Great to see QUALITY SNACKS has been named a finalist for Foreward Review’s INDIEFAB Book Award in the Short Stories category. The winner will be announced in June.

Keith Taylor, a creative writing professor at the University of Michigan, gave Quality Snacks a wonderful shout-out during Cynthia Canty’s “Stateside” program on Michigan Radio, an NPR affiliate, listing it as one of his “Top Four” for fall reading.

Taylor also talks up other awesome books: Motor City Burning, a novel by Bill Morris; Bad Feminist, an essay collection by Roxane Gay; and Hum, a collection of poems by Jamaal May.

Here’s the link:

The discussion of Quality Snacks begins at about 8:05.

BY Rudy Mars (QSP)

Traverse City, MI — In an emotional speech at the conclusion of his fiction reading at Squirrel’s Book Grotto, Andy Mozina announced that his personal chef had rejoined his Quality Snacks book tour.

“Someone I love is close to me again,” Mozina said. He then invited his audience to look to the back of the room where stood a person in a heavily padded black chef’s jacket, black toque and a black goalie mask from which protruded a voice-distorting mouthpiece. The chef stood perfectly still, staring at Mozina.

“It really is like a marriage,” Mozina said afterwards, waiting to see if anyone would come by to get a book signed. “My chef cooks and puts out snacks and I bare my soul, so to speak, to the reading public. We’re great colleagues and best friends.”

When asked to elaborate on what had soured their relationship, Mozina said, “That’s between me and my personal chef. Sometimes the bone heals strongest at the break, I’ll say that.”

The other half of the tumultuous professional relationship was more forthcoming.

“He owed me money and he finally paid,” the mystery chef said through the voice-distorting mouthpiece. “Just doing what I’m hired to do.”

In contrast to the sophisticated offerings at earlier readings on the tour—prosciutto wrapped gnocchi with smoky tomato vinaigrette and artichoke beignets with ancho mayonnaise had been the twin pillars—the only snack on hand was a single chafing dish piled with what seemed to be microwaved Totino’s Pizza Rolls.

“The menu at today’s reading was about fun, not pretension,” Mozina said, beaming. “Just like my book.”

The disguised chef refused to comment on the afternoon’s fare.

BY Rudy Mars (QSP)

Jackson, MI — In an apparent effort to show the softer side of his creative persona, Andy Mozina shocked listeners at Bottomless Cave Books in Jackson, MI, on Friday night by reading exclusively from a new chapbook of erotic poetry entitled Cuddling by the Shed.

In the wake of recent incidents that suggested Mozina was becoming unstable, there had been speculation that Bottomless Cave would cancel the reading, originally scheduled to promote Mozina’s new story collection, Quality Snacks. Instead, Mozina appeared composed, wearing an extremely tight Kelly green dress shirt and shiny jeans, and read selected poems in a hushed but impassioned voice.

Mozina led off with “You Can Look, But You Can’t Touch,” a free verse poem about an off-duty police officer sunbathing at a municipal pool. The ending–“Your slim shadow slants/athwart my feet/like a nightstick”–was met by polite silence from listeners.

The only tense moment occurred when Mozina demanded an audience read-along to his poem “Wait ‘til We Finish Our Chores.” Mozina distributed Xeroxes of the poem and became visibly upset when no one joined in. Yet, unlike during his recent meltdown at the Droll Unicorn Book Shop, he quickly mastered his emotions, reading the last lines with tenderness: “The cleaning supplies/are stowed,/my love./Now what?”

Still, his audience was wary.

“I don’t think ‘stirrup’ and ‘goddess’ is even a slant rhyme, but whatever,” said Mindy Jones, a cashier at Bottomless Cave. “He was way into it, which counts for something, I guess.”

Mozina claimed he wrote the entire book in a single inspired afternoon.

“I had spilled my margarita and was tantruming about it when my wife told me to take a nap. Little did I know I was about to dream thirty percent of my first book of erotic poetry, pretty much verbatim.”

The next step of course is finding a press to publish the chapbook.

“I’ll be sending the manuscript to some of the best literary agents for erotic poetry,” Mozina said. “Stay tuned.”

You can’t keep this book down with a pair of pliers and a sledgehammer.

Jim Higgins of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recommends Quality Snacks!

Meanwhile, QS surfs a Michigan bestseller list:

BY Dwayne Nelson (QSP)

Chelsea, MI — The Q&A portion of Andy Mozina’s reading at The Droll Unicorn Book Shop degenerated into a shouting match between Mozina and several members of his audience, leaving onlookers in tears and prompting a petition to have Mozina depublished.

Though what exactly caused the meltdown is unclear, several observers noted that Mozina became agitated after being asked whether he wrote longhand or on a computer.

“He started twitching and karate-chopped the side of his own head a couple times,” explained Marion Wyatt, 74, a retired tax preparation specialist. “Then he said, ‘Let me tell you what’s wrong with America,’ like that, and things got ugly.”

Sporting a fake beard dotted with crumbs and matted with dripped sauces, Mozina derided attempts to get him to stop his rant or to respond to questions about how to get an agent and whether self-publishing was a legitimate avenue for aspiring authors.

“You don’t own me!” he shouted at one point.

“So rude,” said Sandra Koepeke, owner of The Droll Unicorn. “And the book itself is repulsive. I’m circulating a petition asking the publisher to destroy all remaining copies.”

In his second appearance without his personal chef and his first since a brief hospitalization for “nervous exhaustion,” Mozina appeared disoriented at times, addressing the audience as “my fellow Martians” and telling ten minutes of knock-knock jokes before reading a few pages from Quality Snacks and abruptly calling for the ill-fated Q&A.

BY Dwayne Nelson (QSP)

Grand Rapids, MI — The rigors of a book tour that has brought both high sales and high drama apparently caught up to Andy Mozina at Schuler’s Books in Grand Rapids Saturday afternoon. After thanking his host for her “shamefully generous introduction,” Mozina mumble-sang the opening bars of “The Star Spangled Banner,” then suddenly tipped backwards, bounced off a table covered with books, spun sideways, and fell face down on the floor.

The three audience members were shocked when Mozina moaned, “It’s a lectern, not a podium!”

Under questioning from paramedics, Mozina confessed to eating a “half pound, maybe more” of peanut M & M’s just a few minutes before addressing his audience. In his pockets were several “buy one get one free” coupons for 64-ounce bags of Twizzlers.

Mozina’s appearance on the sidewalk outside the Clinton Public Library in Clinton, MI, has been postponed pending his return to health.

There were several reports that Mozina had been quarreling with his personal chef in the days leading up to his collapse.

The heavily disguised mystery chef, a fixture at Mozina’s readings up to this point, was not a part of Mozina’s entourage at the Grand Rapids reading, sparking speculation the two had had a falling out over Mozina’s increasingly unhealthy diet. In a voice distorted by a mouthpiece that alters the timbre and inflections of the speaker, the chef had been overheard yelling “you’re not taking me down with you!” in the parking lot of a KFC in East Lansing just days earlier.

Mozina issued a press release from his home in Kalamazoo where he is recuperating, calling on his readers to “remember why we started this book tour in the first place” and exhorting them: “SNACK FREE OR DIE!!!”