Bern

Bern, eyes heavy-lidded, sat beside a babbling brook with a sheaf of homemade paper in his lap. He’d spent hours scrawling the complex equations that described the relativistic event that had crippled his robot-parents. To his right a DNA tree corkscrewed its way into the soil, a plant that avoided sunlight.

Bern’s second sibling, a girl, raced up to him with a chess set, laced her fingers as if in prayer, implored him to show her the Queen’s gambit.Bern’s head was large and square and the color of dark tree bark. Bern smiled, but shook his head.

His third sibling scampered up with a model of the Hemingway that he’d carved out of a hunk of wood. He asked Bern to play spaceship with him. Bern smiled, but shook his head.

Bern’s roommate, Chico, swaggered up to him and made farting noises with armpit. Bern smiled, but shook his head. 
Finally, Bern’s dog meandered up with a spit-covered homemade tennis ball in its mouth. Bern frowned approvingly and threw the ball for the dog to play fetch. 

The dog, at least, understood the equations. 

Bern returned his focus to his complex array of math. He blinked. The pages were blank. Bern knitted his brows as a wind blew in from the Eastern Ocean and swept each page away, one by one.

Want to know more about Bern, his good heart and his troubled mind? Read Madness Rising and its upcoming sequel, Madness Underground.

Peace,

Keith

Copyright © 2016

Animals?

Just as Ireland has no snakes, the planet Newtonia has no land animals, except for the dogs, emus and Cornish game hens that were brought there by the Colonists. The planet does have fish, however, and bird-like creatures seem to live on the islands far out in the Eastern Ocean. Makeda fish, native to the babbling brooks of the Colony, are a treat, and taste a little like a cross between salmon and chicken; in fact, you could probably throw out the salmon analogy and just say chicken.  The danger while fishing is that the fresh water rivers and lakes are home to flicker-eels, which are kinda like eels from Old Earth, except with gorilla-like intelligence and crocodile-like fury.

Another delightful menace is the Carrie-bug. Even the deranged biologist, John K. Smith, balked at these vermin. The smaller ones are nuisances, bumblebee-size mosquitos… with teeth. The larger ones, though, are the size of Old Earth vultures, and uglier. They’ll alight in your armpit, behind your knee or on the back of your neck, inject a local anesthetic, and start sucking any bodily fluid they can find.

Wanna learn more about the critters on Newtonia? Wanna know why Nina’s skin always itches? Wanna know why there is a monster the size of an office building lurking underground? Then read Madness Rising. You won’t be sorry.

Peace,

Keith

Copyright (c) 2016, Keith Parker.

Tentacle

A few weeks ago many of us fell in love as the story broke of a free-spirited little New Zealand octopus named Inky, who made his way out his aquarium, ambled across the floor of the research lab, and snaked into a small drain pipe that led to his ancestral home in the Pacific Ocean. Many of us, smitten by a cephalopod of such serious purpose, wonder about his whereabouts, his healthcare, his forwarding address.

Less than a week ago I was talking to an overbearing acquaintance about my latest novel, and mentioned that the book’s primary antagonist is a savage nightmare with tentacles like those of octopi. The acquaintance, concerned by my lack of fundamental biology and spelling, jabbed a finger in midair.

“You couldn’t be more wrong,” he said. “An octopus has arms, not tentacles. And the plural of octopus is octopuses, not octopi.”

He huffed, stomping off.

I puckered my lips, pondered this. Since he was probably correct, I decided that, like a good protagonist, I had to take action. Since Jack Parker and I are the gods of our mythical world of Newtonia, I have decided to create octopi in its oceans. And you know what our octopi possess? Tentacles.

That’s the beauty of being a guy who tells lies for entertainment: I can do whatever the hell I want. Just like Inky.

Peace,

Keith

Wanna read more about Newtonia? Read MADNESS RISING, available for Kindle.

Copyright (c) 2016 Keith Parker

Pickle

I hate pickles. Loathe them. Pickles suck. Pickles are worse than chili served in high school cafeterias, worse than liver and onions, worse than the cabbages sold in Soviet-era grocery stores.

I love cheeseburgers. Cheeseburgers are divine. When God sits on His Throne in Heaven, He eats cheeseburgers. On Earth, not as it is in Heaven, cheeseburgers come with pickles. The people who defile cheeseburgers are Philistines. They should be shackled outside the city gates, spat upon and ridiculed.

On average, I order two cheeseburgers per week. With the notable exception of Five Guys and Fries, who have adopted a civilized business model allowing you to tailor your own burger, I am forced to caveat every cheeseburger order.

“Ma’am, could you hold the pickles on that burger, please? Thanks so much.”

Note that I could say, “Hold the pickles,” but I’m from the South. In the South things  take longer than they should. Like Free Bird.

Since I’ve been old enough to order my own cheeseburgers the pickle caveat has stolen 24,960 seconds from my life. That’s almost seven hours, wasted because some asshole in ancient times drowned a cucumber in brine, fermented it, and later slipped that unspeakable horror between his crusty lips.

Not a single character in my novels eat pickles. When you read MADNESS RISING, you will see that not a single character is burdened by the yoke that is the pornography of the pickle.

Peace,

Keith

 

 

Takeover

To berate a person for suffering from anxiety is like vilifying a person for having diabetes. Mental illnesses are terrible diseases that can, if untreated, takeover the person afflicted. Like the pods in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, which turned loved ones into something who were “not quite loved ones”, so it is with these conditions.

This morning I woke up curled in a ball, shivering, gritting my teeth, willing away a panic attack. This morning I was successful; some mornings I am not.

Mental illness sucks. It is a disability. Yes, a disability.

People think it’s a character flaw. Or a lack of faith. Or laziness. Those people are wrong.

“Anxious? What’s to be anxious about? You’re on the goddamn beach! It’s 85 degrees and Buffett is on the boombox. Quit being a pussy. Drink a beer. Chill out.”

If only the guy chastising me could see inside, see that I’m cornered in a dark, putrid alley with a switchblade angled at my jugular.

As I said in my last post, I’m starting to be much more open about my anxiety. I don’t know whether I’m getting braver or simple no longer care what people think, but I am socializing this much more openly than I used to.

If you read my writing you’ll see characters who have mental illnesses, and you’ll see them antagonized, and you’ll see them overcome their antagonists despite their disabilities. That’s what character is; character means not being taken over.

Peace be with you.
Thanks,
Keith Parker

MADNESS RISING (A SF Novel suitable for ages 12 and up)

Nervous? No. Anxiety? Yes.

I suffer from OCD, generalized anxiety disorder and panic attacks. And it pisses me off. Every. Single. Day.

I wake up with a burning stomach. I struggle out of bed, disheveled, both groggy and alert. My skin tingles. I cannot shower without first arranging my cell phone, eyeglasses, pocket knife and glasses-cloth into a comical square on the bedspread. My wife rolls her eyes, because she knows humor helps.

The office is no better, and I love my job. Any given morning my healthy breakfast and hormones combine to create a diabolical biological accelerant that makes my face flush and my skin scorch.

I want to run screaming from my building as if I were being chased by a food-deprived pack of laughing hyenas. And that’s not even a panic attack.

Panic is the atomic bomb of neurochemical imbalance. Chest pains. Neck pain. Tingling lips. Trembling. A roaring starts in my ears, followed by shortness of breath and the feeling of being strapped by greasy leather belts — as if to the electric chair.

I may have one attack every two months or two attacks per week.

Medicine helps. Sympathy helps. Talking to people who give a shit helps. Writing helps.

So, I wrote this novel. It’s about this young adult, with anxiety. Severe anxiety. The setting is SF, but it’s a story about Nina, about her demons, both physical and mental. Madness Rising shows how Nina deals with betrayal despite her affliction. 

Can Nina kill the monster before her friends and family kill her? That’s the hook. But what’s the monster? Is it the “real one” in the book or the neurological one in her brain? Maybe it’s both, and neither. I’m a physics guy; I can deal with duality.

If you or a loved one has anxiety you have my deepest sympathy and empathy. Maybe this post will help you understand that you’re not alone.

Peace be with you.
Keith Parker
Madness Rising (Kindle edition)

The Madness, It’s Rising!

Wanna read a science fiction novel about a girl whose life is being ruined by a monster she hates and the people she loves?

Exclusively for Kindle, MADNESS RISING, is a Young Adult/New Adult Science Fiction tale that’s been described as part-Lovecraft, part-Firefly.
Buy it now, keep it forever!

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MADNESS RISING

 

<– Click there.

Thanks oh so much!

Keith