“Weekend In WIP or On The Long Long Road To Xonira” File…

By Sean E. Ali

It’s been a while since I did a progress report on anything I’ve been working on. So let’s talk about a long overdue project I’ve stared at endlessly because I wasn’t happy with the result…

If you ask my friend, constant collaborator, publisher and colleague, Tommy Hancock about when I am satisfied with a project, he’ll probably say, if I’m not saying “I’m in love”, there’s a good chance I’m settling for what I have completed at the moment to meet a deadline. When I’m in love, then I figure I’ve hit the high note for the job and it’s not going to get any better than the end result I have.

We go for love, but settle for like, and never ever are married to the end product because we usually have other folks involved depending on the project…

Now if you ask my good friend, collaborator, colleague, and author, Derrick Ferguson about when I’m satisfied on a project, he’d probably say the same thing, but the deadline part is almost irrelevant when it’s one of his jobs. Which sometimes works to my favor, and sometimes it doesn’t because I linger when I should commit myself to something and just get it done…

Take for instance our current gig which is an updating of the second volume of his Dillon action/adventure series, DILLON AND THE LEGEND OF THE GOLDEN BELL. I have been unforgivably slow (in my opinion) because for all the work I tossed into the project, something just wasn’t right. I was most definitely not in love like I should’ve been. I chose to go with a James Bond like idea on a lark that Derrick loved. Okay well and good, let’s go with that. Here’s the thing though, the more I worked on it, the more I couldn’t get it to work for me. Granted I’m not the only guy reading the book, but if I wasn’t sold on the final product, how exactly does it pull in anyone else? So I’ve stared at and fretted with this cover longer than anything in recent memory. I finally felt like I hit something workable, showed it off over at Derrick’s Usimi Dero FB group, which is usually a receptive audience for these things…

…and that’s where Perry Constantine came in, made one comment on the thing I had been hung up on and basically confirmed that nagging feeling in the back of my head.

Now, before I journey too far, Perry Constantine is a designer, author, columnist, critic, web designer who lives in Japan where he teaches English…

…yeah, he’s probably curing cancer and coming up with the eco-friendly perpetual motion machine that will revolutionize civilization as we know it. To say Perry’s multi-talented is a general understatement, but it’s all I’ve got.

As a designer he’s probably one of the best up and comers in the business. He’s quick, has a strong sense of design, makes great decisions when it comes to color, composition and layout, he has excellent design skills and if I weren’t in the running on a project against him, I’d pick him every day of the week and twice on Sunday. So if he catches something, unlike the bulk of folks who may or may not comment on my work positively or negatively, I stop to consider his input.

And yes if you’d like to call that an endorsement for Perry, feel free. I wouldn’t say any of the above if it wasn’t my personal experience working with him and around him.

So because Perry chimed in I went back to my source file, and considered what I was doing.

Which, for those of you playing at home, was trying too hard to make Dillon’s cover what it wasn’t. Dillon’s not James Bond. Cut that loose and the rest of it fell into place pretty quick. What I ran with is two heavy visuals from the story. I kept Dillon’s suit, killed a few details, flipped another and went with another strong visual from the story involving a Lovecraft like creature which was all tentacles and menace and mixed the two, and boom, boom: I had my cover.

And, more importantly, I was in love… finally.

Now I haven’t run any of this new stuff past Derrick, so by this time tomorrow I could be right back at it trying to compromise and revise the whole thing. That’s the nature of the job and in the end, the work is all that matters, so if changes come now, so be it; the itch has been scratched.

So the first image is the new (and if I’m lucky) final version of the cover. The other images are promo pieces that I’m sure Derrick will kidnap and distribute all over the interwebs. The images are all test pieces for a part of the full cover which wraps around the book. The place the image lands on is tall and skinny, so I fooled around with various graphics until I found something that worked for the real estate I had to fill. The resulting tests shouldn’t go to waste, so hopefully they won’t and they’ll do their duty as teasers.

The galley for the interiors are done and if we’re really lucky, you’ll be reading this within the next couple of weeks…

So my thanks to Derrick and especially Perry for their input on this.

I wouldn’t have made it this far without you.

So I said all that to say this…

The Deluxe Edition of DILLON AND THE LEGEND OF THE GOLDEN BELL where our hero gets embroiled in a civil war, a quest for a legendary golden bell (see what I did there?), and a few epic fight scenes with a crew of wild heroes if ever there were some, is absolutely, positively coming soon…

In the meantime, I’ve got other stuff in the hopper, and I might get a jump on DILLON AND THE PIRATES OF XONIRA now since I have a better sense of what I want to do there already…

While you wait, look at the pretty pictures…

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Coming Soon #8

Welcome back and thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you had as wonderful a summer as I did. I didn’t get as much writing done as I thought I would but that happens just about every summer. Kinda hard to stay cooped up in the basement writing when the sun is warming the outside world to a crispy 80 degrees. And I do so hate wasting good weather staying indoors especially when I’m a notorious hibernator during the winter. When it’s cold I’ll use any and all excuses to stay inside the house. The upside is that I’m so much more productive during those months.

But you didn’t come here for that felgercarb. You came to hear what’s going on with my Dillon projects and when you can expect to see them so let’s get going with that. And as always, if you want to keep up with all my other projects then I invite you to bounce on over to my other blog, BLOOD & INK. Okay? Okay. Let’s get to what you came for:

DILLON AND THE NIGHT OF THE KRAMPUS: This one should be finished in another two weeks and turned in on time so that it can be in the 2014 Pulpwork Press Christmas Special. I heartily recommend that you pick up the previous volumes. The 2012 Volume contains “Dillon and The Night Before Christmas” in which Dillon questions the reason for his life and his existence during a rum-soaked Christmas Eve bender and a mysterious stranger gives him a look at what the world would be like without him.

DILLON/SLY GANTLET: As most of you know, Joel Jenkins wrote a team-up between Dillon and his character, the mercenary/musician Sly Gantlet  that a whole lot of you enjoyed. Even more of you asked when and if Dillon and Sly were going to meet up again. I’ve long had the reunion team up, “Dead Beat In Khusra” plotted out and if you’ve read DILLON AND THE LAST RAIL TO KHUSRA then you know there’s a Sly Gantlet related tease in there.

Well, Joel went ahead and beat me to it as I have on my hard drive “Dead Beat In The Gobi” which finds Our Boys stuck in the middle of the Gobi Desert besieged by the Russian Army on one side and on the other…well, you wouldn’t thank me if I spoiled it for you, now would you?

Recently Joel and I have been talking and we both came to the same conclusion: when I finish “Dead Beat In Khusra” why not put that together with the other Dillon/Sly Gantlet team ups into one book? So that’s what we’re gonna do. Right after I finish with the Christmas story I’m going to jump into that. We haven’t got a title for it as yet so for now I’m just calling it DILLON/SLY GANTLET: FRENEMIES FOREVER. That won’t be the final title of course. If you’ve got any suggestions, by all means, let me and Joel know.

DILLON AND THE SECRET OF SHAMBALLAH: This is the novel that was previously entitled DILLON AND THE MYTH HUNTER. But don’t worry that the change in title means Elisa Hill won’t be in it. The Myth Hunter certainly will be. She’s been hired by Li Shoon, the satanic master of the feared worldwide secret society known as The Ui Kwoon Ah-How to find the location of Shamballah, The Eternal City. Dillon is sworn to protect the secret of Shamballah at all costs. But will he go so far as to kill a friend to keep that secret? This will the first of two big Dillon projects for 2015. I’ve got about thirty pages of notes for this thing and I think it’ll be safe to say that by the time it’s done it’ll be the longest (in terms of word count) and biggest Dillon adventure to date.

DILLON AND THE DEVIL’S BOUNTY: This is other big 2015 project. Based on a plot by none other than Joshua R. Reynolds! When The Heart of Fortune V, the world’s first self-sustaining seagoing vessel is hijacked by pirates, Dillon is contacted by John Velvet, Director of The Machine to destroy The Heart of Fortune and keep it out of dangerous hands. In order of accomplish this mission Dillon needs the assistance of one of his protégés, the mysterious and dangerous mistress of mayhem and disguise, The Pulptress! But neither one of them could have counted on the participation of the 21st Century incarnation of Fortune McCall! And it may need all their skills and talents to stave of the assault of the various criminal and terrorist organizations seeking to take control of The Heart of Fortune V for their own nefarious purposes!

You can also be on the lookout for the reissue of DILLON AND THE LEGEND OF THE GOLDEN BELL with a brand new cover by Sean E. Ali, winner of the 2014 Pulp Factory Award for Best Interior Illustrations. Don’t quite know when that’ll be as I don’t rush Sean and he doesn’t rush me. Really all I have to do is tighten up the nuts and bolts a bit on the book and Sean has to come up with one of his mind-blowing covers.

That’s it for this time around. As always, Thank You so much for your continued support and interest in my work. Be safe at work, at home and at play and don’t forget to be good to somebody today. Just because.

 

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Derrick Ferguson & The Exploding Typewriter

Minority characters and the pulps have always had something of a thorny relationship, with allegations of stereotypical and racist portrayals, This week, Perry is joined by Derrick Ferguson, author of such popular series as Dillon and Fortune McCall, and one of Perry’s partners over at PulpWork Press, to discuss the topic of race in pulp fiction, its history from the past to the present, and some of the criticism from both camps.

 
http://typewriter.percivalconstantine.com/2013/11/29/episode-004-minority-characters/

 

DILLON AND THE VOICE OF ODIN MOVIE POSTERS