The Gift of BMK Books

Know what makes a great gift? Books by BMK! Oh, there’s something for everyone. For folks who like a chuckle with their spookiness, there’s Keep Away From Psycho Joe. For the hardcore rebels in the family, there’s Cruce Roosters. And for folks who like reading about foul-mouthed drunks fighting monsters, there’s the Chuggie books. Here’s some images you can share!

And don’t forget, a great gift for authors is a book review. All authors. Not just me. They love it. And they also love when you send me other presents. 

A Chat With Sean Patrick Traver

Hey there, folks! Today I got to chat with fellow Omnium Gatherum author Sean Patrick Traver. He’s got a brand new book out TODAY, and you should totally get it. It’s the first installment of Bruja Chica: The Education of a Witch, and this book is Episode 1: The Fat Lady Sings.

 

SYNOPSIS!!!

Tom Delgado, a century-old necromancer who resides in the body of a black cat, takes a young orphan turned witch, Lia Flores, under his tutelage. The episodic tale take us from Tom’s earliest efforts to provide shelter and food for a young girl in an unforgiving urban landscape to Lia’s maturation into a powerful sorcerer who must decide how to use her extraordinary skills in the everyday world. Predators lurk in the city, and one has set his sights on Tom’s young ward. In his current form as a tiny, sickly kitten, he’s no match for this human monster. Not far away, there just might be a fat lady who is…

Brent Michael Kelley: Thanks for chatting, Sean! So tell me about this book you got coming out.

Sean Patrick Traver: The book I have coming out is called Bruja Chica: The Education of a Witch. In brief it’s about a century-old ghost lodged in the body of a black cat and his efforts to train a young orphan as a witch. But it’s also about unseen lives being led in the shadows, about nature happening in the midst of culture, and about the history that LA plows under almost as fast as it occurs.

 

BMK: It’s the first of a series, right?

SPT: Yes! This volume, The Fat Lady Sings, is the first in a series of eight novellas, collectively titled Bruja Chica: The Education of a Witch. But Bruja Chica is also a part of my Temple, Tree, & Tower series, which includes my novels Red Witch and Graves’ End. In that context, Bruja Chica takes place right before the events of Graves’ End. Confused yet?

 

BMK: Not at all. How much of the Bruja Chica series is planned out? Is the whole series outlined, or is it a “write the next one and see where it goes” kind of process?

SPT: There were certainly a few tropes I wanted to avoid – like the ‘chosen one’ tormented by a responsibility they never asked for. Part of what appeals to me about witches is that they have crafts rather than powers. They have to learn to be what they are (at least according to my mythology), and I find that a lot more interesting. Tom chooses Lia (in Brujachica) because he knows he can trust her, and Lia accepts Tom as her teacher because she wants to know the secret things he can impart. I like that they want to be there, in the plot, as much as they have to be.

In terms of other authors, Neil Gaiman is an inescapable influence. Fans of The Graveyard Book especially might enjoy Brujachica.

 

BMK: How do you keep yourself motivated in a huge project like this? Are you part robot?

SPT: Yes – the question is, which part?

It can be difficult to stay motivated on a long project. The episodic structure that allows this one to be easily serialized was something that helped. I could break it up into managable pieces, small stories within a larger arc.

 

BMK: Do you ever have to give yourself a Vince Lombardi-style locker room speech to light the writing-fire?

SPT: Occasionally! Or I just berate my lazy ass into doing something. I think more frequently I ignore reality in favor of keeping the writing-fire burning. Like any sort of momentum, it’s easier to keep it rolling than to start again from a standstill.

Sometimes it reminds me of the way I was ‘into’ things as a kid – Star Wars, Indiana Jones, whatever. Buying toys, wearing the t-shirts, that was all a part of keeping the thing I loved present in my head, churning away on some back channel of my brain, even as I was doing whatever else I had to do.

And I still do similar things now. I have a habit of gathering up the props and artifacts my characters would own. I’ve got Tom’s walking stick propped up over in the corner right now, for example.

 

BMK: Smells like a merchandising opportunity to me!

SPT: Yeah, my own line of black cats

 

BMK: You could shave their side and tattoo the book cover on them!

SPT: Hey, I like that idea! Or just start with hairless cats…

 

BMK: What is the magic system like in this series?

SPT: Its deepest roots are in Aztec mythology, since Tom’s patron was once Mictlantecuhtli, the God of the Dead, before he cheated death and took up residence in a series of cats. There are ideas from other occult traditions woven in too, such as the ritual systems of Thelema and the Golden Dawn. The magic Lia learns to perform is intuitive, personal, and emotional–single-use rituals designed on the fly, using whatever implements are to hand.

One of my favorite depictions of magic is in the movie Field of Dreams, where voices and synchronistic occurrences lead the main character through a series of trials and revelations that culminate in the fulfillment of his most deeply-held wishes. I like magic to come from places like that, rather than from rote formulas read out from books. Who the witch is and why she’s doing this work are as important to the outcome as any specific steps.

 

BMK: Is it a challenge to square that magic with modern technology?

SPT: No, I think they actually go together pretty well. Tom has been around for a hundred years, he’s watched a lot of technology develop since its infancy and he’s fascinated by it. Plus I like the idea that technology is often trying to replicate the desired effects of magic. A smartphone might look a lot like an obsidian scrying mirror to a medieval seer.

 

BMK: How has your experience been working with Omnium Gatherum?

SPT: Working with OG has been wonderful. It’s been a real pleasure to work with a great editor who’s committed to making the book the best it can be. I’m looking forward to notes on the next volume. It’s been fun to get in there and polish them up.

 

BMK: You mentioned earlier you are part robot… What will I need to do to be spared when the Robots decimate humanity in the inevitable Human/Robot Wars? How can I assure my new robotic overlords that sparing me is worth the trouble?

SPT: I don’t think there’s much you can do about the robot uprising. Resistance is futile, you know.

 

BMK: Thanks again for taking the time. The book sounds great, and I wish you lots of luck!

SPT: Thank you for having me, I always appreciate a chance to yap about my characters!

There you have it, chums. Go get yourself a copy of Bruja Chica, Episode 1: The Fat Lady Sings! And go visit Sean at SeanPatrickTraver.com to see what else he’s been up to!

 

Gin Haze – Flash Fic from Eddie Generous

Welcome back to the ol’ webpage, chums! Today I am delighted to share a little flash fiction from my pal Eddie Generous. Eddie wears a lot of hats over at Unnerving… Luckily for me, one of those hats has Writer stenciled on it (quite nicely, I’d add). I had the opportunity to chat with Eddie on the Unnerving Podcast not long ago, and who knows? Maybe he and I have some more shenanigans cooking right this second? Here’s Gin Haze. Enjoy!

Gin Haze

Yolanda Handler celebrated her fourteenth birthday with her first glass of gin. Discovering distaste for the liquor—and by extension, her friend Whitney–Yolanda shouted a holy tirade about her suddenly tarnished goodness. Whitney, less drunk by several degrees, instructed Yolanda to shut up or get out.

Out it was. Home was a six-kilometer city walk, five if she cut through the park. This typically took about an hour, but in her liquor slickened state, an hour had come and gone with another three kilometers to go.

The cement park path bent around a field. Yolanda’s heart broke with exhaustion. It was as if she’d never been so far from her bed. Across the park was the church. Once there, she still had to turn left down Honeysuckle Avenue, and beyond that, continue a block before reaching her door.

The distance toyed in the realm of lightyears.

Yolanda stumbled into the damp grass off the trail. Shortening the shortcut. She moved outside the touch of the overhead lights, into the shadows. The dewy floor danced beneath her. The gin in her blood had her limbs like greasy rubber.

Already spinning, Yolanda hadn’t noticed she was falling until she fell, took a mouthful of grass. “I hate you!” Fingers yanked green strands out from its earthen scalp.

Up, she ambled along, forcing a jog that was nearly as much sideways as it was forwards. Blackout blinks stole bits until they became chunks. Unconscious on her feet for two shuffled steps, she tipped. She awoke on the ground. How she’d gotten face down in the wet grass again was not a mystery of how, but when.

“I hope you die.” Yolanda combed the damp field as her eyes slipped closed once again.

Times passed beyond recognition and her eyes opened. Mouth sticky and tasting awful. Head throbbing. Body numb. Yolanda patted the grass, squinting at a change. Not only were the strands dry, but they were different, shorter and firmer. The drunkenness had dissipated, drastically. She looked left and then right, saw absolutely nothing. Above, far away, was a yellow sliver that might’ve been the moon.

“Hello?”

Up, pre-gin steadiness filled her legs, though the absence of light left her shaky. Balance was an agreement between the eyes, ears, and extremities. Toe tapping for obstacles, she moved blindly. To her left, there was a moist squishy noise. She veered to the right. One, two, three steps, her extended fingers met a wall.

The only wall that should exist given her last recognizable location was the church, and even that was a stretch. Beneath her touch was not brick. Here was a surface flat and warm, steel or plastic, free of pores. Slapped palms offered virtually no report.

Yolanda had heard that bad moonshine made a person go blind. Did gin make a girl go blind? Go crazy?

“Hello?”

The tears resumed. The squishing sound slowed, a handful of chirpy clicks joined in, mostly from her left. But in motion. Nasty, insectile chittering. Shoulder to the wall, she made distance. The bug noises, echoed from behind, below, and above.

Fear bubbled. This was the outcome of underage drinking and she’d never been sorrier.

“God, can you hear me? Sorry.” She quickened her pace as the things behind grew busier in her wake.

Then the wet sloshing became frantic, she broke into a jog, the wall leaned into her as she leaned into it, and after a dozen steps, the sound was ahead of her rather than behind her, she stalled in confusion and terror, dropped into a crouch, the sliver moon above was the only hope remaining.

That light still existed somewhere was a life preserver.

The sloppy movement continued its approach, from every angle, though lesser so from across the empty space.

“God…Daddy…please?”

The sliver of light dimmed for a half-second before two stick-like objects entered the image, followed by a huge bumpy head and a translucent abdomen that put a green hue over the faraway glow.

The truth struck. Not the moon.

The sounds at her peripherals were too close and she broke as if from blocks at a starter pistol’s bark, fourteen steps in a left-veering path took Yolanda to the wall at the far side of the room, and her middle finger crunched on contact, it hurt, but the terror was greater.

“Let me outta here!”

The squishy motion was everywhere, the sliver above had vanished behind cloudy activity. Three painful jabs at her face brought her arms up to guard.

She ran, screaming.

To her left, the noise was less.

“Help me!”

She hit wall again.

Things prodded and broke skin.

She spun, hands to weeping wounds suddenly inhabited by digging critters, she tried to run, but a wave hit her and burrowers created pathways, the chittering teeth tore and swallowed as if her constitution resembled butter rather than fresh, untanned leather, “You got—!” the words choked away as a creature entered Yolanda’s mouth a tunnel dug through her sinus.

It squirmed an elastic body into the hard palate.

Lights on, the buttoned down scientists peered into the observation dome. It was similar every time, and though varying the scenery caused differences, it never changed the outcome.

“Much slower in the dark,” Dr. Polina Alexandrovna said.

Dr. Richard Bachman nodded. “Further suggests eyes are the prime means of locating nutrients and vessels. Subject Ten lasted the longest by two minutes four seconds.”

The body of Yolanda Handler, Subject Ten, was a lump above a dark stain in the faux-grass. It had been three hours and nine minutes since she’d died and was due any minute to…

“Ho, here we go,” Dr. Alexandrovna said.

The body of Yolanda, bloodied, gaping holes in her arms and face, rose to a shaky stance. The slack mouth hissed and chattered from within. The five bugs crammed into her brainpan moved Yolanda as if she was a string-less marionette.

“Remarkable,” Dr. Bachman said. “It never ceases to amaze me. It’s terrifying.”

Dr. Alexandrovna nodded. “Any hard numbers?”

“ROSCOSMOS and NASA are running circles, now they’re saying it might be more than twelve hundred bugs have escaped. Any word on the news?”

Below, the former Yolanda slammed a fist against a wall. Gazing upwards, seeing through the reflective tinted ceiling, hungry to infest and ingest.

“Some. I’m not going outside for a while.”

Dr. Bachman offered a sick expression. “I should think not.”

The former Yolanda slammed a fist again, mouth opening. “Feed us and you may live.” The words came out in bug clicks and chirps, but were unmistakable.

Dr. Bachman lifted his brows. “That’s new.”

“They’re learning by committee.”

 

Eddie Generous is the author of the novel Radio Run (from Severed Press), the collection Dead is Dead, but Not Always (from Hellbound Books), and the novel Camp Summit (coming 2019 from DBP). He is the founder/editor/publisher/artist of Unnerving and Unnerving Magazine, and the host of the Unnerving Podcast. He lives on the Pacific Coast of Canada with his wife and their cat overlords. Click him up at www.jiffypopandhorror.com!

 

The First Star I Lose Tonight – Flash Fic From Jessica McHugh

 

horror, flash fiction, teeth

Howdy again, chums! Today I am glad to present a flash fiction story by my inky cohort Jessica McHugh! The story is called “The First Star I Lose Tonight,” and I think you’re gonna dig it. Give it a read, and then click Jessica’s links at the end. She’s got a ton of wild stuff for readers young and old that you should have on your shelf.

The First Star I Lose Tonight

By Jessica McHugh

 

The Bellevue home is a monument to victory. Every surface boasts at least one trophy, frequently flanked by certificates of merit in gilded frames. With each burst of air conditioning, the ribbons decorating the wall flutter like tiny blue flags representing a country that refuses to tolerate failure.

As I survey the room, a poster declaring, “Second Place is the First Loser” makes me cringe, but Megan Bellevue beams when she catches me observing it.

“Nice, isn’t it?”

Knowing what I risk to lose by being disagreeable, I force a smile and nod.

“Sure is.”

“I made it myself,” she says as she dances her fingers over the frame. “Well, my daughter helped with the border.”

Inspecting the poster more closely, I spot a crooked pink border barely visible under the matting.

“It was a little messy, so I had to cover it,” she explains. “You know how it is with kids.”

I do know how it is with kids. I’ve spent enough time skidding around heaps of dirty clothes and toys in the dark to know most kids love the haphazard life. And fortunately for me, I love a challenge. Continue reading “The First Star I Lose Tonight – Flash Fic From Jessica McHugh”

Dr. Strangebrew – Flash Fic From Ben Eads

Howdy, magnificent people!

Today I have something super cool to share. It’s a piece of flash fiction by my pal Mr. Ben Eads, which I predict you will enjoy thoroughly. Be sure to click Ben’s links at the end of the story. I’m just gonna pipe down now and let Ben do his thing:

Fear and Loathing in Orlando… 
Or How I learned to love Coffee

By Ben Eads

We were somewhere outside of Orlando when the caffeine withdrawals began to take hold. I remember saying something like, “I feel a bit lightheaded. Let’s pull over and check the beans.” And suddenly I began to shake. No sympathy for the devil.

Was it really my fault that my Barista and I ended up like this? Who would have known the antidote for whatever God-forsaken plague hit us was coffee?

“I can only drive with beans, Strangebrew…what do we have left?” My Barista asked. Christ, man…keep calm. I turned the radio on as I began to pull over next to an abandoned warehouse.

Reports are coming in that the terrorist threat is now in total control of the world’s coffee bean surplus. President—

I had to turn it off. Too depressing. Six more hours to Miami. Six tough hours. In search of a dream, and greener pastures. Where the beans could be plucked from trees with your bare hands. In this foul year of our Lord, 2018, it was the only chance we had.

We would arrive twisted, bent, reeling from the beans and other party favors in the trunk. We even had a can of Folgers…and I knew we would get into that nasty shit soon. There is nothing more helpless and depraved than a man in the depths of a Folgers binge. The brain refuses commands, the spine recoils in horror. You start behaving like the town drunkard in some old Irish novel. Again, no sympathy for the devil.

Continue reading “Dr. Strangebrew – Flash Fic From Ben Eads”

Happy October!

Hello and howdy, chums! October is here at long last, so I thought to myself, “Hey, Brent, what’s your problem? Stop being lame and update your page!” And I agree with that sentiment, so here’s a short update, which will include three items.

  1. Cruce Roosters Giveaway Winners have been notified, and they have received their books. Congratulations to Carlos, Dave, and Marilyn!
  2. I’ve been asked to begin construction of The Doomsday Furnace.
  3. I’ve got awesome friends, and some of them are going to be doing fancy schmancy guest posts here very soon. I’m thinking about making a regular thing out of it. How regular? SUPER regular!

Now here’s an audio commercial I put together for Cruce Roosters:

Transmission concluded.

 

Cruce Roosters Logo

Greetings, friends! So there’s a project in the works that necessitates a Cruce Roosters logo. I got to sketching:

That’s the sketch (out of literally* BILLIONS!) that I decided to develop. So I put it in the computo-tron, and out came this:

And if I go ahead and take picture of my computo-tron screen and process it a little, it looks like this:

So what is the point of developing this super sexy logo? That’s a great question, and I’m glad you asked! Well, see ya next time, folks!

PS. Cruce Roosters signed copy giveaway winners to be announced soon! Books to be signed and shipped!

 

 

 

*I am increasingly unclear on the definition of the word “literally.”

Cruce Roosters Giveaway

EDIT: The Cruce Roosters Giveaway is now closed, and winners will be notified soon. Thanks again for entering, everybody!

 

Yes indeedio! We’re giving away Cruce Roosters! I have 3 copies that I’ll sign and give away to 3 lucky winners (1 each). Rumor has it Omnium Gatherum, the publisher of Cruce Roosters, will ALSO be giving away 3 signed copies to 3 OTHER lucky winners! When? How? I don’t know. BUT ENOUGH ABOUT THAT!

To enter this giveaway, all you need to do is GO TO THIS PAGE and fill out a few boxes in the webform that lives  there, and then you’ll be entered. That’s it. The giveaway signup runs through June 15, 2018. Then entries close, and 3 winners will be drawn from the people who have entered.

NOTE: Cruce Roosters is chock full of gore, profanity, drugs, adult situations, and product placement. If the sex, drugs and violence of Cruce Roosters isn’t your thing, I’d consider letting you opt for a copy of Keep Away From Psycho Joe.

So CLICK HERE and sign up for the Cruce Roosters Giveaway!

ALSO!!! Omnium Gatherum is having a sweet sale on Cruce Roosters hard copies. Regular price is $12.99, but watch what I’m gonna do… BOOM! Sale price is $7.99! Not sweet enough of a deal? BOOM! Free shipping! Click this whole paragraph!

You: What’s that? $7.99? Brent, how can Omnium Gatherum sell them that cheap AND with FREE SHIPPING?

Me: The answer is simple. They don’t know I got the password to the printing account and changed the prices. They’re bound to catch on sooner or later, so get in on this sweet deal while the getting’s good!

And super thanks to the good folks who have entered already! You are awesome, as you know!

 

 

 

Cover Art by Matt Wajek

Click the play button on that and listen while you read the rest of this post. I want to share some art with you good people. See, there’s this fellow named Matt Wajek who happens to be from my home town. Matt’s a badass artist and music maker. (Check out more Nightmare Administration music here.)

I had some ideas for what I wanted the cover of Cruce Roosters to look like, but I didn’t have the skill to pull it off. I kept coming back to Matt Wajek’s stuff, and I knew I had to reach out. The man has some serious skills.

I see some similarities between Matt Wajek’s work and that of Francis Bacon. The reason is, Francis Bacon used to talk about how his work was all about the viewer’s reaction. You look at it, it makes you feel however it makes you feel, and that is the relationship between the artist and the viewer. Here’s some Bacon:

So, like I said, I get a similar vibe from Mr. Wajek’s art. I look at it, chemicals and electrical impulses swirl around in my brain, and my mind reacts to it. It’s jarring. It’s upsetting. It provokes thought and discussion. I like that.

I was at a Packer game when he started sending me art samples, asking if this was going in the right direction for the cover – did I like it this way or that way – is this background texture the way to go, or should it be more like this. That was a great day. I got to see some kickass art evolve, and I got to watch my Green Bay Packers. Here is Matt’s final piece for the cover of Cruce Roosters, with no title or author name getting in the way. I love it.

This cover was everything I hoped it’d be and more. If you’ve got a book and you need some way-out, badass cover art for it, I suggest you get in touch with Mr. Wajek. I know I will.

Up in the Sky

So my boss, who is awesome, got a new drone for aerial photography. While I get to know the machine and get the settings how I want them, I’ll have to take several test flights to try different things. Here’s a photo I took with the drone yesterday.