“Poppycock!” she screamed.

My book Poppycock: A Midsummer Night’s Mare has been set free this morning. At least the digital edition, the print book is not far behind.

It’s been a long road on this one. I wrote it in 2008. It originally began as a musical and I had written songs for it. I won’t say I wrote music. I wrote the lyrics and the tune. I have lost all those notes and cannot remember any of those songs now.

Poppycock is special to me for many reasons. One being that it is inspired by a favorite of mine and many, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in which I had the comic relief part. We had such a wonderful time looking between my legs and proclaiming “I spy a chink in the wall!”

The best part of that play, however, were all the girls dressed up like pastel fairies that I kissed and flirted with backstage. Oh, youth!

Poppycock represents coming into my own as a writer. In this book I really worked to present only those elements totally necessary to the story. Indeed, I cut and slashed, rewrote and rearranged until I had it right. It was the first book I had done that with and at the time, I considered it a kind of Frankesteinian exercise, but years later, when I read it again, I appreciated my younger self’s foresight. It was damn good. I don’t say that as self promotion, but honestly. It was a tight, swift to the core read that was funny, sickening, humorous, fun, dark, scary, bloody, ridiculous and aptly true.

I remember the day I first envisioned him. Poppycock. He was so angry, so filled with hate. He was enraged of what his name had come to mean down through the ages.

My first encounter with the killer was when I saw him at a pastry shop. The owner of the shop, behind the counter, said something that rubbed him the wrong way. The level of utter contempt Poppycock displayed for that poor shop owner was truly disturbing. I knew then the shop owner was going to die.

That shop or its owner never made it into the book, per se, but was just one of the  many who was reported on the nightly news.

It was that encounter where I learned something about Poppycock. He hates humanity. Hates with a terrible loathing, but only because humanity has turned him out. You might say, he is terribly jealous.

The idea was borne. Such a disturbing emotion could only be conveyed by a character who had a story to tell, or star in. In this case it is the latter, though Poppycock is forced to share the limelight with his brother, Puk, and well, history repeats itself, doesn’t it?

Alex Donovan did a wonderful job on the cover and I have to thank my Beta readers, editors, wives (sorry…wife) and, of course, Mr. Sederquist, because, without him (or you, if you’re reading this, sir) I probably never would have written it.

 

 

Why do Serial Killers Fascinate Us?

What is the obsession we have with serial killers? Well, maybe obsession is a strong word, but we, as a society, are perhaps overly interested them. Last night I watched the Zodiac film for the first time. Aside from being a good movie, I found the whole case fascinating.

Afterwards, my wife got online and started researching all of the serial killers in the world. She found that more than 50 serial killers are active in the country at any one time and, of course, because she was on the internet, she found out that most serial killers come from the Pacific Northwest.

Somebody once made a joke about the Green River killer living in a shed and then, of course, she found out that the Green River killer was real and did live in that shed–not really, but he is real. He’s in prison trying to claim more kills that he didn’t do to get more infamous than Ted Bundy. Speaking of Ted Bundy, we love that a sleazy guy in a sitcom is named Al Bundy (Married with Children) and we love watching movies like Silence of the Lambs where he makes a skin suit from plus size beauties. We are endlessly fascinated with Charlies Manson and his strange prophecies and weird antics. Our skin crawls at the tales of Jeffery Dahmer and his freezer and bathtub. In Katy Perry’s song Dark Horse they draw a comparison on “she’ll eat your heart out like Dahmer” or some horrible analogy. The list goes on.

Well, why is that? In the movie the Zodiac guy wanted a movie made of him, wanted promotional buttons that people would wear and otherwise wanted infamy. And dare I say, he got it.

Perhaps it is because the sane man or woman simply cannot fathom the depths of depravity such personalities have gone, or perhaps we just don’t understand that there isn’t a even a person there at all. Just a machine or an animal, but no soul, and we look in vain to understand how someone that looks like us, can destroy us.

Statistically, they don’t kill that many people. They kill a handful. Compare that with, oh, Hiroshima, and you see the disparity. Compare it with highway accident deaths in any given month and, well, then again. So, it’s not the number of victims that gets us, but the way its done.

The worst crime is murder. It is the worst crime because is takes away another individual’s right to play the game. I can almost envision these dedicated killers as some kind of urban decay, come up from the sewers to level out the playing field, a nightmare clothed in human flesh.

But really they are just men gone mad and if they have a soul left at all it must be so small and so very lost.