Archive for paperback writers

Adios, Scheherazade by Donald E. Westlake (Simon and Schuster, 1970)

Posted in Midwood Books, Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Westlake - AdiosDonald Westlake, RIP, wrote this funny book around the same time that Hal Dresner wrote his funny book, The Man Who Wrote Dirty Books, both novels about the sleaze publishing racket, both published by Simon and Schuster.  Both wrote for Midwood and Nightstand as young writers needing money experience, both were contracted out by Scott Meredith, both went on to bigger and better careers, both got a funny book out of the experience.

The narrator of Adios is a writer, 25, with a wife and kid and dreams of graduate school someday, knocking out a book a month for a New Orleans paperback house as Dirk Smuff.  The pen name used to belong to his friend Rod, who now has a spy series with a better house at $3,000 advances, publishes articles in Playboy, and has a movie deal in Hollywood.  The smut publisher still thinks they are getting Dirk Smuff novels from him, not knowing he has “a ghost” as they call it.

adiosP

His cadre of writing friends all have ghosts, collecting part of the $1,200 per book minus the agent’s commisson; they all have better careers and magazine or mainstream book writers. All except the lonly narrator, who is having a hard time getting his monthly books in on time…first two days late, then three, then four, then nine…the agency tells him if he’s late one more time, they will replace him with an eager writer who can do the work.

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Young Widows Gone Wild — Thirst for Love (David Challon) and Wayward Widow (Loren Beauchamp)

Posted in Loren Beauchamp, Midbook Books, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 3, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Challon - Thirst For LoveBeauchamp - Wayward

These two Robert Silverberg books are the same text. Thirst for Love (as David Challon) was published in 1959 by Bedtime Books and Wayward Widow (as Loren Beauchamp) by Midwood Books in 1963 (later, in 1968, again as Free Sample: Wayward Widow, a promotional editions).

The story is fitting for those 1950s alcohoic yarns like The Days of Wine and Roses and Lost Weekend, when boozing too much became a social stigma to find “shame” and “sin” within.

Kay Brighton is 22 and married 3 months when she loses hr husband; he dies in a car accident.  Drunk and in grief, she seduces a maried neighbor when he comes by to pay condolences. She goes on a drinking binge from there.  She takes the insurace money and checks into a cheap SRO and drinks the day away.

She meets a guy down the hall, Gordon Ryan, a hack paperback writer.  This is when the story gets fun as we meet some of Silverberg’s hack alter-egos — his pe names Gordon Mitchell and Mark Ryan mixed (various Elliotts appear in other books).  Rayn is an overweight, unshaven slob, but he charms her — he goes from paychecks to paycheck, writing books and stoiries in all genres, collecting money frm his powerful literary agent, Lou Michaels (a sorta Scott Meredfith( with a sexy busty recpetionist.  He’s  womanzier but she falls in love with him and they sublet a Hollywood writer’s Manhattan digs for six months.  He has a knack for ghoing on benders and vanihsing for days.  He comes up with a book that a publisher pays a big advance on and Hollywood wants, and all seems like days of wine and roses until his estranged wife shows up and he winds up killing her.

Alone again, Kay goes on a huge drinking binge.  Worried about  oney, she becomes a prostitute, has a fling with a beatnik lesbian, has a beatnik orgy, and so on.  She winds up in the hospital to detox and finds her true love — the married man she seduced the night her husband died, who is now a widow himself, as a car ran over his wife.

Sappy at times, it is a dark story, hardly erotic, as Kay only has drunk sex with most people and is barely aware of it; but the book does wor as interesting commentary on alcoholism.

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