Friday, April 23, 2010

Naked Metamorphosis v. Carnageland

It's International Shakespeare Day, kids, and that means it's a chance to outsell the Bard and make him look completely foolish.  You dig?  I've included some ways that you can help with this on the previous post.  So, knock yourself out.  However, I also agreed to post an epic Shakespearean crossover.  Mr. David Barbee's character creations, from his book "Carnageland", have made their way into the warped universe of my Hamlet.  What gives?  Well, if you've been following the bracket you know there's going to be some ass-kicking.  And, here's round one.  Enjoy.

There's accompanying artwork by Mr. David Barbee - if you saw the poster, then you know it's pretty righteous.  And anyone that purchases a copy of "Naked Metamorphosis" AND "Carnageland" today, will win an autographed, original print.  Email me when you stroll over to, and I'll take care of you.

Osric v. Garry Snotter
Wizch’s are interesting creatures. Even those that are not so established, like Garry Snotter, are interesting. Their power is oft sketchy and errant. So, to see the student go head-to-head with poor, squirrelly Osric odds were it wasn’t going to end well for the put-upon courtier of Elsinore. Even as the two met head-to-head, visions of spontaneous combustion flashed in Osric’s skull. Surely, the Danish countryside would run red with his own entrails.

“You’re no match for me,” spat Garry Snotter.

“I do believe that you’re quite right, my lord,” remarked Osric. “Now that the outcome’s been established, the debate quite quelled, would there be anything I can do for you? I’m quite good at fetching things.”

“Fetch? Like a ball?”

“Or a warm cup of tea, perhaps. I’ve also been known to be perfectly adept at drawing the perfect bath. It’s all a matter of balancing the proper amount of warm water and the –“

Garry interrupted Osric. “A warm cup of tea would be delightful. Perhaps with a bit of honey?”

“Indeed. I shall fetch it for you presently, sir.”

And without nary a protest, Osric sped off to fetch the beverage for the young wizch student. The tea was followed by the fetching of fleece blanket, which was followed by the fetching of a pen and paper. After Garry was quite satisfied he tested Osric’s bath drawing skills and found them to be spot on.

Garry’d never had a friend, much less a person so eager to wait on him hand and foot, so the duel never went further than the exchanging of mild threats. After all, Osric had conceded that Garry Snotter would win. Thus, the most anticlimactic of challenges came to a close.
Wizch Headmaster v. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
The Wizch Headmaster would have been content to smear a courtier’s brains on the wall. Alas, he was not facing a mere courtier who’s ambitions lay solely with serving others. No, the Wizch Headmaster was facing Rosen Crantz and Guilden Stern, college friends of Prince Hamlet. And they were known to be ninjas.

A blast of power rose from the headmaster and the two ninjas leapt away from each other. Sizing up the Wizch Headmaster was difficult. Neither Rosen nor Guilden had faced a threat quite as unique as this. Hell, neither Rosen nor Guilden were ninjas. The costumes were a silly byproduct of Gertrude and Claudius’ silly royal shenanigans. “Quake with fear, they will, when they see ninjas,” Claudius had said. “It won’t matter if you can’t actually do ninja things.”

And now death loomed over them.

Another burst of power, this one slamming into Rosen, escaped from the headmaster’s hands. Guilden raced to his partner, shedding his head wrap in the process. Rosen winced in agony, but seemed to be somewhat clinging to the world of the living.

“Guilden,” Rosen wheezed.

“You bastard,” said Guilden, turning his gaze towards the headmaster. “Have you no heart?” The “ninja” leaned over and kissed his partner.

The headmaster was preparing another decisive blow, since both were together at the same time. The sight, however, of the two lovers took the wizch by surprise and he averted his gaze, offering them a slight bit of privacy. Wizch’s, though, are interesting creatures, as is well established. The power was already surging, and as the headmaster covered his eyes, the blast of energy smashed into his head and melted his face.

898 v. Polonius
Meanwhile, back at Elsinore…
Polonius paced the war room, muttering to the warlord council.

“Wah! This is utterly preposterous, men. That fool of a King should be drawn and quartered, wah. Declaring a war on terrors is a waste. We’ve more pressing issues at hand. Norway is on the rise. And now, we’re bombarded with this Inpire, Inc, business. What sort of people are these? They cannot even spell Empire!”

As if on command, the doors to the war room exploded raining splintered wood and chunks of steel onto the council. Polonius threw himself to the floor, just dodging an oncoming hinge. The hinge pinged off a table and flew into the skull of a geriatric warlord.

When it was all over and his ears had stopped ringing, Polonius stood and examined the scene. Four warlords were slumped in their chairs, chunks of metal and oak sticking out of their faces like they were porcupines. The other warlords – men who, in their youth, had stormed the battlefields like gods – cowered beneath the council table.

One, speaking with a voice that should belong to a mummy, were mummies capable of speech, said: “Mayhaps we should reconsider this war on terrors.”

“Wah,” said Polonius, but it was devoid of anger and filled with curiosity.

898 walked in the war room, Doomshooter in hand.

“Wah! Your insolence to this kingdom shall be revisited on you…”

Whatever threat Polonius was busting a vessel to say died in his mouth. An exploding head tends to have that sort of effect.

Cries of fear and agony emerged from beneath the table as the warlords found themselves covered in gore, courtesy of their leader. Many began screaming for their lives. But nobody moved an inch; they were paralyzed in terror.

Invader 898 kicked stray chairs and leapt onto tabletops. He took aim and fired the Doomshooter at the warlord council. One by one the elderly “brains” of Elsinore’s government were reduced to…well, brains. And brain matter.

Ophelia v. Green Wizch
Ophelia, unaware of her father’s demise (which should have been at the hands of Hamlet, rather than a green alien from Inpire, Inc. Had she even known this, her simplistic brain would not have been able to process it. What was happening to Denmark at present was nothing more than a recycling, as it were. It’s what happened when David Barbee, author, tried to re-tell what had already been retold by William S. Burroughs, and retold prior by Franz Kafka, and retold prior by William Shakespeare. Ophelia was better not knowing), was rambling on about “taters”, as she did. She was so focused that she’d not heard the Green Wizch.

“Child, make thee ready for Death’s welcoming embrace,” said the Green Wizch.

That got her attention. She turned and asked, “Do you have a tater?”

“I’m in no position to grant final requests. But, were I able, I do not know what a tater is.”

“I want a tater!”

“I am unfamiliar with this slang word. Now, prepare for your demise.”

Sometimes it’s jokingly referred to as “retard strength”, which is horrendously offensive. That said, Ophelia, so overwhelmed with the need for a tater, unleashed her retard strength at the Green Wizch. In her simplistic mind, if the Green Wizch was incapable of providing her with her heart’s desire, then it was no more than an obstacle that needed to be removed.

The Green Wizch had not seen the blow coming. Fists of fury went through the wizch and within seconds his existence flickered into nothing. His final thought: “I wonder if she means potato?”

Alfred v. Ninjerbread Man
David Barbee’s attempt at perfecting “Hamlet”, even better than Kafka and Burroughs, had gone widely astray. That’s probably why actor Alfred found himself still playing the Prince of Denmark, even though the story had come to an end. “Whatever,” he said to himself, “I’m still being paid for my services.”

He was reminiscing about working with the Courtyard Players when a man, a man made of cookie bits, came across the path he was watching.

“What gives? You’re rather odd, aren’t you?”

The cookie man said nothing.

“I can see your manners are as lacking as your voice, knave! Perhaps a good slap, one you may offer an ignorant bitch, will revive your words.” Alfred slapped the cookie man across his face. It was a fey slap, as Alfred was known for, but it still bore a bite.

The cookie man remained quiet.

“Please step thee from the path, fiend. I’ve pressing business to tend and you’re holding me up.”

The cookie man still said nothing.

“Verily then shall I destroy thee,” Alfred said, sure to keep the flowery performance. “For I am Prince Hamlet of Denmark and you are nothing more than a scurveous, onion-eyed scut, you are! Avast!”

Alfred drew his rapier and let the tip tickle the cookie man.

“Surely you would pleasure me with your name before I allow maggots to feast on your soul.”

The cookie man looked up and said, “I’m the Ninjerbread Man.” The look that followed was enough to send a shiver of dread right down Alfred’s spine.

Alfred was a lover, an actor, and a self-indulged fop – these were things at which he excelled. What he did not excel at was combat (save for the stage, of course). It only took seconds, if that. Perhaps it was nanoseconds. When it was all said and done, Alfred lay broken, literally, in seventeen pieces. The Ninjerbread Man placed a single gum drop atop each the pieces and walked off into the countryside, seeking his next victim.

Pirate Captain v. Gertrude
Story Intercepted:
“I’m not one to beg, as I find it loathsome and unbecoming a lady so such stature, but I must beg you to excuse this interruption. Behind the outer imagery of a functioning kingdom, there are layers of intricate comings and goings. Ignorance, they say, is bliss, and I could not agree more. You’d not wish to know all the ingredients of your favorite sausage, I assure you, so you never think to question. You just eat, enjoy, digest, and send it back to the earth with nary a thought.

This is the same for the royals.
The kingdom is at war, my people, and it’s not important to question the specifics. What is decidedly important is that you place your trust in the decision makers as we embark on this tumultuous time.

I could offer you specifics about my – and my husband’s, of course – encounter with a Pirate Captain lothario, but the details are not important. Nor does a lady speak in rumors and gossip. Rest assured, though, that this individual threat has been dealt with immediately.

That said, it is my responsibility to inform you that your leader, King Claudius, has perished in a most retched fashion, but I shall spare you the details. Early in the day, too, our esteemed leader of the warlord council suffered an accident. That man just lost his head, as it were. It is my responsibility to lead you, Denmark. And lead you I shall.

I’ll offer no other specifics, but for those that sling the rumors that I’m an ice queen and vicious bitch, well, rest assured there is truth to those things. I’m adept at protecting myself and seizing an opportunity.”

Queen Gertrude
Puck v. Se7en Dwarves
The hobgoblin was hurtling through space and time, his watch gibbering and jabbering all the way.

“Hell’s bells,” he said, as the space-time-continuum spit him onto the landscape.

He jumped up and surveyed his surroundings. It was odd, really. According to the chirping of his watch, he was supposed to be answering a prayer. Oddly, though, there was not a bended knee to be found. Time travel is tricky business to be sure, but usually the odds were in his favor.

“Um, hello,” Puck tried.

“Um, hello,” someone or something echoed.

“Oh, I see we’re trying to prank a prankster,” Puck said. “Well, get ready for the fun, ‘cause it’s about to get right vicious.”

“So you say,” the voice said again. This time Puck could hear it. It wasn’t a voice. It was voices. Seven to be exact.

“What has seven voices and doesn’t want to be seen? Sticks and stones, kids. Come on out so that we can get on with this. I’ve prayers to answer and hogs to feed. Plus, I’ve got a lovely faerie waiting, so if we can get this going, I’d appreciate it.”

There was a silence for a spell, then the voices returned. “You cannot see us, but we see you. We have the advantage here. We are nothing, as far as you’re concerned.”

“Finally,” said Puck. “Thank the gods for that. I was starting to worry.”

The hobgoblin snapped his fingers and the countryside grew quiet. The se7en dwarves that were lurking out of sight only moments before were no more. Well, it dealing with time-travelling hobgoblins is a tricky sort of task. It wasn’t that they were no more. It was that they never were. They’d said they were nothing, and Puck had made it so.

Miles and miles away in a different world, author David W. Barbee’s brain buzzed like a bug lamp. He was writing something about dwarves and then the words just left him. He slapped his dome a few times, doodled a bit, but the tangent never came. It was in that moment that Barbee decided he should smoke less pot. Yeah, and pigs can fly.
Hamlet v. Red Riding Hood
“They’re demons, Horatio! You cannot see them, but they pester me so. Open your eyes you damn fool.”

“Yes,” said Horatio. “Demons, indeed. Vicious buggers, I’d wager.”

“You’d wager correct, sir!” Hamlet swung the sword viciously through the air, sending the blade into an imaginary imp. The blade slammed into the brick and mortar of an Elsinore courtyard with a clang. “Of all the damnable…Horatio! Bring your ass here this moment. They’ve gotten craftier.”

“I’d say, my lord,” said Horatio, the mildest hint at bemusement in his voice. “First the cockroach business and now this. I must find this god Kafka that you have spoken of.”

Hamlet struggled with an invisible beast. “If we stop the demons perhaps we can stop the metamorphosis, Horatio. Please help me,” he grunted as he pushed the mirage away and swung the blade through the air. “Oh, and the god’s not named Kafka any longer.”

“Beg pardon?”

“No time for pardon begging, chap! Fiends are about. We must thwart them.”

“That’s all very good, my lord, but what is this about the god.”

“Oh, that. He’s no longer Kafka.”

“The hell you say, prince.”

“The hell I do. He’s Barbee now.”

Horatio bitch-slapped an imaginary demon and grabbed Hamlet by the collar. “There, the demons gone. You’ve been snorting stuff again, haven’t you?”

Hamlet shrugged.

“Dammit all to hell, my lord. You must stop this nonsense. Tell me, as you did about Kafka, do you converse with this Barbee?”

“Aye, Horatio. I’ve known him well. Not only is it inevitable that I’ll turn into a cockroach, but I’m doomed to have my face melted away by a being not of this world.”

“Oh, please. If you’re going to talk of fuckery, then I’ve nothing to do with you until you find yourself sober.”

“Watch out, Horatio!”

The Prince pushed his friend to the ground and thrust his blade through the air. Assuming it was at another hallucination, Horatio stood ready to lecture his college roommate. His finger was already pointed and a rant already formed. But when he arose the words dissipated. Hamlet held his sword, now a young lady was skewered on the end.

“I got one,” said the prince sheepishly.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

St. Cripin's, uh..."Naked Metamorphosis"Day

"And gentlemen in England well-read,
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here
And hold their manhood cheaps while any speaks
The fought upon Naked Metamorphosis Day!"

There's subtle debate aobut the context of the above translation, true.  Language was different in that time, and people read what they want to read.  Regardless, St. Crispin's Day is a day when people are known to get naked and groovy and attempt transmogrification.  So, why the hell not use this, eh?  Y'know I never realized that "hold their manhood" part of this classic speech prior.  Henry V has a whole new meaning to me.
As you can tell, Shakespeare was onto something.  And he gets a cut from me, 'cause he's sort of a character in the book "Naked Metamorphosis".  And I bastardized some of his characters, it's true.  And that bastard's been leaving notes all around the place.  Look above to see what he left with my blocks!  But he still shows support like no other and he's issued, from beyond the grave mind you (there's always a bleeding ghost), a "smack down".  Granted he calls it a "gentlemen's game" to sound flowery, but I know that it's a smack down.  I can read between the lines.
"A gentlemen's game, a wager of fate," said the Bard.  "To best the master of the written word, the good man shall proffer from his text and make mine own 'The Tragedy of Hamlet' wilt as doth the tulip in winter."
I told Shakes that write in prose.  "Suck it," was my retort.
So the challenge holds.  We're going to outsell the Bard himself.  He's no longer a part of the living, but his ghost still lurks.  I want that ghost to feel right foolish at my success.
Tomorrow I'll feature a few vignettes from the Carnageland/Naked Metamorphosis crossover.  Until then, in the words of Roger Rabbit, "Help me, pppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppplease!

April 23rd is International Shakespeare Day. Here's what you can do:
  • Tell your local Shakespeare Company about the book;
  • Purchase a copy of "Naked Metamorphosis" from Amazon.
  • If you've purchased a copy of the book, post a review at Amazon.
  • Request that your local library carry this book (annoy them until they have no choice).
  • Post this blog post on your wall
  • Tell your facebook friends to do you a favor and purchase your friends book.
There's really all kinds of craziness happening, fine folks.  There's no telling what's going to happen.  But if Jordan Krall can outsell Louis L'amour, I've no doubt that the Fates will allow me to best Shakespeare at his own game.

See you all tomorrow,

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, versus Aliens from Outer Space

CLICK THE PICTURE TO ENLARGE. It's totally worth it...especially to see Polonius as Dick Cheney!

In the 60's and 70's crossovers were all the rage in popculture. The Harlem Globetrotters, The Addams Family and numerous others were always making cameos on "Scooby Doo". Likewise, many series employed the crossover to garner ratings. So, it's not really all that original, but it worked then and a couple of authors feel it can work now.
In "Naked Metamorphosis", I tried to imagine Shakespeare's "Hamlet" if it were retold by Franz Kafka, and then that version was toyed with by William S. Burroughs. Thus far, I've been told it worked to hilarious ends.
In "Carnageland", David Barbee indulged in his juvenile, gaming, A-D-D antics and told the tale of an alien set on destroying everything in its path.
Initially I thought there was no way to merge these two into an alternate tale. Little did I know, author David Barbee had a few tricks up his sleeve. In order to achieve this vision, David Barbee took the Hamlet retold by two authors and added his own touches. Well, shit, I thought. Now what have I gotten into?
David Barbee and I decided to use this bizarro set-up as a little experiment. Okay, I conceded, let's do it and see what happens.
April 23rd is Shakespeare Day - it's the day that commemorates William Shakespeare's death. To that end, I'm trying to outsell Hamlet on that day. So, buy a copy, will ya? And while you're there, you should probably try to snag a copy of "Carnageland" so you'll at least have an inkling at what sort of insanity you're getting yourself into.
I posted a bracket here a week back where Barbee's characters are pitted against Shakespeare's characters. And, I've even devised a little story that sort of merges these two tales. It works, hopefully, to hilarious ends once again. I mean, just look at the original artwork above for these two! God, this could actually be good.
On April 23rd check back to find out the first round winners! There are surprises aplenty. Trust me.


The Author Speaks Series is Moving

Sorry, gang. But as of today, the Author Speaks is housed at a new locale - I'd appreciate it if everyone became a follower there. I want to cultivate this site more for the promotions of my books, my quirky rants, and my outlet to explore new fiction.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Author Speaks: Jordan Krall

There are authors that are capable of juggling so many different styles and coming out of each smelling like roses and there are some authors that just plain suck at it. Elmore Leonard writes westerns and hard crime mysteries, both in a seemingly appropriate voice. He’s even dabbled in merging those two somewhere in between (“The Hot Kid” is a good example of this). For a long time Stephen King has ventured from hard horror into the dramatic and back. Some of the failures, however, would be James Patterson and Michael Crichton (sorry, Mikie, I know you’re flying with angels [or suspended in a cloud of nanobites] but your pirate novel sucked).

When I first read “Piecemeal June” by Jordan Krall, I thought I’d found an author with a truly unique voice. I’d no idea how unique. “Piecemeal June” is a tale that dabbles in a macabre world where a man, living above an adult novelty store, assembles a living, breathing sex doll. The concept, I felt, was a little reaching and the story is definitely in the crags and caverns of bizarro. But, the concept alone was what interested me; the story and the writing are what captured me.

Shortly after, “Squid Pulp Blues” was released by Eraserhead Press. I’m famously pro-novel, anti-novella, so I was elated to see that “Squid Pulp Blues” was a full length collection (3-novellas all set in the same seedy world). Upon examining the cover of the new Jordan Krall book – that sinister looking squid-man holding a gun and trying to pass itself off as Bogie in a Raymond Chandler story – I was salivating at enjoying another horror tale. What I got was a gritty crime tale (ala Elmore Leonard) and I was not in the least disappointed. In fact, I was blown away and thought that this book was infinitely better than “Piecemeal June”.

In “Fistful of Feet”, Jordan tackles the Spaghetti Western genre and, once again, rises to the challenge. His knowledge of the styles he chooses to write in are well learned. Jordan Krall is also an amazing author to read, as you can truly see the evolution of a literary talent. Now, he's working to get "Fistful of Feet" to be the #1 bestselling western of all time!

I’ve spoken to Jordan on a few occasions and there’s always a consistency: Jordan will talk about a wide variety of subjects that are near and dear to him. There aren’t too many authors who can shift gears from Will Smith the “actor” to flying underwear and tie it all into the mythology of the Karate Kid with ease.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jordan Krall this week, in celebration of his “Bizarro Spaghetti Dinner” on April 16th, 2010. Find out more about that here:

Eric Mays: Jordan, I'm going to get to the important questions first and foremost. You seem to have a thing for squid - not just in "Squid Pulp Blues", but also in "Fistful of Feet" and "Piecemeal June". Why squid? Do you enjoy fresh calamari or loathe it? Did you have a childhood experience? Is it part of your sideshow act?

Jordan Krall: I’m not sure where it started. The first appearance of my obsession with squid is in my novella KING SCRATCH which was written before any of my other books but will be published this summer. I actually dislike seafood and have a strong aversion to even the smell of it. But it’s a love/hate thing because I’m fascinated by sea life especially squid and spider crabs. And in a way, I want to like seafood.. if that makes any sense at all.

EM: "Fistful of Feet" pays homage to the Spaghetti Western and Giallo films. What compelled you to write a novel playing by the rules of these genres?

JK: With Fistful of Feet, I played by the rules but I wasn’t too conscious of it. A lot of it just came naturally. Anyone who knows me even a little bit knows I love movies and those are two of my favorite genres. There’s just something about the Spaghetti Western that’s special. I think part of the reason why I’m attracted to them is because it reminds me of my grandfather. Giallo movies are just so cool, many being sleazy murder mysteries. That’s what a lot of the American slasher movies are missing: a good mystery. But it’s more than just that. Just think of the cool seventies music, the black leather gloves, the razors, the red herrings.

EM: Was it hard incorporating these two together?

JK: Not really because in my mind, those seem so compatible. It also helps that my favorite films from those genres came from the same country and approximate time period. All of those genre devices are already in my head anyway. You don’t even want to know how often I think about killers in black gloves.

EM: Your main character is Calamaro, from New Jersey. Stephen King once said that he pictured his gunslinger, Roland, as Clint Eastwood. Who were you channeling when you designed Calamaro?

JK: I actually didn’t picture him as any real person. I believe that if I did that, I might have him start acting like that actor instead of my own creation. I did pattern some of his personality after various tough-guy characters but it wasn’t a major aspect of my writing Calamaro. He was his own man, so to speak.

EM: I know that you're a bit of a film buff. When most people think of Spaghetti Westerns they gravitate towards early Clint Eastwood and Sergio Leone's work. What are some of your favorites within the genre? I'm assuming "Django" is there.

JK: Oh yeah, the Sergio Leone films and “Django” are obvious favorites. Other than that: The Big Gundown, Sabata, the Sartana films, Cut Throats Nine, Death Rides a Horse, and Companeros.

EM: Does the western genre still garner the interest it used to?

JK: No. If you just look at the late 1950s through the late 1960s, Westerns were more popular than vampire novels are now. There were dozens of western shows, hundreds of movies (not even counting the ones coming out of Europe), and novels. Now, there are western movies here and there but not the deluge that appeared decades ago. Personally, I love old westerns. But the last good western was “Open Range” with Kevin Costner. Not as good as Eastwood’s “Unforgiven”, but it was definitely a breath of fresh air.

EM: What are some of your other influential favorite films?

JK: How long do you want this interview to be? (haha!) Let’s see. Other than Spaghetti Westerns and Giallo….Halloween III: Season of the Witch, Lost Highway, scores of Charles Bronson movies but especially Mr. Majestyk, Pulp Fiction, Suspiria, Road to Perdition, Hardcore (with George C. Scott), Rolling Thunder, Blast of Silence, The Asphalt Jungle, Killer’s Kiss, Flaming Creatures, Messiah of Evil, Eraserhead, Hitchcock films, Last Man on Earth, Gleaming the Cube, The Holy Mountain, Videodrome, lots of film noir flicks, films by Andy Milligan, and every single film starring Ginger Rogers.

EM: I’ve heard that you're a fan of "Karate Kid". Which is the best of the movies?

JK: “Karate Kid Part 3”. Don’t scoff. It’s an over-the-top film that is bound to be a cult classic in twenty or thirty years. It pretty much has the same formula as the first but it trumps it by the brilliant performance by Thomas Ian Griffith as Terry Silver, president of Dynatox Industries. Griffith is simply awesome in that role. The dialogue is quotable beyond belief (much of it coming from Griffith’s character). And let’s be clear: there are only THREE Karate Kid movies and they all star Ralph Macchio.

EM: Are you looking forward to the reboot?

JK: In the words of “actor” Will Smith: “Aww, hell no”. Will Smith is pissing on the grave of Pat Morita. What a self-indulgent piece of masturbatory “cinema” it is. Casting your own son as the underdog who triumphs over bullies? Transparent beyond belief, trying to make his son an icon like Daniel Laruso. Give me a break. Don’t destroy a fucking classic in the process of trying to make your son successful. I’ll probably see the movie, though, tomatoes in hand. Of course, I’m not above swallowing my words. If it’s good, I’ll say so. However, it will never compare to the original KK trilogy. (again: note I said TRILOGY).

EM: Getting back to your writing…do you think "Fistful of Feet" will serve one day as a cautionary tale against unprotected sex and sexually transmitted diseases?

JK: I thought of it more as a “How-To” guide.

EM: You've mentioned before that you're a pretty big fan of Elmore Leonard. I can definitely see some influences of that in both "Squid Pulp Blues" and "Fistful of Feet". So, Elmore the western writer or Elmore the crime hound?

JK: Leonard’s crime fiction is my favorite. His westerns are good but you can tell he’s more comfortable writing about modern scumbags.

EM: “Piecemeal June” felt a little more horror than the last two books you've written. Are you a fan of the horror genre?

JK: Yeah, there was a good chance that I would’ve been a horror novelist if I didn’t decide to indulge my interest in weird/bizarro fiction. Horror has always been the genre I gravitate to ever since I was a kid.

EM: Any plans on returning to the genre of "things bumping (and grinding) in the night"?

JK: Yeah, I’m actually in the process of writing two hardcore horror novellas but they will definitely have a bizarro slant to them.

EM: Boxers or briefs, Jordan? And yes, you're welcome for the non-sequitar.

JK: Briefs. Though for a long time I wore boxers. But before that, briefs. And when I was in fourth grade I had a dream about flying underwear.

EM: In the back of "Fistful of Feet" you reference your wife, your stepdaughter, and your son. It's got to be crazy juggling writing, your day job, and the family life! How do you do it?

JK: It’s difficult and I’m sure I don’t write as much as my peers. Even though I wish to be successful in my writing, I have no intention of neglecting my family in order to do it especially my son who’s only 21 months old. I want to spend as much time with him as I can. That’s my number one priority. Everything else, including writing, comes after.

EM: What advice would you offer to aspiring writers who are caught in the tendrils of everyday life?

JK: Don’t let life overwhelm you… just use some of that craziness for inspiration. Don’t be lazy. Don’t try to romanticize writing and wait for so-called inspiration. Please allow me to give you a real world example of what I mean. I was talking to this aspiring writer a few years ago. He was able to write full time because his girlfriend made a lot of money. Sounds like a great set-up, right? No, because he refused to make himself write everyday. He said he couldn’t push himself and that he needed to wait to be inspired. So what did he do instead? He played video games. That’s a fucking waste. I’d love to not be able to work a day job so I could write. But there it is, a guy like that waiting around for some fucking act of god to make him a good writer. And what is he doing now? Nothing. He’s no further into his writing “career” than he was two years ago. Anyway, getting past that rant, more advice: write whenever you can even if it’s just a fragment of a story. Read a lot and not only in the genre you want to write in. Look at the authors you like to read and find out WHY you like to read them. Then try to mimic some of it. And lastly, don’t just write to entertain yourself. You have to think of the reader, too. I don’t care how much fun you had writing it, if it bores the reader, they’re going to chuck it in the trash and then never buy a book from you again.

EM: What's up next for you? More squid?

JK: Ha, yeah. Squid-spaghetti tacos all around. But as for books...I got KING SCRATCH coming out from Black Rainbows Press. Also, a nonfiction book about movies coming from Bucket O’ Guts Press. And then TENTACLE DEATH TRIP will be published by Eraserhead Press this fall. This book will be fucking awesome. It’s Death Race 2000 meets the Cthulhu mythos … grindhouse style.

EM: I heard that you’re throwing a spaghetti dinner online? What? I’ve heard that this “Bizarro Spaghetti Dinner” is a festival all about you! Isn’t this just the foundation for a cult?

JK: Being a cult leader has always been my dream and what better way to lure people in than with spaghetti? Actually, it was inspired by author Kevin Shamel's similar promotion for his book Rotten Little Animals. Basically it's a day to get the word out on my novel “Fistful of Feet” and celebrate it's Spaghetti Western-ess.

EM: And this “event” is taking place on April 16th, right? What do you want from people on April 16th? Why?

JK: I'd like people to spread the word on “Fistful of Feet”. Tell your friends on Facebook, Twitter, My Space, etc. If you haven't bought the book, buy it April 16th so my Amazon ranking can go up. If it does, Amazon will see what a hot book it is and it'll take over. If it takes over, the rest of the bizarro authors will get exposure as well. If you already have Fistful of Feet, consider buying a copy for a friend or for your local library. I appreciate any and all help. I never forget a good deed. The reason why I'm doing this is to not only sell books (which will help pay bills...I'm not a rich man, you know) but also to spread bizarro. The success of one bizarro author can mean success for many others. Thanks to everyone in advance! And thank you for the interview, Eric!

EM: Thanks, Jordan!

Jordan Krall’s books are certainly worth a peek. You may look at one of them and see it priced at around $10, but I’ll tell you to pick them all up. Why? Well, as mentioned, Jordan writes in many different styles AND if you pick up all three you’ll get free shipping on all the books. And, really, what’s better than free?

Next week’s spotlight will shift, slightly, to the horror genre and Mr. David Agranoff. David’s the author of the upcoming horror novel “Hunting the Moon Tribe”. We’ll discuss the true nature of fear, examine Maoist ideals, and try to figure out why everyone is Kung fu fighting. Be back here for the interview on 4/22/2010.

Until then, pick up the books discussed here by using the links below:
“Fistful of Feet”:
“Squid Pulp Blues”:
”Piecemeal June”:
The KK Trilogy:
If you’re an author that would like to be a part of the Thursday Author Speaks Series, please email To read “Naked Metamorphosis” by Eric Mays, purchase at Amazon:

Friday, April 9, 2010

Jordan Krall: Author Spotlight

Despite the ridiculousness of this picture, it's a good representation of the level of dorkdom that Jordan Krall has achieved. This may come across as an insult, but it's certainly not at all. I've always said, if you're going to be a fanboy go all the way and avoid half-assing it. Jordan's definitely outdone himself.
In talking with Jordan Krall you get the sense that he loves looking at the world through twisted goggles. It's probably why he's jumped into the bizarro genre, and the genre has embraced him. But, what Jordan Krall likes are things that are not necessarily weird. Take for example Jordan's love of Elmore Leonard and gritty noir. Then examine his second book, a collection of novellas entitled "Squid Pulp Blues". SPB is a prime example of what Elmore Leonard (or even the great Raymond Chandler) would read like if it were shared by John Waters, David Lynch, and Dave Cronenberg. (I've taken to calling David Cronenberg "Dave". That's how we roll.)
Talking to him even further you'll uncover some other Jordan faves: Ginger Rogers, dark and visceral horror, post-apocalyptic movies, Italian giallo, Spaghetti westerns, and "space rape" (there's a story there, but I'll save it for another time). Examine his most recent book "Fistful of Feet" and you'll see that it is possible for a fanboy of the Spaghetti Western to twist that genre on its ear and create a very unique and original experience. Oh sure, the classic cliches are all there - the bad good guy with shady intentions, the whore with teh heart of gold, the roughneck Confederates, savage Indians, the works. But under that is an original tale that touches on such an array of subjects, you cannot compare it to anything you've ever experienced (exactly like SPB).
I guess I'm a Jordan Krall fanboy. Perhaps one day I'll write a Jordan Krall-inspired tale and twist it my own literary conventions. Who knows.
What I do know is this: Jordan should have more fans than he already does! I realize that people aren't reading as much as they once did. While this saddens me, it doesn't sadden me near as much as WHAT people are reading. Rather than looking for something truly original, I see people picking up the same tripe.
Most of you know that I'm always willing to recommend a good read. I try not to steer you the wrong way. I'm telling you, if you want something truly different, take a look at Jordan Krall's Squid Pulp Blues (for noir) or Fistful of Feet (for western). If you don't like either genre I'm sure you know someone who does and may like it. So, really, you've got no choice or reason not to.
On April 16th, 2010, we're honoring Jordan and trying to cultivate his garden of fans. For information you can visit his website at or visit me at facebook for information. Basically, we're having a cyber-party to promote Jordan and generate some new kick-ass fans. If you're not familiar with Jordan, then perhaps you should swing over to amazon and pick up a copy of two of his book.
Order a copy and acquaint yourself this Jordan's unique voice. While you're there, be sure to remember that orders that are over $25 ship for free! So, a certain book by yours truly, "Naked Metamorphosis", can round your order out (it needs some love too!).
Please join me on April 16th and honor a fellow writer, creator, and friend. And, have fun yourself.
Thanks, and drive-thru,
**keep your eyes peeled on all the festivities happening in the month of May(s). Details will be coming soon.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

April 23rd Carnageland Versus Naked Metamorphosis

April 23rd is coming. It’s a date that commemorates the death of William Shakespeare (a prominent figure in the Naked Metamorphosis). And, as some of you have seen on facebook, it’s the week before a major Mays launch in, well, the month of May(s). David “Carnageland” Barbee and myself are offering a little teaser. We’re matching wits (and universes) to bring you the UFC of Bizarro – Carnageland meets Naked Metamorphosis. Mark your calendars for round 1, which will feature stories and art from this epic tournament. Since tickets are sold out you’ll have to just wait. AND, you’ll have to pick up your copies of the respective books for tips on how to manage your bracket:


Naked Metamorphosis:

Until then – we (David and I) would love to hear your feedback…

Monday, April 5, 2010

Rotten Little Animals Day

This is from Kevin Shamel, author of "Rotten Little Animals", which is kind of like an E.B. White book gone horribly awry. It's like Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Smith got their hands on "Charlotte's Web" and did it their way. Anyway, author Shamel has launched an official holiday for his book. And why not? He can, after all.

This from

Hi! The following note is long. I understand that you may not want to read it all right away. So here’s the gist of it:
Everything is great with Rotten Little Animals
I’m halfway to my goal
I need your help
Thank you!

Dear Friends,
It’s been almost 6 months since the launch of my first book, ROTTEN LITTLE ANIMALS. Most likely, if you are reading this, you have been a friend or a fan in some way, so THANK YOU. I greatly appreciate all the support, help, reviews, sales, and all the amazing people I have met through this experience. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
In the past six months, I’ve worked hard to promote ROTTEN LITTLE ANIMALS, and it’s really been making a difference. So far, I’ve sold over 100 copies on, roughly 40 more on my own, and a number of copies at different conventions. In the past year, I’ve attended Crypticon, BizarroCon, OryCon, and RadCon. Even more exciting is that people are LOVING it. I’ve gotten over 30 reviews at Amazon and rave reviews on my Rotten Little Puppet Show when people see it.
You may already know this, but ROTTEN LITTLE ANIMALS was published by Eraserhead Press as part of their New Bizarro Author Series. This series gives more new authors a chance to be published. Eraserhead wants to see how dedicated the new authors are, and if they can write books that sell and then actively sell those books. In order to be considered for a five-book deal with Eraserhead, one of the qualifications is that I need to sell a MINIMUM of 200 copies of ROTTEN LITTLE ANIMALS on in one year to prove I’ve got what it takes. With the current state of the publishing industry, becoming a cult sensation online, and specifically at Amazon, is one of the best ways to establish myself as an author.
As you can see, we are almost halfway through the year and I am about halfway to my goal of selling 200 copies on
To kick off the second half of this year, I’m declaring April 5, 2010, ROTTEN LITTLE ANIMALS day. (No, I have absolutely no power to do this. I’m doing it anyway.) On April 5, 2010, ROTTEN LITTLE ANIMALS will be exactly 6 months old. With your help, I’d like to kick off the second half of the year in a big way, and hopefully easily and quickly make Eraserhead’s initial goal of 200 copies sold. You may ask, How can I help? If you do ask that, there are myriad ways that I’d greatly appreciate:
If you haven’t already, buy the book on or around April 5th on (If we can get a number of people purchasing it on the same day, the Amazon algorithms could help to push ROTTEN LITTLE ANIMALS on to be advertised more by Amazon.)
If you already have a copy of the book, do you have weird friend(s) who might also enjoy a copy? You could purchase it for them or talk them into it.
Invite your friends.
Share this note on Facebook, your blog, or anywhere.
Post a link to ROTTEN LITTLE ANIMALS on on your Facebook or Myspace page. Include a glowing review.
Review ROTTEN LITTLE ANIMALS on and post that review to your page.
Do you have your own blog? Include a review of ROTTEN LITTLE ANIMALS on your blog, including the link to
Do you have any contacts at radio shows, tv shows, or newspapers? I’d love to talk more about ROTTEN LITTLE ANIMALS and Bizarro in general in more venues. Hook me up.
Anything else you can think of to get the word out about my book is WIN!
Let me know what you’ve done so I can thank you personally.
It’s been a fabulous year of dreams coming true for me. Thank you so much for being here with me. But this is just the beginning. There’s still much to do in order for me to ensure my future as a professional author. I truly appreciate any and all help you can give.
Have great days,