BizarroCon 2014: What The Hell Just Happened???

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Wow. I am still processing last week’s trip to BizarroCon.

I had thought that I might have time to file a report or two from the convention, but that was a foolish notion. I was far too busy with the awesome to find time to write anything. But now that I have had a little time to jot down my thoughts…

I’m new to the Bizarro Community, so this post won’t be much about who’s who or what’s what but will stick to my personal experience at this small but powerful writing convention. As a newbie, I’m still learning about Bizarro and all it entails. In the future, I am planning to bring you along on my journey as a Bizarro author, reader, and fan. I’ll be using my blog to present great books, music, and art as I experience it.

So what is Bizarro? Its definition is somewhat wriggly, so one could simply say that Bizarro is Bizarro. That’s not very satisfying, though. Another answer is that it is a genre, just like westerns, romance, or science fiction. I think it’s best defined by exploring the books that comprise it.

A quick aside – here’s a few starter links that might help:
Bizarro Fiction (Wikipedia)
What is Bizarro Fiction?
Bizarro Central

BizarroCon is an annual event — this year’s was the seventh. I wanted to go last year, but simply didn’t have the budget for it. This year, I was going no matter what, as my new book, Pax Titanus, is a part of Eraserhead Press’s New Bizarro Author Series (NBAS).

It was my debut on the scene and also a handy icebreaker. For those that know me, it may come as a surprise that I don’t like to leap into a room of strangers and press the flesh. I’m actually pretty shy in a new environment. Once I am comfortable – sheesh — you can’t shut me up. Being able to say that I was one of the new authors gave me a way to introduce myself and made it considerably easier to navigate all of the new faces. There is a fair bit of excitement for the NBAS books (read more about it here) so many folks introduced themselves first, also nice for a shy guy.

Day One:
Travel. It takes a full day to get from Florida to Oregon. Yes, it’s a modern miracle and all that, but still. Three-hour time difference, three-hour layover, and a delay in the flight made for 17 hours of travel. But I did arrive no worse for wear and I checked into the host hotel for BizarroCon, the Edgefield. If you come through Portland, you must stay here. It’s a unique experience.

It’s supposed to be haunted, but I didn’t see anything. That was LAME.

I caught up with some alumni of a Bizarro writing workshop I attended through LitReactor (which is how I ended up a published Bizarro author – more on this in the future), got settled, and made my way to the opening night festivities. Good stuff. What I was more excited for was the NBAS meeting, where I met fellow NBAS author Scott Cole and learned what was expected of me for the upcoming year.

In short: sell books, interact with the community, and don’t be a tool. I got the second and third all set, just have to sell the books! So yeah, pick up a copy of the ribald Bizarro science fiction that is Pax Titanus. Tell your friends. Like any author, if I can show that my books have an audience, they will be willing to listen to pitches for future books. This is a potential career maker. How much do you love me???

After the meeting, I made my way back to the room and promptly passed out.

Day Two:
Two exciting workshops – Plot Structure with Cody Goodfellow and Writing Dialogue with Brian Allen Carr. Both were very much worth my time, and I can’t say that about most workshops I attend.

Later in the day, I caught some great readings by Michael Allen Rose and Spike Marlowe.

It was at this point that I realized that I wasn’t suffering from allergies all day but in fact, I had a motherfornicating cold. AIRPLANES!!!! Hate those steel incubators.

I felt like crap but I soldiered on, undaunted.

That night was the 15th Anniversary Party for my publisher, Eraserhead Press. The Bizarro community is tight-knit and this was quite a bit deal. Being new to the scene, I could only appreciate so much, but the energy in the room was joyous and overwhelming.

I left on the early side in the hopes that a good night of sleep would kick the pain-in-the-ass sniffles I was dealing with.

Day Three:
Victory! I woke feeling much better!

This was a very good thing, as I had two readings to perform.

In short, the first reading was mediocre, if you are being nice. Utter shit, if you are not being nice. My second, well, that was a glorious redemption of the first and a proud and proper introduction to the Bizarro Family.

The first reading was just that – I read from a chapter of Pax Titanus and attempted (and failed) a prop joke.

The second took place during the Ultimate Bizarro Showdown – something between a talent show, poetry slam, and firing squad. (Actually, electrocution was the punishment for running over. True story. Fetish people will know the device used.)

The Showdown followed the Wonderland Awards Dinner. The Wonderland Awards are given to the best novel and best collection of the year. The winners were Garrett Cook’s Time Pimp and Brian Allen Carr’s Motherfucking Sharks. You should read both of them. Also, important to note: there was a full spread of Bizarro books for sale at the back of the room, including mine.

I had been strong-armed to participate in the Showdown and I was anxious. I had the whole convention for an audience. This would be the way most would get to meet me. What to do? I had never seen the Showdown before, so I had no idea what people do for this thing.

I was going in blind.

I decided to rely on my teaching experience and just tell a too-strange, real-life story. Best choice I could have made. If one thing my earlier “performance” had taught me – my days of reading off a page are over. I am just NO GOOD when I do that. I will have to stick with storytelling from the hip from this point forward.

The story? One from my college years, about a homeless addict friend. He had found a way to make money by letting himself be “used” by a pervert with a curious fetish. The guy liked to watch young men get perms at local Detroit hair salons. He REALLY liked to watch, if you know what I mean.

I got a story for ya...
I got a story for ya…

This story had been sitting in my mental archives doing nothing. It was time to release it! I could not have chosen better. In fact, they created a non-fiction category just so they could give me something. NICE.

Afterwards, all my books disappeared off the back table and I had a ton of new friends. Never underestimate the power of a great, effed-up story.

There was an after party and as I was feeling much better (sniffles be damned) I hung out and made an attempt to get to know as many Bizarros as I could.

Day Four:
Breakfast and the long flight home.

In Summary:
The convention rocked. Sure, having a book released at the event made it all that much sweeter, but as far as writing conventions go, I have not experienced better. I will be going back and back again. I’ve participated in other writing communities in the past, and none were as accepting, supportive, and friendly as the Bizarro community. These are, what I call, GOOD PEOPLE. So much talent. So much heart. You will learn much about them and their work from me.

Finally, my search for an artistic home has ended.

I AM BIZARRO.

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Old School Flava Industrial – Thick Chicago Style

Being older sometimes just means that you were around to catch great shows and that you got to buy great music when it was actually current and the bands still had all of their hair.

Sometimes it means prostate exams and lower back pain. Sigh.

Moving on…as a youth in search of all that was cool in the world –that which might save me from a life of mediocrity and purposeless existence — I turned to music for answers. Long blog post short, music saved my muthafucking soul. It’s a shame I don’t play an instrument. Not even sure how that didn’t happen.

Punk, metal, and INDUSTRIAL were my guardian angels. Flaming swords of rebellion, anger, and chaos defended me and my tender teen angst from many of life’s indiscriminate cruelties, until such time that I had the fortitude to face the SUCK that can be life.

I have a deep fondness for these genres and always will. In particular, mid-80s – early 90s Wax Trax! Industrial Bands– Ministry, Pigface, KMFDM, My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, Front 242, Revolting Cocks.

Today’s take on Industrial has not quite captured my interest — until now.

Behold Flood Damage of Chicago. Their latest release…man, it’s so good I had to sit down. I’m 16 and confused all over again and that’s FUCKING BEAUTIFUL.

Goddamn. I hope they play Orlando at some point.

Check out their new album:

Instructions for the Assembly of God(S).

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Yeah, take me back, bitches. It’s on iTunes here, but you can also find it everywhere else (Amazon, Google Play, Spotify, Beats Audio, etc.)

BUY IT NOW.

I’m also slapping down a YouTube vid of a live performance for your edification. Enjoy.

 

Win A “Sweet” SUPERGHOST Prize Pack

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One of my fellow New Bizarro Author Series (NBAS) brothers, Scott Cole, is giving away this killer prize pack to support his kickass novella, SUPERGHOST.

The prize pack contains:

• 1 piece of limited-edition SuperGhost Phantom Limb Candy (only 25 exist)
• 2 different chapbooks containing a combined total of 5 short stories
• a DATES mini-comic (art by Amze Emmons)
• a SuperGhost bookmark
• Superghost stickers
• one other mystery item (this will be something random, to be determined when the package is ready to go out – could be a book, DVD, small plastic toy, or something entirely different)

Damn. That’s a lot of cool stuff.

The first five reviewers of his new book get one of these bad-to-the-bone prize packs, and one review has already been posted, so heads up.

Go HERE for more information.

LONG LIVE THE NBAS!!!

LONG LIVE BIZARRO!!!

Now Available! Pax Titanus by Tom Lucas

Let the Age of Titanus begin.

I am pleased to announce that my new book, PAX TITANUS, is now available for purchase!!!

PAX TITANUS is the tender tale of a four-armed, war hammer wielding, intergalactic gladiator. Think comedic space opera laced with potty humor. Did you love Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy but thought, hey –- this thing needs more dirty jokes?

I got ya covered! And if this doesn’t sound appealing, I bet you have a friend who would love it.

You can purchase PAX TITANUS right now on AMAZON: http://amzn.com/1621051641

And to make the pot a little sweeter, I got a deal for you: purchase PAX TITANUS anytime this week (until Sunday 11/23) and I’ll give you a free ebook version of my first novel LEATHER TO THE CORINTHIANS. It’s DRM free and makes a lovely gift if you already own it.

Earn this valuable prize by sharing out your Amazon Purchase of PAX TITANUS on your favorite social media.

Then, MESSAGE ME at or TAG ME with my FB page — Tom Lucas (Author) — in your post and I’ll handle the rest. If you aren’t on FB, feel free to use the Contact link in the top menu to let me know.

Two for one! Gotta love America.

Thanks for your support. If PAX does well, my future looks very bright and shiny.

Now go GET BIG!

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Next Stop: BizarroCon!

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This week, I’m packing fake blood, my laptop, and thermals and heading out to Portland for my first writing conference in a few years. What madness could steal me from my adopted perpetual-summer home in Florida?

Muthafrakkin’ BIZARROCON, that’s what.

My new book, Pax Titanus, is published by Eraserhead Press, and for its grand debut (along with the two other fantabulous New Bizarro Author Series titles) they have DEMANDED that I attend this colorful and weird annual event.

OUTRAGEOUS.

Not only do I have to stand and smile, but I’m going to have to read (I am actually going to perform an interpretive dance) to a room full of interested Bizarro authors, readers, and fans. I’ll be forced to attend illuminating workshops and eat high-quality food that (I’m assured) contains no human flesh. Party poopers.

Well, fine. Publish my book and make me travel to a kickass town, have fun, and make a shitton of new friends. Just put my head in a Fisher Price FunTime Vise. At least I have been promised a Voodoo Doughnut for my trouble.

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Being Portland, I know that there will be no shortage of coffee (MY LIFE FUEL) and it’s my intention to post up at least one report from the field. I’m looking forward to sharing my experience with you. The more people I can drag into this world, the better. My plans are to listen more than speak, soak it all up, and use what I learn to do my part to corrupt an already corrupted world.

Upon my return, I’ll be blogging all the way to the OFFICIAL release of PAX TITANUS, a book I think you’re going to really dig.

Exciting times, yes indeed.

LEARN MORE ABOUT BIZARRO FICTION:

What the hell is Bizarro Fiction?
What the hell is BizarroCon?
How long was the Hundred Years’ War?
Can I really get a STD from a toilet seat?
Don’t click on this.

Now Available! Pax Titanus T-Shirts!

In anticipation of the release of my new book, Pax Titanus, I have added two stupendous products to my Zazzle store. Both are shirts featuring the amazing cover art on the front:

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Then you have your choice for the back of the shirt:

FAMILY FRIENDLY:

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OR NOT-SO FRIENDLY:

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No matter which you choose, you are sure to cause a commotion. Click on the shirt you like and head on over to Zazzle for the hook-up. You might have to turn off your Zazzle Content Filter on the second shirt in order to see it on the site. They don’t like to upset the kiddies and all that.

Here’s the link to my Zazzle store: http://www.zazzle.com/room1331

Or just click on the shirt you like. Thanks to all who shared this link out.

Coming Soon! Pax Titanus by Tom Lucas

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EXCITING!!!!

Prepare to cut down on the Starbucks (or whatever expensive bad habit you have) in November because…
I HAVE A NEW BOOK COMING OUT.

Save a couple of bucks because I know you’ll want to read it (and maybe a buy a copy for a friend).

Am I pushing it???

C’mon look at that cover. How could you not want to read it?

Published by the the Bizarro Overlords at Eraserhead Press, my upcoming book, PAX TITANUS, is one of three releases from their
New Bizarro Author Series, along with Brian Auspice’s DEEP BLUE and Scott Cole’s SUPERGHOST.

Read all about it here:
http://eraserheadpress.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/eraserhead-press-celebrates-its-sixth-year-of-the-new-bizarro-author-series/

Let’s BASH AND CRASH!

Updates as they happen!

Creative Writing – Poetry – Short Pieces – News – By Tom Lucas

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