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Art Taylor on the fallout from relationships


EQMM Nov 2014 with Art Taylor’s “The Odds Are Against Us”

An excerpt from Art Taylor’s interview in The Digest Enthusiast #4 in June 2016.

TDE: Most of your stories explore relationships, reactions and decisions that characters have to live with. What appeals to you about this approach?

AT: Basically, I think those themes are just at the core of my own interests and obsessions. A fellow writer, E.A. Aymar, pointed out to me—nicely—that I wasn’t very good at branding my work, since my stories were all over the place in terms of subgenre and tone and whatever: noir here, cozy there; traditional structure here, something more experimental there; etc. And I’m certain that readers who have enjoyed some of my darker stories might well be bewildered by some of the lighter comedy of On the Road with Del & Louise. But to me, so many of these stories come down to the same elements: the responsibilities inherent in being in a relationship; the times when that relationship is tested; the decision to respect or betray the relationship; the fallout from that decision. Whatever the circumstances or situation that might drive that central storyline, and whatever the various combinations of choices and consequences that might result, those questions and that theme are what I return to time and time again.

Larque Press: Coming and Goings

tde6cover_500A few acknowledgements at the half-way mark of 2017:

• Several new contributors are joining us in The Digest Enthusiast book seven: Marc Myers, Vince Nowell, Sr., Josh Pachter, and Robert Snashall. Still lots to do, but most of the content for the next 152-page issue has been scheduled.

* A redo of the Larque Press website is in progress, but an interim update was posted yesterday to add our latest books: Pulp Modern Vol. 2 No. 1 and The Digest Enthusiast book six.

• Hat tip to crime fiction writer Michael Bracken for his post about book six and connecting us with Josh Pachter.

cover500• Thanks to Jeff Canja for including TDE in his upcoming Modern Age Books catalog. If you’re looking for a terrific source for collectable paperbacks and magazines send him an email and request a catalog.

• Hat tip to Todd Mason for including our recent reviews of Suspense Novels on Sweet Freedom’s Friday’s “Forgotten” Books list.

Pulp Modern editor Alec Cizak has a story in the new issue of Massacre Magazine.

• And don’t miss Bill Thom’s weekly Pulp Coming Attractions, the web’s best source for news on pulp fiction.


Found on eBay recently

Description and photos from the listing follow:

What we have up for bid today is a great old magazine with some terrific reading ahead of you. You won’t see a copy of this in a long time so don’t wait for somebody else grabs it. I admit I’m no professional dealer, so make no attempt to rate condition like I am. Your the judge anyway. The photos tell you everything you need to know, which is plenty for any item as old as this thing. Just so we’re clear, I am not responsible for your happyness. You are.

I’m no professional photographer either, but do the best I can, I’d say better than most too. I took these pictures myself with my wife’s phone camera. I didn’t even know it had a camera until I started poking around. Flash too. Pretty cool, you have to admit.

All my books come with dryer sheets. They make any book smell brand new. Some folks don’t like it. Too bad, that’s the way I do it. I’ve been at this a long time too. It gets rid of that musty smell that all old books get. That’s just the way things work.

I don’t live near the post office, so I ship once a week when I go to town. Wait at least two weeks before you send questions about your ordered. One week is for me to get to the post office and the other is for the post office to get it to you. If it hasn’t shown up in two weeks, it’s okay to let me know but you should probably give it another week so be sure. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

I send all books in a envelope for protection for handling by the post office. If your book arrives damaged, that’s not me, that’s the post office. Any problems you have, contact the post office. Once I turn it over, it’s out of my hands.

If you like what you have here, take a look at my other items you could buy from me. I found a bunch of boxes hid behind the water heater on Sunday so there is alot more is coming as soon as I find time to get it all listed. Keep checking, I’ll get there. You can count on it.


Hat Tip Time

Online ad on Black Gate

“Thank you” to all the folks who have purchased The Digest Enthusiast book five. And thanks also to all those who have helped spread the word about it through your support:

Mike Chomko Books
DreamHaven Books

Bill Thom’s Pulp Coming Attractions
John O’Neill Black Gate
Bill Crider’s Pop Culture Machine
James Reasoner’s Rough Edges
J. Kingston Pierce’s Killer Covers

Amazon Reviewers
Steve Alcorn

Social Media Likers and Sharers
David J. Bell
Lesann Berry
Ben Boulden
David Brinkmann
Mary Burgess
Pat Capasso
Don Coffin
Steve Cooper
Rick Drofdarb
Peter Enfantino
Brad W. Foster
Tim Goebel
Jeff Harper
Javier Hernandez
Troy Hickman
Daniel Higgins
Tom Johnson
George A. Lane III
Robert Lopresti
Jim Main
Kurt Martin
Marc Miyake
Mary Neno
Michael Neno
Keith O’Brien
Chet Jasper Reams
Lori-Ann Reif
Jack Seabrook
Kipp Poe Speicher
Art Taylor
Dan Taylor
Bill Thom
Bill Widener
Edd Vick
Bob Vojtko

Sorry if I missed anyone! Book Six is in development with a target release planned for June 2017!



A Man Named Thin

Mercury Mystery #233

Published a year after Dashiell Hammett’s death, the final digest magazine collection of his short stories, Mercury Mystery #233, appeared on newsstands in Feb. 1962. The lead story, “A Man Named Thin,” was also the title of the collection. It’s protagonist is Robin Thin, not Nick Charles, and predates all of Hammett’s more famous characters. Ellery Queen (Frederick Dannay) explains in his introduction:

“We do not know when Dashiell Hammett wrote the story we have titled “A Man Named Thin” (the author’s original title was a curious one, “The Figure of Incongruity”). From internal evidence it seems probable that Hammett wrote the story in the mid-1920s—in the formative years before The Maltese Falcon; and if this is true, the story foreshadows much of Hammett’s mature talent, especially his originality of characterization and plot.”

The magazine that originally bought the story went out of business before it saw print. It languished among the assets subsequently purchased by a romance magazine until Dannay caught wind of it in 1945. He bought it in 1946, yet “for reasons too complicated to explain” in his introduction, the story didn’t see print until the March 1951 issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine.

Here’s the opening paragraph:

“Papa was, though I may be deemed an undutiful son for saying it, in an abominable mood. His chin protruded across his desk at me in a fashion that almost justified the epithet of brutal which had once been applied to it by an unfriendly journalist; and his mustache seemed to bristle with choler of its own, though this was merely the impression I received. It would be preposterous to assume actual change in the mustache which, whatever Papa’s humor, was always somewhat irregularly salient.”

Paperback Parade #96

Paperback Parade #96

The first new issue of Paperback Parade arrived on New Year’s Eve to help celebrate the beginning of 2017. Contents below:

“Paperback Talk” by Gary Lovisi
“James Meese” by Gary Lovisi
“Matchless Paperbacks” by Richard Greene
“1950’s British Tarzans” by Philip Harbottle
“Gil Cohen Paintings for Sale”
“The Mysteries of Roy Huggins” by Tom Cantrell
“Roy Huggins Paperback Bibliography” by Tom Cantrell
“Kousoulas & Kevin” by Don Z. Block
“Jay Suspense Books” by Wally Green
“Europa Books” by Gary Lovisi
“2016 UK Paperback & Pulp Book Fair” by David Hyman

Editor: Gary Lovisi
Designer: Richard Greene
5.5” x 8.5” 100 pages, full color throughout
$15 + postage for a single issue
$40 for three-issue subscription
Gryphon Books

Serial defender: Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine

Shanks on Crime by Robert Lopresti

Shanks on Crime by Robert Lopresti

Reticent sleuth, Leopold Longshanks, is the creation of Washington State’s author Robert Lopresti. Mysteries have a way of finding Shanks, and he has a way of solving them. Here’s the opening from “Shanks on Misdirection” that originally appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine (Jul/Aug 2009) and reappeared in the Shanks On Crime anthology:

“Just look at him,” muttered Leopold Longshanks. “I can’t believe he had the gall to show up.”

Shanks is approaching a dozen appearances in AHMM, outdistancing Lopresti’s other series characters Marty Crow and Uncle Victor. His recent novel, Greenfellas was published by Oak Tree Press in 2015.

Joe Wehrle Jr. Covers The Digest Enthusiast

TDE Book One

TDE Book One

I first noticed Joe Wehrle, Jr.’s (pronounced “Wer-lee”) work when he self-published his landmark Cauliflower Catnip BLB in 1981, and I’ve been a fan ever since. Years later, Joe offered his support to The Digest Enthusiast, contributing covers and interior art, articles and his original fiction. Recently, I spoke to him about his work on the covers.

Richard Krauss: Joe, you’ve created three terrific covers for TDE to date. What was your inspiration for each?

Joe Wehrle, Jr.: In the first instance, I thought that for a new magazine, and particularly one devoted to older publications, a traditional science fiction cover might catch the eye. A lot of those old magazine covers dealt with battles between humans and alien creatures, and I’ve always been attracted by the idea of people riding sea creatures like horses. I found a likely seahorse photo in a natural history magazine, and the frog-like thing just came out of my head.

TDE Book Two

TDE Book Two

For the second cover, I wanted to do something that might have found a home with Weird Tales. And I wanted to suggest a sort of alliance between the girl and the wolf creature, standing together against the dangers of the forest. That’s why I didn’t do them close-up. Neither character is entirely photographically realistic, and I had a few misgivings about that, as I don’t normally exaggerate familiar forms unless I’m doing cartooning. But I have a project in mind that might best be realized by employing a Boris Dolgov kind of style, and that’s certainly more extreme than what I did in this case.

[For TDE3] I thought it was time to do a mystery-fiction cover.  Maybe something that suggested menace. The girl is alone on the street as twilight approaches. Then she turns and sees…who? If it’s a threat, there’s no one around to see. I thought of putting a .38 in the hand, but there’s so much gun violence in the real world. I didn’t want to suggest that this girl was immediately going to be shot down in cold blood. Draw your own conclusion: a threat, a warning, or just recognition in the light of a match. No particular symbolism was intended.

TDE Book Three

TDE Book Three

RK: What about technique? The majority of your work is B&W. What adjustments or new challenges did you encounter working in color?

JW: I’m probably answering this in a roundabout way, but- whether you’re working realistically in black and white or color, you have undertaken to do an actual job, a piece of work. It may or may not be a difficult job, depending upon your own ability and the nature of the piece you’re going to do. But, in any case, you have to trot out everything you know about composition, anatomy and perspective, as well as everything you’ve learned from past experience. Color is just one more element to add to the confusion.

When I was in college, the thinking of many of the art professors seemed to be that, since we now had cameras, illustrative art was passé and we shouldn’t be attempting it, especially anything of a storytelling or sentimental nature. I believe that has somewhat turned around since then. If you’re a born master of light and shadow like Rembrandt, you shouldn’t be expected to spend your life painting like Willem de Kooning or Jackson Pollock—unless that’s what you choose to do, of course.

Having done so little color work during the past forty-five years, I’m just kind of working from the gut, following my sense of how to proceed each time, and of how the finish ought to look. If I’ve learned anything through the years, it’s how to be selective. “No, that’s not what I wanted—let’s try it this way.” There are principles you learn from your reading, of course, like working a tiny bit of the major color into everything makes the whole more homogeneous, but there’s no substitute for just doing a lot of it, and I’m starting to feel solid ground under my feet. My egotistical old watercolor professor was more inclined toward realism than some of the others (he actually studied under Grant Wood), and he used to say the first thousand watercolors were the hardest. The hope, of course, is that we never stop learning.

RK: What size are the originals and tell us about the media you used for these three works.

JW: I have been painting these covers very small, 7 x 10 or 8 x 11, for two reasons. I work rather slowly, and it would take much longer to detail a large painting. But another important consideration is that to email the art, (especially important if I’m making last-minute changes at publication time), the cover has to fit into my scanner.

All three covers have been painted with watercolor on Strathmore 500 Bristol over detailed graphite pencil drawings, and I mostly use a Winsor and Newton series 7 finest sable brush from England. I have some good quality watercolor paper, but it has a pebbly surface, making it difficult to work on small features. In the second cover, the girl’s head is only half an inch high! I try to do my most careful work on these, so that, small as they  are, they don’t just look like rough color sketches.

RK: Thank you for sharing a bit of your creative process with us, Joe. All of your contributions make TDE better and your covers set a high standard for the content inside.

With my penchant for digest magazine trading cards I couldn’t resist the tug of today’s affordable printing options and produced a set of TDE trading cards. They’re available free to anyone who joins our mailing list. Sign-up at the Larque Press website.

TDE Trading Cards

TDE Trading Cards