Deep Sea Mining and Diamond Sharks

Now that the new Deep Sea Dawson tale, “The Marmoris Mystery” has been published in the next Atomic Gods and Monsters anthology, Tiger By the Tail, I can talk some about the story. I love to learn things and often the most fun I have in writing a tale is researching the story behind the story.

In the case of the “Marmoris Mystery,” I wanted the story to follow on the heels of the last adventure, yet move Dawson around the globe and explore more of his world. One thing that I had to cut out of the former story “The Castle in the Deep,” was his sidekick, the rescued and adopted seal Battler. Battler always appeared beside him in the old comics, but the danger of extreme radiation poisoning for the seal in the waters of Bikini Atoll following the nuclear bomb blasts in 1954 was too extreme. So I kept him safely out of the story. I definitely wanted a return of Battler, but I also wanted new scenery. So I decided Dawson should move to a new ocean for a wholly new adventure.

In looking around at seals, I discovered a fantastic seal colony off the coast of Namibia due to the Antarctic currents flowing by the coast. Also, there was the blood diamond trade out of South Africa. Plus, the stormy seas off the shore of the Namibian Desert creates a bleak coastline for hundreds of miles that is graveyard to hundreds of ships. It is so terrible and lifeless–with the decaying remnants of ships filling the waters and the beaches strewn with the sun-bleached white bones of victims– that the region is called the Skeleton Coast. Could there possibly be a better location for a thrilling adventure? Thus we ended up in the South Atlantic off the coast of Africa.

Once I knew where I was going I simply had to concoct a good mystery for Dawson to solve. I decide early on to have this one be a pure, stand alone adventure rather than another lost civilization or earth-shattering event, so that we could get a sense of Dawson’s day-to-day life. Dawson is a famous oceanographer and global adventurer and I wanted to clearly show that. I also wanted to show a wee bit of the humanity in this character, so I explored both sides of being a hero. On the one hand, he just wants to relax, take a vacation, and save some sea animals. On the other hand, when he uncovers injustice or stumbles upon a mystery, he cannot help himself and must act.

Being that this is a Deep Sea Dawson adventure, it can’t be as simple as saving animals from poachers and stopping some illegal diamond trade. Nope. So of course we kicked it up a notch. I wanted to introduce some villains, which I will return to in the future, and also “superfy” the villainy. So it’s not simple diamond smuggling or illegal trade. These are not your mother’s mafia. This is titanic technology and vile villainy on a global scale. I went the extra mile deep in the ocean and provided all the action you might desire with a Diamond Shark of a smile. I hope you enjoy.

But, all this action would kill the normal guy. I really feel for Deep Sea Dawson. The guy can take a real beating. Especially because this started out with him just needing a vacation. But, I wanted the lesson here to be the old saw, “If you get knocked down ten times, then get up eleven.” Dawson will never quit.

Dawson is like a force of nature. Just like the sea he admires, he is relentless. Once engaged he will not stop. Regardless of the danger or threat, he will rise to the task and keep fighting until the day is won. I wanted this story to show how his everyday life has a tendency to end up in the most amazing action. It’s exhausting being Dawson–but also extremely rewarding. He may always be one step from death in overwhelming odds–because he is just a man with no super powers–but he also gets to save men, women, and animals, to right some wrongs and balance the scales of justice every single day.

You can’t just beat that Deep Sea dynamic.

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The Chronicles of Doggerland

This is an adventure fantasy action series based on an actual historical place. Doggerland is the name given to the lands exposed during the last glaciation and now covered by the North Sea. During this time the islands of Ireland and England were connected to Europe via Doggerland.

Doggerland is a now submerged, but in the past during the Ice Age is was exposed land. After the Vistula-Wurm glaciation from about 120,000-11,000 BCE, the area warmed and remained exposed (albeit ever shrinking) until it was eventually submerged in historic times, probably between 5,000 and 3,000 years ago. The chronicles tell of the peoples of Doggerland and their battles. Though it is in the vein of a Conan pastiche, it is written in a slightly more historical fiction way.

I love history. I have been working on this off and on for a few decades. It arose from studies of the Ice Age and the fascinating occurrence of the continental shelves in many areas being exposed. Just as with Sundaland in South-East Asia, this is one of the more extensive areas exposed during the low sea levels of the Ice Age. I grew up reading my grandfather’s National Geographic collection and loved studying their fantastic maps. My brother and I used to make up alternate histories/tales and play games on these maps. These kinds of tales come from that fun past we shared having adventures.

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Atomics Gods and Monster 3 Cover Reveal

Just received word the new book design is coming together. The editor Jeff Driescher sent a small pic of the cover design. So, I thought I would give you all a sneak peek.

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Motherly Love

I want that unconditional love
You know, like Mom
Who never once judged, or used, or abused
But just loved me for me
And gave the longest, warmest hugs
Then set me free
To come back forever

(TCF 2/14/21)

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A New Deep Sea Dawson Tale

I’m finishing writing an exciting new Deep Sea Dawson tale for the next volume of Atomic Gods and Monsters. This adventure is titled “The Marmoris Mystery.”

I cannot reveal the plot yet, but this one occurs in the same year following the events of “The Castle in the Deep,” though it is a stand alone and not directly connected.

I can reveal it is set in the South Atlantic and will involve immense sea treasures and dastardly criminals. With this story I am exploring more of Dawson’s world and introducing some new characters.

It should be published within a month.

Stay tuned and dive deep into adventure!

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Art Reviews Atomic Gods and Monsters

My co-authors and I of the Atomic Age of Heroes anthology were interviewed by the wonderful Art Sippo. Check out the podcast here.

Authors Thomas Fortenberry, Robert H. Hudson Jr, Edward Lee Love, Mark Marderosian, and Jeff Deischer are all guests in this show to describe their contributions to the anthology Once More into the Breach: Atomic Gods and Monsters, Volume 2.  This is a collection of stories from different genres using public domain comic characters from the early 1950s.  It is an entertaining mix of tales with roots in the superhero, action, pulp, and horror worlds with a 1950s flavor.  This is part of an on going anthology series with new volumes published every quarter.  There is something for almost everybody in this series.  Check it out!

Once More Into the Breach (Atomic Gods and Monsters,
Volume 2):

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Sirop de Cassis Trip

I was rereading Hercule Poirot mysteries over the holidays–decided to just focus on the short stories this time, because I was still toying with my SF cozy mystery concept. Hercule Poirot: The Complete Short Stories is a wonderful collection by the way.

A few things to note–but for later as I want to cover these topics in other essays: I love the easybreeziness of Agatha Christie’s prose. I love the fresh nowness, even while being pieces of a specific period. They read like overheard snatches of conversation. I also feel, deeply, for M. Poirot. There is a great sadness in these tales, often shown via his tiredness at the foibles of humanity, his disgust at the immorality and the inevitable pettiness of his fellow Mankind. Poirot is often seeking rest or escape from the rabble when it comes rushing at him again–as with the poignant scene atop the Mount of the Prophet in “Triangle at Rhodes,” when his serenity is broken by the jealous madness of the masses and, of course, murder.

But here I wish to only make a brief note of the great detective’s favorite drink, the Sirop de Cassis. It is a black currant liqueur–Poirot corrects, not a liqueur–that would probably be the white wine version popularized in Dijon, France by Felix Kir in the 1940s. However, these were all written before that time and Poirot favored the syrup of the berries or chocolate from the ‘Teens on up. So, then we get back to the original modern version which arose in 1841 Burgundy. In what form did he drink his elixir? We know he smacked his lips and ahhhed with pleasure as he sipped it. Was it pure currant syrup or a mixture of some kind? Why did he love it so? Was it simply a sweet delight or something much more? Because, this habit made me wonder, as black currants have hallucinogenic properties and were illegal in the United States for most of last century after a 1911 ban, if perchance Poirot drank black currant juice because of this additional, cerebral property?

Just a passing thought, but a whole new view of Poirot might open up in these little gray cells of mine.

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