Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Morning is Dead Cover

Here's the cover for Morning is Dead, designed and illustrated by Brandon Duncan of corporatedemon.com.

It's scheduled to be released in April. You can pre-order a signed copy from me:

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Morning is Dead Sountrack

This is an imaginary soundtrack to my forthcoming book, Morning is Dead.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Eraserhead Press 2010 Release Schedule

The Eraserhead Press 2010 release schedule is now up at Bizarro Central. It looks like My Fake War and Slag Attack will coming out later this year. Huzzah!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Beard Photo Shoot

Somebody was finally able to get The Beard into a bathroom. Luckily, they took some pictures before giving it the shave down. Thanks to the lovely bearded lady at Scodioli.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Unusual Suspects

Here's a web flyer for the reading in March.

Spread it around if you know anyone in the eastern Ohio/western PA area. I'm really enjoying Wilson's Bobby "The Brain" Heenan pose.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Appearances 2010

For now, here is a list of places I'll be appearing in 2010, besides my house and workplace:

March 6, 3PM
Backlist Books
39 Lincoln Way E.
Massillon, Ohio 44646
Reading and book signing along with: D. Harlan Wilson, John Edward Lawson, and Michael Arnzen

August 27-29
Context 23
Columbus, Ohio

October 28-31
World Fantasy Convention
Columbus, Ohio

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Review of L.V. Rautenbaumgrabner's As I Was Cutting and Other Nastinesses

As I Was Cutting and Other Nastinesses by L.V. Rautenbaumgrabner
New Pulp Press, 2010

L.V. Rautenbaumgrabner’s (that can’t be a real name) book made me happy to read small press books because I don’t know that one would find something like this in the mainstream. This is a gem of a short story collection. It contains a number of noirish tales of extreme violence and crimes gone bad, but it also contains a number of stories more reminiscent of Charles Bukowski than Jim Thompson. The characters in As I Was Cutting and Other Nastinesses are beaten down and hellbent on tearing their way through the bottom by any means necessary. In the story “Little Timmy’s Last Heist,” a couple poison their child with bad fish to help pull off a drugstore heist. In “Hammerin’ Hiram,” two exploitation film enthusiasts meet, have a week or so of intense sex, and then decide the only thing left to do together is murder someone. In the title story, a man kills his dog to save his marriage and, realizing he might be too late, resorts to an equally extreme measure.

There is a also a healthy dose of absurdity to the stories in this collection. “An Anvil Chorus Followed by An Equine Aria,” features a man assaulted by falling anvils. In “A Mind Excessively Deferential to Received Ideas,” a mysterious character named Uncle Juan invites his family into the bathroom to observe his latest bowel movement. In “The Ice Cream Truck Plays That Tune No More,” an ice cream truck driver begins pimping out his girlfriend using the ice cream truck as a kind of mobile advertisement to troll for johns.

Not all of the stories work, but most story collections subject themselves to this kind of subjectivity. For me, it was one story that was basically a screenplay (“Wheel Me Over to the Next Rabbit”), and a couple others that were very short character monologues.

What makes this a really strong collection is its eclecticism and Rautenbaumgrabner’s excellent sense of language. He breathes life into the sometimes worn out genre of sleaze. This book will not make you feel any better about life. In fact, it’ll probably make you look at your neighbors a little more closely. But it’s entertaining from beginning to end. These stories are never boring and some of them are genuinely shocking.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Books Read in 2009

I've been keeping a list of the books I read for about the past 3 years now. There were way too many good books to boil it down to a top 10 list. I've put an asterisk next to ones I particularly enjoyed. Number 111 is also, curiously, missing. I probably blacked out for a week or something.

1. Salmonella Man on Planet Porno by Yasutaka Tsutsui*
2. Population Zero by Wrath James White*
3. Apeshit by Carlton Mellick III*
4. Hero by Wrath James White and J.F. Gonzalez*
5. Eyeheart Everything by Mykle Hansen*
6. Hunting Zoe by Steve Gerlach
7. Different Seasons by Trever Palmer
8. Gun Work by David J. Schow*
9. Severance Package by Duane Swiercynski
10. The Dog of the Marriage by Amy Hempel
11. The Last Call of Mourning by Charles L. Grant
12. Jake’s Wake by John Skipp and Cody Goodfellow*
13. Transmetropolitan Volume 1 by Warren Ellis*
14. The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano
15. Midnight Blues- Brian Knight
16. Passenger- Ronald Damien Malfi*
17.Cognitive Behavioral Therapy- Tao Lin
18. Saying Uncle- Greg F. Gifune
19. Bed by Tao Lin
20. Bloodstone by Nate Kenyon
21. The Dead Fish Museum by Charles D’Ambrosio
22. Castaways by Brian Keene
23. Summer of Night by Dan Simmons*
24. A Winter Haunting by Dan Simmons
25. Transmetropolitan Vol. 2 by Warren Ellis*
26. Jenna Sighed by Michael McBride
27. Children of Chaos by Greg F. Gifune*
28. Post Office by Charles Bukowski*
29. Discarded Blessings by James A. Moore
30. Judas Goat by Greg F. Gifune
31. Gun Monkeys by Victor Gischler
32. New Dark Voices 2 by Brian Keene (ed.)
33. Injustice by Steve Gerlach
34. The Egg Man by Carlton Mellick III
35. Remains by Michael McBride
36. Shackled by Ray Garton
37. Clown Girl by Monica Drake
38. Amber Rising by Steve Gerlach
39. Rant by Chuck Palahniuk (audio)*
40. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (audio)
41. 2666 by Robert Bolano*
42. The Damned by William Ollie
43. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (audio)
44. Love Lies Dying by Steve Gerlach
45. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (audio)*
46. Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll (audio)
47. Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (audio)
48. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (audio)
49. The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers (audio)
50. Sky Tongues by Gina Ranalli
51. Unhappy Endings by Brian Keene
52. The Golem by Edward Lee
53. The Faggiest Vampire by Carlton Mellick III*
54. Shatnerquake by Jeff Burk
55. Bust by Ken Bruen and Jason Starr
56. Watchmen by Alan Moore
57. The Max by Ken Bruen and Jason Starr
58. The Restraint of Beasts by Magnus Mills*
59. Kockroach by Tyler Knox
60. Washer Mouth by Kevin L. Donihe*
61. Benjamin’s Parasite by Jeff Strand*
62. All Heads Turn as the Hunt Goes By by John Farris
63. Cover by Jack Ketchum
64. Miranda by John R. Little
65. Redemption Roadshow by Weston Ochse
66. The Ark Sakura by Kobo Abe
67. Pressure by Jeff Strand*
68. Reservoir Gods by Brian Knight
69. My Work is Not Yet Done by Thomas Ligotti*
70. Don of the Dead by Nick Cato*
71. Up in Honey’s Room by Elmore Leonard (audio)
72. The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster (audio)*
73. Moby Dick by Herman Melville (audio)
74. Blood in Electric Blue by Greg Gifune
75. The Shore by Robert Dunbar
76. A Laymon Kind of Night by Mark Allan Gunnells
77. Swarm of Flying Eyeballs by Gina Ranalli
78. Savage Night by Jim Thompson
79. The Reach by Nate Kenyon
80. The Bone Factory by Nate Kenyon
81. Sacrifice by John Everson
82. Vendetta by James A. Moore
83. The Possibility of an Island by Michel Houllebecq
84. The Girl on the Refrigerator by Etger Keret
85. Urban Gothic by Brian Keene
86. Far Dark Fields by Gary Braunbeck
87. Lake Mountain by Steve Gerlach
88. The Nocturne by Steve Gerlach
89. The Quick Red Fox by John D. MacDonald
90. Dark Hearts by Brain Keene and Cassandra Keene
91. Quake by Richard Laymon
92. Ghost Soldiers by James Tate*
93. Trolley No. 1852 by Edward Lee*
94. Half-Sick of Shadows by Graham Masterton*
95. The Severed Nose by Jeff Strand*
96. A Deadly Shade of Gold by John D. MacDonald
97. Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon (audio)
98. Peckinpah by D. Harlan Wilson*
99. Light Boxes by Shane Jones*
100. Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens #7 Edited by Bradley Sands
101. Vampires a Go-Go by Victor Gischler
102 Conversations with My Hair by Russell Bradbury Carlin(audio)
103. Sideshow P.I.: The Devil’s Garden by Nathaniel Lambert and Kevin Sweeney*
104. Enchanted Night by Steven Millhauser*
105. Flesh by Richard Laymon
106. Infected by Scott Sigler (audio)
107. Scarecrow Gods by Weston Ochse*
108. House of Fallen Trees by Gina Ranalli*
109. Lunar Park by Bret Easton Ellis (audio)*
110. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (audio)
112. After the Quake by Haruki Murakami (audio)*
113. Carmilla by Sherida LeFanu (audio)
114. His Father’s Son by Bentley Little*
115. Mama Fish by Rio Youers*
116. The Death of Bunny Munro by Nick Cave*
117. The Girl in the Woods by David Jack Bell
118. Boons/The Camp by David Ohle*
119. Kingdom of Shadows by Greg F. Gifune
120. Fistful of Feet by Jordan Krall*
121. Lexical Funk by Daniel Clausen
122. The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty (audio)*
123. A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel (audio)
124. Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving*
125. Against the Day by Thomas Pynchon (audio) -Still haven't finished listening to this yet.
126. Under the Dome by Stephen King*
127. The Cyesologniac by Edward Lee
128. Black Butterflies by Kurt Newton
129. Eee Eeee Eee by Tao Lin*
130. As I Was Cutting by L.V. Rautenbaumgrabner*
131. Broken Skin by Nate Southard
132. Stories in the Worst Way- Gary Lutz
133. AM/PM by Amelia Gray*
134. Devil’s Marionette by Maurice Broaddus

Friday, January 1, 2010

Why I Write

So I've taken the past month or so off from writing. It's not anything resembling writer's block. I've never had a shortage of ideas and realize it's just a matter of sitting down and doing it. A couple of years ago I was just trying to find a publisher. That happened (I found a few) and it made me extremely happy. Then it was up to me to find readers. I tried pretty much everything I could imagine. Maybe I'm just not that imaginative when it comes to reaching potential readers. That's one of the difficult things about writing. It's a solitary endeavor. I'm a fairly solitary person and it took a lot of time and energy to try and sell my books to people. My first book appeared in February of 2008, nearly 2 years ago. Looking at sales of my books over those two years is one of the most depressing things I do. It could be a lot worse and I'm extremely grateful for every book sold, but it doesn't justify the amount of time and money I've put into it. Yet, starting a new year, I'm looking forward to sitting down and writing again. I'm not doing it for sales. Sales mean a lot to publishers. It actually means a lot to me too. I would love it if my books sold extremely well. But that can't be the reason I write. I've never worked with a large corporate publisher where sales are the "bottom line." I think I'm grateful for that. I've also never written something and thought, "Oh boy, this is going to sell really well." I write books I would want to read. That's my only criterion. If I wouldn't want to read it, it gets scrapped.

When I think about why I write I can't really find an answer that makes sense and I'm okay with that. The world is a vast and nebulous place and, often times, answers only make things less interesting and less dynamic. Focusing on sales and "networking" makes writing a lot like work. If I didn't already have a job that took up 40-plus hours a week and a wife and children I enjoy spending time with, I would have no problem with this aspect of it. While writing is one of the most important things to me, it's the last thing I do. Meaning, if my obsession with the business end of writing bleeds over into all the other things I do, something is out of balance. If, one day, writing turns out to pay better than my day job then I can justify spending more time on it. I have to work a day job to put food on the table and pay bills. I write for myself. It makes me happy. That's the best reason I can think of. Sometimes it makes other people happy, too. I received this email a couple of days after Christmas and, even though it's brief, it put a lot of things into perspective:

"I've recently been introduced to the Bizarro book genre and my roommate gave me The Beard as my Christmas present. It was pretty much the best present ever and you are now one of my favorite authors. I wish I had the genius to think of writing about a beard before you. I particularly enjoy your style of writing because you manage to balance the strange and random with a comprehensible plot that moves along well. I will probably be reading all of your other books. Thank you for brightening my otherwise depressing Christmas with a good book.

Elise S."

A few days before that, I received a highly entertaining review from writer Jim Gavin. You can read it on his blog.

So while I write for myself, knowing that it reaches other readers and, for whatever reason, means enough to them to take time out from their day to write something about it is an even bigger bonus. It makes it less solitary. It adds depth and reality and meaning to all those quiet nights spent scribbling in a notebook.

This blog has become a dismal place. When I look over the entries from the past year or so, it reeks of desperation and salesmanship. The time I've spent befriending people on Goodreads and Facebook, et. al. is probably embarrassing. I can justify it by thinking it's just a relatively new author excited about being published and, really, if I don't tell you about my book, who will? Because it's not like the small press has any PR fleets or anything. But I have to prioritize things. I don't have the time to try and sell you shit and you're tired of having shit sold to you. So other than the occasional book announcement (hopefully), there won't be any of that this year. Maybe some free fiction and half-witted musings on things but, other than that, I'm going to go back to 1. living my life and 2. writing. In the end, those are the only things I really know how to do.

Happy New Year and thanks for sticking around.