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The Digest Enthusiast

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Weird Menace Vol. 1

Weird Menace Vol. 1 coverMuch of my reading is in support of my series, The Digest Enthusiast—for articles, reviews, or interviews. When I take a break and pick up something purely for its own sake, I often turn to pulp fiction. For me, these stories are akin to comfort food, perhaps not entirely nutrition-rich, but delicious and satisfying all the same.

I’ve never actually read a shudder pulp, but I have to believe the stories in Weird Menace Vol. 1 from Rough Edges Press, are authentic. They’re set in right era and their creators are highly qualified to crank out new stories crafted in the rapid-fire, tension-packed style that inspired them.

I zeroed in on Vol. 2 because it contained a story by Michael Bracken that I wanted to read as prep for my interview with him for TDE8. But when I noticed Bill Crider had a story in Vol. 1, well, I had to have that one too. When I wrapped up design and production on TDE8, I was ready for a comfort read and sat down to read Bill’s story. I liked it so much, I decided to try another, and flew through the whole of volume one before I knew it.

Weird Menace Vol. 1 back coverWhat’s more, I’d be hard pressed to name a favorite. Each story was just plain fun to read; and despite their similarities, there’s enough variation in the setups, threats, and narrow escapes, so the action never slows. In fact, the trouble only escalates. What a harrowing, pleasurable read!

The Digest Enthusiast No. 8

The Digest Enthusiast #8 coverThe eighth edition of The Digest Enthusiast is now available in print and digital copies. I haven’t updated LarquePress.com yet, but should get the full description and cover images posted later today or tomorrow. Michael Bracken, who gets the cover spot this time, included us in his post today on the SleuthSayers blog—thank you!

If you read digest magazines with any regularity it would be hard to miss something by Michael. Seems as if he’s everywhere these days. Good thing, his stories are terrific. His interview in TDE8 is loaded with background on his career, writing tips, and comments about several of his recently published stories. As always, it’s illustrated with lots of cover images of past and present digests.

The Digest Enthusiast #8 back coverTDE8 is available in print from amazon and select booksellers like Mike Chomko, DreamHaven, and Bud’s Art Books. If you prefer digital, it’s available for Kindle and from Magzter.

Bibliographies

BK Stevens interview

B.K. Stevens published over 50 short stories, primarily in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. Eleven are included in her collection, Her Infinite Variety: Tales of Women and Crime. She’s the author of Interpretation of Murder, a traditional mystery offering insights into Deaf culture and sign language interpreting, and of Fighting Chance, a martial arts mystery for young adults. Nominated for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards, and a Derringer award-winner, Stevens taught English for over 30 years and wrote full time until her death in 2017.

At the time of her interview for The Digest Enthusiast book six, she sent a copy of her bibliography which is now available on this website. I’ll continue to update Bonnie and Joe’s biblios in the days ahead.

Michael Bracken Interview

TDE8 pages

Award-winning author and copywriter, Michael Bracken, delivers a terrific 17-page interview for The Digest Enthusiast book eight. Michael is the author of over 1,200 short stories and several novels. He garnered the Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer Award for lifetime achievement in short mystery fiction in 2016. Shown here is the opening spread that kicks off the discussion that includes career highlights, writing tips and techniques, and comments on his stories from Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, Espionage, Weird Menace, AHMM, Mystery Weekly Magazine, EQMM, Needle, Down & Out: The Magazine, Black Cat Mystery Magazine, and others. TDE8 is coming soon.

Note: Photography by Amber Bracken.

Sharon Tate’s Eye of the Devil

Witchcraft News ad
Advertisement for Sharon Tate’s first film, Eye of the Devil, from Witchcraft News

Excerpt from Tom Brinkmann’s article, “Sharon Tate’s Fate,” from The Digest Enthusiast book six:

“There was a lot of weirdness concerning Tate’s first movie, 13, aka Eye of the Devil, which starred David Niven, Deborah Kerr, Donald Pleasence, David Hemmings, and introduced Sharon Tate. ‘Look at her long enough and she may be the last thing you ever see!’ claimed an early version of the print ad.”

Coming soon to virtual newsstands near you:

TDE8: Western Magazine spread

The print proof for The Digest Enthusiast book eight is due May 17th. If the final review goes smoothly, the print and digital versions should be available near the end of the month.

Among the features inside is Peter Enfantino’s overview and synopses of Western Magazine and its pardner publication, 3-Book Western. Here’s an excerpt:

“By 1955, western fiction was everywhere. On the TV, on the radio, in paperbacks, in the funny books and, perhaps most of all, in the pulps. A good percentage of the oaters (in all the various print incarnations) were published by Martin Goodman and his publishing empire. When Good- man decided to add digests to his résumé, he did so with an uncharacteristic tentativeness . . .”

Bob Vojtko’s Butrum Beaver

Butrum Beaver No. 1 coverYesterday’s mail brought a new mini comic, a classic 8-page style mini comic, from TDE contributor Bob Vojtko. It’s filled with single-page comics and gag cartoons featuring Butrum Beaver who’s just turned 50. He’s feeling his age and the corporate overloads at the Lumber Yard where he works aren’t helping.

Bob also has four new cartoons in The Digest Enthusiast book eight, due out later this month.

Butrum Beaver #1 can be yours for the bargain price of just $1, postage paid. Contact Bob through his page on Facebook. And be sure to ask about his other mini comics like Fake Comics and Bent Lemons.

Brian Aldiss’ Hothouse

F&SF Feb. 1961 coverExcerpt from Joe Wehrle, Jr.’s review of the Hothouse series by Brian Aldiss, from The Digest Enthusiast book six:

“I have a most vivid recollection of receiving my February subscription copy of Fantasy and Science Fiction with Brian Aldiss’ Hothouse novelette. The Ed Emshwiller cover grabbed me at once with its near-abstract depiction of figures caught in a mad tangle of vegetative color. The story lived up to the illustration’s promise. And then some. And the series won a Hugo Award.”

“Hothouse begins by directly immersing us in a steaming forest habitat where humans of a greatly diminished size (one-fifth our height) struggle endlessly against semi-sentient vegetable life, and one side of Earth forever faces an aging Sun.”

The Creative Worlds of Joe Wehrle, Jr.

Work on The Digest Enthusiast book eight is about 90% complete. Content gathering for the “News Digest” section is underway and layout will begin next month. The zine is in great shape for a late May/early June release.

Spread on Joe Wehrle, Jr.

POD/Digital digests are on the rise and looking better than ever. The writers have always pushed themselves to improve, the editors always on the lookout for the best writing they can find. But recent issues have also begun to the push to improve their design. It’s inspiring and gave me pause to consider how to improve the look-and-feel of TDE. Last time, the contents page got a major upgrade. In book eight, I’ve made design improvements throughout the issue. I think it’s the best looking issue yet. Here’s a sample spread from our tribute to the great Joe Wehrle, Jr. who left us on December 10, 2017. The piece is a “…visual time capsule of his legacy…an amazing, unsung hero of the creative arts.”

Manhunt January 1953

Manhunt January 1953 coverManhunt blazed onto newsstands with Mickey Spillane’s “Everybody’s Watching Me,” serialized over its first four issues. Reprinted in June 1955, and in January 1964 as “I Came to Kill You,” it became one of the few stories ever to run three times in the same magazine.