Saturday, June 29, 2019

The Valley of the Shadow

Available in paperback, e-book, and BIG PRINT formats, my Western novel, The Valley of the Shadow, book two in the Adventure of the Old West series, is available at Amazon.


Mysterious stalkers. Corrupt politicians. A crime spree such as Excelsior has never seen. Murder. Mayhem. Hired guns. Can Sheriff Bane Messenger take control? He learns there's more to being a lawman than just being good with a gun.


I've read several non-fiction books by journalists and historians about famous Wild West figures. These books often give detailed background information about the lives and times of their subjects. Such material is often ignored, avoided, or glossed over by authors of fiction who prefer to focus on specific scenes involving dramatic events.

My fiction is about action and adventure, but it is often inspired by actual incidents that are factual, rather than fictional. In my novels, of course, I treat situations and events fictitiously, dramatizing them, and prefer to pursue action and adventure instead of "just the facts, ma'am," as Dragnet's Sergeant Friday used to tell women he interviewed.

Nevertheless, I find that the factual details that sometimes inspire my work, as a few did The Valley of the Shadow, make my fiction more realistic, compelling, and exciting.

I hope you'll agree.


Sunday, March 10, 2019


An active member of the Western Writers of America, Gary L. Pullman (the "L" is for "Lee") was born in Arlington, Virginia, to Paul Arthur ("Buss") Pullman, Jr., and Wilma Mardell ("Winki") (nee Messenger). His two sisters, Paulette Virginia and Katherine ("Kathy") Elizabeth, preceded him; his two brothers, Craig Arthur and Thomas Keith (who goes by "Keith") followed him.

Dad, holding his twin siblings, Donald and Dorothy.

Gary grew up in Idylwood, a fairly rural enclave (at the time) with a Falls Church, Virginia, mailing address, located about eight miles from the nation's capital. In many respects, his boyhood was truly as idyllic as the name of his community, where everyone knew everyone else; no doors were locked, day or night; and even grade-school-age children, for the most part, had the run of the neighborhood.

Ledward Barracks, Headquarters Building, Schweinfurt, Germany. Source: Public Domain.

After serving his country as a soldier stationed in Germany, Gary attended college, earning a bachelor of arts in English degree and, a year later, a master of arts in English degree, from Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas, his mother's hometown.

He then taught college in Kansas, before working as a technical writer in San Diego, California, and Huntsville, Alabama, for a subsidiary of Northrop-Grumman.


Moving to Las Vegas, Nevada, Gary met his then-future wife, Paula, who taught at the same college at which he was teaching. Now, Gary teaches at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Paula sells handmade jewelry, arts and crafts on Etsy, and Amazon.Their canine companion, Rocky, begs for snacks, treats, and anything else edible.

Gary enjoys writing in multiple genres. His books are available on Amazon. His blog, Chillers and Thrillers, offers his insights concerning the theory and practice of writing horror fiction. His articles for Listverse appear on his author's page.

Source: Listverse

 He also occasionally paints (sort of):

Young Adult Novels

My books include six young adult novels: Saturday's Child and its sequel, Mystic Mansion, The Madhouse, Wild Wicca Woman, The Secret of the Silver Star, and Revelation Point. All titles are available on Amazon, some in both e-book and print versions.

Saturday's Child wasn't just the first young adult novel I wrote; it was the first novel of any kind that I ever wrote.


It's the Young World against the One World Council when high school student Crystal Fall and her friends, David Lewis, Dee Dee Dawkins, and Fran Newell, encounter an evil in their midst that could destroy the world. Their enemies are formidable, resourceful, and powerful, but Crystal and her friends have a secret ally: God is on their side!


My mother's concerns about the directions public schools were taking concerning controversial social issues and the schools' increasing substitutions of propaganda for education helped to inspire Saturday's Child as did the characters of the hit television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. 

The sequel to Saturday's Child, Mystic Mansion  features the same characters as the previous novel, involving Crystal, David, Dee Dee, and Fran in an all-new adventure.


The death of Adolf Hitler ended World War II, but it ignited a new horror, as a supernatural artifact fell into the hands of remaining members of the Third Reich. Now, three-quarters of a century later, it's up to high school students Crystal Fall and her friends to stand against an evil that may surpass even that of the Nazis themselves! This sequel to Saturday's Child is the second installment in The God Squad series.


Legends about the miraculous artifact known as The Spear of Longinus and Adolf Hitler's interest in it inspired Mystic Mansion, which also investigates the death of an elderly journalist who was introduced in Saturday's Child. In this novel, Crystal and her friends acquire supernatural abilities that allow them to take on the dark forces associated with a Mystic Mansion.

The phrase  what if? set me thinking as I envisioned a twist for a plot involving a staple theme of horror fiction, the haunted house. I wanted my young adult novel to offer a fresh perspective to the genre.


Blood money built Palm Acres.

The shade of broad oaks and towering pines, like the roofs and walls of the beautiful mansion they surround, hide secrets dark enough to induce madness.

Having come of age, Emily Coldwater uncovers her family's terrible deeds. Driven to a catastrophic confrontation with tremendously powerful forces, can she hope to survive?


I've been an avid fan of novels set in haunted houses, having read Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House, Stephen King's Rose Red, Stephen King's The Shining, Stephen King's Bag of Bones, Bentley Little's The House, Dan Simmons's A Winter's Haunting, and such short stories as Bram Stoker's "The Judge's House," H. G. Wells's "The Red Room," Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher," and others. My interest in such stories led me, finally, to want to write one of my own badly enough that I wrote The Madhouse. To make mine my own, I added a couple of twists to the subgenre.

In many young adult novels, adolescent characters face daunting odds. Often, they are victims of parental neglect, parental absence, or worse, not to mention the evils of peer pressure and bullying. This novel explores the consequences of such experiences, both individual and social.


 Joy Winters is none too happy to find Wicca paraphernalia in her daughter closet, even after Sarah explains that the items belong to her friend Amy Martin. Like her other friends, Allie Drew and Nick Harris, Sarah's aghast to discover that Amy's seriously deranged. Could their friendship with the disturbed girl have enabled Amy's obsession with the bizarre, ancient faith she's adopted--and does Wicca's dark magic really work, as Amy claims? The teens are about to find out!


Fantasy and horror television series targeting teen and young adult viewers often include magic, various pagan religions, witchcraft, mythology, folklore and legends, crystals and candles, lotions and potions, and other mystical elements to spice up plots that otherwise deal with the problems of growing up. Indeed, these mystical elements are sometimes themselves metaphors for the problems of adolescents and of adolescence itself. Their popular use in TV shows suggested my own use of the theme for my own purposes as a writer.

It seems that both everyday life and, too often, movies, popular songs, video games, and young adult novels provide adolescents and young adults with too many negative role models. Perhaps we need to counter (to some extent) these examples of "adult behavior" with a few positive role models. That was my thought, at least, with respect to The Secret of the Silver Star.


After his dad abandons him, Cass refuses to listen to his mother. He hangs out with the wrong crowd. He begins to bully other kids. Finally, when he vandalizes his high school, the judge gives him a choice: confinement in a juvenile detention center or a camping trip with his mom's brother, Uncle Gabe, a highly decorated, no-nonsense Special Forces soldier. Alone in the great, deep wilderness, they encounter a threat that will change Cass forever--if he's man enough to survive.


Five personal interests inspired The Secret of the Silver Star: my reading, at the time, of accounts of legendary cryptids, or creatures "whose existence or survival to the present day is disputed or unsubstantiated" and UFOs; my own military service; the military decoration known, colloquially, as The Silver Star (a recipient of this medal was my next-door neighbor at a time); a concern for adolescents whose rebellious attitudes sometimes place them at a crossroads in their lives; and a perception of the need for mentors and positive role models for teens and young adults.

When I lived in El Cajon, California, I took long drives on a fairly regular basis. Several of these trips took me through Ramona, Ranchita, the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Borrego Springs, Octillo Wells, and the Salton Sea. Along the way, I sometimes went through high country similar to the mountainous terrain of Revelation Point.


When teen campers' hike through the deep woods takes a terrifying turn, their adventure becomes a nightmarish struggle for survival. Alone in the remote wilderness, they must depend on the skills of outcast Brad Lannigan. Can they trust him with their lives? As Brad takes the lead, they're about to find out!

For a time, I was a member of a church congregation that owned a retreat northwest of Ramona, California. I imagined a church youth group on a camping trip. Among their number would be a pariah who'd save the day after the group became involved in some sort of life-threatening situation. Out of this initial concept, I developed the characters and the plot of Revelation Point, devising a title that points to God, rather than the human characters, as the source of knowledge concerning how people should live their lives and how, in the process, they should relate to one another.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

A Whole World Full of Hurt

A Whole World Full of Hurt, available at The Wild Rose Press and Amazon, is a 328-page urban fantasy novel.


All her life, Raven Westbrook has been looking for love. After enduring the emotional abuse of her family and the physical abuse of her lovers, she joins The Black Cauldron. Under the coven's powerful high priestess, Abigail Sheen, Raven becomes an accomplished witch. Unfortunately, this new future doesn't turn out as Raven intended.

To stop a mad quest for ultimate power, Lloyd Edwards, a top government agent, joins forces with Raven, and they gather a troop of angels to take on an impending demon horde. They need only one more thing: a woman of renewed faith. 

With time running out, can Lloyd, as a man of renewed faith, convince Raven there's reason to trust in the goodness of life? Can she find the faith and the love she lost, the way he did, by overcoming the pain she's suffered in her own world full of hurt?

Their lives, and the fate of the world, depend on them. If only he can reach her, and if only she can trust him, they may have a chance, yet, to save the world.


I was inspired to write A Whole World Full of Hurt by readings in esoteric literature, one volume of which claimed that, in designing the layout of the streets of Washington, D. C., Pierre Charles L'Enfant incorporated an inverted pentagram as a symbol of the true, demonic energy that would power the nation's capitol.

From an image in the public domain.

Supposedly, the northwestern point of the pentagram, at Dupont Circle, linked to (what would become) the Federal United City College Library, by way of Massachusetts Avenue, and to the White House, by way of Connecticut Avenue (and, presumably, also by way of an invisible, mystical extension). The southwestern point, at Washington Circle, connected to Logan Circle, by way of another invisible, mystical extension and by way of Rhode Island Avenue, and to the Federal United City College Library, by way of K Street. Finally, Logan Circle also connected to the White House, by way of Vermont Avenue and by way of yet another invisible, mystical extension.

As a result, the inverted pentagram created the head of a goat, an avatar of Satan, the points of the horns of which ended at Washington Circle and Logan Circle; the tips of its ears, at Washington Circle and the Federal United City College Library; and the tip of its beard at the White House. (Other sources envision a larger pentagram, one of the points of which connects with the Pentagon, in Rosslyn, Virginia, as it does in my novel, which also takes a few additional liberties with the inverted pentagram configuration.)

I made the "power centers" (the points of the pentagram) inactive; to be activated, they need to be occupied by a demon, whose power is energized by the life force, or soul, of a person whose identity is predicted in a mystical tome. Once the pentagram had been activated, a coven of witches could use its power to defeat the U. S. government and conquer the world. Only a man and a woman of faith could stand against them.

Other influences on the novel were Buffy the Vampire's Initiative, Marvel Comics' Dr. Strange, Master of the Mystic Arts (and the illustrations, especially, of Steve Ditko), my boyhood environs, and some of the people I've met over the years.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Good with a Gun

Available in both paperback and e-book formats, my Western novel, Good with a Gun, is available at Amazon.


Bounty hunter Bane Messenger was good with a gun, but he wanted more out of life than hunting down fugitives from the law. He wanted a family: a wife and children. He wanted a home of his own. He wanted to know why his father had abandoned his mother and him. But all he knew was how to track and capture or kill the worst sort of men who roamed the West, taking what they wanted, whether money, property, or women, at the point of a gun. When he met the right woman, though, he vowed his life would change; he would change, if he could.


The tradition of the Wild West is about as close as we've come, in the United States, to a national mythology. A sort of modern-day knight, the Western hero, whether he's a bounty hunter, a cowboy, a gambler, a gunfighter, a lawman, or a sodbuster, is America's contribution to the literature which, in other countries, in times past, is populated with gods and demons, giants and dwarfs, sorcerers and wizards, monsters and dragons.

Like the knight of old and the demigod before him, the Western hero lives by a code of his own, the code of The West. Difficult to put into words, especially for the typically laconic frontier hero, the unwritten values which guide his conduct are most discernible in his deeds, but they include, among other precepts, minding one's own business, being a friend to those in need, and regarding women with deference and respect.

The land of the Army fort, the frontier town, the "Indian," the Pony Express, the saloon, the ranch, the stagecoach, and the wagon train is the land of adventure, danger, exploration, and opportunity. The landscape is neither like that of the Fertile Crescent nor the frozen wastes of the Nordic north; it is a varied land of mesas and mountains, of prairie and plains, of deserts and grottoes, where rivers are wide, nights are full of stars, and, as often as not, a campsite is home.

In Good with a Gun, I tried to catch some of the spirit and poetry of the Wild West, both in my descriptions of its incomparable landscapes and my portrayals of the unique types of characters found among its pioneer stock.

I was inspired by my own father, Paul Arthur Pullman, Jr.,'s, love of Westerns, by the many Western television series and movies that once filled the airwaves, and by the courageous, stalwart, indomitable men and women who, in settling the frontier, hitched their wagons to a star.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

The Flame of the Sea

Available as an e-book on Amazon, The Flame of the Sea is an action-packed story of Viking adventure. If you like Ragnar, you will love Eric Bloodaxe!


Eric, a young Viking chieftain on a heroic quest, never imagines he's but a pawn of rival wizards and a mere plaything in an ancient war between powerful gods. What begins as an adventurous search for treasure becomes a desperate struggle for survival. If he loses, Eric forfeits not only wealth, fame, love, and life, but the most valuable treasure of all: his honor as a Viking.


What boy doesn't thrill to stories of the sea, featuring the exploits of men larger than life itself, especially when such tales have some basis in fact?

The Vikings were a breed apart, so fierce in battle that other Europeans offered a special prayer to ward off their attack: "God save us from the Norsemen!"

How lucky the man who is as passionate about a beloved body of myth and legend as he was as a boy!

Fondness for folklore and adventure inspires many adults to commit fantasies of daring deeds, courageous acts, and dangerous enterprises to the page, both for the sake of reliving them in their own minds and for the sake of posterity.

In reading historical accounts of the Norsemen, one soon learns they were not mere barbarians. They were pirates as well as farmers, it's true, but they were also masters of navigation and engineering, devising some of the first and most profound inventions, as I recount in a Listverse article, "10 Amazing Viking Inventions and Innovations."

Lots of things inspired The Flame of the Sea:

The gods and goddesses of the Norse: Odin, Thor, Balder, Freya, Frigga, Hel, Heimdall, Loki, the Norns, Sif, and the Valkyries.

The nine worlds, whose names remain as exotic to my ears as the imaginary realms themselves: Niflheim, Muspelheim, Asgard, Midgard, Jotunheim, Vanaheim, Alfheim, Svartalfheim, and Helheim.

The mighty world tree Yggsdrasil, which united these worlds into a single universe.

Asgard, the home of the gods.

The creation of the world, the Twilight of the Gods, and the new world to follow.

The fact that the gods were also members of distinct families, such as Magni and Modi, the sons of Thor and the giantess Jarnsaxa, and Thrud, his daughter by Sif.

The Berserkers.

The runes.

The Prose and the Poetic Eddas.

The world of Norse mythology is a transcendent realm, beyond time and space, in which anything can happen, a place that, in the terms described by C. S. Lewis, inspires a joy so sharp it takes the form of longing.

These are the emotions Norse mythology awoke--and awakens--in me, and it these same powerful passions I hope to awaken or to reawaken in those who read of Eric's bold adventures in The Flame of the Sea.

Oh! And one other source, a most important one, also inspired me: Vladimir Propp's Morphology of the Folktale, which is the topic of a different post, "Plotting The Flame of the Sea."