Saturday, July 30, 2011

Gun Justice

When reading my latest Cash Laramie story, it may seem a little familiar to some readers, and, perhaps, leave them wondering why I’ve sent Cash down this revenge trail again. So I thought a bit of insight on the origins of "Gun Justice" would help.

I wrote a story called "Justice Served" for the sadly departed Dark Valentine Magazine. At the time it was my darkest story to date and I had been apprehensive about it because Cash steps beyond the justice system to deliver retribution. I sent it off to Chuck Tyrell to go under his wizened eye and he sent back an edit he called "Gun Justice."

Sidebar: Chuck was at Cash Laramie’s beginnings when he edited (along with ace writer/editor, Nik Morton) the outlaw marshal’s first appearance in "Cash Laramie and the Masked Devil" for A FISTFUL OF LEGENDS. Chuck knows this character and helped contribute many fine elements to the series. I added a few of Chuck’s suggestions but I stuck with my overall version then sent it off to Dark Valentine.

A few months back I was going through some old e-mails and found Chuck's edit and realized how much I now preferred his version. I sent it off to Jack Martin and he accepted it for Wild West eMonday.

So I hope you have a few moments to read the story and find out what flipped Cash Laramie from being a marshal that walked the line to being one known as the outlaw marshal. Here is "Gun Justice."

Picture of me holding a 19th century Colt.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lawrence Block on Cash Laramie -- and Other News of The Outlaw Marshal

It’s been (and is going to be) a busy week for my noir western antihero Cash Laramie. First, acclaimed crime writer Lawrence Block tweeted yesterday that “Excuse me for a bit, tweeps. I just bought Adventures of Cash Laramie and I want to start reading it...” Now if that didn’t stop me cold in my tracks, his tweet the next day did, “…I did read & enjoy several stories in Cash.” Needless to say, I’m going to be framing a couple of Twitter tweets!

Chuck Tyrell is interviewed by Jeanne Bannon. I’ve been working closely with Mr. Tyrell on a Cash Laramie novel, and he offers you a tiny glimpse here.

I’m a big fan of what Keith and the boys are doing with Crimefactory. I’ve wanted to be in CF for years, and I’m finally getting my chance with “Cash Laramie and the Painted Ladies” in issue #7 coming very soon.

And on Jack Martin’s next Wild West eMonday, Cash’s “Gun Justice” appears. This is a short blood-splattered tale written with Chuck Tyrell.

And, of course, many thanks go to the Cash & Miles fans who took the time to leave comments on Amazon and post reviews on their individual blogs. I'm deeply appreciative to one and all.

7/28 update: Cullen Gallagher reviews ADVENTURES at Spinetingler.

7/29 update: WILD WEST eMonday - Let those wagons roll.

7/30 update: Wild West eMonday - The magnificent seven 1.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Family, Anecdotes and The Tradition

I come from a long line of storytellers. Not the writer type (except my maternal grandfather whose name just so happens to be Edward A. Grainger). I’m talking about the original, traditional method of storytelling. By word of mouth. When I was just a wee boy, I would sit at the table and listen closely to a bunch of my relatives telling anecdote after anecdote. I took it all in. Every word. Every facial expression. Every emotional reaction. And weren’t they having a blast. That seems like a whole ‘nother century ago—oh, wait a minute, it was, literally!

Travel with me, if you would, through the proverbial mists of time—back to my first decade in the 1970s when my grandfather, dad, aunts and uncles would spin stories. I’d turn the TV off and listen in as nothing else could compete with the humorous and poignant tales that sprung from that 'round table.' It was my Grandpa Fred who captured the audience and my imagination most often. Whether it was the story of how the tire came off his Model T and rolled ahead of him down the road, or the time he cooked up a skunk just to appall his sisters. And none of us could walk away without laughing as Grandpa Fred chattered on about his beloved Millie and the day he was working in the garden, minding his own business, when he turned to find Millie barreling toward him, kitchen knife in hand slicing the air. That was the norm. She chased him with a knife every time she got drunk, and yet he always referred to her as the love of his life!

I had been itching to slip a family story into my writing, although it’s difficult to translate them to the printed page. They lack the distinct delivery of Grandpa Fred with his flawless inflection or a perfectly-timed raised eyebrow.

But, finally, I got one. My grandfather would tell how he’d win free beer through a couple of never-fail bar bets. I took my favorite—a real great trick—and worked it into a story for the Western Fictioneers anthology, The Traditional West.

In “New Dog, Old Tricks,” Marshal Gideon Miles, an African-American lawman in the Old West, is at a watering hole enjoying some Maryland Rye when a young cowpoke tells him to get lost. The kid doesn't know Miles is a peace officer and our hero doesn't reveal it. Miles decides to teach the kid a lesson using a (my grandfather’s) bar bet. In a nutshell, Miles challenges that he can drink three pitchers of beer before the owlhoot can drink three shots of whiskey. Think you can figure it out?

I came to my family's party late and never got to share my storytelling with the bunch from the 'round table' as they have all passed on. But, who knows, maybe in this wireless, electronic age they’re getting to 'hear' my stories after all. Hats off to you, folks. I miss you.

BEAT to a PULP #136: Enter the Red Door by Sandra Seamans


Deep in the belly of Wulfenite Mountain the flames of a small campfire cast dark shadows on the glittering walls of a small crystal cave. A young man and an elderly woman are hunkered down by the fire, hiding from spying eyes.

Mama Kazlowki is the last practicing yidoni, because reading the future, or practicing magic of any kind, is an act punishable by death on either side of the dimensional divide. But these are desperate days and the risk is of no consequence. For in these unsettled times both humans and magical creatures live their lives on the brink of death with every breath they inhale.

Mama poured the gleaming contents of a worn leather pouch into her hand, closed her fist around the golden crystals, brought the clutched fist to her face and muttered, “Fairy days, Fairy nights, share with us the future sights.” She blew softly on her hand, then cast the crystals across the ground in front of her. What she saw in the crystals made no sense. How could a mere slip of a girl bring peace between the dimensions and restore the magical balance to both worlds?

“Well, what does it say? Will the truce hold?”

Mama raised her eyes from the crystals to look into the worried face of the boy across from her. No, not a boy, Mama reminded herself. Jonathan Farnsworth had grown up in a world ravaged by the war between Noah’s Gribbons and the Staurolite Witch’s magic. The truce should have brought him peace, instead he led a band of rebels who believed in the survival of magic and were fighting for the right to practice their craft.

“No, Jonathan, the truce was doomed from the start. Noah is determined to rid the world of magic, you know that. This truce has only given him time to improve his weapons. He won’t stop until he’s destroyed the witch and after her, the entire human race.”

A sadness swept over Jonathan. “Is there any hope of saving our world?”

“A princess is coming who will set the world right and bring back the magic.”

“A princess?” Jonathan stood, anger shaking him to his very soul. “A princess? We need warriors, a knight, a king, a man, someone strong enough to lead us into battle. What is a princess going to do? Teach us how to dance and pick out pretty ball gowns? No. The crystals are wrong this time.”

“The crystals are never wrong. Trust me, Jonathan, this girl, this princess is like no one you’ve ever met before.”

“She’s still a damn girl, isn’t she? There’s no way she’ll be able to fight them both and win.”

“This girl is different, my friend. She is the daughter of a witch and raised under the wings of a dragon. There is a strength in her that even she hasn‘t fully realized. Trust in the magic, Jonathan, it hasn’t failed us yet.”

“I think the magic is losing its power, Mama.” Jonathan shook his head as a chorus of giggles filled the cave.

“Trust in the magic, Jonathan, with the magic comes faith, and with faith, there is hope.”

“Yeah, and all our lives are resting on the shoulders of a girl. I don’t see much to hope for there.”

Who's the girl? Sandra Seamans invites you to "Enter The Red Door" to find out.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Day of Reckoning on the Printed Page: Casey Anthony and Social Justice

The skeletal remains of Casey Anthony’s beautiful daughter Caylee were discovered on December 11, 2008, almost five months after the toddler was reported missing by her grandmother...Casey failed to report it. During that time, Casey continued to live a party lifestyle, going to bars and clubs and even getting a "good life" tattoo. She was indicted on charges of first degree murder and faced the death penalty. She entered a plea of not guilty, and on July 5, 2011, the jury found Casey Anthony not guilty of murder and other felony charges.

Some people have been supportive of the mother, but the majority of Americans are angered by this verdict and outraged that Casey Anthony has walked free.

One reason this case hit home with me is my own beautiful five-month old daughter who my wife Denise and I dote on everyday. We came into parenthood at mid-life and our little miracle awes us everyday. We take pride in her small steps of sitting on her own and eating strained peas for the first time. We admire her wide-eyed wonder at everything from the buzzing beehive of activity at the shopping center to the quiet thrill of seeing her own reflection in the mirror. She’s amazing and we are so fortunate.

Which brings me back to Casey Anthony. I have to ask the obvious, how could anyone spend all those weeks going wild with fun while your child is missing? For most of us, our hearts would be breaking wide-open. Life wouldn’t be worth living until our daughter was found.

Every time Caylee’s face flickered on a newscast, my heart reached out to the little girl. It would have before I had my daughter, but now that she's the central part of my life, tears come to my eyes for Caylee. Life shouldn't end at two.

I do what I always do when something like this bothers me. I turn to writing and my two protagonists make up the two sides of my thinking. Gideon Miles, the cool level-headed marshal, would accept the verdict because we live in a country where the law allows Casey to be tried by a group of her peers. He would shake his head in disbelief at the innocent verdict, but, he would think of the words of William Blackstone, "It's better that 10 guilty men go free than one innocent man be wrongly convicted." Miles might even entertain the notion she could be innocent.

Then there is the outlaw marshal, Cash Laramie. A man tired of the guilty walking free. Of the innocent living in fear. He'd bide his time, and then, like a dark knight whose thirst in his soul can only be quenched by righting a wrong, he'd exact a revenge. But he wouldn’t call it vengeance, he would call it justice.

The beauty of being a writer is it can be very therapeutic. When something like this trial gets under my skin and then embeds itself in my head, I have to shake it off by either calling out the injustice or righting the wrong. I’m not sure which marshal—Cash or Miles—will step forward in my next story, but one of them will...and there will be a day of reckoning on the printed page.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

African-American Lawmen in the Old West

Shortly after "Miles to Go" appeared in the BEAT to a PULP webzine, I got an e-mail concerning my noir westerns that went like this:
I enjoy your writing and wish you much success, but when I'm reading about your character Gideon Miles, a black lawman in the Old West, it seems forced like you're reinventing the West to kowtow to current sensibilities and trends.
I wrote back with a link and one line that read: Obviously, you've never heard about Bass Reeves.

We've corresponded several times since then, and I was happy to draw attention to the African-American marshal. I asked the e-mailer for persmission to post his words here because I am endlessly fascinated how Bass Reeves, a real American hero, remains overlooked in our country.

It felt good to turn what was on the verge of a negative into a strong positive.

BEAT to a PULP #135: Bigorexia by Glenn Gray

It was a week before the contest, while perched on the toilet, that Erich first noticed the faint spray of oil spitting up from a tiny hole in his skin when he flexed his arm. Like a mini oil well. Probably residual needle hole, he concluded. He swung his arm, elbow bent, fist clenched, bicep peaking out at twenty-nine inches now, and saw the micro-geyser, moistening the skin. He spread the oil around, muscle glistening like polished bronze. He flexed the other arm. Same thing, only the oil shot up a little off center from the bicep peak.

He got off the toilet, stood at the mirror, hit another pose: arms in front, fists balled as if hugging a tree. Held it hard and long. Dang. There it was again.
The supremely original Glenn Gray returns to BTAP with one of his finest stories to date called "Bigorexia."

Next: "Enter the Red Door" and "Through the Rainbow Window" with Sandra Seamans.

Soon: Hilary Davidson's "The Other Man."

Friday, July 15, 2011

The American Zig-Zag

Volume One
Van Reid's picaresque novels about 19th Century Maine have garnered warm reviews (including a New York Times Notable Book of the Year) and loyal fans with their unique mixture of adventure, romance, and laugh-out-loud humor. Now he returns with this inaugural "Zig-Zag" across the Americas - with six of his own short stories that veer geographically from the Portland waterfront to the Chicago stockyards, from the wilds of Manitoba to a lonely chain of islands off the coast of Brazil and ranging in tone from the suspenseful to the comic.

In the grand tradition of 19th century journals, he has recruited talented poets, humorists, and musicians to bring even more weight and variety to the proceedings - and also ten fine artists to illustrate the resulting stories, poems, cartoons, and essays - all with the express purpose of hearkening to an earlier era of American journals that delights and entertains!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pattinase Reviews My eBook

Thank you, Patti. This is one of the nicest reviews.

Let's Give Away...

Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles. My eBook is currently the 3rd most recommended on Amazon. Leave your name and e-mail in the comments section and I will send a Kindle version. No Kindle? I'll send a pdf.

I'll leave this offer open through July 17, 2011.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months by John Locke

The first How To (eHow?) book I've read and haven't felt like I wasted my money. And I actually took notes! Recommended.

Amazon link.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Pluck You, Too! Blog.

Mr. Pluck's thoughts on the Weekly Punch.

BEAT to a PULP #134 A Glutton for Punishment by Thomas Pluck

Thomas Pluck lives in New Jersey with his wife Sarah and practices mixed martial arts. His stories have appeared in Shotgun Honey and The Flash Fiction Offensive, and he has upcoming fiction in Crimefactory Magazine, Crimespree, and McSweeney's Internet Tendency. He is currently at work on a novel.

But he has taken time out to be at BEAT to a PULP with "A Glutton for Punishment."

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The key to Google+ is understanding...

The key to Google+ is understanding the relationship between Circles and the Stream.
Hat tip: Chuck Wendig

For Books’ Sake & Pulp Press Want You!

For Books’ Sake and contemporary pulp publishers Pulp Press have teamed up to announce an exciting new project; a competition to find the best pulp fiction written by women.

Got a story with a heroine hell-bent on vengeance? A gang of girl gangsters, assassins or other deadly dames? If you’re a woman writing pulp fiction, we want to hear from you!

Click here for more details.

Two Mini-Reviews for Cash & Miles

Jodi Macarthur

Miles Of Cash Before I Sleep

If you took a razor blade and ran it down a wet canvas half dripping with black ink, then smeared it into the white area, you'd get a good replica of the characters Edward Grainger draws out in Cash & Miles. The backdrop is late 1800's. Times are harsh. A shot of whiskey doesn't go far. Cash is the harbinger of the law, but he bears much more than this, he bears a conscience that is often at disagreement with the law. It's this inner battle that carries the reader eagerly through the stories and wanting more. Miles holds my favorite shoot out scene in "Miles To Go." He's full of spunk, grit and is a sort of cornerstone to the series. There's a bit of everything for everyone in the book: gunfights, love, humor, horror, friendship and grit. One of my favorite reads for this year. I highly recommend, especially for those who are fans of Stephen King's Dark Tower books.

Brad Green:

Smart, fun, sharply written.

What's been said several times already is true: if you love Westerns and Noir, you'll love this book. But you won't love it simply because it is Western and Noir. No, you'll develop an appreciation for the sentences themselves, how they deftly render the rugged landscape and convey such a strong sense of place that you'll want to rub the dust out of your nose. Whereas many books settle for stock characters and situations, Mr. Grainger populates his stories with fully realized characters that constantly add surprise, depth, and resonance to the tales. It's the strength of the writing that lifts Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles above the competitors.

From reviews originally posted on Amazon

Pulp Art

Mandeville showcases pulp art from pioneering collector.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Maine Icons

Colorful. Informative. Entertaining. There's much to learn about the local flair of a state rich in history and custom. This fine book is a must read for Mainers and non-Mainers alike.

Nero Wolfe Leaves Home

Article by William I. Lengman III at the Criminal Element.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Hat tip: Thanks, Jay.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

BEAT to a PULP Announcement

Scott D. Parker and I have been friends for several years now and when I realized BTAP needed to bring a new editor onboard to help with the ever-growing workload, there was no doubt I wanted to ask him. Scott is a technical writer toiling away in the Lone Star state and, thankfully, he was willing to work for slave wages. I’ve been editing and proofing BTAP with the help of my wife for the last year but with Round Two, a Cash Laramie novel coming, and something we are calling BTAP: Hardboiled, I needed more eyes for the weekly webzine.

I know Scott will be an incredible asset and I’m looking forward to working with him.

Btw here is a classic 7 Questions with Scott D. Parker.

In Praise of Pulp Fiction

Hard Case Crime featured yesterday in Life.

Mystery Scene Summer Issue

Hi everyone,

Our jumbo Summer Issue #120 is in the mail and it's a corker!

First we talk to Karin Slaughter, whose gripping, graphic Georgia police procedurals take as their theme violence, particularly violence against women, and its repercussions. Then Jeff Abbott tells us about his new international thriller series featuring a young CIA agent.

Mickey Spillane would often proclaim: "I'm not an author. I'm a writer." In "The Murders in Memory Lane," Lawrence Block ponders the subtleties of that statement - with a little help from the French author Colette.

When the nine-year-old Megan Abbott first saw the classic Rita Hayworth film Gilda, she distinctly remembers thinking "This is what life is." Some years and a literary career of her own later, she reconsiders in her essay "Bar Nothing."

Decades after the Golden Age of Mystery ended, James Anderson's lighthearted puzzles both parodied and paid homage to classic tropes of yesteryear. The Affair of the Bloodstained Egg Cosy, The Affair of the Thirty-Nine Cufflinks and The Affair of the Mutilated Mink are just as delightful as their titles suggest - and they have no bigger fan than Jon L. Breen who discusses them in this issue.

Figuring out if a book is a true first edition is often surprisingly complicated - but vital. As Nate Pederson notes in his column, "Properly identifying a subtle variant in a printing of an edition can turn a $5 thrift store find into a $150 collectable book."

Also in this issue, Katherine Hall Page discusses the enduring appeal of Mary Stewart's novels of romantic suspense, and Kevin Burton Smith looks at William Ard, whose untimely death in 1960 robbed the genre of a potential hardboiled master. We also chat with Juliet Blackwell, whose Lily Ivory mysteries about a young witch in San Francisco offer spells, demons, romance...and some interesting thoughts on a gifted woman finding her place in the world.

Over the summer, we will be publishing more original articles, book reviews, and commentary at the MS Website. We'll also be active on Twitter and Facebook,
so do come join us.


Kate Stine

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Drunk on the Moon

From Paul D. Brazill:

On Friday July 8th, Trestle Press will be putting out an Ebook written by me, called Drunk On The Moon.

It features Roman Dalton - a Werewolf PI and a version of the story previously appeared in the sadly defunct Dark Valentine Magazine.

Every month afterwards, Trestle Press will put out another story featuring Roman Dalton P I and characters from my story.

Some of those stories will be written by me and others by guest writers. All will take place in the Roman Dalton/ Drunk On The Moon 'universe.'

Have a gander at the first one when it comes out, and see what you think. There are some classy writers putting their own spin and it should be good fun, I think!

The stories are only going to be $.99, a bargain for such quality entertainment. The line starts at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, and Smashwords so don’t be late.

Importance of Leaving Reviews

I hope this post doesn't come across as bragging because that's not my intention. My aim here is two-fold.

First, to say thank you to everyone who has bought Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles, and especially those who took the time to leave a review on Amazon. I woke this morning to the good news it’s the sixth most recommended western on their charts. There’s Lonesome Dove just a few rungs above me! I’m humbled and deeply honored. Many thanks for the five star reviews that placed Adventures there.

Second, to talk about those reviews. I never completely understood the significance of these appraisals on Amazon. That may seem naive but, quite honestly, most of the time I don’t follow reviews when I purchase a book or attend a movie—but I’m obviously in the minority in that department. Once my book reached the top twenty, sales picked up significantly. Obviously, the higher chart status brought it to the attention of readers not familiar with me, Edward Grainger, or BEAT to a PULP.

Hilary Davidson mentioned over a year ago that she would begin leaving reviews for books she likes and asked others to join. Well, Hilary I’m a little late but I get it now. I’ve already dropped comments for Wayne Dundee and Gerald So and plan to do a few more this week to catch up. And from here on, when I finish a book I’ll leave a short review. It doesn’t take much time and it does make a difference.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

White Cat Publications Is Now Live

Here is the link. Hat tip: Charles Gramlich.

Dismal River by Wayne D. Dundee

The Nebraska Sandhills of the 1880s are a vast, untamed expanse of treeless, rolling hills scoured by harsh wind and blistering sun. Into this rugged landscape former Indian scout Lone McGantry reluctantly agrees to lead an expedition of explorers and adventurers headed by an English lord. The hardships of the environment soon become secondary, however, when other threats—both from within and without—overtake the expedition. Deceit, betrayal, stampeding buffalo, a raging grass fire, and a band of ruthless marauders all must be dealt with. The very survival of the expedition is at stake. Lives will be lost and the banks of the Dismal River will be scorched and stained by blood before the ordeal is finished. --Amazon's Editorial Reviews.

Friday, July 1, 2011

BEAT to a PULP #133: A Rip Through Time: Chaos in the Stream by Garnett Elliott

Chronal energies dissipated, leaving Rip ankle-deep in the muddy waters of Havana's bay.

Seagulls wheeled and cried. A warm salt-breeze pressed against his back. Only moments before he'd been fighting for his life in the relative cold of southern England, trading blows with Saxons and sorcerers. He shook his head. The far-off time of King Arthur collapsed like a daydream.

Next to him, Dr. Berlin groaned. Rip whirled to catch the wounded scientist before he fell. Blood dripped from the front of his woolen robe. Rip was no doctor, but he could tell by Berlin's ashen face, his breathing, the man was in serious trouble.

"When are we, Rip?"
When indeed. Find out as Garnett Elliott picks up our story in A Rip Through Time: Chaos in the Stream.