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

Monday, January 25, 2016


To say the creation of my own imprint followed a circuitous path is a gross understatement. It’s basically 37 years in the making, beginning when I wrote the first draft of Chumpy Walnut age 16 in 1979.

Since then I’ve been both published by small presses and self-published; had a real New York agent (Marilyn Marlow of Curtis Brown Ltd.) for over a dozen years that did nothing for me; been courted by a major celebrity editor (Judith Regan of Simon & Schuster) that likewise let me down; had a movie deal with Christian Slater that failed to reach fruition after many close calls over a 13 year long option process; and meanwhile, I gradually made my own brand name, “Thrillville,” on which I’ve built my own social network.

Now it’s finally all coming together.

VOLUME ONE: A Mermaid Drowns in the Midnight Lounge and
Freaks That Carry Your Luggage Up to the Room

VOLUME TWO: Lavender Blonde and Down a Dark Alley

VOLUME THREE: Chumpy Walnut and Other Stories

Fate Is My Pimp, Romance Takes a Rain Check, I Lost My Heart in Hollywood, Diary of a Dick
It’s time to take control of my own destiny. I’ve tried every other way, and none have gone the distance with me. Nobody’s fault. Everyone ultimately prioritizes his or her own personal agenda and survival over the concerns and interests of others. And that’s exactly what I’m doing.

I’ll be 53 in April. Any way you cut it, I’m on the downslope of my natural life span. No more time to waste.

These four anthologies, initially published by the suddenly and sadly defunct Double Life Press last year, comprise the bulk of my life’s work. I have four other books on the market from two other publishers (Gutter Books and Scott Fulks) that treat me right, so they’re in good hands. But these books belong entirely to ME. Together they comprise the foundation of whatever literary legacy I will eventually leave behind, for whatever that’s worth to anyone. It’s worth a lot to me, anyway, and that’s the one person I’m really doing this for.

This fantastic cover art – by Mike Fyles (Thrillville Pulp Fiction Collection Vol. 1), Matt Brown (Thrillville Pulp Fiction Collection Vol. 2 and The Vic Valentine Classic Files), and Dyer Wilk (Thrillville Pulp Fiction Collection Vol. 3 as well as the new Thrillville Press logo) – were all created based on my own crude sketches and basic concepts. (Actually, Mike produced the art that eventually became the cover of Volume 1 a while ago, on spec, but it was my idea to add the zombies!). So even there, I took command of my own vision.

The Thrillville Press logo was inspired by our official wedding logo!
My original crude concept sketch

Nothing feels better that to be in creative control of one’s own art. With all due respect, as it were, the founders of all these small presses out there don’t have anything I don’t have in terms of expertise or experience, but they do have higher overhead and a tighter bottom line. They’re basically just self-publishing collectives, relying on many of the same free DIY publishing tools as the rest of us indie entrepreneurs. What makes them each special is the boldness of their actions. They are devoted to publishing the best work they can find or produce, according to their own standards, regardless of profit margins. That’s my manifesto, too, except I’m exclusively investing in the single veteran author that I know and believe in the most: myself.

Sure, I’m breaking "the rules" by making and abiding by my own, but as they say, whoever they are, necessity is the mother of invention. Nobody else writes books like these. They’re completely unique and don’t fall under all particular genre. I’ve created my own alternate universe. As their creator, I understand and know these books more than anyone, which means makes me the ideal custodian of my own career.

Interior formatting for all four volumes by Rik Hall

I am way beyond requiring the validation of strangers. It doesn’t matter to me whether these books become bestsellers or win any awards. That would be swell, but the point is I’m not counting on the acclaim and accolades of others for my artistic and personal contentment any longer. I don’t need fame and fortune to feel fulfilled. It’s enough that these works exist, in the most pristine editions possible, the interiors and exteriors all professionally designed. I will mine my own two-decade experience as a PR man/publicist for other people’s dreams to promote them. But the rest is simply out of my hands. The world can now take ‘em or leave ‘em. Either way, I am very, very proud of them. And nobody can ever take that away from me.

Lesson learned: unless you live in a dictatorship, generally speaking the only power another human has over you is whatever power you give them. I’m taking mine back. It feels great not to be in direct or even indirect competition with anyone, not even myself.

With Catherine & Kyle Fischer of Wild Card Press (and later Speakeasy Theaters), original publishers of "Love Stories Are Too Violent For Me," 1995
Thrillville Press, like all of my artistic endeavors over the past thirty-odd (very odd) years, is purely a labor of love. I’m truly at the point where if anybody doesn’t dig who I am or what I’m about or the work I produce, it simply isn’t my problem. Self-reliance is the key to professional happiness, at least for me.

It was a long, rocky road to reach this place of peace and acceptance (as opposed to bitterness and resignation), and I’m never turning back.

More than anything, the founding of Thrillville Press represents my survival against all odds. It is manifest destiny in action.

Now back to dog walking and dreaming.

Onward! Cheers.
Artwork by Mike Fyles; photo by Jim Thomsen
Check out my ongoing blog series about the craft and business of writing/publishing for Digital Media Ghost.

Thrillville Press Facebook page.

Back story on The Thrillville Pulp Fiction Collection here. 

Backstory on The Vic Valentine Classic Case Files and The Space Needler's Intergalactic Bar Guide here. 

Backstory on Hard-boiled Heart here.

Backstory on Love Stories Are Too Violent For Me here.

Add caption
Add caption
Interview in the San Francisco Chronicle 12/24/15 

Pre-bday cocktails with The Tiki Goddess, Tacoma Cabana, 4/1/16
"Every Woman I Love Is Undead" - original cocktail inspired by Vic Valentine,
created by Tacoma Cabana 
owner Jason Alexander

Twede's Cafe, the "real' RR Diner, North Bend, WA 4/2/16
Damn fine birthday cherry pie and coffee! Twede's Cafe, 4/2/16

Snoqualmie Falls at "The Great Northern" (Salish Lodge & Spa), 4/2/16
Welcome to Twin Peaks!
Meeting Kyle "Agent Cooper" MacLachlan at the University of Washington for an alumni forum, 5/9/15

Cocktails at Cutter's Crabhouse, Seattle, 4/2/16

Birthday dinner and drinks at Etta's, Seattle, 4/2/16

Elvira with her copy of "Hard-boiled Heart," Crypticon, Seattle, 5/28/16
With my old friend Lance Henriksen, Crypticon, Seattle, 5/28/16

Seeing the John Carpenter Live Retrospective at the Paramount Theatre, Seattle, 6/14/16
With cocktail/culinary expert Richard Foss at one of our favorite Seattle spots, La Isla, 6/13/14

Celebrating 15 years of blissful marriage (two days early!) at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley, Seattle, 5/29/16

Arturo Sandoval live at Jazz Alley for our anniversary celebration!
Cheers to 15 years!

Celebrating the end of Monica's second year as a PhD student at the University of Washington School of Drama, at Shelter Lounge, Seattle 6/11/16
Tiki cocktails at Rumba in Seattle
Jon Noe, me, Vince Keenan, Eddie Muller at Rumba, Seattle, 6/4/16

With Eddie MullerLost Lake Cafe, Seattle, 7/26/16

Monica with Eddie Muller, Elliott Bay Books, Seattle, 7/26/16

At the KPLU Listeners Appreciation Party celebrating our local jazz station's new independence, Pantages Theater, Tacoma, 7/28/16

With our favorite local DJ Dick Stein, KPLU Listeners Party, Pantages Theater, 7/28/16

With Jason Alexander, owner of the best tiki bar in the Pacific Northwest, Tacoma Cabana, 7/28/16
Monica and me toasting at one of our favorite places, Tacoma Cabana, 7/28/16
Drinking the original Vic Valentine-inspired cocktail "Every Woman I Love Is Undead,"
Tacoma Cabana, 7/28/16

Drinking my first "Vic Valentine" since I left the Bay Area! Tacoma Cabana, 7/28/16
Add caption
With Seattle tiki podcaster Ray WylandTacoma Cabana, 7/28/16

With my old pal August Ragone at Bimbo's Cantina, Seattle 8/15/16

At one of our favorite places to eat and drink in Seattle, Serious Pie and Biscuit
Cheers to Seattle's vegan tiki bar, No Bones Beach Club!
With burlesque stars from Austin, Something Blue, Ruby Joule and Jolie Goodnight,
No Bones Beach Club, Seattle 8/27/16

With Lisa Petrucci of Something Weird Video, Second Annual Freakout Weekend in Seattle 8/26/16 
With Jacques Boyreau, Second Annual Freakout Weekend in Seattle 8/26/16 
With Vince Drambuie, Second Annual Freakout Weekend in Seattle 8/26/16 
With "Mister Bob" (AKA El Vez) at  The Triple Door, Seattle, 8/30/16

Hosting and reading from Hard-boiled Heart at the
next Noir at the Bar Seattle, 2/16/15, Hugo House

Left to right, back to front: Michael Pool, Rob HartJohnny ShawOwen LaukkanenSam WeibeDietrich Kaltreis, Kat RichardsonLinda L. Richards, me (photo by Jim Thomsen)

Hosting Noir at the Bar Seattle, 4/14/16, Fireside Room, Hotel Sorrento
Pearce Hansen and me, Noir at the Bar Seattle, 4/14/16

Noir at the Bar, The Alibi Room, 6/14/16

Mock "Thrillboard" promo image created by Joseph N. Frezza


"Thrillville," my official theme song by The Moon-Rays
"Director's cut" of Jeff M. Giordanos' documentary THE THRILL IS GONE! (2014)

Original book trailer for The Thrillville Pulp Fiction Collection, shot and edited by Christopher Sorrenti (2011)

Book trailer for Freaks That Carry Your Luggage Up to the Room,
animated by Vincent Cortez (2011)

Promoting the first edition of A Mermaid Drowns in the Midnight Lounge on San Francisco's Creepy KOFY Movietime, 2010

Reading from Love Stories Are Too Violent For Me (2014)

Live reading of my short story "Escape from Thrillville" (2014, included in The Thrillville Pulp Fiction Collection, Volume 3)

Book trailer for It Came from Hangar 18 (2012)

Interview with Scott Fulks and me for Tiki Oasis TV, August 201

You may also dig:

My story MEANTIME is included in this bitchin' anthology, 
for which I also wrote the foreword:

Bachelor Pad Magazine #35 featuring my movie column on "Women In Prison" movies!
Bachelor Pad Magazine #36 featuring my movie column about classic biker flicks!



The new Vic Valentine novel HARD-BOILED HEART now available from Gutter Books


My short story BEHIND THE BAR is included in this anthology


Order your official THRILLVILLE FEZ from Fez-O-Rama!