Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! Here's to a peaceful and prosperous 2011.

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Please Tell Me I'll Get Over This

I haven't even had a chance or the werewithal to write a post about my car accident last Sunday. It wasn't a terrible one - I got rear-ended at a stop light, but it was enough to really shake me up.

I was on my way to the mall (where else does anyone go on the day after Christmas?) and I was traveling on McBean Parkway, which is a fairly fast parkway here in Santa Clarita. Too fast, in my opinion - the speed limit is 50 mph on most of it and that's with several business areas and intersections. Anyway, I was slowing down at a stop light, and then it turned green. Seeing the green light I kept going, but when I got to the intersection, I saw (and heard) an ambulance coming through the intersection. I slammed on my brakes and then a split second later, BAM. The guy behind me slammed into me.

It was a solid hit, like I said. Once I got my wits about me, I moved over to the side of the road as did the man that hit me. They were very very nice - an couple probably in their late 60s, and they were very shook up. It was amazing how little damage my Hyundai Tucson suffered - with a big rubber bumper, it was just scratched up and my muffler appeared to be slightly off-kilter. His car? A Toyota Solara that ended up with major damage - the front end crumbled and one light destroyed. He ended up having the car towed.

I'm very lucky I wasn't hurt. I was worried at first, because I've been having back and neck problems for weeks from stress, and I was worried this would really aggravate it. But so far so good. I'm also grateful that the dogs weren't with me in the car. If they had, they would have been sitting in the back seat. At the time of impact, one of the dogs would have flown into the back of my seat, and probably both of them would have been injured and I could have been seriously hurt. It makes me think twice about taking the dogs for the rides that they love, which is a shame. I guess I'm going to have to look into those doggy seat belts.

It wasn't until I got to the body shop yesterday and we put my car up on the rack that I realized how badly my muffler had been hit. The entire muffler had been shifted to the right and had been deattached on the left - it's totally cockeyed. Luckily the other driver has already agreed to pay for the damage and he has a great friend who owns a body shop and so far has been terrific.

But now I'm really paranoid about driving. It doesn't help that people in this area of Santa Clarita drive way too fast. I told you about McBean Parkway, and that's not the only road with high speed limits. People have told me that the speed limits were set years and years ago when the area was still undeveloped and didn't have the traffic it does now. But now the area has exploded and traffic is very heavy, but the speed limits haven't changed. People are getting killed at intersections all the time here - there was one just about a month ago at an intersection not far from my house.

I really hope I can get over my fear of driving. I guess I must be getting old - I think that if this had happened twenty years ago I would have been able to bounce back right away. Not anymore.

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Keep Warm with a Fire of Pulp Covers

Not literally.

It's freezing here in Los Angeles this morning, but I know it's nothing compared to what the rest of the country is experiencing. Here are some pulp covers to keep you toasty.

I had the hardest time finding covers with a fireplace theme. I guess most magazines considered being out in a blizzard was a more exciting cover theme rather than inside out of the elements, where most smart people would be.

Some of these covers are necessarily comforting, but at least they're warm.

And of course we start with one of the ladies' favorites: the famous lumberjack of ADVENTURE. Imagine: a lumberjack that reads!

ADVENTURE, June 18, 1919



WEIRD TALES, April 1937


WEIRD TALES, August 1938

RANCH ROMANCES, February No. 2, 1940

RANCH ROMANCES, February No. 2, 1941


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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Latecomer Pulp Western: EXCITING WESTERN

EXCITING WESTERN arrived late on the pulp Western scene. The first issue was released in the Fall of 1940 and continued mainly on a bimonthly basis until October 1953.

EXCITING WESTERN was part of Ned Pines' Thrilling Group, published by Better Publications. Each issue included a column called "Trail Blazers," described as a "meaty department devoted to the great outdoors," and written by one Captain Ranger. The column appears to be an odd assortment of essays that mix history and current events - the column in the November 1947 issue is a lengthy and detailed essay on the government's granting of land in the Pacific Northwest to returning veterans, which could easily be mistaken as a Veteran's Administration summary on the program. The September 1947 column is a short manual on how to raise turkeys. April 1945's column is a discussion on the history and current state of farms that raise animals for fur.

As for fiction, W.C. Tuttle had a constant presence in this magazine with his Tombstone & Speedy novels, resulting in Tuttle's name was on the cover of the magazine for an uninterrupted run of six years. THE BLOOD N THUNDER GUIDE TO COLLECTING PULPS says that the Tombstone & Speedy stories bore a marked resemblance to Tuttles' early ADVENTURE characters Hashnife & Sleepy.

The magazine seems to have gotten off to a slow start in 1940, but as the decade progressed, more and more well-known Western authors were seen on bylines. This could have been due to the demise of other well known pulps such as WILD WEST WEEKLY, which stopped circulation in November 1943. WWW authors Walker Tompkins, Lee Bond, and Chuck Martin ended up being regulars in EXCITING WESTERN. My grandfather, Paul Powers, had at least three stories in EXCITING WESTERN. One of those, a story called "Buzzards Hate Bullets" from the November 1947 issue, will be reprinted in the new Paul Powers western collection coming out this spring.

Other well-known writers who appeared in EW were T.W. Ford, Jackson Cole, Wayne D. Overholser, Louis L'Amour, and Ed Earl Repp. A few oddballs show up occasionally, such as a poem "Just an Ordinary Guy," by Langston Hughes in the December 1943 issues, and an ad illustration by Dr. Seuss in the February 1945 issue.

To conclude, here's an ad for Gillette razor blades that appeared in the November 1947 issue, that's got a bit of three genres going on here: adventure, western, and romance.

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Monday, December 27, 2010

A New Blog So This One Can Stay Old

To give all of you pulp fiction and western fans a break, I've decided to move all of my musings, articles and photography about London over to my new blog: The Londonholic. Feel free to go on over and become a follower and comment whenever you want.

For a long time, I resisted starting another blog. I felt like one blog was enough work. But everytime I wanted to post something here on my other interests other than the history of pulp fiction and westerns, I felt guilty. I know that many of you come here for those topics. Suddenly it dawned on me that starting a new blog would be the best route: I could indulge myself in my love affair with London as much as I want, and it wouldn't be that much more work. Wishful thinking? We'll find out.

So go on over and check it out. A welcome post is up now. Then we can get back to the business at hand here: promoting the great world of pulp fiction magazines and supporting the western genre. By the way, I hope to see TRUE GRIT this week, depending on my schedule. I can't wait!

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Great News for Westerns

This great news was sent to me by Barry Traylor, who found it at Box Office Mojo:

Despite the muting effect of Christmas Eve, True Grit posted the top-grossing opening weekend ever for a straight-forward Western, capturing an estimated $25.6 million on around 3,900 screens at 3,047 locations. It was also the biggest launch of the Coen brothers' careers, passing Burn After Reading. With a $36.8 million tally in five days, it's already the highest-grossing Western since 3:10 to Yuma (2007), which started much lower and earned $53.6 million in total, and its five-day attendance was in line with Unforgiven's. According to distributor Paramount Pictures, 65 percent of True Grit's audience was male and 70 percent was aged 25 years and older.

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Saturday, December 25, 2010

We Have a Winner of BEAT TO A PULP

We have a winner of the drawing for the copy of BEAT TO A PULP: ROUND ONE. It's Kevn Tipple. Congratulations, Kevin!

For those of you who entered (and for the rest of you who didn't), don't give up! I'm going to have another drawing soon for something just as cool.

Hope you're all having a great holiday season!

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Friday, December 24, 2010

A Christmas Wish from the Powers Girls

This is a rerun from last Christmas, but everyone seemed to love it so I'm running it again.

All of us at Laurie's Wild West want to wish you a happy holiday and want to pass along some helpful holiday tips.

Be generous at family gatherings, especially at the dinner table.

Take lots of deep, uninterrupted naps.

But always keep an ear out for Santa.

If you fall asleep in the armchair, try not to fall out.

If you have to play Santa, do it with a smile.

Try to take a few quiet moments to yourself to reflect on things.

Catch up on your reading....

But the pulpier, the better.

May you have a wonderful holiday full of love, laughter, peace and friendship.

Love, from Laurie, Annie, Xena and Albee (in spirit).Bookmark and Share

Christmas in London - a Collection of Videos

For those of you are there who are Londonholics like me and aren't lucky enough to be there right now, here are some videos I picked up on You Tube. They are all short - the longest is just over 3 minutes. Enjoy!

Here's Rick Steves' European Christmas segment on London.

For those of you who want something a little less staged, here are a couple that show the bustling streets the nights before Christmas.

Here's a wonderful short video, "London Christmas Lights 2009"

In this next one, the video's a bit shaky at first but it gets better. It's very nice - Oxford Street Christmas. Plus it has one of my favorite Christmas songs, Chris Rea's "Driving Home for Christmas."

And this one has to be my favorite, from 2007: "Christmas Time in London." It's basically a couple's trip to London as tourists, with a mix of stills and video and accompanied by "All I Want For Christmas."

And finally, a tip on a blog I hit on a daily basis: London Daily Photo. The operator of this blog has a great eye and it's amazing what she can do with a simple camera. Scroll down - over the last week or so, she has a "Snow in London" theme.

That's it for now - later today I'll post my personal Christmas card, and then that'll be it until Sunday. Have a wonderful Christmas everyone!

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Rick Steves: Christmas in England video

Here's an 8-minute segment of Rick Steve's European Christmas. This segment is about Bath and the countryside and includes some beautiful caroling. Enjoy.

A tip o' the hat to the great blog Pictures of Great Britain that posted this first. Tomorrow I'll post the segment on Christmas in London.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Christmas Meme to Get You in the Spirit

Melissa Marsh over at Writing with Style posted this great Christmas meme. Feel free to use it on your blog, or just put your own answers in the comments to this post. Kinda fun and guaranteed to get you in the Christmas spirit.

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?

Egg Nog. I love it, especially with nutmeg. I can't have it with alcohol, but I think egg nog is good enough without it. I drink hot chocolate the rest of the winter.

2. Does Santa (meaning you) wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?

Santa wraps. Wrapping presents is one of my favorite parts of Christmas.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?

Colored. Please. I'm so over the white lights. I was never so thrilled when the really big colored lights came back.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?

Only when there's a chance it might come into use.

5. When do you put your decorations up?

I usually wait until about 2 weeks after Thanksgiving. I'm still a live-tree gal, so I don't like getting one any earlier, for fear it will dry out.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish?

Ham with scalloped potatoes. I guess you can have that any time, but it always tasted so good for Christmas dinner. Especially after you're burnt out on all the turkey from Thanksgiving.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child:

We used to make these really funky Christmas ornaments with some colored construction paper, Elmer's glue and glitter. Or long paper garlands - actually my sisters made those.

Another funny memory was one that I wasn't involved in personally but it's a family favorite: one Christmas my mother and my older sisters went crazy and took that white snow in a can - usually used only on windows - and sprayed Christmas greetings on the doors inside the house. Not knowing that it would ruin the paint on the doors. We had the outline of "Merry Xmas" and "Happy New Year" on our bedroom doors for years.

Another nice memory is the first year that my stepfather was part of the family. On Christmas Eve, he took me to the Southland Mall to buy presents for my mother. I was probably only 7 or 8, but I felt so special and grown up because he took me.

Another was when we lived in Frankfut, Germany when I was 10 and the first Christmas we spent over there. Going to the old part of town and shopping in all the wonderful shops was magical.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?

My sister Becky told me one evening, without consulting with my mother about it. Kinda wished my mother would have been the one, but because she was always gone and working so much, my sisters were surrogate mothers anyway.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?

Yep, if I have any to open. Sometimes I don't get any presents until I get to my family's houses, which is usually not until Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?

I have a motley mix of ornaments that I've collected over the years. Some are almost 35 years old, and they are my favorites. I have a lot of animal ornaments.

Another thing I'm glad to see come back into fashion is tinsel. It seemed like for a long time no one used it. But I love it.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?

Love it. But then I don't have to live in it.

12. Can you ice skate?

Ha. You're kidding, right?

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?

I don't remember many of them, but I know the ones that always were my favorites were the stuffed animals. Those and the plastic horses.

14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you?

Spending time with my family, and also trying not to turn into a Scrooge. It's tempting to do when you've been single for a long time.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?

Every year I hunt out peppermint ice cream. It's my favorite all year long, but sometimes I can only find it in the stores around Christmas time.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?

I'm trying to keep up a tradition of reading a Charles Dickens book every year, but there's been a few years that it hasn't happened. I'm also getting into collecting those little villages - for a long time I thought they were hokey, but now I'm really getting interested in building up a collection. I must be getting old.

I also love driving around and looking at decorated houses. This year my best friend and I started a tradition of taking the dogs for a walk around the neighborhoods that are really decked out. Lots of fun.

17. What tops your tree?
A raccoon! (Not a real one.)

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving?

I know the proper answer is to say I love giving, and I do love it. I especially love giving presents to those who really need them. But I love to receive too. Let's see....

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?

Classic: "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear"
Semi-New: "Merry Christmas Darling" by the Carpenters
New: "All I Want for Christmas" by Mariah Carey

20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum?
YUM! See my answer above about my favorite dessert.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

In These Stressful Days, Don't Forget....

...that tomorrow is the opening of TRUE GRIT. Barry Traylor sent this link to Roger Ebert's review, and it's a good one. I can't wait to see it, but the way the week's going, I'm going to have to wait until next week.

...that we've got a contest going to win a copy of BEAT TO A PULP, ROUND ONE. It's a random drawing and you have until midnight Pacific time, December 24, 2010 to enter. Send your name, address and email address to

...that you only have three more days to shop. Like you really needed a reminder?! wrap presents while you still have time. Don't wait until midnight on Christmas Eve like I do. Sometimes I've waited too long, and end up wrapping the present in the car in front of the recipient's house. How many of you have done that?! leave cookies and milk out for Santa. I hear he likes snickerdoodles. Oh wait, that would be me. drive carefully this holiday season. We seem to be getting our share of storms this year.

...that there are a lot of people this year that need a little extra help to get through the holidays. Call someone you know who's unemployed. Spend time with a loved one who's depressed. Send a check to someone who's having trouble paying the rent. Donate to a food bank. It's nice to volunteer at a soup kitchen on Christmas, but in these times money is what these places really need. hang stockings for the pets. They like presents, too! try to enjoy the holiday. Do like I do: don't stress out over finding the perfect present. Twenty years from now, people aren't going to remember what you gave them. Unless it's something like a million dollars.

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Christmas Drawing! Win a Copy of BEAT TO A PULP

Just in time for Christmas, we going to have a Christmas drawing!

BEAT TO A PULP, ROUND ONE has been receiving rave reviews since its release earlier this year. Jam-packed with 27 stories from the best writers in pulpdom today, including a never-before published story by Paul Powers, "The Strange Death of Ambrose Bierce."

This is a random drawing. Just send your full name, shipping address, and email address to: DEADLINE FOR ENTRIES IS MIDNIGHT (Pacific time), DECEMBER 24, 2010.

This contest is also being announced over at - so spread the word!

Just think of the Christmas present you could get from me - an email telling you that you've won this great collection!

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BEAT TO A PULP: Interview with David Cranmer at Women of Mystery

I'm really late with this post: sorry, folks. You could have won a copy of BEAT TO A PULP, ROUND ONE, if I had been more on the ball. The Women of Mystery blog has a terrific interview of David Cranmer, editor of BEAT TO A PULP, ROUND ONE, and included in the interview was a chance to win a copy of the book. Unfortunately, entries closed Sunday, but I couldn't get around to reading the interview until today.

Still, a great interview of someone who has done a terrific job of keeping the spirit of pulp alive in the 21st century. I encourage you to go over and read it.

David has some kind words to say about my grandfather, whose story "The Strange Death of Ambrose Bierce," is included in the volumne. Thanks, David.

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