Tag Archives: action

Post-Endgame Syndrome

Feeling empty, listless, bored?

You may be suffering from Post-Endgame Syndrome.

If you need more exciting superhero content, check out this list of 18 original superhero titles from Michael C. Bailey

Action Figures by Michael C. Bailey (series, young adult)

Join the action with the Amazon best-selling YA superhero series!

The worst summer of Carrie Hauser’s life began with her parents’ divorce and ended with her receiving superhuman abilities from a dying alien. Now Carrie is trying to put her life back together, and all that stands in her way are an insane artificial intelligence, the mercenary known as Manticore, and a mysterious organization that wants to claim her power for itself.

Save the day? Sure — as soon as school lets out.

Imperium Academy by Rebecca Bosevski (series, young adult)

Superheroes aren’t born. They’re moulded by government academies.

Ellen doesn’t remember much about her parents, they died when she was four. Raised by her aunt she’s envied for years the homo-magis children called on to be tested and subsequently enrolled in one of the five academy’s for heroes.

Ellen isn’t a homo-magis.

Or so she thought. Her parents were two of the first Superheroes, their lives sacrificed to stop Novaside and save their only child.

Ecstatic, yet a little nervous to finally be a part of the world she’d dreamed of, Ellen is off to Imperium Academy.

But her classing doesn’t go as expected. Instead of joining the ranks of the illustrious Star Heroes, Ellen is regulated to the role of Sidekick, after all, night vision is barely a superpower.
Many have begun to question the need for Sidekicks, some teachers even suggesting they would be better suited to other employment.

But with Novaside getting bolder, and her latest attack hitting too close to home, Ellen is determined to stay at the academy and prove them wrong.

After all, where better to learn to be a hero than a school full of supers?

Criterion by Jeff C. Carter (standalone, grimdark)

Criterion is the world’s mightiest hero. His sidekicks just found his body.

Who killed Criterion? Who will die next?

 

 

 

 

The Heirs of Babylon by Eugene W. Cundiff (series/science fiction, kindle unlimited)

In the dying world of 2027, there’s no place worse than Babylon.

The fallen city once known as New York is now ruled by feudal gangs and plagued by doomsday cultists. No sane soul ventures there willingly, but former childhood friends Morgan Whitechapel and Kurt Petrovich have no choice.

Fate once separated the compassionate, streetwise survivor and the brooding son of privilege. But the dangerous attentions their newly-manifested superhuman powers bring force them from their homes and reunite them on the savage streets. Their only hope for survival lies with each other – and with a pair of strange nomads who possess powers of their own. Against all odds, these extraordinary young people will fight to make a new home for themselves in the bones of the Big Apple.

Together, they might just stand a chance…

Bounty by JD Cunegan (series, mystery)

Jill Andersen is one of Baltimore’s best and brightest detectives, but she harbors a dark secret — a secret that threatens to come out when the body of Dr. Trent Roberts is pulled out of the Chesapeake Bay. Dr. Roberts’ connection to Jill reveals a past that involves a tour in Iraq, a secretive cybernetic experiment, and a conspiracy that involves a native son.

Can Jill solve the case while still keeping her secret? Will her partners at the Seventh Precinct find out what she’s so desperate to hide? What was Dr. Roberts looking into that led to his murder? And perhaps the biggest question of all…

Who is Bounty?

Vanguard by Percival Constantine (series, science fiction, kindle unlimited)

After a mysterious phenomenon called The Event, superhumans—called specials—now walk among us. And the potential danger these untested and powerful beings warrants a way to keep them in check. Enter Vanguard, a government-sanctioned team of superheroes designed to deal with rogue specials.

Battlecry by Emerald Dodge (series, urban fantasy, kindle unlimited)

For one superhero, the good guys can be deadlier than the bad guys.

Jillian Johnson, known as the mighty Battlecry, was born into a superhero cult. She craves a life of freedom, far away from her violent and abusive team leader, Patrick. With no education, no money, and no future to speak of, she’s stuck in the dangerous life…until she meets the mysterious and compelling Benjamin, a civilian with superpowers. When Patrick confronts her, she fights back–and then runs for her life. One by one, her ex-teammates join her until a new team has formed.

But Patrick will not let his upstart teammates get away so easily. Humiliated and hellbent on vengeance, he waits for his chance to strike back and kill the new team, and he is happy to murder superheroes and civilians alike. On top of that, Benjamin has joined Jillian and her comrades, angering his own lethal family. Jillian’s enemies begin to close in from all sides.

Desperate and in hiding, Jillian must shed everything she thinks she knows about what it means to lead. Can she rise up to the challenge of defeating Patrick? Can she save Benjamin from his family? Or will she die like every other superhero who’s dared to challenge the cult?

Serpent’s Sacrifice by Trish Heinrich (series, urban fantasy)

She never backs down from a fight.

When Alice’s aunt is murdered, she must take justice into her own hands to make it right. But becoming the vigilante Serpent doesn’t come with a guidebook, and with one mistake, Alice unleashes a nightmare upon Jet City.

Now the innocent are being turned into maniacal puppets, and time is running out. Seeking other vigilantes, Alice discovers her past might hold the key to unlikely allies.

As Phantasm tightens the noose, Alice vows to end this fight. But is her determination enough to protect the city or will defeating the Phantasm demand a hero’s sacrifice?

Serpent’s Sacrifice is the first book in The Phantasm Trilogy, a twist on the popular superhero mythos. If you like brave heroines, chilling villains, and nail-biting action, then you’ll love the thrilling emergence of the Serpent!

The Spec Set by Taya Okerlund (series, young adult, kindle unlimited)

Copernicus Science camp looks harmless enough on the surface, at least no one will tell you otherwise, least of all Max McKenzie, who doesn’t speak at all. He can’t even defend himself when he’s implicated in a high stakes chemical theft from the camp lab. Or can he?

His brother Emile is desperate to help, but he’s waking up to his own problems–chief among them the fact that he’s developed an incredible (and incredibly dangerous) new ability. He doesn’t know how to control his awesome new power, and turns to the one person he’s loathe to ask: Lilly Fang.

Lilly has everything under control, including other people’s biochemistry. (Or is Emile really that crazy about her?) Either way, she’s hiding a boat-load of secrets (and secret powers).

Lilly assembles a team of friends like none Emile’s ever dreamed of to help Max. There’s Fetu, a near giant, whose presence alone seems to suck the air out of the room. Or does he do that literally?

And Danika, who’s so shy she seems to fade right into the background. Or does she actually become invisible?

And Eliza, who never lifts a finger–but is that because she lifts things with her mind?

The Spec Set will need all of their combined strengths (and their weaknesses) to combat a threat reaching all the way go to another universe.

Red and Black by Nancy O’Toole Meservier (series, kindle unlimited)

Dawn Takahashai knows all about superheroes.

She’s been a fan of them for years. So when she’s granted an impressive powerset of her own, she dives right in, eager to prove herself as Bailey City’s first superhero: Miss Red and Black.
Her first challenge is Faultline. He’s powerful, smart and, as a henchman for Bailey City’s first supervillain, standing right in her way. But that’s not the real problem. The real problem is that under the mask, Faultline is Alex Gage, a working-class guy trying to scrounge together enough money to help support his younger sisters.

Dawn has no idea that the charming and seemingly straightforward Alex is Faultline. Alex has no idea that the adorably awkward Dawn is the superhero he clashes with at night.

And Dawn and Alex have a date next week.

Awakening by NK Quinn (series, young adult, kindle unlimited)

A below-average underdog. A supercharged crime-fighter. Their shared secret could transform the world.

Kalum Walker lives in the shadow of his athletic older brother. Scrawny and prone to panic attacks, he’s a far cry from the superheroes he doodles in his notebook. When his brother steals his meds to help calm his game time nerves, he doesn’t put up a fight. After all, the fate of his family rides on his brother’s performance. But without his pills, Kalum’s blackouts begin getting worse… and a disturbing voice inside his head starts urging him into some dangerous situations.

When a blackout-related encounter with bullies puts him in a hospital bed, he starts to notice mysterious bruises all over his body. As he learns of a masked crusader serving up a new kind of justice outside the Corporation compound, he realizes the vigilante bears a striking resemblance to his superheroic sketches. Locked in a battle with the voice inside his head, Kalum must solve the mystery of the infamous Steel Falcon and save his brother before he loses control for good.

Awakening is the first fast-paced novel in the Steel Falcon YA sci-fi superhero series. If you like immersive future worlds, family drama, and edge-of-your-seat twists, then you’ll love N.K. Quinn’s action-packed coming-of-age tale. Buy Awakening to unmask an electrifying sci-fi superhero adventure today!

Catalyst CM Raymond and LE Barbant (series, urban fantasy, kindle unlimited)

How far would you go to save the city you love?

A mad scientist fighting the laws of man and nature.

A demon-monster of mythical proportions.

A corporate conspiracy that goes back more than a century.

The Steel City is in desperate need of a hero.

Willa Weil has a secret–she comes from a long line of magicians trained to unlock the power hidden within poetry. This skill requires discipline, and the Guild demands obedience. Willa has long kept her power to herself, but when a molten metal creature threatens to consume her friends, she can no longer remain on the sidelines.

History professor Elijah Branton moved to Pittsburgh for the job of a lifetime, researching the family history of one of the nation’s wealthiest and most attractive CEOs. But not everything is as it seems in the Steel City. The historian soon unearths a deadly conspiracy that threatens to unravel his world.

Can they save their city, or will they lose themselves in the process?

Catalyst is Daredevil meets The Dresden Files, a gritty and gripping superhero/urban fantasy story for the 21st century. With magic and monsters, science and secrets, Catalyst pushes readers to consider their own path and the ethical compromises we all make–heroes and villains alike.

Welcome to The Steel City.

Fid’s Crusade by David Reiss (series, science fiction, kindle unlimited)

For more than two decades, the sight of Doctor Fid’s powered armor has struck terror into the hearts of superhero and civilian alike. But when a personal tragedy motivates Doctor Fid to investigate a crime, a plot is uncovered so horrific that even he is taken aback.

Haunted by painful memories and profound guilt, the veteran supervillain must race against time if he is to have any hope of confronting the approaching threat. Every battle takes its toll…but the stakes are too high for retreat to be an option.

In the end, it may take a villain to save the world from those entrusted with the world’s protection.

The Secret Lives of Superhero Wives by Joynell Schultz(comedy, humor, kindle unlimited)

What happens after the superhero gets the girl? Find out in this romantic paranormal mystery.

 

 

 

 

The Kota by Sunshine Somerville (series, science fiction)

Mankind is stricken. Brought to its knees by a devastating virus, the world is further crushed by the Dominion tyranny. Humanity struggles to survive this apocalyptic nightmare, and there’s only one hope – the ancient promise of an annihilated people.

“By the Bearers brought into time, fulfillment shall come in a Mark, and hope in four children born. Evil will flee Earth before the four Marked.” – The Mark Prophecy of the Kota.

Troy Kandoya remembers the world before all this came to pass. He saw the beginning of global war, genetic manipulation, and viral plague. Now called Trok, the immortal Kota Interceder, he must fulfill the prophecies he once rejected.

After 500 years, the four Marked saviors are born. However, nothing about these heroes is what Trok expected. Loree is a master assassin who can disappear without a trace. Zaak grew up exiled on an alien planet. Alex is a telepath traumatized by an inexplicable, missing year of her life. Ryu, the final Warrior, has incredible mutate-genes of strength.

With Trok’s guidance, the Warriors join Earth’s rebels and fight the Dominion – but this isn’t going to be easy.

Super Starrella by Aurora Springer (series, romance)

Teen superhero, Starrella, and her flying horse combat vicious killers in the skies of Atalanta.

The quiet summer before her freshman year turns frighteningly weird after Estelle Wright trespasses onto an Army base. Blown into the air and knocked unconscious, she wakes with a nascent superpower. Not to mention a winged horse with a snarky attitude and a mind of her own.

Back home in Atalanta, a serial killer is targeting the students at Goldman University. Before long she must juggle college classes with sneaking out of the house after dark to battle alien monsters. Estelle’s life is in danger, but who can she trust: handsome Mark Copper from military intelligence, or hunky Toby, the tough gangster with a motorbike? Both men have secret agendas, but falling in love is not in their plans.

Young adult superheroes, quirky animal sidekicks, and a dash of romance enliven this thrilling adventure. Book 1 of the Secret Supers.

The Just Cause Universe by Ian Thomas Healy (series)

The Just Cause Universe is the original superhero universe created by Ian Thomas Healy and published by Local Hero Press. It focuses on diverse, complex characters in a gritty, realistic setting despite their fanciful abilities.

 

 

 

 

Burden of Solace: Book One of the Starforce Saga by Richard L. Wright (series, romance)

Cassie Whelan can heal any wound, but the price is too much to bear. The government wants to control her. So does the sadistic killer that’s behind an epidemic of murder, madness and suicides in her city. She may be the only one immune to his power, the only one that can stop him. There’s only one man she trusts, but if he betrays her it could destroy everything. Because the only thing she can’t heal is her own heart.

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Lovecraftian K-Hole

It has been a long time since I’ve demanded my MTV, but every now and again I’ll catch a glimpse of a music video with some great Sci-Fi and Horror elements.

Allow me to play VJ for a moment and introduce a few videos.

1. 1983 by Neon Trees

I am always on the lookout for vampires. Something about this video, with its Zoltar machine wish opening and Lost Boys style carousel setting made my Vamp-sense tingle. I did not expect a brief cameo (at 3:18) from a fully grown Edgar Frog!

If you do not know who Edgar Frog is, please leave.

2. Thought Contagion by Muse

This suite of videos off the band’s album Simulation Theory is a shot gun blast of awesome sauce straight from the 1980s. There are vampires, werewolves, robots, Tron style VR chases, time traveling phone booths, and Terry Crews taking out Critters with a proton pack. It’s madness.

3. Odd Look by Kavinsky

This one is a bit older but I think some people missed it. Kavinsky is the magic, Ferrari driving zombie altar ego of a french electropop musician. The concept album OUTRUN is like the movie The Wraith. Did you see that one? That’s how cool the album is.

4. Bonfire by Childish Gambino

Before Donald Glover made Atlanta or This is America he was making interesting, experimental videos like these next two. Bonfire is a self-contained horror story set at a summer camp with a great twist.

5. Telegraph Ave by Childish Gambino

This one is full of chill vibes and gorgeous visuals leading to a shocking turn (at 3:40).

6. Deep Down Low by Valentino Khan

Want to see something really tentacular?  Check out the video for this house music track that looks like something Junji Ito might experience tripping on ketamine in Innsmouth.

 

For more music curated for genre fans, try my Music Page.

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Bolo

My pop cultural education has exposed me to many heroes and villains, but few impressed me as much as Bolo Yeung.

I won’t bother copying and pasting his life story from wikipedia. Born in China, martial artist, body builder, you get the idea. If you don’t know who he is, you need to watch Enter The Dragon, Blood Sport and Double Impact, at the very least.

He was a terrifying presence, capable of explosive fury and icy menace. What modern day actor could compare to this Chinese Hercules? This Chong Li, the God of Thunder? You would probably need some sort of CGI monster.

Here’s all you really need to know:

Lest you think he’s all bad, here’s an adorable video of JCVD and Bolo having a reunion in 2011.

 

Who were some of your favorite villains? Leave a comment, or crush an enemy’s spine.

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The Real Shogun of the Dark

I’ve reviewed some early grim/dark comics and prose, but the real shogun of the dark? That honorific goes to the anime classic NINJA SCROLL.

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Read my review here on Ed Erdelac’s blog DELIRIUM TREMENS.

If you want more desperate heroes, over the top action and freaky villains you should check out my new book Criterion.

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Delta Green: Extraordinary Renditions now available

DG Extraordinary Renditions cover

My short story Le Pain Maudit is now available in an anthology of all new mythos fiction from Arc Dream Publishing.

These are 18 case histories ranging from the late 1940s to present day by some of the most popular writers in the horror and RPG field.

Here is the table of contents

  • “The Color of Dust” by Laurel Halbany.
  • “PAPERCLIP” by Kenneth Hite.
  • “A Spider With Barbed-Wire Legs” by Davide Mana.
  • “Le Pain Maudit” by Jeff C. Carter.
  • “Cracks in the Door” by Jason Mical.
  • “Ganzfeld Gate” by Cody Goodfellow.
  • “Utopia” by David Farnell.
  • “The Perplexing Demise of Stooge Wilson” by David J. Fielding.
  • “Dark” by Daniel Harms.
  • “Morning in America” by James Lowder.
  • “Boxes Inside Boxes” and “The Mirror Maze” by Dennis Detwiller.
  • “A Question of Memory” by Greg Stolze.
  • “Pluperfect” by Ray Winninger.
  • “Friendly Advice” by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan.
  • “Passing the Torch” by Adam Scott Glancy.
  • “The Lucky Ones” by John Scott Tynes.
  • “Syndemic” and an introduction by Shane Ivey.

I have been a fan of Delta Green since the U.S. military stormed the blighted town at the end of ‘Shadow Over Innsmouth’. The paradigm of military vs. monsters is thrilling because we think monsters aren’t real. When you delve deeper into the military and intelligence side, however, the ground does not get more stable. The secrets you learn do not make you feel safer. This is a world of paranoia and murder. This is the real world, where even now people with unlimited budgets are scrambling to invent the next existential threat before ‘the other side’ can.

My story follows from two disturbing chapters in recent history. The first was the revelation of the CIA’s Project MKULTRA, which attempted to develop mind control techniques that they tested on innocent people without their consent.

Mkultra-lsd-doc

The second was the strange tragedy known as ‘Le Pain Maudit’, the outbreak of mass hallucinations that ravaged a small French village in 1951. Some theorize that the local baker’s bread was contaminated by ergot fungus. There are clues, however, that suggest the CIA had dosed the town with LSD.

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Here is an excerpt from Le Pain Maudit:

Frank, Gerhard and John stood shoulder to shoulder, watching through the two-way mirror. Edward was negotiating with Monsieur Tatin over wine, cheese and bread. John filmed the proceedings with a purring film camera.

Frank idly scratched his pen on the metal clipboard balanced on his forearm while he observed the German. Gerhard marked his log each time Tatin took a bite or sip. He checked a stop watch and smiled.

“Any moment now.”

Frank pulled off his headphones and whispered.

“What did you dose him with?”

Shwarzlotos.”

“Black lotus?”

Ja, a potent hallucinogen. It enhances the truth-serum effects of LSD.”

A crash from the main room turned their heads.

Monsieur Tatin had dropped his wine glass and stumbled against the wall. Edward eased him into a chair.

“Relax, monsieur. It’s all right.”

Je suis désolé, I do not feel so well. I just….”

Monsieur Tatin twisted to stare into the firelight. His eyes had dilated into gaping black holes.

“How are you feeling, monsieur? What do you see?”

Clermond Farrand

The Frenchman licked his wine-stained lips and wavered.

“A black temple…with spires that reach the stars. It’s impossible. So vast. So ancient!”

Gerhard’s scratching pen fell silent. Frank looked over. The German had closed his eyes in an expression like prayer.

Tatin gripped the edge of the table and shook.

“I’m being pulled inside. I’m sinking! In the crypts, they dwell…fungal things…silently waiting. I’m frightened! They know I am there! They know!”

He spewed a stream of bile across the table and collapsed. Edward hurried over and checked his pulse.

            “Monsieur?”

Tatin looked around with blurry, bloodshot eyes. His pupils were returning to normal. He finally noticed Edward standing over him.

“What happened?”

“We drank too much, monsieur. Let me walk you home.”

John turned off the recording equipment. Frank pretended to finish his notes while watching Gerhard. The German gathered the remaining food and wine with great reverence, like a priest handling sacraments.

Frank stepped out of the bedroom and waved a pen.

“Was that a success or a failure, Herr Doktor?”

~

Follow this link to buy the book in a variety of formats

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Welcome to the Bell Club

Tales from the Bell Club (KnightWatch Press) is now available in print and on Kindle, featuring my short story The Wager.

The Wager is a horror story set in the late 1920’s, about a pair of scientists who explore the bottom of the ocean and find death and madness.  I had a great time doing research into the historic Santa Monica and Venice Beach pleasure piers, the local Tongva Indians, 1920’s speech, famous explorers William Beebe and Otis Barton and their record setting invention the bathysphere.  I thought I’d list some foot notes here that captured my imagination.  Spoilers ahoy!

EXPLORER WILLIAM BEEBE

I relied heavily on the real life explorer William Charles Beebe and HALF MILE DOWN, his first person account of breaking the ocean depth record.  Beebe was the most famous American naturalist in the world.  He described things that no one had ever seen, sometimes risking his life in the process.  I would say that my character ‘Charles Beebe’ was a dark reflection of the historical figure, but in truth the real person was all too tragic.

Beebe was a brilliant academic, popular writer and larger-than-life celebrity.  His religion was a mix of Presbyterianism and Buddhism, and he used his eyes to worship the natural world and its inner workings.  He believed that “Boredom is immoral.  All a man has to do is see.  All about us nature puts on the most thrilling adventure stories ever created, but we have to use our eyes.”

His wife, Blair Niles, was a stalwart companion, accomplished writer and fearless explorer in her own right.  She was his assistant and co-writer on their travels around the world, sometimes to places where no white woman had ever been before.  The Explorer’s Club refused to admit females, and so Blair helped found the Society of Woman Geographers.

Despite her loyalty and talent, the couple divorced on the ‘grounds of cruelty’.  Blair’s eyes began to fail, and she could no longer assist her husband with his work.  He started to shun her, not speaking to her for days at a time.  Once he reputedly stuck a pistol in his mouth and threatened to kill himself to terrify her.  I wonder if her vision loss made her corrupt or unworthy in Beebe’s religion of sight.

THE TOWN

The fictional beach town of San Simeon is based on Santa Monica, California.  This story is the first of many I have planned for my own anthology in this setting.  I am fascinated by beach towns and piers, probably because I grew up in a small shoreline town and vacationed with my family ‘down the shore’ in Delaware.  The origins of San Simeon, named after the saint of lost children, will be detailed in future stories.

The ‘pleasure piers’ in this story were all real, harking from an era when all of America flocked to bustling carnivals suspended over the sea.  The entire coast was crowded with mad cap piers extending into the ocean.  Prohibition may have been in effect, but who needs a drink when you can tumble down a wooden dragon slide in a burlap sack?

It was a giddy and surreal playground, mostly untouched by the great Depression.  When oil was discovered the area got another boost.  Soon oil derricks filled the sky like the piers stretched into the ocean.

THE STRANGE SHIP

The bathysphere, the strange submarine invented by Beebe and Barton, appears in one of my other stories as well, along with a summary of its invention.

THE ABYSS

As the intrepid explorers sink down into the ocean they literally penetrate realms of darkness that no mortal has ever witnessed.  Their transgression results in tragedy and madness, which is why you’ll find a few references to ancient gods, titans and myths sprinkled through the story.

When his partner is lost in the abyss, Charles, tormented by the loss, attempts to bring him back.  I wanted to foreshadow this by naming their ship ‘Orpheus’, but chose ‘Izanami’ instead.  The Japanese myth of the death of Izanami-no-mikoto is similar to the tragedy of Orpheus, but I find it more disturbing.

HORRORS OF THE DEEP

There are countless strange creatures in the sunless depths of our oceans.  Beebe described real animals with translucent skin, glowing bodies and giant teeth.  My favorite ugly is Astonesthes Abyssorum, which is Latin for “Eater of the Stars of the Bottomless Pits”.

There are also unnatural beasties at the bottom of San Simeon Bay.  You may spot a reference to my favorite Crypto, El Chupacabra.

In the black heart of the pit dwells an ancient, formless horror.  The slumbering entity spawns monsters, shakes the earth and lures people down to their death.  Fans of H.P. Lovecraft will find it reminiscent of the protoplasmic gods Abhoth and Ubbo-Sathla.

ENDING WITH A BANG

We never learn if Charles Beebe’s plans to strike back at the beast of the abyss ends in success or failure.  There was originally a post script about the 1933 Long Beach Earthquake.  An estimated fifty million dollars worth of property damage resulted and 120 lives were lost.  This didn’t mesh with the first person narrative format so I left it out.  One day I will tell the fate of San Simeon and the tragic explorer who gazed upon its hidden horror.

GET THE BOOK

There are 13 other chilling tales in the collection, including an amazing story by Edward M. Erdelac.  Buy the Kindle version here and the print version here.

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Interview with Author Edward M. Erdelac

In celebration of the 33 days of Hallowe’en here is an interview with Horror author Edward M. Erdelac, author of the Lovecraftian / Jewish Weird Western saga MERKABAH RIDER as well as the zombie tales DUBAKU and NIGHT OF THE JIKININKI and the delicious Vampire /Werewolf/Pirate combo platter RED SAILS.

We sat down in cyberspace recently and had a nice chat; presented here for your ED-ification (I already regret that pun.)

When did you think you wanted to be a story teller?

Probably around eighth grade. Sister Marie read us Call of The Wild and around the same time I read the novelization of Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives by Simon Hawke. First two books I ever read without any kind of art in them and I was amazed at what you could do in a book. When Buck for instance attacked the Indian camp at the end of Call and ripped all their
throats out (a nun was reading this too us remember) I was totally blown away. Uh…spoiler.

I’m glad that made you choose to be a story teller and not a nun.  When did you decide to be an author?

That summer after eighth grade I took a trip to Kentucky with my dad and read The Lord Of The Rings and Robert E. Howard’s Conan and Solomon Kane stories. I also got heavy into Stephen King, especially his short stories, and started filling notebooks full of stuff. I think the invention of the word processing program is what finally made me decide I wanted to write. I had written little stories and things for school and always done well – I got accused of plagiarism for a poem about Mars in second grade. But I always hated typewriters and white out.

Stephen King was big for me, especially the anthologies.  IT was the longest book I had ever read at the time.  When did you start writing for reals?

I was writing stuff a lot before ever since high school really, including screenplays all throughout college, but my first pro sale was
for the Star Wars website in 2008. The first story I ever sold for any money at all was Killer Of The Dead in Murky Depths Magazine in the UK. I think that might’ve been 2007.

Do you have any pre-writing rituals or anything to get your mind in the zone?

Nah, with three kids at home my only ritual is put the kids to bed or down for a nap.

How about your writing process?  Do you outline?  Do you know the end before you begin? 

I usually start with a concept and usually the ending is in my mind. I’ve known how Merkabah Rider ends since the beginning, for instance. For longer works I do sometimes write the sequence of events out in a paragraph or two, but I don’t plaster my wall with note cards or anything really formal.  My stories tend to involve a lot of research, so I immerse myself in books from the library if I don’t have them at home. I guess that counts as prep, but it’s dispersed throughout weeks sometimes. When talking about other historical periods, I like to pick up firsthand accounts from the period when I can to get a feel for the way people talk.

I agree, firsthand accounts are invaluable, and it certainly shows in your dialogue.  Are you willing to let the
characters tell you what happens next?

Definitely. This is gonna sound weird, but most of the time I feel like I’m just recording stories, not coming up with them, like they’ve already occurred somewhere.  The research and plotting just uncovers the details, puts the sometime disparate impressions I get together into the coherent story in my mind. I’ve written things with a character I only intended to come in for one scene and they’ve wound up being a major supporting character, so yeah, it does feel like they have their own agenda sometimes. I guess that’s organic or naturalistic writing or whatever, but they feel real to me. If they didn’t, if I didn’t believe in them, I don’t think they’d ring true for the reader either.

I feel the same way about research.  I know I’m the one piecing the elements together but sometimes I feel guilty, like I’ve stumbled upon these amazing stories that no one has noticed before. 

Now you work with Editors, but you had to edit your first stories yourself.  How important is perfecting the story to you?  Do you serve no wine before its time or do you believe in the doing your best first draft, giving it a quick polish and then pushing it out of the nest to make room for the next project?

Going back to the notion of just sort of plucking the story out of the universe, I don’t tend to mess with the plotting very much. I think that’s why I’ve had problems with screenplays. I hate the three act structure. I don’t believe good stories actually fit into that. Good movies, maybe. I guess I don’t know. But movies are more artificial than books. There are a lot of different contributors on every level, a lot of different interpretations, just a lot of rigmarole going into them. I don’t really obsess over stuff once I’ve written it. I’ll go through it, yeah, and an editor is really a God-send, but I feel like I’m in a race most of the time. I’ve gotta get on to the next thing, get the next story out before it fades (or more likely before my kids wake up).

On the subject of movies, in addition to screenplays you wrote and directed a western, Meaner Than Hell.  Do you think cinema or prose have more to offer the Western Genre?

If you mean which has more to offer, well, as much as I hate to say it, movies sort of are the new literature of the world. Go on Amazon and look up the number of reviews for True Grit, both the movies and the original novel by Charles Portis (“Whaat? It was a novel?” or even “Whaat? It’s a remake?” I hear far too much). There are a 167 reviews of the novel. A really great amount for a book. There are 265 or so for the John Wayne movie, and 357 for the Cohen Brothers remake. Movies are just more prevalent than books these days.

But if you mean does either format have anything new to offer, I think there are always stories to tell in every genre. I’ve been
shopping an all-Mexican western around for years now. I think right now in film westerns have taken a turn into the hardcore realistic, which is great for western nerds for me (and yet I can’t sell any of my western screenplays, so I guess it’s really not that great), but not so great for the popularity of the genre itself. People want shoot ‘em ups. They want the westerns they remember,
the westerns of tough guys talking all kinds of great shit and fast draws and yippee-kay-yi-yays, not the revisionist westerns Hollywood’s favored ever since Unforgiven. Look at the popularity of Tombstone over Wyatt Earp. Wyatt Earp is really a better, more realistic movie, but Tombstone has great lines, great deeds. That’s what people wanna see when they go to the movies. Real life is depressing, even back then. As much as I hated the idea of Johnny Depp as Tonto, I respect Gore Verbinski. Rango is all kinds of fun, a great western. I think he could do up The Lone Ranger right. But I wish he’d call me to write
the script.

Prose-wise, it is really hard to get an interesting western published. Most of the publishers who handle the genre only want right wing good hat bad hat stuff or six gun romances. They just don’t want anything really different. And the big guys, well, they don’t look at anybody new obviously.

Of all your stories which character or book would you most like to see as a movie?

I would love to see Takashi Miike expand and direct Night Of The Jikininki, my feudal Japan zombie story from DEADCORE, the anthology Comet Press did.  I enjoyed 13 Assassins. I wish I knew how to get it to him.  I watched Kurosawa and Sword of Doom and read Kazuo Koike relentlessly while writing that.

I’d love to see that too!  What’s the second?

I think my straight no-ghoulies western, Buff Tea.

 Back to books – Your first MERKABAH RIDER books are sets of novellas that will culminate with a full length novel.  How did you choose this format?  What do you like about this approach?

At first I wanted to release them as novellas, and Kim at Damnation Books was all for it as well, but then my first novella Dubaku came out and it was an indie press, and you know, they do what they have to do, but personally I’m a used bookstore kinda guy, so when I saw the price for a 48-page story, I was a little put out (especially when one reviewer on Amazon voiced my same concern – that it was a little too pricey for the length). I figured nobody would take a chance on them individually, so I suggested putting
them altogether. I was introduced to Robert E. Howard in the Zebra paperbacks with the Frank Frazetta covers, so I just figured I’d write them like that – like you were reading a collected book of something previously published in Weird Tales or something. I miss not having all the cool covers I envisioned for each one, but I think the format works OK. At conventions I’ve been to a
lot of times the selling point is these are in novella ‘episodes’ that you can pick up and put down. People don’t have as much time to read, and they’re resistant to unknown authors with good reason. There’s a lot of stuff out there that’s not so great. Plus, the audience I guess it’s written for knows the Zebra books too, and they get it. I’ve read reviews comparing MR to them, and
that’s awesome that it came across for those people, because it’s exactly what I intended. Stephen King is right; writing can be a kind of telepathy.

You dig deep into different cultures and time periods.  What is your favorite time period or culture besides the rough and tumble melting pot of the wild west?

I think the nineteen thirties were a pretty awesome time period. There were still totally unexplored frontiers on earth, there were clear cut bad guys rising to power, things were bordering on the optimistic. It’s a time period I’d like to visit in my writing at some point. I’ve always been interested in Japanese culture, but lately I find myself skirting around Hindu and old Chinese mythologies a lot. Two cultures I know next to nothing about but am interested in. Would love to do a wuxia book some day.

It’s almost Halloween, so tell me your favorite 3 monsters.

1. Wolfman/Werewolf

2. Creature From The Black Lagoon

3. Kaiju (giant monsters or giant animals – Godzilla, Gamera,
Daimajin, I would include Them! and Night of The Lepus in here too).

You and those damned Lepi.  What monster do you think is under rated?

Creature from the Black Lagoon. Someday I’ll write something with that guy in it. He’s got such a great, singular look. When I was a kid he was my absolute favorite. They’ve got these diving sets for kids where the mask and the flippers and the gloves make you look like the Creature, with webbed clawed hands and a fin on your head. I bought one for my son awhile ago but he grew out of it. Wish I’d had it as a kid.

I almost bought that even though it wouldn’t fit me!  I envy kids almost all of their toys nowadays. 

And now for the eternal question: If you had to be a vampire or werewolf, which would it be?

Werewolf. The biggest curse of being a vampire is having to drink only blood for eternity. I’d miss beer and Chinese food. Werewolves get all that and they get to run naked in the woods and they can smell a pizza from a mile away. They seem to have awesome stamina as well. I guess it’s all the running. Great cardio. I don’t see any drawbacks there.

I suppose they’re running off all the pizza!  What is the scariest thing in the world to you?

Death.  Non-existence. The possibility of having your consciousness obliterated. I don’t believe that’s what happens, but there’s
always a possibility. I guess that’s not technically in this world….I don’t know…cancer. Your body failing on you.

That brings us astrologically to our final interrogative…Crab emoticon: Best emoticon, or Bestest emoticon?

I think it deserves its own appellation. I vote Bestemicon.

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There you have it folks!
Please click through the links in the story to check out the items mentioned or go to Ed’s website for a chance to win giveaways all month long!

Author Ed M. Erdelace’s Blog – Delirium Tremens

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