Author Corner–Max Booth III

E: Hey, Max!  Welcome back to the blog.  Of course, you had to bring me guacamole.  Why can’t you bring me pie like normal people?

M: It is pie. It just happens to be filled with guacamole. I don’t understand why you won’t just eat the damn thing. It’s delicious. This is what killed Hitler. It’s good for us. Trust me. One bite.

E:  You have a new book out, Toxicity.  When did it release and what can you tell us about it?

M: Toxicity was published by Post Mortem Press back in April. Post Mortem Press is probably best known for publishing the short fiction of Joe Hill and Clive Barker through various anthologies, along with the ongoing columns by Harlan Ellison in their quarterly dark fiction journal, Jamais Vu.

Toxicity is a dark comedy about drug addiction and dysfunctional families. It features three main characters and their individual stories, who all eventually clash together toward the end of the book. So, it’s kind of similar to certain Quentin Tarantino narrative techniques in that aspect. Many reviews actually have compared the book to Tarantino, as well as the Coen Brothers, Elmore Leonard, and Carl Hiaasen.

Toxicity Front Cover

E: Where did you get the idea for the book?  What’s the weirdest, or most unusual, thing that has inspired a story?

M: I grew up loving the hell out of films like Snatch and Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels. I wanted to write a humorous crime novel in the same sort of style. The actual idea? Man, I don’t know. I started off by writing about a dysfunctional family very similar to my own family, and allowed the craziest shit I could imagine to continue from there. After many rewrites, an actual novel had formed.

E: You’ve got some short story news recently.  What got accepted and where can we find it?

M: My short story “The Neighborhood has a Barbecue” was recently accepted in Michael Bailey’s psychological horror/science fiction anthology, Qualia Nous. He had previously published my story “Flowers Blooming in the Season of Atrophy” in his horror anthology, Chiral Mad 2. “The Neighborhood has a Barbecue” is written in the same style as old Twilight Zone episodes, so fans of that show will probably really dig my story. Well, that’s the idea, at least.

Vincenzo Bilof also accepted my short story “One Day I’ll Quit This Job and Rule the World” in his anthology, Surreal Worlds. My story is…surreal.

Both anthologies should be available sometime later this year.

E: You’ve got a fairly busy convention schedule this year.  In fact, didn’t you just get back from one?  Where else can we find you this year?

M: Indeed I did! I just returned home after a great convention at Printers Row Lit Fest in Chicago. I spent most of the time panhandling on the streets with Christian A. Larsen.

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The remaining conventions for this year all happen to fall on September. I will be at the following conventions, hosting a vendor table for my own small press, Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing: Monster-Con (San Antonio, TX – September 06-07), Enter the Imaginarium (Louisville, KY – September 19-21), and Alamo City Comic Con (San Antonio, TX – September 26-28).

Side note: I’ll also be attending Enter the Imaginarium in September.  If you’re in the surrounding area or you’re willing to drive and you’ve got a burning desire to meet us, that’s where we’ll be.  Charlie can’t come.  They said something about “biohazards” and “fumes.”  Bastards.

E: You have another book coming out this fall from Kraken Press.  What can you tell us about that one?

M: The Mind is a Razorblade will be published this September by Kraken Press. It’s a supernatural neo-noir horror novel of a man born into death. Drowning, he wakes beside two corpses. His memory has been wiped clean. He doesn’t know his name, what he’s doing here, who these people are, or even why one of them is a cop. Questions plague his mind like hellfire, questions that begin a journey leading into the rot of downtown America, a journey that will not end until every one of his questions have been answered, despite who has to die in the process. Even if those who have all the answers aren’t even human.

A story of identity and redemption, satanist cults and funny bunny slippers, The Mind is a Razorblade is the deformed lovechild of a lunatic raised on cheesy ‘80’s science fiction movies.

mindisarazorbladekraken

E: You’ve also edited another tribute anthology.  What was behind choosing Charles Bukowski and what are your plans for future tribute anthologies?

M: I’ve done two tribute anthologies so far. Volume one focused on Kurt Vonnegut, and the second featured Charles Bukowski. Both of these authors inspired me both as a person and a writer. They affected not only me, but millions of fans. I’m currently putting together a new volume for Elmore Leonard, and if any writers are interested, they have until September 30 to submit something to me.

I am actually on the fence about continuing the tribute series after Elmore Leonard. If I do, I’ll either tackle Flannery O’Connor or Roald Dahl.

Roald Dahl sounds like a lot of fun, to be honest.

E: If you could change any part of the publishing industry, what would you change and why?

M: Besides all the ass kissing that’s involved, probably the really shitty “publishers” popping up every two seconds. You know the kind I’m talking about. The publishers that pretty much release only anthologies, offering zero payment or contributor copies, and exist solely to make money off of writers’ friends and families. I would love to see them all fall off the face of the earth.

Max headshot max is homeless

BIO:

Max Booth III is the author of two novels, TOXICITY and THE MIND IS A RAZORBLADE, along with a collection of flash fiction called THEY MIGHT BE DEMONS. He is the co-founder of Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing and the assistant editor of Dark Moon Digest. The editor of numerous anthologies, he has studied under Craig Clevenger and award winning editor, Jennifer Brozek. He writes columns for Litreactor, Revolt Daily, and Zombie POP. Raised in Northern Indiana, Max currently works as a hotel night auditor somewhere in San Antonio with his dachshund and life partner.  You can find Max at his website  or on Twitter.

Recommend It Monday–Tears of Isis by James Dorr

I had the pleasure of interviewing James Dorr for Author Corner awhile back, and one of the things we discussed was his short story collection, The Tears of Isis.  I’ve finally been able to read it (I blame actual employment and graduate school for the delay), and the first thing I want to mention is how beautiful it is.  The language Dorr uses as he tells his stories is wonderful.  Some of the stories are his takes on fairy tales.  Cindy is the most obvious one, but others are Snow White and Sleeping Beauty told as River Red and The Ice Maiden, respectively.  What I enjoyed most about these stories is that they employ the same world dynamics.  It was nice to go back to this world and read other aspects of it.  His versions of the tales are unique and subtle.  In fact, with River Red and The Ice Maiden, I didn’t realize what they were until after I had finished reading the collection.  Some people may not like the delayed connection, and maybe those people who are smarter than I am will make the connection as they read these stories, but I rather enjoyed that I was still appreciating the collection and getting new things from it after the fact.  The final story, The Tears of Isis, was the most sublime (Burke) for me.  I had the most powerful reaction reading it, a mix of horror, disgust, and fascination, and I think it was well placed within the collection.

If you’re looking for some new reading material, I’d suggest grabbing a copy of this book.

Author Corner–A Year in Review

Author Corner will be taking a break for the holiday season and will return the first week of January with all new interviews.  I wanted to take a moment and say thank you to everyone who helped make this year a great one for Erindipity, from the authors who popped by for interviews and guest posts, to the people who stop by every week to read them.  Thank you.

Here are some of my favorite Erindipity moments from the past year:

  1. Charlie, because who doesn’t love a pet corpse.  Sure, he oozes on my furniture, eats the middles out of all my pies, and gets handsy with the guests, but he’s very loyal.  From taking him to the zoo to watching him chase the Evil Jester around the sitting room for violating my leg, he’s a great pet corpse.
  2. Cruel and Four Days.  No, no one is putting me up to this.  If you have not yet read these books, make it a resolution.  These were the two most memorable books I’ve read this year.  They are worth feeling the need to shower afterwards.
  3. Rafael Alvarez.  I love all my interviewees, but if I had to pick one interview to highlight, it would be this one.  He is a classy guy who was fantastic to work with.  His book, Tales from the Holy Land, is out now from Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing.
  4. New Work Responses.  I don’t often post what I’m working on, but when I do, the reaction has been wonderful.  Thanks for letting me give you my words.  They’re the most precious things I have.  Well, besides my kids, but you can’t have them.
  5. The Authors.  This gig lets me meet so many different, wonderful people.  From Lehua Parker, who used pigeon in her books, to Charles Day, media kingpin, and everyone in between.  These people were kind enough to let me bug them for an afternoon and I took a little something away from every one of them.

If you have your own favorite moments, please feel free to share them.  I’d love to know.  Thanks again for a wonderful 2013, and here’s to making 2014 even better.

Author Corner–Matthew Dexter

E: Hail and well met, Matthew!  Thanks for popping in.  And you brought me pie!  I Knew I was going to like you.  Just put it up someplace high so Charlie doesn’t eat the middle out of it.  He only likes the middles.  Some corpses, I tell ya.

M: Gorgeous place. Thanks for having me. I heard about Charlie. The pie was from the forest, and the Ritalin was from Connecticut. Charlie don´t touch that.

Charlie did, in fact, touch the Ritalin.  Sweet mother of pie, if he wasn’t already dead I would have killed him.

E: You had a book come out earlier this year, The Ritalin Orgy from Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing.  It’s the next book in my review pile, actually.  Once I get caught up on some of these papers, I plan to dive on in.  What can you tell us about it?

M: It’s a novel about a teacher losing his mind at a boarding school. It’s about the morons and rich snobs who bully and haze their way to fancy careers. It’s about the faculty who live amid the privileged and the scholarship students doing what they can to survive. The Orgy is not of a sexual nature. The Ritalin use is pervasive and now replaced with cocaine.

Ritalin Orgy

E: What made you write this particular book?

M: I had written a few manuscripts about this prep school and wanted to get it out of my system before dying. If I can save one life, it is worth it.

E: You have 10 stories coming out.  Can you tell us a little bit about those and what publications those will be in?

M: I have a novelette about a drug smuggler coming out with Sententia: The Journal: 6. I have narrative nonfiction forthcoming in Pea River Journal and Gravel. One piece is about a Mexican highway and the other is about getting high while working at National Rental Car. I have flash fiction and short stories coming out in SmokeLong Quarterly, The Adroit Journal, Vending Machine Press, and other venues. I have a restaurant review forthcoming from Sleet Magazine. I have more stories submitted but am trying to focus on starting a new novel. Sometimes such attempts turn into shorter pieces. These sometimes find homes and readers.

E: You have a substantial amount of story publications.  And by substantial, I mean holy crapballs, that’s a lot of stories!  What does your writing schedule look like?  Do you writer at the same time every day or do you grab time when you can?  Living in paradise, I imagine it would be easy to get distracted.

M: It is easy to get distracted. I try to write as soon as I wake up, but would be lying if I said I write thousands of words on end. There are days I do not write. These are the worst days. I am trying to eliminate these and bang out at least 500-1,000 words. When writing a novel, I typical write at least 2,000 words every day for a few months till I have enough pages for a first draft. Many things I write do not get published, either because they are terrible, I never finish them, or they get lost for another project.

E: You have a second novel coming out.  Can you tell us anything about it?

M: First, I have to write it.

E: You have a lot of Hunter S. Thompson quotes listed as inspirational.  What is it about him that draws you in?

M: I admire the prose and humor and recreational drug use. Also, the freelance writer mentality of living in a foreign country is something that I enjoy.

Interesting side note: Inspirare, in addition to meaning to inspire, can also mean to breathe or to inhale.  Or maybe it’s not that interesting and it’s just me being an English Major.  Carry on.

M: I think it is interesting. I was lost in Old English and Greek vernacular, and that caught my eye.

E:  There are a lot of conventions and such coming up.  Are you planning to attend any of them?  And are there any upcoming promotional dates for you?

M: I would be up for anything if the possibility existed. I am confined to Mexico with my son and wife and many of these things cost money, so I am not a conventional convention star. Put me at a bar in front of the ocean, and I will read you some stories, some Ritalin Orgy or other tales for your inebriated pleasures.

You can find Matthew on his website or on Facebook.

Author Corner–T. Fox Dunham

E: Hi, Fox!  Welcome to my humble blog.  Sorry for it being so cold in here.  I find the lower temperatures help keep Charlie from smelling so bad.  Do you need a blanket?

F: I have a gorgeous blanket, brown and covered in foxes, that Tara Fox Hall made for me. All my friends have seen it. I take it to Author’s Cons. She’s making me a bigger one too! I adore it. Who the hell is Charlie? The blanket is very small, but I will try to share.

He doesn’t know about Charlie?  Heh heh, he’s in for a treat.

E: You have a story coming out soon as part of the One Night Stands series from Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing titled, “Doctor Kevorkian Goes to Heaven.”  What can you tell us about the story?

F: I’m a very sick man, and I should be locked up. The story is mostly about stasis, about standing still. Doc K wanted to free us from a painful afterlife, and in the book, he invents a cure for mortality, obviating euthanasia. Everything stops. And Gods is Doc K pissed when he goes to heaven. I wrote the story in a Vonnegut style but also my own literary voice. It’s one of my favorite pieces.  I’ve written so much for PMMP. I’m Max Booth III’s bitch.

E: You also had a book pre-release a few weeks ago from Gutter Books.  What can you tell us about The Street Martyr and do you know when it will be available for everyone?

F: The Street Martyr is my first novel, though several are following it up. Short fiction authors reach a plateau and must move to long fiction to further their careers. I am told through our distributor, IPGN, that it will be available by the holiday season, in book stores, libraries and online. It’s about two low-level drug dealers trying to survive in impoverished Philly.  When one of them is accused of the death of a pedophile priest, it becomes a fight for life against the city, the mob and police. Vincent will eventually expose a deep and depraved circle, protected by the system, that only a vigilante street hero can fight. And he will rise to the light.

E: You just finished up a trip to Anthocon.  You did a reading there, correct?  What was that like?

F: I read to friends and the dead. They scheduled me last, so we had a lot of shadows. Still, I blew the roof off the place with The Street Martyr. Cons are hit or miss. It’s nice to see friends, to make deals, but they’re not always helpful. But wow. Seven Jameson’s Whiskey for only 22 dollars? Dangerous Dangerous place, NH.

Word of caution: if you’d like to check out more about Anthocon, just click the link.  Don’t misspell it.  I misspelled it and got Anthrocon.  For the love of pie, don’t look that up!  You’re looking it up now, aren’t you?  

E: You’re also going to be a special guest author at Noircon this year.  What does that entail?

F: I’ll be doing special readings of the Street Martyr, signings, hanging at the Gutter Book table, sitting on panels and talking about my favorite subject: ME. I’m also doing a wild story for their anthology. The Con is in Philly, so I expect that my editor and several bum friends will be staying at my house. The bums!

E: Do you have any other events that you’re going to be a part of either at the end of this year or early next year?

F: I’m setting up several events around and in Philly over the next year. I plan to be reading from street corners, art galleries, coffee shops and lots of events in Lansdale have invited me to speak. The next reading is an event from Amy Rims, local artist in Lansdale PA, at the Water Gallery in Lansdale on the 22nd. You can find info for it on my author’s page

I will probably be at Texas Frightmare in Dallas, Texas with Max Booth III and Lori Michelle, both editors at PMMP, and I’m hoping to swing up to the WHC in Portland. It depends what’s being published at the time that requires promotion. I do nothing but travel anymore or sit at Molly’s and write.

E: You have a book coming out from Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing this summer  with a very long title: DESTROYING THE TANGIBLE ILLUSION OF REALITY; OR, SEARCHING FOR ANDY KAUFMAN.  What can you tell us about this title?

F: That it’s officially the longest title they’ve ever published. I’m proud of that. I like making Max work. Well it’s all about dying of cancer and the way reality becomes an illusion. You realize that so much of what we call reality is tangible and an illusion—a construct of the mind. This is something that Andy Kaufman understood as reality bled for him. What is death and life? My characters seek to discover this as they head north, seeking proof that he is the lost son of Andy. That’s not implausible. Andy was a sexual addict.

E: You’ve written and published a lot of stories.  Do you have a favorite?

F: That’s difficult. I have parts of me scattered all over the field like I jumped into a helicopter blade. Still, the piece that comes to mind, the one I felt the best has to be The Unhappy Accident or Feelin’ Feel in the PMMP Vonnegut Anthology, So It Goes. If I had to throw a story at the Divine Creator like a bag full of burning shit on his lawn, it would be that one. I got to speak like truly me, from my own deep and natural voice as I wrote about what I loved. I am grateful to Max Booth III for seeking that voice out in me—ergo the Kevorkian piece and Andy and several other stories. He’s still a Lil’ Bastard, but I adore the guy.

MAX! MARRY ME!!!!! I Want to them babies of yours!!!

You can find Fox on his blog and on Twitter.

And now the age old question has been answered.  You know what the fox says.

Author Corner–James Dorr

E: Hi, James!  Welcome to Erindipity.  Would you care for refreshments?  Charlie wanted me to serve brains and threatened to go on a hunger strike until I did.  I told him to let me know how that works out for him, seeing as he’s dead and all.

J: Actually I’m more of a blood man myself.  Would Charlie mind if we just had drinks?  

E: You had a book come out this past May from Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, The Tears of Isis.  It’s currently in my review stack and I can’t wait to get started on it.  What can you tell us about it?

J: The Tears of Isis is a collection of 17 stories and an opening poem beginning with the “sculptress” Medusa, and ending with the title story of another sculptress searching for inspiration through the Egyptian myth of the Weeping Isis.  These are dark stories for the most part and not all necessarily directly about art — along the way we meet vampires, insects, sea creatures, alien landscapes, people who make things from human bones, others who keep pets, even a dragon — but by the end, hopefully, all relating to a theme of beauty linked with destruction.  Creation and death.  For of course, without death, where would there be the need for new life?      

You can also find Tears of Isis on Barnes&Noble.

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E: I don’t usually spend a lot of time talking about cover art, but I’d love to know what inspired this cover.  It’s very striking, and as far as covers go, it’s one of my favorites.  What went into designing it?

J: I had sent some suggestions to the publisher, mainly several descriptive passages from the story “The Tears of Isis” along with some samples of Egyptian art showing Isis in her vulture-winged aspect, which were passed on to the artist, William Cook.  I was a bit surprised myself with what he came up with, having envisioned something perhaps more scene-like, and yet, with its strict bilateral symmetry evoking Egyptian motifs, yet not constrained by ancient Egyptian stylistic convention (the wings, for instance, perhaps more resembling an eagle’s than an Egyptian vulture’s — but most of the stories in the collection not on Egyptian motifs either), the design was, as you say, very striking.  Stark, almost, with its deep, dark background lit by the Isis-figure’s sun-disk headdress, and yet with other elements (the barely-seen eyes, for instance, peering out through the background darkness) pointing toward the book being about more than just Egypt.  From that, my only further suggestions had to do with where and how the lettering would be positioned, to reinforce the formal symmetry of the art.         

E: You also have two other book collections out.  What can you tell us about them? 

J: Strange Mistresses: Tales of Wonder and Romance and Darker Loves: Tales of Mystery and Regret, published by Dark Regions Press in 2001 and 2007 respectively, are also short fiction collections, but each with a section of poetry at the end.  They differ in one way in that they are not as strongly themed as The Tears of Isis (although one reviewer has suggested a preponderance of strong female figures in Strange Mistresses in particular), reflecting, perhaps among other things, the way the collections were put together.  With these the publisher chose the stories from larger samplings that I provided, whereas, with The Tears of Isis, I had complete control in terms of both the material used and the order in which it would be presented.  That said, however, both are primarily fantasy collections leaning toward horror — including stories originally published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Gothic.Net, Short Story Digest, etc.,  as well as new material — with the second probably the darker of the two.     

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darkerloves

E: You just had a story accepted.  Your website calls it an “Eco-horror Veggie Anthology.”  That sounds fascinating.  What can you tell us about “Seeds” and about the anthology it will appear in? 

J:  The guidelines called for “any kind of story related to plants, nature, forests, gardens, or anything scary/dark/bizarre in relation to vegetable matter.”  In short, ecology gone wild — horribly wild.  In view of that, my story “Seeds” (a reprint, incidentally, originally from KEEN SCIENCE FICTION more than a decade ago) may seem almost tame, only having to do with a newly-planted backyard flower garden gone wrong.  But the story’s protagonist really didn’t want to plant it, it having been his wife’s idea, and the female assistant at the seed store shares with him a love of Chicago Cubs baseball. . . .  The anthology will be called GROWING CONCERNS, to be published by Chupa Cabra House 

E: You write poetry as well as prose.  For you, how do those genres influence each other in your writing?

J:  From writing poetry, I believe one gains a greater love for words and the way they sound, as well as using them concisely and, at least in formal verse, in a context where patterns (such as rhyme and meter) have to co-exist with meaning.  I’d like to think that poetry has had a great influence on my prose, making me pay more attention to structure and cadence, and to picking the exactly right word or phrase — to be hyper-aware of, as Mark Twain might say, “the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”  It also heightens, I think, a sense of character and voice, how different people, or even different kinds of stories, will just sound different if done correctly.  And there’s a connection the other way too, that a sense of story in writing fiction can guide me in seeing an individual poem as possibly part of a greater concept.  To not-so-subtly sneak in a plug, a book we haven’t mentioned yet, Vamps (A Retrospective) published in 2011 by Sam’s Dot (now White Cat Publications), is my first book-length collection of poetry, in this case all having to do with vampires even if individually employing a variety of approaches and styles.    

E: Are you a plotter or a pantser, or some combination of the two? 

J:  The straightforward answer is a combination.  I usually will have a good idea of where a story will end — sometimes even writing out a tentative ending first, then struggling to find where the story begins.  However, I’m not sure there’s all that great a difference between these approaches insofar as, in my own case, when I was just starting out I often wrote out extensive notes on what sequence events would happen in and how each scene might act to advance a story, whereas now, once I’m properly started, I just let the words flow.  But doesn’t this simply mean that I’ve learned enough through sufficiently long experience that what I once had to work out consciously now just gets done on an unconscious level?  That is, that I’m still doing the same sorts of things, but now I don’t have to think about them (at least not as much).      

E: What has been the most valuable experience for you as a writer?

J:  It was through writing, a very long time ago, that I met The Woman Who Was To Become My Ex-Wife.  While I can joke about it now as well as harbor a few regrets, for a time there was, I believe, a genuine love between us.  And that is always a valuable thing.    

 Dorr2012

You can find James on his blog or on Facebook.

Recommend It Monday–Four Days by Eli Wilde and ‘Anna DeVine

Last time on RIM, I reviewed Cruel by Eli Wilde.  Today, I’m going to talk about the next book in the Strangers in Paradise Trilogy, Four Days.  When I talked about the first book, I compared it to the movie 8MM in that you only need to consume it once, and then never again.  For most people, I’d say this holds true with Four Days.  I just may pick this one up again sometime, though.

Four Days

This book is both horrible and beautiful.  What separates it from Cruel, for me, is that Emily is a grown woman when the events of the book takes place whereas Evan is a small child when his story begins.  For me, that makes it easier for me to handle Emily’s story.  This book is every bit as graphic as the last one, so if you have any triggers this is not the book for you.

What I appreciate the most about Wilde and DeVine is their ability to be graphic without being gratuitous.  Violence, especially sexual violence, serves a purpose.  It’s a horrible purpose, to be sure, but a purpose nonetheless.  The writing is captivating and skillfully done.  There’s also a commitment to the story.  If at any time Wilde and DeVine would have hesitated or faltered in any way, the whole thing would have imploded.

Like Cruel, Four Days is a shorter book and is meant to be read in a single afternoon.  This time, I devoured the book and was left wanting to know more.  Dublin is the final book in the trilogy, and I don’t have a release date on that yet, but I cannot wait to get my hands on it.  The first two books can be read as stand-alones, and they can be read in any order.  I read them in their proper order, and it was neat to see the way the authors wove in those intersections.  

If you read this book, or Cruel, stop back by and let me know what you thought.