Saturday, April 18, 2009

New Story at BEAT to a PULP

BEAT to a PULP :: Tweakers :: Frank Bill

The View from My Garage Right Now

Jody McCrea, R. I. P.

Jody McCrea, Actor in ‘Beach Party’ Films, Is Dead at 74 - Obituary (Obit) - "LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jody McCrea, best known for acting in the “Beach Party” movies in the 1960s, died on April 4 in New Mexico, where he had become a cattle rancher. He was 74.
[. . . .]
Mr. McCrea appeared in a string of “Beach Party” movies, comedies starring Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon, including “Muscle Beach Party,” “Bikini Beach,” “Pajama Party,” “Beach Blanket Bingo” and “How to Stuff a Wild Bikini.”"
[. . . .]
Mr. McCrea, originally Joel Dee McCrea, was a son of the movie stars Joel McCrea and Frances Dee. His wife, Dusty, died in 1996.

Hat tip to Fred Blosser.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Burnt Orange Report::: No Need to Secede, Texas Already a Country: "It looks like there is no need for Governor Rick Perry to entertain ideas of Texas Secession. The U.S. State Department has listed us as one of the foreign countries that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has visited this year."

Copy of document at the link.

How Could I Not Link to This?

A Concise History of Alligator Wrestling - Boing Boing

Some Good News at Last

Worry more, live longer -
Features, Health & Wellbeing - The Independent
: "Dr Marios Kyriazis, a GP and expert in geriatric medicine, is among a growing number of health professionals claiming that stress isn't the one-way road to illness and an early grave that most of us assume. In fact, provided it's relatively short-term, it appears that stress can do wonders for the immune system and ageing process, not to mention keeping the likes of Alzheimer's, arthritis and certain cancers at bay."

Top 10 Great Actors as Bad Movie Villains

Topless Robot - 10 Great Actors Who Played Incredibly Crappy Movie Villains: "Below are 10 great, well-known actors who chewed so much scenery as crappy movie villains that they're probably still suffering from lockjaw."

Sexy in SF

io9 - 10 Authors Who Put Sex In Their Science Fiction - Samuel R. Delany: "Sex and science fiction have not always been the most obvious partners; combining the two has occasionally defeated even the genre's greatest luminaries. But here are ten authors who successfully brought sex into the future."

Silks -- Dick Francis & Felix Francis

This is the second collaboration between Dick Francis and his son, Felix, and it's another winner. The narrator is Geoffrey Mason, a barrister and amateur jockey. One of Mason's clients is sent to prison, but the conviction is overturned. Mason begins getting threatening phone calls from the client, but not about the conviction. Mason is supposed to take the case of Steve Mitchell, a jockey accused of murder, and lose the case. You can imagine how a Dick Francis hero would react to that kind of threat.

Or maybe not. Mason turns out not to be the usual Francis hero, at least not quite. He's afraid of being hurt, and he shows fear more than once. Sure, he can (and does) take a tremendous amount of punishment, but only at the end does he fight back. Also, his actions throughout the book are a good bit more morally ambiguous than usual in Francis, especially at the end.

The writing is smooth, the suspense well-maintained, and you get two books for the price of one, a racing thriller and a legal thriller. Judy also read this book and said that there was Too Much Information. Francis has always used plenty of his research in his books, and maybe it shows more here than in earlier novels. You'll find out plenty about the British legal system and about diseases of horses, among other things. None of that slowed the book down for me. I enjoyed it, as I've enjoyed all Francis's work for the past forty-five years or so. Check it out.

Gator Update

Gators and drugs yet again!

Investigation into death yields warrants :
Local : Times Record News
: "McGuinn said the need for the search warrant came during the investigation of Steele’s death. “We were going to talk to a person of interest.” While they were there, they noticed several pieces of stolen equipment along with a live alligator, which is illegal to own in Texas.

The searches yielded one arrest, but it was for methamphetamine and unrelated to the death"

The Disassembled Man -- Nate Flexer

New Pulp Press is a new venture by Jon Bassoff (aka Nate Flexer). The books from New Pulp Press "focus on off-center crime fiction and neo-pulp. Veering away from the assumption that a protagonist must be a sympathetic character, our books are centered around con-men, losers, and sociopaths."

Frankie Avicious, the narrator ofThe Disassembled Man, is a far cry from a sympathetic character. He slaughters cattle for a living, and before long he moves on to slaughtering people, maybe at the urging of the enigmatic salesman named Jack Marteau, maybe not. The murders are graphic and bizarre, but then that's the point. By the end, Frankie's narrative turns almost surreal, and the punishment that waits for Frankie is as frightening and disturbing as the rest of the book.

This is strong stuff, definitely not the kind of thing that you're going to find from a mainstream publisher. Besides the mayhem, there's also a good bit of gruesome humor to sort of lighten the proceedings. If you have a taste for the offbeat, out-of-the-mainstream fiction, this might be just what you're looking for. If you're planning to stick to the safe and familiar, it's not. You can read the first two chapters on Al Guthrie's Noir Originals. That might be enough to let you know what you're in for. Check it out.

This is a repost because New Pulp Press is now a going concern.  Check it out at the link above.

Novel Books, Merit Books

Unfortunately, I don't have many Novel Books and Merit Books, the publishers of the estimable Toby Wedge series (not to mention the publishers of the Ennis Willie novels). However, since one or two of you expressed an interest, I've created a little Flickr set of the few I do have. It's here for your edification. They really don't write 'em like that anymore.

Fans of Cap'n Bob Napier's late, lamented MDM, of which I am one, will recognize the name of Arnold Marmor, author of Torrid Wenches.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Friday, April 17, 2009

Top Ten Spaghetti Western Deaths

Alex Cox picks his 10 favourite on-screen exits |
Film |
The Guardian
: "Death scenes tell you everything you need to know about spaghetti westerns, the most brutal and inventive of all film genres. Alex Cox picks his 10 favourite on-screen exits"

Link via Ray Banks on Twitter.

Al Capone, Songwriter

News Story - NCBuy: "He never sang to the feds, but it turns out Al Capone had a song in his heart. All it took was a stint in Alcatraz to bring it out.

Now, more than 70 years later, the tender love song that the ruthless crime boss penned while sitting in the pen is being recorded and released on CD. And an inscribed copy of the music and lyrics to 'Madonna Mia' is up for sale at $65,000.

'It's a beautiful song, a tearjerker,' said Rich Larsen of, who helped line up musicians and singers to record it."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Perry Mason imposter arrested for being 'pretend lawyer' | "A man who claimed his name was Perry Mason has been arrested for practicing law without a license.

Texas Bar records showed that no-one sharing their name with the great TV defence attorney was actually authorised to work in the field of law.

The 43-year-old Houston man has been charged with barratry and third-degree felony."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Forgotten Books: MAD FOR KICKS -- Jack Lynn

Fans of Jack Lynn's Tokey Wedge haven't forgotten him, of course.  Wedge, all five feet, six inches of him, is the private-eye who appears in such classicas as Nympho Lodge and Torrid Twins, mentioned on the back cover.  I couldn't resist putting the back cover up because how could anyone resist reading the book after reading a blurb like that one?  (That's Wedge in his Triumph in the picture, in case you were wondering.)  For that matter, how could anybody resist reading a book with a front cover like this one?

Wedge narrates his adventures in the first person, but this time the action begins in a third-person prologue that describes a brutal rape.  Wedge is hired to find the rapists, which is how he gets involved with the syndicate hoods and the thrill-mad beatniks.  It's all pretty complicated, but Wedge's wise-cracking narration carries it right along.

Naturally, there's plenty of sex.  But since the book was published in 1960, it's all very sedate. No descriptions of the act, no dirty words.  There are, however, plenty of descriptions of naked women because women just can't resist Tokey Wedge.

Here's what Men's Digest supposedly said about the book:  "Mad for Kicks outdoes Lady Chatterly's Lover and any book you care to name for the strong stuff that you men like.  Not recommended for women or children.  This Novel Book powerhouse will make you do a double-take every time you pass a beatnik."  

They don't write 'em like this anymore.

Asphalt Jungle

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Video: Man Gets DWI on Steamroller Video: "Last October 32-year-old Ronald Howell was arrested for driving a stolen steamroller while drunk in Pflugerville. Watch the video of the police “chase” and interrogation that police have just released."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Maxine Cooper, R. I. P.

SPILLANE'S SECRETARY IN KISS ME DEADLY DEAD AT 84: "Actress MAXINE COOPER GOMBERG has died at her home in Los Angeles. She was 84.

Best known for playing fictional private eye Mickey Spillane's secretary in 1955 film noir classic Kiss Me Deadly, Gomberg - then known as Maxine Cooper - was also a social activist.

She died of natural causes on 4 April (09)."

Obviously the writer knows nothing at all about the movie.  Mickey Spillane's secretary, indeed.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Ron Paul represents my district.

AFP: US lawmaker: Bring back private pirate hunters: "WASHINGTON (AFP) — A US lawmaker known for broadsides at US foreign policy says Somali piracy has an age-old solution: 'Letters of marque' empowering private citizens to chase the seaborne scoundrels from the oceans.

Republican Representative Ron Paul and a handful of conservative theorists say it's time that the US Congress used the technique, pioneered by European powers in the 18th Century as a way to wage naval warfare on the cheap.

Major shipping companies should accept a 'go at your own risk' approach and not expect government help when they transit through pirate-infested waters, Paul said this week in a video posted on the public Internet site YouTube."

Now That's a Long-Overdue Book

Library book stolen during US Civil War returned after 145 years - Telegraph: "The 1842 book, the first volume of WFP Napier's four-volume 'History of the War in the Peninsula and in the South of France From the Year 1807 to the Year 1814', was returned to a Washington and Lee University library in Lexington, Virginia by a friend of one of the soldier's descendants.

Soldier CS Gates took the book on June 11, 1864, from the library of what was then Washington College, university officials said this week.

The theft took place when Army of West Virginia Gen. David Hunter's troops raided the area and looted the college's buildings."

I wonder if WFP Napier is related to Cap'n Bob.

I Hope They Find a Burnished Throne

Search for Antony and Cleopatra's Tombs to Begin : Discovery News: "Doomed lovers Cleopatra and Mark Antony have been missing since they committed suicide in 31 B.C. Now archaeologists plan to excavate three sites in Egypt that could contain their tombs.

The celebrated queen of Egypt and the Roman general could have been buried in a deep shaft in a temple near the Mediterranean Sea, Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities said in a statement Wednesday.

Excavation work on the sites will begin next week."

Gator Update (Dallas Edition)

People Flock to See Albino Alligator: "An albino alligator has become the main attraction at the Dallas Zoo. His name is Bourdeaux, but he's more the color of chardonnay. The 9-foot-long albino alligator is already drawing big crowds at the zoo. He and two standard American alligators are part of the 'Ghosts From the Bayou' exhibit opening this weekend."

Video at link.

Blackboard Jungle

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

An Old Review

Over at Mystery*File, Steve Lewis has posted a review I wrote over 30 years ago.  When I was in grade school, probably.

Texas Continues to Lead (Update)

Perry fires up anti-tax crowd: "'There's a lot of different scenarios,' [Governor Rick] Perry said. 'We've got a great union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we're a pretty independent lot to boot.'

He said when Texas entered the union in 1845 it was with the understanding it could pull out. However, according to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Texas negotiated the power to divide into four additional states at some point if it wanted to but not the right to secede.

Texas did secede in 1861, but the North's victory in the Civil War put an end to that."

Clues 27.1

The Bunburyist: <i>Clues</i> issue on the girl sleuth.: "Clues 27.1 has been published, the first issue in a larger format and with a redesigned cover. It also is a theme issue on the girl sleuth (Nancy Drew, Veronica Mars, et al.), guest edited by Leona W. Fisher (Georgetown University). See below for a table of contents; go here for the abstracts; here for print and online subscription information."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Deep doo-doo wouldn't do for Texas cattle rancher - Weird News - "COMANCHE, Texas -- Mack Stark figures cattle raisers can appreciate the name of his west central Texas ranch and makes no apologies for the words in big black letters on the steel arch over the dirt and gravel driveway. The name's not exactly fit to print, but let's just say 'Deep Droppings Cattle Co.' or 'Deep Excrement Cattle Co.' wouldn't have the same effect. 'That has a ring to it,' the 75-year-old rancher said.

A ring of truth, Lavon Stark, his wife of almost 45 years, chimes in.

'If you've ever been in the cattle business, you know,' she added."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

The popularity of Twitter has some relationships in a twist - "In the age of Twitter, it may be necessary to lay down some rules — such as, don't let your personal gadgets interfere with your personal relationships.

Or to say it in Twitterese: Put down that phone! (Only 20 characters.)

For Donald Bond of Kingwood, Texas, the rule on a first date with a woman is clear: No Twitter twaddle. No cellphones, no iPod, no BlackBerry, no blinking device of any kind."

Crimespree Celebrates Some More

Central Crime Zone: Crimespree Editors Interview Each Other: "So, it's true. Crimespree really is five years young. As promised, this celebration is moving to the blog and we'll begin now with Ruth & Jon's interview of each other."

Really Old Wine

Scorpion King's Wines--Egypt's Oldest--Spiked With Meds: "Deep inside the tomb of Scorpion I (no relation to the Rock), scientists discovered Egypt's oldest wines.

And now it appears the 5,000-year-old wines were spiked with natural medicines—centuries before the practice was thought to exist in Egypt, researchers say. (Related: 'Nature's Rx' in National Geographic magazine.)

Archaeochemist Patrick McGovern and colleagues found chemical residues of herbs, tree resins, and other natural substances inside wine jars from the tomb, the previously discovered resting place of one of Egypt's first pharaohs (ancient Egypt time line)."

Who Stole the Mona Lisa?

The story behind theft of the Mona Lisa - Times Online: "On a mundane morning in late summer in Paris, the impossible happened. The Mona Lisa vanished. On Sunday evening, August 20, 1911, Leonardo da Vinci’s best-known painting was hanging in her usual place on the wall of the Salon Carre, between Correggio’s Mystical Marriage and Titian’s Allegory of Alfonso d’Avalos. On Tuesday morning, when the Louvre reopened to the public, she was gone."

I Think that I Shall Never See . . .

5 cm. fir tree removed from patient’s lung / "A five-centimeter fir tree has been found in the lung of a man who complained he had a strong pain in his chest and was coughing blood.

The 28-year-old patient, Artyom Sidorkin, came to a hospital in the city of Izhevsk in Central Russia last week, Komsomolskaya Pravda daily reports.

Doctors x-rayed his chest and found a tumor in one of the lungs. Suspecting cancer, they made a decision to perform biopsy, but when they cut the tissue, they were amazed to see green needles in the cut."

Hat tip to Ed Gorman and Mark Johnson.

The Wild One

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Jack D. Hunter, R. I. P.

The Associated Press: Author Jack D. Hunter dies at 87; wrote 'Blue Max': "ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (AP) — Author Jack D. Hunter, whose World War I aviation novel 'The Blue Max' was made into a film in the 1960s, has died. He was 87.

The Florida Times-Union, where Hunter had worked as a writing coach, said he died Monday in St. Augustine after a battle with cancer.

'The Blue Max,' published in 1964, was his first novel. It was about a German infantry corporal who joins that country's air corps. He sets out to shoot down 20 enemy planes and win its highest honor, nicknamed 'The Blue Max.'

The book was made into a 1966 movie starring George Peppard, James Mason and Ursula Andress."

I never read The Blue Max, but I enjoyed several of Hunter's other novels.

Hat tip to Scott Cupp.

Drug War Update

What's a nice girl like you doing with an arsenal like this? Police seize 20-year-old guarding vast weapons cache... including anti-aircraft gun
| Mail Online
: "Smirking for the camera, this is the 20-year-old woman Mexican police caught guarding an extraordinary arsenal of weapons.

Anahi Beltran Cabrera was seized during a routine patrol in Sonora state, near the U.S. border.

Officers recovered a vast cache of weapons including an anti-aircraft gun capable of firing 800 shots per minute, a number of rifles and an array of ammunition."

Barsoom Update

io9 - Michael Chabon Signs On To Write John Carter Of Mars - Michael Chabon: "Andrew Stanton's adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs pulp legend John Carter of Mars just got a new screenwriter… and it's one of the writers who best understands pulp science fiction.

Michael Chabon, author of such books as The Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier & Clay and The Yiddish Policeman's Union, has signed on to rewrite the script for Disney's big-screen adaption of A Princess of Mars, the first of eleven books in the John Carter saga. Chabon's previous screenwriting experience is writing a draft of Spider-Man 2, although only about a third of his material made it to the finished film."

On Second Thought, Maybe Those Snails Wouldn't be so Bad

AdelaideNow... McFilthy - you want gastro with that?: "IS this the filthiest fast-food joint in Australia? Countless discarded brown paper bags and burger wrappers lay strewn across the floor, piled up in trampled heaps around the tables and chairs.

Abandoned soft drinks, squashed chips and other rubbish cover the table tops as diners sit eating amidst the detritus.

Welcome to McDonald's on Hindley St. These pictures were taken in the dining area at 3am last Sunday by Adelaide law student Jeremy Brown while on a night out with friends."

Hat tip to Art Scott.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Profane fight over cat poop lands Texas City man in court | TOP STORIES | | News for Houston, Texas: "TEXAS CITY, Texas — A Texas City man wants his day in court after police cited him for disorderly conduct for the way he described the smelly nuggets that neighborhood cats left in his garden.

On Feb. 8, Joseph Loflin, 48, went into the street to casually confront his neighbors, who he said refused to keep their cats from using his garden as a litter box. Loflin said he never dreamed his neighbor and the man’s 13-year-old daughter would be offended by him using the S-word to describe the excrement."

Hat tip to Angela Crider.

Let the Celebration Begin

Victor Gischler wins most important award ever invented: (Thank, voters!)

OK Corral Update

Trouble at OK Corral -
Americas, World - The Independent
: "The streets where Wyatt Earp and his 'posse' reached for their Colt 45s during the infamous Gunfight at the OK Corral are once more being disturbed by battling troupes of rival gunslingers. In Tombstone, Arizona, a bitter row has broken out over the right to perform historic re-enactments of the shoot-out, which took place in 1881 and was later immortalised by Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas and countless Hollywood stars.

The battle once more pits mercenary cowboys against the forces of law and order. It has been brewing since before Christmas, when a new mayor strode into town and promptly banned actors from performing on his streets without a permit. Dusty Escapule, elected by Tombstone's 1,500 residents, enacted the law to prevent fallings-out between groups of actors who have for decades trawled the town's main drag in Wild West costume to entice tourists to their shows."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

The Hill’s Blog Briefing Room � Perry invites Limbaugh to Texas: "If Gov. Rick Perry (R-Tex) is looking to shore up the conservative base for his upcoming re-election, his latest move is a masterstroke: the governor says he will personally invite Rush Limbaugh to move to Texas.

The conservative radio host recently announced that high taxes are driving him out of New York.

Perry said he'd welcome Limbaugh with open arms."

Moore, Roger Moore

'I'm a happy hypochondriac,' says Roger Moore | Mail Online: "Of all the things Sir Roger Moore has lost over the years (appendix, tonsils, adenoids, a sensitive snip in a circumcision and more recently his prostate), his sense of humour is not one of them. 'If you don't have humour,' he says, still laughing, 'then you may as well nail the coffin lid down now.'"

Rebel without a Cause

Monday, April 13, 2009

Mark "The Bird" Fidrych, R. I. P.

Former Detroit Tigers All-Star pitcher Mark "The Bird" Fidrych dead at 54 - ESPN: "BOSTON -- Former All-Star pitcher Mark 'the Bird' Fidrych was found dead Monday in an apparent accident at his farm. He was 54.

Worcester County district attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. says a family friend found Fidrych about 2:30 p.m. Monday beneath a dump truck. He appeared to be working on the truck, Early said.

The colorful right-hander was the American League rookie of the year in 1976 when he went 19-9 with a 2.34 ERA. He spent all five of his major league seasons with the Detroit Tigers, compiling a 29-19 record and a 3.10 ERA."

Link via Rick Klaw on Twitter.

I'll Just Have a Hamburger

Unwanted garden snails cooked by gardener - Telegraph: "Oriole Parker-Rhodes, 59, a grandmother, has begun making meals out of the snails she has found in her garden and has set up an internet blog with her recipes and tips, and information on keeping and breeding them.

'Last summer it was really wet and warm, ideal for snails,' she said. 'I was treading on them and they were also eating our home-grown potatoes.'"

Gischler Golf Story Now Posted

Victor Gischler's "Duffers of the Apocalypse" has been posted at the Busted Flush Press site.  Surely you've already read it, but if you haven't, you can click here.  It's a .pdf file.

Robert Terrall, R. I. P. Robert Terrall: "Robert Terrall passed away March 27, 2009,  at Noble Horizons.

Born in 1914 in Neihart, Mont., he moved to The Dalles, Ore., and spent his teenage years in Cleveland, Ohio. He graduated from Harvard University in 1936, and was editor of the Harvard Lampoon for three years.

He moved to New York, writing freelance fiction and movie reviews for magazines."

Terrall was the author of a number of mystery novels under his own name.  He also wrote some of the Mike Shayne novels published by Dell.

Link via Sarah Weinman.

Swordfights Are Back

Man Dies Days After Swordfight That Killed Woman - Indiana News Story - WRTV Indianapolis: "INDIANAPOLIS -- A man died Monday, days after he was involved in a swordfight with the grandson of a woman who was killed when she tried to intervene in the fight, police said.

Adolf Stegbauer, 69, died from complications of a stab wound. Charges pending against Chris Rondeau, 39, were expected to be upgraded. Police said he stabbed Stegbauer.

Franziska Stegbauer, 77, also died as a result of stab wounds after the fight early Thursday morning, but police were not initially sure which of the men had stabbed her."

Marilyn Chambers, R. I. P.

Porn star Marilyn Chambers found dead in L.A. County home | L.A. Now | Los Angeles Times: "Marilyn Chambers, a former Ivory Snow detergent model who became a porn star, died Sunday at her Canyon Country home. She was 56.

Chambers, whose real name is Marilyn Ann Taylor, was found unresponsive at 8:51 p.m. at her residence in the 16000 block of Vasquez Canyon, said Los Angeles County coroner's spokesman Ed Winter. The cause of death is under investigation but foul play was not suspected and an autopsy is pending."

I Wasn't Going to Post This, . . .

. . . but I couldn't resist after seeing some I really agreed with that probably nobody else does (#s 3, 8, 9 in case you were wondering).

I just want a bit part in your life: 24 musicians who aced acting roles | Film | A.V. Club

New CrimeWAV Podcast Now Live | This is the home for the premier series of crime short stories on the internet. This is the only podcast devoted to crime.: "This is episode 33 of the CrimeWAV: we go overseas for Rafe McGregor's 'Blue Mail.'"

Gischler Still Pleading

Victor says:  Last day to vote for my novel GO-GO. It's a tight race. Please Please vote:


Indian woman blazes through chili-eating feat -
News, People - The Independent
: "The 'ghost chili,' the world's spiciest chili, seems to suit her palate.

A 28-year-old Indian woman smeared its seeds on her eyes before gobbling up 51 fire-hot chilies in two minutes for an entry into the Guinness World Records, organisers said today."

Who's Your Provider?

What your personal e-mail provider says about you: "Almost everyone has a personal e-mail account today, and which provider you choose says a lot about who you are and what you stand for."

Cotton Comes to Harlem

Sunday, April 12, 2009

New Story at BEAT to a PULP

BEAT to a PULP :: Maker's and Coke :: Jake Hinkson

No Comment Department

Zombie Mash-up Lands Author Six-Figure Deal - 4/9/2009 8:24:00 AM - Publishers Weekly: "Seth Grahame-Smith's surprise hit from Quirk Books, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, may have been launched as something of a lark, but that hasn't stopped its author from landing a major deal. Grand Central Press editor Ben Greenberg has just inked a two-book deal with Grahame-Smith for a rumored $575,000; Grahame-Smith's first book for GCP, which currently has no pub date, will be Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. (A rep from GCP would not comment on the size of the advance.)"

Vonnegut Update

Never-published Vonnegut short stories to be released this year: "A collection of never-before published short stories by Kurt Vonnegut, who died in 2007, will be released in an anthology later this year, according to the writer's longtime publisher.

Delacorte Press announced Friday, that Look at the Birdie — containing 14 stories — will be out in November.

'These are 14 exceptionally intricate short pieces by an author whose voice we miss immensely. Taken together, they give the reader a clear sense of Kurt Vonnegut's development into one of the most beloved and original American writers of all time,' said editor Nita Taublib, who put the collection together with Kerri Buckley."

I think I'll Have Ham

BBC NEWS | Americas | Venezuela's giant rodent cuisine: "While in many countries the Easter dish may be lamb, in Venezuela a traditional delicacy around this time of the year is the capybara, the world's biggest rodent."

Probably Every Writer Should Read this Article

50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice - "The Elements of Style does not deserve the enormous esteem in which it is held by American college graduates. Its advice ranges from limp platitudes to inconsistent nonsense. Its enormous influence has not improved American students' grasp of English grammar; it has significantly degraded it."

No Comment Department

Maryland Legislature Approves Statewide, Freeway Speed Cameras: "The Maryland General Assembly yesterday gave final approval to a measure that will expand the use of speed cameras to every part of the state, allowing cameras on high-volume freeways for the first time. Lawmakers in Annapolis, at the urging of Governor Martin O'Malley (D), saw the measure as an essential means of reining in the state's run-away budget deficit. Traffic camera vendors also helped promote the effort with lavish gifts, parties and campaign donations."


I have a cameo appearance on Criminal Brief today.  Check it out.

Top 10 Gunslingers

10 Gunslinging Outlaws of the American Wild West - Listverse: "The American Wild West includes the history, folklore, people, and events of the mid-1800s to the beginning of the 20th century (though some people date it up to the 1920s). During this time of expansion from coast to coast, many people rose to fame through their exciting (and often illegal) lives. We still remember these men and women today and this list looks at ten of the most fascinating and memorable."

Buck and the Preacher