Where I Make Good On A Promise

One of the things I promised you guys was insight as to how I come up with these stories, ideas for these stories and how I determine the length of how long the serials will run. Consider this (really long) post my delivery on that promise.

First of all: how long to I determine a serial will run? Simple answer: I don’t. The story goes on as long as the story goes on. When I run out of story, it stops. I wish I could be more technical than that but I just can’t. I would find it extremely constraining to say that the next Dillon serial would run twelve chapters and that’s it. But then when I get to Chapter Three or Chapter Six and there’s a character or plot twist I want to explore and/or expand upon I allow myself the freedom to do so and I just trust that you trust me enough to go along with where I’m going and that the story will end up in a satisfactory resolution.

Take DILLON AND THE CITY OF STONE co-written by myself and Erik Fromme. I had absolutely no idea where that story was going to go once Dillon, Abelinda and Guillermo descended into the gaping hole in the Earth that would eventually take them to Yuatlacohuaca. But it was a helluva lot of fun finding out. And judging by the feedback I’ve gotten, you had a fun time as well.

But I do like to have a new serial in mind and planned out so that there will only be a gap of maybe a month or two between when one Dillon serial ends and the new one begins. I figure that the current serial; DILLON AND THE PROPHECY OF FIRE will wind up around September so it’s not too soon to start planning the next one. You know how fast time flies. But here’s the problem: I didn’t have anything planned.

Let’s jump back a couple of years. Remember when the SyFy Channel was doing all those weird monster movies with outlandish creatures fighting each other? Like “Dinocroc Vs. Supergator”? “Piranaconda Vs. Frankenfish”? “MegaPhython Vs. OctoShark”? Don’t front. You know you watched them. And if I can fess up to watching them, you can. Anyway, I’m watching one of these movies one night with my wife and as I often do, I say; “I could write a better movie than that” And Patricia responded as she always does; “So why don’t you?”

And so I did plan on doing one. I even had a title for it; “Flying Great White Shark Vs. Albino Amphibian White Tiger.” But outside of jotting down notes and characters sketches, I never got past the planning stages. One thing I did know that I wanted to have in the story was a mad scientist. And I wanted him to be black. I absolutely love mad scientists and since there were no great black mad scientists in popular fiction, I decided to create one in the grand tradition of Dr. Frankenstein (Peter Cushing version, natch) and Dr. Fu Manchu. I would model his physical appearance, demeanor and voice on the Great, Great Man, William Marshall and in further tribute, name my mad scientist Dr. William Mamuwalde (students, fans and scholars of Blaxploitation will know where the Mamuwalde name comes from) Clear so far? Okay. We move on.

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The idea for “Flying Great White Shark Vs. Albino Amphibian White Tiger” stayed in my notebooks and subconscious for an obscenely long time, lemme tell you. The concept of Dr. Mamuwalde was one that wouldn’t go away and in my development of the character he gained a son who was a master of over 1000 Martial Arts (he’s a homage to Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu in case you hadn’t guessed) and a nagging,shrewish, alcoholic wife always scheming behind her husband’s back to sell his inventions on the black market simply because the idea of a mad scientist with a nagging wife tickled the hell outta me.

But still, I just could not find the right story for Dr. Mamuwalde to make his debut. The problem was I was not happy with none of the protagonists for the story I had in mind. None of them were formidable enough to present a challenge to the character I conceived and I definitely wanted to have Dr. Mamuwalde to have a worthy challenge to his intellect and his talents. I knew I wanted to have a film crew stumble upon his island (in homage/tribute to 1933’s “King Kong”) but the characters that presented themselves to me didn’t turn my crank. They weren’t alive. They weren’t vital.

Until I happened to re-read “Dillon and The Bad Ass Belt Buckle.” One of the major characters in the story is Jenise Casile, an actress who has won an Academy Award and when Dillon meets her is in the middle of filming an epic science fiction trilogy directed by the eccentric director/producer Rigoberto Orr. Dillon and his partner Eli Creed have been hired to rescue Jenise from kidnappers and that’s all I’ll tell you about the story. You wanna know more, go read it.

Anyway, switches clicked in my brain and I realized that I could marry Jenise, Rigoberto and their current film project with my Dr. Mamuwalde character. In addition, by throwing Dillon in the mix I could satisfy my desire to have Dr. Mamuwalde go up against a foe worthy of him. And what better way for a character in my universe to make his debut by going toe-to-toe with Dillon?

There’s some other things thrown into the mix of the story such as Dr. Mamuwalde experimenting with African Cryptids which came out of when I had planned on doing “The Island of Dr. Mamuwalde” as an “Island of Dr. Moreau” homage for the “Cryptid Clash” project my good buddy Josh Reynolds is associated with and briefly talked me into it. And yes…that most definitely is a whole other story.

But once I got Dr. Mamuwalde, Dillon, Jenise and Rigoberto and the whole idea of Dillon rescuing a film crew from a war zone where they were trying to shoot authentic footage and then finding themselves the captives in a “Dr. Moreau” like situation in my brain…everything just sorta fell into place. Which is my long winded way of telling you that once DILLON AND THE PROPHECY OF FIRE is finished, expect DILLON AND THE ISLAND OF DR. MAMUWALDE.

And come back next month and I’ll tell you how Joel Jenkins without even meaning to gave me the idea/plot for the sequel to DILLON AND THE PIRATES OF XONIRA….

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Coming Attractions: March 2017

Happy New Year! And I sincerely hope that you’re enjoying yourself as we go into the third month of 2017. It’s been three months since we’ve talked like this and it is my wish that you and and your family have enjoyed nothing but prosperity and good health since then. Me? I’ve been doing okay aside from suffering from a really weird rash that attacked mainly my hands and certain parts of my body (getcher minds outta the gutter.) You can check out my Blood & Ink blog for further details about that. And since I’m on the subject of my other blogs, if you’re as big a movie fan as I am, check out The Ferguson Theater for my movie reviews.

But this here blog is about Dillon and news about what you can expect in the coming months as far as his adventures are concerned so let’s get right to it, shall we?

It’s come to my attention that many of you don’t know that THE VRIL AGENDA written by Yours Truly and Josh Reynolds, featuring the epic team-up of Dillon and Jim Anthony, Super Detective as they square off against Sun Koh is available as an audio book. Well, it is. So if you don’t want to read the paperback version or the Kindle version, here’s the link to the audio book version. I highly recommend it. I am utterly and totally amazed at how listening to one’s own book in audio version is a completely different experience from reading it. Hell, I helped write the daggone thing and every time I listened to it I was on the edge of my bed (I would listen to a couple of chapters on my Kindle in my bed at night before going to sleep)

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The current Dillon serialized adventure; DILLON AND THE PROPHECY OF FIRE is up to two chapters on my Patreon page and the third chapter is going to drop on the 8th of March. I’m having fun writing this one in a different way from the usual Dillon adventure and it started with the previous Dillon serial; “Dillon and The City of Stone” I co-wrote with Erik Fromme. Lemme explain;

It was Erik’s concept that “City of Stone” be different from previous Dillon adventures in that we see him on vacation, bonding with ordinary people and behaving like a regular guy before we get into the wild and crazy adventure. And in co-writing it with Erik I got caught up in that notion as well and I liked the concept a lot. I always wanted to present Dillon as being a well-rounded character and I always enjoy seeing him interact with ordinary folks who are normally a part of his world. So I followed Erik’s lead and I think we came up with a pretty damn good yarn that not only managed to be a rollicking good Dillon adventure in the tradition fans of the character and stories have come to expect but also added a new dimension to Dillon himself. If you agree, thank Erik. If you don’t blame me.

And in following Erik’s concept, DILLON AND THE PROPHECY OF FIRE reveals new aspects of Dillon’s character that we’ve never seen before. We learn that he has a permanent residence in the form of a palatial house and estate named Coppereye (My homage to Ian Fleming’s Jamaican estate) in rural Pennsylvania. We learn he has a housekeeper/majordomo name Mrs. Jenkins who along with her two daughters looks after Dillon’s house while he out nemesising evil. Dillon even has lawyers who manage his money! And that’s not even half of what we uncover in those three chapters.

But it’s necessary for the growth of Dillon’s character, I think. I see these serialized stories on my Patreon page as filling in spaces that you don’t get during the big, widescreen summer movie blockbusters that are the novels. The Patreon stories are more like television mini-series, for lack of a better analogy.

So what else?

DILLON ANNUAL COLLECTION VOL. I is all done and only waiting on a cover from Sean E. Ali. My goal is to put out an Annual Collection every year that will compile all the Dillon novellas in chronological order. The contents of DILLON ANNUAL COLLECTION Vol. I is as follows:

Young Dillon In The Halls of Shamballah

Dillon And The BadAss Belt Buckle

Dillon and The Judas Chalice

Dead Beat In La Esca

Dillon and The Alchemist’s Morning Coffee

Dillon and The Last Rail To Khusra

I’m 29,000 words into THE RETURN OF THE SPECIALISTS (formerly known as THE SPECIALISTS 2) which sees Dillon recruiting a brand new team to tie up some loose ends from that adventure. All I can say is that I hope you guys will have as much fun reading this as I am writing this. It’s like I’m getting to write my dream 1980’s Action Movie. There’s a Sneak Preview on my Patreon page if you’re interested.

After I finish with THE RETURN OF THE SPECIALISTS it’ll be time to finally get to work on DILLON AND THE SECRET OF SHAMBALLAH which will most likely be my major Dillon project for Fall/Winter of 2017 with an eye for publication in 2018.

And what will I be featuring on my Patreon page after I finish with DILLON AND THE PROPHECY OF FIRE? I’m planning on a buncha solo stories featuring Dillon’s supporting cast. You can vote on who your favorite is right here and I’ll have a poll of the Patreon site as well.

Aren’t you getting tired of hearing me mention the Patreon page? Don’t worry, I’m all done for now. You guys go read some good books, watch some good movies and be good to each other until we get together again, okay? God Bless and Take Care.

The Good News and The Bad News

Yes, I’m still alive. I update this thing so infrequently that you might think otherwise but I’m still around and still doing my thing. And if you know anything about me you know that I’d rather update when I actually have something to update about instead of just posting random stuff because I feel the need to fill up space to keep your interest.

So today I thought I’d update you on what’s going on with “Dillon and The City of Stone” which was intended to be the inaugural offer via my Patreon page as a complete novella (don’t worry, there will be a link after the lecture) to be available Feb. 8th. For various reasons, none of them the fault of my co-writer on the project, Erik Fromme, it just didn’t get done. Oh, Erik had done a goodly 8K or so of it but I fell down on my end of the deal. Much as I hate to use illness as an excuse for not making good on a promise, such was the case in this situation.

I’ve actually been ill since October but it wasn’t until December that I found out what the problem was: my pesky old friend P.E. (Pulmonary Embolism) was back. Not anywhere near as serious as the last time it struck me ten years ago but enough that it was a serious inconvenience in my life. Including my writing as I was having trouble concentrating on it for anything longer than fifteen to thirty minutes. When I complained about this to my lung specialist he said; “yeah, well, it’s pretty hard to concentrate on anything when you don’t have enough oxygen in your blood, y’know.”

So I was working on “Dillon and The City of Stone” but nowhere near as fast as I’m used to working. And I felt really bad about stiffing the good people who had already signed up as patrons and wasn’t getting what I had promised him. So here’s what’s going to happen:

“Dillon and The City of Stone” is going to be serialized monthly on my Patreon page starting today (well, it actually started yesterday but I’m telling you about it today so we’ll fudge a bit) and thereafter you’ll find a new chapter up on the 8th of every month until it’s done. Since I have no idea how long it’s going to take me to write the thing I think this is the best way to do things so that I don’t feel I’m taking money under false pretenses and there’s a new chapter of a new Dillon adventure that you guys can look forward to each and every month

Okay, that’s the good news. Now the bad news:

“Dillon and The City of Stone” will only be available to read by my patrons. Which is actually good news for them since they can brag that they’re reading a new Dillon adventure and the rest of you ain’t. Unless you decide to become one of my patrons. But that’s up to you, of course. It’s a decision that only each man, woman and child can make for themselves. Don’t let me influence you at all.

Oh, by the way, here’s that link I promised you: Become A Patron

That’s it for this time around. Next time I hope to be able to tell you more about the “Dillon Annual Collection Vol. I” and what that’s going to be all about. And if my current plans work out the way I hope (Hah!) May/June will see me beginning work on “Dillon and The Secret of Shamballah” with an eye to having it being published by December of this year. Until next time, read some good books, watch some good movies and be good to each other.

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