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.

summer reading


Two books that are “fast, breezy reads” great for taking on vacation.

Miserable Adventure Stories is a new collection of quirky sci-fi and adventure stories, including the award-winning “Raglan Oracle”.  From Amazon:

“It’s a light, easy read and I resented it for making me want more.”
“This is a wonderful collection that had me howling while I was reading it on a plane in the dark.”
“A variegated collection of pop fiction by one of the best practitioners of the pop story…the stories aren’t miserable, they’re masterful.”

Plrknib is my memoir about doing stand-up in high school in the late 70’s at the d.w eye club in Cincinnati.  (Last summer, the book was a hit in Cinti and prompted a sold-out reunion performance of the d.w. eye comics.)

“The Power of Jokes permeates this book in a way that’s rarely seen in fiction.
“High, hysterical, edge-of-your-seat drama.”
“I started reading PLRKNIB in an airport in DC and couldn’t put it down.”

Both books are available on Amazon and at finer bookstores everywhere.

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!

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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!

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.”

more

 

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!