Saturday, May 30, 2015

What I've Been Up To Omnibus

Man I am terrible at self-marketing. My last post was in October. Lazy bums like me are why God created agents.

How bout I start with the current stuff and work my way backward.

Inkwash by Rudy Vasquez:

Yo Joe!

When Amazon unveiled Kindleworlds, I was excited. Until I got a look at their initial offerings. They started with comics I was only vaguely familiar with and a few CW shows I had no interest in at all (because the good ones like Supernatural already had licensing deals). So I yawned and moved on.

Then they added G.I. Joe to the list!

I've talked a lot about my big creative influences: superhero comics, pulps, and urban fantasy and sci-fi, genre TV, and of course, Star Wars.

But a big one I have yet to mention is G.I. Joe. I was 11 years old when I saw my very first issue of the comic, back in the days when comics were on spinner racks in drug stores; G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #2. I somehow missed issue 1, but I didn't care. Larry Hama spun an awesome tale of a squad of four insanely unique soldiers on a mission in the arctic. I read that issue more times over than the rest of my collection combined. I would go on to collect the series up to around issue 50 or so, and the entire run of G.I. Joe: Special Missions.

I also collected most of the Hasbro action figures and a bunch of the vehicles. I even watched the cartoon even though I was like 7 years older than the intended audience. I can't hear the phrase "Now you know," without being compelled to finish it with, "And knowing is half the battle". I would draw stick figure panoramic comics of G.I. Joe vs Cobra in school. I followed the comic off and on when it kind of meandered toward the end of the Marvel run, and during the spotty DDP years (a few of those runs were really good), and Chuck Dixon's and Mike Costa's re-imagined take on the Joe universe when IDW rebooted the franchise.

While Costa's Cobra series was a lot grittier and hardcore -- and certainly has a lot to like -- Dixon's G.I. Joe run blended all of my favorite elements of Hama's original vision with a modern, more grounded military flavor. He even took stuff from the cartoon and made it work for mature readers. Now that's talent.

So needless to say, I was stoked at the idea of getting to play in that sandbox. I am pleased with the result, if I don't say so myself.

As regular readers of this blog might guess, my first installment, Bait & Switch, is heavily influenced by the Stony Man novels. It stands alone, but it is also meant to fit into a full length novel. The story follows a squad of Joes on what starts as an investigation into a smuggling operations in Barcelona, Spain, then on a raid on Extensive Enterprises in Paris, France. Lots of firefights, high tech hardware, espionage and intrigue. Oh and ninjas. Duh!

How soon I get part 2 done depends on how well this one does. It's only around a hundred Kindle pages for $1.99. So it'll be a quick, fun read if you're a fan of action adventures.

What's Old Is New Again

Those who already know me may remember a couple anthologies that came out a couple years ago. My first novellas appeared in Supernatural West and Modern Gods II from Metahuman Press. Since my contract allowed me to release those books as standalone works after a year with them, that's exactly what I did. As with Codename: Orchid, I would love to continue each of these into their own series.

First up is a historical fantasy, set in the post-Civil War New Mexico Territories. You know all those tiny little ghost towns scattered out in the desert? The ones that were set up by miners thinking they would strike it rich, then abandoned and left to rot like they never existed. The kind of town that was so remote that if zombies attacked, no one would ever know.

This is the story about what happened to one of those towns.

It's also the introduction of a man known as The Hunter. Imagine John Constantine meets Dean Winchester meets Josie Wales. And his partner/mentor, a half-blood Navajo shaman.

When I first pitched it to Metahuman Press, I confess I wasn't as jazzed about it. I wasn't sure if I could pull off a Western. Honestly I was just hedging my bets on an open call trying to get a short story gig and figured, hey why not it's worth a shot.

But I ended up having more fun with it than I first thought. And I became fascinated with the idea of and Old West setting for a supernatural fantasy. It's a unique era that is far enough removed from the days of the Brothers Grimm and faerie folklore and the Salem trials that characters would have no frame of reference, but long before half the tropes that we are so used to seeing in urban fantasy today were even written. No one in that time would have any idea what a werewolf or a vampire or a zombie was. Magic was pure superstition and demons were abstract concepts they heard about in church.

Please spread the word so I can sell lots of copies of this one. I want to do more with it!

Next up is a crime drama that turns into a modern day fantasy rooted in Greek Mythology. It's primarily urban fantasy, but with a decidedly superhero flair.

On one side you've got the story of our hero, Jarett Reese; an art thief and con artist who was caught by the FBI and forced to take down his former boss, the feared matriarch of the Greek mob. If that wasn't enough for him to deal with, he's been targeted by a hitman and his sister got mixed up with the Serbian mob.

On the other side you've got a story about two immortal wizards trying to kill each other over an ancient spellbook.

The stories collide when a rampaging minotaur interrupts Reese's botched heist.

Read it. You'll thank me. And you'll motivate me to give you more Olympus Wars tales.

On A Personal Note

I'll be honest. I've spent the better part of the last five years or so in a pretty dark place. After Haven went under, I wasn't the same for a long time.

Around the time of my last post, I was in the midst of the process of returning to a sense of being myself. The first step was actually two years ago, when I got out of the Hillbilly Hilton and bought a condo. Then I was able to finally be rid of my junker car. Then I decided to try dating again.

In December I met Vanna Maria. I was not looking for anything serious. I never imagined that I would find the woman who I would want to spend the rest of my life with, but that's what happened. It's hard to explain that feeling when soulmates finally meet.

So I feel bad for not blogging in so long. It was neat seeing traffic start to build for awhile there. But I've been a little... distracted.