Friday, July 30, 2010

Pulp Fest: Day One

Today was the first day of Pulp Fest, going on until Sunday at the Ramada Plaza in Columbus Ohio. It was a terrific day; a good turnout and a whole lotta really REALLY nice pulps laying around. This is a place where you can see some of the rarest pulps, like STRANGE SUICIDES, on the same rack as ADVENTURE and POPULAR and DIME DETECTIVE.

The day did not start out auspiciously for me. I set two alarms the night before for 6 AM. Or, at least I thought I had set two alarms. I woke up at ten minutes to eight. So for most of the day I had to deal with feeling rushed AND with jet lag.

But never mind, it's been wonderful catching up with everyone, including our regulars Walker Martin (who has been so wonderful in dragging people over to my table so they'll buy a copy of PULP WRITER) and Barry Traylor, Ed Hulse, Jack Irwin, Will Murray and so many others I am forgetting to mention because it's late.

I would like to send out again my condolences to Scott Hartshorn, who's father passed away just a few days ago while Scott was on his was to Pulp Fest. Only a few months ago, his mother passed. Scott is here, and it's probably a good thing. All of his friends as well as all of the treasures in this room will keep him occupied.

We had a TV cameraman from the local news station show up and take photos; we're hoping that it showed up on the local news tonight. Last year we had the same coverage and it brought a lot of people out to the convention.

I was on a panel tonight about the Western Pulp, along with Ed Hulse, William F. Nolan (The Guest of Honor and author of LOGAN'S RUN) and Don Hutchison (THE GREAT PULP HEROES). This year is the 90th anniversary of Max Brand's first appearance as a pulp writer in WESTERN STORY, so a lot of the discussion was about Max Brand. But I did get my two cents in about PULP WRITER and those lesser-known writers like Paul Powers. It was a great time.

Before our panel, Bill Nolan spoke about his writing career and how LOGAN'S RUN came about. A very entertaining speaker Nolan is, and he has tons of knowledge about the pulps. He is now working on a biography of Max Brand.

So far I have been very good in my pulp buying. I've bought a POPULAR - the October 1904 issue that has the first "Chip of the Flying U" story by B.M. Bower, a female western writer I am very interested in. I also picked up a wonderful WESTERN STORY, the October 12, 1929 issue that features a story by Cherry Wilson. I'm expecting that tomorrow I won't be as disciplined because I will realize that time is running away with me. As for Sunday when the dealers start slashing prices, forget it. I might as well clean out my savings account now.

That's it for now. I'm wiped out. More tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pulp Fest: The Celebration Continues

I promised that I'd post another series of favorite pulp covers in honor of Pulp Fest, which starts Friday in Columbus, Ohio. It's 9 o'clock now the night before I leave and I'm just getting around to it. Better late than never!

I've gained a lot of knowledge about pulps over the past year, no small thanks to some of the readers of Laurie's Wild West. What that translates into is that I think I'll have a better feel for what I might want to purchase this year. I've also met a lot more people involved with pulps this year also, not face to face, but through blogging, Facebook and other social networking. A lot of these people will be at Pulp Fest and I'm looking forward to meeting them "for real," and of course, catching up with those I met last year. I have a feeling this is going to be a great convention.

Now, on with the show!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pulp Fest: The Celebration Begins Today!

Pulp Fest is right around the corner - no, in fact, it's HERE, starting on Friday. I'll be flying out Thursday, although with the time difference I'll lose almost the entire day and won't get there until late at night. (Don't you hate that?)

I'm looking forward to this; besides the normal reunions with everyone, I'll also be on a panel Friday night on the Western pulp and will be around to see who wins the Munsey award on Saturday night. Although I was nominated (thank you to those who nominated me) I seriously doubt I'll win. There are far too many people nominated who have been involved in pulp publishing, writing, reprinting and research much longer than me and who really deserve the recognition. I am a newbie in this world, believe me. But it's been an incredible honor to be nominated.

For a complete run-down of the programming, go to the Pulp Fest website's programming page. I'll be posting reports during the weekend as I can. I think it's going to be a crazy weekend, though, so it might be sporadic.

Like last year, Ed Hulse has generously offered a space at his table so I can set up a place to sign and sell copies of PULP WRITER. So those of you who haven't gotten a copy yet, this will be your chance.

In celebration of Pulp Fest, here are some of my favorite covers that I've posted over the past year. I'll post half today and half tomorrow. Forgive me for not posting the dates and the artists; not only am I trying to get ready for Pulp Fest, I'm moving in a week AND I'm working my day job. So give me a break.

Enjoy, everyone!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

In Defense of The Old Fashioned Way of Reading

Just when I was getting comfortable with the idea of electronic books taking over the world, a few events occur that shake me to my foundation.

I've been more than willing to accept the idea of electronic books, especially from the viewpoint of an author. Electronic books are much more easier to distribute, in many ways can offer more in royalties, offer instant purchases, and can also be much easier to produce. Heck you can just go to the Kindle site on Amazon and make your own book and it's almost as easy as making a cup of coffee. It is very, very tempting.

But as a reader, I tend to still be on the fence. The arrival of a few books at my house in the past week have fueled the fire of debate - at least in my household.

This week I ordered two hardback books. One is a brand new memoir, Slow Love: How I Lost my Job, Put on My Pajamas, & Found Happiness, by Dominique Browning. Browning was the editor in chief of House & Garden, a Conde Nast publication until November, 2007, when she lost her job.

The other book is one of the great memoirs, A River Runs Through It, by Norman MacClean. I used to own a first edition, published in 1976 by the University of Chicago, but I sold it when I needed some money - a move that I have always regretted. Recently I decided that I still needed this book in my library and purchased the new edition.

These are the first hardback books I have purchased in a long time. Expense has always been a factor, but also size and weight. I have found that I am not a fan of big heavy hardbacks. So in the past years I have focused mainly on buying paperbacks.

But has anyone noticed how cheap hardback books are getting on Amazon now? I'm wondering why that is occurring. At any rate, the price of these two books was too good to pass up - they were just as cheap as some paperbacks. I ordered them.

Here is the first thing I would miss if books were no longer available in "real" book format. Once I've ordered a book on amazon, I get real pleasure in the waiting for the book to come in the post. There's something about knowing that you're going to get a package in the mail that makes your work week go a little better. When that little package is a book, the anticipation becomes that much sweeter. You wouldn't get that when ordering the download of an electronic book.

Once the package arrives, there's the opening, the pushing aside of the plastic filler, and the first sight of the books. Call me weird, but I love small books. For a while, I collected the Modern Library books from the 1950s and 60s that are roughly a little smaller than 4" by 6." (If I'm inaccurate in my measuring, forgive me, because they are all in boxes at the moment).

On my last trip to London, I discovered the Oxford World Classics, (also called Oxford Pockets) a series of classic literature works published in very small hardbacks, probably no bigger than 5" X 5", beginning in the mid 1940s. I bought one, Larkrise to Candleford, when I was in a used book store in Gloucester. When you buy books on vacation, they are a special kind of souvenir, because everytime you think of that particular book, you are transported back to that time and place where you bought it. As soon as I got home and pulled it out of the suitcase, I wished I had bought more. I have since bought four more from the shop in London, who shipped them to me.

Both of these new books are on the smaller size. Slow Love is 5 1/2" by 7 1/2", and A River Runs Through It is 5 3/4" by 9". They are both made of lighter paper as well, so they are lightweight. Another plus.

Then you get to pick the new books up for the first time. Both of these have dustjackets made of paper with a rough finish, not the glossy shine that most publishers used for many years, especially for their bestsellers. I am so glad that there's been a movement towards using this new type of paper. These books are a joy to touch.

Then I opened them and was greeted by a lovely surprise: A River Runs Through It is also illustrated with woodcuts by Barry Moser. Barry Moser is one of the most famous of woodcut illustrators; you may have read a book, Cowboy Stories, that I reviewed several months ago that was illustrated by him.

There are some things that electronic books will never be able to simulate. I know - never say never - but I think it's going to be a long time before they can catch the sensation of picking up a book -especially a beautiful book - and flipping through the pages, touching the paper, feeling the weight in your hand, and closing it when you are finished.

Simple things, really. But then the best things in life are.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

It's National Day of the Cowboy

It's the National Day of the Cowboy, and if you haven't heard yet, Ron Scheer over at Buddies in the Saddle has dedicated his blog to it today with a Fictional Cowboy Hall of Fame. Ron has compiled contributions from writers and fellow bloggers on who they would nominate as their character they believe best exemplifies the Code of the West.

I have my own contribution over there (thanks, Ron, for covering for me during this hectic time!) as well as contributions from Chuck Tyrell, David Cranmer, Walker Martin, Gary Dobbs, Cheyenne, James Reasoner, Jim Griffin, Matthew Mayo, Lee Pierce and Rich Prosch. It's a wonderful way to commemorate the day.

And The Winner Is....

The winner of the drawing for the January 1, 1938 issue of WILD WEST WEEKLY is....

Drum roll................


Congratulations Bob!! I'll be sending it out this week!

And thanks to every one who entered!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Now Don't Forget...

....that today is the last day to enter the drawing to win the following real, genuine antiquey, January 1, 1938 issue of WILD WEST WEEKLY.

To enter, go over to the Pulp Writer web site and follow the instructions at the bottom of the Home Page. Basically the instructions are either 1) buy a copy of the electronic story "Murder on the Hoof" for $1.99, or 2) send me your name via email and I'll enter you. I'll be pulling a name out of a hat tomorrow (Saturday) in honor of National Day of the Cowboy (or rather my friend Karen will - I'll make her wear my cowboy hat) and notifying everyone on both the Pulp Writer site and here. Don't worry, I won't announce anything other than your name.

"Murder on the Hoof" is still available for download, but I'm contemplating how long I'm going to leave it up for sale - I may pull it at some point. This story will be going in the collection of Paul Powers' Western stories, but I'm thinking of releasing a collection of his non-Western stories first. So this may be your only chance to read "Murder on the Hoof" for a while.

That's all for now - I've been so busy that I haven't had a chance to do my regular blog reading. I hope to catch up this weekend sometime.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

It's All About Pulp Tonight

I want to show you all the cover of the new Blood N Thunder that will be unveiled next week at Pulp Fest. All of the covers are exceptional, but I think this one is spectacular:

If you're interested in purchasing a copy of BnT, email Ed Hulse at and he'll take care of you. He'll also be happy to sell you a subscription for a very reasonable price if you ask.

Special Day on Saturday

Saturday is National Day of the Cowboy, and Ron Scheer over at Buddies in the Saddle has planned a terrific way to celebrate. He is going to commemorate cowboy heroes by inviting fellow bloggers to write in and describe a character from a western novel or short story that they believe best exemplifies the Code of the West. While I haven't been able to contribute because of my schedule, I certainly am looking forward to what others will be saying. I encourage everyone to go over to Buddies in the Saddle on Saturday to check out all of the great western heroes that have made a lasting impression on us over the years.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Hump Day Hamburger Heaven

The new Pulp Writer site has been getting lots of attention and compliments all over the web now. Thanks to wonderful fellow bloggers out there, it's been mentioned at the following sites:

Writing With Style. Melissa is a frequent contributor here and I so appreciate her enthusiasm over learning about pulp fiction. She also brings up in her post an idea of starting up a fiction magazine in the style of the old pulps. Now before you say, "Ok, that's being done all over the place right now," yes it is - but most of these magazines seem to be targeted to male readers with a focus on science fiction, adventure, zombies, etc. Melissa is talking about starting up a magazine targeted towards that other 51% of the population. Who would that be???/ Oh yeah - WOMEN!!!! I love this idea. It has definitely put a BEE in my BONNET.

Dave Lewis over at Davy Crockett's Almanack says some very nice things about the web site here. He's also bought a copy of "Murder on the Hoof" and I'm anxious to hear his remarks.

Bish's Beat also heralded the new site here. Paul Bish is a successful novelist and all around great guy with a very popular blog, so I'm flattered and pleased that he would post something about Pulp Writer.

Don't forget that Saturday is the National Day of the Cowboy. The Autry Museum is sponsoring what looks like a helluva a shindig on Saturday - here's the info. All kinds of presentations, food, crafts and fun will be around. I love how the museum put this post on the page:

The Autry encourages visitors to dress for the occasion. However, NO firearms of any kind are permitted on the property.

How can a cowboy be a cowboy without his .45??? Seriously, it sounds like the Autry knows how people in L.A. can be - a little TOO enthusiastic about dressing in costume.

The Sherriff's Posse will be there all day as well (probably to make sure that everyone follows the rule mentioned above).

Sounds like a lot of fun. Unfortunately I will be home, digging up plants. But I WILL be honoring the Day of the Cowboy by having the drawing for the Wild West Weekly issue. I'm going to make my friend Karen be the one to pull the name out of the cowboy hat.

One last news item: Annie's had a horrible week. First she was limping for a few days, which happens occasionally with her as she has a weak joint in her front left leg. When this happens, she has to have complete rest. No exercise whatsoever. Which means that I have to cut down her food so she doesn't get any fatter than she already is. So not only is she limping, she's hungry.

She's also getting bored. She's getting so bored that she's started to do what she does best: chew and lick obsessively. She's done this since she was a puppy: one day I came home to find that she had actually licked the CARPET until there was a HOLE in it. Now, she has started to chew on her tail to the point that it's bleeding. No, she doesn't have fleas either, because they just got their meds. She's done this before; after the last trip to the vet, they told me she needed her tail shaved and gave me an antibiotic cream, that'll be $400 please. So now I do it myself with hydrogen peroxide and store bought antibiotic. Which works long as you don't leave her alone too long. Today I came back from an appointment to find her tail worse than ever. Here's Annie now......

The good news is that her limping is almost gone and she's definitely happier. Although I don't think she was too happy when I started to take the photos below...maybe it was because I was laughing so hard I was crying. William Wegman, move over.