12/04/2013

SKULLCRACK CITY IN 2014 & "ALL-MONSTER ACTION!" WINS WONDERLAND!


I'm thrilled to announce that my novel SKULLCRACK CITY has been acquired by Permuted Press (with a likely release date of Winter 2014)!

I've been watching Permuted since Jacob started the ball rolling, from their early success with JOHN DIES AT THE END to their more recent Peter Clines blockbusters EX-HEROES and 14. After a long conversation with Anthony Ziccardi (formerly with Simon and Schuster and Random House), I'm very excited about the direction Permuted is heading, and proud to be a part of their expanding empire.

SKULLCRACK CITY may well be the strangest Permuted book since JOHN DIES. Set in the crumbling Post-Yesterday world first featured in short story "The League of Zeroes," SKULLCRACK CITY is a genre-jumping madhouse featuring crime, conspiracy, truly weird sex, experimental surgery, cursed pharmaceuticals, and--in true Permuted fashion--a terrifying new type of brain-muncher eager to end humankind as we know it.

There's also a turtle.

SKULLCRACK CITY, 2014.




CONGRATULATIONS to 2012 Wonderland Award Winner Cody Goodfellow (and master artists Nick Gucker and Mike Dubisch). ALL-MONSTER ACTION! picked up the Best Collection award at the Ballroom Banquet during the 2013 BizarroCon, and I couldn't be happier about it. It's an inventive, brilliant beast of a book, and Cody and his cabal of artists made something truly unique. It was wonderful to see it honored.

Cheers,

JRJ

8/01/2013

THE JRJ SAMPLER SERIES IS NOW AVAILABLE!



The JRJ Sampler Series is now available for Kindle in all of its ultra-cheap ($0.99 each) digital glory.

If ANGEL DUST APOCALYPSE and WE LIVE INSIDE YOU are a convoluted, over-reaching concept double-album, these things are the carefully selected radio singles.

Here are the story selections for each sampler (and I just noticed that the Lit sampler is great for people who like the letter S, hotel rooms and/or death):

DOOMSDAY VARIATIONS: THE JRJ APOCALYPSE SAMPLER
The Sharp-Dressed Man at the End of the Line
The Oarsman
Last Thoughts Drifting Down

THE COTTONY WASTELAND OF MY E.T. ELIOT BRAND WAIST-BAND:
THE JRJ BIZARRO SAMPLER

The League of Zeroes
When Susurrus Stirs
Amniotic Shock in the Last Sacred Place

HUNGRY FUCKING ANIMALS: THE JRJ CRIME SAMPLER
Persistence Hunting
Trigger Variation
Precedents

HOW TO FUCK UP EVERYTHING AND DIE ALONE: THE JRJ DRUG SAMPLER
A Number of Things Come to Mind
Dissociative Skills
Liquidation

DEAD EMPIRES AND TERRIBLE HOSTS: THE JRJ HORROR SAMPLER
Laws of Virulence
The Gravity of Benham Falls
Working At Home

ENTROPY IN BLOOM: THE JRJ LITERARY SAMPLER
Swimming in the House of the Sea
Snowfall
States of Glass

Now off to write a novel.

Cheers,

JRJ

3/06/2013

LOW DOWN DEATH RIGHT EASY, Powell's Reading, and New Books on Kindle!


LOW DOWN DEATH RIGHT EASY, the new novel from Wonderland Award Winning author J. David Osborne, is now available!

"It's about meth, fishing, trash American culture and young adult despair. Imagine a Raymond Carver or Jim Thompson for the text message age and that would only begin to get it."--KRIS SAKNUSSEMM, author of Reverend America

Trapped in a rural Oklahoma town fueled by meth and doused in codeine, Arlo Clancy has made it his life's goal to keep his troubled younger brother, Sepp, out of prison. Poverty and the lure of easy drug money were pressure enough, before a gruesome discovery beneath the waters of their favorite fishing hole sent their lives into a tailspin.

Torn by cowardice and conscience, the brothers make a fateful decision which will bring them ever-closer to Danny Ames--a vicious enforcer for the local meth trade--and a nightmare world where their only chance of escape might be...

LOW DOWN DEATH RIGHT EASY

"Sometimes mysterious, sometimes vicious, and always engaging, LOW DOWN DEATH RIGHT EASY is a unique take on the crime novel that will satisfy readers who like their fiction as murky as a river after heavy rains. Here's a good way to describe J. David Osborne: Daniel Woodrell, James Ellroy, and Cormac McCarthy all wrapped into one, stripped to the bones, and given a new voice."--OUT OF THE GUTTER

"A gritty tapestry of subversive drama the likes of which I'd compare to Harmony Korine's Gummo packed in with the terse lines of Bukowski."--MICHAEL J. SEIDLINGER, author of My Pet Serial Killer and The Sky Conducting

"If you're looking for something more than just blood and guns and meth, you need to get this book immediately. Osborne has an innate talent more dangerous than a trunk full of C4. To give some sort of visual, take one of James Sallis' Spartan scenes, lock in it a single-wide with a bag of crystal and a light bulb then rip out the air conditioner and check back in a week. LOW DOWN DEATH RIGHT EASY creates sensations that haunt you long after you've started your next book."--SPINETINGLER

"LOW DOWN DEATH RIGHT EASY is working class fiction at its best. It reeks of desperation, busted dreams, and hard times. But mostly, it reeks of literary talent. Whatever J. David Osborne writes, I'm reading. And you'd better too."--BENJAMIN WHITMER, author of Pike and co-author of Satan is Real: The Ballad of the Louvin Brothers

"J. David Osborne holds a literary style distinctive enough to raise his work above the waterline of contemporary fiction. LOW DOWN DEATH RIGHT EASY challenges and hurts and mystifies its readers. The weave of characters is stunning. Intricate storylines cross and worm through each other to form a dense and powerful mystery."--MANARCHY MAGAZINE

"In LOW DOWN DEATH RIGHT EASY, Osborne reaches out into the scabrous hinterlands of landlocked nowhere to unveil an intertwined collection of reluctant dreamers and three time losers, all trying to get by while navigating rusted out acres of convenience store ice heads, run down bars, and greasy doublewides. Strange, brutal, yet disturbingly familiar, this is the sort of story you can taste on the back of your tongue, and makes you appreciate every last clean and hopeful thing you have in your life."--DARK INTENT

"A highly talented new author. Osborne is one to watch."--BLOODY-DISGUSTING.COM

Get it now at Amazon, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.ca.

For Kindle.

Great reviews at OUT OF THE GUTTER, MANARCHY, SPINETINGLER, and BOOKED.

An excerpt at MANARCHY.

Also, if any Portland readers are interested, Powell's should have copies of LDDRE by the end of this week.

And for people on the East coast, J. David will be doing a reading from LDDRE this Monday, March 11th, in New York, along with Sam Pink, Scott McClanahan, and Cameron Pierce. Here are the details at TIME OUT NEW YORK.

Also, EXTINCTION JOURNALS and ALL-MONSTER ACTION! are now available for Kindle!

The newly revised 2012 digital edition of EXTINCTION JOURNALS includes "The Sharp-Dressed Man at the End of the Line," the classic short story explaining the origin of the world's weirdest post-nuke survivor.

The digital edition of ALL-MONSTER ACTION! includes bonus short story "Wet Nurse" as well as "We Need to Make Things More Repulsive: The Early Sketches of Nick Gucker"!

POWELL'S READING:
This Monday, March 18th, 2013 I'll be reading at Powell's City of Books on Burnside as part of their annual SMALLPRESSAPALOOZA event. Since my readings tend to run "blue" I've got the late night spot at 9:45pm. Should be great fun.

Cheers,

JRJ

12/11/2012

JUST IN TIME FOR THE END OF THE WORLD (OR CHRISTMAS, WHICH WILL PROBABLY HAPPEN FIRST)!


ANGEL DUST APOCALYPSE is finally available for the Kindle, in a special Author’s Preferred Edition not available in any other format!

This hi-def tr
ansfer of the cult classic has been fully revised and updated and features 20,000 words of new digital-only content including:

-A Note About This Author’s Preferred Edition by Me

-An Amazing Introduction by Stephen Graham Jones

-And new section "The Fallout: Bonus Material of Suspect Value" which contains early, entirely out-of-control interviews with CEMETERY DANCE magazine and THE MEAT SOCKET, as well as "JUST THE WORST THING EVER: A TERRIBLE STORY YOU SHOULDN’T READ (WITH WRITER’S COMMENTARY)" and "A REAL BATCH OF NETWORK PITCHES FOR SHOWS WHICH YOU WILL PROBABLY NOT BE SEEING ANYTIME SOON."

I'm pretty excited for people to check this out. It's priced crazy cheap ($2.99) for the holidays and to say thanks for all the support and love the book has received in the past.
 
Happy Holidays!

JRJ

11/20/2012

WE LIVE INSIDE YOU WINS 2011 WONDERLAND AWARD!


Very excited and happy to announce that WE LIVE INSIDE YOU won The 2011 Wonderland Book Award for Best Collection at this weekend's BizarroCon.

It was an honor to be counted among the nominees for such a strong and strange year, and I'm still a bit shocked to see the award sitting on my desk.

 
I've also noticed that everyone who picks it up almost instantly comments, "You could really beat someone to death with this thing."

It's the most beautiful murderous bludgeon I've ever held. THANK YOU (SO MUCH) to the readers and the Bizarro Con family for a wonderfully unforgettable event and year!
 
Cheers,

JRJ



11/13/2012

BOOKS AND BOOZE INTERVIEW & SWALLOWDOWN RE-DESIGN



Gathered some Evan Williams, an Apocalypse IPA, and my cell phone last week for a very enjoyable interview for the BOOKS AND BOOZE podcast.

Per the site: "In Books and Booze episode 16 we sit down with Jeremy Robert Johnson to talk about good beer, good bourbon, experimental writing, and NaNoWriMo. We talk about our favorite stories from We Live Inside You and Jeremy serenades us with the hits of the Doobie Brothers."

Also, the Swallowdown Press website has just undergone a masterful re-design courtesy of Presidential Net Aesthetician Matthew Revert.

Best,

JRJ

11/06/2012

21C Magazine Interview


“Ashley Crawford talks with Jeremy Robert Johnson about Bizarro, David Cronenberg, parasites and, inevitably, the end of the world.”

I've been interviewed for 21C Magazine, whose prior subjects have included folks like Burroughs, Gibson, Shirley, Ballard, Acker, Brian Evenson, Mark Z. Danielewski, and Jonathan Lethem. You can click on the logo above to jump to the sprawling Q&A.

4/12/2012

ALL-MONSTER ACTION! Now Available!


Coming soon from Swallowdown Press-- ALL-MONSTER ACTION! by Cody Goodfellow, featuring art from Mike Dubisch (cover and interiors) and Nick Gucker (interiors):

“A tour-de-force! Goodfellow's latest is his best yet. Compulsive, breakneck reading!” —BRIAN KEENE, author of The Rising and Ghoul

IT'S THEIR WORLD... NOW GET THE FUCK OFF!

Whether on the sun-kissed beaches of a nameless South Pacific paradise or in the suffocating dungeons of retail Hell, the misfits of evolution and mistakes of misbegotten science are battling, breeding, and feeding. And they're looking at you...

COMING ATTRACTIONS!

They came seeking cheap thrills and interspecies recreational sex, but they reaped a whirlwind of clusterfuckery when they toyed with the unspeakable forces of monster lust. From the idyllic nostalgia of WW2 to the thoroughly bat-shit future, witness the wages of sin and mutation as you've never seen them before (unless you read them previously in the periodicals or anthologies in which they first appeared)!

OUR MAIN FEATURE!

The world gave him a blank check and a demand: Create giant monsters to fight our wars. But Dr. Otaku was not satisfied with mere chaos and mass destruction.... Even as his subversively delicious kaiju creatures undermined the very fabric of American life, he hatched a scheme to animate the cities themselves and inaugurate a new dark age of mega-monster abominations who would finally give humanity the ass-whipping it deserved. Now only one man, riding inside the skull of a much larger man, stands between us and the planet-devastating madness of...

ALL-MONSTER ACTION!

“ALL-MONSTER ACTION! is hilarious, action-packed, and way too much fun. Over-the-top and wild! Highly recommended.” — JONATHAN MABERRY, New York Times Bestselling author of Dust & Decay and Assassin’s Code

“This is your chance. You only think you're hip—but you haven't read this Cody Goodfellow book, so you're not yet. Now you can be hip, and read something crazy entertaining too. You can't go wrong, man, I'm telling you. You’ve got to read this thing. I mean, if a book rocks, it rocks, that's all.” —JOHN SHIRLEY, author of A Song Called Youth

“Cody Goodfellow's writing etches itself inside your eyelids and chases your brain back into the dark corners where you can't escape. ALL-MONSTER ACTION! has more high concepts in a paragraph than a whole summer of blockbusters: a mad scientist who's passed on like the flu; biotech mutants harvested for fun and profit; and a giant monster arms race that ends in a showdown on the moon. This book is a human's-eye view of the future coming down hard on us, like a Tokyo resident gazing up at the sky and seeing only the outline of a giant foot.” —CHRISTOPHER FARNSWORTH, author of Blood Oath and The President's Vampire

"ALL-MONSTER ACTION! is a dirty bomb right to the cerebral cortex—it's sharp, smart, scary, scarring, sexy and brutally funny. And like any good bomb, it's got specific targets in mind: Genre and gender, racism, colonialism, ageism and classism. ALL-MONSTER ACTION! demonstrates again that Cody Goodfellow is some kind of mad-ass genius.” —LISA MORTON, author of The Castle of Los Angeles and Monsters of L.A. and Four-Time Winner of the Bram Stoker Award

“One of the most unique and creative works I've ever read. The author is quite obviously insane, but like Colonel Kurtz, he's got a plan. ALL-MONSTER ACTION! is packed with wild, driving energy that carries the reader along like an out-of-control Disney ride. Cody Goodfellow combines genres and crazed pop-cult tropes with finesse and style. Old Mr. Yeats kept bitchin’ about ‘the centre cannot hold.’ Bullshit. With ALL-MONSTER ACTION! Cody Goodfellow proves he can hold the center together and play lead guitar at the same time. Filled with crazed, strange characters drawn from pop-cult, z-grade cinema and zillions of comic books, the pace is frantic and the imagery often makes you laugh while you cringe. What impresses me most with ALL-MONSTER ACTION! is Cody's ability to take cultural icons and clichés and turn them into a funny, intelligent, satiric story that perhaps Max Ernst would have written if he fronted Black Flag. ALL-MONSTER ACTION! made me remember those late nights as a kid, watching amazingly strange films and thrilling to every minute. Cody Goodfellow must have caught those films, too, because his fevered stories have one foot in the past and one foot in the present. Reading ALL-MONSTER ACTION! gave me the same pleasure as the first time I saw ‘The Navy vs. the Night Monsters.’ Brilliant!”—RICKY LEE GROVE, The Greatest Character Actor Ever (Army Of Darkness, Point Break, Scanner Cop) and the Pizza Delivery Man in Your Mom's Recurring Wet Dreams

This is off at the printers now and should be available within the next two weeks. I can't wait for for people to check it out. It's Swallowdown Press' craziest book, the GRAVITY'S RAINBOW of Godzilla tales. We haven't traditionally done what you'd call "fun" books, but ALL-MONSTER ACTION! manages to be as laugh-out-loud funny and exciting as it is smart and brilliantly written.

Best,

JRJ

10/24/2011

WE LIVE INSIDE YOU is Now Available!


Available now from Jeremy Robert Johnson and Swallowdown Press (with book design by CM3 and amazing cover art by Alex Pardee):

We are within you, and we are growing. Watching. Waiting for your empires to fall. It won’t be long now.

We are the fear of death that drives you and the terrible hunger that reshapes you in its name. We are the vengeance born from senseless slaughter and the pulsing reptile desire that negates your consciousness. We are the lie on your lips, the collapsing star in your heart, and the still-warm gun in your shaking hands. The illusion of control is all we’ll allow you, and no matter what you do…

WE LIVE INSIDE YOU

“WE LIVE INSIDE YOU is fucking terrific. Jeremy Robert Johnson is dancing to a way different drummer. He loves language, he loves the edge, and he loves us people. These stories have range and style and wit. This is entertainment... and literature.”—JACK KETCHUM, author of Off Season, The Girl Next Door, and The Woman (w/Lucky McKee)

“A haunting collection from a wildly talented author, WE LIVE INSIDE YOU is composed of nineteen perfectly-wrought nightmares, every one of which will stay with you long after you've finished reading.”—PETER CRAIG, author of Hot Plastic and Blood Father, co-screenwriter of The Town

“The people populating these stories are real and vital and you WILL care, deeply, about what becomes of them... and in JRJ's harsh universe, baaaaad things happen. Often. Prepare thyself.”—CRAIG DAVIDSON, author of Rust and Bone, The Fighter, and Sarah Court

“The guy’s a genius. Reminds me of William Gibson—the dark interest in altered states of consciousness, the unrelentingly furious forward movement, and the same kind of unlimited imagination.”—BEN LOORY, author of Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day

“Tongue-replacing isopods, brain-raping copepods and body-warping worms are far from the most insidious parasites that infest Jeremy Robert Johnson's hapless literary victims. Though the squirmy bits elegantly pioneer new frontiers of sickness, WE LIVE INSIDE YOU is at its most twisted and mordantly revelatory when it drops the body-horror metaphors and digs into the real horror of all the parasitic drives that ride us—tapeworms of greed, lust like plagues of crab lice, and the lethal heartworms of true love. So tightly written and so fluidly brutal you'll want to consume this psychosexual demolition derby in one sitting, but you'll spend the rest of the night checking yourself under a microscope.”—CODY GOODFELLOW, author of Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars and Radiant Dawn/Ravenous Dusk

Waaaay out at the deep end of the collective unconscious—where even the bravest of brain cells fear to tread—Jeremy Robert Johnson performs stand-up comedy for the gods. And their laughter is a marvelous, terrible thing. He’s the kind of post-Lovecraftian genius berserker who makes the Great Old Ones new again. As with Clive Barker, there is no glorious mutational eruption that Johnson can’t nail directly through your gawping mind’s eye.”—JOHN SKIPP, NY Times Bestselling author of Spore (w/Cody Goodfellow) and The Bridge (w/Craig Spector)

That is all. Glad to be back. Hope everybody enjoys the new book!

JRJ

12/17/2010

Now Available!: By the Time We Leave Here, We'll Be Friends by J. David Osborne

Available now from J. David Osborne and Swallowdown Press (with an afterword from yours truly, book design by CM3, excellent interior art from Erin Elise, and amazing wrap-around cover art from Alex Pardee):

Siberia, 1953. Stalin is dead and a once-prosperous thief named Alek Karriker is feeling the pressure. Trapped in an icy prison camp where violent criminals run the show, betrayed by his friends and his body, Karriker is surrounded by death and disorder. Bizarre Inuit shamans are issuing ever-stranger commands that he must obey. Opium is running scarce and bad magic is plentiful. Razor-tooth gangsters can smell Karriker’s blood and they plan to murder him more than once. The only option: ESCAPE.

Enlisting the aid of an aging guard, a cold-blooded killer, and a beautiful, murderous nurse, Karriker must now secure his getaway by finding a "calf": a gullible prisoner to be cannibalized when the tundra is at its most barren. As the vice grows tighter and life in the gulag becomes increasingly surreal, Karriker must hurry to find his mark and convince him...

BY THE TIME WE LEAVE HERE, WE’LL BE FRIENDS

“BY THE TIME WE LEAVE HERE, WE'LL BE FRIENDS is a David Lynchian nightmare set in a Russian gulag, where its prisoners, guards, traitors, soldiers, lovers, and demons fight for survival and their own rapidly deteriorating humanity. Osborne's debut…is paranoid, cold, brutal, haunting, mystifying (in a good way), and totally unforgettable.”—PAUL TREMBLAY, author of The Little Sleep and In the Mean Time

“[A]n opium-laced fever dream, swinging readily between the surreal and the horrifyingly, starkly real. Siberia is a place, metaphoric and literal: It's an inescapable, brutal state of mind. Give in to the voices and let this story deliver its kaleidoscopic nightmare, sly lines, and the truth of a bloody, damaged, beating, human heart.”—MONICA DRAKE, author of Clown Girl

“The only thing crueler and weirder than life in Osborne's Stalinist gulag is the afterlife. Wringing an ergot-laced harvest of agony and absurdity from the bleak Siberian tundra, BY THE TIME WE LEAVE HERE, WE’LL BE FRIENDS manages the nigh-impossible feat of making Kafka's Penal Colony look like a Sweet Valley High romance.”—CODY GOODFELLOW, author of Perfect Union, Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars, and Radiant Dawn/Ravenous Dusk

“This lyrical spatter of inspired dementia… reminds me of Celine in serious nightmare mode, and yet its brutality is quiet—gentle even. To find yourself enjoying forensic black humor scenes of disgust and revulsion is a tribute to Osborne’s writing….”—KRIS SAKNUSSEMM, author of Zanesville, Private Midnight and Enigmatic Pilot

"Like a rat in a bag of deer meat—this is BY THE TIME WE LEAVE talking—[it] scuttles around inside you as you read it, and you come to know that rat as your own heart. And it knows you back, has all along.”—STEPHEN GRAHAM JONES, author of It Came from Del Rio


I couldn't be prouder to be releasing J. David's debut. This book is fantastic.

And, if you know someone for whom cold, barren landscapes filled with surreal death presses their buttons... well, that's weird, but they would fucking love this for X-mas.

Best,

JRJ

8/04/2010

Coming Very Soon: The Deadheart Shelters by Forrest Armstrong


Available this August from Forrest Armstrong and Swallowdown Press:

“The literary equivalent of an Alejandro Jodorowsky film.”
— Carlton Mellick III

Never fall in love, and never try to escape.

Born into a life of brutal slavery, Peter spends his days driven into the wild by vicious dog-masters, forced to pick delicate swamp berries from the skeletons of dead reptiles. His nights offer only the brief escape of hushed conversation and the strange magnolia perfume of fellow slave Lilly.

A moment’s opportunity turns to violence and Peter is thrust into a bizarre new world populated by devious goat-men, poisonous coal-slugs, and murderous royal processions. With the help of his newfound companion, a man-sized infant named Dirt, Peter must decide between embracing his narcotic new world or returning to his old life to save the beautiful souls haunting his dreams.

With a unique poetic prose style Forrest Armstrong delivers a surreal and resonant Bizarro parable for all those who find themselves trapped deep within…

The Deadheart Shelters

This book is awesome. One of the best combinations of weird and beautiful I've ever read, and it's dropping in mid-August.

Cheers,

JRJ

5/12/2010

Goodfellow Month= Free Bizarro Books!


It's official, folks! May 13th-June 13th, 2010 will henceforth be known as Cody Goodfellow month (for at least a period of one month)!

In honor of this fine and lovely occasion, Swallowdown Press is offering an outstanding deal on weird shit!

Order either of Cody's astonishing books (covers shown above) and receive another book for FREE.

This includes Extinction Journals, Siren Promised, Angel Dust Apocalypse, or the giant 37 author Falling From the Sky anthology (though this last is limited 5 copies). Just order one of Cody's books, then indicate which FREE book you'd like in the Notes to Seller section.

Wait! You want more FREE books? Well, okay.

When you buy one of Cody's books and love it, do us a favor and pop up an Amazon review. Doesn't have to be epic; just 4 or 5 stars and a batch of friendly adjectives. Send me a link to the posted Amazon review and I'll send you another FREE book.

So, that's a potential 3 great books for the price of 1, and you'll receive the good karma inherent in supporting the independent press.

Anybody who's read this blog before knows that I think Cody Goodfellow is a stellar writer, one of the best in the business regardless of genre. But you don't have to take my word for it...

Check out this great review of SWFQW from Dark Discoveries: "One can certainly see influences of Lovecraft, the New Wave of SF writers of the sixties, the Cyberpunks and Splatterpunks – and even surrealists like Kafka and Borges. Don’t get me wrong though, Cody Goodfellow is one of a kind. Highly Recommended!"

Or the recent acclaim for SWFQW from Black Static magazine: "[Short story] 'Atwater' is a tour de force of reckless invention, the prose pyrotechnics and in your face imagery that are a vital component of the other stories here bubbling over like the lava flow from a misbehaving volcano."

It's also worth noting that Cody racked up four (!) Honorable Mentions from Ellen Datlow in Best Horror of the Year Vol. 2.

So, Goodfellow Month is a great time to check out a brilliant writer and cop some free Bizarro swag!

Best wishes,

JRJ

p.s. New JRJ fiction dropping shortly. Just waiting to sign some contracts.

4/01/2010

Volta Relapse



I’ve been getting some reader requests for access to the Bio/Write-up thing I did for The Mars Volta back in late 2007, for their album The Bedlam In Goliath.

When the band Bio changed to match their newest album Octahedron, the old Bedlam Bio was lost. I have placed a PDF version of it back on the Futurenet, at swallowdownpress.com.

http://www.jeremyrobertjohnson.com/TMVDIB.pdf

As a “bonus” the PDF includes a (possibly un-used) t-shirt design which was based on my album-inspired symmetrina from the end of the write-up, as well as some semi-amusing composition notes from when I first started trying to decipher the album.

Just noticed today that the word “cryptomnesia” appears in the symmetrina from 2007. One of Omar’s solo albums released in 2009 (but recorded much earlier) bears that same word as its title. Could be unrelated, but either way it carries an irony given the meaning of the word.

By the way, that album (Cryptomnesia from El Grupo Nuevo de Omar Rodriguez-Lopez) is the craziest thing released from this crew in some time. They borrowed the drummer from Hella and he and Omar are just freaking out. With Cedric singing on most of the tracks it’s like an alternate Volta album for people who thought Octahedron was too sedate. By random comparison, Octahedron is to Faith No More as Cryptomnesia is to Mr. Bungle.

Best wishes,

JRJ

3/15/2010

Goodfellow-Mania!


First, Cody’s got a great, very entertaining/interesting interview up at The Black Glove.

Learn how Cody got into writing at age eight, forced into action by his displeasure with the latter half of Stephen King’s The Stand.

the-black-glove.blogspot.com/2010/03/bla...-feature-author.html

Next, Monster Librarian has a great review for Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars.

http://www.monsterlibrarian.com/anthologies.htm (scroll down)

And Horror World took a shine to it, too.

http://www.horrorworld.org/reviews.htm (scroll down)

Also, David Agranoff says that Perfect Union is “An intelligent socio-political dark Bizarro masterpiece and one of the most original horror novels in years.” Check out the rest of the review.

davidagranoff.blogspot.com/2010/03/book-...t-union-by-cody.html

Best,

JRJ

3/10/2010

Radio Ridiculoid

Someone made the mistake of allowing me near a microphone. If you’re interested in a quick burst of Dayquil-influenced jibber-jabber about Bizarro, high diving, and fighting coyotes with sticks, then you could check out this interview with me at PDX.FM.

Just play Episode 3.

At your own risk. They’re your brain cells and I can’t tell you how to waste them.

Banzai,

JRJ

2/08/2010

Coming Very Soon: PERFECT UNION by Cody Goodfellow

Available this February from Cody Goodfellow and Swallowdown Press, with knock-out cover art by Alan M Clark:




"PERFECT UNION is Cronenberg's THE FLY on a grand scale: human/insect gene-spliced body horror, where the human hive politics are as shocking as the gore. This book would make Marx and Thoreau's heads explode. In other words, astounding." --JOHN SKIPP, NY Times Bestselling author of The Long Last Call and The Bridge

"Look. It's very simple. If you're not reading Cody Goodfellow, then you're doing your brain a disservice. One of the best writers of our generation." --BRIAN KEENE, author of The Rising and Darkness on the Edge of Town

"Cody Goodfellow's imagination is a freeway flyer, and his prose is a ride on a rocket-sled. He's one of the two or three god-damned best writers in the Genres today." -MICHAEL SHEA, World Fantasy Award-winning author of Nifft the Lean and Copping Squid

THE FAMILY
When Drew married Laura, he also married into the Kowalski family. But on a trip with his twin brothers-in-law into the backwoods of northern California to find their abusive, estranged mother, buried secrets will be revealed, threatening his fragile marriage and his sanity.

THE COLONY
Mom has joined a new family: Leviathan-- a utopian colony that has taken the communist ideal to radical biological extremes, using the mutagenic honey from genetically tweaked bees to make ideal workers and flawless warriors. But the once-human hive is divided by a strike and brutal internecine war, and its tyrannical Chairman is eagerly recruiting scabs.

With the Kowalski twins taking opposing sides in the colony's bitter feud, Drew is forced into a world where nothing is taboo and survival is the only law, where he must negotiate between the insane collective mind and the savage refugees, even as the battling forces of the commune work to reshape him into a tool to complete their...

PERFECT UNION


You wanted epic Bizarro? You wanted the old gooey, nasty, uncomfortable Cronenberg back? You wanted a fast-paced, bugged-out masterpiece?

Well, you've got it. I love this book. PERFECT UNION is amazing and it's on its way.

Cheers,

JRJ

10/20/2009

Coming Soon from Swallowdown Press: Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars by Cody Goodfellow

Out in late October from Cody Goodfellow and Swallowdown Press, with wraparound cover art by Alan M Clark, an Introduction by John Skipp and an Afterword from yours truly (and excellent book design courtesy of CM3):



"This is high-end psychological surrealist horror meets bottom-feeding low-life crime in a techno-thrilling science fiction world full of Lovecraft and magic..." -JOHN SKIPP, NY Times Bestselling author of The Bridge and The Long Last Call

"Cody Goodfellow's work is '80s vintage horror with a contemporary edge. An exemplary wordsmith, his prose sticks a needle in your brain and gives it a twist. This stuff is Lovecraft on acid. Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars is anything but quiet: it announces Goodfellow's continued presence among the leading cohort of modern horror with a thunderclap." -LAIRD BARRON, author of The Imago Sequence & Other Stories

"Cody Goodfellow is a force to be reckoned with. There are things within these pages with teeth on 'em. You've been warned..." -NORM PARTRIDGE, author of The Man With the Barbed-Wire Fists and Dark Harvest

In the brutal zero-sum game of the new future, every meal is a murder, and every act of love is a declaration of genocidal war. To survive it, you will have to make alliances with the sleeping demons in your blood; learn to wear new names and faces, and shed your soul; feed your inner child to the machine, before it eats you alive; build and defend your own heaven; and become one of the sacred, secret tools with which nature reinvents itself. To win this game, you will have to change into everything that you are not. To play you need only open this book and arm yourself with...

Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars

Cheers,

JRJ

9/14/2008

Goddamn

R.I.P. D.F.W.

Just got home to seven phone messages about his passing. It's an outright fucking loss to the mental landscape. He was gifted. Truly gifted. At least he was here during our lifetime. I can't say any more right now.

3/16/2008

Smallpressapalooza Powell's Reading!

Thursday, March 20th


Powell's City of Books (1005 W Burnside, Portland, OR 97209) is the largest "new and used" bookstore on the planet (so far as I know) and has been an integral part of my life both as a childhood reader and an adult writer. That's why I'm very excited to be able to announce my first reading at the venue. Here's the basic dirt on the event from Powells.com (with compatriots and myself shown in bold):
_____

Our vibrant writing community has long been powered by various DIY reading series, zinesters, upstart printing companies, the Independent Publishing Resource Center, and cultural hubs like Reading Frenzy. Help us celebrate this unique culture during Small Press Month. This special five-hour event will feature 15-minute readings by 15 of the most exciting small press voices in Portland.
Reading Schedule (Don't be late! Times are exact.)
5:00 Tom Blood
5:15 Geronimo Tagatac
5:30 Mary Rechner
6:00 Keith Rosson
6:15 Kristopher Young
6:30 Kimberly Warner-Cohen
7:00 Kate Lopresti
7:15 Alex Wrekk
7:30 Erica Schreiner
8:00 Lidia Yuknavitch
8:15 Tiffany Edwards
8:30 Steve Katz
9:00 Jeremy Robert Johnson
9:15 Mykle Hansen
9:30 Carlton Mellick III
_____

Nine to ten is the Bizarro hour. Our shit tends to be less "family friendly" so we got the closeout slot, which I think is great. We're like the blue comedians of the lit scene. Yes, each reading is only fifteen minutes, but I know we're trying to powerpack those minutes so it should be a fun show. 9:45-10 is an open space where we can do Q & A and book signing, though I'm guessing by that point most folks will be more anxious about heading out for some drinks.

I'm really looking forward to this event and I think it'll be a great time. And I'm grateful to Powell's (and Kevin Sampsell at Burnside) for making this happen and giving so much support to the underdogs during Small Press Month.

Can't wait to see you there. It's going to be a great time.

Volta Update


The NYE show in SF was insane. I'll have more on that next weekend.
For now there are two items:
1. The Bedlam in Goliath exists and it is incredible. You should cop it.

2. The bio/album write-up thing I did for them is now ingrained at TheMarsVolta.com as their actual Bio, and it's a sharp looking .pdf for anyone who wants to check it out.
That is all.
Much more blog (covering November '07 to Now) very soon. I swear.
See you at Powell's this Thursday!
Cheers,
JRJ

11/06/2007

"The Bedlam in Goliath"

That's the title of the newest Mars Volta album, due out on January '08. I mention this not only because it's exciting in general, but because I happen to be tangentially involved.

I'm a huge fan of the Volta, and it turns out that Cedric digs my writing, so a while back I was asked to do a sort of bio/album-genesis-story write-up for their new record.

It looks like the piece was posted today, earlier than expected, maybe to counter some other info leaks about the project (it doesn't hit until January '08). So it's currently the top item over at their website (http://themarsvolta.com/) under the heading "The Mars Volta’s Descent Into Bedlam: A Rhapsody In Three Parts." It's a .doc file right now, but I'm guessing it'll be built into the site in the next few days.

So if you're into the Volta, or want to read a truly bizarre story about murder and Ouija boards, you should check it out.

Plus, after the write-up there's a very strange bit of fixed form prose that I wrote for the album. Cedric calls it "another riddle within the riddle of the album." I call it a coded language symmetrina. Because I am a nerd.

Much, much more blog soon, regarding comics, meeting El-P, my South American debut, Angel Dust Apocalypse being taught in college, etc.

Oh, and here's a link to the video for Bedlam's first single "Wax Simulacra": http://video.umrg.com/marsvolta/waxsimulacra_revised/quicktime.asp

Best wishes,

JRJ

8/28/2007

Quicky: Big Reading Imminent & The Punk Horror Interrogation

PDX Lit-mania

aaltoflier

The flier pretty much says it all (plus some). I haven't done a Portland reading since Broadway Books a few months back, and since this new venue allows (even encourages) drinking, there should be shenanigans a-plenty. This is highly unlikely to be similar in tone and content to anything, say, McEwan's ever done in Portland, so I encourage the enthusiastic, the curious, and those who simply wish to drink near books, to drop in and check it out. Should be a-typical lit madness.

Punk Horror Interview

I sat down with the braintrust of the upcoming Punk Horror charity antho and answered some very personal questions about Bizarro, my shady musical roots, "burrito-loving," and much more. Clicking below will inter-pop you to one of the strangest Q & A's I've ever done:

http://www.punkhorror.com/html/jeremy_robert_johnson.html

Much more soon.

Cheers,

JRJ

3/28/2007

THE GOOD OL' "SO YOU THOUGHT I WAS DEAD" POST

alcatraz
Photo Proof of Existence 1: The beard and the famous jail.

Well, I'm not dead.

Despite all the evidence to the contrary, despite any pernicious rumors that might have worked their way to you, I remain a living, breathing entity.

I think.

I have been in this weird sort of limbo for about four months now. The cause- Genetic alteration to a new type of creature: Homo Domesticus. The shift happened suddenly. I sprouted a few gray hairs, went to bed one night, and woke up thinking, "I can't live in a goddamn apartment anymore."

Thus began the Quest for the House. A house of my own. A place where I didn't have to listen to my neighbor singing Dionne Warwick at two in the morning (although she can carry a tune in her own weird way, sort of like a more coherent Wesley Willis in a sultry mood). A place where I didn't feel my cash was just going into a black hole. A place that wasn't painted piss-stain yellow where you feel the slightest vibration caused by the other tenants.

You get the idea.

Problem 1: I wanted to live in the Portland metro area. Not the burbs, or outlying Portland-y regions. In Portland. And that's expensive. And as I quickly discovered, mortgage lenders are not mightily impressed by the intermittent and basically speculative wages of a fiction writer.

These wages were fine for my pre-Domesticus era, good enough to allow for some Taco Bell dinners and a few concerts and a vaguely bohemian lifestyle in a wee apartment.

But the bankers weren't having it. They wanted a dependable job to balance out my debt-to-income ratio. So I buckled down, told myself everything was going to be okay, and got myself a day job.

Dress shirts/ID badges/cubicles/commute doldrums. Five days a week, eight hours a day.

Fuck.

So, I had locked down a nice enough job, which I'll spare you the details of, lest the miasma of boredom that floats in my skull may enter yours. Then came...

Problem 2: The job made me fat.

shockandawe
Photo Proof of Existence #2: Suddenly realizing that metabolism is _really_ slowing down.

Within a few months I managed to slap a nice doughy mid-section onto a frame that had previously been running marathons/10K's/5K's on a regular basis. The job is deeply sedentary, basically eight hours a day hunched over paperwork and a keyboard. And to keep up with my existing writing obligations I was coming home and typing all night, too. Not a lot of running going on. I started using the railing while going up my stairs and getting chest pains.

It was disconcerting.

In order to save myself from tubby bitchdom I had to find a way to jam some fitness activities back into my life. This meant less time at the keyboard after the first work shift of the day was done. This meant getting my mileage back up and nursing blood-blisters the size of fifty cent pieces after multi-hour sessions on the trails at Forest Park.

Luckily this venture has been fruitful. I've carved off about half of the "bonus material" around my waist, and have a decent resting heart rate again. But this new day job combined with the lifting and running is throwing a nasty wrench into my writing biz especially when coupled with...

Problem 3: The Quest for the House has gone quagmire.

Even with the job I'm not making that sweet cocaine or I.T. money (like many of the people my age that can afford the PDX city life). So I'm in a smaller house market, and that means looking at places built before the invention of, say, nails and levels. Old, decrepit bungalows and ranch-style shacks with dry rot/pest problems/silty or absent foundations/busted sewer lines (with complimentary rat holes)/shot roofs/jury rigged electricity/convicted rapists across the way/worked-over siding/collapsing chimneys/etc.

But the only way you can find out about those problems in real detail is to pay professionals to tell you how shitty the house is.

Imagine you fall in love with a nice older lady. You spend hours on the phone and filling out papers to court her. You visit her regularly. You get engaged. Then you pay a bunch of people to put her through series of tests and they tell you she's got psoriasis and eczema and cancer in her marrow. Plus carpenter ants. And then you have to leave her at the escrow altar.

Imagine this keeps happening to you again and again.

And imagine in the meantime that you've got something you really love. Let's call it writing for the sake of the loose and shambling illustrative story. You love writing, and you love talking to publishers and readers and other writers, but all that goes neglected while you work a soulless (but still pretty nice) job and try to fend off technical obesity and find a place to live that won't send you banko or collapse under you while you sleep.

Imagining these things might give you a loose idea of why I have seemed to be dead.

But the tide is changing. I have rediscovered a sort of bull-headed willpower that I had abandoned as exhausting in the past (and I'm buying a lot of Red Bull). I may have finally found a house worth purchasing. And I'm building some balance between my day job and my personal health.

What This Means:

The four-hundred or so pieces of correspondence I've received via MySpace and my website are about to get answered. I answer every bit of mail. If you sent me something it has not turned to vapor. You will hear from me in the coming weeks.

Work on Tuning Fork will shift from near-dead to moderate shuffle/top-level hustle (depending on how close my agent is to punting me into the sea).

JRJ.com should see a serious revamp. It's so goofy looking right now.

I'll be putting the thumb-screws to the two guys who are supposed to be finishing up new novels for Swallowdown Press this year. One of the guys is, I swear to God, launching what appears to be a very solid and respectable career in hip hop, so it's tough to get him to sit down and type when there's so much glory/money/groupies involved with the alternative. I understand, but man, this guy can write too so I hope he finds time to work over some prose too.

And this blog is going to be super-sized. I have a lot of catching up to do. Here goes:


NEW STORIES COMING OUT THIS YEAR-

xmasp06te
Photo Proof of Existence 3: Celebrating DMX-mas with Totally Explode. Hair absent, beard barely present, but definitely not dead.

"Trigger Variation" is a brand new story about equine steroids and the anti-sentience movement. It's also a story about a bunch of straight-edgy guys called EndLiners causing a shit ton of trouble in a small town. I'm proud to say it's going to be included in The Vault of Punk Horror which I've just learned is also going to feature an introduction from Mr. Famous Guy of Famous Band fame (edited because publisher hasn't made official announcement yet). Doesn't seem like a traditional choice for a punk tome until you consider his decision to confront the PMRC and appear as a giant, angry transexual on his album covers. Then he seems punk in his own screaming, glammy way.

I keep telling the editor that once he receives Mr. Famous Guy's intro he's got to send back an email saying, "We're not gonna take it! No we're not gonna take it!"

But the odds of that actually happening (or coming across as funny) are pretty small. Still, as a guy for whom Famous Band was a gateway drug to metal, I'm stoked to have Famous Guy involved. Everyone I know that has ever interacted with him said he was a very nice guy, and he is a big supporter of the indie horror scene.

"Consumerism" is a sort of follow-up tale to "Priapism" from ADA. It involves a Hummer wreck, a Frito Snak-Pak, and a pinch of Greek tragedy, and it'll be appearing in the very anticipated Falling From The Sky anthology.



Head here to check out the diverse line-up on the soon-to-be-released mega-mix of literary radness.

"When Susurrus Stirs" is a truly hideous tale of parasite horror. It starts out weird and ends up way beyond weird, in some gooey realm that I feel a pinch guilty for having flushed from my brain. It'll be appearing in the next installment of the ever-excellent Bare Bone series (#10, I believe). I'm also very happy that the story will appear along with new work from two of my favorite writers on the planet, Cody Goodfellow and Tom Piccirrilli. Should be a very sharp line-up.

UPDATE: Looks like this one just hit the market. And check out the cover:



"Faded Into Impalpability" is really four stories from me, four stories from Nebula/Stoker/Pushcart/etc.-winner Bruce Holland Rogers, and a central collaboration. It's all wrapped up into this weird sort of fixed prose beast called a symmetrina.

It should see print in Cemetery Dance around the end of '07. We tried to change it up with each piece while sticking to the theme so it's got outright horror, bizarro, subtle suspense, "literary" stuff, etc. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it'll appear along with one of the new Stephen Graham Jones stories CD's got coming this year. His last CD appearance ("Raphael") was severely creepy.

I've mentioned this one before, but "Simple Equations" is another brand new story that should see print in the excellent A Dark and Deadly Valley anthology very soon.

So that's five (well 8.5 if you count each story in "Faded") new stories coming out in'07. And if I can manage to fill an editors request to chop about 3,000 words off of a story called "States of Glass" it may find a home at a very top-shelf literary mag. So if things really work out that's a minimum of 9.5 published servings of my weird shit while I work my way through writing the best new novel that I possibly can.


NEW NET SHENANIGANS-

Some very sharp reviews of Extinction Journals at The Zone (UK), The Pedestal, and 3AM.

Here are a few samples for people who don't like to click out of blogs (or to agitate those who could give a shit about reviews):

"Jeremy Robert Johnson's novella of the apocalypse is a supremely weird reading experience, sitting somewhere between Chuck Palahniuk and John Wyndham. Extinction Journals is a hybrid, a mutant child of 1950s' paranoia and contemporary dystopia. Bleak, funny, apocalyptic and affecting it stays with you long after you've finished it." From The Zone.

"Equally profound and hilarious, [Extinction Journals] contains not only some of the most thoughtful examinations of humanity’s need for companionship to come along in several years, but also some of the best descriptions of loneliness and thanatophobia, the pervasive human fear of death." From The Pedestal.

So those are nice.

And although it's not new to people who've already read my first collection, "Precedents" is now available for free on the net in the second issue of up-and-coming Bizarro mag The Swallow's Tail. Fans of the weird who have already read my story would do well to check it out- my tale is by far the most orthodox thing in a very strange magazine.

"Precedents" is a decent sample for readers who want to test the waters before checking out a full book of mine. "Literary" folks seem to dig the story, and it received an Honorable Mention in the most recent Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, so it seems to work for people outside of genre (which is always nice).

And although I've mentioned this before, there's some new content for bilingual readers up at the smart and stylish Proyecto Liquido. You may have already seen the elegant translation of Snowfall, but there's also a new interview up with some mook called Me. Also check out their interview with my Canadian brother (and literary pugilist) Craig Davidson.


SPEAKING OF THE CRAIG-

I've mentioned Davidson before and I hope anyone who has enjoyed my work has checked out his collection Rust and Bone. And I have to say that reading the intro to his newest book The Fighter is partially responsible for recharging my writing engine during this stressed-out stretch of my life. Craig is "the business" when it comes to storytelling, and if you believe otherwise it seems likely that he'll challenge you to a round of fisticuffs while promoting his new book.

I've noticed a series of weird coincidences between myself and Craig that really do make me think of doppelgangers and Lynchian dualities and how much time I waste thinking about dumb shit like this when I should be writing. Here goes a brief rundown:

We've both come from a horror-writing background. He hiding/writing as a pseudonymous hobo named Pat Lestewka and I writing as Jeremy Robert Johnson because I am proud of my horror heritage and I couldn't think of any good fake names (aside from Krystal Winthorn, which is the name I write my Woman's World romance stories under- they pay very well!).

(Craig is actually very proud to say he writes horror but I can rib him, "having a bit of the old joshery" as they say, because he is far away and cannot punch me.)

We both released early limited edition books with strongly established horror industry vets (him with Ed Lee, me with Alan M. Clark).

We both released well-received short fiction collections mixing brutal tales with more "literary" (ie. stories about people and their ill/handicapped love ones with less pulpy content). Both collections were blurbed by one of our heroes, Chuck Palahniuk.

I am handsome. Craig is Canadian.

Both of us are producing work that makes marketing teams squirm a bit. Which is not to peg us an uncompromising artistes, but which is to say that our cross-over odds in the "literary" market are somewhat dampened by the profound number of nasty things that happen in our fiction. If either of us were luck out and "hit it big," it would much more likely be Welsh/Palahniuk/Ellroy big, versus Cussler/Roberts/Grisham big. And that's perfectly okay.

What's my point? That I think about dumb shit. And that Craig is a cool guy (due, primarily, to his similarities to me).

Word.


THIS BLOG DON'T STOP-

Here's more blog. More sweet, semi precious morsels of blog.

On the topic of blurbs. In the last year I blurbed seven (count 'em) books, from small-press chapbooks to mass market paperbacks. Which means I definitely over-blurbed myself. I don't want to become that guy from 15 Second Film Reviews in Wichita that gets blurbed for calling Miss Congeniality 2 "A spellbinding comedy and stand-up feel good hit!"

This means no blurbs for '07. I've played myself out. Some of these blurbs are in rotation, some are for books that have yet to see publication. The seven from '06:

Licker by Michael Arnzen: “Licker is a truly intoxicating, hallucinogenic whirlwind of brainbreaking freakshow fun. Arnzen’s sure-footed, fast-paced storytelling, and his willingness to fly far beyond the bounds of good taste, make Licker the one bizarre carnival ride you must buy a ticket for.”

Exposed! By Michael Heffernan: “Exposed! shines a harsh light on the myriad horrors of modern society and reports back from the fearful frontlines with wicked wit and paranoid power. From the murky waters of New Orleans to the scarred psyches of our own image-obsessed existence, Exposed! is the last headline we get to read before reality comes tumbling down.”

A Drop of Scarlet by Jemiah Jefferson: “A dead sexy and darkly beautiful page-turner, Jefferson's A Drop of Scarlet is a narcotic blood-soaked nightmare from which you'll never want to escape. This potent mix of all-too-human passion and undead horror proves Jefferson is at the head of her class when it comes to breaking hearts- and, of course, bleeding them dry.”

Counting Earps by D. Harlan Wilson: “D. Harlan Wilson's un-filtered madness is laugh-out-loud funny and crazy contagious. His Counting Earps & Other Rejekts is a room full of floating planets with nitrous oxide atmospheres, each world more brilliantly tweaked and ingeniously irreal than the last.”

The Gutter Limits by Booger Murphy: “Booger Murphy's stories squall and bleat and blast in a cacophony of lo-fi punk fiction. These grimy tales play loose with convention and smear snot on your better sensibilities. Satire, horror, politics-all of it delivered with a knowing sneer and genuine energy.”

The Troublesome Amputee by John Edward Lawson: “With this blistering salvo of poetic gutshots Lawson has proven himself Bizarro’s true bard, its mad laureate. Switching from dark whimsy to retina-blast shock to political outrage without missing a beat, The Troublesome Amputee is a powerful collection of pitch-black verse.”

New Vincent Sakowski Collection: I swear I blurbed this one but can’t find any record of it. It was pretty hypey as far as the hype goes. Vince, if you read this, please email me your blurb so I can edit it in to the blog.


INDIE PRESS BEER-

Sounds like a good idea, right? Here's the fancy label that CM3 ran up for a stern batch of homebrew that we used as part of our promo phalanx in San Francisco last year:

swallowdownale

I wish I had some right now....


ONE THING THAT MIGHT HELP ME STAY SANE-

Is submitting photos like this one to the weekly digital newsletter put out by the corporate communications group at my work:

leprechaundog1

Yes, this did run, which is great. And what's weird is that everybody sees it but nobody mentions it. No one ever says, "Hey, Jeremy, why do you keep submitting poorly modified photos of small dogs to the corporate newsletter?" It's just accepted like the papercuts and free coffee.


FALL OF AUTUMN CONTEST-

Witness a blog entry so timely that I'm announcing judging a writing contest after it's already over. I was honored to be one of three judges that indie stalwarts Fall of Autumn asked to have a go at their 2nd Annual Short Story Contest. I read every single entry from stem to stern and the following were my personal selections for the top 3:

First: "A History of Disappearances" by Wendy Spacek- There's something beautiful and sad about this prose that I can't quite pin down, but it stays with me (and for some reason reminds me of Mailer).

Second: "The Cold Insect" by Cameron Pierce- Obviously I'm a sucker for dark absurdism, and stuff that shifts between comedy and tragedy, but it was the dialogue and the closing that un-nerved me.

Third: "The Greatest Astronaut" by Simon Pole- The simple and touching sci fi of Astronaut just works.

From the look of the results it seems the other two judges agreed with me on the top pick but ventured toward capable (though less experimental) fare for the other selections.

I appreciated the opportunity to check out the wide variety of styles and voices the contest rounded together, and offer my congratulations to all the winners. Cameron and Simon, email me if you want some free shit/awards outside of the auspices of the original contest- I really liked your stories.


POWELL'S ON HAWTHORNE-

The Hawthorne Powell's was already carrying Angel Dust Apocalypse, but now they've also got copies of Extinction Journals and Siren Promised on hand. And as if that's not enough, DIY Press Advocate and Overall Badass John Barrios crafted an excellent display for Small Press month that featured two of my books. Check it out:

Powellfulldisp

Powelldetdisp

So, muchas of the gracias to John and Powell's for actively supporting literature in all its guises.


A PIECE OF "THE ADVICE"-

Sometimes people send me things to read, and sometimes I miraculously find space in my schedule to read them. And every once in a while I even get cocky enough to try and offer some advice. This was a recent response that I thought some people might dig (despite the general hackery of the example):
_____

Seldom, if ever, have one character tell another character what they both already know about themselves for the purpose of illustrating the back-story or general aspects of the characters.

Don't have a guy say, "You and me, Pedro, we forged our way through life in a hail of gunfire and regret." or whatever. Effectively that reads like the author saying, "Look, this is who these guys are and I can't be pained to reveal it in a less jarring way." Instead have the characters make reference to events in their past like old friends sharing memories, and don't force-feed the info to the reader. It doesn't have to be overt either— something like:

Pedro winced and grabbed his shoulder.

Harry hadn't seen that in a while. "Shrapnel still in motion?"

"Till the day it fucking pops out, man. My body's slow to reject it. I don't know- maybe it's 'cause it's the last thing I have to remember her by."

"Maybe it's because you deserved it. She's still messing you up, man... I never believed her when she said she'd been working explosives with the IRA."

"Yeah, well I believe her right now." Pedro grimaced and knocked back another tumbler of mescal. His face went calm for a moment excepting the areas held tight by scars. "What I can't believe is that I still miss that bitch."

The men laughed.

End.

There you go. It's barely passable but you've got your tough guys, your booze, your broads with weapons, and a hint of relationship back story and character development. It takes a little more work but it's worth it. If you go through your book and decompress those expository pieces of dialogue it'll really enrich it. And don't worry about getting it all in at the start if you're working at novel-length— you've got the space to develop it. Trust your reader to put things together. Write to your smartest reader— they'll get it.
_____

Nothing groundbreaking, just some solid advice that someone gave me once.


THE COLLABO ISSUE-

Collaborations seem to be a tough sell. Siren Promised, my gonzo art-saturated collaboration with Alan M. Clark, does well enough for an indie press release, but still hasn't gained the readership or momentum that ADA or EJ have. This despite nothing but favorable reviews/blurbs/award nominations. And I think I understand why...

Stephen King and Peter Straub
Murs and Slug
Mike Patton and Dillinger Escape Plan
Mr. Lif and Akrobatik

I enjoy all of the above artists, some quite enthusiastically. But when they decided to pair up and create something together I was reticent to check out the product. In some cases it took me months to cop the books/CD's when I would normally buy something from these folks the day it dropped.

I guess the fear was that the meeting of these respectable forces would somehow force each other to dilute what made their individual works so enjoyable. And I'm proprietary about the artists I love in a very nerdy way, and don't want some milquetoast mash-up of blended sensibilities (like that Best of Both Worlds disc with R. "You Going to Pee on My Little Girl Mr." Kelly and Hova).

But once I ventured out and gave the collaborations a whirl I found that I totally enjoyed what these artists had made together. And in some cases it felt like the collaborators forced each other to step their game up or try out new things.

So for any of my readers that might find themselves hesitant to pick up Siren Promised because its a collaborative effort, know this- working with Alan M. Clark took my storytelling to some of the strangest and some of the best places its ever been.

Another bonus point- The art is fucking KNOCKOUT. My right forearm sleeve based on one of the paintings is finally done (42 hours later). I tried to get a good shot of it but it came out like this:

Badtattooshot

Hopefully Pedro at ONA will have some very pro shots of the piece soon. It turned out great.

INFLAMMATORY QUOTE OF THE MONTH-

"Anyone who clings to the historically untrue -- and -- thoroughly immoral doctrine that violence never solves anything I would advise to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it. The ghost of Hitler would referee. Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor; and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and their freedoms." - Robert A. Heinlein

Good God, I just don't know how to feel about that.

AMAZON REVIEWS-



The whore in me has this basic request: If you've read one of my books, and you feel on some empirical ranking level that they warrant four stars or better, and if you might have a few nice words to say about the words I wrote, you would be an affirmed benefactor of at least one creator of weird shit if you popped off an Amazon Review (or even better, one of those Lists).

Honestly, as a micro-press author without big box exposure or a Magical Cure-All Public Oprah Book Handjob on his table, your continued support for my books on Amazon and across the net makes all the difference. Your support has already repaired my cleft palate and replaced disc C5 in my spinal column, and with your continued support I might just be able to grow a substantial beard (right now I lack the proper vitamins for any sort of real beard-luster).

Seriously, thanks to those who've already repped my work and Bizarro on the net, and advance thanks to those who will do so in the future.

Whore transmission over.


NEW VERBICIDE-



The new issue is out now, and I'm pretty sure it's the only place to find some of Fante's short fiction wedged in between Ninja Turtles and Kool Keith. For the first time in a while I did not contribute a piece to the mag, but as people who've checked out prior issues can attest, Verbicide's got a lot more going on outside of my jibber-jabber.

Speaking of Verbicide, here, at long last are the...

MARS VOLTA INTERVIEW BONUS MATERIALS-




Here, and strictly for the Volta completist, are bits of my recent interview with Cedric of the Mars Volta that were cut by the editor due to flow/page restraints. Any material in italics is Verbicide/Me (except for the very limited intro discography at the end).
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Extra intro asides-

Anyone inspired to attend a Volta concert as a result of this interview would be remiss not to devote some time to watching keyboardist Isaiah Ikey Owens work over the ivories. Because the guy is like Hendrix- he is feeling the music- and his keyboard playing is the most physically manifested stuff I’ve seen since Tori Amos started humping her piano bench.

Actually, please apply that “Hendrix” comment to the whole band. This is a group of musicians that destroy the stage like they can hear bombs whistling overhead. The Mars Volta is a group of people for whom no other life would be acceptable- they are musicians on a cellular level.

Cedric on ADA-

It's called Angel Dust Apocalypse.

Oh, yeah. Yeah. I have… I’ve been reading that. It’s really good. I like the one with the guy who has the brain on the outside of his body. And there’s the other one, too, where there’s some sort of worm going through the body of a patient that they’re keeping.

The parasite one.

Yeah, that was a great one, too. And the guy realizes he got contaminated.

And he chops off his leg with a hatchet.

Yeah. That was awesome stuff, man. Thanks for dedicating that to us.

A big chunk of that book was written while listening to De-Loused in the Comatorium and EL-P’s Fantastic Damage instrumentals, so that’s definitely part of why it turned out so jacked-up.

That’s cool.

More on Dune-

I mean, I don’t mind David Lynch’s version, I love that one. But I think Jodorowsky’s version would have been a whole lot darker.

It would have been a whole different world.

I feel like only the Harkonen’s are the darkest in [Lynch’s] movie, and I feel like everyone, even the good guys, have really dark secrets that should have been in the film.

More on Meeting Roni Size-

Some people were cool it’s just that he’s the one person that we went out of our way to say, “Hey, you really have a big influence in what we do.” And he was just a big asshole. So it kind of turned me off from all electronic music. I was like, “God, are they really that full of themselves?” I can appreciate the difference between the styles of live music. But then I just felt very defensive like, “Fuck you, man, you just press buttons.” At the same time I realized that he had a live drummer but I just felt like, “God, man, you should realize that your music is hitting people that you wouldn’t expect it to hit.”

On Language and Lyrics-

Do you prefer Spanish or English for singing/songwriting?

Sometimes Spanish has a little more depth. I couldn’t sing certain songs in English in order to get a certain sentiment across. It would have to be in Spanish. I’ll view it like this- if I’m in a foreign country and I hear something, just some sort of song on the radio, and it’s not from my era, and the lyrics might be about walking the dog or something, but to me it just sounds so… it doesn’t sound like that. It might sound like an ode to a dead lover or something. Being Chicano I tend to gravitate towards the Spanglish a lot more and Spanglish has a lot more English in it and I want to get away from that sometimes because I think the sentiment is best… its intentions are better felt through Spanish.

Original Closer-

So, with that being said, and thanks and well-wishes for the remainder of the tour being expressed, the interview was done. And much like a listener at the end of a Mars Volta album, I was left with a number of intriguing but unanswered questions- How’s the 16mm Volta movie coming along? How was it working with EL-P and are there any other hip hop artists you’re really enthusiastic about right now? Have you ever seen anyone get as amped as Ikey on the keys?- and the general, exhilarating sense that these guys are creating, and will continue to create, some of the most exciting soundscapes in modern music.

Limited Discography Sidebar-

Apparatuses Unearthed: A Micro-Guide To The Mars Volta Auditory Film-Fest

Tremulant EP- The first sonic blast. Three strange, exciting songs from a batch of musicians radically redefining their path post-ATDI. Produced by Alex Newport & The Mars Volta

De-Loused in the Comatorium- Omar later referred to this album as “restrained.” Which is like calling meth-heads “easy-going.” Viewed by many fans as their defining album, it has a pop sheen offsetting the aggressive mania of tracks like “this apparatus must be unearthed” and the beautiful but mournful tones of “televators” and “take the veil cerpin taxt.” The fact that De-Loused is a concept album celebrating the life- and chronicling the death- of Omar and Cedric’s artist/mentor Julio Venegas lends the songs extra pathos and gravity. Co-produced by Rick Rubin and Omar.

Frances the Mute- Five songs broken down into fifteen sections, this is a rough one to select mix-tape tracks from. Which is fine and likely intentional because the Volta again entered concept album territory, this time via an abstract tale about Cygnus, a fictional surrogate for late band-mate Jeremy Ward. An album filled with both transcendent and lonely moments, and some of the harshest lyrics Cedric ever penned (phrases like “lakes of blood”, “feed us the womb”, and “heaven’s just a scab away” abound). Source of the breakthrough single “The Widow” as well the brilliant “Miranda That Ghost Just Isn’t Holy Anymore.” Produced solely by Omar.

Scab Dates- The closest thing to a live Volta performance, featuring some incredibly propulsive moments and a Reich/Cage-type breakdown featuring filtered backstage chatter and sax squawks that may be a serious flashback-inducer for anyone who’s ever ingested a hallucinogen (I’m not kidding you, I’m warning you). Some vital moments here, including “b. and ghosted pouts” and a forceful “Concertina.” Produced by Omar.

Amputechture- This time the Volta drop the concepts and let each song work its own singular course. Cedric’s comparison of the songs to episodes of Lynch’s Twin Peaks holds water- there are an overwhelming multitude of whacked-out things happening in these songs, and the more you listen, the more you are simultaneously enlightened and disturbed. And, like in Peaks, sometimes the audio is running backwards. Although this is an album with very accessible moments- the simple structure of “vermicide,” the throttling groove of “viscera eyes,” or the smoky, filtered noir drums of “meccamputechture”- the biggest rewards come from repeat listens to epic tracks like “tetragrammaton” and “day of the baphomets.” Produced by Omar.

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NEW RIDE-

Newmerdeboard

It's dreamy, huh? New deck courtesy of the ever-righteous and highly recommended Merde Skateboards.

FINALLY, A COMFORT FOOD BUFFET OF OPINIONAL FUNLETS-

Lupe Fiasco's Food and Liquor- Okay, yeah, he raps about hugs and robots and skateboarding, but it has a great balance of the lighter material and on point commentary (including the super-dope gangster zombie critique "The Cool"). Probably my second favorite hip hop album of '07 next to...

El-P's I'll Sleep When You're Dead- Effortlessly badass with well-placed collabos, ridiculous production, and lyrics for days. So good I find myself afraid to listen to it, like it's challenging me to push as far as El's gone. This is a week in to listening to it, I'm sure my opinion will drain of hyperbole after time. But right now this is the best thing running.

Outkast's Idlewild- Finally copped it. Under-rated, very solid, and "Morris Brown" stays fresh on sunny days. I'm all for artistic expansion, but when Andre raps, I do find myself wishing he'd do more of that.

Nas's Hip Hop is Dead- I wish Kevin Federline would have had the balls to name his album the same thing. Nas gets a bit of Grumpy Old Man syndrome here, but there's more meat here than fat, and the opening track is among his best.

Peeping Tom- Patton=Magical, although the disc is uneven. The tracks with Amon Tobin and Massive Attack make me wish he'd work with more "electronic" artists.

Clipse's Hell Hath No Fury- It's so goddamn cold, man. If I listen to it too early in the morning it gives me The Fear. "Flow reptilian" indeed.

Game's The Doctor's Advocate- Weird goddamn album, with the chronic Dre jocking, but the production and Game's compelling flow and psychodrama keep it moving.

Muse's Black Holes and Something or the Other- Queen meets U2 meets the Volta meets politicized space opera meets Radiohead. Yeah, it feels derivative, but it's a lot of fun.

Led Zeppelin, The Eurythmics, and The Doors- All in rotation a lot recently.

M.O.P.- Where's their next album? And I'm talking a real Warriorz follow-up, not that metal thing they did as Mash Out.

D.J. Premier- I respect him more everyday.

Little Children- Jennifer Connelly gets hotter everyday, the script stays smart, and the performances are all fine tuned.

The Host- Goofy. Great monster design. I hyped it too much in my head before I went.

The Descent- Not goofy, and I keep thinking about it.

Grindhouse and Chucky P's Rant- My early impression is that both of these are going to make '07 a very entertaining year for me and a whole slew of nerds worldwide.

This blog- Bloated as fuck, but it's nice to finally see you again.

Cheers,

JRJ