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Knowledge of our past is our inheritance. What we do with that knowledge will shape our destinies...

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: Success Principles by Jack Canfield

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Source
Today's teasers come from The Success Principles by Jack Canfield. I've actually been reading this book since the beginning of the year. My plan was to read one chapter per day. I would probably have only read 20 chapters a month, and it's a thick book. It would have been at least three months. But life's been hectic and I'm only now nearing the end. That said, it's one of the best, most inspiring, most profound books you could ever read. So many great lessons!
"I believe you have inside you a core genius--some one thing that you love to do and do so well that you hardly feel like charging people for it. And if you could make money doing it, you'd make it your lifetime's work. Successful people believe this, too. That's why they put their core genius first. They focus on it--and delegate everything else to other people on their team." (pg. 277)
What are you reading this week?

Monday, July 28, 2014

My First Fan Video!!!

My blogs may be a bit sparse this week. I had a super-crazy (if totally fun) few days, so I only got a few blogs done for the week.

Today's post has little to do with writing/reading/etc., but I thought I'd post it anyway. Lately I've been talking a lot about my favorite TV obsession, The Walking Dead. Not only is it a great show with awesome characters and plot twists, but it's also a fantastic example of the dystopian genre at it's finest.

Well, I finally finished up my first and (so far) only fan video and uploaded it to youtube. It's a totally sappy romance video for the couple I ship, but I had a blast putting it together. (It's harder than you might imagine to get the nuances right, though.) If anyone feels so inclined, click on it below and like it for me. I'd really appreciate it.

Warning: If you haven't watched all the way through season 4, spoilers abound! You've been warned!




Also below is the new trailer for season 5, which was just released on Friday via Comic Con in San Diego, and is already the most popular video on youtube. 




Have a great week, Everyone! Hope it's both fun and productive! :D

Anyone else into The Walking Dead? What do you think of the season 5 trailer?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Thoughts for Thursday: Mystery

Thoughts for Thursday is a new feature hosted by Musings on Fantasia and LKHill.  In this meme, we share thoughts or quotes that we know or have recently come across. Each week there is a specific subject or theme. These can be quotes from books, quotes by famous people, (quotes by YOU, perhaps ;D). Anything from anywhere is game, though we do ask that you keep your quote to a few sentences at most. Don't quote, for example, entire passages of a book or essay. These can be funny quips, cool sayings, hair-raising antidotes, movie lines, any kind of quote you can think of!

Just have fun, collect awesome sayings by awesome people, and try to be inspired!

For anyone who follows this blog, it's no surprise that I love mystery. I often post crime tidbits about very old cold cases. It combines my passions for history and mystery. Why are we all so intrigued by mystery in general? (Incidentally, Captain Picard once gave something of a speech about this.) On that note, this week's theme is Mystery

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

5 Tips for Writing a Believable (and Creepy) Serial Killer

Source
As most of you know, I'm a crime fiction writer, among other things. While it's not a particularly sunny topic, I thought today I'd address how to craft great (read: evil) believable, chill-inducing serial killers.

Let's start with a story: 

So one day a man--we'll call him John--goes to a funeral. He happens to see a pretty girl that catches his eye. That night, after leaving the funeral, John murders someone who was at that funeral, and shows up at his victim's funeral a few days later. Eventually, the police catch John. They determine that he didn't murder the person at the first funeral he attended, but he did murder the person being buried at the second. So why did John do it? Any guesses?

Criminal justice students would probably guess things similar to the following:

1. John had a grievance with the second man. Perhaps he went to the first funeral specifically to stalk him? Nope. Actually he never met or knew anything about his victim until he attended the first funeral. 

2. So maybe something happened after the funeral that made him zero in on the man? Not really. Nothing about that man in particular stood out to him. 

3. Maybe he's just a psycho and needed to kill someone? Well, John is, in fact, a serial killer. So, by nature, he's a bit of a psycho, but that's not why he killed this particular victim. He did have a reason.

The motive behind John's crime is one that pretty much any normal, sane person would never guess. The answer is that he wanted to see that pretty girl again.

Confused? Understandable. That makes absolutely no logical sense. But then, serial killers are far from logical. If they were, they wouldn't being killing people. 

You see, for John, killing is the norm. It's what makes him feel better, what gives him emotional release, how he gets things done. So, when he wanted to see that pretty girl again, it was only natural for him to pick someone in her circle of acquaintances and kill them because he knew she'd show up at the funeral. 

Chilling, isn't it?

If you are a crime writer who needs to write a great killer, check out these tips. (Of course, they can be adapted to write just about any villain in any genre.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: Outpost by Ann Aguirre

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Source
This week's teasers come from Outpost, book 2 of Ann Aguirre's Razorland series.


"The surviving growers rallied enough to go about their business, at least, but they did it with a mournful air. It seemed to me that seeds planted with bloody fingers should yield a bitter fruit, but I didn't express my reservations." (pg. 69)

What are you reading this week?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Crime Tidbit: Evangelist/Voodoo Murders

Source
Have you heard of the Evangelist Murders of 1929?

Benny Evangelist was a mystic and "faith" healer who used a combination of religion and mysticism to heal the ailments of his community. He may have dabbled in voodoo as well. He was moderately wealthy, both due to his soothsaying as well as because he was something of a realtor.

On July 3, 1929, a neighborhood real estate agent went looking for Benny. When he got no answer to his knocks at the door, he let himself in and made a grisly discovery. Not only was Benny Evangelist dead, but he'd been decapitated. His entire family--wife Santina and four children aged 7, 5, 4 and 18 mos. had been killed as well. They were all hacked to pieces.

Benny Evangelist was an Italian immigrant who had founded a cult entitled, "Great Union Federation of America." He held worship services in his office amidst grotesque wax figurines which represented the planets. One was a huge eye, electronically lit, which Evangelist referred to as "the sun."

As with most unsolved cases, police of the time made a mess of things, the crime scene was trampled and compromised, and no one was ever charged. The Italian immigrant community was stubbornly tight-lipped, which didn't help matters.


Benny Evangelist (Source)
Still, police had three major theories. 

One involved a quasi-secret criminal band called the Black Hand, which Evangelist was tied to. Police found several letters from them, one of which was signed, the Vendetta, with a hatchet drawn underneath. This theory was kept open constantly, but nothing ever came of it.

A second theory involved a man named Umberto Tecchio. Tecchio was the last man to see the Evangelists alive, and three months prior to the murders had killed a man with a knife in an argument over a debt. He stopped by the house the evening prior to the murders to make a final payment on a house Evangelist had sold him. A friend who went with him reported nothing strange in the meeting between Tecchio and Evangelist. Yet, later a paperboy reported that Tecchio was seen on the Evangelists' porch early the morning the bodies were discovered. Tecchio died in 1934, and an important witness was deported to Italy, essentially blocking the pursuit of this theory.

A third, more disturbing theory involved a man named Aurelius Angelino, another Italian immigrant who had been acquainted with Evangelist in New York (where he'd previously lived). In 1919, Angelino tried to murder his entire family with an ax. He succeeding in killing two of his children before being stopped. He was sent to an insane asylum, where he broke out twice and was brought back. In 1923, he broke out a third time and was never seen again. Police wondered if perhaps Angelino had made his way to Detroit, where his old friend had set up shop. After all, the crime scene was “much more suggestive of the fanatic run amok than it is of the neighborhood bad man.” (Source)

Still others believed Evangelist himself was insane. He wrote a book entitled "The Oldest History of the World." It's "a pastiche of religious fanaticism with moments of clarity, delusion and illiterate beauty." (SourcePerhaps he was really into voodoo, or perhaps that was a cover to rip people off and make money. It is believed that he relieved more than one of his clients of their life savings.

What do you think of this cold case? Was Evangelist crazy, or just a con man? Were one of the two named suspects the culprit, or was it the Black Hand? Or someone else entirely? What strikes you about this story?


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Thoughts for Thursday: Ayn Rand

Thoughts for Thursday is a new feature hosted by Musings on Fantasia and LKHill.  In this meme, we share thoughts or quotes that we know or have recently come across. Each week there is a specific subject or theme. These can be quotes from books, quotes by famous people, (quotes by YOU, perhaps ;D). Anything from anywhere is game, though we do ask that you keep your quote to a few sentences at most. Don't quote, for example, entire passages of a book or essay. These can be funny quips, cool sayings, hair-raising antidotes, movie lines, any kind of quote you can think of!

Just have fun, collect awesome sayings by awesome people, and try to be inspired!

This week's theme is Ayn Rand! Seriously under-read these days, this woman was WAY ahead of her time and really knows her stuff. Today's T4T is dedicated to her quotes!