Red Rising – Sons of Ares

In a distant future, man has colonised the solar system, but this brave new era of exploration has led in turn to a tyrannical caste system of genetically modified humans, ruled by the Golds. Down in mines of Mars, a young Red called Darrow decides to fight back. So begins Pierce Brown’s bestselling series of YA SF novels. However I must admit though I had not heard of them until my friend Rik Hoskin told me about his current comic project – Red Rising – Sons of Ares.

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Published by Dynamite Comics, Sons of Ares is a prequel series, exploring the early life of Fitchner au Barca, the leader of the resistance movement calling themselves the Sons of Ares. The first two issues are out now and it has been well received by fans of the series. Rik is working closely in collaboration with author Pierce Brown, just as he did with Brett Sanderson on last year’s graphic novel White Sands. The splendid artwork meanwhile is by Eli Powell.

You can see a few preview pages and find out more details on this page. The series is available in comic shops and also on the Kindle.

More recently Rik has been interviewed by Dynamite about his latest series, and looking forward to issue four.  Its a great read too. You can find it here. I’m hoping to post some impressions of it soon.

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Talking about my old mate Rik also prompts me to talk about the latest addition to this blog. If you look to the left of the screen, you will notice I’ve added a new permanent section, containing downloadable copies of our original audio series – Agents of Psyence. These MP3 files used to be available at Westlake Films’ site, until I took them down during that site’s revamp. Now I’ve brought them in-house so to speak. At the moment the page is fairly bare-bones but I intend to expand it in time.

Agents of Psyence is an action adventure series based on Rik’s early self-published comic Psyence Fiction. Set in present day Britain, an enigmatic billionaire called Sebastian Hayward has assembled a team of unusual specialists, including a cybernetic warrior, an ex-MI6 agent and an occult expert, to investigate supernatural crimes. It’s mixture of horror and SF, with an emphasis on pace and thrills. My own approach was definitely influenced by the work of radio director/producer extraordinaire Dirk Maggs (Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Radio 1 version of Batman: Knightfall amongst many others)

The first story Truth and Bone was adapted by Rik from the pages of the first two issues, and the second, Bloodlines, written exclusively for audio by Rik and myself. I think they’ve got some of my best production work in them and its always been an intention of mine to continue the series. Several other scripts were written by ourselves, John Isles and Peter Grehen. I released the series under the label Phantom Frame, which is where the title of this very blog comes from.

You can experience both stories for free, playing them on this site or downloading them. Hope you enjoy them, whether you’re a new listener or a returning fan.

Discover the Agents of Psyence by clicking this link

April 2016 news round-up

It’s time for another quick collection of announcements about what my friends and I have been up to creatively and in some cases professionally too.

Last year I did an email interview about my times with BBV and writing three Doctor Who spin-offs, for a chap called Dylan Rees. Dylan is writing a book about the vibrant audio and video spin-off market which arose from the final years of the show’s original run and filled in the so-called “wilderness years” between the original and the revived versions of Doctor Who. It will be published later this year by Obverse Books. I’m looking forward to it, not just as a contributor but as a fan of that era. The cover has been already been released:

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Notice Sylvester as The Foot Doctor on the cover too! You can pre-order it from Obverse Books now. I’ll review once it is out.

My ever busy mate Rik Hoskin has had several projects out recently, including the first of a new range e-books based on 90’s cult TV show Hercules – The Legendary Journeys. I enjoyed Storming Paradise enormously. It captures the feel of the show very well. You can try a sample and order it from Amazon. He’s also written a second motion comic episode of Wolfblood, the hit BBC children’s series about werewolves. You can watch a trailer of it here at the BBC website.

Finally I recently made a new trailer for the next Bolton Little Theatre production. Taking Sides by Ronald Harwood is an excellent drama based on real events surrounding a US army investigation into suspected Nazi party members, following Germany’s surrender in WWII. Was famous conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler just a patriot on the losing side of the war, or an active member of the Nazi party? Colonel Arnold, traumatised by witnessing the aftermath of Auschwitz, is determined to find some culprits. For this trailer I decided to create a movie style one which sold the story, rather than a behind the scenes talking head piece. The results I think are pretty successful and I intend to make all subsequent BLT trailers story based too.

News round up

This is one of those weeks with plenty going on, but none of it really making an significant post in itself. So forgive me if I just bring a few items to your attention and – hopefully – interest.

The Rivals 5 – 12 March 2016

A few weeks ago I shared a promotional video about this local production of Richard Sheridan’s restoration comedy The Rivals which I had made. Little did I know then that I would now be starring in this play myself! Due to a cast member pulling out, I’ve been prevailed upon to play the role of Bob Acres. Acres is is one of the rivals for Lydia Languish’s hand in marriage. A buffoonish but essentially good hearted squire from the country, his attempts to fit into Bath high society go awry when Sir Lucius O’Trigger encourages him to challenge his competitor to a pistol duel, not knowing that his romantic rival is in fact his friend Jack Absolute in disguise.
It is quite a challenge learning a part in little over a week, particularly when the language is archane 18th century English. But with the support of the team and some edits to the more verbose speeches I think I’ll make curtain up. Thankfully the costumes fit me with just few tucks.
The Rivals is on at Bolton Little Theatre 5 – 12 March and if you are interested you can find out more and order tickets at the official website.

Kolchak online audio drama

Sometimes an old job comes back to haunt you. I was recently reminded by my friend Bill about a fan radio version of Kolchak – The Night Stalker which I appeared in. I played a vampire called Pitov. It was an especially fun script and hearing it again I’d forgotten what a polished production it was. As usual I recorded my parts at home and then sent them to be blended in. So it’s certainly worth promoting again. You can download all four episodes from Broken Sea Audio Productions right now.
I’ve had a great relationship with BSAP over the years. As well as my own fan Prisoner radio series, I co-wrote a story called Turf War for their Doctor Who series, and I’ve guest starred in several shows including Escape from New York, Planet of the Apes, The Maltese Falcon and Saga of the Grog and Gryphon.

Rik Hoskin talks Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein

My talented writing pal Rik has been on the publicity trail recently talking about one of his comic strip projects – Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein – based on the series of novels created by bestselling author Dean Koontz. Most famous for horror blockbusters like Watchers and Midnight, Koontz has increasingly pushed into mainstream thrillers/suspense books. Frankenstein however is a return to his pulp roots, a reimagining of the famous story of the scientist and his monster, in which the Monster is the hero and defender of humanity, whilst his creator has become a near-immortal evil, mad scientist. But I ought to let Rik explain it better and you can find out more with these website interviews below:

Bleeding Cool and The Collector’s Guide to Dean Koontz

A couple more projects in the pipeline for myself which I want to tell you about soon, once I’ve finished with The Rivals! Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

Shapeshifters and crime – “Hopcross Jilly” the first Mercy Thompson graphic novel

Mercy Thompson GN

Mercy Thompson GN

I’m delighted to learn that the first run of comics featuring were-coyote Mercy Thompson has been collected together into one hardback volume. Based on the popular series of horror-fantasy novels by Patricia Briggs, this series has been written by my good friend and in-demand comics scribe Rik Hoskin, based on a storyline by Briggs. Illustrated with marvelous artwork by Tom Garcia.

Mercy Thompson is a beautiful young woman by day, and coyote and honorary member of the Tri-State werewolf clan by night. When the pack uncover a mass grave of children’s skeletons, it leads her into conflict with a terrifying supernatural being. Worse, Mercy’s stepdaughter Jesse is now endangered.

You can find out more from the Dynamite Comics website – http://dynamite.com/htmlfiles/viewProduct.html?PRO=C1606906682

In addition to the comic strip, this collection also includes Rik’s original script for issue one, which is interesting reading for writers like me wanting to more about how storytelling works in such a visual medium and how it is formatted. Recommended reading!

Brand new Mercy Thompson comicbook

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My good friend and fellow writer Rik Hoskin (creator of the Agents of Psyence, whose audio series I produced) has just told me about his latest project. He’s scripting the Mercy Thompson horror comic for Dynamite Publishing, working alongside author/creator Patricia Briggs.  Mercy Thompson is the heroine of a series of popular urban fantasy novels. A young Native American woman who can shapeshift into a coyote, and who’s life inevitably brings her into touch with mysteries and dangers within Washington’s hidden supernatural community

You can view some excellent preview art here:

http://www.bleedingcool.com/2014/07/31/exclusive-first-look-at-patricia-briggs-mercy-thompson-1/

Issue 1 (of 6) can be ordered now and will be out in October.  A full listing of Dynamite’s October titles is here: http://www.dynamite.com/htmlfiles/previews.html

Rik’s been an inspiration to me as a someone who’s made that transition from part-time amateur to full-time professional writer. He’s done it by not only being very good at writing, but by his versatility, working on many children’s comic titles, horror short stories and SF novels, sometimes under pseudonyms.

And someday I will return to the Agents of Pysence audio series. Yes, someday…