Tuesday, February 25, 2020

recent read; Sinbad, The New Voyages (Vol. 1)

I like what Ron Fortier and Rob Davis produce over at Airship 27. I've enjoyed what I've read (listened to) and they have many more titles intriguing me.

Inspired by the Ray Harryhausen SINBAD movies, they have arranged a new set of adventures for Sinbad and set him loose on the world, again. Sinbad sails the Seven Seas with a core international crew--first mate, Omar; a Gaul archer, Henri; a hulking Viking, Ralf; and even a woman samurai, Tishimi.

This volume contains three rousing novellas by Nancy Hansen, I. A. Watson, and Derrick Ferguson. Rest assured this is a cinematic, pulp Sinbad--though echoes of the original classic tales still remain.

I'd even argue these are sword-&-sorcery tales. Yes, they have a bit more levity which might impress a feeling of "(high) fantasy" but Sinbad is a rogue. While loyal to his crew and friends, he's often out for himself--seeking new lands to explore and searching for treasure.

I enjoyed these stories, and I'll be getting to the other volumes in the near future.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

recent read; FLAME AND CRIMSON by Brian Murphy

Brian Murphy has put together an invaluable study and reference guide to the rise, fall, and resurgence of the fantasy subgenre of sword-&-sorcery. From its proto roots, to its birth, its heyday, its decline, and its return as a staple, if not a headliner, Murphy's research has left no stone un-turned. The subgenre goes beyond muscled barbarians, diabolical wizards, and buxom babes--and Murphy shows the reader how & why.

If you are already a sword-&-sorcery fan, you'll want this book on your shelf. And if you're not, this book might illuminate to you why the genre speaks to its fans.

Monday, January 20, 2020

recent read: Derrick Ferguson's Dillon 2-fer

Not so much on detailed reviews here. Just wanted to highlight some very enjoyable New Pulp adventures you should check out.

As I've mentioned before, if you have any interest in New Pulp, a great place to start is Derrick Ferguson's 75 Pulp Books To Get You Started.

Ferguson's own spy-mercenary-adventure hero, Dillon, appears in a growing body of work. If you like James Bond, or action movies in general, you should be reading Ferguson's Dillon tales. They are a blast!

 I first encountered Dillon in BLACK PULP, in the story "Dillon and the Alchemist's Morning Coffee."
Near the end of last year, I read the first Dillon novel, DILLON AND THE VOICE OF ODIN. I was not disappointed. Check out the behind-the-scenes notes.

Recently, Ferguson released DILLON: THE ODD JOBS, where he had other writers play in his sandbox. The results are enthusiastic fun!

In the introduction to the anniversary release of VOICE OF ODIN, Joel Jenkins states, "Derrick has the ability to mix ... disparate elements together so they work." He is spot on. You never quite know what will be thrown in the mix--character-wise, or plot-wise, or both. The Dillon stories are break-neck speed romps of action-adventure.

I will be reading a lot more Dillon in the near future. And you should, too!

Saturday, January 11, 2020

now available; STORYHACK, Issue Five, featuring "Makani and the Vulture God"

My latest short story, "Makani and the Vulture God," is now available in STORYHACK, Issue Five ( Kindle  Print )

Editor Bryce Beattie always does a bang-up job with this 'zine. Please support it and buy it (including the issues in which I don't have a story.) Kudos to Bryce for all he does. If you followed along on Twitter, you know what a ordeal he had to get this issue uploaded!

"Makani and the Vulture God"--as you might infer from the title--is another sword-&-sorcery story featuring my pseudo-Polynesian-world duo, Makani and Lono. This time around, an evil force disrupts a traditional sporting event. This story was inspired by the real sport of he'e houla, the art of surfing down mountains.

As usual, interior art accompanies each tale. This fine illustration was done by Emilo Florencio.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The Lost Empire of Sol, sword-&-planet anthology

This anthology of sword-&-planet stories has been a long time in the making. I won't bore you with details. It started, floundered, picked up, floundered again. Jason Waltz finally grabbed the project for his refurbished Rogue Blades Foundation/ Rogue Blades Entertainment effort.

So, here we are. THE LOST EMPIRE OF SOL, available for pre-order. (includes my story, "A Gate In Darkness.")

Press release and ordering information can be found here;




Friday, December 13, 2019

Not Far From Roswell, Kindle edition available

Edited by Kelly A. Harmon & Vonnie Winslow Crist

My latest published story, "Heirloom," is available now in the Pole To Pole Publishing anthology, NOT FAR FROM ROSWELL. (Kindle available now, print to follow soon)

Despite the friendly cow, this is part of the Dark Stories Series. They wanted dark and I delivered. I have not read the other tales, but I suspect the tone of the anthology is dark fantasy & horror. You've been warned...

Friday, December 6, 2019

recent read; The Cunning Man

If you are a fan of occult detective/dark fantasy/folk magic stories along the lines of Manly Wade Wellman’s John the Balladeer, David Drake’s Old Nathan, and Brian Keene’s Levi Stoltzfus, there is a new novel you need to read; Dave Butler & Aaron Michael Ritchey’s THE CUNNING MAN.

Hiram Woolley easily joins the ranks of such heroes.

Let's look at the tease;
It’s the depths of the Depression, and a mining town in Utah is shut down. Something has awakened underground, and now a monster roams the tunnels. Along comes Hiram Woolley ... a man with mystical abilities derived from the commonsense application of Scot-Irish folk wisdom and German Braucher magic. ... Behind the played-out farms and failed businesses are demons, curses, sorcerers, and unatoned wrongs. Bags of groceries and carpentry won’t be enough this time.The job will take a man who has known sorrow. A man who has known war. A man of wisdom. A man of magic. The job will take a Cunning Man.
This is a fantastic premise which Butler & Ritchey deliver on. The characters are three-dimensional. The setting pops off the page. Hiram's inner conflicts are as well-drawn as his outer conflicts. There are tense, thrilling scenes as good as any horror suspense you'll read. 

THE CUNNING MAN should be on your reading list—near the top.