If you haven't already done so, please stop by Pulp Modern Flash and check out C.W.Blackwell's story, "Memories of Fire." If you dig it (and, I know you will), let C.W. know in the comments section. C.W. Blackwell is one of, if not the, top writers in the indie scene today. If anybody in New York has half a brain, they'll sign this guy real soon.
All living creatures must evolve in order to survive. Can a
fiction digest be a living thing? Who the hell knows. Point I’m getting at
here: Pulp Modern is going to go through some changes. This is nothing
new with Pulp Modern. Almost the entire first volume was an exercise in
constant exploration and experimentation. Maybe that was Pulp Modern’s
time in college or something. Since the launch of the second volume in 2017
with Richard Krauss taking over as art director, the journal has quietly
evolved from the use of altered public domain images to accompany stories to
original art thanks to Ran Scott and several others. Well, it’s time to evolve
First order of business: pay the writers more. Not much. Writers of
standard short stories will now earn twenty-five dollars. It’s still not
professional, I know, but I’m still not a millionaire and I’m still paying for
this out of my pocket (with help from my wife and from Richard as well). This
means competition will get a little fiercer for writers looking to appear in
the digest. That’s good for everyone, however.
In addition to fiction, Pulp
Modern will now include non-fiction articles and poems. Pay will not be as
significant for those contributions, however. On a side note, I am working on
bringing back the Patreon account for Pulp Modern, so if we can raise
sufficient funds, these numbers will change, all to the benefit of contributors
(I have never made a profit off Pulp Modern and I’m not concerned with
doing so any time in the near future; Pulp Modern exists as a platform for truly
marginalized voices—the voices of great, independent writers).
As if this news isn’t exciting enough, we are also starting
a flash fiction site on the Internet, Pulp Modern Flash. We will publish
(roughly) one new story a week (similar to Beat to a Pulp and the
original All Due Respect site, back in the day). As with the fiction
digest, all the major pulp genres are welcome (Crime/Noir, horror, science fiction,
fantasy, adventure, and western). While there is no financial compensation at
this point for the flash site, we will, from time to time, compile and publish
collections of stories from the site and authors will be paid if their work is
included (and, again, if the Patreon account ever produces decent funds, the
numbers here will change as well).
Please see the guidelines (you have to scroll to the bottom
of the page for the Pulp Modern Flash guidelines) for all the
I have started a YouTube channel called Alec Cizak Television for your enjoyment. I read from my work as well as the work of other writers. I have links to other videos on YouTube I was involved with in some way. I have also created a playlist to serve as a virtual drive-in movie theater. If you can broadcast YouTube on your television, you can click on this playlist at night and enjoy just over three hours' entertainment. I will be switching out the movies once a week. By the way, this week's movies are Day the World Ended and Xtro. The first feature is family-friendly, the second is more grindhouse oriented. I will switch the movies (and previews, cartoons, etc.,) every Saturday, so look to make this your new lockdown tradition! Also, I'll post my own content on a regular basis, so make sure you check back. My wife and I are, additionally, creating a short little television series. Look for the first episode of that to be on the channel in the next couple of weeks.
We've spent a lot of time in lockdown putting together the new issue of Pulp Modern. Ran Scott is working hard on the illustrations while Richard Krauss and I make last minute adjustments to the text and layout. This issue also features a wonderful cover by Rick McCollum. The biggest stars of the show, as always, are the writers. Here's who you can look forward to reading in the new issue:
ANDREW BOURELLE "DOC" CLANCY TIMOTHY FRIEND ADAM S. FURMAN NILS GILBERTSON PETER W.J. HAYES SERENA JAYNE MANDI JOURDAN VICTORIA WEISFELD
Anyone interested in reading more about the Drifter Detective, feast your reading eyes on the latest issue of Mystery Magazine Weekly. My lengthy DD story "The Don Juan of Eldorado" is the cover story. They did a wonderful job illustrating it. You won't be disappointed!
The holidays are here. Time to buy presents for your friends who read books. I got all your needs met. Let's start with a double-shot of Tech Noir. Switchblade Magazine came up with this project and ended up with an overflow of great stories. Editor Scotch Rutherford split the stories into two camps and sent one over to Pulp Modern. The result is the best thing since Marvel Team Up. You need both issues. If you're an Alec Cizak fan (and, by the way, thanks if you are!), you need both issues. I put together the editorial talent responsible for the PM issue and I have a story called "Post-Biological Stress Disorder" in the Switchblade edition. Get them both. Read them. And review them.
If you didn't get the memo, ABC Group Documentation published a collection of my horror stories (weird fiction is the more appropriate term, but outside of the pulp fiction community, few people know that term) called Lake Count Incidents. It's gotten great reviews so far. It's worth reading, trust me. It has some adult material, but nothing gratuitous.
If you missed Pulp Modern, Volume Two, Issue Four, shame on you. Both PM issues released this year were fully illustrated. Folks are picking up on the fact that this is a stellar issue. Buy it. Read it. Review it.
I also had short stories in Tough 2 and Switchblade #11. These two journals
have taken over as the premiere crime fiction journals of the contemporary age. As a side note, the original All Due Respect blog is making a comeback thanks to Chris Rhatigan and David Nemeth. That means there will be three solid markets for crime fiction writers (and they all pay).
Remember: You could spend your hard-earned Christmas money on corporate-approved fiction that takes NO chances. You could read the same thing, manufactured over and over again, just given a slightly different title and a slightly different cover, and feel safe and comfortable because you know there won't be any surprises, won't be anything that challenges the worldview the corporate media has pounded into your head and convinced you reflects your actual opinions and experiences...OR, you can read something that will remind you you're alive because it will shock you, offend you, rock you right out of your safe space and send your pulse into hyper-drive. Independent fiction like the journals mentioned here are the last gasp of free expression. No other medium is working as hard to challenge the status quo. And if art doesn't challenge the status quo, what the fuck is the point?
If you haven't checked out the submission guidelines at the Uncle B. Publications website, you may not be aware I am editing a charity anthology titled NAPTOWN NOIR. The proceeds will go to the Indiana Literacy Association. It is my belief that nothing liberates like literacy. With few exceptions, I can't think of a more important social cause.
For those who don't know, Naptown is the nickname jazz artists gave to Indianapolis in the 1930s and 40s, when America's music still ruled the world. Indianapolis was a major stopover between the South and Chicago. Near what is now MLK and Indiana Avenue, a thriving jazz scene existed during this period. All the greats stopped in Indy and played there. As the country turned its back on jazz in favor of the more simplistic rock and roll sounds hustled to the youth, the jazz scene in Indy, and the rest of the country, for that matter, died down. By the way, Indy does have a wonderful jazz club today near Broad Ripple. It's called the Jazz Kitchen and I suggest a visit should you spend any time in Indianapolis.
So, what am I looking for? I am not interested in stories filled with gratuitous violence, sex, or foul language. It's not that there isn't a place for such things in crime fiction, this just happens to not be such a place. Remember the old James Cain novellas, how he flew very adult topics in just under the radar? That's what I'd like to see. I am not interested in mysteries, whodunnits, or police procedurals. I am looking for CRIME FICTION. Think Jim Thompson or Elmore Leonard. I am also not looking for stories beating readers over the head with some sort of message (even if I myself am often guilty of doing so!).
Finally, there must be an Indianapolis element of the story that demonstrates the writers knows Indy well. You don't have to be from Indianapolis, but you certainly need to study the town and its history. I will spot a Chicago or L.A. story 'fixed' to sound like a Naptown story from a mile away. Do your homework.
I look forward to reading submissions as they arrive.
The special edition of Pulp Modern, Tech Noir, is now available on Kindle from Amazon. Don't forget to buy the companion issue from Switchblade (it started as a Switchblade project that Pulp Modern eventually got involved with). The Pulp Modern issue features unbelievable art by Ran Scott and, as always, outstanding art direction by Richard Krauss.
As previously mentioned, Lake County Incidents is available in both print and kindle editions. This is my contribution to the great line of horror anthologies that influence me, including Dark Forces, King's Night Shift, Bierce's Can Such Things Be?, and Campbell's Alone with the Horrors (contains some of the scariest f'ing stories ever written). Most of the stories in this book were written after Scott Parker shamed me a bit on social media, saying he'd never written anything that couldn't appear on television. I took that as a challenge to write stories that pack the same punch my noir stories do, only without the excessive profanity you'll find in my crime fiction. I like the idea of flying challenging ideas under the radar like that. This is a book meant to be enjoyed by anyone from about 14 to 104 years old.
Some of you may have noticed an announcement regarding Uncle B. Publications moving into the field of book publishing. Here are some projects lined up for the next year or so:
David Cranmer and I have been discussing putting together a single volume of all the Drifter Detective novellas and stories. Look for that to be one of the first non-Pulp Modern releases from Uncle B.
I'm working on a collection of novellas with a couple of other writers from Los Angeles. Don't want to give too much away, but my contribution to that volume could never be shown on television...
I will be putting together a Naptown Noir anthology of crime stories that take place in my hometown, Indianapolis. Proceeds will go to an Indiana literacy charity.
I will also be putting together two rock and roll anthologies -- one will be a collection of stories inspired by the music of David Bowie. The other will be called Now There Was a Story!, in which the songs on the Johnny Cash album, Now There Was Song!, are turned into stories. Those will also be charity volumes, the charities as of yet to be determined.
If any of these anthology projects sound interesting to you, contact me and we'll talk further.
William Wallace was a big supporter of my work. I contributed a story to the charity anthology Deadlines: A Tribute Anthology called "Las Vegas Foot Massage." There are many familiar names in this anthology (if you're down with the underground, that is). It's sitting there on Amazon with no reviews and that's truly criminal. Open your wallet for a good cause, read the book, and leave a review.
I'm pleased to have my flash fiction piece "Temporarily Embarrassed Millionaires" at Flash Fiction Offensive. Thanks to Jesse, Beau, Jim, and Mick (and anyone else involved) for keeping that site running.
First of all, in case you missed the news, Pulp Modern has returned:
Despite the best efforts of the feds and corporate publishing stooges to prevent it from happening, Pulp Modern returns with a vengeance. Featuring brand new fiction by Rex Weiner, Russell Thayer, C.W. Blackwell, Albert Tucher, Matthew X. Gomez, Scott Forbes Crawford, Adam S. Furman, Adam S. House, and S. Craig Renfroe Jr. Issue four marks a return to Pulp Modern's roots with original illustrations by Ran Scott, Alfred Klosterman, Dan W. Taylor, Rick McCollum, and Brian Buniak. The stories begin with a wild L.A. trip courtesy Rex Weiner, the man responsible for Ford Fairlane, and travel the gamut of crime before shifting to sword and sorcery, science fiction, and closing with a pair of brutal rural horror stories. Get a glimpse of the future of genre fiction, get a copy of the latest edition of Pulp Modern. Edited, as always, by Alec Cizak and designed by Richard Krauss and featuring the cartooning genius of Bob Vojtko.
As if today weren't awesome enough, here's the big cover reveal for my collection of horror stories, Lake County Incidents, to be released real soon by ABC Group Documentation:
Summer's here and the time is right for readin' in the streets!
Remember to read and review these books on Amazon so this fucking movement gets to where it needs to be!
I've got some nice publishing notices I'll reveal more about in the near future. I've also got a collection of weird fiction coming soon called Lake County Incidents. The stories take place in three small towns I invented that sit in northern Indiana, just below Gary. Should be here just in time for your summer reading pleasure (and nightmares).
I've been working for nearly a year and a half on the final book in the accidental trilogy that started with Down on the Street and continued with Breaking Glass. Not sure why the last book has taken so long, but the good news is I finished the rough draft and will begin with the wonderful work of revising it when summer starts.
One of the things I do to keep my writing skills sharp is write flash fiction pieces that force me to consider what's actually important in a story. I just had a piece published over at Flash Fiction Offensive called "Progress." I feel it's the kind of story that would have given Hitchcock a nice chuckle. Many thanks to Jesse, Beau, and Jim, the editors at FFO, for making sure this excellent venue continues. There are certain places I will always enjoy sending work to, and FFO is one of them.
Shouldn't take you but a second to read and if you've got what uptight, polite society calls a sick sense of humor, you should enjoy it.
Been a long time. For those of you desperate to know what's going on in the life of a super-duper underground writer, here's an update:
December, 2018: Due to work reasons, had to move from Montana back to Florida. Packed up everything into a U-haul trailer and drove with my (then) girlfriend across the country, experiencing a delightful variety of dangerous road conditions. It was quite an adventure. I was grateful not to be alone for the journey.
Just before heading to my hometown, Indianapolis, for Christmas, I got word that a woman helping me search for my biological parents had tracked down my biological father. Quite astounding. I met him and two of my step-sisters while in Indy. Very amazing to meet my genetic tribe.
Shortly after returning to Florida (on Valentine's Day, to be exact), I proposed to my girlfriend on the beach and she said yes. We got married fourteen days later.
As for writing and publishing, at some point here my collection of macabre stories, Lake County Incidents, should be available from ABC Group Documentation.
Richard Krauss and I continue making improvements to Pulp Modern. The next issue is being slowly built, month by month, with single-day submission windows. We're working with a few artists to bring original artwork to the journal. If you haven't been around to visit Pulp Modern lately, now's the time to correct that. Issue four should be available in the summer.
I'm putting the finishing touches on the rough draft to the final book in the "Unholy Trilogy," this time featuring the title of a song from my favorite Lou Reed-associated work, the unbelievable Velvet Underground record Loaded (hipsters probably hate this record, I think it's fucking brilliant. Not one bad song from beginning to end. The older I get, the closer that record inches to the number one spot on my Top 10 Records of All Time list). Unlike Breaking Glass, this book is a bit of a return to the hardboiled style of Down on the Street. It's got some Magical Realism going on and, thanks to Bob Kraft's Excellent Adventures at a Florida massage parlor, has become rather topical. It probably won't be available for at least another year, though.
I'll have some short story and flash fiction publication announcements to make soon. In April, for instance, I'll be at Flash Fiction Offensive with a nasty little piece called "Progress."
After a long battle with createspace, Pulp Modern Volume Two Issue Three is finally available in print. Maybe I'm paranoid (i.e., Having all the facts, according to the late William Burroughs), but it's awful strange an issue that begins with a plea for people to understand and defend freedom of speech would not only get harassed by the gatekeepers at createspace and amazon, but would, out of the blue, warrant the IRS to suddenly look into my taxes. I make about 11,000 dollars a year (thanks, higher education!). I'm living in extreme poverty. Why the fuck is the IRS wasting your tax dollars looking into mine? It's because our corporate overlords are scared shitless of free speech. If they can convince the status quo that free speech is some nefarious right wing practice, they can do what they want to the masses without fear of criticism or, more importantly, retaliation.
Just a reminder -- my novel BREAKING GLASS is now available. Twice it's been compared to work by Hubert Selby Jr. While it is a bit depressing, my accidental sense of humor, hopefully, will help you get through the book (and, in an odd way, I think the book is uplifting -- no matter what you may think of the end, it does represent a positive, empowering change in the life of the protagonist, Down on the Street's Chelsea Farmer).
Your chance to see/hear me live is coming up in several places. I'll be reading at Shakespeare and Co. this coming Wednesday at 7pm. Scotch Rutherford, the man responsible forSwitchblade magazine, tells me he's set up a reading I'll be participating in a reading on September 27 in Los Angeles at the Fremont library branch (which is perfect -- when I still lived in L.A., I was able to read the bulk of Jim Thompson's books because the L.A. library system is amazing). And, if you haven't seen the ads for it, I'll be hosting a Noir @ the Bar in Missoula on October 11.
Well, it's been a long journey, but Breaking Glass is now available for sale. The book picks up a year after the events of Down on the Street, following the journey of Chelsea Farmer as she attempts to climb out of hell and take control of her own life. It takes place during the summer of 2016, in the heat of that awful election, which constantly lurks in the background of Chelsea's world.
Breaking Glass is the third full-on novel I've written and the first to actually be published. I wrote it during the first half of 2017 and finished it just before the #metoo movement started, which was a happy accident (well, not happy for anyone groped, fondled, or otherwise abused by powerful people).
I hope you buy, read, and review the book. Even if you don't like it, still review it and tell people what you didn't like about it (there's been some talk lately about negative reviews -- every writer knows what's wrong with his or her work, so if the reviewer is honest and is pointing out genuine problems with a book, there's no reason anyone should be upset with a negative review).
In the meantime, take a look at my story over at Tough.
Been a long time. Here's some shit you may need to know to keep up with your Alec Cizak fandom:
Sad news from the Freedom of Speech front -- Some of you may know I host a radio show called Drive-in Radio on Tuesday nights on a college station in Missoula. Well, I started a talk show for Friday mornings in the beginning of this year. I co-hosted the show with my girlfriend and another DJ who hosts a punk rock show on Friday nights. We talked about politics and popular culture and learned very quickly that for every possible thing you can say on the radio, there's at least one moron out there who will get offended by it. The show was stalked by self-righteous indignation junkies from the beginning and finally, a few weeks ago, the outrage addicts won the battle and the students in charge of the radio station banned the morning show. Ironically, the show that compelled them to go ahead and trample our First Amendment rights was a show about...wait for it...wait for it... Freedom of Speech! You can't make this stuff up, folks!
In better news, Breaking Glass, my first full-fledged novel to be actually published is coming very soon (probably late July / early August). Breaking Glass tells the story of what happened to Chelsea Farmer after her ordeal in Down on the Street. Please spread the word, read the book, and leave a review at Amazon.
Pulp Modern, volume two, issue three, should be available by the beginning of July.
If you can't wait to get your Alec Cizak fix, you may check out the following journals, which recently published short stories of mine:
Switchblade Magazine, which is quickly filling the void left by the absent Thuglit, published a very nasty story of mine called "Nasty Habits." This story deals with a subject most journals won't go near. That's, of course, what makes the underground scene so vital. Buy the journal. Read it. Review it.
Just this week, Horror Bites, a journal available on kindle only, published a weird fiction story of mine called "Broke." Buy it. Read it. Review it.
In the coming months I'll have a story at EconoClash Review and a few other places.
ALSO: ABC Group Documentation will publish a collection of my weird fiction later this year called Lake County Incidents. If you like your horror refined and thought-provoking, this one'll be your huckleberry!
Grant Jerkins is what a literary writer should be: An alchemist of empathy. The short stories in this collection introduce us to characters we know exist all around us, and, in some cases, characters who reflect exactly who WE are. There's the woman embarrassed by having to pay for groceries with her EBT card, parents dealing with the horror of a child in danger of dying from disease, a quiet pervert whose inability to communicate in a "normal" manner turns him (I assume it's a him) into a stalker, a wife who discovers her husband is cheating in a most oddball manner, and a husband dealing with a wife who hoards remarkably useless things. This is not middle-class literary fiction, this is not naval-gazing. The people who populate Grant's stories are, in spite of their very human construction, dealing with situations that border on (and sometimes surpass) extraordinary situations. This is why these stories work--the human element is there, and so is that tiny step beyond reality, into fiction, required to make a short story worth reading. I made my way through this collection rather quickly because, like all good writers, Grant has taken the time to craft readable prose and stories capable of holding the reader's interest. This isn't a book you read before bedtime, it's not going to put you to sleep. This is a book you read to remind yourself that, while we are all born alone and we will all die alone, in the meantime, we are all, in one way or another, suffering, and this single fact should be the one thing that brings us together. It doesn't, of course. Humans, while capable of tremendous beauty, are basically idiots. Books like A Scholar of Pain, however, grant (no pun intended) us a brief reprieve, where we're reminded our squabbles with our neighbors, ultimately, mean nothing.
Alec Cizak is a writer and filmmaker. His work has appeared in several journals and anthologies. His most recent novel, Breaking Glass, is available from ABC Group Documentation. He is the editor of the fiction journal, Pulp Modern.
Mr. Cizak's first collection of weird fiction/horror stories. Available now from ABC Group Documentation.
Follow Chelsea Farmer's journey out of hell!
DOWN ON THE STREET
Mr. Cizak's tender novella about a cabbie who decides to become a pimp
The most prophetic book ever written!
Mr. Cizak's classic collection of crime stories from the Golden Age of the online pulp fiction movement
Between Juarez and El Paso
Mr. Cizak's contribution to the Drifter Detective series.
The very BEST pulp fiction by the very BEST contemporary writers.