Saturday, July 31, 2010

BTAP #85: Someone to Watch Over Me by Matthew P. Mayo

So, Matthew Mayo and his lovely wife, Jennifer, (well, Matt's not too shabby himself) invited d and I to their home for dinner a couple of weeks ago. We had a super great time discussing books and publishing among many other things. When the talk turned to gardening, we walked to the backyard and I became alarmed. Why? Let's just say that though Jen has a beautiful, manicured vegetable and flower garden, I kept scanning trees in the yard thinking of the short story Matt had sent to BTAP. What if his idea hadn't stemmed from imagination but actual events. It's a little freaky to think about. Here's Matthew Mayo in BEAT to a PULP with "Someone to Watch Over Me."

Next: Elizabeth Zelvin's "Dress to Die"

Next post: The cover to our BEAT to a PULP print anthology revealed!

The Greatest Blog Post Today

Barbara Martin has my favorite blog post of anyone in cyberspace.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Photo-Finish Friday -- Montpelier Garden Gate

This picture of my charmer was taken a couple of years ago at Montpelier, the home of James and Dolley Madison, in Orange, Virginia.

PFF is the creation of Leah J. Utas.

Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Helen eventually settled on the 31st of July as the date of her death. It was difficult to be certain because for days, perhaps as much as a week, she wandered around the cottage without any glimmer of what had befallen her. Mid-August, it finally occurred to her that an e-mail sent to her editor in late July asking about the color palette she'd chosen for a book about sea birds hadn't been answered. Her inbox, frozen on he screen, displayed only spam, her daily horoscope, the pollen count. There was no snail mail in her roadside mailbox; no newspaper had been tossed on her lawn in weeks. A frisson of fear crept over her. When a passing cluster of bicycle riders threatened to run her down, she had an inkling of her situation.
Ms. Abbott's "Ghostscapes" is in BEAT to a PULP: Round One edited by Elaine Ash and yours truly, coming soon.

Patricia Abbott's fiction has appeared in more than seventy literary and crime fiction publications. Most recently she has had stories in Needle, CrimeFactory, BEAT to a PULP, and Between the Dark and the Daylight. Forthcoming stories will appear in Damn Near Dead 2, Bats in the Belfry, the print edition of Crimefactory, Spinetingler and the 2010 Ed Gorman anthology. She lives and works in Detroit.

Ms. Abbott's blog can be found here.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Kid Eddie

Last Monday, I finished my fifth Cash Laramie western short titled "Kid Eddie." I've been working on it sporadically since October 20, 2009 until about a month ago when I went in for the hard polish. I feel confident it turned out well, special thanks to Rich Prosch for taking a look-see and offering some helpful suggestions. I'm pleased to say the week of September 12th, "Kid Eddie" will be featured in The Western Online, and in some crossover, quick-draw action, The Western Online's editor, Matthew Pizzolato, brings "The Wanted Man" to BEAT to a PULP.

In other Cash/Miles news, Scott D. Parker and I are putting the finishing touches on an action-packed collaboration called "The Adventure of the Sundown Express." This cracking story will combine Scott's Calvin Carter character from "You Don't Get Three Mistakes" with my dynamic duo. For some time I wanted to introduce our western characters and when a nifty idea for a tale popped up, I approached Scott. He's done brilliantly adding flourishes to some rather techie scenes, something I would never have been able to do justice, and adding Carter to the mix has created a whole new dimension to the story.

What is everyone else working on?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

BTAP #84: The Little Boy Inside By Glenn Gray

At first, Greg thought he might be choking. After all, he did have acid reflux and maybe his esophagus was inflamed and irritated. He lost his breath for a moment and then it felt as if he would vomit, a little gagging, and then he coughed up the little boy right onto his desk.
A BTAP category was specially created for Glenn Gray when he graced us with the story "Disimpaction" back in 2008. So far, only one other story has fallen into the WTF! category, and now Dr. Gray is back with his second. "The Little Boy Inside" is a fantastically weird story... comedic, captivating, poignant, original. Once you read it, it will be stuck forevermore. Put simply, this is writing at its finest and one of the top short stories of the year.

Next: Matthew Mayo has "Someone To Watch Over Me"

Soon: Fred Blosser's "Gunpoint"

BEAT to a PULP: Round One print anthology edited by Elaine Ash and yours truly is coming in late August. This collection of 27 hard-hitting tales will feature the writing talents of Ed Gorman, Robert J. Randisi, Charles Ardai, James Reasoner, Sophie Littlefield, Frank Bill, Patricia Abbott, Glenn Gray and many others. With cover art by James O'Barr.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Frank Bill

Yesterday, Frank Bill's agent released the following statement:

Frank Bill's DONNYBROOK and CRIMES OF SOUTHERN INDIANA will be published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux!
Last year Elaine Ash and I had the wonderful opportunity to have two Frank Bill stories in our BTAP hands: "Tweakers" and "The Need." Of course, this presented a dilemna, which to run with because as you know we publish one story a week. Thankfully, Frank allowed us to keep both and for the first and so far only time we presented two punches from the same author in the same week. We called it The Frank Bill Double Bill and it remains one of our highlights. Of course, the credit goes to Frank and his unique manner of writing. Ms. Ash summed up his approach best by saying:

His style is defined by direct, sharp, staccato sentences, and I think of him as the Ornette Coleman of the crime short. When Ornette first played horn in the 1950s, he was considered highly controversial with his cascade of bleeps, blats and squawks. Some critics dismissed him as a music illiterate. But jazz musicians and free thinkers recognized something very special in Ornette, and they were eventually proven correct by his exemplary career. Like Ornette, Frank Bill has a rhythm all his own, with a sentence structure that takes deliberate grammatical “license” to create a cadence in his prose.
If you are unfamiliar with Frank's work then I suggest you check out the two stories above and savor what fresh talent is all about.

Congratulations Frank, We're all happy for you and wish you the best of success!

Monday, July 19, 2010


We are thrilled at BEAT to a PULP to announce that James O'Barr has put the finishing touches on the cover art to our forthcoming ROUND ONE print anthology. Mr. O'Barr is known world wide for creating, writing and illustrating many comic series and graphic novels, the most famous being THE CROW which was made into the 1994 film starring Brandon Lee (pictured). Links to his artwork showcasing his unique style can be found here.

BEAT to a PULP: Round One edited by Elaine Ash and yours truly is coming in late August. This collection of 27 hard-hitting tales will feature the writing talents of Ed Gorman, Robert J. Randisi, Charles Ardai, James Reasoner, Sophie Littlefield, Frank Bill, Patricia Abbott and many others.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

ROUND ONE Cover Artist Teaser

I'm sure some of you will figure out who we're talking about while others may have to wait for the official announcement soon naming the extremely gifted artist who did the cover art for our print antho. And it looks awesome if I do say so myself! Until then, enjoy The Cure's "Burn" from The Crow soundtrack (herin lies the clue).

BTAP #83: Tool of the Trade by Jack Getze

I picked the Beretta because of the smooth action, the extra magazines the guy offered, and because I’d drilled seven of nine rounds inside a two-inch circle. Much tighter grouping than any Glock or Smith & Wesson. Guess I liked the extra weight. And since my plan involved firing enough bullets at Anthony Cassiotta to cut him in half, the heavier Italian nine millimeter with bonus magazines seemed perfect.
Read more of this gritty hardboiled "Tool of the Trade."

Bio: JACK GETZE edits short fiction for Spinetingler Magazine, and spent nine years as a news and feature writer for the Los Angeles Times. His suspense novels, BIG NUMBERS and BIG MONEY, feature screwball stockbroker Austin Carr, and "have that same feel and style of writers such as John D. Macdonald," says Bloodstained Book Reviews.

Next: "The Little Boy Inside" by Glenn Gray

Soon: The Simon Rip adventure begins with Chris F. Holm's A RIP THROUGH TIME: THE DAME, THE DOCTOR, AND THE DEVICE.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Yeah, I Had To Try It Too

Gary Dobbs already figured this all out here but hell, I needed to know. So I pasted in the first paragraph from The Missing Husband of Mildred Malloy and it said:

I write like
Stephen King

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Well, now I think whoever came up with this program is a genius.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Chess, Cranmer, And Capablanca (With Mankell)

I'm in the middle of a study of Capablanca's most accomplished endgames. Sometimes I think it should be possible to transribe chess moves like music. In which case Capablanca's games would be fugues or enormous masses."

-- From Henning Mankell's BEFORE THE FROST.

After my last chess post, not only did I come across another reference to Capablanca in crime fiction (the marvelous Mankell novel) but I began playing online at RedHotPawn*. My user name is Paladin One and if you're so inclined stop by. Sometimes, I can actually be challenging.

*I'm not a member and am limited to six games.

Monday, July 12, 2010

7 Questions: Timothy Hallinan

You live half the year in Cali and half in Southeast Asia. Is there much of a cultural shock jumping between the two?

Not any more. I've been splitting my time since 1981, so that's almost three decades. I sort of live permanently over the middle of the Pacific, both in terms of culture and time zones. And my apartments in Bangkok and Phnom Penh are a lot like my house in Santa Monica – books, more books, DVD player, flat-screen, couch, and bed. I can wander around all of them in the dark without bumping into things. Kitchens are pretty crappy over there – they're not air conditioned, for one thing, because why air condition a room where you'll be making so much heat? But I never eat at home anyway.

Culturally, I feel more Thai when I'm in the US and more American when I'm in Thailand. I often experience the thing Poke (my protagonist) talks about in A NAIL THROUGH THE HEART, about feeling that the culture is on the other side of a thick plate glass window and he's pressed up against it. He can get this close but no closer. Took me 25 years to work up the nerve to write about it because I didn't feel (and still don't feel) that I've been actually immersed in it. That's why Poke's a travel writer, because it requires him to attain a certain level of expertise, but never to forget that he's a foreigner. His adopted daughter, Miaow, says to his wife, Rose, in THE FOURTH WATCHER, “He wants so much to be Thai.” Then they both laugh, although there's some compassion in the laughter. As Miaow says, he wants steak every night but he eats what they do.

The real shock comes with the recent riots, which have brought all the divisions in Thai culture to the surface. For years the Thai self-image has been that the Kingdom is run by consensus, when in fact it's been run since the 1760s by a tiny, very exclusive, very rich elite of pale-skinned Thai-Chinese, almost all of whom live in Bangkok, who have imposed their will on a very large number of generally darker-skinned, less Chinese Thais who live everywhere else. The elite has now thrown out the results of four popular elections in order to keep one of their own in power, and the people have had enough. The trouble is that the candidates the people want to elect are probably worse than the current elite.

As a musician, many of your songs were recorded by top musical groups including Bread. Do you still write and record?

It isn't often that a creative person is in a position to do something that actually benefits an entire art form, but that's what I did when I quit music. I had no real talent. I didn't even play an instrument. I could write okay lyrics, but the guy who was writing most of the melodies, Robb Royer, went on to win an Oscar and sell a trillion records by writing much better ones. I faked the singing back when we were making our own records, whereas David Gates and Jimmy Griffin in Bread could actually sing. So, no. The music industry and I went straight to a divorce, without a trial separation. I'm so divorced from it that I haven't even gone after any of the royalties I haven't been paid in the last, say, 25 years. Somebody's got that money, but it's not in my account.

On the other hand, I had a great time and there were women everywhere, and back in the 1960s and 70s you were still allowed to enjoy women without signing on for monogamy. And I did, although, of course, I've evolved culturally since then.

You must be pleased that Kirkus has given your latest high praise.

I'm happy any time Kirkus doesn't skin me alive. It's the most acerbic of the trades, and I've read reviews there (not of my books, thank God) that would have stopped me from ever writing another word. Writers are always eager to know what Publisher's Weekly and Booklist said, but they're worried about Kirkus. But THE QUEEN OF PATPONG got a starred review, which is as good as it can get, and a couple of days later, Booklist, another major trade, also gave it a starred review. So at the moment, we're two for two, and I learned this morning that BookPage, a print publication, has named QUEEN its Mystery of the Month for August, making me the first thriller writer ever to win that honor for three consecutive years.

I'd be delighted to get this kind of attention for anything I wrote, but this is the book that almost killed me, and when I submitted it to William Morrow, I half expected them to reject it. There's hardly a rule of thriller-writing it doesn't break. For people who haven't read any of my books, the lead male character is a travel writer named Philip “Poke” Rafferty, who went to Thailand to write a book, fell in love with it (as I did) and stayed. He's married to a Thai woman who calls herself Rose, who used to be a dancer (yes, that's a euphemism) on Patpong Road, Bangkok's most lurid red-light district. The two of them have an adopted daughter, Miaow, who was a street child when Rafferty first met her. The family is the most important thing in Rafferty's life – in all their lives, actually. It represents a second and possibly final chance for happiness, for three damaged people.

So, I set up a thriller in about 30,000 words: Poke, Rose, and Miaow are eating in a restaurant when they're suddenly accosted by a big, military-looking American who obviously knows Rose very well and who obviously means all of them harm. They manage to escape that confrontation, and then things accelerate until it's obvious that the family is under threat not only physically, but also emotionally: there are a lot of secrets in Rose's past. At the moment the emotional bonds are on the verge of fracturing, Rose gives up and begins to tell the story.

And then we're in a new section of the book – the longest section by far – in which we go back twelve years to meet Rose as a 17-year-old village teenager named Kwan, which means “spirit,” but who is nicknamed “Stork” because of her extraordinary height. In one day, her entire world falls apart and she finds herself bound for Bangkok, in the company of an untrustworthy companion, to enter the world of the bars. And we stay with her for 45,000 words as she is transformed into the woman Poke met in the King's Castle Bar on Patpong. For I don't know how many pages, the nominal hero of the book isn't even in sight. It's like a novella squeezed between the beginning and the end of a thriller, because when Rose's interlude is over, the thriller is back with a bang.

I'd originally envisioned Rose's history as 3-4 chapters, maybe 6000 words total, possibly woven throughout the book. But the material wouldn't let go of me, so I went with it, although with an enormous amount of anxiety. So these reviews are especially good news this time, and it knocks me out that the section that's getting the most praise is Rose's story.

Is it true that 98% of all books started are never finished?

I state this with absolute certainty at the beginning of the very long section of my website called FINISH YOUR NOVEL, but I have no way in the world of knowing whether it's true. I think it's certainly true that the vast majority of people who have spent their lives saying, “I could write a novel,” and who finally sit down and try to do it, find that it's much harder than they'd expected, and most of them quit. I think they're unprepared for all the things that happen to all of us: blind alleys and ideas that go rancid and characters that don't work and flat dialogue and problems with handling time (one of the biggies) and the chorus of internal voices that continually sing, “You can't do this” in four-part harmony. And I think they're unprepared for the sheer scope of the commitment: sitting down regularly – daily, if possible – and shepherding their daydream for a year or however it takes to turn it into a coherent novel-length story. An interesting, coherent novel-length story.

While it's undoubtedly true that everyone has a book inside him/her, it doesn't necessarily follow that he/she is going to be able to get it out. Writing a novel is like running a marathon: it takes a long-term commitment, regular exercise, and the ability to postpone gratification – because, guess what? It's going to take as long as it takes, and that's almost certainly going to be longer than the novice writer expects. On the other hand, I don't actually think that writing a novel is harder than any other kind of creative enterprise; it just takes longer.
That's why I wrote that almost book-length section of my site – to help people get through the first one. And a lot of people have used it, including Helen Simonson, whose COLONEL PETTIGREW'S LAST STAND was one of this year's best-sellers. She even thanked me in the acknowledgments. Oh, and the Seattle Examiner has just asked for permission to print the whole section, one piece per week, for however long it takes to get it all out there. That's pretty rewarding.

Will we see the return of private eye Simeon Grist?

In at least one way – by the time this goes up, the first two titles in the series, The Four Last Things and Everything But the Squeal, will be up on Amazon as e-books at the astonishingly low price of $1.99. Think of it, people – a year of my life for $1.99. Twelve long months of me sitting all by myself, banging my head against the keyboard, drinking far too many bottles of Singha Thai beer. (I had to learn how to write all over again after I quit drinking. Beer kept the fear of the blank page at bay.)

$1.99 people. That's almost cheaper than free.

I actually dreaded going back into the books to prepare them for upload, so it was a real treat to learn that I actually like them. Some places are overwritten (what else is new?), but most of the dialogue holds up just fine and there's some stuff that made me laugh out loud.

And I found a great kid online to design the covers, because even after the rights to your books revert to you, the publisher still owns the jacket art. So the kid made new ones. He's 17 years old, and look at this:

The four last things, in Catholicism, are death, judgment, heaven and hell. Got two of them up there.

If anyone buys these things ($1.99!!!!!) I'll put up the other four.

I'm also working on a new book about Simeon called Pulped. The basic idea is that there's a kind of limbo to which series characters go when they're finally out of print. So I get to write all these kinds of detectives – hard-boiled, cozy, clairvoyants, cats, vampires, little kids – all thrown together and bored stiff. They only time they can make contact with the real world is when someone down here reads one of their books, and then they can look out through the page as though it were a window. And in the first chapter, Simeon's watching one of his few remaining fans reading Everything But the Squeal when a pair of hands circle the fan's neck and strangle him. Simeon and all these wildly different detectives have a new murder at last.

So far, it's pretty funny, and I doubt anyone will figure out what's going on, since I myself don't have the slightest idea.

Explain Charles Dickens' influence on you.

That's a rough one. I could go on for pages. I think the primary thing I learned from Dickens is always to think in terms of characters first and story second. He had a prodigious, operatic talent, and he's continually inventing some character who's in danger of walking away with the story, although he or she usually doesn't. And Dickens worked at really substantial length – these novels are three volumes long – so he could always make room for a Miss Havisham or a Mr. Micawber or Vincent Crummels and his endearingly wretched theater troupe. Dickens could play with these characters, have his fun with them, and move along.

So another thing I learned from Dickens is that writing can (should) be fun.

The third thing is that he was one of literature's supreme pantsers, by which I mean he wrote those sprawling, densely populated novels entirely by the seat of his pants, without any concept of where he was going – and he published them in monthly installments, as he wrote them, meaning he couldn't go back and change things when he finally figured out what the book was about. He had to live with what he'd written a year ago – he couldn't bring Little Nell back to life (thank God) or decide that Great Expectations would have been better if Estella were sympathetic. She was a bitch and he was stuck with it. He freed me, on my much tinier scale, to make it all up as I go along without first building the framework of an outline.

So he gets a medal for inventiveness and sheer bulk courage.

What's next?

Well, of course, there's The Queen of Patpong coming out on August 17. I have to confess that I like it a lot, and this is the time when I'm usually regretting every word in the book. This one feels different.

Then there are Pulped and maybe a standalone thriller that I don't want to say anything about because it would be too easy to steal. But if I can write it, it'll be cool.

The next Poke may (or may not) be called The Fear Artist. It begins in the Bangkok riots we saw earlier this year, when a Western man who's been shot staggers into Poke and dies in his arms as news photographers and a TV crew shoot the scene. All of a sudden every really scary organization in the world want to know what was said between them. The story, assuming it goes the way I think it will, does something I like in other people's books: it starts small and then gets bigger and bigger. And it's going to give me an opportunity to write all the used-up old spies who now call Bangkok home – guys who would have shot each other on sight 40 years ago, now getting drunk together and re-fighting battles from the 60s and 70s. I'm going to try to keep Rose and Miaow out of trouble in this one. I think they've endured peril enough in the first four.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

KING Reviews

Nasty. Brutish. Short and The Tainted Archive review "King."

BTAP #82: KING by Dave Zeltserman

Mary cautiously approached the bench that had been her destination. For a moment her body seemed to shrink inwards, and timidly she glanced left, then right and over both shoulders as she searched past the children for the white-haired man—the Evil Wizard as she thought of him. That she didn’t see him caused a tear of joy to worm its way down her waxen cheek. She carefully lowered herself onto the bench, her lips still pulled into an idiotic half-smile.
It's a real honor to have Mr. Zeltserman in BTAP this week. His style of writing has been compared to James Ellroy, Jim Thompson and Dasheill Hammett to name a few, and his recent novels KILLER and PARIAH have been bestsellers enthusiastically endorsed by The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Locust, etc. From Kirkus Reviews: “Harrowing. Zeltserman colors it black with the best of them." Publisher’s Weekly (in reviewing KILLER) succinctly sums up my own personal take on the lure to Mr. Zeltserman’s work, "Spare prose and assured pacing place this above most other contemporary noirs."

And that brings us to this week’s story. What you are about to read, concerning a bird lady, is equal parts fantasy and horror interwoven with gripping realism. Not a word is wasted as this chilling story builds to a final scene that will linger with you. While many of us pass by these folks everyday without a second thought, Mr. Zeltserman took the time to stop, imagine, and create an unforgettable tale.

Once again, it's a real pleasure to say Dave Zeltserman is in BEAT to a PULP with "King." Please stop over and leave a comment.

Next: Jack Getze's "Tool of the Trade"

Then: "The Little Boy Inside" by Glenn Gray

In August: BEAT to a PULP: Round One print anthology featuring Ed Gorman, Robert J. Randisi, Sophie Litttlefield, James Reasoner, Charles Ardai, Frank Bill and many others. Edited by Elaine Ash and yours truly.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Flashpoints of the Week

Seven Days of Rain by Chris F. Holm.
Before you submit your next flash fiction or short, take a look at what storytelling is all about.

What Is A Western Writer? by Jory Sherman.
Poetic and a half.

Killing Trail by Charles Allen Gramlich.
Fine writing. Exceptional e-book formatting. But the thing that kept grabbing me the most was how much I enjoyed reading a collection of new short story westerns.

The Junk Girl by Naomi Johnson.
Flavorful locale, desperate characters, and my kind of ending.

Writing Short by Elizabeth Zelvin.
"So can short story writing be taught to a writer who thinks she 'can’t write short'?"

Regina's War by Richard Prosch
The Peregrine returns and here's hoping Mr. Prosch doesn't stop with these very entertaining stories.

Photo-Finish Friday -- David's Kindle

I thoroughly enjoyed Charles Allen Gramlich's KILLING TRAIL that is published via Amazon’s ebook program, and via Razored Zen Press.

PFF is the creation of Leah J. Utas.

Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Oh, and don't forget we have best selling author Dave Zeltserman in BEAT to a PULP this weekend. Cheers!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Bone Orchard Mystery

I'm going to borrow a page from Chris Holm and begin chronicling the history of my individual stories immediately after their completed. This is, without a doubt, more for me than anything else. Something I can look back on.

Before I start writing a new story, I put in a short note at the top of the document saying when and where I was at that moment and then I add to the note as the story progresses. "The Bone Orchard Mystery" started over a year ago in New York, I continued working on it in southeastern Europe over the winter and into spring and finally polished it up in Maine. It's a Cash and Miles western that involves the most mystery I have infused into one of these adventures. It's the fourth in the series.

The plot revolves around the wealthy McAllister family of Twin Falls, Wyoming, and the puzzling death of an estranged prodigal son from England. When a sibling commits suicide on McAllister's grave, Marshals Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles investigate the circumstances of these untimely deaths that just may include a ghost haunting the cemetery.

Today, I dropped the story in the mail and it’s on its way to NYC to one of The Big Two. It may be a little racy for them (Cash, in particular, has a propensity for calico queens) but, if rejected, I still have confidence that I've turned in a first-rate western mystery.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Book Review Club: PRESENCE OF MIND

Steve was dead. There was a penny-sized bullet hole in the back of his neck, about an inch above the knob. I moved over and touched the woman, and when I got no reaction, lifted the blonde hair up and out of her coat collar. And saw the same thing. Her shoulders and head moved to the right and rested against the glass of her door's window.
Out of standard PI loyalty, Chess Hanrahan begins investigating the murder of his pal, Steve, who had taken on a case that Chess had passed on to him. The cops try to dissuade Chess with evidence of a paperclip sculpture found at both his friend's murder scene and a similar 'calling card' at a double-murder elsewhere in town, theorizing a serial killer is loose and Steve was the victim of random violence which had nothing to do with the case Steve was working on. Chess quickly learns there is more to the situation than meets the eye.

Any detective book that begins with an Edith Hamilton quote is likely to be far from standard and, thankfully, PRESENCE OF MIND shakes it up with political parley between the USSR and US (the novel takes place in the late 1980s), connections to the Korean War, and the trail of Soviet agents hell-bent on seizing a little known computer company.

Mr. Cline's writing is sharp and lyrical in refreshing ways for a genre that is getting drier and drier. I intend to read each Chess Hanrahan novel that is released. Recommended.

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@Barrie Summy

Monday, July 5, 2010


Jack wanted to call out for help, to scream. Fear froze his mouth. He had been scared when the Japanese planes came roaring down out of the sky, sure. But it hadn't been like this. That had been a hot, frantic kind of fear, the kind that drove a man to action. Not the sort of cold horror he was experiencing now. The feeling grew even worse as he watched the nurse slowly straighten. Her shoulders moved as she began to turn toward him.
James Reasoner's "Heliotrope" is in the number one anthology of the year, BEAT to a PULP: Round One, edited by Elaine Ash and yours truly, coming soon.

A lifelong Texan, James Reasoner has been a professional writer for more than thirty years. In that time, he has authored several hundred novels and short stories in numerous genres. Best known for his Westerns, historical novels, and war novels, he is also the author of two mystery novels that have achieved cult followings, TEXAS WIND and DUST DEVILS. Writing under his own name and various pseudonyms, his novels have garnered praise from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and the Los Angeles Times, as well as appearing on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists. He lives in a small town in Texas with his wife, award-winning fellow author Livia J. Washburn.

Mr. Reasoner's blog can be found here.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Missed Links, Perhaps

My Charmer and I had a top 4th weekend and I'm glad she dragged me away from editing the beast to check out a local parade, fireworks, etc. But everytime I snapped back to cyber world it seemed like another happening in the making. So, in case you missed some of these, here's a rundown: Alec Cizak started ALL DUE RESPECT where he debuted his latest story "Methamphetamine and a Shotgun." Guidelines are on the page if you wish to contribute the next story... James Reasoner announced on Rough Edges that he is the vice president of the newly formed Western Fictioneers. He linked to WF President Frank Roderus's announcement... Sandra Seamans broke the news, last week, that Thuglit had posted the following message: "Thuglit is no longer accepting submissions - Thanks." I wrote to Big Daddy Thug himself and he informed me that more details will be forthcoming... Perfect Crime Books is releasing THE SHAMUS WINNERS featuring America's Best Private Eye Stories... Bill Crider has done an entertaining 7 Questions where I've linked to The Fabulous G-Strings... Sarah Weinman has a column in the LA Times called Dark Passages: Writers lost and found... Stephen King: The 'Craft' Of Writing Horror Stories at NPR... Lee Goldberg is directing a film based on his short story "Remaindered" which originally appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine... Bish's Beat always on the case revealed the HARD CASE CRIME NEWSLETTER! (I will have to get that Brett Halliday novel.)... Finally, Happy 100th birthday to actress Gloria Stuart. Her credits begin in the early 1930s with films like THE INVISIBLE MAN and stretch all the way to the TITANIC blockbuster. That's impressive.

Ah, some last fireworks are just now flickering in the distance. Little d and I will raise a last toast of the evening to the Republic and wish you all the best. Then it's off to bed. Afterall, we're old and tomorrow's Monday.

BTAP #81: The Road to Brighton by David Pilling

The letter was now tucked inside the breast pocket of his blue-grey suit. A martyr to obsessive compulsion, Sam had taken the letter out of his pocket and examined it precisely nine times since the train left Victoria.

Needing to reach ten, a nice round number, before he could feel comfortable, he drew it out once again, unfolded the neat white paper and studied the brief message:

To S. Burgess, late of the Royal South Kent Regiment,

From one who was taken in the birdcage with you. I will be under Brighton Pier at 11:45 p.m. on 10th November and will have your reward. Come. — E. Greaves.

Sam's mind wandered from the present back to Flanders. Back to the trenches, the barbed wire, the mud, poison gas and all the rest of it.
Continue reading Mr. Pilling's "The Path to Brighton."

Next Week: Best-selling author Dave Zeltserman will introduce you to "King."

Soon: Anthony Neil Smith with even more royalty, "The King of Mardi Gras."

In August: BEAT to a PULP: Round One print anthology featuring Ed Gorman, Robert J. Randisi, Sophie Litttlefield, James Reasoner, Charles Ardai, Frank Bill and many others. Edited by Elaine Ash and yours truly.

Friday, July 2, 2010

What's The Connection Between Bill Crider and This Woman...

Find out the answer to that (and who picks up the tab when he hangs with Gorman and Reasoner) in my latest 7 Questions with the esteemed author here.

Photo-Finish Friday -- Silhouette

This silhouette is based on a photograph of a foam cut-out traced when I was in first grade. I remember each student went behind a curtain so the other kids couldn't see and our image was projected on a wall and traced. After, the class tried to guess who was who. My hair always shot straight out and was a dead giveaway.

PFF is the creation of Leah J. Utas.

Hope everyone has a great holiday weekend.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Mr. Cizak's All Due Respect

Top writer and twice BEAT to a PULP contributor Alec Cizak says:

So I'm trying to start a crime fiction blog that features one writer about once a month. I'm kicking it off with myself with "Methamphetamine and a Shotgun," a story inspired by an old Chester Himes story.
Click here for more details and the link to ALL DUE RESPECT.


Hat tip: Bish's Beat


Hicks shook his head, clearing his mind, and ran around the tent, out into the open. He stood there in the middle of the field, tents pitched all around him, and apart from the sound of the horses in the makeshift corral and the incessant hiss of the rain, all was silent.

Cody, he thought. I’ve got to get to Cody.

It was his last thought as a hand suddenly came up behind him and clamped over his mouth. He didn’t even get a chance to react before a gleaming steel blade opened his throat, sending his life gushing from him in a crimson torrent.
Inspector Frank Parade has his hands full when Buffalo Bill and 500 of his circus employees descend on the Welsh town of Pontypridd to put on Bill’s famous west extravaganza. Murders begin happening immediately and Parade suspects a member of Cody's show is a killer and possibly the trail he's pursuing is leading him to the infamous London "Ripper" murders.

I enjoy stories that feature Wild West heroes and the ones that follow them into the dawn of the 20th century are especially enticing. In A Policeman's Lot, Gary Dobbs partners up Parade and Buffalo Bill making for an enjoyable detecting duo. He does a fine job of bringing the famous Wild West showman to life and his descriptions of Pontypridd, the era, and people sparkle. I'm hoping Mr. Dobbs doesn't leave Frank Parade on the sidelines too long because I'm betting there are more adventures in him. Or, maybe Bill Cody -- there’s an idea worth exploring -- Buffalo Bill as a world-traveling crime-solver.

More reviews: Buddies in the Saddle | Book Style | Chap O'Keefe

7 Questions: Gary Dobbs