Entire Contents Copyright ©2003 All Rights Reserved.
"the confrontation of aesthetics..."
sept.  2003

the cabal


ask Yeti


chi chi
j. tyler blue
zink poe
bryan e.
blem vide













shut the

vol. i,  issue xxi
Dec. 25, 2003
Ladies and Gentlemen Featured filth purveyor:

Amy Muldoon

who is the best romance writer living today?

There isn't a best, in my opinion. Like any other genre fiction, there are a lot of very dull, interchangeable writers, and a few competent, clever ones. But best? Nobody comes to mind.

have you ever thought about killing a rival in order to sell more books?

No, but I've thought about killing them so they'd stop writing painfully stupid things that make the rest of us look bad.

how did you come to be a mass market paperback romance writer?

I was working as a nanny, and the only books in the house were romance novels. I'd read them when I was bored. Not all of them. I had a system. If the writing made me roll my eyes four times, cringe three times, or shudder with disgust twice, I'd stop, and throw the book.
The point was that there was a particular book by an unnamed woman that I threw before the end of the first paragraph, and I think I actually screamed. I said, "Somebody paid you to write this," and that was it. I decided that the worst crap I could write was better than that crap.
I went home and said, "I'm going to be a damned historical romance novelist, and make a lot of money." I picked out a fluffy name and bought one of those how-to-write-and sell-a-novel books, and wrote a horrid story, and sold it. It was lots of fun. Hah.
It was a terrible story. I buy it when ever I come across a copy, so that nobody else can. It's really very embarrassing. Nobody should ever have their first attempt at writing floating around out there. It haunts me. And I have kind of big hair in the author photo, which is also a very bad thing.

big hair is surely a tragedy. during your time as a nanny as the children were sleeping and while you were off in hidden corners, doing god knows what while reading what you call 'romance' novels, were you ever caught?

That is exactly the sort of thing that happens in romance novels, when your employer is tall dark and sardonic and then he can blackmail his lovely young governess into all kinds of terrible lovely misbehavior she secretly wished for anyway. Of course that's perfectly acceptable because he really really secretly loves her because she is such a lovely clever thing and a hot headed vixen to boot and he will inevitably become a reformed rake and shower her with forbidden words and marry her by page 420. Then she gets a castle. And there should be a good duel in there somewhere. And some sordid 18th century gin soaked street squalor. Yes. And if you're angry at anyone, you can write them in as the stupid rival, and then humiliate them and then kill them. Haha. I think I was caught smoking a cigarette on the porch once.

do you like writing romance novels?

I like some things about it. I like selling books, and I think the publishing industry is interesting. I like royalty checks very much. I like people making a fuss and writing nice things about me. German people write lovely things to me. This one says: Nette Geschichte, grauenvolle Übersetzung! Zeit der Glückseligkeit ist wirklich ein unterhaltsamer Zeitreiseroman. Bezaubernd! I think it means, this writer is a goddess! and we should all buy her books, and send her lots of money. Immediately! Of course, I don't have a clue. It might say, this is commercialized crap and should be doused with gasoline and set on fire. Twice. If you know, don't tell me. Honestly? It was lots of fun at first, but the more I wrote, the more I disliked what I was writing. It's simply producing a product according to industry specifications. And the less I liked it, the more difficult it became. It takes the joy out of writing. Sometimes, I feel like a whore. I don't really like the act, but pretend to for money, because I'm lazy and don't want to work very hard. At least, that's how I imagine whores feel. I don't know this for certain. This is why it's nice to have a fluffy pseudonym. I become her while I'm writing. She's a silly creature, and it doesn't bother her a bit. On a good day, I think I'm a pretty clever sort for knowing how to make a buck, and it's very nice that somebody is paying me to learn how to write.

are you saying that a best-selling romance novelist like yourself doesn't know how to write? please explain.

I didn't exactly say that. I said I didn't know how when I started. I got a little better with the second and third books.

so exactly how many books have you published and are they all in the romance genre?

8 or 9, but about 4 of those are shared anthologies with other authors. Those are usually seasonally themed things, which sell really well. I especially dislike those. Featuring four spellbinding tales of love for Halloween, and that kind of crap. Christmas sales are nice.
speaking of christmas, do you fantasize about black men?

As a matter of fact, just last night I was wondering if three desserts at Christmas dinner is overkill. I might skip the rum cake this year, and just have trifle and tiramisu. What do you think? Keeping in mind, of course, that some guests will be wearing mismatched socks.

a veiled but obvious yes. are you allowed to write lesbian love scenes into your novels?

You ass. That was obviously an oh my god, no, veiled for reasons of political correctness. But I was serious about the rum cake.
hmmm. Lesbian love scenes....I have never asked. If publishers thought it would increase sales, I'm sure it would be allowed. But of course, there are very very few men in the romance reading audience. A few good lesbian love scenes might change that.  No, I had better not. I would probably get hate mail from readers in the midwest. Unless the lesbians were bad evil characters, and then my very morally correct readers could enjoy the scene while shaking their heads and saying how terrible. But then I might get hate mail from lesbians. No, I probably wouldn't. It is not a very lesbian sort of thing to read. This is a new idea. I'll have to give it some thought.

i think the lady doth protest too much. sure, you could come up with a new pseudonym like lesbia tulips and corner the lesbian romance genre market. moving on, what do you really think about the mostly women who read romance novels?

I haven't met a lot of readers personally. It's a huge industry. Last year, I think romance sales accounted for around 56% of the entire paperback book market. I think most of them are just very normal women who just want to read something entertaining without having to work really hard to get it. The readers I've met are very optimistic types that like to imagine a world where everything works out fairly- good characters rewarded, bad characters come to bad ends, all that happily ever after stuff with the ends tied up very neatly. That's true of most popular fiction, though. Not just romance.  Readers just want a nice a nice little break from real life. A little adventure, good sets and costumes, lots of fun sex, and a hero who doesn't end up on the couch scratching his ass and staring blindly at the TV.

we're trying to move away from questions about the sell-out filth you're publishing and into the questions our readers are really interested in. can you tell us a little about your own breasts in that pulp romance way?

Hell, no. My tits and I are married. Under exclusive contract. My ass is too, just in case you were going to ask. Next question?

i wonder if you can talk about your wedding. did you marry them both at once or have separate ceremonies? And give us details.

Oh, for god's sake. I just fell over laughing. That wasn't what I meant. Never mind. Next question, without boobs in it, please.

you need to tell us your pseudonym damn it! why shouldn't you tell us?

I can think of a lot of reasons I shouldn't.  I am protecting my alter ego and her silly novels. Because they are really wretched flowery purple prosed books. They are trite, cliche ridden, and so full of forbidden words that if you ever looked at one your eyeballs would burst into flames.  Why the hell would I give you ammunition like that? Good god. No. You can torment me well enough without my help. I don't need you quoting melodramatic romancipated dialogue and sordid obligatory sex scenes at me.  Also, I'm still using that name. I've said some rather uncomplimentary things about the genre here, and I have to work in this industry. A lot of romance writers take this business very seriously, and I'd be a very very unpopular girl for saying anything derogatory about any of it. Romance writers get very defensive about not being considered "real" writers. I would be damned. Maybe even publicly stoned.

you are alone in the city. on one side of the street is a men's sauna, on the other side of the street is an opium den. a man walks up to you. he has a raincoat on. at your feet you see a turtle turned upside down on its shell. who the hell is bob?

The answer is simple. Run rapidly through the opium den and throw the turtle at the third armadillo. It doesn't matter if you miss, because the man in the raincoat will die anyway. Yes, it was a Burberry. Bob is an anagram for Bob.

why do you love writethis so much that you dream about its editors?

Oh, for God's sake. Writethis is funny, and clever, and irreverent, and I very much like that particular combination of intelligence and badness. I wouldn't say I love it. That's a little extreme.  I don't dream about the editors, because that would be wrong, and I'm a very good girl like that. Though I sometimes dream about Paolo Maldini. That's probably wrong, too. I'm sure that Paolo would never ask me questions like this.

the rumor has it that you and j. tyler blue are involved in some sort of torrid love affair. what is your take on this rumor? he claims to have photos of a tatoo on your nice ass.

I never pay attention to rumors, unless they're very amusing ones. I have never had an affair, being a nice girl and all. J. Tyler Blue is a fine writer, and a shameless liar. I do not have a tattoo on my ass, or anywhere else. That proves it.

republican or democrat?  favorite book written by a president?

Well, there is really no excuse for being a Republican unless you're an old rich balding man with a lot of workers to oppress. I am not. I'm usually a Democrat, occasionally I'm a Socialist, except for the days when I hate everyone and then I want an Autocracy. I would be in charge, of course, and I could just annihilate everyone that pisses me off.  I honestly don't think I've ever read a book written by a president.
how do you write? longhand? computer? with music?

I prefer writing on actual paper. Unlined paper and black ink. Fountain pens are the best, the old fashioned kind that you have to buy ink cartridges for. I am not sure why. My fingers are misshapen on my writing hand where the pen presses in, and kind of stained gray from the ink. It isn't very pretty. But there is something much more personal about the physical act of actually writing the words. Also, you can write sitting in trees or in graveyards or next to fires. I like quiet when I write, so I usually write between three and six in the morning. It pisses me off enormously when people speak to me when I'm writing, or come close enough to look at my words. If anybody looks, it is all ruined, and has to be thrown away. I'm a little compulsive about that. Everything is hidden. There are notebooks and discs hidden all over my house.

do you own your pseudonym? or does your publisher own it? if you were to write something other than a romance novel, would the publisher sue you if you used your pseudonym?

We both own her. I can't write for anyone else using that name, without their permission. But they can't publish anything under that name, without my permission. I wouldn't want to use the name outside that particular genre. She is not me. She is a silly creature.  And yes, they might sue me. After all, I entered into a suit against them a few years ago for withholding royalties. They were very nice about it, though. They still buy my stories and send me Christmas cards.

do you plan on publishing anything under your real name?

Yes, when I write something that I'm pleased with. I'm working on three different things that might qualify, and one that certainly won't, but I'm terribly superstitious and if I say anything about them they'll be ruined or I'll die or something.