Check out this spotlight for author Keith Blenman!
You can find all his links furthest down the page, and don’t forget to check out his books!
1. Hi! Welcome to my humble blog of all things bookish! I would like for us to start by getting to know you. Give us a short bio, please!
Hello! Thanks for featuring me, Catrin! I’m Keith Blenman. I write genre bending fiction. Typically my stories are fantasy or urban fantasy with comedy and horror elements. I’m from Metro Detroit, Michigan. When I’m not writing, I’m also an inventory control coordinator for a computer store. I also do a lot of pet sitting, but I wouldn’t call that a career. I just happen to know a lot of people with pets who also know I don’t do much on the weekends.
2. To get to know you just a little bit better, I’d like to ask you some this or that questions. Answer 5 of these and explain why you chose this or that, or maybe an entirely different alternative!
Cat or dog? I’ve always been more of a cat person, but I love both. I have two cats and two golden retrievers.
Witches or wizards? In my own fiction, the gulf between a witch and a wizard is massive.
On a scale of power, Wizards are at the top. They’re angelic beings, born from the soul of the world. They’re ghostly white. Their eyes glow purple. Many of them have pulsing black and gold runes tattooed all over their bodies. They’re constantly tapped into ancient energies so powerful, they don’t fully understand them. Then there are sorcerers, more common folk who were maybe a descendent of a wizard, or grew up in regions with a lot of exposure to a certain energy. Their magic is naturally gifted, but more honed; healers, necromancers, pyromancers. Folks of that nature with one particular power. Warlocks are people who’ve been unnaturally gifted magic powers. Lastly there are witches, who’ve studied and learned to use magic with potions and externally tapping into that energy. They don’t permanently infuse themselves, but will imbibe and often abuse potions to grant themselves more power. So witches are the weakest and often most lustful for power.
On the other hand, if we’re talking about the difference between say, Dumbledore and Professor Mcgonagall, I’ll choose Minerva most days. Not every day, but most.
Ninjas or pirates? Ninja pirates. Frankly, the world needs a story with a ninja that has a hook for a hand being fired out of a cannon. He flies through the air, slashes his katana through the enemy sails, assassinates the captain, lands in an impressive series of flips, and dives unnoticed into the sea. Obviously there also needs to be parrot wearing a ninja mask at some point in the narrative but that’s mostly just marketing.
Actually, I’ve already dipped my toe in the ninja-pirate genre. In my book, The Girl Drank Poison, one of the protagonists is a retired pirate.
At one point in the story he’s scrambling for a weapon. The only thing available are nunchaku with silver sickles on the ends, designed for combatting werewolves. When you think about, I’ve probably done more writing on the subject than my most contemporaries. I could very well be the world’s leading authority on ninja pirates.
Mountains or beaches? Give me sandy beaches on sunny days with a longboard and an acoustic guitar. I can neither surf nor play guitar but if there was ever a time to learn, those would be the days.
Pen and paper or computer/phone? Computer. I have Google Docs on my phone so if I ever think of a line or want to jot a few notes, it’s there. I wish I could say I used it more but I also have Instagram and Final Fantasy Tactics on my phone. More often I’ll think of a note and by the time I’ve taken my phone out of my pocket and unlocked the screen, I’ve already forgotten what I was about to write and absentmindedly scroll through social media.
Book or ebook? I mostly read with my Kindle and listen to audiobooks. Hard cover and paperback are great too. I publish in all four formats as well. *wink*
Hero or anti-hero? I lean more toward anti-heroes and all-out-villains. In Necromantica, the protagonists are a thug and a necromancer. The plot is a caper, but the story is a lot more about their shared past and relationship. While they’re villains, they’re fighting a greater evil and it’s easy to root for them because of that history and the love the thug shows for the necromancer. In The Girl Drank Poison, the protagonists are anti-heroes. One is psychotic ferret and the other is landlocked pirate hiding from his criminal past. I think my love of bad guys stems from growing up with 80s and 90s video games and action movies. I was reading Stephen King and Anne Rice a lot in middle school. I also used to teach forensic investigation classes and studied criminalogy for years. So many of my characters are seedy people built to survive in frightening worlds with lots of unnecessary explosions. Action characters with… not necessarily full redemption arcs, but partial ones. Enough of a villianous redemption to get through a day in the life.
…I answered eight of your binary questions when you asked for five. And nobody could stop me. Bwahahahahaha. There is no limit to my power! Unless you edit out one or two of my responses. Then you’ve set limits to my power. Bahahaha! Ha.
Do I need to edit out another?
Sorry. Just enjoying all that villainy I write about.
3. When you look for books to read, what trope or type of story will always catch your attention?
It’s always a flavor of the moment for me. Sometimes I want tons of action and excitement. Sometimes it’s a deep character study. The one thing I avoid most are power fantasies; stories that the protagonist is perpetually the perfect person for every situation they encounter. I know this is a controversial opinion, but while I love the worlds of The Name of the Wind and Ready Player One, the books drive me up the wall because the protagonists can’t stop winning at life. The problem is you usually can’t catch a power fantasy until you’re too deep into them. For the first half of the book, it feels like character development. It creeps up on you, knowing this book will have no stakes. But you’ve made it this far so you might as well just finish the story. Even knowing everything that follows will feel hollow. I prefer narratives that climax in something earned through struggle.
4. What do you write? Tell us about your current projects and the latest happenings!
I always have a few books I’m working on. I recently started publishing on Kindle Vella, and I think that’s going to be how my stories will initially be released for a while.
My current goal is to have a constant rotation of four to five books I’m updating a chapter a time. Currently I have two. Both take place in the fantasy world of my series, The Vecris. Each book is stand-alone, but fits into a greater narrative. Kind of like when David Mitchell’s uber novel. My current projects are a comedy series, Tales of Lythia, and a grimdark mystery, Reaper.
Reaper opens with the entire southern continent dying in a single night. There’ve been wars against prcs. There’ve been zombie outbreaks. Then one night the entire empire is killed off in a matter minutes. Rumors spread. There’s a bit of mass hysteria. It takes a few years before the kings on the northern continent launch a voluntary expedition to discover the cause of so much death. The only volunteer is an immortal ferret, Moete, who keeps a murder of crows for pets. So the story begins with Moete exploring these dead lands and seeing the horrors of a fallen nation while also being very ADHD, carefree ferret. The tone is a quiet contemplation of the soul on a sugar high at cocktail hour.
Tales of Lythia I started writing because my other works were so dark. I wanted to write something goofy. It takes place in the same world as Reaper, Necromantica, and The Girl Drank Poison, in the far off Korb Kingdom.
The series is a journal written by a castle guard in the Lythia City. I liken it to classic Adult Swim cartoons like Aqua Teen Hunger Force or Sealab 2021. Each episode is a bizarre, little adventure. There is an overall plot and several ideas for series arcs, but they exist mostly in case I run out of other ideas. I’m more focused on the lives of the characters and their day to day mishaps. In one episode, the narrator, Larg, is attempting to thwart an assassin. In another episode, Larg gives a tour of the dungeons to the local school children. In another, Lythia is surround by an army of titants and Larg fails to negotiate peace. One day, I was totally out of ideas. I wrote an episode about an ostrich standing outside the city gates. That was is. That was the whole story. It’s just silly. Any fans of fantasy would get a kick out of it. And because it’s on Vella, you can read the first three episodes for free. So definitely check that and Reaper out.
5. What is your most recent release? Give us a short presentation, cover, and a link for where to buy it!
Along with Tales of Lythia and Reaper, I recently re-released most of my books with brand new covers created by the Midjourney art bot. Sticking with The Vecris series, Necromantica and The Girl Drank Poison are both grimdark adventures.
Necromantica is set during a battle between orcs and men at the last human city in the Fortian Empire. Two thieves, a necromancer and her rogue companion, brave the battlefield on a suicide mission to steal from a magical relic from a holy king.
The Girl Drank Poison – is the strange and bizarre tale of a bounty hunter ferrelf name Griever. When a barmaid drinks an expired love potion, she’s accidentally turned into a giant monster, rampaging her way through the countryside. Can Griever put a stop to her before she brings the town of Sleeping Bear to ruin?
6. What real-life inspiration do you draw from, and what are your primary fictional sources of inspiration (books, authors, films, music, etc.)? Name a few!
Like I said, I grew up on action and adventure, fantasy, and horror. Along with the other things I’ve referenced in this interview, my latest favorite reads are The Broken Earth trilogy by NK Jemison. She’s brilliant. I listened to that series on Audible three times back to back. I’ve been reading Neil Gaiman. I’ve always loved haunting ghostly vibes in a story. But I also try to draw inspiration from real world events and sources. Recently I read Dope/Sick and Medical Apartheid. Those actually fit pretty well into how elves are treated in my Vecris series. There’s a longtime oppression of their people; genocides, experimentation, and slavery to name a few. An honest look at how we treat our fellow man is always inspirational for grimdark.
7. What is your writing routine? If you have one, give us the run-down! State of mind is always important. I struggle to create when there’s trouble in my heart. I may not be able to solve all of my or the world’s problems, but I can do a few things to help me relax. First, before I even sit down at my computer, I like to bathe in the warm blood of my enemies while listening to my live-in string quartet and sipping pinot grigio. Often I’ll play YouTube videos of frolicking wildlife above the mantle where, yes, a five log fire burns nightly.
Really, in good weather, I like to sit outside with my dogs and a cup of coffee or Coke. I shouldn’t admit this, but I’ve always enjoyed smoking while I write. I quit years ago, but when nobody is around I still like to have a cigarette in my mouth or at least on hand. Otherwise, you can find me at my computer, typing away.
8. If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice as you started out on the path to becoming an author, what would it be?
I’d cackle and hold a flashlight under my chin and say, “Turn back while ye still may!” Well, flashlight or fleshlight. Which is more frightening?
Other budding authors, I would say the best advice I can give anyone is write what you know. The more you learn, the more you study, the more you have to discuss. Knowledge always makes for strong writing.
9. Last but not least: where can we find you? Drop those links!
First, here are Amazon and Audible links to all of my books. They’re available on paperback, hardcover, Kindle, Vella, and Audible. My regular audiobook narrator, Shaniese Reyes, is absolutely amazing. She has such a talent for bringing my stories to life, so I have to encourage you to check out her readings of my work.
And here are my social media links: