September 6, 2011

Spotlight - Benjamin Kane Ethridge author of Black and Orange

Join Benjamin Kane Ethridge, author of the award-winning dark fantasy horror Black & Orange as he virtually tours the blogosphere in August & September 2011 on his first tour with Pump Up Your Book!

About the book...

Forget everything you know about Halloween. The stories are distortions. They were created to keep the Church of Midnight hidden from the world. Every October 31st a gateway opens to a hostile land of sacrificial magic and chaos. Since the beginning of civilization the Church of Midnight has attempted to open the gateway and unite with its other half, the Church of Morning. Each year they’ve come closer, waiting for the ideal sacrifice to open the gateway permanently. This year that sacrifice has come. And only two can protect it.

Martin and Teresa are the nomads, battle-hardened people who lack identity and are forever road-bound on an endless mission to guard the sacrifice. Their only direction is from notes left from a mysterious person called the Messenger. Endowed with a strange telekinetic power, the nomads will use everything at their disposal to make it through the night alive.

But matters have become even more complicated this year. Teresa has quickly lost ground battling cancer, while Martin has spiraled into a panic over being left alone. His mind may no longer be on the fight when it matters most… because ever on their heels is the insidious physical representation of a united church: Chaplain Cloth.

About the author...

Benjamin Kane Ethridge’s fiction has appeared in Doorways Magazine, Dark Recesses, FearZone, and others. His dark fantasy novel BLACK & ORANGE (Bad Moon Books 2010) has won the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in First Novel. Beyond that he’s written several collaborations with Michael Louis Calvillo, one of which is a novella called UGLY SPIRIT, available in 2011. He also wrote a master’s thesis entitled, “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 daughter, both lovely and both worthy of better. When he isn’t writing, reading, videogaming, he’s defending California’s waterways and sewers from pollution.


What do I do? My daughter, a two year-old going on three, refuses to let me hide her eyes during scary movies. I’ll guess your next question: Why do you let her watch them? Well, there could be a variety of explanations in that case. For one, I’m a dope. I haven’t yet learned how to completely fit my daughter into the paradigm of my previous life. See, I’m a dark fantasy writer and I love horror tales. It’s one of the few genres I’ve found that can be completely honest with the reader, both on an animal and spiritual level.

Well that’s all great, if I didn’t have to raise a child now. She won’t go to sleep when night falls and she WANTS to see what I won’t let her see. My wife and I enjoy shows like “Dexter” and “Supernatural.” Now my daughter likes them too. But this is way too soon. Both shows are gory. “Dexter,” especially so. I haven’t relented in trying to cover her eyes, but I cannot get to her every time.

Maybe this is a cyclical thing. My parents let me watch just about anything. I was probably ten when I saw “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” My mother also shielded my eyes during the explicit scenes—different is, I let her.

Parents want to have their freedom. You don’t want to watch cartoons day-in-day out, you’re too tired to stay up to all hours just to watch a movie, and you don’t fancy locking your kids in another room just so you can watch SCREAM 4. Possibly, and I certainly hope this is true, just the act of protecting your kids will demonstrate how violence is a negative thing. See, people talk a lot about horror movies desensitising kids, but I don’t think it works that way most times. If it did, kids would stop watching such films because there’d be no impact. If violence no longer impassioned them one way or another, why indulge it anymore? Horror films reinforce what we all inherently know. Violence is an unwanted part of life. That is just as true for the characters in the movie as it is the audience members watching them go through hell.

With having convinced myself, at very least, that still leaves me with an impressionable child. I try to explain to her that the movie is make-believe, but she’s too young for that concept. It is what it is, I guess. I’m not completely resolved with this, mind you, but I’m putting my faith in the world I present to my daughter outside of movies. Will she turn out demented, for all my assumptions? I don’t think so.  As long as she’s shown love in her everyday life, no manner of story will ever have the power to take that away.

One hopes.

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