Wednesday 31 March 2010


At the highly respected Western Fiction Review HERE


Lady Ga Ga in running for next Bond theme

First it was Susan Boyle and now UK newspaper, THE SUN claim Lady Ga Ga is up to do the theme for the next James Bond movie.

The Sun are reporting that Lady Gaga is to submit a demo for the theme song for the next James Bond adventure. There is no set date as to when the film will arrive in cinemas, but a bunch of names have been revealed as to who may do the title track for the new 007 adventure.

A source told The Sun.

“Bond bosses are all huge GaGa fans. Her sound and sense of drama make her the top choice.

Arkansas Smith today

Arkansas Smith by Jack Martin

Published today -Robert Hale LTD/ Black Horse Westerns

Get it anywhere books are sold.

Tuesday 30 March 2010


Think you know the Jack the Ripper story?

Think again!

1904, South Wales and the most gruesome series of murders in history are about to be solved by a Welsh copper and an American Legend.

SOON -In eBook format from Solstice ...keep an eye on The Archive for further details.

This book has gone through the mill to get here - numerous rewrites, being picked up and then dropped by a publisher, being picked up by another who then ceased trading at the eleventh hour. And now I am especially pleased to have found another publisher - they are a new publishing house who fully intend to take the eBook market by storm. And believe me they're the business.

By the time the book is out there it will be almost two years ago since I wrote the opening words, and during that time I have seen it grow and develop into something, I believe, will entertain and thrill anyone who picks it up - something I am immensely proud of.

In the months leading up to the publication I will be posting several articles about the writing of this work - some anecdotes from my visit to London's Whitechapel, a few details of the visit I did to the local coroner, some interesting facts of history that I discovered during the research for this project and the great story of a Welshman I met with a very real connection to Buffalo Bill and the Wild West Circus - his grandfather, a true Native American remained behind when Buffalo Bills' Circus visited in 1904.

Anyway I hope you will allow me the indulgence of these articles - after all, it's not as if I won't be posting all the news, features and interviews that The Archive is gaining a reputation for.

So in best Western-Welsh fashion, It's high noon, boyo!


It has been confirmed that Sam Shepard will play Butch Cassidy in the forthcoming movie, which is a sequel to the 1969 classic - the film assumes that Butch survived the Bolivia shoot-out and takes up the story there. Filming has now started. There is some historical supposition behind the screenplay and there has always been historical debate that both or one of the outlaws may have survived the Bolivia shoot-out. Looks like Sundance but the dust but Butch is alive and well.

Exciting times for the western genre - there are several high profile productions due over the next couple of years. The Coen's True Grit remake is well under way and, of course, Jonah Hex is imminent. What we want now is for the modern day western master, Clint Eastwood to say that he will direct one more western after all. Now that would be nice.

Monday 29 March 2010


The Big Valley ran from 1965 - 1969 and starred Hollywood legend Barbara Stanwick and Lee Majors - the western series is now due to hit the big screen - filmmakers Daniel Adams and Kate Edelman-Johnson are producing a feature film version of The Big Valley with production to begin in April 2010 in New Mexico and Michigan. The western will be released in a 3D version

April madness

The UK has it's share of odd book events and festivals but the US takes the biscuit (pun intended) with Seattle's edible book festival - I kid you not.

Cook the Books! Seattle's Annual Edible Book Festival: This only-in-Seattle contest, in which entrants bring food that looks like books, or is reminiscent of books, or makes horrible puns out of the titles of books . From noon to 3 p.m. April 10 at the Good Shepherd Center


Weekly Stats Report: 22 Mar - 28 Mar 2010

Unique Visitors1981771701891661051571,162166
First Time Visitors15715514416014082125963138
Returning Visitors4122262926233219928

Sunday 28 March 2010


Black Horse Express are running the transcript of the interview I recently did as part of THE JACK MARTIN WEEKEND - Read it HERE


Texas Rangers author, James Griffin has supported the Archive since day one - we interviewed him back in January 2009

Well now Jim has given us permission to use the wonderful reviews he posts to the various western forums as part of the Archive.

And so let's mosey on down to Jim's place for a review of action packed western, The Command

Review: The Command
Guy Madison and James Whitmore
Warner Brothers

This is a film I have to admit I'd never heard of, but when I read the description in the catalogue saying it had "shoot-'em-ups galore, a clean-cut hero, dust-beaten horse soldiers and fearless warriors", I knew I had to get a copy.

Guy Madison plays a cavalry doctor who is unexpectedly given command of his unit after all the officers are killed. James Whitmore plays the typical tough sergeant. The plan is for Madison to command only long enough to get back to the fort. Unfortunately, fate has other plans in store. The company ends up having to escort a wagon train through hostile Indian territory just after the Little Big Horn.

As advertised, the film does have plenty of action, and decent suspense. I did have one big problem with it. To decoy the Indians away from the wagon train, Madison's character separates a few, and has them form into a "defensive circle". Once the Indians attack, the wagons, filled with hidden cavalry sharpshooters, are to break into a triangle formation and bust out of the encircling Indians.

Despite Whitmore's character stating several times "Don't ever say Injuns are dumb", sure enough they obligingly attack the decoy wagons, and let them get away. Therein lies the problem. In reality, the first thing the Indians would have done would be to kill the horses pulling the wagons, rendering them immobile, so they could pick off the soliders and overrun them easily. To me, this was a flaw that made swallowing the entire plotline difficult.

However, I did still enjoy The Command, as it is a rip-roaring cavalry tale, and the soldiers and Indians are evenly matched. I'd recommend it, subject to the caveat above.



There are two predominant images of Elvis Presley's in the public psyche - the beautiful young rocker, virile and dangerous and then there is the bloated Elvis, the victim of tasteless excess. There was a million miles between the revolutionary force the young Elvis was and that parody of later years. As brilliant as he was, Elvis died a sad pitiful wreck of a man - someone who had been chewed up and spat out by the money men of show business.

I've written in the past about my admiration for Elvis but I've always been more tuned to the early period, the blues and rockabilly mesh ups like Mystery Train, That's All Right and I forgot to remember to forget, belted out by the prototype punk. I still think those songs he cut with Sun Records are among the best songs ever recorded.

I usually avoid those latter tracks, those tacky ballads and over produced show-tunes. But lately I've been listening to a lot of the later work and discovering that I had been too harsh - even in the comedy jump-suit days Elvis could rock when he truly wanted to. For every person who thinks Elvis was a revolution, there is another who considers him a joke. But can anyone realistically deny that he was not the single most important voice in the history of modern music? I think not.

If you use your ears rather than the years of prejudices to listen to Heartbreak Hotel then you'll feel that magic, that brilliance, that genius in the voice. And the same goes for later day classic such as Separate Ways and Way Down.

As John Lennon said, before Elvis there was nothing.


The University of Chicago Press continue with their programme which will eventually see all of the original Parker run back in print. April 1st, April fools day, will see the return to print of The Black Ice Score which was originally published way back in 1965.

Everyone knows the Parker books are uniformly brilliant and Parker is a brutally awesome creation.

Half a Pig

I am pleased as a politician who managed to shred his expenses list before the Daily Telegraph came looking, at being included in the anthology A Fistful Of Legends - 21 new stories of the West.

I am double pleased, maybe even as pleased as Gordon Brown would be if he woke up on election day and found it had all been a bad dream and Mrs Brown was actually a pron star from Eastern Europe, because one of the stories, Half a Pig by Mathew P. Mayo was shortlisted for one of those groovey Spur Awards.

Fellow groovey hipster, Dave Lewis looks at the story as part of his look at the book - go HERE

And while you're there take a look around because Dave sure keeps a mean old blog.

Saturday 27 March 2010

30,000 FREE eBooks will come with Ipad

part from the free ebooks that will be made available by Project Gutenberg’s free digital library, other paid titles from important publishers will also be available.

Project Gutenberg is a volunteer-effort based organization that makes classic and popular literature available in a digital format in the public domain. Project Gutenberg will make its library available free of cost to the iPad says PCWorld. The paid titles will be accessible as content encrypted by Apple’s FairPlay. The free titles, however, will be DRM-free.

The iPad will not be pre-installed with the iBooks application. But, the consumer could download it for free at any Apple store.


Are running an extract from Arkansas Smith HERE


This Wednesday is the official publication of my second western novel, Arkansas Smith, but it's already available from all the usual sources Hale, Amazon, Book Depository and anywhere else books are sold.

And if you fancy some western chat tune into Radio Wales this coming Friday at 3pm BST when I will be the special guest on the Roy Noble show - the BBC Radio station can be listened worldwide online - don't miss it because I promise to say, Yeehaw!

"There is a sadness about Arkansas Smith that I found unsettling and yet compelling. He has a "void deep inside himself that felt on times like a cavity in his soul. It was a need for identity that would always be there and would never be fulfilled." He's a man of few words and when he smiles, it's a grim smile that hints at a lot of tragedies played out in the past. He is an enigma who keeps his personal history to himself and who doesn't offer up too many explanations. While we are caught up in the dilemma at hand, we are never allowed to forget that we are dealing with a mysterious man here who has a few bones to pick with the world. In the post-modern world, he would be diagnosed as clinically depressed. In the 19th century western, though, he's simply trying to deal with the hand that's been dealt him.

Martin shows skill in allowing us to get inside Smith's head - but only so far. We'll think we know him as a stoic man who is all business and then he'll go off and kiss the girl on the cheek, leaving us to think, "Who IS this guy?" Martin also knows how to carry a story through realistic dialogue and so the pages fly by." LAURIE POWERS FULL REVIEW HERE

80 FOR 80

This May Clint Eastwood turns 80 - the Archive will be celebrating this milestone for our greatest living actor with 80 Eastwood centric posts running throughout the month. That'll be every film reviewed, a major look at Rawhide, Eastwood the Jazz man, guest blogs and much more.

This May the Tainted Archive becomes Eastwood city - we'll sure make the day of any fan of the great man.


Claims the New York Times - According to an article in the New York Times, it won't take long before businesses and universities adapt to new technology advances. Books always have seemed to be a constant in the media world, however, Amazon's "Kindle," Barnes and Noble's "Nook" and Mac's "iPad," are challenging ordinary books, especially textbooks.

In a few years, all universities will switch to eBooks entirely and the effects will ripple through campuses, according to the New York Times article.

EBooks will hit colleges and universities almost exclusively in five years and high schools shortly thereafter, technology executives said. EBooks have advantages, especially in the textbook sense. Would transferring solely to eBooks be preferable for Samford?

After consulting students, the consensus was that textbooks are preferable to eBooks.

"I need to be able to highlight and refer back to stuff, not just next semester but farther down the road for my major," Huff said.

For most students who use textbooks on a daily basis, textbooks act as a safety net.

"I like to be able to flip back and forth easily to find important pages in my books," junior math major Emily Goins said. She also said printing off her textbooks would defeat the eco-friendly purpose.

Samford's new printing point system, GoPrint, is also a concern. If students would print out most of their eBooks, then the change wouldn't be beneficial. FULL STORY


The Bookseller Magazine runs these awards annually and this year - this year there were some oddities fighting for the award, and the biggest surprise is that a book on Nazi cooking utensils didn't win - Collectible Spoons of the Third Reich” by James A. Yannes, but it received only enough votes to place third in the online competition for the Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year, the magazine announced on Friday. A total of 1,912 of the 4,553 ballots cast went to “Crocheting Adventures With Hyperbolic Planes” by Dr. Daina Taimina. In a statement, Philip Stone, charts editor of The Bookseller, said that Dr. Taimina’s book had won the prize, awarded to a work published in 2009, because, “very simply, the title is completely bonkers.” Second place went to “What Kind of Bean Is This Chihuahua?” by Tara Jansen-Meyer. Other top vote-getters included “Afterthoughts of a Worm Hunter” by David Crompton and “The Changing World of Inflammatory Bowel Disease” by Ellen Scherl and Marla Dubinsky.

Friday 26 March 2010

Apple and Amazon - the big guns in the eBook war

Apple has reportedly filled up its upcoming iBook Store for iPad with a wide variety of free ebook titles curated by Project Gutenberg, heading off any attempts by third parties to profiteer on literature in the public domain. says Apple has already listed more than 30,000 free books from Project Gutenberg into its new ebook store for the upcoming iPad (as pictured below). The Gutenberg library of free digital books is supported by volunteer efforts, which maintains a huge collection of literature in the public domain.

While Apple has already announced that the iPad's iBooks application would be compatible with the ePub format, this latest news shows that it will be even easier for users to access public domain books directly through the iBook Store. Apple is not preinstalling the iBooks app on the iPad, but it will be available for free from the App Store, allowing competing ereader apps such as Amazon's Kindle App for iPhone an equal footing. FULL STORY


Commemorative plaque at the site of the Fetterman Massacre - see previous post.


I first read this book, the first in the Plainsmen series, a few years back but having fond memories off it, which were rekindled when I did my post on The Indian Wars, a week or so ago I decided to read it again. Once again it grabbed me from the first page, even prompting me to put Stephen King's third Dark Tower (the middle section with Jake's paradox was boring me) aside. I'll return to that book one day, having enjoyed the first two Dark Tower books, but Terry C. Johnston has put me in the mood to do a few epic westerns before I do so.

Now this novel which uses the Fetterman massacre as it main thrust is a mixture of both fact and fiction. Presenting the story through the eyes of the fictional Irish immigrant Seamus Donegan allows the author a certain amount of leeway in presenting the story of this dreadful period of American history.

On 21st December, 1866, Captain Fetterman and an army column of 80 men, were involved in protecting a team taking wood to Fort Phil Kearny. Although under orders not to "engage or pursue Indians" Fetterman gave the orders to attack a group of Sioux warriors. The warriors ran away and drew the soldiers into a clearing surrounded by a much larger force. All the soldiers were killed in what became known as the Fetterman Massacre. Later that day the stripped and mutilated bodies of the soldiers were found by a patrol led by Captain Ten Eyck.

The thing that I admire with Sioux Dawn is that the author manages to keep the story moving forward with the momentum of good fiction, and yet he doesn't skimp on including historical facts,and the reach of his research is all encompassing. The novel really gives us a taste of frontier life and can be appreciated on more than one level - as an enjoyable read and also a history of what really happened. It both entertains and informs which is not always an easy thing to pull off.

Excellent and, to my mind, the best of all the Plainsmen books.


I'd never seen any of the episodes of Alias Smith and Jones after original star Pete Duel was replaced by Roger Davies - I used to love the show when it was shown on BBC TV when I was a kid. I'm guessing I missed the original run since I would have only been six at the time. So maybe I saw repeats in the mid-seventies and the latter non-Duel episodes were not shown or at least not shown as often.

Pete Duel had filmed two-thirds of the season 2 episode, The Biggest Game in the West when he committed suicide. The word came down: continue filming. (Ben Murphy was told of Duel's death and decided to stay home for the day's filming, which consisted of pickup shots). When Roger Davis was brought in as Duel's replacement, he had the unenviable task of replicating Duel's every move (except for a few shots where only Duel's back is seen) before doing the last two days of filming on his own. (Davis also re-filmed the opening, with Ralph Story replacing him as narrator).

This episode which I stumbled across on one of the Freeview channels was apparently the last ever episode filmed, though it was shown as the tenth episode of season three. The storyline is that Smith and Jones are told to protect two witnesses to a lynching - a travelling con man and his daughter. And I enjoyed it. It was good solid entertainment with some great riding scenes and a major shoot out contained in its fifty minutes or so. There was also some well staged comedy when Smith and Jones get drunk on a bottle of the travelling con-man's tonic - Cure-all, guaranteed to cure alcoholism, made from 60% natural herbs and flower juices and 40% pure alcohol.

This is the only episode I've seen with Roger Davies so I can't say if there was any dip in quality when Duel went. The chemistry between the leads seems the same as ever, but Davies only did seventeen episodes before the show was cancelled. However this was 1973 and TV westerns were being replaced with cop shows - Bonanza also aired its final episode three days after Smith and Jones, leaving Gunsmoke as the only TV western running and then mostly only in the US. But I'd like to see more of these later episodes and maybe find out more about the show. Information on the web is minimal - I know that fellow Black Horse writer Joanne Walpole (Terry James) is a huge fan so perhaps I'll badger her for some info. I've just this minute ordered the season one box-set and I'm looking forward to reintroducing myself to this evergreen TV western classic

Thursday 25 March 2010


The soiled doves that graced many a frontier saloon, offering a welcome to any man with money to spend - these colourful characters are a mainstay of the western genre. Head over to Howard Hopkins AKA western scribe, Lance Howard's blog for a look at these most obliging ladies. HERE

The long and winding Parade...

well after reporting recently that Hearts on Fire books had ceased trading, it is great to confirm that my mystery/crime novel, A Policeman's Lot has now been taken up by another publisher.

The book is still on track for late summer but now from Solstice Books. It will be an eBook first with a print edition following ten months later. That is, of course, if there is any demand for a printed version. So the contract's singed, sealed and delivered. I am sure Buffalo Bill and Frank Parade have breathed a sigh of relief. And I'm jumping up and down with joy at being a part of the eBook market - I find it incredible that someone somewhere could read this book on their phone. Man, you're gonna' keep that call waiting.

And Jack Martin 3 - Dead Man's Hand is coming along nicely and I anticipate getting the manuscript to Hale by early summer. So I'd estimate mid 2011 for Dead Man's Hand. And once this is finished I plan to start sketching the next Arkansas Smith out in the autumn

And of course the 31st of this month sees the publication of Arkansas Smith, but it's already available from all the usual sources -go get it folks, wild west action with a Welsh accent. You've all heard of spaghetti westerns, well I write Taffy westerns. Click on the book image in the right hand sidebar for a link of places to purchase


Archive fave James D. Best tells me there is a promo of his new book, Tempest at Dawn on Youtube. The trailer looks great, certainly makes me want to read the book.

Actor Robert Culp RIP

Obituaries of Robert Culp, who died yesterday at 79, will no doubt focus on his work in the much-admired I-Spy show which ran on television for three years from 1965. In that series, Culp played Kelly Robinson, a secret agent who doubled as a Davis Cup tennis player. Bill Cosby was his partner. In films, Culp had one standout role – as the sophisticated Californian would-be swinger Bob in Paul Mazursky’s Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice, with Natalie Wood (as Bob’s wife Carol), Elliot Gould and Dyan Cannon. But I will always remember the westerns that were graced by the actor's presence.

Witchfinder General (1967)

After being bowled over by the recent BBC Radio play that looked at the making of this movie (see here), I decided to dig out the movie from my collection and watch it again. It's been a few years since I've seen this cult classic.

It still holds up as an excellent, though disturbing film - critics have accused the film of being sadistic and it is in places, but if you're making a film based on true events such as these then it is the duty of all those involved to make Mathew Hopkins the bastard he truly must have been. The torture scenes are extremely graphic but only in terms of realism - you don't see much blood and gore, it's not that kind of movie.

Director Michael Reeves realised early on in production that he was making a British western and the film is paced as such - exciting, suspenseful and packed with real history. It's an excellent film but if you can manage to get hold of the BBC play based on the making of this film, it will vastly improve your appreciation of this British masterpiece.

Note the current DVD issue labels the film as Edgar Allen Poe's ....but it's got nothing to do with Poe. The director made an exciting historical epic, even if it has always been marketed as a horror movie, in the vein of the Roger Corman Poe classics.

Eclipse all others...

The new poster for the movie of Eclipse has just been posted online - you know that popular vampire saga thingie some of you may have heard about.


From the South Wales Echo: yesterday. This is basically a reprint, with some variations, of the piece that appeared in the Pontypridd News yesterday.

Next Friday - Good Friday - I will be appearing on BBC Radio Wales to talk about my books and the entire Black Horse range. I think that the station can be listened to worldwide on the BBC Radio website.

The producer asked me yesterday about music choices for my introduction and we decided to go with Rawhide - hey if it's good enough for Sir Clint the Best, then it's good enough for me. Tune in if you can on Good Friday, just after 3pm for some western chat with a Welsh accent

eBook news


When it comes to buying and selling books on the iPad, we’re about to witness a strange dance between those who make or sell electronic books and those who read them.

On April 3, when customers pick up their fancy new Apple iPads and want to purchase an e-book, they will have to decide which online bookstore they want to give their money to.

From the start, no one bookstore will come with an advantage: No matter which bookstore application iPad owners choose, they will have to download it first. Even the iBookstore, as Apple writes on its Web site, won’t come preloaded on the device. I Pad owners will be asked to “Download the iBooks app free from the App Store.”

There will also be a swarm of other booksellers to choose from.

As my colleagues Brad Stone and Jenna Wortham reported on Monday: “ and Barnes & Noble are working on apps for buying and reading electronic books, even though both companies sell their own e-reading devices and Apple will offer its own iBooks app.” And there are a variety of other free e-book applications, including Stanza and Eucalyptus, which are currently available for the iPhone and offer thousands of free e-books. FULL STORY


Random House, the world's largest publisher by sales volume, is still holding out on including its titles in the iPad's iBookstore. At issue, apparently, are fears that Apple's business model will spark a price war among publishers, ultimately hurting profits.

According to the Financial Times (registration and/or paywall warning), Random House CEO Markus Dohle claims that the company is still negotiating with Apple and that a deal could be reached before the iPad goes on sale on April 3. FULL STORY

Wednesday 24 March 2010

Horror of the British Blood Beast Terror

This remarkable radio play was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 earlier this year - I missed it, indeed wasn't aware of it but thanks to a very good friend (thanks John) who recorded it, I got to listen to this truly stunning radio play.

The play looks at events surrounding the making of the 1967 Vincent Price classic, The Witchfinder General. It's a fine movie and Price's best ever performance but the making of the film was a trial for the actor.

"I don't want Vincent Price - he's camp, a parody of himself."

Young director Michael Reeves hated having Vincent Price for the lead role - he wanted Donald Pleasance but the money men insisted on Price. Reeves considered Price a joke and wasn't afraid to tell him - this play looks at the sheer misery surrounding the making of a celluloid masterpiece.

Right from their first meeting the director didn't bother to disguise his hostility to the American actor. Filming started in Autumn in Suffolk - from the off the actor and director were at each other's throats.

The performances here are excellent - one can feel Vincent Price squirming as the young turk director rubbishes his performance in front of the crew, other actors and even the extras. Of course the remarkable thing is that all the conflict drew a career best performance from Vincent Price.

'I've made seventy five films. How many have you made?' Price asks the director.

'Two,' comes the reply and then the director adds: 'GOOD ONES.'

Price thinks he is making a genre picture, while Reeves claims he is making a film about people caught up in extraordinary times. Price immediately tries to get off the movie but he is talked around by the production people.

“He didn’t want me at all for the part. I didn’t like him, either." Price wrote years later. " It was one of the first times in my life that I’ve been in a picture where the director and I just clashed."

A brilliant radio play that gives an insight into the entire movie business, as well as the making of this brilliant film and the clash of egos involved.

By Matthew Broughton. In 1967, Vincent Price came to the UK to make the horror movie Witchfinder General. It was the best performance of his career, and the worst few months of his life. This play takes a light-hearted look behind the scenes of the making of this classic British film.

Vincent Price ...... Nickolas Grace
Tony Tenser ...... Kenneth Cranham
Michael Reeves ...... Blake Ritson
Philip Waddilove ...... Richard Nichols
Hilary Dwyer ...... Phoebe Waller Bridge
Ian Ogilvy ...... Gareth Pierce


The Crime Writers' Association promises a long hot summer of crime

A nationwide celebration of crime writing, National Crime Fiction Week will run from Monday 14 June. CWA members will take part in readings, discussions, readers' group events and workshops all over the country. Your favourite authors are already planning Murders in Libraries, Bodies in Bookshops and Strawberries and Crime at Village Fetes. So if you have an idea for an event, drop us a line and we'll do our utmost to put you in touch with a writer who fits the bill.

A key part of National Crime Fiction Week will be the announcement of the winner of the Young Crime Writers' Competition, organised by the CWA in partnership with library authorities nationwide. Entries will be judged by members of the CWA.

The crime genre is very broad: spine-tingling suspense, historical novels, cosy crime and edge-of-the-seat thrillers all share shelf space in bookshops and libraries. Add into the mix non-fiction - increasingly popular with readers fascinated by forensic aspects of crime - and events organisers can create a programme of events that will tempt the most fastidious palate.

CWA Chair Margaret Murphy


They may have got the facts a bit topsy-turvy but it's a good write up in the local newspaper. Click on any image for a readable version.

Arkansas Smith is actually my new book and Tarnished Star was the first. A Policeman's Lot will be out later this summer, but in all fairness it's a nice little piece. It was a kick to get higher billing than my MP on the front page and have a bigger write up inside - MP's are not the Archive's most favourite people at the moment. Mind you I would like to make it clear to any MP's reading that I'm sure you could swing a copy of Arkansas Smith on expenses, put it down as entertainment to be read next to the duck-house. Just a thought, guys!

The Jack The Ripper aspect of my forthcoming, A Policeman's Lot -actually available in eBook format late summer 2010 and in print around ten months later, has sparked their interest. The South Wales Echo - a paper that covers the entire region want to talk about the alleged Welsh Ripper connection that the book throws up. And local radio are requesting an interview.

Pretty exciting times indeed.

Tuesday 23 March 2010

You simply must catch this

Black Horse scribe, Mathew P. Mayo is under the spotlight at the always wonderful Meridian Bridge. Mathew's recently seen himself become a finalist for a Spur award from the Western Writers of America. As always Meridian Bridge provides a probing and interesting interview - it's a two parter too.



Last week I was interviewed by my local press regarding both Arkansas Smith and my forthcoming mystery A Policeman's Lot (late Summer from Solstice Publishing). The interview will be run in tomorrow's Pontypridd Observer so expect a scan here sometime tomorrow, and now the Welsh national press have picked up on the book - the Welsh Jack the Ripper connection interests them. And so later this week I will be speaking to The South Wales Echo about A Policeman's Lot and Jack the Ripper/Buffalo Bill's link with the Welsh town of Pontypridd.

It's all go for a jobbing hack, or so it seems. At the moment I'm going through a final edit of A Policeman's Lot ready for the publisher's own editors to wield their editing knife - perhaps a cut-throat razor would be apropos.

It's all happening and I'm walking around in a state of perpetual excitement. So watch this space for more news - in the meantime The Archive presents an extract from the forthcoming, A Policeman's Lot by Gary M. Dobbs

Parade, standing next to Cody, took another look at the dead man and then shook his head. The man’s throat was slashed almost from ear to ear, the blood splattered wound looking ghastly in the pale moonlight, but the worse thing were the eyes which had rolled back into their sockets and stared sightlessly at the night sky. Those eyes seemed to display the shock and horror of a sudden and horrible death, as if the man’s last moments were captured, like a photograph, upon the lens of the iris.

A crowd of circus performers had gathered and Parade noticed several Indians among the colourful ensemble.

‘Suppose we should be grateful he's not been scalped,’ Parade joked and then wished he hadn’t when he noticed Cody’s eyes harden. The Indian braves remained impassive; waiting for whatever wisdom Parade would bring to the situation. Which, given the policeman’s fatigued state, would not be considerable.

‘No one’s to leave camp,’ Parade said. ‘We’ll need to search every person, every tent.’

‘To what purpose?’ Cody asked.

‘To find the murder weapon for one thing,’ Parade said, annoyed. ‘This isn’t the primitive frontier. We’ve got our ways of doing things. We don’t just chalk it up to outlaws, stick up a wanted poster and leave it at that.’

‘Whoever did this deserves to be whipped and lynched.’ Cody’s eyes narrowed and he shook his head.

‘Agree with you there,’ Parade said. ‘I want this area secured. We’ll do what has to be done as quickly as possible. Until then you’ll have to endure the inconvenience.’

Cody knelt to the corpse and closely examined the wound. ‘I’d say a large knife,’ he said. ‘Not a Bowie. The cut’s too smooth for that. Something razor sharp with a blade of about six to seven inches long.’

UK Library users given the right to request any book be ordered

Library-goers should have the right to order any book – including out-of-print editions – and free access to e-books under a new plan for the future of the library service.

Free internet use and membership of all libraries in England are also recommended under proposals outlined by Culture Minister Margaret Hodge.

The public library modernisation review policy statement sets out a series of "core" features which would ensure the service meets the challenges of the 21st century.

Good news indeed - so get down those libraries and order Arkansas Smith. Oh and while you're at it - don't forget The Tarnished Star.

Monday 22 March 2010


The first review of my new novel Arkansas Smith is now online and it's a good one.

Whew, (wipes brow, takes deep breath) thank goodness for that!


Fancy it get it
Book Depository
And just about anywhere else


I couldn't be more delighted to announce that Mathew P Mayo, fellow Black Horse scribe and all around good guy, was shortlisted in the prestigious Spur Awards from the Western Writers of America for the short story, Half a Pig. This is a great honour indeed, not just for Mathew but all us Black Horse guys and gals.

Over to Matt:

My story, “Half a Pig,” in the anthology, A Fistful of Legends, published by Express Westerns, has been selected as a finalist in the Western Writers of America’s 2010 Spur Awards! My good friend John D. Nesbitt won the category, but just to be considered is a real honor for me.

Here’s a link to the list of the 2010 WWA Spur Award Winners and Finalists.

And here’s what WWA says about the Spurs:
“Since 1953, Western Writers of America has promoted and honored the best in Western literature with the annual Spur Awards, selected by panels of judges. Awards, for material published last year, are given for works whose inspiration, image, and literary excellence best represent the reality and spirit of the American West.”

I’m pleased, to say the least, not only because it’s a great honor for me, but also for all of the fine writers in the anthology in which my story appears: A Fistful of Legends. The book is a top-notch collection of “21 All-New Blazing Tales of the Old West” brimming with pulpy Old West goodness and edited to exacting standards (and it sports an introduction by top-shelf writer James Reasoner–’nuff said).

A Fistful of Legends is available at Amazon, The Book Depository and most other online retailers.


Later news on the Archive concerning the Spur Awards from the Western Writers of America - this proves that the Black Horse imprint contains some of the best western writers in the world.

Romance under Western Skies - CHASTITY BUSH INTERVIEW

The romance genre is, at present, one of the most popular genres with buyers of eBooks. Indeed the genre has long been a mainstay of the entire book market - Mills and Boons with their cheap and cheerful paperbacks may dominate, but there's much more than that out there. There are romances set in every period of history and some take place in the far flung future.

And so, red rose in hand, the Tainted Archive sat down for a Q&A session with romantic scribe, Chastity Bush.

TA: What can readers expect when they pick up one of your books for the first time?

CB: A lot of excitement. I write romance but I want to have more to a story than, boy meets girl, girl plays hard to get, boy wins girls heart and they live happily ever after. I like to have a lot of mystery and some suspense on top of the romance.

TA: You tell me you're working on a romance with a western setting. Why did you chose this time and place?

CB:Tumbleweeds is a work in progress that I have had niggling at the back of my mind for a little while. I have written one other romantic western entitled Savage Rescue which was a bestseller for Hearts On Fire Books at until the closing of Hearts On Fire. Tumbleweeds is a follow up to that story based on one of the characters from that story. I have always loved a good western be it a novel, movie, television show ect. There is something about that time period that holds a certain level of romance and I wanted to tap into that for this story.

TA: So what comes first character or plot with you?

CB:I think that strong characters are what make a great book. I have had a lot of great reviews and most of those talk about the outstanding characters. I think that if you have characters that stand out and come alive off of the pages you don’t have to worry as much about getting your plot absolutely perfect. Plot does matter and I try to make mine great but I concentrate more on the characters. As for outlining, I wing that as well. I find that if I plot and plan my writing is just not as suspenseful.

TA: At the moment the book business is in a state of flux. What do you think the future holds for readers and writers?

CB:As long as readers keep buying ebooks over traditional books I see ebooks becoming the most popular form of book. I myself would rather hold a paper book in my hands. I like the feel of going into the bookstore and being able to hold a persons work in my hands and not spending hundreds of dollars on a device to hold a five dollar book. I have nothing against ebooks and welcome change but I wish that one did not over ride the other.

TA: Describe you're writing regime.

When it comes to a regime I am not sure that I really have one. I get my kids off to school and take a seat in front of my computer and whatever comes out comes out. I try to do as much writing as I can before my family gets home so that I can spend as much time with them as I can. I don’t really do a lot of planning of what I am going to put on the pages before I sit down to write. I guess you could say that I wing it.

TA: What advice would you give new writers?

No matter who you are or how good your writing is you will get a rejection from someone. But don’t let that get you down; it is not grounds to quit. Keep going. Whatever ideas are floating around in your head, do not think that they are too different or too boring to put down on paper. You never know what the next big thing will be and it just could be you. And research who you submit to, do not submit to a publisher just because it looks like a good deal, there are some great website to search publishers and agents, take advantage of them so that a publisher does not take advantage of you.


Archive stats

Weekly Stats Report: 15 Mar - 21 Mar 2010

Unique Visitors1131451951951651461491,108158
First Time Visitors97120160154140117129917131
Returning Visitors1625354125292019127

Sunday 21 March 2010

The Indian Wars - watch out redskins, bang, shoot, kill.

It's a complex subject that could, indeed does, fill many volumes - miles and miles of celluloid have been shot, both fact and fiction, on the subject and these days it's not really a subject that is in vogue with film or book. Maybe it's still a part of history that we have yet to come to terms with, especially in the western genre where whilst it is true there have been many intelligent, sympathetic novels centered around the subject ,there have been a hell of a lot more, cowboy and Indian stories; the noble white man with God on his side socks it to the mindless savage - brute force is all these heathens understand.

The Indian wars were not simply a case of white Americans against the red natives, but at differing points in history, the Spanish, English and French were notably at war with the native Americans. I myself, am not qualified or knowledgeable enough to make any final assessment on the Indian wars. They represent a part of history, with blame and shame on both sides. But it is history all the same, a part of a different world to the one we have today - though there are still wrongs being committed on nations by nations around the world...perhaps there always will be. Maybe it's an intrinsic part of the human experience - I want that gold, oil, land, woman, death star (delete where applicable for conflict of choice.)

Now for the purpose of fiction, film or print, it is usually the American Indian Wars that we turn to - the period used by so many cowboy and Indian tales. The publisher of my own westerns, the wonderful Robert Hale LTD don't want novels centered around The Indian Wars, maybe of the opinion that the oppression of the minority by powerful aggressors are not the stuff of entertainment in the modern world. And maybe they are correct in this assumption - and of course could one do this complex subject justice in a 45,000 word adventure? I think not and you write for your market. But all the same you won't find the Indians portrayed as mindless dumb savages in modern fiction. There are a great many books that deal brilliantly with the Indian wars - Terry C Johnston's Sioux Dawn is, I think, remarkable and Larry Mcmurtry's Lonesome Dove series has a lot to say on the subject. Hell, they don't give the Pulitzer for nothing, you know.

But maybe the time is now right for the definitive Indian wars novel , the book to end all books on the subject, the one book to rule them all- I can feel it in the air. And someday soon someone out there is going to write it....the lucky bastard!

The eBook truly global

India has become another country to fall under the eBook spell - The authorities have been working towards making the library a smart, connected and web-enabled place. An entire catalogue of 24 lakh books would be available in the digital format online when the e-project is completed.

According to a section of readers, displaying rare books on the web would be the best part of the modernisation. Himadri Banerjee, Guru Nanak Professor of history at Jadavpur University, said: “The library was founded in 1860, but it has books published in the 17th and 18th centuries. These rare books available on the website will be a treat for readers.”

Banerjee said two books will be displayed at a time. The readers will be asked for feedback and request for rare books of their choice from the online catalogue. For instance, anyone who wants to read The Prince’ must key in the title and wait for the book to be displayed online. He or she could then download the book. As part of the modernisation, the library has digitised 3,200,00 pages from 9,141 books published before 1900 in English and Indian languages.

Sully a Legend

The Archive's pointless and tacky award goes to a new book that sets out to sensationalise Elvis Presley's love life but tells us nothing we didn't already know.

Alanna Nash biography on Presley titled Baby, Let's Play House: Elvis Presley and the Women who Loved Him, suggests that Beaulieu might not have been a virgin when she married the rocker. (you don't say!)

The author tells that on the evening Elvis was introduced to Beaulieu, who was still a schoolgirl, he was found kissing her against a wall.

Also, people at the house claimed that the music legend had disappeared with Beaulieu at 8.30 p.m., only to arrive from his bedroom at 1a.m.

Joe Esposito, one of Presley's friends, said: "He was attracted to women who reminded him of his mother, as Priscilla did with [her][ dark hair and beautiful eyes."

Esposito recalled: "Every night we were out chasing showgirls, partying with them all night, going to all the different lounges ... and finally going to sleep in the morning. Then we'd wake up in the afternoon and start all over again."

"We talked, smoked grass, drank, went for late swims and even had orgies."

The tome further throws light on an affair between Presley and Sandy Ferra, 14, whom he met while filming GI Blues.

The affair lasted for six years, even while he was seeing other women. The singer's friends even made jokes about "little Elvis", referring to his penis, and unselfish approach to sex.

The book has been published in America and will come out in Britain in May

Saturday 20 March 2010


An interesting scan from 1898, before the magazine merged with Argosy.
Click on the images for a larger version

I've got a digital scan of the entire magazine - wish I had the real thing.


I am still in mourning over Borders vanishing from the UK and reports that the company are in trouble in the US have been coming thick and fast over the last few months. The company are now trying a new way to boost sales by encouraging book clubs to meet in their store.

Nod to Laurie Powers for the following report:
In the increasingly brutal book wars, Borders Group Inc. is learning what coffeehouses long have known: Encourage shoppers to think of you as a home away from home and they'll spend more, maybe even become regulars.

To spur that feeling, Borders quietly unveiled a program last month that invites book clubs to convene at its cafes instead of in members' homes. The step is geared toward helping the money-losing bookstore chain drum up sales and reshape itself into a local gathering place instead of a faceless superstore.

Signs and posters telling shoppers to bring their book group to the store have gone out from corporate headquarters in Ann Arbor, Mich., to Borders' 507 outposts, said Mary Davis, spokeswoman for the chain. Borders' Chicago flagship, which is slated to close next year, already has played host to a few private book clubs in its third-floor event space.

"We're encouraging stores to reach out to the public to say, 'We're here,' " Davis said. "It's a way to drive traffic to the stores."

Borders has been closing stores to adjust to falling sales as and Wal-Mart grab market share. Times got tougher when Wal-Mart and Amazon launched a $10 book price war right before the holidays. Then in January, Borders cut 10% of its corporate work force and Chief Executive Ron Marshall resigned after one year, the third person to occupy the CEO post in as many years.

Since 2002, Barnes & Noble and Borders have finished each year with fewer stores than they began, while Wal-Mart, Target and Costco have expanded, said Michael Norris, an analyst at research firm Simba Information. The superstore book chains also hurt themselves by replacing booksellers with cashiers, a move that sent avid readers to independents, he said.

"The chains need to figure out why they have a reason to exist," Norris said. "They are caught in the middle. You have the Internet on one hand, where people can access whatever books they want, and on the other hand you have disengaged people who happen to buy a book if they are walking through Target or Wal-Mart. Then you have passionate independent booksellers placing the book into your hands."

An important part of book ownership is getting together and talking about the books, Norris said, adding that Borders' program is a step in the right direction.

Your library fines will cover the national debt

It's common to return a library book late — but not by half a century.

Staff at a British library say they were surprised and puzzled when they received a book that was 45 years overdue through their mailbox.

Alison Lawrie, the principal assistant at Dinnington Library, near northern England's Sheffield, says the Penguin first edition copy of "Quartermass and the Pit" by Nigel Kneale was due back on Oct. 15, 1965.

She says the borrower remains a mystery because the library records don't go back that far, and the sender didn't attach a letter or note with the book.

Lawrie said Friday the sender need not worry about a hefty fine.

She says: "If the person who returned the book wants to come forward, we'd love to know the story behind it."


For an interview with romance writer, Chastity Bush - well spring is in the air and winter is now behind us, so now is a good time to take a look at a genre the Archive doesn't usually cover.

The Archivist will be moping around in best lounge lizard style to speak to this talented young writer of heart-warming fiction.


The Archive fully supports The Quick Reads initiative and this year's titles are in bookshops and libraries now. Priced at £1.99 the books are designed to encourage people who claim not to have the time to read, to get reading. Check out the Archive's recent review of Peter James' A Perfect Murder - a slim quick read with as much depth as any five hundred page plus volume.

This year's titles run across all genres - from all out action to chick lit to celebrity memoirs.

Check out the Quick Reads website for 2010 HERE

There are ten new titles out there now - something for all tastes, so please support this initiative. Who knows these slim books may help develop a lifetime of reading pleasure. As Stephen King said and then said he didn't mean it - if you don't learn to read and write you'll end up in the military. Mind you Andy McNab hasn't done too bad and his, Last Night Another Soldier is one of this year's titles.

Look out for the posters in bookshops, libraries and in the back window of the Archive's car.


 Last night I watched the new cleaned up version of the Beatles Let it Be documovie - it was great to finally see it cleaned up, thanks to P...