New Story Up on Mad Scientist Journal

My short story, “Excerpts from the Diary of Theodore Miro, Competitor on CryptoChefs Season Two” is now up on Mad Scientist Journal, with wicked cool art by Shannon Legler! They’re a consistently fun publication I’ve been subscribing to for a while, and I really appreciate that they go and commission artwork for each of their stories.

I don’t really have a lot to say about the process behind it. A friend of mine is an excellent chef who competed on a couple cooking shows last year and wasn’t able to talk about it for several months, so I set to imagining what might go on behind the scenes at a cooking contest that you’d need to legally bar contestants from talking about. It turned out to be petty stuff like how often they had to blot Guy Fieri between takes, but still, it was fertile ground for dreaming up weird hi-jinx.

Read it at the above link or buy a copy of the Winter 2018 issue here!

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New News!

Aaand after several months of the tedious domestic stuff that comes with living in a city where the housing market is being devoured by AirBnBs, I have writing stuff to promote and blog stuff to somewhat feel ashamed about the word “blog” when doing because it’s not pleasant as onomatopoeia.

I don’t know what the deal is with certain other ebook retailers’ listings, but Barnes & Noble has the ebook version of Northern Dandy up for $2.99! Sashay through a multiple-choice misadventure by pushing fingers into your screen instead of risking paper cuts!

A few months back someone noticed that Esoterotica’s spoken word albums were up on Spotify, something they didn’t necessarily agree to. Instead of going through some convoluted legal process, they decided to just run with it and get their own account and playlists going. Here’s one I made for them, and the only band I’m embarrassed to have on it is The Hippos.

There’s a lot more stuff lined up for me in the fall so expect whatever service you’re reading this on to blip slightly more frequently than it has. Until then, buy my (current) book!

A Review, A Con, and Theatre Stories

Random updates to publishing ventures this weekend!

My short story “Steam & Hot Air” was praised in a writeup of Gallery of Curiosities on the blog Steampunk Way of Life. Thanks, folks!

I went to Bouchercon here in NOLA this weekend, got some signed Ken Wishnia books, had to snark on a guy for expressing surprise that we’re not a blight-addled swampscape a decade after Katrina, and got handed an entire pint bottle of whiskey by what I sure hope was someone officially employed on the con’s behalf. Hm.

This Sunday also marked the publication of two books I’ve contributed to! Longing is Esoterotica’s third anthology which includes a style parody of a favorite author of mine and a (rare!) actual confessional essay. Beyond Desire is a reissue of their first anthology which removes some material from performers who’ve parted ways and includes the scripts to our two Fringe shows. Our collective stories about the production of these shows could probably run longer than the scripts themselves, but I’ll share two of my favorites.

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Next Left Press

As an author whose book was released through a small publisher, at the start, I was worried about what kind of quality my eventual book would have. I don’t mean the words that I put into it, I mean the aesthetics of it. You can’t read small press authors without picking up on the fact that there are some pretty good books out saddled with lazily-designed covers and the same pupil-numbing sans serif font used for everything inside. Adage be damned, a book’s appearance can entice or repulse potential readers, and sometimes a well-designed book can be an art object all its own. Mine isn’t necessarily, but I know somebody who has made several.

Geoff Munsterman, who designed Northern Dandy, made a beautiful book out of what otherwise would have just been “zachb_collection.rtf” sitting on my desktop. He got a gorgeous, thematic image for the cover, designed and arranged the title around it, and even kept its color scheme in line with the other collections Sapiosexual has released.

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His artful design touches are all over the thing — inside as well. It’s faint in the picture, but there’s a cursive shadow beneath every title. Classy! I didn’t give him any guidelines for the interior, it didn’t even occur to me, but he put a wonderful amount of thought into it. When I’m at a reading I need to dress up to look as good as this book. Geoff’s book designs are swanky enough to meet the dress code at Commander’s Palace.

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Geoff Munsterman, and his chapbook operation Next Left Press, have been severely hit by the recent flooding in Ascension Parish, Louisiana. He’s lost the vast majority of his bookmaking supplies, thread and paper, to say nothing of the numerous books in his personal collection. If any of you are in the market for poetry manuscript critiques, design work, or considering putting out a hand-bound chapbook, I’d urge you to get in touch with him. He has done amazing work for my friends and I, and I would not be nearly as excited about being an author if the book I’m pushing didn’t look as good as he made it.

You can see more examples of his work at http://www.nextleftpress.com/ and get in contact with him at nextleftpress@gmail.com.