WEBLOG EXCLUSIVE:

Thinking Blogger Award

Thank you to Heidi Ruby Miller for giving The Goreletter a Thinking Blogger Award.

The five bloggers upon whom I choose to bestow this same honor are:

#1: Dennis G. Jerz for his frequent posts of noteworthy articles and his openly geeky commentary
#2: Brian Keene for his provocative contemplations about the horror genre and the writer's life
#3: Jeff Vandermeer for his literary savvy about the fantastic and his writing whimsy
#4: Richard Ristow for his deep analysis of horror writing
#5: ALL the Storytellers Unplugged writers for their excellent discussions of the writing life

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Posted by Michael A. Arnzen on May 8, 2007 | Permalink | Go to Main Blog Page

WEBLOG EXCLUSIVE:

Stoker Interview and WHC 2007 Report

This year's Bram Stoker Award ceremony was held last weekend in Toronto, concurrent with World Horror Convention. Winners included Stephen King, John Skipp, Lisa Morton, Gary Braunbeck, Jonathan Maberry and Kim Paffenroth. I was on hand to present the poetry award along with Don Hutchison to Bruce Boston for his winning poetry collection, Shades Fantastic.

Arnzen and Hutchison present the Stoker in Poetry

[Ironically, The Horror Channel has just posted a bleary-eyed video interview with me, shortly after I stepped off the stage at the 2006 Bram Stoker Awards in Newark last June, when I won the award for Freakcidents. Good memories!]

World Horror Convention itself was a blast this year. It was one of the few times my wife Renate attends these things with me, and we had a great time together checking out Toronto. I met many old friends and made new ones, and though I wouldn't dare try to list all of them here, it was nice to hang out with a few fellow faculty and alumnae from our Writing Popular Program at Seton Hill University, including Lawrence C. Connolly and Jean-Loup Benet (pictured below).

Connolly, Arnzen, Benet at WHC 07

Among the personal highlights at the con....

Getting to taste Brian Keene's bottle of Knob Hill during the opening night panel, "What is Horror, Exactly?" with Keene, Gary Braunbeck, Deborah LeBlanc, and the wonderful Mark Morris. Our audience was so large we had to move the panel out into the reception area, and this made it only larger, as snockered and curious passers-by joined in on the fun, and we sported with their comments. We never pinned horror down "exactly" and that was a very good thing, because I think we revealed the amorphous and wide range of the genre.

At the "mass autograph" session, in which all the major writers in attendance gather in a room to sign books, I had the odd opportunity to sign a jacket...which is now for sale on eBay to benefit a horror fan in need. (Go bid on it here -- it's a good cause.)

My screening of Exquisite Corpse drew a great conversation afterward, as we talked about how poetry and other experimental forms make different demands on the filmmaker and audience. At my fiction reading, I previewed some excerpts from my upcoming audiobook, Audiovile (and found it very difficult not to hear the accompanying music in my head as I read aloud).

Young Blood Panel

And at the end of the convention, I sat on a panel called "Young Blood: New Writers to Look Out For" (starring Sarah Langan, Alexandra Sokoloff, Sarah Pinborough, and Violette Malan -- all pictured above, though I wish we could see their faces rather than this offbeat 'last supper' look we've got going on). I assumed this panel would be a polling of who we thought people ought to be reading these days, but instead discovered that the panelist themselves were the ones who were being showcased (...which was fine by me, even though I've been publishing for about 18 years now). After we talked a bit about our work and the new challenges of the industry today, the panel quickly became a discussion about strategies for getting published, since there were a number of new writers in attendance with questions. Of course, one thing a new writer can and should do is attend the conventions in the trade, like next year's WHC, which I can guarantee will be not only informative and career-rewarding, but also just a whole lotta fun.

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Posted by Michael A. Arnzen on Apr 5, 2007 | Permalink | Go to Main Blog Page

WEBLOG EXCLUSIVE:

The Mysterious Faces

Three Mysterious Faces

Just a little fridge magnet frivolity. It means nuhthink!

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Posted by Michael A. Arnzen on Jun 7, 2006 | Permalink | Go to Main Blog Page

WEBLOG EXCLUSIVE:

Grimoire Grimaces

The Grim Grimoire Edition of Play Dead



An incredible book arrived in my mailbox the other day -- my author's copy of the "Grim Grimoire" sculpture-bound edition of Play Dead. You have to touch it (but watch your fingers) to really feel how cool this thing is, but you can get an idea of how cool it is at the Raw Dog Screaming Press website. It even comes complete with a custom-designed deck of cards! I know that a few early adopters have received their copies -- each of which is handmade and thus delivered a bit slowly -- but this collectible book will likely be priced around $180 and only be available from the booksellers who have placed advanced orders. I don't know if you'll be able to get one before it sells out, so all I can say is keep your eyes peeled. (A paring knife ought to do the trick quite nicely).

Rumor has it that the custom card set may be made available for sale separately, since the demo was such a hit at World Fantasy Convention last November. I'll let you know.

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Posted by Michael A. Arnzen on Mar 7, 2006 | Permalink | Go to Main Blog Page

WEBLOG EXCLUSIVE:

Even Zombies Love Play Dead

Cast Members of Hell on Earth Pose with Play Dead

Happy Halloween!

This fantastic photo is taken from a break on the set of Hell on Earth, a zombie film in production by Ted Bohus at Horror Biz Films. The artist behind the special "Grim Grimoire" edition of Play Dead is also a prop artist for this film (also playing a zombie), which will feature one of his famous "Necronomicon"-styled books.

The special edition of Play Dead will priced and orders will be taken very soon. The standard hardcover edition of my novel is available now from your favorite bookseller (though you may have to ask them to stock it) and it's already amassing great customer reviews at places like amazon.com.

[Speaking of zombies...: Naked Snake Press and Shocklines.com are both offering unique special deals on my zombie poetry book, Rigormarole.]

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Posted by Michael A. Arnzen on Oct 13, 2005 | Permalink | Go to Main Blog Page

WEBLOG EXCLUSIVE:

The Dentist on Halloween

He fills a bowl with healthy snacks
and waits for the trick-or-treaters.
But they're never what he expects.
Sometimes it's a burned out Crest kid --
just a skeleton blackened
everywhere but her pearly whites.
Sometimes it's a poor child
who had no insurance --
groaning "trigg or deef"
with his cancerous rictus.
Sometimes it's just his lawyer
chattering incoherently about malpractice.
Sometimes it's an incredible
human drill, screeching in his doorway,
its head spinning exorcist-style
and so fast he can see no features
but knows that it's smiling
with braces bending like the gates of hell.
Sometimes it's just a puddle of bloody spit
peppered with strangely familiar teeth
spelling out FRAUD in the carnage.
Between these visits,
he gently shuts his door,
refills his dish with delights,
and heads back into the basement
for another hit of laughing gas.
He shares this with his dead patient
who smiles with perfect teeth
but never seems to laugh along.

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Posted by Michael A. Arnzen on Oct 13, 2005 | Permalink | Go to Main Blog Page

WEBLOG EXCLUSIVE:

A Good Enough Box

He wants to put his head
inside a cardboard box
to keep him company.
But it's problematic.

Getting the right-sized
carton is proving difficult
because they make
them for hats not heads,
and he tumbles and thuds
inside every one he's tried
so far, bruising him ugly.

Then there's matter
of which side to face up
since sometimes he
doesn't want to look
him in the eyes when they talk
and at other times he wants
to pull him out by the hair
and pretend it's his birthday.

And the cardboard is weak
and the bottom keeps
getting so soggy that the head
is like an upside-down
jack-in-the-box
but it isn't as fun.

So he has to use a liner
but it crackles inside
and this inexplicably
disturbs him.

After he finally finds
a good enough box
he mails the head
to himself just for kicks
but it never arrives
and after awhile
the postman smiles
too much for a man
delivering his replacement
without a box to keep it in.

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Posted by Michael A. Arnzen on May 24, 2005 | Permalink | Go to Main Blog Page

WEBLOG EXCLUSIVE:

Please Subscribe

"I greatly look forward to each newsletter. I don't look at it in progress because I don't like to spoil the enjoyment and shock that I get from reading the finished copy. Sometimes something you've written sticks in my mind and I can't get it out...then I have to get my electric drill and...but I won't bore you with that." -- subscriber, Jennifer Peterson

Along with breaking news, this weblog is really just a place where I post first draft sections of the newsletter as I compose them. You can get it as an RSS feed, if you wish, but to really get the full effect of The Goreletter, please subscribe to the e-mail version. Just look at the archives for a sample of what you'd be getting. In addition to updated versions of the articles that appear on the blog, the e-mail edition includes more unique contests, more personal news, and a section of exclusive subscriber-only discount coupons on magazines, books, and software. It's published only once per month, and your privacy is protected.

I don't count hits on this blog and I have no idea how many people subscribe via an rss newsfeed. But I do know that I currently have over 900 subscribers to the e-mail version, and I'm committed to at least doubling that by 2006. I'll likely be giving a prize to the 1000th subscriber, so if that entices you, sign up using the form in the right column of this page. If you have problems subscribing, e-mail me with a request and I'll set you up.

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Posted by Michael A. Arnzen on Jan 28, 2005 | Permalink | Go to Main Blog Page

WEBLOG EXCLUSIVE:

Left Behind

leftbehind-arnzen.jpg

This collage appears in Eye Contact, the literary magazine I advise at Seton Hill University where I teach. The theme for this particular issue of the magazine was "truth." I clipped words and phrases out of Weekly World News; when I began, I thought I'd build a collage of freaky and bizarre headlines, but I found myself instead pulling out the more "normal" terms and assembling them in an abnormal way. The "shout out" style of the excessive typography, I'm hoping, renders everything strangely familiar. I believe the "left behind" phrase at the center originally referred to that whole "Left Behind" Armageddon novel series phenomena, but for me it seemed to progressively suggest something entirely different about the No Child Left Behind Act as I built this collage around it as a centerpiece. I'm still not sure what it all means, if anything at all.

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Posted by Michael A. Arnzen on Dec 10, 2004 | Permalink | Go to Main Blog Page

WEBLOG EXCLUSIVE:

Books for Bunnies

I can think of no worthier cause than the "Books for Bunnies" campaign to help out the rabbit fund at the Scott County Humane Society of Davenport, Iowa. Right now, Shocklines and author Michael McCarty are running an auction for two books on ebay, with the winning bid going to the bunnies. One of them is Once Upon a Slime -- Mark McLaughlin's hilarious collection of horror-comedy, which includes a story we collaborated on, "Throb." The other is McCarty's excellent gathering of interviews, Giants of the Genre. Both copies are signed and highly collectable. Hop to it -- bidding ends soon!

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Posted by Michael A. Arnzen on Oct 25, 2004 | Permalink | Go to Main Blog Page

WEBLOG EXCLUSIVE:

Act Quick!


I just saw that the sold-out hardcover 10th anniversary edition of my novel, Grave Markings, is the deal-of-the-day at Shocklines.com. Order it TODAY (9/17/04) to get $12 off (plus a free bonus book, too!).

UPDATE: This deal has officially ended, but you can still get Grave Markings and a free bonus book if you order the title through shocklines.com.

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Posted by Michael A. Arnzen on Sep 17, 2004 | Permalink | Go to Main Blog Page

WEBLOG EXCLUSIVE:

What Shocks You?

electric chair
OLD SPARKY - Nothing shocks you. Fire it up, you
can take 100 JOLTS and then some! In fact,
they'll have to throw the switch 2 or 3 times
to finish you off. Ride the lightning baby! For
more info on this book visit
http://www.rawdogscreaming.com


What shocks you?
brought to you by Quizilla

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Posted by Michael A. Arnzen on Sep 9, 2004 | Permalink | Go to Main Blog Page

WEBLOG EXCLUSIVE:

Splitting the Brain

we cut corpus callosum
for dinner that eve
half for you, half for me
an equal share
of hemispheres
but I saw that look
behind your eyes
when you searched around
my face, clutching your knife
asking please for seconds
after I chewed my last bite



Explanation: I found that list of offbeat phrases in the "Strange Visitors" contest awhile back amusing, and began to think of them as titles for poems...I may do more based on the others, if/when time permits. (Hint: click on the "Weblog Exclusive" department to read all the others.)

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Posted by Michael A. Arnzen on Jul 15, 2004 | Permalink | Go to Main Blog Page

WEBLOG EXCLUSIVE:

Stoker Award Photo Album

Here's my long-awaited web album, full of new snapshots from my experience at the HWA Conference & Stoker Banquet:

http://gorelets.com/gorelets/Stoker04_WEB/

You can also read the press release that my school, Seton Hill University, is sending out far and wide to celebrate the achievement. Nice!

Enjoy!
-- Mike Arnzen

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Posted by Michael A. Arnzen on Jun 10, 2004 | Permalink | Go to Main Blog Page

WEBLOG EXCLUSIVE:

Girl on Crutches

she won't say how she broke them
but the boys don't hold the doors for her
anymore and nobody signs her cast

her armpits ache from the handles
and she feels as hollow as the numb
caverns inside the plaster that pinch her

and the bones will set crooked --
her legs perpetually as bent
as her mind -- and his wrung neck

which neither splint nor plaster
can hold fast or bind any stiffer
than his own rigid musculature


Explanation: I found that list of offbeat phrases in the "Strange Visitors" contest amusing, and began to think of them as titles for poems...I may do more based on the others, if/when time permits. (Hint: click on the "Weblog Exclusive" department to read more.
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Posted by Michael A. Arnzen on May 26, 2004 | Permalink | Go to Main Blog Page

WEBLOG EXCLUSIVE:

Gore-o-gami!

I've had the kind fortune to exchange e-mails recently with J. Jules Vitali, the artist responsible for StyrogamiŪ -- exquisitely hand-carved mini-sculptures made from styrofoam cups. As a gesture of kindness, he created a wickedly clever sculpture called "Gorelet" (image below) -- a one-of-a-kind piece of art that will be available to some lucky soul who randomly receives it in an Art*O*MatŪ machine -- a repurposed cigarette machine that now dispenses art instead of cancer (reminiscent of Gumball Poetry). I think this is very cool and I'm honored by Vitali's gift. Please drop by his website to see more of his excellent creations...you'll be surprised! I love stuff like this. "Gorelet" looks like something that would chomp the fingers clean off of who over opens the package!

gorelet-styrogami.gif
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Posted by Michael A. Arnzen on May 10, 2004 | Permalink | Go to Main Blog Page

WEBLOG EXCLUSIVE:

Moldy Heart

I kept his red blood beater
in my heart-shaped box
lined with green velvet
as my personal valentine --
a gift I could open each year.

But now his misshapen heart
is velveted with a green mold
lining the gaping ventricles
like four obscene mouths --
chambers awaiting some small
treasure I no longer have.


Explanation: I found that list of offbeat phrases in the "Strange Visitors" contest amusing, and began to think of them as titles for poems...I may do more based on the others, if/when time permits.
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Posted by Michael A. Arnzen on Apr 28, 2004 | Permalink | Go to Main Blog Page

WEBLOG EXCLUSIVE:

Open Caskets

the creak of a casket, opening,
sounds awfully undramatic:
the coffin nails slide out brown
and loose on lubricated rust
when the wood bends wet with worms.
The box is as soggy as the body inside --
curing fetid in its pillow of shadow,
wasting

but the smell is what gets you:
pungent as the green snot and silt
cracked out of a sun-roasted oyster
shell, and the information you sought
out here in the soil is no longer worth
chasing

so you scrape dirt back into the hole,
not bothering to nail the limp box shut,
crushing the body beneath the wood
gentle as wet cardboard collapsing
in a trash bin, and you wonder how
one goes about building a better
casing


Explanation: I found that list of offbeat phrases in the "Strange Visitors" contest amusing, and began to think of them as titles for poems...I may do more based on the others, if/when time permits.
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Posted by Michael A. Arnzen on Apr 25, 2004 | Permalink | Go to Main Blog Page

WEBLOG EXCLUSIVE:

Notice to the Weblog

The Goreletter features discount coupons on horror-related books and merchandise. In the interest of exclusivity, I have decided to only include these coupons in the e-mailed version of this newsletter, so even if you're a fan of the blog, if you would like the discounts, please subscribe to the e-mail edition anyway.

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Posted by Michael A. Arnzen on Feb 15, 2004 | Permalink | Go to Main Blog Page
Visit Arnzen's official website at gorelets.com
Welcome to the draft in progress of
THE GORELETTER:
Arnzen's Weird Newsletter

A BRAM STOKER AWARD WINNING NEWSLETTER

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this list's archives:

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WEBLOG EXCLUSIVE
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Browse Back Issues

MY LATEST BOOKS


ON WRITING HORROR
On Writing Horror is a huge anthology of advice on how to write scary stories by famous members of the Horror Writers Association. Arnzen's article, "Degrees of Dread," discusses creative writing workshops and other ways that horror fiction appears in higher education.

PROVERBS FOR MONSTERS
Proverbs for Monsters is a 300 page omnibus of the very best short stories and poems by Michael Arnzen, culled from over seventeen years of award-winning scary storytelling.

100 Jolts: Shockingly Short Stories
100 Jolts: Shockingly Short Stories is a collection of one hundred dark short-short stories, now rereleased in expanded hardcover. Bruce Holland Rogers calls it "A substantial library of horror fiction in one book!" Look also for the fun audiobook version, Audiovile, available on iTunes!

Browse my entire catalog of published titles.


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