CHERYL - YOU WON A COPY OF DONNELL'S BOOK! JUNE - YOU WON THE $25 GIFT CERTIFICATE! PLEASE EMAIL DIANE@DIANEKELLY.COM SO THAT I CAN SEND YOUR CONTACT INFO ON TO DONNELL TO GET YOUR PRIZES TO YOU. THANKS!
We’ve had big fun here at Killer Fiction for the last two weeks as we’ve hosted our "Kick off the New Year contest!"
THE WINNER OF THE KINDLE FIRE OR NOOK COLOR (OR EQUIVALENT VALUE GIFTCARD IF YOU'VE ALREADY GOT AN E-READER) IS "PETITE!" Petite, please email me at email@example.com so that we can make arrangements to get your prize to you.
Congrats to all of our winners and thanks to everyone who stopped by to visit us here at Killer Fiction!
Jan. 2 – Annie - $25 giftcard (not claimed yet! Annie, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your prize!)
Jan. 3 – Brandie - $25 giftcard
Jan. 4 – Kima - $25 giftcard
Jan. 6 - Sandy
Jan. 7 - the winners of Diana Layne's books were Rebekah E., StephanieJS, Virginia, and catslady
Jan. 9 – Alison - $25 giftcard; amf, Sarah S., Angela Bount – autographed copy of Jana DeLeon’s next Intrigue novel!
Jan. 10 - Barbara E. – $25 gift card and a copy of Robin Kaye's "Wild Thing"
Jan. 11 – Brandy - $25 giftcard
Jan. 12 – Glittergirl - $25 giftcard
Jan. 13 – RedPeril - $25 giftcard
Jan. 14 - Na - $25 giftcard
And now on to today’s blog.
It’s my pleasure to host suspense author Donnell Ann Bell here at Killer Fiction today! She touches on an issue that’s important to all writers – research. Authenticity is the key to creating a story that’s intriguing and compelling to readers. Read on to see how Donnell does it! And be sure to post a comment. Donnell will also be doing a $25 gift card giveaway today to either Barnes & Noble or Amazon (winner's choice).
Writing a Book Up Close and Personal
Hello Killer Fiction Bloggers! Don’t you love the “middle names” these brilliant authors christen themselves with? Let’s see, there’ “Trigger Happy” Halliday, “Crime Scene” Craig, “The Assassin” Langtry, “Bullet Hole, Bacus, “Killer” Kelly, the list goes on. Such creative killers! If I had to give me a middle name, it would be “Up Close and Personal” Bell. (I can do that because my last name is short ;).
The reason I say UC&P is because I’m a visual, tactile learner. As a former court reporter, I’m also a great listener. When I start writing, I often find myself typing along only to think, Wait, do I have that right? If I’m not sure. I’ve been known to stop a work in progress, pick up the phone and say to an expert, “Hey, can you meet with me?”
I’ve now met with police lieutenants, taken a Citizens Academy, volunteered for the sheriff’s office, and gone on numerous ridealongs. I go to lunch frequently with a coroner, my private eye friends are on speed dial, and just over the holidays, my daughter and I took an eight-hour gun course, complete with shooting range.
On-line classes are great, and I take them for an overview. But for me to get a true understanding, I go to the source. For instance, my volunteer assignments have helped me understand SWAT and police departments’ use of informants.
Thanks to the generosity of law enforcement and others, here’s a scene I wrote in “THE PAST CAME HUNTING.” Set up: My protagonist Melanie Norris has been kidnapped by my antagonist, rocking the world of her 15-year-old son who my cop hands over to his coach with instructions to keep the boy distracted. My police lieutenant, Joe Crandall, is coming to grips with how deeply in love he is with Mel and the guilt he feels that he wasn’t there to protect her. . .
“Very good, Mercer,” Joe said as the ex-convict ended the call. “If you ever decide to go straight, you should try acting.”
Along with several detectives, SWAT team members, the man nicknamed Skinny sat in a chair looking on. By his unrelenting glare, he didn’t appear happy that Mercer had agreed to wear a wire and cooperate with police. That was okay with Joe. Not only had Roscoe Mercer identified every member of the Chaos Bandits, the police had these men as accessories to felony kidnapping. Melvin “Skinny” Thomas wasn’t going to see the outside world anytime soon.
“Who’s got Skinny’s cell phone?” Joe asked.
A vice cop stepped forward. “I win that prize.”
“If it rings, keep your answers short. Don’t tip our hand.”
“Not a chance.”
Bruce Bennett entered as Joe and the other officer’s strapped on their Kevlar vests. “You understand what we want you to do, Mr. Mercer?” the D.A. asked.
Mercer reached for Luke’s practice jersey. Upon Joe’s request a patrolman had swung by Mel’s house and picked it up. “Walk in to Ramirez’s house and show ‘em this jersey.”
Joe lowered his head, hoping to God Mel could forgive him for using this tactic. They needed to establish her whereabouts before they swarmed the house. “Great,” Joe said. “Then what?”
“If the woman’s around I say, ‘What’s your name, pretty lady?’ If she’s not, I say, ‘Where’s the dame?’”
Pretty straightforward, Joe thought. Conceptually it should work, letting law enforcement know if it was safe to raid, using force. Too often, though, a kink found its way into the system.
Marksman Sam Ortega crossed the room. “We’re ready when you are, Lieutenant.”
Joe was pleased to see the man, who not too many weeks ago had been suspended for taking down a crazed meth dealer. Evidently, he’d been reinstated to active duty. Joe nodded. He directed an officer to take Skinny back to a holding cell.
Joe hadn’t even had to assign a group for this op. As soon as the callout went down, men stepped forward, the majority off duty, Ortega among them.
Clearing his throat, Joe said, “Thanks. Give me a second, then let’s do it.” He reached for the phone on his belt, walked to the window overlooking the lofts next door, then dialed Mel’s son.
Out of breath the boy answered after several rings. “Lt. Crandall?”
“Yeah, Luke, it’s me. Where are you?”
“I’m with Matt and Coach. We’re at school shooting baskets. What’s going on?”
“We believe we found your mom, and at this point, we think she’s okay. She’s being held against her will, and part of Maxwell’s scheme is to make her believe they have you.”
“What? That’s crazy. Why would―”
“Luke, listen to me. I hate to do this to you. Tell Coach to take you to his house and stay put and out of sight. I’m sure these people don’t travel in the same circles as any of you, but the media may be onto this kidnapping. If they see you out and about, or try to interview you when we’ve convinced them you’re being held someplace else, it could go bad for your mom.”
A moment’s silence occurred on the line before Luke said, “Got it.”
“Do I need to relay this information to your Coach?”
“No, sir. I’ll do it. Find my mom.”
“That’s the plan. Tell Matt I love him. Your father would be proud, Luke. I’m damn impressed as well. You boys be strong.”
Surrounded by patrol cars, Joe and the team walked to an unmarked van while Mercer slid into a blue Ford Focus. “Can you hear me?” the black man asked as he switched on the ignition.
“Copy,” the technician inside the van said.
“Just want you to know,” Mercer added. “If Ramirez and Maxwell smell a trap, you’ll never identify all my body parts. Take that up with the judge when you’re talking reduced sentence.”
“Will do, Mr. Mercer,” the D.A. replied. “Help us get Mrs. Norris out alive and it will buy you a great deal of leniency.”
Mrs. Norris alive. Taking slow, steady breaths, Joe entered the back of the vehicle and sat beside Bruce and the rest of the team.
The van started to move. The countdown was on.
I’m in complete admiration of someone who can sit down at a computer, write a book from start to finish, without ever leaving his or her keyboard. Talk about imagination and smarts. I merely know what I need to write a book.
Which brings me to you. What kind of learner are you? What do you put into your research? If you’re a writer, what do you do to ensure your scene’s authenticity? If you’re a reader, do you care if the author goes to such lengths? We’ll be drawing for a winner, either in digital or book form of THE PAST CAME HUNTING to a person who comments.
Thanks for having me as a guest on Killer Fiction!
Donnell Ann Bell is a two-time Golden Heart finalist and debut author for Bell Bridge Books. She sold her second book, also a Golden Heart finaling manuscript, to BBB, as part of a two -book deal. Look for book two to be released late 2012, early 2013. To learn more about Donnell, check out her website at www.donnellannbell.com