Monthly Archives: January 2012

Seven Seagulls for a Single Nipple by Troy Chambers


Seven Seagulls for a Single Nipple by Troy Chambers is sixty-two pages of pure wild, insane yum.

One day, whilst tagging along on the chest of Badagris, the voodoo bad-ass priest and lead singer of the Haitian metal/europop group The Moshing Erzulies, Wilmorn the nipple catches sight of Sister Patina Beaver, nun in the Church of the Holy Menstrual Blood.

Wilmorn immediately falls in love with Patina. Determined to be her mate, Wilmorn makes a deal with the Seven Seagull Gods, who grant Wilmorn a nipply body; however, Wilmorn must kill Patina’s true love within seven days or Wilmorn will become a lobster baby and servant to the Seven Seagull Gods.

The Seagull Gods are not without… um, compassion — they provide Wilmorn with a helpmeet and guide: Stalin the nicotine-addicted, serial-rapist lobster baby.

Together, Wilmorn and Stalin take to the rough-and-tumble streets of New York City, first to find Wilmorn’s love, then to find Jesus Christ and kick his ass, winning Patina’s nunly love, overcoming (and raping) snooty young mothers and fathers, crack addicts, BDSM nipple fetishists along the way.

Seven Seagulls for a Single Nipple claims to be “The Little Mermaid” meets Hellraiser; indeed, Troy Chambers delivers on this promise. Combining the tragic grittiness of Andersen’s original fairytale with Disney’s lighthearted humor and Hellraiser’s horror, Seven Seagulls is quirky, fun, funny, sad, tragic and incredibly entertaining. Troy Chambers has hit it home with this tragic, insane love story.

I can’t wait to read what he comes up with next.

Egyptian Splenda by Eric Beeny



It can all be as simple as a coffee stain that bloomed when Dr. Coffin fell asleep donating blood in a sugar-free cookie factory.

First, Dr. Coffin called to schedule a tour, then he called his office to say he was taking the day off because he wanted to be a good, caring and admirable human being who donates blood, but really it’s just him and his mummy wanted to have at least one really fun, enjoyable day in their pointless, miserable little lives.

Dr. Coffin and his mummy got coffee at a convenient store on the way.

The store was being robbed and the coffee was cold because the clerk had turned the pot off since no one was drinking it, but he forgot to dump the coffee out.

The styrofoam cup, Dr. Coffin’s mummy really liked how it sounded squeaking between her bandaged fingers, and Dr. Coffin wanted to foster that kind of wonderment, so he smiled when his mummy lifted the cup to her ear like a seashell.

Dr. Coffin did the same thing to sympathetically communicate that he could do that, too, that he understood what it was to feel amazed, and they both laughed.

A crime-scene sketch artist arrived and asked them questions about what the guy who robbed the store looked like.

Later, at the sugar-free cookie factory, Dr. Coffin and his mummy sat in chairs that moved on tracks through the factory.

The factory’s tour guide strapped Dr. Coffin to his chair, and had only to use his mummy’s bandages to tie her down to hers.

She struggled to get free, then stopped and smiled.

The blood people put needles in Dr. Coffin’s and his mummy’s arms after putting their coffees in the break-room microwave, assuring them they’d get their coffees back when the tour was over.

They connected tubes to the needles, tubes like strings tied to rectangular balloons hung from stainless steel coat racks.

Dr. Coffin’s blood slurped through the tube like a silly straw, his balloon filling with blood.

Black dust thick as volcanic ash coughed out from Dr. Coffin’s mummy’s arm and into her tube.

Dr. Coffin began nodding off and his mummy woke him up, and they both laughed.

Near the end of the tour, as Dr. Coffin and his mummy approached the break room where their coffees waited for them in the microwave like watching a television commercial with the television turned off, Dr. Coffin noticed the crime scene sketch artist from the convenient store crouching on the factory’s main floor painting a mural based on a sketch he drew in chalk on the sidewalk with his kids outside his house earlier that morning.

Dr. Coffin and his mummy smiled and waved, and they noticed he looked just like the drawing he did of the guy who robbed the store, and, startled, Dr. Coffin’s mummy spilled some of her coffee onto Dr. Coffin’s lab coat.

Dr. Coffin looked down at his lab coat, and there was a light brown circle growing on its left hip pocket, blooming upward across his chest, branching toward his arms and spreading down his legs, colonizing his crotch and thighs.

Dr. Coffin let the brown circle grow all over his body.

Dr. Coffin’s mummy thought that was really sweet of him.

***

Eric Beeny (b. 1981) is the author of THE DYING BLOOM (Pangur Ban Party, 2009), SNOWING FIREFLIES (Folded Word Press, 2010), OF CREATURES (Gold Wake Press, 2010), MILK LIKE A MELTED GHOST (Thumbscrews Press, 2011), PSEUDO-MASOCHISM (Anonymosity Press, 2011), HOW MUCH THE JAW WEIGHS (Anonymosity Press, 2011), LEPERS AND MANNEQUINS (Eraserhead Press, 2011) and some other as-yet-unpublished things. He lives in Buffalo, NY.

Interview with Eric Beeny


Eric Beeny, author of Lepers and Mannequins, is brilliant. His book is philosophically rich, while still being fantastically entertaining reading. Eric took the time to chat with me about writing, working with legendary Bizarro writer and editor Kevin Donihe and his plans for the future.

Yesterday, Bizarro Central posted an exclusive extra portion of the interview. You’ll definitely want to check it out.

Lepers and Mannequins’ cover art is lovely. Can you tell us about the artist and what it was like acquiring your cover?

The cover was done by my friend Kenny Dumas who’s a tattoo artist at our friend Mark Madden’s shop, MaddTat2. Kenny’s an awesome tattoo and graphic artist. We have the same birthday. He also did the cover for my love/sex prose poetry collection, Pseudo-Masochism. I love what he did for that cover, so I had to ask him to do something for the cover for Lepers… I had a real simple idea for the cover, but while discussing the story with him he was already formulating something in his head and when he told me his idea I loved it. When I saw it, I couldn’t imagine the cover ever being anything else. Thanks, Kenny.

You worked with rocking writer and editor Kevin Donihe for your book. Would you tell us about getting involved with this year’s New Bizarro Author Series and what it was like to work with Kevin on your book?

Kevin was awesome. He has a great eye for detail, and he’s really easy to work with. He suggested edits rather than forcing them on me, just to get me to see how things could be different, which I liked. He would suggest edits, explaining why he thought this sentence or that section could be reworked, and I liked a lot of what he suggested and changed some things according to those suggestions, and other suggestions made me think of other things I maybe wanted to change, and sometimes I changed those things. But also, if I didn’t want to change something for whatever reason, he was okay with that. It’s good having an editor willing to tell you what he/she thinks doesn’t work and why, but it’s a better editor willing to allow you the freedom to express yourself and keep what you feel is integral to the story. Thanks, Kevin.

You’ve published several books of poetry prior to Lepers and Mannequins. How did you find yourself writing a prose novel? 

Lepers… is my first novel in print, but I’ve published two other novels as e-books: The Dying Bloom (Pangur Ban Party, 2009) and Milk Like a Melted Ghost (Thumbscrews Press, 2011). I’ve also published a collection of stories called Snowing Fireflies (Folded Word Press, 2010). But yes, I’ve also written the poetry collections Of Creatures (Gold Wake Press, 2010), Pseudo-Masochism (Anonymosity Press, 2011) and How Much the Jaw Weighs (Anonymosity Press, 2011). I wrote Lepers… in 2008 while recovering from an appendectomy (fitting, since I, too, was now missing a part of my body). I wrote three other novels before Lepers… (two of which I won’t ever try to publish), and I’ve written five novels since, two of which (The Dying Bloom and Milk…) are published.

Though I know it can be a mistake to deconstruct an author based on their work, Lepers and Mannequins has me wondering if you’re a bit of a romantic, especially page 54. So, what about it, Eric – are you a romantic?

Yeah, I think so. The priest and college football coach I serial-raped last Sunday might not think so, but yeah… I’m alone, ‘romantically’. I have been for a long time. I think that qualifies me to be romantic—I’m in love with the thought that I’m capable of being loved, capable of loving. It’s really easy to be romantic when you’re not in love. There’s so much potential. You feel you could love anyone, if they would just appear beside you in bed and hug you hard enough. I don’t know. I think about this too much to say anything I wouldn’t really mean.

Do you have any future plans for more prose books you’d like to talk about?

I have four other novels that are still unpublished: The Immortals Act Their AgeMermaid SackraceThe Quarantine Ceremony and Trawling Oblivion. My future plans are just to see them published, if possible.

****

Lepers and Mannequins is currently available at Amazon, both as a book  and for the Kindle, Barnes and Noble and through your favorite independent bookshop. 

Eric keeps a blog at Dead End on Progressive Ave.

Amazeballs Review and a Reading


Dreadful Tales has reviewed Placenta of Love.

From the review:

Marlowe doesn’t just go for wicked weird, though. She goes for emotional, dark, violent, gory… hell, she goes for everything in this wild ride through crazy town and pulls it off brilliantly.

And

Yarrrrr, indeed. Very Yarrrrr. All over the place. Yarrrrr to the extreme. And I only ‘Yarrrr’ so much because this book takes every damned car on the imagination train and flips it way the hell over, tumbling ass over tea-kettle with reckless abandon, but in a very fluid, very practiced way.

Ah, heck. Just go read the review :).

And even if you don’t want to read the review, check out the page anyway — my audio recording of the first two chapters of Placenta of Love is available at the bottom of the page.

Yaarrrrr!

Dreadful Tales Gets Weird


The 2011-2012 NBAS is TAKING OVER DREADFUL TALES!

From Dreadful Tales:

Here’s the idea behind the NBAS:

You hold in your hands now a book from the New Bizarro Author Series. Normally, Eraserhead Press publishes twelve books a year. Of those, only one or two are by new writers. The NBAS alters this dynamic, thus giving more authors of weird fiction a chance at publication. For every book published in this series, the following will be true: This is the author’s first published book. We’re testing the waters to see if this author can find a readership, and whether or not you see more Eraserhead Press titles from this author is up to you. The success of this author is in your hands. If enough copies of this book aren’t sold within a year, there will be no future books from the author published by Eraserhead Press. So, if you enjoy this author’s work and want to see more in print, we encourage you to help him out by writing reviews of his book and telling your friends. In any event, hope you enjoy…

Given the guidelines there, and the fact that I was contacted to review one of the books, I wanted to lend a little more than a helping hand. I’m a huge fan of bizarre tales and upstart authors, and it’s no sweat off my back to read a few hundred pages and talk about it. So for the next bunch of days you’re going to be checking out the weirdest that the genre has to offer (with other stuff peppered in), and reading about some of the fresh blood bursting onto the scene.

Day one: The Crud Masters by Justin Grimbol.

Lepers and Mannequins by Eric Beeny


Eric Beeny’s Lepers and Mannequins is a love story between Quall, a leper, and Jaundice, a mannequin. Both are obsessed with their bodies, for opposite reasons. Quall’s body is all too real – Quall and the rest of the leper’s bodies are falling apart. Jaundice’s body is all too irreal –  she desires for it to be a human woman’s body. In each other, Quall and Jaundice see their own body’s potential and the strange beauty the other’s radiates.

But Quall’s and Jaundice’s love isn’t all that easy – there’s a war going on between the lepers and the mannequins. The lepers are after the mannequins, with the intent to salvage body parts for their own ailing bodies, and the mannequins are attempting to migrate to safety. Like Romeo and Juliet, Quall and Jaundice seem to be star-crossed lovers, from entirely different worlds, surrounded by friends and family who do not approve of their love. Unlike Romeo and Juliet, there are secrets in the world, and possibilities, Quall and Jaundice are smart enough to make their reality work.

Beeny comes to Bizarro from poetry – Lepers and Mannequins is structured almost like a chaptered free verse prose poem.  As a result, it’s an entertaining quick and smooth read, but not a thoughtless one. Indeed, Beeny addresses deep issues that deserve thought and reflection. Considerations like, “What is our relationship to our bodies and the bodies of others?”, “What is our relationship with our lover’s body?”, “What does it mean to be human?” and “How do we relate to the other?”

Of course, being Bizarro, this book has to be fun. It reminded me of all the awesome, creepy mannequin books, movies and TV shows from the 80s: Secrets of the Shopping Mall, Mannequin, and that awesome episode of The Twilight Zone. Except those stories worked on one level. Lepers and Mannequins punches through mannequin nostalgia, becoming a deeper story. There is this one scene, though…

No, I won’t spoil it for you. You’ll know the mannequin awesomeness when you hit it, though.

****

CORRECTION: Eric Beeny has published several books of fiction, in addition to poetry, prior to Lepers and Mannequins.

I do plan to watch for more from Eric Beeny, and I advise that you do, as well.

The New Bizarro Author Series


I’m proud my book, Placenta of Love, is part of the 2011-2012 New Bizarro Author Series.

The New Bizarro Author series started three years ago when Eraserhead Press decided to publish several new books from first time authors each year. During the year that follows each book’s publication, the author spends the year doing their best to promote their book. Each author that proves him or herself as a viable author receives a publishing contract from one of the Bizarro presses, like Eraserhead Press.

Kevin Shamel, New Bizarro Author emeritus and new Eraserhead Press editor writes:

The NBAS strives to bring new voices in Bizarro fiction to our readers. It serves as an opportunity to introduce you to new writers, and to introduce them into the world of being an author. Eraserhead Press is happy to bring new, weird voices to you in the hopes that these authors will prove themselves to be strong members of the Bizarro community and continue to entertain you for years to come. The publishing of this book marks the beginning of a one year proving period. Please help support our NBAS writers in their endeavors by telling your friends about their cool new books. This book you hold is only one of several hundred that must be sold in order for this author to continue on his [or] her path. We hope you help her [or] him along as best you can. Thank you.

According to Eraserhead Press:

There’s so much great weird fiction out there that Eraserhead can’t publish it all. With the current state of the publishing industry, it is hard for new voices to be heard and we wanted to do something about it. The New Bizarro Author series is designed to showcase first books by unknown writers at a low price. By publishing these books on a smaller budget, we’re able to take more risks and publish more writers who would not otherwise be given a chance. If you like what you read here and want more from this writer, go to www.BizarroCentral.com and let us know.

I believe in this year’s New Bizarro Author series. The NBAS has featured wonderful books in the past, and this year is no exception. Included are eight fun, wild, entertaining, delightful Bizarro books. Written by smart, clever, interesting people, they’re also intelligent. (Well, at least the other seven are. But I’d love it if you felt that way about my book.)

Over the next several weeks, I’m going to feature each of the new books on my blog. On Monday, the NBAS book of the week will be reviewed. An interview will be posted on Wednesday, with extra special questions posted at www.BizarroCentral.com. On Friday, I will publish a poem or piece of short fiction by the book’s author.

I’m also ramping up the promotion for my book! The promotional plans for Placenta of Love are months in the making. I’m going to have a lot of fun doing them, and I think you will, too. Stay tuned for more information in the days to come.