Kolchak Nominated for Bram Stoker Award!

Kolchak the Night Stalker: The Forgotten Lore of Edgar Allan Poe recently made the final ballot for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel! I’m thrilled to see the book continue to receive such a great response. Feedback from readers has been terrifically positive, and this is a wonderful bit of recognition. Congratulations to our entire creative team: Luis Czerniawski, Felipe Kroll, Jim Fern, Erik M. Gist, and Bernie Lee as well as Moonstone Books! If you haven’t yet had a chance to check out the comic, it’s still available directly from Moonstone Books as well as Midtown Comics. You can also see previews and news at our Facebook page. We’ve gotten a tremendous amount of support and interest from fans of Kolchak, fans of Poe, and readers in general, for which we are eternally grateful. It’s great to know these two icons of American horror still have so many fans.

“Father of War” Returns in Dogs of War

DTF_Dogs_rawOriginally published by Dark Quest Books, Defending the Future, Volume 5: Dogs of War has bee re-issued by eSpec Books. This volume includes my story, “Father of War,” about a scientist taken prisoner, and the cybernetically enhanced dogs he created who attempt to rescue him. Researching military working dogs (MWDs) proved fascinating. The ability of these dogs amazed me as much as their connection to their handlers. These brave canines have saved many lives in battle over the years, though they haven’t always been treated with the respect and appreciation they earned. That situation has improved significantly in recent times, but there’s still a ways to go. This collection honors their efforts and those of their trainers and handlers. “Father of War” is the most emotionally taxing story I’ve written for DTF–but there’s a fair amount of fun to it as well, especially for those who enjoyed 1970s war comics and the artists and writers who created them. More info and the full table of contents is posted on eSpec’s website. Amazon has the book for sale in print and e-book.

“Mother of Peace” Reprinted in The Best of Defending the Future

Defending The Future is a long-running, award-winning series of military/science fiction, comprised of six volumes. I’ve been fortunate to have contributed stories to all but one volume, with special thanks to series editors Mike McPhail and Danielle Ackley-McPhail whose confidence in me allowed me the opportunity to take a crack at writing this kind of s/f. It’s a challenging genre to write, demanding of meticulous research, and I’ve turned in at least one or two “weird” stories along the way when ideas led me to strange places. Mike and Dani accepted them along with the more conventional ones, much to my great excitement. Editors aren’t always able to allow their writers that kind of freedom. For authors, it’s invaluable because it opens up opportunities to flex different writing muscles, explore new ideas, and play with genre conventions.

BestOfDTF_raw

I’ve seen plenty of sci-fi movies that fit into this genre, with Aliens, Enemy Mine, and Starship Troopers springing to mind. But my inspiration for writing these stories lay firmly with the works of Joe Haldeman, Robert Heinlein, Larry Niven, Fred Saberhagen, and the other s/f masters I read growing up, with perhaps a dash of DC Comics’ Weird War Tales thrown in (especially for my contribution to Dogs of War). So it strikes me as a great honor that my story, “Mother of Peace,” originally published in DFT3: By Other Means has been selected for the recently published The Best of Defending the Future. The stories, chosen based on reader reaction and requests, individual reviews, and editorial judgement include a fantastic cross-section from the series and work by some of the best military/sf writers working today. More information and the full list of table of contents can be found here. The Best of Defending the Future is also available on Amazon.

“The Many Hands Inside the Mountain,” in Dark Hallows II: Tales from the Witching Hour

Earlier this year, Mark Parker, publisher at Scarlet Galleon Publications, kindly asked me to send him a story to consider for his Dark Hallows II anthology, a follow-up collection of dark Halloween stories to last year’s Dark Hallows. After mulling it over for a few days, I sent Mark a quick pitch for a story about sex, betrayal, and horror inspired in part by the classic E.C. Comics horror stories and then set out to write it, finding in it some grim and twisted turns I hadn’t even anticipated. It’s a trip into a weird, Halloween-inflected world, a story about a love triangle, about ritual and riches, love and betrayal, the conflict between rich and poor, and the sacrifices people make (or force others to) to preserve their way of life. It’s called “The Many Hands Inside in the Mountain,” and you can read it in Dark Hallows II, along with tales from Lisa Morton, Richard Chizmar, Ronald Malfi, Annie Neugebauer, Brian Moreland, and many other terrific writers. Now on sale at Amazon.com.

DarkHallowsII-cvr

Kolchak Is Back, Baby!

Due out at the end of November, Kolchak the Night Stalker: The Forgotten Lore of Edgar Allan Poe! Here’s the final cover design. Created by Jeff Rice, Kolchak the Night Stalker sprang to national attention when Darren McGavin brought the character to life for a TV movie, The Night Stalker, in 1972, produced by Dan Curtis, directed by John Llewellyn Moxey, and written by Richard Matheson. It became the highest-rated television movie ever at the time. A sequel, The Night Strangler, followed, created by the same team, and then Kolchak moved into a regular TV series, which lasted a single season in 1974. The character’s enduring appeal and ground-breaking stories inspired The X-Files and many other supernatural investigator characters and stories. Today, with the full run of the show available on Netflix, he is more popular than ever.

Print

Written by James Chambers. Art by Luis Czerniawski, Felipe Kroll, and Jim Fern. Cover by E.M. Gist.

From tell-tale hearts and premature burials to black cats and the Red Death, reporter Carl Kolchak grapples with deepening horror and madness as events from Edgar Allan Poe’s tales of mystery and imagination come to life in modern-day Baltimore. Kolchak teams with a street magician who performs tricks and escapes inspired by Poe to expose the supernatural power bringing the author’s deadly visions to life and solve a series of terrifying occurrences, disappearances, and murders.

Preview of Kolchak, the Night Stalker: The Poe Cases

My all-new, original graphic novel, Kolchak, the Night Stalker: The Poe Cases is in the home stretch in production and soon to be sent off to press. Moonstone Books will be publishing it this spring, the latest in their ongoing series of comics and anthologies continuing the adventures of Carl Kolchak. Although The Night Stalker originally comprised two novels by creator Jeff Rice, two television movies written by Richard Matheson and directed by Dan Curtis, and one season of an hourly television series, Carl seems more popular today than ever before. The full original series is currently streaming on Netflix, and I’m extremely excited to add to the Kolchak mythos, especially with The Poe Cases, which pits Carl against a series of macabre occurrences and threats inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe. To hold you over until the book is published, here are some preview pages. More soon!

“In Wolf’s Clothing”–The Twisted Steampunk Fairy Tale Your Mother Never Read to You

My latest short story, “In Wolf’s Clothing,” will appear in Gaslight and Grimm next month. A dark (and sexy!) steampunk retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood,” it also continues my Machinations Sundry short story cycle.

Once Upon a Time… ageless tales were told from one generation to the next, filled with both wonders and warnings. Tales of handsome princes and wicked queens, of good-hearted folk and evil stepmothers. Tales of danger and caution and magic…classics that still echo in our hearts and memories even to this day, told from old, cherished books or from memory at Grandma’s knee.

Oh yes, tales have been told…but never quite like these. Order here!

GaslightGrimm_Gold Leaf
Journey With tales by James Chambers ~ Christine Norris ~ Bernie Mojzes ~ Danny Birt ~ Jean Marie Ward ~ Jeff Young ~ Gail Z. and Larry N. Martin ~ Elaine Corvidae ~ David Lee Summers ~ Kelly A. Harmon ~ Jonah Knight ~ Diana Bastine ~ Jody Lynn Nye.with through the pages of Gaslight and Grimm to discover timeless truths through lenses polished in the age of steam.

“The Lost Boy” in Kolchak, the Night Stalker: Passages of the Macabre

My short story, “The Lost Boy,” appears in Moonstone Books’s newest anthology chronicling the shadowy adventures of Carl Kolchak, the Night Stalker. I’ve been a fan of the original Kolchak television movies and series for years and loved writing Carl. An intrepid reporter, the supernatural, and a mystery to be solved–all makings for great stories. The anthology includes work by Nancy Holder, Nancy Kilpatrick, Ed Gorman, CJ Henderson, Lilith Saintcrow, Dave Ulanski, and many others, thirteen original stories in all, with a cover by Byron Winton.

Now available on Amazon.

Kolchak_PassagesMacabre_Cover

Kolchak, the Night Stalker: The Poe Cases–Coming This Spring!

“There are moments when, even to the sober eye of Reason, the world of our sad Humanity may assume the semblance of Hell…” —Edgar Allan Poe, “The Premature Burial.”

“…when you have finished this bizarre account, judge for yourself its believability, and then try to tell yourself, wherever you may be, it couldn’t happen here.” —Carl Kolchak, The Night Stalker

Kolchak, The Night Stalker: The Edgar Allan Poe Cases

From tell-tale hearts and premature burials to black cats and the Red Death, reporter Carl Kolchak grapples with deepening horror and madness as events from Edgar Allan Poe’s tales of mystery and imagination come to life in modern-day Baltimore. Kolchak teams with a street magician who performs tricks and escapes inspired by Poe to expose the supernatural power bringing the author’s deadly visions to life and solve a series of terrifying occurrences, disappearances, and murders.

kolchakpoe_cover_lores

Cover art by E.M. Gist.

Written by James Chambers, Art by Luis Czerniawski, Felipe Kroll, and Jim Fern, Letters by Bernie Lee, Cover by E.M. Gist.

Coming this spring from Moonstone Books!

An Interview with Author and Editor, Danielle Ackley-McPhail / Part 6 of 6

The final part of my conversation with Danielle Ackley-McPhail, casting an eye on the nuts and bolts of creating anthologies, finding an audience, making the most of the convention circuit, and Dani’s most recent projects and ventures. Thanks all for reading! (Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, or Part 5.)

You’re known as one of the most successful anthology editors in the specialty press, having edited, co-edited, or worked on nearly a dozen anthologies in the past decade and helped to launch them. How does your role as editor shape your work as a writer?

Well…thank you again. Editing anthologies came out of my love of creating books, something I have been doing for thirty-two years. I get ideas, I find the twist, and then I am driven to complete the project. Mostly they come about because I want to explore whatever concept has captured my mind. Consequently, of all of the anthologies I’ve been involved with in an editorial capacity only two of them do not contain stories I’ve written. So…in that context my editorial work shaped my writing by enabling me to explore some fascinating concepts as I found my tale to fit the theme. Conversely, in most other ways my editorial work just gets in the way. I find I’m so busy dealing with production and administrivia (not my phrase, though I absolutely love it!) that my writing often comes in last minute as I scramble to get my story done before we have to go to press. That, in fact, is why I only have an introduction in Bad-Ass Faeries: It’s Elemental… I just couldn’t draw my story together fast enough and we were out of time. This is the first volume in the series that doesn’t have a Wild Hunt tale. I’ve started it, but I just haven’t had time to find my way to the end. I’ll likely post it on the Bad-Ass Faeries website (www.badassfaeries.com) as a bonus freebie once it’s done.

BAF4_ElementalLooking at it first from a writer’s perspective then from an editor’s, what’s do you think it takes to connect with science-fiction and fantasy readers today?

Oh… this is so hard to say… everyone has their own tastes when it comes to fiction. And I don’t think you can really break it out by editor and writer because there is too much overlap. Good fiction, originality, excitement. And as a writer I would add a solid connection to the characters, but that is me, as I am a writer of character-driven tales. Yet I know there are those readers out there who couldn’t care less about the characters, they want the action… You know. I think in the end it comes down to one thing: whether you are in the character camp or the action camp, you have to make the reader care. It is as simple as that.

To what extent do you think a shared connection with readers, such as common interest in fandom activities or a regular presence at conventions, contributes to succeeding as a writer versus simply publishing good writing?

I don’t know how it is for every author, but I know that I would not be where I am without my personal connection with my fans. I sell more books in person than I do on-line, with much more repeat customers because they know me. They can talk to me about what they liked and what they didn’t, we can chat and hang out at a convention. Now there are a lot more authors out there that are wildly successful who don’t do this, but most of those have a big-house publisher behind them feeding the distribution machine. And even so, I say an author that gets out and moves among their following has a stronger, more loyal fan base than one who stays up on their pedestal typing away, without connecting to their readership.

In terms of bringing great fiction to your readers, how do your goals as an editor differ from those as a writer?

Whatever hat I’m wearing, I love to create cool books. I love to share the unexpected and the wonderful with readers. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but that goal is always the same.

DAMInt_WordFantasyYou’re very well plugged in to the regional science-fiction/fantasy convention scene, appearing at several cons each year, often hosting launch parties for new publications. What advice can you offer to writers about connecting with readers, editors, and publishers at these conventions?

Talk. Listen. Socialize. Don’t pitch or pimp or continually drag focus only to your book or manuscript. Build a relationship, don’t just try and make a connection. We’re all there to have fun in a community where we are comfortable and can relax. Being pushy or obnoxious gets in the way of that and will turn people off more than anything.

Where should a reader who hasn’t yet read your work start? Give us some suggestions from your short fiction as well as your long fiction.

Well… any of my first novels are good places to start, depending on the reader’s taste: Yesterday’s Dreams (Celtic urban fantasy), The Halfling’s Court (biker faeries – urban fantasy), or Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn (historic/steampunk fantasy). After all, who wants to start with book two of a series. J As for the short fiction. If a reader is partial to science fiction it would have to be the short story collection A Legacy of Stars, which contains the bulk of my sci-fi stories. For fantasy I have a collection called Transcendence coming out later this year from Dark Quest Books. It contains a nice chunk of my fantasy stories. As for individual stories… that is so much harder to recommend. I just can’t do it. Each one contains some kernel of wonder that I love, and all of them are so different from the others. There is no comparison, no way to guide someone to ease their way in. Best to leap in with both feet. J

What should readers look for next from Danielle Ackley-McPhail?

Oh goodness! Who knows what mischief I’ll get into next! I certainly don’t. There are a number of on-going projects in the works. For anthologies I’m editing: Gaslight and Grimm, Eternal Flame, The Society for the Preservation of CJ Henderson, and The Transdimensional Adventures of the Miracle Mead Men. Those I’ve contributed stories to that are coming out this year are: Dance Like a Monkey, Athena’s Daughters, Hellfire Lounge 4: Reflections of Evil, and Lucky 13. Novels I’m working on are The High King’s Fool: A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale, Daire’s Devils (military science fiction), an as-yet unnamed sequel to Baba Ali, and an unconventional vampire novel looking for a new name. So…I guess readers should expect pretty much anything!

To follow Danielle’s projects, learn more about her, or buy her books, please check out her website and visit her Amazon author page. Also, look for her on the convention circuit where she’s a steadfast con presence up and down the east coast.