Thursday, May 21, 2015

Happy Birthday Manly Wade Wellman!

Today is Manly Wade Wellman's Birthday. If you've read my horror fiction or just spent much time at my blog of my Facebook page then you know what a big influence Wellman has been on my writing. I was very proud to moderate a panel about Wellman and Karl Edward Wagner at this year's World Horror Con, and I was very pleased to see that Wellman is still well remembered and admired by many readers and writers. So Happy Birthday to Manly Wade Wellman. The voice of the mountain still calls to all with an ear to listen.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Repairman Jack is Back in FIX

  Kindle Worlds is an interesting idea. Basically Amazon will pay for fan fiction. There are various worlds based on comic books, TV series, and books, and you can write for any of them, publish on Amazon and split the money with Amazon. So say, if you wanted to write a story featuring THE ETERNAL WARRIOR or ARCHER AND ARMSTRONG from Valiant Comics, then have at it.

   Not surprisingly, J.A. Konrath, the guru of self publishing, has set up his own Kindle Worlds, one featuring his signature character Jack Daniels, and a new one featuring Codename: Chandler, a female spy/hit person he created with Ann Voss Peterson. However in Konrath's worlds there's a difference. With other Kindle worlds, you lose the rights to the characters you create to Amazon. They become part of the Kindle World. Not so in Konrath's world. If you team one of your characters with Jack Daniels or Chandler, that character still belongs to you.

   Which brings us to FIX, a brand new story by Konrath, Ann Voss Peterson, and F.Paul Wilson, which teams Chandler with Repairman Jack, hero of a whole series of novels by Wilson. I downloaded this last night, sat down to read the first couple of chapters and of course, gleefully tore through the entire story.

   Chandler works for one of those 'off the books' government organizations that thriller writers are so fond of. She's been sent to New York to find a terrorist who is planning on selling a canister of extremely deadly toxin. Chandler's job? Get the toxin and eliminate the terrorist with extreme prejudice.

   Meanwhile, Jack, who works as a freelance urban mercenary, is hired by an aide to New York's Mayor to retrieve a sex tape featuring the Mayor's daughter. Through various circumstances, Jack and Chandler cross paths and in true comic book fashion, try to beat up each other before teaming up to face a common foe.

   If you're a fan of F. Paul Wilson's Repairman Jack series, you know that it has now officially ended. No more adventures for Jack after the events of NIGHT WORLD. This story, however, takes us back to the early days of Jack's career, before he met Gia, the Love of his life. Thus Jack is open to romance with Chandler.

   Of course a romance between someone who kills when he has to and someone who kills for a living can take some interesting turns. Fans of Jack will see the usual faces and places, but the book is considerably sexier than the average Repairman Jack novel. According to the book's afterword, that's the fault of Konrath and Peterson. It works though.

   This is a fast moving, action packed novella, which barely slows to catch its breath. If you're a fan of the Repairman Jack series, this is a must have, and if you're like me, you'll leave the tale wanting to read more about Codename: Chandler as well. Heck, I might even write a story for one of Konrath's Kindle Worlds myself.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Farewell Ruth Rendell

Just learned of the passing of author Ruth Rendell. Back in the days when I was reading whodunits hand over fist, Rendell's novels about Inspector Wexford were some of my absolute favorites, I consider her 1971 Wexford book, NO MORE DYING THEN, to be one of the absolute best British mysteries I've ever read. Rendell had the skill of misdirection of Agatha Christie, but her characters were much more complex, and she was one of the first mystery writers to delve into the psychological aspects of not only her villains, but her heroes as well. Rest in Peace, Ruth. You'll be missed.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

World Horror Convention 2015

I don't think that I've mentioned that I'll be attending the World Horror Convention in Atlanta this year. I'll be appearing on several panels, signing books and talking to folks. This is my first time at WHC so I'm very excited about attending. This is my schedule for the con, so if you're in the area, drop by and say hi.





9-10 PM         Panel: WEIRD SOUTH: Voices of the Mountains: Manly Wade Wellman and Karl Edward Wagner – DUNWICH


Panelists discuss the influential writings of Manly Wade Wellman and Karl Edward Wagner, two pioneers of Southern Horror. From Wellman’s stories of John the Balladeer to Wagner’s tales of deep south terror like “Where the Summer Ends” and “In the Pines.”


Moderator: Charles Rutledge. Panelists: Cliff Biggers, James A. Moore, Leigh Perry, Brett Talley, Derek Tatum, James R. Tuck, Tim Waggoner




3-4 PM           TERRIFYING TROPES: H.P. Lovecraft in the 21st Century: The Problematic Legacy of the Great Old One of Horror and the Weird – SARNATH


Howard Phillips Lovecraft’s legacy in modern horror fiction has been cemented for more than half a century in his Cthulhu Mythos and exploration of cosmic, existential horror. More recently, the tentacles of Lovecraft’s more troubling legacy – as a voice for some of the last century’s most vile expressions of racism and xenophobia – have found their way into the center of the discussion of his work. Is it possible to untangle the two sides of Lovecraft’s work? Should we?


Moderator: David Nickle. Panelists: Jesse Bullington, Leslie Klinger, Usman T. Malik, Charles Rutledge, Molly Tanzer




NOON-1 PM Panel: From The Crypt to Providence: The Changing Face of Horror Comics – R’LEYH


Horror comics aren’t what they used to be! If you think horror comics are just zombies, gore, and mayhem, think again!


Moderator: Cliff Biggers. Panelists: Chesya Burke, Christopher Golden, Daniel Knauf, Jonathan Maberry, Charles Rutledge


For more information go here:


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Cliff Biggers Looks at the Martian Legion

I haven't had time to do a proper review of the massive crossover book, The Martian Legion, but my good friend Cliff Biggers Interviewed the author, Buddy Saunders, who answered a lot of questions about the book. Check it out at Cliff's blog.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Engaging the Monster

I was talking to some friends the other day about Robert E. Howard's ventures into H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos and how the majority of Howard's Mythos stories differ from HPL's. For the most part that can be summed up in a single word. Action.

   If you've read a lot of Lovecraft you know that his protagonists tend to be fairly passive, more observers than participants in the plots, and that they generally come to a bad end either by going mad or by being messily devoured by some gibbering, slavering creature from the outer dark. Sometimes they go mad, THEN they get devoured.

   In Howard's Mythos fiction, things tend to go along about like they do in Lovecraft until the last part of the story, when REH's protagonists decide to fight back. Often they kill the thing that would have messily devoured one of Lovecraft's heroes.

   This is pretty much the way I approach horror fiction. Though I may write of terrible, horrible things that lurk in the darkness, Wade Griffin, Carter Decamp, Kharrn, or some other of my protagonists is generally going to engage the enemy with extreme prejudice. Like Jim Kirk, I don't believe in a no win scenario. There's a way to beat the monster. You just have to find it.

   Not that some of my secondary characters don't suffer horrible fates. I've had a few characters get messily devoured. But usually they'll be avenged.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

The Complete Russ Manning Tarzan Newspaper Strips

   I've talked before about how when I was a kid, I basically learned to read from my mom's collection of Gold Key Tarzan comics. I can remember looking at them before I was in school, wondering what the words in the balloons said, and making up stories to go with the pictures. As I learned to read, they were some of the first things I went back to, so that I could finally see what everybody was saying.

   In the late 1960s, the Gold Key Tarzan comics were being drawn by Russ Manning, who remains my favorite Tarzan artist. When I graduated to reading the actual Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan novels, it was Manning's ape man I saw in my mind's eye as I read.

   When Gold Key lost the ERB rights to DC Comics in the early 1970s, Joe Kubert became the main artist on Tarzan. I loved Joe's take on Tarzan, but he wasn't Manning. What I didn't know, was that Russ Manning had moved on years earlier to drawing the Tarzan newspaper strip. I gradually became aware of this when DC began to publish reprints of some of the strip material. New Russ Manning Tarzan art that I'd never seen.

   Problem was, DC wasn't reprinting everything, and a lot of the stuff they were publishing was badly chopped up to fit the comic book format. From things I heard later, Manning was less than thrilled with DC reworking his panels. In any case, I knew that there was a lot of Manning Tarzan out there that I didn't have access to.

   Over the years, bits and pieces of the Manning strips were reprinted in different books and magazines, and I managed to collect a lot of it. Still, I longed for a better, more permanent format collecting all the Russ Manning Tarzan. Tonight, I will see that wish fulfilled, because the fourth and final volume of IDW's TARZAN: THE COMPLETE RUSS MANNING NEWSPAPER STRIPS hits the shelves. 288 pages of Manning art, finishing up his long run on the series. These are huge hardcover books on nice paper with the strips shot from stats on file at ERB Inc and they are gorgeous. I couldn't ask for a better format of better reproduction and printing.

   Cliff has already informed me that my copy of the book is awaiting me at Dr. No's. So yes, wishes really do come true. Sometimes you just have to wait for it.