Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Two Sentence Tuesday

I just finished The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian by Lawrence Block. This 1983 story features gentleman burglar, Bernie Rhodenbarr. Two lines:
That charged-up sensation, that fire-in-the-blood, every-cell-alive feeling. I've had it ever since I first broke into a neighbor's house in my early teens, and all the intervening years, all the crimes and all the punishments, have not dulled or dimmed it in the slightest.
From a thief to a murderer. My two come from a short story I've been working on for several months titled "Vengeance on the 18th."
Truman raised the pick and brought it down hard into his friend’s temple. He wrestled the pick out of Jackson’s head and went back to digging with the bloody tool dripping specks of brain.
The ladies at WOM have more Tuesday thrills.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Double-O-Cranmer's Take

It's hard to believe it's been over twenty years since I tried out and lost the role of 007 to Timothy Dalton in The Living Daylights. (Dalton is the one on the left)

So now that I have you groaning, let me briefly comment on Quantum of Solace, the new 007 flick just released on dvd.

Unlike the Roger Moore and Sean Connery movies, Quantum (and Casino Royale) is a return to the written James Bond, a more somber rough ‘n tumble Bond. The movie is fast-paced ala Jason Bourne in the editing—maybe a little too fast—and the action heart-pounding. Daniel Craig is arguably the best actor to ever play the part. He has a Steve McQueen intensity that comes across in every scene like he’s ready to explode in a dozen different directions. But I still prefer the Bond of old with the moments of humor and fun one-liners sprinkled throughout. And I confess, I miss Q and Miss Moneypenny. Still, all in all, I enjoyed Quantum of Solace and would recommend it.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

BTAP #16: No Hands by Albert Tucher

Fresh from an adventure at Thuglit, Diana Andrews is raring to go again in this week's BEAT to a PULP. Al Tucher's prolific Diana is like an old friend--she's always there when you need her and she always delivers the goods. "No Hands" is no exception. The story starts off with a bang, a gang-bang that is, so just a little warning about the mature content if you're at the office.

Next week: "Preferred Customer" by Mike Sheeter

Coming soon: Scott D. Parker's "You Don't Get Three Mistakes"

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Challenge Begins

The Ashedits Challenge is off to a kickin' start. Keith Rawson is up first with his story, "Life on the Mesa." Drop by, read the story and, as Elaine said, leave some comments that are “constructive, polite and truthful."

Friday's Forgotten Books: A FAMILY AFFAIR by Rex Stout

Pierre Ducos, a waiter from Rusterman's restaurant, arrives at Nero Wolfe’s brownstone after the great detective retired for the evening. Assistant Archie Goodwin answers the door and informs Ducos that Wolfe will not see him until eleven the following morning—a detail devout Wolfe readers know and additionally realize the man should be grateful because Wolfe doesn’t normally see anyone without appointment. After Ducos explains he is targeted for murder, Goodwin allows him to stay for the night and shows him to a guest room. Within minutes of being left alone, Ducos pulls a booby-trapped cigar from his pocket. The cigar explodes, taking half of his face with it. Nero and Archie investigate the horrendous murder and simultaneously probe into two related deaths: Ducos’ daughter and a Rusterman’s customer.

Of course, readers know the great detective will solve the case but the revelation of the murderer is genuinely surprising for longtime Nero Wolfe aficionados.

I would say the only downside to this 1975 final Wolfe mystery is how Stout weaves the Watergate scandal into the plot. While Nero and Archie’s adventures were always contemporary, this particular story takes them out of their cocoon and places them in the real world, and having Wolfe comment on Nixon’s America is a little jarring, akin to Basil Rathbone’s Sherlock Holmes battling the Nazis.

Still, Rex Stout’s skill as a writer as well as the fondness for these characters makes this book an enjoyable read.

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

Monday, March 23, 2009

Spinetingler Awards

I've been traveling all day and just arrived at the hotel when the good news came from Sandra and Scott -- Anonymous-9's "Hard Bite" is a finalist for the Spinetingler Awards: Best Short Story On The Web Nominees. Congrats to A-9!

And congrats also to our good friend Sandra Seamans for her nominated story, "Cold Rifts" published at Crooked.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

BEAT to a PULP stats

Since I’ve already blown BTAP’s horn by posting links to nice reviews of two of our stories, I decided to turn off the comments for this particular post.

I don’t normally check my stats because I would continue to run BTAP even if only one other person in the world visited the site. But, there are plenty of faithful readers out there and I was pleasantly surprised by the numbers considering that we post just one new story each week (over a fifteen day period, we’ve had 12,368 hits; 3,428 page views and 1,360 visitors) and not to mention the different countries that have stopped by to check us out:


Elaine and I say thanks to all the writers who have contributed to BTAP's continuing success.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

BTAP #15: In an English Country Garden by Ray Foster

One of the highlights of the internet is interacting with extraordinary individuals you wouldn’t otherwise meet. I can’t recall if I came to know Ray Foster through James, Gary, or Patti’s site, but one day, Ray and I began corresponding via comments and emails and now I feel like I have known him for years.

Yesterday, Ray blogged about a recent health set-back, a “system breakdown” as he called it, noting the doctor recommended prioritizing his schedule. He wrote: “I have to start putting things into some kind of order - just not try to do everything at once.”

With Ray's story next in line for the Weekly Punch at BEAT to a PULP, I sent an email asking if he’d prefer to postpone, or, if he was feeling up to it, I would publish his story as planned. He replied that he would be glad to go ahead with it.

We are very pleased to be featuring “In an English Country Garden.” Ray has written many superb westerns as Jack Giles but this tale is the first written under his own name and it is a delightful divergence that I am certain will entertain.

So, click over and take a deep breath of the fresh country air. And please leave a comment for Ray, because, as we all know, writers love feedback and in this case it can be the best medicine.

Next week: "No Hands" by Albert Tucher

Coming soon: Jake Hinkson's "Maker’s and Coke"

Thursday, March 19, 2009

ESC and BookSpot Central reviews

Geoff Eighinger at Eastern Standard Crime has reviewed BTAP's latest Weekly Punch, "Identity Theft" by Robert Weibezahl.

Also, Sandra Seaman's "Brothel Justice" was reviewed at BookSpot Central.

Wyatt Earp

"Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything." -- Wyatt Earp

Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp (March 19, 1848–January 13, 1929) was an American farmer, teamster, sometime buffalo hunter, officer of the law in various Western frontier towns, gambler, saloon-keeper, miner and boxing referee. He is best known for his participation in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, along with Doc Holliday, and two of his brothers, Virgil Earp and Morgan Earp. He is also noted for the Earp Vendetta. Wyatt Earp has become an iconic figure in American folk history. He is the major subject of various movies, TV shows, biographies and works of fiction. [Source: Wikipedia]

Related links:

G at Cedar's Mountain has an informative review of Inventing Wyatt Earp: His Life And Many Legends by Allen Barra.

Some historians have tried over the years to paint the Earps in a negative light but it never sticks. Here's the latest attempt.

How Wyatt Earp Got Buried in a Jewish Cemetery

For some interesting pictures, go to the Wyatt Earp Photo Page.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Henry: Presence

My platoon suffered huge losses defending the ammunition dump in the southeast corner of the Korean peninsula near the city of Pusan. Four of us had been left behind to safeguard the mustard-colored brick building filled with enough explosives to blow us to kingdom come and then some. I stood watch while the others slept. I was tired, homesick...scared.

As I paced back and forth to stay warm, early memories of my dad came rushing back—the time he painstakingly taught me how to ride a bike and as I took off on the first try, “a natural,” he laughed; the day he dropped me off at the bus that would whisk me away to basic training and when I whispered thanks for everything, he lowered his head and wept. Now it was my turn to choke back tears while I read my sister's letter by flashlight—our father was near death with pancreatic cancer.

Gunfire erupted in the distance and was promptly quieted by the boom of a tank. Scattered shots continued for a few moments more and then faded away. Nighttime returned to normalcy and the war-weary heavens released a stunning array of stars as a token of man’s inferiority—my own inadequacy was in prolonging my return, not wanting to believe he would die, until it was too late.

I looked down at my dad's flashlight that I had brought as a reminder of home and traced his initials etched in the metal. Every monster he sheltered me from in childhood, everything he taught me rose up to give me strength. Even in the dark, half a world away, my dad was with me.

I should have been there for him.

More Henry: Renewed | The Tree Stand | A Good Day | Downhill Racer

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Five Fabulous Blogs

I still have sporadic internet but I have a window of opportunity to acknowledge some very kind recognition that has come my way not once but twice. Both Barbara Martin and James Reasoner have honored me with this award. In Barbara's comments, I listed My five obsessions as:

1. The lady I refer to as my charmer.
2. My writing.
3. Books.
4. Jazz.
5. Coffee in the morning.

Here are the rules:
You must include the person that gave you the award, and link it back to them.
You must list 5 of your Fabulous Addictions in the post. You must copy and paste these rules in the post. Right click the award icon & save to your computer then post with your own awards.

And Five Fab Blogs:
1. Scott D. Parker
2. Broken Trails
3. The Tainted Archive
4. My Little Corner
5. Paul D. Brazill

(Of course, there are many other good ones too, so don't hesitate to check out all the links.)

Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca (1940)

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again...

Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5| Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13

Daphne du Maurier and Alfred Hitchcock bios

Saturday, March 14, 2009

BTAP #14: Identity Theft by Robert Weibezahl

The latest weekly punch is up at BEAT to a PULP. This thriller is from Robert Weibezahl and Elaine has a nice write up at Ashedit. Enjoy and please leave Robert a comment on this superb tale.

Next week: "In an English Country Garden" by Ray Foster

Coming soon: "Tweakers" and "The Need" by Frank Bill

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I’m in the midst of traveling again, heading back to the cold north I call home. As a result, my blogging and visiting other sites will be modest over the next two weeks. I have some posts scheduled but depending on where I am, I may not be able to answer in a timely fashion.

I bought the new U2 cd for the trip and so far I’m digging it. A mainstay in my collection when I’m on the road is an older song of theirs called The Wanderer with Johnny Cash on lead vocals. Here’s a live version the band did as a tribute to The Man in Black. Enjoy and as my dad was fond of saying: "See ya soon, God willing and the creeks don’t rise."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Two Sentence Tuesday

My first Black Horse Western arrived last week from the UK. Two gritty lines from Trail to Sonora by Tom Hughes:

The example of their dead companion, poisoning the water-hole as effectively with his blood as they had with chemicals back at Crimson Palisades, held them in check. 'What do you aim to do?' quaked Swingler. 'An' how in blazes did you get here?'
And my two lines:

She liked watching his muscles straining under a white cotton shirt, sun-baked skin glistening in the rays of light while he trimmed the hedge row, clipping off the new shoots with precision.

The muggy morning had given way to a sweltering afternoon, and as he mopped the beads of sweat from his brow with the crook of an arm, she decided today was it.
Just to clarify, I'm not writing for Penthouse Forum. Hopefully it will be whipped into the finest noir piece the world has ever beheld.

The ladies at WOM have more Tuesday thrills.

Monday, March 9, 2009

My Town Monday: Life in West Africa

I worked in Cameroon from 2004-2005 and aside from learning so much about the culture in this part of West Africa, I became good friends with Boh Cyprain. This is a pic of us goofing around on the highway to Kribi in Africa. Mr. Boh and I have stayed in contact and here is his eighth MTM highlighting his country's customs:


Maternity leave had long existed in the African context before we have gradually grown to embrace what a worker will benefit when she gives birth in active service. In Cameroon particularly in the remote villages of the centre Region, there exists a kind of maternity leave which has to do with keeping the wife way from the husband for period of at least three (03) months.

Here, it is but normal that when somebody's wife takes in, she is not very subjected to pre-natal visits due to lack of medical facilities, she remains with the husband for up to the period of seven (07) months and she moves to the parents' home where the mother with her world of experience keeps a close watch over her daughter all through till she is delivered of the baby. This change of domicile is considered very important as the husband's family cannot take the same amount of care as would the wife's during such a delicate period in the life of their daughter. It is not disrespect as someone might think but an obligation because her return to the husband entails a big ceremony.

During her stay at the parents, she is being monitored and whenever child movements become intensive indicating an approach to the period of labour, the family constructs something in the form of a cage around the bed on which the mother to-be will be staying with the new born (this takes the form of a mosquito net ). When the baby finally comes, the mother and new born are moved into this new haven. Access to this area is very restricted; in fact, it is granted only to the father of the baby and the grand mother who has the charge of helping to bath the baby and supply food to the nursing mother. This is done to keep away those who visit with ill-intentions; people are not allowed to carry the baby as it is done in other regions in Cameroon for fear that someone might have rubbed bad charms on his/her palms and may successfully place a plague on the child if allowed to carry. From time to time, the grand mother bathes the young mother with juice gotten from a collection of boiled herbs; with this, she massages the new mother's stomach in a bid to give it back its original shape. The routine continues until the husband expresses the desire to have back his wife; however, the wife's family will never in this region suggest that the husband should come for his wife because this will mean that they will lose all the gifts and feasting that comes when she’s returned at the request of her husband; thus, "a bride price is never completely paid no matter the articles and cash gifts you give the day the marriage proper is celebrated."

When the husband's family is set or prepared, they send a messenger to their in-law family to declare their intentions to take home the wife on a proposed date. The wife's family might change the said date depending on the tides of the time because some families insist on carrying out their harvest before any such occasion can hold because it entails a lot of feasting. If there is a famine they have every reason to have the dates changed. When finally both families reach a compromise, they both invite their close relations and the day the male family comes, they bring along gifts just as in the day they came to pay the bride price or 'dowry'. There have been situations wherein husbands' families have come and gone empty handed (without the wife and new born) because the in-law family wasn't satisfied with what they brought in the name of gifts.

On the D-Day, the women folk sit together while the men do same; that is to say the men from the husband's family join those from the wife's family while the women do same. Food and wine are served to the male side by the women and while they are eating, some elderly women are assigned to keep a close watch on them with attentive ears; this is because during this meal, nobody is allowed to eat the bones from the meat no matter how soft they could be. All dogs if any at all are chased away from this area because not even a dog is given a bone to eat or any part of the meal. When feasting is completed, all the bones and leftovers are now gathered and a pit is dug behind the main house and these remnants are now buried into the pit. This is done in order to guarantee the solidarity of the new family that is just beginning to build.

After this, the presentation of gifts starts and immediately after that, the woman's father makes a speech expressing his feelings as per the quantity and quality of the gifts he has just been presented. He gives his consent and the husband's family is now allowed to take home his wife; in a situation where the woman's father fails to give his consent, pledges start coming in or a quick remedy is sorted to avoid any disgrace.
For more MTM posts, check out Travis Erwin's site.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

BTAP #13: A Stash of Goods by Barbara Martin

Barbara Martin’s writing skills shine on one of the more engaging blogs on the net. Each week she provides well-researched and entertaining posts on Canadian nature and history as well as a wide variety of book reviews. In addition to blogging, Barbara writes dark fantasy tales and BEAT to a PULP is pleased to feature her debut story, "A Stash of Goods". Open the gate and step through for a tale that chills the blood.

Next week: "Identity Theft" by Robert Weibezahl

Coming soon: Mike Sheeter's "Preferred Customer"

Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday's Forgotten Books: Branded Outlaw by L. Ron Hubbard

"Branded Outlaw" was originally published in the October 1938 issue of Five-Novels Monthly. It was written by L. Ron Hubbard at the height of the golden age of pulps and as you can guess by the cover is a western.

When prodigal son Lee Weston returns home to the Pecos Valley, he finds his father has been murdered and the family homestead burned to the ground. Suspecting local money-man Harvey Dodge, Lee rides to the Dodge ranch to avenge his father. Along the way, he is wounded in a shootout and then miraculously nursed back to health by Dodge's daughter Ellen. Ellen tries to persuade Lee her father is innocent but Lee is determined to see justice is done. Meanwhile, after Dodge is left for dead by a partner, the attempted murder is pinned on Lee. Now Lee is on the run, desperate to clear his name and convince Ellen, who he's fallen in love with, that he is blameless.

The blurb on this novel claims "Hubbard appears to have possessed the flair of greats Louis L’Amour and Zane Grey", (The Sanford Herald). That may be a bit of a stretch, but since this is the only L. Ron Hubbard novel I’ve read, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. He certainly was a competent writer, and though there aren't many surprises for the western fan, BRANDED OUTLAW is an entertaining tale.

This is a slim novel of only eighty pages, beautifully packaged with a handy-dandy glossary of western terms and a biography of Hubbard.

It’s piqued my interest in reading more by Hubbard who is primarily known today as the founder of Scientology.

Click over to Pattinase for more Friday's Forgotten Books.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Series of Dreams

This song was circling the ol' noggin this morning. Favorite lines: And the cards are no good that you're holding/ Unless they're from another world.

There's also this version with some nifty special effects.

It seems there's little middle ground with Dylan's work, either you're a fan or you're not. Ever since I saw Bob live in 1989 at Ithaca College with good friend Erik B, I've been a Dylan enthusiast. Which side of the Dylan fence are you on?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Wild West Monday

Wild West Monday is upon us and if you're not quite sure what that is, head over to The Tainted Archive for an explanation of this brainchild of Gary Dobbs. For my own part, I'm going to a local dealer that sells paperbacks of every genre except westerns and ask if they could consider stocking them. Also, I've already picked up the movies Appaloosa and Seraphim Falls and purchased two books, a collection of short stories including "Three-Ten to Yuma" by Elmore Leonard and Branded Outlaw by L. Ron Hubbard (....?!! Yes, that will need a future explanation). Not to mention, BEAT to a PULP has posted Chap O'Keefe's "The Unreal Jesse James," which is must-read if you haven't yet. Oh, and I bought this hat yesterday... whaddya'll think?!