Saturday, June 03, 2017

Free for Kindle for a Limited Time

Lawdog: The Life and Times of Hayden Tilden (Hayden Tilden Westerns Book 1) by [Butts, J. Lee]Lawdog: The Life and Times of Hayden Tilden (Hayden Tilden Westerns Book 1) - Kindle edition by J. Lee Butts. Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @  

Legendary as the meanest, most fearless lawdog of the Old West, Hayden Tilden sometimes blurs the line between U.S. Marshal and hired assassin. His adventures all began with one murderous, cold-blooded bastard: Saginaw Bob Magruder. 

The depraved killer butchered Tilden’s entire family and hurled the young man into a ruthless, bloody crusade for vengeance and a career as a U. S. Marshal. Tracking down Magruder will be just the beginning of Tilden’s adventures, bringing his own brand of justice to the wild and lawless West.

Exploring Edgar Allan Poe’s Logical Imagination

The Mathematical Poet: Exploring Edgar Allan Poe’s Logical Imagination

Song of the Day

Frankie Laine - Rawhide (Original 1958 Single Version) - YouTube:

Last of the Fast Guns

Last of the Fast Guns: The Pinkertons’ incredible chase of an outlaw popularly known as the Derby Kid.

Today's Vintage Ad

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

007: Bond films ranked: Which Bond movie is best? The definitive 007 film ranking – from awful to awesome 53 years. 24 films. 6 actors. Prepare to be shaken and stirred.


Carter Travis Young, Shadow of a Gun, Gold Medal, 1961

I Miss the Old Days

Memoirs of a Playboy Bunny in 1970s New York City

Vintage Treasures: The Pulp Fantasies of E. Hoffmann Price

Vintage Treasures: The Pulp Fantasies of E. Hoffmann Price

Forgotten Hits: June 3rd

Forgotten Hits: June 3rd  

WLS Super Summer Survey included.

Soul of the ’60s

Soul of the ’60s: Otis Redding’s Short Life and Long Reach  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: By the Book

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: By the Book: The basketball star and author of “Coach Wooden and Me” says he looks forward to anything written by Walter Mosley: “I’d be very happy if he wrote a novel every week.”

Friday, June 02, 2017

The Secret History of Wonder Woman -- Jill Lepore

The Secret History of Wonder Woman begins in 1903 when Margaret Sanger pulls a child from a snowbank.  That child was Olive Byrne, and she grew up to have an interesting relationship with William Marston, the creator of Wonder Woman.  Marston was a doctor of psychology who invented a lie detector, had a sketchy academic career, was a shameless self-promoter and something of a fraud.  He lived much of his live in a polyamorous relationship with Olive Bryne and his wife, Elizabeth Holloway Marston, fathering two children with each of them.  At times there was a third woman in the group, Marjorie Wilkes Huntley.  

Marston's idea for Wonder Woman was a strongly feminist one, and that resulted in plenty of bondage stories of Wonder Woman breaking the chains that bound her.  Purely symbolic stuff, of course.   As Lepore puts it, "Not a comic book in which Wonder Woman appeared, and hardly a page, lacked a scene of bondage.  In episode after episode, Wonder Woman is chained, bound, gagged, lassoed, tied, fettered, and manacled."  Marston said in an interview that one benefit of WWI was that women "discovered that they were potentially as strong as men -- in some ways stronger."  This was part of the emphasis in his writing for Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman was in trouble with critics from the start, thanks to her brief costume and all those chains, and eventually the critics won out.  After Marston's death in 1947, the writer who took over the comic book changed everything for the worse, eliminating Marston's feminist message, and when Dr. Wertham came along, followed by the "Comics Code," things were even worse.  

Much of Lepore's information for this book wasn't known for years, and a great deal of it is revealed for the first time.  She provides 80 pages of ancillary material, including copious notes.  If you're thinking of seeing the Wonder Woman movie, you should check out this interesting, entertaining book.

In Case You're Planning a Visit to the Lone Star State

The Top 50 Barbecue Joints in Texas

Song of the Day

1958 - Chuck Willis - Hang Up My Rock & Roll Shoes - YouTube:

An interview with Paul Bishop:

Men's Adventure Magazines: An interview with Paul Bishop: veteran detective, writer, editor and action/adventure maven…

The Beatles’ ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ at 50: Still Full of Joy and Whimsy

The Beatles’ ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ at 50: Still Full of Joy and Whimsy

Today's Vintage Ad

11 Facts About 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'

11 Facts About 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'


Ray Hogan, Outlaw Marshal, Gold Medal, 1959

This week’s dubious tabloids

What Megyn Kelly is hiding, Bill Cosby found guilty, and Tom Cruise’s hair plugs, in this week’s dubious tabloids 

John Grisham’s Do’s and Don’ts for Writing Popular Fiction

John Grisham’s Do’s and Don’ts for Writing Popular Fiction

Things I See in Alvin, Texas

A woman out walking her black cat.

Forgotten Hits: June 2nd

Forgotten Hits: June 2nd: "Sgt. Pepper" is released in the United States. It changes the way albums are made and perceived forever.  David Bowie also releases his first album on this date (titled "David Bowie") … it goes absolutely nowhere!

I Would Look Great in These

Lace shorts for men are the new RompHim and honestly we're kinda here for them

FFB: Virgin Cay -- Basil Heatter

I read all Basil Heatter's Gold Medal novels, including Virgin Cay when they were first published, and I've often wondered why there was so little discussion of them.  Heatter was a very good writer, his plots were twisty, and his work was always entertaining.  He wasn't in the top rank of Gold Medal writers, but he was close.  Now that Stark House has reprinted some of his work (this book is due in July), maybe there'll be a Heatter revival.

Like some other Gold Medal writers (Charles Williams, Donald Hamilton, John D. MacDonald), Heatter was really good at the nautical stuff, and there's plenty of it in Virgin Cay, which opens when Gus Robinson's boat goes down in a storm.  He manages to swim to shore, which is quite a task, guided by the light from the house where Clare Loomis is staying.  Gus is a hardy soul, though, and he recovers quickly enough to enjoy Clare's sexual favors.  And it turns out that she has a proposition for him, something that would pay him $20,000, enough to buy a new boat.  That's the good news.  The bad news is that he'd have to murder somebody to earn the money.

It wouldn't be fair to detail any more of the plot.  You should enjoy all the twists for yourself.  I did, and rereading this made me think that it was time for me to reread another Heatter novel Real Soon Now.  Or maybe I should just read A Night Out, which wasn't published by Gold Medal.

I always praise the Stark House introductions, but unfortunately the one by Steve Lewis for this volume wasn't available in the ARC that I read.  I can guarantee that it'll be good, though.  Everything tht Steve writes is good.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Rancho Diablo Is Back!

The Matamoros Bull (Rancho Diablo: Storm Season Book 1) by [Jackson, Colby]
The Rancho Diablo is alive and well, and Mel Odom is bringing us several new adventures in the series, starting with this one.  Get yours now!

The Matamoros Bull (Rancho Diablo: Storm Season Book 1) - Kindle edition by Colby Jackson. Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @  DOWN IN OLD MEXICO

Almost fifteen years old, Elijah Blaylock believes he’s ready for his first big adventure. He’s read the novels of Sir Walter Scott and histories of the wars and men that have shaped the West. So when his father, Sam, invites him to ride along to buy a bull, he readily agrees.

But nothing prepared him for the dangers he faces in Old Mexico.

His father and the rest of the Flying D outfit travel to Rancho Las Pájaro de la Canción (Ranch of the Bird Who Sings) to buy a bull from Don Lozano.

The Corriente bulls are legendary in the bullfighting ring, but Sam Blaylock wants one to improve his own cattle’s hardiness and quality.

In short order, Elijah earns the enmity of the son of a wanted Mexican outlaw, catches the eye of a young charro woman who despises him, and faces a lethal bull, El Trueno.

Things are bad in Old Mexico, but they’re nothing compared to the trouble that follows him back to Texas.

We ranked all the 'Sharknado' titles

We ranked all the 'Sharknado' titles, because we do what we want: Syfy announced today that the fifth Sharknado movie shall henceforth be known as Sharknado 5: Global Swarming. 

And that's not all. This one has an eyeroll-worthy tagline to match: "Make America Bait Again!"

The Hatfields and the McCoys

The Hatfields and the McCoys

Song of the Day


I Miss the Old Days

'80s Automobiles: A Nostalgic Look Into Classic Cars in the Past

Today's Vintage Ad

I Miss the Old Days

Led Zeppelin, Bowie, Queen, the Stones, and More... 25 Fascinating Photographs Capture Rock Stars As Tourists in Japan in the 1970s and 1980s


Frank Castle, Blood Moon, Gold Medal, 1960

Commando missions of World War II

Commando missions of World War II

The Final Beatles Concert

The Final Beatles Concert: The Beatles were coming to the end of what was to be their last tour. The date was August 29th, 1966. And if any date ever earned the title "the end of an era," this truly was it.

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

The 50 Best TV Theme Songs of All Time

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

PWA Shamus Award Nominees

Mystery Fanfare: PWA Shamus Award Nominees

The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s was a masterpiece of timing.

The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s was a masterpiece of timing.: Fifty years ago, the Beatles released their masterpiece into a world ready to embrace a rock album as art.

Song of the Day

Johnny And The Hurricanes - Down Yonder - YouTube:

A Conversation with Lisa Unger (by Scott Loring Sanders)

A Conversation with Lisa Unger (by Scott Loring Sanders) | SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN: This week we have a second installment in a series of interviews with influential crime writers by Scott Loring Sanders. A favorite of EQMM readers, Scott has a new story coming up in the magazine soon. You can learn more about him and interviewee Lisa Unger below, and on their websites. Our thanks to them both for making time available in their busy schedules to share some insights about writing crime fiction.—Janet Hutchings

Marlys Millhiser, R. I. P.

The Daily Camera: Marlys J. Millhiser left us on April 20, 2017. Marty dealt with Alzheimer's for the last seven years, but before that, she worked hard at her chosen craft of mystery writer. Marty published 14 novels, "The Mirror" being the most famous.

Today's Vintage Ad

Or Maybe You Did

5 Things You Didn't Know About Blue Jeans


Marvin H. Albert, The Bounty Killer, Gold Medal, 1958

I Miss the Old Days

45 Glamorous Photos Capture Classic Beauties In Front of the Mirrors

One Hundred Years of Solitude: The Making of a Classic

One Hundred Years of Solitude: The Making of a Classic: Gabriel García Márquez’s masterpiece One Hundred Years of Solitude celebrates its 50th anniversary this month. The novel is set in the fictional town of Macondo, Colombia, and tells the story of the Buendía family. Since its publication on May 30, 1967, One Hundred Years of Solitude has sold over 30 million copies, inspired hundreds of translations and editions, earned numerous awards and been critically acclaimed as one of the best novels of the twentieth century.

Bonus FFB on Wednesday: The Space Magicians -- Alden H. Norton & Sam Moskowitz, eds.

There's probably a very good reason why this anthology is called The Space Magicians, but I have no idea what it could be.  Not all of the stories are about space, and there are no magicians in any of them.  As far as I know, the none of the writers was a magician, either.  The back cover gives the rationale for the anthology, although the statement that "each one is a masterpiece" might be considered an exaggeration by some readers (me).

I'm a big fan of Clifford D. Simak, but there was way too much going on in "The Call from Beyond."  It certainly wasn't typical of his best work, either, being set on Pluto.  Isaac Asimov's "Half-Breed" was written when he was 19, and it shows.  Wyndham's "The Venus Adventure" has a lot of weaknesses of stories of its era, and I'm not talking about the science.  "The Black Sun Rises" ends about where it began, with no resolution.  Maybe there was a sequel.  "Constant Reader" is fun if you can accept the outrageous premise.  Robert W. Chambers' "In Search of the Unknown" has great auks and a merman.  What's not to like?  

The Space Magicians is more of a curiosity than a great anthology.  I like the wraparound cover, which also has no more to do with the contents than the title does.

ToC:  Introduction • (1971) • essay by Alden H. Norton and Sam Moskowitz 
The Venus Adventure • (1932) • novelette by John Wyndham 
The Black Sun Rises • (1944) • novelette by Henry Kuttner 
Half-Breed • (1940) • novelette by Isaac Asimov 
The Call from Beyond • (1950) • novelette by Clifford D. Simak 
Bitter End • (1953) • short story by Eric Frank Russell 
Constant Reader • (1953) • short story by Robert Bloch 
In Search of the Unknown • (1899) • novelette by Robert W. Chambers (aka The Harbor-Master)

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee

Deprived of popcorn at movie theater, Tennessee man assaults cop

All Hail the Emperor of San Francisco

All Hail the Emperor of San Francisco: San Francisco is known for being accepting of nonconformists, but few people better exemplify the city’s love of eccentricity than Joshua Abraham Norton, the self-proclaimed “Emperor of these United States.”

Song of the Day

(1) Kinks - Celluloid Heroes - YouTube:

I Miss the Old Days

Teenage Girls Iron Their Hair Before a Night Out in New York City, 1964

Today's Vintage Ad

These Castles Are Straight Out of a Fairy Tale

These Stunning, Less-Visited Castles in Europe Are Straight Out of a Fairy Tale

William MacLeod Raine, Bucky Follows a Cold Trail, Popular Library, 1946

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

Top 10 Most Interesting Shakespearean Deaths

‘Sgt. Pepper’ at 50

‘Sgt. Pepper’ at 50: The Flaws and Misunderstood Genius of The Beatles’ Most Iconic Album: All the same: the songs on Sgt. Pepper were exceedingly substandard for the band.

Overlooked Movies -- The Count of Monte Cristo (1934)

I've read The Count of Monte Cristo, and I've seen a couple of movie versions.  I've also seen several of the spinoffs, but I'd never seen this 1934 version starring Robert Donat as Edmund Dantes.  I'm glad I got the chance because it's very good, even if it's not as swashbuckling as I'd expected (only one sword fight).

The story is familiar to just about everybody, I suppose.  Edmund Dantes is imprisoned unjustly for delivering a letter that he hasn't even read.  The letter is judged as treasonous, but the real reason Dantes is tossed into the Chateau d'If is that the city magistrate, Raymond de Villefort, Jr. (Louis Calhern) is in love with Dantes' intended bride.  Two others conspire with de Villefort for reasons of their own, and Dantes is not just imprisoned but declared dead, never to see daylight again.  

After a number of years in prison, Dantes makes contact with the prisoner in the next cell, the Abbé Faria (O. P. Heggie).  They remove a stone in the wall, meet in person, and become friends.  Faria educates Dantes, and after many more years is injured in the cave-in of a tunnel they're working on.  He dies and becomes the means of Dantes' escape.  After the escape, Dantes finds Faria's fortune, becomes the Count of Monte Cristo and exacts his revenge on the three who betrayed him.  

The movie takes some liberties with the novel, but that's to be expected.  It does a great job with the revenge story, and Donat is dandy in the role of Dantes, who almost forgets his humanity but then recovers it.  The rest of the cast is fine, too, and the movie comes to a satisfactory conclusion (not the one in the novel).  Great stuff.  See it if you get a chance.

The Count Of Monte Cristo

The Count Of Monte Cristo 1934 TRAILER Robert Donat - YouTube:

Monday, May 29, 2017

Frank Deford, R. I. P.

NY Daily News: Legendary Sports Illustrated scribe Frank Deford who won over a legion of fans with witty writing and colorful commentary and launched the nation’s only daily sports newspaper died Sunday.  He was 78.

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee

Daily Mail Online: Don't make him angry... you won't like him when he's angry! Flash Gordon and the Incredible Hulk have to be separated by fans after the two actors get into a blazing row at London's Comic Con Actors 

Sam J Jones and Lou Ferrigno clashed at ComiCon event in London 

Pair argued while they signed autographs and posed for pictures at event 

Fan came between giant pair and told them to 'act like adults and grow up

Caverns of Sonora

Caverns of Sonora – Sonora, Texas: A Texas cave network is home to some of the world's most spectacular-looking and bizarrely named mineral formations.

Song of the Day

The Statler Brothers - More Than a Name On a Wall - YouTube:

10 Great Books of Washington Intrigue

Crooks, Liars, and Spies: 10 Great Books of Washington Intrigue

Today's Vintage Ad

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

25 Best Sci-Fi Movies Of the 21st Century


William Colt MacDonald, The Red Rider of Smoky Range, Hillman, 1949

I Miss the Old Days

30 Fascinating Vintage Photographs of a Young Eric Clapton in the 1960s: While few would not agree that Eric Clapton is one of the finest guitarists of all time, it is sometimes forgotten just how pivotal, influential and downright startling his work was during the 1960s. And while in following decades Clapton has remained a musician and songwriter of rare ability with moments of glory present album after album, it was during this decade that he stepped into the public eye and his awesome skills were used most creatively.

How the Beatles Wrote "A Day in the Life"

How the Beatles Wrote "A Day in the Life": This coming Friday, May 26, will be the 50th anniversary of the release of the Beatles album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The Atlantic takes a close look at one of its most memorable songs, "A Day in the Life."

Forgotten Hits: May 29th

Forgotten Hits: May 29th: "Respect" by Aretha Franklin finally claims the top spot on this week's Super Chart, dethroning "Groovin"" by The Young Rascals after a couple of weeks at #1.  (It now falls to #3).  "I Got Rhythm" by The Happenings climbs up a notch from #3 to #2, followed by Engelbert Humperdinck's "Release Me" at #4 and The Mamas and the Papas' "Creeque Alley" at #5.  The Supremes fall to #6 with their former #1 Hit, "The Happening", while Paul Revere and the Raiders ("Him Or Me - What's It Gonna Be") and Arthur Conley ("Sweet Soul Music") are also on the decline.  New to The Top Ten this week are "Somebody To Love" by Jefferson Airplane (up from #13 to #9) and "Mirage" by Tommy James and the Shondells, which moves from #12 to #10.  (Both of these records have already topped the charts here in Chicago.)  

Includes a survey.

Remember the Fallen

Memorial Day: Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America. Over two dozen cities and towns claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it’s difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. 

 Regardless of the exact date or location of its origins, one thing is clear – Memorial Day was borne out of the Civil War and a desire to honor our dead. It was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

There Is Nothing Lower

State busts gator racketeering ring

Free for Kindle for a Limited Time

Heat Lightning (Outlaw Ridge, Texas Book 1) by [Reeves, Joan]Heat Lightning (Outlaw Ridge, Texas Book 1) - Kindle edition by Joan Reeves. Romance Kindle eBooks @  Secrets, lies, passion. What Tessa doesn't remember may mean the death of her.

Her husband found her, claimed her, rescued her. David’s touch makes Tessa throb. Desire flashes between them like heat lightning on a summer night. Her body knows David, but when she looks at him, he is a stranger to her. Not a flicker of memory is left of him or their life together since she awakened from a coma.

Amnesia has left her with nothing but questions. Who is she? Why does David seem to hate her even as he pulls her into his arms? What is he hiding? How can she trust him when her gut says, Trust no one?

Laundry Day

From the very beginning of our marriage, Judy and I shared the household chores.  We never had any discussion about it.  It just seemed natural for me to do some things and for her to do others, either because of inclination or scheduling.  So for the first six years of our marriage, I was the laundry guy.  The first apartment house we lived in even had a clothesline, and I'd hang out some of the clean items to dry on the line, mainly sheets and pillowcases.

When we moved to Brownwood and bought our first house, Judy took over the laundry.  We had our own washer and dryer, and Judy was no longer working, so it seemed only natural.  I've forgotten what day she preferred to wash, but after we moved to Alvin, Tuesday became laundry day.  The reason was that we liked to have the weekends free, and most of the other days were Judy's days for playing bridge.

With doing the laundry came other chores, like folding the clothes, putting them away, and making the bed.  Judy was the folder, and she put the clothes away.  She'd often make the bed, but I usually helped with that.  In later years, I always helped or did it myself because she often wasn't up to it.  

Now Saturday is my laundry day because I don't go anywhere on the weekends, and it's a slow day for the most part.  I do the folding and make the bed, too, which finally brings me to the point of this post.  When Judy and I made the bed, she'd do "her side" and I'd do "my side."  Yesterday I was putting on the top sheet and looked across the bed.  For just a fraction of a second, I could see Judy there on her side, just as plain as day, looking just the way she did more than fifty years ago in our first apartment.  She wore the same house dress she often wore then, and while holding the top edge of the sheet in her left hand, she swept her right hand down from the top of the bed to the bottom and side to smooth the sheet just exactly the way she always did.  And then she was gone.  

Song of the Day

Classic Southern Gospel Music Hee Haw Gospel Music Quartet Just a Little Talk With Jesus - YouTube:

I Miss the Old Days

27 Glamorous Vintage Pictures From The Cannes Film Festival

Today's Vintage Ad

The Sudden Death That Led to the First MLB All-Star Game

The Sudden Death That Led to the First MLB All-Star Game  I

Hat tip to Rick Klaw.


William Cold MacDonald, The Deputy of Carabina, Hillman

Top 10 Most Popular Crocodile Movies

Top 10 Most Popular Crocodile Movies

The Best Album Ever?

The Beatles' 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' Turns 50: Is It The Best Album Ever?

I Found a Penny in the Walmart Parking Lot Last Week

Diamond from ring bought for $13 to sell at auction for $453,000