Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Best Films of the Year!

Most of you know that I'm a cinephile! I love my movies as much as I love my books. I savor each one and go out to coffee for further conversation about what I just read/saw. So, each year I like to let you guys know what's important to me. How the movies out now, or the ones that already are making their way onto DVD, rank up. Here are my top ten (from lowest to highest) for the year:

10. "Away We Go!" - This Sam Mendes film was away from his normal fare. And it featured two talented comedians - John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph - and a phenomenal supporting cast. I really loved this film. The comedy is dry (which I prefer), smart (a plus), and very, very witty. It's on DVD now, and I highly suggest a rental. It's not quite a romantic comedy, but a dramedy nonetheless.

9. "Zombieland" - It's rare that I put comedies on the top ten list, but here's the second one. Zombieland works 'cause it didn't pretend what it was. It was a zom-com, and a worthy, good one at that. Maybe not the best composed filmed...but good enough that I watched it four times at the theatre. The things that almost put this in arthouse world are the opening credits which are phenomenal (and opening credits are a dying art) and the sheer appearance of Bill Murray. It'll be out in January on DVD. Own it.

8. "Up" - I'm a fan of Pixar. They've yet to crank out a crapper. And, "Up", while not my favorite Pixar film (that honor goes to "Monsters Inc"), emphasizes an emotional accord that I've not seen from a Pixar movie. If for no other reason than the opening sequence (no words, just montages), this movie deserves all the praise it gets.

7. "Inglorious Basterds" - one of my least favorite Quentin films but best done Quentin films. Are you lost? I'm not sure I can re-watch IB several times over (I've seen it twice) like I can "Pulp Fiction", but damn if Tarantino's skills aren't honed on this one. The writing is excellent, the acting is grand (Christoph Waltz), and the fun fairytale story works.

6. "(500) Days of Summer" - Joseph Gordan Levitt has become quite the phenomenal actor...and what a good year what with "GI Joe", "Killshot", and this independent flick. (500) is an excellent film. It's not a romantic comedy, as it's made out to be, but an interesting social commentary flick. It's absolutely wonderful. Some of the visuals, combined with a dynamite script work strong for this film. If it won best picture, I'd not be upset at all.

5. "The Princess and the Frog" - Ah, Disney's return to 2-d animation! I was elated. Granted, there's still the computer elements that I despise (I'm a handdrawn sort of guy). Still, the animation is beautiful, the songs are vintage Disney, and the story...ah, i love the new twists that the story offers on the Princess legend (that you have to work for your princess-dom). If you've not seen it...don't wait. See it now.

4.) "Moon" - the best picture of the summer and the best picture that Sam Rockwell's been in. Sam Rockwell is one of my faves. This flick is a one-man show, and it plays like a vintage Twilight Zone episode. Directed by David Bowie's son (Duncan Jones in his directorial debut), this is one of the best pictures of the year...hands down. Seriously.

3.) "The Hurt Locker" - Seriously, the film to beat at this year's Oscars. It's one of the tensest movies I've sat through (I peeled off two fingernails during it). Jeremy Renner is amazing. His performance has stuck with me through the year. Also, the bomb scenes have kept reverberating through my head. Ah, this may be one of the perfect films of the year.

2.) "The Road" - Another perfect film. It's as bleak as the book. It's as depressing, if not moreso, as the book. It's not the "feel-good" film of the year. It is, however, beautifully acted, beautifully shot, and that kid...Kodi whathisname is remarkable! Viggo is too. I came out of the flick exclaiming "glorious", "glorious". I want this to win best picture...but it won't because...

1.) "District 9" should! It's the best film hands down! I love it. The writing, the style, the cinematography, the acting. Fuck! It's the best pic of the year.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Gifts for the reader in your life.

I hear the bells and I see the attitudes, so it must mean the holiday beast is upon us, snarling and oozing cinnamon and angst pheromones. I’m not particularly fond of the holidays – no surprise, I’m sure. Basically, I think the holiday (whether you’re celebrating Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, or Christmas, or Solstice, or Weasel Stomping Season) has been bastardized beyond repair. The emphasis on gift-giving has trumped anything else out there. Parents are considered not worthy if they don’t throw out a $300 gaming system…
…okay, I’m breathing deep. In. Out. In. Out. Ah! Better.
This is not a rant about the holidays, I assure you. I love to give books. In fact, what better gift is there than a book? By giving a book, you’re giving an overall experience on every level. The immersive qualities, the mental odyssey that you’ve just handed over…what better gift is there than that? C’mon!
I’m a book hound. I tend to read just about everything and anything and rarely will stop a book mid-read. These are my particular favorite books this year. They’re in no order, but they’re accompanied by a link to amazon. Enjoy.

“Peter and Max: A Fables Novel” by Bill Willingham. I’m not familiar with the comic books that this is based on. I’m impressed that a comic book publisher, like Vertigo, is printing a full 400-page novel, though. That’s a step up. This book reminded me of that the Jasper Fforde novels wanted to be. I was excited to pick up Fforde’s books, but just could never get into them at all. The premise of this book is that the fairytale creatures and characters have to seek shelter in our world as their enchanted lands are destroyed and conquered. All the characters are here, but interestingly enough the main character is Peter Piper (of pickled peppers fame) and his brother Max. I had no trouble following the action (not having read the comics) but loved every sentence. Worth a check out.

“Unseen Academicals” by Terry Pratchett. If you’ve never cracked open a Discworld novel you should. Personally I can’t get enough of them and I’m torn up that Pratchett has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The Terry Pratchett books are an acquired taste, granted. I never discovered them until adulthood, but I’d imagine the young reader in your family would find them amusing. Plus, I always seem a little smarter after completing a Pratchett book. “Unseen Academicals” raises its attention to sports and sports fanfare. It’s a wizards novel (those fans of the series will understand what I mean…there are wizard novels, witch novels, Watch novels, etc). Personally, I’d say that any child who’s bemoaning the end of the Harry Potter series, give’em a copy of Pratchett’s books and let them experience something a little better written.

“Fistful of Feet” by Jordan Krall. Once again, Krall is not for everyone, but those his work is for…well, this is a treat. I’m a huge fan of westerns, and love the everything in the 60’s and 70’s (Sergio Leone, “Django”, all of them). This reads like a love story to the spaghetti western. Actually, it reads like an homage to Italian cinema. You’ve got the touches of Leone, of course, but there’s evidence of Fulci and Argento there, too. Fascinating. All in all, Fistful of Feet is a great read. It’s the way a western should be – brutal, action-packed, and bloody. All the regulars are here: the brothel girls and their Johns, escaped POWs out of Andersonville looking for Confederate gold, a mysterious “bad” good guy, a frilly card cheat, the corrupt mayor, and ass juice. A good read.

The New Bizarro Author Series by David Barbee, Kevin Shamel, Eric Mays and Patrick Wensink. So there are 4 books that came out in a collection: “Rotten Little Animals”, “Carnageland”, “Naked Metamorphosis”, and “Sex Dungeon for Sale”. I’m obviously biased since my name is in the mix, but it’s no mistake. This is a great gift for the reader in your house. They look great as a collection, they’re inexpensive, and (the best part) they’re good. Anyone who has stuck their nose out at bizarre should acquaint themselves with this set. This displays how diverse the budding genre is and can be. Rotten Little Animals is at times frightening and hilarious. Carnageland reads like a video game, which is the first time I’ve ever really experienced that before. Sex Dungeon is an anthology with some interesting ideas. And Naked Metamorphosis…well…you know.

“The Repossession Mambo” by Eric Garcia. I’m a huge fan of Eric Garcia. I loved his “Rex” series. I loved “Matchstick Men”. I even adored “Cassandra French’s finishing School…” But over the last five years I’ve been asking myself where the hell did he go? He seemingly dropped off the face of the planet and stopped putting out books. Well, here’s his newest one. On the surface it seems like a rip-off of “Repo! The Genetic Opera”. Yeah, I buy that. I love that movie and love this book. Having experienced both, I have to say they’re not identical. If I’ve not convinced you yet, then take a look at the book’s opening sentence: “The first time I ever held a pancreas in my hands, I got an erection.”

“Jailbait Zombie” by Mario Acevedo. Mario Acevedo wrote a book a few years back called “The Nymphos of Rocky Flats”. I loved the title but the concept (vampire P.I.) was weak. I never touched it. Then a sequel came out “X-Rated Bloodsuckers”, then another “The Undead Kama Sutra”. Okay, now I’m intrigued by each and every title, and I finally caved. I bought them all and plowed into them. The Felix Gomez story is cliché, no doubt about it. However, the characters are vivid, the noir quality of the stories is spot-on, and Acevedo’s writing is crisp. As much as I love zombies, there was no way I couldn’t pick up “Jailbait Zombie” and was not disappointed. There’s an interesting part about a zombie hurting a vampire because of the silver fillings he had in life. I thought that was interesting.

“Shatnerquake” by Jeff Burk. The concept alone is worth the price of admission. But, make no mistake…this is not parody at it’s lightest. This is, on many levels, what “Being John Malkovich” would have been if John had been replaced with Shatner. This is perfect for those fans of Bruce Campbell and the Trekkie in your life. My only complaint: it’s too short.

“Cloris: my Autobiography” by Cloris Leachman. What’s not to love about Cloris Leachman? She’s a great actress who leaves me in stitches every time. I also think she’s beautiful. But that strange fetish aside, I loved her autobiography. Not being a big fan of television in general, I was more excited about reading her accounts on set with Mel Brooks or on Broadway. The Mary Tyler Moore bits, though, are good. It’s a little dry in areas, but still worth the read.

“Bonk” by Mary Roach. I feel like I’m beginning to sound like a broken record. I love Mary Roach. Ever since I discovered “Stiff” I’ve been hooked. “Spook” was an excellent read, too, and was one of my favorites when it came out. Now, here comes “Bonk”. Bonk is a glance at our favorite subject – SEX. Sex sells and Mary has a blast with the topics: what is an orgasm?; artificially inseminating sows, the complexities of a female orgasm, and scientifically scrutinized coitus. The title and the subject matter should have you convinced already.

“Raising Demons for Fun and Profit” by Mark McLaughlin. Anyone who has ever read Mark McLaughlin knows that the man is pretty much going to have you laugh your ass off. He’s a great weightloss drug that way. “Raising Demons” is my personal favorite McLaughlin yet. Do not hesitate, pick this up…now.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I have a love hate relationship with Steve King. I remember first cracking his stuff when I was twelve (because I wanted "grown-up" books, rather than kiddie fare) and being thoroughly impressed and scared. I've revisited some of those in adulthood and, like so many things, have realized that things change as you grow. I caught references that I certainly would have never caught before, I found myself not as fearful, and the reading went by a lot quicker. King put out some quality books and really molded the contemporary horror genre.
Then something changed. I'm not sure what it was...but something felt different. The books King was putting out weren't the books by my beloved author. Yes, I read them, but there was something...wrong. I'm a huge Dark Tower fan and I found myself reading King's books (the ones I loathed) just for the hidden Easter Eggs into the Dark Tower world.
That's a horrible way to start a review. I just wanted it to be clear that I've been not grooving on King's work for the past few years, nay decade. So enter "Under the Dome".
I was instantly captured by the story when King leaked the description onto his website. I got onboard with it. Then the preorder battle began and I felt I'd gotten the deal of a lifetime when I snagged the $35 book for $9. Suck it Barnes and Noble! Then I realized that this mama jama was near 1100 pages in length! Are you fuckin' kidding me?
I read it (not in one sitting) and will say this: It's good. It's not great, it's not bad. It's certainly a redeeming piece if, like me, you've found your interest in Stephen King wane.
I'll address this head-on first: This is not the Simpsons Movie. I've heard people cross referencing the Simpsons movie, etc, since this came out. Even I, while in the first 250 pages was bemoaning the parallels - the polluted lakes and streams, the obvious dome, and a very similar Simpsons-like parishoner. Hmmmmmm...
Having finished it it's nothing more than coincidence. Truly. No doubt the argument will rumble on for the end of King's life, but that's just people who haven't read the book. Read it and you'll see that this was probably conceptualized years before, as King has said time and time again.
What's Good?
  • The main characters are great and solid. King's characters of late have lacked something. I'm not sure what. But this epic tale of good pitted against evil has to have some power players. You get that in Dale Barbie and Big Jim Rennie. While some of the things that come out of their mouth are ludicrous, you have one really scary mofo in Big Jim Rennie and one humble "cowboy" in Barbie.
  • The political tension. It's apparent that King was putting the finishing touches (or actually writing it) during the McCain-Obama presidential election. I saw sides of people during that year that displayed the ugliest of human nature - on both sides of the political fence. People declared people homos, racists, sexists, unitelligent and all of this completely unwarranted. Now imagine being caught in that hell day in and day out? That's what you've got. And King displays that very, very well. Better now than he ever has.
  • Truly visceral scenes. I have no problem with violence and bloody gore. I'm no prude. However, there are scenes in this book (a rape scene and the aftermath come to mind) that had be ungodly uncomfortable. It was as if Brian Keene had stepped in for a moment and tackled the brutality and gore on King's behalf. There are numerous scenes of true human horror that had be not wanting to go on. I think that's a testament to the writing.

What's not so good? Sadly, this list is a bit longer.

  • The dialogue. Most of it's solid enough, but then you've got these scenes that feel out of place because of the cheesy dialogue. When it's bad it's abyssmal. We're talking SyFy original movie bad. If the book had been going that direction that would be cool ( I love B-movies and SyFy). Trouble is, this book isn't going that direction and that's a problem.
  • Too many plotlines. I know this sounds nitpicky - look at The Stand, for chrissakes - but this was a problem in this particular book. It reads quick enough, but it's got so many unnecessary scenes and characters that I rolled my eyes. As reading I kept plunging ahead 'cause I knew that some of those little things would come back in the end. They never did, and I felt I'd been jipped. Interestingly enough, some of those unnecessary scenes are some of the best written ones.
  • The payoff. This was the biggest disappointment to me! In a novel like this you've got to have a solid payoff. We want to know what the Dome is and where the hell it came from. I'm not going to spoil it here for you. What I will say is this: the payoff happens and passes like a quick little joke. I wanted to see that fleshed out. After all, we've got a story about A DOME, and we want to know what the point of it all is. Rather, it took something grizzly and "Lord of the Flies"-esque and cheapens it into a bad "Twilight Zone" episode.

All in all, I give it 3.5 stars. It's not a bad read by any means. It's good. If you're a King fan you'll love it. If you're not a King fan, you'll probably not love it so much, as it does read like oldschool King moreso than the King of late. (King fans, you'll get a few Easter Eggs here and there)

Until we meet again...happy reading.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Recession-Proof Holiday Gifts Just For YOU!

Merry Christmas! Happy Solstice! Happy Hannukah! Krazy Kwanza!
Whatever it is you celebrate one thing is certain: this holiday's gift giving is going to be tight. You are absolutely correct. So how do you appease your economical stance and still get something groovy and nifty to give. Well here's how:
From your friendly author, Eric Mays, I'm doing a holiday gift thing. If you haven't read "Naked Metamorphosis" then pick up a copy for yourself and/or someone you love. If you've read it, then you know it's good. Give it as a gift. Or, if you hated it, give it to somebody you hate and the joke's on them! Either way, you win.
In the words of the late Billy Mays (no relation), "But wait, there's more!"
This is the gift that gives back. When you purchase a copy of Naked Metamorphosis on Amazon, email me and let me know ( When you do that I will write a story just for you. It'll be a Shakespearean short story using you as the character. Don't want that? Send me another person and I'll do the same. The story will employ Shakespearean devices, your characters lineage, and your method of demise. Oh yeah! Suck on that English 101 teacher!!
I'll mail this to you - snail mail, not email - and you'll have a hard copy story you can always cherish.
So, to repeat:
1.) Naked Metamorphosis makes a great gift!
2.) You get a freebie gift personalized for you!
3.) You'll get a warm fuzzy feeling in the cockles of your heart knowing that you're supporting an independent!

Act now! This offer is only good until December 18th.

Go, go, go...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

And the reviews just keep on coming...

I've been relieved that people have been receptive to "Naked Metamorphosis". There was a distinct part of me that feared someone would accuse me of literary snobbery (and I kinda guess there's still time for that to happen). I'm truly blessed that there has been favorable and positive feedback to the book.

Kevin Shamel, author of Rotten Little Animals, a book that I reviewed here a month back, reviewed Naked Metamorphosis yesterday. And his review nearly made me cry with joy. Y'see there are some hidden jokes within the text. You don't have to get them to not enjoy it, but if you do get them, well, you win the "Where's Waldo Prize Pack". You can visit Kevin at his website: He's a wonderful author and definitely going places.

Here's his review:
It’s Hamlet. Sort of.
It’s brilliant, really.
Eric Mays has rewritten Hamlet into a bizarro world of not quite right and completely perfect. The book starts almost like Hamlet begins. It ends almost like Hamlet ends. Between beginning and end is a gorgeous, hilarious, bizarro ride through a deranged play within a play within a play. The Bard would roll over in his grave only for the chance of bumping into Kafka; both have been resurrected and mixed up with a dash of literary magic.
I admit that it took me a while to read this book. It’s not necessarily a quick read. You have to pay attention to get all the in-jokes, wordplay, and ideas packed inside. It’s really a lot like Hamlet. But it’s not a difficult read. Mays’ style is flowing. His writing is tight and right. I couldn’t put it down once I hit the middle of it.Fans of Shakespeare, Kafka, Alfred Lunt (you have to know what you’re looking for), a surprise famous author, and Bizarro will love this book. Order now!!.
It’s funny, insightful, interesting, crazy, fun, and the ending is PERFECT.
Bravo to Eric Mays. I can’t wait to see what he does next. Whatever it is, I’ll be he shines

Also, Withersin Magazine posted their full review today. Actually, at Kevin's suggestion I became a fan of Withersin Magazine, and definitely think you should too. It's good, solid stuff. And it seems to be run by one of the coolest groups around.
Here's what they said:
Eraserhead, run by popular Bizarro author Carlton Mellick III and his wife Rose O’ Keefe, has made a very bold choice with Eric Mays’ Naked Metamorphosis , the kind of choice that comes as a surprise and a relief. For one of the biggest arbiters of Bizarro taste to take this risk is quite admirable, as this book will not conform to people’s definition of Bizarro. It is one of those instances of quiet Bizarro, taking more of its influences from classic literature and pure, Kafkaesque absurdism rather than from cult cinema, comics or genre fiction. In this respect, Naked Metamorphosis is very distinctive.

Naked Metamorphosis tells the story of Hamlet from Horatio’s perspective. Horatio is an ideal existential and Bizarro hero, a person whose purpose on Earth is to gain answers and order from a chaotic world. Bizarro heroes have the choice of raging against the madness around them or becoming part of it, embracing the chaos and inviting it into their lives. Horatio fights hard for his sanity, which is taxed by the weird behavior of the rest of the play’s cast (especially constant irritant Hamlet) and encounters with Puck, a being generally accepted as an embodiment of the world’s chaos. On account of this chaos, Horatio needs a Horatio of his own, courtier Osric. An often hilarious tale of one man’s quest for sense in a world that refuses to provide any. Stoppardian, whimsical and subtle in its transgressions, this is a book for Shakespeare buffs and Bizarro readers looking for a lighter more literary brand of Bizarro. If you’re a Bizarro fan and somebody says Bizarro is brainless, filthy and lame, give them a copy of this.

Thanks kids...until we meet again.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Amazing Jordan Krall

Jordan Krall's a cool dude. His writing is like a twisted Elmore Leonard (he even writes westerns and mystery pulp) and his humor is dark. I remember reading "Squid Pulp Blues" and loving it. In fact, it's one of a few that I've actually read four times. Then I got my hands on "Fistful of Feet", which is Jordan's homage to the spaghetti western. It's wonderful! I posted a review of it a few days ago.
Needless to say, I'm a fan! So, imagine my wonderment when I open up my amazon page and see a review on "Naked Metamorphosis" by the man, himself. WOW! Wherever you are, whatever you're're getting a big hug from me. Thanks, man!

Find it here:

Or read it here:
When I first heard about a Shakespearean bizarro book, I was like "Uggghhh..." because I just wasn't into that old English stuff. But I heard that it was crossed with Kafka but still, I wasn't really a huge fan of Shakespeare and so I was reluctant to check it out considering how little time I have to read new books.
But then I had the pleasure to attend a reading by the author at this year's Bizarro Convention. After that, I was sold. His performance was animated and funny, capturing the characters perfectly and I'm a guy who usually finds author readings a bit boring. So the fact that I enjoyed it says a lot about the his talent at storytelling.
First of all, the book is straight out hilarious. I'm sure I didn't get all of the in-jokes about Shakespeare but the ones I did get are funny and the dialogue is quick, witty, and clever. I'm not easily amused when it comes to comedy in a book but this one amused me a lot and I found myself shaking my head many times (in a good way).
Second, the writing is excellent. There was no awkwardness to the prose or bumps in the road that you see from many new authors. Despite this being the debut work of the author, you didn't get that feeling.
Third, the ideas presented are both bizarre and entertaining which is a hard thing to accomplish. There is actually a "twist" that I will not spoil but I found it to be an excellent close to the novella. It was something that crossed my mind during the middle of the book but the fact that it actually happened made me wonder if the author was reading my mind, haha! The Shakespeare thing is the obvious angle of the book but believe me, even if you hated reading it in school, don't let that turn you off. THIS is what Shakespeare should sound like. It's anachronistic, weird, funny, and fast moving.
I supposed my one criticism is the length. Though the whole plot is played out well, I think there are certain aspects that could've been expanded. I don't really want to mention them specifically (don't won't to spoil it) but if you read it you'll probably agree.
But let me put it this way. I would love to read five more books set in this "world"... it's that entertaining. It's a quick read, too, so those with tight schedules don't have to worry. I imagine that even if you didn't love it as much as I did, you wouldn't feel like you've wasted your time.
So basically, if you like both Shakespeare and Kafka, or you dislike Shakespeare but you like funny and weird stories, you should check this out. It would also make good stocking stuffers for fans of Shakespeare, Kafka, or weird/bizarro fans in general.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

You Morbid Westphal

The concept of “You Morbid Westphal” shouldn’t have worked at all! There’s no way it was supposed to. I’ve seen some experimental fiction like this before and watched as it plummeted into the abyss face-first leaving irate readers in its wake. This is supposed to be that sort of book…
…but it succeeds…beautifully.
For starters, the title You Morbid Westphal is setting up the three main characters. You…as in you…yes, you, Morbid, a malicious little beastie, and Westphal, who’s just trying to get through the graveyard shift at the hospital you’re in. These are the three main characters and they share the piece in circular stories. The “you” portions of the book read like a “Choose-Your-Own-Adventure” book…placing you right in the action. You’re responsible for birthing Morbid. You’re not going to have a very good night. You’re experiencing it as it unfolds. This style is not my typical fare, but I was captivated by it. I loved seeing what havoc was unfurling around my world. Meanwhile you get the other two stories (obviously connected). One follows Morbid as he indulges his macabre whims and the coke-addled Westphal. Should you find yourself in a hospital, pray it isn’t this one. In fact, I’m not above the cliché…I’ll say it: You Morbid Westphal does for hospitals what Jaws did for beach getaways!
Steven Rage is a masterful storyteller. He weaves a world that his painted in black and white hues, where anything can happen (and often does), and his brutally visceral. I realize that this is a horror tale…I guess you could call it that. It’s got more emotion than your typical horror fare. I felt the emotional rollercoaster travel from repulsed to humored to moved and back again. And the end…well, I’m not the one to spill the beans, but rest assured, you’ll not know what is in store for “You” until you reach the final pages.
My biggest complaint with the book was the length. I craved more, which is a wonderful thing, and wanted to see more of the story fleshed out. I make no bones about it…I’m a longer fiction type person. But I never dismiss a solid story, and this was certainly that. The fact that I wanted more should attest to the quality.
Too, at first I was a little confused with the circular-style storytelling. It’s a three ring circus…not a crazy train that has too many clashing storylines…but in the beginning it is a little confusing.** Please keep reading, though. In the end it’s worth it all and Steven Rage does bring it together nicely.
If you like your horror visceral pick this up. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Fistful of Feet

So, you either like Jordan Krall or you don't, just like you either like Nora Roberts or you don't. Jordan Krall is not Nora Roberts. And, it's a real shame that he's not topping the bestseller's list because he's an outstanding writer. Outstanding. What I love the most, though, is the dedication, the homages, Jordan Krall pays towards certain genres. Squid Pulp Blues was for noir; Fistful of Feet is Krall's spaghetti western. Just like the spaghetti westerns we all know and love, there are good guys and bad guys (and often times good bad guys and bad good guys). All the characters are black and white; the violence is gritty; the whorehouse is hot; and everybody seems out to get everyone else. Now take that western landscape and twist it with Lovecraftian imagery and you've got a great landscape for this western to play out. Screwhouse, Nevada is as gritty as "Deadwood", where they'll shoot you for conning men out of poker, and blow your legs out with dynamite. Known for it's legendary brothel (which is easily a sampling of every "Real Sex" episode HBO has ever shown...if it's a twisted fetish, you can get it here), the working ladies are just as tough as the cowboys who visit them. The Eastwood-like stranger appears as one Calamaro from New Jersey. He's exactly what you'd expect in your "hero". And once he arrives in town, all the characters come out of the woodwork - a local gang dead set on making life tough for the stranger, bizarro whores, a prissy con man, a determined-to-get-to-California whore, the sheriff, a drug-peddling general store man, a gang looking for Confederate gold, and the very randy mayor. And if that wasn't enough, there's a serial killer on the loose, carving up local girls. And, of course, there's Indians. Confused? That's the book's one major flaw. There are so many characters introduced and so many plotlines going at once, it tends to get a little confusing. With any other writer this would be a problem. With Jordan Krall, it's not. Jordan knows where the action's going...he knows he's taking the reader on a wild trip...we're confused, but he's going to wrap it up in the end with a nice bow. I've read Piecemeal June and Squid Pulp Blues. Fistful of Feet is, in my opinion, his best. Congrats, Jordan Krall, you've done it again.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Naked Metamorphosis Goes International

Okay, kids! Exciting news today...and I really needed it. I open my email today after weeks and weeks of hard promotions work and what do I see?

Hi Eric:
Barrie Public Library will order the book Naked Metamorphosis.
Thank you for giving the information about the contents.
Mary McAlpine
Information Services

Now, for those that don't know, Barrie is in Canada. Shortly thereafter I received emails from Medicine Hat (coolest named city ever!) and the library system of Cambridgeshire, UK. All of them are purchasing at least 1 copy of Naked Metamorphosis.

This is awesome, as you may imagine. Yes, I'd rather people purchase the book than check it out from the library, but making it available across the globe is wonderful for buzz. In fact, if you think about it, go ahead and call your local library and request that they pick up a copy, too! It's really what it's all about.

I realize this post isn't that exciting. Believe me, I get it. I'm too tired, though, and busy at work (hee hee) and just wanted to share some good news.

Peace, kids! Peace!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

BizarroCon 2009!

So...where to begin? BizarroCon was a HUGE success. What other convention can you go to and make so many new friends (one of which you talked about porn with during the course of two days)? Where else can you go where you can get copious amounts of fresh brewed beer made just for you? Where else can you go and see performance pieces that included a lactating Viking warlord, a talking poo puppet, and an interactive reading for Rotten Little Animals?
The answer is, of course, BizarroCon! Eraserhead Press has some amazing things in the pipeline right now, great books on the rise (including a new imprint that will be for comics), and some amazing titles that require you to check them out.
While I'm completely drained of all physical energy, the suffering is and was totally worth it.
The reading of Naked Metamorphosis was a high-energy, overly theatrical performance (not as inventive as Kevin Shamel's Rotten Little Animals puppet show), but I felt great about it! Met a young lady (aspiring writer and theatre) from British Columbia who picked up a copy (thank you, Sam) my tale has ventured into International waters. Thank God for Canada.
My Bizarro Showdown piece was an interesting story. I had several ideas that all got scrapped last minute and did a Dr. Seuss inspired tale about masturbation (yes, I was shocked too). For those that want to read it, I'll be sure to tell you how. Let me say this, if you purchase a copy of "Naked Metamorphosis" and post a review on Amazon, I'll send you a personal copy through USPS on my dime, with a hand drawn image and a Shakespearean insult! That's a cool little promo, right?
Also, my facebook page lit up! Now I've got over 100 friends, which is nice on the self-deprecation.
Sadly, I was either too busy, too tired (seriously, about 2 hours per night and two 36 hour days), or too tipsy to remember to take any, but I'll post some that I find here when I get them!
Too, here are some books to recommend:
  • Fistful of Feet
  • Ass Goblins of Auschwitz
  • Jack and Mr. Grin
  • House of Houses
  • Warrior WolfWomen of the Wasteland (especially if you loathe McDonald's)
  • Carnageland
  • Sex Dungeon for Sale
  • Shatnerquake
  • Rotten Little Animals
  • The Slow Poisoner
  • And the Magazine of Bizarro Fiction #2!

Also, if you go to iTunes and want some really wicked music, check out Andrew Goldfarb, the Slow Poisoner, as he sings rockabilly riffs that will have you laughing. And, stay tuned for a nice picture of me, Eric Mays, smothered in copious amounts of raw squid (*yes, I was slimed*)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

First reviews!

RVA News Quick Book Blurb posts says:

"the literary mash-up and alternate lit is big business. It ranges from great to god-awful. Naked Metamorphosis by Eric Mays is a new addition to this emerging genre. It's the first time the subtleties of Hamlet are explored, and is riddled with hilarity. The later acts feel a bit rushed (was the author under a deadline?), but if you enjoy Gregory Maguire, the master of this genre, you should give it a look."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Stories in the Sex Dungeon

Patrick Wensink has got a story to tell you. He actually has several stories to tell you...and I advise you to pay attention. Sex Dungeon for Sale may sound shocking, but it's a great representation of how diverse bizarro can be, and why the genre is so appealing. Sure, we love the weird strangeness. But, when you can do bizarro, shedding some of the pulp and shock, you get a decent read, too. That's what bizarro is. It's a collective of unique ideas that are outside the realm. (Twilight Zone is bizarro on the family friendly scale, where as Perversions of Science was a little more mature)
Here's the deal. If you like humor, dark humor, and savvy wit, pick up a copy of this book. Reading it, several of the tales, particularly "Clean Bill of Health", reminded me of something O. Henry might scribe. Other stories - Wash, Rinse and Repeat and Jesus Toast - remind me of Palahniuk. I'm not saying Wensink mimicked their style...I'm just sayin', they're quality reads.
I'm not typically a fan of anthologies (kind of like I'm not a fan of's nice to see me pleasantly surprised), but I really liked this one.
I blew Coke (not coke) out of my nose reading "Sex Dungeon for Sale"...and will never be able to think rumpus room without giggling like a middle schooler. I feel comfortable now that I've been schooled on kidnapping. And, I'm relieved that Rico Suave himself, the irreplaceable Gerardo, is here. My two personal favorites, though (and I have a dark sense of humor), are Clean Bill of Health and The Many Lives of James Brown's Capes. I'm happy to know how much "sex machine" fetched.
Sex Dungeon for Sale is a quality collection. Most are quick reads that you can grapple in one brief sitting. So, if nothing else, get a copy, keep it in the bathroom, and chuckle your ass off!
Check out Patrick's book at and help us authors out. We write stories for you!


David Barbee is a sick man – and I use that as a term of endearment.
Carnageland is an interesting read. There’s little character development; the characters are what they are. There’s some repetition in the action. But I loved the hell out of it. Why? Well, it’s the same reason that I love the hell out of Corman flicks or SciFi (now, the oddly named SyFy) original movies. Because they’re like sugary confectionary Saturday Morning cartoons for adults.
If you’re looking for a sympathetic character and massive development, or even scientific gadgetry in your sci-fi, then bypass this book. If you watched Saturday Morning cartoons, like B-grade movies and twisted fairytales, then you’ll absolutely love this book, like I did.
Remember Sherman and Peabody? Yeah, those two. They were always messing with history. Fractured Fairytales did the same. Now, imagine that land, twisted by Todd McFarlane, and invaded by aliens. There you go…that’s kind of what Carnageland is.
It opens with 898 preparing for invasion. Inpire, Inc, the world where these “invaders” come from, is a pretty cool place, and I’d love to see more of it in the future. Aliens are selected by an epic claw (just like Toy Story…”the claw is our master”!) as the chosen invaders. Well, 898 gets selected to decimate a planet filled with fantastical beasts…slightly twisted fairytale creations. And decimate he does. If you’ve ever imagined some of the fairytale creatures getting slaughtered in horrific fashion, well, now’s your chance to see it unfold. (On a side note, my favorite twisted character was the Ninjerbread Man…’nuff said.)
Carnageland is a fast read – almost too fast, ‘cause I wanted more – and fun. It really is like Roger Corman got his hands on the works of Piers Anthony and went to town.
Carnageland is available at…help us authors out.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Rotten Little Book

I've had the distinct pleasure of befriending Kevin Shamel over the past month. He's a groovy author breaking into the bizarro scene with his entry in the NBAS (as am I, though Kevin's been bizarroing it up a whole lot longer). His entry is Rotten Little Animals, which is...distubingly funny.
Let me first say this: this book has a lot of poop in it. No, not the bad kind of poop (like it sucks), I'm talking actual poo. Excrement, feces, ca-ca, shit. But then again, we're talking about a book filled with animals and if you've ever owned one, you know they poop a lot. So, now that that's out of the way...
Rotten Little Animals is a book about animals, but we ain't talkin' 'bout Charlotte's Web. This is not even Beatrix Potter style animals. Rotten Little Animals is what you'd get if Quentin Tarantino had a love child with Beatrix Potter. It's like merging South Park and Sesame Street.
So, animals live and breathe in our world, but are capable of things we can't even fathom. They speak, for starters, and they drink, cuss, enjoy human pornography, and are capable of working movie cameras. Their biggest goal, though, is to make humans feel like they are superior because they have thumbs, so they do their activities in secret (like the Animal Academy Awards).
Meet Itsy, Stinkin' Rat, Julio, Filthy Pig, and Dirty Bird, as well as the numerous zombie-cats and camera crew chickens. They're out to make the perfect Animal movie. Unfortunately, their plans are thwarted when they're spotted by the boy across the street, Cage. Cage is kidnapped, tortured, and videotaped for an entirely new project.
Later he offers, he used to like animals.
The anthropomorphic thing, I was a little skeptical, but soon after the first act, the story kicks into gear following Cage - through trauma, murder, psychological rehab, fame, and a brief fling with Paris Hilton. I don't want to give too much away, so I'll stop there and hope that I've whetted your appetite.
One thing, the book moves quick. I read it in a sitting and plan to revisit it. I realize as you're zipping through the thing, you tend to miss something. There are few books that I would revisit - more that I always intend to and never do - but Shamel's book is one I'll definitely recommend, gift, and revisit for years to come.
Help us authors out...visit and pick yours up.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Naked Metamorphosis is Available

It's out! Yes, my brain bay has been birthed...though not as big as that Australian baby (19 lbs?!) . Naked metamorphosis is available at and you should definitely purchase a copy.
if you need something to get the free shipping from Amazon...look for the following: Ass Goblins of Auschwitz, Fistful of Feet, Rotten Little Animals, and Carnageland.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The First Zombie Trilogy of October 2009 (and another zombie flick...)

Good morning, ghouls! Speaking of ghouls, I heart zombies. Whether it's the cool folder my friend Re-Re got me (including all things zombie, even a conversion chart for metric brains) to the baseball jersey that reads: I heart (and it's an actual heart) Zombies. I even like that stupid little Pop-Cap game, "Plants vs. Zombies". I have an addiction. A serious problem.
This October I wanted to explore the roots of the zombie legend, though. Sure, everyone loves the Romero zombie, which defined the genre the way it is today. However, many forget about the voodoo legends and how zombies have changed a bit over the years (though, I'm actually reminded of "The Serpent and the Rainbow" which did work with the voodoo concept of zombies and was pretty good. I'll have to revisit this).
So I went back in the way-way-back machine to discover all that zombies can offer. It's not a real trilogy, but the films are all connected.
First, White Zombie. I'd never seen this one, and it's a real shame. I guess Bela Lugosi has always maintained that Dracula persona and never once would I have rather associated him as a Haitian sugarcane plantation owner.
The movie works. Looking at the film, it's the first of the thrities that I can see was utterly scary. The concept itself is very Dollhouse, and in a pre-WW2 time, that is rather spooky. Bela is wonderful in the film, though I question the decision for that ridiculous looking Fu Manchu beard of his. Not so sure that this makes it "authentic Haitian". Don't know, though. Maybe Haiti changed over time.
Also from the 30's, I Walked With A Zombie. I don't think that this is so much a horror movie as it is a primer for Haitian zombies. It's a tight psychological piece, that drops some zombie knowledge on our asses.
Basically, a new doctor moves to Jamaica (not bad) to hospice care for a rich guy's wife. Everyone thinks that the wife is a zombie. Thus begins the search into what is a zombie? How does one become a zombie? Is she really dying? Are their conspiracies afoot?
Personally, for me, I loved it because it's got one of my favorite actors in it (joking, but sort of not) - Snowflake.
Finally, there's Tales From the Crypt: Ritual. There's always got to be one crap one, right? Well this is it. This was supposed to be the follow-up for the Tales From the Crypt movies (following the wonderful "Demon Knight" and the lackluster, but fun, "Bordello of Blood"). Ritual is a straight to DVD release. And it kind of shocked me: the cast has Tim Curry, Jennifer Grey, and Craig Sheffer, as well as John Kassir as the voice of the Cryptkeeper. Seemed to me to be a good enough cast.
While the script is pretty good, the acting is subpar. The pacing it lethargic. The movie just doesn't work. There's some pretty good gore effects, but they're few and far between.
Why, pray tell, is this film the piece in a zombie trilogy? Well, it's not. I included it because it's a remake of I Walked With A Zombie. Jennifer Grey plays the disgraced doctor who moves to Jamaica to perform hospice care. Craig Sheffer plays the rich baron. This time, though, she's caring for his brother not his wife.
Not the worst movie ever, and it might be worth taking a look at. But, it should have remained a thrity minute Tales from the Crypt episode.

Finally...I just saw Zombieland, which I think may be one of my favorites of the year. I'll write more about it soon...because this movie had more going for it than the comedy, acting, writing. The cinematography is beautiful, the slow-mo scenes in the beginning (done by the same guy who did the slo-mo in The Watchmen) is gorgeous. I'll write more about this soon.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Final Cover! Hooray!

After the epic title wars (as chronicled in the ninth month of the year of our Lord 2,009, by scribe Eric) the cover has been tweaked a bit! Allow me to introduce you to:

Naked Metamorphosis...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Naked Metamorphosis and Shakespearean Insults

Most people know I'm a quotes guy. I love 'em. Probably that English major inside. I don't know what it is, but I love that people (famous, smart people) contradict themselves all the time and it's caught in the annals of history for all to share. I'm always amazed by what people say now - especially in contrast to what people said then.
I was looking into Shakespearean Insults (something I love, personally, and will come to later) and came across my files from some of the research for the upcoming book. Interesting quotes that I never associated with the thing.
From Franz Kafka:
A man of action forced into a state of thought is unhappy until he can get out of it.
God gives us nuts, but he does not crack them.
Heaven is dumb, echoing only the dumb.
It's fascinating to me that I never paid more attention to these at the time. Just sort of glanced over them. These three quotes really echo the themes of NAKED METAMORPHOSIS.
From William S. Burroughs:
I don't care if people hate my guts; I assume most of them do.
Every man has inside himself a parasitic being who is acting not at all to his advantage.
A paranoid is a person who knows little of what's going on.
Again, major thematic statements about NAKED METAMORPHOSIS. Too, major statements about Hamlet. All could be interjected in a thesis on Shakespeare's Danish Prince. Fascinating...or maybe not.
Now, onto quotable Shakespeare...
Most know I'm a buff. I love the guy. Why? It's not the floral arrangement English he chose to use. Nor is it the pendulous swing from comedy to tragedy. No, I love Shakespeare 'cause he was a controversialist and, perhaps, one of the first bizarro writers.
His ideas were sweeping fantasies, just about always including an element of the supernatural. But beyond that veneer, Shakespeare pushed the envelope of proper heftily. The stories are bawdy, dirty, borderline pornographic. If most High School students caught the innuendos and references, they'd eat it up like crack.
There were definite devices that Shakespeare employed: mistaken identities, long lost love, the supernatural, situational comedy of errors, mental illness as humor, questionable morals, strong female characters (played by men, but the female characters are some of the most fascinating in literature). All these devices make it into NAKED METAMORPHOSIS. I'm happy about that.
Don't believe me about the Shakespeare thing? I'm pretty sure (...and by pretty sure, I mean like Wikipedia pretty sure) that the Bard perfected the insult.
Take these for instance:
"You impertinent, hell-hated malcontent!"
Not too shabby, eh?
What about: "Infectious, tardy-gaited Basket-Cockle!"
Not too sure what Basket-Cockle is, or tardy-gaited, but I've incorporated them into my vocab!Here the Bard goes straight for the juggular: "Wart-necked, fat-kidneyed canker-blossom!" I think I knew a girl in High School who fell into that category.
My favorite, though, is "beef-witted whore master!"
So as I'm signing, I feel it is my obligation to educate the masses. You may receive a Shakespearean insult in the front cover. Don't worry, I'm not insulting you. Well, I am. But it's in the name of education. filthy scuts!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Halloween Marathon Continues...

So, we started with classic wolf-man fare. I gotta say, the werewolves get no love. Sure, they pop up in all the vampire cultural phenomena, but as nothing more than background fluff. I don't want to make the case that werewolves are cooler than vamps, or vice-versa (Lord knows there are too many "Twilight" fans and "True Blood" fans that would love to lynch any lycanthropes from rising to power). Alls I'm sayin' is that werewolves are pretty freakin' cool. And, I think that may be because their usage is sparse, in comparison to the mass expansion of vampires in pop-culture today. Think of it, though...there have been some pretty cool werewolves. Michael J. Fox, Jason Bateman, Jack Nicholson, and, soon, Benecio Del Toro (though, he was the dog-boy in Big Top Pee Wee...that counts, right?).
But I digress.
I did follow up the initial trilogy with two addendums - fluffy, sugary, nonsensical cinema. But the two films compliment the Wolf-Man saga pretty well.
First, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. Now, Abbott and Costello are comic geniuses, make no bones about it. What's fascinating about this match-up is the supporting cast. Of course, Chaney is back as the tormented Larry Talbot (give the man credit) and Bela Lugosi returns into the role of Dracula. Karloff is not in the mix. Instead, Glenn Strange shows up as the Frankenstein Monster.
Don't ask me how all these characters came together. It was an interesting plotpoint in House of Frankenstein, in A&C Meet Frankenstein, it's just nonsense. It doesn't matter, though, it's friggin' Abbott and Costello.
If you've never seen it, you're doing yourself a huge disservice. This is classic comedy. The interactions between Costello and the Wolf-Man in the woods is hilarious and on the verge of classic Three Stooges. And watching it, it reminded me of growing up with classic cinema and classic comedy like this...which is not found in today's raunchy comedy.
The other bookend on this trilogy, which also reminded me of childhood (though the Saturday morning cartoons), was Van Helsing.
I know, I know. Everyone HATED Van Helsing. If you're a hardcore hater, go back and take another look. It's not that bad. Yes, it's B-Movie grade with B-Movie acting that's trying to pass itself off as A-List material. That's the movie's fatal flaw. However, Van Helsing is the powdered sugar of movies. It is what it is. And, what it is, is fun...if you can get past the pretentions it brings.
If Roger Corman had been given a Speilberg-sized budget back in the sixties, this is the flick he would have churned out. No doubt in my mind.
So why did people hate it?
1.) Wolverine's not playing Wolverine; 2.)Nobody cares about the Universal Monsters anymore; 3.)Kate Beckinsale wasn't wearing her Underworld PVC dominatrix get-up.
Stephen Sommers did the same thing here he did with The Mummy franchise. He funned it up a bit, and got to play like a kid. Difference? He does some very cool stuf here.
Three reasons why you should revisit the film:
1.) Universal Monsters are very, very cool. The opening sequence is a beautifully well done homage to the classics;
2.) Shuler Hensley as Frankenstein's monster. I loved the Frankenstein monster storyline here. Karloff got close to humanizing the monster...but there's was only so much he could do. The role evolved into Peter Boyle adding humor to the beast. Now, Shuler Hensley perfects it. He truly is remarkable.
3.) Animation. The CG creatures are outstandingly remarkable. Remember, this is 2004 we're talking about. CGed Transformers hadn't come out yet. The animated beasts are insane! My personal favorite - Mr. Hyde (voiced by the wonderful Robbie Coltrane).
So, check 'em out, if you haven't already: Abbott and Costellor Meet Frankenstein & Van Helsing.
5 down...26 to go.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Halloween Movie Marathon!

Most of you know that I'm a bit of a cineophile! I love movies - classics, B-films, and even the contemporary popcorn munchers. But nothing blows my skirts up more than a good, solid horror flick. That's why every October, I dedicate the month to the genre. Some are movies I've seen; others are movies that I've not. I realize that a lot of you know I have a soft spot in my heart for Italian horror (I know, I know, the Japanese are cranking out the creepy ones right now - but, Italians dominated the 70's and 80's).
Because I have to work...ugh...and have BizarroCon...hooray!...I'm squeezing in a few mini-marathons in. Here's the first. If you haven't checked them out, I strongly encourage it.

The Wolf-Man Marathon:
The Wolf-Man
The Wolf-Man Meets Frankenstein
The House of Frankenstein
Sure, on the surface it may not seem that these films are connected. However, it's the first example of a Hollywood trilogy (the subsequent Frankenstein and Dracula films followed these). The other unique factor here is that Lon Chaney Jr is the only actor to play a Universal Monster through all the flicks. That's right, he WAS the Wolf-Man. Frankenstein's Monster was played by Boris, Bela, Glenn and others and Dracula was played by too many actors...but in the Universal world look for Bela Lugosi and John Carradine.
The Wolf-Man is cinematic perfection. It doesn't give away too doesn't give away too little. Interesting factoid: it's not the film that famous for the amazing Lon Chaney transformation. You see the lap-photography, but it's not 'til the last ten minutes. What you see if a transformation of the feet.
If you've never seen The Wolf-Man, do so. It's a great thriller and it clocks in at just over an hour - it's easy to squeeze in. Lon Chaney is an amazing physical actor. The stuff he does with the character is pretty remarkable, especially considering that he's a big guy. Too, the generic score used here (as it was recycled in all the Universal monster movies) works.
The big sequel to The Wolf-Man is The Wolf-Man meets Frankenstein. It's better than the first, if that's possible. Chaney, here, gets a chance to show his acting chops. He's wonderful as the sad-sap, afflicted everyman. Of course, he does happen upon Frankenstein's monster...and interesting concept that would be mimicked in the 60's...and their interactions are quite remarkable. Bela plays the monster in this flick, and I'll tell you, it's the first time you truly miss Karloff. Not that Bela's not talented. Playing the monster, though, you always though anyone could play it. Not true.
There's no real showdown between the two giant monsters until the last two minutes. Still, it's a fairly remarkable effort to contiue the story of Larry Talbot's troubled soul, with a passing mention of Frankenstein's name.
Finally, there's a joy! House of Frankenstein. This is probably my favorite Karloff performance. He plays an imprisoned mad scientist who idolized Frankenstein. He even has a hunchback follower named Daniel. Karloff is absolute evil here. He cares nothing about any other character. All he cares about is his own gain. And to that end...he drags all the Universal monsters into the batter.
First he frees Dracula (played by John Carradine, who's not bad, it's just after Bela Lugosi you kind of long for that authentic European flavor), then comes across the frozen corpses of Larry Talbot and the Frankenstein Monster (played here by Glenn Strange) from the end of the Wolf-Man Meets Frankenstein.
This was the first effort at a legitimate franchise and Universal nails it! The movie paces better than the other films in the Universal monster collection. It's also tributed to great performances (Boris and Lon are really at their very best).
If you're up for some classic horror...though, not scary by today's standards...check this trilogy out.

More to come...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Jimmy Plush, Teddy Bear Detective

This is a little late, I guess...but better late than never, right? Another bizarro author, Garrett Cook, has a nice book coming out that I'm jonesin' to read. Everything is karma, and I'm hoping to send some good gris-gris his way by posting this here for him. The first chap is pretty great. Not to mention, it's a teddy bear kickin' ass and takin' names. Enjoy...

Excerpt from Jimmy Plush, Teddy Bear Detective

Below is an excerpt from “Jimmy Plush, Teddy Bear Detective” by Garrett Cook. You can preorder a copy at I recommend doing so right now, because not only would you be getting a great book but you would be helping a new talented writer who could really use the support right now (he’s unemployed and trying to raise enough money to make it to BizarroCon next Month).
If you didn’t read my last blog about this book, here is the back cover description:“In a city ridden with prostitute furries, cannibal cops and warehouse-sized mob bosses, I’ve got my work cut out for me. My name is Jimmy Plush. I’m a private detective. I’m also a teddy bear. It all started when the original Jimmy Plush entered my life, offering to take my gambling debts away if I agreed to switch bodies with him. But I didn’t know that being a three-foot-high plush toy would be such a living hell, especially now that everyone in town wants a piece of me. All I’ve gotten out of this deal is a faithful Chinese chauffeur, a custom teddybear .45, and a girlfriend who won’t take off the fox suit she turns tricks in. Now I’ve got to keep this town clean and try to track down the real Jimmy Plush without losing my stuffing for good. Only one thing is for sure: Life is hard when you’re soft.
Jimmy Plush, Teddy Bear Detective is a high octane pulp satire. In the tradition of Sam Spade, The Shadow, Dick Tracy, Hellboy and Howard the Duck comes a new kind of hero, a hero that reminds us that the measure of a man is in his guts and his gun.”
Here’s the excerpt:
An Excerpt from Jimmy Plush, Teddy Bear Detective coming soon from Eraserhead Press“Mr. Plush and the Dead Horse”
Being a gumshoe is stressful. Being a gumshoe in the body of a three foot teddy bear is a hell of a lot more stressful than that. So I decided to take the day off for once. Since trading my body to that bastard teddy bear to pay off my gambling debts, the closest thing I’d gotten to time off was time spent face down in an alley unconscious. And unlike some people, I wasn’t there for leisure. I knew this day would start off with a couple of annoyances, but I thought it would end at that. The first one, I’d figured on. Having no private residence, I had a tendency to sleep in my office. I also had a lapdog of a Chinese chauffeur that had a habit of waiting outside with my limo ready to go and a tragic attempt at coffee in his hand. I stepped outside, and I was right. There was Chan with coffee staler than politics and pictures. I sighed.
“Chan, where do they grow the coffee in China?”
Even for a Chinaman, Chan went stiff.
“They do not grow coffee in China, Mot Honored Mister Plush.”
I took the coffee from him. This was an important part of my morning ritual lately.
“Do you wanna know why they don’t grow coffee in China, Chan?”
He sighed. There was anger behind his slanty subhuman eyes.
“Yes, Mister Plush. I would like to know why.”
I tossed the coffee in his face as I did every morning. The coffee was piping hot. Good old Chan. Even confronted with certain scalding he wouldn’t serve me lukewarm coffee.
“That is the worst damn coffee I’ve ever had. You run somebody’s laundry through the pot?”Chan folded his hands and bowed.
“Humblest apologies. Does Most Honored Mister Plush require breakfast? Or to be driven somewhere?”
“Does sycophantic Chan want to lose his job and have to make noodles for a living?” It’s important to be firm with one’s chauffeur.
“Chan is very sorry.” He bowed again. Chan bowed pretty often. Unavoidable when a kid hears Confucius in the nursery.
“I’m taking the day off, Chan.”
Chan looked at me as if I were the one that talked goofy all the time.
“Are you certain Mister Plush, there is a lot to be done, there is especially the matter of…”
I didn’t even wanna think about it.
“It can wait. He’ll wait.”
Chan laughed. “I do not think I would take getting shot as lightly as you have.”
“I don’t take it lightly, Chan. I got no leads, and I’m burnt out, so scram!”
Chan shrugged, got in the limo and drove off.
This left me alone. I called Jean and invited her to dinner. She said seven. I said not to wear the fox suit. She said I could go to Hell. I asked if she had any messages for her mother. She asked about the mess in her kitchen. I said I’d see her at seven and hung up, taking my phone off the hook afterwards. Within five minutes, I started pouring myself drinks. I was bored to tears. I shouldn’t have been.
There was a knock on the door. Chan was starting to make me real angry. How could people with so much opium in their country be so utterly against relaxation? I opened my door, wishing the chinaman had made me two cups of coffee. I wouldn’t drink the second one either. But it wasn’t Chan at the door. It was a pony wearing a police cap. There was a whistle and a badge around his neck. It seemed like the sort of thing that would be a bad omen. What did my granny from the old country say about a pony on your doorstep? Made me wish I hadn’t given up my memories during the transfer so I’d know things like that, like if I had a granny or where the hell the old country was.
“Sorry, pal,” I said to the pony, “this ain’t a stable and I’m closed for the day.”
“Listen, Plush,” the pony shot back in a voice that reminded me a little of Gary Cooper, “you don’t like meand I don’t like you, but I’ve got a problem. I’m gonna set aside my prejudices so we can make this town a little less awful.”
“Not interested. Go find yourself some oats and leave me alone, Seabiscuit.”
The pony got in my face.
“I don’t think you understand. I’ve got three dead city councilmen and a dead socialite. Think about it, four prospective kidnap victims. If they keep bumping off these people, there will be nobody to kidnap and murder’s one per customer, Plush. How long do you think a shameless shamus like yourself’s gonna last in a city where all the victims are already dead?”
He had a point. If I was going to maintain this lifestyle, I couldn’t have somebody icing every client that could pay me. Maybe I didn’t want to maintain this lifestyle, but when you’re a teddy bear with a bad reputation and nothing going for you but a chauffeur an office with “Jimmy Plush, Detective” on the door and a custom teddy bear handgun there usually ain’t many career paths open for you.
“Okay, horsey, you’ve got my attention. Now give me the details. Come on in.”
But before he could, three shots rang out and he was good as glue. If a pony on my doorstep was a badomen (and I couldn’t really tell if it was), then a dead pony on my doorstep was an awful one and a dead pony on my doorstep that had a badge was a disaster. I had to sort this out and I needed to do it fast.Lucky for me, Chan had not really taken off, but had instead parked the limo in an alley nearby and waited for me to change my mind. He pulled up to the curb, got out and gave me a bow. Even though I needed him now, I was not happy about this.
“I guess they don’t have days off in China either, huh?”Chan smiled.
“And yet, I’m not the one with a dead policeman on my doorstep.”
“Who is he? He knew the real Plush and hated him. Must have been a pretty good egg. For a pony.”Chan’s smile turned into a frown.
“He was. His name was Horskowitz. He was an honest cop, not into the same things the others are. He tried to put some of them away for corruption, so they beat him up, transferred him into the body of a pony. He didn’t quit. He felt that only showed how much he was needed. In my opinion, he was right.”
I could only think of one man that could be behind this.
“Chan, take me to J.L Wong’s.”
The scenery on the way to J.L Wong’s was pretty much the same tableau of heartbreak I was used to; Furries in species drag ranging from strap-on sporting mice to Murray the Monogram Unicorn waiting for clients against every lamppost, ugly hoods carrying violin cases, businessmen looking for a den where they could chase the dragon, a Chinatown that the Orientals were afraid to even go near. Same hell-on-earth where most of my cases ended up leading. Or was it? There was a giant black cloth covering the side of the street. Something huge was underneath, something the size of a few buildings or a gigantic warehouse. I hadn’t seen any construction or demolition going on last time I was here, and last time I was here was two days ago. Identical obese quintuplets in pink pinstripe suits stood outside guarding it. They were trying too hard to act natural.
“Chan, stop!” By the time I’d said it, he’d already stopped.
I got out since I had a sneaking suspicion that these five gentlemen might have had something to do with my case.
“Nice weather we’re havin’, huh?”
“Yes,” they said in unison.
“So…gentlemen, what’s under the cloth?”
“A carnival,” they replied, again in unison.
“It’ll never work,” I told them as I walked back to the car,“this town’s already too much fun.”

Friday, September 25, 2009

Title Agreed Upon?

Some of you know that we've been having trouble with the title of this particular piece. Now, when I birthed this brain baby...I was pretty set on taking a Gregory Maguire-esque approach (i.e.: WICKED, CONFESSIONS OF AN UGLY STEPSISTER, et al). So, initially, this was entitled ROTTEN SOMETHINGS IN THE STATE OF DENMARK. That was then shortened to ROTTEN SOMETHINGS, and then SOMETHING ROTTEN. Trouble was, though, none of these really prompted people to want to pick up the book (when asked if they would).
So, we went back to the drawing board. When it was submitted it was entitled HAMLET: THE COLLEGE YEARS. Kevin, my editor, quickly pointed out that there was recently a HAMLET 2, and this might get confusing. I wanted to ride the coattails of that funny film, but Kevin had a point.
Back to the drawing board once more. Ugh! I understand why there are some urban kids named things like Viagra, and Levitra, and Allegra. Shit! If I'd pushed the kid out and couldn't come up with a name, you're damn straight that kid's getting named after a product.
Kevin and I had lists going of possible titles. Some were good: KAFKA'S HAMLET BOOK REPORT, COCKROACH NUNNERY, ALL THE WORLD'S A STAGE...and too many more to remember.
Some were not so good, like: THE VERMIN OF ELSINORE (sounds like somebody played too much D&D).
It's less than a month from release and what on earth could this thing be called. Well, I'm pleased to announce that my brain baby will not succumb to lazy names like BONIVIA or CIALIS or LEMONJELLO. At present, we're 99.9999% sure it will be NAKED METAMORPHOSIS. Your thoughts?
Mark your calendars - it's coming...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Zombie Cat Puppet Contest!

Okay, kids! I've seen some wild promos, and I've seen some interesting book premises. However, I've seen nothing like this! Kevin Shamel has a book coming out that is sure to rock! I can't wait to get my grubby little hands on it.
He's doing a contest to win a signed copy, and I think you guys might be interested in it. Zombies, check! Cats, check! Puppets, double check! That's right!
Check out his sight at And pick up ROTTEN LITTLE ANIMALS in October. Go ahead and pick up mine too!

Welcome to the Twisted Team

You know you wanna join! Peer pressure, peer pressure, do it, do it! Yup, it's just like high school, right? You wanted to be one of the cool kids, didn't you?
Of course, we all grew up and figured out the cool kids ended up being the imbeciles who make life miserable every single day. It was never about being cool or uncool. It was about being yourself! Outcasts? Pshaw! Who's laughing now?

It's time, kids, to recruit up. I'm recruiting a Twisted Team (a little lame in the moniker department, but it is a recession and all I could afford was alliteration), who will help spread the Gospel According to me, which in turn is the Gospel According to you. (You'll realize soon enough, that writers, in some respects, are a little like gods. Be glad I'm not asking you to worship me, though that is optional.) The Twisted Team is my first offensive move to boost numbers of copies sold and guarantee that I can keep spinning yarns for you to read, for your kids to read, for their kids to read, and then for those silly Elois and Morlocks to burn - all god things must come to an end.

There's no pay, sadly, but there's a lot of perks. One, I'm dependent upon your feedback - you suggest it, chances are I'll try it out. You want a booksigning in your town? Let me know.
Two, you never know when I'm going to have goodies...and you like shiny goodies, don't you?

I guess the words of Randy Jackson of American Idol fame, I'm beggin' you to help a brotha out!

I'm not above shameless promotion.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Actual Excerpt and a little about Kevin Shamel

Okay, gang...sorry, I meant to post this yesterday but was having a few problemos! Here's an excerpt from the first few pages. Enjoy...and talk amongst yourself.
Oh! And another title to pay attention to: Rotten Little Animals by Kevin Shamel. It comes out the same time. Rotten Little Animals is about a little boy captured by animals (cats, dogs, squirrels...zombie cats) and terrorized - with terrorist style videos, etc. You can find information at Kevin's
Till we meet again...


In the beginning there was…
…wait a sec! The god was surprised. This wasn’t the way it was supposed to go. There should be nothingness, a blank slab that would allow him to indulge in his creativity. Yet here he was, and here too were characters, animals, sweeping landscapes, and everything seemed drenched in epic proportions.
“Well shit,” said the god, blushing. It was no big deal to use colorful vernacular when you were speaking into the void. When there were already creations wandering the world it was considered unprofessional for a deity to use such language. You channeled that sort of behavior into the characters below, and filled them with guilt about it referring to them as sinners. “I suppose I’ll have to make do with what’s been handed to me.”
Disappointed as he was, he took the blow like a god should—never questioning, never complaining, and never thinking twice before acting.
He surveyed the world playing out beneath him. “Well, this is just tragic,” he said. Then he went to work.


There were hiding places and then there were hiding places. Sure there wasn’t much difference on the surface. The difference lay in the inflection. Thank gods for inflection.
Hiding places were the nooks and crannies that angsty teens oft hide themselves while looking at a naughty picture or succumbing to the whims of peer pressure. Hiding places were brought out of a little more desperation. A fugitive on the lam seeks the carcass of an expired deer to use as a hiding place. Or, a small Jewish girl who is forced to push her entire family into nothing more than a closet to hide from knot-zees—now that’s a hiding place. I wasn’t sure why the thought of goose-stepping knot-zees popped into my head. Horrible vision, that.
I’d chosen to hide the prince in a hiding place. After all, if you were looking to hide a member of the royal family (and perhaps a known fugitive) you needed a hiding place. A regular hiding place just wouldn’t do. Royals were always hiding dark secrets in any convenient nook or cranny in the castle. Lots of skeletons in the closets.
I’d chosen the barn because it was the last place anybody would seek out a prince. Princes had standards to uphold. It got worse the more princes there were. While the King may have stooped to being seen in such a rat hole, the Prince was forced to be far superior to his predecessor. And on, and on, and on.
The barn was perfect.
It was a shoddy little building that appeared to be put together by an individual of mental deficits. The building may have been a sturdy structure at one point, but now it was nothing more than a wooden skeleton. The breeze that blew over the countryside forced the barn to sway and creak, each creak sounding like a suicidal cry for help.
I composed myself. The Prince was…well, he was…needy. The fact that he was my college roommate aside, the Prince had changed into something…different. He’d treated me as nothing more than cow dung as I succumbed to his bidding. There was the belligerence in his mood. There was the abuse, both physical and verbal, that I’d never seen exhibited by my good prince. And of course, there was the over indulgence in drugs that had eaten craters throughout his brain.
The newest development—and the most disturbing by far—was that my lord, Prince Hamlet of Elsinore, had claimed he was turning into a cockroach. Metaphorically, yes, he was becoming an absolute vermin. But the prince meant the claim literally.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Excerpt of the New Book

Okay, kids,

So here's a little gift for you - the cover art for the new book. I hope you like it. It's a lot of humor, a lot of highbrow literary commentary, and a long journey. Basically, it Hamlet as if it was told by Shakespeare, then told by Franz Kafka, then told by William S. Burroughs, then told by George W. Bush.

Okay, is your mind about to explode? Good!

No, seriously. It took a lot of work. I think I got the style and thematic elements. Remember, it comes out October 20th, and I want you all to order it, review it on - all of are essential - and recommend it. Read it on the Light Rail, the subway, in the cab. Get it out there!

Welcome to My World!

Great! You've found the website! That's step one, so I can assume that you're not one of the moronic few, wandering about the Earth's surface contributing to stress-related illness. Thank you for that.

Well, this is a getting to know you session, right? You're getting to know me, and I'm doing the same. Since I don't know you yet, the responsibility is all on me. So here it goes:

  1. I'm a Gemini.

  2. I'm really into zombies and think they would make the world a happier place. I also think that sex with a zombie is NOT necrophilia, but sex with a vampire is. Geeks, talk amongst yourself.

  3. I think George Lucas should just stop.

  4. I hate reality TV and think it's going to ruin society (random exception: "Who Wants to Be a Superhero", 'cause that shit's just funny).

  5. I can tell you the stormtrooper number that Han Solo took over in Episode 4.

  6. I'm an author of bizarro fiction, new book upcoming.

  7. I'm a HUGE dork - see points 3 and 5.

  8. I'll kick your ass at Trivial Pursuit.

  9. I'm not above begging for you to buy my books. Please buy them, but go one step beyond - recommend them, start a bookclub and make your members purchase them, write to me and tell me how much you loved them, and finally, they make lovely holiday gifts.

  10. I have a thing for jackalopes.

Okay, so that's a little about me. What about you? You definitely are on the verge of something awesome. Me, of course. Talk to me. Tell me what you want from this web presence.