Wednesday, July 29, 2015

20Q7A: An interview with Jeremy C. Shipp

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 Jeremy C. Shipp...

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

JCS: Once in a blue Smurf moon, I enjoy designing and hand-sewing little monster plushies. They rarely come to life and attempt to devour my spleen, so that’s a plus. Most of the time, they simply sit on the shelf, blinking chthonic messages in morse code.

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

JCS: I would most likely dress as Pizza Bear every day of the week. Pizza Bears are beautiful, graceful creatures, strong enough to crush an aluminum can, and fast enough to outrun a diseased tortoise. To dress as Pizza Bear is to embrace the beauty of life and to display to the world your love of pepperoni.

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

JCS: My favorite sport would be where two people get possessed by as many ghosts and demons as possible, and then they battle it out in the ring. The world might not survive such a sport, but at least it would be a fun way to go.

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

JCS: Can I list 10 of my favorites instead?

*takes out Scott puppet constructed out of dust bunnies and twigs* “Yes, that sounds good to me.”

Oh, thanks, Scott. Anyway, 10 of my favorites are: Saga of the Swamp Thing, Fables, Persepolis, Watchmen, American Born Chinese, The Sandman, Saga, Hyperbole and a Half, and The Encyclopedia of Earth Earth.

*the puppet stares* “Jeremy, that’s only nine.”

Quiet, you.

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

JCS: My choice would have to be an anthropomorphic spork. I’d travel from town to town, performing a vaudeville act in an inflatable theater. My partners would be a tap-dancing hedgehog in a top hat and a troupe of sentient shadow puppets.

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

JCS: I think the most disgusting thing is when the holes in your back open up and withering fingers start to push out. Tiny lipless mouths open where the fingernails should be. The mouths scream and the fingers snap and your mind swirls with thoughts of ripped cuticles. This happens to everyone, right?

What's your secret?

JCS: The secret is to bounce ideas off your cats, stick your hand in a barrel of beans, pop bubble wrap, paint cute demons on the ceiling, trip on nothing, drop your phone in the toilet, tickle your inner demons, dress your inner child in Jedi robes, dip your ego in chocolate, and convince your id it’s a chicken.


Jeremy C. Shipp is the Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of Cursed, Vacation, and Sheep and Wolves. His shorter tales have appeared in over 70 publications, the likes of Cemetery Dance, ChiZine, Apex Magazine, Withersin, and Shroud Magazine. His twitter handle is @JeremyCShipp.

Website / Amazon

Monday, July 27, 2015

Double-Scoop of Giveaways!

Here in Philadelphia, we’ve got a pair of the coolest ice cream shops around. Little Baby’s takes crazy ideas and turns them into frozen magic, with flavors like Peanut Butter Maple Tarragon and Earl Grey Sriracha and Everything Bagel. They sell ice cream in their stores (with a different assortment of flavors pretty much every day, in both dairy and non-dairy varieties), but also from big tricycles. And they have a series of delightfully bizarre commercials, like this one:

Well, for those of you who’ve read SuperGhost, now you know where the inspiration for the Happee Freeze Ice Cream Company came from.

Anyway, the point of all this is... I’m extremely excited to announce that Little Baby’s and I are teaming up for a couple of cool giveaways. You'll have to act fast, though. Here’s the deal:

Want to win a Gift Card for Little Baby’s Ice Cream? Of course you do! Well, just email XXXXXXXXXXXXXX@XXXXX.XXX by Noon EST Monday, August 3, and one very lucky person will win $10 worth of free frozen goodness. I’m guessing you’ll probably want to be relatively close to Philly for this one, or at least be planning a visit, but the giveaway is open to everyone.

Want to win a signed copy of SuperGhost? The answer to that is also a resounding YES! Well, the fine folks at Little Baby’s are giving one away. To win that, head on over to their blog, and check out the SuperGhost post for details.

So that's the scoop. Good luck everyone!

***UPDATE: The deadline has been reached! The winners have been chosen, and will be contacted shortly. Thanks to everyone who entered!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

20Q7A: An interview with Jamie Grefe

This week's edition of 20 Questions, 7 Answers features the extremely talented and extremely vengeful Jamie Grefe. Enjoy...if you dare...

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

JG: My latest published book is Domo ArigaDIE!!!. It was published in March of this year by Rooster Republic Press, edited masterfully by Arthur Graham, though it took shape two years prior or thereabout, I can't be sure, though I am sure that its genesis lies within a literary obsession that possessed me quite vehemently, an obsession of names, those being the various pseudonyms a certain author (an author now deceased) used to publish a series of novels on desire under, that writer, the one which I am discussing, being Michael Hemmingson, though that doesn't account for the novella's Japanicity, for Hemmingson rarely touches upon all things Japan, while I did and still do in some veiled way, yet had never tried consciously before the writing of this book, and that makes this book different, for beyond my obsession with Hemmingson's work, it was a longing for Japan that crept itself into the work. That said, when those two strands intertwined (Hemmingson and Japan), I had a narrative, a reason to continue writing, a reason to rewrite vengeance, the strand of which I had already expanded in The Mondo Vixen Massacre, but a strand that I will probably continue to keep wiggling and retelling in further works to come like the short novel I recently completed and am editing, in which a post-apocalyptic performance artist struggles to comprehend the death of his wife, but I hope to speak more on that book if it ever becomes publishable, which I am currently willing it to be.

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

JG: The creature of Anna's desire in Zulawski's Possession, because it perfectly embodies the incomprehensibility of a fragmented relationship, of her husband, Mark's, feverish jealousy and struggle to understand the kind of lover she seeks. This physical manifestation of her desire—the monster—exists as the ultimate unknowable Other, presented to us without explanation, yet firmly rooted as a consequence and cause of their failed marriage. It is horrendous. It is terrifying.    

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?

JG: If I listen to music when I write, I do so intentionally, knowing that the music will infiltrate the fiction in some way. For the piece I am currently editing I listened to a heady mixture of Rudolf, Tibetan chants, Sunn O))), and Nurse With Wound. The result is a highly condensed meditation that results in characters battling each other in a psychically-oriented liminal space between reality and illusion while their physical bodies mutate into monsters and Wilhelm Reich's mouth becomes a portal of orgone energy. For an earlier work—Mutagon II—I listened only to Sun Araw through the entire process, which resulted in the idea of the mirroring that occurs halfway through the book, a kind of melting dread that pops and snaps, smears and sludges much like the music itself. When I work on screenplays, though, I tend to prefer silence, at least until I get stuck. At that point, I'll listen to John Carpenter. He always saves me from the murkiness of my own thoughts.

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?)

JG: I write on a blue velvet sofa that I bought from someone on Craigslist. The sofa has spanned three states and many posteriors (or so I am told), for it possesses just the right amount of firm springy softness that allows me to sink into it, and be able to rise immediately if need be. If the sofa is being used, I write in a tiny bedroom filled with my daughter's toys—stuffed animals, a plastic kitchenette, a trampoline, little cups, children's books—and the presence of my daughter using her own tiny computer, repeating over and over to herself that she, "has to do some writing." Usually, though, she's just banging on the keys to no real end other than the act itself. I write on an Acer computer, because, when I chose to buy a new computer, I didn't have enough money for a Macbook, but the Acer has grown on me, has allowed me to write and for that, I'm grateful. I also have a damaged black notebook that I received from one of my students. I use it to plan out ideas. I write with a Uni-ball Vision Needle pen. Its precision compensates for all my inadequacies.

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

JG: I would gladly share a cup or two of black coffee at the Double R Diner with Special Agent Dale Cooper.

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

JG; I lived outside of the USA for ten years—one year in South Korea, six years in Japan, and three years in China. I would like to visit Connecticut, Maine, Virginia, Guam, and certain parts of Los Angeles, namely Los Feliz, Silverlake, and Burbank, but really, I'll go anywhere for the right kind of work.

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

JG: Eyes of a Stranger (1981) exceeded my expectations in every way. I was genuinely frightened and intellectually satisfied. It's a cat-and-mouse thriller for horror lovers, especially those among us who appreciate a good slasher. Herbert's a real human monster. Also, that ending—man, it uses silence and vision (or lack thereof) in such an effective way. I've been wanting to re-watch it ever since, but won't watch it at night. I don't trust the locks on my house.


Jamie Grefe is the author of the DECKER: CLASSIFIED novelization (with Tim Heidecker and Gregg Turkington), Domo ArigaDIE!!! (Rooster Republic Press), The Mondo Vixen Massacre (Eraserhead Press) and more. He is currently earning his MFA in Creative Writing degree through New England College. He's on the web at:

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Scares That Care Weekend

This weekend is Scares That Care! And I’ll be there!

(That rhymed. I didn’t intend for this to be a rhyming post. Consider that a bonus, I guess.)

Anyway, if you’re plan to be anywhere near Williamsburg, VA this weekend, stop in and say hi. I’ll be the guy in the horror t-shirt.

Eraserhead Press will be there too, with copies of SuperGhost on hand for me to defile sign. If you're so inclined.

(Damn. Did it again.)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

20Q7A: An interview with Violet LeVoit

It's Wednesday! It's time for 20 Questions, 7 Answers! It's time for books with naughty titles! It's time for Violet LeVoit!

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

VL: My next book to hit the shelves will be I MISS THE WORLD, published by King Shot Press of Portland, Oregon. It's different because I hate plays, but this could more easily become a play than anything else I've ever written. It's one long dialogue between a brother and a sister chatting as they stroll the grounds of Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles. Technically, nothing happens in the hour they're talking, but you know that's a lie. It's my attempt at a Nicholson Baker novel.

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?

VL: Some stories hit their groove once I find the song that greases their creation, but some are best written in silence.. I've written stories to “Amplifier” by the dBs, “Baby's On Fire” by Brian Eno, and “Amerika” by Rammstein. In fact, I only permit myself to listen to Eurythmics's “Somebody Told Me”, “I Could Give You (A Mirror)”, “Jennifer”, and “This Is The House” when I'm writing. All my non-fiction deadlines are to the tune of “In Motion” by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. I like all of the above in my non-writing life, too.

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

VL: I’d like to see a true desert – maybe the Australian outback.

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

VL: Alan Davis's run on Excalibur, Bill Sienkiewicz's run on New Mutants, and Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud.

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

VL: The Japanese believe than any object that reaches one hundred years old attains a soul. Since one hundred years puts us at about a 1915 birthday, I'd like to be a well-protected reel of nitrate film.

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?)

VL: I sit on a couch with a laptop on my lap, with the wifi turned off because it's not good for your groin. I write in the early morning, sometimes as early as 4 am. That hour is precious because I can be left alone, and I can do the most important thing in the day first. Of course, sometimes I sleep at 4 am, too.

What's your secret?

VL: Without privacy there's no secrets, and without secrets there's no mystery, and without mystery there's no magic. I'd tell you, but if I knew where it comes from in myself there wouldn't be any pleasure in uncovering it, manuscript after manuscript.


Violet LeVoit is a writer and film critic whose work has appeared in numerous film, horror and bizarro anthologies. She is the author of the short short story collections  I AM GENGHIS CUM (2011) and I'LL FUCK ANYTHING THAT MOVES AND STEPHEN HAWKING (2014, both Fungasm Press). Her film criticism has appeared in the Baltimore City Paper,,,,, and THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK: MOVIES (Cassell Illustrated) among others. Originally from Baltimore, she now lives in Philadelphia.

Check out Violet's work here:
I'll Fuck Anything That Moves And Stephen Hawking @ Amazon
I Am Genghis Cum @ Amazon
Slave Stories: Scenes from the Slave State @ Amazon

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

20Q7A: An interview with Adam Cesare

Imagine being locked in a cell, deprived of proper nutrition, and given 20 questions...but only being allowed to answer 7 of them! Oh, the horror! Well, here's an interview with a guy who knows a little something about horror - author Adam Cesare...

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

AC: The Creature from the Black Lagoon. He’s the perfect combination of cool design and misunderstood monster. Story-wise the movie’s very close to King Kong, I guess, but the Creature’s a little less benign than Kong. I’m amazed that a remake’s never gotten off the ground (of the original or of Revenge of the Creature). In a post-Blackfish world it’s more contemporary than not.

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

AC: Pizza. Definitely pizza. And I think I may already be doing that “eat one food for the rest of your life” experiment. So I’ll probably be dead soon.

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?

AC: I listen to music when I write but I have specific requirements: it either has to be wordless like a film or video game score (I’ve been listening to It Follows, Only God Forgives and Outlast pretty non-stop recently) or it has to be something I’ve listened to enough that the lyrics don’t matter to me anymore.

When I’m not writing I try to digest new (or new to me) music. I like a lot of different things from stoner metal to Chris Isaak. My favorite band is the Drive-By Truckers.

What was your greatest Halloween costume?

AC: Not to toot my own horn, but I’ve had a few good ones. My favorite is Alice Cooper.

I think it was good for a lot of reasons: first being that I have kind of a long face that isn’t too far off from a Welcome to My Nightmare-era Alice. Secondly, I did that one in college and, since I went to college in Boston, I got to hop a train with my roommates and show off my costume in Salem. One of my better Halloweens, period.

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?)

AC: I don’t fetishize coffee on social media the way a lot of other writers do. But that’s only because coffee is no joke to me.

So, yup, there’s lots of coffee and I like to write in public as much as possible, libraries and coffee shops once the libraries are closed. I don’t write in public because I’m an exhibitionist with a precious notebook and a latte, but because I like to think that the people around me are ready to judge me if I’m not working as diligently as I should.

Twilight Zone or Outer Limits?

AC: If we were going original series, toe-to-toe, I would go Twilight Zone, easy.

But, if we’re including later incarnations, for nostalgia and “it’s what I grew up on” sake, I’m going to choose the mid-90s version of The Outer Limits that aired on Showtime. Thinking about it now it definitely benefitted from two things: a) it was clearly meant to be an X-files competitor/rip-off and b) it was early pay-cable original programming and seemed like it needed to compete with Tales from the Crypt for its blood/nudity quotient.

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

AC: It’s called Mercy House and it fits way more into the extreme horror genre than most of my other stuff. Which was fun for me, I like to try out new subgenres and push myself. It’s about a mysterious outbreak in an old folk’s home that changes the residents into monsters.


Adam Cesare is a New Yorker who lives in Philadelphia. He studied English and film at Boston University.

His work has been featured in numerous publications, including Shroud Magazine. His nonfiction has appeared in Paracinema, Fangoria, The LA Review of Books and other venues.

His novels and novellas are available in ebook and paperback from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all other fine retailers.

You should buy some.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

20Q7A: An interview with Stephen Graham Jones

I asked Stephen Graham Jones 20 Questions. He answered 7 of them - Not because he's a jerk (he's not - I swear), but because that's the format of this interview series. Anyway, enjoy...

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

​SGJ: Cody Mingus. Stephen Reiter. Both of which are students I've known. One of those names I've already used. The other I've got permission to—for me, not a character. Who knows. Might have to do it here soon. ​ 

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

​SGJ: A lot more pirate shirts.​ And I'd always tuck my pants into my boots. Also, my pants would probably also be breeches. 

What was your greatest Halloween costume?

SGJ: ​Zombie cheerleader, female. Competed in a contest where we each had twenty seconds to 'be' our costume. So I faked a cheer-routine, then did the splits. Had to wrap and ice my thigh for six weeks afterward. But I won that contest.​ 

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

SGJ: ​That burned-black edges of beef brisket.​ Or burned neck roast from a white tail. In junior high one of my friends smuggled some of that to school in some foil—he'd stole it from his dad's lunchbox, I think—and we ate it in the halls all day. Some of the best eating I've ever had. But, the best meat ever? Shark on a stick at a Renaissance festival. Still, though, those burned-black brisket edges, man. They're right up there with the crumbs you can get at Long John Silver's. Which I once lived on for about three months, in the good old days. 

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

​SGJ: Aliens, definitely. I mean, a ghost, really, that's just an apparition, pretty much, and I've never quite keyed into the clown-phobia thing. But aliens, man. I shouldn't even be saying this. They're probably monitoring my stuff. ​Which is narcissism charading as paranoia, sure. But none of that matters when you're out somewhere lonely, and the sky's so open and empty above you. Once, running around barefoot on Air Force Academy land, I found some crop-circled grass out in a lost meadow. Which was cool and scary enough. But then there was also a perfectly severed front leg of a deer there too. Such a clean cut. In high school, coming home one night—this is West Texas—I have this clear memory of me and a friend driving in my truck down this one road, 1120. And I remember looking into the rearview, and it was all lights. At first I thought it was cops, but then they were high up and coming in fast, and too wide besides, so I thought plane, some crazy plane with more colored lights than make sense, some plane emergency-landing on the lonely road behind us. And then that memory just snips off. 

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

SGJ: ​The moon. So long as I had really good vision. I want to watch what bears do when we're not around. I want to see large impossible shadows skating just under the surface of the big lakes. I want to see Bigfoot. But I'd be the kind of moon like in Conway Twitty's "I Don't Know a Thing About Love," ​who just hangs there above. "I just watch from the sky." We all want to be Uatu, yes? I mean, Uatu, he knows why we went bipedal, he knows how many times we left Africa, he knows whether we hunted or starved or mated the Neanderthals into extinction. He saw the last mammoth mire down in Siberia, and, those shadows I want to track just under the surface of the water? He knows them by name. But I can't be Uatu in this question. He's not inanimate. The moon, though. I'd be the moon, if I got to see cool stuff. And also if I could read books over people's shoulders. Because there's probably a lot of downtime, up there. 

What's your secret?

​SGJ: I don't partake of any reality television. Or any of those contest-talent shows. ​If I'm watching Jeopardy, I always mute that part where Trebek 'interviews' the players about their backgrounds and interests. Because that's a gateway. If I start caring about them instead of the facts, the information, the knowledge, then I'm already losing. I might as well just sit down on a couch, dig that remote up from the cushions, aim it right into my temple and pull the trigger.


Stephen Graham Jones has fifteen novels out, and six story collections. The most recent is After the People Lights Have Gone Off (Dark House Press). Next is Mongrels (Morrow). Stephen's been the recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Fiction and has won the Texas Institute of Letters Jesse Jones Award for Fiction, the Independent Publishers Award for Multicultural Fiction, the This is Horror Award, and he's made Bloody Disgusting's Top Ten Novels of the Year. Stephen was raised in West Texas. He lives in Boulder, Colorado now, with his wife and children.