Guest Blog: Michael Aronovitz

I recently read Michael Aronovitz’s premier novel Alice Walks, and was absolutely blown away.  It is a classically told ghost story that hits all the right notes, never wavering in its ability to simultaneously scare and entertain.  A coming of age tale with dark fantasy notes reminiscent of Ray Bradbury and Dan Simmons, and a literate style worthy of Peter Straub, Alice Walks managed to surprise, delight and give me so many goosebumps that it shot immediately into my list of top ten ghost stories of all time. Because of this, I’ve invited Mike to tell you about his novel, his short story collections, and himself.

 Alice

First, I must say that I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to guest blog on Tamara’s site.  I am somewhat of a newcomer to the field of commercial horror, and Ms. Thorne has become a mentor of sorts.  I thank anyone in advance who cares to read a few paragraphs about me.

I am a college professor and a high school English teacher, adjuncting at Widener University, Delaware County Community College, and Immaculata University.  I run the Upper School English Department for The Mathematics, Civics, and Sciences Charter School in Central Philadelphia.  I have a wife (also a teacher) and a sixteen year old son who is an awesome power hitter and left fielder for his school baseball team (and legion).

I started to love horror fiction with the early works of Stephen King.  Six years ago I approached Horror Scholar and Lovecraft Biographer S.T. Joshi with four stories I wrote in my thirties and had retooled.  He took me under his wing so to speak and convinced me to add 40,000 words. In response, I took an unpublished novel I had written in 1993 and revamped the best part of it, expanding that section into a suspenseful novella.  When complete, S.T. offered a contract through the small publisher Hippocampus for the collection I was going to call “Five Deadly Pleasures.”  Since it was to be a year until publication, S.T. inferred that the comparison to the Seven Deadly Sins was not complete at five.  I wrote two more stories, and completed what became my first major publication, Seven Deadly Pleasures, currently still available on Amazon new, used, and in electronic format.  It is also available new and elec. direct from the publisher at http://www.hippocampuspress.com/mythos-and-other-authors/fiction/seven-deadly-pleasures-by-michael-aronovitz

Since Seven Deadly, I have been working hard trying to build a reputation and a repertoire, publishing a number of short stories in magazines and online, and putting together a body of work only recently coming to fruition.  About a month ago we launched my first novel titled Alice Walks at The World Horror Convention in New Orleans.  The publisher is the prestigious boutique Centipede Press, mostly known for reprints and collectables.  Jerad Walters has put Alice Walks out in a beautiful hardcover edition with artwork by Samuel Araya and a signature page.  These are a bit pricey at $60.00 each, but we have already sold many of the limited run of 300 pieces.  I would be flat out honored if you would check out the link and consider supporting me by picking up a copy!!

http://centipedepress.com/horror/alicewalks.html

Friend me if you like on Facebook!  And again, Tamara, thank you for the air time.  At the risk of a bit of repetition, I have put my full bio below:

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Michael Aronovitz’s debut collection  Seven Deadly Pleasures was published by Hippocampus Press in 2009, and his newest novel  Alice Walks is presently available through Centipede Press.  Aronovitz’s dark collection The Voices in Our Heads will be released by Horrified Press in February of 2014, and Hippocampus recently committed to Aronovitz’s novel  The Witch of the Wood, (release date in the latter part of 2014).  His short story “The Girl Between the Slats” will be appearing in S.T. Joshi’s forthcoming anthology Searchers After Horror, and Aronovitz’s short ghost story  “How Bria Died” was featured in Paula Guran’s The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror, 2011.  He has published short fiction in Weird Tales, The Weird Fiction Review, Bosley Gravel’s Cavalcade of Terror, Polluto, Kaleidotrope, Black Petals, The University of Tampa Press, Philly Fiction, Demon Minds, Metal Scratches, Death Head Grin, Schlock Webzine, Lost Souls, The Turks Head Review, Fiction on the Web, and many others.  Aronovitz’s critical reviews concerning Dexter, (Season 7), Ursula Dabrowsky’s independent film Family Demons, and Donna McRae’s independent film  Johnny Ghost have appeared on Chizine’s “Chiaroscuro” site and “Hellnotes” respectively.   Michael Aronovitz is a Professor of English and the English Department Chair for a Philadelphia charter school.  Aronovitz lives with his wife Kim and their son Max in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania.

It’s Summer Sex, er, Poetry Time

It’s hot out, sweaty, even in the shade.  And the plants are loving it.  My tomato vines are heavy with delicious red globes, the trees laden with warm fruit just waiting to be eaten.  What is sexier than a peach?  This poem, Jugular Vine, was originally published in the Cemetery Dance collection, The Devil’s Wine, edited by Tom Piccirilli. It’s all about the delighting in the fleshy fruits of summer.

strawberry

JUGULAR VINE

Green tendrils twine tightly

holding heavy clusters of dark purple grapes.

Hanging hidden, sweet and dark and full to bursting,

they peek out from between leafy emerald shadows

to flirt with sunbeams, wanting warm kisses.

Grinning green faces form in the leaves,

mosaics of fronds weave larger faces,

all guardians of the rich violet jewels.

Tendril fingers clutch, then release

As a woman of flesh and blood gently plucks a grape.

She rubs it, revealing radiant darkness.

tinygreenman

The Green Man smiles as she holds it to her lips

to feel the plump round fruit with her mouth.

She inhales its warm sweet scent as she

slips it between her lips to

test the mettle of his juice, his meat.

Green Man’s flesh

is pierced by pearl teeth.

She tastes the sweet liquid as it squirts into her mouth.

She closes her eyes in delight

as sticky juice sprays her tongue and throat

The Green Man groans with her pleasure

as she plucks another succulent grape

and tastes more of his nature.

entwined

Green Woman drops

a tender ripe peach into a young man’s hands.

Softly, he brushes his lips against the summer globe,

Feeling the soft fuzz on firm flesh,

so smooth and golden pink, he inhales

her luscious feminine scent of warm flowers and lust.

She laughs, a breeze fluttering through the leaves,

as he bites into the fruit.

With his teeth he teases away the pit

that had hidden the very center of her flesh.

She moans with him as he revels in her depths,

pushing his tongue into the juicy sweet hollow.

Tongue delving, licking, teeth probing.

He devours her, his mouth and lips sticky

with her juices and her scent.

treelove

Green Man and Green Woman join

the fleshling lovers

as they taste and revel in their fruits.

They share the pleasure of red-blooded bodies connecting

in a meadow of green grass and sunflowers.

Hidden in summer grapevines.

Green Man and Woman ride the lovers

who shed their clothing like leaves in an autumn breeze.

They come together in bliss,

twining limbs like grape tendrils clinging, grasping, never letting go.

Kissing in the sun, making their own fruit,

They find the centers of one another, and of nature too.

 EueosOutros