Showing posts with label Airship 27. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Airship 27. Show all posts

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Kickin' The Willy Bobo With: ANDREW SALMON

Derrick Ferguson: Who is Andrew Salmon?
Andrew Salmon: Andrew Salmon is a pop culture junkie with occasional deep thoughts. He loves his wife, football, hockey, great movies, books and comics, nature and writing.

DF: Where do you live and what do you tell the IRS you do for a living?
AS: I currently live in Vancouver, BC. Hey, I'm Canadian! I don't have to tell the IRS anything. Ha! Seriously though, I work as an extra in the film industry here as well as being a full-time writer.
DF: Tell us a little something about your background.
AS: I was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, which is not a good thing if you're English. They've got a few hang ups about French there and the discrimination is palpable. I graduated from Loyola High School, an all boys school and, yeah, that sucked. Got a BA in Creative Writing from Concordia University, which allowed me to work in a cabinet factory (because I didn't speak French) where I somehow managed to become head of my department. With no desirable future in Quebec, the wife and I went West for greener pastures, no winter, and plenty of opportunity.
DF: What are your influences?
AS: My Holy Trinity of writing influences consists of Charles Dickens, Rod Serling and John D. MacDonald. Great TV like the original Star Trek, Babylon 5, 24, The Shield, The Wire, The Twilight Zone all push me to create. Classic literature helps as well as dozens of great writers past and present. Crime fiction, hardboiled fiction, pulp - these are my reading passions.
DF: How long have you been writing?
AS: I began writing before I knew I was a writer. Back in grade school, we'd be asked to write a half-page story based on an image or idea and I'd write 12 pages without batting an eye! I didn't know I was a writer until June, 1982 when I went into Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan as a fan and came out a writer. The movie changed my life as, for the first time, I saw the machinery that drove storytelling. I got a glimpse behind the curtain and instantly understood how it was done. Of course learning to do it oneself takes a little bit longer. But that day in '82 was the day I became a writer so we're looking at 32 years! Yikes!
DF: What’s your philosophy of writing?
AS: Make it good. Know the clichés and don't use them. Drop into the text what John D. MacDonald called a little unobtrusive poetry so that the prose is a pleasure to read. Create interesting characters or if you're using someone else's, do so with respect.
DF: You a plotter or a pantser?
AS: Bit of both. I'll start out with the overall plot concept, then just wing it on that first draft to see what happens. I don't know what any of my stories are about until I've finished that first draft. This is why I suffer the woes of Job when I have to pitch. "So, what's your story about?" "I don't know! I haven't written it yet!" Just letting it happen for that first draft works well for me because the story is at a point where it can go anywhere. Revising the first draft, the story and its meaning slowly rise out of the mire and I shape the revised versions of the work accordingly. I wrote once from a detailed outline and, I have to tell you, it was boring as hell! Each day was, okay, I have to do this, then this, then this. Ack! I went nuts!
DF: You write in a variety of genres. Which one is your favorite?
AS: I love writing historical action. I'm a research guy. Hey, I'm nuts for research! I love digging into the past for those entertaining, thought-provoking or just downright fun elements of yesteryear and weaving those into my tales across genres ranging from detective, hardboiled and hero pulp. Detective fiction seems to be my meat and potatoes these days, which makes sense since I've been reading classic hardboiled fiction for decades. So, yeah, it's detective fiction for me.
DF: What audience are you trying to reach with your work? Is there an audience for Andrew Salmon?
AS: I hope so or I'm out of a job! I'm trying to reach an audience who likes a good tale. Historical fiction really strikes a chord with many readers and I'm with them so that seems like a good enough answer so far as an audience goes. Of course historical fiction must resonate with today's reader and that's a challenge I find invigorating. As for a specific audience for what I do, I don't think I've done enough stand alone work to determine that. I've been so busy working on classic, public domain characters that I haven't had a chance to create enough of my own work. That's going to change though, soon.
DF: You've had Sherlock Holmes stories in Volumes 1 to 5 of airship 27’s SHERLOCK HOLMES-CONSULTING DETECTIVE anthology series. And you've written a FIGHT CARD novel featuring Sherlock Holmes. Obviously you like the character. What is it about Sherlock Holmes that fascinates you?
AS: That I'm able to write him! Seriously, that fascinates and mystifies me. When Airship 27 first tossed out their offer, I said no simply because I hadn't read the tales and had seen the bare minimum of the endless adaptations on TV and for the movies over the years. I knew only what had seeped down through pop culture so who was I to write a Holmes tale? Only thinking about it later, did I realize that I couldn't pass up the chance to write, arguably, the most popular character in the history of pop culture so I grabbed the last opening for that first anthology, then tried to figure out how the hell I was going to write the story. Bring on the research! 
When that first tale won an award, I knew I was on to something. What came out of that first experience was a fondness for Watson and now, with 7 Holmes tales under my belt to date (multiple nominations and two awards), that fascination hasn't faltered. I like Watson and his voice. From that my obsessive research into Victorian times and trying to get at the heart of Holmes keeps me on my toes. Doyle created characters for the ages and doing them justice is important to me. Holmes and I seemed to have found each other - and things are getting freaky. Fooling around with those stupid online quizzes recently, I learned that I'm Arthur Conan Doyle (What Famous Classic Author Are You?) and that Doyle should be writing my biography (Which Author Should Write Your Biography?) so things are getting a bit weird.

DF: For those reading this who may want to write a Sherlock Holmes story of their own: how do you construct a proper Sherlock Holmes mystery true to the character and his method of solving mysteries?
AS: For me, it begins and ends with the canon and getting the characters right. This is the foundation on which to build. Read through the canon, and only the canon, to get a handle on Holmes and Watson, how they think, how they speak, the whole nine yards. Once you have an understanding of who they are - and that will grow with time - then you have to come up with something to get Holmes off his butt. There are examples of his solving cases Nero Wolfe style. It takes something of great interest to get him on his feet and working. And here's where the understanding of the characters comes into it. This 'something' can't just be of interest to you, the writer. No, it's got to be something that piques the interest of the greatest fictional brain that ever lived. For me, that's the hardest part of writing a Holmes tale. 
I've gotten to the point where Holmes and Watson will have discussions in my head when I'm not writing so I've developed an understanding of who they are. It's the damned case that's the challenge. What can be so important, mysterious or challenging that Holmes would want to look into it? You've got to impress Holmes! That ain't easy. This is why it takes me longer and longer to write my Holmes tales. After that, you've got to make the detecting difficult, throw in things that only Holmes could uncover. If your reader has it figured out before Holmes does, you're in trouble.
DF: Did you have much of a problem selling the idea of a FIGHT CARD novel featuring Sherlock Holmes to Paul Bishop and Mel Odom?
AS: Actually it was the reverse. Fight Card came to me. The way I heard it, it went like this: Paul Bishop was at the Pulp Ark convention and a bunch of the creators in attendance were sitting around shooting the bull when someone mentioned doing a Fight Card Sherlock Holmes. The assembled liked the idea and the question of who to approach to write it came up. My name was thrown out there and was met with some enthusiasm so when Paul returned home, he got in touch. The funny thing was that I had been thinking for awhile that I'd like to be part of the Fight Card team and was going to approach them when I'd finished the tale I was working on at the time. So Paul's call to me was met with considerable excitement. I said yes right off and was honored that the folks at the con gave me the thumbs up. Of course after we'd ended the call, I was left trying to think how to write the thing. Ha!

DF: Are you working on a sequel to SHERLOCK HOLMES: WORK CAPITOL?
AS: Yup. The working title is Sherlock Holmes: Blood to the Bone and it's for a December release. Unlike Work Capitol, this one won't be a Christmas tale but will still make a great stocking stuffer regardless! The going has been tough this summer as the last few months have been marred by personal tragedy but the work progresses. The idea was to top the first one, which was very well received. So far so good but there's still a long row to hoe.
DF: Tell us about THE DARK LAND.
AS: The novel was a long time coming. I got the idea during the Clone Saga in the Spider-Man comics back in the 90s. The name of the lead, C-Peter Reilly, should be a tip-off there. The first Clone Saga, from the 70s, was and still is my favorite Spider-Man story and I loved the conundrum of how do you prove you're you? Then, during the terrorist attacks in 2001, I was struck by the tragic loss of so many police- and firemen who were killed en masse while doing their jobs. Taking this a step further, I wondered what would happen if disasters killed these first responders on a global scale? Who would be left to maintain order? This lead to the idea of gifted police officers having their DNA and minds preserved for future catastrophes where billions of people perished and chaos resulted. 
The idea that a ready-for-the-street police force could be produced quickly via cloning with digital mindfiles inserted into the new-grown clones seemed like a strong premise. Instant experienced law enforcement rather than rookies overwhelmed by what was going on around them. When a clone dies or is killed, you just grow another one and insert the updated mindfile if it can be recovered. For the novel, the disasters have already happened, and C-Peter Reilly is grown to do his part. 
In this world, clones are given computer-generated, random names and all of the personal memories of the original officers have been deleted from the mindfiles. So why does C-Peter Reilly have the memories of his Source? His search for the truth while hunting a killer in the ruins ensues. Although this one tells a complete story, THE DARK LAND is the first of a series. The next two books are mapped out. I've already written a short story that is the last C-Peter Reilly adventure, jumping 100 years into the future. I want to return to the world again. However a certain Victorian consulting detective is taking up a lot of my times these days...

DF: How come we haven't seen a sequel to GHOST SQUAD: RISE OF THE BLACK LEGION yet?
AS: Ask Ron Fortier. I had a lot of fun working on the first one. Ron's the plot-master here and he's been kicking around an idea for a few years. And it's a good one. But he's a busy guy. When he's got it locked up, I'll get an email, I'm sure. Hey, if there are any Ghost Squad fans out there, start a sequel campaign and we'll make it happen. I'm game.

DF: THE LIGHT OF MEN is probably your best reviewed book and one you obviously invested much of yourself in. What was the initial idea that spurred you to write the book?
AS: Well, that horrible chapter of human history has always fascinated me as much as it repelled. Reading through the history, I found I was more overcome with anger than sadness. I would become furious that such a abominable situation would ever arise and that no one could do anything about it. Then while reading an account of people who had visited Auschwitz, I learned that visitors tended to burst into tears upon first passing through the gates, as if the very ground was steeped in sadness but, upon leaving, they were angry, furious. I had never visited any of the camps still standing but shared the same feelings towards them as those who had. So I decided to channel that, empower the powerless while trying to come to some personal understanding of how and why these camps happened and the effect they had on survivors.

DF: THE LIGHT OF MEN is a unique book. Was the writing of it equally unique?
AS: Thanks! I lived with this book for 12 years. Researching/writing the novel while working on other things. I started out on the novel having barely written anything and one reason the book took so long to write was because I wasn't a good enough writer to write it. There was so much I wanted to do with the story. It was beyond my abilities. So I kept researching while I wrote other things, kept honing the plot. Then when the time came to sit down and do it, I still didn't know if I was up to the task. The novel kept changing and evolving. The last chapter, set in stone for 12 years, suddenly had a new ending WHILE I WAS WRITING IT! 12 years of getting to this point just flew out the window and what took its place was infinitely better. The writing process was difficult as well because I had to reconcile whether or not to present the history or shape it and tone it down for fiction. I decided to go for accuracy because it seemed to me that the camps have faded into history. People know the basics of course, but the details have been glossed over by time. Believing that nothing about the camps should be sugar-coated, I set out to place the reader in one so they could experience it first hand and KNOW what such a camp was like. But did I pull it off? Even after the novel had been accepted for publication and was released, I still didn't know. 
It was only after reading positive reader reviews, receiving thanks from the 761st Tank Battalion (the African-American unit that had liberated a camp only to have their name scrubbed from history), having the book included in the Holocaust Memorial Museum Library, a nibble of interest from the film industry and seeing the novel become the subject of book club readings/discussions that I was assured I had done the material and the history some justice. Sadly the book has yet to find a wider audience but I'm hoping the Kindle version will encourage readers to give it a try without breaking their wallets. It's not for the squeamish but it'll stick with you. I guarantee it.
DF: I’m fascinated with your BERLIN NOIR website. For those who are unfamiliar with the genre, explain what Berlin Noir is and what you accomplish with your website.
AS: Berlin Noir began with Philip Kerr's initial trilogy of books: MARCH VIOLETS, THE PALE CRIMINAL and A GERMAN REQUIEM. These were released as separate novels before being collected in an omnibus entitled BERLIN NOIR:

The genius of the set up was to have the novels follow a police detective, Bernie Gunther, from the early days of Nazi rule (March Violets) when Germans had just begun to learn and deal with the fact that the Nazis weren't a joke, then move on to 1938 for THE PALE CRIMINAL when the Nazis had a stranglehold on Berlin, and the rest of the Germany as war loomed before jumping to REQUIEM where it's 1947 and Germany is a graveyard. The collection proved so successful that the title became the name for this type of fiction. Kerr went on to write more successful Bernie Gunther novels, which inspired others to write tales of crime and espionage with this fascinating historical setting and a new genre was born. From series to stand alone novels set during the Nazi regime, the books kept piling up. 
But when you google Berlin Noir or punch it in at Amazon, you get Kerr's collection for the most part and it's hard to find the others entries in this burgeoning genre. As a fan, I thought a one-stop place to learn about the books would be a great help. I read the books anyway, so why not review then for the blog? This way fans, new and old, can see what's out there, read reviews, see the cover art on the various editions and from there, hopefully, decide what their next Berlin Noir fix will be. I've heard from visitors to the blog who were unaware there were so many Berlin Noir books (29 reviews to date) and have been grateful for the blog. More than 9000 visits later and the blog is still going strong.
I have had to cut back on the reviews because I'm running out of books! Ha! Turns out reviewing them takes less time than writing them. Who knew? So to give the various authors time to add to the genre, I've slowed things down to once a month or so. That seems to be working and it gives readers time to find the blog and read the reviews before the next one comes along.
DF: What are your future plans for your writing career?
AS: More Holmes! The idea is to do one more Fight Card Holmes after this year's to make three entries overall. After that, unless I get an idea for a fourth, it'll be time to move on. Ultimately it'll depend on the readers. If they really like the books, that fourth idea might come a little more easily. We'll see. I've got a Holmes book to do for Pro Se Press as well as a Moon Man story for them. I've got an idea for a Holmes novel I've been toying with and I hope that will come together. There's also my own Berlin Noir entry that's been simmering for a few years now and looks to be about ready to serve. Other than the above, I'll see what comes along. Earlier this year, I was offered a chance to contribute to a different type of Holmes anthology and that was a lot of fun. Can't say more about it just now but the news will be breaking soon. That invite was out of the blue so I'll keep my eyes and ears open for more of those should they come down the pike. 
Hint to publishers: I'm always open to hear what's cooking so don't be shy. I've got a Secret Agent X idea I'm going to develop once more of the stuff mentioned above is in the can. And I want to give Mack Bolan a try. There's more but who wants to hear about vague stuff in the works? I'll be keeping myself busy at any rate.
DF: What’s a Day In The Life of Andrew Salmon like?
AS: Just the typical glitz and glamour of a writer's life. I run errands in the morning to get the blood going, then it's keyboard time followed up by research then more keyboard time and revisions. Added to that is beating the drum online to get readers interested in what I do. And all this between film gigs. Not terribly exciting stuff. Unless you're a writer, and then you know just how exciting all this can be. I love what I do.
Derrick Ferguson: Anything else we should know?
Andrew Salmon: Well, I think it's all about covered. If anyone's interested in my stuff, they can look me up on Amazon. And the BERLIN NOIR blog can be found here  Thanks for getting this far, dear readers. And thanks to everyone who has tried something I've written. I hope you enjoyed it. Much appreciated!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Kickin' The Willy Bobo With: THOMAS DEJA

Derrick Ferguson: Who is Thomas Deja?

Thomas Deja: You know who I am, you....
Oh.  For the readers.
I’m a lifelong New York resident, author, and podcast celebrity. 
That sounds really arrogant, doesn’t it?

DF: Where do you live and what do you do?
TD: For the last 23 years, I have resided in Ridgewood, on the Brooklyn/Queens border.  This seems to be my destiny, as I’ve lived in Highland Park, Brooklyn and Woodhaven, Queens--both on the border--during my youth.  As for what I do, these days it’s mainly struggle for existence.

DF: For those folks who don’t know you, give us a brief history of your background.
TD: Born in Brooklyn.  Moved with my mother after her divorce to Queens.  Went to Hunter College in the 80's and studied Media--and oddly enough, only just recently got the degree I earned there.  Was a freelance consultant and temp during the 90‘s.  Have been writing since I was eleven, and a professional one (i.e. have been given a check for the privlege of publishing same) for almost twenty-five years off and on.  And now...novelist.

DF:One question I get asked all the time is where and how did we meet. What’s your version?
TD: Here’s how I remember it.
When I was writing Daredevil for Bill K’Tepi’s MARVEL: YEAR TWO site, I received a fan letter from you praising me for the references I made to Stu Hart’s Dungeon and Derek Flint.  We conversed through email back and forth and somehow discovered that a) we shared a lot of commonalities and b) we were a matter of miles from each other.  One of us gave the other a phone number, and we started talking, which led to me inviting you to the Horror Writers Association of New York’s private screening of Hellboy--where we sat with F. Paul Wilson, who I did not know you were a major fan of--and our friendship has grown since then. 

DF: How long have you been writing?
TD: At the risk of being a cliché, almost my whole life.  I used to attach a bunch of looseleaf paper sandwiched between construction paper together with brass fasteners and write ‘books’ which invariably featured different imitations of giant monsters beating each other into paste, although I also recall a series featuring a masked detective called ‘The Curlew’ and one that pitted Frankenstein’s Monster against The Creature of The Black Lagoon.
As far as professionally, I began placing pieces in the seminal Brooklyn-based satire-and-stuff ‘zine Inside Joke in the very late 80‘s.  This led to my placing about three dozen stories in various small press magazines like After Hours, Rictus and Not One Of Us, and, after some bumps along the way, where I am now.

DF: What do you love most about writing?
TD: I had a friend once who would tell anyone who met me that I was ‘so bardic’...and I guess that’s true.  I write because I am compelled to tell stories, and publishing them in little booklets and online sites for cash means you’re not just a crazy person boring those around you with tales of the folks in your head.  And when I connect with people, let them feel what I felt when I let those voices out, that’s the greatest feeling.

DF: What’s your philosophy of writing?
TD: I once interviewed Ben Manilla, a local morning DJ, for my college newspaper, and he told me there’s only one reason to be a writer--because when you look in the mirror and ask yourself ‘what do you want to be when you grow up,' you can think of no other thing to be.'
There are two other things I hold very dear to me regarding writing.  One is that if you write to move yourself, you will move others.  All too often, I read novels that come off as nothing more than script treatments that we’ve been asked to pay for, stories that are written because they feature what will sell, not what they’re passionate about.  Those stories end up having no soul.  You need to put something of yourself in what you write to truly make a connection with your reader, and I try my best to do so every day.
The other thing is that the ability to write is a muscle; you have to build it up, you have to maintain it, and if you don’t, you lose it.  You have to write every day, you have to constantly seek out new stories to tell in your head.  If you start recycling other tales, or telling other people’s stories under your name...well, you’ve misplaced your drive.

DF: You used to work for FANGORIA magazine. What did you do for them and how was it working for them?
TD: Considering that I ended up working for them by accident, quite a lot.  I started working there as the writer of their Episode Guides for The X-Files--the guy they originally assigned flaked out on them on the day my friend, and Fangoria editor, Michael Gingold and I were having lunch, and I said ‘I’ll do it’--but I also ended up doing book and movie reviews, author profiles and even briefly edited their online literary magazine for a while.
I had my disagreements with the magazine at times, and there were some hairy moments (some X-Files fans were so scary I wrote a story, ‘Baron Wyvern Wants Your Love,' as an act of catharsis), but for most of the almost twenty years and three owners I was with them they were great employers.  There was a stretch of about ten years where I didn’t have something in the magazine proper.  It was only until that growing belief that paying freelancers was optional that I had to stop working for them.  Trust me, if it wasn’t for that, I’d still be cranking out book reviews.

DF: You were involved in writing Marvel and DC fan fiction for many years. Why fan fiction?
TD: Because I went through something traumatic in 2000, and I couldn’t write the horror fiction I was known for at the time.  When Bill K’Tepi, who coordinated a pair of PBeM games I participated in, decided to start DC: YEAR ONE (and later MARVEL: YEAR ONE), he asked me to take on Green Lantern in one and Daredevil in the other, and I’m glad I did.  Those years when I did fanfic kept those writing muscles supple during that time when my muse had crawled into a closet and cried herself into a coma. It also helped that I received some positive reinforcement, particularly due to my lesser known series such as THE SWORDSMAN and BIRDS OF PREY, that kept me from abandoning my craft thoroughly in the midst of my angst.
Plus it led me to contacts that led to my return to original fiction several years down the line...including yourself.  If it wasn’t for my years in the Fanfic mines, I wouldn’t have created Don Cuevo--who began as a character in BIRDS OF PREY--or ONYX REVOLVER, which led to the creation of The Chimera Falls Universe.
DF: Tell us about The Shadow Legion. Who are they and why do they exist?
TD: The Shadow Legion grew out of my frustration with super-hero comics as a whole, comics in general, and DC’s ‘New 52‘ specifically.  It was the news of DC’s total line-wide reboot, and the anger than it engendered in me, that prompted me to write up a fanfiction proposal where I renovated a number of DC characters suggested to me by my friends.  When I finished the proposal, however, I discovered that the characters had strayed so far from those characters’ original conception I might as well make them original characters...which led to me sending the proposal out to some of my writer friends, which led to Ron Fortier of Airship 27 to name those characters 'The Shadow Legion’ and offered to publish their adventures.
As for what the Legion are in the context of NEW ROADS TO HELL....they’re a quartet of mystery men who find themselves charged with the protection of Nocturne, The City That Lives By Night.  As readers will learn, Nocturne is something of a nexus for supernatural activity, and something is growing within its city limits that has attracted the likes of Black Talon and Dreamcatcher to its shores.

DF:Tell us about NEW ROADS TO HELL.
TD: NEW ROADS TO HELL is the first book in the Shadow Legion trilogy.  My hope is that the trilogy, and the ancillary CASEBOOKS, will provide a history of the heroic history of Nocturne before we hit the present day.  It formally brings all four of our heroes together, provides origins for two of them, and debuts what many of the people who read the book so far feel is its breakout character...namely, the Girl With The Talent For Murder, Rose Red.  And when she decides that triggering a race war is just what’s needed to give her control of Nocturne’s underworld, well....

DF: You’ve created an entire original superhero universe. How did you do it and what advice would you give to aspiring godlings who want to create their own universe?
TD: I did it by starting small.  People forget that Marvel and (especially) DC didn’t start out with a universe; their individual comics started weaving in and out of each other naturally until they became a coherent shared world.  That’s what later attempts at creating a universe like Dark Horse’s Comics Greatest World failed--they forced it, presenting their universe as fully formed.
Advice?  Know what you want going in and grow it slowly.  I knew the kind of stories I wanted to tell, I knew the characters I needed, I knew the events I wanted in the initial trilogy and I started building my own world from there.  I also planted seeds that could potentially lead to more of this universe, but I’m not going to feel compelled to elucidate them until a story comes along.  A lot of the coolness of the Marvel Universe was the way Stan, Jack and Steve hinted at a greater tapestry without requiring us to learn everything.  That’s the sort of feel I want to capture in The Shadow Legion and its ancillary stories.

DF: Prose superhero stories is a genre that is growing in popularity. To what do you attribute this to?
TD: I think Prose Superhero Fiction is growing in popularity for the same reason New Pulp Fiction and Superhero Movies are popular--there’s a large base of readers who have a taste for action-oriented, colorful, over-the-top adventure with a strong moral center who are no longer being serviced by superhero comics.  They still want to read about dashing heroes and dastardly villains in crazy costumes without having one tear the head off another one.  Hell, they want to escape from the tough times we’re living through, and if they can’t get it through Marvel or DC, they’ll get it through Van Allen Plaxico’s Sentinels, or Lee Houston Jr.’s Alpha, or my own stuff.
I just hope those readers enjoy my admittedly blood-splattered baby and want to see it grow in future collections and novels.

DF: Tell us about your future plans for The Shadow Legion.
TD: Well, the next thing you’ll see is ‘A Waltz In Scarlet,' a novella featuring The Ferryman and Dreamcatcher that’ll appear in Airship 27‘s Mystery Men And Women V. 4. When we last see Ferryman, he’s...a little disconnected from his humanity, and in the story we see what happens when his abilities bring him into contact with his human emotions.  Plus, there’s a big ol’ scary new menace.
That novella will be collected in The Shadow Legion Casebook V. 1If NEW ROADS TO HELL is a graphic novel collecting a major Shadow Legion storyline, the Casebooks (there’ll be one appearing between each novel) represent one of those plastic bags of comics you’d find in Walmart with random issues of each Legionnaire’s solo series.  I already have three of the novellas, featuring Ferryman, Black Talon and Nightbreaker, in the can, so the collection may come out sooner than later.
After the first Casebook will be the second novel, which takes place in 1966.  If New Roads were Nightbreaker’s and Ferryman’s story, then the next novel will focus on Black Talon and his relationship with Dreamcatcher.  There were some things revealed about the price the Talon pays for his powers, and we’re going to explore how that shakes out, and why his ‘patrons’ in the Circle of Life are so approving of his choice of mate.  I hope that, just as New Roads was reflective of the Golden Age of Comics, the new novel will reflect the Silver Age, as a more science-fictiony menace rises to wage war on humanity and the Legion and its new allies.

DF: Any other projects you’ve got in the works you can tell us about?
TD: I think I can safely say that my pair of Western Heroes--the frontier exorcist Don Cuevo and the steampunk scientist Doc Thunder--will make appearances soon through Pulpwork Press’ third volume of How The West Was Weird and this year’s Christmas Annual respectively.  There’s a novella for Monster Earth 2There’s some stuff I can’t talk about just yet--including another novel that’s in the Chimera Falls Universe, but has a more science-fiction-y bent to it.  So yeah, I’ll be pretty busy.

Derrick Ferguson: Anything else we need to know?
Thomas Deja: If you buy my book, I’ll be your friend.  You buy enough of them, we’ll have cake.
Hard to believe I’m still single, huh?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Derrick Ferguson Visits The Era of PROHIBITION

Paperback: 188 pages
Publisher: Airship 27 (December 15, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0615743889
ISBN-13: 978-0615743882

I’m going to get to talking about PROHIBITION in a bit, I promise. But first, I gotta relate a little story that will assist me in making my opening point. Okay? Thank you for your patience and sit back. Here it goes:

Couple of weeks ago I’m having a Skype conversation with a gentleman who is incensed that I don’t like “Hobo With A Shotgun.” It’s a perfect modern grindhouse movie he insists. No, I politely disagree. “Planet Terror” is a a perfect modern grindhouse movie. The gentleman spends the next two minutes expressing his opinion that whatever it is I allegedly use for thinking must be composed of excrement and another minute telling me that “Planet Terror” is garbage and why on Earth do I think it’s the better movie.

“Because,” says I, “Robert Rodriguez knows what grindhouse is. The guys who made ‘Hobo With A Shotgun’ just think they know what grindhouse is.”

Which finally brings me to PROHIBITION by Terrence McCauley. We’ve got a lot of New Pulp writers who think they know what a 1930’s gangster story is. But Terrence McCauley knows what a 1930’s gangster story. Man, does he ever.

We’re in New York, 1930. The town is run by Archie Doyle, the city’s most powerful gangster who is more like the monarch of an unruly kingdom. And there’s somebody out there looking to take his crown. Archie’s got an ambitious plan in mind that will give him more power than he’s ever dreamed of before. But he’s got to stay alive long enough to see that plan through. That’s where his chief enforcer Terry Quinn comes in. Terry’s an ex-boxer and the toughest mug on two legs. But finding out who’s trying to start a bloody gang war between Archie Doyle and his main rival, Howard Rothman is going to take more than just being tough. Quinn is going to have to rely on his street smarts and think his way through this. Of course, shooting and slugging his way to the guilty party helps an awful lot, too.

PROHIBITION has a lot going for it, mainly that McCauley isn’t afraid to write characters who aren’t likeable at all. But that’s okay with me. As long as I know why the characters are doing what they’re doing and understand their motivations, I’m cool. McCauley is writing about people who have chosen a dark, dangerous and violent life and he stays true to that. That’s not to say he doesn’t find the humanity in them. He does. It’s just a humanity that manifests itself within the terms and parameters of the concrete jungle his characters have chosen to inhabit for whatever reasons people have to live a life of crime. This wasn’t an easy period in American history to live in and people had to make hard choices. The characters in PROHIBITION have to make the hardest choices of all since the wrong one can get them killed.

A lot of New Pulp writers figure that to write a 1930’s gangster story you just have to have pseudo-tough talking wanna-be’s sounding more like Slip Mahoney than real gangsters run around shooting Tommy guns. McCauley understands that the most successful gangsters of that era ran their organizations like businesses. The business just happens to be crime is all. Violence wasn’t their first resort to solve every problem. It was just as useful and as profitable to know when not to use violence as it was to know when to use it.

I appreciated the smartness of these characters. The way they talk to each other, maneuvering to gain an edge through words makes for some really solid dialog. The relationship between Archie Doyle and Terry Quinn reminds me a lot of the relationship between the Albert Finney/Gabriel Byrne characters from “Miller’s Crossing.” Imagine if Gabriel Byrne’s character was an authentic badass who knew how to fight instead of getting his ass kicked all the time and you’ll get what I mean. Terry Quinn is a guy who knows how to work the angles and his navigation through this gleefully violent story is an enjoyable one to read.

And like any good gangster story, McCauley doesn’t skimp on the sex and violence. If you want cute gangsters who pal around and crack jokes then go watch “Johnny Dangerously” because you’re not going to find that in PROHIBITION. I appreciated the tough, hard story McCauley is telling and the even tougher, harder characters who speak and talk pretty much the way I expect gangsters of that era to behave.

I’m sure that there are some who are going to be uncomfortable or even turned off by the language and that there isn’t really an ‘heroic’ character to root for. Terry Quinn is a killer and extraordinarily violent man who doesn’t make apologies for how he lives his life. Most readers like to have a lead character to root for and while Terry’s misplaced sense of honor and loyalty lifts him a notch above most of the other characters in the book that doesn’t mean he’s anywhere near being on the side of the angels. But it’s precisely because of that misplaced honor and loyalty that makes him such an enjoyable protagonist to read about.
And I can’t wrap up this review without mentioning the wonderful illustrations by Rob Moran which do an excellent job of capturing the mood and feel of the story. I’m willing to bet next month’s rent that Rob Moran has seen a lot of those great classic Warner Brothers black-and-white gangster epics of the 30’s and 40’s as that’s the feeling I got from his illustrations.

So should you read PROHIBITION? Absolutely. It’s not only a terrific way to spend a couple of quality reading hours, it’s also an important book in the evolution of New Pulp. It’s exciting to see books like this that adds another genre to expand what New Pulp is and can be. The bread-and-butter of New Pulp are the masked avengers, the jungle lords and the scientific adventurers, sure. But there’s plenty of room for sports stories, romance, westerns and private eyes. And in the last couple of years we’ve seen those. Hard-boiled crime stories are just as much a Classic Pulp tradition and I’m delighted to see it being continued and represented in New Pulp. Most definitely put PROHIBITION on your Must Read List.  

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sinbad-The New Voyages


Airship 27 Productions announces the release of their newest pulp anthology title, SINBAD – The New Voyages

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.

“This was another opportunity for us to explore another classic pulp genre,” Managing Editor Ron Fortier explained.  “Fantasy high adventure was a popular setting in many of the more exotic themed pulp titles of the 1930s.  Doing one starring Sinbad seemed a natural choice for us.”

Writers Nancy Hansen, I.A. Watson and Derrick Ferguson offer up three classic Sinbad tales to rival those of legend while adding a familiar sensibility from the cult favorite Sinbad movies of FX master, Ray Harryhausen.  SINBAD – The New Voyages will enthrall and entertain all lovers of fantasy adventure in a brand new way; featuring cover art by Bryan Fowler and twelve black and white illustrations by Ralf van der Hoeven.

“From inception to realization, this was one of the fastest titles we’ve ever put together,” Fortier added.  “In fact we received so many submissions that we had enough to fill two books.  You can expect volume two to sail over the horizon soon.  And we couldn’t be happier.”

So pack up your you traveling bags, bid ado to your loved ones and get ready to sail with the tide as Sinbad El Ari takes the tiller and the Blue Nymph sets sails once more; its destination worlds of wonder, mystery and high adventure.  

AIRSHIP 27 PRODUCTIONS – Pulp Fiction For A New Generation!

Now available as $3 PDF download.

From Create Space

Later from Indy POD.

And finally Amazon & Kindle.

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 ...