The Goreletter Vol. 10, #2 was delivered to mailing list subscribers on 12/29/15 @ 3pm est. It contains extra entertainment/material not available here on the weblog version, including a new gorelets poem, a mini year-in-review, information about upcoming events, a batch of “political” instigation prompts, and new art/photos.
If you subscribe and did not receive this issue, or just want to see the back issues, review the archives at gorelets.com. If you need to check or update your subscription’s email address, just enter it in the subscribe box and review the report. I highly recommend you enroll in the HTML edition, which contains more rich features than the scaled down text-only version. But do as you will!
I hope you’ll sign up! I approach The Goreletter like an artist’s sketchbook and a way to share my creative/horror life with people who may have a mind of a similar bent. And it is bent, indeed. From distorted art pieces to weird poems to fresh “instigation” prompts for sick writers…it’s always got something strange inside. It’s also free and you can always unsubscribe whenever you want, judgment free. Privacy is respected. Issues are sent just once every three-or-four months, so your inbox won’t suffocate…in fact, you’ll forget you’re signed up just around the time that a new issue sneaks up on you and pounces. Contact me by email or leave a comment here if you have any questions. — Michael A. Arnzen
This graphic header from the newsletter is also a desktop wallpaper I posted to Flickr for Halloween
Happy holiday hugs and kisses! All the New Year’s contests have ended now and the grand prize winner is announced below. THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO PARTICIPATED. Subscribe to the Goreletter (free) for future chances to win free books and more!
Aside from creeping you out with those uncanny body parts above, the best way I could think of to give you a holiday gift was to run random draw contests to finish out the year! There will be several rotating giveaways, so come back to this page routinely between now and New Year’s Eve.
For the first Xmas round of prizes, all you need to do is click the ‘follow’ button on my amazon profile page to be entered to win as I post contests. I will be offering new contests like this on different websites and using a variety of methods, and will keep cycling things so you’ll have new opportunities to win if you miss out. And see below about how to enter the grand prize finale! And hey, you ARE eligible for every contest, so come back again and again!
GIVEAWAY #1: GORELETS OMNIBUS (ended)
The FIRST PRIZE was a free HARDCOVER edition of The Gorelets Omnibus! This is the one with 50 pages of bonus features, including a “horror poetry writing workshop,” a copy of Michael Arnzen’s Dying, and currently the only print version of many of the prompts from Instigation!
AMAZON GIVEAWAY for The Gorelets Omnibus Hardcover Edition! GO TO: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/abeec98c38470389. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of Dec 31, 2015 11:59 PM PST, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules.
The first winner was Andrew Vincent — congratulations!
GIVEAWAY #2: AUDIOVILE (ended)
The SECOND PRIZE was a free copy of my musically-enhanced spoken word cd, AUDIOVILE. This book is a sort of abridged audiobook version of my flash fiction collection from Raw Dog Screaming Press, 100 Jolts. In 2016, I hope to make this collection available for streaming online in an extended digital edition.
AMAZON GIVEAWAY contest for the Audiovile CD! GO TO: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/b9d3f687c1ac6004. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of Dec 31, 2015 11:59 PM PST, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules.
The second winner was Lisa McGee — congratulations!
GIVEAWAY #3: INSTIGATION FOR CHRISTMAS! (ended)
Closing out Christmas night, I ran a quick draw for a free copy of my collection of writing prompts “on the dark side,” Instigation.
Send email@example.com an email by Midnight eastern on Christmas Day and he’ll reply with a free copy of Instigation: Creative Prompts on the Dark Side plus one mystery bonus within 24 hours. All you need to write is “send me a ____ for Xmas” (and fill in the blank with your choice of .mobi, .epub, or .pdf format). Offer ends strictly at midnight est, 12/25/15. ALL ENTRANTS WILL BE SUBSCRIBED TO THE GORELETTER but can unsubscribe anytime they wish. Have a merry one, no matter what your religion (or none)!
GIVEAWAY #4: PLAY DEAD (ended)
Leading up to new years, there was a chance to win a free paperback copy of my supernatural noir novel about murder, poker and fate, Play Dead…
See this Amazon Giveaway for a chance to win Play Dead: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/94f248da8f4cf840. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of Dec 31, 2015 11:59 PM PST, or when all prizes are awarded by random draw. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules. Congratulations to Tricia.
GIVEAWAY #5: GRAVE MARKINGS (ended)
And we finally closed out with a chance to win a free paperback copy of my “tattoo artist turned serial killer artist” novel, Grave Markings: 20th Anniversary Edition…
Click on this Amazon Giveaway link for a chance to win Grave Markings: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/84bc51c0a9162c3e. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of Dec 31, 2015 11:59 PM PST, or when all prizes are awarded by random draw. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules. Congrats to Brian Converse.
GIVEAWAY #6: THE GRAND PRIZE (ended)
PROVERBS FOR MONSTERS…IN LEATHER!
And last but not least, the GRAND PRIZE will be a signed, limited leatherbound copy of the Bram Stoker Award-winning collection of my best horror fiction and poetry, Proverbs for Monsters! Only 26 of these are in existence… and they listed at $125 on release. ALL SUBSCRIBERS TO THE GORELETTER ARE AUTOMATICALLY ELIGIBLE FOR THIS PRIZE, which will be randomly drawn after New Year’s Eve. The grand prize winners will be contacted via email and must respond to my query within 24 hours to win.SIGN UP FOR THE GORELETTER BEFORE MIDNIGHT EASTERN ON 12.31.15 and this book could be yours!
CONGRATULATIONS TO GRAND PRIZE WINNER & SUBSCRIBER STEFAN ANDREW!
If you entered but didn’t win, stay subscribed… never know when another contest or giveaway might occur!
Subscribe by Midnight est on New Year’s Eve 2015 and you could win this book!
Proverbs for Monsters is bound in dark red leather (like a bible or hymnbook), comes in a slipcase, has ribbon sewn in, is lettered C and signed by me and artist Matt Schuster (who added a unique doodle). It is spectacular. It won a Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection in 2007.
It’s been a great year but I’m looking forward to 2016 even more… it promises to be the most uncanny year yet! Make sure you keep up with me by subscribing to The Goreletter — a new one should be out before the end of the year, and again: it will feature the top prize!
Mailings now go out roughly every 1-2 months. Privacy is tight and well-respected. In 2013, I adopted a new email system that has greater security and allows for high-quality HTML-based design, but a plain text version is still also available. Browse the back issues to see the newsletter’s decade-plus history.
In last November’s issue of The Goreletter, I posted the following list of story starters for “Horror for the Holidays.” Since the season will soon be upon us, I thought I’d share it here on the blog, to help the sicko writers out there get started on corrupting their holiday imaginations early.
Discover the weirdest story you can by simply freewriting (without stopping to edit) in response to one the following prompts and seeing where it takes you.
+ a possessed belt buckle
+ murder by butter
+ the carving of the beast
+ a sinister game at the children’s table
+ a postmodern puritan meets a elderly witch
+ gravy, in zero gravity
+ a secret trophy on the Xmas tree
+ serving up hot cider — named “Suicider”
+ ceremonial burning inside the chimney
+ inappropriate carolling
+ new year’s eve in prison
+ the snow smothers
+ snow angel chalk outlines
+ the tree feels it all
+ Rudolph the Red-Tipped Pain Spear
+ new year’s cocktails from hell
+ the haunted advent calendar
My wife and I snuck away to Germany early in July to visit with family and old friends, and during our stay, we took a side trip to the former east to spend a few days in the city of Dresden. It’s a fantastic city, brimming with festive nightlife partying in the streets of the “neustadt” and overwhelming with architectural beauty and the high life of the “oldstadt.”
In the midst of it all, I had an unplanned encounter with Till Lindemann. Till is not only the lead singer of the uber-metal group Rammstein, but also the author of On Quiet Nights, recently released in English translation by Raw Dog Screaming Press — a book for which I wrote the introduction.
Well, I did not meet him literally. But Till seemed to be all over Dresden, with posters still plastered everywhere advertising a recent concert for his Skills in Pills album tour. His forward leaning “shush” posture kept beckoning me like someone inviting me to follow him to a secret place…
And there was one. We learned that there was an “Over 18” (aka NC-17) art gallery, Galerie Holger John, located deep in the neustadt, featuring a small exhibition of Till Lindemann’s sculpture.
As we entered, the current single from Skills and Pills, “Praise Abort” (NSFW video here) looped over the speakers and we were confronted with a taxidermy surprise — Lindemann’s sculpture of a deer kept under guard by two baby mannequins in leather masks with guns and batons. And that was just the start. Smaller sculptures of things like binoculars with phallic protrusions shooting out of the lenses and skull-headed babies under domed glass appeared all around the two floors of the gallery. The exhibition was amazing and audacious — and given the number of genital sculptures in evidence everywhere, it was not exactly a rated-G experience, so I can’t share many photos. But I loved it.
The exhibition predominantly featured the original photographs from the provocative shoot for Lindemann’s Skills in Pills album (see wikipedia), in addition to sculptures by Till, props from the “Praise Abort” video, and a few large displays of the original artwork/poetry from On Quiet Nights (aka In Stillen Nachten) by Matthias Matthies and Lindemann. There were two floors of fantastic photographs by Stefan Heilemann, Paul Harries, Aram Radomski, Bryan Adams, Tomaso Baldessarini, and Matthias Matthies, in addition to all the unforgettably outrageous sculptures by Till Lindemann. We took some photos, but most can’t be shared here. However, intrepid readers can see them on the gallery’s website, if they are old and bold enough to do so.
Dresden has a fantastic art scene and is an amazing city to visit. I’ve mixed a few extras into the gallery below. Highly recommended.
The exhibition lasts till 8/23/15 at Galerie Holger John (Rahnitzgasse 17, Dresden), so if you find yourself near this historical city in Germany in the month to come — and you aren’t carting around kiddies with you — it’s well worth a visit.
If not, the next best thing might be the super deluxe edition of the Skills and Pills album, which includes a great book of artwork and photography. The music — featuring Till’s all-English singing for the first time — is as hilariously twisted as the art in this exhibition.
The Goreletter Vol. 10, #1 — the first issue of 2015 — was delivered to mailing list subscribers on 6/24/15 @ 10:15pm est. It contains extra entertainment/material not available here on the weblog version, including a new gorelets poem, information on upcoming summer signings, and new art. The image below, for instance, was included in the newsletter, and you can see more weirdness like it in my flickr gallery.
If you subscribe and did not receive this issue, or just want to see the back issues, review the archives at gorelets.com. If you need to check or update your subscription’s email address, just enter it in the subscribe box and review the report.
If you don’t subscribe yet, sign up! I see The Goreletter as something akin to a weird magazine rather than an author’s publicity tool. It’s free and you can always unsubscribe. Issues are sent just once every three-or-four months, so your inbox won’t suffocate. Contact me if you have any questions. — Michael A. Arnzen
I wrote the forward for this edition of the book, which I had the chance to read in original German as well as English. The poems make for a very unique read. Here’s an excerpt from my intro:
Poetry is about sound as much as it is about sense. Rammstein reaches a worldwide audience because Till Lindemann’s lyrics cut across cultures; the sound they make is as universal as any scream or howl, and Till’s vocalization of these words with all their Germanic trills and spittle express the feelings we all share — from rage to fear to lust — at the very level of their utterance. In some songs, Rammstein sneaks a little English into the mix, maybe to throw Americans a bone — as in “Amerika” or “Pu**y” — songs that are hilarious in their mockery of nationalistic arrogance mixed with a brash sexuality that suggests one country might be screwing with another. But ultimately, vocabulary is less important to these American fans than the charge they feel in their ribcages when the music plays and Lindemann pushes his voice into the mic. One only needs to hear Till growl out the opening phrase that launches the song, “Ich Will” — a phrase delivered like a hot burp of molten tar mixed with broken glass — to know what I’m talking about: this is a voice to be reckoned with. And it’s at the foundation of this collection of poetry.
Of course, you should look into his latest album, Skills in Pills, too, if only to enjoy the disturbing and devious new video. Lindemann sings the songs on his first solo outing in English, which makes the Rammstein vibe of it all the more unsettling. It’s great to see the man expanding his global audience.
In case you missed the news elsewhere, Cutting Block Press and Farolight Publishing have released The Best of Horror Library, Vols 1-5… and it really is the best! The anthology contains top-rated stories by a treasure trove of great writers. Having worked with editor RJ Cavender and crew at different times over many years now, I can totally testify: they care a lot about quality. And it shows in this collection, which gathers the top 30 stories out of over 150 tales they’ve published over the past decade in their thrice-Stoker nominated series of chilling horror and dread.
I can’t review this one, as a) I’m in it, and, b) my review would go on forever because every story rocks. The introduction by Lisa Morton really explains what makes this book work so well: it’s top of the line small press horror, “which didn’t play by the major (publisher’s) rules…but elevated originality and craftsmanship over formula and stereotype…” Just take a gander at the Table of Contents, and you’ll no doubt spot a familiar author or curious title, and I know you’ll want to read the whole book:
“A Chainsaw Execution” by Stephen R. George.
“After” by Kealan Patrick Burke.
“Consumed” by Michael Louis Calvillo.
“Apple” by Marc Paoletti.
“Ash Wednesday” by Lorne Dixon.
“Bound” by Alan Smale.
“Drawn” by Daniel L. Naden.
“Exegesis of the Insecta Apocrypha” by Colleen Anderson.
“Follower” by Danny Rhodes.
“Footprints Fading in the Desert” by Eric J. Guignard.
“Ghosts Under Glass” by Tracie McBride. “Guarded” by Michael A. Arnzen.
“I am Meat I am in Daycare” by Cameron Pierce.
“Into the After” by Kurt Dinan.
“Jerrod Steihl Goes Home” by Ian Withrow.
“Next Stop, Babylon” by John Mantooth.
“Obsidian Sea” by Kurt Kirchmeier.
“Open Mind Night at the Ritz” by Shane McKenzie.
“Santa Maria” by Jeff Cercone.
“Skin” by Kim Despins.
“Sporting the Waters of the Bermuda Triangle” by Greggard Penance.
“The Apocalypse Ain’t so Bad” by Jeff Strand.
“The Exterminators” by Sara Joan Berniker.
“The Garbage Collectors” by Ron McGillvray.
“The Happiness Toy” by Ray Garton.
“The Healing Hands of Reverend Wainwright” by Geoffrey L. Mudge.
“The Immolation Scene” by John F.D. Taff.
“The Living World” by C. Michael Cook.
“The Puppet Show” by Rick J. Brown.
“The Station” by Bentley Little.
“The Steel Church” by Charles Colyott.
“The Vulture’s Art” by Benjamin Kane Ethridge.
“Trapped Light Medium” by Sunil Sadanand.
Each story comes with a reflection by the writer on their inspiration for the tale. Read this book and you will get a great snapshot of the diversity of weirdness at large in new millennial horror. Buy a copy from Amazon today.
Tip: see my somewhat buried Anthologies page to discover more books like this, featuring short horror stories by a gathering of writers usually riffing darkly on a common theme.
WIN THIS BOOK. Proverbs for Monsters is bound in dark red leather (like a bible or hymnbook), comes in a slipcase, has ribbon sewn in, is lettered C and signed by me and artist Matt Schuster (who added a unique doodle). It is spectacular. It won a Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Fiction Colleciton in 2007. You should own it, but only 26 exist. Now is your chance to join that small club. All you have to do is subscribe to my newsletter (right here on facebook by clicking on the "email signup" link up top -- or visit http://gorelets.com ) before Midnight (eastern) New Year's Eve!
And don't forget the other giveaways that are ongoing on http://gorelets.com/blog/arnzen-news/holiday-hugs-kisses-from-gorelets-com/ till the ball drops! A final amazon giveaway will be posted later this afternoon (though newsletter subscribers know all about it already -- subscribe!)
Here's a video clip from my talk on "The Uncanny Valley" at Neumann University and Raw Dog Screaming Press's DogCon this past Oct. Thanks to Dave Bullis, Jennifer Barnes, @RDSPress and Dr. William Hamilton for all their help making this event happen. https://youtu.be/23sX6EABK30
.@OdysseyWorkshop Anything my former editor at Dell/Abyss -- Jeanne Cavelos -- has her magic hands in will transform you! SF/F/H writers looking to boost their skills in a short online course (or longer workshop) should look into this. Deadlines approaching. http://www.sff.net/odyssey/online.html
Thanks to State College of Florida Venice for the royal turn out to my horror reading, workshop and talk on "Subversion" this afternoon. Sold out of all the books I brought -- wow! Special shout-out to host Doug Ford for his amazing superpowers, Franc Auld for the good vibes and to the entire "Swamp Scribes" creative writing club for all the cool chatter. Here are a few snapshots I took... what a great audience. There may be audio or more to come later. THANK YOU SCF!
This shot after the #PopUncanny talk this weekend sums up the experience of #DogCon4 to me. Thanks all! Pls share photos -- I don't have many. I do have some audio to share soon though (rattle rattle!)
If you've read Instigation, you may have seen the prompt featuring Weird Words by Dan Clore -- here's a link to this excellent lexicon, which every horror writer should have on their shelf!
Author Wilum Pugmire puts it so well in his review on amazon: "a work of a genius, and it will provide hours of enticing edification and enthralling entertainment for all who have the intelligence to appreciate it. For those of us who are full-time professional writers of weird fiction, it is an amazing source of language, imagery and the history of our fantastic realm. I return to it again and again, to drink its fount of scholarship and to revel in its sense of eldritch play.
My annual facebook Public Service Announcement:
You just posted something I did not see. Of the stuff I could see, it was old -- and I probably found it by doing a fb search, and I was blocked from sharing it or commenting even though I probably wanted to. But you wouldn't have known. I am not really on facebook, even though I am typing this. I just wanted you to know this fact, especially those of you who are not reading this. I am an enigma, wrapped in a mystery, surrounded by a lack of privacy. I am a page, not a profile. And I THANK YOU to those who still like and share and send.
Find me on http://twitter.com/MikeArnzen or see the twitter archive to see all the tweets you've been missing at http://gorelets.com/nest/ Now go back to your newsfeed and eat voluminously.