Of Gods and Madness: The Faithful
by Justin D. Herd
The right hand of the dominant mob family, Raine Morgan is tasked with hunting down two miscreants messing with the bottom line. He finds them on the docks, but, in the confusion of the fight, accidentally kills their victim and lets them escape. Horrified at what he's done, Raine seeks redemption as well as revenge.
Things spiral out of control when a greedy middleman overthrows Raine's mob organization. It's only with the help of a friend inside the crumbling mob as well as a streetwise artist that Raine remains undetected as he searches for the men who started this all. Raine doesn’t realize, however, he has caught the attention of a disparate conclave of gods in the process.
As the pantheon returns to the city they'd abandoned, old conflicts re-emerge, causing divine civil war. Both sides try to pull Raine to their side, expecting to find a naive god for them to manipulate. Instead, they find a man stripped of everything, intent on playing both sides as they learn an awful reality - even gods can die.
The figures disappeared around a jagged line of barrels. Cale kept the same speed, listening to their movements. Running his fingers along cold steel of the shipping container, he moved around to catch one of them, the largest one, venturing towards the labyrinth, retreating moments later. Quiet laughter followed as they teased and jostled each other.
Coming to a stop, he stared at the silhouettes, considered his action. The children crept forward, toying with the lines of shadows as they went. Cale balled his hand into a fist and rapped on the metal with the white bone shards that wrapped his fingers like a gauntlet. One, two, three times in a slow, measured beat. A breeze coalesced with the beat, twisting into something entirely inhuman.
The whispers stopped. So did the thump of the children’s footsteps. The three children froze, stared into the darkness. The sound of happy jostling was gone, replaced with the splashing of choppy waves.
Cale struck the crate once more.
Shrill shouts hit his ears as the silhouettes retreated, tripping over each other in their haste. Cale watched them, making sure they didn't stay. He rested a hand on his gun, wondering what he'd do if the Stalker actually showed up again. His heart thudded, anxiety creeping into his chest. As he watched the last leg disappear over the last step, he turned back to the docks. He had a long night ahead of him.
With the area empty once more, he felt a wave of relief wash over him.
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Staying True to Your Story
You’ve got this great story, with your own peculiarities woven throughout, and now you’re getting feedback that maybe that frog-in-a-dress scene might be a bit much . . . what do you do?
Of Gods and Madness: The Faithful is an odd book. It starts out like a crime novel in a slightly-fantasy city, but, as the story unweaves, it becomes a different beast entirely, instead focusing on a divine civil war between the long forgotten gods. Over the years of developing this story, it’s gone through every possible iteration, from one story to two novels that took place months apart back into one stitched together novel that ties all these things together, slowly weaving the fantasy through the whole novel. I liken it to Game of Thrones gradual building of fantasy into an otherwise normal medieval world – when you’re in the first season (or book), the fantasy is hinted at as an artifice of the past, but by the time the Mother of Dragons fulfills its promise, you know you are in for something completely different.
I’ve gotten every response imaginable to my story, from people loving the first half but thinking the divine civil war was a bit meh, to people absolutely the interplay between the gods and how insane it got by the end of the novel. One of my chief architectural features, Oki’s Veins, are still a point of contention, with some people understanding it from the moment they appear on page to others taking almost a hundred pages to be able to figure out their significance to the story.
And, when it comes down to it, this story could only be told by me. If I gave any other writer the basic concept of a gangster becoming a god, only to discover they die too, they would craft an entirely different story that had no relation to the novel I have sitting on my bookshelf. It’s those little peculiarities, those things that make you laugh, that will endear you to your audience. If you dismiss those, listening to the little critics here and there, it robs the story of something essential.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Justin D. Herd is a Fantasy Noir author, who has been writing novels for ten years. He absolutely loves dark, twisted stories that take readers into unexpected places. Horror movies are his passion and he often takes stories to task for not logically thinking out their concepts. His home has been invaded by three eccentric cats, one of which is obssesed with all things digital. He is married with two children.
You can buy his books at the following links:
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1FJIeHf