Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Believe you me...

I had this terrifying dream the other night. I was back doing my psychiatric nursing job—a profession I’ve not practiced for decades. I was working on the Forensic Unit, where the criminally insane resided.

 Hypnosis : Image of a hypnotist brainwashing the viewer into a deep subconscious subliminal trance using secret mind control tactics. Stock Photo

We had a Hannibal Lector-type patient, a violent, murderous man—with a twist. He did not actually do the torturing and murder.  Rather, both he and his dog had the ability to hypnotise people into doing their works of horror for them. If you gazed into either of their eyes, you became the guy's servant.

I along with all the other nursing staff were trying desperately to avoid looking into their eyes, a very difficult feat—if you’ve ever tried NOT to look at something. About this point in the dream I thought, “This doesn’t make sense. A hospital would not let a patient keep a dog on the ward…especially a dangerous dog.”

Hypnosis : Abstract mystic psychedelic Galaxy night background with stars and woman opened eye

Of all the things about this scenario, the dog on the hospital ward was the only thing that struck me as odd. 

The dream continued until the head nurse said to one of my colleagues, “Please go to the isolation ward, Isabelle. You’ve been contaminated!” (Meaning, I surmised, that Isabelle had fallen victim to the evil patient’s powers.)

I held my breath, full of dread and distrust. Was it really Isabelle who’d been contaminated or was it the head nurse? And would Isabelle obey, and if not, what horror was about to happen?
THE TRAZ School Edition Kindle eBook
FREE 26th, 27th June 2012
After that, only $2.99

 Here is the link to download it: http://ow.ly/auLeO

I woke up and groggily made my way to the washroom, muttering in my mind about the silliness of the dream—a hospital would never allow a dog on the ward.

In the morning, I found the dream intriguing. It could indeed be the basis of a horror story.  But, that dog would definitely have to go. 

Suspension of disbelief…Why is it my mind would accept the far out scenario of powerful evil transferring from person-to-person or dog-to-person via eye contact, yet could not get past the rather simple out-of-place idea that a patient would keep his dog in the hospital?

They say it is called “the suspension of disbelief”. It is what authors must do via their magic use of words to get the reader to accept the story and connect with the characters and action. Even in fiction, in fantasy, in romance—in all genres, an author must convince the reader to accept the circumstances, woo the reader, lure the reader into the story.

stock photo : Close up on blue eyes of a dog 

This magic is difficult to define. In my debut novel, THE TRAZ, an action adventure crime novel, I had editors and beta readers complain about the tender age of Katrina, my protagonist, (she is 13 throughout most of the story), despite the fact children much younger than her are often recruited by criminal gangs to do their dirty work. I had readers complain that Katrina would not have received her parents’ life-insurance payout until the estate was settled, when in fact, many policies pay out immediately upon receipt of the death certificate. Some readers doubted a bank would allow a minor to open a bank account, and doubted that even if they did, the minor’s parents or guardians wouldn’t have access the account. (It was all researched and is possible and realistic.)

Yet the one implausible thing in the novel, the one clear-cut obviously impossible, totally unrealistic circumstance was never criticized. And…what was that?

The fact a cop infiltrated a biker gang. That has never been known to happen. Is not likely to ever happen. Would certainly not have happened in the era that THE TRAZ took place.

So, what is it that makes a possible thing seem impossible and the impossible, plausible? What is it that destroys the mood for the reader? How is it that we can enjoy vampires, space travel, and shrinking the kids but can’t tolerate a dog living in the hospital with his master?

I don't know the answer. If you have any ideas, observations, or suggestions about this matter, leave your comment below and be automatically entered to win a Kindle.

p.s. one editor said I ought to check records to ensure there actually was a full moon on the date mentioned. I didn’t, but please feel free.
THE TRAZ School Edition Kindle eBook
FREE 26th, 27th June 2012
Only $2.99 thereafter


Eileen Schuh, Canadian writer

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Rink rat to writer....

DEAD MAN'S HAND is now available on Amazon   FREE from 26 - 28 June 2013

Novelists often have past lives that both distract from and enrich their writing careers. While my alternate life shall remain shrouded in mystery because it involves either a top-secret position with Canada's spy agency or several decades of cleaning house and raising children, first-time novelist Luke Murphy willingly reveals his youthful and exhuberant chase after his dream to wear NHL colours.

Thanks, Luke, for sharing. Welcome to the world of writing.

Luke Murphy author of DEAD MAN'S HAND
This is my first guest blogging experience, so I’m a little nervous—“first day jitters”. Thanks Eileen.

My transition from professional hockey player to published author was surprisingly smooth. Hockey and writing have many things in common:

For both, it takes hard work and practice. There are many critics, and you need to be thick-skinned. Both the hockey and writing worlds are small communities, filled with people who want to help you succeed. In order to find success,  in both you need to be persistent and confident.

It’s all about taking a chance, putting yourself out there to be evaluated by your peers. That’s the scariest part.

I was born in a small rural community in Western Quebec, where you either worked in a mill or on a farm. But I aspired to be an NHL superstar (set the bar kind of high).

My mother’s death in 1992 (cancer), opened my eyes, and I realized that if I wanted to pursue my dreams, I was going to have to leave home. But in the mid ‘90s, the NHL had transferred from a fast-paced game of skill, to one of “bigger is better”. I was only 5’9’’, 160 pounds, so my goals shifted. I accepted a hockey scholarship to Rochester Institute of Technology.

Hockey : Hockey player makes a strong shot on goal rival; After graduation, I received an invitation to the Florida Panthers Camp. I showed up in the best shape of my life, and scored the game winning goal against the Ottawa Senators (my claim to fame, as my friends say). Unfortunately, I broke my hand that ended my camp, but the Panthers offered me a Minor League contract, $500 a week to play the game I love. I spent six years in the minors, and retired in 2006.

I’m from a family of avid readers, so I’ve always had a passion for books. I just never knew this would become my future until the winter of 2000, while playing hockey in Oklahoma City.

After sustaining a season ending eye injury, I had a lot of free time on my hands. I remember walking by my roommate’s open computer one day and stopping. I sat down and stared at the screen. Then, without a plan, I began to type.

Some of my favorite authors are Greg Iles, Michael Connelly, and Harlan Coben, so it only made sense that I write in the suspense/thriller/mystery genres, write what I knew. I wrote a little everyday, around my rehabilitation schedule and before I knew it, I had completed my first manuscript.
I didn’t write with the intention of being published. I wrote for the enjoyment. I’ve been accused of being a perfectionist, and I didn’t see my novel at the level to compete with best selling authors. I continued to hobby write through the years, honing my craft, making time between work and family obligations.

I’ve never been one to take things lightly, or jump in halfway. So when I decided to get serious about writing, I took a full year off just to study the craft. I constantly read, from novels to books written by experts. I researched, reading up on the industry and process. I made friends (published and unpublished authors), learning what it took to become successful.

Feeling that I was finally prepared, in the winter of 2007, I started to write DEAD MAN’S HAND. It took me two years to complete the first draft of my novel. I then worked with editors and joined a critique group, doing anything I could to learn, to improve my writing and my novel.
Aces And Eights, The Dead Mans Hand.
Aces and Eights--"The dead man's hand". Legend says this was the hand held by
Wild Bill Hickok when he was murdered.

I hired the Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency and in May 2012, I signed my first publishing contract with Imajin Books. DEAD MAN’S HAND is scheduled for release this fall.

My goal was to please anyone who loves thrillers, sports, or a walk on the wilder side of Las Vegas in writing DEAD MAN'S HAND. 

las vegas sign

Murphy's debut novel DEAD MAN'S HAND will be released this fall by Imajin Books.
For more information about Luke Murphy and his book visit him online at:

Eileen Schuh