Tag Archive for: choosing murder victims

“Use Your Imagination”

Like many authors, I have a day job that keeps me far too
busy. Right now, I’m scrambling to handle everything that was deferred due to a
giant deadline. (Said deadline meant 12+ hour days for weeks and weeks – ack!)
One of those deferred items is making sure all the slides
for my teaching assignments (next week’s adventure) were appropriately timed, logged, approved, and all
the jazz that goes with having your class qualify for Continuing
Professional Education.
And because clearly I don’t have enough to do, I was assigned
a presentation about another service line (to present, fortunately, to just our
group rather than all partners and managers). I say ‘fortunately’ because the
partner who assigned this task made the mistake of saying, “Be creative! Think
outside the box! Use your imagination!”

Those clichés should give you a clue – tossing out phrases like that is throwing down the gauntlet for an author.

So instead of developing a wonderful blog post for you, I spent the afternoon on The Extremely Unlikely [Service Line Redacted]
Case – a Murder Mystery.

There’s a dead accountant.
And cops.

Lots of cops. 


Several suspects. 

And the boring stuff about the Service Line.
Tune in next month to see if I still have a job. 
Have you ever done anything completely silly or off-the-wall
for your day job? Please share!!

Cathy Perkins
started writing when recurring characters and dialogue populated her day job commuting
daydreams. Fortunately, that first novel lives under the bed, but she was
hooked on the joy of creating stories. When not writing, she can be found doing
battle with the beavers over the pond height or setting off on another travel
adventure. Born and raised in South Carolina, she now lives in Washington with
her husband, children, several dogs and the resident deer herd. 
Currently she’s employed in a financial day job. 

A Good Person to Murder

by Linda Rodriguez

One of the secret benefits of writing crime novels and short
fiction is the chance to vicariously kill off people who have worked hard at
pissing you off. We’re seldom violent people, we mystery writers, even though
we write about murder and lesser crimes. We’re usually polite and kind to our
friends and family and gentle with kids and animals. If you know a lot of crime
writers, you know we’re mostly very nice people. I believe mystery and thriller
writers are the nicest group of writers there are, and I know a lot of various
kinds of writers.

My theory about all that niceness is twofold: Nice people
may just be drawn to write mysteries and thrillers, or we’re all so nice
because we have the chance to work off all our anger in our books. I know I’ve
been able to deal with a certain person’s nasty behavior in real life much more
easily since I wrote a scene where a similar character was mowed down by reams
of bullets in a classic gangland shooting.

For that matter, listening to mystery writers at a
professional conference talk at meals or in the bar can be scary for outsiders.
We swap good ways to murder, especially in ways that are difficult to prove, and
methods and places to dispose of bodies. I’ve watched waitresses and bartenders
stand back from a group of us with leery eyes as they overhear bits and pieces
of what must seem a violent conspiracy. I suspect the really troubling thing is
that all this morbid conversation is always full of great cheer and hilarity.

This ability to extract satisfying revenge on the page can
remove lots of resentment and hurt from our lives. That co-worker who goes
around behind everyone’s back, telling lies to stir up trouble in the workplace
that costs people their promotions or even their jobs—smash her over the head
with a fax machine. The senior faculty member who steals your research and
passes it off as his own, branding you as a pathetic liar when you protest—how about
rat poison in his coffee? The old schoolmate who made you a laughingstock at
the last reunion—have her hit and run over by a car. The guy who humiliated and
dumped you publicly after “borrowing” all your savings—let a crazed serial
killer catch up with him and slash him up. The ex-wife who cheated on you all
through your marriage and then took your house and kids to go off with someone
else—fake a suicide with a handgun to the head (that your smart detective will
see through immediately). The sexually harassing boss who threatens to destroy
your career if you complain or don’t let him have his slimy way with you—tie him
up naked for kinky sex and smother him with a pillow over his face.

So the next time you’re at a crime writers conference, look
around at all those sweet, funny, and kindly mystery authors and ask yourself, “Why
are these people smiling?”