Royal Oak horror author to release book of short stories, poetry

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published October 16, 2021

 Horror author Gerald Dean Rice, of Royal Oak, sits outside his home Sept. 28. His new collection of short stories and poetry, “Absolute Garbage, Total Nonsense, and Utter Ridiculousness,” comes out Oct. 26.

Horror author Gerald Dean Rice, of Royal Oak, sits outside his home Sept. 28. His new collection of short stories and poetry, “Absolute Garbage, Total Nonsense, and Utter Ridiculousness,” comes out Oct. 26.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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ROYAL OAK — Halloween season has descended, and with it the timely release of Royal Oak resident and horror author Gerald Dean Rice’s collection of short stories and poetry, “Absolute Garbage, Total Nonsense, and Utter Ridiculousness.”

Billed as “stories of horror, bizarro, and stream-of-consciousness,” the collection highlights the ridiculousness and complexity of everyday life, especially the way the pandemic has strained all relationships.

“Despite the title, the words within are intended to provoke thought and conversation as well as squeeze a laugh or two from readers,” Rice said. “From co-workers and casual acquaintances to friends and family, every relationship has changed — even those who cohabitate with one another. AGTNUR is a reflection of strange relationships.”

The book includes stories about a man in a cross-country relationship who realizes he has an invisible studio audience watching and reacting to everything he does, an agent of Cupid who uses deadly force to bring a boy and a girl together, and twin sisters who find a strange piece of equipment that may be the instrument in their father’s ongoing death.

It also includes poetry about love lost and found, unrequited feelings, renewal of affection, reconnection with family, and angels with nefarious and clandestine motives.

Rice, a lifelong horror fan, said his mother imbued her love of Stephen King and horror in him at a young age. He published his first novel in 2010 and has had short stories published in various publications since 2002.

He started putting together “Absolute Garbage, Total Nonsense, and Utter Ridiculousness” about a year ago. It contains both new pieces written for the book, as well as past work. The oldest story, which he wrote in eighth grade, is 30 years old.

“I had all of these old stories, and I actually have enough for a whole other book of stories that I didn’t put in there. I just had so much material. I was writing stories up until the eleventh hour,” Rice said. “I said I was done, and then I wrote four more stories.”

While the book is self-published, Rice said he wanted to go through a professional editing process. He found Lyndsey Smith, of Horrorsmith Editing, on indie horror platform Godless.com.

Smith said she did line and copy editing for Rice, not developmental editing, as his stories had a “natural flow to them already” and his writing was clean and easy to understand.

“With Gerald, it genuinely felt like I was reading an anthology from multiple authors. The stories are all formatted very differently. Some stories are complete, while others almost feel like they could be the beginning of novels,” Smith said. “Some are formatted like screenplays, while others actually look like very macabre advertisements. It kept me on my toes.”

She said she felt honored that Rice reached out to her, as he is a “flexible” and “multi-talented” author.

To preorder “Absolute Garbage, Total Nonsense, and Utter Ridiculousness,” visit amazon.com.

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