Desert Breeze, A Joy To Me

I’ve had a few days to let the rush of excitement over signing contracts with Desert Breeze Publishing for my Sanctuary Point romantic suspense series take me to the heights, and gently let me down. My first book contracting–not only one book, but a  series. Amazing!

I have to thank the Lord for this because that still small voice had been whispering Desert Breeze, for awhile. That they would get my writing. The Voice.. that Voice when I don’t listen, I regret it.

Speaking of voices, it has taken me a while to come into my author’s voice. It’s a voice that has a bit of roughness around the edges. It could be termed quirky.

I found out to my amazement, that I fall into the edgy category in terms of Christian writing. How can that be? I don’t write sex scenes, although I’m not opposed to somewhat steamy. I haven’t used profanity in any of my manuscripts, or at least anything I term foul language. I have used a few colorful words that can be found on any number of pages in the Bible. And yet, I’ve been told over and over my work is edgy.

Must be those darn rough edges. My Sanctuary Point series is historical romantic suspense with an action/adventure element. If you’re at one of my crime scenes the body is going to have an odor, flies might be attracted to the blood on the floor. The blood might even be on the walls.

I like my characters intense. I’ve found in life most people (even those sitting in the pews) have a few personal demons they’ve had to wrestle to the ground. I’ve had these internal wrestling matches. Members of my family have. So have friends. It’s life. I like to catch my characters in the midst of wrestling with their darker issues. I’m fond of putting my characters on a path whereby if they make the right choices, they’ll come out with a stronger, more mature walk with the Lord.

I don’t have too many Olive and Ollie Outstanding Christian characters in my books. Not too many white picket fences either. I do have a lot of characters who have been broken by the harsh realities of life, who are hurting.

One requirement for my heroines and heroes is that they have a little class. My novels are peopled with ordinary individuals who have a sense of personal dignity, or who are on a personal journey whereby they find their sacred honor.

I was at the point where I was thinking where in the world of Christian or even family friendly publishing am I going to find an editor to take a chance on me? And that tiny, quiet inner Voice kept nudging: submit, submit. So, I did. And Gail Delaney at Desert Breeze made the offer. Boy, did she. Thank you Gail, for this opportunity. I’m gonna work my tail off. Well, to be honest, I could stand a little buttocks reduction.

And thank you Lord for sticking with me, bringing me into focus when I’d get writer’s turmoil. That’s the opposite of writer’s block. Writer’s turmoil is too much going on. People pleasing. Trying to write something that would sell instead of sticking with the writer’s voice God gave. Then all I would’ve reaped is a bad imitation of what others are writing in the authentic voice God gave them.

Christian fiction is a wide playing field, or should be. There are many diverse genres, and the genres keep morphing into new sub-genres. Why am I surprised? I serve a multiplying God. There are many types of Christian readers and we need writers for all of them.

So, once again, thank you Lord, for pulling my creative fat out of the fire more than once — oh, and  for giving me great critique partners who don’t spare the  red ink — since way back, when my writing skill was laughable.

Motives For Murder ~ Fiction vs. Real Life

When I’m creating what I call my basic plotline, or my simple (very simple) plot outline and need a motive for murder — I usually go for what I call my big threemoney, jealousy, and revenge — or a combination of those three.

I’m sure  you wouldn’t be surprised to learn that research shows in real life the number one reason for murder is a domestic argument. This includes one of my big three, jealousy, but also encompasses all the non-sexual infidelity reasons for the termination of a marriage. Still we most often term this type of killing a crime of passion.

The second motive most often listed in police reports is revenge. Of course people who commit revenge murders don’t think of they’ve really committed a crime. Oh, they know it’s against the law or they wouldn’t try to conceal their identity. They just don’t think they’ve done anything wrong. After all the bum had it coming, in the murderer’s view. Some think revenge would’ve been the first on the list, but I think most people who are revenge minded don’t want the victim dead, they want them alive and suffering.

Coming in at three is money. Frankly, I thought this one would’ve been numero uno. Perhaps that’s because most of the vitriol I’ve witness has occurred after the will was read in my own extended family and in the families of friends and associates. Of course nobody I know actually committed murder over it, so maybe that’s evidence it’s not such a pressing reason to kill.

The fourth motive most often sited in real police reports is alcohol/drug use. This is a scary motive because it often includes no motive at all, or scant motive. A guy gets blotto watching the game with his buddies comes home and finds his wife didn’t do the laundry and he wanted to wear his team’s tee shirt, so he kills her. In a great many drug/alcohol murder investigations detectives find the perpetrator often doesn’t know or can’t recall clearly what went through his/her mind before killing.

Coming in about fifth on the list, depending on the locale, is the mob hit. This can involve money, turf, but it also can involve personal power and/or disgracing a “made man.” A made man is someone who has formally been inducted into a crime family as a lieutenant. It’s not a wise thing to cross such a man. Power and disgracing the family name in non-mob circles don’t even make it on the real life law enforcement list — both of these big reason in the prime time soap operas of the 1980s like Dynasty and Dallas.

A motive that has recently been finding it’s way into police reports in urban areas as a motive for murder with the influx of foreign immigrants is ethnic customs. The so-called honor killing is not as uncommon as one might suppose. A young Muslim girl has not behaved as modestly as her older male relatives think she should’ve. She’s taken off her head scarf while at school, or allowed an American boy to walk her part way home, so her father and brothers kill her. Another scenario could be that a young man comes to live in the USA with missionaries who lived with his tribe in South America. He spends his teen years here and marries, but then suspects his wife of infidelity, so as is the custom in his tribe, when his wife gives birth, he kills the infant.

Serial Killers are growing in popularity in fiction as the perpetrator of gruesome murders, so much so that they’ve practically become their own sub-genre. It’s not surprising that in real life mental illness and sociopathology seem to be cropping up more often in crime reports. If you or someone you love discovers they are married to a bigamist, are involved with a professional gigolo, or a con-man defrauding women — RUN. There is great danger there, even potential for murder.