Monday, October 20, 2014

Cap Gun Monday: Kilgore CHAMPION

There were cap guns named "Champion" that I believe were named after Gene Autry's horse, but this isn't one of them. Instead, the name seems related to that funny looking metal lever attached to the front of the grip. The idea is that you squeeze that lever as you draw your gun, and it times the speed of your draw. The box (which I do not own) proclaims it to be "An Art Linklater Award Toy." Maybe an endorsement by old Art would impress parents, but it's hard to imagine it impressing a kid.

In these pics it's tough to see through the little clear plastic window in the grip. But there's a wheel in there with numbers on it. Before each draw you wind the wheel through a hole in the bottom of the grip. As you draw the gun from your holster, you squeeze the lever, starting the timer. Somehow, this is supposed to time your draw, and the number displayed in the window tells you how good you are, in hundredths of a second. A score between 10 and 40 hundredths makes you an EXPERT. 40 to 70 is FAST. 70 to 90 is GOOD, and 90 to 100 rates you DEAD. Ouch.

This little plate flips up to load roll caps. Official Kilgore brand caps are recommended, natch.

Lots more Cap Guns HERE.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Toy Soldier Saturday: MPC WWII JAPANESE

These 2 1/4 inch soldiers came a little late to the war, showing up sometime in the early '60s, but they've made up for it by fighting ever since. And unless some future kid bites their heads off or takes a cigarette lighter to them, they'll probably keep on fighting until the Crack of Doom. 

More small plastic armies HERE.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Forgotten Books: THE SHADOW OF THE TOMAHAWK by Hugh Pendexter

The Shadow of the Tomahawk is a novel so forgotten it had to wait 93 years to be published in book form. It first ran as a serial in Adventure in 1920 and 21 and was finally given new life last year.

Members of the Western APA (Amateur Press Association) OWLHOOT (you know who you are) have raving about this Hugh Pendexter guy, but this was my introduction to his work, and I'll be eagerly looking for more. And thanks to Tom Roberts and Black Dog Books, it won't be hard to find. This book is one of five volumes now available in the Hugh Pendexter Library, and there are more on the way. 

Pendexter, I was pleased to learn, was the author of nearly eighty novels, so I have a lot to look forward to. The Shadow of the Tomahawk involves a time and place in American history that I know very little about, but the novel's narrator, frontier scout Basdel Morris, took me into his world, introduced me to the players, the conflicts and the landscape, and left me the wiser for it.

The story takes place on the Virginia frontier of 1774, with the British still trying to control their colonies and having very little luck. The guys back in Parliament want peace with the Indians, but folks on the frontier know that's no longer an option. There have been atrocities committed on both sides, and reasonably objective observers like Basdel Morris know there's plenty of blame to go around.

There are still settlers who just want to get along, and still some tribes that are friendly. But there are hotheads whose sole ambition is to exterminate all Indians, and warchiefs who are determined to eradicate all the colonists infesting their hereditary territory. Our hero Basdel represents the voice of reason, but when the pampered city girl he loves - and her know-it-all father - head toward the frontier preaching peace, he must turn to the fiercest of Indian killers in an attempt to save their scalps.

Pendexter was known for his historical research, and recreates a world that rings true in every respect. Through his characters and dialogue, he brought the past to vivid life. Based on my brief acquaintance with him, I'm tempted to call him the Bernard Cornwell of the last century. 

The other books now available in the Hugh Pendexter Library are Red Trails (a related novel set ten years after this one), The Shorthorn Kid (a collection of western stories), According to the Evidence (the collected adventures of The Bureau of Abnormal Litigation), and Along the River Trail (a novel featuring a mountain man at the time of Jim Bridger). For ordering and other info, visit the Black Dog Books site HERE

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

How to SUCCESSFULLY Pitch Your Project at a Writers Conference

Jackie Blain hates to sing her own praises, but geez, somebody ought to. She’s a writer, AND a screenwriter, AND a teacher of both, AND a professional editor and writing coach, AND, for the past ten years or more, she’s been running the Pitch Practice room at the Willamette Writers Conference, which is widely (and justly) regarded as the best such conference on the West Coast.

I know, because for most of those years I’ve been there with her, helping folks craft pitches for novels, screenplays, self-help books, memoir, non-fiction, graphic novels, children’s books and projects so unusual they defy categorization. We’ve helped many hundreds of people discover how to put the best face on their project and pitch it like a pro. And it’s been immensely gratifying to have many of those people return and share their success stories – requests for chapters, pages, outlines, proposals, and in some cases even full manuscripts.

Now, at last, Jackie is sharing her pitch-honing techniques with the rest of the world. This entertaining book leads you step-by-step through the process of making your pitch ready for prime time.

Jackie dishes out solid, time-tested techniques for finding your hook, zeroing in on the heart of your story and crafting pitches for occasions. You’ll know what to say next time you’re in the elevator with Steven Spielberg, and you’ll be ready for the agent who wants an in-depth description.

You’ll find all that and more in HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY PITCH YOUR PROJECT AT A WRITERS CONFERENCE, and you’ll be two legs up on everyone who has NOT read this book. Get it now. At this price, it’s a steal. 

Buy it here!
How to Successfully Pitch Your Project at a Writers Conference: real life advice from the Pitch Practice Room

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Monday, October 13, 2014

Cap Gun Monday: MARX Miniature Flintlock Pistol

This miniature flintlock came in the same set as the Tommy Gun I featured a lot of weeks ago (the top of the box and the complete inner tray are pictured HERE). It also came in other sets, like the one below, and by itself on a card. This one's about 4 and 5/8 inches long. and the only moving part is the hammer, which you just pull back and release. Most of the parts that look like metal really are, but the chrome finish is just painted on. When that paint wears off these guns get ugly fast, but this one, I'm pleased to report, is in mint condition.

You can Cap Gun the day away right HERE.