And Now Here’s Something We Hope You’ll Really Like…

courtesy of my esteemed colleague and collaborator Sean E. Ali. Mr. Ali? The floor is yours, sir.

So I’ve finally sat down to work on a DILLON book from your pal and mine, Derrick Ferguson…
He calls it THE DILLON ANNUAL – VOLUME 1, in my mind it’s more DILLON THE LOST ADVENTURES- VOLUME 1…
Because, really you know and I know “Annual” books tend to be whatever whenever but “Lost Adventures”…
…well hey, they must be special, right?
You bet.
This won’t be a redress of FOUR BULLETS FOR DILLON, though there is a certain belt buckle present and accounted for, for those of you who did pick that one up, as well as other Dillon rarities that were scattered about in collections and novelettes which are finally getting a home in the book formerly known as FOUR BULLETS…
My current assignment has left me with free time and it’s been a bit since I’ve laid out a book…
Dillon books have a set style I pulled together, so I’ll be sticking with that…
But the challenge will be the cover…
I have ideas but nothing concrete yet…
But it’s early days so why bring it up while it’s still a few miles down the road?
Because I’ve read a few things lately about how the print book is a waste of time. You don’t move that many and, truth be told ebooks are supposed to be where it’s at now.
So after this, I think I’ll learn how to lay out ebooks…
…then I think I’ll see how close I can get to setting up those things as close as I can to my idea of a print book.
And maybe I’ll wax nostalgic just a bit on what motivates me to go all out on a print book like DILLON or Barry Reese’s LAZARUS GRAY series over at Pro Se and why it may be a headache…
…but if I’m putting together the product, I’m trying to make your print dollars worth it.
When you pick up something where I’m in the credits, then trust me, every design decision was made with reader’s experience in mind.
If you got an ebook, you’re only getting half the story.
Now let me get back to work, I’m kind of hoping this cover idea will gel as I go on the book layout…

18622322_10206525948026157_7267601985684796425_n

Advertisements

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)

the-vril-agenda

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.

“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…

11012171_10203241687841705_6567587471655020219_o

11754890_10203241688481721_304433711370068768_o

12015033_10203241687881706_8762669467930800186_o

12032688_10203241687961708_8478683115836614446_o

12045440_10203241688721727_6620449237431880022_o

From the “Dillon and the Brother From Brooklyn” File…

By Sean E. Ali

 

So…

Over the weekend Mr. Derrick Ferguson, of the Brooklyn Fergusons, wrote a bunch of very complimentary things about me (or someone who at least uses my name really well) and our upcoming collaboration on the 10th anniversary edition of DILLON AND THE VOICE OF ODIN

Which, I guess means the cat is out of the bag.

And as nice as it is to hear these wonderful things, I’m a lot like Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes in one respect: the work is what matters most to me…

So FINALLY I can talk about the project and the plans for the road ahead AND answer a few PMs publicly asking what I guess was the obvious question for some…

“Are you leaving Pro Se or something?”

The short answer is no. Pro Se is a long term commitment for at least another year or so and Tommy Hancock is working to free me up to do something other than lay out books…

Sure things end eventually, look at the great teams of my beloved comics like Lee and Kirby, or Lee and Ditko, Englehart and Rogers, Claremont and Byrne, Frank Miller and sanity…

…I mean that’s just the way of the universe and time and people. Folks move on eventually, but in the case of Hancock and Ali or Pro Se and Ali, that little arrangement still has miles to go before we sleep…

But I am an artist/designer for hire and occasionally it’s nice to be able to stretch out creatively in other places and sit in with other creative folks and just have a good old fashioned jam session…

And the secondary question…

“Why Dillon?”

Good question.

I’ve read Derrick’s version of events, but let’s go from where I got interested in Dillon, which is roughly five years ago.

The first Derrick Ferguson book I read was ODIN. It was suggested by a friend who knew I was looking for the impossible (in my mind) a well written action hero, who happened to look like me. Dillon didn’t disappoint. In fact, what Dillon did was give me an action hero that I honestly forgot looked like me. Dillon’s not a “Black Hero”, but a hero who happens to be Black. There is a distinct difference and in this case it was one that played even better.

Dillon holds his own with pretty much any action hero you want to put on the table. I could say “Dillon’s like Hero X” and you can’t help but see similarities to other great action heroes, but Dillon was uniquely his own man off the top. Plus the racial side of the equation (at least from a USA perspective) just doesn’t exist as a major factor. Dillon dives in, takes on whatever the mission is, kicks much behind along the way and blows a lot of stuff up. Plus, Derrick’s the only person I’ve read that can write a verbal car chase worthy of the Blues Brothers…

When Tommy told me he had landed Derrick as a part of the Sovereign City Project at Pro Se, it’s possible I was more excited about it than he was. We didn’t do a direct collaboration on THE ADVENTURES OF FORTUNE McCALL, but I tried to do his book justice. Later on, I hunted down the rest of the Dillon solo adventures I could get my hands on and Dillon is pretty much one of my personal favorites…

So during that time, I was lucky enough to be asked to do the cover for DILLON AND THE PIRATES OF XONIRA by Derrick and the job was pretty fun and I got to know Derrick behind the scenes as a cat I’d easily hang out with who just happens to be an exceptional writer. But it was a one off, and a rare deviation away from Pro Se and I grateful for the opportunity and moved back into the fan section…

…Which probably led to the thing that got me tapped for this gig…

In between Pro Se gigs I “doodle” in Photoshop. I create stuff that will probably never see the light of day commercially, but it’s fun to do. One of my doodles was an idea for a full blown big budget Dillon flick. Here at the DILLON site, he spitballs ideas for casting for a Dillon movie series and I wanted to do a visual on that, but I wanted to avoid using the celebrities mentioned and pull together stock images and do a Dillon which wouldn’t run into any major legal issues if I posted it somewhere…

The result was a poster so authentic, that when I posted it a few wondered if I had blown some super secret licensing deal that Derrick had pulled off. What was just the gravy on the whole thing was hearing from the creator of the a character who tells me I nailed the essence of what his hero looked like. Given I had to literally build a Dillon (this man doesn’t exist in the image he’s a compilation sort of like Frankenstein without the blow back) I was glad the image was so well received…

Fast forward a few months down the road and I was invited to put that visual to work as a book cover and to design future covers using the same method. I negotiated the book design part of the job and we were on…

It’s kind of nice to go from standing outside the candy shop with your nose pressed against the window, to getting all your candy…

As for the attached image, what Dillon adventure does this belong too?

920305_4350097609329_2001331061_o

 

No idea. I was just doodling.

Which is kind of how I got into this in the first place…

Coming fairly soon, the 10th Anniversary Edition of DILLON AND THE VOICE OF ODIN, by Derrick Ferguson – published by PulpWork Press…

…aided and abetted by Yours Truly

It’s been revised, added to and touched up, so you’ll want to get a copy…

Let me get back to it…

Be good to yourselves and each other.