Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Great Art Extra: Cobra by Michael Golden

Folks in the know are aware they can regularly see great new art popping up on my Tumblr pretty much daily. But they might not know that I also have collected a decent little set of prints in my own right, through conventions, online orders and the like. So routinely I will be posting an extra piece of great art on the site here and sharing something I own and value.

First up, is a great piece featuring the many villians—and their equipment—from G.I. Joe. With art by the always amazing Michael Golden, this one is just too good not to share.


Monday, June 29, 2015

They didn't want to be heroes, but they may not have a choice: Walking Shadows

This world gets weirder every year. We all try to navigate our way through the endless changes around us. But in a world where every job is hard to find, it is young adults that struggle the most with the realities of basic survival when they lose a parental safety net. It is that concept that serves as the basis for Walking Shadows, my tale of a group of young metahumans stuck in a world they didn’t make, don’t want and may never be able to escape.

The book takes its name from Scene 5 of Act 5 of William Shakespeare’s MacBeth.
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing.

It is not a pleasant view of life, but it is a line that stuck with me from the day I read MacBeth in high school to now. We really are walking shadows on the earth and that gave inspiration to the six characters that kick off Walking Shadows Book One. The cast will continue to grow and shrink as the series continues and its varied cast faces the trials and tribulations brought force by their mysterious pursuers, insane monsters and ancient beings. In the process, they may become something none of them really want: heroes.

Or they may face their own death. “And then is heard no more.”

Walking Shadows can be currently found updating three times a week on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Book Two races to a close on the site now, but every word of both books are up for reader’s convenience. Or if you prefer ebook format, Amazon has Walking Shadows Book One for 99 cents and Walking Shadows Book Two for $2.99.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Cosplay Friday: Harley Quinn

One of the stalwart features of the old blog returns!

Florencia Sofen makes an amazing New 52 Harley Quinn.

For more great cosplays (almost daily!), be sure to check out the Super Powered Fiction tumblr.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Best Character Ever 4: Darth Maul

Best Character Ever is a feature where I look at characters that inspire me, intrigue me or captured my mind at one point in time.

I have heard every complaint I think I can hear about the Star Wars prequel trilogy. They are far from perfect films. We all know that. But at the same time, I think they were also films faced with far too much anticipation to ever truly impress many viewers. The original Star Wars trilogy was mythologized so hard by so many people that George Lucas could never produce something that would truly impress most people.

That being said, the prequel movies have their share of great moments and great characters. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace had one figure that stood out beyond the rest. That was Darth Maul. Going into that film in 1999, so many fans only had the great visuals to go on. While Jar Jar or Queen Amidala both presented intriguing images, it was Darth Maul that captured my interest. Here was a bad ass with black skin and a tattooed face. Best of all, he carried the awesome double bladed lightsaber from Tales of the Jedi.

Ultimately, Darth Maul’s role in the film would be little more than cannon fodder. He is a means to an end to remove one jedi from play and start Obi-Wan Kenobi’s journey through the following films. It was clear even going into the film that his chance of survival was slim. After all, if only two Sith ever existed, he would have to make way for Darth Vader in another decade.

But Maul’s awesomeness has less to do with his characterization as it did with his visuals. Maul is the prime example of just how good George Lucas was with visual shorthand. His appearance marks him both as evil and as deadly. His build wasn’t imposing, but every movement he makes in the film marks how centered he is in his pursuit of his master’s wishes. He clearly is a man that knows how good he is.

So much of this is due to the visuals of actor Ray Park, the man behind the makeup of Darth Maul. His martial arts prowess and great facial work set the character apart. Coupled with amazing makeup work by Lucasfilm, Maul became the face of villainy that year. His action figure and apparel sold like hotcakes. And while many fans nitpicked The Phantom Menace to pieces, most folks can agree on one thing: Darth Maul is awesome.

He's also one of the best Star Wars Black toys.
So awesome, in fact they brought him back on the animated follow-up Star Wars: Clone Wars. I haven’t watched his appearance there yet, but it is good to know that one of the coolest figures in Star Wars history is allowed an expanded, amazing history.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Welcome to the Glyos System!

I am always looking for new interests and concepts to share on this page. But my criteria is often rather stringent. I want those posts to be interesting to you, interesting to me and organized around the general premise of this site: super powered fiction. It is one of the reasons I created The Wrestling Weekday as a separate blog. It is also the reason why I'll be debuting a third blog sometime in the next several weeks for another corner of my fandom to take route. But more on that later.

Right now, let's talk Glyos.

Image credit: Onell Design.
The Glyos System is an independent toy line from the folks at Onell Design. It is named after the part of space the tales take place, but it’s name also describes the system which holds the toys together. Every joint on a Glyos figure is built to pull apart for easy reassembly in a myriad of patterns. The figures become a cross between a classic 80s action figure and a LEGO design set.

With tons of amazing designs by the folks at Onell Design and thousands of other possibilities with multiple sets, the building capability of the line knows no bounds. Coupled with Onell’s ease with licensing the system to other independent toy designers, you get a line of interchangeable toys that cover the gamut of styles and looks. Other Glyos-peg systems include classic toy lines like Power Lords, Skeleton Warriors and Robo Force, as well as some great newer designs like Kabuto Mushi and the Weaponeers of Monkaa.

But in a universe of strange super-powered creatures fighting it out, I find myself immediately drawn in. This is a line that any fan of heroic fiction can find tons of joy. So I am now devoting a semi-regular column here to the figures. In the future, I will talk about some of the individual toy designs for the line, some of the other Glyos related toys and a few custom designs as well.

If that isn't enough to make you think Glyos deserves a place of honor on this blog, let's end with one picture that should convince anyone.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Are you reading Lightweight?

The last couple weeks have been primarily focused on what I consider my primary series of books, the Lightweight franchise. Now two novels deep it will continue with three more books in the next year, launching later this summer.

But before the second year kicks off with a dramatically different status quo, I just want to encourage everyone to go out there and check out the books. Lightweight: Senior Year and Lightweight: Black Death are two of my favorite pieces of writing, and I really do want to share that with all of my readers, new and old.

Below you will find both Amazon links for the books. If you already have a copy, please leave your thoughts on it, even if it is a simple sentence on Amazon and Goodreads. Every positive review draws more eyes to the books.

If you have yet to pick up the book, please let me know why below in the comments or with an email to nick {at} superpoweredfiction {dot} com. I want to know what it will take to get these books in people's hands.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Kickstart the Week 18: Vindication

People might remember the guys from HB Comics as the folks behind Lazer Man. I interviewed Chris Hebert on an old SuperPowerCast about their Kickstarter at the time.

With the rewards for those books wrapped or almost wrapped, they have decided to release one of their other series in a trade paperback collection.

Vindication follows four super-folks as they are forced into an alliance against a threat that wants them all. The book is built around the lives of the leads as much as their super-powers. The art from Rodney Jacobsen and D.C. White is solid as well.

Tbis looks like a solid well written team book, something far more rare than they once were. Check it out on Kickstarter.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

What's Up for June 21, 2015

With at least temporary access restored to the site, it is time for a look at what I have been up to while dealing with way too many issues with this site.

Here is the list of the great and wide assortment of reading and viewing material I have went through in all that "free" time stuck waiting for responses.

Sadly I haven't devoted any of that free time to games, so no new spot there.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Introducing Black Death

I can go on and on about the great characters that populate Lightweight: Black Death, and in the next week I will share character profiles of several of those figures. But before I get into character profiles and sharing the stars of the Quadrant Universe too directly, I wanted to introduce the villain of the series, a man we get only hints at as the novel starts, but that will grow to become an even deadlier threat to Lightweight and his family and friends.

But he will play a massive role in the novel, both as a force manipulating Lightweight and Howl, but also as a direct threat to them. His role is so strong, he even appears on the cover, though he might be easy to miss behind the heroes and the logo. Check out the unencumbered art by Brent Sprecher to get a better view of him.

You can learn more about Black Death tomorrow with the release of Lightweight: Black Death. His powers will test the limits of Lightweight like never before. And I will say that no matter the outcome, the Quadrant Universe will open up in new and major ways because of it

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Pulp Fiction Reviews takes on Lightweight: Senior Year

In advance of the arrival of Lightweight: Black Death, the always great Ron Fortier reviewed Lightweight: Senior Year for his Pulp Fiction Reviews blog. I am always glad to hear Ron's insights into fiction and this was no exception as he heaped some glowing praise on the book and my writing.
“Nick Ahlhelm has a keen awareness youthful awkwardness and insecurity. Kevin, Millie and Andy come across as believable teenagers all of us have met before. It is this juggling of life, school and hormones that make Kevin such a fun character.”

Thanks for the glowing praise, Ron, and here's hoping you enjoy Black Death just as much!

Monday, June 15, 2015

A word from Lightweight editor Lisa M. Collins

Lisa M. Collins, editor of the Lightweight Series and a grand writer herself, has a new adventure novella out today. She is giving away one (1) Kindle copy– on Monday! Click here to enter the contest!

In the novella Lisa introduces a character who will be in future books—Reid Cannon, an archaeology graduate student from the University of Chicago. Reid Cannon and his friends discover myths need not be fairy tales. Set in the Valley of the Kings, peril and the paranormal collide in THE HOUSE BAST MADE!

What inspired you to write this book?

I have a deep and abiding love for all things ancient Egyptian. When I was little I found a book about the country and I still have it to this day. I would go out in the yard and do my own excavations and try to find bits and bobs of interest. I was never very successful, but in my mind I was great archeologist. I think writing Reid Cannon gives me the opportunity to vicariously live out the fantasy of being an archeologist.

 Tell the readers about yourself:

I’ve been interested in Outer Space, Adventure stories, and Southern culture my whole life. I was born in Dixie and have always lived south of the Mason Dixon Line. I graduated from the University of Arkansas with a bachelor’s degree in history. My specializations were in American and Russian history. I live in central Arkansas with my husband and our adorable cat, Baby Girl, who believes she is my co-author. We have one adult son who is married to his high school sweetheart.

What is the genre you write in?

My genre is speculative fiction, and I mostly write science fiction or paranormal. Dictionary.com defines speculative fiction as: A broad literary genre encompassing any fiction with supernatural, fantastical, or futuristic elements. In this genre I can write a love story, a mystery, a court drama, or anything really, and then add all the futuristic and fantastical elements that excite my imagination. The main thing I like about that freedom is my stories do not have to be bound to what society calls real life. I can be as audacious or daring as I want!

Where can readers find out more about you and where can they buy The House Bast Made?

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Lisa-M.-Collins/e/B00PPV5QYO/

Twitter http://twitter.com/coolvstar650

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/lisaauthor

LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/lisacollins

Pinterest http://pinterest.com/coolvstar650/

Google+ http://google.com/+LisaMCollins/posts

Instagram http://instagram.com/coolvstar650

Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/lisa-matthews-collins

Pen and Cape Society: http://penandcapesociety.com/lisa-m-collins/

Lisa in blueLisa M. Collins’ non-fiction has been published in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and the Dead Mule School of Southern Literature.  She copy edited and researched on Understanding Global Slavery by University of California Press. Her science fiction story, The Tree of Life, is in the (2013-2014) anthology by Holdfast Magazine. These days she edits for Metahuman Press, and is an upcoming creative contributor with Pro Se Productions and Mechanoid Press. She is also Sally A. Williams grant winner from the Arkansas Arts Council for writing.

Kickstart the Week 17: The Perhapanauts

I have been a huge fan of the writing of Todd DeZago since Tellos, a gem that I think is far too often forgotten by modern comic fans. Duncan Rouleau’s art has been a favorite as well back a long time, maybe his run on the late 90s Alpha Flight? Longer than I can remember the timeline at least.

I absolutely loved their The Perhapanauts. A series focusing on a group of legendary cryptids working as a special unit to take care of supernatural problems, it combined the right amounts of drama, soap opera and comedy to be a truly worthwhile book. But after two mini-series at Dark Horse and about a dozen more issues at Image, it never quite found the traction it needed to keep going.

Kickstarter is the perfect venue for the all new The Perhapanauts: Into Hollow Earth. By connecting directly with fans, DeZago and Rouleau can continue the always awesome saga of the team, while also framing a way for new fans to easily catch up. It is an amazing chance to get in on a truly great series that needs support.

This one was a no-brainer for me, especially with a well-priced Duncan Rouleau sketch included in the potential rewards. If you like what you see in the video or on the page, give this great book a try.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Win Lightweight: Black Death before you can buy it!

Lightweight: Black Death deserves to be read and I want to encourage everyone to go out and pick up a copy when it is released. But I also want to give a chance for three of you to win a free digital copy before it is even available next Friday. And I'll even add a copy of Lightweight: Senior Year so you can read the entire saga!


All you have to do is write a paragraph telling me who your favorite teenage super-being is and why. It can be from any genre and any where. They can be costumed comic heroes or awesome teen icons from your favorite televisions series, book or movie. Just tell me who they are and why you love them!

I will pick my three favorite responses and those folks will get a copy of both volumes of Lightweight for their reading pleasure. Or if you already have a copy of either, you can send them as a gift to a friend or loved one.

Send your entry to nick{at}superpoweredfiction{dot}com with your name, email address and preferred file format (Kindle, epub or pdf). All entries must be received by 11 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday, June 16.

I will announce the winners and share their entries on SuperPoweredFiction.com on Wednesday, June 17. Good luck and thanks in advance for your support!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Announcing Lightweight: Black Death

I have talked about it coming in the near future and I am proud to say that Lightweight: Black Death has been finalized for print publication. This book collects the stories originally available in chapters six through ten of the original serialized Lightweight tales, re-edited into a beautiful collection that will be available both in print and digital editions.

The new collection features gorgeous cover work by Brent Sprecher, a great logo by Cynthia Celeste Miller and the editorial talents of Lisa M. Collins. And of course, it features five chapters of super powered action by yours truly, Nicholas Ahlhelm.

The new story picks up where Lightweight: Senior Year closed. Kevin Mathis now knows he is stuck in the middle of a war between the Eloi and the Morlocks, and must face those two factions while also at odds with a corrupt CEO and a conspiracy to ruin his personal life. Millie’s life changes with new love, while the secrets of Howl and the Gray Man are at last revealed!

All this and much more come your way in Lightweight: Black Death! Stay tuned tomorrow for a contest giving away free digital copies before you can buy them!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

We're back!

After a slightly over-extended hiatus, I am happy to say that this site is up and running. It only took three days of wrangling my ISP and hosting service to make it happen.

The delays have forced me to change a few things around in my schedule as those days pretty much sucked out any time I had for writing or designing and replaced them with phone calls and internet messages.


So I have a full week of promotional posts heading into Lightweight: Black Death which will now see publication on June 19. Mark your calendars appropriately to pick it up in print or digital.

And stick to this page, as you might just find a way to win a digital copy before you can buy it!