Sunday, February 27, 2011

BEAT to a PULP #114: A Different Kind of Blue by Michael A. Gonzales

Michael A. Gonzales is a cultural critic, essayist and short story writer. He has written magazine features for New York, Wax Poetics, Stop Smiling, Vibe, Essence, The Village Voice, XXL and High Times. A former NY Press columnist, his essay on literary hero Chester Himes appeared in Best African-American Essays 2010 edited by Gerald Early and Randall Kennedy (Random House). In addition, Gonzales has also written erotica for Brown Sugar 2: Best One Night Stands edited by Carol Taylor (Random House), Gotta Have It edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel (Cleis Press) and Bunnie 2: Voyeurism.

Inspired by the works of David Goodis, Howard Chaykin and David Lynch, he has written noir fiction for The Darker Masker: Heroes from the Shadows edited by Gary Phillips and Chris Chambers (Tor Books), Bronx Biannual edited by Miles Marshall Lewis (Akashic Books), Needle, Pulp Metal, Crime Factory and A Twist of Noir. Originally from Harlem, he has also lived in Baltimore and Brooklyn. Currently finishing his noir novel Uptown Boys, he blogs at Blackadelic Pop.

This week Mr. Gonzales is at BTAP with A Different Kind of Blue.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Friday, February 25, 2011

Photo-Finish Friday -- Montpelier

Little d and I visited James Madison's Montpelier in 2007 when the founding father's home was being restored. This room was where some of the Bill of Rights was written.

PFF is the creation of Leah J. Utas.

Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bitter Steel by Charles Allen Gramlich

I can safely say Charles Allen Gramlich's stories introduced me to the world of Sword and Planet and Sword and Sorcery. I have watched fantasy films but haven't read much in the genre, the closest being a lone Tarzan book and part of a C.S. Lewis title, which really isn’t all that close. Mr. Gramlich’s posts on Robert E. Howard’s Solomon Kane and his own Talera novels (I still have to read the third in this fine series) whet my appetite and now BITTER STEEL: TALES AND POEMS OF EPIC FANTASY has blown the hinges off the door.

I carried my Kindle with me the day our daughter was born. I had about five stories left to read in the STEEL collection, and it was the perfect way to pass the time while waiting for labor to progress before heading off to the hospital, and then the day-and-a-half hospital stay following the birth. I'm no authority on this genre so I'm not going to attempt to discuss it beyond that I enjoyed the book and would recommend BITTER STEEL without hesitation. But I will say, when I read part of STEEL's "Sundered Man" to my four-day-old daughter, she was as quiet and attentive as can be. (A future Fantasy writer? Maybe.) Also, I was inspired so much by the antho that I've begun composing my own fantasy world of characters. We'll see if anything comes from this but it's an enjoyable escape from my beloved westerns and crime stories.

Any fantasy series, short stories, or novels you would recommend?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Fatherhood: Exhaustion & Creative Ideas

Ok, you knew these posts were coming and you're probably cringing because, maybe like me, you still have nightmares of a certain television host’s giddiness over a precocious child named Cody. So, I will keep ‘em short and limit them to less than one hundred and seventy five posts a year. And I will do my best to keep them related to writing or editing.

First-up is making the use of lost sleep. My littlest charmer’s first week’s birthday is coming up, and everyone had warned us about lost sleep--they were not shittin’ Dixie there. (Sidebar: Kieran, thanks for the book tip.) Still I found a silver lining to these beyond-drained moments by tapping into a creative outlet. I’m talking times when you’re using industrial-strength toothpicks to hold the eyelids open but they're still snapping. Then, two hours later, when you're rocking the baby in time to Jagger’s “Just Another Night,” your mind drifts to what’s left of your artistic attic and BAM! There, past Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles Meets the Killer, Boris Karloff, and the Land of the Modest Giants, you can find some peculiar story ideas converging like Lillian Gish’s ice floats in WAY DOWN EAST. Writer John Kenyon informed me that “...have a pen at the ready, too - sleep deprivation can conjure some crazy thoughts... might be a story in it!”

John was very right.

At first, I didn’t know what to think of this bizarro, imaginative terrain but as Mick began warbling “Memo From Turner,” I let my thoughts boogie and found some out of the ordinary yarn ideas waiting to be mined. Many at first I couldn’t use, but, into day four, I welcomed the witching hour and learned to piece different fragments together like those high tech films where they move touch screen still slides from one spot to another on the video screen. Little d and my godsend mother-in-law were mercifully allowed some sleep as I began swimming past the Island of Misfit Toys, Tod Browning’s FREAKS, and FANTASTIC VOYAGE.

My baby coconut is finally drifting off to sleep. 3:45 am. Just me, Ava, Mick and my next story waiting.

Does anybody else know what I’m talking about? What were some of your experiences in the first few weeks?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

BEAT to a PULP #113: The Death Fantastique by John Hornor Jacobs

"What's that mean?"


"Your titty. Is that French or something?"

She smiled, weakly, and pushed a lock of hair behind her ear. Efram liked the way she looked, wary, big-eyed and delicate, like she'd spent too much time indoors when she was a girl. She had some bruising here and there, but nothing that didn't come with the business.

"Means a 'fantastic death.'"
John Hornor is one creative son-of-a-gun. He first impressed the hell out of me with his marvelous covers for Needle: A Magazine of Noir, which is why I asked him if he'd be interested in making the cover for my upcoming eBook, Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles. His first novel, SOUTHERN GODS, will be published by Night Shade Books (August, 2011), and his other novels are on submission at various publishers. In between designing covers and writing novels--he even found some time to come up with this week's excellent image--he submitted a first-rate, hardboiled noir, "The Death Fantastique," that begs the question, what can’t the talented Mr. Jacobs do?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Denise and I received the ultimate Valentine’s Day present: a seven-pound, healthy baby girl. Ava arrived at 10:32 in the evening, and, good lord, there was no greater moment than watching her enter the world. Everyone immediately commented on her full head of hair. A photographer snapped some marvelous shots including one of me holding her tiny feet which I hope to post as soon as the CD arrives.

Thank you all for your kind e-mails, gifts, and posts.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Lineup #4

I mentioned to Gerald So, editor of The Lineup, that I love poetry, but I'm at a disadvantage when it comes to reviewing the art--I'm just not intellectually savvy enough to put in words what I like about a poem. He was still kind enough to send me an advanced look at issue #4 and I'm grateful he did.

Even though The Lineup contains poems about crimes, I was surprised to see the names of Keith Rawson, Kieran Shea, and Steve Weddle among the author list. Hey, I know them boys and yet I never knew they had the Longfellow in them. Well, now I do, because all three left me in admiration of their stories laid to verse in this collection. Mr. Rawson's "A Story to Tell Our Daughter" had me re-reading it to my wife who also gave it a thumbs up.

Most of the poems, like "Daughter," are short in nature and I finished the whole issue in less than thirty minutes. Other contributors include Ken Bruen, Chad Rohrbacher, and John Stickney. Introduction is by Reed Farrel Coleman.

I have since gone back for a second helping because good poetry wriggles into your cranium and squirrels around until you think you've seen every possible angle. The Lineup is like that--marvelous poetry that deserves several reads. Highly recommended.

Click here and learn more about The Lineup and how to order.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

BEAT to a PULP #112: Line Rider by Chuck Tyrell

Chuck Tyrell, aka Charlie Whipple, is one of our foremost storytellers who pulls you in with his persuasive narrative style, transfixing readers to that last line. This week's BTAP story, “Line Rider,” is a prime example. The tale starts out deceivingly simple about a lonely cowboy named Howey Simpson working for the Hashknife Outfit where he earns twenty-five bucks a month. Into this world enters Doli, Navajo goddess, who knocks on his door. To say more would ruin it. Beautiful storytelling here, folks, and when you’re done, take a spin through the "BTAP Recommends" wheel for Charlie’s latest title, THE SNAKE DEN. I’ve read this riveting novel which concerns Arizona's youngest prisoner, a boy of 14, sent to Yuma Territorial Prison on a trumped-up charge.

But first, here's "Line Rider" at BEAT to a PULP. Enjoy.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles

The talented Mr. Jacobs has an announcement over at The Bastardized Version that I hope you can take a look at. I will have further details on this eBook in the weeks to come.

Thanks, John.

Monday, February 7, 2011

New Pulp Master: Sophie Littlefield

I've had the pleasure of publishing Ms. Littlefield at BTAP twice now, one link is below and the other story, "Fangataufa," is in the BEAT to a PULP: Round One anthology. Ms. Littlefield's A Bad Day for Sorry has elicited numerous favorable reviews. Oline Cogdill writing in the South Florida Sun Sentinel says, "Littlefield's exciting debut should be the start of an even more exciting series." Kirkus Reviews writes, "First-timer Littlefield creates characters with just the right quirks who charm..." I couldn't agree more, Sophie rocks!

Don't Mess With Paige, Thuglit, issue #28, Oct/Nov 2008

At Least I Felt Something, The Drowning Machine, Sept 2009

Mortification, BEAT to a PULP, #49

A Bad Day for Sorry and A Bad Day for Pretty

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Aries (March 21-April 19). The wise Greek dramatist Aeschylus noted that in war, truth is the first casualty. Today, you won't exactly be doing battle, but you will have an opponent, and you should listen carefully to decipher truth from fiction.
I don't often pay attention to horoscopes but this entry in yesterday's Bangor Daily News written by Holiday Mathis caught my attention. Bad-ass wouldn't you say?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Madison Chess Pieces Unearthed

Archaeologists at James Madison's country estate say they've unearthed fragments of a chess set they think Madison likely used in matches against another former president, Thomas Jefferson. Full article.

Gracias, Jay.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Lawyer and Painted Ladies

Another good writing day where I attained London's coveted one thousand palabras, finishing the rough draft of a western I'm calling "The Lawyer." This comes on the heels of good news, "Cash Laramie and the Painted Ladies" will appear in Crimefactory issue #7 scheduled for release in May. I'm pleased with the way this one turned out--a mixture of crime, western, and mystery--and then having it accepted in an esteemed publication like CF is gravy.

What are you working on at the moment?

The Gang's All Here, Sweetheart

And they're even willing to serve as crash dummies to test the safety of your new stuff.

They'll be very good pals, one and all ... and they can't wait to meet you.