mystery

WRITING CONTEST!!

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Writing contest for Mystery / Thriller stories “Fated Paradox” Inkitt’s latest contest is open for submissions!

What is Inkitt?

Inkitt is a free writing platform that helps authors reach their full potential. Users collaborate with fellow writers and readers to give each other feedback and improve their work. Inkitt’s vision is to help writers get the exposure they deserve and the publishing deals they covet, without having to jump through the fiery hoops of traditional publishing or wade in the shark-infested waters of self-publishing. They are opening a new writing contest for entries in June.

Mystery and Thriller – Fated Paradox

The theme for the contest is “Fated Paradox: Tales of gripping suspense”. They want you to keep them on the edge of their seats with your best mystery and thriller stories. Submit accounts of murders and red herrings, or have them biting their nails over stories full of adrenaline and espionage. Leave them breathless with your tales of unmatched suspense.

What are the guidelines?

They accept original fiction stories of any length. Entries must be posted on the Inkitt contest page to be considered eligible. The contest opens on June 4th and closes on July 4th. The contest is completely free to enter, and authors will retain all rights to any and all works submitted in the contest. The top 10% based on reader votes get the chance to be picked by the Inkitt staff for 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize.

What are the prizes?

1st Prize: $50 cash, 5 printed copies of the winning story with custom Typography (created by Inkitt’s designer).

2nd Prize: $40 cash

3rd Prize: $20 cash

All entrants will have the chance to show their work to a rapidly growing community of authors and readers hungry for high-quality fiction.

Contest URL: www.inkitt.com/fatedparadox

Twitter Handle: @Inkitt

Hashtag: #FatedParadox

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Far From Routine

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Far From Routine.

Deputy Sheriff Smith arrived to work carrying his work boots and weathered ballistic vest. His damn locker combination didn’t work, and the bastard he couldn’t fathom working with again was standing naked a few lockers down flaunting his steroid-laden physique. Smith slammed his boots and vest on the floor, “Big deal, I’d still scrape the floor with you,” he muttered a little too loud under his breath.

“What was that?” asked “Beefcake” while he strolled over to Smith pounding his chest like a low-land silverback gorilla. He stood mere inches from Smith, invading his personal space cushion, and clenched his fists as if he was trying to squish oranges into juice.  Bustling and murmurs in the locker room slipped away, scurried to the shadows, clinging to the walls anxious for drama.

“I said big deal, I’d still scrape the floor with you,” Smith answered defiantly. He’d had it with Beefcake, his job, he’d just received a text from his wife talking about divorce, and he hadn’t even had his Peet’s coffee yet. To hell with them all. He bladed himself to Beefcake preparing for a physical altercation.

Beefcake kicked Smith’s gear out of the way and stepped even closer. His pride and integrity had been challenged by Smith’s comment, and he couldn’t let it go. The other gorillas would call him out and his place at the top of “Idiot Mountain” would be threatened if he let this comment slide. He telegraphed his next move while winking at Smith just before trying to punch him in the jaw. Smith ducked as Beefcake’s fist rammed into Smith’s locker. The others noticed a sergeant walk into the locker room and grabbed Beefcake and Smith while trying to break up the pissing contest. Some of the remaining men snickered hoping Smith would pummel Beefcake because no one liked a hot-shot.

As the sergeant walked into the gladiator arena between two rows of ancient lockers, he raised an eyebrow after noticing Beefcake was naked. He looked him up and down, pointed at his groin, and chuckled. Beefcake turned red in the face while the others realized they were still hugging a naked man. Just before they let him go, Smith’s locker magically popped open.

Smith grinned and looked at Beefcake. “Thanks ‘Fonzy.’” The room erupted in laughter and the tension exited as quickly as a parolee would after hearing, “Police search warrant!” Smith and Beefcake exchanged glances.

“You good?” Smith asked Beefcake.

He nodded. “Yup, see you out there.” Two grown men, one still naked, shook hands and the force was back to normal.

Now they suited up for the real battle. The one where a punch to the jaw would be much better than what potentially waits for them. A treacherous environment full of guns, dope, gang members, robbers, killers, villains…not to mention the crazies plotting and training every single day to kill a cop or deputy. If only I could get the opportunity, Smith considered as he laced his boots tight and donned his mangy ballistic vest.

After briefing, Smith, Beefcake, and the rest of the team went their separate ways. Some have traffic details, others have meetings, Beefcake’s headed to see one of his lady friends, and Smith rolls to Peet’s coffee. They had twelve more hours to go. If they survived, they’d get to go home…some to happy homes, some to not-so-happy homes. For most of them, work is an escape. It’s an extremely difficult job, but the stress at home, with family, mortgages, kids, bills, and the rest of it was like a pressure cooker for them. Sometimes these guys became ticking-time bombs.

Routine, if there’s such a thing, patrol continued without too much excitement. There was a parking complaint on Middlefield, and a fifteen year old girl was reported missing. The dispatcher sent Smith to the missing child call and he rolled his eyes. He assumed she would be off with her boyfriend and let me guess, her parents don’t like her boyfriend. He chuckled as it seems he’s going to be in the middle of yet another pissing contest. Beefcake was sent to the parking complaint. He didn’t respond. “Imagine that,” Smith said out loud. Hopefully the sergeant tracks him down.

Smith drove to the location of the missing child report. On the way, he stopped at a red light. For some reason he noticed a lowered Cadillac in his side and rear view mirrors. It was occupied by four people, and it was slowly pulling up next to him. A red flag in his head was hoisted, and he went from condition orange to condition red.  He heard and felt hip-hop music and saw the juveniles and young adults in the car were dressed in red. Instantly he classified them as gang members, and wondered why the younger ones weren’t in school.

They inched closer to Smith. There was a lot of discussion and pointing coming from the Cadillac. Smith didn’t like it and he found himself trying to see their hands. He slowly let off the brake to inch forward to use his door panels as cover should a fire fight ensue. The Cadillac also inched forward. They were taunting him. He disengaged the safety measures of his holster and unlocked the rifle holder. If it’s going down, I’m gonna take as many of these bastards I can with me. His pulse accelerated. He wondered how long until the light turned green. What’s my escape route? Where are the third passenger’s hands? Are they reaching under their seats? What’s my backdrop? All these thoughts raced through his mind as a bead of sweat ran from his forehead down into his cumbersome ballistic vest. He wondered if the expiration date was past due on the damn thing. I’ll check the date after my shift.

A loud bang went off behind Smith and he nearly had a heart attack as he spun his head behind him to see where it came from. He saw an old Volkswagen bug and a yuppie grinning sheepishly. Smith whipped around to look for the Cadillac. It was gone. He looked up and the light was green. Jesus, that was wild. He was still in one piece, so he continued to the missing child call.

Smith met with the parents at the front door. The father’s eyes bulged and he started gnawing on his fingernails at the sight of Smith. Smith found it odd that the man was so freaked out by his presence. He tried to be professional, but this was the third time this family had called for service. Each time he responded he found the missing daughter with her seventeen-year-old boyfriend. Smith finally figured out that the missing child’s family wants the Sheriff’s Office to do their job…raise their child. They say their daughter is out of control and won’t listen to them. Smith, during the course of his investigation of said child, had contacted the child’s school. The school felt the same as him…the family wants the school to raise their child. She received stellar grades, was involved with school activities and sports, and she volunteered time to help the homeless-far from incorrigible in Smith’s eyes.

“Can I come in?” Smith asked the father. The man shook his head and kept looking at Smith’s firearm. He didn’t answer. Smith had detected something wasn’t right, but he wasn’t sure what.

He dug further. What’s really going on here? Something about the case and the way the mother looked at him concerned him. The father seemed paranoid and kept looking down the hallway like he was waiting for someone to come from a room. He made a few phone calls and located the missing child…she was at school, where she was supposed to be. The only thing missing is the parents, he thought.

Smith was frustrated because he felt the family was playing him and the Sheriff’s Office. He had two calls for service pending now, and he was stuck dealing with a call that really wasn’t a call.

“Look, I’m not sure what to tell you guys. She’s at school and you knew it. Why’d you report her missing?” Smith was trying to read their faces, get a sense of what the hell was really going on.

The father looked at the mother, she turned away, and he looked back at Smith. He looked down the hall again and back at Smith. He looked at Smith’s firearm and back down the hallway. The hair on the back of Smith’s neck spiked. Uh oh.

“Come on guys. What’s up, and what’s down the hall?” Smith said to them while pointing down the hallway. The mother began to shake and the father looked like he’d seen a ghost.

Smith walked toward the hallway. The mother trembled and the father shuffled in front of him. He towered over the father and physically moved him out of the way.

“There’s nothing! You can’t go down there. You need a search warrant to search my house,” the father said in an almost robotic tone. Smith noticed the man was terrified. He had seen that look before, and now he was asking for a cover unit on the radio.

Smith peeked in the first room, nothing out of the ordinary. The mother was sobbing and the father continued to plead. “Stop, you can’t go down there!” Smith forged on. He checked the bathroom and the closet and saw nothing.

A hysterical scream from the mother caused Smith to shudder and then he heard it…a loud thump that came from the last room. The door was closed and he grabbed the handle. It was locked from the outside. The father was shaking now…he was white like a corpse. He stood near the kitchen with a blank look on his face.

“Give me the key, or I break the door down,” Smith growled. The father didn’t respond, but continued to shake his head. Every fiber in Smith’s body told him something bad was behind the door. He heard a siren close by. It was time to act.

“I called! I called, he’s in there,” the mother whined while fleeing out the front door.

Without hesitation, Smith shouldered the door and barreled into the room. He saw the seventeen-year-old boyfriend gagged and bounded to a chair that had fallen over. The thud! The visual and what it meant registered in Smith’s mind. He spun and pulled his firearm then bang! In the blink of an eye, he lost his hearing and immense pressure pushed him to the floor. Two more loud bangs followed during the confusion.

Smith looked up to see the father standing in front of him. He was holding a gun and time had slowed way down. The gun slipped to the floor and Smith saw bullet holes covered in blood in the father’s chest. The man slumped over and his lifeless body made a sick gurgling sound after hitting the floor revealing Beefcake standing in the doorway- smoke still lingered from his duty weapon. Smith cracked a wry smile. He unbuttoned his shirt and saw the ballistic vest had caught the bullet fired at his chest by the father.

“Damn Beefcake, next time leave her house a little quicker,” he said with a grin and wink after noticing Beefcake’s uniform was un-tucked and lipstick was on his collar.  

Copyright by C.L.Swinney 2014

FREE AUDIBLE COPIES OF COLLECTORS??!?!

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Ladies and gentlemen,

I’ve got five audible copies of my best-selling novel, Collectors, narrated by award-winning narrator Patrick Conn, to give away!!

Click the link,  add Collectors to your wish list, let me know when you’re done, and the first five people get a free audible copy of my best-selling novel. That’s it!! If you enjoy the novel, consider leaving a review at some point 🙂

http://www.amazon.com/C.-L.-Swinney/e/B00DSWIANQ

 

THANKS EVERYONE,

 

CHRIS

Paradigm

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Perched above the light radiating anger he stalks, clenching fists and grinding his jaw muscles fiercely. A man in blue wearing a star, oblivious to the ticking time bomb, coasts to a stop preoccupied by time slipping by.

The tormented man hears a voice, “Yes, do it!”

Another of his voices says, “You can’t, you mustn’t!”

Zombie-like, he slowly grabs the luke-warm handle of his safety blanket, and cooler than the other side of a pillow, marches on to entertain the war that rages.

The traffic light remains red longer than normal, causing the unsuspecting man to curse and examine his surroundings. He peers left, and then right, noting nothing spectacular.

Again the voices scream, “Do it!”

“No!”

“Do it you coward!”

“No!”

The volley of pain finally consumes him. He lifts borrowed steel, aims, and fires. The crackle erupts, scattering feet drowned only by screams. The waiting cop never had a clue. At the foot of his cruiser, weathered life escapes the victim, while a mixture of gunpowder and smoke become one. Slowly they ascend to salvation seeking refuge for his soul.

Two Excellent Novels Hit the Scene!

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 Final Death Comes in Threes                                                                      Final Awkward Moments

 

 

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.

Website:         www.marjamcgraw.com

Blog:               http://blog.marjamcgraw.com/

Buy:                http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_8?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=marja%20mcgraw&sprefix=marja+mc%2Cstripbooks%2C203&rh=i%3Astripbooks%2Ck%3Amarja%20mcgraw

 

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**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.

-Chris

Eccentric Woman Blows Millions On the Advice of a Medium.

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Check this monster of a home out! This is an overhead view of the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, CA. At the time of Sarah Winchester’s death, this property stretched over six acres, and contained  160 rooms, 2,000 doors, 10,000 windows, 47 stairways, 47 fireplaces, 13 bathrooms, and 6 kitchens. When the carpenters (which were hired to work shifts so building never stopped) learned of her death, they left nails half driven and walked away. Many people drive by it everyday and have no idea the story behind it. So, I decided to check it out.

 

I was blown away to learn Sarah Winchester’s story as most of it seems surreal. Born sometime around 1840 and into money, Sarah  Pardee was considered the “Belle of New Haven.” She met and married William Wirt Winchester and lived a wonderful and happy life. Unfortunately, their daughter passed away by a mysterious illness known as marasmus, which put Mrs. Winchester into a serious bought of depression. Eventually her husband also passed away leaving a void in her life that I think she always looked to fill but couldn’t.

 

Finally, she met with a Boston Medium who told her the family and she were haunted by all of the spirits that her late husband’s guns (and Winchester Family) had killed. The medium told her to move west and build a great home to appease the spirits. The medium said if the building never ceased, Mrs. Winchester would be left alone. So, she packed up and headed to Menlo Park, CA until finally picking a spot in the Santa Clara Valley (once a prolific orchard area now completely commercialized).

 

Once settled, Mrs. Winchester began to develop into somewhat of a folklore hero. People didn’t know what to think of her. She paid twice the normal wages (back then it was a dollar and a half a day!), made considerable contributions to orphanages, and spent countless hours with children. However, she also allegedly wore a black veil across her face while inside her home and would fire workers if they saw her face by accident.

 

Then there was the weird stuff. Neighbors would hear a bell ring at midnight and 2 a.m., which according to ghost lore are the times for the arrival and departure of spirits. Mrs. Winchester never slept in the same bedroom two nights in a row, in order to confuse any evil spirits that might be waiting for her.  The Blue Room, where Mrs. Winchester supposedly would go every night to commune with the spirits, consisted of a cabinet, a table with pen and papers, a closet, and a planchette board – used for transmitting messages from the beyond. It was rumored she would wear one of 13 special colored robes and receive guidance from various spirits for her construction plans.

 

I had the opportunity to visit the house and take a tour. It’s quite a bizarre place. Stairs lead to nowhere, windows are inside, not to the outside, and there’s definitely a creepy vibe. However, it was totally worth it. It’s a piece of California history that few get to experience, but it’s something you learn from and can appreciate.  If you get a chance to visit the Winchester Mystery House you really should do it.

 

http://www.winchestermysteryhouse.com/

 

Best selling novel goes Audio!

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Well, my best selling novel just came out in audio. It’s truly amazing to hear your novel come alive through narration. I am speechless. I added 6000 words and had an award winning narrator for the project! It’s way cool. 50 five star reviews already.

Please check it out!!

http://www.audible.com/pd/Mysteries-Thrillers/Gray-Ghost-Audiobook/B00IRIVV1O/ref=a_search_c4_1_4_srTtl?qid=1393987618&sr=1-4

#audio #grayghost #bestseller #crime fiction #mystery #amazon