Sunday, June 26, 2011

Pulp Modern Reminder

That deadline is almost kind of sort of almost near.  Got plenty of crime submissions.  For the record, mystery stories need to be DAMN good to get in (mostly because there are two big print journals that specialize in mystery, so I don't want to dwell on that kind of story too much).  Would really like to see some far out science fiction and some horror that makes me want to sleep with the lights on.

I'm having difficulty with my artists.  I may have to find some pretty folks and dress them up in appropriate gear for each section of the journal and take some fancy black and white photographs.  Just a heads up.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Peeling thin layers off of America's mythology

I'm not going to mention that Ed Grainger is David Cranmer.  It's really not that important.  One of Big Steve King's primary rules about writing is:  STORY.  Story is what's important. 

Big Steve King doesn't go over well among the hoity-toities in college writing classes.  Never mind that half the people in any writing class I've ever taken enjoyed and wanted to write genre fiction.  Something about the university compels people to hoist their snouts high in the air and pretend writing about the time grandma announced she was a lesbian at the family Thanksgiving dinner is somehow more relevant than a story about a man bending the law in order to better administer justice to those who deserve it. 

Question:  Who cares about your goddamn grandma, other than you? 

Answer: Nobody. 

Genre fiction soars above "literary" fiction for one important reason:


The human beast craves stories.  It's what ties the individual to the Earth, to history.  It ties all individuals together and creates what we call culture.  Those cave paintings anthropologists and archeologists pee their pants over, those are genre stories. 

Just saying...

Mr. Grainger has provided us with seven stories involving his "outlaw marshal," Cash Laramie, and his rather progressive character, Gideon Miles, a lawman who might well have spent more time outrunning lynch mobs than rounding up actual criminals for the "legitimate" gallows.  Most of the stories I had read before.  No problem.  They're entertaining.  They're stories.  While each story features Cash or Gideon or both, each story is very different from the others.  The order they're in creates a progression towards the shocking, final tale, "The Outlaw Marshal." 

In the collection's stunning conclusion, one gets the impression of a concept album, or a good revenge film told in episodes.  The mood the collection has created rises to an angry pitch and crashes like a wild, psychedelic guitar solo (I'm thinking of "L.A. Blues," the last song on The Stooges record Funhouse, without question the greatest rock album ever).  This moment, however, has a logic to it.  The reader has seen the treatment of Gideon Miles by the society around him, the reader has had his or her heart broken in a story about a young girl who is abused by her father, the reader has held his or her breath while an American Indian is forced to hide while the marshals, just doing their jobs, search in vain to bring him back to a vicious lynch mob (tip of the hat here to Mr. Grainger's co-writer on that particular story, Sandra Seamans).  The reality of the west, the reality of the United States, is played in these stories as matter-of-fact, as it should be

I place the efforts of Ed Grainger right up there with The Searchers, my nomination for Best Freakin' Western Movie Ever.  Like The Searchers, the exploits of Cash and Gideon refuse to blink in the face of uncomfortable truths.  Mr. Grainger accomplishes what "literary" writers attempt without the self-conscious, self-congratulatory melodrama that plagues "literary" fiction (why the hell is "literary" fiction even called fiction?..)  The post-modern elements in Mr. Grainger's stories fit nice and snug with the narratives they are a part of.  The reader isn't slapped in the face with a big sign that says: MESSAGE.  The result is an enjoyable read that will make you nod and say, "Yeah, that sounds about right."

Isn't that what a good story is supposed to do?  Here are seven that do it extremely well.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Just a friendly Pulp Modern reminder

In a week, there will only be TWO MONTHS before the PULP MODERN deadline!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Future of All Due Respect

Yesterday I announced that All Due Respect would need a new editor after April of 2012.  I was fortunate enough to get an email from Chris Rhatigan, who runs the excellent site Death By Killing, in which he offered to take over editorial duties.  Chris knows good writing.  I had worries about shutting ADR down or passing it on to an editor I might not be too sure about.  Those worries are gone.  I believe Mr. Rhatigan is going to do a hell of a job.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

All Due Respect Update

As of now, April, 2012 will be the last edition of All Due Respect.  If anyone is interested in taking over editorial duties on that site, let me know.  In order to make sure Pulp Modern is the best it can possibly be, I will have to concentrate on it.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Yes, this is research!

A wild little western I happened to watch simply because I am studying up on Abilene at the moment.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pulp Modern Update

So far, I've selected three stories for the first issue (others are pending decision).  Two of the three stories chosen were submitted in standard manuscript format.  It makes many things much easier on an editor who has to read anywhere from six to a dozen submissions a day if the story is in standard format.  I'm seriously considering making it a part of the guidelines, just so at least three-fourths of the submissions come in that way.  I've learned that a certain percentage of people either don't read the guidelines at all or don't pay attention to them, so I'm well aware that I'll still get some in crazy formats.

For a reminder, here is a standard manuscript sample.

Still looking for some solid horror, science fiction and adventure (pirates, Indy Jones-stuff, etc).

Original image location:

Patricia Abbott at Spinetingler

Some classy prose by Patricia Abbott at Spinetingler-- Her story Father's Day could very well be in any number of those literary journals edited by people who frown on genre fiction.  Proof, yet again, that the best writing is done by genre writers...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

This week at Beat to a Pulp

For a lesson in compact, concise storytelling, head on over to Beat to a Pulp and check out Chris F. Holm's The Man in the Alligator Shoes.  The story provides an excellent reason to never remind someone of someone else.

Photo courtesy of

Monday, June 13, 2011

Abilene, KS

What might I be doing, looking at maps of Abilene, KS in the 1880s?  Hmm...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pulp Modern Update

Still looking for horror and science fiction submissions.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Mad Men Amendment

I've gone through seasons two and three of Mad Men and I'm afraid to say I'm not nearly as impressed as I was with season one.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pulp Modern Update

Getting a lot of crime submissions.  Would like to see some sf, horror, adventure (i.e., pirates, Johnny Quest kind of stuff) and western submissions.  Pulp Modern is also listed at duotrope now.

Image courtesy of

Monday, June 6, 2011

My Review of the Stunningly Awful Graduation Day

I review one of the worst films ever made at Let's Kill Everybody.  Thanks to Jimmy Callaway for publishing it and doing a great job of editing it.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Pulp Modern: Weekly Reminder

Here's your weekly reminder.  Pulp Modern is now accepting submissions!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Mr. Sensitive

Well, at the end of a week in which an entirely irrational, bitter woman attacked me for defending an old toy (that originally belonged to my mother) she saw a picture of on facebook (and called "creepy," creepy being a word that is entirely over-used these days), I suppose it is appropriate to announce that a non-horror non-crime poem I wrote, "Scenes from a Diner," will appear in the fall edition of a literary journal called The Toucan.  It's put together by some folks in Chicago, which is a good or bad omen (I have, historically, had bad, bad luck in Chicago...)  Also, tonight I will be reading my poetry (including a hell of a poem called "Ed Gein" which is, amazingly, about "Ed Gein") at Black Dog Books in Zionsville, Indiana.  I just thought it funny that after being called a number of unpleasant names, here I am, engaging in the pleasant practice of reading poetry to a group of quiet, dignified literary types.

I will post later about my feelings on what we, as a society, need to do about indiscriminate name-calling that can lead to ruined careers and lives (does a recent exchange at Spinetingler come to mind?).  Luckily, in this case, I flagged the offending post and Facebook had the good sense to agree with me and remove it.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

All Due Respect #12

This month marks one year of All Due Respect.  I'd like to offer thanks to all the writers who made the first year so entertaining.  Jim Wilsky contributes the birthday story, Severance.  Wilsky reminds us that white collar workers are also suffering in this miserable economy and if their bosses don't watch it, their employees just might explode with rage and show up for work when they're not scheduled...  "Severance" is told in a manner very similar to the classic pulps.  It's non-stop excitement and allows anyone who has been screwed-over by this economy a brief, if violent, fantasy.