If I got rid of my demons, I’d lose my angels.Tennessee Williams
Through the month of March, download my latest crime novel, CHASING DEMONS from @Smashwords for FREE. Use Coupon Code: PQ28S
I hope you enjoy the free offer. Please leave a review to let me know what you thought of it.
About CHASING DEMONS:
Journalist and ex-car thief, Luc Actar has finally decided to settle down. He’s traded in his life of crime for the life he’s always wanted. He’s moved in with his recently-divorced girlfriend, Mattie Hardwin in her large Malibu home overlooking the Pacific Ocean. He’s back at work at the Crime Reporter investigating stories of corruption and abuse by the political and legal authorities of Los Angeles County.
When detectives arrive to inform Luc of the death of his father, Luc is hesitant to get involved. But once he discovers a powerful leader in the mental health industry is pulling the strings in his father’s investigation, Luc is determined to tear him down. As he chases the demons of his past, Luc unknowingly steps right into the crosshairs of a killer determined to keep his own life from falling apart.
About Melissa M. Garcia:
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.
Melissa is a member of Sisters in Crime, a writing organization that promotes the professional development and advancement of women writing crime fiction. She is also the author of the online blog, “Musings from a Crime Writer.” Her novels are available in paperback and ebook formats.
She currently lives with her husband in Southern California and is at work on the next Death Valley Mystery.
Visit her official website at www.melissamgarcia.com for updates.
It’s been awhile since I wrote, mostly because I’ve been busily writing the first draft my latest novel, Next of Kin. But I’ve been watching some great (intriguing) cases closely.
Heating up - The Jodi Arias Case
This case is heating up with Jodi taking the stand this week in her own defense of killing Travis Alexander in June 2008. Jodi Arias is accused of shooting her ex-boyfriend in the face, stabbing him multiple times, and slitting his throat from ear to ear. Her attorneys argue she killed him in self-defense. Prosecutors state her constant lies are far too telling of the real truth here. The sordid details of the couples sex lives have played out in the courtroom and the jury could swing either way here.
Still Smoldering - The Trayvon Martin Case
It’s been a year since Trayvon Martin, a young black unarmed teenager was killed as he walked home. The trial hasn’t started yet, but the public has already started taking sides due to the racial undertones of the case. George Zimmerman has been charged for the young man’s murder, but claims self defense in the shooting.The case will rely heavily on Florida’s Stand Your Ground law. More to come on this one as this gets closer to trial.
Just Sparking - The Oscar Pistorius Case
This case hasn’t started, but the true story will be revealed through the forensic evidence. Pistorius, a double-amputee and Olympic athlete, is accused of shooting his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Mistaken identity, premeditated murder, or ‘roid rage? Oscar has been released on bail, which is a great sign for his defense, but there is a long way to go before he escapes a possible life sentence. I’m betting a plea bargain could prevent this one from going to trial.
What are your thoughts on these cases?
He jumped when he heard the single gunshot ring out. As the officers rushed past him into the house, Detective Walters holstered his weapon and walked down the driveway, ignoring the shouting from the officers.“Faith Departed” by Melissa M. Garcia
Yesterday, as the massive LAPD manhunt scoured the Southern California region for fired LAPD officer Chris Dorner, I realized this was an amazing story. I mentioned to several people that this would have been a great suspense or thriller novel. A disgruntled and dishonored veteran and ex-police officer releases a manifesto and attempts to clear his name by resorting to the only option left, a vengeful campaign against those that have wronged him. A city is on edge as the manhunt and the attacks escalate. It would have made a great novel.
But today, as the story continues to play out, I realize I would have made some creative detours.
For one, I would want the reader to connect with the bad guy. Running around and killing innocent people doesn’t make him likeable at all. And let’s be honest, here. Despite what I’ve read on social media from people defending his actions, he is attacking innocent people. The ex-captain’s daughter and fiancé that he killed on Sunday had no idea who he was. They had no direct impact on his life. The officers he shot had no personal grudge with him. They had never met him. Yet he made them targets. If he had truly gone after the people who had wronged him, he might get some sympathy or understanding from readers. In reality, he is seen by most as a homicidal mad man.
The ex-officer talks a lot about racism in the police department. This is actually no surprise to most people. But he loses creditability when he says is targeting all officers. Sure there are some officers that are bad, but just as many are good. Just as many knew the LAPD had a bad reputation and joined to try to make a change from the inside out. We shouldn’t judge someone by the color of their skin and we shouldn’t judge someone by the clothes they wear or the profession they choose. Again, his actions would lose most readers.
The mistaken identity situation where three innocent people were shot at by the LAPD is pure gold for suspense writing. It is sad and I am glad to hear no one was seriously injured. I’m sure the LAPD (and the tax payers) will have to pay dearly for the mistake. In a novel, the incident would be important to show the tenseness in the force as well as indicate the possibility that the ex-officer could be right about his corruption claims. Unfortunately, in real life, it just shows how worried the officers are for their own safety and how easily one mistake can further ruin the reputation of the department.
The search moving from coastal San Diego to the mountains of Big Bear are also a plus in a fiction novel. The disabled boat and the burned out truck could be great plotlines if these connected to his character in some way. If these events could be used to show his planning and cunningness, the reader might root for him. Unfortunately, it looks like the San Diego spotting was a failed attempt to flee the country. Still no word on the reason for torching his vehicle. If he ends up still in Big Bear, it was probably another mistake that only caused the police to move in faster.
Although this story is still unfolding, it probably won’t end well for the fired officer. Sources say much of what he claims in his manifesto isn’t accurate. We’ll have to wait for the media to dig in for the truth. And don’t fear. They will, because there is a very interesting story here.
As for the ending I’d write? I’d probably have him find the only cop willing to listen to him. After a week-long manhunt and trust growing between the ex-officer and the cop, he’d turn himself in as the cop agrees to look into the corruption, and with the media behind him bring down any guilty parties.
Again, the important part is that this would end with no loss of innocent lives.
*Remember: This is not fact or fiction. These are just my musings.
“I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point American’s started depending on other people for everything. It was probably a slow process. First we gave companies the right to provide us with water and power so we didn’t have to get it ourselves. It was just easier that way. Probably sometime around the Great Depression, we started expecting the government to help us out when we were down on our luck. Now when we don’t have a job, we have someone to blame. I’m sure that sometimes it’s good to have others to rely on for help. But too many people use that as an excuse to not do what you should be doing.
“We created a police force to help protect us for the bad in the world. And now when our homes are broken into or we’re robbed on the street, we can blame the police for not protecting us. But should we really be expecting the police to do something we should be doing ourselves? Why have we so freely given up our right to protect ourselves to a group of people we don’t know? We don’t care about them, why should they care about us?
“If my house were to catch on fire, I wouldn’t sit and watch it burn and wait for the fire department to come help me. It’s MY house. I would pick up a hose and try to put the fire out. If someone wants to help, feel free. But it’s my house and thus my responsibility. If someone breaks into my house, I’m going to stop them. I’m not going to wait for the cops to get there. Where I grew up, no one would ever come.
“Maybe it’s because I don’t trust people in general. There are too many bad people out there, including myself. I want a gun to protect myself. There is no way I’d leave it to the cops. I know too many of those bad people also wear badges. To me, the worst possible outcome in the gun control debate is the only people who have guns is the cops and the criminals.
“But I’m not saying we shouldn’t do something to stop the senseless killings we’ve seen over the years. Owning a gun may be a right, but it’s also a privilege. Gun owners should treat it as such. Be respectful of the gun. Guns are extremely powerful. A gun can level the playing field for an eighty-year old woman and a nineteen year old gang banger. A gun can stop a crime, or it can start one.
“We need to remember the power a gun brings and protect it. Gun owners need to ensure their guns are always safe and have no possible way of falling into the wrong hands. Children, the mentally unstable, and criminals shouldn’t have such easy access to something so powerful. It’s our responsibility as Americans to ensure that doesn’t happen.”
The Alabama standoff that started almost a week ago with the abduction of a 5-year-old boy from a school bus is over.
The suspect in the case has been identified as 65-year-old Jimmy Lee Dykes. Last Tuesday, Dykes boarded a school bus and demanded the driver hand over two children. The bus driver refused and was killed as he tried to allow numerous children to escape. Dykes grabbed a boy, suffering from Asperger’s syndrome and Attention Deficit Disorder, and quickly barricaded himself in an underground bunker.
The standoff has ended and Dykes is reportedly dead. The young boy is safe. Information about the negotiations and what finally ended the standoff has not been released yet.
Image Credit: CNN.com
Amazon has the Kindle version of Stranger: A Death Valley Mystery on sale for only $0.99. If you haven’t read it, download it today.
There is a dead body in room 110 of the Death Valley Motel, and the evidence points to murder. Managers Ric and Alex Delgado, siblings with police work in their blood, chose this small Death Valley city specifically because it appeared to be a quiet place in which Alex could heal from the violent traumas of her past. Now a killer has struck too close to Alex, opening old wounds and threatening her new life.
The situation gets more complicated when Detective Will Stellar trains his observant eye on the siblings and ascertains they have something to hide. Murder seems to follow Alex Delgado, and Detective Stellar is certain she is a dangerous woman. Racing against time and against each other, the Delgados and Detective Stellar risk their lives to uncover the truth, which is ever more complicated and dangerous than any of them have imagined.
Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy… but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Dogs, monkeys, and parrots are a thousand times less miserable than we are.Candide by Voltaire