Thursday, March 21, 2013

Cilantro is Evil

Crime fiction deals with some dangerous—and violent—situations. How does your personal belief about guns affect your writing about guns?

I am not a fan of guns. I’ve only touched a real gun once, at a shooting range as part of a Citizen’s Police Academy. (Don’t mess with me—I put all five in the inner circle!).

mushroom cloudBut I’m not a fan of a lot of things: switchblades, ricin, nuclear weapons, child abuse, nunchuks, garrotes, poison, cilantro, cheese, aggressive drivers, ebola, bad ballet, good ballet, blowhards, cannibalism, back-stabbing, double-dealing, two-timing, UNC basketball, soccer shootouts, Iran, the DMV, poor punctuation, snow, earthquakes, baggage fees, illegal narcotics, rush hour, 4 a.m. telephone calls, rude people, liars, neckties, torn ligaments, bigots, and ingrown toenails.

Yet…I write about a lot of that stuff. And about other things many people would find objectionable. Why? Because it’s all part of the human condition, for good and for bad (okay, mostly for bad).

I’m not romanticizing these things, or making them seem cool or attractive or fashionable. But sometimes you have to write about stuff you don’t like—really icky, evil stuff—because unfortunately, there’s evil stuff in the world.

Sticking our heads in the sand and ignoring that reality is doing a disservice to our readers.

Besides, it would be pretty boring if I only wrote about unicorns, cotton candy, and rainbows. Trust me, I’ve tried.


(This entry is “simul-posted” on Criminal Minds.)


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Embracing My Dark Side

Do you ever like your villain more than your hero? Which is easier for you to write?

Mwa ha ha! I love, love, love some of the villains I’ve created in my books. (“Love” in the sense that I think they are especially evil or maniacal or twisted. But, no, PeeWee, I wouldn’t want to marry any of them.)

For me, I enjoy creating a diabolical villain. Fictionwise, the stronger the villain, the more difficult it is for the hero to triumph, and the more opportunity for great conflict. But even better, writing for a villain is a lot of fun.

You can be mean. You can be crude. You can be truly evil. You can have your villain do things that a law-abiding, moral human would never do. And it’s all acceptable! Encouraged even! There are many things you can do with your villain that would get you thrown out of the author’s guild, if you tried it with your hero.

I’m not sure it’s any easier writing from a bad guy’s perspective, but it does provide me with an outlet for my aggression. Rather than kick the cat, I can live vicariously through my villains’ heinous actions. (Please, no letters. I don’t own a cat and I would never kick an animal. Heck, I take bugs outside rather than squish them.)

Of course, not all villains are over-the-top Darth Vader types. Still, there’s usually some aspect of their personality that my id can relate to and, um, enjoy. (I’m not sure what that says about me, but we’ll leave that for another blog post: When Good People Write Bad Things and the People Who Love Them.)

Besides, don’t readers like reading about evil villains?

(This entry is “simul-posted” on Criminal Minds.)


Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Ride Along_cover_750x1200 from MelanieI’m pleased to announce that my latest original ebook, RIDE-ALONG, is now available on Kindle, for the “new release” price of $2.99.

Of all the books/stories I’ve written, published and yet-to-be published, RIDE-ALONG is one of my favorites, partly because the opening sequence is based (loosely) on a wild police ride-along experience I actually had on the mean streets of Herndon, VA.


I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Here’s a brief description. Of course, you can download a FREE six-chapter sample (short chapters) from Amazon HERE.



Trey Powers never killed a cop before. Never had to.

But after his cousin Jimmy has been framed and murdered by Officer Karla Cheng, one of Hafton Police Department’s finest, Trey has no choice.

He must avenge Jimmy’s death, one way or another.

To get closer to his quarry, Trey joins the police department’s Citizen Action Team, and when a rival team member is killed, fingers point at Trey.

Now, he’s the hunted one, and the harrowing race is on: Can Trey bring Cheng to justice before she frames him for murder?

Or does something even worse?

Ultimately, Trey finds his life in jeopardy—along with the lives of those he loves—after embarking on a terrifying ride-along with Jimmy’s cold-blooded murderer.

Trey Powers never killed a cop before.

Never had to.