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Michael Arnzen's Weird Newsletter

+++Vol. 12.1 | July 2017+++

Body Bag Moving


Blather. Wince. Repeat.

The following is an excerpt from a potential series of new flash fiction I have in progress.


I enter the superstore, fully prepared to encounter the elderly greeter.

“Welcome to Wal-Mart,” he says, gesturing like an usher.

I march up to encroach his space and stand at attention, then mimic him like a robot.

Nervously, the old man stiffens. “How can I help you?”

“I need a job,” I reply.

His jowls quiver as he smiles. “Oh! The Employment Office is right in the back. Just follow the signs to Customer Service.”

I don't blink.“I need a job.”

He blinks thrice. “Um… I hear there's an opening in the night shift for stock. If you'll just follow the signs –”

“I need a job.” I lean forward on the balls of my feet.

He leans back. “Sir, I just told you –”

The next four responses are punctuated by my actions:

I flick his red-white-and-blue namebadge. “I.”

I tug his apron lapel down harshly. “Need.”

I flick his left jowl. “A.”

I flick the right jowl. “Job.”

He starts looking around the entryway for help. He doesn't find any.

People are streaming past me into the store, and I can't tell if this makes him more uncomfortable than me.

“Excuse me, sir, I have people to greet.”

“Greet this,” I say, revealing my machete.

He sticks his hands up like someone who has been robbed before.

He doesn't realize this is making my job easier as a serial killer.

“Thank you,” I reply, and check my watch, mentally clocking in. Then I hack.


YEAR'S BEST HARDCORE HORROR - Vol. 2 Includes the flash series, “55 Ways I'd Prefer Not to Die” #

The Year’s Best Hardcore Horror Vol. 2 , recently published by Comet Press, is getting very good reviews, including a fantastic one from Publisher’s Weekly ( . A reprint of my series, “55 Ways I’d Prefer Not to Die,” leads off the book, and there are a number of extreme, splattery and plain nasty horror stories within to whet your appetite for the dark side. It’s a big thick slab of twisted thoughts and gross-out terror. Other excellent horror authors in the book include Wrath James White, Stephanie Wytovich, Adam Cesare, Bryan Smith, Tim Wagonner, Alessandro Manzetti and many more. Discover the new blood!

Buy it now ( on and elsewhere. An excellent audiobook edition is also available on



I'm excited to share the first in a new series edited by Eric J. Guignard , called “Exploring Dark Short Fiction.” Each volume will feature a “primer” to a short story author of repute working in the horror genre, featuring some of their key stories and related interviews and articles. As consulting academic, I am writing short accompanying essays for each story, along with a longer critical essay explaining why the writer matters, and sharing my understanding of their work. First up is multi-award winning writer Steve Rasnic Tem. The book is lavishly illustrated by Michelle Prebich and includes some fantastic fiction. Just released – get it now from Dark Moon Books ( or (

NEW INTERVIEW “I think part of [why I write horror] is obviously seeing the effect it has on other people. Maybe this is why I teach and try to help other writers. It has the benefit of the instant reaction. Writing is a kind of prompt toward an emotional response, isn’t it?” Read my “Inky Interview with Ink Pantry”. #

SOCIAL NETWORK UPDATE Minor note: my social network hub,, had to switch hosts and now has a new (but bare boned) look and feel. It is hosted by I invite you to browse around and if you find your own social network there, add me/follow me/friend me for kicks. #

GORELETS: Unpleasant Poems


full body suffocation sacks
skyscraper rooftop hammocks
one big passenger bus air bag
blow-up lifeboats
prison yard sleeping bags
poison center community sick sacks
cliff jump balloon rides
hospital mattress covers
dispensable murder tarps
freeway crossing safety vests
firing squad zipsuits with built in blindfold


Confluence 2017
Aug 4th-6th | Pittsburgh Airport Sheraton
Panels, readings, literary beers and more are scheduled throughout the weekend at Pittsburgh's long-running con for readers and writers of science fiction/fantasy/horror.

Indie Lit Fest 2017
Oct 13-14, 2017 | Downtown Frostburg, MD
At the 8th Annual Indie Lit Festival ( the innovative Center for Creative Writing at Frostburg State University takes over the streets of Frostburg, MD, for two days. I’ll be joining a few panel discussions and attending various events, including the book fair. For more information stay tuned to their new fest-dedicated website at

There will likely be a Halloween season reading in PA added to the list. Tentative plans are also brewing for attending AWP ( & ICFA ( in Florida in 2018. Events sometimes pop up between newsletters so be sure to check the weblog once in a while for upcoming events.


Vampire Stories: Arnzen Live in Transylvania

This May, I had the amazing experience of attending the 2nd International Vampire Film & Arts Festival in Transylvania (, where author Nicole Peeler and I curated an academic symposium on the neck-biter in pop culture (on behalf of our MFA in Writing program at Seton Hill U. You can read a newspaper interview all about this in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, if interested… #

I was also proudly part of the literary track, and had the opportunity to perform something vampiric – so I crammed a dozen or so poems and stories into a really fun reading that was recorded for posterity. It includes a few pieces most readers probably haven't seen before (including some, um, sultry vamp flash!), and a few “classics” like “The Blood Ran Out” and “My Pet Vampire.” You can stream it live on Bandcamp for free. Or go right ahead and purchase it for just a buck and get a pair of companion ebooks, among other things. #

Attack of The Bleu Man Group: Extended Digital EP #

Awhile back, I did a mini-giveaway of CDs that included a musical performance of “Attack of the Bleu Man Group” (originally published in The Gorelets Omnibus) – and maybe you've heard it on at one point or another. But in February, I decided to share all the various versions (live readings and demos and sketches) related to this spoken word weirdness, and recorded some new pieces just to round it all out. Check out theExpanded Digital EP of the Bleu Man Group and have some laughs… you might even hear yourself chuckling in the background if you were at one of the live events. There's ten tracks, including a “techno remix” and even a new poem recited in French in the mix!

When you're visiting my bandcamp page, check out my other recordings – there's a deal where you can even buy the entire 'discography' at a 30% discount (total: just $10 bucks). Encourage me to keep doing these crazy things and I probably will.

DISCOUNT CODE FOR SUBSCRIBERS: 15% OFF anything at : enter “madman” (no quotes) and click “apply” in the discount code box at checkout!

INSTIGATION: Creative Prompts


This time around, I give you random phrases related to bodies. Steal them for a title, freewrite a response, play with the words in a poem, use them as a product slogan…do whatever you like in words! Consider whether you can shoehorn the title concept – “body moving” – into your creation.

+ Fear of Hair
+ Clip-free Fingernails
+ Ghost Skin
+ Liposuction Cups
+ Feet with Eyes
+ Six Arms, One Leg
+ Go Go Nads
+ Decapitated Necking
+ Explosive Kneecaps
+ Tattoos That Bite
+ Flesh Pockets
+ Tumors with Feelings
+ Lung Perfume
+ Heart Head

If prompts are your bag, don't forget that my book, Instigation: Creative Prompts on the Dark Side, has over 500 twisted inspirations for your crazy mind to ponder and pilfer. You also might want to visit with our latest featured author in the Instigation Showcase, poet Maya Kanwal, who is doing some fabulous things with The Fridge of the Damned.



I hit my semi-centennial in May, and decided to celebrate all year. This summer was a highlight, as I took a breather from work to just enjoy some overseas travel to Transylvania and Germany, and to generally get closer to friends and family. Feel free to vicariously share the experience by perusing various photos I've posted to instagram if you like!


You also might find the recent posts to the blog at of interest. For example, there are lots of photos from my appearance at StokerCon 2017 in Long Beach and coverage of DogCon5 there, as well as holiday stories for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and several other posts since I last sent this newsletter (on Halloween last year!). There's even an add-on packet to my “55 Ways I'd Prefer Not to Die”series that you won't find anywhere else. Additional updates online include new entries in my Anthologies page, a live instigation video, and a bevvy of new gorelets posted to twitter for The Nest, like “Musing Upon Skull Teeth,” “penance,” and “The Meat Mallet Killer.”


The Fridge of the Damned remains open! Get your magnetic tiles from Raw Dog Screaming Press and make your own sick poetry! And please always feel free to share your work with me for inclusion in the online fan gallery of crazy poems on flickr.

# #


“For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and melt into the sun? … Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing… And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.”
– Kahlil Gibran, died 1931


Read the back issues ( !

Copyright 2017, Michael A. Arnzen - All rights reserved

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* Due to the temporary nature of internet URLs, some websites mentioned in back issues of the Goreletter may no longer be live, or may also point to unscrupulous web servers. I will denote these with overstrikes as I discover them, but if you encounter a dead, changed or unscrupulous link, please feel free to inform me.
* “Boo Coupons” are expired in all but the current issue.
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* Arnzen's blog is now located at Visit it for breaking news and extras not appearing in The Goreletter.

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goreletter/body_bag_movin.txt · Last modified: 2017/07/24 08:28 by marnzen

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