Cover Reveal: How to Successfully Kidnap Strangers

My next book will be a short novel called How to Successfully Kidnap Strangers. It’s about a bizarro small press reacting badly to a blogger who constantly targets their books with negative reviews. It’s being released this April by Bizarro Pulp Press, the weird fiction imprint of Journalstone.

Mark it as “to-read” on Goodreads here.

Now take a look at Matthew Revert’s cover design:

strangers cover

1. Do not respond to bad reviews.

2. If you must respond to bad reviews, please do not kidnap the reviewer.

3. If you must kidnap the reviewer, do not kidnap him in a public area.

4. If there are witnesses, do not also kidnap them.

5. If you also kidnap the witnesses, consider quitting crystal meth.

6. If you find yourself surrounded by hostages, purchase extra duct tape.

7. Do not let the hostages take their own hostages.

8. Invest in better coffee.

9. Don’t forget: dildo crucifixes have more than one use.

10. And, most importantly: do not engage the severed heads in conversation.

The Mind is a Razorblade Awarded “Best Pulp Fiction Novel in the Universe”

Okay, well maybe not the entire universe. I’m sure there’s some crazy shit going down in the Cigar Galaxy. But hey, this is still pretty cool. Dark Corners, a quarterly magazine specializing in “hardboiled, noir, sci-fi, fantasy, and western fiction” recently launched their own awards called the “Golden Goodis”.

“David Goodis, as I’m sure you know, was a great pulp writer working from the late 30s to the 60s and releasing a slew of crime novels. Before that, he worked for the pulps, writing up to 10,000 words a day at times. He was one of us, one of the best of us.” — DC’s Facebook

Dark Corners announced many different categories, such as Best Noir Novel, Best Western, etc. But there’s one category I’d like to talk about in this blog post, for reasons that should be clear in the article title. And that would be Best Pulp Fiction, an award that goes to a novel and novella released this year capturing that pulp spirit: adventurous, fun, brave and unexpected.

The Mind is a Razorblade won Best Novel, and Phil Beloin Jr’s Revenge is a Redhead won Best Novella.

10877505_10202720080717680_1976945956_n

I’m thrilled to hear this. I know this magazine is still pretty new, so most people might sigh and roll their eyes at the idea of them creating their own end-of-the-year awards, but if you’ve read their magazine, then you already know these people know their shit when it comes to crime fiction. So yeah. Hearing this was pretty fucking cool. I look forward to next year’s Golden Goodis Awards.

So thanks, Dark Corners. I’m glad you dug my little book.

Upcoming Appearance at the New Braunfels Public Library (January 4th)

I’ll be doing a presentation at the New Braunfels Public Library on January 4, 2015, with other local artists, Lori Michelle, Joe McKinney, Karen Kinna, and Robin Hinnen. The event is targeted at authors who have recently finished a manuscript. I’m sure the majority of those attending will be NaNoWriMo authors.

Got a manuscript sitting around? Not sure what the next step is? Writers of all ages are welcome to attend this special event to learn more about editing and publishing a manuscript.

I believe we will each talk for about ten minutes, and then do a Q&A together. It will last from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM. I have no idea what I am going to say, as I loathe public speaking, but hey, it comes with the job, so I’m just going to have to get used to it.

Now What Flyer Large-page-001See ya there!

The James Bond Conspiracy

One of my earliest memories is shitting my pants inside a Blockbuster Video. I don’t know how old I was. Maybe four or five. I was sick and my father dragged me inside the store while him and my brother searched for GoldenEye on VHS. I was standing in the middle of the store, knowing I was about to shit my pants, yet desperately hoping it wasn’t true, clinging on to denial, pretending I could hold it in until we got home. Then something warm started sliding down my leg, more liquid than solid.

This is one of the most horrifying memories of my childhood. It’s also the first thing I think of whenever someone mentions James Bond.

So thanks for that, Internet.

Many things were leaked from the Sony hacks. One of those leaks happened to be emails from Sony execs considering Idris Elba for the role of James Bond. Even if you don’t recognize Idris’s name, you’d definitely recognize his face.

Idris-Elba

He played Stringer from The Wire and some character in Luther, I forget which one. If you’ve seen either of these shows (or the many movies he’s been in), then it’s kind of easy to see him as the next James Bond. The dude is suave as fuck and he’s a complete badass. He is everything I want in my James Bond.

He very well may play the next Bond, but there’s really no way to tell, now is there? But maybe now that everyone already knows about the idea, and the majority of fans are making their approval loud and enthusiastic, Hollywood may decide it wouldn’t be such a risk, making James Bond black. In fact, it might be very profitable.

25a781ac

Of course, not everybody’s on board. You have your share of racists and bigots. You have Rush Limbaugh, who basically gets paid to be a piece of shit. He’s recently made some comments about Idris Elba possibly playing James Bond. Unsurprisingly, he’s not a fan of the idea. Also unsurprisingly, people still continue to care about what Limbaugh says. The man is a buffoon. It’s his job to be a racist asshole, so obviously that’s what he’s going to be, because we continue to let that kind of attitude rile us up. It’s profitable and he knows that.

The main argument that the racists-disguising-themselves-as-diehard-fans are making is James Bond has always been a white man; therefore, to suddenly change the color of his skin (and also not make him Scottish) would somehow damage the canon of the films and books. Under this logic, all actors who have ever played Bond should have been a) white and b) Scottish. This logic falls apart when you examine the very first person to ever portray Bond, Barry Nelson, an American actor who starred in the 1954 version of Casino Royale. White, yes, but Scottish? And shit, what about Daniel Craig? Is he Scottish? No? It’s weird, then, that Limbaugh never threw a fit about Craig. It’s almost as if he hates black people. But that would be insane, right?

James Bond is a fictional character. These books and films are fiction. The color of a character’s skin does not limit the enjoyment of its viewer unless the viewer already has issues caused from being a terrible human being. I don’t even want Idris to be the new James Bond because of his skin color. Yes, that would be a great step forward for Hollywood, that’s very true. But personally? I just think he would kick ass at the role. And if a bunch of assholes want to prevent this from happening because they can’t get over their own racism, then that’s just depressing.

“Sean Connery wasn’t the Scottish James Bond, and Daniel Craig wasn’t the blue-eyed James Bond, so if I played him, I don’t want to be called the black James Bond.” — Idris Elba

And if he is hired for the role, this will further support the James Bond fan theory I’ve always wanted to be true. I first heard about the theory a couple years ago, and I’ve always found it to be pretty brilliant. And, say, if it is true, then it adds a whole new layer of radness that already encompasses the world of James Bond.

all-the-bonds-this-fan-theory-explains-why-james-bond-never-grows-old

The theory goes like this:

What if “James Bond” wasn’t a person, but a codename? What if every actor who portrayed Bond was actually a different secret agent? A different human being altogether? The codename, “James Bond”, is passed on to each new agent as the previous one retires. This explains the significant personality differences between each actor and the obvious continuity errors throughout the series. It also explains why he never ages. You can read a more in-depth write-up of the theory over at House of Geekery. They do a good, thorough job of arguing for and against the idea.

I know it’s just a fan theory, and when you hold it up and really examine the details, it doesn’t work. But dammit, I can pretend it does, and it’s this pretending that lets me enjoy Bond films even more. So fuck it. The fan theory is true, Rush Limbaugh is garbage, and Idris Elba would be a great fucking James Bond.

I am not Mr. Doug

It’s 2:30 A.M., Christmas morning. I’m at the hotel, watching a movie. I hear someone walking around in the lobby, so I pause my laptop and go investigate.

There’s a man standing in the middle of the lobby, staring at the ceiling. He’s a big man, at least 250 pounds, but most likely much more. He’s wearing a black T-shirt and black underwear and nothing else. His hair goes down to the middle of his back and his beard sags to his massive gut.

I clear my throat and ask if I can help him with anything. He jumps, startled at my sudden presence, then mumbles something I can’t hear. I ask him to repeat what he said, and he stumbles toward me, saying, “Are you Mr. Doug?”

“Am I Mr. Doug?”

He nods. “Yes, are you Mr. Doug? You know, the Mr. Doug?”

“No. I…I am not Mr. Doug.”

“Oh, okay.” He pauses for a moment, then raises his hand and salutes me. “Thank you for your service, Mr. Doug.”

I return the salute and say, “You’re welcome, sir.”

He smiles and gets on the elevator.

Merry Christmas.

[LitReactor] I’m Dreaming of a Red Christmas: 7 Horror Books to Read Over the Holidays

My latest LitReactor column was published yesterday. It’s about kickass horror books with a Christmas theme. Maybe some of them you’ve read, some of them you haven’t. Maybe you don’t read books. Books are for nerds, after all. Fuck books. Anyone who reads is automatically an untrustworthy person. Do not associate yourself with readers. They will steal your shit. Your literal shit. They have pails and shovels and everything. It’s gross.

But anyway, here’s the article.

Murder All Fan Fiction Writers

It was recently announced that an author named Anna Todd has sold her debut novel for six-figures. Actually, the article I read about it was posted months ago, but it’s being passed around online again like it’s recent news. The novel was published in October. There are already sequels. This woman’s life suddenly went from “posting shit on Wattpad in-between breaks from my day job” to “full-time professional novelist”. For most writers, this is a dream come true. Some of us would kill for this opportunity. It’s always great when an unknown breaks out into the big leagues. Especially younger writers, like Todd, who’s only 25 years-old. She has a very promising career ahead of her, if her books sell and continue to sell.

Yet, right now, people fucking hate this woman’s guts. You see, Anna Todd’s debut novel, After, isn’t your typical book. It’s actually One Direction fan fiction.

9781476792484_p0_v3_s260x420

As I mentioned previously, its origins come from the online writing community, Wattpad. Todd began writing it in installments she’d post on the website. It became popular. Really popular. Like, one-billion-readings popular. And now Simon & Schuster is publishing the series through its imprint, Gallery Books. Paramount Pictures has already purchased the screen rights.

People are outraged. Social media is blowing up with disbelief. Meanwhile, I’m just sitting here, scratching my head. I’m not confused about the publishing deal. No, that makes perfect sense. I’m just confused about the confusion. What did we expect to happen after the massive success of 50 Shades of Grey? Shit, E.L. James made $95 million from those. $95 fucking million.

Obviously there’s a market for erotic fan fiction. People want to read it. Maybe not you, maybe not even anyone you know. But there are readers. Publishers want to print books that they know will sell. It’s much easier taking a chance on a formula that’s already been proven to work than to randomly accept an original novel with no fan base and no gimmick. Thanks to Wattpad, Anna Todd already had a fan base. Thanks to  50 Shades of Grey, she already had a gimmick. A publisher sees that, they think hell yeah, let’s ride this fucker out. And Anna Todd, whether intentional or not, was smart. She took advantage of a market demanding material. She hopped aboard the fan fic train and commandeered the driver’s seat. I’m sure the book will need a lot of editing, since she’s just posted them online without much proofing, but the same can be said for pretty much any book before it’s gone through professionals.

Should we be upset at Todd? I don’t think so. I hear a lot of anger. Writers are jealous and pissed off. They think Simon & Schuster’s money is being wasted. Thanks to this Anna Todd, more talented writers just lost their chances of making it big. But that claim is kind of ridiculous. Simon & Schuster is a smart company. They’ve been around a very long time, and there’s a good reason for that. They know their shit. They know what readers want to read, and readers want erotic fan fiction.

10553527_572337906208714_8315009115226946522_n

Of course, I’m not talking about every reader. I’m assuming the majority of these readers are teenagers. But maybe I’m wrong, and hell, there’s nothing wrong with adults reading erotic fan fiction, either. Whatever keeps them entertained. Whatever keeps them reading, right?

All I’m saying is, it’s doubtful the same type of person who digs 50 Shades of Grey or Anna Todd’s After is going to love Toxicity or The Mind is a Razorblade. I don’t feel like I am having to compete with these authors. Our books share vastly different readerships.

People see news like this and they declare the novel is dead. They said the same shit about Twilight. They’ll always be saying it as long as books that don’t fit their preferences continue to get published. That is an ugly mindset. Look at it this way: my stepdaughter started off reading Twilight. It became a very popular book. It sparked an interest in reading that no other book had been able to do. Since then, she’s plowed through The Hunger Games, The Mortal Instruments, and whatever else that’s currently popular. As she grows older, we’ll move on to Stephen King, Elmore Leonard, James Ellroy, etc. Who knows? Our genres eventually evolve. The love of reading is what matters.

My point is, some books may seem horrible to you–most of them certainly seem horrible to me–but your tastes do not limit the enjoyment of other readers, and if you think they do, then you’re selfish. Readers are not bad people for reading things you find awful, and writers are not assholes for marketing to an already established audience.

Coffee Break: Andrew Jackson Jihad’s “Big Bird”

I’m afraid of the way that I live my life
I’m afraid of the way I don’t
I’m afraid of the things I wanna do but I won’t

I’m afraid of God
I’m afraid to believe
And I’m afraid of all the loved ones that I’ve made leave
I’m afraid that my dog doesn’t love me anymore

I’m afraid of the social laziness that let Kitty Genovese die
And I’m afraid of the mob mentality that makes otherwise normal people go blind
I’m afraid of the way the world works
And I’m afraid of the words in my notebooks
I’m afraid that you all know that I am a pervert

But the big red bird that lives under the city
Doesn’t give a damn about me
And it dies every night
By burning alive

I’m afraid of my grandfather’s cancer
And I’m afraid of my mom’s dying arm
I’m afraid that I’ve somehow caused my family harm
I’m afraid that the ones I love won’t have enough
I’m afraid that the ones I love won’t have enough

It’s harder to be yourself
Than it is to be anybody else
I wish I were a little less of a coward
But the big red bird that lives under the city
Doesn’t give a damn about me
And it dies every night
So I bought a knife
I am a knife

Jelly Donuts and Killer Logs: Twin Peaks Season One

I’ve been watching Twin Peaks on Netflix during my night shifts at the hotel. I tried to watch the show a few years ago, but I was spacing each episode out too widely, and ended up becoming lost every time I returned to it. This time I went through the first season in one week. I wrote down some thoughts. They contain spoilers. And…other things. Here:

  • That ended sooner than I expected. Netflix lists the series as 30 episodes long. Season one was only 8 episodes apparently, so the next season is going to be long as fuck.
  • I’ve been told by numerous “fans” that season two is awful. I hope these people are insane.
  • James looks like a kid I went to school with. He was an asshole.

vlcsnap-2010-10-29-18h49m28s154

  • The surrealism in this show is brilliant. The majority of the time it is so subtle it’s difficult to even catch on unless you’re holding it under a microscope. Other times, it’s blowing a hole in your face. But it’s not enough. I want more weird.
  • Speaking of weird, the soap drama that Lucy is always watching, Invitation to Love, is madness. Every time we’re given the gift of a new scene from this fictional show within a show, it feels like a perpetual motion machine of lunacy. This is the show I imagine that plays after the 11 minute title scene of Too Many Cooks.
  • I can’t watch this show while hungry. Every time Cooper eats a slice of pie or a donut, I die inside. Luckily, I’m nearly always drowning in coffee, so his constant coffee orgasms are tolerable.

twin-peaks-donuts

  • I like Cooper. He’s undeniably my favorite character of the show besides the Log Lady. Whoever shot him better pay with agonizing torture. Because seriously. Who the fuck shot Cooper?
  • If the Log Lady shot Cooper, I’ll shit myself.
  • If the Log Lady’s log shot Cooper, my shit will shit itself.
  • I want to hear more about these owls. Why am I not hearing more about these owls?
  • Can I pet these owls?
  • where are the owls

02-Owl-2-785x425

  • I hope we never find out who killed Laura Palmer. I have my suspicions. I don’t want to find out if I’m right or wrong. I want the mystery to live forever. If we find out who killed Laura, the show will lose its soul. Maybe that’s why it was cancelled. Please don’t tell me.
  • Okay, it was the log, wasn’t it?

enhanced-buzz-5066-1365463875-12