Character Spotlight: Mitchell Felding (photographer) Dark Adult Fiction.

Dependable Mitchell comes with bucket loads of amiability. A joke accompanies most conversations. His warm smiles melt anyone’s ice. There’s a wonderful sense of calm surrounding our reliable, likable protagonist.

Mitchell Felding.

  • Thirty something
  • Married to Samantha Felding (10 years sexless marriage.)
  • Professional Photographer and Photography Teacher
  • Self Employed
  • Good Sense Of Humour
  • Practical

His personable character is welcoming, especially when it’s placed against that of his wife’s, Sam, who spends her time checking her clocks, calendars, and organizing things. She’s extremely officiant but highly strung. This kind of personality mix could be ideal for both of them, but it isn’t. Equitable work/life balances in the Felding home aren’t easy to find. Mitchell is dedicated to his wife, but his efforts to settle her anxieties are never enough. There’s always a new obstruction blocking the path to the bedroom. We look to the past for answers to this struggle.

broken rings

A long-term celibate relationship began their journey. Heartfelt abstinence was meant to be a gift — a well-intended promise of devotion that’d secure their love, forever. Unfortunately, it worked against them. By the time they married, sex had become misunderstood, even feared. It never turned into a form of intimacy. Sex became a weapon of abuse — in an unexpected way.

Counsellor Tony Brindell is helping the couple work on their childless marriage. He believes the issues plaguing it are minor, but he isn’t aware of their depth. Despite Mitchell’s dedication and amiability, they’re of no use to him in the counsellor’s room. Sam’s methodical sense of organising things, doesn’t help either. Neither benefit from the therapy. Both are ill-equipped to move forward. A new kind of objectivity is required. It’s Mitchell who learns to let go of conformity to make the first breakthrough — and solve those five murders reported in the media. He’s sure he knows one of the victims, but Samantha dismisses him in an instant. Fixing his marriage takes priority, but understanding what happened to those women will have to be done on the down-low.

Happy ever after is calling inside the pages of SEETHINGS.

Michael

Five women’s bodies are discovered after the nights of thunderstorms. Their spouses are suspected of the crimes, but it becomes clear that someone else is responsible. There’s no blood and few clues. A storm photographer who specializes in taking pictures of lightning may be the only witness.

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Intimate Murder: Villain and Victim Development

When writing dark fiction, it’s important to create the perfect villain. Without one, a hero can’t rise above and give the reader what they need — hard justice. A hero’s strength depends on the power of the villain to get them there. Justice aside, there’s one other thing to consider.

The victim.

Simply using random individuals as victims certainly quickens part of the writing process. It can give our bad-guy instant badness and we don’t need to know about a victim’s life, learn their name, or visit a funeral. We can spend more time with the villains and heroes in the story. But using a nameless nobody to die at the hands of the best-crafted bad-guy, can ruin a good dark fiction story.

Why not include some intrigue by selecting the perfect victim for our villain? If the so-called randoms don’t turn out to be that random at all, we could give deeper purpose to each kill — discoverable later in the story.

And what about the manner in which they die?

Murder is highly personal — at least, I believe it is. Nothing is more intimate than making one of my character’s life snuff out. It’d be easy to under-value a good murder by failing to honour murder’s intimacy. For instance: A shooting. There’s a crack of a gun, a fall to the knees, and a body hits the ground — all done, nice and quick. If the villain is a sniper, it’s even less intimate, because it’s done from a distance. He doesn’t even have to see the eyes of his victim fade. Where’s the intimacy in a sniper-kill?

My murder is not the kind that comes by way of a gun, or a knife, or poison. I’m talking about something deeply intimate — like the electricity that crackles between two new lovers.

Theirs is all about erotic anticipation, hot kisses, fingers and hands seeking bare flesh. Only eyes, moans, and heavy breathing, is used to guide their way into the bedroom. A murder can be written into this space instead. It can be just as sensual, building towards a steamy homicide, creating a whole new level of creep for the dark narrative.

I’m a writer who yearns to bring intimacy and murder together. I want a reader to want to witness the development of such a relationship and then rise as their union climaxes. And then I want them shocked by what I do next.

Avoid clichés at all costs.

Clichés take us where we expect to go. There’s nothing left to do but to wrap a story up with a justice bow and let the reader off with a feel-good outcome. The only challenge for a writer, is to become creative in hiding the cliché, while writing it. For instance: Bad guy goes to jail, dies, banished forever, turned into stone, becomes a horrible monster, etc. The result is always the same — the evil never stays. It goes away, always. Predictable. Not in my stories.

Should justice be as predictable?

You’d think it’d be black and white. Once the badness is identified, it’s removed by good, old fashioned justice. But justice is subjective. Depending on your age, race, upbringing, beliefs, sex, sexual preference, intellect, wisdom, experience, even weight and height, you’ll have a unique view on what’s just. There’s another human flaw to factor into the justice mix — psychological stability. There are moments when we’re not ourselves and make bad decisions on things like justice. All of these varying elements in the justice process make it somewhat fluidic. This fluidity is something I like to explore in my stories. All I need to do is get my reader to jump in and get wet with me, to find appropriate justice in the sloppy liquid. It’s not conventional but it works for the thriller-styled novels I write.

Self awareness, identity and acceptance is important to everyone, including psychopaths. We all have an inner-something that drives us and makes us do the things we do. Even well-balanced people can get things horribly wrong on matters of love, lust, family, money, and much more. Any of these items can be motivators for us to think and act inappropriately, and then look to cover our tracks when we see things in the light of a new day.

My books include this strange shift in behaviour. They are dark fiction and not meant for children. They’re not for simple souls either. They contain complex, adult issues, and challenge a reader’s moral standing throughout their narratives. They are written for a perfect villain who commits an intimate murder, and then ask readers to accept a different type of justice that makes perfect sense, only at the time of the crime.

Read SEETHINGS now. It’s the first novel in a series, and it’s free on *SMASHWORDS. (*limited time)

Michael Forman (Author)

“Forman’s writing style is artful, with the protagonist Mitchell’s warped thought processes masterfully exposed. The author has a powerful and vivid command of language and his word pictures are stark and disturbingly real.”

– Linda J Bettenay, author of ‘Secrets Mothers Keep’ and ‘Wishes For Starlight’.

Self Reflection And The Glass Of A Photographer’s Viewfinder

We can always discover a little more inside ourselves if we took the time to look in from the outside.

SEETHINGS and SEETHINGS 2 are the first two books of a trilogy — a darker look at love, marriage, sex and photography. It’s about a photographer eager to capture the perfect lightning bolt in his lens, but ends up in the middle of another type of storm on the other side of the camera. (excerpts are found here)

The narrative places the reader at a cliff on the banks of the Brisbane River. The body of another photographer is found by morning joggers hanging by a tree root. The plot follows our protagonist until five mystery deaths line up to reveal an explosive ending that’ll horrify the tender-hearted.

If I could leave you, dear reader, with a few words — not everything a photographer needs to understand about the pictures they fail to capture come from using a inferior lens or a poorly chosen shutter speed. Sometimes the answers they seek are found deep within themselves. Thank God most don’t focus on that and choose to blame their equipment instead. It’s better to question that or the composition of a yet-to-be-taken photograph than confront the inner-self on why the passion to create is greater than the art. Finding answers there can stir the darker parts of our soul, raizing a dangerous Beast within.

Get ready for twists that will bend your senses!

-Michael

Neo-Noir Erotica. The New Black In Dark Storytelling. SEETHINGS.

Vanilla eroticism is known for its predictable plots. Romantics call them happy-ever-afters. Outcomes are expected. Clichéd plots are guaranteed. Someone’s manly chest meets someone’s perfect eyes and hair, and only names and situations change. Couples find their right type of Utopia by The End. Nice. Boring.

Neo-noir erotica is edgier than it’s softer counterparts. It’s arousing and unsettling. A narrative rarely takes a clichéd path or closes the way you’d expect an erotica-story to end. Love, justice, righteousness, good-over-bad, a love-that-conquers-all plot courses don’t easily fit into this genre, not in a conventional way anyway. If you go looking for a HEA, you may find one, but you’ll need to skew your head sideways to see it. Sex is used to tell a broader, deep-seated story from our darker sides. That side seeks a happy-ever-after too and it’s version isn’t so obvious, much less accepted.

When writing SEETHINGS, I purposely lured the reader into my book with a conventional approach to eroticism and then reshaped it. Okay, that part’s easy to digest. It allows this writer’s text to earn some keep. The characters then move together, feeding off their lusts and fears, devouring each other like lovers do — but then one oversteps the mark and a shadow climbs into bed with them. Something is wrong. Sex is in the story, but it’s not always its motive.

Every word in this chapter was crafted to get our lovers together, driven by what drives lust. It’s passionate and electric. It flows well, and I’m proud of how arousing it turned out to be. My toes curl a little thinking about it. The challenge was adding a third character and spoiling the natural order of things. That shadow I mentioned earlier in this post? Working it into the couple’s intimacy was a real challenge. The ending is kind of happy — for an unseen shadow. What about our lovers?

Read SEETHINGS now to unsettle all your thoughts on traditional erotica.

M

“Forman’s writing style is artful, with the protagonist Mitchell’s warped thought processes masterfully exposed. The author has a powerful and vivid command of language, and his word pictures are stark and disturbingly real.”

– Linda J Bettenay, author of ‘Secrets Mothers Keep’ and ‘Wishes For Starlight’.

Hiding The All Important Second SIM Card

Cheaters know the deal. Their best secrets hide inside these tiny, inoffensive objects. A second SIM hides the best of them while fortifying the greatest of lies. The trick to keeping the cheating order right is to hide the card without it being found, ever.

Linda does the right thing. She hides hers in the fold of her car seat and then swaps it for her second SIM after she gets on the road. Anthony keeps his under the insole of his shoe.

There are other rules, of course.

No calls or messages before 9am. A text message arrives after nine and then, only then, does the second SIM replace the first. All contact must end by three. That’s when the original SIM cards are returned to their rightful places, while the others mysteriously vanish again.

Linda and Anthony meet in private.

There’s a reason for this. Linda’s husband checks her phone every day. What an asshole. He doesn’t do it in front of her. He waits until she has left the room. Peeking through the crack of a door, she watches him and smiles. He’ll never find what he’s looking for. It’s hidden somewhere else.

“That bastard doesn’t trust me,” she says. “Can you believe that?

SEETHINGS starts with a secret SIM card, but it ends in murder. Everything about the victim’s secret life is stored on a thing which is no bigger than a thumbnail. Will that SIM ever be found and reveal the truth about how she died?

Michael Forman (Author of Dark Fiction)

“Forman’s writing style is artful, with the protagonist Mitchell’s warped thought processes masterfully exposed. The author has a powerful and vivid command of language and his word pictures are stark and disturbingly real.”

– Linda J Bettenay, author of ‘Secrets Mothers Keep’ and ‘Wishes For Starlight’.

Dark Adult Fiction (SEETHINGS). Character Spotlight: Super-Organised Samantha Felding.

Sam is a highly trustworthy, dependable woman — personable to all who encounter her. She’s a loyal friend, supportive sister and model daughter to her parents. Her work ethic is focused and flawless.

Samantha Felding.

  • Thirty-something
  • Married to Mitchell Felding (10 years.)
  • High School Educator
  • Self – Motivated
  • High Achiever
  • Dedicated Christian

Samantha remembers names, birthdays and anniversaries without prompts or notes. She reads the obituaries daily, just in case one someone she knows passes away. Sympathy cards are bought and sent via regular post frequently. Handwritten heartfelt messages always accompany them. Letters are written in long-hand, grammatically correct from the first word to the last.

There are calendars and clocks in every room of her home. A day planner sits on her desk, and she has three other diaries in the house. She has a plethora of reminder messages written on post-it notes which are stuck on a pin-board beside her computer. Not one second of her day is wasted on frivolous activities. She has organised everything within an inch of its life.

Some say she’s an old soul in a young body — too empathetic and disciplined to be a product of her generation. Winging-it isn’t in her vocabulary. There’s no such thing as making-it-up.

She’s a high-school teacher and very good at it. Her recent promotion to Department Head was a result of this officiousness. She deserved the appointment too. Those she works with, agree with the new placement and responsibilities.

She’s an intelligent, strong and independent woman. Ask her if she’s a feminist, and she’d answer with a resounding no. She’d simply say she was, getting the job done – a trait of humbleness she got from her mother.

Oh yes, that hard-working, quiet-achiever type is a nice trait, but it can fool the best of them. Husband Mitchell sees another side that isn’t shown to anyone else. Deep on the inside, Sam’s a mess. She’s conflicted with the pressures of modern life. She’s a professional woman struggling with the expectations of feminism, religion, and old-fashioned values against new-world demands. This comes at a price. It makes her doubt herself all the time. It also keeps her asking herself over and over: ‘Am I doing enough for God?’

She tries so hard not to disappoint Him. She’s got something to worry about every second of the day. Sugar can prompt a worrisome event. Brown or white sweetener for guests? Should it come in a bowl with a shared spoon and some stirrers, or is it proper to provide individual spoons at each place-setting? What if the coffee is too strong, or not strong enough? What if the discussion turns political while they’re drinking it? There should be a go-to topic just in case. Tea must be made available too. Artificial sweetener? Yes, some people are on diets.

It’s difficult to be Sam.

Needless to say, spontaneity threatens to ruin Sam’s carefully arranged world. Even Mitchell has to book-in to visit his wife. Sex is a somewhat frivolous activity, disorganised and messy. It’s last on Sam’s to-do list. That’s why, after a decade, the couple are childless and Mitchell has a taken up a new hobby.

Counsellor Tony Brindell is about to open Pandora’s Box by asking him one simple question.

Michael

“Forman’s writing style is artful, with the protagonist Mitchell’s warped thought processes masterfully exposed. The author has a powerful and vivid command of language, and his word pictures are stark and disturbingly real.”

– Linda J Bettenay, author of ‘Secrets Mothers Keep’ and ‘Wishes For Starlight’.

Breaking Up Could Be The Best Thing I’ll Ever Do

A fairy-tale is coming to an end. I can feel it. I say I love you, but something’s wrong. If I had to describe it accurately, parts of this relationship has become like a horror story. I mean, we’ve worked on fixing the problems — tried so very hard to make things right, but it hurts too much to keep doing it. I ache from aching. Losing you is wrong, but life should be easier to live than this. I’m losing my mind while hanging on to whatever fragments are left of this marriage.

Maybe Breaking Up Is Better

It’s not working. We aren’t working. You feel it too, don’t you? It can’t just be me. There’s something we haven’t tried. Breaking up. I’ve thought about it a few times. We should give it a go. I think we should try it one time. What do you think? Would you like to try it too?

One-sided mirror conversations are brilliant. Every word makes perfect sense. The mirror never argues. It listens and reflects empathy. That kind of support can’t be bought. But what happens when that mirror becomes a flesh and blood person? Those questions will affect someone, and I won’t know the reaction to them. I mean, I’ve never done this before. No one ever says how to break up or divorce now, do they? Sure, some think about it, jokes are sometimes passed between friends, but few of them are ever said or taken seriously. The truth is, once we’ve made a commitment to marry, it’s a one-way direction. We’re supposed to remain together forever.

Should the words, die trying, be included somewhere too?

Reaching the relationship Utopia known as, ’til death do us part, is easier said than done. Making it work every day for a lifetime is a whole different game of hearts. What if it doesn’t go the right way, and the journey has more than a few bumps along the way? What happens when it keeps on happening?

It’s no one’s fault. It’s everyone’s fault. Silence or bickering. Those are the options to those caught in this loop.

Is breaking up allowed?

It’s not romantic. There’s no romance here. It’s tragic. That’s what it is. Sad and disappointing. It’s like death. Something in us will die and it’ll never come back. So, the choice is that or accept ongoing torture. It is a fool who chooses this, but I’ve been foolish. I’ve accepted something I didn’t like and have allowed it each day. This is enabling. I let a bad habit take form in my life, and I don’t want any part of it anymore.

Yes, breaking up is allowed. Death is fine too. Let the relationship die. Kill and bury it. There’s nothing left to see here. It’s dead. Leave. Start walking. We can’t change the past, but we can leave and walk away from it today. Things won’t be the same again. It’s true.

That’s also the goddam point!

Break-ups happen. They really do. They’re a natural part of life. If we’re to believe that existence’s rainbow is made up of a kaleidoscope of colours, we must be prepared to accept the darkest ones too. They’ll visit us from time to time. Break up is one of those horrible colours, but it’s just that, a colour.

So walk away. Lift your head. Prettier colours will return again. We should be allowed to embrace The End without guilt, and then look forward to seeing the golds and yellows when the future finally arrives.

SEETHINGS is about long-term love. It’s about two proud people who have loved well but became love-martyrs to sustain an endless ending. She is an educator. He is a photographer. They are being counselled by radio identity Tony Brindell. He’s trying to unravel their mess, but inadvertently uncovers some darker secrets.

Someone is about to be tortured. Someone will die for all the pain.

Enjoy your SEETHINGS journey. Like love, it has the potential to torment — but it certainly won’t disappoint.

– Michael (Author)

Five Random Victims
Summer Thunderstorms
Charm Bracelet
Author: M.Forman

“Forman’s writing style is artful, with the protagonist Mitchell’s warped thought processes masterfully exposed. The author has a powerful and vivid command of language, and his word pictures are stark and disturbingly real.”

– Linda J Bettenay, author of ‘Secrets Mothers Keep’ and ‘Wishes For Starlight’.

Love Gone Wrong Podcast