Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Nominated for the 2011 Munsey Award

I received an email yesterday telling me that I've been nominated for a Munsey Award, which is the annual award handed out at the PulpFest convention. I was thinking that after last year the pulp fiction community would realize their mistake in nominating me and learn its lesson, but apparently not!

Thank you so much to those who nominated me and to the Board of PulpFest. I was shocked last year to be nominated, because the Munsey Award is a pretty big deal. Next the other nominees, there was no comparison when it came to knowledge, experience, and leadership. That goes the same for this year.

I know part of my claim to Munsey fame, besides my grandfather's history as a pulp fiction writer and the publication of PULP WRITER, is this blog. Ironically, it's been a quiet here lately. In my defense, it's because I'm directing my attention to other writing projects, and you'll be happy to know that these projects are pulp fiction-related.

Once again, thank you!

If you want to read about all of those nominated, go to the Munsey Award nominee page on the PulpFest Web site.

And if you are still thinking of joining us at PulpFest, don't wait any longer. I hear the good deals on plane fares will be available soon. (I don't know where I got that, it just sounds good, and I DID get a great fare last year when I bought my ticket the first week of June - thanks, Will Murray.) And there will be plenty of great panels on subjects such as THE SHADOW on the radio, pulp artists, Catherine Lucille Moore, steampunk in the days of dime novels and pulp magazines, and oh yes, a panel hosted by granddaughters of the pulps, namely, Karen Cunningham, Nicky Brown, Elizabeth Bisette, and me.

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Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day

My Dad, ca. 1942, who was a medic in the Pacific theatre and awarded a Bronze Star.

Happy Memorial Day, everyone.

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Pulp Fiction Female Pioneers: Cele Goldsmith Lalli

A few weeks ago I posted something about what I thought at the time was the only female writer for BLACK MASK, Katherine Brocklebank. My source was quickly corrected by Walker Martin and others. But that post, and the recent post on i09 called "Badass Women of the Pulp Era," rekindled my interest in the history of female pulp authors and editors. It's way overdue and I'd like to pay tribute to those of my gender who walked the narrow - and I'm sure lonely - path of being a woman in the pulp fiction industry in the early 20th Century.

Recently Barry Traylor sent me this Wikipedia entry on Cele Goldsmith, who he considers to be the best editor that AMAZING STORIES and FANTASTIC ever had.

Cele championed many great writers, including Ursula Le Guin, who's story "The Dowry of Angyar" appeared in this issue of AMAZING STORIES.

I confess that my knowledge of Cele Goldsmith - and of science fiction - ranges from zero to nothing, so out of fear of writing something that is inaccurate, I'm going to just quote this directly from Wikipedia and hope that rest of you can fill in the blanks about Cele.

Cele Goldsmith Lalli (1933 – January 14, 2002) was an American editor. She was the editor of Amazing Stories from 1959 to 1965, Fantastic from 1958 to 1965, and later the Editor-in-Chief of Modern Bride magazine.

Goldsmith began working on science fiction and fantasy magazines under Paul W. Fairman. When Fairman left Ziff-Davis in 1958, Goldsmith took over as editor of Amazing Stories and Fantastic. Goldsmith was open to new authors and experimentation in writing. Among her discoveries were Thomas M. Disch, Ursula K. Le Guin, Keith Laumer, Sonya Dorman (as a fiction writer), and Roger Zelazny. She was also instrumental in bringing Fritz Leiber out of an early writer's-block-induced retirement (a 1959 issue was devoted entirely to his fiction), and was among the first US editors to publish British author J. G. Ballard.

Goldsmith married in 1964 and took Lalli as her last name. By this time, she'd received a special award from the World Science Fiction Convention for her work on the magazines. Le Guin and subsequent Fantastic and Amazing editors Barry N. Malzberg and Ted White have taken care to note the significance of her achievement.

In 1965, Ziff-Davis sold the two fiction magazines to publisher Sol Cohen, who founded Ultimate Publications to publish them. Lalli continued at Ziff-Davis, where she worked at Modern Bride magazine for 30 years.

Not long after her retirement, she was killed in a car accident in Newtown, Connecticut on January 14, 2002.

An obituary that appeared in Conneticut says:

Cele (Goldsmith) Lalli, 68, of Newtown died Jan. 14 from injuries sustained in an automobile accident.

Mrs. Lalli grew up in Scranton, Pa., and graduated from Vassar College in 1955. She and her husband, Michael, lived in New York City and Stamford and finally moved to Newtown in the mid-1990s.

Mrs. Lalli wrote three books concerning wedding etiquette and was once referred to as America’s foremost wedding expert. She worked for Modern Bride magazine for 33 years and retired as vice president and editor-in-chief in 1998.

She often appeared on television shows and would share her expertise by leading workshops locally.

I looked for a photo of Cele online but was unsuccessful.

Thanks, Barry, for leading me to Cele Goldsmith.

Other posts here on women in the pulp fiction industry:

Katherine Brocklebank
Daisy Bacon, editor of LOVE STORY, Part One.
Daisy Bacon, Part Two.

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Friday, May 27, 2011

What's In A Name

I splurged and bought a new rose today. I've been wanting a rose tree for a long time for my patio, and the brilliant yellow of this one caught my eye. But I was a little leery of the price.

But the blossoms seems exceptionally healthy and abundant, which also was a plus.

Then I noticed the pale pink spots around the new petals. It also had a wonderful light fragrance.

But when I saw the name of the rose, that's what clinched it for me.

It's a "Henry Fonda."

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Badass Women of the Pulp Era

Thanks to David Cranmer for this tip:

Jess Nevins has written an intriguing piece over at io9. It's so interesting that I'm going to send you straight over there to read it. The name of the piece is "Badass Women of the Pulp Era."

Nevins won my heart with this introduction:

....the pulps were more progressive than mainstream fiction (and film and comic strips, etc.) in a number of respects, including and especially the number of formidable female characters who appeared in them. Even excluding those characters whose writers forced them into marriage and respectability, the list of Women Badder Than You is long.

I'd like to hear all of your opinions about this essay. I hope that one day I can be part of this exclusive group of Badass Women of the Pulp Era, if only because it's such a great title.

This is the first time I've looked at io9, although I haven't been around much lately. Do any of you know anything about this blog?

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Photo Finish Friday: Lone Pine

Lone Pine, California. Taken last October at the Lone Pine Film Festival.

If my memory serves me correctly, this site is one of the locations for the classic GUNGA DIN (1939). Ed Hulse, chime in if I'm incorrect.

Have a good weekend, everybody. Hopefully it will be a sunny one for all.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Chloe - What a Difference a Week Makes

Things are crazy at work this week - our busy time of the year - so I have to keep this short tonight. But I wanted to share some photos of Chloe. Most of you know the ordeal we've been through with her illnesses, the last of which was probably the scariest, which was the ulcer on her cornea that threatened to rupture her eye. Poor thing - this photo was taken about ten days ago while we were still in the 4 different eye drops, 4 times a day regimen. You can see the stain on her face from all the medicine. We were all exhausted and stressed out. But Annie was such a good nurse, as you can see.

But what a difference a week makes. It all seems to be paying off. The doctors were very pleased with her progress last Friday, and as you can see from the following photos I took this morning, her eye is healing beautifully. Sorry for the overexposure, but it was early morning - the only spare minutes I had today.

Chloe certainly acts like she's feeling better too, if racing around the house at all hours is any indication.

It's so nice to have a happy kitty in the house.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Only Woman to Write for BLACK MASK: a Mystery Herself?

Last night I read "Bracelets," by Katherine Brocklebank in the BLACK LIZARD BIG BOOK OF BLACK MASK STORIES.

The story features a female protagonist, Tex of the Border Patrol, who goes to "Tia juana" to go undercover to investigate the murder of a wealthy San Francisco merchant and the disappearance of his son. What I loved about the story is that from the very first sentence you are drawn into the sleazy atmosphere of a Tia Juana bar that is full of grimy characters. Listen as Brocklebank brings us into the bar where Tex is watching a young girl who is clearly in distress:

The girl seemed so young, so incongruous in the blatanly obvious setting. She was like a flower from an old-fashioned garden and yet there she was in the ribald atmosphere of the Blue Fox - where Pancho, the shifty-eyed Mexican proprietor, rubbed his palms together and smiled his oily smile to his patrons; where Eddie swung his bamboo cane to the syncopated time of his moaning Hopa-Holi orchestra - Eddie who wore a chocolate brown suit to match his complexion, a screaming orange tie and a straw hat, who sang the latest popular ballads in a voice - untrained, crooning - as insidious as the ether-doped drinks that the silken-voiced bartenders slid across the bars of Old Town, that were now world-famous, polished to a dull red glow by the elbows of many nationalities.

Brocklebank doesn't even get into any backstory explaining Tex's reasons for being in the bar until about a thousand words - or more - into the story, but you don't even notice due to her gift for keeping you in the moment.

The introduction says: “Katherine Brocklebank was unique in the history of Black Mask magazine, and a rara avis in the detective pulp fiction world in general. In the first place, she was a woman and, unless cloaked behind initials or a male pseudonym, the only one identified in the thirty-two-year history of Black Mask, even when it was under the control of a female editor, Fanny Ellsworth, from 1936 to 1940. Second, she created a female series character, Tex of the Border Service, who appeared in four stories late in the 1920s. Readers of Black Mask, as was true of all the detective pulps, demonstrated in their letters to the editor that they didn’t particularly care for either female protagonists or authors.”

Other sources show that Brocklebank wrote seven stories total for BLACK MASK. Of those, four were stories featuring Tex of the Border Patrol. "Bracelets" appeared in the December 1928 issue. The other three were "White Talons" (January 1929), "The Canine Tooth" (June 1929), and "The Silver Horseshoe" (July 1929).

But as far as I can find in my limited search, the trail ends there. Granted, I haven't had a lot of time to do an in depth search, but Brocklebank doesn't even have a listing in the Fiction Mags Index. Does anyone else know more about this intriguing enigma known as Katherine Brocklebank? Being female and knowing what it's like to be in the minority in the pulp world, I'd like to know.

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bobbi Jean Bell: Champion of the West and Now Woman of the Year

Imagine my surprise this morning when I opened The Signal and found a full page feature article on my buddy Bobbi Jean Bell of OutWest Boutique and Cultural Center. Congratulations to Bobbi, who works so hard to bring all things Western to us every day, whether it's clothes, music, art, books, and just keeping the spirit of the West alive. Bobbi was recently named a Woman of the Year for the Santa Clarita Valley by California State Senator Sharon Runner, and I can't think of anyone else who deserves that award more than Bobbi.

To read the article, go here.

Oh, and by the way, THANKS BOBBI for making sure that PULP WRITER was prominently featured in this photo!! Ha ha!

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Tis The Season for PulpFest...

Now that PulpFest is only a little more than two months away (yes, that is correct - it starts on July 29), I'm getting into the mood and have broken out my copy of THE BLACK LIZARD BIG BOOK OF BLACK MASK STORIES.

I started reading this great collection when it first came out but other obligations soon got in the way and I had to put it away for many months. But I can't think of better way to get into spirit of pulp than by reading some of the greatest crime fiction around.

Do any of you have recommendations for stories in this? Right now I'm reading "The Dancing Rats" by Richard Sale.

Speaking of PulpFest, go check out their web site, which is really well done and kept up-to-date. Their Links page is really comprehensive for those wanting to do research on pulp fiction.

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Monday, May 9, 2011

The Complete Contents of The Big Book of Adventure Stories

Otto Penzler's Big Book of Adventure Stories will be available for sale on May 31.

The blurb on Amazon says:

"Everyone loves adventure, and Otto Penzler has collected the best adventure stories of all time into one mammoth volume. With stories by Jack London, O. Henry, H. Rider Haggard, Alastair MacLean, Talbot Mundy, Cornell Woolrich, and many others, this wide-reaching and fascinating volume contains some of the best characters from the most thrilling adventure tales, including The Cisco Kid; Sheena, Queen of the Jungle; Bulldog Drummond; Tarzan; The Scarlet Pimpernel; Conan the Barbarian; Hopalong Cassidy; King Kong; Zorro; and The Spider. Divided into sections that embody the greatest themes of the genre—Sword & Sorcery, Megalomania Rules, Man vs. Nature, Island Paradise, Sand and Sun, Something Feels Funny, Go West Young Man, Future Shock, I Spy, Yellow Peril, In Darkest Africa—it is destined to be the greatest collection of adventure stories ever compiled."

Here is the list of stories, pulled from the Random House web site:

The Golden Snare Farnham Bishop and Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur
The Devil in Iron Robert E. Howard
The Mighty Manslayer Harold Lamb
The Seven Black Priests Fritz Leiber

The Master Magician Loring Brent
The Most Dangerous Game Richard Connell
The Man Who Would be King Rudyard Kipling
The Wings of Kali Grant Stockbridge

The White Silence Jack London
Sredni Vashtar Saki
The Seed from the Sepulcher Clark Ashton Smith
Leiningen versus the Ants Carl Stephenson
The Sea Raiders H. G. Wells

Hell Cay Lester Dent
Off the Mangrove Coast Louis L’Amour
The Golden Anaconda Elmer Brown Mason
Shanghai Jim Frank L. Packard
The Python Pit George F. Worts

The Soul of a Turk Achmed Abdullah
Peace Waits at Marokee H. Bedford-Jones
Nor Idolatry Blind the Eye Gabriel Hunt
The Soul of a Regiment Talbot Mundy
Snake-Head Theodore Roscoe
Suicide Patrol Georges Surdez
A Gentleman of Color P. C. Wren

After King Kong Fell Philip Jose Farmer
Moonlight Sonata Alexander Woollcott

The Caballero’s Way O. Henry
Zorro Deals with Treason Johnston McCulley
Hopalong’s Hop Clarence E. Mulford

The Girl in the Golden Atom Ray Cummings
To Serve Man Damon Knight
Armageddon—2419 A. D. Philip Francis Nowlan

Woman in Love Geoffrey Household
MacHinery and the Cauliflowers Alistair MacLean
Wheels Within Wheels H. C. McNeile
A Question of Passports Baroness Orczy
Intelligence Rafael Sabatini

The Copper Bowl George Fielding Eliot
The Hand of the Mandarin Quong Sax Rohmer

The Green Wildebeest John Buchan
The Slave Brand of Slegman Bin Ali James Anson Buck
Fire L. Patrick Greene
Hunter Quatermain’s Story H. Rider Haggard
Bosambo of Monrovia Edgar Wallace
Black Cargo Cornell Woolrich
Tarzan the Terrible Edgar Rice Burroughs

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Pulp Covers: Late Paul Powers Stories

These are some of the pulps that my grandfather's stories appeared after WILD WEST WEEKLY closed up. Some of the stories noted here will be in the new RIDING THE PULP TRAIL collection being released this summer.

WEST, November 1947. "Gun Reckoning at Scorpion Bend."

THRILLING RANCH STORIES, December 1948. "Hangnoose for a Prodigal."

TEXAS RANGERS, December 1947, "Boothill is my Destination."

THE RIO KID WESTERN, August 1949, "Death is Where You Find It."

POPULAR WESTERN, May 1946, "Trap For a Bandit."

EXCITING WESTERN, November 1947, "Buzzards Hate Bullets"

EXCITING WESTERN, April 1945, "Killer's Cayuse"

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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Writer's Block Hamburger Heaven

I haven't done a Hamburger Heaven post in a very long while. And as I'm suffering from a protracted case of writer's block, I started to look at other web sites and blogs today that are focused on that and other writing topics. Seems that quite a few people suffer from writer's block this Saturday afternoon. Coincidence?

I'd like to introduce all of you to two very good blogs that just happen to belong to two good friends of mine from school. Both friends are writers and write highly entertaining blogs. Melissa Maday is a writer who is also an English professor, and Kimberly Marlowe-Hartnett is a writer, book reviewer and former daily newspaper journalist. Her blog, Type Like the Wind, is a wonderful collection of book reviews, current events, and opinions about anything Kimberly feels strongly about.

Richard Prosch's blog, Meridian Bridge, has some sage words today on how to keep writing. I love the profound advice: "Dare to suck." Meridian Bridge, by the way, has been resurrected with a great new design.

Sandra Seaman's blog My Little Corner talks today about trying to find story ideas from the oddest places. Like a toilet on the side of the road.

And finally, Christopher Fowler's blog has a very catchy video today about Writer's Block. Somehow this video captured exactly how I feel today. Well done.

Thanks to all of the above writers for your posts today.

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Friday, May 6, 2011

Friday's Forgotten Photo

I've decided to combine two popular Friday blog traditions: Friday's Forgotten Books and Photo Finish Friday, resulting in Friday Forgotten Photos.

This photo of my grandfather was developed from a package of negatives I found about five years ago.

I'm fairly certain this was taken in the early 1930s. It could have been taken while Paul was living in Flagstaff, or maybe in Bisbee in 1933.

Anyone else who wants to join me in Friday Forgotten Photos on their blog is welcome to. It doesn't have to be something as old as this, of course. Whatever floats your boat.
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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cats Are Weird

Warning: if you're squeamish about medical issues, especially having to do with the eyes, you might not want to read this post.

I used to think horses had the strangest physiology, with their propensity to get laminitis just by having the wrong diet, or to colic at the drop of a hat and to be at risk for twisting their intestines from just rolling around in their stalls. But I think cats have them beat when it comes to weird health issues. They get respiratory infections and won't eat if they can't smell their food. If they're stressed they can get all kinds of bizarre problems.

Take Chloe's eye problem. A couple of weeks ago we found that she had an ulcer on her cornea. How did she get it? No one knows for sure, but it may have been caused by an outbreak of a herpes virus. Something I didn't know before: about 80% of cats have this herpes virus, and sometimes it harbors itself in their brains. Then, when under stress, it manifests itself as a corneal ulcer.

I mean, it's bad enough to think of having an ulcer on your eye, but I think that if I had to deal with knowing I had a herpes virus simmering in my brain, I don't think I could handle that.

This corneal ulcer doesn't really look all that bad. She has what looks like a crater in her cornea and a lot of the times you can't even see it. I don't think I would have ever noticed it if my vet hadn't spotted it in one of her checkups.

Chloe's ulcer was so deep that she was at risk of having her eye rupture. Something else I was ignorant about. And a rupture woud be as gross as it sounds, where the eye loses massive amounts of fluid. We're talking Bugsy Siegel on the couch with his eye shot out, but with fluid instead of blood. My vet ordered me to go to a veterinary opthamologist immediately. Yes, there are veterinary opthamologists, something I was ignorant about as well. And guess what? This opthamologist is one of five offices. A chain - with five offices in Southern California.

My first visit with them was last week. They looked at Chloe's eye - she was such a good girl and only meowed a little - and said yep, it's bad. They said I could do Option A, which is surgery, where they would put a graft on the eye. I asked for an estimate of what the surgery would cost.

This was where it got really, really difficult and very overwhelming. I was thinking Ok, we're talking at least a thousand, a thousand and a half. The vet was talking about something having to do with how this all happens. I took a peek at the estimate the assistant brought in while the vet was still talking. At that point, the vet's voice became nothing but blah, blah, blah, blah, because the estimate for the surgery was $2,700.

How do people handle it when they can't afford to have their animals treated anymore? It's an extremely difficult and painful situation and I know a lot of people have had to undergo these types of situations over the past few years when the economy has tanked, and so many of these people are hurting financially already. I'm just lucky that I have good credit and a job, because those two things are the only thing that are getting me over this financial disaster right now. I also purchased health insurance for both pets, but I'm waiting to see how much of this they'll cover.

I asked the assistant about the other option the vet had mentioned - something to do with putting a temporary shield on her eye. He said Option B is where they put a collagen shield and a contact lens to protect the eye, and then I would have to put drops in her eyes - 5 different drops, 4 times a day. It was a much, much cheaper option, but there was still a 50-50 chance that the eye would rupture.

Now let me be clear here. I am not one to ever believe that money should never be an object when it comes to taking care of who or what we love. My pets are my children, and even though I've only had Chloe for a month, I've already fallen in love with her. This is a cat who is so affectionate that I've already learned that any time I sit on the couch, whether I have a laptop computer, or am eating, or reading, or trying to do needlework, it doesn't matter - Chloe runs over to take over my lap. At night, she'll come in the middle of the night and crawl onto me and lay down, with her face literally one inch from mine, or she'll drape herself over my neck. This is a cat that has no conception of respecting someone's space. She is a total slob - she doesn't care a whit that she tracks kitty litter all over the house. And I love all this about her. I especially love that she is totally patient with Annie's over exuberance.

But I have already spent - get ready - $2,500 on this cat since I adopted her five weeks ago, between her respiratory infection and her bladder surgery. I kid you not. And I'm about tapped out.

Reluctantly I chose Option B. I know myself: if I put my mind to anything I can be successful. Chloe and I would get through this. Besides, at that point, there really was no other option, other than doing absolutely nothing, which I think would be inhumane.

So for the past week, I've been administering 5 drops, 4 times a day. And it's not as easy as putting in the drops, one after the other, with the cat in your lap. You have to wait 5 minutes between each drop to make sure that they get into the system. And of course, you have to deal with a cat who may not really appreciate having 20 eye drops put in their eyes every single day.

But Chloe is getting used to it. We're in a groove now. And I took her back to the vet yesterday for a check up and guess what - she's getting better. It's still a risk, but it's stabilized and there are signs that it's healing.

So we're plugging along. And I have to stop now - I've got a series of eye drops to administer.

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