DOC WILDE ADVENTURES: “Over the top at times, rip roaring adventure that returns us to the days of yesteryear and leaves us wanting more!”

The Astonishing Adventures of Doc Wilde Kickstarter is still doing well, currently at 123% of its original goal and (hopefully) still climbing. After building the project around three novels (all being published this year), in recent days I added an option allowing supporters to also get the 4th book, Doc Wilde and The Daughter of Darkness, which will be released in the first half of 2013.

The most popular option supporters are choosing gets all four novels in ebook format for only $20. Higher level rewards include trade paperback copies, signed limited editions, several additional short Doc Wilde adventures, and other cool stuff.

Yesterday I also added a bonus reward that all supporters will get for free if we pass 200% of goal, which you can read about here.

Over the course of the Doc Wilde Kickstarter (which ends April 28th), I’m sharing a few of my favorite reviews that the first book, Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom, received when it was originally published by Putnam. Todays, by novelist Barry Hunter, is from The Baryon Review:

Just a quick note about a new book. It has a May publication date and is a joy. If you remember the pulps and Doc Savage, you need to pick this one up. It’s a true delight and will be something your children will enjoy as well.

DOC WILDE AND THE FROGS OF DOOM by Tim Byrd, Putnam, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

Sometimes as you get older you think about some of the joys and memories you have accumulated over the years: your first comic book, your first trip to the library, or your first trip to the movie theatre. All these are fond memories, but another of mine stands out as well. It was the first time reading Doc Savage, The Shadow and The Spider in the original pulp appearance. They enjoyed a revival in the seventies, but what of the new readers that have come along since then? 

This book helps to solve that problem. Tim Byrd has taken the basics from the pulps and the world spanning adventures they brought into our lives on a monthly basis. Doc Wilde is a descendant of those pulps and starts off with an adventure that is straight out of the thirties.

Doc Wilde has trained his two children, Brian and Wren, from an early age to be physically fit, mentally alert and to expect the unexpected at a moments notice. 

In this adventure, their grandfather has disappeared, they are attacked by mutant frogs and mutated frog men, travel to Hidalgo on a rescue mission, and uncover the mystery and the master who is hoping to take over the world.

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 the young adult readers. It is over the top at times, rip roaring adventure that returns us to the days of yesteryear and leaves us wanting more. I hope to see more from Tim Byrd and Doc Wilde in the future. 

Looking for Adventure? GO WILDE!!!

DOC WILDE AND THE DAUGHTER OF DARKNESS Added To Doc Wilde Kickstarter

The Doc Wilde Adventures Kickstarter project encompasses the first three Doc Wilde novels, all of which will be published by year’s end. It allows people to get involved with the series, and with me (the author),  early and to contribute donations to help make the books (which will be fully illustrated by maestro artist Gary Chaloner) as awesome as possible. In return, they can get copies of the books, posters, signed sketches by the artist, all sorts of goodies.

After the first week, we hit our $3,000 goal. But that goal was the minimum amount needed for the project to actually succeed on Kickstarter, not a maximum needed to produce the books. The project is still live (through April 28th) and people can still come join the party and go Wilde.

To celebrate our success, I’ve added an option that all supporters who pledge at least $5 (that’s the lowest reward level, getting you one of the books as an ebook and a thank you in the acknowledgments) can take advantage of.

THE DARK AVENGER OPTION
You can now get the fourth Doc Wilde novel as part of your Kickstarter package, at a special rate. Add $5 to your pledge and you get the ebook; add $13 and you get the ebook and the trade paperback; add $20 and you get both plus a bookplate signed by both Gary and me. (For international orders, an additional $10 will be needed to cover shipping on the paperback).

The book will be released in the first half of 2013.

And what is the fourth book?

Doc Wilde and The Daughter of Darkness

In which something terrible happens to Doc, and the kids go looking for an ally of their family’s from years past, a rather dark character with a tendency to laugh while he shoots people. He’s not home, but his just as shadowy and violent teen daughter is…

Here’s how the book begins: Continue reading

Free Fiction Friday: Three Thieves Plot In SKULLDUGGERY!!!

With everything going on, I only just managed to squeeze in an update: chapter 15 of my serialized hardboiled fantasy novel, SKULLDUGGERY, A TALE OF THIEVES, in which three thieves meet and plot…

SKULLDUGGERY, A TALE OF THIEVES

As always, keep in mind that this is a first draft of a novel that I wrote nearly thirty years ago. I’m proud of it, and think it’s loaded with cool stuff, but it is a tad rough hewn.

Also, just a reminder that the Kickstarter project relaunching my Doc Wilde pulp adventure series (which I had been publishing with Putnam, but have now taken independent) is now LIVE!.  It will run until midnight (PST, because I wanted to give the left coasters a fair shot) Saturday, April 28th; it encompasses three books which will be released by the end of the year, in fully illustrated editions available both as ebooks and trade paperbacks.

The project is kicking ass: after just a week, we’ve achieved the $3,000 goal we needed to hit for Kickstarter success, and it’s still climbing. The more we raise, the more we can put into making the Doc Wilde books as awesome as they can be. So please consider visiting The Astonishing Adventures of Doc Wilde and helping us out.

I hope you’ll get Wilde with us…

Wilde Success! (But The Adventure Continues…)

Looking for Adventure? GO WILDE!!!

YAHOO! Today, one week after it began, the Doc Wilde Adventures Kickstarter project hit (and passed) its $3,000 goal!

But that doesn’t mean it’s over. The goal was our minimum target we needed to hit in order for the Kickstarter to succeed; had we not reached it, the project would have failed and no funding would have occurred. But now, the sky is the limit. People can continue to jump on board and contribute, and the more funds we get, the better we can make these books.

Thank you to all our great friends who have given their support to the project thus far! And a special call-out to the guys at Inveterate Media Junkies, who’ve been featuring the Doc Wilde Kickstarter on their site all week and who also made a big pledge that brought us to goal!

To celebrate today’s success, I’d like to dedicate the following tune to all our supporters…

DOC WILDE ADVENTURES: Tim Byrd has “the keen eye for the plausible impossibility shared by many of the pulp greats”

 

Over the remaining three weeks of the Doc Wilde Adventures Kickstarter, I’m going to share a few of my favorite reviews the first book, Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom, received when it was originally published by Putnam. First up, the esteemed Ken Hite’s view…

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Kenneth Hite is a smart man.

He’s a writer of various things, particularly in the roleplaying game field. He’s a true polymath, carrying vast stores of knowledge about a vast array of topics around in his brain. He’s one of the few human beings I have ever met who makes me feel kind of dumb.

He’s also a scholar of pulp fiction, particularly the works of H.P. Lovecraft. So it thrills me to share with you his review of my first book, Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom, which is of course an homage to both the pulp heroes of the 1930s and ’40s and to H.P. Lovecraft’s unspeakable horror tales. It’s my first review by someone I’m not only sure gets everything I tried to do in the book, but who I suspect gets stuff I don’t even realize is in there.

Here’s his review of the book from Flames Rising: Continue reading

Free Fiction Friday: Rapiers In The Rain In SKULLDUGGERY!!!

 Because of things I explained this morning, this week’s Friday falls on Saturday.

Of course, the very week I started doing this, I did say that Friday usually falls on Friday. I did foresee the need for flexibility. I’m very wise.

Just a token taste of free fiction this week, chapter 14 of my serialized hardboiled fantasy novel, SKULLDUGGERY, A TALE OF THIEVES, in which Darton squares off with another swordsman for some frantic combat in the rain…

SKULLDUGGERY, A TALE OF THIEVES

As always, keep in mind that this is a first draft of a novel that I wrote nearly thirty years ago. I’m proud of it, and think it’s loaded with cool stuff, but it is a tad rough hewn.

Also, the Kickstarter project relaunching my Doc Wilde pulp adventure series (which I had been publishing with Putnam, but have now taken independent) is now LIVE!.  It will run until midnight (PST, because I wanted to give the left coasters a fair shot) Saturday, April 28th; it encompasses three books which will be released by the end of the year, in fully illustrated editions available both as ebooks and trade paperbacks.

It’s been only about thirty hours since the project launched and we’re already at 46% of our minimum goal. And the very highest pledge level, which  was limited to only three people because it offers three one-of-a-kind collectibles, already has two pledges. So if you’re at all interested in getting the maximum rewards we have to offer, you might take a look over there soon. (The second highest level, which is limited to four slots, is still open, and there are no limitations on how many folks can pledge at all the other levels).

I hope you’ll get Wilde with us…

The Astonishing Adventures Of Doc Wilde Kickstarter Is Now LIVE!!!

Click The Pic To Go To Kickstarter!

And, we’re flyin‘…

The Doc Wilde Kickstarter has officially begun:

The Astonishing Adventures of Doc Wilde

I invite you to click the link above and take a look at the cool rewards we came up with for each pledge level. Watch the amazing video, in which I seem subtly unable to wear a shirt correctly and show, once and for all, that, videogenically speaking, I have a great face for literature.

Kickstarter is a system created to make it possible for people all over the world to help creators fund cool projects; in exchange, the supporters get cool stuff and opportunities to interact in assorted ways with the creators. The creator posts a funding goal, and if the goal is met then the project succeeds and the pledge money goes to the creator. But if the goal is not met, the project fails and no money is exchanged. It’s an all-or-nothing system.

I’ve set the project goal at $3,000, basically a grand each for the three novels the Kickstarter is meant to launch. But please understand that this is a minimum goal; once it’s met, the project is a success, but people can still join in (and hopefully will) at any point during the time the project is active. The more the merrier, and the more funds we raise the  easier it will be to produce not only these first three volumes but more books in the series.

The project will run until Saturday, April 28th, at midnight PST.

If you plan to pledge, please do it as early as you’re able. Launching strong is very important for a project because many possible supporters look for projects to support with a high probability of success. If the project is already well on its way to hitting its funding target early, that’s a good sign it will succeed.

If you pledge, we sincerely thank you. Welcome to the pulpy, perilous world of Doc Wilde and his amazing family!

The Big Reveal: The New Cover Art For DOC WILDE AND THE FROGS OF DOOM!!!

 

With just under twenty-four hours before the Doc Wilde Kickstarter project goes live (and I have to tell you, I keep feeling like clicking that launch button early), I’ve decided to go ahead and let you see the great new cover Gary Chaloner has designed for the new, much-improved edition of the first novel.

It incorporates elements from his original mock-up, but does so much more…these are the Wildes I’ve always seen in my head.

The Doc Wilde Adventures Kickstarter Begins This Friday (3/30/12)

It’s getting down to the wire, folks…

This Friday, “The Astonishing Adventures of Doc Wilde” project will go live on Kickstarter.

“In a young adult book market crowded with the depressing and the dour, Tim Byrd’s 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, Wilde lovingly riffs on situations straight out of the old pulps, even while making them fresh for a new generation.”
— Zack Stentz, screenwriter, Thor, X-Men: First Class

The Doc Wilde stories are my tribute to the pulp stories I loved growing up, and still love today. Like The Incredibles or the Indiana Jones films, they are suitable for kids and adults both,  full of action and humor and weird science and occult menace and lots of derring-do.

I published the first book, Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom, with Penguin/Putnam in 2009; it did very well both critically and commercially, so they asked for more books. But in the three years since, the digital publishing revolution has opened up many opportunities for an author that traditional publishing doesn’t offer, and I decided to go independent with the series.

The Kickstarter project will encompass three Doc Wilde novels, all to be released by year’s end. The books will be available in trade paperback and ebook formats. They will all have gorgeous covers and interior illustrations by the great Aussie comic book artist Gary Chaloner. (At the top of this post you can see the new logo he’s designed — he’s still painting the rest of the cover, which will hopefully be ready in time to debut when the Kickstarter begins).

I’ve regained my rights to Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom and it will reappear in a much improved new edition in June, featuring not only the new artwork inside and out by Gary, but my “author’s cut” preferred edit and a new short Doc Wilde adventure.

In August, we’ll release Doc Wilde and The Mad Skull, the long-awaited second book, in which the Wildes face a mind-blowing mystery and a truly bizarre villain.

In November the third adventure will appear, Doc Wilde and The Dance of the Werewolf, a dark tale featuring lycanthropes and witchcraft. At least two more Doc Wilde adventures will follow in 2013.

(If you follow the links above you can read excerpts from each of the books).

For those who may not be familiar with Kickstarter, it’s a modern patronage system for creators in which they present something they’d like to do and supporters are able to pledge funds to help them do it, in return for rewards varying from big thank yous to copies of the items created to interactions of various sorts with the creators. The creator posts his intentions and a target amount of money he is trying to raise; if, within the time the Kickstarter runs, enough money is pledged to hit that target, then the Kickstarter succeeds. If the target amount is not met, the Kickstarter has failed and no money is exchanged.

The target I’m setting for this project is $3,000. But that’s a minimum goal, not a maximum; once it’s reached, the Kickstarter continues and new people can continue to get involved. The funds will go toward art and book design and editing, as well as paying for the writing. Any extra funds will be applied to producing more books down the line.

I’ve come up with reward levels for pledges ranging from $5 for an ebook copy of one of the novels and the supporter’s name on the book’s acknowledgments page, up to $400 for signed limited editions of the books along with a bunch more cool stuff. There are only three slots available at the highest level, and four at the second highest, because they include exclusive one-of-a-kind rewards, so those are first come, first served.

I plan to launch the Kickstarter at noon EST this Friday, March 30th.

If you’re looking for adventure…it’s time to GO WILDE!

“It’s 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 the young adult readers. It is an over the top at times, rip-roaring adventure that returns us to the days of yesteryear and leaves us wanting more.”
                                                          —The Baryon Review

Are There Werewolves In Your Werewolf Book?

See that awesome Doc Savage cover up there, painted by the incredible James Bama? As a kid who loved Doc Savage stories and also loved werewolves more than any other monster, this cover grabbed me by the very soul when I saw the slender paperback on the rack.

And it’s a pretty good tale. It’s even an important tale in the Doc Savage canon because it’s the story that introduces Doc’s gorgeous and scrappy cousin, Pat Savage. (Who writer Lester Dent intended to start her own detective agency, but his editors thought that was a bit much for a girl, so she got to run a beauty salon instead, though she did go adventuring with her cousin and his crew).

There is one big, annoying, pain-in-the-ass thing about Brand of the Werewolf, though. You know that savage beast throttling Doc in the image at the top of this post? You know, the werewolf? Not actually in the book. There are no lycanthropes of any sort in this book. The “brand” from the title is actually a wolf-head symbol marking some crates, if I remember right. Exciting.

It’s my understanding that, because of that cover up there, this book became the bestselling Doc Savage novel Bantam ever printed. And I’m pretty sure many of the folks who bought it on the strength of that painting were as disappointed as I was to reach the last page and never actually encounter a werewolf.

This year, I’m relaunching my Doc Wilde adventure series, which pays strong tribute to the Doc Savage stories I grew up on. We’re coming out with three books by the end of the year (a Kickstarter so folks can help us with the project and get cool stuff will start next Friday, March 30th), and the third book is titled Doc Wilde and The Dance of the Werewolf. And yes, I have already had Doc Savage fans ask me if there will actually be werewolves in my werewolf book.

Hell yes there are gonna be werewolves in my werewolf book.

Free Fiction Friday: A Gypsy Girl Faces A Tough Choice In SKULLDUGGERY! Doc Wilde Finds Murder In The Woods!

Just a taste of free fiction this week, chapter 13 of my serialized hardboiled fantasy novel, SKULLDUGGERY, A TALE OF THIEVES, in which Aubrey faces a hard choice after the supernatural storm that resulted the last time she tried a tarot reading…

SKULLDUGGERY, A TALE OF THIEVES

Also, we are now only one week away from the start of the Kickstarter project relaunching my Doc Wilde pulp adventure series (which I had been publishing with Putnam, but have now taken independent).  The Kickstarter will run from Friday, March 30th through Saturday, April 28th; it encompasses three books which will be released by the end of the year, in fully illustrated editions available both as ebooks and trade paperbacks.

The past three weeks I have posted excerpts from each novel, and you can read them at the links below.

I hope you’ll join me on my Kickstarter adventure…

DOC WILDE AND THE FROGS OF DOOM

DOC WILDE AND THE MAD SKULL

DOC WILDE AND THE DANCE OF THE WEREWOLF

Greg Bear Reviews JOHN CARTER

SF novelist Greg Bear has posted his review of John Carter, which is also a commentary on the treatment the film is getting from mainstream critics, as well as on pulp fiction’s place in our culture. I’ve spliced in a bit below. The whole thing is a very good read, so you should read it…click here to do so.

And y’know, much has been made of Disney not calling the flick John Carter of Mars, but I think they truly missed a bet by not calling it John Carter and The Princess of Mars. That would have captured its science fantasy elements, its romanticism, and the fact that it has an honest-to-Barsoom new Disney princess in it. And a truly capable, heroic princess at that. Of course, Disney completely flubbed the marketing on the film, and now they’re suffering for it.

Without “A Princess of Mars” there would be no “Star Wars” or “Avatar,” of course. There would be fewer names on the modern map of Mars–and likely far fewer engineers and scientists to build those space ships and shoot them into the outer void.

In 1911, Burroughs was happy to incorporate the latest speculations about Mars–derived from the work of the immensely popular astronomer Pervical Lowell, and not thoroughly discredited until the 1960s. To those speculations he added a bit of H. Rider Haggard, a bit of Kipling, and a bit of the then-popular Graustarkian romance, where a brave commoner is launched into royal complications in an exotic mythical land.

George Lucas, decades later, owed a tremendous debt to Burroughs. Tatooine is much like Mars, with wonderfully strange creatures, suspended racers, and huge flying barges with swiveling deck guns.

And no wonder. Leigh Brackett, co-screen-writer on The Empire Strikes Back, often wrote pulp tales herself–some set on Mars–and did it quite well.

In turn, she inspired Ray Bradbury to revisit and revise Burroughs’s Mars in The Martian Chronicles, an enduring classic. Brackett went on to craft screenplays based on the pulp tradition that the Times still finds so discreditable: The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler. She co-wrote that screenplay with William Faulkner. Faulkner sold his first short story to a pulp magazine, Weird Tales. So did Tennessee Williams. And I strongly suspect they all read and enjoyed, in their younger years at least, A Princess of Mars.

We would all be the poorer for not allowing future generations of young readers a chance to fall into Burrough’s amazing pulp story of adventure and imagination, still powerful and fun after all these years.

Free Fiction Friday: More SKULLDUGGERY!!! More WILDE Action!!!

This week’s free fiction is chapters 11 and 12 of my serialized hardboiled fantasy novel, SKULLDUGGERY, A TALE OF THIEVES. ‘Tis a tangled web I’m starting to weave…

SKULLDUGGERY, A TALE OF THIEVES

Also, we are now exactly two weeks away from the start of the Kickstarter project I’m putting together to relaunch my Doc Wilde pulp adventure series (which I had been publishing with Putnam, but have now taken independent).  The Kickstarter encompasses three books which will be released by the end of the year, in fully illustrated editions available both as ebooks and trade paperbacks.

As part of the run up to the actual project (which will run from Friday, March 30th thru Saturday, April 28th), I’m posting excerpts from the three novels. Last week, I  posted part of Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom, then followed it this week with the opening chapters of Doc Wilde and The Mad Skull. Monday I’ll post some of Doc Wilde and The Dance of the Werewolf. In the meantime, click below to check out the first two excerpts.

I hope you’ll join me on my Kickstarter adventure…

DOC WILDE AND THE FROGS OF DOOM

DOC WILDE AND THE MAD SKULL

Don’t Fear…The Banjo? (Song of the Week, 3/12/2012)

In honor of Doc Wilde and The Mad Skull (the second of the three pulp adventure novels encompassed in my upcoming Kickstarter project), which I will be posting an excerpt from today at 2 pm EST, here’s some deathly bluegrass, Cornbread Red covering Blue Oyster Cult’s classic “Don’t Fear The Reaper…”

Read Some Of DOC WILDE AND THE FROGS OF DOOM

As promised earlier, here is the opening of my pulp adventure novel Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom, the first adventure of Dr. Spartacus Wilde and his swashbuckling kids Brian and Wren. As you read this, understand that the book is currently going through a polish and extra edit, so neither this nor the original text of the edition published earlier by Putnam is exactly as it will appear in the improved, fully-illustrated re-release  of the book this June.

In April, I’ll be running a Kickstarter project encompassing this novel and its two follow-ups (which I’d originally contracted to Putnam, but now am publishing independently for reasons detailed here), all of which will be released this year. Next week I’ll post the first peek anyone has seen of the long-awaited second book, Doc Wilde and The Mad Skull, and the week after a glimpse of Doc Wilde and The Dance of the Werewolf, which Putnam thought too scary in its original form. I like scary and won’t be changing it.

The art you’ll see below (as well as the early draft cover above) was done by comic book artist Gary Chaloner before I’d even sold the first book to Putnam, in the hopes the book would be illustrated by him when published. That didn’t work out originally, but now Gary’s wonderful take on the Wildes will be an integral part of the series. This isn’t finished art, or necessarily images that will make it into the final book, but it will give you a taste of what’s to come… Continue reading

KICKSTARTER NEWS: DOC WILDE ADVENTURES

The fun with this book starts with the front cover and does not stop until the very last page!…It was perfect. Fast paced, fun, entertaining…There was also a touching family quality to the whole thing that was priceless. It was one of those rare books that leaves you feeling really good once it is done.    —Old Bat’s Belfry on Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom

As I announced last month, I am no longer with G.P. Putnam’s Sons, and am instead taking my Doc Wilde adventure series independent (I go into the reasons and a lot more detail here). I have regained all rights to the work and will be relaunching the series with great new covers and interior art by comic book great Gary Chaloner. The first book, Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom, will see its re-release in improved form in June, the long-awaited Doc Wilde and The Mad Skull will follow in August, and Doc Wilde and The Dance of the Werewolf will appear in November or early December. More books will follow next year. The books will all be fully illustrated and available in both ebook and trade paperback formats.

I’m putting together a Kickstarter project which will allow supporters to get in on the ground floor and be a part of the Doc Wilde relaunch, and will be offering rewards ranging from a thank you on the acknowledgement pages of the books to signed and numbered limited editions to new additional Doc Wilde stories in exclusive editions. I’m still working out the details, but the plan is to begin the Kickstarter on Friday, March 30th and have it end on Saturday, April 28th.

Daring adventure! Dastardly villains! Climactic cliffhangers!…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…     —Booklist on Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom

For the unfamiliar, the Doc Wilde stories depict the adventures of a modern day pulp hero and his swashbuckling kids. They draw on my lifelong love of pulp fiction and are full of humor and action and literary allusion. They are meant for kids and grown-ups alike, in the vein of something like The Incredibles or Raiders of the Lost Ark.

As we approach the Kickstarter start at the end of this month, I’ll keep you updated, and will give you a taste of each of the three books. (To make sure you get the latest, you can click the “Follow” button in the sidebar to the right).  Later today, watch for an excerpt from Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom

This is good, heady stuff. The writing flows beautifully, with occasional forays into laugh-out-loudness…The science is artfully articulated and seamlessly stitched into the fabric of the story. There are good guys and bad guys, car chases, cliffhangers, betrayals, action sequences to rival Indiana Jones, and an explosion of frogs that defies taxonomy…    —Ideomancer Speculative Fiction on Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom

ANNOUNCEMENT: The Third Doc Wilde Adventure Will Be…

In my post about this year’s Doc Wilde relaunch, I told you that Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom would be re-released in its deluxe improved edition in June, Doc Wilde and The Mad Skull would follow in August/September, and the third book, to be named later, would follow in November.

I’m ready to give you the third title…

Doc Wilde and The Dance of the Werewolf!!!

 I’d originally planned this to be the second book in the series, and wrote a chunk of it, but it was vetoed by my editor as “too scary.” And, indeed, it is a darker, bloodier tale than the first book (even considering Frogs of Doom’s Lovecraftian horrors), exactly as I intended it to be. I mean, it’s werewolves. It should be scary.

I wondered if I’d ever actually be allowed by Putnam to publish the book without toning down the scares and neutering it.

Well, now I get to write the book I want to write, and you get to read it.

Safe & Sound (Song of the Week, 2/20/2012)

Taylor Swift and the Civil Wars present this hauntingly lovely ballad that seems straight out of old-time Appalachia. It’s the theme song from the upcoming Hunger Games movie, but very much to the makers’ credit the melancholy and beautiful video avoids resorting to film footage.

For the record, I’m a big fan of Suzanne Collins’s series of books and am really looking forward to seeing the film.

ANNOUNCEMENT: The Return of Doc Wilde!!!

In a young adult book market crowded with the depressing and the dour, Tim Byrd’s 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, Wilde lovingly riffs on situations straight out of the old pulps, even while making them fresh for a new generation.
— Zack Stentz, screenwriter, ThorX-Men: First Class

In 2009, Penguin/Putnam released my book Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom, an adventure novel for all ages, my homage to the great pulp adventure stories of the thirties and forties. I conceived it as the first of a series, but Putnam waited to see how it was received before committing to more books.

The reviews were great, and the sales very good. As a result, Putnam asked for two more books. But, as regular readers of this blog know, I went through some rough times that delayed completion of the second book, and in the time since Frogs was released there has been a great deal of change in publishing. Thanks to digital distribution, the rapid rise of ebooks, and print on demand, the options for authors are much better than they used to be.

So, today, I’m excited to announce that Doc Wilde is going indy.

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. A tale ‘terrifying and dark, of indescribable horrors and eldritch mysteries,’ this is sure to be Wilde-ly popular, and readers will anxiously await future installments.
                                                     —Kirkus Reviews

Putnam treated me well enough, but I was largely underwhelmed with my experiences with them. The  money was relatively lousy (and usually delivered months after it was contractually supposed to be), they did no promotion, and I thought they failed to take advantage of important opportunities. At no point did I get the idea that my input was valued, except insofar as delivering a printable text was concerned. And they allowed the hardback to sell through its print run and fall out of print before even scheduling a paperback printing, meaning the book’s effective shelf life and opportunity to find new readers was less than two years. In other words, I was treated like most authors are treated by the Big 6.

The thing is, I want to make a living at this, and unless the series really took wing, I was never going to do that under standard publishing terms. Everybody in publishing makes a good living, with benefits, except the folks who write the books. Going independent is a gamble, but honestly, if it doesn’t work, I’m not out much income, and if it does (and I expect it will) I’ll at least be able to keep the roof over my head.

So this is the year of Doc Wilde.

Doc Wilde and the Frogs of Doom is an adventure yarn in the old tradition. It gets that reading is an intellectual activity, and that an adventure, to be really good, has to engage the reader’s brain. I love a smart book!
—Daniel Pinkwater, author of The Neddiad and The Yggyssey

The fact that Putnam allowed Frogs to fall out of print turned out to be a great thing, because it allowed me to retrieve the rights and I can start the series anew, the way I want to. There were things I wanted to do with the books that I wasn’t getting to do with Putnam, and now I can.

One of those things is working with Gary Chaloner. As I’ve written before, well before I finished writing Frogs, I tried to find the perfect artist to depict the Wildes, and Gary was my choice. Not only was he a gifted graphic storyteller with a distinctive style, he was also a huge fan of pulp adventure and had an instinctive understanding (and love) of the material. Together we decided to produce lavishly illustrated books, and he put a lot of time into honing his designs to match my vision of the characters. (To see some of his early designs, go here.)

The Wildes à la Chaloner

When I signed with Putnam, they completely disregarded my wishes. The resulting book had a really nice cover, but I never got so much as an email consultation from the artist and I have a few minor issues with some of its details. There were no lovely illustrations inside. Instead, there were some goofy typographical effects that (I felt) distracted the reader and made the book look like it was meant solely for very young readers, rather than for young and old as I intended.

Well, Gary’s back on board, and we’re doing the books the way we originally envisioned.

Here’s the plan:

Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom will be released in its new edition in June, in both ebook and paper. It will offer my preferred edit of the novel, along with a new short Doc Wilde adventure, and (like future books) will have a new cover and be fully illustrated by maestro Gary Chaloner.

In the next few weeks, I’ll be putting together a Kickstarter project so folks can help us with the relaunch and get assorted boons ranging from being named in the acknowledgments to autographed limited editions and other exclusives.

Then, in August or September, the long-awaited second adventure will finally appear, Doc Wilde and The Mad Skull, in which the Wildes face a mind-blowing mystery and a truly bizarre villain. Doc Wilde and The Dance of the Werewolf, a dark tale featuring lycanthropes and witchcraft, will follow in November.

Had I remained with Putnam, by year’s end there would have possibly been a paperback of Frogs of Doom, and The Mad Skull might have seen print some time next year, though more likely it would have been in 2014. Doing things this way, you get the first three books by Christmas, with more to follow next year.

This is all very exciting for me. Going indy will allow me not only to produce nicer books, not only to make more money (at less cost to readers), but to have a more organic and personal relationship with fans. It’s a great time to be a writer.

Stay tuned for more news, including the details of the Kickstarter project…

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 the young adult readers. It is an over the top at times, rip roaring adventure that returns us to the days of yesteryear and leaves us wanting more.
—Barry Hunter, The Baryon Review

(Note: At the time I post this, Putnam’s ebook version of Frogs of Doom is still available online. The wheels of publishing grind slowly, and they haven’t yet gotten around to removing it as they’re supposed to. If you’re interested in the book, I encourage you to wait for the new version later this year. It will be a much better edition, will cost you less, and I’ll benefit a lot more from the sale.)