Every Winter Solstice, I do something a little different on the website.
Sometimes I have a special guest in the blog or write about cabin fever, but this time I've decided to give you a sneak peek of Ashland's Asylum, my novel in stories tentatively scheduled to released mid-2015.
Continue reading for an excerpt of the one of the more sinister tales, "Strife", from my novel in stories. It's about a farmer who needs a second source of income, and unfortunately finds it one day.
Ashland's Asylum is my latest work-in-progress. I'm glad to announce the final drafts are coming along smoothly, and I'm optimistic the book should be available mid-2015-ish. For a quick glance into each of the 6 stories making up Ashland's Asylum, click here.
However, more than likely you're here for the big spoiler, which is that I plan on releasing the 1st teaser for Ashland's Asylum on Winter Solstice 2014.
On December 21st, assuming all goes well, I'll launch a few pages of "Strife" for all of you to read for free, right here on C.M. Humphries.com. Keep reading for more details.
Nauseating strobes flash through the packed night club and break everyone down into static. My head spins as I try to focus on a blurred blond woman across from me on a curved leather bench. I watch her tap her neon-painted fingernails along the table.
With one hand running along the side of my head, she makes me recoil even before she flashes her cracked grin. This ghost of a woman digs her nails into her face and peels down her flesh. Rather than cartilage or tissue, underneath her skin is a deep blackness with only her eyes and bone structure to reveal.
One thing you might not realize is that most killers are not psychopathic, according to James Fallon, a neurobiologist at UC Irvine. In fact, he argues most of them like their lives too much to want to destroy it. Instead, they would rather bring you into their world through coy seduction. These are people all around you. In fact, there's about 1 psychopath for every work environment with around 35 people or more.
Continuing reading to see how the psychopath slips into our everyday lives - or to see if there might be one close to you.
The last shot for Chance Black to save his family . . .
Chance Black, while not the writer he hoped to be, was a pretty damn good photographer. With his skills, Chance turned a dollar or two--enough for him, his wife, and his son to get by on. One day, a comparatively sizable paycheck came along. An opportunity arose to photograph an event for the Long Brooke Sync, a local tabloid publication, but Chance had no idea what would come along with the cash. By coincidence, one of his photographs captured suspicious behavior in the background, and unfortunately for Chance, the man committing the act figured it out first. In order to take the photograph back from Chance, the man in the photo decided he needed some major collateral.
It's been awhile since I wrote the popular "5 Elements of a Good Horror Story", which made me wonder if there was anything more I could add to the list. As I worked a bit more on Ashland's Asylum, I realized there is a great concept I completely missed - the concept of false antagonists and allies. After all, shouldn't any good horror story keep you guessing who's the bad guy and who's the hero?
If you're in the Plains or Midwest, maybe this is a good thing for you. Maybe not. Who knows?
All I know is that I'd almost forgotten to keep this short story going until I had an email inquiring about it. Well, the email itself wasn't performing any such action, but the emailer (Thanks, Jenny!) actually liked this story. It's another oldie from my first waves as a writer that I hope you enjoy.
To catch you up, Chance Black, freelance photographer working for the Long Brooke Sync, a tabloid publication of all goings-on around downtown Long Brooke, accidentally snaps a photo of someone and something he should have. Now he has to return the photos to a madman who cannot afford the risk of having another set of eyes on them. He either does that, or he loses his family.
Photo: Coraline-Neil Gaiman and Tim Burton by darvinha. Click link for full image.
Recently Neil Gaiman, most famous for his book& animated film Coraline, explored the importance of reading. His focus was how we estimated the number of prison and jail cells we will need in the future. He concluded that the formula was quite simple: figure out how many 11-year-olds were illiterate.
My natural disposition is to jump ahead of the present and continue towards the future. I have this terrific rock band I've been working with, some brand-new novels and short stories on the well, future blog hops, interview, etc. Things are good. But that's only now.
For awhile I had to take a little hiatus and get myself back together. For the first, I experience a shortage in the good ol' noggin', or an anxiety attack. A close friend of mine suggested it might be worth writing about, so here we are. If you've had a similiar experience yourself, make sure to check it out. If not, maybe it's worth exploring for the sake of understanding.
I'm finally back at it. In the next blog entry, I'll explain a little bit more about my recent hiatus, but for now all I want to talk about is what's to come. Since I've had a bit of time to myself, I reviewed No-Injury Policy and decided I had to follow the short story collection up somehow, or at least the end-tale.
With that in mind, I'm working on a novel in stories called Ashland's Asylum, which takes place almost twenty years after the end of "No-Injury Policy."
Find out about my new book and more in the newest entry in The Forbidden Blog. Also make sure to check around the site periodically, as things are getting better.
Do you have a favorite fall memory linked to a train? What do you imagine you would see if you were riding a train in the fall? Join the authors of Wild Child publishing and Freya’s Bower as we Take an Autumn Train Ride through our blogs.
Prizes will include
Four $50 gift certificates (two for Wild Child and two for Freya's Bower)
An awesome swag package that includes:
Wild Child T-shirt and mug
Wild Child and Freya's Bower bags
Four handmade, crochet coasters by Kit Wylde
An autographed copy of Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
A rare DVD copy of the Matheson/Furst classic "Up The Creek" (lovingly used)
One ebook copy of Nita Wick’s short story, The Dream (previously published as part of a Freya’s Bower anthology.)
Book trading cards
Signed Dangerous Waters poster
copy of "Battle for Blood: The Blood Feud"
the winner’s name as a character in Kissa Starling’s next sweet romance story.
A Yankee Candle
Please visit these sites for more chances to win, the more you visit the more chances you have to win. We have 46 participating authors. You can stop at as many or as little blogs as you wish. At each stop, you will find two chances to enter per blog to win some awesome prizes. If you visit all, that’s 92 chances to win! There will be five, lucky winners.
Take the Blog Train and Visit These Blogs for more chances to win
Lately there's been a major buzz about print publications, copyright infringement, our education rate, and what role literature will have in the future. Luckily, it seems many people are acting out to insure a better tomorrow. The times have changed, so have publishers, news sources, print and digital technologies, as well as our educational systems. All of these things combined show three signs of hope for the future.
I'm not sure what my recent obsession with King of the Hillis, so I apologize for the headline. However, I have been up to something rather cool since I've been gone. Oh, and I started a band again. (The teen me is revved up.)
More relevant at this moment is the fact I'm going to be part of a blog hop with the good folks and authors of Wild Child Publishing. (Remember Excluded?) There are two things I need to figure out here, so maybe you can decide for me.
The last few days you might've noticed I sort of fell off the map. Reason 1 is that I'm currently work on some music, which takes some time. Reason 2 is because I had the great fortune of having my computer malfunction.
After a few days without access to my main writing device, I found myself diving deeper into music and writing out a new version of His Daughter by hand, and that's when I realized there were even more benefits than I previously mentioned.
More so than genetics, ideas over the years evolved in nature. The basic concept here is that ideas transcend, generation to generation, which often times results in a more-informed and creative society. As ideas mature, they can even lead to progression. While these ideas might seem ever-lasting, I do believe there are a few threats stopping us from becoming a more productive specie.
Some of us have wild dreams we'll never let go. We hope this stamina and this resilience will lead to the fruition of those goals. We ignore criticism & doubt. We feel lost without the pursuit of such happiness.
However, if you're like most of us, there's this achievement we haven't quite snatched. Until we do, everything around us is grey-scaled --you know, between black & white, which aren't even colors.
And if you're also like us, perhaps you believe you defined the phrase "been in a funk." We might also believe ourselves to be the very ones who started labeling almost everything else "menial." But after a transition from dread to research, I believe there are few things I have learned about the pursuit of happiness.
The general trend between almost all of those topics is that reading, particularly fiction, can help make you a better person. That is, if you desire such a thing. As usual, I was reading and stumbled upon a great article focusing on a study that might have proven that indulging in a good fiction story can make you a better learner, a better thinker, and consequently, a better person.
Like most people, though, I was a bit skeptical. I can see the easy argument that all writers would want you to keep reading, right? We make money that way (sometimes). However, I wouldn't write with the intent on a making a profit, unless it was in the intrinsic sense. So . . .
There are many writers who either go indie and/or self-publishing; or there are those who will only follow the path to traditional publishing. The argument behind traditional publishing is merit. There's a label on your book and check to say this book was seen to be worth at least this much. Some self-pub writers will argue their method is the only way to truly express your writing. It brings so much freedom and a much higher royalty rate.
Hart seems to hold a mutual viewpoint of the many publishing media. He traditionally publishes his manuscripts, while some of the smaller ones that don't fit into a specific commercial market, he reserves those for self-publishing. He considers himself a "hybrid writer."
Although I think the term is a bit inflated, I fall into the category. For instance, many of my works involved signatures, but then there's No-Injury Policywhich has been fairly successful since its release in October 2012.
The short story collection might found some sort of accreditation in the traditional market, but I knew a book of its nature wasn't expected to be a bestseller. However, it is a collection of stories I believe many people will find--or already have found--interesting.
There's just not real a demand for short story collections in the general markets, especially a work like #NIP that crosses between genre fiction and not.
A little shy of a year ago, I touched on the subject "The Benefits of Irrational Thinking," in which I used a writing example to show why I think what seems crazy at the time (or even when you dissect it) can lead you to some real opportunities.
The general idea was irrational thinking brought hope. Today I intend on showing you some of the ways irrational thought can be concentrated and deployed as a means of bettering yourself.
Here's the deal: I love the novel American Psycho, and the movie wasn't too shabby either. Actually, I think the movie was a little less twisted, but that's neither here nor there. However, Bret Easton Ellis has been a little strange as of late.
First, he wanted to rewrite the book and modernize it. Why? It's still prominent in pop culture as it was during it's cult heyday. Quick summary: The protagonist is bank investor Patrick Bateman who's obsessed with image from suits to business cards. He's obsessive. He's compulsive. He's sweet. He'll rip your vagina out. That's the kind of story we're talking about here.
Second, I like the idea of a musical over a retake on the book. For the same reason Fight Club was annoying to some, this notion of an American Psycho musical is driving me insane.