Sunday, November 23, 2014

THE HOUNDS OF DOOM ARE COMING AND OTHER BUSINESS

Work, work, work...at least there is work. There was a time when the well was mighty dry. I spent years-nearly a decade, in fact- trying to learn to write again. When I turned twenty I published my first book, then I did eight more "book-zines", then I let drinking and depression destroy my creativity and derail all my momentum. Baby steps on broken legs from there. Now my mind seems to be working better than ever, but instead of depression sweeping my legs, it's time. There's never enough. Fine, I'm not the only one who's an enemy of time. I think that given my job schedule, I'm lucky to have anything done. Two e-books are currently out right now, Conspiracy of Birds and Lose This skin and by the first of the year I'll have my next novel, City Long Suffering, out in one format or another. For each project that gets completed I have ten more rotting on my hard drive or in notebooks. At least I've got work to sustain me for years to come, but with a little more time I could recapture a bit of the old prolific me.
And then there's money. That'll never get much better, I'm sure, but I am hopeful that a bit of help my come my way. I've opened a Patreon account. Similar to Kickstarter, but it's more of a subscription to my work, paying a monthly installment to help keep me going and getting a bit back for your contributions. The money will help build St. Rooster Books into a sustainable niche publisher. Contributors will get exclusive previews of upcoming work, first shot at limited edition books, and from time to time free artwork from King Vulture.
I already feel embarrassed for opening the Patreon account. I'm not into this kind of thing, but looking down the road at my slate of projects, and seeing how fast cash flows from my checking account, I feel pretty grim about my prospects of releasing my work outside of Smashwords. SO, thank you. Especially if you're still reading at this point. Let's move on from the money thing.
I've got this little book-zine coming, the first one I've done since 1998, it's called Hounds of Doom, maybe you've read the blog?  I'm releasing a limited edition illustrated and hand numbered collection this January. It will feature new HoD writing and an essay on metal. When it's ready, I'll be squawking about it across all three of my blogs. 

Sunday, February 09, 2014

CONSPIRACY OF BIRDS IS NOW AVAILABLE

My new e-novella Conspiracy of Birds is now out. No really. I've announced this book almost twice a year since 2007, only to cancel it and start a new draft. Call it OCD. Call it cold feet. Considering how hard I've been working, bouncing back and forth between four major projects, it was important to me that the first book would come out guns a'blazing.





With Conspiracy I've taken some of my reoccurring nightmares and strung them together in an avant-noir misadventure.




I hope everyone checks it and I'd love your feedback!


Here's a sample chapter...



DOUBLE CROSS INN
Past the gray whores and gold-toothed pimps I slipped into the Double Cross Inn. It was near the tracks and relatively safe. The regulars' lives were open books, mainly because they couldn't stop talking about themselves.
The fight was on the black and white bolted to the wall behind the bar. A young kid named Clinton was pummeling Reid. Reid’s feet seemed cemented to the mat. When he went to his knee for the third time Whiskey Paul slammed his fist on the bar.
"Christ Awmighty! I can't watch poor ol' Reid get his ass handed to him like this."
"Me neither." The bar tender shook his head and changed the channel.
Outside the White House, journalists were gathered before the podium waiting on the President. After a moment of looking over his shoulder an advisor signaled the band, just off camera, and they began a fast, swinging "Hail To The Chief". President Presley jogged up to the podium, dropped to one knee and raised his hands in victory. He leapt to his feet, eyeing the journalists mysteriously. He shrugged his shoulders, shook his fingers and pointed at them and the reporter from channel ten fainted. He stepped back to the podium and leaned in close to the microphone, wiping sweat off his brow with his scarf.
"Thank you. Thank you very much."
A cheer went up and he stepped back, raising his hands in victory, soaking up the adulation.
"Aw, turn that garbage off!" The bastard grabbed my arm. "Are you listening to this dog humper?" I pushed his hand off me. "You call that wind-bag, dope fiend, make up wearing, hair dying, ass shaking faggot a president? Why, when I was the damned president, I had-"
"Richard! I warned you, next time you bother the customers, you're cut off!"
The bartender took Richard's Manhattan and scooped up all his change off the bar. Richard's bottom lip began to quiver, and then his shoulders began to shake. His eyes filled with tears.
"I-I'm sorry...Please...Don't cut me off...I'm not a bad guy..."
"Yes you are. You are a bad guy, Richard. And you need help. Go to AA or go to hell. Just go." He turned his back.
Richard slowly rose from the bar and backed away, staring at the spot where his drink had been. He kept muttering in a small, defeated, meek voice that he was sorry. He eventually disappeared through the door and into the fog.
copyright 2014 Tim Murr/St Rooster Books


Monday, April 15, 2013

Winged Shoes and a Shield by Don Bajema




Description from Amazon;
"Hallucinating between childhood and manhood, Eddie Burnett is both hero and anti-hero in this hard-hitting collection of linked stories. Coming of age in California's post-war suburbs and freefalling through the turbulence of the sixties and early seventies, Eddie's transformation from a boy's innocence to a man's hardened wariness is captured in lyrical, emotionally raw episodes. He navigates the minefields of American masculinity in a series of disturbing, yet strangely uplifting odysseys, from hope to despair and back again."

Winged Shoes and a Shield collects Don Bajema's first two books, Boy in the Air and Reach. If you're not familiar with Bajema then you need to pick up this book. 

I picked up Boy in the Air after getting the spoken word collection Our Fathers Who Aren't in Heaven (Widow Speak) which featured Bajema, Lydia Lunch, Henry Rollins, and Hubert Selby. As much as I love the other three Bajema's set had a greatest impact on me.
Boy in the Air was a landmark book for me. At the time I read it I felt like a complete fucking failure as a writer. I'd just finished reading Selby's The Demon which made everything I was doing seem childish and pointless. I went six months without writing when I started reading Boy. 
What Bajema did for me was shout from ringside to keep fighting, even if I was going to lose, even if I was going to get my nose broke and lose all my teeth, I had to keep fighting. And so I did. I don't know if I'll ever do anything that can touch Don or Selby, but by God I'll die trying. 
Boy and Reach are to of my most treasured books. I've reread them numerous times and have excitedly recommended them to anyone I know. Just read Spilt Milk from Reach, there is magic in those words.


Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Lose This Skin is Live


So this is available. My first E-book, Lose This Skin, ready on all formats or you can get it direct from Smashwords rightHERE. (The ISBN # is 9781301974634)
King Vulture did the cover, by the way.
This collects the best of my short work from 1994-2011, including short stories, poetry, vignettes, lyrics and articles. I split it into two parts, the first being selections from my early book-zines and a few pieces that went unpublished. The second part pulls together my work from about 1999, including  two pieces I'd written for Sponic Zine (one being published for the first time), some unreleased short stories, and one that had been published by Thug Lit back in '07.
I put it together to be a short fast read like the punk albums that originally inspired me. And it's cheap-$1.99.
I've got to say, as embarrassing as it sometimes was to go through the old books, I'm pretty excited that they have a new life. Also, as much as I love having a physical book to hold, it is pretty damn cool that I can stay indie and have my work reach a global audience with the click of a button.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Lookin' For Someone; Lydia Lunch

Back in my late teens, when I could run off to the record store on a weekly basis, I'd carefully go through bin after bin at three different stores in Knoxville (Raven's, Under Dog's, and the Disc Exchange, sometimes Lost and Found). I'd be armed with an ever growing list I'd make from reading Maximum Rock and Roll, Flipside, and Thrasher. I had been a kid obsessed with record collecting since getting my first three albums (Aerosmith's Rocks, Michael Jackson's Bad, and Los Lobos soundtrack to La Bamba). Most of my music came from Wal Mart, but one Christmas I got to go inside my first real record store in Knoxville (11 years old) and bought my first album for the first time with my money and no input from parents (Alice Cooper's Trash). The choices were beyond overwhelming; so many artists I'd never heard, incredible, mouth watering cover art, racks of t shirts other kids would wear to school that I was always jealous of. I had two five dollar bills and begged to go in there with the sole intent of buying Trash, based on the video for the first single, Poison. I walked out with my head swimming, sooooo many things I needed.
I didn't get any better as I got older, especially after I turned sixteen and got a part time job bagging groceries. Before that I'd save my lunch money and not bother to eat most days. I was having to pay for own gas and insurance right from the start, but the rest was earmarked for music and comics. If I saved a dime it was because I didn't have enough gas to get to Knoxville.
These excursions to K-Town always produced gold. At the time I was primarily listening to punk rock-mainly from the early 80's hardcore era, but I'd also gotten into spoken word via Henry Rollins' Talking From The Box. Listening to Rollins and reading interviews became another source for my ever growing list. One name I heard connected to him was Lydia Lunch, who's albums were hard to find. Tenacity paid off and I found a three disc spoken word set (Crimes Against Nature) and the album Queen of Siam. I loved both, but was more struck by the spoken word album. I was strongly attracted to the no-holds-barred way she told her stories and the sultry boldness of her voice. Tough guys talking dirty were a dime a dozen, but tough gals, well I needed more of those in my life.
I found more of Lunch's albums (Honeymoon in Red and Oral Fixation) and books (Incriminating Evidence and Adulterers Anonymous w/Exene Cervenka) on my first trip to Boston. After immersing myself in a sampling of her work I found my own work opening up. I definitely felt much more free to push the envelope and open up about old wounds I'd been nursing most of my life from growing up in poverty and a broken home. Stylistically I probably owe more to Don Bajema or Jim Thompson, but without Lydia Lunch a crucial part of me as an artist would surely be missing.
Aside from everything I mentioned above I highly recommend her novel Paradoxia, her first album/band Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, Big Sexy Noise, Right Side of My Brain, and The Gun is Loaded, all of which is only part of her overall output, but these are all good places to start.




  

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Book That First Inspired Me To Write

Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island is the book that made me want to write. I found it in my school's library in 2nd grade. I had wandered into the fifth grade section looking for something interesting to read, because I wasn't finding anything in my own grade's section. I was feeling around in the dark, not clue about what I was looking for. Destiny was apparently looking for me. In my mind the gold embossed red spine was highlighted or maybe everything else was dimmed. I pulled Treasure Island from the shelf and started flipping through it, finding gorgeous paintings by NC Wyeth. Except that it involved pirates I had no idea what the book was about, but I knew I had to have it.











I started reading on the bus home and obsessed over every page, lingering on each painting. By the time I'd finished reading it that first time I knew I would grow up to be a writer. I was so wrapped up in the adventure of Jim Hawkins and the characters who ransacked his world; Billy Bones, the drunken, ill tempered seaman who moves into the family's lodge, Black Dog, the creepy blind sailor who comes looking for Bones to deliver the Black Spot, Long John Silver, the two faced bastard, and Israel Hands, who stood on the receiving end of one of my favorite lines in literature; "One more step Mr Hands and I'll blow your brains out." These characters continue to affect me to this day.









I probably read Treasure Island three more times before I wrote my first short story in 3rd grade. My first few stories were based on the adventures I imagined for my GI Joes and Masters of the Universe toys. I was always let down by the stories in those characters' cartoons (especially MOTU, that cartoon was so bad it almost made me hate the toys) so I made up my own stories and gave the characters new origins and personalities. Stevenson's sense of adventure had irreversibly changed me and shades of his influence were with me in story telling and in play. I wrote about spies and ninjas, soldiers and monsters, space ship fighter pilots and mad scientists. I never wrote about pirates, but Long John Silver's wicked crew definitely inspired many a villain in foreign countries and on foreign worlds.






I feel like I still live in the long shadow of Treasure Island. I've reread it numerous times through the years, as often as last summer, and it never ceases to blow me away.



















Stevenson had "no enthusiasm for his studies" (from Wiki) and Angus Fletcher described him as "a devout student of a curriculum of his own design" in that we were very much the same. I was a terrible student. I always had a thirst for knowledge but no stomach for school. I've felt like a gypsy, but hated wherever I wound up. In the same way Stevenson began to reject his parents' upbringing; dressing bohemian, growing his hair long, visiting pubs and brothels, I too adapted a lifestyle and outlook that flew in the face of my Southern Baptist upbringing. I grew my hair long when I discovered heavy metal and shaved it to the scalp when I became a punk and always dressing and acting in a way that got me yelled at and inspired disappointed in me by my parents.



I didn't even know Stevenson's life story when I was growing up, but looking back his specter certainly guided me along the way. I'm grateful for whatever divine guidance led me to his work and I look forward to sharing the book with my son. I hope it fires up his imagination the way it did mine. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Steph Murr's Rocket Pop

The wifey's gotta her Etsy Store up and running, called Steph Murr's Rocket Pop. Follow the link for her prints, because your living room desperately needs some new art!

"Conspiracy of Birds" copyright Stephanie Murr