Thursday, August 29, 2013

Brent Kelley is holding out on me

Brent Michael Kelley
is holding out me
My favorite Dark-Fantasy horror author Brent Michael Kelley returns to the Blog Mansion. You may remember the last time he came by he helped me cut coupons. This time, I show him some of my collections.

Johnny: This is the Lump Raising Rock of Thao.

Brent: And this?

J: That’s the Knee Joint Wrong-Bender of KIoppriiya.

B: I see. Is that an ashtray?

J: Yes it’s called The Spittle Dribbler of Bourffts. Guess what happens when you put cigarette out in it.

B: No.

J: Oh, don’t stand there. That’s the Wedgie Yanker of Mulooborg.

The Spittle Dribbler of Bourffts
B: Johnny. It’s not real.

J: What?

B: The Bleeding Jaws of Glughu. It’s not a real knife.

J: Sure it is. You’re just holding back. I need it. NEED IT for my collection.

B: You got an impressive display here, though. Those Star Wars figures are as awesome as my--

J: Give it to me.

B: Not a real thing. I can’t give it to you.

J: See that? That’s the Flatulence Inducer of Vopplianderscoop. You know what would look awesome beside it? The Bleeding Jaws of Glughu.

B: Do you believe everything you read?

J: I have internet.

B: Good point. So is the Bleeding Jaws of Glughu the only reason you brought me here?

J: No. Chuggie. I love Chuggie. He’s the ultimate sympathetic murdering fantasy anti-hero role model. I loved your first book. LOVED IT! Now Chuggie’s back in Chuggie and the Bleeding Gateways! How’s he doing?

B: Drunk and surly as always. I don’t think he “murders” anybody in the new book, though. Or, wait, does he? I have to think about that.

J: What’s Chuggie and the Bleeding Gateways about?

B: It’s five days after the events of Chuggie and the Desecration of Stagwater, and Chuggie’s got some work to do. He’s got some new ghost pals to torment, and his new bone dagger – the Bleeding Jaws of Glughu – is doing strange things. We also get to catch up with the sexy blade cultist, Fey Voletta. We get to meet Ree Priole, the wife of a slain guardsman from Stagwater. We meet Pazuel, a half-demon creature on a path of enlightenment. There’s a monster turtle, a volcano, some cleavermen. I think it’s a fun little adventure with lots of action and booze. Not a lot of nudity in this one, but I think we made up for it with sweet, sweet action. And if those weren’t enough reasons to buy yourself a copy, I’m donating half of my first year royalties to the American Cancer Society.

Bleeding Gums
J: Supporting bleeding gum research?

B: Chuggie's not for kids, and cancer shouldn't be either. If they can cure bleeding gums, so much the better.

J: You could just give me the knife. That'll stop it – for you anyway.

B: I'll stick with better brushing and cancer research.

J: What is Chuggie exactly?

B: Chuggie’s the embodiment of Drought on a world called Mag Mell. He doesn’t like being such a destructive force, though. A long time ago, he found that being good-an'-drunk helped quiet the preternatural thirst that screams in his head. Naturally, he decided to get good and tore back on booze, then put a curse of permanence on himself. Boom, problem partially solved. He’s semi-immortal, meaning that he can die. If he does, he’ll drown for a while and come back. That, of course, depends on if you believe his drunken rantings. Not everything he says is 100% reliable, as we’ve seen. He’s got two sisters, Flood and Wildfire, as well as a brother, Sickness. Will we get to meet one in Bleeding Gateways? I’m not saying.

J: Bleeding Gateways takes place right after Desecration of Stagwater. What’s up with that?

B: The Desecration of Stagwater opened up a can of monster-worms. When I finished writing it, I knew the events around there were just heating up. Chuggie’s story is only a part of the story of Mag Mell. This world is a monster-filled tinderbox, and there are plenty of folks running around stricking matches. Big, horrible things are on the horizon for Mag Mell.

J: How is it to write a sequel?

B: It’s definitely tricky. You need to keep a close eye on what you’ve done in the previous book. Luckily, I have a copy of Chuggie and the Desecration of Stagwater in my home for reference.  The only problem is getting it away from my wife! She LOVES that book. She reads it constantly and tells me how brilliant I am for writing it. On Opposite Day. I think the original plan was to write adventures for Chuggie that were all self-contained and not necessarily related. Once I got into that world, though, this sort of invisible geometry revealed a broader story with much higher stakes.
Butt Pincher of Zuyao

J: Invisible geometry... I get it. Have you found a genre yet? It’s not exactly fantasy. It’s not horror. It sure as hellfire isn’t for children. It’s not punk, country, rock-a-billy, classical, or boy-band. Where would a retentive bookstore clerk with a label maker put your Chuggie books?

B: I just call it Dark Fantasy. Maybe I should come up with a long-winded, pretentious genre of my own… Let’s see, just off the top of my head… Neo-Splat Black Fantasy Sci-fi Horror Revival Drugs. Or maybe something about Soup, I don’t know. I’m not one of these “creative” types that can just come up with original things at will. Sorry.

J: Don’t sit there. That’s the Butt Pincher of Zuyao. And that’s the Oozing Canker Sore of Sruuylto. That’s really a mean corner there, actually. Just keep to the middle of the room.

B: You mean stand under the Wedgie Yanker of Mulooborg? You just told me NOT to stand there.
Forgetting Crepes of Xazz

J: Did I? The Forgetting Crepes of Xazz must be working. I don’t remember saying that. Anyway, in the strange twisted demon-infested universe you’ve created, you have your share of magic items. Stagwater begins with none, just Chuggie and his anchor which is strange, but not cool like his later toys. What’s your thinking on magic items?

B: The trick is to come up with something unique. The goat face purse is fun to write about, because you go suicidally insane if you look inside. The Bleeding Jaws of Glughu has some surprises, too. Not every artifact can be magic, though. Some things can just be cool on their own. I’ll say this, powerful artifacts may come and go for Chuggie. He’ll always have that anchor.
Knee Joint Wrong-Bender of KIoppriiya

J: Can I have the Bleeding Jaws of Glughu?

B: The bloody juice of what now?

J: Please.

B: Do the Truffle Shuffle while I think about it.

J: Okay. Change of subject. You said before that Tom Waits was an inspiration for Chuggie. Is he again for Bleeding Gateways or have you found a new muse?

B: Chuggie will always be played by Tom Waits when I watch it play out in my head. I’ve thought of some other people that I think could play the role, though. Here’s some: Jeff Daniels, Woody Harrelson, Daniel Day-Lewis, Gary Oldman. Johnny Depp could probably do Chuggie justice, too.

Flatulence Inducer of Vopplianderscoop
J: You’re still a graphic designer right? Since you won’t give me the Bleeding Jaws of Glughu, can I have a picture?

B: Sure, if you can promise not to defile it.

J: I do what I want! What about the Goat Face Purse? Surely you don’t need that.

B: It’s at the cleaner’s.

J: Whatever.

B: I can tell you how to make your own if you promise not to let anyone look inside. Seriously, not ever.

J: It wouldn't be the same. I want yours. How is it being a published author? What can I expect? Beatrysel is coming in September.
Wedgie Yanker of Mulooborg

B: I hope you like money and fame, Johnny, because that’s what you’re about to get! After this we should head to the boat dealership and pick you out a jet-boat! If you don’t start spending that money now, you’ll be sorry later.

J: Babes? What about babes?

B: Oh, sure, there’s be plenty of babes. Beautiful ladies from around the world to massage your feet, fan you with palm fronds, feed you grapes. The whole bit. It’ll be fun for a while, but there’s a point where you’ll just want a peaceful moment screaming across the bay in your jet-boat without a flock of swimsuit models groping you. Everything in moderation, Johnny. Except psychedelic mushrooms, but I don’t have to tell YOU that! Ha!

Oozing Canker Sore of Sruuylto
J: No you don't. Have you gone to book signings and conferences? Have you been banned in Kansas yet? What about Texas?

B: I haven’t done much of that yet. I’m up in the woods, you see. Conventions happen far from here. I did a signing last fall at my old college, though. I hope to get back there again this fall. That’s where Chuggie first visited me, so I feel like every kid there should have a signed copy or two. I haven’t been banned in Kansas or Texas yet, but I’m working on it. The Westboro Hatist Church promises me I’m on their to-read list, but the gal couldn’t say how long until they’d get to it. I guess their stack is pretty deep at this point. Nice lady, though, and she assured me they’ll protest me as soon as humanly possible. Of course, that was two weeks ago. I’m resisting the urge to call and pester them about it because they’re the ones doing me the favor. I’d hate to upset somebody and get moved to the bottom of the pile!

J: Where on the Internet can my peeps find out more about you and all this?
Self-Slapper of Jhutt
TWITTER @Brent_M_Kelley
B Ouch. Crap. Ouch! What the hell?

J: You seem to have inhaled some of the Self-Slapper of Jhutt.

B: Was that what that was? Not cool. Maybe if I sit on my hands, it’ll--

J: Whoa! Whoa whoa. Ohhhh….Get up. Sorry. Looks like you stepped in the Ankle Sweller of Ooughy. That one takes a long time to wear off. Take your shoes off if you want to save them.

B: Why’th my thung tho big?
Tongue Embiggerer of Lugot

J: Tongue Embiggerer of Lugot. You must have looked at it.

B: Looked ath ith?

J: It’s all it takes sometimes. You should know that.

B: Athho thaoa Thewe Thrff, threastthft.

J: No need to get nasty.

B: Outh! I forgot. The Butt Pinther of Zuyao.

J: Yeah. That’ll bruise.

B: You thun uff a bith. I wanna cookie.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

BEATRYSEL cover reveal - AWESOME!

I have some wonderful interviews on the way, exciting new authors taking their lives and careers into their own hands and offering them to me with a fork. But today I have to sing at the top of my lungs because I am happy as teenager with a stolen credit card and Dad's liquor.

Here's why.

This is the cover for my debut novel, BEATRYSEL. Look - there's my name on it and everything.

Isn’t it awesome? I know, right?!

Here’s another graphic, ideal for FaceBook banners and bookmarks. Feel free to take it. Post it on your profile, Twitter link it, give it to your loved ones. You’ve been thinking of getting a tattoo haven’t you?

At the very least, rejoice with me. If you’re an established writer, cast your feelings back to the time you saw your first cover. If you’re an unpublished author, let yourself imagine what it will feel like. It’s nothing like that, by the way, but it is still pretty cool. If you’re just a friend or voyeur, debt-collector or NSA snoop, you can still admire the art-work and swear on a stack of Bibles that you’re going to buy the book and read it because you know – KNOW, it’s an awesome book.

Square. Ideal for avatars
What a long strange trip it’s been, said a great man. And I’m on it, said I. BEATRYSEL was a twinkle of idea, an emotion without voice. A dark feeling. Just that. I coaxed it out and nurtured it, and gave birth to it in a hundred thousand words. Then off to the world, the cold unforgiving competitive world of publishing, in the fool’s hope that someone would appreciate my baby.

Along the way there have been certain definite waypoints: the inspiration, a particularly satisfying chapter that I had to share at the time with everyone. The first query. The first rejection. The first acceptance, meeting, and edits. And now, first seeing the completed cover. What an emotional ride. Prolonged, difficult, and strange.

In the coming weeks I’ll tell you more about my book, tease you into not only wanting to read it, but make it a spiritual imperative that you do.

But for now, join me in the delight of seeing my first book cover.

Front and Back

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Sharpening Saws

As the summer draws to a close here in the Salt Lake Valley and the skies are brown orange with burning wildfires and the kids are complaining about itchy new clothes and regular sleeping schedules, I thought I’d take a moment to talk about saws.

I’ve been sharpening saws.

Fun fact: I learned once that the reason there are so few old saws in the world is not because they were stolen by Indians looking to start a saw mill, but because they’d be sharpened and sharpened again until nothing was left of them. Go to a Colonial woodshop, go on do it - and ask them about this. They’ll tell you the same. This is at once a nice example do thriftiness, but also of sacrifice.

Fun story: Two brothers decided to have a tree cutting competition in the forest, the beach being universally frowned upon for male tree-cutting competitions, though strangely, the female bikini tree-cutting competitions continue to be held on the beach to the is day. Anyway, the two brothers went out in the forest and went at it. The first brother went at the trees like he hated them. He cut and sawed and paced himself so his blade was never idol. At times, when he moved between trees, he’d notice the sound stop from his brother’s area and he smiled at his brothers laziness and cut down another. When the day was over, the brothers counted up the trees each had cut. The first brother had lots. The second brother, had even more.
    “What the?” he stammered. “How’d you…. But you didn’t…. Hey, wait a minute. How did you cut down so many? I heard you stop many times where I never did?”
    “You’re in the wrong story,” the brother told him. “This isn’t the tortoise and the hare.”
    The first brother scratched his head and bandaged his hands.
    “While you kept cutting all day, paced but steady,” the second brother said, “I took time off to rest and sharpen my saw.”

I’d been writing non-stop for months before the summer. Into it as well really. I had to get out and relax, sharpen my saw, you see. I was burning out and didn’t notice it, though the blistered fingers could have been a clue.

My first trip was to Bear Lake. Just four days with the extended family. Should have been plenty, but it took three days for me to relax enough to enjoy it. So it was really one day sitting on the beach digging gnats out of my mustache. Don’t ask.

The second trip was a stark road trip through Nevada along highways they make horror movies out of. We followed the the path of my protagonist in my newest horror, so it was fitting. A stop at Mountain Meadow, Donner Pass and Reno all together gave the bright summer sunshine a pall. It was a great trip though. Got a lot of ideas. Got a lot of thinking done. And since we left the kids behind, we could hang out in bars until the wee hours of the morning and then have a bellboy push us to our rooms in matching wheelchairs.

The last trip was sudden and last week. It should have been the most well planned since it’s to our traditional family cabin, but it wasn’t. We sold our interest in it many moons ago when Oregon called us to the wet coast. We get an occasional week and usually everyone’s pretty good at letting us get a week, but not this year. We had only a couple of weeks we could take and no one would give them up to us. My aunt however gave them to my cousin no problem, but luckily the cousin backed out and suddenly, and with only a day’s notice, we got to go to Flaming Gorge. Without internet I got some reading in and some quiet time. I taught my youngest to drive, ruptured both eardrums diving too deeply and had a dam fine tour of the a fine dam. Walks and humming bird swarms, steaks and just the nuclear family were all just what the doctor ordered.

One of the best pieces of advice I have too often ignored is to sharpen your saw and sometimes you just have to stop and do it. As a writer, it’s particularly important. I remember a writers conference a few years ago when a speaker suggested that every writer should take a day off every week to have a new experience. Go somewhere, visit someone, do something you’ve never done before. It sounded all hippie groovy at the time, vegan with chakras, so I liked it but alas, forgot it. The speaker was talking about first getting new experiences to draw from when writing, but even then I understood it to mean to continue to grow as a human being and recover your strength.

I didn’t think I needed a vacation. I thought my saw was sharp enough, but after an eventful summer of trips and bloody ears, I know I was mistaken.

But I’m back now. Sorry for the breaks in the blog posts, and the silences on Facebook, Twitter and late-night talk shows, but I needed the time more than I knew. With sharpened saw, waning summer and fresh ideas, I proceed into a very exciting time of my life, outlining a new book, and preparing for the launch of my debut novel, BEATRYSEL.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Isaiyan Morrison Kicks my Ass and Writes Cool Books

Isaiyan Morrison
kicks my ass and writes books
Paranormal author and professional video-gamer Isaiyan Morrison drops by the Blog Mansion to play some games and tell me what the Navy has to do with the supernatural.

Johnny: Well how does it?

Isaiyan: It doesn't.

J: Was that a big deal for you, serving in the Navy?

I: Honestly. Not really. It wasn't something I gave a lot of thought to. I just walked in one day with my brother who was trying to join, looked at the brochures, and then said I wanted to do it as well.

J: Is that where you learned to hadoken?

I: No, but it's where I learned to drink heavily.

J: Shit, that was quick. How’d you do that combo?

I: Mind games my dear Johnny. It's all mind games.

J: Video games aren't my forte. So you just don’t smash the buttons? It always worked for me before.

I:  It's important to me and the health of my precious digits to not mash on those buttons, even though the game somewhat allows you too.

J: You’ve traveled quite a bit, Minnesota, Navy, San Diego, Los Angeles, Minnesota again and now Texas. What are you running from?

I: I think the question should be, where am I running to!

J: A verbal dodge to parrallel your game dodge. I thought forsure I was going to get  you with that.

I: Don't telegraph your moves so much.

J: So your first novel Deamham is coming out soon from Rainstorm Press. Tell me about it.

I: Oh yes. Novel time! Let me just get this last hit in before I put down my controller.

J: Is that my spleen?

I: I think so. Deamhan is about a woman, Veronica, who goes back to Minnesota to find the truth about her mother's disappearance. The only thing she knows is that her parents worked for a secret organization in Minneapolis at the time of the disappearance and her father has remained tight lipped about it. When she starts to retrace her mother's footsteps, she realizes that her mother was tracking a Deamhan and to find this Deamhan, she has to head into their dark and dangerous world.

J: What are you doing to promote you book Deamham?

I:  I'm currently planning a blog book tour with Bewitching Books. The dates are to be determined. Like every author out there, I'm spamming away the website to my novel but with care. I don't want to over spam anyone.  I'm currently planning Giveaways that don't include hand-me-down items.  I'm thinking about maybe gift cards, kick ass book marks, kindle sleeves, and *gasp* a free Kindle! Not sure when I want to do this so if you're interested, just be sure to like and follow my Facebook page. What I can tell you is that I'm a generous, generous person.

J: You had short stories published first right?

I: Yes. I've had short stories published in online zines, some of which have totally disappeared from the internet. I used to write nothing but short stories but recently my mind can't seem to stop writing after I've reached that 2,000 word limit. So for now, I've placed writing short stories on the back burner.

J: How do you find time to play video games?

I: I give myself roughly two hours to play daily. Well, that depends if there's a game I'm interested in at the moment. When I was sponsored, I played about six hours a day. Nowadays, two hours satisfy my daily craving for hadokens, dragon punches, and shooting zombies. There are some days I don't play at all.

J: Tell me about being a professional video gamer and can we change the difficulty setting?

I: It sounds like a gamer's dream but in reality, it's hard work and can be tiring. I was sponsored by Madcatz ( and part of their fighting game division. There were times when I'd fly out for the weekend to an event, get back on Monday, then Wednesday I was on another plane headed to another event. Instead of playing for fun, you have to learn the game's mechanics and put them to good use. You also had to deal with others who challenged you for your spot. At that time I was considered the top female Street Fighter player in the US and one of the top female players in the world, but I never saw myself that way. It's a silly title. I just liked playing, always have, and apparently I was good at it. But in the end I felt like it was no longer a hobby, but a job and I had to decide. Either I continue this hobby or I get back on track and start writing again. I chose writing. I still attend tournaments but not as much as I used to. I'm slowly taking baby steps away from that environment. Writing is taking up a lot of my time and I have no regrets.

Oh and no. We won't change the difficulty setting.

J: Put down the controller and tell me what do you like about vampires and werewolves?

I: As for vampires, I like the idea of immortality and how, in reality, nothing that exists in truly immortal. While vampires have strengths that no human can match, they also have weaknesses that make them delicate. I like reading about what they have to do to survive more than why they're suddenly in love with some chick and have this urge to have sex with her rather than eat her. Some vampires kill, kill, kill, while others have what we'd like to think of as moral judgment and the knowledge of right and wrong. But when you have to kill to survive, how could anyone live 100 plus years with that?
    As for werewolves I also like the idea of being able to transform either on the full moon (or at will in some cases) and what's it's like for raw animal nature to take over. We all know what happens and can happen when humans do things without a conscience but what is it like for a creature with a basic human conscience.

J: I lost. Again. You weren’t even holding the controller.

I: My mind games are just too godlike.

J: Tell me about Spheres. It’s a serial right? Are you doing it yourself.

I: Sphere is a serial novel released in episodes ranging between 15,000-18,000 words. It follows Tayla, a teenager girl who suddenly finds out that she's descended from Carriers, humans who have gifts that are powered by their spheres. She finds out that her gift is the strongest and the most dangerous gift a Carrier can have. She also finds herself involuntarily stuck in the middle of an upcoming war between Dark Carriers, those who use their gifts for bad, and Light Carriers, those who use their gifts for good. In the end she has to choose a side.
    As a writer, I wanted to go out of my comfort zone. Deamhan is more for 18+ so I wanted to write something for ages 18 and under. I guess we call that "young adult" now.
    But anyway, I started experimenting and that's how Sphere came around. At first it was a long novel and I had a hard time keeping it straight. When I broke it into a serial, it suddenly pulled together like magic. Besides this being my first time tapping into the young adult market, it's also the first time I've self published something like this.
    Right now the first episode, "Sphere. The Carriers," is available on Amazon for only .99 cents. The second episode titled "Sphere. The Bond, Episode Two" will be available August 7th on Amazon as well.

J: What are you adding to the paranormal genre? How are your vampires and werewolves different?

I: 10 years ago when I started brainstorming about Deamhan, I began to read about vampires. I realized that there were different types of vampires than just bloodsuckers. I didn't understand for the life of me why authors didn't explore that. To me, it's untapped, so I wanted to dive into it. After a few years I picked eight different type of vampires to include in my novel with the common bloodsucker being one of them (along with shadow vampires and yes, these exist in lore.) In Deamhan I've only exposed four of them: blood drinkers and three types of psychic vampires.
    I promised myself that my vampires, Deamhan, would be mean, dark, and uncaring. I would try to stick as close as possible to "vampire basics" like avoiding sunlight, staking. The only vampires I've found while researching that have sharp teeth are blood drinkers so I included that while the other 3 clans don't have sharp teeth because, again, they're psychic vampires. They don't feed on blood to survive.
    However, I struggled with the notion of humanity and how or if it could exist after one person is turned.
    I prefer not to read about romance and vampires. I understand the interest but for me, vampires are dark creatures. They don't cry about their existence, they kill to survive, and they like it. Can they love? Well apparently they can in most vampire novels today. There's nothing wrong with that. However, they are dark creatures, demons, whatever, and they still need to retain that. I don't think vampires would spend their eternity in high school but I think vampires would spend their eternity stalking their next victims. Writers need to give them their balls back, seriously.
    My Deamhan have balls. Big balls to be precise.

J: Where on the web can my people find you?
Website and blog -
Facebook page -
Twitter -
Publisher - Rainstorm Press -
    If you want to read up more on Deamhan including character profiles and Deamhan clans, you can also visit the website to my novel,
    Each week I revealed important characters in the novel. With the second book in the Deamhan Chronicles currently being edited, I'll start up again soon with more character reveals.
    I'm also on Goodreads, BookLikes, Shelfari, but I don't want to clutter this interview with links.

J: Okay. We’re changing. I didn’t even get a hit in.

I: What do you want to play?

J: Let’s see, what was the last video game I beat my kids at? Ah. Here we go.

I: What’s that?

J: Pajama Sam!