It’s been a while since I last talked to Max and Lori, owners of the fabulous Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing. Since we last spoke, many books they have published, and as is often the case with PMMP variety is the spice of life. I caught up with them both recently to find out how 2018 is shaping up and if 2017 was good to them.
TGR: Welcome back! How did 2017 treat you as human beings, and what were some of your highlights from the wonderful world of publishing?
LM: Well, I didn’t kill anyone or get killed, so that’s positive. Highlights for me include starting our Castle Rock Radio podcast, since I love to talk about (and apparently make fun of) Stephen King. We also got to publish several fantastic books and four more amazing Dark Moon Digests filled with great authors and great stories. My favourite part of being involved in the publishing world is getting to meet new people.
MB: I have no idea why Lori is suddenly spelling like she lives in the UK, but I’m weirdly into it. Everything she said applies to me, as well. It was nice to finally get Joe McKinney’s Speculations out in the world, a book that’s been in motion for many years now, but somehow became a victim of numerous dumb delays. Oh, wait, that came out in 2018. You want to know about 2017? Dude. That was at least a decade ago. Who can remember 2017? Let’s see…we did indeed release the second novel of John C. Foster’s kickass Libros de Inferno trilogy, Night Roads. Foster’s one of my favourite writers and it constantly blows my mind that we’re allowed to publish him. 2017 also saw Betty Rocksteady’s Like Jagged Teeth, Foster’s Baby Powder and Other Terrifying Substances, Christopher David Rosales’s Gods on the Lam, Jeremiah Israel’s Live On No Evil, John Oliver Hodges’s Quizzleboon, and Andrew Hilbert’s Invasion of the Weirdos. Two of these authors, Betty and Andrew, I ended up forming great friendships with over the last year, too. Two authors I’m very glad to have in my life now.
TGR: You recently published a collection from Joe McKinney called Speculations and Kristopher Triana’s latest novella, The Detained. I’m going to give you 5 words to describe each of these books. Go!
LM: haunting, touching, nail-biting, familiar, eerie
MB: “it’s a pretty good book”
LM: creepy, nostalgic, twisted, (I’m running out of adjectives)
MB: “this is also pretty good”
TGR: Patrick Lacey’s new novel, Bone Saw drops in May. It sounds fucking awesome and I can’t wait to read it. It features she-demons, blood sacrifices and a pig-human hybrid killing machine! Who wouldn’t want to read this book? Tell us more….
MB: Hey! It is fucking awesome. That is a very correct statement. In a nutshell, this film director best known for his shitty slasher movies arrives in a small town to shoot his latest instalment of the franchise. Only this time, the main star of the franchise isn’t wearing a costume: it’s the real fucking deal, and everybody who lives in this town better watch their backs. And, uh, also their fronts I guess. Here’s a pre-order link! http://perpetualpublishing.com/product/bone-saw/
TGR: What else are you publishing this year?
LM: We have a novella by Betty Rocksteady, a collection of stories by William P. Johnson, an all-encompassing experience by George Lea, the much-awaited anthology, Lost Films, and three more Dark Moon Digests.
MB: Yup! What she said. We have Betty’s The Writhing Skies, Johnson’s The Eight Eyes That Watch You Die, George Lea’s Born in Blood, Lost Films, and also Vincenzo Bilof’s The Poetry of Violence. Needless to say, we are very, very, very tired.
TGR: Speaking of Dark Moon Digest. When reading slush, how long do you give a story before it goes in the trash?
LM: I don’t read the initial round of slush; I am a cheater. We have a team of slush readers who help with the initial culling, then Max and I read everything that’s made it through and compare notes. If he really likes something I hate, I will try to read it again. And vice versa.
MB: A good majority of my rejections are sent after reading the first paragraph. It’s gotten very easy to spot a bad story. My favorite stories are the ones I can reject after just a paragraph or two. The real tragedies are the ones that are just good enough to string me along to the very end, only to fuck up the landing. What a waste of time.
TGR: The Lost Films anthology is a sort of sequel to Lost Signals, correct? Can you let us know which writers that will be appearing in the anthology? when is it out? Why have I not got a review copy yet?
MB: We are going to be announcing the full ToC here in the next month or two on Scott Nicolay’s The Outer Dark podcast. Until then, nope! Can’t say shit. Mostly because we are still editing the stories and not all of the contracts are signed yet. We hope to release it in August, in time for KillerCon. You’ll get a review copy when one’s ready, goddammit!
TGR: You guys have THE best newsletter. I always enjoy the flash fiction (I really want some Flash Gordon flash fiction!), it always makes me laugh (something I think is important especially as we live in a world that is so unfunny), and it has links to everything else you guys do including the podcast, LIT Reactor articles you write etc. How do folk submit flash fiction and are you open to submissions now?
LM: The newsletter is actually open for submissions. If you go to our website, hover over contact us, click submissions. From there, click on SUBMIT TO NEWSLETTER. You’ll be taken to Submittable.
TGR: Your Patreon account seems to be gaining new donations quite regularly. You must be pretty pleased with its success?! Tell folk about what the advantages of are becoming a PMMP patron.
LM: Why would you not want to be a patron? You get DMD subscriptions, novel serials (not to be confused with novel cereal), early access to the podcast, cover reveals, the ability to ask authors questions, and discounts in our store. Link! www.patreon.com/pmmpublishing
TGR: The Castle Rock Radio podcast is also gaining momentum. Do you think Stephen King has ever checked it out? What do you think he’d say and which book of his would you like him to come on and discuss with you?
LM: If only he would listen. Actually, strike that, I would rather he just mention it to his massive group of worshippers. He would either laugh with us, or he would hate our guts if he did listen. There would be no mildly amused. There’s a part of me who thinks he would be tickled by the fact that we pick out so many flaws. And I think the perfect book for him to talk to us about would be the last book of the Dark Tower Series. I want to know how he felt when wrapping up this universe he so carefully built.
MB: I don’t think Stephen King knows what a podcast is.
TGR: Max, what about your own writing? Where are you at with your current WIP? what have you recently had published and is there anything else in the pipeline?
MB: The last full-length book I released was The Nightly Disease. I have another thing finished, a werewolf novel called Carnivorous Lunar Activities, it’s still being considered by numerous small presses and agents. It’s a slow, frustrating process, but that’s all part of the game. I’m a little over 70,000 words into a new book called Who Will Survive and What Will Be Left of Them, something I like to describe as Stranger Things meets The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. One day it might actually be finished and I can move on with my life!
TGR: The Nightly Disease is to be turned into a movie! Who directs it? Who plays Isaac? Will it be over 2 hours long?
MB: Paul Thomas Anderson directs. Jonah Hill plays Isaac. It’s 5 hours long.
TGR: You’re working on an anthology of pizza horror with David James Keaton! How far are you along with this? Are you still open to submissions and what do you want to see?
MB: We are open until June 1, so there’s still a bit of time left to submit. We want to see stories that somehow involve pizza, but not in a wacky, Goosebumps kind of style. Serious stories only, nerds!
TGR: How does the story acceptance process work? Do you both have to agree on a story or do you select several stories each?
MB: Keaton and I have generally the same taste, especially when it comes to pizza stories (although, not when it comes to actual pizza: I’m a pineapple guy and he finds this utterly horrifying). We’re going through them all and voting. The ones we both dislike get a rejection. The ones one or both of us like is moved on to the shortlist pile for further consideration.
TGR: What are you reading now and what have you read recently that blew you away?
LM: You mean I am supposed to read things besides Stephen King and DMD slush stories?
MB: Besides slush, freelance editing, beta reading for friends, and various King rereads, I’m currently flipping through A Simple Plan by Scott Smith, Corpsepaint by David Peak, Kill Creek by Scott Thomas, and She Said Destroy by Nadia Bulkin.
TGR: PMMP was founded in 2012. What have you learnt in the last six years about the industry? Will there be a special party at the hotel to celebrate 10 years?
LM: Don’t ever start a publishing company. Just kidding. Know what you’re getting into and be prepared for nothing to ever go right the first time, and everything is about two or three times harder than you think it will be. No one actually knows what will sell or why something doesn’t sell. The author has to be as invested in you as you are them or they won’t sell anything. And…I finally found a place where a crazy person like myself actually sorta fits in.
MB: No, seriously, though. Do not ever start a publishing company.