Archive for September, 2009

Illustrations for “Warrior Wolf Women of the Wasteland”

Posted in Bizarro Books on September 30, 2009 by carltonmellick

I’ve been working on illustrating my upcoming novel “Warrior Wolf Women of the Wasteland” for the past month. Last week I did nothing but eat, sleep, and draw trying to finish these in time. The book will include 42 illustrations. I’ll be posting some images to my blog every week before the book comes out.

Here is the first set of 4





Warrior Wolf Women of the Wasteland should be out in November.

Archelon Ranch

Posted in Bizarro Books on September 28, 2009 by carltonmellick

Garrett Cook’s new book, “Archelon Ranch,” is now available at

archelon ranch


In an overgrown, primeval, jungle-city state, Bernard is a test subject for science experiments. His father and Professor Sagramour have been injecting him with hallucinogenic mud and reality affirming drugs so that one day man will be immune to the insanity inducing, zombifying sentient green mud that is choking the suburbs. But Bernard is beginning to display side effects. Experiencing greater and greater levels of Objectivity cause his consciousness to become one with entities as diverse as pterosaurs and martinis. In the mind of the tyrannosaurus he hears the call of Archelon Ranch, a primal paradise like no other. Will Bernard’s unique talents be enough to get him out of the senseless prehistoric cyberpunk city or will dinosaurs, Sagramour’s Standardizers and the desire to lose himself in other entities be too much?

Excerpt from Jimmy Plush, Teddy Bear Detective

Posted in Bizarro Books on September 20, 2009 by carltonmellick

Below is an excerpt from “Jimmy Plush, Teddy Bear Detective” by Garrett Cook. You can preorder a copy at I recommend doing so right now, because not only would you be getting a great book but you would be helping a new talented writer who could really use the support right now (he’s unemployed and trying to raise enough money to make it to BizarroCon next Month).

If you didn’t read my last blog about this book, here is the back cover description:

“In a city ridden with prostitute furries, cannibal cops and warehouse-sized mob bosses, I’ve got my work cut out for me. My name is Jimmy Plush. I’m a private detective. I’m also a teddy bear. It all started when the original Jimmy Plush entered my life, offering to take my gambling debts away if I agreed to switch bodies with him. But I didn’t know that being a three-foot-high plush toy would be such a living hell, especially now that everyone in town wants a piece of me. All I’ve gotten out of this deal is a faithful Chinese chauffeur, a custom teddybear .45, and a girlfriend who won’t take off the fox suit she turns tricks in. Now I’ve got to keep this town clean and try to track down the real Jimmy Plush without losing my stuffing for good. Only one thing is for sure: Life is hard when you’re soft.

Jimmy Plush, Teddy Bear Detective is a high octane pulp satire. In the tradition of Sam Spade, The Shadow, Dick Tracy, Hellboy and Howard the Duck comes a new kind of hero, a hero that reminds us that the measure of a man is in his guts and his gun.”

Here’s the excerpt:

An Excerpt from Jimmy Plush, Teddy Bear Detective coming soon from Eraserhead Press
“Mr. Plush and the Dead Horse”

Being a gumshoe is stressful. Being a gumshoe in the body of a three foot teddy bear is a hell of a lot more stressful than that. So I decided to take the day off for once. Since trading my body to that bastard teddy bear to pay off my gambling debts, the closest thing I’d gotten to time off was time spent face down in an alley unconscious. And unlike some people, I wasn’t there for leisure. I knew this day would start off with a couple of annoyances, but I thought it would end at that. The first one, I’d figured on. Having no private residence, I had a tendency to sleep in my office. I also had a lapdog of a Chinese chauffeur that had a habit of waiting outside with my limo ready to go and a tragic attempt at coffee in his hand. I stepped outside, and I was right. There was Chan with coffee staler than politics and pictures. I sighed.

“Chan, where do they grow the coffee in China?”

Even for a Chinaman, Chan went stiff.

“They do not grow coffee in China, Mot Honored Mister Plush.”

I took the coffee from him. This was an important part of my morning ritual lately.

“Do you wanna know why they don’t grow coffee in China, Chan?”

He sighed. There was anger behind his slanty subhuman eyes.

“Yes, Mister Plush. I would like to know why.”

I tossed the coffee in his face as I did every morning. The coffee was piping hot. Good old Chan. Even confronted with certain scalding he wouldn’t serve me lukewarm coffee.

“That is the worst damn coffee I’ve ever had. You run somebody’s laundry through the pot?”
Chan folded his hands and bowed.

“Humblest apologies. Does Most Honored Mister Plush require breakfast? Or to be driven somewhere?”

“Does sycophantic Chan want to lose his job and have to make noodles for a living?” It’s important to be firm with one’s chauffeur.

“Chan is very sorry.” He bowed again. Chan bowed pretty often. Unavoidable when a kid hears Confucius in the nursery.

“I’m taking the day off, Chan.”

Chan looked at me as if I were the one that talked goofy all the time.

“Are you certain Mister Plush, there is a lot to be done, there is especially the matter of…”

I didn’t even wanna think about it.

“It can wait. He’ll wait.”

Chan laughed. “I do not think I would take getting shot as lightly as you have.”

“I don’t take it lightly, Chan. I got no leads, and I’m burnt out, so scram!”

Chan shrugged, got in the limo and drove off.

This left me alone. I called Jean and invited her to dinner. She said seven. I said not to wear the fox suit. She said I could go to Hell. I asked if she had any messages for her mother. She asked about the mess in her kitchen. I said I’d see her at seven and hung up, taking my phone off the hook afterwards. Within five minutes, I started pouring myself drinks. I was bored to tears. I shouldn’t have been.

There was a knock on the door. Chan was starting to make me real angry. How could people with so much opium in their country be so utterly against relaxation? I opened my door, wishing the chinaman had made me two cups of coffee. I wouldn’t drink the second one either. But it wasn’t Chan at the door. It was a pony wearing a police cap. There was a whistle and a badge around his neck. It seemed like the sort of thing that would be a bad omen. What did my granny from the old country say about a pony on your doorstep? Made me wish I hadn’t given up my memories during the transfer so I’d know things like that, like if I had a granny or where the hell the old country was.

“Sorry, pal,” I said to the pony, “this ain’t a stable and I’m closed for the day.”

“Listen, Plush,” the pony shot back in a voice that reminded me a little of Gary Cooper, “you don’t like me
and I don’t like you, but I’ve got a problem. I’m gonna set aside my prejudices so we can make this town a little less awful.”

“Not interested. Go find yourself some oats and leave me alone, Seabiscuit.”

The pony got in my face.

“I don’t think you understand. I’ve got three dead city councilmen and a dead socialite. Think about it, four prospective kidnap victims. If they keep bumping off these people, there will be nobody to kidnap and murder’s one per customer, Plush. How long do you think a shameless shamus like yourself’s gonna last in a city where all the victims are already dead?”

He had a point. If I was going to maintain this lifestyle, I couldn’t have somebody icing every client that could pay me. Maybe I didn’t want to maintain this lifestyle, but when you’re a teddy bear with a bad reputation and nothing going for you but a chauffeur an office with “Jimmy Plush, Detective” on the door and a custom teddy bear handgun there usually ain’t many career paths open for you.

“Okay, horsey, you’ve got my attention. Now give me the details. Come on in.”

But before he could, three shots rang out and he was good as glue. If a pony on my doorstep was a bad
omen (and I couldn’t really tell if it was), then a dead pony on my doorstep was an awful one and a dead pony on my doorstep that had a badge was a disaster. I had to sort this out and I needed to do it fast.
Lucky for me, Chan had not really taken off, but had instead parked the limo in an alley nearby and waited for me to change my mind. He pulled up to the curb, got out and gave me a bow. Even though I needed him now, I was not happy about this.

“I guess they don’t have days off in China either, huh?”
Chan smiled.

“And yet, I’m not the one with a dead policeman on my doorstep.”

“Who is he? He knew the real Plush and hated him. Must have been a pretty good egg. For a pony.”
Chan’s smile turned into a frown.

“He was. His name was Horskowitz. He was an honest cop, not into the same things the others are. He tried to put some of them away for corruption, so they beat him up, transferred him into the body of a pony. He didn’t quit. He felt that only showed how much he was needed. In my opinion, he was right.”

I could only think of one man that could be behind this.

“Chan, take me to J.L Wong’s.”

The scenery on the way to J.L Wong’s was pretty much the same tableau of heartbreak I was used to; Furries in species drag ranging from strap-on sporting mice to Murray the Monogram Unicorn waiting for clients against every lamppost, ugly hoods carrying violin cases, businessmen looking for a den where they could chase the dragon, a Chinatown that the Orientals were afraid to even go near. Same hell-on-earth where most of my cases ended up leading. Or was it? There was a giant black cloth covering the side of the street. Something huge was underneath, something the size of a few buildings or a gigantic warehouse. I hadn’t seen any construction or demolition going on last time I was here, and last time I was here was two days ago. Identical obese quintuplets in pink pinstripe suits stood outside guarding it. They were trying too hard to act natural.

“Chan, stop!” By the time I’d said it, he’d already stopped.

I got out since I had a sneaking suspicion that these five gentlemen might have had something to do with my case.

“Nice weather we’re havin’, huh?”

“Yes,” they said in unison.

“So…gentlemen, what’s under the cloth?”

“A carnival,” they replied, again in unison.

“It’ll never work,” I told them as I walked back to the car,“this town’s already too much fun.”

BizarroCon Workshops Announced

Posted in Bizarro Events on September 17, 2009 by carltonmellick

These are the workshops that will happen at BizarroCon:

“Writing High Concept Bizarro”
Instructor: Carlton Mellick III
Time: Friday morning (exact time TBA)

People read bizarro books primarily for the outlandish, crazy ideas. Some books have ideas that are just so out there that readers can’t resist picking them up. This workshop focuses on how to write bizarro books that sell based on the ideas alone. Each student will come up with the most irresistibly strange idea for a book that they can, write a back cover description for it, then the class will critique the descriptions and decide which book ideas are worth their money. The most irresistible books are guaranteed publication by Eraserhead Press.*
Space limited.

“Defense Against the Dark Arts: Preparing for Criticism.”
Instructor: Eckhard Gerdes
Time: Friday afternoon (exact time TBA)

This workshop will be designed to help every writer better defend his or her writing against the inevitable pettiness and jealousies of reviewers and others. We need to identify our own weaknesses and develop cogent and coherent theories of defense that befuddle even the most acute academic into thinking that what we do intuitively is actually carefully planned and intentional. We’ll have everyone bring in negative reviews and criticism they have received in the past, and then find ways to pre-empt those strikes through interviews and promo materials and such, thus disarming the attackers. There are ways of disarming entire schools of attack, and in so doing we immunize ourselves against the critics.
Space limited.

* Even though a book might be guaranteed publication, if the writing is not up to standards the author might have to go through several drafts until it is publishable. Good ideas don’t necessarily make good books. If needed the Eraserhead Editorial Board will offer guidance on how to turn your good idea into a good book.

If you want to take one or both of these workshops, you have to sign up for BizarroCon before the end of September. BizarroCon takes place October 22-25 near Portland, OR

Learn more about BizarroCon here:

Free Anthology – “Bradley Sands is a Dick”

Posted in Bizarro Books on September 16, 2009 by carltonmellick


I found a place where you can download the anthology, “Bradley Sands is a Dick,” for free. This anthology features my story “Bradley Sands is a Dick,” as well as other stories by bizarro writers, which all happen to be titled “Bradley Sands is a Dick.” My story is meant to be read out loud, so I’m not sure how it works on the page. You won’t be able to hear my Bradley Sands impersonation. It should still be worth checking out.

Bradley Sands, if you don’t know, is the biggest dick in the bizarro fiction scene, but we all still love him. This anthology is dedicated to his dickishness. Besides being a dick, Bradley Sands is the editor of Bust Down the Door and Eat All The Chickens, author of It Came From Below the Belt, and wrote one of the most bizarro stories of all time “Cheesequake Smashup” for the Bizarro Starter Kit (blue).

You can download “Bradley Sands is a Dick” here:

Zombie Cat Puppet Making Contest!

Posted in Bizarro Fiction on September 15, 2009 by carltonmellick

This is from bizarro writer Kevin Shamel:

shamel contest

For more information, go here:

If you know any crafties, please spread the word. There can never be too many zombie cats.

Zombie Anthology Now Available

Posted in Bizarro Books on September 14, 2009 by carltonmellick


The zombie-themed anthology with my short story, LEMON KNIVES ‘N’ COCKROACHES, is now available at amazon. It is about a group of children who live like cockroaches between the walls and crawlspaces of a school during the zombie apocalypse. The anthology is called “Zombies: Encounters with the Hungry Dead” and was edited by the great John Skipp.

It is available here:

This is the description:

From a master of zombie fiction and a founding father of “splatterpunk” comes a mind-bending anthology of 32 new and classic stories from both renowned writers and rising stars.

In the tradition of Black Dog & Leventhal’s bestselling Vampires and Ghosts, this anthology of 32 stories is set in a world where the dead have risen from the grave to consume the living. This rich collection showcases the best of the genre—from short-story masters such as Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Ray Bradbury, and Poppy Z. Brite; zombie stalwarts such as David J. Schow and Jack Ketchum; “bizarro” founders such as Carlton Mellick III; and popular up-and-comers such as Max Brooks and S.G. Browne—and will satisfy the insatiable hunger of zombie fans everywhere.

A series of captivating essays about zombies in folklore and in popular culture by John Skipp, award-winning zombie anthologist and author, enrich an already extraordinary collection by discussing the past, present, and future of the living dead. And a resources section encompassing the best of long-form fiction, movies, websites, games is included for any reader interested in learning more about the wider world of the undead.

Sure to sate the hungriest zombie fans with classic as well as contemporary servings of tangled entrails and other unspeakable meals, Zombies: Encounters with the Hungry.

Here are the contents:

John Skipp

Part One:

Leonid Andreyev

W.B. Seabrook

Stephen King

Ray Bradbury

Robert Bloch

Theodore Sturgeon

Steve Duffy

Neil Gaiman

George Saunders

Dennis Etchison

S.G. Browne

Justine Musk

Part Two:

Adam Golaski

Mehitobel Wilson

Les Daniels

Steve Rasnic Tem

Joe R. Lansdale

Steven R. Boyett

David J. Schow

Robert R. McCammon

Jack Ketchum

Kathe Koja

Eric Shapiro

Max Brooks

Poppy Z. Brite

John Skipp and Marc Levinthal

Cody Goodfellow

Lisa Morton

Carlton Mellick III

Terry Morgan and Christopher Morgan

Douglas E. Winter

Adam-Troy Castro

Appendix A:
Christopher Kampe & Anthony Gambole

Appendix B
John Skipp & Cody Goodfellow

Pre-order “Jimmy Plush, Teddy Bear Detective” by Garrett Cook

Posted in Bizarro Books on September 10, 2009 by carltonmellick

(Garrett Cook)

In the first issue of the Magazine of Bizarro Fiction, the bizarro reading community was introduced to the three-foot-tall teddy bear private dick named Jimmy Plush. It sounds cute, but it’s actually quite gritty, dark, and weird. Forthcoming from Eraserhead Press is an entire book about this character, called “Jimmy Plush, Teddy Bear Detective.”

Here’s a description:

“In a city ridden with prostitute furries, cannibal cops and warehouse-sized mob bosses, I’ve got my work cut out for me. My name is Jimmy Plush. I’m a private detective. I’m also a teddy bear. It all started when the original Jimmy Plush entered my life, offering to take my gambling debts away if I agreed to switch bodies with him. But I didn’t know that being a three-foot-high plush toy would be such a living hell, especially now that everyone in town wants a piece of me. All I’ve gotten out of this deal is a faithful Chinese chauffeur, a custom teddybear .45, and a girlfriend who won’t take off the fox suit she turns tricks in. Now I’ve got to keep this town clean and try to track down the real Jimmy Plush without losing my stuffing for good. Only one thing is for sure: Life is hard when you’re soft.

Jimmy Plush, Teddy Bear Detective is a high octane pulp satire. In the tradition of Sam Spade, The Shadow, Dick Tracy, Hellboy and Howard the Duck comes a new kind of hero, a hero that reminds us that the measure of a man is in his guts and his gun.”

It costs $10 (including shipping and handling). There is also a special limited edition. Those who purchase the limited edition, get the book, signed and numbered, and a special origin story. They will also be entered in a raffle to win a one-of-a-kind stuffed Jimmy Plush. This edition is limited to only 20 copies, so get it as soon as possible. It might sell out this week. The limited edition is $20 (including shipping and handling).

Pre-order a copy at Garrett’s site:

This is definitely a book worth getting.

Jeff Burk Interviewed at RevolutionSF

Posted in Bizarro Authors, Bizarro Books on September 9, 2009 by carltonmellick

Revolution SF posted a review for Jeff Burk’s Shatnerquake:

“Shatnerquake is a zombie-movie style gore-fest in print.”

They also did a cool interview with him where they ask him about his favorite Shatner, how far he immersed himself in Shatnerism, and how he spilled the beans on some upcoming titles.

Check it out.

If You Want to Write, You Have to Attend

Posted in Bizarro Events, Writing Related on September 8, 2009 by carltonmellick

With BizarroCon coming up in October, I’ve been thinking a lot about how crucial attending conventions is for writers, whether they’re new or established. If you decide you want to be a writer, you start by just writing for fun, then you improve your skills, then you try to get some work published, then you join an online writing community for support and comradery, then you start attending conventions. If you are at all serious about being a writer, you have to attend conventions. Perhaps you thought writers lived solitary lives? They don’t. Writers live very social lives. You’re not going to get anywhere if you just sit at home all day. You have to go out and interact with editors, publishers, and especially other writers. All the time. Conventions are where everything happens in the publishing industry. You want to be a part of that.

This is why you should be attending conventions (especially BizarroCon):

1) Publishing deals. Most publishing deals aren’t done through the submission process, they are done over beers. Almost every publisher who’s ever asked me to write them a book, happened at a bar at a convention. This is because: a) publishers recognize and make friends with authors who attend conventions regularly, b) publishers feel out writers at conventions and see if they’ve got the right drive and character for the job…like any business deal, you want to get to know the person you’re about to do business with, and c) publishers know that serious writers attend conventions. At BizarroCon, so many new projects and book deals came out of the convention that it was hard to count.

2) Meeting your heroes.
At conventions, you don’t just get the chance to buddy up with some of your favorite writers, but share crazy experiences with them. You might just find yourself in a hotel room late at night getting whipped by a dominatrix with Neil Gaiman and Jack Ketchum. (This actually happened to me, though only I was getting whipped by the dominatrix, they just watched and laughed.) At small conventions, like bizarrocon, you’ll pretty much be best friends with many of the writers by the time you leave.

3) Support your genre.
If you are part of a genre or writing community you want to make sure that it thrives. One way to do this is to attend conventions. Nothing reinvigorates a writing community better than having a well-attended convention, with as many major players in the genre as possible. If you are an established writer you especially owe it to your genre to attend these events. Nothing depresses a writing community more than a convention where most of the major players are absent. If you are a bizarro fiction writer or want to be a bizarro writer, attending BizarroCon at least every other year (if not every single year) is a must. If attendance is too low at BizarroCon then it sends out signals to the community that there is a loss of interest in bizarro fiction. If it is well-attended it inspires everyone involved to take action, write more books, publish more books, promote the genre more, create more bizarro events, etc. Perhaps you don’t write in a specific genre, but you probably fit in somewhere. Even literary fiction is a genre.

4) Education. Conventions are a good way to learn tips on improving your writing skills, developing self-promotion skills, and how to make a living as a writer. You can learn these things by attending panels, joining workshops, or just striking up conversations with those who are experienced in these matters.

5) Making friends. The friendships you build by attending conventions regularly always pay off. They might recommend you to publishers or magazine editors. They might give you tips on how to succeed. They might become fans of your work and promote you to their readers. They might give you advice on anything from getting health insurance as a writer to which publishers you should avoid. These friendships can, at times, make your career. You can never have too many friends as a writer. Although you shouldn’t make friends just to help your career. If you did, then you wouldn’t exactly be friends.

Other things to keep in mind:

1) You can’t just go to conventions and expect them to do anything for you. You have to put yourself out there, socialize, make friends, have a good time, and get the most out of it you possibly can.

2) Attending conventions might be expensive, but they are important. Necessary. You just have to save money for them, even if you have very little money to save. I know several unemployed people who make it to cons across the country every year. I know of people who risk losing their jobs by going to cons when they don’t have any vacation time available, but they still go.

3) You’ll never regret attending a con, but you’ll always regret missing one. Don’t let excuses get in your way. Just go. You’d be surprised how everything seems to work out in the end, even if you don’t have vacation time left and it’s the busiest time of year at your day job and could really use the money to pay off debts and don’t know anyone at the con and will have to miss your wife’s birthday and have a deathly fear of flying and can’t really afford food once you get there and can hardly move because of a freshly broken leg. Just go. If you have enough money in your bank to afford a plane ticket and a convention pass (or have a way to earn that much money by selling plasma or your dvd collection) just buy them. Things will work themselves out later.

For more information on conventions, from a bizarro writer’s perspective, check out Jeff Burk’s blog entry: A New Writer’s Guide to Conventions

If you write or want to write bizarro fiction, you should attend BizarroCon in October. Go to: