To say the creation of my own imprint followed a circuitous path is a gross understatement. It’s basically 37 years in the making, beginning when I wrote the first draft of Chumpy Walnut age 16 in 1979.
Since then I’ve been both published by small presses and self-published; had a real New York agent (Marilyn Marlow of Curtis Brown Ltd.) for over a dozen years that did nothing for me; been courted by a major celebrity editor (Judith Regan of Simon & Schuster) that likewise let me down; had a movie deal with Christian Slater that failed to reach fruition after many close calls over a 13 year long option process; and meanwhile, I gradually made my own brand name, “Thrillville,” on which I’ve built my own social network.
Now it’s finally all coming together.
NOW AVAILABLE from THRILLVILLE PRESS:
THE THRILLVILLE PULP FICTION COLLECTION!
|VOLUME ONE: A Mermaid Drowns in the Midnight Lounge and|
Freaks That Carry Your Luggage Up to the Room
It’s time to take control of my own destiny. I’ve tried every other way, and none have gone the distance with me. Nobody’s fault. Everyone ultimately prioritizes his or her own personal agenda and survival over the concerns and interests of others. And that’s exactly what I’m doing.
I’ll be 53 in April. Any way you cut it, I’m on the downslope of my natural life span. No more time to waste.
These four anthologies, initially published by the suddenly and sadly defunct Double Life Press last year, comprise the bulk of my life’s work. I have four other books on the market from two other publishers (Gutter Books and Scott Fulks) that treat me right, so they’re in good hands. But these books belong entirely to ME. Together they comprise the foundation of whatever literary legacy I will eventually leave behind, for whatever that’s worth to anyone. It’s worth a lot to me, anyway, and that’s the one person I’m really doing this for.
This fantastic cover art – by Mike Fyles (Thrillville Pulp Fiction Collection Vol. 1), Matt Brown (Thrillville Pulp Fiction Collection Vol. 2 and The Vic Valentine Classic Files), and Dyer Wilk (Thrillville Pulp Fiction Collection Vol. 3 as well as the new Thrillville Press logo) – were all created based on my own crude sketches and basic concepts. (Actually, Mike produced the art that eventually became the cover of Volume 1 a while ago, on spec, but it was my idea to add the zombies!). So even there, I took command of my own vision.
|The Thrillville Press logo was inspired by our official wedding logo!|
|My original crude concept sketch|
Nothing feels better that to be in creative control of one’s own art. With all due respect, as it were, the founders of all these small presses out there don’t have anything I don’t have in terms of expertise or experience, but they do have higher overhead and a tighter bottom line. They’re basically just self-publishing collectives, relying on many of the same free DIY publishing tools as the rest of us indie entrepreneurs. What makes them each special is the boldness of their actions. They are devoted to publishing the best work they can find or produce, according to their own standards, regardless of profit margins. That’s my manifesto, too, except I’m exclusively investing in the single veteran author that I know and believe in the most: myself.
Sure, I’m breaking "the rules" by making and abiding by my own, but as they say, whoever they are, necessity is the mother of invention. Nobody else writes books like these. They’re completely unique and don’t fall under all particular genre. I’ve created my own alternate universe. As their creator, I understand and know these books more than anyone, which means makes me the ideal custodian of my own career.
|Interior formatting for all four volumes by Rik Hall|
I am way beyond requiring the validation of strangers. It doesn’t matter to me whether these books become bestsellers or win any awards. That would be swell, but the point is I’m not counting on the acclaim and accolades of others for my artistic and personal contentment any longer. I don’t need fame and fortune to feel fulfilled. It’s enough that these works exist, in the most pristine editions possible, the interiors and exteriors all professionally designed. I will mine my own two-decade experience as a PR man/publicist for other people’s dreams to promote them. But the rest is simply out of my hands. The world can now take ‘em or leave ‘em. Either way, I am very, very proud of them. And nobody can ever take that away from me.
Lesson learned: unless you live in a dictatorship, generally speaking the only power another human has over you is whatever power you give them. I’m taking mine back. It feels great not to be in direct or even indirect competition with anyone, not even myself.
Thrillville Press, like all of my artistic endeavors over the past thirty-odd (very odd) years, is purely a labor of love. I’m truly at the point where if anybody doesn’t dig who I am or what I’m about or the work I produce, it simply isn’t my problem. Self-reliance is the key to professional happiness, at least for me.
It was a long, rocky road to reach this place of peace and acceptance (as opposed to bitterness and resignation), and I’m never turning back.
More than anything, the founding of Thrillville Press represents my survival against all odds. It is manifest destiny in action.
Now back to dog walking and dreaming.
Now back to dog walking and dreaming.
|Artwork by Mike Fyles; photo by Jim Thomsen|
Thrillville Press Facebook page.
Back story on The Thrillville Pulp Fiction Collection here.
Backstory on The Vic Valentine Classic Case Files and The Space Needler's Intergalactic Bar Guide here.
Backstory on Hard-boiled Heart here.
Backstory on Love Stories Are Too Violent For Me here.
Interview in the San Francisco Chronicle 12/24/15
Interview with Scott Fulks and me for Tiki Oasis TV, August 2015
PEOPLE BUG ME (2013)
ESCAPE FROM THRILLVILLE (2014)
Bachelor Pad Magazine #35 featuring my movie column on "Women In Prison" movies!
second issue of DARK CORNERS (Winter 2014)
|My story PEOPLE BUG ME featured in the third issue of DARK CORNERS (Spring 2015)|
|My story COOL RECEPTION featured in the fourth issue of DARK CORNERS |