Pete's picture
Pete from Detroit is reading Red Dragon September 3, 2014 - 12:47pm

'Burnt Tongues'

Synopsis: Transgressive fiction authors write stories some are afraid to tell. Stories with taboo subjects, unique voices, shocking images—nothing safe or dry.

Burnt Tongues is a collection of transgressive stories selected by a rigorous nomination and vetting process and hand-selected by Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club, as the best of The Cult workshop.

These stories run the gamut from horrific and fantastic to humorous and touching, but each leaves a lasting impression.

Some may say even a scar.

Discussion will start on October 1st.

I'm not sure where to start with this. I know a lot of us (authors and fans, alike) have been waiting a really long time for this project to finally see the light of day. I'm so happy for the authors that made it. Each of them kicks ass and truly deserves a place in there. This collection will prove to be a collection that we constantly point to when somebody says - what should I read next?

Well pick it up, and let's discuss.

Get to reading!

Purchase the Book Here

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated September 4, 2014 - 3:47am

Congrats. 

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies September 9, 2014 - 8:34am

this should be a lot of fun! i'll try to get as many of the authors to stop by as possible. get to reading, people! lots of wild stories in here for sure.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies September 9, 2014 - 8:46am

BONUS: I will be giving away one UK EDITION (the one on the left) as a prize to one lucky person.

BLURB

“This is a book of spores. These stories, you breathe onto the page and they float up into your mucous membranes, their spiky edges lodging characters and voices in your head that shudder to life when you least expect it. Just when you think you’ve closed the book, it opens up all over again, inside you.”
—Stephen Graham Jones, author

REVIEWS

Booklist: "Despite its little-heralded status in literary circles, the counterculture genre known as transgressive fiction, wherein the author and/or protagonist bucks social conventions by violating one or more taboos, actually has a rather illustrious history. Classic novels such as Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, featuring the murderous Raskolnikov, for instance, can be categorized as transgressive fiction. In this collection of 20 contemporary short stories, lead editor Palahniuk makes certain each piece qualifies as an example of both first-rate craftsmanship and something that pushes the envelope of social acceptability. In Neil Krolicki’s opening tale, Live This Down, three humiliated high-school girls plot their suicides using a poison-gas recipe gleaned from the Internet. An animal-shelter technician in Chris Lewis Carter’s Charlie recognizes the tortured cat someone drops off as one he himself abused when it was a kitten. Matt Egan’s A Vodka Kind of Girl recounts the sad fate of a calorie-counting, bulimic woman. Anyone looking for boundary-breaking tales that also pack a haunting, powerful punch will find hours of entertainment here."

Kirkus Reviews: "Dark, subversive and disquieting fiction for readers ready to go all the way down."

REVIEW STATS

Amazon: TEN five-star reviews; THREE four-star reviews, ONE two-star review.

Goodreads: THIRTY five-star reviews; TWENTY-THREE four-star reviews; TEN three-star reviews; SIX two-star reviews; and ONE one-star review

Shannon Giglio's picture
Shannon Giglio is reading THE PALE KING by David Foster Wallace September 9, 2014 - 8:51am

Gotta love the Amazon purchase with 1 click feature. Looks fantastic, Richard, can't wait to read. Congrats!

TomorrowHill's picture
TomorrowHill from Newfoundland, Canada is reading your mind. You like Castlevania, don't you? September 9, 2014 - 9:20am

Hey all,

Chris Lewis Carter here, author of the second story in the Burnt Tongues T.O.C, "Charlie." I'll be kicking around this thread for the next couple months, and I'll gladly try to answer any questions/comments that come my way. Hope you dig the collection!

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies September 9, 2014 - 4:50pm

thanks, shannon! it's a wild book for sure.

thanks for checking in CLC, glad you'll be here!

Adam Skorupskas's picture
Adam Skorupskas September 9, 2014 - 6:09pm

I'll also be around to help in any way I can.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies September 9, 2014 - 7:01pm

sweet

Brandon's picture
Brandon from KCMO is reading Made to Break September 10, 2014 - 5:56am

I'll be around as well.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies September 10, 2014 - 7:25am

great, thanks, brandon.

Neil Krolicki's picture
Neil Krolicki from Denver is reading What Suzy & Chuck Tell Him To September 10, 2014 - 9:17am

Present and accounted for - but I'll ask that any questions remain on the subject of my story & steer clear of any inquiries about the nude pictures of me that have recently surfaced online.  Including, but not limited to, pictures of me with: Life-sized He-Man body pillows, sugary confections drizzled on my person or ridiculously oversized marital aids in proximity to my oriffices. With those ground rules established - let us begin. 

Daniel W Broallt's picture
Daniel W Broallt from Texas is reading The Emerald Mile September 10, 2014 - 11:15am

ooh, me too, me too! I'll be around!

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies September 10, 2014 - 1:52pm

neil and daniel in the house. nice. this should be fun.

gus.moreno's picture
gus.moreno September 11, 2014 - 11:56am

Also present.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies September 11, 2014 - 7:18pm

GUS GUS!

Tyler Jones's picture
Tyler Jones from Portland, Oregon is reading Black Swan Green by David Mitchell September 14, 2014 - 8:59am

Tyler Jones reporting for duty.

I'll be available to answer any questions regarding my story "F For Fake," but I would prefer to be asked questions about Neil Krolicki's nude photos.

Jason M. Fylan's picture
Jason M. Fylan September 14, 2014 - 6:24pm

I'm here if anyone wants to discuss the book. Great stuff!

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies September 15, 2014 - 6:40pm

sweet, tyler and jason are both here, too. this is going to be fun. i'll try to post some questions for all of the authors as well as field ones from the group here.

Cambridgian's picture
Cambridgian September 17, 2014 - 1:37pm

Late entry from Matt Egan, writer of "A Vodka Kind of Girl" and the most pithy author bio. 

Brien Piechos's picture
Brien Piechos September 17, 2014 - 11:21pm

...

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies September 18, 2014 - 7:23am

matt and BP, very cool. welcome.

Gayle Towell's picture
Gayle Towell from North Plains, Oregon September 19, 2014 - 9:56pm

Author of "Paper" checking in!

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies September 20, 2014 - 8:13pm

thanks, gayle! glad you'll be here.

mavtj's picture
mavtj from London is reading Burnt Tongues / The Living Dead / way too many craft essays September 21, 2014 - 5:23pm

"Lemming" here.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies September 23, 2014 - 10:59am

WHOOP!

bryanhowie's picture
bryanhowie from FW, ID is reading East of Eden. Steinbeck is FUCKING AMAZING. September 30, 2014 - 12:00pm

Howie here.  Any questions answered.  Any question at all*.

 

* Not guarenteed to be true.

Jonathan Riley's picture
Jonathan Riley from Memphis, Tennessee is reading Flashover by Gordon Highland September 30, 2014 - 12:07pm

I've got five stories left to read. Aim to finish them by tomorrow so I can finally join in on one of these clubs.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies September 30, 2014 - 12:09pm

good to see you here, BH. thanks, JR, look forward to your input.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies September 30, 2014 - 12:12pm

Some questions for the authors to think about as we get ready to start:

1. Where did the idea for your story come from? Very curious to hear about that.

2. Has this anthology, and Chuck's attachment to this project, gotten you any attention? Opened any doors? (I know it's done a lot for me, gotten a ton of emails, and kind words, and all of that.)

3. Have you shared your story with family and close friends? I give my brother my books, but don't show much of my work to my mother. LOL. 

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies September 30, 2014 - 12:14pm

WE JUST GOT A STARRED REVIEW AT PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY, their highest honor.

Twenty fictional vivisections shock, disgust, and unsettle in this hallucinatory anthology. The devastation of malicious gossip inspires attempted suicides and helplessness in Neil Krolicki's "Live This Down," featuring a miscarriage at a pool party. After a shower, readers will be thrown off balance by the paradoxical culpability and hope of an animal abuser's redemption in Chris Lewis Carter's "Charlie." Matt Egan's "A Vodka Kind of Girl" and Tony Liebhard's "Mating Calls" face the pain of relationships, while Jason M. Fylan's "Engines, O-Rings, and Astronauts" blurring lines between victim and victimizer amid the terror of school shootings. And flickering pumpkins leer at human frailty and (again) suicidal tendencies on Halloween in Terence James Eeles's "Lemming". Attacking morality, formula, and "political correctness," these acts of literary terrorism provoke, belittle, challenge, and confound, satisfying Palahniuk's demand for "[discovering] a way of saying something, but saying it wrong." Irritating and uncompromising, they force readers to "read close, maybe read twice," as they slaughter sacred cows left and right. (Aug.)

Pretty sweet!

Brandon's picture
Brandon from KCMO is reading Made to Break October 1, 2014 - 6:01am

1. Where did the idea for your story come from?

There was a Buzzfeed list of old time advertisements. Without giving too much away, one of the ads was an archaic dieting method that no one uses anymore.

2. Has this anthology, and Chuck's attachment to this project, gotten you any attention? Opened any doors?

Some doors have definitely opened because of this. I just gotta finish my current projects so I can walk through them.

3. Have you shared your story with family and close friends?

Friends, yes...family, not so much.

Gayle Towell's picture
Gayle Towell from North Plains, Oregon October 1, 2014 - 7:02am

I’m trying for the “long-winded” award here:

1. Where did the idea for your story come from? As with nearly everything I write, it’s a combination of things I’ve felt, things that I’ve experienced, things I’ve heard about, things I’ve been thinking about, all let to come together until it “feels right” without trying to force any one part of it to be directly analogous to any of the things on that list. If that makes any sense. This is my way of saying, there is never one character or event in any story I write that is identical to, or meant to directly represent something else. All things are conglomerations. You can say this story is loosely based on my feelings after my first husband left and I married my current husband, but if you start thinking the character is me, you’ll be off by a lot. The thing about the dream and getting to the other dimension and the inscribed pentagram thing—that actually all came from a dream my husband had, but it wasn’t any more charged than that—just a dream about trying to get to another dimension and the key was somehow the inscribed pentagram. And then my math nerd ears perked up because I recognized the inscribed pentagram as a representation of a 4-dimensional object.

2. Has this anthology, and Chuck's attachment to this project, gotten you any attention? Opened any doors? Well, I put it in my bio and name drop it in places, so there’s that. When I was at AWP last winter or spring or whenever it was, I met up with the litreactor people and they all knew who I was because of the story. I also got to meet Chuck Palahniuk while there and talk a little bit. But most exciting is that I get to read my Burnt Tongues story in Seattle with him when he kicks off his Beautiful You tour. Beyond that, the anthology year at the cult workshop was a critical year for me in my writing career in general. It is the year I made the biggest growth, the year I wrote the first draft of my first good novel (in fact, the first chapters of that first draft made it to the critiqued-by-Chuck round in the first month), and I met many great people whom I continue to remain friends and writing buddies with. One person whose praises I must sing is Michael DeVito Jr., one of the other anthology authors. He provided me with the most encouragement and pushed me to write about things and in ways I never thought I could, ultimately generating that aforementioned novel. I secured an agent with that novel, whom I’ve unfortunately recently left due to a whole host of issues (not the least of which was hardly ever submitting a manuscript anywhere in four years), but that novel turned into a series, a script, several short stories (one of which was published in Pif Magazine, and one of which recently won the 2014 Willamette Writers Kay Snow fiction contest), a graphic novel series in-the-works, and a prequel novella that I just released through Blue Skirt Productions, an artists’ collective I cofounded with some local Portland people. So I got a whole story world out of the main project I worked on during the anthology year. I credit all of the people I workshopped with for making that possible and getting me on that path, and Chuck Palahniuk for providing the encouragement when he critiqued the first chapters, as well as his praise of the story that ended up in the anthology.

3. Have you shared your story with family and close friends? Most of them know it exists. I honestly don’t know for the most part who has and hasn’t read it. My closest friends almost always read my stuff. But as far as family goes, I’ve learned it isn’t worth worrying whether or not they read my stuff and what they may or may not think of it. It turns out that not giving any weight to their interest or opinions was important to being able to write freely.

And that is that... I'm clearly ahead of Brandon on response word count. I just might win this thing.

Adam Skorupskas's picture
Adam Skorupskas October 1, 2014 - 7:55am

1. Where did the idea for your story come from?

I used to work as a fore-closed home inspector in Detroit. This involved going into empty houses that were owned by the bank to make sure no damage had been done, and no one was squatting inside. During my time on the job I saw many interesting things. One time though, in a dark scary basement, I saw a Teddy bear, a Bible and a crack pipe, all in a neat little pile. It seemed like some sad person left behind all that gave them comfort in different stages of their life. Contemplating how those three objects may have gotten there led me to write Invisible Graffiti. 

2. Has this anthology, and Chuck's attachment to this project, gotten you any attention? Opened any doors?

So far being a part of the anthology has been a thrill. It's great to see it getting so many good reviews. The fact that Chuck is involved is huge. No one cares when I tell them I've been published until I say, "The guy who wrote Fight Club helped edit!" And then they go, "Ohhhhh very cool." I've also gotten an offer from a publishing house to adapt my short story into a novel. And it has brought some more attention to my short film, Valhalla Blues. Check it out here if you'd like.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njHmhOr7KEs

It helped me land Laurence FIshburne's son in my next short film, Tiny Ocean. You can check out the trailer here. http://tinyoceanmovie.com/

And I've gotten a few nice tweets and e-mails from random people who have read and liked my story.

3. Have you shared your story with family and close friends?

Yes. My friends and family are all very supportive. Even though I write about some crazy stuff, they know it is only writing and don't get worried. Except my poor mom, she worries a lot.

Brien Piechos's picture
Brien Piechos October 1, 2014 - 8:46am

1. Where did the idea for your story come from?

Obviously I am a derranged pervert and this was an opportunity to shed my burden.

2. Has this anthology, and Chuck's attachment to this project, gotten you any attention? Opened any doors?

Professionally? No. I mentioned it in a cover letter on a submission a few months ago and the review board seemed to take special care in tearing apart and shitting all over what was a very solid and quality submission (it was clear malice), especially considering some of the garbage they publish. Haters gonna hate, or whatever, and the Palahniuk attachment is pretty polarizing. You can see that in the Amazon reviews already. While there are many even handed reviews that approach BT on its own merit, there are some that love it as an extension of their Palahniuk fandom, and some that rip it for the same reason. When someone reaches a level of fame like Chuck has it draws out all the bitter types who want to believe all the BT authors are merely sycophants who landed a story through an avenue that isn't credible. They have no idea how hard we worked and for how long. Every BT story published was 98% earned and 2% "won."  Anyway, I'm pretty sure it's gotten me laid a handful of times though. I'll take that over the nod from some jerkoff MFA student at a second rate university with a chip on their shoulder any day.

3. Have you shared your story with family and close friends?

I expressly forbid my mother to read it. My father hasn't read a book in twenty plus years. My brother loved it. He's a fan of pretty much every book I send him. An uber wealthy cousin in NYC I hadn't heard from in years emailed me prior to the release and seemed excited but I haven't heard a word since, which I take to mean he read it. Mine story is one of those that must be difficult to seperate the art from the artist. I'm pretty much estranged from my family anyway so I'm only worried that my mom might get curios and I'd prefer she never read a word of Heavier Petting.

 

Fuck Twitter. Fuck Facebook, too, but here's my link anyway: https://www.facebook.com/brienpiechos

fventurini's picture
fventurini from Aviston, Illinois is reading Books October 1, 2014 - 9:05am

1. Where did the idea for your story come from?

When I was ten years old, a thirteen year old shithead lit me on fire. I always knew I'd write about it, but it was a personal thing and I couldn't find the right angle. It was just so straightfoward, poor kid gets set on fire. Only when I decided to make that kid the villain did the story start to come together.

Coincidentally, I started the story the evening I met Chuck on his Snuff tour. I was sick as a dog and had the chills so hard I couldn't sleep, so decided it was a good time to get something down on paper. 

2. Has this anthology, and Chuck's attachment to this project, gotten you any attention? Opened any doors?

I would have to say no, but happily, it's because I didn't sit around waiting for that story to come out. I've been writing, hustling, trying to get things out there, and I have a novel coming out November 4, The Heart Does Not Grow Back. That's not to say Chuck's attachment isn't an incredible boost. The Burnt Tongues publicity has been a nice lead-in for the release of my book. I couldn't have drawn it up any better. And also, Chuck recommended my book TWICE during his Tumblr session, although he couldn't remember my name. Baby steps. 

3. Have you shared your story with family and close friends?

Not actively, I don't like to obligate my family members to read my stuff. Most of them can't handle anything dark, especially coming from me. And since it concerns my burns, I'm okay with that, or the casual readers in my life will somehow take the story as an actual retelling of what happened. I have plenty of friends who seek out stories like this on their own, which is awesome, and my closest writing friends already helped work out the kinks in the story during its formative stage. 

bryanhowie's picture
bryanhowie from FW, ID is reading East of Eden. Steinbeck is FUCKING AMAZING. October 1, 2014 - 9:54am

1. Where did the idea for your story come from?

While I was standing on my porch in a different city, smoking a cigarette and wondering what I should write about, a kid rode by on an red bike.  The bike's paint job was obviously not a professional job, and it was so bright red that it was almost painful to look at.  I thought, "Why the hell would somebody want a bike that bright?"  The obvious answer was that it was a kid, but the secondary thought was that a bike that bright would be a good safety measure - because every driver on the road would notice that goddamn ugly bike.

2. Has this anthology, and Chuck's attachment to this project, gotten you any attention? Opened any doors?

I don't know.  I am honored and thrilled to be in it, but I don't know that I've gotten any attention.  I'm not that into attention at this point in my life, so I have been quite.  I think that if I wanted atttention, it would help a great deal.

3. Have you shared your story with family and close friends?

Close friends, yes.  Family = FUCK NO.  A lot of my stories are a little dark, and if I let them read one, I'm afraid they'll want to read more.  They can live happy lives not know what kind of shit turns up in my brain.  Not knowing is half the battle.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies October 1, 2014 - 11:05am

Great answers, guys. Wow. Very cool to hear all of this.

In case you missed it, people:

BONUS: I will be giving away one UK EDITION (the one on the left) as a prize to one lucky person.

Adam Skorupskas's picture
Adam Skorupskas October 1, 2014 - 12:33pm

Great to hear the story inspirations so far. And Gayle that is beyond cool that you'll be reading at a Chuck reading!

Tyler Jones's picture
Tyler Jones from Portland, Oregon is reading Black Swan Green by David Mitchell October 1, 2014 - 5:38pm

1. Where did the idea for your story come from? 

"F For Fake"

I've always been fascinated by people who want to be anyone other than themselves. Particularly people who take drastic measures to actually become someone else. And I'm not talking about identity theft to use someone's credit card at Best Buy, I mean really and truly leaving one life behind to start another.

Thomas Pynchon factors heavily into my story, not him personally, but his ability to so effectively have disappeared. He jealously guards his privacy and any attempts to find and/or photograph him by the media have been relatively tame. I wondered what it would take to draw someone like him out into the open.

The story of Clifford Irving writing Howard Hughes' "autobiography" was certainly in the back of my mind, but even then the goal was not to draw Hughes out of hiding. If anything, Irving was counting on Hughes' reclusiveness to pull off his stunt.

To me, the character in my story suffers from the ultimate sadness. To believe that whoever you are is not worth being.

2. Has this anthology, and Chuck's attachment to this project, gotten you any attention? Opened any doors?

Having my story published in a book with Chuck's name on it has helped me secure interviews with a number of very well known musicians and bands as research for the novel I'm writing. Some of the bands were just excited to be asked questions they're never asked, and others wanted to know more about "Burnt Tongues" and how it came to exist.

3. Have you shared your story with family and close friends?

Since my story doesn't involve anything grotesque or graphic, I have shared it with my family. I do warn them about all the other stories in the book though.

Tyler Jones's picture
Tyler Jones from Portland, Oregon is reading Black Swan Green by David Mitchell October 1, 2014 - 5:41pm

I've got a couple of questions for some of the writers.

 

Fred Venturini:

When are your book tour dates going to available? Or are they already and I missed it?

 

Chris Lewis Carter:

Do you have any plans to write a full length adult novel, similiar to the vein you explored in "Always Sometimes Monsters"? Which was incredible by the way.

 

Brandton Tietz:

What's drawn you to revisit your first novel "Out of Touch" again?

Tyler Jones's picture
Tyler Jones from Portland, Oregon is reading Black Swan Green by David Mitchell October 1, 2014 - 5:42pm

A question for all the Burnt Tongues writers (and editors):

What are you working on right now? Even if it's not fiction, what kinds of artistic projects are you involved in?

Jason M. Fylan's picture
Jason M. Fylan October 1, 2014 - 6:44pm

Story idea, for "Engines, O-Rings, and Astronauts": I remember how weird it was in fifth grade when the space shuttle Challenger exploded on live TV. That was the "you'll always remember where you were when it happened" moment of my youth. I combined that memory with my fascination of hearing every talking head attempt to explain why school shootings happen. Wanted to write a story that blurred the traditional lines and shouldered the "good guys" with some of the guilt of pushing this disturbed kid over the edge. 

No special attention or interest yet, but I am extremely proud to share the page with Chuck and these nineteen amazing and talented writers, and be associated with Richard and Dennis.

I've shared my story with family, friends, former students, and anyone else that enjoys a good read. The larger the audience, the better.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies October 1, 2014 - 8:35pm

What are you working on right now? Even if it's not fiction, what kinds of artistic projects are you involved in?

Of the things that are not OUT YET, there's The Lineup: 25 Provocative Women Writers, which will be hitting the streets in Oct/Nov of this year. I have a story in Cemetery Dance #72 out in October, and another in Litro (in London) for their Horror Issue, which has a circulation of 100k+ which is exciting. Putting final edits on my novel, Disintegration (Random House Alibi, 2015) and then edits for the Dzanc Books novel-in-novellas with Nik Korpon, Axel Taiari, and Caleb Ross, which is now titles The Soul Standard (was Four Corners). Then I need to write an entire novel by the end of the year for RHA, which is The Breaker. Not to mention the continuing Dark House Press books for 2015 and 2016.

You? Here's a few covers:

Gayle Towell's picture
Gayle Towell from North Plains, Oregon October 1, 2014 - 9:57pm

A question for all the Burnt Tongues writers (and editors):

What are you working on right now? Even if it's not fiction, what kinds of artistic projects are you involved in?

I sort of answered this in my previous post, but if anyone from the cult anthology year remembers a novel I was working on called Optimisim, it's undergone a few title changes (now called Scars), and is not just a single novel, but a novel series, a TV pilot script, several short stories, and my newly released prequel novella. All of it was bottlenecked with an agent who wasn't doing anything who I am now free of as of a few weeks ago. 

But in conjunction with that, trying to spread this:

 http://blueskirtproductions.com/2014/10/01/whyididnttell/

Which you should all check out and support if you feel so inclined.

Oh, and everyone in or near Portland should come to this on October 11th:

https://www.facebook.com/events/984593771566612/

There will be prizes, but also maybe whiskey tasting.

Brien Piechos's picture
Brien Piechos October 1, 2014 - 10:42pm

What are you working on right now? Even if it's not fiction, what kinds of artistic projects are you involved in?

 

About an hour ago I submitted a story for the Eighteenth Annual Zoetrope All-Story Short Fiction Contest. I feel really positive about my piece, not so confident that I'll win such a lofty contest, but that it will place somewhere this year. I am about 60% done with a novel I have been tortuing myself with for years, but walked away from and let it simmer while I do more short fiction. I have roughly five more complete shorts I am going to tidy up and begin shopping soon and at least a dozen more in various lower states of completion. Identifying markets is hard for me because my work doesn't fit any genre and is often too dark for literary publications without fitting the conventions of horror. I never really endeared myself to the community of Cult writers who moved on to do stuff with the Velvet either, although I like much of their work. I just don't have time for message boards and I'm not friendly. So I had to identify markets that accept a stranger blend of fiction, and what it came down to was only the big name markets publish "whatever." I'm shooting for Tin House, McSweeney's, the Vice fiction issue, and I'm even going to query Playboy (Might as well shoot for the moon, right?), which I'm hoping the Palahniuk nod will aid, to tie that into early questions. I inherited a crate of back issues from 2000 on and have been reading a Playboy fiction pice every day trying to get a really good feel for what it is they accept, not just who, and think I might have something close to completion. I have also been critiquing Gus Moreno's novel which I hope to get a lot more done on once my work season chills out a bit. I guess that ran off a bit, but I'm writing.

Richard's picture
Richard from St. Louis is reading various anthologies October 2, 2014 - 5:45am

So great to see everyone so busy, having success, and breaking out. 

Another question for the authors:

Going through the competition, what was that like, talk about that a bit—what was Palahniuk's feedback, I assume he said some nice things; did you make changes after that; were you losing your mind waiting for this to actually happen; how crazy was that year of writing, submitting, and waiting to see the nominations, and Chuck's picks, and then the final cuts? 

Brandon's picture
Brandon from KCMO is reading Made to Break October 2, 2014 - 6:07am

What's drawn you to revisit your first novel "Out of Touch" again?

When the publisher shut its doors it basically meant that this was a novel I had out but wasn't making any money on...so there's that part of it...and since the book is no longer in production and there's no electronic edition, there's only a handful of physical copies left floating around on the internet. So basically, the book is pretty fucking close to not existing.

I'm seeing this as an opportunity to not only bring it back from the dead, but to improve upon it. Not just a new cover and a new edit, but a complete rewrite. I originally wrote it in my mid-twenties...so I've got about seven or eight years of additional experience under my belt now. I'm a third of the way through and it's almost a completely different book...leaps and bounds better.

Finally, this novel has never had a proper marketing push. Otherworld Publications dropped the ball pretty fucking hard. They printed it and basically let me do the rest, so I'm looking forward to doing this with a publishing house that actually knows how to handle their business.

 

fventurini's picture
fventurini from Aviston, Illinois is reading Books October 2, 2014 - 7:08am

When are your book tour dates going to available? Or are they already and I missed it?

I don’t have an official tour booked. Even though Picador is an esteemed imprint of one of the big publishers, their publicity team was pretty candid—investing in a tour for debut authors is usually dead money. And I tend to agree with him. I’m simply not a draw. That’s not to say I don’t have a nice slate of appearances, but they’re mostly clustered near where I live (greater St. Louis area). I have a few irons in the fire, so I wouldn’t be shocked if I popped up in New York for a weekend, for example, but nothing official to share.  And for the record, I’ve been really pleased with the promotional push, especially for a debut. They’re really creative folks and open to anything. Just yesterday I found out the novel would get a nice Tor.com feature, with an excerpt posted, and I’m doing their pop quiz feature as well. I’d much rather have something like that compared to a plane ticket to Seattle so I can post up at a Barnes and Noble sneaking booze into my coffee.


What are you working on right now? Even if it's not fiction, what kinds of artistic projects are you involved in?

I’m always writing. Since the original publication of The Samaritan and all the subsequent rewrites that have transformed that into The Heart Does Not Grow Back, I’ve finished early drafts of three different novels. Now’s the part where you have to trust your agent to focus you on the book that has a best chance of quality and success. Right now, I owe him a rewrite of “The Gates,” which is a horribly titled (I’m bad with titles) book about a teenage girl who lives in a world where travel to the afterlife is possible, but outlawed.  The Hollywood pitch is “It’s The Fault in Our Stars meets Flatliners.” I’m also friendly with an established TV writer, and he trusts me to work with his pilot scripts, which is a nice break from novel-writing. He’s got a ton of energy and most of his work is absolutely fucking gonzo.


Going through the competition, what was that like, talk about that a bit—what was Palahniuk's feedback, I assume he said some nice things; did you make changes after that; were you losing your mind waiting for this to actually happen; how crazy was that year of writing, submitting, and waiting to see the nominations, and Chuck's picks, and then the final cuts?


That year was crazy because I was doing my MFA and workshopping, writing, and sharing short fiction like never before. In fact, “Gasoline” was workshopped in my MFA class before I posted it, which is probably a cheater thing to do, but I really wanted to make this anthology, so I put my best foot forward. His feedback was, in effect, “Dark thing after dark thing happens in this story, maybe a few lighter beats would make it work better.” I didn’t make any wholesale changes. I thought it was one of my stronger stories. Fun fact: the other story that was making an impression on my MFA class was Love in Standard Definition, which also made it all the way to Chuck, but didn’t make the anthology. The feedback on that was “too much summary, this is a strong hook and could be a longer-form work.” Everyone seemed to be saying that, and I took their advice. So that little story about Dale Sampson, the boy who could regenerate his organs and limbs, ended up being my first published novel.

Daniel W Broallt's picture
Daniel W Broallt from Texas is reading The Emerald Mile October 2, 2014 - 7:11am

1. Where did the idea for your story come from? 

Critiquing someone else' zombie story in the cult writers' workshop and someone else had suggested it should be more disgusting, zombie stories needed to gross out the reader, and I wanted to see if I could write a disgusting, gross out zombie story, and always found the most disturbing part of Night of the Living Dead the part at the end where they got zombies hung up in nooses and the hillbilly locals are shooting them, laughing, and drinking (I think this is from the color remake), and also had this desire to write a story for different classic monsters with the theme of 'behold the monster, it's us,' and then trying to explore that question of what do people do to "the other" when they deem them less than human, or if you're a man, and the less than/other is woman  

2. Has this anthology, and Chuck's attachment to this project, gotten you any attention? Opened any doors? 

So far, just made me feel pretty damn special. 

3. Have you shared your story with family and close friends?

Ha! My brother has a copy, I don't think he's read it yet. My wife read an early draft and after a page or two said she didn't want anyone she knew reading it, and I couldn't argue read to the end, because, you know, it gets worse, so I made up a pseudonym. My parents are unaware I'm published. But my friends know and several of them really like it and are sharing it with their families :) Other friends are polite, but not interested. 

I saw Chuck Palahniuk read in Baltimore (I was in the audience) and wanted to ask if his partner or family ever are shocked by his stories and how he responds to them maybe questioning what he can imagine/retell, but I couldn't quite articulate the question in time before the line got too long and am pretty sure I already knew the answer... 

bryanhowie's picture
bryanhowie from FW, ID is reading East of Eden. Steinbeck is FUCKING AMAZING. October 2, 2014 - 7:12am

What are you working on now?

Buddhism and being Batman.  Video games and courting.  I haven't written for a long time.