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Retirement. Publishers, thank you for the many years of reading pleasure you gave me, but all good things must come to an end. Due to failing eyesight I am forced to retire. I can no longer review your books, and any that you send will be donated to the local library, unread. Do not send any more. I can only read for a couple hours every day, and this does not allow me to finish a book in reasonable time. I will be devoting time to my own books from now on, and reading on a personal level. Books that interest me. I prefer paperbacks and hardbacks, not eBooks. My eyesight has been failing the last few years, and I cannot handle hundreds of review books any more. My books are still available for review. Anyone interested in reviewing any of them, they are found in the Link to Tom’s Books On Amazon. Contact me for pdf copies at

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

It Came From The Atomic Age Trading Cards

A retro style 18 card set in the style of Red Menace and Wild Man, featuring the best of the 1950's, from Roswell to the Red Scare.

The classic 1950's Topps / Bowman card set that never existed - but should have!

If you asked most people what images spring to mind when you mention the 1950's, they would probably say ElvisJames DeanHot RodsGreasers and SocsMarylin Monroe. Maybe even Bettie Page.
If you asked me, I would say fringe Orgone scientist Wilhelm Reich, Shaver Mystery founder Richard S. Shaver,  and Jet Propulsion Lab founder / alchemist / occultistJack Parsons. Even Dr. Fredric Wertham, who almost single handedly destroyed the comic book industry in the early 1950's. Since i'd be thinking of comics i'd then mention Blackhawk and EC Comics short lived hosts, The Vault Keeper, the Old Witch, and the Crypt Keeper. Or perhaps the frighteningly inaccurate psychic The Amazing Criswell and his PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE co-stars horror hostVampira, and wrestler Tor Johnson. I'd probably also have to say Indy filmmaker Ed Wood Jr.,Republic Pictures' rocketman Commando Cody and Columbia Serials'Superman played by Kirk Alyn. And of course, I couldn't leave out the Gray Aliens that crashed at Roswell in 1947 or the Detrimental Robots (Deros for short) from underground that Richard Shaver warned us about. Since i love vintage sports I'd have to say Washington Redskins Slingin' Sammy Baugh. And of course, last but not least,Joseph Stalin, who got the Cold War off to an icy start. By this time you, who asked me the question, would have wandered off dazed, having  stopped listening minutes previous, and I would be thinking about a new card set.
Originally I had an idea for a comic book, sort of a modern League of Extraordinary Gentlemen with Reich, Parsons, Shaver and stripper Blaze Starr solving UFO abductions (that's a future Kickstarter) At the same time I became interested in the early 1950's releases of some of the major gum card companies of the time, and thought it would be nice to create another alternative set of people that never made it onto gum cards in their era but should have.(Stalin and Sammy Baugh aside)
Prototypes / Mockups shown. Actual cards might vary slightly in color and detail.
Prototypes / Mockups shown. Actual cards might vary slightly in color and detail.
The style I chose for the the artwork for this set is based on some of the more colorful movie posters (mostly Italian)  and pulp covers (Hubert Rogers) of the time rather than what was mostly gouache on board illustrations for cards of this period. I debated color correcting the set to make it look older and faded, but decided to keep the fronts vibrant. Only the promo card is vintage style. I also tried color tinting black and artwork, like the Lone Ranger and Three Stooges sets from the 1950's, but those ended upreally looked horrible.
As with my other sets, cards will not be glossy or UV coated in keeping with the production methods of the era
Example of reverse design. Prototype/mockup shown, actual card may differ slightly in colour/detail.
Example of reverse design. Prototype/mockup shown, actual card may differ slightly in colour/detail.
Other company's sketch cards look they have been scrawled by a diseased wombat
Other company's sketch cards look they have been scrawled by a diseased wombat
Mockups of Atomic Age sketch cards based on my previous releases
Mockups of Atomic Age sketch cards based on my previous releases
Included with the base set, for all pledges $27 and over is a randomly inserted original hand-drawn sketch card of one of the 18 subjects in the set, and maybe even a few others!
Prints for this series will be printed on tan pulp-style paper and arranged into two sets. They really look old! I have given some of these away in the past and they were well received. This will be the only time these prints will be available, as I am not in the print business. Some of the prints have a much larger image area than the images on the cards, as they are un-cropped. Hang these stunning 8 1/2 by 11 inch prints in your home, office, den, bomb shelter, or abandoned nuclear missle silo with pride!
Availabe for tiers $35 and and $75 and over.
Availabe for tiers $35 and and $75 and over.
An array of rewards is offered for this project. Like my last project, prints will only be available through Kickstarter and will not be available for retail. So pledge now if you want them!

Risks and challengesLearn about accountability on Kickstarter

The artwork is 95 percent complete, aside from color, contrast, brightness correction, correcting eye and hair color, spelling corrections, and minor details of that nature. There is always some frustration and delays from dealing with a commercial printer, but once the funds are released, essentially all there is to do is click a few buttons to send printing orders off. I've been doing this sort of thing for over a decade now, and shipped to every continent except Antarctica. (For some reason they don't like my work there.


    Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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    Sunday, February 23, 2014

    Interview With K.G. McAbee

    I guess I’ve known Gail McAbee for a couple decades now. She wrote for our FADING SHADOWS magazines in the ‘90s, and later was the head editor for Novel Books, Inc. (NBI), and was instrumental in three of my books being published by NBI. Due to our friendship we never lost contact, even after NBI and FADING SHADOWS ceased publication. Early on I read her novels, “A Fine Impersonation” and “Escape The Past”, as well as her science fiction anthology created for Mystic Toad Press, “Port Nowhere”. While with Mystic Toad Press, she published my wife’s pulp anthology, “Tales of Masks & Mayhem V #1”. She is my strongest influence, and if not for her, I would still be an unpublished author.

    Tom: When did you first begin writing?

    K.G. McAbee:
    First of all, let me correct some of Tom's seriously questionable comments. He's MY strongest influence, and I'm completely beholden to HIM for some of my earliest published work. I had a bunch of short stories that appeared in his late and immensely lamented series of magazines, and the mere fact of seeing my stuff in print made me what I am today. Whatever that might be, hah!

    But back to the question. I remember that I couldn't wait to start reading, and once I did, I've never stopped. At first it never occurred to me that writers were actual people, but more like amazing beings who created even more amazing lands and people. Then I started reading biographies of writers, and writers on the writing process, and thought maybe I could do this.

    Life kind of got in the way, but in 1994 I wrote—well, finished; I'd been throwing down paragraphs and sometimes actual chapters for years—my first short story. Then another and another. Then I started researching what to do with them.

    And found Tom. And sent him stories. And, lo and behold, he said, "Sure, I'll print 'em."

    Thanks so much, Tom!

    Tom: Did your experience as an editor help you improve your own writing?

    K.G. McAbee:

    You bet! It's amazing to see different styles and ways of attacking a story, and I stole every one I could! It's always hard to edit your own work, though. I think it's because you see what you intended to put down instead of what's actually there.

    Tom: You recently placed high in a Writer’s of The Future contest, can you tell the readers a little about the story you submitted for the contest, and will it eventually be included in one of their anthologies?

    K.G. McAbee:

    I'm not sure of an anthology deal; I'm pretty sure those spots are reserved for 1st and 2nd placing stories, and mine was a measly Honorable Mention—see how I capitalized that? Can you tell I'm proud of my Honorable Mention?

    The story is a steampunk/zombie mashup. I created an organization called D.I.R.E.—which stands for Damocles Institute of Research and Exploration—and filled it with famous Victorian scientists, writers and explorers, like Sir Richard Francis Burton, Charles Babbage, Michael Farraday and Edgar Allen Poe. But my main characters are Jonathan Blackthorne, a magician, and his partner and beloved, the inventor Lady Rose Blakeney. And of course, they run into zombies in the sewers of London, as one would suspect. Much excitement ensues.

    Tom: The SF Anthology, “Port Nowhere” was a fascinating concept, and I’m surprised we didn’t see more volumes. Do you have any back copies available? Where can they be ordered?

    K.G. McAbee:

    The old Port Nowhere has morphed into the new Tales from Omega Station, with two of the earlier writers and a new one. In fact, the three of us—me, J.A. Johnson and J. Kirsch, aka Gail, Jim and Jon—are going to be on The Book Cave soon, to talk about Omega Station. We're way excited, as you can imagine, though of course Tom is practically a regular there.

    Tom: How did you come up with the idea for Port Nowhere/Omega Station?

    K.G. McAbee:

    I pictured a distant outpost in the galaxy, kind of a dead-end place in many ways—it's an airless planet where most of the inhabitants live in caves and tunnels inside, though there are domicile domes on the surface—that was still strategically important due to its location. The governing bodies change sporadically, as various military cadres or corporations take control, but most of those who live on Omega Station are there for life. It's very much like a Western-in-space/space opera in a lot of ways: criminals, rich people, folks in charge, ordinary people, all trying to survive. And cool aliens make up many of the folks/people, of course!

    Tom: For the new writers just getting started, maybe you can help with this question. What do you find most difficult about your work-in-progress? Plot? Characters? Beginning? Ending?

    K.G. McAbee:

    I'm awful with plots; ask my collaborators! I tend to start with an image/situation, throw a character into it, and see what develops. Recently I started a new novella set in a generation ship, and I didn't realize the character who was talking was female until page four. Crazy, huh?

    Tom: What do you enjoy most about the creative process?

    K.G. McAbee:

    There is nothing more fun than making things up! I tell people I lie for a living. I've always been able to 'see' the things I imagine, so getting to write about them and share them with others is the ultimate in fun.

    Tom: You write many different genres, from SF, pulp, horror, YA, Steampunk, et al. Where did you get your idea for these tales?

    K.G. McAbee:

    I think, because I love to read so many genres, that I can't limit myself to writing in just one. If I'm reading a good fantasy, I want to write one. If I just ran across a cool new scifi, I want to write one. And mashups are fun too, like my D.I.R.E. novella: steampunk meets zombie. I love comics too, so I've even tried my hand at them. And I've recently had my first non-fiction academic publication: I've got a chapter in Breanne Kirsch's GAMING IN LIBRARIES published by McFarlane Press.

    Tom: Tell the readers about your latest release or WIP.

    K.G. McAbee:

    J.A. Johnson and I have an exciting new project we've been working on. We've collaborated on a zombie novella based on an album by an indie band called The Gifted Children. It's called THE REGINALD PANTRY: A ZOMBIE CHRONICLE. We hope to have it available soon, plus we're going to have links within the book to the music which inspired the stories. It's sort of a book with a soundtrack.

    Tom: What advice would you give to a person trying to get their short story / novel published?

    K.G. McAbee:

    Write the best thing you can. Edit it and edit it again. Then decide if you want to go the traditional route or self-publish. Then do it! Then write something else.

    Tom: Where may someone order copies of your books?

    K.G. McAbee:

    My stuff is available at Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and Amazon. And check out my western here

    Thank you Gail. Along with all of your fans, I look forward to each and every new release from your pen. Thanks for stopping by Pulp Den. Dino (G).