Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Coming Soon to Beat to a Pulp!

It's always a tremendous honor to have a story at Beat to a Pulp.  My story "Katie Too" will appear in the May 22nd edition.  The title comes from a perfectly harmless Johnny Cash song (actually, the narrator of the song basically says he's going to see all the women he wants, but will always include "Katie" on his list of girlfriends.  Maybe it's not so innocent after all!)  The story itself is based on a real incident told to me by an old gangster who was gunned down by cancer a few years ago.  Hopefully I did it justice.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Zombies, Vampires, Werewolves...

The Border's Books at Keystone and the Crossing is closing so they're selling everything in the store dirt cheap.  I went this last weekend to see what I could round up.  I got an excellent book on cowboy culture that will hopefully be helpful as I craft some westerns over the summer months.  I bought an old edition of The Best American Short Stories and a magazine focused on cult movies.  I have to say I was disappointed, however.  Border's, unlike Barnes and Noble, is thoughtful enough to have a separate section for horror books.  I was hoping to find some cheap paperbacks by new writers to get a sense of where the genre is headed.  The entire section was dominated (save for the shelves of Stephen King and Dean Koontz,) by zombie and vampire books.  The monotony was broken up by the occasional werewolf book.  Is this really the scope of horror today?  I've been noticing the rise of zombies and vampires in popularity over the last decade.  I can't figure it out.  I guess vampires have appealed to women for some time now, thanks in large part to Ann Rice turning them into pouty, bisexual fashion models.  Werewolves are a natural extension of vampires, maybe the masculine version of whatever fantasy these stories satisfy for women.  But where in the world does the fascination for zombies come from?  Could it be a metaphor for the realization that the American Empire is in decline?  Is this the signal that American "culture" (I'm not even going to start the argument on what exactly American culture actually is) is dead?  The zombie mythology comes from old voodoo ideas about controlling souls.  Is any of that present in modern zombie stories?  Finally, what will take the place of these trends?  My goal is always to try something that, ultimately, will be original.  I know people say "there are no new ideas" but I think that's bullshit.  Where are the pioneers in horror who will direct this cruise ship of blood-suckers and brain-eaters towards the rocks so that new nightmares may be unleashed? Hmm...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Cash Laramie Gets Ruthless

If you haven't already read Ed Grainger's latest Cash Laramie story at the Flash Fiction Offensive, get to it.  Cash is not exactly the poster boy for regulations in this one.  As this cycle of stories continues, the blood and truth embedded in the soil of the west climbs closer and closer to the surface.  Polite Police be warned, this one was made for late night cable, not the Saturday Afternoon Round Up with Gene Autry...

Photo courtesy of

Monday, April 18, 2011

Brilliant story at BTAP this week

Terry Farley Moran contributes For Keepsies at this week's Beat to a Pulp.  This one will knock you down.  The writing is perfect.  It has all the qualities "literary fiction" strives for but never achieves the way good "genre" fiction does.  The ultimate effect was that of being a kid, sitting on the lap of a relative who knows how to tell a good story and realizing nothing is going to protect you from the Big Bad World. 

Photo courtesy of

Friday, April 15, 2011

After a considerable delay, D.O.A. is finally available

Quite possibly the most morally reprehensible story I've ever written, "Saving Ralph," is now available in the anthology D.O.A. from Blood Bound Books.  Those who reviewed my story "Strength," from the Ruthless anthology, who felt I had gone too far in my sketch of a budding serial killer as a child, will be thoroughly disgusted by this flash fiction  portrait of a poor homeless schmuck and the manner with which he both dines and eliminates demons from his past.  The anthology is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  I believe it is actually a buck cheaper at B&N.  This is another "extreme horror" collection, so be warned if that sort of thing bothers you.  Both "Strength" and "Saving Ralph" are artifacts from the mid-2000s when I was living in extreme poverty in Los Angeles, watching rodents take over my one room, no kitchen apartment in Koreatown (sooner or later, they figure out every trap, every poison.  They're amazing little fuckers!)  I don't know if I'll ever write this sort of stuff again.  Then again, the way the economy is going, maybe I'll have no choice!

By the way, I got the check for this story today in the mail.  The editors made it out to Alec Cizak, not my legal name.  Can't wait for the hassle at the bank!