Tag Archives: Marred

Good things happened today.

I just made and devoured a home made Rueben sandwich. Fried things are probably bad, but sauerkraut is good, so I’m all balanced on the health meter. On the happy meter, I’m way up there.

I wrote this short story Saturday night. It amounted to about 2200, 2300 words. There is no speculative element in it, so it’s kind of an orphan. It involves a murder, so I sought some help. Sue Coletta said something polite like, “That sounds like fun.” I twisted that into, “Please let me read it.”

I knew I wasn’t entirely honest about it, but she is the best murder writer I know. Honestly read her book, Marred.

Sue read my short story, liked it, and even edited it for me. I was so excited, I lost my concentration for a moment or two. I have the iPad Pro that allows for a split screen, but I can’t open the same program using the split screen.

I never got rid of my old iPad, so I improvised. I opened Sue’s mark-up on the old iPad, and my draft on the new one. This works incredibly well. I even looked up a spelling error on the split screen, so I had three windows open at once. I just caught this one while I was working through it. Mother-load is not correct. I’ve worked at mines, and staked thousands of claims in my lifetime. A quick Google confirmed that it is mother-lode, like a lode deposit.

This also means that I owe Sue big time. I have something in mind, but I’ll have to wait to tell everyone about it.

The Yak Guy Project gained about 3000 words. I’m a little afraid that things aren’t happening fast enough for my usual readers, but this is a different kind of story. It involves a young man from the entitled generation who gets plopped into a world where all the technology is gone. Life is tough, and if you don’t do it yourself, you might starve to death. He has to get his hands dirty and everything, and I mean slaughtering chickens kind of dirty.

In this scene, he is with someone he considers less than himself. The fellow survived a war wound that left major brain damage. He can function to a degree, but needs some help with basic things too. It turns out Yak Guy Ted learns things from the invalid, and he’s about to have a revelation about himself.

There is a lot of philosophical stuff in Ted’s journey, and he is growing up in ways he should have years ago. I have no idea what genre to even plunk it in when I’m finished. I really like the idea of pride takes a fall in today’s words, and maybe there is hope for the Yak Guy after all.

Third big deal, fourth if you count my awesome sandwich. I posted some time ago about being nominated for a Planetary award. This was for my short story, Something in the Water, which came out in The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack.

It looks like the nominating period is over, and the voting starts tomorrow. I would really appreciate anyone who votes for my little story. Win or lose, the Commander is a great guy, and if we could drive him some traffic that would be great too. The voting link isn’t up right now, so I’ll post the home page where it will be tomorrow. This is the voting link.

I have to go back to the paycheck job tomorrow, but if I get time, I will update the link to the actual voting page. I’ll also try to share the link across social media as time allows.

The old dog is having a good day. The Walking Dead came back last night, and Daryl blew up some obnoxious biker thieves, Carol shot the Wolf dude, and that was all cool. I got some good work done, and I’m feeling pretty happy about things. I even gathered another five star review on one of my older books. (Panama)

I may even start another short story to carry me through the week.



Filed under Writing

Saturday fumbling

I started off today reading blogs and responding to comments. I wound up starting another Amazon campaign for Will O’ the Wisp, this time using the genres. I tried to pick fields that don’t overlap with Experimental Notebook. I may not know what I’m doing, but I try lots of stuff.

My wife and I headed for town. We did some minor damage at Costco. She wanted a large white pumpkin for some sort of decoupage project she saw. I knew of a fruit stand that has huge white pumpkins right now. We wound up buying a pair of them. It took both of us to lift them, but I managed fine after I was on my feet.

She told me on the way home that she might not do the project, but they’ll look good on our porch anyway. I’ll leave you to imagine the look on my face.

We were close to The Tilted Kilt around lunchtime. Speaking of gigantic white pumpkins… Nevermind. Our waitress was very nice. I even indulged in a couple of Old Chub Scottish ales, one of my favorites. I had a strange sort of hamburger/patty melt that wound up being awesome.

I looked for the Boise State football game with no luck, so I watched the end of the Cubs/Cardinals game. Then Dr. Who taught me about the Bootstrap Paradox.

I spent the rest of my evening finishing up Sue Coletta’s wonderful book Marred. This is a fabulous book, and I’m really excited for her. If you grab it while it’s on pre-order it really helps. (Hint)

This post is just about the end of my evening. Tomorrow the tour for Will O’ the Wisp starts, so I’ll be checking comments at my host’s site throughout the day. Drop by and say hi.


Filed under Uncategorized

Edge of your seat psychological thriller

Sue is a dear friend of mine, and she has a new book out. She’s popped over to tell us about it, and she’s offering a super pre-release deal on it too. I already have my copy.


Thanks for having me today, Craig! I’m so excited to talk about the research behind Marred, my new psychological thriller.

I had to do a ton of research beforehand. When I was planning the story I wanted Sheriff Niko Quintano to be a father figure to his deputies, teaching them the ropes the way he was taught. But in order for me to do that I needed to know what I was talking about. The first thing I tackled was blood spatter analysis. Recently a friend of mine, an ex-cop/ex-coroner, published a post that would have saved me days. Figures, right?

But I didn’t have that post then. I was on my own.

Sleeves rolled up, I dug in to find out how to tell one blood drop from another at a crime scene. Then, how to distinguish medium-velocity spatter from low-velocity spatter. In Marred, the victims weren’t shot, so high-velocity spatter didn’t come into play, though I learned it anyway. It’ll come in handy in a future book, I’m sure.

Here’s a short excerpt from the scene…

Niko gestured to Ben to follow him to the back of the barn. Beneath a second floor loft, he pointed at blood splattered across the barn-board flooring. “This is low-force velocity, low-velocity spatter. Each drop is at least four millimeters long. That tells us this blood is from the vic’s wounds dripping and not from blunt force trauma or stabbing. See the irregular edges? That’s because the wood floor is rough. It has no finish. So when the blood falls, it leaves a jagged edge. If these were sanded and polished like most floors today, I’d expect to see smooth edges.” He paused. “Any questions so far?”

Ben’s forehead rippled, the creases almost as sharp as his pants. “Without the ME’s report, how’d you know it’s from dripping and not something else?”

“A stabbing, say, would result in medium-velocity spatter. Depending on the force of the blow, it causes the blood to break into smaller-sized splatter. The velocity is determined by how hard the killer strikes the victim and not how fast the blood falls.”

With deep nods, Ben scribbled notes in his notepad.

“I’ll tell you how I was taught. Look closely at the blood drops. Don’t they look like little tadpoles?”

Ben shrugged one shoulder. “I guess.” He leaned closer. “Okay. I see it now.”

“Great. So, let me ask you—” Niko paused, waiting for Ben to look up. “Knowing the droplets are four millimeters long—”

“How’d you know that?”

“Trust me. I’ve been doing this awhile.” Nothing irked him more than being interrupted. He let it go. The eager deputy was hungry to learn, and that was a good thing. Shame he couldn’t say the same for Frankie. “How do you think I got that figure?”


“Think of it this way. These are tadpoles, right? Slice off their tails like you would a fish and then measure. Cut once, measure twice, as in woodworking.”

The nodding started again, a wide grin blooming on Ben’s full lips. “Now you’re speaking my language.”

“I thought that might work.” Inside, he chuckled. Ben was a smart kid. A bit green, but with direction and encouragement he could make a fine sheriff one day. “Moving on.” Three strides forward and he pointed at a second blood pattern. “This is medium-velocity spatter.”

To review his notes, Ben flipped back a few pages in his notebook. “Medium is from blunt force trauma or stabbing.”

“Correct. In this case, the medium-velocity happened when he slammed her over the head, knocking her out. I’m guessing he used the butt of a gun or something equivalent. We now know the tails show directionality. Meaning, from which way the blood fell. Right?”

A groan escaped from Ben’s awkward smile. “Uh-ha.”

Niko motioned as if he was stabbing his six-foot-two deputy in the gut. “If I stabbed you like this, then the tails of the tadpoles would face which way?”

“Toward you?”

“That a question?”

Ben checked his notes. “Toward me.”

“Very good.” He enjoyed teaching. During the early years of his marriage, he’d dreamed of the day he could teach his son how to ride a bike and throw a baseball. Sadly, that day would never come…without another miracle. “You’re the source of the blood so the tails would face you. Now, look at the way the tails are pointing here. Where was the mutt standing when he struck the vic?”

Panic taking hold, Ben’s head shook like a metronome on speed. Niko wanted to help, tell him to breathe and calm him down, but he couldn’t. If he didn’t allow him to process things his own way, he’d never learn.

“I can’t tell anymore. There’s so much blood. I’m not even sure where the medium-velocity is compared to the rest.” Defeated, his shoulders dropped. “Maybe I’m not cut out for this.”


As the story progresses Niko wants to arm his petite wife, Sage, to keep her safe from the serial killer, slaughtering women in their rural New Hampshire town, and one who’s threatening to make Sage his next target. Sage had never fired a handgun before. For the record, neither have I. So I had to research not only which weapons would fit the scene but how to instruct someone on how to properly use a firearm. That was easier than the blood spatter, but I still had to watch endless hours of YouTube videos to get the right shooter’s stance, learn the different sayings, etc.

Okay, maybe not hours, but it felt like it.

Any guesses as to which weapon I chose for Sage? Tell me in the comments.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the pre-release sale price for Marred. From now till 11/11/15 you can pick up a copy for only .99 cents. Available at all online retailers. Print versions will become available after the first of the year.

Thanks again for having me, Craig!

Website/blog: www.suecoletta.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/SueColetta1

Facebook: www.facebook.com/SueColetta1

Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/suecoletta

Tirgearr Publishing: http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Coletta_Sue.index.htm

Edit: find the purchase links here.


Filed under Writing