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7.24.2012

Summer of Indie Meets M.E. Brines

Summer of Indie's guest author for today is Michael Everett (M.E.) Brines. Brines is the author of 26 different books all spanning different genres (including fiction and non-fiction). We talked with M.E. Brines in detail about his steampunk novel (and cookbook), The Donuts of Doom, and also got a glimpse at his paranormal World War II novel, The Fist of God.

The Donuts of Doom:

Cover for 'The Donuts of Doom' In a world where pastry is a controlled substance and a layer cake is considered a weapon of mass destruction, one lone figure stands ready, rolling pin in hand, to strike a blow for frosting and freedom.

Prin is an orphaned dwarf raised by humans. He flees a HealthWatch raid on his parents’ bakery that leaves his stepfather dead and his stepmother sentenced to the treadmill. Accompanied by a disreputable “wizard” with dubious powers, a gnome with an anger management problem and the village idiot and his loyal and incontinent dog, Prin begins a whimsical journey through a steampunk world of airship pirates, steam cannon, traction trains, clockwork horses, amorous windup robots, vast herds of porcuswine, cannibalistic munchkins, dwarf armies, stoned elves, people who hate clowns, and a fat man on a bicycle.

Through battles, plots and counter-plots, a hint of sorcery, and numerous pastries, can a young baker with a shadowy past discover the recipe to overturn mad Doctor Travaculus and give people back their just desserts? Find out in The Donuts of Doom!

The Donuts of Doom is in the same category as much of the writing of Terry Pratchett and James P. Blaylock. It deals with serious issues in a humorous and whimsical manner. And did I mention recipes? Recipes for all the cookies, biscuits, hotcakes, pies and donuts mentioned in the book are provided in an appendix.


The Fist of God:


Cover for 'The Fist of God'It’s 1940 and the fires of war have set Europe ablaze, but America remains blissfully neutral. To please his parents, skeptical Stuart Mackenzie studies to become a reverend. He has about as much concern for the outcome of the war as he does for South American sports scores. But his idealistic brother, a former bootlegger with ties to the Purple Gang, volunteers for the Royal Air Force. And when his hurricane is shot down, Stuart abandons his studies to seek bloodthirsty revenge. But what he discovers on a mission behind the enemy lines challenges his worldview. Can a confirmed skeptic defeat a coven of Nazi sorcerers on their home ground? What chance will the mundane weapons of the Allied powers have against ancient magic and an artifact said to have slain the very Son of God?

The Fist of God includes the novella "The Spear of Destiny" plus additional story material outlining Stuart's origin and eventual fate.

After hearing about his books, we briefly asked for some biographical information, and found out that:

Image of ME BrinesM.E. Brines spent the Cold War assembling atomic artillery shells and preparing to unleash the Apocalypse (and has a medal to prove it.) But when peace broke out, he turned his fevered, paranoid imagination to other pursuits. Designer of more than twenty sci-fi wargames and The Struggle of Nations play-by-e-mail game (all available at www.MEBrines.com) he spends his spare time scribbling another steampunk romance occult adventure novel, which despite certain rumors absolutely DOES NOT involve time-traveling Nazi vampires!
A member of the British Society for Psychical Research, he is, like Professor Van Helsing, both a long-time student of the occult and a committed Christian. He is also the author of more than two dozen books, e-books, chapbooks and pamphlets on esoteric subjects such as Alien Abduction, Alien Hybrids, UFOs, Conspiracies, Mind Control, the Falun Gong, esoteric Nazism, the Knights Templar, astrology, magick, the Bible, the Spear of Longinius and Christian discipleship available through Smashwords at http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/mebrineshttp://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/mebrines. His work has also appeared in Challenge magazine, The Traveller Chronicle, Midnight Times, The Outer Darkness, Tales of the Talisman, and The Willows magazine.

To conclude our interview with M.E. Brines, Summer of Indie asked a few follow up questions to find out more about his inspirations, and about being a writer in general.
Q:Can you tell us how you got started writing?
A: I started writing early. I wrote a sci-fi "book" in grade school and various humorous religious and or political pamphlets in high school. My first sale was when I was 16, a sort of choose your own adventure book for a role-playing game "Tunnels & Trolls" - but then I quit writing. I did all sorts of other things. I've been a soldier, had a hobby store (sold D&D), been a baker, restaurant manager, waiter, insurance clerk, purchasing agent and a lot of other things, equally unfocused. About ten years ago I realized I was a better writer than any of those. I went back to it and since then I've written 8 novels, a bunch of non-fiction and a raft of short stories and magazine articles. But I still have a day job as a baker (again, third time.) If you like irony, I wrote Donuts of Doom while working at Dunkin' Donuts.

Donuts of Doom is set in a fantasy world with elves, dwarves, gnomes etc. but with steampunk technology: airships, motorcars, traction trains, weird steam-driven war machines, etc. In it, the government has, for the Greater Good, banned sugar, cream, butter, caffeine and all the other good stuff. The book's a whimsical look at the logical conclusion of the trend towards a nanny state, a political satire which doesn't take itself seriously. It's full of puns and delicious recipes, so it's a novel AND a cookbook.

Q: What motivated you to start publishing now?
A: I discovered Indie publishing last summer. I'd self-published some of my non-fiction titles in chapbook form and had been selling them on my web site and e-bay for years and it seemed a better way to get sales. When I put them out as e-books and they took off, I put several of my novels out in the same format. They've gotten some very good reviews and the sales have been extremely gratifying. Best of all, I avoid the ordeal of getting past the gatekeepers to the traditional publishing world, the Mavens of Taste. I've garnered a lot of rejections, mostly I think because my books defy standard classification - they don't know what to do with them. But readers seem to like that. And many of my works involve religious themes and/or politically incorrect ideas, things the East Coast Mavens don't appreciate, but a lot of readers do.

Q: Where can people get your book?
Q: In your book, who is your favorite character?
A:  The main character is young Prin, a dwarf adopted and raised by humans. He's a baker by trade, forced by circumstances to become a revolutionary. But my favorite character is his friend Orson, a retarded homeless guy about the same age with an incontinent wiener dog. He's not very smart, usually, although sometimes he's brillaint and sees right through to the core of a problem. And he makes a lot of puns without realizing it. But best of all, he's honest and loyal and sticks by Prin when everybody else has abandoned him. What more could you want from a friend?
Q: You mentioned that you write non-fiction as well as fiction?
A: The most popular non-fiction is The Knights Templar - Medieval Cult or Modern Nemesis? available at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/76544 

The most popular fiction is The Queen's Martian Rifles at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/102308

Q: What's your favorite indie book that you've read recently?
A: Cavanaugh's Cure By Dwayne Bearup
Q: What's your favorite book of all time?
A: Mere Christianity by CS Lewis
I've probably given away a dozen of them. It's an investigation of God (not religion) by a former atheist and friend of JRR Tolkein.
Q: Who are some of your favorite authors?
A: David Drake - I love military science fiction.
And Edgar Rice Burroughs - I read anything of his I could lay hands on. He's only got one plot but I like it.
Q: Do you have any advice for new writers?
A: I'm coordinator of a weekly writing critique group, so I see a lot of new writers' work. Grammar and formatting. If you can't write correctly and format your manuscript properly it doesn't matter what you're trying to say. It won't get published and it won't get read. I see a lot of stories that could be very interesting if the writer had taken the time to learn the basics.
Q: What's next for you?
A: I'm currently finishing editing a paranormal World War Two novel, "The Fist of God." I wrote it ten years ago and it needs a lot of editing and rewriting to get it to my current standards. I'm getting a lot of help from the critique group on that. And I'm writing a new non-fiction paranormal study, "Why do Ghosts Wear Clothes?" That's taken a lot of research in the achives of the British Society for Psychical Research (SPR) of which I am a member.
Q: Anything else you'd like to tell us? 
A: Like my writing, I defy classification.
I am a Christian who doesn't go to church. (I used to but that's a long story best explained by reading my
Spiritual Embezzlement Made Easy and Revolutionary Discipleship.)

I am a student of the occult who believes in the scientific method.

And I make the best donuts and pastry you've ever seen. (But I'd rather be writing.)
You can find author M.E Brines online at:

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