Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Next of Kin Update

I have great news. The first (very rough) draft of NEXT OF KIN is done. At 52,000 words, the second novel in the Death Valley Mystery series is now entering the re-write phase. This is, of course, the hardest phase for me. Now I need to tie in the themes that bubbled to the surface during the writing phase. I need to clean up the plot and the character traits and I need to add in the descriptions that tie the place and people to the plot and theme. This will increase my word count before the novel goes into the editing phase, where it will be sliced and diced to rid the novel of unneeded or lengthy scenes and passages.

I will also be working on some early cover design ideas. More to come. If you haven’t read STRANGER, the first novel in the Death Valley Mystery series, it is available in e-book for only $2.99.

STRANGER available at

STRANGER available at

Happy New Year - Free Autographed Book Offer

To celebrate the start of 2014, I am offering a free autographed copy of STRANGER: A DEATH VALLEY MYSTERY to all my followers. If you would like a personally signed paperback copy mailed to you, please send your name and address to


Happy New Year and Happy Reading!

Please note your information will NOT be sold or given out to anyone. Offer expires 1/31/14.

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ‘till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss
This is quite the season indeed for friendly meetings. At Christmas every body invites their friends about them, and people think little of even the worst weather
Emma by Jane Austen
It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good-humour.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Human Trafficking or Serial Killer?

On October 6, 2013 Kianna Jackson, 20 went missing.  Her loved ones say she would never have left on her own. The reported her missing to the Santa Ana police on October 15.

Two weeks after Jackson went missing, Josephine Monique Vargas, 34 vanished. 

In November, Martha Anaya, 28 also disappeared. Anaya disappeared from the area of First Street and Grand Avenue. Anaya left her residence without her belongings and has not contacted her family, or minor child in over a month.

On November 23, and Andrea Nichole Palma, 29 was reported missing.

All three women were from Santa Ana, California. There was about two weeks between each disappearance. Their families are extremely worried and desperately looking for information. Detectives are looking into every possible scenario. The only connection the women have is all four have had past problems with drug abuse and prostitution.

The coincidence is too strange to ignore. One thought is all four women could be victims of the same person, possibly a serial killer stalking women in the neighborhood. But so far, no bodies have been discovered and police have no indication of foul play. Some of the families believe the women could have been victims of human trafficking.    

Anyone with information about the missing women are asked to call investigators at (714) 245-8393 or police dispatch operators at (714) 834-4211.

I am hoping the Santa Ana Police can find these women and reunite them with their families before the holidays.

Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.
Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Gun Control & Children

With the public waning on additional gun control legislature and the one year anniversary of the Sandy Hook School shooting approaching, it’s time to remind everyone that we can make a difference today.

It’s a rather simple idea that the best way to prevent gun violence is to ensure that our guns do not fall into the wrong hands, specifically our children, the mentally ill, and the criminals in our neighborhoods.


So we’ll start with the first one. It’s the easiest to do and the one everyone will agree with.

Let’s keep our firearms secure and away from our children.

Too many children are killed or injured due to gun violence in this country. Every day, children and young adults find guns in their own homes (or a friend’s home) and become victims of gun violence.

In fact, in 2008 and 2009, more American children were killed by guns than U.S. military personnel fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan during that same period. Almost twice as many preschool-age children died from gun violence in 2008-2009 than police officers killed in the line of duty.

Young children are intrigued by guns and can accidentally shoot themselves, a friend, or family member. But don’t forget - not all gun deaths are accidental. Some children seek out a gun to commit suicide or to bully fellow students.

If you own a gun, protect it. Ensure your children and others cannot access it. If you do not have a gun, remind your children if they ever see a gun to call an adult immediately.

(By the way, I’m not against children handling a gun in a controlled setting, as it is important for gun owners to teach their children the proper use and safety rules when handling a firearm. But any access to a firearm should be under strict supervision.)

Remember, if you want to protect your gun rights, you first must protect your guns.

[editor addition] For information on Firearm Safety, there are numerous web sites found on the internet including Firearm Safety, or find a safety instructor in your neighborhood. I will be attending one myself next month.

For some additional information on gun violence and children visit MomsDemandAction

Image Credit: MomsDemandAction

There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.
Nelson Mandela


The holidays are a time for giving. So my gift to you is a free download of my novel, FALLING ANGELS.

Visit to download a free copy of FALLING ANGELS. Use Coupon Code KT32H at checkout. (

FALLING ANGELS is the first in the Luc Actar crime series.


Happy Holidays!


After a panicked call from his best friend, Mattie Hardwin, Luc Actar must return to Los Angeles and the life he fled three years earlier. Mattie’s husband, a prestigious lawyer named Spencer Hardwin, has mysteriously disappeared. Desperate for assistance, Luc enlists the help of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in his search to find Spencer, despite his better judgment. But he soon learns that the detectives have their own reasons for locating Spencer—the lawyer has become the prime suspect in a drug dealer’s brutal murder.

As he hunts for the man he thought he knew, Luc’s history with Mattie haunts his dreams and drives him to the depths of the misery he once escaped. Back on the streets of Los Angeles, Luc employs old friends and encounters childhood rivals to take on the sheriff’s department, while a slew of lawyers impede his every move to save those closest to him from an unknown killer.

NaNoWriMo Update

The thirty days of November have passed quickly. National Novel Writing Month has come to an end. My experiment to start a novel on November 1st and finish on November 30th is over and I am pleased to tell everyone I have succeeded for the second time.

I finished the novel, titled ASSASSIN’S REVENGE this morning with 50,012 words and validated my word count on the web site. I am officially a winner.

It was a tough final week. I actually completed the novel two days earlier and short of almost 4,000 words. So I stressed those final two days, as I went through the novel to figure out if I rushed any of the scenes. Luckily I was able to come up with the additional word count and round out my novel.

I know it’s not great, but the idea was to finish in time. As the saying go, no one gets it right the first time, except for God. I had some good hopes for the novel in the first half, but a lost a little focus towards the middle and had to struggle to get the novel back on track. As of right now, I don’t think it’s good enough to ever see the light of day, but you never what time will bring.

For me, it’s time to turn away from fun writing challenges and back to work. I will be focusing on finishing my current novel, NEXT OF KIN, the sequel to STRANGER. I am still hoping to have this novel published by the end of 2014.

Thank you to all those that followed and cheered me on Twitter with my daily writing updates. Now that the holiday season has begun, I can now focus on spending some time with the family. I will bring news next year on NEXT OF KIN.

Born in La Mirada, California, Melissa M. Garcia has lived most of her life in the sometimes gritty, but always entertaining landscape that is Southern California. She graduated from California State University in Long Beach with a degree in English/Literature. Garcia is the author of the Luc Actar crime series (including Falling Angels and Chasing Demons) and the Death Valley Mystery series (Stranger: A Death Valley Mystery). She has also published an e-book collection, Faith Departed: Short Stories of Mystery, Crime, and Despair.

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