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Friday, December 8, 2017

Forgotten Authors Volume 1

A collection of essays about authors whose work entertained millions but who are now almost wholly forgotten.
This is utterly fascinating:  what a terrific accomplishment!  It has held and engaged me.  Authors who are only names have been documented and recorded, from the pathetic to the successful, and everywhere in between.  This is incredible research, and I cannot begin to thank you enough for sharing it.  I’m dipping into it with absolutely enormous pleasure.—Richard Bleiler
W. Stephens Hayward: Gambler and alcoholic who wasted a fortune worth half a million in only a few years, but could count Robert Louis Stephenson amongst the fans of his novels.

Anonyma: The anonymous best-seller whose novels “No respectable bookseller would like his daughter to read  …  and no man who values his repute should suffer them to disgrace his shop.”

Stella M. During: Popular romance writer whose pedigree proved quite a challenge.

Edric Vredenburg: Thriller writer who turned to writing and editing books for the very young and who, as ‘Father Tuck’, was as familiar as Santa Claus on Christmas Day.

Morley Adams: Creator of puzzles, word games and number games in print and for the radio that entertained millions of readers and listeners over the decades.

Gerald Biss: Author of popular feuilletons, whose The Dupe anticipated the infamous murder of Emma Levin in Monte Carlo.

W. Holt-White: Writer of sensational novels said to make “the older school of ‘thriller’ authors look like tame and unimaginative bores.”

Alphonse Courlander: Novelist and journalist whose Mightier Than the Sword was based on his own experiences of Fleet Street, but who was overwhelmed by the horrors of war.

Ella M. Scrymsour: Actress and playwright who is today remembered for her novel The Perfect World and as the creator of Sheila Crerar, psychic detective.

Alexander Wilson: Spy novelist who faked being a spy and had four families he successfully kept secret from each other.

Guy Ramsey: The journalist who broke the story of Rudolf Hess’s imprisonment in wartime Britain.

E. T. Portwin: Writer of romances for teenagers and stories for children who eventually sold his magazine publishing and printing empire for £8 million.

Dail Ambler: Screenwriter of  Beat Girl who spent her early career as a “fiction factory” churning out a novel a week.

Available as a Kindle ebook and a 218-page print volume via Amazon.

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Men Behind Flying Saucer Review

From 1955 until the present day, the Flying Saucer Review has been key to chronicling the appearance of Unidentified Flying Objects and the latest theories of why they have been appearing in our skies. A dedicated group of enthusiasts - amongst them an accountant, a publisher's editor, a test pilot, a novelist and a member of the House of Lords - were amongst those who helped put together this remarkable magazine. Who they were and how they came to work together makes for a fascinating tale, some of it as curious as the phenomena the magazine studied.

From the Foreword:
‘The Men Behind the Flying Saucer Review’ arose out of discussions I had with its co-author, Roger Perry, about writer and editor Charles Bowen. Roger had very kindly taken some time to interview his former colleague Dan Lloyd, the results of which were published on my Bear Alley blog in September 2013. Knowing Dan's connections with the Flying Saucer Review, I was interested in learning more about the FSR's former editor, Charles Bowen, who contributed features to Boys' World, a boys’ comic which Roger had worked on and which I was writing about at the time; the resulting book was published in September 2013. Roger also knew Bowen's name from his time on Countdown, where Roger was art editor and Bowen a contributor. It was our successful collaboration on this lengthy feature that led me to writing up the history of Countdown soon after, the finished book appearing in July 2014.
    Information on Bowen proved to be a little elusive but his career provided a fascinating thread through the publishing history of the Flying Saucer Review / FSR, and we used this thread to take a look at some of the other people who helped put together the magazine, the first magazine of its kind to study the phenomenon of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) in a serious and objective way.
    So, while we started out with simple intentions, centred around expanding our knowledge of the extraordinarily competent Charles Bowen, we found ourselves exploring the lives of other people key to the creation of Flying Saucer Review until the results of what proved to be a fascinating journey through the magazine’s history were presented in a 12-part serial published between 14 October to 3 November 2013.
    Sadly, Roger passed away in 2016. I miss the critical back-and-forth of our e-mails as we argued over what should and should not be included in the series – a rather odd situation as both of us were of the “everything including the kitchen sink” school of writing. I have made only a few additions where new information has come to light and some minor changes for clarity to the original series and respectfully dedicate this e-book version to Roger’s memory.
Available as a Kindle ebook (61 pages) and a slim (50-page) print volume via Amazon.

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