Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mayonnaise Jenkins and the Former Kings of the Delta Blues

Back when I was in college, my friend and musical collaborator Wick Hill and I were in band, like everybody else on Earth. But unlike everybody else's bands, Wick was really fucking good and my lyrics weren't too shabby. We made a good band. The other day my friend Jude Coulter-Pultz, the phenomenal artist who did the cover art for Archelon Ranch, reminded me that he was also a phenomenal singer and musician by showing me a cover he did of the old Mayonnaise Jenkins song At Home in Graveyards, music by Wick Hill, lyrics by me. I then asked him if he could put up the original and another track from the album and not only did he put up the entire album, but he added some kickass cover art in the Jude Coulter-Pultz tradition of kickass coverart, which is becoming quite the tradition. You can listen to the whole album for free here if you're interested in some music I did while I was in college. Stay away from the Acoustic version of Freak and Learn to Walk and remember that the interview with Mayonnaise Jenkins is the product of two people losing their fucking mind after a longass day in the studio. All music by Wick Hill. All lyrics by Garrett Cook. Vocals for the spokenword pieces and Hey Little Girl by Wick Hill All other vocals by Garrett Cook except for Ralph and Earl, which is Garrett Cook with Wick Hill. Enjoy Wick's awesome music and my eclectic singing style.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Because We Are Not Alone in the World

So, around this time last year, Legumeman Books of Australia picked up my book Archelon Ranch. And I cannot begin to thank them for this because this book let me by myself in ways I did not think I could, telling a story in a way I did not think I could, featuring characters and situations that I was not sure I could get away with. I've received good reviews and some strong encouragement from my peers and my kickass Australian publishers alike. This was the seed that first got me thinking that there were other countries out there that might actually be interested in my work. And then, when I started preorders for Jimmy Plush, a gentleman from the UK reminded me that I did not have a button up for international shipping. I'm glad he did. It reminded me again that I don't just want to share my work with America, I want to share it with everybody. Recently, I was reminded of this again, when Hiroshi Hayakawa, Ellery Queen Award Winning editor of Hayakawa's Mystery Magazine in Japan, a magazine that reprints stories not just from fine contemporary mystery writers but from classic pulp authors such as Robert E. Howard. He wanted to reprint my story "Mr. Plush, Detective" in the August issue of his magazine. I of course said yes in a heartbeat. This made me look around at the various Amazon outlets and even though sales have not been through the roof internationally, I'm blessed to have sold copies of Archelon Ranch in Japan, Germany, Australia, Canada and the UK. (If you've bought this book and I've neglected to mention your country, do not hesitate to comment). But, my book Murderland Part 1:h8 is apparently a great big hassle to get ahold of overseas. So, I decided maybe I'd do something about that, to foster a deeper connection with my foreign readers, to hear their thoughts and to increase this book's momentum. Here's the deal foreigners: if you bought my book Archelon Ranch on,,, or whatever and you send me a link to an Amazon review you posted, I'll send you a free PDF of Murderland part 1:h8 to thank you for helping me spread the word about Archelon Ranch to your countrymen. Email me this link at and I'll send you back a PDF of Murderland part 1:h8. Thanks in advance, world!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Book Review: A Million Versions of Right

A year ago, I first made the acquaintance of Matt Revert of Legumeman Books. He was smart, he was polite and he seemed to me like a standup and kickass guy. I have seen no evidence to the contrary. Legumeman is becoming a contender in small press weird fiction, a juggernaut of calculated risk and adventurous obscenity. You can see a lot of the Legumeman philosophy in Matt Revert's A Million Versions of Right. These are some of the boldest, weirdest and at times scariest short stories I've ever read. His story The Great Headphone Wank frightened me like few other things have, an odd combination of Carver and Harlan Ellison that quickens the pulse and cuts the heart like a knife. All in a story about a guy who continuously hears people masturbating whenever he puts on his new headphones. As the Traveling Wilburys say "It's a Dirty World". A Million Versions of Right shows just how dirty it is, elevating the fart joke to a level of discourse in ways almost completely unseen since James Joyce did so in Ulysses. If you want to cry, laugh and be sick to your stomach, Matt Revert is your man and I look forward to reading more from him. A Million Versions of Right will surprise you with its genius and frighten you with its perversity.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

New Reviews

Two aspects of being a small press author of Bizarro fiction that I like the most are first of all, getting to see the cool stuff my peers are doing and draw the public's attention to that and second, sharing the cool stuff I'm doing with my peers, who I know are the sort of people that would appreciate it, people who I wish there were millions of. When anybody reads your book and you see a light click on, it's fantastic but when it's somebody who you know to do good work and read prodigiously, it's even better.

David W. Barbee, author of Carnageland is a great reader, a fun writer and a smart guy who writes Bizarro because he loves and appreciates the genre so much. Recently, he read my book Archelon Ranch, the book at this point that I am proudest of and had THIS to say:
Hopefully, some of you will take David W. Barbee's word for it and pick up a copy.

Mykle Hansen is one of the greatest satirists writing today. He's funny, he's incredibly bright and he has the solid titanium balls to call a book The Rampaging Fuckers of Everything On the Crazy Shitting Planet of the Vomit Atmosphere. You might know him as the diabolical genius behind Help! A Bear is Eating Me! He's just awesome, so to see him saying THISabout Murderland part 1: h8 is really something.

Thank you, David and Mykle, it's an honor to call you colleagues and friends and it makes me happy to know that I've lived up to your standards.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Strange and Heartbreaking

I will say right now that this entry should and will be an Amazon Listmania but, I want info about these books to be available to those who casually visit my blogs as well as those who seek out my reviews on Amazon. My girlfriend's grandmother was wondering about what I wrote and while she was very polite and not at all derisive, took a look at Bizarro fiction and could not quite get it. And I do not blame her. I don't blame anyone for not being able to understand it immediately. Any genre with book titles like Assgoblins of Auschwitz and Baby Jesus Buttplug will raise eyebrows in positive and negative ways and it could look like we're more about nonsense than self expression and exploring life's strangeness or it could look like we're about gore and farting, which in part we are, even though it's in the service of expressing certain ideas and creating a unique atmosphere. Here is a list of Bizarro books that are more about deep, emotional resonance than about grossing people out, making them laugh or terrifying them, although these books might also do that.

House of Houses by Kevin L. Donihe
The Amazon page featuring my review:

House of Houses is funny but also heartbreaking and devastating. It is a story about man in love with a house, a love that nature and Heaven itself don't want to happen. Can this love make it? What if it doesn't? Does it matter? House of Houses poses all of these questions, leaving you to answer them and to feel the repercussions.

The Haunted Vagina by Carlton Mellick III
How in God's name can a book called The Haunted Vagina make you feel anything but the urge to let out a juvenile titter? It tells the story of a man whose girlfriend's vagina makes horrible noises. It hurts their sex life, it scares him to death and it leaves him wondering if the relationship can survive. But, he does something brave and absurd, he explores the mysterious landscape inside her, discovering a ghostly world and a mysterious girl who wants him to stay. The Haunted Vagina is the story of a man trapped in the dark mysteries of his relationship in the unexplored, perverse spaces that make things fall apart. More sad and beautiful than it is funny or gross, which is an accomplishment.

Zerostrata by Andersen Prunty
Zerostrata is a book simultaneously wacky and Capraesque, a book that in my opinion hearkens back to the early films of Terry Gilliam as well as movies like Harvey. It is the story of a young man who moves back to his depressionchoked hometown and begins fixing up his old treehouse. As he fixes the treehouse, he sees a young woman outside dancing naked and follows her, falling in love with her. It is not without complications, it is not without pratfalls, it is not without pathos, it is not without humor and it is certainly not without beauty. This book is a triumph.

Piecemeal June by Jordan Krall
Piecemeal June is not for everyone. It is an often disgusting piece of grindhouse noir, full of sexually explicit material, scatology and abject strangeness. It concerns a living sextoy escaping from the grasp of an extradimensional pornographer and the loser who falls in love with her and must risk his life to protect her. At the core of this is one of the most tender love stories of any genre that I have ever read and proof that beauty can shine in a world of filth, which is a central theme of the book itself.

Archelon Ranch
It might be obnoxious for me to have my own book on this list, but I feel it's worth using as an example. Archelon Ranch features dinosaurs, zombies, humanoid insects, the worst shopping mall on Earth and a young man who at the beginning of the book has become one with the soul of a fedora. But at the core of this book is the story of two men looking for Heaven and seeking fairness in a world created by an author whose own neuroses might make it hard for him to write about joy. This is my best book yet and I think you should give it a chance.

So, here's five books that show that Bizarro fiction is about emotional truths found in a world that does not make sense not just about filth and weirdness. If books with strange plots that depict reality and emotional reality more accurately than so called realist novels, Bizarro fiction might be of interest to you.