Tag Archives: The Digest Enthusiast

Art Taylor’s “Blue Plate Special”

barrelhouse10_500Crime fiction writer Art Taylor’s stories have appeared in quite a number of digest magazines. Foremost, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, but he also made his way into the special Crime issue of lit mag Barrelhouse, issue 10 in 2011, with an unsettling “Blue Plate Special.”

Read our extensive interview with award-winning author Art Taylor in The Digest Enthusiast book four.

The Grift that Keeps on Giving

grift_2One of the original crime fiction digests out of the early digital age of POD was Grift Magazine. The creative vision of John Kenyon, Grift Magazine has appeared twice. The first in April 2012, the second in July 2013. It’s been a long haul for No. 3, but as recently as August 2015, Kenyon posted on his Facebook page, “Life gets in the way sometimes, but it will be worth the wait.”

I interviewed John in mid-2016 for fourth The Digest Enthusiast and asked him about the origins of Grift.

“I started Grift because at the time there were few print venues for crime fiction. Plenty of online outlets, but the opportunities to publish in print were lacking, I thought. At the same time, the sensibilities of the publications that did exist—both in print and online—seemed at odds with what I and others I knew liked to read and write. While it seemed as if other publications leaned toward the ultra-violent, I wanted something more cerebral. No less hard-hitting, but just with less gore. I also wanted to offer a forum for nonfiction work, independent scholarship that would help to expand readers’ understanding of the genre.”

The first two editions of Grift Magazine are outstanding. While we’re waiting for the third, the originals are available thanks to the magic of POD at Lulu.com.

Project Updates

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Pulp Modern Vol. 2 No. 1
Production is crackling like Arizona lightning. The return of Pulp Modern launches next month with a brand new 132-page edition featuring 14 stories, Print and Digital. The latest: our pal, cartoonist Bob Vojtko has signed on to provide a few moments of mirth amid the gloriously dark dreams of the authors lined up by editor Alec Cizak.

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The Digest Enthusiast Book Six
You got it, things are pealing along here as well. B.K. Stevens, whose standalones and series have graced the pages of Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine for over twenty years, promises to enlighten us with her inside stories on Lt. Johnson and Sgt. Bolt, Iphegenia and Harriet, Leah Abrams, and more. It’s happening in June, in Print and Digital, so mark your calendar, diary, or palm.

Raymond F. Jones’ “The Alien”

gn6This excerpt from Steve Carper’s “The Galaxy Science Fiction Novels” from TDE4 covers Galaxy Novel #6 (1951), The Alien by Raymond F. Jones:

“The alien of the title of Jones’ book is found buried deep in an asteroid, the remains of a planet that exploded 500,000 years ago, creating the asteroid belt. That impossible cosmology is par for
 the book, which has its archaeologist heroes battle the weaponized brain of the alien by hopping into a convenient-but-never-before-mentioned faster-than-light starship and zooming to another planet to bring back the only weapon in the universe that can defeat him.”

Steve’s TDE article focuses on the first 35 Novels published by Galaxy. Surprisingly, the final 11 were published by sleaze house Beacon. For the story on those, see his follow-up piece in the current issue of Paperback Parade (#97) from Gryphon Books.

Gary Lovisi’s Vic Powers

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The Digest Enthusiast #4

The world of Gary Lovisi’s Vic Powers is hardboiled, violent, and unrelenting. Powers metes out justice on his own twisted terms. Kicked off the force for excessive brutality, whatever controls were holding him back were cleanly severed. Now he’s free to track, hunt, and convict any lowlife foolish enough to become his target.

Power’s adventure “A Rat Must Chew” appears in TDE4. Here’s the opening paragraph:

“Jimmy Dongen was a Staten Island wiseguy with his dirty hands into more dirty crap than even he could keep track of. Anything and everything to make a buck and not just gambling and other soft vices, but nasty stuff like teenage hookers, drug dealing in schools, selling guns to kiddie gangs. The guys under Jimmy saw him as a greedy fuck, the guys over him saw him as a greedy fuck who brought in
the cash. He was a good earner so they all put up with Jimmy Dongen while he tried his best to smart-ass double-cross them all when they weren’t looking. He figured he’d end up with everything he ever wanted. I don’t think he even knew all of what he wanted—he just wanted.”

Gary Lovisi is an author, also a bookseller and collector who writes about collect- able paperbacks. Under his Gryphon Books imprint, he publishes Paperback Parade, the world’s leading magazine on collectable paperbacks of all kinds. You can find out more about him and his work at his website Gryphon Books

Art Taylor’s “A Voice from the Past”

Speaking about real life events, Art Taylor shared a few memorable incidents drawn upon for his stories like the one that appears in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine August 2009:

AT: “A Voice from the Past” centers on some hazing incidents very similar to the rat system at the boarding school I attended. All those* are pretty heavily fictionalized beyond those core elements, of course, but building from that foundation has helped to fuel the imagination.

*Art mentions several others in his full interview that appears in The Digest Enthusiast book four.

The origins of Pulp Literature magazine

Pulp Literature #10

Why start a magazine? I asked Jennifer Landels, one of the founders of Pulp Literature, what she and her co-editors set out to accomplish:

“We felt there was a gap in the market for well-written multi-genre stories. Literary magazines tend to ignore genre fiction, and other fiction platforms tend to be narrowly genre-specific. We wanted to create a smorgasbord where all genres are welcome, and the only criteria are good writing and good storytelling.”

Pulp Literature #14 is coming soon.

The above excerpt, from “Digital Digest Magazines” interviews with the editors, appears in TDE4.

The Digest Enthusiast #6 progress report

The sixth edition of The Digest Enthusiast is coming along very well. I’ll focus first on the content on-hand and then get into things in development or planned. Peter Enfantino has turned in one article on Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and another on my favorite digest, Manhunt. Despite being buried with work on his robot book, Steve Carper managed to write a piece about an old self-published digest crica 1941. Tom Brinkmann returns with gusto with an article on Sharon Tate. I’m deep into a piece on International Science Fiction, a title suggested by Tore Stokka.

In the fiction arena, we have “Atomic Fuel” by Alex Cizak with art by Brad Foster, “The Eihkarrad Talisman” by Joe Wehrle, Jr. and the second episode of Lesann Berry’s Alternate History Archive is planned.

D. Blake Werts has an interview with a SF writer in development and I’m lining up one with a crime writer. Joe Wehrle, Jr. has an article in progress, plus we’ll have a few reviews including one on another set of digest magazine trading cards. I’m hoping Bob Vojtko will have time to give us another page of his wonderful gag cartoons. We’re on schedule for a June release in print and digital versions for Kindle and Magzter.

Art Taylor’s first story for EQMM

EQMM Dec. 1995

“My first paid publication, however, was my first story in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine—“Murder on the Orient Express” (December 1995)—a story that wasn’t originally intended as a mystery at all. Instead, it focusses on a couple honeymooning aboard the Orient Express and fumbling along a little from mishap to mishap, while the husband builds stories in his mind about the other passengers—all of it imaginary, fueled by the spirit of Christie’s novel of the same name. The story is about that imagination and how imagination suddenly helps the new marriage click, and— spoiler alert—ultimately there’s no real crime in the story at all.”

Excerpt from the 14-page interview with Art Taylor in The Digest Enthusiast book four.

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Feed the Beast by Lesann Berry

The last remnants of comfort slid off Kiefer, leaving him exposed and naked, fearful.

The Digest Enthusiast’s mission is to explore the world of digest magazines—past and present. First, we’re making a record of this corner of publishing history. Second, we want to generate interest for current newsstand digests like Nostalgia Digest, EQMM, Fate, AHMM, F&SF, Analog and Asimov’s—and those today’s technology makes possible like Weirdbook, Paperback Parade, Betty Fedora, Pulp Literature, Crime Syndicate, Morpheus Tales, etc.

We’re celebrating short genre fiction, and balancing each edition with coverage of non-fiction titles like Beyond and Borderline, plus a few original fiction stories of our own. Most of the feedback supports this approach, but some digest enthusiasts see our fiction pages displacing other features. I appreciate that perspective, but I think the variety helps make the total package better. James Reasoner summed it up precisely in his review of TDE2 on Rough Edges: “Rounding out the issue, appropriately enough, are four short stories by Joe Wehrle Jr., D.D. Ploog, Richard Krauss, and John M. Kuharik. These are excellent crime and fantasy yarns.” AirShip 27 publisher Ron Fortier wrote on Pulp Fiction Reviews: “…[TDE] features a wonderful balance of articles, interviews and short fiction.”

The Digest Enthusiast book five includes three short stories by Lesann Berry, Richard L. Kellogg and Joe Wehrle, Jr. Lesann’s is the first episode of her Alternate History Archive, “Feed the Beast.” Here’s the opening:

“Kiefer turned his back but the cops kept talking. Shoulders hunched down, he shuffled away. He hated pity. The last thing he wanted to deal with right now was some yahoo’s good intentions. The bottle in his pocket victimized him enough. Blinking, he counted off three breaths before scanning the alley entrance.

“Empty.

“Relief flooded through him. Sometimes the creatures skulked in the shadows, watching and wait- ing. On occasion the thing stared directly at him, snapped its pointed teeth like a rabid dog. Every so often he believed they might even be real.”

And let’s not forget the great artwork that accompanies the fiction. Three beautiful pieces from Michael Neno, Brian Buniak and Joe Wehrle, Jr. Shown here are the pencils for Michael’s finished piece that appears in the issue.

TDE5 is available in print, Kindle and Magzter.