MALEVOLENT, the newest Jennifer Blake novel, is now available

MALEVOLENT, the 7th novel featuring police psychic Jennifer Blake, is now available on Amazon.

 

The past and future collide as the fledgling Team Blake comes together to face a daunting challenge.

As Jen and her new team of psychics hunt the ghost nurse, a new and daunting entity makes itself known as Ben finds himself caught up in a massive criminal operation. Jen reluctantly accepts the mantle of leadership. She begins a new project almost as terrifying as the monsters she battles, and Jake’s demons come home as they fight to survive the most terrifying enemy they’ve ever known.

Grab  your copy today!

If you haven’t met Jennifer Blake yet, you can catch up on her exploits here:

BLOOD EAGLE

FACELESS

LEGACIES

LOST CITY

NEMESIS

SINS OF THE FATHERS

And watch for HAUNTED, the 8th Jennifer Blake novel, later this year.

Best Wishes,

Michael

WHAT’S NEXT?

Just thought I’d drop a little note to let y’all know what’s coming up in 2017.

First, the last Blood Lines novel, BLOOD BORNE, drops January 1st.  You can preorder your copy here.

blood-borne-cover

OTHER TITLES SLATED FOR RELEASE IN 2017

The Beast Within–A lone werewolf on the trail of revenge finds himself saddled with an obnoxious teenage girl and the woman he left behind.

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ARES–A gifted young genius, a horrible accident, and the ground-breaking surgical procedure he designed come together in a cautionary tale about the price of knowledge

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The Burning–A supernatural tale of revenge, and love lost.

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Sunset Ranch–The lone survivor of a horrible mass murder returns to the scene to film a documentary, only to discover that the events of that night are not as buried as she’d hoped.

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The Things We Leave Behind–A new collection of short stories, featuring zombies, a haunted apartment building, a woman tormented by a devoted stalker, and much more.

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That’s everything slated for release in 2017 so far, although I may have another installment in the Jennifer Blake series ready later in the year.

Regards,

Michael

I PROBABLY SHOULDN’T DO THIS…BUT HERE’S AN ORIGINAL SHORT

I say I shouldn’t do this, not because I have a problem sharing free work.  I say I shouldn’t do this because I never had any intention of sharing this piece, but here we go.

The following is a short story written mostly as a descriptive exercise.  If you are adverse to low humor, I won’t hold it against you if you simply decide to skip this.

 

 

LOVE AND ENCHILADAS

An original short by

Michael Chambers

“Babe?” Shelly said as I double over in pain. A cramp that had decided I was having too much fun tore through my battered gut, clawing me up inside as my stomach let out an unearthly rumble. “You feeling okay?”

I grunted as my poor colon spasmed, and an aggressively loud fart rumbled out of my sphincter like the A-train out of a tunnel. I groaned in embarrassment as I waited for the stench to hit. Shelly paused for a minute, and I waited for the couch to open up and eat me alive as the putrid air first punched her in the face.

“Oh my—wow,” she said, trying to remain polite and diplomatic as the fart continued to turd-fuck her nose. The pungent fumes continued to swirl around me as I curled up in a ball with my head in her lap. I braced myself and clutched my stomach as another cramp hit, followed of course by another noxious blast of death from my now-quivering nether regions.

“I’m sorry,” I whimpered, near tears as I waited for the inevitable; no doubt she’d jump up and run screaming away from the house, horrified at the satanic winds erupting from my cavernous bowels. “It’s the—ow, damn it—it’s the enchiladas,” I whispered, scared to speak their name for fear of further incurring their wrath.

“Baby, don’t take this the wrong way,” she said, trying desperately to breathe through her mouth as my ass blast threatened to melt her face off. “But when was the last time you had a movement?” She wanted to know when the last time was that I’d taken a dump.

“It’s been a few days,” I admitted as the cramp let go for a moment. Actually it had been more like a week, which was why I’d stopped at Enrique’s for a plate of enchiladas. “Oh shit,” I whispered as my stomach rumbled.

“Maybe you should–Oh God. Up, let me up,” she said, frantically trying to get up as the beast that lurked inside me finally reared its ugly head and roared, making my ass cheeks actually flap as I moaned. The pressure let up a little for the moment, and it was almost worth the rotting flesh stench that quickly filled the air. “Oh my—holy shit, that’s horrible,” she said, standing in the middle of the living room and trying desperately to fan the odor away with her hands.

“Maybe you should go try,” she said, her voice muffled by the hand over her mouth. I hated crapping with her in the house, and she knew it. Then again, it couldn’t be any more embarrassing than the poisonous air biscuits I kept floating at her. The plan for the night had been Netflix and chill, but instead it was duck and cover as my butt continued to yell at her.

Groaning in pain, I duck-walked my way down the hall to the bathroom like a man struggling to reach an oasis in the middle of the desert. The grim struggle to reach the toilet seemed never-ending as the beast continued to try and claw its way out, blasting more noxious fumes into the air with every step.

I smelled like death’s outhouse, my stomach was twisted into a knot worthy of a cat’s ball of yarn, and I could feel a mass moving slowly through my lower intestine, the pressure mounting on my beleaguered asshole with every movement. Shelly stood at the end of the hall, trying not to breathe and watching in horror as I hit my knees with another cramp, followed by the sound of a large motorcycle revving coming from my ass. I actually screamed like a little girl as I crawled the last few feet to the bathroom.

“You need anything, baby?” Shelly said, trying to be supportive but obviously wanting nothing to do with the horror show that was playing before her eyes. She still held her hand over her mouth and nose against the lingering stank. “Magazine, or anything?”

“No thanks,” I grunted in between horrified sounds as the titanic land mass stuck in my bowels moved again. It felt like someone was dragging a softball through me slowly, and I cried softly as it neared my frightened anus.

The smell, which had apparently been all rosebuds and cinnamon up to this point, came tearing into the world like an angry bear, slashing and snarling at every particle of oxygen in sight. Breathing, which had been dangerous up to this point, became nearly impossible as the combined odors of fecal matter and despair filled the space.

I closed my eyes against the burning and pushed down on my stomach, praying for it to end. Either I’d birth this massive food baby, or I’d split open and die slowly on the shitter; either had to be better than what I was going through now. I whispered one last prayerful promise to eat a salad once in a while if I could just live through this, took a deep breath, and pushed as hard as I could.

“Urrrgh!” I shouted through my strained grunting, knees drawn to my chest as my eyeballs threatened to jump out of my sockets and run away to somewhere safer. “Gaaawwwwghwhaa!” I shouted at the top of my lungs, screaming like a Viking in the midst of battle as my sphincter, which by now was seriously considering divorce, began to stretch to accommodate the grapefruit currently trying to exit my body.

“Sweetie?” I heard Shelly say from the hallway. Her voice was small and timid, full of fear as she knocked gently on the door. “Hon, should I call someone?”

“Gragggnughaaaa!” I yelled, by now more tortured animal incapable of speech than a man as my insides threatened to just give up and quit. I kept pushing, growling like a savage beast as I felt victory on the horizon. “Come…on…you..son of a BITCH!” I shouted as the turd crested my battered asshole. It was so close; if the cramping hadn’t all but paralyzed me by then, I would have happily reached down and grabbed the fucking thing. Any sense of pride or civility I had was currently hiding in the corner, sobbing quietly and asking for a cookie. I wasn’t even me any more; just some savage, stinking, grunting caveman imitation of me. My girl, my Shelly, was currently on the other side of the bathroom door, wondering if I was dead yet.

“Grrrrngg,” I said quietly, embracing the pain and the terror as I gave one last Herculean push. The butt nugget churned along slowly, creeping little by little toward its date with destiny as I sweated and tried to breathe.

BAM! The colon rocket shot out like a bullet, bouncing around the inside of the toilet like a BB in a fishtank. My poor, distended sphincter, stretched beyond the imagination of the most twisted prison movie director, immediately slammed shut like the gates of Hell as I screamed in pain and confusion. Eventually the magic missile came to a stop, and I relaxed.

I breathed a sigh of relief, relishing the ease with which the rapid-fire series of farts escaped me. Slowly my faculties returned as Shelly tried knocking on the door again.

“Baby, are you okay in there? I thought I heard something fall.”

“I’m okay,” I said, slumped against the back of the toilet. The feeling was slowly returning to my legs, and eventually I knew I had to get up. Shelly left a bag of baby wipes here for when she brought her daughter; no big deal to me. I liked the little snot machine. Now I was more grateful than ever to her, because the thought of further abusing myself with the cheap toilet paper I bought was sheer hell.

I was almost afraid to look, but the same part of me that stops and stares at auto accidents just hoping to see a body made me glance down into the toilet.

At first I thought someone had played a horrible, sick joke on me; it looked like someone had dropped a brown cantaloupe in the shitter when I wasn’t watching. “I’ll be out in a—oh fucking shit!” I yelled as I felt it coming.

This was no slow-moving behemoth, slouching its way to Bethlehem to be born. No, this was a herd of stampeding buffalo tearing its way through the prairie, a runaway freight train threatening to destroy anything in its path as it barreled down the tracks at breakneck speed. I frantically threw myself backward, hoping against hope that I was at least over the toilet before it arrived.

I landed on the bowl with a thud as the dam burst. Having finally cleared the log jam, my poor stomach was finally able to evacuate itself, and so it began. The stomach cramps returned with a vengeance as a terrible rain of filth and sadness erupted from me, showering the toilet seat and the back wall with the last remains of my dignity as I screamed in horror. Just when I thought it was over, another wave came shooting out of me; it felt as if Satan himself had hooked up an infernal shit firehose inside me, and he was slowly opening the valve bit by bit. Each wave was worst than the last, and I found myself wishing for the peaceful embrace of sweet death as my soul poured itself out of my ass.

“Um, should I go?” Shelly said from behind the door. “I mean, if you’re not feeling well, I don’t want to bug you.”

“I’m okay,” I panted, wiping the sweat from my forehead. I was about to tell her I’d be out in a minute when the next wave hit, and along with it came the smell.

My dear God, had I thought the smell was bad before? Did I really think it couldn’t get worse?

The smell, which had been bad before, decided it was done playing nicely. The air soon became filled with the stench of rotten sewage and spicy enchilada sauce, and I wondered briefly I was going to actually die on the toilet.

You hear about it sometimes; someone, usually someone healthy, just up and kicks it on the shitter. Would Shelly find me? Or maybe my roommate Jake, who’d politely scrammed it for the evening so we could hang out alone? It was in the middle of my musings on my own death that the horrible aftermath truly began.

I hadn’t just had the enchiladas; I’d ordered the four star, ultra-spicy death enchiladas, sprinkled liberally with cayenne hot sauce and the tears of Enrique’s enemies. Not to be outdone, the fiery hell that was his patented hot sauce came for its pound of flesh.

The burning began slowly, then immediately went from a four to an eight thousand. My ass felt like I’d shoved a burning propane torch up there; I began to sweat profusely. Of course, it immediately ran down my ass crack, where it ignited the burning with even more fervor. I let out a sound somewhere between a whimper and the death wail of a banshee as my ass melted in a nuclear inferno.

“Hon, I’m—Oh come on,” I heard Shelly exclaim as the aroma seeped out of the bathroom into the hallway. “Seriously? Jesus Christ, Dan. Is that even real?”

Unable to actually speak, I just whimpered as I rocked on the throne, my scorching butt squirting out liquid evil with every movement forward. Just when I thought all hope was lost, the tide finally slowed to a trickle, and when my tired body finally stopped leaking sewage, I was actually scared to believe it could be over.

“Dan?” Shelly said. “Are you okay?”

No, I’m not okay, I thought. I just gave birth to Enrique’s food baby, and he brought the Devil with him. “I’m good,” I said, genuinely relieved. I felt better, despite the fact that my entire apartment now smelled like the cesspit of a slaughterhouse, I was covered in my own liquid feces, and I was pretty sure my girlfriend was crying on the other side of the bathroom door.

“Just gonna clean up a bit,” I said, aware of the way my buttcheeks kept making sticky-tape noises every time I moved. Unable to think clearly after the trauma I’d just endured, I reached behind me out of habit and hit the flush handle.

Big mistake; the canteloupe-sized turd, which was still in the bowl, promptly blocked the toilet drain, and exactly one point three liters of efficient water immediately flooded my toilet and caused a tidal wave of liquid shit that would rival the Biblical flood. The offending tsunami flowed around my legs, filling my jeans and spilling out onto the floor as the toilet finally stopped running water.

“What just—EWW!” Shelly yelled, stepping away from the door as the liquid sin flowed through the crack under the door and threatened to eat her Nikes.

“Sorry,” I said, sobbing quietly as I sat there, covered in shit from the waist down, thoroughly exhausted, and seriously considering trauma counseling. “I’m sorry.”

“I’ll get a mop,” Shelly said with the resigned practicality of a mother. Good old Shelly, I thought. Always reliable, always caring. “God almighty, Dan. I think you should go see a doctor first thing Monday morning.”

“A doctor,” I said, resisting the urge to laugh as I continued to sit there, frozen in terror at the sight of my utterly devastated bathroom, covered in the remains of my pride and my lunch.

Eventually I stood up, not bothering to be remotely careful any more as I stripped out of my ruined clothes. Naturally, as I was pulling my leg out of the soaked clothing, I slipped and fell, landing on my back with a splash in the pit of terror that was my bathroom floor. I lay there for a moment, alternately sobbing and laughing like a madman as I squelched in the shit.

“Hey,” I heard a familiar voice from the other room. “Don’t mind me, I just forgot my lap—Jesus Christ,” Jake said loudly. “The fuck is that?”

“Hey, buddy,” I called out, still lying in my own filth and contemplating jumping right out the fucking window. “Not a good time, bro.”

“Damn, dude,” I heard Jake say. “Is he in the shitter?”

“You probably don’t want to go in there,” I heard Shelly say, which sent me into a maniacal laughing fit.

Looking back, it’s amazing Jake didn’t immediately call and have me committed as soon as he walked into the bathroom. There I was, lying naked in my own foul soup of despair and laughing like a madman at every squelch and splatter.

“God damn, dude,” he said again. “You know, I generally don’t like to pass judgment. But if you’re into some weird kinky shit, maybe you should look for a different roommate.”

“It’s all good,” I said, managing to sit up. He looked doubtful, but all it took was one word to convince him everything was fine. “Enrique’s.”

“That’d do it,” he said, looking around at the carnival of fecal carnage. “Extra spicy, huh?”

Unable to speak any further, I simply nodded. Jake shook his head and walked carefully past the overflow in the hallway to his room. He came back a moment later with his backpack. “Just grabbing my laptop. You good?”

“I’m good,” I managed, breathing heavily as I heard the first bits of laughter from the living room. I knew that sound; it meant that Shelly was about to lose it.

“I’ll be back by midnight,” he said. “Try and have it cleaned up by then, okay?”

I agreed I would as Shelly finally erupted, howling with laughter as the tension of the night finally got to her. I sat there for a minute, listening to her frantic laughter as she rolled on the carpet. Jake simply stepped over her and left us to it.

***

Eventually Shelly recovered enough to help me finish cleaning. I hadn’t bothered with a shower until the floor was clean, and was currently lying on the couch in nothing but a pair of boxers and a t-shirt. Shelly was curled up next to me, still giggling occasionally. Even I laughed a little, the way a traumatized soldier will occasionally laugh at something gruesome.

“Promise me something,” she said, trailing one finger down my arm. “No more enchiladas?”

“Not a problem,” I said. I was utterly convinced that no power on Earth or in Heaven or Hell could ever again convince me to let a single morsel of Enrique’s enchiladas pass my lips. I’d choose death first.

“There,” she said. “I’m happy we’re past that. I don’t think anyone’s ever had it that bad before.”

“Does seem unlikely,” I said.

“At least it’s nothing contagious,” she said, wiggling slightly and wincing as she put a hand to her stomach. We both looked at each other at the same time, too frightened to speak until she relaxed. “Just those kinds of cramps,” she said finally. I was finally able to relax; she wasn’t remotely into period sex, and I was entirely too traumatized to think about it.

The movie was forgettable, but the company was worth it as we snuggled on the couch. The credits were rolling when she sat up, her hands on my chest as she looked into my eyes. “Babe?” she said quietly.

“Yeah?” I said, wondering what sort of philosophical land mine she was about to drop on me. She was good at that; hitting me out of nowhere with questions I couldn’t begin to understand. I wasn’t worried until I saw the tears forming in her eyes.

Oh God, I thought. Here it comes; she’s dumping me.

“I’m sorry,” she said, crying softly. I waited for the bomb to drop, and when it did, it couldn’t have been worse.

“I’m so sorry,” she said again, and I sat there, trapped under her luscious body as a long, wet fart began to slowly seep from her perfect backside.

 

Well, there you have it.  Hope it made you at least giggle a little.

Regards,

Michael

On the short story…

The following is the introduction to my next collection of short stories, currently in production.  I thought I’d share it with you all now.

 

Why do authors write short stories?

For years, they were considered a loss; most publishers wouldn’t accept an anthology of short stories unless you were one of the big names. The magazine market, once a welcome home for short fiction, all but dried up and blew away over the years, replaced by fluff pieces on the latest celebrity gossip and countless articles on the ever-popular search for the G-spot. Time spent working on short stories was almost considered wasted. It was infinitely easier to sell a novel than a short story, or even a collection of them. Considering the difficulty in selling a first novel, that’s saying something.

But authors continue to crank them out. I don’t know a single writer who doesn’t have a stack of them, all polished up with nowhere to go. One author I know has a backlog of at least a hundred different shorts that will most likely never see the light of day. Knowing how talented the author is, I consider this one of the world’s great tragedies. Some writers use them as writing exercises, meant to do nothing more than keep the gears oiled, so to speak. Others write them simply because they need to write something, but need a break in between novels. And others still, too afraid to tackle the admittedly Herculean task of writing a novel, stick to the short story, perfecting their craft and learning the ropes. In this, the short story shines; I don’t know of a single author who didn’t cut their teeth on short stories.

Myself, I use them as a diversion. If a novel can be likened to waging a war (and I certainly believe it can) then the short story is one of those rare periods of inactivity in between the battles. Such breaks are always a welcome diversion, like a pickup game of baseball in between artillery shellings.

While the novel is a complicated machine, full of inter-connected cogs and gears all turning together in an elaborate dance, the short story is a simple mechanism. One big wheel, turning slowly as the author works the crank. The various cogs and wheels of the novel each have different purposes; one might be the setting, another the backstory. All of the characters have their own mechanisms, and all of them work together to turn the main shaft of the story. The action of the mechanism produces many byproducts, including themes, allegory, and messages. But the short story is a different animal.

There’s only one moving part to the short story, and it exists solely to fulfill one function. It’s sole purpose is to tell the story. The author turns the crank, and the story rolls out onto the paper. And since (or maybe because) it only does one thing, it tends to do it very well. I dare you to find a single novel, from any author, that can sustain the tension and impact that pervades W.W. Jacobs’ “The Monkey’s Paw,” or even comes close to equaling the juxtaposition of the mundane and the horrific in Stephen King’s “Children of the Corn” or “The Mangler.” To this day, I’ve never found any novel that can hold a candle to the suspense in Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Then again, Poe is one of those authors whose work shines best when it is short, brutal, and to the point.

For years, authors have continued to crank out short stories, despite the seeming lack of a viable market for them. But today, that’s all changing. The advent of independent e-books has brought the short story out of the dark, dusted it off, and presented it to the world. It let it get away from the kid’s table and allowed it to sit with the grown-ups, so to speak. And I, for one, couldn’t be happier about it.

Of course, the same rules that govern the world of novels also apply to the short story collection; for every Stephen King’s Night Shift or Robert Bloch’s prodigious bibliography of short story collections comes a plethora of real stinkers. Still, the avid reader doesn’t seem deterred by the odds; they happily wade through pile after pile of utter garbage, hoping to find that one rare gem.

With this collection, I’m hoping I’ve done something more than add to the garbage pile. So, for your amusement (or just to give you another reason to call me a hack) here is the latest collection of my own diversions.

Michael Chambers

Springfield, MO

September, 2016

The Things We Leave Behind is currently in production.  I’ll have a cover and release date for you guys soon.

Until then, you can pre-order SINS OF THE FATHERS, the latest Jennifer Blake novel.

Best Wishes,

Michael

Jennifer Blake Returns, and a Cover Reveal!

Jennifer Blake returns in SINS OF THE FATHERS, the sixth novel in the series.  Blake and her team must solve a decades-old crime in order to prevent present-day murders.

SINS OF THE FATHERS is scheduled to release on Halloween 2016.

Pre-orders will begin September 15th.

 

Without further ado, may I present the cover of SINS OF THE FATHERS

Sins of the Fathers

 

If you haven’t caught up on the many adventures and utter chaos that is Jennifer Blake’s life, you can find the previous five volumes here:

 

Where have all the standalones gone?

No one is writing stand-alone novels any more.  Go stroll through Amazon’s ebooks, and you’ll see that virtually everything you see is “book one in the Fartknocker series.”

Now obviously, that’s not true, and probably never will be.  People will always write stand-alone stories with no sequels or long-range plans, and publishers will more than likely always buy them–but lord, don’t they love them a series.

That’s where it comes from, you know.  People see publishers putting all their marketing and effort into this or that series, and assume–almost certainly incorrectly–that they are only interested in the next big series.  Therefore, everything has to be stretched into a series, whether or not it has the potential for it.  So, sadly, many great characters and stories are forced to keep shuffling across the stage long after they should have been allowed to take a bow and fade into the background for the next act.

I’m about to propose something radical.  I preface this by saying that I do, in fact, have a moderately successful series of my own, although my favorite of my works remains a single, stand-alone novel.  But I think this merits saying.

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FORGET ABOUT THE SEQUELS AND WRITE THE BOOK.

Don’t worry about it.  If the story doesn’t merit a return, then don’t go back.  Finish the story, and let it shine on its own.  If it has the potential to be a series, it’ll let you know.  Don’t force it.

After all, imagine how lame a sequel to Dracula would have been.  (Actually, you don’t have to imagine–there are countless lame novels vaguely based on what happened after the good Count lost his head.)

Tell the story.  If it’s done, it’s done; don’t try to reanimate a dead story line to stretch it out.

AUDIO ALL THE BOOKS!

So basically I’ve been incredibly busy with the audiobook project.  You know, that insane idea I had a few months ago to convert ALL my books into audiobooks?  Yeah, I wonder if I’ve gone crazy, too.

source: giphy.com

source: giphy.com

At any rate, I thought I’d give you guys an update on where all of that stands.  As of right now, these are the titles that are currently in production.

BAD GIRLS

BLOOD EAGLE

HUNTED

SMILING JACK

CHARACTER ISSUES

SISTERS

At this point it’s a toss-up to see which will be done first, so I won’t even hazard a guess.  For those of you who’ve asked, yes, I do plan to do both the complete Blood Lines series and the Jennifer Blake series as well.

Be sure to check back here regularly, and I’ll update you as I know anything.  You can also check out my Facebook author page and my Twitter feed for more updates and general announcements.

 

Best wishes,

Michael