Tuesday, July 07, 2015

King of the Bastards

"Part sword and sorcery, part extreme horror, King of the Bastards is wild adventure across seas, beaches, and mountains full of horrifying monstrosities, dark magic, and demonic entities.
Rogan has been many things in his life as an adventurer — a barbarian, a thief, a buccaneer, a rogue, a lover, a reaver, and most recently, a king. Now, this prehistoric bane of wizards and tyrants finds himself without a kingdom, lost in a terrifying new world, and fighting for his life against pirates, zombies, and the demonic entity known as Meeble. And even if he defeats his foes, Rogan must still find a way to return home, regain his throne, save his loved ones, and remind everyone why he's the KING OF THE BASTARDS."

    A lament I often hear is that there's no good sword & sorcery being published these days. Well let me tell you, with the release of KING OF THE BASTARDS by Brian Keene and Steven Shrewsbury , that's no longer the case. When I say sword and sorcery, I'm not talking about the latest Tolkien Clone of Game of Thrones Knock-off. No, I mean the good old stuff, like Robert E. Howard and Karl Edward Wagner. The stuff that's based in horror and drenched in blood.
   Within the first 30 pages you know you're in good hands as King Rogan, former barbarian, thief, reaver, slayer, etc and his comrades face off against a sea monster and then a band of pirates. It's a violent, bloody beginning and the guys are just getting warmed up.
   When the smoke clears, Rogan and his nephew Javan wash up on the shores of an unknown land and the adventure really gets started. Tasked by a local tribe with killing a sorcerer in his layer, the two men are soon faced with foes who use both cold hard steel and the darkest sorcery.
   Reader's familiar with Brian Keene's 'Labyrinth Mythos' will find some familiar elements. In addition to earthly enemies, Rogan and Javan must deal with Meeble, one of the thirteen, an otherworldly pantheon of entities that aren't quite angels, gods, or demons. I've run into other members of The Thirteen in Keene's books about occult detective, Levi Stoltzfus. Almost all of Keene's books and stories are linked one way or the other in a sort of 'Keeneiverse', which, continuity conscious comic book fan that I am, I really enjoy.
   In various essays here at Singular Points, I've discussed how I feel that the best sword and sorcery has a horror tale at its heart. Karl Edward Wagner often said that his stories about the immortal warrior KANE were really horror stories with enough action to make them heroic fantasy. Similarly, many of Robert E. Howard's Conan and Solomon Kane stories are really horror yarns. Fritz Leiber, himself a corespondent of H.P. Lovecraft, filled his Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stories with dark sorcery and horror. Ditto C.L. Moore, creator of Jirel of Joiry, the original red-haired she-devil.
   Keene and Shrewsbury have learned their lessons well. Brian had told me before I started KING that I'd find a lot of Karl Edward Wagner influence in the book, and without giving away too many plot points, I definitely can see what he meant. This book is as much a horror novel as a sword and sorcery tale. And for me that makes it work really well.
   Anyway, if you're one of those people who are always looking for a good, bloody, sword & sorcery tale, then look no farther. KING OF THE BASTARDS has what you want in spades. I was fortunate in that Apex Books offered me an advanced reading copy of the book on the same day I had placed my pre-order for it. So I got to read it early and soon I'll have a shiny new copy to put on my shelf. The book is expected to be released on July 21st, but you too can pre-order here:


Saturday, July 04, 2015

Happy Fourth!

This is the back cover from the 1976 Marvel Treasury Edition, Captain America's Bicentennial Battles, a heartfelt tribute to America by Jack Kirby, aka Jacob Kurtzberg, the son of Jewish immigrants, who grew up to co-create the symbol of the spirit of the USA. The country may be flawed, as all countries are, but the spirit remains.

Cthulhu Saves!

My awesome new Cthulhu bank in all its Eldritch Glory.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The New Adventures of Frankenstein

   Yesterday's mail brought my copy of Don's THE NEW ADVENTURES OF FRANKENSTEIN Vol I. This 730 page er...Monster of a book contains six of Don's novels about everybody's favorite conglomeration of reanimated body parts. In these half dozen fast moving tales, Frankenstein's monster battles Dracula, a werewolf, and even dinosaurs. I had already read these tales in their original publications but these are the author's corrected and preferred editions.
   Don's version of the monster is sort of a cross between Mary Shelly's original creature and the movie versions. If you love the Universal Frankenstein films then you'll really enjoy Don's take on the creature.
   And, if like me, you're a fan of Don's DOCTOR SPEKTOR comics, you'll find the same sorts of adventures here, as well as many connections and references to the good Doctor. Don has always enjoyed linking his stories, be they comics, novels, or movies, and that's something I really enjoy.
   Anyway, this is a fantastic book full of color, action, fun, and scares. Highly recommended. I had pre-ordered my copy directly from the publisher, so mine's autographed from Don to me. You can get it at Amazon.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Justice League of America #1

DC actually comes through with the first issue of the new JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA . While not precisely MY versions of these iconic characters, they are the closest any have been for a while. Clark Kent works at the Daily Planet with Lois Lane and still has a secret identity. The League members are all friends and know each other's identities. The costumes are still a little wonky, but close, kids, close. DC had mentioned that after CONVERGENCE they weren't going to worry about continuity, and this comic seems to bear this out. These are not the versions of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc currently appearing in each hero's regular title. I'll be very interested in seeing where writer/artist Brian Hitch takes this series.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Virgin Zombie Now Available for Kindle

   VIRGIN ZOMBIE is now available for the kindle. It’s a 10,000 word short story that teams my private investigator Wade Griffin with J.A. Konrath’s Lt. Jack Daniels. The basic idea is that Jack, who’s a homicide detective with the Chicago Violent Crimes Unit, has to travel to the small town of Wellman Georgia to hunt down Armand Brule, aka ‘Houngan’, a meth cook wanted in connection to a murder in Chicago. The cops can’t offer her official backup in Wellman so she ends up with mercenary turned private investigator Wade Griffin. The hunt for Houngan brings the pair into conflict with a biker gang known as The Brothers of Chaos ( a tip of the hat to Michael Moorcock) and with some fairly creepy goings on, as visitors of Wellman would expect. Houngan is another name for a voodoo priest and he’s cooking up something worse than crystal meth. Oh, and there’s the dead guy with the hatchet.
   If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I’m a big fan of J.A. Konrath’s books and that I’ve also been reading his team-ups with other authors like Jude Hardin, Tracy Sharp, and recently F. Paul Wilson and Ann Voss Peterson. I reviewed the short novel FIX a couple of posts ago. After seeing all the other Jack Daniels crossovers on Konrath’s Kindle world, JACK DANIELS AND ASSOCIATES, I decided that I’d like to write one too. I figured I would start with a short story just to get my feet wet, and that I’d team Jack with Wade Griffin, one of the protagonists of the Griffin and Price novels that I co-author with James A. Moore. Two have been published so far, BLIND SHADOWS and CONGREGATIONS OF THE DEAD, and there’s a third, A HELL WITHIN, completed and in the pipeline.
   Now here’s the thing. Though Konrath writes horror as well as crime fiction, the supernatural hasn’t had a place in his Jack Daniels novels, (BLOODY MARY, RUSTY NAIL, DIRTY MARTINI etc) so I thought I should stick to that worldview. However if you’ve read any of the Griffin and Price novels, you know that they are a mix of crime fiction and horror and that the boys from Wellman have fought creatures from the outer dark and Evangelical Christian Vampires. I didn’t want Griffin’s fans to be misled, so I came up with a way to have a horror connection without using anything overtly supernatural. Through a bit of synchronicity, I found a title which matched the other books in the Jack Daniels series, which tend to be named after drinks, and also fit the idea I had. Thus, VIRGIN ZOMBIE.
   The funny thing is, after I finished the story, I read a comment by Konrath at his blog where he said he was fine with people bringing supernatural or fantasy elements to his Jack Daniels and Codename Chandler Kindle worlds. So I may write another team-up soon with a bit more weirdness going on. Time will tell.
   Anyway, I tried to write a story that kept both Jack and Griffin in character, using First Person for Jack and Third Person for Griffin as each is usually portrayed in his or her own books. VIRGIN ZOMBIE is a fast paced tale with a lot of action and I hope that fans of both series enjoy it. If you’d care to check it out, the link is below.


Saturday, June 06, 2015

Coming Soon to a Kindle Near You

Cover reveal time. Coming very soon to a Kindle near you, J.A. Konrath's Lieutenant Jack Daniels teams up with Wade Griffin and action and violence ensue. More details when I get closer to release time.