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  • Ethical Aspects of Animal Husbandry
    Ethical Aspects of Animal Husbandry
    by Craig Terlson

    A collection of short stories where the humour runs dark and the slipstream bubbles up.


    ...imagine if Raymond Carver called up George Saunders and Joe Lansdale, and they all went drinking with Neil Gaiman.

  • Correction Line
    Correction Line
    by Craig Terlson

    “… it's clear that Terlson is way ahead of the curve in terms of crafting an engaging premise that reaches for elevated territory and reinvents enduring archetypes of action and suspense.”  J. Schoenfelder

    "Sometimes brutal, often demanding and always complex, this novel will repay the reader who likes their assumptions challenged and is happy to walk away from a book with minor questions unanswered but the big ones definitely dealt with! It’s likely to satisfy those who enjoy Hammet and/or Philip K Dick and who like their fiction very noir indeed."   Kay Sexton


    "I love a novel that you can't put down, and this is one of them."  L. Cihlar


girls with... um... insurance

junkie_uk_digit_1957_back.jpg They often ask big time authors where they were first published - where did they catch their first break? Richard Ford, in a recent Poets and Writers mag, said he couldn't quite remember the name of the magazine. I have a hard time believing that, but maybe it was too long ago for Mr. Ford – and too many huge achievements.

I think a lot of us trying to break in to the career wonder about what they will say in those interviews. Maybe it sounds to school-boyish, like wondering who you will thank when you accept the Oscar. But the hell with it, I still like thinking about that sort of thing.

Smarty-pants interviewer guy: So, Mr. Terlson, do you recall your very first publication?

Me, looking stylish in tweed jacket and pipe: I surely do Bob, it was

Sadly, I believe G.W.I. is on extended hiatus, perhaps permanently. I remember being a bit cautious in who I told about this first acceptance. While "girls with insurance" is a perfectly innocent literary zine with a focus on humour, the name does sound a little seedy. That's what I loved about it. Since then, I have been published in some other strangely named places - I wonder what agents and editors think when you are telling them you have written work for "Laugh it Off" or "Cezanne's Carrot" (also fine mags BTW).
"Well, at least he's not writing for girls with insurance."

Have a great weekend.



pastoralia.jpg George Saunders is a genius.
Hey, don't trust me - the MacArthur Foundation gave him a 500,000 buck grant saying so (these are often called the genius grant). And he received a Guggenheim fellowship on top of that. Not bad for a guy who writes about stone-age theme parks and countries so small only one person at a time can live there.

He is also my favorite modern short story writer. My story The De-Organization of Bob was written when I was deep into a couple of his books. I can't say enough about the wonders of this guy. He has created his own genre: Theme Park Satire. I see why he gets compared to Twain and Vonnegut, but he really is his own unique voice.

If you visit woofreakinhoo as a writer read this recent interview with Mr. Genius, over at powellbooks.
Then go buy one of his books. Quick, run to that bookstore.


At Least it Sounds Cool

717112.jpg What do I have in common with a cheesy Canadian 80's rock band?

After three months of increasing pain in my shoulder, I finally got my butt, and my shoulder, over to a physiotherapist. What I thought was arthritis, and then a rotator cuff injury, turned out to be FROZEN SHOULDER. Whoa, yes, it as dramatic as it sounds. I think it sounds like something maybe spies get when injected with some nasty toxin from the bad spies.

"Do you expect me to talk, Coldfinger?"
"Noooo, Mr. Terlson, I expect you to FREEZE!"

Anyway, it's painful as hell and the exercises to go with it are no walk in the park - but it is fixable. The bad news is that it may take a year to return to full motion. The other bad news is that I am supposed to make it move, make it hurt in other words. As far as I understand, the ball capsule thing is all gummed up (adhesive capsulitis is the actual name for it), and you need to force the bally thing to move, to rotate it without the shoulder blade compensating (med school readers of woofreakinhoo, take note).

Mr. Physioguy told me that in severe cases the surgical procedure is to put you to sleep and basically rip the shoulder upward, tearing the stuff that is holding the capsule in place – again reminding of some nasty movement from the bad spies.

Can you say: arrrgggg!

More than you probably want to know about Frozen Shoulder


Spinning Closer

Just a progress report on the collection. I have now decided on 15 stories - I wanted to include a couple of more to increase the word count, and I re-examined the theme of the collection. My initial thoughts were that the collection had a lot to do with memory. But that seemed like a hard one to pin down. I guess in a sense, all stories deal with memory - event happening in the past, and the recent past are recalled (even if that past is only seconds old).

A few readers have commented on my work dealing with redemption. I have been rolling that around in my head and it does seem to fit.

Anyway, here is the new story line-up and the projected order. De-Organization of Bob is the major story that has been added and is also my favorite title.

1. Plate-Spinner
2. Why Wyoming
3. Dunked
4. The Days Are Numbered
5. Reap
6. We're here For You
7. Samurai Bluegrass
8. Bare-Ass Bridge
9. The De-Organization of Bob
10. Junkman
11. Broomstick Limbo
12. Prophet
13. Get Your Head in the Game
14. Shuffle
15. Ziggurat


The Bottoms

the_bottoms_lansdale.jpg I did say earlier in the week that I was going to talk about Joe. R. Lansdale and pacing. Recently I read, no "tore" through his novel, "The Bottoms". I have read a few of his books now. I first heard of him through a friend (and reader of woofreakinhoo) who commented on my style being similar to Lansdale's.

The only thing I had heard about Lansdale was that he had wrote the story which became the movie, "Bubba HoTep". I wondered what I might have in common with a guy that wrote stories about Elvis and a black JFK battling an Egyptian demon who is sucking souls at a seniors home. Just look at that sentence and imagine that hitting an editors desk in the form of a query letter. "Say... that's different."

Now having read Lansdale, I do see some of the similarities - and I could only hope to come close to his amazing storytelling ability. That was what I was going to mention about pace. His plots move, sometimes they rocket! He has created, for me, some of those "I can't put the damn thing down" moments. But I have felt that sometimes the books and the characters have lacked a bit of depth or resonance. It is there, you might have to read a few of his Hap and Leonard books to see how that relationship is about a lot more than the crazy adventures, shotguns and dwarves. And his book Sunset and Sawdust was a rollicking dark tale. But again, missed some of the resonance that I like to see.

Don't get me wrong, I love this guy's work, but something has been missing. That was until I read The Bottoms. This, I believe, was his most critically acclaimed book, winning The Edgar Award and being named a New York Times Notable among other awards. It is rightly compared to "To Kill a Mockingbird" book, both in the child narrator, views on racism and southern setting. They also say it is like Faulkner - that's a bit of a stretch. Maybe Faulkner if he made more sense. Some Faulkner has blown me away, but only when I have had time and the mental energy to sift through the dense language.

Within the Bottoms is a tale of mystery through a child's eyes. It is about a serial killer but so much more. It is about racism in Texas during the depression. And at its deepest level it is about familial relationships, most notable between a father and son. It's a book that resonates deep with me, and visits some of the themes that I ponder. Themes of redemption and how you pass on your beliefs and morals to your children.
If you find this book in the mystery section and you don't read mysteries... buy it and read it. Go now.

Lastly, I don't know of anyone in my circle of friends that reads Lansdale, in my city I mean. I get talking about him and eyes glaze over. But a while back I went into one of those mystery book stores that specialize in whodunits and such. I don't go there much as I don't read in that genre. I went looking for Lansdale (very hard to find around here). When I asked the store owner about Lansdale, her eyes lit up. It was like she had finally found someone else who knew this secret.

Spread the word, this guy needs to sell more books. But maybe he is selling a ton and I don't know about it. He is getting a huge award this year - I need to look that up and recall what it is.

More next time.