Tuesday, June 29, 2010


They had all these protests now, folks worried about fallout from back then. It didn't take long for the cloud to float over here to Papeete. I thought about Mr. Gramont and hundreds of others out there with that shit raining down on them, and Blaze coming into the world breathing the poison into his lungs on his first breath.

Fangataufa, Blaze whispered in his sleep, and I put my cool hands on his dented face and kissed him calm and he never woke up. That was my gift to him.
Sophie Littlefield's "Fangataufa" is in the number one anthology of the year, BEAT to a PULP: Round One, coming soon.

Sophie's A BAD DAY FOR SORRY, now in paperback, has been nominated for an Edgar® award by the Mystery Writers of America, an Anthony Award for Best First Novel, a Macavity Award for Best First Mystery Novel, a Barry Award from Deadly Pleasures Magazine and RTBookReviews Reviewers' Choice Award. Her latest, A BAD DAY FOR PRETTY, is now Available!

Ms. Littlefield's blog can be found here.

Jean LaFitte is a Hit!

Evan Lewis's "The Mercy of Jean LaFitte" is now right behind Hilary Davidson's "Insatiable" and Patricia Abbott's "The Instrument of Their Desire" as the most popular story we've ever featured at BEAT to a PULP. Haven't read it yet? Well, click over, check it out and leave a comment for this thoroughly entertaining pirate tale.

Then head over to Davy Crockett's Almanack where Mr. Lewis is featuring some history and paintings of the real life Lafitte.

Monday, June 28, 2010

When One Thing Leads To Another

Before releasing the moniker Cash Laramie into the wonderful world of fiction, I Googled the name to make sure the it hadn't already been taken, and, outside of Six Ways To Make Cash fast in Laramie, WY, I found I was free to use it. Later, after the first Cash Laramie tale had been published, I ran across several interesting links for Cash's partner Gideon Miles. Which brings me next to "The Sins of Maynard Shipley," my latest piece of crime fiction for the upcoming issue of NEEDLE. I dug the old-fashioned sound of the name, but, as you can tell by the story title, Maynard is not the finest of folks. As a matter of fact, he's downright evil but I'm digressing. After I sent editor Steve Weddle the story I came across the OAC site with the following:

Born in Baltimore, Maryland on December 1, 1872, Maynard Shipley was educated at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. A self-taught musician, Shipley gave music lessons to pay his way through college. At Stanford he specialized in the study of science and became a writer and lecturer on scientific subjects. For twenty years he lectured on astronomy and evolution, both on the platform and over the radio. In 1898 he founded the Academy of Science in Seattle, Washington and later became its second president. During the 1920s Shipley took an active part in the Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy, lecturing and debating on the side of science and liberalism. In 1924 he founded the Science League of America Inc., a national association to protect freedom in teaching and to resist attempts to unite church and state in the United States. Shipley wrote The War on Modern Science (1927), The Key to Evolution (1929), and was the author of thirty-three "Little Blue Books" on scientific subjects as well as numerous articles on science and criminology. He married Miriam Allen de Ford, a writer, in 1921. Shipley died in June 1934.
While this non-fiction Maynard Shipley sounds like someone I would have like to have known as a very productive member of society (sidebar: Ms. de Ford is interesting in her own right), my fictional Maynard is the polar opposite: self-centered with a penchant for killing the geezers at the Witherbee Assisted Living Center.

I'll let you know as soon as the next NEEDLE issue is out. But, for now, my question is for all you writers. No matter how small the character is in your story do you research a name or say the hell with it?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

BTAP #80: The Mercy of Jean Lafitte by Evan Lewis

Image from Wikipedia.
Another spurt of flame, and the caravel’s mainmast toppled, dragging with it great sheets of sail. The battle, such as it was, was effectively over, and the hated Spanish were now in possession of Lafitte’s island home.

The captain settled himself on the spar, accepted the telescope and put it to his eye. Andre saw him grip the spyglass all the harder in his impotence to affect the outcome.

"Castrillón." Lafitte spat the name like a curse.
When I sent out a call for pirates a few months back, Evan Lewis sent two terrific stories of equal worth. What to do? Luckily, he allowed me to be greedy and use both. “The Ghost Ship” will be in ROUND ONE but first here’s “The Mercy of Jean Lafitte.”

Next: David Pilling’s WWI yarn, “The Path to Brighton”

Then: “King” by Dave Zeltserman

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Building The Perfect Beast

Here's the lineup of contributors and titles for our BEAT to a PULP: Round One anthology coming out in a couple of months. These twenty-seven stories run the gamut of crime fiction, noir, sci-fi, hard boiled, western, literary, ghost and fantasy, plus we have a foreword by Bill Crider and a history of pulp by Cullen Gallagher.

Maker’s and Coke -- Jake Hinkson
A Free Man -- Charles Ardai
Fangataufa -- Sophie Littlefield
You Don’t Get Three Mistakes -- Scott D. Parker
Insatiable -- Hilary Davidson
Boots on the Ground -- Matthew Quinn Martin
Studio Dick -- Garnett Elliott
Killing Kate -- Ed Gorman
The Strange Death of Ambrose Bierce -- Paul S. Powers
Heliotrope -- James Reasoner
The Wind Scorpion -- Edward A. Grainger
Hard Bite -- Anonymous-9
Crap is King, a “Miles Jacoby” story -- Robert J. Randisi
The All-Weather Phantom -- Mike Sheeter
Pripet Marsh -- Stephen D. Rogers
Ghostscapes -- Patricia Abbott
Off Rock -- Kieran Shea
At Long Last -- Nolan Knight
A Native Problem -- Chris F. Holm
Spend It Now, Pay Later -- Nik Morton
Spot Marks the X -- I. J. Parnham
Hoosier Daddy -- Jedidiah Ayres
The Ghost Ship -- Evan Lewis
Anarchy Among Friends: A Love Story -- Andy Henion
Cannulation -- Glenn Gray
The Unreal Jesse James -- Chap O’Keefe
Acting Out -- Frank Bill

Doesn't that get the imagination flowing! More soon...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine

The August issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine is out with some terrific stories from the talented likes of Clark Howard, David A. Knadler, and Elizabeth Zelvin, to name a few. Agatha-nominated Ms. Zelvin is the author of the acclaimed Bruce Kohler series, and, I'm very proud to say, a story of hers called "Dress to Die" will appear at BEAT to a PULP in August. But until then, grab this EQMM issue. Well worth it.


EQMM Kindle edition

Ellery Queen bio

BTAP #79: At the Café Sabarsky by Patricia Abbott

"Would you two mind sharing a table?" It was the hostess at my elbow. She was speaking to the older man in front of me too. "I can give you a table if you share it," she explained, gesturing with the menus.

I turned to the man. "Do you mind?" There was no chance Tibor'd come in here. I felt giddy: faint almost.

The man smiled, nodded.

Our table looked out on Central Park where people were raising umbrellas in the increasingly foul weather. Despite the eye-catching view, both of us turned to our hard-won menus. "Been here before?" he asked, putting his menu down. "At Café Sabarsky?"

That seems an innocent enough meeting, right? Well, don't be fooled because this is Patricia Abbott who yanked the chair out from beneath you in "The Instrument of Their Desire" and introduced you to "Esther Meaney." So sit down, enjoy the meal but keep your eyes peeled "At the Café Sabarsky."

Next week: "The Mercy of Jean Lafitte" by Evan Lewis.

Soon: Chris F. Holm launches our time travel pulp epic--A RIP THROUGH TIME--with "The Dame, the Doctor, and the Device."

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

BTAP Reviews

The man with No Moral Center has done a write-up for two BEAT to a PULP stories and if you missed it, Brian Drake Explains It All.

Thank you, both.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


In the past few weeks, I've tried watching the shows JUSTIFIED, CASTLE, and BURN NOTICE but nothing was flipping my switch. It's probably not the fault of those programs but I'm just tired, for the time being, of television in general. Enter OLD TIME RADIO CATALOG and HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL.


Western adventure (1958 - 1960)

"If the girl who's being held prisoner has been harmed in any way, I'll flip a coin to see which one of you I gun down first."

It is the only significant radio show that originated on television. Starring Richard Boone as gunfighter Paladin, he did the sometimes-dangerous work that others would not or could not do for themselves. That he did these jobs for a hefty price did not diminish the fact that he was a man with a conscience and he wined and dined beautiful women. The role was later taken on by John Dehner. He was a loner, a man of no friends - his relationship with the bellhop Heyboy was cordial but cool: Paladin was always "Meestah Paladin," and Heyboy was always Heyboy.
Mr. Dehner was marvelous as the man in black with a voice very similar to Richard Boone. The quality of the 1950s production shine again thanks to these sharp transfers to MP3. And with 106 episodes for $5.00, how can you beat that?! I also snagged two discs of GUNSMOKE.

The added attraction for a writer when listening to radio is the medium had to be especially evocative to get the visual image across to their audience (they did a superb job with HGWT). I spend each episode like I'm in class, taking notes on my Mini-Dell.

HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL, the Radio Series is very much recommended.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Pulp Extract: Westerns of the Balkans

Alan Furst's 'Spies of the Balkans' was a recent bestseller and deservedly so. It's a terrific read that I recommend. But did you know western pulp and comic books are also a big hit in the region. Stop by any corner newsstand and you will find magazines like these. Who knew Doc Holliday was so popular in the Russian speaking world!

A Conversation With Louis L'Amour

Read the best writing you can find, and write. Write all the time. Anything you can write, anytime.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

More Fred Zackel Titles Now Available On Kindle

Many writers are putting their backlist, OOP and unpublished works up on Kindle. Fred Zackel recently released several of his works as Kindle ebooks including his 1978 novel Cocaine and Blue Eyes and Cinderella After Midnight (an excerpt, "Big and bright and colorful, like the California Dream", appeared earlier this year at BEAT to a PULP). Fred is set to release three more books for the first time ever:

Tough Town Cold City
An old friend is brutally murdered and San Francisco private eye Frank Pasnow is told the funeral home needs a down payment. He goes after the security deposit from the cute and cunning landlady.

Murder in Waikiki
It's 1985. Murder arrives in sun-drenched Waikiki Beach with a van filled with tourists from the Mainland. (Agatha Christie meets Joseph Conrad.)

Crow on the Cradle
Murder, intrigue, revenge, betrayal, suspense, thriller, conspiracies, sex, swords, mythology, noir, classic, regicide, inheritance, birthright, throne ... and pagan.

In January 1978, Ross Macdonald wrote, "Fred Zackel's first novel reminds me of the young Dashiell Hammett's work, not because it is an imitation, but because it is not. It is a powerful and original book made from the lives and language of the people who live in San Francisco today."

Saturday, June 12, 2010

BTAP #78: One Good Turn by Ryle Smith

We have something a little different and exciting for you this week at BEAT to a PULP. A short film! BTAP is grateful to Richard Prosch for bringing the work of the talented Ryle Smith to our attention. Here's Mr. Prosch to introduce:

Ryle Smith could be introduced as writer, painter, actor, or cartoonist–but I’d like you to meet him as a filmmaker because that’s where you’ll find his first, best love. It was Phoenix in the 1960s and Ryle’s dad drove a delivery truck. On sweltering summer afternoons he’d drop Ryle off at the movies before completing his rounds. In the cool matinee darkness he met the Universal Monsters, the Marx Brothers, Bogart, Stanwyk, Tracy and Hepburn. Later came the spawn of AIP and Hammer and Ryle was working out his own dreams on paper and canvas. Dreams that have now come full circle, back to film. One Good Turn is a short noir piece, written, produced and directed by Ryle. It may give you pause the next time you plug in your iPod for a nice healthy jog.


And for the news you've all been waiting for... the winners from last week's stamp giveaway are: Jersey Jack and Charles Gramlich... Congrats to both!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Latest 7Q

Who answered my latest 7 Questions by writing a flash piece (that included yours truly), supplied an MRI pic of his head, and clarified why he thought he was King Sh@#!?

Don't know? Click here to find out.

Photo-Finish Friday -- Rayne Cemetery Revisited

I've posted more than once my interest in cemeteries but the jury is out as to whether this is a good idea.

PFF is the creation of Leah J. Utas.

Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

IGN's Top 25 Westerns of All Time

My buddy Jay, who is a gamer, sent me this link for IGN's Top 25 Westerns of All Time. A pretty solid gathering (only film I haven't seen was THE PROFESSIONALS) but I would have placed RIO BRAVO higher.


I.J. Parnham has a special deal for those who have yet to buy A FISTFUL OF LEGENDS. This collection features twenty-one thrilling tales of the Old West including Matthew Mayo's 2010 Spur Award finalist short story and the debut of my western anti-hero, Cash Laramie. So, zip over to Ian's blog for one of the top western anthologies that you will ever have the pleasure to own.

Btw, the generous outpouring of comments and emails for "Miles to Go"--Cash's partner's solo outing--has urged me on to finish the western novel I had tucked away. Much appreciated, folks.

In other CL news, Cash's "The Wind Scorpion" will be coming out in August in BEAT to a PULP: ROUND 1 and "Cash Laramie and the Kid" will be in The Western Online sometime in September. But probably the most exciting news for CL and company is the collaboration project with another author's 19th century hero who meets with Cash and Miles for a steampunk action-packed adventure involving those mysterious airships of 1887/96. No date for that yet but I'll send a telegram when it's locked and loaded.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

When the legend becomes fact...

"This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."
-The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

One of the great lines in cinema and I couldn't help thinking of it as I read an article from the July 1949 issue of Zane Grey's Western Magazine. "The Hickok Legend" by Carl Smith touches on Georg Ward Nichols who had a similar line of thinking. Nichols, along with J.W. Buel, did more to contribute to building the Wild Bill legend--besides the source himself--than just about anybody else.

From ZGWM:

Though Nichols found it difficult to believe some of the stories, he tells us, when he came face to face with this superman of the frontier he "remembered the story in the Bible, where we are told that Samson 'with the jawbone of an ass slew a thousand men,' and as I looked upon this magnificent example of human strength and daring, he appeared to me to realize the powers of a Samson and Hercules combined, and I should not have been inclined to place any limits upon his achievements."
Have we progressed beyond telling tall-tales? Hardly.

I've just discovered Ron Scheer's marvelous Buddies in the Saddle blog where he reviewed the 1995 Jeff Bridge's film WILD BILL. Like me, though he appreciated Mr. Bridges's acting and the opening of the film, the numerous historical inaccuracies once Hickok reaches Deadwood--his Waterloo--do the film in.

It proves to me that one hundred thirty-four years after James Butler Hickok's passing we are still printing the legend and always will because that's what folks have come to expect, isn't it?

Sunday, June 6, 2010


"If one could know both the position and vector of every particle in the universe, it would be possible not only to predict the future, but to completely retrodict the past – and, my friends, that day is soon upon us.”

Dr. Robert Berlin
MIT Commencement, 2342

Chris Holm.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

BTAP #77: Collision by David King

I'm a daily peruser of David King's distinctive Pics and Poems blog with posts on everything from reviews of books, pictures of original pieces of art, and his own poignant, and sometimes humorous, haikus. Dave's poem "I am the man who swallowed the boy" impressed upon me the need to have his work featured in BTAP. Poetry and I are strange bedfellows. I am unable to compose it or critique it properly, but I know when I like it, and I like Mr. King's prose a whole heck of a lot. I approached him about contributing some lines for our Weekly Punch and he delivered in a big way. So without further ado, here's David King at BEAT to a PULP with "Collision."


Special giveaway this week: BTAP has purchased some stamps with our logo including the boxer image and we are set to give them away! These are legitimate stamps that can be used on your regular snail mail for those of you who still use the U.S. Postal services and for those who don't, well, you'll have a nice addition to your stamp collection. Two lucky winners will receive a sheet of ten stamps just by leaving a comment on "Collision." Names will be tossed into a hat for a random drawing on Saturday, June 12th and the two winners will be announced on next week's BTAP blogger post.

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Hundred Years Ago: Holmes Debuts and O Henry Departs

A century ago today, the play version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Adventure of the Speckled Band" debuted at the Adelphi Theatre in London (written and produced by Doyle, retitled The Stonor Case starring H. A. Saintsbury as Sherlock Holmes).

For more details, check out Wikipedia. And if you'd like, you can watch the marvelous Jeremy Brett in "The Speckled Band" on YouTube.


One hundred years ago tomorrow, the master of the twist ending, O Henry, died following a life that was every bit as colorful as any of his characters. "After Twenty Years" was assigned reading for me back in my school days, and it forever changed my taste in storytelling. Click on the link and come back to tell me what you think of this pithy tale of about twelve hundred words.

O Henry bio.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Latest 7Q

What does this writer have to say about working with Keira Knightley and Cameron Diaz and how did a dead man end up in the back of his cab? Click over for my latest 7 Questions to find out.