Win a set of 2010 New Bizarro Author Series books

The authors of the New Bizarro Author Series have joined forces to bring you the best giveaway of the year – the entire set of NBAS books for 2010, signed by the authors. To be elligible for this drawing, you must ACT FAST! Before the month of May is over, buy a copy of either Felix and the Sacred Thor, Love in the Time of Dinosaurs, or How to Eat Fried Furries, and you’ll be entered to win one of two full sets of NBAS books. Buy one of those, and you have a chance to win the other six in this year’s NBAS release.

Just send your Amazon confirmation of purchase to Kirk Jones at retrobizarro00@gmail.com and we’ll draw for the winner at the end of the month. Two sets, signed by the authors (except for the one you purchase of course) will be available for giveaway. You can enter the drawing multiple times with multiple purchases of the books listed below, but you will only be elligible for one of the two sets we’re giving away.

This offer is available through the month of May, so you’ve got about a week left.

Buy one of these for a chance to win the whole set!

Leftovers = Freebies!

I recently enjoyed my first book signing, last Friday night at Idle Hours Bookshop in South Bend, Ind. Despite the crappy, cold weather, we had a good turnout and I want to thank everyone who made it downtown. Unfortunately, not everyone could get out to the signing, and some folks have expressed remorse at missing a chance to get a signed book. Therefore…

Me, signing.

I have an offer for you: left over from the signing are a few copies of Wolves Dressed as Men bearing my signature. If you would like a signed copy, I’ll send you one FOR FREE, if you head over to Amazon and purchase a paperback copy of Muscle Memory.

I need all the sales through Amazon that I can get for Muscle Memory because I’m part of the New Bizarro Author Series. If I sell at least 200 copies of my book through Amazon.com and Barnes&Noble.com in a year’s time, I could receive a contract from Eraserhead Press to write more books. And since that’s my ultimate goal, you would be doing me a huge solid by buying the paperback version from one of those two sites (though I personally prefer Amazon since it’s more user friendly).

Thus… go here: Amazon or here: Barnes & Noble and buy a pulpy-paper copy of Muscle Memory, then email me here: lowe435@gmail.com and let me know you did so, and I will send your signed (and totally free) copy of my other book, Wolves Dressed as Men, to you. Plus, I still have some bookmarks left, and maybe some cheese from the signing. I’ll definitely throw in a bookmark. The cheese will have to be a surprise.

New reviews, and upcoming interviews

The Buy a Book, Help a Kid campaign is beginning to gain some momentum. Sales are good and with exactly half of the month left, I’m hopeful that I can still reach my goal of 200 total copies sold. Thanks to all who have helped me get the word out, and continue to do so.

Some more reviews have popped up here and there on the Internet for both books. Rodney Carlstrom gave Muscle Memory 9 out of 10 stars on his site, The Sci-Fi Guys Book Reviews.

Esteban Silvani also reviewed Muscle Memory for Esteban’s House of Bizarro.

And Michael C. Pennington, editor of Aurora Wolf Literary Journal Of Science Fiction and Fantasy, said this about Wolves: “Wolves Dressed as Men is an exceptional Thriller, and not your average howl at the moon. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a story they cannot put down until finished.”

Michael will be my guest on this site very soon. He is also a foster parent and was a foster child himself once, and he agreed to share his unique perspective on fostering.

Lastly, don’t forget to check out I Read Odd Books tomorrow for yet another review of Muscle Memory, as well as a chance to win a copy of the book. In fact, you should hit that site every day this week because it’s Bizarro Week! with five new reviews of New Bizarro Author Series titles, and five chances to win a free book.

2-Minute Drill: Eric Hendrixson

The 2-Minute Drill, which is now officially one year old, has become an Internet outpost for the ridickerous and (some say) stupid. Stupid is appropriate for some folks, but not for everyone. Like today’s guest – we shall try to have a serious discussion with a serious sort of man. In person, author Eric Hendrixson comes off as a measured, intelligent and thoughtful man armed with a very dry, but very sharp, wit and delivery. In his fiction, though, Mr Hendrixson writes fantastical (and fantastic) stories about sentient fruit and mafioso tomatoes who love Michael Jackson. In other words, just the kind of person we love here on the Drill.

The 2-Minute Drill is 5 quick questions and 5 quick answers (give or take) from someone you probably haven’t heard of, but should hear from. This isn’t some rambling, long-winded author interview here. We dispense with the pleasantries and get down to brass tacks. We ask the tough questions and get the tough answers that you need to know. And if not, we’ll just make them up.

Buy Bucket on Amazon

Eric Hendrixson’s first book, Bucket of Face, was released by Eraserhead Press as part of the New Bizarro Author Series. It is our sincere opinion that not only is Bucket one of the best offerings from the NBAS so far, it’s one of the best Bizarro books out there. (Read this review…) Fruit come to life and blow each other away. A man makes love to a kiwi. A hit-tomato named Roma goes all Smooth-Criminal in a memorable scene that involves a large doughnut mixer, a severed nose, and a death-by-steaming. This is but a small taste of the goodness that comes in this Bucket. Here’s some more from the man himself…

2-MD: What is Roma’s favorite Michael Jackson song, and why?

EH: At the beginning of the book, it would have to be “Smooth Criminal,” but it is “You Are Not Alone” at the end. Roma models himself after the smooth criminal image, and it’s a great song to torture and murder to. He also has a soft spot for “Someone in the Dark,” just for its obscurity. “Someone in the Dark is the first MJ song I ever heard, on an ET audio book narrated by Michael Jackson.

2-MD: If fruits such as a kiwi are easily bruised and can’t heal, how does a man go about having intercourse with one? Do kiwi have vaginas? (And if yes, doesn’t that juice sting!?)

EH: Fruits use flowers to have sex. Human sex and fruit sex is different. It’s one of many obstacles in an inter-kingdom romance. However, a fruit is just one big uterus. Beyond that, I’m not comfortable describing Sarah’s privates. It seems rude.

2-MD: In Bucket, you have fruit eating other fruit, as long as it’s not one of their own. An orange would not eat an orange, for example. But what about types of fruit, like the citrus family. Would a grapefruit eat an orange? (Please include mathematics in part of your answer)

EH: Fruits eat other fruits the same way humans eat other mammals. However, some fruits are too similar to each other. A grapefruit could eat an orange the same way a human might eat a small ape, but most would not be comfortable with it. I think it’s a function of social taboos about not eating things that look too much like us. A citrus would not eat another citrus about 98 percent of the time, but many of these fruits had difficult childhoods, so you have to watch out for the 2 percent.

Not Eric Hendrixson, but pretty damn close.

2-MD: The doughnut plays a fairly important role in connecting the characters and the plot together, yet it is not treated with the same respect for its existence as sentient fruit. If you were to come back to life as a doughnut, what kind of doughnut would you be, and what kind of doughnuts would you eat?

EH: If I were reincarnated as a doughnut, I’d be an éclair. First, I’ve always wanted to be tall. Second, following the principle above, I’d have fewer reservations against eating round doughnuts. The only doughnut I wouldn’t eat would be the Boston cream. The Boston cream is to the éclair as the Honda Civic is to the Accord.

2-MD: As a bearded man, you probably get this question often, and since it’s a tradition here on the Drill, please tell us: What does you beard smell like right now? (Include any food particles currently ensnared therein.) 

EH: One of the great benefits of the beard is the saved morning prep time. Instead of washing your face and then your hair, you just wash your whole head in one step. In the morning, my beard smells like drugstore brand shampoo. After a few minutes, the smell goes away, since the mustache is so close to the nose. I can’t smell my beard right now, but if it were to smell like my last meal, it would smell like a Chap’s pit beef sandwich with onions and horseradish. However, I’m a pretty clean eater, so my beard probably just smells like the blood of my enemies, as usual.

 2-MD: Super Dooper Awesome Bonus Question!!! – Which Michael Jackson album is spinning on your hi-fi at this very moment?

 EH: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uum3w9EGo8&feature=player_embedded

Book review: Bucket of Face by Eric Hendrixson

My kids discovered those ‘Charlie the Unicorn’ YouTube videos recently and have been playing them constantly, which is to say, I’ve watched a lot of Charlie lately. I got the same feeling reading Bucket of Face as I get watching Charlie – puzzled intrigue about where the story was going, delight at the bizarrely funny moments scattered throughout, and mild shock (in a good way) over the smattering of violence.

The story is that of aptly-named doughnut shop worker Charles Baker and his girlfriend, who is an anthropomorphic kiwi fruit. In this story, a mysterious pollen released years before suddenly gave life to inanimate fruit. These fruit talk and have spindly arms and legs that, in my mind, looked just like the dancing letters in the video below. One day, a banana and an apple enter the doughnut shop and commence with blowing each other away in a disputed Mafia exchange, leaving behind a case full of (worthless Zimbabwean) cash and a specimen bucket full of, well, faces.

Like any good bizarro book does, Bucket takes this familiar crime novel setup and runs with it, in ways that only bizarro can. Enter a hit tomato named Roma, who happens to be a huge Michael Jackson fan for good reason, and his Strawberry sidekick. They want what Charles took, and no one gets away completely unscathed. Eric Hendrixson combines several odd plot lines that seem unconnected and manages to combine them for an inventive, funny, and in the end, rational conclusion. Bucket of Face is perfect bizarro fun – action, emotion, violence, and outlandish weirdness, all wrapped together in an exceedingly entertaining story. And my new favorite character name of all time may now be Edith Aridcunny. Bravo, Mr. Hendrixson.

2-Minute Drill: Caris O’Malley

What would you do if, one morning, you awoke naked with an egg between your legs? Let me rephrase that… What would you do if that happened, again? (We hate it when it happens.) Caris O’Malley wondered just that, and then he did what thousands of others have only attempted to do. He spent the better part of a November writing a novel about it. And when professional editors with actual talent read this manuscript and honed it down to the lean piece of fiction it is today, a star was born.

That star was, of course, Kevin Donihe. But in an act of selflessness rarely witnessed in today’s entertainment world, Donihe took no credit for repairing that damaged mess of a story about a man and his egg. Instead, he allowed the name O’Malley to appear across the front cover. The rest, they say, is history. We don’t know why they continue to say that, but they do. We hate they for it. And as we’re wont to do here on the 2-Minute Drill, today we shall try to expose the true Caris O’Malley, in all his flaws and failings. Hopefully, the Internet doesn’t run out of room.

The 2-Minute Drill is 5 quick questions and 5 quick answers from someone you probably haven’t heard of, but should hear from. This isn’t some rambling, long-winded author interview here. We dispense with the pleasantries and get down to brass tacks. We ask the tough questions and get the tough answers that you need to know. And if not, we’ll just make them up.

Click the Egg, buy the Egg.

The Drill returns with the third installment of our interviews with New Bizarro Author Series authors. Mr. O’Malley’s fantastic little book called The Egg Said Nothing (click here for our review of it) is the story of Manny, a shut-in who wakes up one morning to discover he has laid an egg. Then he falls in love, battles future versions of himself, and… well, we’ll leave the rest for you to discover when you read the book. For now, let’s just pester young Caris with our stupidity.

2-MD: Hypothetically speaking, if the Egg actually did say something (and I’m betting dollars to donuts it did), what would It say?

CO’M: When you’re the only egg in a roomful of assholes, the only thing you want to do is leave. I imagine the egg would scream and plead to be taken somewhere else. It’d be kind of like the dragon eggs in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, where it would just be annoying and hurt everyone’s ears. Kind of like you, Steve. (2-MD: Starting with a shot across the bow, eh? Looks like we’ll have to step it up a notch…)

2-MD: Hypodermically speaking, what are the best (worst?) fluids that have ever entered your body intravenously?

CO’M: Well, shit. I got bit by a ferret once. Does that count? Yes, I’d say ferret spit. It was much better than all of that dirty heroin I did as a youngster.

2-MD: Hypochondriacally speaking, have you always been such a germophobe, or was it just when you were around us? (We didn’t appreciate your request to “double-bag it” by the way.)

CO’M: In my home environment, I wallow in filth and share drinks with the homeless. But, for the first time in my life, the bizarro crowd made me start to think of the dangers inherent in such behavior. Y’all seem like the kind of folks a body could catch somethin’ from.

2-MD: Hypoallergenically speaking, if we actually laid an Egg from betwixt out loinses, what sorts of infections might we be infectioned with? And part deux of this query, would the Sacred Thor help cleanse us, or simply exacerbate our conundrum?

CO’M: I think sepsis could be a serious issue. Since gentlemen aren’t really built with the equipment to lay eggs, we’ve got to use what the Good Lord gave us- our assholes. It seems to me that expelling something as significant as an egg would come with a certain amount of tearing and would, by the fault of the Lord, expose us to a tremendous amount of bacteria. It would, I think, be virtually impossible to keep the area properly cleaned without round-the-clock care and, honestly, who has time for that? There is hope, though. I feel confident that the Thor, in its infinite wisdom, would help in two significant ways.

1) Stretching out the area in question for more comfortable egg laying.
2) Acting as a cork of sorts to keep harmful bacteria at bay until we’re ready to deal with it.

Not the Sacred Thor.

2-MD: Enough with this hypononsense! How about a real question: How many times did your main character, Manny, kill himself in “The Egg Said Nothing”?

CO’M: Six, I think. Of course, there’s that whole time loop to contend with, so he’s probably killing himself right now. On a related note, there is a point where, as a writer, you grow to hate your characters, their stupid motivations, and their whiny inner dialogues. The only solution I have found to deal with that is to kill the character, resurrect him, then kill him again. In my original draft, there was actually a chapter where I, Caris “The Shit” O’Malley, made a guest appearance and killed Manny no less than fifteen times. (2-MD: Author, slay thy self. No really, we’ve had several requests from loyal readers that you do this.)

2-MD: Congratulations, Caris “Is Shit” O’Malley, with that answer, you have unlocked the SUPER FANTASTIC EXTRA SPECIAL BONUS QUESTION!!! Here it is: On a scale of Red to Purple, what was the name of the clown that scarred you in this terrible way so, so long ago. (Please show your work, or you’ll only get half credit.)

CO’M: Like everyone else on the planet, it was Pennywise from Stephen King’s It. That clown scared the shit out of me when I was a child. Just the idea of losing my paper boat AND getting killed to death in the depths of a sewer was just too much for me. While writing Clownhunter, I had a picture of that bastard on my computer desktop to remind me of what I was dealing with.

So that’s magenta, I think. (2-MD: Wrong! The answer we were looking for was 19. They must not teach librarians how to divide.)

Book review: Love in the Time of Dinosaurs by Kirsten Alene

I’m starting this review with an apology to Ms. Alene, the author. A couple days ago, when I was knee deep in this bizarro story of a monk who falls in love with a dinosaur, the very creatures he has dedicated his life to destroying, I saw a commercial for some BluRay thing or another and the movie shown in the ad was Avatar.

Try as I might, the visual of Avatar would not leave my head as I read this action-packed tale of a human (the monk) who falls in love with a blue creature (a trachodon). It didn’t help that in many ways the basic storyline was quite similar. Those similarities end there, however. What Love in the Time of Dinosaurs has that Avatar does not is dinosaurs who tote weapons like machine guns, samurai swords and rifles that fire massive rotating saw blades, and also superhuman monks who can lose more than 50% of their bodies and continue to fight on. So suck it, James Cameron.

The thing I liked the best about this story were the little touches, like the monks’ guns, which rendered dinos into hulks of smoking plastic shells. This made me think of the plastic dinosaur my son got from the Field Museum in Chicago this summer from one of those plastic dinosaur making vending machines. Like I said, nice, clever touches like that.

I will admit that Avatar was a fairly entertaining flick, but it would have vaulted into the awesome stratosphere if it had anything half as cool as a machine-gun carrying, grenade-lobbing Tyrannosaurus. So despite the similarities, Kirsten Alene wins this comparison with a heartfelt story that oozes the awesome. And the fact that the heros of the book, creatures formed by a union of the monks’ meditative thoughts and badgers from the forest, are named The Steve, well, that was just the icing on top.