Saturday, May 28, 2011

Emerson LaSalle Art by Tony Lewis

Local artist Tony Lewis has generously volunteered to create some art for the Emerson LaSalle revival. In this picture, we see LaSalle inspired (haunted?) by some of his creations.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Confessions of a dorky Disney junkie.

I'm sort of a Disney junkie. So whatever is happening RIGHT HERE is probably going to be trouble.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Blogpocalypse Interviews Dr. ADAM OPENHEIMER

As many of you know, I'm a huge fan of pulp master Emerson LaSalle, and when I heard that they would soon be re-issuing his novels, I tried to find out as much as I could about it. I was fortunate enough to find the contact information for Dr. Adam Openheimer who is professor emeritus at Gothic State University and the nation's leading (only?) Emerson LaSalle scholar. He was kind enough to answer a few of my questions.

Blogpocalyps: What is it that first got you interested in Emerson LaSalle?

Openheimer: I fought in Korea, and we'd spend a lot of days on the march or in a foxhole or wherever just waiting. So we'd do just about anything to relieve the boredom. I traded a deck of playing cards for a dog-eared copy of Sheriff Dracula. I complained every single page all the way through it, so much that I'm sure I irritated the fellow in the foxhole next to me. Such lunacy! Such utter nonsense! And yet I couldn't stop reading. I simply had to keep turning pages to see what crime against literature LaSalle would commit next. I attended Slippery Rock University and earned my B.A. on the G.I. Bill and continued to read LaSalle, claiming I was trying to discover how such trash could continue to be published, but what was really happening was that I was falling in love. When I eventually began work on my Ph.D. at Princeton, I knew without a doubt what the subject of my dissertation would be.

Blogpocalypse: LaSalle was still alive and writing when you were studying his work at Princeton. Did you ever meet him? Did he ever contact you?

Openheimer: I wrote a review of LaSalle's novel Pray for Rain, Tommy Sunshine for the Kansas City Star in which I praised LaSalle's imagination and the usual energy he brought to his work, but I was rather hard on what I thought was a heavy-handed use of theme. Subtlety was never LaSalle's strength. He evidently took issue and send me a dead herring in the mail. Years later, I met him in person at a convention in ... oh ... 1978 or 1979 and asked him if he remembered mailing me the fish. He said that didn't really sound like something he'd do, but when I got out to the parking lot later all four tires on my Buick were flat.

Blogpocalypse: Tell us how you got involved with the reissuing of LaSalle's novels.

Openheimer: I was contacted to determine which ones were the best candidates ... the cream of the LaSalle crop, I guess. I can't really talk too much about it, but I can say GESTAPO MARS will be the first novel reissued. It's one of his best ... and his most ridiculous in certain ways. Pulp publishing practices at the time also hindered the selection. Many of the novels are full of filler. Vixen Shamus is a good example. It's brilliant, but once you take out the forward, the afterward and all the advertisements for other books and an inexplicable list of Hungarian baby names, the "novel" ends up being only fourteen thousand words long and that's not really marketable. These are the sorts of issues we're dealing with. I guess you can say I'm basically an overall consultant on the project.

Blogpocalypse: Which LaSalle novel is your favorite?

Openheimer: I'd say Spaceport Floozy. That's LaSalle really tapping into the exploitation vibe, but still retaining strong sci-fi sensibilities. It's the longest running rollercoaster of sustained sex and violence I've ever seen in a novel by any author.

Blogpocalypse: Why has it taken so long for LaSalle to be recognized?

Openheimer: I think the gatekeepers long decided that Philip K. Dick filled that niche well enough and we really didn't need two of those guys. That's one theory. I think it's also likely that nobody can really put their finger on why we actually like Emerson LaSalle when he seems to do so many things wrong. Yet after a reader finishes a LaSalle novel, it's not long before they start looking around for another. My roommate at Princeton would moan and complain upon completion of each LaSalle novel he read, and I finally said, "Then stop reading them, you jackass." He said it was impossible. They were like bowel movements. Sooner or later it had to happen. Same with LaSalle novels. Sooner or later you have to pick up the next one. It's not a choice.

Blogpocalypse: Any more hints about when readers can get a hold of Gestapo Mars?

Openheimer: Sorry. I'm sword to secrecy.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


The only reason I have success in Italy is because of the tireless help of some great people. One of these people (pictured here) is Matteo Strukul the bright and cool publicity dude who makes sure people pay attention to my books.

He's standing in front of a fairly large book cover. MY book!

Thanks, Matteo!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Deadpool Corps: You Say You Want a Revolution

And here's some Deadpool Corps Five-0 to get you in the mood.

Top 10 Westerns of All Time

Last night while watching Anthony Mann's excellent Winchester '73 I tweeted that I thought it was one of the top five westerns of all time. This got me thinking about my top ten and I thought it would make a good simple fun blog post. So in no particular order, I give you my top ten. This list is SCIENTIFIC FACT, but I know some of you will insist I left some good ones off the list, so feel free to chime in.

1. Winchester '73

2. The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

3. The Searchers

4. Unforgiven

5. High Noon

6. True Grit (you can argue about which version)

7. The Wild Bunch

8. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

9. The Magnificent Seven

10. Hombre

Honorable Mentions:


She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

The Outlaw Josey Wales

Thursday, May 5, 2011

X-MEN #11

Behold the coolness. Coming next month. Professor X fans should pop a frosty one, sit back and enjoy the awesome.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Debut Novelist Steve Ulfelder's PURGATORY CHASM

Hey folks. I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of Ulfelder's debut novel Purgatory Chasm, so I thought I;d give it a shot out here at Blogpocalypse. It's a great read, and Ulfelder seems like a writer who's been doing it for years rather than a first time rookie.

From the back cover: "Our Hero Conway Sax, a smart-talking former alchoholic who owes everything he's got to the Barnburners, the Alchoholics Anonymous group who saved him. So when they have a problem, he fixes it. When obnoxious, blowhard Barnburner Tander Phigg gives him a call, Conway reluctantly agrees to help. But then Tander turns up dead, and Conway becomes the cops' top suspect. He needs to catch the killer, not only to clear himself, but because he's also the type of guy to honor his promises, even whern the guy he made them to is dead. Conway Sax isn't a hired gun, or a sophisticated urbanite; He's just a car mechanic trying to make his way."

If you enjoy the "regular guy as hero" type story, then give this one a try.

And check out Steve Ulfelder's website for more info.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Anthony Neil Smith interviewed here and now!

Author Anthony Neil Smith is reissuing his fantastic Yellow Medicine on Kindle and Nook. Let's talk to him about it. And about other stuff too!

1. Crime Dog Books. Huh? What? Explain yourself.

I miss the idea of the "brand" on self-pubbed e-books, like to old Gold Medal, but I'm not ready to start a real publisher. So I decided to make a Crimedog Books badge (Erik Lundy designed it) for Yellow Medicine and beyond. But then I thought, well, why not just give the brand to any of our PWG alums with an e-book to create that feeling of a brand again. I don't know about you, but when I see a Gold Medal or a Penguin or a Vintage/Black Lizard, or even a Vertigo, I know I'm getting quality. Same with Crimedog Books. And we get none of the profits. Just a community. Once we get a handful of CDBs, we're going to list them at a page on PWG. Yellow Medicine and Hogdoggin' will be #1 and #2.

2. You gave yourself a promotion at PLOTS WITH GUNS. What's going on with the journal? Can we expect to ever see a collection of the Best of PWG on Crime Dog Books?

I had run myself ragged with being the one-man band behind PLOTS WITH GUNS, so I "hired" (ha. no money in it) some new assistant editors to help out. But I was still way behind in reading, still having trouble getting new art, tried of delaying issue after issue. I couldn't do that plus the day job plus my own writing. But I didn't want to see it die. So the idea was to make myself "Publisher" (kind of like Stan Lee), pay for the site and drive the "big picture" idea of it, while finding a great new editor and art director to handle the actual production of the thing. And I also wanted them to take it places I had never thought of. So now we've got former MURDALAND assistant ed Sean O'Kane, who is a monster editor with great ideas for the future. Erik Lundy should be getting a fat salary for the amazing art he does (the new cover of Yellow Medicine is Lundy's, too), but he works for PWG so he gets jackshit. And our other two Assistants, Gonzalo Baeza and Marty McCabe, are sharp and can help choose the work that keeps us on top.

3. Your novel YELLOW MEDICINE was originally published by the now seemingly in limbo / possibly defunct Bleak House Books. Talk about what it means to give the novel a new life on the Kindle and Nook.

It means the world. I get to push this thing to an entirely new audience, and I get a bitchin' new retro cover. I just want people to read it and enjoy it. I've got a box of Yellow Medicine's sitting in my closet, and I give them away to people every now and then, but for the most part they're not doing anyone any good sitting there not getting read. Having the e-version out means a lot more people can get it for a decent price. I love promoting it, too. A lot of fun, even if I make an ass of myself on purpose while trying.

Also, before the implosion of Bleak House, I had thought about a third Lafitte novel to round out the story, and maybe some short stories from before he moved to Minnesota. If the e-versions of YM and the sequel, HOGDOGGIN', do well, I can go ahead and write the new Lafitte stuff.

4. Give new readers a little hint of what they can expect from Billy Lafite.

This is the guy in the bar you're glad to buy drinks for while he's telling his wild-assed stories, but who chills your blood when he asks for a lift home. Dangerous, but you're captivated by him. A bad egg, but you root for him. I was interested in that line between sympathetic and unsympathetic, how far he could go before the reader decided he wasn't worth cheering on.

He's pretty confident that his power as a cop can allow him to get away with anything. Worse, he uses that power to force loyalty from people, and he confuses that with earned loyalty, I think. But he likes being feared more than respected. God knows why.

5. Let's move some product. Give readers a run-down on CHOKE ON YOUR LIES and THE DRUMMER and your other e-books.

CHOKE ON YOUR LIES is a bit of a left turn for me. Not really a noir. It's my tribute to the Nero Wolfe detective series and features a very large woman who is rich, powerful, and very mean. Her "Archie" is Mick, a poetry professor who is about to lose his wife, his house, and his job. He's a weak-willed sort, and he needs Octavia's help, which is pretty much like selling his soul. Plus, it's got a lot of sex in it.

THE DRUMMER is my love song to New Orleans, written before Katrina and sold the same month Katrina hit. It's my take on the "man on the run" thriller, with an 80s metal drummer faking his death to avoid personal problems and the tax man. The singer tracks him down 15 years later and wants a reunion. So now he's got to find a way to keep the life he's built for himself, and he'll do *anything* it takes to do so. Heartbreaking stuff, full of rock and roll, sex, and tequila.

Oh, and my first novel, PSYCHOSOMATIC, which is batshit crazy and features a woman with no arms or legs...and she's in charge!

Plus: TO THE DEVIL, MY REGARDS, co-written with this Gischler hack, about a P.I. who makes all the wrong choices along the Alabama Gulf Coast.

6. What's next?

The sequel to YELLOW MEDICINE, called HOGDOGGIN', gets its e-debut in June. It was published in 2009, right before Bleak House went bye-bye. And then maybe some of my early short stories bundled together. We're trying to sell a thriller to the big NYC guns right now, but in the meantime I'm working on new novellas for Kindle, and on a sequel to that thriller I mentioned.

7. We've known each other a long time, since grad school at the hot and humid University of Southern Mississippi. But you've been in Minnesota a while now. How's life? Adjusted?

My first semester in Minnesota was hell. I thought I it was a mistake. That's because I was in the southwest corner, where it's pretty much cornfields and the smell of beets being turned into sugar (which is not pleasant). The anger was what got me going on YELLOW MEDICINE. But then I met the love of my life, and she turned me on to the great stuff about Minnesota I hadn't seen yet--Minneapolis, the northern woods, Duluth--and the more I fell for her, the more I fell for Minnesota. So I love my job (Director of Creative Writing at Southwest Minnesota State University), love the beauty of the state, and have come to appreciate the stark, frozen, wind-whipped prairies down here. Especially as a setting.

8. What are you reading?

Currently working on Jo Nesbo's THE DEVIL'S STAR. I like his stuff, even though it's more quiet than the noir I usually gravitate towards. Also just finished some Danny Hogan pulp on Kindle. Crazy stuff. And I'm getting ready to launch into the sneak peek copy of DUST DEVILS that Roger Smith sent me. If you haven't read Roger Smith yet, I'm telling you this is THE SHIT right here. His two novels were both in my faves last year. Stunningly violent and full of unsympathetic characters. Love it.

9. It's your soap box. Anything you want to say about the "state of the genre" or the "definition of noir"?

I'm done with definitions. I just want to read stuff that gets to me. Plenty of stuff could follow the "classic" definition of noir and it would bore me silly. I don't care about rules. I care about what works. You ever seen the X-Games moto-cross guys? They have to redefine the sport all the time because of the tricks these guys think up. The riders are ahead of the game. So do something amazing on the page and I'll love it. Bore me and you're done.

The state of the genre is blooming because people are churning out pulp on the Kindle. Fuck the naysayers. I'm telling you, the same way they were churning out pulp in the early part of the 20th century, that's what we're seeing now in e-books. And yeah, there's a lot of sheer bullshit out there, same as way back when, but the good stuff will swim to the top of the muck and shine through.

10. Okay, back to the reason we're here. We're making a big push to sell copies of YELLOW MEDICINE today. Tell readers how they can join in.

So today's Sunday, May 1st, right? What I want you to do is head over to at 2PM (EDT) -- I got Standard and Daylight confused in earlier posts. Sorry--and BUY THE DAMN BOOK. If enough people do it all at the same time, we can run it high up the bestseller list so people can see it, and hopefully it'll snowball down the hill from there. Only 99 cents for a full fucking novel. Why not?

You heard the man, everyone! Bring money! 99 cents is cheap!

If you've read Neil's work and have encouraging words for those considering a purchase, chime in with your comments.