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

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Vic Valentine Returns in "Vic Valentine: International Man of Misery"!

When the last Vic Valentine novel Hard-boiled Heart was published by Gutter Books in December, 2015, I really thought that would be it for the character. It had been two decades since the publication of the first in the series, Love Stories Are Too Violent For Me, by Wild Card Press in 1995 (reissued by Gutter in 2013). I never thought it wold go this far, but a famous fan's completely unexpected, unsolicited interest sustained the character far past his initial expiration date.

Hard-boiled Heart was inspired by my experiences with Christian Slater as we tired to get a green light for his option of Love Stories, which he'd owned since 2001. In 2012 he flew me out to Miami to do some location scouting, I was given a contract to co-write the new script, and...the rest is history. Literally.

So after coming so close we could touch it (again, literally), the project was put back on ice. Suffice it is to say that the writing of Hard-boiled Heart was a laborious, cathartic process. My aim was to give the character a fitting finale, then put him to bed. For good.

Flash forward past my following book, the erotic horror novella Things I Do When I'm Awake, inspired by the tragic life of my schizophrenic mother, now deceased, published via my own imprint Thrillville Press (itself a long, arduous story), and I was ready to seriously lighten up.

Some of you may know I've been making a living as a full-time dog walker the last couple of years. This factored into Things I Do When I'm Awake, and I figured that would be the extent of that source of life inspiration.

But then in January of this year, I was flown to Costa Rica to instruct workshops at the first Writers' Retreat of San Buenas

I couldn't stop thinking of putting Vic in these situations: a dog walker who winds up in Costa Rica. And so I began writing the seventh installment of a series I thought was over. But instead, I'm already thinking about the next one. They're just too much fun to write. Whatever happens to me I make happen to Vic, though with a lot more sex, violence, and action.

Vic is my fictional doppelganger is the same way "Will the Thrill" was my fabricated public persona for many years as the front man for my cult movie cabaret "Thrillville," the source of my "brand name."  Since it's written in the first person, I assume many readers assume it's all autobiographical. But the truth is, I only mine major life events for the storylines for all my books, which basically write themselves once I set it all up. Vic Valentine is no different. We certainly have a lot in common in terms of our tastes in vintage pop cultural and women, but there are also aspects of his behavior and attitude where I purposely diverge sharply from my own sensibilities. The purpose here is Art for entertainment's sake, not self-indulgent self-therapy at the reader's expense (literally!).

Largely due to all the hoopla surrounding the long-simmering but ultimately fruitless movie project, Vic Valentine has become my signature creation, even though I consider my other books more representative of myself as an author.

With International Man of Misery, I ditched any pretense of conventional, market-driven "crime," "mystery," or "noir" and went full-on pulp. This meant combining disparate elements into a genre hybrid, which is my specialty, and what I'm most comfortable creating.

Being an indie author/publisher allows me the freedom to experiment and basically do whatever the hell I want, because who is going to stop me? I write mainly to please myself, but with a keen awareness of the potential audience, whom I wish to enthrall, and never insult. I have a small, loyal cult following, and trust me, I always keep you in mind, too.

Bottom line: this is exactly the kind of book I wanted and needed to produce at this particular juncture in my life, and I'm very, very proud of it. I hope you enjoy it as well.

Here is the evolution of Vic Valentine in print:

Artwork by Tim Racer

My 2011 Lulu editions of the sequels, all written in the mid-90s:
Artwork by Rich Black
Artwork by Rick Lucey

Artwork by Matt Brown

Artwork by Scooter Harris

Artwork by Matt Brown

and now...

Front cover art by Matt Brown; back cover art and design by Dyer Wilk

Vic Valentine, Private Eye is back in business—as a dog walker. A really, really bad one. While drunk in a dive bar one rainy Seattle night, one of his canine clients tied up outside goes missing. The twisted trail leads him from Vancouver to Minneapolis to Houston to Mexico City and then all the way down to Costa Rica. Along the way he encounters nefarious businessmen, dangerous drug dealers, tropical cocktails, flesh-eating zombies, voracious vampire women, and a luscious Latina bombshell that may or may not turn out to be the long lost love of his life…

Join Vic in his frantic search for the missing pooch, exotic sexual escapades, voluptuous voodoo vengeance, and a quest for the meaning of Life in a dog-eat-dog world.


Print Edition


This vintage instrumental is stuck in Vic's head throughout the book, because it suits the frenetic pace of the wild narrative:

My initial inspirations for the front cover:

Raquel Welch

Matt Brown's realization of my concept:

Next, Dyer Wilk's text-free back cover art, 
based on some images I  supplied for visual reference....

Ironically, Dyer designed that back cover without realizing that this tableau is in my home office:

But I absent-mindedly sent Dyer the wrong file when he was putting together the full wraparound, so this wound up being the front cover for the print edition, which is still perfect, despite the differences in shirt pattern and font for my byline. I used Matt's finalized cover for the Kindle edition, so now I have both. Likewise, I used Rich Black's artwork for my OOP edition of Fate Is My Pimp/Romance Takes a Raincheck and Rick Lucey's artwork for I Lost My Heart in Hollywood/Diary of the Dick for the Kindle versions, once the comprehensive, better-edited, definitive Thrillville Press omnibus The Vic Valentine Classic Case Files was published last year.

I wanted some "tiki" in there, so since Matt added a tiki design to the shirt, the big tiki mug on the back cover would've seemed overkill in print, anyway. The original cover is more Miami Vice, and that's appropriate, too. So it worked out by accident, as many things do in life.

Here are the memes I posted via social media to promote the book in advance, giving you an idea of the over-the-top irony involved in its conception, and the rather radical difference in direction I'm taking the series:

I have no idea what's next for Vic, or for me, but who does? Onward! Cheers.

Swedish pancakes at The Swedish Club, Seattle
Serious Pie and Biscuit Westlake, Seattle
The Daily Grill, Seattle
The Lodge, Seattle 
The Teacher's Lounge, Seattle

University of Washington Club

Costa's Greek Restaurant on University Ave, Seattle 
Ivar's Salmon House

 Happy Halloween from The Thrillpad!

 Tacoma Cabana

Celebrating Monica passing her final exam to become an official doctoral candidate!

With Baby Doe of the Devil-Ettes, Unicorn, Seattle, 11/9/17

With El VezUnicorn, Seattle, 11/9/17

Vito's, Seattle

Final night of Seattle's legendary 13 Coins at its original location
Pacific Grill, Tacoma, 11/14/17

University of WA Club

No Bones Beach Club, Seattle - our vegan tiki bar!

"A Charlie Brown Christmas" by the Jose Gonzales Trio, Seattle Center, 12/10/17

You may also dig:



Hosting Noir at the Bar Seattle, Thursday, October 12 at Hotel Sorrento,
which will also be the Release Part for "Vic Valentine: International Man of Misery:

Pix from the book release party for "Vic Valentine: International Man of Misery,"
Noir at the Bar Seattle, Hotel Sorrento, 10/12/17:


Next Noir at the Bar Seattle, January 11, 2018:

November 17-19, 2017

Trader Vic's:
 Mai Tai

The Walking Dead...

The Vortex, Little Five Points

South City Kitchen, Buckhead
 Old Fashioned

Monica and I contributed essays for two of the pieces for this exhibit at San Francisco State University

My 26th annual Elvis Christmas card designed for 42inc

 A White Christmas in Seattle

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

Podcast interview by Steven Gomez for The Noir Factory, August 2017

Interview conducted by Drive-In Radio host Alec Cizak, October 24, 2017,
broadcast from Missoula, Montana.

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

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

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

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 2015

Issue #41 of Bachelor Pad Magazine featuring my column on werewolf movies now available in digital download or POD formats

Bachelor Pad Magazine #42 features my movie column covering the career of Dean Martin!






HARD-BOILED HEART from Gutter Books


Fate Is My Pimp, Romance Takes a Rain Check, I Lost My Heart in Hollywood, Diary of a Dick

My erotic horror noir novella THINGS I DO WHEN I'M AWAKE 

from Thrillville Press

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


My story HOT NIGHT AT HINKY DINKS is included in this cocktail-themed flash fiction anthology 

New anthology of Christmas horror stories from Coffin Hop Press,
including my story THAT'S A WRAP, now on sale!

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

My short story 
BEHIND THE BAR is included in this anthology