Monday, April 29, 2019

Goals achieved and worlds destroyed! My 7th Camp Nanowrimo is in the books!

Image by Javier Estaban via Unsplash.
Over the weekend, I hit my goal for my seventh Camp Nanowrimo event. The twice annual free-form writing event has always been a fun one for me, and while I developed some issues with my pacing midway through the month, it's been all engines forward for the last week or so.

The main focus was playing catch up on Quadrant and I managed that quite well. I'm fast working through the latter half of volume two, otherwise known as the time travel arc. I don't want to give away much on this one, but I will reassure everyone that it continues to prove how much fun developing new tales of the Morgan brothers is for me.

I'll have more on the future of Quadrant in updates very soon. Over the next year, I hope to make the brothers' saga as important as Lightweight currently is in my publishing schedule. With that in mind, I have big plans for the characters in the weeks and months ahead!

Before I wrap this blog up I wanted to remind everyone that The Good Fight 5: The Golden Age will be available to read as of tomorrow. Go get your copies pre-ordered now!

Friday, April 26, 2019

Cosplay Friday: Nebula

I have absolutely no idea who the cosplayer is behind this rendition of the modern Nebula (based on the classic 90s design by Ron Lim.) It's some dang fine costuming work though and seems like the perfect fit as Avengers: Endgame debuts and will likely break some records this weekend.

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!

Monday, April 22, 2019

The first installment of Lightweight... free! Read "Dreams" right here, right now!

This story is already available for free from multiple sources. But I also wanted to make it free to everyone even a little curious about Lightweight. For an ebook edition, you can head over to Smashwords. To buy this story and the rest of Lightweight: Senior Year, head over to Amazon.

Lightweight: Senior Year
Nicholas Ahlhelm

I floated in the air. I was on my back, a pillow beneath me, but around me was the wide open sky. The wild blue yonder, my uncle in the Air Force used to talk about.
I knew it was a dream, but in some way that I can’t even begin to explain, I also knew it wasn’t. Like it was real and a dream all at the same time.
I could feel the cold air across my skin as I laid there, my eyes closed. My body was chilled like I was sitting in front of an air conditioner, but I knew I should be much colder. I wore only the boxers I normally stripped to before bed.  
I really didn’t want to, but I knew I needed to open my eyes. I knew this dream—or whatever it was—wouldn’t end until I did. I sat up gingerly. Even if this was a dream, I still couldn’t get over the fear of falling and like I said, I was on a cloud. I was a bit worried about that.
I slowly let my eyes crack open. The world rushed into my eyeballs with a blast of color. The sky was darkened and rusty colored, the kind of red sky that sailors apparently always go on about.
But it wasn’t the weird sky that really drew my attention in. It was the random objects floating around the cloud and me. A blender. A toaster oven. An old tire. A box of tattered Archie comics. A six pack of Mountain Dew. A ten speed bike. An M-16.
I looked over them with confusion as they slowly circled around me. I decided this had to be a dream. I couldn’t be flying and all these random things certainly couldn’t be making a slow rotation around my cloudy perch.
They were like a half dozen little moons all floating around me like a tiny planet.
Far below me, I could see the lights of Federation stretched out. Hundreds of them, tiny cars moving like tiny lighted insects. Five million men and women slept or did whatever people do in the middle of the night. Or they would be, if they were real.
I wanted down and out of there, but no matter how long I wished for the dream to end, it wasn’t going anywhere. Whoever said that dreams end when you tell yourself to wake up clearly never made it into this dream.
I tested the cloud again with my hands. It was soft, but supportive, not unlike the bed I wished I could reach from this dream.
Take me out of here, I thought. Just take me home.
The cloud suddenly shifted beneath me. It shot downwards. In seconds, I soared straight down, the darkened ground rushing towards me. I plummeted through the night sky, but I felt no fear. Somehow I knew I was safe. I was in control. This is what I was meant to do. It was as natural as walking. As breathing.
I was free.
“Kevin! Kevin! Are you awake?”
The pounding on his door forced Kevin Mathis to open his eyes. His mom’s voice echoed through his skull as he shook off the dream. He stared up at the ceiling of his room. Only it was far too close to him. He could reach out and touch it. But how—
Kevin dropped down out of the sky. He crashed back first on to the mattress of his bed. The sudden shock of pain took him by surprise, but it was nothing like the realization that he had been airborne.
It was just a dream, he thought. It could only be a dream.
His blankets were wrapped around him, almost knotted by his sudden—whatever that was. He worked them off his body and stumbled out of the bed.
His mother knocked again. “Kevin, are you all right in there? Do I need to get the key?”
“I’m fine, Mom. Just fell out of my bed.”
“You better hurry up and get ready. Your friends will be here in fifteen minutes.”
Kevin glanced at his clock. He cursed under his breath as he ran for the dresser.
Exactly thirteen minutes later he was showered (more or less), dressed and in the kitchen. As he grabbed a pop tart (always brown sugar and cinnamon) from the box, he heard the horn outside.
Mom sat at the kitchen table as he frantically put his breakfast together. She rolled her eyes as she sipped at her coffee. “You know you could tell your friends to stop in once in awhile. I don’t think I’ve seen Andy once since he got that Taurus.”
Kevin leaned down and planted a quick kiss on his mother’s cheek. “That’s because Andy doesn’t leave it unless someone makes him. He would take his classes in that thing if they would let him.”
He gave her a wave as he grabbed his bag and headed out the door. Andy was double-parked in front of the duplex. Millie was already walking down the street from the next house over.
“Hey, stranger,” she said. “Ready for one last year of this?”
“Ready for it to be over. Nine months and counting. Oh, I got one for you. What do high school and Lauryn Hill have in common?”
Millie rolled her eyes, even as she pushed her long black hair out of her eyes. “Fine, what?”
“Both will kill you softly.”
“Do you ever tell good jokes?”
“I only share the very finest humor.”
Andy honked again. Kevin and Millie both turned to see him waving them down towards the car.
“Let’s not keep our ride waiting,” Millie said. “He might leave us.”
“That would be less time in his precious. You and I both know he wouldn’t give that up.” Despite his words, Kevin joined Millie in the few short steps to Andy’s car. A moment later, they were on their way to their last first day of high school.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Great Art: Avengers by Eric Canete

Eric Canete is one of those artists that I just don't feel gets enough attention. He's got a unique style, one that he's brought to multiple outlets over the years. He's never stuck to one series for long either, as he doubles as an artist on numerous animated projects, many for Man of Action , where his frequent comics collaborator Joe Casey is one of the four forces that share the eponymous name. His take on the Avengers expands from his amazing work on Iron Man: Enter the Mandarin, in my mind still one of the best Iron Man stories ever. Find a ton more of his work at DeviantArt.

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!

Monday, April 15, 2019

Kickstart the Week 73: The cat comes back! New Champions rise!

It's been awhile since we last checked in on Kickstarter. So it's time to check in on two current projects worth a look on the site!

Mike Grell has been producing great comics for four decades now. From Legion of Super-Heroes to Warlord to Jon Sable to Green Arrow and beyond, he's given the world tons of great comics (and even one really great novel.) Yet he left one series unfinished when comics plummeted into the abyss in the middle of the nineties. While meant to be an ongoing series, the empty market caused Maggie the Cat's cancellation after issue two in the middle of the first arc.Fast forward more than twenty years and Mike has moved to Kickstarter to finally bring Maggie the Cat.

Maggie's origins lay in the Jon Sable series and her own book followed events in that series and Shaman's Tears. The new book on Kickstarter will feature remastered versions of the two already published issues with extra remastered pages to streamline the story for new readers. It will be followed by a new issue sometime down the line where the arc finally comes to its finish!

Fans of great old school adventure should definitely check out Maggie the Cat on Kickstarter.


I'm always excited to see new superhero prose make its way onto Kickstarter. Blake Michael Nelson has been slowly building his own superhero universe over the last few years. The Signalverse takes its name from its main setting: Signal City. Nelson is now on Kickstarter looking to fund his sixth novel, Champions Weekly.

The new book revolves around a reporter for a news magazine of the same name. She's set out to uncover what happened to a hero that disappeared over a year ago, but she quickly falls into more trouble than she ever expected!

Nelson has even made the first chapter of the novel available for free. Go check that out and get a feel for his solid prose. After that, be sure to go support Champions Weekly on Kickstarter.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Cosplay Friday: Cammy White

As a teenager in the early 90s, Street Fighter is rarely far from my mind. It was an indelible part of the culture of my childhood. Fighting games and RPGs were my bread and butter, but nothing quite topped the finger ripping action of the Street Fighter franchise.

This week's featured cosplayer Vert Vixen is a jack of all trades. She recently joined Gamestop TV, but she also makes convention appearances in costume, content manages for Gunfire Games and is a pro wrestler in the making. She's also possibly the most perfect being to fill the costume of Cammy White, the game's resident amnesiac secret agent with a dark past.

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!

Monday, April 8, 2019

Coming Continuing Comics 3: A crossover, rebirth and jumping on point, all in one!

One article, that is.

The April Previews does not show a lot of big debuts in the month of June. Or at least, not a lot of debuts I care a lick about anyway. Yet I still have a few picks worth taking a look at.

But first I wanted to give an honorable mention to Usagi Yojimbo. The book is coming back from IDW now with a new first issue (which makes this Usagi volume 4 I believe.) There's little to nothing super powered fiction about the character outside crossovers with the TMNT, but he's well worth a mention as the title is consistently one of the best comics on the market. Alright, on to our more superheroic fare, none of which comes from either of the big two this month!

Savage Dragon 247

It's about as far away from a number one as you can get, but Erik Larsen has consistently produced one of the most impressive superhero universes ever now for twenty-five plus years. I'm behind on the series by nearly a year right now, but this issue offers a "perfect jumping on point" for readers as Malcolm Dragon fights the Demon King as the run up to the next anniversary starts. If you're an old school comic fan and not reading Savage Dragon, I encourage you to seek out what you're missing and be surprised by one of the most impressive superhero sagas of all time.

The Crow / Hack Slash 1

Tim Seeley has come up with a winning formula for bringing back Cassie Hack and Vlad, the monster hunters of Hack Slash. He's just wrapping a crossover at Dynamite with the old Chaos Comics characters that embroils her in their entire new history at that publisher. As soon as that one wraps, it looks like she'll be right back into it, this time at IDW!

The story is a pretty basic setup. A new Crow rises, but his revenge spree is taken by Cassie and Vlad as the rise of a new slasher, the supernatural horrors they hunt! It's a superb concept to run a story about. More impressively, Seeley returns to pencils on the book for the first time in years, while he's inked by regular Crow artist Jim Terry. This one promises to bring the fun and violence!

Psi-Lords 1

Valiant has been dusting off old IPs with new versions for quite some time now, but they still haven't covered them all. The Psi-Lords are fondly remembered by anyone that read the book but this one doesn't look to have heavy ties to that concept. Still it looks like an intriguing book by artist Renato Guedes and the criminally under-rated Fred Van Lente.

The book takes four humans and drops them with amnesia into the middle of an intergalactic hotspot. And while it spins off from events in the current X-O Manowar book, it is meant to stand on its own. With a star creative team, this looks like a great new ongoing series in a universe filled with intriguing moves in 2019.

Do you have a new favorite coming soon to the comics world? Let me know in the comments below! 

Friday, April 5, 2019

Gallur-y: Cibernetico

Over the last few years, Mexican artist Rafael Gallur has become a go to painter for action. A regular painter of amazing lucha libre magazine covers, he channels the energy of Frazetta into modern cover art, something very lacking on this side of the border. And since his art doesn't quite fit into the usual comic-oriented Great Art feature, I thought it was time to give him his own feature here at Super Powered Fiction. Few painters can match the power he brings.

Cibernetico isn't as recognizable a luchador as some. He has been maskless since early in his career and never quite received the attention in America that many Mexican talents have over the years. But Gallur brings him to life with a true flare here and even presents quite a looming threat in the robot monster behind him!

Be sure to head over to Gallur's DeviantArt to check out more work by him and order some of his amazing work as prints. After you're done admiring his work, don’t forget to check out some of the other great stuff from me this week!

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

The Good Fight returns... to the past!

I've proudly been a member of the Pen and Cape Society for several years now as the group of superhero fiction writers have put together four great anthologies and worked together in all kinds of unique and fun ways. Now the fine folks at Local Hero Press have prepped the fifth edition of our shared anthology series The Good Fight and this one takes us back a few years. Previous themes have wrapped around villains, "the homefront" (supporting cast) and sidekicks. This time around, the series goes back a few years as the focus turns to "The Golden Age."

Twelve writers answered the call for new stories of World War II superheroes, pulp age adventurers and everything in between. For those that have followed my previous The Good Fight contributions, you know that I like to make my focus a new tale in my "The Second Life of D.B. Cooper" series of short stories.

How do I place a story about the later life of a 70s era plane hijackers into a thirties era setting? I will reveal that in a couple more weeks, but be reassured that the story's title does start with "The Second Life of."

And I'm not alone. I have a mega-talented eleven other creators in this book with me: Leonard Apa, Stephen T. Brophy, David Court, Jeff Deischer, Adrienne Dellwo, Psychopomp Gecko, Ian Thomas Healy, James Hudnall, T. Mike McCurley, Scott A. Story, and Tom Warin! If you're interested in supporting great new fiction, be sure to head over to Amazon or Smashwords and pre-order your copy! The book launches on April 30!

Monday, April 1, 2019

It's Camp Nanowrimo time!

Today is April 1st and while many will celebrate the fools of the world, I will instead be turning my focus to the twice-annual Camp Nanowrimo event. Unlike the 50,000 word sprint that is the November event, Camp Nanowrimo is far more free form with open project types and goals.

This year my effort is going into finishing up the current cycle of Quadrant stories, which have fallen behind the continued progress of Lightweight and Shockwave. If all goes as planned with this month and next, I should have pretty much every release I've got planned for 2019 done in the next two to three months

From there, I have more big plans for 2020. I'll write more about that soon though.

If anyone is interested in following along at Camp Nanowrimo, you can find my account here. And if you're a fellow writer of the super or heroic that's also participating in the event, let me know and I'll add you to our shared cabin!

The next month will feature weekly updates on the project as I work through first an editorial phase and then the completion of a year's worth of Quadrant tales. Those will hit every Wednesday, with other content already planned for Mondays and Fridays! So be sure to stay tuned into the blog as we get this show on the road!