Category Archives: No More Mister Nice Guy

3rd Anniversary of NMMNG 

Celebrating the Third Anniversary of “No More Mister Nice Guy”
Get your copy for free at Smashwords.com
http://ift.tt/2vwjilT #novel #thriller #asmsg #actionnovel #war #allegory

My Amazon Author Bio

 

The following is my Amazon Author Bio, you can view the full profile here. Only the picture at left is different. I would be honored if you read it and offered your comments for improvement.

Outlaw, Missionary, and Author, M.(Mike) Matheson was born on an Army base, Fort Huachuca, Arizona. It was not the end of the world, but you can see it from there. Dad was a career military man and Mom stayed at home, the norm for the 1950s.
In 1966, when Mike was ten-years-old, his Dad died suddenly and without warning.

Lacking their real-life hero as a stabilizing force, the family of two bounced from chaos to dysfunction like a severed sparking wire trying to find its ground. The result: a putrefying swamp of true life stories from which Mike creates his many great tales.

Mr. Matheson has been blessed to take a wide bite out of life from motorcycle outlaw to pastor of an inner-city church and international missionary evangelist.

Mike’s editor, Beth Hercules, says it best, “He uses his wry humor and an uncanny skill set to draw the lighter side of life from the seething underbelly of an outlaw world. Even in the midst of murder and mayhem, his positive spirit shows through.”
Writing from his own experiences as an outlaw, missionary, and world traveler, M. Matheson taps a deep well to craft stories that swing from darkness to light and tragedy to humor.

In addition to two novels, Mike has written dozens of short stories. The latter he gives away for free on his website here.

No More Mister Nice Guy, his first novel, is an allegory of life better lived dead, Flatline is his latest book. The next book he is working on, Taking Jericho, uses his own astonishing story to encourage others to climb the mountain of bad odds stacked against them and leave a lasting mark on our crazy world.

M. Matheson

August 8, 2016

hand from ground680x350

If you are reading this, you already know it’s true. M. Matheson has gone from the land of UNDEAD Blogger page (no offense, it served me mediocre-like for years). Thank you, Google, but WordPress is better. I feel like a real… something. Let me pause to celebrate.

WhooHoo!!

WhooHoo!!

While you are here, pour a beverage of your choice, download a free story, read my last post, and Preorder Flatline. If you like anything you see send me a note. If something bugs you and sticks in your craw, do likewise.

WordPress made this chore a snap, my hat (if I wore one) is off in solemn salute.

Thank you, to all my loyal readers and fans. May your life be filled with peace and good things.

M. Matheson

No More Mister Nice Guy and The Big C

I look back with my jaw hanging wide open and must conclude that my Novel knew I was sick long before I or anyone else did. And, that leaves me to reason that there is a mysterious magic within the stories we write. No matter the genre or subject.

We would do well to look for the magic within what we read and write and learn to tune our ear to its enchanting song.
Sometime in 2010, I had a great idea for a story which, as most of mine go, was intended to be short, the story not the idea, but rarely if ever do they end up that way. My words whether spoken or written have trouble staying confined to a box, and writers block is a malady I’ve yet to experience. The only way to keep my head from exploding is to write or speak the ideas that are always threatening to boil over.
Writing, for me, works better and offends the least people.

I’ve instructed my relatives that my headstone should read, Just One More Thing… including the ellipsis. Being such a loquacious individual, I love the ellipsis; It allows me continuing speaking long after I’ve shut my mouth. I could go on…

In 2010, I began work on a story about an Irish Civil War Soldier, Mike MacKenzie, and by mid-2011, I had the wireframe of a finished novel, No More Mister Nice Guy. Mike, who had started as the protagonist soon, took on a supporting role.
In the story, Mike emerges unscathed from a horrific death at the Battle of Antietam1862 and becomes a timeless Priest or Chaplain, who walks the battlefields of the Civil War up through the wars of today. Even now I am unsure exactly what Mike is, a ghost, a spirit, or an immortal, even though he operates as all of these things at one time or another during the story.
What Mike is for sure is a helper. He shows up where people are most desperate for a miracle, some he offers that supernatural help, others receive only words of advice that if heeded will turn the tide of battle and ultimately save lives. Some listen, some don’t. Those that refuse his help live the remainder of their lives in bitter regret.
Instead of blathering on about Mike, here is a significant portion of Chapter Nineteen from my novel, No More Mister Nice Guy, the beginning of Father Mike MacKenzie or Lucky Mike as some call him.
Antietam
A Union Army cannon fired into an already mangled cornfield where southern soldiers were making their advance. The unique whistle announced that everything nearby was about to be ripped to bloody shreds, and there was nothing anyone, but Almighty God could do to stop it. The shell, a case shot, looked like two three-pound coffee cans packed with lead balls, nails, and gunpowder, and it landed with a thunk, sticking in the mud at the feet of a young recruit named Michael Patrick MacKenzie.
Michael looked down at the unexploded shell and froze. His brain crackled like ice when hot sweet tea spills over it and, for the longest second of time, the shell just lay there. With a glimmer of hope, he prayed it was a dud, but explode it did. In a rainbow spray of orange, red, and gray matter, it spewed a rolling cloud of smoke and dust. Faithful to its promise, it tore everything within a hundred feet into ragged little pieces. The soldier’s nerves, raw and already jangled to numbness, were thrust once again into the burning coals of war.
The survivors reluctantly rose from the blood-spattered dirt. Four of their comrades lay in tatters, dead; tiny curls of smoke issued from crescent-shaped tears in their lifeless bodies. And, as the dust cleared, an unlikely apparition appeared from the cloud.
Stunned and breathless, soldiers stood and stared with disbelief at the phantom in a gunslinger’s duster. Caked with gray dust, fragments of metal, and human remains, Mike stood unscathed except for one crimson cut arcing smoothly around the soft part of his left cheek. Blood strained to drip from the slice.
With his cap in one hand, brushing the grisly dust from his clothes, Corporal Memphis Hughson looked up into Mike’s face and, with his head cocked to one side, said, “What ‘n tarnation are you, boy?”
Mike was unsure how to answer that question and stood expressionless, his gaze fixed on the horizon as if expecting some grand apocalyptic event. Other men close enough to have witnessed what happened remained speechless, afraid to move. Some fought back tears until they could taste the salt stinging their throats.
Mike MacKenzie, the usual joker wise-ass of the group now had a face set and rigid, the look of living granite. His once muddy brown eyes were now a deep crystalline blue.
Death had been cheated big time, and Mike was unsure how he felt. He knew that he had been in the midst of an explosion, but the sound didn’t register – only the quick blowing out of a lamp, his – and then, nothingness. Hard to describe. It was nothing, but he still had an awareness of the war raging around him, only muted and seen through a cloudy haze. His former fears and concerns for the next moment in the battle, his own survival, and that of his comrades, had been dislodged.
If he had a mirror and dared look, he would have seen a reflection somewhat like he remembered, but now with grizzled leathery skin and the stoic look of granite. His once hazel-colored eyes were now frosty blue. He had gone in fresh-faced, scarcely out of his teens, and awoke moments later, looking as if he had witnessed decades, maybe centuries of struggles and wars. His once paramount cares, worries, and doubts had been canned as his mother did peaches; boiled, vacuum-sealed, and put high on a shelf out of the way, isolated from what he now sensed was his prime mover and reason to live. He owned it, but it needed time to develop fully. One minute it wasn’t and the next, it just was.
The blues of the crisp, clear sky, even though fouled with acrid smoke and the smell of death, were more brilliant than he could ever remember. The green grass stained scarlet in so many places, stood up as if singing, and the reds… Well, the red was blood, and it was everywhere. The blood burned its signature deep into his mind and far down into the depths of his soul. The blood of men being needlessly spilled was the carrier of life, every drop more precious than all the gold in the world. He barely comprehended the grieving pain that now threatened to tear him in two.
The new version of Mike MacKenzie stood frozen and looked out at the small crowd of disbelieving eyes that peeked from faces caked in grime. His voice boomed with anger that made them flinch.
“Let’s finish this war today and get all this killing behind us!” A pure and righteous indignation cried for justice and screwed its way down into the soul of every man within earshot.
Lieutenant Marcus Kirby spoke up with a drawl so slow that everyone leaned towards him, hoping his words wouldn’t drop to the ground before they reached their ears.
“Mike’s right; let’s get all this killing past us.” And with that, he raised his bloodied white-gloved hand and waved it forward, leading them right into the nucleus of the battle. “The sooner we fight, the sooner we’re done or dead.” They all charged with renewed vigor, except Mike.
Mike Mackenzie laid his guns and cartridge belt on a nearby stump; his saber he shoved in the dirt with such fury it rattled. He then walked head-on into the heart of the battle, disappearing into the midst of the maelstrom. That day, Mike tended to dozens of wounded and dying soldiers, and he finished without a scratch, earning the moniker Lucky Mike.
That was Wednesday, September 17, 1862, at Antietam Creek, the bloodiest battle in United States history. No one came out the winner that day, and over 23,000 lives went out into eternity. Sadly, there was no decisive victory.
The tales of Lucky Mike spread like a virus through camps on both sides, but stories being stories, they soon became well-embroidered tales, the stuff of legends. And, as is the way of legends, most fade away into the backdrop of time, except this one.
Truth, he never ducked, he never flinched, and nothing ever hit him. He was often seen emerging from nowhere, walking out of the smoke towards a wounded soldier. Looking after the dying and hopeless wounded, he was known to sit for days with some worried mother’s son; in the end, the only witnesses were those he tended to.
If you’ve made it this far, you deserve the rest of my story and why I think this book predicted my cancer and recovery.

In September 2011 with my first rough draft of NMMNG hanging from the can, I was diagnosed with Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the head and neck. What the doctors found was a metastasization of an original tumor which was never found. Up until then, I had no warning signs beyond swollen lymph nodes in my neck, no other symptoms until the treatment which nearly killed me. The doctors kill you to save you.

Two phrases still echo in my head: The first from my wife. She said as I poked my growing glands, “You should see a doctor about that,” to which I replied or didn’t with a shrug.
The second from my primary care doctor, “Why did you wait so long?”
The standard treatment opens your neck with as much finesse as an autopsy, strips all the lymph systems away, and sews you back up with burlap yarn followed by radiation and chemo. Oh, boy!
I thank the Lord daily for the doctors who suggested deviating from the book and trying radiation and Chemo without surgery. The thinking was that if it didn’t work, they could still do the surgery.

The surgery is VERY disfiguring. It snips nerves and muscles in your neck limiting mobility FOREVER. As for the scarring, think Nightmare before Christmas.

So, down I went waltzing into the pit of perdition. Arrogant as hell and ready to defy expectations, after three weeks of bug spray (Chemo) and radiation I was humbled. As the burning increased, not the mere feeling but actual third-degree burns on the inside of my esophagus, my voice was graced with a sexy whisper, and the hair on the back of my head and from my chin came off in clumps.

The cure arrived with truckloads of misery, and the farther it went, the farther away God seemed.

To this day, I describe it like this:
Jesus: Hey Mike, I’ve got to step out and get a newspaper, but I’ll be back.
Mike: When will you be back?
(Silence, as the door closes. Also, Mike doesn’t know it, but his writing muse has vanished also.)
For a good year afterward, I could not see the evidence of or feel God’s presence. He’s God, so I could either be bitter and blame Him, or I could blame Him with the understanding that he is the Ruler of the Universe and big enough to do what he wants.

I kept at the things I knew to do, like praying and reading my bible, but still I could not conjure up his felt presence. I had to trust that he was there and hope He still had my back.

The last thing I’ll say on that sickness is, the all-pervading fatigue is the worst. It’s as if alien starships had sucked every speck of energy out of my psyche and dropped my emaciated body back to earth. Before I got sick, I thought, at least, I would have time to read. That joke was on me. Reading a book took more energy than I could summon.

My days were spent under a blanket watching the History Channel and NatGeo.
There were a couple of pluses:

The Big C was a heck of a diet plan. When your mouth, tongue, and esophagus are so dry and painful that swallowing a globule of spit is akin to climbing Mount Everest in the nude, it is easy not to eat. I went from being a fat guy to a thin guy. And even later after they took the feeding tube out of my stomach, eating was such a pain in the ass, I had to force myself to eat so that I wouldn’t die of starvation.

I lost a good forty pounds, and I’m still much thinner than I was before cancer dropped in for a visit. People that haven’t seen me for a while want to know my secret. It is not moral strength that keeps me thin; it is mechanics. Food is still hard to swallow sometimes, and random things get trapped where my airway meets my esophagus. I keep the weight off because of problematic eating, not nobility.

Okay Okay, settle down. I know. What the hell has that got to do with my book?
The protagonist of No More Mister Nice Guy, Billy Hartman was just that, a NICE GUY, and he was sick to death of it. As writers, we write what we know, and we project ourselves into our work.

Before my brush with death, so to speak, I had become sick and tired of being so stinking nice. I hated wearing the shirts with the logo of a boot-print on the back that said kick me. I was ready to punch someone in the nose just to lose that reputation. As an aside, at one time, before I gave my life over to Christ, I was a genuine bad guy and thrived on that (bad) image. I would break your face as soon as look at you. Keeping up that image was a lot of work. It’s easier to be kind and caring.

Anyhow, in the book, Billy sets out to destroy the image that had been cast for him and it goes horribly wrong. In the process, he is dealt a death blow, and nothing but a miracle will save him. In comes Mike MacKenzie along with a couple of odd beings and they carry him to a MASH unit.

Billy has a miraculous and quick recovery from horrific wounds.

He sets out on a quest to find Mike MacKenzie, and during that search, his life is restored to something real, vibrant, and full. The life Billy Hartman despised gets turned on its head as much or more than the circumstances around him. It becomes everything he ever wanted.

Same for me. The newer version of Mike Matheson is less willing to say yes just to be nice and make you happy. I like that. Also, I have a greater tolerance for negative things in my life and learned rougher but far superior form of grace

As I am sure most cancer survivors could tell you, the struggle and recovery are life changing.
But, unlike anyone I have ever spoke with, they’ve not had their book foretell their future. I didn’t see it right away, but the revelation suddenly came when I revisited the manuscript.
My first novel, No More Mister Nice Guy, has been described several different ways:
C. S. Lewis meets Stephen King.
The Chronicles of Narnia on steroids Rated R.
The Pilgrim’s Progress with whiskey and guns.
There are a hundred other back stories to the book; this is only one of them.
Peace,

M

Bradley ‘Boo’ Barrett~Character

A favorite character of mine is Bradley Boo Barrett from my first novel ‘No More Mister Nice Guy’ . He plays a short but critical role, and is much like I was in a former part of my life. Boo lives on the outskirts of normal society stuck in a 1970s Rock n Roll past. At this point, I won’t explain the origins of an old cowboy who makes an appearance in this chapter. That would be much too big of a spoiler. This complete chapter is from near the end of my first novel, No More Mister Nice Guy. Thank you for considering the read.

The Beginning of the End

He gazed with wide wonder at the surrounding world as if looking upon it for the very first time; his new long-coat was overlaid with the dust of centuries and smelled of the ancient earth. Uncomfortable within its ill fit, he hunched his shoulders trying to adjust himself into the hand-me-down. Then, quite imperceptible at first, the coat began to pull and tug at itself until it hung perfectly tailored to his frame.
Gunner stood shadowed in the alcove of 3501 Broadway in Sacramento, California; he looked out upon a newly minted world. Old chafing cares and concerns were gone, faded shadows against a galactic background. Those had been stripped of their power to influence his actions or thoughts. Without thinking, he stroked the purple silk that peeked from his rough-hewn overcoat. And smiled.
Peace was a living force within him now; it hummed and coursed its way through every cell of his being. And, for the first time in his not-so-long life, each thought flowed coolly uninterrupted one after the other in perfect order at a steady unhurried pace. He liked it. Heck. He loved it, and restrained himself from dancing and shouting right there. Instead, he stretched as if waking from a long, long sleep and coolly secreted himself in the shadows as he waited for something big to happen, of which he knew every detail.
Several blocks west and south in a long neglected dying neighborhood, Bradley “Boo” Barrett sat halfway up the thirteen wooden steps that led up into his crumbling hundred-year-old house. Dry rot ate away at its supporting beams and the porch leaned so that a discarded bottle or can would roll off the edge and into a growing pile of empties. He was three weeks behind on his rent and could care less.
The bitter end of an outsized joint sizzled in the wetness of his lower lip. He cursed it, as much for burning out as for the injury.
“That’ll leave a blister,” he whined, and pulled his lip down using a discarded rearview mirror to survey the damage. He winced as he poked and prodded the wound.
The fifth sixteen-ounce can of Budweiser that morning crunched under his boot heel, and he kicked it into the pile of empties alongside the porch. He thought for a moment he might have enough to recycle and buy another case, but then considered the work involved and found it wasn’t worth it.
Boo, at fifty-three, was fifty pounds overweight. A youngish mane of smooth, straight blonde hair fell to the center of his back; it was the only thing he was fastidious about. His face was fleshy, smooth, and pale; cheeks and nose were flushed pink, exaggerated by the good buzz he had going. The clothes he wore and his manners remained in a constant state of ruin, which somehow he thought was cool.
“Hildy!” he hollered into the house. “Let’s go for a ride!” She didn’t answer, so he banged on the side of the wooden house with the palm of his puffy hand and shouted again, “Hildy!!”
“What is it, Boo?” Halfway through a box of Oreos, she was watching old Warner Bros. cartoons. Her exaggerated irritation was intentional.
“Today would be a great day to let the Pontiac out of its cage. Wanna come along?” In Boo’s boyish mind, giving the 1973 Catalina’s 455 cubic-inch engine a chance to stretch was like taking a dog for a walk.
“That might not be such a good idea…Boo.” Her mothering tone rankled his nerves.
“I’m your husband not’ch your child!” and wagged his head back and forth, mouthing her words.
“I saw that Boo—”
Amazing, he thought. Was he that predictable or could she really see through walls?
That little chat was headed downhill quick, and if he had been a little more or a little less buzzed, he just might’ve stormed into the house and taught her a thing or two.
“Don’t worry about me, I be alright,” his words were slurred, but only slightly, according to him. In his reasoning: He had never been arrested, yet he’d driven a million times, well maybe only a thousand in much worse shape than he was now and hadn’t he just received a promotion and a raise? Head of the spray team at WestWing Manufacturing – makers of fine office furniture. He had good reason to celebrate and flap his feathers a little. Besides, it was Sunday, hardly anyone would be on the road. Boo’s image of himself as a fine, upstanding member of the community grew as the seconds ticked off.
Hildy knew his argument backwards and forwards, and barged down the center aisle of his thoughts… “It only takes once, Boo. Busted or kilt,” she hollered loud enough to be heard over Bugs Bunny’s voice two doors down. “Why don’t you stick around and do something here for a change? There’s no shortage of things that need fixin’.”
God! That woman’s voice is irritating. “Fine, have it your way. Stay here; I’m headed out. See you in an hour or so.” He saw the loose threshold of the front door over his shoulder, cursed, and swore he would fix it when he got back. That’d show her.
Boo shook out his long, straight hair, and slid down into the cushy cocoon of the bucket seat. He turned the key. The engine labored as if he had just woken it from a deep sleep, then it fired. It always did; Boo spared no expense in keeping the old car humming like a top. The big motor roared to life. Boo smiled. He loved the sound and feel of that monster forcing its breath through twin GlassPack mufflers.
“They don’t make cars for men anymore, only puny sissy little girl cars now. Always afraid someone’s gonna get hurt.” This started his rant, to nobody, on current affairs and the sad condition of the world.
As he backed out over broken concrete and rocks, remnants of a once nice driveway, one of those girly imports had the nerve not to slow and let him out.
Beep! Beep! Puny car—puny horn, thought Boo. The Neon screeched to a stop just in time to avoid hitting his Catalina; hell, even the tires sounded small. If they had collided, Boo would be buying a new quarter-panel, the girl would need a new little Ford and plastic surgery. They both knew it. Boo cursed. The lady driver gave him the finger and she sped around and away.
He turned out onto Broadway, his favorite profiling drag. And as he barreled up, or down, the street, all depending on where you stood, he was oblivious to the role he was about to play in history.
Out on the road, Boo felt good, free, happy, and in control; the car didn’t give him any lip. He pressed the pedal and she responded eagerly. The faster he went, the better he felt as the lullaby hum of the mammoth car coursed right down into his bones. Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” filled the air. The stereo had been worth every penny, especially at the pre-owned SPECIAL DEAL price. The first owner had come out one morning to find frayed dangling wires where his sound system had been.
He was now on a second turn down his favorite stretch of Broadway. Palm trees filled the median, leftovers from more prosperous days for this neighborhood.
If it weren’t for the fog of his chemical buzz and the euphoria of speeding his monster Land Yacht down the road, he would have seen eight-year-old, soon to be nine, Esmeralda Sykes, as she walked Pickles, her Chihuahua, across Broadway at 35th. She was also under the influence, but her drug of choice was hot chocolate. She was little-kid happy, a pleasure most of us too soon forget.
Neither of them saw the old cowboy standing in the doorway of the abandoned building, likely, he was the entire reason for the unfolding drama. It wouldn’t have changed a thing if they had.
Boo’s buzz vanished the instant he saw Esmeralda and Pickles; his head became crystal clear and he executed what he thought was the perfect panic swerve to evade them. Unfortunately, a 1973 Pontiac Catalina at seventy-five mph doesn’t respond well to sudden turning commands; the right two wheels came up off the ground and the left front caught the curb of the median, which sent 4,310 pounds of steel and rubber warbling in a slow, wicked arc through the air. The massive grill hit a stone median marker, ripping the steel bumper from the frame. The trunk raised higher than the hood, much higher, and caused the rear to swing towards Esmeralda and Pickles. The car twisted, then flipped.
Fractions of a second before it happened, Billy saw Boo’s failed maneuver; a close observer would have seen the cowboy run for the girl before the car was close enough to be a threat, but by the time Billy reached her, the car was airborne. Time froze. Boo and Esmeralda both remembered the car frozen in midair. Bill scooped up the girl and brought her and Pickles safely out of the car’s deadly trajectory.
With an ugly crunch of metal and … something else, the car came to rest on its top. Boo was trapped inside. He was still conscious and semi-cooperative when the gunslinger reached him.
“Where’s the girl!” Boo screamed with what little breath he could draw. Stricken through with terror, his oversized bulk hung upside-down and strained at the old-fashioned restraint system. Until the cowboy crawled in to rescue him, he’d alternately watched as gasoline dripped on the headliner and the nice pair of ostrich-skin boots protruded out from under the crumpled roof. Twisted legs clad in blue jeans were only several feet from his unblinking eyeballs, and he wished they’d just roll up and go away like the Wicked Witch of the East under Dorothy’s house in the Wizard of Oz.

“She’s okay; let’s just worry about you,” the gunslinger said as he produced a large Bowie knife and sliced him free of his restraints.
~~~~o~~~~
Thank you for taking the time to read this excerpt from ‘No More Mister Nice Guy’. Would you consider buying and reading the full book. It currently is rated 4.3 out of 5 stars.
I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
Peace,
M. Matheson
Please check out my short stories, free at SMASHWORDS

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