Here on 'Ralph's Rant's' you'll find information about my Sci-Fi (#SciFi), Epic Fantasy (#EpicFantasy), or Sword and Sorcery (#SwordandSorcery) Novels as well as reviews of other authors books. You'll also find interviews with New Pulp Authors and artists displayed here. and of course there is my almost daily blog posts called 'Your Daily Ralph" There's always something new to find here at Ralph's Rants. Become a member of this blog and get a heads up when there's new content.
I’m sort of a sword and sorcery fanatic. It’s my favorite genre,
as well as home to one of my favorite creations. That being said, I’ve known of
the legendary Captain Sinbad through the Ray Harryhausen adventures (In fact I
have two of those movies arriving tomorrow in my mailbox via Netflix.) I never
understood why there was always a different actor portraying him, but hey,
So when it came to my attention that the wonderful writers
and editors at Airship 27 productions (You know the guys, big silver blimp, it’s
at all the popular sports events.) had put together a couple of anthologies of today’s
best New Pulp authors writing the new adventures of ol’ turban head, I said hey
First up was a tale by one of my favorite authors in New
Pulp as well as favorite people, Nancy Hansen “Sinbad and the Isle of Simurgh”
is a tale of a magical navigation device that Sinbad and his crew must sail to
faraway lands to procure. Along the way they deal with giant sea monsters and a
fabled lost island filled with danger.
Next up is “Sinbad and the Sapphire of the Djinn” by I.A.
Watson is the story of an ailing ruler and the mystery surrounding his ailment
as well as a race against time between Sinbad’s ship, “The Blue Nymph” and a
magical airship run by a ‘Clockwork Sorcerer’. It’s a rousing, fast paced
adventure that’s loads of fun.
The final story in the anthology is entitled “Sinbad and the
voyage to the Land of the Frozen Sun” by Derrick Ferguson It entails mystery,
evil men, dark sorcery and of course monsters. It was another good, sprawling
adventure that held my attention.
All in all this book was a lot of fun. It’s a great read if
you want to get away from it all and return to a time of magic and monsters
when men were men and you knew who your enemies were. A time of larger than
life heroes and heroines who fought mightily against the forces of evil (Which
usually meant a sorcerer of some kind.)
I highly recommend this adventure filled tome. It’s escapism
at its best, and isn’t that what we all want in a book?
Prepare yourself for these three awesome tales of robotic adventure.
From the immediate past to the far future and every point in between!
Join us as editor James Palmer (Monster Earth) brings together writers James R. Tuck (the Deacon Chalk series), Joel Jenkins (Dire Planet) and newcomer James L. Finley bring you three startling tales of robotic action!
Two pulp heroes must stop an invasion of giant Nazi robots...
The President of the United States is kidnapped by sentient robots intent on enslaving humanity—and finds an unlikely ally...
A disabled soldier gets a second chance to defend his country when he merges with a giant alien robot to fight off a daikaiju invasion!
From the editor of Monster Earth and Strange Trails comes this mechanized trilogy of non-stop pulp action!
The Anti-Gravity Steal features Ned “Noc” Brenner, a golden boy millennial, a drifter gifted at whatever he attempts -- surfer, motocross rider, b-baller, a master at blitz chess to shooting craps in a back alley. It all comes so easy to Noc. But when he saves a fellow player from kidnapping after exiting an all-night poker game, he’s courted by a shadowy entity run by one of the world’s richest, most reclusive and idiosyncratic men.
Noc is challenged to use his abilities for a greater purpose. Soon he’s in deep, working with a man who can be anyone else, an enigmatic woman with black ops trained esper powers, and a professor haunted by tragedy loosing himself in creating gadgets. They're in a race to prevent the super villain Prospero from auctioning off an anti-gravity device he stole – a machine that in the wrong hands would imperil untold millions. In the vein of Doc Savage and the Avenger, comes Noc Brenner, a 21st century adventurer with a few dark secrets of his own.
The Bloody Curse of the Vampire! Years ago Gideon
Synn tried to save Faith Bloodstone from a deadly family curse in upstate New
York. He failed and Faith died at the hands of a mysterious blood drinking
fiend. Synn ran from his failure and became a world traveler, joining the
French Foreign Legion and eventually becoming a mercenary in China.
Now, years later he has opened a security firm
with his sister Kathy. Charity Bloodstone, Faith’s younger sister, comes to him
for help against the same curse—the supposed vampire ghost of her ancestor,
Justice Bloodstone! According to legend, Charity has only one week to live!
Several people have been killed by what appears to
be the undead Justice in ways that suggest a supernatural cause. The Synn
siblings are drawn into a whirlwind of terror and evil as the mystery of the
vampire murders comes closer and closer to fulfilling the curse.
Has Gideon found love with Charity only to lose
her to dark forces? Who are the armed thugs that have attacked the siblings?
Can Kathy Synn keep her brother out of trouble long enough to solve the mystery
of the Bloodstone Confidential?
I’m pleased to announce the publication
of the second book in the Dr. Shadows series of adventure thrillers, Manchurian
Shadows! In this first full length novel of the granite man he travels from the
streets of the Bronx to Harbin City in Manchuria where the occupying Japanese
have a deadly secret he must uncover!
Written in full bore pulp style the
book is like stepping back to the 1930s themselves!
a messenger arrives with a mysterious message from China, Dr. Shadows, the man
of granite, finds himself caught in an intrigue that spans from Japan to China
to the United States. As the world lurches toward World War II, the U.S.
struggles to recover from the depression while the war between Japan and China
continues to escalate, and China relief funds, both real and bogus, appeal to
mostly indifferent Americans for help to the refugees and victims of a brutal
Author Teel James Glenn continues
the adventures of the mysterious Dr. Shadows in a novel that is both an homage
to 1930s-style pulp and an exciting story. Although Glenn writes with a pulp
style, Dr. Shadows is more than a single-dimensional character. With his love
for Hank, his concern for the oppressed in China and elsewhere, and his
feelings for then-occupied Korea, Shadows resonates with the modern reader
while still being true to his era.
Glenn's background as a martial
artist, fight scene coordinator and stunt man really pay off in the action
scenes. Fans of history will get a kick out of Teel's attention to detail and
pulp action fans will want to keep their eyes open for Dr. Shadows's off-hand mention
of some of the other pulp heroes patrolling the streets of New York.
BANYON INVESTIGATIONS, INC. CASES CRACKED. REASONABLE RATES.
When a desperate leprechaun needs to locate his lost pot of gold, there's only one P.I. in town dogged and sober enough to take the case. Unfortunately, his first choice is in Bimini dodging an IRS audit, so he calls on Crag Banyon instead.
That's just the start of a string of increasingly lousy luck that hounds Banyon from one emerald end of his latest crummy job to the other, where it turns out that a trip over the rainbow isn't the fun-and-booze-filled romp that all the brochures claim. Banyon finds that the whole leprechaun world is upside-down, while at the same time our own world is suffering through a mealtime catastrophe that's threatening side dishes from here to Thanksgiving and beyond.
Toss in a femme fatale more fatale than usual, along with a sexy dame reporter who's so untrustworthy even her curves are crooked, and Banyon finds that he's up to his pretty little eyeballs in more trouble than one plucky, partially plastered P.I can handle. Not without doubling his rates and/or tripling his booze consumption.
UNLUCKIEST P.I. IN THE GREATER METROPOLITAN YELLOW PAGES.
A sixteen-year-old on her first heist to steal an ancient Egyptian amulet inadvertently receives the soul of King Tut…and the deadly curse that comes with it.
And Olivia is not alone at the museum.
A member of a secret society, Xander believes it is his place to inherit King Tut’s soul and justly rule. He knows nothing about the society’s evil plan to control the world or the curse. Now, he must deal with the female imposter who stole the amulet.
Xander convinces Olivia they must form a temporary partnership. The two teens develop a connection, and together they must figure out how to end the curse before it turns deadly. On the run, unable to touch because of the curse, and managing the male soul inside her female body, Olivia must learn to trust Xander.
As the mystery surrounding the amulet unfolds, Olivia and Xander start to fall for each other. But is love enough to save them and the world from destruction?
Airship 27 Productions delves into the world of fantasy
adventure with an action packed novel set in the days of the Russian empire
For generations, the freedom loving Cossacks battled their
enemies; the Ottoman Turks and Crimean Tartars for the supremacy of the rugged
Steppes.Frustrated by the constant
raids of these reckless, horse-riding warriors, Constantinople
prepares a major campaign that will end the Cossacks and their way of life
Realizing they are severely outnumbered against such a Turkish
reprisal, the Cossack Headsman seeks out the sorcerer Alexsandr with a bold
scheme.He wants to Alexsandr to enter
the realms of magic and enlist the aid of magical creatures of Slavic myth as
allies. With the help of his friend, Commander Marko and the battled hardened
Bohun, the wizard must summon all his skills, both martial and arcane, to
fulfill his sacred mission and in doing so save his people.
“When I first read the manuscript, I was very excited,” says
Airship 27 Productions’ Managing Editor, Ron Fortier.“There seems to be very little interests
these days in classic adventure tales.This marvelous book is the exception we’ve been waiting for.”
In the grand tradition of Robert E. Howard and Harold Lamb,
writer Riley Hogan spins a tale of tested comrades about to risk all in a
dangerous quest that, if they survive, could lead to the greatest victory in
It's funny I've been ruminating about writing the last day or two. I've noticed different patterns in different writers. For instance, Tolkien does something that is supposed to be a cardinal sin. He tells a lot of story in narration, especially in the last sections of 'The Hobbit'. I'm reading another book now by a friend and I notice certain quirks there as well, though it's not a problem or bothersome. So my thoughts are that a lot of people who claim to not like a book or author for one reason or other are full of crap and need to get over themselves.
I find it annoying that there is a certain sect of reader out there who can do nothing but tear apart the work of someone who has put so much time and effort into something. I read reviews on Amazon of peoples books and I'm amazed at some of the negative reviews writers get, and it's always from some self important jerk who wants his ten seconds one the soap box.
What got me started on all of this? Reading the Hobbit again, where Tolkien makes several of the dreaded Faux Pa's that everyone supposedly hates. Yet I love that book as do millions more. So the bottom line I believe is to write and edit as cleanly as possible. Do your ultimate best to make sure you've got it right and that YOU ARE HAPPY WITH IT. Then send it out there and screw the naysayers. YOU have to rely on your editor to do a good job, and if you trust them to do that job, then you're all set. You've done all you can. What I'm saying here is that a lot of this stuff is subjective and the internet has now given pompous, no talent asses the ability to try to destroy another man's work because for whatever reason they just think they can.
This is just something to keep in mind if you get a bad review from someone for whatever reason they deem necessary, it doesn't mean they are right. Don't let it get you down. If there is any kernel of truth to what they said you'll know. When you get the attacks by the rabid dogs, step back and take a deep look at what they said and what credibility they have. Hey if someone can find something that is not written to the exacting standards of the accepted experts by J.R.R Tolkien then anything is possible for the rest of us. What I'm saying is everyone can get it 'wrong' at one time or another, but that doesn't mean it's wrong.
Believe in yourself and don't let anyone else shatter that belief. If you think you can write something that is true to your vision of what that story should be, believe in it and put it out there to the best of your ability. Always put out the very best finished product that you can, and to hell with the naysayers.
It’s been many years since I read the Hobbit so I decided it
was time to read it again. I mean it must have been over 30 years, perhaps
closer to 40.
So I ordered a copy for my Kindle and sat back and read.
With the new movies out I wanted to refresh my memory.
There’s a reason why Tolkien’s books are considered THE
definitive fantasy novels of all time.
They say that Tolkien wrote this book for his children and The
Lord of the Rings Trilogy for everyone else. You can see how that plays out
here. The Hobbit is a lovable little character who has a big heart and along
the way becomes a hero. But the message of the book seemed to be that even a
little person can make a difference in the world. Size does not matter, and be
content with who you are, and where you are in it.
The Hobbit is a huge story which takes the heroes a year to
live out. They cross much of the world in their journey, encountering Trolls,
Goblins and Elves, as well as a creature called ‘Golum’ who will figure greatly
in his nephews own adventure some sixty years after Bilbo’s own adventure ends.
Our diminutive hero and his almost as diminutive dwarf companion’s travel to the
lonely mountain where the great dragon ‘Smaug’ hides after taking the caverns
from them many years earlier. The dragon lives in the dwarves former home now,
buried in their gold and riches. The dwarves want their home back and at the
urging of Gandalf the Grey take along the hapless Bilbo on their adventure, a
Hobbit who has never before left his home in the Shire. Along the way the
Hobbit discovers his bravery, as well as few other things.
There are many
differences between the book and the movies. They added a lot of content to the
new movies to stretch them out to three films. Some of it is warranted and good.
Some of it just was a waste of time.
All in all the ‘Hobbit’ is a wonderful story that should be
read by everyone in their lifetimes. I could see this book lighting the fires
of imagination in a child who has never read before, or never enjoyed reading.
It is a fanciful world of magic and different races of beings as well as
monstrous and mythical creatures. It’s an adventure children of all ages can
enjoy. It’s a classic.
Below are six new releases for the preset week, along with links to where they can be purchased.
Airship 27 Productions is thrilled to announce the release
of its first title for 2014. Jim Beard’s original occult investigator, Sgt.
Roman Janus returns in a second collection of suspenseful adventures.Or does he?At the end of the first book, SGT. JANUS – SPIRIT BREAKER, our intrepid
hero mysteriously vanished into another realm never to be seen again.
Now, almost a full year later, a dark haired beauty, with no
memory of her own identity, suddenly appears and begins assuming Janus’ role in
seeking out troublesome poltergeist and laying them to rest.Aided by a young clerk named Joshua, this
mysterious Lady Janus possesses personal knowledge known only to the missing
occultist.Who is this strange, daring
woman?Is she Janus reincarnated?Or something even more sinister?
“When the first book appeared last year, it caused quite a
stir amongst ghost story enthusiast,” reports Managing Editor Ron Fortier.“Occult investigators have been a stable of
pulp fiction for years and Jim’s character follows in that hallowed
tradition.Sgt. Janus’ stories are a
marvelous blend of mystery and horror. It’s a pure delight to be releasing this
new volume of Sgt. Janus’ continued adventures.”
Aided by gifted artist Zachary Brunner and award winning
book designer, Rob Davis, writer Jim Beard once again turns the entire occult
genre upside down as he delivers another eight stories filled with suspense,
horror and non-stop action all driving to a startling finale pulp fans of weird
dare not miss.
AIRSHIP 27 PRODUCITONS – PULP FICTION FOR A NEW GENERTION!
Available now from Amazon in both hard copy & Kindle
WITH THE DEVIL IN MY POCKET AND OTHER TALES by Jose Luis Rojas.
Thirteen short stories ranging from genres such as Terror, Mystery, SCI-FI and Fantasy. First edition in English. So far the comments from readers have been “Excellent”. The stories are short, gripping, very dramatic and with unexpected endings. The author got his inspiration from Phillip K. Dick, H. P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard and Ray Bardbury.
Ex-CIA assassin Travis Kain, burned by the betrayal of his best friend and the bitter death of his wife, turns to the life of a gun for hire, doing his best to bury the past beneath a violent sea of bullets and blood. But some sins refuse to stay buried and Kain finds himself fighting not only a ruthless nemesis from his shadowy past, but also the scars on his soul, which are torn open by the arrival of a woman from his past. With its full-auto pace, high-powered action, and raw emotion, The Assassin's Prayer is a relentless tale of redemption for those who know that bullets sometimes speak louder than words.
Amantha le Pard, a young wizardess from London, transfers to The Sazerac School of Magick in New Orleans to be with her cousin Madelaine after the girl was abducted by a wizardly serial kidnapper. Amantha encounters a rich, multicultural magick community with black, Creole, and Cajun influences, swamp monsters, and rival students from a gothic punk magick academy. A reign of terror grips The Sazerac. Hapless young wizards from prominent magickal families are being ‘taken’ and held for ransom. Where will the dreadful Whispering Mage strike next? Special Agent Malcombe Portière of the BSCI has a secret plan to defeat the evil menace — but can it work in time? And what can a young girl like Amantha possibly do to help? Join in the fun, adventure, and magick in this first of the Wizard Academies books to be set in America.
Erinn Forrester and her friends discover The Rainbow Sphere, a long lost item that is part of a mysterious legend that was once thought of to be folk lore. After they discover it in The Portal House, weird phenomenon occur. Erinn has to race against time to uncover the legend. Is it real? Check Our Xhazul's Box: The Rainbow Sphere, a book with mystery wrapped in secrets with a hint of magic and fantasy. Available on Amazon, Smashwords, iBooks, Nook, and more!
The world sees him as a masked criminal mastermind cutting into the biggest schemes, helping himself to the largest share.
But unknown to the underworld and the law, the Silver Manticore and his assistant, are a force for good who merely pose as crooks!
In their long and varied campaign against crime and crooks they have made many friends and foes.
Here in ten tales you will meet—
The Maggot, who has used the very same methods in his own war on crime, Doc Wylie, scientist and crime buster supreme, who has been pressed into aiding the Silver Manticore, Special Inspector Joe Casey of the N.Y.P.D., who secretly works for the Silver Manticore, Evan White, the African-American who inherited the silver mask in the 1950s and many more.
Six days of the Dragon is the first Brother Bones full
length adventure. It takes place in the late 30’s, as do most good pulp stories,
and has its contingent of bizarre characters. Six days of the Dragon is a supernatural
thriller featuring the undead avenger himself along with those unique characters.
Bones is unique in that he really is a dead man who is
reanimated to pay for his sins by God. He possesses vast strength and is
basically invulnerable. Bullets either go right through him or bounce off of
him. I’m not clear on which, but suffice to say he’s not in the least bit
worried about getting shot. He gets his orders from an angel who directs him
toward a target.
Six days of the Dragon was an action packed adventure across
the city of ‘Cape Noire’ that led the undead avenger onto the trail of an
immortal beast who had long been playing the master puppeteer from behind the
scenes. He had been ordering his puppet to create a mystic item that would
quite literally unleash hell on earth.
Throw in a secret group who considered themselves heroes as
well as several unknowns who would play huge parts in all of this and you have
a very well-crafted novel.
Did I mention how much fun this all was? Well I did just
now. I really liked this one. While I felt there could have been a lot more Brother
Bones himself throughout the book, and less of the people running around him, what
we did have of him within these pages was great.
All in all I really liked this story. It was a great new pulp novel
with a little bit for everyone.
Hi Barry how are you? It’s been a while since I interviewed
you and since this is Barry Reese month over at Pro Se Productions I figured
this would be a great time to catch up.
Thanks for having me back, Ralph. It’s always good to hear
Barry, you always have some rather interesting creator owned
properties such as The Rook, Lazarus Gray, and the most recent addition to your
writing stable, Gravedigger. What have you got coming down the pike for us this
year with your previously created series and characters?
It’s going to be another busy year over at Reese Unlimited.
Tales of The Rook Volume Two will be coming out, featuring another group of
writers tackling my most famous creation. Gravedigger will also have her second
volume arriving in 2014 and you’ll get to see the fourth book in the Lazarus
Gray series. In fact, you might even get to see a fifth volume of Lazarus next
I see, very interesting. What about new creations? Have you
any new characters coming our way this year?
Not really, to be honest. 2014 is all about continuing the
shared universe I’ve developed and building towards a big crossover novel that
will feature all my original heroes in a shared adventure.
What about non-creator owned properties? I’ve read stories
from you in The Avenger : Roaring Heart of the Crucible, and I know that he is
one of your personal favorite pulp heroes to write. Anything coming to us with
the same hero or others?
Nothing on the horizon with The Avenger but I’ve turned in
stories featuring G-8 and His Battle Aces as well as Johnny Dollar to
Moonstone. In addition, I’ve written a Box Thirteen story for Radio Archives
and I’m planning to write a Phantom Detective novel this year.
Who would you like to write that you haven’t yet?
Oh, there are several characters but the biggest one of all
would be The Shadow. That would be the pinnacle. Beyond that, I’d also dig
having a chance to write Norgil (another Walter Gibson creation), Tarzan and
Now here’s a tough question for you, do you feel that you
accomplished what you wanted to the previous twelve months writing-wise, or do
you feel you could have done more? And if so what?
I’m pretty satisfied with how 2013 went from a writing
standpoint. I think I produced some very good work and I’m excited that people
will be able to see it soon.
What about the future as you see it now? Anything on the
horizon a year or more down the road that is just starting to be more than an
inkling in your mind that we can look forward too?
Well, I mentioned the crossover novel – that’s probably the
biggest thing that’s looming on the horizon. Chris Batista has already turned
in a stunning cover so I have to write something worthy of it!
One last question, have you achieved your writing dream or
is there a loftier goal for Barry Reese out in the distance somewhere?
Overall, I think I’ve accomplished most of my dreams. I
wrote for Marvel and I got to handle The Avenger. If I could add The Shadow, I
could die a happy man, writing-wise.
Thanks for taking the time to hang with us Barry and answer
these questions. As always it is appreciated. Talk to you soon!
Be warned, there will be spoilers listed here so if you go further you have only yourself to blame.
I'm going to say first up that I am a huge fan of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Many people have complaints about little things throughout the trilogy, I do not. I read them all so long ago that to me, Jackson's movies ARE the Lord of the Rings.
The very same holds true for the Hobbit. The first movie that came out last year 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey' was to me, perfect. I had zero complaints with it. I held it on the same level as 'The Two Towers', my favorite of the LOTR trilogy. Plus it was slightly more whimsical which it should have been. Tolkien wrote the Hobbit for his children. Not so 'The Lord of the Rings'.
'Desolation' is a bit of a different beast. While I thoroughly enjoyed it , I felt it was about a half hour too long. There was just too much extraneous junk thrown in to make it longer. What I DID like about it was a lot. I like that for the first time in four movies even though this movie happened 60 years before the LOTR movies we actually get to see Gandalf look powerful. I wish he had looked this powerful during LOTR.
What I also loved was the way Bilbo was a true hero by the second film. He was far braver than Frodo was, and far slicker as well. Bilbo was sort of a guy who was taking charge and making decisions. Frodo was a guy who was lost at sea and floating wherever the currents took him, not that he wouldn't protect himself, but he just wasn't as good at it all as Bilbo was. Bilbo was brave and he had a cunning to him that Frodo sorely lacked.
As usual the special effects were flawless and gorgeous. Middle Earth was alive.
Everything was spectacular here. Especially the enemies appearance near the end when Sauron is revealed for the first time to Gandalf.
Smaug. What can one say? He was perfect and flawless. The way his scales moved and his chest puffed, he was as close to being alive and real as you can imagine. Benedict Cumberbatch played him as malevolent and more of a force of nature who couldn't care less if he stomped on a few human or dwarf insects. But make no mistake he was evil. The cliffhanger ending did not leave that in doubt.
But, like I said the movie was a bit too long and began to drag toward the end. Did that ruin the movie for me? No, not at all. In fact I may even go see it again, it was that good. I was very impressed with it, it was a true masterpiece and just magnificent to watch.
I freely admit I liked the first installment better, but this was damned fine as well. I can't wait until next winter to see the final installment.
Even with my complaints about length I have to give it 4 1/2 stars out of 5. It was just a spectacular.
Evil Ways by Bobby Nash is something a bit different for me as far as novels go. It is a thriller/murder mystery set in a small town in the south. This was Bobby’s first published novel that he recently re-released under his own publishing brand. I tend to read more books in the sci-fi or action/adventure genre’s than this. Still once I got into the book I was hooked. Bobby is a an excellent writer and even though this was his first project from about a decade ago, you could still see the seeds of greatness there. Bobby crafted a really interesting tale of a high school reunion gone awry.
A formerly tight group of friends were coming home from all over the country to visit for the reunion, not realizing the terrible danger awaiting them all there. Some would not escape with their lives. Others would be horribly burdened by what would transpire here for the rest of their lives.
FBI Agent Harold Palmer happened to be in town visiting his brother Franklin, who also happened to be the publisher of a small town newspaper who took his job very seriously. The two men would play a pivotal part in not only discovering who the villain was but in also halting his mad schemes when all was said and done.
A good, taut thriller. Give it a read. You’ll like it.