Saturday, December 29, 2012

Looking Ahead to 2013

Fatherhood
To encourage my daughter more in the creative department. We do well, but we can always do better. She loves to draw, color, and create structures with her toddler construction set pieces. Secondly, to continue her love of reading. She has now memorized a large number of her books, and as she turns the pages, she ‘reads’ aloud to herself. Priceless as they say. Btw one of her current favorites is The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood with beautiful illustrations by Don Wood.

Writing
I’ll probably stay in the hardboiled western arena but branch out with some new characters. The Lawyer, featured in the anthology Protectors, comes to mind, as well as the vivacious daughter of Cash Laramie, Veranda Jane. I also have a couple of crime fiction stories to complete.

Beer
Considering switching from Corona to Yuengling but I’ll never pass on Sam Adams Summer Ale during the warm months. Any other suggestions?

Publishing
BEAT to a PULP has books from Thomas Pluck, Heath Lowrance, Wayne D. Dundee, and many more lined up. First out of the gate will be Chad Eagleton with a continuation of A RIP THROUGH TIME, followed by Hardboiled 2 which is currently under the careful editing eye of Scott D. Parker.

Connections
Post more Charles Bukowski-style ramblings on Blogger. Give some love to Google+ by posting some short-short stories. Continue on as I am annoying folks on Twitter. Upload more personal photos to Pinterest. And, maybe, add Instagram to the list. Don’t know why, but since all my friends are doing it … “If they jumped off a cliff, would you?” as Mom would have said.

Maine
Somehow find my way back to the beauty and serenity of The Way Life Should Be state. Win, lose, or draw.

Reading
To read more non-fiction: political science and history and art. I have the genre department nailed down.

And, most importantly, lose no more than three pounds. How about you? What are your plans for 2013?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Now Available: The Posthumous Man by Jake Hinkson (New Links Added)


When Elliot Stilling killed himself, he thought his troubles were over. Then the ER doctors revived him. It’s infatuation at first sight when he meets his nurse, Felicia Vogan, a strange young woman with a weakness for sad sacks and losers. After she helps Elliot escape from the hospital, she takes him back to her place. He’s happy to go with her, even when she leads him straight to a gang planning a million dollar heist. Does Felicia just want Elliot to protect her from the outfit’s psychotic leader, Stan the Man? Or is Elliot being set up to take the hard fall? One thing’s for sure: if he’s going to survive this long night of deceit and murder, Elliot will have to finally face himself and his own dark past.

From BEAT to a PULP and available through Createspace and Amazon print, and eBook.

Nerd of Noir review at Spinetingler Magazine.

Praise for Jake Hinkson's latest noir hit:

THE POSTHUMOUS MAN is every bit as crazily entertaining as Hinkson's hard-rocking debut, HELL ON CHURCH STREET, and it reads like a streamliner rocketing across the Bonneville Salt Flats. --Scott Phillips, award winning author of THE ICE HARVEST and THE ADJUSTMENT.
In THE POSTHUMOUS MAN the existential and theological themes buried inside the best noir are pulled to the surface, hungry for air and clutching a last chance at redemption. Jake Hinkson crafts this bullet-fast novella with qualities emblematic of my favorite best crime fiction: empathy, gravity and brevity. Much appreciated and highly recommended. --Eddie Muller, president of the Film Noir Foundation and Shamus-award winning author of THE DISTANCE.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

For Those Who Celebrate...

I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas. I hope 2013 is one of great prosperity and good health for you and your family. And in keeping with the holiday spirit of giving, we are offering three of our ebook titles absolutely free for the day. Follow the links below to get your free copy and then enjoy the rest of your holidays with some hard-hitting, pulpy reading.

BEAT to a PULP: ROUND TWO Seething with left-hooks, uppercuts, kidney shots, and gut-punches aplenty, this powerhouse compilation doles out the genres, from hardboiled crime, western, and noir to sci-fi, fantasy, literary, horror, and more. Round Two covers all-new ground with offerings from a gang of tried-and-true heavyweights and inspired up-and-comers, all savvy purveyors of pulp at the top of their game. Haymakers include a Hemingway pastiche by famed mystery author Bill Pronzini, a stunning Chandler homage by Hard Case Crime kingpin Charles Ardai, a post-war tale with a twist from James Reasoner, a zombie-horror nightmare by Bill Crider, and even more blows to the temple from such hotshots as Glenn Gray, Patricia Abbott, the legendary Vin Packer, and more, more, more!

Heath Lowrance's Hawthorne (THAT DAMNED COYOTE HILL and THE LONG BLACK TRAIN) returns in THE SPIDER TRIBE. The Iktomi are an ancient evil that feed on the fear and hate of generations, and when the Black Hills run red with the blood of the Lakota, they return to sow death. The mysterious gunslinger called Hawthorne is fueled also by hatred -- hatred of evil. But is his hate strong enough to destroy the Iktomi?

If you enjoy Westerns with a supernatural touch, you definitely need to check out the Hawthorne series. -- James Reasoner

Cash Laramie returns in BULLETS FOR A BALLOT!
In the town of Bear Pines, Mrs. Tolliver has announced she is running for the mayoral office. She's the first woman to run as a candidate which divides the residents and sets the town into a tailspin. U.S. Marshal Cash Laramie is sent in to maintain peace and order and to protect Tolliver and her family from powerful allies of the incumbent, Mayor Nolan. In a bid to force her to quit the race, things turn ugly ... and deadly. Surrounded by killers who will stop at nothing to make sure Mrs. Tolliver is not elected, Cash wires Cheyenne for assistance, but will help arrive in time?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Ava's Pix

My 22-month-old daughter enjoys taking photos and I thought I would start including some of her shots here.


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Body Count: The Joe Hannibal Case Files, Vol. I

I began reading Wayne D. Dundee’s Joe Hannibal hardboiled detective series back in the 1980’s. These adventures were tough little gems following in the best tradition of Spade, Chandler, and Hammer. Today, I’m happy to say, Hannibal is still with us and I have had the privilege of even publishing a few tales, like “Apache Fog” that is included in this six-story collection. Highlights here: the first Hannibal short story that appeared in 1982, an introduction by Lynn F. Myers, a complete bibliography to date, and author’s note.

The Joe Hannibal Case Files, Vol. I is available for the Kindle and comes highly recommended from this 30-year-fan.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Circle of Life

It’s been a year to the day since I’ve seen my mom. Been a year since she got on an Amtrak in New York with my sister Sheila Marie and headed to Texas. Prior to that, I had spent the previous four months caring for her. It was a daily struggle to say the least. Now, my sister has dealt with it for a full year. Thank you, Sis. If you have never dealt with an Alzheimer’s patient, thank your lucky stars … it can be frustrating, horrifying, and heartbreaking.

Still, my sister is an upbeat person and has gone back to writing some beautiful poetry.

The Circle of Life by Sheila Marie Grimes

You're as helpful as a child
You are willing to do
My fear is you'll get hurt
I'm afraid for you.
I pull the knobs off the stove
Take plugs out of the walls
Night lights in rooms and halls
Come quickly when you call.
Wear your non-skid shoes
No socks on bare floors please
Your coat and gloves, take along
When temperatures drop the degrees.
Good Grief ... listen to me
I've heard it ... long ago
As a child ... you cared for me
I felt safe ... I remember ... I know.
So, we're in the circle of life
At the end of our beginning
A challenge, to say the least
But Mother ... I believe we're winning!

Copyright/ Sheila Grimes/ November 15, 2012

Friday, November 30, 2012

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Education of a Pulp Writer Review

Over at Dead End Follies, Benoît Lelièvre knocked my socks off with his review of The Education of a Pulp Writer: 10 Crime Short Stories.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Fragments

We’ve pretty much settled into our new apartment a little farther up the Eastern seaboard. The new job assignment is good as new day job assignments go. (Hell, I’m just happy to be gainfully employed these days and thankful Hurricane Sandy wasn’t any worse for us than she was. Continuing thoughts go out to those still without power.) But the employment does nip into the publishing and writing game. Specifically, the writing. For someone like myself who could nail Jack London’s 1k a day with ease, I was lucky over the last month to even type, “Once upon a time.” Now the republic could probably stand it if I slowed down a bit. The latest Cash Laramie collections remain steady sales. So, it’s not product (cold word, but true) I’m worried about; it’s the worry about becoming razor-dull with my own chicken scratches. You understand, keeping the creative spark lit.

Enter James Bond.

Yeah, 007. Secret agent, License to Kill, and all that nifty Skyfall jazz. Always been a fan of Ian Fleming’s short stories. Not so much the full-length novels that have taken on iconic status, but the moodier, pithier pieces like “007 in New York,” “The Hildebrand Rarity,” and the Somerset Maugham homage, “Quantum of Solace.” You learn more about the famous spy and what makes him tick away from the gadgets and babes and villains with crazy names. So what does that have to do with me and writing?

Well, I have gotten this question several times—which side of the American Civil War did Cash Laramie (my anti-hero) fight on (or champion since he was only a tyke in 1861)? So, in little bursts over the last few nights I answered that question in a flash piece called “On the Death of President Grant.” Also, I found time to whittle a scene of Cash and Miles playing chess and discussing Twain’s take on Cooper’s literary offenses. These lil’ bits and two more flowed from fingertips to keyboard with zest. Kinda sorta my characters off the clock and, well, being normal Joes.

I’m sure a few of these will turn into longer pieces and others will be discarded. I am calling them fragments because that’s what they amount to at the moment. But they have served this writer well by keeping the blade sharp and, more importantly, just being fun to create. I have shaken and stirred the mojo. So for that, I say, thank you, Ian.

Friday, November 16, 2012

New Cover for Vin of Venus

Sales have been a bit slow for "Vin of Venus," so, because I believe in this Crime/Sword-and-Planet novella, I though it might be time to spruce up the outer packaging. After talking it over with Little d, we came up with this new cover, which I think it is much more eye-catching than the previous. With fingers crossed ... let's try this again.

Description: Vin, bereft of half his limbs and his memory, struggles between two worlds--the mist-shrouded, verdant hell of ancient Venus and the mean streets of modern Europe--battling both alien monstrosities and underworld villains on his quest to recover his identity. Along the way he is aided by an unlikely cast of allies, as well as the mysterious, ruby-encrusted bracelet that serves as the only link between his heroic past and grim present. Written in classic pulp-style, VIN OF VENUS mixes Hardboiled and Sword and Planet elements in a genre-bending series of action tales.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Savage Blood by James Reasoner

James Reasoner has done it again: “Savage Blood” is a 16k word burst of good, old-fashion western, pulpy adventure. Brodie—a one-armed Civil War vet—is called back into action. A woman, who had abandoned him many years before, runs a saloon and needs Brodie’s help to fight against the local power trying to humiliate her and run her out of town. In Mr. Reasoner’s skillful hands, the well-known story of the lone gunman with the odds stacked against him rises above cliché and darts off onto fresh, thrilling new trails. And at this price, it’s a steal for the reader.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Loose Ends

Garnett Elliott sent me an unexpected short story for one of the continuing BTAP sagas. In his email, Garn said, “I think you'll figure who it's about pretty quickly.” That I did. But what fun reading and a stroke of genius in combining a familiar sci-fi classic with ... well, I don't want to ruin it by saying more. It runs only 900 words, so check out this quick read called “Loose Ends.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

New Cover: That Damned Coyote Hill

I was overdue to update the cover of That Damned Coyote Hill so it's consistent with The Long Black Train and The Spider Tribe.

Book description: He came to set vengeance down upon the heads of the wicked--but the strange town of Coyote Hill had its own kind of unearthly retribution. From Heath Lowrance, author of the cult novel The Bastard Hand, comes a weird Western tale of revenge, violence, and supernatural evil.

Monday, October 29, 2012

We Three Gypsies

Here’s where we’ve lived since May--at an old KOA campground in Virginia. Work had brought me back to the great commonwealth for a couple of months, so, my gracious in-laws offered the use of their RV rather than trying to find a short-term rental. Well, a couple of months turned into half of a year, but no complaints from us. Since Little d and I got together a decade and some change ago, we’ve done a great deal of traveling and have accepted we are gypsies. This adventure has been a first with our little charmer in tow. She seemed to enjoy it just as much, given she spent hour after hour at the campground’s pool and playground all summer long.
From the vantage of a writer, the number of characters that passed through this campsite is a lifetime of material. Good folks--and a few nuts--who are just trying to get by in a rough-and-tumble economy, stopping by, sharing a beer or two, and swapping stories by the fire.
Now, here we are in our final week, and, as the campground prepares to close for the winter season, what do we get: Hurricane Sandy. I could’ve done without her but, still, it’s been a memorable experience.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Spider Tribe

The Iktomi are an ancient evil that feed on the fear and hate of generations, and when the Black Hills run red with the blood of the Lakota, they return to sow death. The mysterious gunslinger called Hawthorne is fueled also by hatred -- hatred of evil. But is his hate strong enough to destroy the Iktomi?

"The Spider Tribe" by Heath Lowrance is now available.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Joe Boland

I met Joe Boland through Blogger two to three years ago, and we dropped comments from time to time on each other’s blogs. We shared a deep respect for all things noir and traveling. Heck, we even traveled to some of the same places in Central America. It would have been great to actually meet Joe in person, maybe in Belmopan, and talk books over a beer.

Joe’s good friend, Chris Hocking, wrote to tell me of his passing. It seemed Joe had gone through a real rough stretch, losing several family members before his own untimely death at age 47 from liver cancer. Chris described him as “… a distinctive personality, a sharp and ceaselessly interesting guy.”

Joe’s contribution to the exceptional Detroit Noir was the highlight for many of that top collection. I remember first reading Joe’s work in Muzzle Flash and he reposted several of his pieces here, here, and here. Check ‘em out. He was a fine writer.

Rest in peace, Joe. You will be missed.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Long Black Train

Heath Lowrance's second Hawthorne book The Long Black Train, released through BEAT to a PULP, has a new cover. This weird western follows the popular That Damned Coyote Hill, and a third, The Spider Tribe, will be out in the coming months.
The Long Black Train is a free download beginning today and running through October 3rd. Grab your copy.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Bug Battle

You have a lot of heart, Little Hornworm. Scaling my picnic table must have been akin to reaching a Himalayan mountain top, but then no picturesque view. Just my hairy knuckles grasping a Corona and a million stink bugs strafing the landscape. Disappointing, huh? Question: That spear you are carrying, is it meant for them, or me? If them, then I will go inside, grab a flyswatter, and we’ll do battle like Thor and Captain America. C’mom, Little Hornworm, let’s get ready to fight the good fight.

*Too much la cerveza? Maybe.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Guns of Vedauwoo

... Before Cash could make it to cover and seize the discarded rifle, Elmer switched his attention away from the wagon camp and began pouring lead at the scrambling marshal. A bullet tore through the back side of Cash's left thigh and spun him around, sent him tumbling. He fell five feet short of the low spine of boulders. With fiery pain shooting upward through his whole left side, he immediately lunged to his feet again and made a desperate dive for cover. Another bullet caught him in mid air, punching through the meat and muscle just above his left collar bone. He toppled to the ground once more, only this time he managed to roll in behind the body of the black man and his hand closed with an iron grip on the rifle he'd so badly wanted to get to.
THE GUNS OF VEDAUWOO featuring Cash Laramie is now available.

Mr. Dundee's thoughts on VEDAUWOO.

Randy Johnson's review.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Interview with Charles Boeckman

*It is quite an honor to interview pulp legend Charles Boeckman, aka Charles Beckman, Jr.

Tell us a little about SUSPENSE, SUSPICION, & SHOCKERS.


Thank you for asking me to do an interview. I am pleasantly surprised at how much interest there is these days in the “pulp” type stories of a bygone era.

My anthology grew out of having learned for the first time in the last couple of years that there are actually current pulp fans who love those vintage stories. When my wife began searching the Internet for groups of pulp lovers and found how active they are and how they are writing original stories using the classic style of writing them, I realized that some of those fans might enjoy stories from an authentic pulp author of yore. That’s me. So I dragged out my box of those old magazines with my stories and decided to put some of them together in an anthology.

I specialized in suspense, detective, mystery, surprise endings, noir, and westerns. I decided to concentrate on the first five categories for this anthology since they share similarities in SUSPENSE, which grows out of conflict and drama. There are no ends to the different kinds of conflict. It can be between two or more persons, a love triangle, the attack of a vicious animal. It can be the inner struggle of a character between his conscience, and his animal instincts, and sinful nature. The stronger the conflict, the stronger the suspense and the heightening of the drama.

Next SUSPICION. The element of mystery. A murder has been committed. Maybe the butler did it. He had the motive. The detective is suspicious , as is the reader. Or a major character suspects his wife is playing around with a lover. Maybe certain things in her behavior arouse SUSPICION. Or it could take another form. A business man suspects something is wrong about his bank balance. Has his bookkeeper been cooking the books?

Finally, SHOCKERS. This is an element I do well. The ending of the story comes as a complete shock and surprise. You’ll never guess how my first story, Strictly Poison, will end. Whoa! No peeking!

Thus, the title SUSPENSE, SUSPICION & SHOCKERS. First, obviously, there is the alliteration that grabs the reader’s attention, but more than that, the title is an element in the plot of all twenty-four stories in the collection.


When and where did you publish your first short story?

I made the decision when I was in high school to find a job after graduation that would make me my own employer and give me the freedom to travel and live where I chose. I ran across a publication, “Writer’s Digest” that contained articles about how certain publishers paid money for stories. (Something my school teachers hadn’t told me). I had a talent for telling stories. I often entertained neighborhood friends in the back yard at night with ghost stories. They were so convincing one little kid ran home crying.

I grew up in the Great Depression. We didn’t have money for college, although my mother did save enough for a one-year business course. What I mainly gained from that was polishing my typing skills. I could do 100 words a minute with no errors on a mechanical typewriter. (There were no electric word processors in the 1930’s.)

We also didn’t have money for music lessons so I taught myself to play the clarinet and saxophone.

When I left home, I had $30 in my pocket, a used portable typewriter and some musical instruments I had bought in a pawn shop. I always liked the seashore so I took a bus to Corpus Christi, Texas. The day after I arrived, I got a part-time day job and a week-end music job with a band. Then I began furiously writing short stories for the pulp magazines. I submitted them to suspense and western pulp magazines. At first they came back with rejection slips as fast as I sent them out. I continued studying the genre. It finally paid off. Growing up in Texas, I knew something little known about rattlesnakes that could be used as an unexpected twist in a yarn. That struck me as good material for a suspense story. In 1945, I submitted that idea in a story, Strictly Poison, to Mike Tilden, editor of Detective Tales at Popular Publications. I promptly got a nice letter from Mike saying he liked the story and a check was forthcoming and did I have any more? When I was assembling my published short stories for my current book, SUSPENSE, SUPICIONS & SHOCKERS (on sale at Amazon. com) I was able to locate the original edition of Detective Tales that carried the story “Strictly Poison” in 1945, and it is the first story in my collection.

That first sale opened the door to the pulp market field. In those days they paid one cent a word. It was possible to make a living writing stories if one could write a lot of them. I wrote all my stories first draft (had to get it right the first time. No time for revisions.) I could write a 5,000 word story in a day. Once I wrote a 9,000-word novelette in a day. In the 1940’s I was pouring out stories and could quit my day job. I realized my dream to live where I wanted. I moved to San Francisco and then to New Orleans for a while. But I have always kept my house in Texas. The favorite city where I lived was Manhattan, the heart of the publishing business. I could make friends with my editors and with many of the big name pulp writers. It was an exciting time, like being part of an exclusive club.


Do you care to mention any famous folks you knew during that golden era?

When someone asks me that question, I always say, “Well, there was the night I touched Elizabeth Taylor’s bare back,” which always starts a conversation. At that time I was living in Manhattan. My first wife and I were invited to a party of well-known stage and screen stars. At that time Elizabeth Taylor was married to Mike Todd. They were seated at the next table. When we all got up to dance, we passed close to Elizabeth Taylor and Mike Todd, who were also on the dance floor. Lord, she was beautiful. We made a turn close to them and my hand brushed Elizabeth Taylor’s bare shoulder. I didn’t wash my hand for a week.

Most of the famous folks I knew well were in the writing and music business. I wrote a book, Cool, Hot and Blue, a history of jazz for young people. It was a popular book and I met a lot of famous musicians of that era who autographed it when I met them. On the inside cover are the handwritten words, “To Charles From Louis Armstrong, Satchmo.” Another autograph is from Pete Fountain. He knew that I, too, played clarinet. He signed , “To Charlie from one stick man to another, Your Friend, Pete Fountain.” Other autographs are from Al Hirt, “ To Charlie Boeckman, Duke Ellington,” “ Earl Fatha Hines,” “Bennie Goodman,” and “Stan Kenton.” Actually, we had supper with Stan Kenton. His band was playing at the Texas Jazz Festival and the next day some musicians and Patti and I had dinner with him.

In the writing field in those days, we had a three-day South Texas Writers Conference in June. I was on the speakers’ panel along with J. Frank Dobie. Also, at the writer’s conference I shared the speaker’s stage with Fred Gipson, author of Old Yeller and Hound Dog Man. Both became popular movies. Fred lived in Corpus Christi for a while before moving to the hill country north of San Antonio. Annie Lauri Williams, owner of the New York writer’s agency that sold Gone With the Wind, was a speaker at the conference We became good friends when I was in Manhattan, both of us being displaced Texans. We often had lunch together, although she never did represent me. I had another agent who was doing a good job for me.

I knew personally many of the editors of the big pulps during the 1940’s and 1950’s. One of my friends was Mike Tilden, a well-known editor of Popular Publications. He kept asking me for more stories. I was also good friends with Ejler Jakobsson, editor of New Detective. He always put my name on the cover when I had a story in his magazine. We often had lunch together. Harry Widmer, another editor of Popular Publications, which put out westerns and some suspense, was another friend.

In the early 1950’s a number of top name pulp writers settled in St. Petersburg, Florida. I spent several weeks with the group and became good friends with Talmage Powell, Day Keene, Harrry Whittington , Gil Brewer. Those were names on the pulp magazines every issue. Once a week we all met at Day Keene’s home to gossip about stories, writers and editors. Whether anybody today recognizes the names of these individuals, I don’t know.


Those pulp names are still well known, Charles. I have to ask you about Day Keene and Gil Brewer, two of my favorites. What were they like in person?

I’m delighted to write some anecdotes about Day Keene, one of my special friends. (You no doubt know his real name was Gunnar Hjerstedt, but every one knew him as Day Keene.) I’m also pleased to know that guys like Day Keene and Gil Brewer are still known to collectors like yourself. I had the feeling that writers of my generation have been forgotten, but it turns out the group that gathered at Day’s home in St. Petersburg in the early 1950’s are still well known in the fiction world.

Gil Brewer was one of the writers who gathered in the St. Petersburg Florida area. Bill Pronzini has had a biography published about Gil. Bill is of a younger generation and didn’t know Gil Brewer personally but was familiar with Gil Brewer’s stories and tragic life.

As for Day Keene, where to begin? He was in vaudeville until it died. He flipped a coin to see if he wanted to go to Hollywood for an acting job or make a living writing stories. Fortunately, it came up “writer.” He began by writing for radio, “The Kitty Keen” series and “Little Orphan Annie.” Then he moved into the pulps. Day was not an alcoholic like Gil Brewer, although he did his share of hitting the bottle. He was more of a binge drinker. He tells the story on himself when he went on one of his binges and woke up in a hotel, not knowing where he was and so broke he couldn’t pay the hotel bill. He called downstairs asking that a typewriter be sent to his room. As soon as he got it, he whipped out a story and air-mailed it to his agent. (No email in those days) He was so well known his agent immediately air-mailed him a check to bail him out of the hotel.

Day’s wife, Irene, was a retired school teacher who edited Day’s stories. All writers should have a wife who has been a school teacher. My wife, Patti, has a master’s degree in English. Fortunate for me because my agents made numerous, insulting remarks about my grammar. (But that didn’t stop them from selling the story!).

Irene was determined to put a lid on Day’s drinking. He figured ways to get around that. He made a deal with his favorite liquor store to bury a couple of his favorite brand of liquor in his flower bed early in the morning before breakfast. Irene later told Talmage Powell that she was so proud of Day because she saw him often working in their flower bed.

Day made a very good living as a free lance writer. They lived in an upper scale home and Day had a nice fishing boat. He and Talmage often went fishing in his boat. One day on the way home from a fishing trip, Day pulled into a dock at a small town before they got to St. Petersburg. He went into a bank in the town, and when he got back to the boat he told Talmage that he had instructed his agent to send the money any sales for less than $500 as deposit in Day’s name in the small down bank. He told Talmage that was his drinking money and Irene didn’t know about this checking account. Irene once bragged to Talmage that Day never sold anything for less than $500.

I was married to my first wife when we spent time with the writer colony in Florida. We stayed with the Powells during our stay in St. Petersburg. One night Talmage and his wife Mildred (“Mimi”) took us to an evening meal at a colorful section of Tampa called Ybor City. It was largely populated with Cuban immigrants who made their living rolling Cuban cigars. (That was before Castro.)

When we got back to Texas I decided to write a story with an Ybor City background. It sold to Manhunt. (It is one of the stories included in my anthology of short stories.) When the Manhunt story came out, I got amusing letter from Day Keene. He said, “You blankety-blank Texan. You come to Florida, drink our beer, enjoy out conversation, then steal one of our settings for a darn good story!”

Gil Brewer was an excellent writer but led a tragic life, a slave to liquor and drugs. He once said, “I cannot write a story unless I’ve had plenty to drink. (I sometimes have a few snorts when I’m playing a jazz music job. I think it improves my clarinet playing or maybe it just sounds that way to me. I never had a drink when I was writing a story. I needed a clear mind.) Talmage Powell told me he never touched liquor. It made him depressed. Cigarettes killed him at 80. Most writers I knew were heavy smokers. Talmage was a chain smoker as was Day Keene and Robert Turner. For various health reasons, I never took up smoking.

I don’t think Talmage Powell gets the attention or reputation he deserves. He certainly was one of the heavy producers of pulp stories and novels in the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s. He married his school-girl sweetheart, Mildred, and became one of the youngest writers on the big name pulp scene. We were friends from the start of my career. His help and advice got me into the world of pulp story writers. His name was on the cover of most of the leading pulp magazines. His agent, Scott Meredith, got him a job in Hollywood and Talmage took his wife and young son along to Hollywood for several years where he pursued various TV and movie writing jobs, including the script for an Alfred Hitchcock TV movie. In the 1950’s he wrote a series of detective novels for Gold Medal. When they came back from Hollywood, they bought a large home in Asheville, North Carolina, and paid cash for it. We visited them in those North Carolina mountains. Incidentally, Talmage also played clarinet and saxophone. I took my horns along and played some music jobs on Talmage’s band. Our young daughter called them “Uncle Talmage” and “Ant Mimi.” Talmage, too, was a close friend of Day Keene, Robert Turner and Harry Whittington.


When did your love for jazz begin?

I came from a musical family. My brother, Roy, was 15 years older than I. He moved to San Antonio and started playing on jazz bands. When he came home for a visit, he'd bring jazz records and made it a point for me to listen to good New Orleans jazz by Satchmo Armstrong, Couunt Basie, all the great big band musicians like Bennie Goodman, Artie Shaw. He made a point of teaching me to distrngish between square, commercial music and good jazz. My sister, 18 years older than I, was an accomplished pianist. She married a clarinet player and they played for dances on week-ends. My mother gave piano lessons. She tried to start me on piano, and I have regretted all my life that I didn't keep up the piano, but I wanted to blow a horn and taught myself clarinet and saxophone. I played with swing bands and eventually had my own traditional jazz band that became famous locally. In 2009 after I'd been playing professionally for 70 years, I was awarded a star in the South Texas Music Walk of Fame. You can fine me listed on the Internet at "South Texas Musicians Walk of Fame."

Recently, I wrote an amusing novel, The Last Jazz Band about some goofy musicians who came back from World War II to form a Dixieland jazz band.

I often use a jazz music setting for my suspense pulp and character stories.


What's next for Charles Boeckman?

I will be publishing more books filled with stories I have written. That will include a collection of western short stories and novelettes. (I've already started on that.) Then possibly a second edition of my short stories. I had too many for the current anthology. I have an excellent staff that will be a big help in self-publication. A lady who has the knowledge and equipment that can rapidly scan a published book or story, converting it from the printed page to editable format. I became acquainted with a splendid artist who does great job on pulp era art work. She did the image and design for the cover of my current collection ,SUSPENSE, SUSPICION & SHOCKERS. I have gotten all kinds of compliments on her artwork on the current cover. And let us not overlook my wife, Patti, who is as good a writer as I am and understands the internet and graphics better than I do!

Before ending this conversation, I have given some thought to [the previous] subject, my interest and career in jazz music. I do need to add that classical music means as much to me as jazz. I consider jazz music for the heart and the classics music for the soul.

I do not play classical, symphonic music because I do not have the training but I have a large library of recordings of my favorite composers and we have an excellent symphony orchestra here. I don't think an individual is fully cultured unless he knows something about the great composers and their lives and careers.

Following is a list of some of my favorite composers and their compositions: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, (his 40th symphony) Ludwig von Beethoven (his 5th, 6th and 9th Symphony). Then the list of the romantic era composers: Franz Liszt, Frederic Chopin, Franz Schubert, Hector Berlioz, Peter Tchaikovsky, Sergei Rachmaninoff , Claude Debussy.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Antietam

My daughter and me strolling our way across Antietam National Battlefield.

The iconic Dunker Church, also known as the Beacon of Peace.

Canons on the part of the battlefield where the New York regiment fought and probably where my great great grandfather, Alfred Cranmer, was wounded.

Ava and me striking a pose.

My littlest Charmer.

Bloody Lane.

The re-enactment troops. This week marks the 150th battle anniversary. Anyone else have family members that were there or was in the American Civil War?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

BEAT to a PULP: Superhero (Updated Links)

Contributors:

James Reasoner
Jake Hinkson
Kevin Burton Smith
Garnett Elliott
Liam José
Sandra Seamans
Jerry Bloomfield
Thomas Pluck
Keith Rawson
Court Merrigan
Benoȋt Lelièvre
Chad Eagleton
Steve Weddle

Check out Scott D. Parker's introduction.

An excerpt from Steve Weddle's "The Last Hero."

Sandra on the origin of her "Moon Mad" story.

James Reasoner on "Drums."

Randy Johnson's take on Superhero.

BEAT to a PULP: Superhero is available through Amazon.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Protectors: Stories to Benefit PROTECT

41 stories.

One cause: PROTECT

100% of proceeds go to PROTECT and the National Association to Protect Children - the army fighting what Andrew Vachss calls "the only holy war worthy of the name," the protection of children.

We've rallied a platoon of crime, western, thriller, fantasy, noir, horror and transgressive authors to support PROTECT's important work: lobbying for legislation that protects children from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.

Powerful stories from George Pelecanos, Andrew Vachss, Joe R. Lansdale, Charles de Lint, Ken Bruen, Chet Williamson, James Reasoner, Charlie Stella, Michael A. Black, Wayne Dundee, Roxane Gay, Ray Banks, Tony Black, Les Edgerton and 16 more, with 100% of proceeds going to PROTECT

PROTECTORS includes a foreword by rock critic Dave Marsh, and fiction by Patti Abbott, Ian Ayris, Ray Banks, Nigel Bird, Michael A. Black, Tony Black, R. Thomas Brown, Ken Bruen, Bill Cameron, Jen Conley, Charles de Lint, Wayne D. Dundee, Chad Eagleton, Les Edgerton, Andrew Fader, Matthew C. Funk, Roxane Gay, Edward A. Grainger, Glenn G. Gray, Jane Hammons, Amber Keller, Joe R. Lansdale, Frank Larnerd, Gary Lovisi, Mike Miner, Zak Mucha, Dan O'Shea, George Pelecanos, Thomas Pluck, Richard Prosch, Keith Rawson, James Reasoner, Todd Robinson, Johnny Shaw, Gerald So, Josh Stallings, Charlie Stella, Andrew Vachss, Steve Weddle, Dave White, and Chet Williamson.

All the details here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Through Daddy's Eyes

This picture is of Ava's first drawing on her new Crayola crayon dry erase board. As Ava was creating her masterpiece, I said to my wife, "Doesn't that look like a cat?" She agreed and we took a picture. Does anybody else see it or is this a matter of parent goggles, which is okay with us!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Meatballs, Baby!

A co-worker made these meatballs which were fantastico. Never had them before and I'm hooked. My charmer says she's heard of a similar recipe. I thought I'd share.

2 tbs Grape Jelly
2 tbs Brown Sugar
1 cup Ketchup
1/2 tsp Chili Powder (to taste)
Costco pre-cooked meatballs

Mix first four ingredients together to make sauce. Place meatballs in sauce until thawed. Place meatballs in slow cooker to let flavors combine.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

BEAT to a PULP: Superhero

BEAT to a PULP: SUPERHERO should be out in a couple of weeks. Twelve extraordinary short stories by these top wordslingers. I like the way this cover came out. The image was purchased from iStock where I noticed it had been downloaded three other times -- hopefully not being used for an anthology of this sort. But, rest assured, the originality of these tales will be unmatched. More about Superhero in the week to come.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Devil Wings Over France

Dave "Dead-Stick" Malloy grinned as he saw the flare from the exhaust stacks of the Fokker's engine through the ring of the Aldis sight. He had already fired a couple of bursts through his twin Vickers to warm the barrels of the deadly machine guns. Now his fingers punched the trips and sent leaden death flickering through the darkness.
This is just the opening to DEVIL WINGS OVER FRANCE and if you're like me, you'll have to keep reading this exciting novella.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The B-Man Cometh

I’m camping this weekend and this is lying in the grass. Who is B-Man?

Banana Man? Probably.

What’s his story? You tell me.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Under Construction: The Guns of Vedauwoo Cover

Wayne D. Dundee has written another Cash Laramie novel, this one called, The Guns of Vedauwoo. I'm in the editing process, and I thought you might like to take a look at the cover which is under construction. Would love to hear your thoughts. The excellent photo of the Vedauwoo rocks was taken by Rich Prosch.

The complete Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles series:
Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles
Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles Vol. II
Bullets for a Ballot
Manhunter's Mountain
Miles to Little Ridge

Monday, August 6, 2012

Vin of Venus

Vin, bereft of half his limbs and his memory, struggles between two worlds--the mist-shrouded, verdant hell of ancient Venus and the mean streets of modern Europe--battling both alien monstrosities and underworld villains on his quest to recover his identity. Along the way he is aided by an unlikely cast of allies, as well as the mysterious, ruby-encrusted bracelet that serves as the only link between his heroic past and grim present. Written in classic pulp-style, VIN OF VENUS mixes Hardboiled and Sword and Planet elements in a genre-bending series of action tales.

"Vin of Venus" by Garnett Elliott, Paul Brazill, and David Cranmer is available on Amazon for $0.99.

Matt Hilton review: Swords, Planets and Hard-boiled Heroes.

Randy Johnson's review can be found here.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Harvest of War

Book description: Victory rewards the most brutal. But in a war fought between Orcs, Humans, and the monsters known as the Reapers, who best deserves that title? And will any of them fight for the weak? Or are the weak doomed always to be prey?

I read Mr. Gramlich's novella (or long short story) in one sitting while my charmer shopped for groceries and I watched our baby get some Z's in the car. Yes, there's plenty of descriptive action in the appropriately titled "Harvest of War," but it's the character development between two unlikely allies that leads me to say that this is my favorite story by Charles Allen Gramlich to date. My wife returned from shopping and asked how it was, and my reply was, "Brilliant. Wish I had published it."

"Harvest of War" can be found on Amazon for the bargain price of $0.99.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

In That Split Second

We had talked about that point when our little girl would tumble into the pool by accident. She’s coming up on eighteen months now and loves the water but still hasn’t dunked her head under completely. She spends a lot of time walking up and down the steps and floating in her inflatable bee.

Of course as soon as we mentioned it this past week, her foot slipped on the second step and she fell backward into the pool. She quickly spun around underwater so that her belly faced the bottom of the pool … her mom’s hands were already reaching and pulling her out of the water. She had held her breath like we showed her, and she was still holding her breath until her mommy told her to breathe which she did. I reassured her she’s ok. We immediately took her back into the water so she wouldn’t be afraid the next time, and she hasn’t been afraid since.

Everything seemed to go textbook perfect for such a situation. But it bothered the hell out of me for days after because of the sheer helplessness in that spit second Ava was scrambling underwater. Man, a parent doesn’t like to see that vulnerability.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Kyle Knapp Interview

Who are your primary influences and why?

I was originally influenced by the life of Jim Morrison when I began writing because he was the first character in my life, or in a book, or in history that I was able to naturally and genuinely identify myself with as a young man. After Morrison grew out of fame and pop culture, he walked around a lot anonymously; in gardens and mazes and throughout some of the most remarkable cities in the world. He was determined to live up to his own identification with the greatest of the poets. I believe he wrote about 1600 poems in his life, and I think eventually a clearer visage of history will deign to adequately respect his achievements in literature. I’ve thought that the identity of a poet (or of my conception of the life of a poet) was a blessed and noble ideal since I was very young ... and part of that was inspired by Morrison.

It wasn’t until I began to read Vladimir Nabokov, and soon after Arthur Rimbaud, that I began to appreciate writing (and literature) “in itself” and devoid of any relationship to the formation of an identity or to a philosophical ideal or something like that. A girlfriend had left Lolita at my house when I was seventeen and I was obsessed with the fey solipsism of the character Humbert Humbert. Not so much for his horrid affinities, of course; but, in order to imitate the genius of Humbert’s hand, I had to greatly expand my use of the English language. I wrote all the time and studied literature feverishly for a couple years after that, and I really learned to love the art of language. Rimbaud’s “A Season in Hell” is something that I came across in that time. It’s one of the most originally brilliant, eccentric and exciting articles that I have ever read in my entire life. I think I’ve read all of Paul Schmidt’s translations of Rimbaud by now, and I have to assent that I’ve been irrevocably inspired, and maybe even to an extent complimented by my postured fidelity to Rimbaud’s work.

Why write poetry? It is known to be a hard sale, and, with the exception of a few chosen, most poets would go hungry trying to make a living from it.

I never really thought about that until after I had been writing poetry for many years. When I began writing I was a teenager, and an idealist, and I remember being passionately determined to learn about different ways that I could survive and be happy without living by money. I don’t want to make a living as a poet as much as I want to perfect myself as a writer for my own private joys. I like poetry the most as a form of expression because of any of the art forms that I know of, it offers your audience the greatest degree of participation on the part of their own mind. And not just their active consciousness. A great poem can access thoughts and feelings that you may not have been aware you had. Pieces of your life that aren’t always current or held together. For example, a poem can return to you dreams that you will never remember but have shaped you forever, once long ago, and you may or may not know why. I think it’s fascinating, exciting, and important to provoke and expand your mind, and reading and writing poetry is a fantastic way to do that.

A lot of your poetry touches on nature and your fondness for it. Where does that come from?

It’s very hard for me to reminisce genuine moments of happiness from my life, and the few that I can afford are from a childhood replete with explorations and adventures in the forests. That and much of my early work was written by the side of a large secluded pond on my parent’s property.

What’s next on your agenda?

Well, my plan is to organize a few more volumes of my earlier work and get it out there so that I can focus on the creative element of writing again ... the fun part.

Kyle Knapp’s Pluvial Gardens, edited by David Cranmer, can be found here.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

How to Stay Ahead by Patti Abbott

Patti Abbott returns to BEAT to a PULP with "How to Stay Ahead." You will not want to miss this one.

Next week: Eric Beetner's "Family Secrets."

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Poetry

I’m editing a collection of poems for BEAT to a PULP.

Now, poetry and I have always had a sparse relationship. As a kid I liked Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson, both introduced to me in school. Then along the way, in my twenties, I bumped into Sylvia and Ted plus a Lizard King who had also opened up some other doors to me. Lately, it's been Charles Bukowski.

When it comes to poetry, either it speaks to me or it doesn't, and most of the time I prefer the raw not-yet-pigeonholed style. The collection I’m working on has all this. It will be ready soon along with an interview to introduce you this new and superb writer.

I’m curious to hear from you ... how does poetry speak to you and who are some of your favorite poets?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Preferred Customer at BEAT to a PULP

In fond remembrance of Mike Sheeter, who passed away on June 5, 2012, we are rerunning his fine story, Preferred Customer, that first appeared in April 2009.

Hawthorne: The Long Black Train

I have a lot of fun reading these Hawthorne tales by Heath Lowrance. A mash-up of western and horror and I guess best described as weird west stories. They clip right along and can be read in less than thirty minutes and at $0.99 is the right price.

This time out it is hell on wheels as a simpering madman, possessed by dark magic, transforms a night train into a rolling charnel house. Hawthorne comes face-to-face with an evil beyond imagining.

Hawthorne: The Long Black Train is now available at Amazon.

James Reasoner reviews the latest Hawthorne adventure.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Mike Sheeter

Mike,

I saw this obit at one of our favorite stomping grounds, Out of the Gutter, and immediately had that deadening sickness in my chest that comes when a friend has passed. I’m sending this e-mail (and posting online soon) with hopes you respond and just say it’s a joke, another Mike with the same name, or anything amigo. But it isn’t coming, is it? I raise a beer and many more, sir.

I remember when we were assembling BEAT to a PULP: ROUND ONE and there was no doubt we wanted “The All-Weather Phantom” as one of our stories in the batch. And, when you and I signed on to write/interview for OOTG, I remember our back and forth e-mails on what we would pen, your real-life adventures and the folks you met in your life that would give Hemingway or London a run for their money. I hope to hell it has been written down somewhere. Our letters only offer a peek into a life lived to the fullest.

I wish we had met and had a drink and I wish I would have an honor to publish another one of your terrific short stories. But I was honored to do it twice.

Thanks, Mike.

*Mike's family kindly wrote back and mentioned that the last song he downloaded was Levon Helm singing "When I Go Away." It's now a favorite of mine as well.

Monday, July 2, 2012

That Damned Coyote Hill -- Adventures in Publishing!

I’ve been traveling for the day job and staying at a campsite when a severe thunderstorm and tornado warning hit the area. A good friend called to say Little d, Ava, and I could stay with them for the evening. I said no at first because quite often these warnings don’t amount to much. Plus I was this close to finishing the re-issue of Heath Lowrance’s THAT DAMNED COYOTE HILL. An hour went by and I had just hit the KDP publish button when my attention turned to the swirling wind outdoors. I stepped out and watched the dancing lightning light up the rainless night sky like a carnival. I went back in to check the NOAA weather report--70mph winds--then my friend called back to say there was an alert on her phone and things could get serious. My girls and I jumped into the Jeep and made a dash for my friend’s house. A downed power line and fallen tree diverted us so we took another route only to come to another tree across the road. We called my friend to say we couldn’t make it through, but she and her husband arrived in their truck with chains and pulled the tree out of the road. Finally we arrived safely at their home.

I didn’t see any supernatural happenings Friday night like in COYOTE HILL, but it was a helluva adventure and an exciting way to start BEAT to a PULP’s association with the talented Mr. Lowrance.

Beginning tomorrow (or Wednesday) THAT DAMNED COYOTE HILL will be free for five days, and I hope you jump at the chance of owning this kick-ass novella. A second Hawthorne title, THE LONG BLACK TRAIN, will be on the way soon.

Here is the Amazon link for THAT DAMNED COYOTE HILL.

And don't miss Heath's Psycho Noir blog.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Education Of A Pulp Writer eBook


The characters in The Education of a Pulp Writer: 10 Crime Short Stories feature people living on the dark fringe of society. An old woman tired of her husband’s lack of ambition is rather uninterested in his disappearance. A magician learns too late how far his unfaithful wife will go to be with her new lover. A dementia patient seeking refuge in a fallout bunker holds off the police to protect his beloved, long-gone wife. These and seven more thrilling tales originally appeared in top publications like Out of the Gutter, A Twist of Noir, Pulp Ink, and Needle: A Magazine of Noir.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Photo-Finish Friday -- Shelby GT500



My buddy JD gave me one helluva ride in his 2009 Shelby. Awesome vehicle. Yeah, I want one.

And my friend Leah J. Utas is the force behind Photo-Finish Friday.