Jim is one half of the Flinch publishing duo and joins us today to talk about their newest anthology – a western title Six Gun Legends. We also discuss his Sgt Janus books and connection to Carnacki, Kolchak and X-files.

With the upcoming Pulpfest, JIm tells us more about that show and what he and partner, John Bruening, have planned.





Stephen: so today on Discover Wordsmith, I wanna welcome the great Jim Beard, who is the better duo, better half of the duo of Flinch Publishing. That’s what I hear at least Jim? Oh,

Jim: wow. Okay. This is starting off on the wrong foot already.

Now. I can never talk to John again. My partner, my publishing partner. Wow. Okay.

Stephen: We’ll just not tell John you’re on here, and then we’ll, okay. Yeah. This

Jim: is just between you and me. Nobody else is gonna hear

Stephen: this. Nobody at all.

Jim: Wow. Wow. Yeah, he’s, he’s already, supremely jealous of me, so now it’s just gonna be worse. Nice.

Stephen: Jim tell everybody a little bit about yourself to give an intro here. Okay. I

Jim: am a a writer, editor, and publisher of adventure Fiction. And pop culture nonfiction. And then I also whenever I can, I will write licensed fiction too. I don’t do as much of that as I would I would like to.

But so I wear several hats and do a lot of different things. And I actually have two small press self-publishing firms, and we already mentioned the one. So that’s flinch books with John Bruning of Cleveland, Ohio who will never speak to me again. Thank you. Oh,

Stephen: I’m sorry. I just broke the band up.

Jim: And and then Becky books which is just me.

Stephen: And actually you mentioned the license stuff. That was the first time I met you. It was actually years ago at pioneer Village down mid Ohio. Yeah you had a little table like set up behind the mill. Yeah. In the middle of nowhere.

It was like nobody was around you. Yeah. It

Jim: was a card

Stephen: table. Yes. And I had found out that you wrote a story for one of the Star Wars comic books I had, and I had that brought it down to have you sign. Yeah.

Jim: You’re reminding me that we only see each other at bigfoot shows. Yes.

Stephen: Yeah. Which is funny because about it, it’s this for sure.

And that’s kind funny because that’s not your main thing up until now you.

Jim: That’s, that’s interesting because I have been utterly fascinated and in love with Cryptids, all my life from when I was, a little kid and and just want to be around that kind stuff.

But I chose to do that because I do have a lot of like monster or supernatural related things and I’ve that kicked it off for me. I’ve actually started doing some crypted shows now and finding out that I do very well at them. That the people really seem to spark. When, when I bring Cold Check the Night Stalker or Love it, I don’t have, I can’t get it anymore.

I used to have an in the X-Files book, but unfortunately I can’t get copies of that. I,

Stephen: I’ve got that. Yeah I got a

Jim: copy from you. And I was just, before we started recording here, I was just telling you that this lasted show that I was at, which I. Surprise, surprise that I got the idea that I’m finally going to do an actual Bigfoot book.

Yeah, that’d be great. I actually can, hold that up when I’m at these shows and say, look, I have a Bigfoot book. It’s not just it’s Bigfoot.

Stephen: Yeah, I saw you asking for stories in that and I got excited ’cause I love reading that stuff. I actually thought of replying one, but I’m like, nah, I don’t wanna mix it with asking you to be on the podcast and applying to the book.

I don’t wanna feel, I’m mad. That’s okay. Yeah. But I don’t think I was ready for it, listen, I

Jim: mean, honestly, if this first one does well, I will certainly, want to do other another in fact, I had to, I got more pitches than I had slots, right? The book. And I had to actually turn down, four people.

Everybody turned in great pitches. Which is an editor’s dream. It’s also a nightmare too, ’cause you, ’cause then you have to weigh two really good ones and you gotta go so who knows maybe a second volume, but it’s, I gotta get this first one out first.

Stephen: Good.

I’ll look forward to it because I also mentioned, I’m reading the Mummy anthology from several years ago, and it’s been sitting on my shelf for a couple years now, so it’ll always

Jim: be there for you.

Stephen: The problem is when things are on my pile, other things get added to it. It’s kinda like a trash dump that the good stuff on the bottom disappears because it’s covered up.

Jim: My, my two read pile is not that. But I, John, my, my publishing partner, his, he always talks about it just grows and grows. And every once in a while, he’ll take one off of it and go, oh, this has been on here for years.

Stephen: And what really sucks is we are we’re jumping around a little bit.

We’ll get back to some books here in a moment, but we were talking Oh, is that what we’re talking about? I’m, yeah, exactly. Yeah. We’re just chatting for the night. Okay. But we were talking about Pulp Fest coming up and I’ve mentioned that in the past. I know I’m gonna walk away with books and my son’s got a list that he’s looking for and I’m like, oh man,

Jim: hey, listen, I spend almost like everything I make, I just turn right around and it goes right back to the other tables.

We just spread this money around.

Stephen: There’s really no money to be made at those places because everything you make, you just give to someone else who then gives it, and you get back what you put in at times.

Jim: That’s a really good point. And this goes into Behind the scenes of publishing.

John and I say this a lot, that while we may not be making a ton at Pul Fest or maybe sometimes even breaking even, because we have our hotel fee and we have our table fee and all of that, it’s to us, it’s the show of the year for what we do. And we look at it as rich a wealth of networking.

Seeing what other people are doing, almo and then touching those roots of what we do. Again, the classic stuff that we see all through there it’s so valuable in many ways. It’s not just right, to make money, we’re hopefully absolutely. That we’re gonna make some new fans, there, and that will help down the road too.

Stephen: And then the problem comes in after you’ve seen the same people at a couple of these, it’s I’ve got all your books now,

Jim: yeah. And then, you know what, and that’s an ongoing concern, challenge, whatever you wanna call it. That that the audience is not, growing.

And yes, we do see, but the key to that is to always have something new. Always have something new. So Flinch will have two new books. This year that we didn’t have last year. Nice. And then now for the very first time, Becky books is going to be there. I decide, ’cause I actually took a few with me last year and I told John, I’ll keep these under the table.

You, it’s I’m not gonna take over the flinch table. But people were coming up and asking for them. So I put a few up there and they did so well that I actually broke down and bought another table. So we’re gonna be both be Becky books and flinch books there. And with the Becky books, I’ve got, I have several new books that I didn’t have last year.

But that is the key. If you’re getting the same people, then you gotta have something new. Got to have something new.

Stephen: Right. So let’s talk about a couple of those books. Okay. You’ve mentioned the Western and that’s your newest one from Flinch. Yeah. So tell us a little bit about that. And I know you do a lot of like short story anthologies in that, so Yeah.

If you got any others to bring up for people that are listening that, that would be interested in that, tell us a little bit about them. Cool.

Jim: So at the time of this recording one week ago John and I published Six Gun Legends. And it’s 10 Rounds of Wild West Action is the subtitle.

This is our very first foray into Western Fiction. This is, was spearheaded by John. He’s a big Western fan somewhat more recently that he’s gotten into it. But he’s, and he said to me, I really want to do a Western anthology. Now, what we do at Flinch is that we, we do usually once a year, we do one anthology and we do one.

Like of our own novels. So we been alternating. He puts out Midnight Guardian and I have Sergeant Janice, but we always do a a fiction anthology. So this year it’s the Western anthology. And I gotta tell you, I’m proud of every book that we put out, but this one is just in incredible, the lineup of writers that we got in it.

We got a couple of the If you’ll, pardon the pun, big guns of modern Western fiction Terrence McCauley and Jeffrey Jay Marriott. Who, look, if you don’t know their names, yeah, I don’t know. Look them up. And they’re at the forefront of the, modern writers who are doing western fiction right now.

We can’t believe they said yes, but they seemed very excited to be part of it. And it’s all brand new stories in this book. And there’s a couple of us who had, are, we’re all professional writers in this book, but a couple of us have never written westerns before. And that’s cool. I’m one of them. Now, this is funny, John is almost one of them, but about what?

About a month? Previous, about a month ago another publisher, a friend of ours, Charles Millhouse. Oh, at Storm Gate Press, he put out a Western anthology and John is in that, and it’s so funny. It’s just that he got that one published first, or ours would’ve had John’s very first Western, so it’s technically his second Western.

But Chris, Ryan and me, we have our very first Western. That’s cool. Neither one of us that’s had ever written westerns before, but had always wanted to, and this was our chance. So the theme of it is, it’s not just Western stories. The theme of it is that every, all the characters in it in the, in their universes their legend precedes them.

They all have something about them that, that are, that’s larger than life. So think the lone Ranger.

Stephen: Okay. The

Jim: Lone, when I was a kid, the Lone Ranger was my entry point into westerns because I love superheroes. I wasn’t so sure about Westerns, but my dad was a big lone Ranger fan when he was a kid.

Mine too. And he good see and how that happens. Yeah. He infused me with that same love of the character. So that’s how Flinch Works is one of us usually comes up with the basic idea and then the other one offers a way to tweak it, and then we go back and forth. So John said, gotta do a Western anthology.

And I said, cool. How about if it’s more instead of the common man in it, I said, all the characters, have something about them that people know before they even walk into a town. They have a name for themselves, they have a gimmick, anything like this, they have a legend.

And he said, yes, let’s do that. So

Stephen: that, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a gunfighter, right? It could be a, yeah. So this

Jim: book has, gunfighters or assassins. It’s not just heroes. There’s some real shady characters in this. But again, they have some, they have a shtick, they have a name they, this, that, and the other thing some of them are almost superheroes.

John has his character called the Six Gun Specter, and he’s Oh yeah. Like a, almost like a shadow char. The shadow. But in the Old West,

Stephen: Western superheroes are cool. Yeah,

Jim: Totally. So here’s me thinking oh, I’m gonna do like a Lone Ranger thing. And then I don’t know how it happened, but I did a husband and wife duo called Mr.

And Mrs. Smith and Wesson. And just had a ball with it. I imagine my story as a half a black and white half hour episode of a classic western, like the rifle man or something like that. I set it up and imagined it in my head, and there are a couple that. They have a very odd relationship that the husband’s a little handpicked.

The, the woman’s ki very strong-willed, but they also have this great love story kind of going on too as they walk, go into town and get themselves into crazy, misadventures.

Stephen: See, my first thought, and I’ve watched a lot of those westerns with my father.

He, that’s all we ever watched. We had the Western Channel just so he could watch westerns all the time. I love it. And my first thought actually was like a Maverick character. That the card ace guy and some heist or he gets himself in trouble and it’s a comedy thing. That was my first thought, which is weird.

’cause normally I’m an action guy, but, we

Jim: got, we got them, we got that type of character, in this book. So all those wonderful types of Western characters, they’re all represented here. And like I said, some are more sterling than others and some have way more shades of gray than others, but they all have a name for themselves.

The one somewhat exception to that, and I love this, is that Jeff Marriott no. It’s Terrence. Oh I, Terrence will be mad at me if you listen to this. Terrence McCauley has an ongoing set of characters in his novels that he is known for. He offered us a story of those characters when they were younger and he, I guess he had never done that before.

Almost like an origin story. So this is those characters before they became legends the way they are in his series of, that’s cool. I’m hoping that once the, his fans hear that, that there’s that character that we love so much, except this is when he was younger, that I hope that, they’re gonna say, I need to have that because to keep that, completeness going in it.

Stephen: Absolutely. And so my question for you particularly is you mentioned your Sergeant Janus character, who I’ve read and loved very carnagie like character. Thank you. You very easily could have put him into a western in that time-ish frame and done something with him.

Supernatural. I know. He, he,

Jim: thank you for that. He exists in what I call the late Edwardian period. He’s actually in the late 1920s. Is there, yeah, the funny thing is that there are TV shows on right now that are westerns, but they take place in modern times. You still have that’s a very fun idea.

But what I wanted to do was, I personally didn’t want to have, a recurring, my recurring character in it. I really wanted to do something, brand new. And I’m hoping that people like. My new characters enough that they may want more stories of them. And I hope that for all the characters in this book, ’cause they’re all brand new except for terrence’s characters the story’s brand new, but the characters, are previously existing.

But I’m hoping that people love that so much that they go to these writers and say, man, I really wanna see more stories, with that character.

Stephen: A Absolutely. And I’ve been involved with a couple anthologies with a whole bunch of writers where it was like a theme and everyone did their own thing.

So I always, even if I have those at a table, it’s, I’m a middle grade writer and I’m like, these are anthologies with many writers. I cannot guarantee all the stories are kid friendly, just warning you. Yep. So at some point I’ll probably, for, people on my list or something, release my stories to them.

Yeah. So they don’t have to buy this book and rip out the stories that don’t fit their kids or something. It’s just, it’s that weird thing. I just don’t want someone reading it and saying, oh my God, I didn’t know that this one. ’cause they’re swearing. There’s adult themes, there’s yeah. One, one author who’s wonderful, but everything is L G B T.

Yeah. And not that I have a problem with that, with middle grade, but if you’re not expecting it from a middle grade book, absolutely.

Jim: And you know what a lot of people do that where they write they have a character and they are in many different anthologies with that character. And then they eventually take, when they get enough of the stories, they take ’em all and then they republish ’em in one set.

My buddy Charles Rutledge has his his barbarian character carne. And he’s been saying lately a lot on Facebook that he’s I now have, I think it’s 17 or 18 stories of this character. I think maybe I have to do a collection now, and we’re all going, yeah. This is what you do.

Come on. Take ’em all and you put ’em in, so it’s like the complete car.

Stephen: Nice. Yeah. Tell everybody a little bit about Sergeant Janis. We’ve mentioned him and he’s one of your big characters. You’ve got a couple books by him. Yeah. And right behind you, we were talking about your posters and you’re talking about the crypto stuff.

So you’re in that supernatural paranormal monster world. You’ve done X-files and check and Sergeant Janus is. Your own character that fits that give everybody a little bit about that. Sure. And

Jim: you said it earlier when you mentioned Carnagie. Carnagie was created by William Hobe Hodgson in the teens the nineteens.

And I, when I first read those nine adventures, there’s only nine stories of them. Hodgson was killed during World War I before he could write anymore. I absolutely fell in love with it. Now, I’ve always loved the idea of the occult detective. It’s a subcategory of detectives. It’s it’s like Sherlock Holmes, but with ghosts, and supernatural things. And I’ve always loved that idea. And I was really inspired by not only that, but then Carnagie also appears in Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, comics. Yes, at one point. So I think I actually dis, like Alan Moore told me about Carnagie, and then I said I have to go and find the original stories.

And then I read all that and I said I, it’s, I just want this, I want this for myself. So Sergeant Janis grew out of that. He is a spirit breaker, but basically a ghost hunter who operates in the 1920s. And the twist is that all of his stories are epistolary. Yeah, meaning if, and it’s okay if you don’t know out there, if you don’t know what that means that there, every, the stories are told through letters, journals other type of writings all first person.

And that’s the twist here, is that in the first book, Sergeant Janis Spirit Breaker we learned that the sergeant, he does not write up his own cases. Once they’re done, like for his own files, he asks his clients to do that. And what we get is it’s eight cases. In this, in the first book and book, we get eight different points of view on the same guy.

So some are men, some are women, some are people who are totally into what he does. And then there’s some people, there’s one guy in particular who is no, this guy’s a fake. And I can’t believe I fell for this. By the end of the book, like I said, you learn how the Sergeant operates, but you get it filtered through eight different people right.

As they themselves go through this, these crazy little adventures with

Stephen: him. And it’s a direct line from like Sergeant Janus to cold check to X-files. If you like those and you’re a reader, Sergeant Janus fits right in with that. Yeah.

Jim: What I love about the occult detective trope is that it can be adapted to many different things.

So you said it yourself. So there’s the classic stuff like Carnagie which is just pure unadulterated occult detective of the classic era. And then there are things like Cultch. People don’t realize it, but Carl Cultch is an occult detective. He investigates supernatural things. He’s doing it for a different reason that like, he’s not out in the world to, to first and foremost get rid of the supernatural.

He’s actually writing stories for a newspaper, right? But in that, in the process of that, he gets rid of the supernatural menace usually. X-Files, great example. Scalor and Mulley s Mulder and Scully. I,

Stephen: I like Scalor and Mulley, that, that would be the good parody.

Jim: There’s a parody of it out there somewhere.

There. They are totally occult detectives. Here’s another one that people don’t realize. The Ghostbusters are occult detectives, right? So it’s really cool that what it’s become over the

Stephen: years. I think the X-files the one thing I look at it now, and I wouldn’t say they have to change it, but I really wonder what it would’ve been like if Scully would’ve been much more scientific and opposed to Mulder’s belief and all his paranormal, he just would go the paranormal route and figure it out.

Yeah. But she was supposed to be the science one, but we didn’t really get science on that show which wasn’t bad. I just wonder what it might’ve been like. Yeah. With a little more in

Jim: the beginning maybe but I think it, it’s inevitable what happened and I love it. They had almost switched places.

Stephen: Yes, absolutely. She,

Jim: she got to the point where she was presented with more and more things that she could not deny or she could not question, and then he became very disillusioned. With everything and colder to all those different things. So that’s really interesting the way those two characters yeah.

Ended up. Yeah. In the beginning, and for a little while she, she really did, resist all those and tried to offer explanations for things, but I guess when you’re kidnapped by aliens and impregnated and whatever the hell else, everything else, yeah. I don’t think you can go, eh, it was swamp gas.

Stephen: I, I did start to miss the monster of the week type thing, which they brought up some more later.

Jim: I totally agree. My wife and I watched it. We didn’t watch till the very end. I think we watched up until the point where decoy left the show and the other guy came in and I can’t think of.

Robert Patrick. Yeah. Played Dan from Cleveland, by the way. There you go. Wow. It produced both John Bruning and that guy. But we said that after a while too, that we looked more forward to Monster the week than what they, the mythology episode. Yeah, because you know what, it was getting so thick that you had to, you couldn’t miss a mythology episode or you’d have no idea what the hell was going you.

Yeah. Now, you know what, with Sergeant Janis, every time there’s a new book or a story I do it in a way that you don’t have to have read the previous ones, although it would be nice if you did. No but I do it in a way hopefully that you don’t have to. But boy, oh boy. If you did, you, you’re gonna get this bigger, huge story that’s

Stephen: going on.

The TV show Supernatural took over as Monsters of the Week for me for a while. It got convoluted, overarching, five, six seasons worth of one storyline type thing too. It happens. Yeah. What are some of your favorite books to read and you know what, when I was,

Jim: when I was a kid and into to college, I was really, regimented with what I read.

It was pretty much science fiction and fantasy, epic high fantasy and science fiction. And it took a long while before I got to the point where I started to reading some mysteries, maybe a little bit historical, maybe even a romance or two, here and there. And over the years I realized how much time I had lost and there was, so I have favorite authors now that I, that I wish I had known sooner.

One of my most favorite non-science fiction and fantasy writers is Rex Stout. Oh, okay. The creator of Nero Wolf. Yeah. I’m an immense fan of the Nero Wolf books. They are some of the greatest mystery books. Ever written. I highly recommend them. And there’s a lot of them, so it can take you a little, a little while to go through them.

Classically I’m a big Robert Heinlein fan. I’m a big Ray Bradbury fan. I, there’s a guy who I absolutely love, and unfortunately he hardly does anything anymore. His name is James p Blaylock. Oh yeah. He wrote, or writes, or whatever you wanna call it what we would normally call urban fantasy.

But it’s some of the quirkiest most interesting stuff. My favorite is one called The Last Coin, if somebody wants to seek that out. Other than that there’s a book that I absolutely love called The High House, and it’s actually part of a, it’s three books, and that’s James Stoddard, who writes those.

It’s, again, it’s a fantasy world, but unlike anything really that’s out there, it’s basically set in a house that is so big that it contains many lands inside of the house. Wow. And it’s actually said that the house controls the workings of the universe. So there’s clock towers, and there’s a guy that goes and winds the clocks regularly, but if he doesn’t, he says that time itself will run down and stop if he doesn’t keep the clocks wound.

There’s so many different, I love these books to death. It’s called the Evan Mere series, e n m e r e. They’re by James Stadard. There’s three of them. There’s, he’s got a couple of short stories floating around out there of the same universe, but highly recommend those books as well as Rex Stout.

And and then James p Blaylock his more his earlier stuff. What he does now is he has like an sort of an occult detective character, and I’m not so fond of those as I am of his individual novels.

Stephen: Oh. Put some links in the show notes for the episode. That’d be cool.

You’re actually the second person to mention the Nero Wolf stuff, like in the last two months. Oh, is that right? Yeah. And nobody had mentioned him before that, so that’s weird. You, it’s,

Jim: it’s one of those series that you don’t, and people, I’m not the only one who’ve said this, lots of people say this.

You don’t read them for the plots, you read them for the interaction between the two characters. It’s Nero Wolf, the detective, and his assistant is Archie Goodwin. And you really read it for Archie Narrates, the adventures. And he’s almost like this sort of stereotypical gumshoe type of character, but in some ways, but in some ways he’s not he gets very frustrated with his boss because the whole thing with Nero Wolf is that he won’t leave his home. So Archie is his eyes and ears and feet and hands going out. But ni Niro’s a very corpulent individual who likes to just sit home and he likes his food.

He raises orchids up in the attic room of his home and he only works when he absolutely has to. And Archie just gets so frustrated with the guy. They’re wonderful novels. Just I, again, I can’t recommend them enough.

Stephen: Oh, I’m going to pick up a copy ’cause I’ve not read that. So I always love finding out things that I should be reading.

Not that there’s enough of that already.

Jim: He wrote them from the, geez, I think the first one is actually in the late thirties and he wrote them all the way up to the beginning of the 1970s. Wow. Okay. But an he does an interesting thing is that they get to the point where they’re almost timeless.

Like he’s he, there’s topical references every once in a while, but he begins to detach from actual time where you don’t have to worry about oh my God, these two guys would be how old? These stories have been going on for decades. You don’t worry about that. ’cause they don’t age at, at all like the peanuts.

Yeah. Yeah. Ex exactly. I mean they’re those classic type of characters that are, have been ar around for a while and they can’t age,

Stephen: okay. Alright. So up in Toledo, do you have a bookstore you like to go visit?

Jim: I hate to say that, but I don’t, yeah, I don’t go to bookstores anymore.

It’s a real shame. We do have a, we have One or two, Barnes and Noble, and every once in a Blue Moon, I’ll go to them. We have a books a Million, but it’s way out on the other side of town, so I don’t ever get out there. There is one independent bookstore in our area. It’s in Perrysburg, which is to the south of Toledo, called Gathering Volumes.

And I don’t get over there like I should, but it’s actually been around for a while now and it’s an independent and God bless them, that they can make an independent bookstore. Work, these days when I’m sure Barnes and Noble are, have not, are, have seen better days. But I tend to buy my books off of Amazon.

I’m sorry. I’m

Stephen: sorry. Yeah. I know that’s what a lot of people are saying. Yeah. But I like to try and me and my kids, whenever we used to go on vacation, we’d always find a bookstore and go to a bookstore. Yeah. And one of our favorite stories was actually in Toledo. We were looking around like what’s close?

And we found one that wasn’t just. Books. It was a eclectic mix. It had DVDs and anime and collectibles and stuff. I’m like, let’s go check it out. And it was the weirdest experience. I don’t know remember the name and I doubt it’s still there. Okay. It was this old couple, they were like 80 years old in this rundown strip mall.

It’s this narrow little store and you walked in and it was like the store that, that the dad bought the mug wife from with just stuff cluttered everywhere and things hanging over you. Like he’s moving things out of our way so we can get down the aisles and there’s dust on stuff and there’s no organization.

And my kids just loved it. We were in there for two hours talking to the people. How long ago would that have been? Like 2012 ish, give or take. 2014. I,

Jim: I hate to say this, but I have no idea. Yeah, I don’t think it was around for very long or, I don’t know. Wow. I’m stu on that one. It was Toledo.

Stephen: Yeah, it was Toledo. My, for my guess is it really didn’t exist. It was like one of those Stephen King stories where after we left, it just faded away and disappeared. You

Jim: know, Stephen, I hate to tell you this, but honestly I think that’s what it was. Because, yeah. Here’s me thinking, no, you’re nuts.

There’s nothing like that around here.

Stephen: Exactly. And my kids will still talk about it. We’ve been to so many bookstores and that’s the one they remember the most. Wow.

Jim: You know what? I’m also getting very jealous too, because, I would’ve liked to I A, I have no idea what that, yeah. A long time ago, and I’m talking 30, 35, 40 years ago, there used to be places like that in Toledo, but I can’t think of anything more recently.

Yeah. Like within 10, 10, 12 years was, okay.

Stephen: All right. Jim I wanna talk a little bit more about Flinch and Publishing but before we’ve delve into that aspect of it, for everybody listening you talked about your Western, you talked about Janus. If they said why should I get your books and read them, I’ve got a stack over here, why should I get yours and read ’em?

What would you tell ’em?

Jim: I guess I would have to say, because I think that maybe I’m doing things that other people aren’t doing. I’m gonna be the first one to admit that my books are not mainstream stuff. They’re the kind of things that, that I think are cool. I am having a good time putting them out and maybe 10 to 12 people on the, on earth, we’ll get a kick out of them but that’s okay.

I’d rather do something like that than necessarily writing a New York Times bestseller. I’d like the money if you want something off the beaten path eclectic or just kinda odd or maybe one of those ideas that you go, oh, why didn’t I think of that? Then, look into to my my books and then with my, and that’s all my original, my own stuff with my license stuff.

Have read license works before, and you got mad because the writer went off the rails and it didn’t feel

Stephen: like

Jim: the movie, the TV show, the whatever that it was supposedly based on. Then I would say give one of mine a try because what I do is I go outta my way to make sure that the characters sound like they’re supposed to sound and that I stay within that concept because I know that’s why people are there.

They pick up a cold check book because they love cold check. They don’t wanna read something, I, I have my Green Hornet novel. They don’t want some weird, silly, crazy thing, and believe me, some of the comic books more recently have done stuff like that. I’m, here’s me going now, this isn’t anything like the TV show, right?

Then give my Green Hornet, novel a try. And that’s not to say that they’re boring, because I do actually try to say something, interesting in them. But you’re going to see that the core concept is true. And that may, that means a very big deal to me.

Stephen: And that’s very important.

I’ve got, The One Soul book based on the TV show, MacGyver. And it was so hard to track down in today’s world. I didn’t even know it existed until more recently. Yeah. And I was excited. I’m like, cool, here’s something from like 1985 MacGyver. I’m waiting for it. And I read it and I’m like, okay, I know what happened here.

So my guess is that some agent had a book and knew MacGyver was big, and told the author, if you change this to MacGyver, we could sell it. And they did. And it’s nothing. There is no MacGyverisms, there’s no science. It’s, and the character is so flat and boring. Yeah. And there’s nothing exciting.

And why,

Jim: why disappoint people like that? They’re picking it up because they like MacGyver. Here’s a good example. Can you see this?

Stephen: Yes. Yes. Land of the

Jim: Giants. Yeah. This is the second of three land of the Giants novels that Murray Leinster wrote. And while I’m enjoying it, it bears very little resemblance to my Beloved TV show that I loved as a kid so much.

Because that was back in a day when there wasn’t the, there wasn’t the guidelines like today where they basically just said, Hey, will you write a Land of the Giants novel? And they don’t. It’s like they just did it. They, and they didn’t pick it. The editor or the light, the property owners didn’t pick them apart.

And that’s what this is. He just did whatever the hell he wanted to do in this novel. And it’s not bad, but I’m going like, wow. That’s a big stretch from the, like in the TV series, the spin drift is broken down like the entire two seasons or whatever. Here it’s flying all around and then they land and they recharge the batteries and they’re flying again.

And there’s a, there’s an entire character in the crew, the passengers that’s not even in the series, the TV series at all. Her name’s Marjorie. And here’s me going who the hell’s Marjorie? My stuff’s better than that.

Stephen: That’s good. Yeah, and I like that Star Wars story. It was one of them, I, when I found out which one you, it was yours.

I’m like, that was Jim’s. I’m like, that was one of my favorites outta that whole series. And I’ve read some of the X-Files stories, not all of them. Okay. And I thought they hid it right on and nailed it. And, Sergeant Janus is your own character. But I, I think, and I don’t understand why short stories aren’t more popular than they really are sometimes, because I hear you, people are like, oh, I don’t read.

But here’s a great short story, a great character. It’s an a beloved property. You,

Jim: I, yeah I hear you. It’s weird when I started writing, oh a, as a reader, I did not l I did not prefer short stories. I preferred novels as a writer. I have found that I prefer writing short stories to novels.

You have to use, it’s a, you use a different muscle when you’re writing a short story as opposed to a novel. And I can see why some people don’t feel that short stories like matter. And I feel that’s that same way in comic books, when you get one of the, like the bigger special like annuals or one of the other things, you get a bunch of stories in it and you can tell that they’re all just pretty much filler.

They don’t seem to matter with the character. And I think that’s the perception with a, with some readers, but there’s a lot of readers who really appreciate the art of the short story. I have learned as a reader to appreciate the art of the short story. And I gotta tell you who did that for me is pretty much as Ray Bradbury.

Because the, he has, that makes sense. He has a few novels, but honestly, the guy was a master of the short story. Yes. He was the king of short stories. But I get it, when you have fantasy novels these days that are like phone books, people look at a short story and go, I don’t, I need to have a, a novel this big,

Stephen: yeah. And I’ll say about Bradbury his novels aren’t necessarily the easiest read. They’re definitely their own little style. Yeah. Quite

Jim: often. Yeah. That, that, that’s, that is true for the most part. I prefer, like I, the Martian Chronicles is not a novel, but it, but the stories are all linked.

And you can almost call it one big novel, right? The Sergeant Janis books are like that, where the, it looks like it’s individual stories, but the trick is when you start reading them, you realize that they’re linked and that they form this overarching story. I learned that from the Master Ray Bradberry.

Stephen: One of my earlier projects that’s backburnered right now that I wanna revive is kinda what you were saying with Janus. It’s short stories, but trying to bring out these characters in a lot of action sequences. It’s for kids. Yeah. The goal was something boys would wanna read. This is only six pages and it’s pure action that, but then I’m, I’m trying to get a whole story out.

It’s a back burner project ’cause it was more than I could handle at the time. Ah, bring it,

Jim: bring it to the front and turn up the heat.

Stephen: ’cause no, my other stuff I’m working on is I’m very excited about, so that’s what I’m, okay so there’s a good f segue into for flinch. You guys are publishing and now you don’t publish like a million other authors.

It’s your ideas, your stuff. You may do anthologies, but you’re not like getting novels from 10 different auth authors every year, right? That’s

Jim: not how do you where we’re at?

Stephen: Yeah. How do you guys decide what you wanna do with your limited time? It’s,

Jim: it’s, it, so far it hasn’t been so bad. Sometimes it’s, we actually have more ideas, than we can do.

We’re a two-man operation. We both have full-time jobs. We publish literally one to two books a year. And that is so that we can focus on making this one book the very best thing it can possibly be. We have set out to have some of the best. Writers the best stories, the best editing, and this is hugely important to us.

Some of the best covers. All those things are so important to us. And if we did, 10 books a year, we would not be, something we get sacrificed somewhere. We are very happy. We just published our 13th book. I think we’ve been going for eight years now, if I’m not mistaken. And we only just published the six Gun Legends is our 13th book.

And. So right now it’s anthologies and then basically our two vanity, our vanity characters, it’s the home of Sergeant Janis and John’s the midnight guardian. I don’t foresee that changing in the future. We have been approached by some writers to say would you be interested in my novel?

Stephen: And what we

Jim: we’re at the, at a point where we just want to do our own things, and that’s, I don’t see anything wrong with that. If we do a full novel of somebody else, it’s still probably going to be our, our character. In one way or another.

We have a book an anthology called Quest for the Space Gods, which is the the Chronicles of Conrad von Haig. We would very much like to have a full novel done of the Conrad Von Haig character. So I can, I can foresee something like that. But, writers can still approach us because, we’ll want to expand our stable, if you will.

And I’m sorry, I don’t mean to make you sound like horses out there but I don’t know what else to call it. But we have people have come up to us at Pulp Fest or where else and said, boy, I’d really like to write for you guys. And number one, that’s the hugest compliment.

Anybody could pay us. We must be doing something right. If somebody comes up and says, wow, I wanna be published by you guys. So like I said that’s where we’re at right now. I don’t really foresee that changing. We really love coming up with anthology ideas. We just, and so many of them we’ve come up with at Pulp Fest, and in fact, this year, in just a couple weeks at Pulp Fest on our mission, on our agenda ’cause we consider that a three or four day flinch meeting is what that show really is because we just talk about what we’re gonna do, we will most likely talk about and figure out what our next anthology is gonna be for

Stephen: next year.

Yeah. Shows and stuff like that, when you have someone sitting next to you is a good brainstorming session. Yeah. We have a

Jim: car ride, ’cause I drive to Cleveland and then he, then we take his car from Cleveland to Pittsburgh. We have a car ride and we have to sit next to each other for three or four days.

So we get some flinch business done.

Stephen: Nice. Definitely. Yeah. And you also had a book Airship 27 the Airship Hunters, if I remember right. Wasn’t

Jim: that you? Oh yeah. That was published by Meteor House. Okay. I know. Yeah. It’s a funny little thing because Airship 27 is who I was first published through and when air, when Airship Hunters was announced at Pul Fest one year.

Through Meteor House, Ron, the head of Airship 27, I knew this was gonna happen. He comes to me and he is like, what? Like he goes, you’re publishing a novel with Airship in the title and you didn’t bring it to us. Yeah. That’s written with Dwayne Spurlock, who is in Six Gun Legends,

Stephen: and he’s also in the zombie book The Mummy Book.

Mummy book. Mummy book, yes. Yeah. Which is called

Jim: Restless. Yes. Yeah. Dwayne’s one of my most favorite writers to work with nice. And he and I wrote the novel called Airship Hunters, which is actually inspired by the real world great airship mystery of 1897.

Stephen: I love that story that I think that was probably the first thing I got from you guys.


Jim: is one of my proudest achievements. That book it was it became exactly what I wanted it to be and more and I just it’s one of my most favorite things I’ve ever done.

Stephen: Thinking from the publisher aspect, what are some things that have been difficult or things you’ve learned that you’ve had to figure out and do differently as opposed to just an author writing one book?

Jim: One thing I’ve learned is that you can have so many levels of proofing and editing, and you still get typos. It’s maddening how many levels we put it through, both of us. And we put it through, like the wor the in word, Microsoft Word? We put it through editor, we put it through Google Docs, and it’s finding all these things and we’re like, we, and then we go back and, oh, and then wait.

We put it back through. Every writer gets their last chance to go over it, and they still find more. That’s maddening. But what I have to say is John, and I believe that we still come out to have. Some of the best edited books out there. It’s never going to be perfect. I’m laughing.

You wouldn’t believe how many typos is in this thing Three different times it says Dan said, and it’s supposed to be Steve said three different times. So it’s so that’s definitely one thing I learned is not to, beat ourselves over the head about that, to do the very best we can do, but, and it’s going to happen.

Stuff is just going to get through and it happens to the big guys and it happens to the little guys.

Stephen: I, I’ve always been of the mind though. I don’t understand the people that say, oh, this book sucked. I found one missing apostrophe and a common in the wrong place. One star. And I’m like, hold on. Did you buy this book so you can find grammar error errors to complain about?

Or did you buy it to enjoy the story? Yeah. The comma missing and the apostrophe in the wrong spot or something. If that drew you out of the story so much, then the author really wasn’t making a good story. Yeah. But if you’re writing a great story, I could care less about the occasional duplicated word or something.

I wanna get the story. I don’t understand people that get so ni nitpicky about, it’s

Jim: literally on every page. It’s gonna take you out of, yeah. And believe me, there are books like that. I just had one not too long ago that I could not believe it. Again, a major publisher and I got to parts where you can tell it was, I.

The it was supposed to be taken out. It was like a note. Oh, it was either the writer’s note or the editor’s note and it’s still in there and it’s oh, sentence. So it’s oh my God, John and I have never had that before. The other thing is that, I have learned that it’s a team effort.

You are, when you cannot do everything yourself, you are dependent upon other team members. And sometimes you, as excited or antsy as you are to get this book out into the world, sometimes you do have to wait because somebody is working on their part of it. I’ve also learned how to work with the people who do the more technical stuff.

Because I can’t do that. I cannot format. I’m not tech savvy. I’m lucky I know how to work in Word, I cannot create a P D f file for the interiors of the print edition. I cannot format, I cannot do logos. Now I can art direct because I have an art background and I can say, I want this here, and I want that there.

All of that, but I cannot do those technical things. The key is to find good people who can Yes, absolutely. And bring them into the, onto the team and then learn about what they do so that you’re making their job easier, and then you get a smoother process to maybe yes. Get to the end result quicker.

Because you’ve eliminated these problems along the way.

Stephen: And this is controversial, and I know a lot of people are like, oh, you can’t do that. But in today’s world, you’ve got the electronic books, and then you’ve got books that are print on demand. So it’s not like they’re buying 10,000 and storing in a warehouse until they sell.

Yeah. So you, it’s not hard to go fix a few things and re-upload new manuscripts. Yeah. And the people that buy it from that point on have no idea that there used to be a mistake there. Yeah. But for some reason people are like, oh, you can’t do that. You can’t alter it. It’s not chiseled in stone. It, and it’s my file.

If I wanna upload the corrected file to Amazon or Yeah. Cobo or something, I

Jim: can I’ve never felt that at all. And we’ve done that. Here I’ll admit it we put out six gun legends and Jeffrey Marriott comes to me and he’s oh, I’m so excited.

Everything. But

Stephen: You spelled my name

Jim: wrong in the, not in the book itself, but in the Amazon listing. Oh. And he said, so I cannot put it on my Amazon author page ’cause it’s j e f e r y instead of r e y. And I’m, I was just like, mortified. This is a big time writer. And he was really cool about it.

So I had to go back to K D P. And I had to change it in there, and we had to wait, however, long for it to three days a week outdated. You know what stuff happens. Yeah. We’re all human, we can try to do the best we can possibly do, but sometimes stuff happens. It happens. And the cool thing is that you can correct those things.

Yeah, exactly. Today’s

Stephen: world is different.

Jim: And you brought up print on demand. And I wanna say to anybody who’s thinking this, there is no shame for on print, on demand, I, I’ve encountered shows that will not accept. To have a table there be, if they have print on demand books, and it’s I’m sorry, my print on demand books are probably better looking and better edited than some of the non-print on demand.

So like where that stigma came from. It’s old

Stephen: school

Jim: thinking. It, it really is. It’s like I, because here’s me going, like everybody I know does print on demand. Yeah. Who the hell’s gonna pay for $10,000 print, run 10,000 book print, run and have it sitting somewhere like nobody does that stuff any

Stephen: right.

It used, 10, 12 years ago, every show, every whatever was, oh, you’re not traditionally published. We don’t want you. And now it’s changing because there’s way more authors going to these shows that have print on demand and they’re independent. And even Dean Kuntz skipped out and went to Amazon.

Yeah. As opposed to, and I know I talked to JD Barker, who is hybrid. He’s traditionally published and he writes with James Patterson, but he has some independent publish on demand stuff. So that’s the, that’s

Jim: the way to go. Weird. That’s the way to go. It really is.

Yeah. Yeah. The tech technology is all out there and if a guy like me can self-published, anybody can self-publish. It’s so freaking, it’s so freaking easy right now with the way, with all the way all this technology is. Yeah,

Stephen: it is.

Jim: And you, me, over and over on Facebook.

’cause all in all these groups, people are like, how do I find a publisher? And I just, I literally, I should have it in custom cut and paste, self-publish. I just say self-publish, and I go on to the next thread, like somebody saying the same thing, self-publish. Like, why wouldn’t you wanna self publish?

Stephen: So real two things there. Okay. You mentioned the name wrong linking in Amazon. I got on my Goodreads profile page and there was a picture book that popped up saying it was mine that I’m like, that’s not mine. There’s a new author lady that has the same publishing name that I do, and I’m like, are you kidding me?

Couldn’t she have looked before she did this? Yeah there’s

Jim: a couple that happens on Good Reads when I. Put in my name, there’ll be, there’s a couple books by other people with my name, but it’s interesting ’cause they’re absolutely nothing even remotely like the stuff that I do. So no one’s ever going to think that, that, that’s me.

But thank God there’s o there’s a very well-known musician with my name. He’s like a keyboard player and he is been around for a million and he actually has jim beard.com, or but again, it’s no one’s ever gonna mistake me. For

Stephen: me. And you mentioned about the self-publishing thing.

We’re talking some author stuff and again you’re more published than I am. There’s tons of authors more published than I’m, I totally get that. I’ve got a little bit of experience under me, so I feel I can offer some thoughts and advice on a few things, but I have noticed that so many authors come to the things up at the Cuyahoga Library, which is a wonderful library system for authors, and they come to these round tables, they come to the conference and that, and they’re like last month I decided I wanna be a writer.

And I’ve been working on an outline, so my question is, how do I publish to Amazon and should I use, and it’s finish your damn book first. This is not something to worry about right now. And people get so worried about the publishing part and it’s oh my God, if you’re that focused on it, What, how good is your book going to be?

Yeah. Get that book finished. That’s the publishing stuff really becomes easy once you have a book.

Jim: Yeah. Pre preach it, brother. Yeah. You couldn’t be more. And yeah. I have seen it over and over again. John has seen it over and over again. It’s absolutely true. And it’s almost like a, a pandemic if I can use that word.

People are so they’re jumping to the end Yeah. And worrying about all that stuff when they don’t even have the work yet. It’s one of two things, if I’m ever asked do you have any advice for, new writers or young writers or whatever. And after many years I’ve come up with two things and that’s one of them, which is finish something.

Believe me, I’m the worst procrastinator. But I cannot believe how many, writers that I see and they go, yeah, I have four unfinished short stories and I have that unfinished novel. And it’s finish one of them. Just get to the part where you write the end. Have a beginning, a middle, and an end.

Finish it. It does not have to be pretty, you go back and you polish it, but don’t keep leaving. All of these unfinished works littered behind you. Yes. And maybe it is because you’re focused on. I need to find an agent. I need to find a publisher. I have to get an an author photo taken. I need to have my author Facebook page, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Stephen: It’s no this other genre’s really big. I’m gonna do a book in there. Wait, this other thing’s really popular. I want to do a book there. And I get

Jim: it. Yeah I have not been diagnosed. I’m probably a d I am a horrible procrastinator. But. You know what? I have finished things.

It can be done. The struggle is real, but it can be done right. Believe me, you’ve got to do that. You are absolutely correct in everything you just said, Steven. When you’re worried about all of that other stuff, something’s really wrong, it’s, yeah. There will be that time when you wanna start thinking about the cover or the map that goes in your fantasy novel or whatever, but finish the damn thing first.

That’s so important. Have that be everything. That’s the Alpha and the

Stephen: Omega. And it definitely is different. I’ve got a couple things done and under my belt and publishing out, I’m working on other things, the new things. Click so much better that, I was so trying to, oh my God, I gotta learn Hero’s Journey and the save the Cat beat sheet and fit everything in and cramm this story.

So it hits all those points. Yeah. And what was the problem? And I’m listening to this podcast and I’ve got 300 books, craft books that I’m reading and I realized what the problem was. I had no reference for any of it. That until I start writing and I had a couple books and a couple short stories and all of that done and ready to go, that the learning, the craft made sense.

Yeah. I needed that reference for it to make sense to actually get better. That was the important part.

Jim: I’m not a big proponent. For how to write books and how to write seminars and things like that. I greatly respect the people who write those books and do those seminars and the people who read those books and go to those seminars.

It’s not for me. I learned by doing. Absolutely. Yeah. I fell down. And, I broke my nose a couple of times or whatever, but I just, I’m not, that big on taking all that time to, to listen to someone else telling me how to write when writing is such an individual thing. Yes, there are nuggets of wisdom out there.

I get that. Especially the people who say just right. Those, I like those people just right. That’s what you gotta do. But when you’re spending, that much time on, on the preamble or whatever I gotta tell you just right. Again, it doesn’t have to be pretty, write something, get it done, then go back and then make it better.

But just focus on getting to writing those words, the end and make that

Stephen: Your mission. Yeah. Total. Totally agree with you. And that’s, something I’ve had to learn myself over the last couple years, writing is my writing isn’t getting better except by writing and writing the next thing and more.

And the more I’ve written, the more everything makes sense. And it’s, people are like, oh, I haven’t had the muse and the, and I’m like every big name writer says it’s my job. I have to sit down and write. And when you do that, you actually can get things done. And people that are like, oh, it’s just I had this other idea, or it, or I was reading this book, or I had this conference.

And it’s but did you learn anything that you’re applying? Yeah. It, you got, I just totally realized I. I’ve learned way more by writing and writing more than I have anywhere else, and it makes a lot more sense. Now, I’ll tell you,

Jim: If you know someone out there, if you want to read something that might help you, is read, read novels or short stories or whatever, I think you’re gonna learn more from that than reading a book about how to write a novel and a short story.

I think, read your favorite writers, figure out, and then dissect it. Figure out what, okay, get to the end of whatever and go, now why did I like that so much? And take it apart. Now, that doesn’t mean you wanna ape those people, but you might actually learn more from that rather than, read a Stephen King book, not necessarily Stephen’s King’s book on how, all right.

Yeah. Although I have a lot of friends who love that book, and so I’ve gotta be careful what I’m

Stephen: saying. And to add onto that, what I’ve said also is don’t just read and then go back and try and write something, have stuff you’ve written, because then your brain can refer to that as you’re learning and the structure.

And I read all the time and I’m like, oh. I see what he’s doing there and how he wrote this emotion or the way he’s describing this, and that makes sense for something I was struggling with and I went, can go back and now mimic that. Yeah. And learn. And that’s the way to do it effectively. There’s a,

Jim: there’s a second part to this and I, if you don’t mind, I want to say what my second

Stephen: piece of advice is.

Oh yeah. I’m sorry. Yes, I’m sorry. No.

Jim: Because it is a continuation of what we’re just saying here. So you have, you got to the end, you have this thing, but you’re not sure what you have. So you want somebody to read it. You want another human being to read it. Here is my advice, especially for those first time writers, those younger writers the.

The newbies A among us. Do not have your mother read it and you can take your mother and fill in also, your father, your sister, your brother, your aunt, your very best, your B F, F. Don’t do that because those people are going to F you up. A hundred percent agree. We have to, this is called tough love, please.

They are not going to tell you what you need to know. They are. God love them. They’re not gonna lie to you. Hopefully they’re not gonna lie to you. Maybe they are. Maybe they’re gonna purposefully lie to you, which is not a good thing either, but they’re not going to be, they’re not gonna give you the honesty that you need.

Yes. You need to almost find a stranger who will read something because your mother, what is what’s gonna happen is your mother’s gonna tell you that you’re the greatest writer since. Hemmingway Tolstoy, I don’t know whoever the hell else near Rex Stout. Yes. And I got it. And then what’s gonna happen is you’re going to go out and you’re gonna publish something that is utter crap and you’re going to embarrass yourself.

This sounds harsh, but somebody has to say it. You can’t do that. You have to publish when you’re ready to be published. You have to learn and you have to get better. And those people who are very close to you, who love you dearly are not really going to be the ones to help you do that unless your dad’s like a, an English professor and he’s an, a very hard cold guy.

And it doesn’t matter if you’re his daughter or son and he is gonna lay it on the line then, okay, but that’s really what you need. You need somebody who’s going to give you the tough love and they’re gonna say yes. That wasn’t bad, but

Stephen: It’s

Jim: kind of clunky, or I didn’t really care for that.

And you know what? It’s not gonna be easy to hear what you wanna hear. Is your mom saying, oh my God, sweetie, that is the greatest. Oh, I love that. I can’t wait to tell my, my I, I don’t, I was gonna say Bridge Club, but I don’t think any place anybody plays bridge anymore. See how old I’m but seriously, folks you gotta find somebody who will give you honesty when agreed, when you have them read your stuff.

And I have yet to see anybody who gives it to their sister, who they’re so close to, ’cause all they’re going to do is they’re gonna lavish you with praise. Yeah. And then, you know what? And then we’re gonna have that many more horrible, crappy things being self-published on Amazon, because this happens in the music industry, and I see it all the time, all these shows on TV with these singers, you can tell that more than half of them are up there because somebody in their family told them how good they are, instead of telling them, you really need to work on your singing.

Should you take a few lessons or whatever. And it’s the same thing with writing. It’s the exact same thing with writing. Agreed. Yeah. And I, it’s gonna be, it might even be a challenge to find somebody who can offer you, like I can’t do it because I’m at a point where I shouldn’t really be writing or reading unpublished stuff.

Because I don’t ever want someone to come back around and say, you stole my idea. It’s not a good idea. So it could be a challenge, but mom might not be the best person right. To go to

Stephen: I, I’ve told a few people that have read my stuff. I said, look, if you wanna gimme some feedback, that’s great, but if you truly love me, you’ll give me constructive criticism and tell me what you don’t like.

Perfect. Because if you think you’re being nice and don’t wanna hurt my feelings, it’s gonna be 10 times worse if I publish it and it’s a load of crap. Yeah. Yeah.

Jim: And then you get, you start getting those one star reviews and they say, Reads like a book that somebody gave their mom to read instead of, listening to somebody who actually had

Stephen: talent.

The first thing I did write, which is hidden somewhere, I don’t know if I’m gonna bring it back out at some point, but my mother got mad at me for it because it was basically a kind of X-men superhero origin story. And she was a foster child. So you know, the parent, the foster parents had to die to push her into that world.

Oh. And they did. They got killed and she got mad at me. And Why did you have to kill the parents? And on? And I’m, because it would’ve sucked if I didn’t. Hey, at least she didn’t say,

Jim: oh sweetie, it’s so good. At least she was being honest with you. Yeah.

Stephen: She was trying to

Jim: point out that there would be other people out there in the world who might not be that happy when those parents died.


Stephen: Once it got back from the editor and there was 20 pages of redline notes and I. Literally pulled out 35,000 words. It was time to put that away for a while and take what I learned and move on. Smart guy. Smart guy. Yeah. Alright, Jim it’s been a wonderful chat and thanks. I can’t wait to see you in a couple weeks.

Yeah, cool. I’m looking

Jim: forward to it. Yeah. Alright.

Stephen: Have your money ready. Yeah, it will do. And my son’s definitely coming down there. I don’t know what all he’s getting, but he’s, he can’t stop talking about it. I’m like, really? How are you suddenly this excited about Pulp Fest? You’ve never read Pulp Fiction in your life.

It just suddenly he’s got that bug and he took all my Conan stuff and he is been reading it. And, but

Jim: here’s the thing, Steven is the, the the goal is that he sees things that he might not have seen before and get interested in them. That’s the problem with that show is that the audience is aging.

Kind of aging out. Yeah. And what we need is we need some younger people who go, wow, this is, I’ve never seen any of this stuff before. It’s all new to me. And look at that. Oh wow. That’s cool. Look at that. If they can get past the unfortunate, in the classic pulps, they can get past the unfortunate racism, sexism.

Yeah. And some of that stuff. And understand that was the times and exactly who the popes were being written for, the common man. Then I think there’s a lot of valuable stuff in there. And then what they’ll see is that the guys that are doing it today, like John and me and several other of our compatriots are changing, that we’re retaining the excitement of pulp, but we’re bringing it into the 21st century.

Yes. In those ways that we’re unfortunate. Oh

Stephen: yeah. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to go to the show with him because it haven’t been things like this we’ve done together for a couple years, so it’s nice to have this again. It just I look at him, I shake my head. I’m like, dude, I’ve had pulp Fiction on my shelves.

I’ve had Conan and you’ve never touched any of it your whole life. And I’ve shown it to you, oh dad. But now it’s suddenly, Hey,

Jim: Hey dad, get off his back. Let him go, man, it sounds good to me.

Stephen: Yeah, of course he did that with other stuff when he got into Alpha Flight, he took all my Alpha Flight comics.

So I would

Jim: draw the line at that.

Stephen: Alright. Especially

Jim: my John by Alpha Flight original issues. He ain’t touching those.

Stephen: Yeah. He’s got his own set now. He’s been. Alright. It’s been great talking to you man. Same. Appreciate you getting on we’ll have to get you on the Gee podcast so John can’t show you up on that, right.

Jim: Good, because I can’t have that.

Stephen: No, we wouldn’t want that. All right we’ll see you in a couple weeks. Thank

Jim: you. All right. Take care. Thanks so much.