Intergenerational Horrific

By Robert Eggleton

Do you think that Godzilla is cuddly? When did you start identifying the social and political allegory of King Kong instead of being afraid that he might jump off the screen and tear you to bits? 

I remember watching The Exorcist in 1973. The females seemed to be enjoyably alarmed, but one guy with us at the theater covered his eyes with his palms and started shaking, barely making it to the end of the movie. I suspect that we have all become so desensitized to horror that many would consider these scenes mild today: “Desensitization to Violence” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4522002/

In contrast, the same mainstream desensitization does not appear to have occurred with respect to language that includes sexual references. The famous and popular line in The Exorcist, “…your mother sucks cocks in Hell…,” might be more likely edited out of a film today. After all, in 2002 Spielberg caved in to the pressure and edited out the equally popular and very similar insult in his rerelease of ET: “…penis breath….” 

Of course, ET was not horror, but its roots may have been: The Thing (1951), War of the Worlds (1953), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), Village of the Damned (1960)…. All of these films, regardless of original genre, are most likely now watched for comedic effect and not just because of their low budgets and melodramatic performances. Horror has undergone continual assessment and modification due to desensitization. I’m not saying that Spielberg imitated anything, only that he probably watched numerous films about extraterrestrials and laughed, thereby blending horror and comedy: The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant (1971), The Stuff (1985), The Beyond (1998)…. 

I never intended Rarity from the Hollow to fit within the horror genre, or within the comedic horror subgenre. One book reviewer disagreed and knocked a hole in my theory that audiences have become so generally desensitized to horror that they would be increasingly difficult to scare: 

“I didn’t manage to finish this book because I found it too disturbing for my tastes. I am a 19 year old who still enjoys Disney and can’t watch a horror film because they are terrifying after all. But for fans of horror movies and Stephen King, this book is perfect. It is psychologically disturbing at a different level to what I have seen before, especially the scene describing her friend’s death. The writing style is very good, you can actually imagine it is written by a child right from her thoughts as she struggles through her life of abuse. If you are not easily scared or disturbed like I am, then I would urge you to give it a go for yourselves….” http://thereadingrose.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/review-special-review-request-title.html

A little surprised by this review, I modified my pitch to other book reviewers to include a disclaimer: 

“Except for a scene involving domestic violence in the third chapter, there is no violence or horror — no blood, guts, gore, vampires, werewolves, but there is one comical and annoying ghost. There are no graphic sex scenes in the novel. The renewed romance between the protagonist’s parents does include off-scene sexual reference, but nothing that is beyond real-life typical teen exposure. The android coming of age during his pursuit of humanity is reality based. Any boy above thirteen years old would attest. However, Lacy Dawn never lets the android get farther than to kiss her on the cheek, once. The android expresses no interest in sex. He falls in love, all consuming love by the middle of the story. The “F word” is used twice, but there is little other profanity. There are two mild sex scenes past the middle of the story that could disturb some folks with conservative values on the subject, but one of the scenes is comedic and the other involves the habitation of a maple tree by the ghost mentioned in this paragraph, so Rarity from the Hollow is not erotic.”

I also began to wonder if this book reviewer’s alarm to the novel was based solely on the fact that there is nothing more horrific than child abuse. Lacy Dawn, the protagonist, begins the adventure at age ten and it takes her until she is fourteen to save the universe. The term, “armadildo,” is used in a punch line of the opening scene. Is the novel experiencing an ET-like reaction similar to the phrase “penis breath”? I added a line to the book’s blurb:

Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire. It is a children’s story for adults, not for the prudish, faint of heart, or easily offended.”

An aspect of the intergenerational horrific in Rarity from the Hollow that cannot be edited out and that may upset some readers of mainstream fiction in any genre — family violence. All the scary movies with the best special effects, masterpieces in fiction, will never desensitize anybody to the horrors that some children face. Building upon concepts implemented by many authors, the horror was mitigated with comedy for impact:

“…a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, only instead of the earth being destroyed to make way for a hyperspace bypass, Lacy Dawn must…The author has managed to do what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse, and written about them with tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…Eggleton sucks you into the Hollow, dunks you in the creek, rolls you in the mud, and splays you in the sun to dry off. Tucked between the folds of humor are some profound observations on human nature and modern society that you have to read to appreciate…it’s a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy.” https://awesomeindies.net/bookstore/rarity-from-the-hollow-robert-eggleton/

The everyday horror, harsh child discipline, child abuse, and domestic violence found in early chapters of Rarity couldn’t be minimized – it’s reality. If you can’t face real-life horror, despite the general impact of desensitization to it among subsequent generations in our society, please don’t go to work in the local ER or read my novel. And, if you read it, please keep in mind that early tragedy amplifies subsequent comedy and satire. 

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About the Author:

Robert Eggleton has served as a children’s advocate in an impoverished state for over forty years. Locally, he is best known for his nonfiction about children’s programs and issues, much of which was published by the West Virginia Supreme Court. Today, he is a retired children’s psychotherapist from the mental health center in Charleston, West Virginia, where he specialized in helping victims cope with and overcome maltreatment and other mental health concerns. Rarity from the Hollow is his debut novel and follows the publication of other Lacy Dawn Adventures in magazines. Author proceeds support the prevention of child maltreatment. For a complete listing of specific services, including the nonprofit agency history and its mission, please see: http://www.childhswv.org/.

Connect with the Author on:

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Hit Or Miss by Jeff Markowitz Banner

Hit Or Miss

by Jeff Markowitz

April 1-30, 2021 Tour

 

Synopsis:

Hit Or Miss by Jeff Markowitz

When you’re twenty-one years old, it can be hard, under the best of circumstances, to balance the expectations of your father and the desires of your girlfriend. For Ben Miller and his girlfriend Emily Bayard, circumstances are far from perfect.

Emily’s mother has been murdered. Ben’s father, a detective in Dutch Neck, catches the case. It’s not long before evidence suggests that Emily’s father may be responsible for the death of his wife.

Set against the backdrop of the cultural and political unrest associated with the war in Viet Nam, Emily and Ben find themselves attracted by the politics and lifestyle of the counter-culture.

As Detective Miller conducts the homicide investigation and Dr. Bayard attempts to keep an affair with his secretary secret, everyone else in the town of Dutch Neck that summer of 1970 has the same question.

Who is responsible for the death of Rosalie Bayard?

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: WiDo Publishing
Publication Date: December 29, 2020
Number of Pages: 278
ISBN: 9781947966482
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Thousands of young people were on the mall, and more were streaming in by the minute. Willow, and her hippie friends staked out a spot near the Lincoln Memorial. Emily wandered the length of the National Mall, from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capital Building and back again, determined to take it all in. There was a buzz in the morning air. The President appeared unannounced on the Ellipse at dawn and chatted with a small group of demonstrators. He wished them an enjoyable stay in the nation’s capital. Everyone Emily met on the Mall claimed to have seen him. The day was hot; the Mall was dry and dusty. There were crowds of people everywhere, an uneasy mixture of antiwar protestors, soldiers and police units, newsmen and onlookers. Protestors flashed peace signs and sang the fish cheer. Young Republicans responded with middle-finger salutes.

Emily didn’t know most of the speakers at the demonstration, but she like the message. End the Cambodian incursion. End the war in Vietnam. She located a pay phone and used her spare change to call Ben.

“It’s amazing. You should be here.” She had to yell to be heard. Demonstrators continued to pour into the Mall. “Is anything happening in Dutch Neck?”

“You need to come home.”

“Don’t be like that.”

“That’s not what I mean. It’s your mother.”

“What about my mother?”

Ben didn’t answer right away. The phone line crackled with static.

A scuffle broke out on the Mall. Police moved in quickly, weapons at the ready, cutting the small group of protestors off from the larger crowd. The confrontation pulled Emily’s attention away from the phone call.

“Your mother is dead.”

Later, the news would report that there were more than one hundred thousand demonstrators on the national mall, but at that moment, amidst the pushing and shoving, Emily felt like she was alone in the world. Without more change to feed the phone, the line went dead. She dropped the pay phone and turned, nearly bumping into a cop.

“Stay back,” he ordered, his hand on his weapon.

“She’s dead,” she replied and kept walking.

He pointed the gun at Emily’s head. “Who’s dead?”

She could feel anger in the policeman, but also restraint. Days removed from Kent State, it was as if no one wanted to provoke the next shooting. The policeman holstered his weapon. Shouts of “pig” were replaced by prayers for peace. Emily breathed a sigh of relief and answered the officer’s question.

“My mother.”

“Do you have a way to get home?”

Emily told the officer about Miss Cooper and the apartment on C Street. He offered to give her a ride. If anyone saw her in the patrol car, she would tell them that she had been arrested.

No one answered when she knocked on the apartment door. The apartment manager was polite, but firm. She would have to leave.

“Do you need money for a bus ticket?” The officer reached for his wallet. “I’ll drop you off at the bus station.”

When Emily left Dutch Neck, her mother had been alive. If she got on a bus, she would be admitting that her mother was dead. She wasn’t prepared to deal with that. Not yet. So she decided to spend another night in DC. As long as she remained in DC, she told herself, she could pretend that nothing was wrong at home. And maybe, just maybe, she could help end the war.

With no place else to go, she retraced her steps.

The crowd at the National Mall was smaller. There was a chill in the air, the midday heat a distant memory. It was a tough night, out on the mall, trying not to think about her mother. Instead she thought about the American boys who were spending the night in rice paddies on the other side of the world, probably trying not to think about their mothers too, and she knew that this was a small price to pay to end the war. At four in the morning, an older man approached. He was dressed like an off-duty policeman heading out to play a round of golf.

“Are you here to end the war, miss?”

“Yes, I guess I am,” She took a closer look at the middle-aged man and jumped to her feet, “Mr. President?”

President Nixon chuckled quietly.

“But, what…”

“I couldn’t sleep. I thought some fresh air would do me good.”

“But…”

“You know, sometimes I think you young people actually believe that I like being at war.”

Emily didn’t know how to answer the Commander in Chief. “Begging your pardon sir, but it does sometimes seem that way.”

“Let me tell you something miss… by the way, we haven’t been properly introduced. My name is Richard Nixon and yours is?”

“Emily Bayard.” She started to raise her fist in protest, like Bug, during the demonstration, but couldn’t extend her arm, not while she was standing face-to-face with the President. She looked around, grateful that Willow and her friends weren’t there to see her pitiful attempt at protest.

“Well, Emily, let me tell you something. I think I hate this war more than you do. But sometimes war is the necessary thing to do.”

“But you could end the war, sir. You could end the war today.”

“General Westmoreland tells me we need two more years to achieve our goals. You wouldn’t want us to leave now, without achieving our goals. Give me two more years Emily, and I’ll end the war. You have my word on it.”

“I don’t think I can do that, sir.”

President Nixon shook his head in sadness. “You young people can be so impatient.”

“In a few weeks, I’ll be graduating from college.”

“Congratulations. And then?”

“I don’t know. But I have classmates… friends… They’ve been called up. In two years’ time, they could be dead.”

President Nixon didn’t have an answer at the ready. “I’d best be on my way.” The sun was beginning to peek over the horizon. “Before my Secret Service detail realizes I’ve slipped out.”

President Nixon turned to leave. He took a few steps and then turned back to face Emily. “I’ve just had an idea. Are you hungry? Would you like to have breakfast with me?”

“You mean, like, in the White House?”

The President grinned. “I have the best chef. What would you like? You can have anything, anything at all. After all, I am the President.”

“This isn’t some sort of photo op, is it? You know what I mean, antiwar activist sees the error of her ways after breaking bread with the President.

“I see what you mean. It would sure look good in the papers. Lord knows I could use a good story in the papers.” The President chuckled. “No. No photos. No press release. You have my word.”

And so it came to pass, on Sunday morning, before taking a bus back to Long Island to bury her mother, Emily had breakfast with the President. Mr. Nixon had poached eggs and corned beef hash with a cup of coffee, black. Emily had blueberry blintzes and a cup of chamomile tea. And all the while, they argued about the war.

“Would you like seconds?”

But she had put it off long enough. “I’m needed at home.”

***

Excerpt from Hit Or Miss by Jeff Markowitz. Copyright 2020 by Jeff Markowitz. Reproduced with permission from Jeff Markowitz. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Jeff Markowitz

Jeff Markowitz is the author of 5 mysteries, including the award-winning dark comedy, Death and White Diamonds. His new book, Hit Or Miss, was released in December 2020. Part detective story, part historical fiction, part coming of age story, Hit Or Miss is an Amazon Hot New Release in political fiction. Jeff spent more than 40 years creating community-based programs and services for children with autism, before retiring in 2018 to devote more time to writing. Jeff is Past President of the NY chapter of Mystery Writers of America.

 

 

 

Catch Up With Jeff Markowitz:
www.JeffMarkowitz.com
Goodreads
BookBub – @JeffMarkowitz
Twitter – @JeffMarkowitz1
Facebook

 

 

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!


04/01 Guest post @ Novels Alive
04/02 Showcase @ The Reading Frenzy
04/03 Guest post @ The Stuff of Success
04/05 Review @ Books and Zebras
04/06 Showcase @ The Bookwyrm
04/07 Review @ Nesies Place
04/08 Interview @ A Blue Million Books
04/08 Showcase @ Books, Ramblings, and Tea
04/09 Showcase @ Im All About Books
04/12 Interview @ Quiet Fury Books
04/13 Review @ sunny island breezes
04/14 Interview/showcase @ CMash Reads
04/14 Showcase @ 411 ON BOOKS, AUTHORS, AND PUBLISHING NEWS
04/15 Showcase @ Silvers Reviews
04/16 Showcase @ Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books!
04/17 Review @ The Book Review Crew
04/19 Showcase @ Celticladys Reviews
04/19 Showcase @ The Pulp and Mystery Shelf
04/20 Review @ 5 Minutes for Books
04/21 Interview/Review @ Podcast/Blogtalk Radio
04/22 Guest post @ BooksChatter
04/29 Review @ A Room Without Books is Empty

 

 

Enter To Win!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jeff Markowitz. There will be two (2) winners each receiving one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on April 1, 2021 and runs through May 2, 2021. Void where prohibited.

 

 

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

Stolen Grace by Patricia M. Muhammad

You can find these books on:

Amazon

About the Author

Patricia M. Muhammad is an American fiction author of crossover contemporary romance/science fiction, science fiction/fantasy, mystery/detective and historical romance genres. She has currently written 19 novels.

Before penning fiction, Patricia emerged as an international legal history scholar and academic author, focusing on human rights, international law and restorative justice. She has currently written and published a combination of 21 research papers and academic book reviews in these subject areas. Her work has appeared in the American University International Law Review, Columbia Journal of Race and Law, the Willamette Journal of International Law and Public Policy as well as the New York History Journal. Her non-fiction writing has been cited dozens of times in various respectable academic journals.

Connect with the Author:

Website | Twitter