Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Out of the Gutter Online: Trent Zelazny Interview

Out of the Gutter Online: Trent Zelazny Interview: Author Trent Zelazny has earned wide acclaim for his noir writing and prose style. With works such as Fractal Despondency and To Sleep Gent...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Interesting and a little sad

So I did a little social experiment, I guess you could call it. I did it solely for myself but decided to share the results here. I'm not going to make any conclusions or judgments other than what the title of this post is. Really, that's all it was, interesting and a little sad.

So, a friend of mine (a good friend) has been in dire financial distress, and appealed to the good nature of Facebook friends for help in order to survive the month. Having no money myself, I auctioned a couple of books to help. But, for my own amusement, what I did was post about the friend's troubles, and talked about the two-day auction I was doing to help her. I don't know how many people saw this post and didn't comment or anything. Within twenty minutes of posting this, I then posted a picture from lolcat.com. I don't usually post pictures from lolcat.com.

Results: Three people liked the post about a friend in distress, and I received one bid on the books (thank you very much to that person, by the way). The picture I posted from lolcat only about twenty minutes later received twenty likes.

My immediate thought in a nutshell. We constantly talk about helping one another, and it's great in theory, but just like Mildred in Fahrenheit 451, most of us would rather just look at lolcat than acknowledge that there's really something going on. When I see Facebook posts about compassion, helping others, or those grizzly pictures that are intended to give us perspective, I'm going to remember this little personal experiment I did.

As I said, interesting and a little sad.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mirages

Hooray! Here is the final cover for Mirages, my first anthology as an editor, created by the fantastically talented Neil Jackson. Pretty spiffy, eh? Look for it in August, in paperback and ebook.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Trent, write a fucking novel

I hear this a lot. "Your stuff is short, why don't you write a fucking novel?"

This is very easy to answer. Do one smidge of research and you'll find I have two full-length novels out with a third coming in September. Like everything else in the world, before you ask a question of this type, simply check first. What you're really saying is "I don't really give a frog's fat ass about what you write, but I've heard you write a lot of short stuff. Here I can sound smart and big by asking this guy a question that will make him feel uneasy, and, shit yeah, I don't even have to do the simplest research."

And I do appreciate how often people swear when saying this to me.

“You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.” ―Harlan Ellison

Too Late to Call Texas

Yeah, neat.

Coming September 25th, 2012 from Black Curtain Press.

TOO LATE TO CALL TEXAS
          A Novel By
        Trent Zelazny


If only he hadn't found the hat.  Or the dead guy.  Or the steamer trunk.  Or the rag doll.  If only he hadn't found any of these things, everything might have been okay.  But he had found them.  All of them.

Now Carson Halliday is on the run, trying his damnedest to keep one step ahead of a dangerous gang of outlaws and mad men.  A run leading him from town to town in the dry wasteland of the southern New Mexico desert, over dark hills and dangerous plains, through shantytowns and city streets, and, most frightening of all, into the mysterious depths of the human heart.




“Trent Zelazny’s work is as powerful as a .45 slug and as memorable and pleasing as a scar obtained during feverish sexual activity. One of the best of the new breed of writers.”
                                                               —Joe R. Lansdale

Friday, July 6, 2012

Butterfly Potion Afterword

As I wrote this a bit late, it will likely find its way into a later edition of the book, but for those of you who purchased it already (thank you), or for those of you just simply interested, here is the afterword I've written for Butterfly Potion.


Afterword


It’s been nearly three years since my life began going down the shitter, and just over two years since an ethereal hand depressed the flush handle.  I was clogged in a toilet of alcoholism and self-loathing, seeking something, kidding myself that I could make a better life for myself if I could just find a place to be.  This was the going down the shitter part.

So, what do a lot of people do when their brain is tainted with poison?  They try to run away from it, and in the process make a lot of bad decisions.  You see, I was also in love.  Deeply in love.  And the woman I was in love with was in love with me too.  Fantastic!

And so I ran away from what I thought my problems were.  I moved to Florida and was in love.  But there’s the old adage, “Wherever you go, there you are.”  I had escaped nothing, only brought my troubles with me and incorporated my Floridian friends into it, as well as the woman I planned on spending the rest of my life with.  I took my shit and, never meaning to, like a monkey, I flung it at them.

I’m not going to get too much into the story, but the problems I thought I could escape wound up putting me in jail.  They put me on the street and in flophouses, where I was once offered a $20 hooker, which I passed on, even with nearly a fifth of rum in me.  Before I left New Mexico for Florida, my friends had been concerned.  I figured if I could just get out, everything would be okay.  But the title of a Richard Stark novel became very true for me: Nobody Runs Forever.  I lost many of my friends, and my fiancĂ© currently wanted little to do with me.  Two friends, Gerald and Loretta Hausman, were the only ones who saw the severity of my problems.  Unlike some of the others, they didn’t shut me out.  They brought me in and did what they could to help me.  I still struggled with drinking but it tempered itself a bit, and I got set up in St. James City, which is not really a city, but half of an island.

Then it happened.  I received a phone call from my fiancĂ©’s mother.  My love had put a pistol to her head and pulled the trigger.  That was in April of 2010.

I don’t want to bore you, the reader, with my tales of woe, so I’ll wrap this part up.  I struggled along for another two months, then decided to give up.  On the 4th of July I hacked at my wrist with a serrated kitchen knife until there was more blood than in a Herschell Gordon Lewis flick.  My life was saved by a freak occurrence.  There’s more to this story but that’s all I feel like telling you right now.

I came back to New Mexico and started writing—something I hadn’t done for a while.  I was still drinking, but getting more and more tired of it.  The first story I wrote had no title.  It was a novella and it dealt with my addiction, and with the loss of the woman I loved.  In the end I decided to self-publish it on Kindle, and it was later picked up by a small press for print release.  Ten minutes before I posted it into the nebulous Amazon database, I realized I still didn’t have a title.  I shrugged and said, “Fractal Despondency.  Yeah, sure, that sounds good.”

Immediately after I wrote another novella with a similar theme, though less addiction and more dealing with loss.  I called it Shadowboxer.

Eventually I wrote a follow-up to Fractal Despondency, hoping to give that character a somewhat happier ending, called A Crack in Melancholy Time, though I hardly even count it in the catalog of my work.  Where Fractal Despondency and Shadowboxer worked, A Crack in Melancholy Time utterly failed, in my opinion.  But there was a theme in these stories.  A clear theme, and that theme was grief, shame and blame, self-reproach.

I blamed myself for her suicide for a long time.

And then I got sober.  I realized there was nothing I could have done.  I miss her more than words can describe, but it wasn’t my fault.

My writing began to change.  Still on the dark side, still self-analytical and critical, but I wasn’t wallowing anymore.  I wrote a couple of books and some short stories and began attempting to put together an anthology.  Things seemed to be getting better, mostly because they were getting better.  But something nagged me.  Fractal Despondency and Shadowboxer, the characters continued speaking to me.  They no longer haunted me like they once had, but they spoke to me, and eventually convinced me to head back down that painful road again.  But this time, as I started to write, I noticed how, though similar in many ways, my perspective had changed.

Butterfly Potion is the literary finale in a treacherous time in my life.  One I wish I’d never had to experience, but one I did experience.

As I said, even though it’s out there, I don’t much count A Crack in Melancholy Time.  Fractal Despondency started me on my journey.  Shadowboxer took me down even deeper and darker, and Butterfly Potion, to me, is the cork in the bottle of an emotional wine I’ll keep down in my own personal cellar, reminders of what was, what could’ve been, of how weak I can be, and how strong I truly am.

I’ve rambled long enough.



Writers & Publishers, Bill & Ted

The biggest publisher I've worked with fucked my ass with a red-hot poker so deep and hard I was pissing shit-laced fire for months. A couple of the others, while not especially bad, have been rather disappointing. This is just a short little rant, and while I'm no literary god, I think it's important to say that if you genuinely like a publisher, even if the terms aren't always perfect, be thankful.

A problem with a lot of the small presses these days is that they want to think of themselves as big publishers, because, well, the big publishers at the moment aren't even publishers, but factories. So, yes, it's cool, that some of the smaller guys are trying to step in and be actual publishers. One problem I see, though, is that many are turning into a cross between actual publishers, and factories with few slaves to work in their sweatshops.

One great thing about small presses should be (and still is in a lot of ways, with some of them) that they actually care about the books they put out. They're putting the book out because they genuinely like the book. But several are starting to behave like the big ones, where they just turn you into another number, and the rights to your work gets tangled up with people who, while human, thank God, basically toss it aside.

Again, I'm no super genius or anything. I'm just speaking from my own experiences and stories I've heard from other writer friends.

So here it goes. My advice to small press publishers. Give a damn about the books you're putting out. In this day and age, with the technology that is now available, people can do their own books and don't necessarily need you. Most of the same distribution channels are open whether you're labeled as "Publisher" or "Guy Who Writes and Masturbates a Lot." I'm not saying we don't want or need small presses. We very much do. But if you're not even offering an advance (or are offering a very small one), don't treat your author's poorly. A small press is too small for any author to simply become a number. If it wasn't for writers there would be no publishers.

We still need you, yes. And yes, we still very much want you. But it's a bit like when you fall in love. If the other person doesn't love you back, it doesn't do anybody a damn bit of good.

And a quick note to writers: if you are with a small press, treat them like people. They're working hard. This almost comes off like a contradiction, but it's a two-way street. If you don't wanna be one of those numbers, don't bitch at them and treat them like they owe you. They don't have to take on your book.

Okay, I guess this was a long way of saying something I could have simply said by quoting Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure:

"Be excellent to each other. And...PARTY ON, DUDES!"

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Butterfly Potion now available

Yes, it is finally available. Might I suggest picking up a copy, either at Amazon or direct from Nightscape Press? Ebook everywhere, and while Amazon will have the print version, it isn't up yet, though you can get a paper copy from Nightscape. Huzzah!