Saturday, May 30, 2015

Writing True Crime by JoAnne Myers

First you must pick an interesting crime. I specialize in homicides in my home state of Ohio. Routinely reading newspapers will help the writer find murder cases. Find a homicide that has numerous good elements that will hold one’s interest.
Next you must start the investigation of your chosen crime. To find my information, I read newspaper reports of the homicide. I searched court documents for witness reports, and courtroom testimony. I interviewed witnesses. Persons that either were present when the crime occurred, or had after the fact information. Try to locate the victim’s family members, and see if they want their side of the story told. If the case goes to trial, the Defense’s job is to discredit the victim. To portray the deceased as the “bad -guy.” This type of mud-slinging does not sit well with loved ones of the victim. Give them a chance to speak for the deceased. Anyone that was involved with the case, will have something of interest to report. Don’t forget to locate the reports of the arresting officers and the homicide detectives. Try to locate the coroner’s report, any eyewitness, or people who reported hearing an altercation or gunshots. 
Keep abreast of updates, and read everything that was written about the case. Build a relationship with the law enforcement officials who are involved in the case. I personally live in a very small town, where most citizens know one another, and many have relatives or close friends that are involved with law enforcement. Attend the trial and speak to everyone you can about the criminal, the victim and prosecution and defense witness.
Last but not least, sit down and write. Now it is time to tell the story of the crime. Hopefully you will find most of the information you need in your copious notes--if not go back and get the answers you need. Never throw away any notes or information concerning the case. Not even after the trial is over with, and the story is written. Most convicted felons apply for numerous appeals, which take years to dissolve. Some cases never seem to end; The Crime of the Century was such a case. When the accused was found guilty and sent to prison, he and his attorneys, who always believed him innocent, continued fighting for his freedom. That blessed event came after the convicted spent five years on death row. He was cleared with DNA, but it still took nearly thirty years to find the true killers. If you want your true crime novel to be believable, you can't fudge the facts.

The Crime of the Century-a shocking true story      
The residents of Rolling Hills, a hamlet in southeastern Ohio, were horrified when the dismembered bodies of two missing teens were pulled from the local river. Multiply suspects surfaced, but only one was railroaded, Richard Allan Lloyd, a known nudist and hothead. 
What began as an evening stroll turned into what found only in horror films, and dubbed ‘the crime of the century’. 18 year old Babette, a voluptuous beauty contestant and horsewoman, and her 19 year old boyfriend Shane Shoemaker, a jealous and possessive unemployed printer, were last seen crossing a trestle bridge. Within fourteen days, their mutilated torsos and severed heads and limbs were unearthed, suggesting satanic cult activity.
With an investigation smeared with contradicting statements, and a botched crime scene, investigators built a flimsy case against Richard Lloyd. The three-week trial was based on police corruption and ineptitude, fairytale theories, and forensic mishandling.
This heinous crime shattered the sense of security for Rolling Hills, destroyed two families, and forever scarred the town. This story is a detailed account of finding justice for Babette and Shane, and of one man’s perseverance to gain his freedom from death row.


Once the teenagers’ photographs hit the front page of the local and neighboring newspapers, the public bombarded the sheriff’s office and Police Department with phone calls. Many claimed seeing the kids in various places, and of hearing “gunshots and strange occurrences” around the cornfield during the suspected time, which initially was 5 pm., to 6:30 pm, Monday evening.
After weeding out the crackpots and those wanting money for their information, authorities had some worthwhile leads. One being fifty-four-year-old Ernie Brooks.  An admitted alcoholic and illiterate, Ernie was toothless, with stringy grey hair and lazy blue-eyes. He had lived on the banks of the Bottle Neck River since 1974.  
He claimed while in his sleeping bag in the bushes on the riverbank at first light, he “was woken by a noise, or the misty rain falling.” When he opened his eyes, he saw a man within arm’s distance of him, engaged in “some-kind of activity.” He stayed quiet and watched the man walk up the bank and leave the vicinity, never seeing him again. 
Ernie described the individual as “being over six feet tall.” Dressed in “dark green coveralls or army fatigues” with a “brimmed hat” rolled to a point in the front. Ernie said the point was so pronounced, it reminded him of the three cornered hats from revolutionary days.
When Ernie’s description of the man on the riverbank was released, business owners Jane and Dan Fox and Kyle Nix, became alarmed. All three agreed it fit the description of their employee, twenty-six-year-old Keith Leonard, an unlicensed butcher by trade. The trio described Keith, as a “strange person” who told “bizarre stories” of himself, and lived an “alternative lifestyle.”  Many claimed Keith as “weird,” but that did not stop them from drinking Keith’s beer, smoking his cigarettes or using his drugs whenever he had any.

About the Author I have been a long-time resident of southeastern Ohio, and worked in the blue-collar industry most of my life. Besides having several novels under my belt, I canvas paint.
When not busy with hobbies or working outside the home, I spend time with relatives, and volunteer my time within the community. I am a member of the International Women’s Writing Guild, Savvy Authors, Coffee Time Romance, Paranormal Romance Guild, True Romance Studios, National Writers Association, the Hocking Hill's Arts and Craftsmen Association, The Hocking County Historical Society and Museum, and the Hocking Hills Regional Welcome Center. I believe in family values and following your dreams. My original canvas paintings, can be found at:

Other books by JoAnne:
 "WICKED INTENTIONS" a paranormal/mystery anthology
"LOVES', MYTHS' AND MONSTERS'," a fantasy anthology
“MURDER MOST FOUL” a detective/mystery
“TWISTED LOVE” 12 cases of love gone bad
“FLAGITIOUS” a 4 crime/mystery anthology

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Order your copy of “The Crime of the Century” by JoAnne Myers here

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Romance Reviews Summer Sizzling Reads Party!

Summer time, hot beaches, and cool breezes require sizzling reads! Come to The Romance Reviews Sizzling Summer Reads party June 1-30, 2015 to play games and win prizes.

 I'll be giving away a copy of my paranormal sizzler, Obsession!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Coloring Outside the Body by CD Hersh

Thanks so much for having us on your blog today. We are going to talk about a special skill our shape shifters possess.

When people think about the classic shape shifter, i.e. werewolf, they normally associate a higher sense of smell or strength with the creature. Because we were building our shape shifting world outside the normal vein of shape shifting that most readers are familiar with, we gave our shifters a different skill. Some of our higher level shifters possess the ability to read auras.

For those who don’t know what an aura is, it is an energy field that appears around the body which reflects the life energies of the person. Proponents of auras believe you can teach yourself to see the auras of other people. Different colors seen in the aura indicate basic health, emotions, and mental activity. Believers in auras feel you have a basic color that reflects your dominant personality. Others believe the aura is constantly changing, reflecting a person’s emotional state.

Our shifters can’t be taught to read auras. It’s something that happens to them and delineates them as high-level shifters. The magic bloodstone ring, that provides the ability to shape shift, also has an aura. Shifters who can read auras can see this green and red ring aura as well as the person’s basic aura life-energy colors. This allows them to read a shape shifters emotions and determine if they are good or bad shifters. Bad shifters have a red and black aura. Good shifters have a green ring aura.

Alexi, our heroine in The Promised One, can spot the bad guys, shifter and non-shifter, with a simple scan of their auras. This is a handy skill for a homicide detective to possess. Auric reading makes it easy to hunt the villain and keep the good guys and bad guys sorted. Delaney, our heroine in Blood Brothers, also has this skill. When we got to Son of the Moonless Night we decided to change things up a bit. Owen, our hero, does not have this skill, which puts him at a definite disadvantage. To up the danger for Alexi, who appears in all of the books, we caused her to lose the ability part way through book three. One of the reasons we decided to adjust this skill in some of our characters is because we realized auric reading could present a problem. How can you lie to a high-level shifter who can read your aura and tell whether or not you are being truthful? Secrets, which are important to the story, would be impossible to hide and maintain.

Auric reading started to be a problem for us until our characters came up with a way to mask their auras. Just like an accomplished liar can beat a polygraph machine, our skilled shifters can conceal their feelings by shutting down their emotions and hide their lies by telling enough truth to cover the deception. However, they have to be quick about it, because every time a high-level rogue shifter faces off with a good shifter there is a lot of auric scanning going on. As for humans, they don’t have a chance against a high-level shifter.

Here is an example from Son of the Moonless Night when the heroine, Katrina, faces off with Alexi:

Red flooded the colored rings of Katrina’s aura. She was anxious. “Someone said they saw you at the scene of the crime. Were you there?”
“Who? The man in your office earlier? He lied. I was at home last night eating pizza.” She angled her body toward the door as if ready to run and stuffed her hands in her pockets.
A partial truth. Alexi could see that. “I know about you. Since Delaney is retiring she told me I should have your back.”
“I don’t know what you mean.”
“Paranormal hunter,” Alexi said softly. “Is that what you were doing last night in the alley? I’m not saying you killed the man, just if you know anything about what happened you should share it with me. I can’t protect you if you don’t let me.”
The stiffness went out of Katrina’s posture. “I didn’t have anything to do with what happened. I stumbled on it. That man in the drawer was a werebear. A really big one. He attacked a man. By the time I got into the alley, the bear was dead.”
“The man you helped out of the alley. Who was he?”
“I don’t know. I took him back to my place, and when I went out to get medical supplies he left.”
“Why didn’t you take him to the hospital?”
Kat gave her an are-you-crazy look. “Hello. Paranormal hunter here. I couldn’t tell the medics he’d been mauled by a non-existent bear. Besides, he begged me not to. I thought it in my best interest, and the city’s, to figure out what he knew. He left before I could find anything out.”
“Do you think he knows what he shot?”
“No. He called it, it, like you would if you’d shot an animal.” She locked her gaze on Alexi. “So, now you know, what are you going to do?”
“About what?”
“Me. The investigation into the werebear.”
           “Keep your secret and watch your back.

Title – Son of the Moonless Night, The Turning Stone Chronicles, book three
Author – C.D. Hersh
Genre – Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Suspense Romance
Heat Level - Sensual
Release Date: May 27th, 2015

Thrust back into the world of paranormal huntress, Deputy Coroner Katrina Romanovski must unravel a string of murders she believes are vampire attacks. When she discovers the shape shifter she’s in love with is the murderer, she must reconcile her feelings for him, examine her life of violence against paranormals, and justify deceiving him in order to bring him to justice.

Owen Todd Jordan Riley has a secret. He’s a shape shifter who has been hunting and killing his own kind. To him the only good shifter is a dead shifter. Revenge for the death of a friend motivates him, and nothing stands in his way . . . except Katrina Romanovski, the woman he is falling in love with.

Deputy coroner Katrina Romanovski has a secret, too. She hunts and kills paranormal beings like Owen. At least she did. When she rescues Owen from an attack by a werebear she is thrust back into the world she thought she’d left. Determined to find out what Owen knows about the bear, she begins a relationship meant to collect information. What she gets is something quite different-love with a man she suspects of murder. Can she reconcile his deception and murderous revenge spree and find a way to redeem him? Or will she condemn him for the same things she has done and walk away from love?

Amazon buy links:
The Promised One (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 1):

Blood Brothers (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 2):

Son of the Moonless Night (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 3):

About the Authors: Putting words and stories on paper is second nature to co-authors C.D. Hersh. They’ve written separately since they were teenagers and discovered their unique, collaborative abilities in the mid-90s. As high school sweethearts and husband and wife, Catherine and Donald believe in true love and happily ever after.

Together they have co-authored a number of dramas, six which have been produced in Ohio, where they live. Their interactive Christmas production had five seasonal runs in their hometown and has been sold in Virginia, California, and Ohio. Their most recent collaborative writing efforts have been focused on romance. The first two books of their paranormal romance series entitled The Turning Stone Chronicles are available on Amazon. The third book in the series Son of the Moonless Night will be released May 27th by Soul Mate Publishing.

Where you can find CD: