Manuscripts Burn


MANUSCRIPTS BURN

"Manuscripts don't burn"
- Mikhail Bulgakov

Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."

Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 Accomplishments

Hey everybody!  Every year around this time (go figure) I start to think about what I accomplished in the past year.  For instance, here's what I did in 2017.

And, as usual, around this time of year I start to think that I didn't accomplish shit.  This year felt particularly pronounced as I didn't release a single original novel.  It's made me feel like I'm falling behind.  My last novel was SLASHVIVOR! in September of 2017 and my last non-collaborative novel was THE HEMATOPHAGES, all the way back in April of 2017!  You don't get to be a professional writer by waiting years between releases.  (Unless you're Jonathan Franzen, but, it goes without saying, fuck that guy.)

However, after looking back, I realized I did plenty this year.  Here, for instance, were my releases:

January

"Deep Into that Dark One Peering" appears in CLICKERS FOREVER limited edition
"All Dolled Up" appears in WHISPERS OF THE APOC

April

"Deep Into that Dark One Peering" appears in CLICKERS FOREVER in wide release

July 

BILLY AND THE CLONEASAURUS Author's Preferred Edition released
THE GHOUL ARCHIPELAGO Author's Preferred Edition released

October 

"Exquisite Corpse" is released from Serial Box
"Silverwood: The Door" is released by Serial Box

November 

EVERY KINGDOM DIVIDED limited edition

So actually...not so bad, huh?  An original serial, two solid self-published releases, my first limited edition, and a few shorts.  I probably shouldn't feel guilty for not releasing a straight novel, but I probably still will.  Anyway, that's not all I accomplished in 2018.  Here's some other exciting stuff:

February 

Invited to speak at StokerCon Librarian's Day

June

Raised nearly $60,000 for my mentor Brian Keene's catastrophic injury (you can still donate here)

July

Appeared in a celebrity room at a convention for the first time at Scares That Care V
Won the KillerCon Gross-Out Contest for "Everybody Poops...Especially Godzilla."
Sold the Italian-language rights to THE HEMATOPHAGES, my first foreign rights sale

September

I was invited to write an episode of "Welcome to Daisyland," my first professional script

November

Invited to appear for the first time on "This is Horror," the premiere UK horror podcast
Invited to appear on "Eating the Fantastic" with the legendary Scott Edelman, joining such luminaries as Ellen Datlow, George R.R. Martin, and T.E.D. Klein
EVERY KINGDOM DIVIDED limited edition sells out in under a week

December

CLICKERS FOREVER wins an Independent Horror Book Award, my first inclusion in an award-winning title

And one last little tidbit: in 2018 I'm on track to make a bit over $5,000 in profit from my writing career.  You may recall last year was the first time I actually drew a profit instead of a loss, and that was around $50.  If sales continue to expand exponentially, at this rate next year I'll be making $500,000, and then in 2021, $50 million.  So thanks for the support, everybody!

What about you? What were your greatest accomplishments in 2018?  Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, December 28, 2018

My Appearance(s) on "This Is Horror"

I was delighted to be invited last month for an extensive interview by the good folks at This is Horror.  We spoke for a while and ended up breaking it up into two hour-long pieces.  I hope you enjoy it!

TIH 248 Stephen Kozeniewski on Lessons from the Army, Getting Published, and Silverwood The Door

TIH 249 Stephen Kozeniewski on George A. Romero, Killercon's Gross Out, and Billy And The Cloneasaurus

Monday, December 17, 2018

"Welcome to Daisyland"

Image may contain: text

I'm delighted to introduce you all to the first film I've been involved with: "Welcome to Daisyland."  Specifically, I wrote episode 2, "The Voice."  "Welcome to Daisyland" will be releasing Valentine's Day 2019.  For now, though, you can watch the trailer, which does indeed feature some of the weird sex scenes from my episode.  Enjoy!

Friday, December 14, 2018

My Appearance on "Eating the Fantastic"

Hey, kids!  Sorry I haven't been posting much in the last few weeks.  I've been taking a much needed break from reality after the hell that was November.  (You can read more about that here.)

The good news, though, is that if you're jonesin' for an ample helping of Vitamin K, I've got you covered.  During this year's Chessiecon I had the opportunity to have a midday meal (there was much discussion over whether it consituted lunch, supper, dinner, or some hybrid of the three) with the legendary Scott Edelman.  Scott has written for "Tales from the Darkside," Marvel Comics, and the print arm of the Sci-Fi Channel, amongst many others in his storied career.

We talked for a good hour and a half straight over Vietnamese food, and as it went along I really came to appreciate Scott's format.  His general idea is that people let their hair down and open up over a meal with a friend in a way they wouldn't during an "interview."  And while at the beginning I was "on" the way I normally am in these situations, I did find myself relaxing and just chatting, perhaps too much, even.  I think you'll enjoy it.  You can check us out on:

-  iTunes

- Libsyn

- or just click this embed below:

Monday, November 26, 2018

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Holiday Gift-Giving Guide #4: BRAVE NEW GIRLS


Best for:

- girls in grades 5-10
- science fiction fans
- fans of math
- fans of science
- fans of computers

Available now at Amazon!

Monday, November 19, 2018

ChessieCon or Bust!

Hey, everybody!  Thanksgiving is this week, and you know what that means: this weekend is Chessiecon!

Chessiecon is by far the best-run convention I attend.  I love it and I'm sure you will, too.  I'll be doing an assload of panels this year, so I hope to see you there.

So, again as far as dates, it will be this weekend, November 23-25, 2018.  The location is:

Red Lion Hotel Baltimore North
2004 Greenspring Drive
Timonium, MD 21093

And my (batshit crazy) schedule is below.  Hope to see you there!


Friday 4:15 pm - Greenspring 1 - "How Not to Get Published" (Moderator)

A discussion of the mistakes and pitfalls common in SF/F publishing, and how to avoid them.

Steve Kozeniewski (M), Linda Adams, Scott Edelman, Karen Osborne, Steven R. Southard

Friday 5:30 pm - Greenspring 2 - "But What if There Really Is a Wolf?

This panel appears to be cancelled.  I'll leave it on here until I confirm.

Friday 6:45 pm - Greenspring 1 - "Running a Small Press"

A daunting task, taking on the title of publisher. Learn what is involved, in terms of subject matter, scheduling, financing, and personalities. Also, other less-obvious aspects of what might be involved, and what to avoid.

Harrison Demchick (M), Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Cristin Kist, Steve Kozeniewski, Martin Wilsey

Saturday 10:00 am - Greenspring 3-5 - "FRANKENSTEIN by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, 200th Anniversary"

Possibly the earliest SF/F work still widely read, this novel has influenced literature since its publication. Direct retellings include terrifying films and hilarious TV shows. We can see Frankenstein's influence in works as recent as the TV series Dexter and the popular web series Worm. Come discuss the work itself and its effect on feminism and society as we celebrate its bicentennial.

Carl Cipra (M), C.S. Friedman, Steve Kozeniewski, Jo Miles, Steven R. Southard

Saturday 11:15 am - Greenspring 3-5 - "Walking To Mordor: A Panel About Pacing and Time Compression"

There is something to be said about making your world feel big and the journey from point A to point B feel long and arduous. But if you're not careful, your epic odyssey may become a bedtime story! How do you make a long journey or passage of time interesting, and how do you know when to trim things down?

Don Sakers (M), Elektra Hammond, Steve Kozeniewski, Jo Walton

Saturday 12:30 pm - Greenspring 3-5 - "Turkey Awards Panel"

At our somewhat misguided request, authors created the opening paragraph to the worst SF/F novel they could conceive of. For four years running, our imaginative and inspired writers have come up with some beautiful, horrible, awful, and awe-inspiring works. Come hear what our finalists have written this year, and what our judges have to say about it. Winners will be awarded dubious prizes later in the evening.

Don Sakers (M), Lee Budar-Danoff, Beth Chandler, Harrison Demchick, Steve Kozeniewski


Saturday 5:30 pm - Greenspring 3-5 - "Rules of Writing, and When to Break Them" (Moderator)

Show, don't tell. Active rather than passive. Use energetic verbs instead of adverbs. These, among many others, are rules of writing that get beaten into us from day one. But are they immutable? Are they being used as intended or have they been misunderstood? When should we resist the temptation to bend the rules, and when should we modify them or even toss them out the window?

Steve Kozeniewski (M), Harrison Demchick, Ruthanna Emrys, Sarah Pinsker, Jo Walton

Saturday 6:45 pm - Atrium - Mass Signing


Authors, artists, and musicians gather for signing/book-selling/chatting with fans.

Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Leslie Roy Carter, Margaret Carter, Dr. Mary Crowell, Mary Fan, C.S. Friedman, J.L. Gribble, Elektra Hammond, Intisar Khanani, Steve Kozeniewski, Katherine Kurtz, Timothy Liebe, Valerie Mikles, Tamora Pierce, Sarah Pinsker, Roberta Rogow, Michelle D. Sonnier, Steven R. Southard, Jo Walton, Martin Wilsey

Saturday 9:15 pm - Greenspring 1 - "Where Does it All End? Turning Your Story Into a Cohesive Whole"

Well begun may be half done, but how do you figure out where you are ultimately going with your idea, the great ending, and how do you get there? Our panelists will discuss the elements that make up a good middle and end of a story and how to connect them.

Mary Fan, C.S. Friedman, Cristin Kist, Steve Kozeniewski, Jo Miles

Sunday 10:00 am - Greenspring 1 - "The 60-minute Plot"

A panel of writers takes suggestions from the audience to concoct the plot of a story.

Roberta Rogow (M), Harrison Demchick, Cristin Kist, Steve Kozeniewski, Valerie Mikles, Michelle D. Sonnier

Sunday 11:15 am - Greenspring 2 - "Famous Animals in Fantasy"

Whether as major characters in such works as Narnia, Watership Down, and Redwall, or as background characters in humanoid-centered fantasy worlds like Middle Earth or Damar, animals have played important and influential roles in genre literature. That's before even considering dragons! Join our panelists in a celebration and discussion of candidates for the Fantastic Animal Hall of Fame.

Nicole Jamison, Heather Rose Jones, Steve Kozeniewski, Tamora Pierce, Sarah Sexton

Sunday 12:30 pm - Greenspring 2 - "They're the Protagonist, But Are They a Role Model?"

The panel discusses protagonists who aren't inherently good people or who don't have inherently good goals, and what that means for how the reader perceives them and the story. Does a flawed character automatically mean a flawed story? Can an author tell a moral story with an amoral protagonist?

Don Sakers (M), Harrison Demchick, Jeff Gritman, Steve Kozeniewski, Jo Walton

Friday, November 16, 2018

Holiday Gift-Giving Guide #3: THE GHOUL ARCHIPELAGO


Best for:

- horror fans
- Walking Dead fans
- Russian literature fans
- classical literature fans

Available now at Amazon!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Friday, November 9, 2018

WHISPERS OF THE APOC Now Available in Hardcover!


Hey everybody!  I'm very pleased to inform you that WHISPERS OF THE APOC, featuring my short "All Dolled Up" is now available in harcover from Amazon.  I hope you'll check it out!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Brooklyn or Bust!

Hey, everybody!  Slight change of venue from normal, so if you've been waiting for me to appear in New York City, this is your chance to meet me.  The New York Review of Science Fiction will be hosting An Evening with Serial Box next Tuesday, November 13.

I'll be representing the "Silverwood: The Door" crew and doing a brief reading from one of my episodes.  But authors from the other Serial Box stories will also be there, including:

Brian Francis Slattery, "Bookburners"
Michael R. Underwood, "Born to the Blade"
S.L. Huang, "The Vela"
Andrea Phillips, "Alternis," "ReMade," and "Bookburners"
E.C. Myers, "ReMade"

We'll be appearing starting at 7:00 pm EST at:

Brooklyn Commons Cafe
388 Atlantic Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11217

I may bring four or five books to sign, but for the most part, plan to bring yours from home if you want an autograph.  Hope to see you there!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Final Thoughts

You've already seen it. 

Everywhere.

Facebook seems particularly hung up on it.  Every celebrity on Twitter is tweeting about it.  I imagine it's a big deal on Instagram and SnapChat, though I can't be assed to figure those out.

The talking heads on TV want you to do it.  Your family and friends are probably encouraging you to do it.  (Or not do it, if they're dicks and they disagree with you.)

It's everywhere. 

Vote. 

Vote tomorrow. 

Get out and vote tomorrow. 

Have you voted already? 

What's your voting plan?  You do have a plan, right?

I've tweeted about it.  I blogged about it on Friday.  I'm blogging about it again today. 

I'm probably wasting my time, if we're being frank.  If you're actually reading this, you've probably already made up your mind about voting tomorrow.  Hell, a lot of you have the option of early voting, so a lot of you may have already voted.

I don't.  I just wanted to point that out.  In Pennsylvania we don't have early voting, so the whole concept is especially foreign to me.  We just get one day.  Always have.  Hopefully won't always in the future, but that's it.  The first Tuesday in November is our only chance to make our voices heard in Pennsylvania.  It makes it feel more consequential, perhaps.

It's our only chance.

So, like I said, if you're reading this, I'm probably not going to change your mind.  On Friday I tried to reach out to the dedicated fence sitters.  The ones who are deliberately not voting tomorrow.  If you don't think there are people like that, you're mistaken.  A lot of people consider the options, carefully weight them, and opt not to vote.  The system and the people in it have ground them down.  It's not, I believe, a lack of civil responsibility, but a lack of faith.

I was like that once.  I didn't vote in 2000.  I've regretted it ever since.  It's not that my vote would have fixed the next eight years of misery I had to endure as a soldier in the Bush years.  It's that I know if a few thousand people like me had thought differently, it would have a made a difference.

I've been wondering over the weekend about those words that I wrote on Friday.  Why do I have such trouble expressing that you can be disappointed in the system, disappointed in the country even, but the only real voice you have for change is your vote?  What is it that I find so hard to express about that?

And it came to me this weekend.  If everyone voted, the abuses inherent in the system would melt away.

Don't like the two-party system?  If everyone voted, third parties would have a far greater market share, and we would probably have a coalition government.

Don't like the abuses of the primary process?  Imagine if everyone voted.  There'd be no insurgent Trumps slipping through the cracks on the backs of a few firebrands.  Primaries would mirror generals, and our candidates would all be much more moderate.

Don't like gerrymandering?  Imagine if it didn't matter how you packed or cracked a district, because everyone in it was voting.  Voters would be forced to choose their representatives rather than representatives choosing their voters. 

Voter apathy is a tool.  That's what bothers me about it.  The disingenuous bastards with the reptile smiles want you to believe it's all pointless and fixed and the outcome is determined in advance.  And the more you believe that, the more it is.  The less you engage, the more they can push you out.  You may think not voting is a well-considered choice, but it's really some asshole using you.

In the Australian system, voting is mandatory.  If you don't vote you pay a fine.  They also have the option to vote "no choice."  I'd feel a million times better about Americans who walked into the voting booth and had the option to choose no one than the people who feel morally obligated to sit  out every election.

In America, it's about the ground game.  It's about the get-out-the-vote operation.  It's about, when you think about, falsifying the wishes of the electorate by encouraging some of them to stay home and others to go to the polls.  It's a game of three card monte and it's bullshit.

The voters are the oversight for the government.  If everyone voted, the desires of the electorate would have to be represented by the government.  As it is, politicians have learned that if they can mobilize their base, they can win elections, and that means fuck the 2/3 of the electorate who disagree with you.

Think about that.  While not always the same and not always precise, this country is basically composed of about 1/3 liberals, 1/3 conservatives, and 1/3 moderates.  Anytime you take a stance, the person to the left and the right of you will disagree.  And yet we can be governed.  We can and have been governed for going on 250 years.  Slowly, inexorably, we have sought to build a more perfect union.  It has become more perfect as more and more people have been enfranchised. 

Over the years, in various ways, sometimes peaceful, sometimes bloody, each American minority - including women who, rather ironically, are a majority - have fought and earned the right to vote.  And now that we have it, some people choose, whether deliberately or not, not to use it.  And it's fucking up the system.

The more people vote the better our system gets.  I doubt we'll ever have a mandatory, Australian-style system.  I'd love that.  The ideologues would disappear in a puff of shit-flavored wind.  There'd be no question about where the American people stand on any issue.  We would just fucking let you know once a year.  That would shut up the pundits, too.

No, we'll probably never get that.  Or at least no time soon.  But we can replicate it by packing the polls to bursting with as many bodies as possibly.  We can attempt to replicate mandatory voting by making everyone want to vote.

I wish the system wasn't so fucked-up, too.  I talked about that at length last week.  I don't like my vote being nullified, or stretched, or diluted.  I don't like a whole lot of fucking things.  But I believe if we start holding our representatives' feet to the fire by pulling those levers tomorrow, we can right this ship. 

Won't you join me?

Friday, November 2, 2018

For The Dedicated Fence-Sitter

I want to address someone I don't normally address on this blog: the person who's planning not to vote on Tuesday.

Now, if that's you, you've most likely already closed this blogpost.  You don't need to hear another shrill rant about the importance of voting.  And God knows I have no interest in giving one.  So this won't be that.

For that small percentage of you that are still reading, though, I want you to know this: I'm just like you.  I can't say why you, personally, are going to be sitting out this election but I'm going to guess it's one of a few reasons.

The first is that you might not have time.  You work a job, maybe two jobs, have kids at home, an actual life and shit to deal with.  You really can't go spend an hour waiting in line to vote, even if you want to.  And I'm sure if that's you, you don't need another "make the time" speech, and I sure as shit don't want to give you one.  You know your own schedule and your own life. 

Others of you are shitbirds.  You don't care about voting, civic duty, or probably much of anything else.  Nothing's going to turn you around, so I'm not even going to waste my time trying with this paragraph.  Shitbirds are going to be shitbirds.

But for some of you not voting is a deliberate choice.  Not a failure.  Not an oversight.  A conclusion arrived upon after careful consideration. 

Maybe you're disgusted with the candidates.  It's hard to blame you.  The politicians who have made it through the muddy stream of popular election and remained good and honorable are few and far between.  Most of these people are power-hungry, or amoral, or, perhaps worst of all, rich fucks who were born rich and who have that shit-eating grin of someone who knows they'll always get their way.  That's who politicians are, with exceptions being few and far between, so you're not wrong to dislike them.

Maybe you think your vote doesn't matter.  And that is also hard to argue with.  It really doesn't.  Not your vote.  Yours will be diluted by the votes of 50 million of your closest friends and neighbors.  Some of them are hopeless morons, and a lot of the ones that aren't just straight up will disagree with your views.  And your vote will be further diluted by gerrymandering, voter suppression, and a system that's set up to enfranchise some at the expense of others.  And that's all before you even get to the elecoral college.

Maybe you just think the whole goddamned system is a mess.  And that, my friend, is also hard to argue against.

I'm the same as you.  I think the American system of governance is utterly corrupt.  It barely counts as a democracy, in the sense that the people rule.  And, yes, I understand how a representative democracy is supposed to work, but kids, this ain't it.  Like I mentioned above, there's gerrymandering, there's voter suppression, there are a million little tricks and tools that let the people in charge keep the plebes like you and me away from the decision-making process.  And that's just the illicit stuff.  With Citizens United bribery is legal in our country.  The rich are calling the shots, and they've set the whole thing up to be as close to an autocratic, kleptocratic oligarchy as possible while maintaining the barest sheen of voting to keep the masses from revolting.

I'm probably not making a very good argument for you to vote on Tuesday, am I?

Well, I agree.  The whole thing's a mess, the two party system is a joke, and we'd all be better off if things were very, very different.  What is really called for is a revolution.  Tear the whole thing down and start again.  That's how I've felt for a long time.  I didn't vote in 2000 for every reason I've listed above and then some.

And you know who won the presidential election in 2000?  That's right: Al Gore.  But you know who got seated in 2000?  That's right, George W. Bush.  One of the absolute worst presidents of all time, although, sadly, he seems like a downright statesman considering the current occupant of the White House.

I lived in horror through the Bush years.  It almost seems quaint now, but for me it was an utter shitshow.  I got sent to Iraq for...well, no reason really, when you get right down to it.  I almost got sent back to Afghanistan after I'd left the army because of Bush-era policies.  Just about everything was a nightmare.  Personal privacy is a joke now, after however many Patriot Acts.

Sometimes I think about what the state of the country would be like today if Gore had been seated.  Maybe historical forces were already in play, and things wouldn't be terribly different.  But when I think about Gore, a dedicated environmentalist, being president for eight years right before, you know, we now get summers in November, I truly believe everything would have been very, very different.

See, here's the thing: in spite of all the shenanigans and the electoral college and all that shit, we do still have elections in this country.  They've been reduced to a shadow of actually representing popular desires, sure.  But until an Emperor Palpatine from "Star Wars"-level villain steps in and actually declares America the First Global Empire, elections are still going to dictate who is in power.

You've already figured all of this out.  You're smart enough to see that all these assholes, these moneyed interests, and hell, let's just be blunt, the Republican Party, are putting their fingers on the scales in every way they can to keep your voice from being heard.  They're laughing at your childish wish for a representative democracy.  They think it's quaint, and they can just legislate a million tiny structural changes that will prevent you from having a voice in how you're governed.  And they are loving the fact that you've become disenchanted and decided not to vote.

Look, here's where we're at, my friends.  There is genuinely a "Star Wars"-level villain in the White House.  You've been paying attention.  You've seen that he wants nothing more than to abolish the media, and the next step is probably abolishing free and fair elections, or at least the husk of what used to call free and fair elections.

Remember when I said above the system is utterly corrupt?  I changed that from "hopelessly" corrupt.  Because it's not hopeless.  There is hope.  Just a shred.

This is it.  This is our chance.  Maybe our last chance.  All the bastards trying to hold us down are expecting a whimper this year.  Well, the only way we fight back is if we roar.  If you go out, even just you, the people who have given careful consideration to the matter and decided voting is futile, if even you go out and vote that scale with the finger on it can flip the other way.  And it'll snap on the bastards who've been holding it like a mousetrap.

Elections are still being held.  They may not be next year.  We're really at that point.  But this year we need everyone in America to get out there and exercise the only option left to us for fixing our brokedick system.  Maybe after that the powers that be will be so spooked that they'll make a few moves to make a few things right.  Maybe gradually we can reclaim our representative democracy, make it worthy of the name again.  But if you don't make a move this year, the whole fucking thing could be sunk.  And that's not me being Chicken Little, that's just me being a pragmatist.  Like you.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Free Release - "Exquisite Corpse"

Exquisite Corpse

Hey, everybody!  If you're looking for something free (and who isn't) make sure to sign up for "Exquisite Corpse" coming at you from Serial Box.  The release is this Friday.  Follow along as some of the best horror writers working today (and me, for some reason) craft a story one chapter at a time.

Sign up here!

Authors:  Cassandra Khaw, Paul Cornell, Brian Keene, The Sisters of Slaughter, Paul Tremblay, Richard Chizmar, Christopher Golden, Stephen Kozeniewski, Nick Mamatas, Alyssa Wong

Follow along as these masters of horror delve into the darkest corners of their imaginations and either set their fellow players up for success, or back them into narrative traps and laugh maniacally as they try to escape. How does it work? It begins with a prompt from horror experts Dread Central. Each author picks up the story where the previous writer left it, adding their own nightmarish short installment and passing it on to the next (un)lucky participant to create a twisty, turny, occasionally peculiar, always terrifying ride. Ten installments will be released hourly for free on October 19th in text (less than 5 mins to read) and atmospheric 3D audio (between 5 and 10 mins to listen).

Monday, October 15, 2018

EVERY KINGDOM DIVIDED Limited Edition...Going Fast!


Hey everybody!  I am absolutely floored and crying just a little bit to learn that after being available for just a few hours, the Limited Edition of EVERY KINGDOM DIVIDED from the redoubtable Thunderstorm Books has fewer than 5 copies remaining.  If you see this blogpost and you hurry, you might still be able to grab a copy. Thanks, everyone!

2035 A.D.  After the 2nd American Revolution.

Jack Pasternak, a laid-back California doctor, receives a garbled distress call from his fiancée in Maryland before her transmissions stop altogether. Unfortunately for Jack, citizens of the Blue States are no longer allowed to cross Red America.  He is faced with an impossible choice: ignore his lover’s peril or risk his own life and sanity by venturing into the dark heart of the Red States. 


When the armies of the Mexican reconquista come marching into Los Angeles, his hand is forced.  Joined by a wisecracking barista with a shocking secret, Jack heads east in an old-fashioned petroleum-fueled automobile.

The journey is a minefield of dangers, as they face partisan warbands, feral Wal-Mart dwellers, and missionaries from the Mormon State of Deseret.  But all that is merely a prelude to the final showdown between the politicized armies of the former United States, who are poised to clash mere miles from Jack's missing fiancée...

Friday, October 12, 2018

Silverwood: The Door Giveaway!

Have you ever wanted to listen to "Silverwood: The Door" but been afraid you couldn't afford it?  Well, don't worry, you still have a chance, but you need to enter today!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Cover Reveal: STAYING ON TOP by Elizabeth Corrigan

Hey everybody!  If you've followed my blog very long at all you know I do lots of conventions.  Elizabeth Corrigan is one of my convention partners, and a hell of an author.  (Oh, not to mention she got me published my first tiem around - making her my oldest friend in the industry.)  She's got a new novel coming out next month, the sequel to CATCHING A MAN, which, if you haven't read, you're missing out.  But enough from me, let's check out the new book and learn a little bit about it.

About STAYING ON TOP:




Valeriel Investigations Book 2


Publication date: November 6th 2018
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Mystery

Kadin Stone should be over the moon—or at least one of the two moons that grace the sky of Valeriel City. She has a great job working as an aide for one of the best homicide detectives in the city, and her boyfriend is on the verge of proposing. Getting married means she’ll have to give up her day job, but wedding bells have been her life goal for as long as she can remember. But she’s not happy, and she can’t quite figure out why.

Until Duke Baurus DeValeriel walks back into her life.

Kadin cleared Baurus of a murder charge six months ago, and she thought that was the last she’d see of him. After all, they move in completely different circles. But Baurus has need of a homicide detective after a rising film star dies at one of his parties. He’s convinced Kadin is the only one who can solve the case. Kadin’s only too happy to lend her expertise, but as the case progresses, she gets the feeling that Baurus wants more from her, and she’s not sure what she has to offer.

As the case leads Kadin from one tawdry secret to another—secrets only she seems capable of uncovering—she questions whether marriage is what she wants out of life. But it’s not always easy to decide whether to follow your dreams or follow your heart.

Goodreads
Amazon (pre-order)

Sequel to:


About Elizabeth Corrigan:



Elizabeth Corrigan has degrees in English and psychology and has spent several years working as a data analyst in various branches of the healthcare industry. When she's not hard at work on her next novel, Elizabeth enjoys singing, reading teen vampire novels, and making Sims of her characters. She drinks more Diet Coke than is probably optimal for the human body and is pathologically afraid of bees. She lives in Maryland with two cats and a purple Smart Car.

Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Release Day Announcement: Silverwood: The Door



I've been talking about it all year, and the day is finally here.  Do you dare to open...The Door?

Deep within the forest of Silverwood, California, a crack between dimensions has appeared. A dark force that lurks among the trees is growing stronger, determined to return home if it can only gather the strength to open the door—bad news for a Cub Scout troop and the employees of Hirsch Capital on a company retreat nearby. As their darkest fears and impulses power the mysterious force, their bonding exercises take a deadly turn. Will anyone be able to keep their minds long enough to close the door before our world is torn apart?

Monday, October 1, 2018

The Most Horrific Wedding You'll Ever Attend (Redirect)

Hey All!

As a Very Important Writer I only have so much time in the day, and I already wrote a blogpost today, so go check it out over at my group blog, Across the Board!


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Enter to Win an Autographed Copy of PRESSURE by Brian Keene

While I am famously the only person in the world who owns a copy of PRESSURE by Brian Keene signed by Jeff Strand and a copy of PRESSURE by Jeff Strand signed by Brian Keene, you, yes, you, my friend, could win something of a consolation prize if you jump in to the contest below in the next few days.  Enjoy!



Monday, September 24, 2018

BILLY AND THE CLONEASAURUS $0.99 sale


Hey everybody!  For the next week only, BILLY AND THE CLONEASAURUS will be on sale across all platforms for only $0.99.  That means you can pick it up via AmazonBarnes and NobleKoboGoogle Play, and iTunes.  If you haven't grabbed a copy yet, now is the perfect time!

Six billion identical clones make up the entire population of Earth, and William 790-6 (57th Iteration) is exactly like everybody else. In his one year of life he will toil in suburban mediocrity and spend as much cash as possible in order to please his corporate masters. When 790’s first birthday (and scheduled execution) finally rolls around, a freak accident spares his life. 

Living past his expiration date changes 790 profoundly. Unlike other clones he becomes capable of questioning the futility of his own existence. Seeking answers in the wilderness, he discovers a windmill with some very strange occupants, including a freakish, dinosaur-like monstrosity. Which is especially strange since every animal on earth is supposed to be extinct… 

Dark, haunting, and blisteringly satirical, BILLY AND THE CLONEASAURUS is the story of one “man’s” attempt to finally become an individual in a world of copies.

Friday, September 21, 2018

French Press Paperbacks For Sale (And Severed Press Remainders, Too!)


Hey everybody!  I just ordered my first batch of the Authors Preferred Editions of BILLY AND THE CLONEASAURUS and THE GHOUL ARCHIPELAGO.  Contributor copies have been distributed, which means I am now open to start selling these at conventions and book signings.

But, of course, as a follower of this fine web log, you get the first crack at everything Kozeniewski-related, and this development is no exception.  Remember, if you'd like to order an autographed copy of these (or any of my books, really) just reach out to me.

In addition to the two French Press titles, I should probably also point out that my supplies of the original Severed Press paperbacks are dwindling.  I have about ten or fifteen of each, and as they are no longer being produced, when they're gone they're gone.  Unless you've bought a paperback in the past, as far as I know I'm in possession of the last copies in the world.  And they could be yours!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

2018 Gross-Out Contest Reading Live!


Hey everybody!  I've got a rare treat for you (and a first for me) coming up this week.  If you've never seen me do a live reading this is your chance.  This Saturday, September 22, at 10:00 pm EST I'll be reading my award-winning entry in the 2018 Deadite Press Gross-Out Contest, "Everybody Poops.  Especially Godzilla."

It's going to be live on Facebook, so you can watch from anywhere in the world!  All you have to do is join The Splatter Club on Facebook and tune in at 10.  I'm sure I'll also be taking a Q&A and whatever else you guys feel like hearing from me.  Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

A Wife Beater's Guide to the Apocalypse

Hey, everybody!  So I just finished reading THE NIGHT LAND by William Hope Hodgson.  Now, I recently read THE HOUSE ON THE BORDERLAND, and that was a little old-fashioned, but overall pretty tight.  So I was pretty excited to read Hodgson's magnum opus.  Early twentieth century apocalyptic fiction from the man who Lovecraft looked up to?  Got to be pretty good, right?  Well, let me see if I can recreate the experience for you and you can decide for yourself.

THE NIGHT LAND: A WIFE BEATER'S GUIDE TO THE APOCALYPSE
by William Hope Hodgson as understood by Stephen Kozeniewski

And, lo, did it did be that I was in the 18th century briefly for a framing story, but, verily, that framing story was abandoned quickly and never revisited.

And, lo, did it did be, that in the far flung future of some supernal age that there did rise from the ground a great pyramid.  And it did be that the pyramid did be full of millions upon millions of people, and these did be the last of the people.

And, lo, did it did be, verily, that, truth be told, and in sooth, that it did be that there was no sun and that the land did be populated by monsters.  Verily, though, did it be that those monsters were all quite dull, and fighting them did always consist of the exact same thing, which did be that I did have a hand weapon, and it did be with this hand weapon that verily I did slay many a monster, which might a humpback or a giant slug, but never of any particular interest or apparent danger.

And, lo, did it did be that there was another, lesser pyramid, which often did be referred to as "the lesser pyramid."  And upon that pyramid did dwell my love, who I sort of knew the 18th century, but I guess it did be that we did be reincarnated or some such, but it also did be that it did be that it did not bare a terrible great amount of relevance upon the plot.

And, lo, did it did be that I left the pyramid, and though, verily, the term "Mary Sue," though, lo, it did not be invented yet, yet still, all the millions of the greater pyramid did be totally stoked on me and admired me just for my pure ballsiness in leaving yon Great Redoubt.

And, lo, did it did be that after monotonously fighting many monsters, whether they be humpbacks or slugs, all inspiring the exact same amount of total lack of what did be dread in me, I did come upon my fair maid, who, lo, though she yet did have a name, I constantly did call "a maid" or "mine own."

And, lo, did it did be that mine own and I did quaff of powdered water and precisely two food pills.  Then, it being the eighth hour, we did quaff upon another quaff of powdered water, and then this time it did be one and one halves food pills.  And, lo, it being now seven days hence and upon the sixteenth hour, did we now quaff upon powdered water and three each of food pills. 

And, lo, did it did be that mine own maid did have the gall to speak to me while looking in mine eyes.  And thus did I did cut a great switch from a tree and thus did I verily beat the ever-living shit out of her, but also did I feel bad, for I do be the hero of this story, and all the many millions of the great pyramid are super stoked on me and do be totally watching me from afar and do be rooting for me heartily.

And, lo, did it did be that it, being the eighteenth hour, we did quaff upon powdered water and precisely three pills apiece this time.  And now I shall abridge the rest of the pill-eating and water quaffing, for brevity's sake.  Oh, but also at the third hour did we quaff upon powdered water and then exactly one pill, the Night Land being terrible hard to live in and populated with dull, dull monsters.

And, lo, did it did be that just as we were sliding into home plate, did she did die, and thus, could I no longer beat her with switches, and no longer could feel sort of bad about, but also insist that beating maids with switches is really the only way to communicate with such creatures.  (It seems a shame almost, that I did never bother to try to beat any of the slugs or humpbacked men with switches, being as it do be the best way to communicate with such alien minds.)

And, lo, did it did be that she was alive again, for no reason.  And thus did everyone in the Great Pyramid totally cheer and build of me a statue, and just generally be unreasonably stoked on me.  (Please see Appendix A for a complete chart of pill-eating and powdered water quaffing rates.)

FIN

Monday, September 3, 2018

Protean Books or Bust!

Hey, everybody!  Happy Labor Day!  While you're hopefully twistin' by the pool, I've got an event announcement for this weekend, so start thinking about whether you'll be able to make it.

If you're going to be in the Baltimore, MD area this weekend you should definitely stop by Protean Books on Saturday, September 8.  I'll be signing along with horror luminaries Brian Keene, Mary SanGiovanni, and Wesley Southard.  I'll be selling books for $12 apiece and I'll be happy to sign any you bring from home free of charge.  We are asking that you buy a little something from the bookstore for hosting us - a cup of coffee would be fine.  That's the kind of walk-in business they're counting on to make it worthwhile to invite us in the future.

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The address is:

Protean Books & Records
836 Leadenhall St, Baltimore
Maryland 21230

And we'll be there from noon to 3:00 pm.  Hope to see you there!

Friday, August 31, 2018

Re-Animated #19: The Venture Brothers

"We're the Venture Brothers!"

So sayeth Jonas Venture, Jr. to his brother Rusty in the season 2 premiere of today's entry.

It was a weird, goofy "fuck you" to the audience.  But it also wasn't that.  It was also an artistic choice that suggested this offbeat cartoon, which had originated as nothing more than a violent "Jonny Quest" ripoff was going to have stakes.  That it could change.  That it was a cartoon that wasn't just a cartoon.

And change it has.  Mutated.  Evolved.  And taken bold choices.  Too many bold choices, perhaps.  But let's take a step back.

The Venture Bros logo.svg

My earliest memory of "The Venture Brothers" was watching the pilot in a hotel room in Texas when I was in the army.  It was the second time the pilot had shown, alongside a few, stranger [adult swim] entries like "Penguins Behind Bars."  So why do I remember the second time better?

Well, back in those days [adult swim] was putting a lot more pilots on the air, presumably because they didn't have nearly as much content and, having commissioned a pilot, even if it never went to series, the result was likely still weird enough to warrant trying to get their money back with a showing.  One winter the absolutely unwatchable "Boo Boo Runs Wild" ran like clockwork every night at 12:30.  It was the only time of the evening I turned [adult swim] off.

One day I may do an entry on some of the [adult swim] pilots.  But suffice it to say that "The Terrible Secret of Turtle Bay" at first seemed like that.  It was a bit of a one-joke premise.  Dr. Venture is like Benton Quest, except he doesn't give a shit about his kids.  Hank and Dean are as eager and chipper as Jonny and Hadji but they live in a real world of strippers and muggings.  And Brock Samson is as dedicated a bodyguard as Race Bannon, but an ultraviolent lunatic.  Oh, and the accidental homoeroticism of Race and Benton was made all but overt.

And that was about it.  It was mildly clever, mildly amusing, and the animation was charming and hand-drawn (more on that in a moment) but otherwise the [adult swim] suits might have been forgiven for passing on this like any other "Korgoth of Barbaria" or "Cheyenne Cinnamon and the Fantabulous Unicorn of Sugar Town Candy Fudge."

Thankfully, though, they did send "The Venture Brothers" to series, and as I mentioned above, it evolved and evolved and evolved.  Which brings us to the season 1 finale...when the ostensible main characters of the show, Hank and Dean, were killed at the very end.  Cartoons are notably fond of the reset button, but not so "The Venture Brothers."  In fact, they did a send up of the very notion of the reset button when it turned out that Hank and Dean were clones - fifteenth or sixteenth generation clones, in fact.

Which leads us back to the quote I mentioned in the opening.  For the space of a single half hour "The Venture Brothers" hinted that it might be the sort of show to kill off its two teenage leads, and replace them with two middle aged brothers...er, one of which had been swallowed in utero and only recently escaped from his twin's body.  It never went quite that far.  But in subsequent seasons it never pulled back from marriages, breakups, deaths, and even, at the beginning of season 6, a completely new location.  And because, as I mentioned above, each episode is loving hand-drawn in a retro style, fans can often go several years between seasons without having their cliffhanger itches scratched.  Thus, while "The Venture Brothers" is only now entering its seventh season, it's not officially been on the air longer than any other [adult swim] show, including the eleven-season former champ "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" - at fifteen and a half years.

Jesus Christ, I just depressed myself.  How much of my life have I wasted on waiting for a cartoon?

What's notably interesting about the show being so long-running is that they completely preceded the Marvel fad before it overtook them.  Imagine having a main character on the show be an obvious spoof of Doctor Strange in 2004.  How many people would have even gotten the reference?  Being a superhero show, the creators Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer leaned heavy into the Marvel deep cuts at a time when the idea of, say, Ant-Man becoming familiar to a mainstream audience was pretty out there.  Now all the Marvel references are so embedded in their mythos it would be hard to extract any of them - and now they're no longer just for superfans.

Well, anyway, "The Venture Brothers" is delightful and kooky.  Most of the time.  As it's written by übernerds, it has a nerdy tendency to disappear into increasingly obscurer and obscurer pop culture references.  If a particular reference doesn't resonate with you, you might be fine as it might be a throwaway line.  It might also be a running joke through an excruciating, minutes-long debate between two characters (of particular guilt are albino Pete White and hydrocephalic "boy genius" Master Billy Quizboy.)  So "YMMV" might be a general blanket warning for any given episode of the show.

And while I admire their bravery in most instances, there have, naturally, been a few misfires.  Sergeant Hatred, a recurring (he's still in it, in fact) and unrepentant pedophile character, has raised more than a few hackles online. 

The new season is currently airing (hence me once again running Re-Animated a bit out of order) but you're not going to be able to just jump right in.  Trust me on this.  You're going to want to go back to season 1, episode 1, hell, you'll even miss stuff if you don't go back to the pilot, and watch the whole thing through.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

2018 KillerCon Deadite Press Gross-Out Contest: The Winning Entry

WARNING:  The following short story contains graphic depictions of scat play and child abuse.  It is not intended for minors or easily offended adults.


***As I mentioned in Monday's post I am now a back-to-back Gross-Out Contest winner!  After winning the 2016 contest at the World Horror Convention in Provo, Utah with this piece, I managed to win again at KillerCon in Austin, Texas this past weekend.  This year's contest was hosted by Deadite Press and the prize pack was rather handsome, including:

- 4 EC Comics
- "Magic Casket" by The Slow Poisoner CD
- "DC House of Horror" comic signed by Ed Lee, Brian Keene, Mary SanGiovanni, and Wrath James White
- SUNDANCING by Brian Keene 
- Script of Brian Keene's "Ghoul"
- Flashing Mouth Light 
- The Death Nut Challenge box of spicy peanuts
- A collection of "Dinosaurs Attack" trading cards
- An unopened blister pack of Garbage Pail Kids 
- Two Garbage Pail Kids figurines 
- A Buddy System pin (courtesy of Christine Morgan)
- Sex patches
- Cthulhu breath mints

and, perhaps most apropos of all:


- A Godzilla figurine

My thanks go out to the listeners, judges, other contestants, and, of course, the inimitable host Jeff Burk.  Now, if you have a weak stomach or a sense of decency, read no further.  You've been warned.***


“Everybody Poops.  Especially Godzilla.”
by Stephen Kozeniewski

A thick, cheesy brown fog rolled into town that morning.  It seemed that Godzilla had been struck by another bad bout of diarrhea.

No one knows quite why Godzilla chooses to use our rustic town as his personal restroom, but I think it’s just our geography.  We live in a perfectly concave valley, almost a crater, surrounded by mountains.  Basically our small town is shaped exactly like a kaiju’s toilet bowl and now Godzilla’s various bodily excretions have become an integral part of our weather patterns.

I actually don’t mind days like today, when we get a little splash of Godzilla’s colon gravy.  Sometimes my seven-year-old daughter Sophie and I will sit on the deck in our rain slickers, sipping tea, watching the dogs chase each other out on the lawn, turning their coats brown.  Sometimes I joke that we have yellow labs most of the time, but chocolate labs on Taco Tuesdays.  But, no, the diarrhea fog is not nearly as bad as the constipation.

Now I suppose a fancy city doctor might claim the fix for constipation is a spoonful of Metamucil, but out here in the country we know the simple ways are still the best: all you have to do is jam your thumb up in there and wiggle it around, removing each of those little Dippin Dots one at a time.

So, ‘round these parts, instead of filling up the water tower with laxatives and trying to convince Godzilla to drink, we just pay the local kids nickels to coat themselves in Vaseline, shimmy up Godzilla’s leg, and act as his thumb in the asshole, if you know what I mean.

For a while our best asshole spelunker was the epileptic kid who lives over on 7th, Timmy Mason.  You can imagine what a natural advantage he had shaking those bowel movement loose, what with those fits of his.  But then one day Timmy didn’t come back.  Well, the truth is, he did come back, we were just never able to get him out of that giant, calcified lizard shit.  We jackhammered at it for days, but had to give up.  They had an empty casket at his wake, but to this day once a week like clockwork Mrs. Mason leaves a little bouquet of flowers at the foot of that big old log jam where her son still rests.

Anyhoo, that’s why I stopped letting Sophie be a browneye girl for nickels.  Oh, don’t make that noise.  I still let her have fun.  Why, I remember just last May Sophie came tear-assing out of the house, crying “no school tomorrow, no school tomorrow, there’ll no be no school tomorrow ‘cause of jizz!”  And, sure enough a glistening white goo coated the land.  I mean, Godzilla’s still a man, you know.  Before I knew it, Sophie was out in the yard making cum angels on the lawn and trying to catch falling sperm on the tip of her tongue.  We even got into a jizzball fight.  That little rascal hit me right in the eye.  And at the end of day we built a little man with a corncob pipe and a button nose out of chunky globs of radioactive lizard semen.

Lately, though, it seems that Godzilla’s not the only kaiju who’s been getting in on the action.  I thought I’d seen everything in this town, but last week when I went to go fill my swimming pool for the season, I saw that somebody had beaten me to it.  Instead of water and chlorine my pool was full of thick, clotting menstrual blood.  But I’ll tell you more about that in my next reading “Are you there, Godzilla?  It’s me, Mothra.”

FIN

Monday, August 27, 2018

KillerCon Austin 2018 Autopsy

Howdy, y'all!

I just got back from Austin, TX, and boy are my arms tired.

Sorry, I know I'm destroying you all with my groundbreaking comedy, but I'm just so giddy after the weekend I just had.  As you know from reading my blog (you do read my blog, right - well, I guess that's a bit of a non sequitur since you're certainly reading it now) I spent last weekend at the resurrected KillerCon.

I'm going to talk a little bit about the convention now but I want to preface this piece by saying that I met and hung out with a lot of really cool people at this convention.  So many, in fact, that this could easily just turn into a list of cool people, which will be terribly boring for the average reader.  So I'm going to try to refrain from naming names as much as possible to keep this blogpost somewhat manageable.  If I don't mention you, it's not because I dislike or forgot about you.

My girlfriend and I started out on Friday morning with a scare as we nearly didn't make it onto our flight from Harrisburg to Washington, D.C.  Security at MDT that day decided that we both needed to be frisked and have our bags searched for some reason, and lines were long considering it was a 6:00 am flight.  But we did make it to the venue after that with relatively little issue.  And a good thing, too, because my first panel was at 1:00 pm local time.


My first (and, come to think of it, only) panel was "What the Hell?" about mythology in horror.  I was the moderator and Wrath James White (also the founder and runner of KillerCon) was on it, as well as Brian Asman, who I met for the first time.  Brian specified that he was not the famous balloon artist Brian Asman, but just some other Brian Asman, which was particularly hilarious because my girlfriend actually is a balloon artist.  So now I suppose we'll be looking up Brian Asman videos, but not the guy we both know from the con.

The person who was not there was Gabino Iglesias, who you may also know as a contributor to my group blog.  However, a few hours later I did finally get to meet Gabino. 



My girlfriend and I spent that evening at the hotel bar, which was where I met so many people that it caused me to write that preface up there.  We laughed and talked well into the evening and had a delightful time. 

The next morning we had to get up early because there was a mass signing at 10:00 am.  I was a bit unsure what to do for this convention.  Normally I drive to conventions so when I don't have a table I tend to bring a trunk full of books, then carry around five or ten in my backpack, and replace them as necessary.  When I have a table, I usually just bring all the boxes in.

So this time I was flying in and I figured I would bring about ten books total and just sell out when I sold out.  Or not.  Whatever. 

So I sat down at the mass signing and within 45 minutes I had sold out of all my books and taken selfies with several fans.  Genuine fans.  My girlfriend was incredibly impressed.


At 3:00 pm, Brian Keene invited me and John Wayne Comunale to do mini-readings during his reading to help fill up the hour.  I did "This Reading is Going to Suck," my new go-to.  John Wayne did an amazing rendition from his new work SCUMMER.  Let me tell you, this is an author to watch, folks.  His prose is strong, his story was fascinating, and his delivery was on point.  Brian finished up with a couple of killer pieces that gave me some ideas for audience interactivity in the future. 


At 8:00 pm came the centerpiece of the event: The Splatterpunk Awards.  I was nominated for one for best novel for THE HEMATOPHAGES.  The award ended up going to WHITE TRASH GOTHIC by Edward Lee, the towering godfather of the genre, thus righting a wrong for someone who has not received an award for his work in 35 years of writing the most extreme horror in the field.

So, I was a little bit disappointed.  A lot of people asked me throughout the day if I was nervous, but the truth is I wasn't.  That's not some kind of "too cool for school" attitude.  I just wasn't terribly.  If I won, I knew what I wanted to say and who I wanted to thank.  But if I didn't win, it wasn't the end of the world.  The way I see it, if I've been nominated for an industry award after just five years of publishing, I must be doing all right.  If it takes me another thirty years to win, then I'll be doing exactly as well as the master of extreme horror, right?

So, all in all, I felt a slight pinch when my name wasn't announced, but no worse than giving blood.  Besides, I figured I'd have a second chance to win an industry award that night when I entered the Deadite Press Gross-Out Contest.  Now, those of you who read my blog (you do read my blog, don't you?) know that I won the 2016 Gross-Out Contest at the last World Horror Convention.  I was a bit worried about entering this year as well.  2016 was a blast, and legends like Jeff Strand and Jack Ketchum entered, and my drunken, wide-eyed acceptance speech will always be one of my greatest memories.

But at KillerCon I was facing down a veritable bevy of bizarros.  Now, what you have to know about bizarro authors is that they take a different attitude towards readings than us straight horror types.  Bizarro readings are more like performance art, and often feature props, dadaism, audience participation, and skits.  In a circumstance like the Gross-Out Contest, all of those things are strong advantages.

However, I don't wear those sorts of things well.  I'm happy to do a little bit of pantomime, but for the most part I just worry about writing a really good, targeted piece and performing it well.  This year's entry was "Everybody Poops.  Especially Godzilla."  (Which, if you're very good little boys and girls, I'll share with you on Wednesday.)

As the contest started, all my fears were realized.  A couple of horror authors presented some strong entries, and the bizarros were even stronger.  Then Michael Allen Rose began reading a gut-busting novelization of "Two Girls, One Cup," culminating in him pulling our old friend John Wayne Comunale on stage and both feeding each other Snickers bars.  I was sure I was toast.  

There was nothing for it but sheer, true grit.  (Yeah, you thought I wouldn't pull that one out, didn't you, John Wayne?)  So I dug down deep and gave my best rendition ever.  And it tore the house down.  Still, I was pretty sure I was just going to get second place.  But I won!


Making me a two-time Gross-Out Contest winner!  The winner and still champion!

But wait!  There's more!

Immediately after the contest, Deadite Press hosted a party.  I got to have a long, great conversation with Bev Vincent, however I think he was much more charmed by my girlfriend than me.  However, both accused me of making their drinks too strong.  So I guess I got Bev drunk.

Then I finally got to tick something off my bucket list.  I met Carlton Mellick III!


I'm pretty sure I made a complete ass of myself, so this will probably be the last picture I get with him, but I'm still gobsmacked it happened.  I got to tell him how much "Lemon Knives and Cockroaches" influenced me (check out THE GHOUL ARCHIPELAGO if you don't believe me.)

We had to head out pretty early Sunday morning to make it home.  But all in all, KillerCon was an amazing time, intimate and large and definitely an event not to miss.  Hope to see you all there next year!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

KillerCon or Bust!

Hey, everybody!  I'm very excited to announce that I'll be appearing at the rebirth of the legendary KillerCon!  This year, KillerCon will be in Round Rock, TX, a suburb of Austin.  The address is:

Wingate by Wyndham Conference Center
1209 N Interstate 35 Frontage Rd
Round Rock, TX 78664


The convention will be taking place this weekend, August 24-26.  I won't have a table or be participating in a whole ton of programming, so if you're more interested in hanging out and having conversations with me, this will be more your style of event.  And if you want a book signed, you might be better off bringing it yourself.  I'll probably only have a small stack in my carryon, since I'll be flying to this event.

As for the programming I will be participating in,

Friday 1:00 pm - "What the Hell?" (M)
Saturday 10:00 am - Mass Autograph Signing (this is a maybe?  I don't know if you need to be invited.  And, like I said, I won't have a ton of books.)
Saturday 8:00 pm - First Annual Splatterpunk Awards
Saturday 10:00 pm - Deadite Press Presents The Gross-Out Contest

That's right, I will be attempting to (somehow) top my winning entry in the 2016 World Horror Convention Gross-Out Contest, "Dildoey McDildoface: A Poop Dildo's Odyssey."  And, perhaps most stress-inducing of all, I've been nominated for a Splatterpunk Award for my novel THE HEMATOPHAGES.  Fingers crossed, and I hope to see you all this weekend!

Monday, August 20, 2018

"Silverwood: The Door" Promo Code!


Hey, everybody!

If you've been hanging around here at all lately, you've probably heard me talking about a project called "Silverwood: The Door."  I've been working on it all year alongside such horror luminaries as Rich Chizmar, The Sisters of Slaughter, and Brian Keene.  It's a continuation of the "Silverwood" YouTube series, though this one will be serialized in prose and/or audio for your reading and/or listening pleasure.  And if you swung by Dread Central last month you saw the big cover reveal.

Well, if you've managed to wait this long without pre-ordering, I have got a present for you to sweeten the pot.  Serial Box has issued me a 15% off coupon for my fans who pre-order "Silverwood."  You can follow the link here (or click on either of the photos in this post.)

The link should autopopulate with the promo code SILVERWOODSK.  If it doesn't, though, you can just pop it in and bob's your uncle, 15% off.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Fight the Future?

With each day that passes, I grow less optimistic about any meaningful future for mankind.  I'm loath to say so, because it sounds a lot like the sort of "sky is falling" prognostication that can be traced back to every generation since ancient Greece, but probably before then with people whose records haven't survived as well.

But the thing is...I'm hot.  It's late August and I'm impossibly hot.  It's been unbearably hot since April, and it probably will be until October.  Every year is a record-smashing hottest year on record.  I remember ten, fifteen years ago, back when we still had four seasons in this part of the world, when I had the luxury of enduring debates over climate change with who people who I should probably be charitable and describe as "skeptics" but who would more accurately be described as "morons."

There's never been any doubt about anthropogenic climate change.  Not with anyone who knew anything about the subject.  There were vested interests who wanted to deny it, the same way there were vested interests who wanted to deny the dangers of tobacco twenty or thirty years ago.  Nowadays if someone says there are no proven dangers to cigarette smoke, they barely warrant an eyeroll.  They're known to be deceiving themselves.  It seems to me we've reached the same juncture with climate change.  At this point you'd have to be a moron to deny it.  At least fifteen years ago you had to actually pore over the data, look at satellite photos.  I could at least believe in the good faith of people who debated it, if not agree with them.  Now all you have to do is step outside the house any day of the year.

Famine is coming next, I expect.  I suppose as a wealthy American I'll be okay for a while.  I'll probably start to wonder why the price of strawberries is so high.  Then I'll start to notice that cashews or something are just no longer available on store shelves.  I won't starve at first.  Millions upon millions of people in the developing world will do that on my behalf first. 

Then I'll probably start to feel the pinch.  That is, if I'm not beset by catastrophic weather.  The Jersey shore will probably move a few miles inland.  Hundreds of thousands will be left homeless, and people in the wealthiest country in the world will start to die.  There'll be tornadoes, hurricanes, monsoons, weather we don't even get in this part of the country will suddenly start wiping out towns.

My expectation for the turnaround on climate change is one of two things:

1.)  either technology will finally deliver us some kind of savior in the form of an energy source so cheap and plentiful that it won't make any economic sense not to implement it, or

2.)  so many people will die from famine, war, plague, and death that we'll stop having an impact on the environment

You can probably tell I'm not holding out much hope for option 1.  We certainly seem to be beyond the point of having the political will to just be better.  I don't have a whole ton of hope for the future of our society based on political will, either.

Then again, I have seen astonishing changes in our nation's political will in just the twentyish years of my majority.  There was a time when socialism was a third rail.  Then again, there was also a time when actively supporting Nazis was, too. 

I suppose the explanation for my current pessimism isn't anything particularly amazing.  I doubt the world was an amazing, awesome place when I was a kid and it seemed so.  Likely I was just ignorant to how fucked up things were.  And not just ignorant, but probably left impossibly in the dark due to the limitations of knowledge access.  I might have been able to reach my present state of knowledgeable pessimism by spending a month plowing through the library, had I been looking for it, which I likely wouldn't have.  Now, with the internet, we are all aware every day of the multiple outrages to justice and peace and responsibility that take place every second of every day.

What do you think?  Can you change my mind?  Do you have a better hope for the future?  Or is all as lost as it seems?
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