Monday, May 20, 2013

A Dark Continents round-up with David Youngquist


We're almost [gasp] in the middle of 2013 already, which means it's time for a round-up with one of my favourite bookish people—none other than Dark Continents (DCP) publisher David Youngquist... So, what have been some of DCP's releases worth checking out this year... and what's still lined up that's worth looking out for? 

Boy, we've already had a number of releases. Two good ones in the horror lineup of DCP are Resurrection Child by Lee Pletzers which is a return to the Cthulhu mythos set in our modern era, and Ghostly Summons. The e-book is out now, and will be followed in the next few weeks in stores for the print book. A nice little paranormal detective story to get you thinking.

We're also branching out this year into other genres than straight horror. In the non-fiction realm, we have what some people have called the Paranormal Researcher's Bible. Fractured Spirits, by Sylvia Shults has gotten people's attention around the world. She was given unprecidented access to the Peoria State Hospital for research. It's a great read for those folks who enjoy a good ghost hunt. We also stepped into the paranormal romance field with Double Double Love and Trouble. Sylvia has always been a romance writer, and here she combines her two loves. I've been really impressed with how fast this book has caught people's attention. As for what we have coming up, well, there's a number of projects coming in the Darkness and Dismay branch of our little house. Everything from a YA book, to a sea anthology. I look forward to what our new head of that division can do for us (considering I'm writing on her blog) And for something of a scoop, in the next couple weeks, we'll release our first book that has been written in partnership with Silent Studios, Ldt of England. Dave Jeffery's book Contamination will be filmed starting in early 2014.

Are there any cons folks can expect to see a DCP presence at this year? And now for the evil question... Stuff always happens at cons... Have you got any amusing DCP-related anecdotes? 

Cons...cons are always interesting. They're fun. They're exciting, and they're draining all at the same time. We've shuffled things around a bit this year, and I'm sad to say that DCP won't officially be at any cons here in the US. I might make a couple privately with Sylvia Shults and Andy Taylor, but not as a company itself. I will announce here, however, that myself and DCP will be at World Fantasy Con and The Bram Stoker International Film Festival, both in England this October. At WFC, we'll be launching the second installment of Phobophobias with Dean Drinkel, and from the generous invitation of the Stoker Film Fest Comittee I will be there to help lauch Dave Jeffery's book, Necropolis Rising II.

Stuff at cons...hmmmm...Fandom Fest in Louisville, KY last year was a blast. On Saturday, after a long day on the con floor, we decided to hit a couple room parties we were invited to. It was myself, my wife Fay, Sylvia Shuts, and Andy Taylor. I decided to be the designated driver (or in this case walker. The dual hotels the con was at were more than a little confusing. One of us better be able to find our way around) One of the room parties we ended up at, found us drinking with David Della Rocco from the Boondock Saints.

David's a great guy, and we had a good time drinking with him, but the heatwave melting Louisville last year was not conducive to room parties. So as everyone started to trickle out, we found ourselves downstairs in the plaza. This was at about two in the morning, and most of the town was winding down. There was however, a nice, inviting fountian going full blast. Apparently it was something you could walk into, as there were a few locals cooling off in it. The non-sober of the group quickly got in to play with the sprays of water. I myself, sat down to enjoy a nice cigar. A gentleman in a spotless white suit wandered over in my direction. Great, I thought, I'm about to get hit on. Nope. He needed a light for his own cigar. Turns out he was a producer for a Hollywood studio, there for the festival over the weekend. We sat and smoked and talked films and books for a better than an hour. We exchanged business cards, and the sun was coming up before we left the plaza. Two hours until con time, so we found our room and snatched some sleep before we had to get back on the floor.

You mentioned that general submissions open soon. What would *you* love to see personally? Also, any particular bugbears you'd like to avoid in submissions? 

I'd definately love to see another great paranormal romance. That said, it has to be well written. We get tons of submissions, and it really takes something to stand out. Some are borderline. Last year, we turned down a couple that were good, but just needed a little something. A little seasoning. A little more umph. I'd love to see the new great fantasy novel too. Something that grabs you by the throat and won't let you go. Something that takes you to such a new world, you don't want to come back.

What I don't want to see, is simply any more zombie books. It's not that there's not some good z-poc books out there, but between my Snareville series, and Dave J's Necropolis Rising series, and now Contamination, we have all we can handle. Plus, and I find this a little annoying, for some reason, aspiring writers think they can write a z-poc novel as their intro into horror writing.

You've got unlimited budget, which of your stories would you have developed into a screenplay and filmed, and who would you cast in the lead roles? 

Well, Contamination will start filming early next year, so I'll keep everyone apprised of progress on it. Some of us have actually sat down and discussed this. With award-winning screenplay writer Dean Drinkel within the company, and now Dave Jeffery, a DCP film studio would seem to be the next logical step. I've talked with Dean about doing a series of short films based on the stories in Phobophobias. He's actually got a number of scripts written up already, including my entry, but we're a bit away from that.

Dream wise, no limits? I'd love to see Peter Jackson develope Inkarna. I know he could do an amazing job on the book. And it's something we've not seen before. They're always complaining there's no original ideas out there for film? Well here's one! Or just take a look at all of the DCP library for that matter. There are 22 books to choose from for developement. Cast wise, I'm never good at something like that. I never would have picked Hugh Jackman for Wolverine, but he is now the only one I can see in that role now.

I've been bullying you with your own writing. Tell us a little more about your epic fantasy novel. What planted the seeds for that novel? What's been the most difficult... and the most rewarding aspects of writing it? 

Hahaha! That you have. Black Jack. I think Black Jack came about as my habit of devouring every piece of fantasy, sci-fi, and mythic legend I could lay my hands on between the age of 12 and oh say, now. I read everything from Tolkien to Piers Anthony, to Celtic mythology and legends when I was a young man. Black Jack is the result of that. It's not a traditional fantasy by any means. I merge magic with technology. Swords with rifles. A vampire nation led by Al Capone, and werewolf tribes led by Adolph Hitler. It's not your standard epic fantasy. I built Gwennolin from the ground up with influences from my past.

The catalyst for the book, was waking up in a bar in Union Station with no real idea how I got there. Apparently, after putting the newspaper to bed that morning about 1am, I went out for a drink. I was going through a divorce at the time, and after leaving a local tavern, I apparently bought a ticket to Chicago and rode the train up there. One hundred miles. Drunk. When I woke up, I was lucky enough to have enough money to buy a ticket home. It was at that point, I decided I better quit drinking. Never touched another drop for two years.

Not long after, the thought crossed my mind as to what it would be like to wake up in a truly aliBlack Jack grew.

en land, and the idea for

Some of the most difficult aspects of the book, was not stealing other ideas that were already out there. That's tough in the fantasy world. Another problem I had, was telling simply Jack's story. I ended up cutting 38k words just to find the course Jack was taking. A third problem I had was keeping Gwennolin straight in my head. I actually took a movie poster, laid it out on the table and with some drafting tools, drew a map of Gwennolin with all the mountians and rivers and kingdoms on the back.

The most rewarding, I think were creating some really great charactors. Mare especially. She was someone built completely from the ground up. I had total freedom to create with her, and I loved writing her. Jack is another. He's probably my fullest, most complete person I've written to date.

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