There are still slots available in April’s Online Bizarro Writing Workshop with special guest J.David Osborne. While the price has gone up from February’s 40 dollar rate to 50 dollars, you can still register and it is still a good deal for a full month of instruction in Bizarro fiction. Signing up is the easy part. Just Paypal 50 dollars to firstname.lastname@example.org and add as a note to your payment whether you prefer me or Mister Osborne as your primary instructor. And from there, you’re ready as you can be to learn the Bizarro arts. Space is limited and only open until March 30th. See you in April!
I will not bore you with the virtues of my Online Bizarro Writing Workshops. People come. People learn. Some of them see print soon. Some of them retain contact with me and I keep my eyes and ears out for opportunities in the genre. It’s a good thing. Cheap too. I will not bore you with the praise earned by the work of my coteacher J. David Osborne author of Wonderland Award Winner By the Time We Leave Here We’ll be Friends and upcoming probable future Wonderland Award Winner Low Down Death Right Easy. He’s got talent. He’s got swagger, his group was impressed by his work, I was impressed by his work so I invited him back. So here’s the deal: four weeks of Bizarro instruction by myself and J. David Osborne. 40 dollars if you sign up in February, 50 if you sign up in March to encourage people to sign up early and reward those who do. You’ll learn about weird characters, weird places and how to better tune your mind into the weird. You’ll get critiques from two published Bizarro authors, one of whom is also an editor. You’ll make friends and see what your peers are up to. You’ll get motivated and the end of it all, there’s a motivational 10,000 word weekend where your join your instructors as they write…well, it doesn’t take a fucking rocket scientist. Want in? Want info? Email email@example.com.
1. Favorite soup.
I like black lentil soup.
2.How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people?
Given the beautiful people I know, it’s great. They do seem nervous that their star will fade, and it always does.
3. Who are you and what do you do?
I am a writer of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, but I am retiring to do crime fiction and “innovative” fiction.
4.How did your collaboration with Don Webb come about?
Don read my novel MOVE UNDER GROUND, which is a Lovecraft/Kerouac pastiche, and contacted me with the idea to collaborate on a novel. As he was a stranger to me (though I loved his work) I suggested a short story instead, one we could aim for the ultimately stillborn anthology CTHULU 2012 that Mythos Books was planning. After that anthology fell to dust, we shopped it around for a bit and ultimately sent it to you.
5.What are your feelings about being part of Imperial Youth Review Issue 1? What are your favorite pieces from Issue 1?
I love IYR; it is the sort of zine I used to crave in the early 1990s, when writing was a daydream. I liked the essay and the comic the best.
6.What are you up to right now? What’s the next project?
I have two novels coming out this year-my “Barfly” zombie novel THE LAST WEEKEND and my noir (with a hint of the supernatural) LOVE IS THE LAW.
7. HP Lovecraft and Jules Verne are in a Tai Chi tournament. Who wins and why?
Jules Verne, as he spent his youth navigating rivers. Standing in a rocking boat is good for one’s root.
Vice President O’ Hara ran into the Oval Office waving his arms frantically.
“Faith and Begorrah, Mr. President, the orphanage has succumbed to the sin of Pride!”
The president was concerned. He had often take a great deal of Pride in his best friend Dieselpig, even though he did not know his secret identity. This hit very close to home.
“Yes, Stewart, this is an emergency of the highest order. Pride is one of the most nefarious of The Seven Deadly Sins. If we want to win our war with Hell, this cannot stand. GET ME DIESELPIG!”
The above was not an excerpt from my next book The Wake at the House of Dead Cats. But the book does deal with Dieselpig and America’s war with Hell. It also deals with silent cinema, burlesque and the secret origin of news. I’m very excited about this book, which should be coming your way first quarter of 2013. Dress your favorite lion for the occasion. Once again edited by the fantastic Jeff Burk and once again put out by Eraserhead Press, this book is the sort of book I want to be writing.
And speaking of writing the books you want to be writing, NBAS author Shane Cartledge wrote his book House Hunter during the final challenge of my Online Bizarro Writing Workshop. So, he wants you to get a chance a leg up on becoming a Bizarro author yourself. He has generously purchased a spot in my workshop and is raffling it off to anyone who purchases his book House Hunter. It’s a weirdass piece of Urban Fantasy Bizarro that must be read to be believed. I think you’ll like it. Find more details on Shane’s blog. Spaces in the workshop are still available through me, but Shane’s offer is great and his book is super cool. So buy it and you might win a slot in the workshop.
And speaking again of writing the books you want to be writing, my NaNoWriMo editing deal expires tomorrow. Your chance to have your 50,000 word book edited for only 115 dollars expires with it. It’s not like my rates are usually super high, this is just a good bargain. And, Kate Jonez of Omnium Gatherum Books has agreed to look over any genre novel I edit for potential publication. So, hiring me gets you the eyes of not just one but two editors,one of which has the power to make your book a reality. This is very generous of Kate and if you want the opportunity, you should take advantage of it. I hope these subjects of great import have been important to you.
The Next Big Thing is a questionnaire for writers regarding their works in progress or upcoming books. Each writer answers the questions, then tags five others. I was tagged by Edward Morris who was tagged by Dave-Brendon de Burgh, who was in turn tagged by Joan De La Haye. Participation entirely voluntary.Rules of the Next Big Thing ***Use this format for your post ***Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (work in progress) ***Tag five other writers/bloggers & add their links so we can hop over and meet them.
-What is your working title of your book?
The Wake at the House of Dead Cats. You could call it a collection, but it’s more a series of unified neuroses. It centers around a nefarious silent film. The film is preceded by pieces that function as a newsreel and a serial. It is followed by a stag reel of sorts. It’s influenced heavily by cult cinema, the occult, Robert W. Chambers, Robert E. Howard, bondage filmmaker Irving Klaw, Bette Page, a disintegrating relationship, the nightmare of our separation from God, the dysfunction of our country’s animus and the awesomeness of chainsaws and things that are dieselpowered. It will also be accompanied by artwork from the peerless Nick Gucker.
-What genre does your book fall under?
Bizarro. Neopulp. Chainsaw Noir. Cosmic horror. Accidental grimoire. Erotica. The sound of you soiling yourself.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? For the love of God, don’t film this. Think of the children. Peel off your faces and see what’s underneath. Pray that Dieselpig will save us. Julie Newmar. Tempest Storm. Brigitte Bardot. Brigitte Bardon’t. A lion. Nikki Guerlain. An adorable blonde from the first grade named Jessica Lawless who smiled at me and I never understood why. The sailors from the Desolation Row beauty parlor. Mechagodzilla. Leza Cantoral. Nyarlathotep. Mary Jane Kelly. Hecate.
-What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Nel mezzo del cammin de nostra vita, mi ho ritrovai in una selva oscura, che la via diritta era smarrita Bill Bailey won’t you please come hooooomme
-Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
My book will be published by Eraserhead Press. I am an agent of forces beyond your comprehension.
. -How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
The central novelette of the collection came over the course of two brutal months. Very emotionally trying. If something doesn’t make you upset, you shouldn’t write it. The other pieces came together over the following year.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
The King in Yellow, though I am of course not the equal of Mr. Chambers, Bradley Sands’ My Heart Said No, But the Camera Crew Said Yes, Carlton Mellick’s The Baby Jesus Buttplug, The Dreamquest of Unknown Kadath and lots of silent cinema. Pete Carroll’s Liber Null.
-Who or what inspired you to write this book?-
I wanted to create a hypnotic feeling, a real intrusion. I like the idea of breaking down a form and making it something else. And I like the idea of exploring the emotional charge in words and images. There’s plot, there’s excitement, but there’s also experiments in form and content that I’m proud of. I also have this tendency to lament the limits of good imposed upon something by its time. I always wonder what films Browning and Bunuel would have made in the 30s if there were no boundaries. So I made the disturbing silent film I wish I could watch. Or that I feel like nobody should ever watch.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Dragons. Aberrant sexuality. Dieselpig. Fine fine ladies. The subtle scent of The Old Ones. Dieselpig.
Include the link of who tagged you and this explanation for the people you have tagged. Edward Morris tagged me. Here is the link to his blog. I tagged Kris Saknussemm, because he’s frankly one of the best. I haven’t known his work for long but the man has become one of my biggest damn heroes. Private Midnight. Read that. If razors had beards, they would shave with Kris Saknussemm. Second, I picked J. David Osborne, Wonderland Award Winner and coinstructor for my Online Bizarro Writing Workshop. Third, I selected Jeff Burk. Jeff Burk is my editor on Wake at the House of Dead Cats and a a man who redefines all aspects of the publishing game from writing to editing just by playing it. Then, I tagged Chris Kelso. Chris is a fellow editor of Imperial Youth Review, a magazine of rebellion and transgression from Dog Horn Publishing in the UK. He is also a gutsy and antisocial prodigy. Lastly, but certainly not leastly, I tagged Spike Marlowe. Spike’s book Placenta of Love warmed my heart and she’s a great lady. A true priestess. Be sure to line up your five people in advance.
There are times when we lose touch with our craft. Maybe because we have been exhausted. Maybe because we have been trying new things. Maybe because we are adjusting to changes in life. I have been doing all of these things. So, when somebody on Facebook started talking about doing NaNoWriMo, I thought long and hard about myself as a writer and decided the time had come to reconsecrate my fiction in earnest. I therefore began a novel. It seems like it’s a good one and I will have it ready or die trying. If you’re a NaNoWriMo participant, you have my fellowship and my best wishes. And you have this offer: if you pay ahead for me to edit your NaNoWriMo book, you will get a ten percent discount, meaning I will edit your 50,000 word book for a mere 115 dollars. If you look in the editing tab and see my rates and references, you will see what a good deal this is. Should also help with your morale because it means that you’ve already dedicated yourself to finishing it so deeply that you’ve laid money on the table. Bet on yourself and save some cash. Good luck, fellow pilgrim. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re down.
Bizarro is not an easy genre to get into. It might seem that because of our enthusiastic fanbase and numerous free webzines and fiction blogs that it’s a community that’s easy to move around in or a genre that might be easy to write. Writing Bizarro takes a unique skillset, one that needs to be honed by writing and reading Bizarro and sometimes by working with authors in the genre. This is why I teach a Bizarro writing workshop. And because even famous cult writers like myself can use some extra cash time and again for lion food and such. The workshop, through a series of exercises and critiques helps attune writers to the genre and remind them of the skills they need to improve their Bizarro work. It’s not like a conventional creative writing class, it’s a hands on weirdness dojo, since I feel Bizarro is best taught as one would teach a martial art or something of that ilk, by teaching the philosophy then encouraging handson execution. By the end of my workshops, students have created four flash fiction pieces and if they choose to participate in the 10,000 word weekend challenge following the workshop, they also get a long story or a novelette finished too.
This January, I am teaching one of these workshops with the help of J.David Osborne, author of By the Time We Leave Here, We’ll Be Friends. His short fiction has appeared in such notable anthologies as Demons and Warmed and Bound, he has interviewed cultural giants and been interviewed about his work. He is young, cool and edgy and a man who will provide students with a fresh Bizarro perspective that they’re sure to appreciate. I look forward to working with him and you should too.
The workshop will be conducted online via either Facebook group or a messageboard. Each week students will be given an assignment due that weekend. These assignments will focus on specific facets of the writing of Bizarro fiction. Your instructor and colleagues will critique your work and discuss it with you. On the third week of the workshop, participants will switch groups so that they’ll have had a chance to work with both me and J. David Osborne. And it will be awesome.
The cost is forty dollars, there are ten more slots open. Since there are a limited number of spots and Mr. Osborne is a very popular man, I recommend getting on this early. If you’re on the fence, take note that those of you who register by Christmas will be given a free gift in their email. Email at email@example.com or hit me up on Facebook and I’ll tell you what you need to do to sign up, which really isn’t much.
I leave you now with some testimonials from former students. This workshop will help you. I have had many students see print , one of whom even wrote a novella that got accepted to the New Bizarro Author Series during the 10,000 word weekend challenges!
“Taking Garrett Cook’s writing workshop helped me focus my creative energy and hone my writing skills. Since the workshop I’ve sold three pieces to paying markets and anticipate many more.”- Lee Widener
“I’ve taken two Garrett Cook bizarro workshops, and they’ve done wonders for my writing. Mr. Cook creates a friendly working environment with a fair share of compliments, and constructive critiques that are none too harsh for the amateur writer of bizarro. I’ve since had one workshop story accepted for print publication, and another in the market.:”- Joseph Bouthiette Jr.
Last workshop, Joe submitted his first week’s homework to an anthology. It was accepted.
“Garrett Cook’s writing workshop was awesome. It helped me be more confident with my writing. He knows what he is doing. He is a published author in the Bizarro genre so he knows what works and what doesn’t. Two of the stories I worked on in the October workshop have since been published.”- Daniel Vlasaty