Jul 312014

Getting ready to spend the weekend in not-too-distant New Brunswick, New Jersey with more mystery readers and mystery writers. It's Deadly Ink, and while it's relatively smaller than, say, Malice Domestic, it's just as enthusiastic about the mystery genre and its various sub-genres. The guests of honor this year will be Donald Bain and his wife, Renee Paley-Bain, authors of - among other things - the continuing series of about two dozen novels (so far) based on the characters from Murder She Wrote. Jessica Fletcher may share the bylines, but the Bains have the responsibility.

Also in the spotlight will be Toastmaster Donna Andrews, another award-winning author and one of the funniest people I know. I'm very much looking forward to seeing and hearing her again this weekend.

And for full disclosure: the Deadly Ink folks have been kind enough (or misguided enough) to name me as their Fan Guest of Honor this year.

At Saturday night's banquet, the group will announce the winner of this year's David Award, for the best mystery published during 2013. The award is named for David G. Sasher, Sr., and the nominees this year are:

  • Lethal Treasure, by Jane Cleland;
  • There Was an Old Woman, by Hallie Ephron;
  • Condemned to Repeat, by Janice MacDonald;
  • The Wrong Girl, by Hank Phillippi Ryan;
  • Dark Music, by E. F. Watkins.

There will, as always, be panels, book signings, and the usual continuing opportunities for schmoozing with other fans about mysteries, which is really the best part of these things. I hope I'll see some of you there!

Jul 312014

FlyerPulpFest 2014 will start on Thursday, August 7th. The dealers’ room will be open to registered sellers to set up their displays from 4 to 11 PM. Ohio State’s Thompson Library will also offer a free lecture at 4:30 PM. Early registration for all convention attendees will take place outside the dealers’ room from 5 to 9 PM. There will be early-bird shopping available to PulpFest members who will be staying at the Hyatt Regency Columbus from 6 to 10 PM. Our full slate of programming will get underway at 8 PM.

Thursday, August 7th

4:00 PM – 11:00 PM – Dealer Set-Up – the dealers’ room will be open to dealers to assemble their displays.

4:30 PM – Ohio State Lecture Series – author and pulp fan Laurie Powers will be speaking about her grandfather, the noted pulp writer Paul Powers, at Ohio State’sThompson LibraryPulpFest members are invited to attend this annual lecture sponsored by Ohio State University.

5:00 PM – 9:00 PM – Early Registration – general members and dealers will be able to register for PulpFest.

6:00 PM – 10:00 PM - Early-Bird Shopping – the dealers’ room will be open to loyal attendees who help to defray the convention’s costs by staying three nights at our host hotel.

Evening Programming

8:00 PM – Remembering Frank Robinson – winner of the 2000 Lamont Award,Frank Robinson was the author of The Power, Pulp Culture, Science Fiction of the 20th Century, and other worksYears before setting pen to paper, Frank was collecting pulp magazines. PulpFest pays tribute to the author, collector, and friend who passed away on June 30th of this year.

8:30 PM – Frank Munsey’s Famous Fantastic Mysteries – Blood ‘n’ Thunder editorEd Hulse and author Nathan Madison discuss this reprint magazine, one of the major science-fiction titles started in 1939. It introduced new readers to the classic “scientific romances” that originally appeared in the premier Munsey magazinesThe Argosy and All-Story Weekly.

9:15 PM - The Avenger’s Diamond Jubilee – in 1939, Richard Henry Benson, the chalk-faced crime fighter who founded “Justice, Incorporated,” was the last of Street & Smith’s major pulp heroes to get his own magazine. Pop-culture scholar Rick Lai offers a behind-the-scenes history of the character’s creation and development.

10:00 PM – The Farmerian Vision – moderator Paul Spiteri and panelists Jason Aiken and Christopher Paul Carey will discuss the unique way in which the Hugo award-winning author blended pulp elements and themes with his science-fictional works..

11:00 PM - Buck Rogers – Chapters 1 – 4 of this science fiction classic from 1939, this Universal serial starred Larry “Buster” Crabbe as the time-traveling hero introduced in Philip Nowlan’s 1928 pulp novella “Armageddon 2419 A.D.”

Friday, August 8th

9:00 AM – 10 AM - Early Registration – all members will be able to register for PulpFest. The dealers’ room will be open only to dealers for set-up.

10:00 AM – 5 PM – Wheeling and Dealing – the dealers’ room will be open to all.

1:30 PM – The New Fictioneers – Dick Enos, author of the popular Rick Steele adventure books, will read from four of his novels as well as his not-yet-released Rick Steele adventure, The Monster of Chinatown.

2:30 PM - The New Fictioneers – Christopher Paul Carey, the coauthor with Philip José Farmer of Gods of Opar: Tales of Lost Khokarsa, and the author of Exiles of Kho, will read from the Farmer-inspired “The Goddess Equation.”

3:30 PM – The New Fictioneers – Ralph L. Angelo, Jr., winner of the 2014 New Pulp Award for Best New Author, will read from his Crystalon series and The Cagliostro Chronicles.

Evening Programming

7:30 PM – Welcome to PulpFest – Chairman Jack Cullers offers an official welcome to all attendees

7:40 PM - 1939: Science Fiction’s Boom Year – a brief overview of the “big bang” that launched six science-fiction pulps and ushered in the genre’s Golden Age.

8:00 PM - Startling Stories: An Overview – designed as a companion to Thrilling Wonder Stories, this pulp outlasted most of its competitors and became one of the most respected science-fiction pulps in the field. PulpFest‘s Ed Hulse presents a slideshow of Startling’s 99 covers and touches on the many famous yarns published in its pages.

8:30 PM - A Feast of Farmer: PJF’s Early Science Fiction – Meteor Housepublisher Mike Croteau and Book Cave co-host Art Sippo review Philip José Farmer’s pulp and digest stories, including “The Lovers,” a classic tale from Startling Stories that pioneered the intelligent use of sex in science fiction.

9:00 PM - Pulp Promos, Part Two – in a sequel to his extremely well-received presentation of last year, Chris Kalb takes another look at the now-rare premiums that pulp fans of yore could obtain for a dime and a coupon.

9:30 PM - Eighty Years of Terror - weird-menace fiction was less than a year old when its most successful and long-lasting exponent, Terror Tales, first appeared on the nation’s newsstands in the summer of 1934. A blue-ribbon panel of fans and collectors weighs in on this Popular Publications title, as well as other shudder pulps.

10:30 PM - Science Fiction’s “Golden Age” - under the editorship of John W. Campbell, Street & Smith’s Astounding Science Fiction was the genre’s trend setter, introducing many of the field’s top authors and publishing some of its most memorable stories. This presentation reviews Astounding’s 1939 issues, which featured the early fiction of Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, Theodore Sturgeon, and A. E. van Vogt.

11:00 PM - Buck Rogers - Chapters 5 – 8 follows Buck and his pal Buddy Wade in their battle against the ruthless dictator, Killer Kane, and his army of super-racketeers.

Saturday, August 9th

9:00 AM – 4:45 PM – Wheeling and Dealing – the dealers’ room will be open to all.

1:00 PM - New Pulp Fiction Panel – moderator Ron Fortier is joined by writers Ralph Angelo, Jim Beard, Wayne Reinagel, Frank Schildiner, and Art Sippo as they discuss “The Fun of Writing Pulp Fiction.”

2:00 PM - The New Fictioneers – Jim Beard, author of the Captain Action novels and creator of Sgt. Janus, Spirit Breakerwill read from Sgt. Janus Returns,Monster Earth, and Pride of the Mohicans.

3:00 PM - The New Fictioneers – Frank Schildiner, who has written for Black Coat PressPulp Obscura, and others, will read from his forthcoming Thunder Jim Wade novella and a story from the Tales of the Shadowmen series.

5:00 PM – 7 PM - Saturday Night Dinner – join your fellow fans of pulp fiction for a delightful meal at Buca di Beppo in this get-together arranged by registration and volunteer coordinator Sally Cullers. (Note: Sorry, but this has sold out!)

Evening Programming

7:30 PM – PulpFest 2014 Business Meeting – all members are invited to ask questions and offer suggestions at this session.

7:50 PM – 2014 Munsey Award Presentation – Pop Culture Professor and unabashed pulp fan Garyn G. Roberts will present this year’s Munsey Award to a select individual.

8:00 PM - Unknown: The Best in Fantasy Fiction  – celebrate the 75th birthday of Street & Smith’s Unknown, the home to many of the pulp era’s most memorable—and oft-anthologized—fantasy and horror stories. We revisit the magazine’s highlights, including Edd Cartier’s magnificent artwork, in our tribute.

8:30 PM - The Mystery and Mastery of John Newton Howitt –art historian David Saunders chronicles the life and career of this prolific pulp artist, paying special attention to his memorable covers for the Popular Publications weird-menace magazines Terror Tales and Horror Stories.

9:30 PM – Saturday Night at the Auction – auctioneers John Gunnison and Joseph Saine are back to sell rare collectibles consigned by PulpFest dealers and attendees.

11:30 PM – Buck Rogers - Chapters 9 – 12 bring the 1939 Universal serial directed by Ford Beebe and Saul A. Goodkind to an exciting and satisfying close.

Sunday, August 10th

Daytime Schedule

9:00 AM – 2 PM – Wheeling and Dealing – the dealers’ room will be open to all as our dealers pack up. Buying and selling opportunities may be limited.

For questions and/or suggestions about our programming, please write to programming director Ed Hulse at ed@pulpfest.com.

Jul 312014

Forgotten Books: The Collected Stories of Stephen Crane

As one of  the prime creators of Realism Stephen Crane shocked the world of letters both in his writing and his personal life. His first book was Maggie: A Girl of The Streets and he spent a good share of his adult life (as much of it as there was--he died at twenty-eight) living with Cora Taylor, the madame of a brothel. He wrote dozens of short stories as well as his masterpiece The Red Badge of Courage.

While he was accepted and praised by the literary critics of the time, he was frequently derided for the pessimism and violence of his stories. He brought "the stink of the streets" into literature as one reviewer said. But his streets could be found all over America, not just in the cities.

The Open Boat, The Blue Hotel, The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky, Shame and The Upturned Face give us portraits of different Americas. As I was rereading them lately I realized that they all have two things in common--their utter sense of social isolation and the intensity of their telling. Hemingway always put up The Blue Hotel as one of the most intense-"bedeviled"--stories in our language and man he was right. The fist fight in the blizzard on the blind side of the barn is one of those most hellish insane scenes I've ever read. And the ironic words at the last honestly gave me chills, even though I knew what was coming. His years as a journalist gave him a compassion for society's discards no matter where they lived or what color they happened to be.

His sense of place changed writing. Whether he was writing about the slums of Brooklyn or the endless ghostly plains of Nebraska in winter, his early years as a poet gave his images true clarity and potency. One critic of the time said his stories were possessed of "a filthy beauty" and that nails it.

Only a few of his stories are taught today; Red Badge is mandatory in schools. But in the many collections available of his stories you find a passion for life and language that few writers have ever equaled. Too many American masters get lost in the shuffle of eras. Crane is not only an artist he's one of the finest storytellers I've ever read.
Jul 312014

As ever, Block’s writing is crisp and classy. This is pure pulp fiction: there’s no faffing around with detailed back story or sprawling social commentary. Instead we cut straight to the chase, in an urban American cityscape of the late 20th century, where you still drop a dime to call the cops… and confidential information can be bought for the price of a new hat.

Click here to read the review


Jul 312014

When people learn that I am an acquiring editor, I get a few stock responses.

    "Oh, you get to read all day!" That is from the readers.

    "What kind of books do you acquire?" From the writers.

    "Huh? What's that?" Non-readers.

But then we dig into what I really do all day long. I am going to start with yesterday. I had two launch meetings yesterday. At the launch meeting, we determine the cover design, title, series name, taglines, discuss blurbs/reviews, back cover copy, etc. This is the most important meeting we have for any one book. Before the meeting, I talk with the author about what he or she envisions. Then I create a set of launch notes for everyone who attends the meeting describing what I feel the books should look like.

After work, I went to the gym and then to a Midwestern Writers Binder meet up. It ended up only being four of us, and quite a fun time, but still a work function in many ways. This morning, we had our weekly acquisitions meeting. Today I was presenting a thriller that I hope to acquire. To prepare for this meeting, I research the market, collect data about the author and comparable titles. It can take half a day to a full day for me to prepare. It all depends on the other things that interrupt me – phone calls, the art dept (asking me to go look at a cover design or at potential illustrators), marketing or sales stopping by (to ask specific questions about ads, copy, the author), etc.

My to-do list for today:


  • Transmit a revised manuscript to the production department
  • Brainstorm blurb requests with three different authors
  • Gather synopses from the Spring Summer 2015 authors
  • Tweak those synopses and send onto marketing
  • Remind Spring Summer 2015 authors to send in author photos and permission forms
  • Create an offer memo for the ms I presented today (to be pubbed in 2016)
  • Find six manuscripts for the Winter 2016 catalog
  • Read my tarot cards
  • Find time to meditate
  • Sign off on cover routings as they get dropped on my desk. Same for catalog copy and cover designs
  • Return a call to an outside publicist
  • Type up revision requests and send to the authors
  • Answer author and agent emails (this alone could take all day)
  • Read seven manuscripts (I have hundreds of submissions to read, but these seven are time sensitive –manuscripts that I have to formally accept within 30 days.)


Did you notice that reading is the last thing on my list? It shouldn’t be that way, but most days it does fall to the end, and I often have to read at night or on weekends to hit those deadlines. There are other crummy parts of my job. I have to inform authors/agents when we are discontinuing a series. I have to reject manuscripts. And I don’t have time to get thru my backlog of submissions. I feel like I am failing writers by not looking at their manuscripts in a timely manner. But at the end of the day, something has to give because I simply can’t do it all. It stresses me out continually. I wake up in the middle of the night because I have suddenly realized a plot hole or something I have forgotten to do.

But at the end of the day – I still have THE BEST JOB EVER! Reading is my job. I make dreams come true when I offer a contract to a debut author. I get to go to conferences and hang out with my friends in the crime fiction community. I am part of the creative process of taking a manuscript, giving it wings, and watching it fly. That, my friends, is an incredible feeling.

And in parting, I have a question for you all. As you can probably guess, my work doesn’t allow me much time to read for pleasure. If you were to pick the top five books pubbed in 2014 – what would they be? I will always have my favorites – but I am looking for new authors to read. Maybe a debut author? Or someone who writes excellent stuff but hasn’t broken out yet? I look forward to your suggestions.

Have a great day y’all!

Jul 312014
Nick Carter Rips Through A Nest Of Spies
To Hunt A Ruthless Assassin!

Killmaster  #250
Canada is split into two hostile camps. Quebec's left-wing separatists are threatening the prime minister with a bloody secession from the Canadian state. The political scene explodes into an inferno when separatist leader Giles Parisant is cut down by an assassin bullet. The Mounties number one suspect is the prime minister's son. Only one man can pull the nation from the brink of civil war, Nick Carter. Racing against a deadline where one  mistake spells failure, Nick works around the clock to sniff out Parisant's killer, a demonically manipulator who's dug in so deep only Agent N3 can smell his special sent of evil.

Printing History
Written by Jack Garside (1924- )

Berkley Publishing Group
Jove Books
Published by arrangement with The Conde Nast Publications, Inc.
ISBN 515 10034
June 1989

 Posted by at 3:18 pm
Jul 312014
Cabby, by Leonard Jordan No month stated, 1980  Belmont-Tower Books Predating his work on The Sharpshooter (and even the porn novel he wrote as “March Hastings”), Cabby was one of the first novels Len Levinson ever wrote. However despite being written in 1972, the novel went unpublished until 1980. Len has often mentioned this book to me, saying that it was his stab at literary greatness;