One of the most frequent comments I hear about “The Shifting Sands” is how it gives an honest look into what it is like to develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and subsequently live with it. I’m not certain about the second part: Mike doesn’t live with his PTSD, he runs from it. Which is a very common reaction to it. But it isn’t “living” with it.
I was thinking about it this morning. While, in general, the public has become more accepting that PTSD exists and can prevent us from engaging in otherwise normal social activities, I still get the idea they don’t quite understand the power it can have over us. I was trying to come up with a way to explain this, and I think the easiest way to do it is to explain anxiety/panic attacks.
At its heart, an anxiety attack is nothing more than the “fight or flight” response kicking in quite unexpectedly. So, first of all, you need to understand what that means. Think back to that time you were nearly in a car accident, or a bar fight, or when you thought you lost your child in the store – your heartbeat doubled or tripled in an instant, you suddenly felt very hot from the increased rush in blood. Your hands were shaking – your eyes jumped from one thing to another with spastic unpredictability. You unconsciously balled your hands into fists and relaxed them, over and over. It felt like a someone was sitting on your chest – your breathing came in shallow, quick, gasps. Your knees itched – right under the kneecaps, where you couldn’t reach it. Your legs wanted to take you somewhere, anywhere, but you didn’t know where to go.
I came up with the idea for a thriller/suspense/mystery story over the last few weeks, heavily inspired by local legends here in rural Western Washington and TV shows that made use of those legends like “Twin Peaks” and “The X-Files”. The premise is simple: a former police officer from California moves to rural Washington after a scandal costs him his job and family. Shortly after moving to Washington, people begin disappearing and he is the prime suspect as the new guy in a small town. To help clear his name, he begins his own investigation and is led down a path of paranormal legends and rumors.
This is the first chapter, an introduction to the story and the paranormal. I’m tentatively calling the book “The Uninvited”, but I don’t think that name will stick:
One of the more frustrating aspects of independent publishing is reviews: the books are selling, and at a fairly good rate for self-published author, so I know people are reading them and deliberately choosing to buy them.
Yet the reviews are few and far between. I even like bad reviews, if they happen to be constructive – but no reviews annoys me. It tells me the book wasn’t bad enough to make someone want to complain about it, but maybe wasn’t good enough to make them say anything good about it.
In the same vein, I will run across people I don’t know who recognize my name with a “I read your book, it was good!” and I just want to say, “Why didn’t you tell anyone else that?”
Venting over – just wanted to get that out. I know my author friends understand.
“The Shifting Sands”, a book written by a soldier about the war in Iraq and dealing with PTSD back home, is available on Kindle and Kindle-enabled devices.
“The Shifting Sands” is “A well written book of a ‘fictional’ (I will use that term loosely here) series of events that lets people see into the mindset of a Soldier as he becomes who he will be for the rest of his days.” – Amazon Review.
And “Anyone who has served or have family that has served should read this book, if only to get a better understanding of what really happens while ‘over there’. ” – Amazon Review.
For my ANZAC friends and their families. It is already Remembrance Day over there – and too often, Americans forget that Veteran’s Day was born of Armistice Day – a worldwide acknowledgement of a worldwide tragedy – an entire generation of men fought and died in muddy fields in Europe and Africa – not just Americans, and we didn’t hold a large percentage of the sacrifices made.
2% of the world’s population died between 1914-1918, and another 2.2% were wounded.
My friend Joe made a simple Facebook status update about a girl walking into the cafe he was at with a leaf stuck to her shoe. She removed it and tossed it outside, only for the wind to blow it back in. He made a comment about it being poetic – and I saw a story in it. Interesting how inspiration can frame a story. This is the finished product.
by Aric Catron
The alarm began softly. It built to a crescendo. Normally, when she woke up, she would catch it before it reached full volume. Today, however, she was awake before the alarm – had been awake for some time – staring at the digital numbers as they ticked away. She didn’t feel any desire to stop the sound as it grew to headache levels. She was content to look at the numbers and wonder.
Two days. Only two days. It seemed longer – a lifetime, another world, or even a dream. It was now Saturday, and Susan gave her Thursday and Friday off. So, it really was two days.
She reached over and fumbled at the alarm. The room plunged into silence. Only her breathing. She stared at the ceiling. There was a small spider web on one of the light fixtures. She should clean that sometime. Not today, though. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe she’d feel up to it tomorrow. Today, like yesterday, she didn’t feel up to much of anything. However, she agreed, so she had to get up.