Sunday, December 22, 2019

Top Ten Reads of 2019

I'll be elaborating on these choices in a podcast in the coming weeks. Until then, here's the top ten best books I read in 2019. 

10. My Birth and Other Regrets by Ben Fitts

9. Grow Up by Ben Brooks

8. God of the Razor by Joe R. Lansdale

7. In the Miso Soup by Ryu Murakami

6. Writings of the Vienna Actionists, edited by Malcom Green

5. Star by Yukio Mishima

4. Apparitions of the Living by John Trefry

3. Neon Dies at Dawn by Andersen Prunty

2. Stupid Baby by New Juche

1. Unamerica by Cody Goodfellow and Girl Like a Bomb by Autumn Christian (tie)

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Elaine Pre-order and A Giveaway

Elaine is now available for pre-order on Kindle.

Buy it here.

If you pre-order it before New Year's, I'll send you a free Kindle copy of any of my other books. Just e-mail me with proof of purchase. 

Monday, December 2, 2019

Elaine: Cover Real and Release Date

Elaine is coming from Atlatl Press Feb. 28, 2019. The Kindle pre-orders will be available later this week. Any reviewers contact me or the publisher for a digital for physical ARC.

Saturday, November 9, 2019


It's been some time since I posted here, so here's a couple updates.

dr. sodom and mrs. gomorrah is still being worked on and will hopefully be released before the end of the year.

My second novel, Elaine, has been accepted for publication from Atlatl Press.

I apologize for the delays on responses to the submissions for Memories of Love. Acceptances and rejections will start going out soon.

Watch this blog for more news, or follow me on social media. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Cover Reveal: dr. sodom and mrs. gomorrah: poems and texts by Ben Arzate

A new collection of poetry and other texts is coming soon from feel bad all the time. People who enjoyed the sky is black and blue like a battered child should enjoy this as well. More details coming soon.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Kindle Goodness

In honor of all of my books now being available on Kindle, my short story, "The Tomato Garden," is free to download until Thursday (06/06/19).

Get "The Tomato Garden" for free here.

And while you're over there, why not pick up my other books on Kindle if you haven't already?

Buy the sky is black and blue like a battered child here.
Buy The Complete Idiot's Guide to Saying Goodbye here.
Buy The Story of the Y here.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Monday, May 27, 2019

The Story of the Y: Now Available on Kindle

My debut novel, The Story of the Y, is now available on Kindle. Those of you who hate dead tree books now have a chance to read it.

Buy it on Kindle here.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Bizzong! Interview

At the Bizzong! podcast, I made my second appearance where I talked about my debut novel, its background, and my poetry collection currently in the works.

Listen here.

Buy The Story of the Y here.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

New Interview

On the Stark Truth podcast, I discuss The Story of the Y, as well as other topics, with Robert Stark and Brandon Adamson.

Listen to it here.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Giveaway for The Story of the Y

Update: This giveaway has concluded and the prizes sent. 

Want to win a free copy of The Story of the Y and your choice of my other books or more books from Cabal Books or Thicke and Vaney? Here's your chance! This is what you need to do.

1. Take a picture of an album you like. It can be in any format; vinyl, CD, cassette, 8-track tape, reel-to-reel, or an mp3 list on your computer/mobile device. In the picture, also include a piece of paper that says, "Is this Y. Bhekhirst?"

2. Post it on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and tag me in it. Be sure you tag me, otherwise I won't see it.

3. One winner will be randomly chosen to win a copy of The Story of the Y, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Saying Goodbye, and the sky is black and blue like a battered child. Or, if you prefer, instead of the latter two books, you can replace them with your selection of any book published by Cabal Books or Thicke and Vaney.

4. The deadline is 4/27/2019. If you're the winner, I'll message you to get your book selection and where to mail them to.

Show me those albums!

Friday, April 12, 2019

The Story of the Y: Available Now!

Today is the release date of The Story of the Y from Cabal Books. You can order the paperback from Amazon. The Kindle version will be coming soon as well

Order The Story of the Y here.

Here's what other authors have said about the novel.

"A heady, bizarre trip with all the razor-sharp wit of a Cohen Brothers screenplay in a box of Ginsu knives." - Vincenzo Bilof, author of The Violators

"Cool, sharp and enigmatic" - Garrett Cook, author of A God of Hungry Walls

"There is a group of fresh voices taking weirdness very seriously, and Ben Arzate is one of its leading figures. The Story of the Y is a mysterious, adventurous hybrid. This is the love child of Carlos Fuentes and Hunter S. Thompson, covered in blood and desert dust, screaming outside a Mexican restaurant. Listen to it." - Gabino Iglesias, author of Coyote Songs

Here's a short history of the book I wrote for the Cabal Books blog. 

Read it at

and Here's the book trailer.

Watch on Youtube

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Story of the Y Pre-orders Available Now

You can now pre-order The Story of the Y on Amazon. It's due out April 12th, but if you pre-order and send me a copy or screenshot of your receipt, I'll send you a copy of the first Cabal Books release, Golden Rod by Bram Riddlebarger.

Pre-order The Story of the Y here.

EDIT: The copy of Golden Rod has been claimed. 

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Submission Call: Memories of Love: A Literary Tribute to The Magnetic Fields and Stephin Merritt

Since 1991, Stephin Merritt and his band The Magnetic Fields have been putting out beautiful songs with sharp, insightful, funny, and bitter lyrics. Merritt is a prolific songwriter who's known for his love songs, the most popular Magnetic Fields album being the triple album 69 Love Songs, but has also written dark, Gothic music for Lemony Snicket and Neil Gaiman audiobooks, the songs for avant-garde interpretations of Chinese operas, and a quintuple album serving as an autobiography. The Magnetic Fields is even named for a French surrealist novel by Andre Breton and Philippe Soupault. With all that, and the literary references littered throughout Merritt's songs, a book of poems and prose inspired by his work seems like the next logical step. This is what Memories of Love is. With help of the new small press from the UK, Mongrel Press, I'm bringing this to the world.

What we want: We want prose, poetry, prose poetry, one act plays, experimental pieces, and writing that doesn't fit neatly into any category. We want it across any genre just as Merritt has written songs in nearly every genre. We want poems and stories about love, of course, but we also want stories and poems about vampires, wolfboys, and ghosts. We want quirky autobiographical fiction. We want stories about crimes of passion. We want surrealist inspired poems. We want your writing regardless of who you are. We want new and previously unpublished authors as well as established ones. We want LGBTQ+ writers and stories especially. Where would a Stephin Merritt tribute be without that? We want writers of all races from all over the world, even if English isn't your first language. Just make sure it's good and it's inspired by The Magnetic Fields or one of Stephin Merritt's many projects.

Word Count: Up to 3,000 words. Don't worry if it's a little bit over or if it's especially short. If Merritt proves one cliché, it's that brevity is the soul of wit.

Please include a short note of what your piece is as well as an author bio in the body of the email. Please attach your piece as a .doc or .docx file. Please make the subject of your email “MEMORIES OF LOVE SUBMISSION: Title Piece – Your Name.”

Formatting: Please use standard formatting with Times New Roman font at 12 pt. If you're submitting an experimental work that uses unusual formatting or different fonts, please include a note of this in the body of your submission email.

Pay: 20 GBP/25 USD and a contributor's copy.

Deadline: August 1, 2019.

Save a secret for the moon but send your writing to us!

The book of love is long and boring
No one can lift the damn thing
It's full of charts and facts and figures and instructions for dancing
But I
I love it when you read to me
And you
You can read me anything

- “The Book of Love” by The Magnetic Fields

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Brief Thoughts 27

Water by Jennifer Wilson

Freja Folsom, a reporter from Des Moines, is assigned to a story about a man who illegally made a well in the city's emergency water supply. She has no desire to work on it as nobody reads environmental stories. However, being at risk for being laid off and finding herself fascinated by the renegade well-maker, she throws herself into the story.

Water is an interesting mix. At it's core, it's a romance about Freja's breakup with a politician and her falling for the man she's writing a story about. However, a big focus on the book is looking at the issue of nitrate pollution in Iowa rivers and what can be done about it. Wilson makes the mixture work.

As the book mentions, environmental issues can be very dry, but I found the explanations of the effects of nitrate pollution here to be interesting. The book is somewhat didactic about the issue, but it doesn't feel preachy. It brings in several characters who would be intimately connected to the issue, public servants, farmers, and people at risk from nitrate poisoning, that the explanations feel very natural. All sides of the issues are presented in a pretty fair way, even though it's clear where the author comes down on it.

While I'm not a huge fan of romance stories, I still found the story here engaging. The dynamic between her former boyfriend, a politician who (surprise!) turns out to be a sleazeball, feels very real. The one between her and the man she's doing a story about feels rather underdeveloped. They don't talk that much, as the man is refusing to share anything, and the reveal of their mutual feelings is a bit sudden. Despite that, it was still a satisfying read.

I think this is a book well-worth reading, even if you're not at all interested in Iowa pollution issues. It was also published through a local Iowa business, so you'll be supporting them by buying it.

Buy Water by Jennifer Wilson here.

Apathy and Other Small Victories by Paul Neilan 

Shane is a completely directionless man. He works as a temp at an insurance company, where he spends most of his time sleeping in the bathroom. He has nothing but resentment for his aggressive girlfriend Gwen, he's having an affair with his landlord's wife, and he's addicted to stealing saltshakers. When his a close friend, a deaf woman who works as a dentist's assistant, turns up dead, he needs to prove his innocence.

This book is just hilarious. It had me hooked from the beginning where a pair of cops find Shane asleep in his bed covered in salt from shakers still in his pocket. Thinking it's cocaine, one of the cops sniffs it. Some of the other ridiculous moments include a wannabe drug dealer who dresses his guinea pig in bondage gear, the sex Shane has with Gwen that leaves him bruised and battered, and the cheap girl's bicycle that barely works that he rides everywhere.

Besides its ridiculous comedy, there's also some great satire of corporate America. Shane despises his job at the company. Besides how empty it is, he hates the false "feel good" attitude pushed on him and the other employees and how the others accept it. If you've ever worked a job with bullshit "team building exercises" and mandatory "fun" events, you'll get where he's coming from.

I think this is a hilarious and excellent novel. I'm looking forward to what Paul Neilan does next. If he ever does. This book was published in 2007 and he's put out nothing since. He has a blog, but it hasn't updated in over a decade. It's a shame that he'll likely end up a one book author.

Buy Apathy and Other Small Victories by Paul Neilan here.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

New Review of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Saying Goodbye

"When taken in isolation, the stories convey an idiosyncratic sense of humor and the absurd. Here, Arzate’s imagination excels. His knack for extravagant absurdities, and the strangeness of daily life, rarely fails to entertain."

So says Daulton Dickey, author of Flesh Made World and webmaster of Lost in the Funhouse.

Read the full review here.