Keith Rommel is a native of Long Island, New York and currently lives with his family in Port Saint Lucie, Florida. Keith is a retail manager and has enjoyed collecting comic books since he was a child (a hobby inspired by a teacher in grade school to help overcome a reading comprehension disability).
Keith Rommel is the author of the critically acclaimed dark suspense Thanatology Series entitled The Cursed Man and The Lurking Man. His newest novel: You Killed My Brother is a fast-paced suspense thriller with crime and some rather unorthodox police work. Keith is the co screenplay writer for The Cursed Man movie and is currently hard at work on the third novel in the Thanatology Series due out winter 2013.
The Cursed Man is being filmed in Los Angeles, California as a major motion picture under the same title.
Read on for Keith's guest post and an excerpt from Keith's latest book.
You started it, how are you going to finish?
As I pushed through the first draft of You Killed My Brother, I started to doubt the story was good enough. I had always written in psychological suspense with elements of horror, and never psychological crime. I wanted to jump genres to prove that I could do it. So when I started the editing process and began to work out the finer details of the plot in You Killed My Brother, I got about halfway through when I placed my red pen down (yes, I handwrite my manuscript as well as my edits). That is when I gave up on the story.
For the first time in my writing career, I was battling self doubt and questioning my capabilities as a writer. What I had written was crap and I needed to get away from it. Forget it ever existed.
Working on the same story day after day for months, writing, revising, and making sure all parts of the plot are connected can be grueling. There is no doubt it is the most important part of the writing process, and it exposes every flaw. Every page was filled with red pen, spilling onto the back of the page as well. Frustrated and knowing I was looking at entire rewrite, I decided was going to break away from You Killed My Brother, I shifted my focus to a new idea. It felt refreshing to be back in psychological horror; after all, it’s where I am most comfortable. The intricate plot and creepy scenes of the new story challenged my imagination. But I had a distraction that was quite literally nagging at me
The idea that I had spent months, had lost hours upon hours of sleep, had chosen THAT story to write and I abandoned it was nothing short of quitting. That bothered me. I’m not a quitter. That’s not the trait of a writer. We put our time in, bleed out an array of emotions, work out painstaking details and hope our readers connect with what we do.
I needed to see that with this novel. I started something, but allowed frustration to get the better of me. I abandoned it and thankfully it was calling me back. But how was I going to finish it and not fall into the same trap?
I stumbled across old outline notes on You Killed My Brother and saw that although some of the details of the story had changed, the original story concept and theme had remained intact. It was a powerful message about revenge. It is a story I purposely geared towards a broader audience than my prior two novels. I wanted people to see what would happen when criminals collided with the wealthy and make it as real as possible.
Seeing my initial passion for the story rekindled my flame, and in a period of time about a month long, I finished the rewrite and completed the novel. And I’m glad I did. It seems the ending has left people a little surprised and I’ve had multiple reader requests for a sequel which I’m currently considering.
So now I’m curious, what have you done that might have helped you through a similar situation?
How far would you go to make someone pay for hurting a loved one?
Rainer is a successful doctor and father of two. He's a celebrated member of the community for his exceptional care and charity work. Brick is a local street thug that can't keep his nose clean. When fate brings the two together through tragedy, the life of Rainer is changed dramatically, setting into motion events that change communities.
Glenn is a seasoned cop and Rainer's younger brother. Trusting the justice system, he keeps his desire for revenge in check as Brick is brought to trial. But when the jury hands Brick a lean sentence, Glenn sets out to avenge his family's suffering. But what he forgets in his rage is that for every action, there is a reaction.
If murder were legal, there would be dozens of bodies left in Jennifer’s wake.
“Damn it,” she whispered, and heaved a sigh. She stared at the caravan of cars that inched forward and squeezed the steering wheel. They went on as far as the eye could see, hardly moving. She rested her elbow on the armrest and pushed taut fingers through her hair.
Jennifer looked into the rearview mirror and both Emily and Hannah stared back.
“Yes?” Jennifer said with the most patient voice she could muster.
“You shouldn’t say words like that mommy,” Emily said.
“You’re right, I shouldn’t. I’m sorry.”
“Do you think we’re going to be late, is that why you’re mad?” Emily said.
The clock on the car radio read 4:00.
“I hope not,” Jennifer said, but deep down inside she didn’t think their tardiness was avoidable. She clamped her eyes shut and tried to ignore a deep pain that pulsed and hid tactfully behind her eyes.
“Are you not feeling well, mommy?” Hannah said.
“Mommy’s fine,” she said. “I am just worried that we are going to be late and that will make me and your daddy late for the event.”
“It’s okay,” Hannah said and looked out the side window. “You shouldn’t worry so much. Daddy is the star and they can’t do anything without him.”
Jennifer laughed. “I suppose you’re right.” She watched a car that rode the shoulder all the way to the next exit.
“Mommy, you should follow him,” Emily said, and pointed at the car that Jennifer watched. “He’s going fast!”
“I . . . ” Jennifer thought to protest the suggestion, but knew it was the only way. The risk of getting a ticket was worth the time she could save. She cut the wheel hard right and stepped on the gas. The powerful car raced up the shoulder and approached another long line of cars that led to a blinking traffic light. She pressed the brake pedal hard and stopped the car just short of the vehicle in front of her. The force of the abrupt halt pushed everyone forward in their seats and snapped them back.
“I’m sorry,” Jennifer said. “I didn’t mean to do that.”
“You don’t think daddy will leave without you, do you?” Hannah said, her eyes wide with the question.
Jennifer laughed. “No, I don’t suppose he would.”
The vehicles ahead of her managed to merge their way into traffic quicker than she anticipated.
“I know that because he loves you too much to do that,” Hannah said. “He tells you that all the time.”
“You are very smart,” Jennifer smiled.
She had tried to organize the events of this day in advance and believed she had given herself plenty of time to complete her tasks and ready the children before her husband arrived home. She had intended to have everyone ready for the evening’s event prior to the babysitter’s arrival. That way there would be no stress and the perfect tone would be set for the night.
“Something going perfectly, imagine that . . . ” she whispered and chuckled at the thought.
“Mommy, what did you say?” Emily said.
“Nothing, honey. I’m just talking to myself.”
Her day had started off with a routine checkup at the dentist’s office. From there she had gone directly to the woman’s health clinic because she hadn’t been feeling well the last few weeks and her appetite had grown substantially.
“I just knew it,” she said, and rubbed her belly.
She couldn’t wait to share the news with her husband, Rainer, but had already decided that she would wait until tomorrow to do that. This was his day and he deserved the attention without anything taking away from it. He worked hard and gave so much of himself to everyone.
Jennifer inched the car to the blinking light and she looked left and then to the right. A steady flow of cars came from both directions.
Jennifer looked in the rearview mirror. Emily had unbuckled her harness and had climbed out of her booster seat. She was standing between the driver and passenger seats.
“Emily!” Jennifer said, and quickly turned and faced her daughter. “Get back in your seat!”
“But . . .”
“No buts, Emily. Do what I’m telling you to. Do it right now!”
Jennifer put the car in park and grabbed Emily by the arm and forced her into her seat.
“I’ve told you never to do this!”
“You hurt my arm!”
“It’s better than you going flying through the windshield! I told you getting out of your seat is dangerous and you can get hurt!”
Emily’s face reddened and her eyes welled with tears. Her bottom lip curled and her expression contorted into something horrible.
“You hurt me mom!”
“Why can’t you stay in your seat like your sister?”
“Why?” Jennifer said, her frustration turning to anger.
Emily looked at her twin sister and she was buckled in her seat. She looked at her mother with a blank stare. She rubbed her arm.
“Do you want a policeman to come and take you away from me?”
Emily shook her head and began to pout. “Uncle Glenn wouldn’t do that to me.”
“He would if he found out what you were doing.”
“Stop beeping your damn horn!” Jennifer yelled, staring out the back window.
Emily folded her arms across her chest. “No, he wouldn’t!”
“Yes, he would.”
Emily kicked the back of her mother’s seat. “And I said he wouldn’t!”
Jennifer glared at her daughter. “Don’t you dare talk back to your mother like that. I’ll take the television away from you for a week.”
“I don’t care!”
Jennifer swiped an open hand across Emily’s cheek.
A boiling wail erupted from Emily. Hannah looked at her sister and she started to cry. A chorus of shouts filled the vehicle and brought Jennifer’s headache to a whole new level.
“I’m telling daddy you hit me!”
“And I’m not going to tell you again. Don’t you dare get out of that seat!”
Jennifer buckled her in and sharply turned her attention to Hannah. “And you have nothing to be crying about.”
Jennifer faced forward and stomped the gas pedal and the car lurched into the middle of the intersection. In a moment of clarity, Jennifer noticed a bluish colored car that skidded towards her and she started to scream. It approached at a speed and angle that seemed impossible to avoid.
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You Killed My Brother on Amazon