Tag Archives: Special Crimes Team

LIMITED TIME: FREE EBOOK!

STREET HARVEST, BOOK 2, SPECIAL CRIMES TEAM WILL BE FREE ON AMAZON UNTIL DECEMBER 7TH! GRAB YOUR COPY NOW!
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KVREDIC
Human traffickers abduct children to feed a 35 BILLION DOLLAR PER YEAR industry. Children are raped, sodomized, tortured, murdered.
IN the United States, a child goes missing every 40 SECONDS. STREET HARVEST is their story.
What do the bodies of two young children have in common with the murders of two adult men?
Eleanor Hasting, a black bookstore owner and child advocate, knows these killings are linked. She must convince Lieutenant Michael Williams, head of the Special Crimes Team.
Psychic Jaimie Wolfwalker, is prepared to do whatever it takes to locate and rescue the missing street children. The law be damned. Jaimie’s attitude and methods place her on a collision course with Sergeant Nita Slowater, second-in-command of the Special Crimes Team.
Four dedicated people struggle to come to terms with each other in their desperate search for clues. Every day brings more missing children, more young bodies. Can they stop the monsters before another child disappears?

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#READERS HOLD THE KEY

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In this brave new world of literature, all the old rules have been tossed aside. #Ebooks have been blamed for this phenomenon, but the ebook revolution is only guilty in that it allowed more books to reach the public. According to Bowker, a respected name in publishing industry, over 3500 books are published each DAY! Currently,there are literally millions of books available.Competition for reader attention is fierce.
So, authors are reinventing the novel. A novel used to be defined as a complete story –with a distinct beginning, middle and end–consisting of seventy thousand words, more or less. In today’s world, novels may have as few as fifty thousand words or they may have over a hundred thousand words; the reader might reach the end of the book only to discover that the last page is a cliff-hanger and the second book–which may not yet be available yet–must be purchased to continue the story without any guarantees that book two will provide a satisfying climax and ending. This type of book is usually not labeled as a ‘cliff-hanger’.
Personally, this is when I am sorely tempted to fling the book at the wall then stomp it for good measure! (Unfortunately, I read a lot of e-books and reading devices do not like being bounced off of walls!)
Serial novels are another device designed to hook a reader. These books have an ending, but the main storyline has not ended–much like a television serial. These books are sometimes labeled as a ‘series’, or less often they are labeled as a ‘serial’.
Book series–not to be confused with books that actually belong to a serial story–are frequently written. With some series–like Kay Hooper’s earlier books in the Bishop series–the individual books can be read as stand-alone novels and/or read out of sequence without compromising enjoyment of the individual or of the series.
As a reader, I enjoy the flexibility this offers. This is reflected in the fact that as a writer my Special Crimes Team series (found at http://www.amazon.com/author/ayawalksfar) follows this model–the books can be read out of sequence.
Length and endings are not the only things rapidly changing. Gone are the days when romance novels stop the action at the bedroom doorway and mystery novels hint at the blood and gore, yet leave the details to the reader’s imagination. Scenes containing sex and violence have become increasingly graphic and prolific.
At a romance writer’s conference that I attended this summer, one publisher stated that readers not only wanted more graphic sex scenes, but that they were bored with plain vanilla sex. At one time, writers would have regarded such a statement as bordering on the demand for pornography. Today it is more along the lines of ‘business as usual’.
I read one of a well-known writer’s recent works in which I finally defaulted to skimming pages of the novel because various graphic sex scenes were endlessly repeated with a variety of partners. I never did find an actual storyline, unless the sex was it.
Then there are the novels that grossed a huge profit in very recent times, but have been called by some people in the BDSM community a bad example of true BDSM, but a good example of the glorification of domestic violence. (Actually, the Fifty Shades of Gray series follows the warning signs for the entire cycle of domestic violence. In my other life as a counselor, I referred young women like that to psychologists or therapists who specialized in treating victims of domestic violence.)
As a reader, I find graphic sex and violence that is not intimately tied to furthering the storyline boring, at best. On the other hand, as an author I write novels in which graphic sex and violence occur; however, I work diligently to be sure that those scenes are necessary for the development and movement of the storyline. As a reader, I enjoy novels that adhere to this general rule.
Another striking difference in novels of bygone years and novels of today is the level of profanity. In the past a writer who used “crap!” was considered racy. Nowadays, books contain a large variety of words considered to be profanity.
Again, as a reader, I look for novels where the word types used are congruent with the characters speaking. A rough and tumble detective in a hardcore mystery or crime novel might very well curse while an amateur detective in a cozy mystery might be skating the line by murmuring, “Oh, poo!”
Even in the face of changes that they do not like, readers frequently feel that they have little to no influence on what is written and published. In reality, readers are the key element in a novel’s success.
The reader’s input is mainly measured in four ways: 1. Sales numbers 2. Reader reviews 3. Personal feedback from beta readers and from the general public 4. Word of mouth recommendations.
Of those four methods that measure the reading public’s reactions to a novel, reader reviews and word of mouth recommendations are the most important ones. People browsing to find another book to read will often look for “social proof” that the book is worth their time. Reader reviews and word of mouth recommendations are that “social proof”. Unlike word of mouth recommendations, reader reviews can be directly linked to sales increases. An increase in positive reader reviews will increase the sales of a book.
Because readers,like everyone else in our busy society, have a large number of demands on their time, reviews are sometimes difficult to obtain. As a reader, I will often end my day by sitting down to read for a while before I go to bed. As a voracious reader, it is not unusual for me to read anywhere from five to ten books per week.
Each review requires approximately five minutes to write and post on Amazon or Goodreads–the sites most widely used to find new books. Five minutes doesn’t sound like a lot of time to invest in such a worthy cause, but when time to relax is at a premium it can feel like ‘one more chore’.
In order to combat this feeling, while supporting authors whose work I enjoy, I keep a pad of paper and a pen handy. While I read I jot down notes on the points I liked best about the book. Authors love long, detailed reviews, but a two-sentence review that summarizes what a reader enjoyed most–one reader’s review focused on her enjoyment of the character Grandma Greene in the novel Old Woman Gone(http://www.amazon.com/Woman-Gone-Special-Crimes-Team-ebook/dp/B00OICBEV0). In Backlash (http://www.amazon.com/Backlash-Special-Crimes-Team-Book-ebook/dp/B00W7UJAWA), a woman identified with the struggles faced by several supporting characters–is deeply appreciated (especially if the star rating is four or five! As an author, those reviews make the long hours of writing, editing and rewriting worth every minute spent).
There you have it–with a few minutes of your time you, the reader, decide whether a novel succeeds or fails. In so doing, you ultimately choose everything from the length of future novels to the amount of profanity used to how graphic the scenes containing sex and violence will be written. You are the future of literature.
PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT
Do you enjoy:
1. Short novels of less than 200 pages?
2. Do you feel short-changed by a novel that does not contain over two hundred pages?
3. Do you like cliff-hanger endings?
4. Do you buy serial novels, with serials defined much the way television serials–such as Special Victims Unit–are defined?
5. Would you rather have a series of novels connected by the characters, but still able to be read out of sequence as a stand-alone novel?
6. Are you comfortable with graphic sex scenes used in romantic situations during which sex would be a natural progression?
8. Do you feel violence should be depicted graphically in the more hardcore crime and mystery novels, if it is a natural occurrence within the storyline?
9. Are you comfortable with the use of profanity by characters depicted as people who would likely use such language?
10. What would you like to see different in the development of novels?

katrina leavereview

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A Short Reminder

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4 #FREE #BOOKS

Share these download codes with family, friends and co-workers. These four #books will remain #free ONLY until August 30, 2015. (JUST 4 more DAYS!) Go to http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/AyaWalksfar to download your FREE copy, or copies! Download any one or all four of these #ebooks. These are COMPLETE books; not teasers.

  1. (Genre: #Mystery/Thriller/police drama) Street Harvest, Book 2, Special Crimes Team, Code JE68B   (NOTE: all the books in my series can be read out of order or as stand-alone novels) What do the bodies of two young children have in common with the murders of two adult men? Eleanor Hasting, a black bookstore owner and child advocate knows these killings are linked. Now, she must convince Lieutenant Michael Williams, head of the Special Crimes Team. Psychic Jaimie Wolfwalker is prepared to do whatever it takes to locate and rescue the missing street children. The law be damned! Jaimie’s attitude and methods place her on a collision course with Sergeant Nita Slowater, second-in-command of the Special Crimes Team. Four dedicated people struggle to come to terms with each other in their desperate search for clues. Every day brings more missing children, more young bodies. They must stop the monsters before another child disappears…forever.
  2. (Genre: Mystery/Thriller) Run or Die, Code MX48Y Life had never been easy for Jaz Wheeler. When love touched her world only to be snatched away, emptiness settled around her heart. She barely cared enough to keep body and soul together until she landed on Hawk Hill and the Hopewell Farm. Somehow the isolated farm caught her by the heart strings. Now, she must find the strength and the courage to stand against the ultimatum to run or die.
  3. (Genre: #Literary) Good Intentions, Code HQ72R Bev Ransom thinks her life can’t get any worse after her father dies unexpectedly. At least, she has her friend and employer, Rene Lawson, an intriguing older woman whose past is shrouded in mystery. Then, on a day like any other, Bev goes to work and by evening Rene is dead. Devastated and unable to let go of another loved one, Bev becomes obsessed with unraveling the mysteries that surrounded Rene. When she uncovers a twenty-year old secret, Bev’s world is shattered. Is there anyone she can trust?
  4. (Genre: Mystery/Thriller, a novella) Dead Men and Cats, Code UH42Z When Megan Albright and Janie Sampson discover a dead man and a live, calico kitten floating in an old rowboat the serenity of the quiet community of Shadow Island is shattered. Then Dan Uley, a close friend, is murdered. Doubting the sheriff’s commitment to finding the killer, they know they must do it for there is no telling who will be the next to die.

Here are the instructions for downloading via Smashwords: (They can only be accessed for FREE through Smashwords!)

  1. You have to set up a FREE Smashwords account. It’s totally FREE!
  2. After the account is set up:

Go to http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/AyaWalksfar

Scroll down until you find the book title you have a coupon code for and click on it

Click on the book cover

Click “Buy”

The book cover and title will appear along with the original price and below the original price will be “coupon code” with a box next to it

Type in the code for your FREE download

Click “Checkout” in the upper right corner

“Review you order” will appear with the title of the book on the left and the price of the book on the right. The first “price” will be the original price and right below it will be $0.00 with the code that you typed in next to it

Complete checkout

Go to “view library” and the book cover will come up with a green “download” button

Click “download”

On the right side a box will appear that says “Download the full versions of this book”. Below this will be buttons with different formats. Choose the format that is right for your device, such as epub for NOOK, mobi for Kindle. If a page appears that says this book has multiple versions, always choose to download the most current version of the book.

“Save” file. Now your FREE ebook is on your PC.

Transfer from PC to your device. Enjoy!

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The Birth of a Book

In the unheard screams that rip the fabric of the night, in the silent tears of a victim huddled in upon herself in the corner of her own kitchen, Sketch of a Murder was born.

Domestic violence and rape are patterns of behavior used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, often including the threat or use of violence.

Once the first seeds of an idea are planted, I begin to research. What I found in the case of Sketch of a Murder was:

One in four women experience domestic violence in their lifetimes.

4 MILION women experience physical assault and rape by their intimate partners  http://www.safehorizon.org/page/domestic-violence-statistics–facts-52.html?gclid=CJ6k76f9rcUCFYeEfgodUwYACA

The number of women murdered by current or ex male partners between 2001 and 2012 were 11,766. During that same time period, the number of American troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq were 6,488.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/23/domestic-violence-statistics_n_5959776.html

FBI Statistics for 2013 for Washington State:

Forcible rapes in seven cities: (these are the ones actually brought to trial. Until conviction, they are only considered alleged rapes) 657.

Rape and domestic violence are among the most under-reported crimes. Frequently, women internalize the blame for being beaten and sexually assaulted. Shame and a sense of hopelessness; a fear of the abuser increasing the abuse; a fear that there is no way to escape; fear of reprisal against them or their family, seals their lips against reporting the crimes.

When the crimes are reported, the woman often finds herself grilled as if she is the perpetrator–what did you do to anger him; why were you wearing that slutty dress; isn’t it true that you’ve slept with other men; how many other men; how long did you know X before you invited him to your home; and the interrogations go on and on.

If the crime does go to trial, the woman’s ordeal is increased. She is placed on the stand and forced to testify to humiliating and painful memories in a hostile environment. She is cross-examined as if she is the defendant. Evidence can be difficult to collect or has been contaminated; the woman waited too long to report the crime; the woman’s character is put on trial; the trial becomes a “he said–she said” fiasco. Technicalities and good attorneys allow men to smile as they walk away unscathed after perpetrating horrible crimes that will scar their victims forever.

With research as a foundation, I begin a process of creative “what-ifs”. What if a person decided to take justice into their own hands? What motivates a person to seek violent revenge? What type of personality would such revenge require? What type of training would a person need to be successful? What type of tools would that person have to use?

From this process, the Avenger sprang. In Sketch of a Murder, the Avenger has been triggered by a life event to exact justice. After the first murder, the Avenger goes on a spree of gruesome killings. The Avenger, however, doesn’t simply pick guilty men who have skated on serious charges; the Avenger wreaks havoc among wealthy men who have used position and power and monetary advantage to walk free.

Now that I have the antagonist–or the bad person and that person’s motivation–I must decide who will oppose this person and why; who will be the protagonist.

Some crimes are far reaching enough to warrant the formation of a Task Force. Again the creative “what-ifs” are employed. What if a task force is created by the governor because the Avenger has eluded multiple police forces and the deaths of wealthy men negatively impact her position? What if the task force is not constrained by jurisdictional boundaries within the state? What if the best cops for that force are misfits, cops that have ticked off a superior because they refused to toe the blue line? What special attitudes and abilities would they bring to the story? What conflicts with each other would such renegade team members face?

The Special Crimes Team was born from the governor’s desperation to find and stop the Avenger. Purely a political move, or was it?

All books need a place of occurrence. Whether that physical place plays a large or a small part in the story depends upon the story. The state of Washington is blessed, and cursed, with features that attract the best of people, and the worst of people. Mountains, wilderness, farmlands, big cities, airports, seaports, railway stations, high immigrant and migrant worker populations, a diverse and mobile population, a down turn in the economy that resulted in foreclosed and abandoned homes, proximity to another country’s border and a general attitude of live and let live makes this state a haven for human traffickers, dog fighters, kidnappers, and other criminals who need unlimited places in which to blend and/or to use to escape. Blessings

With those elements–the crime, the antagonist, the protagonist, the scene and some of the complications–in place, the work of writing begins.

The first draft is written without concern for grammar, punctuation, or even logic and timelines. It is the story in the rough. After the first draft comes multiple drafts, each one refining the story, further developing the characters, fleshing out the scenes, fine tuning the dialogue, checking and fixing the timeline; and, reassessing the logic and the story arc. When I decide the story is finished, I begin editing. After I edit as much as I can, I send the work to others to edit. When that work is returned, I read the feedback and evaluate what changes must be made.

After editing, Beta Readers are engaged to comment on the story as readers–did it hook them; did the dialogue sound real; were the situations believable, and so forth. With that feedback, I make final corrections then send the book to the publisher.

The publisher obtains a cover, formats the book and puts the package together for presentation to the public. And, a book is born.  Sketch of a Murderebook 7 30 2014

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To see all of Aya’s novels: http://www.amazon.com/author/ayawalksfar

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WHAT IS REAL?

Novels represent the intersection between reality and fiction. What really happened? Is this novel a thinly disguised autobiography of the author? A biography of another person? Did those events actually occur?

Authors of literary fiction are more likely to be asked this question than authors of sci-fi, murder mysteries and fantasy. Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar, the Qatar author of An Unlikely Goddess, was asked if the events of her novel actually happened to her. I, too, have been asked if my literary novels are autobiographical. Though we would like readers to focus on the issues in the story, such a question is truly a compliment. People have connected to the novel on a visceral level.

It was once said of the western writer Louis L’Amour that if he wrote of a stream in a certain place, the stream existed. The Law and Order series on television boasts of ripping their episodes from the headlines. In my mysteries, I use extensive research to present reality in a fictional milieu. In Street Harvest, I take the very real issues of human trafficking and the danger in which street children live constantly and blend it with fiction as a way of highlighting these current issues to allow people to connect on an emotional level.

Reading a powerful book can change our lives.

somewhere dif Good Intentions

Since I write to not only entertain, but to also enlighten and empower; and to ultimately make a positive impact on our world, it is important for people to emotionally connect with my work. I love hearing such comments as “I want Grandma Greene for my grandmother.” The greatest compliment I have ever received was from a young person who said Good Intentions helped him to deal with being adopted and to forgive the fabrications of his adoptive parents.

A good writer knows that verisimilitude–details that lend the appearance of being true or real; what has happened to real people–increases the authenticity, the believability of her work. As such, it provides a more satisfying read and, in some cases, tidbits of knowledge.

While the cities and mountains and issues are often ripped intact from real life, the protagonists, antagonists and other characters within the novel–the good people and the bad people–seldom resemble any one person, living or dead. An author gleans characteristics, traits, eccentricities, and manner of facing life from a wide variety of people then builds the character from specific ones that will allow the story to unfold in a logical and entertaining way. The reader is guaranteed to “see” Uncle Jack or Aunt Milly in at least one of the characters, and therefore more likely to connect on a visceral level with the novel. In the end, it always returns to the reader–what will enhance the experience of the novel for the reader? What will give the reader the most value for her/his time and money?

The fiction I most enjoy reading incorporates reality with fiction to provide entertainment, enlightenment, and empowerment. It is also the type of fiction that I write.

I have tackled the tough, and sadly all too real, subjects such as family secrets, homophobia, racial tensions, hate crimes, betrayal, loss, grief, pedophilia, rape, domestic violence, street kids, human trafficking and much more in both my literary and my mystery novels. Yet, in each novel I have shown how people can triumph over horrendous circumstances and rise to live worthy and good lives. Much of my inspiration comes from real people I have known; people I have admired. Those people were ordinary people who quietly lived extraordinary lives.

So, what is real? The reality is that authors draw from real life, whether we write sci-fi or literary novels. We take what’s real and shape it into a novel. We write of love and hate; joy and sorrow; triumph and despair.

Do you identify with the characters in novels? Would love to hear! Please, comment.

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Mohana’s An Unlikely Goddess (ebook) is on sale for $0.99! Go to http://www.amazon.com/An-Unlikely-Goddess-Mohanalakshmi-Rajakumar-ebook/dp/B00FVSP82Q

To see a list of my novels go to http://www.amazon.com/author/ayawalksfar

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6 Internet Places You Should Visit

6 #Internet Places You Should Visit

largest madrone Giant Madrona, Road to the Lost Coast, Mattole Valley, California. There are many beautiful places, if we take the time to see.

The internet can be entertaining, enlightening, empowering and fun. Let’s start with enlightening and fun.

  1. Tianmen Mountain scenery is spectacular and scary. As an author, I troll the net extensively. Sometimes, I discover wonders I didn’t know existed. The first link will give you some history of Tianmen Mountain and the second link will take you to more photos of the longest cable car ride in the world and a very scary road to the mountaintop. Not to mention the glass bridge that hangs out over empty space.

http://www.travelchina.gov.cn/tirms/front/en_US/spot_77.html

Tianmen Mountain

  1. 15-year old Kira Taylor is a Cystic Fibrosis Warrior. I met her on the internet some time ago and never cease to marvel at this young woman. She is fighting a deadly disease, yet her beautiful voice doesn’t carry any self-pity. She uses it to help fight bullies everywhere and to enlighten people to what this deadly disease is all about. Listen to this wonderful voice.

http://contest.nobullchallenge.org/video/74167-bad-day-contest      Kira Taylor Cystic Fibrosis Warrior

  1. I’ve known good #cops; and, I’ve known bad cops. My series, The Special Crimes Team, is about misfit cops who bend the rules. Here are some other cops who go beyond the letter of their jobs.

http://www.news4jax.com/news/st-augustine-officer-rescues-4-baby-raccoons/31096156

http://fox59.com/2015/03/30/impd-officer-saves-dog-hit-by-a-car/

 

  1. One of the things I love about writing is learning what my characters have to say. They often surprise me.

https://www.pinterest.com/ayawalksfar/what-the-characters-say/

 

Hard Road Home, Cas Redner

Hard Road Home, Cas Redner

  1. Molly Greene writes cozy mysteries that make excellent evening reads. I’ve read several and enjoyed them all. She is also an accomplished blogger and blog trainer. I have learned many interesting and helpful things through her blog posts about social media. So, whether you are a writer, or not; a business person, or not; or if you simply love to makes friends through social media, Molly has some helpful tips for how to make the most of social media. She also has a reader’s club; think about joining.

http://www.molly-greene.com/10-tweets-you-should-never-send/

http://www.molly-greene.com/readers-club/   Gen Delacourt Mysteries

  1. Many people ask me why I write. Read my answer, and other entertaining and enlightening posts, on Women and Words blog:

http://womenwords.org/2015/03/31/the-socially-conscious-writer-by-aya-walksfar-plus-a-couple-of-free-books/

The first five people who comment on this post will receive a free download from Audible of Street Harvest, Book 2, Special Crimes Team. All of the Special Crimes Team series can be read, or listened to, as stand-alones.

If you enjoyed this post, add your email so you’ll never miss one. Visit me on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ayawalksfar or my fan page at http://www.facebook.com/AyaWalksfarAuthor

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