Sunday, December 21, 2014

The call for a critique partner

I'm looking for a critique partner. I've been missing in action for a while due to life getting in the way of writing. Believe, the fourth book in the Shingle Beach Psychological Thriller series is about 70% complete and I'm looking forward to diving back in. I'm looking for the following characteristics in a critique partner. If you think you fit the bill, please drop me a line at catbyrdwrites@gmail.com. Please tell me a little about yourself and send a sample of your writing. Happy writing!

1) Someone who wants to trade chapters and is willing to work as hard on mine as I am on yours.
2) Someone with patience, who won't expect their chapter back tomorrow as I am working on my second Masters degree and working a full-time job. I promise to get it back to you in a timely manner though (my biggest problem with past critique partners was that they took too long and never seemed to work as hard as I did.)
3) Preferably someone who writes thrillers.
4) Preferably someone published or at least under agent contract (I have had 14 books published, all of them traditionally published under a different pen name other than the Shingle Beach series.)
5) Someone tough skinned who won't be upset with my critique of their work.
6) Someone who is willing to tell me what they really think about my work, with the goal of helping me to better my manuscript as I do the same for you.
7) Someone trustworthy and courteous.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Breathe...a study in agoraphobia and sociopathy

http://www.amazon.com/Breathe-Shingle-Beach-Psychological-Thriller-ebook/dp/B00JH94R18/ref=la_B00CQYZXRS_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1399570659&sr=1-2

I'm happy to say that the third book in the Shingle Beach thriller series is available. The mental health diagnosis explored in this book include:

Agoraphobia- a type of anxiety disorder that causes extreme fear, leading to individuals avoiding places or situations that might cause panic.

Our main female character, Tori Trent, suffers from agoraphobia. There can be many causes for this disorder. Her first panic attack occurred on a roller coaster ride, which led to her suffering from high anxiety in public places. This eventually lead to her fear of leaving home, which happened to be an oceanfront condo in Shingle Beach, South Carolina, a fictional town close to Myrtle Beach.

Our second mental health diagnosis belongs to our main male character, Dylan Dobbs:

Sociopath- a person whose behavior is antisocial. These individuals lack a conscience and are able to hurt others without regard to their feelings or suffering. They're manipulative liars, who show no shame or guilt. These individuals can be promiscuous, irresponsible, and impulsive. Many lack the capacity to love.

Dylan Dobbs is the product of his childhood. His mother was a drug addict who was very abusive. Eventually, he makes an attempt on her life. Dylan enters the mental health system at an early age and is hospitalized often. He develops a love/hate relationship with his therapist, eventually embarking upon a journey to destroy her.

If you're fascinated by mental illness, you'll most likely enjoy this series. If you'd like to be placed on my mailing list when future books are available, please email me at catbyrdwrites@gmail.com. If you've read and enjoyed my books, please take a moment to post a short review on Amazon. Happy reading!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Mental health diagnosis in See No Evil


The Shingle Beach series is a psychological series. I'll be exploring mental health diagnosis in each book in the series. Let's take a look at the diagnosis I used in See No Evil, which is book one in the series.

The serial killer in See No Evil sufferes from dissociative identity disorder, formerly known as a split personality. I'm not revealing his name here due to spoiling the book for you, we'll call him SK, short for serial killer.

SK is terrorizing the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina area, killing victims in an unspeakable manner. He doesn't know he's a killer, but as his mental illness progresses, things begin to happen to him that he can't explain.

Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is characterized by at least two distinct personalities living within the same body. Alter egos are often developed as a means of dealing with trauma. For example, someone who suffers from child abuse might develop an alter ego who protects them. It's a mean of coping. When something traumatic occurs. the alter ego comes forward and deals with the situation. The host may or may not know the alter ego exists.

Wikipedia has more information on this disorder HERE. Not to get too far off track, but another fascinating disorder in the dissociative family is dissociative amnesia. I'm exploring a plot for book three that may include this. Dissociative amnesia is characterized by memory loss for a period of hours to years. An individual suffering from this disorder may hop on a bus and end up in another state. They have no idea who they are and may develop their own identity. You can find more information on this disorder HERE.

A secondary character in See No Evil suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). He counts in sixes and is afraid of germs, so much so that he doesn't eat in restaurants. He's able to check his illness at the door somehow when he's working his job as Governor appointed coroner for a while, but eventually ends up institutionalized.

I'll be posting a sneak peek at the diagnosis in book two,  Speak No Evil, soon, so please place your email address in the feedburner box in order to receive updates.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

See No Evil sample chapter




It's Sample Sunday on Twitter and in honor, here's my first chapter. I hope you enjoy it. Currently, See No Evil, is on sale for kindle for 99 cents.



Prologue
Sammi Stefani stretched and yawned, working the kinks out of her back. She'd been at the police station bailing out inmates for over four hours, and it looked like there was no end in sight. Damned drunks. They should stay off the road when they had too much to drink, but they never seemed to learn. Sometimes, being self-employed wasn't as great as people thought. Most nights, she enjoyed her bail bondsman job, but tonight there was an odd kind of electricity in the air, a hint of something dangerous.
She stood and moved to the water cooler, filled a paper cup, and tossed the cool liquid back. Maybe she should call it a night. She hated to leave before another bondsman showed up, but she was exhausted and poor Sweets was probably begging to go out. The little dog's bladder could only hold so much.
Sammi longed for her little house in Shingle Beach, a glass of wine, and her Egyptian cotton sheets. It wasn't that she didn't like Myrtle Beach. It had become a second home, but the tourists and heavy traffic grated on her nerves. She much preferred the quiet of Shingle Beach.
Shingle Beach was a peaceful coastal town so small that if you blinked, you missed it. A big day for police was a few parking tickets or a domestic spat or two. When the tourists hit town, it was still a good place to live and raise kids, just a little busier. Occasionally, someone had a little too much to drink and landed in the pokey, but since the town was a family destination, the heavy partiers usually headed to Myrtle Beach, which was why most of her bail work was in the city.
Sammi shoved her laptop and files into a leather messenger bag and approached the magistrate's window. "Rick, I think I'm going to call it a night."
He stopped typing long enough to glance up. "They just brought in another one, Sam. He's already called a couple of other bondsmen and has had no luck in getting someone to come in. One of the officers told him you were out here seeing someone else. He wants to see you. He said he's ready to pay cash."
"What's he in for?"
"Trespassing."
Sammi pondered staying. The bond would be low, so she wouldn't make much money on this one. Plus, her back ached, and her brain was hazy from lack of sleep. "How long until he’s ready for me?"
"Probably fifteen minutes."
"Tony texted to let me know he's on the way to see a couple of inmates who called him. Ask him to take that one, too. I'm beat. I'm going home."
The magistrate nodded. "Have a good one, Sam."
"You too."

*****

Liam paced the holding cell, his legs in shackles and his wrists cuffed. What was he doing there? He searched his mind. The last thing he remembered was parking his car at the pharmacy. He’d planned on refilling his prescriptions. How had he ended up in a jail cell?
He was having more frequent blackouts and headaches, which led to him losing chunks of time. He glanced down at his clothes. He’d never seen the hoodie before and he’d never leave the house in ripped jeans that hung low on his hips. Where had they come from? Was he losing his mind?
A searing pain stabbed his left eye. Not another migraine. His stomach churned. He banged on the window of his cell door. “Officer?”
An obese older man approached, his stomach hanging well over the duty belt pushing it down on his hips. “Keep it quiet in there.”
“What are my charges?”
The officer eyed Liam suspiciously through the glass. “You mean you don’t know? How messed up were you?”
Liam’s hand automatically went to his stomach as he fought off another wave of nausea. “I don’t remember what happened. Must be my new meds.”
The officer laughed. “That’s what they all say. You’re in here for...”
Blinding pain simmered behind Liam’s eyes. He opened his mouth to ask the officer to repeat his charges, but nothing came forth. Black nothingness swam before him.

*****

Jinx paced the holding cell, his legs in shackles and his wrists cuffed. He was about to go off on someone. He wasn't used to anyone telling him what to do, especially some snot-nosed cop just out of the police academy. Hot rage simmered within him, blinding him. He wanted to hurt someone. Anyone. Bad.
He stood and beat on the glass window in his cell until an officer approached. The officer's ID tag read Bobbitt. He was short and plump, his stomach rolling over his duty belt and pushing the waistband of his black BDU pants down. Jinx thought about mouthing off a doughnut joke, but let it go.
"Keep it down in there," Bobbit yelled.
Jinx stopped pounding on the window. "I thought you said I was going to see the bondsman."
"Bondswoman is more like it. She just left. You'll have to wait on the next one."
"Didn't she know I was waiting?"
Bobbitt shrugged. "The magistrate told her, but she left anyway."
"How long until the next one comes in?"
"Don't have a clue."
Jinx wrestled with the handcuffs cutting into his wrist. "Can you take these things off?" He glanced around the small cell. "I'm not going anywhere."
Bobbitt opened the door, removed the cuffs, and Jinx took a seat on the cold metal bench. The bitch. Who did she think she was leaving without bailing him out?
He'd been stupid getting caught, but at least the ignorant cops had no idea they'd arrested the killer they'd been seeking for weeks when they brought him in. Jinx concentrated on the voices in his head, trying to pick out the leader, the deep male voice. Closing his eyes, he shut out the sounds of slamming metal doors and officers yelling at new arrivals. He fought through the muffled voices of dozens in his head, seeking The Master.
Jinx was glad he'd never been fingerprinted until now. He’d have to pay the court costs and fine before anyone found out he’d been in trouble.
Jinx’s cell door opened, and Officer Bobbitt pushed a punk kid inside. He looked all of eighteen and scared to death. His eyes wide, he rushed to the corner toilet, dropped to his knees, and puked.
An image flashed before his eyes. Most of the time, his old man had been able to hold his liquor, but there had been those rare occasions when Leroy drank a bad batch of shine. Those were the only times Jinx felt like he had power over his ruthless father.
Jinx stood and moved toward the kid. Leaning down so close the stubble of his jaw grazed his ear, he said, "Get up."
The boy didn't move. He smelled like vomit. Jinx jerked him to his feet as his face faded away and he stood nose-to-nose with his father. Breaking out in a cold sweat, he placed his hands around the kid's neck and squeezed. "You bastard. I'm tired of your abuse."
"Stop it," said a high-pitched rasping voice, unlike Leroy’s.
The image of Jinx’s father faded away, replaced by a pimply-faced scared pissless kid with a vomit-covered shirt. Disgusted, Jinx released him and backed away.
The kid shrank down in a corner, the look of fear in his eyes reminding Jinx of the animals he'd caught in traps as a kid.
The voice Jinx sought whispered in his ear. "You have work to do."
"You want me to take out the kid?" Jinx hoped The Master would say no because he wasn't sure how to pull it off without the officers knowing.
"Leave the kid alone. Get your sorry ass out of there."
Terror pinged Jinx’s nerves. He'd do anything to keep The Master calm. He glanced at the scars on his arms, reminders of the self-inflicted cutting, which had soothed him in the past. He'd tried, but he couldn't remember the last time cutting had worked. He was over all that. Only hurting people calmed him now. He whispered to The Master, "The woman who does the bonds left. They won't take me to the magistrate until a bondsman's on duty."
"Stop your whining. You have my permission to take care of the bitch when you get out."
"Gladly. I'll enjoy making her pay, hearing her scream. I just hope she has pretty eyes."
Jinx watched the kid cower farther into the corner, looking at him as if he'd gone mad. "You want a piece of me? Get up!"
The kid shook his head as a flood of urine colored his light blue jeans a navy blue.
Jinx squatted on the floor and began a rigorous routine of pushups. When Bobbitt arrived fifteen minutes later, he'd moved onto jumping jacks.
The officer unlocked the door and motioned Jinx forward. "Come on. The magistrate's ready for you."
Jinx stood and shot the kid a nasty look just because he could, chuckling when the little snot visibly trembled. "What was the name of the bondsman who left without seeing me?"
"Why?"
"You said it was a woman, and I'd rather work with a woman if I ever need one again."
"Sammi Stefani. She's a beaut. I'd love to do some work with that one myself if you know what I mean." The officer laughed.
Be careful what you say about women, Jinx thought. You're just the type of man I like to take out. The world would be a better place without jerks like you.


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