Friday, August 1, 2014

Courtesy of Mr. Sean E. Ali....


Since the management is running this elsewhere, I get to embellish a bit on the image I posted earlier...

Coming soon in print (though it is already available as an ebook) PulpWork Press proudly presents the final entry in the HOW THE WEST WAS WEIRD anthology series with, HOW THE WEST WAS WEIRD, VOLUME III (naturally)!

Featuring 12 stories, including tales by talented folks like Derrick Ferguson, Joel Jenkins, Thomas Deja, and Dale Glaser among others, it takes the western, mashes it up with genres like horror, science fiction and fantasy, mixes liberally, then conservatively (that way no one's offended), and BOOM! you have some fine reading...

Edited by Russ Anderson, it's bound to make the world a cleaner, brighter place, change your life as you know it, it'll pick up your dry cleaning and bring world peace...

...or whirled peas, I really didn't read the box that closely...
And if it doesn't do a single one of those things that I never really promised it would do in the first place...

...wait for it...

...you STILL have some fine reading ahead...!

BOOM goes the dynamite!

So buy a dozen (they make great gifts for Yom Kippur or Columbus Day), and share the love!

Now get out there and pick up a case and inhale that new book smell...

...unless you're doing the ebook thing, then I guess you have to just sort of wing it...

But I digress, buy it already!

You did? Well buy it again...!

These guys are trying to support a lifestyle they'd like to become accustomed to...

...and I'm out.

(insert mic drop here)

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Trail of Sebastian Red #3

Here’s a preview of “The Bloodstained Trail” a new Sebastian Red story I’m working on for the SEBASTIAN RED anthology I’ve been promising you guys for a couple of years now. Enjoy and let me know what you think, okay?



        The mutilated, gory man sitting on the back of the saddleless horse wept tears of blood as he had no eyes that would cry normal tears.  Naked he was and all the hideous tortures he had suffered were plain for all to see.  As he rode into the town of McBain’s Bluff, women stifled screams as they turned the fascinated faces of their children away from the horror on horseback.  Men dashed over to take the ruined man away, shouting at the women and children to get off the street.

         The tortured man screamed as well-meaning hands took him off the horse’s back.  Their touch seared his raw nerves with fresh agony.  The men took him to Doc Henry’s where they laid him on a cool white bed that soon became stained crimson.  Doc Henry got the men out of his operating theater with curses and generous blows of his huge fists.  Fists that soon worked at the task of healing they had been trained for.

         The cry went up for the sheriff to be summoned and the town drunk scurried to the task.  He was no longer drunk.  One look at the tortured man sobered him up right quick.

         Sheriff Morton reluctantly left his supper and ambled on over to Doc Henry’s.  He pushed his way through the crowd gathered outside Doc’s office.

         “Who do you reckon he is, Sheriff?”

         “Y’think he coulda run across Madman McGee, Sheriff?”

         “Mebbe he’s an outlaw, Sheriff?”

         “Won’t somebody think of the children, Sheriff?”

         Sheriff Morton paused at the door and turned around, glared at the crowd.  “Soon as I know what’s going on, you’ll know what’s going on!  But right now, the best thing y’all c’n do is go on ‘bout your bidness and let me tend to mine!” 

         Sheriff Morton went on in the cool interior of Doc Henry’s office.  And past that into his operating theater.  Doc Henry looked up from his grisly work.  His arms were crimson up to the elbows and his white shirt no longer white.  But Doc’s face was white.  Deathly white with fear.  “I’m glad you’re here, Will.  He ain’t gonna last long and you need to hear what he got to say.”

         Sheriff Morton took off his hat and bent down to look in the man’s face.  Doc had cleaned up the ravaged features as much as he could and Sheriff Morton reacted with shock on recognizing the man.  “Holy God!  Is that Chuck King?”

         “It is.  And what been done to him turns my stomach in ways I never thought it would be.  I done seen my share of outrage out here, Will…but this..”

         Sheriff Morton took a quick minute to further examine the man.  “I have, Doc.  God help us all, I have.”  And then he bent to listen to Chuck King’s final words.  It took the ruined man three minutes to tell what had happened to him and then he died.

         Doc Henry stepped away, making the sign of St. Ford’s Cross.  “If any soul deserved God’s blessing, it was him.  Who did that to him, Will?”

         Sheriff Morton slowly replaced his hat on his head.  “You’d best get washed up and come on outside, Doc.  Best if I tell ev’rybody at one time so’s we all know what we’re up against.”

         Sheriff Morton went back through the office and outside to the street.  The faces of the townspeople were a mosaic of fear, outright terror, resolve, hope and in a few, something that he hoped like hell was courage.  He waved the excited questions down, saying, “give Doc a chance to come on out so’s he can hear this along with the rest a’you.”

         It didn’t take Doc long to join the assembly.  Sheriff Morton raised his voice slightly and called out, “Tonnio, Clapper, Little Bill and Jason…y’all come up here to the front where you can hear me good.  Once I’m done I’ll want you to ride out to the ranches and settlements and tell everybody what I’m ‘bout to say and tell them they best come into town until this thing is settled.”

         “And what thing is this, Sheriff?”

         Sheriff Morton took in a deep breath and said, “It’s The Kreota.  They’re riding The Bloodstained Trail.”

         The ripple of astonished horror that went through the crowd was to be expected.  The fainting of a couple of women was also to be expected.  They were women who had been blessed enough to survive the last time The Kreota rose up.  Some men looked at each other uncertainly.  They did not know The Kreota.  The men who had the resigned look of prisoners sentenced to hang the next morning did.

         “That man just rode in ‘bout an hour ago.  I know he didn’t look nothing like him…but that was Chuck King.”

         Another ripple of astonishment. 

         “Chuck’s wife and two kids are dead.  He was tortured by The Kreota for fun and then they sent him here on that horse.  He said they told him that before they sent him off.  Laughing, they were.  Chuck said that he was told that the Ocnoi Black Conai himself had done him the honor of torturing him.”

         “Ocnoi?” Somebody asked.

         “It’s the Kreota word for ‘leader’ or ‘chief’.  And Black Conai is the worst of ‘em.  It was him what led the Kreota clans the last time they rode The Bloodstained Trail.  More’n a couple hundred folks got killed in that one.”

         “But why?” a woman wailed.  “We don’t bother The Kreota!  I’ve never even seen a Kreota!  Why do they want to kill us?”

         Sheriff Morton took off his hat and wiped his forehead clean of sweat with an already soaked forearm.  “Ma’am, I wish I could tell you.  I stick to my kind and that’s that.  But I was one’a those at Lancaster Canyon during the last great Kreota uprising and I can tell you that it don’t make a difference to them if they seen you or not.”

         A calm, strong voice said, “So what can we do, Will?”

         “I want every able man to go on home and secure his house and make sure his family is okay.  Then report to me.  I’ll assign reg’lar patrols of the town and we’ll barricade all ways in and out of town. And as of now, all women and children are under curfew.   We’ll set up lookouts on the rooftops.   If we keep our heads, don’t go off past th’ town limits, we should be okay.  Leastways until we can get some help from Fort Bronson.  Okay, y’all go on and do what I told ya.  But I want all you family men back here in three hours!  All single men report right now to my office.”

         As Sheriff Morton headed for his office, his way was blocked by two earnest young men with anxious looks on their faces.  He tried to get past them, saying, “Boys, you’re single men.  I expect you to volunteer for patrol duty.”

         “Sheriff, we need to talk to you.”

         Sheriff Morton stopped and took stock of the Horn brothers.  John was the older and looked at Morton with wide brown eyes.  On the short side he had a wiry build and from working out in the field his skin had tanned almost as dark as a Tonatore.  Yancy was the younger with a slighter taller, more graceful build.  One could tell they were brothers by their shared thick lemon yellow hair, hollow cheeks and full lips.

         “Boys, I got a lot to do so if you-“

         “Sheriff, you do know there’s a wagon train out there, right?” John said.  “Coming in from Fort Bronson.  Claudia’s on that wagon train.”

         “Oh.  I see.”  And Sheriff Morton did see.  “Look, fellas-“

         It was Yancy who spoke now; “if we could just take three or four men with us-“

         “I cain’t spare anybody, boys.  And you know that full well.  Matter of fact, I cain’t spare the two of you.  But I know better than to try and hold you back.  If you wanna go_”

         Yancy spoke again; “Sheriff, you can’t expect us not to go!”

         Sheriff Morton sighed.  “No, I can’t.  And I can’t stop you from going either.  I wish you would stay but if you got it in your heads to go-“

         “We’d just need two men!”

         And now Sheriff Morton’s face turned hard.  “Looky, boys…I ain’t gonna ask the married men to go.  I got a wife to look after myself.  And I need all the single men here to help defend the town.  That means you two as well.”

         “Sherriff, Claudia’s out there,” and Yancy couldn't have been more solid than a Sequoia when he said that.  “Now, me an’m’brother are goin’ out there to get her and bring her back here safe.  You gonna help or not?”

         “You heard what I said and I meant it.  I got a whole town to look after, boys.  If the Kreota decide to attack McBain’s Bluff I’m going to need every gun right here.  An’ not to put the bad mouth on them but you got to know that the Kreota might have attacked that wagon train and wiped it out.”

         Yancy’s voice wasn't pleasant as he said, “I oughta knock your teeth down your throat for even thinking that, Sheriff.”

         “Never mind, Yance,” John said.  “We’ll go ourselves.”

         “Now, just wait a minnit, boys.  Mayhap I can help, sorta.  There’s a fella been in town a couple of days passing through on his way to Kelly Gap.  You heard a’ Sebastian Red?”

         John nodded.  “Gunfighter, isn’t he?”

         “Done his share.  He hunts bounty, done some scoutin’ for the Army. He’s even supposed to be something of a spellslinger if the stories can be believed.  If you got enough money I daresay he’ll hire on to keep the two of you alive out there long enough to get to that wagon train.”

         “He know anything about the Kreota?”

         “I dunno.  You can ask him, though.  He’s most likely over to the saloon.”

         John swapped looks with his brother, who nodded.  “We’ll go on over right now and talk to him, Sheriff.  And thanks.”

         The brothers headed toward the saloon.  All around them, the town of McBain’s Bluff seemed to have galvanized into a sort of ordered chaos as men and women dashed to and fro.  Many were lined up outside of the town’s three general stores, buying supplies. 

         “Now that I put my mind to it, seems to me I heard tell some stories of this Sebastian Red,” Yancy said.  “Wasn’t he the one put down that range war over to Bickford County?  Killed himself a mess a’folks over there.”

         John nodded in agreement.  “I heard a’ him some.  Heard he don’t come cheap.  They paid him a thousand gold sovereigns for that job.  There was some talk of him huntin’ down and killing all a’ Bloody Neil Singer’s bunch.  Don’t know if I’m comfortable with going out there with a killer.”

         “Where the Kreota is concerned, a killer is ‘zactly what we need, John.  In any case, it won’t hurt to talk to the man.”

         “Agreed.”

         They reached the saloon and pushed their way through the batwing doors.  Most of the saloon had emptied out once word had passed.  The bartender busied himself with washing glasses, nodded in greeting at the Horn brothers.

         “Lookin’ for a man name’a Red, Harry,” John said.  “He here?”

         Harry gestured at a table near a window.  A lean bullwhip of a man sat there, dressed all in buckskin and leather.  A broad-brimmed sombrero hung from its cord on the back of his chair.  Sunlight twinkled on the charms woven into his dreadlocks.  He played Liar’s Solitaire with a deck of oversized hand-painted cards.

         The brothers walked over.  “Sebastian Red?”

         The man looked up, expertly sizing up the brothers with just a glance.  “Howdy.”

         “I’m John Horn and this here’s m’brother Yancy.  Can we sit and talk with you a minute?”

Sebastian Red gestured at the nearly empty bottle of tequila.  “Talkin’ is thirsty business.”

         John raised his voice.  “Harry, bring us a bottle of tequila and a couple of glasses, wouldja?”

         “Be right over.”

         Sebastian Red indicated that they should sit down.  “What can I do for you gentlemen?”

         Yancy said, “I ‘spect by now you heard about the Kreota risin’ up again.”

         Sebastian nodded.  “Some fool idjit come runnin’ in here yelling that everybody in town best to get ready to get slaughtered by the Kreota so most that were here went pilin’ out to run home and hide under their beds.”

         “You don’t think they got reason?”

         “Best thing to do is barricade every street in an’ outta town, arm every man and put them either on the rooftops or at the barricades.  An’ don’t leave town.”

         “Sheriff Morton is doin’ just that thing.”

         Sebastian nodded in approval.  “Smart man.  Sounds like he’s had some experience with the Kreota.”

         “He was at Lancaster Pass.”

         “Yeah.  He’s got experience then.”

         “But how about you, Mr. Red?  You know anythin’ ‘bout the Kreota?”

         Harry brought over the fresh bottle and shot glasses for the Horns.  Sebastian poured himself a drink and tossed it back before answering the question.  “I’ve dealt some with the Kreota.  Got into some scraps with them.  They ain’t a people to be taken lightly.  They know how to kill and once they got their blood hot, the best thing to do is stay right where you are until they cool off.

"The last time they rode The Bloodstained Trail was four years ago.  They rode it for about five days.  Time before that they rode it for five weeks.”  Sebastian poured himself another drink.  “Nobody knows why the Kreota take to The Bloodstained Trail or why they stop or how long it’s gonna last.  All anybody knows is that they’re gonna kill everything in their path until they’re satisfied and then go on back to their cliffs and mountains.”

         “You speak any Kreota, Mr. Red?”

         “Depends on the clan.  I know Bighand and Wormbone good.  I can get by with Eyefire and Shadowyell.  What’s all this ‘bout?”

         John toyed with his glass.  He’d poured himself a drink but he hadn’t taken it yet.  “My brother and I want to hire you to help us get to a wagon train.  It’s coming here from Fort Bronson.  That’s five days ride west of here.”

         “I know where Fort Bronson is.  I worked for the Army some a few years back.”

         “So you know this region, then?”

         Sebastian Red shrugged.  “Well, enough, I reckon.  But why you gentlemen want to throw away your lives riding out to catch a wagon train that’s on its way here anyway?”

         “Because there’s no way they can know the Kreota rose up again and they need to be warned.”

         Sebastian Red shook his head.  “Chances are the Kreota done killed them already.  You’d be wasting your lives.  You’d best hunker down right here in town.”

         “You don’t understand!”  Yancy snarled.  “Claudia’s with that wagon!”

         “You gonna get yourself killed over a girl, boy?”

         John placed a calming hand on his brother’s shoulder.  “Claudia’s not just a girl, Mr. Red.  She’s a woman I’m hoping will consent to be my wife.”

         “Or mine!”  Yancy shrugged his brother’s hand off.  “Claudia’s coming out here with her pap to settle.  John an’ me, we both courted Claudia back in Jenning Falls before coming out here to ranch.  We got us a pretty good spread outside of town.  Couple hundred acres, some good cattle, horses.  We ain’t big and we ain’t fancy but we’re doing all right.”

         “So what are we talkin’ about here?  You boys are gonna have this young lady decide between the two of you?”

         John nodded.  “We’ve agreed to abide by Claudia’s decision.”

         “What if it’s you?”  Sebastian gestured at Yancy.  “You gonna be able to live with your brother marryin’ a woman you love?”

         “If that happens, I ‘spect I’ll be leaving for a while to get over it.  But I’ll be just as happy for my brother as I would be for myself.”

         Privately, Sebastian wasn’t so sure about that.  He’d know brothers to cut each other’s throats over a woman but that wasn’t his lookout.  He shook his head.  “I appreciate what you wanna do, boys.  An’ you’re right.  Somebody should ride out and warn the wagon train and push ‘em until they get here safely.  But just the three of us…” again he shook his head.  “And you boys are city born and bred.  I can tell.  I need men I can count on when we run into trouble.”

         “We may not be big shot gunfighters or bounty hunters but we can carry our own water when we have to,” Yancy said.

         Sebastian looked at him with approval.  “I believe you can.  But still…”

         “If it’s money we can put two thousand in your hand in an hour.”  John said.  “If you want more than that you’ll have to wait until we can wire Hayes City and our bank there.”

         “That’s not it.  Not everything is ‘bout money.  I just don’t believe in throwing away my life or that of other folks if’n there ain’t no need.”

         “But we’ve just got to go help them, Mr. Red.  There’s a small force of Army soldiers with the wagon train but-“

         That caught Sebastian’s attention.  “You know any of the soldiers with that wagon?  Any mention made of a Lt. Finney with them?”

         Yancy shrugged.  “Claudia’s last letter only made mention of a Captain McAllister in charge.  That all.  Why?”

         “When I worked for the Army I got to be pards with this Lt. Jim Finney.  He saved my life when we were out on patrol.  We got surprised by a wild minotaur.  Critter would have tore me to pieces if Finney hadn’t got him with the first shot.”  Sebastian Red looked out the window.  “I’d sure hate to think of Finney out there with no idea the Kreota done rose up.  I owe him.”  Sebastian took another drink and sat in silence, still looking out the window.

         “So does this mean you’ll take us?”

         “Yeah.  Yeah, I’ll take you.  I can pretty much guess which route the wagon train will take.  We’ll ride out to meet them and push ‘em back here.  Hopefully we can do it without runnin’ into the Kreota but that ain’t much chance at all.”  Sebastian looked hard at John.  “And looky here…we find ‘em dead, I still expect to be paid.”

         “Two thousand is yours just for going.  That’s agreed.”

         Sebastian grunted in satisfaction.  “You boys got horses?”

         Yancy looked offended by the question.  “Of course we got horses.”

         “I mean real animals with strength and endurance you can depend on, not them nags you use on your ranch to pull plows.  Out there, a good horse may make the difference between you keeping your liver or not.”

         “What do you mean, ‘keeping your liver’”  Yancy asked.

         “Kreota cut out the livers of their kills.  That’s where they think the soul is.  They take livers, cook ‘em up in a tasty stew and eat ‘em.  Believes it gives them the power and smarts of whoever it belonged to.  We may have to run.  An’ more than once.  You want a horse what ain’t gonna drop dead on you after a mile or two.”

         “We’ll get good horses.  Ben Rollins raises some fine horses on his spread.  We’ll get a couple from him.” John said.

         “Make sure your guns and rifles are clean.  Bring dried meat, airtights, bread.  We won’t be making a fire out there.  We leave at first light.”

         “Why can’t we leave today?  There’s still five hours of daylight!”

         “One, because I been drinkin’ all day and I ain’t fool enough to go out there without a good night’s sleep to get sober.  Two; you boys need a solid night of sleep yourselves because once we get on the road, you ain’t gonna get another one until you get back here to town.  That’s if you get back.”

         John frowned.  “I’m not sure I like your attitude, Mr. Red.  You’re supposed to be keeping us alive but you act like you’re expecting us to get killed.”

         “What you don’t understand is that once we leave this town there’s a mighty good chance that we will get killed.”

         “Then why are you going?”

         “I told you why.  There’s a man out there I owe my life to and he don’t have no idea of what’s going on.  He deserves an even chance.”  Sebastian Red poured himself another drink.  “Now the both of you best be about your business.  Meet me back here at sunup.  And if either one of you are particularly religious, y’might wanna get your prayin’ done now.”




Monday, July 21, 2014

Kickin' The Willy Bobo With: KARA OWL

Derrick Ferguson: Where do you live and what do you tell the IRS you do for a living?
Kara Owl: I live in Tallahassee, Florida, and I tell the IRS I am disabled, because I am.  I write because I can make my own schedule, and if I’m exhausted or flaring, I can skip a day without having a boss yell at me for it.  I also write because I need to.  The stories must go somewhere!  



DF: Tell us something about your background.
KO: I attended Hollins University, where I had several professors tell me I should be majoring in English (I was a psych major) and encourage my creative writing.  I took multiple creative writing classes despite my major, and also attended a seminar led by Jeanne Larsen.  I don’t remember what the seminar was about, but Ms. Larsen made a huge impression.  She was larger than life, confident, and everything I wanted to be.  I’m still grateful for those encouraging teachers.  

DF: How long have you been writing?
KO: I wrote my first “book” in first grade.  It was an alternate ending to a story, because I hated the ending.  So, I fixed it!  I did that a lot, actually.  I don’t remember that first book, but I remember reading “Jacob Have I Loved” in third or fourth grade and rewriting the ending to it.  I would also write stories around episodes of my favorite TV shows.  Fanfic, basically, though it wasn’t called that back then. 

I am going to date myself horribly, but I recently found one of those stories.  It was a very silly story based around the Thundercats episode “Safari Joe.”  It’s terrible and yet I still love it because of what it says about chibi-me.  I was always a romantic at heart!

I never thought about writing for other people, though.  Even when I was writing a lot, it was mostly for me.  Then, I had a novel idea hit me, and I wrote it.  It wasn’t very good, but it led to a lot of conversations with my best friend and other novel ideas.  After he helped me see what needed to be changed to make my favorite novel idea work, I settled down and wrote (and rewrote) the story that became BLOOD OF THE CHOSEN.



DF: What are your influences?
KO: Author influences are definitely those I read when I was younger: Anne McCaffrey, Mercedes Lackey, Melanie Rawn, etc.  But I also draw inspiration from comic books, movies, and TV as well.  I feel overwhelmed with all the awesome inspiration I see everywhere, recently.  It is wonderful. 

DF: What's your philosophy of writing?
KO: My philosophy is “if it works for you, do it!” 
I write almost every day, though I don’t follow the ‘rule’ that you should treat writing as a job and write from 8am to 5pm or at a set time every day.  I have chronic pain, and so I try to use my “best” time for writing, when I am feeling sharpest mentally.  There’s no set time for that: it varies, and so does my scheduled writing time.  

I also write very lean, so the “cut 10% rule” doesn’t work very well for me.  Nearly all my editing notes include “add more here” in at least one spot, so I have gotten to the point where my first editing pass adds description and “meat” in the hopes of avoiding that note. 

I do follow these truisms:  write interesting characters, “people” that you would want to spend time with.  Know the places you write, so you could find your way around inside them, so you can feel the air of your world on your face, and so you could describe it from the sky all the way to the earth beneath the grass.  Use all five senses when describing your setting, though not all at once.  Most of all, if you don’t love writing enough to deal with a LOT of criticism and rejection, don’t walk away, run. 

DF: Tell us all about BLOOD OF THE CHOSEN.
KO: BLOOD OF THE CHOSEN is a novel about an elven family trying to stand against a darkness that is taking over their world.  They must decide if keeping their land is worth a civil war, and if they don’t decide fast enough, they could lose everything…

DF: How did you develop your characters?
KO: The characters in this novel were developed over almost 20 years.  We started off with a throw-away sentence about a character named after a famous warhorse thanks to a mix-up in the history books, and ended up with a fully-realized world.  I used a lot of things to get these characters right, including role-playing, character questionnaires, and short stories.  I wanted to know how they’d react in almost any situation, and I feel like I do now.  

DF: You a plotter or a pantser?
KO: Definitely a plotter.  Having an outline helps me to keep the story fresh in my head.   My outlines aren’t horribly detailed; some of the chapters are one sentence guidelines.  But I know when I need to start getting towards the ending, or when I need to drop in information that I need another character for, etc.  

DF: Tell us about your future writing plans. Is there anything else you're working on that we should know about?
KO: I am working on the sequel to BLOOD at the moment, and it will be finished soon, I think.  Once it’s done I’ll be sending it to the publisher, and then I’ll get to work on book 3!  

DF: What audience are you trying to reach with your work? Is there an audience out there for Kara Owl?
KO: I hope so.  I am trying to reach the epic fantasy audience.  My book is perfect for someone who wants elements of high or epic fantasy without the huge time commitment most of those books represent. 

DF: What's a typical Day In The Life of Kara Owl like?
KO: I suppose a typical day is me getting up, feeding cats and the dog, and then evaluating the pain levels and brain to figure out what’s going to happen next.  Depending on how I feel I might write for an hour in the morning if I am able.  If not, I’ll do chores and then eat lunch and see how I feel after lunch.  Keeping my writing time flexible enables me to do it when I am mentally sharpest, and that’s very good for me.  Sometimes, I don’t write until after dinner!  It all depends on my pain levels.  After lunch, I usually take a little time to rest and figure out what we’re doing for dinner, then cook it.  The husbeast and I go to the gym most days, because if I don’t work out my pain levels are even higher.  (Odd but true.)  We spend some time in the evening watching TV together, and then go to bed.  

Derrick Ferguson: Anything else we should know about Kara Owl?
Kara Owl: I’m a passably good euchre player, I love board games and role playing games, and I dream of someday going to an NFL game at Soldier Field. 

You can order yourself a copy of BLOOD OF THE CHOSEN from Jupiter Gardens Press or Amazon.com




Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Return Of PULPED!

PULPED! THE OFFICIAL NEW PULP PODCAST returns next week in its new spot as a JACKALOPE RADIO show! Starting Sunday, July 13 at 7 PM CST, PULPED!, an ESO Network Podcast, will run an hour every week on Jackalope Radio bringing the best in New Pulp Fiction to a brand new audience!





Want to be a guest on future episodes? Pulped! Will record on Tuesday nights at 7 PM each week. If you're interested in being a guest on PULPED!, email Tommy Hancock at braedenalex@centurytel.net and he'll schedule you!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

25 New Pulp Books To Get You Started

I get asked a lot of questions due to my affiliation with New Pulp and I’d have to say that the #1 question has to be: “Where do I get started? What should I read first just to get into it? What writers should I read?”

I can understand that. There is a lot of New Pulp out there now. Some of it excellent, some of its outstanding, some of its good, some of its just okay and a depressing amount of it no good at all. Even those of us who write and/or review or just read New Pulp feel the crush of recommending books and writers to others. For some time now I’ve been thinking about putting together a list of New Pulp books that virgins to the genre can start with just to get their brains wet and see if they like it. Well, today I stopped thinking and sat down and did it.

Notice that this list is titled 25 NEW PULP BOOKS TO GET YOU STARTED. It’s not titled “The 25 Best New Pulp Books Of All Time” or “The 25 New Pulp Books That You Should Read.” I feel it necessary to point that out as there’s a whole lot of New Pulp writers with egos as fragile as spider webs who will feel themselves slighted because their book is not on the list. Many of the books on the list were recommended by Lucas Garrett, Barry Reese and Andrew Salmon who answered a question I posted on the New Pulp FacebookPage. I didn’t feel comfortable just coming up with a list on my own (even though I easily could have) and they responded with gusto and alacrity. And I thank them for their contribution. 

Some of the books they recommended certainly deserve to be on such a list. Along with a bunch of others that are not on here. But if you disagree with this list then I heartily suggest and recommend you compile your own! It’ll make for lively discussion if nothing else, right?

The books on this list are meant for nothing more than a helpful and handy starting point for those who have no idea where to start reading New Pulp. Okay? We clear on that? Good.

One last bit of business and then we’ll get to the list itself: My only criteria here was to have diversity in genres and writing styles. You’ll find a wide range of New Pulp represented here in various genres. And yes, I have read all of the books on this list as I would not recommend anything to anybody unless I had done so.

Okay? Okay? So let’s get on it with it. If you’ve never read any New Pulp and are anxious to find out for yourself what it’s all about then here are 25 NEW PULP BOOKS TO GET YOU STARTED.






SGT. JANUS, SPIRIT BREAKER by Jim Beard
FIGHT CARD: FELONY FISTS by Paul Bishop (writing as Jack Tunney)
THE REVENGE OF THE MASKED GHOST by Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
DILLON AND THE VOICE OF ODIN by Derrick Ferguson
GREEN LAMA UNBOUND by Adam L. Garcia
CREEPING DAWN: THE RISE OF THE BLACK CENTIPEDE by Chuck Miller
THE MYTH HUNTER: THE LOST CONTINENT by Percival Constantine
BROTHER BONES by Ron Fortier
TAURUS MOON by Keith Gaston
YESTERYEAR by Tommy Hancock
DIRE PLANET by Joel Jenkins
PROHIBITION by Terrence McCauley
EVIL WAYS by Bobby Nash
FIGHT CARD: THE CUTMAN by Mel Odom (writing as Jack Tunney)
SENTINELS I: WHEN STRIKES THE WARLORD by Van Allen Plexico
THE OLD MAN Series by William Preston
THE ROOK Vol. I by Barry Reese
PULP HEROES: MORE THAN MORTAL by Wayne Reinagle
THE VRIL AGENDA by Joshua Reynolds and Derrick Ferguson
THE LIGHT OF MEN by Andrew Salmon
DAMBALLAH by Charles Saunders
HEIR OF ATLANTIS by Arthur Sippo
THE AUSLANDER FILES by Michael Patrick Sullivan
HOW THE WEST WAS WEIRD by Various Authors
THE RUBY FILES by Various Authors




Sunday, June 1, 2014

Kickin' The Willy Bobo With: KEITH GASTON

Derrick Ferguson: Who is Keith Gaston?

Keith Gaston: I am the author of more than a dozen books ranging from Speculative Fiction to Crime novels. My first book was published in 2007. After serving five years in the military, I began college, earning a degree in Computer Science. Since earning my degree I've gone on to earn two Masters degrees in Technology Management and Business Administration. My experience in the military and computer sciences has shaped many of my stories and characters over the years. I also write under the name D K Gaston.




DF: Where do you live and what do you tell the IRS you do for a living?

KG: I currently live in Michigan and still file my taxes under the title of computer tech guy.

DF: Tell us something about your background

KG: I am married to a wonderful woman and have two beautiful children. They're twins, one boy, the other a girl. I have worked in pretty much every IT field at one time or another from programming to systems administrator.

DF: How long have you been writing?

KG: I started drawing and writing comic books with friends in the fourth grade, creating such characters and teams as the Hooded Phantom and The Legion Unknown. It wasn't until I was working on my Masters degree that it hit me that I should start writing again. I enjoyed in a creative writing class, helped form a writers group and then I was well on my way to working on my first book titled, XIII.


DF: What do you love most about writing?

KG: Tough question. I think I love coming up creative stories the best. I enjoy brainstorming these ideas off the members of my writers group.

DF: What’s your philosophy of writing?

KG: Don't ever write for the money, do it for love. Once it becomes about money, it turns into a business using a formula style of repeating the same story and then you produce nothing original.

DF: What’s the best advice you can give for someone wanting to become a professional writer?

KG: Once you start writing, don't stop until you finish that first draft. This means do not edit yourself, because it'll only slow you down during the process. Once you're finished, but the first draft away for a week and then blow off the dust and start working on that second draft.

DF: Who’s Taurus Moon and why should we be reading his adventures?

KG: Taurus Moon is a relic hunter who will work for pretty much anyone if they can afford him. He's financially strap most of the time, lives in a run-down apartment in Detroit, and always seems to be in trouble. He searches for lost supernatural artifacts that may or may not be located on Earth.

He doesn't see himself as a hero, yet always finds himself helping those in needs, whether he wants to or not.

The Taurus Moon novels blends action, fantasy, science fiction and humor. Fairy tales, mythologies, and legends are not stories, but his reality.

Readers will enjoy Taurus Moon because his stories are a fun thrill ride.




DF: What further Taurus Moon adventures do you have planned?

KG: I'm working on an anthology featuring many of the secondary characters from Taurus Moon. I haven't come up with a title just yet, but I expect the book to be published sometime around August 2014.

DF: You really seem to have hit your stride in the suspense/thriller genre. So much so that you’ve been described as “the black James Patterson.” How do you feel about that and what is it about the suspense thriller that attracts you as both a reader and a writer?

KG: I think I'm referred to as the black James Patterson because I tend to write my novels in a movie-style much like Mr. Patterson. If there's a car chase scene, I like readers to feel as if they are sitting in the passenger seat. I take the reference as a compliment.

I am a big movie buff and a huge fan of the action movies of the seventies. It is the great movies of that yesteryear like, “Three Days Of The Condor”, “Telefon” “Shaft”, and many others, that have influenced my writing. This of course led me to finding books with the same type of story-telling, and I discovered writers like David Baldacci, James Patterson, James Rollins. And of course I was a huge fan of comic books and used to read Doc Savage and Conan the Barbarian.

When I first ventured into writing, what I discovered was lacking were action and speculative fiction novels written by Black authors. When I stumbled on a book written by Brandon Massey, I was thrilled, and he became part of my inspiration to write in genres other than thrillers.

DF: The TEASE Trilogy blends the spy/espionage genre with blaxploitation and urban/street lit. Was that deliberate on your part or did it just turn out that way?

KG: The TEASE novel was an experiment for me to see if I could attract readers who typically read Street Lit. I used a character I introduced in Darkest Hours (a Joe Hooks thriller) a spy called Shaw as my protagonist. To my surprise, TEASE became my best seller.

Tease is an assassin working for a local crime lord named D-Shroud. She has never failed on any of her missions... Well, not until she assigned to kill Shaw.

The book wasn't going to be called TEASE, nor was her character supposed to live beyond the first novel, but my beta readers insisted she continue on. Strange how things work in the writing world. LOL.



DF: You’ve just recently co-wrote a novel with Teresa D. Patterson: A BITTER PILL TO SWALLOW. How did you two come together on this project?

KG: She approached me with the idea, wanting to reach an audience outside of her normal fan-base. I thought it was an opportunity for me to connect with readers who don't typically read my works.

She told me her idea and we hashed out the details of the basic plot and began writing together. She's located in Florida, while I'm in Michigan, so we did all this via the Internet.



DF: What did you learn from collaborating with another writer? And are there any future collaborations we can look forward to?

KG: I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed collaborating with another author. It took a lot of pressure off my shoulders creatively and I believe our writing styles blended well.

I've also been co-writing a novel with Keith Kareem Williams called Blood & Vengeance. This book will be published mid-June 2015.

Yes, I am looking forward to working with other authors in the near future.

DF: Out of all your work, pick the three books that a new reader should start with that you feel represents you at your creative best.

KG: I always recommend The Friday House (government conspiracy thriller), The Promise (a mystery thriller), and Taurus Moon: Relic Hunter (action/speculative fiction.)

DF: What’s A Day In The Life Of Keith Gaston like?

KG: I work from 8 to 5 on weekdays, squeezing in a hour of writing during lunch. On weekends, I spend most of the time working around the house and spending time with the family. When I get a break, I do some writing and surf the web... Oh and I play Call of Duty.

Derrick Ferguson: Anything else we should know?

Keith Gaston: I have two audiobooks, TEASE and Taurus Moon: Relic Hunter. Both bring the characters to life and should be checked out.

Thanks for interviewing me, Derrick, I've had a blast answering your questions.


For more information on Keith’s books, please check out both his Amazon pages: Keith Gaston and D.K. Gaston