What’s your genre?

We’re getting closer to the Christmas season, and that also causes great reflection.

deadly sins_book cover This year has been filled with its blessings and losses; its own amount of fears and successes, hurts and healing. And in the midst of it all, I’ve contemplated new ways to bring my Spark before Dying series alive.

For me, that meant diving into the world of genre and making sure I understood what I write and where my books should be situated. What helped was the website of former Literary Agent, Mark Malatesta. With so much knowledge of the industry, his website called The Book Genre Dictionary has been an eye opener for me. (click here for the listing of fiction genres, and their definitions).

After perusing everything, its clear in my mind that I write crime fiction. Mark says:

What’s the best definition for the crime fiction genre? Crime fiction involves a crime in some way: a crime being committed, or having been committed. A crime story can also be about a criminal’s life. Often crime fiction crosses over or meshes with the suspense, thriller, detective, mystery, action, and/or adventure genres.

There are four common plots in crime fiction: whodunit, murder mystery, hardboiled, and gangster.

So, with this in mind, it is clear that crime fiction has a lot of great writers and characters. It is believed the genre began with the work ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’ by Edgar Allan Poe; also included in this genre are Agatha Christie with her character, Hercule Poirot,  and Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. (Many of these characters have been brought to live through television shows or movies — I’d recommend checking them out; personally, I LOVE the BBC’s version of Sherlock with Holmes played by Benedict Cumberbatch and Watson played by Martin Freeman)


For crime fiction, there is also a structure to the genre: “…the crime, usually a murder; then there is the investigation; and finally the outcome or judgement, often in the shape of the criminal’s arrest or death.” What is good about crime fiction as well is  that the story can be told from the detectives point of view, but also from the criminal’s. 

All of this is to say that in my understanding my role as a crime fiction writer, I also am getting behind the marketing of my books to reach the readers’ expectations. With this in mind, I am in the process of re-branding my books before the next release in the series. The title of the book THOU SHALL NOT has been changed to DEADLY SINS (a clearer and crisper title, with also a clearer cover).

Now, that we’re clear about what crime fiction is … I’m excited about all of these changes and look forward to seeing how it all resonates with you all.

The more I write, the more I learn. This business is hard, but I am more than happy to be a part of it and to continue to produce stories that are enjoyed.



The great seduction of serial killers: Behind the scenes

When I am working on a new project, I have to be able to tap into human emotions. I need to feel the exasperation, the ups and downs of what it means to be alive.When I’m in the creative process, I walk on egg shells, in search of finding the grain of truth within me to produce it on the page.

Currently, my work in progress follows Detective Edward Hobbes (yes, one of the detectives from the Spark Before Dying Series). He’s come to life and in doing so, he’s brought his baggage with him — a serial killer.

serial killer stats meme

So, while I am trudging along and hoping to create this dynamic tale, I want to leave you with an epiphany from behind the scenes, from what I prepared from the MURDER AT THE LIBRARY event in October.

When creating my antagonist, the biggest question is why is he/she/it killing. This is no small feat. People don’t just wake up one day and scream, “AHA, today’s a great day to murder.” (I love this line and you might find it somewhere in a future project.

No, murder requires motive, means and opportunity. It requires a weakness of character, a strength of stubbornness and just a little bit of being unhinged. The unholy grail of it can usually be found rooted in some form of self-exaltation — the thought that I am more important than heshe or it.

This can be understood as a piece of social Darwinism.When we begin to categorize and state who has a right to life, unfortunately, we lose a part of our humanity and empathy. It’s easier to kill something that is considered inferior — and many do just that. As such, would it be fair to say that serial killers are a part of our cultural construct?

Here is an unedited excerpt of the pilot episode of the serial called COLLECTING ALL THE PRETTY GIRLS

He needed… no he wanted to kill her.

The craving tickled the back of his throat, growing.

In the distance a lone goose honked its arrival, seeking its comrades for the night.  The raspy sound of the cicadas and pure chirp of the crickets harmonized. Darkness began to chase away the once vivid sun. Street lights lit up along the black paved path and alone she walked.

He watched her, his footsteps silent.

Under his heavy gaze, she pumped her arms and continued onward. Her long pony tail bounced on her slender shoulders from side to side.

With each step behind her, he could already imagine the act, moment by moment. His breathing hitched, as the sweet flavor of anticipation rested on his tongue. Images of his desired work flashed before him: her white shorts filled with splotches of her freshly exuded blood.


Hearts beating.

Inhale, exhale … and wait.

The want grew with each thud of her shoes striking the concrete, calling to him.

Take her! Take her now! A part of him called out, but he knew it was better to lie in wait. Falling back, he slipped between the bushes, away from prying eyes. 

I hope that has you wanting more … I sure do.

Until next time …



Facing Death?

Often, I’m asked where I come up with my ideas to create fiction.

I wish it were a simple answer, such as the way the clouds formed on a particular morning or the scent of freshly brewed coffee (I’m preparing my cup now). But unfortunately, neither is the case. I was inspired by real life events, and my writing this series began as therapy.

thou shall not_new cover_2015My first book, THOU SHALL NOT, began as a paranormal romance set in Scotland. Yet with the incidents of that day, the plot, story and characters took a sharp left turn.

One day, while working in a law firm, we had been working on a very intense case — and part of my job was to gather as much information I could to assist in creating our defense. Often paralegals are serve as private investigators, and for me, it was the same. Well, on this one day in particular, maybe things didn’t go well for the client’s family member — or maybe the moon was aligned with a bout of crazy. Needless to say, when the family member arrived, voices rose, verbal threats were made, and all I could think about was how was I going to make it out of this office if a gun was pulled.

Although domestic is a ticking time bomb, I must say that when it comes to dealing with criminal law, you never know who your client will be. Over the years, I met many amazing people, and I had the opportunity to see the persons behind the crimes. Yet, I will never forget the sheer panic — shallow breathing, cold sweat, queasy stomach.Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.

For days, I thought about my way out of the office. Could I break a window and jump from the third floor and escape after falling onto the hard concrete below? Could I signal for help from the building next door, hoping that someone might see my hands while waving wildly? Could I move some of the heavy furniture in time to block the door and the perpetrator’s entrance into the office? If the telephone lines were still operational, and I could call the cops, would they arrive in time? But most importantly, would I survive?

I used my fear to create something, and from that knowledge base, I crafted a crime that made me experience levels of fear with which I was familiar.  None of the crimes in my series are taken from cases upon which I worked. Instead, they are crimes I’ve re-imagined and recreated.

My characters remind me of the lessons I’ve learned over the years, as well. There are no absolute good or evil people, just people experiencing the different shades of gray.  I hope to dive more into my characterization process later. But, I do want to share that my theological training seems to have given me an empathy, which makes it possible for me to look at things in a different light, and therefore attempt to locate the motivation behind the action.

Remember, when it comes to crime, it is not enough to look at the means and opportunity, but also at the motive. In recognizing the motive, one is able to come up with a better line of defense — things don’t just happen just because. There is always a reason.

Until next time,







Update: Works in Progress

I like to plan my projects, but sometimes life happens and plans get derailed. Nevertheless, this year, I’ve been working on creating a series of books based on Detective Ed Hobbes. There is not much I can reveal quite yet, but before any one book of the series is released, I will get the entire series done!

So what does that mean for you? Simply put: within the next couple of months, you’re going to have something new for your shelves (virtual and physical).

Of course, I am also working on NUMBERS, the continuation of Xandy’s story. This book has been more complicated than even I expected, but I think you all will be happily surprised by the outcome — it has enough twists and turns to make you go — what is going to happen next.

So, thanks for sticking with me.

As you know, I heard your requests, and answered the call. 7 Twisted Fairy Tales: Flash Fiction Fairy Tales is now available. I hope you enjoy this Halloween treat as much as I enjoyed getting super dark. I can tell that horror lurks just under the surface sometimes.

Grab a copy and let me know what you think.