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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

THE TRIP INTO MADNESS


TODAY MY GUEST IS 
CHRISTOPHER KEATING
AUTHOR OF 
THAT WHICH MADDENS AND TORMENTS
HERE'S HIS GUEST POST:

THE TRIP INTO MADNESS

Why do you kill? If you’re discussing the real world, this question is somewhat disturbing, but there are reasons – money, power, love, revenge, or maybe even for pleasure. The usual suspects. But, why do you kill as a writer? This might also be disturbing, but it is typically for one reason – it is part of the story.  Every character I killed I killed for the purpose of telling the story, a story of the journey into madness.

Imagine you were pursued by an enemy. Imagine, also, you didn’t even know who this enemy was or why they were after you, but people around you were being killed. This is the basic scenario of That Which Maddens and Torments. Josephine Black is a young newspaper journalist when things around her begin to go bad. People she knows and loves are being killed. Eventually, she slowly starts to follow the path of Captain Ahab. Armed with the single-mindedness of insanity, she tracks down her tormenters and goes after them.

All told, eight people are killed during her journey. Some of them were, quite frankly, a lot of fun. Others, not so much. One character in particular was placed in the story explicitly to be killed. By the time I did, I found myself liking her so much I thought about changing the story to spare her, but decided against it. A couple of other murders were the very basis of the story. I wrote the ending first and worked everything else to get to that point.

Was I living out a dark fantasy? No. That doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy seeing bad guys get what they deserve. Unfortunately, part of being a bad guy means they did something bad to someone who isn’t. That means you have to write that part, too. But, that’s okay. Nothing gets the reader more involved than having something bad happen to someone who doesn’t deserve it.

Besides, it’s not real and you’re doing it all in fun.

Right?
*****
With the encouragement of her uncle, a retired professor of geophysics, Josephine Black, a recent college graduate, begins reporting on the issue of climate change for a major New York City newspaper. She quickly discovers that she has a passion for the subject and a talent for investigative journalism.
It’s not long before Jo’s hard-hitting articles are being noticed. However, leaders within the powerful fossil fuel industry don’t like what they are reading. They believe that the information in Jo’s articles could threaten their profits eventually, and they are also concerned that Jo will uncover a scientific report written by a friend of her uncle’s that proves the truth about global warming. The industry’s leaders are ruthless and are willing to stop at nothing to silence Jo and protect their profits.
Soon, Jo finds herself caught up in a very dangerous high stakes “cat and mouse game” related to the climate change debate. A game that combines politics and policy brokering at the highest levels of government with criminality. However, Jo is determined to outwit her ruthless enemies no matter what it takes.
Full of twists and turns, That Which Maddens and Torments is an entertaining, page-turning read. However, it also provides readers with insights into the debate surrounding the issue of global warming and helps to explain the motivation behind many of the global warming skeptics or deniers we read about or see on TV.

For More Information

  • That Which Maddens and Torments is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Introduction

They hadn’t hurt him. In fact, they had treated him quite well. That didn’t really change things, though. They were waiting for him in the apartment when he arrived and forced him to sit at the table. One of them sat with him while the other searched the apartment.

“Are you comfortable, Dr. Chriswald? Can I get you something to drink? Maybe something to eat?”

The old man shook his head.

“Why are you still in my apartment? I answered all of your questions. I don’t know anything about this report you keep asking me about.”

“Please, professor. Don’t lie to me. We know that you had the report. Just give it to us or tell us where we can find it and we’ll leave. No one is going to hurt you, but I must know where to find that report. You’re an old man and it wouldn’t take me long to force it out of you, but I don’t want to do that. Tell me what I want to know and we’ll be on our way.”

He was an intimidating figure. He wasn’t large or muscular, but there was a look about him that made you think this was someone to avoid, someone that would make you cross the street so you didn’t have to walk by him.

He was sitting at the table with professor when his accomplice came in.

“I can’t find anything. It’s not here.”

The professor’s questioner looked at him and said, “We’re going to have to do this the hard way. You are not going to like this. But, don’t worry; you’ll give in quickly enough.”

He was surprised at how fast the old professor could move and was caught off guard. Before he could do anything Chriswald jumped up from his chair was racing across the room - not towards the locked door, but to the window behind him. Without uttering a sound he went head first through the window.

The second man started to run after him before the first man stopped him.

“No! Someone might see you. Its five stories to the sidewalk. He’s done.”

“Oh, man! This place is going to be crawling with people. We need to get out of here.”

Seth Kern agreed. He could already hear the screams outside.

“Did you leave any evidence?”

“No. I was careful.”

Kern calmly nodded his head, “Good. Did he have some kind of list of contacts? He knew he would be forced to talk and he was willing to die instead. That means he had some secret he didn’t want to tell us. My guess is he did something with the report. He might have sent it to someone he knows for safe keeping.”

“Yeah, I saw an address book. I’ll get it.”

They took the address book and quickly let themselves out, leaving the building before anyone had a chance to see them. The clamor out front helped cover their escape. People were looking to see what the fuss was all about and weren’t in the hallway.

Once clear of the building Conrad Holiday asked, “Did you mean it? Were you going to just let him go?”

“Sure. I wasn’t paid to kill him, just to recover the report, and a dead body always results in an investigation. Besides, what was he going to do? Tell people about the report? Even if he did talk, people would have ignored him. It would have been just another crazy conspiracy theory with no proof or evidence. No, he wasn’t a threat to us.”

He wasn’t concerned about the dead professor. They had been careful breaking in and had made sure to not leave any evidence of their presence as they searched the apartment. He had no idea what kind of explanation the police would come up with, but he was sure it wouldn’t involve the two of them.

He was more concerned with what to tell his client. The professor was dead and the only lead they had was an address book. But, he had been in bad situations before and he would explain it somehow. Besides, he knew his client wanted that report too badly. He would let some things slide, as long as Kern was making progress.

“I wonder. If he had the report, why didn’t he take it to the press?”

Holiday shrugged his shoulders. “Maybe he was trying some blackmail?”

Kern shook his head. “I haven’t heard anything like that. Besides, the people involved would have just paid and moved on. It would be pocket change to them. No, I have a feeling there is more to this than we know about.”

With a sigh he pulled out the address book and began looking through it.

“Hopefully, one of these people knows something,” he thought.
*****

Chris Keating had his first story published when he was just seven years old and in second grade. He has been writing both fiction and nonfiction ever since.

He wrote his first book, Dialogues on 2012: Why the World Will Not End, while he was a professor of physics at the U.S Naval Academy. He was inspired to write it because of continually being questioned on all walks of life about the myth the world was going to end on December 21, 2012 according to the Mayan calendar.

After the world didn’t end, Chris decided to tackle the controversial topic of climate change by writing Undeniable! Dialogues on Global Warming, which was published in 2014. He also began the online Global Warming Skeptic Challenge, offering $10,000 to the first person who could prove the fallacy of global warming. His challenge quickly went viral and Chris spent his entire summer that year responding to submissions. He later published a compilation of the submissions and his responses, which can be purchased at Amazon.com or downloaded as a free PDF at ChrisKeatingAuthor.com. Chris also writes the blog, Dialogues on Global Warming, which is devoted to climate change issues.
Chris most recent book is the thriller, That Which Maddens and Torments. It pits an ambitious, hard-hitting young newspaper journalist writing about global warming against villainous denier lobbyists in Washington, D.C., who are working for the fossil fuel industry. At the behest of their clients, the lobbyists will stop at nothing to protect the industry’s profits and to ensure that a scientific study proving the truth of global warming does not become public. Chris hopes that by tackling the issue of global warming via a work of fiction, he will engage a broader cross section of people in the issue.

After successful careers as an Intelligence Officer in the U.S. Navy and the Navy Reserve and then as a professor of physics, Chris now lives in the Texas Hill Country, where he continues to focus on climate change research and to write.
For More Information
  • Visit Christopher Keating’s website.
  • Connect with Christopher on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Find out more about Christopher at Goodreads.
  • Visit Christopher’s blog.

THANKS CHRIS!
WISHING YOU ALL THE BEST WITH YOUR RELEASE OF
THAT WHICH MADDENS & TORMENTS

WELL READERS DO YOU KILL FOR FUN?

*****

ALSO ANNOUNCING
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When Zombies Attack is a collection of short stories, flash fiction, and poetry with over thirty individual pieces. Starting with zombies and ending with a flesh eater. There is horror, romance, murder, and mystery, a little for every reader.



  • Can a survivalist survive a zombie hoard?
  • Can an angel in training beat the Devil? 
  • Would you voluntarily jump into the fires of hell? 
  • Is murder ever forgivable?
  • Will love finally triumph over death!
  • On Halloween night, a sexy witch gets more than she
    planned for!
When Zombies Attack is a fun romp through all things forbidden, love with a touch of horror, and all those things that scare us!


Monday, October 12, 2015

KILLING MY DARLINGS

Today I welcome author, Martina McAtee, for a guest post and to discuss her latest release 
Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things!

Take it away Martina!


Killing My Darlings

I’ll admit it. I like killing people. In fact, people have told me I may be a little bit of a psychopath. I can’t help it though. As a writer, there is something deeply satisfying when you turn your audience into a sobbing mess with a perfectly timed character death. Does that make me a sadist? A narcissist? Maybe a bit of both?

While I don’t think a writer should pick off their beloved characters one by one-I’m looking at you George R.R. Martin-I do think using a well-timed, well-written death can increase the tension and put your audience on the knife’s edge. Once they know you’re crazy enough to kill off a character they love, they get just a little bit nervous. I admit, this is a gamble. If you do it wrong, your audience will never trust you again. But if you do it right…it can be amazing.
Okay, now that I’ve given you my motive, let me tell you about my weapons of choice. My books take place in a supernatural world where wolves, demons, zombies and any other number of creatures roam free with little adult supervision. Really, when it comes to danger, any number of things could kill them at any moment. Perhaps that is why I prefer to use such simple ways of killing and torturing my characters? I find it a bit like being doused with ice water when a supernatural creature somehow becomes victim to a car accident or a bullet. It makes your audience remember that supernatural doesn’t always mean invincible. Or it makes them hate you with the fire of a thousand suns. It could go either way.

Even when your character is invincible, they aren’t immune to torture and no matter how many supernatural ways there are to make your characters miserable, I find that when it comes to tormenting your characters psychological torture is still the most effective way of breaking them. If that doesn’t work might I suggest the four elements; earth (burying them alive), air (suffocation) fire (the possibilities are limitless, really) or water (drowning). It doesn’t really matter whether your character is human or super-human, those five go to torture devices never fail.

While I love murder and mayhem, tread lightly. If you kill off a character but don’t give your audience-especially a teen audience-an ending that leaves them satisfied but wanting more, it will more than likely be your writing career that is murdered.  
*****

17 year old Ember Denning has made an art of isolating herself. She prefers the dead. She spends her days skipping school in old cemeteries and her nights hiding from her alcoholic father at the funeral home where she works. When her own father dies, Ember learns her whole life is a lie. Standing in the cemetery that’s been her sanctuary, she’s threatened by the most beautiful boy she’s ever seen and rescued by two people who claim to be her family. They say she’s special, that she has a supernatural gift like them…they just don’t know exactly what it is. 

They take her to a small Florida town, where Ember’s life takes a turn for the weird. She’s living with her reaper cousins, an orphaned werewolf pack, a faery and a human genius. Ember’s powers are growing stronger, morphing into something bigger than anything anybody anticipated. Ember has questions but nobody has answers. Nobody knows what she is. They only know her mysterious magical gift is trying to kill them and that beautiful dangerous boy from the cemetery may be the only thing standing between her and death. 

As Ember’s talents are revealed so are the secrets her father hid and those in power who would seek to destroy her. What’s worse, saving Ember has put her cousins in danger and turned her friend’s lives upside down. Ember must learn to embrace her magic or risk losing the family she’s pieced together.

For More Information

  • Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
About the Author

Martina McAtee lives in Jupiter, Florida with her teenage daughter, her best friend, two attack Chihuahua’s and two shady looking cats. By day she is a registered nurse but by night she writes young adult books about reapers, zombies, werewolves and other supernatural creatures. When she isn’t working, teaching or writing she's reading or watching shows that involve reapers, zombies, werewolves and other supernatural creatures. Her debut novel Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things is set to release on August 31st, 2015. She is currently working on the second book in the series, Your Soul to Take, due to release in 2016.

For More Information
Book Excerpt:


She went lightheaded as the enormity of her words hit her, “Oh, God. This is like the part in the movie where you try to kill me, right? You are going to try to kill me and I feel too crappy to even try to run.” 

She was talking more to herself now. She leaned back against the rusted mausoleum gates behind her, enjoying the cool metal against her skin. Her head was swimming, the stars above blurring in the sky. No, not now, she thought. It was happening again. Whatever had happened earlier in the cemetery was happening again. She could feel it rising up in her, that weird feeling like her insides were melting and liquefying while she could do nothing to stop it. Was this a panic attack? Could a panic attack cause what happened in the cemetery earlier? Maybe this was some kind of fight or flight adrenaline response. 

She felt caged, trapped by her own body. It was all in her head. The ground wasn’t vibrating at her feet. There was no way she was really burning up in forty-degree weather. Even in her haze she could see him watching her. Maybe if she just held still, he would be quick about it.

Her head lulled on her shoulders. She was going to pass out. It would serve him right. Then he was just there, in her space, fingers cupping her face. She moaned at the feel of his cold hands against her overheated flesh. “And if it is, Luv? If this is the part where I try to kill you? What then? Are you going to pass out and take all the fun out of it? Or will you fight back?”

There was no mistaking the threat of his words, but he was close enough to whisper them against her skin like a promise. She couldn’t think straight. Her head filled with a sound like angry bees. She pitched forward, dropping her forehead to his shoulder, eyes drifting closed.

He was so cold; even through the layers of his clothes; his body seemed to emit this pleasant icy radiance that soothed her feverish skin. She wrapped herself around him, locking her arms. She buried her face against his throat, nose rubbing against his skin.

She felt his body go rigid in her arms. She didn’t blame him, on some level she understood sane girls didn’t try to cuddle their killers. But nobody ever accused her of being sane. She was the girl who played in cemeteries and talked to the dead. She was the girl with three therapists before she was twelve. She was the girl in flames and he was ice water; if she was going to die, she was going to have this first.

They stood there, bound together by her forced embrace. Those strange vibrations increased, building inside her like a living thing, a burning energy trying to melt her from the inside out. She could hear his ragged breath panting against her ear, could feel him writhing in her grasp, but she refused to let go. Could he feel it too?

She clung to him, knowing if she let go this peculiar energy would overwhelm her. She breathed him in, letting him anchor her as it kept building and burning, growing until it thrust from her with the force of a sledgehammer. He groaned like he’d received the physical blow, he may have fallen had she not been holding him to her. Finally, the world seemed to right itself. Her blood ceased to boil and the vibrations stopped. When her mind quieted, she became very aware of what she was doing.

She let go, shoving him back. Despite his size, he stumbled, blinking hard. They stared at each other, his confusion mirroring her own.

“What are you?” she whispered. “What are you doing to me?”  
  
He rushed her, shoving her against the concrete hard enough to knock her teeth together, “What did I do to you? What game are you playing? What are you? What was that? What did you do?”

She whimpered, feet scrambling for purchase as she realized he’d lifted her from the ground. Her heart thundered in her chest. He was fit but not big enough to haul her off her feet like that. She shoved at him uselessly. “Put me down.”
Her descent was abrupt, her heart lodging in her throat. His eyes narrowed, his hands tangling in her messy hair, tilting her head to the side. “Come on, Luv, you can tell me. I’m sure it’s eating at you, keeping this secret.”

He was insane. She opened her mouth to say so but her brain short-circuited as his nose traced along the column of her throat. “I promise, things will be so much easier if you just tell me,” he purred, his lips pressing the words into her skin. She moved closer to him. In her defense, she’d never been this close to a boy before; especially not one who looked like he did.

“We can do this one of two ways,” He inhaled her scent, pressing his mouth to the shell of her ear as he said, “I promise one is infinitely more pleasurable than the other,”

Ew. Oh, God. What was she doing? What was he doing? Seducing her for information? Threatening her? It really bothered her that she didn’t know the difference.

She needed to get it together. Her breath hitched in her chest. This was not how she saw herself dying. She’d had a plan. She’d written it down obituary style for a morbid ninth grade English assignment. She was supposed to die of obscenely old age in her enormous but tastefully decorated plantation home surrounded by her beautiful and ungrateful grandchildren.

He huffed out a laugh and she realized she’d said all that aloud. She was too scared to be embarrassed. Instead, she slapped at his hands ineffectively.
He stepped away so abruptly she staggered, pacing before her, “You’re seriously not going to tell me? You’re only hurting yourself on this one.”

 “I don’t know what you are talking about,” she told him, “You’re crazy.”

He sighed heavily, his tone shifting as if speaking to a rather stupid child, “I’ll figure it out eventually.” He told her, pointing at her, “You don’t smell like a witch. You certainly aren’t a shifter.” Then he was back before her, gripping her chin, turning her head side to side, like he was examining livestock, “But you most definitely aren’t human.” Tiny hairs rose along her skin at his touch,

“You’re trying my patience. What the hell are you?”

She pushed away from him, head throbbing with his words. “Stop with the grabby hands,”

She needed to think. He was clearly unhinged. She had very few options. She could run but she doubted she could outrun him. Her gaze raked across broad shoulders and a flat stomach, he looked like he did a lot of cardio. She could scream but there wasn’t anybody to hear her. Instead, she did what she always did when she was nervous…she babbled.

She’d watched a million documentaries on serial killers and the mentally ill. She could figure this out. Netflix was her friend. She wracked her brain, if he was a killer she had to make him see her as a person, tell him about her life, say her name a lot, make him believe people cared if she died, even if it was a lie.

But what if he was schizophrenic? He thought she wasn’t human. What was she supposed to do? Orient him to reality? Play along with his fantasy? She should have paid more attention.

“What’s your name?” she heard herself say, voice breathless.

He arched his brow, tsking softly, expression bored. “I’m asking the questions here,”

“Just tell me your name,” she demanded, panic creeping back in.

“Mace,” the answer tumbled from his lips unbidden. He looked mystified, like his own mouth had betrayed him. He absently rubbed a spot on his chest.

“Mace,” she repeated, with a nod. Okay, it was a start. “So um, here’s the thing, Mace. I’m only seventeen and I don’t want to die.”

He gave her a look and a ‘fair enough’ shrug and gestured for her to continue, clearly amused by this turn of events.

She frowned, but soldiered on, “You can’t be much older than me so let’s just think about this for a minute, okay?” She raked a hand through her damp hair, “I’m not really sure why you want to kill me but my life has pretty much sucked up until now. Like so much suckage. I can’t even explain the level of suck, but I feel like, statistically speaking, that’s gotta change. I’m not trying to sound like a motivational poster but it’s supposed to get better. I’d very much like to have a pulse when it does,”

He narrowed his eyes at her, brow furrowed. He stepped forward.

“Stop,” she held up her hand, palm out, “Just listen,”

He stopped, looking at his feet then at her again.

“I’m a nice girl,” she told him, before frowning, “but maybe you don’t care about that. I mean, if you’re, like, a murderous psychopath, you probably aren’t super interested in my feelings, but what about yourself?” She reasoned, gesturing spastically to all of his…self, “You seem like the kind of guy who thinks a lot of himself.”

He cocked an eyebrow but said nothing. She was in turbo babble mode now, “If you kill me your life is over. You will definitely go to jail. I mean, look at me.” She gestured to her face, “I look like an ad for facial cleanser and girls who eat yogurt. Juries eat that stuff up. You’d probably get the chair.”

He looked a little dazed. “You make a passionate yet confusing plea, Luv,”
Her heart sank as he took a tentative step towards her, then another. He grinned as he advanced.

“Come on. I’m sure you don’t want to go to prison.” She whined, “You are way too pretty for prison. You’d make a lot of the wrong kind of friends in prison.” Stop saying prison, Ember, she begged herself. “Do you want those kind of friends? Of course, you don’t. We could be friends?” she finished lamely, face flushing with shame. Maybe he should just kill her. It would be less embarrassing.

He blinked at her, cheek twitching, “Aw, are you asking me to be your friend? One might question your judgment.”

Her hands fell to her hips, swaying on her feet. “Wow, not to put too fine a point on it, but I’ve only seen you twice and both times you were here,” she gestured to their surroundings. “You hang out in cemeteries because you have so many friends? Is this were your book club meets?”

“I can see why you have no friends,” he told her drolly.

She squinted as something glinted in the air above his head.

“I-” was all he managed before the object made contact with his head, sounding like a hammer hitting an overripe melon. He hit his knees with a groan, whatever he was going to say dying on his lips.

She looked at his crumpled form, unreasonably disappointed.

She’d really wanted to know what he was going to say.


Giveaway!

Martina will be giving away a sugar skull coffee mug with Day of the Dead tea and sugar skull shaped sugar cubes!  Enter below!



Rafflecopter Code: a Rafflecopter giveaway



Thank you, Martina, an amazing post
and a woman after my own heart!
What about you readers do you enjoy 
killing your darlings?



Monday, October 5, 2015

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