THRILLVILLE: Will "the Thrill" Viharo's weird, wild world of Pulp Fiction, B Movies, & the Lounge Lizard Lifestyle.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Onward Vic Valentine: the "Love Stories" Launch Party & Beyond

Photo by Oscar Benjamin

From the
San Francisco Bay Guardian
On Saturday, July 27, 2013, Gutter Books threw a book launch party for their reissue of Love Stories Are Too Violent For Me, my 1995 novel that has been out of print for many years, and is currently in development for a film to star and be directed by Christian Slater (hopefully during the hiatus from his brand new television series, Mind Games, which he is currently filming in Chicago). The swingin' shindig took place at 50 Mason Social House in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco. It was an appropriately stylish/swanky venue in a suitably seedy/sleazy neighborhood. I finally got the chance to meet my new publisher, Matt Louis, who looks so young I would've taken a hard look at his ID has I been the joint's bouncer (and I have experience, having been Forbidden Island's door man for over three years). He is a sincerely nice guy, and what's more, he's extremely capable, ambitious, savvy and smart. Suffice to say, I'm in good hands. I'm proud and honored to be part of the Gutter Books team, including my friend/editor, rising literary titan Joe Clifford.
GUTTER GANG: From left to right - author/Gutter editor Tom Pitts,
author/Gutter editor Joe Clifford, and flanking my right,
Gutter Books founder/publisher Matthew Louis
PULP MARTYRS: With T. Fox Dunham (photo by Oscar Benjamin)

It was actually a double book launch party, since my fellow Gutter author, T. Fox Dunham, flew out from Philadelphia (my childhood big city, since I grew up in the South Jersey suburbs) to celebrate the publication of his first novel, The Street Martyr. Meeting Fox was a very special and privileged experience for me. The sweet, humble guy is not only an incredibly accomplished and prolific professional short story scribe - mostly in the horror/noir genre - but he is a cancer survivor. His personal story is courageous and inspirational, and he is a model of human dignity and spiritual strength. I've just began reading his book and I can tell you he's one hell of a writer too - the modern day equivalent of his famous literary ancestor, Philly's previous pulp poet, David Goodis.  Fox also gave a mesmerizing reading that had the audience positively spellbound - it was way more effective than my own reading, since I can improvise much better than I can recite a script, even my own.
Fox in action

My wife Monica Tiki Goddess is a professional actress, and whenever I have to make one of these promotional appearances, my already sincere admiration for her public speaking and thespian skills only increases. Monica actually surprised me with a special cake that featured a frosty replication of the book cover, though unfortunately it sustained a little damage on the way over the Bay Bridge, which only gave it a pulpy look.

Monica Tiki Goddess always puts the Thrill in Thrilville

Live readings are too violent for me
With my muse
The highlight of the party, other than the schmoozing and socializing, was the special guest performance by one of my favorite bands, The Aqua-Velvets. The irony was that I was listening to their first album while I was writing Love Stories back in 1993, and in fact Vic Valentine mentions them in the text throughout the series, including the subsequent four sequels.  Their unique blend of retro lounge/tiki exotica/crime jazz/classic surf music perfectly suits both the material, and their gig completely captivated the audience. They really made that party rock.

Photo by Paul Hengen

On-the-spot drawing of my reading by the great artist Rick Lucey,
who illustrated the cover for I Lost My Heart in Hollywood/Diary of a Dick
Anyway, if you missed the party - and odds are you did - the new print edition of Love Stories Are Too Violent For Me is currently available via Amazon, as is the Kindle edition. But I have a few more events lined up already, with more in the pipeline, if you're local and you desire a personally signed copy. 

On Thursday, September 26, starting at 8pm, I'll be appearing at a "True Romance Is Too Violent For Me" book signing and film screening of Christian's 1993 classic (and my personal favorite), True Romance. I will also be hosting a "Vic Valentine Cocktail Party" sometime in September at Forbidden Island Tiki Lounge in Alameda, celebrating the official induction of their custom "Vic Valentine" cocktail onto the newly revamped menu. There will also be a reading/signing event at Books Inc. in Alameda, with more to follow. Check out my Thrillville schedule page for updated info.

On top of all this, second annual naughty nudie Nightcap Edition of Bachelor Pad Magazine is now available, featuring buried within all that fabulous fleshy fantasy my new Vic Valentine vignette, "Space Needle Fix," actually a follow-up to "Private Dick, Public Enemy," published in the first Nightcap Edition (details on that here). 

These two stories are basically the first two somewhat truncated chapters of my planned sixth Vic Valentine novel, Hard-Boiled Heart, which catches up with Vic in middle age, sans any boring personal growth, with the action relocating to Seattle, my future home base as well, hopefully by next summer, if all goes according to plan. Thanks to Jason Croft for printing the new installment, and congrats to him for 25 years of Bachelor Pad - a print only magazine, quite an accomplishment these days. This boast just adds to its timelessly retro appeal. The mixture of pulp and pinups can't be beat. I'm proud to say my movie column has appeared in every single issue. Subscribe today!

Close-up of the crazy cool illustration
by Scooter Harris

Color version

Finally, check out a couple of cool, recent interviews with yours truly:
By author Ryan Sayles, Out of the Gutter Online.
By author Jochem Vandersteen, Sons of Spade.

By the way, in case you missed it, or don't own a copy of the book yet (and why not?), my exhaustively comprehensive introduction to this new, revised, definitive edition of Love Stories was reposted in my last column, revealing the whole sordid story of its initial publication, the Christian crusade, and its recent rediscovery (read Joe's blog about editing the novel).

Onward Christian Slater, Onward Vic Valentine, and Onward Will Viharo. Cheers.