Monday, May 31, 2010

BTAP #76: Miles to Go by Edward A. Grainger

I came up with the character Gideon Miles after reading the unsung adventures of Bass Reeves, one of the first, if not the first, African American U.S. Marshals of the Old West. As a matter of fact, the scene where Miles plays possum is my homage to the true life Reeves who pretended to be dead to get the drop on a wanted man he was tracking.

This story I’m spinning (hero worship, on the trail of a bad man) is not new but I hope I’ve told it well and it's entertaining. Please let me know, by dropping over to BEAT to a PULP and leaving a comment on "Miles to Go."

Special thanks to Matt Mayo and dMix for their invaluable assist on this story.

On another note, the Edward A. Grainger pen name is a tribute to my grandfather who was also a writer. I got the idea from Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin and thought it was a marvelous way to pay my respect.

Coming soon: "The Little Boy Inside" by Glenn Gray

Friday, May 28, 2010

Photo-Finish Friday -- Early Autumn

Taken 10-21-2007 by dMix. My Charmer snapped this at the Shenandoah Hot Air Ballon Festival we attended one early and cold fall morning. You should definitly click on to enlarge this striking shot.

PFF is the creation of Leah J. Utas.

Hope everyone has a great Memorial Day weekend.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Return of Paul S. Powers

I'm getting ready to do the holiday shake and won't be blogging much this weekend. But I would be remiss if I didn't mention that tomorrow, A TWIST OF NOIR's editor, Christopher Grant, has a real gem from the late great pulp writer Paul S. Powers and his son, John. Thanks to Laurie, I had the privledge to read "Wine Without Music" beforehand and I recommend this tremendous story. I find it very cool that Mr. Powers is still in the game, hitting homers after all these years. And it's not everyday you get to leave a comment for a writer from the golden era of pulp. So, get over there and run those numbers up!

Forgotten Music: Distant Drums by Jim Reeves

My old man was a huge fan of Jim Reeves (August 20, 1923–July 31, 1964) and some of my earliest memories are hearing songs like "Danny Boy," "He'll Have to Go," and "Welcome to My World." But this Reeves song that came out of the hissing-n-crackling speakers of our 70s record player is the one that stuck with me most:

"Distant Drums was" a pothumous hit for Reeves. From Wikipedia:

In 1966, Reeves' record "Distant Drums" went to No. 1 in the British singles chart and remained there for five weeks, beating competition from The Beatles' "Yellow Submarine" and "Eleanor Rigby" (a double-sided "A" release), and the Small Faces' hit, "All Or Nothing" as well as holding off various recordings from living artists already in the UK charts from the coveted No. 1 spot.

The May 2010 edition of the Forgotten Music Project is hosted by Scott D. Parker.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Amazing BEAT to a PULP Stamp Giveaway!

Details forthcoming...

Two Sentence Tuesday

I have a western coming up this weekend at BEAT to a PULP with these lines:

A fur trader with his hand lassoed around a saloon girl clamored for a refill and Knox excused himself to oblige. Miles sipped his whiskey, enjoying his last bit of peace before his manhunt for Van Jones began.

Here are two from the Hard Case Crime I'm reading called The Corpse Wore Pasties by Jonny Porkpie.
"Porky, honey, baby, sweetheart, be careful what you accuse me of, especially in here," she whispered. "You could be on the sidewalk and bleeding in five seconds..."
On some more blatant self promotion, I'm very pleased to say BTAP will be publishing a short story from Hard Case guru, Charles Ardai, titled "A Free Man." His tale will be one of twenty seven in the upcoming anthology BEAT to a PULP: Round 1.

For more TwoFers, click on the Women Of Mystery.

Btw, what are you reading?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I Found Him At 39.070388 N,-76.545241W

Ladies and gentlemen, Shea. Kieran Shea.

BTAP #75: I Paid The Whore by Michael Hemmingson

A look at Michael Hemmingson's Wikipedia entry shows quite a diverse career spanning twenty eight years: novelist, journalist, short story writer, essayist, cultural anthropologist, qualitative researcher to name a few. Larry McCaffery has called him "Raymond Carver on acid" and American Book Review has noted: "a disciple of a quick and dirty literature."

We are very pleased to have this original talent at BEAT to a PULP with "I Paid The Whore."

Next: Edward A. Grainger has "Miles to Go."

And soon: Elizabeth Zelvin revisits a prom in "Dress to Die."

Friday, May 21, 2010

Photo-Finish Friday -- Harpers Ferry

Taken 10-15-2007 by dMix. Harpers Ferry is famous for John Brown's raid on the armory in 1859 and its role in the American Civil War.

PFF is the creation of Leah J. Utas.

Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Femme Fatale Help Wanted

I'm throwing something together and I need suggestions. Who is your favorite Femme Fatale in film history and who would make the honorary mention list. Example: My #1 is Ava Gardner in THE KILLERS and rounding out my top five would be Ann Savage, Gene Tierney, Rita Hayworth, and Linda Fiorentino. Feel free to name more then five and the list doesn't need to be limited to the classics.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Short Story Length

I'm sure this question has been asked many times before in the blogoshere, but here goes. How long do you like your short stories? In the guidelines over at BEAT to a PULP, we say no more than 4000 words, though we have stretched that a few times. As a writer, I prefer the 5000-6000 range for plot and character development. On the other hand, as a reader, if I pick up an anthology of shorts, I will read the 1500-3000 yarns first and gradually get around to the others.

Your thoughts?

Legendary jazz pianist Hank Jones dies

I posted my Elvin tribute late last night and now have found out we have lost Hank, the eldest and sole surviving brother of the three Jones boys of Pontiac. RIP.

Elvin Jones

One of my favorite drummers passed away six years ago today.

Elvin Ray Jones (September 9, 1927 – May 18, 2004) was a jazz drummer of the post-bop era. He showed interest in drums at a young age, watching the circus bands march by his family's home in Pontiac, Michigan.

He served in the United States Army from 1946 to 1949 and subsequently played in a Detroit houseband led by Billy Mitchell. He moved to New York in 1955 and worked as a sideman for Charles Mingus, Teddy Charles, Bud Powell and Miles Davis.

From 1960 to 1966 he was a member of the John Coltrane quartet, a celebrated recording phase, appearing on such albums as A Love Supreme. Following his work with John Coltrane, Jones led several small groups, some under the name The Elvin Jones Jazz Machine. He recorded with both of his brothers during his career, jazz musicians Hank Jones and Thad Jones. -- Wikipedia

Sunday, May 16, 2010

7 Questions: Philip R. Abbott

Having a wife, daughter and son-in-law as writers, not to mention your own writing, do you find yourself constantly reading rough drafts?

I read a lot of Patti's work, but not really as a critical voice. Mostly I am there to encourage her although if something jumps out at me, I do mention it. My preference in stories are for ones that are somewhat ambiguous so my most common contribution to her work is to say maybe you don't need that last line or two. I read a lot of fiction but don't write it myself so I wouldn't feel comfortable saying much more than that. She complains that I am not critical enough but I know when to get out of the way.

We both read Megan's final first draft and sometimes the final version. Early on in her career, she sent us more versions of her work, but now she turns to her agent or husband for that job. What we see is a pretty polished version.

Although Patti has read early versions of Josh Gaylord's novels (and several earlier unpublished novels) I have not. I would feel even less comfortable weighing in on his work.

Can you tell us a little about your own work?

I am a political theorist. Most of my most recent books concern the American presidency. I am currently working on a book on bad presidents--what constitutes a bad president. I also did one on accidental presidents--those who took office due to an assassination or death. Another dealt with Franklin Roosevelt and his use of earlier presidents as exemplars. I've done several textbooks and books on subjects such as American inventions, the American family, and some traditional political theory.

I also write on utopianism and just finished an article on whether utopians should have perfect bodies to be published shortly in FUTURES.

I got my Ph.D at Rutgers and teach at Wayne State University in Detroit-although I spent a year teaching in England and a semester in Amsterdam.

Who was the worst US president?

Buchanan appears as the very worst in almost all presidential rankings. But to me the more interesting questions is why was Buchanan so bad. The dominant view emphasizes his indecisiveness--Buchnanan was immobilized by the threat of succession. A more intriguing view, one suggested by Lincoln himself in his House Divided address, is that he had a plan that almost worked, the nationalization of slavery. From this perspective Buchanan was still bad but more like Richard III than Richard II.

What would you consider the most defining moment in our country's history and why?

Most scholars would identify the following as defining moments in U.S. history and I would agree: 1787: The Second Founding and the Constitution; 1800: the election of Jefferson; 1860: the beginning of the Civil War, the election on Lincoln and the Southern secession; 1932: the Great Depression, the election of Roosevelt and the programs put into place during his first two terms to deal with it; 1963, the assassination of Kennedy.

What has changed good and bad in academia since you received your Ph.D?

Research is more interdisciplinary than it was a generation ago. Scholars see the world in broader terms. Professors are more creative in designing courses and research projects that cross disciplines.

The Internet and email have changed things. It is much easier to prepare manuscripts for publication than it was. It used to take years before a book or article appeared.

Teachers are able communicate more easily with students. Everything happens faster. Methods of teaching changes daily with online courses and power point. (This has a downside, too, of course. Online courses certainly don't offer the intense and intimate experience a class of 15 does).

On the negative side, there is more plagiarism. Texting and cellphones in the classroom are a real distraction for everyone.

There are fewer jobs for professors. Salaries have declined with the new economy. There is more pressure than ever to publish.

New Ph.Ds going onto the job market are now expected to have delivered conference papers, had articles published.

College resources go toward technology rather than classroom buildings, teachers, scholarly travel.

How did you meet Patti?

I grew up in a resort town--New Hope, PA--where Washington crossed the Delaware and the site of a summer theater, restaurants, shops. My father owned a small luncheonette and newstand there so I came back every summer from college (American University in D.C.) to work. Patti, just graduated from high school, had a summer job there in a restaurant around the corner. We met one day when I was sweeping the front sidewalk and she was looking for her roommate. The same night we ran into each other again. Oddly enough, we'd both been there the summer before (in a town of 800 people) but never met.

If you could have dinner with any three people, living or dead, who would you choose?

I always thought six made a good number at dinner: Shakespeare, Euripides, Jefferson, Freud, Janet Malcolm.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

From Fan to Writer

I arrived back from the hills of Pennsylvania to find several books, DVDs and magazines waiting for me at home. The first treasure I dug into was the debut issue of NEEDLE: A Magazine Of Noir. Many glowing reviews have already been posted around the net and I will bring them altogether by saying this: NEEDLE is the new pulse of crime fiction. Period.

I had read about half the magazine (and written the above passage) when I received an unexpected and welcomed request from editor Steve Weddle to submit a piece for the next issue. Damn if I didn't jump at the chance quickly before he changed his mind! And my luck didn't stop there as it just so happened that I had a story waiting in the wings called "The Sins of Maynard Shipley."

Here's the super-looking cover for the Summer 2010 issue.

BTAP #74: Fashionably Late by Rekha Ambardar

"Did you tell her about us? I know what you’re up to with Debra. I’ve been asking around. One word to the old man from me that you’re after their money and you can kiss your sweet little Debra goodbye. Then where will you be? So don’t think you can pat me on the head and make me go away quietly. That won’t happen."
That's Millie talking to Tom. As the well-known quote goes, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned," and Tom better believe it or he will find himself more than just "Fashionably Late."

Next: "I Paid The Whore" by Michael Hemmingson.

And soon: David King is heading for a "Collision."

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday's Forgotten Books: LAND OF ALWAYS NIGHT by Kenneth Robeson

LAND OF ALWAYS NIGHT features a bizarre, 'Count Orlok' looking individual named Ool whose freakish finger floats hypnotically like a butterfly and can kill with a single touch. Ool tangles with Doc Savage and his stalwart gang of extraordinary gentleman on a search for a lost subterranean civilization.

NIGHT is straightforward pulp at its best. Nearly each chapter begins and climaxes with balls to the wall action. Plus gadgets, babes and high tech dirigibles all make their expected appearances. NIGHT was written by the legendary Lester Dent (Kenneth Robeson) with additional help from W. Ryerson Johnson.

Nostalgia Ventures has done a top job of repackaging NIGHT with another Savage adventure, MAD MESA. The Nostalgia reprint includes a "Meet The Writers" section with in depth biographies and B&W photos. A must-have for pulp aficionados. But be warned, I'm clearing off the shelf everywhere I find these books.

Click here for more FFBs courtesy of Patti Abbott.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pulp Extract: THE RAT PATROL

I spotted season one of THE RAT PATROL at Wal-Mart and snagged it for the convenient price of eleven dollars. The four disc set contains thirty-two episodes and stars Christopher George as Sgt. Sam Troy who leads an elite team of commandos in the North African campaign during WWII. Lots of fun, if you are so inclined.

More info on THE RAT PATROL.

Interview with Gary Raymond

Saturday, May 8, 2010

BTAP #73: Oyster Point by Eirik Gumeny

At the edge of the world, in the low country of South Carolina, was a bustling port city by the name of Charles Town. And at the end of that city, overlooking the Charles Town harbor and, on a clear day, the Atlantic Ocean, a short walk from the Half-Moon Bastion, was a stately parcel of land referred to by the locals as Oyster Point. And it was here, where the lush, green grass of the lowlands diffused into sand and smooth stone and tumbled into the bluest water a man could ever wish to see, that something unpleasant was occurring.
The flowing prose of this pirate yarn continues here.

Next: "Fashionably Late" by Rekha Ambardar

Soon: Matthew Mayo's "Someone to Watch Over Me." Plus, poetry and a graphic story at BEAT to a PULP.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Things that would go out of business if they relied on me

Here are some products, activities and markets everyone else seems to be enjoying that would go in the red if they depended on my support (in no particular order):

Reality TV shows
Shopping malls
Major league sports
Cirque du Soleil
Soap operas
Crossword puzzles
The entire seafood industry
Ski slopes
Buffet restaurants

Is there anything on your list?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

7 Questions: Paul Brazill

You are a prolific writer. What's your daily writing schedule like?

Oh, I don't have a schedule and I don't write every day.

I don't have my own computer- never have. My girlfriend's computer is in a room that her mother uses to give massages so, when it's free I sit down and maybe write but more likely mess about on Facebook or something. I've started making notes in a proper notebook most days, though.

I write in short bursts which, I suppose, is why I write flash so much.

You got started late penning crime fiction. What was the spark?

I think the discovery of ezines like Powder Burn Flash was really important. From there I discovered a new world and new writers. In fact it was Keith Rawson who sent me over to Powder Burn Flash via his My Space page and Cormac Brown - whose stories I'd enjoyed at Powder Burn Flash who encouraged me to write my first story for Six Sentences.

How did an Englishman wind up in Bydgoszcz, Poland and decide to stay?

Well, it all started in 2001. I was working as a Welfare Rights worker in London -where I'd lived for 10 years - and took a six month sabbatical. I'd done that job in Hartlepol and London for far too long.

I had the bright idea to use some money I had from the sale of my flat and travel across the USA! Of course that all went pear shaped. I ended up spending two weeks in a hotel near Times Square in New York waiting for the money to come through and-when it didn't - I returned to England with my tail betwen my legs.

So, I went back to my home town of Hartlepool and waited for the cash to arrive. While there, it was suggested that I do a TEFL (Teaching English as as Foriegn Language) course since I didn't want to go back to my old life.

So, I did. I did it in Madrid for 4 weeks in 42 degree heat.

Back in England after the summer I applied for a completely random selection of jobs around the world and within two weeks was living in Skierniewice in Poland with no knowledge of Polish, of course.

Since then I've lived in a few places in Poland. I lived in Warsaw the longest. I was ready to go back to England for a while when I came to Budgoszcz on a three month contract and met Daria, The Black Witch, and with her help became self employed, moved in with her and started writing.

Poland has had a colorful but sometimes harsh history. What is the mood of the people today?

Poland is stil in the middle of rebuilding itself. The Nazi invasion and almost 50 years of Stalinism have taken their toll. One effect of that is that there is a 'missing' generation and a massive gap between the older more conservative generation and the youth, who are completely enjoying the new freedoms, especially since Poland joined the EU.

It has became normal for young people to travel to the UK and Ireland at the drop of a hat, for example, and the level of foreign language skills has made amazing progress even since I've been here. The younger generation are very much internationalists.

How did you land the Pulp Metal Magazine gig?

Sometime last year I bumped into Pulp Metal's Dictator and novelist Jason Michel over at Outsider Writers because of something I wrote about Robert Mitchum.

He's an EFL teacher in France, he asked me if I would write a regular column for Pulp Metal and so I said yes, though I've been focusing on interviews lately.

Away from writing, what preoccupies Mr. Brazill's time?

Well, I teach just enough to pay for my keep. I don't have much money but I don't have much stress either.

My students come to me, so sometimes I don't leave the house for days in winter!

I drink far too much booze, I'm sure, though a lot less than I used to. I can't write when I drink or have a hangover though.

I occassionaly go to the opera with Daria and my mates and, if the weather's okay I go for a walk in the forest with the dogs.

I go to the local art house cinema every Tuesday. I watch Polish soap operas that I don't really understand and I usually read at least one novel a week and a few short stories.

And I faff around on the internet a lot ...

What's the most lame brain thing you ever did as a teenager?

Lame brain? Selling my cherished comic collection, which I'd built up over about 8 years, when I was 15. I sold it for 5 pounds and bought Talking Heads 77 and Jocko Homo by Devo.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

BTAP #72: Apache Fog by Wayne D. Dundee

"In Joe Hannibal, Wayne Dundee has created a tough, relentless, no frills hero--a blue-collar private eye ... fast, hard, explosive, and satisfying."
-- Bill Pronzini

It's a real honor to have Wayne Dundee at BTAP. Mr. Dundee's work has been nominated for an Edgar, an Anthony and six Shamus Awards. Not to mention, he is the founder and original editor of Hardboiled Magazine. And, of course, the creator of Joe Hannibal who, based on my research, has been around for thirty years. Head over to BEAT to a PULP and check out the latest Hannibal in "Apache Fog."

Next: Eirik Gumeny's "Oyster Point"

Soon: "Miles To Go" by Edward A. Grainger

Congratulations Hilary!

I'm very pleased to see that Hilary Davidson won the 2010 Spinetingler Award Best Short Story on the Web for "Insatiable." Elaine, dMix and I say a hearty congratulations to Ms. Davidson for entrusting BEAT to a PULP with such a fine story. I hope everyone drops a kudos to her either here or on the Spinetingler site. And don't forget her debut novel, THE DAMAGE DONE, is coming out a little later this year.