Monday, January 4, 2010

"The Tsar's Treasure" and Astonishing Adventures #8

First, here is the magnificent illustration by Joanne Renaud, which accompanies my chef-d-oeuvre, "The Tsar's Treasure."

Please, take it in for a moment...and please, pardon me if I seem like a braggart, because it was really Joanne that brought my story's lovely antagonist to vivid color, right before your very eyes. It is one of the greatest thrills in life, to have an idea from your mind, manifest itself in such a way as this. A magazine is a collaborative effort, and this? This is the icing on the cake.

The first time that I got to experience this, is when Katherine's late sister Mary, did the illustration for my story "Tit-ForTat" in the premiere issue of Astonishing Adventures Magazine. It was just a rough sketch, but it was sensational to experience someone else's interpretation of a notion that had previously existed, only in your own head. So it is fitting that Joanne did such a tremendous job in ushering the last issue of Astonishing Adventures, with both this picture, and the cover for the last issue ever.

And please, don't get the impression that it is as simple as someone types a story and another person puts ink and paint to paper, and voila, "you have magazine!" No, first it takes an icon, and this man wanted to bring back the pulp magazine to 21st Century...John Donald Carlucci was that man. John shared editorial duties first with Tim D. Gallagher, and then Super Editor Katherine Tomlinson took over from Issue #2, onward.

Tim and Katherine had the difficult task of taking the errant ramblings of the other writers and me, and turning those words into a cohesive narrative. How difficult was it? Let's just say Hercules had it easy with his Twelve Labors...and no, working with John was not like serving under Eurystheus...more like Pluto ; )

Joy Sillesen put the final touches together and she made it a true magazine, then John would, work, yes, that's it, work with Amazon. Yes, Amazon was sooo helpful. At any rate, Astonishing Adventures Magazine was a labor of love, with all of us doing this for the experience, and for you, the reader.

Author Kelli Stanley answered my many incoherent emails that I sent her, and she turned them into a wonderful interview, because she's that good of an author.

The format of the interview was limited, because this was going to be the first of an ongoing series of modern crime and mystery authors talking about pulp. Kelli gives us superior insight into her favorite noir films and pulp authors. Then she finishes the interview up with insight into her novel "Nox Dormienda," and her two upcoming novels, "City of Dragons," and "Cursed," which is the sequel to "Nox."

Also in this issue, the identity of Kat Parrish is finally revealed in this issue. Oh, and uh, I bring the pain, and I bring the pulp. Here's an excerpt from "The Tsar's Treasure," the story in question-

The red man jerks and tries to get a hold of his blackjack as he sits up, and I reflexively pull the gun out. He shakes the blackjack out of his hand and goes for his gun. We both have pistols pointed at each other’s head and I’m wondering if they even know what a Mexican stand-off is in Hungary.

Of all the weapons you can pull on somebody, guns are the most problematic. Once you have the gun out, if other guy has any sense, he’ll back down. Of course, if he has one too, he’s thinking the exact same thing. Unlike with other weapons, you can’t deflect a bullet…especially this close.

I finally get a good look at Mihály and I want to call up J. Edgar and the G-Men, because some way, somehow, a church is missing a gargoyle, and he’s sitting right here just a couple feet away from me.

So that's just one except, though there will be a couple more to come this January. Check out the biggest, and the very last issue of Astonishing Adventures Magazine on

And on

The print issue on Amazon is coming soon!


Kelli Stanley said...

Cormac, thank you so much for the kind words and the honor of including NOX on your best of list!! :)

And thanks, too, for the terrific interview--I had a wonderful time!! I'm sad to see the magazine go--quite a wonderful production and a labor of love, I know.

Take care, and see you in Noir City! ;)

Cormac Brown said...


Welcome! Thank you for such a wonderful book, and for your infinite patience the article. If journalism consisted of interviewing such interesting and wonderful people as yourself, each and every day, everyone would want to be a reporter. I'm going to miss AAM, it was a house of happiness.

Paul D. Brazill said...

I'll pop over soonest. Sad to see AAM go.

John Donald Carlucci said...


You are a great wordsmith and friend. You are/were a huge part of the foundation of Astonishing Adventures.


Cormac Brown said...

Paulie Decibels,

You'll need to set aside some time, or to print it out. We're talking a double issue and the only way to do a finale right, going out with a bang.

Johnny Dollars,

You were the biggest part of all, and I hope everyone understood that from this post. Without you, there is no magazine, period. Your leadership and vision made it all possible, and I hope you realize how many lives that you have touched, and enriched.

John Donald Carlucci said...

You make me seriously reconsider when you say things like that.


Katherine Tomlinson said...

I echo John's comment. AAM would not have been the magazine it was without you.

David Cranmer said...

Joanne Renaud's work is indeed beautiful. I know what you mean by the excitement of seeing your work brought to life. My first published work featuring artwork had me staring at the page like lost treasure.

Cormac Brown said...


Then maybe you should, please?


Thank you, but I don't want to even think about my stories without your editing.


Exactly, and Joanne can really knock it out of the park.

suburbanbeatnik said...

Thanks so much for the lovely write-up, Cormac! I'm sorry I haven't been able to get back to you right away, but I just moved to New York. It was a lot of fun working on the illustration and envisioning just what Luna looked like. I'm so glad you're pleased with her!

Anyway, I just posted Luna and her emerald to my deviantArt page. Feel free to download it and do what you want with it! :)

Cormac Brown said...


Welcome, and thank you for dropping by. I hope you situated and that the NYC will recognize your abundant talent. You did an oustanding job and you outdid the very imagination that she was born from!

suburbanbeatnik said...

Thanks Cormac! Maybe you'd think about writing a sequel with Luna and Pruitt? I wouldn't mind illustrating her again!

Cormac Brown said...


They will meet each other again, but not in the near future. I will have some other stories coming soon though, and I'd love for you to breathe the same life into them, that you did for Luna.