Showing posts with label Sebastian Red. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sebastian Red. Show all posts

Friday, August 1, 2014

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


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

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

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

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

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

...wait for it...

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

BOOM goes the dynamite!

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

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

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

But I digress, buy it already!

You did? Well buy it again...!

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

...and I'm out.

(insert mic drop here)

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Trail of Sebastian Red #3

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



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

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

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

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

         “Who do you reckon he is, Sheriff?”

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

         “Mebbe he’s an outlaw, Sheriff?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

         “And what thing is this, Sheriff?”

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

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

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

         Another ripple of astonishment. 

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

         “Ocnoi?” Somebody asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

         “Sheriff, we need to talk to you.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

         “We’d just need two men!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

         “He know anything about the Kreota?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

         “Agreed.”

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

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

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

         The brothers walked over.  “Sebastian Red?”

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

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

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

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

         “Be right over.”

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

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

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

         “You don’t think they got reason?”

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

         “Sheriff Morton is doin’ just that thing.”

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

         “He was at Lancaster Pass.”

         “Yeah.  He’s got experience then.”

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

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

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

         “You speak any Kreota, Mr. Red?”

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

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

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

         “So you know this region, then?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

         “Then why are you going?”

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




Thursday, May 1, 2014

Progress Report #16

Y’know, I really have to stop promising that I’m going to do these Progress Reports on a more timely basis because everytime I do, up jumps The Devil and puts more work in my way. Then I feel guilty about goofing off here at BLOOD & INK instead of doing the writing I’m supposed to be doing. But then, when I don’t update the daggone thing I feel I’m slighting those of you who do read it. The Eternal Dilemma.

But it hasn’t been as if I’ve totally neglected it. I hope you’ve been enjoying the book reviews and “Kickin’ The Willy Bobo” interviews. And I have been busy with a few things that I’m sure you know about but just in case you don’t, allow me to catch you up as well as inform you about a few things coming your way in the months ahead:

We haven’t even hit the halfway point of the year yet and you’ve got three Dillon adventures to keep you busy. “Dillon and The Last Rail To Khusra” Young DillonIn The Halls of Shamballah” and “The Vril Agenda.” There’s three more new Dillon adventures planned for the rest of the year but for more information on those you’ll have to go over to the DILLON blog. Ain’t I a stinker?

The major project that is taking up most of my time is one that I can’t say much about yet as it’s a special project I’m working on for Pro Se. If I say too much about it, Tommy Hancock will cut out my tongue. You know how he is about his announcements and teases. But I think I’m safe enough in telling you this much: Tommy came to me with an idea for me to novelize a movie. Not just any movie mind you. But one of the worst movies ever made. I’ve seen the thing more than once in the course of taking notes for the novel and trust me on this. This movie makes “Plan 9 From Outer Space” look like “Citizen Kane.” Yes, it’s that bad.

But I had a challenge from not only Tommy but the star/director of the movie himself; write the novel and make it better than the movie. If it’s one thing I can’t resist, it’s a challenge. And after writing two Dillon adventures back-to-back I thought it would be a nice change of pace. And so far it has been. I should be done with it by the end of this month and no doubt Tommy will be telling you all the grisly details about it then.

What else? There’s a new Sebastian Red story; “Sorrowful Are The Souls That Sleep With Gold” that will be appearing in HOW THE WEST WAS WEIRD Vol. III sooner than you think. Last I heard the plan was to drop the ebook first with the paperback to follow soon after. So keep your eyes open for that. I get a lot of inquiries about a Sebastian Red anthology and I’m not ignoring you, I promise. There’s one story I have to finish; “The Bloodstained Trail” and then I can see about putting the thing together with the existing stories. The next time you see Sebastian Red after that will be in a novel that for now I’m calling THE SEVEN GUNS OF SEBASTIAN RED.

I’ve also got to finish the third episode of A MAN CALLED MONGREL before Ron Fortier disowns me completely. The man has the patience of a Kansas City accountant, I tell ya. But in the last month or so I’ve actually been contemplating going ahead and writing a 30K story to bring the series to a satisfying conclusion. It’s a decision I’ve been wrestling with for quite a while and didn’t want to make but the hard truth is that Mongrel Henderson, much as I love him is a character that nobody seems much interested in reading about. And it’s mostly my fault because I don’t publicize Mongrel as much as I do Dillon or Fortune McCall or Sebastian Red. I suppose he’s that little brother who simply can’t get out of the shadows of his bigger, more successful brothers. And I’d rather devote my time and energy to writing stories about characters people do want to read. Maybe it’s just not Mongrel’s time or maybe I should go back to my original plan I had for him: find a helluva good artist and do a Mongrel graphic novel. We’ll see. In any case, I’ll keep you posted.

What else? I guess that’s it. Thank you for stopping by to chat and let’s get together real soon to do this again. In the meantime, read some good books, watch some good movies and say hello to everyone you meet.





Friday, March 22, 2013

How I Create My Characters (For Better or For Worse)


First off, I don't think any writer sits down saying: "Today I am going to create a memorable character." Any more than he can sit down and say "Today I am going to write a memorable novel." Only the kindness of readers and the passage of time can judge the memorability of a writer's work.

When I set out to create characters I do according to whatever type of story it is I'm writing at the time and I tend to build them the same way whether it's my supernatural western gunslinger Sebastian Red or my family man superspy Jackson Rush or the enigmatic urban hitman Diamondback Vogel. I dig out my Character Profile which contains about 30 questions dealing with that character's background, where and when he was born, his parents, where he was schooled, what he likes to eat, his sexual preferences and a whole bunch of other stuff that may not seem important but to me it is.

By the time I'm finished filling out The Character Profile I've got 12 to 15 pages of solid information about the character I'm dealing with. Information that gives me a powerful tool since I don't have to stop and wonder how that character would act in a certain situation. How much of this information actually finds its way into the actual body of the story? Not as much as you might think. But that's not what's important to me. If there's no reason in the story why you should know who Jackson Rush lost his virginity to at age 18 then why should I tell you? But I know and in my mind it gives the character weight. He's not just a vague shadow I'm pushing around at my whim. By the time I've finished The Character Profile hopefully he's taken on his own life and begun talking to me, relating events that have happened to him that I'm just recording. That's when I know that I've created an actual character and not just a blow up figure.

Should you do a Character Profile? I dunno. I'm a big believer in every writer finding his own best way of working. What works for me may not work for you. But I find it almost impossible to start writing a story without knowing my main character inside and out. Once I know that, everything clicks into place with little difficulty. I wrote the Dillon novels with just a few scenes and vague ideas of how I was going to piece them together but since I know Dillon as well (in some cases better than) as members of my own family, I trusted him to fill in the spaces and he did in spectacular fashion. I just relaxed and let him tell me how the story went. 

You may think I'm bullshitting you but it's true: whenever I sit down to write Dillon it seems as if he's just dropped off notes about what he's been doing lately and I'm just transcribing them. But maybe you don't want to or don't need to do all that. It's up to you to find what works your machinery and gets it humming.

How about supporting characters? Do I do a Character Profile for them? Depends. If they're major supporting characters like Dillon's partner Eli Creed or Diamondback's rival Nickleby LaLoosh, yeah. For other characters I do an abbreviated CP of anywhere from five to ten questions and for minor characters I don't even bother.

And even doing all that work on that character won't guarantee that they'll be memorable or even interesting. Take a look at Diamondback Vogel for instance. After I spent about two solid weeks of work on all the main characters I felt especially proud of the work I had done on him and thought he'd be well received. Hah. Turns out that two supporting characters, Toulon and Nickleby LaLoosh were more popular than Diamondback. And during the course of writing the first Diamondback novel, I had to change the ending since Nickleby LaLoosh took over and absolutely refused to nicely die at the end like he was supposed to. You see, by then he had started talking to me about what he wanted to do and like an idiot I listened.

But it's all good. That's part of the fun of writing and why I don't write detailed outlines and get myself locked into solid ideas of what has to happen in Chapter 11 and if it doesn't, I chisel it into shape. It's much more fun when the characters start taking an active part in their own story and arguing with me as to what they'd like to see and the story grows organically as I discover new things about the characters and they surprise and amaze me with what they do.

And if you’re still interested, here’s the questions I use for my Character Profile:

Master Character Profile For:
Name:
Age:
Height:
Country/Place of Birth:
Nationality:
Weight/Build:
Color Hair/Eyes:
Educational Background:
Sexuality:
Family:
Martial Status:
Ambition In Life:
Strongest Character Trait:
Weakest Character Trait:
Bad Habits:
General Characteristics:
Mental Characteristics:
Physical Characteristics:
Philosophy:
Religion:
Politics:
Hobbies:
Special Skills:
Current Lifestyle:
Profession/Jobs:
Relationships:
What Others Notice About Him/Her First:
Paraphanalia/Equipment/Weapons:
Fighting Skills:
Strength:
Agility/Reflexes:
Stamina/Endurance:

Friday, December 2, 2011

How The West Was Weird: Campfire Tales

Originally only available as a giveaway with purchase of How the West Was Weird, Vol. 2, the e-book CAMPFIRE TALES is now available at Amazon.com (for those of you with Kindles) and Smashwords.com (for those of you with any other kind of e-reader. This book includes 4 weird western short stories by Russ Anderson, Derrick Ferguson, Joel Jenkins, and Joshua M. Reynolds. For 99 cents, it's a steal!

Four astounding novellas combining the western with sci-fi and horror.  This new addition to Pulpwork Press's best-selling HOW THE WEST WAS WEIRD series includes:

MR. BRASS AND THE CRIMSON SKIES OF KANSAS by Josh Reynolds. The robot Pinkerton is all that stands between President Teddy Roosevelt and an attack by sky pirates and Mr. Hyde.

HELL'S OWN by Russ Anderson. Zombies overrun a small western town, and the town's lone sheriff is the only one that's armed. Will anyone survive?

THE TALE OF THE BARON'S TRIBUTE by Derrick Ferguson. When a foe from Sebastian Red's past attacks him through his friends, Sebastian must undo the damage done to his loved ones and do battle with a foe who is, for once, in every way his equal.

GUNMEN OF THE HOLLOW EARTH by Joel Jenkins. Lone Crow, Doc Holliday, and Morgan Earp lead the surviving members of the Wild Bunch into a lost world at the center of the Earth, running afoul of dinosaurs, a tribe of barbarian women, and a posse of silver-hungry banditos who have followed them from the surface world.

So what are you waiting for?  Get on over to Amazon.com and get yourself a copy!


Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Trail of Sebastian Red #2


I love it when I can economize and knock off two subjects in one post and this indeed is going to be one of those posts.  I’ll be able to let you in on the background of some of the artwork in the title banner and hopefully give a word of encouragement as well.  Here we go: 

Invariably I will be asked by other writers; “You get a lot of reviews and attention and feedback.  How come I don’t?”  Actually, it’s not that blunt but you get the idea.  My reply is usually the same: “You have no control over that.  It’s strictly up to the readers if they want to inform you about how your work made them feel.  All you can do is continue to produce the best work you can and continue to put it out there.  One day it’ll be appreciated.”

Now I realize that isn’t very helpful to writers anxious to know what others think about their writing.  I freely admit that.  And believe me; I was once in those very shoes.  I was writing in Internet Years about 10 years before anybody outside of other writers contacted me to tell me; “Hey, I really like what you’re doing.”

Yeah, you read that right.  10 mollyfoggin’ years.  I was fortunate that I had guys like Russ AndersonTom Deja, Tim HartinBarry Reese and Tommy Hancock who recognized my alleged talent and were generous enough to provide me with their criticism and feedback.  But yeah, comments from Plain Ol’ Reader Dan or Dora weren’t comin’.  And let’s be honest, every writer gets a thrill out of hearing from a total stranger who took a chance and picked up a book or read a story of theirs and was excited enough by that book or story to take the time and let that writer know.

Now, one day I get this email from somebody I’d never heard of.  A Belgian artist named Alain Valet.  This gentleman informed me that he had read my Sebastian Red story; “Of All the Plagues A Lover Bears” and was inspired by some of the imagery in the story to go ahead and create pieces of art based on the story and here they are:









The two pieces are incorporated into the title banner but they deserve to be seen in entirety so that they can properly be appreciated.  The one at the top is my favorite of the two as it’s actually from the story.  Sebastian Red needs some information from a demon and plays a game of poker with it in order to do so.  But believe me, I love and adore them both.  Mr. Valet and I communicated for a while after that and even briefly discussed the possibility of him illustrating a Sebastian Red story.  But as it happens so often on The Internet, folks fall out of touch.  I haven’t heard from him in a number of years but he has made an indelible impression on me in my development as a writer.

So I guess the point I’m trying to make is this: you just never know who’s going to read your books, your plays or look at your artwork or listen to your music and be moved enough to not only respond and reply to what you did but to create something of their own.  And isn’t that why we all strive to create?  Because somebody wrote, drew, sang or said something that ignited our own creative fire?

If you come away from this post with anything (besides my typical shameless huckstering) I hope it’s this: continue to write, paint, draw, sing, speak, and dance…whatever it is you do.  Because your own Alain Valet is out there.  But he or she can’t speak to you unless you speak to them first.

  

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.