Monday, October 15, 2012

At the Drive-In: It's Not Just A Shitty Band Anymore

Good morning, sweetbeats. Your ol' uncle Jimmy has got a big-deal promotional offer for youse, but first, allow me to take a moment and point you in the direction of a couple more articles I have over at Splitsider, your one-stop shop for comedy nerdery. First up, my summer reading list consisted almost entirely of the autobiographies of the cast of The Golden Girls, and I report to you, the discerning consumer, my findings on those four glorious broads in this piece here. Then I also delve a bit into John Candy's curriculum vitae in an attempt to suss out why exactly he did so many not-very-good films, and I'm pretty satisfied with the answers I came up with here, and I hope you will be too. As I type these very words, it seems these links are temporarily broken, but hopefully, that won't be the case by the time you read these very words. Regardless, I hope you check out the site regularly if you don't already, since it's a damn fine internet locale. After all these years of writing fiction, not to mention criticism of crime-fiction and comical books, I am quite pleased that I have this venue to espouse on comedy jokes, a subject which has always been near and dear to my heart. And Splitsider employs many other such comedy aficionados, such as Megh Wright, whose Saturday Night's Children series, about Saturday Night Live alumni, is a must-read. So dig it.

But enough about me; let's talk about me. Once upon a time, in the summer of the year of our Lord, 2003, I took a writing course down at Grossmont Community College and Landscaping Service. Having just read Beowulf for the first time a couple semesters ago, I found myself even more entranced by the hero mythos than I already had been. This particular writing class was being taught by a professor whom I knew pretty well already, and she allowed myself and some of my classmates with whose work she was also familiar to more or less work on our own within our own group. It was a very come-as-you-are affair, and while fun and loose, I don't think any of us actually got anything finished. But in my case, I started what I came to think of as my superhero/gangster novel, entitled Lupo Danish Never Has Nightmares.

As any pretentious literary type will do, I've given a lot of thought over the years as to why I bother with this writing jazz, and why particular tropes and themes tend to fascinate me more than others. Two archetypes that I can't seem to wash out of my hair are superheroes and gangsters. You needn't be even a half-assed armchair psychologist to figure why this is: Both types are filled to overflowing with machismo and independence, qualities that I as a four-eyed over-educated smart-ass with his nose constantly buried in a (comic) book have always felt I've been lacking. So to combine the two into one ball of navel-gazing, two-fisted (in)action, following a very loose interpretation of one of the oldest known pieces of English literature with a liberal dash of Monkees references was a very appealing assignment to give myself.

Bad news was I was too young to even be able to pee straight, much less take on a task like this and do it any sort of justice. So after eight weeks of batting the idea around and getting, I dunno, 20K words or so onto paper, I said to myself, "Look, dude, this is a good idea, but fact of the matter is it's too good an idea to let you have. This is a Glengarry lead, and you're still selling Rio Rancho."

I was, oddly enough for the time, absolutely right. So I took Lupo and I shoved him into a drawer. In the interim, my thoughts often wandered back to this little project, and I took time here and there to mentally plot out the story and occasionally jot down notes. But for the most part, I just let it ferment, like a good beer or a hunk of roadkill.

Blah blah blah and fast-forward to about a year ago. Alec Cizak, the esteemed publisher of Pulp Modern contacted me about a new print anthology he was putting together. Inspired by the drive-in B-pictures of yore, Alec told me he was looking for novella-length pieces that sought to combine two genres that could comfortably fit on an all-night screening down at the Aero. Unsurprisingly, Lupo Danish sprung to my mind. I pulled the ol' boy out of the junk drawer and dusted him off. Surprisingly, though I ended up cutting most of what I had written back when I was an even younger pissant, most of what I had laid down for this story was still pretty good. In fact, I like this story so much that I am currently hard at work expanding it into a full novel, which I expect will set the publishing industry aflame! Or at the very least, it'll singe the publishing industry a bit down in the corner where no one will really notice. Either way is fine with me.

Uncle B's Drive-In Fiction is now available, either from CreateSpace or Amazon. For a lousy twenty bucks, you get not only my thing that I've been babbling about here, you also get stuff like CJ Edwards' voodoo-revenge piece and the horror/road-movie of Matthew C. Funk. Mr. Cizak himself has a story in there, as does David James Keaton and one of my personal favorites, Garnett Elliott.

Now as you and I know, one of the greatest challenges in this small-publishing world of the 21st century is just getting the reading public's attention. There is so much stuff out there that your average consumer is operating just a hairsbreadth from complete overload. In this regard, the Amazon review is the first line of offense. Folks are a lot more likely to roll the dice on something they're not familiar with, with names that are not yet household, if they can see that at least a couple other people out there have rolled those same dice. And as it happens, I'm not above bribing you, dear reader, to help out in this regard.

There's been a lot of talk about sock-puppeting these days, wherein some asshole authors create fake Amazon profiles and give themselves rave reviews and also run down the works of others. That's not what I'm after here: any review I may bully you into writing should be nothing less than honest. If you think Uncle B's Drive-In Fiction is an unmitigated piece of shit, then you would be doing yourself, myself, and others' selves a disservice by not saying so. But I am that confident in the material.

So here's what I'm gonna do for you: You shell out the clams for this here anthology. You read it, you mull it over, you decide whether it's worth your or anyone else's time. You're a busy person, but you peck out a review on Uncle B's Drive-In Fiction's Amazon page, hailing it as either the greatest collection of new fiction this young century has yet seen or as high-grade toilet paper at best. You then fire me off an e-mail at and lemme know. I then, since my story so deeply involves the superhero genre, will ship you one (1) comic book of my choice. Don't expect anything you can slab for millions of dollars one day, but you can also expect a decent read about the pajama-clad adventures of the superpowered, along with a personal note of my most sincere thanks. Allow me to reiterate: this is not an attempt to win your favor. If the story sucks, then it sucks. This is more an incentive for you to take the time and make your opinion heard, so that others will know there is an Uncle B's Drive-In Fiction out there in the first place to even have an opinion on. Dig? You help me get the word out, and me and the other writers will take it from there. And for your kind assistance, you get a nice pretty comical book in the mail. Everyone wins.

So get cracking, lovers. And if you'd be so kind as to spread the word of this offer, I promise I will finally shut up about it. In fact, I will do so riiiiiiiiiiiight...


UPDATE: As of a couple days ago (weeks? Hell, I dunno...), there were some pretty numerous line-editing errors in the manuscript, so Uncle B's has been pulled for the moment while editor-at-large Cizak gets it all cleaned-up and presentable. I'll keep you updated as to when it will be available again, and then it's game on, motherfuckers.

UPDATE 2: Hey, sorry I called you guys motherfuckers before.

UPDATE 3: All right, you motherfuckers, it's back up and for sale. Carry on with your consuming and subsequent reviewing.