Monday, December 29, 2014


If you follow my other blog - The Writing Spectacle - you already know what's going on with me lately.  And from all appearances I am a busy dudette. 

The only thing I know is that I run in spurts.  I was kinda busy.  And then, after my edits were sent, I totally lazed out.  Of course, it doesn't help that I'm easily distracted. I took Christmas Eve off on purpose.  Then Christmas was a big distraction.  And that's okay.  It's a freakin' holiday.  But then I frittered away Friday doing woods work.  Then Saturday, I read all day.  And yesterday, I read some more while watching the Harry Potter marathon.  (Started reading Sorcerer's Stone again in the midst of that... cuz Potter.)

Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is even the seemingly busiest of us can get distracted.  I'll get back to work today.  Promise.

What kinds of things distract you?  How do you get back on track?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

No Wicked on Christmas Eve

There's enough wicked in the world right now, so I thought I'd give it a rest for today.  After all, it's Christmas Eve - when everything should be about peace and joy and love and junk. 

Here at Sanderson, Inc., we're having a laid back holiday - like usual.  I finished this round of edits on Dying Embers last night and will be sending them off to the editor this morning, so I won't be working on THAT for a bit.  I might actually write some stuff.  Or I might get back to editing another book so that it'll be ready to send to the editor when I'm at the jumping off point for publication of a second book. 

Hubs is quietly working on his computer.  Today he might start cleaning the new car.  (It came with about a pound of dog hair in the back seat and something gooey in the ashtray.)  Or he might just relax.  Whatever he wants to do.

Today, I might read. 

Tomorrow, I have a ham to bake.  Everything else is either pre-made or quickie-cook.  I even bought cheesecake for dessert (because I am feeling just that lazy). 

What's on your agenda for today?  Are you busy-busy, or is today a day of rest before the big event? 

And if I don't see you tomorrow, have a joyous day - whether you celebrate a holiday or not.  :hugs:

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Long Look Back and Moving Forward

Next month will mark the 11th year since I started writing seriously.  Well, actually next month marks when I started what would become my first novel.  I didn't get serious about it until a month later when I realized I'd been working on it more diligently than anything I'd started before.  The rest is history, but hey, maybe you'd like to see some of that history.

So, here are my timeline of books written - and partially written - in as close as I can remember to the order I wrote them in:

2004 The Comet - which then became several other titles before being shopped as Spectacle... which then became Fear Itself.  (suspense)

2005 Caldera - which is now Nature of Destruction.  (suspense)

2006 Be Careful What You Wish For - unfinished (SF)

2006 Blink of an I (dystopian)

2006 Wrongful Termination - written but not edited - working on it (suspense)

2007 Redemption - unfinished (SF)

2007  Nanotechnology - now Bloodflow - written and working on edits (suspense)

2007  Cut & Dried - unfinished (mystery)

2007  RTL (dystopian)

2008 Manhunter - now Dying Embers. (suspense)

2008  Fertile Ground - unfinished but still working on (suspense)

2009 Djinnocide - written all the way through one way, then all the way through another way (both in 3rd person).  Rewritten all the way through in 1st person. (urban fantasy)

2010 Unequal - written but not edited, but I'm working on it (dystopian)

2011 Darklings Rise - unfinished (fantasy)

2012 Djinn 2 - written but not edited - will edit in 2016 (urban fantasy)

2013 Sleeping Ugly - unfinished (urban fantasy)

2014 Djinn 3 - written but not edited - due to edit 2016 (urban fantasy)

2014 Arthurian UF - this one is partially done and I'm still really excited about it, but now I'm way too busy.  Maybe in 2015, I'll find time.

So there you have it.  With a few short stories scattered along the way, and a few miscues on damn near everything, and a few started but never got more than a few pages in, so why mention those. 

Several of these have been queried and submitted, to no avail.  So that's why I'm moving forward with self-publishing.  I believe in my books.  All of my books.  The reason I'm moving ahead with Dying Embers is that right now, it's the one I thought was closest to being ready for publication (boy, was I wrong... so much editing... ugh) and it's also not currently out with any publishers. 

Like I've said before - but it bears repeating - this is MY journey.  Every writer is different.  For instance, I'm what they call a 'dirty drafter'.  I don't edit while I write the first draft.  (Well, no more than rewording as I go along if I catch something in the moment - like writing this blog post.)  Which is why there's a lot of stuff up there that says 'not edited'.  You mileage probably varies wildly. 

And it's also why my production looks like it slowed down.  I've been trying to edit the things I never really edited.  So no new writing for me until I eat my peas.  (Yeah peas = editing for me.)

So there ya go.  My writing life in a timeline form. 

Thoughts?  And please keep your snarky to yourself.  If you don't understand this is how I and I alone write, keep it to yourself.  It won't be posted anyway.

My blog, my rules.  I don't come to your house and tell you how to exist.  So there.  =op

I still feel like I'm missing someone - like the movie Home Alone, when the parents THINK they have all the kids, but they left one behind.

Friday, December 19, 2014

True Crime Friday - The Shift

Today I'd like to talk about the show The Shift.  I only just found this show earlier this year on REELZ and then they took it off the afternoon crime show lineup.  Now I find out it's not on anywhere anymore, and hasn't been in production for years.  Crap.

Anyway, it's a show following the work of a team of homicide detectives in Indianapolis, as they try to solve the murders that come their way.  Each show usually does one crime - from the call through the investigation and interviewing.  Sometimes they get their man, sometimes they don't.  Always it shows their dedication and commitment. 

I find the show fascinating because it provides a glimpse into real police work. 

I'm a little bummed they stopped making it.  I'm definitely bummed they stopped showing it because I know I haven't seen every episode yet.  And I got my mom hooked on this show in June.  I know she hasn't seen all the episodes yet.  Lucky for you - if you haven't seen it yet - snippets of the episodes are available at the above link.

I wish I'd found it sooner. 

Anyway, if you stumble across it in your TV surfing, give it a whirl.  If you're into true crime, like me, you'll enjoy watching. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wicked Wednesday - The Cannibal of Ziębice

This story just goes to show you that sometimes the nicest person you know could be inviting you to dinner - as the main course. 

Karl Denke lived in the town of Munsterberg, Germany in the early 1900s.  And from the historical accounts, he was nice guy.  He helped people.  He attended church.  He was even good to all the little children - earning himself the nickname 'Father Denke' amongst the locals.  He didn't drink or carouse with women.  Plus, he helped the indigent and the homeless and the needy.  What a great guy.


One night in 1924, an indigent man showed up at the police station covered in blood, claiming the lovely Father Denke had tried to kill him.  When they went to Denke, he said he had attacked the man, but only because the bum attacked him first.  Still, the police needed to look into the case and brought Karl to the station.  The next morning, they found that good ol' Karl had hanged himself.  Still, it was just a bum's word against such a fine, upstanding citizen.


When they went to Karl's apartment, they found quite the butcher shop Father Denke had going on.  A full-service one with all the tools and equipment necessary to dismember a human body.  And they found one hell of a larder - complete with body parts pickled in jars.  All told, they figured Karl had taken apart and processed at least 40 people in his little shop. 

I'm guessing that's where all the homeless people went after he 'helped' them.

Nice guy, eh?  Kind of makes you wonder what the guy next door is doing at all hours of the night.  And what's that smell?  Wasn't it nice of him to bring you some homemade sausage last week?

Yeah, I'm not hungry anymore either.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Busyness (Or What Passes For It)

From roughly 6am to 9pm, I am awake (except for a cat nap).  That's 15 hours I have, every day, to get stuff done. I don't work outside the house.  I'm not a squeeky-clean housekeeper. I don't cook elaborate meals.  I don't do my nails, or my hair, or put on makeup.  (Takes me about 15 minutes from closing the bathroom door to opening it fully clean and dressed for the shower thing - less if I don't blow-dry the hair.)

So, I should be able to whip the writing out lickety-split, right?

Generally, I write about 1500-2000 words an hour when I'm on a roll.  Let's say on average 1200 to be kind.  That means I write a 100,000 word manuscript in 83.3 hours, roughly.  If I wrote for 8 hours a day, that's about 10 days.  Too bad the best I've ever accomplished is a 5 hours stretch - after which my hands turn into crab claws and I'm mainlining Aspercreme.  During a NaNo-like marathon of writing, I average about 2 hours of writing a day before I say uncle. 

That means a 100K book takes me about 55 days to complete, if I really push it.  Actually, it's more like 6-8 weeks to write the first draft of a novel for me - writing avg 1000 words an hour for about 1.5 hours a day.  And for me, the first draft usually ends up at around 68-75K. 

Right now, I'm not writing, though.  I'm editing.  And I'm averaging about an hour a chapter.  And I'm finding that right now, I can only do about an hour of editing before I get the urge to stab myself in the eye with a pen.  Hour in the morning, if I'm lucky.  An hour at night.  Two chapters a day - on a good day.

I guess I'm at that point where I'm wondering where the other 13 hours of my days are going.  I can push it.  I know I can. I also know I'll be a surly basketcase when I finally finish and poor Hubs doesn't deserve that.

Apparently, I have scads of time laying around that are being wasted on non-writerly things.  Yes, yes, I know - all work and no play makes Jack a really weird, axe-wielding psycho.  I need to ramp up.  I can do this.  And I can do it without going all whacko-bananas.  I just need to put my head down, quit whining, and do my work.

I will have this edit done and back to my editor before Christmas.  I will be ready to get into the cover design stuff after Christmas.  And I will start polishing up the next manuscript while I'm waiting for my editor to get back to me.

The plan right now is to have this sucker live by March, with subsequent books ready to go on the quarters - July, September, December.  Right now, the tentative schedule is: this suspense, another suspense in a different 'world', a mystery, and - if things don't work out with Baen - my urban fantasy published by next Christmas.

Might be a little insane to think that way, but I can do this.  After all, I'm not as busy as I seem.  Right?  ;o)

Disclaimer: This is how I do things.  Your mileage may vary - and it should vary.  No writer approaches writing in the same way. 

Disclaimer #2: The aforementioned publication schedule is for books I have already written all the way to THE END.  I don't want to think about how long it would take me from start to finish on a new book.  (Especially since I will be writing new words while I'm editing and polishing and promoting from here on out.)

Friday, December 12, 2014

True Crime Friday - Ripped from The Headlines

Last Saturday in Mississippi, someone called to report a car on fire.  When responders arrived, they found a woman burning alive.  Someone had knocked her on the head, doused her with lighter fluid - including spraying it down her throat and up her nose - and lit her on fire.  She lived long enough to supposedly give information to the responders that may help catch her killers.

One report I read said she had burns over 98% of her body.  There was little chance of her surviving, but she hung on long enough to say something to the people who were helping her.  I hope it was enough.

See now, this is something a writer cooks up in their head to make their killer extra vicious.  It's not something normal human beings do.

In fact, it's something this writer did to make her villain extra vicious.

And the fact that someone out there thought this was a thing to do to someone for real makes me sick.  And it's creeping me out that a plot point I dreamed up for the book I'm working so hard on editing has a mirror in reality.  I never dreamed anyone would actually do something like this. 

In my story, the villain gets what's coming to them.  I hope the animals who did this get what's coming to them, too.

Anyone with information on the murder is urged to contact the Panola County Sheriff's Office at 662-563-6230.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wicked Wednesday - Pig Farm Murders

I don't know if any of you watch the show Criminal Minds, but they had an episode a while back about two brothers who were killing people and feeding them to their pigs.  Of course, the show made it even more twisted and gruesome, but it was based on some very real events.

Yes, events.  Plural.  It's happened more than once.

One I remember distinctly because it happened in my home state of Michigan.  Back in 1985, two men from the Detroit area decided they were going hunting up north.  They ended up in the Mio area.  From what I read, it seems like the two townies decided to hit a bar in Mio one night.  Trouble ensued as it often does when rural folk get a 'you ain't from around here, are ya' mentality.  It ended with the two men dead, their bodies dismembered, and then the pieces fed to pigs. Two brothers were arrested and convicted of the crime.

Another - and this one more likely to be the inspiration for the Criminal Minds episode - happened in Canada.  One particular pig farmer seemed to have picked up women from Vancouver's seedier side, killed them, and then fed them to his pigs.  There are like 26 counts of murder against him - although he's only been tried for six.  Apparently, someone testified they found him covered in blood with a corpse hanging nearby, so it's a pretty safe bet he did it.  In a conversation he had with an undercover officer, he said he needed to kill one more to make it an even 50.  I guess he wanted a nice flashy number.  He got 25 years without parole - the maximum sentence in Canada at the time.

Pretty gross stuff.  And considering the last guy was in the habit of selling his pork to his neighbors, it kinda put ya off eating meat you didn't buy in the store, eh?

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Editing Process

I don't know how familiar all y'all are with the editing process, so I'll walk you what I've done so you can see how it goes.  First, of course, you write the book.  And it starts out something like this:

Then you take a pass at it to make it better:

Then you take another pass which pretty much looks the same because you focused elsewhere, and then your beta readers get ahold of it, but they don't mess with these paragraphs (just loads of others.)

When your editor gets ahold of it for the first time, it comes back looking like this:

So it ends up like this before it goes to her a second time:

Well?  What do you think?  Personally, I think this snippet reads much better, but what do I know - I thought the first passes were pretty good, too.  ;o)

Friday, December 5, 2014

True Crime Friday - Murderpedia

The other day as I was researching a murderer for Wicked Wednesday, I stumbled across a website I'd never seen before:

Murderpedia - The Encyclopedia of Murderers

From the site: "Murderpedia is a free online encyclopedic dictionary of murderers and the largest database about serial killers and mass murderers around the world."

Looks like it separates killers by gender and then either alphabetically by last name or by country.  And when you scroll down to the United States, it has them by state.  Pretty cool stuff - if you're into that (which I am). 

BTW, not everyone in there is a mass murderer or serial killer.  Some of its just single homicides.  Still, a neat resource for writers and true crime buffs alike. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Wicked Wednesday - Rural Myth

When I was a little girl, I was told a story about a horrible crime someone had committed outside a little town not very far from where we lived.

It seems two boys went out fishing one day and never went home again.  Their bodies were found mutilated and tied to a tree.  Their killers were never found.

The story always came with the spoken (or unspoken) reminder: And this is why we don't talk to strangers.

The rumor was never confirmed, but I grew up knowing it as truth.  Researching it now, I wonder if there was any fact behind the rumor, or if someone had picked up the story of the Oakland County Child Killer, and morphed it into something more grisly and dramatic and local.  (As rumors and myths will often morph - especially in the days before internet.)

I know it sounds awful to tell a little girl a story like that, but honestly, I wasn't scarred by it.  Unless you count my fascination with true crime stories and fictional suspense.  ;o)

Have you ever had someone tell you a story about the area where you live that you think might not be true?  Have you ever tried to research it online?

(BTW, my parents weren't the ones who told me this story.  I'll have to ask my mother if she remembers ever hearing it and who might've told it to me.  Probably one of my older siblings trying to scare me into being more careful about who I talked to.  Lord knows, I talked to everyone when I was a kid.)

Updated: I talked to Mom and she confirmed that this did happen, gave me a last name of one of the victims, and I found a write up of it online.  The killer(s) were, in fact, caught and they all pointed the finger at the one 'slow' kid in their midst, so he was the one tried for it.  (Although how one teenager did all those things to those two boys is beyond me.  Methinks justice wasn't quite served in this case.)  And although it happened around the same time as the Oakland County Child Killings, and it happened just north of Oakland County, this crime was unrelated to those.

Monday, December 1, 2014

And the Winner Is

First off, thank you all for entering.  And thank you all for following the blogs.  I really appreciate your being here.

As of contest close, there were 88 entries in the contest.  I took each entry, plugged it into an excel spreadsheet, then scrambled them up a little by sorting on the entry reason in Z-A order and the name in Z-A order.  Then I used to give me a number that would correspond with a cell in the spreadsheet.

The number was 47.

Which meant the winner is NATALIE MURPHY (aka Natalie Murphy-Nicholas).

Congratulations, Natalie!  Please send me your address and let me know what kind of kringle you want. 

For everyone else, remember to check back here from time to time as I'll be holding other contests along the way. 

Thanks again everyone who entered by following the blog.  :HUGS:

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Today's The Last Day

Okay, folks, today's the last day to enter the contest and get a chance of winning a Danish kringle pastry!  Tell your friends!  Cuz who doesn't want a ooey gooey, buttery rich, breakfast treat? 

And hey, you get the added benefit of following this blog - where you'll find out upcoming news from my publishing journey, learn neat facts about evil people, and just generally have some fun.  (I hope.) 

As for publishing news, I got the edit notes from my editor. One step closer to publication!  For those of you who've been patiently following me all these years, you'll finally get a chance to read one of my stories!  You have no idea how excited I am to be able to share this with you. 

Just for kicks, and because I love the fact that you're here with me, anyone who comments on today's post before midnight tonight (central time) gets an extra entry in the contest. 

Best of luck to all of you!

Last, remember there will be contests in the future, so it pays to follow.  You could be a winner, but only if you're in the game.  ;o)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wicked Wednesday - Death by Oatmeal

I'm very interested in genealogy, so I occasionally spent time doing Google searches on various family members to see what I can turn up.  Sometimes I find something worthwhile, sometimes I find nothing.  Occasionally, I find something that has nothing to do with anyone actually related to myself or my husband, but that is worthwhile anyway.

Case in point: While looking for some of Hubs' relatives, I searched some old newspaper archives using the keyword Sanderson.  In the archives, I found some curious information about the case of Rudolphus Sanderson (no relation as far as I can tell) who passed away in his bed.

1898:  It seems Rudolphus had been an infirm older gentleman with a younger wife.  While he lay in his sick bed, she was fond of entertaining - usually men other than her husband.  But she always made sure she took care of old Rudolphus - right up until the day he died.

Afterwards, the coroner discovered something amiss.  It seems that perhaps old Rudolphus had gotten some help shuffling off his mortal coil.  In fact, it appeared that somehow he may have been ingesting ground glass.

And since his loving wife brought him his food...

From what I managed to glean out of old newspapers that often aren't transferred well, the ground glass was in the oatmeal she brought his for breakfast every morning. 

Since I can't get the PDF's of the newspapers to load as I write this post, I really can't tell you whether she was convicted or not.  I think I remember reading she got away with it.  But I can't be sure.  (I may be thinking of another old murder I found.)

Think about it, though.  She fixed his meals, she brought him his meals, she stood to profit by his death - both by inheriting everything he owned and by gaining the ability to carouse without hindrance.  And it's not like ground glass is hard to come by.  Hell, you can make your own.  Means, motive, opportunity.  She had it all.

And after he was dead, she really did have it all.

What do you think?

Update 11/26/14 6:52am:  I finally got the newspaper archives to work this morning.  I couldn't find the end of the trial - which ran into early 1899 - but it seems like there was conflicting testimony from two different medical examiners.  One said Rudolphus had ground glass in his stomach at the autopsy.  The other said he died of natural causes.  The defense seems to have tried to explain away the presence of glass by asserting the glass - if it was there at all - fell off the jar the stomach was placed in when it was removed from the deceased.    Additionally, they tried to shift blame for the man's death from the wife to the prosecution's primary witness - the maid.  I still don't know if she was convicted, but as of January 10th, it was looking like the defense might've inserted enough reasonable doubt to get her off.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Thing That Shall Not Be Named

I'm in the grips of the thing that shall not be named.  To put name to it feels like I'd be giving it power.  But not naming it doesn't mean it isn't still there, waiting to swoop in and end me.  Like Voldemort.

Melodrama much? Why yes, I will.  Thank you for asking.

I know that this thing I'm trying not to acknowledge won't end me.  Not really.  It will merely sneak out and make me stumble.  It halts my forward progress when I acknowledge its presence.  And yet when I don't, it still creeps into my brain and makes it hard for me to sleep or think or write.  (It doesn't stop me from eating, though, the dirty bastard.) 

It whispers in my ears at night.  Horrible, nasty, crippling things.  And it laughs when I try to defend myself. 

Even now, as I type this post, it's trying to gain a foothold.  To stop me from writing even this.

But I can't let it win.

Still if this thing and its horrible whispers turn out to be true...

I've said it before and I'll say it again - Self-doubt is a killer.  So I just have to shut it out, pretend it isn't there, and move forward.

Except it's always there.  And it always will be. 

(Don't forget - there's still time to enter the contest for a gooey, yummy Danish kringle pastry!)

Friday, November 21, 2014

True Crime Friday - Homicide Hunter

I'll get into the swing of this blogging schedule.  Promise. 

Anyway, today let's talk about what has to be my favorite true crime show: Lt. Joe Kenda - Homicide Hunter

First off, I love Joe Kenda.  He's smart and witty and gritty, plus he's a silver fox, and the kid who plays the younger him is easy on the eyes. 

Second, I love the in-depth look into the various cases he's solved.  I love trying to figure out the whodunnit along with Joe.  I love seeing Joe get the bad guys.  And I especially loved Joe's little witticisms throughout.

If you're not familiar with the show, it's on Investigation Discovery.  It's details the various cases of a homicide detective with the Colorado Springs, CO police department.  He's solved almost 400, so there's a lot of cases to cover.  And they span Kenda's tenure with the department, so from the late 70s on.  Last week they showed his first homicide case - in 1977 - so he's been at this a while.

Unfortunately for me, I hate written a mystery based in CO long before I ever saw this show, and re-reading it a couple months ago, I discovered one of my secondary characters was exactly like Joe.  Needless to say, I'll fix that in edits.  I love Joe, but I need to differentiate my characters - so people don't think I'm a big ol' copycat. 

Have you ever seen the show?  What do you think about a true crime show that follows just one person and his cases?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wicked Wednesday - Kilgore, TX KFC Murders

Okay, I admit, I saw this case on TV last night and wrote this post then.  But something struck me about the case that made it perfect for today.

In 1983, three men pushed their way into a Kentucky Fried Chicken in Kilgore, TX - after they overheard one of the employees telling someone on the phone how much money they had and how they needed to make a bank deposit that night.  They made off with like $3000 or some such amount.  But they didn't just take the money.

For some reason that will never be known, they kidnapped the five people inside the store, too.  They loaded these poor people inside a van, drove them out to the middle of nowhere, and executed them.  But not until after one of them raped a middle-aged mother of 3.

These murders remained unsolved for 22 years.  It wasn't until DNA evidence from spilled blood at the scene connected two men to the crime that anything was done.  The technology just wasn't there.  Those two assholes are spending their remaining days in prison.  The third guy - the rapist who didn't spill blood and whose DNA wasn't in CODIS - is still at large.

According to one report, one of the accused claims the 'real killer' is still out there.  Maybe the rapist and the one who murdered that poor woman did all the killing.  In my book, it doesn't make his accomplices any less guilty.  In fact, in Texas, they're lucky they didn't get the death penalty.  They probably plead out.

From all accounts, this probably doesn't fit in with the typical definition of a serial killing.  It was a mass murder, then.  The distinction is kinda academic.  Either way, five people died - which is more than the standard three for serial killing classification, so I'm counting it for this blog.  That this doesn't meet the other criteria for 'serial murder' doesn't make it any less heinous. 

What do you think?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Thank you, thank you.

Thank you to all my new followers and all my old ones.  I really do appreciate you guys. So much so that I decided to add another wrinkle to the contest.

Anyone who already follows me and brings a new follower, gets an extra entry for you both.  So, have your friends follow me, and then send me an email - it's accessible through my Who I Am widget on the right - telling me who your follower friend is.  Also, so very easy-peasy.

And the winner still gets a drop-shipped (2 day) Danish kringle pastry.  They're really yummy, folks, and perfect for family gatherings.  All buttery and gooey in the center with icing on the top.  Seriously, would I mention them in a book if I wasn't addicted to their goodness.

If you're unable to eat a Danish kringle pastry for some reason, and you do win, we'll figure out another prize.  No big deal.  I know a lot of people are watching their waists (I'm watching mine expand LOL), and some people are gluten-free or sugar-free or whatever.  Hey, I'm flexible.

Anyway, thanks for following, and I look forward to seeing you all in the comments.  I hope you enjoy my new Serial Wednesdays and True Crime Fridays.  If not, tell me what you'd like to see here while we're all waiting for my release days.


Friday, November 14, 2014

True Crime TV Friday

As I'm testing out new things for this blog, I'm thinking about discussing various True Crime shows here on Fridays. 

First out of the gate is a show I just recently started watching called The Killer Speaks on A&E.  They start out with a murder, and then they shift to talking with the murderer.  It shifts back and forth between the crimes and the question/answer part.  To me, it's very insightful.  I mean, sure, these people make my skin crawl, but what better way to get a glimpse into the mind of a real killer?  You know, without actually meeting a real killer. 

It gives you a real chance to see the dead eyes and the cold, expressionless faces.  To witness the hint of glee behind it all when they think you aren't paying attention.  To hear the words they use to describe their crimes. 

Sometimes they try to convince the viewers that they're remorseful, but you can tell they're lying.  Sometimes they make excuses for why they're just wrong inside.  Sometimes, it's even true - as in the case of the man who is schizophrenic.  That guy knows what he did is wrong and he never wants to be let out because in prison, they make him take his medicine and he doesn't want to kill people anymore. 

But the psychology of it all is fascinating.  Especially if you're writing crime fiction. 

Have you ever caught the show?  If you're a writer, do shows like this help you build your characters?  If you're a reader, what do you think of learning about the psychology behind a killer?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wicked Wednesday - The Bloody Benders

I'd like to kick off Serial Wednesdays (Why Wednesday? Why not?), by taking a look at a historical group of serial killers all in one family- The Bloody Benders.

Back in the 1800s, there was a family who ran an inn in Kansas.  Except their guests didn't all have a good night's sleep - they got the big sleep instead.

Like any good nuclear family, they had a dad, a mom, a son and a daughter.  Although whether any of them are actually related is a matter for debate.  The dad might've been married to the mom.  The daughter might've belonged to the mom.  The brother and the sister might've been related or they might've been married - or both.  Who knows.  But what they might've lacked in familial ties, they made up for in the propensity for killing.

So there they were taking full advantage of the government's push for settlement of the lands west of the Mississippi, and advantage of the best path west at that time - The Osage Trail.  When lone travelers would stop on their way through, the Benders (if that even was their real name) would make them disappear. 

No one quite knows why.  Perhaps the single men who stopped were fresh with the daughter, Kate, and her HubbyBro didn't take kindly to it.  Maybe they snored. Maybe the Benders wanted to steal their belongings and the only way to not get caught was to kill the men. Maybe there was no real reason except the family saw an easy kill and took advantage of the opportunity to have their own brand of fun.

The only mistake they made was when they killed a man they thought had no ties - until his brother came looking for him.  They tried to lure the brother into their killing home, but he wasn't so stupid.  He beat feet, but not before recognizing his brother's saddle out front.  Since the Benders claimed to have never seen the dude, they were caught in the lie.  And the brother, being a smart man, went for a posse.  When the posse arrived at the inn, the Benders were gone.

Afterwards, while they were looking for signs of this poor man's brother, they discovered a bunch of graves.  If I remember correctly, they never did find the body they were looking for, though.  Who knows, maybe the Benders ate him.  As sick as they were I wouldn't put it past them.

As for the Benders?  They were never heard from again.  Justice for the victims was never found.

For a while after, there were sightings and reports, and some people probably got unjustly lynched for the crimes of the Benders, but there was never any proof the Benders were among those hanged.  They just disappeared into the Kansas grasslands.

:cue spooky music:

Most of this information was taken from my memory of a crime show I watched months ago, so any mistakes are strictly mine.  And anything fanciful came out of my imagination.  I hope you had fun reading it.  If you want any actual information on the Bloody Benders, Google is pretty helpful.  I used it to refresh my memory on a couple key points, but stay long enough to quote anything.

Monday, November 10, 2014

It's a Contest!

First, thank you all for being here!

Second, here's the dealy-bob.  Since I'm making my foray into self-publishing after the start of 2015, I'd like you all to be following me when the event happens, so you get the most updated information the fastest.  So, to that end, I'm having a contest.  The prize for this contest is a kringle from O & H Danish Bakery in Racine, WI.  What's a kringle, you say?  Well, since I'm launching the book currently known as Dying Embers first, I'll let this unedited snippet from it explain:

Dawn was breaking over Lake Michigan by the time they reached Racine.  Still too early to make any headway with their investigation, the two weary travelers rented a car and trolled the city looking for the first real meal either of them had eaten in almost twenty-four hours.

“An associate sent me the best pastry I ever ate, and if I remember correctly, it was made here in Racine.  Look for any place advertising something called a kringle.”

Ben cast a sideways glance at her.  “As in Kris?  This isn’t one of those Christmas towns is it?”

She laughed, and she liked the sound.  The last man who’d made her laugh that hard…  Well, she couldn’t remember one, it’d been so long.  “Not as far as I know.  It’s some kind of Danish delicacy.  Just trust me, and keep your eyes peeled.”

Not another block went by before he pulled the car into a parking space along the road.  “Mademoiselle asks and she receives.”  He pointed one well muscled hand toward the sign above them.

“Perfect.  You won’t regret this.”

“We’ll see about that.”

After sitting down with a couple large slices of the buttery, gooey treat, they ate in companionable silence punctuated only by the groan from them both when they finished too soon.


“You were right.  Those things are incredible.”  He patted his stomach.  “Good thing I don’t live around here.  I’d ruin my girlish figure.”

She couldn’t imagine him ever having a girlish figure.  Not exactly the expanding waistlines of many men his age, he still had enough meat on his bones to keep from blowing away in the wind.  Broad and well-proportioned was more like it, and exactly what Jace would’ve enjoyed getting to know, if this wasn’t business.

And here's a picture of what I consider a slice of heaven, if you need more encouragement:

So, for your opportunity to eat like Jace and Ben, all you have to do is follow this blog.  Here's how it'll go down:

1) If you followed this blog before I woke up the morning this posted (follow early, follow often), you already have two entries.
2) If you also followed The Writing Spectacle before this post went live, you have another two entries.
3) Anyone who follows this blog from this point until the end of the contest, gets another entry.
4) Anyone who follows The Writing Spectacle from this point until the end of the contest, gets another entry.
5) If you comment on this blog post, you get an additional two entries. (For those people who don't use Blogger, comment here and then go ahead and 'follow' anyway.  Even if you never see it through Blogger, it can't hurt anything.)
6) Look for an additional chance to gain entries sometime between now and the end of the contest.
7) The contest ends when I get online in the morning on December 1st, 2014.  Anyone who is following my blog at that time gets to be in this contest, and will have an advantage over new followers in the next contest.  (Dates and prizes for that to be determined - depending on how this contest goes.)

Easy, right?  Cool.  Get following.

And stay tuned because I'll be doing other cool things (I hope - I'm tragically un-cool) in the weeks and months to come.

Thanks again for stopping by.  I look forward to seeing you around.

I am not affiliated with O & H Danish Bakery in any way, so don't bug those folks about this contest.  They won't have a clue. They have no idea who I am and I've never even been to Racine, WI.  I just love kringles and the best ones I ever ate came from this place. Like Jace, I used to have an associate who would send these out.  I really miss doing business with those people.

The kringle prize is available to continental U.S. residents only.  (I can't afford the extra shipping on these suckers yet.  Maybe after I sell some books.) And you should probably have a non-P.O. Box address - because these glorious circles of goodness need to stay fresh and who knows how often you check your P.O. Box.  If you only have a P.O. Box, we'll work something out.

If your name is drawn and you're not in the continental U.S., I'll find an alternate prize - like a gift card or something - to award you.  We'll work it out somehow so you get a prize and I don't have to break the piggy-bank open.

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Winds of Change Are Blowing

Hi Everyone!

I just wanted to let you all know that there will be changes coming to this blogspace.  As I gear up to self-publish in 2015, I'll be making this blog all about my writing work - news, reviews, interesting tidbits about the world of Serial Crime (since the first book I'm moving ahead with will be set in what I  hope to be my Serial Crimes Unit series).  This will, I hope, let readers of my book(s) find the information they're looking for without wading through the observations of The Writing Spectacle.

To that end, look for an upcoming contest to reward followers and draw new readers to this place.  (Hint: Anyone who's already following this blog when the contest starts gets ab extra entry.  AND anyone who was already following my more personal blog The Writing Spectacle in addition to following this one, gets an extra entry.  :nudge nudge:)

So, tell your friends, tell your acquaintances, tell your enemies - because hey, they need good reading material, too.

I'm also considering running a scheduled post once a week on some serial crimes cases.  Sound good?  What suspense reader doesn't like a little background on the murderers and rapists of the past?

And check back on Monday for contest details.  (Psst, I'm still trying to decide what to have as a prize, so hints and suggestions are welcome.  I just have to keep it reasonable because I'm on a tight budget here.)

PS.  Following is easy.  Just use that thingie in the sidebar.