Richard McKenna: How to become a professional writer

The Wikipedia article on Richard McKenna covers his life and fiction reasonably well. But if you’re feeling lazy, I asked ChatGPT to summarize it for you. Richard McKenna (1913–1964) was an American naval officer and author known for his acclaimed debut novel, The Sand Pebbles(1962). Born in Idaho, McKenna served in the U.S. Navy for… Continue reading Richard McKenna: How to become a professional writer

Bill Gulick: No horsing around, and other secrets of a writer

A profile of Bill Gulick that originally appeared in the Spokane, Washington Spokesman-Review dated July 20, 1958. I’ve added a few excerpts from another article in the Tacoma, Washington News-Tribune dated June 26, 1948. Gulick Brings Old West Alive By Jay Kalez IF BILL GULICK, Walla Walla’s prolific novelist and writer of Saturday Evening Post… Continue reading Bill Gulick: No horsing around, and other secrets of a writer

One Man Show: Authors, pound that typewriter till it bleeds!

During  my time attending pulp conventions, I heard about an author who, under one pseudonym or another, wrote the entire fiction contents of an all-fiction magazine. But it was never clear to me who it was we were talking about. Some authors were obvious candidates – H. Bedford-Jones, Max Brand, Arthur J. Burks etc. Could… Continue reading One Man Show: Authors, pound that typewriter till it bleeds!

Bellem Lettres: The secret life of a pulpster

And no, that isn’t a spelling mistake. Read on and find out why. While pursuing some research, I came across five letters from Robert Leslie Bellem, the creator of Dan Turner, Hollywood Detective and prodigious producer of pervy passion plots for the pulps. These letters have little personal stuff but quite a bit about the… Continue reading Bellem Lettres: The secret life of a pulpster

The mysterious life of Robert Reeves – Storyteller, Soldier

Robert Reeves, the author of the Cellini Smith stories in Black Mask, is a mysterious character. The veil of mystery around Reeves starts with his life. He seems to appear out of nowhere in the magazines, showing no evidence of newspaper work or other professions connected to the publishing business. Who was he? Where did… Continue reading The mysterious life of Robert Reeves – Storyteller, Soldier

Roe Richmond – Western Writer, Professional athlete, Cowboy

Everybody thinks they know what a western is. Frank Gruber, a long time pulp author with a flair for self-promotion, categorized the western into seven categories: In my reading I’ve come across these plots frequently, but such categorization does disservice to writers who stayed away from these tropes. Like Roe Richmond. That may come as… Continue reading Roe Richmond – Western Writer, Professional athlete, Cowboy

Interview William E. Barrett – Best-selling writer, movie man

William Edmund Barrett (1900 – 1986) was an American writer, best known for the 1962 novella The Lilies of the Field, later made into a movie that won Sidney Poitier his best actor Oscar. Before Barrett got into movies, he wrote many stories for the pulps, including this one that I reviewed a few years… Continue reading Interview William E. Barrett – Best-selling writer, movie man