miserable love stories!

I’m incredibly excited to announce that my Miserable series has been picked up by Skyhorse Publishing!  And the newest book Miserable Love Stories is scheduled for release in January, 2020, just in time for Valentine’s Day.  This news has been bubbling up for most of the past year – but now that we have the cover and are moving to the final production stages, I’m thrilled to release the information.  MLS will be part of Skyhorse’s Racehorse imprint and will have distribution through Simon & Schuster.

Subtitled 25 Romantic Disasters That are Worse Than Yours and featuring stories that have appeared in such eclectic journals as New Pop Lit, The Big Jewel, Gi60, Blue Skirt Productions, MidAmerican Fiction and The LegendaryMiserable Love Stories is now available for pre-order on Amazon and at fine bookstores pretty much everywhere.

After MLS, the next book in the series is scheduled for release later in the 2020.  It’s a significant expansion of one of the current Miserable books and will render the previous version as a collector’s item!  So, pick up the originals now while you still can!

 

And here’s the blurb copy for Miserable Love Stories:

Funny Short Stories for Heart-Breakers, the Broken-Hearted and the Completely Utterly Confused

Whether you’re headed to that exciting first date where you’ll inevitably spill Cabernet all over yourself or you and your significant other are celebrating Date Night #4,081 with an extra pint of Halo Top, everyone can agree on one thing: Love Stinks. How to escape the endless cycle of melancholy? Well, you probably can’t. What you can do is take comfort in humorist Alex Bernstein’s new collection of stories about miserable mad crushes, amorous infidelities and bittersweet romances.

Hear stories of horrific bridesmaids’ dresses, strange love at airports, awkward confessions, manic pixie dream girls, uncomfortable road trips, the bizarre state of future sex and, of course, true, everlasting love. So, curl up with your favorite valentine and enjoy such titles as:

Circle in the Square
The Qualified Apology
The Eight Hour Kiss
The Deli Chick
The Forrest Gump Question
Sexpo 2041
Come Home Soon
My Annoying Mother
And more!

Commiserate lost love and painfully awkward first dates with Miserable Love Stories!

 

miserable adventure stories wins 2018 best indie book award!

I’m incredibly thrilled and honored to announce that Miserable Adventure Stories has won the Best Indie Book Award for 2018 in the Novella/Short Story Collection category!

The Best Indie Book Award™ is an annual international literary award contest recognizing independent authors in twelve major genres. Entries are limited to independently (indie) published books, including those from small presses, e-book publishers, and self-published authors.  #BestIndieBookAward

Featuring stories from New Pop LitThe Big Jewel, Frontier Tales, Near to the Knuckle, Headstuff, and other literary journals with equally fancy names, Miserable Adventure Stories is a collection of tales calculated to take you to Victorian London, the Old West, alien worlds, Hamlet’s Denmark and other fantastic places that you would absolutely never want to visit!

Miserable Adventure Stories is available in paperback and as an e-book at Amazon.com and fine bookstores everywhere!

For more information on BIBA and the other 2018 award winners, click here.

give the gift of misery!

Even Santa agrees – Miserable Holiday Stories is the perfect holiday gift for that very special someone you’d rather never hear from again!

Featuring the the infamous chapter-book parody “The #$@!# Bicycle Boys Save Christmas, Again!” and stories from such eclectic journals as The Big Jewel, Litro, Corvus, eFiction, Dysfunctional Family Story, The Legendary, Blue Print Review, and Hobo Pancakes!

This collection of quirky, bittersweet tales is a terrific stocking stuffer and cheaper than coal!

Now available in e-book and cheap paperback to boot!

prom selected for portland film festival

Exciting News!  My screenplay, Prom on Mars, is an Official Selection at the upcoming Portland Comedy Film Festival.

Wait – what?!  I hear you cry.  Screenplay?

Yes, once upon a long, long time ago Prom on Mars was my retro-futuristic screenplay about a bunch of kids in the year 2053 taking a three-day shuttle ride to Mars for their senior prom.  (Something of a cross between High School Musical (without the music), Star Trek, and Animal House.)  In the 2000’s – back when I was Reviews Editor for PopImage.com – Prom became a long-running webcomic at that site, and this site was created to house the whole thing.  Prom had a nice run for a few years at those two sites, told it’s story, sold a few indie copies of a print run of the first 50 strips, and then called it a day.

Later, when I started planning for a new website to house my writing, comedy, and publishing efforts, I decided to keep the promonmars url, because I kind of loved the name and the branding, and figured I’d also grab any leftover traffic.  The current site has had almost exclusively all new content.  Although I’ve occasionally re-posted some of the non-Prom strips – eg Total Losers, and Young Christo – but no Prom strips…yet.


Young Christo

In fact, for the past 10 years or so, in my brain, Prom was now a brand (and, technically, a publishing imprint), not a property of it’s own.

That is, until I re-read the original Prom script this past summer for the first time in a decade, and thought hey, that’s not so terrible.  So, I cleaned it up and sent it off to a couple places, including the Portland Film Festival.  And well, there you go.

Wish me luck!  I may even post some of the script or the old webcomics up here, if there’s any interest…

it’s a Gi60 weekend!

It’s that time of year, once again, for Gi60! (Gone in 60 Seconds – the One Minute International Theatre Festival).  Gi60 is an evening of 50 short plays in (approx) 50 minutes.  I’ve gone international again, this year, with six pieces performed across three different shows – inc pieces in the Brooklyn and UK Leeds shows, and four in the Gi60 NextGen show (also in Brooklyn).  Above is one of my pieces from last year’s NextGen show – Bupkis.

Tickets are still available for all of the shows this weekend.  You can find links here.  And if you can’t make it out to Brooklyn, the evening shows will also be live streamed.

I will be haunting both of the Saturday shows in Brooklyn, and will likely have a few copies of both Plrknib and Miserable Adventure Stories with me for signing.

Here’s all the information on the shows and tickets.

Hope to see you there!

the raglun oracle

UPDATE – May 1, 2018 – Raglun Oracle just won the story of the month over at Frontier Tales and will be in their eighth anthology!  Thanks to everyone who voted!

——————–

My Twilight Zone meets the Old West piece, The Raglun Oracle is up today at Frontier Tales.  They’ve got a competition running on the site, so please vote for The Oracle!

And of course, you can also find this piece in my new collection Miserable Adventure Stories.

Here’s a snippet:

Christmas last year will not be a day that I—nor anyone in my family— will soon forget, I dare say. I write this comfortably from a bed at my Aunt Sara’s house. As you know, we did not make it to Sara’s last year. And we were anything but comfortable. The storms and snow of last year were greater than any we’d seen in decades. And while that would not usually stop my daddy from makin’ the trip, Ethan, as you know, was quite sick.

Poor Ethan—all of four years—had been a fairly strong boy till that last year—when various sickness overtook him. I had been packing an overnight bag for the trip up north when my Uncle Campbell told me that Ethan was burning up and we’d have to stay put. Daddy had gone for the doctor—a half-day trip, at the least. Ma was in her bedroom laying compresses on Ethan. His fever was high.

Over the past few years, my family had fallen into something of an isolation from the rest of the town, as tends to happen with farming families. Arguments are started and never resolved. Families lose touch and keep to themselves. And so, the begrudging offer to visit from my Aunt was quickly discarded when Ethan fell ill. Soon, a pallor lay over our house as wind crept in through chipped planks causing a low, solemn whistle. The holiday tree I’d cut down myself stood bent over, unseasonable.

Our town, Raglun, is a small one. There aren’t but forty, fifty families—all of whom I can name by sight. There’s little crime, no jail, and half the townsfolk can’t write or read proper. In fact, a great many, in this year of our lord 1873, still believe Lincoln runs the capital, if you can believe that.

Which may be why Ethan’s sickness—and his babbling in particular—came off so unsettling.

I was the one heard it first. I had woken up early that morning to his kicking and writhing. Still asleep, but tossing, turning. And saying words over and over that I couldn’t understand:

Nixon

more

 

miserable review on new pop lit

MISERABLE ADVENTURE STORIES is a variegated collection of pop fiction by one of the best practitioners of the pop story, Alex Bernstein. Three of the stories aren’t miserable, they’re masterful…

Okay, you’re not supposed to draw attention to reviews – because then it’s like cherry picking if you don’t show the bad ones.  But this one is so nice.  (Listen, when Simon & Schuster start publishing my books, we can start a new conversation about it.)

The good folks over at New Pop Lit call the stories in MAS “Masterful examples of the pop genre” and “all entertaining”.  You can read the full review here.  Book reviews are a new sleeve over at NPL, and their other reviews are tremendously insightful about all the books they’re reading, new and old.  And as always, check out the rest of their site for some of today’s best up and coming authors.

Of course, you can easily discover what’s so masterful and entertaining about Miserable Adventure Stories by picking up your own copy here.  You can also find it at many of your better bookstores.  Ask for it by name!

p. king duckling on netflix

I was extremely excited to learn that P. King Duckling – the Disney Jr./Little Airplane show that I worked on – is now available for streaming on Netflix!  My only access ever to the show had been via the Disney Jr. app – and then it was whatever episodes they happened to be releasing at a given time.  (And mine – which were at the tail end of the first season – took forever to show up.)  But!  On Netflix, of course, you can stream the entire series over and over and over!  And why not?!

I’ve got two episodes – #20 “Hills ‘n Thrills” and #26 “A City Under the Sea” – and I can’t tell you enough about what a phenomenal job Little Airplane and their production partner UYoung did on this series.

If you have toddlers and you’re looking for something that’s essentially Spongebob-Lite, look no further.  It’s a terrifically awesome, funny, and actually quite emotional show that focuses on the importance of friendship at any age.

PKD is a great series for sampling – there are tons of excellent episodes – but my favorite is the tether ball episode (#12) where P. King discovers he can’t lose at tether ball.  Funny.

plrknib now available at quimby’s!


Chicago area and nearby residents!  Both Plrknib and Miserable Adventure Stories are now available at Quimby’s! – Chicago’s  favorite independently owned bookstore that sells independently-published and small press books, comics, zines and ephemera. They “favor the unusual, the aberrant, the saucy and the lowbrow.”

And god knows, Prom on Mars books are certainly lowbrow! 

I, myself, have never actually been to Quimby’s – don’t get to the Chicago area too much – but I hear it is super cool and groovy!  And don’t forget to pick up some underground zines while you’re there!

groucho in the bardo

Groucho in the Bardo – another piece from my new book Miserable Adventure Stories – is up today at HeadStuff.org.  Very cool site.  Check it out.

This piece features the Marx Brothers – (Zeppo, too! circa Duck Soup) – as well as many other famous film celebrities, and Lincoln.

This piece, FYI, was inspired by my mother’s intense interest in the new book, Lincoln in the Bardo – although you don’t need to have read that book to enjoy this piece.  In fact, you may enjoy this piece even more if you haven’t read that book.  If you’ve read the book, there’s the slight chance that this piece might actually make you angry.  Although, my mother loved this piece.  But hey, she’s my mother.

Here’s the opening:

Scene – The Bardo. A misty, foggy place. RUFUS T. FIREFLY  wanders about lost. There are sounds of faint WAILING and CRYING.

FIREFLY
Hello! Hellooo! Either I’m in Hell or the world’s worst sauna!

CHICOLINI appears – also lost. They both creep about, not seeing one another. Chicolini raises his fists, ready to fight.

CHICOLINI
Who’sa dat? I hear you, but I no see you! And that’s two a you, I already don’t like!

They slowly back into each other and collide, surprised. They’re approximately pleased to see one another.

FIREFLY
I should’ve known it was you – fog follows you everywhere!

CHICOLINI
At’sa true! Hey! This is some barbecue! I think you left the steaks on too long!

more