Atlanta: Tim Byrd @ DragonCon & Decatur Book Fest

For those in (or coming to) Atlanta, I’ll be making appearances at two big events on Labor Day weekend (Sep. 4-7).

I’ll be hopping back and forth between DragonCon in downtown Atlanta and the Decatur Book Festival in (you guessed it) Decatur all weekend.

At DragonCon, I’ll be on these panels:

Writing for the YA and Children’s Market
Time: Sun 11:30 am Location: Manila / Singapore / Hong Kong – Hyatt (Length: 1)
Description: How to write for an audience that’s half your age–or less. Tapping into the minds of today’s young people–what DO they want to read?

The Future of Fantastic Fiction
Time: Mon 04:00 pm Location: Manila / Singapore / Hong Kong – Hyatt (Length: 1)
Description: What lies ahead for the S/F, Fantasy and Horror genres? Can we forecast trends or should we just jump on the bandwagon?

At the Decatur Book Festival, I’ll be appearing along with author David Lubar at 4:30 pm Saturday on the Target Children’s Stage. Signed copies of the book will also be available the whole weekend at Little Shop of Stories on Decatur Square.

And I’ll be wandering both events with no real planning all weekend.

Books will be available at the DBF for signing after the appearance, and I’m going to try to have some on hand for random buyers at DragonCon. I hope to see as many current and potential Doc Wilde fans at both events as I can.

Get A Signed Copy Of Doc Wilde (or a signature for a copy you already have)

Go Wilde!

After promising various folks I’d do so, I have finally gotten around to figuring out how to handle personal inscriptions for folks unable to see me at a public appearance.

If you already own a copy of my book, for $1 US I’ll mail you a signed adhesive book plate to put in your copy, inscribed to whom and however you wish it to be inscribed (within reason).

If you don’t already own the book, or wish to obtain more copies, for cover price ($15.99) you can order a personally inscribed copy directly from me. Shipping is free (unless you’re outside the US, then I’ll have to check on rates). Again, I’ll sign it to whomever you wish.

A note to collectors: the first printing has sold through about 2/3 of the way since the book came out in May. So if you’d like your copy to be a first edition, you may want to get your order in sooner rather than later.

Payment can be made by credit or debit card via PayPal (there will be an additional .50-75 charge to cover PayPal fees) or by money order (no checks). I can assume no responsibility for postal failures; if you’d like to insure the delivery, it’s an additional $1.75.

To order, contact me through the Contact form on the Doc Wilde site. And, as always, please be patient if I take a few days replying, as I’m doing all this on my own.

The Sweet Sadness of Parenthood

A friend posted this poem on her Facebook page and reading it brought tears to my eyes. Ah, parenthood…

“Her Door”

by Mary Leader

There was a time her door was never closed.
Her music box played “Fur Elise” in plinks.
Her crib new-bought–I drew her sleeping there.

The little drawing sits beside my chair.
These days, she ornaments her hands with rings.
She’s seventeen. Her door is one I knock.

There was a time I daily brushed her hair
By windowlight–I bathed her, in the sink
In sunny water, in the kitchen, there.

I’ve bought her several thousand things to wear,
And now this boy buys her silver rings.
He goes inside her room and shuts the door.

Those days, to rock her was to say a prayer.
She’d gaze at me, and blink, and I would sing
Of bees and horses, in the pasture, there.

The drawing sits as still as nap-time air–
Her curled-up hand–that precious line, her cheek. …
Next year her door will stand, again, ajar
But she herself will not be living there.

School Library Journal Reviews Doc Wilde!

As promised earlier, here is the review School Library Journal gave my book, Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom, in their August 1st issue. I edited out a line I thought was a bit too much a spoiler about the plot.

This genial parody owes much to Kenneth Robeson’s iconic “Doc Savage” novels (Bantam) and the eldritch tales of H. P. Lovecraft. Like the original Man of Bronze, Doc Spartacus Wilde is an international adventurer–he’s a master of martial arts, chemistry, disguise, and pretty much every other skill a true champion needs. Moreover, he has trained his children, Wren and Brian, to follow in his outsized footsteps. Every pulp hero needs a colorful sidekick or two, and the Wilde family has brawny Irishman Declan and dapper English attorney Bartlett–fast friends who bicker and spar constantly. When Grandpa Wilde is kidnapped by froglike beings, Wren and Brian accompany their dad’s team deep into the Amazon rainforest to the hidden country of Hidalgo…[Spoilage removed]

The action bounces breathlessly from crisis to crisis, with the Wilde family’s scientific gadgetry and arcane skills in constant demand. The mock heroic dialogue is sometimes a bit exaggerated, but for the most part, everything is played with a straight face. Kids won’t be familiar with the adult-oriented sources, but the book’s small format, breakneck pacing, and broad humor will appeal to middle-grade adventure fans.

Buy Now!

Buy Now!

Booklist Reviews Doc Wilde!

There are certain reviews that are very important for a book. Publishers’ Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, School Library Journal, and Booklist are biggies because bookstores, libraries, and schools use them to make their decisions about what books to buy for their shelves.

Unfortunately, a lot of books are published every year, and those publications can’t cover all of them. I’ve been fortunate not only in the fact that most of them have now reviewed my book Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom, but have reviewed it very positively.

Back in March, I posted Kirkus‘s review, in which they said:

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.

Good stuff.

More recently, the August 1st issues of both Booklist and School Library Journal had reviews of the book. I’ll post SLJ‘s later; today’s treat is the review from Booklist:

Daring adventure! Dastardly villains! Climactic cliffhangers! Readers seeking these attributes in a book, look no further. Byrd updates the old movie serials genre, populates his story with an adventure-seeking family that brings to mind superhero versions of Steve Irwin and his children, and dusts the whole thing with Indiana Jones–style searches for magical artifacts. Oh, and he adds frogs, lots and lots of frogs. Brian and Wren Wilde are being raised by their widower father, who is not only an adventurer extraordinaire but also designs high-tech gadgets, speaks many languages, understands the nuances of other cultures, and performs martial arts with equal skill. Brian and Wren are pretty good in those areas too. So when their grandfather is captured in the South American jungle by those who worship a frog king intent on swallowing the universe, thus turning it into a black hole, well, something must be done. The premise can get awfully silly even for a book that’s more like a cartoon. But the action never stops and the quick pace will appeal to reluctant readers.

Buy Now!

Buy Now!

Look out! Here comes The Spider, man!

If you read this blog regularly (well, as regularly as I post to it anyway, these days), you may have noticed I love old school pulp adventure. Doc Savage, The Shadow, Conan, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, Indiana Jones, The Rocketeer, that sort of thing.

It’ll also be obvious to anyone who takes a peek at my book Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom, first in my series of pulp adventure novels from G.P. Putnam’s Sons, suitable for all ages, incredibly well-reviewed, buy it now. ;)

Anyway. One of my favorite pulp heroes is The Spider. I subscribe to Girasol Collectibles’ quarterly reprints, each of which contains two of the Depression-era Spider novels, most of which were written by Norvell Page under the publisher’s house name of Grant Stockbridge. I also have other paperback Spider reprints, including one of those currently in print from Baen Books.

The blog entry I linked to in the first paragraph gives some basic info on the pulps, and sources for pulp books including The Spider. In it I also wrote, “The Spider started as a Shadow rip-off, but evolved swiftly into something much more demented. The Spider tales are more violent, more epic in scale, and far weirder than usual, even for pulp. At the same time, The Spider is a more human and realistic hero than either of his more famous brethren, showing genuine emotion and even involved in a fully committed, intense, passionately romantic relationship.”

Now, Age of Aces Books has released a volume of three interconnected Spider novels called The Spider Vs. The Empire State: The Complete Black Police Trilogy. My copy arrived from Amazon yesterday, and it’s a gorgeous book, all lurid red and black with the feel of a fascist propaganda poster.

Credit for the cover art and book design is to maestro Chris Kalb, who also produced this poster for the recent Pulpfest convention:

(And if Age of Aces or anyone else out there has a copy of this poster they’d be willing to donate to a poor modern pulp author, please let me know).

Gotta love that tag-line. They said it couldn’t happen here. Then they said one man couldn’t stop it. Continue reading

Tim’s Goin’ On The Radio Again…


This Sunday (August 16) I’ll be interviewed on the monthly science fiction show on WREK radio. We’ll be talking about Doc Wilde, and perhaps about saving the world, we’ll see.

Here’s the blurb from WREK:

The Science Fiction Laboratory on WREK Atlanta (91.1 FM) airs the third Sunday of every month from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. This Sunday, August 16, 2009 we will broadcast, among other things, an interview with author Tim Byrd and a discussion of our favorite pieces of the quickly developing vampire mythology. For listeners not in the Greater Atlanta Metropolitan Area, we stream online at; just click the play button in the upper right. We also stream the show for two weeks after the broadcast. You can access the archive by clicking “Listen to our 14-day archive!” on the left side of the WREK homepage and finding the correct date and time of the show.

Doc Savage Meets Batman

Cool news for pulp fans…

docspiritA while back, DC Comics released the above image by Brian Stelfreeze, teasing a new series of comics set in an alternate dimension within the DC multiverse in which old pulp heroes rather than modern superheroes are active.

The series is called First Wave, and is being written by comics scribe Brian Azzarello with art by Rags Morales. More early info was provided by Morales in an interview with Newsarama:

It’s a world of heroism at its most innocent. We’re talking about, essentially, a universe where superpowers don’t exist. There are no people flying in from Krypton…there are no people swimming up from the ocean or from Paradise Island. We’re talking about the heart and soul of what it means to be heroic, where people are left more to their wits and their intestinal fortitude rather than any fierce other-worldly technology, or even inner-worldly technology…it’s not really accurate to call it a “modernization” because this is going to be enough of that original flavor to feel like it’s old-school, with fedoras and women in high heels and the cool things about what’s gangster and pulp, like Tommy guns. But it’s going to also be enough of an advancement to feel fresh. Tommy guns will exist in a world where computers exist. We’re going to be dealing with a world that is kind of like the Batman Adventures from The WB, where you have dirigibles next to jetplanes. That’s basically the visual interpretation of the atmosphere I’m dealing with…

That’s an approach I like, and is pretty much the approach I’m taking in the Doc Wilde books (for example, the police blimps in Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom).

Morales continued:

…we’ll have Doc Savage, the Spirit and The Avenger in there, and I’m working out how they’re going to look. Doc Savage won’t have that exaggerated widow’s peak, but I’m going with the classic looks on the characters with some updating. And in this world, Doc Savage is Superman. I mean, after all, Superman was derived from Doc Savage, along with Buck Rogers and Popeye and some others. But Doc Savage was the original guy with the Fortress of Solitude up in the arctic. He’s an inventor, and he’s got a very moral ethic. In a world of non-powered heroes, he’s going to be our focal point.

This week, the DC Universe blog told us how the pulp fun will begin:

This November, writer Brian Azzarello teams with artist Phil Noto for the BATMAN/DOC SAVAGE SPECIAL #1, which sets the stage for an entire new world for the Doc, along with a slew of characters that will pop up later, including the Blackhawks and Rima, the Jungle Girl. It all starts here, and I’m not exaggerating when I say you’re really in for a treat.

And two variant covers for the special were posted, the first by J.G. Jones:

batdss-01-coverThen one by Rags Morales:


Looks promising. Hopefully it’ll live up to its potential.

I Hear From Real America

And now “David Allen C.E.O.” will give the Republican response to my earlier political rant:

Your [sic] just another sanctimonius [sic] leftist asshole thats [sic] out there painting Real Americans with a broad brush. Trouble is you [sic] paint has been proved transparent. Forgive me for painting back.

We are out there working hard to keep your type from tossing whats [sic] left of our country off the bridge.

What can I say, really, that I haven’t already in the rant? I certainly can’t argue with his logic.

“Livin’ the Lie” (aka “The Republicans’ Pants Are On Fire”)


A Rant. I say mean things about Republicans. If you’re a Republican friend of mine, rest assured I’m not talking about you. Or at least I hope not.

The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.” (Ron Suskind, NY Times, quoting a senior Bush administration official in summer 2002)

We all know that politicians lie. Left, right, up, down, didn’t have sex with that woman, Iraq was involved in 9/11, God hates the gays (except, maybe, the ones getting head from self-righteous congressmen)…liars. All of ’em, to some extent. Continue reading