If you haven’t been listening to the 6’+ (‘six foot plus’) podcast, you’ve been missing out on some weird, strange and spooky music — from psychobilly to demented surf to horror spoken word. The latest episode (#45: “The Holidays are Horrible”) includes a track from my CD, Audiovile, called “Little Stocking Stuffers” — and it’s neat to hear how well it fits in with the rest of the battery of horrifying holiday beats. Stream it online, or subscribe via iTunes.
At the fun “Raw Dog Screaming Press Book Party” at the Morgantown Poets group in West Virginia last month, I opened my reading by sharing a piece I’d written for Locus Magazine, a poem about why I write poetry, which I contributed to their running Roundtable series on speculative poetry. Here’s my recitation of “On the Irrelevance of Genre Poetry,” recorded during the reading. I don’t often write things like this — an opinion essay told in the form of a poem — but the audience really seemed to laugh and also get charged up by the poem.
Press the play button below to listen, or the link below it to download the file for your own devices.
Open Locus Magazine’s page in a new window if you’d like to read along. Please also consider leaving a comment on their site or below.
Locus Magazine is a long-running trade magazine for publishers, writers and dedicated fans in the genre, featuring reviews and coverage of trends in science-fiction, fantasy and horror publishing. While you’re there, read the other great articles on the Roundtable by Marge Simon, Robert Frazier, David Kopaska-Merkel, Denise Dumars, F.J. Bergmann and plenty of other great practicing sf/f/h poets on the Locus Roundtable Blog.
If you’re a genre poet, be sure to check out the Science Fiction Poetry Association and join the community. I’ve been a member since something like 1988, and their annual Rhysling Award anthology and journal (Star*Line) alone are worth the dues. Plus they do lots of fun things, like post audio readings of horror poetry every Halloween — check it out.
Last June, I went on a Summer Teaching Tour at various writer’s workshops, and one of the highlights was my return as guest lecturer to the Odyssey, The Fantasy Workshop, run by Jeanne Cavelos annually at St Anselm College, in New Hampshire. My guest lecture topic at Odyssey was “Making the Reader Squirm: Sensory Immersion,” which they have just released as a podcast on the Odyssey Podcast page (it is also available through iTunes).
In this lecture, I discuss ways that science fiction/fantasy and horror writers appeal to the reader’s “sensorium” to generate a visceral effect. The class analyzed examples of how two very different writers went about describing an autopsy (one was from Michael Shea’s “The Autopsy” and the other was from Dr. Ed Uthman’s Description of an Autopsy), and though it’s not on the podcast, the class also examined the tropes of horror in Black Sabbath’s song, “Black Sabbath,” in terms of how the song structures a horrific mood. It was a lot of fun.
I was also a guest at Odyssey back in 2007, when I lectured on “Humor in Speculative Fiction.” You can still listen to that podcast here.
Writers who are looking for more instruction of this ilk should be on the look-out for Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction, a large compendium of advice that I co-edited with Heidi Ruby Miller for Headline Books. It will be in print next month, and I’ll be announcing preorder news shortly. It includes my article, “Tuning Up Your Writing,” which expands on the ways that language can set a mood, through sonic effects…and several other pieces. Yesterday I shared the introduction on scribd.com.
There’s a bonus treat wiggling around in the filthy bottom of your Halloween candy sack….some hot brass!
Crimewav.com — an excellent podcast of noir crime fiction — is featuring three of my music-enhanced horror stories in a special Halloween Episode of Horrors in a surprise Halloween release tonight. It’s a great way to get a free sampler from my cd, Audiovile, and you can also hear the new track, “Attack of the Bleu Man Group,” if you didn’t check it out on gorelets.com earlier this week. Check it out, and sample some of the other writers on the site, or subscribe to the podcast through iTunes.
Crimewav(e) is run by Seth Harwood, author of the great new urban action thriller, Young Junius, and podcaster extraordinaire. Seth is famous for serializing his Jack Palms novel, Jack Wakes Up, through free podcasts, which later turned into a major book deal. So visit crimewav.com to see what he and his “Palm Daddies” are up to, review the great roundup of related podcasts he supports, and read his work! If you liked my novel, Play Dead, you’ll likely dig the gritty crimes he’s committing.
And again, Happy Halloween. Read something scary.
Throughout this Halloween month, microcosms twitterzine is posting horror poetry of 140 characters or less via twitter. I’ll have about five of them in the mix, with the first one — “Sick Taxidermist” — posted just today. Check ’em out, and follow microcosms (and me too!) if you’re on twitter.
The internet radio show, Snark Infested Waters, is posting a new horror-related podcast every day in October, too. They interviewed me about — and will be playing a selection of tracks from — my Audiovile CD in a few days. The interview was funny…it’s now available for your listening pleasure.
You can now listen to the *complete* roundtable conversation between Lawrence C. Connolly, Lucy A. Snyder, Gary A. Braunbeck and myself, recorded in late September 2008, called “The Business/Life of Writing Horror and Dark Fantasy”. It’s one of the best panels on the genre I’ve ever been a part of, in professional studio-quality audio. The discussion goes into very deep, and sometimes very funny, territory, really showing the complexity of the genre and where horror fiction is headed. Hosted by Doug Dangler at the Ohio State U Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing, you can download it from their podcast page or click the play button below to stream it live right now:
Halloween approacheth. Look for the “Writer’s Talk” series on WCBE (Ohio’s NPR station), which will be airing interviews with Michael Arnzen, Gary Braunbeck, Lucy Snyder, and Lawrence Connolly each Wednesday in October.
The topic is “The Business & Life of Writing Horror” and all of us had a blast together answering questions about this crazy genre of dread and terror. The Arnzen session airs tonight on WCBE (10/8/08) at 8pm, and I think it turned out really well. If you miss it, don’t worry: you should be able to hear the podcast online, provided by Doug Dangler and the Ohio Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing. In fact, you can stream a copy of it on your computer right now here:
Writer’s Talk with Michael Arnzen
Gail Z. Martin, author of the Chronicles of the Necromancer series, recently interviewed me for her ongoing series of podcasts with dark fantasy, paranormal and science fiction writers. Our chatty conversation about gore, humor, death and the attraction of horror stories is now available in a podcast on Gail’s site, which presently features an all-star roster of writers, including Jeffery Thomas, Tony Ruggiero, Justin Gustainis, Alethea Kontis, and Mark Chadbourn. Gail’s latest book is The Blood King, available now from amazon.com, and her new book, Dark Haven is due soon from Solaris Books.
Topics we discuss in our interview:
- fantasy vs. realism
- teaching horror in the post-Virginia Tech world
- literary vs. cinematic horror
- death and the draw of horror in a sanitized world
- the cautionary tale — then and now
- optimism, humor, laughter and impalement in horror fiction
This morning I saw that Boing Boing posted news about the Alpha SF Workshop for Teens — and it occurred to me that I’ve been remiss about announcing that I’ll be teaching at this writer’s workshop for young genre fans this year, alongside Tamora Pierce, Timothy Zahn, and the very cool Chris McKitterick. Application deadline is March 1st.
I will also be leading a Flash Fiction writing workshop at Context SF Convention in September. It was exceptionally cool to be the Horror Guest of Honor at Context last year; this year’s guest horror writer is Brian Keene, and other horror luminaries in attendance will include Tim Waggonner, Gary Braunbeck, and critic Paula Guran. Should be fun!
On a semi-related note: keep your eyes on the Odyssey SF/F Workshop and their podcast page…they will be podcasting an excerpt from my guest lecture in 2007 on Humor in Genre Writing. I highly recommend Odyssey for science fiction, fantasy or horror writers who want to take their work up a professional notch.
I’m also presently teaching a Horror Writing course as part of my undergraduate load at Seton Hill University and it’s going to be a lot of fun. The books I’m using, for those who want to give themselves a crash course in this stuff, include On Writing Horror, The Dark Descent, Night Shift, and Imaginative Writing. I’m sure I’ll post about it from time to time on my apologetically dry and academic weblog for teachers, Pedablogue.
By the way, if you already have a college degree and want to learn how to write a horror novel, be sure to consider Seton Hill University’s Master of the Arts program in Writing Popular Fiction. I’m on the faculty.
Whew, that’s a lot of horror learnin’! I love it, though. In fact, I’ll even be presenting a paper about the importance of teaching horror at the International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts held in Orlando this coming March. Hope to see some of you there.
If you are unable to listen to podcasts, and you haven’t already read it in 100 Jolts, then you might be able to find the story in print online in its original publication somewhere on my online bibliography.