Tis the Season…

Santa Knuckles

Greetings, patient readers!

We’re still putting the finishing touches on the latest Episodes from the Zero Hour! book (surprise!), but while we do so, we’ve got a Small Business Saturday / Cyber Monday deal to help you give the gift of reading this holiday season! Now through Monday, save 20% on all books and 10% on all stationery at the Episodes from the Zero Hour! online bookstore — http://www.lulu.com/zerohour.

If you’ve been looking for an excuse to pick up our back catalog, now’s the time to buy! And in addition to supporting us, please make sure you visit some of our friendly neighborhood bookstores who’ve always opened their doors to us in the past, like Paranormal Books and Curiosities and Words! in Asbury Park, NJ and Farley’s Books in New Hope, PA.

Thanks, and hope to have news on the new book front soon!

-The Zero Hour! Team


The Wolves of Omaha


By Anthony Schiavino

Wind currents buffeted the flying fortress’s wings. Four engines drinking in deep, one last shot, before facing certain doom. Inside the cargo bay, soldiers prayed with their rifles in hand as the fuselage rattled, threatening to tear itself apart and plummet into the drink. Under the cover of a billowing mass, they approached a fortified coast high above but not out of reach. Flak exploded outside of the thin glass, shaking the plane harder with blunt force intensity. The cabin lit up by tracers closing in.

One of the soldiers made the sign of the cross. “You going to be able to handle the door?” he shouted, straining to be heard across the cargo bay.

The other vomited in his helmet before wiping his mouth on his sleeve. With his pallor still ripe, he said, “I’ll get it done. Don’t worry about me.” Another wave of nausea crested.

“Two minutes until dead drop!” shouted the co-pilot through the cockpit door.

The light came on, bathing the soldiers in a blood-red haze. Both of the men stood up and hooked their safety lines onto the rod above. The bay doors opened as they made their way down, slowly approaching the cage.

Continue reading….

The Wolves of Omaha © 2013 Anthony Schiavino
Taxis to hell – and back photograph © 1944 Robert F. Sargent

Zero Hour! 2013 Halloween Hub:: Werewolf Flash Fiction Challenge


It’s that time of year again! Time to gorge on pumpkin-spiced everything and your kids’ Halloween candy, and check out this year’s Episodes from the Zero Hour! Trick ‘R Treat offerings!

We’re doing things a little differently than in past years. In the past, you’d get one story to sate your Halloween appetite, and then it was time to move on to the next house. This year, we set it up as a flash fiction challenge, and put the call out to pulp writers near and far. We can guarantee at least two fantastic stories (Jay’s and Anthony’s — hope you think they’re fantastic too!) and hopefully more to roll in throughout the day!

This year’s theme is werewolves. Why werewolves? Well, from a logistical standpoint, it made sense… We hadn’t done werewolf fiction before. But also, there’s something primal and scary about the wolf legends, losing out to your animalistic urges, unable to control yourself by the full moon, but otherwise, looking and acting like everybody else. Zombies, you can spot from a good distance away. Vampires, if you know the signs, you can spot one of those, too. But werewolves? They can be any one of us, and we might not even know it…

Last week, we laid out the ground rules for the challenge. If you’d like to enter a story, post the first three or four paragraphs below, with a link to the site where your original is posted. If you’re just here as a reader, we encourage you to reply to the story comments and interact with the writers… They love that s$&t.

Let the games begin! And Happy Halloween!

-Jay and Anthony
We’ll get things started with a story from Episodes from the Zero Hour! Managing Editor Jason Butkowski below:

Too soon. It was all happening too soon, too fast.

He forced himself forward, trying to push beyond the pain welling up inside his body, but it was simply no use. His legs buckled as the first shock wave hit him in the stomach before creeping through his extremities. He collapsed in a heap and rolled over onto his back, staring skyward, pleading for mercy. The light from the full moon broke through the canopy above, mocking him for his foolishness. As if he could have outrun the curse…

As the pain coursed through his body, he tried to remember what it was like before all this had started. It had been seven months since that night with the damn gypsy witch. They had both been so young and stupid. The next morning, he got up to leave, and that’s when she condemned him to his fate with her strange hex. He wrote it off as the ranting of a jilted, superstitious lunatic. Transformation by the light of the full moon? Utter nonsense. But then that first full moon came, and, well… he quickly became a convert.

The throbbing behind his eyes made it hard to focus. Have to stay in control. Have to keep my wits.

Continue reading

The Fault of the Flesh © 2013 Jason Butkowski
“The Witches” photograph © 2013 Kelly Anne Milo, KanneMilo Photography

Episodes from the Zero Hour! at Asbury Park BookFest!

Asbury-Park-Bookfest-fb-featuredWhile we’re still slogging away on the copy edits for Episodes from the Zero Hour!, Volume 4 (more to come on that soon, we promise!), Jay and Anthony will be at the Asbury Park BookFest on Saturday, April 20 promoting the entire line of Zero Hour! books.

The Asbury Park BookFest is a weekend-long celebration of the written word, organized by Asbury Pulp Publisher and Editor, Steven Froias in partnership with some of Asbury Park’s many great downtown businesses (including our friends at Paranormal Books and Curiosities).  For more information about the many great events lined up for the first ever Asbury Park BookFest, visit: http://asburypulp.com/2013/04/asbury-park-bookfest-writers-films-workshops/

Jay and Anthony will be at Art629, an art gallery at 629 Cookman Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ, from 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM on Saturday the 20th.  They’ll be selling some books and promotional items, signing whatever you want (body parts, yes… personal checks, not so much), and talking up the Episodes from the Zero Hour! book line.  Stop on by if you’re in the area and say hi!

So you want to be a book designer… ENTER, THE PULP-O-MIZER


So, one of the keys to a great modern pulp book is a great book cover.  Of course, not everyone has a guy like Anthony Schiavino in their pocket to design said-cover, and not everyone has access to the talent pool of brilliant artists that we’ve been able to work with to produce some really amazing artwork for our covers.

However, now there’s hope.

Thanks to our friends over at io9.com (great source for your geek news fix), you too can be a pulp publishing magnate, because they’ve clued us in to the Pulp-O-Mizer!

The Pulp-O-Mizer is the brainchild of Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual (another site that we’re going to have to bookmark).  You choose from some pre-approved banner headers, background artwork, and character pieces, you fill in your own text, and boom — easy peasy pulp cover, complete with authentic weathering around the edges!

Of course, we encourage you to build your official book cover from scratch, and only use the Pulp-O-Mizer as intended… a fun way to kill some time on the Interwebs.  If nothing else, fooling around with the Pulp-O-Mizer might fan the creative flames and provide a new angle for your own cover, or even an idea for a new story.  Have fun playing around!

And in other Zero Hour! news… Continue reading

Jersey Halloween, Round 2

Earlier this week, we celebrated our New Jersey Halloween do-over, and as promised, we have your annual Halloween Trick or Treat fix, albeit a few days after the fact.  But before we get down to that, I want to take the opportunity to plug a friend’s work.

Duane Spurlock is a triple threat — writer, illustrator and e-publisher.  We had the pleasure of working with him as the illustrator for Mac Samson: The Secrets of the Lost City in Episodes from the Zero Hour! Volume Three.  Well, Duane’s newest eBook, Three Witches: An Adventure of El Tigre Azul is now available on Amazon and Smashwords, with Barnes and Noble and Kobo stores to follow.  Modeled after the classic luchador films that came out of Mexico in the 1950s which pitted masked Mexican wrestlers against monsters, El Tigre Azul — the Blue Tiger — fights humans and monsters alike, with a sense of humor and reverence for the source material.  For more info, check out Duane’s website, InterroBang, where he has links to download in your format of preference.  Oh and that cover was designed by some guy named Anthony Schiavino, in case you were wondering…

So now, on to the Zero Hour! Halloween Trick or Treat.

Continue reading

Halloween postponed this year…

Since we began the Episodes from the Zero Hour! WordPress site a few years back, one of our time-honored traditions has been the annual Halloween trick-or-treat, where we give our faithful readers a taste of some of the creepy and macabre things working in from the edges in the Zero Hour! universe.

This year, horror took on a new reality for so many of our friends and neighbors that live on the Jersey Shore.

Episodes from the Zero Hour! is, at its very core, a New Jersey publishing company.  The founders are Jersey born and bred.  Many of the writers and artists that we work with are Jersey natives, or have strong ties to our home state.  We’re informed by our uniquely Garden State experiences.  Our sensibilities and predilections as creators of fiction are driven by our times spent in Shore towns and in the inland communities that make up this great state.

There has always been something very pulp about New Jersey.  We’re a state of extremes.  We’re tough and no-nonsense.  We’re weird and bizarre.  We have a Devil as our mascot, we have more all-night diners per capita than anywhere else on Earth, and we’re so full of attitude that we have to invent words to adequately express and contain that attitude.  Fuhgeddabouddit?  Exactly.

Continue reading