Shells Chats with author Brian Rosenberger

What's your background with writing?

I’ve always been an avid reader. I’ve been a big comic book fan from an early age and have never fully been able to shake that particular vice. Without it, I’d probably be much closer to retirement. I have a BA in English. I use to write movie reviews for various websites and was writing a lot of poetry around the same time, which led me to publishing my own online zine, Decompositions, specializing in horror poetry. My first prose work was published in my university’s literary magazine but I’ve always been more prolific with poetry.

Who are your inspirations/influences?

I don’t know if I have any real influences. The writers I really enjoyed as a teenager were your Barker’s, King’s, Herbert’s, Bloch’s, etc along with the before mentioned comic books. Throw in heavy metal and pro-wrestling, both of which have larger than life characters, and that’s kind of trough I’ve fed from. Inspirations come from everywhere. For example, I was working out this morning (rare occasion) and peered upwards through the skylight and noticed the tree limbs formed this weird cobweb. I’ll write a poem based off that image.

What do you feel is your biggest accomplishment as a writer?

I’ve never been super prolific. I’m kind of surprised with what I have had published. For me, just the fact I’ve been able to complete something is an accomplishment, let alone sell it for publication. I also get a kick out of sharing a table of contents with other authors whose work I enjoy.

What genre do you feel the most comfortable writing in?

Horror, mainly because I’ve always been a big fan. That’s probably the most fun genre for me. I also write a fair amount of non spec work, including erotica.

You have written many short stories, which is your favorite and where can we find some of them?

I don’t think I could pinpoint one or three as a favorite. Whatever is the most current is what I have the strongest connection to. But there’s always a turn of phrase or a moment within individual stories that I can point to as something I really like. Like In GodTV, a revenge story with two demons. At the story’s end, one demon offers the other a stick of gum. Trident. That still makes me smile. There’s always little things like that I get a kick out off. As the Worm Turns is my first short story collection. It’s a good cross selection of my fiction.

What do you find the most challenging about writing a short story?

Taking an original concept to completion. All too frequently, stories can take on a life of their own. They want to do their own thing and you have to beat them into submission. I still have lasting bruises.

On your website you put humor with horror, some find that distressing to put the two together, how do you feel about that?

I feel good about it. It gives me a warm and. fuzzy feeling, much like those nights during the full moon. I just watched a John Landis interview, Landis of course being the director of Animal House and An American Werewolf in London , among others. He spoke of how both humor and horror are cathartic experiences. I think if you can pull it off, it’s great. Guys like Robert Block, Ed Lee, and Joe Lansdale are masters of it and are among my favorites. For the distressed, I suggest trepanning, either by a professional or in these economically challenged times, do it yourself.

Can you tell us about "As the Worm Turns?"

It’s 226 pages of literary goodness (and more than a little nastiness). One reader said “I feel like a novice boxer in the ring with a master who keeps punching me in the face before I can recover.” Do you feel up to the challenge, sissy? It features some reprints, some original tales, and an introduction by none other than Prof. Morte, who is the south’s reigning scream king ( That alone is worth the price of admission.

Where did the ideas for the stories come from for this collection?

All over. Some originated in the small town I grew up in. Others have a foot hold in real life. One or two may have arrived unexpectedly in the mail. One I definitely picked up at a garage sale. Great deal. And to be honest, some I just made up. Most of them, in fact,

Who did the artwork for "As the Worm Turns?"

The immensely talented and dedicated Laura Ostman. I mean have you ever tried posing that many worms?

Why pick Blue Room Publishing for your collection?

Blue Room Publishing ( prides itself on publishing the finest in left-of-center fiction and poetry, which is an apt description for my writing. In addition, one of their previous publications is Craig Sernotti’s brilliant poetry collection, Forked Tongue. I know Craig from my Decompositions years and was impressed with his collection. Blue Room seemed like a good fit.

Where can we purchase "As the Worm Turns?"

The usually places – Amazon, Barnes and Noble, flea markets, etc. I understand you can also contact the author directly for signed copies. He loves slashing prices (and limbs). Supplies are limited so get yours today.

How do you feel about working with small presses and would you suggest them to new writers compared to the mainstream publishers?

If you’re a new author and can get a deal with a mainstream publisher, good luck and go for it. Until then, I think you should try to make your work accessible to as many people as possible. If you think your work is great and enjoy reading it, that’s one thing but if your valued manuscript is collecting dust on your hard drive waiting for a major publishing house to come calling, you’re not doing yourself any favors.

I’ve worked with a variety of small press over the years, some with better results and others. With any publishing project, you should learn from it and build on that knowledge for the future.

How do you or have handled marketing your own work and what suggestions would you have for others for marketing their work?

Leave no stone unturned. Anything that gets the word out there whether it’s social media like facebook, giveaway contests, signings, etc, you never know what could produce results. Be persistent.

What projects do you have planned for the future?

I had three books published this year – As the Worm Turns from Blue Room Publishing, And For My Next Trick, a mostly non spec poetry collection from BeWrite Books, and Scream For Me, a collection of a lot of my previously uncollected horror poetry, available for preorder from Panic Press. This year I hope to get back into the writing groove, the problem being I have more ideas than hands.

Any future talk show or book signing appearances?

None scheduled but with the release of Scream For Me imminent, I hope to make the rounds and go into full shill mode.

Any advice you would like to give to new writers who may not know how to approach the publishing world?

It’s a good idea to become acquainted with a publisher’s product before submitting. Both and Duotrope are both great market resources. The most important thing is to just keep writing and keep submitting. Don’t get discouraged with rejection. What one publisher hates, the next may love. Some of my biggest sales have stemmed from thrice plus rejected work.

Where can people know more about you? and I can also be found on facebook,, etc. Basically there’s no party I won’t crash so lock up the booze and hide the women or vice versa. Speaking of which, who’s got this round? You or me?

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