It’s that time of the year again! Welcome to #Coffinhop @CoffinHop Day 2

Phew, I made it! I’ve been waiting for this tour for a year now! And it’s with utmost excitement that I welcome you to my blog, and encourage you to visit http://coffinhop.com/ to see the list of all the participants.

81wNCS9WHzL._SL1500_I started my writing journey with these folks, and have grown since then… Just a little, I admit, but enough to have published two books. The first one, Stories from the Underworld, is an anthology of horror short stories. The second one, that will be released in November, is called 32 Seconds, and while using some horror elements, is a psychological YA paranormal novel. 32secondsfinalcover.jpg

Halloween is around the corner! The spooky and scary comes in many shapes and forms. To me, nothing is scarier than insanity. The world can collapse around me, and all material things can disappear, if I lose my mind, I’m done. Therefore, as a teaser for your taste buds to celebrate the release of 32 Seconds, I will focus my blog tour posts on insanity.

At the end of each post, please write a comment and tell me what scares you the most to be entered into the list of contestants to my Halloween raffle (don’t forget to put your name and email so I can get in touch with you once the tour is over)! The three lucky winners (with the scariest answers!) will each receive an autographed copy of 32 Seconds and the first prize is a $25 Amazon gift card!

Hop on! The tour has begun!

***

Day 2 – Personality Disorders

Personality disorders are scary because there are many of them. The American Psychiatric Association has defined three main clusters of personality disorders, which contain several sub-disorders.

Cluster A (odd disorders)

Paranoid personality disorder: characterized by a pattern of irrational suspicion and mistrust of others, interpreting motivations as malevolent.

Schizoid personality disorder: lack of interest and detachment from social relationships, apathy and restricted emotional expression.

Schizotypal personality disorder: a pattern of extreme discomfort interacting socially, distorted cognitions and perceptions.

Cluster B (dramatic, emotional or erratic disorders)

Antisocial personality disorder: a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others, lack of empathy, bloated self-image, manipulative and impulsive behavior.

Borderline personality disorder: pervasive pattern of instability in relationships, self-image, identity, behavior and affects often leading to self-harm and impulsivity.

Histrionic personality disorder: pervasive pattern of attention-seeking behavior and excessive emotions.

Narcissistic personality disorder: a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and a lack of empathy.

Cluster C (anxious or fearful disorders)

Avoidant personality disorder: pervasive feelings of social inhibition and inadequacy, extreme sensitivity to negative evaluation.

Dependent personality disorder: pervasive psychological need to be cared for by other people.

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (not the same as obsessive-compulsive disorder): characterized by rigid conformity to rules, perfectionism and control.

Jeffrey Dahmer, serial killer, was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Dahmer, also known as the Milwaukee Cannibal, was an American serial killer and sex offender, who committed the rape, murder and dismemberment of 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991, with many of his later murders also involving necrophilia, cannibalism and the permanent preservation of body parts—typically all or part of the skeletal structure. Despite being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, he was still found sane to stand trial and was executed in 1994.

If that doesn’t give you the chills, I don’t know what does…

Tomorrow, we tackle suicidal depression.

Happy hop!

***

32 Seconds by Johanna K. Pitcairn

To the average onlooker, the city of Los Angeles represents glitz, glamour, and the celebrity lifestyle. But to seventeen-year-old Julie Jones, the city is a vast host of problems she’s longing to get away from. The latest? An unfortunate disagreement with her ex-boyfriend Mark—one that could land her in some serious hot water.

So rather than face the troubles that torment her, Julie decides to run away from her old life and start fresh somewhere new. But her parents aren’t on board with the plan, and she soon finds her bank accounts frozen and her wallet empty.

With just seventy-five dollars and a full tank of gas, the troubled teen is far too stubborn to turn around and head home. So what’s a girl to do?

What Julie doesn’t know is that her travels are about to take her somewhere unexpected—a place where she’ll be forced to come face to face with the ghosts of her past in order to secure her future.

A tale of redemption, hope, and freedom lost and found, 32 Seconds is a thought-provoking exploration into the human spirit and the nature of forgiveness.

It’s that time of the year again! Welcome to #Coffinhop @CoffinHop Day 1

Phew, I made it! I’ve been waiting for this tour for a year now! And it’s with utmost excitement that I welcome you to my blog, and encourage you to visit http://coffinhop.com/ to see the list of all the participants.

81wNCS9WHzL._SL1500_I started my writing journey with these folks, and have grown since then… Just a little, I admit, but enough to have published two books. The first one, Stories from the Underworld, is an anthology of horror short stories. The second one, that will be released in November, is called 32 Seconds, and while using some horror elements, is a psychological YA paranormal novel. 32secondsfinalcover.jpg

Halloween is around the corner! The spooky and scary comes in many shapes and forms. To me, nothing is scarier than insanity. The world can collapse around me, and all material things can disappear, if I lose my mind, I’m done. Therefore, as a teaser for your taste buds to celebrate the release of 32 Seconds, I will focus my blog tour posts on insanity.

At the end of each post, please write a comment and tell me what scares you the most to be entered into the list of contestants to my Halloween raffle (don’t forget to put your name and email so I can get in touch with you once the tour is over)! The three lucky winners (with the scariest answers!) will each receive an autographed copy of 32 Seconds and the first prize is a $25 Amazon gift card!

Hop on! The tour has begun!

***

Day 1 – Schizophrenia 

Do you hear voices? Do you believe other people are reading your mind, controlling your thoughts or plotting to harm you?

In a nutshell, that’s what schizophrenia is about. When you lose sense of who you are, and are a prisoner of your own mind. You don’t trust a word you say, and other people say, what you hear, see, feel, smell. You hallucinate. The voices warn you of an upcoming danger, or ask you to harm others or yourself. The visions scare you. Your thoughts don’t make any sense.

Some serial killers, such as Richard Trenton Chase, suffer from schizophrenia. Chase is famous for killing six people in the span of one month. He was nicknamed “The Vampire of Sacramento” because he drank his victims’ blood and cannibalized their remains. His horrid crimes inspired writers and movie makers. The film Rampage (1987) is a loose adaptation of the same-titled novel written by William P. Wood.

Scary, right?

Tomorrow we’ll tackle personality disorders…

Happy hop!

***

32 Seconds by Johanna K. Pitcairn

To the average onlooker, the city of Los Angeles represents glitz, glamour, and the celebrity lifestyle. But to seventeen-year-old Julie Jones, the city is a vast host of problems she’s longing to get away from. The latest? An unfortunate disagreement with her ex-boyfriend Mark—one that could land her in some serious hot water.

So rather than face the troubles that torment her, Julie decides to run away from her old life and start fresh somewhere new. But her parents aren’t on board with the plan, and she soon finds her bank accounts frozen and her wallet empty.

With just seventy-five dollars and a full tank of gas, the troubled teen is far too stubborn to turn around and head home. So what’s a girl to do?

What Julie doesn’t know is that her travels are about to take her somewhere unexpected—a place where she’ll be forced to come face to face with the ghosts of her past in order to secure her future.

A tale of redemption, hope, and freedom lost and found, 32 Seconds is a thought-provoking exploration into the human spirit and the nature of forgiveness.

#TT – Tuesday Teaser – #32Seconds

Hello Folks!

Happy Tuesday. I realize I haven’t posted a teaser in a while, and I apologize for that. 32 Seconds is really in the final stages of completion. I’m adjusting the last details for the release, and these things take time… I don’t have a set date yet, but know that the novel will be available as paperback and ebook on Amazon in November – more mid-November than beginning of the month. As soon as I know the date, I will let you now!

Happy reading!

***

I groaned. “What does she want?”
Evan and Susan crouched next to me.
“She comes when you lose your temper,” he whispered. “I already told you that.”
“Oh yeah? She thinks she scares me? I’m going to tell her once and for all what I think of
her!”
“No, Julie, that’s not a good idea!” Susan said.
Of course, I didn’t listen and stood to stare straight into Kara’s soulless, purple eyeballs.
“What do you want?”
“Oh, friend, I do remember you being mean to me,” Kara snarled. “Why, I thought we could
talk—”
“Oh yeah, you want to talk? Funny, I’d like to talk too. But I’ll let you speak your mind as
long as you don’t attack me like last time. I accept a civilized conversation, not a scratching
fest.”
She leapt and landed with a whoosh on top of the desk. Evan emerged from his hiding spot
and positioned himself between her and me.
“Back off,” he said.
She laughed.
“Oh come on, she wants to talk. So… let’s talk.”
“You don’t want to talk,” he replied, looking at her, and then at me.
“How do you know what I want?” she asked.
“Because I can read your mind.”
She smiled. “And what am I thinking about now, tough boy?”
He clenched his teeth. Susan got up, put her hand on his arm and stepped between him and
Kara.
“You should go before anyone gets hurt,” Susan said.
Kara laughed. “Is that so?”
“No way can she hurt me,” I mumbled under my breath. “I have too much hatred against
her. If she wants to fight, I’ll join the dance.”
“Trust me, fighting her won’t solve anything. Quite the contrary,” Susan insisted.
Kara pointed her finger directly at my face.
“You destroyed my life!” she shouted. “And you think you’re not scared. But you are going
to piss yourself again, little girl! You know why? Because Julie Jones is a coward! She hides
behind all that anger but, deep inside, she’s frightened. Look at her. She can’t even live with
herself!”
She stomped her feet on the desk, grunting and grimacing and, without further ado, my
bladder released its load into my pants.

***

32 Seconds by Johanna K. Pitcairn

32secondsfinalcover.jpgTo the average onlooker, the city of Los Angeles represents glitz, glamour, and the celebrity lifestyle. But to seventeen-year-old Julie Jones, the city is a vast host of problems she’s longing to get away from. The latest? An unfortunate disagreement with her ex-boyfriend Mark—one that could land her in some serious hot water.

So rather than face the troubles that torment her, Julie decides to run away from her old life and start fresh somewhere new. But her parents aren’t on board with the plan, and she soon finds her bank accounts frozen and her wallet empty.

With just seventy-five dollars and a full tank of gas, the troubled teen is far too stubborn to turn around and head home. So what’s a girl to do?

What Julie doesn’t know is that her travels are about to take her somewhere unexpected—a place where she’ll be forced to come face to face with the ghosts of her past in order to secure her future.

A tale of redemption, hope, and freedom lost and found, 32 Seconds is a thought-provoking exploration into the human spirit and the nature of forgiveness.

#FF How to create a successful #arc for your character #plotting #writing

Hello folks and happy Friday!

The other day I blogged about conflict, and the all and ever familiar (or not so familiar) concepts of internal and external conflicts. Today, we attack the character’s arc.

Every character has to be as realistic as possible to be believable. The psychology of a character plays a really huge role in the plot and the overall quality of the story. Many timeless tales have shed light on a character’s evolution throughout a perilous journey by diving into the character’s mind. His/her internal conflict, coupled with the external conflict, gives depth to the plot, and more room to play to create a beautiful arc.

The arc is your beginning and ending point. Each character has its own arc. The story itself has an arc too. The arc can be huge, if your protagonist is the main player, or it can be very small for secondary and tertiary characters. The size of the arc doesn’t matter. ;) The arc will act as a measuring stick for the character’s evolution throughout the story.

Let’s take an example: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. There are many characters in this book with many arcs. Let’s focus on two of them, Javert and Jean Valjean.

Beginning of the arc for Jean Valjean. A good man, trying to do the next right thing by stealing bread for his sister’s children during a time of economic depression, Valjean is sentenced to spend years in prison. He becomes this despicable character in the eyes of society. The world sees him as a bad person, unworthy of trust and love. Picture his arc growing from the ground up.

Javert is depicted as the ultra self-righteous police officer who doesn’t believe in forgiveness, and redemption. His arc actually starts high and gradually goes down.

Valjean will mature, and evolve, to become this man everyone loves and respects, even when he tells the truth about his past acts and demands to be brought to justice.

Javert will turn into a bitter individual, bloodthirsty for revenge, becoming the super villain everyone will hate. Javert will realize that his sense of justice was wrong, and Valjean, despite being a criminal, was a better man than him all along. He ends up taking his own life because he cannot accept that truth.

Valjean and Javert represent the sides of the same coin, and their arcs certainly bear similarities. But as Valjean’s arc goes toward good/order, Javert’s arc goes toward bad/chaos, his sense of justice morphing into abuse of power and personal vendetta.

Readers will root for Valjean. Who doesn’t want the underdog to win? Javert could have earned some stripes if Hugo had decided to shift his arc upward toward good again. But he didn’t do that.

A well executed arc will manage to draw the readers in and keep them glued to the pages like it’s cocaine (it’s actually an expression I heard from fellow authors when talking about books they devoured in one sitting).

The arc offers thousands of possibilities, shapes and directions. There can be a million plot twists, which will shape the arc with multiple peaks and valleys. The arc can never be a straight line (because a straight line doesn’t show evolution). That’s why an arc is called an arc, and not something else. ;) Ultimately, the arc will reach its high or bottom. However you want the character to evolve, a powerful arc will resonate with readers and make them addicted to the story and the character. Bear in mind that a character can evolve while not radically changing his/her point of view. The storytelling will guide the character to a cross-roads (climax of the plot): change or remain the same but there must be evolution.

I’m pasting a link to a great article about the character’s arc, and a few diagrams with links to other very helpful blogs below. Please feel free to share!

That’s it for today. Have a lovely weekend folks!

#WW #Conflict in a Story #plotting

Happy Wednesday!

This post is a small cheat sheet dedicated to conflict.

Every plot is built on:

1) The internal conflict: the character’s emotional, mental, spiritual, physical evolution/struggle throughout the story;

2) The external conflict: events happen in the world where the story is taking place and the character reacts to them. The external conflict creates the story goal;

3) The interaction between the internal and external conflicts, which will give rise to a climax, and the plot will come to a resolution.

Here’s an example everyone will relate to: Snow White.

Snow White’s internal conflict: she’s the princess and like all princesses in fairy tales, she wants love.

The external conflict: the Queen wants her dead, so she has to hide. It’s Snow White vs. the Queen. Good vs. Evil. Who will win?

Well the issue here is that love will be difficult to find if Snow White stays hidden forever. But how will she escape the evil Queen?

The death of Snow White after eating the apple is the climax in the fairy tale. When the prince finds her and the glass coffin breaks, she wakes up and tada, finds her true love! The plot resolution is good wins and evil loses.

Conflict is the structure. The interaction between the internal and external conflicts creates the meat and potatoes of the story, and each character’s arc. More on the arc in a another post…

I’m pasting a link to a very good article on internal and external conflict – definitely very helpful for every writer out there. The whole website is actually dedicated to writing so feel free to explore.

internal-and-external-conflict-1-638

Alright, that’s it for today! Thanks as always for reading!

#GuestPost – A.F. Stewart Presents Killers and Demons, Book 2

It’s been a while since I had a guest showcase their work on this blog, and I’m very happy to welcome A.F. Stewart on the Manicheans! I got to know her through the #CoffinHop blog tour that happens every year around Halloween. She is a prolific author, writes fantasy spiced up with horror, and her books can be found on Amazon, Smashwords, B&N and iTunes.

For those who don’t know her yet, here’s a little biography:

A. F. Stewart is from Nova Scotia, Canada, is fond of good books (especially science fiction/fantasy), action movies, and oil painting as a hobby. Ms. Stewart has been writing for several years, her main focus being in the fantasy genre. She also has a great interest in history and mythology, often working those themes into her books and stories. To date she has authored and published several short novels, collections of poetry and short fiction and non-fiction entertainment guides. Her most well-known books are Killers and Demons, Ruined City and Chronicles of the Undead.

Killers and Demons is available for purchase as of Oct 4.c0b63a8dc382b4e8c28f8ea17a45c2780c2b902f

Evil is back, with a greater appetite for death.
Killers.
Demons.
They lurk forever in the shadows, smile at you in the morning, and haunt your dreams at night. You can’t hide, you can’t run, and there’s no escape. You can only scream when they come for you.
Killers and Demons II: They Return is a collection of thirteen tales, blending short stories and flash fiction, tales where the blood lingers on your tongue or spurts quickly from the swift cut.

The Villainous Roster:

Wade, every parent’s nightmare
Hannah and Mr. Greeley. Who is the victim and who is the villain?
Simon and Zoe, a married couple who are dying to be single again.
Norman and his “cookie” of a wife, Mabel.
Millicent and Jane, a delightful duo you shouldn’t invite to your Regency tea party
Amanda, who literally has a skeleton in her closet
Balthazar, the demon bounty hunter on the hunt once more.
Sarah, a young woman going through some changes and craving new tastes
Emmeline, burned as a witch, now back from the dead for revenge
Gabrielle, a woman haunted by shadows
The Dollmaker, she showers death, and an umbrella won’t help
Nightmare Demons, bent on driving a town insane

And then there’s Alice, a little girl locked in the basement by her Daddy…

Together they form a spine-chilling cadre of predators. 

The first volume of her Killers and Demons series can also be found on Smashwords, iTunes, B&N and Amazon. 9a7ad52909464cd23924771de74957133dc66609

And now without further ado, I will let Ms. Stewart steer the rest of this post.

Turning the Sweet, Sour, by A.F. Stewart

Like all writers, I have a bag of preferred tricks and tropes, and one of my favourite themes when writing horror is a little innocent corruption. I love to take a normal situation or ingenuous person and turn them into something terrifying, to rip away the pretty veneer, and let the maggots crawl out. To me, there is something especially chilling about sweet innocence transformed into a horrific nightmare. It’s a theme I use frequently, in both my fantasy writing and my horror stories, and one that seems to strike a primordial response with readers. I think having your ordinary perceptions suddenly turned askew, even fictionally, generates an inherent reaction in people.

Perhaps that’s because we all have preconceptions, and fall easily into the traditional tropes of fiction. We assume that children will be sweet and innocent, toys are harmless enjoyment, and all fairy tales end happily ever after. I love to play with those notions, and in the past I’ve created killer clown dolls, skewed those fairy tales deadly, and once turned a simple conversation into a deal with the devil. It’s all about spicing up the story with that unexpected, malevolent glare, that jaw-dropping matter-of-fact statement of murder, or having the easy-going protagonist do something absolutely vile.

My new book, Killers and Demons II: They Return, expands on my favourite concept, containing such themes such as marriage, relationships, family, the innocence of children, all turned bitter and creepy. To find the horror in the every day, I warp societal norms and coax out the evil lurking under the surface. That seemingly perfect marriage now holds dark secrets, an average, dissatisfied teen starts listening to a bad, supernatural influence, and a lonely woman looking to belong discovers a very strange heritage. Two stories in particular from the book, The Dollmaker and Alice in the Basement, unearth the evil lurking under the innocence. In The Dollmaker, I subvert the natural instinct to assist a seemingly lost little girl, distorting a good deed so it ends with horrific and gruesome consequences. And as for Alice, well, I’ll let you meet her for yourself. I wouldn’t want to spoil the nasty surprise.

And that’s what I think makes the best horror, those disquieting, sudden surprises. So join me while I throw a bit of corruption into my stories, and take my victims, I mean characters, down the dark road.

Please participate in the rafflecopter to win prizes!! Click here.

If you’d like to purchase A.F. Stewart’s latest book, please visit these links:

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/466078

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MRKCFWM

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/killers-and-demons-ii-a-f-stewart/1120170387

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/killers-demons-ii-they-return/id908095199?mt=11

Thanks as always for reading!!

#32Seconds #Official #Blurb

Hi all!

As 32 Seconds reaches the latest completion stages, I wanted to share with you the official book blurb. I’ll confirm on this platform the official release date, which I’m not sure about as of yet.

***

32 Seconds by Johanna K. Pitcairn

To the average onlooker, the city of Los Angeles represents glitz, glamour, and the celebrity lifestyle. But to seventeen-year-old Julie Jones, the city is a vast host of problems she’s longing to get away from. The latest? An unfortunate disagreement with her ex-boyfriend Mark—one that could land her in some serious hot water.

So rather than face the troubles that torment her, Julie decides to run away from her old life and start fresh somewhere new. But her parents aren’t on board with the plan, and she soon finds her bank accounts frozen and her wallet empty.

With just seventy-five dollars and a full tank of gas, the troubled teen is far too stubborn to turn around and head home. So what’s a girl to do?

What Julie doesn’t know is that her travels are about to take her somewhere unexpected—a place where she’ll be forced to come face to face with the ghosts of her past in order to secure her future.

A tale of redemption, hope, and freedom lost and found, 32 Seconds is a thought-provoking exploration into the human spirit and the nature of forgiveness.

32secondsfinalcover.jpg