Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Everyone! I hope you had a howling good year!
 I know I did!
Meanwhile if you're looking for that perfect non-fiction in the coming year.....
Something stirs in the darkness and pads along the moonlit path...
Werewolf stories have long captivated film audiences and lovers of pulp fiction. Thomas McNulty's Werewolves! explores the genesis for this cultural phenomenon dating back centuries when stories of shape shifters and wolf-men were predominant in folk tales. The book traces the origins of lycanthropy in mythology through modern times. Included are discussions of wolf mythology and the importance of the wolf symbol around the globe. Included is an examination of key werewolf stories and novels with an emphasis on popular fiction and pulp fiction. This is followed by a survey of the Hollywood films with chapters devoted to the Wolf-Man films starring Lon Chaney Jr. and the groundbreaking Spanish werewolf films of Paul Naschy. The survey of films includes titles from Hollywood's Golden Age to present times with commentary on over 70 werewolf films. The work includes a bibliography, filmography and index. Illustrated with rare photographs.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Red Rain by R. L. Stine

Best known as the author of the famous Goosebumps books, R. L. Stine has turned in a horror novel for adults. It is, as he explained at the book signing where I picked this up, “A horror novel for my first Goosebumps readers who are all grown up now.” Red Rain isn’t Stine’s first adult novel, but it’s the first one in fifteen years. Red Rain is a page turner, stylistically identical to his Goosebumps novels, but with a plot, characters, dialogue and scenes (including sex) for mature readers. And it’s good, and real creepy. The tale begins with travel writer Lea Sutter on an island off the South Carolina coast when a hurricane hits. In the storm’s aftermath she discovers two orphaned boys, Samuel and Daniel, and decides to adopt them. Meanwhile, her husband Mark, a noted child psychologist, doesn’t exactly warm up to the boys. It’s obvious from the onset that Samuel and Daniel are evil, so I’m not giving anything away. Things get nasty quickly and readers will be treated to some beautiful R. L. Stine plot twists. I thought the build up was a tad slow but the second half and denouement are just splendid. The ending has not one but two surprises which make it all worthwhile. Stine is a wonderful writer and I hope this book’s success encourages him to try his hand at additional adult novels. Red Rain is fast-paced, creepy and spine-chilling!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dark Muse by David C. Smith Now Available!

Here's a new release that's high on my Christmas shopping list!

Jack Mathis, a bright young book editor in Chicago, has found the next great American writer. Yet this anonymous genius is inspired to create in the darkest way imaginable: he picks his victims carefully, murders them gruesomely, then gives them new life in the best stories Jack has ever read.

The writer knows all about Jack. All about his wife. Knows everything. He has more stories in mind, too. Jack wants them. What is he willing to do to get them?

Order your copy now by clicking HERE!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Interview with author Mark Keating

I bought Mark Keating’s novel, The Pirate Devlin, on a whim one day as I was browsing in Barnes & Noble. That turned out to be a great choice. The Pirate Devlin had me mesmerized. Here was a literate, exciting adventure novel unlike any other “pirate” tale I had ever read. We struck up a long-distance friendship on FaceBook and I was recently privileged to get a sneak peek of his latest novel. If you haven’t read one of his “Pirate Devlin” novels I hope you do so. It’s already become a cult favorite. I am honored to present this fascinating interview with Mark Keating.

TM: What authors inspired you as a child!

MK: My mother used to be a great reader before she got married so we had a lot of her old books. They were mostly science fiction and poetry so I read Ray Bradbury and Rudyard Kipling. I also devoured my older brother's comic-books and horror-mags. I can still remember a lot of those stories and I used to get corrected at school for using American spelling! When we got to go to the library at first school we were only allowed two books to take home but that wasn't enough so I actually stole books that I would sneak back in when I was done. I was reading at a higher age so I needed better books. I did get caught but when I explained that I needed to read better books and more of them my teacher borrowed books for me.

TM: When did you begin writing creatively?

MK: I didn't write a book until Devlin and I'd never published anything before. I wrote at school but didn't think anything of it. My English teacher persuaded my mother to buy me a typewriter but then it just became like homework. I'd sometimes write short-stories as an adult but that was usually just to impress women! I got to be thirty-eight and realised that it would be pretty cool to publish a book before I was forty. I had no preconceptions about how hard it was to get published. I'd read nothing about the subject and I was too broke to even buy a computer but I told my wife that it was what I wanted to do and it would be handy to have the internet (2008 and we weren't online!) so I got my boss to buy one and I'd pay him off. A year later I was signing a contract just at the time that I was laid off from work and my life changed. I remember meeting my agent for the first time and he asked me that surely I had a drawer full of manuscripts. 'No,' I said, 'That's it. But I've already started the next one.' And that's the way it's always been: as soon as I finish one I tidy my desk and go again. I've written five books in three years and sold every one.

TM: Tell me about the pirate Devlin? What was your inspiration for that character?

MK: I've always loved pirates, everybody does, and at the time when I first thought of writing a book I was reading a lot of naval fiction and I'd got bored with the whole Napoleonic thing that they all write about, so I went looking for a pirate novel and I couldn't find a modern one that wasn't either bad or romance or had a pirate that had changed his ways and now fought pirates or was a reluctant pirate. None of them seemed to treat the notion of being a pirate with respect, a chosen way of life against the grain. I wanted to write about them as if it was a choice and not something to just be endured until you rescued the governor's daughter. I got a lot of inspiration from Errol Flynn's Captain Blood interpretation. There's this scene where he's getting whipped and he gives this look back at the guy and suddenly he's like the Count of Monte Cristo, he's D'Artagnan, he's Tom Joad, he's like John Wayne or Lee Marvin when they're angry, and like them he holds the philosophy of violence just back far enough to show that it ain't acting. I'd read some of Bernard Cornwell's Sharp books which show an officer from the ranks fighting not only the French but just about everything else in his world and I thought “what if Sharp were a pirate?” So I went with that. I've just finished the fourth book so it's working.
TM: Tell me about your writing process. Do you plot everything in advance?

MK: I've never met a writer that had the same process as another but I'm sure the first book you write always has a similar pattern. Now that I get paid to do it I've got my own strokes that I'm comfortable with. I don't plot everything in advance based on the assumption that if I don't know what's going to happen than the reader won't either. I get annoyed at books where by the end of the first chapter I know the ending. I have points that I want to get to, like planning a long trip and you map out the stages so you don't mess up along the way. What happens in the book between those points is up to the characters. I research as I write but I generally know something about the subject in advance as it's usually something that has interested me. It's the idea of learning more about it as I go that drives the engine. I write best under pressure. I've got a young family and I need to steal the time to write as there is always something going on but I use that to fuel my books. I imagine that the person reading is stealing the time to do so. I used to read on the train, chapters between stops, and relished that little escape so I try to write just like that. I haven't got time for navel gazing and I don't write for people who have either. I give myself six months to get a good first draft based on the fact that I will have about four months of revisions to knock it into shape so I do about a book a year. With the first draft it's about getting the story out; the detail will go in later. I don't worry about how much I write a day as long as I'm happy with it. I usually start work with going over what I wrote the day before and that gets me flowing then. I know I'm going to go over the text a hundred times so I don't dwell. That's how books don't get written. Just get the story out. I have a great memory, which helps, and I have a knack of absorbing information very quickly and seeing how it relates to my story. I will print my work about three times over the course of writing. This is the only way to see the shape of the book. Everything looks great on the screen but you will see the weaknesses when it's in print and you can divide the book up into its parts, physically, on the table and see where it needs more or less. I don't have writing habits, I can't force it but I try to do something every day. The only rituals I do is to buy a new A4 pad for every new book and clean my desk so everything seems fresh. By the end of the book my desk looks like a bear has been at it.

TM: I was lucky to get a sneak peak at The Wooden Paterson which you’re publishing under the pseudonym Robert Lautner. This is such a great book but completely different than the pirate Devlin novels. What was the inspiration behind The Wooden Paterson?

MK:  I've always been into guns. When I was eleven I asked for Hogg's firearms encyclopedia for Xmas! From then on for my birthday or Xmas I asked for replicas and I used to take them apart and put them back together. Colt's were always my favourites and I think revolvers can be sensual, beautiful objects. I knew the story about Colt being inspired by the ratchet and pawl of a ship's capstan (not a wheel as is often said) and carving his first designs, in pieces to show a metalworker what he wanted, but I liked the idea that he had carved a whole working model however apocryphal that might be. That fired the story. I imagined what it would take to walk into a bar against a bunch of gunmen, and yourself armed only with a wooden gun and what sort of man would be able to pull that off and that's the scene that shaped the story. I've also always been fascinated by the original Pinocchio tale and the story underneath the adventure is an allegory of that; except my boy has a wooden gun instead of being the puppet! On top of that I couldn't believe that no-one had written a story about the invention of the true revolver before. I truly feel that it changed the world and once it lead to the development of the cartridge everything changed again, for better or worse. It seemed so culturally significant, you can almost see the world changing as you mark each little development of the firearm yet historians tend to not notice these smaller things.
TM: What projects are you working on now?

MK: I've just finished Devlin 4 so I've got about a year to myself before I need to work on the fifth so I'm doing what I did on The Wooden Paterson and writing for myself. I'm the third of the way through a novel about Quint from JAWS. I'm a big JAWS fan and, like most fans, Quint is my favourite character. He's iconic. In the JAWS novel he's a thinner character than in the movie, and even that's pretty thin, so what I want to do is write about Quint the movie character, after the war, after the Indianapolis and how he got to be who he is. It's set in 1953 so I want to show about a man coming out of one war and on the periphery of the end of the Korean and on the edge of the space-race all tied to one man and his boat. Like the Paterson it will be a small story with a bigger backdrop and that's all I can hope to write if I can pull it off and with a heavy respect to the survivors of the Indianapolis. The plan is to get it published for the 40th anniversary of the film in 2015. I'm also in the running to be commissioned to write a novel for Simon & Schuster about the battle of Waterloo for the 200th anniversary to be published in 2015 but there are a lot more famous writers than me in the hat. My advantage is that I have a reputation for delivering on time but personally I'm so stoked on Quint that I wouldn't like anything to stall that. Writing ain't about the money, otherwise we'd never start
You can order Mark’s books by clicking HERE!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Three Against the Stars by Joe Bonadonna is Now Available!

Airship 27 Productions is thrilled to announce the release of its 15th title of the year, a rousing new space opera; THREE AGAINST THE STARS by Chicago based writer Joe Bonadonna.  Best known for his sword and sorcery fantasies, Bonadonna now steps into a whole new arena to deliver a truly fast paced futurist pulp adventure.

 On the distant alien planet of Rhajnara a conspiracy created by the facist Khandra Regime is set into motion to overthrow the rightful Rhajni Republic and instigate a policy of ethnic-cleansing.  The conspirators are cunning and it seems nothing in the universe can derail their mad apocalyptic scheme.

 Nothing that is but three rambunctious Space Marines from the Third Regiment Company E of the United States Space Marines assigned to Rhajnara with the Terran Expeditionary Force.  Sergeants Fernado Cortez, Seamus O’Hara and Claudia Akira are the most unlikely trio ever to don jarhead camouflage and become military heroes.  To their superiors they are wild, reckless and incessant troublemakers always in the thick of things.  Yet their courage, loyalty and devotion to duty prove them to be the toughest Devil Dogs in the Corp.

Now, with the aid of a Medical Corpsman named Makki Doon, a young Felisian native proto-feline humanoid, these three futuristic musketeers are about to become the one factor capable of exposing the traitorous Khandra coup.  But to do so they will have to put their lives on the line one more time and risk all to save the day facing off against incredible odds.  To save an empire they will truly become…THREE AGAINST THE STARS.

 “This is old school space opera,” cheered Airship 27 Productions’ Managing Editor, Ron Fortier.  “From Buck Rogers to the Space Patrol, the classic elements in this book make for a fun read from start to finish.”  The book features interior illustrations by the popular Pedro Cruz with a dynamic cover by Laura Givens and is designed by Art Director, Rob Davis.  “In the end, Joe Bonadonna delivers an action packed space opera fans of Edmond Hamilton and E.E. “Doc” Smith will not soon forget.”
Order your copy NOW by clicking HERE!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Celebrating the work of the Poet Jack Gilbert

I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell,
but just coming to the end of his triumph.
- Jack Gilbert, from Failing and Flying

When Jack Gilbert died a few weeks ago his name was once again splashed into the public arena. He was famous in death, perhaps more so than he had been in life. All of the obituaries noted his slim oeuvre, his avoidance of public spectacle, and the magnificence of his work. Gilbert won several prestigious literary prizes but never catered to the public. He did the opposite (as every true poet should) and devoted himself to traveling; and by traveling I suspect observing, and certainly by indulging in that which is far more important than literary fame – the very act of living. His poems touched many people and he has long been a hero of the literati. But Gilbert was not generally accessible to the public. Now that he is gone what remains are his poems. That is all that a writer can leave us. Everything else is just memories and photographs, but the poems will always have a life of their own. “We are all burning in time,” Gilbert wrote in a poem titled Burning (Andante Non Troppo), “but each is consumed at his own speed.” In all of his work there shines an acute understanding of people, of passion, death, love and loss.

The heart has
a life of its own. It gets free of us, escapes,
is ambitiously unfaithful. Dies out unaccountably
after eight years, blooms unnecessarily and too late.
Like the arbitrary silence in the white woods,
leaving tracks in the snow he cannot recognize.

- from Not the Happiness but the Consequence of Happiness

Still, Gilbert was no literary outlaw. He was published by Alfred Knopf and his poems sometimes appeared in The New Yorker. He was, like it or not, mainstream chic, at least for the east coast snobs in Manhattan’s dismal Art-Speak community. For the rest of us, the literati, he was just a damn good poet. By his own admission he felt that living was far more fascinating than attending literary banquets, and so Gilbert went about the business of his life. I don’t know if we’ll ever know more about his travels than we need to, but I suppose one day a biography will be published with all types of titillating details. And that will either be illuminating or not depending upon the author. Meanwhile, we have his poems. Speaking for myself that’s just enough.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Tales of the Bagman by B.C. Bell

B.C. Bell’s Tales of the Bagman is another great title from Airship 27, one of the pre-eminent publishers of New Pulp Fiction. Bell is a Chicago writer and this book is a real winner. Set in the mid 30s in Chicago, Frank “Mac” McCullough works for Chicago’s mob and breaks legs for a living. But when he has to rough up his uncle he has second thoughts. He takes action of a different type as The Bagman – a vigilante with a bag over his face to conceal his identity. Now he’s working for the underdog; guys like his uncle. Labeled “The Bagman” by the press, McCullough commences with a campaign to rid Chicago of lawlessness, and that’s when this book really kicks into high gear. B.C. (Byron Christopher or “Chris” to his friends) Bell has written an incredibly entertaining novel. The setting, characters and plot all flow seamlessly. Bell is an imaginative, imagistic writer which is the style I’ve always favored. He slips in this deft characterizations and images with the slippery ease of a boxing pro: “Coco blew smoke out of perfect, cupid bow lips.”(p.47). Indeed, Miss Coco Blue is but one of numerous characters that come alive with Bell’s vivid prose. And there are Crankshaft, an auto salesman and suddenly willing ally for The Bagman; Slots Lurie, Wheezy, Sammy the Scar and many others. Also of note is Bell’s knowledge and research about Chicago. The city plays a character, too, albeit as a stage setting, but vital nonetheless. This is Capone’s town and its Capone’s era, or at least the tail end of it. Those familiar with Chicago will recognize places like The Green Mill which during this period catered to an entirely different clientele. Tales of the Bagman is loaded with historical details and locations which made it all the more fun to read. I’m tagging B.C. Bell’s Tales of the Bagman as one of the top New Pulp Fiction titles I read this past year. I suggest you put this title at the top of your Christmas shopping list. B.C. Bell’s Tales of the Bagman is a keeper!