Sunday, March 10, 2013


I have been tagged in the Next Big Thing by fellow writer Mary Glickman. Mary is the author of the novels Home in the Morning and One More River, a 2011 National Jewish Book Award Fiction Finalist. You can read Mary's Next Big Thing here:

Mary invited me to answer ten questions about my current work in progress and then to tag five other authors about their Next Big Thing. I've answered the questions, and I have to say I enjoyed it. I derive the most out of making art that is new in some way. My first short film was an homage to a filmmaker, but my second was all me, and I am most proud of it. I'm proud of my first book a standard memoir that's been well reviewed. The second book is in a form I created in order to tell the story effectively. Answering the following 10 questions has reaffirmed for me the value in the choices I made to tell my current story in the way I'm telling it. So, here goes!

What is the title of your new book?

The Sex Life of Andy Ashling, a serial memoir.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
After completing my second memoir, The Girl Who Had No Enemies (and the man who hated women), I outlined a novel and began developing the characters loosely based on true events. I guess I came to understand that even in the task of fictionalizing something I was drawing heavily on real life. I think I'm a better creative nonfiction writer than a fiction writer, at least for books. I love writing fictional screenplays. Anyway, I put the novel aside (I still plan to write it).

At 61, I looked at my life and realized the unique role that sex has played in it. My sex drive has ruled my life. It permeated my thinking. I've rarely, if ever, interacted with a woman, any woman, without at least wondering what it would be like to sleep with her. I didn't think much of this, until I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1992. Besides hyperactivity in thought and creative output, manic episodes include an intense sexual desire. In my youth—my mother described me as “high strung”—I took for granted that I was simply a restless soul. I never thought that I had a disorder.

I decided to write a book in which a man examines his sex life, looking at each unique episode. Obviously, no one would be interested in all the sex and lovemaking of a man's life. But key moments of experimentation, especially in my childhood, might prove interesting to a reader and also reveal things to me. I'm discovering things about myself with each episode. It's coming along nicely.

What genre does your book fall under?

Memoir, which is creative nonfiction.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I would think a film adaptation would need an actor who could play a man from his 20s into his 50s. Edward Norton (42) has a youthful, boyish look that could make the transition. Also, child actors that could play ages from four to the early twenties. They'd use a couple of actors or a half dozen, hard to tell.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Something like: Oversexed and Analyzed: the Sex Life of Andy Ashling.

Hard to know what the title of the final book will be. Right now “the book” exists as a series of 99 cent episodes. I'm on episode seven, Billy Hays' Sister and the Wild Boy. I foresee somewhere between 15-20 episodes. I'm terrible with titles. My best effort is the title of my first book, She Had No Enemies. Several agents told me not to change it. As for my current work, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Is your book self-published or represented by an agency?

I'm publishing the Andy Ashling series myself. I'll run the final book by my agent to see if he wants to handle it. I've had two agents. One couldn't get me a publishing contract for my first book. I don't think she knew how to handle it. The other agent got me an offer for my second book from a publisher who wanted me to rewrite the book in a true crime form. I looked at the types of books they published and couldn't see myself writing in that style. It's why I call my first two books literary true crime. It's a genre given to me by a couple of other agents who liked the book, but didn't know how to sell it either (a problem many agents had with it).

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

About six months.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I can't think of another book that is being written this way, or focuses almost exclusively on a man's entire sex life.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The desire to write something original in an original form. I received a grant in 1990 to make a 17-minute film from a script I wrote titled Rest Room. The story was interesting, but I wasn't satisfied with it until I got an idea in the editing room. I broke the film down into six segments and numbered them 1-6. Then I reordered them by putting the last segment first and the first segment next. The new order became 6,1,5,2,4,3. The audience had to put the story together in their minds. Ending the story in the middle (section 3) of the story emphasized its dramatic irony. I'd never seen a film like it and still haven't. Movies like Memento and Pulp Fiction, which do similar things, hadn't been made yet.

Also, I get to refer to my pseudonym, Andy Ashling, and that allows me some objectivity while writing subjectively, if that makes sense. I am very pleased with my book The Girl Who Had No Enemies. That book's form grew organically, as I wrote it, which made it very special to me. The reviews are telling me that it worked.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

Each episode is only 99 cents. The episodes are between 8-12 pages long. Starting with the first episode at age four, the reader can follow Andy's attitudes and behaviors as he ages and does or does not mature sexually. There are plenty of women, close to 70. Also Andy was sexually molested by men twice before he was 18.

So far, feedback from readers has been enlightening. I'd say half the readers of the first episode with whom I've spoken or corresponded see an element of molestation going on. I never saw it that way. I think people bring their own experiences into the intimacy of the narratives. Since these are true stories, one gets a glimpse into a specific part of the mind of someone with a lifetime of bipolar disorder.

Here are five authors I'm tagging to tell you about their Next Big Thing:

1. Ruth E. Walker is the author of the acclaimed novel Living Underground and co-author of the creativity resource book Inspiration Station

2. Gerry Mandel is an author and a playwright. His play Open Sundays, All Makes Repaired opens in St. Louis on 1/11/13. His novel Shadow and Substance: My Time with Charlie Chaplin is available in paperback and as an e-book. Gerry's entertaining blog Hey You Hoser can be found at

3-5 coming soon....

Thursday, January 3, 2013

HERDing Gnats Gives Midwest "S/Hemales Done Bang Rocks"

By DP Fleming, D Pressing News Senior Staff Reporter.

Check out my series The SEX LIFE of Andy Ashling and my memoir The Girl Who Had No Enemies: and the MaN WhO HaTeD WoMeN and She Had No Enemies at

On that fateful Sunday, March 28, 2010, HERDing GNats, in collaboration with the newly established D Pressing News Film Series, presented S/Hemales Done Bang Rocks—a new multi-media work by artist Arty Zweary. The event was held at the prestigious Win Fred's Whore Auditorium for admission prices of $8.00 regular, $3.95 seniors, $3.99 students. This reporter obtained a free pass by stripping off his clothes and attending nude.

Working on avant guarde films that exploit cabbage, Arty Zweary's work has shown locally on a TV set in East St. Louis, on a shoe sole near Tower Grove Park, and on an iPOD in the vicinity of University City's Loop area. Zwearian art is known internationally as "stuff that sucks".

S/Hemales Done Bang Rocks, was a multimedia event that featured someone's fingernails, dancers smoking broad-leafed weeds, and three-legged Ninja field mice in raincoats made from chicken beaks. Additional collaborators included dancer Trashy Fate, karate vegetarian master cook Banana PlumPudding, musician T-Bone Fishnet, and an ensemble playing ethnic music from the Area 51 airplane hangars in Nevada. The ensemble was led by legendary crosscut saw and biscuit player Rippy Heehaw.

Zweary showed a total of 5 videos: Medication on Morphine; Pansy-I-am; Blew Queer; Ballad Pee Mile*, and White What? (* indicates North American premier screening) .

will receive its world premier on February 31, 2010 at the BP gas station at Grand and highway 40. This reporter has been contracted to appear nude and unconscious at the event.

Conceptually, S/Hemales Done Bang Rocks arose from Zweary's quest to connect the art of two very famous artists: Pop artist Andy Warhol and Thomas Kinkade (MASTER OF LITE). On a 3-day journey to his basement, Zweary searched his laundry room for posters of Kincadian and Warholian works for a video he was creating, entitled White What?

Over the course of his 72-hour travels, Zweary sent three text messages to friends on the second floor of his home. The messages documented his round trip journey from a light switch to his liquor cabinet. These text messages were used as a 10-second narratives, read by Zweary, that interrupted the films in a very gone way, Daddy-O.

In Zweary’s words, “My videos were born when I finally succumbed to the glitches in my camcorder very early in 2010. At that time I could see musical possibilities by mixing editing errors caused by my sticky keyboard and hiccups from spicy food during Windows XP crashes. I also see single-framed dead people in my dreams."

To open the show, musician Rippy Heehaw cut stale biscuits with his crosscut saw synchronized with three parking lot attendants banging flashlights on sacks of wet socks. Trashy Fate, funeral director of the "Dancing Corpse Company", and a recipient of the Grateful They're Dead Award, accompanied Medication on Morphine by lying on the floor and breathing. Dressed in a Snuggie blanket (as seen on TV!), Banana PlumPudding spread gallons of clotted cream on herself as the film Pansy-I-Am's images were displayed on it. (This reporter slipped on some cream clots and jammed a pencil in his ...but I digress.)

Finally, local multi-instrumentalist T-Bone Fishnet slowly poured Schlafly's beer from a magnum bottle into a tub of orange Jell-O from a height of ten feet during the screening of Ballad Pee Mile. The orange-peely flavor of the beer made it difficult, but not impossible, for this reporter to get hammered and ignore remarks about the size of his genitalia.

Most enjoyed the special evening which included complimentary Cheese Whiz on nicotine flavored cardboard and plenty of Jell-O flavored beer. The evening raised STRANGE and WONDERFUL questions over the appropriateness of the admission price.

No rodents were harmed until after the show when they were attacked by gnats herded from the auditorium.

5 out of 4 stars!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Six episodes in the Sex Life of Andy Ashling series available

I finished Episode 6: The Chicken that Crossed the Road in the Sex Life of Andy Ashling serial I'm writing. It's a fun journey. I'm finishing Episode 7 and Andy is still only 12.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Girl Who Had No Enemies

My second book The Girl Who Had No Enemies: and the MaN WhO HaTeD WoMeN

It is a rewrite of the previous edition titled, She Had No Enemies, and focuses on areas of interest that the first edition missed. The Girl Who Had No Enemies looks at serial killer LaRette's mental health and describes other murders that he committed. It also covers the heroic efforts of Florida deputy Pat Juhl and her six-year interrogation in which she was able to document the killer's admission to over two dozen additional murders. Anthony J. LaRette Jr., had been on a ten-year-long path of violence, murder, and rape. Eighteen-year-old Mickey Fleming had recently graduated high school and had stayed home from her summer job to nurse a migraine headache and a fractured collarbone. THE GIRL WHO HAD NO ENEMIES follows the parallel trajectories of these polar opposites until they meet and then chronicles the emotional damage and rebirth in the aftermath.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Girl Who Played with Fire

The Girl Who Played with Fire is a mega best seller novel written by Stieg Larsson. My book The Girl Who Had No Enemies: and the MaN WhO HaTeD WoMeN is a true crime memoir.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

D Pressing News Staff Members Publish Controversial Literary Works

By Andy Ashling--D Pressing News Staff Reporter

Our CEO and Chief Editor, Dennis Fleming, has just published a paperback book (Feb 10, 2012) for one of our most talented "behind the scenes" writers here at the DPN, Dennis Patrick Fleming. The book, The Girl Who Had No Enemies (and the MaN WhO HaTeD WoMen) is a what we're calling here a literary true crime memoir thriller.

This generous man, Mr. Fleming, has also edited my new serial memoir The Sex Life of Andy Ashling and the first two episodes (clean & dirty) and (the police chief daughter's a liar) are already available in Kindle e-books. Dennis is a great editor, easy to work with, but demanding of high literary standards. He's making me a better writer.

You see, we here at the D Press think we can ride the wave of the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo books and films, including the U.S. remake of the Swedish (near) masterpiece. And as for my book, I mean sexual curiosity, sexual play, masturbation, sex with women, more sex and some liberally added sex will sell too.

We never said we were perfect. Just look at our banner.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Zwearickian Art at SO HOT Gallery Mind Blowing

By Andy Ashling, D Pressing News Special Reporter

(Special announcement: Wednesday September 5, the Kindle version of the book "The Girl Who Had No Enemies: and the Man Who Hated Women", by Dennis Fleming will be available for free at IN ORDER TO AVOID STEALING ALL OF THE ATTENTION away from Arty Zweary’s SURE...RICK'S LOOPED show, I attended its opening night at the SO HOT Gallery posing as an out-of-costume mime.

Zweary himself greeted me as I tried to slip in unnoticed. He was decked out head-to-toe in black. He even wore black-rimmed glasses, which prompted me to want to ask him if he wore the glasses when he shoots his videos. But a perceptive question like that could blow my cover, and tip him off that I was a reporter.

We in the press are getting fed up with all the ass kissing we must endure at these types of events. It's especially bad, when they learn I'm from one of the most unimportant news sources in the nation, the D Pressing News. Besides, Zweary was being so gracious to everyone, I didn't want to see him crawl for a five-star review. Not that he would...but don't they all?

The gallery presentation was not difficult to navigate, as some. I caught on real quick to the basic idea, which is to walk in and look at stuff.

They were offering beer and wine, and it was a pity I can't mix alcohol with the brain stabilizing medications already fighting each other in my bloodstream. A guy near the bar was rearranging pieces of candy cane in his stringy beard, like a cross-eyed monkey playing with its body lice. He caught me staring at him, and felt compelled to tell me the art on exhibit was "Zwearickian.”

How was I supposed to deal with that information? The bearded guy asked me if I could “see the face of Dali” in his whiskers. I decided to drink heavily, act as if I majored in Zwearickian art, and hope I didn't run into anyone who actually did.

On to the art!

The exhibit features what appear to be three flat, abstract paintings in which the images move! Some of it is from a foreign country, a place noted for manufacturing neckties, but I don't think it was Italy.

There is a humongous morphing rectangle titled “PANSY i AM” (more on that later) projected onto a white wall, and a couple smaller rectangles on High Def screens set upon white pedestals that you have to walk across the room to see. But, here's the thing, you think there's only one of them. You walk over to it, and when you get there a few sidesteps to the right take you to the other one.

There's a window behind the second High Def screen. I thought it was a third video screen, and watched it for about twenty minutes, until an attractive woman—she had a tattoo of President Nixon and Henry Kissinger kneeling in prayer on her left shoulder—set her beer on the window's ledge. Glad she distracted me, though. I was about to suggest that gallery management adjustment the dpi on a window! (I would have made a fool of myself.)

There are also dozens of smaller squares placed at various locations on all the walls. The images on these squares don't move, and they look a lot like they came from the abstract video stuff. I’d bet on it.

The humongous rectangle of moving images titled “PANSY i AM”, didn't make sense to me because, though many of the images where sort of flowery—some things also looked like beads—nothing about it made me think of violets. I overheard someone say a person named Norm videotaped the contents of six long-handled Siamese pans.

If you were like me, you'd be thinking “moo shu pork?” But you'd be wrong. They were cooking some Gaston-omical substance a man named Bruce assembled from glass fragments with a tong (misspelled Fong in the handout) in Vietnam (another typo in the brochure: they misspelled the country's abbreviation, Naam instead of Nam). Frankly, Zweary deserved a higher level of attention to the promotional material for his show. Spell check won't catch everything.

Zweary used Norm's images to make six different ties that he looped together, which, to my disappointment, were not on display. But I understood why. Only one patron in the crowd was wearing a tie, and it had a fish painted on it. Ties must not be fashionable now. (I mean, who wears ties anymore?--and with a fish.)

PANSY had a soundtrack that I couldn't hear clearly over the noisy crowd, but from the sound of all the glasses clanging, I'd say they recorded live at a party where they cooked the glass Bruce stirred with his tong.

Remember that first, smaller rectangle I mentioned? The one on a pedestal you walk to before you realize there's another one a few sidesteps away? It's called DEAD LINE, and it's a mind blower. The artist found a foot and reattached it to somebody. He admits it made the person “dramatically deformed,” but it still works as well as the day he found it. (You have to wonder. It had to be fresh when he found it.) But it fooled me because it didn't look anything like a foot, especially one that was still alive. I think the artist used all the blood to disguise it. It looked more like what the video title suggested it was, a DEAD LINE. Brilliant!

The square pictures on the wall next to DEAD LINE looked like shots from the operating room where the foot was re-attached. If you didn't know about the foot, you'd never guess they were medically related pictures. That sidestep to the right to get to the next video is almost automatic after a few unsettling moments with DEAD (foot) LINE.

The next piece is ambiguously named, ALL ABOUT SHELL TOURS. If they had mounted it on the ceiling and you were to lie on the floor and stare up at it, you'd think an old city is falling from the sky. Hell, man, you'd say, let’s get out of here and take a shell tour! I'm sure there were logistical impediments that prevented them from presenting the work that way. In fact, I overheard Zweary say the work was being “re-presented”. So, it might have been up there at first, and maybe the monitor kept falling down.

Zweary constructed ALL ABOUT SHELL TOURS from outtakes he found from the recently released Spielberg blockbuster film, SUPER 8. The video is an experiment in altering time to achieve depth, and it succeeds, perhaps even more than the artist intended. After about a minute watching this video, I felt like I was being sucker-punched by one of those boxing gloves on an extender that pops out and BAM! smacks you in the face. It was intense. But I readily admit that it was my favorite piece of art, despite the additional expense for the Ibuprofen I was eating for days later.

On the wall opposite ALL ABOUT SHELL TOURS, were nine of those smaller square pictures, and they remarkably reproduced what the video looks like inside your head after a few minutes of letting those pictures punch your frontal lobe. A lot of color explosions and swirly images that recall the circle of stars around a cartoon character's head after it's been zonked with a hammer. This is no small achievement.

Again, the artist demonstrates a mastery of representing in static what he achieves dynamically in the video. Let's face it, the guy's pretty smart. It’s been days, and I’m still trying to guess what “all about shell tours” is. I could Google it, but that’d take the fun out of it. Maybe it’s a day trip to one of the nation's coasts.

I would have liked to stay at the SURE...RICK'S LOOPED show longer, but I had to begin preparing for my next therapy session, and I only had twenty hours to wash my drool bucket.

I never found out who the hell Rick is, and why it's supposed to be obvious that he's drunk. I mean, wouldn't you have to know the guy to know he always gets hammered?

But I plan to return because the show is running from 11-4 pm from Jan. 6 through Jan. 19, Tuesdays through Saturdays, and with the artist from 6-9 pm during the first week of the show.

They're also doing a special screening of more Zwearikian (there's that word again) videos Thursday night (1-12-12) at 7 pm, free and open to the public. I plan to attend, if my psychiatrist permits me.