Behind the Book: KJ Howe’s THE FREEDOM BROKER Apr14

Behind the Book: KJ Howe’s THE FREEDOM BROKE...

Have you ever heard the term response consultant? If you aren’t familiar with this term, you’re not alone. There are about twenty-five to thirty people in the world who do this job—although the number of responders is growing because kidnapping has become an international crisis, especially in certain hot zones. Response consultants work for private companies in the kidnapping and ransom field, and they provide support and guidance to hostages and their families. These experts risk their own lives to help others, and my character Thea Paris is one of these elite consultants. Her personal story is featured in the first book of the series,...

Hackers and Drones and Phones, Oh My: Using Technology in Thrillers Mar31

Hackers and Drones and Phones, Oh My: Using Techno...

Last year, I decided to kill someone with a drone. It was a crucial moment in the writing of my new book, “A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps.” One of the protagonists, an Elvis-loving assassin with a penchant for fast food and navel-gazing, had to wipe out a pursuer from several hundred yards away, at night. Initially I considered having him deploy a sniper rifle, only to discard that idea: it seemed a little too, well, conventional for the character. Stumped, I did what every author with a plotting conundrum does best: Olympic-caliber procrastination. And in the course of my random Internet wanderings, I uncovered something that not only...

Behind the Book: The Satanic Mechanic

The second book in my Tannie (Auntie) Maria murder mystery series is The Satanic Mechanic. Central to the story is a PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) counseling group, run by a man known as the satanic mechanic. South Africa is fertile ground for trauma and healing. I had the joy and the pain of being part of the South African anti-apartheid struggle. Marches, singing, teargas, shooting, prison, assassinations, a State of Emergency (in which the state could detain anyone indefinitely) were my rite of passage from youth to adulthood. I visited detainees and their families, counseled torture victims, interviewed abused women, danced in...

KILLER FACTS AND FICTION Mar28

KILLER FACTS AND FICTION

One of the best and most familiar pieces of advice given to aspiring authors is to “write what you know.” So when I began to think about the plot of a new novel involving a serial killer, my mind went back some four decades to the only time I’ve been close to a real-life murder investigation. The case was among the most notorious in the history of the British criminal justice system. The so-called “Yorkshire Ripper” was a sadistic psychopath who killed thirteen women over a five year period up to his arrest in 1981. Most of his victims were prostitutes, and nearly all the murders were committed around the red-light districts of Leeds,...

SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL… Mar13

SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL…

sup•port səˈpôrt/Submit verb 1- bear all or part of the weight of; hold up. 2- give assistance to, especially financially; enable to function or act. I recently had a number of discussions with a number of people in the mystery community, authors, readers and other pros. Something that kept coming up was the topic of showing support for authors, bookstores and events. There are a number of ways to show support but there also seems to be some confusion over what support actually is. In the book world it’s not voting or putting a sticker on your car. It involves a bit of spending. If a local author is having a signing at a local...

Wrestling Inspires The HARDWAY Feb16

Wrestling Inspires The HARDWAY

Let’s get this out of the way—yes, I know pro wrestling is fake. Get a few wrestling fans in the same room and they’ll inevitably share the moment of when they first realized this.  They noticed how the punches being thrown rarely connected, or spotted a heel and babyface (wrestling parlance for bad and good guy) eating together at some diner, when just hours before they were swearing to do violent and unnatural things to each other. But I don’t have a story like that. Much like Spencer, the main character of my novella, Hardway, I always just sort of knew. And just like with Spencer, knowing this only makes me love wrestling even more....