2015 has been a fairly uneventful year for me so far, although - the historic summer heat wave and urgently renewed threats of impending disaster notwithstanding - I am really enjoying our relatively new home of Seattle. But frankly, I don't have all that much going on in my daily life these days. My main reason for relocating from the Bay Area to the Pacific Northwest over a year ago - other than seeking spiritual solace and physical comfort in the cooler, cloudier climate - was to hopefully change my life in some proactive way, especially after my movie deal with Christian Slater was put on indefinite hiatus after coming so close I could touch it. But truthfully, all that's really changed so far is the scenery and the seasons, both for the better, but I'm still hoping for something more substantial than that. Now that Christian is busy with his excellent hit new TV show Mr. Robot, I am no longer counting on that 14 year old dream ever coming true, though I'm not entirely counting it out, either. Just moving forward, equipped with ambient therapy and antidepressants. And also six new books.
A comprehensive anthology series of "definitive editions" assembling most of my standalone novels called The Thrillville Pulp Fiction Collection Volumes 1-3 was recently released by Craig T. McNeely's bold new venture Double Life Press, and a fourth omnibus, The Vic Valentine Classic Case Files, collecting all four previously self-published sequels from the 1990s plus a recent short story, is being prepared for publication this September, ahead of my brand new Vic Valentine novel, Hard-boiled Heart, being published later this year or early next by Gutter Books, which released the reissue of Love Stories Are Too Violent For Me in 2013.
As most of you following my exploits know, I've been pursuing a literary career since I was a teenager. At age 52, I still feel distressingly far away from my goals of success. This recent rash of publications provides evidence not only of my persistence, and the faith others are willing to place in my work, but they are sources of great personal and professional pride. They have given me a renewed sense of purpose and hope, and I am very grateful.
|My first interview as an author, for Berkeley's Daily Californian, March 1997|
|Quotes from a recent interview by SW Lauden|
|My "office assistants," Googie (left) and Tiki|
|Cover designed and illustrated by Michael Fleming|
Officially launching at Tiki Oasis August 13-16 in San Diego, The Space Needler's Intergalactic Bar Guide (now available at Amazon) is my second sci-fi collaboration with Scott Fulks after 2012's epic It Came from Hangar 18. This one isn't as long, but it is likewise packed with my typical retro-surrealistic sleaze (though the erotica is somewhat toned down this time for more mainstream appeal) along with Scott's real scientific formulas and theories. The setting is Seattle and a few other American cities in the 1960s, '70, and early '80s, but primarily outer space in general, as several ex-astronauts are summoned for a mysterious rendezvous at the Space Needle, and start sharing their outlandish interstellar adventures, all of which are soaked in monsters, aliens, sex, and cosmic booze. This book is further distinguished by the inclusion of many original cocktail recipes, most concocted by our friend and Forbidden Island Tiki Lounge bartender, Becca Morris.
Scott and I - along with Crescendo Records sci-fi soundtrack maestro Neil Norman - will be co-presenting a panel on vintage sci-fi pop culture on Friday, August 14, then we're appearing together with other authors at the formal book signing on Saturday, August 15 (like we did with Hangar 18 back in 2012). This time we also boast a very cool corporate sponsor for the events: Angostura! Additionally, Michael Thanos, my pal and owner/founder of Forbidden Island, will be mixing and serving our original cocktails alongside Becca at the symposium. It will be quite a festive occasion for all.
Once again, I can promise you this much: you have never read another book like this in your entire life.
Back cover blurb:
THE SPACE NEEDLER’S INTERGALACATIC BAR GUIDE smoothly mixes a wide variety of choice ingredients including retro-futurism, vintage pulp, Space Age culture, midcentury modernism, speculative sci-fi, real rocket science, cosmic consciousness, amorous aliens, universal social issues, and both original and classic cocktail recipes into a soul-shaking, brain-quaking literary blend that will challenge the very nature of existence and forever alter all previous perceptions of reality!
|Full cover illustrated and designed by Michael Fleming|
|A preview of one of the original recipes, "The Whidbey Werewolf"|
|From the Tiki Oasis website|
|Tiki Oasis program ad, also designed by Michael Fleming|
PLUS!...Vic Valentine lives (again)!
Back cover blurb:
THE VIC VALENTINE CLASSIC CASE FILES collects for the first time in a single definitive edition the four novels between Love Stories Are Too Violent For Me and Hard-boiled Heart, all written in the mid-1990s, published by the author himself in 2011, and now available in this official anthology: Fate Is My Pimp, Romance Takes a Rain Check, I Lost My Heart in Hollywood, and Diary of a Dick, plus a new short story, “Brain Mistrust.” From an Elvis-themed sex cult involving a missing Mob brat, to a sordid rendezvous with a homicidal high school sweetheart, to a real live B movie road trip, to a series of lusty liaisons with the wild women of the detective's promiscuous past, there are no experiences or encounters like these anywhere in genre fiction, all related to the reader in our hapless hero's intrepid, introspective, shamelessly self-centered voice. Welcome to the wild, wondrous, wacky and woeful world of Vic Valentine, Private Eye.
Sketches and cover art by Matt Brown for The Vic Valentine Classic Case Files:
|Matt Brown's cover for the reissue of Love Stories Are Too Violent For Me|
Stay tuned for purchase links....
Another highlight of the year so far was meeting Twin Peaks goddesses Sheryl Lee and Sherilyn Fenn at the annual local horror convention Crypticon. Both were very gracious, friendly and still quite stunning. Twin Peaks was one of the earliest reasons I wanted to move to Seattle, because I was so entranced by the moody, magical ambience. Meeting these dreamy gals in the flesh was an almost surreal but very satisfying experience. At a panel interview, Sherilyn announced that the upcoming third season would be shooting locally, that it will include eighteen instead of the originally planned nine episodes (thanks to David Lynch's threat to pull out altogether!), and Angelo Badalamenti would be returning to do the iconic score. All amazing news. I can't wait! Meantime, it was a thrill handing them copies of Love Stories Are Too Violent For Me in person, sharing a bit of myself with people I have admired for so many years.
|With the beautiful Sheryl Lee|
|With the gorgeous Sherilyn Fenn|
I also had the honor of meeting Ken Foree, star of the original Dawn of the Dead, one of my very favorite flicks He was a very funny, friendly, badass mofo. And big.
This past May 31, my brilliant and beautiful bride Monica and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary - and our first in Seattle - by checking out some new and favorite local haunts.
|Breakfast at Louisa's Cafe & Bakery|
|Cocktails at Zig Zag|
|Dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, The Pink Door - with live aerial burlesque!|
|Toasting our 14th with an appropriately named cocktail, "The Aging Swinger"|
Another recent milestone: this past June 11, Monica and I hosted our very first Thrillville show in Seattle with my one of my most popular themed events, SHATFEST: TRIBUTE TO WILLIAM SHATNER, at Central Cinema, a terrific venue with a full menu including cocktailswhere we hosted a Mad Men screening this past March. I chose Shat's immortal masterpiece IMPULSE (1974). What made this gig so unique, besides the novelty of its location, is that director William Grefe arranged his summer vacation around the date, so he was able to appear in person and regale the appreciate audience with his amazing stories of working with Shatner as well as Don Johnson (Cease Fire, 1984), and behind-the-scenes tales of his grindhouse classics including Sting of Death (1965), Stanley (1972), and Mako: The Jaws of Death (1976). It was a pleasure getting to know "Wild" Bill, a truly humble gentleman, as well as his lovely wife Grace, and though I'm not sure I'll be presenting any more Thrillville shows again any time soon unless something truly special like this comes along, his presence certainly made this one-shot emergence from semi-retirement well worthwhile...
SHATFEST tribute video edited by Mark Bowen
Otherwise, Monica and I have been discovering and revisiting some cool new joints around town, especially now that she's successfully completed her first year as a PhD student at the University of WA School of Drama. I'm very proud of her.
|Monica in line to meet one of her political heroes at Third Place Books, 7/28/15|
|Northlake Tavern and Pizza House|
|Monica trying the chocolate popcorn at Cinerama|
|University of WA Club|
|Bastille Cafe and Bar|
|Ivar's Salmon House|
|Back Door at Roxy's|
You may also dig:
PEOPLE BUG ME (2013)
ESCAPE FROM THRILLVILLE (2014)
THE THRILLVILLE PULP FICTION COLLECTION now on sale!
Volume One: A Mermaid Drowns in the Midnight Lounge and
Freaks That Carry Your Luggage Up to the Room BUY
Volume Two: Lavender Blonde and Down a Dark Alley BUY
Volume Three: Chumpy Walnut and Other Stories BUY
|The first new Vic Valentine novel in 20 years, HARD-BOILED HEART, being published this fall by Gutter Books! (Cover by Scooter Harris)|
second issue of DARK CORNERS (Winter 2014)
|My story PEOPLE BUG ME featured in the third issue of DARK CORNERS (Spring 2015|