BY Rudy Mars (CMP)

Kalamazoo, MI — On Friday afternoon author Andy Mozina announced the plan for the Kalamazoo launch of his new novel, Contrary Motion, setting off a firestorm of criticism among industry watchers and the book-buying public.

The author will host a “Super Launch” event at Bookbug on Thursday, March 10th at 7 p.m., followed by a “Mega Launch” at Michigan News on Wednesday, March 23rd, from 6 – 8 p.m. Then, incredibly, there will be a “Climactic Launch” on Friday, April 22 at 4 p.m. in the Olmsted Room at Kalamazoo College.

Condemnation of the unprecedented plan was swift and universal.

“You can’t ‘launch’ something three times,” said Jim Waxman, a reseller of instructor copies of textbooks. “It’s like he doesn’t know what words mean.”

“It’s sad and annoying,” said Katie Henderson, a marketing professor at Western Michigan University. “He thinks calling something ‘super’ or ‘mega’ makes it special.”

Other Kalamazoo residents were even less charitable. “Why is he doing this?” said Alice Huff, director of Spinebusters, a local book club. “So stressful.”

“Obscene,” said another resident, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation.

So which one is the real launch?

“It really is one launch,” Mozina said with a laugh, lounging on his porch in plain grey sweats, a green headband around each thigh. “With two intermissions several weeks long and some venue changes.”

Mozina noted that each phase of the launch will offer attendees a different experience. The protagonist of the novel is an interpersonally challenged concert harpist preparing for an orchestra audition, so the theme of the launch is “Music: Everlasting Beauty.”

“At the Bookbug ‘Super Launch’ my lovely wife, Lorraine, will be playing lounge standards on the harp,” Mozina explained. “At the Michigan News ‘Mega Launch’ there will be an interlude of silent harp. Then at the K-College ‘Climactic Launch,’ Lorraine and violinist Andrew Koehler will open the festivities with Camille St. Saëns’ ‘Fantaisie.’”

At each event Mozina will read from the novel and sign books.

Each phase will also feature a raffle with drawings for free CDs of harp music. “And if you come to more than one phase of the launch, you get a free CD,” Mozina promised. “No questions asked.”

Mozina is confident that live harp music and free merchandise will help him ride out the public scorn.

“People forget that the greatest accomplishment in human history—putting a man on the moon—began with a three-stage Saturn V rocket,” he said pedantically. “I’ll leave it to the public to judge the historical impact of my novel, but like the Apollo missions it will also have a three-stage launch.” The controversial author picked a piece of lint off the headband on his right thigh. “Just sayin’.”

BY Rudy Mars (CMP)

Kalamazoo, MI – After returning corrected galleys of his new novel, Contrary Motion, author Andy Mozina flipped his all-terrain vehicle on a dirt bike track outside Parchment, MI, seriously injuring himself in a celebration gone horribly wrong.

“Yeah, I was trying to do a wheelie,” Mozina admitted from his porch where he was recuperating, wearing unusually tight bicycle pants; a T-shirt with the sleeves and shoulders cut off, leaving a sort of tube top; and a cast on his forearm that appeared to have a zipper on it.

“I was just so relieved to be sending back those damn galleys,” the author said defensively. “By the end, I couldn’t tell a serial comma from a serial killer—you ever get that way?”

Eyewitnesses suggested alcohol was a factor in the accident.

According to several members of the Parchment High School marching band, on Wednesday afternoon Mozina towed a trailer holding two ATVs into the school parking lot, looking for someone to “off road” with.

“No one was interested,” said Blake Dent, a trombonist, “so he offered a case of beer to whoever went with him.”

Dent was persuaded.

“It was a mistake,” Dent said. “He got drunk really fast and started driving around half-standing up with a finger in the air, like he was number one. Then he went ass over tea kettle as soon as he got on the track.

“He wouldn’t let me take him to the hospital. Wanted to sober up, I guess.”

“I felt fine at first,” Mozina said from the comfort of his porch. “It was just a concussion and my arm.”

Mozina emphasized that the physical injuries from his ATV accident pale in comparison to the psychic damage he suffered composing the novel.

“Everybody thought my last book was morose and pervy,” he explained. “This new book is much more sensitive. It’s about a harpist, for Christ sake. I went super deep this time. I basically gave my soul a concussion writing that sucker.”

Mozina claimed he spent his entire advance on a “fleet“ of ATVs. He said the accident wouldn’t discourage him from the recreation he loves.

“The freedom I experience traveling off road is second to none,” Mozina declared, pulling two sweat bands from a Ziploc bag between his knees. He slipped them on his wrists, stretching one over his cast. “Pavement is for losers.”

Contrary Motion will be published on March 8, 2016, by Spiegel & Grau.

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.

https://indiefab.forewordreviews.com/books/quality-snacks/

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:

http://michiganradio.org/post/top-4-picks-your-fall-reading

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!

http://www.jsonline.com/entertainment/books/getting-a-quick-read-speed-dating-8-short-story-collections-b99314013z1-268624792.html

Meanwhile, QS surfs a Michigan bestseller list:

http://www.themorningsun.com/arts-and-entertainment/20140711/michigan-bestseller-book-list-for-june-2014