Sunday, January 22, 2012

Coming Attractions #2: The Vril Agenda


Have a seat and get comfortable as we’re going to talk in detail about a project I’ve hinted about and talked about on PULPED! but not here.  So let’s take a few minutes and delve into how THE VRIL AGENDA came about.

It got into my melon of a head a particular obsession to have Dillon be trained in various disciplines by the great pulp champions of the past.  Since Dillon is a spiritual son of those heroes, I always thought it would be a gas for him to seek out some of these men and women to learn what they know.  Particularly in the early years of his career when he was fresh in the world and still learning his way around.

Of course I knew I couldn’t use The Big Three by name.  I’m talking about Doc Savage, The Shadow and The Avenger.  But I could allude to them and in fact, in my portion of THE VRIL AGENDA that is written (patience, children…I’m getting to that) I do mention Doc, The Shadow, The Avenger  and The Spider.  Not directly by name, of course.  But even if you’re only a casual pulp fan you’ll know who I’m talking about.  But I did want to have Dillon meet up with actual classic pulp heroes and maybe even share an adventure with them.  I didn’t want to create my own analogues or pastiche character.  I wanted the actual guys.

Enter Jim Anthony, Super-Detective  “Half-Indian, half-Irish and All-American” he started out in 1940 as a Doc Savage clone.  But in recent years he’s been resurrected by Airship 27 in some really good stories.  My favorites have been written by my friend and partner Joshua Reynolds

Josh and I have known each other for a goodish number of years.  We’ve not only got a love of movies, comic books, pulp adventure, horror and writing in common we also share a common ancestry in that he’s from South Carolina which is where both of my parents as well as most of my uncles and aunts were born and raised.  Josh and I have for years talked about writing something together and when I got this idea of having a Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time Dillon seeking out a retired Jim Anthony for some post-graduate training in nemesising evil it was natural that I reach out to Josh.  

Josh was all for the idea and before a knew what I had gotten myself into, he threw a blizzard of ideas and concepts at me, building on my initial idea so that we could incorporate Nazi super-technology, Hollow Earth theory and The Vril-Ya.  And if that wasn’t enough, Josh suggested that we put Jim Anthony and Dillon up against Sun Koh.  Josh’s idea was that since both Jim and Dillon were inspired by Doc Savage why not put them up against yet renowned pulp character also inspired by Doc.

I’d have been crazy to say no to any of Josh’s idea and so a plot was quickly whacked into shape and we hatched an even more inspired idea.  Since Josh was writing Jim Anthony for Airship 27 we went to Captain Ron Fortier  and asked him about doing the proposed book as a joint Airship 27/Pulpwork Press project.  Before we could even finish the pitch, Ron said yes.

Now here’s the funny part of the story: Ron informs us that due to Airship 27’s crowded schedule he couldn’t promise us when the book would be published.  Only that it would be.  Therefore he urged us to take our time.  I said sure.  And Josh said sure.  I swear on my complete run of Howard The Duck from the 70’s that he said yes as well and agreed to take his time.

A week later.  So help me Harryhausen, seven mollyfoggin’ days later I open my email to find Josh’s half of the book “The Coming Race” done.  All 30,219 words of it.  Done.  And it’s good.  No, it’s better than that.  It’s damn good.  

Full of righteous outrage I get hold of Josh via Skype and ask him what in the Seven Mulvanian Hells does he think he’s doing.  He replies very simply that this project fired his imagination to such a degree that he sat down and just blasted through it.

Sigh.  What are you gonna do with a guy like that except work with him?

So now it’s on me to finish my half, “Vril-Ya!” which now stands at 12,334 words.  And to be honest, I think I get to do the part that’s the most fun.  So that’s where THE VRIL AGENDA is at.  I am working on it and I’m hoping to have my half done by the end of February.  Feel free to ask questions or even just to send me an email once in a while telling me to hurry the hell up with the story awreddy.

Not all of us can be Josh Reynolds, y’know.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Christmas Comes But Once A Year...Or Does it?


If you had a few spare minutes during the hubbub of the holiday season and if you’re a fan of the excellent escapist fiction provided by Pulpwork Press then you doubtless got yourself a free download copy of the Pulpwork Christmas Special 2011 ebook.  No?  Well it’s a good thing I provided a link so that you can get yourself a copy.  Contained within are two terrific stories written by Joel Jenkins and Josh Reynolds.  I heartily recommend both of ‘em.

And I can hear some wag in the back asking why I didn’t have a story in the Christmas Special.  It wasn’t for lack of trying, I assure you.  I was indeed supposed to have a story in there.  In fact it was going to be a Dillon story.  Now, you know how this works so I’m not going to insult your intelligence by pretending I was going for something meaningful in my choice of using the premise of “It’s A Wonderful Life” as the plot of my Dillon Christmas story.  You’ve all seen enough TV shows or read enough comics to know that around Christmas time,  there will be ‘Special Christmas Episodes’ or Special Christmas  Issues’ of your favorite shows or comic books that will do a riff on either “It’s A Wonderful Life” or “A Christmas Carol”.  I even solicited advice from my friends and family as to which story I should use and the unanimous verdict came back” for me to do “It’s A Wonderful Life” which didn’t make me happy at all.

You see, I don’t really like “It’s A Wonderful Life” at all.  It’s an okay movie but that’s about it for me.  I’ve never understood why it’s become revered as such a holiday classic.  The actual meat and potatoes of the movie is where George Bailey is transported to the nightmarish alternate universe where he was never born and once we get to that, the movie resembles an episode of “The Twilight Zone” more than anything else.  Everything else in the movie leading up to that is a yawn to me. 

But like the soldier that I am I buckled down to the task and actually surprised myself at how much I enjoyed what I was writing.  I saw the real possibilities in using the template of “It’s A Wonderful Life” to illuminate and examine aspects of Dillon’s personality that I couldn’t do in a regular Dillon adventure which is usually all about the punchy-punchy-run-run-shoot-‘em-up-kiss-kiss-bang-bang than examination of his inner emotional/psychological life.

And then as the song says, up jumped the devil.  For some reason my Microsoft Security Essentials turned itself off without me being aware of it and I got zapped with a virus that knocked my computer outta whack for about three hours.  Thanks to System Restore I was able to get it back up and running again.  I was also able to save about 3000 words of what I was now calling “Dillon and The Night Before Christmas”.  Just to be on the safe side, I immediately hooked up my external hard drive and backed up everything I was currently working on.

Good thing, too.  Two or three days later the exact same thing happened.  My Microsoft Security Essentials turned itself off and while checking out Live Journal I was hit again with a virus.  And this one really did a number on my poor baby.  It was a good thing I had sent out the finished draft of The Adventures of Fortune McCall just an hour before because if I hadn’t, it wouldn’t be available for you guys to read.  After getting hit with the virus my computer was unable to do anything except re-start itself over and over or display the BSD and nothing I did was able to repair the situation.  Even System Restore didn’t help.  And according to a few people who know what they’re talking about, they said they had never heard of System Restore not working at all.  Even my good buddy Doug Bookey was stumped.  And if Doug was stumped then I knew I was well and truly screwed.

So I had two choices; go get the machine repaired or get a new one.  I actually was leaning just getting the computer fixed as I have a tendency to get attached to my computers.  I probably shouldn’t name them after my aunts.  My first computer was named Pearl, the one we’re talking about now was Hattie and the new computer I’m working on now is Mildred.  It was Patricia who talked me into buying a new one, insisting that it was time for me to upgrade anyway.

Okay, so I call up Dell and go through the process of customizing my computer and it’s after being on the phone with them for an hour doing all this it’s then that they tell me that I won’t get my new computer until the first week of the New Year.  Why?  Get this, folks: Dell gets their hard drives from The Philippines and due to hurricanes in that region, deliveries of hard drives to the United States have been delayed.

Sigh.

Via Patricia’s laptop I contact my partners and inform them of the situation and tell ‘em to go ahead with The Pulpwork Christmas Special without me.  And that, boys and girls is why I did not have a story in the Christmas Special.

However…

If you recall, last year on my birthday I made available as a one-day free giveaway “Dillon and The Judas Chalice” and that was received so well that I’ve decided to do it again this year.  So this February 8th you can expect “Dillon and The Night Before Christmas” to be available as a one-day free giveaway ebook.

Who says Christmas only comes once a year?