Interview with Author Chuck Regan

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I always enjoyed telling stories since I was a kid, but my focus had 
always been on illustration – I really wanted to be a comic book 
creator. In 2003, I self-published four issues of a dark science fantasy 
series called “Nether: The Age of Maga” (no connection to the current 
administration’s tag phrase) and as I dived deep into plotting out the 
series, I got more invested in the craft of prose. I found I could 
express a lot more in writing than just with pictures and speech 
balloons. If I had pursued that story in comic form, it would have taken 
me a couple of lifetimes to tell the story I wanted to tell. The comic 
book wasn’t successful enough to sustain production, so I switched gears 
and focused on writing.

In 2008 I finished my first novel, but it had a lot of flaws, so I filed 
it away and continued putting in my hours, reading and writing good and 
bad prose. My first short story for pay was accepted for publication in 
2011 in ‘Space and Time’ magazine. I’ve had 25 short stories and three 
novellas published to date.

None of it pays the rent yet, but I’m working on that part, building my 
library.

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2) What inspired you to write your book?

A weird commingling of inspirations fueled the world of Stormkind. The 
ones that are right out in front are ‘The Watchmen’ by Moore and 
Gibbons, ‘Powers’ by Bendis and Oeming, ‘Marshal Law’ by Mills and 
O’Neill, and ‘Marvels’ by Busiek and Ross.

My day job for years had been a graphic designer for advertising 
agencies, so the starting point for this series was writing from the 
perspective of a guy who designed the costumes and logos for 
under-powered, noob superheroes. That character, Sven, made it into Book 
One, but as a very minor character. His sarcastic, so-over-it attitude 
spilled into Bloodstock, who ended up becoming the main character of the 
series. More details about Bloodstock will be drip fed to readers in 
subsequent books.

And then the movie Deadpool came out, and the concept began to gel. 
Bloodstock first appeared in a short story intended to be published with 
Zelmer Pulp, a collective of writers with whom I got a real taste for 
telling a broad range of stories. Each ZP anthology collection had a 
different theme – zombies, westerns, sci-fi, noir, etc. and we edited 
each others’ work. It was a great way to stay inspired. After five 
anthologies, we wanted to do a superhero noir theme, and I went bonkers 
worldbuilding a shared universe for the other writers to play in. That 
work is published on the History page of the Stormkind website. 
(http://www.chuckregan.com/stormkind/history.html)

Yeah, I went to a very geeky, very manic place. I wanted enough 
structure so I could tell consistent stories for a long time to come. 
That Bloodstock short story will be published in an anthology of 
Stormkind characters, some of which were mentioned in the footnotes.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your
book?

The core theme of the series is focused on answering the question ‘What 
is a hero?’ Is it a set of rules, or a gut instinct driven by altruism? 
Is it past-life karma moving a hero to act, or yesterday’s guilt? Is a 
character driven by heart or head? Which character’s actions serve their 
ego, and which actions serve a greater good? And how does each of us act 
under stress? Why?

I have always been a fan of Star Wars. Hell, the original trilogy was my 
religion growing up, so I guess I was trying to channel my inner Yoda 
trying to answer these questions. Hopefully, between all the snark and 
destruction, readers will start to answer these questions in their own 
lives.

Beyond all this pretentious babble, I just hope they have fun reading 
it.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

Honestly, I don’t know. It just kind of grabbed hold of my enthusiasm, 
and momentum did the rest. The series will drift into some seriously 
messed up supernatural weirdness – that’s where all my stories typically 
end up – but I never really entertained writing about superheroes 
before.

I enjoyed The Flash and Batman as a kid. Later, X-men and New Mutants, 
but I always preferred reading stuff in the vein of DC’s Vertigo line, 
where ‘superheroes’ were mostly a sidebar to the esoteric adventures of 
characters like John Constantine.

I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me acting at the bidding of Causal 
Balance.

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would
you ask them and why?

Thaddeus Ormond, no question. He knows what’s going on on many levels. 
He’s been to other alternate-Earths. More on him in Book Two. If Nikola 
Tesla and Elon Musk had a love child, that’s Ormond.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your
readership?

Honestly, I didn’t put much effort into marketing through social media 
or any other venue. The only one I used was Facebook. I decided at some 
point I’d rather put in my hours writing ten books that ten people 
enjoyed than dealing with the black abyss of marketing. This is all just 
a fun hobby for me. If other people find it and like it, great.

I really appreciate you letting me tell everyone who visits your blog 
how awful a businessperson I am!

And I’m very glad you enjoyed the story!

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out
there?

Use writing to learn about yourself. Let your characters make the 
choices you don’t feel safe making for yourself. Only when your writing 
is personal will it have real meaning. And don’t expect to make any 
money. That will kill your inspiration and honesty. Write only for 
yourself.

That said, put in your time. Just write. If you are a ‘pantser’ – 
writing by the seat of your pants, I can’t offer any advice. Pantsing 
only works for me with short stories.

For longer works, I needed to figure out a reliable method of plotting. 
After going through half the goddamn books on the planet about plotting, 
I found that ‘Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook’ by Donald Maass and 
‘The Anatomy of Story’ by John Truby were most helpful. Once I figured 
out what my plot was, I could finally feel safe investing the time in 
writing each chapter.

You ever see ‘A Beautiful Mind’? When the Professor’s wife discovers the 
shed with the insane notes, drawings, clippings, and colored string 
linking all his thoughts? That’s what I was doing before I discovered 
these plotting methods.

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8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects
on the horizon?

I re-tooled that comic book series, Nether, into a novel series, and am 
shopping the first book around to literary agents. The working title 
(this week) is ‘Flames of Naraka.’ It takes place five thousand years in 
the future on a demon-infested post-apocalyptic Earth – kind of a ‘Lord 
of the Rings’ meets ‘Star Wars’. The second book is 75% complete. I 
plotted it out to book six.

‘Little Agony’ is a novel about the third generation of Martian 
colonists living in a corrupt dystopia. Inspired by ‘The Grapes of 
Wrath’ and ‘Firefly’, this was my first attempt at a novel. I’m working 
on rewrite number eight.

Yeah, I’m a big geek who lives on caffeine.

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For Blood Or Justice: Stormkind: Book One by Chuck Regan Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Today I am honored to be joined by guest reviewer Aly Avina, who read and reviewed this amazing book and is here now to share her thoughts with you about the novel. Thank you to Aly for taking the time to give her thoughts on this book to us and to author Chuck Regan for sharing his novel with us all. I hope you all will enjoy. – Anthony Avina


The Synopsis

After a hundred years of heroes, gods, and monsters tearing the world apart, governments resort to extreme measures in attempts to regain control. The year is 1982. U.S. President

Kirkpatrick has instituted harsh penalties against unlicensed vigilantism while secretly funding a program to create an army of super-powered agents. After newly-registered hero Scamp is arrested for murder, he must choose to either reveal his true identity and become a slave to the state, or cling to the fleeting hope of redemption.

– – –

Just what is a “hero”? What qualifies someone to be considered a true hero—one moment’s action, or a lifetime’s pursuit of an ideal? A costumed disguise is, by nature, deception, and deceptiveness is by no stretch a heroic characteristic. But what if deception were necessary to safely and routinely perform acts of heroism? And when might heroic intentions become overpowered by self-serving actions? How might a set of rules meant to assure proper behavior for heroes become a means to hide corrupt intentions? When does blind vengeance serve justice? If there was a universal system for rating heroic intent, how would you or I measure?

FOR BLOOD OR JUSTICE is the first book in the STORMKIND series of novellas and short stories which will attempt to offer answers to these and other questions. Stormkind will delve

into the spiritual/karmic drive of heroism, including the impact of past lives on the present and an entirely new mythology of good and evil entities.

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The Review

Chuck Regan has created a vivid and dynamic world in his new superhero noir series, For Blood or Justice: Stormkind. The novella features a world filled with costumed vigilantes with amazing superpowers. This alternate universe begins almost 100 years ahead of the events that take place in Book One. In the 1890s, the Ghosa meteor crashed in the Indian Ocean, effectively filling the Earth with some unknown form of radiation.

By 1912, this caused pubescent children to be afflicted with a disease called The Wrack. This meant they either died, became some form of mutant, or were given super abilities. The latter group was a rare one to be in.

These superpowered individuals are known as Stormkind. So when we fast forward to the 1980s, we meet Dan Haeckel, who works at a comic book shop and has recently discovered he has powers. While Dan is eager to become a Stormkind, his friend Scott doesn’t make that entirely easy for him to stay on the straight and narrow.

One of the most incredible parts about reading this novella is immersing yourself in this fascinating world that Regan has created. Dan is relatable in his geeky nature while the

Stormkind world has aspects that is reminiscent of our own real world. The fact that there are registered and unregistered vigilantes made the story that much more exciting, as well.

I definitely enjoyed the addition of footnotes at the end of the chapters because it added more understanding to the world that Regan had created and allowed me to fully dive into this universe headfirst.

Bloodstock was a favorite character of mine with his unique powers and wonderful personality. This true crime detective struggled with his powers at times and had a depth to him that made him one of the most exciting characters to follow. Though, I do wish he had been in it more.

The final act was packed with plenty of action that will leave the readers shocked by the actions of the villains and what is taking place before them, but it is done wonderfully so.

The Verdict

For any superhero fan, this is one you won’t want to miss. It is a fresh take on the superhero genre with the added flair of noir in the mix. While it definitely could use more powerful female characters, this first installment was meant to be “the boy’s club” of superheroes. So you’ll definitely get your female heroes fix when Book Two comes out and they will approach things differently than the original heroes you met.

Book One questions what it means to be a hero and what justifies their non-heroic actions. This universe will suck you in and it’s heart-pounding action will keep you there. Be sure to get your copy of “For Blood or Justice: Stormkind: Book One” when it’s released June 1st, 2019!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Chuck Regan began his career writing and illustrating comic books. In 2013, he became a regular contributor to Zelmer Pulp, and has since published 25 short stories, and 3 novellas in the speculative fiction, horror, and noir genres.

Chuck continues to develop several novels, including a military space western about colonists on Mars, a Lovecraftian alternative history World War II, and a post-apocalyptic dark science fantasy based on his comic series Nether.

Links:

FACEBOOK PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/Stormkind-2129740220599313/

http://www.chuckregan.com/stormkind/

http://www.chuckregan.com

About Guest Reviewer Aly Avina

Aly Avina is a Southern California-based freelance writer and blogger. She is always looking for her next great book to read. She also loves curling up with Netflix and her dog, Charlie.

https://www.instagram.com/alymarieavina/

https://www.thegamer.com/author/alyssa_avina/

https://screenrant.com/author/alyssa_avina/

Superhero Ethics: 10 Comic Book Heroes; 10 Ways to Save The World; Which One Do We Need Most Now? By Travis Smith | REVIEW

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Superheroes are one of the biggest money grabbers of the twenty-first century. Fans around the world love flocking to the world’s of Marvel, DC and other comic book publishers who make the most popular comic books, films, television programs and more. Yet there has been one question that has always been on fans minds since the comic book industry began: who is the best of all the heroes? While this has always been a matter of popularity, but author Travis Smith has done something truly spectacular by focusing not on their popularity, but the ethics of each character and comparing it to our society today and what we truly need in a hero. That’s what makes Superhero Ethics: 10 Comic Book Heroes; 10 Ways to Save The World; Which One Do We Need Most Now? such an incredible read. Here’s the synopsis:

Whether in comic books or on movie screens, superhero stories are where many people first encounter questions about how they should conduct their lives.

Although these outlandish figures—in their capes, masks, and tights, with their unbelievable origins and preternatural powers—are often dismissed as juvenile amusements, they really are profound metaphors for different approaches to shaping one’s character and facing the challenges of life.

But, given the choice, which superhero should we follow today? Who is most worthy of our admiration? Whose goals are most noble? Whose ethics should we strive to emulate?

To decide, Travis Smith takes ten top superheroes and pits them one against another, chapter by chapter. The hero who better exemplifies how we ought to live advances to the final round. By the end of the book, a single superhero emerges victorious and is crowned most exemplary for our times.

How, then, shall we live?

How can we overcome our beastly nature and preserve our humanity? (The Hulk vs. Wolverine)

How far can we rely on our willpower and imagination to improve the human condition? (Iron Man vs. Green Lantern)

What limits must we observe when protecting our neighborhood from crime and corruption? (Batman vs. Spider-Man)

Will the pursuit of an active life or a contemplative life bring us true fulfillment? (Captain America vs. Mr. Fantastic)

Should we put our faith in proven tradition or in modern progress to achieve a harmonious society? (Thor vs. Superman)

Using superheroes to bring into focus these timeless themes of the human condition, Smith takes us on an adventure as fantastic as any you’ll find on a splash page or the silver screen—an intellectual adventure filled with surprising insights, unexpected twists and turns, and a daring climax you’ll be thinking about long after it’s over. 

This is truly one of the most unique books I’ve read this year. The deep analysis of each of these well known heroes and the complexities of each character’s heroic actions and their motivations is something that’s always fascinated me. Yet never before has someone so articulately brought these issues to the forefront of the comic book industry and given audiences a deeper connection to these heroes as Travis Smith has done.

The book allows audiences to really analyze the motivations these characters have for taking on the mantle of hero, and whether or not their actions are completely selfless or not. It also compares these heroes and their ethics to our current political climate and gives historical context to these hero’s actions as well. It’s a really interesting and wonderfully different perspective that allows a wider audience as well as die hard comic book fans an opportunity to really understand the heroes they love in a whole new way.

Overall I loved this book. It was entertaining yet educational all at once, delving into political, intellectual, philosophical and of course ethical questions no one usually bothers to ask about the superhero community. Yet the author does a superb job of bringing these issues to light and giving us a chance to look deep within ourselves and determine which hero represents our best, brightest and most ethical hero in the twenty-first century. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copy of Superhero Ethics by Travis Smith today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author:

Smith_Travis

Travis Smith is the author of Superhero Ethics (Templeton Press). He received his PhD from Harvard University and is associate professor of political science at Concordia University. He has been collecting comic books since he bought Uncanny X-Men #207 with his allowance in 1986. His writing has appeared in the Weekly Standard and Convivium Magazine. For more information, please visit https://www.templetonpress.org/books/superhero-ethics

The Fiasco In News by Stephan Morse Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

An incredible twist on the superhero genre plays out in author Stephan Morse’s novel The Fiasco In News. Exploring the life of one young man who gains the unfortunate superpower of drawing disasters to himself, this genre mixture of dark comedy, horror, science fiction, fantasy and satire lights up the pages of this book like no other book before it. Here’s the synopsis:

When you’ve seen as many catastrophes as I have, “disaster” becomes a relative term. But when disaster hits, feel free to do what I do—hang your head while waiting for the tight-wearing crowd to arrive. That only works if your super power is the same one I have though. I’m an immortal walking magnet for superpowered problems. 

This new guy, Ted—a fake part-time villain who’s in it for the ratings and excitement—wants me to be a field correspondent for his news blog, and his offer sounds good. If I can’t beat ’em, expose ’em. The problem is he has no idea what my daily life is like. 

No one really does—but they’ll learn.

When I read this novel, I honestly couldn’t believe it wasn’t a television show already. Reading this was like reading the script to a show on Netflix that mixed the whacky horror of Ash vs. The Evil Dead, the larger than life superhero antic of The Flash and the adult drama of a Marvel Netflix show. Not only was this book packed with the incredible superhero action that one comes to expect from the genre, but we got a comic look at the way superpowers impact everyday people, and also the tragedy of those same interactions.

The character of Adam Millard felt very relatable if you can believe that. Despite his overwhelming power, the feeling of hopelessness in the face of overwhelming odds and the struggle to overcome your circumstances that cannot be changed felt like something I could personally identify with, while the sarcasm and humor he displayed in the face of these otherwise incredible encounters made me feel like I was watching a comedy on HBO instead of reading a book.

Overall I loved this story. It was one of the most original and unique stories I’ve read this year. The imagery used in this story made me picture the novel as if it were an actual comic book. I could almost see the twisted worlds Adam was forced to visit in this story popping off of the page, and the relationship between himself and the supporting cast made this an incredible story to behold. I can only hope we get more adventures of Adam Millard and I hope one day we can get this incredible series turned into a show, for it’s one of those stories that is both original and easily translatable onto another entertainment medium. If you haven’t yet be sure to pick up your copies of author Stephan Morse’s novel The Fiasco In News today!

Rating: 10/10

FiascoAB-2400x2400A.jpg

https://www.amazon.com/Fiasco-News-Stephan-Morse-ebook/dp/B072JG7BR4/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1525666353&sr=1-1-spons&keywords=The+Fiasco+In+News&psc=1