HARD-BOILED CHRISTMAS STORIES

Just in time for the holidays, it’s now easier than ever to pick up a copy of HARD-BOILED CHRISTMAS STORIES for your own library, or as a swell gift. You probably know the details: nine great tales of Yuletide homicide from some of the top pulp magazines of the 1930s and 1940s, plus the first all-new Dan Turner — Hollywood Detective story in more than 60 years, written by yours truly in the style of the great pulpster Robert Leslie Bellem. My Reverse Karma Press partner John McMahan and I — with considerable help from my pal and frequent collaborator Michael H. Price — have just managed to get it on Amazon, the world’s largest bookstore, where it can be ordered immediately. If you prefer, check HARD-BOILED, and a couple of other fine books, at our official website, reversekarmapress.com, where you can order via PayPal or credit card.
And if you happen to live in the Tulsa area, drop by one of my two favorite brick-and-mortar stores — Dwelling Spaces at 119 Detroit Ave. and Ida Red Boutique at 3336 S. Peoria Ave. — and take a look at HARD-BOILED up close and personal.
HARD-BOILED sales have skyrocketed into the hundreds, but we’ve still got a few — okay, plenty — left, and I’d love for one to find its way to a spot under your holiday tree this year. Thanks, and happy holidays!

HALLOWEEN GOODIES

FNT-Detour-700x352Halloween has long been one of my favorite holidays, so I’m really happy to have a couple of things going this particular October 31 that may be of interest. I’m also proud to say that both of them come to you via the public airwaves.
First, at 8 p.m. Tulsa time, Scott Gregory and I co-hosting The Hidden Sixties Halloween Show on Public Radio Tulsa, 89.5 FM (and streaming live anywhere in the doggone universe at publicradiotulsa.org). The latest in our semi-regular series of broadcasts featuring rock ’n’ roll, jazz, and pop music you may not have heard since the ‘60s — if you’ve heard it at all –this one runs the gamut from the Bonzo Dog Band to Lambert, Hendricks, & Ross; Duke Ellington to the Del-Aires. And you know we’ve got some Bobby “Boris” Pickett in there, as well as the creepiest of all the ‘60s teenage death ballads.
Please join us at 8 p.m. Halloween night for a full hour of weirdness on a couple of levels, as Scott Gregory and I proudly let our freak flags fly with The Hidden Sixties Halloween Special. My brother, Mark, and I plan to listen as we’re handing out candy to the costumed kids coming down Ninth Street in Chelsea, Oklahoma, continuing a tradition started at that same address more than 60 years ago.
And then — the very same night — it’s time for the new TV series Film Noir Theatre, debuting at 10 p.m. on RSUTV, Channel 35. (Tulsa-area cable and satellite subscribers should check their listings for the station, which may be different.) Jennifer Sterling and I, with the invaluable help of director Rachelle Faught and her crackerjack crew, co-host this six-episode presentation, which will air in the same time slot for five more weeks after the debut.
Each week we’re bringing you a classic film noir, one of those dark and fatalistic Hollywood films that flourished for a time after World War II, thanks to our great friends Bob and Don Blair at VCI Entertainment. (Check out their terrific collection of movies out at www.vcihomevideo.com)
On Halloween night, we’ve got one of the best to kick things off: It’s Detour, the tawdry and ragged 1945 thriller from that weirdly fascinating Poverty Row studio PRC, directed by the low-budget auteur Edgar Ulmer and starring B-pic leading man Tom Neal. There may not be any monsters in it — although that depends on your definition of the term — but it’s sure perfect for Halloween, because if it doesn’t give you a case of the heebie-jeebies, you don’t have a heartbeat.
As a guy with a face for radio, I really stepped outside the old comfort zone with Film Noir Theatre so it’s quite possible that I may give you the heebie-jeebies as well. Rachelle and Jennifer made me look as good as possible — and Jennifer looks great — but it may not have been enough. Luckily for all concerned, there’s more movie Friday night than there is me, and for my money Detour is one of the best ever.
Check it, and us, out at 10 p.m. Halloween night, on RSUTV, Channel 35.

HEATHER LANGENKAMP INTERVIEW

I first interviewed Heather Langenkamp about three decades ago, just as the film NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET was in the process of making her a horror-movie star. Now, Heather’s returning to her hometown of Tulsa to celebrate the 30th anniversary of that iconic spooker, and I’m proud to say that I’ve been asked along for the ride.
I’m scheduled to interview Heather on the afternoon of October 22, a Wednesday, for Philbrook Downtown’s special Halloween edition of its Art Recess series of arts-related events. We’re set to begin at 12:30, and it’s free and open to the public. Food Truck Wednesday will be going on outside the building, so there’ll be plenty of culinary choices to go along with the discussion.
With NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, Heather Langenkamp became a Scream Queen of the first rank. She remains one of the most articulate and engaging of that group, and I’m delighted to be speaking with her again.
Join us October 22 at Philbrook Downtown, 116 E.Brady Street in Tulsa. Nightmare_on_Elm_Street_poster_original

ED GALLOWAY’S TOTEM POLE PARK

image One of the hoariest of the cliches surrounding my profession is that writers should write about what they know. Thanks to my old Chelsea High School pal David Anderson, I’ve just been able to do that, and the resulting book, ED GALLOWAY’S TOTEM POLE PARK, is now available on Amazon.
As a kid growing up in Chelsea, Oklahoma, I visited the nearby Totem Pole Park several times, mostly with my family after church on Sunday. Mr. Galloway was still alive then, and I remember eating our picnic lunch on one of the concrete tables in the park and then going into the building where he had his hand-made fiddles on display and listening to him talk.
Of course, I had no way of knowing about the life he’d had before building, as a retiree, what we all referred to as the World’s Largest Totem Pole. That turned out to be one of the most fascinating things I got into while researching and writing this new book. Nathan Edward Galloway didn’t only build this enduring and unique tourist attraction; he also fought in one of the most overlooked wars in American history, and, later, became a longtime associate of the famous oilman and philanthropist Charles Page, who hired Mr. Galloway to teach manual arts to the orphaned and underprivileged kids at his Sand Springs Home.
I was also able to write about the sad years of the park, following Mr. Galloway’s death, before the family and a flurry of good folks began restoring it to its former glory. In fact, the very first story I ever wrote for the TULSA WORLD was about the Totem Pole and its then-current state of disrepair.
The curtain falls, time passes, and David Anderson and his wife, Patsy — another high school friend of mine — have returned to the area and become the Totem Pole Park directors, under the auspices of the Rogers County Historical Society. With tourists coming through every day from all over the world, detouring about four miles off Route 66 to take it all in, the Andersons thought it might be nice to have a book available to park visitors, and that’s where I came in.
At just over 82 pages, it’s no WAR AND PEACE, but it’s a wonderful story and I’m glad to be the one picked to tell it. It also sells for under 10 bucks. Check it out on Amazon or, better yet, drop by the park, a few miles east of the Mother Road on Oklahoma 28A, just outside of Foyil. And tell ‘em Wooley sent you.

ROSE STATE SHORT COURSE ON WRITING

I’m proud to call Bill Bernhardt a friend, and not just because he’s a New York Times bestselling author who’s entertained hundreds of thousands of people with his Ben Kincaid novels and other work. It’s also because he’s been so consistently kind to me and what I laughingly refer to as my career over our many years of friendship.
Back in 1999, when Bill decided to start his own imprint, HAWK Publishing Group, he chose to reprint the debut novel from Ron Wolfe and me, OLD FEARS, as one of the first three books that launched the company. Over the next decade or so, HAWK published a ton of my stuff and bought a lot of groceries for my family.
In 2009, Bill dedicated his novel NEMESIS: THE FINAL CASE OF ELIOT NESS to me. (I was able to reciprocate by dedicating my 2011 bio, WES CRAVEN: THE MAN AND HIS NIGHTMARES, to Bill.)
And now, he’s designated me Oklahoma Author of the Year. To paraphrase a good old line from radio writer Goodman Ace, I don’t deserve it — but then again, I’ve got diverticulitis, and I don’t deserve that, either.
The award is a small part of the latest Rose State College Short Course on Writing, set for Sept. 19-21 at the Rose State College campus in Midwest City, OK. Bill’s the man behind it all, and he and I will be joined by about 30 more writers, editors, agents, and other publishing-industry figures, including Guest of Honor Jacqueline Mitchard, whose DEEP END OF THE OCEAN was the very first Oprah Book Club selection.
Those who’d like more information on the course can find what they need at www.rose.edu/shortcourse. I’ve been privileged to speak at several of these events, and I can tell you that Bill and his faculty deliver the stuff that writers need to know. I’ll even try to make my own little contribution, based on my 35 years in the writing game.
If you’re interested in writing, I hope to see you there.
And, seriously Bill — thanks.

ALLEY OOP

Once again, Jack and Carole Bender, my good friends who write and draw the daily Alley Oop comic strip, are using a plot synopsis of mine. Of course, I couldn’t be happier nor more grateful.
This time around, I’m especially delighted because I got to work in one of my favorite milieus: 1940’s Poverty Row Hollywood. And the Benders indulged me enough to let me slip in a number of references to my all-time favorite pulp-magazine detective, Dan Turner. In fact, this story could almost be considered a Dan Turner-Alley Oop team-up (even if the Hollywood detective in the strip is named, ahem, Bob Leslie.)
Pulp fans will spot other references to Dan Turner’s world in this current Oop adventure — now playing in hundreds and hundreds of newspapers, as well as at gocomics.com on the Internet — and fans of the classic Tulsa Sound will catch a couple of surnames that are affectionate nods to two of the greatest rock ’n’ roll drummers to ever come out of that town.
At this writing, the adventure’s been going on for a couple of weeks, and there’s lots of story to go. At gocomics.com, you can navigate back to the beginning, if you so choose, and read the strips sequentially until you catch up.
Again, big thanks to the Benders for bringing me aboard on this one, and thanks to you for checking it out!image

HIDDEN SIXTIES SUMMER SPECIAL

It’s taken half a year, but there’s a new Hidden Sixties special coming your way from Public Radio Tulsa this July 4th.
Featuring songs that you may not have heard since the 1960s, if you’ve heard them at all, the Hidden Sixties Summer Special follows — albeit very slowly — on the heels of the Hidden Sixties Holiday Special, which aired during the 2013 Yuletide season.  Once again, Scott Gregory (host of Public Radio Tulsa’s All This Jazz) and John Wooley (host of the same station’s Swing on This) combine to present an hour of ‘60s rock, jazz, and pop for which the adjectives “obscure” and “underplayed” may be too mild.
We’ve got sitars. We’ve got starlets. We’ve even got a senator. And we’ve got some star-spangled flag wavers in honor of our air date on the Fourth of July.
So, if you’re going to be around a radio or computer on Independence Day between eight and nine p.m., Tulsa time, and you’re an adventurous listener, may I humbly suggest you tune in? In the Tulsa area, we’re at 89.5 on the FM dial. Every place else in the known universe, we can be accessed absolutely free atpublicradiotulsa.org on the World Wide Web.

WINDY CITY PULP AND PAPERBACK CONVENTION

I hope to see a few like-minded fans of good old escapist literature in Chicago at the Windy City Pulp and Paperback Convention, which runs from April 25th through the 27th. It’s a terrific convention full of, well, people who read, and tons of great reading material for sale, along with art (both for sale and on exhibit) and a film room run by Blood and Thunder publisher Ed Hulse who stocks it with pulp-related movies, many of them wonderfully obscure. (A year or two ago, for instance, I took in PRC’s Lady in the Death House there; an hour and change well-spent.)

On Saturday, Windy City’s head mukluk, Doug Ellis, has me moderating a panel on the legendary Black Mask pulp that features pulp scholars and writers like Robert Weinberg, Digges LaTouche, and the aforementioned Ed Hulse. Like Minnie Pearl used to say, I’m just proud to be there.

Plus, I’ll have a few copies of Hard Boiled Christmas Stories, now headed for a third printing, that I’ll be happy to part with for the cover price of 15 frogskins, in the autographed or rare un-autographed versions. Get ‘em while they last.

Vinyl Brunch

Vinyl    Sunday, March 30, I’ll be joining my dj son Steven for the Vinyl Brunch, an event put on by the Tulsa Vinyl Society at the Chimera Cafe, 212 N. Main Street in Tulsa. As the guest dj that day, he’ll be spinning “electronic to Americana,” he says, during his time at the turntables. Steven is scheduled to start at noon and go until four p.m.; somewhere in there, probably around 2 p.m., I’ll wag in a stack of LPs and inflict about an hour’s worth of my favorite tracks on the crowd.
    No western swing this time around — tune into my show Swing on This every Saturday at 7 p.m. on Public Radio Tulsa 89.5 FM or www.kwgs.org for that — but lots of ’60s and early stuff, from Moby Grape to the Midnight String Quartet, Lola Albright to the Kinks, Michael Nesmith to 101 Strings. It’ll all be pretty mellow, and probably a little odd — not unlike the Hidden Sixties Holiday Special Scott Gregory and I did last December on the abovementioned Public Radio Tulsa, only with a little more organ music.
    I’m sure I’ll be whatever the opposite of too hip for the room is, but I’m happy to be doing it anyway, especially in what Steven describes as a very laid-back atmosphere at a venue that serves excellent food and drink. So join my younger son and me and a roomful of other vinyl lovers as we share our stacks of licorice pizzas. I think we’re going to have some fun.

JOEY JUMPS IN

A confession: I’ve needed help for a long time. Anyone could see it — anyone, that is, who exposed him- or herself to my pitiful efforts at maintaining a website, blogging, tweeting, navigating Facebook (never mind actually responding to questions and comments), and generally becoming even a tiny part of the whole social media scene. I’ve been about as hip to the blogosphere as your average Belle Epoque Apache. (Go ahead, kids, look it up. It’s easy with Google. I’ll wait.)
At the same time, a whole slew of far more savvy people were telling me that I needed to have some sort of internet presence in this day and age if I wanted to continue selling books, which I’ve long seen as a keen idea, although it’s usually worked better for me in theory than in practice.
Time was, you wrote something, you or your agent tried to get a publisher to bite on it, and then you got a check for an advance against your royalties and, if you were lucky, earned back those royalties and continued to get a little mailbox money now and again. As much as I’d like it to still be that way, it’s not, and I finally realized I’d better just suck it up and join the 21st Century.
But how was I going to do that? Hopelessly clueless, I realized I’d have to turn it over to someone I trusted, someone who knew what I (along with what I laughingly refer to as my career) was all about, someone whose own work I admired.
So let me introduce to you my new social media director, Joey Hambrick.
I’ve known Joey for almost two decades now, and in fact, I may have been partially responsible for his interest in filmmaking by showing him the shot-in-Tulsa feature Vigilante Blood during his formative years. He and my son Jonathan went on to do several projects together, notably the Witch Cop shorts, which took top honors in the first VCI Entertainment Short Film Contest, fantasy category, and second place at the Oklahoma State University Reel Film Festival.  On his own, Joey’s done some pretty outstanding music-video work and continues to explore motion-picture opportunities.
He and I also delight in visiting together the twilight world of ultra-obscure movies and forgotten B-pictures, which of course makes him perfect for this particular gig.
As of this writing, Joey is running all my social media — Facebook, Twitter, this website, the Reverse Karma Press website, etc. He’s also producing the Forgotten Horrors podcast, which Michael H. Price and I do on a regular basis. And he’s managing to navigate me into at least a rudimentary understanding of what the hell’s going on out there on the Web, which is a little like teaching a chimp to tie-dye.
So if you get a tweet or some other response from me, and it’s in the third person, please don’t think I’ve gone around the bend. (As the old saw goes, referring to yourself in the third person is a sure sign of insanity.) Just know that Joey Hambrick’s on the job.
I couldn’t ask for anyone better