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The Goreletter Vol. 7.01

Charles Rector's Weblog; Apr. 8, 2013; By Charles Rector
Type: News

Arnzen's Weird Newsletter
+++ Vol. 7.01 | January 13, 2013 +++

I have joined forces with indie publisher Raw Dog Screaming Press and horror flash fiction site to launch a Kickstarter campaign to bring the nefarious "Fridge of the Damned" back from the dead...and into reality.

Long-time readers of The Goreletter might remember that the damned fridge was a webpage where visitors could make their own poems out of "virtual" fridge magnets -- tiles made up of words taken from actual gorelets poems, which you could slide around on the page. We want to make this into something tangible: actual magnetic words you can stick onto your refrigerator, morgue drawer, cannibal crock pot, or other metallic surface!

Visit our Kickstarter page BEFORE FEB 1st to help us fund this project. You will be amply rewarded. Any pledge gets a copy of the complete and expanded INSTIGATION in ebook form (see below for more news about that). For as little as $10, you get a set of magnets. Higher reward levels can get you collectible books, very rare CDs, cool personalized postcards, amazing art...even a real mini-fridge, a day with Arnzen, or an extraction of his pulsing heart!

The Fridge is already about 2/3 funded for the basic set. But if we can reach $2700, every magnet kit will come packaged in its own customized tin box. I really want to see that happen! Will you help us?

Check out the excitement and please pledge at:

Even if you can't donate, I hope you will help me spread the word to anyone you think might be interested, including your blog readers and social network. Your word of mouth is all we've got.

If you're a fan of this newsletter, then this is YOUR book. The Gorelets Omnibus is a huge treasury of all the poetry and short-shorts I've ever posted online over the past decade and includes your favorite features from the Goreletter in a fine bound volume. It's a very big retrospective, and collects all sorts of things that might have slipped past you over the years. The hardcover edition is superior, featuring TONS of bonus material, including the hard-to-find Martha Stewart parody, "Michael Arnzen Dying," and a generous batch of articles and prompts in the "Horror Poetry Writing Workshop." If the price is too much, get the slimmer ebook or paperback. Here's a webpage giving you all the details, from video excerpts to the lengthy table of contents:

In the early 90s, when I first got into publishing, I released two print chapbooks (CHEW and the PSYCHOS anthology), with occasional ephemera released over the twenty years since then.  This Christmas, Renate and I reinvested in the imprint and our plan is to make sure that you can get Arnzen titles across all ebook formats that other publishers might not have released, along with new creative work that lives up to our motto: "unusual ideas to chew on."

Our initial effort this Spring, will be the ebook mentioned earlier in the newsletter -- INSTIGATION: Creative Prompts on the Dark Side.

You probably already know Instigation as that long-standing department in The Goreletter where I offer a handful of creative writing prompts (e.g., "Transform a musical device into an instrument of torture"). The Instigation series was also a long-running weekly column in Hellnotes newsletter. If you bought the hardcover edition of my book, The Gorelets Omnibus, you already have your hands on the complete collection of Instigation from the past, brimming with about 400 "twisted prompts for sicko writers." It's the only way to get them all.

But soon INSTIGATION: Creative Prompts on the Dark Side will be released in ebook format for the masses, drawing from my college teaching of horror writing and including MORE story starters and a handful of helpful articles for priming the creative pump for writers, artists, novelists, poets...anyone who wants to push their work into realms more dark and strange.  

If you pledge to help fund the Fridge of the Damned before the end of January, you will automatically reserve your copy...for as little as a buck! If not, the ebook will be offered for sale across all platforms in the future. To learn news of this and other Mastication releases, head over to and sign up for our newsletter.  

When you subscribe to Mastication's newsletter, you'll also get another ebook -- a free, colorful e-sampler (in Adobe .pdf format) of Arnzen's short-short stories and poems, called MEAT SHOTS!

MEAT SHOTS is actually a design thesis by founder, Nathan Rosen, who experimented with representing the ideas from the poems and shorts-shorts in the graphic design of the book itself. Every page is like a little work of art.  This represents one of my goals with Mastication Publications, which has been to call attention to artists who are experimenting in the genre. Again, Meat Shots is free and only available to subscribers to the Mastication Publication newsletter at:

You can read more about both books (Instigation and Meat Shots) on my updated bibliography page here:

My second novel, Play Dead, was released back in 2005 in a hardcover run only. Raw Dog Screaming Press plans to reissue the title this June in both paperback and ebook editions, with a new cover design by Nathan Rosen. RDSP also is planning to release my collection, 100 Jolts, in previously unavailable ebook formats, like the Kindle. News to come soon!  Keep your eyes on

I continue to blog about this topic, which is a non-fiction academic study I'm trying to update in the year ahead. I was kindly invited to Neumann University last Halloween to give a campus lecture on the topic, and it was an unforgettable experience. You can see photos and read more about it here:  


Studies in Horror Film - The Exorcist:
Diabolique Magazine (#s 13 & 14):
Fear the Abyss:
Hazard Yet Forward:
Dark Highways:
The 5-2 Crime Poetry Weekly:
Many Genres, One Craft:



Blather. Wince. Repeat.

An Interview with the Chicken Burrito I Just Ate

Q: Yum. How is it down there?
A: Cozy and warm. I like it. I was getting cold on that plate, as you know. I'm feeling a little chewed out today, but this place is just right. Your body temperature reminds me of the old days. You know, like, when I had a body myself.

Q: Body? So I'm speaking with the chicken in my burrito, not the whole thing?
A: Chickens, actually. Bits of random birds...and that includes the roosters, too. But we speak as one. The beans and rice and other stuff in here is no different than the stuff we used to eat ourselves. It's kind of like a chicken stomach explosion inside a burrito, actually. Your stomach is but another tortilla as far as we're concerned, and we're digging it. Glad you enjoyed us, too.

Q: Sorry. I was hungry. But if it's any consolation, you tasted great.
A: Naturally. We love to eat as much as the next guy. In fact, we just might keep doing it in here. Plenty of peppers and beans and rice here to go around.

Q: So...chickens are herbivores, eh? I always wondered about that. 
A: No, we're omnivores. We'll peck at anything. It's just usually easier to eat things that can't eat us first. Judging by your stomach contents, I'm sure you can identify.

Q: You calling me a chicken? I wasn't afraid to eat you.
A: You've only just begun to digest me. I still might surprise you.

Q: You said you were an omnivore. I got you from a placed called Chipotle. Ever eat there?
A: Very funny, you clucking bastard. All I can tell you is that I don't get why they call it Chipotle when they don't give you any actual chipotle sauce with the meal. Sure, they baste the meat with some, but that pretty much fries off right away.

Q: Wow, I never thought of that.
A: Having it seared into me, I probably know more about chipotle than you ever will, smart guy. Sheesh. Typical man.

Q: Huh? Are you calling me a sexist?
A: No, most of us here like you. It's just that the roosters are a little upset.  They're roosters, but you people all continue to categorically call them chickens, anyway. What if we called men "women" all the time? Then you'd understand. It's totally sexist. And quite confusing.

Q: I'll just go back to calling you a burrito then.
A: "Burrooster" would be more gender-appropriate. But do what you want, Esse. You chewed us up so much we're really not much of a burrito anymore either. More like stomach paella.

Q: So..."burrito." Isn't that Spanish for something, too?
A: It actually means "little donkey." 

Q: Oh, like in a "burro." I see. Wait a minute...
A: Exactly. There's no donkey in a burrito. I suspect no one would eat them if there was. I heard somewhere that the name comes from the way we look, because our folded up tortilla sort of looks like a donkey's ear. Whatevz.

Q: So a Chicken Burrito is a weird name, after all. You're a "Little Chicken Donkey." How insulting.
A: Nah. It's cool. Words and looks seldom align. Case in point: your face look like a bull's butt, but your name is still Arnzen. 

Q: Touché.
A: Cluck.

Q: I apologize for calling you names. But you really ought to blame Chipotle for the whole Chicken vs. Rooster thing. They put you on the menu. And besides, I'm guessing you probably aren't a Mexican chicken, either, are you?
A: Am I speaking Spanish, Esse?

Q: just did. A little.
A: Sorry. Must be the chipotle talking, Esse.

Q: Why do you keep saying "Esse"? What does that mean?
A: It's Hispanic slang for "bro" or "gangsta".  But in German it means "eat."  It carries both meanings in Chickenese. Interesting coinky-dink, no?

Q: No.
A: Whatevz, Esse.

Q: Do be upset. I feel bad. Anything I can do for you?
A: No. Don't do a thing. Not unless you want to microwave yourself so we can move on to the next stomach.

Q: That doesn't make any sense...but as you say, "whatevz." I'm just interviewing you for my newsletter. Anything you have to say to fans of horror stories out there before you turn to paste and begin your long journey through the remainder of my terrible bowels?
A: Plenty! First, Poultrygeist was a genius idea for a movie. Thank you for making it, humans. Second, there should be more zombie chicken movies. I mean, come on, there has to be something supernatural within us, some unseen force that keeps us alive so long after our heads are chopped off. We've got the zombie gene, Esse! Only better, because if you shoot us in the heads we won't die. With just a little organization, zombie chickens could easily take over the world! Just look in our eyes and tell me it's not true. And another thing....

Q: Hold on.'re telling me that chickens are already really like zombies.
A: Yes.

Q: And I just ate one. Some. The chopped up bits, I mean.
A: Yes. And you're also talking to us right now, even though a part of you knows that we really should be dead. But we're not. Of all the humans out there, surely you can understand what this ultimately means.

Q: I think so. I have been absorbing you all along. Becoming you. Once I'm done digesting you, I'm going to turn a little bit zombie, too. Maybe a lot. Right?
A: You catch on quick, Esse.

Q: Not if I puke right now!
A: Toooo laaaate... [gurgle-gurgle].

Q&A: Be-gawwwk!


Two survivors. Adrift at sea. On a raft for days. Starvation sets in. Mike Lacher at asks: Who will resort to cannibalism first?

[And I wish Mr. Lacher all the best in fixing The Streetview Zombie Apocalypse game at ]

GORELETS: Unpleasant Poems

Timing the Headshot

fight fear
almost undead
bite shotgun
shatter teeth
taste brain

The above is one of a series of fridge magnet poems I'm posting regularly this month on the flickr promotional page for The Fridge of the Damned:


"World Horror Convention and Bram Stoker Award Weekend
June 13-16, 2013 | New Orleans, LA
TENTATIVE plans to attend

"In Your Write Mind" Book Signing
June 29, 2013 | Greensburg, PA
PLAY DEAD reissue release date! Arnzen will sign books at the "In Your Write Mind" workshop at Seton Hill University's MFA in Writing Popular Fiction Alumni book signing event, anticipated June 29th, 2013 at 7pm. 

"Confluence" Convention
July 19-21, 2013 | Pittsburgh, PA
Arnzen will be attending Confluence: The 25th Annual Literary Sci-Fi Convention in Pittsburgh, PA (Airport Holiday Inn) July 19th - 21st, 2013. Readings, signings, panel appearances expected. 

"KillerCon" Convention
Sept. 19-22, 2013 | Las Vegas, NV
Arnzen will be attending KillerCon V to be held at the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Sept. 19-22nd, 2013. Readings, book signings and panel appearances expected.



Phlegm rhymes with gem, stem, and them...words that sound normal enough. In fact, it wouldn't be such a disgusting word if it weren't for that perfectly placed letter "g" -- that most mucousy of consonants that we can only sound out by constricting the back of our throats. Yet it's also the one letter in the word we do not pronounce -- as if we DARE not pronounce it. For if we ever did, green sputum would gurgle from between our lips like something vile burping up from a sewer drain.

It is a perfect word. Perfectly disgusting. Phlegm sounds like we're sneezing from our stomachs. Its very look on the page is akin to a mucous membrane, viscous and slimy. Compared to its simple sister, "snot," or its boring brother, "nasal discharge," phlegm is some pretty potent pus. But it is also none of these things; phlegm refers specifically to respiratory sputum alone -- it is a lung loogie, pure and simple. While it can be a symptom of any number of bronchial diseases, it is most commonly produced by smoke inhalation or excessive screaming, and therefore everywhere apparent at heavy metal concerts and gas chambers and taxicabs.

Expecting? Expectorating? You know Phlegm would make a good baby name. It's just...apropos. Especially fun if the baby's last name is Onyachin, or when you label his sippy cup.


Other Damned Refrigerators

The Fridge Peep Show

Freezer Friday by Charlie Layton

Abandoned Appliances Flickr Group

Fridge Monster by Daywalt Fear Factory

The Undying Horror of the Refrigerator


Onomatopoeia Gone Wild!

For your next movie night, rent:
    Sssssss (Kowalski, 1973)
    Kaw (Wilson, 2007)
    Eegah (Hall, 1962)

This triple feature brought to you by Jeffrey Thomas’ great book, Aaaiiieee!!!

I know is all the rage for social networking among readers, and I maintain an active account there, but I'm still a big fan of, which does a great job of capturing minute details related to books. One of the cool things they do is invite members to post a "haiku summary" for each book entry. Here's their description of how it works:

So here's the challenge for this month's contest. Write a summary of any Arnzen title in haiku form and you are entered into a random draw for one of three prizes.  You can find my books there here:

Write as many haiku as you like, but your name will only be entered twice in the hopper for haikuing. You can double your entries if you both post it to the LibraryThing site and also tweet your haiku on twitter using the hashtag #bookhaiku

E-mail me a link to let me know if you've done any of this and I'll record your entries. If you do not want to join LibraryThing to participate, you can instead email me your haiku and I'll try to figure out how to post it for you, but you'll only earn half as many entries (eg. 2 haiku = 1 entry; 2 additional #bookhaiku tweets = 1 additional entry).

BONUS: You get 1 bonus entry if you enter haiku AND your name appears on the "backers" list for the Kickstarter pledges for The Fridge of the Damned:

Haiku, as you no doubt already know, is generally made up of three lines --  structured in 5/7/5 syllables. You can bend the rules, I don't care.

LibraryThing is free to join -- visit for membership details. Sign up, and you can link your haiku to your profile.

The first five entrants to email me their haiku win a free signed/limited broadside (called "Anonymous") just for playing! See this page for details:

Three randomly drawn winners will receive ALL THREE of these prizes (e.g. anyone can win, no matter how good or bad the haiku!):

+ A signed copy of the hefty how-to book, Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction!

+ An uncased DVD of the film based on Arnzen's Gorelets and 100 Jolts: Exquisite Corpse!

+ A signed (unreleased/burned) CD-R of Arnzen's "The Bleu Man Group" that includes both a studio track and a live recording (excepted from the "ArnzenSongs" CD in the Fridge of the Damned kickstarter rewards).

Drawing to occur on 2/15/13. Act soon, or miss your chance for these rare collectible items!


Begin with a Woman...

+ Begin with a woman...defiantly shaking a phantom (or prosthetic) arm at the heavens.
+ Begin with a woman...requesting plastic surgery to make her something LESS (beautiful, endowed, perfect, etc).
+ Begin with a woman...who reads more than she should into her "time of the month."
+ Begin with a woman...discovering something alive in the meat drawer.
+ Begin with a love with a man BECAUSE he survived her murder attempt.
+ Begin with a woman...applying mascara to a corpse.
+ Begin with a woman...alienated by the newborn creature in her arms.
+ Begin with a woman...baking a dangerous cake.
+ Begin with a woman...and end with a man.

You can post whatever this instigates -- or news of any publication that results -- here:

And remember to be on the lookout for the Instigation ebook to come in 2013!


You really like my work, but it doesn't come out often enough to slate your arnzlust? Don't pull an Annie Wilkes on me. Just check out these other gems of the genre while you wait for the new stuff: 

If you liked LICKER ...
you'll like DEAD CLOWN BARBECUE by Jeff Strand

If you liked 100 JOLTS ...
you'll like HERDING RAVENS by Christopher Conlon

you'll like VOICES by Lawrence C. Connolly

you'll like AIM FOR THE HEAD edited by Rob Sturma

you'll like THE MONSTRANCE by Bryan D. Dietrich

If you are curious about any of the Arnzen books that I mention above, just visit the handy-dandy bibliography page at (which includes cover art, contents lists, reviews, excerpts, ordering info, and more):

Your reward for scrolling down to the end this issue is a discounted and signed copy of the out-of-print anthology THOU SHALT NOT (ed. Lee Allen Howard, Dark Cloud Press). This 400 page book includes the only appearance of my short story "Blasphemebus" and also features authors like Bev Vincent, Lawrence C. Connolly, Barry Hollander, M. Stephen Lukac, Chris Stout, and many others, all invoking the 10 Commandments into tales of dark crime and horror. Cover art by Mike Bohatch.  

It's yours, signed by me, for just $8 postage paid ($18 international). Paypal to (credit cards accepted) or inquire via email about payment by check.

All material in The Goreletter is © 2013 Michael A. Arnzen, unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward the entire contents of this newsletter as a whole, without alterations or excisions. Direct links to articles in the archives or the weblog are permitted and encouraged, so long as credit is given to Michael Arnzen or For permission to reprint individual pieces, please contact

Delivered free since Sept. 2002. Issues to date: 43. Published: intermittently.  This newsletter is a past recipient of the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Alternative Forms from the Horror Writers Association:

Our surrealist product endorsement:

With apologies to latitude 53,41667, longitude 27,91667.

p.s. The last issue was sent over a year ago, so if you thought you missed an issue, you haven't. You can see what I've been up to, though, by perusing my blog on

Thank you for being a loyal subscriber! 

Deadizen Kane

"I rejoice in the presence of death because I think it's what makes life brilliant and beautiful. And without it, the world would be ridiculous. I'm interested in it from every point of view. My interest in it has not dimmed with its approach." -- Orson Welles (died 1985)


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