Sunday, May 24, 2015

"Oh, Oh, We're Halfway There!" - Updates and News

Not quite "Livin' on a Prayer" yet but I may be offering my prayers up to the book gods come this summer as more and more deadlines approach. Very, very busy this year.

I've been holding back discussing some of the projects I've been working on when not dishing out reviews for this blog. There have been hints dropped here and there, but now I'm ready to make at least one announcement. One of my essays will be included in a soon to be released study of popular fiction. I'm very excited since this will be the first non-fiction book my writing has ever been published in. I've had several forewords and introductions appear in small press reprints of forgotten books as many of you know, but this is so very different. First, because the editors approached me to be included and second because it has led to contributing to a second book by the same editorial team.

Beat Girls, Love Tribes and Real Cool Cats.: Pulp Fiction and Youth Culture, 1950 – 1980 is published by Verse Chorus Press, the fine people who re-introduced Australian mystery writer June Wright to the crime fiction readers of the world. It's been edited and compiled by Andrew Nette and Iain McIntrye, writers and critics both based in Melbourne, Australia.  Beat Girls... is a fascinating compilation of essays and reviews focusing on the beat culture, juvenile delinquents, motorcycle gangs, hippies, folkies and all sorts of other youth culture as depicted in thirty years' worth of US, UK and Australian popular fiction. I've read several of the essays prior to the book going to print. If you think I know a lot about obscure mysteries and supernatural fiction you will be greatly impressed by the breadth of knowledge shown in the work of myriad contributors. They've dug up some amazing books and writers I've never heard of.  I only wish I had the time and money to buy copies and read several of the books that are discussed in Beat Girls... The book will be officially released (if all goes to the schedule) in November 2015.  More on the book can be found at Andrew Nette's website and blog, Pulp Curry.

My short piece is in the section on music and discusses A Sad Song Singing by Thomas Dewey. The piece first appeared here on Pretty Sinister Books and was slightly revised for inclusion in Beat Girls, Love Tribes and Real Cool Cats.

My research on transgressive fiction of the 1960s and 1970s continues as does my reading and research on the depiction of LGBT characters in mystery fiction from the 1920s through the 1960s.  All this reading is for several essays for two other projects that I will talk about in detail at a later date.  Two reviews -- The Fetish Murders and Body Charge -- were posted on my blog previously this year and both will be part of a much longer essay to appear in another book to be published by Verse Chorus Press sometime in 2016.

And here is the official update on the two Vintage Mystery Reading Challenges I've been working on. At nearly the six month mark for this year I think I'm pretty much on target with more than half the Golden Age card filled and just shy of the 50% mark on the Silver Age card. I'm confident I'll complete both cards well before December 31.

Total: 24 books read out of a planned 36

Total: A Lucky 13 books and almost halfway there.

Most of the marked above books I've reviewed on the blog. I still have about three reviews to write and post. They're a-comin'. Some absolutely will not be reviewed on this blog. Books like The Butterscotch Prince, a wild murder mystery drenched in sweaty sex scenes and dealing with the 1970s gay fetish underworld in lower Manhattan, or The Gay Haunt by Victor Banis really are not appropriate for the regular visitors who read my posts. Anyone interested in learning more about those titles and topics will just have to wait until I write again about my still-in-progresss book projects.


  1. Great news John, congrats. Really look forward to reading these essays - in fact I just re-read Highsmith's CAROL (aka THE PRICE OF SALT by 'Claire Morgan') so i consider myself at least partially prepared for your walks on the wild side :)

    1. Thanks, Sergio. Last year I got an stunning collection of emails asking me to contribute to various books. I'm still overwhelmed by it all.

      I have yet to read PRICE OF SALT even though I have two copies of the book. I think it must be her most personal book. Looking forward to your take on it.

  2. That sounds fabulous, John. Congratulations.

  3. Replies
    1. Always better than medium rare, Richard!

  4. Very interesting to hear about your research and the projects you are working on, John. Keep us posted as the books come out.

    I do already have Beat Girls, Love Tribes and Real Cool Cats on pre-order and now I can look forward to seeing your essay in it too.

  5. Delighted to hear this, John. Look forward to it.