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Monday, December 10, 2012

Guest Post: Donna Galanti author of A Human Element & Giveaway!

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Hello, Fellow Readers! Please join me in welcoming Donna Galanti to our blog. Today, she brings her book, A Human Element. WARNING: She will talking a little bit about it and a taboo topic of non-consensual sex in novels. Donna is also doing a giveaway.

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Donna Galanti is an ITW Debut Author of the paranormal suspense novel A Human Element (Echelon Press). She’s lived from England as a child to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer.

If she couldn’t write she would bike, hike, and kayak every day. Donna lives with her family in an old farmhouse in PA with lots of nooks, fireplaces, and stinkbugs but sadly no ghosts.


One by one, Laura Armstrong’s friends and adoptive family members are being murdered, and despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. The savage killer haunts her dreams, tormenting her with the promise that she is next.

Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite–her hometown. There, she meets Ben Fieldstone, who seeks answers about his parents’ death the night the meteorite struck. In a race to stop a mad man, they unravel a frightening secret that binds them together. But the killer’s desire to destroy Laura face-to-face leads to a showdown that puts Laura and Ben’s emotional relationship and Laura’s pure spirit to the test. With the killer closing in, Laura discovers her destiny is linked to his and she has two choices–redeem him or kill him.

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Taboos. When is it going too far in a book?

Rape is a touchy subject when it comes to books. Can it be done right when it’s integral to the story? We see it in The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold in a shocking scene. However, it’s not vivid in its horrific detail, but draws us in to the awful act through the victim’s thoughts as she is attacked. Disturbing and tragic, it’s key to the story that unfolds after.

In my paranormal suspense novel, A Human Element, my villain originally raped and murdered. He also had incestuous designs on his sister seeking to rape and kill her, too. My publisher insisted we cut it all. My editor said it was enough to know the rapist was a killer. We didn’t also need to know that he raped and had incestuous desires. After some debate I agreed. However, I had the few early-readers who enjoyed the more sadistic side of my villain, but you’ll have to contend with him in the published version just being a killer.

My new short story collection coming out soon, that includes characters from A Human Element and its sequel, has a brief rape scene. I had to ask myself. Does it have a purpose? Or is it simply gratification? It stayed in.

I recently read Shadow On The Wall by Pavarti Tyler. It has an intensely personal and disturbing rape scene early on. In reading I thought, oh no, she’s not going to go there! She did. I came to discover later that the witness of this terrible crime, who was paralyzed to help and later tormented by his inability to save the woman, is eventually led to saving another woman that sparks a revolution across a city of corruption and greed. Was the rape needed? Absolutely. And kudos to the author for taking a risk.

How, as authors, can we decide to include a taboo subject or not? We can look at it carefully before choosing to include and if so, then be prepared for some sting. But most of all we must be true to what we write and the story. If I like it and believe in the scene, I know there are others who will follow.

Do you know of books that contain rape and were they justified, or just there for shock value?


The wind moaned through the trees and died down, but X-10 heard another moan and stopped to listen. There it was again. Not the sound of the wind but of a woman in pleasure.

Adrenalin rushed through him, filling his massive body with a surge of anticipation and lust. He scanned the woods. A small tent jutted toward the moon just off the trail ahead. So perfect, again. Two campers, making love. How romantic. How unlucky for them. How lucky for him. He stepped closer, listening to the woman call out the man's name.

"Jimmy, oh, oh. Right there, don't stop, please."

X-10 moved closer, standing a few feet from the tent. He reached his hand inside his pants and pulled out his enormous hard cock. He stroked himself, listening to the woman's cries. It didn't take him long. He spewed violently, his thick jism gushing onto dry leaves. The couple stopped. X-10 tucked his relieved cock back in his pants when he heard the man speak.

"Shh, do you hear something?"

"What is it?"


"I don't hear anything. Keep going, please?"

"Wait, it sounded like someone was out there."

"Just the raccoons, or something, come on. I'm getting cold, Jimmy."

"Oh yeah, well feel this."

The woman squealed and laughed as Jimmy went back to his work. X-10 stepped toward the tent, standing right outside it. In one fluid movement, he reached his hand in and grabbed Jimmy by the neck. He pulled out the man, shrieking. His hard penis glistened with the woman's juices and his pants dangled around his ankles. The woman screamed.

"Should have finished sooner, Jimmy." X-10 broke his neck in one snap with his hands and threw him in the brush.

The naked woman rushed to the door but X-10 shoved her back in. He bent down inside the tent. The woman stared at him and screamed at his gruesome figure. X-10 grinned at her as he slapped a hand over her mouth. She looked to be college age with long red, curly hair and full, bouncy breasts. He thought about ravaging her before he killed her but repulsion overcame the urge. She was a human whore, unclean and used by another.

Such a waste. He snapped her neck as he had done to Jimmy. He never knew her name. Too bad, he thought. He left her there spread out and ripped the tent apart looking for food. He found none inside, but did locate their food bag hanging fifty feet away in a tree. He ripped it down and gorged on nuts, candy bars, crackers, and cheese.

He washed it down with their water and looked at the mess he made. He felt satiated now and full of energy, and so he mustered his powers to dig one deep grave. It needed to be wide enough to fit both of the lovers and their gear. He sat and moved his hands to work logs and rocks to dig. In a short time it was done. He placed the tent and their other belongings in first, and then draped them over it side by side.

"So the lovers can be together in death too." He laughed long and hard.

After dumping the bodies in the grave he covered them up and continued along the trail. It could take the authorities weeks to find their graves, if they ever did, across thousands of acres of national park.

"All in a night's work," X-10 quipped to himself and raced along the trail, a candescent monster dashing under the moon toward its prey.


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“Be afraid. Be very afraid. And be utterly absorbed by this riveting debut that had me reading till the wee hours of the night. A thriller star is born. Don’t miss A Human Element.”  – M.J. Rose, International Bestselling Author


A Human Element is an elegant and haunting first novel. Unrelenting, devious but full of heart.  Highly recommended.” – Jonathan Maberry, New York Times best-selling author

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  1. Julie, thanks for having me on the awesome Read Our Lips blog today! I enjoyed talking about a taboo subject. I'm editing the sequel, A Hidden Element, and touch on edgy issues there as well.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Donna! So glad to have you here. :)

  2. Wow, I feel famous! Thanks for the shout out Donna. Shadow deals with a number of triggery issues, but I'm proud of the end result. But enough about little me, everyone should know that Human Element is a great book that has totally haunted me since I read it. Anxiously awaiting the next instalment!

  3. I can't comment on the rape scene needing to be included or not. After reading A Human Element I can say that X-10 is a very strong and powerful villain.


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