I’m Off!

So I leave for South Africa tomorrow morning. Much packing to do, many things to get done before that, many goodbyes to say. I just thought I’d jump on here and say “See ya soon.”

Thanks to everyone who bought a copy of Chuggie and the Bleeding Gateways! It’s been three days since the release, and we’ve already sold 2.2 billion copies! Okay, I’m being told that number is inaccurate. Still, though. I can’t wait until you’ve all read it and we can start discussing it!

When I return, I promise to bring lots of photos and stories from the other side of the world. I hope they got chicks in bikinis there! On the other hand, it’s winter in South Africa right now… I’ll let you know.

Take care, folks! And don’t forget to promote the poops out of Chuggie and the Bleeding Gateways for me! I’m donating half my royalties to the American Cancer Society,  so the more copies you make people buy, the more cash we send to fight cancer.

Snuggles,

BMK

One Day Left…

One day left until the official release of Chuggie and the Bleeding Gateways! Yesterday I announced on Erin Britt’s blog that some of my book royalties are going somewhere special. Half of my royalties for Chuggie and the Bleeding Gateways will be donated to the American Cancer Society for a year.

I’m pretty excited about that. The idea of Chuggie generating funds to fight cancer makes me all warm and fuzzy. Hopefully, this book blows up huge, and we can donate a ridiculous pile of cash to that worthy cause. Cancer touches us all, but I don’t think it should.

Here’s the full cover of the book:

Classy, I know! I did the art on the front cover, with help from Keri Kelley, Kate Jonez, and Matthew Baker. What a swell bunch of folks!

I leave for South Africa in five days. Doesn’t seem like much time… Last night I dreamed of Johannesburg. I’ve never been there, but I was amazed by how much it resembled Chippewa Falls, WI.

Book research, book research! My main focus on this trip will be to conduct research for Chuggie #3, which I am so far calling Chuggie and the Prisoner Gods. It’s going to be a twisted sort of book. I sincerely hope my South Africa hosts never read it and think I’m making a statement about them and their homeland. Seriously, Prisoner Gods is going to be brutal. After the trip, I expect to have a bunch of cool stories to tell around the ol’ campfire. It’ll be nice to have interesting stories to tell for a change, instead of my usual boring ones. I’m sure I’ll convey the new stories with the same enthusiasm and loudness that folks have come to expect from me. I also like to maintain a certain size on the fire. Sometimes I get distracted by my own wit and powerful insights, and people need to call my attention to the dwindling flame. It’s gonna happen, people. Stop getting so angry about it! I’m trying to tell you about South Africa!

I guess I should go do work now. That trip’s coming fast. And so is Bleeding GateDAY… See what I did there? Man, I’m awesome!

Here’s a picture of that jerkface bear:

 

Kate Jonez Interview

Howdy, folks! Today I present a lovely interview with author, editor, and publisher, Kate Jonez. Gunther assures me his facts are airtight, and there will be NO screw ups in this interview. After his extrav-fail-ganza yesterday, I’m excited to have Gunther back on track. It looks like my disciplinary methods worked, and I can look into patenting the process of “tobasco-boarding.” Here’s Kate.

BMK: So, my assistant Gunther tells me you and I know each other. True?

KJ: Indeed, Brent and I met while on an archeological expedition to Steppes of Mongolia. I believe that was the trip where we uncovered those lost cave scribbles that proved humans have been on earth a full ten thousand years longer than previously thought. Man, those mosquitos were the size of kittens. True story.

BMK: Ah, yes. That old chestnut. Gunther also informs me you have a brand new novel called Candy House that has just been released from Evil Jester Press. What would you like to tell us about it?

KJ: Candy House is my first novel to make it to publication. Thanks to Pete Giglio, Eric Shapiro and Charles Day for making this possible. Like most first novels, in early drafts, it contained every idea I ever had about anything. After torturing a few people with that mess, I cut thousands of words and pared it down to answer a few essential questions I had about a beloved fairy tale. Hansel and Gretel always seemed rather sinister to me. The obvious question is what kind of parents leave their unwanted children in the woods to die. For me, though, the interesting questions were:

What kind of girl is capable of pushing a grown woman into a fire and letting her burn to death?

What’s this boy in a cage business? I’ve heard some people like that stuff.

And who is this witch, character? What are her friends and family like?

I like the answers I came up with. And I’m really excited to hear from readers. Even truer story.

 

BMK: In addition to being an author, you rule Omnium Gatherum Media with an iron fist. You’ve seen both ugly sides of this industry. Which holds more horrors, writing or publishing?

KJ: The major horror is the huge amount of work involved. I love writing, but no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to write more than one book a year. That was, in fact, the reason that Omnium Gatherum was born. I needed a day job. On the editing/publishing side, the work is usually a pleasure, but sometimes suffer from what I call ‘dark fiction poisoning.’ That’s the sense of malaise one gets from spending too much time contemplating horrific ideas. Also, some days my ‘to do’ list looks like it was conceived by Medieval monks to torture infidels. But generally, I feel lucky that I get to devote myself full time to work that I love to do. Truth of shouts! (expression used by an OG author that I hope will catch on)

 

BMK: How do you feel about foul-mouthed ventriloquist dummies?

KJ: I’m in favor of holding them accountable for their student’s test results. It’s the only way to get public schools back on track.

 

BMK: Gunther says you speak perfect Spanish? Is that true?

KJ: I learned what little Spanish I know while living in an isolated village in Puerto Rico with the help of a friend who learned English in an inner city Detroit neighborhood. Most Spanish speakers find my Spanglish concoctions pretty funny if they understand them at all. I’ve been fleshing out my skills by studying a manual of colorful Spanish swears. I’m a huge fan of creative swearing. Word!

 

BMK: Hey, I like creative swearing, too! Bad news for Gunther, though. He said you spoke “perfect” Spanish. I’m sorry for his error, and soon he will be, too. When did you start writing? Don’t be mad, but this question has a second part. What’s the first thing you got published? You’re mad now, aren’t you? It’s Gunther’s fault. He’s in a LOT of trouble over this one.

KJ: I always wanted to be a painter, but for one reason or another that didn’t work out very well. A critique I received fairly often was that it seemed like I was illustrating stories. Art folks thought this was a bad thing. One even said, “If you want to tell a story, why don’t you just write?” So I did.

I wrote a bad novel or two and I had some luck writing non-fiction and screenplays. (one got optioned, one got nominated for prize.) My first horror fiction sale was to a poker magazine. It was the type of magazine that’s given away for free in casinos. The story was about a poker player stuck in a weird casino/hell in the desert. I got paid more for that short story than any since. I’ve yet to sell a second story to them. Honest.

 

BMK: Got any awful advice for recent graduates?

KJ: The most awful advice I could give would be go home, it’s dangerous out there. And also, watch more reality TV.

 

BMK: I hope they all heed your terrible advice. Are you working on another book? Some short stories? Gunther says you’re working on a collection of erotica set in the Nixon White House.

KJ: My novella X should be coming out early next year. X is the story of two petty criminals who decide to do the right thing for once in their lives. Their decision turns out to be a really bad idea. Really.

 

BMK: I’m so sorry about Gunther… Where can folks find you on the internets?

KJ: You can find me at:

Facebook 

Twitter

Goodreads

Website 

BMK: Thanks for the chat, Kate! Everybody, go buy Candy House by Kate Jonez now! The truth of shouts!

Now, Gunther… What are we gonna do with YOU? Why don’t you have a seat in the electroshock chair while I think it over.

Mikel Andrews Interview

My assistant Gunther and I would like to welcome Mikel Andrews to the blog today. Here’s Mikel leaping over some rocks:

I don’t know Mikel very well, so I have to rely heavily on Gunther’s intrepid fact finding skills for some of the details. I’d like to note here that Gunther has been committing some errors lately. Being a good employer, I am trying to help him achieve excellence. Mistakes on Gunther’s part will be punished in swift and exotic ways.

BMK: Welcome! Please let me know if any of the information Gunther has provided me is inaccurate. Accept my apologies in advance for his failure.

MA: Oh, I think I can handle that.  Thanks for having me, fellas.

 

BMK: So I discovered a brand new podcast today. It’s called 2 Dudes in the Woods. My assistant Gunther tells me you’re one of the 2 Dudes. What would you like to tell folks about the podcast?

MA:  Score one for Gunther!  I am the infamous “Dude 2.”  “Dude 1” is my cousin, Wally, and we happen to have a passion for beers, movies, and one-upping each other at every turn.  We work together and people always love our banter—even if they don’t like us!  Plus, there’s so many polished, thought-out podcasts about specific topics out there, we thought, Hey, why not crack a beer, talk at a microphone, and see what happens?

 

BMK: Gunther and I listened to episodes #0 and #1 of your podcast this morning. Loved it. How long was it cooking before you were ready to post your first episode?

MA:  Well, it was something Wally and I wanted to do for a while—well, Wally did for sure.  We would talk hypothetically what we’d do if we had a show on the local radio station, WTIP.  Then one day he shows up with some recording equipment and software.  We did a trial run, I didn’t hate it, a couple days later Episode #0 is a go!

 

BMK: Gunther informs me your novel Coming of Mage was just released on June 2nd. What would you like to tell us about it?

MA:  Uh, June 1st actually.  Let’s see, imagine your favorite angsty John Hughes flick—Breakfast Club or Weird Science—but with wizards.  That’s Coming of Mage.  It’s all about freshman mage Quinn trying to impress the girl of his dreams, Emma, an alchemist.  She needs a very rare stone to get into a prestigious Alchemy Academy and Quinn is bound and determined to get her one before summer ends.  Along the way he finds out a lot about his friends, himself, and more than he ever wants to know about a seemingly innocent small town.

BMK: June 1st? Well, I’ll just have to have a little chat with Gunther about that. How long did it take you to write? Can you say a little about how it came to be published?

MA:  Mage started as an idea for an entry in a short story contest dealing with the “tropes of fantasy.”  But, like everything I write, it grew bigger than the short story realm, and became a novella.  Quickly it was snatched up by North Star Press, doubled in size and richness, and now it’s a full-blown epic!

 

BMK: Gunther tells me you’re a HUGE Packer fan! That’s great news, because I am, too! Would you rather hang out with Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews, or another Packer?

MA:  What’s a Packer?

 

BMK: Really, Gunther? Why would you tell me he’s a Packer fan if you didn’t even… Sorry, Mikel. This isn’t about Gunther, it’s about you. What kind of music are you into? Does it help you write, or do you need quiet times?

MA:  I do need quiet times, that’s for sure.  But listening to music plays a huge role in getting me in the mood to write.  During Mage, I was listening to a lot of Bon Iver and Cold War Kids, but also Cyndi Lauper, Fleetwood Mac, Eddie Money.  Anything to get me in that classic ’80s mindset.

 

BMK: Have you ever made your own beer, wine, or other booze? (Or ever wanted to?)

MA:  I have not, but it’s always crossed my mind.  If people can make it in prison toilets, how hard can it be, right?  The closest I’ve come is infusing liquors.  At my restaurant (I moonlight as a server) I made a killer jalapeno-raspberry vodka and an espresso-infused amaretto.  I’d love to make a beer someday. I’d experiment with coffee and banana.

 

BMK: You talked about hiking in the podcast. One spot in particular, the Devil’s Punchbowl, seems like it’d make great fodder for some speculative fiction. Do you use Northern Minnesota’s landscape in your writing?

MA:  Devil’s Kettle—Gunther!—is an awesome hike!  Where the water empties into is anyone’s guess—a true North Shore mystery!  And, yes, the North Shore has been vital in my writing.  In fact, it seems like the missing element I was looking for.  Really invigorated me.  Which is why it had to be the setting for Coming of Mage.

 

BMK: Gunther tells me your favorite author is Jack Kerouac. What other authors are you into?

MA:  Not even close, G-Man.  Although, I think as an author, I have to say he is, right?  Right.  So when I’m not drinking in Kerouac’s entire collection, I really get into the Matts:  Stover and Forbeck.  They write in the fantasy and sci-fi realm and it’s amazing.  Actually, that hardly does them justice.  They really need to be experienced.  Huge inspirations for Mage—in fact, I’m very proud to have a quote from Forbeck on my cover!  Other than that, I read obscene amounts of Star Wars books.

 

BMK: What’s coming up next in the writing? Got another book brewing? Maybe some short stories?

MA:  Oh, there’s a few things percolating for sure.  In my mind, Coming of Mage is the start of a trilogy—like all good things—so there’s work to be done there.  I’m also working on a manuscript about dragons, which are really my first love, literature-wise.  Apart from that, summer is when I get antsy to return to the world of one of my more popular self-pubbed titles, Rust Sweat and Tears.

 

BMK: Obviously, in light of the factual inaccuracies he’s presented me with, Gunther’s punishment needs to be severe. I’ve got a pretty good idea about some of the horrible things I’ll do to help him learn to be more accurate in his fact finding. Do you have any suggestions of additional punishments for my lowly assistant?

MA:  Sam Adams Cranberry Lambic is pretty terrible?

 

BMK: Where can folks find you on the interwebs?

MA:  I’m all over the ‘webs.  Facebook, Twitter @mikelandrews, my Blog.  Or you can always have a listen to “2 Dudes in the Woods.”

BMK: Thanks for stopping by, Mikel! Everybody, go listen to that podcast. Highly entertaining. And check out Coming of Mage, too. I better go discipline Gunther now…