Saturday, 10 May 2014

Alternate Hilarities by Giovanni Valentino (editor): Interview + Giveaway

Alternate Hilarities
by Giovanni Valentino, editor

Genre: Science Fiction / Horror / Humor
Along time ago in a city in central New York ....
Alternate Hilarities
Episode 1
Back from the Dead

In the early nineties, a man had a dream. A dream of funny stories in his favorite genres, Science fiction, Fantasy and Horror. Not just a joke at the end of the episode like the original Star Trek or the occasional gem from Douglas Adams, but all the time.

So the small press fan-zine, Alternate Hilarities was born. Six issues were produced against his ex-wife's express wishes.
And they were terrible!

Just Terrible!

The first issue was a simple photocopy print job. He moved up offset printing by the second issue, 11 by 17 paper, folded over and saddle stitched with glossy cover. It looked semi professional but proofing was not his strong suit. He had no funds to hire a proof reader and let's face it, volunteers suck.

But the stories were great. Many talented authors sent in great funny stories. With concepts like games show in the afterlife, the last man alive and the secret life of a teenaged mad scientist.

But in the end, the cost of publishing his pet project became too much and the zine was retired.

Now, two decades later, the overhead and distribution issues of the small press have almost disappeared with the advent of eBooks. With a new partner in crime who can do line edits, with a professional level understanding of spelling, grammar and punctuation, the man decided to give his old love a second shot.

So, here it is, The New and Improved Alternate Hilarities. We have Alien invasions and Abductions, Time Travel, Ghost Ships, Demonic Possessions, Flatulent Clowns, Body Switching, Talking Monkeys and Feghoots.

That's right, I said Feghoots.

Google it.

So off we go. With Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and Halitosis for all!

Halitosis? WTF? I mean Polarity?

Not Again! I mean H I l a r I t y?

Damn AutoCorrect!



Some of the stories in Alternate Hilarities:
Attack of Ye Olde Zombies by Cathy Greco
And, thus, the world ends… not with a bang… not with a whimper… but with the mournful cry of an off-key bagpipe playing an undead reel, and the sad, sad sight of deflated codpieces never to be filled.

1-800-CALL- GOD by Chuck Rothman
Help is just a phone call away...

Adrift by Dan Doerflein
In life, he sailed the high seas with his pirate crew. All he wanted in death was to sail the seas again. Before he can escape his situation and obtain the afterlife he dreamed of, he must first defeat a pirate’s worst enemy: a bureaucrat.

The Princess and the Witch by Isabel Sterling
Marisa only wanted one thing for Halloween: the ancient magic she possessed in a past life. She’d prepared for this ritual for years, and nothing could get in her way. Except, perhaps, her sorority girl roommate.

The Muse and the Psychiatrist by M. Kelly Peach
She was divinely beautiful, a daughter of Zeus with a serious problem. She needed a qualified and caring psychiatrist, with talent and experience, to help her. Little did she know he had his own agenda…

Upgrades by Daniel McPherson

Software updates. Sometimes they install cool new features. Other times they screw up your entire system. Which really sucks when the software is running inside your head.

The Great Abyss Disjunction by Danielle N. Gales
When Gregory Artifex became lighthouse keeper of the multiverse's loneliest dark corner, all he wanted was a little peace and quiet. The triggerfish, however, had different ideas. Gregory is about to have a very bad day.

The Bombastic Adventure of Bob from Planet 9 by Jaimie M. Engle

Bob and Melvin sit at Flo’s Intergalactic Greasy Spoon on the Tuesday the joint is held-up by two symmetrical beings called ‘humans’. Melvin accidentally disintegrates and Bob seeks revenge. But a visit to His Greatness on Planet 9 may change everything.

Do Flatulent Clowns Smell Funny by John H. Dromey
“Emission Possible” at the circus. The gastric suspense is intense. Will there be comic relief?

Dead Right, Dead Wrong By Ronald Friedman
The active Dead are not much different than the rest of us, although they can bore you to tears with stories about how they died. As the number of Dead increased they emerged from the shadows and became politically active. Their party, Dead Americans Mobilizing for National Integration and Tolerance (DAMNIT), was ready to field a candidate for the office of President of the United States.

Language Barrier by Steve Esling
"Mit-choo "Mitch" Maru is Tenerelli and Associate's first Titanian accountant! But his progress in breaking social barriers and becoming more than just a "token alien" comes to a halt after a sticky situation in the bathroom with a coworker. Will the skills he learned in his college English courses be enough to tell others about this unfortunate close encounter?"

Small Change by Steven Grassie
Miserable and almost broke, as per usual Paul’s in the pub drowning his sorrows. His evening takes a strange turn, however, when he encounters an interesting, if rather implausible, individual… who might just have the answer to his problems.

Cash on Delivery by Laura Thurston
When you absolutely, positively have to have had it already call Einstein Express, where hindsight is the same as foresight.

Overdue by Jay Fuller
When the librarian can flay your mind as easily as she can gut you, very little will stand between her and an overdue library book – even a powerful (and generally disagreeable) wizard. And what if the book wants a say in the matter?

Diary of an Overlord by Clay Sheldon
Villagers are terrified, heroes quake in their boots, and the world fears his very name. Witness the origin of a terrifying(ish) demon lord. But be warned:not everything is as it seems...

Thorkwald and the Cherub by Day Al-Mohamed
The adventures of a misfit demon and his struggle to succeed, or at least not get fired (literally) in Hell’s corporate world. With the help of his trusty minion, an eight-legged llama, and his Ctrl-Alt-Smite button, what could go wrong?

Chicken Soup for the Demonically Possessed Soul by Felicia Lee
In this heartwarming tale of loss, redemption, and best practices for web design, we follow Al, a promising young man in the prime of his life, as he faces down the demons of unethical competitors and, well, actual demons.

Q & A with Giovanni Valentino

Q:  How long have you been writing, and when did you first consider yourself an author?
I've created stories in my head my entire life, but I had trouble with the writing part because I'm dyslexic. I could never get anything that made sense onto the page. When I was in high school, learning disabilities weren't well understood, so there was no extra help or services for students like there is now.

I was in college when I was first diagnosed with dyslexia. Before that, teachers just assumed I was lazy or disinterested in school. The diagnosis changed my life, and that was when I started writing, once I understood there was a fixable reason why I couldn't write well before.

I considered myself a published author when my first short story was accepted by an online small press magazine called Fiction on the Web. They published a piece of my flash fiction called Difficult Subject. It is about an abductee the aliens just don't like to deal with. I reprinted Difficult Subject in Alternate Hilarities.

Q:  How were the authors featured in the Alternate Hilarities anthology chosen? Did you know each other before this book?
The stories in Alternate Hilarities came to me over the internet. I posted notices on Duotrope, The Grinder, and a few other writer's forums. Authors from around the world sent me their submissions.

Many were funny, a few were not. Some weren't up to publication quality, but the idea was good. For those, I sent out a request for a rewrite. Three stories in the anthology went through that process and are better for it.

I'm reading for my next anthology, Alternate Hilarities 3: Hysterical Realms, right now. I'd be happy to read submissions from any of your readers.

Q:  What is the best advice you have been given?
Before you walk into your boss's office, kick him in the groin, and tell him exactly what you think of him, make sure you have all six numbers AND the supplementary number! You can't win the grand prize in any state or multi-state lottery without that supplementary number. Remember that! 

Q:  As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An astronaut. I wanted to go into space and meet aliens. Or maybe meet a hot genie and marry her. One or the other. Maybe both.

Q:  What do you keep yourself busy with when you're not writing?
I run. I've been running for a few years. I finished the Empire State Marathon with a time of 4 hours and 7 Minutes, which would be a great time, but I was only running the Half Marathon. I did complete my main goal of not dying, but it was a little close. I'm going to run the half again this year with the hope of a better time and an easier recovery. Maybe the year after that, I can finish the full marathon.

I also love Netflix. I binge watch TV shows all the time. I've been through whole seasons in a weekend. It's great not having to wait for a week or even a year to find out what happens next.

Q:  Hard/paperbacks or ebooks?
I'm torn on this one. I like eBooks. I read a lot on vacation. My favorite thing to do is sit by a beach or a pool and read. With eBooks, I can load a bunch of books on my iPad and lessen the burden of packing. It's also nice because I can usually find Wifi to download more books from Amazon if I read through my stash of books. Still, I like the feel of a real book in my hands. That's one of the reasons I wanted a print edition for Alternate Hilarities. I wanted a print copy in my hands to show people, and I wanted my authors to have the same.

Q:  What book are you reading now?
Right now, I'm trying to finish the Game of Thrones books. I'm still on book two. I read a chapter a night, and with George R.R. Martin, that may take years. I need a vacation.

About the Editor:

Giovanni Francesco Valentino has struggled at the art of writing for four decades against many demons like self-doubt, chronic depression, OCD and severe dyslexia. He has written a few memoir pieces about his life struggles going undiagnosed for more the half his life. He hopes one day to be a famous published science fiction and fantasy author.
He is a member of the CNY Writers Haven, a critique and writer support group. He is the editor of the upcoming humorous anthology, Alternate Hilarities.

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About the Strange Musings Press:

We are a small publisher founded and run by two authors with a variety of skills and talents. Visit our Staff page for more information about who we are.

Currently, Strange Musings Press is strictly an e-publisher of anthologies: Alternate Hilarities , Romantic Ruckus, and Alternate Hilarities 2 - Vampires Suck . We DO NOT accept or publish stand alone stories, novels, or novellas at this time so please don't query us for those. We'll send you a humorous and snarky rejection letter.

The goal of these anthologies is to help aspiring authors get published and to have fun. Everything we do here is in the spirit of humor. If we offend you in any way, well, we probably don't care =)

Take a moment to look around and submit a story or two if you'd like. Got questions? Got a joke you want to tell us? Want to tell us how awesome we are? Stand in line and send us an email at:

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