It’s that time of year when I start looking back and asking myself, “What the fuck did I do with my time?” Here’s the answer:
The Wonderland Book Award
Every fall, the Wonderland Book Award honors the best novel and best short story collection in the world of bizarro fiction. This year, Dungeons & Drag Queens won in the novel category! I’ve been writing my whole life, and it feels fantastic to get some validation that I’m doing something that other people enjoy.
Two New Books
Weirdpunk Books And Blood For You
My love of punk rock and weird fiction inspired me to form my own publishing company, Weirdpunk Books. I co-edited the debut, Blood for You: A Literary Tribute to GG Allin with Sam Richard. It was funded with a Kickstarter campaign and accompanied by a DIY zine called The Highest Power, which marked my first zine since the last issue of Freak Tension a few years ago.
A Shout Out From Publishers Weekly
Very few of my short stories made it out into the world this year. However, one of the ones that did got a lot of attention. The venerable Publishers Weekly reviewed Giallo Fantastique and gave a shout out to my story, “The Strange Vice of ZLA-313.”
Also, I accomplished a major goal. In December, my story “Love Skull” appeared in Dark Discoveries magazine. I’ve been reading that mag and submitting stories for most of its decade-plus run. It feels good to finally get a piece in those pages.
Bizarro Bash, Conventions And Readings
I set up and promoted my biggest event yet. Bizarro Bash, which corresponded with the annual AWP convention, was a massive success. Well over 150 people crammed into the back room of Grumpy’s Downtown to catch readings by myself and other bizarro writers. This was one of four events I ran this year.
I traveled all over the country for conventions like Texas Frightmare Weekend, Rock and Shock, Flashback Weekend and Crypticon. I lost track of how many cons I did. It’s always refreshing to sell books in person and just nerd out with fellow horror fans. I’m finding that one of the coolest things about this whole writing business is the friends I’m making along the way. Totally unexpected bonus!
I had Bill Hauser design some MP Johnson shirts so people could show off their love of weird books (and my books in particular), and the craziest thing happened: People bought them and wore them!
I don’t think I can top the Wonderland Book Award, but I’m already ahead in terms of books. The first half of 2016 will see the release of: Dinosaurs & Drag Queens from Eraserhead Press and Berzerkoids, my short story collection, from Bizarro Pulp Press. I’m hoping to release four books in 2016.
Weirdpunk Books will release its second book, Hybrid Moments: A Literary Tribute to the Misfits. It will be co-edited by myself and Sam Richard. Submissions are open now. We will probably run a Kickstarter in the fall.
I’m going to wrap up Freak Tension with a greatest hits zine collecting some of my favorites from the 15 issue run. Then I’m going to move into new zine territory with my as of yet untitled drag queen zine, which will tell of my misadventures in the world of drag and feature interviews with drag queens, reviews of drag shows, etc. I’m pretty psyched about it and hope it will become an annual thing.