Demonic Mystery Man

Whilst writing Flawless Dreams a strange man showed up.  He had no face.  He had no place, not in the story I was writing at the time.  However, I have often found that one part of my brain is different than the other and this makes strange things happen when I write.

I can’t speak for other writers, but for me, my stories play out like a movie in my head and I am just the conveyor of the story to others.  It works, most of the time.  Sometimes characters do things I don’t expect and no matter what I try, they won’t do what I want.  Pretty sure I’m not crazy, but there are moments I’m in doubt since I don’t feel like I’m in control of the storyline.

Que up the song Return of the Phantom Stranger and enter the demonic mystery man…

I knew who he was.  I have known of his existence since I started writing these stories nearly 20 years ago.  He wasn’t supposed to appear yet.  I hadn’t planned on him showing up for nearly five more books.

Yet, there he was.  Hunting in the shadows.  Repeatedly making appearances to screw with the characters and the plot of Flawless Dreams.

I deleted multiple chapters to get rid of him, but he kept worming his way back into the story.  Obviously, some part of my mind believes it is time to tell his story.

This left me with a bit of a problem.  As soon as I sent Flawless Dreams to K. Smith Proofs, his story began to form in my mind.  I wanted a break.  I spent so much time last year struggling to write and battling my own personal demons, that I didn’t want to deal with my characters’ demons.

But he refused to be ignored and by the end of the night, I was typing up the first chapter of a book I had not intended to release this year.

I spent the weekend out of town with friends and family.  Lola the Destroyer got to go and she had a great time.  But even though I was out of town, without my laptop, and without work on my mind, when I closed my eyes, he was there.

This is the part that makes most writers think they might be crazy.  How do you explain to someone, anyone, that you can’t control a character?  It’s a figment of our imagination.  It isn’t like it’s a real person with needs, wants, desires, and fears.  We should be in control, but sometimes, we just aren’t.  Even when I’m not pounding out words on my keyboard, they continue to exist in my mind.  Sometimes, they appear in my dreams, like the mystery man of Flawless has.  Sometimes, they just take over a thought and we get lost in our own imagination.

Anyway, the next book will not be Ritual Dreams as I had intended.  The mystery man demanded my attention and he got it.  This means that Demonic Dreams will release after Flawless Dreams.  I would apologize for this, but I think my readers will enjoy Demonic Dreams.  It will answer some questions they have about some key issues that haunt the D&R characters.

And I’m going to try to release it as fast as I can.  I know that after readers finish Flawless Dreams they will instantly want Demonic Dreams.  I’m already several chapters into it and the mystery man will have his story told.

 

Triggered Reality

Just a quick note to clarify Triggered Reality.  It is a part of the Dreams & Reality novels.  It is the first Reality book in the group.

It does not have Aislinn Cain in it, she gets mentioned a few times, but she’s still a teenager when the events take place.

It does have some other characters that you’ve never met, but might have heard about… Like Lucas, Xavier, and Caleb’s parents are in Triggered Reality.  One plays an integral part that you’ll have to read about… I won’t give away spoilers.

It’s two serial killer/mass murderer stories.  The first is that of Eric Clachan.  It is told from his first-person point of view.  Ever wondered why he did what he did?  Or what happened when he first arrived in prison?  Or why he went from being considered a mass murderer to a serial killer?  His story tells it all, as he sees it.

The second story is a serial killer that’s never been mentioned in the Dreams books.  Not because he isn’t important, but because he isn’t important to the cast of characters that fill the pages of those books.  However, he is the first case the SCTU ever takes on.

In Tortured Dreams, Lucas mentions that Alejandro has lasted the longest as team leader… So who existed as team leader before him?  How did Alejandro get recruited to join the SCTU?  For that matter, how did the first Serial Crimes Tracking Unit fare?  The story of who existed before this group has never been told.  The readers only know that someone existed and they didn’t live very long.  There was a someone for every position before Lucas, Xavier, Michael, and Alejandro became the core that existed in Tortured Dreams.  It’s time to meet them.

The entire story is told in third person.  With chapters alternating between the killer and the first SCT unit.  And surprisingly, Eric Clachan figures into it as does Patterson Clachan.

Essentially, Triggered Reality is the book before the Dreams novels.  Everything in it takes place years before Aislinn joins the SCTU.  Even Lucas and Xavier are still doing their military service.

Preorder Links: Triggered Reality & Terrorific Tales

Terrorific Tales by Hadena James

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A Schedule Change

I’m going to have to throw in the towel and admit some defeat.  As much as I want to release Innocent Dreams on Halloween, there’s just no way I’m going to get it done in time at this point.  So, look for a November release.

The good news is that I am track to release the first in the companion part of the Dreams & Reality series: Triggered Reality.  Expect a December release for it (unless something miraculous happens).

This comes because I got good news and bad news.  The good news is my computer will be here today.  The bad news is it is going to take me several days to get it set up.  It is going to need programs installed, files transferred onto it, and it always takes me a few days to adjust to working on a different computer… Plus the health news below is going to slow down some of the set up.

We figured out the source of my back pain: degenerative disk disease.  It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like; the disks in my spine are starting to deteriorate.  In my case, it’s hereditary and while most things seem to come from my father’s side of the family, this one may have come from my mother’s (I learned yesterday that she is the only sibling that hasn’t had back surgery or treatments for different reasons).  I can’t stop it.  I can’t fix it.  I can only slow it down and when the disks start to disappear completely, I will have to have them replaced.

At the moment, I have only one deteriorating disk.  It has gotten bad enough that it needs help.  Thankfully, we aren’t to the needing surgery point yet, but that day will probably come.  This afternoon, I start cortisone shots.  It’s two injections, directly into the disk, using a sonogram machine and a huge needle.  I’ve been told it hurts.  I’ve also been told there is a slight risk of spinal infection and leaking of spinal fluid, both of which can be a serious complication.  After the injection tomorrow, I’m not supposed to do much for 24 hours.  I have a pretty high pain tolerance, which is good, but I also know it causes me to push myself past the limits at times. Instead of risking screwing up my first treatment, I will be following doctor’s orders.

The stress on the surrounding nerves of this deteriorating disk is what is causing my lower leg pain.  It may or may not be permanent.  We will have to wait and see how the injections and therapy goes.  If it is, we have already begun discussing pain management options.  When I was sent to see this doctor, I was told he was the best in Missouri.  After talking with him today, I can see why people think so highly of him.  He spent nearly an hour in a room with me, discussing everything from what I can expect tomorrow during the injections to what I can expect twenty years from now.  We discussed treatments options for scenarios we aren’t even dealing with yet.  I found out later that he has done several back surgeries for people I know and all raved about him.  So, I feel very confident with his diagnosis and treatment plans.  Now, it’s just a matter of time.

Which brings me to part two of the current treatment plan: I have to retrain my back.  Monday, I contact a physical therapist in town that deals with disk deterioration and we began working on retraining my back as well as the way I move, in general.  There are certain things I am going to have to be careful about doing, regardless of whether the shots help or not.  One of them is lifting.  One of them is twisting.  And the big one for me, stooping.  I will also have to adapt to a new routine for typing, especially since I do so much of it.  Having a new computer will not help, but I will get used to both at the same time and that might actually be a good thing.  My posture isn’t terrible right now, but it isn’t great either.  However, the retraining is to keep me from hurting it as often as I did this year – all a symptom of the deteriorating disk that was chalked up to pulled muscles over and over again.

For the most part, I’m still processing the fact that the disks in my spine are going to fall apart and there is nothing I can do to stop it.  I can only slow it down.  Since, I have the hereditary version, the doctor said I would probably require at least one surgery on my spine before I am 55.  Strangely, 19 years doesn’t seem so far away when you are staring down that barrel.  If the injections don’t work, it will be much sooner, which doesn’t fill me with joy.  However, it’s not next week and that does make me happy.  Also, it could be worse, I know a couple of people who have degenerative spine disease, where they are actually losing the bone from their spines, and that is awful.

In Mid-September I will have a progress update on it, upcoming books, how I plan to handle next year (some of that may have to change), and maybe some more good news.

Covered Creatively & Botox

Today is Botox day (round 2).  I thought about doing an important blog post, but I haven’t felt like doing much important stuff lately.  So, I’m showing off the full covers Covered Creatively has done for me!  PS:  There will be a new Tortured Dreams cover coming soon.  Also, all the D&R and Strachan covers will be full wraps by the end of the year.  I’m so excited to get them done.  (Tortured Dreams and Innocent Dreams will be the next two to be created and showcased)

Elysium Dreams by Hadena James full cover

Mercurial Dreams by Hadena James Full Cover

Fortified Dreams by Hadena James full cover.jpg

Fortified Dreams – My Thoughts

We’re taking a break today from the killers.  I’m going to do something I rarely do and give my thoughts on Fortified Dreams.  I don’t normally do this, but what the hell, might as well…

This was the most difficult book I have ever written in the Dreams & Reality series. It is complex and at times, a little confusing. New good guys get introduced. New bad guys crop up. Plus, most of it happens in the space of a single day, spent inside the Fortress… which means a lot of serial killers, mass murderers, and spree killers to fill up twenty or so normal Dreams novels.

There are also some new background tidbits given. Conspiracies are a central theme of the book. The reader will begin to realize just how complicated creating the SCTU & VCU really was. And that some things have been in the works for decades.

Also, there is the return of Patterson. Aislinn Cain and Malachi Blake can’t enter the Fortress without running into Patterson Clachan, what kind of world would that be? Plus, the readers will finally get a good glimpse of Eric Clachan. After all, he killed for one sister, he would definitely stand by his other sister’s side as she and the SCTU/VCU attempted to take back control from the prisoners.

However, what I’m most excited about is the revelation of Fiona’s character. She has been one that has had to grow on Aislinn and readers. Now, the readers will fully understand why she is sometimes antagonistic of Aislinn.

This is my favorite book to date. I hope the readers enjoy it just as much (and as usual, some questions will be answered, some will not… There are more Dreams novels to come and I can’t give away all the secrets at one time).

Giveaway Guilt

Tomorrow, I am starting a giveaway using Rafflecopter.  I don’t do many giveaways and I’ll explain why in a moment.  The prize is a signed, limited edition hardback of Tortured Dreams.  I’m only having 11 of them printed total, so it really will be a very limited edition prize.  It comes with a special swag pack.  There are two other special swag packs  that are involved in the giveaway.  However, the giveaway hasn’t even started yet and I already feel guilty.

The guilt stems from the problem that there has to be winners and losers.  I get the purpose of a giveaway, but those that enter will be doing it because they like my books (especially since there are some interesting entry options).  So, I feel guilty that I can’t give everyone a grand prize.  Of course, if I could give everyone a grand prize, it would completely negate the purpose of the giveaway…  Circular logic should be one of the rings of Hell.  Just imagine being forced to deal with circular logic all day, every day, from someone like Einstein or Oppenheimer or Alice Cooper (I’m actually a huge fan of Alice Cooper, not so much for his music, but because he is really smart and I just have a thing for smart people… Intelligence is a lot sexier than looks, money, employment, accomplishments, or anything else I can think of that makes one person attractive to another, it is very closely followed by a good sense of humor).

I’ve talked to other writers who told me similar things; yes one person will get a grand prize, but everyone will enjoy participating, giveaways are fun, don’t feel guilty.  But I do.  This is why I haven’t run many (I’ve run one).  And the reason why I balk every time someone suggests one to me.

However, I’m going through with this one and if it goes okay, I will start thinking about future giveaways.

Butchered Dreams Lack of Backlash

I’m a feedback kind of girl.  Yes, yes, I’m aware of the adage about opinions, but I actually like hearing what other people think.  And I like hearing all of it; negative, positive, incredibly absurd, downright unintelligible… So, unlike most authors, I do read reviews given on my books.  I become giddy when I find I have a new review, doesn’t matter how many stars, I just love getting them.  (This should not discourage anyone from posting a review… I consider negative reviews to be learning experiences, not cause for irritation)

It’s also why I welcome anyone to send me messages on Facebook, post comments there or on my blog, send me messages on Twitter, and for a few, to my personal email account.  However, I am human and occasionally, an opinion makes me stop and shake my head (like the request that my Dreams & Reality Novels be labelled as “Mature.”  It wasn’t righteous indignation that made me write the post about the request, it was an explanation of why I would not do so).

A few days ago, I was reading reviews for the Dreams & Reality Novels.  I hate calling it a series, because that implies they must be read in order and only 2 have to be read that way, Cannibal Dreams & Butchered Dreams.  Butchered makes a lot more sense if you read Cannibal first.  And if you read Butchered first, you’ve missed out on the big reveal of who The Butcher is…

Anyway, after Butchered released, I expected a lot of unhappy readers for a reason… Aislinn refused to deal with the consequences of knowing who The Butcher was.  Gabriel even broached the subject, but Aislinn shut him down, immediately.  I was surprised to find only one person commented on it at all.  This made me realize something very important about the readers of the Cain novels; they just expect to be left with unanswered emotional questions that will be answered when Aislinn decides to resolve it.

Holy hell, that’s a lot of faith to put into me, as a writer.  Originally, I was going to have her deal with it in Butchered, but it felt forced and unnatural for Aislinn, at a time when there was so much other stuff going on (Nyleena, Fiona, her family, and there’s still the pesky issue of Michael, which Aislinn is still trying to ignore), to attack such a complicated situation, especially immediately after the event.  Her character requires distance to understand and deal with things and since no one really commented on it, I think they get that.  But as I said, that’s a lot of faith to put into me as a writer.  I can’t help but wonder if that’s a good thing or a bad thing…

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