Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Guest Post: Paul Bishop: WHY PULP?



Far too much of today’s fiction output is bloated filler designed to turn books into 700 page doorstops under the false assumption more is better. If you’re like me, you don’t have the time or patience to plow through 700 pages to read a story better served in 300 pages – or less.

The writers who work on the pulp magazines from back in the day understood this. Their audience wanted stripped down yarn filled with action, twists and turns, all with the point of providing reader satisfaction.

Hero pulps from the ‘30s and ‘40s, such as The Shadow, Doc Savage, and The Avenger, pull major collector’s prices today. To a lesser extent so do the weird menace and aviation pulps. Western pulps can still be had for bargain prices as can many of the romance and sports pulps.

The best of the sports pulps, Fight Card Magazine, however, demands the same high collector’s prices as the popular hero pulps. The stories in Fight Card Magazine were a definite cut above the stories in the multitude of other sports pulps. The most collectible issue of Fight Stories Magazine contain two-fisted tales of Sailor Steve Costigan written by the creator of Conan, Robert E. Howard.

It was Howard’s boxing tales along with many others from Fight Stories magazines that are among my pulp favorites. They have long held sway in my imagination, yet there was no modern home for their novelette length – until now.

The advent of e-publishing has not only provided a viable publishing platform for the 25,000 word novelette, but also a way to reach specific niche audiences hungry for these types of tales.

The Fight Card series, created by myself and prolific writer Mel Odom, is inspired by the boxing tales from the best of the sports pulps. Told in the straightforward, hard-driving, two-fisted pulp style, the yarns we spin under the Fight Card banner are designed to be read in one or two sittings while still providing major bang and satisfaction for your reading dollars.

Published under the unifying pseudonym Jack Tunney, the first two Fight Card books have just debuted across all e-book platforms. Felony Fists (written by myself) and The Cutman (written by Mel Odom), take different approaches to their boxing tales.

Felony Fists has a crime twist with L.A.P.D. detective /boxer Patrick “Felony” Flynn facing down Solomon King, a brutal heavyweight contender owned by mobster Mickey Cohen. Flynn’s mandate – put King on the canvas and stop Cohen from taking over the L.A. fight rackets.

The Cutman is an adventure yarn. Merchant Marine Mickey Flynn, Pat’s older brother, is in the ring in Havana battling the human killing machine Simbari. The fate of Mickey’s ship and her crew hanging in the balance.

Next month, Split Decision by Eric Beetner – a noir tale to stand with the best of the Gold Medal originals – will be Fight Card’s main event.

In the following months more top notch tales from top notch storytellers with an affinity for fisticuffs and pulp-style writing, along with more tales from myself and Mel Odom, will be climbing into the ring.

If you enjoy two-fisted, straightforward, timeless storytelling give Felony Fists or The Cutman or both a try, and let us know what you think.



Los Angeles 1954

Patrick “Felony” Flynn has been fighting all his life. Learning the “sweet science” from Father Tim the fighting priest at St. Vincent’s, the Chicago orphanage where Pat and his older brother Mickey were raised, Pat has battled his way around the world – first with the Navy and now with the Los Angeles Police Department.

Legendary LAPD chief William Parker is on a rampage to clean up both the department and the city. His elite crew of detectives known as The Hat Squad is his blunt instrument – dedicated, honest, and fearless. Promotion from patrol to detective is Pat’s goal, but he also yearns to be one of the elite.

And his fists are going to give him the chance.

Gangster Mickey Cohen runs LA’s rackets, and murderous heavyweight Solomon King is Cohen’s key to taking over the fight game. Chief Parker wants Patrick “Felony” Flynn to stop him – a tall order for middleweight ship’s champion with no professional record.

Leading with his chin, and with his partner, LA’s first black detective Tombstone Jones, covering his back, Patrick Flynn and his Felony Fists are about to fight for his future, the future of the department, and the future of Los Angeles.



Havana, Cuba. 1954.

Mickey Flynn is an ex-Korean War vet turned merchant marine. He was born in the ghettos of Chicago and raised in an orphanage with his younger brother, Patrick. He was one of several young men who received an education from the nuns at St. Vincent’s.

But he was also taught the "sweet science" by Father Tim, a Golden Gloves boxer and retired police officer who only knew one way to bring a troubled boy to manhood. Father Tim worked with his young charges, taught them how to jab and punch and throw a hook that seemed to come out of nowhere. When the young men left St. Vincent's (Our Lady of the Glass Jaw), they were changed, fit and ready to take on the troubles the encountered around the world, no matter where they found them.

Now Mick's in Havana, working on WIDE BERTHA, his ship. After surviving a fierce storm at sea, the last thing Mick and the crew need to do is get crossways with the Italian organized crime flooding Havana, but it doesn't take much to put him in the cross hairs of a vengeful mob boss working for Lucky Luciano.

Unable to get free of bad luck and unfortunate circumstance, Mick ends up in the ring in an illegal boxing match fighting a human killing machine.

About Paul:
A novelist and screenwriter, Paul Bishop also has a distinguished career with the Los Angeles Police Department, where he has twice been honored as Detective Of The Year. With over thirty years experience investigating Sex Crimes, Paul brings a gritty realism to his writing along with a healthy dollop of hard earned gallows humor.

As a nationally recognized interrogator, Paul appears regularly as one of two principal interrogators on the hit ABC reality series Take The Money And Run . . .

His novels include Hot Pursuit, Deep Water, Penalty Shot, and four novels in his L.A.P.D. Detective Fey Croaker series: Kill Me Again, Grave Sins, Tequila Mockingbird, and Chalk Whispers. He has also published two short story collections, Pattern Of Behavior and Running Wylde, as well as writing scripts for episodic television and feature films.

Check out Paul's blog HERE
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Author Aaron Patterson: Blog: The Worst Book Ever.


  1. I've already read a couple of Paul's books, and they are awesome. He really knows how to write a villain.