Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Who Is Uno Kudo? Erin Parker.

The Uno Kudo crew has been crazy busy with book tours, album releases, more book publishing...these crazy kids seem to have their hands in everything. Hopefully, we'll be able to share as much of that with you as we can in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we wanted to resume our "Who's Who of Uno Kudo" spotlight series with our dear friend and amazing writer, Erin Parker.

Who is Uno Kudo?

Uno Kudo is Erin Parker.

Have you ever not wanted to tell stories?

No. It has always been vital to me. The most difficult time was when I was in school studying design. I was producing really good visual work, but I lost the ability to write. This was so terrifying to me that I made an appointment with an English Professor to see what I could do. After I showed him some past work, he told me not to worry, that it would come back at some point. He encouraged me to embrace the visual arts since that was what I was consumed with at the time. And he was right, the writing did come back, and was even more focused.

What is it about the writers in Uno Kudo that make you want to be a part of this group?

The mutual respect and the scope of talent. Years ago, we were all reading each other's blogs, and I loved that everyone was so passionate about words.  It was difficult to find good writers who were blogging regularly, that once we came across each other's work we couldn't bear to lose contact. They were all inspiring in their own way, and are even moreso today.

No matter what life changes or challenges we are facing in our own lives, we have this community of amazingly talented artists and writers. We tell our stories, and of course I'm still looking for the untold stories.  It's just what I do.

In her earliest memories, Erin Parker was looking for stories. Everywhere she went, and in everyone she talked to or saw, the stories were what surfaced. She says they are what hold her together.

Storytelling in any form has always been her passion. From reading everything she can get her hands on to find the unconnected dots of history; to art; to choreography; to retail displays and designing store environments... storytelling has always been the underlying reason.

When training people on merchandising a store, she often says things like, "Your display is a story, not a run on sentence. Make sure it's concise. Think Hemingway. The more streamlined the better... in a 'form follows function' kind of way!"

Erin Elsewhere:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Who is Uno Kudo? Gus Sanchez

Gus is one of those people that looks at you, and you can't tell right away if he likes you or not. At least, I couldn't. You can see the wheels turning behind his eyes, it can make you nervous, make you want to burst out, "What? What? What?!" and then he smiles. 

The man has a giant, wide and expressive smile. 

Once he smiles at you, you feel kind of silly. Because Gus is just a fun-loving, awesome guy. Of course he likes you. At least he likes me. I mean, I think he does, anyway. I'm sure he'd like you, too. 

Who is Uno Kudo? 

Uno Kudo is Gus Sanchez

If you could have any author write a blurb for your novel, who would it be?

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. would be nice. But he's dead. The bastard. There are critical superheroes like Jonathan Franzen or Dave Eggers who could write a blurb, and guarantee that I'll gain a modicum of notoriety on NPR. But I'd rather not be bothered with those 2. I like 'em, but not enough to say nice things about me. I could take the easy route and ask either of my friends Aaron Dietz or Vincent Truman to write a nice blurb for my novel, but they're not famous, and writing something nice about me would seem as appealing as an unwilling hand job. And I like my hand jobs willing.

So if I'm allowed to fantasize about a famous author blah blah blah, my choice would be Thomas Pynchon. Why? Well, first of all, he's famous. Second, he's a recluse, and having a recluse blurb your novel seems like a spectacular PR coup to me. Third, he's my favorite author. Fourth, well....I can't think of anything else. But I would imagine his blurb would read a little something like this:

"I love this novel as much as I love being photographed. What?""

What Inspired your Uno Kudo Submission, New Car Smell?

I was inspired to contribute to Uno Kudo because I see this as an opportunity to be part of something new, rather than go through the slog and humiliation of submitting your work to various other lit mags who'll reject you because you're not who they want to read. In other words, don't hate the literary establishment: be a new literary establishment. Especially one that publishes my work.

When he's not busy selling his soul to the highest corporate bidder, Gus Sanchez likes to pretend he's a writer. At the age of 17, Gus wrote his first manuscript, which was quite terrible. At the age of 39, he's written several more manuscripts, all of which are just as terrible as the first one. He's currently at work on another manuscript, despite his better judgment. How he convinced the good people at Uno Kudo that he's a writer is one of the greatest crimes ever committed. In his spare time...yeah, right...Gus likes to re-enact Civil War battles using origami, and woo unsuspecting strangers with his sensual trombone playing. He currently resides in Fort Mill, SC, with his wife, his young daughter, a dog, and a cat, all of who exasperate him on a daily basis. Wait...did I say "exasperate?" I meant "exhilarate."

Gus as seen by fellow Uno Kudo contributor, Joseph Penaloza: 

Gus Elsewhere:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Who is Uno Kudo? Tracey Lander Garrett

They say that vampires are just mythical creatures, now popularized by campy presently-popular romance novels, but prior to the mayhem that was Stephanie Myers and True Blood, the most popular sometimes-fanged creatures in our circle, was and is Tracey. 

With creamy, porcelain-like skin, snaptastic wit and even at times scissor sharp incisors, she makes you wonder if maybe...just maybe...? As fascinating as that may be (which believe me, it can be, especially when you know her), it doesn't even come close to measuring up to what and how she writes. 

Who is Uno Kudo?

Uno Kudo is Tracey Lander-Garrett

Your poem is called "The Tin Man's Lament."  Tell us about your interest in the Wizard of Oz - in other words, why the Tin Man, and not Dorothy, the Wizard, or even the Wicked Witch?

I have always found the Tin Man the most interesting character of Dorothy's companions in the film.  I mean, sure, as a little girl I admired those sparkly red pumps that Dorothy wore as much as any other, but her haplessness was never all that appealing.  As for the Wizard, he was a a disappointing phony, and you know, we've already got Wicked to tell the Witch's story.  

The Tin Man--forgotten in the woods, frozen due to rust, struck me as a particularly lonely and brave character.  He's the one with the ax, after all. 

He needs oil to move--and has no heart?  But he loves Dorothy all along quite well without one.  It's love in return he needs, I think, whether in the form of well-oiled care, or actual reciprocal romance.  I imagine he'd prefer both.  I know I do.

Tracey Lander-Garrett was born in the Village of Sleepy Hollow on a dark moonless night. Some of her favorite things are vampires, Dungeons & Dragons, and avocados.  She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband, four cats, and lots of books. She is working on her second novel and currently teaches in the English Department at Borough of Manhattan Community College in New York City. Tracey has had works published in Long River Review, Brooklyn Review, and Mid-America Poetry Review.  

Tracey Elsewhere

Monday, October 10, 2011

Who Is Uno Kudo? Joseph T. Penaloza

Joseph is an interesting character.

He is the kind of guy who likes to sign his name, "Joseph" to every comment he makes. When asked, "Joseph, why do you sign your name to every comment you leave?" his response is to tell you that he doesn't want to do what every one else does.

Fat chance of that.

Whether it is illustrating a photograph of Uno Kudo member, Tracey:

or sketching another UK member, Aaron Dietz:

The last thing that Joseph T. Penaloza should fear, is being like anyone else. We are lucky to have him as a member of the Uno Kudo Team.

Who is Uno Kudo?
Uno Kudo Joseph T. Penaloza

From his earliest moments, Joseph liked to draw. 

Whether it was school buses on the garage wall (which was severely criticized by his Mama) to nekkid women in the fruitless pursuit of drawing perfection when figure drawing (not in the pursuit of said nekkid women), he wanted to capture the images he had seen. Think of it like that neolithic cave person who drew those animals they hunted on cave walls. Bet their Mama approved of that. 

Drawing and illustrating are powerful ways to communicate an idea, especially when done correctly and right side up. Someday Joseph will branch into such things as oil painting, use that forlorn industrial design degree or maybe illustrate graphic novels about zombies and vampires and monsters, but for now participating with this group of talented, caring and ribald people like Vincent daddy is an opportunity to break out of the "go to work, go home from work and watch bad reality television" cycle. 

Worthwhile endeavors such as Uno Kudo affirms that belonging to a community such as this tells him he belongs to a unique tribe and finding a home for himself. 

Why does Joseph sign off on his comments on the Facebook one might ask? 

In my advanced age it is important for me to remember my name. I also have a tendency to look outside of myself, but not in that scary out of body type experience.

My motivation for art is based on what I see and thinking if that would make a good picture. The picture is mostly done inside my head so that when it comes time to make some sketches to work out details, I'm not spending gobs of time searching for a theme.

Joseph Elsewhere:

Uno Kudo is on sale now.

We hope you love it as much as we loved making it. 

To purchase your own copy, please click

*Disclaimer: If you decide to share this with a friend of 12, we promise not to cry.

Friday, October 7, 2011

A sneak peak at a few of Uno Kudo's stories

Richard Cox (writer)  Eric Edwards (artist)

Megan Elizabeth Corry (writer)  Scott Irvine (photographer)

Bud Smith (writer)  Michael Brandon (artist)

Inga Semmingsen (writer) Stephen Spera (photographer)

Aaron Dietz (writer)  Emily Kaplan (artist)

Erin McParland (writer and artist)

Chrissa King (writer)  Eric Edwards (photographer)

We hope you love it as much as we loved making it. 

To purchase your own copy, please click

*Disclaimer: If you decide to share this with a friend of 12, we promise not to cry.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Who is Uno Kudo? Richard Cox.

Sometimes the best stories aren't the ones that tell a tale, but perhaps they are instead those that open up possibilities for new ones to begin? The merits of "What if?" and the ensuing postulation gives anyone who's ventured into that territory fodder for practically limitless ideas. 

The best thing a writer can do is to leave the reader staring at a blank wall after they have finished their story.

To have them sit and let the mind spin on what they've just read and in the aftermath consider what it means, how it relates to their beliefs, how it has broadened their mind and the multitude of questions that are now swirling around in their head that all begin with, "What if...?". That is magic. 

Richard Cox is one of those writers.

Who is Uno Kudo?

Uno Kudo is Richard Cox.

Richard Cox believes he was born in Texas and now lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. According to multiple Internet sources, he has published three novels, THOMAS WORLD (September 2011), THE GOD PARTICLE, and RIFT. Richard has also apparently written for This Land Press, Oklahoma Magazine, and is an associate editor for

However, you can't believe everything you read. Or see. For all you know, you're not even reading this right now.

Why get up in the morning when you can't know for sure if anything is real?

It's pretty likely the world isn't what we think it is. For all we know, the whole thing might be a video game on some kid's computer. But does it really matter? Even if the world isn't real, you still have to get up every morning and go to work. You can still fall in love.  In the end, knowing the true reality of the world is pointless, because it's what we make out of our own worlds that counts. Or so I've been programmed to believe.

What was the motivation behind writing your piece (called "Ripped From The Page") for Uno Kudo Volume 1?

The primary inspiration for my piece was an idea I've been mulling for some time now, and which I explored in my new novel, Thomas World: How do I know if anything in my life is really happening? Which is not exactly a new idea. It's been covered in philosophy for hundreds if not thousands of years, it occurs in films like The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and it even show up whenever you have a dream and realize it during the dream itself. And once you introduce doubt into the reality of this world, how do you get back to not having that doubt? Because we can never really know for sure.

But while I was writing Thomas World, especially at the very end, I realized an important thing. It doesn't really matter. I've been fascinated with understanding the essential truth of the universe and humanity since I could conceive of such ideas, but only writing the climactic scenes of this novel did I realize that more important is making the most out of the relationships you have. Yeah, it's fun to look at the cosmos and deep field pictures of the early universe, but the things unique to you, that are perhaps unique among all life on Earth, are the complex relationships you make with others, and the feeling of romantic love.

So the circumstances in the story were inspired by the philosophical conundrums of defining reality, but the emotional resonance and the images were inspired by a beautiful girl who has recently become an important part of my life. Her glinty eyes are the glint in the piece.

When you begin a story, you never really know what you're going to end up with. This piece illustrates that perfectly.

Richard Elsewhere:

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Who is Uno Kudo? Aaron Dietz.

Lately, it seems the biggest question on everyone's mind* is, "Just who is Uno Kudo?" and the answer is "Us", "We are" and "This group of people, together."

I am Uno Kudo, each member of Uno Kudo is Uno Kudo. Hell even you can be Uno Kudo. You'd have to give me something first, some art, a pretty photograph, some writery stuffs...but then! You get the idea.

Uno Kudo isn't one thought, one idea, one mind, one single action or one piece of something. The name might suggest otherwise, but the last thing that Uno Kudo is - is a singular entity. We are a group of individuals who are only able to exist within this project that we have created together because of the collective consciousness of the whole. Together we are an ebbing mass of awesome. Each part of this group has been touched by another and that effect is what has made this possible.

With that in mind, I'd like to begin to answer that looming question.

Who is Uno Kudo?

Uno Kudo is Aaron Dietz.

Aaron Dietz is the author of Super, a novel from Emergency Press about commitment, crisis, paperwork, and heartbreak. Dietz's super powers include a high metabolism and the ability to put things back where he got them. He's also pretty good at math.

As an instructional designer, Dietz has written online high school courses on computer programming, green design, and 3-D video game creation. It’s natural for him to write quizzes. He’s worked a decade in libraries. He’s also been paid to count traffic and once failed a personality test.

Dietz blogs at, writes for, and is an advisory editor of KNOCK Magazine.

Is it really true that you failed a personality test?

Yes. I once took the official Myers Briggs Type Indicator test, and got a response back that said they had failed to detect a personality. It was embarrassing for both parties.

What was the motivation behind writing your piece (called "Status 9") for Uno Kudo Volume 1?

I had so many motivations. I like to combine about thirty different impulses when I write a piece, so I'll just cover the two motivations that are most obvious when you read the piece.

First, I love writing about hopeless situations and how things get that way. In my story, a small crew of people working at an interplanetary science base get stranded without oxygen and are left to wait out the last few hours of their lives with no hope of rescue. I loved thinking of the bureaucracy and various levels of failure that had to occur for things to end up that way. Of course, a rescue does happen at the end, but not before some rather drastic things occur.

Second, I like exploring repression vs. expression. I think it's interesting how repressing a desire can lead to safety (but not gratification) while the expressive action often leads to happiness (but at some level of risk). In my story, the characters decide between instant gratification (at the cost of an increased chance of death) and safety (no gratification, but a better chance of survival). The main character chooses the safe route and part of the motivation for writing this story involves weighing the cost of regret vs. the benefit of survival. How much will a person give up to maintain their safety, and is it worth it?

Aaron Elsewhere:

* This isn't realllly the biggest question on everyone's mind, but, it makes for a decent opener so...

Sunday, September 4, 2011

On Friendship.

Admiration of each other's work led us to become friends.

Friendship led us to start gathering together.

Gathering together led us to Uno Kudo, a first-time collaboration of writers from Oslo to Chicago, from New York to Seattle.

Full color, full inspiration.

You are going to love this.

Sunday, August 14, 2011