Tuesday, June 11, 2019

recent read/listen; Bass Reeves, Frontier Marshal, Volume 1

Bass Reeves, Frontier Marshal, Volume 1

I'm on a kick to read a lot more new pulp. I'm using Derrick Ferguson's list, 60 New Pulp Books To Get You Started, as a starting point.

I've already read a few titles from the list. I'd been building up my Audible credits again, so I grabbed some titles from the list. The nice thing about the pulp titles is that most of them are on the shorter side (8hrs or under,) so I can knock them off faster.

Bass Reeves was a real person. A black man, a former escaped slave who worked the Indian Territories (Oklahoma & Arkansas) as a U.S. deputy marshal. He had an amazing career.

The stories in this volume are fiction, not history. The palate of the Old West and Reeves's exploits serve as a cauldron to mix facts of the man's life with Western tropes to produce enjoyable tales.

Here's the t.o.c with log lines;
"Ride from Three Devils" by Gary Phillips
While chasing the notorious outlaw, Alamosa Bill, Bass Reeves stumbles into a plot to rob a government silver shipment on a west-bound train.

"Whiskey Road" by Mel Odom
Bass must infiltrate a gang of vicious horse thieves to find a kidnapped child.

"No Master But Duty" by Andrew Salmon
Reeves and his posseman collar a wanted man only to have the citizens of the small frontier town he is hiding in refuse to give him up.

"A Town Named Affliction" by Derrick Ferguson
When an old lawman turns outlaw, Bass Reeves and his possemen must hunt down the Chance brothers and bring them to justice.
There is also an introduction from Ron Fortier with suggested histories of Bass Reeves for further historical reading, and each author has an afterword with their story.

I'm not a Western expert. I've read a few. I've seen a fair number of western movies though I still feel like I've only scratched the surface. That said, I thought these stories were solid and entertaining. They were well narrated, too.

Worth your time.

I'll be getting to Volumes 2 & 3 sooner rather than later.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

recent read; three from Edmond Hamilton

I've been itching to get back to science fiction reads for a while. Of course, I am seeking out action & excitement oriented stories, not cerebral deep-thinks. I've been remiss in my reading of Edmond Hamilton. So, I picked up this omnibus and started reading.

I thought this was an okay story but I wasn't moved to keep reading Captain Future adventures. The team of characters are fun (a brain in a box, a metallic robot, and a plasticine android support Captain Future.) In this debut adventure, Future is hunting down a villain who is stirring up trouble among the natives on Jupiter. Imaginative elements keep this light fun.

A running adventure of trouble after trouble, influenced by PRISONER OF ZENDA. Gordon, a man from Earth, trades bodies with a prince from the far flung future. Trapped in the future, Gordon falls deeper and deeper into political intrigue as the galaxy teeters on the brink of war. As described in the biography at the end of the omnibus, Hamilton was best known for his "extravagant, romantic, high-adventure style of SF" and this novel is a prime example.

Hamilton wrote a STARWOLF trilogy in the 1960s. He brought his chops to the table for a different era of space opera readers.

Morgan Chane is an Earth-born, Varnan-raised space pirate (a Starwolf). He flees into exile and falls in with a mercenary outfit. Their latest job is to stop one world from acquiring and using a super-weapon against another world.

This is the story I'd been waiting for. This tale has a lean bite compared to the other novels.

The trilogy was reprinted in an omnibus by ACE. I'll be reading the other two novels.


Monday, April 22, 2019

Another tale in StoryHack

Now that I have signed the contract, I can announce my short story, "Makani and the Vulture God," will be appearing in StoryHack later this year. If plans stay on track, the story will be in issue #5.

This will be my second appearance in StoryHack. This will be the third published story featuring my sword-&-sorcery duo, Lono and Makani. (Perhaps I should call it spear-&-sorcery. There is no metallurgy among their people.)

I enjoy StoryHack. I enjoy working with editor, Bryce Beattie.

I am pleased :)

Monday, April 8, 2019


Though contracts have not gone out, the official t.o.c. was announced for WICKED WEIRD.

WICKED WEIRD is the next anthology produced by the New England Horror Writers group, following on WICKED SEASONS, WICKED TALES, WICKED WITCHES, and WICKED HAUNTED.

The original plan was to launch the book this August at Necronomicon Providence 2019. I don't know if that is still the plan, or if it will slip to their traditional October launch.

As you might guess from the title and launch plan, the theme this time around is 'weird' and 'cosmic' horror. My story, "The Painted Girl," is among the nineteen. Some intriguing titles and good writers here. I'm happy to be included.


Editors - Amber Fallon, Scott Goudsward and David Price

(In Random order - Not book order:)

Jeffrey Thomas - Your Emergency Response Guide
Lauran L. Soares - The Sweetness and the Psychic
Ken Vaughan - A Long Walk to the Ocean
John Goodrich - The Promised Death of Zebediah Dewey
Matthew M. Bartlett - Strange Haze
Barry Lee Dejasu - The Night and all its Visitors
Morgan Sylvia - Salt Cave
Errick Nunnally - A Song of War and Death
Jason Parent - Starry Night
William Carl - Reclaimed
Frank Raymond Michaels - Please Stay Dead, Aunt Marnie
Paul McNamee - The Painted Girl
Peter Dudar - Perfect Parent
Victoria Dalpe - Those beneath, devour
Steve Van Samson - A Feast of Flies
Rob Smales - Pet Shop of the Gods
John Buja - Lost Mine of St. Eloi
Trisha Wooldridge - The Mass of the Greatest Sin
Steven LaCroix - Better Late than Never

There you have it 19 original stories - 93K (pre-edits etc)

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

On the subject of book reviews

The other day on Facebook, a writer friend asked;
What’s a guy gotta do to get book reviews around here? Seriously. All answers appreciated.
 Most everyone replied they had no idea anymore.

I certainly don't.

I am more focused on Amazon reviews in this post, though there are certainly other venues; goodreads, blogs, etc.

Not complaining, just observing; the anthologies I've appeared in barely have reviews.

Personally, for me, the notion of reviewing just isn't on my radar much anymore. It started with backing off any negative reviews. As a writer myself I feel uncomfortable doing that. It might just not be smart as a 'career' move, either.

But now I'm kind of burned out on reviewing anything--even if I like something.

Maybe it's the fact I come from a Pre-Internet world. Pre-Internet, if I enjoyed something I just enjoyed it. I'd tell some people maybe, or it would come up in conversation, but I didn't need to announce it to the world.

I know, we live in a new paradigm. I know authors need the help--I'm one of them.

Amazon's back-&-forth 'policies' on pulling reviews--especially if you are friends with writers--haven't helped. And it is disturbing behavior. How does Amazon determine you are friends? Clearly they must be trawling our social media.

On the flip side of that, Amazon hardly police unjust one-star reviews. Ones that are done out of spite, or "I never read this genre but I'll review this anyway."

I also wonder if Amazon reviews mean anything lately. Other than occasionally hunting up some non-fiction cold, I don't read Amazon reviews to influence my purchases. Most books I buy are on recommendations from other sources--and most of those are recommendations, not reviews.

Also seeing as how nearly every book on Amazon--if they get enough reviews--end up with such a mix from one-star to five-star that the reviews aren't even useful.

I have no evidence that anyone else feels the way I do. But I do wonder.

How about you? Have you burned out on posting reviews, even short ones? Do you feel like the weight of Amazon reviews don't matter to you as much as they did?  Did they ever?

What about reviews from sources other than Amazon?

Thursday, January 17, 2019

recent read; the DARK GATE novels by John Jakes

DMR Books are launching 2019 by having guest bloggers all month. I was invited to participate. (thanks Deuce & Dave!)

I'd been meaning to read two planetary adventure novels by John Jakes: MASTER OF THE BLACK GATE and WITCH OF THE BLACK GATE. I thought a post about them would be a nice change from examining Jakes' sword-&-sorcery tales of Brak the Barbarian.

You can read the blog post here.