Monday, February 21, 2011

Book Review: Lee Goldberg's New Series THE DEAD MAN

Mix one part lurid crime thriller, one part Stephen King-esque weird supernatural horror, add in a dash of colorful sex and a few sprinkles of gratuitous violence, then shake well over ice and pour into a tall frosty mug of icy death. You've just mixed up Lee Goldberg and William Rabkin's new short novel series, THE DEAD MAN.

I've been asked to avoid any spoilers, so I'll just say that the plot involves a young man who suffers a traumatic event, and afterward, finds himself exposed to a mysterious secret he never knew existed. To quote the page for THE DEAD MAN - Face of Evil:
Matthew Cahill is an ordinary man leading a simple life...until a shocking accident changes everything. Now he can see a nightmarish netherworld of unspeakable evil and horrific violence that nobody else does...

For Cahill, each day is a journey into a dark world he knows nothing about...a quest for the answers to who he is and what he has become...and a fight to save us, and his soul, from the clutches of pure evil.
The short novel (only about 25K words) is fast and tightly written. There isn't a lot of action (this is the first book, so a lot of things have to be set up first), but what violence there is counts as definitely cringe-worthy - in a good way. After reading Goldberg's book JUDGMENT I have definitely become a fan of his over-the-top depictions of murder and mayhem, and this new book doesn't disappoint.

Face of Evil has some sex thrown into the mix, which is always a good thing. I for one think there needs to be more sex in action novels; like peanut butter and chocolate, the two go so well together. There's some sharp humor as well, although the humor is rather bleak - just the way I like it in a crime / horror novel. The random asides given to minor characters throughout the book are especially amusing.

With the soaring popularity of the eBook format, I think we are going to see a great resurgence in the short novel and novella as a legitimate book length, something that's been largely missing from genre fiction since the late 80's. Despite the book's modest word count, I felt it is worth every penny of its $2.99 price tag, and would have been more disappointed if the story had been "padded out" to give it bulk. Face of Evil is a lean, mean story that does well to whet your appetite for future DEAD MAN releases.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dropping the Hammer and Punching Paper

While renovating my home office, I came across this paper target, dating back probably about 3-4 years ago when I went to the Boston Gun Range (which used to be out in Worcester, an hour's drive away from Boston, but I digress). As best as I can recall, I was firing a CZ-75 at this target from 25 feet.

Note that this is a half-size silhouette, so the "effective" distance would be 50 feet if this was a man-sized target. The cluster of shots on the left marked "JC" were made by a friend; the rest are mine. I can cover all the shots center mass, except for the low 4 o'clock flier and the two at 11 o'clock in the 5x zone, with my hand. All the shots to the head I can cover easily with my palm. I think it's not too bad after 15 years of soft city living, never having fired that particular model of pistol before in my life. A few weeks of regular practice and I could have probably shrunk that grouping by half. Living in Boston I don't have regular access to a range anymore, and even when the BGR was open I only went perhaps once or twice a year, so every visit was an exercise in shaking the rust off the trigger finger and learning to relax into a proper sight picture again.

I've been handling guns for over 25 years; my father has been a hunter, firearms safety instructor, guide, and all-around outdoorsman all his life, and when you grow up in Alaska and Maine, guns are as common as iPhones here in Boston. I don't know exactly how old I was when I first shot a firearm, but I left central AK when I was 8, and before that age my dad had cut down the stock on a .22 rifle so it would fit me better (we still have the rifle, with the rest of the stock reattached).

Since then, I've handled a wide variety of pistols, everything from Dan Wesson and S&W .357 magnums to pearl-handled .32 Colts, from Ruger MK IIs to Glock 19s to customized M1911A1 .45 automatics, and plenty of other models in between. I've shot shells in pump 12-gauges down to break-open .410s, and handled all sorts of bolt-action, single-shot, and semi-auto rifles, from .22s to an antique .38-55 lever action, from a Mini-14 to an AR-15 to a semi-auto AK-47.

During all that time I've shot with Maine State Police members (one of them a member of their Tac Team), US Customs, several local law enforcement officers from various places, and even a retired USMC Colonel who had been on the Corps' Pistol and Rifle Championship Teams (even at 70, he shot his custom .45 auto better than I ever could or will, and was "very disappointed" in his tiny little groupings).

With only one exception, my interaction with "shooting professionals" has been nothing but pleasant. I was never chastised for how I handled a firearm, or made to feel awkward or uncomfortable. I have no doubt that as a civilian I was given a hairy eyeball or two the first time I broke trigger in front of of a lawman, but it was always done with respect and a friendly nod.

The single instance where I felt otherwise was at the Sig Sauer training facility in Exeter, NH. I went with three other people because they have a good catalog of firearms training sessions, from basic gun safety to all manner of tactical shooting scenarios. We were all going because the Sig Sauer facility will give a certification that meets the Massachusetts standards needed to get a Firearms Identification Card, the first step on the long road to handgun ownership in this state. The basic class was eight hours, and cost each of us almost three hundred dollars.

I'm not going to belabor the whole experience point-by-point, but it was extremely disappointing. There was ~2 hours of "This is a gun. There are many different types of guns...", followed by an hour of "This is how you stick your finger in the breech to make sure there's not a bullet in there (which is fine, except we never do this in class, we just watch the instructors do it) and other handling safety guidelines. On top of that there were several hours of discussing various laws and regulations relating to gun ownership and transportation, as well as laws pertaining to self-defense and the legal ramifications of using a firearm in self-defense. All of that, while interesting, isn't really what we were there for - we signed up for a class to certify us in firearm safety and handling.

But wait, when do we get to the handling? Each of us had a "red gun" (realistic plastic training model) in front of us, which we were not allowed to handle at any point during the ~ six hours we were in the classroom, as we "hadn't been shown the right way to handle a firearm yet". In fact, we never picked up the red gun; not when we were being shown (and only shown) how to handle a firearm, or at any point while in class. I never laid a finger on my red gun the whole time I was there.

The only time we handled an actual firearm was the last hour of the day. We went into the indoor range, where each of us was issued a Sig 9mm auto appropriate for our hands and build (I believe mine was a Sig 239). We were informed by the more senior of the two instructors that he had a Tazer, and if we got out of line, he wouldn't hesitate to use it. That's right - paying customers were informed they would be Tazered if they "got out of line". This guy was a diminutive, Napoleonic, former law enforcement officer and retired LEO firearms instructor, and once we were on the range, he must have been having Full Metal Jacket flashbacks, because he was always right up behind you, mouth to your ear, riding your butt about everything you did and how if you did that thing again, you're done here, mister!.

I'll stop here and just remind you all that I'm 100% Safety First. I don't want to get gut-shot by some moron who can't handle their firearm safely, and I know it must be stressful to get a bunch of newbies up on the line with loaded guns in their hands. On the flip side, he was instructing about $8,000 worth of paying customers, not buzz-cutted raw recruits. I felt like I should be bellowing out "YES DRILL SERGEANT!!!" after everything he said.

And truth be told, I was more nervous, anxious, bumble-thumbed, and awkward there with him than I have ever been in over a quarter century of incident-free gun handling. Shooting with the Colonel, shooting with Maine State Police SWAT, shooting with US Customs - perfectly calm, cool, and collected. But there at the Sig Sauer training center, I was made so uncomfortable I felt like I was liable to drop the dang pistol. I even got yelled at for attempting to make my shooting accurate! "I DO NOT WANT YOU TO BE ACCURATE! I WANT YOU TO DO WHAT I TELL YOU TO DO WHEN I TELL YOU TO DO IT!".

The sad part is, the junior instructor was the exact opposite. He worked with both of the women I went with, one of whom had handled pistols before and another who had never fired a gun in her life. He was calm, cool, professional, and made them feel safe, confident, and reassured that they were doing the right thing. When one of them had difficulty with a stiff magazine spring and loading her rounds, he even gave her a hand and loaded it for her. He was only a part-time instructor, and told us he worked full-time in the factory assembling and testing the pistols, and was an amazingly pleasant and respectful individual to work with. It's a crying shame he has to work with that other blowhard.

At the end of the day, we all got our certifications. We were all safe, we all followed directions, and no one got Tazered. I did, however, feel utterly robbed of almost $300, and even if I have a chance, I'll never buy a Sig Sauer firearm because of that experience. Despite the fact that the Boston Gun Range was eventually closed down, they were always friendly, safety conscious, but once they worked with you and saw that you knew what you were doing, they wouldn't ride your behind every moment you were on the line.

Some time in early April, I hope to go up to New Hampshire again, and this time, try out The Firing Line. I'd like to give an Uzi a try, and I have a few friends who want to come along as well. If and when I go, I'll be sure to post a report.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Hell and Gone Made Me Cry Tears of Sweet Violent Joy

First, I'm going to say something kinda mean. Then, I'm going to say a lot of good things.

Let's begin.

I have always been extremely leery of war fiction written by veterans. Not necessarily combat veterans, but just veterans in general. I don't know if it's because I see the whole "Written by a guy who's been there, so you know the realism will Jump Off The Page!" as something of a marketing gimmick, or if it's because all too often I find that the use of over-authenticated terminology and other military trappings actually annoys me to some degree.

In movies and television, I feel that level of verisimilitude adds a lot because while at the time you may see something odd and say to yourself "Hey, why are those Delta Force guys wearing hockey helmets?", you can then look it up and say "Ohhh, hey, that's cool that they did it like that in the movie!". It can be taken in at a glance and appreciated almost as an afterthought while everything else is going on. Too often in the novels, the author feels the need to pointedly explain - almost directly to the reader - the "real-world" tactics the characters are using, or military terms, or whatever.

And, God help any author who uses the phrase "Unlike what you see in the movies..." or "This is real life, not some action movie...", or some variation on that theme, either as character dialogue or in a descriptive exposition. It's actually more annoying in movies (since you ARE in an action movie, jerkwad...), but it's just as annoying in books; that's an automatic one-star penalty to any rating I'd give.

So, when I set out to read Henry Brown's novel Hell and Gone, I approached it sorta like going on a blind date. I know Henry's a veteran, but I also know he was shooting very much for a "pulpy action novel" vibe when he wrote the book, so I wasn't sure how those two competing influences were going to blend, and what they would produce.

Well, what they produced was an action novel that hits you like a brick through a plate glass window. Hell and Gone is, in every positive way possible, a literary cousin to Stallone's action opus The Expendables. A cadre of crusty "has-been" mercs sent on a supposed suicide mission, taking on an overwhelming number of bad guys and repeatedly kicking them square in the wedding tackle. There's a lot of conflict, both internal and external, and some of the guys you love to hate, and others you hate to love, but they're all interesting and fun to read.

At 82K words, Hell and Gone isn't a particularly long novel, nor should it be particularly long; it's an action movie in written form, and thus there's no reason for it to look like every other Tom Clancy techno-thriller doorstop novel. I read the book over the course of three evenings on my iPad via the Kindle app, and it read very quick and clean; this was my first purchased eBook read entirely on an electronic device, and I was surprised at how easy it was to read the book. I also have an iPod touch, and using the Whispersync, as long as both devices had a wifi connection I could move from reading on one while at home to reading on the other while waiting for a meeting or getting coffee. It was very handy, and has encouraged me to look to buying more eBooks.

This isn't to say, of course, that I wouldn't have bought the book in paper form; I wanted to try buying an eBook for the first time, and Hell and Gone was my trial run. Having read it, I might just have to buy a hard copy to have on hand. The action is snappy and well-orchestrated, the dialogue is smooth and feels natural, the plot is tightly constructed; simple, but with a few good twists to keep it from being boring. I hope I don't ruin things by saying that not everyone makes it back home alive (and in this regard, I actually think this story trumps The Expendables), and thankfully the deaths were handled very well, with sufficient gravitas but lacking the typical groan-worthy war movie melodrama.

And lastly, while I think you can tell that the book was written by a former serviceman, it mostly comes out in the interactions between the characters and a lot of their viewpoints on life, war, and camaraderie, and in a way that doesn't feel awkward and forced. There's never that "This isn't an action movie, bucko!" moment even though, especially regarding one particular character, that could have easily happened.

In conclusion, I highly recommend Hell and Gone, either the print or the eBook version. If you're a fan of the military / para-military / action genre, you are going to enjoy this book.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Introducing A Young Film Scholar

This young boy likes the movie Commando. I mean, he REALLY LIKES IT. I can't remember if I had seen Commando by age 9; I know I'd seen Red Dawn, and Beastmaster, and Blue Thunder, and a number of other action movies, but I can't say for sure if I'd seen Commando by that point (I'd only have been 8 when the movie came out, and living in Alaska, so I'm guessing not).

So here it is: Alex presents: Commando

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Penetrator Disturbs My Lily-Livered 21st Century Morality

Political correctness is a funny thing. We all love to say "Hey, I'm not a 'PC' kinda guy, har har hur hurr." And then crack a bad joke to show how we're not all a bunch of quiche-eating, latte-sipping, metrosexual pantywaists who've caved to cultural pressures and now recycle, buy organic foods, and occasionally wonder if turning in the Chevy Avalanche for a Prius would actually be a good thing.

But at the end of the day, we all know that beyond the "stop trying to shove an attitude of over-acceptance down my throat, you liberal commie pinko scumbags" bravado, its actually a good thing to not be a racist, sexist, bigoted ignoramus who still thinks it's perfectly acceptable to swat your secretary on the backside because, hey, you didn't hire her for her ability to file TPS reports, right sweet-cheeks?

Wait, aren't we supposed to be talking about pulp action novels here, bucko?

Oh yes, my apologies.

So yeah, why did someone decide 'The Penetrator' was a good name for a pulp action series? The Executioner, he executes people. The Butcher, he butchers people. The Destroyer, he destroys people. The Death Merchant is a guy who deals in death. The Ninja Master...I think you get my drift. So what does the Penetrator do? He...penetrates...? Really? I won't even go into the character's name; Mark Hardin. Yeah...Hardin. I know other reviewers have beat this to death, but really now...someone needed to have put a stop to that real early on in the series development process.

Of course, the series tries to make sense of the character's moniker; Mark Hardin was a "penetration specialist" in Vietnam, by which we mean, he was an expert at passing through an enemy's defenses, "penetrating" the territory and performing his mission, then getting out again. Yeah, that's fine. Except for the part where he starts getting called The Penetrator.

All right, I'm done with that.

So the plot of Penetrator #4, Hijacking Manhattan, is that a militant black extremist group has teamed up with a Chinese drug / terror syndicate to hold New York City hostage. First they blow up a subway station, then they blow up the relay to the Empire State Building's radio tower, and finally they threaten to release some kind of weaponized super-germ into the water supply in order to wipe out the population of the city. The mastermind behind this enormously complex and shockingly successful criminal enterprise is a former juvenile delinquent named Abdul Daley, a five-foot tall miscreant with a "duck's-ass" haircut. Apparently this dude killed his first cop around the age of fifteen, then later signed up into the Army, learned to become an expert at all things killy and explosive, then got himself dishonorably discharged so he could put all those new skills to use as some kind of paramilitary crime boss.

Anyhow, this pint-sized criminal genius (who is banging a Chinese assassin / liaison / femme fatale named Soo Lin, by the by) first cons NYC out of two million dollars, then another three million, in a couple of exploits that are so contrived as to be laughable. Honestly, if it was that easy to blackmail / hold hostage a city for money, NYC would have gone broke long ago.

Enter The Penetrator, who shows up in NYC to investigate something called "Black Gold" which his sources have only heard rumblings about. Well, he gets there just after Black Gold (Abdul Daley's terror group) blew up a subway station. Hardin then spends the rest of the book just kinda wandering from one place to another, getting into trouble, shooting guys, torturing guys (like pouring lighter fluid into someone's slashed chest wound and setting it on fire), wearing some kind of's a little embarrassing, actually. For a guy who's supposedly a "penetration specialist" his modus operandi seems to involve A) getting a tip from someone to the effect of "check this place out, it might have bad guys", B) going to said place and seeing that - woah - there are bad guys there, C) getting spotted almost immediately as some kind of intruder, and D) killing a few guys and leaving, while saying "Yeah, there were bad guys there".

Hmmm, what else? There's a completely artificial love interest with some private investigator woman who's got a big rack (and he has to mention this multiple times) who falls in love with Hardin for no apparent reason. There's a wise old Chinese man who is - woah - rather inscrutable. There is a gang rape that never gets resolved by the end of the book, which makes no sense whatsoever.

And of course, there's the "black" thing. Every time Hardin faces one of the black (whoops, I mean 'bad') guys, the author HAS TO point out that they are black. Hey, I think we got keyed in on the fact they were a black power militant group in the first chapter, and every chapter after that; I don't think we need to refer to the color of the guys getting shot every time one of them gets wasted. The book is filled with "the bullet punched into the man's black chest" or "...I'll blow your head clean off those black shoulders!".

And I don't even want to bring up the dialogue for all the black characters in the book (but I will); it makes the dialogue in Coffey and Foxy Brown and Shaft and all the other Blaxploitation films sound like something written by P.G. Wodehouse. Every other word out of their mouths is "honkey" or "whitey" or some other kind of "jive". Now, although I wasn't alive in 1974, never mind hanging out on the streets of NYC, it makes my head ache to read that kind of dialogue, because I get the distinct impression that no matter how black urban militants circa 1974 spoke, it wasn't nearly as ridiculous as what I found in the book. This is so obviously a white collar white guy trying and failing to imitate how he thinks the black urban criminal element speaks, it honestly makes me gag a little. I am willing to cut someone like Joseph Rosenberger a little slack for his stereotyped caricatures of other cultures (usually with a derogatory slant) because Rosenberger was quite simply a bit of a whacko, and, like Harry Callahan is described in the original Dirty Harry, he hates everyone equally.

At the end of the day (and this column), I know that a series like The Penetrator is essentially lurid escapist trash, and that a lot of the stereotyping is a product of it's time; the early 70's weren't exactly a Utopian period in American race relations history. It just bothers, or perhaps simply annoys me, because it's one of the negative aspects of the "men's adventure" genre during this time period that keeps dragging these books back into the mire, when I'd actually like to see them receive a little - if not respect - appreciation.

I've got a couple more Penetrators lying around. I will eventually get around to reading another, and they are near the middle of the series' run, but it probably won't be for a while.

Seriously though...The Penetrator???

Monday, February 7, 2011

Joe Kenney's Letter From Gar Wilson

Over at Glorious Trash, blogger Joe Kenney shares with us a letter he received from "Gar Wilson" (a pen name for Gold Eagle Books' Phoenix Force series) after his 13-year old self mailed in a story idea for a Phoenix Force novel.

Although the idea was rejected (it involved a trip to Mars), someone at Gold Eagle decided to write a very thoughtful and informative letter to the young reader, giving some really great, inspirational advice on how to write, doing research, and what one should do to get published. Whoever this GE staffer or house writer was, they took a good deal of time out of their own schedule to write back to a young fan and give real, usable advice that is as worthwhile today as it was in 1988.

Here's the blog post over at Glorious Trash. You should all give Joe's blog a read-through; there's a lot of great content there!

Press Release - Unit 13

For immediate release -- February, 2011


Unit 13 is the fourth title from Granton City Press.

The Unit brings a rag tag special force under the wing of rough and rugged Sgt. Crake, who must take the unit behind the German lines to stop the enemy from creating a legion of abomination which could turn the tide of the Great War.

While a World War rages in the trenches of Northern France, Sergeant T.S. Crake leads Unit 13, a secret elite military force, deep behind enemy lines. The diverse force follows the rumors and vague reports of diabolical medical experiments back to a small occupied village where the Germans have created something monstrous -- an unexpected weapon that will fundamentally change the very nature of modern warfare.

When one of their own is captured during their escape, Sgt. Crake must decide whether to risk the rest of the Unit in a daring rescue. Reuniting with the Unit's support team, they are joined by two new powerful allies and the question becomes that much more pressing. Do they return to their temporary base in England or do they follow their friend's trail into the very heart of darkness?

Crake ultimately decides he cannot leave a comrade to suffer at the hands of madmen and will risk everything to save his friend. Half the German Army and a host of other dangers stand between them and success, but they have their own secrets that may just give them the edge.

Their journey takes them halfway across Europe to the German's main medical facility hidden in the ancient Altenschatten Castle. Will they survive the treacherous road into the lion's den? And what will they find when they get there? What horrors are lurking in the shadows of Altenschatten?

The story comes from the co-writing team of Canadian Calvin Daniels and American Tyrell Tinnin, who met through the social networking site Facebook which has been a key networking tool for Granton City Press, although it wasn’t always a process which worked.

“I’ve made attempts with several writers, but styles and visions don’t always mesh, so several efforts went to the trash bin,” said Daniels.

But Daniels did find Tyrell Tinnin, a writer from Wichita, Kansas.

“Tyrell has been a blast to work with,” he said. “We get along great and are really on the same page in terms of the spin-off title Unit 13.”

Tinnin said he decided to give the project a try because he liked the premise.

“History with a dash of science fiction, who really could resist that combo?” he said, adding he has found co-writing with Daniels, “Working with Calvin is crazy, you never know what story curve balls that guy will throw at you.”

Unit 13 is a sort of prequel set in World War One.

“Some of the characters show up in Granton City years later,” said Daniels. “Others are unique to Unit 13, at least for now.”

Tinnin explains the ‘feel’ of the title as being “a mash-up of pulpy ‘Weird War’ and ‘Kelly's Heroes’ or ‘Inglorious Basterds’.”

Book #1 of Unit 13 is now available.

In preparation for the book’s release, Granton City Press did some pre-selling which Daniels said was important to bolster interest in the book, and to offset initial costs. People were provided a chance to pre-purchase the book, however, not just a regular copy of the book.

Instead, the first 100 pre-sales were sold as signed & numbered copies of the book. They were numbered 1/100, 2/100, 3/100 etc., and signed by both Daniels and Tinnin.

Anyone purchasing a book through the offer will have an opportunity to purchase signed & numbered editions of future Unit 13 novels with the same sequence number. That will mean ensuring every book you purchase has a matching number such as 3/100, said Daniels, adding there are a few S&N copies of The Horrors of Altenschatten still available.

Follow Unit 13 at and


For further information or to order any of our titles;

or interviews contact:

Calvin Daniels 306-782-1783


Press Release - The Ghost Wind

For immediate release -- February, 2011


The Ghost Wind is the first spin-off title for Granton City Press.

Following on the heels of The Black Wolf, The Ghost Wind operates in the same fictional locale of Granton City, being a force of good in the city's Chinatown district, a place where the magic of the Far East is still a force.

In a remote monastery in the mountains of Japan young Yoshi Kobayashi is trained in the ways of the ninja, forged into a deadly weapon, his instincts and fighting prowess honed to perfection. He is the ultimate warrior. He is the Ghost Wind.

Indentured into the service of Japanese Crime Lord Hideki Yakamura Yoshi is sent halfway across the world to the glamour and madness of 1920s America and the gritty streets of Granton City. Plunged into a seedy underworld of gangsters and speakeasies Yoshi soon realizes nothing and nobody are really what they seem.

Yakamura is no mere mobster but in reality an ancient sorcerer and the target of powerful supernatural forces hungry for his power. Yoshi becomes embroiled in a dark and terrible war beyond the Veil between worlds which only he alone can put an end to.

In the climactic battle to come Yoshi is forced to choose between his duty as Ghost Wind and the woman he loves. Supported by strange allies and beset by monstrous enemies is he strong enough to stop the legions of darkness from conquering the earth when the Veil is finally torn?

The story comes from the co-writing team of Canadian Calvin Daniels and Brit Mitchel Rose, who have yet to meet face-to-face.

Daniels said the social networking site Facebook actually proved an important networking tool for Granton City Press, and The Ghost Wind.

“Mitchel is another writer I connected with on Facebook. I saw he had an interest in Manga and thought he might be a good fit for Ghost Wind, and he has been perfect,” said Daniels.

Rose said the book, and it's follow-up The Runaway Princess which is nearing completion, has been fun.

“I've really enjoyed writing for Ghost Wind. I love pulp style adventures and I had the freedom to take it to down some pretty strange and fantastic avenues.” added Mitchel.

Ghost Wind is a young ninja who owes hie life to a local crime lord and community leader in the ‘Chinatown’ of Granton City in the 1920s.

“It’s sort of Green Hornet and Big Trouble In Little China meets The Untouchables,” said Daniels. “It’s quite unique from the other books, but has the same terms of reference.”

“A real roller coaster ride of a story.” added Mitchel.

In preparation for the book’s release, Granton City Press did some pre-selling which Daniels said was important to bolster interest in the book,and to offset initial costs. People were provided a chance to pre-purchase the book, however, not just a regular copy of the book.

Instead, the first 100 pre-sales were sold as signed & numbered copies of the book. They were numbered 1/100, 2/100, 3/100 etc., and signed by both Daniels and Mitchel.

Anyone purchasing a book through the offer will have an opportunity to purchase signed & numbered editions of future Ghost Wind novels with the same sequence number. That will mean ensuring every book you purchase has a matching number such as 3/100, said Daniels, adding there are a few S&N copies of The Torn Veil still available.

Follow Ghost Wind at and


For further information

or interviews contact:

Calvin Daniels 306-782-1783


Press Release - The Black Wolf

For immediate release -- February, 2011


A noted mechanical engineer has gone missing in Granton City, as has a professor with a past live as an inventor of miraculous machines.

That puts The Black Wolf on the case.

The Wolf is a vigilante with a pair of Colt .45s, and the attitude that the cops in 1920s’ Granton City can too easily be bought, so he has appointed himself sheriff, judge, jury and at times executioner.

But can even a bad attitude and a loaded gun solve the newest mystery before the world is threatened by a diabolical menace?

To find out you will have to read The Black Wolf #1 - Metal Monsters of Doom, the first release from Granton City Press, and Canadian authors Calvin Daniels and Kevin Lee. The book was released in 2010, and has already been followed by Book #2 - The Demon Door.

A third volume of The Black Wolf will appear later this year.

Creator Calvin Daniels said the idea of doing pulp-era novels sort of popped into his head one day while trolling through Facebook.

“I’ve always had a soft spot for the purple clad Phantom from reading his stories in the old Charlton Comics line, and of course The Shadow, and Batman,” said Daniels who has been a journalist for more than 20-years. “But, that interest really never coalesced into wanting to write a pulp book until early last year (2009).”

So Daniels, who has previously published three books with a hockey theme, one fiction the others non-fiction, came up with a broad concept, then went looking for a co-writer.

“I had a basic idea for The Black Wolf,” he said, adding, “I thought it would be fun to share the writing.”

That’s where Kevin Lee came on-board.

“I’ve known Kevin casually for a while, and I had written stories for Yorkton This Week on his fantasy trilogy TRIO, so I thought why not ask him,” said Daniels. “Thankfully he said yes.”

Lee said he decided to take on the project because it was a story quite different from his fantasy world.

“Black Wolf sounded like fun when Calvin first pitched the idea of being a co-writer with him on it, and it was an entirely different universe in comparison with my fantasy trilogy TRIO. Black Wolf is a lot shorter in length as well, which makes the story move along rather quickly. It's been fun and challenging at the same time because Calvin tends to work at a much faster rate than I do!,” he said.

Co-writing The Black Wolf has been a great experience, said Daniels.

“It’s great because we use a pretty simple system, basically taking turns writing chapters,” he said. “It really keeps you focused because you feel obligated to get back to writing every time a chapter comes in.

“It also keeps ideas flowing, because we feed off each other. You never know what the other will do in their chapter. It’s fascinating to watch characters and plots develop.

Lee said he too finds the process an interesting one from a writer’s perspective.

“By working on a pulp style of story instead of a fantasy setting it gets the imagination working on a completely different level because you're not thinking of sword and sorcery but more along the lines of those old crime TV shows, heroes and villains that are from our own world. Not to mention by switching up on the two stories the creative energy gets renewed each time!” he said.

The process has resulted in books the pair are proud of.

“The first book is great! After it was all said and done I found it to be fun romp and now as my third TRIO novel is nearly done my focus is back on Black Wolf #2 and the creative ideas are already beginning to roll! It should be just as fun if not better on the second go around,” said Lee.

“They may not win a Pulitzer, but pulps are supposed to be quick, easy and fun reads, and I think The Black Wolf is all three,” added Daniels.

Metal Monsters of Doom and The Demon Door both have cover art by Daniel Bradford, who is the artist of the indie comic Robot 13 from Blacklist Studios (

“I fell in love with his art when reviewing his comic for Yorkton This Week,” said Daniels. “He was a friend on Facebook, so it was a natural to ask him to come on board.

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For further information or interviews contact:

Calvin Daniels 306-782-1783



Friday, February 4, 2011

Trailers for Machete and The Expendables

It's been a little while since these movies came out, but I figured I'd put up the trailers for both films, just to add a little fun to a slow Friday afternoon.


The Expendables:

Enjoy, and have a good weekend!