I Love Pulp
Always have loved pulp … even though when I discovered it, I didn’t know it was “pulp.” I thought it was just great reading. Conan the Barbarian, Kull, Doc Savage, Tarzan, adventure fiction. I bought them all, and on the cheap. I still have a lot of those old, dog-eared paperbacks in a box in the basement … just haven’t managed to cut Robert E. Howard loose.
There was this what-not-store in Ottawa, Illinois, where I grew up. It was across the bridge and around the corner and it had party decorations, kitchen supplies, all manner of things I wasn’t interested in … except at the back of the store it had shelves of used paperbacks ranging from 20 cents to a dollar. Me and my buddies spent a lot of time there, and I suppose we spent a lot of money, though we got A LOT OF BOOKS for the money. My friend Crystal picked up gothic romances. I went for Conan, Kull, Doc Savage, and Westerns. Geeze, I loved that store. The building was old, the floor was wood-plank, and when you walked across it, naturally it creaked. A good sound. Tin ceiling, very HIGH ceiling. It smelled musty and perfumy. Geeze, I really loved that place.
It fed my reading habit for a lot of years. The owner “got” me. She’d even set aside books that came in she thought I’d like. How awesome was that? Fifty years gone, I still remember her smile and curly gray hair and recall the path from the front door to the book racks in the back. I can’t, however, recall how I discovered the place. I’m sure the shop had a name, but that’s lost in my brain. Hmmm. A mystery.
Anyway, maybe that’s why I enjoy writing adventure fiction, not being able to shake the reading habits of my youth. Maybe that old building cast some sort of spell on me.
When Bob Greenberger put out the call for pulp stories, I was quick to raise my hand. I almost volunteered to write a pulp mystery tale, as I’m writing mystery novels now. But I had this notion about swords and such, a nod to my Conan and Dungeons & Dragons days. Bob accepted my tale, and so I happily dance with a bunch of other authors–some of them old friends like Jody Lynn Nye–in this grand collection.
Bob is publishing it through a Kickstarter, and we’re only a little over halfway to the goal. I have my fingers and toes crossed that we meet all the goals so we can include even more stories!
I’m writing another pulpish tale right now, as I was invited to a game-related fiction collection. No barbarians in this one, but one more chance for me to return to my roots.