Tuesday, April 5, 2016

C.E Martin Interview

Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of ‘Ralph’s Rants does interviews’
Today our guest is author C.E. Martin. 
Hello C.E. and welcome to Ralph’s Rants, how are you doing today?
All in all, pretty good. My only real complaint is that I'm not a full-time author--that would be pretty awesome. 
C.E., why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?
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.
Aside from all that career stuff, I'm married, with two daughters (16 and 10), and spend what little free time I have X-boxing or watching cheesy B Movies.
Are you considered an adventure fiction or new pulp author?
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. 
What have you written in the past?
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. 
I also tried my hand at screenplays in 2011--I am a huge movie fan. One was a B Movie-esque story of a mailman who discovers he's descended from a skinwalker and a bezerker when zombies invade his neighborhood—a werewolf vs undead story prime for Syfy's saturday nights. One of these days, I'll convert it to novella format and self-publish it. My second screenplay attempt, Mythical, was a carefully engineered Young Adult story of two teens stumbling into the middle of a secret war between humanity and the forces of darkness. I enjoyed it so much, I novelized it and self-pubbed it on Kindle, beginning my current Stone Soldiers supernatural military thriller series. I have to say that screenplays are so much more satisfying to write, because not having to do the narrative lets you churn them out superfast. I wish I could do more, but I have to devote what little writing time I have toward projects I can actually sell as ebooks. 
What do you consider your greatest piece, (story, book, novel, etc.) out of anything you have written up until now?
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.
Who has served as an inspiration to you as a writer?
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.
The late Warren Murphy was an excellent role models for authors to not only keep plugging away, but in appreciating your customers--the readers. I was fortunate enough to meet Mr. Murphy before he passed away last year, and his dedication to writing--right up to the very end--is further inspiration to never quit and keep doing what you love. Even if it is just on the weekends.
C.E., what do you seek to imbue a story with when writing it? Is there anything in particular you strive to ad to a story to make it a signature C.E. Martin tale?
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 also portray the military positively. There's nowhere near enough of that in fiction anymore. I get tired of the military portrayed as heavies, or bumbling idiots in so many films. Being the military doesn't make my characters heroes, it's because they are heroes they're in the military to begin with. When I started in 2012, there weren't very many other military supernatural works out there. Now there are quite a few. I could be envious, but I'm glad my fellow veteran/authors are getting the message out there.
What is your upcoming release schedule looking like? What is the next story from you we can look forward to?
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...
I'm finishing up the last short story in the Shadow Detachment prequel series for a while. The series served a twofold purpose for me: it gave me new content to release every month, and it gave me a bunch of short fiction to convert to audio for this summer. I've already begun recording myself reading the stories, and will probably start releasing them in April or May. 
Before then, I've got a new series I want to release, Shadow Raiders, again in the same universe, where the supersoldiers travel to alternate planes of reality to take the fight right to evil's doorstep, so to speak. Unlike Shadow Detachment, this series, unless it becomes wildly successful at the get go, will only have one or two releases a year. 
I've also got to wrap up the twelve-book arc of Stone Soldiers that I started in 2012. One book to go, then I'll probably scale back to novellas if I continue that series. Again, it's based on numbers, with readers determining if it continues. If it doesn't, I have plenty of other stuff I'd love to write, ranging from more "real-world" stories all the way to a Christian Post-Apocalyptic Space Opera I've wanted to do for about ten years now. 
But to answer the original question, my current work-in-progress is a Cold War supernatural adventure entitled "Red Magik"...
What is it about?
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. 
Who are the protagonist(s)?
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. 
What makes them extraordinary?
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. 
Leia Flannigan is a Boston native working under deep cover in Moscow. And she's a telepath, able to read minds while appearing innocuous and ordinary. When she learns about Medusa's head, her confidence is shaken and she's plunged into a mystical adventure she never would have guessed was possible. 
Psychic spy meets supernatural soldier, as mind-reader and immortal must work together to keep the Cold War at a stalemate and deprive the Soviets of a mythical weapon of immense power. 
Or at least that's the plan... it's still a work in progress. While I do outline, things often come up as I write that greatly change my plans... 
Feel free to leave us all links to your books or website or blog etc. whatever you wish.
People can learn more about the Stone Soldiers and Shadow Detachment at www.ShadowDetachment.com.  If anyone is interested in the latest news for either series, or the upcoming spinoff series Shadow Raiders, check out the blog at StoneSoldiersbooks.blogspot.com
If anyone would like to skip all that and just check out the books themselves, visit my Amazon Author page at: http://amzn.com/B0089W99VC
I rarely post at Twitter, @Troglodad. I also lurk on Facebook, facebook.com/CEMartin.Author and when the urge hits me, I ramble or rant about all sorts of stuff on my Author blog, www.Troglodad.info

As always all of my own books are available at http://RLAngeloJr.com or http://tinyurl.com/ralphsamazon2

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