Yes, it's that time again to go forth and pre-order one of my books. As the twisted old Roma woman said in that episode of The Simpsons: "You buy! You buy!" (as any long time Simpsons fan knows, the Old Roma woman is voiced by Tress MacNeille, who also voices the Crazy Cat Woman, Missus Skinner, and several other great characters--also, the Old Mechanical Roma in the Box in Futurama. She's excellent, right up there with Hank Azaria for my moolah).
Anyhoo, this book is called VEHICLES. It's a novella, which is one of my favorite lengths to write. You can get into a story, meander around a little, stretch those narrative legs and then get out. So, yeah, this one's about 40,000 words ... and as you can see, it's written by an old pal of mine.
Longtime readers of this blog and of afficionados of gross horror stories will remember ole Patrick. He's the pseudonym I came up with to avoid heaping disgrace on the good family name. Now those who read the synopsis (which I feel I partially helped write, but didn't fully write) will see that, yes, it's a bit of a zombie book.
I know, I know---you're saying, "Craig, you're such a creative guy, always exploring the nether reaches of possibility, never selling out to 'THE MAN,' always pursuing your own muse---why, why, WHY write a zombie book? Why ride a wave set to crash?"
My answer to you is that my zombies sparkle, making them unique in all of zombie-dom.
... no, seriously, it's not EXACTLY a zombie book. I mean, sure, that happy fellow on the cover LOOKS like a zombie, or else like a Bears Sterns executive after a rough day on the trading floor (see how up-to-date I am on my cultural references? Did you know there was a recession there, what where all them suspender-wearing brokers done goofed up and whatlike? I've got some really good Zubaz jokes, too) ... anyway, he LOOKS like a zombie, sure, and the synopsis would surely give you the impression that it's a zombie book, yeah, but really ... well, it sort of is.
There. I said it. ZOMBIES! Yes. But zombies with heart, if I dare say so myself.
Also, zombies eating hearts. And other precious organs and anatomical extremities ... which brings us back to ole Patrick Lestewka. I'd been thinking of publishing it under my own name but the publisher, Shane, he read the book and said, "This is a Patrick Lestewka book, dude." Which I guess is true, as it does fit in line with some of the novellas I published under that name, such as:
1. The Coliseum
2. Confessions of the Archivist
3. Pumpkinheart Fred and the Chalice of the Undead (unpublished)
4. The Tumor that ate Moosejaw (also unpublished)
5. Crabs! CRAAAAAABS! (just a silly title I thought up)
... so anyway, those first two were actual published things. Plus THE PRESERVE, which was a pretty grim and gritty and gross book. Back then, my early 20s, I really wanted to gross people out. I'd like to think I accomplished that. And while VEHICLES isn't quite so gross as those, and has characters that I think are maybe a little more realistic, and younger, and two of them are even female (and hardly ever naked), it is a different sort of book that those earlier ones.
But ... BUT! ... I think there's a perception amongst a small but somewhat fanatical (based on the emails I receive from time to time) base of Patrick Lestewka fanciers that ole Patty's gone soft. He's off writing about boxing and dogfighting and familes who live on a sleepy little court .... wimpy guff like that. He's a pantywaist, basically. A wuss.
And while it's true that I am both a pantywaist and wuss in real life---if you meet me on the street, there's a good chance I'll scream shrilly and run away---I am most decidedly NOT a wimp when I'm sitting in front of a keyboard, which can't hit back, rappy-tapping away on my stories.
So this is fair warning that VEHICLES is pretty gross. It's pretty violent. I can't say faces DON'T get ripped off, okay? I can't say that heads AREN'T run over by heavily-armored trucks, if you get my drift. I can't, because I'm NOT A LIAR ... unless you're the IRS or one of my many baby mamas, in which case, sure, I'm a tall-tale teller. But I'm not lying about this, all right? I'm as serious as a heart attack---which frail readers will likely have if they read this thing. Cardiac city, baby! Grand mals all over the place. Your head will pop like a bath bead. So fair warning.
Truthfully ... for all Patrick Lestewka fans: this book opens with probably the most prolonged, fairly disturbing scene I've ever written. I can't really say for sure, because I think I may've purposefully erased some of my earlier work from my memory banks. But I'm pretty certain.
So if you've been a fan of Lestewka but think he's gone soft, this is a book for you. There's mucho action, mucho bloodshed, mucho violent set pieces. It was a hell of a good time to write, and I wanted to go out there and write in a way I haven't written in awhile.
Everyone else ... well, I never want to turn away readers. But I thought it was fair to give a heads-up.
You buy! You buy!
All best, Craig.