Tag Archives: thriller

A GIFT TO MY READERS

FREE AND DISCOUNTED EBOOKS! THROUGH THE MONTH OF DECEMBER. DON’T MISS OUT! GREAT GIFTS!

SKETCH OF A MURDER
1. AMAZON http://www.amazon.com/Sketch-Murder-Special-Crimes-Team-ebook /dp/B00KU6AIPQ 4.7 star rating $0.99
2. NOOK http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sketch-of-a-murder-aya-walksfar/1120343370 5 star rating $0.99
3. SMASHWORDS https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/441938 5-star rating $0.99
4. KOBO https://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/ebook/sketch-of-a-murder-1 $0.99

STREET HARVEST
1. AMAZON http://www.amazon.com/Street-Harvest-Special-Crimes-Team-ebook/dp/B00KVREDIC 5 star rating FREE
2. NOOK http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/street-harvest-aya-tsi-scuceblu-walksfar/1118849222 5-stars FREE
3. SMASHWORDS https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/445873 FREE
4. KOBO https://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/ebook/street-harvest FREE

OLD WOMAN GONE
1. AMAZON http://www.amazon.com/Woman-Gone-Special-Crimes-Team-ebook/dp/B00OICBEV0 5 star rating $0.99
2. NOOK http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/old-woman-gone-aya-walksfar/1121173795 $0.99
3. SMASHWORDS https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/516479 $0.99
4. KOBO https://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/ebook/old-woman-gone $0.99

BACKLASH
1. AMAZON http://www.amazon.com/Backlash-Special-Crimes-Team-Book-ebook/dp/B00W7UJAWA 5 star rating $0.99

RUN OR DIE
1. AMAZON http://www.amazon.com/Run-Die-Aya-Walksfar-ebook/dp/B00KV8BK5A 4.7 star rating $0.99
2. NOOK http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/run-or-die-aya-walksfar/1119913874 5 star $0.99
3. SMASHWORDS https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/511441 $0.99
4. KOBO https://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/ebook/run-or-die-2 $0.99

DEAD MEN AND CATS, A NOVELLA
1. AMAZON http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Men-Cats-Aya-Walksfar-ebook/dp/B00NH0PI0C 5 star rating $0.99
2. NOOK http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dead-men-and-cats-aya-walksfar/1114142759 $0.99
3. SMASHWORDS https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/269625
5 star rating $0.99

ARTEMIS’ WARRIORS, BOOK 1, THE VAMPIRE WARS
1. AMAZON http://www.amazon.com/Artemis-Warriors-Aya-Walksfar-ebook/dp/B0158NZ1L6 5 star rating $0.99

HARD ROAD HOME
1. AMAZON http://www.amazon.com/Hard-Road-Home-Aya-Walksfar-ebook/dp/B00TLCRUFQ 4.5 star rating $0.99
2. NOOK http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hard-road-home-aya-walksfar/1121256838 $0.99
3. SMASHWORDS https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/519473 5 star $0.99
4. KOBO https://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/ebook/hard-road-home $0.99

GOOD INTENTIONS
1. AMAZON http://www.amazon.com/Good-Intentions-Aya-Walksfar-ebook/dp/B00OLZYKPQ 4.7 star rating FREE
2. NOOK http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/good-intentions-aya-walksfar/1117075745 FREE
3. SMASHWORDS https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/445205 FREE
4. KOBO https://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/ebook/good-intentions-19 FREE

BLACK WIND, YOUNG ADULT NOVELLA
1. AMAZON http://www.amazon.com/Black-Wind-Aya-Walksfar-ebook/dp/B01328771G 5 star rating $0.99

IF ANY OF THESE LINKS DO NOT FUNCTION OR IF THE PRICES AT ANY OF THESE RETAILERS ARE DIFFERENT, PLEASE CONTACT ME WITH RETAILER, LINK USED, PRICE, OR OTHER PROBLEM EXPERIENCED. YOU CAN REACH ME AT ayawalksfar@gmail.com Thanks! Have a GREAT READ!

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CATCH-UP TIME! AND PHOTOS!

IMG_3241 Summer has gone so fast! Can’t believe early #fall is here with yellow and red leaves drifting and swooping like tiny hang gliders to the ground. The final vacation of the summer began with an abrupt change of plans: instead of heading down Highway 101 where the rains were predicted for the entire week, we headed back over to eastern Washington, but to parts of it that we’d never visited.

WENATCHEE NIGHT

WENATCHEE NIGHT

Light and dark; hills and river

Light and dark; hills and river

BRIDGE TO VANTAGE, WA.

BRIDGE TO VANTAGE, WA.

PETRIFIED LOG  NATURE'S HISTORY BOOK

PETRIFIED LOG NATURE’S HISTORY BOOK

Ran into some brisk winds which made those hours a bit challenging for this novice rider, but the beauty of it all compensated for any breath-holding moments.

Last day of the ride, we headed out of Winthrop and ran into rain halfway up the mountain. At the summit, we got pelted with hail. On the way down the other side to Newhalem I learned that those signs announcing areas of ‘severe side winds’ told a tale I didn’t hear on past rides down the mountainside. The wind and increased rain decided to slap me around and give me a few new gray hairs! Got through the curves and the rain and home, soaked to the skin but safe and feeling proud that I’d met the challenge and actually survived! Biker Granny wins!

Soooo….. I don’t often go “down below” (what us locals call anything south and west of Oso) but weekend before last (September 26–Saturday) I attended the Gay Romance Pacific Northwest Meet-up at the Seattle Library downtown. You know, that big glass and steel one with multiple floors and books galore? IMG_3268  Sure was a lot different than the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where I hung out as a kid! But the pigeons looked pretty much the same.

Pigeon checking out the "tourist" from Darrington

Pigeon checking out the “tourist” from Darrington

But, the library building hosted some weird visual effects.

Building caught in glass

Building caught in glass

IMG_3264

A serious note: At the conference/meet-up hosted by the Seattle Library and Old Growth Northwest I had the wonderful opportunity to meet some great lesbian authors and writers and publishers. I must say, though, that I came away feeling a bit like I danced between worlds–the straight world and the lesbian world–in my writing; never quite fitting in either one.

My books, as most of you know, feature strong, female protagonists–usually lesbian–but, the stories/plot lines are not centered on the protagonists being lesbian. My mysteries center around the crime and the solving of that crime with lots of twists along the way. My literary novels deal with real world issues that women, regardless of sexual orientation, must often face such as the impact of family secrets on young people, the abuse of children by the social system, violence against successful women, and in my vampire romance, though both women are lesbians their romantic conflicts arise from their different ‘cultures’ and the vampire war. (BIG SIGH) Not lesbian enough to fit into the lesbian niche and too lesbian to fit into the straight niche. I always have to be difficult and a rebel, I suppose!

For all of you who enjoy my ebooks, please note that the prices have been dropped to $2.99! I will be leaving the prices at that LOW set point until the new year. Now is a great time to stock up on #ebooks from Amazon! Don’t forget that voracious reader during the coming holidays! All of my ebooks can also be purchased as print books for those who like the feel of a ‘real book’. (PLEASE NOTE: Prices for print books are different than for ebooks)

I am still in the process of catching up on everything that got ahead of me this summer. Currently,  #amwriting a thriller with the working title Attack. Thrillers are a new genre for me. Mysteries involve a crime that has been committed, and the search for the perpetrator while thrillers tell you who is doing the crime and the book is about how that person is, or is not, stopped before committing/completing the crime or crime spree. Slightly different focus that calls for developing some new skills as an author. Love a challenge.

Artemis’ Warriors, Book 1 of the #Vampire Wars, released recently has been quite popular. This book marked my foray into #fantasy and the world of #supernatural creatures. Now, #amwriting the second book of the series which I have tentatively scheduled release for spring or summer of 2016.

For those of you waiting for Biker Granny’s Motorcycle Philosophy, I may have to re-schedule its release from fall-winter 2015 to early 2016. Biker Granny has to learn how to copyright a nonfiction book that combines text and photographs/illustrations. Stay tuned for more information on that.

Would LOVE to hear what you did this summer. New adventures, new skills, new discoveries! Leave a comment below.

If you don’t already follow the blog, be sure to sign up.  If you are signed up (through email) for the blog or the newsletter but have not been receiving BOTH please let me know! I am not tech-savvy so I may have messed up on combining the lists. Don’t miss getting the newsletter full of specials, image quotes, and other interesting stuff! Just drop me a line at ayawalksfar@gmail.com. If you would like to correspond, ask questions, comment at length about my work, I would love to hear from you. Be sure to drop me an email!

 

 

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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!

Monday I will be sending out the monthly newsletter. If you aren’t receiving the newsletter, but would like to, enter your email address in the sidebar box for JUST FOR YOU newsletter. That will put you directly on that mailing list.  I have attempted to blend the two lists–blog and newsletter–so you receive notifications of both (JUST 4 times a month), but may have missed an email in the process. Sorry if I did!

Be sure to sign up for my blog, and you will also receive my newsletter once a month filled with special offers, inspirational image quotes, and all manner of great content!

Join me on Facebook to enjoy special posts curated, and written, with you in mind! http://www.facebook.com/ayawalksfar

 

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#SEX AND VIOLENCE

Sketch of a Murderebook 7 30 2014

We live in an undeniably violent world–wars, murders, rapes, ad nauseum. Should books graphically reflect that reality? How much is too much?

As the author of murder and mayhem–and even in my literary works to some, though to a lesser, degree–this is a question I face. This issue is compounded by the question of sex. As with violence, sex permeates our culture. Nearly every television show, movie, and advertisement has sex intimately entwined. Let’s face it: sex and violence sells.

Yet, I want my work to mean more than a dollar sign or a cheap thrill. I feel a responsibility to tell stories worthy of a #reader’s time. After all, my commitment is to entertain, enlighten and empower. Where does that leave such a writer?

We become a weaver of plots, a builder of characters, a creator of worlds.

I use a certain amount of graphic sex and graphic violence in some of my work. Note the word “some” and the phrase “a certain amount”. Since I write everything from young adult to vampire to #murder to literary (yes, I realize authors are supposed to brand themselves with one genre, but that robe felt too tight and it itched!) the use of sex and violence must be tailored to the story.

For example, in the young adult novel, Black Wind, (TO BE RELEASED JULY 31) they never get their clothes off, yet in the vampire novel, Artemis’ Warriors(COMING AUGUST 31)….well, let’s just say that sometimes clothes get scattered all over the place. The mystery/cop/thriller novels, such as The Special #Crimes Team series, fall somewhere between these two poles.

Likewise, in Black Wind, violence occurs but to a lesser degree and not as graphic. The vampire fighters in Artemis’ Warriors dash about, lopping off heads and arms and other important parts. The blood flies. In Sketch of a Murder, SCT, Book 1, the reader sees crime scenes through the serial killer’s eyes–and the scenes are gruesome, yet in Old Woman Gone, SCT, Book 3, bloodshed is minimal. (All the books in my series can be read as stand-alone novels.)

So, what creates the different levels of sex and violence? The story. It is my contention that the plot and the characters in a story determine the amount of sex and violence, as well as how graphically those instances are portrayed .

All too often, I have picked up a novel and within a few chapters have read ten pages of graphic sex (more frequently than graphic violence even) for every page of story. Needless to say, I toss the book aside and seldom pick up anything else by that author. If scenes of sex and violence dominates a work with no clear purpose in forwarding the story, then I have to ask how well-developed are the characters and how substantial is the plot?

Readers, what is your opinion? How much sex and violence is too much? Leave a comment!

DON’T FORGET: UNTIL AUGUST 30 FOUR of my e-novels are FREE! Want a #FREEBOOK? Go to: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/AyaWalksfar  Choose one, or all, of the books listed below. Follow the checkout instructions. When asked for the coupon code, entered the code specific to that book. Continue checkout. Download the format that works best with your device. epub for NOOk; mobi for Kindle; or whatever format your device requires and is listed.

Street Harvest, Special Crimes Team, Book 2 (all of my series can be read out of order, or as a stand-alone novel) Use Coupon Code: JE68B

Run or Die    Coupon Code: MX48Y

Good Intentions, a literary novel  Coupon Code: HQ72R

Dead Men and Cats, a mystery novella  Coupon Code: UH42Z

If you have problems with the download, please contact me at ayawalksfar@gmail.com I will try to answer your questions.

Share the codes with family, friends and co-workers. Heck, share them with your neighbors and maybe they will read instead of party all night and keep you awake!

Connect at http://www.facebook.com/ayawalksfar

Be a fan at http://www.facebook.com/AyaWalksfarAuthor

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Have a GREAT WEEK!

 

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Genre vs Author

sunsandbookocean

Genre VS Author

When searching for a new #book to read, do you first look in the genre or do you search by author’s name? How important is it for an author to write in one genre versus writing in several genres–such as an author who writes mystery, literary, paranormal and young adult versus an author who writes only mysteries or only literary or only paranormal books?

As an author I am always seeking ways to improve my visibility to readers and make it easier for them to find my work. I have been given various pieces of advice about writing in only one genre versus writing in several. There is one school of thought that says an author can “get away with” writing literary novels in conjunction with writing another genre since literary is in a class by itself. I write both literary and #mystery on a regular basis.

However, being an avid #reader myself, who consumes books from all genres except religious and erotica, I have had characters wake me up in the middle of the night yelling, “Write about me!” So, off I tromp to the writer’s dungeon, sleep still clouding my mind, and I kick up the computer. Fingers on the keyboard, I begin typing while not fully awake.

The next day when I re-read the beginning of whatever scene or story I worked on in the middle of the night, I gasp! Oh. My. God! I’ve written the opening scene of a vampire story with werepanthers (or a young adult story with a feisty grandmother and a young girl who loves horses).

A dilemma is upon me. Do I erase these poor characters, do I assign them to the Purgatory of the dreaded “Uncompleted Stories”, or do I continue to develop them and the story they have to tell?

If I do proceed to tell their story, do I publish it under the same name as I publish my literary and mystery novels, or do I use a different name–like C. W. Anon (Crazy Writer Anonymous)?

What would you recommend? My characters beg of you, please leave a comment.

Black Wind, a young adult novella, will be released July 24, 2015.

What would force a seventeen-year old girl to steal a horse? Follow my FB fan page and find out! http://www.facebook.com/AyaWalksfarAuthor

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Death by #Dog, Book 5, #SpecialCrimesTeam

snarling malinios

Chapter 1

WEDNESDAY

Soda’s wavy, chestnut hair fell to the middle of her back. She pulled it back and tied it with a rubber band, so that it fell under the collar of her hoodie. Her mother had loved brushing and braiding Soda’s hair, even when Soda topped her mother’s five-foot-three height by two inches–before Mom got real sick; before sixteen-year-old Shelly Myers had become a street kid tagged as Soda. Sometimes, her mom would stand with her in front of her bedroom mirror and point out how they both had gray-blue eyes and the same determined, strong chin. She’d laugh and say, “Yeah, but you’re this curvy, sexy woman and I’m a stick that walks and talks.” She’d frown into the mirror. Mom would kiss her forehead and reply, “You are beautiful just the way you are.” Soda had loved those times.

But those times were miles away and months gone and mid-March in Seattle, Washington, breathed an early spring chill on the city. She flipped her hood up then zipped up the sweatshirt and stuffed her hands in the pockets. This part of Seattle–full of warehouses hulking silent in the evening and abandoned buildings with busted windows–held painful memories for her; so painful that it made her feel sick in the pit of her stomach, yet she felt unable to stay away.

Auntie El had been held by her kidnappers in a warehouse not far from where she walked. The elderly bookstore owner had befriended the street kids, Soda among them. Now she was gone, too; just like Soda’s mother. At least, Mom’s death had been beyond Soda’s control; not like Auntie El–dead because of Soda. “If only I had…” began the haunting litany. She shoved it away. Tears burned her eyes. It had been a year, yet the hurt twisted as sharp in her chest as if she’d lost Auntie El yesterday.

Ever since then these dark streets called to her. Every night she came down here, skittered from one dark spot to another, watching; circled the warehouses and listened. Some days she wondered if she was getting a bit crazy. What did she think being here could accomplish?

She edged along the deeper shadow of a crumbling, brick building; its windows blinded eyes looking out on littered streets. At the sound of male voices across the deserted street, she shrank back. Between black jeans and navy blue hoodie–pulled close around her pale face,white hands stuffed in her pockets–the shadows swallowed her form. Standing perfectly still, she strained to see what the men carried.

A few street lamps–not yet vandalized–spilled watery yellow light on the dirty sidewalk. The men sauntered into the light, the body of a large dog hanging between them as they made their way to the dumpster squatted in the mouth of the alley across from where Soda hid. They swung the body back and forth until enough momentum had built then let go. The animal sailed over the edge of the dumpster and thumped into the trash. They pulled off their gloves and stuffed them in jacket pockets.

The hum of traffic from several streets away sang a muted song, but the men’s voices–harsh and loud–rode over top of it. The short, heavy man lit a cigarette. The ember glowed as he inhaled. Grey smoke drifted up toward the circle of lamp light, but disintegrated when a slight breeze puffed off Puget Sound, smelling of dead fish. “Damn, that was some sick bitch. Shortest damn fight I’ve seen.”

The taller man accepted a cigarette from the other man and lit it. “Short for damn sure. Only thing that bitch,” he nodded toward the dumpster, “good for was a trainin’ fight. Can’t believe that other’n; not even two years old, yet. Man, I want me one of them dawgs.” He chuckled and a shiver ran up Soda’s spine.

The first man shook his head. “In your dreams.” He tossed his cigarette down, not bothering to stomp it out.

A cramp seized Soda’s calf muscle. Afraid any movement would draw their attention, she bit her lip hard to keep from shifting.

“What you think one of them dawg’s worth?” The taller man flicked his cigarette butt out in the middle of the street.

“I heard some of them cost as much as fifty big ones.”

“If I had me a dawg like that…”

The shorter man guffawed. “You wouldn’t know what to do with it. Them things are the devil’s own dogs. One of them would eat you up, bro.”

They moved away, snatches of words fading until only the hum of the traffic from nearby streets filled the air. A minute later, a truck roared in the night. Soda watched as a large pick up screeched away from the curb a half block away. She waited until she could no longer see the red of the taillights before she hustled across the empty street.

Breath sucked in deep, she exhaled then climbed the side of the dumpster. For a moment, she balanced on the inches-wide lip and stared down. Right when she had just about decided to hop off, a faint movement caught her eye.

Without hesitation, she dropped into the garbage and waded to the animal. One dark eye blinked slowly up at her. “You poor baby,” she sat on rustling papers amid half-rotted food and cradled the dog’s head on her lap. Gently, she stroked the dog’s side and face between the gaping wounds. The pink tongue slowly snaked out and licked Soda’s hand.

Even in the poor light from the street lamps, she could tell that the dog’s coat had once been a golden color. She imagined how it would have glowed in the sun. Now the spray of drying and dried blood matted it with dark splotches. One of the muscled forelegs had been gashed and the sharp point of white bone jutted out of the skin. She’d once been a beautiful #animal, the well-built body bigger than a German Shepherd’s.

Another shuddering breath pushed the dog’s ribs up and down. Soda remembered a lullabye that her mom sang to her whenever she woke up from a bad dream. As she petted the dog’s big head and stroked her side, Soda sang in a quavering, soft voice.

Before she’d finished her song, the #dog licked her hand once more, looked into Soda’s eyes and breathed her last.

Tears coasted down her cheeks as she gently laid the dog’s head on a pillow of garbage. With the sleeve of her hoodie, she scrubbed them away. She had always loved dogs. Had one before her mother died; before she’d had to leave to escape her stepfather’s drunken advances. Her jaw clenched as she struggled to her feet. Fists knotted at her sides, she vowed that even though she was only a street kid she’d do something! She didn’t know what, but she would do something to stop those assholes from slaughtering any more dogs.

Death by Dog will be Book 5 in the Special Crimes Team series. All of the books in the series can be read as stand alones without reading prior books in the series. Death by Dog is scheduled for release Winter 2015-2016.

Backlash, Book 4, Special Crimes Team: Success can be deadly…if you’re a woman! AVAILABLE on pre-order as an ebook on Amazon. Go to http://www.amazon.com/Backlash-Special-Crimes-Book-4-ebook/dp/B00W7UJAWA

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For a list of Aya’s books, go to http://www.amazon.com/author/ayawalksfar

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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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