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Friday, February 24, 2012

Ten Ways to Know You’re Going to Die (Behind the Masque style)

1.      If there is hissing coming from your bathroom, it’s probably not the pipes. You could still go in, but when the shower curtains move and you hear a rattle, you’re about to receive a shot of venom from a very nasty snake that is upset you interrupted his shower.

2.      When you decide to go bowling late at night and the patrons clear out to be replaced by a gang of thugs wielding knives, you’re about to become a chopping board.

3.      You have settled down for a long night home alone and are sipping hot cocoa on the sofa while watching a John Wayne movie. Glass shatters in the other room. It’s probably not the neighbors stopping by for a nice chat, but you can strike up a conversation with the serial killer crawling through the broken window.

4.      The cute girl you met at the party is anything but adorable. Here’s a tip: Don’t let someone you just met ever tie you up willingly.

5.      If the juice you just poured starts to bubble suddenly, it’s probably not what you’re used to drinking. Pour it down the drain and see if it burns through the sink. Aren’t you glad you didn’t pour it down your pipes now?

6.      Parties can be loads of fun when you can take a tour of your own and find the dark secrets hidden in the basement, but if you witness a murder down there, you probably won’t make it back up in one piece.

7.      Knives are a great utensil when eating your dinner; however, if you find yourself at the end of one and it’s nicking your neck, chances are the guy holding it isn’t asking you for a date.

8.      If you hear a noise outside, let it go. Never go investigate, especially alone and at night. Whatever it was will just either go away or burst down your door and open fire with an AK-47. If it’s your time, then it’s your time!

9.      When your dog goes berserk, bares her teeth, and starts growling for no apparent reason, chances are very good it’s not the wind knocking at your door. Run upstairs, call the police, and then hide until they arrive. In some cities, you know they will never get there in time since response times vary. Hopefully, you checked out your city before you moved there; if not, good luck.

10.  Should you decide to be brave and wander into a known killer’s estate for a confrontation and a sumo wrestler blocks your escape route, you know you’re going down. Maybe you should have had that psyche evaluation before jumping right into the villain’s nest. It could have saved you…or have you always had that death wish?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

12 Simple Ways to Sell More Books

12 Simple Ways to Sell More Books

Tips to Protect Yourself From Being Grabbed by a Serial Killer

Since my thriller books all deal with ordinary people trying to survive the onslaught of a serial killer, I thought I would offer up my advice on how not to become the guest of said serial killer.

1.      Be aware of your surroundings. Look around you. Don’t get distracted. Notice the people that are closest to you and/or the guy eyeing you from the other side of the parking lot. Hang up that cell phone. If it’s important, you can wait until you are safe inside your house before returning the call.

2.      Don’t carry yourself like a victim. Look people in the eye. It doesn’t matter what color shoes they are wearing or who dropped that piece of gum on the sidewalk. Keep your eyes up. Stare people down, no matter how creepy they may look.

3.      Never show fear. Laugh in the face of disaster. Spit in the eye of the person holding the knife at your throat. Stomp on their feet; scratch their hands. Don’t just sit there and freeze up. Do something…NOW!

4.      Drive to safety. Notice what the other cars are doing. If the black car behind you made the same five turns as you, don’t lead him to your house. Keep driving around in circles. Drive to the nearest police station and sit outside it for awhile. Flirt with the cops if you have to and then wave to the black car as he passes by.

5.      Don’t open that door to strangers. If a cop, service technician, or hot model suddenly shows up at your door, ask to see some ID – they can hold it up to the peep hole, slide it under the door, or flatten it against the window. Call someone to verify who they are, or you just may want to call up your ten girlfriends to come over and ogle the stranger. Either way, you did the right thing.

6.      If you get a sudden text or email saying someone you know has been in a car accident, don’t fall for it right away. Grab the nearest phone and call him or her. If you can’t get through, call someone you trust that can verify the horrible truth. Then run, don’t walk, to the hospital!

7.      Have emergency contacts on speed dial – your mom, the police, 911, the FBI. If someone suspicious approaches you, hit the speed dial and then stick the phone in your pocket. You never know when it might be the real thing. If this is just a test, ignore the above instructions and then spend the next five minutes apologizing to the operator how you accidentally butt dialed the number.

8.      THIS IS PROBABLY THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP OF ALL! If you witness a murder, call the cops right away. Do not hesitate, do not pass go, and do not collect $200. It probably won’t matter, though, because by the time they arrive, you just might have become the next victim, but at least you tried. Good luck!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Flash Fiction

Keith met her on Valentine’s Day and they shared a special love. She could never do any wrong. They were meant to be together for all eternity and should have been if Melissa hadn’t been in that accident.

She was with another man, driving at breakneck speed down the highway, when the 40 car pileup happened. His precious wife, the love of his life. It had been innocent, he knew that now. The man had been a co-worker, taking her to Atlanta for a convention.

Keith would always have her heart – in a jar on his desk.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Adult Swim: An Intro to Cthulhu

Take a few cautious, baby steps beyond the edge of madness as we teach you the basics of H.P. Lovecraft and Cthulhu. Also, marvel at some incredible Lovecraft-inspired art from the 'Dead and Dreaming' art show in Philly.

Your Brain Stays Active After You Get Decapitated

At one time in history, decapitation was one of the preferred methods of execution, in part thanks to the guillotine. Although many countries that execute criminals have dispatched with the method, it's still performed by certain governments, terrorists and others. There's nothing more final than the severing of one's head. The guillotine came about because of the desire for a quick, relatively humane death. But how quick is it? If your head were cut off, would you still be able to see or otherwise move it, even for just a few seconds?

This concept perhaps first appeared during the French Revolution, the very time period in which the guillotine was created. On July 17, 1793, a woman named Charlotte Corday was executed by guillotine for the assassination of Jean-Paul Marat, a radical journalist, politician and revolutionary. Marat was well-liked for his ideas and the mob awaiting the guillotine was eager to see Corday pay. After the blade dropped and Corday's head fell, one of the executioner's assistants picked it up and slapped its cheek. According to witnesses, Corday's eyes turned to look at the man and her face changed to an expression of indignation. Following this incident, people executed by guillotine during the Revolution were asked to blink afterward, and witnesses claim that the blinking occurred for up to 30 seconds.

Another often-told tale of demonstrated consciousness following beheading dates to 1905. French physician Dr. Gabriel Beaurieux witnessed the beheading of a man named Languille. He wrote that immediately afterward, "the eyelids and lips ... worked in irregularly rhythmic contractions for about five or six seconds." Dr. Beaurieux called out his name and said that Languille's eyelids "slowly lifted up, without any spasmodic contraction" and that "his pupils focused themselves" [source: Kershaw]. This happened a second time, but the third time Beaurieux spoke, he got no response.

These stories seem to give credence to the idea that it's possible for someone to remain conscious, even for just a few seconds, after being beheaded. However, most modern physicians believe that the reactions described above are actually reflexive twitching of muscles, rather than conscious, deliberate movement. Cut off from the heart (and therefore, from oxygen), the brain immediately goes into a coma and begins to die. According to Dr. Harold Hillman, consciousness is "probably lost within 2-3 seconds, due to a rapid fall of intracranial perfusion of blood" [source: New Scientist].

So while it's not entirely impossible for someone to still be conscious after being decapitated, it's not likely. Hillman also goes on to point out that the so-called painless guillotine is likely anything but. He states that "death occurs due to separation of the brain and spinal cord, after transection of the surrounding tissues. This must cause acute and possibly severe pain." This is one of the reasons why the guillotine, and beheading in general, is no longer an accepted method of execution in many countries with capital punishment.
If your head stays on your shoulders, though, it can still be damaged beyond repair.

Freeman, Shanna.  "Top 10 Myths About the Brain"  17 September 2008.  HowStuffWorks.com. <http://health.howstuffworks.com/human-body/systems/nervous-system/10-brain-myths.htm>  13 February 2012.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

We Live, a Poem by Jason Greiner

We Live
by Jason Greiner

We live within routine
Straying only when by force
Then reluctantly we walk
On paths fresh and new

But let one split second tear
And rip at our souls
To open our closed eyes
To an illuminating new truth

Death is death 
And blood is blood
Which both in time will come
Taking hold of all

So before life fades
We mustn't hesitate
To truly come to live
To see, to laugh, to love
Before our frailty does show through  

Jason Greiner is an American poet from Pittsburgh, PA. He is the author of two poetry books, "Wishing Wells: The Poetry of Love, Emotion and the World We Alive In" (2006) and "Shadows and Shade: A Collection of Poetry and Images" (2009) from which this work is taken.

"Shadows and Shade" link - http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/shadows-and-shade-jason-greiner/1017220870?ean=9781440152153&itm=1&usri=jason+greiner

Monday, February 6, 2012

Norway mass killer Breivik demands military award

Norway mass killer Breivik demands military award

OSLO — The Norway gunman who killed 77 people in twin attacks in July asked an Oslo court Monday to immediately free him and demanded the country's highest military award, sparking derision from survivors.

Showing no sign of remorse, 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik said the massacre was "a preventive attack against state traitors" who were guilty "ethnic cleansing" due to their support for a multi-cultural society.

"I do not accept imprisonment. I demand to be immediately released," the rightwing extremist told the court before it ordered that he be held in detention until his trial opens on April 16.

Hollow laughter erupted in the rows where several dozen survivors and families of the victims were seated, when Behring Breivik twice demanded his immediate release.

Wearing a dark suit and pale blue tie, Behring Breivik entered the courtroom and touched his heart with his handcuffed fists, then lifted them straight out toward those seated in the courtroom, in what his lawyer Geir Lippestad described as a "right-wing extremist salute."

"He wanted to show the far right that he is one of them," Lippestad said.

With his blond hair parted on the side and a thin strip of beard along the jawline, Behring Breivik refused to plead guilty but admitted to committing the acts he said were necessary to "defend the ethnic Norwegian population."

"We, the Norwegian resistance movement, will not just stand by and watch while we are made a minority in our own country," he said, adding that he had acted "to defend his people, his culture, his religion."

He also asked to be decorated with a bravery medal, saying: "I want the Norwegian army to recommend me for a War Cross with three swords."

Behring Breivik, who has claimed to be on a crusade against multi-culturalism and the "Muslim invasion" of Europe, set off a car bomb outside government buildings in Oslo on July 22, killing eight people.

He then went to Utoeya island, some 40 kilometres northwest of Oslo, and, dressed as a police officer, spent more than an hour methodically shooting and killing another 69 people, mainly teens, attending a summer camp hosted by the ruling Labour Party's youth wing.

The massacre was the deadliest committed in Norway since World War II.

During Monday's hearing, Behring Breivik turned around to face the media several times, a smile on his lips.

He reiterated his belief that the court was not a competent authority to try him, accusing judge Wenche Fliflet Gjelsten of being "appointed by those who support multi-culturalism."

"The Labour Party traitors of the nation use asylum, family regroupments, asylum on humanitarian grounds and immigration quotas as tools for Islamic colonialisation," Behring Breivik told the court.

"It's good to see him like that, surrounded by police officers, just a dozen metres away from me," said Magnus Haakonsen, a young Utoeya survivor who fled the shooting spree by dashing into the water and swimming away.

"The first time I saw him on Utoeya, he was also a dozen metres away but he was pointing a gun, at me. Now, in a way, the weapons are pointed at him, the weapons of justice," he said.

According to the 18-year-old, who escaped two of Behring Breivik's bullets, "a good way to disarm his arguments is to laugh at him."

"He has a completely demented vision of things," chimed in another survivor, Joergen Bunk, who turns 18 soon.

"I understand that he wants to be released, seeing that he thinks he's a hero. For us, it's obviously completely crazy," Bunk added.

A first psychiatric evaluation conducted last year found that Behring Breivik was criminally insane. A second opinion is expected by April 10, and if it confirms the first diagnosis he will likely be sentenced to psychiatric care in a closed ward instead of prison.

It will ultimately be up to the Oslo district court to decide whether he is sane and to determine his sentence.

© Copyright (c) AFP

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Writing Assignment: What Would You Do?

If you have ever watched the show What Would You Do? then this should be a fun and easy exercise.

You are at a local dine-in restaurant, nothing fancy, maybe a Big Boy, Denny's, Friendly's, or just a simple Coney Island. The lunch crowd hasn't arrived yet so there are just a few people seated. A  lady is sitting a few booths away. She has a young child with her, probably around five or six. While the woman is chatting away on her cell phone, her kid is running up and down the aisle, almost knocking the waitress over several times. The mother never once looks up or comes to collect her child, who is singing in a loud voice now as he/she marches past the other diners. Do you take action, sit idly by and fume as the child's obnoxious behavior gets on your nerves, or slap some money down on the table and get up and walk out?

What would you do?