Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Audio Series: Dr. Sodom and Mrs. Gomorrah



Our audio series "The Authors Read. We Listen."  was iriginally hatched in a NYC club during BEA back in 2012. It's a fun little series, where authors record themselves reading an excerpt from their own novels, in their own voices, the way their stories were meant to be heard.


In light of all the social distancing and recommended reduction to group events, we're happy to help support those who have recently published, or will soon be publishing, a book. It's hard enough to get your books out there, and now with the cancelation of book events and readings making it even harder, I want to do my part to help you spread the word!




Today, Ben Arzate is hanging with us here at the blog, reading an excerpt from his latest book Dr. Sodom and Mrs. GomorrahBen Arzate lives in Des Moines, IA. He is the author of the novels The Story of the Y (Cabal Books) and Elaine (Atlatl Press), the short story collection The Complete Idiot's Guide to Saying Goodbye (NihilismRevised), and the poetry collections the sky is black and blue like a battered child and dr. sodom and mrs. gomorrah (feel bad all the time). He is a regular contributor to Cultured Vultures. Find him online at http://dripdropdripdropdripdrop.blogspot.com/








Click on the soundcloud bar below to experience a excerpt from Dr. Sodom and Mrs. Gomorrah, as read by Ben. 







What it's about: 

Poems, plays, scripts, and sui generis texts from the amazing mind of Ben Arzate.


Monday, July 27, 2020

Page 69: Directory

Disclaimer: The Page 69 Test is not mine. It has been around since 2007, asking authors to compare page 69 against the meat of the actual story it is a part of. I loved the whole idea of it and so I'm stealing it specifically to showcase small press titles - novels, novellas, short story collections, the works! So until the founder of The Page 69 Test calls a cease and desist, let's do this thing....










In this installment of Page 69, 

We put Christopher Linforth's Directory to the test 








Set up Page 69 for us. What are we about to read? 

Directory is a short book and so page 69 comes very close to the end. In the run-up to this page, the book has been narrated by an anonymous, multiplicitous voice, ostenabilty the mind of alternating twins and triplets. However, at this point, the book departs from that theory and offers up the idea that the "we" has all along been a  conflicted,  psychically damaged "I." 


What is the book about?

Directory is a collection of flash, both experimental and interlinked. Again, on the surface, the book centers on we-narrators traversing the United States, trying to work out who they are and what they're about. Along the way there are several detours of place and form and voice. It's a cerebral, hopefully entertaining and arty book, as well as a celebration of form, voice, identity, and so on.


Does this page give readers an accurate sense of what the collection is about? Does it align itself with the collection’s theme?

Yes. In some ways page 69 can be seen as the climax, as the breaking down of the we-facade, as the point where the "I" realizes it cannot carry on in the same vein. That's one reading, and I'm sure, readers will have others.





~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
PAGE 69
DIRECTORY




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~





Christopher Linforth is the author of three story collections, The Distortions (Orison Books, 2021), winner of the 2020 Orison Books Fiction Prize, Directory (Otis Books/Seismicity Editions, 2020), and When You Find Us We Will Be Gone (Lamar University Press, 2014).


Saturday, July 18, 2020

Audio Series: Collective Gravities




Our audio series "The Authors Read. We Listen."  was iriginally hatched in a NYC club during BEA back in 2012. It's a fun little series, where authors record themselves reading an excerpt from their own novels, in their own voices, the way their stories were meant to be heard.


In light of all the social distancing and recommended reduction to group events, we're happy to help support those who have recently published, or will soon be publishing, a book. It's hard enough to get your books out there, and now with the cancelation of book events and readings making it even harder, I want to do my part to help you spread the word!




Today, Chloe N. Clark is hanging with us here at the blog, reading an excerpt from her brand new story collection Collective GravitiesChloe is the author of Your Strange Fortune, Under My Tongue, The Science of Unvanishing Objects, and the forthcoming Escaping the Body from Interstellar Flight Press. She is Co-EIC of Cotton Xenomorph and can be found on Twitter @PintsNCupcakes.  









Click on the soundcloud bar below to experience "They Are Coming For You So You Better Run, You Better Run So You Can Hide", read by Chloe.







What it's about: 

In Collective Gravities, something magical is always just beneath the surface—the zombie apocalypse happens, but the world stays relatively the same; a woman begins to feel the earth moving beneath her feet. In this fantastical, genre-bending collection, Chloe N. Clark launches readers from Iowa, to outer space, and back again. Lyrical, funny, and full of transcendent beauty, Collective Gravities is a cause for celebration: an astronomically gifted writer, who, in twenty-six stories, shows us an entire world (and beyond) full of heartbreak, hope, redemption, and wonder.


Monday, July 13, 2020

Blog Tour: Road Seven




We're happy to help Meerkat Press support the release of their latest title Road Seven by participating in their blog tour. 

And if you're at all into winning free stuff, they're running a giveaway where you can potentially win a $50 book shopping spree.


For today's stop, Keith Rosson's having a little bit of fun with our Would You Rather series, a fun, literary spin on the ole Would You Rather game. He was forced to pick bizarre books sides for 20 questions: 






Keith Rosson's
Would You Rather




Would you rather write an entire book with your feet or with your tongue?
Let’s go with feet. Revision’s gonna be a pain either way.


Would you rather have one giant bestseller or a long string of moderate sellers?
I mean, the assumption is that I still get to write regardless, yeah? Either one sounds good. I’m not picky.


Would you rather be a well known author now or be considered a literary genius after you’re dead?
While I’m not picky, I’d also like to reap the countless benefits of literary fame now, while I’m still mostly upright and taking in solid food.


Would you rather write a book without using conjunctions or have every sentence of your book begin with one?
You know, I’ve written three novels, and I’d still need to look up what a conjunction is to be able to answer this question.


Would you rather have every word of your favorite novel tattooed on your skin or always playing as an audio in the background for the rest of your life? 
I like tattoos. That would look cool. I can’t concentrate with people talking in the background.


Would you rather write a book you truly believe in and have no one read it or write a crappy book that comprises everything you believe in and have it become an overnight success?
Hmmmm. Let’s go with “overnight success,” this leaving me financially stable enough to write allllll the navel-gazers I want after that.


Would you rather write a plot twist you hated or write a character you hated?
Uh, that’s a tough one. By writing a plot twist that I hate, the question seems to imply that the twist is cheap, a kind of deus ex machina that comes out of nowhere and isn’t very satisfying. That doesn’t sound like much fun. Meanwhile, I’ve written a number of quantifiably shitty characters, and I frigging love it. Hateable characters are often a joy to write.


Would you rather use your skin as paper or your blood as ink?
May my skull by a charcuterie bowl and the expectorate of my enemies be a soothing lip balm forevermore! Would that work?


Would you rather become a character in your novel or have your characters escape the page and reenact the novel in real life?
Yeesh, I don’t want any of my novels to reenacted in real life. Be a disaster for all!


Would you rather write without using punctuation and capitalization or without using words that contained the letter E?
wll shit why cant w do both what th hll


Would you rather have schools teach your book or ban your book?
Teach it. And then invite me to your class to talk to your students, where I try not to swear for an hour, say “dude” a lot on accident, urge everyone to be persistent in the face of rejection, and quickly deposit my honorarium, taking my children out for ice cream afterwards.


Would you rather be forced to listen to Ayn Rand bloviate for an hour or be hit on by an angry Dylan Thomas?
I…will…take…being hit on by Dylan Thomas for $500, Alex?


Would you rather be reduced to speaking only in haiku or be capable of only writing in haiku?
Speaking. It’d make me sound mysterious and smart. My writing is wayyyy more overwrought than that, it’d be no fun to pare it down like that.


Would you rather be stuck on an island with only the 50 Shades Series or a series in a language you couldn’t read?
I guess the 50 Shades series. Either one would kind of be a bummer, though. Plus presumably starving to death sounds like a drag as well.


Would you rather critics rip your book apart publicly or never talk about it at all?
Rip away, my dears!


Would you rather have everything you think automatically appear on your Twitter feed or have a voice in your head narrate your every move?
I think my Twitter feed is already like that.


Would you rather give up your computer or pens and paper?
Ah, shucks. I occasionally do write in a notebook when I feel particularly stuck, but it’s a rarity. I’d want to keep writing on a keyboard.


Would you rather write an entire novel standing on your tippy-toes or laying down flat on your back? 
Probably on my back. I do know folks who use standing desks when they write, but I’m not one of them.


Would you rather read naked in front of a packed room or have no one show up to your reading?
I mean, haven’t we all had readings where no one showed up?


Would you rather read a book that is written poorly but has an excellent story, or read one with weak content but is written well? 
I mean, I feel like a lot of literary fiction – which I love unabashedly – could be considered “weak content but written well,” right? Nimble, beautiful writing but thin on plot? Transversely, if something is written poorly, can it still be considered an excellent story? Thanks for the interview opportunity!



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Releasing on 7/14/20

Magical Realism | Fantasy | Literary


Road Seven follows disgraced cryptozoologist Mark Sandoval—resolutely arrogant, covered head to foot in precise geometric scarring, and still marginally famous after Hollywood made an Oscar-winner based off his memoir years before—who has been strongly advised by his lawyer to leave the country following a drunken and potentially fatal hit and run. When a woman sends Sandoval grainy footage of what appears to be a unicorn, he quickly hires an assistant and the two head off to the woman's farm in Hv√≠ldarland, a tiny, remote island off the coast of Iceland. When they arrive on the island and discover that both a military base and the surrounding √°lagablettur, the nearby woods, are teeming with strangeness and secrets, they begin to realize that a supposed unicorn sighting is the least of their worries. Road Seven will mark the third of Rosson’s novels to be published by Meerkat Press.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~






Thursday, July 2, 2020

Blog Tour: The Wounded Ones



We're happy to help Meerkat Press support the release of their latest title The Wounded Ones by participating in their blog tour. 

And if you're at all into winning free stuff, they're running a giveaway where you can potentially win a $50 book shopping spree. Click here to enter. 



For today's stop, G.D. Penman is taking it to the toilet. 



Oh yes! We absolutely have a series on bathroom reading! So long as it's taking place behind the closed  (or open, if that's the way you swing) bathroom door, we want to know what it is. It can be a book, the back of the shampoo bottle, the newspaper, or Twitter on your cell phone - whatever helps you pass the time...



Today, G.D. Penman takes it to the toilet. Penman is the author of the Strata Online and Witch of Empire series, the ghostwriter of more than 50 books, and a freelance game designer. A firm believer in the axiom that any story is made better with the addition of dragons, he is fulfilling his destiny as an overweight bearded white man by pursuing a career as a fantasy author. In “real life” he lives in Scotland with his partner, children, dog and cats. Just . . . so many cats.





I can’t work on the toilet. I can’t do whatever the kids are demanding, I can’t cook a meal, I can’t write. It is literally the only place in my entire house where I am not feeling lazy for not doing something else.

It is a place with a singular purpose, a purpose that I abuse for the excuse of getting a little bit of reading done. The kind of reading that you can pick up and put down multiple times a day – depending on coffee intake.

For me that means non-fiction rather than short stories. Short stories are a smoke-break pleasure, not a poop-break pleasure. You have to keep these things separated. I you’re smoking on the toilet then you need to change your diet.



So without further ado, what I read while I poo:


The Battle Royale Slam Book
Edited by Masumi Washington & Nick Mamatas
Like all of these books, this lives on my kindle, and dipping into it reminds me why I started writing the weird stuff that I write on a daily basis. Each of these essays addresses a different viewpoint on the cult classic film/manga/book, talking about elements of the story in ways that even the author might not have predicted.

Feel Free
Essays by Zadie Smith
While the slam book is full of really niche pop culture essays that are only of interest to me, Feel Free is chock full of essays on such a breadth of topics that I can guarantee whoever picks it up is going to find something of value. There isn’t a specific reason I read this book, I just enjoy it.

Impossible Owls
Essays by Brian Phillips
Travel writing almost always focusses inadvertently on the travel writer rather than the culture that they’re invading, so Phillips collection of essays – technically sports writing in a lot of places – is a refreshing change of pace. He blends elements of the cultures into the style that he is exploring, and he seeks out the fringe viewpoints that reflect a reality of that central culture. Amazing work.

The Good War
Studs Terkel
This is an old, probably out of print, book that I keep going back to. Enough of my projects revolve around conflict that a perspective on war is vital and no perspective on war matters more than the ones from the front lines. Terkel’s book is a narrative history woven together from interviews with the people who fought in the Second World War. A perspective that has been lost as that generation passed away. I should probably say something trite about learning from history so it doesn’t repeat, but honestly that ship has sailed.

Girls and Sex
Peggy Orenstein
What I thought was going to be a quick and fun Sex and the City style romp through modern attitudes about sex turned into a deep dive about the waves of feminism and how they’ve been weaponised against women by the corporate power structures pretty much instantly. Blending interviews with these bigger overarching themes really helps them to punch you in the gut and make you take notice.

Phone
I can’t handle Twitter on the toilet. You never know when you might scroll past something that sends you into a sphincter clenching rage, and that is not conducive to a functional visit to the smallest room in the house. What I can do is browse through my stockpile of tabs full of non-upsetting news stories and interviews. I’ve also tried reading recipes  and food writing while on the crapper, but it feels fundamentally wrong.




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~





THE WOUNDED ONES by G.D. Penman
Book 2 in the WITCH OF EMPIRE series

Release date: 6/23/20
Urban Fantasy / LGBTQ / Detective


SUMMARY:
Demons and serial killers are Iona “Sully” Sullivan’s bread and butter, but nothing could have prepared her to face off against the full weight of the British Empire at the height of its power. With the War for American Independence in full swing, she finds even her prodigious talents pushed beyond their limits when citizens of the American Colonies begin vanishing amidst rumors of crop circles, hydra sightings and worse. Through a wild and lethal adventure that will see her clashing with the Empire around the world and beyond, the only constants in Sully’s life are an undead girlfriend, a giant demon crow that has taken a shine to her, regular assassination attempts by enemies on all sides, and the cold certainty that nothing and nobody is going to make it out of the war in one piece.