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Arnzen's Weird Newsletter

+++Vol. 8.3 | 12.20.2013+++

The Resolution

Happy New Year!

Thank you to everyone for inspiring me to continue to explore the fringes of horror in the year gone by.

Your support of my writing – and I mean everything from a book purchase to a brief reader review to a belly laugh – continues to instigate me into navigating new directions I never would have dreamed existed in both the shadows and in the publishing world. What a year! And the year to come – which marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of my first novel, Grave Markings [ ] – is going to be even better with lots of surprises on the horizon. Thank you for subscribing to The Goreletter. Like my pet green ooze, I'm glad you're sticking around… Read on for hints at the shape of strange things to come – and a new twitter-sized writing contest that I'm very excited about and hoping every single one of you – writer or not – will give a try.

The Contestatorium


In the Instigation Playground at AuthorBee
Deadline for entries is 12/29/13 at Midnight est.

RESOLVE to be more creative and devious. Let's write a twisted tale together to ring (or is that “wring”?) in the new year! The story is called “The Resolution.” And it begins with the following line:

You're bound. A TV shows Times Square. “What's your resolution,” a man holding a knife asks, “for the afterlife?”

Consider yourself “instigated”: YOU GO NEXT! Continue the story. You might want to review a few basic rules to get set up first:

But contributing is simple: you just log in via Twitter and load up to post a short, twitter-length line to continue the story. That's all! But while you're there, click around on the arrows and mute/solo buttons. If you read other people's posts and get to a point where you want to change the plot direction, you can do that, too, anywhere along the way.

Sure we could just joke around on twitter for a week, but AuthorBee [ ] is awesome because it gives narrative coherency to twitter's chaos. Everyone who adds to the story has a chance to win – no matter how erudite, no matter how nutso. So don't be afraid to join in the fray. In fact, I encourage you to not only fray away, but to instigate your friends to come join us too. The more people who participate, the BIGGER THE CHANCES ARE to win a prize!

For this story – and this contest – to really work, you simply need to follow the following rules:.

* Contribute to the story titled “The Resolution” between 8:00 pm (EST) December 20, 2013 and midnight (EST) December 29, 2013. (FIRM DEADLINE!)
* One contribution is required, although we encourage you to contribute more than once.
* You must be a Twitter follower of @MikeArnzen [ ] AND @AuthorBee [ ]. Follow, then contribute – or contribute, then follow. We don’t care which order, just follow us both so you’ll be updated as the story unfolds.

On New Year's Eve, I will choose the contest winners in two (2) categories:

1. Best individual contributions. Each contribution that you make will be judged separately. If less than 20 people contribute, I will give one free, signed book to my single favorite contributor. But knows we can do better than that! So if 20-49 people contribute, they have generously offered me FIVE $20 AMAZON GIFT CARDS to give as prizes. If 50 or more contribute, TEN gift cards will be awarded! (What this means, essentially, is that that the more contributors we can bring into the story, the better your chances are at winning something).

2. Best storyline. I will select the best storyline for publication on and offer featured publicity to everyone who is a part of it, by sharing the story far and wide. Contributors to the “best storyline” will also receive A DISCOUNT CODE on Instigation: Creative Prompts on the Dark Side [ ] and be entered into a random draw for one of THREE SIGNED FRIDGE OF THE DAMNED poetry magnet kits [ ]!

The final storyline and contributing winners will be announced on December 31, 2013 on and via Twitter. We'll also celebrate the best storyline in the next issue of the newsletter. Have fun, and…



New Page for Back Issues: The Respository

Shortly after the previous newsletter was released, I moved the archives of The Goreletter to a new area of my website called “The Repository.” [ ]. I took this opportunity, too, to cull out every single dead web link, which unsuprisingly took a long time, since there are around 40 issues, and these stretch all the way back to 2002. I'm excited to share this because these archives are now clean, easier to browse and navigate than ever before, and they look just as good on a cell phone as they do when surfing the web on a desktop.

Note that you may need to update any previous backlinks you have on your own sites or archives.

Come on by. It's a great chance to catch up on what you've missed in ye olden days of this newsletter. Since it's the Christmas season as I type this, a good place to start might be the December 2003 issue [ ] , which includes a special collection of Christmas and holiday poems from the likes of Tom Piccirrilli, Bev Vincent, John R. Platt, Lucy Snyder, Deborah Kolodji, Kevin Donihe, Norman Prentiss and more! These will “put you in the spirit”…but don't be upset if the spirit spits you right back out from his paranormal slime hole.


Meet Mike Arnzen in 2014

Association of Writers & Writing Programs
Feb 26 - Mar 1, 2014 | Seattle, WA

World Horror Convention
May 8-11, 2014 | Portland, OR

Seton Hill University
“In Your Write Mind” Booksigning
June 27, 2014 | Greensburg, PA

July 25-27, 2014 | Pittsburgh, PA

More to come:

The Fridge of the Damned

I can't believe it's almost been a year since the conception of The Fridge of the Damned – the weirdest poetry magnet kit known to mankind, composed entirely of words lifted from my book, The Gorelets Omnibus. Last January, thanks to all of you, the idea was funded beyond expectations by an amazing Kickstarter campaign , and I've been happily posting photos of your best creations to my flickr gallery (and to twitter – search for hashtag #TFOTD). There are almost 200 photos in that gallery – with tons of strange poems to read. Browse around and check it out [ ] . You can still also get your own magnetic kit from Raw Dog Screaming Press.

“The Omniscientist” [ ] is one of several weirdo art pieces I've been posting regularly to my flickr gallery. It's actually a selfie…

Mastication Update

It's been a year since I resurrected my publishing imprint, Mastication Publications – and it's been fun to expand the press into more multimedia realms. Our recent ebook, Instigation: Creative Prompts on the Dark Side, is still selling well (thanks to all of you who have kindly spread the word or posted reviews). And I ran a special “NaNoWriMo” discount special on the book last month that really made a splash. If you missed your chance to get the book cheap in November, subscribe to the Mastication email list [ ] and you'll get 25% off…plus a free Adobe ebook copy of Meat Shots – a mini-collection of my short-shorts and poems experimentally designed by Nathan Rosen (the man who also designed the paperback cover art for Play Dead).

I have many plans in the hopper for 2014, chief among which is the first audiobook release from Mastication that longtime fans of this newsletter won't want to miss. Sign up and stay tuned!

Nora Thompson (artist and author of The Rots) is the latest author to be featured in the Instigation Showcase. Who will be next? Should it be you? Let me know if you publish anything as a result of this book. I especially am interested in featuring someone who used Instigation to survive NaNoWriMo this November.



Try saying “asphyxiation” five times fast. You will know what it means from experience. But if you survive, read on…

You probably know the term refers to “choking to death” and that it is the fancy pants medical name for strangulation. But did you know the term derives from the Greek, meaning a- (without) + sphyxis (a “heartbeat”)?

If you thought it had something to do with the Egyptian term “sphinx” (which I think means “without + a nose), then you were wrong. (To “asphynxiate” actually means to turn into a giant cat with wings and tell riddles till your enormous human face erodes away.)

There are many circumstances that can induce asphyxia, all of which are characterized by the inability to acquire sufficient oxygen through breathing for a long, long – gasp! – LONG period of time. These circumstances can include but are not limited to: the constriction or obstruction of airways, such as from asthma, laryngospasm, or eating an excessive amount of cotton candy; from being in environments where oxygen is not readily accessible, such as underwater, in outer space, or when your head is dunked into – and held down – in a vat of boiling acid; environments where sufficiently oxygenated air is present, but cannot be adequately breathed because of air contamination, such as inhaling excessive smoke in a burning building, being trapped in an evil villain's stinkbug chamber, or passing out in the men's room in a truck stop on I-15. Asphyxia can cause coma or death or auto-erotic pleasure followed by death followed by embarrassment to your family who wishes they could choke you all over again.

To asphyxiate will fix nothing, especially not your ass.

(for Victor Buono [ ])

Anthology Row

Fear the Abyss

Fear the Abyss (published earlier this year by Post Mortem Press) is a wonderful anthology of science fiction stories penned by horror authors like Jack Ketchum, Tim Wagonner, Gary Braunbeck, and many more. My story, “Graphic Violence Equalizer,” is about a futuristic V-Chip for cable TV gone wild. Now available from ( in paperback ($13.50 us) and kindle editions (only $2.99 us!). “FEAR THE ABYSS brings the shocks, one disturbing jolt after another. These are tales from the bleeding edge of modern horror fiction. Highly recommended.” -Jonathan Maberry, author of Patient Zero

Horror Library

“Spanning the universe of modern literary horror, this volume features 30 genre rich short stories by 30 cutting edge authors, some well known, some soon to be. If you'd like a snapshot of where horror fiction is headed, you have found the right book.” Just released from Cutting Block Press and now available on in paperback. An early reader review called my contribution “riveting,” which is a marvelous joke on the story, which involves, well, juicy impalement!


“No one needs a calendar to die.” – Yiddish Proverb


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© Copyright 2013, Michael A. Arnzen - All rights reserved

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goreletter/the_resolution.txt · Last modified: 2013/12/20 21:57 by marnzen

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