Author of The ADHD Vampire and Mother F'ing Black Skull of Death

Posts tagged “Bizarro

The Classics Never Die! With Tom Lucas

Our newest interview is with contributor Tom Lucas, who supplied us with a fantastic werewolf tale called Missing.

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Tom Lucas was born and raised in Detroit, and although currently enjoying the lack of snow and ice in Florida, remains a son of the post-industrial apocalypse. His works include Leather to the Corinthians, Pax Titanus, and stories in many anthologies. He is a college professor, author, and spoken word performer. When not writing, Tom likes to drive fast and take chances.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’ve been writing professionally for a long time, but the vast majority of that was while wearing the hat of a journalist or copy writer.

I’m also a teacher – about 15 years now and it’s the best thing ever.

Lately, I’ve been feeling old. I turn 50 this year, which means nothing to anyone older than me but since I don’t have their perspective, I don’t care what they think.

Getting older means I no longer feel that I have something to prove but it also means I’m really over a lot of things. I now know why old people are so damn cranky.

But…being older means I’ve seen a hell of a lot of cool bands and read a lot of great books, and I have a lot of great stories to tell. Just don’t hang around me too long or I’ll end up repeating them.

Ultimately, my life is now a constant vortex of déjà vu and forgetfulness.

What kind of books/stories do you write?

Science fiction and horror would be the closest shelves to put me on, but I have a crippling inability to take myself seriously, so satire and the absurd always find their way into my work. It makes me a bit on my own – not quite this and not quite that – but fun and weird is where my works lives.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Read! Watch! Play!

Tell us about the story you wrote for the anthology.

“Missing” was a werewolf story I wrote mainly for myself a couple years before the anthology came around to give it a home. I was born and raised in Detroit, and I came upon a werewolf legend from the area, the Loup Garou. The French who settled Detroit brought their folklore with them and this one is particularly nasty.

It’s a werewolf that feeds on brides on their wedding day. I thought it would be fun to bring this monster into the modern world and see what would happen. It turned out to be fairly long story, so thanks to everyone for sticking through it to the bloody end.

What compelled you to write about the particular monster you chose?

I’m skipping this one as I kinda answered it already.

Do you have a favorite monster movie? It doesn’t have to be limited to the classic monster movies.

Well…my favorite, all-time absolute “monster,” is the cruel and mighty Cthulhu, but he’s never really been captured well enough in a movie and as far as we know, is still sleeping. Best to just leave him be, I think.

From the classics, it’s one hundred percent Frankenstein’s Monster. He’s a walking existential crisis, something I can certainly relate to.

What are you currently working on? Do you have anything new getting ready to be released?

I have three current projects.

I recently submitted a solicited novella manuscript to a cool indie press. It’s essentially Encyclopedia Brown vs. Cthulhu and I had an absolutely blast writing it. Cross your tentacles and pseudopods for good luck, because as of this interview, I don’t know its fate.

I am halfway through a novel. This one is an open letter to the geek fan community, and is sort of Constantine meets Ready Player One.

And I am nearly finished with a horror novel. What happens when an ex-junkie rockabilly cat inherits a house that contains a portal to the afterlife and its guarded by a terribly evil entity? So, it’s Trainspotting in a haunted house.

What are you currently promoting? Tell us all about your newest work.

This anthology! Last year I spent deep in manuscripts, so nothing new hit the scene. Next year could be a barnstormer. Stay tuned, I guess.

 

You can find Toms books here.

The Classics Never Die! An Anthology of Old School Movie Monsters – Available in paperback, ebook, or audiobook.


10 Questions with Jeff O’Brien

Jeff O’Brien once ate a two-pound hamburger and a pound of bacon-cheese fries at Fuddrucker’s. He isn’t proud of much else. He also wrote BigBoobenstein and Journey to the Edge of the Flat Earth.

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Oh, I sure can. That’s easy. I live in New Hampshire. I hate it here. I want to move to warmer climates. I’m obsessed with aliens and UFOs. I have a hamster and two guinea pigs. I love to read books and write them too. One time I ate a two-pound hamburger and a pound of bacon-cheddar fries. It was my proudest moment.

2. Can you take us through a typical writing session? Do you listen to music? Or maybe lock yourself in a basement for complete piece and quiet?

I wish I had some kind of method that worked every time. Typically, I struggle for weeks or even months to get my ideas out, then it suddenly clicks and I’ve got the first draft of my book done in three weeks or sometimes even two. Sometimes it’s when I’m at home in the quiet. Sometimes it’s when I’m at the cigar lounge and there are guys talking loudly with multiple TVs on around me. It seems to be up to my brain whether or not I’ll be productive, regardless of where I am. My brain has a brain of its own, I guess.

Bigboobenstein Omnibust

3. You are a self-publisher, and always have been, correct?


Correct. My books are all self-published. I’ve had a few stories picked up for anthologies along the way, but I don’t even bother with that anymore.

3a. Sub question: Promotion is never easy and I believe it can be even harder when you self-publish. What have you learned over the years that works for you? –

What works for me is working alone, doing everything myself except the obvious: editing, cover art and design. I’m sure all the publishers I’ve ever attempted to work with think I’m a complete dick, snowflake, diva, whatever you wanna call it. It’s kind of embarrassing, actually, which is why I just go it alone now. My story is my story. I can’t change something when a publisher or editor asks me to. If what they wanted was what I wanted, I would have written that the first time. So I’m happier and make more friends doing my own thing.

3b. Second sub question: Do you have any sure-fire methods for getting books into people’s hands?

The only method I know of automatically getting a book into people’s hands is by giving them away. I do those Kindle giveaways every now and then. I’ve actually found they tend to boost sales of my other books a little bit when I do them. For every fifty people that gets the free download, there might be one or two who like what they see and throw down a few more bucks to check out more of my stuff. So that’s something I do once in a while, but there is no sure-fire way of getting your book into the right people’s hands. I’m not a successful author, and I’ll not pretend to be one. I’m still figuring this shit out.

4. You used to play in bands, playing both bass and drums at different times. Do you find it a similar struggle to get your writing out as it was to get people to your shows, or buy your music?

It’s exactly the same, man. Which makes the stigma around self-publishing so friggin annoying. When I was chasing the metal dream, we funded our own recording, paid for our own gas, and got the fuck out on the road and played to as many people as possible. People praise that. People see your book is self-published and they’re like fuck you. But, like anything else, I just don’t have the time or the energy to give a fuck. That’s valuable energy I can put into writing fucked up shit. I do what I do and I love it.

Heart Shaved Box

5. What has been your biggest struggle with writing? Is there a book or story of yours that was more difficult to finish than any other?

Heart Shaved Box took me four years to finish, and it’s my shortest book, at just over 22K words. I don’t know what held me up with that one. I think maybe I loved the title so much that I wanted the story to live up to it. I think I did okay. I depicted Jesus (the main antagonist) as a pedophile, and the Catholic Church as a world-wide pedophilia ring. So maybe God and Jesus were watching over me trying to halt my progress. I hope I’m barred entry to the pearly gates and have to have orgies with Satan and his hot demon chicks for all of eternity.

6. Who are your literary influences? What books are your favorite? Are there any books or authors that you repeatedly re-read?

The main writer who has had a massive impact on me in Piers Anthony. But I got just as much inspiration to write from being a kid in the early 90s and watching Comedy Central. Mystery Science Theater 3000, Monty Python, Kids in the Hall, etc. There was a time when it was good to watch TV! I’m so famn lucky to have been a sponge to CC at that age. So much amazing shit that opened my young eyes up to the world, and culture, history, sexuality, etc. A little later I got into John Waters and TROMA and that kind of thing, and years later I found my niche with combining the absurdist, dirty humor of the aforementioned shows with the shock and gore of the movies I loved. I’ve always had to look somewhere other than books for inspiration because virtually no one but me writes the kind of shit I write.

As far as favorite books go, it’s a toss-up between A Spell for Chameleon and On a Pale Horse, both by Piers Anthony. I love fantasy, and I’ve read The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan like four times. I love sci-fi, but the overly technical shit goes way over my head. I’ll make no claims of being smart or anything like that. Horror of course too, but I don’t read it much anymore. I’ll always love it, but I devoured so much of it in my life I need to a break.

7. When did you decide you wanted to be a writer? Were there any books that were the catalyst to starting you on this path?

I made a few attempts throughout my twenties but I was too wrapped up in playing music. I didn’t give writing an honest shot until I was about 28, and had my first book out when I was 30. I think it was just the right time. My influences, which I mentioned above, had been stewing in my brain for almost twenty years by that time. Once I committed to writing, it all came spewing out of me like diarrhea.

The first book I read the made me say: “Fuck, I want to do this!” was probably Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill. It’s just such a perfect horror story, and the combination of horror and metal made me realize I could include all my passions into one.

Byron

8. You write Horror, Bizarro, and Sword and Sorcery, and even a YA book. Is there one genre you prefer over the others? Do you think you’ll try your hand at any other genres?

My pretentious little goal has always been to be like Piers Anthony, meaning that I’d like to write any genre and make it my own in a way that the reader will know it’s a Jeff O’Brien book. Piers Anthony is pretty much a genre of his own. Sort of like Tarantino too. Not that I’d ever compare myself to either of those guys!

I need to seriously tackle something that involves Ancient Aliens. I have about half a manuscript written that involves them, but it’s not really going anywhere. Until then I just gotta keep telling the stories my brain’s brain keeps coming up with.

9. What is next for Jeff O’Brien? You recently released The BigBoobenstein: Omnibust Edition, do you have another book ready to put out into the world or are you finishing something up?

I have a few things in the works, mainly a horror story that’s kind of a tribute to the films of Herschell Gordon Lewis. It’s my typical fare. Goth chicks, boobs, sex, gore, and all that other stuff.

Journey to the Edge

10. Tell us about your most recent release. How has it been received to previous releases?

Journey to the Edge of the Flat Earth was kind of an experiment. I wrote it almost entirely in stream of consciousness style, just to see where my mind would go. I was pretty happy with the results. It’s raised a few eyebrows and gained me a few new readers, but I’m still the “BigBoobenstein guy” and probably always will be, and I’m perfectly fine with that. I’m just doing this because I love it. If it somehow turns into my not having to spend 40 hours a week in a meat room, I’ll be grateful. But, I am a realist. So I’ll keep doing what I do in my free time and loving it.

Jeff O’Brien at Amazon

Jeff O’Brien at Facebook

Jeff O’Brien at Goodreads


10 Questions with Kirk Jones

Kirk Jones

Kirk Jones (k3rk Dʒoʊnz): 1. English Director of Nanny McPhee 2. “Sticky Fingaz,” rap artist and actor who played Blade for the television series 3. Canadian who survived a dive over Niagara Falls . . . only to return and pass upon his second attempt. 4. Boring white author of Uncle Sam’s Carnival of Copulating Inanimals (Eraserhead Press, 2010), Journey to Abortosphere (Rooster Republic, 2014), Die Empty (Atlatl, 2017), and Aetherchrist (Apex, 2018) who often gets mistaken for the other, arguably more notable, Kirk Jones fellows. 5. Also not Kirk Byron Jones.
1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I come from a small town called Fine, NY about an hour from the Canadian border. I like quiet.

2. You are a teacher. I imagine that with the school year being in full swing that makes you pretty busy in the evenings and possibly on the weekends. How do you balance your work load and your writing?

It used to keep me very busy. I still remember doing writing conferences with students on AIM years ago. I was pulling like 10-hour days back then.

Those days are behind me though. I leave my office between 3-5pm every day, and I don’t take work home with me, except checking e-mail after hours.

My writing counts as scholarship in my job, which is a requirement for advancement, so I spend 8-10 hours a week in office writing. Right now that happens on Fridays typically.

If I’m really in the groove I’ll continue writing at home, but I haven’t done that since last fall. I’m too tired when I get home and I like to unwind with the kids.

The important thing is to not compromise. No matter what. You want a Friday free, don’t schedule meetings or classes on Friday. If you have to work every day, set a time aside and work when you can. Set a number of hours a week and make it happen. If the work isn’t appealing, try something different.

I realize I’m writing from a position of privilege. I’m lucky as hell to be doing what I’m doing and to get paid what I do and to get professional recognition at my job for writing fiction. What I don’t always see is my ignorance about others’ situations. So if that line about not compromising comes off as pompous or idealistic, then fuck me and my advice. Here’s something more all-encompassing:

Write like you’re Burger King. Have it your way.
3. Can you take us through a typical writing session? Do you listen to music? Or maybe lock yourself in a basement for complete peace and quiet?

I write in six stages:

    • Brainstorm
    • Rough outline
    • Detailed outline
    • Working draft
    • Revisions
    • Ask Atlatl or Apex if they’re willing to read my work.

I brainstorm and write the rough outline in my basement, breaking an idea down scene by scene, preferably with a beer, but I’m trying to cut back on that. Getting too old and tired for that now.I usually play a shitty 80s flick in the background on low volume, or He-Man. Nostalgia is my jam, but I don’t have much time to focus on it, so 80s has kind of become the soundtrack to my life. It hovers in the background because I don’t want to stagnate by actively focusing on it.I write the detailed outline in my office.I write the detailed outline out one scene at a time.With the door shut.

With the lights out and ambient music playing softly. I’m really into chillwave lately, but man I really love The Midnight and Timecop1983 as well, which I think is synthwave. I can’t keep track of all the delineations. All I know is I really enjoy it.

I let that detailed outline for the first scene percolate overnight.

The next day I turn that detailed outline scene into a working draft scene.

I have two monitors. I have my detailed outline on one monitor, and I write the working draft on the other.

Once I am done fleshing out my detailed outline in “working draft” form, I go to the next section’s rough outline and flesh it out into a detailed outline.

The next day I go in and do the “working draft” writing on that.

Right now I get to do this once a week, so I usually try to flesh out a few scenes each week in preparation for my Friday writing. If I’m lucky I’ll get through all of those scenes and I’ll be able to detail outline a few scenes for the next week.

In between those writing days I’m thinking about and talking about my book on my audio recorder, collecting ideas, and preparing for future stories. So while I don’t “write” on my current project every day, I’m thinking about writing every day and talking about it, and I write about 10 pages of e-mails and feedback on the daily, so I’m always going through the motions. The trouble is shifting gears from academic writing to professional correspondence relating to assessment to casual conversation to creative writing, all of which have different genre conventions. But that’s a discussion for another time.

Uncle Sam's

4. You were in The New Bizarro Author Series from Eraserhead Press. I know they used to use it like a trial period of some sorts. I suppose you had to impress them with sales and promotion to get a contract with them. Was it difficult trying to meet their sales requirements? What have you learned about promoting your work since then?

We had to sell 200 copies. To meet that figure towards the end, I bought copies wholesale from EP and then sold them for $5 to my college students who were interested. Then I’d take that money and buy copies from Amazon to count towards my sales goal. So ultimately every two copies I sold resulted in one actual copy sold that counted towards my 200 total.

I was about 10 short of the 200 goal.

But then we were told that the 200 goal was just a superficial number and to write a letter explaining why we were interested in becoming part of EP, which was good news for us, because most of us thought we hadn’t made it.

I wrote my letter, and was not offered a contract. One of my friends later said he heard through the grapevine that one of the reasons I was not offered a contract was because my letter never really mentioned a contract at all. Truth be told, I was pussyfooting around very carefully because I heard that the contract might result in publication delays because EP was a growing publisher and releasing titles from NBAS folks might be a lower priority. But ultimately it really depended on the appeal of the title and story and the pace at which the story was written. Some NBASers, like David Barbee, are published fairly consistently because they have great, high-concept titles that they can bang out really fast. Others, like Eric Hendrixson, may work on a title for years before it finally sees the light of day.

Maybe it is just me infusing the experience with a bit of karmic balance, but I also suspect I wasn’t offered a contract because me and another author were self-righteous pricks about the whole process. Our egos were larger than our prowess as writers. We felt we deserved more at the time. We used to call one another about imagined slights . . . I won’t elaborate. I’ll just say it was a toxic dynamic we both contributed to. That was my second life lesson on a topic that has become a prominent feature in my life: never trust someone who tries to drag you into their misery. If I had a dollar for every time I was dragged into a dynamic like that . . . I’d have about four bucks, and I still kick myself in the ass for every dynamic I foolishly dove into like that. And I’m not just talking about in the writing industry. I’m talking everywhere now. I’ve promised myself never to get drawn into dynamics like that again.

It is hard to avoid when you’re starting out. You have to watch out for folks who try to commiserate with you. It’s like a game of asshole poker, for lack of a better simile. And it starts off innocently enough, with people just sort of picking at wounds, testing to see what kinds of things bother you. If you indulge them at all, they’ll keep upping the ante. But eventually folks who initiate this kind of game will up the ante to a degree you can’t get down with. They’ll try to draw you into openly shitting on someone, or trying to draw more people into the fold, and if you don’t go along, they’ll cash in the chips and you lose the rapport you’ve built up with that person, and they’ll sell you up shit creek. You know the trope. Next thing you know they’re going around telling everyone about the shit you talked like they were innocent bystanders.

The hardest part is distinguishing between folks who are just venting about an industry or profession, because there are frustrating idiosyncrasies, and people who are venting because they deal in muckraking. You kind of have to keep a degree of professional distance from people.

My recommendation is, if you need to vent, vent to someone you trust outside of the industry. Because then very little is at stake.

I’m always generally reluctant to share errors in judgment like the one above regarding my time with NBAS, but the truth is we need more authors to be candid about their errors. We all fuck up. If you don’t you’re either very lucky or you have a very good mentor, in which case you’re lucky for that. The rest of us learn through trial and error, sometimes more errors than others. I’d say at the end of the day I’m one of those authors who learned how to do things the right way by doing just about everything the wrong way. But I’m sure there’s still plenty more for me to fuck up along the way.

5. What has been your biggest struggle with writing? Is there a book or story of yours that was more difficult to finish than any other?

As far as struggles with writing go, I’ll defer to my response above. Politics. Politics were very tough for me when I started. I’ve always been pretty naïve when it comes to that shit. I don’t think I truly learned a great deal about interpersonal dynamics until I was 34 or so, like a year or two ago. Prior to that I was constantly fluctuating between outspoken, taken aback, confused, and angry. I’m still learning now, but I’m less of those four previously-mentioned variables than in the past. Well, maybe not less outspoken. But I’m not as angry or confused.

Journey to Abortosphere was the hardest book to write. I hated writing that fucking book. The further I got into it, the more I hated it. I wrote it because I thought it was my best bet at a continued chance in the bizarro genre, nothing more. I’ve said before I had only a superficial understanding of bizarro at the time, and I wrote the juvenile tripe I associated with bizarro: buttholes being displaced by time travel.

I enjoy the book in retrospect, but upon writing it, ugh. It was a fucking nightmare.
6. Who are your literary influences? What books are your favorite? Are there any books or authors that you repeatedly re-read?

Philip K. Dick is the man. I go back to Barker’s Great and Secret Show and Everville every few years. For Dick I love Valis and A Scanner Darkly. A few years ago I started really getting into Anderson Prunty’s work, which makes having Die Empty published with Atlatl even more surreal. I really like Fill the Grand Canyon and Live Forever. The protagonist has such a superficial goal, and for me it’s a metaphor for all of our goals. What do they really mean? Double rainbow, man. What does it meeean!?

I’m digging Lucas Mangum’s work too, particularly Mania, which I still believe is his best work to date.

I think old George Billions (Buying Illegal Bugs with Bitcoin) is an up and coming voice as well.

All that being said, I read pretty tame stuff these days. Anything too gory and I generally turn away from it. It doesn’t mean I don’t admire the authors or their books. I’m just a more sensitive reader now that I’m older.
7. When did you decide you wanted to be a writer? Were there any books that were the catalyst to starting you on this path?

Stephen King’s Insomnia was the first book I read that made me want to be an author. (I only read about half before my I lost interest. Then my house burned down, so there was no finishing that one). I remember using my mom’s old Smith & Corona typewriters to write a story about some old guy ambling around the streets of a small town. I just wanted to focus in on the details. I gave up for several years after that. I wish I wouldn’t have.

8. How did you get into Bizarro fiction? What book was your introduction?

So this is how Edward Furlong feels when he’s asked what it was like to work with Arnold Schwarzenegger. It’s not that I get tired of telling the story. I just have nothing new to say about it. So here goes:

I searched “Weird Shit” on Yahoo or Google and CM III’s page was one of the first that showed up. I was fascinated. I found the EP forum and checked that out. That was also fascinating, and a bit frightening. I bought Steel Breakfast Era, which at the time was housed with another book. I liked them both. Then I bought a starter kit and loved Donihe’s The Greatest Fucking Moment in Sports. In my opinion, it is still the pinnacle of bizarro humor to this day.
9. What is next for Kirk Jones? You recently released Aetherchrist through Apex press, do you have another book ready to put out into the world or are you finishing something up?

Atlatl is going to publish a book tentatively titled Fuck Happiness, though I’m a bit torn on the title since there are like 100 books now with f*ck in the title. F*ck this and F*ck that. It seems really tacky now and cliché. But part of me thinks, “Fuck it. Just don’t censor the title and that’ll give me the edge of distinction.” I don’t know. Anyway, we’re working with Matthew Revert on a cover and the manuscript has been done since last year. We’re just waiting for the right time to dive into it for 2019.

It’s a hard book to describe. I’d say where Die Empty is a sort of middle class dystopia story, Fuck Happiness is a working-class story about people who find salvation through misery as a social commodity. The Mandela Effect plays a large role in the story, and I think it is the most surreal, both in terms of content and style, that I have or will ever write. It may very well be my last bizarro novel, and it is the first one I am wholly proud of because I got to write it on my own terms without worrying what others would think about it or who would publish it.

After that I have Godwomb, which is complete now and sitting with Apex. Will they publish it? I don’t know. They expressed an interest in reading it, but have not said anything since my initial submission in July. I’m starting to get a bit nervous. It’s second person again (As is Fuck Happiness) and I know that can be unconventional. I’m taking a break from second person now, but it just came so naturally to me after Die Empty that I couldn’t help but bang a few more out in that fashion. My next is third person though:

Right now I’m working on a book tentatively titled Dying Breeds, a book about a camera that allegedly destroyed the silent film industry and the serial killer trying to track the camera down because it is rumored to have the ability to kill those photographed. I’m about half way done with writing it. And I’m really excited about this. It’s something I have been working on for many years. The initial incarnation of the story was submitted to The New Flesh, a collection WP III planned to publish back in 2010, I believe. Then this website called Death Head Grin published that story after the publisher who agreed to publish WP III’s anthology folded. I submitted a sequel story to Lamplight, but they passed. Honestly, the follow up wasn’t as compelling as the first. Anyway, I’ve been thinking about this story for a long time, and I’m glad I’m finally finishing it.

Aetherchrist

10. Tell us about your most recent release. How has it been received compared to previous releases?

Aetherchrist came out in May through Apex.

It’s classified as dark sci-fi. It has been described as fast-paced, paranoid, and ultimately it takes a turn in directions unanticipated. I’m really pleased with the concept, the idea that analog was used to suppress naturally-occurring wavelengths human thought was transferred across interpersonally. Now that analog is being phased out, people’s ability to pick up on the thoughts of others is returning, and it is resulting in paranoia and chaos rather than peace and harmony. Some people have such strong wavelengths that they can transmit their thoughts onto old analog receivers like televisions and old CB radios, and they’re using that power to broadcast their ideas to the world. Others have a sort of converse wavelength that inhibits analog frequency.

Anyway, the ideas are only explored a little in the book, and the book is so fertile in terms of concepts that I’m definitely doing another, longer book down the road based on this mythos. I’m already priming myself for it, but I have a few other projects to burn through first.

It was received by the audience I have carried with me from other titles well, and the audience Apex brought to my work has been pretty positive as well. Some folks like the bizarro elements (I often wonder what bizarro elements) and others find it too out there for their tastes.

But Apex is all about genre bending and experimenting, so I think it was a great home for Aetherchrist. I’m not sure about sales or anything. I haven’t heard anything yet in that regard, but as long as folks are reading and hating or loving it, I’m happy.

You can find Kirk Jones at these various sites:

bizarrojones.wordpress.com

BizarroJones at Twitter

Kirk Jones at Amazon

Kirk Jones at Goodreads


My Review of Andersen Prunty’s Failure as a Way of Life

Failure as a Way of Life

I listened to Failure as A Way of Life on audio book. When I got the book I told Andersen I was a little dissapointed that he didn’t narrate it himself. I’ve listened to a few of his books he did the narration on and he has this way of speaking that really captures that depressing feel of his characters. It just fits perfectly (Squirm with me is a prime example of this). I’ll still say that he would have been excellent voicing his character Ryan, but narrator Pete Ferrand did a superb job on this, so I decided to let it go.

So the book is about Ryan and best friend Gus, who both work the same job at an artisinal water bottling plant and basically have the same lame, boring, and unsatisfying lives. When they try to contaminate the water supply at their work there is an accident that affects Gus in a posistive way. This leads to Ryans jealousy as he attempts to replicate Gus’ good fortune.

This book is classic Prunty. The characters are down trodden and misfortunate. The people in their lives barely connect to them and constantly unusual things are happening around them that they just take with a grain of salt.
All in all it was pretty great. I’m a big fan of Andersen Prunty, and I always enjoy reading his newest output, this one was no exception.

Buy it Here Failure as a Way of life


My Review of He Digs a Hole by Danger Slater

He Digs a Hole

Danger Slater’s books always surprise me. Not his writing, I’ve read all but two of his books, I believe, so I know he’s a great writer. I know going into one of his books I won’t be disappointed. But for some reason I get these weird ideas in my head about what a book will be like before I start reading it. For example, He Digs A Hole is about a guy that cuts off his hands, replaces them with gardening tools, and begins to dig a hole. Sounds like some standard Bizarro right? But, much like Dangers other books, it’s more than just that. It becomes a journey of self discovery for protagonist Harrison as he moves on from the boring, mundane life he was leading into the one that awaits him down the large hole he has dug. It’s an Alice and Wonderland type adventure into a new world that brings Harrison to the realization about what he loves, because this book is also a love story.

Danger puts a lot into this short book, it easily propels you along, eagerly following the journey until you reach that ending, which was probably my most favorite thing about the book. We’ve all read those books that may be great for about 75 to 85 percent of it and then the ending just lets you down. But not here, Danger knew what he was doing and where the story needed to go, and it was lovely.

Buy it here He Digs a Hole


Fast Times at Cine Mega Plex High now in paperback!

Fast Times at Cine Mega Plex High

My newest book – Fast Times at Cine Mega Plex High – is now avaailable in paperback! From the back cover – Featuring six inter-connected stories involving the students of Cine Mega Plex High. The movie obsessed student body identify their various cliques by movie genres. There are no nerds, jocks, or preps. There are Sci-fi, sports, and romance kids. Taking place over the course of a couple days, Fast Times at Cine Mega Plex High follows the lives of various genre kids as they encounter new friends, both artificial and extraterrestrial, demons, monsters and all around bizarre situations.

Blurbs: “A joyously bizarre celebration of sex and ’80s movie nostalgia.” Jeff O’Brien Author of BigBoobenstein

“Matthew Vaughn twists, turns, and swerves through every barrier possible to tell the story of a celluloid nightmare high school where anything can and does happen. Entertaining as hell!” –David W. Barbee Author of Bacon Fried Bastard

I still have one of the stories – Detention of the Damned – up for free right here! Give it a read and if you enjoy it buy the book to get the whole story.

You can get it on Amazon here Fast Times at Cine Mega Plex High on Amazon

Also, the ebook is still only .99 if you don’t mind reading in digital.


Signed books for sale!

I tabled recently at Days of the Dead Louisville, and had a great time there. I shared a table with M.P. Johnson, and he was just the coolest guy. It was my first con, and I consider myself extremely lucky to have been able to learn from someone with M.P.s experience. And like I said, he’s such an awesome dude. I had a blast just sitting and talking to him throughout the weekend, even trough I had been sick during the week and lost my voice for Friday and most of Saturday. We meet some cool people, and even though we didn’t sell a ton of books, I was happy that the people we sold to seemed to be true readers, and genuinely excited about the books they bought from us. I’m looking forward to more cons next year, and hoping that M.P. and I can hook up again, if nothing else then for DotD again.

So, like I said,  I sold a few books, but, I have some left over. If anyone is interested in buying a signed copy of one of my books from me, now is the perfect time to get one. $10 for The ADHD Vampire or Mother Fucking Black Skull of Death, $5 for The Sexual Avenger. $20 will get you all three. This includes shipping, which is a way better deal than you can get on Amazon. Also, as anyone who has bought a book from me can atest to, I always like to include some extra goodies. Just shoot me an email, or  PM on the facebook if you are interested, and also, feel free to share this and tell all your friends!


New Interview

I was interviewed over at my friend Sean Leonard’s site. He did a really cool write up about me and my Books. I appreciate it whenever anyone takes the time to help me promote my work, and something like what Sean did on his site is just going above and beyond. Take a minute to check it out, and keep an eye on his site because I’m sure I won’t be the last interview he does. Sean has good taste, and he knows a lot of cool people, so there will be more good content coming from him.

http://www.seanleonard.org/#!HorrorBizarro-Writer-Matthew-Vaughn/cu6k/57acedf50cf2b16ce694d0ab


Hybrid Moments-A literary Tribute to The Misfits

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Weirdpunk Books are putting together this awesome tribute to punk icons The Misfits, which my story Exterminate the whole Human Race was accepted into. Featuring thirteen stories by various authors, each taking a different Misfits song and creating a story from it. I think this is an extremely cool concept and thankfully I didn’t procrastinate like usual and knocked a story out that the guys liked.

Recently, a Kickstarter was launched to pay for all the contributors to this book. There are some really cool perks for backing this project, check them out here on Kickstarter’s website. While you’re playing around on the internet, check out Weirdpunk Books on Facebook and like their page!


New Book! The Sexual Avenger

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Today, my newest book became available on Amazon. Currently it is only available as an ebook, but the paperback should be coming along very soon. This my first book through New Kink, an imprint of Rooster Republic. It’s pretty short, something that could easily be read in one sitting. It features three short stories focusing on the adventures of The Sexual Avenger.

From the back cover:

Justice has come.
And it is hard.

The Sexual Avenger is here and he is for hire. Wielding the hard, hard dong of justice to smite bullies and other mean people, he bears a gift and a curse. He possesses a weapon so powerful, he fears he may never master it or fully understand its ramifications. Too strong for any normal human, he must face the world alone. He must face the world hard.

The Sexual Avenger on Amazon

The Sexual Avenger on Goodreads

New Kink Books Website


Winners of the book giveaway!

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Back in February I decided to have a little contest. I wanted to give away a copy of both of my novellas. Of course I was trying to do something to help get my name out there, but I’m a big fan of the small press. There are a lot of really talented writers putting out books through small presses, and there are some really kick ass presses putting those books out. So, I thought, what could I do to help as many of us out as possible? My idea was to encourage people to buy books from small press authors and have them let me know that they did, and I would put their name in drawings for my books. I started out by posting links to good books. Now, admittedly, I wanted to do that more often but I’m too much of a slacker. One of the biggest selling points for this, in my opinion anyway, was I didn’t ask anyone to message me with a receipt of their purchases or anything in the form of proving their purchases to me. So, basically, all one had to do was tell me that they bought books, they could have lied to me and I wouldn’t have been none the wiser. I gave the entire month of February as the time limit for the contest and said in March I would pick winners. I surprised myself by going out of my way to reach new people, not just the people on my Facebook friends list, and I had a lot of support from some fellow writers. But, by the end of the month, I was disappointed. I didn’t expect people by the hundreds to want to enter the contest of a nobody, but I did have hopes that I would get more than I did. Now, I’m not saying all of this to whine and cry about nobody giving a crap enough to even lie for the chance to win a free book. I made a couple of pretty cool new internet friends from all this. I launched a Facebook author page and have almost 100 likes already. Things didn’t go as I had hoped, but this is just a start, I’m looking forward to working even harder to get my name, and books, out there.
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So, since I didn’t get but a few people to enter I decided to change the contest. Instead of drawing two winners to send books too, everybody that entered the contest is a winner. I have sent books to all of you to say thanks for your interest, and thanks for participating. I’m not going to list the winners, if you entered the contest then expect a book in a few days. I hope you all enjoy them, and if you feel so inclined, please leave an honest review on goodreads and amazon. It doesn’t have to be a massive understaking, just a sentence or two will do just fine.


Let’s do a book giveaway!

My very first published book, The ADHD Vampire, just had its one year anniversary. That’s pretty awesome in my opinion. The people who have read it have given it positive reviews, for this I am thankful. Since this is a special occasion and all I wanted to do something to celebrate, and what better way to celebrate than to give some books away? What I have decided to do is two drawings, one for The ADHD Vampire and one for my other book, Mother F’ing Black Skull of Death. What you have to do to have your name entered into the drawings is simple, buy a book during the month of February, but not one of mine, I’m trying to give them away. Buy a book from any indie author. There is so many good books out there, and you’re going to be buying some anyway, right? Just tell me that you did and your name is entered. That simple. You have until the end of February, but if you bought any in the beginning month they count too, and then the contest is over and the drawings will be in March. Hit me up on Facebook, Goodreads, or email which are all provided in the contacts.

Also, I have recently created a facebook page, give it a like if you want!

Click here – Matthew Vaughn


Mother Fucking Black Skull of Death!

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Pulling into the parking lot is a massive semi, with a huge trailer painted with gory pictures of impaled bodies and a pile of severed heads. There’s a huge silver skull near the back that has the words ‘Mother’ and ‘Fucker’ where its eye sockets should be, and ‘Black Skull of Death’ for a mouth. The truck pulls around, away from the front of the store. I can see the doors on the back of the trailer as the driver backs the rig towards us. It’s a painting of a naked woman with huge tits. She’s covered in blood and sitting on a massive pile of skulls, holding a can of Mother Fucking Black Skull of Death between her legs. I’m instantly hard as a rock.

My newest novella is out! From the fine people at MorbidbookS, who have published such authors as Johnathon Moon, Garret Cook, and Chris Kelso, comes Mother F’ing Black Skull of Death! Danger Slater, author of DangerRama and I will Rot without you, calls it an assault on good taste, and says that it’s over the top fun!

Mother F’ing Black Skull of Death on Amazon


My Review of Nights Neon Fangs by David W. Barbee

Nights Neon Fangs

David Barbee has done it again! His newest offering, Nights Neon Fangs, contains four novellas cram-packed full of great characters, settings, and adventures. I knew David was a very talented writer from his previous work, but NNF’s just proves he’s getting better and better.

The book kicks off with the title story, Nights Neon Fangs. This is the story of Buster Wade, who on Christmas night was bitten by an electric werewolf. Yes, an electric werewolf, tell me that’s not the coolest thing ever. Barbee could have just gone from there and wrote a standard werewolf story, and I’m sure it would have been great. But, he takes it further by creating a whole new world, where an ancient Pharaoh has cursed the world to endure a massive storm cloud that rains down mummies, where vampire cows are raised to help maintain America’s blood supply, and there’s a popular musician that is animated red jell-o named Jellostein.

Next we have Noah’s Arkopolis. Here we have a re-imagining of the events from the bible where Noah was told to build an ark and gather up two of every creature as the world flooded. Only, in Barbee’s story, Noah’s ark never saw land, and the world stayed completely under water. Over time the ark was converted into Arkopolis, and all the animals and people breed together creating new species. This was my second favorite story of the four, as it showcases Barbee’s great sense of humor along with his wild imagination.

The story that Ultimo Sumbitch is a futuristic western, where reptilian aliens have invaded and forced the humans out of the cities. That Ultimo Sumbitch himself is a merciless killer, with six shooters for hands, who wanders around killing for money.

The last story, Bat Cop out of Hell is another unique take on a familiar premise. A revenge story that follows a batcop who is brought back from the dead by the batdevil to avenge his murdered family. It’s an entire bat world, filled with many different bat characters, where our resurrected batcop tries to solve the mystery of what happened to him and his batfamily.

The thing I like the most about this collection is each story takes place in a new and interesting world. Barbee is great at creating these unique settings and filling them with crazy characters and exciting plots. Barbee seems to have no shortage of wild and crazy ideas, and I for one am excited by that. He has become one of my favorite writers in the bizarro genre.

Buy it here Nights Neon Fangs


My Review of Pax Titanus by Tom Lucas

Pax Titanus

This year’s crop of The New Bizarro Author Series is quite a bit smaller than year’s past. With only three books this time around it should be easier for most fans to read them all. So far, I’ve had the pleasure of reading Pax Titanus by Tom Lucas, and let me just say this book was great! I didn’t really have any expectations for this book, I figured it would be good, but this book took me by surprise.

We are introduced in the beginning to Titanus and his friend Craxx, two construction workers who take jobs even if they put their lives at risk to get them done. One particular job puts Titanus on the emperor’s radar, and this starts a chain of events that leads to his son being kidnapped. The kidnappers force Titanus to fight in the SkullCrushFest, and so his only chance to save his family is to kill every one of his opponents.

Straight from the get go Tom Lucas’ characters are awesome. He does an excellent job of making them real, giving them depth for the short amount of time some are even seen for. From Titanus’ squid like wife that oozes emotions to the various combatants in the arenas, these characters are strong, funny, and likable. Speaking of funny, Tom spreads the humor around in this book and it works great.

Tom displays an insane amount of skill at the writing craft in this novella. I’ve seen it mentioned by other reviewers, he has created an enormous universe here and it would be awesome to see more stories utilizing what he has started here. I’ve got to hand it to Tom Lucas, he has surprised me, and won me over as a fan that will eagerly await his next writing endeavor.

Buy it here Pax Titanus


My Review of Hung Hounds by Donald Armfield

Hung Hounds

You can never truly know what to expect when you pick up a bizarro book. Most of the time, the synopsis only gives you a small glimpse into the world you’re about to enter. Hung Hounds is one of those books.

The story is, our would-be hero, Humphrey, wakes up in the bathroom of a bar to find earth has been invaded by the hung hounds. They are monstrous dog-like creatures, with huge penis’, from another dimension. From here he teams up with a rag tag group, Dawn the sexy heroine, Kickstand the retired porn star, and a monkey named Dookie, to try and send the hounds back to the dimension they came from. This is just a small sampling of what Hung Hounds is about.

Donald Armfield crams in a crazy amount of action and story into this short novella. He writes fast paced scenes and keeps his characters moving from one altercation to another. There’s a plethora of odd ball characters that our heroes encounter, some help out reluctantly and some try to stand in the way. Personally, I liked the last act of the book the best. Our group finds themselves put through a series of tests that have some pretty humorous elements to them.

This is a good read for any fans of bizarre stories that are heavy on the funny. Donald has a strong imagination, and I’m looking forward to what he does with it in the future.

Buy it here Hung Hounds


The ADHD Vampire – Available now!

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The day has finally come, my debut novella is out! After all the hard work to get to this point it’s nice to be able to say ‘I have a book out’. I look forward to seeing what people have to say about it. I have my very on Amazon page, here, and I am officially a Goodreads Author, and that is here. I hope to get some reviews, good or bad. My main goal now, though, is to promote. I have some ideas, which I plan on unveiling on here very soon. For now, I’ve updated this site with links to purchase my books and to visit my Amazon page or my Goodreads page.


My Review of We Are Wormwood by Autumn Christian

We Are Wormwood
There are a few books I’ve read that defy genre, ask me where they belong and I could not tell you. Books like Ash Cinema by Edward Rathke and Feast of Oblivion by John Myers remind me of We are Wormwood in that way and others (disclaimer: these books have nothing in common other than the way they made me feel while reading them.). Books like these make me want to put aside the 80’s B movie influenced stories I write and really create something that can make an impact on someone. With some parts Bizarro, some fantasy and quite a bit horrific, this book is romantic as much as it is tragic.

The story centers around Lily, at first a child then a young adult. We get to see the life she thinks she has with her mother as it becomes the life she actually has with her mother. Autumn Christian does a great job showing that child like sense of hanging on a parents every word, the belief that what they say is the complete truth. But with her mother’s mental illness it makes it that more tragic, and that much harder for Lily as she grows up. Once she’s older, she sees the things her mother always said to her in a different light. As a young adult she leans more towards her mother’s mental illness as the reason things were the way they were. The demon with the Wormwood eyes, Saga and the Excorcist, are they real, or figments of a broken mind? Lily can’t help but worry that she, too, will suffer with schizophrenia just like her mother.

Between stories and dreams, drugs and hallucinations, it’s difficult to tell what may be reality to Lily. Christian’s voice is extremely effective at this. Along the way, we meet an eccentric cast of characters such as Cignus the artist, his sister Saint Peter, and Lily’s friend Phaedra, who gets a little light shown on her background with a short story at the end of the book. As the drugs became more intense, Lily and some of these companions take a road trip to escape the Nightcatcher, but no one can run forever.

Christian has a poetic style that is almost beyond me. Her words straddle a fence to another language I wouldn’t be able to comprehend were they to fall on the wrong side. It has cemented this book towards the top of my list for best books I’ve ever read. I look forward to jumping into something else she has written.

I don’t believe I have read another author who writes quite like Autumn Christian, and that is not a bad thing at all.

Buy it here We Are Wormwood


Some new Vampire art work

Next week my debut novella The ADHD Vampire will be released through Bizarro Pulp Press/Journalstone. Obviously I’m pretty excited by this, it’s taken some work to get to this point, but it’s been great. While I’ve been waiting for the release date to get here I have been doing some drawings inspired by the book. These are not quite finished, but I thought I would post them anyway.

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I was asked if I had any ideas for the cover of the book a few months back so I sketched this out. The idea is kinda generic, but I thought it fit with the slasher style of the book. My editor, Vincenzo Bilof, liked the idea and so we passed it on to our cover artist, Pat Douglas, who took it and created something way better than I ever could have. Here’s  the final cover just because –

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I can’t wait to hold a physical copy in my hands and to see this in bookstores, which, of course I mean Amazon.com haha.

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Next I have a sketch I’m working on that is loosely based off scenes from the book. This was mainly conceived as an exercise on doing different perspectives. It’s turned out about how I hoped, which is good.

I plan on trying to get a couple more sketches done and get them all finished up soon. I’ll post them here once that happens.


Recent interview on the Bizarro UK podcast

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   Last week, I got the opportunity to be a guest on Adam Millard’s podcast, Bizarro UK, over at Blogtalk radio. We had a pretty good time talking about various things, one of which was my upcoming book, The ADHD Vampire. Adam is a super cool guy, he threw me for a loop on a couple questions, but like I said, we had a good time. This was my first interview, so I was a little nervous. But, I look forward to doing it again. I feel like i got into a rhythm after a bit.

   Check out Adam’s podcast, he has had some really good guests on. Also, check out his site. The guy is a writing machine! He has a bunch of awesome books out, and sure there will be plenty more coming out in 2015!

Bizarro UK Interview

Adam Millard’s Website


My Review of Stranger/Danger from Kevin Strange and Danger Slater

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I originally wrote this review a few months back. For whatever reason, it didn’t get posted then, and it was forgotten about.

Anyone who reads bizarro fiction knows the names of Danger Slater and Kevin Strange. They’re both known for writing some really awesome stuff. I, for one, am a fan of both of them, so I was pretty excited to read their double novella.

First up was Kevin Strange’s Computerface. The basic story of Computerface is something you may have seen before either in movies, or books. Machines have taken over, and they are destroying all of humanity. But that is just a bare bones plot element. This is Kevin Strange, he doesn’t put out books that are like anything you have read before. The actual story of Computerface is about a man who wakes up with no memory of who he is and where he is. He is immediately thrust into a situation he doesn’t understand, where a machine is trying to slaughter a woman. Even though he saves the day, he is accused of being one of the machines. This mistake comes from the fact that unbeknownst to him, he has an Ipad grafted to his face. Strange takes this bizarre Sci Fi scenario and makes it as terrifying as he possibly could. His robots are fueled by the pain and torment of humans, and he has created some very nightmare inducing killing machines. I really enjoyed the progression of main character Computerface as we learn with him who he was, how he became what he is, and what he ended up being. Fans of Strange’s other work will find a nice little surprise at the end.

The second half of this book, Danger Slater’s novella Roadvoltution, takes another familiar scenario, but quickly turns it into something original. Essentially it’s a survival horror story, but this time the monster is our roads, bridges and tunnels. As the roads rise up and bite each other like vampires we have a miss-matched group trying to stay alive while the concrete and pavement monsters kill anything in their paths. Slater does a great job with the would be survivors of this story. His characters are quirky and entertaining, and very real life.

Both of these novellas are excellent. Kevin Strange and Danger Slater are putting out exciting and entertaining work. If you like anything else these two have put out then you will definitely like Stranger/Danger.

Buy it here Stranger Danger


I’m really terrible about blogging

Back at the beginning of this year I said I was going to start using this site more often. I failed miserably at that. A big reason for that is lack of content, another big reason is I’m a procrastinator and I forget about this thing. But, focusing on content, I’ve been spending my time getting stuff written so I can get it published so I can talk about it here. My first book is set to come out very soon from Bizarro Pulp Press. I’m really excited about that, and a little nervous. Pat Douglas did an excellent cover for it.

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But, I don’t want to spend a lot of time talking about it. I’ll do that once it’s released. What I want to talk about today is my first work published in print! I have a story in the Dynotox Ministries anthology The Bizarro Zombie Anthology that would not Die!

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This started out from what could be considered a fake publishing company called Spectacular Productions. The story has been told in numerous places so I won’t go into all the details here, (if you don’t know the story here is a link where you can read all about it – here) but when everything fell apart for the anthology Jordan Krall decided to put it out through Dynatox. I’m excited it’s out into the world, though I am nervous to see what people have to say about my story. It was written a couple years ago now, and I feel I have become a much better writer since then. The really cool thing is the other writers involved in this. William Pauley 3, Gabino Iglesias, Garret Cook, Wol-Vriey, I’m a fan of all these guys. Its pretty awesome to share a T.O.C. with them. Everybody involved is phenomenal, I’m just as excited to read their contributions as I am for anyone to read my story. When I get a copy and read through it I may do a review of it, and when I see some reviews pop up I’ll link to them.
So, once again I will say I’m going to update this thing more. My goal is to try and put something up here once a week. It might be difficult at first, but once things start rolling for me and I have some writing related content I should be good.I believe 2015 is going to be a good year for me, I already have a few things in the works!


New story at Bizarro Central

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I have a story called Built for Sin up at Bizarro Central for their flash fiction Friday. Check it out!

Built for Sin


My Review of The Mondo Vixen Massacre by Jamie Grefe

The Mondo Vixen Massacre

As everyone knows The New Bizarro Author series has a new class of crazy kids every year. I have finally read my first book from the new class, The Mondo Vixen Massacre, and what a book to start with. Jamie Grefe really surprised me with this one. I knew it would be good, the NBAS is really picky, but Grefe really showed what he’s capable of with this one. From the get go this book starts out fierce. We are introduced to torture, non-stop violent, unrelenting forms of torture most normal people would never even dream of. There’s even some stuff the rest of us may not have seen before either.

This is how it starts for poor Tom Clay and his family, being brutalized by more vixens than one may have thought possible. Dental vixens, punk rock vixens, bikini vixens, you name it and there is probably a vixen. The thing is that even though Tom is put through hell and left for dead, he rises from the rumble of his destroyed home to hunt down the vixens and rescue his wife. Grefe never eases up on poor Tom either. The man gets put through the ringer over and over. But his ability to get back up, hurting but ready to kick some ass, is part of the over the top aspect of the book. But it’s never done in a silly, this is ridiculous way, which could have easily happened to an author of lesser skills.

Grefe wrote this book in a screenplay style that helps in giving it a grind house feel, almost like creating a novelized B-movie. I’ve seen a few people mention it’s in the same vein as work by Tarantino and Rodriguez and that’s a well deserved comparison. The over the top violence and sexy vixens would be par for the course in either of their films.

Of all the New Bizarro Author Series I’ve read over the years, Grefe has set himself apart from the usual bizarro writing style. And I might say raised the bar for future NBAS.

Recently Jamie Grefe has released two spin off stories, both of which are excellent additions to this crazy vixen filled world he has created. Both are free so definitely check them out too.

The Sickle Vixen https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/382016

Mondo Brutal https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/408690

Buy it here The Mondo Vixen Massacre