Just released a mini-collection for Halloween, “Starlight Drive”—
Just released a mini-collection for Halloween, “Starlight Drive”—
I’m floored that “Happy Joe’s Rest Stop” from the anthology 18 Wheels of Horror, edited by Eric Miller, has won the Bram Stoker Award for Short Fiction. It was an amazing night—sitting at a table with R.L Stine, Tony Timpone and Anne Serling. Wow. Earlier in the evening I was honored to present Tim Waggoner with the very first Mentor of the Year Award. Tim’s been an amazing ally of mine the last several years, and has saved my sanity on a few occasions when dealing with the roller coaster world of publishing. I know: that seems ridiculous. Publishing? Isn’t that a bunch of old men in a room filled with cigar smoke, rare whisky, and rare editions bound in leather? Not at all. Every small victory is hard won. This was a big one.
With that? Here’s what I read after winning the award.
The Bram Stoker Award is a beacon. It’s that neon sign on a rainy side street in an unfamiliar city, luring you into a dark and cozy bar. There’s a song on the jukebox played by Damian Walters … something about singing about your scars … at the bar Gene O’Neill can tell you all about the Algernon Effect over a coffee … where behind the bar Kate Jonez will tell you how you might change your luck if you ask for just the right drink … and where at the end of the bar you might be tempted to open Allyssa Wong’s small bottle with something dark inside whispering your name … and I’ll have a story for you, too … about a boy and his Dad who get separated by the embodiment of pure evil … but even that is not enough to sever the tie between them.
Thank you so much to everyone who read and voted for my story.
All these great stories are to be celebrated and sought out. Horror fiction is in such a huge renaissance right now that if I started reading my TBR pile now, I’d still never get through the sheer amount of amazing works being produced all over the spectrum: from literary, to matinee, to the weird, to the bizzaro: I love all of you and walk with you on the nighttime streets, listening for when the darkness talks back to us, and writing it down when we can.
Thank you to the many in our community who’ve helped me over the years: Lisa Morton, Gene O’Neill, Hal Bodner, Deborah LeBlanc, Joe Nassise, Gary Braunbeck, Bentley Little, Tim Waggoner, Nancy Holder, John Everson, Joe McKinney, and everyone else, and especially the good folks of the Los Angeles Chapter, who continually inspire me.
Thanks to Eric Miller, the editor behind 18 Wheels of Horror, whose sure guidance shaped Happy Joe’s into the story it is today.
Thanks to my Dad and my mom and my brother, who have always supported their strange child through his many passions over the years.
Thanks to Fawn, who found my ghost heart and made it whole again. Your positive influence is nothing short of inspiring and continuously galvanizes me.
And all my love to Leonardo Gabriel. This one’s for you, Kiddo!
Here’s a little fun thing Jeremy C. Shipp has given to us. Instead of the usual Q & A interview, we’re trying something a little bit different here. Enjoy. And be sure to check out Jeremy’s writing. It’s a lot of fun.
13 & 1/2 Things You Didn’t Know About Jeremy C. Shipp
1. Everything I know about the past and future I learned from the Flintstones and the Jetsons.
2. My shoe size is 9.5. My elf shoe size is 12 twinkles. But in truth I don’t often wear shoes. I’m like a Hobbit, only my feet are hairier and I’m less likely to go on adventures.
3. The “C” in Jeremy C. Shipp stands for one of these words: Curmudgeon, Calvin, Christopher, Cacodaemon, Crispy, Cookie, Cullen, Crabapple, Chubasco.
4. I live in a semi-haunted Victorian farmhouse full of lazy ghosts who won’t even help me with the dishes.
5. None of my toes have much of a personality, except for the middle toe on my right foot. His name is Roy. He speaks in riddles and he sings like the toe of an angel.
6. My first memory is the memory of a nightmare about a monster.
7. The clowns in my attic look a lot like me, but I don’t know why.
8. When I was in 4th grade, I wrote my first short story. The tale is about UFOs and aliens and a planet called “Bad,” where good things go bad and bad things get worse. I have visited this planet on a few occasions, and let me tell you, it’s not much fun.
9. I believe in unicorns, but they don’t believe in me.
10. In my opinion, the meaning of life is to get so wrapped up in living that you don’t care about the meaning anymore. Oh, and the meaning of life is also French fries.
11. I love talking dogs, but not the racist ones.
12. Years ago, I found a parrot on the street and nursed him back to health. As soon as he regained his strength, he laughed like a mad clown and knocked over his food dish. Then he flew behind me and bit the back of my neck, again and again. I don’t blame him. The back of my neck is a jerk.
13. I am, in fact, a giant yard gnome. I have lived so long among humans, I often forget that I’m not one of you. More often than not, I eat human French fries and I wear human T-shirts. However, on the gnomic holidays, I wear the traditional pointy red cap with pride.
13.5. You’re not going to believe this, but in my spare time, I like to wrap myself in–
Free stories: http://jeremycshipp.wordpress.com/free-stories/
The great Lisa Morton tagged me with the following questions for a chain interview. And because I am now ‘It’ I’m going to talk about myself while chasing you around the yard until I smack your back. Until then:
1) What is the working title of your next book?
A novella: The BiPolar Express. And that’s a pretty solid title at this point. Not gonna change, as the art’s already done and done-r.
2) Where did the idea come from for the book?
Diagnosed with being BiPolar as a young man, and going through the many ups and downs it brings, finding a way to express my experience through my art just felt right. My son Leo loves the kid’s book The Polar Express and making a fun version of that story shot into my head like a bolt of lightning while sipping a nice tall whisky at the Frolic Room one evening.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
Bizzarro Comedy Satire.
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Unknowns would be best. Although the part of Manic Claus could be really fun for a well-known actor. I pictured a coked-out Kevin Spacey when writing him.
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A young man is given a Golden Prescription to ride to the Middle Pole on Christmas Eve to meet Manic Claus, who has an extra special pill for one lucky winner.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I don’t have an agent yet, so this was self-repped and is coming out next year (2013) from Dog Horn Press in the U.K., which is really neat. I had two stories in Terror Scribes, so that’s how our friendship began.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
About a month, with ongoing tweaks.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
It’s a send-up, but it’s also a deeply serious commentary on how over-medicated we’ve become. Everyone’s being diagnosed with something, which is sickening. People going through normal things in life, like deaths, break-ups, disappointments…they’re being medicated to oblivion. The BiPolar Express comments on that through what I’m hoping is humor.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My experience with the medical community and how over-medicated my body was. Instead of writing scathing indictments, which isn’t my area of expertise, I thought I’d try humor and horror and have a little romp. This is a departure for me in style, as I’ve done a lot of very serious horror up until now. Sure hoping people enjoy it.
What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
As light as it seems on the surface, a lot of work was done to simplify the text so it would read more like a book for young adults. Also: I wrote a song specifically for the story: “I’m So Glad (The World’s Sad)” which was pure joy. Ho Ho Ho.
Artwork by the super talented Vikki Hastings…an honor having her create this…and here’s a sneak peak.
And here are the links to the other authors participating in this round robin, chain interview:
Brad C. Hodson
Today I’m interviewing author Benjamin Kane Ethridge about his new book DUNGEON BRAIN. To me, it’s one of his wildest books to date, and this coming from the person who won a Bram Stoker award for his fantastic first novel BLACK & ORANGE. Please, if you enjoy this, click on the links below and grab some of Ben’s stellar works.
1. What was the first story you remember reading? Does it still influence you today?
I remember “The Marvelous Land of Oz,” which included different hero characters than “The Wizard of Oz” and it always intrigued me how I didn’t mind at all—considering how much I loved the characters from the first novel. I was blown away, barring some returning characters like the Scarecrow and Tin Man, by how these new characters, the boy Tip and the evil witch Mombi, could be put in a sequel and the story still wasn’t a let-down. Even at a young age I had certain expectations of my return trip to Oz and it was amazing to me that I didn’t need to meet those expectations to be thoroughly entertained and consumed with the story. Of course, I was probably alone in this because Frank Baum brought Dorothy back into the mix for the next four books and in subsequent books down the road. I was influenced by all these tales though, but particularly “The Marvelous Land of Oz” because I gained awareness that some stories didn’t have to follow the same rules every time.
2. If the world ends tomorrow, would you be happy? Why?
No. I have more stories to tell, but more importantly, my children have their lives ahead of them. I’d like to witness those lives unfold. Now, have I lived a good life? Definitely. But there’s still too much growing left to do. Happiness upon imminent death will need to occur at another time!
3. You’re walking with friends along a street in broad daylight. Everything is just perfect, until you see a group of kids ganging up on another one and beating him. What would you do?
I’d call the police. I’ve broken up fights before and that’s a bad position to be in; the peacekeeper is normally the person who gets his or her ass kicked the most. I recall being soundly punched by both the bully and the victim while intervening in a fight that broke out in a high school classroom. So yeah, I’d get the cops involved. That’s their speciality.
4. Is it true that everything a person does in life has to center around the sexual impulse and procreation?
Yes. The buried, panting animal of my subconscious hopes someone reading this interview is thinking, “Oh, I’ve just got to mate with this guy!”
5. Are you opposed to eating dog or cat meat? It is common in other cultures. Does the thought revolt you?
If I was part of those other cultures, it wouldn’t bother me I’m sure. Otherwise, I couldn’t bring myself to eat Fido or Fluffy. Weird thing is, I wouldn’t be grossed out if someone else did it right in front of me. Meat is meat is meat. I just have too many memories of my pets that would prevent me from enjoying those two species without some measure of remorse.
6. ‘Dungeon Brain’ is quite an intriguing, twisted story. Can you enlighten us about its creation?
I woke up one morning with Metallica’s song ONE in my head. I had black and white images of war still in my memory from a dream I couldn’t quite recall. I began to jot down notes about what I believed the dream could have been about. That’s where DUNGEON BRAIN manifested from.
7. What is your writing area like? Details, please. Desk with a computer? What kind of computer? What programs do you use? Do you write by hand? A certain time of day?
Writing area. Beware! These parts are cluttered and dusty. Since I’ve become a novelist, I’ve been horrible at keeping anything in order. Just above my keyboard, in the general desk area: various pens, pencils, flash drives, a never-used candle, a shot-glass, post-it notes, business cards, cough drops, paper clips, a few wrist watches with dead batteries, some Oral B Satin dental floss (in the container, I’m not that dirty), Altoids, and a series of USB cables I can’t part with yet. I also have a writer’s lamp with a green glass shade and a fake gold stand; stylish beyond reason, I know. At the level of my eyes sits a Sony Vaio All-In-One computer, with a Windows Vista 64-bit OS, and Microsoft Word my devil of choice. It does everything I need it to do. My only complaint is I have no idea how I would go about modifying my computer like I used to with my tower desktops. However, I’ve been happy with the performance so hopefully no mods will ever be required. On the act itself: I seldom write by hand, but I enjoy it when the occasion strikes me. I usually write very early or very late at night, and I almost always write on my lunch breaks at work.
8. You’ve just received an unlimited check. What’s the first thing you do?
Buy all media (radio, tv, internet, movies, newspapers, etc). I would refuse to let political functions advertise anything misleading. And since I’d have some power now, I’d say that any lies circulated for the express purpose of gaining an elected position would be cause for everlasting dismissal from the political process. I’m sick of people buying into lies without investigating the facts. It’s depressing and dangerous and as long as money is involved, it is permanent.
9. One of the biggest fans of your work happens to knock on your door. Do you answer? What happens next?
Sure I would answer and I would have that person start up a fan club. Hopefully they are a go-getter and can spread the good word. This is all after I stop weeping on his/her shoulder, of course.
10. What can we look forward to you in the near future?
NIGHTMARE BALLAD, the beginning of a trilogy from Journal Stone books. Should be arriving in February 2013. And later in the year, next Halloween in fact, will be my latest Black & Orange book, entitled NOMADS.
11. Where can we find Ben online/offline/upline/downline?
Thank you for these unique and entertaining questions John. I appreciate you having me! Below are some sites where you can check out my work online. Offline, you’d have to live in Rancho Cucamonga and have a very loud voice. Upline, my info is printed on the hook in the fish’s mouth. Downline, the fisherman has all my details tattooed on his hands, which was a silly impulsive thing he did because he thought it would get him laid. That, and trying to catch the biggest fish in the lake, all in the name of increasing his odds at procreation. What a spaz.
Amazon author site: www.amazon.com/author/benjaminethridge