Archive for the 'Wild Bill Clanton' Category

After Howard’s death, the “spicy” pulps continued on, but change was on the horizon.

Hoping to quell some of the criticism coming from moral squads and local governments that were on the warpath to clean-up the sexual titillation prevalent in the spicys, other pulp titles and comic books, Donenfeld and his editors embarked in 1936 on a mission of self-censorship. The company began creating two versions of three of their four Spicy magazines (for some unknown reason, a censored version of Spicy Mystery was not done), each version was marked with a five point star on the cover near that issue’s month. A boxed star meant a cleaned-up version of the magazine, while no star or an un-boxed star indicated the spicy version. In the tamer version, the text was less spicy and the women’s “charms” more concealed. The self-censorship effort was stopped at the end of 1937.

But what determined where the censored, boxed star version was sold? Was it created for the Bible Belt and more conservative states? Was the censoring done to appease the Post Office? But were subscriptions actually sold? (The magazines had no subscription information in them.) Why were the dual issues only restricted to 1936 and 1937? Why was Spicy Mystery, the most notorious of the Spicy line, spared from being censored? Due to the passage of time and lack of surviving business records, we will likely never know the answers to these questions.

However, efforts at self-censorship and other measures were not successful in the long run. When New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia spotted the April 1942 issue of Spicy Mystery Stories magazine on a newsstand that sported a cover depicting a woman strung up in a meat locker being menaced by a homicidal butcher, he declared war on the Spicy line. The Mayor decreed that any magazine with a lurid cover had to be sold with the cover removed. Sadly, Margaret Brundage’s Weird Tales covers were among those singled out for destruction.

By late 1942, a full court press from all sides was on the Spicy line and Donenfeld and company were forced to take action. In addition to pressure from government officials, changes were needed keep the Post Office Department happy and protect the publisher’s coveted second class mailing rate. So, in an attempt to continue publishing these successful pulps under the harsher censorship and scrutiny, covers were toned down, as was content and interior illustrations and the entire Spicy line was renamed “Speed” to eliminate the word “Spicy.” So, Spicy-Adventure Stories became Speed Adventure Stories, Spicy Detective Stories became Speed Detective Stories, etc.

During this time-frame, a scandal of sorts was brewing in the world of the spicy pulps as outlined by Will Murray in his “An Informal History of the Spicy Pulps” article from Windy City Pulp Stories #9 (2009):

The Speed titles were edited by two men who had been with Trojan since the thirties, Wilton Matthews and Kenneth Hutchinson. They were responsible for the increasing use of reprints in the Spicy titles. Apparently some of these Spicy stories were reprinted in the Speed titles, because in June of 1947 it was announced that Matthews and Hutchison had been arrested and convicted of “check-juggling.” They were sentenced to two to four years apiece. It came out they had engineered a racket as sweet as any published in the pages of Spicy Detective. They would “purchase” stories, publish them as new, and pocket the checks – when actually they were passing off reprints culled from the back [issues] of their own titles. Because the Spicys bought all rights, and because this canny duo always changed the bylines when they reprinted, the original authors had nothing to complain about even if they realized their stories had appeared again. (This is why some Robert E. Howard Spicy-Adventure stories were later reprinted under various house names.) Apparently one of these two masterminds pretended he wrote these “new” stories. In any event, they were caught and put away. As a result, the Arrow, Trojan and Speed lines were consolidated.

As Murray mentions, the Clanton adventures that were reprinted in Spicy-Adventure Stories during 1942 fell prey to this scheme. Those reprinted stories included: “Desert Blood” published as “Revenge by Proxy” by William Decatur (September 1942), “The Purple Heart of Erlik” published as “Nothing to Lose” by R.T. Maynard (October 1942) and “Murderer’s Grog” published as “Outlaw Working” by Max Neilson (November 1942).

While the “spicys” arrived on the publishing scene with a bang, they went out with a whimper. By 1946, the Speed titles began fading away, with the last hold-out, Speed Western Stories, biting the dust in 1948. Trojan’s last gasp was publication of a few digest sized pulps during 1949 and 1950 that were reprints of old reprints.

In the ensuing years, the Howard’s spicy yarns slipped into obscurity until two unpublished spicy yarns (“Daughters of Feud” and “Guns of Khartum”) were published in Howard fanzines in 1975 and 1976. A year later, Clanton showed up again when “Desert Blood” appeared in Incredible Adventures #1, a digest sized booklet produced by Bob Weinberg, Gene Marshall and Carl F. Waedt. And sometime in 1983, “Ship in Mutiny” was published for the first time in Cryptic’s Bran Mak Morn: A Play & Others.

In December of 1983, The She Devil, the first collection of all of Howard’s spicy stories was published by Ace. The print run must have been small because the paperback was hard to find and for many years was the most sought after and therefore most expensive Howard paperback on the market.

In addition to Wild Bill Clanton, Howard had another “spicy” hero he was developing. The quick cash from the new market prompted him to start on a story featuring a lead character named John Gorman. While Howard likely had Gorman slated for Spicy-Adventures Stories, he did mention an interest in splashing Spicy Detective and Spicy Mystery as well. Since Gorman was never fully fleshed-out by Howard, we will never know if he would have made Gorman a bigger bastard than Clanton was. Time ran out for Howard and all that he left behind was an untitled synopsis for a Gorman story.

In the mid 1980s when the Gorman fragment was published for the first time in a Cryptic Publications chapbook, two Howard scholars, Marc A. Cerasini and Charles Hoffman, took it upon themselves to expand that synopsis into a full-blow story. Cerasini and Hoffman went on to write four more Gorman adventures for Cryptic. If the proper permissions could be obtained, it would be nice to have these stories collected in on volume. In the meantime, here is the complete bibliography for the Gorman yarns:

By Robert E. Howard:

  • Untitled Synopsis (“John Gorman found himself in Samarkand …”) Risque Stories #1 (March 1984)

By “Sam Walser” (Marc A. Cerasini and Charles Hoffman):

  • “She-Cats of Samarkand,” Risque Stories #1 (March 1984)

By Marc A. Cerasini and Charles Hoffman:

  • “The Temple of Forbidden Fruit,” Risque Stories #2 (October 1984)
  • “Jungle Curse,” Risque Stories #3 (July 1985)
  • “Drums of the Bizango,” Pulse-Pounding Adventure Stories #1 (December 1986)
  • “Hell Cat of Hong Kong,” Risque Stories #5 (March 1987)

After a period of nearly twenty years, Howard’s spicy stories found their way back into print when Girasol Collectibles published pulp replicas of all five issues of Spicy-Adventure Stories that featured Clanton yarns from 2003 through 2006. Adventure House and Wildside Press published a few of the Clanton issues as well. Additionally, “Desert Blood” appeared in TGR‘s sister magazine, The Chronicler of Cross Plains in June 2006.

Around this same time, Paul Herman started pumping out fast and furious those Wildside collections of Howard’s works that were in the Public Domain. One volume that was planned, but never came to fruition was a collection of the PD Clanton stories.

But at last, in 2011, we are getting a truly complete collection of Howard’s spicy yarns, unedited, as he wrote them. The Spicy Adventures volume has just been published by the Robert E. Howard Foundation Press some seventy-five years after Howard wrote his “spicys.” 

The spicys were not Howard’s best work and he knew this, referring to them “potboilers,” written solely to obtain some quick and badly needed cash. But the stories are Howard stories nonetheless and certainly worth reading. Written at the end of his life, as the darkness closed in on him, the tales of the scoundrel Clanton, with seemingly no redeeming qualities — which is in stark contrast to the many chivalrous characters he created  — shows us a darker side of Howard and a side that no doubt was treading water in a vast sea of hopelessness. On June 11, 1936 he found he was too weary to tread the water any longer.

 Quit Pussyfooting Around — Order Spicy Adventures Today!

If you have not already ordered Spicy Adventures, you might want to do so soon. The volume is now shipping and 75% pre-sold – only 50 copies remain unsold. The 211 page hardback volume from the REH Foundation Press collects all of Howard’s “spicy” stories and also contains a large miscellanea section, with drafts and synopsizes. The book features a standout cover by Jim and Ruth Keegan. Don’t procrastinate – you’ll regret it later – order your copy today.

Read: Part I / Part II / Part III / Part IV

This entry filed under Howard's Fiction, Weird Tales, Wild Bill Clanton.

Writing to Novalyne Price on February 14, 1936, Howard informs her of his venture into the “spicy” market:

The tales of Sam Walser (a rugged, upright, forthright, typical American name, even if the original was a Dane from Skaggerack) appear — or will appear when they start publishing them — in a magazine called Spicy Adventure Stories. They pay one cent a word, on acceptance, and report fairly promptly. I’ve sold them four yarns so far, and fondly hope to sell regularly, if they ever start publishing my stuff and get a reaction from the readers, who, I feel, are cultured and scholarly gentlemen, who wax enthusiastic over meritous artistic efforts, he remarked with characteristic modesty. The main handicap is the necessity of keeping the wordage down — they take nothing over 5500 words, this being their limit not only for Spicy Adventures, but also for Spicy Mysteries and Spicy Detectives, which I hope to make also. A nice balance must be maintained — the stuff must be hot enough to make the readers bat their eyes, but not too hot to get the censors on them. They have some definite taboos. No degeneracy, for instance. No sadism or masochism. Though extremely fond of almost-nude ladies, they prefer her to retain some garment ordinarily — like a coyly revealing chemise. However this taboo isn’t iron-clad, for I’ve violated it in nearly every story I’ve sold them. I’ve found a good formula is to strip the heroine gradually — she loses part of her clothes in one episode, some more in the next, and so on until the climax finds her in a state of tantalizing innocence. Certain words are taboo, also, though up to a certain point considerable frankness in discussing the female anatomy is allowed. The hero should be an American, and the action should take place in some exotic clime. I’ve laid my yarns in the South Seas, in Tebessa in Algeria, in Shanghai, and in Singapore. Laid one yarn in Kentucky but they said it was too hot for them to handle. The hero doesn’t have to be a model of virtue. In fact, a favorite formula is for the hero to accomplish what only the villain attempts in conventional yarns. My character is Wild Bill Clanton, a pirate, gun-runner, smuggler, a pearl-thief and slaver, and carefully avoids all moral scruples in his dealings with the ladies. These magazines were the object of a rather bitter attack in the Author & Journalist not long ago, but some of the most prominent writers rose up and fought back lustily, notably my friend E. Hoffmann Price, who has been making a good living off them for some time.

If you’d like to try a rap at it, there’s nothing to keep you from it. While the magazines cater mainly to masculine readers, I don’t think there’s any objection or prejudice against women writers. Indeed, I have an idea the editor might like to see some yarns from the feminine viewpoint, providing they were sufficiently lusty and bawdy. Plots should be rather complicated, action fast moving. The handicaps of stories that are short are obvious. Little space for character development or for subtle unfolding of plots; the narration must be dynamic, clear-cut, vivid. Cynicism and humor have their place, but not too much humor. It isn’t always necessary for the hero to rush in and save the heroine’s virtue at the proper moment. Indeed, in most of my yarns, the heroine’s virtue is in more danger from the hero than from anybody else. Price uses a good formula — triumph of the villain, forcibly, over the heroine, and triumph, in turn of the hero over the villain, generally by shooting the hell out of him.

This is a brief sketch, of course, but enough to give you a general idea of the requirements of the Trojan Publishing Company, whose magazines, I might add, though considered somewhat as outlaws in the more conventional circles, seem to be prospering.

Again, Howard seeks to recruit a friend, in this case Novalyne (on Valentine’s Day, no less!), to write for his newly found “sex magazine” market. I imagine she was even less enthused at the prospect than Lovecraft was when Howard made the same suggestion to him a few months earlier.

In addition to the rundown on the spicys, Howard also mentions a bit of a brouhaha among contributors to the spicys set off by an article in a writer’s magazine called Author & Journalist. The article, “Markets in False Face,” was written by O. Foerster Schully and appeared in the November 1935 issue of the magazine. Schully alleged, based on his review of the Spicy line, that one person had authored all the stories in the magazines based on similarities in phrasing and therefore not an “open market” for writers.  The article was followed by a rebuttal of sorts from the editor and Armer’s writing guidelines for the Spicy line of magazines. Three spicy authors, including E. Hoffmann Price fired off responses to Schully, which appeared in the January 1936 issue of Author & Journalist.

Price once told Glenn Lord, the majority of the stories appearing in the spicys were written by a select coterie of half a dozen authors, utilizing a large number of pseudonyms. While six authors is certainly feasible, a more realistic number would be closer to a dozen But nonetheless, Howard did gain a foothold on that limited market. You can read the entire article, along with the responses from the three pulp writers here.

As mentioned in his letter to Novalyne, Howard had just sold a fourth story to Spicy-Adventure Stories. After failing, to sell the two non-Clanton spicy yarns, Howard returned to the tried and true Wild Bill Clanton character with “The Dragon Kao Tsu.” Kline’s assistant, Otto Binder, sold “Dragon” in February 1936, but it did not see print until September 1936. The story exhibited some of the characteristics of E. Hoffmann Price’s Pawang Ali yarns, which were published in Clues Detective Stories. The character appeared in six stories from 1933 to 1936 and was considered the turbaned “Sherlock Holmes of Singapore.”

“Dragon” finds Clanton in the far eastern seaport of Singapore. The plot is similar to “The Purple Heart of Erlik” in that our hero is lusting after a beautiful woman, gets whacked on the head by that beautiful woman while searching for a valuable artifact and winning out over an evil Oriental villain. The femme fatale of this yarn, a spoiled, wealthy heiress named Marianne Allison, has hired Clanton to steal the Dragon of Kao Tsu, an ivory statue of a dragon with a secret compartment that contains an important document the spoiled heiress wants. 

It seems her father, a San Francisco tycoon known as Old Man Allison, and General Kai, a Chinese warlord, entered into an agreement for certain oil rights in China to be given to the tycoon. The elder Allison, desperate for money having lost a large portion of his fortune in the stock market crash of 1929, needs the agreement which is secreted in the ivory statue. General Kai’s men also seek the document and that sparks the conflict that is the heart of this story.

Marianne manages to retrieve the document and in the process attempts to renege on payment Clanton’s fee for assisting in the recovery – that fee being her body. A vengeful Clanton assaults Marianne, forcefully taking her virginity. Clearly this sexual encounter could be viewed as rape and Howard implausibly attempts to diminish Clanton’s action by having Marianne indicate a sense of enjoyment in her eyes:

All her kicking and squirming accomplished was to disarrange the sarong, and he caught his breath at the sight of all the pink and white curves displayed.

“You don’t dare!” she gasped, as he drew her roughly to him. “You don’t dare – ”

Bill Clanton didn’t even bother to reply to her ridiculous assertion …

It was some time later when he grinned at her philosophically. He stooped and kissed her pouting mouth. “Maybe that will teach you not to associate with people like me,” he said.

Her reply was unprintable, but the look in her eyes contradicted her words as she took his arm and together they went out to the street.

Even though Howard attempts to skirt the issue of rape in his Clanton stories by implying the girl wanted it, despite her objections, the bottom line is “no” means “no” and it always has.

“Murderer’s Grog” was the last Clanton yarn Howard wrote and one of the final stories written before his death. “Grog” was written in mid-April 1936, three months after “Dragon” and submitted to Kline at the end of the month. Howard’s writing routine was somewhat sporadic during this period of time due to the constant care his mother required. The story has a darkness about it that no doubt came from deep within Howard’s being, written as his mother’s life was slipping away. The story places Clanton on dry land in an adventure similar to “Desert Blood” that involves gunrunning and exotic, scantily clad women.

Clanton is bringing a large shipment of guns from the Soviet Union to sell them to warring Afghan or Indian tribes. Meanwhile, Sonya Ormanoff, a Russian spy, seeks to steal the rifles from our hero by convincing the agent of a local warlord to resind permission for Clanton to cross the border area. Upon learning of her plot, a dastardly Clanton attempts to rape Sonya, fails and after a drunken bender he tries again and this time succeeds in his sexual assault, leaving his victim humiliated and devastated:

His mouth crushing hers thirstily –the way his muscular arms defeated her frenzied struggles– was enough to convince her. But, jerking her mouth free, she stormed defiantly: ‘Damn you, let me go! I’ll kill you…you can’t–’

Her defiance broke in a despairing shriek as she realized the futility of her resistance.

Presently, as he looked down at her where she lay weeping in rage, shame and humiliation, he started to speak; then he changed his mind, shrugged his shoulders and headed for the door.

There was no mercy in the game she played, and she had no reason to expect any.

Again, as is the case in “Dragon,” Howard is painting the woman as someone who deserves what she gets.

In mid May of 1936, Howard wrote what would be his final letter to H.P. Lovecraft. In that letter he mentions: “[B]ut I have managed to sell a few more bubby-twisters to Spicy Adventures …” Indeed he had, five Clanton adventures were sold by then, three of which would not appear until after his death (“The Dragon of Kao Tsu,” September 1936; “The Purple Heart of Erlik,” November 1936; “Murderer’s Grog,” January 1937).

Howard left us with a total of eight complete spicy stories, which were purely commercial efforts on his part. He certainly would have rather been writing westerns or regional horror yarns, but the spicys were a quick way to make a buck and that was what was most needed by Howard in those dark days toward the end of his life.

To be continued…

A Sophisticated Collection of “Bubby-Twisters”

Spicy Adventures is selling fast and furious, with more than half of the 200 print-run already pre-sold.

This hardcover volume from the REH Foundation Press contains all of Howard’s “spicys” and includes a large miscellanea section, with drafts and synopsizes that allow readers to glimpse Howard’s creative process. For the cover, Jim and Ruth Keegan have rendered yet another beautiful cover painting for this 211 page volume.

Pre-orders are still being accepted at the Foundation’s website. The book will ship the end of September.

Read: Part I / Part II / Part III / Part V

Writing to his agent, Otis Adelbert Kline, on January 8, 1936, Howard mentions the status of three spicy yarns:

Hope “Guns of Khartum” clicks. I’m enclosing another Spicy Adventure herewith. I’d intended also enclosing a Breck Elkins yarn, but after writing it I was dissatisfied with it, deciding that it didn’t have enough action and plot complication, so I’m re-writing it. I’ll probably get it to you early next week. Yes, I can re-write “Daughters of Feud” from the carbon, but I hope the ms. shows up. I’d like to read the criticism included in the letter from the editor, so as to be guided in future stories. If any criticism accompanied “Ship in Mutiny” please have it forwarded to me also.

Concerning Thrilling Adventures, my yarn, “The Trail of the Blood-Stained God” recently rejected by Margulies was an effort to write one on the order of “Gold From Tartary”. I seem unable to sell him more than one story to each magazine. And most of his magazines haven’t bought the one yet. However, I’ll rewrite “Ship in Mutiny” with Thrilling Adventures in mind.

As you can see from the above excerpt, Howard had failed to sell “Daughters of Feud” and “Guns of Khartum” was soon rejected as well. The reason for the rejections was the same as for “Ship in Mutiny” — Howard strayed too far away from the spicy formula.

“Daughters of Feud” was written and submitted in December 1935. Howard later reflected that this tale was “too hot for them to handle,” and it was probably the strong sadomasochistic strain that runs throughout the story that again proved too much for Editor Armer. This yarn is also markedly different than Howard’s other spicy stories. 

The protagonist in this spicy yarn is Thomas Braxton Brent, the new schoolteacher in the rural backwater town of Whiskey Run in some unnamed southern state (Howard refers to the location as being Kentucky in a February 1936 letter to Novalyne). Brent teaches in a one-room schoolhouse which children all ages attend — from tots to teenagers. Among his students are two nineteen-year old daughters of rival feuding families who seek to tear each other to pieces in a catfight during class. The two girls, Ann, a brunette and Joan, a blonde, really go at it, tearing blouses, etc. uncovering eye-popping views of fresh young flesh and shapely thighs. The new teacher breaks up the wrestling match, and to show the other students that he is in charge, he has to administer corporal punishment to the unruly pair. Each girl is taken to the woodshed after school, which really stirs up both feuding families. Brent’s situation gets worse when he falls hard for the beautiful Joan.

Of course, feuds between rival clans or families were among Howard’s favorite topics of discussion and feud themes were also incorporated into some of his stories, namely “The Feud Buster,” “The Valley of the Lost,” and the granddaddy of them all, “Red Nails.” For “Daughters,” he decided to use this theme for his new spicy non-Clanton story. Again, as was the case with “Desert Blood,” a school teacher plays a key role in the story. We really don’t know if the school teacher/schoolhouse angle is a harmless plot device or Howard – with their relationship on the ropes – subtly sending a message to Novalyne Price

However, Howard goes over the deep end with the spanking and self-flagellation, and crafts a story that would please the most jaded of fetishists. The hot and heavy sex between Brent and Joan, coupled with the detailed description of the whipping of Ann with a leather strap and Joan’s own self abuse with a switch, not to mention threats of castration and gang rape, proved to be way too much for Editor Armer who rejected the story.

Clearly, Howard had more than a passing knowledge of sadomasochism and in this excerpt from his “Blood Lust: Robert E. Howard’s Spicy Adventures” essay (The Cimmerian, V2N5), Charles Hoffman reflects on Howard’s interest in the rough and kinky stuff:

The instances of whipping and self-flagellation in this story are no mere matter of happenstance. Howard’s personal library included such volumes as Experiences of Flagellation, A History of the Rod, and Curiosa of Flagellants and History of Flagellation. He also wrote poetry like “Limericks to Spank By” and “Good Mistress Brown,” the latter concerning the spanking of an adult woman. This does seem to indicate that Howard’s sexual interests extended beyond a simple taste for vanilla. These particular interests, however, are by no means rare. The spanking of a grown woman is often part of a “taming of the shrew” scenario in books and movies. Those who share the interest are titillated, with the rest of the audience none the wiser. In the movie McLintock! John Wayne spanks Maureen O’Hara –clad in soaking wet undergarments– in front of the whole town. The film is considered wholesome family entertainment.

Well, “Daughters” was far from wholesome family entertainment and, as Armer discovered, far from appropriate for his audience. After its rejection, Howard never did revise it and it languished in fiction purgatory until Jonathan Bacon published it in Fantasy Crossroads #8 (May 1976).

“Guns of Khartum” did not click with the Spicy-Adventure Stories editor either. With  “Guns,” Howard continues to experiment with the spicy formula, seeking to blend a spicy yarn with a historical adventure. The story takes place in the Sudan in 1885, during the fall of the besieged city of Khartum after a ten-month siege. The attackers were Islamic militants, led by a religious figure called the Madhi, who were seeking to overthrow British rule. One of Britain’s greatest military heroes, Chinese Gordon was killed in a fight to the death with Islamic extremists when Khartum finally fell.

The hero of this yarn is one Emmett Corcoran, a muscular soldier of fortune who finds himself hunting for ivory in the Sudan when the rebellion breaks out. Making his way through the carnage, Corcoran hears a scream, looks through a window and sees a rebellious Somali slave named Zelda about to stab a blonde Englishwoman named Ruth Brenton between “[her] quivering ivory mounds.” Of course has to intervene, punching out Zelda to save the blonde. The Somali slave is promptly kicked out of the room and after some small talk, our hero makes his carnal move on Ruth.

During their conversation, Ruth tells Corcoran that she came to Khartum with her uncle, a merchant, who was killed in the early days of the fighting. She further reveals that a Frenchman, Gerard Latour, who has allied himself with the Mahdi, has been stalking her.

Soon Corcoran’s sixth sense kicks in and he tells Ruth to get dressed. Sure enough, the rebels had broken through the city walls en masse and a group of them were pounding on the door lead by that crazy Frenchman lusting for Ruth’s body (it seems everyone in this story is lusting after poor Ruth). The bloodthirsty Islamists break through the door and flood the room.

The American attempts to get Ruth out of harm’s way, but he is too late as a rush of fighters corner him as he seeks to fight them off and protect the girl. While Corcoran fights valiantly, he is felled by a pistol shot from Gerard Latour as he comes rushing into the fray and then quickly moves in to claim his prize:

Laughing at the revealing whirl of white limbs as she struggled vainly, the renegade lifted her in his arms and strode toward the open gate. Though she fought like a wild thing, she hardly felt his lustful hands on her naked thighs, her bare breasts. She scarcely heard the brutal laughter of the warriors, mocking her nudity. Staring over her captor’s shoulder, her dilated eyes were fixed in frenzied despair on the figure that lay limply in the angle of the wall, amidst a litter of mangled black figures.

When Corcoran regains consciousness from the flesh wound to his head, he realizes the sleazy Frenchman has stolen Ruth and that he must get her back. Zelda comes slinking back and far from being mad at Corcoran for slugging her on the jaw, she seems turned on (go figure!). Even though he is repulsed by her, the American holds his nose and has sex with her.

After some skullduggery and getting sidetracked for five months, Corcoran finally comes to rescue Ruth in a climax of betrayal, flashing swords, and flight through the desert, culminating with Ruth in the arms of our hero being caressed and fondled.

What undoubtedly put this yarn in the rejection stack was the unrelenting physical and emotional violence and very strong sexual content. In addition to an entire city of Anglos being murdered by black Islamic extremists, the “good girl” of the story is enslaved for five months in a harem under the control of a whip-wielding sadist. And with no “jauntiness” in sight, the editor gave it the old heave-ho.

“Guns of Khartum” remained unpublished until 1975 when it appeared in REH: Lone Star Fictioneer #3 as “Guns of Khartoum” (modern spelling).

After these two failures, it was time to toss out the experimentation for good and give Editor Armer what he wanted, namely the formula yarns based on the Spicy line’s guidelines. Soon Howard had two more Clanton stories, “The Dragon of Kao Tsu” and “Murderer’s Grog,” accepted by Spicy-Adventure Stories and he was back on the right track again.

It is interesting that, as originally written, all of Howard’s Clanton stories were far spicier than the versions that appeared in Spicy-Adventure Stories, and consequently in The She Devil (Ace, 1983). Editor Armer had to tone them down considerably in order to publish them. Apparently Howard’s three spicy failures were so far outside of the guidelines Armer could not easily clean them up for publication. Howard knew his readers wanted “red meat” and lots of it and he was more than capable of giving it to them.

To be continued…

Spice up your life with some Spicy Adventures

The REH Foundation Press has already sold half the print-run of Spicy Adventures. The book is due out the end of September with a print run of 200 copies. This 211 page volume collects all of Howard’s “spicys” and is the first time many of these stories have appeared in hardback. In addition to all of the complete tales, this volume contains a large miscellanea section with drafts and synopsizes that allow readers to glimpse Howard’s creative process. A standout cover by Jim and Ruth Keegan completes the package. Pre-orders are now being accepted at the Foundation’s website.

Read: Part I / Part II / Part IV / Part V

Encouraged by his first sale to Spicy-Adventure Stories, Howard was soon at work on another spicy adventure. Like “She Devil” (aka “The Girl on the Hell Ship”), “Ship in Mutiny,” Howard’s second spicy effort was set in the South Pacific and featured Clanton’s love interest, Raquel O’Shane from the first yarn. However, “Mutiny,” written as a sequel to “She Devil,” was doomed from the start.

In “Mutiny,” Howard really turned up the heat, literally bringing the sexual tension to a boil. Howard used the device to build-up the overall suspense of the story and it worked, perhaps even too well. Remember that “jaunty’ style Editor Armer wanted? With all the tension, the jauntiness went out the window. Indeed, the story was so grim Howard could have easily rewritten it into a Conan story.

In the story, Clanton enjoys the sexual “charms” of an island princess named Lailu, but he returns to the arms of Raquel, violating one of the main edicts of the spicys – thou shalt not be monogamous. His bringing Raquel into the story surely raised Armer’s eyebrows and helped the story along toward rejection. Howard learned his lesson and forever banished Raquel from the Clanton stories.

The villain of the yarn is Tanoa is a half-breed who possesses both European and barbarian characteristics. At one point in the story, Clanton is in the clutches of Tanoa, who boasts: “We’ll find the girl and make her watch while I skin him alive! I’ll make a garment of his hide and force her to wear it always about her loins to remind her how her lover died!” This outburst of male-on-male sadomasochism may have been a bit much for Editor Armer to stomach. As I said above, pretty grim stuff.

When “Ship in Mutiny” didn’t sell, Howard kicked around the idea of reworking the story for Thrilling Adventures, but never got around to it during the short amount of time he had left to live. Thus, “Mutiny” remained the only unpublished Clanton until its appearance in The She Devil (Ace, 1983)

But as a professional writer, Howard did not dwell on the rejection and soon had another Clanton yarn ready for submission. With “Desert Blood,” Howard returned to the jaunty style that made “She Devil” a success. The story is also much lighter fare than the failed “Ship in Mutiny.”

Written in November 1935, “Desert Blood” is set in Tebessa, Algeria where Clanton is pursuing a local temptress Zouza while he waits for the sale of a cargo of rifles he has in his ship’s hold to be completed. While Zouza successfully rebuffs the advances of Clanton, she manages to convince him that only a man who has killed a lion is worthy of her “charms.” Clearly thinking with the wrong head, Clanton falls for this malarkey and agrees to go on a lion hunt in the middle of the desert. Leaving Zouza’s quarters, he runs into an American school teacher (Novalyne, is that you?) he has seen in his travels. The vacationing teacher, Augusta Evans, is somewhat snooty and quickly rebuffs Clanton’s advances. After striking out twice, the burly brawler hits the nearest dive to drown his sorrows.

Soon a drunken Clanton is riding off into the desert on the back of a mule, all part of a plot hatched by the scheming Zouza, a desert sheik Ahmed ibn Said, his henchmen and yet another seductress, Zulaykha. It seems the group is after that load of guns Clanton has on his ship.

This is certainly one of Howard’s spicier tales, featuring four different women for Clanton to woo. Clearly his favorite of the foursome was Aicha, a concubine of Ahmed ibn Said, one of the yarn’s villains:

He had forgotten Zouza; this girl had everything she had and more; she was vibrant with that intangible quality some call glamour, which sets the natural artist apart from the willing worker, however skilled and lovely.

All his life Clanton had been following his impulses, and now there was no revisiting the peremptory urge of his primitive nature. He saw in this girl’s eyes the same light he knew burned more fiercely in his own, and that was enough.

“To hell with Ahmed!” In sudden savage hunger he crushed her to him, found her red hot lips, until she caught fire from his ardour and her arms locked in equal fierceness about his neck, as she gave him kiss for kiss. There was a profusion of silk pillows in one corner. She yielded meltingly in his arms as he lifted her from her feet and carried her across the tent. The soft white gleam of her flesh in the mellow light made his head swim. Then for a time, Time stood still in the little striped tent.

Some time later the girl squirmed blissfully in Clanton’s arms, stretched her white arms luxuriously above her head and then threw them about his thick neck, laughing with pure joy. She kissed him with a gusto still not satiated in the slightest.

This encounter is only a brief respite from Clanton’s life and death predicament, with Ahmed and Shaykh Ali ibn Zahir after his shipment of guns meant the Berber chiefs and their fighters battling the French for control of Algeria. In El Borak-like fashion, Clanton’s sympathies lie with the Berbers fighting the imperialistic French.

The story concludes with Aicha saving Clanton by taking and wearing Augusta Evan’s garments as a disguise to distract the bad guys while Clanton makes good his escape.  The haughty schoolteacher gets her comeuppance by being put on a donkey and sent riding though the countryside wearing only a pair of eyeglasses.

An argument could be made that Howard was having a bit of fun at Novalyne Price’s expense by having his attractive schoolteacher character humiliated in such a way. No doubt Howard was still smarting from the betrayal by his best friend, Lindsey Tyson and his girlfriend, who were dating behind his back.

“Desert Blood” appeared in the June 1936 issue of Spicy-Adventure Stories – it is not known if Howard saw it in print before he died.

After writing “Desert Blood,” quickly started writing another spicy story, “The Purple Heart of Erlik.” The story centers around a pretty young woman who is blackmailed by a scoundrel named Duke Tremayne into stealing a valuable jewel. For this outing, Howard makes his spicy hero a real bastard. While he does not actually rape Arline Ellis, the story’s heroine, he sure seems to be giving it his best shot.

Clanton runs into Arline in Shanghai – again. It seems he’s been following her across the globe and tells her “…I came to Shanghai just because I heard you were here…” It sounds like Clanton has been stalking his lovely prey. He further states:

If I didn’t think you were so good-looking, I’d smack your ears back!…Now are you going to be nice or do I have to get rough?…Nobody interferes with anything that goes on in alleys behind dumps like the Bordeaux…Any woman caught here’s fair prey.

Apparently not a big believer that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, Clanton attempts to take her by force. In the ensuing struggle, Arline crowns him with a water pitcher, momentarily rendering him senseless as she makes good her escape.

It is interesting that in hiding behind the Sam Walser pseudonym, Howard could channel all his frustrations and negative thoughts into the character by pretty much making Clanton a bastard. With his problems collecting money he was owed from Weird Tales and his mother’s failing health, coupled with the stress of his failing relationship with Novalyne, he certainly needed some outlet for his anger.

Getting back to our heroine, who jumps from the frying pan into the fire when, impersonating an English noblewoman, she meets with Woon Yuen, yet another of Howard’s Oriental villains, who possesses the “Purple Heart of Erlik,” the jewel she has been sent to Shanghai to steal. Yuen, it seems, is a bigger bastard than Clanton, and after figuring out her game, he promptly rapes Arline and tosses her into an alley. Regaining his senses, Clanton comes to her rescue, deals with Tremayne and Woon Yeun, and gets his reward in the arms of Arline.

“The Purple Heart of Erlik,” along with “Desert Blood,” were quickly scooped up by Editor Armer for Spicy-Adventure, and with the year winding down, Howard accomplished his goal of breaking into new markets. He mentions the new markets he’s cracked in a December 17, 1935 letter to Robert H. Barlow:

In the past few months I have made three new markets, Western Aces, Thrilling Mystery and Spicy Adventures. In addition to the magazines above mentioned my work has appeared in Ghost Stories, Argosy, Fight Stories, Oriental Stories, Sport Stories, Thrilling Adventures, Texaco Star, The Ring, Strange Detective, Super-Detective, Strange Tales, Frontier Times and Jack Dempsey’s Fight Magazine.

However, after successfully selling “Desert Blood” and “The Purple Heart of Erlik,” Howard falls off the spicy wagon again with two rejected non-Clanton spicy stories.

To be continued…

Don’t Dilly-Dally Around – Place Your Order Today!

The REH Foundation Press has already sold half the print-run of Spicy Adventures. The book is due out the end of September with a print run of 200 copies. This 211 page volume collects all of Howard’s “spicys” and is the first time many of these stories have appeared in hardback. In addition to all of the complete tales, this volume contains a large miscellanea section with drafts and synopsizes that allow readers to glimpse Howard’s creative process. A standout cover by Jim and Ruth Keegan completes the package. Pre-orders are now being accepted at the Foundation’s website.

Read: Part I / Part III / Part IV / Part V

In the last year of his life, money was a big issue in Howard’s life – his mother’s health was declining rapidly and the medical bills were piling up. Also, Weird Tales owned him over $1,000 and Editor Farnsworth Wright was not giving in to Howard’s urgent pleas for at least some money to be sent to him. Considering the team of Howard and Conan were one of the biggest draws for the magazine, it is perplexing that Wright could not come up with the money that was owed to Howard. Consequently, he was exploring new markets, looking for ways to increase his income. He had already hired fellow pulp writer Otis Adelbert Kline as his literary agent and a suggestion from another pulp writer and friend put him on the trail of a new market.

In this letter to  H. P. Lovecraft, dated December 5, 1935, Howard boasts of cracking that new market and suggests HPL give the market a try as well:

In my efforts to make new markets I’ve been “splashing the field” as Price calls it. One market I tried was Spicy Adventures, a sex magazine to which Ed is the star contributor. I sold the first yarn I tried, but doubt if I could make that market regularly, as it requires a deft, jaunty style foreign to my natural style. However, I’ll probably try it again. Why don’t you give it a whirl? You can use a pen name if you like; I did, and I think most of its contributors do. The maximum length is about 5000 words. That sort of yarn is easy to write, if not to sell. If they reject it, you’ve only wasted a day or so. If they accept it, you’re fifty bucks to the good, and they pay promptly. They like good strong plots, but the sex element is a cinch; any man can write that part of it. Just write up one of your own sex adventures, altered to fit the plot. That’s the way I did with the yarn I sold them.

No one knows if Lovecraft fainted when he read Howard’s suggestion that he try his hand at writing a story for a “sex magazine,” but for certain the Gentleman from Providence, with his Victorian morals, was not too keen on the idea.

As Howard notes, E. Hoffmann Price was a star contributor to Spicy-Adventure Stories and unlike most contributors, Price was bold enough to use his own name rather than a pseudonym for his “spicy” work. Indeed the spicys were Price’s single largest pulp market; over 150 of his yarns were published in them throughout the years.

The first “spicy” pulp appeared on newsstands in April 1934 with the publication of the first issue of Spicy Detective Stories. The publisher that released this first “spicy” was Modern Publications, based in Delaware, possibly for tax and censorship purposes, with main offices in New York. Soon the company’s name was changed to the unlikely name of Culture Publications. Spicy-Adventure Stories appeared in November 1934, with Spicy Mystery Stories’ first issue premiering in mid-1935. December 1936 saw the publication of Spicy Western Stories, which rounded out the “spicy” line.

The publishing staff was a shady bunch, to say the least, starting with Frank Armer, an editor and a publisher who had previously self-published the Ramer Review and Zeppelin Stories. The Donefeld family, led by Harry Donenfeld, was the printer and primary financial backer for Culture Publications. Back during Prohibition, it was suspected that some pulp publishers were used to launder money for the bootleggers. The Donenfelds and their Donny Press seemed to be high on this list.

This same publishing family helped usher in the golden age of comics when they acquired National Allied Publications, a company that owned them a great deal of money. That company later became DC Comics and soon Superman and Batman comics were rolling off their presses.

It’s tough to nail-down the start of the Armer/Donenfeld publishing empire, but it may have begin in 1932 with the acquisition the defunct  publisher of Spicy Stories, Pep and La Paree, straight sex magazines along the lines of Paris NightsGay Life and Venus. Shortly before the first issue of Spicy Detective Stories appeared, another detective magazine, Super-Detective Stories, edited by Armer, appeared with the promise of additional Super magazines to come. However, this venture was soon abandoned in favor of the Spicy line of magazines. Super-Detective Stories was discontinued after 15 issues, but resumed publication in 1940.

Due to censorship concerns and obscenity issues with the U.S. Post Office, Harry Donenfeld’s publishing empire used several names at during its history. In addition to Culture Publications, other names used included D. M. Publishing, Trojan Publishing and Arrow Publications. The location of business offices changed just as frequently. Indeed, the red hot spicys had as many detractors as they did fans. But, bottom-line, they were popular and flying off the newsstand racks. 

The recipe for the “spicy” pulps was to take fairly tried and true genre stories and mix in the ingredient of sex. This gave the spicy line a whole new slant on the pulps — spicys were racy and titillating, pushing the envelope of decency and providing the reader with a new experience by blending the spicy element with the standard pulp fare of adventures in faraway lands, hardboiled detectives, sinister and menacing manifestations and cowboy shoot-em’ ups.

A strict set of guidelines for writers was drawn up by editor Frank Armer. These included women could not be fully nude (unless they were a corpse!) and had to retain at least some article of clothing, even if it was some small piece of tattered lingerie. Descriptions of women’s nipples and areola were strictly forbidden – the same rule applied to the pubic area. The man had to remain fully clothed and no sexual descriptions were allowed of men’s bodies. Action in the sex scene between the man and woman had end at the point of consummation. Long-term relationships between the male and female characters were forbidden — these were strictly one-night stands, leaving the hero free to bed other women in subsequent adventures.

Overwhelmingly, the sex in the spicy magazines was very tame by today’s standards. The “spicy” element in the stories came from several sources: the heroines scanty undergarments, her willingness or unwillingness to give herself to the hero, her enticing bedchamber and her luscious “charms.” After a bit of foreplay and kissing, sexual contact was indicated by a sentence trailing off in ellipses (…). This was followed by a prudent line drop before the yarn resumed in the ensuing paragraph. This left any actual sexual activity the reader’s imagination.

In reality, the spicy pulps were selling the sizzle with no steak to back it up. While the bright color cover paintings and the interior illustrations suggested that the magazine’s contents were filled with steamy sex, in reality the actual stories came up short in fulfilling that promise. Despite the tameness of the sexual element, they were widely condemned by straight-laced critics as an insult to decency and frequently sold from under newsstand counters.

The spicy pulps were just what the doctor ordered for Howard, providing him with a dependable stream of revenue that he urgently needed. Spicys were considerably more expensive than their non-spicy counterparts with, a cover price of 25 cents versus 10 cents for most of the regular pulps. No doubt this higher cover price pumped in a lot of cash and allowed the publisher to pay a good wage and pay it promptly. Plus, the spicy authors were paid upon editorial acceptance of their stories, rather than on publication as was the case with Weird Tales and many other pulps. The stories could be no longer than 5500 words, not leaving much room for character development, but that was not the spicys’ aim. After getting the hang of the formula and story length, Howard seemed comfortable writing spicy yarns – no doubt he planned to splash further into the market by branching out to Spicy Mystery and Spicy Detective.

To protect their names in other markets, many spicy authors used pen names for their walk on the wild side. E. Hoffmann Price usually used his own name, but also used “Hamlin Daly” in instances where he wanted to place two stories in the same issue. Ditto for Henry Kuttner, though I don’t what pseudonyms he used when he had two yarns in the same issue. Hugh B. Cave wrote as “Justin Case,” Victor Rousseau Emmanuel wrote as “Lew Merrill” and “Clive Trent,” while Howard Wandrei (the brother of Donald Wandrei, who co-founded the publishing company Arkham House with August Derleth) wrote as “W.R. Rainey.” The most prolific of the spicy authors was Robert Leslie Bellum, who wrote under his own name and at least six pseudonyms. So Howard picked the name “Sam Walser” – the name of someone he erroneously thought was his ancestor – for his spicy writing alter-ego. Howard now needed a hero for his spicy yarns.

Even though he did not realize it at the time, Wild Bill Clanton would be the last series character he would create. Clanton was certainly a different kind of cat for Howard. The reckless adventuer was not exactly the type of guy a girl would bring home to meet her parents. He was a pirate, gunrunner, pearl-poacher, blackbirder (aka slaver), brawler extraordinaire and general all around scoundrel, having a penchant for mistreating women.

This is how pulp expert Morgan Holmes describes Clanton in his article “The Saga of Wild Bill Clanton and Two-Gun Bob: The Spicy Robert E. Howard” (Windy City Pulp Stories #9, 2009):

Clanton is a cross between Howard’s earlier character Sailor Steve Costigan, who had appeared in Fiction House’s Fight Stories, and Conan of Cimmeria. Known for everything from pearl diving to piracy, Clanton is good with his fists like Costigan, but also crafty, much in the same way Conan would insert himself into a situation and manipulate events to his own benefit.

The first Wild Bill Clanton yarn was written in September 1935 and published as “She Devil,” the cover story for the April 1936 issue of Spicy-Adventure Stories. Originally titled “The Girl on the Hell-Ship,” the editor re-titled the yarn to match a stock cover painting he wanted to use. Rather than depicting a girl on a ship in the South Pacific, the cover shows a bar in Alaska or some other cold environ, with rough looking male customers wearing furs and other heavy clothing. A scantily clad, young brunette girl dances in their midst, coyly raising a shot glass.

The plot of “She Devil” is one that Howard had used previously in the Conan story, “The Pool of the Black One” (Weird Tales, October 1933). Here is a summary of the plot from Charles Hoffman’s “Blood Lust: Robert E. Howard’s Spicy Adventures” (The Cimmerian, V2N5):

Like Clanton, Conan appears after swimming to a ship, having abandoned a leaky boat. Both protagonists were in that situation as the result of earlier predicaments. Aboard ship, Conan meets the pirate captain, Zaporavo, who has abandoned his usual trade to sail into unknown waters. Zaporavo, like the tyrannical Bully Harrigan encountered by Clanton, broods over maps and charts as he searches for some mysterious treasure kept secret from the crew. In both stories, the captain meets his fate after landfall on an island. Conan and Clanton assume command of their respective ships, which must take flight from the island’s dangers. Conan also appropriates Zaporavo’s sultry mistress, Sancha. Sancha is from Zingara, Howard’s Hyborian Age counterpart of seventeenth-century Spain. Like Raquel O’Shane, she is possessed of fiery Latin blood.

In the above excerpt from the HPL letter, Howard groused that writing for the spicys “requires a deft, jaunty style foreign to my natural style.” Despite his misgivings, Howard was able to capture that jaunty style for his first effort. However, he stumbled somewhat with his follow-up story, “Ship in Mutiny,” a sequel to “The Girl on the Hell Ship.”

To be continued…

A Shameless Spicy Plug

Coming late next month from the REH Foundation Press is Spicy Adventures. This 211 page volume collects all of Howard’s “spicys” and is the first time many of these stories have appeared in hardback. In addition to all of the complete tales, this volume contains a large miscellanea section with drafts and synopsizes that allow readers to glimpse Howard’s creative process. A standout cover by Jim and Ruth Keegan completes the package. Pre-orders are now being accepted at the Foundation’s website.

Read: Part II / Part III / Part IV / Part V

As previously mentioned here on the blog, the REH Foundation Press is coming out with a long awaited collection of Howard’s “spicy” stories. In the last sentence of this post from February 21, 2010, I opined that Rob probably had the idea for this book rattling around in his head and indeed it has come to fruition.

Information on pre-orders is coming in a week or two, so hold your horses. Meanwhile, here are the steamy contents:

Introduction by Patrice Louinet

The Stories:

“The Girl on the Hell Ship” (aka “She-Devil”)

“Ship in Mutiny”

“Desert Blood”

“The Purple Heart of Erlik”

“The Dragon of Kao Tsu”

“Murderer’s Grog”

“Guns of Khartum”

“Daughters of Feud”


Untitled Synopsis (“John Gorman . . .”)

“The Girl on the Hell Ship”—draft

Untitled Synopsis (“Ship in Mutiny”)

“Ship in Mutiny”—draft

List of Characters (“Desert Blood”)

Untitled Synopsis (“The Purple Heart of Erlik”)

Untitled Synopsis (“Daughters of Feud”)

As shown above, this volume features a suitably “spicy” cover by the Keegans.

Update: Pre-orders are now being accepted and The REH Foundation Press reports it has already sold half the print-run of Spicy Adventures. The book is due out the end of September with a print run of 200 copies. Pre-order the book here.

This entry filed under Howard's Fiction, News, Wild Bill Clanton.

Now that El Borak has finally gotten the volume he so richly deserves, and with Dark Agnes getting her due soon, two other Howard heroes are overdue for new, complete collections: Cormac Mac Art and Wild Bill Clanton

The most recent collection of Cormac Mac Art stories was published 15 years ago as part of the Baen collection of eight Howard paperbacks. Howard completed two Cormac Mac Art tales, “Swords of the Northern Sea” and “The Night of the Wolf.” Two other stories, “Tigers of the Sea” and “The Temple of Abomination” were left incomplete and later finished by Richard L. Tierney. None of Howard’s Cormac Mac Art stories were published during his lifetime. Tigers of the Sea was the first collection published in 1974, spawning six pastiches by Andrew Offutt and Keith Taylor.

The four Cormac Mac Art stories would make for a slim volume; a good match with them would be the Black Turlogh O’Brian stories. While the O’Brien stories have appeared individually in print recently, there has never been complete collection in one single volume. There are two complete O’Brien stories (“The Dark Man and “The Gods of Bal-Sagoth”), plus O’Brien is a minor character in “Spears of Contarf” and its supernatural twin “The Grey God Passes.” He is also featured in an incomplete draft titled “The Shadow of the Hun” and a short fragment.  It should be noted that “The Dark Man and “The Gods of Bal-Sagoth” have appeared side by side several times, most recently in the hardcover edition of Wildside’s People of the Dark.

I can see Del Rey possibly doing a collection of the Cormac Mac Art yarns, the Turlogh O’Brian stories, with a number of other miscellaneous Celtic/Northern tales rounding out the volume, much as Joe Marek, Howard scholar and publisher of the extremely rare The “New” Howard Reader, has it listed on his website. The website is a bit out of date, but you can get the gist of what he is saying regarding a possible collection of the Celtic/Northern Howard stories.

Wild Bill Clanton is a different story. The “spicies” have a somewhat limited audience and The Robert E. Howard Foundation Press would be a likely candidate to publish the Clanton stories, along with other “spicy” tales and miscellaneous erotica. This is mainly because Clanton is not exactly a lovable little fuzzball, being a pirate, gunrunner, pearl-poacher, slaver, general all around scoundrel and having a nasty habit of mistreating women.  According to Patrice Louinet, the manuscripts are “spicier” than the published stories; they were toned done for publication in Spicy-Adventure Stories.  So a textually accurate Clanton would make him even a less likely candidate for a mass market book.  “Spicy” indeed.


Five Clanton stories were published in Spicy-Adventure Stories during Howard’s lifetime and shortly after his death, with a sixth being discovered years later among his papers. A collection Howard’s “spicies” appeared only one time in book form in the 1983 Ace paperback The She Devil.  In addition to the six Clanton yarns, two other “spicy” stories were included (“Guns of Khartum” and “Daughters of Feud”).  Most of the Clanton stories have popped-up in print recently, notably in the Girasol pulp replicas. Joe Marek also complied a possible list of contents for a Clanton volume.

So, if Del Rey elects to do another volume after the publication of Dark Agnes and Other Historical Adventures next year, I believe the most likely candidate would be Cormac Mac Art and Other Celtic Adventures. As for the Clanton book, no doubt it is on Rob Roehm’s drawing board or rattling around inside that fertile brain of his.