Wednesday, October 28, 2015

20Q7A: An interview with Monica J. O'Rourke

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

This week's guest is Monica J. O’Rourke...

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

MJO: I’m finally going to jump in and try NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writers Month) this year. (It happens to be every November. Google for details.) I have a week to decide on the plot, but I have three novels I want to write … and this one will likely be a thriller (with lots of horror elements).

My latest novel (What Happens in the Darkness, published about two years ago) is a post-apocalyptic vampire novel that takes place mainly in NYC. My vampires don’t sparkle. And while this book is much tamer (less gory) than my usual books, there are still some really nasty scenes.

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

MJO: I sing … used to want to sing professionally. I love singing anything Broadway, and torch songs/ballads/standards, and old rock ’n’ roll (’50s mostly). I used to play the bass … badly. LOL.

If you could have chosen your own name when you were born, what would it have been?

MJO: When I was a teenager just discovering horror writers, I wanted to call myself Stephanie King. Around the same time, I decided on the pseudonym Erica Criss-Carr (a combo of KISS drummers Eric Carr and Peter Criss). Luckily I outgrew both ideas.

Thank God my father didn’t get his way. He wanted to name me Xaviera (the real name of prostitute/“Happy Hooker” author).

What was your greatest Halloween costume?

MJO: When I was around eleven, my two cousins, brother, and I dressed up as KISS (this was around 1977, so it was the original lineup). I was Peter Criss. We made our own costumes, and my cousin Mark did an amazing job with our makeup. And then my aunt Jean made us wear our winter coats because this was waaaay upstate NY (Adirondack Mountains) and it was cold! But as soon as we were down the road we ditched our coats. I think we walked twenty miles trick-or-treating that night.

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

MJO: I can’t imagine being sentient but unable to move … what torture. Reminds of that French man who “dictated” a book after suffering a debilitating illness … he blinked the entire book to write it, and an assistant typed it. Mind-numbingly amazing.

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?)

MJO: I work from home as an editor, and though I’m not writing much lately, I also write from home. There’s always coffee. And cats. Sometimes the cats (well, Mac anyway) plants his big butt on my keyboard and tries to take over. I tend to write longhand … I find I’m more creative that way. But then the transcribing is a nightmare! Half the time I can’t read my own serial-killer handwriting.

What happens when you die?

MJO: We don’t “die.” We move from one incarnation to another. We’re all spiritual beings sharing an earthly experience. We’re here to learn, and then we return home to study what we learned. We choose our own paths on this planet, those experiences—good and bad—that help us grow. This is why I no longer fear death.

Don’t get me started on time (a manmade construct) or synchronicity! :)

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Monica J. O’Rourke has published more than one hundred short stories in magazines such as Postscripts, Nasty Piece of Work, Fangoria, Flesh & Blood, Nemonymous, and Brutarian and anthologies such as Horror for Good (for charity), The Mammoth Book of the Kama Sutra, and Eulogies II. She is the author of Poisoning Eros I and II, written with Wrath James White, Suffer the Flesh, and the collection In the End, Only Darkness. Her latest novel, What Happens in the Darkness, is available from Sinister Grin Press. She works as a freelance editor, writer, and book coach. Find her on www.facebook.com/MonicaJORourke.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

20Q7A: An interview with Tom Lucas

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

This week's guest is Tom Lucas...


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If you could have chosen your own name when you were born, what would it have been?

TL: According to my mom, there was a time when I wanted to be called Lance Crockett. It’s a combo of my favorite baseball player at the time (Lance Parrish) and Davy Crockett. Lance Crockett. What a name. That’s a guy who will rip your arms right out of your socket ‘cause you looked at him sideways. I should have stuck with it.

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

TL: I would like to go around town dressed like an old school Rollerball player. The 1970s version, not that bullshit remake nonsense. I would have to re-learn how to roller skate. It’s been a long time.

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

TL: Splice. I bet no one ever picks that one. Why? Did you see it? The ending? HOLY SHIT.

What was your greatest Halloween costume?

This question seems like a good one to answer considering…my favorite and best Halloween costume was a Tusken Raider from Star Wars. This costume was the real deal. My grandfather was a handy guy and he took an old football helmet and covered it with burlap and built in the breather and the whole shebang. That costume was so badass that I wore it three years in a row.

If you could survive on one food for the rest of your life with no health repercussions, what would it be?

TL: Pizza. It is the greatest of all foods and there’s plenty of variety with all the crazy toppings available to today’s discerning pizza customer.

Have you traveled outside your home country, and if so, where? Where would you like to go that you haven't been yet?

TL: Back in college (the olden days 'cause I am olden), I spent the summer semester in Krakow, Poland. It was 1990 and the Berlin Wall had just gone down. It was a wild, wild time. I toured a good chuck of Eastern Europe that summer as well, so that was cool.

I would love to make it down to Australia. Everything I see looks cool as hell and I really want to hang out with Adrian Shotbolt.

What happens when you die?

TL: George Carlin used to say that you get back everything you ever lost. I hope that’s not true. I have no use for 1257 ball point pens. But, on the flip side…I did lose a comic book collection when a tornado hit my house in 1997. Thousands of books right up in the air, gone forever. Sigh. Yeah, I hope I get those back.

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Tom Lucas was born and raised in Detroit, and although currently enjoying the lack of snow and ice in Florida, remains a son of the post-industrial apocalypse.

He is the author of the bizarro books Leather to the Corinthians and Pax Titanus.


Twitter / Facebook / Website

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Universal Monster Rally

Last night, the fine folks at Exhumed Films and PhilaMOCA presented the Universal Monster Rally. The evening started off with a costume contest (two contests, actually - one for 12 & unders, another for 13 & ups), then moved into a more-than-two-hour marathon of Castle Films digests of Universal monster movies from 1931-1956, with a handful of trailers mixed in, before culminating in a 16mm print of Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man. What a fun night.





Friday, October 16, 2015

Fabio Frizzi: Frizzi 2 Fulci

Last week I was lucky enough to catch Fabio Frizzi in concert, performing with his Frizzi 2 Fulci Orchestra. Seeing and hearing the scores to films like Zombie/Zombi 2, The Beyond, and City of the Living Dead performed live is something I didn't think I'd ever get a chance to experience. I'm lucky I live in the only east coast city they hit on this short, 5-city North American tour.







Wednesday, October 14, 2015

20Q7A: An interview with Stephen Kozeniewski

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

This week's guest is Stephen Kozeniewski…


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

SK: BILLY AND THE CLONEASAURUS, while still immensely dark, is not really comedic horror like my debut or straight horror like my sophomore novel. It's closer to dystopian science fiction, though I think it's twisted enough that horror fans will still love it. 

If you could have chosen your own name when you were born, what would it have been?

SK: Redgrin Grumboldt

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

SK: Well, the zombie obviously. Unless you mean a particular individual, in which case I guess Bub. I could really write reams and reams on this subject (I have, in fact, and have given presentations, too) but it boils down to how universal the fear they inspire is. Everyone dies, everyone desires not to die, everyone secretly fears what would happen if they couldn't die. It's such a primal urge and such a primal fear, merged and given a face. 

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

SK: Like jousting, only on dinosaurback. 

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

SK: A computer. I don't know if that's "cheating," but I'd rather be something capable of communicating. The idea of being a sentient beer can or teddy bear or something is sort of terrifying. Like, you could be aware but unable to do anything or even interact with your environment? That sounds like Hell.

Twilight Zone or Outer Limits?

SK: Is it sad that I can remember three Twilight Zones and two Outer Limits? I could probably rank all five, too, and the '90s remake of the Outer Limits would be at the top of the list. But, in the spirit of this question, I'm sure you're referring to the originals, in which case, Twilight Zone, obvs. 

What's your secret?

SK: The secret? I don't know. I guess you've just got to find something you love to do and then do it for the rest of your life. For me, it's going to Rushmore.

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Stephen Kozeniewski lives with his wife and two cats in Pennsylvania, the birthplace of the modern zombie. During his time as a Field Artillery officer he served for three years in Oklahoma and one in Iraq, where, due to what he assumes was a clerical error, he was awarded the Bronze Star. He is also a classically trained linguist, which sounds much more impressive than saying his bachelor’s is in German.

Amazon / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Blog / Mailing List

Friday, October 09, 2015

Upcoming Horror Happenings

October in Philadelphia is always fun, and always busy, for horror-loving folks like me. As Halloween approaches, things take a turn for the dark. Here are some upcoming events I’m excited about:


Saturday, October 10: Frizzi2Fulci
Fabio Frizzi brings his tribute to Italian director Lucio Fulci to town, one of only 5 North American dates, and the only one on the east coast. I’m kind of shocked there are still tickets available - but I guess that’s good news if you’re near Philly and reading this now.


Sunday, October 11: Vivisections
Curator Matt Garrett always assembles a fine collection of short films from around the world for his Vivisections series. Sunday’s installment features Teeth, Walter Potter: The Man Who Married Kittens, Violets, Disco Inferno, Lake Mahar, The Shutterbug Man, Polaroid, and Ink.


Saturday, October 17: Exhumed Films’ Universal Monster Rally
I can’t wait for this one. A 16mm print of Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man, followed by a marathon of Castle Films Universal Monster Digests, plus a costume contest, and more.


Thursday, October 22 through Sunday, November 1: Philadelphia Film Festival
I always have a good time at the Philadelphia Film Festival - even during the films I don’t actually enjoy. There’s just something about the festival atmosphere. And even though there seem to be fewer genre offerings this year than in the past, I’m looking forward to catching at least a few things in the Graveyard Shift program - particularly Baskin, The Hallow, and The Invitation.


Thursday, October 22: Diary of a Deadbeat: The Story of Jim Vanbebber


Friday, October 23: Frankenhooker & Alpha Girls double feature


Saturday, October 24: Nightmare Before Halloween
Raw Dog Screaming Press visits Philadelphia this year for their annual Dog Con, a literary convention celebrating their own special brand of horror and bizarro. This year’s convention has a handful of events spread over 3 days and various locations, but the Main Event happens Saturday the 24th at PhilaMOCA. The Nightmare Before Halloween features live readings from authors Michael Arnzen, Matt Betts, B.E. Burkhead, Drew Conry-Murray, Andy Deane, J.L. Gribble, Donna Lynch, John Edward Lawson, Leland Pitts-Gonzalez, Albert Wendland, D. Harlan Wilson, K. Ceres Wright & Stephanie Wytovich, live music by Stoneburner, and more.


Saturday, October 24 into Sunday, October 25: Exhumed Films' 24 Hour Horrorthon Part IX
One of the highlights of the Halloween season each year is the Exhumed Films Horrorthon. 24 hours of horror movies, mostly from the 70s and 80s, always shown on film (usually 35mm, sometimes 16mm). The films are kept secret until they hit the screen. Vague clues are given at the beginning of the day, but I’ve probably only guessed 3 or 4 correctly in the 5 Horrorthons I’ve attended. This year is the 9th annual event. Who will survive, and what will be left of them?


Saturday, October 31 into Sunday, November 1: A Very Scary Sleepover: Wes Craven’s Halloween Nightmare
And, as if one horror movie marathon wasn’t enough for this city, the Awesome Fest and the Philadelphia Film Society have teamed up for an 11-film tribute to Wes Craven to close out the aforementioned Philadelphia Film Festival. Featuring The Last House On The Left, The Hills Have Eyes, The People Under The Stairs, Scream, and 7 Nightmare On Elm Street movies back to back, this should make for a fun day.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

20Q7A: An interview with Garrett Cook

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

This week's guest is Garrett Cook…


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

GC: My latest book is A God of Hungry Walls from Deadite Press. It differs from my previous work because my Bizarro input was various flavors of balls to the wall experimental pulp but this is more literary extreme horror. That’s not to say it’s not strange, that’s not to say it doesn’t have pulp roots but it’s very different. It’s a haunted house story told from the perspective of the haunting as it takes apart and corrupts the inhabitants of the house.

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

GC: Like Gary Oldman does in that scene in Bram Stoker’s Dracula when he’s walking through Piccadilly Circus with Mina. Top hat, tiny Victorian sunglasses, blood red vest.  Such a great outfit.

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

GC: My favorite will always be Godzilla. Godzilla in a weird way represents not just destruction but a certain amount of sense in the world. Godzilla is a natural moral order. He punishes and protects mankind. There’s something comforting about that.

If you could survive on one food for the rest of your life with no health repercussions, what would it be?

GC: I would have to say buffalo chicken calzones.

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

GC: Clowns. I used to be terrified of clowns. But then I saw one of the most beautiful women I know in clown makeup and I realized I’m also attracted to clowns, which is even scarier. I’m as afraid of falling in love as I am of dying.

What happens when you die?

GC: In a perfect world, a 22 year old masochist would get filthy rich.

What’s your secret?

GC: The kind of fear that makes you fight for shit.

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Garrett Cook is an author, editor and singer/songwriter residing in Portland, OR. His latest book is A God of Hungry Walls from Deadite Press. If you would like to know about writing workshops he teaches or contacting him for editorial services go to http://www.garrettcookeditor.wordpress.com

Purchase A God of Hungry Walls at Amazon

Monday, October 05, 2015

Locke & Key Audio Drama

LOCKE & KEY by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez is now an audio drama (not just an audiobook - a fully-dramatized production)! And you can download it for free from Audible.


Friday, October 02, 2015

The Simpsons + Junji Ito

Too good not to share: The Simpsons + Junji Ito mashups by artist Alex Cooper deVillers...



(And if you like horror but don't know Junji Ito, it's time to fix that! Uzumaki will change your life.)

Thursday, October 01, 2015

October is here!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

(And I really wish that didn't rhyme.)

Anyway, first and foremost, BIG THANKS to everyone who helped make SuperGhost September a big success. I’ll be making my donation to Limbs For Life as soon as I get the official royalty statement from my publisher. In the meantime, those of you waiting patiently to see if you’ve won a prize: Stay tuned for an email over the course of the next few days. I’ll be drawing names from the hat one at a time, starting in just a few minutes, and contacting each winner to see which of the remaining prizes they would like. So don’t despair if you haven't heard from me just yet! You may still have won a prize.


Second, after a few years off, I’ve decided to once again take part in the COUNTDOWN TO HALLOWEEN. So keep an eye on this space throughout the month. My plan is to post something Halloween or Horror-related every single day. Or at least as often as possible (October gets busier and busier each year—part of why I haven't done the Countdown since 2011—so we'll see what happens).

Each Wednesday will feature a horror author as part of the ongoing 20 QUESTIONS, 7 ANSWERS interview series, while the rest of the days of the week will feature a variety of words and images. There will be movie stuff. There will be book stuff. There will be toy stuff. There will be art stuff. There may be other stuff too. Even I’m not entirely sure what to expect, so this should be fun for all of us. Or fun for you and stressful for me. Because Halloween is serious business, lads and ladies. SERIOUS BUSINESS.

For now, here's an orange pumpkin-headed Babekub figure:


30 more days 'til Halloween, Halloween, Halloween...

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

20Q7A: An interview with Bradley Sands

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

This week's guest is Bradley Sands…


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

BS: A raccoon suit like Mario wears in Super Mario 3. Although I wouldn’t want anyone to think I was a furry because I got all freaked out when I went to a Ween (without Gene Ween) concert recently and this smelly neo-hippy guy who was in front of me had a tail that kept rubbing against my crotch while he was dancing. And it was crowded, so it’s not like I could have backed away.

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

BS: The Dark Overlord of the Universe from the Howard the Duck movie, which was played by the sex offender actor from Ferris Bueller. Why? Because he “demonstrates his developing mental powers by destroying table utensils and condiments.” I got that off Wikipedia. I don’t remember much about him except that he was TOTALLY AWESOME, but he was the first monster I thought of when I read this question.

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

BS: It would be just like baseball, but all the players would be encased in carbonite and it wouldn’t be televised.

What was your greatest Halloween costume?

BS: The only one that I remember is when I wore a Jason Voorhees mask, smeared makeup from a Freddy Krueger face kit over it, and wore one of my dad’s flannel shirts, which I cut up like crazy with scissors. I think I might have been Kurt Cobain.

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

BS: Ghost alien clowns would probably scare the shit out of me. Like it would be terrifying if someone made a sequel out of Killer Klowns from Outer Space, starring the ghosts of the klowns who died in the first movie. They DID die, right? I’m not sure, and this uncertainty is why I find them so frightening.

What happens when you die?

BS: You stop wondering.

What's your secret?

BS: The sign on my wall that says, “YOU CAN DO IT!!!”

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Bradley Sands is the author of Dodgeball High, Rico Slade Will Fucking Kill You, Sorry I Ruined Your Orgy, and other books. Visit him at bradleysands.com

Saturday, September 26, 2015

As September winds down...

As September winds down, a few cool things have been popping up...

First, the mighty Dread Central gave SuperGhost September a shout-out, calling it “a contest you don’t want to miss”.

Then this nice, thoughtful review of SuperGhost appeared at Sheldon Nylander’s site.

And just the other day, a new interview with yours truly was published. I named some favorite books, and also revealed my true feelings about bananas. Check that out here.

Anyway, SuperGhost September is nearly over - Just a few days left! So be sure to claim your chance at a prize, and feel free to spread the word!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

20Q7A: An interview with Orrin Grey

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

This week's guest is Orrin Grey…


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

OG: Okay, yeah, I'm answering the lame self-promotional question, but seeing as how my latest book is just coming out, I feel like I owe it to my awesome publisher to at least talk about it a little bit. Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts is my second fiction collection, and it differs from my previous collection mainly in that--while it's also still just a collection of a lot of the stories that I wrote between when my first collection came out and now--it's got a little bit of a theme behind it.

The title comes from a quote from the 1968 Peter Bogdanovich film Targets, in which an aging Boris Karloff basically playing himself says, "My kind of horror is not horror anymore. No one's afraid of a painted monster." I thought that quote--and the movie--did a good job of summing up the changes that were happening to horror cinema at the time, and so as I put together the table of contents for Painted Monsters, I focused on stories that were inspired by horror films, and I organized them so that they gave a sort of crash course in the history of horror cinema, from the silent films of the 20s to kaiju films, Gialli, and found footage.

If you could have chosen your own name when you were born, what would it have been?

OG: Baron von Werewolf, though I'm sure there'd be some sort of downside that I'm not seeing...

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

OG: Do I lose literally every bit of my horror cred if I say Stitch from Lilo & Stitch? Honestly, I don't think there's any way in hell I could pick just one. Though they're often treated as one, monsters aren't really a genre in and of themselves. They're a trope or an element that can be used to all sorts of different ends, so there are lots of different monsters that I love for different reasons. If you put a gun to my head and made me start listing, I'd probably name off The Thing, Ymir from 20 Million Miles to Earth, the graboids from Tremors, Sam from Trick 'R Treat, and those mushroom guys from Matango before you managed to pull the trigger.

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?

OG: I used to listen to music when I wrote all the time, and I could listen to anything. These days, though, I hardly ever have any noise going when I'm writing, and I find most music too distracting. I have no idea why the change happened. On the rare occasion that I do listen to music when I write now, it's gotta be something mostly instrumental or in another language, and movie soundtracks are the most likely suspects. I'm pretty sure it's just gonna be John Carpenter's Lost Themes album for a good long while.

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

OG: Man, we picked a bad 3 months for this. If we'd done it just a little bit earlier, I could at least have debased myself further by admitting that it was probably Insidious: Chapter 3. As it is, it's tough to say. Ant-Man wasn't bad, but it certainly wasn't up to the standard that the better Marvel movies have set. I recently caught some really interesting 60s/70s fare for the first time, including Salem's Lot, Spider Baby, and Let's Scare Jessica to Death. And there was an unexpected gem on Netflix in the form of this weird 2013 Korean film called Hide and Seek. It kind of lags in the third act, but near the beginning, when it isn't sure yet if it's going to be a home invasion flick or a revenge thriller or something else entirely, it's pretty great.

If you could survive on one food for the rest of your life with no health repercussions, what would it be?

OG: Either ramen or fried rice. No question. And you didn't ask about beverages, but that'd be Wild Cherry Pepsi. It is, in the words of Dr. Pretorius, my only weakness.

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

OG: Well, Hellboy, obviously. Mike Mignola has this story that he always tells in interviews about how reading Dracula when he was a kid made him realize that all he wanted to do was tell stories about monsters. I had the same realization, but for me it was reading Mignola's work on Hellboy that drove it home. He's my biggest influence, and I've been a devotee of everything he's ever done since.

Next up would be anything at all by Junji Ito. If I've got to pick a title, I'll do what anyone else would do and pick Uzumaki, but really, I love pretty much everything he's ever done, and a lot of my favorites are short pieces scattered around in various places, some of them only available in fan-made translations, more's the pity.

Third would be any Jack Kirby monster comic. I love those things to death. Again, if I have to pick a title, let's go with his run on The Demon, but a lot of my favorites are those weird stand-alone monster comics that got reprinted under titles like Where Monsters Dwell and Creatures on the Loose. Monsters with names like Googam, Rommbu, Giganto, and perhaps my personal favorite, Orrgo.

I could list comics all day, though, so here are just a few others: Beasts of Burden, Alan Moore's run on Swamp Thing, Courtney Crumrin, Dylan Dog, and Gary Gianni's MonsterMen, just to get us started.

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Orrin Grey is a skeleton who likes monsters, as well as a writer, editor, and amateur film scholar who was born on the night before Halloween. His stories of ghosts, monsters, and sometimes the ghosts of monsters have appeared in dozens of anthologies, including Ellen Datlow's Best Horror of the Year, and his latest collection is Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts, coming in October from Word Horde.

Website / Patreon

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

20Q7A: An interview with Jeff Burk

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

This week's guest is Jeff Burk…


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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?

JB: I always have media of some sort playing while I write. When I listen to music it isn’t any different than what I listen to for enjoyment. I tend to listen to a lot of punk, ska, and reggae. Some of my current favorite bands include Night Gaunts, Mad Conductor, the Stupid Stupid Henchmen, Anti-Venom, Forty Ounces, and the Interrupters.

Another thing I like is to have movies playing constantly in the background. I like to pick movies that fit the theme of what I am working on. When I wrote SHATNERQUEST, which is a road-trip story, I had road trip movies on in the background like DETROIT ROCK CITY and EASY RIDER. When I wrote SUPER GIANT MONSTER TIME, my giant monster tribute, I had a constant rotation of Godzilla and Gamera flicks.

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

JB: My most recent favorite movie is one that has gone under almost everyone’s radar this year – SPRING by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead. It’s an absolutely beautiful and weird mash-up of romance and Lovecraftian tropes. What’s even more amazing is that this is Benson and Moorehead’s second film (their first is RESOLUTION on it’s on Netflix – fucking fantastic modern horror with dashes of cosmic horror). They’re at the top of my list of new horror directors to keep an eye on.

Have you traveled outside your home country, and if so, where? Where would you like to go that you haven't been yet?

JB: Between high school and college, I was fortunate enough to travel through France, Italy, and Switzerland (and I guess Vatican City as well – it is its own country). I loved all three of them. Paris, France was my favorite portion of the trip with Venice, Italy being a close second.

I would love to see more of the world. Tokyo, Japan is at the top of my list of places I’d like to see.

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

JB: I adore comic books! I’m an avid reader of everything from mainstream superhero stories to avant garde indies. I’ve written before about my favorite comics and what I recommend to new readers (http://bizarrocentral.com/2011/07/27/top-eight-comics-for-the-bizarro-reader/). So I’m going to change the question a bit to what are my three favorites currently being published:

CROSSED by various writers and artists – My absolute favorite ongoing comic out there. It’s an apocalypse/post-apocalypse comic about the world populace getting infected with a “disease” that causes people to indulge in their most sadistic violent and sexual urges. This is easily the most graphic and fucked-up comic out there – I love it! What makes it really fun is that every couple of issues, the writer and artist changes as does the story and time period, so the reader isn’t following one character or group but getting a global view of the end of the world.

HARLEY QUINN by Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti – Everyone knows who Harley is and she finally has a great ongoing series. In the current DC universe, Harley and the Joker have broken up. The comic focuses on what Harley does while she tries to define her life apart from the Joker. It’s a fun and violent technicolor ride that finally answers the question of what comic book villains do with they're not committing crimes.

SEX CRIMINALS by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky – This is the ongoing that every bizarro fan needs to check out. I don’t want to give two much of the story away but it deals with a man and a woman who discover that when they have sex time literally stops - so they decide to become the world’s most awkward bank robbers.

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?)

JB: I have a writing/work space that is set up in my room. I work on my laptop all the time, normally with music, movies, or podcasts playing in the background. My desk is surrounded by shelves filled with comic book and movie toys – mostly Godzilla figures and Lego superhero sets. My fat cat, Squishy, is normally snoring somewhere very close by.

For my short stories, I write the first drafts mostly by hand in a notebook I have. When I work on those, I like to go out to nearby bars and write and drink.

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

JB: I would want to have LSD-laced IPAs with King Mob from Grant Morrison’s THE INVISIBLES.

Twilight Zone or Outer Limits?

JB: Easy, TWILIGHT ZONE. While THE OUTER LIMITS had the great monsters, the TWILIGHT ZONE had what really matters – great stories. Some of my favorite episodes are “The Monsters are Due on Maple Street,” “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” and “The Midnight Sun.”

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JEFF BURK is the cult favorite author of SHATNERQUAKE, SUPER GIANT MONSTER TIME, CRIPPLE WOLF, and SHATNERQUEST.  Like the literary equivalent to a cult B-Horror movie, Burk writes violent, absurd, and funny stories about punks, monsters, gore, and trash culture. Everyone normally dies at the end.

He is also the the Head Editor of ERASERHEAD PRESS’ horror imprint, DEADITE PRESS.

Born in the Pennsylvania backwoods, he was raised on a steady diet of Godzilla, Star Trek, and EC Comics. He now resides in Portland, Oregon. His influences include: Sleep deprivation, comic books, drugs, magick, and kittens.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

20Q7A: An interview with Jeremy Robert Johnson

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

This week's guest is Jeremy Robert Johnson…


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If you could have chosen your own name when you were born, what would it have been?

JRJ: Maxamillion Robo-Blade. The parents of the 70’s had an affinity for Redford’s JEREMIAH JOHNSON and now there are far too fucking many Jeremy Johnson’s out there. I’ve been searched for another JRJ’s cocaine. I’ve had a different Jeremy Johnson’s unpaid court liens placed on my credit report. So not only are we over-run with Jeremy Johnson’s, but they seem to have an affinity for messing shit up. You won’t find the same problem with your Maxamillion Robo-Blades.

As a side note, I keep a mental list of great, real-life rich kid names. My two current favorites are Bradford Cobb and Finn Wittrock. So rich!

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

JRJ: The shark from JAWS. My parents let me watch JAWS for my fifth birthday. I remember jumping up and down on my parents’ waterbed (hey, we’re talking 1982 here) and hearing John Williams’ theme coming from the living room and being overjoyed. “They’re finally going to let me watch it!” Then, you know, a couple hours later my relationship with water is changed in a primordial and irrational way forever. I couldn’t close my eyes in the tub for a few years. I spend any time in the ocean in a steady panic state.

So sure, Freddy Krueger cost me a night’s sleep, and the Ju-On ghosts made me hate my attic, but that shark, man…it changed my brain.

What was your greatest Halloween costume?

JRJ: Maya Angelou’s ninja arch-nemesis Aprila Devilou.

I wish I was kidding, because it’s just beyond absurd, but I also feel like it was the most culturally beneficial costume I ever wore, because, in explaining it to drunken revelers all night, I think I introduced some folks to Maya Angelou’s work. So I got that going for me.

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

JRJ: UNDER THE SKIN, because it haunted me and I thought about it for weeks. It’s one of those films that hits you in an immediate, visceral way as pure cinema (that processing sequence inside the black goo!), and after that it curls up in your brain and the more you think about it the more brilliant you realize the thing was. The best portrayal of a truly alien perspective I’ve seen on film.

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

JRJ: Alan Moore’s run on SWAMP THING is majestic.  Beyond that I’d make some very 90’s selections with SANDMAN and PREACHER. I also have a soft spot for the very first black and white ALIENS run that Dark Horse published. And Jeff Lint’s THE CATERER is on my “Read Every Year Until I Die” list. It hits all the right absurdities for me.

THE INVISIBLES is next up on my list, if only to quiet all the people who keep harassing me for not having read it.

Twilight Zone or Outer Limits?

JRJ: TWILIGHT ZONE, based on the collective brilliance of the folks who wrote for it and the number of pitch perfect episodes, although OUTER LIMITS had the best version of “The Sandkings” and that is almost enough to sway me the other direction. And I’d like to give a quick shout out to the oft-forgotten FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE SERIES for giving us Cronenberg’s “Faith Healer” episode.

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

JRJ: I’d like to share a damn fine cup of coffee with Dale Cooper, a shot of whiskey with Al Swearengen, and a Narragansett beer with Quint. Probably in that order, preferably while riding on the back of a time-travelling owl-shark. That’s just how Maxamillion Robo-Blade gets down.

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Jeremy Robert Johnson is the Wonderland Award-Winning author of cult hits SKULLCRACK CITY, WE LIVE INSIDE YOU, ANGEL DUST APOCALYPSE, and EXTINCTION JOURNALS as well as the Stoker-Nominated novel SIREN PROMISED (w/Alan M. Clark). His fiction has been acclaimed by The Washington Post and authors like Chuck Palahniuk, David Wong, and Jack Ketchum, and has appeared internationally in numerous anthologies and magazines. In 2008 he worked with The Mars Volta to tell the story behind their Grammy Winning album The Bedlam in Goliath. In 2010 he spoke about weirdness and metaphor as a survival tool at the Fractal 10 conference in Medellin, Colombia (where fellow speakers included DJ Spooky, an MIT bio-engineer, and a doctor who explained the neurological aspirations of a sponge). Jeremy is at work on a host of new books. For more information: www.jeremyrobertjohnson.com.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

20Q7A: An interview with Kevin L. Donihe

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

This week's guest is Kevin L. Donihe…


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

KLD: At the moment, I'm working on BULLY BOYS. It takes place in what amounts to Bully World and has a high school setting. There, a talent show looms. It's no ordinary talent show, though. It's one for bullies to demonstrate their prowess with their favorite victim and/or victims in the most creative ways possible and win great prizes. The ultimate loser, however, loses everything.

How does it differ from my other books? Well, perhaps it features more connections to my past than any previous work. Most books contain nothing of my past whatsoever. At the same time, however, I would not call BULLY BOYS autobiographical.

If you could have chosen your own name when you were born, what would it have been?

KLD: I was named after some guy's belt buckle. My mom saw him wear it when she was in the hospital just before I was c-sectioned out of her. Were I cognizant enough to name myself, I would have also seen the belt buckle and thought it was a fine name. At essence, I'm a Kevin and will always be a Kevin even after my time of Kevin-ing on this planet is through.

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

KLD: Competitive cloud watching.  Extra points for clouds that look like Godzilla.

What was your greatest Halloween costume?

KLD: Bloody Hand Man. I put fake blood on my left hand. It was scary as hell.

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

KLD: I'm afraid of none of these. But, if you combine them, they become Alien Ghost Clowns. Do I really need to say why those might be scary?

Have you traveled outside your home country, and if so, where? Where would you like to go that you haven't been yet?

KLD: North America: Canada, Mexico, Bahamas. Asia: China. Europe: Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Italy.

I'd like to one day visit Socotra. It's an island in the Indian Sea off the coast of Yemen. Google it, if you're not familiar. The flora is like none that I've ever seen. I also have a thing for ruins. (e.g. Ani in Turkey, Bam in Iran, Angkor Wat in Cambodia.)

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?)

KLD: I write in my bedroom where an ionizer produces white noise. I sit at the same desk I've had since I was 13. I've used the same computer since 1999. Each of my thirteen books published since 2001 have been written on it. The computer sucks for Internet now, but never once has it been in the shop. I hope it never dies.

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Kevin L. Donihe has published over ten books via Eraserhead Press. His short fiction and poetry has appeared in The Mammoth Book of Legal Thrillers, Psychos: Serial Killers, Depraved Madmen, and the Criminally Insane, ChiZine, Electric Velocipede, The Cafe Irreal, Not One of Us, Dreams and Nightmares, The Best Bizarro Fiction of the Decade and other venues. He also edited the Bare Bone anthology series for Raw Dog Screaming Press, a story from which was reprinted in The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 13.

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Tuesday, September 01, 2015

SuperGhost September!

Well, folks... It’s time for one more big blowout SuperGhost promo.  

It’s time for SuperGhost September!


Two things:

1. I need to move some books. Like most writers, I want to find new readers. Plus, I'm nearing the end of my year in the New Bizarro Author Series, and I need to get SuperGhost into more eyeballs if I want to continue putting out weird books with my publisher.

2. I want to do some good in the world. I think most people do. And since I’m not raking in millions over here, I’ve got to explore my options and get creative.


So with those things in mind, here’s what’s happening:

For the entire month of September, I’ll be giving 100% of my author royalties from the sales of SuperGhost to charity.

Those of you who have already read the book know that several characters are amputees, suffering from phantom limb syndrome. So I've chosen to donate all my September royalties to the LIMBS FOR LIFE FOUNDATION, an organization that works to provide prosthetic limbs to amputees who cannot otherwise afford them.


(Read more about LFL and their Mission to help those who have lost limbs to disease, accidents, birth defects, and warfare, here).

And, of course, I'm going to try bribing you with some prizes. Such prizes!

So here's the deal: Buy SuperGhost (available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble), and email proof of purchase (a screenshot of your receipt, for example) to drgriffinrains@gmail.com, and you'll receive 2 entries for the drawing of prizes. (By the way, if you buy via smile.amazon.com, you can ensure even more money goes to Limbs For Life).

Have you already purchased SuperGhost? Why thank you, beautiful person! Maybe it's time to review it for the masses! Put your thoughts into words and post a SuperGhost review to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, your blog, etc., and earn 1 entry per review posted (meaning you can post the review to multiple sites for multiple entries - although I would stress that Amazon and Goodreads are the best places for this, as more reviews on those sites make books more visible to more people). Of course, you'll need to email me the link(s) to your review(s) to earn those entries.

And finally, lets say you're one of the cool kids who's already read AND reviewed SuperGhost. You are a glorious individual, and deserve everything every fortune cookie has ever promised you. In the meantime, why not buy copies of SuperGhost for your friends and neighbors? Surely you know someone with a birthday in September. Or maybe you want to get your winter holiday shopping done early.

Or just help spread the word! Share the link to this post on social media. Tell your friends. Scream it from your roof. Or your neighbor's roof.

Okay. If you've read this far, you probably want to know what you can win. So without further ado, onto the prizes:


A plush SuperGhost keychain 
(3 available)
Custom-designed and made by Killin Me Softly. Andrea at KMS does some killer work - If you like horror movies and things that are adorable, I highly recommend checking out her wares.


A piece of Limited Edition SuperGhost Phantom Limb Candy 
(3 available)
Individually numbered. Only 25 of these exist, and these are the last 3 pieces I’ll be giving away as prizes.


A print copy of The Magazine of Bizarro Fiction #11 
(3 available)
Featuring my story “Violins For Sale”, along with work by Ryan Harding, Garrett Cook, Robert Devereaux, Michael Allen Rose, Alan M. Clark, Andrew Goldfarb, a profile on Edward Lee, and more.


A set of chapbooks by yours truly 
(3 sets available)
Each set includes 3 Stories, 2 More Stories, and the Dates minicomic (with art by Amze Emmons).


The Mega-Bizarro Book Pile
A mystery stack of 5 bizarro books by other authors, all from my own collection. The titles will remain a mystery until you receive the box, but trust me, it's good, weird stuff.

That's 13 (count 'em, 13!) prizes. And I'll ship them anywhere in the world.

Once all the entries have been collected, I'll choose names randomly and start distributing the prizes. The first name picked gets their choice of the lot, the second person gets to choose from the remaining 12 prizes, and so on down the line.

Good luck everyone! Hope you enjoy SuperGhost!