Friday, December 23, 2011


The first full year of All Due Respect saw quite a variety of stories.  I liked them all.  I wouldn't have published them if I didn't.  I'd like to point out a few that you may have missed, however:

The Absolutely Hardcore Fuck You Polite Society Award goes to Scotch Rutherford's Let's Make a Deal.  I'm willing to bet this one made a few readers flinch.  It was supposed to.  The greatest thing about this story is the fact that it could all happen.  That it probably has happened.  "Let's Make a Deal" represents, to me, the ideal modern crime story.  The independent spirit the Internet has infused in publishing makes it possible for daring stories such as this one to get an audience.  Thanks, Scotch, for sharing this slice of American hell with the rest of us.

For a lesson in voice, please see Copper Smith's Mutiny on the Pimp Wagon.  Like many of my favorite writers from this on-line community of crime and horror scribblers, Copper Smith doesn't publish nearly as much as I would like to see.  That just makes the appearances of his stories all the more special.

And in case I haven't brown-nosed Jodi MacArthur enough, let me remind those who read it and turn those who haven't on to it--Jodi's October offering at All Due Respect, Mantra, will absolutely mess with your head.  You will hear voices after you read it.  If you don't, you're probably already insane and shouldn't be reading this kind of fiction in the first place.  As with Copper Smith, Jodi's work doesn't appear nearly as often as I and everyone else familiar with her unique stories would prefer.

2012 should be, to say the least, interesting.  Things will kick off with a hell of a story by John Kenyon.  In April, Chris Rhatigan will take over editorial duties.  I know of a couple of good changes he plans to implement.  All things point to All Due Respect just getting better and better.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Pulp Modern Issue #2 Now Available at Createspace

This one is leaner, meaner, and two bucks cheaper.  Pulp Modern #2 is now available at Createspace (it will be up at Amazon within a week or so).  Happy Holidays.  Happy, murderous, bloody holidays!

Saturday, December 10, 2011


It's beginning to look a lot like a bloody, violent Christmas!  Pulp Modern #2 is on the way.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


I have taken to calling Matthew C. Funk the Voice of New Orleans.  I don't care if somebody else claims that title, I'm giving it to Mr. Funk.  Last year his story at All Due Respect won a Spinetingler Award for Best Short Story on the Web.  In a gesture of respect, Mr. Funk has been given the December spot for as many years as he prefers.  This year, he offers us a harrowing account of a crack junky trying to make sense of the madness his life has become since a football injury derailed his original goals.  Mr. Funk may have bettered even his award-winning "Times Past" from last year.  The story is called "Broken Play" and may just break your cold little heart!

By the way, look for another story by Matt Funk in the upcoming issue of Pulp Modern.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The lineup for Pulp Modern #2:















Look for issue number two in early December. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Latest Reviews of Pulp Modern

Here are a couple of ace reviews of PULP MODERN:

First, read what Elizabeth A. White has to say about the matter.

Then, head on over to Death by Killing and take in Chris Rhatigan's review.

Thanks to everyone who has participated in this process.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A genuine expert on MANIFESTO DESTINATION offers a fantastic review

Here's a review of MANIFESTO DESTINATION that demonstrates the reader really, really understood the characters:

Elmore Leonard is an alcoholic, depressed p.i. with a lot of baggage. And once his ex-girlfriend, Felicia, asks him to do some investigations things go from bad to worse. Fast.

The author could have written a typical, genre novel, but Cizak elevates Manifesto Destination into a class of its own. It's like Raymond Chandler with a healthy dose of A Clockwork Orange. In addition, the characters aren't merely stock villains and heroes. They are treated with a surprising and unexpected tenderness. Their motivations are clear, if misguided. Rather than being peopled by evil stereotypes, Cizak's seedy underbelly of Indianapolis is populated by hurt, sad, injured and frightened people. Elmore is possibly the most damaged of them all.

I'd very much like to read more.

"Fred," I will see to it that you get more to read.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

All Due Respect #17: MARIE SHIELDS

Something a little different this month.  Marie Shields provides us with three examples of flash fiction.  Gut-wrenching stories about abused women and one light-hearted story about a woman who turns things around.  Stop on over at All Due Respect and let her know what you think of her work.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


The  crime section for issue number two is filled.  Got lots of horror to go through and a few westerns.

Remember, there are no more official deadlines, so if you were planning on submitting a crime story, feel free.  It will be considered for a future issue.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Some Pulp Modern Updates

First of all, thanks to everyone who has helped sell this beast so far.  We need to sell lots, LOTS more so that the big dogs hear us beating down the doors!

The crime section for issue number two is just about full.  This time around I've gotten a lot of horror submissions and very few western submissions.  It's all good, as the kiddies say.  Issue one was crime heavy, this one can be horror heavy.

In excellent related news, Aldo Calcagno, who runs the site Powder Burn Flash, has been brought on board as an assistant editor to help me wade through the submissions and make sure I get issue two out there in time for the holidays.

I've made some minor adjustments to the basic description of Pulp Modern at the top of the guidelines page.  You might want to take a look.  Also, because of the number of submissions I've received, I'm going to abandon this idea of deadlines for each issue.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

PULP MODERN now available at AMAZON.COM

So, most people might be freaked out by going to the createspace site devoted only to Pulp Modern and nothing else.  It just doesn't feel right to them.  Would Oprah buy a book this way? they ask.  Good news, brothers and sisters.  Pulp Modern is now available at AMAZON.COM, where many normal people purchase reading material (among other things).  Please tell all your friends and loved ones and lovers and enemies that it is now 100% socially acceptable to buy and read Pulp Modern.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Jodi MacArthur is kind of like Stanley Kubrick.  She's a quality over quantity kind of artist.  Any time I see her name attached to a story, I know I'm about to read something special.  Jodi digs deep into the old gray matter to pull out images and ideas most of us are too timid to even attempt to put into words.  Her story MANTRA, which I am honored to feature this month at All Due Respect, is no different.  Just in time for Halloween, for the beautiful, sad days of autumn.  For the preamble to winter, death.  Is there any month more appropriate for a Jodi MacArthur story?  Me thinks not.  Read.  Enjoy.  Recover.  Read again.  Comment.  Attempt to see the world in a normal light afterwards.  Good luck and a great big thank you to Jodi for sharing this with us.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Not quite September 23, as planned, nor September 30, as predicated last week.  Pulp Modern Issue One is now available here.  This is where you should purchase the book.  It will eventually be available on Amazon, where hopefully those who buy now it will post a review to help sell it to all those folks out there who don't already know about it.

Thanks again to all the contributors and thanks in advance to everyone who will help make this a success.

By the way, if you are asked for a password, it should be:


If they ask for a password and that one doesn't work, please let me know ASAP.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A few thoughts on the future of publishing

I just wanted to throw a comparison out there and see if anyone agrees:

Is the publishing industry about to see a shift of power similar to the shift that happened in Hollywood in the late 60s and early 70s?  I speak of the taking over by directors.  For a brief time, suits and ties were not making decisions in Hollywood based entirely on "the bottom line."  The directors had the power.

Are authors going to enjoy the same privilege now that the stigma of self-publishing is coming to an end (it's a struggle, I still hear older, PUBLISHED writers say self-publishing is a no-no, but that's just more dinosaur sloshing in the old tar pits)?  Are e-books (which even I have an aversion to) going to take the "big" publishers out of the picture?  Could this be the Golden Age for writers?

Let me know what you think.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Pulp Modern Issue Two Notes

So I've started going over submissions for issue two.  Here some things to keep in mind:

1. Kill your fucking LY words.  Don't tell me SHE OPENED IT CAREFULLY.  Show me what that CAREFULLY looks like!  The constant use of adverbs (and a lot of adjectives as well) is very, very old fashioned.  While I dig the old fashioned stuff, we're writing new stuff, which means NO FUCKING -LY WORDS! (Unless it's absolutely necessary or an obvious part of your particular style)

2. Sentence variety!  SHE STEPPED INTO THE KICTHEN.  SHE NOTICED HER HUSBAND'S BODY ON THE FLOOR.  SARAH GRABBED A GLASS OF KOOL-AID AND SIPPED IT AS SHE STEPPED OVER HIM.  I want to see more sentence variety in the submissions I'm getting.  I have to sit in my MFA classes and listen to people bemoan genre fiction.  The only medicine is to make genre fiction better than literary fiction!

3. Please respect the word limit, which is 2000 to 5000.  A little bit over or a little bit under can be forgiven, but not by much.

4. Please send submissions in STANDARD MANUSCRIPT FORMAT.  Also, press 'RETURN' just ONCE after paragraphs.

5. Horror, science fiction and fantasy have been combined under the heading of fantasy.  I am looking for surreal stuff and stuff that scares YOU the writer so bad you almost can't write it.  Trolls and hobbits and stuff, I just don't see it happening.

Here's a big thing:  Make that first paragraph and that first page count.  I have to go through a lot of submissions.  Let me know RIGHT AWAY that you've sent me a story that I HAVE to read.

I don't mean to sound condescending.  I'm sure everybody knows everything I've written here already.  Just think of all of this as a friendly reminder.  I look forward to seeing what everybody comes up with.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A couple of countdowns...

Received the proof copy of Pulp Modern Issue One yesterday.  Made a few corrections, a few adjustments.  Barring any other problems, look for a September 30 release date.

Right after you place your orders for Pulp Modern, on Saturday, October 1, prepare yourself for the debut of Jodi MacArthur's story "Mantra" at All Due Respect.  If you don't feel a little drunk and psychotic after reading this one, you must already be drunk and psychotic!

Sweet Jumping Jesus... It's gonna' be one hell of an autumn!

Monday, September 19, 2011

In case you missed it

I wrote the intro for Edward A. Grainger's second volume of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles stories.  You can check it out here (the intro, that is).  Thanks to Mr. Grainger for keeping the western alive and kicking (or should that be shooting?)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Alfred Hitchcock Presents... Garnett Elliott

Congratulations to Garnett Elliott.  His work will be appearing in a future issue of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine.  For the dozen or so loyal readers of No Moral Center, I don't have to tell you what an amazing accomplishment that is.  Anyone familiar with Elliott's work knows it's probably long overdue...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ladies and gentlemen... The line up for issue one:

Here be your writers contributing to PULP MODERN, issue number one:


Interior art:

Cover art:

Deadline for submissions for issue two: NOVEMBER 1, 2011

Monday, September 5, 2011

Good Reading Around the Web

Get your fix of good fiction on the Internet:

Chris Rhatigan has a fine piece of flash fiction at Shotgun Honey.

The prose master, Garnett Elliott, picks up another serial at pulp fiction's Gold Standard, Beat to a Pulp.

And in case you missed it, someone who knows a whole lot about crime, IMPD officer C.J. Edwards provides this month's journey to the gutter at All Due Respect.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Some fine reviews for Manifesto Destination at Amazon

Three reliable readers have offered some interesting remarks about Manifesto Destination at Amazon.  Have you purchased your copy yet?  Why not?  Are you some kind of non-comformist?  You think you're better than everybody else!?! OH YEAH!!!???!!!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Pulp Modern: Deadline for Issue Number Two Has Been Changed

The deadline for issue number two will be November 1, 2011.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Danger of Remakes and 'Reboots'

A lot of people over the age of, I don't know, 12, gripe about the lack of original stories coming from Hollywood.  The last time I checked, over 90 percent of the movies produced and distributed by American filmmakers were either remakes, 'reboots,' or movies based on old television shows or video games.  It seems obvious why this would bother anyone who still has the audacity to use his or her thinking cap.

I'd like to offer my take on why this trend scares the living shit out of me.  You remember those big lizards that used to roam the Earth?  We call them dinosaurs.  I'm sure if someone had asked them, they would have called themselves something else.  Regardless, the dinosaurs spent a great deal of their final days sloshing around in tar pits.  I bet the dinosaurs thought they were moving forward any time they moved a foot one way or the other while they were drowning in those tar pits.  Now, before the tar pits came along, dinosaurs were a mobile bunch who moved around the land, always moving in a forward direction.

That's what humans who made art used to do.  Even in Hollywood, filmmakers used to try to show something new with each film they made.  It's called progress.  It's called evolution.  The moment you circle back and repeat yourself, you have stopped evolving.  My theory is this:  If you cease to evolve, you begin to die.

So, we come back to this issue of remakes and 'reboots.'  Is Hollywood showing us how we're a species sloshing around in a tar pit?  Is this really it?  Do writers and actors and directors have no new ideas?  We didn't last a fraction of the time the dinosaurs did.  That makes us cosmic idiots, doesn't it?

This month at All Due Respect: C.J. Edwards

Well, after Patricia Abbott introduced some class to All Due Respect, it only makes sense that we dip right back down into the gutter with C.J. Edwards' The Peeper.  In addition to writing fiction and poetry, C.J. is a police officer who investigates sex crimes.  He brings an eerie authority to his depiction of a budding stalker who quickly graduates to the next chilling level.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I discuss the early 80s, again, this time at Let's Fight Everybody

Some people blame Obama for the destruction of the American economy.  Most people know some of the hardest hits were delivered during G.W.'s regime.  I'm either old fashioned or just have a better memory than everyone else (take that, anti-drug commercials!).  I still blame Reagan and I exercise that obsession at Let's Fight Everybody with my "review" of Fighting Back.  If you're one of the many who think Reagan did magical, wonderful things for America, just sigh and roll your eyes and say, "That Cizak is one stubborn idiot!"

ALL DUE RESPECT temporarily closed to submissions

Chris Rhatigan has been busy filling up the slate for 2012.  As a result, All Due Respect will be closed to submissions until at least the end of this year.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

An Awesome Rejection Note!

Back in 2002 I decided to write a screenplay using the character from Manifesto Destination, Elmore Johnson.  It wasn't really an adaptation of the novel, though there was a sex business/Internet porn subplot, just like in the novel.  I showed it to a screenwriting coach who worked at the office my agent worked at.  He told me to take out 90% of the politics.  I did so and showed it to Jerry Zeitman, the head agent there who had worked in the business since the 1950s.  He said it was too political!  Mr. Zeitman frequently gave me good advice that I refused to heed at the time.  He once told me to assume that anyone I showed a script to in Hollywood was completely stupid.  That explains why so much shit comes out of the studios.  Anyway, my agent at the time, a guy named Harry Anderson who just vanished one day (I later found out he moved to Japan to be with his girlfriend whom he had gotten pregnant), managed to get the script (it was called Headshot, which I also later found out is a common title for scripts in Hollywood) to Quentin Tarantino's company, A Band Apart.  They rejected it, but I held on to the rejection notice because, let's face it, it's pretty cool to be told to go to hell by Quentin Tarantino!

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Here's what you can look forward to for the remainder of the year:

September -- C.J. Edwards takes us deep into the mind of a stalker.

October -- Just for Halloween, one of the most imaginative writers working today, Jodi MacArthur, takes us deep into the mind of a woman on the verge of a whole lot more than just a nervous breakdown...

November -- The first of its kind at All Due Respect, a collection of three flash fiction pieces by Marie Shield.

December -- The return of Matthew C. Funk to All Due Respect.  Need I say more?

*Remember, all new submissions to All Due Respect should be addressed to Chris Rhatigan.

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Brief Rant

I recently watched a short documentary on Tobe Hooper.  Tobe's a part of that awesome little group of directors who made the most important horror films of the end of the 20th Century (this fraternity includes George Romero, Wes Craven, and John Carpenter) and were rewarded with mediocre careers (well, Craven figured out how to get some mainstream bucks on a consistent basis) and then, to add the old insult to the old injury, in the 2000s, Hollywood remade all of their films and raked in big bucks, never once understanding what ingredient made the originals so great to begin with.  That ingredient, of course, was poverty.  John Carpenter's budget for Halloween was, pardon the pun, monstrous for that group.  He had 320,000 dollars.  That probably amounts to the budgets on Night of the Living Dead, Last House on the Left, and Texas Chainsaw Massacre combined (it doesn't, but it sure sounds amazing, doesn't it?)  So anyway, Texas Chainsaw was a small film, shot on 16mm in a brutal Texas summer.  Gunnar Hansen claims that in the final shots of him waving the chainsaw around in the morning sun, he was imagining cutting up Tobe Hooper for all the hell he had been put through during the shoot.  I doubt, however, that Gunnar ever said anything on the set while they were shooting.  Mr. Hansen, I'm sure, was aware that they were on a tight, tight budget, and worked like a trooper, giving everything he had, to make sure the film came together.

Making a feature movie is tough work.  Trust me.  On my second film, Beverly Hills Massacre, the budget was probably about the same as the budget on the original Night of the Living Dead.  Mind you, BHM was shot forty years after NotLD.  It was a low, low budget affair.  Most producers who make films for that little provide the cast and crew with "hot pockets" for meals and, if they're lucky, their cast and crew understand the financial limitations.  Not so on my set.  I had a little gang of actresses (and one actor who might as well have been called an actress) who decided, upon seeing the second night that we were feeding them El Pollo Loco again, that they were going to shift into bitch-mode and poison my set.  Their fearless leader, a no-talent actress who was hired simply because we knew she'd show her tits on film, began to complain about things like 'warm humus.'  Now, she was lucky there was any goddamn humus on the set to begin with.  Whether it was warm or not was of no concern to the bigger goal of shooting and completing a feature-length film.  Her problem, quite honestly, was that she felt she deserved more.  She had done a cameo in the big budget film Beerfest (hired, once again, to show her tits on film).  That little experience, being a nude extra in a large film, put the notion in her head that she deserved a trailer and a staff of make up and costume people to follow her around and keep her touched up every second of the day.  The fact that no such luxury existed made her furious.  And so she began to question the producer, then she began to question me.  Anyone who has worked on a film set knows that harmony among the cast and crew is essential.  If one person poisons the set, the atmosphere becomes war-like and instead of a group of artists collaborating to bring a project to completion, you end up with a group of nasty, squabbling rodents showing up for work every day only because they have been contracted to be there (I had a similar problem on my first film, Mr. Id, which eventually led to my walking off the set.  In that case, however, it was the director of photography who poisoned the set.  The danger can come from anywhere!)

I only bring this up as a reminder to anyone working on a grassroots-level project to understand the difference between mainstream and independent art.  Things are not done "by the book" in an independent circumstance.  That's what makes independent art different and groundbreaking.  That's the pay off for not, well, being paid off right away.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

John Kenyon is the winner!

After a brutal hand-to-hand struggle between ace writer John Kenyon and ace teacher Susan Adams, I have decided to give the contest to John Kenyon.  John, send your snai mail address to the Pulp Modern email account and I'll put your book in the mail.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pulp Modern Update

Let me take a break from trying to sell a book I apparently can't even give away--

Pulp Modern has an awesome cover.  I have been contacted by a few artists for interior art, I have told them what is up, and then I have never heard from them again.  It is getting close to crunch time here and if I cannot find a reliable artist who keeps in contact, there just won't be any interior art in Pulp Modern.

Monday, August 8, 2011


Win a copy of my book MANIFESTO DESTINATION.  Rules are simple-- Write a six sentence story about PROZAC.  Best one wins.  Write your entry in the comments section.  Deadline is August 17, 2011. Good luck.


So I reckon the reason I didn't see magnificent sales figures last week for Manifesto Destination at createspace was because folks were uncomfortable with the password, burnhollywoodburn.  Great news!  The book is now available at Amazon.  You may now purchase the book free of guilt over being disrespectful towards Hollywood and support independent art in the process.  Amazon lovers, the book is available here.

By the way, for those of you beautiful people who did and will purchase the book, please write a review at Amazon, even if you hated the book, let others know what you did or didn't like about it.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Duotrope's 'interview' with All Due Respect editors, past and present

Anyone thinking about submitting stories to All Due Respect  should check out comments from me as well as the new editor, Chris Rhatigan, here.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Old school hardcore hardboiled fiction by yours truly... Manifesto Destination.  Password: burnhollywoodburn

One of the most popular stories right out of the gate at All Due Respect.

Speaking of All Due Respect, all new submissions should be addressed to Chris Rhatigan.

Pulp Modern deadline for issue one is less than a month away-- September 1.  Deadline for issue two is December 1.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


All right, I got all the kinks worked out.  My first book Manifesto Destination is currently available here (password: burnhollywoodburn).  It will spread like a virus across the Internet, first at Amazon and then all the other usual places, over the next few months.

I've spent the last two months editing it.  Even though it was published before, it had a lot of the errors typical of my work around 2001, when it was written.  I've wrestled with the idea of publishing it again for some time and I decided to for several reasons.  First of all, I needed the experience of working with createspace in order to make sure I could put a decent product out when it came time to release Pulp Modern.  Secondly, I saw an interview with John Carpenter in which he defended the absurd fight between Roddy Piper and Keith David in They Live.  Carpenter, who is a hero of mine, said that you have to own your work, even if you've outgrown it.  There are some elements of Manifesto Destination I have certainly outgrown.  I no longer automatically hate cops.  I no longer harbor resentment against the ex-girlfriend I depict as a lunatic in the book (though I will always hate her father for damaging her when she was too young to fight back).  However, the book echoes my long-standing concerns about various factions in society hell-bent on dictating how everyone is supposed to think and behave.  The fact of the matter is, the last eleven years of my life were spent, for the most part, living in poverty in L.A. and making two feature films that suck so bad I can't own them.  The tampering of producers and other people left my films without coherent storylines.  I can forgive all the other trappings of low-budget filmmaking, but I can't stand having to explain the stories to my friends and family before showing them the movies.  I rarely watch them because it's just too painful.  Manifesto Destination is the only major work I produced in that time that is remotely coherent.

And that's saying a lot, because well-read folks will instantly recognize the hybrid of Raymond Chandler and Phil K. Dick that exists in Manifesto Destination.  Like The Big Sleep or even The Big Lebowski, Manifesto Destination is less concerned with plot and more concerned with characters.  You are basically going along for a ride.  It's hard to figure out how the ends tie together by the book's conclusion, but I know there's some sort of coherence because I remember making an outline and character graph when I wrote it.  The 'mystery' aspect of it gets resolved in a rather old-fashioned, cliched manner, but I think by the time the reader gets there he or she will have been entertained enough to dismiss it.

I think the book is an entertaining read with ambiguities that will invite multiple readings.  That makes it a great investment in these troubled times!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

All Due Respect #14: Patricia Abbott

After thirteen months of contributions from scoundrels and reprobates, All Due Respect finally gets some freakin' class as Patricia Abbott offers The Perfect Day.  We should all have thoughtful fathers like the father in "The Perfect Day."  Stop by and read the story and let Patricia know what you think.

FYI -- For anyone sending submissions to All Due Respect, Chris is reading them so feel free to address him and pretend like I don't even exist.

Pulp Modern Update: In need of an illustrator

Issue one is looking good as far as the stories go.  Unfortunately, I am having a hell of a time finding an artist to provide some drawings for the interior as well as cover art.  I have been in contact with several artists but they seem to drift off into oblivion before I receive any work from them.  I went to a tattoo shop and asked one of the 'artists' there if he or anyone else was interested in drawing for a pulp fiction journal and he said "Pup fiction?  What's pup fiction?"  Even after I explained what it was, after I suggested it was similar to the art in the old E.C. comic books, he continued to look at me as though I had just asked him to cut his parents up and serve them as dinner at a local gathering of the American Communist and Witchcraft  Society... If anyone knows of any artists who would be interested in this, please send them my way.  Otherwise, I'm going to have to use my own photography of old toys and other antiques to 'illustrate' the journal in a manner most post-modern, but not necessarily pulp modern.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Pulp Modern Update

Still looking for horror and science fiction and anything that might fall into the category of fantasy and adventure.  If you're writing crime and nothing but, the deadline for issue number two is December 1, so if you send a crime story and it's great I will probably hold it over for issue number two.  Also, the western folder could use a little more weight.  I know there's at least one story on the way.  Another two or three wouldn't hurt.

Finally, I've been getting emails from writers whose stories I have rejected claiming they aren't going to submit any more stories to Pulp Modern.  When the kind women at AHMM and EQ seal up my SASE and send it to me with their charming rejection form in it, I get pissed, and then I immediately figure out what I'm going to send them next.  I'm going to keep sending them my stories until they publish one just to get me off their backs!  Tenacity is the fuel of success, is it not?  If you've sent a story to Pulp Modern and I've passed on it, send another, and another, until I have no choice but to print your work!

Monday, July 18, 2011


Still need horror and science fiction.  The whole adventure/fantasy thing doesn't seem to be happening, so it looks like this literary amusement park, for now, will consist of four sections (unless I don't get any good science fiction, in which case it will only be three).

Crime, I can tell you, is pretty much taken care of for issue one.  Six of the ten stories I've accepted are crime stories.  My holding tank for stories I am still considering is crammed with crime stories.  Anybody out there who knows good science fiction and/or horror writers, please direct them to the guidelines.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Pulp Modern Update; Some tips for newer writers

So I've gotten a lot of submissions for Pulp Modern, many good, some ok, quite a few in need of some advice.  If you're relatively new to writing and submitting your writing for publication, let me give you a few tips that I wish I had gotten twenty years ago--

1. See that copy of Strunk and White's The Elements of Style?  Pick it up.  Read it.  Learn it.  Study it.  Worship it.  Make the rules in that book your religion when it comes to writing.  Do you dig Stephen King?  His book On Writing is a very entertaining guide to good, crisp writing.  I can tell you, however, the golden rule to take away from King's book:  Drop your unnecessary modifiers.  Don't tell me he "ran quickly," it sounds silly.  Don't talk about the femme fatale's "forced smile," describe what that smile looks like, what does it do to her pretty blue eyes?  How do the muscles in her cheeks stretch when she 'forces' that smile?  Big Steve King says adverbs are your enemy.  So are adjectives that would do better to be fleshed out and described.  It's the best lesson I've learned over the last few years and I believe it has improved my writing, ah, drastically...

2. Get to the story.  If you need two pages of back story before the actual story begins, take another look.  How important is all that information?  Can you sprinkle it in throughout the actual story?  I do my best, as an editor, to read an entire story sent to me.  It becomes difficult when I'm on page four and still can't figure out what the story is about, who should I be paying attention to, etc.  Most editors are not nearly so patient.  If you don't grab the reader's attention right away, you're in trouble.

3. Control your point-of-view.  Decide in your prewriting whether your story will be first person, third person limited, or third person omniscient (second person in fiction-- not a good idea).  First person, of course, means a narrator tells us the story from his or her point of view.  Third person limited means we see the story through one of the character's eyes (this means we do not know what other characters are 'thinking').  Third person omniscient means we know what every character is thinking.  This point of view is best reserved for novels.  Also, I don't want to raise any controversy, but if you are going to write a piece of fiction in the present tense, it had better knock the reader's socks off, literally.  It's almost painful to read in the first place and when it's done poorly, it's torture.

4. When submitting fiction to a print journal, use twelve-point type, double-spaced, normal paragraph formatting.  I'm getting a lot of submissions that are formatted for Internet publication.  If I accept a story formatted that way, I have to go through and re-format it when I put the journal together.  That makes me grumpy.  I think about that when I'm reading the submission.

5. This is specific to Pulp Modern-- If you submit a horror story, make sure it's a story that scared the crap out of you while you were writing it.  If it didn't scare you, chances are, it won't scare anybody else.

Thank you for your time and patience.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mr. Cizak's Annoying, Random Thoughts

So I went to the dollar theater last Sunday to give my brain a rest.  Of course, the moment you tell the brain to take some time off, the old noodle decides that's the moment he's going to start really rotating the cogs and come up with thoughts and ideas that seem, at the time, important.  They showed the teaser trailer for Transformers 3.  It's the one that starts out like it's a movie about Apollo 11.  Then it looks like it's going to be a movie about aliens on the moon.  Then you realize it's a Transformers movie and sink in your seat (the first time you see it) and say, "Aw, shucks."  There's a line in the trailer, however, that really stood out.  The narrator refers to the moon landing-- appropriately, I think-- as 'a generation's greatest achievement.'  I got to thinking, what the hell is my generation's greatest achievement?  Have we done anything that has truly advanced the state of human being?  Mostly what we've done is let technology wrap its cold, dead hands around us and turn us into slaves to electricity and other forms of artificial power.  The other thing we've done is allow the government and the media to be completely taken over by corporations and the self-centered interests of a very small number of filthy rich people.  So, I realized, what my generation needs to do, or at least start to do, is take back the government and the media.  The government is not my department.  I could care less who's democrat and who's republican.  They all take money from the same corporations to vote against my interests so I have absolutely no need for politics or politicians.  The media, on the other hand, does involve me.  As a writer, as a(n allegedly) retired filmmaker, taking the media back from the corporations seems like a perfect goal.  If it sounds outrageous, remember what folks probably said when Kennedy announced he wanted people on the moon by the end of the decade-- "Oh man, that's impossible!"

Let's go people.  This is our mission.  This is what we need to leave the generations that follow:

Media that doesn't suck corporate balls...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Some Alec Cizak News and Links

First of all, the DVD commentary for my short story "Katie Too" can be experienced at Patti Abbott's blog.

Also, I just received my contributor's copy of The Incredible Shrinking Story, from Fast Forward Press.  It contains my short story "Presently Tense" which, you might guess, is about fiction written in the present tense.  You may purchase this slim, well-produced volume here or here.

Also, I have done two more edits on my first and only novel (it should really be called a novella), Manifesto Destination.  I am publishing it as a print edition and selling it relatively cheap (eight bucks).  The saving grace of this novella is that the message is more important today than it was ten years ago when I wrote it.  The new volume is polished and can be read on an airplane or in a bathroom with equal delight.  It should be available within the next few days, at which time I will post links here.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What are you waiting for?

Need some summer reading?  Everywhere you look there's good reading!

First stop:  Beat to a Pulp.  Garnett Elliott picks up the Rip Through Time series with Chaos in the Stream.  Make sure you read the first two installments by Chris F. Holm and Charles A. Gramlich.  By the time you're done with all that, it should be getting close to autumn...

If you're a fast reader, though, and you like the new e-books all the kiddies are puttin' out, make sure you check out Black Heart Magazine's noir issue edited by Jimmy Callaway.  While you're at it, don't forget to pick up SpeedLoader for your kindle.  It features stories by ADR contributors Matthew C. Funk and Nigel Bird.

And in case you missed it, Copper Smith's Mutiny on the Pimp Wagon is still booking passengers for a hell of a ride on the open sea.

Nastiness and violence the whole family can enjoy!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th; Pulp Modern Update

Happy 4th of July.  Let's remember the whole purpose of this experiment called the U.S.A was to form "a more perfect union."  That means, to me, a country where everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, has an equal chance at improving his or her life.

Now, on to the more 'important' stuff:

As I have stated, I'm getting lots of crime submissions for Pulp Modern.  I've gotten a fair number of westerns as well.  The science fiction, horror, and adventure/fantasy submissions have been few and not many have made the first cut. 

I think I am picky when it comes to science fiction and adventure because I don't read too much in those genres.  In order to help any writers interested in submitting, let me offer some hints as to what I like when I do read science ficiton-- I'm a fan of Phil K. Dick.  If you send me a story that messes with reality, I'll probably be interested.  I think the most important book (of any genre) of the last century was 1984 and the most important book of the century before that was Frankenstein.  I guess what I'm getting at is that sociological science fiction stands a much better chance.  Since the journal is called Pulp Modern, however, I would not mind seeing some technical science fiction provided THE WRITING IS GOOD.

Ah, time for me to digress:  A lot of genre writers feel, as Stephen King does, that story is the most important thing.  I even wrote a review of Ed Grainger's western collection in which I echoed that sentiment.  It's true, story is important.  But if the writing isn't very good to begin with, it's going to be difficult to get into the story.  Science fiction, to me, has always suffered a problem where the writing was concerned.  I'm not going to mention names, but some very popular science fiction authors turn me off because, while their ideas are great, they have no writing style to speak of.

So, PLEASE send me some science fiction that is written in a readable style.


What is horror?  Horror is actually my favorite genre because when it's done properly, it evokes the purest, most primal emotions.  I remember when I was a small child and my father read "The Tell-Tale Heart" to me just before I went to sleep.  Well, I don't need to tell you that I didn't go to sleep.  Everything about Poe's story fascinated me.  I remember seeing an old Hammer film, Frankenstein Created Woman, on television and not being able to sleep for several nights.  I remember the first time I saw Halloween.  I couldn't sleep in a room by myself for weeks.  That's what I'm looking for from the horror submissions-- stories that will crawl inside the mind and make the reader cold with fear.  I don't write a lot of horror myself because I know how difficult it is.  If I'm not scared while I'm writing the story, how can I expect the reader to be scared?

Adventure/Fantasy-- Just send me what you got.  I've gotten the least amount of submissions in this catagory.  Anything pirates, Johnny Quest, even James Bond-like, falls into this category.  If you're writing fantasy, make it good because that's another genre I'm very critical of if the writing doesn't jump off the page.

I know I sound like a pompous jerk making all these demands but keep in mind that I want (and any writer involved should feel the same) this to be the best goddamn journal EVER.  There is a strong group of writers on the Internet that I want the world to know about and the only way to make that happen is to make sure we get the best stories out there so people who don't normally read online fiction take notice.

Friday, July 1, 2011


The Man from Minnesota brings his unique voice to All Due Respect with a perfect summer story about a not-so-perfect cruise-- It's called Mutiny on the Pimp Wagon.  Head on over and enjoy some vacation violence!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Pulp Modern Reminder

That deadline is almost kind of sort of almost near.  Got plenty of crime submissions.  For the record, mystery stories need to be DAMN good to get in (mostly because there are two big print journals that specialize in mystery, so I don't want to dwell on that kind of story too much).  Would really like to see some far out science fiction and some horror that makes me want to sleep with the lights on.

I'm having difficulty with my artists.  I may have to find some pretty folks and dress them up in appropriate gear for each section of the journal and take some fancy black and white photographs.  Just a heads up.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Peeling thin layers off of America's mythology

I'm not going to mention that Ed Grainger is David Cranmer.  It's really not that important.  One of Big Steve King's primary rules about writing is:  STORY.  Story is what's important. 

Big Steve King doesn't go over well among the hoity-toities in college writing classes.  Never mind that half the people in any writing class I've ever taken enjoyed and wanted to write genre fiction.  Something about the university compels people to hoist their snouts high in the air and pretend writing about the time grandma announced she was a lesbian at the family Thanksgiving dinner is somehow more relevant than a story about a man bending the law in order to better administer justice to those who deserve it. 

Question:  Who cares about your goddamn grandma, other than you? 

Answer: Nobody. 

Genre fiction soars above "literary" fiction for one important reason:


The human beast craves stories.  It's what ties the individual to the Earth, to history.  It ties all individuals together and creates what we call culture.  Those cave paintings anthropologists and archeologists pee their pants over, those are genre stories. 

Just saying...

Mr. Grainger has provided us with seven stories involving his "outlaw marshal," Cash Laramie, and his rather progressive character, Gideon Miles, a lawman who might well have spent more time outrunning lynch mobs than rounding up actual criminals for the "legitimate" gallows.  Most of the stories I had read before.  No problem.  They're entertaining.  They're stories.  While each story features Cash or Gideon or both, each story is very different from the others.  The order they're in creates a progression towards the shocking, final tale, "The Outlaw Marshal." 

In the collection's stunning conclusion, one gets the impression of a concept album, or a good revenge film told in episodes.  The mood the collection has created rises to an angry pitch and crashes like a wild, psychedelic guitar solo (I'm thinking of "L.A. Blues," the last song on The Stooges record Funhouse, without question the greatest rock album ever).  This moment, however, has a logic to it.  The reader has seen the treatment of Gideon Miles by the society around him, the reader has had his or her heart broken in a story about a young girl who is abused by her father, the reader has held his or her breath while an American Indian is forced to hide while the marshals, just doing their jobs, search in vain to bring him back to a vicious lynch mob (tip of the hat here to Mr. Grainger's co-writer on that particular story, Sandra Seamans).  The reality of the west, the reality of the United States, is played in these stories as matter-of-fact, as it should be

I place the efforts of Ed Grainger right up there with The Searchers, my nomination for Best Freakin' Western Movie Ever.  Like The Searchers, the exploits of Cash and Gideon refuse to blink in the face of uncomfortable truths.  Mr. Grainger accomplishes what "literary" writers attempt without the self-conscious, self-congratulatory melodrama that plagues "literary" fiction (why the hell is "literary" fiction even called fiction?..)  The post-modern elements in Mr. Grainger's stories fit nice and snug with the narratives they are a part of.  The reader isn't slapped in the face with a big sign that says: MESSAGE.  The result is an enjoyable read that will make you nod and say, "Yeah, that sounds about right."

Isn't that what a good story is supposed to do?  Here are seven that do it extremely well.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Just a friendly Pulp Modern reminder

In a week, there will only be TWO MONTHS before the PULP MODERN deadline!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Future of All Due Respect

Yesterday I announced that All Due Respect would need a new editor after April of 2012.  I was fortunate enough to get an email from Chris Rhatigan, who runs the excellent site Death By Killing, in which he offered to take over editorial duties.  Chris knows good writing.  I had worries about shutting ADR down or passing it on to an editor I might not be too sure about.  Those worries are gone.  I believe Mr. Rhatigan is going to do a hell of a job.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

All Due Respect Update

As of now, April, 2012 will be the last edition of All Due Respect.  If anyone is interested in taking over editorial duties on that site, let me know.  In order to make sure Pulp Modern is the best it can possibly be, I will have to concentrate on it.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Yes, this is research!

A wild little western I happened to watch simply because I am studying up on Abilene at the moment.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pulp Modern Update

So far, I've selected three stories for the first issue (others are pending decision).  Two of the three stories chosen were submitted in standard manuscript format.  It makes many things much easier on an editor who has to read anywhere from six to a dozen submissions a day if the story is in standard format.  I'm seriously considering making it a part of the guidelines, just so at least three-fourths of the submissions come in that way.  I've learned that a certain percentage of people either don't read the guidelines at all or don't pay attention to them, so I'm well aware that I'll still get some in crazy formats.

For a reminder, here is a standard manuscript sample.

Still looking for some solid horror, science fiction and adventure (pirates, Indy Jones-stuff, etc).

Original image location:

Patricia Abbott at Spinetingler

Some classy prose by Patricia Abbott at Spinetingler-- Her story Father's Day could very well be in any number of those literary journals edited by people who frown on genre fiction.  Proof, yet again, that the best writing is done by genre writers...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

This week at Beat to a Pulp

For a lesson in compact, concise storytelling, head on over to Beat to a Pulp and check out Chris F. Holm's The Man in the Alligator Shoes.  The story provides an excellent reason to never remind someone of someone else.

Photo courtesy of

Monday, June 13, 2011

Abilene, KS

What might I be doing, looking at maps of Abilene, KS in the 1880s?  Hmm...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pulp Modern Update

Still looking for horror and science fiction submissions.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Mad Men Amendment

I've gone through seasons two and three of Mad Men and I'm afraid to say I'm not nearly as impressed as I was with season one.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pulp Modern Update

Getting a lot of crime submissions.  Would like to see some sf, horror, adventure (i.e., pirates, Johnny Quest kind of stuff) and western submissions.  Pulp Modern is also listed at duotrope now.

Image courtesy of

Monday, June 6, 2011

My Review of the Stunningly Awful Graduation Day

I review one of the worst films ever made at Let's Kill Everybody.  Thanks to Jimmy Callaway for publishing it and doing a great job of editing it.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Pulp Modern: Weekly Reminder

Here's your weekly reminder.  Pulp Modern is now accepting submissions!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Mr. Sensitive

Well, at the end of a week in which an entirely irrational, bitter woman attacked me for defending an old toy (that originally belonged to my mother) she saw a picture of on facebook (and called "creepy," creepy being a word that is entirely over-used these days), I suppose it is appropriate to announce that a non-horror non-crime poem I wrote, "Scenes from a Diner," will appear in the fall edition of a literary journal called The Toucan.  It's put together by some folks in Chicago, which is a good or bad omen (I have, historically, had bad, bad luck in Chicago...)  Also, tonight I will be reading my poetry (including a hell of a poem called "Ed Gein" which is, amazingly, about "Ed Gein") at Black Dog Books in Zionsville, Indiana.  I just thought it funny that after being called a number of unpleasant names, here I am, engaging in the pleasant practice of reading poetry to a group of quiet, dignified literary types.

I will post later about my feelings on what we, as a society, need to do about indiscriminate name-calling that can lead to ruined careers and lives (does a recent exchange at Spinetingler come to mind?).  Luckily, in this case, I flagged the offending post and Facebook had the good sense to agree with me and remove it.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

All Due Respect #12

This month marks one year of All Due Respect.  I'd like to offer thanks to all the writers who made the first year so entertaining.  Jim Wilsky contributes the birthday story, Severance.  Wilsky reminds us that white collar workers are also suffering in this miserable economy and if their bosses don't watch it, their employees just might explode with rage and show up for work when they're not scheduled...  "Severance" is told in a manner very similar to the classic pulps.  It's non-stop excitement and allows anyone who has been screwed-over by this economy a brief, if violent, fantasy.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

This week at BTAP

Paul Brazill and David Cranmer provide some fast-paced, science fiction adventure in the first of a serial, LoVINg the Alien.  So far the story makes more sense than the David Bowie song of the same name.  Paul's writing style is crisp and economic.  No space is wasted on anything extraneous.  Pure story.  Go read it.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Call for submissions

I am starting a print journal devoted to pulp fiction.  The guidelines are here:

Pulp Modern

Any suggestions on how to improve the guidelines would be appreciated (as long as they don't come from some angry guy living in his mother's basement who thinks his story that was published in his third-grade school newspaper qualifies him as a 'professional writer'...Believe me, I've gotten all kinds of legal advice from that particular breed!)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Coming soon...

Monday, May 23, 2011

Expiration by Termination

Chris Rhatigan has some kind words for Katy Too at his blog Death by Killing.  He also mentions some ace stories by Copper Smith and Matthew Funk.

I'm hooked...

So I'm always getting tv shows from the library on dvd and watching them to put me to sleep at night.  I made the msitake of getting the first season of Mad Men a couple of weeks ago.  I say 'mistake' because I can't sleep while this show is on.  I wasn't too sure at first, but by the season finale ("The Wheel"), I was hooked.  I think some of the show's (very few) critics are correct in pointing out that this is a series that wants to have and eat it's cake.  While it tends to go overboard on depicting old-school sexism, the show can be seen to be contributing to sexism the way it clearly "objectifies" its women.  Frankly, I don't care.  I can't figure out why, but this is a show that makes you think.  Quite rare these days.  While it doesn't appeal to the drive-in junky in me the way Breaking Bad does, I think this may actually be the better of AMC's original two series (I haven't watched The Killing yet.  It'll be another one I get on board late, mostly because I'm rewatching the entire Twin Peaks series at my brother's house on movie night so I don't need two running stories about a dead girl...)

Just a side note, in 2002 I was without regular work in L.A.  I had to take jobs as an "extra" on tv shows.  I was always cast as either a lawyer, politician, or cop or security guard.  One of my first gigs was on a show with Sally Field called The Court.  Don't feel bad if you missed it, it was on for about six episodes.  Anyway, the director singled me out to do a little bit with a young blonde actress where she walks into the courtroom and heads in the wrong direction, so I grab her and redirect her to where she's supposed to be.  I remember that young lady quite well because she had big, round, gorgreous eyes and a hell of a body.  I just learned, by watching Mad Men (I'm on season two now) that the name of that young actress was/is Christina Hendricks.  Oh well.  Even back then she was way, way out of my league... (And I don't even believe in "leagues")

Photo courtesy of