End of Summer Sale: Solstice Island by Mae Clair – FREE

End of Summer Sale: Solstice Island by Mae Clair is FREE 8/31 and 9/1

Solstice Island Final

#cryptidfiction #romance #adventure 

I know summer isn’t officially over until the autumnal equinox rolls around mid-September, but by the time the calendar reads August 31, I’m already thinking fall. My husband and I will be closing our pool this coming weekend, Halloween stuff is stocked in most every store I visit, and the days are growing noticeably shorter. I live in the northeast where summer is much, much too short. Blink and it’s easy to miss. I love fall, but I thrive on summer. So…I’m lamenting the demise of my favorite season with an end of summer sale on SOLSTICE ISLAND, my breezy romantic adventure novella.

Why should you read it (other than the fact it’s like a shot of summer wrapped up inside Kindle pages)? I’m glad you asked. [Symbol]

The Top Ten Reasons Why You Should Read Solstice Island by Mae Clair:

10.  You’ll meet a hot charter boat captain trying to live down his family legacy.

9.   You’ll encounter a spunky heroine cryptozoologist, determined hot captain should embrace said family legacy and all the baggage that goes with it.

8.   You’ll be able to impress your friends with your stunning new knowledge of cryptozoology.

7.   You may find yourself struck by the uncontrollable urge to look up blurry images of strange creatures online or go on a cryptid hunt (think Loch Ness, Big Foot, and the Jersey Devil).

6.   You’ll learn why you should never ignore a craving for mint chocolate chip ice cream.

5.   The next time your boat is attacked by a rampaging sea monster, you’ll know precisely what to do.

4.   You’ll be swept up in a tale of romance, adventure, and folklore.

3.   You’ll uncover buried treasure, thwart a villain, and discover a new use for a boat oar.

2.   As a 72 page novella, SOLSTICE ISLAND makes a quick end of summer read.

And the number one reason you should read SOLSTICE ISLAND:

1.   It’s FREE on Amazon August 31 and September 1!

http://www.amazon.com/Solstice-Island-Mae-Clair-ebook/dp/B00JHN4EBC 

SOLSTICE ISLAND Blurb:
Can an ancient leviathan work magic between a practical man and an idealistic woman?

Rylie Carswell is an amateur cryptozoologist in search of a mythical creature, the Sea Goliath. In order to reach Solstice Island, a location the ancient leviathan is rumored to haunt, she’s forced to hire charter boat captain, Daniel Decatur.

Initially, Daniel wants nothing to do with the trip or the fool woman waving double payment in his face. Convinced she’s yet another loony treasure hunter looking for gold on the remote island, he reluctantly agrees. An embittered neighbor wants to have his charter license yanked, so the extra cash will help him stay afloat.

It doesn’t take long for Daniel to realize Rylie is after the same beast his parents were tracking when they mysteriously vanished ten years earlier. He’s avoided all links to cryptozoology ever since, but the smart and sexy cryptid hunter has him second-guessing his oath and wondering what he’s signed on for.

Warning:  A family legacy, glowing plankton and rough waters.

Mae Clair

About Mae Clair:

Mae Clair has been chasing myth, monsters and folklore through research and reading since she was a kid. As an adult, she stumbled onto the field of cryptozoology and realized there were others like her who loved speculating about weird and wonderful creatures.

Her blog, From the Pen of Mae Clair, features a weekly post each Monday where she examines a different myth or urban legend. In 2013 and 2015, she journeyed to West Virginia to learn more about the legendary Mothman, a creature who will factor into an upcoming series of novels.

As a writer, she pens tales of romantic mystery flavored with a twist of myth or folklore. Married to her high school sweetheart, Mae lives in Pennsylvania. Her passions include cats, history and exploring old graveyards.  Look for Mae on her website at MaeClair.net

You can find Mae Clair at the following haunts:

Website and Blog

Twitter (@MaeClair1)
Google+

Facebook Author Page

Amazon Author Page

Goodreads

Sign up for Mae’s Newsletter

Download SOLSTICE ISLAND Free from:

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A Detective’s Most Interesting Case – The Conclusion

If you’ve missed part I and II of this series, you can find them here and here.

Carl Lamberth is rejoining us for the exciting conclusion to his most interesting homicide case. When we left off, Carl had a suspect who failed a polygraph, specifically the following three questions:

  • Were you present during the murder of this woman?
  • Did you participate in the murder of this woman?
  • Did you kill this woman?

What happened next? Let’s find out.

polygraph

The polygraph examiner felt comfortable in his assessment that this inmate had direct involvement in the crime.

If you know anything about criminal polygraph tests, you know the actual test is only half the procedure when a person is caught lying. Next comes the interrogation and hopefully, the confession.

The polygraph examiner and I went back into the room. For the next hour we interrogated the inmate. This interrogation still ranks as one of the most intense grilling of a suspect I’ve ever been involved in as a police officer.

The inmate finally broke and confessed he was, in fact, the one who went into the house that night and killed the elderly woman. He said he had concocted the idea to pin the murder on someone else–a known acquaintance of his who he was feuding with–to get his pending charges dropped and not have to face more prison time. He planned to use the reward money for him and his wife, who was waiting in anticipation for his release.

Since it was Easter weekend, he assumed no one was home that night. There was no car in the driveway.

Note: the week before Easter, the city street department was re-curbing and adding sidewalks along this woman’s street. Fresh cement was poured in front of her house on Thursday and the driveway to her house was barricaded off for the weekend to allow the cement to dry. Therefore, she could not park in her driveway. She parked in her neighbor’s driveway.

THE CONFESSION:

Sometime after midnight early Easter morning he arrived at the house. The house was completely dark – no lights and no cars in the driveway or carport. He found the back door unlocked and entered the residence. He wore dishwashing gloves so he wouldn’t leave any fingerprints.

Searching through the kitchen and den, he heard a noise, a woman’s voice coming from the hallway. He quietly went back to the kitchen and found a large kitchen knife in the dish drainer rack, then made his way to the hallway and confronted the elderly woman, who was now halfway up the hall.

She screamed, spun, and bolted. He pursued her, catching up with her in her bedroom.

He stabbed her once in the back. She fell to her knees. However, she regained her footing and fled past him, back up the hallway.

He gave chase.

As she hung a right toward the front door she fell again. She rose to her feet and sprinted toward the front door.

He caught up, stabbing her two more times in the back as she clawed at the interior side of the front door, trying to unlock the deadbolt.

She collapsed on her stomach directly in front of the front door.

Grabbing the woman by her ankles, he pulled her away from the door and flipped her onto her back. She was gasping, reaching for him.

He knelt beside her and stabbed several more times–he could not remember the number, but it was 5 times according to the autopsy report–until she quit gasping and moving. Even though she was dead, her eyes remained open, which “freaked him out”.

Knife in hand, he escaped out the back door. He said he never meant to kill her, but that he panicked when she screamed.

He drove out to the local lake and threw the knife in the water. Later, he showed us where. But when a police dive team searched the lake, they were unsuccessful. Either he was wrong about where he threw it, or he lied about what he did with it.

The inmate was charged with First Degree Murder. A trial date was set.

He pled not guilty and recanted his confession.

During the trial, all our evidence, including his signed confession, was entered into evidence. I was on the witness stand one full day, primarily being drilled by his defense team, who said I and the polygraph examiner had coerced the confession.

The trial lasted a little over a week before being handed over to the jury. At the end of two days, the jury advised the judge they were hopelessly deadlocked 8 to 4. Eight guilty votes to four innocent votes.

Due to a hung jury, the judge declared a mistrial. The District Attorney’s office stated they would re-try the case.

Meanwhile, my SBI partner and I were contacted by an assistant prosecutor. Some of the seated jurors were willing to discuss the case.

I remember speaking with one of the jurors who voted innocent. He said, “I felt like the suspect was guilty from the beginning, but I wanted to see some physical evidence that connected him to the crime scene – like fingerprints.”

I asked, “Do you recall my testimony when I stated the suspect said he wore dishwashing gloves?”

“Yes, but I still wish you could have found some anyway.”

Go figure!

One day I received a phone call from the DA’s office to come by their office.

Upon arrival, I was advised the suspect, through his attorney, was willing to accept a plea bargain to Second Degree Murder, with the possibility of parole. Second Degree Murder carries up to 40 years in North Carolina.

I was advised they were going to make the deal.

I wasn’t happy with their decision, but what could I do? I learned long ago once a criminal case goes to the Judicial System my job is done, other than testifying in court, if necessary.

The suspect pled guilty in Superior Court to Second Degree Murder and received a sentence of 25 years with parole possibilities. In my mind, not nearly enough prison time for the crime he committed. But my job was done; it was time to move on to the next investigation.

He ended up serving 23 years. He was released in 2010 – 3 years after I retired from law enforcement.

http://www.suecoletta.comTheDevil'sSin [514130]

I investigated many homicide cases during my 12 years or so in our Criminal Investigation Unit. Later, I was promoted to Sergeant and supervised the Major Crimes Unit for 6 years or so.

Remember the earlier case I mentioned with the scissors in the chest?

I supervised that case and worked with another investigator to help solve the murder. The case was tried as a Capital murder case. The suspect was convicted and given the death penalty. In 2001, the suspect was executed by lethal injection.

Sometimes justice is served.

I was also fortunate enough to be involved with another investigator on a rape investigation where DNA evidence was used to convict a repeat rapist. It was the first case in North Carolina to actually go to trial and DNA evidence was used in the defendant’s conviction.

All these cases were interesting, but none topped the Easter weekend murder investigation I worked for so many months. All together we put over 9 months of “pounding the pavement” into this investigation before the case was finally “cracked.” The time spent was well worth it and although I wasn’t completely satisfied with the ending – I’ll take it!

I saw a lot of horrible crimes in my career. But in the same context I found these crimes interesting and exciting to investigate, and I was glad to be involved in the process.

I guess my mentor sums it up best:

“I know, my dear Watson, that you share my love of all that is bizarre and outside the conventions and humdrum routine of everyday life.” ~ Sherlock Holmes “The Reigate Puzzle”

 

http://www.suecoletta.comConnect with Carl on Twitter @CarltonLamberth

BUY LINKS:

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http://clublighthousepublishing.com/productpage.asp?bNumb=390

http://www.amazon.com/Carlton-Lamberth/e/B00NP0M6T0/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1439351560&sr=1-2-ent

Thank you, Carl!

Looking for a way to commit (fictional) murder? Go here for a taste of my “50 60 Ways To Murder Your Fictional Characters” and receive your FREE copy.

A Homicide Detective’s Most Interesting Case – A Suspect Emerges

“Eliminate all other factors, and the one which remains must be the truth.” ~ Sherlock Holmes “The Sign of the Four”

Not a bad idea, Mr. Holmes!

If you missed part I, you can find it here. We’re joined by Carl Lamberth, a retired homicide detective, who’s been discussing his most interesting “on call” case.

http://www.suecoletta.comTheDevil'sSin [514130]

In all my years of police investigation I’ve investigated cases of all stages of solvability. Some cases were like dominoes…each piece neatly falling into place one after the other; some were like a giant jigsaw puzzle…all the pieces were there, but the difficulty lay in finding which pieces which fit together. After two months of searching for all the pieces to this case, I was beginning to believe all the pieces were not on the table and the puzzle would never be finished.

This murder created wide public attention. Both print and TV news media continuously asked for updates on the case. I was pulled off my other investigations and told to focus solely on this case. I was even pulled off the “on-call” schedule.

I worked hand in hand, day in/day out, with a state SBI agent. A typical day for us began around 7:30 – 8:00 AM and would end anywhere between 9:00 – 11:00 PM. We became a good team, good working partners.

As the reward to solve this cases reached $7,000 (a lot of money for the mid 1980’s), phone tips quadrupled in number. We followed up on every one of the tips. A lot of time and effort went into examining these follow-ups. And every follow-up required a typed report for the case file. My case file was growing thicker every day. This was back in the day before desk top or laptop computers. We used an instrument most likely foreign to the techie generations of today – it was called an IBM Selectric typewriter!

Unfortunately, all tips would lead nowhere. It became very frustrating to go to work. My chief would routinely call me into his office wanting updates, and I had l little in updates to offer. I even began to feel like he was starting to doubt my investigative abilities.

Two months or so into this investigation, I was headed into work when I was summoned over the radio to respond to a homicide crime scene in the same general neighborhood where the murder I was investigating occurred. Arriving, I met with the “on-call” investigator, who had responded to the scene.

He told me, “We’ve got another one.”

An elderly female was found stabbed to death in her home by family members. The similarities in the two cases seemed obvious:

  1.  Both victims were elderly females who lived alone (in my case the victim’s son technically lived at home but he was never there, his drug problems kept him elsewhere).
  2.  Both victims were stabbed to death.
  3.  Both victim’s homes were ransacked, robbery appearing to be at least part of the motive.
  4.  The two victims lived in the same neighborhood within a 3 block area of each  other.

As you can imagine, the news of this second homicide sent shockwaves through the community and city. A suspected serial murderer appeared to be on the loose, preying upon unsuspecting elderly women.

To say “the shit hit the fan” is an understatement.

As I stared at the victim and the crime scene, a cold chill shimmied down my back. Had my lack of investigative skills caused this poor woman to meet an untimely death? Now, I was even more frustrated, to the point of being downright angry.

Upon closer observation, I couldn’t help but note obvious differences between the two cases. Unlike the first victim, this lady was far from wealthy. Also unlike the first incident, forced entry had been made into this victim’s residence. And finally, unlike the first victim, this lady, although murdered, did not receive the amount of violence present in the first case. These differences were noted, but the similarities were too obvious to ignore…at least for now.

http://www.suecoletta.com

Similar to the knife.

The autopsy would reveal this woman died from three stab wounds to the neck and upper chest. The aorta artery was severed by one of the stab wounds–the fatal wound. The knife used was 3 to 4 inches in length at best and maybe ½ inches or so in width. A good size pocket knife, or maybe a steak knife.

Just like the first case, the murder weapon was not present at the crime scene. Unlike on TV crime shows or Hollywood movies where we see knives sticking out of their victims, I can only recall one time where I responded to a stabbing to find the murder weapon was left in the victim’s body. In that case, it was a large pair of scissors buried up to the handle into the victim’s chest. Even so, this victim’s throat was also cut from ear to ear and the suspect fled with the knife.

It’s also been my experience to be fairly rare to actually recover the knife used in a stabbing death. Suspects usually carry away their bladed weapons and discard them, never to be found again.

Crime scene analysis revealed little information of evidentiary value on this case. But unlike the first homicide, a promising suspect was established early on. Stolen property taken the night of the murder was recovered. Witness interviews led to a person of interest. A short time later, he would be confirmed as our suspect, someone we in the police community knew well due to his local criminal activity.

Although not officially assigned to this second homicide, I worked with two investigators from our department who were assigned this case. Probable cause was soon established and warrants were obtained for this subject, charging him with murder. There was only one problem. Our suspect had fled the state, headed up north to the New Jersey area where he had family. New Jersey authorities were notified and luckily, within a few weeks he was located and arrested. He was extradited back to North Carolina to stand trial.

As for my case, the hope was to somehow link this suspect to my murder case. Unfortunately though, no physical evidence connected him. And there were those damn differences that kept going through my and my partner’s minds.

Did we have a serial murderer in the making, or were these two crimes a terrible coincidence?

Back in North Carolina, our suspect from the second homicide “lawyered up” right away. If he was the suspect, I’d have to solve my case without an interview and/or confession.

Several more months passed without any positive results. My SBI agent partner and I “pounded the sidewalk” in search of any way to connect the jailed suspect to our investigation.

My case was getting “colder” by the day; I prayed for a break of some kind.

At the time, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation had a unit called the Murder Un-Solve Team or M.U.S.T. Unit. This unit was made up of four top-notch SBI agents with numerous years of experience and expertise in homicide investigations. This unit was assigned to look into my murder case and assist in solving the crime.

I had mixed emotions about these guys coming in and scrutinizing everything we had done. But, if a few more pairs of eyes and minds could help solve the case, it would be worth it. As it turned out, these agents were great to work with. After a week we were all on the same page with a common goal and mission.

However, after about a month they were about as frustrated as we were. They agreed the suspect in the second murder probably was not the attacker of my victim, based on my observations (stated above). The MUST unit’s policy was to review a homicide case for overlooked or mishandled clues, wrong deduced assumptions, or any other misguided conclusions. If none were found, and if their services were not beneficial, they moved on to another case.

So, they moved on.

Though relieved to hear our case was spot-on as far as our investigation, we still had no suspect. I was pulled off special assignment and given a full case load again. My partner returned to the SBI and worked other investigations. However, whenever something would arise concerning the murder case, we’d drop everything and check it out.

One day in November, 1986, I received a phone call from the SBI agent. “Do you want to take a trip to the mountains?” he asked.

The city I worked for is in the foothills of the western North Carolina Mountains, maybe an hour’s drive to the Blue Ridge Mountains of the Appalachian Mountain range. Now, I love the mountains and am always looking for a reason to head up to “Heaven’s steps,” but I was confused as to why he’d asked me this.

Apparently, his supervisor received a phone call from the warden of the state prison in that area. An inmate claimed to have valuable knowledge which would solve our case. Needless to say, we piled in the car that day and headed up the mountain.

We first met with the prison warden, who told us an inmate in his unit was incarcerated on two breaking and entering charges and awaiting trial on a third, as well as a forgery charge in our county. He’d contacted the warden, advising he had information on a murder—our murder!

First, we interviewed the inmate’s cellmate to see what, if anything, he’d told him. He said the inmate told him he knew who killed the elderly woman found on Easter Sunday. He said this inmate claimed he knew who committed the murder and was willing to testify if his new charges were dropped and he received the $7000. reward.

Next, we interviewed the inmate, who claimed before he was sent to prison, an acquaintance confided that he murdered the woman on Easter weekend. He said his friend thought the house was empty when he entered to burglarize the residence. He said his friend killed the woman after she awoke to find him in the house and confronted him.

This inmate offered a lot of details about the murder. One thing the police try not to do is divulge too much detail to the media in press releases concerning high profile cases. So, it was interesting that he had so many details.

We took the inmate’s statement and left, advising him we would be back in touch soon. On our trip down the mountain, my partner and I discussed our latest lead. Our conclusion was, this inmate knew too much about the crime. He seemed to offer more and more details—accurate details–especially when pressed after we displayed doubts. By the time we reached the bottom of the mountain, we were convinced this inmate was most likely present at the crime scene that night and may even have direct involvement in the murder.

We decided not to divulge our suspicions. A few days later, we traveled back up the mountain for a second interview. We told him we believed him, but needed to confirm his story. We asked if he’d take a polygraph. He agreed.

The following week we obtained a writ to have the inmate transferred from the state prison to our county jail. On the day of the polygraph test, my partner and I waited in anticipation in a separate room. After about an hour and a half, the SBI polygraph examiner walked into our room.

The inmate failed the test. Deception present in his answers to the following relevant questions:

  • Were you present during the murder of this woman?
  • Did you participate in the murder of this woman?
  • Did you kill this woman?

How did this case turn out? Tune in for the exciting conclusion.

http://www.suecoletta.com

Connect with Carl on Twitter @CarltonLamberth

BUY LINKS:

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A Look Into A Detective’s Most Interesting “On Call” Homicide Case

I have a special guest for you today. Carl Lamberth spent 30 years of his life writing….not novels – police reports!

During his time as a police officer he wrote every kind of police report there is. From simple traffic crash reports as a young uniform officer in the Patrol Division to the more complex and detailed homicide and other major crime investigative reports during his almost 12 years as a plain clothes investigator in the Criminal Investigations Division.

Over to you, Carl…

http://www.suecoletta.com

My career in law enforcement began in 1977.  Right out of college I was hired by my hometown police department. I retired in 2007 with 30 years of work experience in many areas within this police department. When I started writing novels I decided to incorporate my experiences in police work into my stories. Each novel has a crime drama element to it. My second novel in particular has a detective element to it as the story evolves.

Like all new cops, I started as a rookie officer in the Uniform Patrol Division of the department…a street cop. By the mid 1980’s I was promoted and transferred to the plain clothes Criminal Investigation Division assigned to the Major Crimes Unit.

As a detective (or Criminal Investigator – which was the department’s title for officers in this unit), I was assigned to work major crimes, which included burglaries, robberies, rapes, serious assaults, and murders.

Although the normal assigned working hours for Criminal Investigators was between 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday; as would be expected assigned criminal cases for investigation would require at times unusual and long hours in order to track down and locate victims, witnesses, or suspects.  Also, as part of our work assignment, investigators were each placed on an “on-call” schedule for a week at a time, subject to being called out after hours to investigate any major crimes occurring in the city during non-office hours.

TheDevil'sSin [514130]

I will never forget my first call out. 

On a wintry night, the second day of my on-call week around 3:00 AM, I was awakened by the phone ringing. Dispatch advised me to respond to a crime scene where a garbage dumpster behind a store was on fire.

The body of an unknown male was found inside the dumpster burned beyond identification. This discovery was made after the fire was extinguished by the fire department.

Not having a lot of arson experience, I contacted the State Bureau of Investigation for assistance and one of their arson investigators responded to assist in the crime scene.  That night, I heard the term “crispy critter” for the first time; SBI agent’s slang name for this unknown victim.

One thing I learned as a cop is that all police officers develop a warped sense of humor. This twisted wit serves as a kind of emotional defense mechanism to help deal with the constant tragedy and violence most cops see on a routine basis. This humor may pop up at any time to help cope with a horrific situation or scene.

The only time you will not see this joking around is when children are involved.

To make a long story short, there was no foul play involved in the burning body found in the dumpster. The victim was a homeless person who accidentally set himself on fire while smoking in the dumpster he used for shelter. More than likely he was smoking a cigarette and fell asleep, or passed out from alcohol use. The cigarette set him and the trash he was using for warmth ablaze.

As the SBI agent put it, “Smoking in bed can be dangerous!”

However, my most interesting “on-call” response came on an Easter Sunday afternoon.  I was called out to a homicide scene of an elderly woman found murdered in her house. When the victim didn’t show for sunrise church service, her best friend who lived one street over checked on her.

She found the back door unlocked. Upon entering the house, she discovered her friend lying dead in the living room–stabbed numerous times.

I arrived to a scene of numerous uniform officers who had secured the residence. When my supervisor and our unit’s crime scene technician arrived, an initial check and survey of the residence was made.

I observed a complete–and I do mean complete–and total ransacking of the house. All cabinet drawers were standing open, furniture turned over and moved, closet doors were opened, etc.

The unknown suspect or suspects were obviously looking for something.

The victim was lying supine in a rather large pool of blood near the front door, in the foyer/front entrance way. The front door was locked. There was blood spattering along the walls of the long L-shaped hallway, which led from the living room area to the bedrooms. Small amounts of blood were also noted in the victim’s master bedroom, on the carpet and one wall.

We decided to request the assistance of the State Bureau of Investigation mobile crime lab to assist in the crime scene investigation. Upon arrival, the SBI crime scene technician made the decision to ask for additional crime scene help from the main crime lab in Raleigh, NC.

A major crime scene analysis was undertaken in hopes of finding any and all physical evidence. The crime scene investigation would take several days on site to complete.

Keep in mind, this was back before DNA evidence had become a tool for law enforcement. Our biggest hope was to find latent fingerprint evidence or other trace evidence left by the suspect or suspects.

As it turned out, most latent print evidence would be accounted for as belonging to the victim, or people who had legitimate access to the residence. All blood evidence was typed as the victim’s. Physical evidence would not lead to the identity of the murderer or murderers.

The autopsy report revealed the woman had been stabbed 8 times with a large knife, estimated to be 7 to 8 inches long and at least 1 inch in width.

http://www.suecoletta.com

Similar knife used in the homicide.

She was stabbed 3 times in the back and 5 times in the front chest area, several stab wounds penetrating the heart.

Based on the on-scene Luminol testing for blood, a scenario was developed as to what probably happened that night.

The first stab wound occurred in the victim’s bedroom, probably as the victim attempted to exit the room, escape her assailant.

She ran up the hallway and hung a right toward the front door, where she apparently fell to the floor, transferring a small amount of blood onto the carpet and receiving a carpet burn on her left knee. She got up and made her way to the front door when her assailant caught up to her, stabbing her two more times in the back.

She fell to the floor, on her back. Her attacker then stabbed her 5 times in the chest; a very gruesome end to a sweet lady on Easter Sunday.

Note: During our search of the residence we did observe a dress the victim planned to wear to church on Easter morning. Neatly laid out on the bed in the guest bedroom, she would instead be buried in the dress.

Our investigation would reveal street rumor beliefs that this woman kept a large amount of money in a home safe; money she obtained through the previous sale of a local community grocery store after her husband died.

In truth, however, although the woman was somewhat wealthy and lived in one of the nicer homes in the neighborhood (which had slowly deteriorated through time into a lower economic community), she did not have a safe, nor keep large amounts of cash at home.

A motive of possible robbery was established.

The victim had a grown son who still lived at home. He had a criminal record for various drug related offenses and was rumored to be hooked on cocaine (powder cocaine was prevalent back in those days as the drug of choice). Obviously, he became our first suspect. However, it would be determined he had an ironclad alibi for the time of his mother’s murder.

Our attention then turned to known drug associates of the son. Nothing concrete could be developed on any of them. We were back to square one.

One thing I learned about murders is there are basically two types: the “smoking gun” type, which means a known suspect is developed if not immediately at least within the first 48 hours due to witnesses or other facts. The second is the “who-done-it” type in which no immediate suspect is known or developed within the first 48 hour period.

This case definitely fell into the “who-done-it” category.

Two months into the investigation we still had no suspect or suspects. However, we would soon believe our luck had changed with a development in another murder case…

Would this be the break we were looking for?

Stay tuned for part II.

http://www.suecoletta.comI’ve always been a dreamer. Retirement life has given me a lot more time on my hands….more time to dream.

To quote someone who knows a thing or two:  “Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.” – Napoleon Hill.

I didn’t give up and here I am – a published writer!

And I’m writing again…but not police reports – novels!

Connect with Carl on Twitter @CarltonLamberth

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http://www.amazon.com/Carlton-Lamberth/e/B00NP0M6T0/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1439351560&sr=1-2-ent

 

What Type Of Writer Are You?

I have a special guest for you today, with a thought-provoking post. He sure had me wondering what type of writer I am, and I’m betting he’ll do the same for you. Paul Dale Anderson is the author of 27 novels and hundreds of short stories. Paul earned graduate degrees in Educational Psychology and taught college-level Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) and hypnosis courses as well as writing workshops at universities and novel and short story writing for Writers Digest Schools.

claw hammer revised cover kindle

Each writer has her or his own distinct “voice.” Some writers spend decades looking for their unique voices, and others find theirs with the very first story they write. Voice and style are related but different.

Voice is what a reader hears inside his or her head when reading words. Storytelling is an art that existed long before the written word, and the best storytellers have a natural rhythm that mesmerizes listeners with alliteration, repetition, rhyme, parallel structures, and patterns of pacing that enchant and entrance.

Too many writers are unaware of how the human mind processes language. Various structures in the brain—some in the left hemisphere and some in the right—work together to make sense out of symbols. Symbols include, besides alpha-numeric digital representations, sounds, gestures, signs, maps, smells, tastes, and physical feelings. It is the mind that gives meaning to each symbol based on prior associations dredged out of memory. The map is not the territory but merely a representation of the territory.

During conversations with fellow writers at the 2015 Nebula Award Banquet in Chicago, I identified successful new writers by which symbols had salience for them and the way they accessed information. Some writers were very verbal and had a fluidity of language based primarily on auditory processing of sensory input. Those people were able to instantly duplicate and respond to what they heard as they heard it. Sounds themselves had salience. Those writers are akin to the musician who plays mostly by ear, translating auditory input into kinesthetic output without the additional steps auditory-digital types like me require to process input and output.

One of those writers admitted to having difficulty reading stories published in books and sf magazines. It wasn’t until he listened to books on tape or CD—auditory files—that he found his own voice for his writing. He “hears” stories inside his head. Then he translates those stories into symbols that comprise the written word based on the spoken word. Once he discovered where his voice came from, he has become a prolific author.

Darkness revised cover 4-23-15

I work differently. I “see” stories, then translate them into words that describe my visions. First I see the scenes. Then I see the written symbols that best represent that scene. I see each letter, each punctuation mark, each space at the beginning of a new paragraph, the way words and white space look laid-out on a page, the way each page contributes to the story as a whole.

I write at the keyboard where my fingers automatically translate the symbols in my head into kinesthetic actions that produce the symbols that appear on the screen or piece of paper. I cannot listen to music while writing. Background music interferes with the words in my head. Other writers find that listening to music while writing is a big help. Different strokes for different folks.

If you are primarily auditory like Stephen King, Kevin J. Anderson, and the guy I met at the nebulas, you might find writing easier if you dictate and capture the words into a digital recorder or into a program like Nuance’s Dragon Naturally Speaking. Dragon for Windows or Macs will type your spoken words for you with up to 95% accuracy. There is a slight learning curve, but it will increase the output of an auditory person exponentially.

If you are primarily kinesthetic, you might prefer to write with a pen on paper before revising your works on a keyboard or sending your notebooks to a typist. The feel of the paper itself, the touch of the pen to paper, produces words from your subconscious faster and better than any other process. Kinesthetic writers also love to pound out words on manual typewriters. They write with a flourish that adds to their style. James Patterson is a kinesthetic writer.

If you’re more like me, however, you separate the process into a series of “drafts.” The first draft is primarily visual, and you describe what you see.

Abandoned 4cover

The second draft includes imagined sounds, tastes, feelings, smells. During the third draft I read all the words aloud to hear how the words sound and to feel how they roll off my tongue. I add punctuation marks to match my pauses, inflections, intonations. I tend to cut unnecessary flourishes out of my stories unless they add momentum to the plot or help describe a specific character.

If a story is to work, it must engage all of the reader’s senses. Some readers are primarily auditory, some are visual, some are kinesthetic, some olfactory, and some gustatory. The majority of people in this world are auditory. They respond best to dialogue, to alliteration, to phrasing. Kinesthetic people respond best to action and they translate words on paper into muscle movements. If you want to appeal to every reader, you need to reach each of them in their own personal comfort zones

I can listen to music all day and appreciate the rhythms but not duplicate the sounds “as is” on a musical instrument. I can, however, imagine the notes appearing individually on a musical score, write those notes down, arrange counterpoint and harmony, and play the music on nearly any instrument by following the sheet music. After translating the visual score into kinesthetic fingerings or vocalizations, I can practice until I get the rhythm right. I then artificially add feeling to change tone and timbre and provide warmth to the composition. The end result might be the same, but it takes an auditory-digital a much longer time to get there than an auditory-kinesthetic. I don’t do well at impromptu jam-sessions. I don’t hear or feel the music. I see the music.

It took me fifty years to find my voice. I went about it the long and hard way. Instead of listening to other voices, I saw written words on paper. I only imagined what those words sounded like. It wasn’t until I read my written words aloud at conventions that I decided to include the spoken word as an important part of my writing process.

Some people tell me they find it difficult to imagine. They feel, they do, they hear, they speak. They don’t see images. They’re not lying. They can’t easily visualize. The way to reach such people is to touch them, to speak to them, to mimic them and then lead them to accept new experiences via their primary senses. It’s easy once you have established rapport. Let them hear and feel what you want them to see. Images will eventually appear in their mind’s eye. It just takes some people longer than others to see what you want them to see.

Auditory digitals, like me, often get hung up on description. We tend to write long narratives that include copious details better left to dialogue. We tend to view scenes from multiple viewpoints rather than a personal POV. We tend to lecture and to provide too much information, much more than any one character (or any one reader) is capable of handling. Therefore, we need to be ruthless in our editing. We need to butcher our little darlings. We need to cut out all the fat but leave enough meat on the bone to be both nourishing and palatable.

To find your own voice, determine how you primarily access information and process sensual input. Listen to your voice, see your voice, feel your voice, taste your voice, smell your voice. Temper your voice with style. Style is deliberate manipulation of words to invoke more than one sense by using alliteration, onomatopoeia, rhythm, rhyme, metaphor, simile, and all those other verbal skills you possess but don’t normally use. Begin in your own comfort zone and venture outside it. Write until all your fingers are sore, you’re vividly hallucinating, and the voice inside your head is telling you what to do next. Then stop just long enough to smell the roses and to taste success before you pick up the pen to write again.

Tell your stories in your own way with your own voice. Just remember that not everyone will be able to see or hear your words the same way you do.
PaulAnderson RVC AG 1

Darkness, the third novel in the Winds-series, is now available for pre-order at http://www.amazon.com/Darkness-Winds-Book-Paul-Anderson-ebook/dp/B00X52FVP4/ or http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/darkness-paul-dale-anderson/1121864147?ean=9780937491140

Instruments of Death, Paul’s crime-suspense series from Crossroad Press is also available for the Kindle and Nook.

Visit Paul’s website at www.pauldaleanderson.net

Can you answer the question posed in the title?

Searching for a way to commit fictional murder? Get your FREE copy of 50 Ways To Murder Your Fictional Characters. Click the title for a taste of what you’ll find inside.

Storyboards and Living Documents

Things are crazy right now for me, working with my editor and setting up a new computer — all these foreign keys make me feel like I’ve never used a computer before — but I didn’t want to leave you flat. Hearing my tales of woe, friend and fellow writer Craig Boyack sprang into action. Some of you are familiar with his site Entertaining Stories, where he shares some of the best short stories and flash fiction I’ve ever read, along with various other topics. If you get a chance stop by and say hello. While you’re there browse his Idea Mill — great fodder for creativity.

All yours, Craig!

When Sue asked me if I’d do a guest post I was ecstatic. Then it dawned on me that many of her readers are probably crime writers. I write speculative fiction; what the heck can I bring to crime writers?

Crime happens in speculative fiction too. It’s mostly in paranormal and science fiction, but fantasy isn’t immune. We tend to gloss over it, and build worlds that get more focus.

Then it dawned on me, writer is also part of the title. I can talk about writing. I tend to see things a bit differently than most, so I do things differently too. I’m going to mention some of them in this post.

will o' whisp

I’m an unashamed outliner. I like three act structure, but I use a storyboard for my outline. There are index cards for the beginning and end of each act, the rest get filled in as I brainstorm my story. I like this method, because I can add photos, maps, sticky notes and all kinds of things. It’s possible to get pretty elaborate with projected word count, plants and payoffs, pinch points, and more.

I don’t always get that elaborate, but I like the method. A different writer might adopt the heroes journey, or fairy tale structure to a storyboard. To tell the truth, I snipe from these all the time too.

I don’t use a physical storyboard. Turns out there’s an app for that. I can take my storyboard with me on my iPad.

I also use direct feeds like my RSS reader and something called Zite Magazine. These work by subscribing to content I like and the Internet sends me data. A writer has to get ideas from somewhere. Many of my coolest story elements came to me this way.

Zite is particularly fun, because it’s smart. When I first subscribe to a category, it sends me everything it can find. As an example, when I set up a category called “voodoo” I got articles about doughnuts, beer, Jimmy Hendrix, and more. Zite lets me give articles a thumb up or down. It corrects over time and now it’s all about mojo hands and dolls with pins.

I’m sure an enterprising crime writer could do something similar. When I get enough fun ones, I post something I call The Idea Mill. My blog followers seem to really enjoy those posts. I have enough right now for the next one.

The last thing I’ll mention is living documents. I keep living documents for various reasons. Writing advice is everywhere today, and it all gets a bit repetitive. Sometimes there is a real gem posted. When I get these, the data gets summarized in my living documents. My memory isn’t what it used to be.

I keep documents about editing, writing tips, cryptids, and fantasy. There are very brief notes about the villain’s journey, Pixar secrets, and the tidbits that help me in my projects. Most of these are helpful on the editing passes. I have a whole page on suspense tips.

Sue has something similar called “50 ways to murder your fictional character.” If she were to add to it on occasion, it would be a living document. (Note from Sue: I’ve been adding. I’ll send an update once there’s enough new information to make it worthwhile.)

I hope I’ve provided at least one nugget you can take home with you today. Looking at things differently might help you create a major hit one day.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I have book I’m promoting right now. That’s part and parcel for guest posts. It’s called Will O’ the Wisp, and I think it’s my best so far. Here’s a little blurb:

There is something evil up Bergamot Holler, and it’s been targeting the Hall family for generations.

Patty Hall is fifteen years old. She loves stargazing, science fiction, and all things related to space exploration. This leaves her perfectly prepared for the wrong problem.

Patty is afraid her mother will send her to a care facility if she tells her what she’s seen. If she doesn’t figure things out soon, she’s going to join her father in the Hall family cemetery plot.

Patty has to come to grips with her own physical handicap, survive the wilderness, and face an ancient evil all alone if she’s going to survive.

Will O’ the Wisp is suitable for young adults. It involves strong elements of suspense, and is set in the mid 1970s.

Here are the Amazon links:
Northern American Continent http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00UPH6BNS

Rest of the world http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00UQNDT2C

Thank you, Sue, for having me over today. It’s a real pleasure.

craig

Craig Boyack

No man ever wetted clay and then left it, as if there would be bricks by chance and fortune. – Plutarch

Check out my novels here: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00ILXBXUY

ONE TO THE WOLVES: ON THE TRAIL OF A KILLER

A serious matter caught my attention the other day on Mystery Writers of America’s FB page. A mother was reaching out for help to find her child’s killer. I think you will agree that when something so tragic happens to one of our own, a fellow author, we must band together. So please, share this post as widely as you can.

Now I’ll step aside and let Lois Duncan, Grand Master of MWA, tell you her story.

ONE TO THE WOLVES: ON THE TRAIL OF A KILLER

One to the Wolves

Although I’ve written 50 books in the course of a long career, the last thing I ever wanted was to become a true crime writer. Most of my books were YA suspense novels like I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER and KILLING MR. GRIFFIN. They were carefully plotted with a catchy beginning, well developed characters, and a satisfying climax in which everything neatly fell into place.

You can do that with fiction. It’s a little bit like playing God. You design the world that you want, people it with characters of your own making, and move them about as you choose in order to reach a preconceived ending.

I learned the hard way, that’s not the case with true crime.

As I said, I’d never wanted to write in that genre. Yet I was forced to do so when our own teenage daughter, Kaitlyn Arquette, was chased down in her car and shot to death in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The police dubbed the murder a “random drive-by shooting” and soon dropped off the unsolved case. In order to keep it alive, (and to keep myself sane), I made myself write about it, and that was the hardest task I’ve ever undertaken.

Kaitlyn Dincan

Kaitlyn Arquette

This was not a world of my own making. And there was no preconceived ending. And I couldn’t make the characters do what I wanted, except in my dreams:

“I could see my daughter in that car, gripping the steering wheel, frozen with horror as a bullet crashed into the door frame next to her head, and there was no place to run, no place to hide, and Mother and Daddy just a few miles away in that big safe house, and no way to reach them. If only I had been with her! In my mind I rewrote the story so I was seated beside her and could grab that shiny gold head and yank it down below window level. In that vision I threw myself across her and leaned on the horn. People came rushing to windows, came pouring out of buildings, came racing to save this terrified girl, who by now I had somehow managed to shove down to the floor boards. When the other shots came, I would be the one to receive them. And, oh, I would receive them gladly! I would smile as I slid into darkness, knowing that Kait would survive to go to college, to fulfill her plan to become a doctor, to meet and marry Prince Charming, to have children just as ornery and strong-willed and naughty and wonderful as she was, and to live and live and live.”

Kait's car window, shattered from the gunshot.

Kait’s car window, shattered from bullets.

In my true crime book I was restrained by the facts as we knew them, and we didn’t know all of them. I wrote what I knew and left the story open-ended. Yet that book, WHO KILLED MY DAUGHTER? (Delacorte), achieved a partial purpose, as it brought tipsters out of the woodwork and caused outside investigators to contact us with offers of pro bono help in their fields of expertise. New information piled up, but police didn’t want it, since it didn’t mesh with their “random shooting” scenario. But I couldn’t allow that new information to become buried, so I wrote a second book that included it all, even the things the police did not want known.

ONE TO THE WOLVES: ON THE TRAIL OF A KILLER was recently published by Planet Ann Rule and contains a foreword by best-selling true crime writer, Ann herself.

And now, all of a sudden, something incredible has happened. The Cold Case Investigative Research Institute read ONE TO THE WOLVES and has launched their personal outside investigation of Kait’s case.

The CCIRI is a collaboration between over 20 colleges and universities across the country with approximately 2000 criminology students and over 600 experts in an assortment of areas including forensic specialists, attorneys, crime scene analysts, specialists in drive-by shootings, etc. A group of those experts is headed for Albuquerque next month to meet with our private investigator, tour the crime scene, and start interviewing witnesses and suspects the police didn’t talk to.

CCIRI-Donnie-investigators.

Some of the participants in the Cold Case investigative Research Institute as they assembled evidence to launch their investigation of the Kait Arquette murder: Dr. Duanne Thompson, weapons expert; Kait’s brother Donnie Arquette (representing our family); TV Legal Analyst Holly Hughes; Sheryl McCollum, Director of CCIRI

 

No, I never wanted to write true crime. But I’m eternally grateful for all the years I spent writing fictional mysteries so that when the most shattering event of my life occurred I was able to transfer the skills I’d developed writing fiction into this different but related genre’.

The Power of the Pen is a force to be taken seriously. Perhaps there will be an ending to Kait’s story after all.

Lois_Kate_sm

Lois Duncan with her daughter (14 at the time). Four years before her tragic end.

 

Lois Duncan, the author of over 300 magazine articles and 50 bks, is bestknown for her YA suspense novels, which have received Young Readers Awards in 16 states and three foreign countries. In 1992, Lois was awarded the Margaret A. Edwards Award, presented by the ALA Library Services Association for “a distinguished body of adolescent literature.” In 2015 she received the Grand Master Award, bestowed by the Mystery Writers of America for “lifetime achievement and consistent quality of mystery writing.”

Six of her novels — SUMMER OF FEAR, KILLING MR. GRIFFIN, GALLOWS HILL, RANSOM, DON’T LOOK BEHIND YOU and STRANGER WITH MY FACE — were made-for-TV movies, and DOWN A DARK HALL is currently under production for the big screen. I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER and HOTEL FOR DOGS were box office hits.

 Although young people are most familiar with Lois’s fictional suspense novels, adults may know her best as the author of WHO KILLED MY DAUGHTER?, the true story of the murder of Kaitlyn Arquette, the youngest of Lois’s five children. Kait’s heartbreaking story has been featured on such TV shows as Unsolved Mysteries, Good Morning America, Larry King Live, Sally Jessy Raphael and Inside Edition. A full account of the family’s on-going personal investigation of this still unsolved crime is chronicled in her newly published book, ONE TO THE WOLVES: ON THE TRAIL OF A KILLER, with a foreword by best-selling true crime writer, Ann Rule.