Tag Archives: NBAS

Arachnophile by Betty Rocksteady #review @bettyrocksteady




Title : Arachnophile
AuthorBetty Rocksteady
Published: 2015
Pages:: 63
Format:: Ebook


Hatred and desire collide when the girl next door is a giant spider

Alex’s arachnophobia may be old fashioned, but he’s able to live a life of relative peace despite it. That all changes when a spider moves in next door. His girlfriend is sick of his attitude and begs him to give the new neighbor a chance. He overcomes his fear, but finds a twisted sexuality in its place. His attraction to the spider affects all areas of his life, and changes everything he thought he knew.

I love the NBAS and have read some excellent work, this is again one of those times. I still get surprised, pleasantly so by how great and original some authors are. Arachnophile is a story that had me enthralled and also emotionally invested. Touching, sad and curious it was like Alice falling down the rabbit hole into a world so similar to ours and yet so different. Bugs and humans living side by side with discrimination of species, mind numbing work and relationships that are unique to say the least. Relatable and yet curious and curiouser.

Well written and enjoyable. Highly recommended.

Thank you to the author for the review copy.

Interview with bizarro #author Andy De Fonseca

So excited to be sharing an interview with NBAS author Andy De Fonseca. Bizarro just makes me happy and Andy is sending me an 8-bit Mario because I’m awesome. I can’t wait to read this one and get my geek on, it makes me yearn for my duck hunt. Ahhh those were the days.




In a world where humanoid bulls patrol the street, wormholes and portals make up children’s playgrounds, and flying turtles produce the most delicious bacon, Margy Plum and Victor Vance are quite content with playing old school video games and designing 8-bit chickens. When they find a cheat code to a strange game called Adamina, neither are prepared to see their video game exploits on the streets of their own town. To their horror, they have discovered a game that controls the universe.

Before they can even choose an alignment, their world erupts into madness-mutated memes terrorize the streets, clouds fall from the sky and giant balloon animals piss on park trees. Victor and Margy flee to the lands of the old internet, where the dunes are riddled with bandit viruses, the saloons are filled with Japanese porn, and Lolcats roam the dusty plains.

While there, they discover a secret. A secret that twists all they know and believe, one that threatens their entire existence. It’s up to Victor and Margy, controlling the fate of everything and everyone, to find the equation at the heart of the universe before they’re ripped from their lives.


Please tell me about yourself

I’m a geek, like many people who have a passion for something. I just don’t mind the title.
Also, I’m into science, heavy fantasy, D&D, cartoons/ anime, and drawing. So I’m that kind of geek.

A deep, dark dirty secret? Something about you that no one knows.

That’s tough. I grew up with three siblings who were always around. This will have to be a recent secret, so the shame will still be fresh.
I ignored my ALS ice bucket challenge. Completely ignored. No ice. No money. Is this deep, dark, and dirty enough? I can’t tell. Judging from facebook it seems like I’ll be going to hell. But for reals, I had just finished donating a lot of money to the New York Stem Cell Foundation. I have bills to pay! And I’m not pouring ice on my head. I don’t negotiate with charity terrorists*.

Jess resides here confession. I was just nominated myself. I don’t want to throw a bucket of water over myself. I was thinking of filming myself in the shower but that seams too … intimate. I will donate but don’t want to share a video. There I said it. 

What are you reading now?

Declension, by Michael Allen Rose. A really messed up book that’s… hard to describe. Highly recommend it, if you can find it. It was a limited edition.
A Feast for Crows, because mama needs her fix.
An Illustrated Brief History of Time/The Universe in a Nutshell, by Stephen Hawking. But I’m always reading this book, because I can never grasp everything. A lot of writing ideas come out of science.

Some favourite books and authors?

An Illustrated Brief History of Time/The Universe in a Nutshell, by Stephen Hawking
Pale Blue Dot, by Carl Sagan
Uzumaki, by Junji Ito. A fantastic horror graphic novel I recommend to everyone including children who have cool parents.
And don’t judge, but I’m in love this YA book I’ve been re-reading since I was in the 8th grade. Little Sister, by Kara Dalkey. It’s a feudal Japanese fairy tale.

What is your workspace and writing routine like?

Workspace: I’m surrounded by books, art projects, trinkets, pictures, and toys. My toys. I don’t have a kid, but one would assume. ((I’ll send you a picture!))

what a mess

Writing routine: At the moment, any free chance I have, including downtime at work. My biggest problem is taking on new hobbies, which cut into my writing time. Currently it’s the Dutch language. Ik ben een banaan.

How did you discover the magic that is bizarro and why did it appeal to you?

Growing up loving fairy tales, fantasy, science, Gary Larson’s The Far Side, and some really weird hentai, bizarre/bizarro is the only thing I know. I don’t think I’d know how to write a straight story. I tried once, then I turned the main subject into a time travelling geisha.

For me, books are the escape from reality. I want to be taken far, far away, and I want to get there in the most effed up way possible.

How did you become one of the NBAS?

My buddy Michael Allen Rose, fellow bizarro author, is part of the community, and I had been living vicariously through him for years. I finally took a bizarro class with Garrett Cook (which I definitely recommend if you want a good writing class!), and Eraserhead Press editor Bradley Sands took an interest. After that, it became the incredible love story we all know and love today**.

What has this year been like for you?

Stressful. Wild. Amazing. I’m tired a lot.

Please tell us about your book The Cheat Code For God Mode

Margy and Victor are two regular video game nerds who end up finding a game that controls the universe. Before they can even have fun with it, they’re running from a mysterious group of assholes, and they find themselves in the Old Internet. While there, they learn a secret about their world, and end up needing to save it.

What do readers have to look forward to next?

That time travelling geisha? I hope to get that going. It’ll be an oral/mixed media history of this geisha Aya Onitori. Each chapter is from a different person who came across Aya during their moment in time, each written in their own way, depending on the person. The poet will write in haiku, the artist will have woodcarvings, the general will have a war report, the engineer will have a log of the space colony, and so on.

I’m really excited about this one, and for all the research I’ll get to do for it.

Your favourite recipe that involves bacon?

Other than hot pan+bacon?

Every time I make this soup, I want to cry from happiness:

The only thing that makes bacon greater is cheese. And this has bacon swimming in it.

*quote from The League
** it’s not a love story and no one knows it


Andy de Fonseca is a geek. She has always been this way, despite numerous attempts throughout childhood to curb her love of anime, video games, dragons, and the unholy songs of science. She also likes Cheez-Its.

She currently resides in Chicago, IL with her husband Myles and tiny dog Sir Digby Chicken Caesar. She volunteers at the Adler Planetarium, where she not only shares her passion for science with others, but gathers plenty of information for her works. Andy enjoys talking about herself in third person just as much as the next person enjoys a nail in the forehead. 


Andy can be found online Web Site / Goodreads

The Cheat Code for God Mode is available on Amazon

There’s No Happy Ending by Tiffany Scandal #review

There's No Happy Ending

The world is rotting away. Bodies are melting, buildings dissolving and it’s only a matter of time before the world completely disintegrates.

Despite the world rotting away, lovers Isobel and Dresden are fighting for the future, and their wedding day. Unfortunately, the rotting world isn’t their only challenge. Dresden’s mother is a wealthy woman with powerful secrets who wants only the best wife for Dresden, and Isobel isn’t it.

Dresden’s mother has him kidnapped and held hostage so he’ll not only miss his wedding, but alters him so he’ll survive the rotting world and live with her forever.

It’s up to Isobel to search the apocalyptic world for Dresden while he fights his mother’s mansion of horrors. If luck is on their side, Isobel and Dresden may be able to find one another before the world completely disappears.


I was quite excited when Suicide Girl and one of this years new bizarro author series peeps Tiffany Scandal emailed me wanting to know if I would review her book. Bizarro check, suicide girl check. She had me there but she buttered me up by saying I was bad ass and when a suicide girl calls you a bad ass you do whatever the hell she wants.

School has had me quite busy so it took me a while to get there but here I am review at the ready.

Bizarro is a genre where one can and should expect anything in fact its better not to expect anything in particular and just run with what the author throws at you. There’s No Happy Ending is like that and can I say not wrong on the title. Yikes!

This world that Tiffany has created is crumbling to nothing and with a pair of lovers who are so much in love getting to your wedding is quite the predicament. Throw in the most horrible mother/mother in law to be who will go so far as to kidnap her son to lets just say change him and keep him from the woman she doesn’t approve of. Though, I doubt any woman for her little boy would do.

A good read and one worth the sample for those who are new to bizarro and certainly one to check out for those who frequently partake.

Available in print or ebook from amazon There’s No Happy Ending is available now

Tiffany can be found online at her web site / twitter / instagram 

Interview with bizarro author J.W Wargo

I do so love bizarro. It’s weird and quirky kinda like me. Okay it puts me to shame but I like variety tis the spice of life you know. J.W. Wargo another bizarro author – you all know how I like to stalk them all, kindly allowed me to interrogate him. His new book Avoiding Mortimer is one that I simply love the sound of one to check out for sure. 16121727



Rest in Processing…

Mortimer has tried his whole life long to avoid everything. He’s estranged from his undead family, stuck in a shitty job, and his only friends are ants. Mortimer decides to avoid the rest of living. But it turns out there is much more to avoid after suicide-Eternity in a body-making factory, a soul-hungry ant blob, God and his minions, the Afterlife, and even what lies beyond it. Aided by a sentient pile of dreadlocks, his acquired skills, and dumb luck, Mortimer attempts to avoid everything-and does a miserable job of it. A bizarro adventure story about life, the afterlife, the after-afterlife, and avoiding it all-especially the parts like working as an aglet-biter, or drinking shots of Holy Fuck.


1. What is something about you that no one knows?

I tried to save a dying squirrel in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

2. How did you discover bizarro and what about it sucked you in?

By accident. I was in the Portland Central Library looking for Absurdist books when I came across the name Carlton Mellick III. I ended up borrowing books by him, Kevin L. Donihe, and D. Harlan Wilson. Reading “Shall We Gather at the Garden?” was what really sucked me in. It’s still one of the weirdest things I’ve ever read. For years I had been writing all this stuff I thought was silly and weird and fun but no one was interested in it, and figured that was just the way of things. All that changed when I discovered Bizarro fiction.

3. How did becoming a bizarro author yourself come about?

I think for myself, it was a much longer process than it has been for others. I discovered the genre in 2008, shortly before I left Portland to become a full time hitchhiker. I was traveling almost nonstop for three years and never found the time to sit down and write anything substantial. I began a novella in 2009 that I intended submitting for the 2010 New Bizarro Author Series, but never finished it. It wasn’t until the Winter of 2011 that I decided to make it a priority to get published. I pitched three ideas to the editor, he liked one and I wrote it. The rough draft was accepted shortly thereafter.

4. What was bizarrocon like?

BizarroCon 2012 was my fourth I attended, and it was quite possibly the most memorable of the four as it was my first as a published author. It’s a small convention in relation to others, about 50-100 people. It’s a very close knit group and more like a family reunion than a convention. It has the standard convention activities: workshops, panels, readings, but every night is basically a big party and every year they hold my absolute favorite competition: The Ultimate Bizarro Showdown. Contestants give the weirdest performance they can. Judges rate the performances and prizes are awarded to the top three.

5. Do you have plans to try out other genre or are you a one genre man?

I write primarily Absurdist, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy stories, but have written straight fiction and poetry as well. My stories tend to fall into more than one genre, but most could be considered weird fiction.

6. Please tell me about Avoiding Mortimer

Avoiding Mortimer is a absurd philosophical tale about a man’s journey through the afterlife. Mortimer, the man in question, suffers from an Avoidant Personality Disorder and commits suicide after a particularly bad day. He discovers that there is a post-mortal realm and it has been corporatized. His journey takes him through several states of existence, including Limbo and Void, and he interacts with an assortment of characters including a glob of partially digested ants, sentient dreadlocks, and God, himself, known as the Afterlife Administrator.

7. What do you go out of your way to avoid?

Quite the opposite of the protagonist of the book, I have an “I’ll try anything once” attitude. I am Neophile at heart and am always looking for new things to experience. That being said, I am a pacifist and will avoid violence whenever possible.

8. What do you have planned next for readers?

This year I will be focused primarily on promoting my book and trying to earn a contract with Eraserhead Press. Over the Winter, I recorded an Avoiding Mortimer audiobook, complete with a voice cast, and am giving it away free to anyone who reviews the book on Amazon, and/or sends me photo of them licking the cover. More details on the giveaway can be found here: http://jwwargo.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-avoiding-mortimer-audiobook-giveaway.html

Interview with bizarro author G. Arthur Brown

I’m pleased to feature new bizarro author Gary A. Brown on today to share about himself. His new book Kitten is part of the new bizarro author series so it’s a must read for me. I’m excited to share the interview and hope you’ll all check out Gary’s kitty cat.


It’s the story of a pill-popping mother, an estranged father, their hapless son and his kitten, which is not a kitten.

No. It’s the story of a kitten that IS a kitten on a Steel Planet he does not understand, accompanied by oddball companions on a quest to return home, seeking revenge.

Stop! You’re both right. Kitten combines darkly personal and surreal psychodrama with zany adventure and absurd satire, adding to the mix a father-in-law who refuses to die and an ugly neighbor with fish for hands. Can Trevor enjoy the next episode of The Oversea Adventures of Pirate Piet? Does Willoughby make a fashionable hat for giant pandas? Only Kitten holds the answers.

Please tell me about yourself –

I’m 36, I’m single, and I’ve been writing seriously for about 6 years now.  I work a blue collar job to pay the bills. I have an AA degree, which I don’t use, and I never pursued further education.  I’ve played guitar and sung in various bands, and I’ve appeared in several low-budget horror spoof/homages from Dire Wit Films.  I find movies and television have been quite influential on my writing.  Horses are my least favorite farm animal and yield-sign yellow is my least favorite color. I also find it quite difficult to turn invisible.

What is something about you that no one knows? –

I’m an expert on Romantic Comedies. I watch just about every one when it comes on cable.  I recently watched This Means War, starring Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine and Tom Hardy. It confirmed my suspicions that Tom Hardy can actually act, while Chris Pine can’t.  Hardy, who has been known to play fighters, tough guys, mercenaries and thugs really stretches himself to the limit in this one. This time he’s a CIA special agent who shoots kids in the face with a paintball gun.  And he’s in love.  You can see the love in his eyes. I bet he really fell in love with Witherspoon.  I probably would, too, if I was in a film opposite her, or even just in the same room with her.

Okay, let me start over. I’m in love with Reese Witherspoon. That’s something no one knows. But I’d rather marry Juno Temple, given the choice. (Sorry, Reese, I know we just spent all that time in the imaginary room together.)

How did you discover bizarro and what about it appealed to you? –

When first getting serious, I was mainly writing slipstream kind of material, stuff that was on the fringes of sci-fi/fantasy without any of the tropes that really strongly appeal to the core audience.  As I looked for places to market my short fiction, it quickly became apparent that without elves, dragons and wizards, I was going to have a hard time placing my material in genre mags.  I was writing more Twilight-Zoney stories, so I started seeking out other writers doing fiction that was also hard to categorize.  Googling led me to the New Weird anthology by the VanderMeers and the Bizarro Starter Kit Orange. I immediately fell in love with the short fiction of D. Harlan Wilson.  I loved how he spun these completely irreal yarns that were smart, weird and fun at the same time.  I guess Bizarro appealed to me more than any other weird genre because it was completely without pretense of being HIGH LITERATURE and it was no confined by traditional genre lines.  You can find Bizarros doing just about anything.

New Weird, on the other hand, is more significantly tied to its roots in fantasy, with sci-fi, steampunk and horror trappings added on.  It’s all secondary world fiction.  NW authors just avoid using elves and dragons and wizards, subbing in more Lovecraftian or Cronenbergian creatures in their place.  I like a lot of that writing, don’t get me wrong, but I find it limiting. Though I may one day write related novellas in a NW world.  But I swear I am never going to do a novel trilogy.

Also, I want to define my vision for Slipstream, which is a term that is sometimes used interchangeably with Interstitial Fiction, or applied to stuff which crosses from genre into mainstream (genre-lite).  I think that, as the editors argue in Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology, Slipstream boils down to a literary effect:  cognitive dissonance. True Slipstream makes your mind try to track the story in at least two different dimensions.  For instance, the film Jacob’s Ladder can be seen as the story of a man on hallucinogens dying in Vietnam, that it is all just his mind trying to fight—and then coming to terms with—the fact that he’s dying.  But the other level makes the angels and demons real, like there must be a mystical element as well.  For one thing, Jacob sure seems to be living in a post-Vietnam-War America in his delusions. He’s hearing music that wouldn’t have been released before his year of death.  And don’t we want the ghost of Macaulay Culkin to really be leading Tim Robbins to the next life?  So, it could be that we will never know what was really going on in that story, or that different parts of the story only occurred in one dimension.And that’s fine. Because the story still works and feels complete. It’s not science OR mysticism.  It could be both (or neither).

A great current example of Slipstream in television is the show Wilfred.  I’m speaking of the American version, because it is the only version I’ve seen at this point. For the uninitiated, it’s the tale of a guy who sees his neighbor’s dog as a man in a dog suit.  And the dog drinks from glasses, does bong hits, plays guitar, uses the internet. All kinds of things a dog can’t do.  But the show makes numerous cases for us to believe that the main character is actually just crazy.  He’s just imaging the dog doing these things, when in reality the dog is simply a dog.  The insanity explanation doesn’t really account for how Wilfred does all of these impossible tasks, though.  Sometimes Wilfred provides information to Ryan that we can’t see how he would have gotten otherwise.  So, we are kept in limbo. And that’s why the show works.  We want an explanation, but we can’t possibly accept any single explanation of the events.  He can’t be a man in a dog suit, and Ryan can’t simply be crazy. So: cognitive dissonance.  It’s what I strive for in much of my writing. And it’s fully compatible with Bizarro.

How did becoming part of this years NBAS happen? –

That’s a long story.  In 2011 Kitten was just a long short story, which was basically the first part of the current novella.  I had had some early versions of it rejected by respectable publications, such as Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, so I went to check out Eraserhead, see what their submission policies were.  And I found this page about submitting to the NBAS, which I was totally unaware of at the time, and I thought to myself, “Hmmm.  If I write a second half for Kitten, I could submit it as a novella for the NBAS.”  So, in June of 2011 I contacted Kevin L. Donihe and I sent him the first half of Kitten. I told him I would be writing a second half, which would actually focus on the kitten, who was noticeably absent from the first half, despite the story being named for him. Kevin responded by saying, “Go ahead and the send the whole thing if it’s less than 32,000 words.”  At the time I didn’t know how to take it, but it turns out that this was his way of saying he was interested.

But instead of finishing the second half of the story, I lost my hard drive that the files were on during some serious personal problems.  I didn’t manage to get back to writing for almost a year.  I had to piece together the second half from bits I had printed out and notes that I had made. But I did finish Kitten in June of 2012, emailed Kevin explaining why I hadn’t submitted it last year, and we picked up right where we left off. I think it was good that I had a chance to sit on the story and develop it further, and it probably turned out to be a better book in 2012 than it would have been in 2011.

Working with Kevin was a great experience.  But I had no idea what was going on.  It’s the first time I’ve really worked with an editor of any kind.  I didn’t receive an official acceptance until we’d already done a few revisions of the story.  It was nerve-wracking, waiting with fingers crossed. But Kevin definitely helped me polish Kitten into the best possible Kitten it could be.

What was bizarrocon like? –

Bizarro Con was possibly the greatest experience of my life.  I’m a fairly cynical person, but as soon as I arrived, that cynicism just drained right out of me.  Everyone there was awesome, and I could sense a genuine community there, unlike other scenes which are all about social climbing and using others for your own benefit.

Like I said, I’ve been in a few bands, and local music scenes are invariably negative, with everyone being two-faced.  “I loved your band.  We should do a show together.”  Translates to:  “I probably didn’t even listen to your band, I was too busy talking about how great my band is, but if you want to book a show for us, that would be great.”  That’s my previous experience of scenes.

Anyway, Bizarro Con was fun and honest.  That’s a really unique thing, I’d say. It’s so full of creative people that it made me glad to be alive.  It made me want to create.

What inspired you to write Kitten? –

It came from a few different things.  It started as a stream of consciousness piece, like most of my writing does.  I imagined an impatient mother, a needy child and a kitten that was not a kitten.  I like word play and I like paradoxes.  From there, I was inspired by a recent bad break-up to make the story about the failing relationship of two self-absorbed people.  A lot of my ideas about parenting, the media and society wound up coming out in the first half of the story.

The second half of the story was inspired by my love of the nonsensical adventure in a Wonderland-type setting.  Lewis Carroll is still one of my biggest influences. I’ve loved the Alice stories since I was kid.  The second half also gave me a chance to do some social satire and make fun of writing clichés.  The character Tamanney was actually based on something Mr. Nihil, who also did the cover art for Kitten, said to me once.  He was trying to describe the difference between the truly weird and what he calls “monkey cheese.” Monkey cheese is random crap that normal people spout when they are trying to be weird. But a character with fish for hands, who lives on a steel planet and eats wild guns, while avoiding being murdered by his neighbors, and disguising himself as a fashionable hat to hitch rides on giant pandas… that’s truly weird.  Mr. Nihil and I have very similar philosophies about weirdness.  He definitely helped to keep my inspired to finish Kitten.

What are you reading now? – 

I’m about to start The Hearing Trumpet by Leonora Carrington.  I’m also reading a short story collection called Sleep Has No Master by Jon Konrath, who I met over at the New Absurdist site back when that was still active.

Some fave authors and books? –

In Bizarro – Ray Fracalossy’s “Tales from the Vinegar Wasteland” was one of the first books associated with Bizarro that I fell in love with.  My new fave may be Kirsten Alene, but I’ve only just started to read her.  Jordan Krall is a phenomenal writer, topped only by the more brilliant moments of Cameron Pierce.  Vince Kramer’s “Gigantic Death Worm” might be the most fun I’ve ever had reading a book, and I look forward to whatever he writes in the future.

My favorite living authors are Kelly Link and Brian Evenson.  I devour everything they produce.  I particularly love that Link only does short fiction, because short stories are my favorites.  (I can think of many perfect short stories, but hardly any perfect novels.) Laura Lee Bahr’s Haunt deserves a mention, also.  American Gods by Neil Gaiman was the book that really got me to write seriously.

Most of the rest of my favorites are all dead:  Jorge Luis Borges, Franz Kafka, Donald Barthelme, Italo Calvino, Lewis Carroll, Paul Bowles, Charles Bukowski.  I love Lord Dunsany’s wild imagination, fantasy before there were any clichés. Robert W. Chamber’s The King in Yellow and Maker of Moons also had a big impact on me and I think they are the seminal works that led to horror as we now know it. When I was younger I read a lot of Ray Bradbury and Douglas Adams.

What do you have coming up next? –

I have to do a lot of promotion for Kitten.  There will be a couple fun contests this year. I’ll be working on a few short stories and novelettes, but won’t begin work on another novel until late fall, probably.   I’m also hosting Featured Flash on my blog (garthurbrown.blogspot.com), showcasing the work of other up-and-coming writers, and occasionally pieces by seasoned writers to help promote the newbies.  I’m really excited about the flood of great material that people have sent me.