It was my pleasure to write the introduction to the first short story collection of the talented author and my good friend John F. Allen, released last month. I could tell you why, but I explain it in detail in the introduction. So without any further delay, here is the foreword in full.
I’m pleased and honored to write the foreword in this collection, though also a bit intimidated. For many of you readers, this may be your introduction to the imaginative world of John F. Allen, and introducing you to that is quite a task to take on in a few hundred words. John and I have been through a lot together in the last half decade or so, both as storytellers trading and refining ideas, and as independent authors trying to launch our respective careers and take over the world one book at a time. We have bonded like brothers and have frequently feuded in the same manner. But ultimately it is our love and admiration for each other that keep us together on the journey. I think there’s a 70s song by Captain and Tennille that fits here (Google it, kids).
Old songs frequently come up when hanging out with John. Love songs. Dance songs. Great songs of passion. Because if there’s one word that I would use to describe John, it’s passion. John is passionate about writing, and, as these stories show, he is passionate about life.
…if there’s one word that I would use to describe John, it’s passion.
I’m pleased to be able to host a stop on the blog tour of my good friend and awesome author John F. Allen. As part of his critique group, I’ve read Codename: Knight Ranger as he was writing the various components of it. If you like Iron Man, Captain America, and the Six Million Dollar Man, you need to see how John plays with similar ideas and makes them his own. That’s why for this guest post, I asked him to pick the heroes that had the biggest impact on his writing. Let’s see what he said….
List the top genre heroes when you were growing up that influenced your writing today.
Batman I fell in love with Batman from as far back as I can remember. Before any other heroes, there was the Caped Crusader, the Dark Knight Detective and the senior half of the Dynamic Duo. I could say it was his humanity that drew me to the character, and I suppose that is in part the truth. However, I must admit that the dark, tragic origins of the character were equally as influential to me. I love flawed, human characters. Batman was a tragically flawed human, who used his means to become the protector of the streets in his city of Gotham and a terror to the criminal element.
Shaft John Shaft was my hero. He was the street smart, charismatic, sarcastic ladies man on the surface, but he was also the intelligent, courageous and selfless hero who stepped up to the challenge when he was called to it.
Spenser I read my first Spenser novel, by the late, great Robert B. Parker back in 1980. I was drawn to the character’s morality, veracity, wit and compassion. Sure, he was a tough guy in the mode of Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe, but he was also an intellectual and gentleman.
From the first time I read about the adventures of V.I. Warshawski, the tough as nails female private eye created by Sara Paretsky, I fell in love with her wit, swagger and propensity for getting into harrowing situations. However, the one thing that stood out about her the most was her self reliance and autonomy. She wasn’t the typical “Damsel in Distress” and could roll with the fellas, but still be a lady.
Wonder Woman was the strong, beautiful and wise heroine who embodied hope and peace. As a fan of the comics and the 70’s TV show, I was drawn to this larger than life female who could juggle cars, but was also compassionate to the weak and downtrodden, who sometimes were at best an afterthought to others.
Black Panther was the epitome of the positive depiction of a black male in comics. He was a King, he was a genius, he was extremely wealthy, brave, benevolent and strong. Growing up during the 70’s, the depictions of black males and black people in general were largely stereotypical at best. Black Panther served as an inspiration of what black characters should be.
1) Conan the Barbarian/Tarzan of the Apes
2) Steve Austin (Six Million Dollar Man) – he almost made it, but is in the Top Ten.
3) The Shadow/Doc Savage
4) Sherlock Holmes
5) Captain James T. Kirk, Captain Jean Luc Picard and Captain Benjamin Sisko
About the author John F. Allen is an American writer born in Indianapolis, IN. He is a member of the Speculative Fiction Guild and the Indiana Writers Center. He began writing stories as early as the second grade and pursued all forms of writing at some point, throughout his career. John studied Liberal Arts at IUPUI with a focus in Creative Writing, received an honorable discharge from the United States Air Force and is a current member of the American Legion. John’s debut novel, The God Killers was published in 2013 by Seventh Star Press.
John currently resides in Indianapolis, Indiana with his wife, son and daughter.
Codename: Knight Ranger: Captain Alexandre Cornelius “Neal” Du Bois is a US Army Ranger and decorated war hero. When his unit is ambushed by supernatural hostile forces while in Afghanistan, only Neal survives. When he wakes up in a secret government facility, Neal discovers that his whole life has changed forever.
A shadowy government agent named Elijah Bishop arranges for Neal’s brain to be transplanted, without his permission, into a bio-engineered body capable of amazing feats. Armed with advanced body armor and weaponry, he becomes the epitome of the Ultra Soldier.
To protect his family and those closest to him, he must let the world and everyone he loves believe he is dead. With assistance from Dr. Avery Clarkson–the scientist responsible for his new body–Neal reluctantly utilizes his superhuman abilities to work for Bishop and his organization called G.E.N.E.S.I.S. (Global Espionage Network of Elite Supernatural Intelligence and Surveillance), in order to track down those responsible for the slaughter of his unit and keep the world safe from supernatural terrorist forces.
Tour Schedule and Activities
11/2 On Cloud Eight-and-a-Half Guest Post
11/2 A Charmed Life Review
11/3 Creatives Help Board. How may I direct your call? Author Interview
11/4 Armand Rosamilia, Horror Author Guest Post
11/4 Book in the Bag Interview
11/4 RJ Sullivan Top 5 List
11/5 Darkling Delights Interview
11/6 Beauty in Ruins Guest Post
11/6 Sheila’s Blog Guest Post
11/6 Bee’s Knees Reviews Review
11/7 The Infamous Scribbler Review/Interview
11/7 Vampires, Witches, & Me Oh My! Top Ten List
11/8 Sapphyria’s Book Reviews Guest Post
After months of preparation and weeks of teasing, I can finally share the big news about the NEW ORIGINAL collection of holiday stories co-edited with my good friends John F. Allen, E. Chris Garrison and me.
The anthology is called Gifts of the Magi: A Speculative Holiday Collection and features new tales by our friends and ourselves, most of whom have series’ in progress, and feature a story set in the world of that series. And yes, I have a new story in this collection.
That’s right, Blue Shaefer and Rebecca Burton are returning in a brand-new short story that takes place on Christmas Eve! In it, Rebecca gets word that someone is trying to cause trouble for Blue, so she crashes in on Blue and Chip’s celebration, and they’re off on another paranormal adventure. I think it strikes a great balance between addressing her past and setting her up for an exciting future. The title, of course, could only be Blue Christmas. I hope you all love it as much as I do.
Besides featuring a new story for Christmas, Gifts of the Magi offers a number of other firsts. It’s my first attempt at co-editing an anthology (a stressful endeavor that can test the strongest bonds and make them even more strong afterwards) and my first venture into indie publishing under a new brand, in a co-partnership between John, Chris and me, SFG Publishing. It’s our first attempt at supporting a local charity. In this case, every cent raised goes toward Indy Reads Books and the good work they do.