Friday, December 30, 2011

Hell on Church Street

A small Baptist church in Arkansas should be easy pickings for a natural born con man like Geoffrey Webb. But after talking himself into a cushy job as a youth minister, he becomes obsessed with the preacher’s teenage daughter. When their relationship is discovered by a corrupt local sheriff named Doolittle Norris, Webb’s easy life begins to fall apart. Backed by a family of psychotic hillbillies, Sheriff Norris forces Webb into a deadly scheme to embezzle money from the church. What the Norris clan doesn’t understand is that Geoffrey Webb is more dangerous than he looks, and he has brutal plans of his own.

“I’m hard to surprise when it comes to plot, and I’m very hard to shock, but I read this book slack-jawed and drooling. There’s not a filthier, funnier, bloodier, more transgressive or more shocking book on the shelves this year. Or last, or next, probably, unless Hinkson writes another, which I certainly hope he will. An amazing debut from an instant star of the genre.”
— Scott Phillips, author of The Ice Harvest, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year

“Hell on Church Street has to be one of the best noir novels of recent years, an instant classic, as relentlessly twisted as anything by Jim Thompson and Charles Willeford.”
— Jason Starr, two-time Anthony Award winning author of The Craving

“Mr. Hinkson has created flawlessly etched characters inhabiting a bleak, noir landscape that’s recognizable and yet altogether unique. Go ahead and attend Hell on Church Street. You will not be disappointed.”
— David Cranmer, Editor and publisher of Beat to a Pulp

“If Jim Thompson’s skeletal hands could clap, you’d hear his round of applause for Jake Hinkson’s debut. Dark, depraved, and deadly, Hell on Church Street is a wicked story well told.”
— Hilary Davidson, author of The Damage Done

Order from New Pulp Press or Amazon.

Heath Lowrance Interview

Dani Amore interviews Heath Lowrance.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

FREE for Four Days!!


The NOIR WESTERN collection that has garnered twenty-three Amazon 5-stars is now FREE for a limited time.

"The follow-up collection of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles proves what I knew when I read the first collection: Edward A. Grainger is an enduring talent. If you're on the fence about reading this one, get off it, or you'll miss a great origin story, and the certain-to-be-star trajectory of one of the next generation of western writers that is proving the genre has a special place into the new century." --Larry Sweazy, Spur Award-winning author.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

For those who celebrate, Denise, Ava and I wish you a Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Photo-Finish Friday -- Christmas In Belize

This photo was taken a few winters ago when my Charmer and I were living in Belize. Man, I miss that weather!

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

Hope everyone has the greatest of holidays!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Goshen Hole

At one time, I used to read detective stories by the handful. Then, somewhere along the line, my interest waned. But there were two modern detectives I kept going back to: Parker's Spenser and Dundee's Hannibal. I could always count on these two standbys to deliver what I'd come to love from the hardboiled school built by Chandler, Hammett, and Macdonald.

So I was quite excited to see the first new Joe Hannibal novel in four years -- seventh in the series -- has just been released. It is called GOSHEN HOLE and it fits nicely in the top tier of the Hannibal canon.

I like the fact that Joe has relocated to Nebraska, is running a security service, and is driving a Honda Element -- regular guy stuff that always worked well for these books. In GOSHEN, he is asked to investigate the case of a missing woman, and you can bet as he pulls the thread to solve the case there will be a lot of tough guys to stop him.

Lots of action and excellent dialogue as we've come to expect from the talented Mr. Dundee.

GOSHEN HOLE is available at Amazon.

Why I Wrote Gallows Pole by J.D. Rhoades

Ms. White hosts J.D. Rhoades at Musings of an All Purpose Monkey.

Monday, December 19, 2011

BEAT to a PULP #156: The Stain Carrier by Sophie Littlefield

Special thanks to Sophie Littlefield for closing out our third year in grand fashion with a sharp little gem called, "The Stain Carrier." Ms. Littlefield has also been kind enough to write the foreword to our forthcoming ROUND TWO.

In other news: You may have noticed that story links and the archive page are currently not working. This is because ColdFusion is no longer supported by our service provider. These pages will remain down until we resume February 1, 2012. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Some Very Kind Recognition

Chris Rhatigan has been running a fabulous year-end best list with several notable writers tossing in their two cents. Benoit Lelievre had this to say about my "Clouds in a Bunker":
Another story about a terrible tragedy that nobody is able to avoid. Everybody grows old and withers away. It's incredibly sad and almost cringe inducing because you know the pain of this family might be your pain one day. The dialog in between father and daughter is nothing short of spectacular.
Earlier Nigel Bird, Sandra Seamans, and R. Thomas Brown all picked "Melanie" as a favorite. Thank you, all. Nothing beats being recognized by peers who I deeply respect.

Please stop by Death by Killing and check out all the posts and a big thanks to Chris for running this fine series.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Rip Through Time

Charles Gramlich reviews A RIP THROUGH TIME and MILES TO LITTLE RIDGE. Note: TIME is now available at Barnes & Noble.

Chandler at Sotheby's

A first edition of Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep inscribed to his wife sells for over $250,000 at Sotheby’s M. Hat tip: Chris F. Holm.

Top Rated

Thanks for all the reviews, folks. MILES TO LITTLE RIDGE jumped to number thirteen on Amazon's Top Rated in Westerns! A few more rungs and it joins ADVENTURES Vol. I and II.

Self-published authors find e-success

In 2009, Michael Prescott's dream died, or so he thought.

Bloomberg: Publishers Are Still Missing the Boat on E-book Prices

The short-sighted strategy of pricing e-books higher than real books will likely backfire—and give Amazon a big boost.

Kindle Fire sales

USA Today: Despite criticisms, Kindle Fire sales remain on fire.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Scheer Reviews Miles

Ron Scheer reviews the latest Gideon Miles story.


The Return of Oscar Martello. It's about time.

Death by Killing Review

"In some ways, Volume 2 of Grainger's popular Cash and Miles series picks up where Volume 1 left off. Cash investigates crimes and exacts justice in a vivid, Western noir world. The stories are still told in Grainger's confident, no-nonsense style. But I felt like I got to..."

Finish Chris Rhatigan's review of ADVENTURES OF CASH LARAMIE AND GIDEON MILES, Vol II at Death by Killing.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Readers Return to the Stores

E-Books, Shmee-Books: Readers Return to the Stores.

Reasoner on Miles

James Reasoner reviews MILES TO LITTLE RIDGE.

Up On Cedar's Mountain

"To say it kept my interest all the way to the end would be an distinct understatement." Thanks, G!

Tony's Thoughts

For somebody my age it is easy to forget that there was ever a time when racial segregation existed in mainstream society."

Julia Madeleine Says

"There’s something about a cowboy that makes a girl’s heart pound a little faster."

Turning The Reins Of My Characters Over To Another Writer

Ever since the first Cash & Miles adventure appeared in 2008, I've been asked when a novel would come out. I began working on one at once and abandoned it almost as quickly. Then, as now, I’m not a novelist—yet. I love writing short stories, and I have completed a novella, so the way I look at it, I’m edging my way up to the longer player. But, considering the speed at which I write, it'd be 2050 before I have a finished piece.

In the meantime, I'm very proud that several authors of both western and crime approached me inquiring if I was interested in them penning a Cash Laramie/Gideon Miles novel. It seems the outlaw marshal and his stoic partner had been cheating on me by providing these other wordsmiths with some tremendous plot ideas.

First up is Heath Lowrance who impressed the hell out of me with THE BASTARD HAND and THAT DAMNED COYOTE HILL. He sent me an outline idea for a Miles noir western and I immediately liked it. I added my two cents and the result is MILES TO LITTLE RIDGE.

Turning the reins of my characters over to another writer may seem seem strange to some, but after reading this novella, you'll see that Mr. Lowrance not only nailed the voice of Gideon Miles but delivered a thrilling, action-packed little gem. We hope you like it and we're very interested in your thoughts.

MILES TO LITTLE RIDGE is $0.99 at Amazon's Kindle store.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

"With clear and direct prose..."

"I was nervous when I heard other authors were going to be writing tales featuring Grainger’s two heroes."

Tony's Thoughts

"What I wasn’t expecting from this collection of short stories was to shed a tear."

"I've never read a Western before..."

Heath Lowrance on writing MILES TO LITTLE RIDGE.

Now Available: Miles To Little Ridge

Edward A.Grainger's Gideon Miles hits the trail in this fast-clip western novella written by Heath Lowrance. The U.S. Marshal finds himself in the sleepy town of Little Ridge, Montana, on the search for a wanted man. But just as Miles enters town, he's spotted by a hard case who recognizes Miles as the lawman that killed his friend. Now Miles must face the wanted man, who claims his innocence and is raising a daughter on his own, while the hard case and a ne'er-do-well partner are gunning for him.

MILES TO LITTLE RIDGE is at Amazon for $0.99 or FREE if you are a Kindle owner and Prime member.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Miles To Little Ridge

I think the secret is out of the bag that some top writers like Wayne D. Dundee, Chuck Tyrell, Heath Lowrance, and Nik Morton are writing Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles stories. I couldn't be more thrilled with the excellent work I've read from these authors... it's as if they've crept into my mind and delivered stories that one would expect from these characters that I've become quite fond of.

First up will be a Gideon Miles novella by Heath Lowrance called MILES TO LITTLE RIDGE, which is in the final proofing stage as we speak. If you're interested in reviewing the book, just leave a comment here with your email address or drop me an email at with MILES in the subject line.

Harry Morgan R.I.P.

Harry Morgan, Colonel Potter on ‘M*A*S*H,’ Dies at 96.

Children’s drawings painted realistically

What children’s drawings would look like if it were painted realistically.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Dead Walked

I always look forward to Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin's next writing adventure and this time he is taking me to the land of the undead:
September was her favourite time of the year, and late September, when the autumn was just preparing to hand over to winter, when there was still a residue of the late summer warmth in the air, as well as the crisp promise of the iciness to come, had always been, as far as Missy was concerned, the finest chunk of that particular month.

Not for her was the spectacle of high summer, nor the morose beauty of mid winter. Of course they both had their fineries but these paled next to the season when the leaves glittered with reflected sunlight. It was the autumn, with September being the highlight of that season, which she loved – a time when nature put on its finest display as the lush summer growth was magically transformed as if by a sepia wand spewing gold dust into the air.

The sky itself seemed to glow at this time of year.

September was a time of promise.

A time of rebirth.

Not this September, though. This September, Missy would remember as, the time the dead walked.
Come visit a Scary Muther.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Dr. Robert Berlin has created The Baryon Core, a powerful device with the ability to predict the future and retrodict the past by tracking the position and vector of every particle in the universe. Berlin swipes his own creation from The Company and disappears into history. The Company's time-cop Simon Rip and the sexy, brilliant Dr. Serena Ludwig join together to track Berlin and return the device. Their pursuit will take them back to the ice age and forward to the end of time.

A Rip through Time follows the time-cop's travels in a series of five short stories written by several of today's top pulp writers. Chris F. Holm opens the collection with the fast-paced "The Dame, the Doctor and the Device." Charles A. Gramlich's "Battles, Broadswords, and Bad Girls" and Garnett Elliott's "Chaos in the Stream" breath new life into the time travel story. Bringing the saga to a gripping conclusion in "Darkling in the Eternal Space" is Chad Eagleton, who then takes it a step further with a mesmerizing coda, "The Final Painting of Hawley Exton." And for all the time-traveling enthusiasts, Ron Scheer provides an insightful essay, "Are We Then Yet," which explores the mechanics of time travel in popular fiction.

A RIP THROUGH TIME is now available at Smashwords for $0.99.

Monday, November 28, 2011

BEAT to a PULP #154: Papercut Pete's Blood-Stained MacGuffin by Cameron Ashley

Cameron Ashley is the chief editor of Crime Factory and a regular contributor to Criminal Complex. His most recent fiction can be found in the Noir at the Bar, D*cked and Crime Factory: The First Shift anthologies. He's upcoming in The One That Got Away and is currently working on several shorts, a comic book and a really messed-up novel set in the world of Japanese porn.

And I'm proud to say, Cameron Ashley is at BEAT to a PULP with (I love this title!) Papercut Pete's Blood-Stained MacGuffin.

Buy Bill's Book Gator Kill (Truman Smith Private Eye) eBook: Bill Crider: Kindle Store

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Real Edward A. Grainger

I'm over at Heath Lowrance's top Psycho-Noir blog today with a few thoughts on the real Edward A. Grainger. I hope you can stop by when you get a chance. Thanks.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tony's Thoughts

Tony doesn't normally read westerns but he took a chance on ADVENTURES OF CASH LARAMIE AND GIDEON MILES. Here is his review.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Cutman

Thanks to Mel Odom, I have five pdf copies of THE CUTMAN to hand out. So leave your name and e-mail and I will toss 'em into that hat you see me wearing. I'll draw five lucky winners this Saturday.

Mel Odom on Fight Card books debut.

Steampunk powers female characters forward

Article over at CNN.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Penguin moves into self-publishing

Venerable publisher's US arm offers 'direct path' into print for aspiring authors. [The Guardian]

My Mom

Chudney Thomas asked me to guest blog over at her wonderful site and I wrote a short piece on my mom. I hope you can stop by when you have a minute. And a BIG thanks to Chudney!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

BEAT to a PULP #152: In the Hard Nowhere by Chris Rhatigan

Chris Rhatigan is the co-editor, along with Nigel Bird, of the crime anthology Pulp Ink. He has a story in Pulp Metal Magazine's Laughing at the Death Grin, and will have a piece in Luca Veste's collection, Off the Record.

Mr. Rhatigan has our Weekly Punch with "In the Hard Nowhere."

Excerpt from “The Last Celluloid Desperado”

I'm reading the insightful and thoroughly entertaining Lee Server bio on Mitchum. He mentions a Rolling Stone interview and I found an excerpt written by Grover Lewis.

The Friends of Eddie Coyle: Excerpt from "The Last Celluloid Desperado."

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Rip Through Time eBook

Here's the cover for the soon-to-be-released eBook A RIP THROUGH TIME, which has been over a year in the making. The eBook will combine four edge-of-your-seat tales previously presented as a BEAT to a PULP Weekly Punch along with a brand new title, "The Last Painting of Hawley Exton" by Chad Eagleton. The other top writers in this scintillating collection are Chris F. Holm, Charles A. Gramlich, Garnett Elliott, and an essay on time travel in the movies and books by Ron Scheer.

Don't be surprised when the series time cop shows up again. Mr. Eagleton is putting the finishing touches on a Simon Rip novella to hit your local cyber store in early 2012.

In the meantime, the eBook A RIP THROUGH TIME will be released in a couple of weeks at the very reasonable price of $0.99!

Stephen King raising money for heating bills

Stephen King has a pretty good idea of what's scary, and the author is telling residents of his home state of Maine that freezing is one of them.
Click here for full story.

Author sues reviewer over comments on Amazon

A self-published author is suing a reviewer alongside Amazon and Richard Dawkins after unfavourable comments were posted about his book.
--The Telegraph

Friday, November 11, 2011

New Review For Pulp Modern And Cash Laramie

"The Wicked" by Edward A. Grainger is another excellent outing for US Marshall Cash Laramie. Used to seeing a younger Cash, Grainger gives the reader a glimpse of what the grizzled lawman is up to in 1911 New Orleans.
Read the full review by Elizabeth A. White.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Free Copies of Cash & Miles, Vol. II

Leave your e-mail address in the comments and I will send you a free Kindle version of ADVENTURES OF CASH LARAMIE AND GIDEON MILES, Vol. II. Or e-mail me at Sorry, no other formats currently available. Offer good through this Sunday at midnight.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Chad Eagleton...

Chad Eagleton's thoughts on writing the fourth Simon Rip adventure.

BEAT to a PULP #151: A Rip through Time: Darkling in the Eternal Space by Chad Eagleton

Chris F. Holm, Charles A. Gramlich, and Garnett Elliott have all gone a round with the BTAP Simon Rip saga, and all three have done an amazing job fleshing out
the worlds and characters I had imagined with breathtaking elements I never would have dreamed of creating.

Now, Chad Eagleton takes us to the next stop beyond. To reveal even a small part of this beautiful piece would be a crime, so I won’t, though I will tell you this latest Simon Rip adventure brings the story thread--that began over a year ago--to a conclusion.

However, Mr. Eagleton is just brimming over with ideas, so much that he has written another Rip story in a novella! More on that another day. For now, here is the return of the time cop hero in "Darkling in the Eternal Space".

Friday, November 4, 2011

My Dark Pages

I'm at Dead End Follies with a pithy remembrance of Frank and Joe Hardy. Stop by when you get a second.

Photo-Finish Friday -- Teaching Ava to Drive

She's already doing the Jeep wave.

Leah J. Utas is the force behind PFF.

Hope everyone has a top weekend.

Monday, October 31, 2011

BEAT to a PULP #150: Free Mercury by Jodi MacArthur

Jodi MacArthur believes lava and quick silver should be guarded by puppeteers in separate galaxies. Her fiction has been featured in pulp, bizarro, and horror magazines throughout the web and in print.

Jodi MacArthur is at BEAT to a PULP with "Free Mercury."

7 Questions With...

Nik Korpon at Gutter Books.

"All of this is a long way to say I want to read stories where the knife is wavering beneath the table, unsheathed, rather than covered in blood."

Friday, October 28, 2011

Photo-Finish Friday -- Smoke 'n Paint

My Charmers and I were driving in the countryside when I saw these two horses that could have passed for the steeds of my heroes.

PFF is the creation of Leah J. Utas.

Hope everyone has a fun-filled weekend.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cash is King

The first piece of fan-inspired art for the outlaw marshal. Cool! Thank you, T.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

BEAT to a PULP #149: Intervention by William Dylan Powell

William Dylan Powell writes dark, and often funny, mystery fiction set in Texas. He's the author or co-author of a half-dozen books, and winner of awards from the Robert L. Fish Memorial Award Fund and the Mystery Writers of America. Powell's work has been featured in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Demolition Magazine, and a host of fine truck stop bathroom walls across the Texas badlands.

Mr. Powell is at BEAT to a PULP with "Intervention."

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Now Available: Adventures Of Cash Laramie And Gideon Miles Vol. II

Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles Vol. II continues to chronicle the tales of two unorthodox 19th century U.S. Marshals. With seven more adventures, this collection includes the novella "Origin of White Deer" where the outlaw marshal leaves his Arapaho home as a teen to find his roots in the lawless town of Cheyenne, Wyoming. These noir tales infuse the Western genre with a fresh perspective on topics like race relations and social justice while still delivering pulse-racing action in the tradition of Wanted: Dead or Alive and Gunsmoke.

Volume II is now available.


Pluck You, Too!

Naked But For A Loincloth.

Old Fashioned Genre in New-Fangled Form.

From Dundee's Desk.

Tontowilliam's Electronic Scrapbook.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Short Sharp Interview

Paul Brazill's Short Sharp Interview with David Cranmer/ Edward A. Grainger. Hey, that's me!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Seven Books Worth Your Time

DIG TEN GRAVES by Heath Lowrance: "Heath Lowrance follows up his classic debut, THE BASTARD HAND, with a searing collection of hard-boiled, dark fiction. The blackest of noir permeates the pages of DIG TEN GRAVES and oozes into its dark alleyways, its blood stained streets and its rain soaked gutters - even the crevices on the faces of its battle scarred and booze battered protagonists." -- Paul D Brazill.

THE CHAOS WE KNOW by Keith Rawson: “The Chaos We Know is a pulp-fueled debut w/ dopers, cops, husbands and wives. boyfriends & girlfriends, psychos & sadists, sand-storming through the potholes & shithouses of Arizona, leaving barnacles of the self centered, the down trodden’ & the surviving. Keith Rawson is the new garbage-tongued satirist of filth, deviance & violence for the new underclass.” -- Frank Bill.

THE NIGHT AND THE MUSIC by Lawrence Block: Lawrence Block’s 17 Matthew Scudder novels have won the hearts of readers throughout the world—along with a bevy of awards including the Edgar, the Shamus, the Philip Marlowe (Germany), and the Maltese Falcon (Japan).
And it’s MattScudder who’s been largely reponsible for Block’s lifetime achievement awards: Grand Master (Mystery Writers of America), The Eye (Private Eye Writers of America), and the Cartier Diamond Dagger (UK Crime Writers Association).

But Scudder has starred in short fiction as well, and it’s all here, from a pair of late-70s novelettes (Out the Window and A Candle for the Bag Lady) through By the Dawn’s Early Light (Edgar) and The Merciful Angel of Death (Shamus), all the way to One Last Night at Grogan’s, a moving and elegiac story never before published. It was short fiction that kept the series alive on the several occasions when the flow of novels wass ingterrupted, and short stories that took Scudder down different paths and showed us unmapped portions of his world.

CHOKE ON YOUR LIES by Anthony Neil Smith: A new novel by the author of PSYCHOSOMATIC, YELLOW MEDICINE, and HOGDOGGIN'. Smith presents his homage to one of his favorite detectives, Nero Wolfe, but written for the "internet porn" generation.

Octavia VanderPlatts is wealthy, powerful, and "comfortable with her weight"--or to hear her say it, a "rich fat b****." Her IQ is at the genius level, and she uses it to manipulate and frighten anyone who tries to get in her way. She controls an empire built on discrimination lawsuits won against some of the nation's top companies. On top of that, Octavia doesn't care one wink what people think of her.

PULP MODERN Edited by Alec Cizak: The inaugural issue of Pulp Modern, a quarterly dedicated to crime, fantasy, and western fiction. Includes new stories by Jimmy Callaway, James Duncan, C.J. Edwards, Garnett Elliott, Melissa Embry, Edward A. Grainger, Glenn Gray, David James Keaton, John Kenyon, Chris La Tray, Yarrow Paisley, Matthew Pizzolato, Thomas Pluck, Stephen D. Rogers, Sandra Seamans, Copper Smith and a classic tale by pulp fiction pioneer Lawrence Block.

FRANK SINATRA IN A BLENDER by Matthew J. McBride: Sometimes solving a crime takes a hard guy who’s not afraid to work outside the law, and PI Nick Valentine swerves through the underbelly of St. Louis looking for answers. With every law he breaks, every drink he takes, and every Oxycontin he snorts, Valentine lurches closer to finding the truth. Or floating facedown in the Missouri River.

THE TRADITIONAL WEST (A Western Fictioneers Anthology): The classic American Western returns in this collection of brand-new stories by some of the top Western writers in the world today. Robert J. Randisi, Dusty Richards, James Reasoner, Larry D. Sweazy, L.J. Washburn, Jackson Lowry, Larry Jay Martin, Kerry Newcomb, and many other members of Western Fictioneers, the only writers’ organization devoted solely to traditional Western fiction, take readers from the dusty plains of Texas to the sweeping vistas of Montana and beyond, in the biggest original Western anthology ever published!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pulp Modern

The inaugural issue of Pulp Modern, a quarterly dedicated to crime, fantasy, and western fiction. Includes new stories by Jimmy Callaway, James Duncan, C.J. Edwards, Garnett Elliott, Melissa Embry, Edward A. Grainger, Glenn Gray, David James Keaton, John Kenyon, Chris La Tray, Yarrow Paisley, Matthew Pizzolato, Thomas Pluck, Stephen D. Rogers, Sandra Seamans, Copper Smith and a classic tale by pulp fiction pioneer Lawrence Block. (Edited by Alec Cizak)

I'm very honored to be with this crew. My story (writing as Edward A. Grainger) is "The Wicked" and features an older Cash Laramie in 1911's New Orleans.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Adventures II Foreword by Alec Cizak

The western is one of those things. Like rock and roll. Like theater. Jackasses in coffee houses everywhere are always pronouncing it dead. There’s seductive evidence to suggest that diagnosis correct—Hollywood has a hard time prying its big fat wallet open to finance a western (never mind that the goddamn town was practically built on the genre). The only way television could get a western going in this day and age was by shuffling it off to the ‘naughty’ corner of cable and filling its character’s mouths with non-stop profanity. Stroll into most book stores (the ones that still exist, speaking of a dying species) and you’ll probably find one shelf of westerns with the safe, traditional names on the spines. Here’s the problem, though, here’s why there’s no authoritative signature on that particular death certificate: The western is not dead. People read them, people watch them, and people like Edward A. Grainger (aka David Cranmer) are fueling the genre with fresh stories and characters that satisfy both old and new conventions.

Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles has been out for a short time and garnered enough attention to demonstrate that there is not only sustained interest in the western, but new blood ducking in to take a peek and, if we are to believe the avalanche of praise Grainger’s first collection has received, liking what they see. And why not? Without the self-conscious posturing of postmodernism, Grainger has, in fact, crafted a postmodern west that takes into account the conspicuous absence of non-white, non-protestant members of the American family. Grainger is not one, I suspect, to bellow about “political correctness” and “inclusion” and “diversity” and all the other buzz words that college campuses and public service announcements like to drill into our heads in effort to keep the masses civilized. Like that old adage about faith, them that shout the loudest, we should assume, believe the least. No, Grainger very quietly sits wherever it is he writes and creates stories about the old west that fill in a lot of spaces left by previous generations of writers and filmmakers.

I compared Volume I to John Ford’s The Searchers and I stand by that comparison. Like The Searchers, Grainger’s stories address America’s racial and ethnic realities in a straightforward manner so refreshingly free of self-consciousness that one is able to read the stories purely for entertainment or as the subtle political statements that they are. Grainger has, in short, achieved that great balance between form and function. In my opinion, this should be the goal of any serious artist.

On the surface, these are entertaining tales. Cash Laramie is part Dirty Harry, part Billy Jack. Of course, he walks the Earth a hundred years before those great vigilante characters of the 1970s. He benefits from a more relaxed attitude towards rogue justice. The result is a character who punishes bad guys the way all of us, deep down, would prefer. Thus, men who abuse children are dispatched without all the pesky paperwork and legal acrobats criminals benefit from today. Bigots who hang people simply because they don’t like the color of their skin are brutally tortured and left for dead. In Volume II, Cash continues his brand of “outlaw” justice, repositioning that tricky line between “right” and “wrong.” We are also treated to the story of Cash’s origin. Gideon Miles does not play as significant a role as he did in the first collection of stories, but his appearance here reinforces my belief that Edward Grainger is telling tales of the west in a much more honest manner than any writer or filmmaker has attempted before and he is doing so without begging for an “atta’ boy!” from the coffee house crowd.

There are some who would argue that Cash Laramie’s “outlaw” justice is just that—beyond the borders of the law and therefore suspect. I think they are missing the point. American mythology is twisted in contradictions that brutal lawmen like Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles untangle with gut decisions we all wish we could execute every time we watch in horror as the justice system fails to discipline someone who is obviously guilty. These stories nurture a basic human desire to create a world that makes sense emotionally. In that way, they are a kind of medicine, don’t you think?

Alec Cizak
August, 2011


Thanks, Alec.

Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles Vol. II will be released very soon with seven more stories featuring my 19th century antiheroes. Three tales are brand new, including the novella "Origin of White Deer" where a young Cash leaves his adoptive family to head into Cheyenne and find his roots.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

BEAT to a PULP #143: Silas' Good Run by Matthew C. Funk

Silas woke, put his hand on his AK-47, and inhaled the smells around him. It was how he got his bearings in the morning. As a Catholic, Silas knew rituals were important.

Wallpaper glue, sweat, and newsprint: these scents meant he was at his Law Street apartment. He smelled crude oil and the fecal stink of the Mississippi. That just meant he was still in the Ninth Ward.

Matthew C. Funk with Silas' Good Run.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Cash Laramie Returns

The outlaw marshal is at Naomi's top The Drowning Machine. I think this one turned out pretty darn good and will be included in Vol. II of ADVENTURES which will be out in a couple of weeks. Your comments are welcomed.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Introduction to Riding the Pulp Trail by Laurie Powers

My grandfather, Paul S. Powers (1905-1971) was a prolific and successful pulp fiction writer from the mid 1920s until the late 1940s. The majority of his work was published in WILD WEST WEEKLY, a Street & Smith magazine, where his popular characters Sonny Tabor and Kid Wolf appeared regularly for fifteen years. But he was also an accomplished writer of horror, detective, noir and romance tales. Some of his first works were published in WEIRD TALES, known as the publisher of the finest horror and fantasy fiction of the 20th century. Powers’ proudest achievement, however, was his novel DOC DILLAHAY, a novel based on the life of his father as a pioneer physician, which was published by Macmillan in 1949.

This collection, however, is a collection of westerns that are quite different from my grandfather’s work with WILD WEST WEEKLY. To explain, I need to give you a little background.

I didn’t know of my grandfather’s pulp fiction career until 1999, when I ran an Internet search on the only pen name I knew of, Ward M. Stevens. Over the next six months, I discovered that he had written hundreds of stories for WILD WEST WEEKLY. But my search did end there. I also found my grandfather’s other children – my aunt and uncle - that I hadn’t seen in 35 years. When I reunited with my aunt Pat in June of 1999, she gave me two large boxes filled with my grandfather’s personal papers that had been stored in her attic since Paul’s death in 1971. In there, among many other things, was Paul’s unpublished memoir, PULP WRITER: TWENTY YEARS IN THE AMERICAN GRUB STREET that he had written in 1943. In 2007, 64 years after it was written, PULP WRITER was published by the University of Nebraska Press.

In 2001, my aunt handed me another box. It was a small box, something that would be used to store documents. She said it was unpublished manuscripts; I thought she said they were rejects from WILD WEST WEEKLY. I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t look at the stories until eight years later and it wasn’t until a friend, David Cranmer, casually asked mentioned in an email that “wouldn’t it be great if we could find some of your grandfather’s unpublished works and get them published now.” My thoughts immediately went to that little box that had been stored in my closet.

When I opened it up and began to read them, I was shocked to discover that these stories weren’t rejects from WILD WEST WEEKLY. Rather, there were many stories that were written after WILD WEST WEEKLY had shut down. In addition, there were many stories that weren’t westerns at all. There were almost 30 stories in that little box. Five of them appear in this collection. The sixth new story, “By the Neck Until Dead,” is a Sonny Tabor story that was intended to be published in WILD WEST WEEKLY in 1943, but never appeared because of the magazine’s suspension.

The remaining six stories in this collection were published in magazines such as THRILLING WESTERN, TEXAS RANGERS, EXCITING WESTERN, RIO KID WESTERN, and THRILLING RANCH STORIES in the late 1940s. Paul did write many other stories for other magazines, such as for WESTERN STORY MAGAZINE, but these six reflect a good variety of themes and represent some of his best post-WWW work.

Two of the published stories, “A Pard for Navajo Jack,” and “Judgment Day on Whisky Trail,” appeared in THRILLING WESTERN in 1947 and 1948. “Hangnoose for a Prodigal” appeared in THRILLING RANCH STORIES in March 1948. “Buzzards Hate Bullets” was published in EXCITING WESTERN in November 1947. All of these aforementioned magazines were under Leo Margulies’ editorial care at Standard Publications. The two other stories, “Boothill is My Destination,” that appeared in TEXAS RANGERS in December 1947, and “Death is Where You Find It” in RIO KID WESTERN in August 1949, were imprints of Better Publications.

All of the stories in this collection reflect a new style that my grandfather had to adopt in the early 1940s. His earlier, WILD WEST WEEKLY style was developed and honed over the 15 years he wrote for the magazine. It was geared towards adolescents that read WWW and was full of the “blood and thunder” indicative of the westerns that were churned out during that period. It was a highly lucrative trade for my grandfather; but it also put him at an extreme disadvantage when he had to change course and relearn his craft when the old style was no longer popular. No longer were heroes to be the semi-super human cowboys who survived hundreds of bullet wounds and shoot targets with jaw dropping speed and accuracy. They were now to be more mature and sometimes with a darker look on life. Heroes that for years were clean-cut, highly moral and almost puritan in their habits were replaced by lead characters who drank, smoked, and swore.

Still, Paul managed to adapt. The editor that most often corresponded with Paul was Marguiles. While there were several rejection letters in the box, once I studied the pattern of published stories during that period, I found that Margulies published as many stories during that time as he rejected.

Paul’s output in the late 1940s was merely a fraction of the amount that he wrote for WILD WEST WEEKLY, but it was for a good reason. While he was writing these stories, he was also writing DOC DILLAHAY. When the time came in 1943 to finally start on that book, nothing was going to stop him, not even the lucrative money he knew he could make writing for WESTERN STORY, EXCITING WESTERNS and THRILLING RANCH STORIES. I like to think that despite the drastic drop in income he experienced during this period, he probably relished the change of pace in writing these new stories and the freedom from the pressure of turning out Sonny Tabor, Kid Wolf, Freckles Malone, and Johnny Forty-five stories every single week.

Before turning you loose on this wonderful collection, I’d like to thank a few people. First off, a deep gratitude to my aunt, Pat Binkley, who has entrusted me not only with the personal papers but also with the privilege of sharing her father’s life story through this book and other publications. I can only hope that I am doing it justice. Thanks also to David Cranmer who, as I mentioned before, started this whole ball rolling in getting these new stories in print. His support has always kept me going. Matt Moring of Altus Press has been an enthusiastic and patient partner in the process of getting these stories out of my closet and into the public’s hands.

I want to thank my friends in the pulp fiction community and those who have followed my blog,, many of whom expressed interest and support in getting these stories published. Many of them are leading historians and collectors of pulp fiction magazines. They are also some of the nicest people I have ever met. In particular I’d like to thank Ed Hulse, Walker Martin, Barry Traylor, Jack Irwin, Steve Kennedy, Jack Cullers, John Locke, and Will Murray for their generosity in sharing their extensive knowledge.

And finally I’d like to thank Gary Dobbs, a fine Western writer in his own right, who came up with the great title for this collection. I couldn’t think of a more fitting title for this collection than RIDING THE PULP TRAIL.

Check out Laurie's Wild West.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

BEAT to a PULP #142: Scion of the Evening Star by Garnett Elliott

Paul Brazill delivered one of BTAP's biggest hits with "LoVINg the Alien." Now pulp ace Garnett Elliott continues the saga with "Scion of the Evening Star."

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Top Rated

This morning ADVENTURES hit #1 on Amazon's Top Rated chart. Thank you to everyone who supported the book by either buying or reviewing. Deeply appreciated, folks.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Crimes In Southern Indiana Stories

Frank Bill is the laureate of the working class hero. His characters have been pushed down, stomped on, and trampled over until they've reached their breaking points, and they are striking back to claim any little piece of ground they can get. Bill’s style has been keenly compared to Woodrell, McCarthy, and Thompson. He builds on their legacy, creating an impressive, unique style all his own.

Don't miss out on this exceptional collection now available.


Also check out Keith Rawson's Revisited—The Need by Frank Bill

Monday, August 22, 2011

New Review

A very touching review of ADVENTURES from Sabrina Ogden

And I hit #2 on the top rated chart. I thank everyone on Blogger, Twitter, and Google+ who made this happen.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Pulp Ink

My story "Clouds in a Bunker" is featured in PULP INK. This antho features the spectacular talents of the following:

Allan Guthrie
Reed Farrel Coleman
Gary Phillips
Hilary Davidson
Matthew C. Funk
Paul D. Brazill
AJ Hayes
Michael J. Solender
Richard Godwin
Naomi Johnson
Jimmy Callaway
Sandra Seamans
Patti Abbott
Jodi MacArthur
Chris F. Holm
Jason Duke
Eric Beetner
Ian Ayris
Kate Horsley
Matt Lavin
Jim Harrington
Nigel Bird
Chris Rhatigan

PULP INK is the bizarre, chaotic side of crime fiction. From an ass-kicking surfer on acid to an idiot savant hitboy, these tales are dark, funny, action-packed and told with all the gleeful insanity of a Tarantino flick.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Magnum Gray in My Storytelling

I’ve been pondering the gray area in my storytelling, specifically where my ideas originated on social justice and the antiheroes who cross the line to administer it.

I grew up with wonderful, caring parents who doted on me, and I, in turn, loved them immensely. No rebellious years for me unless you count sneaking in a few Playboy magazines. Mom and Dad brought me up by The Golden Rule, and when they reached their late forties, they became Baptists. We went to church three times a week where I continued to be taught right from wrong. Jesus is good. Satan is evil. No middle ground. No gray area. At the same time, my mom loved old movies (Humphrey Bogart, Errol Flynn, Ronald Coleman, etc.) and my dad watched westerns (Gunsmoke and The Rifleman were favorites). Most of these heroes were straight forward with little conflict. They were good and did the right thing. That made up my foundation.

Then along came Magnum, P.I. I wanted to be Tom Selleck’s Magnum. He was the good guy that men liked and women wanted. He lived on a rich estate. He drove a red Ferrari. What’s not to like, right? Other kids in school and church watched Magnum and none of our parents were bothered by the show--it seems silly to say these days, but to some straight-laced folks back then, bikinis and violence could corrupt a child’s mind. Yet, Magnum was considered safe, an all-American hero. Until the 1982 episode called “Did You See the Sunrise.”

The plot: It starts with Magnum and T.C. (another of the show’s regulars) meeting up with an old Army buddy named Nuzo who warns them that a former rival named Ivan is back to settle a score. Nuzo reminds them that they were the only three to escape Ivan’s prison camp in ‘Nam. SPOILER ALERT: Ivan is now a high-priced assassin who has come to Hawaii to kill a Japanese prince. Magnum and his buddies thwart the attempt, but, in the process, Magnum’s friend Mac is murdered by Ivan. Because of some political red tape, the government has to let Ivan go free. That doesn’t sit well with Magnum:

Holy crap! The next day, everyone I knew was talking about this final scene. Magnum, our hero, killed someone in cold blood! It was wrong! But it was ok! My mom said it was bad! My mom said it was right! I pondered this scene for weeks, coming to the realization that life is made up of gray areas that people don’t seem to like to talk or even think about.

It was this episode of Magnum that sparked it all for me, unwittingly creating the germ of my fictional antihero, Cash Laramie, the outlaw marshal. Though, as you can see by Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles, Cash goes beyond Magnum’s one-time, cold-blood rage and will often hunt down these monsters. His behavior gives him a sense of doubt at times, and eventually it leads him to a harsh reality in "Reflections in a Glass of Maryland Rye" (featured in the upcoming ADVENTURES Volume II).

Sorry to be so long winded and rambling on you, folks. I'm sure tracing the development of my character to one of my favorite television heroes interests me more than anyone else. But, it's not every day I have such an eye-opening moment.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Crime Factory Vol. 2 No. 7

"Cash Laramie and the Painted Ladies" in issue #7 of Crime Factory.

Cam, Keith, Liam, and Jimmy have put together an incredible issue that includes the marvelous talents of Sean Doolittle, Todd Robinson, Matthew C. Funk, Chad Eagleton, Derek Kelly, The Nerd of Noir, Richard Thomas, Don Lafferty, Joelle Charbonneau, and many more.

Don’t waste another moment and go check it out!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Gun Justice

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

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

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

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

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

Picture of me holding a 19th century Colt.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, July 25, 2011

Family, Anecdotes and The Tradition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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