WHAT’S NEW MORT?
That’s a question nobody is asking me – so I’ll ask myself.
And I will also answer.
BUT FIRST …
WHO WON THE JULY “MORT PROVIDES A PROMPT” CONTEST?
Peter D. Schwotzer is the winner’s name. He came up with nothing less than a splendid short story, evocative and thoughtful. It stood heads and shoulders and headless shoulders and shoulders and necks and all above the competition.
Peter D. Schwotzer … Yeah, I know, the name sounds so Hollywood you think it’s a fake, but there is nothing artificial about this guy’s talent. One of the great pleasures in this biz is finding people who have talent. Peter D. is the genuine article and I hope he knows it.
So as a prize, I’ve sent Peter D Schwotzer a Mini-Cooper, a case of Ciroc vodka, an unopened can of Maxwell House Coffee found in the hut of Hurtin’ John Mississippi in Avalon, Mississippi, an unsigned copy of Linda Goodman’s SUN SIGNS, two and a half pounds of generic window putty, a cardigan sweater once worn by Woodrow Wilson, and several Mort Castle books complete with my signature. So far, Peter has received only my books, but you know how the mails are …
WHAT’S NEW, MORT?
My Allen Melbert 8 String Lap Steel Guitar. It was custom made for me by Bob Allen, who is Melbert Lap Steel Guitars, and it’s quite a wonderful instrument.. Mine has a serial number of 0123. I’ve got a couple other hand made instruments—A Svoboda model Zingaboom and a Stuckey’s Fanny Paddle—but none that were made just for me. That number, 0123, means it is the 123rd instrument made by Bob—and it was made just for me. Not for John Little, David Niall Wilson, or Sonny Tufts. Me. Mort Castle.
I tune it to C6.
GOOD, MORT, YOU ANTICIPATED. I WAS GOING TO ASK IF YOU USED C6 OR E13.
I like the C6.
IS THERE ANYONE ELSE YOU THINK SHOULD HAVE A LAP STEEL GUITAR?
Yes, Cody Goodfellow. He ought to reach into his pocket and buy an Allen Melbert Lap Steel Guitar.
I mean, say it aloud: “Cody Goodfellow and His Lap Steel Guitar.” Doesn’t that sound right? It’s got the ring of “Shaney Lodestone and his dog, Shep,” doesn’t it.?
Oh, and if you want to like get a gift for Cody Goodfellow, you can get a Melbert guitar by going to
UH, WHAT’S THIS GOT TO DO WITH WRITING, CASTLE?
WELL, YOU WRITING ANYTHING THESE DAYS, CASTLE?
When I’m not playing my Allen Melbert 8 String Lap Steel Guitar (C6), I’m working on a profile of and interview with a really wonderful writer. Then I’m supposed to do another profile of and interview with another really wonderful writer. Then for variety’s sake, I’m doing a profile of and interview with another really wonderful writer. I’m deliberately not mentioning names because I know how to keep you in suspense, hotcha, hotcha. Two of the wonderful writer profiles will appear in a really wonderful magazine called THE WRITER. The other one will appear in another magazine.
Oh, yeah, I’m working on some short stories and novels and another couple of articles. But you know, I am no longer willing to mention ideas as I work on ‘em. I’m afraid that guys like Dean Koontz or Philip Roth will steal ‘em. I don’t even want to think about how many times that Norman Mailer, James Crumley, and John Updike ripped me off. I got fed up with it. I mean, I get steamed.
Guys like that, always looking to make a buck …
Well, those guys are dead now.
Draw your own conclusions.
HAVE ANYTHING NEW OUT?
Glad you asked. There are two or three books coming out late this year and early next in Poland. In English, they are called CURSED BE THE CHILD, NATIONS OF THE LIVING, NATIONS OF THE DEAD, and UNTITLED; the last one has work by John Everson and me and two Polish writers. I don’t know what the first two will be called in Poland. The last one is going to be UNTITLEDSKI.
And there’s a nice reprint of my story “I Am Your Need” along with Bartek Paszylk’s interview with me in the current issue of NOWA FANTASTYKA.
YEAH, BUT HAVE YOU GOT ANYTHING NEW OUT IN THE UNITED STATES, PREFERABLY IN ENGLISH?
There’s J. N. Williamson’s MASQUES: AN ANTHOLOGY OF ELEGANT EVIL, a hardcover graphic novel format book, which is coming out from Checker Book Publishing. There’s CURSED BE THE CHILD, the edition without typos, coming from Overlook Connection. There’s NEW MOON ON THE WATER, a story collection from Full Moon Press.
And available right now is a damned good book called MIGHTY UNCLEAN from DarkArts. It has stories by Gary Braunbeck, Gemma Files, Cody Goodfellow, and me, and is edited by Bill Breedlove. (Yes, I know his name sounds like something dreamed up by a 1970s porn director.) I’ve got a novella called “Robot Monster Dreaming” in that book that I consider one of the best things I’ve done in a long time.
I’m sure it will win a Stoker, a World Fantasy Award, and get picked up in all kinds of “Year’s Best” anthologies.
YOU SOMEHOW SEEM MORE ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT YOUR POLISH PUBLICATIONS THAN YOU DO ENGLISH LANGUAGE STUFF.
Me? Hey, just because you find my work classed with stuff by Cormac McCarthy and James Ellroy in Poland, while in America my titles are my usually in the Jewel-Osco discount bin #3 (the first one has slight second socks, the next, plastic water bottles) alongside paranormal romances by women with three names?
ANYTHING ELSE NEW?
Yeah, you know who shouldn’t play 8 string lap steel guitar, a Melbert or otherwise? Gary Braunbeck, that’s who.
Gary used to be a great jew’s harp player, but then the war wound kicked in and he could no longer hit high G. Damned shame. Prior to that, you wanted to hear “Cotton Eyed Joe,” Gary was the go to guy.
UH, YOUR COLUMN DIDN’T SAY MUCH ABOUT EITHER THE ART OR CRAFT OF WRITING THIS TIME, DID IT?
Maybe it did.