Benjamin Kane Ethridge Interview


Hooray! Benjamin Kane Ethridge is here to answer some of the toughest questions I could think of. Enjoy!

Me: Do you do much outlining for new projects, or just write and see where it goes?

Benjamin Kane Ethridge: I make notes for myself about upcoming chapters, but I rarely put together an outline (unless I’m submitting the piece somewhere). While leaving some surprise in the writing process keeps it interesting, it’s important to know your story’s trajectory. If you’re completely in the dark, you’re going to be writing in that fashion: a blind man groping around uselessly. Readers tend to like narrators with a bit more control than a blind groper.


Me: What are your ideal writing conditions?

BKE: I use to only require silence. That’s recently changed. I don’t mind background noise, just as long as it’s not noise I’m a part of in some way. I can write anywhere now, including crowded, noisy restaurants or coffee shops playing crap music. What I cannot do though, is write when my little girl is shouting “DADDY DADDY DADDY” through the wall.


Me: An anonymous emailer claims you’re not human, but a man-suit stuffed with gnomes. Do you know where this allegation came from? Is there any truth to it?

BKE: Well first I’m going to assume the emailer is Jeremy C. Shipp because it’s a well known fact that he’s Lord of the Gnomes. Second, I’m going to look down my shirt and reassure the gnomes that they are safe. Nobody’s going anywhere, fellahs. Settle down. Remain calm. Third, I will soundly deny the allegation, occasionally pushing down the top of a pointy hat sticking out of the zipper in my throat.


Me: In Black & Orange the movie, who would you like to play Chaplain Cloth, Martin, and Teresa?

BKE: Cloth, I could imagine being played by a character actor like Depp or DiCaprio. Martin I envision as a Paul Walker type or some strapping 30-something guy. Teresa is a tough one, maybe Diane Lane or Marisa Tomei, depending on how hardened they could look through their natural beauty.


Me: What kinds of video games do you play? Are they a trap that keeps you from writing, or a relaxing reward?

BKE: I like all videogames, from platformers to shooters to RPGs to dumb little cell phone games. They are both a trap and a reward, depending on how honest I’m choosing to be. Having a daughter that monopolizes my TV also helps me often make the right choice. Boy, I’m just blaming her for everything, aren’t I?


Me: How often do you polish your Bram Stoker Award?

BKE: I’m actually doing it right now. Ahhh, feels good.


Me: If there are no shotguns available, what will you use to defend your family in the upcoming zombie apocalypse?

BKE: Probably what most people would use: a pressurized cannon that shoots sulfuric acid from a 100 million gallon underground tank.


Me: Who is your favorite movie villain?

BKE: Anton Chigurh from NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN.


Me: What were your favorite cartoons growing up?

BKE: Tom and Jerry. He-Man. Transformers. Anything Disney.


Me: Lastly, and most importantly, where did I put my freaking TV remote?

BKE: I’m not quite sure. Let me ask the gnomes… ah, they said it’s in the last place you left it.


Thank you very much, Mr. Ethridge. It has been a pleasure!

Everyone else, go buy Black & Orange. Unless you don’t like things that rock…

Black & Orange by Benjamin Kane Ethridge

I just started reading Black & Orange by Benjamin Kane Ethridge. Tasty stuff, perfect Fall reading.


Forget everything you know about Halloween. The stories are distortions. They were created to keep the Church of Midnight hidden from the world. Every October 31st a gateway opens to a hostile land of sacrificial magic and chaos. Since the beginning of civilization the Church of Midnight has attempted to open the gateway and unite with their other half, the Church of Morning. Each year they’ve come closer, waiting for the ideal sacrifice that will open the gateway permanently.

This year that sacrifice has come. And only two can protect it.

Martin and Teresa are the nomads, battle-hardened people who lack identity and are forever road-bound on this endless mission to guard the sacrifice on Halloween. Their only direction is from notes left behind from a mysterious person called the Messenger. Following the Messenger’s every direction and endowed with a strange telekinetic power and paramilitary training, the nomads will use everything at their disposal to make it through the night alive.

But matters have become more complicated this year. Teresa has quickly lost ground battling lung cancer, while Martin has spiraled into a panic over being left to fight on alone. His mind may no longer be on the fight when it matters most… because ever on their heels is the insidious physical representation of a united church: Chaplain Cloth.

Maybe soon I’ll see if ol’ Benjamin wants to be interviewed here… If you see him, tell him to stop on by!

Jeremy C. Shipp Interview

Hello, friends. I recently interviewed Jeremy C. Shipp. That’s all. Thanks for stopping by my page.

What? Oh, you want to read the interview? Yeah, I guess we could do that. It’s a little more involved than what I had in mind, but…

BMK: What all do you get out of running the workshops? Does your writing gain anything from it?

JCS: Once upon a time, I was an aspiring writer in need of guidance and support, and I learned a great deal from the workshops I attended. Now that I’m an experienced writer myself, I’m able to help others, which makes my heart jig. And teaching the fiction writing course definitely helps me to improve my own writing. Teaching is a wonderful way to learn.


BMK: What two celebrities would you like to see gene-spliced with animals and then made to fight for our entertainment? Also, what animals ought they be spliced with?

JCS: I would splice Mel Gibson with a thief ant (no offence to thief ants). And I would splice Andy Richter with a South American giant anteater. After the battle, I’d make sure to unsplice Andy with my unsplicification machine, because Andy rocks.


BMK: What are the ideal conditions and/or time of day for you to really hammer out the ol’ story-words?

JCS: I like to tickle my muse (as they say) late at night, around the witching hour. The sandwiching hour is also acceptable. While I prefer the night, I’ll write whenever I can make time to do so.


BMK: Will the sasquatch and the yeti ever see past their differences and join together as brothers and sisters?

JCS: In short, no. In longer, no, because their differences are too great. Sasquatches prefer Kirk and yetis prefer Picard. There is no hope for peace.


BMK: Do you have a way to jumpstart creativity when you get stuck?

JCS: Sometimes I like to dress up as an anthropomorphic peanut and eat a bowl of peanut butter. But this has less to due with jumpstarting creativity, and more to do with my own personal issues. Sometimes, to recharge my creative batteries, I’ll watch a movie that I love, or listen to music. But usually, when I’m feeling blocked, I just force myself to write, and the juices will flow eventually.


BMK: Many, many years from now, after I’ve passed away, I would like people to be able to summon me. I think a person alone by a campfire at midnight should be able to close their eyes, say my name eleven times, and have me appear. How will the children of the future summon Jeremy C. Shipp?

JCS: Step 1: Capture a wild yard gnome.
Step 2: Make the gnome chortle by telling a joke about a Vaudevillian duck.
Step 3: Capture the chortle in a mason jar.
Step 4: Bury the mason jar next to an apple tree.
Step 5: Wait 27 days.
Step 6: Pick apples from the apple tree, while dressed as an anthropomorphic peanut.
Step 7: Use the apples to make an apple pie.
Step 8: Feed the apple pie to my skeleton, while singing the theme song from Charles in Charge.
Easy as pie.


BMK: It seems like all we ever get are zombies, werewolves, and vampires. Where are the original monsters?

JCS: I do enjoy a good zombie/werewolf/vampire story. For instance, Let the Right One In is one of my favorite horror novels. That being said, I love original monsters and new myths. The anthologies that I edit are packed with original monsters, and of course, I try to populate my own stories with such creatures. In addition, I should mention that writer/director Larry Blamire does a fantastic job creating new myths.


BMK: The war between gnomes and possessed dolls has raged for centuries. Who do you think will win in the end?

JCS: The gnomes and the dolls will destroy one another, and then the clowns will inherit the earth. Or at least my attic.


BMK: Do you ever see yourself writing sword and sorcery, bizarro-style? Boy, I’d like to read that…

JCS: I’m writing a YA novel right now that’s set in a sword-and-sorcery-esque world. Maybe eventually I’ll write an epic Bizarro fantasy series.


BMK: If you were in a buddy-cop movie, what would your character’s gimmick be, and who would you cast as your partner?

JCS: I would be the voice of Champ, an even-tempered police detective/labradoodle. And my partner’s a streetwise rookie named Bob, who bends (or breaks) the rules whenever it suits him. Also, Bob’s a dead parakeet. He would be voiced by Nathan Fillion.


BMK: Across America, all agree alliteration’s astounding and always appropriate. Even enraged entomologists eating elk elbows eagerly encourage it. Your thoughts?

JCS: I also love alliteration. I mean…ai also alove alliteration.



Thanks to Jeremy for letting me interview him. I did his writing workshop last year, and it was worth every penny. If you’re considering it, I advise you to sign up. If you’re not considering it, I advise you to sign up. If you’ve already done it, you know what I’m talking about.

Jeremy’s page is here. If you subscribe to it, you’ll be glad you did. He’s the author of Vacation, Sheep and Wolves, Fungus of the Heart, and Cursed, among many other glorious things. He recently edited the anthology Aberrations, required monster reading.

Chuggie Speaks: Kate Jonez

My good friend Chuggie would like to tell you about my other good friend Kate Jonez. Following the photo are Chuggie’s comments about Kate.

Audio of Chuggie: Chuggie-Kate

“The first thing you gotta know about Kate Jonez – the very first thing – is that she can’t be trusted not to kill you with an ax when there’s one around. Y’see, I knew this guy – oh, shit, how long ago was that? This guy was doing some handy work around some of the farms in the area. It turned out the guy didn’t have a house. He just slept out under this old bridge every night hoping the damned coyotes wouldn’t devour him in his sleep. Well, if I got my story straight, Kate Jonez was passing through the area with a furniture refinishing-and-trading outfit when her whole little caravan got halted by a washed out bridge. Somebody went upstream to find the nearest bridge, and Kate went downstream in search of same. She gets to this guy’s bridge that he’s livin’ under… what in bloody, screaming, shrieking hell was that guy’s name? Let’s just call him Tugoviander. No, let’s call him Red. So Kate got to Red’s bridge, and she found him, I don’t know, probably cooking a can of beans or something. She got angry at ol’ Red, don’t ask me why. Probably had something to do with that can o’ beans he had. Maybe Red didn’t want to give them beans over. Anyway, Kate found Red’s ax and whacked him in the face with it. He took off running, trying to scream with his own ax sticking out of his face. Well, she ran him down and finished the job. She chopped him all into pieces, then she went back and got the caravan. They all went down to Red’s bridge to cross, stopping only so Kate could gather up the pieces of Red to feed to her goats. She fed those goats, and it turned out that Red was just the dietary supplement they needed. They got bigger and stronger, and their coats got shiny and nice. They didn’t even smell like goats anymore. They smelled like, I don’t know, lilies or nettles or something. Kate entered the goats in the fair and won a blue ribbon for each. I bought those damned goats, but somebody stole ’em three weeks later. I always suspected Kate, but I never brought it up until now due to the prospect of painful ax-death by her hand. I get a little fuzzy sometimes about which parts of this story are true, especially the parts I wasn’t there for. But I still stand by my original theory, whatever it was. Something about furniture, I think.”