Saturday, January 31, 2009

BTAP #8: Pajama Party by Stephen D. Rogers

February is looking pretty darn good at BEAT to a PULP. First up is Derringer Award winning author, Stephen D. Rogers with “Pajama Party.” Don’t be fooled, this ain’t no Annette Funicello sleepover but a slice of hardboiled with a dash of humor as Rogers continues to leave his stamp on the crime genre. His recent stories can be found in Thrilling Detective and on his website.

Next Week: "Caveat Venditor, Caveat Emptor" by Thuglit's Todd Robinson

Coming Soon: Chap O'Keefe's "The Unreal Jesse James"

Friday, January 30, 2009

Writing Away

I’ve been making great headway on my western noir and the short story I mentioned for Two Sentence Tuesday. Isn’t it nice when the writing gods are kind? With this flurry of creativity, I was unable to do a forgotten book, but Patti Abbott never lets us down. Click here for this week’s list of FFB contributors.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Reeves Update

Yesterday, I put up a post about my search for a definitive bio on Bass Reeves. Today, Art Burton, the foremost authority on Reeves, stopped by to shed some light on this fascinating man. I've looked up Mr. Burton's book Black Gun, Silver Star: The Life and Legend of Frontier Marshal Bass Reeves and found it's available through Barnes and Noble, and I'm planning to order a copy tonight.

In his comment, Mr. Burton extended this invitation: "If anyone would like to work on a Reeves project, print or film, they can contact me at" You can read his full response in the comments section of my previous post on Bass Reeves.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bass Reeves

I’ve always been intrigued by the life of Bass Reeves, U.S. Deputy Marshal. From Wikipedia:
Although he arrested some of the most dangerous criminals of the time, Reeves was never shot (despite having his hat and belt shot off on separate occasions). He had to arrest his own son for murder. Reeves worked a total of thirty-two years as a federal peace officer. During his career he worked the Indian Territory, pre-state Oklahoma. At statehood, Reeves became a member of the Muskogee, Oklahoma, police department at the age of 68. Bass Reeves became a legend in the Indian Territory and was one of Judge Isaac C. Parker, of Fort Smith, Arkansas' federal court, most valued deputies. Reeves was an expert with rifle and pistol. During his long career he developed superior detective skills. Before he retired from federal service in 1907, Reeves had arrested over 3,000 felons. Reeves admitted having to shoot and kill fourteen outlaws in defending his life while making arrests. Many scholars consider Reeves to be one of the most outstanding frontier heroes in United States history.
I’ve read quite a few online articles and have run into some conflicting information. If anyone knows where to find the best bio on Reeves, I'd be interested in checking it out.

Reeves links: Legends of America | Handbook of Texas

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

OOTG's Matt Louis

Out of the Gutter's Matt Louis has a cool interview in Oregon's Mail Tribune. Oh, and just for the record, I'm not the guy who urinated on his copy and sent it back.

Matt, has decided on Sexploitation as the theme of the next issue of OOTG. No date yet for submissions but it's never too early to start dusting off your old stories.

Two Sentence Tuesday

I’ve been reading Robert B novels since 1984’s Valediction. I'm currently enjoying the Bostonian author's 2007 release, High Profile, featuring Paradise police chief, Jesse Stone. These two lines are from the opening chapter:

In the years since he’d come to Paradise he never remembered, from year to year, how pretty spring was in the Northeast. He stood now among the opening flowers and the new leaves, looking at a dead man, hanging by his neck from the limb of a tree in the park, on Indian Hill, overlooking the harbor.
My own two lines come from a short story I’m currently whipping into shape called "Stranglehold":

I had the strange sensation she was cheating on me. It made me wonder who was the bigger fool—her husband for sharing her or me for feeling jealous.
For more Two Sentence excitement, check out the Women of Mystery blog.

Monday, January 26, 2009

My Town Monday: Notable Residents from Freeville, New York

I haven’t posted much about my hometown because, unfortunately, I’m rarely there. For the past fifteen years, I’ve worked all over, from Washington DC and North Carolina to Belize and Cameroon, and now Louisiana. I’m a gypsy at heart so I enjoy the traveling and wouldn’t change a thing. But as soon as I step back in Freeville -- I’m home.

I’m not the only famous (all right, enough with the chuckling!) resident who feels this way about Freeville...

Many of you may already know the name Amy Dickinson; she took over the Ann Landers’s advice column for the Chicago Tribune with “Ask Amy” in 2003. If that isn’t enough to make her Freeville’s most famous resident, her multi-million book deal with Hyperion will certainly give her the top spot! The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, A Daughter, and the Town that Raised Them, her first of a two book contract, will be out in February.

My sister, Meta, and Amy were both from Dryden high school’s Class of ’77, though Amy might not remember Meta’s kid brother from down the street (I was seven years old at the time). Even so, I can’t wait for the release of Amy Dickinson’s book. It's gotten a lot of early positive reviews and I’m looking forward to a fresh perspective on our little hometown as seen through the eyes of one of Freeville’s “Mighty Queens.”

From the Cortland Standard, Monday, January 12, 2009.
I used to ride my bike over that bridge all the time as a teen, going into town from my house.

For more MTM posts, check out Travis Erwin's site.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

BTAP #7: Brothel Justice by Sandra Seamans

I’ve made no secret about it; I’m a fan of Sandra Seamans’ fluid writing style and distinct voice. And I couldn’t be happier that she’s taken to bloggin’. Several times a week, you can read her informative thoughts on writing and she is always on top of the latest e-zine offerings. Sandra mainly writes crime/hardboiled stories, but we’re very happy that she stepped outside of her crime-ridden world to tackle BTAP’s first and, so far, only sci-fi short “Brothel Justice.” Oh, and thankfully, it seems space is pretty crime ridden too.

Next week: “Pajama Party” by Stephen D. Rogers

Saturday Morning Laugh

My wife saw this clip of The Soup and we can't stop laughing! Poor Stains...

"Resistance is futile!" No wonder that eerie trance-like music reminded me of something out of an old Star Trek episode.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday's Forgotten Books: What Really Happened by Brett Halliday

From the preface:

He had too many suspects to start with, and all of them were over-anxious to link themselves with murder. Some of them had actually come running to him with their stories before the crime was committed!

The Shamus had to fill in the details himself, and none of them were pretty. They dealt with secret assignations, queer sex exhibitions, blackmail---and brutal death. And the final punch-line was one of the most startling in Mike Shayne's violent career.
I love that old fashion salesmanship, though it wasn't so overstated in Happened. Our favorite redheaded detective has quite a bit of trouble to deal with in this particular story. Before midnight, three ominous phone calls warn him about a package from Wanda Weatherby that will arrive in the morning mail. One call is from Wanda herself who ends up dead within minutes of asking for his help. The other calls are from one individual wishing to scare him off the case and another wanting to hire him. Add cops, gangsters, reporters, and molls, all descending on Shayne at the same time, and you have one helluva entertaining mystery from the golden era.

Related links:

Mike Shayne bio from Thrilling Detective

Shayne reviews by August West

Call for Michael Shayne review by James Reasoner

Mike Shayne mystery movies on DVD review by Mystery*File

Thursday, January 22, 2009

No Blood, No Foul by Bill Raetz

BTAP will be featuring the first chapter of Bill Raetz’s No Blood, No Foul the last week of February, just ahead of the book's March 1 debut.

Here’s the trailer:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Radio Days

I’ve finished reading What Really Happened by Brett Halliday so Michael Shayne was on my mind when I spotted these radio collections at Walgreen’s. For only a buck how could you go wrong? I didn’t because the two episodes featured: “The Case of the Crooked Wheel” and “The Case of the Wandering Fingerprints” are entertaining mysteries that I’m enjoying during my morning commute. The Shayne series came to radio in 1944 starring Wally Maher. Rising film star, Jeff Chandler assumed the role in 1950. The other collection, Casey, Crime Photographer starred Staats Cottsworth as a “Morning Express” photographer who loved to play detective. Equally entertaining as the Shayne set but unfortunately this collection only contains two episodes also.

So I’ve started searching the web for more old time radio and came across Radio Lovers. This site contains Ellery Queen, Philip Marlowe, Adventures of, Richard Diamond Police Detective and Voyage of the Scarlet Queen to name a few of the more well-known in the mystery genre. There’s also a sci-fi superhero section that contains Batman and Buck Rogers. If you like old programming, swing by.

Btw, have you listened to Charles Gramlich’s "Thief of Eyes" over at Fear on Demand? If you haven’t then you’re missing an incredible marriage of words and voice. Glen Hallstrom does a masterful job of reading this poetic piece. I’m looking forward to the next offering from Sidney Williams.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Nice Things

There are some nice things being said around the internet about BTAP here and here. Also, our good friend Gary Dobbs over at The Tainted Archive has an interview with a couple charming folks (Elaine, I want to know what's so funny!)

Two Sentence Tuesday

For the longest time, the only Graham Greene I'd ever been exposed to was the film version of The Third Man starring Orson Welles. But now I have another one of Greene's work under my belt. I just finished reading Our Man in Havana re-published in 2007 by Penguin with a very in depth introduction by Christopher Hitchens. Highly recommended. My two lines pick from this classic are:

The complaint was of a serious nature: she had set fire to a small boy called Thomas Earl Parkman, Jr. It was true, the Reverend Mother admitted, that Earl, as he was known in the school, had pulled Millie’s hair first, but this she considered in no way justified Millie’s action which might well have had serious results if another girl had not pushed Earl in a fountain.
I've already shared something from each of my in-progess pieces for Two for Tuesday, so I thought instead I'd plug my recent short story, "Blubber," published in OOTG #5:

"You gotta be fucking kidding me," she muttered, feeling a sudden jab of horror as she realized the loathsome implications of the ad she had posted on craigslist. She paused, debating whether or not she should walk away.
For more Two Sentence thrills, check out the Women of Mystery blog.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

BTAP #6: Whiskey, Guns, and Sin by Charles Gramlich

When picking year-end ‘Best of’ reviews, many of us tend to forget all the great short stories we’ve read on blogs and e-zines. Last year, I found some sharp, poetic writing on Charles Gramlich’s Razored Zen that I won't soon forget. Just before Halloween, he opened the floodgates to anyone wishing to leave a horror short and posted several dark tales himself. One in particular, ROADKILL, is still circling in the darker regions of my noggin.

We’re grateful Charles was able to carve out a bit of time from his schedule to contribute the hardboiled “Whiskey, Guns, and Sin” for BTAP.

Next Week: “Brothel Justice” by Sandra Seamans

Friday, January 16, 2009

Ashedit's Blog

Up to now, Elaine Ash's insight on writing has been handed out mainly via email as she helped some of us with our stories. Well, great news ... Elaine is applying her keen editing sense and exceptional writing talents in a new blog that will bring her knowledge to everyone. Go check it out and if you like what you read, and I'm sure you will, please add her blog to your link list. I know she'll have lots of pearls of wisdom to pass along in the months to come.

Friday's Forgotten Books: Odds Against Tomorrow by William P. McGivern

Earl Slater is a small time crook. He hooks up with a gang planning to pull off a bank heist, and the plan seems solid until the local sheriff, who suspects these strangers in his town may be up to trouble, fouls up their plan. Slater is wounded in a standoff yet he escapes with another accomplice, John Ingram. They find refuge in a farmhouse owned by an elderly couple. At first, Slater doesn't trust Ingram and holds a gun on him. But when he sees no other option, he convinces Ingram to locate his girlfriend, Lorraine, for help, which Ingram does. As the sheriff's dragnet tightens these desperate characters plan their escape.

McGivern's writing is compelling, poetic and delivers a strong wallop. Though the plot was straightforward, the characters were morally conflicted, setting up unpredictable circumstances. Odds pushes Slater, a racist, into a position where he must overcome his hangups as he places his life in the hands of Ingram, an African American.

This was my first McGivern book but it won't be the last.

Other McGivern links:
Bleeker Books bio
Rogue Cop review by James Reasoner
Police Special review by Bob Schneider
Death Runs Faster review by Bill Crider

Click here for more Friday's Forgotten Books on Pattinase

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Flight of the Grievous Angel

Sarah Hina made me aware of Jason Evan's "Ascension" Short Fiction Contest at The Clarity of Night. The rules are to create a 250 word or less flash using the photo to the right as inspiration. I think my piece, "Flight of the Grievous Angel," came out pretty well. Feel free to zip over and ckeck it out. There are many superb stories including "Stalker" by Sandra Seamans.

Men's Adventure Magazines in Postwar America by Max Allan Collins and George Hagenauer

Men's Adventure Magazines by Max Allan Collins and George Hagenauer (from the Rich Oberg Collection) and distributed through Taschen is quite an enjoyable read. This book highlights hundreds of colorful covers from the heyday of the 1950s and 1960's and also includes must-have articles on the history of these pulps with a revealing piece on Bernarr Macfadden, the father of the men's magazines.

The following images made me chuckle. It's from the first chapter titled "When Animals Attack." I know the animal kingdom can be dangerous but talk about whew!

Monday, January 12, 2009

My Town Monday: 'Cranmer' Hollow, New York

This MTM post is less about Cranmer Hollow and more about the people from the town, in particular, my family. Yes, folks, another slice of my family history.

I found among my father's papers a clipping of my great-grandfather's wedding announcement from 1898 (pictured to the right). The couple from Cranmer Hollow, NY would divorce some years later, though the marriage produced three children, the first of whom, Alfred, died within two months of birth. Helen was born on August 7, 1900 and my grandfather, Fred, came along on January 7, 1904.

Digging further in the papers, I came across a great picture of Aunt Helen and her husband, Vincent Campbell, celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary in 1978. I just love the old 1918 photograph of them. She's quite pretty and obviously very stylish, though, what's she wearing on her head? They were an active couple into their golden years with rollerskating being their main hobby. My great aunt Helen passed away in 1985.

Cranmer Hollow, named after my family, has unfortunately today become the easier sounding Cramer Hollow.


Please, if you get a chance, stop by One Word, One Rung, One Day and show your support for My Town Monday creator, Travis Erwin, who recently lost his home in a fire. There is also a site dedicated to helping the Erwin's rebuild. We wish Travis and his family all the best.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Bad Things

Chris Pimental's Bad Things has arrived. I see there are contributions from E.A. Cook, Pearce Hansen, Stephen D. Rogers, and Sandra Seamans among others. I'm on my way to check them out...

Silent Night at the Movies: A Trip to the Moon (1902)

A Trip to the Moon is a French black and white science fiction film loosely based on the popular novels, From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne and The First Men in the Moon by H. G. Wells.

Written and directed by Georges Méliès, assisted by his brother Gaston, A Trip to the Moon is the first science fiction film that utilized innovative animation and special effects. The film runs 14 minutes if projected at 16 frames per second (the standard frame rate when the film was made). Extremely popular at the time of its release, A Trip to the Moon remains the best-known of the hundreds of Méliès's fantasy films. [Source: Wikipedia]

More info: Georges Melies | AMC review | The Smashing Pumpkins

Saturday, January 10, 2009

BTAP #5: Backing the Stakes by Kieran Shea

Morgan Leary tailed the girl from her appointment in Hazlet, catching the North Jersey coast train just before five. She was shorter than they said. Curvy. Long black disco wig instead of the frowsy blonde crop—pleated red mini-skirt, patterned grey tights, and a set of below-the-knee go-go boots on strong, athletic legs. Morgan tugged on his lead-knuckled gloves.

At Newark she made the platform switch to the PATH train and at Hoboken Morgan followed her seventeen odd blocks from the station to a brownstone apartment off of Columbus Park.

It was a shame he had to beat her.
Now, that's a hardboiled opening that commands attention. “Backing the Stakes” was the first story to come in when I initially announced that we were accepting submissions for BTAP. As soon as I read it, I knew it was a gem. If you are unfamiliar with Kieran’s work, then you’re in for a treat, and following that, you have a lot of catching up to do. His stories can be found at A Twist of Noir, Demolition, Thuglit, Thrilling Detective and now Beat to a Pulp.

Next Week: "Whiskey, Guns, and Sin" by Charles Gramlich

Dashiell Hammett Quotes

(May 27, 1894—January 10, 1961) was an American author of hardboiled detective novels and short stories. Among the enduring characters he created are Sam Spade (The Maltese Falcon), Nick and Nora Charles (The Thin Man), and the Continental Op (Red Harvest and The Dain Curse). In addition to the significant influence his novels and stories had on film, Hammett "is now widely regarded as one of the finest mystery writers of all time" and was called, in his obituary in the New York Times, "the dean of the... 'hard-boiled' school of detective fiction." [Source: Wikipedia]

"I've been as bad an influence on American literature as anyone I can think of."

"Another man whose social life has ruined him."

"Feed the lettuce to the bunny and eat the bunny."

"People always say things like, Oh, well, he was suffering so much that he was better off dying. But that's not true. You're always better off living."

"I haven't any sort of plans for the future but I reckon things will work out in some manner."

The Thin Man (1929):

“How do you feel?”
“Terrible. I must have gone to bed sober.” (Nora & Nick)

“She keeps trying and you’ve got to be careful or you’ll find yourself believing her, not because she seems to be telling the truth, but simply because you’re tired of disbelieving her.” (Nick Charles)

“You got types?” (Nora)
“Only you, darling--lanky brunettes with wicked jaws.” (Nick)

The Maltese Falcon (1930):

"Samuel Spade’s jaw was long and bony, his chin a jutting v under the more flexible v of his mouth. His nostrils curved back to make another, smaller v. His yellow-grey eyes were horizontal. The v motif was picked up again by thickish brows rising outward from twin creases above a hooked nose, and his pale brown hair grew down-from high flat temples-in a point on his forehead. He looked rather pleasantly like a blonde satan." (Description of Spade)

“Our conversations have not been such that I am anxious to continue them in private.” (Cairo)

“The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter.” (Spade)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Thrilling Detective

The latest issue of Thrilling Detective is out. Stephen D. Rogers, Kieran Shea, Patrick Shawn Bagley, and J. Kingston Pierce are some of the contributors. I've already read two of the stories and it appears they have another kickass issue.

Hat tip: Bish's Beat

Friday's Forgotten Books: The Man Who Went Up In Smoke by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö

The worst of it was that, deep down within himself, he knew that he had not been guided by any kind of impulse at all. It was just his policeman’s soul—or whatever it might be called—that had started to function. It was the same instinct that made Kollberg sacrifice his time off—a kind of occupational disease that forced him to take on all assignments and do his best to solve them.

The Man Who Went Up In Smoke begins with Inspector Martin Beck taking a well-deserved vacation with his family. Of course, the reader knows ahead of Beck that with twenty-nine chapters to go, he can kiss his vacation goodbye. Beck’s superiors call him back to the office and then send him to Hungary to search for a missing journalist named Alf Matsson. After initally being followed and verbally roughed up by the local police, he gains their respect as he searches the criminal underbelly of their country. Eventually his search makes him wonder if Matsson ever entered Hungary.

The Martin Beck stories, written with authentic detail, are known for changing the rules of police procedurals. Maybe that's true, but, for me, the joy of reading this novel was the way in which the lead character is drawn. Like Marlowe or Archer, Beck is a complex character that I enjoyed spending time with and find myself wanting to learn more.

There are only ten books which means I will probably take my time reading them over the next several years. For most of you, this series is probably far from forgotten and now I can say the same.

After I finished reading this over the holidays, I noticed Sarah Weinman at Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind was reading this book also. For her take on it, check out her post.


Click here for more Friday's Forgotten Books on Patti Abbott's site.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Two Sentence Tuesday

I recently read William P. McGivern's Odds Against Tomorrow. Two lines (ok, three) from this great pulp:
"You afraid of getting a ticket?" Earl's foot came down hard on Ingram's, pushing the accelerator flat against the floor boards. The car leaped ahead like an angry animal into the walls of rainwater, the motor snarling under the full load of power.
Has anyone seen the film based on this book? The stellar cast includes Harry Belafonte, Robert Ryan, and Ed Begley. The Wikipedia write-up claims it is the first noir of the classic period with an African-American protagonist.

My two lines come from a story with the original title of "The Education of a Pulp Writer" coming up in the April Issue of Cindy Rosmus's Yellow Mama.
“I’m not some sicko. I’m a pulp writer who has to think, occasionally, like a sicko to grab the attention of readers who enjoy perusing pages dedicated to the warped souls who walk amongst us.”
For more Two Sentence thrills, check out the Women of Mystery blog.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Minstrel of Metairie

I was at an antique store in Louisiana when my eye was drawn to this portrait of a minstrel selling for $75. I talked the price down to $50, but I wasn't sure I wanted to pay that much for a pencil sketch. I try to think it over carefully before buying a piece of art, fearing that my impulsive purchase will drain the bank account by hundreds of dollars while the 'Picasso' I couldn't live without ends up in the garage next to the Laserdisc player. So, I didn't get it.

A couple of months passed and I couldn't shake the feeling I still wanted it. Since it was the first piece of art that jumped out at me in awhile, I went back to the store and, lo and behold, it was still there. I got the price down another $10 and it was all mine!

It is an untitled piece by Evan(?) Soule... I've decided to call it "The Minstrel of Metairie."

I would just love it if someone wrote to say this artist's work is on display at the Met.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Very sad news from Travis Erwin today... his house burnt to the ground this morning. Travis is the creator and host of the My Town Mondays that many of us participate in each week. I can't imagine starting the new year under such terrible circumstances. My thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

BTAP #4: A Man Called Masters by Jack Martin

If I was the jealous type, I would be envious of Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin. First, he’s an actor who has appeared in a favorite sci-fi show of mine, Doctor Who, and can currently be seen in the BBC hit, Larkrise to Candleford. Second, his novel, Tarnished Star from Robert Hale LTD/Black Horse Westerns, hits the stores on June 30, 2009. And as if that's not enough to keep Gary busy, he updates his entertaining blog, The Tainted Archive, on a daily basis.

We are very pleased to feature the Jack Martin western, "A Man Called Masters," on BEAT to a PULP.

Next week: "Backing the Stakes" by Kieran Shea

Friday, January 2, 2009

Friday's Forgotten Books: Jonny Quest's Adventure with the Secret Tunnel

Ok, I’m making another offbeat choice for this week’s FFB, and before I get into the book, here I go again, digressing... !

I’m always searching into what originally sparked my interest in reading and writing crime/detective stories. I’ve mentioned before that when I was young, reading the Hardy Boys led into Robert B. Parker novels, which, in turn, led me to the stories of Raymond Chandler. Prior to the Hardy Boys, I remember watching a Dirk Benedict police show called Chopper One, but, as far as reading is concerned, I always thought it was the boys from Bayport who started the ball rolling -— though I may have uncovered an even earlier influence.

Over the Christmas holiday, I was digging through more of my boxes stored at Mom’s house and came across something I had completely forgotten about: Jonny Quest’s Adventure with the Secret Tunnel from 1972 (when I was just knee-high to a grasshopper). This Hanna-Barbera storybook is only twelve pages long, and as a youngster, I read it over and over, never tiring of it. In the story, Professor Boris Krantz plans to raid Dr. Benton Quest’s island, Palm Key, and kidnap Benton in order to learn the secret of his anti-laser device. Of course, Jonny and special agent/bodyguard, Race Bannon, are on top of the situation and, in the end, foil the Professor’s diabolical plan. The tunnel in the title doesn’t really figure into the plot all that much but many kindergarten aged kids would never notice -– whereas this thirty-eight year old did. The story was written by Horace J. Elias, who had a very successful career writing children’s books.

The little book contained a special dedication from my parents, written by Dad. The extra “h” at the end of “with” is from my unskilled hand in an attempt to learn how to write by mimicking his letter.

Next week, I’ll choose a more appropriate FFB, but, for me, Adventure with the Secret Tunnel was a very personal rediscovery that I wanted to share.

Head over to Patti Abbott's site for more Friday's Forgotten Books.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Donald E. Westlake

I dropped by Bill Crider's site and was floored by the news of Donald Westlake's passing. Of all his work, the Richard Stark novels are among my favorites and I'd be hard pressed to pick just one at the top of the list as I've never read a bad book from Westlake. He has left behind an incredible legacy and it goes without saying, he will be missed.