Tag Archives: Allen Taylor

Are You Weird Enough?

by Allen Taylor

weird frog birdWorking on my third Biblical Legends anthology now, I’ve noticed that for every anthology I’ve edited so far I have received a handful of well-written stories that I can’t publish. I won’t publish.

That might sound odd, especially if you’re the type of person who believes that quality literature should be published. In fact, you may even believe that the best submissions should get their place in the anthology. But I don’t go that route.

Despite my best attempts to encourage writers to be weird, it is inevitable that I get submissions for each anthology that don’t even attempt to be weird. And, frankly, I’m a bit befuddled.

Watch Out For That … Flood

I went so far in the guidelines for Deluge: Stories of Survival & Tragedy in the Great Flood to ask writers to send their best tales of an alternative flood scenario.

Tell us a story of a catastrophic flood somewhere and at some time. It can be past, present, or future. It can be on Mars or one of Jupiter’s moons. Maybe it’s in an alternate space and time. Or maybe it’s a flood of dark matter into the earth’s ionosphere. Whatever the case, give us strong characters with a need to survive.

Still, I get stories of some character named Josiah who is Noah’s cousin’s best friend. He and Noah are as tight as a nut and bolt on the Titanic.

I’m not calling anyone out, and that scenario is one I made up, by the way. But you get the gist.

It seems that writers want to tell their flood stories, but they don’t want to let their imaginations loose to do it. There could be any number of reasons for this, which I won’t go into. The gnomes could be partly responsible. But I thought I’d offer some encouragement to writers who want to have a story published for one of the BLAS anthologies to, first, rip the straightjacket off your imagination.

I’d encourage you to start by reading at least one of the anthologies we’ve already published, preferably both. It’s not because we want your money. It’s because we want your best and most imaginative tales. Ideas give birth to new ideas. Even then, I’d say many of the stories we’ve already published, though they may touch on the weird, aren’t weird enough.

Which brings me to my next question: What is weird literature?

Well, Asshole, What IS Weird Lit?

Weird lit is somewhat difficult to define. It’s more a tone than a genre. But there are some distinctive elements. And it runs the gamut from extremely weird—like many Bizarro authors—to simple absurdism. We like it all.

One of our goals at Garden Gnome Publications is to publish weird literature that is representative of the breadth that can be found in the weird lit pantheon.

Diversity of style is difficult to achieve. Of course, the garden gnomes are partly to blame because maybe we haven’t done all that we could to reach every corner of the weird lit marketplace (at least, where the writers hang out). We do, after all, have day jobs. But that’s a morbid digression.

If I had to say succinctly what we’re looking for in all of our Biblical Legends anthologies, I’d say it’s three things:

  • Weirdness
  • Excellent storytelling
  • Boundless imagination

Stories do not have to stick closely to the original. As long as readers can tell your story is based on, in same way, the original Bible story, it’s good. You can be Christian, atheist, or somewhere in between. Heck, we won’t even ask. All we want is a good story that makes us laugh, say “huh?”, or send us to the toilet to make us retch at the horridness.

We aren’t officially re-opening the submissions process (we’re still reading some of the short stories we already have), but if you have a story you’d like us to consider for the flood anthology, send it now. Our biggest needs are flash fiction, narrative poems, and essays. We’d really like to see some gut-wrenching or thought-provoking essays on the flood theme.

To learn more about the guidelines for the formats we seek, read our submissions page, and get familiar with the BLAS submissions page, as well. We look forward to seeing what seeps out of your gray matter. Otherwise, we’ll see you in a crater on the dark side of Ganymede.

Allen Taylor publisher at Garden Gnome Publications and editor of the Biblical Legends Anthology Series. Check out Sulfurings: Tales from Sodom and Gomorrah now.

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Published: My Secret Life As A Garden Gnome

my secret life as a garden gnomeThe secret is out! I’m a garden gnome.

“My Secret Life As A Garden Gnome” by Allen Taylor has been published at Smashed Cat Magazine. This is an absurd tale that will surely have you laughing out loud, and did you know this story is actually the inspiration behind Garden Gnome Publications? It’s absolutely true.

Here are the first few sentences of “My Secret Life As A Garden Gnome”:

    It started as an ailment to curiosity.

    I was walking home from school one spring day when I saw a statue of a little bearded man standing happily in Mrs. Crenshaw’s garden. I ventured into her yard for a closer look and he stood there in an unmoving, unflinching happy pose. Wondering how it would feel, I slid gracefully into the garden and stood beside him, doing my best to mimic his contentedness with a version of my own.

Read “My Secret Life As A Garden Gnome” right now at Smashed Cat Magazine.

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Frozen Armadillo For Sale

Let’s get started. This is Flim-Flam’s first flash fiction piece – by yours truly. A small taste. Be sure to get the details of our Flim-Flam contest and win a chance at publication plus $5.

This will be the last piece you see from me. I want to see what you have to offer, so enter the contest. Submit future flim-flam flash when the contest is over.

Frozen Armadillo For Sale

By Allen Taylor

Suzie Shrewsbury steps out of her 4X4 jet black Dually in her snazzy rodeo queen cowboy boots. A burly grizzly-faced man walking from the front door of a trailer home grins big so she can see his yellowing teeth. He is carrying an armadillo in his left hand, holding it by its short tail.

“Are you the man selling the frozen armadillo?” She says.

“One and the same,” he yells.

He stretches out his huge right hand. She takes it, shakes.

“Bill Trumble,” he grins.

“Suzie,” she says. Her father’s voice chides her for not being too careful.

“How much?”

“Fifty dollars, whole shebang.”

“I thought it was thirty.”

“Nope. Fifty.”

“You said thirty on the phone.”

“That was my son. He don’t know nothing. My armadillo.”

“So you won’t honor thirty?”

“No ma’am. Got thirty into it. Wouldn’t make me nothing.”

“Very well.” She opens the door of her Dually and starts to step in. Bill snatches her arm with his handshaking hand.

“Wait a sec,” he says. “Maybe we can work something out.”

Suzie stops, closes the Dually door. She waits for Bill to say something. He’s staring at her tits. He escapes from his trance and shouts, “Tell you what,” snapping his fingers and pointing. “I’ll take forty.” He grins ear to ear at his offer too good to refuse.

“Thirty,” she snaps coldly, folding her arms across her chest.

Bill’s smile turns sour. He grows frustrated and chomps, “Toldja. Got thirty in. I can’t just go giving my armadillo away. How about a compromise?”

Suzie opens the truck door again and sets her foot on the running board. She starts to climb in. Bill looks at her ass. Her jeans, a little wide for a girl her size, have a leather pad on the back with “Lee” written across it. A designer belt, bejeweled and sequined, reads, “B I T C H” in bold pink letters. Bill’s eyes travel down her long slender legs to her boots.

“Those armadillo?” He asks, upbeat.

Suzie turns. She sits in the driver’s seat of the Dually, stretches her legs out. “These?” she asks, pointing her toes.

“Yeah. Them armadillos?”

She places one boot on the floorboard of the pickup and crosses the other over her knee, sits with her legs in a figure four. She caresses the boot on her knee. Her long pink fingernails glide across its leather skin and she smiles. It was the first time Bill had seen her teeth, a perfect line of pearly white. The gleam in her eye told him she was flirting, trying to use her feminine wiles to get him to drop his price again.

“Yeah.” Her voice jumps like a high school cheerleader. “I loooo-ooove armadillos. Don’t you, Bill?”

Bill loves armadillos, but he doesn’t like to kill them. Suzie leans forward, sliding her hands over her custom-made boot, kneading her toes like fresh bread dough. Bill gets a glimpse of her breast and a tattoo of an armadillo just above it.

“You fiend!”

Suzie’s eyes widen. She’s startled as she sees Bill lift the armadillo in his hand over his head. She uncrosses her legs and turns toward the steering wheel of the Dually but slips out of the truck instead, onto the ground. The armadillo cracks down on her shoulder and makes a loud pop.

“Armadillo killer!” Bill screams.

Suzie turns toward Bill, hoping to scare him away. The armadillo lands on her nose. It crackles.

“Oh, my God!”

Suzie screams bloody murder. She thinks her nose is broken. She bends forward, grabbing the nose with her hand, checking to see if it’s bleeding. The armadillo hammers down on her back and she can hear Bill screaming, “Bitch! Fucking bitch!”

The nose isn’t bleeding. Suzie rises to her feet with a loud screech and kicks at Bill. He backs away swinging the armadillo. Suzie jumps into her Dually and closes the door leaving Bill in his front yard heaving and holding his frozen armadillo, his grizzly face sprinkled with tears. He scowls as Suzie punches the gas throwing gravel when she guns the Dually out of the drive. Then she burns rubber with her cell phone to her ear as Bill shakes a fist at the sky.

Don’t forget about the contest. Garden gnomes like contests.

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