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For intrepid adventure readers who straddle literary realms both past and present, traditional and technological, I am pleased to announce that I am participating in Amazon's new MatchBook program (and will happily do the same with other vendors if and when they initiate similar programs; I'm not an Amazon partisan).
What this means is that folks who buy (or have bought) the paper version of Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom from Amazon can now also buy a digital copy for only $1.99 (that's 72% off!).
So if you'd like a copy for your bookshelf but would also like to read on your tablet or phone or other gadget, you're golden. Likewise, if you want to read it on your device and get a hard copy as a gift for someone, you're all set.
The deal even applies for those of you who bought the book in hardback when it was first published by Putnam. The new version is a lot better, with my "Author's Cut" expanded text as well as dozens of gorgeous interior illustrations by comics wizard Gary Chaloner. If you bought the original from Amazon, but would like to see the story in its full glory, you can check out the new version for only $1.99.
Also, and this is important, you don't need a Kindle to read the digital copy (or any Kindle book, for that matter). There are free apps available for PCs, Macs, smartphones, and tablets, so if you have a device on which you can read at all, you can likely read this book. The apps can be found here.
I'm thrilled that Amazon has made this possible. As a reader myself, I jump back and forth between page and screen, and I've wanted to be able to do something like this since I was first published.
Back in 2010, Neil Gaiman, who doesn’t really need me to introduce him, but whose past glory includes the work-of-dark-genius Sandman for DC Comics, had a great idea. As he recounted on his blog, “I was on a flight home last night, and I thought, You know, there aren’t enough traditions that involve giving books...And then I thought, Hallowe’en’s next weekend...”
From that inspiration grew a wonderful new tradition Neil called “All Hallow’s Read.” As explained on its official website, the idea is simple: “All Hallow’s Read is a Hallowe’en tradition. It’s simply that in the week of Hallowe’en, or on the night itself, you give someone a scary book.” As a lifelong reader, and writer, of tales dark and fantastical (such as my novel Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom, now in a marvelous new expanded edition fully illustrated by ace comic book creator Gary Chaloner), I embraced this tradition immediately. In previous years, I gifted classics from folks like the brilliant Fritz Leiber, my late, great friend Karl Edward Wagner, and George R.R. Martin (who also doesn’t need much introduction these days, but whose short story “Sandkings” is one of the scariest things I’ve ever read). Last year, I treated my girlfriend in Brazil to a video of me reading Ray Bradbury’s “The Foghorn,” the story that made me decide to be a writer.
This year, I realized I was in the position to share the tradition with even more people. Now through Halloween, I am offering my semi-spooky tale “Dead Folks” as a free download on Amazon. The story is in Kindle format, but a Kindle is not required to read it; free Kindle reading apps for gadgets ranging from smartphones and tablets to PCs and Macs can be downloaded here.
This story is near and dear to my heart, as it was my first professional fiction sale years ago. In it, a small Appalachian town is mysteriously inundated with pesky corpses from various historical eras and a young man finds he must make some hard choices. One reviewer wrote, “‘Dead Folks’ ultimately reveals itself to be a clever genre admixture that is nodding toward Mark Twain, perhaps the most American of writers. Byrd puts it all at the service of a winning narrator, a well-delineated supporting cast of characters, and a transcendent love story. If Stephen King were given to whimsy, he might have produced ‘Dead Folks.’”
I hope you’ll accept my gift of this bit of weirdness in the spirit of the holiday, and that you enjoy it. Please spread the word, the more the merrier. If you like it, please consider leaving a short review of it on Amazon, as that sort of thing raises a story’s profile in searches and is incredibly helpful to starving authors like me. I also really enjoy reading what people think. And don’t forget to give someone else a story or a book, and tell everyone you know about All Hallow’s Read. Neil is absolutely right, we need more traditions based on gifting tales. What better time than Halloween, the season of scampering nightmare and sultry mystery?
The new edition of Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom has its first review at a professional site, and it’s from an old friend of the Wildes.
Author Barry Hunter originally reviewed the book at The Baryon Review when it was published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons back in 2009, and the review was so positive that a quote from it now features prominently on the cover of the Outlaw Moon edition:
A true delight...Tim Byrd has taken Doc Savage, added in a pinch of Robert E. Howard, a liberal dose of H. P. Lovecraft, and mixed it all together in a well done, enchanting pastiche of the pulps that will appeal to the adult audience as well as young adult readers.
He likes the new version even more:
[I] have even more enthusiasm for this new volume featuring the writer’s preferred version as well as magnificent illustrations by Gary Chaloner. Tim was able to obtain his rights back from Putnam, put together a Kickstarter project, and fulfill his dream of putting out his vision of his creation.
He has succeeded extremely well and together with Chaloner has created a volume that cries for a place on the shelf between Doc Savage and Tarzan...
There are a lot of folk doing the self-publishing routine, but Tim Byrd has found the right formula to do it in a magnificent way.
The full review can be found here.
Gary Chaloner, the artist and book designer for the Doc Wilde novels, has stepped down. That’s a pretty big disturbance in the Force, but not as catastrophic as it might initially seem (though, to be honest, I don’t think I breathed for two or three days after getting the news myself).
As many of you know, Gary’s association with the Wildes goes back years. He started working on art for the first book before I’d even finished writing it, much less gotten an agent and sold the book. Then Putnam bought the book but paid me little notice when I lobbied to have Gary work on it, publishing with a reasonably nice cover by another artist and having no interior illustration at all.
When I left behind a multi-book contract with them to go indie, naturally I brought Gary back on board, and the resulting second edition of Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom is a hell of a lot closer to the book I’d wanted to publish in the first place. I am incredibly proud of this book, and I’m enjoying hearing from you folks as you read it and get to enjoy not just my characters and story but Gary’s amazing work depicting them.
Unfortunately, as you probably also know, it took us a long time to get the book done. It was literally a year late. Part of that was simple naivete on my part as someone putting together a book like this for the first time, but a big part of it was also that Gary wound up having major conflicts in his schedule involving projects that were more immediately essential to his cash flow. It took a long time, but he stuck to the project and ultimately produced that first book...but at that point he realized that the delays of the past would likely continue on the next book, and the best thing he could do would be to put down his pencils for this project. I freaked at first, but soon saw the wisdom of his decision; had we pressed on, I might spend the next year or more stuck making excuses again.
As it happened, I was planning a side project to work on at the same time as we worked on Book 2, an anthology of Doc Wilde stories by other writers, and a wonderful artist named Tess Fowler was already on board to do the art for that book.
I’ve wanted to work with Tess for a long time. Back when I decided to take the Wildes indie, had Gary not been willing or able to resume work on the books, Tess was going to be the next artist I talked to. She was always in my mind for possible future projects like the anthology, or a spinoff series I plan to do one day. She’s imaginative and artful and given to intricate, fantastic detail. And, like Gary, she’s not only a gifted artist, she has an instinctive understanding of visual storytelling. You can see some of her work in the gallery below.
Tess had already slotted the work for the anthology into her schedule, and when I let her know the situation with Gary on the main books she very enthusiastically agreed to take over on those instead. This means the anthology isn’t going to happen for a while, but it also means that the second book will likely be out a lot faster than the first. Tess not only has the time to give the book, she’s a really fast worker. Our goal is to have Doc Wilde and The Mad Skull in readers’ hands by Christmas. Then it’s on to Doc Wilde and The Dance of the Werewolf...
Welcome to the family, Tess. I can’t wait to see what you do with the Wildes.
"Really. Totally. Awesome." ‑‑Book Nut
"Doc Wilde swings in on a jungle vine to raise the flag high for adventure. Infused with pace, fun, and all the two-fisted action a reader could ask for..." --Zack Stentz, screenwriter, Thor, X-Men: First Class
To the world at large, Doc Wilde and his family are an amazing team of golden-skinned adventurers, born to daring escapades and globetrotting excitement. Join them as they crisscross the earth on a constant quest for new knowledge, incredible 21st-century thrills, and good old-fashioned adventure!
Now, with adventurous Grandpa Wilde missing, the Wildes confront the deepest mysteries of Dark Matter, penetrate the tangled depths of uncharted jungles, and come face to face with the likely end of the world in the clammy clutches of an ancient amphibian threat...THE FROGS OF DOOM!
"Written in fast-paced, intelligent prose laced with humor and literary allusions ranging from Dante to Dr. Seuss, the story has all of the fun of old-fashioned pulp adventures." --Kirkus Reviews
The Astonishing Adventures of Doc Wilde are written by Tim Byrd, lavishly illustrated by Gary Chaloner, and published by Outlaw Moon Books.
Now in deluxe new editions, these novels recapture the magic of pulp cliffhangers for readers of all ages. Lost worlds, ancient ruins, cool gadgets, and evil villains and daring heroes, all brought into the 21st-century with contemporary themes, modern science fantasy, the wonders of family, and a deep appreciation of literature and of the thinking life itself.
In the tradition of classic adventure stories, and modern tales like The Incredibles and Raiders of the Lost Ark, they're great for kids and grown-ups alike.
To celebrate the return of Doc Wilde, Outlaw Moon Books is offering the ebook edition of Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom at a special low price of $4.99 (regular $6.99) until July 1, 2013. To get the book, visit the links below at Amazon (Kindle format) or Barnes & Noble (for EPUB format):
ALSO AVAILABLE IN TRADE PAPERBACK!
When I left a multi-book contract at Putnam and decided to publish my Doc Wilde adventure series independently, it was for various reasons including getting the lion’s share of the profits from my work and full creative control. Part of the latter was a desire to produce books that were at least as professionally wrought as those coming out of a publishing house, and of which I could be proud.
We see a lot of insult hurled at the indie publishing community. The fact that it has become so easy to publish has undeniably opened the gates to a lot of lazy, shoddy, unedited books. Some people refuse to see the other side of the equation, that a great many very talented writers who have either not been fortunate enough to break in with a traditional publisher yet, or who have opted to leave the old system as I have, now have the chance to share their work and possibly even make a living from it.
I’m not the first to set out to do things right, by any stretch. But I wanted to be one of the writers who prove that indie publishing can result in wonderful books, a group that gets larger all the time. One of the most common complaints I see about self-publishing is that the books are terribly edited, full of typos and bad spelling. As a writer who slaves over his prose with a goal of not needing to be edited, I was determined that no one be able to sling that particular brickbat my way. Which brings me to:
From Monday, June 17, 2013 through Monday, June 24, 2013, everyone who emails me (at email@example.com) identifying a typo or misspelling in Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom will be entered into a random drawing to win an autographed first edition hardback of the book, an autographed copy of the new deluxe second edition, and my thanks for pointing out something I can correct to make my book even better.
This applies only to the new edition from Outlaw Moon Books, and doesn’t include the excerpt from the next book in the back (that book is still being developed, so the text of the excerpt is essentially still in first draft form).
Any submissions which arrive prior to noon on Monday will be deleted.
Any public disclosure of a typo prior to noon on Monday will disqualify the one doing the disclosing.
If anyone wins the challenge, I will post here with the news.
Good luck, intrepid readers!
UPDATE: It was pointed out to me that I really wasn’t allowing much time for the contest, so I’m adding a week and a few hours to the starting time. It will now begin Monday, June 17, 2013 at 5:00 pm EDT. I had also originally said the first person to identify a typo would win; now everyone who enters between 6/17/2013 and 6/24/2013 will have a chance to win.
Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom has now relaunched, in both ebook and print, with an all-new expanded edition lavishly illustrated by artist Gary Chaloner.
As 6/7/2013, it's s an honest-to-goodness, flippin' pages, words-on-paper, stick-on-your-bookshelf book.
Over the next few days and weeks, the book will be making its way into the distribution channels, becoming available on Amazon, B&N, and for order by your finest local bookstores. Until all that ponderous bureaucracy is done, you can get it here.
Bookstores and libraries can contact Tim Byrd directly (via www.DocWilde.com) for copies in the meantime. We're all about supporting indie shops, and hope they'll be all about supporting us too.
Subscribe to our newsletter via the form in the sidebar to get the latest news!
If you're into cool toys and pulp fiction, and have surplus cash scattered around your secret headquarters, you may just like these action figures produced by Go Hero. Above, you see their take on the classic pulp version of Doc Savage (based on Walter Baumhoffer's cover paintings), while below we have the modern version based on James Bama's art.
The detailing on these is impressive, but then it should be, as they cost $210 + shipping. Of course, if you're a true and utter pulp fan, you might opt for their special deal to get both Doc Savage and The Shadow for $330 + shipping:
If anyone is feeling wonderfully generous, I know a certain Tim Byrd whose bookshelves would look great adorned with one or both of these guys...
Also from the author of Doc Wilde...
Dead people are appearing throughout the Valley, gory corpses seemingly snatched out of time from eras throughout human history. No one knows why. No one knows what to do about it.
The problem turns personal for young Johnny when he and his sister find FDR floating dead in the lake. Then the stakes become even more dire when he discovers that the plague of dead folks might just be the least of his potentially deadly troubles.
In this clever tale, Tim Byrd spins the sort of yarn that Mark Twain and Stephen King might produce if spacetime allowed them to collaborate. Join the creepy fun, but watch where you step.
"Dead Folks" can be read on Kindle or on free Kindle apps available for most devices. Amazon Prime members with Kindles can read it for free.
Get it here.
Yesterday, EPUB and PDF versions of the book zoomed through cyberspace to all our wonderful Kickstarter supporters who chose this book as one of their rewards. The Kindle version will follow in the next few days; we're still ironing out some bugs.
A proof of the trade paperback edition is on its way to me. Once I check it and make sure everything is ready, the print book will be mailed to Kickstarter folks and officially for sale.
The ebook has been uploaded to Kobo, and once it passes review (any time now) will be on sale in every country Kobo serves. There's an "uknown error" every time I try to upload the file to Nook, so I'll be talking to them during business hours Monday to try to resolve the issue. And, of course, once the mobi file is ready, we'll publish to Kindle.
We're very excited (and exhausted) by all of this, but the work continues. Doc Wilde and The Mad Skull is on our desks, and I'm hoping to have it out by Christmas. After that, Doc Wilde and The Dance of the Werewolf will start loping toward your bookshelves. Additionally, I'm finalizing the details on a Doc Wilde project which will be developed concurrently with Mad Skull; I'll tell you about that when the time is right.
In the meantime, I hope you'll join us in celebrating Doc Wilde's big return to publication.
Okay, the work is done and Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom is on the verge of its rebirth as a much improved, fully illustrated edition. We even have the bar code.
One of the final delays was that we wanted to include an excerpt and the cover from the second book, Doc Wilde and The Mad Skull, in the back of Frogs, so Gary Chaloner actually had to paint the thing. Seems like that takes time. Who knew?
Anyway, though it will get some tweaking between now and its actual publication, it is effectively done, ready for your eyes...
UPDATE: To see the cover complete with title and branding, just look in the sidebar. Click on the image there and it'll zoom out...]
Attention fans of Doc Wilde and great pulp adventure in general:
The 1994 film version of The Shadow is coming to Blu-ray.
This isn't just good news because the film is a visual delight and should have already been available thus, but because in the nearly twenty years of the film's existence, it has never been released on disk in the USA in its proper widescreen aspect ratio. The DVD is one of those butcheries known as “pan and scan,” in which they’ve sliced the sides of the image off in order to make it fit on an old-fashioned, non-widescreen TV screen. This kind of treatment is a travesty for any film, but The Shadow is a really nicely shot, lushly designed film, so it’s doubly so.
Here's a short review Doc Wilde author Tim Byrd wrote of the film a couple of years ago:
I know a lot of pulp fans don’t like this movie. But I (almost) love it.
It does make the common error of not trusting the source material and playing things for laughs, but unlike Doc Savage, it doesn’t descend into Adam West’s Batman levels of camp, and actually earns some real laughs. There is silliness in the film, but there is also some real wit. The banter between Lamont Cranston (the Shadow’s secret identity) and Margo Lane often feels like it came from an old Billy Wilder flick:
Margo: We need each other.
Lamont: No we don’t.
Margo: We have a connection.
Lamont: No we don’t.
Margo: Then how can you explain that I can read your thoughts?
Lamont: My thoughts are hard to miss.
Margo: And why is that?
Lamont: Psychically, I’m very well endowed.
Margo: I’ll bet you are.
Alec Baldwin is fantastic in the title role. As Lamont Cranston, who was Bruce Wayne before Bruce Wayne, he’s dashing and charismatic and smart. When he takes on the Shadow identity, his appearance actually changes, showing the darker self he usually hides, with his eyes going black and his nose taking on the sharp aquiline shape that was seen on hundreds of pulp covers.
And the Shadow looks AWESOME. Baldwin has great physicality in the role (including a snappy two-gun quick-draw from his shoulder holsters), the costume design is gorgeous, and director Russell Mulcahy, for all his foibles as a storyteller, makes him look great both in some great action sequences and in some brilliantly composed and iconic hero shots. For that matter, the film in general is beautiful, capturing the Art Deco style of the era with elan. And Penelope Ann Miller’s Margo Lane is sizzling hot.
Over at deviantART, artist Muzski has posted a series of cartoony covers for some of H.P. Lovecraft's classic pulp horror stories:
Here's one with relevance to Doc Wilde, because the story it illustrates is a strong influence on Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom:
Okay, folks, here's what's happening:
Doc Wilde is not only returning, he's almost here.
As noted elsewhere on this (new and improved) site, I originated the series with Penguin/Putnam, then opted for more creative control on the books by going independent. This took some time. First, I had to go through the process which allowed me to regain all rights to the books they had bought from me. Then, I brought artist Gary Chaloner on board, because he had always been my first choice to work on the Wildes and now that could happen.
Early last year, I ran a very successful Kickstarter for the series, in the process declaring what proved an insanely optimistic release schedule for the first five books. By the original schedule, the fourth book would be about to come out right about now. Instead, the rerelease of Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom, the only book Penguin actually published before I went indie, is nigh.
But let me tell you, it was worth the wait. Gary's art (which is featured all over this site) is incredible, and this new edition is packed with his illustrations. He has also handled the branding and book design for the series, and these are going to be gorgeous books.
This new edition also features my "Author's Cut" preferred edit of the book, which adds a bit more character depth and action to the tale.
As I type this, Gary is on the other end of the planet, finishing the layout for the book and making a few last minute touch ups to the art. Once I okay the files, they'll go to the printer for a draft copy to be printed in order to make sure everything works properly. While that happens, the ebook versions will go out to the wonderful Kickstarter supporters who are waiting for them, as well as being uploaded for sale online.
Once the draft process is finished for the printed book, copies of it will also make their way to supporters and be offered for sale online. Getting into bookstores will be a longer, more involved process; the book will be available for distribution to, and special order by, the stores, and we will fully support the merchants who support us.
So, that's the news from Wilde HQ. And I cannot wait to get this book, and the ones to follow, into your hands...
Over at Goodreads, the Pulp Magazine Authors and Literature Fans group is discussing my book, Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom (it was the official common read for November, but the discussion is only really just beginning).
I’d like to invite any and all of you to join in, or at least hop by and take a peek:
If you’re a reader and you’re not taking advantage of Goodreads, you should be. It’s a great site for sharing and discovering books, and there’s a lot of dialogue between not only readers and other readers, but readers and writers.
I found wisdom in a gamebook the other day, advice I think everyone should take, everyone should remember, everyone should act on.
The game is called Spirit of the Century, and its setting is the world of pulp adventure, in the years following World War I. It's a tabletop roleplaying game which allows you to take on the role of a pulp hero along the lines of Doc Wilde, Doc Savage, The Shadow, Tarzan, Indiana Jones, or Rick and Evy O'Connell from the Mummy movies.
It's a great game. If you're interested in trying out roleplaying with your friends, its rules are easy to learn and use. (It's also so good its initial print run sold out, so at the moment it's tough to find, though it's going to be reprinted).
So anyway, I was reading my copy, all revved up to play (which hopefully we'll be doing soon), when I got to a section called Changing The World: The Core of Pulp in which the authors try to express the spirit of the pulps, and of the heroes who adventured through their pages. That's where I found the wisdom:
Pulp runs on a few simple principles: action, science and optimism.
Of these principles, optimism is the most potent. It is not the shallow, sunny disposition that we so often equate with optimism, nor is there a denial of that which is terrible in the world. Instead, optimism is a tacit understanding that things can be better – that if you give people a chance, they’ll do the right thing, and even if they don’t, enough people will that things can change for the better...
...Because you can make a difference, you should. Taking action can change things, and if you do not change things for the better, there will always be people willing to change them for the worse. Choosing not to act is like sticking your head in the sand and hoping for the best — it’s far more likely to get you shot in the rear...
In the end, the question...is simple. The world can be, should be, a better place. What are you doing about that?
Optimism and Action. Certainly Doc Wilde and his amazing family live that way. And, you know what? I want to live that way too.
We can make the world better, you and I, at least in little ways. We should, not just because little ways add up (which they do), but because doing so at the very least makes our own lives worthwhile.
Be optimistic. Take action. Be a pulp hero in your own world.
Author Will Murray just posted these short comments on my book in various forums devoted to pulp adventure fiction:
Over the weekend I read Tim Byrd's young adult Doc Savage pastiche novel. Let me say that DOC WILDE AND THE FROGS OF DOOM is a pulp-pounding ribbiting croaker of a tale! It mixes a 21st century version of the Man of Bronze and his extended family of adventurers with evil Lovecraftian frogazoids infiltrating our reality via the South American republic of Hidalgo. It's out in May.
This is a particularly gratifying review for me, because Doc Wilde is in many ways an homage to the old pulp hero Doc Savage (see more on the Suggested Reading page), and Will is the official manager for the literary estate of Lester Dent, Doc Savage's creator. Will has also written seven actual Doc Savage novels (published under the pen name "Kenneth Robeson," just as all of Dent's stories were).
So the current keeper of the Doc Savage literary legacy loves Doc Wilde.
That's pretty cool.