Ben Fieldstone, a Character from “A Human Element” by Donna Galanti

Where do you live?

Nowhere. I am a nomad. After being a photographer in the Navy, I started up my own business… after I hit rock bottom and cleaned up my drinking. I travel with the rich on vacation all over the world. I don’t have a home. And that’s the way I like it. Especially the one-night stands that come with it.

What is your problem in the story?

I never dealt with my parent’s death. They were crushed under a meteorite when I was nine. Years of foster homes left me cynical and a loner. I eventually wised up and figured out I needed to come to peace with my parent’s death if I ever wanted a real life. One that involves people.

Do you embrace conflict?

The first time I did was when I hit my foster father back. I was sick and tired of him beating on me. Yeah, sometimes I look for a fight. Like the time I tried to rescue a girl from a bully Marine in a bar and ended up getting my face smashed in on the street. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the girl either.

How do you see yourself?

A loner and I like it. Next to my blond Norse-God friend, Andy, I look like a scowling, rebellious teenager mad at the world with my dark looks, and hands shoved in my pockets. I’m fine with that.

How do your friends see you?

My best friend, Andy, says I’m missing the big picture.  He thinks I should stop running from my past and find love. Andy says everyone has a past, but it’s your future you can change. He calls me a skinny James Dean wanna-be.

Do you have any special weaknesses?

Yeah. The first one was booze, but I overcame that. Sink or swim, you know? Second is women. Love them all. And after three years stationed at Pearl Harbor in the Navy, I sampled them all too. Chinese, Korean, Hawaiian, Philippine, Tahitian. Anything exotic.

What do you regret?

Running away the night my parents died. They wanted me to play an instrument and be in the band. Dumb to run away over that. But when you’re a kid everything is so dramatic. I wanted to scare them, that’s all. To find me gone and be upset. Then when they found me they’d tell me whatever I wanted to do was fine with them. Only they never did find me. They died. I feel guilty as shit about it. I know I couldn’t have prevented their deaths. But part of me still feels if I hadn’t run away they wouldn’t have died.

What makes you angry?

Injustice. Bullies. Mean people. I have no tolerance for any of that. My foster father was a bully. I watched him go up I flames and enjoyed it. That’s how much I hate bullies. And the man that killed Laura’s loved ones and chases us now. Give me the chance to take him down and I won’t miss. He’ll suffer long and hard. It won’t be a quiet death. That’s if Laura and I survive.

What, if anything, haunts you?

Laura. I fell in love for the first time with her and then, like that, one morning she was gone. We could have made a life together. Why did she leave when she was the only woman I ever loved? I felt like I had no destination after that. She had been my destination and now that was gone. I would do anything to find her again.

Are you lucky?

Most definitely unlucky. What do you think? Parents crushed under a meteorite. Foster father that beat me. Nearly did myself in with drinking. Dudes in Hawaii that whipped me and almost killed me. Fall in love with a woman who’s being chased by a killer. I hope I got all my bad luck out of the way early on. It’s got to change sometime, right?

Have you ever failed anyone?

Laura. I wanted to protect her from this killer that chased her but discovered it was out of my control. There was no way I could hope to save her and that frustrated the hell out of me. I so wanted the chance to make that up to her.

What in your past would you like to forget?

Man, all the prostitutes I hooked up with in Honolulu. Thank God, I stayed clean. But one of them damn near got me killed by her pimps. She turned out not to be a woman either. Not fun.

What is your most closely guarded secret?

That I was nearly raped by some big ugly dudes and thrown off a cliff. That was a night not to remember. Didn’t share that story with anyone for quite some time. Oh, and my foster father’s death. I never spoke of that to anyone until I met Laura.

If you were stranded on a desert island, who would you rather be stranded with, a man or a woman?

Umm, let’s see…being that I had a “close encounter” with a man once and didn’t know it I heartily opt for a woman. Only one though. The kind with long chestnut hair, perky breasts, and large brown eyes. Laura.



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.

Readers who devour paranormal books with a smidge of horror and steam will enjoy A HUMAN ELEMENT, the new novel about loss, redemption, and love.

Reviewers are saying…

“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 of ASSASSIN’S CODE and DEAD OF NIGHT

“A HUMAN ELEMENT is a haunting look at what it means to be human. It’s a suspenseful ride through life and love…and death, with a killer so evil you can’t help but be afraid. An excellent read.” –Janice Gable Bashman, author of WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE, nominated for a Bram Stoker Award.


Donna Galanti is the author of the paranormal suspense novel A Human Element (Echelon Press). She won first place for Words on the Wall Fiction at the 2011 Philadelphia Writer’s Conference. Donna has a B.A. in English and a background in marketing. She is a member of International Thriller Writers, The Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group and Pennwriters. She lives with her family in an old farmhouse in PA with lots of nooks, fireplaces, and stinkbugs. Visit her at:

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