Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Read Dracula: Half-Life for free!

I've featured more than one article about the young woman known as Dracula, a tragic yet heroic figure named after the dark vampire of yesteryear. Now I'm making her origin, originally seen as part of Horror Heroes free to read over at Wattpad.


Really, it just serves as a thank you to all the dear readers that have followed this blog and my work through thick and thin. I've been honest about my difficulties over the last couple years and as I finally put things together, I just want to offer a chance for everyone to read my work.

And if you like it, please consider supporting the Patreon. Even the lowest tier gets new stories from yours truly, plus exclusive content.

But first head over to Wattpad, read the new story and be sure to let me know what you think!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Halloween Job (Tuesday Throwback)

Back in 2014, my goal was 52 stories, basically one per week for the entire year. I wanted to deliver these in a variety of different avenues, and such avenue was the twitter story. Hence, The Halloween Job was born. It's a very simple narrative, probably best described as flash fiction. But it has sat hidden from much of the world since it first appeared on Halloween 2014, so I decided I would share it with you, dear reader, again today. 
Enjoy, and keep your eye out. You might just recognize a familiar character I've talked about on the blog in the last few weeks...
It was supposed to be an easy gig. The kind everyone walked away rich from. Jules had it all figured.

1st National had 10 million in bonds coming out on a Brinks truck. We were just going to withdraw it on the way out. Smash, grab, run.

And it wasn’t like I was one of the guys inside. I was the wheels, man. I just had to drive us away. I’m no killer.

It was an evening job. Just after dark. Only a few folks would be at the bank. It was supposed to be easy.

Jules, Marie and Terrence went inside. They didn’t play either. Jules got AKs off some Russian & they were ready to shoot.

I waited in the car. When they came out, it was clear something went really wrong. Terrence wasn’t with Jules & Marie.

Jules & Marie were both covered in blood. They looked like they took a bath in it. It didn’t make sense at all.

They threw themselves in the back of the car. They both yelled, “Drive! Drive!” So I drove. I was up to ninety in seconds.

But that wasn’t the end of it. One look out the rearview and I saw it. Or should I say her.

A dark haired girl. She didn’t look like more than a teenager. But she seemed to be floating on some kind of bat wings.

I yelled a dozen curses, but Jules and Marie just kept telling me to drive. The flying woman gained on us though.

A second later, I heard a slam on the hood of the car. I saw her face in the back window just before the glass shattered.

Jules disappeared out the back. I didn’t see him hit the ground. I was already swerving around the road, but she held fast.

Marie jumped from out her window, trying to escape. I heard her body hit the ground. It wasn’t pretty.

The woman was in the car with me. “You shouldn’t have done that,” she said. Then she opened her mouth.

I saw her fangs. Terrible gigantic teeth. I saw her mouth open like a snake’s—too wide. And that was the last thing I saw.

That’s how I got here. What is this place anyway? What’s with all the fire? What are you doing with that pitchfork? Noooo!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Cullen Bunn takes you down... a Passage in Black! (Kickstart the Week)

If there's one thing modern comics misses more than anything, it's successful anthology books. The format built modern comics as we know them, but they rarely appear on the market anymore. When they do, they're lucky to last a year.

Cullen Bunn has written dozens of great comics over the years, both mainstream at Marvel and DC (Deadpool, Sinestro, etc.) and creator owned and often creepy (The Sixth Gun, Helheim.) He also loves classic horror comic anthologies from Tales of the Crypt to DC's House of Mystery and beyond. Those books often defined the supernatural in comics and modern comics owe a lot to them. Bunn wished to revive the format, through Kickstarter of course.

A Passage in Black will be a 120 page graphic novel that adapts short horror tales Bunn wrote for a prose anthology of the same name. Adapted by a variety of comic creators, the first book is chock full of up and coming names in comics. Of a more interesting note to folks like me that want to see anthologies continue and excel, Bunn wants to make the series an annual tradition going forward!

If you like your comics quick and creepy (and this time of year, who doesn't) give the book a look at its Kickstarter page. And remember to help  more great stories and comics find new readers by sharing and supporting!

Friday, October 26, 2018

Cosplay Friday: Satana

Satana, sister of Hellstorm, is far from Marvel's best known character. She was something of a regular for Marvel in the 70s, albeit mostly in the black and white magazines. Considering she was friends with actual satanists and a succubus with only limited care of who she killed, I guess we shouldn't be surprised she wouldn't fit well in a color Comics Code Approved book. But even as she's traveled from the 70s to the 90s to the 10s, she's always had a pretty cool look. But her first is the best, as shown here by Ukrainian cosplayer Alexia Muller.

As always, you can check out a lot more great Cosplay pictures over on the Tumblr. And while you are admiring some great cosplay here, don’t forget to check out some of the other great stuff from yours truly this week!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Quadrant Handbook 6: Dracula II

Art by John Davies.

Real Name: Donna McAvoy

Occupation: Student

Marital Status: Single

Known Relatives: Hollis (father), Melinda (mother)

Group Affiliation: none

Base of Operations: Salina

History: Donna McAvoy grew up with everything a girl could ask for. The daughter of wealthy parents, she could buy her way to anything she wanted. Her mind stayed steadily focused on her social status and how easily she could pick up the hottest boy in each of the schools she attended. This all changed when an exploding laboratory accident exposed her to a synthetic compound based on vampire blood. 

Within minutes, Donna drank from her first victim. With it, she became stronger and faster than any baseline human. Afraid she would be blamed for the death and destruction, she fled the scene back to her home. Hiding her red eyes under contact lenses and her pale skin with makeup, she hoped to return to a relatively normal life. 

She realizes this isn't possible as she goes for her first meal. Her regular vegetarian cuisine results in her body's total rejection. She soon found that raw meat could fill the void in her stomach, but without the joy of human blood. 

When she learns that the death she caused wasn't the only in the school, she decided she must find the man responsible and stop them. When she wakes up in the middle of the night, she feels more powerful than ever. She lets herself hunt through the wilderness around her family estate. When she fights off a pack of dogs she learns much more about her powers, even as she senses someone watching her the entire time. She catches only a glimpse of the Man in Black before he escapes.  

The next day, her friends Taylor, Max and Jamar recruit her to search the school. They find only the same old jacket the Man in Black wore the night before. While her friends though the investigation was a myth, Donna realized she wasn't going crazy. 

Her investigation of the explosion brings her to several potential offenders. Ultimately, this leads her to a showdown with the Man in Black. While he offers an alliance with her, she bats his hand away. Though she stopped the mysterious villain, she knew she faced no clue. For the rest of her life (or antilife?) she was bound to her need for blood.

The press dubs her Dracula, even as she starts attacks on criminals and degenerates. Her career continued, foiling the likes of bank robberies and petty crimes in her hometown. 

Height: 5' 5"

Weight: 122 lbs. 

Eyes: Red

Hair: Black

Strength level: Her unique form of vampirism makes her stronger than any human and most true vampires. Dracula is able to lift (bench) up to three tons.

Known superhuman abilities: Dracula II possesses enhanced strength and speed, both of which can be increased by the regular consumption of human blood. She can lighten the mass of her body with only her thoughts, which gives the appearance of gliding as she jumps from a tall surface.

In addition, while she doesn't possess many of the legendary powers of the a traditional vampire, she can stretch and elongate both her feet and hands into terrifying claws. Her super-dense nails serve the basis of the claw. Short of diamond or promethium, no other element can fully stand against her hand claws backed by her strength.

Read the stories in: 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Dramatic highs, crashing lows (WIP Wednesday)

My writing time proved limited over the weekend, as I visited two wrestling shows in two different towns, neither of which were Cedar Rapids. First I visited Des Moines with my brother to check out Pro Wrestling Revolver with my brother. Then I traveled back near home for a show in Walford put on by another Iowa indie called Central Empire Wrestling. I did some sleeping and some shopping in between but very little writing.

At the current time, I'm about a day behind on the par I've set to keep my forty thousand word goal attainable. I still think the number is quite doable. I just need to double down and get to work.

The new Lightweight chapter continues along quite nicely and rather quickly. Book Four will finally work to set a sort of status quo for Kevin going forward, but in the process I get to show off a few more corners of the globe. At my current writing pace and alternating, I'm producing about one new chapter of the saga a month, with switches to Shockwave and the horror book as well. If I can keep that pace and more folks sign up for the Patreon, I might consider moving the publication of individual chapters to a monthly schedule. But I want a lot more stories banked before I make that decision permanent.

I'm working Atomic Werewolf 2000 to a stopping point in the next couple days. From there, I'll mostly focus on a couple short ideas I've had kicking around as I prep for Project TEAM in November. I'll continue working on Lightweight and Shockwave as TEAM continues. I always like to have a few irons in the fire at once. I find it keeps me from burning out on any one project.

WWE's The Shield: Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins.
As I write this, a big piece of wrestling news has derailed my mind a lot from the writing process. WWE Universal champion Roman Reigns relinquished the title due to the return of the leukemia he first suffered eleven years ago. While it's a surprise to see any athlete or celebrity fight any kind of major disease, Roman's fight with cancer hits close to home only months after my own cancer diagnosis. I got lucky and had the tiny growth on my kidney removed before it could spread, but its presence at all puts me at risk of continued development. So I can relate to his fears and struggles, especially as a husband and father. I honestly fought back tears when I saw the announcement. But while it derails me tonight and breaks down a lot of the high of the weekend, I will use it as another focus. I don't know how much time I have left in this world, and I plan to spend it with my family or  creating my universe for as long as I can.

So forgive me for making this one so wrestling focused despite me having a whole other forum for that. Thanks for reading and let's all keep moving forward!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Surrounded by... Stories From the Grave! (Tuesday Throwback)

Tuesdays are all about classic posts. We continue our Halloween theme with my look at a game that amazingly simulates classic horror comics! 

I am not one to publish a bunch of reviews. But it’s Halloween, so it seems apt to talk about a great horror themed project. Maybe my favorite scary project of the year is a new pen and paper role playing game from my friends at Spectrum Games: Stories From the Grave.

If the cover isn’t a clue, the work is directly inspired by anthology horror comics, movies and television, specifically classic EC style horror like Tales From the Crypt. Hosted by the Grave Hag, the game is designed to emulate the short quick tales of the horror comics of the 50s, 60s and 70s.

With a simple narrative system behind it, the basic premise allows the Grave Keeper (a.k.a. The Gamemaster) and the player(s) to trade control of a tale of horror or suspense. The Grave Keeper starts the basic narrative off, and the player uses his roles to try and take control of the situation. Divided into a three act structure, the goal here isn’t survival like in any other horror RPG. The goal here is great storytelling, so don’t get too attached to any player character.

Of course, PCs aren’t meant to be used more than once in Stories From the Grave. The game is designed for quick stories that allow room for two to three Installments (the game’s term for adventures) per game session. This might mean a bit of extra prep for the Grave Keeper, but with character generation basically set up to take no more than a minute or two, it’s easy to keep a session moving.

With everything included to design and run your own adventures, a low price tag and a simple but effective system, Stories From the Grave is a great one or two session game for anyone interested in a horror-filled diversion from their usual games. Writer Cynthia Celeste Miller clearly set out to emulate the genre as near perfectly as possible and it shows in her attention to detail in the streamlined 48 page package.

Don’t let me forget the art as well. Though the interior features only a few spot illustrations, the work by Bradley K. McDevitt, C. Michael Hall and Nolan Segrest perfectly captures the flair of classic comic horror. Hall’s cover is a great homage to classic EC covers, completed by design work that mimics the logo work of books like Vault of HorrorThe Haunt of Fear and of course, Tales From the Crypt.

I only fooled around with the system a bit, but the collaborative storytelling aspect is incredibly intriguing to me as a writer. I could see using a similar structure if I ever wanted to create a story challenge for multiple authors.

Of course, as a huge fan of EC Comics and the Tales From the Crypt television series, the entire package is tons of fun to me. At only eight bucks, the PDF is worth checking out from DriveThruRPG. Give it a look and put a few scares into you and your friends’ lives!

Monday, October 22, 2018

Dodge the Werebear! (Kickstart the Week)

Sure sounds like a really weird mobile game from that title, but this edition of Kickstart the Week is actually about a new comic from writer Matt Nixon and artist Mike Rooth. Dodge! serves as a prequel to Nixon's recent Retcon series over at Image. Set in the height of the Cold War and military action films, this tells the tale of one of Retcon's cast, Chris Dodge. While Chris could easily be played by Arnold at his mid-80s height, he also just happens to be a werebear. Dodge! tells the tale of how exactly he became the giant furry ass-kicker from the first tale!

I've read a few of Matt Nixon's comics, dating back to his random issues of Conan and Wolverine in Marvel around the turn of the century. Rooth is a recent cover artist find for several publishers, now doing his first interior work on this title. From the page previews at the Kickstarter, he looks to be a real find.

Check out the video below, then head over to the Kickstarter page to help make Dodge! a reality!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Great Art: The Demon by Norm Breyfogle

We lost Breyfogle just a couple weeks ago at far too young an age. He was an amazingly gifted artist in comics, whether it was his long run on Batman or his later work on Prime, Anarky or Archie. He drew this piece featuring Kirby's classic monster way back in '89, deep in his run with the Caped Crusader.

As always, you can check out a lot more Great Art over on the Tumblr. And after you're done admiring some great art here, don’t forget to check out some of the other great stuff from me this week!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

That's My Jam 3: Paula Cole's Me

That's My Jam is a simple concept. It's where I share the song most stuck in my head currently. It might be new, it might be old, it might be popular, it might be completely obscure. All are presented without commentary, but I invite everyone to share their opinions on the tracks in the comments.

Paula Cole - Me (Sub EspaƱol) from andres delius on Vimeo.

This one dates back to my last days in high school and early college years. Paula Cole existed in heavy rotation on my CD player, but it was always "Me" that held a ton of my attention. The song speaks to the socially anxious and the depressed with a deep emotional resonance. It doesn't need to wear those as some kind of purposeful empowerment, but instead points that out with an air of normalcy. For all of us, we are our enemy. And ultimately everything we show to the world is only a fraction of our actual selves. Rarely does a song convey messages like that with such grace and ease while also being catchy as all get out.

Sadly, the music video seems to have faded almost to nothing. In my digging I could only find a subtitled version of the song on any shareable site. If you would like to see the video in its full glory, the African version of MTV still features it online.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

A series of fortunate events! (WIP Wednesday)

It proved to be a good week of writing in the past seven days. Another Shockwave chapter done, a new Lightweight chapter under way, and a heck of a lot of Atomic Werewolf 2000 in place. I'm just slightly behind on par for my 40,000 word goal but it it still easily in reach as I get ready to ramp things up for next month's 50,000 word novel.

I've also put effort into defining the four characters that will star in Project TEAM, as well as the supporting cast that will surround each of them. I'm pleased with how each character is developing, even as I continue to work towards yet another Lightweight chapter finished in the next one to two weeks.

I do have some doubts I will wrap Atomic Werewolf 2000 before NaNoWriMo starts. I do generally keep one open project and one side project even in National Novel Writing Month. As I writer, I often find the easiest way to avoid a stubborn block in my brain is to switch things up with another work. I'm not sure yet if the good Werewolf will be that side project or if I'll return to Quadrant or Shockwave. I'm leaving things a bit up in the air right now. I do hope to wrap the Werewolf story by the end of year however, along with the rest of the current arc of Lightweight.

Newsletter readers know I already have a few irons in the fire for several more projects to continue into next year. If all goes well, I will have no less than six book releases in 2019, with at least three of them debuting as part of the Patreon.

If you haven't started backing the Patreon, never fear. I'm currently reprinting every installment of Lightweight and Quadrant at the site as we head towards the debut of all new tales in January. These editions will stay in place for a couple months, but not forever. So if you're interested in playing catch up, now is definitely the time!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Pulpsloitation returns with.. The Gunmaster: Fear of the Reaper!

It's been far too long since I first introduced Pulpsploitation to the world. The debut anthology sprang into the world over three years ago as five authors combined classic pulp characters with exploitation cinema and men's adventures novels to create five amazing stories. I wrote Airboy for the anthology, which also featured Black Bat by Frank Byrns, E.A.G.L.E. by Caine Dorr, Tabu by Steven Gepp and...

The Gunmaster by Teel James Glenn. Novels based on the series were stretch goals of the original Kickstarter for the project. While we weren't able to fund every spinoff anthology, we did meet stretch goal for The Gunmaster. The result is Fear of the Reaper, the first Gunmaster novel. It debuts as an ebook today, available worldwide at Amazon.

Teel talked more about the character and his revival over at Metahuman Press

In addition to the Gunmaster novel, the book also features a reprint of "Back in Business," the very first tale in the Second Life of D.B. Coooper. It originally appeared in The Good Fight 2: Villains, but my tales of D.B. Cooper were always meant to be part of the Pulpsploitation series. As new novels and short stories launch as the series continues, more tales of Coop will appear alongside them.

Head over to Amazon and buy the complete book today!

Is the world ready for... the Atomic Werewolf? (Tuesday Throwback)

Every Tuesday we look back at a great post from the previous years of this blog. This time around we travel back to the original introduction of the beast called... THE ATOMIC WEREWOLF!

I am proud to introduce the Atomic Werewolf to the world. The character is one of my odder creations, a 1960s experiment gone wrong that creates a massive wolf creature on the run from the government.

This short introduces a massive monster with connections with many points in Quadrant Universe history. But it was also about experimenting with form. I wanted to tell the story in a different way than straight prose. I made the decision to tell the tale from the viewpoint of a friend of the monster writing in his autobiography more than forty years later. It will not be the last appearance of either character however, as I plan a long history for the Atomic Werewolf as part of the Quadrant Universe. I particularly would like to share more passages from Davy Daniels' autobiography, but all that depends on how many more Timeline tales I manage to write between my other anthology appearances and novel length work.

As an aside, I am also very proud of the cover which combines a famous public domain movie poster with an atomic icon to create a beautiful visual for the book, even continuing the movie post design with the names of the stars. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it.

The Atomic Werewolf is truly some of the most fun I have had as a writer, so I hope everyone can enjoy reading this unique tale as much as I did creating it.

Pick up The Atomic Werewolf now at Amazon or Smashwords. Priced at only 99 cents, it is the right price for a great read!

Don't forget to check out my Work-in-progress Wednesday posts where you can learn more about the upcoming sequel to this tale! 

Monday, October 15, 2018

An impossibly awesome Kickstarter! (Kickstart the Week 68)

I have never tried to pretend I'm anything but a huge fan of the writing of Karl Kesel. Ever since his days of co-writing Hawk & Dove, I've followed his career from DC to Image to Marvel and on and on. His two runs on Superboy probably will always rank as favorites of mine, but I'm so glad to see he's back making comics. I recently received my Section Zero reward from him. Just as he wraps that project, he's already got a new one ready and waiting to release.

Alongside the equally talented David Hahn, he's created a new superhero character, Impossible Jones. Ms. Jones was a career criminal until the accident that gave her stretchy powers. Mistaken for a hero afterwards, she decided to run with it and a new hero was born! Of course, she's still going to plan any heist she can make happen, just with the police never suspecting their friendly neighborhood hero!

Hahn and Kesel have dubbed their work grin and gritty, an apt description for the beautiful art and the humorous tone of the preview pages. Head over to Kickstarter to help make this project a reality!

Friday, October 12, 2018

Cosplay Friday: Darkstalkers' Felicia

I am unrepentant in my fandom for the Darkstalkers franchise. It easily ranks as my favorite of all fighting games series. I've posted plenty of Morrigan pictures for Cosplay Friday, but I somehow have never given the world the glory of Felicia. Big ups to Japanese based Pattie Cosplay for making this one a reality!

As always, you can check out a lot more great Cosplay pictures over on the Tumblr. And while you are admiring some great cosplay here, don’t forget to check out some of the other great stuff from yours truly this week!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Meet some truly horrific heroes!

I have a fondness for horror mixed with heroes. Both Marvel and DC made an effort to tinge their lines with a sense of creepy and classic monsters. Whether it was Dracula fighting Dr. Strange and the X-Men or the likes of I, Vampire and Swamp Thing at DC, the idea of creatures of the night bumping into legendary comic heroes is just fun to me.

Which is why six years ago, I debuted the first volume of Horror Heroes. The book series is built around a simple premise: turn a horror icon into a hero of some kind. I invited a few like-minded other writers to contribute and so an anthology series was born!

In the first book, I brought the world "Half-Life." In it, I introduced a raven-haired high school girl more interested in boys than academics. But when she stumbles on an experiment involving synthetic vampire blood, she's transformed into a new breed of vampire! Forced into heroism, she battles the true threat to the school, even as her strange abilities earn her a name from yore: Dracula!

Donna McAvoy proves to be an interesting foil in this tale. It isn't her vampirism that makes her a less than nice being, but her upbringing. She's a spoiled rich kid intent on getting everything she desires, simply because her father's money could make that happen. But when she's pulled into a darker supernatural world, her entire life changes. The result is a fun character study inspired by teenage slice of life tales and classic superheroes.

Three years after the original, Horror Heroes 2 debuted. This time my tale was inspired by beach house romance tales, even as I introduced a new breed of underwater creature. Lynda Adams moves into a seaside home for the summer before college. She's looking to live her life free of her parents for a month before she returns to their map for her future. When her first date attacks her, she's saved by a strange local boy named Ben Browning. As she gets to know Ben, she soon learns he's not like other boys. In fact, he's a Deep One, one of the ancient race of sea-dwelling creatures. Yet he's also different, a new form of hybrid between that race and humanity. Unlike his brethren, he can shift from human to Deep One form. This ability comes in handy as he and Lynda learn they face a danger far greater than they ever suspected!

I wrote this one a couple years before The Shape of Water released, but ultimately it features some of the same themes of alienation and looking beneath the surface. "The Beach House" remains completely unique from anything else I've written. I still think it's the best novelette I've ever written.

Plus, these two volumes bring a plethora of heroic monstrous variations, including mummies, sasquatches and even an invisible werewolf! So if you're ready for some heroic Halloween hijinx, head over to Amazon to pick up both these titles. If you do read them, be sure to give them a review. Every review helps bring more viewers to these fun tales of creatures turned heroes!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Writing local (WIP Wednesday)

This will be a quick one. I finished about two thousand more words on Atomic Werewolf and the first section of Project SUPERNATURAL.

SUPERNATURAL gets put away for a bit as I work on the third chapter of Shockwave. If you remember from last week, that's the name of the upcoming third series I have planned. I referred to it as the local hero project, because a key component of the series is my own city, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. My goal is to give an honest representation of a small city in modern America, even as I unravel the tale of Shockwave and his supporting cast.

Finding this picture of Cedar Rapids, I realized we really need more post-08 flood pictures.
(Photo by Colleen Hepner, licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0 license.)
Of course, the book will have cosmic ramifications for the Quadrant Universe, so don't expect it to spend all its time just in Cedar Rapids. I am not going to detail a lot of those ramifications until after the book starts running on the Patreon, but I will say that I started reading the comics that lead to Newer Gods because of this project.

Dino Force edits are also underway and I just submitted the final manuscript for Teel James Glenn's Gunmaster novella, which launches in just a few more days!

That's all this week, but stay tuned for a focus on some of the horrific heroes I created as we continue our Halloween theme for the month.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Tuesday Throwback: Cryptkeeper and Vampirella by Steve Mannion

Tuesdays are all about classic posts. This time around we're looking at a great piece of horror themed art by an under-recognized artist! 

I have a fondness for both these characters and an equal fondness for the amazing art of indie comic dynamo Steve Mannion, a man that has kept his Fearless Dawn series and himself afloat for years now through Kickstarter and original art sales.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Poe and the Mysteriads take flight! (Kickstart the Week 68)

I've grown jaded with a lot of Kickstarter projects of late, as rarely do I see many comics that really look to do something a bit different. Telling a tale of a Robin-esque sidekick trying to solve her mentor's murder and have it be an all-ages book: now that is an impressive feat.

Yet that is exactly the premise of Poe & the Mysteriads. I'm not familiar with the work of Jim McClain and Paul E. Schultz before this Kickstarter, but they're bringing what looks like a great take on the classic Batman: The Animated Series style. Every preview page just ends up looking fantastic.

I'm always up for superhero mysteries, but when you make one an all ages book, I'm even more excited. Here's hoping you will be too.

Head over to Kickstarter to learn more about Poe & The Mysteriads.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Great art: Bride of Frankenstein by Eduardo Risso

Eduardo Risso has made his name on a half dozen projects alongside Brian Azzarello, but I always love his work on licensed characters a bit more. Here is his great rendition of the Bride of Frankenstein and her would be husband!

As always, you can check out a lot more Great Art over on the Tumblr. And after you're done admiring some great art here, don’t forget to check out some of the other great stuff from me this week!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Ten of the best vampire films (or at least the ones I like)

It's October and that means things are going to get a bit creepy around these parts. I'm already in the midst of an Atomic Werewolf tale and the first story in my Horror Universe project. But I also thought it would be a good time to throw some focus on the creepier parts of the universe with a few posts on subjects weird and spooky.

First up, vampire movies. Why? Because I still like a lot of vampire flicks and I happen to be writing about the rebirth of a bloodsucker or two as I'm also writing this here blog post. So without any more ado, here's the list of the best vampire movies in my humble opinion, presented in no particular order.

Blacula: A surprisingly in-depth film with a title that makes it feel like a quick cash in. William Marshall took the role of Mamuwalde seriously, and in the process brought a vampire with more pathos than most to the screen in the middle of a strange hybrid of blaxploitation and horror.

Blade: The quintessential film of its type, no other movie has used the vampire hunter trope to greater effect than the initial installment of this franchise. Stephen Norrington worked with a David Goyer script to produce maybe the perfect version of the Marvel hero ever brought to any format.

BloodRayne: I wanted to include at least one "oh so bad it's good" movie on the list and Uwe Boll's insane video game adaptation fits the bill. From strange stunt casting to a plot best described as nonsensical, this one is a mess of cheese and gratuitous nudity and violence.

Bram Stoker's Dracula: The Francis Ford Coppola adaptation of the original novel stays as close as any adaptation I've ever seen, but still strays in weird directions away from the original, mostly to give the director the over the top visuals he wanted to use. Outside poor Keanu Reeves, the cast sells every moment of the tense plot. And the direction makes it one of the most lush films ever put to camera.

Dracula 2000: I can best describe this one as fun, with a strange set of young cast members - a trope of late 90s horror - either helping or battling a Dracula played by Gerard Butler at his scene-chewing-est.

From Dusk Til Dawn: Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's film is pulp cinema re-imagined for a new generation. When a bevy of great characters are thrown into a war with an entire vampire cult, action ensues in a film that turns schlock into a masterpiece.

Innocent Blood: Directed by John Landis, this 1990s era vampire flick features a sexy French vampire as she arrives in America and continues her quest to only feed on the criminal. This backfires as she accidentally turns a crime boss. She has to team up with a local undercover cop to stop the crime family and the possibility of a vampire uprising!

Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires: Peter Cushing's Van Helsing travels to China and assists several young kung fu masters in their battle with seven evil vampires in a Hammer / Shaw Brothers production. Sadly Dracula here isn't played by Christopher Lee, the only thing that might have made it an even stronger piece of sheer crossover insanity.

Lost Boys: I'm an 80s kid and an introvert, so this tale of the cool kids turning out to be vampires was right up my alley. The two Coreys were great as the would-be monster hunters, but it is Kiefer Sutherland that oozes every ounce of awesome from his veins to make this one work.

Shadow of the Vampire: A movie set behind the scenes of the filming of Nosferatu, which surmises that the villainous lead Max Schreck is actually a vampire. Willem Dafoe makes a world class creepy monster in an instant classic.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Wake me up when September ends! (WIP Wednesday)

Thirty thousand words written. That was my target for the month of September as I pushed to raise my regular writing schedule to the level I feel it needs to reach to really know I can fight back the inner demons that want to derail me from my regular writing projects. So how did I do?

I finished the month at 30,621 words.

Photo by Hafidh Satyanto on Unsplash
This month, the goal raises to 40,000 words as I prepare for NaNoWriMo and its 50,000 word challenge.

My writing schedule for the serial fiction I produce has long been to continuously switch from one to another as I go. This keeps me from burning out with the various projects I'm working on. My brain generally goes in just too many directions to not bounce a bit between tales. Right now Lightweight and Project Supernatural are both in great places as I continue their narratives. My focus is back on the local hero project, which is now tentatively titled Shockwave.

Like so much of what I write, Shockwave is a labor of love. I built it to both explore my own local community but also to open a few different corners of the Quandrant Universe at the same time. I've hinted at corners of the cosmic landscape in the pages of Lightweight: Beyond, but Shockwave will start to reveal some of the connective tissue that binds things together.

In addition, I'm continuing my work on Atomic Werewolf 2000 and my edits on Dino Force as well, but I'll talk more about those in time.

And since it's October, NaNo-prep means I've started to lay out the basics for my project come November. I will share more about it in my next newsletter, so be sure to subscribe if you to get the first peak on the new title.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Tuesday Throwback: Rabbit Heart is a damned good adventure

Every Tuesday we look back at a great post from the previous years of this blog. This time around, look at a strange but great book.

Barry Reese writes some of the best new pulp with his Peregrine, Lazarus Gray and Gravedigger series. But Rabbit Heart takes a different tract for Reese, one with more adult and urban fantasy overtones. In the process, he creates what is in my opinion his best work.

Reese combines slasher movie monsters, typical urban fantasy conceits and the legend of the Wild Hunt to create Fiona Chapman, a woman that learns she's a monster, but uses the revelation to turn herself into the ultimate monster killer. She sets out on a quest to hunt the other monsters of the Wild Hunt, only two of which she runs into over the course of this book.

Sadly, Rabbit Heart reads like the first book in a series but a sequel has never materialized. Reese is on record as being worried about the ever increasing edginess of Fiona when he started to write the sequel, but I for one would love to see what he could do with the character in a new book.

Whether it remains a standalone or eventually spawns sequels, Rabbit Heart is a great read and comes highly recommended.

Pick up Rabbit Heart on Amazon.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Uncovering the S Factor! (Kickstart the Week 67)

I've been following The S Factor on Twitter for awhile, as the series shared a ton of promotional art to introduce all the characters for the series ahead of time. The premise is simple but cool: a Bachelor style program with a young hero seeking love.

It's the art by Chris Panda that drives the series, but writer / creator Samuel George London certainly developed an interesting (and international) group of heroines to take their chances with the young hero called The Symbol, a former sidekick looking to grow out of his former protege's shadow. If this wasn't already enough lairs for a great story, there's darker undertones of what's really going on in the background.

The S Factor has a pair of reasonably priced tiers for both digital and print formats. So go over there, look at more of Panda's gorgeous art and help make this one a reality.

Preview art of the introduction for all the female heroes featured in the title.