New Title - Death Quartet - available now on Amazon

I finally have a new title up on Amazon in the KDP program. The 100+ pg collection of short horror fiction is called Death Quartet (A Selection of Short Horror Fiction & Verse), retailing for US$2.99.
 

Editorial Description

DEATH QUARTET (A Selection of Short Horror Fiction & Verse) is an eclectic miscellany of stories, poems, and ephemera, wherein the subject matter relates to the study of homicide and the aesthetic portrayal of such an act. In other words, themes of death and murder abound in this horrific collection brought to you by William Cook, an up-and-coming indie author of macabre fiction and the novel ‘Blood Related.’

Amongst the selection of four short stories you will find the never-before-seen ‘origin story’ that generated the novel ‘Blood Related’. A stand alone story in its own right, ‘Legacy: The Eternal Now and Thereafter’ rounds off DEATH QUARTET and gives fans of Cook’s novel Blood Related a chance to see where it all began. Make sure you read it with the doors locked.


From Blinded by the Light:

“The tip of the sharp blade pressed hard on Patrick’s lower eyelid. A tear bubbled and fell from his twelve-year-old eyelashes, gathering in the indent caused by the presence of the knife, before running the full length of his young face and falling onto his white t-shirt. His dad’s breath smelt bad, real bad – like something had died inside him and was stinking him up big-time. Patrick stood on his toes, his father’s muscled forearm pressing hard against his chest, pinning his scrawny back against the kitchen wall. Patrick stood as still as possible, cross-eyed with fear, his gaze never left the glint of the knife’s blade in his face. His father gave the tip a slight twist and Patrick felt a stab of pain as warm blood traced the path of his tears to drop on his t-shirt. Patrick’s breath hitched and all he could think to himself was - “this is it! Dad is gonna kill me. He’s gonna kill me. He’s gonna . . .”


I hope you enjoy it. If you do, please pay it forward and drop a review on Amazon.

Cheers

Will.


Amazon, Kindle, KDP, Death Quartet, William Cook, New Release, Blood Related, Short Fiction, Ebook 

Story acceptance for upcoming Bizarro Anthology.



I have been venturing beyond the realms of Horror lately. My latest excursion into other-worldly genres has resulted in an acceptance in Bizarro Pulp Press's anthology: Bizarro Bizarro



I wrote my story 'The Colony' many years ago under the influence of a low-strain LSD trip, with a few revisions and the tightening of prose it extended itself into quite a poetic work of short fiction. In the guise of a 'manifesto,' it tells the tale of a deluded literary hack who imagines a colony of versifiers that will revolutionize the canon of western literary tradition. 

You'll have to wait until the official release of the anthology to read it but, suffice to say, I think I like the Bizarro genre - it is so open-ended that anything qualifies as long as it is so whacked-out that it can't fit into any other genre classifications. 

That's my understanding of it, however, if you'd like a more in-depth definition, I stole the following from the home of Bizarro Fiction - Bizarro Central:



"About Bizarro


“The Bizarro literary movement is the ultimate in outsider lit.”
- 3AM Magazine


“The literary equivalent of a David Lynch or Tim Burton film … A rising genre that functions like the cult movie section in your local video store.”
- Horror World


“[Bizarro is] universally intriguing, thoughtful, intelligent and, most importantly, a hell of a lot of fun.”
- The Pedestal Magazine


“Sometimes comic, sometimes violent, sometimes sexually graphic (if not all of the above) and adolescently fearless to offend.”
- Details Magazine


“Bizarro fiction is by turns repulsive, stupid, and crude. But at its best, it is also compelling, intelligent, and well-written. Any literary genre that can be both bad and good at the same time is worth reading.”
- The Guardian

What Is Bizarro?


  1. Bizarro, simply put, is the genre of the weird.
  2. Bizarro is literature’s equivalent to the cult section at the video store.
  3. Like cult movies, Bizarro is sometimes surreal, sometimes avant-garde, sometimes goofy, sometimes bloody, sometimes borderline pornographic, and almost always completely out there.
  4. Bizarro strives not only to be strange, but fascinating, thought-provoking, and, above all, fun to read.
  5. Bizarro often contains a certain cartoon logic that, when applied to the real world, creates an unstable universe where the bizarre becomes the norm and absurdities are made flesh.
  6. Bizarro was created by a group of small press publishers in response to the increasing demand for (good) weird fiction and the increasing number of authors who specialize in it.
  7. Bizarro is like:
    • Franz Kafka meets John Waters
    • Dr. Suess of the post-apocalypse
    • Takashi Miike meets William S. Burroughs
    • Alice in Wonderland for adults
    • Japanese animation directed by David Lynch
Even though the Bizarros are underground cult outsiders they still have gained an incredible amount of respect in the publishing industry, having been praised by the likes of Chuck Palahniuk, Christopher Moore, William Gibson, Jonathan Lethem, Piers Anthony, Cory Doctorow, Poppy Z. Brite, Michael Moorcock, and Charles de Lint, to name a few, as well as the publications Asimov’s Science-fiction, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science-fiction, Fangoria, Cemetery Dance, Publishers Weekly, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Details Magazine, Gothic Magazine, and The Face, among many others. They have also been finalists for the Philip K Dick Award, the Bram Stoker Award, the Rhysling Award, the Wonderland Book Award, and the Pushcart Prize."


Here is the announcement/post from the good folks at Bizarro Pulp Press:


Here it is, guys! This list is subject to slight change between now and when the book actually releases. This is also what we are thinking of for the order of the stories that will be featured in this book! I am Very excited about this thing. We have a lot of great names and great stories. If you will notice, we have a super secret story to complete the anthology.

1.Wol-Vriey Lucy in Brain Ceiling World
2. Jeff Burk The Satanic Little Toaster
3. Robert Harris A Smashed Up Salmon
4. Dustin Reade Night Butterfly
5. Marcin Kiszela Dreamsource
6. James Dorr Mr. Happy Head
7. Alan M. Clark and Kevin Ward Ugly Shirt's Quest
8. Edmund Colell Fuck
Your Death, Keep Working
9. Robert Harris Pixelated Nostalgia
10. Sean Leonard Dope-elganger
11. Emily Hundrwadel Body Snatcher’s Remorse
12. Bruce Taylor Four Dreams in Miniature
13. Alan M. Clark and Randy Fox Not About Mrs. Maridu
14. Daniel Gonzales Sitcom Hell
15. Aaron French Shoes
16. Max Booth III A Prescription for Shut the Fuck Up
17. Vincenzo Bilof The Swamp of Girders and Chains
18. P. A. Douglas Pussy Apocalypse
19. Danger_Slater The Monster, the Man, the Building, the Bomb
20. MP Johnson Vagalyn’s Flying Head
21. Todd Nelsen Moon Love
22. Ethan C. Evans and Daniel J. Pendergraft Wildberry Christ
23. Jan Maszczycsn Toy Soldiers
24. G. Arthur Brown The Pitfalls of Modern Gardening
25. Craig Saunders Sleep and the End
26. Meghan Arcuri Plaything
27. Michael A. Rose Civics of Consequence
28. Christopher T. Dabrowski Big Bang
29. Andrew Adams Forget Me Not, Filet Mignon
30 William Cook The Colony
31. Robert Harris Schluck!
32. Alan M. Clark and David Conover All His First Born
33. Tony Rauch Refugees from the Future
34. James Reith As One
35. Gabino Iglesias Looking for Gloria
36. Nick Cato A Path for the New Bride
37. ????




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The Horror Show: Poetry Sucker Punch Death Hit!

A wee while ago an online friend took a shine to my artwork and commissioned some pieces for the interior art in his new poetry book. His name is Vincenzo Bilof and his book is titled The Horror Show. I was honored to do some designs specifically for this amazing book of verse. VB sent me an ARC and it blew my mind - as a result, the vivid imagery easily produced the images that follow. These are not all the pieces I designed - you'll have to buy a copy of Vincenzo's fantastic verse novella to see the others. I have taken the liberty of reposting the following book description complete with links for you to view/purchase a copy. You will notice the different covers; the colorful blue one is my design but I must say I prefer Pat Douglas's amazing final design. Pat is a great graphics guy (writer, publisher, musician . . . the list goes on) so if you need a cover or web-design check out what he's done here.

From the Bizarro Pulp website:


The Horror Show, by Vincenzo Bilof. 

A Nobel Prize-winning poet has been missing for several years, along with his wife and child. Suffering from narcolepsy and amnesia, the poet wanders the same back-alleys he terrorized as a teenager. He's being carefully watched by Doctor Humphrey, whose unique treatment plan is driven by a higher power that wants a cure for mental instability to produce the ultimate war machines. At the mercy of his derangements and the ghosts of his fragmented past, the poet's descent into the darkest reaches of his soul reveals a blood-soaked past which threatens to repeat itself.
While Doctor Humphrey collects data from his experiment with madness, he devises a plan to satisfy his own terrifying vision for the future. 
“A uniquely sustained piece of conceptual writing that has been tried before but not with the success Vincenzo Bilof achieves here… this is a must read for fans of conceptual writing. At once nightmarish and playful, it will creep you out when you feel most safe, and you can't say that for many books today, horror or otherwise.”

-Anthony Servante, Author of East Los: A Noir Nightmare

“Some of the most strange and psychotic poems of a mind adrift. Reading them can only be described as pulling your brain inside out, then tying it in a bow like a pretzel and drop-kicking it into a gorge, a very deep gorge, where it will be washed by a stream of consciousness toward the outer limits and beyond.”

-Lori R. Lopez
author of An Ill Wind Blows and Chocolate Covered Eyes


Interior Artwork by Blood Soaked Graphics:





Vincenzo Bilof, The Horror Show, William Cook, Bizarro Pulp Press, Pat Douglas, Lori Lopez, Anthony Servante

Recent Interview on the Donald White Writer's Blog

Recently, Donald White asked me to do an interview for his writer's blog and this was the result. Be sure to check out Donald's website for lots of interesting features on writing and up and coming writers. 

 *************************
 
An Interview with William Cook 



The Writer’s Blog welcomes the inimitable William Cook! Please tell us a little about yourself.

William Cook:

Hi and thanks for having me here Donald. I like to think of myself as primarily a writer first and an artist second. I live in New Zealand at the foot of the world, happily married with four daughters, in charge of the house and looking after the two youngest girls. I have been writing weird stories ever since I was a kid. My first published works were poems in various literary journals in NZ and a few in the States. Back in 1996 I published a collection of verse titled 'Journey: The Search for Something' and had the occasional poem and short story published online, but nothing really of note until 2010 when Lee Pletzers from Triskaideka Books accepted my story 'The Devil Inside' for the 2010 Masters of Horror Anthology. I have always loved the Horror genre and dark literature, so this really inspired me to write what I loved rather than what I thought other people wanted to read and it has finally started to pay off. The thing I love about the Horror/Thriller genres is that a good story will get your pulse racing and your heart thumping. I feel it is the best medium to create a world where the reader feels alive because they are experiencing fear of some sort. Sounds sadistic I know, but I personally find that no other genre gives me the thrills I seek when I immerse myself in a fictional world. I have since had quite a few Horror shorts published in various anthologies.

My novel 'Blood Related,' was re-released by Black Bed Sheet Books Halloween 2012. Writing it was a labor of love and took me roughly six years to write and it wasn't until I changed day-jobs that I had the time to bring it all together as my debut novel. The novel is about a disturbed young man called Caleb Cunningham, whose violent father is a suspected serial killer and mother, an insane alcoholic. After his father's suicide, Cunningham's disturbing fantasy-life becomes reality, as he begins his killing spree in earnest. His identical twin brother Charlie is released from an asylum and all hell is about to break loose, when the brothers combine their deviant talents. Blood Related is a serial-killer/crime novel told in a first-person narrative style from the killer's (Caleb's) point-of-view.
 
I have been privileged to have authors I look up to, give me feedback on Blood Related. People like Jonathan Nasaw, Guy N Smith, Laird Barron, Mark Edward Hall, John Paul Allen, and Nicholas Grabowsky, have all been kind enough to read and review my work - something I would never have believed possible until now.




Not only a talented author, but you are also an excellent artist. Tell us what it is like to create such gruesome works of art.

William Cook:

Well it all depends on the work of course but generally speaking, for some reason I can’t explain, my preference has always been depicting darkly ghoulish things. I have recently moved away from using traditional painting/drawing methods and now do 90% of all my work with Photoshop and digital mediums. I get my inspiration from my dreams and the various pop-cultural works I peruse, i.e. film, comics, fiction and music. I will usually start with a small sketch in a notebook or write down an idea of an art-piece that comes to mind (descriptively) before taking digital photographs of textures, trees, people and other subjects that interest me. I’ll then bring everything together via Photoshop and use it to add darkness, depth and dimension to my original vision. It is hardly ever reproduced physically apart from the occasional print or book cover so I like to call it my ‘virtual dark art.’ With each passing year I am less interested in the visceral gore-infused stuff that I used to produce, instead, I am leaning towards ‘quiet’ horror these days and subtlety is something I strive for in both my visual and written work.




Blood Related was your first novel and, arguably, most controversial work to date. Explain how you were able to get into the minds of the two main characters.

William Cook:

Blood Related combined a lifelong interest in the macabre with a lot of research into true crime and serial killers. I can trace my interest in this morbid subject to an event in my life when I was younger, whereby my best friend shot another friend of mine (his ex-girlfriend) and then killed himself. Obviously, this would leave a lasting impression on most people as it did to me. Subsequently I began to wonder why a large percentage of humans treat each other so badly and have a tendency towards self-destruction and nihilistic behavior. This aspect of my inquiring mind is constantly reinforced (the questions) by the media who use such occurrences to perpetually sensationalize ‘news’ and by our so-called leaders who use fear to drive political agendas. The politics of fear are very much a staple diet of news-hungry consumers who seem to relish lurid accounts of human cruelty and abuse, and (so it seems) probably the same reasons fiction is full of the horrors of human behavior.
             
There are plenty of fictional books that deal with the subject of serial murder and during the research I conducted for BR, a perceptible ‘canon’ of such literature dating all the way back to Gutenberg and beyond (The Bible/Quran etc) became apparent to me. Apart from being of interest for research purposes, serial killer fiction has always intrigued me and some of the first ‘adult’ books I ever read as a young teenager dealt with the subject. Probably the two biggest influences on my writing of BR were Colin Wilson’s ‘The Killer’ and James Ellroy’s brutal ‘Killer on the Road.’ I have always wanted to write a first-person novel and the six years I spent writing BR were the result of this desire. I never thought the book would see the light of day but it all seemed to come together quickly when I bought a new lap-top and within three months of shopping it around to various indie presses it was published. I’m not sure that I would write another first-person serial killer novel as it (the subject matter and the book) consumed my thoughts for a long time. I found it a lot more disturbing to write about psychopathic humans than I do writing tales of horror that deal with more supernatural and fantastical elements. The most frightening aspect, to writing BR and creating believable characterizations of serial killers, is how easy it was to contemplate and describe such characters and their sordid crimes. BR lends itself to a sequel and I have made sure that the next book will be told in the third person, for the sake of my own sanity.




You are also quite the poet, having released two collections: Moment of Freedom and Temper of the Tide. How does one achieve true feeling in verse?

William Cook:

Before I began writing stories I wrote poems. The first ‘real’ poem I remember was Blake’s ‘Tyger’ and I have enjoyed reading and writing verse ever since. My first published work was in verse-form and my first published book was a collection of my poems back in 1996, titled ‘Journey: the Search for Something.’ The verse has nearly always ‘written itself’ and generally comes after periods of introspection or strong emotional experience. Most of my early work was terrible heart-wrought angst spewed onto the page as fast as I could write it and thankfully, with a bit of experience and a more temperate lifestyle, I have stopped referring to my emotions when I write poetry. ‘True feeling’ is a completely subjective experience, both on and off the page; the only thing I can suggest in response to your question is that honesty needs to be employed when writing poetry that deals with emotion or the translation thereof. Cadence is also important and I have always tried to use onomatopoeia in my verse in order to convey the ‘sense’ of whatever it is I’m trying to impart. Simplicity is also important; there is no point writing convoluted expressionistic verse, if no one is ever going to understand what it is you are trying to say! After writing poetry for over twenty years I think I have finally began to find my voice and I think it is important to have your own voice as a poet, in a medium so canonically reliant on style and form. In other words, write from the heart with the mind as your guiding light, in a voice of your own making. Easier said than done, right?

Tell us about your work with JWK Fiction. What advice would you give writers looking to submit stories?

William Cook:

JWK Fiction [http://jwkfiction.com/] has published quite a few poems and short stories of mine and I’m happy to recommend James and the team to any aspiring writer of Horror and Speculative fiction. I think that a large part of having stories accepted for publication in the indie presses, is to write well (obviously) and to read the submission guidelines carefully. A lot of writers out there have a hard-drive full of stories that they want to see published, make sure the story you submit is what the publisher is looking for. It sounds basic but if you’re going to spend time tailoring a previously written story to fit a submission call you may as well start fresh and write something new with the guidelines in mind. I made this mistake (reanimating old work) when I was first starting out and the rejections came in thick and fast, as soon as I started writing fresh stories for specific guidelines I started having success with my submissions. If you submit a lot of stories I would also suggest keeping a record of your subs including story titles, word counts and dates etc. It saves embarrassment and time wasting if you’re simultaneously submitting stories and then having to remember if they’ve been accepted elsewhere etc.

Who are your three favorite authors and how have they influenced your work?

William Cook:

Robert Bloch, Flannery O’Connor, Sherwood Anderson (I have more than three). I love the way they convey human emotion, particularly fear, through the short story medium. They are the writers of psychological drama who I enjoy reading the most. Without reading these writers I probably would have never written short stories – very inspirational and efficient writers, who better to emulate.




What are you working on right now?

William Cook:

I am midway through the sequel to Blood Related titled ‘Blood Trail’, finishing edits on an anthology that JWK Fiction is publishing called ‘Fresh Fear’ [http://www.williamcookwriter.com/p/blog-page_26.html] with stories from the likes of Ramsey Campbell, Billie Sue Mosiman, JF Gonzalez, Jack Dann, Robert Dunbar, amongst others, and working on two separate collections of my short fiction and poetry.

Thank you for joining us on The Writer's Blog, William. We look forward to more horrific masterpieces to come...

You can find William Cook's literary works here:


Website:


Online Portfolio:


Bio:

William Cook is a writer of the macabre from New Zealand, a small antipodean island group in the South Pacific. When not writing, he looks after two small daughters and designs book covers that are designed to scare the hell out of people. Having held down a multitude of jobs before becoming a "Domestic Manager", he brings to his writing a vast array of experience that translates to the page in the form of strange characters and situations that bleed horror. From slinging timber in lumber yards, cutting plastic film in a meat packaging company, making rat-poison and acid cleaning products, working on a prawn trawler in the Gulf of Carpenteria, selling ads, and teaching English in Korea, to name a few of the roles he has performed - being a starving writer of Horror fiction seemed like a completely viable occupation.

Currently working on a sequel to his debut novel 'Blood related', titled 'Blood Trail', it is due for completion mid-year and for publication by his amazing publisher Black Bed Sheet Books sometime in the hereafter.

 





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