stories

Amazon sale on Savage Night and Other Stories

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Goofing around on Amazon today, I noticed they are offering copies of my book Savage Night and Other Stories for only $4.41. That’s a huge discount on the $19.99 list price! What a great opportunity to grab a copy if you’re interested. Check it out here.

This book collects a bunch of my early experimental science fiction stories alongside my early science fiction novel Savage Night, which uses the Ancient Egyptian myth of crossing the Land of the Dead to describe a journey into the self. Thematically, everything here seems to follow the classic sex or death duality, often at the same time.

Not sure how many they have at this price. I would buy them all, but I still have a couple big boxes of them from the last time I saw the price drop. After my royalty payment, I got copies for a buck each.

Although the back cover synopsis is available on the listing, here it is anyway:

Two books in one this collection includes a short novel Savage Night and a group of stories exploring similar themes of death control self actualization and the conflict between the socialized self and the True or inner self. In Savage Night, Jean Savage is a crew member on an industrial ship forced to land on a desolate planet so its parent corporation can form an alliance with the ultimate enforcers of control the serpent headed demons of the Duat, a nocturnal underworld the Ancient Egyptians visualized in their funereal text The Book of Coming into Day. Not content to own the bodies of its employees, the RA corporation wants to exploit their souls as well In the Duat there are no enemies of RA. Not anymore. Fighting a guerilla war using sex magic rituals and protective spells, Jean struggles against the corporation and its demon allies to keep her true self alive until the dawn that brings escape. But her biggest challenge is finding her own soul her True Self ,which has been lost in layers of social psychological and corporate control.

“Other Stories” features two early Jean Savage texts exploring similar themes in different contexts where she is a juvenile delinquent struggling against the hostile influences of family and society. There are also stories involving killer clowns spreading a bizarre sex virus, pirates seeking immortality in deep space, a trio of eco terrorist mermaids, and the gingerbread man as a computer hacker. Using black humor, social satire, violent eroticism, science fiction motifs, and experimental narrative structures, these compelling yarns perform themselves in the cinema of the mind s eye.

Short story “Pussy War Theory” published in Gobbet magazine

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An online literary magazine for “experimental word stuffs,” Gobbet released my short story “Pussy War Theory” today. Part of a series of texts featuring the character Doom Pussy, it describes a Kali-like Earth goddess figure engaged in a constant war against the minions of a material death culture. This is the first of those pieces to be published since the 1990s.

Important note: There should probably be some kind of hazard warning on this story, due to extreme language, sexual situations, and the misuse of avant garde techniques. Needless to say, it is intended for mature audiences only.

If all this nonsense hasn’t scared you off, you can read “Pussy War Theory” here.

Supplementary note: Gobbet editor Gary J. Shipley wrote that the piece was “abject, lean and oddly precise: a winning combination.” I’m not sure what that means exactly, but the Doom Pussy stories reflect my long study of Artaud, Bataille, and Burroughs. Possibly as a reflection of the tale’s over-the-top intensity, harsh noise band Macronympha “borrowed” segments of one previously published story for titles and liner notes on a 7″ release. You can read my article about that record here.

SF story “A Diamond in the Mind’s Eye” in The Colored Lens

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Speculative fiction magazine The Colored Lens published my short story “A Diamond in the Mind’s Eye” in their Summer 2017 issue #24. You can buy a Kindle copy of the whole issue here. The story itself just went live on the magazine’s homepage today; you can read it here.

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The story follows an explorer who has been tracking a legendary giant diamond across the galaxy. What he finds is more disappointing than he expected, and ultimately far more valuable.

I’ve published a few stories before, but this is my first paid piece.

Big Amazon Score: 100 copies of my own book for $1 each

It still amuses me to think of the time I bought 100 copies of my own book, Savage Night and Other Stories, for $1 each on Amazon. Looking back at my Amazon orders, this was on April 1, 2011.

I caught the sale at the right time. Amazon was listing my book for $3. I assume they had warehoused a few stock copies due to the success of my earlier book, Mondo DC. Now they had unsold copies to get rid of. On a whim, I placed an order for my own book, requesting 100 copies. I had to order the books in batches of 33, with one batch of a single copy. I figured they would cut me off based on the number they actually had in stock. But no.

They sent me 100 copies of Savage Night.

Savage Night and Other Stories

For me, this was a no-brainer. Kind of. My royalty rate on Xlibris, where I had self-published Savage Night, was $2 per copy. So eventually I got a check from them covering two thirds of the price I paid Amazon. My net cost was $1 a copy.

Of course I have roughly 98 copies of the book left in my house. If anyone wants one, let me know. I’m sure we can work out a fair price.

This actually happened a second time in May 2015 with the second book I published through Xlibris, Spells of Coming Day. Amazon listed the book for $4, and I tried to order 100 copies. However, the bookseller had learned their lesson. I was only able to buy 4 copies at the reduced price. Of course, I still have those sitting in my house.

Spells of Coming Day

Every now and then, I check the Amazon listings for my books. I haven’t seen any big sales lately. But it’s remarkable how many third party sellers are offering my titles, usually at prices far higher than either Amazon or Lulu list them. I’d like to know how that’s supposed to work. But in some way, it’s flattering to think that someone listed my book in their catalog, hoping to make a little bread. I’m sure it’s a win-win for them: if one sells, they just have to order it from Lulu (or Xlibris or AuthorHouse) and then send it out, reaping big profits.

Since I rarely see any royalties from my own books, I guess they aren’t selling too many copies. Somehow, it all seems like a commentary on today’s publishing industry.

 

 

Famous Noise Band Steals One of My Stories

In 2007, well-known harsh noise group Macronympha released a 7″ single on the Hospital Productions record label, called “Sex and Death.” There are two tracks, “Pussy Is My Soul” and “The Doom Pussy (Is Coming).” Both titles were taken from my story “Jaws of the Doom Pussy,” which was published in Malefact magazine, issue #4, back in 1997. The record includes an insert that has selections from the story cut out and pasted back together.

Just about everything in that paragraph is so obscure it requires a footnote, so allow me to explain.

I discovered the existence of this record last night while listening to a private press LP by one of my favorite “noise” artists, Runzelstirn and Gurglestock. While the demented piano playing and raucous cries spilled from the speakers, I decided to check the band’s discography on Discogs.com. Each time I added an R&G release to my wantlist, a line of “recommendations” appeared at the bottom of the screen. One of these was the Macronympha single, bearing intriguingly disturbing cover art. I clicked in to the release page for a closer look; there I saw the track listing. How could someone else come up with a line like “The Doom Pussy is Coming”? It was too close to my own work to be a coincidence.

Under “More Images, every part of the record is documented: front and back covers, record label, and two inserts. The final two pictures show an insert filled with solid blocks of words.On closer inspection, I recognized the text instantly. One of the musicians had collaged elements of the story from Malefact, creating a variation on the original. In fact, all the images on the jacket art could serve as illustrations for the narrative.

Macronympha has a long discography, having been active since the early 1990s, and is well-known in the harsh noise scene. This particular recording features original members Joe Roemer and Rodger Stella joined by Hospital Productions label boss Dominick Fernow . Fernow himself is a huge presence in the noise underworld, recording power electronics as Prurient and black metal as Vatican Shadow. I once saw Prurient on a bill with Wolf Eyes and Whitehouse. It was a great night for intense music and bleeding ears.

Given what I know of Fernow’s aesthetic interests (and those of Macronympha’s other members, as well), it makes sense the Doom Pussy story would have resonated with them, and that they would have seen Malefact. One of the best fanzines ever to come out of the Washington, DC, area, it mostly featured extreme, transgressive art with psychosexual, satanic, and psychedelic themes, often beautifully drawn by its editor, Tom Crites. Crites was also a huge fan of extreme music, including noise and black metal, and I can imagine he made contacts in those scenes. After I discovered Malefact, I wrote a short piece about it for The Washington City Paper (“Bureau of Smut,” 2/14/97); that’s when I met Tom and his domestic and publishing partner Sandy Smiroldo. Tom graciously allowed me to publish some of his graphics in my own fanzine, Mole. (Digression: I notice I spelled “Cthulhu” incorrectly in the article, and the WCP editors didn’t correct it!)

In The Headpress Guide to the Counterculture (2004, Manchester, UK), David Kerekes said this about Malefact 3 & 4: “One of the more pleasing art showcases, Malefact is a kind of Raw for the terminally apocalyptic. Running down the list of contributors ought to give clear indication of the type of subject matter on offer here: Miguel Angel Martin, Mike Diana, Nick Bougas, Trevor Brown, Sverre Kristensen, to name but a few. And if it still isn’t clear, how about serial killers on the job, huge ejaculating schlongs, and torture? Some of it is in comic strip, some of it big and bulbous full-page splashes. The artists in No. 4 have an even greater obsession with cartoon shit cakes.” (For the record, there is no reference to defecation in “Jaws of the Doom Pussy.”)

Somewhere along the line, I toldĀ  Tom and Sandy about the series of texts I had been working on featuring the Doom Pussy, a kind of warrior goddess at war with mankind; her weapons of choice were earthquakes triggered by bombs from a helicopter. They agreed the words would fit in well with the images in the zine. The stories are characterized by extreme sexuality, violence, magical practice, a performative writing style, and experimental techniques and structures. Easily the most intense writing I’ve produced, these texts have so far only seen light of day three times, all in long-defunct DC-based publications: two in a literary journal called Spoonfed, and once in Malefact. At the moment, I’m editing an anthology of all 19 Doom Pussy stories, potentially to be published later this year. It’s 275 pages of dense, eye-watering writing.

It seems appropriate that Macronympha would attach my words to their music and imagery. I don’t have a problem with it at all. It’s really a badge of honor. I just wish they had given me credit and sent me a copy of the record.

Manuscripts found in a box

I had the happy surprise last week of finding a bunch of my old manuscripts stored in a box. How old? Well, most of them are dot matrix prints, some even on that tractor feed paper. Among the files of old poems were several things I’d totally forgotten I’d written: a long poem, two incomplete novel manuscripts, and three short stories. Some of this material could work as new books: a poetry collection and a short story collection.

The long poem centers on my character Jean Savage, who features in my novel, Savage Night, and several stories published in that same collection. Jean is sort of an anti-establishment figure who uses magic, sex, and violence in her mission of self discovery and rebellion. I also wrote a few poems with her in them, four of which made it into my collection Spells of Coming Day. Looking through the sheaf of old poems in the box, I realized there were more Jean Savage poems than I remembered. Ideally, there are enough for a short book. The long poem, Jean Savage Magic, seems pretty good on first read, so I’m hopeful the others will hold up as well.

The discoveries set me off in search of more complete poetry print outs, and I eventually located the notebooks where I had put everything. Then I searched for the backup discs, so I wouldn’t have to retype all this stuff. I couldn’t find any CDR backups that included these items, so I started looking at old floppy discs. I still have a pile of 3.5″ and 5″ floppies, and an auxiliary reader for the smaller ones.

One of the 3.5″ discs had a bunch of old poetry files, so I’ve been able to copy the short Jean Savage poems. But the long one continues to elude me. Maybe it’s on one of the other discs. The search continues.

The stories are from a series I did around the theme of “sex in space,” which Ducky Doolittle was supposed to publish in the 1990’s. One of the stories made it into my collection, Savage Night and Other Stories, but the remaining ones didn’t make it because they were hidden away.

I’ve been trying to keep my manuscripts organized as I write and publish them, particularly as I’ve been going back and revising stuff for publication. Looks like I still have a ways to go before everything is in order.