited potential solution to the future of aviation.

And in our own world of New Pulp we can continue to marvel at the adventures of Lance Star Sky Ranger from the great folks at Airship 27 Productions.

So chocks away, and heres to a sky full of adventure.


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* Dear Disney thanks for eventually reissuing this great movie as a Blu-Ray in December of last year. Why you kept it off the DVD market for over a decade is beyond me.
** If you arent reading the new Rocketeer Adventures anthology comics from IDW featuring work from many of todays best creators you are missing out. Jet over to your local comic book store and pick up several issues.
*** Despite the popularity of female aviatrix such as Earhart, the flying-pulps were definitely a boys-own club.