It’s The New Year Review – Coming Right At You!

Boy, that title made me feel old.

Anyway, I could spend this time making with the blabbity-blab about how my year was as a writer, but I can encapsulate it like this: things were great and I expect them to get better in 2015.

For those of you who demand details, here’s what you can look forward to:

  • Action Figures – Issue Four: Cruel Summer (spring 2015)
  • Action Figures – Issue Five: Team-Ups (fall 2015)
  • Action Figures – Issue Six: Power Play (spring 2016)
  • Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War (fall 2016)

Yep, I have the series plotted out through next year! I’m obsessive like that.

Need more reading? Then let me share the love and give you a list of some of the interviews I’ve conducted with fellow indie writers over the past year…

Shopping Small: The Indie Author Edition

Over on my personal Facebook page, I indulged in what has become an annual tradition, in which I pimp out my many creative friends’ small business endeavors and exhort folks to spend some holiday cash with them instead of big box stores that dupe you into getting up at the ass crack o’ dawn on Black Friday so you can fight massive mobs for a limited quantity of deep-discount sale items.

I’ve decided to do something similar here for the benefit of my many indie author buddies, as well as for anyone who might be looking for some new hidden gem of a book. Click on the images to jump to Amazon.com (or the appropriate direct sale site) to grab a copy.

YA – SUPERHERO FICTION

Obviously I’ll start with my own books, but I won’t belabor the point since 99 percent of this blog is dedicated to that. Go here and you’ll fund all the links you need to grab any or all of the Action Figures series, or check out this post to learn how you can grab signed copies.

HISTORICAL FICTION

Jake Hawking and the Bounty Hunters – J.M. Aucoin

SYNOPSIS: The Caribbean. 1715. Jake Hawking — pirate, rogue, and scourge of the Spanish Main — is known for his quick blade and cunning wit. It’s earned him some friends in the Caribbean, but it’s also earned him his fair share of enemies. The governor of Havana has hired three of the most dangerous bounty hunters in the West Indies to track and capture Hawking and his crew. It’s not an unusual predicament for a pirate to find himself — hunted to the end of his days — but if the Spanish governor manages to persuade the lot to fly under a single banner, it could make life a little more interesting than Hawking wishes.

With the giant ex-slave Little Queen and the rest of Hawking’s crew aboard the snow-brig Broad-Wing, they’ll need every ounce of wit, sail, and steel if they’re to survive and out duel the bounty hunters. Included in the collection are the first three Jake Hawking short adventures — “A Pirate’s Honor”, “The Royal Bounty Hunter”, and “Little Queen’s Gambit” — previously only available as eBooks (also available on Amazon). This edition also includes a foreword by J.M. Aucoin, the original single story artwork, and four bonus pirate stories and swashbuckling poems.

Inspired by the swashbuckler tales of the early 1900s as well as the likes of Errol Flynn and Douglas Fairbanks, the Jake Hawking Adventures promise to thrill readers with swordplay, daring, intrigue, and plenty of high adventure.

CREEPY CHRISTMAS

The Stocking Dead – Dean Calusdian

SYNOPSIS:

A sleighful of pop culture satire and a splattering of the zombie genre, The Stocking Dead will chew at your funny bone and gnaw on your heart strings.

It’s the day before Christmas and all the elves of christmasville are getting ready for santa’s big ride, but one of Santa’s helpers isn’t so merry.

Nothing ever goes right for poor little Wendell. Bored at his job, picked on by the toy shop bully and unnoticed by the elf of his dreams he hopes that somehow this Christmas will be different.

His problems are about to get worse. Much worse.

When a bite from a toxic bunny starts turning all the residents of Christmasville into flesh eating fiends, Santa’s winter wonderland becomes an undead wasteland.Wendell and a small band of survivors must desperately attempt to escape the carnage, but the zombie plague is spreading faster than Christmas cheer.

With all hope dwindling, it’s up to our holiday heroes to save Christmas, but can they even save themselves?

Wight Christmas – Rob Borkowski

SYNOPSIS: Wight Christmas, a flash fiction short, tells a cautionary tale of the consequences of interfering with holiday spirit.

Saving Christmas: A Feel Good Macabre Tale – Jess MacLean, Dan Desilets, Rhiannon McCulloch

SYNOPSIS: It’s all your fault. You could have stopped this from happening. Belief in Santa Claus begins to fade and Christmas is in jeopardy. Santa is despondent and his well meaning elves take it upon themselves to “Save Christmas”. Try to remember that their hearts are in the right place as the blood begins to fly.

Saving Christmas is a lighthearted romp through the “Feel-Good Macabre” genre. As you laugh, sigh and cringe your way through this delightfully grim tale, remember this. You are just as awful as we are for enjoying it.

CHILDREN

Ricky’s Spooky House – Micah Edwards, Tom Brown

Edgar Allan Poe is one of the greatest storytellers ever, and you’d like to share him with your kids. But isn’t he too scary? No longer!

Ricky’s Spooky House, the first in the Li’l Eddie series of books, is a retelling of Poe’s classic The Fall of the House of Usher. The beautiful pictures and entertainingly tamed story would horrify Poe, but will delight children and parents alike.

Saving Santa’s Seals – T.M. Murphy, Adam Taylor

SYNOPSIS: When 8-year-old Ryder asks Santa to help his Uncle Ted overcome writer’s block and create another amazing story, he cannot know that they’ll both be getting the best present ever–a wild adventure. But is it real, or just a wonderful Christmas dream?

URBAN FANTASY

The Life and Death of Lily Drake – T. Michelle Nelson

SYNOPSIS: For Lily Drake, slaying vampires is easy…Dating them is the hard part. Lily Drake is your everyday hard-working single mom…until a gorgeous vampire shows up on her front door who she mistakenly assumes is her blind date for the evening. As one crazy scenario after another unfolds, Lily finds herself falling in love with two vampires, slaying the evil ones, and being prophesied as the savior of the entire undead race.

Deciding between pizza and Chinese take-out will no longer be one of the hard decisions facing Lily Drake once she is immersed into vampire society. Humanity or immortality? That doesn’t hold a candle against this question – which of the two handsome vampire cousins? The Life and Death of Lily Drake is not your typical vampire love story. It’s a tale about the humorous mistakes a woman makes simply trying to survive not only life, but the dating scene. How will Lily manage working full-time, taking care of her young son and fighting the undead at every turn? Lily will have to figure it out, but who better to save the world than a mom?

YA – ROMANTIC THRILLER

Mobster’s Girl – Amy Rachiele

SYNOPSIS: Gripping my chest is the only way to hold myself together or what’s left of me will fall out. The past week has enlightened me on one thing-I don’t care. Megan, Mobster’s Girl I didn’t even hesitate. I took two strides and blasted him in the face with my fist. He was ready for it this time-unlike in church. He tried to hit me back but I ducked and smashed him again. Antonio, Mobster’s Girl You can’t help what family you’re born into or what lies they keep from you. You can’t help it if they mold and shape you just the way they wanted. Are monsters born or made? Antonio and Megan have a timeless issue. They were told to stay away from each other. They try, they really do. But they are drawn to each other. Antonio is eighteen and the up and coming mob boss of Palmetto, New Jersey. Megan is a girl uprooted from the grassy plains of Ireland at the age of five. Now she’s seventeen and faced with horrors she never thought existed.

PLAYS – COMEDY

WHACKED – Scott Kegler

SYNOPSIS: A full-length comedic play, “Whacked” follows the life of Jack Murphy, whose wife walks in on a private moment and makes an embarrassing discovery the night before Thanksgiving. The next day, all the in-laws come to celebrate and promptly notice something is not quite right in the Murphy’s little love nest, so they decide to play the parental guessing game. The family of course overshoots numerous times causing the pressure to mount and explode into an array of immoral confessions, misguided religious interventions and plenty of excessive holiday drinking. A Thanksgiving farce stuffed full of sex, family, awkwardness and hilariously needless shame. In the end, the message is clear that (of course) everyone is blameless for their own self-gratification— but that doesn’t make it good dinner conversation.

Creator Interview: Dean Calusdian

StockingDeadCoverHey, everyone, it’s time for another author interview, but this time around I present to you Dean Calusdian, who recently released his first graphic novel, The Stocking Dead.

Dean, tell everyone a little about yourself.

I’m a freelance artist, playwright, a stage director and filmmaker. I like to try a little bit of everything. My artwork has been on such divergent things from record album covers to olive oil bottles.

The Stocking Dead. What’s it about?

It’s “Night of The Living Dead” meets “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer.” On Christmas Eve a zombie plague spreads throughout Christmasville turning the residents into flesh eating fiends, and small band of elves fight to survive.

What was the inspiration for this project?

After years of doing haunted houses, and being known for creepy art, I had tried something new by creating a large walk-through Christmas display. After two years, and the occasional observation that my Christmas display was still more creepy than cute, I decided to try something new. So purely for the fun of it, I started The Stocking Dead. I had no real intention of ever publishing it, it was more of an exercise to just spend several hours drawing every day.

I know you’ve been working on The Stocking Dead for quite a while now. How long did it take you to complete it?

Over three years. At least a year to write and pencil it, another year for inking and a year to color.

Did you do all the art by hand or did you have some digital help?

The pencils and inks were done traditionally on 11x 17 bristol paper, then those were scanned and the coloring was all done in Photoshop.

You’ve employed a rather tongue-in-cheek marketing campaign that’s so far included fake billboards and Stocking Dead pogs. What’s the thinking behind that?

I don’t know if my funky marketing campaign will actually yield sales, but it’s a lot more entertaining for me, than to keep posting “Buy my book! PLEASE!” I’m actually having a great deal of fun creating a campaign that is its own ridiculous (and mostly fictitious) adventure.

I have a really hard time with self-promotion, so inventing “Stocking Dead Central” and their terrible marketing and public relations divisions was much easier for me.

For the print edition, why did you choose to have a large quantity of hard copies printed rather than use a print-on-demand approach?

Unlike a novel that’s completely prose, the on-demand printing costs of a 116 page fully illustrated color graphic novel are super high. It was about an average of $16 a copy, and that’s before any type of mark up. Although I’ll be living with boxes upon boxes of graphic novels, ordering a huge amount of offset print editions was the only way to make it affordable for the consumer. We currently have a cover price of $11.99.

How can people get their hands on a print edition?

Currently you can order it from Amazon, or direct from us at StockingDead.com. The Kindle version is also currently available (right here: The Stocking Dead). The coolest of comic stores will be carrying it. We’ll also be selling it, along with some of my other artwork at SuperMegaFest in Framingham MA, and RI Comic-Con.

Is this a one-time project, or do you have another graphic novel in your future?

Right now this is a one shot deal, if it’s successful maybe in another three years we’ll do our follow up book…World War X-Mas.