Ghost Zero

The Midnight Society Prelude

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This is the prelude to the second Ghost Zero book ‘The Midnight Society’, due out this spring.

The ruined destroyer, USS Reuben James, cut her way through a blood sea full of corpses.  The entire bow had been sheered away by a U-boat torpedo at the beginning of World War II, but her ghost still dwelt in the realm of shadow, doomed to repeat the day of her destruction.

Solomon Strange had changed that, however.  He stood on the ragged, steel beams that jutted out from the smoking hull, precariously balanced over the dead sea, shrouded by white cloth.  With his outstretched arms, and his covered head thrown back, he vibrated with the Words of God.  His spider silk throat shimmered and bled white ectoplasm that curled in the corpse wind that always blew cold in the world of shadow, but he kept commanding the ship with words that were felt more than heard, commanding it on…to America.

Solomon Strange remembered.

He remembered being a boy, Paul Ecks, and learning the Words of Life from a dying rabbi, who had no son of his own to give them to.  He remembered wearing an ebony tuxedo with a hood, calling himself after the Jewish King, and devoting his life to fighting crime.  He assembled others of like mind, and they stalked the crime-festering streets as The Midnight Society.  The underworld syndicates feared them.

Then came the second war with Germany, and the arguments within the team.  Solomon wanted to go to Europe to fight Nazism, the Revenant and the Scarlet Specter insisting on fighting domestic crime, the Resurrectionist and Mary Midnight undecided.

So, he went alone.  Full of plans and patriotism, he made his way to Italy covertly, only to die with a group of resistance fighters beneath the crushing explosions of a confused, allied shelling.

But, death was not the end for Solomon Strange.  He awoke in the land of the dead, at first without purpose or understanding, but slowly his thoughts became clear.

He must return to America.  He must unite the Midnight Society.  Crime must be extinguished.

And so, he struggled across the haunted battlefields of Europe, passing ghostly soldiers from two wars locked in eternal battle, and fought his way to the sea.

It was at the sea that she met him.  She was a stranger, but knew his heart, and promised to aid him in his quest to return to the land of the living.  She told him of a place…a town named Limestone, where the veil between the living and the dead was pierced…where he could enter in.

It was in their talks together by the sea that he realized that the living were predisposed to crime…all of them…and even though they may be temporarily wiped clean of their sins, they would soon return.  He realized that it was not crime itself that was the evil, but the living who made it eventual.  The only way to truly end crime was to end the living.

When she saw his lament at the realization, she cried with him cobweb tears, and with her tenderness, she agreed to help.  The old rabbi had given him some of the Words of Life, but she could give him more.  She could give him the Words of Death, with which he could finally wipe the crime of humanity clean.

And so, filled with purpose again, the Words of Death twisting inside him like a shivering child, he commanded the haunted destroyer home.  He opened his fevered eyes and saw, through the eternal mists, the dark and bloody coast of America rise before him.

The thought of saying a prayer of thanks came to him, but the knowledge of how to do so, like so many other things, was lost.

His purpose was all that remained.

Soon.

Ghosts with Guns Comic now on Amazon!

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Some things just won’t stay dead!

And lucky us, eh? 🙂

My Ghost Zero comic, Ghosts with Guns is now for sale as a Kindle book on Amazon!  I have a special place in my heart for this comic.  It contains the very first Ghost Zero story ever made…”Sea of the Dead”, which I started putting on the web in January 2007.  It actually holds up pretty well, too!  I typically dislike looking at my past work, so its nice to be pleasantly surprised.  GwG also contains the short “The Fleshless Legion”, which is probably my all-time favorite GZ short story!  There’s artwork from me, behind the scenes images, and cool pinups from talented folks, and can now be delivered to you “by ghost”….through the very air itself!

Check it out on your favorite Kindle, or download the free Kindle app for your PC, iPad, iPod or iPhone!

And if you like it, please leave a review!

SPOOKSHOW: A Ghost Zero Novel, now on Amazon!

And, I’m an author!

My first-ever novel, SPOOKSHOW is on the virtual shelves at Amazon, and I’m scared to death.

Well, and a little proud and excited, too.

I’ve been told that doing something creative and putting it out where people can see feels exactly like dropping your pants in a public place.
It’s all true.

I’ve never written a novel before, and honestly, I don’t consider myself a writer.  I’m a storyteller.  And I think I’ve put together a pretty fun story.  I honestly love the characters and the setting, and I hope that my readers will see that when they go along with Eddie, Charles and Micah in their adventure. (more…)

15,000 Words

So, I’m closing in on 20,000 words now in “Ghost Zero: Spookshow”, and so far nothing awful has happened other than mispellings and bad punctuation.  Some of the few, early Grave Diggers (God love you) have given pretty positive feedback. One actually said “my first impression is that you’ve been published before”.  Very cool.
But the coolest part is being the first person ever to actually “see” the story I’m writing. I’m a very visual person, so I see everything happening like a movie. It lets me describe things in very vivid detail. That this snippet where Eddie encounters his first ghost:

“I turned my head to look behind me, just in time to see the brick wall burst into flame.  I wasn’t even sure what could be flammable about a solid, brick wall, but the fire spread, yellow tongues of flame growing and then appearing in other places…connecting together to form the rough outline of a man.

“Ma!  Fire!!”
I took a step back and reached for a blanket from my bed to smother the flames, but before I could get close, something walked through the wall and fire and smoke.  It was a small, bald man whose skin looked like it had been blasted and melted by a blowtorch.  I had heard from G.I.’s who told stories of burned corpses they saw in the war, and this looked like one.  Flames crackled down his arms and I could hear the skin sizzle as black smoke carried the smell of burning fat into the room.  He looked like the fire was coming from inside him…the skin lit up like a lampshade, all of the veins showing through in red.  His closed eyes snapped open and focused on me, roasted, bloodshot things with sticky blue irises.  His face cracked open in an awful smile full of blackened teeth, and he came toward me.” (more…)

Ghost Zero: Spookshow

Working Cover

Um….so….

I’m writing a book.

See, a funny thing happened several weeks ago.  I was in the local public library and saw a copy of “Fugitives”, one of the “Escape from Furnace” young adult books by Alexander Gordon Smith.  I didn’t know anything about them…I just saw the cover, thought the premise was interesting and took it home for a look.

Now, I’m fan of 1930’s pulp fiction, and I know it when I see it.  This stuff read like that…fast action, heaps of trouble, and the main character has to do something about it.

What WAS new was that it was written from a teen’s perspective.  I’m not a teen by any means, but I enjoyed the character and the story enough to keep the pages flying by.  Then, I had a realization.  Well, two of them, really.

  1. Ghost Zero IS a Young Adult novel.
  2. I was pretty sure I could write it.
One of the really frustrating things about turning out Ghost Zero in comic form is that it takes so…freaking…long to tell a story.  Honestly, it would take me a year to complete a 32-page comic book.  A whole year.
If I wrote a novel, I could knock out a rough draft in a couple of months, polish and revise the thing in a few more and have it ready for publishing in maybe 3-6 months.  A whole novel of 50,000 words of GZ, while keeping my day job.  Win.
So, I pulled out my Ghost Zero moleskine (Yeah, I have one of those) and started jotting down ideas, mapping characters, and shaping plots.  I came up with a novel that tells the Ghost Zero origin story.  I’m calling it Ghost Zero: Spookshow.  I started writing it last week and am roughly 7500 words in.  I’ve got a small group of “Beta-Readers” who I lovingly call “Grave Digger Local#66” who are looking over the bleedingly-raw words and giving me reality checks.
Grave Diggers.  Gotta love these guys.
So far, it’s been a hell of a ride.
One of the things I realized quickly is how much more I had to know about….EVERYTHING…when I was writing the novel than when I wrote the comic.  It’s actually been really cool to come up with back-stories for all of the characters…I mean, I’ve had plenty of thoughts about them, but writing a novel means you have to have them DOWN.
It’s also an incredibly intense and exhaustive experience.  I’ve lost sleep because I’ve been so excited and involved in the story. 
It’s like your imaginary friend comes over to stay for a month.  It’s a little weird.
But, it’s fun, too.  It’s great to have such awesome things to think about, and to push such depth into a world I’ve been running around in since 2007.  My task now is to cross the 50,000-word finish line, and I’m pretty sure it won’t be pretty.  That’s okay…pretty will come later.
So, here we go.  I’ll be putting out a general call soon for more Grave Diggers, so if you’d like to be in on reading the novel and giving feedback, keep an eye out.
More soon!