Doing Vertigo-style projects is all the rage.  Dark Horse and IDW have even set up designer imprints for former Vertigo Executive Editors.  Why should I be the only one not doing a Vertigo-esque project?

Time out. Before the comment section erupts, I realize a lot of people think Heidi still writes every post here at The Beat.  Lift your gaze a few inches to the byline and confirm that this is Todd’s post, not Heidi’s.  (Which is not to say Heidi SHOULDN’T have such a project in the works, she just hasn’t bothered to tell me if she does.)  Right, then.  Time in.

I’m embarking on a fiction project and I was hoping you’d like to come along for the ride.  The plan is to take the monthly, character-centric ethos of the comics world and move it back to prose.  The umbrella title for this project is Legal Termination of a Warlock… and Other Tales.  You can sign up at that link for 6 monthly adventures.

What’s it all about?  Bearing in mind that genres are meant to be bent…

Mister Lewis bills himself as a ‘physics consultant,’ although he really specializes in things that defy the laws of physics and go bump in the night.  As ‘consultant,’ this often involves doing unpleasant work for unpleasant people in bizarre situations.  Determining if the rash of dying musicians is something other than a coincidence.  Getting to the bottom of an alleged curse on a baseball stadium.  Helping HR with that unwanted employee who practices the dark arts.  He’s a fixer.  It’s satirically-tinged journey through the urban fantasy/horror detective world.   The Night Stalker seen through the lens of Hammet’s Continental Op, Chandler’s tarnished knight for hire and Art Buchwald in a world where the absurd comes to life and tries to eat you.

The initial sequence of stories is:

  • Legal Termination of a WarlockThe tech startup really needs to fire somebody before the sexual harassment suits start dropping, so why not that employee they’re sure is a warlock?  After all, nobody wants an older employee at a tech company, but how do document cause for termination on a warlock?
  • The Gentrified Bodega: The building was sold.  The neighborhood was said to be improving and those condos were going to fetch a pretty penny.  There’s just one problem – the bodega on the first floor wasn’t always a bodega and there was something that didn’t want to move out.
  • The Hipster From Hell: You expect hipsters to worship irony.  You don’t expect prayers to irony to get answered, but then again, who makes a blood sacrifice to irony?
  • Surveillance From Beyond the Veil: Wiretaps?  Fine.  Computer viruses? Fine. Corporate spies that literally haunt the walls?  That’s a different type of clean up.
  • The Soul Tariff: A tax on departing souls causes a backup at the funeral parlor.
  • Term Limits Don’t Matter If You Have Enough Children: An old acquaintance resurfaces and takes nepotism to unheard of levels.

The actual word count will vary a little bit as the story dictates, but it’s probably going to be in the neighborhood of 7500 words per story.  Right around where the border gets fuzzy between novelette and short story.  Actual stories, not decompressed chapters of a story you can read in five minutes, though the price point is the $3 one you’re familiar with… unless you’re reading Marvel.  Or monthly DC books.  Or… OK, OK, a price point you used to be more familiar with.

Believe it or not, I’m not strictly a blog dweller.  The Mystery Writers of America admitted me a few years back and I started working on this format over the summer (yes, oh cynic, we have proof) before the Vertigo-imprint craze started, but ended up putting it aside while keeping an eye on a couple surgeries in the family during the Fall.  I’d like to carve out the time to get this on a regular monthly schedule and that’s why I’m here using Kickstarter to function as 6 month subscription package:

What’s that?  You say you want a couple samples?

What do you think this is, Free Snarky Horror Detective Story Day?

Well, actually it is Free Snarky Horror Detective Story Day.

I put the first two stories in the sequence on Medium, so you can read them for free.

  • All the Dead Musicians (Short story)
    Why were so many musicians suddenly dying? Why was a certain aging rocker infamous for his overindulgence still standing and the younger musicians weren’t? Something is very wrong in the music industry and this time it’s not a publicity stunt in this sardonic tale of panicked music executives, pop stars acting out and a “consultant” specializing in unnatural events.
  • The Curse of the Goat (Novelette)
    The baseball team was poised to go all the way, but there was a problem: they played in a cursed ballpark. As the curse spills out of the ballpark and into the drunken throngs surrounding it, an alderman obsessed with redevelopment is drawn into conflict with a sinister and entitled group of NIMBYs bent on a sports-free neighborhood. Mister Lewis has been hired to clean up the mess, but the Curse of the Goat wants blood.

Or, you could just advance directly to the Kickstarter: