Archive for Slushpile Exclusive

Crowdfunding So Far, According to Biggs

mytro stretch

Slushpile founder John Biggs surpassed the initial goal for crowdfunding his debut young adult novel, Mytro. Now, Biggs and his fanbase are working on making their stretch goals over at Indiegogo. Here is a quick Q&A on what he’s seen with crowdfunding so far.

Slushpile: What surprised you about the crowdfunding process so far?

Biggs: That it took so long to ramp up. I have a fairly big platform but even with that it was a strange, scary feeling. I’m glad it worked, but it was frightening. I’m also happy that my friends and family really supported me.

Slushpile: You surpassed your initial goal. As a result, how did you increase or change the scope of the project?

Biggs: I offered improved goals. It’s a book so there’s very little I can change but still it was something to offer signed books.

Slushpile: What is one thing you learned, or wished you had done differently?

Biggs: Nothing yet. I wish I had budgeted a bit more but it’s hard to do before figuring out how many books you need to print.

Slushpile: What is the next step in bringing Mytro to readers?

Biggs: A thorough cleaning by a hired copy editor, layout, and printing. After this it should only take a few weeks to really get rolling.

Then I have to write two more books…

Round Up of Hard Rock Books


Yesterday, we discussed the deluge of books related to hard rock and heavy metal. Whereas the prevailing attitude used to be that rockers don’t read, it now appears that anyone with a Marshall amp stack can get a book deal. And even if you don’t have a massive stack of amplifiers, you can still sell one of these books.

[In the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted that my own book Power Chord: One Man’s Ear-Splitting Quest to Find His Guitar Heroes focuses on musicians within the hard rock and heavy metal genre.]

The list below is by no means a comprehensive, all-inclusive compilation of hard rock books. These are just the texts that pop into my head. This list doesn’t go back forever and it doesn’t include super-small fanzines and those kinds of publications. Some of these are by band members and primary musicians. Other books are by peripheral people to the groups or journalists. Some are bestsellers while some are self-published. The point is to give a simple off-the-cuff indicator of the size of this market.

If you’re a headbanger and you can think of other books that I’ve left off this list, feel free to add the title and author in the Comments section. And if you are interested in this form of music, then you should definitely check out Blabbermouth on a regular basis. Sort of the headline news of hard rock, Blabbermouth provides frequent updates that allude to books and musicians’ literary ventures.

[Editorial Note: This post will be updated whenever news of a hard rock book is announced.]

Rockers and Rollers: A Full-Throttle Memoir by vocalist Brian Johnson
Why AC/DC Matters by journalist Anthony Bozza

Walk This Way: The Autobiography of Aerosmith by Aerosmith and Stephen Davis
Hit Hard: A Story of Hitting Rock Bottom at the Top by drummer Joey Kramer
Does the Noise in My Head Bother You: A Rock and Roll Memoir by vocalist Steven Tyler
–Bass player Tom Hamilton quoted in the press as working on a book
Rocks: My Life In and Out of Aerosmith by guitarist Joe Perry

I’m the Man: The Story of that Guy from Anthrax by guitarist Scott Ian

–Guitarist and vocalist Adam “Nergal” Darski released his autobiography Sacrum Profanum

Black Sabbath
Iron Man: My Life in Black Sabbath and Beyond by Tony Iommi
Deep Purple and Beyond: Scenes from the Life of a Rock Star by Glenn Hughes (who also sang with Black Sabbath and others)
–Geezer Butler quoted in press as working on a book
Black Sabbath and Philosophy: Mastering Reality via the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series

Broken Hope
–Media reports that Jeremy Wagner is publishing fiction with kRP Publishing

Def Leppard
Def Leppard: The Definitive Visual History by rock photographer Ross Halfin

Dio, Ronnie James
Rainbow in the Dark: The Autobiography of Ronnie James Dio, posthumously, by vocalist Ronnie James Dio, forthcoming

–Vocalist David Draiman spoke in media outlets about his book to be published by HarperCollins

<strong>Five Finger Death Punch</strong>
–<u>Death Punch’d: Surviving Five Finger Death Punch’s Metal Mayhem</u> by drummer Jeremy Spencer

Ford, Lita
–<u>Living Like a Runaway</u> by former member of the Runaways and solo artist Lita Ford

Juke Box Hero by former vocalist Lou Gramm

Guns N’ Roses
Slash by Slash
My Appetite for Destruction by Steven Adler
It’s So Easy (And Other Lies) by Duff McKagan
Watch You Bleed: The Saga of Guns N’ Roses by journalist Stephen Davis

W.A.R.: The Unauthorized Biography of William Axl Rose by journalist Mick Wall
Reckless Road: Guns N’ Roses and the Making of Appetite for Destruction by longtime band associate and photographer Marc Canter
Sweet Child of Mine: How I Lost My Son to Guns N’ Roses by Deanna Adler
Last Living Slut: Born in Iran, Bred Backstage by Roxanna Shirazi, romantic partner of several musicians, most notably to the book Dizzy Reed, a keyboard player for GnR
–Drummer Matt Sorum quoted in the media about possible autobiography

–Vocalist Dave Brockie was said to be working on a book, however the status of this is unclear after Brockie’s untimely death

Hagar, Sammy
Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock by vocalist Sammy Hagar
–Hagar’s sister Bobbi Hagar Harrell released Blinds, Patches, and Twine through Strategic Book Publishing

The Haunted
–Media reports state that Peter Dolving is working on fiction

Iron Maiden
The Beast: Singing with Iron Maiden – the Drugs, the Groupies… the Whole Story by former vocalist Paul Di’Anno
Run to the Hills: Iron Maiden: The Authorized Biography by journalist Mick Wall
–A photobook is reported to be in the works

Judas Priest
Dawn of the Metal Gods: My Life in Judas Priest and Heavy Metal by former vocalist Al Atkins

Rock Star 101: A Rock Star’s Guide to Survival and Success in the Music Business by guitarist Marc Ferrari
Even Keel: Life on the Streets of Rock and Roll by lead vocalist Ron Keel.

Kiss and Make Up by bassist Gene Simmons
Sex Money Kiss by bassist Gene Simmons
Ladies of the Night: A Historical and Personal Perspective on the Oldest Profession in the World by bassist Gene Simmons
No Regrets by original lead guitarist Ace Frehley
Makeup to Breakup by original drummer Peter Criss
KISS: Behind the Mask – The Official Authorized Biography by David Leaf and Ken Sharp
Sealed with a Kiss by Lydia Criss, former wife of drummer Peter Criss
Kiss & Tell by Gordon G. G. Gebert, Bob McAdams, Danny Galgano, and Ellin Van Leeuwen
Kiss and Sell: The Making of a Supergroup by former band associate C.K. Lendt
KISS Alive Forever: The Complete Touring History by journalists Curt Gooch and Jeff Suhs
The Eric Carr Story by journalist Greg Prato
Kiss and Tell by Shannon Tweed, longtime romantic partner of Gene Simmons
Into the Void… with Ace Frehley by alleged romantic partner Wendy Moore
Nothing to Lose: The Making of Kiss 1972 – 1975 by Ken Sharp, with Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons
Face the Music by Paul Stanley

Got the Life: My Journey of Addiction, Faith, Recovery, and Korn by bassist Fieldy
Save Me from Myself: How I Found God, Quit Korn, Kicked Drugs, and Lived to Tell My Story by former guitarist Brian Welch
Washed by Blood: Lessons from My Time with Korn and My Journey to Christ by former guitar player Brian Welch
Stronger: Forty Days of Metal and Spirituality by former guitar player Brian Welch

L.A. Guns
Snake Eyes: Confessions of a Replacement Rockstar by guitarist Stacey Blades
–Guitarist Tracii Guns has been quoted in the press as working on a book

Lamb of God
–Chris Adler is reported to be working on a book that is a combination of nonfiction with musical tablature
Dark Days: My Tribulations and Trials</u> by vocalist Randy Blythe

Malmsteen, Yngwie
Relentless: The Memoir by Yngwie Malmsteen
–An unauthorized biography was released in the virtuoso’s home country of Sweden

Manson, Marilyn
The Long Hard Road Out of Hell by Marilyn Manson
–Manson has been quoted in the press as working on a new authorized biography

My Life with Deth: Discovering Meaning in a Life of Rock & Roll
Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir by guitarist and vocalist Dave Mustaine

Too Much Horror Business by guitarist Kirk Hammett
Enter Night: A Biography of Metallica by journalist Mick Wall

Motley Crue
The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Band by Nikki Sixx, Vince Neil, Tommy Lee, and Mick Mars
Tommyland by Tommy Lee
The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star by Nikki Sixx
This is Gonna Hurt: Photography and Life Through the Distorted Lens of Nikki Sixx by Nikki Sixx
Tattoos & Tequila: To Hell and Back with One of Rock’s Most Notorious Frontmen by Vince Neil
–Guitarist Mick Mars quoted in press as working on a book
Motley Crue: A Visual History, 1983 – 2005 by noted rock photograph Neil Zlozower

White Line Fever: The Autobiography by bassist and vocalist Lemmy Kilmister
–Guitarist Phil Campbell quoted in press as working on a book

Ozzy Osbourne
I Am Ozzy by singer Ozzy Osbourne
Trust Me, I’m Dr. Ozzy: Advice from Rock’s Ultimate Survivor by singer Ozzy Osbourne
The Wit and Wisdom of Ozzy Osbourne by journalist Dave Thompson
Off the Rails: Aboard the Crazy Train in the Blizzard of Ozz by bassist Rudy Sarzo (who also played with Quiet Riot, Whitesnake, Dio, and others)
–Former drummer Carmine Appice (who also performed with Rod Stewart, King Kobra, Blue Murder, and others) said in press interviews that he is working on a book
Bringing Metal to the Children: The Complete Bezerker’s Guide to World Tour Domination by former guitarist Zakk Wylde (who currently helms Black Label Society)
For Fact’s Sake by Bob Daisley

Official Truth, 101 Proof: The Inside Story of Pantera by bassist Rex Brown
“Mouth For War: Pantera And Beyond by vocalist Phil Anselmo
Black Tooth Grin: The High Life, Good Times, and Tragic End of Dimebag Darrell Abbott by journalist Zac Crain

Roses and Thorns by vocalist Bret Michaels, forthcoming
A Shot of Poison: An Insider’s Tales of One of Rock’s Most Outrageous Bands by associate Christopher Long

Quiet Riot
–Original bassist Kelly Garni released Angels with Dirty Faces

Tales of a Ratt by drummer Bobby Blotzer
–Blotzer has said in public he is working on a new book
Sex Drugs Ratt and Roll by vocalist Stephen Pearcy
–Former vocalist Jizzy Pearl (who has also worked with LA Guns and other bands) has released three books

–Media reports state that Dennis Lyxzen is working on a book

–Media reports state that Sigurd Wongraven is working on a nonfiction book about wine

–Graham Oliver has been quoted in press as working on a book

–Former drummer Herman Rarebell quoted in media about completing a memoir

Skid Row
Un-Philtered: Real Life On And Off The Rock ‘N’ Roll Tour Bus by former drummer Phil Varone
–Former vocalist Sebastian Bach is writing a book

–Percussionist M. Shawn Crahan told media outlets that he is working on a book called Maggot Bible that will collect artwork submitted by the band’s fan

Slipknot and Stone Sour
The Seven Deadly Sins: Settling the Argument Between Born Bad and Damaged Good by vocalist Corey Taylor
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Heaven by vocalist Corey Taylor

Honestly by vocalist Michael Sweet

Geek to Guitar Hero by guitarist Alex Skolnick

Van Halen
–The editors of Guitar World put together Van Halen: 40 Years of the Great American Rock Band
–John Scanlan’s Van Halen: Exuberant California, Zen Rock n Roll published by Reaktion Books

Velvet Revolver
Not Dead and Not for Sale by former vocalist Scott Weiland (who also sang for Stone Temple Pilots)
Fall to Pieces: A Memoir of Drugs, Rock ‘n’ Roll, and Mental Illness by Mary Forsberg Weiland, wife of singer
–Also Duff McKagan and Slash, as described above in Guns N’ Roses

White Zombie
I’m in the Band: Backstage Notes from the Chick in White Zombie by bassist Sean Yseult

Interview: Cameron Johnson, Author

header.pngWhen he was nine years old, Cameron Johnson started a business creating stationary, greeting cards, and invitations for friends and family. Since then, he has launched dozens of successful companies while usually maintaining a healthy social life and serious focus on school. When he was fifteen-years-old, one of Johnson’s companies was actually bringing in fifteen grand a day.

He’s been featured on Fox’s The Morning Show, CNBC’s The Big Idea, in USA Today and other papers, and countless other media outlets. And he was a finalist on Oprah’s Big Give television show.

Johnson’s book, You Call the Shots: Succeed Your Way –and Live the Life You Want– with the 19 Essential Secrets of Entrepreneurship contains lots of great advice to entreprenuers, much of it applicable to authors striving to build a writing career. He spoke to me about his history, about overcoming a fear of rejection, evaluating an idea, the importance of contacts, and other topics.

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Interview: Louis Theroux, Author

(alternate text)Louis Theroux hangs out with unusual people. He spends time with pimps, Neo-Nazis, porn performers, UFO believers, cultists, and folks that enjoy life outside the mainstream. Fascinated by sub-cultures, Theroux probably throws a helluva cocktail party.

Born in Singapore to American novelist Paul Theroux and his British wife Anne Castle, Theroux holds dual American-British citizenship. This allows him to stradle the fence between cultural insider and outsider observer. From 1998 to 2000, Theroux made documentary films for the BBC. His show, Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends primarily focused on unusual American subcultures.

Years later, Theroux wondered what happened to those people. Was the porn star still working up a sweat under the bright spotlights? Was the Aryan still preparing for race war? Theroux travelled to America to find the answers and documented his journey in The Call of the Weird: Travels in American Subcultures. He journey took him from the deserts of Nevada to the magnolia trees of Mississippi and many more places. Sometimes the interview subjects were happy to see him. Other times, they weren’t.

Theroux was kind enough to talk to us about our fascination with unusual subcultures, the strategy of planning a “quest” book, and how tape recording generates too much material.

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Interview: Matt Diehl, Author

(alternate text) When we typically think of controversial books, we envision lurid exposes of deceased royalty. We picture tell-all memoirs from well-connected upper class madams naming the names of their famous clientele. We see stacks of books about global warming, economic theory, the war on terror, or examinations of political administrations. 

However, the controversy doesn’t need to be on a grand scale. It just needs to be there.

After years of success writing for magazines, Matt Diehl started publishing books and “figured out that for a book to exist, it has to be controversial in some way,” he says. “Almost every book I have written is, on some level, controversial.”

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Interview: Mark McNay, Author

header.pngMark McNay was raised in a mining village in central Scotland. After fifeen years doing odd jobs, McNay entered the University of East Anglia Creative Writing Course in Norwich, England. He graduated from that program with distinction and, in 2007, he received the Arts Foundation Fellowship for New Fiction.

McNay’s debut novel Fresh was published by Canongate in the UK and MacAdam/Cage here in the US. The Guardian said, “Menacing, witty, with snappy no-nonsense dialogue and an unambiguously shocking ending, McNay’s debut is every bit as fresh as its title.” And The Scotsman said the book “is a novel whose edgy energy carries you forward. The picture of blight and of deprivation within which choices are made and determined, is shown in the round… A hugely entertaining, sometimes disturbing, fiction debut.”

McNay was kind enough to chat with me about awful jobs, British creative writing programs, and avoiding caricature.

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Interview: Tom Zoellner, Author

(alternate text)At the back of a two-story warehouse, “there was a door wide enough for large cargo that led into a dim chamber,” Tom Zoellner writes. “Dead electric bulbs hung from wires in the ceiling. The two soldiers behind me unslung their rifles. They were held casually, but the muzzles were pointed at the approximate region of my ankles.”

Puzzled and scared, Zoellner asked, “You want me to go in there?” And he remembers that “For the first time since being arrested, I began to get frightened. I could feel my hands start to tremble. Visions of an impromptu execution and a river burial began playing in my mental cineplex. They must have somehow found out I had met with diamond smugglers.”

And so goes one of the most harrowing scenes in Zoellner’s book The Heartless Stone: A Journey Through the World of Diamonds, Deceit, and Desire. Leonardo might have been nominated for an Oscar for his role in a somewhat similar movie, but Zoellner actually lived this stuff. In researching and writing his book, Zoellner travelled to fourteen nations on six continents. All in search of discovering the basis of man’s obsession with diamonds.

Zoellner’s previous work includes publications in Men’s Health and the San Francisco Chronicle. He is also the co-author of An Ordinary Man, the autobiography of Rwanda hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina that was the basis for the film Hotel Rwanda.

Zoellner was kind enough to talk to us about conflict diamonds, piling up stacks of notes and interviews in an increasingly heavy pack, and marketing efforts for authors.

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Interview: Steven Blush, Author

(alternate text)Author Steven Blush was firmly entrenched in the hardcore punk music scene. Irrevocably changed by the music of Black Flag, he built a career as a journalist and music expert. He wrote American Hardcore: A Tribal History and served as writer/producer for a documentary film inspired by that book. But then, the bluesy riffs of Tom Keifer and Jeff LaBar from Cinderella introduced him to the power and suprisingly high-quality musicianship of many so-called hair metal bands. After experiencing that metal revelation, voiced by a host of not-so angelic guitar heroes and spandex-clad frontmen, Blush decided to immerse himself 80’s hair metal. The result of his research is American Hair Metal, a book that captures hundreds of photos and quotes from the rockers themselves.

Blush was kind enough to speak with us about his affection for this music genre, the nature of researching and compiling a book like this, and his task of sifting through more than 500 metal mags.   

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Interview: T.R. Pearson, Author

(alternate text)Old friends have a quality to their voice that immediately warms your soul upon hearing it. You can go years without speaking to that person and then one day the phone rings, you say hello, and with one word that voice negates the passage of time and unleases a flood of memories.

A rare few writers have this same special quality to their writing. T.R. Pearson, author of ten novels, most recently warmed his readers with the voice of his first work of nonfiction, Seaworthy: Adrift with William Willis in the Golden Age of Rafting. The book recounts the strange journeys of a man obsessed with navigating the Pacific on a homemade raft. At sixty years of age, Willis survived on rye flour and seawater as he attempted to travel from South America to Australia, a trek he repeated a decade later. This amazing story is the perfect vehicle for Pearson’s slightly antiquated and sophisticated writing voice.

For a more complete review of Seaworthy, click here. Continue reading for Pearson’s thoughts on painting houses, the use of dialect in Southern fiction, and selling nonfiction books.

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Interview: Kevin Sampsell, Publisher


In addition to being an excellent writer and musician, Zack Wentz also conducts a damn good interview. He recently stepped up to the plate and spoke to multi-talented Kevin Samsell for us. Their chat was a great meeting of artistic minds. Here’s Zack…


The Pacific Northwest has always been a hotbed (despite being such a cold, damp place) for DIY, multi-media, creative activity. Kevin Sampsell, author, editor, publisher, musician, and indispensable employee of the infamous Powell’s books in Portland, OR, is an exemplary practitioner. In addition to several books of his own, his work is all over the Internet, appears regularly in numerous literary journals and anthologies, and his press, Future Tense, has published authors who have subsequently been picked up by big houses (indicating his talent as a tastemaker, as well as an artist), alongside the enduring cult favorites, and talented new voices he works with. How he has managed to pull all this off by himself in a place that rains all but 70 days, on average, out of the year without completely losing it, is beyond most people. Here Kevin took the time to let us in on some of his activities and inspirations.

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