Do I Have a Criminal Mind?

Photo courtesy of Wiki Commons from the public domain.

Why am I fascinated with serial killers? I don’t know. You know, I’d never heard of the BTK killer until I researched serial killers several years ago. The story got to me so much that I stopped doing what I was doing that night and prayed the killer would get caught. The next day they arrested the guy. After years of looking for him. Was there a connection between my prayer and his arrest? I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe it was just his time to get caught. Or maybe, like they say, God works in mysterious ways. Whatever the case, I’m glad the killer is locked up.

Real life is a lot different from a television show or a novel. Real people died at the hands of BTK. Real people lost loved ones. Fiction is a lot easier to handle. You can distance yourself from the horror of it by telling yourself it’s not real. Sometimes. One of my favorite shows is Criminal Minds. Every episode is about a serial killer or a spree killer. Yesterday, I watched several episodes back to back. I had to stop watching after a while, because that much twisted stuff can get to me. After a few episodes, I started wondering if that kind of stuff can really happen. And then I thought about BTK.

They caught that guy through his computer. Imagine. What would my computer say about me? If a forensic computer geek were to check my Google history, he or she might find some interesting searches. In my quest to add a bit of authenticity to my writing, I’ve asked some questions that might look...I don’t know...questionable. I’m no criminal mind. The thought of hurting another living thing makes me cringe. But certainly my Google searches might appear a bit...criminal. Here are a few examples:

1.     Has anyone ever hid a meth lab in a cave?
2.     How does one fire a gun properly?
3.     How can you tell someone has been in prison by their body language or mannerisms?
4.     How long does one stay in prison for possession of meth with intent to distribute?
5.     How long does it take for a body to completely decompose?
6.     How does one acquire a permit to carry a gun in Arkansas?
7.     How long does a body stay in the water before it floats to the surface?
8.     How long before the tracks of someone’s drug addiction disappears?

Of course, my obsession with serial killers might arouse suspicion. Then, there’s my frequent searches for abandoned buildings in various locales. Or my search of the various canals in New Orleans. Whatever do I intend to do with this information? The searches for how different drugs interact with each other doesn’t look good for me either.

So here’s my disclaimer. I’m a writer. I research weird stuff. That’s what I do.


#CoverReveal - Dangled Carat by Hilary Grossman

New Cover!

For every girl who wondered if she should love him or dump him.....

For every girl who listened to her heart instead of her friends advice....

For every girl who l wondered if she was wasting her time dating that guy....

meet Hilary....

She had gotten used to dating the commitment-phobic Marc, thirteen years her senior. They had a great relationship--why rush into things? She saw no need to pressure him for marriage, believing that when the time was right, he would propose. But after they had been together for four years, their friends decided to take matters into their own hands, pushing Marc to propose and making Hilary realize how much she really did want to marry the man that she loved. Unfortunately, Marc still wasn't ready--and their friends' meddling in the form of a faux engagement party led to a disastrous New Year's Eve that brought their relationship to an inevitable turning point.

For anyone who has ever dated a commitment-phobe, who has found their patience wearing thin with the one they love, or who has sat around wondering if he is ever going to pop the question while trying to remain the very picture of patience and grace, Hilary's humorous and honest story will hit home.

"Dangled Carat sparkles with humor and shines with wisdom. It is a gem of a book." - Christina Baker Kline - New York Times Best Selling Author of Orphan Train.

"Fans of Sex and the City - Grossman makes a reference to Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Big - will enjoy the story, but its real-girl charm should draw an even wider crowd." - Kirkus Reviews.

Ebook $2.99, Paperback $9.93

Hilary Grossman dated a guy so commitment-phobic that she was able to write a book about their relationship.  She has an unhealthy addiction to denim and shoes.  She loves to find humor in every day life.  And she likens life to a game of dodgeball - she tries to keep many balls in the air before they smack her in the face. When she isn't writing or blogging she is the CFO of a beverage alcohol importer.  She lives on Long Island.


Ten Things That Make a Reader Cringe

Before I was a published writer and an acquisitions editor, I was a reader. I began reading romances when I was in high school. My friend Brenda and I traded books and read every Harlequin we could get hour hands on. I’m not going to tell you how long ago that was.

Over the years, I’ve collected some reading pet peeves. The editor in me can spot them in someone else’s work with ease. Unfortunately, I can get so close to my stories that sometimes I don’t see these flaws in my own writing...until a reader points them out to me, and then I want to bang my head against a wall because I know better.

So here they are...the top ten things that make me cringe as a reader and a writer.

10. When paragraphs are too long to fit on my eReader page – Even though I still LOVE the feel and smell of a real paperback in my hands, I’ve gone digital. When the paragraph fills the page without giving me a breather, I start skimming.

9. When the author goes on a tangent in the middle of an intense scene – When the story gets to the point where something important is about to happen, I don’t want the author to tell me the backstory or what the characters are wearing, set the scene, or discuss the weather.

8. When the author treats you like you’re stupid by over explaining – When an author tries to impress me how smart she is, I tune her out. If I think the writer is condescending to me as a reader, I’ll stop reading.

7. When the author dwells too much on an insignificant character – If the author tells me what the character looks like, what she thinks, where she came from, and what her cat’s name is, I expect that character to have an impact on the plot.

6. Missing scene transitions – It slows the story and lessens my enjoyment when I have to figure out how long it’s been since the last scene ended. I don’t want to struggle to understand what’s going on and when it’s happening. It makes a difference whether two hours, two days, or two years have passed.

5. Frequent typos and obvious grammatical errors – When errors are too frequent, I stop and try to refocus every time I come across an error. Too many stops and I’m going to close my eReader and watch something on Netflix.

4. Switching points of view too frequently – I can’t connect with the character when I’ve just gotten used to being inside her head and the point of view switches to another character. I can only handle being inside one person’s head at a time.

3. When characters obviously act out of character – Characters should change and grow over the course of a story, but even then, they should act and sound like the personality that’s been created for them. A forty-year-old man should not act or sound like a twenty-something woman unless it’s obvious he’s trying to be funny.

2. When the ending feels rushed – It leaves me unsatisfied when I’ve gotten used to the pace of a book and it ends too soon, as if the writer just wants to get the story over with. Maybe I want the plot to unravel at the pace I’ve gotten used to.

My number one pet peeve as a reader?

1. Unrealistic dialogue – I cringe when the writer tries to give me an information dump in dialogue. When one character tells another character what she is wearing or how someone is related to her, I nearly fall on the floor.

When I see these things in a book, it makes me want to turn on tracking changes and do some editing, but I can’t edit a Kindle download. Too bad. Or...maybe that’s a good thing.


#NewRelease - Murderous Lies by Chantel Rhondeau

Title: Murderous Lies
Released: July 11, 2014
Author: Chantel Rhondeau
Genre: Romantic Suspense/Murder Mystery
Length: 61,000 words

Imprisoned for murders he didn’t commit, Max Kensington is exonerated after eight years when a new witness steps forward. He returns to his hometown and no one’s happy to see him, least of all his ex-fiancĂ©e, Rosemary Spelling.

Max’s return forces Rose to confront her feelings about the past. The day he killed her sister ruined Rose’s life, destroying her family and landing her mother in a mental institution.

When someone leaves a bloody threat on Rose’s porch, the police jump to conclusions, assuming Max is after revenge. Rose isn’t so sure. She begins questioning Max’s guilt, wondering if someone is trying to cover up what really happened to her sister.

All Max wants is his life back and a chance to regain Rose’s love. To get that, he has to catch the killer. His obsessive need for justice drives his actions, but the murderer seems a step ahead. When new bodies surface, evidence points to Max as the culprit. Now he could lose everything when the killer zeroes in on a new target…Rose.

Content Warning: Language, Violence, and Sizzling Love Scenes

“Exciting cat-and-mouse mystery full of surprising twists and scorching second chances.” ~ Rachelle Ayala – Romantic Suspense Author

Read the first two chapters: http://bit.ly/1p780vQ

On Sale for only 99 cents for two weeks only! Buy it Now!
Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.to/1nisHlm
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1p786Uq 
Apple iBooks:  http://bit.ly/UEU9SR 
All Romance eReads: http://bit.ly/1qZf11n
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/1qngtgs

Add to Goodreads:  http://bit.ly/SMFGlS  

Author Bio
Chantel once thought a great mystery or fantasy book with strong romantic themes was the highest level of reading bliss. After reading her first romantic suspense novel, she never looked back. Before long, the need to create her own stories took over. She spend her days in the clinical profession of medical transcriptionist, but her passion is in the hours spent with her characters in the evenings.

She live in the western United States, and when she's not writing she love playing cards with her family, bowling on leagues, and snuggling with her lazy kitties. 

Want to contact Chantel?

Check out all Chantel's available titles: http://www.chantelrhondeau.com/p/my-available-titles.html


Ten Things That Might Surprise An Unpublished Author

You should have heard me squeal when I got the email offering my first publishing contract. There is nothing more magical to an unpublished writer than the words, “If your story is still available, we would like to offer you a contract.” My family thought I’d found a snake in the house...again.

Before my first release, I didn’t know much about becoming a published author. I thought all I had to do was write a great story. Silly me! After two years, I’m still finding out what it means to be published. Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way.

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