Guest Blogger Sue Coletta Acknowledges the Experts Who Help with Research

Hey, gang, I’ve got crime writer, Sue Coletta as my guest today. She’s got a brand new release ready to roll out with Cleaved and it’s up for pre-order at only .99c. I was lucky enough to get an ARC copy of this book. Trust me, it’s one you’ll want to grab—then curl up and be thankful you’re safely inside, tucked away from the killers who populate Sue’s fictional worlds.

Banner image for Cleaved by Sue Coletta

Acknowledging the Experts Who Help with Research
by Sue Coletta

In the past I’ve been guilty of not acknowledging the numerous experts who’d helped my stories ring true. That’s a mistake. A short line in the acknowledgements of our books is the least we can do.

Since I have a new release, I’ll share the acknowledgment page from CLEAVED, Book 2 in the Grafton County Series (MARRED is Book 1).

Acknowledgement Page

A special thank you to all the men and women in law enforcement, especially those who helped with my research… first, to my detective friends who mean the world to me: my Partner in Crime Kimberly McGath aka “Scoobs”, Garry Rodgers, and Joe Broadmeadow. Thank you for always being there. Love you guys. A nod toward Adam, too, who also goes out of his way to help. Thanks, buddy.

Next, to Lt. Crystal McLain from NH State Police/NH Marine Patrol for taking time out of your busy schedule to help Sheriff Niko Quintano work with Marine Patrol so my story would ring true; Kristin Harmon from NH Fish & Game for all the information on waterways in the state; Cheryl Hutchinson, Communications Supervisor II for NH Marine Patrol/NH State Police for the information on interagency cooperation; the Grafton County Medical Examiner for taking the time to chat with me about the floating patterns of a corpse in fresh water vs. salt water; and Alexandria Taxidermy for the plethora of information about deer antlers. You all went out of your way, and I’m so grateful. I spoke with other members of NH Fish & Game, too. You know who you are…thank you for dealing with a crazy crime writer who forgot to mention the deceased was, in fact, fictional when calling in a report of a body in the marsh. That situation could’ve gone a total different way!

A quick shout-out to my faithful readers, blog followers, and the writing community. You’re so special to me. And to God, for blessing my life in unimaginable ways.

As you can see, I first acknowledged the friends who help me on regular basis with police procedures. CLEAVED required tons of research, as my stories often do. Perhaps even more than previous books. While writing, I spoke with several members of law enforcement, and each one went out of their way to help me. The local police weren’t as accommodating. Small towns, they can go either way. The state agencies, however, sent a plethora of emails and phone calls. I didn’t run into one person who wasn’t thrilled to chat with me. Oddly enough, they all thanked me for my accuracy. Law enforcement isn’t always portrayed in the best light. When a crime writer wants to show the truth about their incredibly difficult jobs, the blue wall crumbles and they go to great lengths to help with accuracy.

I can’t say enough about how wonderful everyone was to work with. Even the Medical Examiner spent a half-hour on the phone with me. I learned so much information about what happens to bodies in water, including a juicy tidbit that I’m reserving for a future book. Sorry, not telling! In the acknowledgements, I didn’t use her name because she asked me not to. Instead, I used her title. As you may or may not know, several members work in the morgue. I did speak with the Medical Examiner, but that’s our little secret. If you’re curious about the different job positions, I wrote a post entitled What Happens Inside an Autopsy Suite, which you can find HERE.

That brings up another important point. After you receive the answers you seek, ask the expert if they mind the mention in the acknowledgments. Most will love it, but sometimes you run into an expert who asks for discretion. Or, like my friend Adam, agrees to using his first name, not his last, so he doesn’t get in trouble with his department.

I like to end my acknowledgements on a personal note by thanking my readers and community, but it’s a personal preference. There’s no right or wrong here.

book cover for Cleaved by Sue Coletta shows rear shoe of woman tied to tree, superimposed with skeletal deer head with blood-tipped hornsWhat’s CLEAVED about?

Author Sage Quintano writes about crime. Her husband Niko investigates it. Together they make an unstoppable team. But no one counted on a twisted serial killer, who stalks their sleepy community, uproots their happy home, and splits the threads that bond their family unit.

Darkness swallows the Quintanos whole—ensnared by a ruthless killer out for blood. How he focused on Sage remains a mystery, but he won’t stop till she dies like the others.

Women impaled by deer antlers, bodies encased in oil drums, nursery rhymes, and the Suicide King. What connects these cryptic clues? For Sage and Niko, the truth may be more terrifying than they ever imagined.

Here’s a video excerpt I created instead of a regular book trailer…

CLEAVED is available for pre-order.
Score your copy for 99c and save $5.00.
Releases May 3rd. If you haven’t read MARRED,
you’ll have plenty of time to catch up.

Purchase Links: 
CLEAVED universal | MARRED universal | Tirgearr Publishing 

Sue Coletta, author

Member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers, Sue Coletta is a multi-published, award-winning author. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and collections, including a forensic article in InSinC Quarterly. In addition to her popular crime resource blog, Sue co-hosts the radio show “Partners In Crime” on Blog Talk Radio. She’s also the communications manager for the Serial Killer Project and Forensic Science and founder of #ACrimeChat on Twitter, where she helps other crime writers’ stories ring true.

She lives with her husband in a quaint country town in rural New Hampshire where she’s surrounded by moose, deer, black bears, and the sultry songs of nature. Course, Sue would love to snuggle with the wildlife, but her husband frowns on the idea.

Connect with Sue at the following haunts: 
Website Amazon | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook 

Mythical Monday: Nautical Superstitions, by Mae Clair

Treasure chest at the bottom of the seaWhether it’s ghost ships, sea lore, or whispered tales of phantom winds and water sprites, I’ve always been intrigued by the murky depths of the sea. From ancient times to present, the underwater world has harbored creatures both serene and foul. And, oh, so interesting!

The Old Testament references the leviathan, a mighty seabeast, while legends passed through generations speak of floating islands, vanished cities, and merpeople who live beneath the waves.

But what of the brave men and women who attempted to tame the sea or, at the very least, exist within its dominion? Even today, sailors are a superstitious lot, many of their beliefs retained from an earlier age when water haunts and sea serpents were commonly recognized and feared.

While writing TWELFTH SUN, a novel which centers around a maritime artifact, I had the occasion to sort through a host of nautical superstitions. I referenced a few in the book, but much of the research was strictly for fun. I grew up reciting “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky in morning, sailor’s warning.” Remember that? I still often mentally conjure that sing-song verse when I notice a red sky.

But that tidbit of seafaring superstition wasn’t nearly enough to satisfy the myth-monger in me, so I went diving for more. Here are some of my favorite nautical superstitions:

Untying knots in a rope bring favorable winds.

Knitting hair into the toe of a sailor’s sock will bring him back to you.

If a sailor dreams of a horse, it is an omen of high seas.

Disaster will follow if you step onboard a vessel with your left foot first.

A ship’s bell will always ring when it is wrecked.

If St. Elmo’s Fire appears around a sailor’s head, he will die within a day.

A woman onboard a ship will make the sea angry.  Unless, she’s naked which will calm the sea. (Gee, wasn’t that a convenient superstition for sailors and pirates?)

Never rename a ship, for it is bad luck.

A ship’s name ending in “a” is unlucky.

Nail a shark’s tail to the bow of a ship and it will ward off other sharks. (Of course, you’ve still got the problem of convincing a shark to give up its tail. I don’t imagine there were a lot of volunteers for that job).

The feather of a wren will protect a sailor from death by shipwreck.

Death comes with an ebb tide and birth with a rising tide.

Black traveling bags are bad luck for a seaman.

möwe_abendrotA silver coin placed under the masthead ensures a successful voyage. Pouring wine on the deck also brings good luck.

Gulls harbor the souls of sailors lost at sea.

There are a host of other superstitions, but these are a few of my favorites. Next Monday, I have one particular belief I want to share, including how it gave birth to an entire urban legend. Intrigued? I hope you’ll be back next week for the details.

In the meantime, are there any superstitions you adhere to, nautical or otherwise? I tend to knock on wood a lot and I’m freaky about the number thirteen. What makes you superstitious? 🙂