Well, I took a stab at writing true crime and wrote a Novella entitled, “Robert Pickton: The Pig Farmer Killer.” It ended up a best seller and #1 Best Seller in numerous categories! Check it out if you get a chance. This guy can feasibly be released from Canadian prison and has already said he’s going to do the one thing he does best, murder.
Can We Successfully Combine Drama and Humor in a Mystery?
The simple answer? Yes. I write two mystery series, and they’re both lighter with a little humor. There’s a great big “however” here. However, murder isn’t funny, by any stretch of the imagination. Therefore, the books contain some drama, too. I’ll never make light of a killing.
Back to humor, you can find some in the characters solving the mystery, and in some of the situations in which they find themselves. There’s so much drama in today’s world that I believe we need something to lighten our moods sometimes. Hopefully, that’s a need I’m addressing.
In my Sandi Webster series, she’s a female P.I., has a menopausal mother, employs a klutzy guy, and has a partner who always wants to watch her back — although he usually ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time. She frequently finds herself dealing with quirky or eccentric people. These traits often equal humor, and they’re traits I’ve found in people in my own life over the years.
I’ve worked in law enforcement (in a clerical capacity), part-time in a shoe store and a lingerie store, and for a state transportation department, among other jobs. Like Chris, I could sit down with you for hours and hours and tell funny stories. Of course, some are only humorous after the fact – like the time I had to search a Ladies Room for a bomb, with no training. There was, after all, a time when you wouldn’t expect to find a bomb in a john. Then there was the time a woman was turned down for a clerical job in law enforcement because she didn’t have the qualifications. Death threats followed, even though I’d only given her the typing test. Ah, those were the days.
My Bogey Man series features Chris Cross, who’s a dead ringer for Humphrey Bogart, and who manages to walk the walk and talk the talk. Bogart is his muse, his hero and his idea of how a man should act. That is, the Bogey he saw in the movies. He’s very good at rolling his lip under like Mr. Bogart did. Chris is married and has a step-son, and they sometimes remind me just a little of a modern Thin Man family.
Humor keeps most of the characters going. We need a good laugh in our own lives once in a while, and so do fictional characters.
In both series the characters and their lives grow and change over time. So do we. Time seems to pass slowly in a series. Occasionally that would be preferable in real life, although there are other times when we wish we could speed things along.
One new book in each series was released in March of 2014.
Death Comes in Threes is the latest Sandi Webster mystery. She has to face a longtime foe, although things seem to happen on his terms rather than hers. He wants to kill her, and of course, she’s saying, “Nope. Not gonna happen.”
Awkward Moments features the Bogey Man. Someone sent me a joke that said, “Awkward Moments: When you’re digging a hole to bury a body, and you find another body already buried there.” This short joke inspired a whole book. Imagine trying to bury the small body of a bird and finding bones from someone who was buried there many years ago. You just never know what you’ll find. Right?
So now you know a tiny bit about me and my books. If you need a little entertainment, I hope you’ll look for it with either Sandi or Chris.
Needless to say, I hope you’ll try Grey Ghost by Chris Swinney first, but don’t forget me.
Thank you for inviting me in as a guest today, Chris. I’ve really enjoyed speaking out a little.
**NOTE FROM ME (CHRIS). THANKS for coming on my blog and sharing your wonderful work. I wish you tremendous success and I’m here for you if you ever need anything.
When Murder Became Acceptable:
While driving in to work today I heard a radio host talk about how Beyonce “murdered” a song while performing at the Grammy’s. I almost missed the term completely, but I caught myself shaking my head and frankly shocked. The host, who happened to be an African American female, proceeded to explain how well Beyonce performed, and instead of using any number of perfectly acceptable terms to describe a musical performance, the host chose “murdered.” Right after that a vehicle with black paint, black rims, tinted windows, black emblems, and zero chrome passed me and I recalled people calling this style, “Murdered Out.” Again, I was shocked. Then I wondered how we’ve gone so far away from traditional values and family that we feel it’s okay to use a word like “murder” to represent good things or material objects? And I wondered if we’ve gone so far off the deep end that the color or ethnic group (African American) has been associated to such a negative word? Would it be acceptable for me, a white person, to say Beyonce “murdered” something without causing an outcry? It just doesn’t feel right, regardless of my ethnicity.
I can’t help but think the media, video games, and the lack of strong families has allowed people to think it’s perfectly okay to use such a powerful term inappropriately. I think most people would agree that media reports mostly violence, video games are all about violence, and families with single parents, or abusive parents, tend to become fractured and provide little moral support for our growing children. Likewise, these same families expect the schools to raise THEIR children, which obviously is a complete disconnect from true family values.
You guys know what I do. I see dead bodies and investigate homicides. The overwhelming number of my cases are murders. That means someone willingly took another person’s life. The families and friends of the victim would be crushed to hear someone using the same term used to describe their world falling apart when discussing something positive or material. When I have to talk to the family or friends of the deceased, I try everything I can to make the reality of losing a loved one less painful…it rarely works. I can’t bring their loved one back. I take their sadness and use it to inspire me to work long hours, miss family events, and do whatever I have to to find the murderer. It helps with closure, but time must pass.
So my point is this, let’s get away from using the term “Murder” inappropriately. In a perfect world, I wish we could get away from even having to use the word at all. It’s unacceptable, disturbing, and hurtful for the people who’ve experienced such grief and tragedy. I’d be interested in seeing what some of my African American friends think about this. If the term is somehow associated to the color black or African Americans, is it okay to associate a vehicle that’s all black to the words “murdered out?” Or use it to describe African American artists-performers-singers-actors? If so, why? Educate me on what you think. It bothers me, and I’m white. But for now, my hope is people will think before they speak and choose better words to articulate themselves.
The SECOND EDITION for Gray Ghost and the e-versions will be out end of this week!
Grab a Copy of the first edition 🙂
Thanks so much everyone for the support. I appreciate it.
My look when I heard about second edition!!