Friday, November 16, 2012

The Green-Eyed Monster

I bet I've already got your attention with that title, don't I? Well, that's good because I have added yet another book to my "Must-Read" list and I think you should too!

The Green-Eyed Monster by Mike Robinson is a mixture of horror, mystery, and paranormal--a recipe for an "on the edge of your seat" kinda book. As a writer, I have a special kind of draw to this story as you might understand after reading the blurb:

Martin Smith and John Becker: bestselling authors with ordinary names and extraordinary minds.

Their words have power — to heal, to kill, to change the lives of their “characters” in shocking and unexpected ways. Famous for their uncanny similarity in both physical manner and literary voice, their childhood rivalry spins out of control into adulhood.

The death of one at the hands of the other brings to light their troubling past — and a mysterious presence, watching on from the shadows — an authorial entity with roots beyond our time or dimension; an entity with far-reaching designs.

The pen is truly mightier than the deadliest sword.

Got chills yet? Me too! Want more? My pleasure! Read on for an excerpt from the book, links to purchase it, and be sure to check back on 11/30 for an interview with the author!

Writer’s Block
This happens. This happens to them all.
Just not you.
“Just not me.”
The phone rings, but he ignores it.
Martin Smith has never had a case like this before. There’d been hiccups along the way, places to pause, turn over words, spat with particularly lively characters that refused the next sentence. But this—this was not the kind of nuisance obstruction typically associated with writer’s block. Rather it was a terrible vacuum that had seen his thoughts, his career, his creations, his soul torn away, digested, ground to emptiness.
Becker is dead, too, so the words are his own now. The people are his now. The one major impediment gone.
You should have no problem with this.
The phone continues to ring, clanging into his brain. A headache blooms.
His mind reruns the week. The police had hauled him in after the incident, questioned him. But that was all they could do. After a program of systematic stalking, Becker’s maniacal actions had culminated in his attack, his attempted murder, of all things. Smith had merely defended himself.
What happened to people like that? What drove them?
You know.
“I know. Simple.”
So why the emptiness? The crown sits only on his head now. The focus is on him now. The kingdom stretches before him, but it is barren and uninteresting and fraught with arduous uphill slopes.
Finally the phone ceases to ring, and gives him peace.
Smith remembers the Old Man, and the minute all had been revealed. Inside the seconds and milliseconds he’d discovered eternity.
But even now he does not believe what the Old Man said.
He opens a small drawer and begins digging through a pile of newspaper articles, some old, some recent. A career of eighteen novels, the last word of which had been put down mere weeks ago. No more had come since.
The New Voice of Speculative Fiction, proclaims a fifteen-year-old headline from the Boston Globe.
Martin Smith: The Millenial Author, says one from the San Francisco Chronicle. The headlines had only fed his widespread adoration, an outcome predicted long ago by his mother, whose voice still echoes in the distant chambers of his mind.
You’re like a machine, Martin. You’re going to be brilliant, you’re going to be famous. Never let anyone get in your way.
He hadn’t. Not really. Of course, those articles compare him to John Becker, a trivial note hackneyed in its sheer, unfounded prevalence. He’d hastily crossed out these passages, rendering them inky tumbleweeds on newsprint, little black holes in his history.
Smith gathers a chunk of old book reviews, and thumbs through them like a flip book. Pictures of him smile back, grainy mirrors to better days, as do images of him meeting fans at the rare times he did a book signing. Swell times. Becker might have had more fans in numbers, but Smith’s were of a certain caliber, appreciative of things only he could bring them.
Never ceases its white-water terror, the Los Angeles Times had said of Smith’s last book.
What had they said of Becker’s book? He doesn’t know. Does it matter?
Nothing matters. Not now.
Their works had shifted considerably over the years. Having begun with short noir detective stories in high school and college, the fire-tide of their ambitions had taken their writings from simple mysteries to febrile nightmares that, for many people, would not end with the bookmark or the final period. Outrageous rumors grew—at least they were largely dubbed outrageous—culminating in that woman who’d sued Smith with claims of having been terrorized by a creature from one of his novels.
Woman Suing Author Judged Mentally Ill.
In that eternal minute the Old Man had told him of his power, a power that reached further than even he could ever have imagined. But it was too late now. He had failed, shaved the power bald.
But we weren’t going to listen to good ol’ Grandfather, were we?
He pops an aspirin, nestles it between his teeth and bites down. The pills help to calm the drumbeats in his temples, but not soothe the rest of his body. He can’t recall a time when he’d been truly relaxed, and reaches the conclusion that maybe that state of mind had never existed while he was conscious, that the only time he’d truly rested was while babbling away in a bassinet. For even his dreams were scarred by his own creations, all staring at him through gilded eyes. They accosted him, they flagellated him, they wanted him . . .
A bath would do him good about now.
Smith makes his way through the winding corridors and enters the bathroom. He turns the knob and water vomits into the tub. He walks to the kitchen. A glance at the clock shows it’s almost ten to one. It is getting late. Monday is dead and has given birth to Tuesday, yet he still has the remnants of the Becker dinner to clean up. It has now been exactly a week since Becker turned the friendly invite into a life and death struggle, since the Old Man and the eternal moment thereafter, and Smith still has not cleaned the glasses and washed the dishes and rid of the flies humming ceaseless over them.
On the floor lies the small box his father had given him, its top flapped open in a wooden scream, frozen in time. Its lone content has no use any more—it served its purpose well. Smith still remembers the day his father had presented the gift to him, smiling. He had not been his father that day; the gilded eyes had shone in the man’s scalp, and Smith had known in that moment that it was not his father because those eyes had been so much grander than they’d ever been prior. Like his mother, his father had been regular, a drone adept at running errands, running forms, running a basic life. Not much else. They’d been creators, too, but like most everyone else they created in a most rudimentary sense.
As if gathering their voices in protest, the cuts from Becker’s blade begin throbbing in unison.
In the bathroom water continues flowing. A police siren blares in the distance. Smith returns to his den, and sees his computer.
The room swirls around him. He clasps both sides of the monitor, rips it from its base in a torrent of flailing wires and volcanic sparks, and heaves it across the room. It pounds against the wall and tumbles lamely to the floor, its screen a fractured memory. Smith pops another aspirin, and crunches it between his teeth.
The dizziness increases. He is wrapped in an unknown heat. All throughout his life he’s felt the heat of the muse, of competition, of an imagination that tackled trees and buildings, could transcend this space, this time. But this heat surpasses all else. It is the heat of terrifying confusion, of panic at being hopelessly, completely lost.
He fixes a drink. The cool bite of alcohol feels good now, but it cannot prevent the unpreventable. It acts merely as a bittersweet epilogue to his life as a creator. The creator.
Smith takes a few gulps and moves down the hallway. He passes the bathroom and looks in to check the progress of the bath.
Almost full.
If you would like to purchase The Green-Eyed Monster, you can find the book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. To follow Mike Robinson's writerly exploits with The Green-Eyed Monster, check him out on Facebook or Goodreads. And don't forget to head back here November 3oth to hear from Mike Robinson himself!


  1. Great post! And it IS an awesome book. Read it all this weekend because I could not put it down (I'm on Dec. 5th and 12th of the blog tour btw). I'll be back on the 30th for sure :)

  2. Just dropping by from The Blog Tour Exchange, nice to meet you. Great post on The Green Eyed Monster.