Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Trail of Sebastian Red #1

And a long trail it is.  So long that it’ll take more than one post for me to adequately cover this character but that’s all right.  I love setting things up so that there’s a sequel automatically built in.  And yes, that’s a reference to most of my writing.

Sebastian Red is a character that was born out of my love for Westerns.  A love that began when my father took me to see “The Wild Bunch” during its original theatrical run in 1969.  And yes, I am that old.  Stop snickering.  From then on I was totally and absolutely in love with the genre.  Didn’t hurt that every time there was a western on TV, my dad made sure I knew it was on.  Even if he had to go to work, I would watch it and then when he came home I would tell him the story, often acting out all the parts as well.

When I finally got around to sitting down and writing an actual western I ran up a really thick and hard wall: research.  I’ll be honest with you; most of what I know about The Old West comes from movies, TV shows, Marvel Comics The Rawhide Kid (the real one…you know what I mean) and western fiction written by guys like Luke Short, Elmore Leonard, Larry McMurtry, Louis L’Amour.  Oh, I have read a few reference books on The Old West but I’ll tell you the truth: I’d rather make up a fact rather than look it up.

Which is where the idea came to me to marry up the western with heroic fantasy.  I’d set my story in The Wild West but it would be a Wild West on a parallel Earth where nobody thought it strange that elves, werewolves, demons and zombies lived right alongside gunfighters, saloon floozies, Indians, cowboys and school marms.  This way I could certainly have my cake and eat it too.  After all, who’s gonna contradict me about a Wild West I made up?  Heh.

The character of Sebastian Red himself was inspired by Michael Moorcock’s Elric of Melnibone and Robert E. Howard’s Solomon Kane.  A loner, all that we know about him so far is that he’s a man of superhuman skill with his sword and his midnight black seven-shooter revolver, a .45 Leone Nightmaster.  At some point in his past he was an honored member of a guild of elite warriors called The Lords of Burning Iron.  They protect a warm and golden southern land called Carrincha.

As a boy and youth, Sebastian Red was trained in The Arts of Sword and Gun, becoming extraordinarily deadly in the use of both.  At some unspecified point in his life, he committed an act of betrayal so awful that he was forced to leave his wife and two daughters behind in Carrincha while he became a landless wanderer, working as a bounty hunter for pay which he sends to his family.  He’s picked up a considerable amount of magical knowledge in his travels.  Enough to have gotten the notice of some nasty supernatural entities that mean him no good.  Neither do his former comrades in The Lords of Burning Iron.  Some of them roam the land, hunting for him to take their vengeance on his still unrevealed act of betrayal.

Intrigued?  Good, ‘cause I’m going to briefly go over something a lot of folks ask me about before I tell you where you can find the Sebastian Red stories.  Something that I think is certainly intriguing.

I describe Sebastian Red as a black man of average height and weight who wears his hair in shoulder length dreadlocks.  Old golden coins and small, pinky sized idols carved out of wood are woven into his hair, charms against evil spells and such.  Now this is almost exactly the way I describe another one of my characters: Toulon The Magician, the crimelord who rules Denbrook (patience, patience…we’ll get to that another time) which has caused readers who have read both the Sebastian Red stories and the Diamondback novel to ask: “Are Toulon and Sebastian Red the same guy?”

Well, yes…and no.  If you’ve read Michael Moorcock and know that in his Multiverse most of his characters exist in different dimensions.  Sometimes they’re the same character in many dimensions while in others, they’re not.  It’s something like that at work here. 

It gets even more complicated when I reveal that both Sebastian Red and Toulon are worshippers of Thahali, She Who Wears The Dress of Seven Sufferings.  Thahali is the one responsible for the destruction of Usimi Dero, where Dillon was born and she killed his father.  But that is also a story for another time. 

Now where can you find the stories of Sebastian Red?  Glad you asked….


The first Sebastian Red story published; “All Of The Plagues A Lover Bears” appeared in the anthology





While the second one, “The Tale Of The Baron’s Tribute” was published in




Which was originally offered as a pre-order giveaway for HOW THE WEST WAS WEIRD VOL. II.  Editor Russ Anderson has informed me that in December, HOW THE WEST WAS WEIRD: CAMPFIRE TALES will be available as a 99 cent ebook.  Don’t worry, I’ll let you know exactly when you can get it soon as I know.

And the third Sebastian Red story; “Storms of Blood and Snow” can be found in





And I think that’s more than enough for right now.  As we go down the trail, I’ll take each one of the Sebastian Red stories individually and pick ‘em apart and talk about why I wrote them and what makes them so much fun for me to write.  Hope this sparked your interest enough to make you want to go read the stories for yourself.  But if not, come on back any way.  I’ll change your mind sooner or later.

8 comments:

  1. I'm nominating "Storms of Blood and Snow." for the Pulp Factory Awards of 2011 for Best Pulp Short story. I'm hoping lots of other people will as well.

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  2. Just your nomination makes me feel as if I've won already. Thanks, Captain Ron.

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  3. Yep, that was my thought for best Pulp Short story. Storms of Blood and Snow has my vote.

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  4. Thanks, Joel! I'm delighted that so many readers enjoyed that story. I'd have to say that so far, it's the most popular of the Sebastian Red stories.

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  5. Derrick, I don't know what it is about Sebastian, but damn I love this character.

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  6. So you've got your own Eternal Champion, too--cool! (I'm quite familiar with Moorcock and his Multiverse, and manga creator Matsumoto Leiji has something similar going with his flagship character Captain Harlock.) Althouugh I can't claim much acquaintance with Stephen king's DARK TOWER saga, was that another influence?

    And do you know if CAMPFIRE TALES is going to be available in paper?

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  7. Even though I have Stephen King's entire DARK TOWER saga, I've only read the first book. I actually was waiting until King finished the entire thing as I didn't want to get hooked and then be left hanging by an uncompleted saga.

    Folks have told me they see a definite King influence in Sebastian Red and if they see it, that's cool. I myself don't claim King as an influence on me or my style. Sergio Leone and samurai movies such as the ZATOICHI series are more of an influence on Sebastian Red than Stephen King.

    And no, there are no plans for CAMPFIRE TALES to be released in paper.

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  8. This is good... like to see some more art covering the visual look of the character. Excellent reference for the creation of the hero.

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