Please welcome this week’s guest to the Showcase.
I wish to heartily thank Mr. Richard Dee for his absolutely generous offer to host this story of how I began writing and self-publishing. And thanks to all of you who to take the time to read it.
The Bizarre Tales of Chris L Adams
Some people are born with a creative streak. They come out of the womb writing concertos, doodling sketches that blow people’s minds, and writing stories that cause adults’ hearts go pitter-patter. Admittedly, it’s taken me longer. Drawing was always an allure and I got pretty good at it (I wrote, drew, inked and colored a 70+pp comic book during high school). I was the guy always asked to draw funny pictures of classmates and teachers; I happily obliged and created some Jim Dandies, much to everyone’s rip roaring delight.
Writing really came later. I realized I had an interest in writing when I won a creative writing contest in 9th or 10th grade–a horror story probably inspired by the Arabian Nights tales I was reading at the time (I had a volume of Burton’s translations).
At about the time I won the writing contest, however, I began playing guitar and got bit by the music bug–bad. For the next 25 years I mostly wrote lyrics instead of tales, and I traded artwork for practicing scales.
Honestly, I regret that a bit, but all’s not lost. My time to really dive into writing just hadn’t arrived yet. When it did, I hammered out a half-million word Martian series set on the Barsoom of Edgar Rice Burroughs, the creator of Tarzan (which are currently under contract with ERB Inc).
You see, the one thing that I had never stopped being was a reader. After years of reading Poe and Doyle and other greats, I fatefully stumbled on an era of writing that cleaved me to my breastbone–the pulp era. I found I loved the scyfy, fantasy and horror writings that had been written in the early 20th century.
I discovered Burroughs’ Tarzan and Lovecraft’s Randolph Carter; I devoured the adventures of A. Merritt’s Dr. Goodwin and Clark Ashton Smith’s Captain Volmar. I also consumed yarns about a swashbuckling barbarian named Conan and my heart quickened to the adventures of Edmond Hamilton’s Merrick who adventured on Kaldar.
Over the years these beloved stories and characters inspired me to take up hobbies I had lain aside–writing and art. After I wrote the Barsoom series I began getting original ideas. I had a couple of unfinished drafts that had never grown beyond a handful of paragraphs; these I determined to complete. I thought, if I can write a series of Mars novels then, by Jove, I should be able to finish off a couple of short stories.
And I did. And not only did I complete those, but I got ideas for new stories. I started writing and I haven’t stopped…
…which led to a dilemma that all unpublished writers face–deciding what to do with all of it. I shared my stories with family and friends, sure. But since I was a fan of pulp-era yarns, many of my tales seemed too short to send to a publisher. Of course, I ultimately discovered self-publishing. Soon I found myself creating an account with Amazon and Smashwords. My first releases under my Bizarre Tales logo were two unfinished drafts that I’d finally completed.
Oddly, both of these had very nearly become lost to the ages. On a Winter’s Eve I thought gone forever; I was so happy when I found it again.
Then there was a hand-written opening chapter of another story which I found in some old papers I was tossing. It was absolutely chilling to think how close I’d come to losing it. This latter became The Valley of Despair–a pulp-style adventure yarn about a WW1 German pilot who crashes in the jungle on a stormy night after losing his bearings in German held East Africa. To make matters worse, the city that Lt. Erik von Mendelsöhn stumbles on is occupied by a self-serving, alien race who force those who fall into their power to slave in the mines beneath the city. (Note–I always put my BT logo on the cover).
These tales all have a common denominator; they’re inspired by the works of favorite authors, typically an amalgamation of two or more of them.
The second volume in the Tales of the Tomahawk series I’m writing, The Banshee of the Atacama, is to be released this year. This series features Lovecraftian horror and a hero inspired by Robert E. Howard’s Solomon Kane–who, unlike HPL’s characters (bless their hearts) never runs from frightful entities.
I mention this in the introduction to The Blonde Goddess of Tikka-Tikka:
“There is certainly something to be said for the manner in which Lovecraft handled the unnamable – that building of dread and horror of which the Man who was Providence was a noted master; but there’s also something to be said for burying a hatchet in its forehead.”
And that’s exactly what Ansen Grost does–the son of Norse immigrants, he was raised by an Arapaho medicine man after losing his parents. His prized possession is the tomahawk he inherits.
I mentioned that I had started dabbling in art again, mostly painting in oils. Although influenced by the landscapes of Bob Ross, I have taken to painting fantasy. To date, I have painted a handful inspired by favorite authors, including a pair of fantasy maps for author, Gilbert M. Stack (https://www.gilbertstack.com/).
I enjoy landscapes and am currently working on one titled, The Lair, which I intend to use for the cover for an upcoming story release tentatively titled, The Hunter and the Sorcerer. Here’s a sneak peak I put on my site.
I put images of these fantasy pieces on my site together with other bits and bobs that visitors may find of interest.
I’ll close with another pastime I enjoy–creating fantasy book covers from my paintings; here are a couple that I hope you’ll enjoy. And thanks.
Sites (other links are available on my Sites tab on my homepage)
Chris L Adams Bizarre Tales Homepage: https://www.chrisladamsbizarretales.com/
My thanks to this weeks guest for a great post. I hope you all enjoyed it.
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Have a good week,