Welcome to the Amazing Stories BLOG HORDE INTERVIEWS!
The ASM Blog Horde is a diverse and wonderful species. I have the privilege of talking with all of them, and I get to share those chats with you. In this long-running series, you will have the opportunity to peek inside the minds of the ASM bloggers to to see just what makes them tick.
I hope you enjoy the series as much as I have enjoyed preparing it for you. Please feel free to ask questions, or just let the Horde know you’ve stopped by for a visit.
Bloggers live for comments, so keep ’em alive!
Tonight’s featured ASM Blogger:
C.E. MARTIN left the Midwest in 1990, after joining the USAF. After serving two years in Germany and then two more in California, he returned to Indiana, settled down, got married and is now the proud father of two girls.
Toiling by day as a civil servant, C.E. enjoys the classic pulp novels and B Movies in his spare time.
When not writing, C.E. can be found lurking around the Internet, as @Troglodad or even on Xbox Live—when his kids let him have the TV.
FF: So, Chuck, please tell us how you became interested in blogging for Amazing Stories Magazine.
CEM: I’ve been blogging for about six years now, and in 2012 started up in the Indie Author biz and saw a post at a writer’s forum asking for bloggers.
FF: As you know, Amazing Stories Magazine has a huge variety of blogging categories. In what categories can we find your blogs at ASM, and what is your special interest in those topics?
CEM: Well, I try and write about SF/F from a family, fatherly angle. It seems like a lot of SF/F has gotten very mature in the 21st Century. A lot of great stuff my kids cant see until they’re older. Much older. But, because they’re kids, they’ve missed out on a lot of classic stuff from before their time. I hope to share my education of my kids in Classic SF/F with other parents out there.
FF: Can you tell us a little bit about your previous work in the publishing or genre industry?
CEM: I’m an Indie Author- I have three novels out now on Kindle, Nook, etc. I’m planning about five more this year. Hopefully, they’ll come out of the shadows and into the spotlight and I’ll be able to consider myself a professional writer.
My first professional writing gig was in 2007- I landed a freelance bit with a local newspaper doing opinion pieces. Alas, they went under shortly thereafter (totally not my fault) and I only made enough money to buy my kids an Xbox. I then was recruited by the paper’s former editor to do opinion pieces for a regional blog, mythoughtworld.com, which had a decidedly political bent. I also blogged for myself, under the pseudonym, Troglodad. But like Sasquatch, my work there remains elusive to the Internet at large.
I was big into amateur filmmaking in the 1980s. If back then we had YouTube and all the fancy editing and HD stuff the kids have now, I’d be as famous as Freddie Wong or Zack Finfrock of Wayside Creations. Instead, my work often remained unfinished or in the form of cool VHS doorstops.
FF: Chuck, how might you categorize the type of blog you enjoy writing?
CEM: Well, I enjoyed my sarcastic, right-leaning political digs as Troglodad, but it (politics) started getting a little too nasty and personal a few years ago. Today I enjoy talking about what’s good in SF/F for kids. If I had my dream blogging gig it would be reviewing movies with an honest everyman’s approach. As long as I got free tickets to them, that is. And popcorn. Gotta have popcorn.
FF: One of the things I love about Amazing Stories Magazine is that they’re focusing on multiple genres—Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. Do you have a favorite?
CEM: Tough question. I prefer reading Science Fiction. I prefer watching schlocky “horror” B Movies. Fantasy can be okay—I’m a big fan of Piers Anthony’s Xanth series. I guess over all, I like them all equally.
I actually enjoy Monsters more than all around horror. I like the cheesy ones and the well done ones. I think it’s because I prefer to see non-humans get killed in movies. I feel zero guilt cheering when Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward trick a graboid into diving off a cliff. Watching people kill people, even bastards that deserve it…well, that just isn’t cool.
I greatly enjoy the sciency aspects of Science Fiction, but I find that as I get older, my nitpicking skills have increased and I find most SF/F to be implausible and that kind of ruins it for me.
FF: My husband says the same thing. I guess that’s one of the dangers of getting older. It’s harder to forgive those messy details. How about your favorite authors? Who do you read and what keeps you coming back to their work?
CEM: My all time favorite author would have to Warren Murphy. Lester Dent, ERB, and Robert E Howard would all tie for second place. I say this based on the enjoyment factor—how much I enjoyed reading all of their works. Warren Murphy, and his late writing partner, Richard Sapir, wrote the best series ever, The Destroyer, and it never disappointed. (Well, there was the one time, but that was a ghostwriter). The series also had some closely supervised ghost writers that were fantastic, like Jim Mullaney and Will Murray. But what really sets the books apart from others is the combination of humor, tension and just all around fantastic ass-whoopery.
The latest Destroyer novel, #150, The End of the World, is out and is just like reading the series in the 80s. Incredible.
There’s a new Destroyer spin off series, Legacy, written by Warren Murphy and Gerald Welch. It is SO good. First book is Forgotten Son. Five Stars, people. Read it!
FF: Great recommendations, Chuck. You had me at “fantastic ass-whoopery.” How about new authors? Have you read any new or lesser-known authors you’d like to bring to our attention?
CEM: I think the Destoyer/Sinanju family is turning out some real gems. Will Murray was the first to really get my attention. He writes fabulous Doc Savage novels as well as having ghost written some great Destoyers.
The current Sinanju family includes Jim Mullaney, Gerald Welch and Donna Courtois—all really capture Mr. Murphy’s style and essence and they produce work that’s just absolutely fun to read.
I also think Steve “SS” Wilson is going to be one to watch. He’s a moviemaker, responsible for such awesome screenplays as the Tremors series, Short Circuit, and Wild Wild West. He released a novel last year—Tucker’s Monster—which I still haven’t gotten to read. As good as his films are, I would bet he is going to turn out to be right up there with ERB on the scale of SF/F classicdom. His films prove he knows what it takes to tell a great story.
FF: Do you have a favorite genre artist/designer? What is it about their work you enjoy?
CEM: Mike Baron. He created the greatest comic book of all time, The Badger. He also worked on The Punisher for many years. I could gush about The Badger all day long. Simply incredible. There are a lot of artists I like, but most I can’t recall their name.
Elliot R. Brown was a favorite for years. He did these great technical drawings for Marvel Comics.
And of course, Bill Sienkiwicz (I bet I didn’t spell that even close to right). I still have my Moon Knight series from the 1980s he did.
FF: I know you’re a gamer, Chuck. What is your favorite video game and gaming platform?
CEM: I prefer Xbox 360. I think it’s the most user-friendly of all the platforms I’ve tried. Hard to say which is my favorite game. It would be a toss up between Dead Island and Rainbow Six Vegas 2. Both games I have played for hundreds of hours. They were totally worth the crazy price of $65. I say crazy because I’ve been gaming since the opening days of the Commodore 64, when games were less than $10.
Oh, how I wish I could get an advance release of Dead Island: Riptide and do a review (hint, hint).
FF: I hope your “hint, hint” gets to the game makers. That would be sweet. So, what are you reading these days? How is it so far?
CEM: Reading Monster Earth, a collection of Kaiju (giant monster) short stories. It’s the coolest of concepts but I am not digging the first person. I’m a third person omniscient kind of reader.
I am feverishly awaiting the next volume in the Destroyer spin off series, Legacy, by Gerald Welch and Warren Murphy. The first, Forgotten Son was just incredible. I think I read the whole thing in two days. For someone with two kids and little time to read, that was impressive.
FF: You mentioned a few movies earlier, so I suspect you’re a genre movie fan? What are your favorite titles? And have you seen any lately that you would recommend for us, or suggest we avoid?
CEM: TREMORS. I love that series. I think it’s the best SF/F series ever. However, my favorite movie of all time is Predator. I can watch it over and over again. I even have it on my smart phone at all time. Too bad the sequels weren’t as good.
Best SFF movie I’ve seen in the past year was Iron Sky. Not kid appropriate, dammit, but with a little editing it could be. Perfect blend of good effects, fast pacing and cheesy B Movie goodness.
FF: Mmm…cheesy B movie goodness. So, where on the planet (or off the planet) are you from originally, and where are you now? Where would you like to be?
CEM: I’m from, and currently in, Indiana. I think I would like to be in Wyoming or Montana, in a fancy, off-the-grid house with satellite Internet and a good twenty-mile buffer zone between me and my closest neighbor. Alas, I don’t think I’ll be winning the lottery any day soon, and my kids do need the social interaction of school, so I reckon I’ll be staying in my home state for the foreseeable future.
FF: What’s your day job, Chuck? How is your blogging influenced by your work, or is it a respite from your day job?
CEM: I work in criminal justice. It’s incredibly depressing and thankless.
Writing isn’t a respite, it’s part of my nefarious plan to one day retire/change careers and leave all the misery of the past twenty years behind.
FF: OK, now tell us a little something about yourself most folks might not know.
CEM: I’m big. I mean scare-the-kids big. 6’5″, 300 pounds. My wife always tells me that I’m intimidating. I guess it’s the caveman forehead. My favorite hobby would be watching movies in the Dadcave of my basement, which is also my favorite place in the world. I do have a dog, a Border-Aussie, who follows me everywhere in the house, obsessed with my Sasquatchian girth. Except to the basement. She won’t do stairs.
Music? I prefer orchestral scores from movies. John Williams is my favorite.
FF: That’s a scare-everybody size, Chuck. I promise to always be nice to you! Now, besides the Dadcave, what’s your “secret” pleasure or obsession?
CEM: I don’t really have a secret pleasure. Everyone who knows me, knows I love Cheese and Beef. Nothing beats a properly home-grilled Cheeseburger. No salad on top, just greasy, beefy goodness, topped with cheese and served with a side of good chips.
FF: Maybe you should plan on taking a few beef cows with you when you move to Montana. OK, back to the subject of business. What projects do you have in the works? Don’t be shy.
CEM: I’m currently writing a military SF/F series, Mythical, that I put out as Indie titles on Kindle, Nook and Smashwords. It’s basically the military vs the magical in a world where magic has lingered on into the present day. I’d say it’s a cross between Men in Black, Supernatural and X-Files with a smidge of Alphas thrown in.
I’ve been writing books in this setting since the 80s, but I could never get past the slushpiles. For the new series, I’ve made considerable changes and hope to eventually complete at least 12 volumes. Three are out now; three more are planned for 2013. If people would start reading it, I’d press on—I can do one every six weeks. But I understand it’s a pulp-ish, nichey kind of book that not everyone will enjoy, so I have other projects in mind for the latter part of the year. Basically, if you like The Destroyer series, Doc Savage, Kolchak the Nightstalker, or any monster of the week type program, you should like Mythical.
FF: One every six weeks is killer. Impressive. Now, I know a lot of people have a mentor or teacher in the business who have helped them along the way. Any mentors?
CEM: Not presently. Maybe if I keep dropping hints that Warren Murphy is my favoritest author ever, that will change. Of course, I’m greedy. I’d want two mentors. The other’s name would start with S and end with Wilson.
FF: I hope they hear you, Chuck. You know how writers love a bit of adoration. Speaking of adoration, do you have a favorite fan convention or writers’ convention?
CEM: I both love and hate conventions. I love seeing all kinds of cool bric-a-brac from around the world, and all the great costumes people wear. I hate the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds and the lack of air conditioning.
I love taking my kids to see cool stuff. We live in the Louisville, KY area, and Wonderfest is an awesome SF/F convention with lots of great model kits. FandomFest is coming up on its third year here, I think. We went last year and shuffled around with the thousands there to admire Bruce Campbell. If it had been outside, or in a building five times larger, I would have loved it.
My standard for knowing when I’ve made it as a professional writer will be the day I get invited to the San Diego Comic Con, all expenses paid.
FF: I had a look at the FandomFest site—quite a line-up. Shattner, Scully, The Walking Dead, Warehouse 13, and on and on it goes. I can see why it was mobbed last year. How about podcasts? Do you any you might like to recommend?
CEM: Podculture.org. But that’s cause I know the folks that do it and it’s the only podcast I’ve listened to. Oh, and they let me hawk my book a few months ago on one episode. Great people.
FF: Well, Chuck, it’s been a real pleasure talking with you. Thank you so much for sharing your time so generously. Please tell our readers where they can find you on the Web?
CEM: My old blog still lingers at http://troglodad.blogspot.com Please, bear in mind, that’s a writing persona, and was intended to be ultra right wing. Don’t get too offended.
My current books series blog is at http://mythicaltheseries.blogspot.com but I barely am able to post to it weekly.
I lurk on twitter under @troglodad. I basically tweet when the urge hits me, which isn’t often, but when it is I enjoy just blathering on about bizarre stuff.
I have a Facebook profile for my novel writing. I think I’m CEMartin.1039. I’m still not so good with the Facebook, so I could be wrong about that.
Thank you for reading, folks! Please come back next week for another featured Amazing Stories Blog Horde Interview.
We’ll keep the light on for you!
BTW, Bruce Campbell is very kid friendly. My daughter, 7, and another kid got to go to the head of the line to meet him. She proudly has her framed Bruce autograph hanging on the wall in the basment, right beside the few her big sister has managed to get at other area conventions.
You've got some great kids there, Chuck!