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About the Author: Ken Brosky

Ken Brosky's first real adventure occurred when he was but 12 years old. Upon entering the family home one winter afternoon, he found himself surrounded by a cacophony of rubble. There had, over the course of the day, been a burglary. It seemed the intruders had been looking for something of vast importance.

Brosky took an inventory. The only thing missing, curiously, was his Game Boy.

It would be fifteen years before he saw it again. His journey took him around the world, where he met a strange variety of people: a simple-minded djinn, a scarecrow entranced by fire, a power-hungry dictator who enjoyed watching people eat. At each step, Brosky aged a thousand years every day. But he also grew closer to solving the mystery.

There was romance along the way, of course, as well as car chases. Often the two intersected like a pair of dusty cobblestone streets hidden away in a small Tuscan village. Brosky fell in love with the Italian countryside as well as the ancient Roman structures dotting the landscape. During one temporary bout of madness brought upon by the assassination of a high-profile seamstress (and part-time lover), Brosky dressed in robes and wandered downtown Rome in hopes of spreading his philosophic lore.

He returned to Wisconsin at the age of twenty-seven, a broken man. His mother hugged him and gave him a gift: the Game Boy. It had been sitting on the bookshelf all along.

He enrolled in Nebraska's creative writing program in hopes of fostering a new identity, one that placed tranquility above all else. But instead he was forced to run obstacle courses, reciting obscure verses from Herman Melville stories while navigating Omaha's treacherous swamps.

Still, Ken Brosky was unsure of what, exactly, to write. After some contemplation, he decided to go Biblical and walk out into one of Nebraska's many deserts in hopes of being tempted by the Devil. What happened turned out to be far, far worse than that.

After three days without water or s'mores, Ken Brosky had a vision. Only it wasn't the Devil at all--it was the ghostly visage of Stephanie Meyer, writer of the ultra-famous Twilight series! "Holy crap!" Ken shouted at the swirling hot sand.

The ghostly creature floated towards him. "How about you write a book about teenage vampires?" she asked.

"No!" Ken Brosky shouted. "The market is over-saturated and vampires don't sparkle!"

The vision of Stephanie Meyer shimmered, then faded. Ken Brosky breathed a sigh of relief. Suddenly, she returned.

"OK, how about this idea," she said, "a centaur moves to a new village and meets a dragon who understands her feelings and the two fall madly in love?"

"No!" Ken Brosky shouted again, thus denying the demonic vision a second time. "That doesn't even make sense! Why would a dragon fall in love with a half-man, half-horse creature!"

The ghostly Stephanie Meyer shimmered, then faded. Ken Brosky held his breath, knowing full-well that 3 was a magical literary number.

Suddenly the ghost creature returned. "One more idea," she said. "Then I'll leave you alone. Promise. OK. What if you wrote a book about a secret clan of werewolves who go undercover at a high school and learn how to be truly human once again?"

"No, no, no!" Ken Brosky said. "No werewolves! No vampires! And for the love of god, no zombies!" He held his hands to the air. "Will I receive no help whatsoever from this ill-conceived trip into the Nebraska desert?"

Suddenly, the ghostly image of Stephanie Meyer disappeared. It was replaced with the ghostly visage of Jim Shepard--"ghostly images" are convenient because they avoid litigation--and Ken Brosky took a step back.

"Research," the ghostly visage of Jim Shepard said. "And then write."

Ken Brosky nodded and returned to his MFA program for a much-needed glass of beer. He began researching, and writing.

When he graduated, he continued writing.

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Goodreads rating: 3.65

Paperback, Published in Nov 2011 by Brew City Press

ISBN10: 1467974374 | ISBN13: 9781467974370

Page count: 142

A white man lost in Darfur. Phone hackers. Honey thieves. An Iraq War veteran searching for his missing leg in the dead of night. These are just a few of the characters inhabiting Ken Brosky's first short story collection, which features short stories that have been published in magazines including Gargoyle, Cream City Review, Barcelona Review, Pif, and more. If there's one theme running through all of the stories, it's survival. Every character approaches this theme in a different way. For the couple stuck inside a coffee shop during the Apocalypse, "survival" means getting through the next hour. For the middle-aged man who fears he might be downsized, it means going out on your own terms. How do you survive? Will you?

From phone hackers to an Iraqi searching for his missing leg, these are thought-provoking accounts packed with powerful images. They don't include Brosky's earlier horror writing, but they do provide a virtual feast of emotions that do include horror, humor and observations of the human condition. '' is the only essay included in this collection of fiction, and provides a fine and unexpected survey of the internet giant. Brosky's short stories always open with a bang: "I knew this guy, babe, he could do things with his mouth you ain't never seen. And I ain't talking about sex here, all right? All right? Get your head out of the gutter and listen to me, because this is a story that's gonna blow your mind." That's part of his special power: imparting scenarios and openings that keep you reading. But the tension and unexpected twists don't end with the opening lines: it is evident throughout the chatty, involving story line: "It all started in the 1960s, when Cap'n Crunch cereal included a free toy whistle in every box. The whistle just so happened to produce a 2600hz tone, which is the exact same tone that AT&T used as a steady signal for unused long-distance lines."

--Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review

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