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Joseph Carrabis Signing and Reading The Augmented Man 17 Oct at the Nashua, NH, BookCellar

That Augmented Man…he sure gets around…

Come join the fun!

Thursday, October 17th, 6:00pm at the


34 Northwest Blvd
(in the Westside Plaza on 101A / Amherst St, next to Marshalls)
Nashua, NH 03063
(603) 881-5570

Local author, Joseph Carrabis, will read from his novel, The Augmented Man, answer questions, and sign copies!

 
What do you do with a deadly weapon when it's no longer needed?
Nicholas Trailer is the last of The Augmented Men, beings created first by society and completed by a political group the public can't even imagine exists. Captain James Donaldson takes severely abused and traumatized children and modifies them into monsters capable of the most horrifying deeds without feeling any remorse or regret.

But the horrors of war never stay on the battlefield. They always come home.

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Joseph Carrabis signs and discusses The Augmented Man at The Barnes&Noble in Manchester, NH

Come find out what The Augmented Man is about in Manchester, NH, on 2 Nov 2019 at 1pmET

I’m on a roll, folks.

The good folks at the Manchester, NH, Barnes&Noble bookstore invited me to do a book signing on Saturday November 02, 2019 1:00 PM.

It would be crackers wonderful if all of you attend.

 
I mean, heck, I plan on being there…

A bit about The Augmented Man
The US Military concedes that any kind of combat leaves soldiers psychologically damaged and makes reintegration to society difficult.

The solution is to find individuals who are already so psychologically damaged the most horrendous combat experience will seem trivial by comparison. Better, find individuals psychologically damaged who’ve also experienced massive physical insult and trauma. Best, individuals psychologically damaged, physically traumatized, and emotionally vacant.

But where to find such individuals?

Captain James Donaldson suggests using massively abused and traumatized children as the basis, arguing “…they’ve already experienced more at home than they’ll ever experience in the field. All we need to is help their bodies catch up to where their psyches and emotions already are.

Nine individuals are selected for Augmentation and entered into combat.

One survives.

And comes home.

The backstory
I’m finding people’s reactions fascinating. Yes, the book reads like a military sci-fi thriller, and intentionally so. However, the real story is in the metaphor of the abused child.

Children from abusive families tend to think of themselves as monsters unworthy of love, hence the suffering they go through – often without even being aware that what’s happening to them isn’t normal, a “fish don’t know they live in water” kind of thing.

This monster self-concept is often reinforced by society which, not being able to recognize the child’s trauma, blames the child for its behaviors and problems.

So for me, the real meat of the story occurs when Trailer (the main character) uses everything he’s been taught (to be a monster) to heal himself from trauma, and then further when he realizes how much monsterhood he must retain in order to survive in a normal world.

About me
You can find out more than you need to know at my About page.

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A Win-Win #GiveAway for @DannyKean

(with thanks to @foxspiritbooks who gave me permission to use the idea)

Adjective: win-win
1. Describing a situation or outcome that benefits two parties, or that has two possible outcomes that are both good

 
I’m offering a win-win #GiveAway and the rules are simple:

  1. Go through my list of #twitter #followers
  2. Find an #author whose books you’ll like
  3. Write a review (Amazon, Goodreads, Blog posts, Facebook, …, wherever)
  4. Tweet me a link to the review
  5. You’ll get an tshirt of your choice (examples)
    AND
    We’ll donate $10 in your name to the @DannyKean – The Traveling Piano man
    AND
    You’ll get a shoutout in my blog and through my social networks.

First ten to tweet me their reviews win.

Starts noonET Tuesday, 6 Aug 2019 Ends noonET Tuesday, 3 Sept 2019

And feel free to donate to @DannyKean on your own. He won’t mind.

The Backstory

 
@DannyKean, aka The Traveling Piano Man, recently followed me on Twitter.

My habit is to reach out to people who Like, Retweet, and/or Follow me. I tweet something about them, usually copying their Twitter profile text, retweeting something from their stream, finding something interesting on their site and sharing it.

@DannyKean‘s story?

Piano Man on Truck Synchronistically Creating Music for People to Discover Worldwide for Fun Friendship and Respect. Contribute: http://paypal.me/dannykean

The guy’s got 26k followers. Sure, why not. I’ll count myself among the musical many. Maybe he’ll buy a box of biscuits for his dog.

 
Now here’s what you got to know; I figured I’d be adding a drop in the bucket. I mean, 26k followers? I’m thinking @DannyKean‘s got a home in Vail, an Upper West Side apartment in NYC, a place on The Keys, …

@DannyKean sent me an email:

Hi Joseph,
Thanks for you $10.00 contribution towards my work. Together we can keep it going. You may find this difficult to believe… In all my years on Twitter and with 25,000 followers… You are the first ever to make a contribution! That must change quick, lol. Thanks again…
Danny Kean

I read that and went WTF!?!?!?

So I emailed for clarification. @DannyKean responded:

I’ll appreciate anything you can do to help Joseph. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you help me, lol! Fact is, I am one month away from being homeless so I must start actively fundraising again which I am so burnt out of but… whatever. What is needed is sustained monthly contribution more than anything else through a subscription on my website so there is no need to constantly hit people up. Right now my total income is $136 and that is all from subscriptions, just a few people actually.
Thanks!
Danny Kean

Just to make sure, here’s @DannyKean‘s website – http://www.travelingpiano.com/.

You want to make the world a better place? How about doing it $1/month at a time?

There have been times in my life when $5 might as well have been $5MM.

So now I do what I can when I can. People on Twitter may know I often respond “My Pleasure. We’re here for each other.” when I do something for them. Something simple. Like sharing their info because they Like, Retweet, and/or Follow me.

How about you?

The Witch [[Tag/The Apple/The Seed??]]

Blood Magic Always Grants Your Wish

Okay, another version of a story started in 1994. I posted the start of a major revision in Tag (now available free to everyone).

That major revision is going to turn into either a novella or novel set in the same geographic location as this story, although a bit in the future. This version here is preamble, probably something mentioned in that longer story as a predicating event.

This version also came about using different/new writing methods for me and is somewhat experimental. Do let me know what you think.

And definitely let me know what the title is. I’m open to suggestion.


Julia danced among oaks and ash, two short steps towards Eric, two long steps away, always drawing him into the hollow, always a hand or two beyond his reach. Once one of her long, blonde braids brushed the back of his hand and he almost had her, but he wasn’t quick enough, never quick enough.

“You’re such an old woman, Eric.”

Eric stopped as Julia entered a copse of ancient, dark boled trees. His hands staid his knife and axe, good forester’s tools his father gave him, swinging from his belt. “We are too far from the village.”

“Says your grandmother who brings apples to any who will listen.”

“The Old Ones remember — ”

“The old ones are old.” She disappeared among the trees.

Eric paced outside the copse. “The skies darken. A storm approaches. We must get back before we have to take shelter.”

She singsonged from deep in the hollow, “Oh, Eric. Oh, help me, Eric.”

He closed his eyes and shook his head, his arms crossed tightly over his chest.

Her voice changed. “Eric, help!”

Eric lifted his axe and entered the copse. A hand spun him as he passed a thick bodied willow. His axe flashed up.

Julia leaned against a deeply boled ash, her hands over her stomach, laughing. “Oh, Eric. You’re such a child.”

He lowered his axe, his nostrils flared, his face red. “First and old woman and now a child. And in both I’m alive. You play a dangerous game, Julia.”

“Oh, poo poo poo, Master Eric.” She held her arms out to him. “Would you like a reward for your gallantry?”

Eric brushed her hands away as he turned back towards their village, his axe still in his hand. “Sometimes the reward isn’t worth the risk.”

Something snagged his axe hand. He spun back at her. “I have had enough — ”

A hand formed of twigs reached around Julia’s face, filling her mouth with leaves, choking her. A branch gripped his axe hand, holding it to his side, pulling him into the bole.

Julia took the axe from his hand as the tree pulled him beside her. She swung at the branch holding him. A voice shrieked from inside the bole. Red, blood-like sap covered Eric’s face as the branch snapped back. He screamed and covered his eyes.

Branches gathered around them and became flesh covered arms. Lightning broke through the trees overhead. Thunder shook the hollow.

A single rain drop fell onto the hand covering Julia’s mouth. It steamed like fields on a hot summer morning.

Rain drops blew through the leaves. The arms blistered into branches where the rain struck them. Pink flesh boiled into black bark. The thing in the bole screamed like a pig under the butcher’s hand.

Julia swung Eric’s axe again. The hand covering her mouth snapped back, clasping the side of the ash. A woman, half crone, half maiden, appeared in the bole.

Eric reached out, his hands searching.

The crone spoke in Julia’s voice. “This way, Eric. This way.”

Julia grabbed Eric’s hand and pulled him back.

Winds gathered rain. The smells of a sweet spring storm swept through the hollow.

The witch screamed and withdrew into the bole.

“Hurry, Eric. Run.” She pulled him, half dragged him, to the top of the crest of the rise encircling the hollow and stopped. Rain rolled down their faces, parted their hair, stuck their clothes to their cold, sweating skin.

Julia’s hand went to her breast as she gasped for breath. Eric held tight.

“We’re safe, Eric. Witches fear the rain. That’s what the Old Ones say. Grandmother tells us about them often. They can’t be out in the rain. She can’t hurt us as long as it rains.”

He didn’t let go, wouldn’t drop her hand. “I am blind, Julia.”

His beautiful eyes, eyes that once glowed like candles when they looked upon her, were covered with white, weeping flesh, no pupils visible at all.

The witch, inside her dark bole, laughed.

***
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Velda, the Hummingbird Moth

Priorities

Returning from errands, we heard a bright buzzing at the head of our driveway.

If this was a bee making this sound,we were in trouble.

But no, not a bee, only Velda, the Hummingbird moth.

Hummingbird moths aren’t common where we live. For that matter, we’ve seen several species appear that were once unknown in these parts. Some species are opportunistic invaders; they come along in cargo ships, in wooden crates and lumber, they hitch rides with families returning from foreign lands. Some such species take hold, others don’t.

Some once-common species move on, some are moved out, some can’t deal with the invading hordes and die out.

I the past twenty years we’ve seen lots of all of these, and Velda The Hummingbird Moth is only the latest.

As beautiful as she is, she’s an indication that language is powerful.

I suspect if Global Warming and remained Global Warming, Velda would have a tougher time here. Bush II’s administration did an incredible job changing language on us. Global Warming became Global Climate Change; much less threatening, almost something to look forward to, hence off the table, hence Global Warming got pulled from the agenda, pushed aside (much like some species), and (for many) forgotten.

People prefer to stick their heads in the sand, me thinks. No idea why. Taking action is…difficult? Well, it’s definitely more difficult than sitting on one’s couch. More noticeable? Well, anytime you do anything someone will notice. People tend to act only when there’s a personal stake involved. I remember laughing at a “Save the World” rally.

Save the World? You think the Earth will disappear or something? Earth will be here long after we’re gone. Stopping saving the world and start saving yourselves! Earth can get along fine without drinkable water and breathable air. It won’t be an Earth we recognize and it’ll still be Earth, probably a little older and a little wiser than when we first climbed down out of the trees millions of years ago, but it’ll get along fine.

Not so us. Take away our water and air and we’re gone in a few seconds, probably less.

I mean, how long can you hold your breath?

I enjoy Velda in my garden.

Not the news she brings.

 

Atmosphere Is…

Using physical descriptions to create emotional reactions in the reader

Regular blog readers have seen my reviews of writing books. I distill these readings into easy to use and remember storycrafting and storytelling chunks and will share my learnings in this blog.

Writing what I’m learning, explaining it, helps me understand it. Or let’s me know I don’t. Please feel free to comment and let me know when you’ve got something different. The whole point of this exercise is to learn!


Atmosphere is the presenting of physical details so as to create an emotional reaction in the reader. Emotional reaction is what allows the reader to identify and empathize with characters in the story.

 
Consider the line “Eric stopped as Julia entered a copse of ancient, dark boled trees” from a horror story I’m working on.

The details relevant to Atmosphere are “stopped” and “a copse of ancient, dark boled trees.” The word “stopped” tells us Eric doesn’t want to do something and what he doesn’t want to do is follow Julia into “a copse of ancient, dark boled trees.”

I hope readers experience some tension, some foreboding, and at the same time want to read more to learn 1) why Eric stops and 2) what happens to Julia in the copse. People have walked among old trees and loved the experience. But chances are people enjoyed walking in a brightly lit forest, sunlight streaming through the leaves of ancient trees or perhaps a forest rich with the sounds and scents of wildlife nesting in old trees or maybe a woods with rustling leaves and grasses guiding travelers on their way.

Such descriptions are longer than a copse of ancient, dark boled trees and intentionally so. I kept the phrase a copse of ancient, dark boled trees short to create a sense of confinement, entrapment, to make readers ill-at-ease; all emotional responses to physical details.

Creating reader emotional reaction is important to successful fiction and non-fiction writing. You want the reader involved, engaged. A bored reader stops reading your book and worse, won’t buy another one you’ve authored. An unengaged reader doesn’t care about your characters, your plot, your story, and ultimately, won’t care about you as an author.

The line Eric stopped as Julia entered a copse of ancient, dark boled trees should make the reader sympathize more with Eric than Julia because Eric is showing caution while Julia is entering that copse of ancient, dark boled trees and people (in rea; life) tend to favor caution.

That sense of confinement, foreboding, discomfort, ill-at-easeness comes from the words copse (a dense growth of trees), ancient (anything ancient’s going to either be very, very good or very, very bad), dark (it’s going to be bad), and boled (even if you don’t know what the word means it just sounds like something that’ll hurt you) to create a malevolent atmosphere.

Readers read stories with characters they can sympathize with, characters they can identify with, characters they can empathize with. Place a sympathetic character in a malevolent situation and the reader identifies with them because everybody’s been in at least one bad place in their life and wanted to get away, hence readers will empathize with Eric’s situation and want him to get away.

Use physical details to give the reader a sense of environment beyond “this is where it happens.” The copse of ancient, dark boled trees signals the reader that nastiness will occur.

Eric doesn’t want nastiness to occur. Readers want nastiness in their horror stories, not in real life, and that desire to keep nastiness out of their real life creates empathy with Eric. Hopefully (and without being consciously aware of it), the reader is feeling, “Get out of there, Eric! Be brave some other day!” while simultaneously wanting Eric to follow Julia into the copse where nastiness will occur because that’s where the interesting stuff happens.

Make sense?

Let me know.