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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

THE NEXT BIG THING, REDUX 2
Michael Lea Answers Ten Questions


(Editor's note: I realized that last week was probably a terrible week to give you more information about Michael Lea, what with everyone running around making merry and drinking too much egg nog or going to the movies and out for Chinese food while others lit up trees and hung their socks on the mantle... So I am running it again.  Here's your second chance to get to know a terrific writer.)

My guest this week is Michael Lea. I met Michael when he was editing POW!erful Tales for Peryton Publishing.  Michael not only edited the book, he stitched all the stories together with an overarching narrative (including my story, "Legacy"). 

As often happens, we found ourselves in some of the same anthologies, including "The Book of Exodi," edited by Michael K. Eidson for Eposic Diversions.  Michael Lea's story "Planetfall" contained a mixture of technology and magic that was quite wonderful and unlike anything I had read before.  When a chance came to tell everyone about his next project, I jumped at it.

Here's Michael Lea with his answer to the NBT's Ten Questions:

1) What is the title of your next book/work?

Right now I'm working on "The Pony Riders," which is a TV pilot (loosely) based on the "Pony Rider Boys" series of western adventure novels from the early 20th century.

 
Two of the Pony Riders books - note the cover swipe!

2) Where did the idea come from for the book/work?

The idea came from Scorpio Studios, who hired me to adapt the books into a TV series.


3) What genre does your book/work fall under?

It's a supernatural western, or what some call "weird west."

 
Like Stephen King's tales of Roland the Gunslinger
(The Dark Tower series), "The Pony Boys" will
fall under the sub-genre "Weird Western"

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

I hesitate to say at this point -- we have a casting agency trying to get talent attached.


5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your work?

In the old West, a group of young riders confront supernatural menaces in a quest to save their friend's soul -- and the soul of America itself.


6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I'm afraid I don't have the resources to produce and broadcast a television show -- so it's on a network or nothing.


7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Ask me when I'm finished. I'm writing the pilot now. The series bible took me four or five weeks.


8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

It's been compared to a cross between "Young Guns" and "Raiders of the Lost Ark." Hopefully the finished product will (a) exist and (b) live up to that comparison.

 
"The Pony Boys" will be akin to
"Young Guns" meets Indiana Jones
 
9) Who or what inspired you to write this work?

I was offered a contract to do it. Money can be quite inspiring. I decided that I actually wanted to take the job after looking at the source material and hearing what they wanted to do with it (and how much leeway I would have to make it my own). It's not exactly great literature, but the bones are there to build something interesting. And I had the opportunity to really put my own stamp on it, so I jumped at that.


10) What else about the series might pique the reader's interest?

There's a bit of a steampunk influence too. So hopefully it will be something that fans of multiple genres can enjoy.

 
Fans of Steampunk will also love
"The Pony Boys"

* * *

I'd also like to mention that Michael's story "Hollow" will appear in Forsaken, the anthology I am co-editing with Joe McKinney for 23 House.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

THE NEXT BIG THING, REVISITED

DENNIS COPELAN ANSWERS TEN QUESTIONS

 
Last week I told you all about this blog/meme among writers, how I was "recruited" by L.L. Soares and asked to answer ten questions about my latest work (a novel to be called KUSHTAKA, The Faceless One for those keeping score).  In turn, I sought out several writers I admire, including Deborah LeBlanc, JW Schnarr and Dennis Copelan.
 
As Dennis hasn't set up his blog just yet, I thought we'd host him here at the Outpost. So, without further ado, here's Dennis!
 
 
1) What is the title of your next book/work?
 
I’m writing a collection of short stories for a book I intend to publish called WELCOME TO HOLLYWEIRD.  Within that collection, I’m currently polishing a story entitled "Moviola."
 
 
The dread Moviola...

 
 2) Where did the idea come from for the book/work?
 
I have always been fascinated with the seedy underbelly of Hollywood, people on the fringe, and their struggle to survive. My father was a film editor and I grew up in that environment.  With regard to "Moviola," I thought it would be interesting if a jealous film editor questioned his sanity because he was the only person who could see his wife having an affair on the film he ran through his editing machine.
 
3) What genre does your book/work fall under?
 
I usually write dark humor or horror stories.
 
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Steve Buscemi as the film editor in Moviola.  Mila Kunis as his young wife, Marie.
 
 
Steve Buscemi and Mila Kunis
 
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
 
WELCOME TO HOLLYWEIRD is a collection of horror, crime and supernatural short stories involving characters on the fringe of Hollywood, working in the motion picture, radio and television industry.
 
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
 
I am open to both, but am leaning toward self-publishing.  I intend to self-publish Moviola during early 2013.
 
 7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
 
At present, the book is still being written, and has taken over one-year.   I anticipate it will be completed in late 2013.
 
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
 
It is out of the genre, but DAY OF THE LOCUST by Nathaniel West has similar themes.
 
 
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
 
I was inspired by the comic books and television shows of my youth: EC's TALES OF THE CRYPT, Warren's CREEPY Magazine and THE TWILIGHT ZONE.  I also wanted to write like my two favorite writers, Kurt Vonnegut and Robert Sheckley.
 
 
10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
 
I’ve done a lot of research, and the stories are historical in that they recreate various time periods in Hollywood during the last century.  In addition, due to the crime and horror stories, my mother is sure to hate it, which is a good sign.
 
The Red Car features prominently in one of
Dennis Copelan's "Hollyweird" stories.
 
 
I like to add a postscript - you'll find Dennis' poignant and vivid short story "The Theater" in FORSAKEN, the upcoming anthology I am co-editing with Joe McKinney for 23 House.


 



Wednesday, December 12, 2012

THE NEXT BIG THING
(How a Mask Started Everything)
 
So, this is a blog/meme meant to increase exposure for those of us within the writing community... I believe it's mostly horror and/or science fiction writers, but I could be wrong... Anyway, my friend and Cinema Knife Fight editor L.L. Soares sent me a list of ten questions...  I'm answering those this week.  Next week, answers to those same questions will be supplied by writers I admire.  They include the very talented Deborah LeBlanc, spec fic wizard Michael Lea, horrormeister JW Schnarr and promising newcomer Dennis Copelan.  I was supposed to invite five, but one of them had already been asked... Ah, well.
 
So, on to the questions!
 
1) What is the title of your next work? It's a novel entitled KUSHTAKA: The Faceless One.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?  I have a series of Time-Life books called "Mysteries of the Unknown."  I saw a picture of a Tlingit ceremonial mask, and the idea popped into my head of a god who refused to be represented by any mask, an evil entity who did not want humans to have any power over it.
 
 
Tlingit Bear Mask


3) What genre does your book fall under?  Dark fantasy, horror, magical realism.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?  My main character is Jimmy Kalmaku, a Tlingit Indian who is a former shaman - I often see someone like Graham Greene playing him. As for Jimmy's best friend George Watters, perhaps Bill Cobbs.  And NY detective Stan Roberts?  Someone tough but troubled, like Robert Patrick.
 
L to R: Graham Greene, Bill Cobbs, Robert Patrick


5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?  A disillusioned shaman living in a rest home is the only one capable of stopping an ancient evil.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?  That remains to be seen - I have the book out to a couple of publishers, but am determined to see it in print in 2013.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?  About six months.  I mostly wrote it on lunch hours at my old job.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Lisey's Story by Stephen King, Mystery Walk by Robert McCammon, Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman and Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?  I have Cherokee and Creek blood on my mother's side, so a realistic and non-stereotypical portrayal of any Native American is important to me.  I also have been inspired by the works of Stephen King, Robert McCammon, Neil Gaiman and Ray Bradbury, and how they can so adroitly weave realistic characters who have an encounter with the fantastic or supernatural.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?  I'm very proud of the characters in this book. In fact, Jimmy and George started as minor characters and took over the book!  I also did a lot of research into the history, culture and beliefs of the Tlingit people in Alaska, and the book also examines the importance of myth, belief and creation of masks in human culture. Finally, it was interesting and great fun to work with the figure of Raven, who is often benevolent but also a trickster... A god who sometimes will grant a boon while having a laugh at your expense.