CONTRA: The Great American Novel


I just remembered something ridiculous from my childhood.

I was a little kid when the NES game Contra came out. Maybe it’s not safe to assume everyone knows about Contra… it was about two shirtless military guys who go to a remote island to shoot a bunch of alien invaders. These guys could do flips in the air, so they were pretty hot shit, even compared to “regular” special forces soldiers. I could only beat it using the “thirty lives” cheat code, but I think most people who claimed to beat Contra without using it were lying anyway.


Anyway, I tried to write a lot, even as a kid. I heard the term “Great American Novel” somewhere, and I was pretty dumb back then, so it stuck with me. Because I was really into Contra, and because I was a pretty balls-out kind of kid, I knew that Contra would make the perfect Great American Novel. So I had to do it.

I pulled a few books off the shelves and looked at them. They were freaking enormous. I started to doubt myself. Surely it was impossible for a human being to write an entire book… but I knew that I couldn’t let the guys from Contra down. They never backed down, never, even if you killed them twenty-nine times, they would still kick ass for America. I had to do the same.


I pulled out my parents’ piece of shit typewriter. I’ve never understood people who are romantic about typewriters. I spend a lot of my life getting angry at my computer, but a typewriter is even worse. It weighed as much as I did, plus I had to wind a ribbon through it that made my hands look like a coal miner’s corpse. I had to jam paper in there and nothing was ever even.

As I was messing with this awful machine, I realized I couldn’t just write down the events of the game itself. Everyone already knew that story. Plus the thing that intrigued me about the game was wondering who those guys were, why they were chosen to take down an alien invasion force without any backup, why they were capable of flipping through the air, why they wore red and blue pants rather than normal military gear, etc. So I decided that the Great American Contra Novel would have to be a prequel. Keep in mind that “prequel” wasn’t a term commonly thrown around in the 80s, so I was really being a pioneer.



I started writing. Chapter one started with… and don’t worry, I think I got only a paragraph or so into the Great American Contra Novel… it started with the guy in the blue pants sitting in an air plane. I’m assuming he had his shirt off. But a terrorist got up and started making a real shit-show out of everything. “Not on my watch,” the guy in blue pants and no shirt probably said out loud, then he stood up and walked toward the terrorist… and then… and then…

That’s about as far as I got. As stupid as this story sounds, I saw it recreated in a popular military-thriller while browsing a book store. I was in my twenties. The book opened with a military guy sitting on a plane (I think he had his shirt on in this version) when a terrorist started causing a real ruckus. The military guy was like, “Not on my watch,” and stood up. He made his way over to the terrorist… and then… and then… I quit reading.


It was pretty bad, but at least that famous writer finished his awful book. I never finished Contra: A Tale of Two Dudes (or whatever it was called). I ended up figuring out that if you slammed your entire palm onto as many keys as you could, it would make all of the metal bits of the typewriter move at once. They would get hooked on each other in mid-air and it was super fun to flip them back down. Oh man, it was great!

Who wants to write a shitty book when you got that kind of action goin’ on?!


I did end up writing some books, though. They can be found HERE. And one of them is free! Can you believe that?


The Official Kyle B. Stiff Update

Hey everyone, thought I’d give you an update. I’m sure the few but formidable fans of Demonworld and Heavy Metal Thunder are wondering when the next book is coming out. These days I’ve started the process (once again) of finding an agent. I have to accept that I’m not very good at self-promotion, so self-publishing is never going to take off for me. I need the hideous strength of the established world of publishing. Instead of fighting for one reader here and one reader there, I need books with nice covers spewing out of giant bookstores where people can’t even get in the door without being assaulted by posters and displays telling them that buying Demonworld is not a choice, but a necessity. That’s our path to victory, readers.

synthwave wasteland

But to get there, I need an agent. It’s been a while since I took part in the cycle of looking / finding / submitting / being rejected, so things have changed. I have to admit… agents have gotten weird. Sorry, but it’s true. Back in the day, they used to say, “I publish science fiction. Send your manuscript to this address” or “I publish literature, here’s where I can be found.” These days, there’s a bit more dictation up front. The modern day superagent wants to find “the next big thing” rather than the next great read, and they’re getting specific. “I would love to receive a manuscript about a reluctant space pirate with a wise-cracking dog in a wheelchair!” or “Writers, I’m looking for a superhero zombie story with a sarcastic granny and a gay Vietnamese good-guy serial killer. Also must be reminiscent of Breaking Bad.” Uh… I’ve got six Demonworld books that readers seem to like, how’s that sound? No? Okay – see you later!


As you can see, it’s a little frustrating. Obviously they want the humorous, quirky, short-lived cash cow, but I think it’s the dark stuff, the complicated and tragic tales, that endure. Lots of readers agree. Nobody ever read Game of Thrones or Stephen King or Dune or Wool or Joe Abercrombie because they wanted a light-hearted romp. Lots of readers want to see characters pushed beyond their limits. They don’t want the sitcom version of Tolkien. They want something that can grow with them.


But I’m rambling. Basically I have to find an agent who believes in Demonworld just as much as I do, just as much as my readers do. Any help would be appreciated… maybe a collection of signatures? I don’t know. Like I said, I’m bad at this.

hmt promo stuff

But there’s only one path to victory, dear readers… and that path is guarded by the agents.

Don’t forget, the first Demonworld book is still free if you click here!


Demonworld Six Murders Readers’ Faces!

… and it’s using my worn-out body as a flail!

Hey everyone, Demonworld Book Six is now available at Amazon! It’s already gotten some great reviews; thank you, readers! It’s really nice to know that people are willing to give their time and attention to Wodan and his strange journey. It’s also good to know that you guys are enjoying the turns the story has taken. I was afraid people might think this installment of Demonworld was just too weird. But when you’re in a post-apocalyptic holy land contending with wasteland gods, weird is the norm.


Click to…

See the book at Amazon!

See my updated Amazon author page and my massive array of textual oddities!

See the first Demonworld book, which is free!


Thanks for sticking with me, readers! Let’s keep going until Wodi reaches the end of his path!


Demonworld 6 Now Available for Pre-Order!

Good news everyone! Demonworld Book Six: The Love of Tyrants is finally available for pre-order! Official release is on January 27th, 2016. But don’t wait until then! Those pre-order sales work Amazon’s ranking magic in my favor. Every pre-order sale helps initiate an alchemical process  that’s famous for turning struggling artists into living legends capable of shooting lightning, crapping molten magma, and flying while holding their breath!


love of tyrants kindle cover 6 x 9


The sixth installment in the Demonworld epic follows Wodan as he visits the holy land of Srila. It’s about twice as long as a normal novel, and takes the story in a wild direction while revealing lots of stuff about the past. It’s the most intense Demonworld yet.



I hope you enjoy it. Click here to see the book at Amazon, or click here to see my author page with all of my work that’s worth reading.

Remember, the first Demonworld book is free!


New Kyle B. Stiff Short Stories: PSYCHO ISLAND and DIGGER BUNS

Finally! Two new short stories written by Kyle B. Stiff are now totally, totally available on Amazon.

psycho island cover SMALL

First off, PSYCHO ISLAND. It’s a futuristic tale about some people who decided they were going to live in a decent world even if they had to kill to get there.

This is one of the best freakin’ things I’ve ever written. No lie, reading this piece is almost as entertaining as watching television!

digger buns cover SMALL

DIGGER! BUNS! If you’ve ever read a wholesome children’s story and then wanted a sequel that was a bleak, dystopian sci-fi tale for adults, then this is it. DIGGER BUNS is the unbelievable sequel to TUDO AND THE YELLOW BANANA, and follows some of the same rabbits as they explore a new world beyond imagining that is, of course, much the same as our own.

Of course, Demonworld and Heavy Metal Thunder, those original soul-shattering Kyle B. Stiff classics, are still available… HERE.

Not sure what you’re getting into? Here’s a free Kyle B. Stiff original with the wordy title KISS OF THE MAN-SPIDER: FANTASTIC FIRST ISSUE! FEATURING… THE DEADLY CAMEL!

Give Me Blood O My Readers

Hey readers, I just wanted to give my thanks to all of you that have been reading Demonworld and Heavy Metal Thunder. (Of course, I’m opening this post with a thanks because I’m about to ask for something. Typical behavior for me, I know.)


Demonworld doesn’t get advertised on billboards or bookstore handouts. My advertising budget is exactly zero dollars. People only find out about Demonworld by word of mouth or the occasional (and probably accidental) highlight from Amazon in the form of “customers who bought this also bought…” So the people who find Demonworld have to go out of their way to find it. They’re seekers who want more than the usual offering. So for those of you out there reading Demonworld… THANKS. I mean that. You’ve given me the opportunity to tell stories, and I’m eternally grateful for that.


So here’s what I want. More people buy the first book than any other. That makes sense: A lot of people get the first book, then think, “Oh good Lord, this is not what I thought it was going to be.” However, people who get the second book tend to read the entire series (which is up to five books as of now). There’s a decent chunk of people reading the series, but reviews for each book are still in the single digits! I don’t know if you guys know this, but reviews sell books.


So… let’s get some reviews! Demonworld needs you. Little Wodi needs you. Kyle B. Stiff needs you. If you’ve got five minutes, please check out my Amazon author page, pick a book, and show Demonworld some love!

''Antichrist'' by Pedro Donini

Because sellin’ them books is the only way we’re ever going to see some Demonworld movies.