Friday, January 27, 2012

So you have a Time Machine ...

Let's face it. I'm not very helpful. So going back in time to right wrongs is a no go. I mean, if we learned anything from the JFK episode of Red Dwarf is that good intentions to often go awry. So if I had my own time machine I would do totally selfish stuff. This stuff:
1. Hit on Bettie Page. I think I'd have a shot.
2. Buy Google and Apple stock. A shitload of it.
3. Smoke a lot in bars and restaurants like in Mad Men. (Cigars)
4. Steal the characters and plost for Harry Potter.
5. Stand in the background of famous photographs and freak out my friends.
6. Send letters to modern people from 1905.
7. Stand at the airport as the Hindenburg approaches, nudge the guy next to me, and say "Watch what I can do with my mind powers."
8. Discover Easter Island.
9. Scare the shit out of myself in the shower.
10. Taser knights in the middle ages, claim to be a wizard.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Thanks, Folks. "Harry Truman vs The Aliens" still FREE on kindle.

As you may have noticed, I've been pimpimg a free story on kindle called "Harry Truman vs The Aliens." It's a pulpy sci-fi yarn written by my alter ego Emerson LaSalle. You can find outr more about the legendery LaSalle HERE.

I just wanted to remind everyone that I'm not looking to make one red cent on this short story. If it were up toi me, it would always be free, instead of free for just the next few days. Rather, my goal is to jazz up some interest for the forthcoming LaSalle novel There Are Aliens Behind Uranus, Mr. President. The events of "Harry Truman vs The Aliens" lead directly into the novel, and really the short story sort of acts as a prologue. So I want to get this free story onto as many kindles as possible (including kindle apps for iPads and smart phones) to help pave the way for the novel, and I'm hoping you'll help spread the word. Tell folks, talk it up, tweet it, whatever. If you frequent science fiction or pulp fiction or kindle message boards, let them know about the freebie


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ten ways we can take our country back.

This is not a political post. Anything about either party, left or right, whatever, will be summarily ignored. The fact is both parties have used the phrase "take our country back." Many of the citizens of this great nation are in no way qualified to determine which pinhead will lead us if they can't even master the following:

1. Turn signals. This is not optional. The fact you are coming into my lane is not supposed to be the surprise that adds adventure to my day. Put down your iPhone and signal.

2. Put the fucking shopping cart in the fucking cart corral. It's ten feet away. Just do it. Don't leave that cart in the middle of a parking space or I will murder you.

3. Your loud crying kid is ruining my meal.

4. Simmer the hell down about crying kids. It's life. Chill.

5. No more real housewives of anywhere please.

6. Saying something at a tedious department meeting just so you can hear yourself talk ruins everyone's day. Shut up.

7. When you park your car at a convenience store and leave your car running with the windows down and your car stereo thumping at full blast while you run in to get a pack of Lucky Strikes, we don't all enjoy it as much as you think we do. Next time I see that, I'm going to jump behind the wheel of that fucking car and drive away and drive that motherfucker into a tree.

8. Don't curse so much.

9. Fuck you.

10. Really, how about just some basic courtesy? Is that so hard.

Don't talk to me about saving civilization unless you're helping to make this a civilization worth saving.

FREE short stoy on Kindle

For the next few days you can get pulp legend Emerson LaSalle's short story "Harry Truman vs The Aliens" for *FREE* on Kindle. It's a fun pulp romp but also acts as the prologue for the forthcoming novel THERE ARE ALIENS BEHIND URANUS, MR. PRESIDENT.
Emerson LaSalle is partially inspired by Kurt Vonnegut's creation Kilgore Trout and lets me write stories that are simultaneously a parody of and tribute to those pulpy sci-fi paperback novels of the 50s and 60s. Get some for free!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My Alter-Ego: Emerson LaSalle

Folks, there is an Emerson LaSalle short story called "Harry Truman vs The Aliens" available right here.

Please don't buy it.

Uh ... what?

That's right. I'm asking you NOT to buy it. That's because starting tomorrow the short story will be free for five days. If you are among the handful of people that actually shelled out .99 cents for it, you have my sincere thanks, but if it were up to me, the short story would always be free because it was written specifically to get you interested in what is to come later.

Some time ago, a lot of us had some fun on the inter-web-net writing fake reviews and scholarly articles on the works of pulp legend Emerson LaSalle. Some clever wags even had a wikipedia entry up for him. I always wanted to write crazy pulp sci-fi dime novels novels like those pictured in this post (just to set the mood), but I wanted the author to be an equally outrageous work of fiction himself. Thus LaSalle was born.

"Harry Truman vs The Aliens" stands pretty well all on its own as a short story, but really it's the prologue for the forthcoming LaSalle classic THERE ARE ALIENS BEHIND URANUS, MR. PRESIDENT. More "classic" LaSalle "reprints" will follow.

If you're a blogger or run a Science Fiction website and would like to interview me about this new project, then great. If you'd like to spread the workd on Twitter or Facebook, also awesome. If you'd like to "reprint" an old LaSalle interview from 1956, that can be arranged. Have fun pretending. Check for more info.

But what I'd REALLY like is to give away a bunch of these freebies. Nothing would make me happier than to hear "Harry Truman vs The Aliens" was downloaded 10,000 times.

Thanks in advance for your help spreading the word.

More as doings unfold ...

Monday, January 16, 2012

DON'T BE CRUEL by Mike Argento

This isn't a review site. But once in a while if I like something, I mention it. That's the case here. Mike Argento's Don't Be Cruel is funny and entertaining. It very well could have flown under the radar if I wasn't sent a copy. So now you know it exists. I'd put it vaguely in the Carl Hiaasan school of crime writing. Fast and fun. CHeck it out.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


It's never too soon to pre-order: CLICK

Thursday, January 12, 2012

"Hey wordsmiths, remember, always write what you know." Oh, yeah? What if you're a boring dumbass?

Just as with "less is more" the old chestnut "write what you know" is not in and of itself bad advice. But when we reduce these old adages to bumper sticker slogans without thinking about them, we often end up needlessly limiting ourselves as writers. In a world where lawyers and reporters and ex-military guys are writing thrillers in which the protagonists are lawyers and reporters and ex-military guys, new writers often maybe feel it is their destiny to mine their own lives for the bits and pieces they will cobble together for a work of fiction. Good. You should. It's a rich mine. But it's also a dark hole, and you don't want to get stuck down there.

Don't misunderstand. If you have experience in a combat zone in Afghanistan, then you probably have some great material at your fingertips. Hi-powered litigators probably have some cool stories to tell. But if Gischler were to "write what he knows" you would soon be the victim of a novel about a comic book writer sitting in front of his computer all day who may or may not be in his boxer shorts, sipping his 4th cup of coffee who then watches his wife play Sykrim on the X-Box in the evening after his 8 year old son goes to bed. This novel would be described as the exact opposite of riveting.

Writers too often reduce this advice to simplistic thinking along the lines of "I've never been to Mongolia, so I can't set my novel there." Bullshit. Anthony Neil's Smiths great novel ALL THE YOUNG WARRIORS is partially set in Somalia. He's never set foot in the place, but it reads as authentic as anything.

And Smith's novel is also partially set in Minnesota where he lives and works. That's because Smith knows "write what you know" is a tool ... not a fallback position. He used what he knows for part of the setting of his novel but didn't let himself be limited. Writers cannot allow themselves to be trapped in their own back yards.

Part of the way to tackle the problem is simply to KNOW MORE. It should be part of every writer's mission statement to fling themselves out into the world and soak up as much of it as possible. Trust me, these experiences will find a way sooner or later back into your fiction.

And lastly, "write what you know" comes down to attitude. In a student's work, I can often tell when they are faking it. Hear this: IT IS OKAY TO FAKE IT ... AS LONG AS YOU DON'T GET CAUGHT. And when you start faking it in a half-hearted way, if you haven't done your research, if your tentative and apologetic, it will show. Every time. But your best bet is not having to fake it. Tap into yourself. If you know what it's like to feel joy or loss or terror, then grab those feelings with both hands and drag them to your characters. Knowing YOURSELF is the best way to "write what you know."

If you've been telling yourself "write what you know" keep in mind it's NOT bad advice. Not really. But it's not necessarily bad to write what you DON'T know either. "Write what you know" should never be an excuse to cop out of exploring, innovating and discovering.

I mean, how hard is a Google search? It's a start. Educate yourself. Put one big toe outside that comfort zone.

Good luck.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

"Remember, writers, less is more." Really? Kiss My Ass.

Less is more. We hear that all the time in a bewildering variety of contexts. Writers especially hear it from editors and and creative writing professors. It's even true a good bit of the time. Certainly if you can say something in a sentence it's often better than rambling for a page.

But often when we hear "less is more" what we're really being asked is to tone it down. Don't be so over the top. I mean, we want to be realistic, right? We want our readers to believe what's happening with out characters, setting, blah blah blah. As an example I'll often hear gun experts chastise crime writers. "A shot from a pistol wouldn't really send a body flying across the room like that." *Sigh.* Fine. For you. For me, I want that bastard to fly across the room, blood splattering like an erupting volcano. I want vivid, crazy, garish over-the-top action. Save "realistic" for an Encyclopedia entry. Ever see KILL BILL? Did that shit seem realistic to you? Me neither. But I loved it. So did lots of other people. Not you? That's cool. But the rest of us will continue to plow head on in to non-reality thank you very much.

They key is for a writer to understand the world he's created. It would simply not work for a KILL BILL action scene to suddenly erupt in the middle of a Dennis Lehane or Laura Lippman novel. The simple fact is that Quentin Tarantino knows what he's doing, and so do Lehane and Lippman. But when those in love with "less is more" casually spread around this advice like garden fertilizer, they often fail to differentiate. The simple fact is this: sometimes MORE is more.

A few years ago, I was listening to a public radio story on Cab Calloway. Yeah, the "Minnie the Moocher" guy, and the person reporting the story talked about how MORE was more, how Cab could really energize a room, getting the audience to sing along. The guy would rock the place. More was more. I forget which radio station. I forget the guy's name who wrote the piece. But I will never forget this phrase: "A willful disregard for nuance."

Wow. That stuck with me. That was ME! I had "a willful disregard for nuance." Tons of it. (Emerson LaSalle has even more.)

Yes, of course, subtlety is an important tool in any writer's toolbox. No, going big and loud in every situation is not always the answer. But I am sick and tired of "Less is more" being pronounced in reverent tones like it's gospel.

Here's your new mantra: "A willful disregard for nuance."

Thursday, January 5, 2012

THREE ON A LIGHT: Behind the Music

What is a "collection of linked stories"? Good question. My answer: a collection of stories that go together to tell a larger story. That's THREE ON A LIGHT, a collection of stories that relate the life and times of Private Detective Dean Murphy who takes cases involving werewolves, witches, vampires and other things that go bump in the night -- all as the result of a cursed Zippo lighter. You can read more about the story "Dolls" here.

It's also the story of a grad student who thought he was pretty clever ... meaning I wrote the bulk of these stories as a grad student in creative writing years ago while attending the University of West Florida. I wanted to take the tropes of different genres and mash them up for a pulpy mix of fun. Has this been done before? Yes. By more talented writers than Gischler? Almost certainly. But at the time, I was pretty excited about my "experiment." Ha. Well, live and learn. What I think I got most out of writing the stories in Three on a Light is that it exercised particular muscles I would later use to better effect in my novel Vampire A Go-Go in which there are ... werewolves, witches and vampires -- Oh, My!

So Three on a Light definitely falls into the "early rough work of a fledgling author" category. But that's not to say I think it's bad. No, indeed I do feel there is some decent entertainment value there ... certainly enough to give it away for free which is what I'm doing for a limited time.

That's right. FREE. If you have a kindle.

So click right here and help yourself. Call it a late Christmas present.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Emerson LaSalle coming to explode your brain

As many of you know, I'm a huge fan of Emerson LaSalle, the obscure pulp writer of over 400 novels who became something of a mentor to me until he was mauled by a bear outside his Calamity, Idaho home in 2007. He is responsible for amazing novels like Vixen Shamus, Sheriff Dracula, Time Meddlers, Spaceport Floozy, Sky Hussy and others. I was gratitfied to learn than the sparks of a new LaSalle renaissance had begun, and Big Fake Press was set to begin reprinting his works -- beginning with There Are Aliens Behind Uranus, Mr. President coming later this year.

The short story "Harry Truman vs. The Aliens" acts as a sort of prologue for There Are Aliens Behind Uranus, Mr. President, and you can get the story on kindle for FREE right here if you're an Amazon Prime member. Grab it. Serves as a great primer and intro to LaSalle's work.

For more information on Emerson LaSalle, check out HIS WEBSITE.