Monday, April 30, 2012


Cover by Rob Davis & Shane Evans
Writing, let alone reading, pulp can take one to many wondrous places at various times within history and fiction; and one of the more frequent writing travelers is Erwin K. Roberts.

His latest solo exploit is Doctor Watson's American Adventure, recently released from Airship 27, which helps to cover what happened in John Watson's life while Sherlock Holmes' was missing after that fateful trip over the Reichenbach Falls.

Watson and his new wife Mary travel to America to look into her side of the family tree. As the mystery unfolds, they are helped by the very first masked rider of the plains, future President of the United States Teddy Roosevelt, and others.

The Free Choice E-zine recently had an opportunity to chat further with the author.

Erwin K. Roberts
The Free Choice E-zine: How did this book come about?

Erwin K. Roberts: I pitched the idea of a Watson anthology before I knew Airship-27 already had Aaron Smith's A Season of Madness headed for publication. So while technically mine's their second Doctor Watson book, I had a great deal of fun writing about him; about three times more than I planned for.

TFCE: This book is the latest effort in a growing movement called New Pulp. What is New Pulp to you?

Erwin: New Pulp turned out to be what I was writing long before anybody used that term. Pulp, Old & New, is about adventure fiction. Solid fast paced stories that, since before World War One, have been transferred into media other than magazines. Classic Pulp remembers the originals. New Pulp gives them and characters inspired by them new adventures. For instance, Mack Bolan has been New Pulp since 1969.

TFCE: Why do you write what you do?
Erwin: I've wanted to write most of my life. But my interests have mostly been in niches traditional publishers don't do much with. Today's technology and do-it-yourself methods for both printing and electronic distribution make it possible for me to find an audience for the sort of things I like to write.

TFCE: What inspires you to write?
Erwin: I constantly have ideas popping into my head. Something I noticed today suddenly meshes with an event I saw on the news, or decades ago in real life. And, what if this other gizmo got tossed in? And this happens to a cop? newsman? masked avenger? poor schmo-on-the-street? And away the story goes.

TFCE: What has influenced your style and technique?
Erwin: Way too many to give a complete listing. Carl Barks, for one. Arthur C. Clarke, E. E. 'Doc' Smith, Ed Hamilton, Andre Norton, to name just a few science fiction writers. Edgar Rice Burroughs fits in various categories. And a bunch of comic book pros and fans.

TFCE: What would be your dream project?
Erwin: Aside from getting my own characters out there? I think I've done at least part of it. The first two hero pulps I picked up were late issues of The Phantom Detective and The Masked Rider. I've written new stories for both of them. My version of the Phantom Detective (along with some other heroes) should be appearing in a major story called "The Sons of Thor", to be published by Pro Se Press between two consecutive issues of their monthly Pro Se Presents magazine in the near future. This is basically a villain pulp. But none of the pulp villains ever lasted very long. In my opinion, part of that was because they always seemed to fight the same hero every time. The Sons of Thor are Germanic Nationalists who've been around for centuries. To them, the Nazis are Johnny-come lately wimps. First I threw them up against a green-as-grass 2nd LT Richard Curtis van Loan in the deadly skies of the Great War. Then, in the classic "pulp-era", who stands between them and conquest? Singly and together, the Phantom Detective, Jim Anthony, and the Black Bat.
Airship-27 has my Masked Rider story lined up for their next MR anthology.
There are other classic characters I'd like a crack at. And not just from pulps. One that always comes to mind as begging for a prose exploit is DC Comics' Dr. Mid-Nite from the original Justice Society of America.

TFCE: Where do you foresee yourself within the next few years?
Erwin: Retired! I will probably retire from my day job around the end of 2012. But in addition to writing, I plan to take some of the art classes I should have taken in college, instead of the now obsolete paper drafting courses on my transcript.

TFCE: Any other projects you'd like to promote?
Cover by Rob Davis & Rich Woodall
Erwin: Out recently from Airship-27 was a new anthology of The Moon Man vol. 1. This fellow with the one-way Argus glass globe on his head was the Robin Hood of the pulps. I wrote one of the stories in the anthology. I wondered why he emulated Robin so, as a kid, I sent him to Sherwood Forest. The Moon Man robs the rich and/or crooked of Midwestern Great City to help those made poor by the Great Depression. And gets into a ton of trouble along the way.

Pro Se should also soon be releasing The Pulptress vol. 1. I have a story in that anthology where, as a tween, she crosses paths with my second generation hero The Voice.

Finally, I'm putting the finishing touches on the second volume of my own hero in Casebook of The Voice.

TFCE: Sounds like "retirement" is actually going to be a misnomer in your case.
Erwin: Maybe.
TFCE: Well, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to grant us this interview.
Erwin: Your welcome.

Dr. Watson's American Adventure is available electronically at
The print version will also soon be available at

The Moon Man and all other books mentioned in this interview are also available from


Digging Planet Earth
Hello Everybody! Autumn the Puppy here.
Now last Sunday was Earth Day, where humanity paused to think about this planet and how we all can pitch in to make the world a better (and more livable) place for ourselves and our prosperity.
The following was sent to me after the initial article was run, but it's too good to wait until next Earth Day to post it.
Therefore, I present to you now:

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman that she should bring her own paper grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.

The gray haired woman apologized and explained, “We didn't have this green thing back in my earlier days.”

The clerk responded, “That's our problem today. Your generation didn't care enough to save our environment for future generations.”

“You may be right,” began the old woman, “our generation didn't have the green thing.

“Back when I was even younger than you are now, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles, and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plants to be washed, sterilized, and refilled so they could reuse the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. But we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

“We walked up stairs because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building,” continued the older woman. “We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.

“Back then, we washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line outside, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts. Wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. And our kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not brand-new clothing every time they needed something or just to keep up with the latest fashion trend.

“Back then, we had one TV or a radio in the house. Not a TV in every room. And that TV did not have a screen the size of Montana,” said the lady. "In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. But we didn't have the green thing back then.

“We didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working and didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

“We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new one, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn't have the green thing back then.

“I remember people took the streetcar or a bus, and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service,” said the old lady. “We usually had just one electrical outlet per room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen different appliances all at once. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

“But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the green thing back then?” the old lady asked, as she finished putting her purchases into reusable tote bags before walking away.

The Sunday Funnies will return next weekend.-AtP.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


From time to time, something happens around the world that requires more space and attention than our Week In Review feature can devote to it. The following is one of those events...

We've all heard of the infamous "bucket list": an agenda of the things we've should have done, want to, or need to do before we shuffle off this mortal coil.
But to create and fulfill a bucket list for a child?

With the help of her parents, that is what five month old Avery Canahuati has set out to do.

Avery has been diagnosed with Type 1 Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a currently incurable disease that will disable her internal organs. The best prognosis prevents the young lady from seeing her second birthday.

Laura and Mike Canahuati have set out to not only raise awareness of this disease, but to make young Avery's short life as enriched as it can be. Sitting up, Easter, Halloween, Christmas... ALL the milestones of life that many achieve and some take for granted are to be experienced and cherished in whatever time Avery has left upon this world.

Avery (via her parents) recently blogged about having her first kiss, from a 19 month old boy who is also facing  the end of his life due to Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

While unfortunately the very last item on Avery's list, surviving the disease, will not be accomplished within her lifetime because current research is far from a cure, the Canahuatis hope that the blog AVERY CAN will raise awareness of Spinal Muscular Atrophy and new funding towards finding the answers to defeat this disease.

You can read Avery's blog at

Ms. Canahuati also has a Facebook page that you can visit.

Let us hope that where Avery leaves off, others not only continue the battle against Spinal Muscular Atrophy, but realize that life itself is the most precious gift we are ever given, and should be lived to the fullest.

The Free Choice E-zine would like to thank Lauren Sher of the ABC News Blogs for the initial Internet post that brought this story to our attention and wish Avery and her parents all the best in a bad situation.


Today is International Tai-Chi and Qigong Day.
Louisiana celebrates its 200th anniversary of joining the United States of America Monday, April 30th.

Amongst events happening around the world this past week...
*Pakistan has deported the three widows (no, that is not a typo) and eleven children of deceased terrorist Osama Bin Laden from their borders. After serving their 45 day prison sentence resulting from violating Pakistan laws, the country provided transportation to send the family to Jeddah. Where they go from there is their decision and expense.
*Despite their recently failed rocket test, North Korea is still threatening to reduce South Korea "to ashes".
*Civil unrest continues in Bahrain, the Sudan-South Sudan border, and Syria.
*Legislators in Connecticut (USA) have voted to eliminate the state's death penalty. State Governor Dan Malloy has signed the measure into law, making life without parole the highest prison penalty available.

As of April 28, here is how the top Republican Candidates stand towards winning the GOP nomination to compete against incumbent President Barack Obama this November:
*Mitt Romney has 724 delegates.
*Rick Santorum has 217 delegates. His name is still on several ballots despite no longer actively campaigning.
*Newt Gingrich has 131 delegates, but vows to stay in the race until the end.
*Ron Paul has 54 delegates.
1144 delegates are needed for any candidate to win the nomination. Louisiana voters have their primary April 28. Indiana, North Carolina, West Virginia, Oregon, Arkansas, Kentucky, Texas, California, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Montana have yet to have their primaries before Utah finishes up the campaign trail June 26th.
*Running unopposed, incumbent Barack Obama has already secured the Democratic Nomination to campaign for a second term as President.

*Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon celebrated their fourth wedding anniversary by renewing their vows in Paris.

For more news at any time, either scroll down to our IN OTHER NEWS feature at the bottom of your screen, or visit any other reputable news source.


Another weekend is upon us, and you know what that means.

AKA (also known as)
ANOTHER new puzzle to join our rotating cast of enigmas!
We'll give you an alternate name for something, and you have to know what it's mostly known as.

This classic comedy routine has been called by one of its original performers as "The Thesaurus Sketch".

Two separate things share at least one common word so that they can combine to make a new entity.
From the clue below, do you know what it is?

A meal deal in Margaritaville?

We'll reveal all next weekend. But for now, let's peek inside THE ANSWERS BOX and discover the results from April 21's Puzzle Corner which was themed in honor of our Editor-In-Chief's trip to Pulp Ark 2012.

Basically, one of the items below is somewhat different than the other two. Do you know who the proverbial odd man out is and why?

{The Shadow, Doc Savage, Tarzan}

When I first created this puzzle, my original answer was (1.) The Shadow, because that character started out on radio as the mysterious host of the Detective Story Hour  before becoming a pulp star, unlike the other two, who started their distinguished careers directly in the pulps.
HOWEVER, while at Pulp Ark 2012, Doctor Art Sippo pointed out to me that Tarzan could be the odd man out for two different reasons.
(2.)Both The Shadow and Doc Savage were published by Street and Smith/Codne Nast while Tarzan started his print career at All Story Magazine, published by Frank Munsey.
(3.)PLUS: All the Shadow and Doc Savage stories were published under house names. Mostly written by Walter B. Gibson, all the Shadow stories were accredited to Maxwell Grant. Lester Dent created most of the Doc Savage tales, despite the fact that all were accredited to Kenneth Robeson. Every original Tarzan tale of the day was written by the Jungle Lord's creator: Edgar Rice Burroughs.

True or False: The Shadow is really Lamont Cranston.
FALSE!! While other media have simplified the answer to The Shadow just being Cranston, he is really Kent Allard pretending to be Lamont Cranston (the real one actually spent most of the series in Europe) when not actively fighting evil as The Shadow.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


This time, I managed to obtain some additional photos from Pulp Ark 2012 attendee Nancy Hansen. All were taken by her except one, for obvious reasons.

"You want me to WHAT?"

Here we have NEW New Pulp Author Ashley Mangin signing her VERY FIRST professional autograph.
Mrs. Mangin is dressed as her Prohibition Era private detective Kitty McGee.

"Please buy Mommy's work."

Here we see the Mangin Mites, also known as Ashley and Will Mangin's children, at the Pro Se Productions table over the three day event.
It was a family affair so don't worry, those are only toys the children are holding.

Here is a shot of me reading to the school children in attendance at the special preview event Friday morning.
There was so much going on that I just read a brief selection from my first book: Hugh Monn, Private Detective.

"I know!"

Here is a photo of long time comic book colorist turned pulp archivist Anthony Tollin.
Note the head wear.
That is THE hat used as a model by artists for lots of the classic pulp covers featuring The Shadow, fully restored.

"Yes, we CAN!"

This is the photo I took at Nancy Hansen's request, for she was part of the Women Writer's in New Pulp Sunday morning. Pictured, left to right are Nancy Hansen, Megan Smith, Ashley Mangin with one of the Mangin Mites, Jen Mulvihlhill, and Andrea Judy. The panel was a lot more well attended than my poor photograph skills make it appear.

And so, this concludes our visual presentations of Pulp Ark 2012.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


As promised, despite the fact that my own digital camera did not survive the trip down to Batesville, Arkansas; I have acquired some photos from the Pulp Ark 2012 convention to share with Free Choice E-zine readers.
All were taken by convention attending photographer Carlin Stuart and are used with permission.
The captions and comments are from my own perspective.
Al Bohl
Al Bohl, the executive producer of the documentary Tarzan: Lord of the Louisiana Jungle, attended Saturday, presenting a look at the very first Tarzan film ever made, the 1918 silent movie Tarzan of the Apes, featuring Elmo Lincoln in the title role.
While only the documentary itself was shown at Pulp Ark 2012, the DVD also contains the original movie too. For more information, you can visit

Sippo, Stephens, Tollin

Here we have Art Sippo of The Book Cave, Aubrey Stephens of the Society for Creative Anachronism, and Anthony Tollin, long time comic book colorist turned pulp archivist discussing classic pulps Friday afternoon.

A familiar face with Felix Silla

Here is a lady fan with VERY long hair posing with actor Felix Silla Sunday morning. Amidst  his credits, Silla originated the role of Cousin Itt on the original Addams Family television series with John Astin and Carolyn Jones.
A VERY surprised me sitting next to Felix Silla!

Other than being knowledgeable about his career and the entertainment industry in general, as well as being respectful and polite to him, I still do not know how I deserved such an honor Saturday morning. I only planned to sit in the audience with everyone else, but the next thing I know, I'm sitting next to Pulp Ark 2012's Guest of Honor and helping him field questions from the audience!
Some celebrities are known to put on airs and be aloof, but Felix Silla is one of the nicest people it has ever been my privilege to meet, and I shall always treasure the moment.

Here we have a group shot of actor/writer Stephen Jared on the left, Felix Silla center, and Carlin Stuart himself on the right.
Unsure who took this photograph since the photographer is in it, but Felix's shirt marks it as a Sunday morning image.

Here is Aubrey Stephens and another member of the Society for Creative Anachronism in action during a Saturday demonstration.
The stage saw many events during Pulp Ark 2012, including a concert by the Order of Tyr, a video game music meets metal rock group Friday night, hence the drum set in the background.

What a way to get a raise!

And of course no convention would be complete without costumed characters. Here we see New Pulp's resident spokeswoman The Pulptress (Megan Smith) with Pro Se Press and Pulp Ark's co-founder, publisher Tommy Hancock.

Felix Silla was also an Ewok in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. He was the one on a makeshift hang glider during the battle on Endor. Here he is with a "friend" Saturday afternoon.

"Who's watching who?"

I have absolute no idea who is within the Rorschach costume, but on the right is Big Daddy Cool himself, Johnny Dellarocca, an entertainer specializing in the 1920s-40s, or as he calls it: "Diesel Punk", Steam Punk's successor.
But do all team ups have to start this way?

Unfortunately, I don't have the space to post EVERY image. During the three day event that was Pulp Ark 2012, Carlin Stuart took at least 150 photos that I am aware of. Or at least, that is how many that are on Facebook at the moment that I can swear to.
To see the full album, please visit that social network for his work and those of other attendees.
But hopefully the above has given everyone a hint of all the fun and excitement during the course of the convention, and there WILL BE a Pulp Ark 3 in 2013!
See you there?

Sunday, April 22, 2012


And so we come to the conclusion of the second annual Pulp Ark convention in beautiful Batesville, Arkansas.

The day began with another complimentary breakfast at the hotel. I was already there eating when Felix Silla walked in. The man sat down at my table and we had a brief chat over our respective meals before each of us had to get ready for Day 3. I have no idea what I ever did to earn or deserve his friendship, but I hope I'm always worthy of the honor.

My first and only panel of the day was discussing Gumshoes and Flatfeet: Private Detectives, Flatfeet (police officers), and others in pulps with Ashley Morgan, Sean Taylor, Del Garret, and myself.
Then the bulk of my final convention hours involved manning the Pro Se Press table, meeting fans, selling (and autographing when appropriate) books, and saying goodbye to friends old and new as they packed up in the later hours to head home, rest, and prepare for whatever convention they are scheduled for next.

The very last thing that happened at the convention was a concert by a young singer named Ryan Hoyle. I do not know much about him beyond the fact that he's a local Arkansas talent, but he can sing, with a song list that includes Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and other crooners. If you ever get the chance to hear him perform, do so!

Afterwards it was back to the hotel for a little dinner and a brief nap before hopping on the Internet to post these words you're reading now.
Tomorrow is the flight home, layover and all.
Sometime later this week, I am hoping to be able to find some photos to post here to make up for my own digital camera not surviving the flight here.
So until then...

Saturday, April 21, 2012


I dig planet Earth!
Give a hoot! Don't pollute!

Autumn the Puppy AND Ms. Waxy Dragon with you now and stepping a bit out of character for the moment because


While hopefully the thought is with everyone the other 364 days of the year as well, today ALL Humans should take a moment to realize that this is the only planet we have to live on and it should be well taken care of!
After all, it’s not like we have anywhere else to go right now.
Besides, even if we did, would we take care of that planet the same way we did Earth?
If so, that doesn't speak very highly of us.

This is our home, not a pig sty!

Earth Day was first started in 1970 and despite the protests and "concerns" of some who have their own agenda$, the concept has caught on.
Recycling, which was big during World War 2, has finally come into acceptance again within the last couple of decades.
Despite having been proposed back during the administration of former United States President Jimmy Carter, hybrid vehicles are starting to be produced en mass.
So let’s do more to start going green.
Not only will it benefit us now, but your grandchildren's grandchildren in the future will appreciate the effort too.

We'll return next weekend with more Sunday Funnies. Now go save the planet!
~Autumn and Waxy.


Oh, where do I begin?
Other than the aforementioned frustration over being unable to get my digital camera to work that has created a lack of images to accompany this text, I had a WONDERFUL day!

First up was being part of a panel featuring Anthony Tollin, Johnny Lowe, Johnny Lucas, Will Mangin, and myself discussing Pulp's connection and influence on comic books.

Then a little later on I went to attend the celebrity spotlight hour on Pulp Ark 2012's guest of honor, actor Felix Silla.
There I am about to take my seat amongst the crowd and the next thing I know, Silla himself is inviting me to sit next to him on stage!
And if that wasn't enough of a shock, I ended up being the moderator of the hour on Felix's behalf! After introducing him, I asked a couple of starting questions before prompting the audience for theirs.
Doctor Art Sippo recorded the event for a future podcast on THE BOOK CAVE and I cannot wait to hear it myself.
In all honesty, I kept expecting to wake up and discover the whole thing was a dream.
My one regret is that it was only a hour long, for Felix Silla has seen and done so much in a decades spanning career during the better years of the movie and television industry and I'm sure there are many more stories waiting to be told.
A couple of those were touched upon later when Felix was part of a panel discussing Pulp's influence on Hollywood and vice versa. Silla was on stage with film producers Dan Baker and Al Bohl, fellow actor Stephen Jared, and screenplay writer Don Thomas.

Then Chuck Miller making it to the Pro Se table swelled our ranks. Books, autographs, and conversations went fast and furious that day. At our peak, the group consisted of Chuck, Ashley Mangin, Megan Smith, Nancy Hansen, Fuller Bumpers, Don Thomas, Tommy Hancock, and myself. I hope someone got a group shot of us that I can post later this coming week.

What a cover!
Day Two concluded with the presentation of the 2012 Pulp Ark awards, included Howard Hopkins winning the Lifetime Achievement award posthumously, and me accepting the Best Cover award on behalf of David Russell, who painted the cover for my professional writing debut novel: HUGH MONN, PRIVATE DETECTIVE.

Then Pulp Ark auctioned items to benefit the Ozark Hills Literacy Project before presenting Lord of the Louisiana Jungle, the documentary covering the creation of the very first Tarzan film ever produced, the 1918 silent adaptation of Tarzan of the Apes featuring Elmo Lincoln and Enid Markey.


April 22 is EARTH DAY!

Amongst the events happening around the world this past week…
*North Korea has rejected any offers of food aid that involve giving up its nuclear weapons program.
*Jim Yong Kim has been elected president of the World Bank.
*The member countries of the G-20 have united to pledge an additional $430 Billion US Dollars to the International Monetary Fund.
*Some members of the Secret Service are being investigated for associating with prostitutes in Columbia. While such services are legally available in that country, the agents involved had other duties they should have been attending to at the time, like protecting the President of the United States!
*Civil unrest continues in Syria, Bahraini, Yemen, and along the Sudan-South Sudan border.

*Although he is no longer officially in the race, Rick Santorum is still making news within the Republican Presidential Nomination contest. Pre-planned letters criticizing Mitt Romney in the upcoming Pennsylvania primary were never cancelled and sent to potential voters, and the former candidate himself as yet to endorse one of his opponents. Some analysts feel Santorum might find some success as a “non” candidate, since his name is still on many of the remaining primaries’ ballots.
*Meanwhile, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times, reporters overheard hopeful Mitt Romney talking to Florida supporters in a private meeting. When asked about his budget balancing plans, the GOP front runner said he might eliminate the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and make the Department of Education “a heck of a lot smaller”. But whatever his final decisions on the matter, Romney also told the gathered supporters that he would not reveal his plans to voters until AFTER he won the election.

*Journalism: Philadelphia Inquirer (Public Service), Tuscaloosa Alabama News’ staff (Breaking News), Craig F. Walker of the Denver Post (photography)
*Letters and Drama: Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith (poetry), Water By the Spoonful by
Quiara Algeria Hudes (drama)
*Music: Silent Night, An Opera In Two Acts by Kevin Puts

*Sadly, “America’s Oldest Teenager” Dick Clark passed away this week at the age of 82.
*Levon Helm of The Band (The Weight, Up on Cripple Creek) unfortunately lost his battle with cancer on Thursday.
*His publicist waited until after the funeral service to announce that actor Jonathan Frid, best known or type casted (depending upon your opinion) as Barnabas Collins on Dark Shadows passed away on April 13 from complications after a fall. His last professional appearance will be a cameo in the upcoming Dark Shadows movie with Johnny Depp in Frid's role.

*In a game especially scheduled to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park’s grand opening, the Boston Red Sox lost to the New York Yankees 6-2.
*Phillip Humber of the Chicago pitched a perfect game (no hits, no walks) against the Seattle Mariners Saturday. It is only the 21st game in professional baseball history and the third in team history.

For more news at any time, either scroll down to our IN OTHER NEWS feature at the bottom of your screen or visit any other reputable news source.

Friday, April 20, 2012


Since our beloved Editor-In Chief is at the second annual Pulp Ark convention in Batesville, Arkansas (USA) this weekend; we thought it appropriate to present some pulp inspired puzzles. Ready?

A new feature for the Puzzle Corner!
Basically, one of the items below is somewhat different than the other two. Do you know who the proverbial odd man out is and why?
And I have it on good authority from Doctor Art Sippo that there are at least TWO possible answers!

{The Shadow, Doc Savage, Tarzan}

This is just like a regular trivia question, except there are only two possible answers, hence even odds of getting it right. Ready?

True or false: The Shadow is really Lamont Cranston.

We’ll reveal all next weekend. But for now, let’s peek inside THE ANSWERS BOX and discover the results from April 14’s Puzzle Corner.

01.  {quaint, luau} = both words have 3 vowels
02.  {evolve, antidote} = both words begin and end with vowels

In 1978 rocker Alice Cooper donated the money needed to acquire an ‘O’ during restoration of the fabled Hollywood sign in California (USA) in memory of comedian Groucho Marx.


First and foremost, my sincerest apologies for not being able to post images with these reports. Unfortunately my digital camera did not survive the trip from home to Batesville, Arkansas and thus it will be sometime next week at the earliest when I can obtain the appropriate pictures from other sources if possible.

The day started off with a preview visit by all the local area fifth graders. The convention put on a two hour special event including music by the Order of Tyr (video game music meets heavy metal), Professor A. D. Venture discussing imagination, magic tricks by Big Daddy Cool (Johnny Dellarocca), Megan Smith as the Pulptress, actor Felix Silla (Buck Rogers, Addams Family, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi) and readings of selected highlights by various Pro Se Press authors in attendance, including yours truly.
The convention proper began at one local time, with events such as a panel on how pulp promotes literacy, and examining the classic pulp characters of yesteryear, before the night closed with a full concert by the Order of Tyr.

I got to talk to several people during the day, between answering questions from the fifth graders during their visit, renewing acquaintances with Doctor Art Sippo, Erwin R. Kennedy, and Fuller Bumpers; meeting new friends like writers Sean Taylor and Ashley Magnin, and even had a nice chat with Felix Silla.

So overall, quite an interesting day for only my second professional convention appearance.
And for those interested, Batesville is the second oldest city in the state of Arkansas (USA) and is celebrating its bicentennial this later this year.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


April 20-22, our illustrious Editor-In-Chief will be attending the second annual Pulp Ark Convention in Batesville, Arkansas (USA), sponsored by Pro Se Press.
Amongst the highlights of the three day event will be a showing Saturday night of the documentary Tarzan: Lord of the Louisiana Jungle (pictured at right) about the making of the VERY FIRST Tarzan movie, followed by that silent film classic featuring Elmo Lincoln in the title role.
Honored guests will include:
*Actor Felix Silla, who has portrayed Twiki on Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (with Gil Gerard) and Cousin Itt on The Addams Family (dating back to the original with John Astin and Carolyn Jones), amongst countless other parts.
*Anthony Tollin, long time comic book colorist who now oversees reprints of The Shadow for Nostalgia Ventures
*A plethora of New Pulp authors, live music, and much more!

More information can be found here:

The Free Choice E-zine's regular weekend features (The Puzzle Corner, The Week In Review, and The Sunday Funnies) will be presented around coverage of the event from our Editor-in-Chief's perspective, with a full post-convention report to follow after the event concludes.

Click any individual image to make it larger for easier viewing.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Hello Everybody. Ms Waxy Dragon here today because it's Punday!
No, that's not a typo. I just want to share some puns with you. Ready?

I do not enjoy computer jokes one bit.

The best sausages are the wurst.

I stayed up all night to see where the sun went. Then it dawned on me.

This lady said she recognized me from the vegetarian club, but I'd never met herbivore.

This book about anti-gravity is so great I can't put it down.

A theatrical performance about puns is a play on words.

In dragon school today we took a field trip to a soda factory. I hope there isn't a pop quiz about it later.

Not everybody knows this, but contrary to popular belief, dragons are not solitary creatures. We love Humans and some of us even live amongst them, let alone with them.
"I didn't like my beard at first, then it grew on me."
MY Human, Roger Stegamn, was in an automobile accident last weekend, and unfortunately it will be a while before he's released from the hospital.
I have been with Roger since shortly before I was first hatched.
While we still don't know what happened to my mother, he found my egg and has taken care of me ever since.
Some people think I'm just one of many Internet avatars Roger has created over the years and that he "allows the character" to appear here on the Free Choice E-zine.
You Humans have quite an active imagination.

In any case, those concerned can post their prayers and well wishes on Roger's Facebook page.

the free choice e-zine staff

The Sunday Funnies will return next weekend to celebrate EARTH DAY.
Take care of this planet.
It's the only one we've got!

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Sunday night marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic during its maiden voyage.
The Boston Red Sox mark their 100th anniversary of playing professional baseball at Fenway Park in Massachusetts (USA) this season.
Those needing to file income tax returns with the United States of America have until April 17th to do so.

Amongst events that have happened around the world this past week...
*North Korea's attempt to launch a long range rocket failed miserably, despite the fact that South Korea and the rest of the free world were worried about the event. However a few pundits are wondering if the results were genuine or staged. South Korean naval vessels are now searching their territorial waters for rocket debris to study.
*Joyce Banda is now the President of Malawi, following the passing of previous President Bingu wa Mutharika.
*Civil unrest continues in Syria, the Sudan-South Sudan border, and Bahraini.
*Apple, Inc claims the company is now worth over $600 Billion US Dollars. If the value is accurate, this makes it the largest publicly traded company in the free world.
*Long time CBS News correspondent Mike Wallace has passed away at the age of 93.

*Rick Santorum has decided to end his bid for the 2012 Republican nomination. Although his daughter is ill, that was not specifically cited amongst his reasons for dropping out.
*For all intents and purposes, it looks like Mitt Romney will be the GOP's candidate for the 2012 Presidential campaign this fall, although he still does not have the required number of delegates to obtain the position yet.
*There is still much to decide between now and the Republican National Convention this June. A Vice-Presidential running mate has yet to be chosen, and it is unknown at this time what will happen to the delegates pledged to Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul, especially considering the other two gentlemen are still campaigning.

*Based solely upon the number of tickets sold, The Lion King has surpassed Phantom of the Opera as the all time, most successful production on Broadway.

*Professional golfer Bubba Watson won the US Masters tournament.

For more news at any time, either scroll down to our IN OTHER NEWS feature at the bottom of your monitor or visit any other reputable news source.


Another weekend is upon us, so get ready puzzle fans!

The items within each group have something in common. Do you know what it is?
01. {quaint, luau}
02. {evolve, antidote}

Q. What did rock musician Alice Cooper once donate in memory of comedic legend Groucho Marx?

We'll reveal all next weekend. But for now, let's peek inside THE ANSWERS BOX, and discover the results from April 7's Puzzle Corner.

Out of the letters in the word EASTER, one can form:
A, are, art(s), as, at, ate
ear(s), ease, east, eat(s), erase
rat(s), rate(s), rest
sea, sear, seat, see, seer, steer
tea(s), tease, teaser, tee(s), terse, AND tear(s).
Other words might be possible than the 34, but we
bet you discovered there was more than you first thought.

It's Spring! (Check the calendar.)

Monday, April 9, 2012


Cover Art by Marc Wheatley
One of the busiest people within the New Pulp movement is author Bobby Nash. Amongst his credits is co-creating and contributing to the new anthology from Airship 27: The Ruby Files. and we managed to get a few minutes to chat with him about that and other stuff.

THE FREE CHOICE E-ZINE: Bobby, what is this book about?
BOBBY NASH: Private eye Richard (Rick) Ruby, is molded in the classic, hard boiled tradition of private eyes straight out of the 1930s. Not only did I write a story for this volume, but I also co-created the series with writer Sean Taylor, so Rick and the ladies at Belle's all hold a special place in my heart.

TFCE: What is New Pulp to you?
BOBBY: Ah, the age-old question, hotly debated amongst those who write New Pulp. I like to think that New Pulp is just a way of telling stories in a modern writing style, but with the classic feel of the original pulps of old. New Pulp is a lot like art. I know it when I see it.

Author Bobby Nash and Friend
TFCE: Why do you write what you do?
BOBBY: I love telling stories. Thankfully, there are publishers out there that like the stories I tell, so I've been very fortunate to have an outlet for my tales. I tend to write stories that appeal to me as a reader. Sometimes that means pulp stories, sometimes it means thrillers, sometimes it means sci fi, and... well, you get the idea. I like telling stories that I would like to read. Hopefully, there are others that enjoy reading them as well.

TFCE: What inspires you to write?
BOBBY: Deadlines. I know that’s probably not the answer you expected, but as a professional writer, my writing schedule is quite often dictated by deadlines. There is no better motivator for making a writer write than a tight deadline.
Aside from that, I love telling stories. I have to write them down just to get them out of my head. They’re fun and I enjoy crafting stories.

TFCE: What has influenced your style and technique?
BOBBY: I have no idea. I probably should have a better answer for that question, but sadly, I don’t. I’m sure that I pick up influences everywhere. Story ideas come from anywhere and everywhere. I’m sure I pick up writing styles and turns of phrase from other writers, although I don’t try to emulate any one particular style or writer. I try to write in my own style with my own voice. We’re all inspired by the world around us. As a writer, I’m like a sponge just taking in all of those various forms of influence and hopefully squeezing out something worth reading.
 One of the best compliments I’ve ever received, and I’ve heard it more than once, is that when reading one of my books or stories, the reader said they could hear my voice in their head reading it to me. Obviously, these comments came from people that know me, but I’m excited that there is a lot of me in the writing.

TFCE: What would be your dream project?
BOBBY: That’s tough, because it probably changes from day to day. I would love to write The Fantastic Four and I’m sure I've got at least one good Stargate and Star Trek story in me. I would love the opportunity to play in one, or both, of those universes. Aside from that, I would love to create a series of novels that can run for many years. That would be the ultimate goal.

TFCE: Based upon the number of conventions you've attended in years past, you've been called by some as "New Pulp's Road Warrior". How do you feel about the moniker and life on the road?
BOBBY: Never really thought about the nickname. I love conventions and always have a blast working them. Setting up at a con can be exhausting, but I love meeting new people and spreading the word about my work. Cons are a lot like reunions as well. I have friends that I only get to see at cons. They are great fun and I love attending them. I like traveling to new places as well.
The down side is that convention trips are expensive. There's gas, hotel, food, table fees, buying books to have on hand, plus buying promotional items to have on the table. So, yeah, cost is a big factor in choosing which conventions I attend. If there is another guest going that I know we sometimes share travel expenses, which helps. Sadly, there is a growing trend of charging guests exorbitant table fees these days, which has greatly reduced my convention appearances. I don't go to cons to lose money so I have to take all of that into account.
Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of conventions out there willing to cover my travel or hotel so that limits which shows I can attend. There are some that help with expences and they usually go to the top of my list of shows to attend.

TFCE: Where do you foresee yourself within the next few years?
BOBBY: Hopefully, I’ll still be writing and making a decent living from my writing. It’s a goal I've been working toward for some time. I’m not there yet, but I’m working on it.

TFCE: As mentioned at the beginning of this interview, you're one very busy writer. Any other projects you would like to promote?
Also by the author
BOBBY: Well, I’m always happy to talk about my books. You can find a full list of my work at, but Deadly Games! was my most recent novel. I’m very proud of this one. Not only did I write it, but also produced the covers as well. I'm also working on Evil Intent, which will be a sequel to my novel Evil Ways, and I'm still contributing to anthologies such as the forthcoming New Adventures Of The Eagle from Pro Se Press' Pulp Obscura imprint, along with my work on Lance Starr, Domino Lady, the Green Hornet, and others.

TFCE: Wow. Guess we better let you get back to writing Bobby. Thanks for taking the time to chat with us.
BOBBY: You're welcome.

The Ruby Files can be purchased in print from:
Amazon at
Create Space at
Indy Planet at

Other books Bobby Nash has either contributed to or written can be found at Amazon,
Barnes and Nobel at
Or their respective publishers.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


"Cute" is my middle name.
Hello Everybody.  HOPPY EASTER!
It's your pal E.B., the Easter Bunny back once more.
Apparently you folks liked me stopping by on my way home from delivering Easter wishes and goodies to tell a few jokes last year so much that The Free Choice E-zine has decided to make this an annual tradition.
So let me hop right to this year's jokes.

Why did the rabbit cross the road?
To get to the hopping mall.

How do rabbits fly?
By hareplane.

What is the bunny motto?
"Don't worry, be hoppy."

Did you know carrots are good for the eyes? After all, you've never seen a rabbit wearing glasses, have you?

What is a rabbit's favorite dance style?

Where do rabbits go after their wedding?
On their bunnymoon.

Why do lady rabbits have shiny noses?
Because their powder puffs are on the wrong end.

What do you get if you cross a flea with a rabbit?
A bug's bunny.

A lady walked in to her kitchen and saw a rabbit sitting on top of her refrigerator.
"What are you doing up there?" she asked.
"This is a Westinghouse wefrigerator, isn't it?" asked the rabbit in return.
"Yes. So?"
"I'm westing," said the rabbit.

Well, that's it for this year folks. It's been fun.
As usual, I'm gonna hop home, kick back, relax, hang out with my peeps, and take a well deserved carrot break.


The Sunday Funnies will return next weekend. Have a great week!

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Easter is observed this Sunday.
Those needing to file income tax returns with the United States of America have until April 17th to do so.

Amongst events happening around the world this past week include:
*While the Republican Presidential nominee is still being decided, incumbent Barack Obama has officially secured the Democratic Party's nomination to run for a second term as President of the United States.
*GOP hopeful Mitt Romney still leads over Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul, but does not have the necessary amount of delegates needed to secure the nomination to campaign for office in the fall election.
*Civil unrest continues in Syria, Bahraini, the Sudan border, and Mali.
*Three widows and two daughters of Osama Bin Laden have been found guilty of being in Pakistan illegally. The court sentence? 45 days in jail and the equivalent of $114 US Dollars each.
*Renowned painter Thomas Kinkade has passed away.

*The 2012 Major League Baseball season has begun!
*The Masters professional golf tournament is under way in Augusta, Georgia, USA.
*The grand champions of the 2012 NCAA college basketball tournaments are the Kentucky Wildcats in the men's division and the Baylor Lady Bears the women's.

*Amongst the 2012 Academy of Country Music Awards winners were the Eli Young Band for song of the year (Crazy Girl) and Taylor Swift for Entertainer of the year.

For more news at any time, either scroll down to our IN OTHER NEWS feature at the bottom of your screen, or visit any other reputable news source.


Welcome everyone. We have some special puzzles especially themed for this holiday weekend, so let's get right to it!

How many words can you make from the letters in EASTER?

Something appropriate for this time of year is represented in the image below. Do you know what it is?

We'll reveal all next weekend. But for now, let's peek inside THE ANSWERS BOX, and discover the results from the March 31st Puzzle Corner.

*L*I*F*E* = Life amongst the stars, something scientists are still hoping to discover and that science fictions fans dream exists.

Q. What is the name of John Reid's horse?
A. If you know that John Reid is the man wearing the mask of the Lone Ranger, then you know his horse is named Silver.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Cover Art by Marc Guerrero
One of the more recent releases to come from Pro Se Press is Savior by Don Thomas. The Free Choice E-zine recently had a chance to chat with the author, starting with a brief, spoiler free synopsis about the novel and it's origins.

Don Thomas: Savior is about a government agency created to deal with the various issues facing the United States after a large pandemic of unknown origins, known as 'Red Death', breaks throughout the world. One agency quickly gains sweeping and highly unusual escalating prominence and authority over all the citizens of America in a handful of years. The story mainly focusing on ex-SAVIOR field operations leader Steve Ryker, codenamed 'Archangel' and the few surviving members of his unit, who come to the realization that things in the world have gone horribly wrong and the organization they once loyally served seems to be responsible.
Way back in the early 90's, my friend Mark Galbraith made a comment about how most stories you read in books or watch in movies generally were either heavily derived from other sources or completely ripped off from them. And so he challenged me as a writer to come up with something that was completely original. So I sat down and came up with the basic concept and the majority of characters for Savior. Then over the years I put together different parts of the world and universe until things had developed to the point where the first book became solid reality.

The Free Choice E-zine: Pro Se Press is part of the New Pulp movement. What is New Pulp to you?
Don: New Pulp is more action orientated and tends not to get bogged down with the sort of material that tends to be a stumbling block of more readers. It focuses more on high-octane, page-turning action and dynamic tension, coupled with deep characterization through other methods besides long tedious sections that have the appearance of filler.

TFCE: Why do you write what you do?
Don: I like telling stories. The story is what is important, whether my own or another person's I recount for friends. To give someone that has never experienced it in it's totality from beginning to middle to end is always a very precious gift to be able to give, no matter what the length or depth of that story.

TFCE: What inspires you to write?
Don: I would like for my daughter to be proud of me. And I want to be able to give her a better life. Sky is blue, water's wet, and writers write. If I could play an instrument or write my own songs, I would be telling stories that way. But I can't and don't have the time left in my life to offset my poor skill in either one. So I write.

TFCE: What has influenced your style and technique?
Don: Ray Bradbury and Issac Asimov immediately come to mind as far as science fiction. They certainly weren't the only two that wrote all that science fiction from 1920's to the early 1960's; but they are a tough act to follow. And when it came time to pass the torch to a younger generation of Sci Fi writers, in my opinion that torch was a blazing inferno. And before them it took men like H.G. Wells and Edgar Rice Burroughs to get that torch started...or keep it from burning out completely, whichever you prefer.

TFCE: What would be your dream project?
Don: A $300 Million Dollar production budget film with at least $100 Million for marketing. I would want to write it, have a healthy bit of creative control, and either direct it myself or have someone direct that fully understands they were subordinate to the story.

TFCE: Where do you foresee yourself within the next few years?
Don: My motto is always “Onward towards the future.” I see myself doing what I can, hopefully in a better position that right now, working on stories to present to others as precious gifts.

TFCE: Out of curiosity, have you ever been confused with Don Thomas, the astronaut?
Don: Sometimes, but I am not him. That's some other guy. I've only been to outer space within my imagination.

TFCE: Any other projects you would like to promote before we conclude this interview??
Don: The Town the Demanded Recompense is short story that will be published in an upcoming issue of Pro Se Presents. I also have several different short stories that I am working on in conjunction with the Altus Press and Pro Se Press' Pulp Obscura collaborative effort. I also have an epic fantasy novel in the works.

Savior is available from Pro Se Press at
Create Space item number 3838087 at
Smashwords for E-copies at
and Amazon's own website at 

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Let's face it folks, Douglas Adams was right. Space is... vast. Really huge! BIG!
And as the opening to a classic television series said, it is also the final frontier!

Not actual size

But despite the fact that we have yet to resume manned missions to anywhere beyond the International Space Station currently orbiting our dear Earth, science is still making leaps and bounds discovering what's out there via automated probes and telescopes.
As a matter of fact, The Free Choice E-zine is proud to present a newly released, detailed close up of our own Milky Way.

We're somewhere near the center

What? You were expecting something in black and white? After all, this e-zine does come to you in living color.
Besides, on this date last year, we did present an exclusive photo of water on Mars, so what were you expecting?

Low budget joke

In any event, watch out for other pranksters today, and please rejoin us next weekend for more Sunday Funnies!