I have a new slice of flash fiction over at PULP METAL MAGAZINE.
‘It is a truth universally acknowledged,’ said Philly Bailey, crushing his lager can, ‘That all Jane Austen needed was a bloody good shag.
Read THE EMPEROR’S OLD CLOTHES here.
The man blinks five times. Twice slowly with effort. Three times fast. His eyes are adjusting to the light of the room. There is no sunlight here. The sun has gone a long, long way from here. There is the smell of damp from the aged and tired wooden table to the side of me. The natural whiff of decay.’
‘ We walked out of the neon glare of the hospital’s front door and sank into the gloom of the hot still night like unwanted nightmares. Neither of us felt like talking. Behind us, in Intensive Care Unit, was a friend of ours struggling to find the strength for his next breath. Adizzying array of tubes and electronic devices were plugged into his body. Bright screens for monitors filled the soft light of his hospital room with the note of every breath, every heartbeat, every electronic pulse zapping through his cranium. Except the screen for the brain scan was flat lined.
Two bullets in the chest did that to you. Turned you into a zombie. A zombie kept alive by machines.
As far as the doctors would say . . . which they wouldn’t, but you could see it in their eyes . . . Patrolman Darnell Goodland was gone. The odds of pulling out of this one, after all the blood loss, wasn’t looking good. He was alive . . . yes.’
And get more Smitty here
Graham Wynd gets under the covers over at PULP METAL MAGAZINE.
Obsession: she understood obsession. He had noticed her a little—sort of goth, sort of emo—but it wasn’t until he knew the depths of her obsessions that he really took an interest. He sat behind her in English where Mr James always laughed that laugh that some of the lads thought hilarious, but most of the girls thought was creepy.
Over her shoulder Edwyn saw the label on the black USB stick she was bouncing up and down in her palm: 30 Versions of Warm Leatherette. He suddenly wanted her more than anything else in the world.
“Hey, can I get a copy of that?” He muttered the words low as everyone was packing up their books.
She looked up at him. Her black-rimmed eyes looked almost purple in the fluorescent light. “You like the song?”
“Yeah,” he lied. “But I only know one version.”
Check out the rest here.
... with a short yarn called STOP ME IF YOU’VE HEARD THIS ONE.
Mav Skye‘s brilliant debut, Supergirls, is like a high-octane, fluorescent mix of Switchblade Sisters and Wild at Heart. And more!
The blurb: Sisters Jenn and May have finally found their golden ticket out of the slums. Pervy sugar daddy, Frederick Bells, promises to be an easy score with a big payoff—millions are hidden within his mansion.
The plan is simple: tie up the pig, steal his cash, and skip town.
But fate has a different plan, including a villain with a wicked imagination. The sisters resort to playing their childhood game SUPERGIRLS to battle their fears in Bell’s den of horrors.
Will the SUPERGIRLS find their prize or will their heads join the pile behind the black cellar door?
PDB: What is Supergirls?
Supergirls is what happens when you have two sisters born into dismal and dire circumstances grow up believing what they see on TV. They have no parental guidance. No adults to trust. There is nothing but television to define their reality, nothing but superhero comics to set their expectations. They watch Superman and believe it, they watch Leave it to Beaver, I love Lucy, Goonies and believe it. They read Treasure Island and Supergirl Comics and Stephen King’s It, they believe it. As teens they watch Pretty Woman, Kill Bill, Austin Powers and believe it.
Now, the only thing that stands between their current miserable existence and their Little House on the Prairie dreams in one “Fat Bastard” named Frederick Bells. Dispensing justice upon him, and stealing his money, should be a piece of cake…except younger sister, May, is a schizophrenic, Bells is a serial killer, and this isn’t a Disney movie.
Supergirls is the about the great gulf between what should be and what is.
PDB: Does the characters’ age have impact on how you write them?
I would have to say no. I try my best to kick my ego out of the way and give my characters free will. Whether 5 or 55, they choose their voice, not me. I go with their decisions, no questions asked.
In this case, Jenn and May are two young women who have been raised in the sewers of society. Their survival tactics are the seven deadly sins. Yet, their love and sacrifice for each other is pure and childlike, as are their dreams for a better life. We have two very child-minded women using their bodies and wits in the darkest and most “adult” of situations. It doesn’t make a very comfortable ride for them, but it’s a real kicker for us.
PDB: Did you do a lot of research for the book?
In general, I do hours and hours of research on any given story, even short stories, but not this one.
I wrote the rough draft of this book on the first anniversary of my stepdad’s passing. I was still grieving and wrestling with my emotions about him, we’d had a Jekyll/Hyde relationship. I was also struggling with my young son’s newly acquired mental illness. I felt like I had died inside. It hurt to think, breathe. I shoveled raw, poignant emotion into this story. It helped me cope.
On a lighter note, I did do some research on little things, like whether one could actually stuff a pistol into blue lace panties. Not very realistic, but it works in a story! Also, I needed to find the perfect visual for the “whistling deer head” which is a moose head mounted above a fireplace in Fat Bastard’s mansion. I finally found it in a burger joint I enjoy; you’ll see his head on the back cover of SUPERGIRLS the print version, or you can take a peek at him on my new Facebook page. I also researched taxidermy. May’s psychosis tends to reveal itself in surprising ways, including talking moose heads. I was rather horrified by taxidermy and decided that if we could hear the voices of mounted animal heads, they would be angry, wrathful things. This is exactly the role Whistling Deer Head plays when it decides to speak to May.
PDB: Is marketing of interest to you, or shouldn’t authors bother their pretty little heads with such things?
Oh geez. Well, in my J.Mac writing years, I never thought about it. It was an absolute joy to interact, promote, share my work or others work on any given social media website. I loved it and had a lot of fun. After some of the aforementioned events, I’m a different person, there’s no doubt about it. I’m not as sociable as I used to be, that desire seems to have dissipated like smoke. All I want to do is put my head to the grindstone and smear my emotions and stories like ash across time and space. (What does that mean exactly? I don’t know, but it’s how I feel.)
Jason Michel invited me to co-edit Pulp Metal Magazine earlier this year, and that has helped me remember how much I loved interacting with others, and editing their work. I am grateful to Jason for helping me remember that particular joy. He’s a creative mongrel, a great person and friend. People should be running, not walking, to his Amazon page. A genius writer.
Back to the question, I think we each have a different path to take when it comes to getting our books to readers. What works for you may not work for me or vice versa. What worked for you a few years ago, may not work for you now. The trick is to be flexible, keep plodding along, not letting your ego get caught up in the highs and lows, and focus on discovering what you enjoy. When the key fits the lock, the door will open, and the universe will provide.
PDB: What’s the best way to spend a Sunday?
I call every Sunday “Pirate Sunday” taken from the times when I used to write the Wicked Woman’s Booty series for Pulp Metal Magazine. These days, Pirate Sundays include spending time with my kids whether playing the board game Survive, watching Rocky for the millionth time, or playing soccer at the park. Then I kick back at night with rum, fuzzy socks, and my favorite psychopath or zombie show. Though, I always drink martinis when I watch zombies.
PDB: What’s on the cards for the rest of the year?
There’s a wicked little horror romance I’m hoping to release in the fall called, Wanted: Single Rose. It’s my first full-length novel and has one kick ass femme fatale fox I’m quite excited about.
I’ve also written a sequel to SUPERGIRLS called, Night without Stars. I can’t give away too much, but I will say this– the darkness we discover in the first book plunges even deeper in the second. I disturbed myself quite a bit writing it! I hope to release it in early 2015.
Bio: When Mav Skye isn’t turning innocent characters into axe murderers, refinishing old furniture, chasing around her spring ducklings, or reading the latest horror novel, she’s editing at the almighty Pulp Metal Magazine.
She adores puppies, pirates, skulls, red hots, Tarantino movies and yes, Godzilla.
Look for her wicked horror romance, Wanted:Single Rose, this fall and the second book in the SUPERGIRLS series, Night without Stars, early 2015.
The inspiration for my story, The Rain King, is on one level, a very simple one. It was the song Kingdom Of Rain (LINK http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEcXz7b2Bk0) by Mark Lanegan and redone by Lanegan and Soulsavers.
Listening to the song can speak to you more than any explanation that I could give. The story is just my meagre interpretation.
On another level, the idea of the exile, the misfitting into a society is one that has perfumed my life since I can remember. While at school in Wales I was surrounded by a mixture of uncouth but honest country kids, a smattering of the children of sixties hippies, their parents escaping to the countryside as their idealism was as blasted by their failed conscious revolution as their brains, and the offspring of factory workers from the Black Country across the border. I was an imported kid with an Evangelical Christian ex-postman father who let me, no, encouraged me to read his small library of books on religion and mythology, including his collection of the classic occult “Man, Myth And Magic” sixties series, and to watch Boris Karloff and sixties Sci-Fi movies.
The other love that my father passed on to me was the passion for music. Bible thumper, he may be, but my old man used to be the drummer in an R& B band in sixties London named The Vampires who had coffin-shaped amps. While the other children at my primary school would be singing along to the soundtrack of Grease, I would have Hey Joe whistling around my furtive imagination. Every Sunday my father would watch Songs Of Praise, switch the TV off and then, we would immerse ourselves in minor-keyed Blues, the desperate existential crisis of Pink Floyd, the manic wide-eyed howl of Little Richard and the funky soundtrack to Jesus Christ Superstar.
Songs of rebellion, suffering and redemption.
Yet while my father saw the light in it all, I saw the darkness. His Christ was a fluffy feel-good saviour, the speaker of divine self-help strategies; whereas mine was a tortured man-god nailed to the cross of existence with the rest of us, forsaken by his jealous and despotic Father.
Exiled from the light above in a fallen and essentially Noir world.
As I am writing this I am listening to the Black Soul Choir by 16 Horsepower where David Eugene Edwards sings “Every man is evil, yes. Every man’s a liar. Unashamed with wicked tongues sing in the Black Soul Choir“.
Bio: Jason Michel is the Dictator at PULP METAL MAGAZINE.
Exiles: An Outsider Anthology is OUT NOW from Blackwitch Press.
Over at Out Of The Gutter Online’s Brit Grit Alley I interview Pulp Metal Magazine‘s dictator Jason Michel.
Jason Michel’s brilliant and sad Totalitarian Drone Groove is a dislocated and dislocating dystopian sci-fi-Gothic with echoes of J G Ballard and Nick Cave’s And The Ass Saw The Angel.
– Paul D. Brazill, author of Guns Of Brixton, 13 Shots Of Noir, Snapshots, Red Esperanto.
Totalitarian Drone Groove Coming is soon from PULP METAL FICTION, with an introduction by Richard Godwin.
And there’s more …