Tag

Michael Bracken

Browsing

Pulp Adventures No. 27

“My Sister’s Husband” by Michael Bracken

One of the stories I read to prepare for the interview with Michael Bracken that appears in The Digest Enthusiast No. 8 was “My Sister’s Husband.”

Although I didn’t ask a question about this particular story, it’s worth seeking out a copy of Pulp Adventures No. 27 to read it.

Synopsis
Tina lost touch with her sister’s husband, Gerald, after Cheryl died many years ago. After a chance meeting in a restaurant, the two become reacquainted and begin dating. On the surface the relationship builds smoothly, but underneath each questions what’s happening to them and their true feelings.

Pulp Adventures No. 27 Fall 2017
Contents Page
Audrey Parente: Editorial
Adam McFarland “Angels and Animals”
William Hope Hodgson “Jack Grey, Second Mate”
Dana Edward Johnson “The Green Mask”
Howard Hammerman “Not What I Ordered”
William Dudley Pelley “A Case at Law”
Max Brand “Hole-in-the-Wall Barrett”
Audrey Parente interviews Gary Bullock, Journeyman Actor
May Belleville Brown “A Repeating Romeo”
Michael Bracken “My Sister’s Husband”
Richard Brister “Sneak Thief”
Raymond J. Brown “Thirty Days on the Island”
H. Bedford-Jones “Irregular Brethern”

Publisher: Rich Harvey
Editor: Audrey Parente
Cover: Norman Saunders
7” x 10” 134 pages
Print $12.95
Bold Venture Press website

Alfred Hitchcock June 2016

Alfred Hitchcock June 2016

An excerpt from Michael Bracken’s interview in The Digest Enthusiast No. 8, June 2018:

The Digest Enthusiast: “Chase Your Dreams,” from AHMM (June 2016), is a great example of a story that evokes an emotional response. What prompts you to include social commentary in a story? Do themes emerge while writing, or are they part of the initial planning process?

Michael Bracken: I rarely start with a theme and never intentionally include social commentary because to do so runs the risk of turning a story into a sermon or, worse, a polemic.

When I let characters react to situations I put them in, sometimes themes emerge that represent beliefs different than my own, and it’s important to let the story be the story and not have a theme forced onto it that fits my beliefs. (Think about all the great noir movies ruined by nonsensical happy endings because movie makers didn’t think audiences would tolerate themes like “life sucks and then you die.”)

“Chase Your Dreams” presents a strong example of what happens when you build characters from the inside out. The protagonist is a closeted gay man in small-town Texas and his clandestine lover,a man who is out and proud of it, disappears. The protagonist is torn between searching for his lover and the realization that by doing so he will out himself. The theme emerges from the actions the protagonist takes and how the other characters react to those actions.

Alfred Hitchcock June 2016
Contents Page
Linda Landrigan’s Editor’s Notes: It Takes a Village
The Lineup
Michael Bracken “Chase Your Dreams”
Sarah Weinman “Death of a Feminist” art by Tim Foley
Willie Rose: The Mysterious Cipher (solution on page 93)
Martin Limón “The King of K-Pop”
Arlene Fisher: Dying Words acrostic puzzle
Janice Law “A Taste of Murder” art by Linda Weatherly
Mysterious Photograph: Words Taking Flight
Brendan DuBois “A Battlefield Reunion”
Erica Wright “Patsy Cline at Harry’s Last Chance Saloon” art by Ally Hodges
Ruth Chessman “Poor Sherm” (Mystery Classic selected and introduced by Jane K. Cleland)
Robert C. Hahn: Booked & Printed
Death On a Starry Night by Betsy Draine and Michael Hinden
Capitol Punishment by Andrew Welsh-Huggins
The Day After Death by Lynn C. Miller
The Story that Won (Dec. 2015) “A Better Plan” by Charles R. McCrary, Jr.
Coming in AHMM Jul/Aug 2016
Directory of Services/Indicia
Solution to the May “Dying Words”
Classified Marketplace

Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine Vol. 61 No. 6 June 2016
Publisher: Peter Kanter
Editor: Linda Landrigan
Senior Assistant Editor: Jackie Sherbow
VP Art & Production: Susan Mangan
Senior AD: Victoria Green
Cover: Chuntisel/iStockphoto
112 pages $4.99
Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine website

Black Cat Mystery Magazine No. 5

Black Cat Mystery Magazine No. 5

Contents Page
John Gregory Betancourt: From the Cat’s Perch
Michael Bracken “The Show Must Go On”
Dara Carr “Emily and Elodie”
Tracy Falenwolfe “Partners in Crime”
John M. Floyd “Rhonda and Clyde”
Charlie Hughes “The Idea”
Janice Law “The Bodyguard”
Dennis Palumbo “Trigger Warning”
Keith Snyder “Blue Skies”
Elizabeth Zelvin “A Unicorn in the Harem”
Gil Brewer “Don’t Do That” (Classic Reprint)

Black Cat Mystery Magazine No. 5 (Vol. 2 No. 1) (Nov. 2019)
Publisher: Wildside Press LLC
Editors: John Gregory Betancourt, Carla Coupe, Michael Bracken
Production Team: Sam Cooper, Steve Coupe, Shawn Garrett, Yamini Manikoth
Cover: Uncredited
6” x 9” 148 pages
Print $12.00 Kindle (coming soon)
Black Cat Mystery website

Out of the Gutter No. 2

Out of the Gutter No. 2

The Modern Journal of Pulp Fiction and Degenerate Literature
Endorsements
Title Page
Masthead and Indicia
Matthew Louis: From the Editor
Contents Pages

Flash
John McFetridge
“Plugged”
Albert Tucher “Tipping is Optional”
Christs Faust “Hit Me”
Stephen Rogers “Drive Thru”
Matt Wallace “Notes”
Keith Gilman “Bunker Hill”
r2 “Yellow Pellets”
Jacob Kohl “The One That Got Away”

Approximately 10 Minute Read Dept.
William Boyle
“Neighborhood Girl”
Michael Bracken “Professionals”
Paul A Toth “For All I Know”
J.D. Smith “The Flower Girl”
Rey A. Gonzales “Bad Luck
Clair Dickson “The Pleasure Business”
Grant McKenzie “White Volcano”
M.C. O’Connor “Tweaker”

Gangland
John Rickards
“Vengeance is Mine”
Ken Goldman “Fat Larry’s Night With the Alligators”
Mark Marquez “To Get to Uncle Johnny’s”
E.E. Howard “The Thug We Love”
The Classic American Gangster (comic)

15 to 20 Minute Read Dept.
Rick McMahan
“Out On the Razor’s Edge”
Steve Alten “Lost in Time”
William Carl “Rumble”
Julie Wright “Devil, Me and Cherry B”

Nonfiction
Edwin Decker: Guzzle and Go, Goddamnit
Seth Ferranti: Adventures of a Meth Monster
Dale Bridges: Hooked

Other
Mind of My Own
Li’l Dahmer
Submission Guidelines
Notes on Contributors

Out of the Gutter No. 2 Summer 2007
Chief Editor: Matthew Louis
Deputy Editors: DZ Allen, Dale Bridges, Hana K. Lee
Finance: Joel Huck
Associate Publisher: Hassan Brubuddy
Publicity: Barney Stims
European Editor: Offenbach Stutz
5.5” x 8.5” 200 pages Originally $13.50
Out of the Gutter Online

An excerpt from Michael Bracken’s interview in The Digest Enthusiast No. 8, June 2018:

The Digest Enthusiast: In “Professionals,” the narrator is a gay prostitute. In “My Sister’s Husband,” Pulp Adventures No. 27 (Fall 2017) the narrator is a middle-aged woman. How do you ensure your characters act and speak authentically, with respect to their gender, sexual orientation, race, etc.?

Michael Bracken: I’m never certain that they do, and can only hope that they come close enough that readers will accept any mistakes I make.

The key, though, is to build characters from the inside out rather than from the outside in. Regardless of our gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religious beliefs, and whatever else divides us, we share many commonalities. We want to love and be loved. We want to feel safe and free from fear. We want to be happy and healthy. We want to be appreciated by our families and respected by our peers. The list goes on and on.

If we build characters from the inside out, the characters will “speak” appropriately and more genuinely than if we build characters from the outside in and rely on stereotypes or presume that all women speak one way and all gay men speak another.

Additionally, I try to minimize the use of jargon. A police office will use terminology from her job differently than a doctor, which is different still from a barista. Only a word or two is necessary for the reader to catch those differences.

Crime Syndicate Magazine No. 2

Crime Syndicate Magazine No. 2

Crime Syndicate Magazine No. 2 May 2016
Dietrich Kalteis “Bottom of the Ninth”
Matt Andrew “The Song Remains the Same”
Mike O’Reilly “Fight in the Dog”
Preston Lang “The Counselor”
Michael Bracken “Sugar”
Stephen McQuiggan “Thunderstone”
J.M. Taylor “Secrets in the Snow”
Jinapher Hoffman “Jackpot Blue Thistles”
Nick Kolakowski “Stickup”

Edited by Dietrich Kalteis and Michael Pool
5” x 8” 142 pages
$7.99 Print, $2.99 Kindle
Crime Syndicate Magazine website

Ellery Queen Dec. 2007

Ellery Queen Dec. 2007

Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Dec. 2007 Vol. 130 No. 6 Whole No. 796
Contents
David Handler “The Man Who Couldn’t Miss” art by Laurie Harden
Edward D. Hoch “Gypsy Gold”
Jon L. Breen: The Jury Box
Patricia Smiley “Party’s Over”
Bill Crider: Blog Bytes
Jon L. Breen “A Run Through the Calendar”
Loren D. Estleman “Wild Walls” (Valentino) art by Mark Evan Walker
Caroline Menzies “The Bathtub Oracle” (Dept. of First Stories)
Peter Turnbull “The Mummy” art by Allen Davis
Marilyn Todd “Room for Improvement”
2007 EQMM Readers Award Ballot
Anton Chekhov “A Malefactor” (Passport to Crime) translated from the Russian by Constance Garnett
Martin Edwards “An Index”
Maria Hudgins “Murder on the London Eye”
Michael Bracken & Tom Sweeney “Snowbird” art by Mark Evans
Index: Vol. 129 and Vol. 130
Classified Marketplace
Indicia and Masthead

Publisher: Peter Kanter
Editor: Janet Hutchings
Editorial Assistant: Emily Giglierano
Excutive Director Art & Production: Susan Kendrioski
Senior AD: Victoria Green
Cover: Rafael de Soto

144 pages $3.99
Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine website

I asked Michael Bracken about what it was like to write with a partner on “Snowbird.” Below is an excerpt from his interview in The Digest Enthusiast No. 8, June 2018:

In the early-2000s I edited five anthologies, and Tom had a story in each of them. When I pitched an anthology of private eye stories to a regional publisher, the publisher was interested only if all the stories were set in Texas and the contributors were Texans/ Texas residents. The only way Tom, a New Englander, would get a story in the anthology was if he collaborated with someone in Texas. Me.

Tom’s writing style—that is, the way he uses words and structures sentences—is (or was then) similar to mine, but his approach to writing is quite different. Where I throw something on the page to start and then figure out where I’m going, he likes to start with the theme and build backwards from there.

So, we went back and forth, writing and discussing as we went. I would write a bit and turn it over to him. He would edit or revise what I wrote and add more. I would edit/ revise what he wrote and add to it. All the while we held email discus- sions on the side about where the story was going, what we needed to research to move forward, and so on. (We even roped in a third writer—Çarol Kilgore—to aid with some research. Part of the story is set on the Gulf Coast and Carol provided us with details neither of us could get otherwise.)

Writing the way we did, it’s quite difficult to know now who wrote which passages, but after several months we had a complete draft. Unfortunately, the regional publisher was no longer interested in doing the anthology.
It is true that collaborating means twice the work for half the money, but Tom and I created a story neither of us could have written alone, and it was the first sale either of us made to
EQMM. So, it was well worth the effort.

Opening Lines

Pulp Adventures No. 28 back cover

“Once people know you’ve taken your clothes off for money, they never treat you the same.”
“My Stripper Past” by Michael Bracken Pulp Adventures No. 28 Winter 2018

Michael Bracken’s “A Matter of Policy”

Mike Shayne Feb. 1985

Excerpt from Michael Bracken’s interview for The Digest Enthusiast No. 8:

TDE: Another Shayne story, “A Matter of Policy,” about a crooked claims adjuster, is tightly plot-ted, with elements that all come together by the story’s end. Are you a plotter or pantser? What’s your writing process today and how has it evolved over the years?

MB: I had to reread “A Matter of Policy” because I didn’t remember it, and I was pleasantly surprised how well the story holds up after all these years.

Alas, nothing in my notes reminds me how this story came together, so I’ll talk more generally about my process.

I am a combination plotter and pantser—a plantser, if you will. Many of my stories begin when I write an opening scene that introduces a character or characters and an inciting incident. Too often, that’s all I have. Then the story sits—sometimes a few days, but occasionally several years—before
I return to it. I may then plot the next few scenes or the entire balance of the story before continuing the writing. So, I often begin a story as a pantser and finish it as a plotter.

Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine Vol. 49 No. 2 Feb. 1985
Contents
Hal Blythe & Charles Sweet writing as Brett Halliday “The Quick and the Dead”
Mike Taylor “The ‘B’ Murders”
Stewart Street “Music Man”
Joseph A. Sekelsky “The Charm Bracelet”
Mel Washburn “Sweet Sister”
Alan Warren “Smithereens”
Michael Bracken “A Matter of Policy”
Richard Connolly’s Purloined Letter (art quiz)
Lane Marsh “A Delicate Situation”
John Ball’s Stiff Competition (book reviews)
Best By Mail (classifieds)

Publishers: Edward & Anita Goldstein
Editor: Charles E. Fritch
Art Director: Robin Schaffer
Founder: Leo Margulies
Cover: Pecoraro
5.25” x 7.75” 130 pages $1.75

Michael Bracken: Excerpt from the Interview

MSMM Oct. 1983

In his interview for The Digest Enthusiast No. 8, Michael Bracken gives us the background on one of his early stories:

“Vengeance to Show in the Third,” my first appearance in Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine (October 1983), was heavily influenced by reading a great many Dick Francis novels, and I was clearly trying to write an American Dick Francis story. At the time I wrote the story, I lived in southern Illinois, near a racetrack where I placed several losing bets, but I had a personal connection as well. My first wife grew up riding English and, through connections made in that environment, knew people who owned race horses, and she briefly worked as a groom.

In a way, that describes how I do a fair bit of my research: use personal connections. If I don’t have the necessary personal experience and I can’t find what I need with an Internet search, I reach out to friends and family. Additionally, other writers are a great resource, and I have tapped them for information about Catholicism, the odor of a fired handgun, and the like.

Weird Menace Vol. 2

Weird Menace Vol. 2

Contents
Mel Odom “The Spider-God of Nauru!”
Keith Chapman “Lust of the Cave Spirit”
Michael Bracken “Attack of the Nazi Snow Warriors”
Paul Dellinger “Ghost Writer”
John McCallum Swain “The Hades Mechanism”
Ray Lovato “Howl of the Werewolf”
About the Authors

Rough Edges Press
Editor: James Reasoner
Cover Design: Livia Reasoner
6” x 9” 178 pages
POD $9.99 Kindle $2.99