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.