Tag Archives: Novel

FIFTEEN FAMOUS AX-MURDER CASES

Attic Image 4There’s something terrifying—absolutely horrific—about being axed to death. Hollywood’s made a killing off movies like The Shining, American Psycho, and So I Married An Ax-Murderer, not to mention Lord Of The Rings where Gimley, the ginger-bearded psycho-dwarf, double-blades dozens of ornery Orks. But movies aren’t real—not real life, that is. In reality, ax-murder victims don’t get up to act another day. I’ve investigated a few real-life ax-murders in my time, including one gruesome and grotesque axing scene that tops anything Hollywood has yet to script.

In fact, I’m just about finished the manuscript for In The Attic. It’s based on a true double ax-murder story and I’ll tell you what happened in that bedroom… eight feet below the attic. But first, let’s look at some other famous ax-murders that compete with my case.

15. The Axman of New Orleans

A13Between May, 1918 and October, 1919 six men and six women were attacked in their Lower Ward homes and hacked to death with an ax. The MO was consistent. The killer knew when the victims were vulnerable. Entry was made through the back door. There were no sexual overtones, no evidence of robbery, and a common denominator was that all victims were Caucasian and mostly from Italian-American heritage. The series of killings stopped as abruptly as they started and no viable suspect was ever developed.

14. The Servant Girl Annihilator

A series of eight ax-murders occurred in Austin, Texas in 1885 where the victims were young ladies who worked as servants to wealthy employers. All were chopped in their sleep in their detached quarters. Six victims were black. Two were white. No one was arrested in the cases and they also ended abruptly. In 2014, an investigative report for PBS identified a strong suspect as Nathan Elgin, a 19-year-old African-American cook who was known to many victims. Elgin was shot by police after attacking a similar servant girl with an ax. No other Austin ax-murders took place in this string after his death.

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13. Frances Stewart Silver

“Frankie” Silver was hanged in 1833 for the ax-murder of her husband, Charles Silver. His dismembered body was found distributed around the family’s North Carolina farm. Frankie never confessed and, despite weak evidence, a jury convicted her. No motive was established. Prior to her execution, she was sprung from jail through a well-planned break and was disguised as a man. She was caught attempting to flee the state and returned to the gallows.

12. The Crazed Captain

A18William Stewart was the skipper of the Mary Russell, a trading boat returning to England from Barbados. He suffered paranoid delusions and accused seven crew members of conspiring to mutiny. One by one, he lured the innocent men to the ship’s salon and enlisted three other young crew members to overpower the innocent men, binding them hand and foot then pinioning them to the floor. Once all seven were restrained, Captain Stewart took the ship’s fire-ax and systematically split their skulls. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity. The Mary Russell became known as the ship of seven murders.

11. Karl Denke

By day, this guy was an organ player at a church in the Kingdom of Prussia. By night, he chopped people up with his ax and stored their flesh in huge vats of pickling salt. He was caught axing a man to death at Christmas in 1924. When police searched Denke’s home, they found his business ledger documenting 42 other humans Denke killed and commercially processed. He was selling the meat at the market labeled as salt-pork. Two days after his arrest, Dehke hung himself in jail.

10. The Tokoloshe

Elifasi Msomi was called The Ax Killer in his village in South Africa. He started an 18-month killing spree in 1953 where he raped and murdered six children by hacking them apart and disposing of their parts in a valley. When caught, he claimed to be possessed by an evil spirit called the Tokoloshe. Superstitious Zulu elders bought his claim and freed Msomi after exorcising the entity. When Msomi went back to business, higher authorities stepped in and re-arrested him. A psychological assessment found Msomi to be of very high intelligence, near brilliant, however derived sexual pleasure from inflicting pain and death upon young children. He got hung.

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9. The Greenough Family Massacre

This took place in Greenough, Western Australia. In 1993, Karen MacKenzie and her three children Daniel (16), Amara (7), and Katrina (5) were so savagely ax-murdered on their remote rural farm that the trial judge ordered the details of the killings sealed, stating they were too gruesome for public knowledge. Bill Mitchell, their 24-year-old farmhand, was convicted in the murders as well as for performing sexual assaults on the dead bodies. He’s serving life sentences and was recently eligible for parole. It was denied.

8. The Hexing Axer

A20Jake Bird, also known as the Tacoma Ax-Killer, was convicted in the 1947 murders of a mother and daughter in Tacoma, Washington. He got caught fleeing the scene, barefoot, after police were called to reports of horrific screams coming from the house. Bird had the victims’ blood and brain matter on his hands, feet, and clothes as well as his bloody fingerprints on the ax found by the bodies.

At his sentencing to hang, Bird stated to the courtroom, “I’m putting the Jake Bird hex on all of you who had anything to do with my being punished. Mark my words, you will die before I do.”

A21Allegedly, six of these people died before Bird was hung in 1949; the judge, the officer who interrogated Bird’s primary confession, the officer who interrogated a secondary confession to other murders, the court clerk, an attending guard, and Bird’s own defense lawyer. Bird progressively confessed to 46 other murders, saying he liked to use an ax because it did the job very well.

7. The Police Corruption Ax-Murder

Daniel Morgan was a private investigator who was digging into allegations of drug-related police corruption in the southeast section of London. In 1987, Morgan was found dead in a park with a massive ax-wound to the back of his head. This opened up a massive investigation into police corruption that resulted in five public inquiries. A number of officers have been charged with many offenses such as drug trafficking, extortion, conspiracy, and cover-ups, but who axed Daniel Morgan remains a secret. The investigation is ongoing.

6. Joseph Ntshongwana

Here’s another South African who was good with an ax. He was also good at sports, being a professional rugby player. But something wasn’t playing right in Joseph’s head. He convinced himself that four men gang-raped his daughter and gave her an HIV infection. He hunted and hacked the men, holding their heads as hostages. At his arraignment, Joe spoke in tongues and called to deities. The court called it faking insanity and declared him fit to stand trial. Joseph Ntshongwana’s now serving life… in maximum security.

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5. Victor Licata

A23This guy did-in five members of his own family back in 1933. The Tampa, Flordia man was 21 when he went on a psychotic rampage and axed his way around the house. His mother, father, two brothers, a sister, and the family dog were slaughtered in their sleep. When arrested, Licata was dressed in clean clothes while his body underneath was covered with dried blood. Prior to the murders, his parents were trying to have him committed to a mental institute. They were too late. Licata eventually hung himself in a hospital for the criminally insane.

4. The Black Widow Ax-Murderer

A24Eva Dugan was convicted of killing her fifth husband, Charlie, in Arizona back in the 1920’s. She, like others in this article, used an ax. Eva dismembered Charlie, then buried him in the desert. She was caught—I’m not sure how—and sentenced to hang. Eva became more famous in death because the hangman miscalculated and she was decapitated. They said Eva’s head came to a rolling stop in front of the witnesses, some of which fainted. The error led to Arizona adopting the gas chamber. The noose used to kill Eva Dugan is now on display at the Pinal County Historical Museum in Florence, Arizona.

3. Lizzie Borden

A25As the song goes, “Lizzie Borden took an ax and gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one.”  This occurred in Fall River, Massachusetts in 1892. Lizzie Borden was acquitted of her parents’ murders, though history gives every indication she was dirty as a tree root. The motive appeared financial and Lizzie was perfectly sane. The house where the Borden murders took place is now a Bed & Breakfast / Museum and even has a giftshop where you can buy a Lizzie Borden Bobble Head doll. It’s blood-spattered and holding an ax. Now how cool is that? Click Here to visit or book a night.

2. The Villisca Ax-Murders

A5Probably the most famous ax-murder case… still unsolved… was in June of 1912. Six Moore family members and two child guests were savagely axed in a house in Villisca, Iowa. Evidence showed the killer hid in the attic and crept down while they slept, dispatching them one… by… one… a number of suspects… were identified… no one charged…. let alone convicted… motive unknown… crimes unsolved… the house is also a museum…

1. In The Attic

Now it’s my turn. I’m writing my next novel titled In The Attic. It’s based on the true double-ax-murders I investigated when I was a cop. Maria Dersch, the complainant/victim, came to my police office seeking protection from her ex-boyfriend, Billy Ray Shaughnessy. He’d just raped Maria at knife point, promised to kill her if caught with another man, then snuck back and sliced-up Maria’s clothes.

I’m the poor bastard who got handed the file.

AtticSo, I took an audio-recorded statement from Maria. It opened “I’m so terrified that psycho’s going to kill me.” I went to Maria’s house to find Billy Ray. To arrest Billy Ray. To photo Maria’s clothes as evidence. He was nowhere to be found. I took this serious. I arranged for others to stay with Maria until Billy Ray could be caught… even arranged for the locks to be changed on Maria’s doors.

Two and a half days later, Maria and a male friend—Earl Barker, who stayed to protect Maria—were savagely slaughtered in their sleep. Billy Ray climbed down from the attic at 3 am with an ax. The scene looked like a bomb blasted a barrel of blood. He’d been in the attic… the whole fucking time… while I photographed the clothes… changed the locks… protected Maria…

In The Attic’s point of view tells in first-person with me, the nameless detective, narrating the investigation. Uniquely, it’s also told from Billy Ray’s perspective—his thoughts told to me about lurking above. In The Attic is nearly complete and I’m looking for potential victims who’d like ARC’s, Advance Reading Copies in exchange for reviews. In The Attic is available about mid-June in ePub, Mobi/Kindle, and PDF if anyone wants dibs.

Please leave a comment or email me at garry.rodgers@shaw.ca and I’ll ship you a copy of…

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SERIAL KILLER, PAUL BERNARDO, SELF-PUBLISHES ON AMAZON

B10Paul Bernardo is Canada’s most notorious serial killer. In 1995, Bernardo was convicted on two counts of first-degree murder and one count of manslaughter. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a Dangerous Offender designation, giving him zero chance of parole. Bernardo also confessed to committing violent rapes—perhaps over thirty. Today, he’s in solitary confinement at Millhaven Institution, a maximum-security penitentiary near Toronto, Ontario. And this week, Paul Bernardo hit #1 on the Amazon BestSeller list by self-publishing an eBook spy-thriller titled A MAD World Order.

So HTF did this happen?

Before threatening to set Amazon on fire with what’s left of my hair, I decided to check out what Bernardo wrote. Here’s Amazon’s product description:

B11The top echelons of the Russian government lament for the glory days of their superpower status. Resorting to desperate and nefarious means, a secret cabal has strategized a plan to return Russia to a world power. By a fate not of his choosing, one man finds himself caught, and involved in the Russian plot.  Mason Steele with his best friend Kyle Boorem founded Social Mall. It is a 3-D social media website. It is targeted by the by the Russians for a hostile takeover to get the off-the-books financing for their operation, and the FSB uses the local Russian Mafia as its covert operatives.  NSA has picked up al-Qaeda chatter of an impending catastrophic strike against the United States. Given the size and sophistication, it is concluded small dirty-bombs are involved.  Mason prepares a plan to rescue his co-founder, revenge the attacks against them, and stop the theft of his company. Unrestrained by rules or laws, he takes the battle to the Russian Mafia in San Francisco and across the globe.

Yeah, whatever I thought. Different flavor on an old ice cream bucket. But I wonder if the guy can actually write? 

B17Now, I’m sure as hell not going to buy this monster’s work, but I did have a free “Look Inside” on the Amazon site. After skimming the first twenty pages, my impression was Hmmm. Crappy cover. Story kinda sucks. Not much of a hook. Slow… not sure how this is gonna keep anyone in it for the advertised 631 pages. But the editing’s pretty goodespecially for a self-pub. It’s fairly clean for punctuation. Grammar’s okay. Don’t see any obvious spelling mistakes. And the formatting is professional. Can’t see how anyone sitting alone in a jail cell did this, so there’s no doubt Bernardo had some experienced help putting this thing on the market. 

Now setting aside the legal, moral, and ethical issues of a human piece-of-shit like Paul Bernardo being allowed to publish from a jail cell, let me remind you what this animal did before becoming a BestSelling novelist.

B7Bernardo was the Scarborough Rapist who viciously attacked women in the Greater Toronto area in the early 1990’s. A pretty-boy who later score 35 out of 40 on the psychopathy checklist, he tangled up and married an equally evil Karla Homolka. The pair compounded each other’s sick fantasies which led to them drugging, raping, and killing Homolka’s younger sister.

14 year-old Leslie Mahaffy was their next victim. They abducted Leslie and took her to their house where they videotaped themselves raping and murdering her. Then they cut Leslie’s body apart with a circular saw before encasing her pieces in concrete and dumping them in a lake.

Kristen French, 15, was third. Bernardo and Homolka filmed Kristen’s terror over a three day period, then dumped Kristen’s naked body in a ditch.

Bernardo was caught through DNA. Before the video tapes were discovered, the prosecution cut Homolka a deal, letting her cop to a 12-year manslaughter sentence in exchange for testifying against her now-divorced husband. And that’s the sum of the Paul Bernardo story.

How—in a sane world—is cesspool scum like Bernardo allowed to still breathe, let alone be allowed to profit from his mind? His eBook lists at $5.97 USD so he pockets $4.18 per copy. How many copies is he selling? Well, as I write this, A MAD World Order is #1 on Amazon.ca in the Spy Thriller category and #45 on Amazon.com in the War Fiction category. To me, that says a lot of sold books and a lot of coin.

Bernardo screenshot

And it’s getting a ton of reviews—over 600 on Amazon’s Canadian site, so far. The vast majority are 1-Star hates, but some people are sticking up for the right of free speech and uncensorship.

Here’s a sample of what they’re saying: 

By Paula McLeod — Hello to the powers that be at Amazon… seriously what were you thinking??? I realize that as an American company that you have very little interest in what goes on north of the border. I also understand the extra work involved in checking up on a vendor prior to allowing them to flog their wares on your site is time consuming but come on…really??? In case you were not aware; there is the little thing called “Google”. How about it??? Do not allow this waste of a life to profit in any way after all of the horrific things that he has done. I do not make idle threats…I will not spend my hard earned money on products that are sold by a company that support a sadistic piece of trash, serial killer, serial rapist, dangerous offender. You must remove this immediately or I will cancel my account and never purchasing anything from your site again.
By Robert Truszkowski — It’s not so simple. Amazon publishes OJ Simpson’s “If I did it”, Charles Manson’s autobiography, Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”, and many other deplorable works, and/or works by deplorable people. We live in a society that is so conflicted. We want to be safe from hateful garbage, and we seem willing to fight in far off lands for freedom and democracy, but it’s a catch-22. Don’t want to read crumby fiction by a twisted freak? Don’t! But it’s a slippery slope once you start banning books.
By Sandy M. — WTH Amazon would even allow this b@stard to sell anything on their site, shows me that Amazon is very sick. Anyone that would support what that good for nothing a-hole has blood on their hands from the 3 girls he murdered after raping them repeatedly, as well as all the other women he raped but were fortunate to get away before he killed them too. Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka should not be breathing. DON’T BUY INTO THIS SICK B@STARD’S CRAP! Murderers and rapists should not be making money from anything!
By Sarahon — To all the upset with the following book…get over it. Yea he is in jail…yes he committed a crime..and now he is serving that time. For life. Yes he is going to make money..however he will never get to touch it because he is incarcerated..those not familiar with the wat it works..if you make revenue while in prison.. You can’t have it until your out. Not to mention the amount of money he would still owe for victims restitution. That money will never reach his hand. Further more at least he is not wasting tax dollars abusing the system. He is at least doing something. The book..amazing read. Loved to story. Very interesting and intrigued me. Buy the book based on the description.. Not the author. Lets help pay those victims family’s for what’s happened.
By Mica — Too bad there isn’t a minus star! Cannot believe Amazon/ca would publish a book by a convicted killer/rapist currently serving 25 years without parole and allowing him to pander to his self-grandizement. Did anyone bother to check out the name when he came into the system or does anyone work for Amazon old enough to remember the horror of what he and his then wife did? I remember. I remember the total state of disbelief most Canadians felt over what this perverted psycho did. I will seriously look at changing my shopping source for ebooks if this book remains on your available list.
By Amazon Customer — Kudos to Amazon! I am so HAPPY ,that Amazon decided to carry this book on their site, without prejudice. It is up to readers (buyers) to decide whether a certain book is appropriate or not. That is NOT the job of Amazon. Thank you Amazon for recognizing the difference. I will continue to buy items from Amazon because of this. Thank you Amazon for carrying Hitler’s Mein Kampf as well. By the way, I haven’t bought this book. I have not decided yet. I may or may not. That decision is still mine. Oh yes, I am Canadian.
By Amazon Customer — Amazon, you are taking too long. The damage is growing by the minute.
By Amazon Customer —Ignore the people who choose to hate. To deny someone access to selling their work just because of criminal convictions is criminal. Plain and simple. Amazon, all the power to you.
By Scott M. — Had it not been for all the bleeding hearts bringing attention to this book, I would have never known it existed nor would I care. Now that you all have, I think I’ll buy it as a collector item. Not because I really care about the content of the book, but as a reminder of the notorious, heinous crimes he committed and people like him still exist in our world. Yes, had we brought back capital punishment when we had the chance, this wouldn’t be an issue. The best way to boycott is not give it attention. Now every news media outlet is letting the world know. This could very well now be Amazons new best seller. Good job everyone.

B15Hey! Scott M. The voice of reason! (I know this guy from chats around the net. He’s a bright dude.) Scott’s 100% right about the capital punishment issue, but I’m not going to turn this into a death sentence debate. And I’m not going to turn this into a free speech debate either. To me, there’s something bigger that’s the real issue. That’s HTF was a convicted serial killer in isolation inside a maximum security, federal institution allowed access to outside help to self-publish? 

And there’s no doubt that Paul Bernardo had some help. I’m no stranger to self-publishing and I can tell you that his manuscript reeks of higher help.

So what’s Corrections Canada’s position on this? 

Here’s their official statement:

B19The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) has been made aware of the (Bernardo’s) e-book that has been published and understands the content may be offensive to some. Offenders are not permitted to profit from recounting of their crimes, however, we are advised that this e-book is a fictional piece that does not relate to this offender’s specific crimes. Materials contained in this book may provide additional information relevant to decision-making regarding the offender. While inmates incarcerated in federal correctional facilities have limited access to computers, they do not have access to the internet or email. They are able to communicate with members of the public in writing and are entitled to privileged correspondence with their legal counsel. 

My understanding of A MAD World Order is that the content does not refer to Bernardo’s personal crimes and that’s fine. It’s a novel and many novels are graphically violent. (You should read mine.)

But come on, Corrections Canada. Limited access to computers? No access to the internet or email? Only communicate with outsiders by writing? Except with their lawyer? 

I’m calling bullshit.

008It’s taken me four years to become a relatively competent fiction writer and that involved thousands of internet hours in learning the craft of fiction writing and researching material. Hundreds more in drafting a manuscript in Word. Hundreds of emails in networking with editors, proofreaders, formatters, cover designers, marketers, and peer writers. And the time learning the computerization necessary to upload to Amazon…

Nope. Paul Bernardo had help. Lots of help. From the outside, which he didn’t get telepathically. Remember—this guy was already locked up before Amazon was formed.

Jeff Bezos didn’t visit Bernardo in jail to self-publish this novel.  Bernardo sent it to them, ready to go, and Amazon is perfectly within their rights to keep selling it for him. I hope Amazon acts morally and takes it down, but don’t bet on them trashing a BestSeller.

The real issue is the failure of the system to control incarcerated serial killers like Paul Bernardo.

Corrections Canada. Do your fuckin’ job!

MARRED – NEW PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER FROM SUE COLETTA

AA8Marred is the new psychological thriller from New Hampshire crime writer, Sue Coletta, who is my close internet friend and cohort. Sue’s an exceptionally talented writer with a great sense of humor. In fact, she’s silly enough to drop by the DyingWords shack for a chat about herself and her newest novel which just came online for prerelease on Amazon and other digital retailers. Great to see you! *waves at Sue* Tell us… What’s Marred all about? And what’s with the woman hanging from the barn rafters on the cover?

Hey Garry. *waves back* I think the best thing I can say is what’s on Marred’s jacket blurb.

When a serial killer breaks into the home of bestselling author, Sage Quintano, she barely escapes with her life. Her husband, Niko, a homicide detective, insists they move to rural New Hampshire, where he accepts a position as Grafton County Sheriff. Sage buries secrets from that night—secrets she swears to take to her deathbed.

Three years of anguish and painful memories pass, and a grisly murder case lands on Niko’s desk. A strange caller begins tormenting Sage—she can’t outrun the past.

When Sage’s twin sister suddenly goes missing, Sage searches Niko’s case files and discovers similarities to the Boston killer. A sadistic psychopath is preying on innocent women, marring their bodies in unspeakable ways. And now, he has her sister.

Cryptic clues. Hidden messages. Is the killer hinting at his identity? Or is he trying to lure Sage into a deadly trap to end his reign of terror with a matching set of corpses?

Ooooo… Chilling! How much of yourself is in Sage Quintano, your protagonist?

I think all our characters have pieces of us. Don’t you?

AA1I used three main characters in Marred, alternating their point of views. I gave Sage Quintano parts of my heart and soul, the mushy part of me; her love for animals, family, writing, that sort of thing. But Sage lived through a brutal assault, which crushed her spirit. Deputy Frankie Campanelli, my snarky character, says things I only wish I could say. But at one time she would be a better representation of who I am. I’ve mellowed with age. Even Sheriff Niko Quintano, Sage’s husband, has a piece of me. His hard outer layer protects him from heartbreak, but when he loves he goes all in 100%.

When Marred is adopted into a screenplay, who do you want as the main characters? Now, c’mon. Every writer wants to see their book on the screen.

AA3Of course I do! When I wrote my first novel I would spend hours daydreaming about the screenplay version. Marred is my fourth novel, though, so I haven’t given it much thought. Let’s see. For Sage, Gillian Anderson, if she colored her hair sable brown. Jessica Alba for Frankie. She too would need to color her hair, dark with auburn highlights. Robert Downey Jr. for Niko, with short-cropped hair.

I used to own a hair salon, which is why I’m concentrating on the hair here.

You’re a bloody good writer, Sue. How were you as a student?

Aww. *blush* Thank you. As a student I was too busy socializing to worry about grades. Therefore, I got B’s and C’s rather than the A’s I should have gotten.

Ever take an IQ test?

No, but I’ve always wanted to.

What’s your typical writing day like?

AA7Crazy. I start early in the morning, around 4-5 a.m. Read for a while, then get to work by 7 a.m. and continue until 7 p.m., on average. Sometimes later. During the day I take a half hour to have lunch with my husband and two 15 min breaks, or one 30 min. break, to exercise.

Do you have a set process?

Writing process? Absolutely. First, I plan my novel. I use an Excel spreadsheet based on the principals in Story Engineering, Save the Cat, and a few other milestones from other craft books. Once I have my milestones mapped out, I write my scenes. Each scene should either setup the next one or pay it off. Each day I start by editing the scenes I wrote the day before, and then I continue on. This way, by the time I finish the first draft I have less overall editing to do. I realize that’s not the norm, but it works for me. Then I start my editing. First by searching for writing tics, words and phrases I tend to overuse, and then I do an overall read for continuity, hanging plot threads, clues, etc. I send it off to my critique partner and beta readers. Once I get it back I work on the suggestions/comments. One final read-through and it’s ready to go to the publisher.

You held out for a traditional publishing contract rather than going indie like a bunch of the rest of us. Why’d you make that choice?

AA2For a few reasons, actually. Number one, it’s always been my dream to be traditionally published. Number two, when you’re traditionally published more opportunities open up for you. Like going for prestigious awards, for example. Number three, I wanted to work with a team…cover designer, editor, proof reader, etc., without having to absorb the cost. It was a long, hard road, but well worth it.

How was your experience in working with a publishing house?

Great. Everyone has been so nice. It’s a fantastic feeling to know I have a talented team backing me, as well as offering support and encouragement. And, y’know, no more sending out query letters and hoping for a request.

What motivates you to get up in the morning?

AA4I love what I do. I get to kill people for a living and get away with it. What’s not to love?

Will you ever tell where you hide the bodies?

Never!

Hey – Would you attend an autopsy with me?

Sure. As long as it’s not mine.

Ha Ha! What’d you write before turning to crime?

Years ago, I wrote children’s stories. Odd combination, I know, but the stories were bursting to get out. I wrote a dozen or so. Someday I might publish them. Never refuse the muse.

Who’s your biggest writing-craft influences?

AA13Larry Brooks and Brandilyn Collins for craft advice. For authors, who I’ve learned from through reading their thrillers, Larry Brooks, Karin Slaughter, Lee Child, Thomas Harris, Katia Lief, I could go on and on.

Karin Slaughter. Love that crime writin’ name. What do you enjoy about the writing business?

The writing community rocks. I’ve never met so many caring, supportive people in my life.

Is there any one secret to great storytelling?

AA15Structure. It controls pace, creates empathy for your characters, aka rootability, and provides the reader a vicarious experience.

Hmmm… Great answer. What’s the best piece of life advice you’ve received and where’d you get it?

My mom told me repeatedly, “You can have anything you want out of life as long as you apply yourself and work hard. Dream big, because the sky’s the limit.”

Do you fit your Zodiac sign?

To a tee. I’m a double Libra, sun and moon.

Any tattoos?

Three. Back of my left shoulder, right ankle, and inside the right hip bone.

AA4Inside the hip bone? That musta hurt. Now, what’s the Top 3 on your bucket list?

I want to take a cruise to somewhere exotic. Visit Australia and smuggle home a Quokka. And hit #1 on the New York Times Bestsellers List. Not necessarily in that order.

Where do you see yourself in a year? In five? In ten?

In one year I hope to have three of my novels released. I’d love to win the John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award for Marred. Wouldn’t the cover look great here? In five years, I hope to hit the NYTBL. In ten, drop from exhaustion. LOL

AA5So what do you want your dying words to be?

I loved, laughed, cried, danced, and shared my experiences with the world through my books.

Nice! Hopefully that won’t be said for a long, long time. Lots more writing to leave behind, ya know. Speaking of time. What’s your biggest time-vulture?

Facebook. I can’t get enough of hilarious animal pics and videos. Like this…

AA6

Awesome!  Okay, now it’s time to take the DyingWords 10-step psychological profile. You must answer all questions honestly, otherwise I’ll sic the hounds. And no phoning a friend. Ready?

  1. Pantster or plotter?  Plotter.
  1. Window or aisle?  Window.
  1. Print or digital?  Digital.
  1. Harley or Honda?  Harley.
  1. Coffee or tea?  Tea.
  1. Coyote or Roadrunner?  Coyote.
  1. Burial or Cremation?  Burial.
  1. Fine-tip pen or bold?  Bold.
  1. Handcuffs or leg-irons? Handcuffs.
  1. Orangutan or gorilla? Gorilla.

AA16Okay. Just a sec… have to plug them into the DyingWords Psycho-Analyzer… twirl the dials… press the button… wait a minute… and… hmmm… Yep! Saw this comin’. Says because you’re a methodical plotter, fearless with your view, progressive in technology, aggressive as a Hog rider yet refined as a tea drinker, persistent as Wile E. Coyote, choose longevity over being a flash in the pan, are bold with words, keep your hands cuffed to the keyboard, and have hide thicker than a frickin’ gorilla…

You’ll make a great best-selling, crime-thriller writer! Imagine that?

*Sue rolls eyes*

Alright, moving on. With Marred about to be released, what’s your next project?

Wings of Mayhem. About a forensics specialist who moonlights as a cat burglar and mistakenly steals a killer’s trophy box. Oops!

AA17Double Oops. You’ve got a great website, Sue. Tell us about it.

My site—www.suecoletta.com—is dedicated to crime. I post informative articles to help crime writers’ stories ring true, writing tips, editing tips, and feature guests from law enforcement and forensics fields. I also have a Crime Writer’s Resource, which anyone can use. But the site is not only for writers. For instance, I have the Crime Lovers Lounge. Subscribers will get a secret key code that will unlock— You’ll have to subscribe to see what I have in store. More on that coming soon. If you’re a writer with murder in your plot, grab a free pdf 60 Ways to Murder Your Fictional Characters.

AA19It’s been a long haul for you with it’s just-rewards finally happening. Tell us about your journey.

Actually, I’m wrote an entire post about my journey for Molly Greene. You can read it at: http://www.molly-greene.com.

I just did. Wow! What a story of determination and preserverence. You certainly earned your stripes. Now, last and most important, when and where can we get Marred?

To celebrate the pre-release, Marred is on sale for only 99 cents at these fine retailers. More retailers will become available in the coming weeks. Marred will automatically be delivered on 11/11/15.

Amazon US      Amazon UK      Smashwords

Thanks so much, Sue. Best wishes for Marred looking down from the top of the charts. I’ve had a sneak-peek at the ARC and it’s a top-notch, thrilling read. Great job!

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AA9Sue Coletta is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime as well as the author of five novels. A 4K-word excerpt of Marred will be published in the upcoming anthology, Murder, USA. Her other titles will be available soon. Sue is also editing the How-To / No BS Guide Series on Crime Fiction Writing that are in progress. Connect with Sue on her social media sites:

Web/Blogsite  –  http://suecoletta.com/

Twitter –  https://twitter.com/SueColetta1

Pinterest –  http://www.pinterest.com/SueColetta1

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/SueColetta1

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/SueColetta

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Sue-Coletta/e/B015OYK5HO

Google+  –  http://www.plus.google.com/u/0/+SusanColetta/posts/

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