Monday, May 31, 2010

Pulp Cover Day: Remembering Those Who Served

Happy Memorial Day, everyone. Whatever you do today, please take time out to remember those who died in service to our country.

ADVENTURE, June 1941

SHORT STORIES, May 25, 1944


WINGS, April 1943

SHORT STORIES, October 10, 1944

NAVY STORIES, February 1929

FLYING ACES, August 1943

BLUE BOOK, September 1945


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Wine Without Music Story Still In The Spotlight

Just a reminder that "Wine Without Music" is still being showcased over at A Twist of Noir and will be for the remainder of today. This is a great treat, because usually Christopher posts new stories every day, sometimes twice a day, so stories quickly get "buried" underneath the new ones being posted. But Christopher wanted to let Wine Without Music get the spotlight for a while, which I really appreciate. So now's the time to go read it. Of course it will always be there, but not as prominently as it is now.

To celebrate its unveiling, here's a few photos of my father and grandfather.

This is of the two of them, taken in 1925 or 1926 when John was a baby.

My mother and father, probably around 1945.

Paul in the 1950s.

There are a lot more photos, but I have got to get busy and scan them.

Hope everyone is having a great holiday weekend.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Dennis Hopper: 1936 - 2010

Dennis Hopper has passed away.

I am nowhere near being close to having seen all of this movies. Lord knows he was in a lot of clunkers. But many were magnificent. Of those I have seen, some of them profoundly affected me in one way or another: namely, Easy Rider and Apocalypse Now. Besides being great movies, they are landmark movies of the time when I was growing up. I am sad that he is gone.

May he rest in peace.

If you'd like to post something about your favorite Dennnis Hopper movie, please do so.

Friday, May 28, 2010

"Wine Without Music," by Paul Powers and John Powers, is Now at A Twist of Noir

"Wine Without Music," a short story co-written by my grandfather, Paul Powers, and my father, John H. Powers, is now up at A Twist of Noir. There is an introduction that discusses how I found this story along with a brief biography of the two authors. You can access the introduction separately from the story if you want.

This is the first time this story has been made public.

Over the weekend, please take a look at the story and let us know, either here or over at ATON, what you think of it.

I want to thank Christopher Grant over at A Twist of Noir for his enthusiasm over posting this story.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Photo Finish Friday - The Jacaranda Trees

I love this time of year in Southern California because of the jacaranda trees. I wish they were this color all year long - but then I probably wouldn't appreciate them if they were.

I think that people either love these trees or they hate them because of the mess they make. To me, the mess is part of the beauty. I've known a few people that hate them. Now that I think about it, I find these people to be a little suspect.

Pardon the low resolution on these photos - they were taken with my cell phone.

Photo Finish Friday is hosted by Leah Utas over at The Goat's Lunch Pail. David Cranmer over at The Education of a Pulp Writer also joins in and I love the shot that he has up there now. If any of you want to partake in PFF, I'm sure there's room for more contributors.

Pulp Writer is Going to Get a Makeover

No, not my grandfather. That would be a mean feat at this point, considering he's been dead since 1971. And cremated. (Sorry, Grandpa.)

It's the Pulp Writer web site that's going to be redone. I've been having fits over it: it gets very little traffic and has been stagnant for a very long time. The trouble is that I've had a webmaster in charge of updating the site, and if I sent every update, every new review, and every change in the links page to her, I'd be broke. And if I wanted to do it myself, I'd have to do all these complicated software-speak things like download FTPs and learn HTML and it just makes me tired thinking about it.

But my webmaster just contacted me and told me that we can switch the site over to what's called a Content Management site and afterwards I would have complete control over the site. Which means I can add pages, get the site connected to all of the other pulp web sites and forums out there, announce when new stories are posted online, and advertise the new collection of Paul Powers stories that will be coming out. And sell books.

Oh, I've got a lot of grand ideas. This is gonna be fun.

I'll keep you all posted. And if you have any ideas on what would make a pulp fiction web site really boss, put it in the comments.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Happy Birthday John Wayne

John Wayne, born Marion Michael Morrison on May 26, 1907.

I have to admit that I never appreciated John Wayne when I was younger. Now that I've developed a better appreciation of westerns, I see him differently. Or maybe it's just because I'm getting older and realize that when I was younger I used to dismiss a lot of things before thoroughly investigating them. Or, it could be just because I prefer movies made the old-fashioned way (movies with plot and character) as opposed to the way they are made now (special effects spectacles). Whatever the reason, nowadays I relish the opportunity to sit down and watch a Wayne movie.

Here are 10 select portraits. Leave a comment if you wish as to what is your favorite John Wayne movie.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

New Black Horse Western to Look For: Echoes of a Dead Man

I don't know how I missed mentioning this post when it first came out, but I did. My friend Joanne Walpole's new Black Horse Western, Echoes of a Dead Man, is going to be released in October and is now available for pre-order at Amazon UK.

I loved Jo's first Western, Long Shadows, and I can't wait to read the next one. If you're a Western fan, you can't lose. For a review of Long Shadows, go here. Jo writes under her pseudonym Terry James.

New Book Review of Pulp Writer at The Broken Bullhorn

If the good news about "Wine Without Music" wasn't enough, I've just learned that a new review of PULP WRITER is up at The Broken Bullhorn, and it's a wonderful review - one of the best written reviews I've seen on PULP WRITER yet.

For those of you who haven't read it yet, PULP WRITER is still available over at and can be purchased for a song. And if you want to know more about the story behind PULP WRITER and about WILD WEST WEEKLY, the pulp fiction magazine my grandfather wrote for, go to the Pulp Writer Website.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Paul Powers Story to be Posted On A Twist of Noir

Received some very exciting news today: another one of my grandfather's stories will be posted on A Twist of Noir this Friday. This story, "Wine Without Music" actually shows my father, John Powers, as a co-writer, which makes sense because the story has a young doctor as a character and my father was a med student at the time the story was written. This photo, taken around 1953, would have been around that time.

From left to right: My father John, Mary (Paul's wife), Paul, my sister Becky in the highchair, sister Linda (with glasses), sister Patty, and my mother Ruth.

I've actually had this story for many years. It was found in my grandfather's personal papers when we first went through them in 1999. But once I read it, I didn't quite know what to do with it. It's not that it's not good - in fact, it's a stunning piece - but it's just...different. Once you read it, you'll know what I'm talking about. When I decided recently to start parceling out some of my grandfather's stories in anticipation of publishing a collection in the near future, it dawned on me that one of the fine web sites that are now publishing noir fiction would be a good idea. A Twist of Noir is the perfect place, because it has an excellent reputation and is also well known by many of you.

I'm especially proud of this piece because I'm sure it took a lot of guts to write, and also because of my father's contribution. Although he was a doctor, he inherited the talent for writing, if his letters are any indication.

I'll put up a link once it's posted.

Lima Time in Long Beach: Jose Lima Remembered

Yesterday the baseball team received a shock with the news that Jose Lima had died in his sleep at the age of 37, apparently of a heart attack. An all-star pitcher, he played in the Major League 13 seasons. He only pitched for Los Angeles one year, 2004, but it was a memorable one. He pitched a five-hit shutout against the St. Louis Cardinals, the first Dodgers post-season win since 1988.

photo: Jon SooHoo / Dodgers

Jose was known for his huge personality as much for his playing ability. While he sometimes annoyed the opponents with his gestures and his antics, it was always "It's Lima Time" when he pitched for the Dodgers and the fans ate it up.

I wasn't around Los Angeles in 2004 so I missed Lima time with the Dodgers. But last year Jose was playing for Long Beach's Independent Golden League team, the Armada, and my friends Stacey, Kristin and I went to a game to see him. He was apparently hoping that someone would pick him up for another season in the majors.

He was more than approachable, signing baseballs and posing with Stacey for a photo.

Then he sung the National Anthem. It wasn't bad.

His pitching was erratic that night, but he still won me over with his child-like enthusiasm and his team spirit. He was always jumping up and down and always there - first in line - to congratulate a team mate who had scored.

It's always tough to see a ball player who has retired from the majors try to regain some of the old glory by playing with a semi-pro league. It's stuff that movies are made of, except in the movies, most of the time it's a happy ending and the player ends up playing one last game for the majors. That wasn't the case for Jose; he was never called up again and left the Armada after that year. But according to people who knew him, he moved on with a smile and with plans. He was on the verge of opening a youth basball camp in Pasadena; when it was announced at a Dodger game earlier this year we even discussed it with Stacey to see if perhaps her son Eric might want to go.

In one of life's great ironies, Jose showed up for a Dodger game last Friday night when they were playing the Tigers (he pitched for the Tigers during his career as well). Between two innings, the Dodgers big screen played a short tribute to Jose, showing clips of his playing career. After the tribute, the camera showed Jose sitting in the stands. He grinned, stood up and waved, and the crowd roared its appreciation.

It was Lima Time again, one last time.

This article on the Dodgers website talks about how some players remember Lima.

Thanks to Stacey and Kristin for sending me photos.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Needlework: It's Not Just Stitch By Number

Caution: girly post ahead!

This week was a good one for me in that I finally completed a needlework project that I had started - believe it or not - over two years ago. It wouldn't have taken that long, but I dropped it for several months and there were many many weeks in which I only worked on it a few hours a week. You do get burnt out on these and have to do something else for a while. I picked this canvas about the time that I was on the verge of losing my house - a house where I had done significant improvements and had developed a lot of stunning gardens, if I do say so myself. So picking this canvas, I realized later, was part of my grieving process in having to leave that house.

This canvas is 9" X 10". There are many different stitches; you can see the different ones in the grass, the french knots that make up the potted plant on the bench, and the arms of the bench. Most of the stitches are suggested by my needlework teacher, but I'm proud of the fact that I came up with a lot of the stitches on this one myself. The arms and seat of the bench and the purple hydrengea blossoms in the lower right hand corner.

This canvas was particularly challenging because the original painting on the canvas must have been based on a watercolor; there were many areas where the colors bled, resulting in a lot of uneven edges and colors where they shouldn't have been - issues that sometimes I didn't discover until I was well into the stitch and realized that I had a problem. Anyone who think doing needlework canvases is just stitching by number has no idea.

This was the fourth needlework project for me. The third one was this one below. It took me about six months and cost me big chunks of my sanity. The little white and yellow boxes show you some of the intricacies. These stitches again were suggested by my teacher; I wanted to kill her by the time I was about halfway done. But I have to say this is my favorite piece so far and the one I'm most proud of.

One thing about needlework: the canvases can be expensive: These two canvases above ran between $100 and $200 each. Then once you're done, you need to get it framed, too. My first two projects, two small cat pictures - very cute - are just now being framed, and I finished them almost three years ago. Or you can turn it into a pillow, which will be the case with the yellow and white flower canvas above. You need to ship it off to a skilled seamstress and the cost of turning this 9" X 9" canvas into a pillow can be prohibitive.

Needlework is one of my favorite ways to relax; despite the challenging stitches and the worry that it's making me go blind, I find it the perfect way to turn off my brain. You cannot do anything except stitch. You can have the television on, but you can't watch it. So it's perfect for doing while listening to baseball games.

Here's my next project. Hopefully it won't take two years to do.

I couldn't have done any of this without Donna DiMarco, my needlwork instructor who has been just a love to work with. She is a very popular teacher who teaches a class every Monday nights and Friday afternoons at Sit N Stitch in Toluca Lake.

I've never written about my needlework on my blog, because I know a good majority of my readers are men. Then I found A Bloomsbury Life, which was written up in the Los Angeles Times a few weeks ago. Lisa does incredible needlework based on photos that she's taken (she talks about the technique in one of her posts) and I thought if she can do it, so can I.

Thanks for humoring me.