Monday, February 28, 2011

PULP ARK 2011 AWARDS WINNERS ANNOUNCED!


          Tommy Hancock, Editor in Chief of Pro Se Productions and Pulp Ark Coordinator, announces that voting has closed for the 2011 Pulp Ark Awards, the first awards given in association with this inaugural Pulp creators' conference/convention.

The Winners of the 2011 Pulp Ark Awards are-

BEST BOOK
Tales of the Red Panda: The Android Assassins by Gregg Taylor (Autogyro Press)

BEST SHORT STORY
The Mountain Goats of Madness by Phil Bledsoe (Phil Bledsoe)

BEST COVER ART
Tales of the Red Panda: The Android Assassins by Thomas Perkins (Autogyro Press)

BEST INTERIOR ART
The Rook Volume 5-Anthony Castrillo, (Wild Cat Books)

BEST PULP RELATED COMIC
Boston Bombers (Red Bud Studios)

BEST PULP MAGAZINE
Masked Gun Mystery  (Pro Se Productions)

BEST PULP REVIVAL
Green Lama -Green Lama Unbound by Adam L. Garcia (Airship 27/Cornerstone)

BEST AUTHOR
Barry Reese

BEST NEW WRITER
Tommy Hancock

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Tom and Ginger Johnson



The awards, 8X10 engraved wooden plaques, will be awarded in the middle of Pulp Ark, the evening of Saturday, May 14, 2011.  Hancock stated that all winners as well as nominees are encouraged to attend, but any winners who could not would receive their awards by mail.  Pulp Ark thanks all who nominated, all who voted, and congratulations to all the nominees and especially to the winners of the first ever Pulp Ark Awards!

The Book of Green - Number 6


   
Running with a screaming naked woman on your shoulder and trying to get to the door of her apartment before a creature from a horror comic rips you apart is not the easiest thing in the world.  Cole learned this usually useless fact the hard way.  Red was screaming and kicking with all of her might, but he knew if he put her down, if he lost just one step, they would never make it out of her apartment alive.
An unearthly noise, horribly between a scream and a roar, erupted from the bedroom.  Cole stepped even faster.  His leg buckled after Red made contact with his left temple.  He hammered her behind with the clenched fist that wasn't keeping her on his shoulder. This only enraged her Irish blood, and she began swinging harder and cursing him with names that not even a seasoned dick knew.
“Shut up! I’m trying to save you!” he shouted.
“I don’t want to be saved, you mother fu…”
Her voice froze in mid slur and Cole’s spine could feel a warning from behind. The beast was coming.

"The Things He Leaves Behind" by: Aric Mitchell


"The Things He Leaves Behind"
by: Aric Mitchell
as published in
PRO SE PRESENTS 
Masked Gun Mystery #1 
BUY YOURS TODAY AT

EXCERPT
Hi, I’m Reese Fuller. I work the afterhours beat for the Clarion. I see the ugly side. The grit and grime of the streets, the lost souls at the end of a rope. I see what makes the child cry in the night. I get up close and personal with what makes the lawman crawl inside a bottle of booze at the end of his shift. I know what keeps him awake at night on a first name basis. Maybe it’s a dead hooker or a drug deal gone bad. Or perhaps the guy who just got laid off and is now about to light a match against his kerosene-drenched clothing.
No rest for the weary, none for the wicked. And nothing for those of us trying to make sense of it all.
My beat is a book filled with stories. And no matter how many there are, no matter how far I reach, I can barely tell one before the next one comes along. But someone told me a long time ago it doesn’t matter if the rest of the world is going to hell in a handcart. All you can do is work the leads you got. Make them the best they can be. I don’t always succeed. I can’t. The house has too good of odds. But I can play smart. I take my cards. I watch for the signals. I learn the other players, and sometimes I hold the winning hand.
Yes, I work the after hours beat. It’s the place that seeps into nightmares as the world sleeps. And it’s the place I call home.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The American - The Trailer


video


Paul McConnell is the American.
"The American" is a free web comic and pulp story brought to you by the good people at Pro Se Press.
Written and Illustrated by Fuller Bumpers


The American - Number 27

“Now head north until you see a Taco Stand with a busty girl on the front and don’t get pulled over.  The last thing we need is to get held up by local boys in blue, “demanded The American.
            “Yes, Dad,” said Paul Jr.
Sheepishly Carolyn called to her father, “Dad?”
“Yes, Honey.”
“I…really don’t get any of this. You’ve been an invalid for so long. I had to dress you this morning. Dad, please explain it, help me understand.”
“I can’t, Carolyn.  I’ve already told you, my brain is just so…mixed up.  Everything is foggy sifted through haze surrounded by smoke. One thought leads to another that  it has never been connected to before.
“Well, this is all fun and games to me running from some mysterious death squad , or whatever it is Dad?”
“Paul Jr., I’m not sure what we’re running from, but I know we don’t want them to catch us.”
“Then let’s piece together what we know.  Up until a few minutes ago, you were Paul McConnell, eighty year old father and grandfather, bound to a wheelchair for the rest of your natural life.  Now you’re…you’re, I don’t even know what you are.”
“I…I don’t know…either, Paul Jr.”
“Who is this Indian, Dad?” asked Carolyn.
“What Indian?”

"Godslayers" by: Van Plexico


"Godslayers"
by: Van Plexico
as published in
PRO SE PRESENTS 
Peculiar Adventures #1 
BUY YOURS TODAY AT


Excerpt

I felt my body ripping itself apart even as the spacecraft disintegrated around me.
Not a pleasant experience, that. It makes one grateful for the human capacity to quickly forget pain. Lacking that ability, women might never give birth to more than one child—and Zanos knows we need all the new recruits we can get. And speaking of soldiers, the wounded might never jump back into combat, without that short memory for suffering.
That’s what I am, of course. A soldier.
No surprise there, right? That’s pretty much all anyone on the Five Worlds has been for the past nine hundred years.
After all, the War Gods had decreed it: There will be war. The five inhabited planets of our star system would contend with one another until the bitter end, they had said, and only one would emerge victorious. Only one would survive.
Thus they had spoken. And, for all the years since, we had indeed contended, till our five worlds had beaten one another down into ruins. We moved our cities underground, abandoning the surfaces and the sunlight; and still we bombed one another, and invaded, and poisoned, and killed. Our worlds, now five anthills, churned the dead soil above one another’s heads, over and over, year after bloody year.
Now, though, with one another’s help, if not that of the gods, the nightmare would end.
Our spacecraft, the Godslayer, roared down through the atmosphere of Olympus, flames engulfing it, lasers from the grim Tower playing over its hull.
We had anticipated this, and the experimental shielding held, at least long enough for our shuttle to eject.

Friday, February 25, 2011

PULP ARK SPOTLIGHT-VAN PLEXICO!

VAN ALLEN PLEXICO-PULP ARK AUTHOR OF THE YEAR NOMINEE
& EDITOR OF BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR NOMINEE, VAN ALLEN PLEXICO PRESENTS GIDEON CAIN

1.Van, share a bit of background about yourself if you would.
Sure. I'm originally from Alabama and now live near St Louis.  I spent over a decade attending various universities, studying all kinds of History as well as high-falutin' soundin' stuff like National Security Policy and Diplomacy and International Relations.  The whole time, though, all I really wanted to do was to write science fiction, comics, and pulp adventure stories.  But I knew the odds were very much against me being able to make a decent living doing that--at least, right out of the box.  So I worked long, thirteen hour days and then wrote late at night for several years, honing my skills.
Now, when I'm not teaching college courses, I write and edit for a variety of publishers and web sites, including Airship 27, Swarm Press, White Rocket Books (my own small press imprint), RevolutionSF.com, the War Eagle Reader, and others.  My fourteenth book came out in late January; it is a collection of weekly columns that a fellow Auburn grad, John Ringer, and I wrote about our alma mater's fortunes over the course of the 2010 football season.
So I do sports commentary in addition to the other stuff I mentioned.  Comics commentary, too-- I've instigated and edited two books about Marvel's Avengers comics, called "Assembled!" and "Assembled! 2."  Lots of fine writers and big comics fans contributed chapters about every conceivable aspect of the Avengers, and the books have sold pretty well.  Profits go to the HERO Initiative charity for retired comics pros.
 2.One of the titles in the running for best book starts with VAN ALLEN PLEXICO PRESENTS... Tell us about Gideon Cain as a character and how the concept developed.
Over the holidays at the end of 2008, I raised the suggestion on a comics-related YahooGroup I moderate that some of us should put together an anthology of stories in the vein of Robert E. Howard's "Solomon Kane."  Since the membership of that group includes a number of very talented writers, the concept quickly evolved beyond a simple Kane pastiche to something more complex, as various people tossed out ideas.  Our "Gideon Cain" character soon gained a very rich and detailed background, a strong set of motivations for what he does, and even a logicial and historically consistent wardrobe and weapons.  (His English "mortuary sword" covered in "angelic runes" is particularly fascinating, I think.)
The basic concept behind Cain is that he was an American Puritan who was involved in the Salem Witch Trials.  Later discovering that the Biblical demon Azazel was involved in causing the Trials to go the way they did, Cain leaves his home and family behind and sets out to wander the Earth in search of the demon--and send him back to Hell! 
Over the course of the seven stories in the book, readers will follow Cain through the American Colonial wilderness and across the pirate-filled ocean, through eerie encounters in European ports and across the deserts of the Middle East—always hot on the trail of the demon.
 One appealing aspect of the book is that several of the writers were just starting out in their careers with their Cain stories, so you get a very fresh approach to each one—but two of the co-creators were Kurt Busiek (Marvels; Conan) and Keith R. A. DeCandido (Star Trek; Farscape), certainly old hands at this kind of thing.  So you get the best of both those worlds.
3.  You've also received a nomination as best pulp author of 2010.  How do you feel about that and what do you think a voter should look for in a best author?
I’m absolutely thrilled to be among the nominees.  What a fantastic honor.
My feeling is that the “best author” for pulp purposes should be a writer who can produce high-quality fiction regardless of the setting.  The writer should be both mechanically competent at the basics of crafting a story and also talented at capturing the reader’s interest and pulling him or her into the story.  Writing really is both an art and a craft, and the writer of the year, in any year, in my view, should be someone who can execute both parts of that description skillfully.
Did I accomplish that in 2010?  It’s not for me to say!  But I would point potential voters to my story in GIDEON CAIN, “The Red Flame of Death,” as well as the sixth volume of my superhero novel series, WORLDMIND—both of which came out in 2010 and both of which I believe represent my work at its best.
4.  An area you're known for is super hero pulp.   Why do super heroes, usually finding their homes in comics, have a place in the pulp genre?
 Prose fiction crafted in the “pulp” style (colorful, fast-moving, and exciting) and incorporating superhero characters is a fast-growing field these days.  Even the big boys, like Pyr Books, have published prose superhero anthologies recently, and the old stuff (such as “Wild Cards”) is being reprinted.
I think for most people it’s the combination of several factors.  Superheroes are currently migrating to other forms of media, from movies to video games to web sites, so why shouldn’t they also make the leap to novels and anthologies?   And, given the Internet and modern small-press publishing, it’s never been easier for creators to reach a very select audience that would appreciate such things.
For me, the major benefit of presenting my superhero story this way is that I can tell a really vast saga on a huge canvas, involving dozens of major characters across the entire galaxy and over a millennium of time—and I can do it all much more quickly and with much more nuance than it could be done in comics, because I’m not dependent on artists having to painstakingly recreate every moment of the entire story visually.  Chris Kohler does five full-page illustrations for each of my Sentinels novels, and that works out to around one fantastic picture for every fifty pages of story.  It seems to be a really good ratio and readers seem to love it that way.
The idea behind this story is to take every great character and concept I’ve ever come up with (and quite a few from my friend and original co-creator and co-plotter, Bobby Politte), and blend it all into this humongous, Babylon 5-ish ongoing saga that involves everything from street-level fighters to galactic empires and Kirby-style cosmic space-gods.  In these novels you’ll find millionaire inventors, alien androids, mutant college students, glory-hog daredevils, corrupt Pentagon officials, barbarian warlords, and planet-nuking starfleets—these books really do have everything you would find in a Marvel comic from, say, 1977 or 1985.  If George Perez, John Buscema, or John Byrne once drew it, something very like it is probably in here!
The Sentinels series so far constitutes five novels and one anthology, with a sixth novel coming this summer.  That makes for roughly 1750 pages of story, since its beginning in 2006.  How many years would it take for a comic book to get that much story content out to its audience?  I have no idea, but it makes my head hurt to think about it!
Pick up a copy of the first volume, “When Strikes the Warlord,” in print or on Kindle, and decide for yourself!
5.  What might be coming up that could you get back on the Pulp Ark Award list for 2011?
I helped to create a retro-SF “space ranger” character that should be seeing print soon from Airship 27.  My long-ish novella starring that character will be in the second volume, but I helped edit the first book as well. I think readers will love this character and devour his adventures.
The climactic installment in the current Sentinels story arc, “Stellarax,” will be out this summer.  That one is consuming almost all of my writing time at the moment—big, big things happen in that book, and I think all Sentinels fans will be very happy with it.
And I have a “Sky Ranger” story in the upcoming third volume of the “Lance Star” series, also from Airship 27.  Bobby Nash, guardian of all things “Lance,” was kind enough to invite me to have some fun with the guys from Star Field and it was a blast.
All any writer can ask, regarding awards such as PulpArk’s, is that readers and voters will take a look at your work and give it a chance and decide if it merits consideration.  We shall see!

"THE SECRET WHISPERS OF EACH OTHER’S WATCH" by Derrick Ferguson

THE SECRET WHISPERS OF EACH OTHERS WATCH
as transcribed from Ramsey Long’s notes by Derrick Ferguson
as published in
PRO SE PRESENTS 
Peculiar Adventures #1 
BUY YOURS TODAY AT

 
Excerpt
 
New York City, 1929
The clack-clack-clack of high heels upon the black and white marble floor got the attention of every male ear in the City Room of The New York Paladin and every male head swiveled to cast at least one eye upon the person making said clacks. These being newspapermen and rather a direct and somewhat coarse bunch, the sounds of appreciative wolf-whistles were not a surprise. The secretaries who worked in The City Room were used to hearing this masculine din and grinned good-naturedly, but the current recipient of this crude praise threw a furiously angry glare around the room. She searched nameplates on each and every desk until she found the one she wanted, walking up and down the rows of desks occupied either by gum-cracking secretaries or cigar-smoking men barking into telephones or pounding away at their battered black Underwood typewriters. The large circular windows looked out on the New York skyline, bright early morning sunshine streaming in, cutting though the cigar and cigarette smoke that seemed to inhabit the spacious room like a permanent fog, despite the best efforts of the perpetually turning ceiling fans.
The nameplate read Archibald Bodine and the man who sat with his feet up on the desk and talking into the phone looked more like a boxer or soldier than a reporter. A two-day stubble of beard covered his cheeks and chin. His tan double-breasted suit was well-cut and of good style but looked as if he’d slept in it for a week. A fedora pushed back his close-cropped auburn hair.
“Look, Gummy, how long y’know me? Six years, about, right? In all that time, I ever stiff you on a wager?“ Archibald Bodine grew quiet, listening to the angry torrent of words that gobbled out of the receiver. “Okay, okay, that was just the one time! An’ you know why I hadda stiff you that time. The missus was-”
‘so you are Archie Bodine?“

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"Lash Stevens of the Arizona Territories"


"Lash Stevens of the Arizona Territories"
Part One of Four
by: Fuller Bumpers

Free Web Pulp


One of the fastest guns of western Arizona was a blazing .44 on a .45 frame in the hand of ‘Lash’ Stevens. This gun, a legend in Stevens' hand, had been handed over several times from dead man to dead man, until Lash pried it from the eternal grip of the ‘Boot Heel Kid’ out of Beaumont, Texas.
Lash, a gunman who rode both sides of the law at times,  added more than 18 notices to the handle of this well traveled hogleg before he'd leave it to his own offspring. The fact that he'd pass anything on to a son, much less eventually give him his name, revealed something few knew about Lash.  Under a carefully crafted, leather-like exterior created to strike terror into rustlers, cattle thieves, drunks, and all around badmen, the sort of men that mostly populated Arizona in the early days of its statehood, there lay the spirit of a man, a spirit peppered with kindness and warmth.
About fifteen years before Arizona became a state, Lash took work with the Mexicali Land & Cattle Co., to put a stop to stealing on their largest spread– ‘Spurs in Heaven’.  Although not the best ramrod in the territory, Lash could hold his own if needed. In almost any situation. 
He was a familiar sight along the border lands and hung his hat in the city of Nogales when he bathed. His neighbors could always mark when Lash was about by sighting the Winchester across the pommel of his saddle, his respected .44 on his hip, and the way the dust seemed to circle behind the tail of his horse, Moonshine.

"In the House of Mercury" by: Tommy Hancock

"In the House of Mercury"
by: Tommy Hancock
as published in
PRO SE PRESENTS 
Peculiar Adventures #1 

Excerpt

New York City, Today
Benton Klesky watched the repetitive, monotonous waltz begin yet again from his hiding place on the other side of the two-way mirror. His partner leaned across the rickety table, his hammy hands nearly toppling it, and asked their subject the same question he’d asked her for the last 19 hours.
“So, what were you really doing in the middle of Park Avenue at the crack of dawn wearing nothing but the clothes you were born with?”
Klesky crumpled his twenty eighth cigarette on the window ledge in front of him as the prisoner parried into her next move. “You do not listen.” Her voice was distorted, not in any way he’d ever heard, but something he couldn’t quite describe, almost as if his ears were never intended to have heard it. “I have told you, I have warned you of the approaching carnage that brought me here. That put me there. I did not intentionally violate your ‘Park Avenue’. That was my point of arrival, where my B’y’nd run ended.”
“Yeah, yeah.” His bloated partner shook his sweat soaked head back and forth like a frustrated dog on a dead scent. “You are the last of a group of royal body damned guards from Mercury come to warn us of an invasion. You’ve read that line before, sister.” The fat man snatched his battered Styrofoam coffee cup off the table with an unexpected swiftness, and crushed it violently into shreds. As they fell in front of him, he screamed, “For God and Criminy Sakes, Lady, tell me the truth! You were disoriented, out of your head out in the street! Naked!”
“Not totally naked.” Talking aloud, Klesky turned halfway from the viewing window and reached behind him. A shiny new manila folder, lying wide open due to the disheveled pile of older, yellowing pages within it, wavered uneasily on the edge of a chair behind him. Klesky bent and caught the folder as it gave up and fell off the chair. Cursing, he juggled both hands to keep the clippings and reports all in their place. Shuffling it into some organization, he stood straight and pulled from it the one thing the alluring woman across the glass from him had on her body when she was found. The one thing that led Klesky to spend all night crawling through newspaper morgues and police files buried inthe bowels of the city.

Nineteen Hours Ago
“This,” George Redino waved a red and black scrap of something in Benton Klesky’s face, forcing Klesky to look up from his desk. “This,” Redino droned on in his whiskey riddled obese gargle of a voice, “Is all the dame had on her. Not a pair of panties. Not a bra. Not another stitch. Except for this.”

"Y-239" by: Lee Houtson, Junior

"Y-239"
by: Lee Houtson, Junior

as published in
PRO SE PRESENTS 
Peculiar Adventures #1 
 
 
 
 
 
Excerpt

There are more mysteries within the infinite universe than there are those who dare to discover their solutions. Yet some do brave the journey and take up the quest for that information. But in the end, whether they succeed or fail is a moot point. The thirst for knowledge will never be quenched, regardless of who does the searching.
Take for instance a time when, somewhere deep within that vast unexplored expanse, a ship sailed the starry sea. Traveling at an unimagined reality, faster than the speed of light itself, and reaching its destination quicker than a thought can be formed.
Within the darkness, there was now light, heralding what most believed to be an impossible arrival.
A spot once void, now occupied.
A virgin field now traversed.
Afloat within this uncharted section of that vast cosmic ocean known as the universe, a spaceship arrived. Its crew far from their natives lands, but prepared to embark upon their new explorative mission, as the gateway home closed behind them until needed again.
“Hyper Leap Transit concluded,” announced the computer’s synthesized voice.
“Acknowledged,” said the ship’s Captain, standing on its bridge.
“Status reports,” requested the computer.
“Engineering online,” responded a voice from somewhere else on board, carried to the bridge by the vessel’s intra-communication system. “All systems nominal.”
“Acknowledged Mech. SCI-Tech?”
“Operational,” replied the head analyst of that department, bending over a console near the Captain’s position, while checking the data displays of some instruments to confirm her report. “Correlating initial data with Astro-navaphysics now.”
“Good. Helm?” asked the Captain, moving on.
“We are maintaining a stationary position in respect to the outer edge of the next solar system scheduled on our survey expedition,” reported the Navigator, as it turned from its station to face the rest of the bridge personnel. “The initial monitoring of past reconnaissance probes revealed nine spheres, the probable remains of a tenth, and numerous satellites. All rotating in various, yet corresponding, orbital paths around a stellar yellow the computer designates as Y-239. At normal travel rate, we are one full crew rotation from orbiting the outer most sphere, now designated as Y-239.10.”
“It should be noted that our primary scan of the immediate area upon arrival also detected objects beyond the orbit of Ten,” added the SCI-Tech analyst. “Whether they should be added to the official planetary inventory of Y-239 will be dependent upon the results of further examination.”
As a peaceful vessel of scientific research, the ship had a small compliment for a crew, but every being performed their duties to the fullest. Their Captain was quite proud of this fact. “So noted. Program sync the navigation computer with the SCI-Tech department and plan the proper survey course to explore every object post Ten when we conclude our return to the departure point.”
“Affirmative,” the Navigator said, before turning to its new assignment.
“Meanwhile, all departments are to initiate phase one mapping, sensor recordings, and research procedures. Alert me when the ship either nears the outer orbital plot of Y-239.10, or if we discover anything beyond Bio-Level Five before then.” Nodding at the SCI-Tech analyst, the Captain added, “As my second, you have command until I return.”
The analyst returned the nod as the Captain left the bridge.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The American - Number 26

Paul McConnell is the American.
"The American" is a free web comic brought to you by the good people at Pro Se Press.
Written and Illustrated by Fuller Bumpers

"A Study in Shadows" by: Aaron Smith

"A Study in Shadows"
by: Aaron Smith

in PRO SE PRESENTS Fantasy and Fear #3




Excerpt:

Looking back, I suppose I shouldn’t have been so worried about the big mess I’d just made while trying to do the right thing. Within less than ninety minutes, it was all cleaned up. It had been one crazy night and day and second night. It seemed as though more had happened in those thirty-six hours than in my entire thirty-two years of life before then. Of course, the fact that my companion on that night was almost three hundred years old also contributed to the surrealistic feel of those events. That, combined with the loss of quite a lot of my blood, had me dazed, to say the least. But I shouldn’t have worried. My new friend, who was somehow very, very old and very, very young at the same time, did one hell of a job cleaning it all up. I’ve always had an interest in the past, an attraction to things or places that feel like they still exist in a previous era.
I’ve always had a habit of seeking out places like that. They give me a break from the realities of day to day life and provide a shift in mood that does me a world of good. I call them the Quaint Places. I had gone out and driven to a little diner, the Paradise, in the rural town of West Mountain, looking for a bite to eat and that peaceful feeling of taking a swim in the ocean of the past. To put it mildly, I got way more than I’d bargained for.
I found myself joined at my diner booth by a stunning woman, young I thought, but older, far older than she seemed to be. Siobhan was a vampire who claimed to be nearly three-hundred years old. Strange as it sounds, it turned out to be true. She asked me to help her and I agreed. When vampires, as she explained to me, get to be about a hundred thousand midnights into their lives as blood-drinkers, they go through a change that they call the Eldering, which alters or magnifies the powers that vampires all have, though this event seems to affect each one differently. It turns out there’s also a sort of being, kind of robotic in some ancient way, that some call angels, that can sense when a vampire is about to go through the Eldering and tries to kill it while it sleeps through the day. It also turns out that the angel things are forbidden, by some programming imprinted on them, from harming or killing a human being.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Book of Green - Number 5


As Cole closed in on the bathroom, he could see Blackie’s fingers surfing the waves of Red’s body. The lily white skin of her fingers moved around the side of Red’s thigh.  “Lucky fingers,” he thought.
As her hand ebbed back towards Red’s stomach, it seemed to be changing color. “…What the hell!?”
And then what had once been the perfect right hand on the perfect woman altered its state into a black sphere or orblike thing.  Terror and disgust seared through Cole’s mind, destroying his previous thoughts and emotions. He longed to shrink away from the situation, but he was well-trained enough to internalize his immediate reaction, remain still and focused at all costs.  As Cole’s old football coach used to say, “Either you focus or you F*** us, when it counts. It’s your choice.”  
As Red’s head flexed backward into the pillow and her eyes rolled along with the movement, Blackie’s hand continued to transform. It reminded Cole of bread dough being kneaded on a big white table by a Frenchman, except in this instance the big white table was a bed with two women searching for ecstasy, sans Frenchman.  As the mass rolled along inside itself, a dark shadow seemed to be orbiting around it. The shadow was difficult to discern and like nothing Cole had ever seen before. Was it coming from inside the hand? The outside?    
Her hand is getting wider, Cole thought. Was it getting wider?  Yes, it looked wider. But why wider? Are those claws growing from the tips? 
Feeling proverbially out of water, the dismayed fish of a private eye felt instinctively for his gun.  He knew it was there of course, but then again reality had just become a game with new rules.   His hand patted it, almost carressed it like a desperate lover.  It was there, Cole's rampant running mind pondered, but would it work?
 He froze at the thought of his gun not working, and watched as Blackie’s claw-finger-things began to round and her palm grew wider. Cole fought hard for his thoughts not to trip out over his lips as stilted words.  Is this...demon...? Oh crap, demons. Maybe she’s a ghost? But I can’t see through her. Crap, then she’s a demon. How do you fight a demon? Holy water, silver, crap, do I need a cross? I don’t have a cross. What the hell am I supposed to do?  I haven’t been to church since I was little. Are there demons in the bible? Crap, I can’t remember. What about….The Hobbit, I’ve read The Hobbit. There were goblins, and elves and stuff in that book, but were there demons in The Hobbit…Crap, I can’t remember. How the hell do I even know about demons? What the hell is a demon? Why do I think this is a demon? This could be anything.  I need to get out of here. Why the hell did I sign on for this? I didn’t. I thought I’d have to rough up a couple of potheads or a whacked out artist, or something, not a demon. This is not my job.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Pulp Ark 2011 Spotlight - Joel Jenkins

 Joel Jenkins was nominated in the category of "Best Author" at this year's Pulp Ark Awards.

Joel, Share a bit of background about yourself if you would. Like most of the current crop of pulp fans I wasn't actually around for the heyday of pulps.  Instead I discovered the pulps during the 1970's resurgence when Robert E Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Lester Dent were having a lot of their work reprinted.  There was a sense of wonder, excitement and action in those books that I never outgrew.  Though 'purple prose' gets a bad rap I actually enjoy colorful and descriptive prose and find that other styles of writing tend toward blandness and forego a sense of location in the name of economy.

As long as I've been able to read I've had a desire to tell stories.  My first story I submitted at age eight to Highlights Magazine.  Though it was rejected (via a very kind and thoughtful letter) I was persistent and kept writing and honing my craft.  Finally, in my mid-twenties, my work started to see publication in various magazines and anthologies.

You have been nominated for Best Author for the Pulp Ark Awards.  Can you tell us briefly about some of your work in 2010? Last year I saw the publication of two novels (The Sea Witch and Through the Groaning Earth) and a children's book (The Pirates of Mirror Land) as well as three Lone Crow short stories in Dark Worlds magazine, Six Guns Straight from Hell, and in How the West was Weird.  Additionally, a Barclay Salvage space opera novella came out in Startling Adventures Magazine.

The Sea Witch is my homage to Doc Savage and involves Max Damage and his associates getting caught up in the machinations of a self-styled dictator of a splinter Russian State.  This all came about when I asked myself, 'What if Doc Savage had a flaw that counterbalanced each one of his outstanding abilities?'  Max Damage is my answer to that question,  and I mix  in cloning and  a giant crab-like construct that roams the sea bottom just to keep things interesting.

Through the Groaning Earth is a sequel to my dark fantasy novel Escape from Devil's Head.  They aren't novels in the traditional sense, but a grouping of stories of the desperate denizens of the City of Bathos.  The perspective shifts from story to story and you get to see things unfold from different viewpoints and see how one action can set a chain of events in motion, like toppling dominoes.  Not all of these characters are nice people and you wouldn't want to meet any of them in a dark alley--and probably not in the full light of day, either.

The Pirates of Mirror Land was inspired by my children and their myriad of stuffed animals and pets.  Throw in a mirror to another universe, a band of greedy pirates, and a frenetic hamster and you've got yourself a story that's fun for all ages.

My Lone Crow stories are based off the infamous Native American gunfighter, but set in a sort of alternate time line where the supernatural and the weird co-exist with the history we know.  And the Barclay Salvage stories are unadulterated Space Opera occasionally seasoned with a dash of strangeness.


How do you feel about your nomination and what do you think a voter should look for in a best author?  I was pleasantly surprised to find my name in such wonderful company, and I think a voter should look for an author with an alliteration in his name.  Preferably a J sound.




You have a reputation for being able to work in multiple genres.  Is genre a consideration for you when you write pulp or is it more of a tool you use for writing?  I view pulp as more of a style of writing than a genre so I enjoy bringing that fast and furious action and sense of wonder to whatever genre I choose to play in--or mix and mash.

What might be coming up that could you get back on the Pulp Ark Award list for 2011?  Next month my fourth book in the Dire Planet sword and science fiction series, Strange Gods of the Dire Planet, will be released.  Later on this year I'll be revisiting the guns and guitars of the Gantlet Brothers with a collection of short stories and novellas entitled The Gantlet Brothers Greatest Hits.  It also looks as though I might have a Lone Crow story in How the West Was Weird Two, a Barclay Salvage novella in an anthology from Rage Machine called The Big Black, a story about Edgar Rice Burroughs and Amelia Earheart in the Amazing Alternity anthology, and a previously unpublished tale from the city of Bathos story in the next issue of Dark Worlds.

Whether I win any awards remains to be seen.  In the meantime I'm just doing my duty to provide fresh pulp prose for the twenty-first century...

The Book of Green - Number 4

Inside the apartment Cole found all the usual for a young girl in San Francisco: clean clothes, dirty clothes, wine bottles, ash trays, candles, colored linens everywhere, and a trashcan overflowing with empty chinese food takeout boxes.  Cole had stumbled out of plenty of these apartments in the past.  This time he was especially glad that he knew not to step on any loose fabric on the floor, for underneath was always a little glass something or other that when crushed would send off an alarm to the occupants of any home—something he did not want to have happen at this time.        
Cole knew this because he had received the two largest scars on his body from such an experience. Her name was Jenny Melong, and she had been an all night party about a year or so ago. Cole met her in a little café by the wharf. They instantly hit it off and after about an hour or two they adjourned to her home. Upon arriving at Jenny’s home, things heated up quickly and the hallway was their first stop, then the kitchen, then the kitchen again, then a break for wine and bread, then the balcony while catching a smoke, more wine, then an empty room and they worked their way into the bathroom, then a smoke or three, some wine, and a final performance on her grandmother’s desk in the parlor. 

Jenny passed out shortly thereafter, and in a moment of clarity, Cole realized that even though the sex had been more than excellent, Jenny was probably going to want some kind of relationship when she woke up. Cole expected as much because he had told her all the necessary things needed to start an all-night party: ‘You’re the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen,’ ‘I could really see this going somewhere,’ ‘I know I’ve only known you for a few hours, but I think I’m in love,’ blah, blah, blah, and more blah.  And if he had been a little more mature, he would have seen the warmth of her person, the stability in her house, how their bodies responded so well to each other, the good job she had in the city, and stayed. But instead he feigned sleep, grabbed his clothes, and was headed for the door within seconds of her first snore. On the way to the door, he looked down and paused to decide whether to step on a silk scarf in the middle of the floor.
Four things were learned at this point, (1) when the mind requires pause, do the opposite of what you’re doing—the mind requires pause for a reason, (2) never step on any loose fabric on the floor of a young woman’s floor while escaping from her arms—as previously noted, (3) Never, ever, under any circumstance  scream while you are trying to furtively flee, and (4) always casually ask your lover if they keep a knife by their bedside table and if they do keep a knife, always ask if they are good at throwing said knife.  These are musts for an urchin of love; for failure to ask, will find one in the emergency room having pieces of a glass menagerie removed from one’s foot and a paring knife removed from one’s shoulder.    
Cole trembled a bit at the reminder of the experience, as he always did, but was quickly brought back to the situation at hand. As he looked around, he wondered where exactly the two beautiful women were until his ears began to hone in on the slow moaning in the back room. The melody was intoxicating. The pleasure was building and Cole heard one of the women request that her nipple be licked. He immediately froze and had to think about Sandy Koufax to calm himself.
After strike six or seven and a few foul balls, Cole began to move forward.  The moaning was becoming more intense, and at this place in Red’s apartment, he could see their bodies.  Blackie was on top or was that Red. No, for sure it was Blackie but she was bigger… “Damn,” thought Cole, “her body is perfect.  Red’s hot, but damn, Blackie was…freaking perfect” Cole had a hard time focusing on any form of thought, as he began closing in on the couple.  If he could just make it to the side bathroom next to their room, he could watch for awhile until they were finished; it was the proper thing to do—letting them finish that is. 

Pulp Ark 2011 Spotlight - Wayne Reinagel



Wayne received a 2011 Pulp Ark Award Nomination in the following categories:

“Best Book”
Pulp Heroes-Khan Dynasty -Wayne Reinagel (Knightraven Studios)

“Best Cover Art”
Pulp Heroes: Khan Dynasty-Wayne Reinagel (Knightraven Studios)

“Best Interior Art”
Pulp Heroes: Khan Dynasty-Wayne Reinagel (Knightraven Studios)

“Best Author”
Wayne Reinagel





Wayne, share a bit of background about yourself, if you would. I grew up in rural Illinois, one of four brothers. Started reading at age seven, with the novel Dracula. From there I read all the Victorian classics including Frankenstein, War or the Worlds, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Lost World, Three Musketeers, Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Time Machine, and so on. I had a library of over 100 books by age ten, when my father bought The Pirates Ghost, my first Doc Savage novel. I was immediately hooked. For the first time, I was reading adventures that took place within the last century. From there, I quickly discovered the Avenger, the Shadow, and other pulp heroes. All of these books would have a major influence on my future storytelling. Exactly how much will be revealed with question number five.
  
Your novel, Khan Dynasty, is up for best novel. Just what is this novel and the trilogy it's a part of, PULP HEROES, all about? To best explain the story Pulp Heroes - Khan Dynasty, I need to provide a little background on my concept of Infinite Horizons.  
In 1863, author Jules Verne began writing a series of scientific adventures, known as the Voyages Extraordinaires. These works included Journey to the Center of the Earth, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, The Mysterious Island, Around the World in Eighty Days, and fifty more. Infinite Horizons follows a similar vein, exploring the secret lives, and revealing the extraordinary, unrecorded exploits and adventures, of the greatest heroes and villains to ever walk the Earth. So if you combined Warren Ellis Planetary, Alan Moores LXG, Marvels What If?, and DCs Elseworlds, blended them together and poured the concoction into a mold, youd have Infinite Horizons. In sheer size, scope, and potential, Infinite Worlds is an endless, bottomless, literary Sargasso. And the ultimate crossover universe. The first series of Infinite Horizons novels are entitled Pulp Heroes. The titles in this trilogy include More Than Mortal, Khan Dynasty and Sanctuary Falls.
Pulp Heroes is an epic adventure, spanning two centuries in time, and features all-new stories involving famous (and infamous) fictional characters from Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and Around the World in Eighty Days, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly’s Frankenstein, Arthur Conan Doyles Sherlock Holmes and Professor Challenger’s Lost World, Chester Hawks’ Captain Hazzard, H. Rider Haggards Allan Quatermain, J.H. Rosny’s Ironcastle, John W. Campbell’s Who Goes There?/Thing from Another World, James Hilton’s Lost Horizon, James Clavell’s Tai-Pan, Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde, Richard Connell’s The Most Dangerous Game, Philip Wylies Savage Gentleman and Gladiator, and many more.
And so, Khan Dynasty would best be described as a multifaceted story involving two generations of heroes racing to stop a diabolical duo from unleashing a devastating wave of death and destruction. The villains are the Victorian man-monster Edward Hyde and the insidious devil-doctor Hunan Sun, who is my take on the Yellow Peril characters like Fu Manchu. Khan Dynasty is a standalone story, filled to overflowing with a combination of speculative science fiction, and blazing action, but involves all of the same Pulp Heroes characters and historical background as More Than Mortal.
 
You're not simply the writer of this trilogy?  What other duties do you take care of?  What sort of process do you use as a creator to come up with your ideas? Im the writer, illustrator, publisher, and chief bottle washer. Knightraven Studios is a one-man shop where I get to explore a variety of talents. Using Photoshop, a digitizer pen and tablet, Ive painted all the covers and interior illustrations, bookmarks, and even posters. Completely self-taught, I’ve even created my own website. Ive built a studio on the back of my house where I can hide away from the world and completely immerse my brain in the Infinite Horizons universe.
Usually, the ideas are a constant flood into my brain. The only way I can keep everything organized is to have tablets and posty notes all around the house so I can jot down various ideas, questions, and concepts as they come to me. These are eventually sorted and compiled into a series of Word documents, until I’m ready to start writing the novel. I currently have five novels plotted that I haven’t started writing.