The latest issue of the bizarro journal, The Dream People, includes my story, “The Fortune Cookie,” excerpted from The Gorelets Omnibus. You may have seen this before, but go check out The Dream People anyway, because it’s got some good features this issue, including a focus on my Master’s thesis advisor from way back when, the inimitable Lance Olsen (who I recently learned won a Guggenheim Fellowship…way to go, Lance!).
p.s. Speaking of John Skipp… he’s currently running a great kickstarter campaign asking for pledges to help fund a 3D Zombie Puppet Musical called Rose. Chuck him a buck to support this ambitiously fun project…or donate a large chunk of change and get a bit part (literally) in the film!
HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Against my better judgment, for a gift I give you this Christmas story — “Dear Santa” — a long lost manuscript of the very first horror story I ever sold (to GAS magazine in 1989), but which ultimately never saw print. On the one hand, this is old and amateur enough to be most embarrassing. On the other hand, I think I’ve made a career of embarrassing myself. Enjoy?
(If you cannot read the above, see if you can click on the “view fullscreen” link at the top of the reader. Or just head on over to scribd.com, a neat site for document sharing that I have just joined. Comments, “follows” and offers to buy my old manuscripts for heaps of gold bullion are always more than welcome!)
Have a great holiday season…
ATTACK OF THE BLEU MAN GROUP
by Michael A. Arnzen (3.33 mins)
DOWNLOAD .mp3 (3.4 mb)
Happy Halloween! For a surprise treat this year, I am releasing a new humorous zombie story, exclusively in audio format, called “Attack of the Bleu Man Group.” It’s a wacky musical number, as much as a bizarro fiction reading, in the style of Audiovile. Without giving too much away, I’ll just say two things about it: 1) yes, I meant to spell it “bleu,” and, 2) “zombie mimes in black berets”!
Just crank up your speakers and press the red play button above. Or go ahead and download the .mp3 (3.43 MB — right click that link to save it to your computer) for free right now and listen to it whenever you like. (Free for personal use only. All other rights reserved.)
Comments welcome here on the blog, and please do let others know about this strangeness however you can.
If this sort of thing is your cup of tea, then I hope you’ll pick up a copy of my cd, Audiovile, which features 16 tracks just as strange as this one, featuring musically-enhanced stories from my book, 100 Jolts, and beyond. You can get it from iTunes or buy the cd itself via cdbaby.com or the publisher, Raw Dog Screaming Press.
p.s. You can find other audio streams here on gorelets.com, via the “audio” tag.
Had a fabulous time last weekend at Backlist Books in Massillon, Ohio — a great new indie bookstore that does a knock-out job supporting not only speculative genre fiction (horror, science fiction and fantasy literature), but also the independent press. It’s good to see a place like this in the Midwest region of the country. They carry any number of books that I have only heretofore seen available online (especially when it comes to ‘bizarro’ fiction), lots of genre magazines, classic titles of science fiction and fantasy… They had LOTS of collectibles and rarities. I even spotted a quirky line of “adult sci-fi” paperbacks on one shelf that made me laugh aloud (I can’t remember the titles to the letter, but they were something along the lines of Captain Loins vs. the Tentacular Space Pirates from Planet Vulvon), and all sorts of cool art on the wall. Every book buyer even got a fortune telling fish!
The “Bizarro Day” reading event was a smashing success, and it was fun to hear D. Harlan Wilson, Anderson Prunty, John Edward Lawson, Gary A. Braunbeck and Lucy Snyder all read their latest weirdness. I read song parodies (everyone seemed to laugh at my Journey remake, “Don’t Stop Bleeding”) and other pop culture horror poems. Bookseller Fred Van Patton reported that it was probably the most successful event in the store’s history — and that we even outsold Deepak Chopra! It’s true that I sold a goodly number of books, but subsequently spent whatever I made on sales to buy the other writer’s latest books. I hope you will do the same.
Event Coverage updates posted here as they come in:
Hot on the heels of Skull Fragments, comes another appearance in France. Borderline magazine has just published Jerome Charlet’s French translation of my short-short, “The Cow Cafe” (Au Vachement d’Cafe) in their 13th issue.
Of import: this issue is focused primarily on the BIZARRO genre, and includes translations of work by such over-the-top and outre writers as Jeremy R. Johnson, Kevin Donihe, Andersen Prunty, Jeremy Shipp, Carlos Gardini, artist Maxime LeDain, and an interview with horror writer Kealan Patrick Burke. Good to see the ‘bizarros’ getting the international attention they deserve.
The cover is wildly suggestive and weird.
If you’ll indulge me for a moment: please pick up your wine glass, water bottle or coffee mug. I want to raise a high toast to a great publisher.
This year marks Raw Dog Screaming Press’ fifth anniversary. Anyone who knows the independent press, knows that simply surviving that long — especially in today’s publishing economy — is a true milestone of success. I’m proud to be one of their authors, an early runt of their raw puppy litter — and when I think about how far they’ve gone to support my experiments in horror, I am not only humbled, but also proud to be a part of their efforts to push the envelope of the genre, if not literature itself. Not only do they persistently take risks on some very edgy work (“A Child’s Guide to Death” anyone?), but they also go out of their way to promote their titles and support their authors in creative ways.
“What we wanted to do was publish the unpublishable, put out books that other publishers wouldn’t touch because they cross genres, mix conventions or just don’t play by the rules,” co-publisher Jen Barnes writes about their origins, in a retrospection on their livejournal. Now, almost five years later, Raw Dog Screaming has published 18 novels, 14 collections (including 2 books of poetry), 10 anthologies and one CD/audiobook.
I’ve been very lucky to have them as a literary partner over these five years. Two of our books together were Stoker award finalists and the one that remains in print — 100 Jolts — continues to be a very popular book. My second novel, Play Dead, was too experimental for the mainstream press, but Raw Dog grabbed it in its slobbery jaws and ran with it: they not only printed Play Dead in both a fine limited hardcover and an amazingly sculpted “Grim Grimoire” edition, but also created a deck of custom-illustrated playing cards (highly collectable now) to go along with it — AND they hosted a charity poker game party at World Horror Convention to debut the book! The fact that this novel sold out its complete run in hardcover says a lot about the commitment that John Lawson and Jen Barnes at RDSP have to their authors.
If you haven’t been reading their books, you should give their catalog a look-see. They relish the experimental — from Harold Jaffe’s “docufictions” to D. Harlan Wilson’s outrageously funny brand of the bizarro. My 100-story collection, 100 Jolts, is another great example of books that other publishers probably would be too afraid to touch. A single-author collection, filled with short-shorts, some no longer than a paragraph? Unheard of. But creative risks like these pay off, because readers are actually hungry for fresh angles and tired of the same old story. Jolts was successful enough to recently be re-released in a hardcover edition with bonus material — and if that wasn’t enough, they went beyond the pale to supplement it with a CD of musically-enhanced readings, in Audiovile! This indulgence of my musical and oratorical performances is quite remarkable, I think, and it says a lot that the Raw Dog is willing to sniff its gory nose around diverse new media territories, hungry for blood. Seriously: how many publishers really cultivate the artistic side of their writers in such unique ways? I can think of…none. Raw Dog isn’t just printing books, they really care about the Arts — just look at their wild covers, or their recent reaches into children’s picture books, and it quickly becomes self-evident: they’re twisted, but they care about creativity.
So John and Jen (and Ripley) at Raw Dog Screaming Press: here’s to you!
To celebrate, RDSP is hosting a 5 year anniversary party at HorrorFind Weekend in the Baltimore area this coming August. I’m going to be there, along with several other members of the Raw Dog pack: presently, D. Harlan Wilson, Adam Golaski, John Edward Lawson, Donna Lynch & Stephen Archer, Ronald Damien Malfi, John Edward Lawson, and Matthew Warner are all scheduled to appear, with readings, parties, and other fun events. To quote the evil dead: “Join ussss!”
To pop the champagne early, they are offering Goreletter readers an exclusive discount on Audiovile — their first audiobook, by yours truly. You can get a copy directly from Raw Dog Screaming.
The Horror Mall (the “Dark Oddities Emporium”) is a fantastic new online store for lovers of all things horror and bizarror. Check out my author page there for some good deals on my books, especially hard-to-find editions. Update: Horror Mall now features Audiovile as a downloadable audiobook. Drop by!