The Amazing Armand

I first became acquainted with Armand Rosamilia by submitting short stories to some of the anthologies he put out with his small press Rymfire Books. After publishing a few short stories in these, namely “Water Face” (Heavy Metal Horror, 2009) and “As Blood Runs the Night” (Rymfire Erotica, 2011), Armand agreed to publish my novella Slash of Crimson in June of 2012. Rymfire Books also just released the controversial novella In Memoriam, by Brent Abell.

However, lately there has been a major change in Armand’s career focus. While he has always been primarily a writer of his own fiction (such as the Dying Days zombie series), in the past he has worn both the editor’s and the writer’s hat. Now, with his new series Miami Spy Games, Armand is focusing on his own writing and his career is moving ahead faster than the BPM of a speed-metal riff. And so it is with great pleasure that I get to talk with Armand about these new prospects and a few other topics dark fiction fans might enjoy.

I understand your career has taken some great steps forward lately with your new series Miami Spy Games.

Armand: I’m having a blast writing about these characters. While there are some basic horror elements in the stories, namely the zombies (which aren’t traditional zombies, more like totally pissed off people who want to bite your face off), the main premise is the interaction between the ACES team and how they deal with terrorists and threats to the United States, based in Miami.

Also you’ve become a member of the HWA (Horror Writers Association). Do you feel like that’s another milestone?

Armand: Definitely. The HWA has been one of those goals I’ve had since as long as I can remember, and to finally be able to join it is such an honor and thrill for me. Yet another goal I can check off as having accomplished. I am hoping to learn from the experience, meet new friends, and continue to build my career.

Miami Spy Games involves not only zombies (and the fearsome ZOMBIE GUN), but has some cross genre elements as well, including spy-thriller and crime-thriller themes. Any reason you decided to go this route?

Armand: I was asked to write the stories by Hobbes End Publishing (and a shout out to Vincent Hobbes, who believed I was the perfect writer for the project) based on ideas from A.K. Waters. I took on the project because it was a bit different in both structure and style than I was used to, taking me out of my writing comfort zone. I am having so much fun with it, and it is so easy to write. Each ‘episode’ is about 8,000 words (there will be 13 in this ‘season’) and I write it as if it is an hour TV show. That’s the easiest way to say it. I’d love to someday see this becoming a show, and who knows, right?

Do you think Horror as a genre lends itself well to including elements from other genres?

Armand: Definitely. As a writer, I can add so many other elements into it: sex, paranormal, humor, thrills and suspense, crime… limitless what you can add. It only helps to round out the story and keep the reader guessing.

Recently you’ve switched your emphasis from being a writer and a publisher to being more exclusively a writer. Maybe you could talk a little about the pros and cons of both sides of the editorial desk.

Armand: You never turn the editor off. I am constantly editing my work over and over, even with other outside beta readers and editors. I have to sometimes just stop and submit it to the publisher before I go crazy.

Finally, something you and I have in common is that we’re both metal fans. Do you feel like horror and metal go well together? If you had to pick one of your stories to have a soundtrack written for a film version, which would you choose, and what band would you choose to perform it?

Armand: I love Metal. I think it so fits in with horror, and they go hand in hand. I’ve written many stories because of my love of Metal, even putting out the Heavy Metal Horror anthology which you mentioned (and your story kicked ass, by the way!)… my Death Metal novella is an obvious choice because it combined horror/thriller with Metal. I’m sure once it becomes a major motion picture Slayer will be doing the soundtrack, but I’ll also have reunions of great bands I loved doing songs as well, like the “I Hate… Therefore I Am” lineup of CycloneTemple, the “Fistful of Metal” version of Anthrax, and Paul Di’Anno doing a couple of tunes with Iron Maiden again.

Thanks for letting me babble about Metal and horror!

Armand Rosamilia

On “Marzly’s Market”, AKP’s New Anthology, and Sci-fi/Horror

Stoked to announce that my sci-fi/horror story “Marzly’s Market” will appear in No Place Like Home: Tales From a Fractured Future, to be published by Angelic Knight Press in November, 2012. This is a story I began writing some years ago in the form of a novella. Its current form represents a true re-write, for though I liked the initial idea, it wasn’t until I revisited it last summer and completely changed the ending that I realized what it was really about.

Sometime I would like to do a full blog entry on re-writing, as I am re-writing a full length novel that will follow Slash of Crimson in the Crimes of Heaven and Hell series. I feel like I’ve been discovering some important elements of craft during this process and it’s definitely worth discussion.

But for now I’d like to focus on a theme-related topic, namely, that enigmatic sub-genre known as “sci-fi horror”. Many of my favorite novels, short stories and movies fall into this sub-genre. Alastair Reynolds’s Chasm City, Stephen King’s I am the Doorway and John Carpenter’s The Thing to name a few.

The nature of ‘genre’ can be a peculiar thing. A fine line distinguishes convention from cliché. And yet, as a fan of heavy metal music, for example, it is the fusion of things we expect and love (for example, loud, intricate guitar solos) with unusual, original twists, that allows form to fully function, as it were.

And so just for fun, I’d like to list a few conventional themes of sci-fi horror which still grab me when done well. My upcoming story attempts to put a twist on one of these, though I won’t spoil it by saying which…

1)     The Derelict Spacecraft: What happened here? Who were they? Were they taken by aliens, or is it a ghost ship? A haunted house adrift in the stars, a perhaps taken by interstellar plague—such images are enough to draw me in for at least a few scenes to see where the narrative goes. And unlike haunted house thrillers, if you’re a fan of firepower, explosions and pyromania generally, such will usually augment the creep factor with some blazing action along the way.

2)     Parasites: “We are talking to you from within the one called Carl Moore. We are not Carl Moore. Nothing will ever be the same.”

3)     We dug it up, now it’s pissed: Worker: “Doc, what is that thing? Pull me up, man, I don’t get paid enough for this shit!” Scientist: “But it’s fascinating and utterly beautiful.” Worker: “Drop the lifeboats man! Gimme my check and get the fucking lifeboats!” Scientist: “If only we could harness its potential for all mankind. Or at least for our stock price…” Worker: “Nuke it! Nuke the whole place! Grab the espresso machine then NUKE IT ALL!”

4)     It wants to get with our (men/women): “Oh Brad, I know he’s a segmented mollusk but there’s something about him.” “Jane, stand back, let me at  ’im!” “But Brad, I’m carrying his larvae!” “Actually, Jane, about those larvae, they have my eyes.” (Blushes).

…well, there are plenty more themes and if anyone’s up for it, feel free to post them. Still, whatever conventions one might include in a story, its context and characters are what will generate its meaning. So while The Thing and Jurassic Park both feature some deadly ‘dug up’ critters—their creators imbued them with the imagination, style and historical context that supplies each with its own unique function and meaning.