Thursday, August 31, 2023

News of the World -- Putting Summer Behind Me

To start off, I realize that my posting has been lax with summer. Honestly, even the past two weeks, I've been mostly just posting the "easy stuff" -- press releases, inspirational quotes from writers, interesting article links, that kind of thing. It's been a few months since I actually posted the "bread and butter" stuff like original articles, interviews, and (one of my favorite regulars) Movie Reviews for Writers. All of that will be returning. 

A Tohru-tastic Christmas memory.

But for me, I guess I just need to get this all off my chest in order to move on with more compelling content. 

My summer sucked. Probably the absolute worst summer of my life. I know I can be prone to exaggeration, but not this time. I'll reduce it to a bullet list:

  • Week 1 -- My mom died unexpectedly.
  • Week 2 -- My cat, Tohru, whom I had kept as a pet for 16 years, died.
  • Two weeks ago  -- My dog, Boomer, my best fur buddy for 16 years, died. 

The thing about each of these is that any one of them would have driven me into grief. But the closeness of them to each other and the order in which they happened, only made the summer that much more painful. As much as I loved my cat and dog, their deaths only made the feelings of my mom's death start to swirl all over again -- this time combined with the memories of my sweet furbabies. 

Boomer, in repose,
and in my reading chair.

So, yeah, I spent pretty much the whole season more than a bit disengaged from the world around me. And that meant everything suffered, relationships, housework, responsibilities, all of it, but for the purpose of this blog, it meant my writing suffered. 

My actual stories.

My writing about writing (such as here on the blog).

My networking with other writers and publishers. 

All of it. 

My home is so quiet now that the sheer enormity of it makes it difficult to write. Gone are the skittering clicks from where Boomer would walk on the tile and linoleum on claws I had forgotten to trim. Gone also are the whining meows while Tohru wandered through the house wondering where her people were. Those things weren't distractions. They weren't annoyances. They were apparently the soundtrack of my life I needed in order to work. And now I have to get used to a new composition and learn how to work with it now. 

It still doesn't seem fair. But as long as I still want to be a writer, fair or not, it simply is what it is. (Though I have always hated that saying.) Que sera, sera. C'est la vie. 

MeMe's house, the best place on earth to write.

I'm still a living, dark-minded swirl of melancholy and memories, but I finally feel like maybe I can put the pen to the page again (at least figuratively, anyway -- I haven't written anything by hand other than a grocery list or a hall pass for one of my students in years). I even visited MeMe's house (where I go to focus when I need a writing retreat) and managed to finish two stories that I owed to my publishers. I didn't get the rest of the stories knocked out like I wanted to, but I considered those two stories a major tick mark in the win column considering my frame of mind. Now, I just need to finish the editing process on them both and send them off for publication. 

Anyway, I feel like words might be coming back to me. As such, I hope this month to finally give you a return to form for the blog. And that means interviews, original articles, movie reviews, the whole enchilada. At least, that's the plan. Hence this more personal post. It's a start. 

Now, we'll just have to see if I'm not misreading my own signals. 

Wouldn't be the first time. 


My beautiful mom. whom
I miss very, very much. 

Saturday, August 26, 2023

[Link] All Hail the Long-Suffering Cadaver

by Amor Towles

Once at the center of the murder mystery, the cadaver has become increasingly incidental to the action and now figures as little more than a prop.

For over 100 years the cadaver, that unsung hero of murder mysteries, has been accommodating, gracious and generally on time. There is no other figure in crime who has proved more reliable. Since the murder mystery first gained popularity, there have been two world wars, multiple economic crises, dance crazes and moonshots, the advent of radio, cinema, television and the internet. Ideas of right and wrong have evolved, tastes have changed. But through it all, the cadaver has shown up without complaint to do its job. A clock-puncher of the highest order, if you will.

Meanwhile, many of our most revered detectives have proved rather difficult to work with. They have been variously arrogant, antisocial or persnickety. Witnesses have often been skittish or defensive. Many have intentionally sowed confusion through lies of omission or commission springing from their own sins and prejudices.

But decade in and decade out, the cadaver has remembered its lines and hit its mark. This despite the fact that it has borne the brunt of a thousand humiliations. Having been subjected to that most definitive form of violence, it has had to lie undiscovered, often in a cellar or back alley, overnight. Once the police arrive, our cadaver has been poked and prodded, its pockets emptied. After being shuttled to the morgue and laid out on a slab, it has been cut open, unceremoniously. Almost from the moment the corpse is discovered, it has been an object of slander. Family, friends and acquaintances who tended to be complimentary and discreet when our victim was alive are suddenly enumerating personal failings and sharing rumors of infidelity or financial malfeasance. And all of this — the loss of life, the autopsies, the recriminations — the cadaver has suffered in silence, on our behalf.

The cadaver’s unwavering professionalism is all the more admirable given the diminishment of its standing over time. If we look back to the so-called golden age of detective fiction, in the 1920s and ’30s, when the form was reaching its apotheosis in the works of Agatha Christie, the cadaver maintained an almost enviable status. After all, it was the cadaver who set the wheels of a mystery in motion.

The stories of the era tend to begin in a relatively benign and inviting manner. A small assembly of family members or friends might gather for the weekend in a rambling country manor. The setting and circumstances are not that different from what one might expect to find in a play by Chekhov or a novel by Henry James. That is, until, with the scream of a housemaid, the cadaver is discovered. Its sudden appearance sprawled on the study floor with a knife in its back is what transforms the book in our hand, taking us from the realm of domestic drama into that of the whodunit.

But in the golden age, the cadaver didn’t simply get things going. It maintained its position at the center of the story from the moment of its discovery until the denouement. As Hercule Poirot often pointed out, it was the psychology of the victim that was paramount. In life, was the cadaver lascivious? Unscrupulous? Greedy? To understand who had most likely monkeyed with the brakes of her car or poisoned her cup of tea, one first had to understand whom she had loved and whom she had spurned; whom she had enriched and whom she had cheated.

Read the full article:

Friday, August 25, 2023


Airship 27 Production is thrilled to present the ninth volume in this showcase anthologies series featuring new pulp heroes created by today’s writers. Jamie Ramos offers up ex-super cop Steelgrave who comes face to face with an old foe on the streets of Detroit.  Jonathan Sweet introduces the beautiful and deadly, Black Wraith who investigated the blackmailing of a U.S. Senator. Mark Allen Van’s gangster hero, Killdevil, returns in a second outing when learns a woman is targeted by her own husband. Jarrett Mazza introduces Arnold Zigler, an enhanced athlete soon to be known by his secret identity as The Zig Zag Man.

“Our readers love this series,” states Airship 27 Production’s Managing Editor Ron Fortier. “The showcase format offers these wonderful writers the opportunity to present to the world their own unique spins on classic pulp heroes and Volume Nine is a perfect example of that. Each of the tales is fast-paced, exciting, and full of action and adventure.”

Airship 27’s award-winning Art Director, Rob Davis provides not only the interior illustrations but also the colorful cover this time featuring Mark Allen Van’s Killdevil. This is another stellar entry in a series readers demanded.


Available now from Amazon in paperback and soon on Kindle.

Friday, August 11, 2023


At seventy-five years old, John Taylor lives in an old church on Indian land, reflecting on his time as sheriff of Devil's Creek Run, a mining community that was desperately trying to find its way in the harsh and unforgiving land of the frontier west. From dealing with devastating droughts, an Indian uprisings, and legendary outlaws, he finds himself surrounded by the ghosts of those that he has lost along the trail, both friends and enemies as he reflects on it long after sunset.

Jonathan Casey delivers an original western focusing the spotlight on one man and how the land and history shaped him. This tale of the rugged frontier packs an emotional wallop.

Colorado artist Sam Salas provides the interior illustrations and Shannon Hall the dramatic cover, with Art Director Rob Davis doing book design.


Available now at Amazon.

Friday, August 4, 2023


When mysterious rocks fall out of the night sky, Princeton Astronomer Peter Armstrong is kidnapped by a group of criminals led by a mysterious little fellow named Stuka. He discovered the rocks emanate lethal radiation that melts people. Managing to escape, Armstrong soon realizes that he is the target of not only the gangsters but also foreign agents wishing to possess the stones and develop them into super weapons.

Writer Bob Madison delivers a fast-paced, old fashion pulp adventure reminiscent of the classic movie matinee serials. The action is non-stop with a cast of truly colorful characters. Artist Kevin Paul Shaw Broden provides the interior illustrations and Adam Benet Shaw the colorful cover. Book design by Art Director Rob Davis.

“This is an old fashion pulp yarn,” reports Airship 27 Production Managing Editor, Ron Fortier. “Madison is a professional writer and delivers a fast-paced action tale with some very likable characters.”


Available now from Amazon.