MASHED Monday Author Interview: Brandon Ketchum

Brandon Ketchum writes the story, “Halloween Nosh” in our anthology, Mashed: The Culinary Delights of Twisted Erotic Horror. “Halloween Nosh” is a love story between two old world vampires, celebrating the holidays as only they can.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a speculative fiction writer working out of Pittsburgh, PA. I have attended the Cascade Writers Workshop and the In Your Write Mind Workshop, and my work has appeared in a variety of publications.

When not writing, what do you enjoy doing?
I love reading, sports, TV, movies, bowling, board gaming, and role playing, in particular.

What attracted you to submitting your story to MASHED: The Culinary Delights of Twisted Erotic Horror?
I felt that my story was a perfect fit for this anthology. What better place to send a horror story so reliant on food and drink? I mean, it even has nosh in the title.

For your story “Halloween Nosh” what was your inspiration?
I was searching for an idea for a Halloween story, and I thought about how pigeonholed holiday stories get. They’re only ever able to be submitted for one time of the year. I wanted to break the conventions there, and this idea just came to me.


When did you first discover that you wanted to be a writer?
Back in high school, when one of my teachers gave me an A+ on a story, with the notation “Worthy of Publication.”

Who are your favorite authors? What are your favorite books?
Wow, this is a loaded question! Robert E. Howard, especially his Conan and Solomon Kane stories. Fritz Leiber‘s Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser stuff. Modern grimdark has become a favorite, with Glen Cook and Joe Abecrombie atop the list.

Outside of Horror, what other genre’s do you write in?
Science fiction and fantasy.

On Writing:

How do you describe your writing style?
A combination of outlining and seat of my pants.

What advice would you give to new writers just getting started?
Write, write, and write some more. You’ll write a lot of crap, but if you write a lot, you’ll eventually get the hang of it and start writing better.

What part of writing do you find the most difficult?
Slogging through the boring but necessary bits.

What do you hope your readers take away from your stories?
I want my readers to have a fun ride.

Write a 6 word story, GO!
The holiday blues cure? Dungeon playtime!

And now, here’s a special preview of Brandon’s story in MASHED!

“Halloween Nosh”

A still-beating human heart twitched in a pool of gore on a cutting board on the dining room table. Wiping sleep from my eyes, I slid into a chair. I rolled up my bathrobe sleeve, curled my fingers around the thumping organ and picked it up. Lifeblood squirted from severed valves onto my wrist and forearm. A single tear squeezed from the corner of my eye.

“She gets me,” I murmured, smiling to myself. “She really gets me.”

I thumbed the red tear from my eye and set the heart down. A good distraction from my traditional Halloween depression.

“Happy Valentine’s Day, my smoofy Vlassy bear,” a honeyed voice called to me from the kitchen.

Illyana leaned against the door frame, a martini glass brimming with blood held in each hand. A crimson nightgown hung open over a frilly red bra and panty set, contrasting the smooth pale skin beneath. She sashayed over, placed a glass before me and wiped the blood from my arm with a napkin.

“I appreciate the outfit, and the nosh and bevy, Illy dear, but it’s not Valentine’s Day. It’s… a different holiday tonight.”

“It’s not Halloween anymore. I decided to shake things up a bit.”

Blood rushed to my head at the mere mention of the word. “Halloween! Every year thousands of stupid little ankle-biters dress up in those ridiculous namby-pamby lace and cape getups like my decrepit second cousin, and traipse around begging for candy.” I banged a fist into the palm of my hand. “And those pitiful excuses for tricks! Egging houses, toilet paper in trees. Why, back in the old country, we’d get up to real tricks. Entrails in your pillow case, human buffets, wolves in —”

She booped my nose with a finger and made a cartoony sound effect to go with it. “Come on, Vlasta. You’re starting to sound like a grumpy old Nosferatu. Drink up.”

“Sorry, Illyana.” I picked up my glass. “Noroc.”

“Noroc,” she echoed, then tipped her glass against mine.

We drank.

“Mmm.” I ran a finger around the rim of the empty glass and sucked it clean. “How exquisite, Illy. It’s rich, without being overly clotted. How did you manage?”

“It’s all in the subject, dear. He was young, and ate lots of red meat, which means high cholesterol, and—”

“—fatty tissue. This heart’s going to be so tender.”

“I’ll fetch some crackers,” she said.

I stared at her ass as she padded into the kitchen. “I’ll carve.”

…to be continued!

Thanks for joining us for #MASHEDMONDAYS, Find the rest of Brandon’s story and more sensually sinister tales inside MASHED: The Culinary Delights of Twisted Erotic Horror

Find more #MASHEDMONDAY Author Interviews here!