The Background of OF GODS AND MADNESS by Justin D. Herd – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Justin D. Herd will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

The Background of Of Gods and Madness

Of Gods and Madness: The Faithful started out as a much different novel. While the story now revolves around a mobster becoming a god, only to realize that gods die too, it was originally about a man who has chronic migraines and takes pills to stop them. His girlfriend is convinced that the pills are causing them and so she starts dumping the real pills and replacing them with placebos. Obviously, the migraines get worse, but an added side effect is he starts to see monsters from another dimension. Slowly, he crosses over, becoming trapped in the monster’s dimension.

I tried to workshop this at one point and got a negative response from the teacher. So much so that it destroyed our relationship for years. But, in the process of re-thinking my story, I started to move elements into a new story. I put it in a world that worshipped their competing gods in a (mostly) modern setting. There would be these grand parades and ceremonies amidst a murder investigation centering around a mobster who gets involved with these gods that are still living. The issue I had with this story was that my detective couldn’t put together that all these people around him were named after gods and what if they were, etc. etc. So, my fix for that was to move the story a few decades to the point that the city had stopped believing in the gods and, except for the mob organization, had become almost strictly atheistic.

This drastically changed the story, but allowed for the believability that a detective could not know much about the gods and be able to draw a conclusion that they might still exist or, at least, that someone who really believes in them could be at the heart of it. There were many more versions of the story that came out of this, though. At one point, it even involved a god slayer coming to town. However, I trimmed down the story through all these separate iterations, and focused it down to the aforementioned story. A lot of my old ideas are being played with for future sequels, but what I love so much about Of Gods and Madness: The Faithful is that it is a crime novel combined with a fantasy epic, where gods battle in city streets while the mortals try to survive the chaos.

MediaKit_BookCover_OfGodsAndMadnessThe right hand of the dominant mob family, Raine Morgan is tasked with hunting down two miscreants messing with the bottom line. He finds them on the docks, but, in the confusion of the fight, accidentally kills their victim and lets them escape. Horrified at what he’s done, Raine seeks redemption as well as revenge.

Things spiral out of control when a greedy middleman overthrows Raine’s mob organization. It’s only with the help of a friend inside the crumbling mob as well as a streetwise artist that Raine remains undetected as he searches for the men who started this all. Raine doesn’t realize, however, he has caught the attention of a disparate conclave of gods in the process.

As the pantheon returns to the city they’d abandoned, old conflicts re-emerge, causing divine civil war. Both sides try to pull Raine to their side, expecting to find a naive god for them to manipulate. Instead, they find a man stripped of everything, intent on playing both sides as they learn an awful reality – even gods can die.

Enjoy an excerpt:

Turrell planted his hand on the table as he leaned in, allowing Raine to fully inspect every flaw in his wretched face. His features had been rearranged multiple times and looked all the better for it. His ragged beard helped hide this from a distance. He smiled, a grin of shattered teeth, and let out a deep breath, wafting over Raine like broth bubbling from a cauldron. “Take a big whiff.”

Raine made a big production of inhaling deeply. Not bad actually, a familiar mixture of hard liquor and tobacco. His breath probably smelled similar at this point in the night. “You should really go see a doctor, Turrell.”

“Why’s that?”

Raine drove the glass into Turrell’s hand, twisted.

The room fell silent as his scream hit the air.

Raine pivoted back, planting his foot on Turrell’s chest and shoving with all his might. Turrell’s hand shredded as the glass ripped through the flesh. He hit the floor.

Jaiden swung with his left; Raine raised his arm, deflected the blow. He pressed forward as Jaiden attacked again. Raine ducked under, throwing his whole weight into Jaiden’s body. Jaiden slipped past as Raine toppled over Turrell. A whimper accompanied the contact as Turrell cradled his hand.

Raine hit the ground, scrambled to his feet, rebounded off a table. He spun on his heel, avoided Jaiden’s fist, returned with one of his own. It connected with his jaw. Jaiden crumpled.

About the Author: MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_OfGodsAndMadnessJustin D. Herd is a Fantasy Noir author, who has been writing novels for ten years. He absolutely loves dark, twisted stories that take readers into unexpected places. Horror movies are his passion and he often takes stories to task for not logically thinking out their concepts. His home has been invaded by three eccentric cats, one of which is obssesed with all things digital. He is married with two children.

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  1. Rita Wray says:

    Thank you for the excerpt, I enjoyed it.

  2. Thanks for hosting!

  3. Great excerpt, thanks for sharing!

  4. Patrick Siu says:

    I have enjoyed learning about the book. Thanks for sharing it.

  5. Love the cover! Thank you for a great post and contest!

  6. Thanks for hosting me! I’ll be hanging around in the comments for the next couple weeks, if anyone has anything they’d like to know. If you pick up the book, be sure to hit me up and let me know what you think!

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