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The BLOGshit has been dormant for awhile. What better way to revive it once more than with a four-way interview? The BLOGshit is taking Armand Rosamilia, Jack Wallan, Brent Abell and Jay Wilburn to task. They've collaborated on a weird horror piece called HOLLYWOOD HELLMOUTH.
The BLOGshit has gotten a sneak peek at the book and we think they have some explaining to do. We could tell you that HOLLYWOOD HELLMOUTH is a story of broken Hollywood dreams. We could tell you it's filled with a menagerie of grotesque and odd monstrosities. We might even spoil it a tad and tell you a Velvet Elvis figures into the whole shebang.
But instead, we figured we'd get the dimented creators to do it themselves. They are the responsible parties, let them get arrested for the insanity that is... HOLLYWOOD HELLMOUTH.
The BLOGshit: You are all notably zombie writers, what brought you all together for this project?
Brent Abell: Greed, I mean the desire to work with Armand again. I've worked with him on
a couple of projects and have had a really great time doing so. I've been in a few anthologies with
Jay and we run around in the same twisted circles, but our paths had never crossed until the first
Imaginarium con in Louisville last year. It was at the same con I met Jack for the first time and
the four of us hung out and discussed doing the same thing at MidSouthCon and Imaginarium
again this year. Then the conversation started about a project together...
Jack Wallen: I blame the booze. Oh wait, I don’t drink. Okay, I blame the rest of the guys
getting face-planting drunk, tying me down, and insisting I play along – else they’ll tell my wife
bad, bad things. Actually, it seemed to be the logical thing. We were all planning out our
domination of MidSouthCon when someone had the brilliant idea of round-robining a novella.
There was no hemming or hawing – we all immediately agreed it was the thing to do.
Jay Wilburn: Armand is the lynchpin of our group. He is the center of our literary universe.
He has the most gravity as measured by the laws of physics and spiritually. We were all at
Imaginarium Con in Louisville and our collective work there as guests got us invited as guests to
MidSouth Con in Memphis in March. We decided to put something special together for that
Armand Rosamilia: I felt really sorry the other three guys aren’t as rich and famous as me.
I remembered being a nobody (but always sexy and good-looking, luckily) so I threw them a
literal and literary bone and enriched their lives, such as they are. Plus, I love two out of three of
The BLOGshit: Where did the idea for Hollywood Hellmouth come from? Is anyone willing to take
Jack: I said “I’ve always wanted to write a B-Horror kind of novel” and we took it from
there. Of course, by B-Horror I didn’t think it would get so wonderfully odd. Am I glad it did?
You betcha. There’s no way we could have written this piece as individuals.
Brent: It was supposed to be an ode to the B-movies we love, but honestly... I'm not sure
what we did. It began innocently enough as a book we could write and have it for the cons we
were attending together in 2015. When the talks about sharing tables at the cons came up, I
brought up our idea of doing a book together and the whole mess began.
Armand: I will take full credit for the idea. Honestly, I wrote 99% of the book, too. Or
maybe not. Who can say? I think jay Wilburn caqme up with the idea initially and we all took it
up and ran with it. If this bombs I can distance myself from it but if it is gold I can say it was my
Midas touch. Win/win for me.
Jay: Armand first suggested we collaborate on something for MidSouth. Bad ideas tend to
start with him. Brent remembered it just before the New Year and got the discussion going again.
He usually keeps bad ideas going. We threw around a few story ideas, but it was Jack’s “B-
Movie Horror” starter that gave birth to what would be HOLLYWOOD HELLMOUTH. I was
supposed to be the voice of reason, but failed miserably.
The BLOGshit: What was the inspiration for the Velvet Elvis character?
Jay: I think Velvet Elvis first came up in one of my rounds. Back then, he was just a picture
of the King with a little wiggle in his frame. Growing up in the South through the 70’s and 80’s,
velvet Elvis portraits were a staple in white trash homes and every roadside vendor. There used
to be a lot more roadside vendors before you could get Velvet Elvis’s online. That’s what’s
wrong with America these days: not enough velvet or Elvis in our lives anymore.
Armand: I really have no idea. By the time I came in these clowns had already desecrated
The King and forced me to keep it going. I am still disgusted how easily they can tear down our
idols and the fabric of our society.
Jack: Doesn’t every novel have a Velvet Elvis character? I thought it was required for all
novels? Honestly, every bit of madness to enter this novel just happened – there was no
Brent: This is one I'm not taking credit for. When the next round was taking place and the
manuscript came back to me, it was there and it just got worse from there for the Velvet
Elvis. MidSouthCon (where the book is debuting) is in Memphis, so having Elvis in the book
was a natural fit. His estate might disagree and we might not be allowed in Graceland, but it
worked for us.
The BLOGshit: What was the collaborative process like for Hollywood Hellmouth? Where there any
positives working with so many other writers? What type of obstacles did you have?
Armand: I loved not discussing anything happening as we went along. You simply got the
book back after the other three guys had written their chapters and had to keep the story
going. And top what came before, which was the ultimate challenge.
Jay: I think it was net positive for all of us. It moved fast and demanded creativity out of
each of us. Looking back, I think it was guaranteed that what we created together was going to
be something wild. As an individual in the group, you couldn’t hold too tightly to your own
concept of what the story was nor where it was going. You had to be willing to take the other
authors’ visions and move the action with what they gave. Each author had to be conscious of
handing off the baton in mid run. I think it became something different than any one of us would
have created and it allowed us to be different than our usual styles.
Brent: We didn't discuss the plot or anything before hand. The first person wrote their piece
and we passed it around until Armand ended it with the epilogue. There were no plans for it and
as we received the manuscript, we had no idea what the three people did to the story before we
got it back. It was fun to see how each person brought something different and unique to the
story. It's also pretty positive to finish a book and only had to write a quarter of it. The only
obstacle was figuring out how to top the previous chapters when it was your turn again. I admit, I
had trouble writing a story like this, I'd never done one in a horror/comedy kind of way, but once
I felt more comfortable with it, it flowed easier.
Jack: It was a pure joy. Part of the fun was writing a chapter in such a way just to see what
the next man up would do with it. Turns out, when you unleash the imaginations of four twisted
writers, all hell will in fact break loose. Honestly, there were no obstacles... there were only
pulses. Four unique voices working on a single story and taking in places not one of us would
have thought to imagine individually. How could there possibly be hurdles with that?
The BLOGshit: Can any of you see yourselves collaborating on further projects?
Brent: Oh yeah. Working with the other three was a blast and we've become pretty good
friends. I can see this happening from time to time when we get bored or when Armand needs a
Jack: Well, we’ve planned this out as a trilogy, so we’ll definitely venture back into
Solomon’s world at least two more times. Outside of that? Who knows. The other guys are really
great to work with and I felt honored (and just a little dirty) working with them … so I certainly
wouldn’t be averse to further collaborations.
Jay: Absolutely. Jack has already cooked up a cool zombie thing that is pulling in a number
of other authors too. HOLLYWOOD HELLMOUTH itself is shaping up to be the first in a
trilogy of books. We are already looking ahead at another joint convention appearance that
should correspond chronologically with a release of the third book.
Armand: I’ll definitely work with the three of them again and hopefully not only on
finishing this trilogy. It’s funny, because individually I hate all three with a passion, but the four
of us together… magic.
The BLOGshit: How likely are you to dabble in this kind of crazy horror again?
Jack: I’ll do it again, for sure. I had a lot of fun with it. I’ve always wanted to push myself
to see just how far I can twist and bend a story like this. The piece I’m doing now is sort of along
the same lines … minus the poo (the book isn’t finished yet, so there’s still time).
Brent: My wife denies knowing me after reading the book, but I'll live and will dabble in
the sub-genre again. It was fun to take a break from the normal stuff and cut loose with the other
three guys on such a crazy book. I like crazy...
Armand: Oh, definitely. It was even more fun than I thought it would be. I skirt the line
often in my work but this was on the other side and I liked it. A lot. Maybe too much.
Jay: It is almost guaranteed at this point. I got a lot from this personally. Having four people
involved in the process of putting together and putting out a book has been great. This seems to
be the direction the four of us working together leads. Horror and humor may be our collective
The BLOGshit: Who amongst you is the craziest?
Jay: It may have to be Armand by default. He’s settling down more now though. I mean, I
haven’t killed and disposed of a body in months and Armand was around for that too. Jack
and Brent lead pretty responsible lives. Armand still hangs out with midget porn stars and he
lives in Florida. You know what that place is like.
Armand: Honestly, the only reason I did this project was because the three of them are more
than likely to eventually end up in a bell tower with a high-powered rifle shooting at hookers,
and I want them to think I was always in their corner. So they don’t shoot the hookers I will
eventually kill and bury on me own.
Jack: Good gravy, that’s like asking which of the cat family is the most adorable or which
politician can you trust the least! I might have to say Armand, otherwise he’ll beat me up.
Brent: All of us. Someone trying to get us to choose the craziest opens the door to all sorts
of weird stuff better left unsaid and behind closed doors.
The BLOGshit: Who amongst you is most likely to get scared and run away?
Armand: Either Jack or Jay. They aren’t exactly manly dudes. Nothing personal. And Brent
and I seem way too lazy to run.
Jay: I want to say Brent, but for all our lack of exercise, we are all pretty much scared
runners. I used to say I’d only run if someone was chasing me, but I wouldn’t even run then.
That has more to do with laziness than courage though.
Brent: Jay, hands down. Or Jack. When you look at Armand and myself, it's obvious we
don't run at all.
Jack: Brent. He carries a blanket around and sucks his thumb. But Jay does have that “look”
in his eyes, like any moment he’ll bolt. If I tossed a bag of M&Ms off a cliff, Armand would
The BLOGshit: How did you develop some of the off-the-wall creatures found in Hollywood
Brent: I think most of it stemmed from the desire to be as crazy and disgusting as
possible. Stuff like that happens when you mix Hollywood, Hell, and demons. There were also
times where we would discuss stuff on-line and some of the creatures ended up in the story (like
Hollywood stars of various heights). The rest was everybody trying to top the others in the gross
Jack: It’s all about height. And bringing things to life that wouldn’t normally be, like a
toilet. Annnnd … we’re back to poo. This book really was all about the unexpected and what
could the unexpected do and be to help push a plot forward. Nothing was off limits – not even
The King himself. At some point, at least for me, it became about figuring out what people in
real life would be funny at a particular height – or bringing old television crushes back to life in a
Jay: These were byproducts of the collaboration. Solomon, the narrator, became flawed and
unreliable pretty early, so that opened the world up a lot. The quirky insanity developed from one
author introducing a character or scene and another author running with it into something more.
Jack likes to kill and hurt things, so that created some interesting development with the story and
Armand: Most of it was pretty natural. In a couple of my chapters I got to introduce what I
thought would be a minor character, only to see them become an intricate part of the plot my
next time around, while other characters I thought were going to be big got left behind. It was
fun trying to keep up with everyone else and see what twisted things we could do.
The BLOGshit: What are the chances we can expect a sequel?
Jack: Like The Matrix, this will be a trilogy. Why a trilogy? Because things are funny in
threes. The law of comedy.
Brent: It's Hollywood, so you'll either get a sequel or a reboot!
Armand: There is no chance we’ll see another word of this crap… unless it sells and we
make a ton of cash. And then the trilogy will become eight to ten books and a line of action
Jay: Oh, we’re talking 99% sure. We are in double dose of Measles vaccine sure. We’re
talking condom with a birth control pill combo numbers. I’m as sure as Armand dragging us to a
White Castle is sure.
So, there they are. The four responsible parties for HOLLYWOOD HELLMOUTH. That interview is every indication of the type of humor that gets pumped into this twisted tale. This is not the next great American novel, nor is anyone expecting it to be. But, just like a lady of the night, you can be sure to take this one home and have yourself a good time for a few hours. Reading HOLLYWOOD HELLMOUTH is a victimless crime.
HOLLYWOOD HELLMOUTH will be available everywhere on Friday. March 13th (get it?) and if you are attending MidSouth Con on March 20th, be sure to hunt down Jack, Jay, Armand and Brent and get them to sign your copy in person! Just watch what type of ink they use. Eww!