I have a new article up at CLASH. How I would train the kids for the contest of their lives in The Cabin in the Woods. Check it out here.
I have a new article up at CLASH. They let me write about my adolescent experiences of being bullied. To put a stop to the bullies, I prayed to the evil spirit of Jack Torrance (played by Jack Nicholson in The Shining) ... and he answered. Read about it here.
I have a new article up at online literary zine Red Fez. Check it out here. For the occasion I even dressed up as one of the characters:
I wrote an article for CLASH Books on how I would transform Michael Myers into a super fit slasher villain. Check it out here.
I made a trailer to celebrate the release of my first book! I hope you check it out and get a laugh out of it. I'm trying to cure the world one bro joke at a time and having fun with it.
It's official. My first book has been released! You can get it in both print and Kindle editions. Check out what Weirdpunk editor Sam Richard called "the weirdo surreal Saturday morning cartoon your parents never let you watch." You can get it here. Book trailer coming soon.
Just back from KillerCon, I get a preview of the cover for my first book, BODYBUILDING SPIDER RANGERS AND OTHER STORIES. Don Noble nails what I secretly had in mind. This collection marks the beginning of my journey into the stranger corners of fiction writing. It's got buffed spider mutants, Catholic churches in space battles, murderous centipedes and Victorian social media experts. Watch for it in the next month or so from Rooster Republic Press!
THIS IS A HORROR BOOK will cast a chaos magick spell upon the world with an official release date of Jan. 1, 2019! Get a jump on the mayhem by pre-ordering your copy now!
Before I drop the links, check out the cover by artist Joel Amat Guell:
From kung fu sorcerers to killer bunnies to creepy Internet users at your local library, THIS IS A HORROR BOOK has all the horrors of this world and beyond. Click here to order from CLASH Books and here to order from Amazon.
Help me out, good people. Spread the horror!
--Charles Austin Muir and the CLASH BOOKS librarian
Wow, it's been a while since I wrote anything here. I would probably still be bad about posting anything if I didn't have two books coming out through small presses soon.
In the off chance we met at Willamette Writers Conference last weekend, I would like to say first that it was a pleasure to see you. I'll bet I learned way more talking to you than you did from me if you went to my horror writing class or the panels I sat on. I'm haunted a little bit by things I said that may have conveyed ideas I didn't intend.
The big one that comes to mind is that in two different craft focus groups I said, "I write what I want to write which is probably why I'm not writing full time." What I meant was, "I'm really laid back about what I do. I love getting paid, and it would be awesome to have an agent, and to have my day job center around writing and doing writing business stuff, but for the most part I just fart around with what interests me and see where I can land it." I haven't been a go-getter in the money-making aspects of the industry. But that does not mean that full-time writers who are also good businesspeople are not writing what they want to write. Maybe I should have just said, "Some of you have very sensible concerns about your careers. Please keep in mind I'm an underachiever." Then again, that doesn't do justice to some of the publishers I've worked with.
I'm sure I said other things I could have worded better, but that's the one that nags at me. Anyway, if we met at the conference last weekend, I hope we can connect sometime again. Now go make enough money to write full time if that's what motivates you.
This started as a review for Goodreads and Amazon and grew into something longer. So I'm parking the full version here. It's a review of a novel called The Black Dog Eats the City. It doesn't lend itself easily to description in terms of category. It's not for everyone. But it's worth the trek if you like your fiction haunting and dark.
The Black Dog Eats the City
by Chris Kelso
The Black Dog Eats the City is a thoughtful and well-written novel. Author Chris Kelso imagines an incurable plague that is far worse than a monstrous but materially definable invading force. He takes us into the lives of several characters who are consumed by the Black Dog. The story starts with a man who has lost his family and leaves his city in search of a cure. It continues with two clueless men who hit the road with doomed plans to sell a girl’s rotting teeth. From this grim beginning it weaves through the lives of several characters—some human, some not, exactly—who are all profoundly impacted by the Black Dog.
Kelso’s storytelling approach is not traditional. Some sections read like interlinked short stories. Others include poetry, screenplay and comic book format. Some chapters are numbered, others titled. Font size changes. But for me Kelso’s command of language and development of theme keep these mixed techniques from feeling haphazard. Some readers might have a problem with details evoked in such a way that suggest a story arc that is never developed. It might help to look at this novel as designed like a crazy stained-glass window. The eye may be drawn to pieces that contribute less to the overall pattern than you might expect because the overall pattern is not a pleasing and happy one.
And that’s where I feel the book shows its true, dark genius. Because the light shining through this window changes in brilliance and hue until it eventually fades away so that what is left is a dark mirror of ourselves and our fearfully conditioned lives. But there is compassion in this mirror, as well as humor and empathy for the characters who suffer in it. In short, the book is heavy stuff. It’s a nihilistic dose of how I imagine a trip on ayahuasca might feel, a journey with a deeper story arc than more commercial methods of narrative and characterization would allow.
You might get a sense that Kelso puts aesthetic and emotion above mass market entertainment value, and you would be right in that this book is definitely not for mainstream tastes. But if you like horror, science fiction, nightmarish cityscapes and outsider characters, and are not put off by experimentation and symbolism, you will find these things uplifted to a powerful literary vision of the human condition.
Get it here:
Writer of dark and weird-ass fiction. Keeper of weird-ass dogs.