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Arnzen's Weird Newsletter

+++ Vol. 5.02 | Apr 2, 2008 +++

Grim Henzen Productions


for “Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection” Tied with Peter Straub for his book, 5 STORIES

Thanks to everyone who read, voted, and sent me kind words. I'm still in disbelief. What a year! Congratulations to all the winners and nominees…I recommend all of their books. – Michael Arnzen

The Stoker Award Winners

My Acceptance Speech (read by Weston Ochse at HWA Banquet)

All About Proverbs for Monsters


Blather. Wince. Repeat.

Grim Henzen Productions

Wormit the Legless Frog
Everybody's lovable green buddy crawls back from the grave on his two lanky arms, his backside grotesquely tapered much like the tadpole he once was. He haunts the parking lots of French restaurants…and in his nasal-congested voice cries out for “leggggsss!” He leaves a snotty trail behind him. He is frequently run over by cars.

Googee Monster
He chaotically throws fistfuls of cookies into his mouth, munching wildly, growling “Gooooogeeee.” Sometimes you can see his razor-sharp teeth cutting into his own bloody gums. And sometimes you see human fingers jumbling in the mouth fuzz, and they're not the puppeteer's.

Clownt von Clownt
Combining the worst elements of a vampire and a clown, Clownt von Clownt's lofty domed forehead broods above the eyes and mouth painted not with grease but with the blood of the innocent. But he is tortured with immortal irony. He loads the chambers of his revolver with five blanks and one live round, playing Russian Roulette in front of the camera. “Uh-one,” click. “Uh-two,” click! “Uh-three…,” BAM! And the pointy teeth go flying.

Big Dead Bird
His yellow feathers are fading and falling out. Patches of death-pale gooseflesh are visible everywhere. But worse: large earthworms writhe in his Big Rib Cage. His enormous eyes are always closed. He smells. Badly. The children avoid him.

This shy wooly mammoth is oh so cute…and everyone thinks he's just Big Dead Bird's imaginary friend, until he shuffles up within trunk-grabbing distance of you. His trunk is always larger than the children calculate. He teaches them how to count with each determined mash of their bones between his perfect, poisonous tusks. They never really get past three.

Burnie and Dirt
Burnie died in the apartment building fire, but now he's back from the grave along with his old pal Dirt, his old roommate, who he now carries around in a funerary urn. Dirt perpetually reminds Burnie that the fire was all his fault and that he warned him and he should have listened…when he's not otherwise whining about having to share his urn with Rubber Duckie. Together they roam the streets, forever homeless, seeking a bathtub.

Scar the Grump
There's nothing but scabrous tissue where you thought you'd see lips. He's still a grouch, but at least his nonstop complaining is less annoying, all mumbles and muffled screams behind that stretchy scab where his mouth should have been. His trashcan abode bears the placard for biomedical waste.

No one wants to tickle this stinky scab-colored creature (especially not in those nasty underarms), but that doesn't stop this monstrosity from sitting in the alleyway, tickling himself in the dark shadows, chortling with perverse glee.

This skinny blue corpse dons his grim reaper cowl and scythe. He has come back to the Street, with a lesson to teach the little ones….

Tickle Me Emo:


The B*tchfight is my latest novella, published in trade and collectible hardcover, mailing this week from Bad Moon Books. Brian Hodge (author of Mad Dogs) provides an wonderful introduction that explores the book's not-so-subtle subtext. The novella has already gotten some great reviews (Norman Rubenstein calls it “an enormously entertaining modern tale of terror perhaps destined to become a future classic.”), so you might enjoy it, too…if you're bent. Order The B*tchfight now from the publisher, and learn more about their other exclusive collectible editions: Read the reviews and find out much more:

[People who ordered the fancy hardcover edition of B*fight are getting a cool limited edition audio CD called “Live and Vile” that features outtakes from Audiovile and a live recording of my reading at Zombiefest 2007! Sorry to report it's already sold out, but you CAN still get Audiovile on, iTunes, and now Visit the Audiovile page for links: ]

Shortly after I mailed the last issue of this newsletter, Dark Regions Press announced that they are releasing a special lettered edition of my book, Proverbs for Monsters, in addition to the limited hardcovers and paperback run. I received my copies and it is a very nice production; the hardcover is high quality with ribbon. With art by Matt Schuster, this short story collection is a “best of Arnzen” omnibus, featuring thirty short stories and even more poems selected from over the past fifteen years of my career, including new and very hard to find work. This book is probably the best overview of my writing currently available…and it just won a Bram Stoker Award! Learn all about this book here:

Did you miss “Arnzen Week” at the awesome daily horror news site, Fearzone? Here's what they did: Arnzen Interview by the inimitable Jeff Strand Opening Chapter from The B*tchfight Review of The B*tchfight

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, some rare collectibles, and even a downloadable edition of my cd, Audiovile, for under $10! All purchases at the Horror Mall earn points for later discounts. [See the “Boo Coupons” department below for a special deal for Goreletter subscribers only!] Highly recommended for the true horror aficionado:

Congratulations to producer Jim Minton for winning “Best Visual Effects” award at the 2007 Sansevieria Film Festival for his work on the film adaptation of my poetry and flash fiction, Exquisite Corpse! To purchase this DVD in the US send $15 + $2 shipping/handling via paypal to or mail a check/money order payable to Jim Minton to: Jim Minton Design Studio, 3339 Merrell Road, Dallas, TX, 75229. A printable order form is also available here, where you can learn all you need to know about this international horror-art film:

You can hear a snippet from my guest lecture last Summer (called “What's So Funny? Humor in Genre Writing”) to students at the wonderful Odyssey SF/Fantasy Writing Workshop, along with other podcasts from writers talking about the craft here:

GOODREADS BADREADS (You Know I've Had My Share)
I'm on GoodReads now, too. Are you?

[I like this site, but I'm still a fan of – see the “Coupons” department for more information!]

Look for a review of Proverbs for Monsters in this month's issue of Rue Morgue (March 2008). If you haven't read this great magazine on all things in horror entertainment, you can probably find it at your local newsstand, or visit:

You Have Time For This: Contemporary American Short-Short stories (edited by Mark Budman and Tom Hazuka) is a knock-out anthology of literary flash fiction that includes my tale from 100 Jolts, “The Curse of Fat Face.” Other familiar authors in this book include Bruce Holland Rogers, Marge Simon, and Bruce Boston.

Licker: Novello Publishers still has only a handful (literally – like, five) copies left of this limited run novella about a boy with an hallucinogenic tongue and the carnival freaks who want a taste of the action. Gross-out humor for the jaded horror fan looking for yet another book to put way up high on the shelf, out of sight. Revisit their webpage for some exciting new books to come in 2008:

GORELETS: Unpleasant Poems

Evolution of the Senses

I want you to feel
the air whistle and wheeze
between the crackling bones
behind your ears.
The polite tap
of my rock hammer
is precise enough to provide
a sort of kindness.
As I peel away the eggshell
shatter of skull
you will feel as though
I have unplugged a waxy ear
that's been waiting all along
to receive all these secret signals.
Your senses evolve, you see,
which makes the munching mouth
sound all the worse, I know,
but I won't apologize because
I have developed
a taste
for it.


Ragdoll Avalanche II

It's a dance with death! A simple idea, “executed” quite nicely beneath a rainstorm of blades.



“Squalid” refers to something filthy and repulsively foul – like the living conditions of a cat collector with an affinity for gourmet cheese – but to me it sounds even worse. When I hear the word “squalid” the very sound of the letters makes me think of a “squid” with a “wall” in the middle of it – the wall of a nasal cavity. It also sounds sort of square, sort of solid, but not quite either of those – more lumpy and slumping like some lesser Lovecraftian monstrosity. Yeah, Squalid is the younger brother of Nyarlathotep, but he isn't quite so scary – he just sits on the couch all day, playing X-Box, festering in a pile of cookie crumbs and black ooze, sickly digging into an economy sized bag of Ctheetos every minute or two with a soiled tentacle, wiping the combined orange residue and ichor of his suction cups all over the arms of the sofa. As you can imagine, Squalid – like most young tentacled creatures – kind of smells bad, too.

His older brother, “Squalor” is much smarter, an honor's student at Miskatonic U, majoring in Home Ick. He's currently on the Dean's List.


Third Party Candidates You Might Have Missed

Elect General Zod

Elect Cthulhu

Elect Chuck

Elect the Impaler

BONUS: The Truth is Out There!

[Thanks to Michael Marano – – for sharing the Zod link.]


Halloween may seem like a lifetime ago, but that's the time I last sent out a Goreletter. So I owe you an update and a new contest!

The winner of last issue's “Virtual Halloween Costume Contest” was author James Newman for his creepy family portrait. You can see his photo, and all the contestants, on myspace at Also be sure to drop by James' website to learn more about his new book, People Are Strange:

I actually adored ALL the entries…so why did James win? Ultimately, it came down to the scenario of the photo. I liked the vampiric relationship implied by the couple, but it was the “eyeball with fangs” child that did it for me… it looks like something out of a Guns and Roses album cover…and how can the kid breath inside that mask? FREAKY!

James wins a limited edition hardcover of Proverbs for Monsters, along with a DVD of Exquisite Corpse.

It's time for a new contest. The prize? A scratch-and-dent copy of the hard to find Exquisite Corpse DVD! I have TWO to give away, and while the cases are damaged, the discs play fine. The rules? Easy: Post a funny caption under James Newman's contest winning entry on my Myspace page! I'll randomly choose two winners from the captions – regardless of how funny they are (but they must TRY to be funny). Look under “pics” on my profile page: or e-mail to your caption for the photo posted here and I'll post your caption for you:

DEADLINE: MAY 1st 2008. Winner announced next issue, in early Summer.


Are You Gellin'?

For your next movie night, rent:
The Incredible Melting Man (Sachs, 1977)
The Stuff (Cohen, 1985)
Slime City (Lamberson, 1988)


July 16-25 | Alpha SF/F/H Workshop for Young Writers | Univ of Pittsburgh-Greensburg, PA
I'll be a guest lecturer at this year's Alpha writer's workshop in speculative fiction for young writers of talent (ages 14-19), along with Chris McKitterick, Timothy Zahn, and Tamora Pierce. The deadline for applications has passed, but it's a good program, so if you're a high school-aged writer, look into it for next year!

Oct 25-26th | Zombiefest 2008 | Monroeville Mall Expo Mart, Pittsburgh, PA
It returns! I'll be there. It's still too early to know details, but save the date, which will coincide with World Zombie Day!

Sept 26-28 | Context-21 | Columbus, OH
I'll be running a workshop on flash fiction writing and more at this excellent literary convention in Ohio. I was Horror Guest of Honor last year at Context and loved every minute of it. Other horror fiction notables in attendance this coming year include Guest of Honor Brian Keene, Gary Braunbeck, Tim Waggoner, Paula Guran and Lucy Snyder.


+ Reverse the roles in an alien autopsy.

+ Choose an inanimate object from your kitchen cabinet. Give it a mouth. Allow it to unexpectedly speak one morning to a child while he is preparing his own breakfast.

+ Speculate on paper: If you were to eat your own brain matter, what do you think it would taste like? Describe it, appealing to the senses, evoking the texture and flavor. Then begin the next paragraph. See if you can keep going, unfolding a plot that explains why you would be eating your own brain to begin with. Don't force it…discover it.

If you publish something instigated by this department, let me know and I'll mention it here!

If you like working with twisted prompts, then you might enjoy the new site run by Matt and Natalie Duvall, called “The Write Way”:


Here's a department where I recommend titles that have a similar appeal to my own work. (Oh, okay, I stole the idea from, but why let a profit-based computer code decide what you read? Here you've at least got an egocentric writer doing the job!)

If you liked AUDIOVILE …
you'll like HALL OF MIRRORS by Mike Bennett

If you liked THE B*TCHFIGHT …
you'll like THE FEVER KILL by Tom Piccirilli

If you liked ON WRITING HORROR …
you'll enjoy LESSONS FROM A LIFETIME OF WRITING by David Morrell

If you liked FREAKCIDENTS …
you'll like PHANTASMAPEDIA by Mark McLaughlin

If you liked LICKER …
you'll like SUCKERS by Jeff Strand and J.A. Konrath

If you are curious about any of the Arnzen books that I mention above, just visit the handy-dandy bibliography page at (which include cover art, contents lists, reviews, excerpts, ordering info, and more):


Here's some exclusive coupons and discounts on horror-related merchandise – your reward for scrolling down!

Visit the Horror-Mall
Swing on by the Horror Mall, where Goreletter readers can get 10% off on any purchase of BOOKS of $50 or more. When you check out with your online shopping cart, just enter coupon code: “Goreletter10” This is valid 1 time per customer. Expires 4-15-2008

Gila Queen's Guide to Markets
WRITERS: Kathy Ptacek of the Gila Queen's Guide to Markets is offering a great discount to subscribers who write and want to keep up with the magazine and book markets. Gila Queen's guide often features meaty articles about publishing (including the occassional essay by Arnzen) along with the most up-to-date guidelines and insider news you'll find anywhere. Usually a 20-issue subscription is $20, but you can get a trial rate of ten issues for just $8. Paypal $8 to (be sure to mention the “Arnzen Goreletter Discount” in the comment field) or send a check payable to “Kathy Ptacek” to: Arnzen Goreletter Offer c/o Gila Queen's Guide To Markets, PO Box 97, Newton, NJ 07860-0097. Expires 4-30-2008

Dark Cloud Press
Thou Shalt Not Overlook this Bargain! Dark Cloud Press is offering a huge discount to subscribers who want to get a copy of Thou Shalt Not – an anthology of horror and crime stories involving the 10 Commandments (including my own story, “Blasphemebus”) – for half price! Visit and enter code “goreletter” in the shopping cart's Voucher field to get 50% off the cover price! Expires 4-30-2008.

LibraryThing is STILL graciously offering up a “one year unlimited” free membership to Goreletter subscribers (this offer ends after twenty people take advantage of it). See my profile at and snoop around in my personal library, to learn more about this great site for book hoarders. To get your free unlimited account, all you have to do is go to and sign in to create a new FREE (200 book limit) account. Then simply e-mail me the link to your new profile at and I'll let them know to upgrade you to the ONE YEAR membership (unlimited books) for free! First come, first served (and limited to new LT memberships only). I'm surprised that more people haven't leapt on this offer.

Are You FICTIONWISE? – the web's best sci-fi and horror e-book seller – maintains a special 15% off page for Goreletter subscribers, which is updated weekly. THIS WEEK'S SPECIALS include the McSweeney's Joke Book, Romance fiction by Tess Gerritsen, horror and fantasy stories by Angeline Hawkes, and also Apex Science Fiction and Horror magazine! Fictionwise is also currently the only way to get some of my out-of-print books, like Paratabloids.


All material in The Goreletter is © 2008 Michael A. Arnzen, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward the entire contents of this newsletter as a whole, without alterations or excisions. Direct links to articles in the archives or the weblog are permitted and encouraged, so long as credit is given to Michael Arnzen or For permission to reprint individual pieces, please contact

Delivered free since Sept. 2002. Issues to date: 38. Winner of the 2003 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Alternative Forms from the Horror Writers Association:

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With apologies to latitude 53,41667, longitude 27,91667.

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We'll Manage

“If death had only negative aspects, dying would be an unmanageable action.” –Emile M. Cioran (died 1995)

* 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.
* If you are seeking a particular book by Arnzen mentioned in The Goreletter, try
* Arnzen's blog is now located at Visit it for breaking news and extras not appearing in The Goreletter.

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goreletter/grim_henzen_productions.txt · Last modified: 2013/11/29 11:58 by marnzen

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