Thursday, May 25, 2017

Kickin' The Willy Bobo With...BERTRAM GIBBS

DF: Who is Bertram Gibbs?
Bertram Gibbs: Husband, father, film, comic book, television, Broadway collector and enthusiast. Researcher of psychology and forensic science. Avid follower of true crime stories with a preference for serial killers and mass murderers. Ex-actor, Ex-Army Reservist. Harsh critic. Opinionated and crazed sarcastic bastard. Writer.



DF: Where do you live and what do you do to keep yourself in cheese and crackers?
BG: Presently in Massachusetts though I continue to classify myself as a New Yorker. Da Bronx, to be exact, which is a whole different mindset and perception. I work as a Credit Analyst for a tire company.

DF: You have an interesting background. Tell us about it.

BG: Well, I grew up in an artistic family. My grandmother Harriet Gibbs (aka Nana) was a chorus girl in The Blackbirds of 1926. Ethel Waters was her roommate for a while and she hung out and knew Bill”Bojangles” Robinson (who she said was a right bastard), Tim Moore (years before he became 'Kingfish' on Amos & Andy) and many of the jazz greats of the period.

She was a light-skinned black woman and got the job because she 'passed'. She also had a resemblance to Bette Davis. My grandfather, Bertram Gibbs (the first, me being the second) was a jazz drummer. While Nana studied and became a nurse's aide both Nana and Grandpa worked as caretakers for a synagogue. Hanging with them I ended up speaking fluent Yiddish by the time I was six. Which totally messed up the minds of my kindergarten and first grade teachers.

Their daughter, my mother Dolores (who shall heretofore be known as 'Ma') loved the arts but suffered from extreme stage fright. To compensate she went to just about every film and Broadway show that came out before and after I was born. She brought me up with a love of theater in all aspects and taught me everything she knew on actors, directors, cinematography, makeup, film and stage history.

I also have a younger sister, Harriet. My father, Gerald Nathan was an artist and killed in a hit-and-run when I was five. Leaving Ma to do the work of a single parent for twelve years. Being very independent and a free thinker, she kept her maiden name and only changed it when she married Pops; Pablo Benitez. He was an artist as well but settled for being a draftsman for Brooklyn Union Gas.

Though bigotry existed and having a grandmother who looked white, Ma raised me to be color blind. Regarding prejudice she always reminded me;”Bigots are not bigots because they are a particular race or religion. Bigots are bigots because they're stupid.” Being brought up in a household filled with liberal, artistic sensibilities and being a New Yorker made the curmudgeon I am today.

DF: How long have you been writing?
BG:When I think about it, always. At first, I wanted to be an actor and while studying my craft wrote monologues, scenes and plays for myself and my acting classes and workshops. I used to drive my English teachers nuts. We would get 100 word assignments and I would pass in something closer to 500. I was always praised for my detailed imagination and criticized for my verbosity but not in a negative way. Set numbers are very confining when you are trying to tell a story or express an idea. Twitter is my nemesis.

Ma was my biggest fan and harshest critic of my work. She would read my stories-which were sometimes longer than my school assignments-and give me her warm, loving and dangerous smile as she handed it back to me, sometimes saying “Very good, very imaginative. But similar to (fill in story or character name in previously written work) Do it again.”

DF: What have you learned about yourself through your writing?
BG: That there are no limitations. That you do not have to accept the things that are. That with determination and imagination you can do anything. Many years ago, in 1962 to be exact, Ma took me to see “Lawrence of Arabia.” Aside from the cinematic splendor and complex characters there was a line that stuck with me. It was said by Omar Sharif's character, Ali; “Truly for some men nothing is written unless THEY write it.”

DF:What audience are you trying to reach with your work? Is there an audience for Bertram Gibbs?
BG: Presently, fans of crime fiction. Puzzle solvers. Readers who enjoy a literary shell game. The pea, or clue is right there in front of you. You just have to pick the right shell. And even if you pick the right one you may be surprised to see that the pea is only a resemblance of the one first slipped under the shell.

DF:You wrote a lot of DC fan fiction which is where I first discovered your work as we wrote stuff for a couple of the same sites. How and why did you start writing fan fiction?
BG: To answer that I have to start at the beginning. Ma, like all parents used to read me stories; for her, it was literally from my infancy. Daily, nightly, when she was cooking, when she was cleaning the apartment; there was always a book she would read from. And it was never in baby-talk. Never dumbed down for my age. Ma was a stickler for the English language. When I was two she handed me a children's book and asked me to read it to her. I told her in my simplicity that I didn't know how to read. I remember her smile as she said, “And now you will.”

From that point she brought home comic books, knowing that the cation in the panels would explain and enhance the words. Of course she would help me but when I was stuck on a word or a phrase, she dropped a dictionary in my lap and said, “look it up.” So by the age of three, I was reading on my own. From there I would not only read the comics but make up stories using the characters.

Flash forward to a story that stuck in my head and ended up on paper: Plastic Man, The Blue Beetle and Booster Gold join forces to take down Lex Luthor using their combined 'power of annoyance.' I went to Warner Books and DC Comics with hopes that they would either publish it in novel form or adapt it in the comic book medium. I was turned down despite all my efforts. So here I was with a 400 page paperweight with no audience except for a few friends. Out of boredom and frustration I went on the Internet and found that what I had written was called 'fan fiction.' And from there I found and contacted Curtis Fernlund who ran a wonderful DC Comics fan fiction site and “The Return of BWAH-HAH-HA” was published in a chapter a month serial format. Due to the positive response to the story, a wellspring of adventures came out, also appearing on the site.


DF: Do you miss it?
BG: Yes, I do. I had so much fun writing stories for the site and had a few more to contribute as well. One was a Justice Society story where The Spectre and the gang have to battle a netherworld demon who resembles sing Johnny Mathis. But life got in the way.

Even though my present work is in crime fiction I still noodle in the superhero genre. Sometimes I fight not to include certain comic book elements in my crime stories. Here I will call my last statement BS. I wrote a story some time back called “Strange Fellows” (It's from The Merchant of Venice-”Nature hath framed strange fellows in her time”) It is one of my Fine and Costa tales and revolves around the actions of a domestic terrorist who after killing a costumed street vigilante decides he will become a super villain. I used elaborate comic book death traps, brought the detectives into the world of comic books and comic book films, made several references to DC and Marvel characters. That was fun to write, especially since I had to keep things in the real world.

DF: I would suppose that your original superhero novel FORMALLY KNOWN AS... satisfied an itch on some level, correct? Are you going to write a sequel or any other novels set in the same universe?
BG: Oh, yeah. A buddy of mine read the story twice before giving me his opinion of it. Of course, eager to know if what I wrote was good, decent or trash I kept on him for several weeks. He finally said that I was the most egotistical bastard on the face of the planet. My answer was “Yeah? And?”) He noted that he felt the story was great, I used myself as the (super) hero of the story.


But to answer your question, there have been thoughts of continuing the adventures of Al Hendrickson; The Colector and his (I'M NOT YOUR) sidekick, Pat Kelly.

DF: Considering that REFLECTIONS FROM THE ABYSS and THE FIRST THING WE DO are both crime/thriller novels I'd have to say that you're a fan of that genre. What are your influences? What writers and stories in the genre get your crank turning?
BG: From a very early age ma exposed me to movies like The Maltese Falcon, Laura, The Blue Dahlia, Angels With Dirty Faces, White Heat and the Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes flicks. Those films turned my interest to the literary works of Dashiell Hammett. Arthur Conan Doyle, Raymond Chandler, Agatha Christie; among many others. I was about nine or ten when I stumbled onto the weekly one-page true crime story published in the Sunday Daily News. I was hooked.

Each case I read depicted true evil. Violent single and multiple murders and mutilation. Serial Killers. Crimes of Passion. Crimes without motive. And they all brought the question: what could create these human monsters? What could turn an individual with a seemingly normal upbringing to crime? What could create a Leopold & Loeb. A Charles Manson. A Starkweather. A Bundy. A Henry Lee Lucas. I now have an extensive library on crime; factual and fiction, forensics, psychology as well as the films that began it all. And all are fodder and reference material for my stories.

Tell us about THE FIRST THING WE DO
BG: Someone is killing lawyers. Not just lawyers; defense lawyers. And not just defense lawyers. Attorneys who represent drug dealers, rapists, pedophiles and murderers.

Detectives Desmond Fine and Frank Costa are working the case, trying to piece together whatever can be found at the crime scenes to locate the killer. As much as they want to find the person responsible for the deaths of these lawyers they see these representatives of the legal system as bottom feeders; attorneys who manipulate the law and allow the guilty to go free. As more of these lawyers are killed, Fine and Costa follow a serpentine trail of evidence, all leading to it's most logical conclusion: this is the work of a serial killer.


But the question is why kill the lawyers and not the ones perpetuating the crimes?

Then Detective Fine's childhood friend, public defender Eric Price is murdered. Now Fine must battle his ever-increasing guilt at not protecting his friend while he and Costa search for ways to catch the elusive killer.

And just a bit on my characters: Fine and Costa are extremely intelligent, insightful, heavily sarcastic and think outside the box in the handling of their cases. Fine is personable, dapper and intense with an athletic build. Costa is sullen, grouchy and is strongly built six-foot eight monolith whose replies are eloquent in their grunts and grumbles. They are not only partners but the best of friends and it is their relationship that guides the story.

DF:Tell us about REFLECTIONS FROM THE ABYSS
BG: Carlton Book is a successful freelance accountant. He conducts his life as he does the spreadsheets and financial statements he works on; with careful review of all variables, calculation and finally, execution. His philosophy serves him well in his other 'profession' as an assassin for hire. Each 'removal' is akin to deleting a figure on a spreadsheet. Completely impersonal and done to make the 'numbers' balance.


When he enters the condominium of his next assignment he finds his target brutally murdered by an elusive serial killer know as the '3-Monkey Killer.' In his haste to leave the scene of the crime, Book accidentally leaves evidence behind. As Book is forced to see his profession in a new perspective, the 3-Monkey Killer begins to send him messages, stating that they are 'blood-brothers' who should work together and that he is watching Book's every move.

The accountant/assassin must now find the serial killer before the serial killer finds him or before the detective in charge of the case arrests Book for the psychopath's crimes. And uncovers his own.

DF:Where do you see your writing career five years from now?
BG: Working with a good publisher and fully established in the literary field. Not necessarily 'world famous' but known to deliver compelling and complex entertainment. And to be able to financially support my wife and I with my work. I have also been in contact with film producers, hoping that they will adapt my tales of murder and mayhem to film. Maybe parlay one to enhance the other.

My wife Melissa means more than the world to me. She is my eternal love, my partner and my best friend. And she puts up with my Hamlet-level brooding and my sudden ideas for a story in the middle of a conversation. I want and intend to be successful for her as well as myself. She deserves more but if I can give her at least this, then that's jake with me.

DF:What are you working on now?
BG: Another entry in my Coffee and Sarcasm series. Number eight by my count. It's a little ditty I've titled “A Whole Theater of Others.” A group of writers similar to the Algonquin Round Table are being picked off one by one. They are all gruesomely murdered in the methods written by one of the members. Fine and Costa are brought in to investigate and determine if the writer is the killer or if someone is trying to pin the crimes on him.

DF:What's a typical Day In The Life of Bertram Gibbs like?
BG: Up at 4:30AM. Consume copious amounts of coffee and smokes (trying to quit the latter) while watching the news or a show I DVRed the night before. Hose off, write for a few hours, head out to work, do the 8 to 5 while mentally adding, subtracting or amending the story I'm working on. Drink more coffee. Go home to my loving wife and have a quiet evening hanging out with her, our three cats and one dog who thinks he's a cat. Watch more of my shows and/or write after my love heads for bed. Hit the sack about 11:30PM-12AM (Sleep is for the weak) Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Derrick Ferguson: Anything else we should know?
Bertram Gibbs: I think we have the basics down. Just a final word to your readers and our fellow writers;

Too many talented people have abandoned their dream for a 'normal' life. For some, it works. For others, they are condemned to always wonder 'what if?' Know that there is no actual definition of 'normal'; in a life or in an individual. Accept that and understand that if nothing is normal then 'crazy' is a constant; always lurking in the shadows. Embrace your personal madness. There's freedom in insanity. And within that freedom lies your dream.

Go for it and never stop until you get it.

And as George Santayana said; “In order to attain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd.”

To learn more about Bertram Gibbs and his work bounce on over to his website which can be LOCATED HERE.

And here's Bertram's 



Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Kickin' The Willy Bobo With...JAMES HOPWOOD

Derrick Ferguson: Who is James Hopwood?
James Hopwood: James Hopwood is my pen name. I have also been Jack Tunney three times. But in the real world I am David James Foster.



I assumed a pen name to separate myself from three successful artists, albeit in different disciplines, who have published under the name David Foster. Firstly there is an excellent award winning Australian author; then a world champion woodchopper; and finally a successful musician and music producer. Then there's David Foster Wallace, of course. Adding another ‘David Foster’ to the marketplace, would not only detract from their achievements – as well as my own – but would also create confusion for the reading public.

DF: Where do you live and what do you do to keep the bill collectors, away?
JH: I live in Melbourne, Australia, in a little seaside suburb called Seaford. Near the pier that featured in the original Mad Max with Mel Gibson.


Yeah, those bill collectors, can't outrun those guys. I mainly work in graphic design and typesetting – small scale stuff, my illustration skills aren't too crash hot these days. But I get by, no complaints.

DF: Tell us something about your background.
JH: I grew up in rural Australia, about 2.5 hours north of Melbourne on the Murray River. It was a small town called Echuca. They filmed a TV mini-series there in the early 80s called All The Rivers Run, which starred Sigrid Thornton and John Waters. I only mention it, because those who've seen it will have a pretty good idea about my old home town. I got out of there pretty early though, in my late teens, to study art and design. Finally made my way to the big smoke, and have lived here ever since.

DF: How long have you been writing?
JH: I guess I've toyed around with writing since I was in my twenties, but I was one of those guys who kept it all hidden away in a bottom drawer. But the internet changed all that. I corresponded with like minded people from all around the globe, people who were into the same kind of books and stories as I was, and I thought if they're giving it a go, then I should too. Five years ago, I broke the shackles when I penned a novella for the Fight Card series, called KING OF THE OUTBACK. The reaction to it was pretty positive, which gave me the confidence to keep going.


DF: What's your philosophy of writing?
JH: I'm pretty loose with my approach, and I keep changing to suit my circumstances. I write pretty much every day because I enjoy it, but I am not too concerned if I miss a day or even a week. The thing for me is to be at least thinking about my work, and how I will use the time when I do get in front of a computer. I hate sitting in front of a blank screen waiting for inspiration to strike.

I am also a big believer in research. Like any writer, I hit road-blocks and snags along the way. But I have found the harder I work researching, the more likely I am to find that nugget that will get the story back on course. That's not to say my stories are based on fact, or some kind of concrete truth, but it's from there I find ideas spring forth.

DF: How did you get involved with HOLLYWOOD MYSTERY? Whose idea was it?
JH: Pro Se Productions put out an open call a couple of years ago for the anthology, and at the time I was tied up with a few other projects, so I reluctantly let it slide. However, when my schedule opened up, I was surprised to find there were still a spot open and decided to pounce. My idea was for a THIN MAN type of story, featuring William Powell and Myrna Loy.

I presented a proposal for a 10,000 word story that featured Myrna Loy being stalked by a taxi driver at the premiere of her latest movie. However, corresponding with Tommy Hancock, Pro Se's Editor-in-chief, I lamented that with such few words, I couldn't really do a traditional 'cozy' ending – you know the type, where all the suspects are gathered in one room, and the detective announces who the killer is. To create that kind of ending, I suggested I'd need more words to define each of the individual suspects. Much to my surprise and delight, Tommy got back to me and said, if I needed more words, take them. So I did, and a new story arose.

The idea for the anthology was Tommy's – he appears to be as much of a fan of classic mystery movies as I am. The other authors on board the project are Mark Squirek, Christofer Nigro, Wayne Carey and Gordon Dymowski. Admittedly, I am biased, but I think we've put together a damn good package.



DF: Judging by the story you wrote for HOLLYWOOD MYSTERY; “The Poison Pen” You're quite the fan of William Powell and Myrna Loy and the work they did in the classic THIN MAN series. What was the first THIN MAN movie you saw and how old were you when he saw it?
JH:I was in my early 20s (about 25+ years ago) when I first caught THE THIN MAN on late night television, and I loved it. I don't think it was ever released on VHS or DVD in Australia (but am happy to be proven wrong). It was many years later once online shopping became available that I was able to pick up the series from England, and they have remained a regular part of my movie diet ever since (along with the Michael Shayne movies, with Lloyd Nolan).



DF: What's your favorite THIN MAN movie and why?
JH: Undoubtedly the first one. While all the movies are good, as the series progressed a little bit of what we'd now call 'political correctness' seeped in. When Nick and Nora Charles had a son, the boozy comedic antics were toned back, and they were gently transformed into more respectable role models – albeit with their flaws and nuances.

DF: I was impressed by how you captured the style and elegance that was the hallmark of both William Powell and Myrna Loy. How much research into the background of their relationship did you do?
JH: Thanks, Derrick. Of course, I watched all the films in the series repeatedly – and a documentary or two, about Powell and Loy. But I did stay away from Dashiell Hammett's original story. I wanted 'The Poison Pen' to reflect the breezy style of the movies, rather than the source material.

DF: You planning on writing any more stories about Powell & Loy?
JH: I have no plans at the moment, but if there's demand for more, sure, I'd be happy to oblige.


DF: Do you have any dreams of writing a THIN MAN story and/or novel for Pro Se?
JH: That would be fantastic, but I am sure the Estate of Dashiell Hammett would have a thing or two to say. Into that mix throw whoever holds the rights to the film series, and I'm guessing it would be a potential minefield. But it is a nice dream. Hey, if a deal can be arranged, sign me up!

DF: You and Paul Bishop collaborated on creating a character: Mace Bullard of the Foreign Legion. How did that work out? How'd you guys come up with the character?
JH: Paul Bishop actually came up with the idea for Mace Bullard for a project he was putting together with Tommy Hancock, called Bishop & Hancock's Pulse Fiction. Pulse Fiction featured a whole swag of new characters, and when I first heard about the project I was interested in an American Indian character who'd washed up on a shore in Africa. But Paul pulled me aside, and said that he wanted me to take a look at Bullard. I hadn't really read any Foreign Legion pulps at that time, but he hooked me up with some Robert Carse Legion tales, which I devoured, and realized it was a genre I could sink my teeth into. Paul had Bullard's backstory all mapped out. All I had to do was plonk him in the middle of an adventure. Paul loved what I came up with, and basically said, 'Kid, the character's all yours now. Do with him what you will.' Of course, I run all my Bullard stories past Paul for approval. So far, it's been a blast.


DF: Where has he appeared so far and what future plans do you have for him?
JH: As hinted at above, he first appeared in Bishop & Hancock's Pulse Fiction: Volume 1, in a tale called Honor of the Legion. He returned in The Pirate King for Airship 27's mammoth Legends of New Pulp Fiction. Hopefully Bullard will re-appear before the end of the year in Sahara Six, a novella length tale, which sees our intrepid hero transferred to the most remote outpost in Morocco. Then, ssshhhh, this is a little secret, I have plans for a novel length story, called Dead Man's Key. It's a little way off at the moment, but it's coming.

DF: What's a typical Day In The Life of James Hopwood like?
JH: Ah, I'm an early riser, so I'll usually have the computer on around 6:00am, and start working on a few projects before breakfast. Then I head to the beach for a spot of snorkling, then return home for my first martini of the day. Sorry, that last sentence is a bare-faced lie – just pretending to live out an Ian Fleming fantasy life. After breakfast I squeeze whatever tasks the day has in store for me, the usual working-stiff drudgery. But it gets me out of the house. However, I carry multiple notepads around with me at all times, and I'm always scribbling notes. At night, if I'm not drawn to the 'idiot box', I'll try to convert some of those scrawled notes into something cohesive.

These days, I hate to admit I don't read as much as I used to. My work consists of sitting in front of computers for most of the day, and it can strain my eyes. The sad offshoot is I read less. However, I have really taken to audio books, and find they are a great way to close the day. I have been listening to some of the Robert Stark (Donald Westlake) Parker novels lately, and they are fantastic. Currently I am on The Rare Coin Score.

Derrick Ferguson: Anything else we should know?
James Hopwood: For anyone who's interested in my work, I can be found at:

And on occasion I shoot my mouth off about films and books at my blog:

Cheers, Derrick, thanks for your time, and continued support for your fellow writers in the New Pulp community.




Thursday, April 27, 2017

I Saw The Future At Windy City Pulp Con by Len Levinson

Born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, Len Levinson served on active duty in the U.S. Army from 1954-1957, and graduated from Michigan State University with a BA in Social Science. He relocated to NYC that year and worked as an advertising copywriter and public relations executive before becoming a full-time novelist. 

Len created and wrote a number of series, including the Apache Wars Saga, The Pecos Kid, and The Rat Bastards. He has had over 80 titles published.

After many years in NYC, he moved to a small town (pop. 3100) in rural Illinois, surrounded by corn and soybean fields, a peaceful, ideal location for a writer.



I live in a small town (population 3000) way out here on the great American prairie. Therefore I have little contact with the wider world of publishing although I’ve written 83 published novels to date.
Last Sunday (4/23) I attended the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention in a Chicago suburb called Lombard, and became aware of the future of fiction publishing. Many of you probably have come to this awareness already, but it was a major revelation for me.
I realized that there is a huge, growing indie publishing movement fully underway, and has come into being because traditional publishing has narrowly focused on conventional “safe” fiction, and tends to reject anything new, weird, crazy or bizarre.
This policy has left a huge vacuum now being filled by the new indie press which operates under a different business model. They don’t have offices in Rockefeller Centre in NYC like Simon and Shuster. They operate out of home offices, barns, or other low-cost spaces. Everything is handled over the internet. And they don’t pay advanced. Authors receive royalties only, as in the early days of publishing. And they produce GREAT eye-catching covers that are works of art on their own.
During the convention I spoke with Ron Fortier, publisher and editor-in-chief of one of the larger indie publishers, Airship 27. He said that famous authors sometimes call him about books of theirs that were rejected by their usual publishers, because those books were considered too far out. But nothing is too far out for today’s indie publishers who market, among other items, novels about vampire cowboys, lesbian werewolves from Mars, hard boiled crime-fiction, other action-adventure novels including traditional Westerns, and all kinds of sci-fi, fantasy and sword and sandal fiction. They also publish new novels about characters in the public domain such as Sherlock Holmes. It’s called “the New Pulp Movement.”
I also spoke with Tommy Hancock, Editor in Chief of Pro Se Productions, which is also a major indie publisher marketing hundreds of titles. He told me that the big five publishers are buying up some indie publishers, because they can see where the business is going. But Tommy isn’t interested in selling out. His main interest is exciting new fiction.
Evidently there’s a whole new publishing world out there of which I was unaware, although some of my old books have been republished by indie publishers such as Piccadilly, Destroyer and Blackstone. But I never realized how important this New Pulp Movement is becoming. It is wildly creative, fully energized and intensely ambitious, the new kid on the block fighting for a bigger slice of the pie. The welcome result is more choices for readers and hopefully more income for writers.


50 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 #2 question I get asked about it is: “Where do I get started? What should I read first just to see what it's all about? What writers should I be reading?”

I can understand the confusion. More than you know. There is a whole lot of New Pulp out there. Some of it is excellent. Some of it is downright astonishing. Some of it is good, some of it okay and a seriously depressing amount of it just plain flat out no good at all. And those of us who write/read and/or review New Pulp feel the crush of recommending books and writers to those of you unfamiliar with the genre but are desperately eager to know more.

That's why back in June of 2014 I put together a list of “25 New Pulp Books To Get You Started.” The purpose and intention of the list was simply to give New Pulp virgins a place to start getting their brains wet and see if they liked these waters.

Since then, a lot more New Pulp books have been written and I saw the need to add more books to the list and so I did, continuing to add to the list each succeeding year, with assistance from my Advisory Board consisting of Lucas Garrett, Barry Reese and Andrew Salmon. My intention is to keep adding to the list until I get up to 100 and then call it quits. After all, if you can't find something worth reading in a pack of 100 books then maybe you just don't like to read.

Again I feel compelled to remind one and all that this list is not intended to slight anybody as many of you have egos as fragile as spider webs (you know who you are) and are more than capable of taking it as a personal insult that your book isn't on the list. Such is not my purpose or pursuit. This list is intended only to be a helpful starting point for those who have no idea where to start reading New Pulp. And if there is a New Pulp book that you feel should be on the list feel free to contact me at DerrickFerguson@gmail.com and what I'll do is hold onto your suggestion until this time of year in 2018 when it is once again time for me to add to the list.

Okay? We clear on that? Good. Then let's get on 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 50 NEW PULP BOOKS TO GET YOU STARTED:





HELMET HEAD by Mike Baron
SGT JANUS, SPIRIT BREAKER by Jim Beard
FIGHT CARD: FELONY FISTS by Paul Bishop (writing as Jack Tunney)
LIE CATCHERS by Paul Bishop
THE REVENGE OF THE MASKED GHOST by Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
ADONIS MORGAN (NOBODY SPECIAL) by Frank Byrnes
NICK NOMAD AND THE HAMMER OF LEMURIA by Myles Campbell
THE MYTH HUNTER: THE LOST CONTINENT by Percival Constantine
DOC ARDAN: CITY OF GOLD AND LEPERS by Guy d'Armen. Adapted by Jean-Marc Lofficier and Randy Lofficier
DILLON AND THE VOICE OF ODIN by Derrick Ferguson
BROTHER BONES by Ron Fortier
TAURUS MOON by Keith Gaston
GREEN LAMA UNBOUND by Adam Garcia
THE GREEN LAMA: CRIMSON CIRCLE by Adam Garcia
YESTERYEAR by Tommy Hancock
TALES OF THE VAGABOND BARDS by Nancy Hansen
TO BATTLE BEYOND by C. J. Henderson
HUGH MONN-PRIVATE DETECTIVE by Lee Houston, Jr.
DIRE PLANET by Joel Jenkins
THE BONE QUEEN by Andrea Judy
SILENCED by Nicole Kurtz
SIX DAYS OF THE DRAGON by Roman Leary
GHOSTS OF MANHATTAN by George Mann
MYTHICAL: HEART OF STONE by C.E. Martin
PROHIBITION by Terrence McCauley
CREEPING DAWN: THE RISE OF THE BLACK CENTIPEDE by Chuck Miller
SNOW FALLS by Bobby Nash
FIGHT CARD: THE CUTMAN by Mel Odom (writing as Jack Tunney)
ONCE UPON A TIME IN AFRICA by Balogun Ojetade
THE STEIN AND CANDLE DETECTIVE AGENCY Vol. I by Michael Panush
HAWK: HAND OF THE MACHINE by Van Allen Plexico
SENTINELS I: WHEN STRIKES THE WARLORD by Van Allen Plexico
THE OLD MAN Series by William Preston
THE PEREGRINE OMNIBUS VOL. I by Barry Reese
RABBIT HEART by Barry Reese
PULP HEROES: MORE THAN MORTAL by Wayne Reinagle
THE VRIL AGENDA by Joshua Reynolds and Derrick Ferguson
THE WHITECHAPEL DEMON by Joshua Reynolds
THE LIGHT OF MEN by Andrew Salmon
DAMBALLAH by Charles Saunders
IMARO by Charles Saunders
SUN-KOH, HEIR OF ATLANTIS by Arthur Sippo
THE AUSLANDER FILES by Michael Patrick Sullivan
BASS REEVES, FRONTIER MARSHAL VOL. I by Various Authors
BLACK PULP by Various Authors
DOCTOR OMEGA AND THE SHADOWMEN by Various Authors
HOW THE WEST WAS WEIRD by Various Authors
LEGENDS OF NEW PULP FICTION by Various Authors
ROCOCOA by Various Authors
THE RUBY FILES by Various Authors



Monday, March 13, 2017

The Secret Origin of Diamondback: It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

This may take us a while so if you want to go get yourself a snack and a nice cold beverage before we start, go right on ahead. I'll wait. Matter of fact, think I'll go grab myself a Coke and a sandwich as well. See you back here in ten.



You back? Solid. Get comfy and we'll get started.

The Secret Origin of Diamondback begins with my desire to write what I have since come to describe as an “Urban Western.” Which simply means that everybody drives cars and uses automatic weapons instead of riding nags and firing six-shooters. But with some industrious rewriting, “It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time” could be told as a straight-up western. Matter of fact, there's a lot of Sergio Leone's “A Fistful of Dollars” in the DNA of my story. But the concept of a mysterious stranger who comes to a town ruled by warring criminal gangs and by pitting the gangs against each other through cunning, ruthless manipulation comes out the winner goes back further than that. There's Akira Kurosawa's “Yojimbo” from 1961 which many believe was inspired by Dashiell Hammett's classic “Red Harvest” written in 1929. “Red Harvest” also generally considered to have inspired Walter Hill's “Last Man Standing” which is basically “Yojimbo” set during Prohibition. “Lucky Number Slevin” and “Sukiyaki Western Django.”




Okay, so you get the basic idea, right? I had this idea to tell a western in modern-day drag. Not a terribly original idea, I agree, but one that I wanted to do and that's all I need to get me going. The only criteria I have for any project I take on is that it excites and intrigues me. I have to live with the characters and invest a lot of time in them and the story I'm telling and life is too short to spend it writing about about characters I don't care about. So, I conceived the story of Diamondback as one spanning three novels that was intended to be a further homage to Sergio Leone's “Dollars” Trilogy:

Diamondback I: It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time
Diamondback II: And The Devil Will Drag You Under
Diamondback III: Once Upon A Time In Denbrook

Only one novel got published, the first one:


It sold about as well as ice makers in Norway. Which kinda left me bummed out. I dunno why it didn't sell. Maybe because Diamondback Vogel was a completely different protagonist from Dillon, which is the character that most people associated me with. The philosophy of the concept behind the Diamondback character is simple and can be summed up in these lyrics from Billy Preston's “Will It Go Round In Circles?”:

I've got a story ain't got no moral,
Let the bad guy win every once in a while

Which is exactly what Diamondback Vogel is and I make it very clear: he is a bad guy, a right proper villain. In fact, it can be said that everybody in that first novel is a bad guy. I did that on purpose as I wanted to see if I could write a novel where every single character was a low-down, no-good unrepentant, unapologetic mean-ass bastard or bitch and still make the story entertaining and fun. The (very) few people who did read It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time let me know that I did succeed in that as they enjoyed it tremendously. But at that time (we're talking around 2008 or '09) I considered the book to be a failure, put away my ideas for the trilogy and moved on.

So why am I now revisiting Diamondback and rewriting the first book with an eye to completing the trilogy at last? Ten more years of experience and confidence helps, lemme tell you. I recently re-read the book in one sitting and saw where I could improve upon the story, expand some scenes, increase the level of characterization and action. It short, I could write a better book.

And I did write a book where every single character it was a low-down, no-good unrepentant, unapologetic mean-ass bastard or bitch and that one sold a bit better and everybody who's read it has indeed described it as entertaining and fun. I'm talking about my homage (some would say outright theft) to Hammer horror films:


I could also restore some stuff I had originally written but was persuaded to take out. The original version of It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time had a lot more violence, some pretty racy sex scenes and harsher, rougher language. But by taking all that out it meant that it wasn't the story it wanted to be. It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time wanted to be raunchy, profane, deliriously violent and madcap in its exploitation sleaze and I had taken all that away from the book and on that level, it deserved to fail. Because it wasn't the story it was supposed to be.

But if we're good and faithful, we sometimes get a second chance and so I'm going to take another crack at Diamondback: It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time. And you'll be able to accompany me on the rewrite as I intend to present the story in serialized form, just as it was originally presented long ago on the much beloved Frontier original fiction website. Details will be on my Patreon page if you're interested (and I hope you are) but if you're not, that's okay as well. We'll still be friends.

As always, I thank you for your kind attention and your tolerance in putting up with my ramblings and as always I urge you to keep track of what I'm doing both here and over at Usimi Dero which I where I spend much of my Facebook time. You can also friend me at my personal Facebook page. I'm a pretty friendly guy.


Peace!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Kickin' The Willy Bobo With...NICOLE KURTZ

Derrick Ferguson:Who is Nicole Kurtz?
Nicole Kurtz: I'm an educator, an author and a mother.



DF:What do you tell The IRS you do for a living?
NK: The IRS identifies me as an educator. I've been in the public school system for 15 years.

DF:Tell us about your background. As little or as much as you want.
NK: I'm originally from Knoxville, Tennessee, but I've lived all over the United States, from South Carolina to California. I have a bachelor's degree in Writing and a Master's degree in Education. I have been writing my whole life and can't remember a time I wasn't writing stories either on paper or mentally.

DF:How long have you been writing?
NK: I've been writing since I was 11 years old. My first payment for writing was an essay contest I won in 11th grade. I realized then, “Wait, I can make money from this?!”

DF:What's your philosophy of writing? Do you think that writers should even have a philosophy about the act/art of writing?
NK: My writing philosophy is simple—write your truth. Honor the story only you can tell. Don't worry about sales and genre when writing. Worry about those things after the story is written and done.

DF:Do you enjoy writing?
NK: I love writing! I write all the time, on notebooks and napkins, on the backs of bills and along the edges of envelopes. Writing is how I communicate best and how I process information.

DF:Do you write for yourself or for your readers?
NK: I primarily write for myself when writing fiction. When writing non-fiction (i.e., essays and blogs) I focus on the audience and how my thesis is supported.

DF:What audience are you trying to reach with your work? Is there an audience for Nicole Kurtz?
NK: Great question! I write futuristic thriller, so my audience are readers who enjoy those types of adventures.

DF:Tell us about Mocha Memoirs Press
NK: Mocha Memoirs Press is a small press that publishes speculative works by authors of marginalized groups.

DF:Who is Cybil Lewis?
NK: Cybil Lewis is a professional investigator in the year 2146. Independent. Focused. Committed. She investigates violations in post apocalyptic D.C. Think “Blade Runner” with a female protagonist.


DF:How long has Cybil Lewis been with you and where can we expect her to go in future novels?
NK: Cybil has been with me for over 20 years. In the future, expect Cybil to continue to solve violations in her unique fashion and may, just maybe, get the air-conditioner in her apartment fixed.



DF:Where does the story of Cybil Lewis go from here?
NK: Cybil continues to investigate violations but her personal life becomes more of a challenge for her. In addition, her partner Jane continues to evolve and thus her relationship with Cybil will change. Those are going to be interesting interactions and impacts on Cybil's business and life.


DF:You're an outstanding voice in the field of African-American Speculative Fiction. Where do you see your place in this field and where do you want to go?
NK: Wow! Thank you. My place in the field is right alongside other authors. I've been writing Speculative Fiction for nearly 20 years. I would love to continue to write, publish and find new readers. I also like to inspire new authors of color, especially those that write thrillers.

DF:You are one of the most prominent of female African-American Speculative Fiction writers. Do you see AASF writers as creating a genre unto themselves due to their unique worldview as African-American women?
NK: I do believe that as an African-American woman, my vision is different from other authors not within that demographic. However, I don't think it is a genre unto ourselves. I write futuristic thriller, horror stories and dark fantasy. While most of my protagonists are black women, the story is still good and worth reading.

DF:Are there any drawbacks to being a AASF writer?
NK: There are drawbacks to being an AASF writer in that I find some readers who proclaim they can't identify with my protagonists. Yet those same readers can identify with a shape-shifting tiger or a blue-skinned alien. I write speculative fiction, which is still a predominately white male dominated genre. So my work is subjected to misogyny and racism in the genre as I am in every day life.

DF:And what are the positives?
NK: The positives far outnumber the drawbacks. The excitement I see on readers' faces when they see a protagonist that looks like them. Or the relief when they see that I, a fellow African American or POC wrote something speculative is more than worth the occasional racist. I enjoy sharing my stories with others and I love getting feedback on those stories from readers. Those are the positives that buoy me when writing gets tough.

DF:You've hosted a lot of panels. In your opinion what are the qualities one needs to have in order to moderate a successful panel?
NK: Moderating a panel successfully is hard! LOL! It is important to give each author or panelist an opportunity to speak. Equity of voice is key when moderating. If one can provide the discussion topics ahead of time, that makes for much more thoughtful discussions.



DF:Do you like hosting panels? Why?
NK: It depends! If it is a topic I am passionate about, I do not want to moderate because I want to talk! LOL! Otherwise, I don't mind hosting panels.

DF:What are your dream projects? If you had unlimited time and money, what would you want to do most?
NK: If I had unlimited time and money I would spend time writing Cybil Lewis novels and promoting her throughout the U.S.

DF:What is A Day In The Life of Nicole Kurtz like?
NK: In a word: Chaos!

Derrick Ferguson: Anything else we should know?
Nicole Kurtz:I love to laugh and I'm not nearly as serious as Cybil is about things. Your readers can find me online at Twitter (@nicolegkurtz), Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/nicolegkurtz, and at Other Worlds Pulp (http://www.nicolegivenskurtz.com).







Tuesday, March 7, 2017

In Which I Get Smacked Around

Tommy Hancock interviewed me for his online magazine BIBLIORATI and I think it's a pretty good one that you can read and enjoy HERE.