Though I didn’t grow up in the literal pulp era, I started reading paperback fiction in the 1960s and 70s that was a direct descendent of the pulps. One of the first authors I fell in love with was Louis L’Amour, who started in the pulps. The first published novel that I wrote was Swords of Talera, in the tradition of Edgar Rice Burroughs, the pulp writer who gave us John Carter of Mars and Tarzan of the Apes. Today, pulp fiction has come to mean colorful, thrilling tales, with plenty of action, larger than life characters, and exciting derring-do. And when I want a fun read I go looking for exactly that kind of work.
Teleport to the present, and I’m both amazed and honored that I’ve been able to write some of the same kind of stories and see them published. Writing is, quite often, hard work. But the sheer joy to be found in immersing oneself in an exciting tale cannot be denied. Quite simply, I love it.
On January 1, 2020, I officially started working on a pulp fiction book to be called Vengeance of the Black Rose. It was to be the 3rd book in a series about a female hero known as “The Black Rose,” who is most directly a literary descendent of such masked avengers as Zorro and the Lone Ranger. That book was just published on October 14, my birthday, and one of the best birthday presents I’ve ever gotten.
The series as a whole is a fun read. Catalina Christina Rivera (The Black Rose) is a young woman who grew up along the Texas/Mexico border in the late 1800s and early 1900s. She has a keen sense of justice and a character that is sometimes prickly but always empathic for the wounded and the frail. She has a great supporting cast around her, and is adept with many weapons but particularly favors the Urumi, the whip-sword—a unique tool to be sure.
Richard Prosch, a friend and an author who frequently gets five star reviews from me for his work, was intimately involved in the development of the Black Rose character, and he wrote the first two books in the series: Legend of the Black Rose, and The Sword of the Black Rose. I read the first one while working on my entry and it sent me enthusiastically to my keyboard to put down my own take on the character.
And so we come to Vengeance of the Black Rose. Catalina travels with several companions to the small mission of San Javier del Amor, only to find the mission burned and many of its inhabitants slain. Others have been taken away in chains, particularly many children. The raider who took the children seems to be more than a bandit, and perhaps more than human. He is called “The Beast,” or sometimes “El Tigre.” Catalina trails him into Mexico, only to discover El Tigre’s plan to raise a new Aztec empire.
In confronting El Tigre, Catalina loses a close friend. She’ll need every ounce of skill she possesses to save her remaining friends and to take her vengeance. I had fun writing this story and I have a feeling you might have fun reading it. I hope you’ll check it out: