Monday, June 29, 2015

Kickin' The Willy Bobo With...KIPJO K. EWERS

Derrick Ferguson: Who is Kipjo K. Ewers?

Kipjo K. Ewers: I am a first generation born of Jamaican descent from two of the greatest parents a kid like me could ever have. They kept me on the straight and narrow, while not wanting for anything. They pushed the value of a good education, being a good person, and reaching for whatever goals I aspired to as long as it did not hurt others. Formerly from Mount Vernon, I went to Catholic school all my life from grade school to college. As a kid growing up, I was heavily into martial arts, comic books, professional wrestling, Kung Fu movies, anime, writing and storytelling. My brothers and I would use either our G.I Joes or Transformers and play out these complex storylines that sometimes lasted all day and into our next play day. 

Now that I am older I’m still into martial arts though not as heavy (big fan of MMA and the UFC).  I’m a sword collector (I have my own set of Conan Father and Atlantean swords from the Arnold movie among others). I still watch anime from time to time, and I collect comics although I’m more selective with what I collect. I also make kitbash action figures; basically you take a base model twelve inch action figure and customize it. It’s a pretty cool and expensive hobby. I made my own Gen 13 characters, and a Dark Knight movie version of Batgirl. My other hobby is 3D artwork, I use programs like Poser Pro (2012 and 2014), DAZ 3D, and Photoshop Element to create them. I’m also a huge Star Wars fan, and will be dressing like a Jedi for the upcoming movie. So all in all I am a big Jamaican-American geek.



DF: Where do you live and what do you do to keep the bill collectors away?

KKE: I reside with my lovely wife in New Jersey.  I currently work in Risk Management Corporate Banking.

DF: Tell us a little something about your background.

KKE: I went to college for Business Administration while minoring in English. I self-taught myself 3D digital artwork because I wanted to put visuals to some of the ideas in my head. I’ve been doing my own artwork for about eight years.

DF: How long have you been writing?

KKE: I’ve been writing since I was seven years old, sporadically in my teens and young adult years. I never really published anything until now. I wrote a comic book with my younger brother who is currently an artist when I was twelve (we didn’t have a title for that one).  The story was about four of his superhero characters and one of mine which I called Infra Man. He was a Japanese anime version of Iron Man. I believe the plot of the story was that they were trying to stop some type of invasion. 

The second comic book we worked on with our cousin who was the designated ink man was titled “Letterman”. The hero “Letterman” was based off of a rap song from K-Solo. I remember finding the book a couple of years ago buried in our old room in our parent’s house and still being impressed with what we did. The first two novels I tried to write were titled “Armageddon Bioborg” and “The Dragon Princess”. I never finished either, but I still have them, and might complete and publish them one day. I wrote matches for wrestling e-feds, which are like versions of fantasy football. It was a simple hobby, but I realized now how much it kept my writing skills sharp by creating storylines and sometimes writing out full matches. Won me a slew of championships, I even have a couple of actual championship belt trophies that were mailed to me.

DF: What’s your philosophy of writing?

KKE: I like to write like I'm doing a movie, and when you shoot a movie you don't always shoot the first scene. Sometimes you shoot the end, the middle, that's how I like to write until I get a full chapter. I separate the chapters into different word documents so I don't confuse myself.

Afterwards, when I have written all of the chapters in full, I just combine them, adding and taking stuff out, until the story slowly comes together and becomes one. After that I can usually do two or three edits and then I send it to a professional editor.

I believe in writing from my soul and heart and not compromising or apologizing for anything. Writers I believe that don't compromise their work, and write with raw passion are the best and most powerful types of writers, as long as they're getting a message across, and it makes sense to the story.

I also believe in having fun with my writing. It's supposed to be fun. You’re creating worlds, characters, and having adventures. So I just play! Because the more fun I have, the more I believe people will enjoy what I wrote!

DF: What are your influences?

KKE: I’ve read all of the Robotech novels that were written by Jack McKinney, which in my opinion were way better than the anime series. I am also a fan of Shakespeare, “A Midsummer Night's Dream” is one of my favorite stories from him. For comic books it’s Stan “The Man” Lee of course. Geoff John’s magnificent run of the Green Lantern’s “Blackest Night Series” is what actually got me back into comic books. I also loved Greg Pak’s work, especially his run with Marvel’s Hulk.

Finally as both a writer and director I have to say Kevin Smith. I saw “Clerks” at a friend’s house when I was in college, and I have been a fan of his work ever since. I’ve seen all of his movies, and two of his Q&A sessions. Watching “Too Fat for 40” and “Kevin Smith: Burn in Hell”, where actually what finally pushed me over the edge to both write and publish something. Hearing about how his father died, and about how you have to have passion about what you do before you die is what struck a chord with me.

DF: What audience are you trying to reach with your work? Is there an audience for Kipjo K. Ewers?

KKE: My novel is for fans of superheroes, science fiction, and action adventure. People who have already read it have said they enjoyed the thriller aspect to it, and others love the characters personality wise both good and bad. It’s a thinking person’s superhero origin story that turns left when you think it’s turning right.

DF: What is The EVO Universe?  How and when did you create it?

KKE: The EVO Universe is an expanding superhuman universe within my novel series “The First”, which was created after the events of the first book. EVO is the term used for superhuman in the story, which is the next step of evolution of man. 



DF: Tell us about the character of Sophia Dennison.

KKE: The character Sophia Dennison is a normal woman, with normal dreams of having a career, wanting a loving marriage with children, and then one day her normal world is ripped away and destroyed through no fault of her own. Then after four years of being powerless and suffering her world literally comes to an end. Except by a miracle of sorts, as her old world came to an end, she was reborn so to speak with amazing powers and abilities. She uses these new abilities to escape prison, and find out who turned her old world upside down.

DF: Tell us about THE FIRST

KKE: “The First” is a superhero origin story of Sophia Dennison. Wrongly tried and convicted of the murder of her husband, she is executed in Texas via lethal injection. However Sophia does not die, she resurrects with superhuman strength, overpowering several correctional officers until she is brutally gunned down. But to everyone’s shock and dismay, she resurrects again. Completely healed, this time she is bullet proof and much stronger than her first death. She breaks out of prison and is on the run where she learns about her abilities and hunts for the answers as to who framed her for her husband’s murder.

DF: Tell us about THE FIRST: EVO UPRISING

KKE: “The First: EVO Uprising” is the aftermath of “The First” eight years later. Due to Sophia’s indirect actions of saving the West Coast she has changed the world. Through her, many people across the planet have been gifted with superhuman abilities. Some use their abilities for good taking up the mantel of heroes, others for evil becoming villains, while others join and form super human military units within their respective countries building towards another possible Cold War. Unable to fit in with the race she was once a part of, and unwilling to embrace the race she created, she lives a life of semi-isolation using her power and abilities to help people as she sees fit taking no mantle. However a new threat to the planet will force her to not only confront several spectrums of her past, but her possible destiny.



DF: Where does the story of Sophia Dennison go from here?

KKE: Right now I am holding off on writing the third novel to work on a spin-off novel for one of the major characters in the second novel. It will be titled “Eye of Ra”.  I imagine more adventures for Sophia in the near future and the further expansion of the EVO Universe with many more characters.



DF: What’s A Day In The Life of Kipjo K. Ewers like?

KKE: Rise and shine at 7 AM in the morning, breakfast either at home or at work depending on the time. Off to work in a corporate office, hit the gym for forty-five minutes, and then home after 5 PM. When I get home the fun begins. I spend some time with the Mrs., get on the computer to either work on my artwork or write. Right now I’m just taking time from writing to promote the novel as much as possible and get in the faces as many readers as I can. 

Derrick Ferguson: Anything else we should know?

Kipjo K. Ewers: Currently we’re in the works of doing an actual comic book series on “The First” that we hope to release in 2016. We will soon be re-releasing the alternate cover novel with a new cover, and added digital content. It will contain some concept artwork of characters from the novel, and a digital comic preview of Chapter 1 and part of Chapter 2 that readers can re-read.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

From The "A Nigger Moment" File


If you’ve been reading BLOOD & INK on a regular basis (and if not, then whyain’tcha?) The you’ll have noticed that from time to time I’ll post something here that has been written by one of the most extraordinarily talented artists it’s been my pleasure to work with; Sean E. Ali.

Sean has a habit of writing these amazingly perceptive and on point essays on his Facebook wall that should be read by a wider audience. But Sean is truly a modest man and resists all my suggestions that he should start a blog or something where these thoughts can saved and savored and not lost in the blur of Facebooks posts.  Sean’s a deep thinker who truly has something worth saying about some very important societal topics affecting all of us today.

Fortunately he has a friend like me who has no shame at all in reposting his insightful words on his own blog.

Okay, I’ve run my mouth far too much already. I now turn the floor over to Mr. Ali…


So let me get this straight...

The people upset most that the President used the word "nigger" in an interview...

...are the very people who have been calling him that in one form or another since '08...

...or wasn't Cornell West using it to describe the President's avoidance of the subject he was confronting when he used the word...

...or are people of color who use it as a part of their daily speech when referring to themselves or people they know who think that tossing a bunch of different vowels and consonants on at the end somehow makes the word something other than what it was?

Uh huh...

If that ain't a "nigger moment", I don't know what is...

For the record, I'm going for the Queen's English version of that word which denotes an "ignorant person"...
The word long before it was a racial slur was used to describe a lack of intelligence, an ignorance of things that were obvious.

In short, there is no positive spin for the word.

Sorry, Chris Rock, I know you want to resurrect it after the NAACP did that whole symbolic burial thing, but really it's not the kind of word that meant "Freedom" in Swahili, it's still ignorant even when it's not racial.

For the youngsters and the hip hop community and those folks who think they are down when they use it as a greeting or expression of friendship.
It isn't. It never was no matter how many times you add "az", "uh", "a", "ruh", or whatever else you come up with, you're still calling someone ignorant, you're still insulting someone's intelligence even when race isn't a factor...

But when you do it to one another and then lose your minds because someone who isn't you or yours uses the term...

...then it's racial and stupid, and you're a hypocrite.

If the word is wrong, it's wrong all the way around. You can't pick and choose the moments it's okay to speak a slur or insult, because it's a slur and an insult all the time. You can dress it up if you like, but it is what it is all the time...

At least the President used it as a proper example of the ingrained nature of racism in American culture and the difficulty of erasing nearly six hundred years (if you take in the total time of Africans sending their own to the Europeans who then bound them over into slavery overseas to well, now) of racial inequality in a weekend when it's got that large a head start, is an accurate assessment and summary of what he said.

And FOX Newsertainment wants to act like what he said was somehow the most horrible thing ever uttered by a president...

....despite their long track record of profiling people of certain ethnic groups and hiding behind the new "nigger" trigger word of "thug"...

All of you need to take a breath and listen to yourselves before you start jumping on someone else for using the EXACT SAME WORD YOU USE AND REFUSE TO LET GO OF in a context that offends you...

...probably because what was said is true.
And how Black people can sit around demanding the removal of the Confederate battle flag and not abandon the use of a word which is linked to that flag and that era like a guy with a burning cross and a white hood on his head is one of those things I'm not understanding...

Maybe the Johnny Reb isn't the only thing that needs to be left in the past...


Something to consider, friends.





Monday, June 15, 2015

875 Words (More or Less) About Getting Caught Up In Researching

See, research used to be a whole lot harder back in the day before the Internet. I know there are a whole bunch of you right now clutching your hearts and staggering around like Fred Sanford exclaiming; “No…no Internet? What did people do all day long?” I could tell you but that’s another essay for another time. This one here is about my ruminations and musings on the pitfalls of doing research.

Way back in the 1980s in order to do my research for whatever I was working on at the time what I would do is set aside a day (usually Saturday) to go to my local library and spend the morning just researching. At that time I lived in Ebbets Field.



Which was only a nice little thirty minute walk to the library on Grand Army Plaza. So I got my exercise as well. Once the research was done I treated myself to the rest of the day off.



So now we fast-forward to the Internet Age where I can now simply Google any information about anything at all and do my research in my pajamas in the comfort of my home because now the library comes to me. And that’s a good thing. Maybe too much of a good thing.

Let me explain: the current project I’m working on is set during World War I during what was one of the most important conflicts in the history of warfare: The Battle of Cambrai. Cambrai is a town in France that is distinguished due to the fact that it was first time tanks were used in large numbers in combat successfully. Now, I know as much about The Battle of Cambrai as I do about the dark side of the moon. But that’s where things get interesting.

I go ahead and Google up The Battle of Cambrai and there’s a whole lotta good articles and information on the battle. I breathe a sigh of relief and dig in. The trail of research even leads me to YouTube as there’s a goodish number of documentaries from the History Channel about The Battle of Cambrai. I’m encouraged now, y’see? I hungrily absorb everything I’m learning and putting into the story as now I feel much more confident being armed with dates, names and maps to give my story a solid foundation.

So what’s the problem?

I re-read the first three chapters of the book and it occurred to me that what I had actually done was bury the story under the weight of the dates, names and maps. So intent had I been making sure I had the historical stuff right I sacrificed doing the stuff that I know how to do: dialog, characterization, action. Y’know…the stuff I had been asked to do on this project as that was the reason I had been engaged to work on it in the first place.

And I’ve always been the guy who preached that if facts got in the way of telling a good story then throw the facts away and don’t worry about it. But I didn’t do it this time and after some time I had it figured out as to why I wasn’t doing it. These weren’t my characters and this wasn’t a setting I had chosen. My confidence wasn’t holding me up on this one. And usually my confidence level is ridiculously high. But not this time. This time I felt I needed the facts to prove that I knew what I was doing.

And after a couple of days of burning up brain cells meditating about the situation it got through to me that I did know what I was doing. I was asked to write an action packed pulp adventure full of derring-do, thrills and chills. I hadn’t been asked to write a historical fiction novel ala John Jakes. The historical stuff of World War I and The Battle of Cambrai was just the backdrop for the story.

So what did I do? Why I scrapped the first three chapters and rewrote them, of course. But this time I only used just as much research as I needed to move the story along and that’s all.

So what’s the moral of this story? I guess it’s not to let research get in the way of having fun writing. Unless of course you actually are writing a historical fiction novel and in that case it’s of primary importance that you stick to the facts.  Or maybe the moral is that since research is so easy to do now that it’s way too easy to get caught up in research for research’s sake and convince yourself that you’re doing research when you’re actually entertaining yourself swimming in the sea of research.

But you’ll be glad to know that once I got through trudging through that bog, the novel proved to be a lot easier to work on and it’s going faster than I thought it would. What novel is this you ask?

Well, if I told you that now then I wouldn’t have a subject for us to talk about the next time, would I?






Friday, May 29, 2015

32 Months Later With Balogun Ojetade

Derrick Ferguson: What are the major changes that have taken place in your life personally and professionally since we last talked?

Balogun Ojetade: Personally, I now have two grandchildren (I had one back then), with a third one on the way and my father passed October 16, 2013, a year and a day after our first interview went live.

Professionally, I have published several books, completed a feature film, won a screenwriting contest and participated in several panels around the country.


DF: How have you grown as a writer/editor/publisher in the past 32 months?

BO: I certainly have – physically, at least. I now weigh 220 pounds. Back in 2012, I weighed about 180!

Seriously, I believe I have. I certainly have much more experience in all aspects of the business and the art. I have always worked hard at my craft as a writer, but I am devoting almost as much time to learning the business side of books.

DF: Is the direction you’re heading in now the same as it was 32 months ago?

BO: Pretty much. I have a stronger focus on pushing Black Speculative Fiction to the masses, now and I – with Milton Davis – have produced and / or curated nearly a dozen events since we last talked. These events include The Mahogany Masquerade; Alien Encounters; the Black Speculative Film Festival; the Black Science Fiction and Fantasy Youth Summit; The Black Speculative Fiction Author Showcase and many others. And now we are Co-Chairing SOBSFic Con (“State of Black Science Fiction Con) in 2016.

DF: Where do you see yourself five years from now?     
         
BO: I see myself publishing other authors, making more films and giving the world SOBSFic Con II. I also see a vacation in there, as I have not taking a vacation (other than working ones) in twenty-five years. My vacation spot of choice is Gabon, in Central Africa, my ancestral home.

DF: Do you think you’ve found your audience? Or that your audience has found you?

BO: My audience has found me. I wish I knew exactly who they were; it would certainly help with marketing. However, in this digital age, people buy books and you don’t know who they are unless they send you a message saying how much they loved, or didn’t love, your book.

DF: Have any of your attitudes about your work or your style of writing changed completely or modified?

BO: No sir. I’m still the same old me. If anything, I am more willing to experiment. Three years ago, I would have been too intimidated to write a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-style book. I did that last year with The Keys and I am plotting out the second book in the series.

DF: Tell us about Steamfunk and your place in the genre.

BO: Steamfunk is the Black / African expression of Steampunk, but it is more than that. While steam is the dominant technology in Steampunk it doesn’t have to be in Steamfunk. Most non-European cultures did not rely on steam and saw steam technology as a tool of the oppressor. We deal with that in Steamfunk. We tell the stories of George Washington Carver, Bass Reeves, Harriet Tubman, John Henry and Frederick Douglass – stories you won’t read in Steampunk.


My place in the genre is as an author and screenwriter. Up until this year, I would have been considered the Steamfunk activist. But now I push Black Speculative Fiction in general. I think Steamfunk has grown wings and really caught on, which was my plan. No need for me to keep that as my focus.

DF: Rococoa is a genre that really excites me. For those not in the know can you tell us what Rococoa is?

Where Sword and Soul ends and before Steamfunk begins, there is the Age of Spring Technology and Clockwork. Think Three Finger’d Jack; the pirate, Black Caesar; and the Haitian Revolution. Think the Black Count, Nat Turner, and the Stono Rebellion…that is Rococoa!

A couple of years ago, at the Mahogany Masquerade: An Evening of Steamfunk and Film, I inquired about the era that sits between Sword and Soul – the subgenre of African-inspired epic and heroic fantasy that is usually set before colonization – and Steamfunk, which normally takes place between 1837 and 1901. I asked if anyone had a name for that time because it is a time that fascinates me – a time of revolution (in particular, the Haitian Revolution); a time of pirates and swashbucklers; a time of reverence for art and science. I am a huge fan of The Three Musketeers in all media and Brotherhood of the Wolf, also set during that era, is one of my favorite movies.


No one at the event had a name for the era, however, everyone agreed the time possessed that same  “cool factor” found in Steamfunk and Sword and Soul.

Curious by nature and a researcher by choice, I immediately began my quest of discovery, fueled by my determination to find a name for this era that fascinated me so.

After a brief bit of research, I stumbled upon Rococo…and, to my surprise, Rococopunk.

Rococo is derived from the French word rocaille, originally meaning the bits of rocky decoration sometimes found in 16th-century architectural schemes. It was first used in its modern sense around 1800, at about the same time as baroque, and, like baroque, was initially a pejorative term.

Rococopunk is – like Dieselpunk – a sibling of Steampunk, set in the earlier Renaissance era, primarily in the high-class French community of the time. Participants in this movement wear outlandish makeup and hairstyles and sport bold, brightly colored clothing.


Think Amadeus, Pirates of the Caribbean, or The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. For darker Rococo, think Last of the Mohicans, Perfume: The Story of A Murderer, Brotherhood of the Wolf, or Sleepy Hollow (the 1999 film, not the television show).

Okay, I had a name for the era. Now, I needed to come up with a name to define the Black expression of Rococopunk; a name to define the subgenre so that – as author and publisher Milton Davis says of Steamfunk and Sword and Soul – “when you hear or read ‘Steamfunk’ or ‘Sword and Soul’, you know exactly what you’re getting.”

Before I could come up with a name myself, the brilliant Briaan L. Barron, artist and owner of Bri-Dimensional Images, did it for me with her release of the documentary, Steamfunk and Rococoa: A Black Victorian Fantasy. While there is not much talk of Rococo or Rococopunk in the documentary – it is mainly about Steampunk and Steamfunk and features Diana Pho of Beyond Victoriana and Yours Truly – the spelling, Rococoa, was perfect!

At present, I am seeking submissions of Rococoa stories for an anthology I will release in early 2016. It is the first anthology I am publishing and I am very excited about it.

DF: You and Milton Davis won the 2014 Urban Action Showcase Award for Best Action Script for your screenplay NGOLO. How did you guys celebrate when you won?

BO: We celebrated with some great Chinese food and a beer. The next day, we were back on the grind, strategizing our next step with the screenplay.




DF: Tell us about the story of NGOLO and your plans for it. Will we eventually see the movie?

BO: The basic premise of NGOLO is this:
In the near-future, assassinations are legal, as long as they are carried out by government-sanctioned guilds of assassins, who settle disputes in boardrooms and political offices around the world. One guild – the Bloodmen – is the most skilled; the most dangerous; the most feared…until the day the hunters become the hunted.

Here’s the plot:
When a contract for the life of Senator PATRICK STANTON – a man hell-bent on eradicating the assassin guilds – is issued and taken on by the Bloodmen, it is suspected by the Bloodmen’s Guild Professor (2nd-In-Command), STEPHEN JONES, that the master of the guild, KAMARA KEITA, accepted the contract pro-bono (an illegal practice) in order to force Senator Stanton to vote in favor of the continued existence of legal assassination and assassin guilds at the upcoming vote on the Anti-Assassination Bill.

Desiring leadership of the Bloodmen, Stephen challenges Guildmaster Kamara to combat, with the prize being command of the guild. Kamara defeats Stephen. Ashamed and envious, Stephen leaves the Bloodmen and attempts to turn the other guilds against Kamara. Instead, the other Guildmasters and Guild Professors back Kamara and even encourage him to kill Stephen for his betrayal, which Kamara refuses to do.

Stephen goes to assassin wannabes, the TIGERS and offers them a chance to become a legitimate guild if they help him bring down the Bloodmen. The leader of the Tigers, CARLOS FAIRCHILD, is reluctant at first, but Stephen convinces him that, under Guildmaster Kamara’s leadership, the Bloodmen have become corrupt and they must be stopped before they cause the eradication of legal assassination and all the guilds. Carlos joins forces with Stephen and hands over leadership of the Tigers – and a few street gangs he has influence over – to the former Bloodman.

The Bloodmen throw their annual Founders’ Day celebration. All of the Guildmasters and Guild Professors from around the world attend. Kamara awaits the arrival of his son, MALCOLM and Malcolm’s fiancĂ©e, JAMELA RASHON, both top Bloodmen assassins.

Jamela is en route from an assignment in San Diego and Malcolm is en route from a job in Japan. While on his way to the Bloodmen’s guild house, Malcolm is ambushed by the Tigers. At the same time, the guild house is attacked by an army of Tigers and thugs, led by Stephen.

Jamela comes upon the house as it is being attacked.
And then…

You’ll have to wait for the movie or the graphic novel to find out what happens next. We are negotiating both right now, so I can’t say much, but a major feature film is going to happen, but man, it is a long process. Hopefully, the feature film will hit the Big Screen in 2017. The graphic novel should drop a bit earlier in the same year or in late 2016.

DF: You and Milton Davis have proven to be quite the formidable partnership. What’s the secret of such a successful team?

BO: Hard work, consistency and courage. When Milton and I first met – to discuss creating Ngolo, actually – I told Milton that I operate from a position of power; not fear; that I get things done and have no time for naysayers. He had the same principles, so we started setting up events and projects together. Of course, we would discuss our stories with each other and that led to us doing some collaboration with Ki-Khanga, Rite of Passage and Ngolo.  Now, my final installment of Moses: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman will be set in Milton’s world of Freedonia.

It’s fun working with Milton and we have much more work to do together.


DF: Tell us about the State of Black Science Fiction Convention. How did it come about?

BO: Milton and I have long discussed doing a convention. All of the Black conventions at present are focused on comic books. That’s cool, but we need something more. There are many fans of Black Speculative Fiction who aren’t into comic books. I’m one of them. I lost a real interest in comic books after the last issue of Brotherman dropped, but I never lost interest in novels, films and television. Milton is not a fan of comic books either. I say that, not to bash comic books or comic book conventions, but to say that we need conventions that offer more, so we decided to create our own – one that would feature all aspects of Black Speculative Fiction. After curating Alien Encounters, a four-day Black Speculative Fiction conference (more academic than a convention) and sitting on panels at cons across the country, we know how to do this and it is going to be epic.
We call it State of Black Science Fiction Con because State of Black Science Fiction is the name of our collective. We call it SOBSFic [SAHBS-fik] Con for short. SOBSFic Con is set for June 17-18, 2016. There is already a huge buzz around it and we are expecting to get a great turnout.


DF: What are you working on now?

BO: I am working on Moses: The Chronicles of Harriet Tubman: Freedonia now. That will be the only novel I release this year. The rest of my time will be devoted to developing and marketing SOBSFic Con and doing panels at a few conventions.

Derrick Ferguson: Anything else we should know?

Balogun Ojetade: I am always seeking to collaborate with other authors and artists, so if any readers want to work on something, they can reach me at Chroniclesofharriet@gmail.com. 

I also love doing cons, so if you are doing a con and need a panelist or a moderator, let me know that, too. Oh, and buy my books. Word on the street is, they’re pretty good.

For more information about Balogun Ojetade and his work, check out his blog Chronicles of Harriet


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Lines I Wish I'd Written #2

#11: “You can blow the seminal prisoner class infrastructure out your ass! I'm not knockin' down my goddamn distribution charges!”

#12: “Ackroyd had the look of a man hang-gliding over Hell.”

#13: A good love scene should be about something else besides love. For instance, this one. Me fixing grapefruit. You sitting over there, dopey, half-asleep. Anyone looking at us could tell we're in love.”

#14: “JASMINE! FIX MY JAMMIES! FIX. MY. JAMMIES!”

#15: “My friend, Thomas Jefferson is an American saint because he wrote the words 'All men are created equal', words he clearly didn't believe since he allowed his own children to live in slavery. He's a rich white snob who's sick of paying taxes to the Brits. So, yeah, he writes some lovely words and aroused the rabble and they went and died for those words while he sat back and drank his wine and fucked his slave girl. This guy wants to tell me we're living in a community? Don't make me laugh. I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business. Now fuckin' pay me.”

#16: “Less noise, you daft bitch! And that goes for you as well, dog!”

#17: “How’s your mother?”
         “Oh…I’m afraid she’s on her way out”
         “We all are. Act accordingly.”

#18: "Back then Times Square was part of the real NYC. Musk remembered peep shows and porno theatres, the rotting orifice of a decaying city. NYC had never been more NYC than in the '70s when the sunlight was a category of polymers, when the snow fell on the Crown Vics staking out Italian social clubs, when 39th Street teemed with garment districts trucks, the sidewalks with rack pushers back when America made garments, when the city was a playground for lowlifes in Pierre Cardin suits."

#19: "First thing we're going to do is we're gonna acknowledge that this guy's awesome. I mean, he shoots Theo Tonin, fakes his own death in a spectacular fashion, pushes a guy out of an airplane while he's flying it, parachutes into Harlan County with enough coke and cash to jump-start the economy of a small country, and then he has the balls to get a job in law enforcement, not once but two times! He spends a couple of days riding around with you while you're looking for him, and now he's run off with a hooker that's half his age. That's some bad-ass shit."


#20: “When you raid a cathouse, you take the piano player too.”


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Progress Report: May 2015

S’help me I do my best to try and keep to a monthly schedule on my Progress Reports. But before you know it, 30 days slip by just like that *snaps fingers* while I’m saying “I’ll get to it tomorrow, I’ll get to it tomorrow.” But you’ve had a couple of good interviews to keep you entertained, I hope. And knowing how busy all of you are, I’m sure you haven’t even noticed it’s been March since I last did this thing. Not that there’s been a whole lot of movement on my front but there have been a few interesting tidbits going on and we’ll get to them in a minute.

Speaking of the interviews, you’ll notice that I’m updating most of them. In many cases they’re two, three and even four years old (sheesh, have I been doing them that long?) and the writers have many new and exciting projects you should know about. So that’s something for you to look forward to. Those of you who have done interviews, expect me to be bugging you in the next couple of months with updated questions.

By now you will have no doubt noticed that the Dillon/Sly Gantlet book THE SPECIALISTS is on sale and contains three of their most over the top, insane, and life altering adventures:

DEAD BEAT IN KHUSRA: When Sly Gantlet decides to mix business with pleasure and takes the charming and drop dead gorgeous Princess Sathyra on a solo tour to Khusra, he finds himself the target of Sathyra’s jealous ex-flame, Dillon!

DEAD BEAT IN THE GOBI DESERT: Dillon and Sly steal a biological weapon from a Russian military base, shortly before being shot down in the Gobi Desert. Soon they find themselves caught between a mysterious woman, a howling blizzard, Russian special forces, and a group of marauding cannibals!

THE SPECIALISTS: Enlisted by the American Intelligence Machine, Sly, Dillon and a motley crew of coerced killers must stop delivery of a special bomb designed to wipe out America’s electrical grid and bring about massive starvation. Up to their necks in blood and bullets, they find all paths blocked, and begin to suspect they were never meant to return from their mission alive!

If you’d like to sample the adrenaline drenched excitement that awaits you in THE SPECIALISTS you can check out a couple of previews of DEAD BEAT IN KHUSRA here and here. Enjoy.


What else is going on?

Work on the Sebastian Red anthology is coming together. Brent Lambert has written an absolutely wonderful story that will join the others I’ve already written and I’ve spent a goodly part of the weekend working on “The Bloodstained Trail” and its thisclose to being finished. So thanks to Brent that’s two brand new Sebastian Red stories you’ll be getting to go along with “Of All The Plagues A Lover Bears” “The Tale of The Baron’s Tribute” “Storms of Blood and Snow” and “Sorrowful Are The Souls That Sleep With Gold”

There’s another project I’ve been busy with for the past month but I don’t want to say too much about it because I don’t like to jinx my projects when they’re in the early stages. I’ve discovered in the past that if I talk too much about a project that kinda lets off the pressure to tell the story the way it should be told. It’s the pressure I need at the keyboard.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t give you a tease. Such as it is. Heh. Heh. And here it is the form of a link: Nightscape.

There’s also something on the horizon regarding Dillon that’s still in the planning stages but I’m pretty excited about it as I think it’ll be a way for me to further grow and expand the community of Dillon fans and supporters. You should keep an eye on the Dillon blog in the coming months for more news on that front.


That is all for now. Stay strong, stay healthy and remember; sprinkles are for winners.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

17 Months Later With...Percival Constantine

Percival Constantine stays so fargin’ busy that I could easily do an update interview with him every three months and he would always have some new project to inform us about. It’s taken me awhile to catch up with him to find out what he’s up to 17 MONTHS LATER…

Derrick Ferguson: How do you feel your career as a writer has grown in the past year?

Percival Constantine: I’ve gotten more serious about it, I think. I’ve started planning out a release schedule in advance and have that roughly set for the next two years or so and I make it a point to try to write every day. Although I still miss some days, I succeed more often than I fail, even on days when I feel like I won’t be able to get anything done.


DF: You’re somewhat unique in that you not only write; you design logos, format print books for a number of publishers and have done lettering work for comic books. Was this a deliberate career plan or did you just fall into these various creative arenas you operate in?

PC: It just sort of happened. Formatting, lettering, logo design, this all came about out of necessity. Someone had to do it. When I was putting together FALLEN for publication, I was a poor college graduate without the money to afford for formatting and Microsoft Word was just too frustrating to use. 



So I read a lot of guides and taught myself how to do it with InDesign. And while the first few books took days or even weeks to format, I eventually did enough of them and got to the point where now I can format a book in under an hour or so.

Lettering as well came about because of necessity. When I was putting together my first comic book project, I found an artist who could pencil and ink, but he couldn’t letter. So with the help of the fine folks over at NinjaLettering.com, I learned how to do it myself. And I was surprised to find out that not only could I do a pretty good job at it, but I enjoyed it, too. I then began applying for lettering positions and was able to make some extra cash doing those jobs. And logo design just grew out of the lettering work.

In this day and age, I think it’s important for authors—especially indies—to learn as much about the production process as humanly possible. For one, learning new skills is always a healthy thing. Two, you never know what you might be good at or enjoy doing until you try it. And three, it can save you a lot of money in the long run.

DF: Where do you see yourself in five years?

PC: Hopefully with a PhD or close to achieving one and able to make a living from my writing.

DF: Do you think you have found an audience? Or has your audience found you?

PC: I don’t think they have yet. But it’s building slowly, little by little.

DF: Tell us about your latest project.

PC: Right now I’m finishing up the first season of VANGUARD. It’s a superhero team in the vein of the X-Men and the Avengers, and I’m a huge fan of the Bronze Age comics. When I first discovered people were doing serialized prose stories through e-books, I thought it was a great idea and I felt like it would suit a number of concepts I had in mind which didn’t quite lend themselves to novels or novellas. Vanguard definitely falls in that camp. The serial format really lends itself to the types of comics I’ve always loved to read, the ones which are pretty much self-contained stories, but have overarching sub-plots that stretch out in the background. So I’m having a lot of fun with it.


The concept behind the series is that the world has changed through a mysterious occurrence called The Event. No one knows what it was or how it happened, but what we do know is that humanity has been changed on a genetic level. For the vast majority of the population, this mutation hasn’t resulted in any obvious change. But a small percentage have developed superhuman abilities as a result of it. The President sees the potential for problems and secretly authorizes the creation of Vanguard, a team of specials overseen by Colonel Leonard Thorne. It’s their job to police the specials who would threaten humanity.

The first season ends with the release of Vanguard #5: Rise of the Red Fist coming out on May 18th on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited. Soon, the episodes will be made available on all e-book retailers and I’m also going to release a compilation of the first season in print and digital formats, probably in the fall. I’m already in the middle of writing the second season and if all goes well, it will also debut in the fall.

Curse of the Necronomicon comes out on June 22nd, and this is the third book in THE MYTH HUNTER series. Elisa Hill is tasked with tracking down her former partner, Lucas Davalos, who disappeared while seeking out the Necronomicon. Of course, as is usually the case, things aren’t always as they seem and Elisa, Lucas, and Asami will soon find themselves hip-deep in a world of trouble.



Gentleman Rogue has a release date of July 20th and it’s the third book in the INFERNUM series. In this installment, a heist by a thief named Dalton Moore causes some losses for Infernum’s mysterious leader, Dante, and so he tracks down Dalton and offers him a choice—work for him on a job, or face the consequences. Dalton is paired with Dante’s right-hand woman, Tauna, and sent to retrieve a deadly biological weapon.



I’ve also got the third LUTHER CROSS story coming out from Pro Se Productions sometime in the near future, called Bloodlust. Some other work coming out through both Pro Se and Airship 27, but if I say anything more about that, Tommy Hancock and Ron Fortier might team up to do some unspeakable things to me.

DF: Hollywood calls and says that they’re going to give your $500 million and the director of your choice to adapt one of your books into a movie. What book do you choose and which director?

PC: Good question. I think I’d choose The Lost Continent, the first MYTH HUNTER book (and now free on all platforms). Now as for director, that’s tough. I might have to go with Joss Whedon or the Russo Brothers. Through “The Avengers” “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” those directors have clearly demonstrated that they understand the pulp mindset. They understand that these movies can be fun and don’t have to take themselves super-seriously. So I think they’d be wonderful to handle my work.

DF: Recommend a book, a movie and a TV show.

PC: I’m in the middle of reading Russ Anderson’s “Myth World” right now and really digging it. It’s a wonderful book that deserves more attention, so everyone head over to your e-book store of choice and buy it. For movie, I just saw “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and really dug it. I thought Joss Whedon and co. upped their game from the first film by a massive degree and it’s now my favorite Marvel film. And as for TV show, I’m really tempted to say “Daredevil” because it was just balls-out awesome, but I don’t want to seem like too much of a Marvel zombie. So instead, I’ll recommend “Sons of Anarchy”. The last season is finally on Netflix and I just started watching it.

Derrick Ferguson: Anything else we should know?

Percival Constantine: Both The Lost Continent and Love & Bullets are available for free on all platforms and if you go to percivalconstantine.com and enter your email address, you’ll get more free stuff.





Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Just In Case You Missed It The First Time Around...

...I was interviewed by the writer A.K. Kuykendall over at his blog The Kuykendall Post. You can find the interview HERE. Read, enjoy and thank you.