I stopped by the great Mr. Shipp’s blog to ramble with warmly crafted incoherence about my novel NIGHTMARE BALLAD releasing this month. Thanks to JCS for making this happen!
To start, from early blurbs and reviews this initial book of the trilogy has been called “esoteric,” “edgy, original and unclassifiable,” “creepy” and “fascinating.” It has also been called “surreal,” but the term was used almost in a pejorative way. I happen to love surreal fiction, so I take that label with more than an ounce of pride. More like ten gallons of pride. Okay, fifty gallons. Or, to hell with it, just a 100 gallon foam cowboy hat with the word SURREAL on its band. That’ll do. And look how nice it fits on that guy’s head! Stunning, and protects his pasty skin from problematic onslaughts from the sun. How about that folks?
I see that some of you have deflated and dire, depressing questions remain. When your hat isn’t on that poor guy’s head, what’s inside? What makes up all those expertly measured gallons? Well, turns out, oddly enough, there’s no pride in there to speak of. Pride is always fleeting (I just looked under my chair, isn’t there either). Besides which, that’s so one-paragraph ago. In this paragraph I have instead poured into the hat a batch of nightmare broth. In all honesty, I do this whenever I find a surreal hat. I’ve heard this latest broth tastes like a Lynch or Cronenberg film with a dash of Stephen King fantasy in there. I do enjoy consuming all those folks in some capacity, so I’m chuffed that’s palatable for me and others, but let me just plainly voice my mission statement before I find a more unreasonable metaphor to mistreat.
Think of a dream you cannot explain, at first, and then, slowly, you are made aware of what it really means. Though the first installment answers some questions, the second and the third novel will answer them all. I’m excited about the series for this very reason. The reader gains lucidity through the waking nightmare and as the adventure continues, they become aware of the dream and then, ultimately, how to deal with the outcome.
Hope you all come along and wear broth-soggy foam hats of some kind! Here’s the synopsis.
One day, while instructing a swim class, Luke Rhodes hears a strange ballad in his head that twists reality. After a series of terrifying events, he escapes through a black curtain and leaves a living nightmare behind.
The ballad hasn’t left him though. Pieces remain. And when the song surfaces… the nightmare returns. Joined by Luke’s two wives and his miscreant friend Johnny Cruz, they resolve to discover the source of these “Lifemares,” and, more importantly, how to escape. Will Luke and his family find the singer of the Ballad before it’s too late? Or will horrifying nightmares roam the world… forever?
Benjamin Kane Ethridge is the Bram Stoker Award winning author of the novel BLACK & ORANGE (Bad Moon Books 2010). For his master’s thesis he wrote, “CAUSES OF UNEASE: The Rhetoric of Horror Fiction and Film.”Available in an ivory tower near you. Benjamin lives in Southern California with his wife and two creatures who possess stunning resemblances to human children. When he isn’t writing, reading, videogaming, Benjamin’s defending California’s waterways and sewers from pollution.