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Category Archives: Writing

Frankenstein and Creativity

Dr. Frakenstein

An interesting article recently appeared in The Atlantic on the origins of creativity and whether it is innate or can be learned: “Can Creativity Be Learned?” by Cody C. Delistraty. It makes for interesting reading and raises some intriguing questions. For example, creative folks tend to have more grey matter in the right posterior middle temporal area of their brain. Is this what makes them creative or does this result from them flexing their “creative muscle”? Chicken or egg?

Temporal Lobe

The author uses Mary Shelly and her classic horror story Frankenstein to underline his points.

In a past post on this blog I briefly talked about how Mary Shelly’s classic story came about. Here is an except:

On a literary and historical note, Frankenstein might never have been written had it not been for a volcanic eruption on the other side of the world. In 1815, Mount Tambora in Indonesia erupted with such force that it filled the air with millions of tons of ejected particulate matter. This rose into the high atmosphere, dropped world temperatures for many months and resulted in 1816 being called the “Year Without Summer.” Snow fell in New England in July!

During that summer, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, her lover and future husband Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Lord Byron settled into Villa Diodati on Lake Geneva. The summer was so cold and wet that they spent much of their time in the villa talking and telling stories. They decided to have a writing contest and see who could write the best short story. Mary’s story evolved into the classic Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus.

There has long been controversy over how Mary came up with such a story, She said it came to her in a “waking dream,” but some have suggested that her father had told her stories of a doctor who did such experiments and others have suggested that she and Shelley had actually visited Castle Frankenstein, the birthplace of Johann Conrad Dippel, a physician and alchemist who did indeed perform reanimation experiments on corpses. Either way she wrote a kick-ass story that has survived for nearly two centuries and will survive for many more.

The full post can be found here: http://writersforensicsblog.wordpress.com/2009/09/14/more-decapitation-and-reanimating-the-dead/

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2014 in Forensic Psychiatry, Medical Issues, Writing

 

Crime and Science Radio: From Firefights To Fiction: An Interview With Military Surgeon and Author Dr. Jeffrey Wilson

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Join Jan Burke and DP Lyle in a discussion of combat surgery and fiction writing with Vascular and Trauma surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Wilson.

BIO: Jeffrey Wilson has at one time worked as an actor, a firefighter, a paramedic, a jet pilot, a diving instructor, a Naval Officer, and a Vascular and Trauma Surgeon. He also served numerous tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as a combat surgeon with both the Marines and with a Joint Special Operations Task Force. He has written dozens of short stories, won a few fiction competitions, and currently has a 3 book deal with JournalStone Publishing for his novels. His first novel, THE TRAITEUR’S RING, was published in 2011. His second book, THE DONORS was released in June of 2012 and won a Gold Medal in the sci-fi/fantasy/horror category from the Military Writers Society of America. FADE TO BLACK is his third novel from JournalStone. Jeff and his wife, Wendy, are Virginia natives who, with children Emma, Jack, and Connor, call Tampa, Florida home. He still works part time as a Vascular Surgeon and as a consultant for the Department of Defense when not hard at work on his next book.

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LISTENhttp://www.blogtalkradio.com/suspensemagazine/2014/09/09/crime-and-science-radio-with-special-guest-jeff-wilson

Dr. Jeffrey Wilson’s Recommended Reading:

Service by Marcus Luttrell

Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell

American Sniper by Chris Kyle

LINKS: Website: http://www.jeffreywilsonfiction.com/index.html

Annals of Surgery: Combat casualty and Surgical Progress: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1570575/

How Stuff Works: What Equipment Do Army Combat Surgeons Have?: http://health.howstuffworks.com/medicine/army-medicine/army-combat-surgeon-equipment.htm

You Tube: 212th Combat Field Hospital (Warning: Graphic Content): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Qvt3YSAHpE

You Tube: Battlefield surgery PART 1 2 Survival: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOI3oBQxxRc

Fade To Black on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Fade-Black-Jeffrey-Wilson/dp/1936564858/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407420070&sr=8-1&keywords=Fade+to+black+by+jeffrey+wilson

Fade To Black at B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fade-to-black-jeffrey-wilson/1115405616?ean=9781936564859

You Tube: 212th Combat Field Hospital (Graphic): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Qvt3YSAHpE

You Tube: Battlefield Surgery: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOI3oBQxxRc

FTB

 

Two Excellent Books From Dianne Emley and Janice Gable Bashman Out Today

NightVisitor

The Night Visitor by Dianne Emley

Murder in La La Land. In The Night Visitor, Dianne Emley takes us into the flashy and trashy world of A-List Hollywood. The good, the bad, and the very ugly. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll as well as greed, corruption, jealousy, and a thirst for power and money infuse every page. This story will hook you from the start and not let go.

http://www.dianneemley.com

Predator

Predator by Janice Gable Bashman

Sixteen-year-old Bree Sunderland expected a quiet vacation in Ireland, where she and her scientist father plan to study bog corpses. But a young Irish man steals her heart—-and more. Werewolves, genetic therapy, and a mercenary lycanthropic army—-what’s not to like?

http://www.janicegablebashman.com

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2014 in Book Review, Writing

 

Book Review: Silent Witnesses by Nigel McCrery

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Chicago Review Press

September 1, 2014

ISBN-10: 1613730020

ISBN-13: 978-1613730027

288 pages

. . . an easily accessible and well-written primer on the history of forensic science

Silent Witnesses is an easily accessible and well-written primer on the history of forensic science. It reads like a work of fiction but offers the reader a clear history of many of the most important advances in forensic investigative techniques. The topics are covered in chapters titled: Identity, Ballistics, Blood, Trace Evidence, The Body, Poisons, and DNA. Each subject is reviewed chronologically and numerous milestone cases in the development and growth of forensic science are presented.

For example, in the Identity chapter, the war between Alphonse Bertillon and his anthropometric ID system known as “bertillonage” and those who favored fingerprinting as the gold standard for identification of an individual is documented. In Blood, the development of the ABO blood typing system is well presented as well as the methods for identifying a stain as blood and determining that it is human and not animal, both extremely important in crimes where blood is shed. In Trace Evidence, the discovery and development of the microscope as a forensic tool is covered in great detail. Poisons have been around almost as long as civilization and in the chapter Poisons this long and sordid history is chronicled as are the steps in the creation of the fascinating field of forensic toxicology, including the development of the famous Marsh and Reinsch tests for identifying the “inheritance powder” arsenic.

Perhaps the most enjoyable parts of Silent Witnesses are the discussions of famous cases that helped develop forensic science as a viable entity. Silent Witnesses opens with the famous Colin Pitchfork case—-the first time DNA profiling was used to solve a murder. Other seminal cases include: the Francisca Rojas case (the first time fingerprints solved a murder); the St. Valentine’s Day massacre (which put firearm’s examinations in the public eye); the Sam Sheppard case (where blood spatter analysis proved crucial in the retrial of the famous physician); the Parkman-Webster case (one of the first to employ dental examinations to identify a partially destroyed corpse); the Murder at the Crumbles case (involving the great medical detective Sir Bernard Spilsbury and leading to the creation of the police officer’s “murder bag”); the more modern “radiological” poisoning of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko; and many more that will keep the reader enthralled.

Silent Witnesses is a delightful journey through the evolution of forensic science and is a very useful introduction to the subject. Highly recommended.

Originally posted at NY Journal of Books: http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/book-review/silent-witnesses-often-gruesome-always-fascinating-history-forensic-science

 

ThrillerFest, CraftFest, and Master CraftFest Registration Now Open

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REGISTER TODAY FOR THRILLERFEST X Today

Click Here to Register 

We’re excited to announce that registration for ThrillerFest X is now open. Come help us celebrate the 10th Anniversary of ThrillerFest next July 7-11, 2015 where you’ll be able to connect with old friends and meet new ones!

Please sign up before 10/31/14 to take advantage of the Early Bird Discount. You won’t want to miss the fabulous lineup of special guests we’re hosting this year.

2015 ThrillerMaster:  Nelson DeMille


2014 ThrillerMaster:  Scott Turow


2015 Spotlight Guests:  Charlaine Harris, Hugh Howey, Greg Iles


2014 Silver Bullet Award recipient:  Brenda Novak

SOME HIGHLIGHTS FOR 2015 INCLUDE:

Master CraftFest:  Join NYT Bestsellers Steve Berry, Grant Blackwood, Robert Dugoni, Steven James, D.P. Lyle, Gayle Lynds, and Lorenzo Carcaterra for an intensive and intimate one-day workshop to help improve your writing skills.

CraftFest:  NYT bestsellers and other phenomenal instructors will host workshops designed to take your writing to the next level. This year, we are creating new programming at CraftFest, including a “Fact Track” lineup with information about firearms, explosives, forensics, pathology, and other information that will help you write realistic scenes as well as a “Career Track” lineup which will focus on marketing, promotion, and other career-related advice.

PitchFest:  On Thursday, July 9th, we’ll host PitchFest, where you can pitch your novel to the best literary agents/producers/editors in the business. Last year, we had over 50 agents, editors, and producers attending this special event. Read about the incredible tales of success under the Success Stories tab at www.thrillerfest.com.

ThrillerFest:  Join us for fabulous interviews with 2015 ThrillerMaster Nelson DeMille and 2015 Spotlight Guests Charlaine Harris, Hugh Howey, and Greg Iles. Stay tuned for more information about panels, other special guests, and our incredible banquet.

Hope to see you next July!

Warmest regards,

Kimberley Howe
Executive Director, ThrillerFest
kimberleyhowe@thrillerwriters.org

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2014 in Writing

 

Steve Berry’s The Patriot Threat Poster Giveaway

Patriot-Threat

 

Here’s a chance to win a great poster. My friend, Steve Berry, is giving away a signed poster of the book cover for his upcoming book, THE PATRIOT THREAT, which will be released in the United States on March 31, 2015. It’s a provocative thriller that poses a dangerous question: What if the federal income tax is illegal? The poster is 2′ x 3′, full color, and mounted on a foam core backing. The giveaway runs from September 2, 2014, through October 2, 2014. For more information and to enter the giveaway, click here. http://smarturl.it/PT.Poster.DPL

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2014 in Writing

 

Snake Handling and Jesus: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Mark 16:17-18 (King James Version):

17: And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

18: They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

Many snake handlers refer to this, and other, Biblical quotes to justify the taking up of snakes. Rattlesnakes and copperheads seem to be the creatures of choice and these deadly serpents are an integral part of their church services. As is ranting non-sense syllables—-the speaking in tongues part. Not to mention that they typically avoid medical help when such help is needed. Sometimes taking strychnine in the belief that this will add another layer of protection against the venom. After all . . . any deadly thing . . . shall not hurt them . . .

Don’t think that snake handling is a thing of the past or is relegated to the backwoods of the South. Though most still thrive in Appalachia, there are over a hundred such churches and they stretch from coast to coast.

What could possibly go wrong?

Well, actually, a lot. Snake handlers have died from bites, when a visit to the ER could have saved them. But religion is a powerful motivator and often over-rides common sense.

For example:

Jamie Coots, the pastor of the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name in Middlesboro, Ky: http://abcnews.go.com/US/snake-handling-pentecostal-pastor-dies-snake-bite/story?id=22551754

Punkin Brown: http://www.hiddenmysteries.org/religion/pentecostal/snakeskill-fool.shtml

And one Glen Summerford, pastor of the Church of Jesus with Signs Following, attempted to murder his wife with a rattlesnake. The story in chronicled in the wonderful American Book Award winning and National Book Award nominated book SALVATION ON SAND MOUNTAIN by Dennis Covington.

Glen Summerford: https://www.newoxfordreview.org/reviews.jsp?did=1095-hartman

My third Samantha Cody thriller ORIGINAL SIN deals with such preachers. Sam visits her old friend Tennessee CV Surgeon Lucy Wagner and both find themselves entangled with the patriarch of a snake-handling church. And everything goes wrong.

 

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ORIGINAL SIN:

Dr. Lucy Wagner was on top of her game. The only cardiac surgeon on staff, a new pediatric cardiac unit dedicated to her, and an impeccable reputation not only put her at the apex of the local medical pyramid but also garnered a few powerful enemies. Such is the nature of jealousy and greed. Turf wars can get ugly. Still all was good until the day old John Scully, the spiritual founder and leader of a local snake-handling church, died on her operating table. Fainting spells, nightmarish dreams, and patient after patient succumbing to some violent psychosis followed, putting her career, and her life, in jeopardy. Aided by long time friend and ex-boxer, ex-cop Samantha Cody, Lucy must reach deeply into her family’s past and into her own soul to find the strength to confront old and very powerful forces she never knew existed.

More Info on ORIGINAL SIN: http://www.dplylemd.com/DPLyleMD/Books-SCody.html

 
 
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