All in all, pretty good. My only real complaint is that I'm not a full-time author--that would be pretty awesome.
I'm a USAF veteran, having served from 1990-1994 as a law enforcement specialist. After the service, I returned home and eventually worked as a criminal investigator for the local prosecutor. I stuck with that for a little over seventeen years, before stress took its toll and the writing bug had thoroughly chomped on me. I retired to pursue writing, but wasn't able to get the numbers I needed to stay even semi-retired, so I took a job working at my best friend's business. It's a nice, stress free environment with a small team, but I wish on a daily basis I could return to writing full-time from home.
That's an interesting question, and varies from person to person, I'd guess. It seems to me most of the New Pulpers think Pulp equals a setting in the 1930s and lots of Fedoras. I'm not seeing much in the way of Conan, Tarzan or John Carter-type stories in New Pulp. To me, (New) Pulp is a style, not a setting. It's the predecessor of the modern Thriller, with page-turning, over-the-top action. Which is exactly what I write--with emphasis on over-the-top. So, I'd say I'm definitely more New Pulp than Adventure, but readers may have their opinion.
So far, in my four years of self-publishing, I've written 11 novels and 12 short stories all set in the same supersoldiers vs the supernatural universe. I also wrote a Middle-grade Kid Pulp story, so my youngest could read something I wrote--it's kind of a mashup of "Toy Story" and "Who Framed Roger Rabbit", with an ex-Action Figure-turned-detective solving the murder of a famous fashion doll. Before self-publishing I had written a few novels and several short stories, most of which are in a box or filing cabinet somewhere in my basement.
Tough call, but I'll go with one of my short stories from last year, Infernal Machine. It's from my Shadow Detachment series of shorts that are prequels to my main novel series, Stone Soldiers. Basically, it's the story of a supernatural computer, built by demonic beings, that turns against its masters to help humanity. I had wanted to do an A.I. character in my main series for some time, but didn't want to go with the cliche'd super computer built by some secret government lab. As such, it really limited how the A.I. appeared in the series. Finally, I was able to come up with a unique spin on its origins. Plus, I really liked doing the reverse of the standard A.I. tropes: Max, the name the A.I. gives itself, chooses to serve humanity and has a definite Christian philosphy--made easy by the fact that it was built by demons, so it knows Heaven and Hell are real. I like how this turns so many previous A.I. stories on their head--the intelligent computer is good rather than evil... HAL 9000, Skynet, Colossus, Tron, Matrix, WOPR, etc. etc. I was also delighted to have worked faith (the machine's) into an A.I. story--a recurring theme in my series--without being preachy.
Well, that's a list really. Will Murray was my initial inspiration to write, way back in the 1980s when he was ghosting for Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir on The Destroyer series. Murphy, Sapir and Lester Dent further inspired me, once I realized the sheer amount of writing they had done on their series. Alas, the slush piles swallowed most of my submissions to publishers back then, and I only sporadically wrote. When I discovered Kindle Direct Publishing in 2012, the urge to write flared up again and I began writing right around the Dinosaurs of traditional publishing and put my work out for whomever was interested.
Action. I hate dialogue, but grudgingly admit it is needed to move a story along. Unlike TV, where talking is literally cheap, I don't fill scenes with people standing around in Picardian fashion, talking about what they are going to do. I have action, action, action, with characters talking during the thick of it, or as foreshadowing just before a mission. I also want my action to be over the top. My evil villains are really, really evil--there's no doubt about they're evil. Conversely, the heroes are super heroic and super human. I know the trend these days is to have ordinary people fend off the bad guy, but I like a clash of titans. Must be all the comic books I read and all the Godzilla movies I watched as a kid.
I'm sure it will once again turn out to be more grandiose than what I'll actually have the time to do... Just like every year...
Red Magik is set in 1981, at the height of the Cold War. The U.S. has just learned that the Soviets have Medusa's head and are working on unlocking the secret to her ability to turn people to stone. Anyone having read my Stone Soldiers series knows that Medusa's head is part of the process of making living stone soldiers, so this is where I finally show how the head was obtained. It's a tale of infiltration and theft--a paranormal heist behind the iron Curtain, that takes the lead character from Stone Soldiers out of his comfort zone as a commando and forces him to work alongside a psychic spy. There's a surprise villain thrown in for the climax, and the whole thing is my homage to Cold War action movies such as Clint Eastwood's Firefox movie. Hopefully this will be done and out before the end of march 2016.
Colonel Mark Kenslir, the Spellbreaker, as readers of the Shadow Detachment series have come to know him, is the lead character. A man carrying three curses that grant him immortality, super human strength and the ability to come back from the dead--all while dampening his natural ability to negate magical energies. This time around, Kenslir must team up with a female telepath who's quietly been reading minds in Moscow, gathering intelligence without her targets even knowing it. Unlike Kenslir, this telepath has been shielded from the full scope of the war against the forces of darkness and magic in the world, so she's in for an awakening of sorts when the duo raid a distant Siberian prison camp to steal Medusa's head.
Well... Kenslir is superhumanly strong, resists most injury and is unaffected by magical or psychic abilities. He's resisted the effects of a werewolf bite, a basilisk's glare and the curse of the Fountain of Youth, thanks to his own inherent abilities as a seventh son of a seventh son. Remember--I like over-the-top, and this character is part parody of the convoluted origins of 1970s comic book characters. Immortal, with decades of combat experience under his belt, he's the old-school Pulp-type character--like Doc Savage with a machinegun and supernatural powers.