the rottweiler

Excited to announce that New Pop Lit is featuring The Rottweiler – the flagship story from my new collection Miserable Adventure Stories – on their site starting today.  NPL is publishing some of the most exciting up-and-coming indie fiction around right now, and I’m thrilled to be among their authors.  Go spend an hour on their site – you won’t regret it.

They also wrote an incredibly lovely introduction to the story that you can find here.  (Super cool illustrations, too.  If you’re into all things Holmes, you should be very cozy here.)

Here’s the opening of the story itself:

It was a cold, brittle day in late December when I came to the apartments of 442D Butcher Street, London, and met my cousin, the illustrious Sir Roderick Rottswilde for the first time. But Sir Roderick was known by another more famous name. He was familiar to all Londoners as not-quite-the-World’s-Greatest-Detective, and second-only-to-that-august-personage-himself-Mr. Sherlock Holmes. My elder cousin was, in fact, The Rottweiler.

And now, Sir Roderick – The Rottweiler – had done the impossible. He’d recovered the Crown Jewels of the Tower of London itself and captured the brigands who’d stolen them. And, today, amid a sea of reporters, he was turning both over to the highest ranking officers of Scotland Yard.

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the sixth sister

My tawdry, hard-boiled crime story “The Sixth Sister” is featured this morning up at the crime fiction site Near to the Knuckle.  Sixth Sister is also one of the featured pieces in my new collection, “Miserable Adventure Stories” (which you can order a copy of by clicking here – or on the big yellow picture over there of the maniacal deep-sea diver being attacked by skunks.)

Oh yeah – and a lot of stuff mentioned here about the Oneida community in upstate NY is true.

Here’s a brief taste of the maliciousness within:

“Conrad was experiencing a perfect moment.

He sat on his hotel room bed staring at the complete – yes, complete – set of Oneida LaVigne Silverplate XI steak knives – known to collectors as The Six Sisters. They were the holy grail of steak knives, and believed responsible for countless historical crimes and acts of mayhem.

By the late 1800s, the small Oneida Community in upstate New York was known for two things: a manufacturing business that crafted the finest cutlery in America; and having been founded as a utopian society that practiced, among other things, “complex marriages” allowing all members of the society to engage in free sexual relations with any other consensual member of the community. Older men and women regularly indoctrinated youngsters into this way of life and dissenting behavior was promptly chastised.”

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Miserable Adventure Stories – Now Available!

I’m pleased as punch to announce the arrival of my second fiction collection, Miserable Adventure Stories – just in time for the holidays!

MAS is a pulpy, genre-bending brew of pieces that have appeared over the past few years at New Pop Lit, The Big Jewel, The Zodiac Review, Defenestrationism, HeadStuff, Blue Skirt Productions, Saturday Night Reader, Near to the Knuckle, and Gi60.  It’s a companion piece to Miserable Holiday Stories (both of which are now available in lovely print editions!), and…it’s, uhm, actually much funnier than that volume, IMO.

MAS features a whopping 15 stories, including the soon-to-be classics “The Rottweiler”, “Across the Tundra”, and the fresh-off-the-presses parody of Lincoln in the Bardo – “Groucho in the Bardo”.

Here’s the blurb from Amazon:

Tentacled monsters! Frozen wastelands! Nixon! Sherlock Holmes! Groucho! In his latest collection, the author of “Miserable Holiday Stories!” takes you to Victorian London, the Old West, alien worlds, Hamlet’s Denmark and other fantastic places that you would absolutely never want to visit. Featuring stories from The Big Jewel, New Pop Lit, The Zodiac Review, and other literary journals with equally fancy names, this head-scratchingly awful collection will make you wonder why you didn’t just stay home and rent a movie.

Miserable Adventure Stories retails for a measly $6.99 in paperback and an even measlier $1.99 for the e-book.

Order both collections and give your loved ones a truly disastrous stocking stuffer!

 

Miserable Holiday Stories – Now in Print!

It’s the perfect stocking stuffer and cheaper than coal!

For the first time ever, Miserable Holiday Stories is now available in a print edition!  And just in time for the holidays!

Yes, now you can actually wrap up a physical copy of Miserable Holiday Stories – with a bow, if you like! – and send sleigh-loads of seasonal misery to family members and other people you don’t really like.  And, unlike the e-version, the print version is flammable and ready to help set your yule log ablaze!

Featuring the infamous chapter-book parody The #$@!# Bicycle Boys Save Christmas, Again!, the new print version of Miserable Holiday Stories is available from your favorite online retailers as well as discerning bookstores everywhere!

for your consideration!


Folks!  If you’ve read and enjoyed Plrknib this year (and, hell, even if you haven’t!) please consider making Plrknib your write-in vote for Best Memoir in the Goodreads Choice Awards 2017!  It’s easy enough to do.  Just click on this link here and enter – Plrknib.  There!  You’re done!  Excellent!  Wasn’t that easy?

You can only enter Plrknib as a Write-in for one category.  So, while we would certainly love you for to enter it in eg – humor, nonfiction, or debut Goodreads author (which technically, alas, it’s not – damn you, Miserable Holiday Stories!) – we would really love it if you’d plug us right there into the Memoir category.

And then…go vote for all those other books you loved this year!

Thanks, and remember – Reading Is Good!

halloween required reading


Once upon a time I was Reviews Editor for the well-respected comics/pop culture site PopImage (managed by the incredibly talented Chris Butcher, Ed Mathews and lots of other fine writers.)  Though PopImage is long gone, some of the content lingers including this piece I wrote about eleven of the most haunting comics available back in 2004.
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Halloween Required Reading
PopImage
October 21, 2004

It’s the time of year for ghosts and goblins to come out of their graves and start haunting up a storm. Herein, you’ll find my list of quality reading for your own All Hallow’s Eve. I had dozens of creators and books to choose from, for my personal best. Works by Rick Veitch, Gahan Wilson, Steve Gerber and Michael Fleisher were all considered as well as single issues of STRAY BULLETS (#2), WASTELAND and even NEGATION (#16). And you could pick up almost any issue of CREEPY, EERIE, or any EC comic and make an evening out of it. But I had criteria for my reading list. Above all, the stories I chose had to truly make your skin crawl. I wasn’t looking for twist-in-the-tales, I wanted stories that were creepy and disturbing in their essence.

Upon compiling my list, I realized that the most creepy and disturbing comics I’ve seen can be counted on two hands (or so) – but the few creators associated with such works do keep turning up: Addams, Moore, Gaiman – and especially, the artists – Wrightson, Ditko, Burns. Maybe you won’t agree with all of my choices, but I promise you – crack at least one of these open – and you’ll likely have a week’s worth of nightmares.

SWAMP THING: DARK GENESIS
by Len Wein and Berni Wrightson
DC/Vertigo

Scientist Alec Holland is enveloped in an explosion while working on his bio-restorative formula. Consumed by flames, he leaps into the murky bayou behind his lab, and emerges later as the tragic, muck-encrusted SWAMP THING.

In comics, Swamp Thing remains the most venerated horror icon. He wasn’t the first muck-monster in comics (The Heap toured the swamps throughout the 40’s), but he was the first one we related to. Wein and Wrightson’s short run in the early 70’s established Swamp Thing as a gothic, modern-day Frankenstein – a man turned swamp creature searching for his lost humanity. Swamp Thing was about identity and alienation. Swamp Thing gave a major outlet to comic’s premier horror artist of the moment, Berni Wrightson. (Wrightson was the only artist to ever draw Cain of HOUSE OF MYSTERY effectively.) Wrightson lush, texturized, moody art kept Swampy in full horror-mode when he could easily have turned into a b-grade superhero (which he would essentially become later). All the early issues are included in the tpb, including Arcane and his un-men.

Continue reading

obscenity trial in encyclopedia vol. 3

Very excited to announce that my extremely profane piece Obscenity Trial is in the long-awaited third volume of Encyclopedia.  I received my copy of Encyclopedia the other day and it is a gorgeous book, full of literary (and artistic/photographic) genius.  This tome has been swirling around in the ether for – literally – about five years now.  I was actually stunned to finally hold it in my hands.  But the encyclopedists have done fine, fine work.  You can order the book here.

Below is a (redacted) snippet from Obscenity Trial.  Pick up Vol 3 to read the full thing.

 

plrknib in cincinnati magazine

Lots of exciting Plrknib news this week – and in the weeks to come!  An excerpt from the book – nicely titled “Funny Guy” – is featured in the current “After Dark” issue of Cincinnati Magazine.  It’s only available in the print edition of the magazine – which you can order here.  Here’s a snippet from the piece, below.

If you’re in Cincinnati and looking to pick up a copy of Plrknib (along with the new Cincinnati Magazine) in an actual bookstore, one place you can certainly find it is at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Rookwood Pavilion.  A friend sent in the lovely picture below.  How appropriate to be sandwiched between Savages and Madness!  (I was told by someone else that it was a store pick in JBB, and had one of those “why you should check this out” notes above it.  How nice.)

And we have some VERY BIG announcements coming soon, especially again, for folks in the Cincinnati/Ohio area.

Stay tuned.

one minute plays: a practical guide to tiny theatre

Hey look!  The good folks at Gi60 have just published One Minute Plays:  A Practical Guide to Tiny Theatre.

One Minute Plays demystifies the super-short-form play, demonstrating that this rich, accessible format offers great energy and variety not only to audiences but to everyone involved in its creation and performance. The one minute play offers a unique challenge to actors, directors and writers: how do you create a whole world, where actors have room to perform and where audiences have a true experience all in 60 seconds? This handbook includes:

  • An anthology of 200 one-minute plays selected from the annual Gone in 60 Seconds festival.
  • A toolbox of exercises, methodologies and techniques for educators, practitioners and workshop leaders at all levels.
  • Tips and advice on the demands of storytelling, inclusivity and creative challenges.
  • Detailed practical information about creating your own minute festival, including play selection, running order, staging and marketing.

I’m also thrilled that a few of my own Gi60 pieces have been included:  Ace and Me, King Kwik, Nothing, and Sleep Tight.

You can order a copy of this highly recommended book here.

You can also pick up a copy at the author’s party on Monday, May 1st at the Drama Bookshop in NYC.  Should be a great time, and they’ll be doing staged readings of several pieces, including Sleep Tight.

irresistibly absorbing

dog-on-couch

(I got a little tired of re-posting the cover of the book; so here’s a picture of a dog.)

Yes, Plrknib now has something in common with toilet paper!

Hey – we got a super lovely review over at New Pop Lit!

Yeah, I know I’m not supposed to post references to a lot of reviews – because then I should be posting the bad ones, too, right?  (Not too many of those, yet, tho. Give it time!)  But this one is super-lovely, so…

Here’s a little excerpt…

….Like a comedian’s joke, Plrknib is the kind of narrative you fight against when you start reading it, but it pulls you along despite yourself. Like most of Bernstein’s writing, it’s irresistibly absorbing. Where is this book heading, you ask? What does “plrknib” mean? You’re skeptical, but you continue reading.

You can read the whole thing here.

And of course you can get the book here