Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

It didn't occur to me until a few moments ago that Annie's ears look just like bat wings.


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Saturday, October 29, 2011

For Halloween - a Video of Weird Tales Covers

One of my friends on Facebook tipped me off on this great video on YouTube of Weird Tales covers - and the music is very fitting. Perfect for getting in the mood for Halloween!




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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Book Review: The Traditional West

The Traditional West: A Western Fictioneers Anthology
Western Fictioneers, 2011

I've been so busy this past year getting my grandfather's anthology of short stories out that I've been behind in reading up on other western fiction short story collections are coming out. I'm really glad that someone tipped me off on this new book, THE TRADITIONAL WEST, a collection of brand-new stories written by members of the Western Fictioneers group.

Western Fictioneers is an online group that was founded in 2010 to promote the oldest genuine American art form, the Western story. This anthology is their first and contains 24 stories by Steven Clark, Phil Dunlap, Edward A. Grainger, James J. Griffin, Jerry Guin, C. Courtney Joyner, Jackson Lowry, Larry Jay Martin, Matthew P. Mayo, Rod Miller, Clay More, Ross Morton, Kerry Newcomb, Scott D. Parker, Pete Peterson, Cheryl Pierson, Kit Prate, Robert J. Randisi, James Reasoner, Dusty Richards, Troy D. Smith, Larry D. Sweazy, Chuck Tyrell, and L.J. Washburn. With original cover artwork by acclaimed artist Pete Peterson, THE TRADITIONAL WEST is more than 100,000 words of classic Western fiction.

I particularly enjoyed stories by C. Courtney Joyner, Matthew Mayo and L.J. Washburn, Chuck Tyrell and Edward Grainger’s stories. But with two dozen stories, there is something for everyone.

Jackson Lowry’s “The Silver Noose” is the mystery of why a man is hanged after he was already dead. In Larry Sweazy’s “Lost Mountain Pass,” Hank Snowden wants to get out of town but ends up being an escort to a woman whose three brothers were just hanged and who now fears for her own life. Scott D. Parker’s “The Poker Payout” takes place over a poker game in which Calvin Carter is on the prowl of a robber, with the entire story played out during a card game. With Robert Randisi’s “Blood Trail to Dodge,” we are treated to the beginning chapters of a new series featuring Talbot Roper, a private investigator. James Reasoner’s Rattler is a quick but unforgettable tale about a man caught in a hole with a rattlesnake and an armed enemy bearing down on him. And what I think is my top favorite is Troy D. Smith’s “The Sin of Eli,” a beautifully written story about a father trying to get to his son before he is executed, but it’s not because of reasons you may think.

All in all, I would definitely recommend this collection for readers who have been hungry for fine new western fiction short stories. In THE TRADITIONAL WEST, you’ll get this and more: these stories are written by some of the finest writers in the business today.
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Monday, October 24, 2011

Pulps A-Z: The Letter J (And some notes on doing research.)

Back from my trip to the east coast. Spent most of today just trying to catch up. How good was the trip? Let's just say I didn't think about the blog once. Not that I don't love doing the blog, but my mind was elsewhere. In addition, the fall colors were glorious but I didn't take any pictures, even though I brought my Canon SLR with me. I was so busy driving from one place to the next - there were days when I literally had to stop and think for a minute because I couldn't keep my locations and people straight.

But my camera did come in handy in a strange way. One of my stops was at Syracuse University, where I went with Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson to do research in the Street & Smith collection for my new project. Some of you have already gone to Syracuse in the past and know that in the past you could have the staff photocopy many of the documents in the archives from the Street & Smith archives, including copies of pulp stories from the bound volumes they have. I had many WILD WEST WEEKLY stories written by my grandfather copied back in 1999.

Not anymore. The University will not guarantee that they will photocopy any of the pulp stories, because the pulps are getting so fragile. It's strictly on a case by case basis. And both Nicky and I struck out with ALL of the pulp stories we wanted copied. Which is where my digital camera really came in handy. I spent quite a few hours copying page after page of stories (and praying that I'd be able to read the text later once I uploaded the pics to my camera). I will say that all of the stories I wanted copied were pre-1928, so they were quite old. Some of you wanting to research post 1930 pulps might have better luck. But take a digital camera just in case.

I had a fantastic time, and met some terrific people who were extremely generous with their time and the paperwork they had that I need for my project. I spent over $300 to ship materials back to my house. I wish I could tell you more about my project, but experience has shown me that some things need to be kept under wraps, at least for now.

Anyway, on to the Pulps A-Z. This week the letter is J. And man, I thought "I" was hard. I must be in the drought of letters right now. But I did find three that were somewhat unusual. Here they are. This 1931 Jungle Stories is a earlier version of the magazine that featured Ki-Gor, which was launched 7 years after this version folded (after only three issues.)

JACK LONDON'S ADVENTURE, October 1958

JACK DEMPSEY'S FIGHT MAGAZINE, May 1934

JUNGLE STORIES, December 1931.



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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Upcoming Trip

I'm going to the east coast on Saturday and will be gone for a week. It's going to be a very busy and interesting trip and I'll be meeting new people as well as reuniting with old friends. I'll be going to my alma mater Smith College one day and meeting with professor Dan Horowitz, who was my advisor while I was working on the initial honors thesis that turned into PULP WRITER. And I'll also be meeting with the president of the college, who sent me a nice note after RIDING THE PULP TRAIL was published. I'll be giving her signed copies of both PULP WRITER and RIDING THE PULP TRAIL.

I'm also going to be meeting up with Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson, who was one of the panelists at PulpFest and the granddaughter of pulp writer Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson. Together we are going to be driving to Syracuse University so I can do some research in the Street & Smith archives there on a project yet to be announced. With Nicky there with me, it should be a LOT of fun - I hope we don't get kicked out of the place.

I'll be posting when I can up to when I depart and during the trip.

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Friday, October 7, 2011

Chloe's Tribute to Steve Jobs

Chloe here, deciding that she likes Annie's ball. My goddaughter took this photo with an iPhone. Just one tiny example of how iPhones have changed the world.


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Kid Wolf Rides Again Over at Meridian Bridge

Richard Prosch over at Meridian Bridge wrote a wonderful essay today on a Kid Wolf story in the July 3, 1939 WILD WEST WEEKLY. Rich mentioned a few weeks ago that he had found this issue at an antique store. He writes about the story, "Kid Wolf's Long Shot," and if you're not familiar with this popular Paul Powers hero, it's well worth reading.

To read the essay on Meridian Bridge and check out the cover, go here.

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Lone Ranger is Back!

Lovers of the Lone Ranger! Look alive! There's a new Lone Ranger adventure, called VENDETTA, that is going to be released soon, and it was written by the one and only Howard Hopkins.

If anyone is qualified to write a Lone Ranger novel, it's Howard, who is the author of 40+ horror, western & kid's horror novels/comic books, numerous published short stories, including stories in The Spider Chronicles, The Green Hornet Chronicles, Sherlock Holmes & Captain Midnight, and co-editor of The Avenger Chronicles 1-3. Howard is the author of 32 Black Horse westerns in hardcover and trade paperback under the name Lance Howard, the most recent being Coyote Deadly.

So congrats to Howard. Here's the link to the amazon page. You can pre-order your copies now.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

"There is no reason not to follow your heart."

To reflect on the passing of Steve Jobs, this excerpt is from his commencement address at Stanford University in 2005. This was about 6 months after he had been diagnosed with cancer, making this speech hugely inspiring and yet sobering at the same time.

"When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: 'If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right.' It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: 'If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?' And whenever the answer has been 'no' ...for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."

Rest in Peace, Steve Jobs. Thank you for inspiring so many people.




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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pulps A-Z: The Letter "I"

This truly was a hard one. There seemed to be a few with the word "Intimate," usually paired up with something like "Love" or "Confessions." Of course there had to be a few detective pulps that are shown below. I was hoping that I would find a title like INTIMATE DETECTIVE, but no such luck.


I CONFESS, Feb 25, 1927

ILLUSTRATED DETECTIVE, December 1931

INTERNATIONAL DETECTIVE July 1933

INTIMATE CONFESSIONS, September 1937

INDIAN STORIES, Summer 1950



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Monday, October 3, 2011

I'm Turning to a Life of Crime

I'm sure some of you have already heard this, but I can't help myself. I'm so excited that my story MOVING DAY, which appeared Friday over at A Twist of Noir, has won an award. The Bullet Awards, which honors crime fiction on the web, gave MOVING DAY a third place in the best crime fiction on the web for the month of September. Woot!

Winning something like this is dangerous - it may persuade me to try more crime fiction. Lord knows I like writing it, for better or for worse.

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Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Question for Pulp Collectors...

How many of you out there go to estate sales to look for collections? I'm curious, as it would seem that they would be good places to find pulps. If you go, have you had any success finding pulps? What about collectible books? I love going to estate sales myself, not just for pulps but for pretty much anything, but especially books.

I recently found this site, Estate Sales.org, which lists upcoming estate sales. It looks like they have a good inventory, and I really like the format.

The link to EstateSales.org will be going up in my Favorite Web Sites list on the right if you want to find it at a later date.

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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Off to the Huntington

My mother and sister are here this weekend and we're going to the Huntington, one of my favorite places in southern California. Books, gardens, art, and a great tea room - what's not to like?

The tea room is amazing. It's rather pricey now - $27.99 a person - but it's an all you can eat buffet of an amazing array of sandwiches, salads, pastries, deserts, even caviar.

Here's the history of the Huntington.

And here are some photos I took a few years ago. I hope to take some more today.






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