Wednesday, December 11, 2019

20Q7A: An interview with A.S. Coomer

20 Questions, 7 Answers is an interview series for writers of genre fiction. Each author receives the same batch of 20 questions, but they may only answer 7.

This week's guest is A.S. Coomer.

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What's your latest book, and how does it differ from your previous work?

My most recent published book is The Devil’s Gospel (Wild Rose Press), a thriller set in the rolling hills of eastern Kentucky. This book delves into religious fanaticism and wayward parental expectations, which makes it somewhat similar to The Fetishists (Grindhouse Press) as they’re both subversive in nature. The Devil’s Gospel isn’t quite as extreme as The Fetishists is in its methods though.

I’ve got two new books coming out in the next two months. They’re both different from each other and from the things I’ve had published in the past. I’m deathly afraid of standing still. The Flock Unseen (Clare Songbirds Publishing House) is my first short story collection and these four stories are about the thin line separating hope and loss, a step away from horror & genre writing. My next novel, my fifth, is unlike anything I’ve written. Memorabilia (11:11 Press) is experimental and deals with meaning and meaninglessness and the act of creation. I focused intensely on the prose and the way it correlated with the protagonist’s corroding mental health.

Do you have any creative endeavors other than writing fiction (art, music, knitting)?

I do. I’m a musician as well as a writer. I write and play solo as A.S. Coomer and with my band The Coomers. The Coomers just released a six-song live EP Live at MotherBrain, which was recorded without overdubs in a barn in Evansville, Indiana on a rainy night last April. I also compose and record ambient instrumentals and tone pieces. I haven't released any of these just yet, but that day is coming. I’d like to get my foot in the door scoring films one of these days too.

I also make visual art when time permits. I like pen and ink drawing and oil painting.

Who or what is your favorite movie monster, and why?

Godzilla. Godzilla because Godzilla, though Vigo the Carpathian & Gozer the Gozerian are neck and neck for second place.

Do you listen to music when you write, and if so, what? Is it different than what you listen to when you're not writing?

I do listen to music when I write. The style of music depends on the project. Right now I’m working on something very dark and heavy so the music reflects this: lots of sludge and doom. For Memorabilia I listened to a lot of ambient and instrumental music: composers like William Basinski and bands like Hammock & Explosions in the Sky. The music I listen to when I write is not necessarily different from what I listen to when I'm not writing. I tend to gravitate to musics with less words when I write but this is not a hard and fast rule. I don't like rules for the most part.

If you could invent a new sport, what would it be like?

NASCAR but with hand and land grenades.

What was your greatest Halloween costume?

This year I got away with wearing a Batman onesie. The Coomers played a set at Flywheel Brewing in Elizabethtown, KY and it was probably the steamiest set we’ve played because of it.

What's your secret?

I have absolutely no clue what I’m doing in anything. Life is confusing and I’m out here just winging it. The more I look around the more I think I’m not the only one with this secret.

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A.S. Coomer is a writer, musician, and taco fanatic. A.S. was commissioned a Kentucky Colonel, the highest honor bestowed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky, for his literary and creative endeavors & contributions. Books include Shining the Light, The Fetishists, Misdeeds (forthcoming), Flirting with Disaster and Other Poems, The Devil's Gospel, The Flock Unseen (forthcoming), and Memorabilia. He runs Lost, Long Gone, Forgotten Records, a "record label" for poetry, and co-edits Cocklebur Press. He plays guitar and sings in The Coomers.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

20Q7A: An interview with Sam Richard

20 Questions, 7 Answers is an interview series for writers of genre fiction. Each author receives the same batch of 20 questions, but they may only answer 7.

This week's guest is Sam Richard.

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What's your latest book, and how does it differ from your previous work?

I have two latest books that are different in a multitude of ways. The first is my short-story collection, To Wallow in Ash & Other Sorrows, which came out mid-October through NihilismRevised. It differs from my previous work in that it is my first stand-alone book. It's 9 stories, 7 of which were written in the wake of my late wife's unexpected death in 2017. These stories are my grief, shock, and utter confusion as I tried to come to terms with what happened. It's weird and transgressive horror that simply drips with grief. It absolutely marks a change in my writing as the personal aspect is much more pronounced.

The second is The New Flesh: A Literary Tribute to David Cronenberg, of which I am both the publisher (through my own Weirdpunk Books) and co-editor (along with Brendan Vidito). This is a big change in several ways. I co-edited the first two Weirdpunk Books anthologies with Emma Alice Johnson, who also ran the press at that time. The third Weirdpunk Books anthology, Zombie Punks Fuck Off, while I edited it alone, was co-published with Clash books, as I had just taken over Weirdpunk and had no idea what I was doing, haha. With The New Flesh, this is the first Weirdpunk book that I had control of from start to finish and had my hands in every aspect of publishing the book. It is also the first time I've worked on a project with co-editor Brendan Vidito, who has been a close friend for several years and I had always wanted to do a project with. And finally, this is the first Weirdpunk Books anthology that isn't punk-forward. The aim of the press when Emma was running it was very much about having the punk element front and center. For me, I'm much more concerned with the diy punk ethos being the spirit in which the press operates, as opposed to needing to be the central focus. So that's kind of a big change. Barring issues with the proof copy, The New Flesh will be out the week of Halloween.

Do you have any creative endeavors other than writing fiction (art, music, knitting)?

In addition to writing, editing, and publishing, I also play guitar in 2 bands. The first is called Ash Eater and it is my excuse to be in a band with several of my close friends. We play weird, dark, heavy music that we are unable to fully classify. It's like a stew of crusty hardcore and sludge with occasional blackened vibes, grind passages, and catchy weirdo riffs. We've been playing occasional shows around Minneapolis and our demo should be out before the end of the year.

I also play in a band called Daoloth, which is black metal. This was a project that I was working on a number of years ago that got pushed to the back due to life stuff getting in the way. The drummer and I are just starting to get this up and going again with the goal of tightening up the old songs and finally getting them recorded. This is the musical project that will be the vehicle for my grief, as I've kept that aspect largely out of Ash Eater (aside from the name). As best as we can tell, this will likely remain a studio-only project.

Who or what is your favorite movie monster, and why?

This is one of the hardest questions I've ever been asked...

I'm a massive fan of werewolves, despite thinking they're nearly always done poorly. Something about a person reduced to nothing but primal prey-drive and fully rewilded is incredibly compelling to me, so I'm tempted to go with that, but I actually think my true answer is the Ghoulies. Small-creature horror is one of my all-time favorite genres - so much so that I'm currently shopping a novella I wrote in that vein -  and Ghoulies is probably my favorite entry. I guess that makes the actual answer simply, "demons," but Ghoulies are some kind of special demons. And, if I'm forced to get specific, Green Baby (the unofficial name of the small, bald, green Ghoulie that my friends and I use) is probably my favorite of the Ghoulies. So, I guess my answer is Green Baby. But no one would know what the fuck I was talking about if I just said my favorite movie monster was Green Baby.

What happens when you die?

I like how this question could be interpreted generally, like "What happens to us when we die," but is actually super-specific to the interviewee. What happens when I die is the world ends. And I don't mean that to be taken as some kind of ego thing. I think this is true for all of us.

What are your 3 favorite comic books (standalone novels or ongoing series) of all time?

Absolutely and without question, my number 1 is The Invisibles, Grant Morrison's master-work of surreal, conspiracy-laden, radical-politics filled, occult how-to-manual, post-modern art as comic-book. There's nothing like it. Number 2 is probably Alan Moore's Swamp Thing run. Holy fuck is that comic amazing. Poetic, beautiful, haunting. It's just a cut above everything from that era. Number 3 is harder to pin down. I love shit like Charles Burns' Black Hole, Hans Rickheit's Chloe, and Daniel Clowes' Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron so I really want to rep some of those weirder 'indie comics', but at the same time I'm pretty sure my 3rd pick is another classic Vertigo title with Peter Milligan's Shade: the Changing Man. This is a comic that not enough people have read and y'all need to get your shit together and check it out. I can't really even put it into words. It's just incredible. I know that there's a ton of rad stuff happening in comics these days (with much of it being written and drawn by a more diverse crowd than the same old 8 white British/Scottish/Irish dudes), but I'm just not as plugged into comics as I once was, so I'm leaning on old favorites.

What is your writing environment like? (Are you out in public or in seclusion? Is there noise? Is there coffee? Do you type on a laptop or write longhand on lined notebook paper?)

I tend to alternate between writing on my couch and writing at my desk. I generally need seclusion, though I can write if someone else is in the room also doing something quiet (like reading or drawing or also writing), so no coffee shop for me; though I will occasionally write at work on my lunch break. If at home, I tend to throw on music that's heavily atmospheric that has no vocals (CryoChamber mixes, The Haxan Cloak, Black Mountain Transmitter, horror scores) and I pour myself a bourbon and grab a beer. Most writing days, I sit and slowly chip away at the first hour or so, once I get past that my productivity tends to increase from there. I generally write on my laptop, though I occasionally scribble shit down on paper and then revise as I transcribe it.

What was your greatest Halloween costume?

One Halloween, a group of my friends and I all made masks like they wear in the original Wicker Man movie and went as a group of Summerisle people. That was a lot of fun. But I think the greatest costume I ever did was with my friend Glenn, who is the other guitar player in Ash Eater. One year, she and I each made costumes that looked like we were members of The Process Church of the Final Judgement. We had black cloaks on, like they would wear, with shirts that had the Processean symbol and the Goat of Mendez sewn onto them. I printed out these little cards that had the iconic photo of Robert de Grimston and made stamps of the Processean symbol and inked them onto the backs. We just handed them out to people at a party and tried to talk with them about joining our group. A few of our friends knew what we were, but I think it was a bit esoteric for most. Either way, I'm super proud of that one.

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Sam Richard is the owner of Weirdpunk Books, the editor of Zombie Punks F**k Off, and the co-editor of both The New Flesh: A Literary Tribute to David Cronenberg and Hybrid Moments: A Literary Tribute to the Misfits. His writing has appeared in such varied publications as Lazermall, Strange Stories of the Sea, Breaking Bizarro, Dark Moon Digest, and many others. Recently a widower, his primary focus is on writing weird, transgressive horror with an emphasis on grief. His debut short-story collection, To Wallow in Ash & Other Sorrows came out Fall of 2019 through NihilismRevised and he slowly rots in Minneapolis, MN with his dog Nero. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram: @SammyTotep and at towallowinash.wordpress.com

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

SuperGhost Lives!

I’m happy to share the news that my first book, SuperGhost, is finally back in print! Here’s the description:

Mad Science, Phantom Limbs, Giant Monsters, and Ice Cream!

Darren Legend is a former construction worker who’s lost his right arm. Michelle Mayfair is a former Olympic runner who no longer has her legs. And Dr. Griffin Rains wants to talk with both of them. He’s a “phantom limb therapist”...who may also be a megalomaniacal mad scientist.

When Dr. Rains assembles a giant ghost-monster from the phantom limbs he’s stolen from hundreds of amputees, the city is in for the most bizarre nightmare it’s ever seen. And it’s up to Darren and Michelle, with the help of a few friends, to stop Rains and the strange terror of the SuperGhost!

So if you didn’t catch it on the original release (or even if you did!), you can now pick up the reissue, featuring a fresh cover (also designed by me), revised/re-formatted text, and an ALL-NEW bonus prequel short story entitled "The Science Fair".

Available NOW in paperback and ebook. Also available via Kindle Unlimited.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

20Q7A: An interview with Chandler Morrison

20 Questions, 7 Answers is an interview series for writers of genre fiction. Each author receives the same batch of 20 questions, but they may only answer 7.

This week's guest is Chandler Morrison.

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What's your latest book, and how does it differ from your previous work?

My latest book is a modern gothic novel called Until the Sun, and it’s coming out from Death’s Head Press on Halloween. It differs from my previous work in a lot of ways—I’m always trying to do something new and fresh with every book I write—but primarily it’s less “extreme” than I think people have come to expect from me. It deals with some dark subject matter, and there’s a fair amount of gore, but there’s not a lot that would be considered tremendously over the top. There’s kind of this misconception about me that I’m just some shock jock exploitation artist, but that’s really not true. If the story I’m writing calls for extreme material, I’m not sheepish about putting it in. Until the Sun really didn’t call for a ton of that, so I wasn’t going to shoehorn unnecessary nastiness into it for the sake of pigeonholing myself into a certain brand.

What's the best movie, new or old, that you've seen for the first time in the past 3 months?

I’d probably have to say Never Let Me Go. I’m a huge fan of the book, so I’d put off seeing the movie for a long time because I was adamant that no one could even come close to translating the haunting beauty of Ishiguro’s prose onto the screen. I finally caved and watched it a couple of weeks ago, though, and it’s truly magnificent. The novel still reigns supreme, in my mind, but the movie adaptation really nails the tone of the book. It does an amazing job of painting this bleakly beautiful portrait of young people who are resigned to the hopeless tragedy of their existence.

What are your 3 favorite comic books (standalone novels or ongoing series) of all time?

From Hell, Watchmen, and Preacher. Brian Keene told me he believes Preacher to be the Great American Novel of our time, and I’m inclined to agree with him in many respects. While the theme of patriotic nationalism probably won’t resonate with younger readers of a particular sensibility, there’s a lot of things about that story that are so universal that I think a person of any generation would be able to find something to which he or she could relate.

What is your writing environment like? (Are you out in public or in seclusion? Is there noise? Is there coffee? Do you type on a laptop or write longhand on lined notebook paper?)

I have this enormous writing desk that takes up a large portion of the west wall of my apartment, and I do all of my writing there. I always type as opposed to writing longhand, because that’s the only way I can keep up with the speed of my thoughts. I generally require complete silence, so it’s difficult for me to write in public. I also like to light candles (always blood-red, and no less than 4.5 inches in height; I’m very particular about my ritualistic practices), and coffee shops usually frown upon that kind of thing.

If you could share a beverage with any fictional character, who would it be, and what would you drink?

Roland Deschain of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series, no doubt. That guy’s been through some shit, and I’m sure he could help put my own trials and tribulations into perspective. I’d have a tonic water, preferably on the rocks.

What's the most disgusting thing about the human body?

Oh, man, that’s a tough one. The human body is, I think, an incredibly disgusting organism if you really consider everything that makes us tick. Sure, from a surface level, the body can be very beautiful, but once you peel back just a single layer—or even just look at the surface under a microscope—it starts going to hell really fast. All of those biological processes, all of that skin and meat and fluid that combine into a walking, talking host for innumerable parasites and diseases…yuck. I try not to think about it. Medical stuff, especially, grosses me out to no end. If I had to choose, though, the reproductive system—both male and female—is probably the worst. If you delve into the hard science of it and start pulling out all of those technological terms, you’re left with a horror story that’s infinitely nastier than anything I could ever dream up. The miracle of birth seems a lot less miraculous when you start talking about mucus plugs and the corpus spongiosum. Add to that the cosmic irrelevance of breeding, and it’s a wonder anyone has sex at all.

What’s your secret?

My tan is fake.

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Chandler Morrison is the author of Until the Sun, Dead Inside, Hate to Feel, and Just to See Hell. He lives in Los Angeles.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

20Q7A: An interview with Sarah Read

20 Questions, 7 Answers is an interview series for writers of genre fiction. Each author receives the same batch of 20 questions, but they may only answer 7.

This week's guest is Sarah Read.

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What's your latest book, and how does it differ from your previous work?

My latest book is my forthcoming collection, Out of Water. It will be released from Trepidatio Publishing on November 1st, but pre-orders are up now! Most of the stories it contains ARE my previous work, so I guess it doesn’t differ much at all, but there are three new short stories and one new novelette in the book. These works are more contemporary than my novel, The Bone Weaver’s Orchard. That one is largely historical thriller, while a lot of these stories are straight horror, often paranormal.

If it was socially acceptable to wear anything as clothing, how would you dress?

I’d love to wear a Victorian ball gown most days, but then there are days that I just want to cut armholes in a sleeping bag and wear that. Or maybe I’d dress like a pirate or a witch or a fairy. Actually, I kind of already do those last three on a semi-regular basis, but I’m a librarian, so it’s encouraged.

Are you most afraid of ghosts, aliens, or clowns, and why?

I’ve never understood the fear of clowns. I find them annoying, but not scary. Aliens, should they ever decide to bother with us, could probably bother with us in such a way as to cause the most grief. But I wouldn’t say I’m afraid of them. And while I love a good ghostly shiver, I suspect ghosts are harmless. Except for when they infiltrate my imagination to the degree that I can’t sleep and then I have cranky days. I suppose I have to say ghosts scare me the most, which is precisely why they’re my favorite trope.

If you could be reincarnated as a sentient but inanimate object, what would you like to be?

I think I would like to be a very fine fountain pen. Then I could keep writing stories, and I think I’d be well looked after. I would also still be covered in ink, so it’s unlikely anyone would notice that anything had changed about me at all.

What is your writing environment like? (Are you out in public or in seclusion? Is there noise? Is there coffee? Do you type on a laptop or write longhand on lined notebook paper?)

My writing is highly opportunistic, so my environment might be anything. Today it was in my car, sitting in the parking lot before my first shift started. Regardless of where I happen to be writing, I do always write by hand, though.

My ideal environment is at my desk in my office, which overlooks my wilderness of a backyard. I’d have my favorite notebook (a Nanami Seven Seas Writer—thin, lined Japanese Tomoe River paper bound with plain black linen) and an array of pens filled with exciting inks. Also, a cup of tea (earl grey with a hint of vanilla, please). My cat asleep on the chair behind me. It would be great if there was a thunderstorm at the time, too. And a few cookies on a plate. Chocolate ones. And, apart from the storm, it would be perfectly silent. Ideal conditions rarely occur, so I’ve learned to write in any conditions.

I think it’s important to write whenever and however you can. Sometimes that means with a broken crayon on the back of an envelope in the pediatrician’s waiting room.

If you could share a beverage with any fictional character, who would it be, and what would you drink?

I’d have tea with Merricat Blackwood. It’s fine, I don’t take sugar in my tea.

What's the most disgusting thing about the human body?

Fingernails. Or feet. No, teeth. No, pus. I think maybe all of it? I’m not a fan. I don’t like anything about the human body and I’m deeply annoyed to be trapped inside one. And constantly alarmed when I’m surrounded by other ones.

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Sarah Read is a dark fiction writer in the frozen north of Wisconsin. Her short stories can be found in magazines like Black Static, and in various anthologies, including Ellen Datlow's The Best Horror of the Year Vol 10. Her novel The Bone Weaver’s Orchard is now out from Trepidatio Publishing, and her debut collection Out of Water will follow in November 2019. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Pantheon Magazine and of their associated anthologies, including Gorgon: Stories of Emergence. She is an active member of the Horror Writers Association. When she’s not staring into the abyss, she knits. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram @Inkwellmonster or support her on Patreon. www.inkwellmonster.wordpress.com