Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Planting the Seeds of the Garden of Fiends | Guest Post

Hi, guys! To those of you I promised an update, we were able to demolish our old house last week. Things are starting to settle down, and I will be back this Saturday with a much better update.

As for today, I'm very excited to welcome Mark Matthews to Book Den! Mark is the editor and a contributing author of the addiction themed anthology Garden of Fiends: Tales of Addiction Horror.

Planting the Seeds of the Garden of Fiends

By Mark Matthews, editor and contributing author

From an early age, books shaped who I was. Writers were heroes to emulate. I wanted to be Thoreau, I wanted to be Mark Twain. I wanted to be Jack Kerouac.

There was something inside me that only stories could reach, a music only literature could play.

A similar reaction occurred when I had my first drink. The warm confidence, the blissful contentment. A union with God. All my curses lifted, all my deficits erased. It was love at first sip. Other drugs soon followed. I said “no” to nothing, “yes” to everything.

Pretty soon, I needed it to function. I started drinking alone. Getting shakes. Sweats. I went on drug binges and mixed drinking with cocaine, acid, or crystal meth every chance I could. I needed substances to feel normal, otherwise, I had perpetual flu-like symptoms and was intensely angry and bitter at the world. I didn’t care if I died and was quite certain that, due to drugging and drinking, I would die before I was 30 years old.

I nearly proved myself right. By 23 years old, I had alcoholic hepatitis of the liver, a swollen pancreas, my stomach was bleeding and I was shitting blood (sorry, I know that’s gross to read). More than once I went to detox to sober up after the pain got too much, but then I would drink soon as they released me. When money got tight and I needed $1.89 for a half pint of vodka, I visited car washes since that was the best place to gather 10 cent cans. Crazy thing was, the more disgusting I became, the more I needed to delude myself about who I really was. In my twisted mind, I was some misunderstood genius who society hadn’t found a place for, and therefore drinking was my only crutch to live with lesser mortals. Truth was, I was a pathetic lump of flesh.

A turning point came when, rather than just detox, I finally succumbed and went to residential treatment for 3 weeks. I didn’t want to go, but I had no other options. My body could not take any more liquor in it. My spirit was drenched with despair. I remember sitting in the treatment center, unable to stop the tears, and looking out the window with plans to leave, but I had no place to go. Instead, I stayed put, endured the pain of living, and found some humility and some courage. Each day sober felt like a miracle. I learned so much about why I was doing what I was doing, how to stop it, and most importantly, decided my life was worth saving.

No way in hell did I ever think I would go back to college to help other addicts, but that’s what I did. I got a masters in counseling, became a certified addictions counselor, and worked in many different treatment centers. My curse had changed to my calling.

And I returned to my desire to write.

Once I got sober, I started writing again. Writing out the darkness I had experienced was incredibly therapeutic, for if you want to tell the truth, best to do so by making up a story. I wrote one novel, Stray, which was based on a treatment center where I worked that shared a parking lot with an animal shelter. Next I wrote MILK-BLOOD, which tackled poverty, urban despair, and heroin addiction with a supernatural slant. Many readers were shocked by the darkness in the book, but the crazy thing is, it was all true (even if it didn’t happen) and much of the darkness in the book was actually understated. After writing the sequel, All Smoke Rises, I decided to reach out to other authors of dark fiction to see how they would tackle the subject of addiction.

The blog post for ‘addiction horror’ received 10,000 hits. I received hundreds of submissions and had to boil these down to eight pieces, largely of long fiction and novellas. I can’t promise you’ll like this collection, but I can promise it is different. In scope, in length of stories, in content. I’m incredibly proud of what’s inside, since addiction and horror seem a perfect fit. In order to tackle the modern day epidemic of addiction, it takes works of horror to fully explore the devastation.

Addicts, in a certain sense, are not that different than vampires: they live within society but hide their true nature while they feed off the living, siphoning their money, their sanity, always safest in the shadows. They feel cursed with their affliction but unable to stop the compulsion to suck the blood out of others.

And the family of an addict suffers as if something monstrous has taken over their loved one. I can’t help but think of the movie The Exorcist, perhaps the most terrifying horror movie ever made, as an analogy of a family dealing with addiction.

In The Exorcist, a desperate mother seeks out every kind of professional help after her daughter starts acting strangely. Nobody has answers. Things get worse, the young girl’s behavior gets more bizarre. Her very skin seems to be changing. The last resort is to seek help from something spiritual. A war begins to save a life. This true horror story happens every day, probably on your street. Parents losing their child to an addiction that has possessed their spirit. Thankfully, there are parents who are having their child saved through recovery. I know it works. I’ve seen the horror and the damage done, and I’ve seen many come out the other side and survive. Not without their share of scars.

This is the story of some of them. Check out Garden of Fiends: Tales of Addiction Horror

The intoxication from a pint of vodka, the electric buzz from snorting cocaine, the warm embrace from shooting heroin--drinking and drugging provide the height of human experience. It's the promise of heaven on earth, but the hell that follows is a constant hunger, a cold emptiness. The craving to get high is an intense yearning not unlike that of any other blood-thirsty monster.

The best way to tell the truths of addiction is through a story, and dark truths such as these need a piece of horror to do them justice.

The stories inside feature the insidious nature of addiction told with compassion yet searing honesty. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental deaths, and some of the most incredible names in horror fiction have tackled this modern day epidemic.

  • A WICKED THIRST, by Kealan Patrick Burke
  • THE ONE IN THE MIDDLE, by Jessica McHugh
  • FIRST, JUST BITE A FINGER, by Johann Thorsson
  • LAST CALL, by John FD Taff
  • TORMENT OF THE FALLEN, by Glen Krisch
  • GARDEN OF FIENDS, by Mark Matthews
  • RETURNS, by Jack Ketchum

Mark Matthews has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of Michigan and a Master’s Degree in Counseling. He is the author of five novels, including On the Lips of Children, MILK-BLOOD, and All Smoke Rises. All of his novels are based on true settings, many of them inspired by his work as a counselor in the field of mental health and treatment of addiction. He's the editor of the anthology GARDEN OF FIENDS: TALES OF ADDICTION HORROR. He lives near Detroit with his wife and two daughters. Reach him at xmarkm@gmail.com


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  1. Wicked cover. I love a short story collection but i don't drift into horror much. Still, this is one of the better guiding themes I have seen.

    1. I think it's a great cover, too. It was done by Zach McCain.

  2. Sounds like a great collection and I'm really interested now. Plus, he has to be a great author - he poses with his dog (you can see how my standards fall :) Glad to hear you're making progress on the house. I've missed your horror-filled updates and look forward to seeing you around more.

    1. It's a great lineup! Right? Dog people are automatically awesome. :) I can relate to your standards. Haha. Thanks, Barb. I've missed you, too. I'm ready to be back!

  3. Thanks for the post Jennifer! as for the dog shot... yeah, my kids make fun since i have more Dog and I selfies than kids and I (but, they also tend to shun daddy/daughter pictures, while the pooch loves them). One thing worth mentioning: many of the titles inside are basically novellas and longer than your typical short story. It was what I was shooting for: a way to spend more time in the fictional world. Thanks folks!

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    You also needs to be prepared to watch comments fastidiously, as comments that aren’t relevant to the topic at hand also can affect SEO. The size of the picture also needs to be considered. Think about pixel size and file kind, as if an image is too massive, it will have a longer load time. The JPEG file format is often the image file kind of choice for WordPress websites and blogs.

    Headings inform crawlers of what kind of content you have, while aesthetically, breaking it up into sections, making it simpler to read than an enormous wall of text. On an HTML web site, like your WordPress website, this is done with the aforementioned HTML header tags, which can be simply inserted to each page by the WordPress editor. Even with a well-designed site, if your content is poor, so too might be your SERP rankings. Clarity of design is an enormous issue for enhancing SERP rankings. A website that is fast, responsive, and clearly communicates its function will satisfy customers and search engines like google alike.

    Depending on the time period you search, you’ll typically find that the first few results on the page are actually adverts which have been paid for by companies who need their pages to be seen first. Featured slightly below that are the results that the search engine has determined to be most related to your search term, based on its algorithm. Generally, it’s easy to differentiate between the two end result varieties.

    There isn't any magical formula for the way often you should replace your content, but it must be updated often a minimum of. However, it ought to be careworn that posting frequency does not affect search engine relevance, however it is extra of a branding consideration. XML sitemaps may be created via an internet generator, whereas WordPress has a variety of plugins that will do it for you. https://www.reviewengin.com/5-simple-wordpress-seo-hacks-to-boost-your-google-ranking/

  37. It checks whether it loads quickly, is user-friendly, and is safe. This is a big one to pay attention to when running down your technical SEO checklist. If they don’t know how to crawl your content, they won’t know how to index it.
    It checks whether it loads quickly, is user-friendly, and is safe. This is a big one to pay attention to when running down your technical SEO checklist. If they don’t know how to crawl your content, they won’t know how to index it.
    Any longer than that and search engines will truncate the title in SERPs, which looks bad to searchers. By keeping these factors in mind, search marketers can create content that’s more likely to be found and ranked by search engines. To do that, they use bots—known as spiders or crawlers—to scan the web for hosted domains.
    Big image files are one of the most common factors that cause slow page loading. The Accelerated Mobile Pages technology allows faster content distribution on mobile devices. In practice, it means the content is served in a simpler, stripped-down version of your page on smartphones.
    Sometimes users can take advantage of this by adding links to their own site in your comment sections or message boards. Or sometimes you might mention a site in a negative way and don't want to confer any of your reputation upon it. For example, imagine that you're writing a blog post on the topic of comment spamming and you want to call out a site that recently comment spammed your blog. You want to warn others of the site, so you include the link to it in your content; however, you certainly don't want to give the site some of your reputation from your link. Think about the words that a user might search for to find a piece of your content. Users who know a lot about the topic might use different keywords in their search queries than someone who is new to the topic.

  38. My Life, My Job, My Career: How 5 Simple Bonus Offers Helped Me Succeed - See how Adobe Commerce gives you the essential eCommerce features you need to deliver an irresistible experience at every stage of the customer journey. Practical Ecommerce is an independent, family-owned, online magazine in Traverse City, Michigan, U.S. We are not affiliated with any e-commerce service, platform, or provider. Our mission is to publish authoritative articles, commentary, webinars, and podcasts to help online merchants. We work with a wide range of ERP partners to power businesses around the world with our integrated ecommerce solutions.
    We will also discuss some advantages and disadvantages to ecommerce, plus predictions for the future. However, 67% of millennials prefer shopping online over offline. According to Forbes, 40% of millennials are also already using voice assistants to make purchases, with that number expected to surpass 50% by 2020. If a customer sees an item that he or she likes in a store, the customer pays for it and then goes home with it. With e-commerce, there is a wait time for the product to be shipped to the customer's address.
    Keep costs low and profits high across channels with Lightspeed eCom's inventory management tools. Connect all your locations to your eCom store for a more efficient supply chain that lets you sell all your stock online. There’s a reason why sites like Google Shopping are so lucrative — they work. Search engines return billions of results daily, and many of those results are for products and services just like yours. When done right, paid advertising can position your ecommerce store in front of the right audience and ahead of your competition. When it comes to marketing, visuals are extremely important — especially for online buyers who can’t see or touch products before making a purchase.


  39. 5 Amazing Bonus Offers Hacks - Online promo codes to avail free shipping – oftentimes found on affiliate sites; a good approach to reach out and encourage people to purchase goods through your website. Eventually, you will need to create a team that will help you drive in the sales to your company. Your sales team will help you get the revenue and catch up on missed opportunities that can be turned around.
    So visionaries can focus on what really matters - their know-how, business, and clients. It is our mission to take care of 1000s of secondary, yet still important details. Web design and development services tailored to your business vision.
    Put simply, it's all of the activity that takes place with an online business. Make sure you do your research before you start your business. Figure out what products and services you're going to sell and look into the market, target audience, competition, and expected costs. It requires a lot of research about the products and services you wish to sell, the market, audience, competition, as well as expected business costs. Online stores with a social media presence have an average of 32% more sales than those that don’t. Email has the highest ROI out of all other marketing campaigns, so using it is super important to growing your business online.


  40. If this AI's goals do not fully reflect humanity's, it might need to harm humanity to acquire more resources or prevent itself from being shut down, ultimately to better achieve its goal. However, the symbolic approach failed on many tasks that humans solve easily, such as learning, recognizing an object or commonsense reasoning. Deep learning often uses convolutional neural networks for many or all of its layers. In a convolutional layer, each neuron receives input from only a restricted area of the previous layer called the neuron's receptive field.
    AI provides virtual shopping capabilities that offer personalized recommendations and discuss purchase options with the consumer. Stock management and site layout technologies will also be improved with AI. Generalization involves applying past experience to analogous new situations.
    For example, automated spam filtering falls into the most basic class of AI, while the far-off potential for machines that can perceive people’s thoughts and emotions is part of an entirely different AI subset. The modern field of artificial intelligence is widely cited as starting this year during a summer conference at Dartmouth College. AI in personal finance applications, such as Intuit Mint or TurboTax, is disrupting financial institutions. Applications such as these collect personal data and provide financial advice. Other programs, such as IBM Watson, have been applied to the process of buying a home. Today, artificial intelligence software performs much of the trading on Wall Street. https://www.reviewengin.com/gpt5


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