Please see my home-page update for a description of Forgotten Horrors 4: Dreams That Money Can Buy, just released by Midnight Marquee Press.

    Also, my friend John Locke (who recently started his own imprint, Off-Trail Publications) and I recently edited a pulp-fiction collection for Adventure House called Thrilling Detective Heroes. It's a collection of stories from the Thrilling series of pulp magazines, featuring some of the wildest heroes and hard-boiled tough guys you've ever seen. Here, for instance, is Bagdad, Hobo Detective, and Dr. Zeng, an American masquerading as a Chinese doctor who has an assistant with a fake, hollow leg, used for storing everything from radio equipment to weaponry!

    Thrilling Detective Heroes also contains one of the last adventures of a character generally thought to be the first true hard-boiled detective - Race Williams. And, there's an exhaustively researched history of the Thrilling Group itself from the tireless Mr. Locke. Check it out at www.adventurehouse.com.

    When acclaimed mystery-thriller novelist Bill Bernhardt -- a New York Times bestselling author -- decided to launch his HAWK Publishing Group in 1999, he contacted me about reprinting Old Fears, the first horror novel (of three) I wrote with Ron Wolfe (yes, that's right, Wooley-Wolfe), and the first book-length story I ever had published - back when dinosaurs ruled the earth in 1983.
    Flash forward to 2006. Bill Bernhardt is still writing best-selling novels (check out his latest, Capitol Murder, in bookstores every-doggone-where) and HAWK is still publishing my stuff. At this count, Bill's been kind enough to publish nine of my tomes, most of them edited and otherwise aided by his invaluable right-hand woman, Jodie Nida.
    As of Oct. 31, two of these books, the novel Ghost Band and the non-fiction From the Blue Devils to Red Dirt: The Colors of Oklahoma Music have just hit the street.

Ghost Band is the story of a trumpeter named Miles West, who, while touring with a big-band outfit under the name of a long-dead bandleader, slowly begins to understand that he and the group are being trailed by ghosts that aren't just musical, but real. It's spooky and unsettling (he says hopefully) but not graphic, and will especially be enjoyed, I think, by people who appreciate the big-band era and old movies, as well as those who have a few miles on their odometers - like Miles himself. I'm most attracted to stories that have a decent amount of thematic underpinning, of texture, and that's what I've tried to include here.

    At the risk of appearing immodest, I have to tell you that Ghost Band is attracting glowing notices from across the country. The Chicago Sun-Times' Thomas Conner, for instance, calls it a "fantastic narrative," while the Lansing (Mich.) State Journal's Ray Walsh dubs it "a nifty, spooky tale about murder on the road." Michael H. Price, reviewing Ghost Band for HomeStyle magazine, says that "Wooley reinvents the supernatural-thriller genre to haunting effect," and Icepick "sir-critic," reviewer for the online site amazon.com, adds, "In addition to being a good thriller, it's a fascinating meditation on nostalgia and memory - what the past means to the present. Recommended!"

    Yes, indeed, I do know a couple of those reviewers - Michael Price, in fact, is my collaborator on The Big Book of Biker Flicks, among other things. But I also know them well enough to understand that they wouldn't simply praise a book because I wrote it. I do think it's the best thing I've ever done, and I hope you agree. Get it from your local bookseller or...

Buy from Amazon.com        Buy from Barnes & Noble.com

    For more about Ghost Band, see the newly updated Q&A portion of this website.

 

From the Blue Devils to Red Dirt: The Colors of Oklahoma Music is one of only three books commissioned by the Oklahoma Centennial Committee and the Oklahoma Arts Council for the state's 2007 celebration. For the record, the other two volumes are Equal Justice: The Courage of Ada Sipuel by our own Mr. Bernhardt with Oklahoma first lady Kim Henry, and Four Arrows and Magpie by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright N. Scott Momaday. As you can see, I'm pretty much in over my head with this kind of company, but at least I wrote about something I know a little bit: the Oklahoma musical movements that have had a major impact, beginning with the groundbreaking jazz band the Oklahoma City Blue Devils in the '20s, going through western swing and Woody Guthrie, the Tulsa Sound and the Jim Halsey Agency, Oklahoma's dominance of Nashville in the '90s, and the current Red Dirt scene.

    Thanks mostly to my 23-plus years covering music for the Tulsa World newspaper, I was able to put a lot of first-person interview material into the book - including portions of an interview I did with guitarist Herman Arnspiger, who was there when western swing was, for all practical purposes, born. I think people who may not know much about Oklahoma's contributions to America's pop-music culture may be surprised to see just how much we've influenced things.

Buy from Amazon.com        Buy from Barnes & Noble.com

 

Other books I've done recently include these:

The abovementioned Big Book of Biker Flicks, a deluxe, oversized, color-interiors volume continues to sell briskly. My collaborator Mike Price and I interviewed a ton of biker-film greats for the book, including the likes of Jack Nicholson, Herschell Gordon (She-Devils on Wheels) Lewis, Sonny Barger, Peter Fonda, William Smith, Sam Sherman, Dennis Hopper, Roger Corman, and Billy Gray. The book features chapters on 40 of the best -- or at least the most interesting -- motorcycle movies of all time, featuring original advertising material. And if you don't remember, or aren't old enough to have seen, the newspaper ad campaigns during the bike-picture heyday of the late '60s-early '70s, prepare to see some of the roughest, weirdest, and most amusing movie ads ever made.

Buy from Amazon.com        Buy from Barnes & Noble.com

 

Voices from the Hill: The Story of Oklahoma Military Academy is the first book-length history of OMA, an institution dubbed the West Point of the Southwest. From 1919 to 1971, it sat atop College Hill outside of Claremore, OK, about 15 miles from where I type this. Right across from the Will Rogers Memorial, it's now metamorphosed into the classy Rogers State University.
     The book is full of photos as well as text, documenting the famed school's history in the words of its former students, all placed in historical context. While those interested in military institutions, Oklahoma history, and OMA itself will be the book's primary audience, I have to tell you that my research turned up some neat movie and music connections, which the book also documents. In 1935, for instance, when Will Rogers was the No. 1 box office attraction in America, he brought the OMA polo team to Hollywood to play a match with Stanford. An anecdote involving the cadets' tour of the 20th Century-Fox studios is one of my favorite stories in the book.
To purchase a copy of Voices, contact the Rogers State University Office of Development at (918) 343-7773 or toll-free at (800) 256-7511, or check the usual internet sources.

Buy from Amazon.com        Buy from Barnes & Noble.com

 

Awash in the Blood is the story of television evangelist Mo Johnston, who gets bitten by a vampire in Transylvania during All Souls' Eve and begins a horrific descent into darkness, pulling his followers -- and his faith -- along with him. Legendary horror writer Hugh B. Cave endorsed Awash in the Blood, calling it "an exciting and powerful story, vividly written," and some nice reviews have come in from all across the country. On the amazon.com website, reviewer Jason N. Mical called it "a modern Gothic masterpiece."

    Awash in the Blood was recently optioned by Southern California entertainment figure Robert Walters.

Buy from Amazon.com        Buy from Barnes & Noble.com

These are all HAWK Publishing Group books, available worldwide. For info on their other titles, see www. hawkpub.com.

 

Home