Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Kickin' The Willy Bobo With....BRENT LAMBERT

Derrick Ferguson: Who Is Brent Lambert?

Brent Lambert: He’s a guy just trying to succeed and make his way through this world while still maintaining some decency.  I never think I work hard enough and that mentality is both a blessing a curse.  Writing, reading, family and friends probably the easiest words to sum me up.

DF: What do you tell the IRS you do for a living?

BL: I work as a Billing Specialist for a worker’s comp insurance company. I track down why people owe what they owe basically.

DF: Tell us a little something about your background.

BL: I am an Army brat and for those who don’t know that means I was born and raised with my Father doing military service.  I’ve lived all over.  But my roots go back to the Southwestern part of Louisiana so the Cajun runs strong in me.  Gumbo always does my heart good.

DF: How long have you been writing?

BL: I’d have to guess since I was 12 when I tried to write my own fanfic version of The Andalite Chronicles.   Well, sort of fanfic as it was all original characters but just playing out the same plot. 

DF: What’s your philosophy of writing?

BL: It’s a marathon and not a sprint.  Every piece needs to be given the exact amount of time it needs and not a second less.

DF: Do you enjoy writing?

BL: Not sure if enjoy is the right word.  Of course I love it, but it’s a need.  It’s something I have to do and even if I knew I would never get a dime for it, I’d still write.  Story telling lies at the core of me.  I think it lies at the core of most people honestly. 

DF: What writers have influenced you?

BL: There’s a number of them, so I guess I’ll just rattle off a few for the sake of attention spans.

David Anthony Durham – If there is an author I truly want to emulate it’s him.   He’s a black writer who crafted a masterful epic fantasy trilogy full of blackness and black critiques.  The trilogy I’m referring to is the ACACIA series.  It was perfection on the page and if my life manages to produce such a work, I think I can be satisfied calling myself a decent writer.

Nnedi Okorafor – She’s a trailblazer and unapologetically black in her writing.  It gives me a lot of hope to see so many writers like her coming into the publishing fold.  She stands out to me because of just how artful and emotive her work is.  I’ve seen some writers be good at word economy, but she’s just brilliant.  WHO FEARS DEATH is a short novel that is full of worlds and history.  A lesson for any aspiring writer like myself.

K.A. Applegate – ANIMORPHS was the series that made me want to be a writer.  It’s what made me always want to invest in world building because of how she was always good at it. The visuals of the alien races she created still stand out in my mind.  I credit her influence for me always wanting to know so much minutiae about any culture or race I create in my work. 

Brandon Sanderson, Daniel Jose Older, C.S. Lewis, Jesmyn Ward and M.K. Asante are all other incredible people who provide influence as well.

And not to be too brown nosey, but I have always called you my “writing father” and I think that particular title will always stick.

DF: Do you write for yourself or for the reader?

BL: I’m going to give the typical Libra answer here and say that it’s a bit of both.  I want to potentially make a career out of this one day and that means knowing what your potential readership expects.  But you also have to write something you enjoy writing and would want to read.  So it’s something of a tight rope I suppose.   

DF: Are you interested in critics or criticism?

BL: Absolutely.  Criticism is important.  It makes you a stronger writer and allows to view your work from angles that you might not have had to before.  Of course, with most things, examining criticism of your work requires a good degree of discernment.  You need to be able to filter it out and take what you need from it.  Writers too thin-skinned and stubborn won’t take any kind of criticism and on the other end of the spectrum, you have writers who agonize over even the most offhand of comments.   You have to be able pull what you need from it.

I give a strong side eye to any who immediately dismiss any and all criticism.  I’ve seen quite a few writers, some very recently, who suggest that if someone doesn’t have anything good to say about a work then they shouldn’t say anything at all.  This form of thought seems to be particularly prevalent in indie circles.   Let me say that I vehemently disagree with that.

One, if the criticism is coming from someone who paid for your book then you don’t have much option but to shut up and listen.   This person has spent money that they will never get back AND taken time that they will never get back to read your book.  On top of that, they’re taking additional time they’ll never get back to give your ungrateful behind their thoughts and you got the nerve to suggest they should have just kept their mouth shut?  Miss me with that cult of positivity thinking.   If you want glowing reviews, then you better put out work that commands it.  You don’t get a pass because of your gender, race, etc. 

And let me clarify that before the wolves come out.  I strongly believe in supporting and putting my money towards works coming from marginalized groups.  It’s something I’m passionate about and I dedicate a whole blog to.  But being part of that marginalized group doesn’t give you a pass on putting out your subpar work.   Subconsciously, I’m probably more forgiving than I should be but if your story, cover, formatting etc. is subpar then expect me to say something.  On a personal level, I think I’ve had to work to come to this point because I use to be real sensitive about criticizing work by a marginalized author too hard. 

But we don’t get the best work if we don’t expect the best from each other do we?  And that’s the space I’m in now when it comes to criticism.  See it as a way to add more bricks to your fort.  Take what you need from it, do better and put out a better work next time.

DF: What audience are you trying to reach with your work? Is there an audience for Brent Lambert?

BL: I think so, if only because I am still seeking out writers that write the kind of books I want to read.  The closest I can think of at the moment are some of the influences I detailed above.  So I like to definitely think there is a lane for me and that lane is starting to become a highway that hopefully a bunch of us can all ride on.

DF: How important is it to follow your instincts while writing?

BL: In the process of creating that first draft, I think it is absolutely vital to follow your instincts.  You have to just let the imagination flow off you and go for it.  Now once you go start passing that story around for feedback, then you might want to let your instincts take a bit of a backseat and listen to what other people have to say.  I think in that stage of the process our instincts can work against us because we’re so attached to the story, ya know?      

DF: What’s your biggest obstacle when you’re writing?

BL: Just making the time for it.   No matter what, it always seems like there’s something that can distract you from it.  Heck, even as I’m typing this there are at least five different distractions trying to pull me away from it.  And since I have a tendency to want to try and multitask, it becomes a weakness.  Writing is something you can’t do without focus.

DF: What are you working on that we should know about?

BL: So I’ve got a list of projects I’m working on in one form or another.  I like having multiple projects to bounce between as it keeps me busy whenever I plant my butt down in the chair.

The Cruel Entourage – So this is a novel that originally started off as a serial series on Meriades Rai’s original fiction website.   It languished for a few years with me pecking at it every now and again.   I finally got a full blown draft for it done during this year’s Nanowrimo.   So right now I’m going through and editing the first draft, which has surprisingly been a fun process.

The story is essentially (right now at least) about a group of criminals being hired by a magical equivalent of the CIA to take down a rising dictator.

The Last American- This is a story I just finished plotting out.  Got about three chapters down on it so far.   It’s actually a pretty personal story for me as it evokes myself and my relationship with my two nieces.   How that gets translated into a dystopic superhero story is anybody’s guess…

Zaroffs- About eight chapters on this one and working on finishing out the plot outline for it.  It’s my “sexy monster hunters” story, but I’m trying to take it a little more seriously than the tween romance bit that tends to come with those kind of tales. 

Twisted Vines- This is the beast I’ve been trying to beat for a long time.  Four drafts all in various forms of lengths.  I’m determined to beat it this year.   It’s my epic fantasy tale.   It’s a story about how the past so intimately affects the present so it’s requiring a lot of world building from me.   But it’s going well.   I had an artist do a few character designs for it and it’s really enlivened the process for me.  

Derrick Ferguson: What’s a Typical Day In The Life of Brent Lambert?

Brent Lambert: Work, the gym, writing/reading on a normal day.  Maybe a couple of vacations thrown in over the course of the year.   I’m a simple guy with whole universes rolling around in my head so I spend a lot of time up there. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Sinbad: The New Voyages Vol. I is Now An Audiobook!

The greatest seafaring adventurer of all times returns to the high seas, Sinbad the Sailor!

Born of countless legends and myths, this fearless rogue sets sail across the seven seas aboard his ship, the Blue Nymph, accompanied by an international crew of colorful, larger-than-life characters. Chief among these are the irascible Omar, a veteran seamen and trusted first mate, the blond Viking giant, Ralf Gunarson, the sophisticated archer from Gaul, Henri Delacrois and the mysterious, lovely and deadly female samurai, Tishimi Osara.  All of them banded together to follow their famous captain on perilous new voyages across the world’s oceans!

And now you can hear the adventures of Sinbad as Airship 27 is proud to present the audiobook version of SINBAD: THE NEW VOYAGES Vol. I as read by Jem Matzan!

Inspired by the classic Ray Harryhausen Sinbad trilogy but re-envisioning Sinbad himself as the son of a Moorish prince and a Nubian princess, this is a Sinbad at once refreshingly new and yet as familiar as an old friend.

SINBAD: THE NEW VOYAGES Vol. I contains the following stories:

“Sinbad and The Island of The Simurgh” by Nancy Hansen
“Sinbad and The Sapphire of The Djinn” by I. A. Watson
“Sinbad and The Voyage to The Land of The Frozen Sun” by Derrick Ferguson

So what are you waiting for? Get over to AUDIBLE right NOW and get yours!

Saturday, February 6, 2016


The Pulp Ark New Pulp Awards, as announced earlier this year, are continuing in 2016 and will be awarded at the River City Comic Expo June 11-12, 2016 in Little Rock, AR.

With nominations now closed for the 2016 Pulp Ark New Pulp Awards, voting is open from February 5th, 2016 to 5:00 PM CST February 21, 2016.

“It’s time,” says Tommy Hancock, Coordinator of Pulp Ark and the Awards, “to pick the best of the best from 2015. And we have always prided ourselves on being the Pulp Award that has always been open to public voting and we continue that practice this year. Anyone of age can vote, but we do ask, as always, that this be treated fairly and justly. Of course, we are aware of ways votes could be made that are either not valid or simply a result of someone begging everyone in their family and graduating class to vote for them. What we ask is that those who vote and encourage others to vote do so with the right intent and consideration for all involved.”

Voting is open to all who wish to vote that are 18 years or older. All voters are subject to being asked to provide verification of age or identity if necessary throughout the voting process and the determining of winners. Refusal to do so if requested will result in the voter’s ballot being voided.
If you nominated in a particular category and do not see your nomination on the final ballot, it is because either the work/nominee was not appropriate for this year’s ballot due to not having been published or first published in 2015 OR it did not meet qualifications for another reason, such as a nominated work being a comic book or audiobook only, not a work of prose.

Voting opens on February 5 and will be open until 5 PM CST on February 21, 2016. All who wish to vote are asked to cut and paste the ballot from the Pulp Ark Award Facebook page or any other source where the ballot is posted. Then, the voter is requested to vote only ONCE for each category and to EITHER only list the nominee they are voting for under each category or to highlight the nominee (s) they are voting for in RED. Once they have completed their ballot, voters are asked to email the ballot to

Each ballot must contain a link to a Facebook page, a Twitter account, an email profile, or some other verifiable source by which the identity of the voter can be affirmed.

In the past, the Pulp Ark Awards were physical plaques presented to each winner. The final form of the 2016 Awards has not be determined at this point, but a physical award of some sort will be given to each winner.

The Ballot for the 2016 Pulp Ark New Pulp Awards is as follows-

The Green Lama: Crimson Circle by Adam Lance Garcia-Moonstone Books

Circling the Runway by JL Abramao-Down and Out Books

A Favor For a Fiend by Kelly A. Harmon-Pole to Pole Publishing

Helldorado: Bad Times Book Four by Chuck Dixon-Bruno Books

Ravenwood: Return of the Dugpa by Micah S. Harris-Airship 27 Productions

Baranak: Storming the Gates by Van Allen Plexico-White Rocket Books

The Dame Was a Tad Polish: An Armadillo Mystery by Nick Piers-Pro Se Productions

Jezebel Johnston-Devils Handmaid by Nancy Hansen-Airship 27 Productions

The Man with the Iron Heart by Mat Nastos-Nifty Entertainment

Lie Catchers by Paul Bishop- Pro Se Productions

Legends of New Pulp Fiction by Various-Airship 27 Productions

Hides the Dark Tower by Various- Pole to Pole Publishing

Asian Pulp By Various- Pro Se Productions

Amazing Tails # 1 by Various- Outpouring Comics

The Ninth Circle by Various-Pro Se Productions

From the Dragon Lord’s Library Volume 2-18thWall Productions

Something Strange is Going On by Various-Flinch Books
Lazarus Gray Volume Five by Barry Reese-Pro Se Productions

Spring Heeled Jack by I A. Watson from Sherlock Holmes consulting Detective volume 7-Airship 27 Productions

The Face of the Yuan Gui by Sean Taylor from Asian Pulp-Pro Se Productions

Bounty Buddies by Arthur Gibson from Amazing Tails #1- Outpouring Comics

Dragonfly Shadow by J. Patrick Allen from the Dragon Lord’s Library Volume 1-18thWall Productions

The Lady Wore Vengeance by Tommy Hancock-Legends of New Pulp Fiction-Airship 27 Productions

A Round for the Holly King by Nikki Nelson Hicks- Third Crow Press

Trouble Takes a Holiday by Arthur Gibson from Amazing Tails #1-Outpouring Comics

Big Trouble in Little Cheyenne by Tony Wilson from The Legends of New Pulp Fiction-Airship 27 Productions

The Tomb of the Veiled Prophet by Rick Lai from Tales of the
Shadowmen Volume 12: Carte Blanche-Blackcoat Press/Hollywood Comics

Gridiron-Second Down by David Boop from Legends of New Pulp Fiction- Airship 27 Productions

Immortals From Lazarus Gray Volume 5 by Barry Reese-Pro Se Productions

The Pride of Jim Hardy by Terrence McCauley from Legends of New Pulp
Fiction-Airship 27 Productions

Shadows and Phantoms by Barry Reese-From Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Five-Pro Se Productions

After the Wind by Wesley Julian-Wesley Julian

The Astonishing Tales of Sherlock Holmes: the Shrieking Pits by Nikki Nelson Hicks-Pro Se Productions

American Hercules : the Lion of Nemea by Mark Bousquet-Space Buggy Press

Night Hawk: Burning Skies by Ron Fortier-Moonstone

Tales from the Flip-Side: the Adventures of Big Daddy Cool and the Bombshell Kittens by John Pyka-Pro Se Productions

Lady Action-The Sands of Forever by Ron Fortier-Airship 27 Productions

Gentleman Rogue by Percival Constantine-Percival Constantine

Domino Lady: Money Shot by Bobby Nash-Moonstone

Badge City: Notches by M. H. Norris-Pro Se Productions

Ripper’s Ring by Steven R. Southard-Gypsy Shadow Publishing

Jake Istenhegyi:The Accidental Detective, Volume One by Jeffrey Hayes-Pro Se Productions

Asian Pulp by Adam Shaw-Pro Se Productions

Amazing Tails #1 by Johathan Meyers and Rusty Gilligan-Outpouring Comics

From the Dragon Lord’s Library Volume 2 by Morgan Fitzsimons-18thWall Productions

Baranak: Storming the Gates by Mark Williams-White Rocket Books

The Quest of Frankenstein by Mark Hoffman-Blackcoat Press/Hollywood Comics

Charles Boeckman Presents Johnny Nickle Volume Two: Trouble Follows by Adam Shaw-Pro Se Productions

Bass Reeves: Frontier Marshall by Marco Turini-Airship 27 Productions

The Dark Leopard: Mouse Trap by Rock Baker, Jeff Austin, and Marc Haines-Pro Se Productions

Legends of New Pulp Fiction by Doug Klauba-Airship 27 Productions

Lazarus Gray Volume 5 by Chris Batista-Pro Se Productions

Nighthawk: Burning Skies by Douglas Klauba-Moonstone

Mike Fyles
Doug Klauba
Morgan Fitzsimons
Mark Williams
Rob Davis
Pat Carabjal
Gary Kato
Bret Blevins
Jeffrey Hayes
George Sellas

I. A. Watson
Chuck Dixon
Arthur Gibson
Wesley Julian
Mark Bousquet
Frank Schildiner
Tony Wilson
Jim Beard
Nikki Nelson-Hicks
Barry Reese
Nancy Hansen

John Pyka
J Patrick Allen
Andy Fix
Loreli McCole

Any and all questions should be emailed to

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Everything You Wanted To Know About Derrick Ferguson But Were Afraid To Ask (Well, Not Quite But It's A Catchy Title, No?)

The effervescent New Pulp writer D. Alan Lewis was good enough to interview me for his blog. See, sometimes the tables get turned. It's a pretty good interview if I do say so myself and you can find it here

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


Proudly Presents

Earlier in the year we learned that New Pulp writer/editor/publisher Tommy Hancock was suffering from congestive heart-failure.  A relatively young family man, this was a dangerous condition that threatened not only Tommy but his entire family.  Almost immediately after this news was made public, several members of the New Pulp community began putting their heads together to see if anything could be done to help the Hancocks.

“Jaime Ramos proposed the idea of doing a benefit anthology,” says Airship 27 Productions Managing Editor, Ron Fortier.  “It was such a great idea, I realized it needed to get done and we began planning such a project.” The first thing Fortier did was bring aboard his partner in Airship 27, Art Director Rob Davis. “There was no way this was going to fly without Rob handling the book’s overall artwork and design.”  Fortier then went to Hancock and informed him of their plans. With Hancock’s blessings, he then posted an ad on Facebook explaining the project and seeking submissions from both writers and artists.  “It was always our intention to do this as a traditional pulp tome and thus artwork would be a major element in the final product.”

Much to Fortier’s surprise, and delight, the first creator to volunteer his assistance was Douglas Klauba, one of the finest artists in the field.  Klauba volunteered to paint the anthology’s cover once the book was assembled.  “Honestly,” Fortier confesses, “I was in shock. Doug is an amazing artist and his offering to do the cover was very much an omen that we were about to put together something truly unique.”

Within 48 hours after posting his recruiting ad, Fortier had received 57 commitments by New Pulp writers while 36 artists in the field signed on to do the illustrations.  Amongst these creators were some of the most popular New Pulp writers and artists in the field. In fact, getting so many promised stories in just two days, Fortier begrudgingly realized he and his associates were being handed a giant book and he publicly closed the admission call.  “It was crazy,” he recalls.  “Fifty-seven stories in just two days!  Of course there were naysayers who warned me we’d never get all of them.  They were right, we got 62 instead.”

And so the project began with Fortier reading each entry and then assigning it to an artist to illustrate.  Each tale features one black and white illustration.  Ramos acted as his assistant editor proofing teach story after Fortier with them.  Then, months into the project, Ramos, who suffers from diabetes, found his own health in jeopardy and after having handled half the stories, was forced to sideline himself.  What looked to be a major set-back was averted with writer/editor Todd Jones, a protégé of Fortier’s, volunteered to take on the task of finishing the proofing.

And so, after months of ups and downs. Airship 27 Productions is extremely proudly to present LEGENDS OF NEW PULP FICTION.  A giant treasure chest of some of the finest New Pulp fiction ever produced in an 830 page collection.  Representing the varied genres of pulp tradition, this volume features tales of horror, mystery, horror, suspense, pirates, fantasy, private eyes, crime-busting avengers and westerns to name a few.
“Rob and I kidded during the long months of production that we had everything pulp save for a romance story,” quips Fortier.  “Then in the final days of story submissions, we were sent a romance.  No lie!”

LEGENDS OF NEW PULP FICTION is now available at in both hard copy and on Kindle.  All profits earned by this amazing book are going to Tommy Hancock and his family.  Sure to become a valued collector’s item, LEGENDS OF NEW PULP FICTION is a one of a kind title pulp fans young and old, will cherish in years to come.


Available now from Amazon and on Kindle.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

23 Months Later With CHUCK MILLER

It’s been awhile since the original Kickin’ The Willy Bobo Interview with Chuck so I thought it way past time we caught up with what he’s all about and what he’s doing 23 MONTHS LATER…

Derrick Ferguson: Have there been any major changes in your life personally and professionally since we last talked?

Chuck Miller: Nothing major, though I have been a little busier in both areas. I've been branching out and doing some different things, like Sherlock Holmes, and a character called Zero that I've done some stories about for Moonstone. I had a few health issues recently that slowed me down a little, but I'm getting back on track now.

DF: How do you feel your writing has developed since we last talked?

CM: I think it's gotten a little smoother. I'm starting to develop a better sense of what should be left in and what should be cut out. I'm slightly less neurotic about it. Usually. If I'm having a good day.

DF: The universe of The Black Centipede has certainly expanded and grown larger since CREEPING DAWN: RISE OF THE BLACK CENTIPEDE. Was this by design or has the character’s popularity added fuel to your creative fires?

CM: Most of the characters I've been introducing have been around (in my head and notebooks) as long as The Black Centipede has. I came up with them for a comic book I wanted to do back in the 80s and 90s that never got off the ground. Vionna Valis comes from that, as do Jack Christian and Dana Unknown. Jack, Dana and Vionna are the main characters in "The Optimist," a novel I wrote five or six years ago. Nothing much happened with that either, but I decided to use some of the supporting cast in solo short stories, and thus The Black Centipede developed into whatever he is now. I've been planning to rewrite "The Optimist" to bring it in line with the continuity changes I've made. I need to do that because the events in that story are constantly being referred back to in my new stuff. Jack was originally supposed to be the central character in my little universe, but The Centipede has stolen his spot. Still, he is going to be more of a presence in future stories. He is the narrator and central character in The Return of Little Precious, and that story leads into other things.

Aside from that, I knew that The Centipede would need a supporting cast. I came up with Percival Doiley and Stan Bartowski. I have also made William Randolph Hearst and Amelia Earhart into regulars, though that wasn't my original intention. But the character needs to be grounded a little bit, and the supporting characters do that, and they also give him different personalities to play off of. He has a particular kind of relationship with Percy, another kind with Hearst, yet another with Stanley, and so on. There is a lot of potential for humor in all of these interactions, and humor is an essential component. Really, the inspirations for the way most of my characters interact are old sitcoms and comics like Little Lulu. You have characters with well-defined personality quirks, and they play off of one another in ways that are predictable in a good way.

DF: Didn’t I read some time ago that Hollywood was interested in The Black Centipede? Or is that just an unfounded rumor?

CM: I hope it isn't unfounded, but it's difficult to know who is serious about what. I think The Centipede would make a great TV series, something along the lines of "Boardwalk Empire," a period piece with lots of real people showing up.

DF: Tell us about THE BAY PHANTOM

CM: He started out as the subject of a humorous short story I wrote a while back called "The Return of Doctor Piranha." Set in the present day, in my old hometown of Mobile, Alabama, it was about a down-and-out pulp adventure hero from the 1930s. The magazine I wrote it for ended up never being published, so I just posted it online for free and forgot about it for a while. Later on, I started thinking about doing a new series, something totally separate from the world of The Black Centipede, and I remembered The Bay Phantom. So I took him back to the 30s, came up with some backstory, and introduced a cast of supporting characters.

He's a different kind of character from any of my others, and I use him to tell different kinds of stories. He's actually a rather complex character. He is competent and can be ruthless when he has to, but he is also rather naive, and even innocent in a strange way. He has inner conflicts, but he doesn't let them get in the way of what he's doing, though he goes to great lengths to understand or resolve them. We'll see more of him grappling with his "dark side" in the second book, The Feast of the Cannibal Guild. That is still a work in progress, but I'm hoping to finish it up before the end of October, or at least by Thanksgiving, if not Christmas or Groundhog Day. In it, he will be separated from Mirabelle for a while; she is off on a "secret mission" of her own, which is basically the other half of the story. I like the way they work together, but I wanted to see how they would fare as solo acts. Mirabelle is also a complex character, and we'll get into more about her past and what motivates her.


CM: It started out as a simple little novella in which Vionna Valis and Mary Jane Kelly encounter Professor James Moriarty, who has for many years now been Lord of the Vampires. It seems he was "rescued" by Dracula after he took his plunge off the Reichenbach Falls and turned into a vampire. Vionna and Mary encounter him when he starts bedeviling a young man named Scudder Moran, a descendant of Moriarty's old lieutenant, Colonel Sebastian Moran. With a little help from the ghost of Sherlock Holmes, the girls deal with him. When I decided to make an official novel out of it, I needed a lot more material to fill it out.

Since the main story was complete, I decided to do some background stuff, showing how Moriarty got mixed up with Dracula in the first place. What I came up with was a middle section in which Vionna finds herself transported to London in the year 1888-- a sort of telepathic time-travel dream thing of an uncertain nature, induced by the ghost of Holmes, who has been trapped in Vionna's head. She takes the place of Watson as Holmes is engaged by the still-human Moriarty to track down Jack the Ripper. The Ripper being one of the main villains in The Black Centipede saga, I took the opportunity to fill out a little bit of history there, and it builds on some of the events in Blood of the Centipede.

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

CM: A little of both, I guess. But I'm hearing more and more from people I don't know and don't have any connection to, which is good. I do a lot of self-publicizing on social media, and I sometimes sell books one at a time to people I come into contact with. I really need to start getting out to conventions and things.

DF: Where do you see Chuck Miller in five years?

CM: Wealthy beyond the dreams of avarice, more popular than the Beatles, able to bend steel in my bare hands. Either that, or the same place I was five years ago, which is basically right here. But five years older than now.

DF: How do you see the New Pulp community these days? Is it a community?

CM: I think it is. Maybe not as much of one as it seemed to be for a while. Whatever the definition of New Pulp is, it is nebulous enough to accommodate all manner of things, and certain writers and certain kinds of stories which could fit within those boundaries are not identified as such. There are lots of gray areas around the edges, and any number of things could fit in.

That being the case, it isn't as much of a community as, say, Star Wars fans or Batman fans or anything that has a very clear-cut definition. I don't hear the term New Pulp used as often as I used to. But there are still these core people who identify with it, so it is a community, albeit a rather small one. Maybe some sort of big event is needed to draw more people in and generate more interest. I don't know what form it would take, though.

DF: Do you think that New Pulp will ever have respectability?

CM: It might! I mean, it's respectable already, but in terms of gaining a wider audience-- which we'd all like to see-- I think the potential is there. The popularity of the superhero genre is ongoing, and may hold out for a few more years. Since that is closely related to what we're doing, a little door is standing open. The question is, how do we get through it? I don't have an answer for that. I don't know a lot about marketing. It may come down to dumb luck on somebody's part. The right book making its way into the right hands at the right time. I don't know of any way to force that to happen. 

We're not really tapping into even the comic book/sci-fi community the way we ought to be, but I don't know what the solution is. That would certainly be the first step, before trying to break into any kind of mainstream recognition. But there are a lot of talented people working in the New Pulp field, and if their work could find its way into the hands of enough people, I think it would really take off. After all, the most popular book series in recent memory is Harry Potter, and those stories could easily fit under the pulp umbrella.

DF: What are you working on now?

CM: I've got several things coming out over the next few months. As I mentioned earlier, the next installment of The Black Centipede and his pals' adventures, The Return of Little Precious, is coming from Pro Se Press. This one stars Doctor Unknown Junior, and it wraps up the Moriarty trilogy. There's also the return of a villain from one of the early Centipede books. That's already done, and it's in the editing stage now. I'm currently working on the second Bay Phantom novel, Feast of the Cannibal Guild, the next Vionna and Mary, Into the Void, and sort of tentatively sketching out the next Black Centipede. I'm also doing things for Pro Se's Single Shot line, including new Centipede and Vionna short stories, and a new character called the Red Dagger. He is a sort of spinoff from Blood of the Centipede. Lancelot Cromwell, the hedonistic actor who played The Black Centipede in the movie decides to become a masked crime-fighter for real. It does not go smoothly.

Derrick Ferguson: Anything else we should know?

Chuck Miller: Well, a couple of "bucket list" projects have been done and are working their way toward publication. One of them is a Sherlock Holmes novel I've done for Airship 27. Sherlock Holmes: The Picture of Innocence is a reworking of The Sign of the Four and A Scandal in Bohemia. It guest stars Arthur Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde, and was also inspired by The Picture of Dorian Gray.

The other one is something I've been wanting to do for a very long time. My absolute favorite TV show ever is Kolchak: The Night Stalker. I recently had the opportunity to do two Kolchak novelettes for Moonstone Books, and those are set to be released in February of 2016. Penny Dreadful and The Time Stalker are going to be published in a single volume. I don't want to give too much away, but I'll tell you that one of them features the return of a monster from the small screen, while the other deals with Carl Kolchak's encounter with one of the most notorious real-life psychopaths of all time.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Kickin' The Willy Bobo With...Frank Schildiner

Derrick Ferguson: Who Is Frank Schildiner?

Frank Schildiner: Oh jeez, start with a hard one why don't ya? That's something I've been wondering for 49 years and I'm still figuring it out. Well, I was born in Queens, NY, raised in New Jersey and at night I fight crime under the name...oops, slipped into my own reality for a minute there...

DF: What do you tell the IRS you do for a living?

FS:  Senior Probation Officer for the State of New Jersey, Martial Arts instructor for Amorosi's Mixed Martial Arts and writer. They also wonder if I have time to sleep.

DF: Tell us a little something about your background.

FS: That'd take a while, but I think I can sum up. I had amazing parents who managed to deal with a slightly demented child by channeling him (i.e. me) into useful areas. I grew up reading classics, both the fun variety like Burroughs and Doyle, and the serious kind you were forced to read in school. They loved all types of films and I got to see some of the best and worst old films as I grew up. This fostered my imagination and made me the rather crazy person I am today. But it wouldn't have gone anywhere if I hadn't been encouraged to take up martial arts in my mid-thirties. There I learned discipline and so much more, channeling what was inside me into a more productive direction.

DF: How long have you been writing?

FS: All my life, but I wasn't published until I was 40. This was a good thing. I look back at my earlier work and shudder. I was really bad and it took me that long to learn the basics of storytelling. But thanks to some amazing teachers/editors, I'm slowly getting there (I hope).

DF: You a plotter or a pantser?

FS: Pantser, totally and completely. I tried forever to be a plotter and all my stories were horrific, stilted and stiff. Then I read Stephen King's “On Writing” and he explained he wrote his books the way I wanted to do it. I figured if one of the bestselling authors on Earth, one of my heroes, did it that way, I could avoid outlines.. .

DF: What writers have influenced you?

FS: Oh man, so many! Lovecraft, Howard, Ernst, Jack London, Walter Gibson, Bram Stoker, Jack Kirby, Harlan Ellison, Philip Jose Farmer, Will Murray, Win Scott Eckert, JM Lofficier, David Gerrold, Clark Ashton Smith...I could be doing this for a very long time...

DF: Are you interested in critics or professional/amateur criticism of your work?

FS: In a small sense, I think we all are to a degree. I hope everyone likes my work, but I'm not going to worry about it overly. I do prize and listen to my editors and friends who give me honest constructive criticism, that’s how I learned to become a better writer. But a bad review doesn't shake me. A writer needs to be immune to worries like that one.

DF: What audience are you trying to reach with your work? Is there an audience for Frank Schildiner?

FS: Hmm, that's a good one. Well, I think my two audiences are pulp and occult/horror adventure. My main work is, surprising to me, very much in the weirder end of the horror universe. My latest novel seems to cover both areas, but time will tell if I actually have anyone reading me LOL!

DF: Do you consider yourself to be a New Pulp writer? If so, why? And if not, then why not?

FS: Very much a New Pulp writer. That's where I got started, writing French pulp crossovers for Black Coat Press and Secret Agent X for Airship27. I love that period of writing and the fact that it returned to the publishing world in the last ten years or so was a gift from heaven, so to speak.

Also I love the amazing work New Pulp writers produce regularly. There are so many great new characters coming out these days, Pat Wildman, Dillon, the Royal Occultist, Sgt.'s an incredible time to be a writer or a reader.

DF: How important is it to follow your instincts while writing?

FS: 100% importance. At times I find myself writing entirely different directions than I imagined a scene or a chapter would go in a book. It’s a surprising moment, an internal and unconscious decision that makes the writing process all the more enjoyable.


FS: This is the story of the French version of the Frankenstein monster. The creature is a lethal and terrible monster, an evil being who meets up with the American monster maker, Herbert West, in his quest for a mate. To get his mate, West requires a list of items, most living and terrible beings themselves, and the creature, known as Gouroull, wanders around the world to obtain these items. It’s a sweeping story, introducing monsters, many of whom were forgotten by horror/occult fans.

DF: This is a different Frankenstein Monster from the one that most of here in America are familiar with. Can you go into the origins of this Monster and why you chose to use him for your novel?

FS: Oh yes, this is a truly amazing story. Back in the 1950’s a French pulp paperback publisher had on staff a man named Jean-Claude Carriere. He was asked to write a series starring the Frankenstein monster, though he remade the creature. This is not the tormented Byronic monster of Shelley, the allegorical Whale version or the brutish version that followed when Whale stopped making the films. The creature, named Gouroull, is a giant, chalky skinned, yellow-eyed, nigh-invulnerable fiend. He’s nearly bulletproof, unafraid of fire and possessing an alien intelligence.

Carriere wrote Gouroull in a series of novels that ended in 1959. He then went on to become an Academy Award winning screenwriter whose work with Luis Brunel and others has made him one of the legends in the film world. In 2014 he was also given a lifetime achievement award by the Academy, which is quite a heavy legacy to follow.

I learned of Gouroull through my friend and mentor, JM Lofficier and his company, BLACK COAT PRESS. I’m proud he accepted the book and thus THE QUEST OF FRANKENSTEIN was born!

DF: Tell us about TALES OF THE SHADOWMEN and how you got involved with that anthology series.

FS: TALES OF THE SHADOWMEN is a yearly publication by the amazing JM Lofficier and his company BLACK COAT PRESS. In these anthologies, a writer takes a French character and writes them in a story with heroes or villains they normally would not have encountered. It’s a marvelous idea, a mean of introducing the world to the vast French literature unknown to many.

Characters like Doctor Omega, Fantomos, Judex, Lemmy Caution, Harry Dickson, Nyctalope and so many more have become popular thanks to this incredible series of books. Major writers like Michael Moorcock, Brian Stableford and Terrence Dicks contributed and writers like myself and many others got their fiction writing start in these anthologies.

I was brought in because I wrote a short story for JM, an archaeologist named Jean Kariven who was involved in ancient alien adventures. I’ve written Kariven several times and also wrote my first Gouroull tale in the Shadowmen books.

DF: You’ve written quite a few Classic Pulp heroes such as Thunder Jim Wade, The Black Bat, Secret Agent X and The Avenger among others. Which one was your favorite?

FS: Thunder Jim Wade has become my favorite over the years. He was a Doc Savage knockoff that was done by a great writer, Henry Kuttner (best known for the short story, “The Graveyard Rats”). Kuttner, though an excellent tale spinner, didn’t seem interested in the character or action hero pulps. He created a great origin for Wade, being raised in a lost city in Africa, but the stories were bland at best. I’ve taken the character a unique and fun direction and really love the plans I have for the hero in the future.

DF: Any other Classic Pulp characters you’d like to write?

FS: Operator #5. Love the idea of a spy fighting lethal hordes who are trying to take over the United States. I doubt that I ever will write the hero, but we all have dreams.

DF: Tell us about BIG OL’ SCORPION.

FS: BIG OL’ SCORPION harkens back to my upbringing. I was blessed with parents who loved old films, good, bad and otherwise. They showed me the old 50’s sci-fi films when I was young and I fell in love with the ones starring giant monsters rampaging across the USA. “EARTH VS THE SPIDER” “THEM!” and oh so many more were available on weekend TV when I was growing up, so I got to watch them and imagine a world where this happened for real. I always wanted to write short stories or novellas on these creatures, even did a few team up tales when I was little. Happily none of those embarrassing efforts survived, but I came up with the idea of a rockabilly guitarist who encounters a giant scorpion in a town in the Midwest. It was a major pleasure to write and seemed to work for many readers, I’m happy to say.

DF: What are your plans for your writing career? Is there anything you’re working on now that we should know about?

FS: I’m working on a Thunder Jim Wade novella for Pro Se Publishing right now and have a possible series of novellas in the pipeline with another publisher. I’ve also got two possible short story collections in works as well as a pulp novel series. Also coming soon is a short story collection I’m in called THE LEGENDS OF NEW PULP FICTION with Airship27. It’s an anthology book with a total of 62 writers and 38 artists and being used as a fundraiser for Tommy Hancock and his health problems.

Derrick Ferguson: What’s a Typical Day In The Life Of Frank Schildiner like?

Frank Schildiner: Up at 6am, at work by 8. Work until lunchtime, where I do a little writing if I can. Work until 4:30 and then rush off to my dojo, AMOROSI’S MIXED MARTIAL ARTS. I train and teach until 9 or so, then home and write a couple of hours before bed. It’s a non-stop life, I’ve turned into a triple A personality at nearly 50, which is shocking for me to say the least!