Archive for August, 2009

Robert Silverberg’s Lesbian Novels: Sin Girls by Marlene Longman, Diary of a Dyke by Don Elliott, and Twilight Women by L.T. Woodward, M.D.

Posted in Don Elliott, Loren Beauchamp, Midwood Books, Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 25, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Sin Girls

Sin Girls is Nightstand #1514, the 13th book William Hamling published in early 1960, written by Robert Silbverberg. Seems Hamling wanted a female pen name.  The second Marlene Longman, however, Lesbian Love, was penned by Marion Zimmer Bradley, and tends to be pricey among colletors, up to $200 as seen here.

Lesbian Love - Longman

Harlan Ellison wrote the purple prose cover copy, and I am sure he had a laugh when composing this:

This is the most powerful novel you will ever read on the subject [lesbian desire], written by a woman who is, hersefl, A TORMENTED LESBIAN!

Robert Silverberg: tormented lesbian!! At the Silverberg Yahoo Fan Group,  Silverberg himself commented: “That blrub is incorrect…I was the happiest of lesbians.”

Sin Girls is the story of Leslie — nice pun there, and one woman says, “Hey, that’s a man’s name!”  It opens with Leslie awakened by a nightmare she has every night, remembering the man who raped her when she was a teenager, taking her virginity violently.  She is in bed with a one-night stand in a hotel that caters to lesbians looking for intimate encounters.  In the morning, the other woman says how much fun she had and hopes they will hook up again, but Leslie informs her that she only has one-nighters: no emotional entanglements, no names if she can help it.

Leslie is cold-hearted, seeking only physical relief. It’s a front.  We find out she was not always that way; she has become distant and aloof  from a scarred heart broken too many times.  First, there was the rape, and her boyfriend’s not wanting anything to do with her after (similar to the set-up of Connie by Silverberg’s Loren Beachamp). The rape left her afraid of men, so she turns to women — the common lesbian element (along with a bad loveless marriage and incest) in lesbian pulp fiction by men, sometimes women (March Hastings).

Her first serious lesbian affair is with Laura, a woman 10 years her senior. They live together in what seems like dyke bliss.  Then Leslie has an affair with another young lesbian in Laura’s gay social cirle (with a lot of bull dykes and beanik queers), they get caught, and Leslie gets tossed out on the street.

She later moves in with three teenage girls who dress in leather jackets and jeans.  They have orgies every night, doing round-robin pussy eating, etc. (although not decribed as crudely, of course).  She finds the girls too cruel and sadistic to other people and leaves.  She has a series of short flings, the crosses paths with an older woman who runs an escort agency that caters to rich lesbian women.  Leslie is a gay call for a year, traveling all over the world with herisess and widowed dykes.

While in the Caribbean with a woman who likes to be whipped and flogged before sex, Leslie meets a young college football hero on vacation and falls in love.  She is “weary” of lesbian sex and wants something different.  She denounces her gayness and goes straight, intending on marriage, ending thus:

All that mattered was that the long nightmare was over, that she lay with a man and that with each move of his body he brought her closer to fulfillment, and that she was forgiven and that the bright sun  now rising overthe Caribbean heralded a bright new day, a brand new life just beginning… (p. 191)

This was typical of lesbian fiction — in order to not face obscenity charges, lesbianism was treated as a deviant disease, and the lesbian could not find happiness in the end with a same-sex partner — she had to either come to a horrible conclusion for her unnatural sins or repent her evil ways and find truth and beauty in the arms of an Alpha Male with a nivce big hard dick that provides “fulfillment.”  The nightmare here is Leslie’s years of lesbiana, and she is “forgiven” of such horrors by going to a man for salvation.

This also happens in Silverberg’s other lesbian novel from 1959, Twisted Loves by Mark Ryan, that I previously discussed.

Let us not cry homophobia today — this was a market demand and condition of the times, when being gay was “strange” (hence “queer” later on), referred to as “twilight women” and “the third sex” engaging in “the third theme” or walking down “the 3rd street.”

There were some other Silverberg lesbiana tales from Cornith/Greenleaf, like Flesh Boarder and The Initiates, with lesbian encounters in many other books, like Party Girl, Fires Within, Wayward Widow, etc.  Silverberg’s lesbians always look the same: mannish,smal breasts, short dark hair.  In two books, the same dyke shows up who writes children’s books as a profession.

Flesh Boarder

There is also Diary of a Dyke, a 1966 title from Cornith’s Pleasure Reader series, from Phenix Publications, one of the many shell companies Hamling used to keep the feds scrambling. (Sorry, no cover scan).  Diary of a Dyke is a journal over 3 months as a woman who likes sex with girls tries to denounce her gayness by sleeping with a lot of men, but she still prefers girls.  It’s a funny book, and at first I did not think Silverberg wrote it — in “My Life as a Pornographer,” he states he stopped writing softcore sleaze in 1964-5, yet there are many 1966-7 Don Elliots, either books that were in a pipeline or Silverberg just stopped his two-novels a month output but still penned the cccasional smut book for money or a need to whip one out.  Silberberg says no other writer used the Don Elliott name the way others did with J.X. Williams, Andrew Shaw, and Don Holliday.

Woodward - twilight WomenThere is also the bogus case study “non-fiction” book Twilight Women by L.T. Woodward, M.D., a pseudonym Silverberg used for a dozen books from Monarch Books, Lancer, and Belmont.  This one, like the other Woowards, is really a collection of short stories made to look like a doctr’s case histories of patients he has treated — in this case, women who are lesbians and need to be cured.  Each story delves into the why and how each woman went gay, or is bi.

I plan to devote a long blog, and a whole acadmeic essay, on the many faux sexology books published in the 60s, riding the tail of the success of the Kisney and Masters and Johnsons Reports, quetsioning the ethics of such, and whether or not such presentations of fiction as fact was “dangerous” or irresponsible — but hey, where there is a market…

…plus, I have done the same with my Dr. Mundinger-Klow titles for Olympia Press, so, er. um…..!

I have a huge stack of lesbian sleaze here that I will blog about over the next two months — Lawrence Block published a lot of lesbiana as Sheldon Lord, Dr. Benjamin Morse, Lesley Evams and Jill Emerson (his first sale was a lesbian book to Beacon in 1958, and many of his Midwoods had lesbian themes).  And I have lez books by real gay women like Randy Salem, March Hastings, Vin Packer, as well as William Coons’ pen name, Barbara Brooks.

Rader - Gay Scene

Warm and Willing

BUTCH

Hastings - 3rd Theme

Hastings - Heat of the Day

Ellis - 3 of a Kind

Hastings - Three Women

SATAN LESBIAN

Affairs of Gloria by Victor Jay (Victor Banis) Brandon House 806

Posted in Nightstand Books, pulp fiction, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Victor Jay - Affairs of Gloria

Victor Jay was/is Victor Banis, better known for his gay titles such as The Why Not and The Gay Haunt, and his involvement with the boom of gay pulp paperbacks in the mid-60s, with Greenleaf/Cornith, where he published as J.X. Williams and John Dexter, and later Chris Davidson…he a

But his fist novel was somewhat hetero, The Affairs of Gloria, published by Brandon House, and part of the resaon for his indictment, along with Brandon House publisher Milt Luro, in Los Angeles by the Postal Inspector and Justice Department.

Banis talks about the legal problems in his great memoir, Spine Instact, Some Creases (reprinted by one of my publishers, Borgo Press); he also explains that he wrte Gloria after reading a handful of sleaze.  Gloria doe shave lesbian action.  He says he was paid either $500 or700 for this novel, which as the norm back then — keep in mind, in then-time cash that was $5-7,000.

With The Why Not, he convinced Earl Kemp and Greeleaf that there was a market for gay male books, just as there was a market for lesbiana and straight sex.  The Why Not was a huge bestseller, and Greenleaf went full force into the gay market, followed by Suree, PEC, and others.

He also assembled a group of young men to produce en masse gay novels for Greenleaf, taking a cut and making a modest furtune similar to the way Lawrnce Block and Hal Dresner farmed out work to ghost writers, paying them $500-800 and keeping the reest (usually $200-300, not bad for doing no work).

Gay Haunt - BanisHe wrote one book for Marice Girodas’ New York version of Olympia Press, The Gay Haunt,but seems ol’ maurice ripped him off, not reporting actual sales for royalties (he got a $1500 advance and maybe a few hundred bucks in roys, expecting thousands since Olympia’s first print run was 50K and went through several editions after.)

Banis is still alive, but not really writing anymore from what I can tell, and has had Borgo and some ebook places reprint his old work.

Another maker of sleaze paperback history, and caught up in the battle against censorship in the 1960s. But more, he helped pave the way for modern gay publishing, proving there were more queers in the reading public than the publishers realized back then (Iafter all, lesbian novels were really marketed for men).

Williams -- Goodbye my over

Victor Jay - Hidden FlaneGay Haunt 2

Caves of Iron

Go Down Aaron

Fires of Youth by Charles Williams/James Collier

Posted in Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , on August 24, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

I just found out about this curious case…in 1960, short-lived Magnet Books published The Fires of Youth by Charles Williams, relegated to obscurity…and then an incarcerated man in the UK plagarized it as Young and Sensitive, winning a major literary award and hailed by the mainstream literati as a masterpiece first novel…

More can read the whole story here.

Proof that some of these cheap sleazecore books were not thrash all the time, and gems were published in the guise of porn…

I have ordered the book and will discuss it more down the line.

Magnet Books - Fires of Youth

Young and Sensitive

The Sins of Seena by Don Elliott (Robert Silverberg) Ember Library 306

Posted in Nightstand Books, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Elliott - Sns of Seena

There are two booksellers who have jacked-up prices for this title ($75 and $95 — c’mon!) and both state there is “speculation” that Donald Westlake ghosted this one.

I asked Robert Silverberg last week if this was so, because he had mentioned hat he did have one Don Elliott ghosted when he was unable to meet the deadline.  He said no, this was not the book in question. “Sins of Seena is mine, I have a copy right here,” he wrote.  He did not, however, say which book is the ghosted Elliott.

Maybe the ridiculous prices on this book will go down now.  Do these booksellers really think anyone is going to pay that kind of money for a book?  In this economy? Sheeee-at. (Myself, I never pay more than $50 for any vintage book, and most are in the $10-30 range.)

As for speculation on which Elliott is the ghosted item, I think contenders are Sin Doll (as Dan Eliot), The Lady from Soho (originally Sin Club), and Diary of a Dyke — these three don’t seem to coincide wth Silverberg/Elliott’s usual style.

Eliot - Sin Doll

Eliott - Lady from soho

Thoughts on Eye-Catching Book Covers

Posted in Midwood Books, Nightstand Books, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

The great art found on 1940s-60s bools — not just sleaze, sex, and sin, but all paperback genres — were meant to catch the eye: when a customer saw the cover on the newsstand or bookstore, they would pick it up out of great curisoity: is the cover as good as the story inside?  Sometimes people bought the books on covers alone, just as collectors do today (collecting Bonfils or Rader, they don’t care about the text).

I never heard of these two books below, for instance, or the writers, and have no idea what they are about, I just now got them on eBay because I liked the covers:

Beacon - Twisted

deadlu desire

Look at those bosoms on that Bonfils art!  Push-up 50s bras!

And Twisted — the cover seems to hint at incest.  From a Beacon?  I don’t know yet, but I have a feeling the cover is misleading, that the girl’s father is strict and mean and she takes off and rebels, and not that her father is the man on the cover wanting to prove that incest is best in some sort of gutter laden lust of shame!

I am often annoyed when the cover is indeed misleading, if the girl on the cover does’t match the main character.  Bonfils always illustrated a scene in a Nightsand book, unlike Midwoods where Harry Shorten would buy art and have writers compose something around it, or just attach art to a book that doesn’t quite fit the story, like Mel Johnson’s Instant Sex.

In the 1970s and 80s, sex books started to use photos of real people models, believing that is what customers wanted.  Perhaps they did, and perhaps paying a model a few dollars was cheaper than commissioning original art.  I don’t care much for photo covers, and they tend to not fit the stories either.  This is true for today’s erotic books — at Blue Moon Books, sometimes the Avalon art dept. just randomly slapped some photo they had in stock (sometimes even putting the same one on two books); and they would put modern age women on Victorian novels.  Some of my Blue Moon covers I hated, like The Dress

The DressThe dress in the novel is short and black, and the female character is blonde  — the other female is a red-head.  So who the hell is this on the cover supposed to be?

(Note: The Dress is being made into a sexy art film in New York soon, after three years of development, and is available in ebook format at Olympia Press, or you can get it used online.  I wrote it as a novella in 1996, published in The Mammoth Book of New Erotica (edited by Maxim Jakubowski) in 1997; I then expanded it as a full novel in 2001 for Blue Moon.  Of all my erotic books, this one has made the most money, mainly from the film option.)

Some covers I really liked, such as The Rooms

The Rooms

I actually saw the cover before completing the book so I wrote a scene that describes the cover.

For Amateurs, I took my own cover photo —

The amatuers

This was a girl who lived nextdoor, she was from Argentina.  She had a website where she sold pix, and sometimes videos if her having sex with her boyfriend.  I was happy when she agreed to grace the cover of one of my books, just as another female friend appears on the cover of one of my Dr. Mundinger-Klow books:

Klow - Swap

But…they just don’t make paperback or hardcover covers like they used to in the 1940s-60s.  Some imprints imitate the look, like the Hard Case Crime books, and they are cool, but they are just retro — they have the look but not the spirit and the feel.

Here are some other covers that are great, worth the price of admission  alone, but tend to not reflect the actual novel — posted here for your eyeball’s fancy, because I know you’re reading this blog because you dig these nifty covers a much as any other vintage book fan does…

Teen Brides

Lustful Ape

Williams - Bayou Sinners

Rader - Teacher's  PetDykes on BikesNovel Books - Don't Touch My Broad

Wall Street WantonElliott - Flesh BoarderHitt - Sheba

Lord - Husband Chaserbeauchamp - anoyher night another love

G. Klow - Sex Under SixteenAllison - Flesh is My UndoingEllis - teenage Hideaway

Hudson - Gang GirlEllis - Gang GirlHastings - Heat of the Day

Midwood - Penthouse Party

Hired Lover by Fred Martin (Orrie Hitt), Midwood #13

Posted in crime noir, Loren Beauchamp, Midwood Books, Orrie Hitt, pulp fiction, Robert Silverberg, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

midwood - hired lover

Accoridng to Lynn Munroe’s richly informative article on Midwood’s beginnings:

Amazingly, just 5 men wrote almost all of the first 40 numbered Midwoods. This hard-working group (Beauchamp, Lord, Marshall, Orrie Hitt and Don Holliday) carried and established Midwood until [Harry] Shorten was able to build his own stable of regulars –- names like March Hastings, Dallas Mayo, Kimberly Kemp, Joan Ellis, Jason Hytes and Sloane Britain.

Beauchamp was, of course, Robert Silverberg, Lord was Lawrence Block, Marshall was Donad Westlake, Holliday was Hal Drenser, and Orrie Hitt was himself.

Hired Lover is Midwood 13, published in 1959, although there are some early un-numbered Midwoods. Fred Martin was a one shot name for Midwood (and seems to have written one for the short-lived Magnet Books), and the style is easily identifiable: this is an Orrie Hitt book.  You can’t mistake Hitt for anyone else: the set-up, the dialogue, pacing, wrap-up.  Silverberg also did an early one shot, Immoral Wife by Gordon Mitchell (Midwod #11), that I discussed in this blog a while ago.

The question is: why these one-shot names?  Was it Midwood’s idea, to look like they had more than the same writers, or Scott Meredith’s, since the mauscripts came from the agency blinded as to the true writer’s identity. After all, Silverberg did an early Midwood, #7, Love Nest by Loren Beauchamp (see my review), and Beauchamp was his continued name for a dozen more titles from 1960-1963.

Munroe also notes:

Although nobody at Midwood knew it then, most of the books were by the same writers turning out the Nightstands. For example, Loren Beauchamp (Robert Silverberg) would become Don Elliott a year later at Nightstand, Sheldon Lord (Lawrence Block) would become Andrew Shaw. Some of the writers, like Alan Marshall and Clyde Allison and Al James, used the same name for both.

Midwood - Call Me MistressI have another early, un-numbered Midwood, Call Me Mistress by Tomlin Rede, and I wonder who wrote this one.  I haven’t read it yet but on quick glance, the style seems like early Westlake/Alan Marshall.

Call Me Mistress is a crime noir set in Hollywood and among syndicate crime lords, wuth a dash of lesbiana tossed in.  I will be getting to this book soon after I do my reading stint of campus sex books and lesbian titles.

Back to Hired Lover — yes, one of many Orrie Hitt’s novels but the name is not listed among Hitt’s pen names (Nicky Weaver, Kay Addams).  I Feldspar - Squeeze Playhave two Kozy Books by one “Walter Feldspar” (Loose Women and Squeeze Play) that look like they may be Hitts (there’s also a Beacon Hitt book called Loose Women) — Feldspar only penned two books, and for Kozy, and Hitt wrote many for Kozy as himself, Weaver, and Roger Normandie…like Lawrence Block and Robert Silverberg and others, there are pen names used that are not always associated with these writers, either overlooked by bibliographers or not admitted to by the writer (or remembered).

Hitt - Loose Women

Hired Lover is a first-person tough guy story — Mike has left Los Angeles after a bad incident and is in Chicago, where he has ties.  He’s working as a driving instructor when one day a gorgeous dame in her mid-20s, Kitty, is his student…she takes him to her mansion, gives him booze and fucks him.  She’s married to a rich old man — short fat,bald and ugly — whom she met when she was a nurse and he was in the hospital in diabetic shock.

As luck would have it, the rich man’s chaueffer just quit and he needs a new driver. Kitty suggests her hubby hire Mike — he can live in the apartment above the garage, where she can visit him for illict sin and lust.

While Kitty and hubby are away on a trip, Mike looks up an old business buddy who runs a stripper club.  One of the strippers has her sister, Ruth, with her — new in town, fresh from Ohio farmland, 18, a virgin, and ignorant of the big bad ol’ world of strippers, whores, booze and crime that her sister is involved with.  Mike manages to talk her out of going down that road — he’s no hero, since he also gets her drunk and takes her virginity, being 10 years older than the girl.

Right off, we know that Mike will end up with Ruth as his wife in the end.  This is typical of Hitt’s novels, mostly for Beacon — similar to the set-up of The Promoter, that I talked about last week.

(An aside: Beacon and Softcover seemed to require, as with lesbian novels, that the hero or heroine redeem and depent tgheir sinful ways by book’s end, married and in the arms of someone good, man or woman.  This does not seem to be the case with Hitt’s titles for Sabre and Novel Books — in fact, Novel gave Hitt carte blance to “take the gloves off” and write what he wanted, free of market and genre constraints.  I will be talking about a few of those in the near future.)

The set-up for Hired Lover isn’t new in sleazecore: the wife convinces the lover that they have to murder the old rich husband so they can be together and get rich.  That never works out, of course, and the wayward wife gets hers in the end — in this case, she has set up Mike in cahoots with the head butler/valet of the mansion. And the hero repents and finds love in the arms of a younger, less gutter-drivem woman, in this and other Hitts.  Mike, on the run from the set-up murder, is aided by young Ruth.  The cops wind up arresting the wife and the valet, but Mike is still guilty for the murder, and had helped plan it.  He married Ruth, but is dying from tetnus due to a untreated gun-shot wound.  The novel ends with Mike on his deathbed, confessing the murder to a Catholic priest, and holding his young wife’s hand, whom he has impregnanted so she will have something of his left.  It’s a sad ending, in a way.

Hired Lover is a great read, however, and if you dig Orrie Hitt, you will dig this — and it’s too bad that Hitt fans may miss this one,  so this blog/review will serve as a pointer for anyone doing research on Hitt.

Now that I am an Orrie Hitt fan  (where was he all my life?), and have bought several dozen books now, expect much discussion of his work here.

I have also found another promising sleazecore writer, Brain Black, who wrote a handful of Beacons, pen names for Western pukp writer Robert Trimnell. The books look good on first glance:

Black --Passionate Prof

Beacon - Unfaithfuil

Black 0 Jeanie

Ursula Grant and Other Pseudonyms

Posted in Midwood Books, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 22, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Midwood - Campus Queen

Grant - Boss Lady

I ordered these two Ursula Grant Midwoods because I liked the covers.  She only did a couple stand alone movels and a few doubles, but looking at th style, this is obviously Joan/Julie Ellis writing under this pen name. Odd, as the name is not listed as attahed to her, like Linda Michaels and Jill Monte are.

Ellis’ style is too distinct, easy to recognize, and the themes of the above are classis Joan Ellis: the college hellion and the woman going for the younger lover.

I will review these two down the line…but next: an early Midwood by Fred Martin, Hired Lover, that is obviously Orrie Hitt…

midwood - hired lover

Also found out that Barbara Brooks was a female pen name for William Coons, who penned some Andrew Shaws and Don Hollidays at Nightstand…

Midwood - hellcat

Paul Rader Covers

Posted in Midwood Books, Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , on August 22, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

The blog Trixie’s Treats has a post with some cool Paul Rader covers.

I’ll add my contribution…you can never go wrong with a Rader…

Rader protrait

Rader - Peppets 2

Kid Sister - SaderRader - Gay SceneAlone at Kast - aderRader - Relucntant Nympho

Rader - High School Rebel

Rader - All of meRader - Baby Sitter

Reader - Sea of Thighs

Rader - Old Enough

Bad Wife by Valerie Grey (Olympia Press)

Posted in Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , , on August 22, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

Rader Girl 2

Olympia Press has published an erotic novella called Bad Wife by Valerie Grey, sporting a nifty re-processed Paul Rader illo above.

Valerie Grey is a pen name, I think.  She wrote Rocket Girl (Blue Moon Books) which is a lesbian stripper murder mystery,  and Montana Heat (Pocket), some kind of romance.

RGBook cver says she lives in San Diego and there is a Valerie Grey on faebook in San Diego, have no idea if they are the same:

VG

The Sex-Machine Peddlers by Terence Fitzbancroft

Posted in Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks with tags , , , , on August 22, 2009 by vintagesleazepaperbacks

sexped

Olympia Press has published an apparent “lost” novella by Terence Fitzbancroft, The Sex-Machine Peddlers.  Fitzbancroft is somebody’s pen name, not sure who, who had a couple Oympia Press Ophelia titles in the 1970s:  My Sister, My Sin and The Shape of Desire.

Olympia - Sister Sin

Fitzbancroft tackles some interetsing themes — incest, over-sexed secretaries, and people who get into dildo and Sybian consumer trade.