Category Archives: moderan

Silicon Pringles


I don’t like Mondays. Let’s just say that, explain the title and blow the lede right out of the water with one swell foop. I did promise me that I’d do 500 words a day on the blog so here we are.

(The content that I had put together is on rain delay right now — the unfortunate death of author/editor Sam Gafford threw a monkey wrench into the affairs of my esteemed con-conspirator and the simulposts are on hold for now.

But I don’t want to neglect this page any more, especially given that all of my other urls lead here. So here I am. I expect mostly I’ll just bitch about stuff. If you don’t like screeds or complaining or lefty politics, I understand.

I could post stories but I’m still stupidly hoping to be paid for some of them, and a couple of dozen are due for collections. Am not in the best mental state or in the best spirits right now — fighting too much mental bullshit to work right now. Thanks, brain. Love those bad chemicals.)

Gilroy. Yay. A fucking SIX YEAR OLD CHILD. Please let’s keep those assault weapons on general sale. Or better yet, issue them along with birth certificates so everyone can have one ALL THE TIME. I hate guns. I think they should all be melted down to slag and used to make nails and screws and shit for infrastructure. Don’t @ me.

And THIS is the President? Fuck. Stop dignifying his bullshit with coverage and endless jawflap. The entire media machine are unindicted co-conspirators in this fucking circus. I’m pretty happy that things worked out so I didn’t have to cover this eternal circle jerk. I got out of politics-ghosting and column-and-article-finishing for little money and less credit just in time. My NDAs have run out but I’m going to keep the bylines to myself. I don’t think I’ll revisit that side-hustle. Will stick with the baseball, as frustrating as that is, as it contributes to my never-ending “y not me?” syndrome.

(I write daily columns… three days a week (Monday, Tuesday, and Friday), I do Cubs history factoids. It’s a good column but not especially well-read. The other four days I write/compile Cub Tracks, a complicated affair that’s essentially yardbarker with a literary frame and scientific drop-ins. The baseball history column was originally part of this but was spun off.

Sometimes I write other articles but they’re typically not well-received. The readers object to my lack of statistical data viewpoint and find that my literary humor puts too much spin on the ball.)

(It’s ego-deadening, cheerless work.)

(kind of like fiction these days)

(Add that all in with my usual general worthlessness or feeling of worthlessness and it’s full emergency-brake time.)

Where the hell was this going? Oh yeah, this is your brain on pain. Hooray fibromyalgia.

Greenfront

I have a book coming next week.

GREEN will be the first chapbook from Oxygen Man Books. It’s a teaser, like the Test Patterns teasers, just a bauble to advertise the upcoming CRAZYTOWN collection and the related THE FORGOTTEN GOD short novel.

Maybe the way out of career doldrums is just producing more work. You have to be ready when lady luck calls, I reckon. I’ve done a huge amount of work these past five years, and there just aren’t enough outlets for the kind of things I like to do.

But, for now, I’m going to indulge my inner scared little kid and watch some cartoons or something. Thanks for reading.

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MuscaTell


muscadinesAgain, in conjunction with greydogtales, our friends from across the big water, we present ten questions with one of our favorite writers — in this case the redoubtable S P Miskowski, who I first encountered in the fabulous Muscadines, a story of three women who have interesting hobbies. It might also be called the Wrath of Grapes but that would be a good deal less poetic and effective.

Ms. Miskowski is perhaps best known for her Skillute Cycle, stories and novels taking place within her created milieu in Washington state. Furthermore, she is a recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships. Her stories have been published in Supernatural Tales, Black Static, Identity Theory, Strange Aeons and Eyedolon Magazine, and in numerous anthologies including The Best Horror of the Year Volume Ten, Haunted Nights, The Madness of Dr. Caligari, October Dreams 2, Autumn Cthulhu, The Hyde Hotel, Darker Companions: Celebrating 50 Years of Ramsey Campbell, Tales from a Talking Board and Looming Low. Her novel I Wish I Was Like You won This Is Horror 2017 Novel of the Year and a Charles Dexter Award for Favorite Novel of 2017 from Strange Aeons Magazine. Her books have received three Shirley Jackson Award nominations and a Bram Stoker Award nomination, and are available from Omnium Gatherum Media and JournalStone/Trepidatio, according to her Amazon author page.

Miskowski_SP

Great stuff… this is one of the people I was most wanting to ‘interview’ when I first embarked on this series of little visits. Without further ado, let’s get on with it:

Where should a reader that is new to your work start?

My first novel, Knock Knock, offers a reliable indication of my obsessions and my general approach to storytelling. Although I’ve used a range of styles, points of view, and settings in my books, I’d say if you don’t find anything of interest in Knock Knock you probably won’t love the rest of my work.

Is there a piece that you are particularly proud of?

Muscadines, a wicked novella in which a character’s sincere journey of self-discovery turns out to be a bad, bad thing. Although the book (published by Dunhams Manor Press) was a finalist for a Shirley Jackson Award and people who like it find it vivid and memorable, it isn’t widely read. It’s almost as if people are disturbed by the idea of three middle-aged sisters resurrecting their childhood as daughters and henchmen to a vicious killer named Ruth Parker. (LOL) This female-centric tale is probably the most poetic thing I’ve written and certainly the most brutal.

I think we still have a deep fear of admitting how violent women can be. We can’t reconcile female cruelty with our sacred mythology around motherhood. Every time we try, we end up making excuses to return to a comfortable place where all women possess maternal instinct and want to care for babies.

Women are everywhere in my fiction. I want to write the full range of possibilities, not only roles and actions most people think of as ‘women’s concerns’ but everything—every possible act. Because people are capable of so many things, and if we refuse to acknowledge women as perpetrators of violence, we are saying that we refuse to see women as human.

Transgressive fiction should seek to injure expectations and leave a scar. Give the reader something new to consider. Muscadines does that, I hope.

Miskowski Cover 2Whose work do you read, yourself?

I read widely, non-fiction and fiction. I’m interested in everything. For clarity and pure joy I return time and again to Janet Malcolm, Flannery O’Connor, and Shirley Jackson.

What kind of beer goes with your pizza? And what’s on the pizza?

I’ll take a blood orange blonde—in a bottle. Olive oil, mozzarella, goat cheese, roasted garlic, oregano, and basil.

Do you consider your work weird, or horror? Or do you leave that to the marketing department?

I am the weird thing. I write the horror. To answer more seriously, horror is close to my heart and I like to think what I’m writing can be classified as horror, whether supernatural or psychological. But I’m not much concerned about categories. I’m concerned about telling the truth no matter how painful it might be.

My life has taught me to be on the lookout for hypocrisy, and to ask hard questions. With each story I try to fuse atmosphere and action, character and setting. But these are technical aims. In terms of content, my wish is to peel away all of the layers we create to conceal what we really are. The resulting fiction is usually horror or something close to it. Readers can decide whether or not I’ve done a good job.

You’ve been convicted of crimes against the empire. What would be your last meal? Include something big to hide the explosives in.

That meal would be French. A seven-course meal prepared by Eric Ripert, please. I’d go for the obvious and put a bomb in the bombe. No one will suspect the bombe, right?

Are you involved in any arts besides writing? Any odd hobbies we should know about?

I love to ride trains. Not much of a hobby, is it? I’ve tried many things including modern dance, martial arts, sewing, skating, cooking, and pottery. I’m awful at all of these. I tend to dabble. Writing fiction is the only activity to hold my interest over the years. I’ve been making up stories to entertain other people since I was three or four years old.

Cats or dogs?

I love both. My current partner in crime is feline.

Tell us about a work-in-progress.

At the moment I’m revising a novel and writing a novella. The novel is about two women and how the breakup of their brief friendship has unexpected, tragic consequences. The novella concerns a woman whose dull life is made more colorful by her obsessive attraction to a washed-up TV actor.

Thanks for being so kind. Is there anything else you would like readers to know?

If they Google my peculiar name, they will find my website and my author page on Amazon. My books are published by Omnium Gatherum and JournalStone and can be ordered through any independent bookstore. Happy reading!


That’s the end… characteristically terse and informative.

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to pick up a copy of Occult Detective Quarterly at your earliest convenience. Also please help us to ensure that The Death of an Author takes place in the reasonably near future. And stay tuned for more interviews and other madness.

D3M0N From the Sky


oxygenmantransIn conjunction with our wise friends at greydogtales (lurchers are people too), across the Atlantic sea, the editorial we have been publishing short interviews with a group of weird fiction purveyors — writers, editors, publishers of such fictions, and it in this newly-minted tradition that we present to you ten questions with the mighty Sean M. Thompson, whose work I have had the great good fortune to view in my inbox several times.

I could tell you about Sean and his deeds and humors, but I am strictly forbidden to do so under penalty of law. Therefore we shall let that worthy speak for himself.

His several works can be obtained via his Amazon author page. I dislike shilling for Bezos, but that’s where the stuff is.

His words are below:

Where should a reader that is new to your work start?

Hmm. An interesting conundrum, to be sure. I would say a reader brand new to my work, if they are into short stories, should seek out my story from VASTARIEN volume 1, issue 3, known as THE BLIND OPERA. I say this, as the story seems to be well liked. I hesitate to lead new readers to my chapbook and ultra short collection TOO LATE, as it is, and has always been a collection of early works, which frankly would be better appreciated AFTER reading my newer output.

If a reader were so inclined toward novels, I’d say read TH3 D3M0N, my first book. If they were inclined to short novels, aka novellas and or novelettes, I’d steer them to FARMINGTON CORRECTIONAL, or if they were more into surrealism, my bizarro novella HATE FROM THE SKY.

And since I’m such a nice man, I can even link to a story featured on the Conqueror Weird website they can read for free. I realize not everyone has the money to drop, or the proclivity to do as such, without first sampling of my work.

Lillybridge

Is there a piece that you are particularly proud of?

I’m very proud of most of my output. That’s such a difficult question, as I try to not get hung up on any one piece of work I’ve done. I’m always looking forward to the new projects and challenges, the experimentation and hard work required to continue to push myself to be the best I can be.

But, this. This is objectively the best thing I’ve done.

http://www.adventuresinpoortaste.com/2014/10/31/bj-slime-presents-heebie-jeebies-ding-dong-dead/

Whose work do you read, yourself?

I only read my own work. I lock myself in a room full of mirrors, and read my own work aloud, while fondling my body, slicked with olive oil. Then at the moment of climax, I scream I HAVE THE POWER!

No, uh… let’s see here. I do read myself, though it’ll usually consist of picking up one of my older books, and turning to a page at random, and seeing how it reads. It’s an exercise in seeing if any one page in random sequence can hold up. It doesn’t always, but it’s usually good enough I remember why I decided to spend so much time at this.

As for others, of course I read them. You have to. I try to read widely, but I tend to branch out more with audiobooks. Some of my biggest influences are writers like Barker, King, Ketchum, Matheson, Oates (JCO ftw), Ligotti, Gaiman, Lovecraft, Palahniuk, and if I’m being honest, Crichton. SPHERE fucked me up as a kid.

In terms of my peers, people writing similar things, yeah, I also read them. Matthew M. Bartlett, Gwendolyn Kiste, Sleddy, Jeremy Robert Johnson, Jonathan Raab, Tom Breen, Stephen Graham Jones, Brian Evenson, Paul Tremblay, Farah Rose Smith, Jon Padgett, Nicole Cushing, Laird Barron (early works), John Langan, John Claude Smith, Gemma Files, Livia Llewellyn, Leza Cantoral, Autumn Christian. I hate doing these lists though, as there’s perpetually someone who has a new story or book that lights me up, where I haven’t read enough of their work to really say if it’s going to have a lasting influence. Just this week I read a book by Scott Cole TRIPLE AXE that was so much god damn fun.

And of course I read a lot of other pop lit, and or horror adjacent stuff, people like Gillian Flynn, Dan Chaon, Stewart O’ Nan, those kind of writers.

What kind of beer goes with your pizza? And what’s on the pizza?

I have a bad stomach, so I tend to like lighter beers, though I also like fruity beers. I just had one this weekend, a local one (I live in Santa Fe, NM) called… hold on, let me see here… *Googles brand… AH! Yes, it was called SOCIAL HOUR, from the SANTA FE BREWING COMPANY. Light, with hints of citrus. I also like CORONA LIGHT, or HEINIKIN LIGHT, maybe a LONE STAR.

As for pizza toppings, Hawaiian is probably my favorite, ham and pineapple. I prefer Canadian bacon to ham with the Hawaiian, and or ham and bacon. And before anyone starts with that week bloodline shit, I’m descended from Grace o’ Malley the pirate queen, who stole British naval vessels and robbed motherfuckers. Just because y’all don’t recognize that the taste combo of salty and tangy and sweet is no different than say, most Chinese food, or BBQ ribs, or any number of sweet sauces put onto salty meats, does not mean we of the pineapple have to bow down and accept your cowardly ways. I would like to add that I think a lot of places don’t do Hawaiian pizza right. You ABSOLUTELY need to make sure the pineapple is drained, because if there’s any excess liquid it’ll soak into the dough and mess with the baking process. When done correctly, pineapple on pizza should be no wetter than tomatoes on pizza. And for real, you need good ham or Canadian bacon, or good bacon. Any sub par version of these meats will mess with the flavor profile, and then it’s just a mess.

Do you consider your work weird, or horror? Or do you leave that to the marketing department?

I consider my work to be horror. But I don’t give a shit what you call it as long as you buy it.

You’ve been convicted of crimes against the empire. What would be your last meal? Include something big to hide the explosives in.

I’m going to refrain from the original answer I had in mind, which was fairly perverse. I’m like a pregnant woman, I tend to go for bites of this and that. So, Tuna melt, quesadillas, lobster roll (best are in Maine, I like the ones from THE ROCKLAND CAFÉ, but there’s a ton of good places), clam chowder, Boston cream pie, Skittles and Starburst, and chicken strips from WILLIE’S in NOLA, but you better bring me the fucking honey sauce, and some sort of mustard sauce. And yeah, probably a slice of two of Hawaiian pizza.
And Adderall. If I’m about to die, I’m taking a LOT of fucking Adderall. Sobriety be damned.

Are you involved in any arts besides writing? Any odd hobbies we should know about?

Yeah. I like to try many different art forms. I think experimenting in different mediums gives you a unique perspective into prose. I’m a hobby editor of audio and video, and I’m not half bad. I’ve performed and recorded stories, and at one point I played around with a radio play type of thing, with sound effects, all dialogue and no prose. I admittedly don’t really paint yet. Not that I’m against trying it out, I just haven’t had the money, or inclination to try yet. I did a few collages, and I wouldn’t mind going back into that. They were fun. I doodle sometimes, though I’m not very good at it.

As for other hobbies, I can juggle, but only 3 objects at a time. And I like to skateboard, or rather used to skateboard. I’m a little too old and fat, and lacking good insurance to really go hard in the streets.

Cats or dogs?

Both. I prefer cats because I’ve never owned a dog. But someday, once my current cat goes over the Rainbow Bridge, my girlfriend and I plan to get a pup. We have a specific breed in mind, the great American brown dog (a shelter mutt).

Tell us about a work-in-progress.

There are two, which will ideally be out within the next year. One is an extreme horror novella, and the other is my first full-length short story collection, about 13 or so stories. I don’t want to say any more, as I’m not supposed to. And I’m about 20 pages into my next novel, which is the one I plan to find an agent with, or, ideally to find an agent with.

Thanks for being so kind. Is there anything else you would like readers to know?

Yes. I’m assuming many of you reading this are writers. Writing is hard. When trying to make writing into any sort of career, you need to realize that the hardest part of the job has nothing to do with the writing itself. Who takes off and who doesn’t is, more or less, arbitrary. Who is popular usually has less to do with skill and much more to do with hard work, and luck. It’s important to stay positive, and to try to keep the faith. There’s a high probability you’ll stay in relative obscurity for most of if not your entire writing career. You need to be able to enjoy the writing for what it is: self-expression, and artistic achievement. You need to be able to accept you might only ever have a handful of readers, and that’s okay. Even having one story published, you’ve still accomplished a feat that the majority of the population can not, nor will ever do. Go easy on yourself. No one else will. Ignore the haters, always take the comment section and reviews with a grain of salt, and above all, try to keep having fun with it. If you aren’t having at least a little fun writing, why bother? You only get one go around on this crazy planet, so do what makes you happy, as long as it doesn’t actively hurt anyone else. Even if that is reading your own work in a room full of mirrors covered in olive oil.

 

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to pick up a copy of Occult Detective Quarterly at your earliest convenience. Also please help us to ensure that The Death of an Author takes place in the reasonably near future. And stay tuned for more interviews and other madness.

 

Slow cooking is best


Simulposted on GreyDogTales.

oxygenmantransGreetings, weird children of all ages. For the first part of our GIANT CROSSOVER EVENT, we bring you the words of Sam (S. L.) Edwards, a writer and professional Texan who has hijacked the weird horror wagon and is steadily urging it southward, toward the Lone Star State.

It must be confessed, here at the onset, the outset, the preface as it were, to borrow a phrase from Bruce Wolf, that I myself have been guilty of including Edwards stories in many of the anthologies I have edited, and will likely do so in the future. I also have in my possession a contract which says that I am responsible for an entire book of his tales, which Oxygen Man Books will release next year.

nuff said? Onward!

Where should a reader that is new to your work start?

Well, I suppose the easiest answer is “in the beginning.” I’ve put the stories in “Whiskey and Other Unusual Ghosts,” in what I hope is a thematically coherent manner, but I’ve also organized them by length. The first story “Maggie Was A Monster,” is something of a flash-fiction sucker punch. I’m afraid that many people will buy this collection expecting the humor of Borkchito and that’s…just not what “Whiskey” is. Start with “Maggie,” then continue on to “I’ve Been Here A Very Long Time.”

Is there a piece that you are particularly proud of?

I think that “Volver Al Monte,” was a piece where I really began to realize what exactly I was about. This is a piece where there really is no hero to speak of. General Alfonsín Santos seems sympathetic. He’s old. He’s trying to do what is obviously the right thing, but only in this particular moment. We learn that the General cut his teeth on an earlier, more brutal war. And that his ruthlessness continued well past the end of that conflict.

That’s when I started to think about how character-oriented I am as a writer. How I needed to strive even to make my monsters sympathetic. And from reader feedback, I think I did accomplish that to some degree. At least I hope I did.

Cabras,” gets an honorable mention, as well as “Golden Girl.” Golden Girl I really wrote as a fun piece, and I think readers had fun with it. There are other characters, who didn’t make it into “Whiskey” who I am proud of. I am proud of John Armitage, who will be debuting in the “Test Patterns: Weird Westerns” anthology, and I’m proud of the Bartred family, who can be found in the pages of “Occult Detective Quarterly.”

Whose work do you read, yourself?

Man when I get asked this question…let me tell you: nothing like an interview to get you to go out and promote the ever-loving **** out of your fellow writers. I’ll start with John Langan, whose latest collection “Sefira and Other Betrayals” was some of his best work yet. Nadia Bulkin, who changed the game for the sort of political writing that I also try to do. Gwendolyn Kiste, who managed to create a very haunting ghost story in “The Rust Maidens.” S.P. Miskowski, who’s Skillute Cycle and “I Wish I was Like You” still make me think, two years after going through them. Matthew M. Bartlett, Michael Wehunt, Jon Padgett, Jonathan Raab, Mer Whinery, Orrin Grey (how great is Orrin Grey?), Christopher Slatsky, Kurt Fawver, Jayaprakash Satyamurthy. Part of the benefit of being friends with poets Ashley Dioses and KA Opperman is that they’ll send you beautiful poems to read.

Then there’s writers who I know I have collections coming out soon. Betty Rocksteady’s “In Dreams We Rot,” and Scott R Jones “Shout, Kill, Revel Repeat” are both slated to be out this year. I’ve been a fan of theirs’ for a long time, and I am very eager to read what they’ve put out. I hope readers of this interview, and Whiskey, will go and look at these author’s works. The shrimp-master himself, Peter Rawlik had his debut collection drop as well.

I also just finished Max Booth III’s “Carnivorous Lunar Activities.” Outstanding, funny. Fast-paced and also outstanding.

Then of course, there’s my friends. Duane Pesice with his gonzo-fantasy horror. I’ll tell you I’m rereading my Robert Bloch (the first dead writer to come up so far) and I see a lot of connections between Pesice and Bloch. Same with my friend Russell Smeaton, who just kickstarted his own collection quite successfully. I’m currently Beta reading for Robert S. Wilson, who is coming up with some extraordinary work. John Paul Fitch remains one of my favorite writers, and one who started with me quite early on in the pages of Ravenwood Quarterly.

Then there’s folks like William Tea, Christopher Ropes, Brooke Warra. I need collections from them. Demand it. And if I don’t get to blurb those collections I will be personally slighted. Erica Ruppert does outstanding work too. As does Premee Mohammad. I just ran across Lena Ng in an issue of Gehenna and Hinnom and loved what I read.

Dead writers: Bloch. Gabriel García Marquez. Leo Tolstoy. H.P. Lovecraft. Poe. Poe everything all the time. Blackwood, Machen, Hope Hodgson, Clark Ashton Smith. Vasilly Grossman. Lots of Grossman. Neil Gaiman.

What kind of beer goes with your pizza? And what’s on the pizza?

Hahaha. Well you know, I’m from a hot climate. And hot weather really pairs best with an IPA or a pilsner. I used to like wheat beers, but they’ve really started to taste like nothing to me. I love stouts, but a stout is an end-of-the-day beer. Mostly a meal of its own, particularly if it’s an imperial. Barleywines too, are whole meals.

So I’m going to throw you for a bit of a loop (broether): I’m going to go with a hazy ipa. They’re still gonna be too hoppy for you IPA haters, but are cloudy and juicy.

As with beer, I like most of anything on pizza. I am a very simple, easy man to please. BBQ chicken, Hawaiian, meat lovers, etc. But I suppose my ideal beer and pizza, today, would be:

Canadian Bacon. Pineapple. Jalapeños. Diced tomatoes. Hazy IPA. I’m also partial to mushrooms, but the pineapple mushroom combination just doesn’t seem to bode well.

However, and I cannot stress this enough, no black olives. I find a black olive on my pizza and I’m gonna riot.

Do you consider your work weird, or horror? Or do you leave that to the marketing department?

You know what? “Horror.” I remember getting the first blurbs from Whiskey back and one author, who I really admire, reached out to say “Wow. This is surprising. This is ‘literary.’” And I take that as a compliment, but I’m just not sure what it means. I think it’s one of those distinctions, like “graphic novel” and “comic” that was first made to make fiction seem more sophisticated. But horror is plenty of sophisticated. How could it not be? When dealing with human anguish, smallness, life-after-death, living memories, physical transformations? These are the hardest things that a human being could grapple with, subjects which have seen the dedication of philosophers and scientists alike for hundreds of years.

How could that not be sophisticated?

You’ve been convicted of crimes against the empire. What would be your last meal? Include something big to hide the explosives in.

The head of the emperor. He will know my vengeance.

Are you involved in any arts besides writing? Any odd hobbies we should know about?

No arts, and this is my hobby. I like to run, hike, exercise. Cook when I can afford it.

Cats or dogs?

I like the idea of a cat. They can be very affectionate pets, in tune with the emotions of their people. They are also quite cute. But sadly, I am very allergic. Which I do regret, because people do love them. And they do deserve love.

So, I am thoroughly a dog person. Particularly corgis. I like their fat little bodies and stumpy little legs.

Tell us about a work-in-progress.

John Armitage is a warlock sheriff. He currently serves as the sheriff of Freedomtown, a settlement founded by the children of runaway slaves. He’s being called upon to investigate a murder in Night Town, a vampire settlement built in the side of a cliff and hidden from the sun. Next, he’ll have to deal with the arrival of a team of scientists and a young samurai to Freedomtown.

Thanks for being so kind. Is there anything else you would like readers to know?

Readers: look at me. It is paramount that you take care of your mental health. I want you to know that no matter how hard things seem now, you’re going to get through it. You’re not as alone as you think you are and I think you’re great just the way you are. I hope you’re getting enough sleep. I hope you’re drinking plenty of water.

But I do want to tell you about my collection, “Whiskey.” I can’t say I made it alone. I had a great editor in CP Dunphey, an outstanding collaborator in Yves Tourigny. And the horror/weird community has come out of the woodwork to support me.

I hope you’ll give me a chance, just like they have.

Thank you.

Oh, and thank YOU, Mr. Edwards, and YOU, dear reader. Myself and Mr. Grant will be pleased to present interview #2 as soon as is humanly possible. Until then, we’ll have the usual kind of content we feature.

In which I interview me


oxygenmantransHi kids! We have a spate of interviews coming soon, some fun conversations with writers you might not know, or should know better, and I thought I’d kick it all off by asking myself the ten questions I asked everyone else.

So here we go:

Where should a reader that is new to your work start?

Probably the ‘before Crazytown’ chapbook. That would at least give a person an idea of what I do. I don’t have a lot of stuff available under this byline.

Is there a piece that you are particularly proud of?

‘the association’, from Caravans Awry, is probably my favorite of the things that are available. It manages to subvert a pile of cliches, trades on some of my inside knowledge of the Chicago area, and features a rare sympathetic character. I’m also very fond of ‘Looking for Ghosts’, from Test Patterns, which has historical Tucson locations and a literally mindblowing premise.

Whose work do you read, yourself?

My reading trickled down to almost nothing when I was reading for anthologies but it has picked back up again. I do reviews when I can, and am reading books by John Claude Smith and J. R. Hamantaschen, and several volumes from Word Horde, for those purposes.
For fun, I like speculative fiction best. I just re-read the works of Cordwainer Smith and James (Alice Sheldon) Tiptree, Jr., and am embarking on a read of Alistair Reynolds’ works, having obtained a few new ones.
I’m just getting started with a new John Langan and a new Farah Rose Smith, for in-genre works.

What kind of beer goes with your pizza? And what’s on the pizza?

I actually don’t care for beer with my pizza – diet Coke is my choice. If I have my druthers, I like a plain old sausage and cheese pizza, Chicago-style medium crust (this doesn’t mean deep dish – that’s Sunday-dinner pie). Sliced mushrooms and red onions sometimes. Party Cut! Triangular pieces are not my first choice.pizza

I do like my beer though. Local beers are my favorites. Craft brewer Iron John’s makes a mocha chile stout that’s to die for. I drink Sam Adams’ Boston Lager as a default. One at a time – I’m diabetic. So taste is paramount!

 

Do you consider your work weird, or horror? Or do you leave that to the marketing department?

My work is pretty solidly spec fic. I like to travel in the borderlands where horror and science fiction meet, and I’m not much for fantasy. Clarkean science, yes. But I work out how the science works for myself – I just don’t tell the reader. I love to shine the lens of hard science on the ‘Cthulhu Mythos’ – working in that milieu is comfortably like playing cover tunes for me. That’s the stuff that got me writing again, twenty years or so ago. Well, that and an interactive novel called IDENTITY CRISIS, which was on my website for a few years.
So… given just those two alternatives, ‘weird’ works. I don’t care much for most of the standard horror characters or tropes. Cosmic horror for me. And Tuckerizing. I lampoon almost everyone I know at one time or another.

You’ve been convicted of crimes against the empire. What would be your last meal? Include something big to hide the explosives in.

A big honkin vat of my famous chili and a huge cheeseburger to pour the chili over. Twice-fried fries and an endless Coke.

Are you involved in any arts besides writing? Any odd hobbies we should know about?

I’m a bass player turned multi-instrumentalist. I played in bar bands for many years and could handle the bass or guitar chair in most professional bands. I also draw and paint on occasion, and collect alien figurines and science fiction paperbacks.
Last year, I took up gardening. My approach is holistic – I don’t plant in rows or anything like that. I till the soil and scatter the seed, and we see what happens. The sun here is obnoxious and you have to plant early or everything will die by midsummer.

Cats or dogs?

I used to be a dog-person but my ex taught me to love cats too. Felines are better for apartment living. I have four of the little bastards. Three of them are related and can’t stand each other.
There may be a lesson there.

I do have a dog, or he has me — he just doesn’t live here. Charlie dog, who lives next door, is convinced that he owns me and tries to cover me with little-pooch slobber as long as I’m in his vicinity.

Animals and I get along fine. I’m also a big fan of rabbits, but they live such short lives that I don’t think I could get any moe.

Tell us about a work-in-progress.

I’m working from time to time on a ‘Russian novel’, a big, sprawling epic with some family history thrown in and a ton of Slavic folklore explored. It’s my comfort writing – I work on it when everything else is making me crazier.
One of the main characters started as a Tuckerization of writer SL Edwards and blossomed into one of my best inventions – the tireless, slightly misguided entrepreneur Emerson Samhain. Emerson’s origin story will appear in Planet X Publications’ Test Patterns: Weird Westerns as ‘In The Name”, and he also appears in the unpublished novelette ‘The Fleecing of the Golden Hound’, which has cameos from characters in the other two stories.

Is there anything else you would like readers to know?

I do this all for you.

Thanks for reading. We now take you back to your regularly-scheduled commercial.

Hmm


crazytown2

art by Candra Hope

Pretty much all I have to talk about here is stuff I’m working on, and I’m trying to blog every day, so that’s what we’ll talk about.

I’ve been writing professionally for 42 years, on and off. During that time, I’ve produced an awful lot of trunk fiction and thousands of anonymous/pseudonymous articles, as a good portion of my work has been as a ghost/news article finisher.

That gave me a lot of practice to fall back on when I first purposed to become a full-time writer, about six months after my bout with ARDS ended my formally-employed life. It took a couple of years to get myself together, and in 2015 I put together a little book of oldish fictions, poems, and flashes, for practice, and started working on a book expanding those pieces into full-length stories.

There being no urgency to release it, I’ve been tinkering with those pieces, occasionally subbing versions to anthologies/magazines, and have finally arrived at versions I can live with on the printed page.
Am sitting here looking at the proof copies of my first full-length collection and first novel, which are part of the same story-cycle.

tfgyves

art by Yves Tourigny

Stories that end that cycle and commence a new one will be in the last two collections from Planet X, Strange Stories of the Sea and Test Patterns: Weird Westerns respectively. I’m waiting to see when those will be released to schedule release dates for the things I have in hand right now.

But there will be three chapbooks shortly, to start getting funds for future work. I’ll also run GoFundMes for the two collections from external writers SL Edwards and Calvin Demmer once I have the artwork.

And there’ll be a third collection, to be announced sometime in the nebulous future, and perhaps a fourth and a fifth. I’m looking at things. Oxygen Man is a new press and we’ll have growing pains. We’re undercapitalized and will have to generate funds from outside for a while. This means pulling some things from circulation and putting them out myself, in order to facilitate the rest.

I have three more collections and eleven novels still on hand. Stay tuned.

oxygenmantrans

 

Thud


oxygenmantransWell, the Kickstarter failed miserably at 18%, so we’re back to funding books individually, which was plan A. Plan B was finding an investor, which collapsed for complicated reasons. In lieu of explaining that all, I’m just gonna blame me. Same for the fund drive. It’s just easier. I’m in charge, therefore it’s my deal.

SL Edwards’ and Calvin Demmer’s books will go through exactly as planned, with GoFundMes for list-building purposes for each. I’ll put out four additional books in 2019-2020 — three related collections and a novel, and we’ll see where that leaves us.

That makes Sabbath Bloody Sabbath a 2020 project going forward.

Disappointing but I’m grown.

On the other hand, the final volume of the Test Patterns series, the Weird Westerns, is taking shape. We have a table of contents, as follows:

Ashley Dioses – Strung by a Noose
S. L. Edwards – The Older Laws of John Armitage
Scott J. Couturier – Buzzard-man
John Ghost – The Terror at Cleopatra Hill
Thomas Joyce – No God’s Country, No Man’s Land
Jill Hand – The Burning Women of Glory
Christopher Slatsky – Justo’s Mummy Magic Capac Cuna Medicine Company
GD Dearborn – Daltrey Returns
Dustin Chisam – Into the Emerald Frontier
Sarah Walker – The Foreigner
John Paul Fitch – Gut Shot
Erica Ruppert – Oh, Bury Me Not
Sean M. Thompson – Dark Sky Above
Max D. Stanton – The Transported Man
Alan Sessler – The Ogre West
Can Wiggins – Sweet Betsey from P.I.K.E.
Zoltan Komor – Planted Bullets and Coffin Whores
KA Opperman – The Sheriff and the Succubus
Duane Pesice – In the Name

 

Several of these pieces are over 10K words. I elected to close the thing out as several participants are Tuckerized in my story. This is the final anthology of new fiction from Planet X Publications, which is going silent running after 2019.

We’re going to have a couple of interviews here, in tandem with greydogtales, of which more when we know.