ALL PULP PAGES

Friday, December 31, 2010

ALL PULP 2011-THE YEAR IN PREVIEW!!!

As the old year draws to a close, ALL PULP wants to know what you as publishers, writers, and artists have coming up for Pulp in 2011!!!!  Send us a snippet, a release, heck, a manifesto telling us about what you've got coming up for the next year!  Send us images, works in progess, whatever and we'll post it on the first day of the New Year along with a special recently written holiday Pulp story from Mark Halegua!!  Send all your 2011 stuff to allpulp@yahoo.com

INTERVIEW WITH 'WEEK IN HELL' AUTHOR J. WALT LAYNE!

J WALT LAYNE-Author
 
AP: Thanks for being with us! Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you became a writer?
JWL: First thank you for the review and the interview. It is difficult for the novice to learn marketing and you guys are great to work with.
Y’know everyone says they started writing as a kid, and I know that’s true for me. I started telling and then writing stories as soon as I could hold a pencil. I learned to read and to write very early, and was reading a lot of classic literature late in elementary school. I used to drive my English teacher crazy with this very literary stuff when all she wanted was a theme about my weekend adventures. I wrote my first screenplay in Sixth grade, it was an episode of The A Team, it was terrible… Through High School I wrote a lot of Sci-Fi and combat stuff, war fiction and the super soldier stuff was big in the late 1980s. I didn’t write much when I was in the Army, but I did put on a lot of mileage.
By maybe 1999 or 2000 I was looking at taking it to the next level but I wasn’t quite sure what that was… I was writing a lot of very over the top stuff, but you don’t really know how to write anything beyond a few thousand words until you do it. My first real book project was an editing and rewriting gig with an old friend who was into mythos fiction. After that I was cranking out a lot of flash fictions and short stories over at www.zoetrope.com. It was one of those flash fiction contests that prompted my first novel.

AP: Who were some of the early influences on your writing style?

JWL: Good question, because I believe in a lot of ways you are what you read. I wasn’t allowed to play sports as a kid, so I spent a lot of time in my books and in my head. I read everybody from Judy Blume to Emile Zola. I loved comics, particularly horror and detective stuff. I read my way through Burroughs, Tarzan was my favorite. Robert Heinlein was and is a favorite, matter of fact I’m reading Glory Road right now. I discovered pulp in a box of comics and detective magazines bought for a dollar at a garage sale in the mid 1980s. It was racy stuff compared to David Copperfield. I still remember reading Paul Cain’s One, Two, Three for the first time. Wow.
When you’re a kid though, there’s a certain pressure to have an eye on what’s popular at the time, even if you’re not particularly concerned, and so I got into the fictional accounts and history of the Vietnam War. I read Platoon, Hamburger Hill, and Deadly Green, but the one that hit me hardest and still resonates is Body Count, by William Turner Huggett. He was writing a contemporary, gritty, war novel, but it was graphic in both its language, and depiction. He was a year out of Vietnam when he wrote it, the war hadn’t sat on his shelf long enough to mellow and age. In the service I read a ton of biographies about military people, all the bigger than life generals anyhow.
In the last 10 years or so it has been a mixed bag, Spider Robinson, pulp anthologies, Becky Benston, Bobby Nash, and the dystopian stuff like Fahrenheit 451.

AP: Your first book, Frank Testimony, was released in 2006. Can you tell us a bit about what it's about and how readers can get ahold of it?

JWL: Frank Testimony is a legal thriller set in 1950s Mississippi. I didn’t even know that book was inside me until it sort of exploded. It was about this time (December 29, 2005) when I was gearing up for the weekly flash over at Zoetrope. As it turned out there was no regular contest because of the holiday weekend. Another regular poster who hosted a site called The Redrum Tavern, posted a prompt, ‘Death’. The very second I started writing I knew something was up because it was just pouring out on the page. 40 days and 144,000 words later I had something that I had a sense was very special, to me at least. It wasn’t until I started getting reader feedback that I realized that I’d turned a corner as a writer.
Frank Testimony is the story of jealousy gone bad. Frank Burchill is implicated in the murders of his would be sweetheart Mae Whitaker and her father. If it was up to Sheriff Cobb, the prosecutor and other good ol’ boys Frank would have a one way ticket to the gas chamber. But Judge Hull smells a rat, a big one named Bobby Lee Russell who is almost genealogically predisposed to criminal mischief, Klan violence, and just being generally hateful and nasty.
It is a big story, big characters, with a pretty good recipe for pulled pork and gatorbacks. Available at www.createspace.com/3352654

AP: A Week in Hell is your newest release and is the first in the Champion City series. What led to the development of this novel and how will future books carry the story forward?

JWL: Spade, Marlowe, and Hammer are all detectives in big cities, Gothams, Metropolises, everyone knows those places are dens of scum. Thurman Dicke is a big Slavic/German cop in a dying Midwestern blue collar city. Champion City is a big bowl of the low parts of Americana. It has a Tammany-esque political machine, restrictive ethnicity in neighborhoods, both Irish and Italian organized crime, dying industry, and dirty business. There are varying degrees of justice and as the top cop says: There’s a right way, a wrong way and the CCPD way.
The series will chronicle Thurman’s rise to glory, his fall from grace, and his redemption. Thurman won’t always be a beat cop, he won’t always work for CCPD, and there will be points when his white hat turns a very dark gray. He’s a bigger than life guy, and thus his highs are higher and his lows will be catastrophic. He isn’t a one man army, but he does what he has to do to get things done. I hesitate to say that each book builds on the last building up steam for the big finish, but the last book is already written, not set in stone… But I pretty well have it.

AP: The language and situations in A Week in Hell are pretty mature -- was there ever a point when you were writing the story where you felt you were pushing the envelope too far?
JWL: It is a bit more than edgy. I count the book as a victory, but in the future my narrative can be accomplished with much more ferocity with less explicit display. I don’t think it oversteps its bounds much more than any of the so called Neo-Pulp, but I’m trying to do something more traditional that loosing a hedonistic gorilla on an idyllic hamlet. The masters of the style got it there without the use of such devices and I should endeavor to do so.

AP: What do you think about the modern pulp revival? What role do you think the hardboiled genre has to play in its resurgence?

JWL: I think it’s about time. There was so much great stuff written that laid the ground work for people who are writing now. I think the best stuff is yet to come, and there’s some guy or gal out there writing right now, something that will get passed on by a big house that will turn the pulp community on its ear, just like pulp did to so called polite society 70 years ago.
I think that when a lot of people think of pulp they think of the hardboiled genre. They don’t consider that it was ever about Heroes, Villains, or Characters other than those considered on the fringe. I guess I fall in that camp also because I equate the hardboiled style to a language and landscape painted in shades of noir with the good guys and the bad guys being varying shades of gray, and evil being true black.
I think that hardboiled stories are going to be an introduction to pulp for a lot of people. A resurgence or renaissance of traditional pulp is a great thing, and opened the genre for a brand new generation of readers and writers, ushering in a new era. I think that there are also some negatives, depraved things that masquerade as pulp that aren’t are where warning labels and censorship will come into play.

AP: What's next for you?
JWL: Rewriting and editing the second book in the Champion City Series. Then I have a WWII story that I am very interested in, that came to me first as an April Fools shaggy dog in a small town newspaper. I’m a history nerd, and the story of Operation Pastorius is an excellent foil for plausible deniability, gets good mileage for the war effort, and makes great conspiracy… Fiction with firm foundations in real history make for very gripping stories…
There’s also an opportunity to write another pulp horror story. A hardboiled mythos thing. Not sure of a lot of detail about that at this point its still written ona napkin with a coffee ring…

AP: If readers want to find out more about you and your work, where can they do so?

JWL:I’m easy to find, Author J Walt Layne on facebook. I’m being pushed to relaunch my blog at www.championcityontheweb.blogspot.com but I don’t know that I have enough going on to devote an entire blog to it.

TIPPIN' HANCOCK'S HAT-Super Hero Fiction!!! Joe Sergi's SKY GIRL!

TIPPIN' HANCOCK'S HAT-Pulp Reviews by Tommy Hancock

SKY GIRL AND THE SUPERHEROIC LEGACY
by Joe Sergi
Available in Ebook and Trade Paperback from iEnovel.com
Retail Price: $4.99 in ebook format; $11.99 for print version
ISBN:1451530137
EAN-13: 9781451530131
LCCN: 2010903747

Many writers, myself included, have pondered, thought on, and even struggled with the concept of having a comic book idea and trying to translate it into prose or the reverse.   It seems to be a thorn in many of our paws that either forces us to give up or we fight our way through and the end product isn't what we expected.   It would be great to find a prose work that captures the colors, imagery, and description of a comic book, striking that perfect balance.

Thanks to Joe Sergi, I think I found it.

SKY GIRL AND THE SUPERHEROIC LEGACY, the first of a planned trilogy, focuses on DeDe Christopher, a young fifteen year old aspiring gymnast who lives with her widowed mother, goes to high school, has a best friend, Jason, who is the ultimate geek and proud of it.  While preparing for National competition, which is being hosted at her high school, DeDe discovers she has super powers.  It turns out these super powers are the exact powers of Sky Boy, a popular supposedly fictional character.  As the story unfolds, DeDe and Jason deal with her issues of not wanting to do anything but be a teenager along with supervillains, intelligent apes, robotic menaces, and a strange conglomerate of aliens!

Now, that description is a thumbnail and covers it pretty well.  What it didn't cover is CHAPTER 0.  Being a comic inspired novel, it has to start with 0 of course.  Chapter 0 introduces us to Professor Z, Donna Dominion, and other supervillains all teamed up to stop Sky Boy.  Yes, Sky Boy.  The opening chapter assumes that the characters thought fictional by DeDe and her entire world are real and that chapter sets a tone for the whole book.  This is, in prose, a silver age like experience like no other.  Homages, pastiches, and nods aplenty to all sorts of comic, pulp, and other popular culture concepts abound.   If you're a fanboy/girl and want to get your geek on, just finding the easter eggs that you'll recognize in this book will keep you busy!

What is most endearing, though, about Sergi's work is, even though some have super powers, some wear capes, and monkeys and aliens abound, these characters are very real.  DeDe is not a superficial image of a girl, she is real flesh and blood with insecurities, strengths, weaknesses, and frustrations.  This goes for all the characters, even those who go through 'changes' as the book continues.  They are not mere two dimensional contrivances to tell a super hero story.  They are real people affected by all the good comic book weirdness going on around them.

The language does get a bit laborious at points, sounding a bit too comic booky, even though that is what this is, a comic book world in prose.  That is a minor drawback to what in all ways is a fantastic, fun, exciting read and although aimed at younger readers, SKY GIRL AND THE SUPERHEROIC LEGACY can really be enjoyed by all ages and all level of geek.

FOUR OUT OF FIVE TIPS OF THE HAT-This is a book worth reading again to yourself and then to your family and then again to yourself.  Gift this to your kids, to your library, and even to your favorite reviewer if you want!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

ALL PULP NEWSSTAND NIGHTHAWK EDITION 12/30/10

ALL PULP NEWSSTAND
NIGHTHAWK EDITION
12/30/10

THE RETURN OF RAVENWOOD!
Airship 27 Productions & Cornerstone Book Publishers bring back another classic pulp hero from the 1930s in an all new collection of fast paced, macabre adventures of the supernatural. Meet Ravenwood – Stepson of Mystery!bring back another classic pulp hero from the 1930s in an all new collection of fast paced, macabre adventures of the supernatural. Meet Ravenwood – Stepson of Mystery!

He is an orphan raised by a Tibetan mystic known only as the Nameless One. As an Occult Detective he has no equal and is called upon by the authorities when they are challenged by supernatural mysteries. One of the more obscure pulp characters, Ravenwood – The Stepson of Mystery appeared as a back-up feature in the pages of Secret Agent X magazine. There were only five Ravenwood stories ever written, all by his creator, the prolific pulp veteran, Frederick C. Davis.

Now he returns in this brand new series of weird adventures, beginning with this volume in which he combats Sun Koh, a lost prince of Atlantis, battles with monstrous Yetis in Manhattan and deals with murderous ghosts and zombie assassins. Four of today’s finest pulp storytellers Frank Schildiner, B.C. Bell, Bill Gladman and Bobby Nash offer up a quartet of fast paced, bizarre thrillers that rekindle the excitement and wonder that were the pulps.

With a stunning cover by Bryan Fowler and dramatic interior illustrations by Charles Fetherolf, Ravenwood – Stepson of Mystery was designed by Rob Davis and edited by Ron Fortier. Once again Airship 27 Productions presents pulp fans with another one-of-kind quality pulp reading experience like no other on the market today.

AIRSHIP 27 PRODUCTIONS – Pulp fiction for a new generation!

ISBN: 1-934935-82-4

ISBN 13: 978-1-934935-82-8

Produced by Airship 27

Published by Cornerstone Book Publishers

Release date: 31 Dec. 2010

Retail Price: $24.95

Discounted at our on-line shop. (http://www.gopulp.info/)

FROM Russ Anderson, PULPWORK PRESS

OPEN CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS TO
HOW THE WEST WAS WEIRD 2

I am now taking pitches for stories to be published in How the West Was Weird, Vol. 2 in 2011.


What am I looking for?

I’m looking for stories that qualify as “weird westerns” – basically a western mixed with some other genre. This usually means a western with a horror or sci-fi twist, but feel free to play with the concept. I’ll consider anything that’s both a western and weird. The less obvious, the better. If you need some more coaching on what a weird western is, Wikipedia has a pretty good article on it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weird_western.

Stories should be between 1K and 8K words. I’ll consider stories up to 10K, but it really better be something special if you’re going that long. Shoot for 8K.

Your deadline for the completed story is March 31, 2011. However, some time before that I’m going to need a pitch. This is just a couple of sentences or paragraphs that gives me an idea of what your story is going to be about. This is so I don’t get three stories that have essentially the same plot (zombie cowboys vs. vampire indians, for example), and you don’t spend a couple months writing a story that I then have to pass on. There is no deadline to get me your pitch, but the earlier I get it, the more likely someone isn’t already doing that sort of story.

I have no problem with you using series characters that you’ve used in other stories or books, but there are a couple of rules with that. I want a story that hasn’t been published elsewhere yet, with a gentleman’s agreement that it won’t be republished until at least a year after our book’s publication. Also, the story has to be fully understandable outside the context of your character’s other stories. Even if I’ve never read the book you introduced Robo-Sheriff Z9 in, I shouldn’t have any problem following the story you write about him for HOW THE WEST WAS WEIRD.

What’s in it for you?

Unfortunately, I’m not offering any upfront pay. If the book breaks even, any profit it makes will be split evenly between the contributors on a quarterly basis, minus 10% for the publisher, Pulpwork Press. Please keep in mind that the last sentence contains a very big IF. How the West Was Weird, Vol. 1 has been out for 9 months now, and even though it continues to sell steadily every month, it hasn't made its money back yet.

This isn’t to discourage you – I truly believe in the long-term lifespan of these books – but I don’t want anybody planning to go buy a car with the proceeds.

So with that pie in the sky stuff out of the way, what do you realistically get?

A nifty little book with your name on it, mostly. Unlike the last volume, I will also be providing a contributor copy for everybody this time around.

What else?

As with the last volume, Jim Rugg has signed on to create another cover for us. I’m really looking forward to seeing what he comes up with, and I’ll share it with the contributors as soon as I’ve got it.

For those of you who weren’t around for this last time, you can check out the first volume of HOW THE WEST WAS WEIRD at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/How-West-Was-Weird-Tales/dp/1449580572/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1287249761&sr=8-1. You can also read Josh Reynolds’ contribution, Camazotz, for free at the Pulpwork Press site at http://www.pulpworkpress.com/pulpworkpresspresents.htm.

If you’re interested, or you’ve got questions not covered in this email, drop me a line at RussLee74@gmail.com and I’ll try to answer them.


ALL NEW BOOK CAVE-WRAPPING UP THE YEAR WITH RIC AND ART!

END OF THE YEAR WRAP UP ON THE BOOK CAVE

ALL PULP'S OFFICIAL PODCAST!!!!


12/30/10 ON THE BOOK CAVE!! The Book Cave Episode 107:The End of the Year
Check out ALL PULP'S official podcast, THE BOOK CAVE here-
http://thebookcave.libsyn.com/


Ric and Art review and wrap up 2010 with their thoughts, reviews, and comments on a year of THE BOOK CAVE!

Next week..and next year-The Book Cave goes to Mars!!

TIPPIN HANCOCK'S HAT-Tommy Reviews HARDLUCK HANNIGAN: THE SPEAR OF GOLIATH!

TIPPIN’ HANCOCK’S HAT-Pulp Reviews by Tommy Hancock
HARDLUCK HANNIGAN: THE SPEAR OF GOLIATH
Written by Bill Craig
Cover by Laura Givens
Published by Craig Enterprises
304 Pages
When I read pulp, I’m not simply reading as a reviewer. First and foremost, I’m a lifetime fan of the field and thoroughly enjoy pulp. Especially when that pulp centers around a well defined, multilayered, two fisted protagonist that I can get behind and want to stand alongside of.

Hardluck Hannigan is that type of hero.

SPEAR OF GOLIATH is the sixth adventure of Hardluck Hannigan written by Bill Craig. It is also the only novel I have read of the series, so bear that in mind. In this tale, Hannigan, just off of his most recent adventure and having turned away from two women in his life, finds himself in Africa and, after saving Musio, a Chinese woman who also owns a bar, Hannigan and a team of new and old allies end up racing to find the fabled Spear of Goliath, brought to Africa after the giant’s death. I say racing because there are several people pursuing Hannigan and/or the Spear, including Nazis, citizens of a lost city, and monster men from mineral mines! Yup, I said it.

This book is rich and vibrant with character. Hannigan is definitely cast in the pulp adventure mode as is most of the friends and enemies Craig sprinkles around him. He’s also complex, not simply relying on his fists or wild ideas to get through the day. He has worries, concerns, even self doubt and these play so well into his motivations, into what makes him a hero, that they aren’t weaknesses, but strengths of a different sort. Craig pours heart and soul into the lead as well as the cast around him.

Craig also paints the surroundings well. Whether or not its on the beach, in the bar, in a jeep, or in the opulent lost city, the reader feels as if they are there. Craig’s use of phrases and description make it very easy to imagine the ruins of the city being stalked by a lion or tribes of natives attacking Hannigan from one side with Nazis on the other. Craig’s handle on both his characters and his settings is top notch.  The fantastic cover by Laura Givens only adds to the level of beauty that Craig generates in his descriptions.

SPEAR OF GOLIATH starts off extremetly well. The introduction to Hannigan’s new situation, the way that characters are brought in and explained well, but not overdone, and the pacing of the action is all very tight and dead on. Unfortunately, that tightness, the control of plot and action and flow seems to almost disappear later in the book. I noticed this quite significantly when the plot concerning citizens of the lost city came into play. One instance concerned the origins of Goliath’s birth. Not wanting to spoil anything, Craig identified Goliath’s parentage and unless the timeline we understand from Biblical studies has been altered by Craig, his proposed heritage for Goliath doesn’t click. Also, it seems that Craig is trying to juggle too many dangling plotlines toward the end of the book and although issues are resolved, said resolutions are not as satisfying as they could have been if possibly less attention was paid to throwing in several mini plots and more was given to keeping the primary ones introduced early on flowing and tight. I was particularly intrigued by the build up of the Nazis and the mercenary for hire working for them, but was somewhat disappointed in how that particular line was tied up.

Even with that, HARDLUCK HANNIGAN: THE SPEAR OF GOLIATH is a fun read and totally engaged me with its descriptions and its exciting, colorful characters. I will definitely read the other books in the series simply to be able to ride along with Hannigan and crew a few more times.

THREE OUT OF FIVE TIPS OF HANCOCK’S HAT-An enjoyable read, one definitely worth adding to your collection.

ALL PULP NEWSSTAND BULLDOG EDITION 12/30/10

ALL PULP NEWSSTAND
BULLDOG EDITION
12/30/10

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS FOR UPCOMING PROSE COLLECTION
From Mini-Komix (http://minikomix.blogspot.com/) based in Atlanta, Georgia

We're now taking submissions for our upcoming anthology, Golden Age Good Girls. This is a collection of short stories(text, not comics!)about "Good Girl" characters from the Golden Age of comics and pulp magazines. This includes superheroines, jungle girls, femme fatales, sexy sleuths, space vixens, & more. Only characters in the public domain are being accepted. Any writer wishing to contribute to the project needs to email us on which characters are available for them to use. The first edition is being planned for a Spring 2011 release.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

ALL PULP NEWSSTAND NIGHTHAWK EDITION!

ALL PULP NEWSSTAND
NIGHTHAWK EDITION
12/28/10



Media Release – For Immediate Release

Canadian Audio Dramatists win international Podcast Award
Dec 27th 2010 – When the dust settled and more than 4 million unique visitors had cast their votes for their favorite original online productions at www.podcastawards.com, Canadian audio drama production company Decoder Ring Theatre emerged with a win in the Culture/Arts category for their ongoing releases of adventure and mystery programs in the tradition of the Golden Age of Radio.

The Decoder Ring Theatre podcast took to the "air" in October of 2005, and has offered two new, full-length, full-cast audio drama programs each month to listeners worldwide ever since. Presenting the two-fisted pulp exploits of the masked protectors of 1930’s Toronto in The Red Panda Adventures, the hard-boiled private eye casebook of Black Jack Justice and some anthology programming, the shows have attracted a large, international audience, drawn nearly 2 million direct downloads and spawned a series of tie-in adventure novels written in the spirit of the "mystery man" pulp magazines like The Shadow and The Spider.

"Our audience is largely American," says head writer Gregg Taylor "and it has always delighted me to have this passionate audience following the exploits of a Canadian superhero. The fact that they were driven to push us over the top in the voting for the Podcast Award means a great deal. It means a lot of exposure and that can only help. Besides, it was our third nomination and I was getting sick of having our hat handed to us by the This American Life podcast."
It has been a banner year for Decoder Ring Theatre, having also won the juried Parsec Award for Audio Drama in September. The Parsec Awards recognize excellence in Speculative Fiction Podcasting and are awarded annually at DragonCon in Atlanta, GA.

More information about Decoder Ring Theatre may be found at the company’s website, http://www.decoderringtheatre.com/

Media Contact / Information:

Gregg Taylor

info@decoderringtheatre.com





SUPERHERO NOVEL CONTEST ON RIC'S COMICS!!
Ric's Comics Episode 45: Joe Sergi's Sky Girl
Bruce Rosenberger, Tommy Hancock and Art Sippo join Ric Croxton of Book Cave fame and talk to Joe Sergi about his novel Sky Girl. Be sure and listen toward the end of the show when Joe offers his books in a contest. It's simple, just send Ric (rjcroxton1@yahoo.com) your best superheroine name for a chance to win a book.  Joe and Ric will pick the best names and those winners will receive a copy of Joe's SKYGIRL AND THE SUPER HEROIC LEGACY or another of Joe's books.  Listen at http://thebookcave.libsyn.com/ric-s-comics-episode-45-joe-sergi-s-sky-girl for some pulpy comic goodness!

MYSTERY MEN (AND WOMEN) ON THE BOOK CAVE

ALL PULP'S OFFICIAL PODCAST!!!!


12/23/10 ON THE BOOK CAVE!! The Book Cave Episode 106: Mystery Men (and Women) Check out ALL PULP'S official podcast, THE BOOK CAVE here-
http://thebookcave.libsyn.com/

Ron Fortier and David Boop join Art and Ric to discuss their book, Mystery Men (and Women).
And Tune in this week for Ric's and Art's Year End Round Up on THE BOOK CAVE!

Reviews from the 86th Floor: Book Reviews by Barry Reese

A Week in Hell
Written by J. Walt Layne
ISBN 145647958X
113 pages

This was my introduction to the work of J. Walt Layne and it was an interesting experience. A Week in Hell is billed as the first book in the Champion City series and it stars a young cop named Dicke who quickly gets in over his head when he's called out to the White Walls Tavern to investigate a bar brawl. He ends up getting involved with the saucy barmaid on duty and becomes the target for killers along the way. This is written in the hardboiled style, though the language is very contemporary and extremely adult.

The plot itself is fairly predictable fare but I'm okay with that -- as a pulp fan, I understand the desire and need to incorporate certain tropes into the work. For me, it's more about the presentation than the novelty. So how does this book fare in terms of presentation? Honestly, it's a mixed bag. There are passages here that are absolutely wonderful, capturing the dirty, sweaty nature of the characters perfectly... but then there are phrases that fall past "hardboiled" and straight into "vulgar."

Now, folks who know me are aware that I don't mind extreme violence, profanity or sexual description (hell, I used all to the extremes in my slasher horror novel)... but there's a way to do it that doesn't descend into self-parody and there are times here when I feel the author goes a bit too far. For instance, this is how the female lead of the story is introduced to us:

"What'll ya have," she purred in a seductive voice that screamed p*$$y.

Note that I tried to avoid offending any sensibilities of the All Pulp crowd in the above sentence. I get what he was going for -- he wanted us to know that she was seductive and maybe a little bit loose in her morals. But I think it could have been phrased in a way that would have been both "hardboiled" and not as crass. I read that sentence to my wife and she nearly went ballistic over it.

There are other examples that I could have used but that one was useful because it occurs on the second page of the story. It's moments like that which stopped me cold as a reader and took me out of the narrative. Even though I'm a writer myself, I shouldn't be constantly going over in my head different ways the author could have phrased things.

Despite that recurring problem with the book, I did find myself curious about what was happening and whether or not the two main characters would end up together. I won't spoil the ending but it fits well with the hardboiled genre, though it wasn't the ending I was hoping for.

Overall, I think that this author has tremendous talent and I am curious to see what comes next in the series. There is certainly room for growth, however, and I'm hopeful that Mr. Layne will take steps to improve on his weaknesses. From the news release I've seen, he has a previous novel to his credit (Frank Testimony) and I'm going to seek it out before passing final judgment on his ability.

3.0 stars out of 5.0

NINE FOR THE NEW-Interview with Ken Janssens!!

NINE FOR THE NEW (New Creator Spotlight)
KEN JANSSENS.-Writer/Creator
AP: Ken, welcome to ALL PULP! First, can you tell us about yourself, some personal background?
KJ: Well, I've been writing for almost two decades in some capacity or another. Though I had a little success, I didn't really start to break out until the last year or so. I've lived my whole life in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and think it's one of the best places on the planet... when it's not February and in the middle of a minus thirty-five degree cold snap. But, hey, I'm a Canadian. We're a hardy stock.
AP: As a writer, what influences have affected your style and interests the most over the years? Do you have a particular genre/type of story you prefer to write?
KJ: My influences come mostly from my childhood. For some reason, I became attached to the “noir” type fare that I came across and have been infatuated with that stuff since. In those days, it was the original Scooby Doo mysteries cartoon and the Three Investigators novels as well as Sherlock Holmes and Jack the Ripper. I love 1880s London and it has the biggest pull for me of any time period. So, from all that, one can gather that I love mysteries and down-to-earth horror stories (or at least stories of a cryptozoological bent).
AP: What about genres that make you uncomfortable? What areas within pulp are a little bit intimidating for you as an author?
PECULIAR ADVENTURES,
Home of 'THE CEREBUS CLAN'
KJ: I don't know if any make me uncomfortable but I will say that I'm not much for space adventure stories. There are, of course, exceptions. I'm a fan of the original Star Wars trilogy and the first two Alien movies, but other than that, they aren't really my thing. Now that I've said that, though, I am planning to write a moon-based story for Pro Se Presents. But like any story of a supernatural or sci-fi nature, I will bring it down to earth (no pun intended, honest). To tease it I'll say it has to do with a road construction worker on the terra-formed moon who happens across a terrorist plot. I like when fantastic topics are provided as the spice of a story, not the stew.
AP: Are you a pulp fan? If so, how has that affected you as a writer of pulps. If you aren’t a longtime fan, then why pulp?
KJ: I am a pulp fan by proxy. I have been a fan of detective comic books my entire life, which would be nowhere without the pulps of the 1920s and 30s. I am tangentially aware of most of the popular pulp characters through my love of the history of all media and am a Philip Marlowe fan. If I was born a half-century earlier, I'm sure I would have been totally into the pulps since they are the embodiment of the “noir” and detective facets that I love.
AP: What do you think you bring to pulp fiction as a writer?
KJ: That's a tough one. Besides my love of “noir” that I've referenced earlier, it would just be my sensibilities as a writer. The human element always comes first with me. I think that helps make my pulp stories relatable and hopefully somewhat absorbing reads.
AP: You’re a staff writer at Pro Se Productions and you may be the king of serial characters there. Tell us about Sherringford Bell.
FANTASY AND FEAR
Home of 'SHERRINGFORD BELL'
KJ: The Sherringford Bell stories are sort of my modern day take on Sherlock Holmes if he tracked down the demonically-possessed. Sherringford is an ex-FBI forensic psychologist who resides on the miserable and condescending side of life. Along with Nigerian priest Paul Anyogu, who acts as the Watson narrator type for the stories as well as the exorcist on their adventures, Sherringford uses his superior intellect and insight into the human mind in Washington D.C. to do what others can't. The series often delves into government programs and the lives of political figures as its local dictates.
AP: Now, onto another series at Pro Se. Moving from the supernatural to the adventure serial. Who are the Cerberus Clan?
KJ: The Cerberus Clan is about a family in the 1930s who lose the patriarch of the family and decide to venture to the African Serengeti to learn about his roots. Once there, through some traumatic events, Kate and her two sons become the guardians of a long cave called the Gateway. Though they don't know to where the cave leads, they do know one thing: their new job is to not let anyone in and not to let anything out. The “anything” of the previous statement seems to be what might be considered monsters. What I really like about the Cerberus Clan is each story appears to give the reader a vague answer to what is at the other end of the cave's tunnel. The first tale hints that it is Hell but the second one gives a decidely different viewpoint. I know what the real story is behind the Gateway but, of course, that won't be revealed for a few more stories. Yeah, I'm such an a$$.
AP: And lastly, but definitely not least, let's talk about the character that was the first story most saw from you at Pro Se.  Tell us about the wonderfully crafted Aloha McCoy.

MASKED GUN MYSTERY
Home of 'ALOHA MCCOY'

KJ: Aloha McCoy is the closest character that I have to the old hardboiled crime detectives like Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade. She doesn't like many people and never backs down from a confrontation, no matter how outmatched she is. Aloha is a Hawaiian/Irish ex-gymnast who now runs a youth recreation center. Because of financial difficulties and a twist of fate, she has started to take on private detective cases, even though she is not that good at the whole thing. It is more her perseverance and moxy that get her through the adventure. Aloha, along with her brother Kam—a sumo wrestler-sized party entertainer, lives in “The City” just outside “The Core”. The Core is an Irish-dominated neighborhood that they grew up in and is the most dangerous part of the city. Every case brings them back to this neighborhood to Kam's dismay and Aloha's gradual intrigue.
AP: ALL PULP assumes your series at Pro Se will continue, but are there any other projects you want to discuss?
KJ:  Also at Pro Se, my comic book mini-series (which I believe will be serialized in the pages of Pro Se Presents) titled “Caleb Elsewhere” will be out in the future. It is about a disgraced cop who is begrudgingly brought back to assist his son in recapturing a serial killer he had put away over twenty years ago. The obstacles that line up against him are his ex-partner, who hates him and is now the police chief, and his son's belief in Caleb's “abilities”.
Anyone that wants to read another of my pulp stories can find it in the anthology book “Pulp Empire, Volume 2” It's a one-off about a petty criminal that has to make a choice while he is caught in a life-threatening scenario.
A few of my other ventures include a couple comic book proposals to companies as well as two television proposals, one to American television and one to Canadian television. Keep your fingers crossed for me, folks.
AP: Ken, thanks for stepping away from the computer for a few minutes to visit with ALL PULP!
KJ: Always a pleasure. Keep up the good work, All Pulp. We need a site like yours to spread the word about the great pulp fiction out there.

ALL PULP NEWSSTAND-BULLDOG EDITION 12/28/10

ALL PULP NEWSSTAND
12/28/10
BULLDOG EDITION


Subterranean Press: Up the Bright River By Philip Jose Farmer
Completed at the printer!
Just waiting on enough clear space in the warehouse for delivery.

Subterranean Press is proud to present a new, roughly 120,000 word gathering of Philip Jose Farmer’s singular tales! This first posthumous collection of the short fiction of Philip Jose Farmer is a celebration of the impressive variety of his prodigious output, from the space adventures he published in the science fiction magazines of the 1950s through the 1970s, to his acerbic satires of religion and medicine, to his fictional biographies and memoirs, to his beloved Riverworld.

Appearing for the first time in a Philip Jose Farmer collection are his last three “Riverworld” stories—featuring characters from his own family history--as well as the “memoir” of Lord Greystoke which he claimed to have merely edited. Other highlights include “Attitudes,” the first of the Father Carmody stories; “The Two-Edged Gift,” which introduces the fictional science fiction writer Leo Queequeg Tincrowdor; “Toward the Beloved City” (about which its original editor said he had never before really understood the Book of Revelations); and “Father’s in the Basement,” a little-known Gothic horror tale which is also a satire of the writing profession.

Farmer created some of the most famous worlds in science fiction, but he also wrote in many worlds, and readers familiar only with his best-known classics may find a few surprises among these tales.
Edited by Gary K. Wolfe
Trade: 1500 fully cloth bound hardcover copies
- $40
ISBN: 978-1-59606-329-7
Length: 336 pages


 


Monday, December 27, 2010

MOONSTONE CLIFFHANGER FICTION-MORE DOMINO LADY!

Moonstone Books and ALL PULP are proud to present the next chapter in this thrilling tale from MOONSTONE CLIFFHANGER FICTION!!!!

Let ALL PULP know what you think of MOONSTONE CLIFFHANGER FICTION on the Comments Page!!!

Want more Moonstone??? http://www.moonstonebooks.com/ !   And stay tuned at the end of this week's chapter for a link to purchase the collection this story is featured in!

THIS WEEK ON MOONSTONE CLIFFHANGER FICTION-

THE CLAWS OF THE CAT
BY RON FORTIER
featured in DOMINO LADY: SEX AS A WEAPON
from Moonstone Books

Chapter Five

An hour later, after a quick meal, Ellen Patrick was driving through the downtown section of Beverly Hills on her way to the home of Reginald Hanna. She and Campion had used the telephone directory in the restaurant’s lobby to locate the man’s address. Ellen told Campion to get his notes typed up and make arrangements to attend the Beverly Hills Town Council meeting the following night. She also informed him, with a mischievous smile on her face, that she would be accompanying him to that meeting.

Now, as she pulled up to Encino Drive, her thoughts were focused on the present. With that all too important civic gathering only hours away, whatever Topper Carson and his goons were planning would have to happen soon. She pulled over to the curb across the street from the house that was her target. It was a small, whitewashed Spanish bungalow, surrounded by shrubs and what appeared to be a fairly large yard to the rear of the domicile. From the glove box, Ellen took out a pair of binoculars and, sliding over to the passenger side of her sporty roadster, began her spying in earnest.

Ten minutes passed before she was rewarded with activity on the side of the house. A door opened and a small man, dressed in slacks and a cardigan sweater, emerged holding a big, fluffy, golden cat in his arms. He had thinning brown hair and wore wire-rim glasses and a polka-dot bow tie.

“Well, hello Mr. Hanna,” she said aloud, pleased with herself as she adjusted the focus on her lenses. The cat was a real beauty and wore a gaudy red silk collar. Hanna continued to rub its head as he moved around the cast iron lawn furniture. After a while, he sat down, out of sight behind the barrier of thick green shrubs.

Ellen started to sit back in her seat when something to her right caught her eye. Turning her binoculars in that direction, she spotted a very familiar Buick sedan parked down the street some fifty yards from Hanna’s home. There were no houses on that end of the street and the land was still scrub and trees. Sharpening her focus, Ellen could make out Jack Ochra sitting behind the wheel nervously looking up and down the boulevard. But where was his pal, the scar-faced Eddie Geller?

No sooner was the question formed in her mind then Fast Eddie appeared through a clump of trees and dashed to the waiting car. He had been scouting the Hanna property from the safety of the woods. Suddenly she was afraid they were actually going to try to steal the cat right now, in broad daylight. Then Eddie, opening the side door to the Buick, glanced up and a look of wariness washed over him. Ellen put down her spyglasses and turned her head to see a black and white police patrol car rolling past. As it neared the Buick, Fast Eddie dropped into the passenger seat, slammed his door shut and Ochra fired up the engine. They drove off and passed the police cruiser going in the opposite direction. Ellen sighed in relief and ducked her head as they drove by. Thank you Beverly Hills police, she thought ironically.

Still, she was convinced the two thugs were going to make a grab for Hanna’s pet. Most likely they would wait until nightfall before making their attempt. Which, as far as she was concerned, was perfect. She looked at her wristwatch. It was two o’clock. Plenty of time to execute the plan she was quickly ad-libbing.

Ellen Patrick drove away from the quiet neighborhood and headed back for Los Angeles, her destination the city animal shelter.

The facility was a gray, old building on the east side of the city. Traffic was light and she made good time. The parking lot in front of the building was nearly empty except for a few box-trucks stationed to the left side of the building where a loading dock was visible. Ellen grabbed her purse and marched into the front door. A tiny overhead bell announced her arrival as she approached the front counter. A heavy set woman smoking a cigarette was seated at a desk overflowing with folders while a thin, balding fellow commanded another desk on the other side of the room. Behind them was an open door through which the sounds of animals could be heard making a continuous ruckus.

As Ellen reached the counter, the odor of living creatures assailed her. Oh yes, this was indeed the pound.

“Can I help you, madam?” the middle-aged clerk with the hairless skull asked rising to his feet while scrutinizing her. Their enterprise did not regularly entertain well-dressed ladies like the stunning blonde before him. She had to be lost and looking for directions.

“Yes,” she put the thousand dollars Constance Miller had given her on the table. “I’d like to make a donation and buy a cat.”

“I see.” The man looked neither happy nor sad. Ellen had a feeling the bored expression on his face was frozen. “We have dozens of cats available and waiting for a good home. Would you like to step out back with me and see them?” He raised the end of the counter to allow her passage.

Ellen Patrick wrinkled her nose, imagining what awaited her. “I suppose I don’t have choice, do I?”

The bored clerk blinked, confused. “Excuse me?”

“Oh, nothing.” She was resigned to her fate. “Lead the way.”

******

Reginald Hanna held the cup of hot tea in his left hand as he flicked on the lights in his den shortly after eight p.m. Comfortable in slippers, lounge pants, and a woolen housecoat, the fifty year old widower set about his normal evening routine. Once the dinner dishes were cleaned and put away, he would retire to the den where he would sit in his overstuffed chair, drink tea, and listen to the radio. A station in Los Angeles played classical music throughout the night and it was his favorite. Hanna turned on the big mahogany set located near the curtains that covered the French windows. Beyond them, in the moonless night, the backyard extended to the woods beyond. He adjusted the knob until the music came through the speakers loud and clear. He immediately smiled as he recognized a Tchaikovsky melody. The romantic Russian was one of his favorites.

As he made himself comfortable in the green colored chair, his longhaired Siberian cat, Alexander, stretched out lazily on the matching sofa to his left. The animal eyed the glare of the reading lamp as if to indicate its annoyance with the interruption. Alexander, like his master, also lived by a daily routine. One that included a brief nap after dinner. Hanna was amused by the animal’s uppity, annoyed look every single time he entered the darkened room and turned on the light.

“Oh, please,” he said warmly. “Don’t give me that look. You’ve been sleeping for almost thirty minutes. Besides, I do believe you are putting on weight, old boy.”

The cat’s oval yellow eyes studied him as if it could comprehend his words. It proceeded to start licking its paws nonchalantly, letting him know what he said was inconsequential.

Hanna chuckled, took a sip of tea, and sat back in his comfy chair.

“Excuse me,” a feminine voice uttered from the shadows by the curtains. “Please do not be alarmed.”

Despite the admonishing, the small accountant sat up straight, his tea, music, and everything else forgotten as he watched a slender silhouette materialize from the dark before him. It was a woman draped in a skin-tight gown of white, a long slit to either side permitting her long and elegant legs to move freely as she stepped forth. Hanna pushed his glasses back up his nose as the light played over his visitor’s curvaceous figure. Bare arms, a very bold d√ącolletage revealing lots of exposed pink bosom, a long neck, yellow hair that ended in curls, and a black mask surrounding two eyes that seemed to sparkle. Over her shoulders the intruder wore a black cape and in her right hand was an automatic pointed at Hanna.

“Who are you?” he finally managed to find his voice, even though it was a pitch higher than normal.

“I am the Domino Lady.” Her voice was husky.

“The Domino Lady? I’ve heard of you. Have you come to rob me?”

“Actually, Mr. Hanna, I’ve come to stop someone else from robbing you.”

As she was making no overt signs to harm him, Reginald Hanna rose out of his chair and stood to face her. “I don’t understand. Who is going to rob me?”

The Domino Lady smiled and then turned back to the velvet curtains from which she had appeared. “If you’ll just give me a few minutes, I can explain everything.”

Hanna stood silently watching as the mysterious woman, whose reputation he had read about in the newspapers, set about retrieving something from off the floor. When she straightened, she appeared to be holding a wire cage. As she once again stepped into the glow of his reading lamp, he received another surprise.

In the cage was a cat; a long-haired Siberian cat exactly like Alexander. Hanna’s eyes doubled. “Oh, my!”

For a cat fancier like Reginald Hanna, the vision before him was breathtaking. Not only was the notorious female criminal sexually alluring as her reputation claimed, but now she was holding a cat just as lovely as his precious Alexander. He felt his heart begin to race.

*****

“Hey, don’t push!” Fast Eddie Geller said just above a whisper as a branch slapped across his face and knocked off his fedora.

“Sorry,” Jack Ochra apologized in the same hushed tone. “I can’t see out here and my foot hit a root or something.”

“Well, try to be a little more careful, will ya,” Eddie warned as he found his hat on the ground by feeling around with his hands. It was pitch black in the woods bordering Hanna’s property at midnight.

“So why couldn’t we bring along a flashlight?” Ochra inquired, clearly upset with their progress into the thick tangle of brush.

“Because we are still in a residential area, you moron! How soon do you think it would take one of Hanna’s neighbors to look out their back windows, see a light moving around out here and then grab a phone to buzz the coppers? We might as well light a bonfire while we’re at it.”

“Alright, alright. You don’t have to get mad. But damn it, how close are we? We’ve been traipsing through this stuff for almost ten minutes now.”

Eddie Geller adjusted his wide-brim hat and peered into the gloom ahead. Through the trees he could see moonlight outlining Hanna’s bungalow. A few clouds every now and then hid the bright orb in the sky, but not enough to hamper its ample light. It was one of the reasons Eddie had opted to not use flashlights.

“It’s just up ahead. I can see it now. Come on, and keep quiet. There don’t seem to be any lights on in the place, but let’s not get stupid, either.”

Moving forward, he thought about the simple plan they had agreed upon. They would gain entry via the back door. Once inside they would find the cat and then skedaddle. Hanna would never know what hit him until he woke up the next morning and found his precious kitty was gone. It would all go according to the boss’ orders. Piece of cake.

They were coming out of the tree line when Geller thought he saw a movement by the French windows. Cautiously he pulled out his .45 automatic from his shoulder rig and waved to Ochra to stop. The other man looked at him questioningly. A cloud drifted overhead and the moon bathed the entire back of the house so that they could see someone exiting stealthily. As they continued to approach, Geller couldn’t believe his eyes or his good luck.

Coming out of selectman Hanna’s house, carrying a pet cage in her hands, was none other then their nemesis from the previous evening, the Domino Lady!

He waited for her to turn around and then raised his pistol at her and said, “Hold it right there, sister!”

The Domino Lady froze, even her mask unable to disguise her surprise at confronting Eddie and Jack.

“It’s that dame from last night!” Ochra gasped, finally catching on. Eddie wondered at times why he even hung around with the guy.

“Good evening, gentlemen,” the Domino Lady greeted with a sigh. “Seems we find ourselves in a very familiar situation once again.”

“Oh yeah,” Eddie agreed. “But now the tables are turned, sweetheart. And we’re holding all the aces.”

“Geez, Eddie, she’s got the cat!”

“No fooling, Jack. Why do you think that is?”

For a second the big man pulled at his thick mustache, his mind trying to solve the riddle before him. “Hey! I get it! She’s trying to muscle in on our racket!”

“Give the man a cigar,” Domino Lady said confirming the conclusion Eddie had reached immediately upon seeing her with the cat. “So, what now?”

“Well, lady, as much as I’d love to smack you around a little for what you did to us last night, this ain’t the time or place for that.”

“You would actually hit a poor defenseless woman like me?” Ellen’s voice dripped with honey as she brought her empty hand up to her long, elegant neck and slowly traced it down to the swell of her bosom. “I find that hard to believe.”

Jack Ochra’s eyes were glued to her breasts and he gulped loudly, his thoughts becoming jumbled in his head.

“Jack, what are you doing? Get the damn cat and hurry it up.” Geller realized their talking might awaken Hanna, or one of the other neighbors.

Ochra went to the masked avenger and gently took the cage out of her hands. His palms were sweating as he continued to stare at her cleavage. When he returned to Geller’s side, Fast Eddie tipped the brim of his fedora with his .45, smiled and the two of them vanished into the woods.

The Domino Lady watched them depart, folded her arms over her chest, and silently counted to ten. Then she went back to the French windows, slid them open, and reentered the house.

Reginald Hanna was standing inside the door holding his precious Alexander clearly shaken by what he had just witnessed. “You were telling the truth,” he said. “All of it. Those awful, awful men would have taken my Alexander.”

“Indeed, Mr. Hanna. Remember, Topper Carson does not want you to make that meeting tomorrow night.”

“That monster! I’ve always felt there was something detestable about that man. But I never imagined he was a criminal!”

“Well, now you know. You remember what I told you to do when the ransom call comes tomorrow morning?”

Hanna was petting Alexander’s furry head as he nodded. “Of course. I’m to call the police and ask for a Detective Bishop. I’m to tell him everything that has transpired here this evening and the location for the ransom pay off.”

“Perfect.” Light filtering the plate glass frosted her cold smile. “And tomorrow night?”

“Oh, I will do exactly as you want, miss. Topper Carson is about to get the most unpleasant surprise of his life. You can count on me.”

The Domino Lady laughed, assured Reginald Hanna would do his part. For the first time in her life, Ellen Patrick was actually looking forward to a town meeting.

 

Chapter Six

It was a warm night as the public made its way into the main hall of the Beverly Hills Municipal Building. The mayor and the selectmen climbed the three steps to the stage area where three tables have been set in an inverse U shape facing the hall. Windows had been opened to either side of the cavernous room to allow a cooling breeze from outdoors to waft through and disperse the cigarette and cigar smoke quickly accumulating. Folding chairs set in two neat rows could accommodate up to three hundred. This night they would deal with less than a hundred. Selectmen meetings were not the most entertaining of venues for the good people of Beverly Hills.

Several radio technicians were adjusting fat, clunky microphones in front of the three tables so that the elected officials, when they did begin speaking, could be heard throughout the chamber.

Most of the mingling crowd was made up of politicians, newspaper and radio reporters, accompanying photographers, and assorted concerned citizens with vested interests in one or more agendas to be discussed during the course of the meeting.

Ellen Patrick entered through the main lobby and instantly the chattering of the multitudes was silenced as all eyes turned in her direction. She was stunning in a pearl-white, conservatively cut dress that hugged her figure. Adding dramatic effect, her accessories were black, from her high heel pumps, to her gloves and a tiny leather belt with a moon-shaped silver buckle. Over her flowing, golden tresses she wore a tiny black hat with a gossamer veil that fell over her eyes and nose. Her purse was black with silver clasps and about her pink neck was a necklace of flawless silver pearls.

Maxwell Campion pushed his way through a group of fellow reporters to reach her. “God, Ellen, I think you could stop a freight train, if you tried.”

She lifted the vale off her eyes and smiled. “That is the general idea, lover.”

“You look absolutely divine.”

“Thank you.”

“Come, let me introduce you to some of my colleagues.”

“Alright. But first point out Topper Carson to me.”

As they walked up the aisle, Campion’s head tried to peer over and around people in front of them. Ellen, well aware of her effect on the men around her, proffered her most winning smile on them and the path before her opened like a female Moses parting the Red Sea.

“Ah, that’s him over there, in the front,” Campion pointed.

Ellen followed his gesture and saw a tall, hatless, robust man talking with several others. At his elbow was a small, bald man with glasses, clearly a secretary. She was reminded of the distinguished actor, John Barrymore as Topper Carson was a handsome man, with a chiseled profile. She guessed his age in his late forties, his wavy black hair graying stylishly along his temples. Unlike the actor, Carson was a big man, with an imposing physique that hinted at a very well-toned and muscular body. He wore an expensive, three-piece suit that could only be custom tailored. Everything about the man exuded raw power and wealth.

As if sensing he was being observed, Carson looked up and their eyes met. Like every other red-blooded man there, he too was immediately taken by her good looks. But there was something more behind his admiring glance, an air of confidence that asserted itself and was delivered to her by a very snake-like smile. This was a man use to getting what he desired. Ellen turned away, her emotions now heightened by the face off.

So this is the enemy, she thought as her friend brought her to the opposite side of the room and began showing her off to his pals. Carson Topper was no one to toy with recklessly. Ellen wondered what his reaction would be when the Domino Lady’s scheme played itself out. The Beverly Hills selectmen’s meeting was about to become anything but routine., she thought as her friend brought her to the opposite side of the room and began showing her off to his pals. Carson Topper was no one to toy with recklessly. Ellen wondered what his reaction would be when the Domino Lady’s scheme played itself out. The Beverly Hills selectmen’s meeting was about to become anything but routine.

A rap of the gavel signaled the proceedings were about to commence and Max ushered her to a seat in the second row to the left of the aisle, behind the photographers.

“If you would all take your seats,” Mayor Roy Underwood requested, rapping the gavel one more time. “It’s time to get this session started.”

“Hey, guys,” one of the photographers said, placing a new flash bulb in his camera. “Notice who’s missing up there?”

Campion leaned over and replied, “Uh-huh. Hanna’s not here. Now what the hell is that all about?”

When he leaned back in his chair, he saw Ellen doing a Mona Lisa impersonation as she crossed her shapely legs. “Do you know anything about this?”

“Just wait and see, lover boy. And keep your pencil sharpened.”

Following Robert’s standard Rules of Procedure, the Mayor started the meeting with a roll call and everyone was made aware of Mr. Reginald Hanna’s absence. Ellen glanced at Topper Carson and he was seated with his arms folded confidently over his chest, enjoying the moment with obvious relish.

Next came the reading of the minutes from the last meeting. Finally, with all past agendas concluded, the Mayor opened the floor to new matters. A fat little man raised his hand and said in a squeaky voice, “I propose this council reconsider the matter of the Carson proposal for land management in the northwest sector of the city.”

“Here we go,” Campion whispered, starting to jot down notes. Ellen intertwined her gloved fingers on her knee and waited. Somewhere else, she knew another related scenario was being played out. If Reginald Hanna had done his part, it would make for some exciting reading in Campion’s morning edition.

*****

Fast Eddie Geller had been chain smoking for the past half hour. Sitting on a stack of old tires in the Linden Street Junk Emporium, he fired up a new cigarette with the dying butt of another.

“What’s got you so rattled?” Jack Ochra asked as he sat on a cast off couch with half the padding gone holding the wire cage with Reginald Hanna’s pet feline. The repository of broken and discarded paraphernalia was located three miles from the Sunoco garage where the two had made all their previous transfers. After the mess with the Domino Lady two nights ago, they had decided to move somewhere else. Just to be on the safe side.

The junk yard was on a corner lot and surrounded by a six-foot stockade fence. There were two entrances; Linden Street running north or behind them and another that opened on to Sycamore. The small shack where the manager worked was locked up and dark and the only light, other than the waning moon above, was from the street lamp behind the fence.

Geller held up his wrist to see the dial on his watch. “It’s already quarter past seven! We told him to be here at seven!”

“So, maybe he’s having a hard time finding the place.”

“I gave him simple enough directions. There ain’t no reason why…”

A car engine was heard coming down the street. Both men rose to their feet just as the front head beams lit up the yard. The car appeared and drove through the open gates to stop a few yards from where they had parked their Buick. Watching it approach, Geller tossed his just-lit smoke into the air.

The driver switched off his lights and shut off his motor. Ochra came to stand next to Eddie. The lights from the car had blinded them momentarily and now they were both blinking to make out the driver.

“You can get out of the car, Mr. Hanna,” Geller called out. “Nice and slow.”

The door opened and a man emerged. He was wearing an overcoat and a black fedora that was pulled down low. “I’ve got the money,” a timid voice said. “Please, show me my cat.”

“It’s right here,” Geller called back. “Hold it up, Jack, so he can see it.”

The squeamish figure approached them slowly as Ochra lifted the cage to shoulder height. “Here she is. All safe and comfy.”

“Oh, thank God.” The figure straightened up and pushed his hat back. He was a good six feet tall. Geller remembered the boss telling him Hanna was a little guy. This fellow had something in his right hand and now it was sparkling like a… badge!

“Police, boys. You two are under arrest,” Detective Barney Bishop said, his timid voice gone. “Don’t make this any harder than it has to be.”

“Like hell, copper!” Geller started reaching into his jacket for his rod. “No way I’m going back to the slammer!”

Bishop mentally cursed and went for his own .38 Special holstered at his hip. “Stop!” The last thing he wanted was a shoot-out over a kidnapped cat. Sgt. Clancy and three uniformed men were on the other side of the fence waiting for his call. Watching Geller go for his gun, he wondered if they would be in time.

All the while Fast Eddie was trying to live up to his name, Jack Ochra had made up his own mind to fight back and simply dropped the cage he’d been holding. Unfortunately he didn’t realize he let it go over his own feet.

Geller had his automatic clear and was starting to fire at the same time the metal cage hit Ochra’s left foot causing him to jump in pain. The cage burst apart in several pieces.

Bishop dropped to a crouch and squeezed off a round. Both his gun and Geller’s fired in unison. Geller’s bullet missed the cop by a country mile. Bishop’s shot took the gangster in the right leg and he went down.

Meanwhile Ochra, dancing on one leg, had his big .45 Colt revolver free and was lining up on the young detective. He was a deadly marksman who rarely missed. Suddenly the big yellow cat, very upset at having been unceremoniously dropped to the ground, came out of the broken cage and went up his right leg as if it were an elm tree, claws digging.

Ochra gave out with a scream, dropped his weapon and tried to grab the angry feline, now on his hip and still moving up. “Yeahhh! Get her off me!”

Sgt. Clancy and his men came running onto the scene, guns drawn just as the cat leaped off the yelling crook. He started to bend down to retrieve his gun when Clancy raced over and put his foot on it. “Don’t be getting stupid, boyo. The jig is up now!” Ochra straightened up and put his empty hands into the air.

On the ground beside them, Eddie Geller was clutching his bleeding leg and groaning. “Somebody help me. I’m bleeding to death!”

“Relax,” Bishop said reaching down to pick up Geller’s automatic. “Sergeant, have one of your men radio for an ambulance. We wouldn’t want to lose a suspect before he can have his day in court.”

“No, sir. That would be a crime indeed.”

As the burly veteran passed along the order to one of the younger men, Bishop began peeling off the topcoat he’d worn to disguise his appearance. He felt something bump up against his leg. It was the tabby and she was purring. He scooped her up in his arms and rubbed her head affectionately.

“You’re a brave one, aren’t you,” he said. “Taking on a gun-wielding thug like that. I think you might have saved my life.” The yellow cat looked at him and purred again.

“I hate cats,” Jack Ochra declared as Clancy put the cuffs on him.

******
Mayor Underwood took a small sip of water and cleared his throat. “Our next item of agenda is a vote on Proposition Six to determine whether or not to allow commercial development of city property listed as Lots 125 through 327 on the city map.”

The hall became quiet as everyone present realized the significance of the vote about to take place.

“This is it,” Max Campion whispered to Ellen Patrick. “Look at Carson, he’s all but preening like a hen house rooster.”

The Mayor turned to his right and addressed the white haired selectmen seated at that end of the table. The elderly politician glanced at the assembly and then leaned closer to the microphone. “I vote yes.”

Thus the voting proceeded along the row of officials and when it came to the last selectmen, the vote was four in favor and four opposed. The last man was a shifty looking fellow with a pinched nose and a very bad toupee.

“That’s Claremont,” Campion informed Ellen. “He’s the one we think sold out to Carson. Last time he voted against.”

“Well,” the Mayor spoke up. “What is your vote, Selectmen Claremont?”

“Your honor, I vote… yes.”

Immediately press shutter-bugs jumped up and started snapping pictures, while a buzz of voices rippled through the crowd.

Underwood rapped his gavel hard. “Please, please. Let’s have order here. Would the members of the press please back off until we have finished with the matter at hand. Gentlemen, please!”

Having taking the pictures they wanted, the photographers returned to their chairs and Underwood put down his gavel.

“Very well, the vote stands five for and four against.”

Just then the main door opened in the back of the hall and a voice called, “Mr. Mayor, a moment please!”

Everyone in the room turned in surprise. Jogging up the center aisle, looking genuinely frazzled, was Reginald Hannah, right on cue. When the reporters recognized who it was, once again the cameras were popping flashes like machine guns.

Unlike those around her, Ellen was looking at Topper Carson for that’s where the pay off lay. And it was a humdinger. The man’s face couldn’t disguise the shock at the sight of Hanna and then it was replaced with one of unadulterated anger, his cheeks brightening to a tomato red in seconds. Ellen thought if it were possible, steam might have come belching from his nostrils, so maddened was the mighty Topper Carson. It did her heart good.

“Mr. Mayor, I apologize for my tardiness,” Hanna continued as he bounded up the stairs to the tables and went to his empty chair to Underwood’s immediate left. “An emergency of a personal nature came up at the last minute and I simply could not get away until now.” It was all a sham. Following the Domino Lady’s instructions, he had been hiding in the lobby waiting for the right moment to make his appearance.

He sat down and nodded to his fellow selectmen. “Am I in time for the vote?”

“Ah… yes, of course,” Mayor Underwood said. “What is your vote?”

Hanna looked down at Topper Carson to be sure the man was watching, then with a very broad smile on his face, he replied, “I vote… no!”

And once again the photographers were ignoring the mayor’s injunctions as they rose up and started shooting more photos. This time they had two targets, Hanna and a very volatile Topper Carson. Several journalists, Campion among them, were bombarding the defeated entrepreneur with questions so that even the mayor’s renewed calls for order went unheeded.

In resignation, Mayor Roy Underwood rapped the gavel and said to his fellow selectmen, “The vote is a tie, five for and five against. Per our city ordinances, the proposition is considered null and void. There will be no further discussions on this until the allotted time dictated by said ordinances. Now, moving on to our next item on the…”

Meanwhile Topper Carson had gotten to his feet and was making a hasty retreat, his assistant chasing after him at the same time trying to put off the reporters.

“Leave me alone,” Carson blurted out. “I have nothing to say!”

Ellen, still at her seat, watched him go and smiled knowing there was one final surprise for the rankled Mr. Carson.

Once outside the building, Carson and his man hurried to a parked sedan and started to get in when the aide spotted something affixed to the windshield. He stopped and reached for it.

“What’s that?” growled Topper Carson, in no mood for any further annoyances this night. He was mentally envisioning what he was going to do with Geller and Ochra once he got his hands on them.

“It seems to be a… black envelope,” the assistant answered, leaning over the hood of the car to hand it over.

Carson took the odd-colored stationary and quickly it opened to find a single sheet of black paper inside. On it, in white ink, was a feminine script addressed to him;

Topper Carson,
Tonight was only the beginning.
Compliments of the Domino Lady


Topper Carson crumbled the note in his hands as a new rage boiled within him. Even in the gloom of the night, his assistant shivered when he saw Carson’s eyes. There was murder in those eyes.

THE END OF PART THREE OF THE CLAWS OF THE CAT!! TUNE IN NEXT WEEK FOR THE MIND BLOWING CONCLUSION!

Want more Domino Lady?  Then order the collection that includes this story today at http://moonstonebooks.com/shop/item.aspx?itemid=104!!

And tune in next week for Part Four of this tale from MOONSTONE CLIFFHANGER FICTION!

MOONSTONE MONDAY-Your Last Chance to 'Get Savage with the Beauties'!!!

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FINAL DAYS FOR YOUR CHANCE TO BE DRAWN INTO....





Moonstone Entertainment, Inc., Runemaster Studios, Inc., and Captain Action Enterprises, LLC, the forces behind the upcoming comic series SAVAGE BEAUTY, remind all comic fans that the opportunity to enter the Get Savage with the Beauties sweepstakes ends at Midnight, December 31st, 2010!!


Moonstone and the creators of SAVAGE BEAUTY, in an effort to take this comic's strong connection to reality one step farther, are offering those who pre-order SAVAGE BEAUTY's debut issue a chance at winning a jungle full of prizes!

 Anyone that pre-orders a copy of SAVAGE BEAUTY #1  with their local comic shop, favorite online retailer, or through the Moonstone online store is eligible to receive one entry into the "Get Savage with the Beauties" sweepstakes!

 The Grand Prize winner will be drawn into Savage Beauty #3 and will receive signed copies of SAVAGE BEAUTY #1 as well as a signed and numbered SAVAGE BEAUTY print, autographed by writer and co-creator Mike Bullock. Ten second prize winners will receive signed copies of Savage Beauty #1 and a Savage Beauty signed/numbered print, both autographed by co-creator/writer Mike Bullock.

To be eligible, entries must be either emailed to moonstonepr@ymail.com or posted on the Savage Beauty Facebook page no later than December 31st, 2010 at Midnight.  Entries must include entrants name, address as well as the name, address, and phone number of the comic retailer the copy  of SAVAGE BEAUTY #1 was ordered through. One entry per pre-order, so anyone who wants to enter multiple times need only pre-order multiple copies.

Get Savage with the Beauties is open to everyone who meets the requirement of preordering the debut issue.  Winners will be selected randomly.  The grand prize winner must provide Moonstone with a high quality photograph to use for reference and  give Moonstone permission to use their likeness in the comic, but retaining no legal rights to the image or book.


SAVAGE BEAUTY #1
Story: Mike Bullock
Art: Jose Massaroli
Colors:Bob Pedroza
AVAILABLE FROM MOONSTONE 2/2011
Place your order at http://moonstonebooks.com/shop/category.aspx?catid=122


Pre-Order form for SAVAGE BEAUTY #1 that can be completed and taken to local comic retailers
Moonstone Entertainment Inc. publishes comics and illustrated fiction designed to “awaken your sense of adventure”, featuring classic and new heroes in thrilling tales of adventure, mystery, and horror. For more than a decade, Moonstone Entertainment Inc. has created fine and distinct comic books, Graphic Novels and prose…books that are meant to be read.  Awaken your sense of adventure at http://www.moonstonebooks.com/

Captain Action Enterprises, LLC is dedicated to creating new character experiences for both the collectible/nostalgia market and passionate fans of adventure toys and fiction through licensing, re-creations and creative innovations. Properties included Savage Beauty, Captain Action, the Zeroids and Lady Action. More information is available at www.CaptainActionNow.com.