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mirka's picture Posted by mirka

Brandon Tietz

Pete Goutis
Brandon Tietz

Brandon Tietz lives in downtown Kansas City, MO – the heart of the social scene.  He’s been writing for eight years, always knowing that he can make his dream into a reality. 

Last year, he joined the writer’s workshop at The Cult to help him with his goals.  He has three stories up for the running to make it into Chuck Palahniuk’s anthology project.  Through his hard work he got noticed.  When they needed a moderator to help, he was the first choice.

He knows he’s still got a ways to go:

How’s the interview coming?”

Posted by Dennis

New Chuck Palahniuk Short Story "Knock-Knock In The December Issue Of Playboy

Chuck Palahniuk's short story 'Knock-Knock' in the December 2010 issue of Playboy!Chuck Palahniuk's hilarious short story Knock-Knock, is featured in the December issue of Playboy.  So... yep, fellas. you now have an excuse for your woman to go buy Playboy.  If you didn't get a chance to see Chuck on his Tell-All tour, then you missed out on this story.  Chuck read it live at each event.  And you know how Guts has a few of those moments that just kill?  Well, Knock-Knock has one payoff in particular, that brought down the house.

I'll see about getting permission to post the actual short story here on the site, but that probably won't be until the magazine is long off newstands.  For now, you'll just have to be good little perverts and go pick it up in person. 

Or, just order it from their website here.

Dennis's picture Posted by Dennis

Vince Gilligan

The Voice in Walter White's Head: An interview with Breaking Bad's creator Vince Gilligan
Kasey Carpenter
Vince Gilligan

The show that brought us the beat-down high school chemistry teacher who decides to try his hand at the meth game turns out to be a cautionary tale of the pitfalls of pride, vanity, and the old axiom that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Mix in some south-of-the-border cartel/mafia, a hilarious attorney delivered to us via Bob Odenkirk (MR.

Film Makers
Joshua Chaplinsky's picture Posted by Joshua Chaplinsky

In The Mean Time

"In The Mean Time" by Paul Tremblay
Joshua Chaplinsky
A subtle collection of speculative fiction that treats the end of the world like an eerie version of the movie "Groundhog Day."

Further proof that less is sometimes more, Paul Tremblay returns with a collection of shorts that excite the imagination with their potential. Not potential as in underdeveloped ability, because Tremblay has already proven himself an accomplished craftsman, but potential as in the expressing of possibility. Unfettered by the constraints of the novel, Tremblay is free to explore the mystery of vague ideas without rendering the work unfulfilling. The spaces between the words, where these stories live and breathe, represent the author at his most interesting, ensuring that In The Mean Time will resonate long after the last page has been read.

Posted by vigorous puppy

Talking Scars: Creating the Literature of Fear and Pain

Jack Ketchum, photograpged by Steve Thorton

New Exclusive Cult Master Class

Note: Class is now officially underway. Congrats to all our students!

He takes us to the places we fear and shows us real-life monsters, sometimes through a child’s eyes.  You don’t have to cue the campy music.  You don’t have to invoke the supernatural.  You will be scared, but exhilarated, repulsed and attracted at the same time.  As Hannah Arendt told us in a book from 1963 about those who abetted the Nazi regime, the surprising thing about evil is “the banality evil.”  When you read a Jack Ketchum novel, you realize that the evil thing you fear could be living right next door, doing laundry in a faded sundress or supplying discipline to somebody’s children.  And the way the worst of it creeps up on you, seductively, before going farther than you could have imagined—you don’t sense exaggeration when Stephen King says that Jack is the writer who scares even him.  But it runs deeper than fright, deeper than scare tactics. 

What I’ve noticed in books like The Girl Next Door is that Jack consistently challenges the reader to confront and consider.  He entertains, but he also shows us something terrifying set amid everyday life.  Ultimately, you’re left with a human riddle to think about, instead of just a frenzied run to your next distraction.  Jack’s characters and the often horrifying situations they face stay with us, somehow, in the best possible way.  There’s a redemptive finish, even if it only completes itself inside of you.

This is why we’ve been after him, of course.  That chill in his own spine, that scary thing that went looking for the creator of so many scary things—it was just us.  “Trick or Treat.  The Cult has come for you, Jack.  We want you to teach us everything that you know.” 

After the second approach, Jack said ‘Yes.’  (Keep reading to grab an exclusive seat.)

Of course, there’s a bit more to the story, like the several months it took to line this up with a decent span of downtime or even half-time in his schedule:  a quiet moment to be found; a month when he isn’t due on set with the latest film adaptation of his work.

But now we’ve got him.  [Cue evil laughter here…]

For the month of November, the Master of Horror and Suspense, Jack Ketchum, is here for you at The Cult.  He will be spilling the magic beans in one of our most exciting intensives yet:

Talking Scars: Creating the Literature of Fear and Pain

What We Will Cover

  • Writing from the Wound
  • The Abyss that's Looking Back
  • “Method Acting” for Horror Writers
  • Choosing a theme for a horror or suspense story & the versatility of the form
  • Horror and Suspense as Cautionary Tales
  • Creating Suspense - sentence-level techniques
  • The bookstore browser test for your opening paragraph
  • Communicating your deeper meaning through genre fiction
  • Important tips for a good writer turning pro

The Details

Talking Scars: Jack Ketchum Cult Exclusive Master Class
  Dates: November 9th – December 9th
  Hard Limit: 20 Students Only

  Class is now officially underway. Congrats to all our students!

Posted by Dennis

Join Our Official Book Club! - November Discussion "Candy: A Novel of Love & Addiction"

 A Novel of Love & Addiction' by Luke DaviesYou know the drill, folks.  Every month a new book is selected and a new moderator steps up to lead the discussion.  This month, we will be reading and discussing Candy: A Novel of Love and Addiction by Luke Davies.

Here's the write-up from Amazon:

Since Trainspotting, heroin chic has certainly put down literary roots?sometimes it seems that you can't be a hip writer unless you know your way around a needle. Perhaps none has chronicled the mechanics of addiction in such mind-numbing detail as Australian poet Davies (Absolute Event Horizon) does in this strong if unimaginative first novel: Davies concentrates as much on preferred syringes as on the adventure of getting the smack, which makes the novel seem, sometimes, like Consumer Reports for junkies. The Candy of the title is both the woman that the narrator falls in love with and, of course, the stuff that he takes. Candy's degradation, from beautiful actress to call girl to streetwalker to madwoman, mirrors the narrator's own passage from a sort of smart-aleck cuteness to the monster whose main concern is finding a viable vein to prick. Starting out in Sydney, the couple moves to Melbourne to go straight but, of course, relapse. They engage in a tedious round of finding money and finding smack, in which all other attachments become peripheral. The narrator's habit of viewing these events from a distance strikes the right chord, but it's a monotone, insights notwithstanding: "Veins are a kind of map, and maps are the best way to chart the way things change. What I am really charting here is a kind of decay." The result is a more harrowing than the usual return to a familiar landscape of admonishment and self-negation.

Check Out Our Book Club

Dennis's picture Posted by Dennis

Paul Auster

So I'm Drinking Wine with Paul Auster...
Kasey Carpenter
Paul Auster

I’m drinking wine with Paul Auster. I’m drinking wine with Paul Auster. The I’ve-been-translated-into-thirty-languages Paul Auster. Inducted into the American Academy of Art and Letters. VP of PEN. Finalist for PEN/Faulkner. Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay. A Prince of Asturias award winner, an award that this year’s Nobel winner for Literature, Mario Vargas Llosa, has also received. Paul Auster, the man who has been struck by lightning and lived to tell the tale, seriously. In short: deep, deep water.

Joshua Chaplinsky's picture Posted by Joshua Chaplinsky

The Dead Janitors Club

"The Dead Janitors Club" by Jeff Klima
Joshua Chaplinsky
Pathetically true or truly pathetic? You make the call.

The Dead Janitors Club is the latest entry in the emerging genre of crime scene cleaner's memoir. Didn't know there was a whole crop of books dedicated to the people who sop up the blood and bits of brain in the wake of heinous acts of violence? Then you probably didn't know people actually make a living doing that sort of thing. Like Aftermath, Inc. and Mop Men before it, The Dead Janitors Club details the ins and outs of the crime scene cleanup biz, presenting titillating tales of gore for thrill-seekers and car accident gawkers.