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 

Guest Author Sue Coletta with Wings of Mayhem #Thriller #Suspense #CrimeFiction

I’ve got a wonderful guest visiting today, and hope you’ll welcome Sue Coletta with her latest release Wings of Mayhem. Cool title, huh? Crack open your ereader and prepare for much more.

Sue has a wonderful blog devoted to everything crime—cold case stories, forensics research, DNA, crime scene studies and *gulp* the world of serial killers. The last one factors into Wings of Mayhem and will keep you on the edge of your seat. Before I turn things over to Sue, I invite you check out her blog Inside the Mind of a Crime Writer where you’ll find such interesting posts as Buried Alive: How to Escape Your Grave  (tell me you haven’t wondered about that one) and Eyewitness Testimony—Test Your Observation Skills.

Finally, a word about Wings of Mayhem. It’s a book that sucks you in to the exclusion of all else, a pulse-pounding page turner that kept me glued. When my husband talked to me a few times as I was reading I actually flinched. Check out my complete 5-star review on Amazon and pick up your copy while you’re there. I loved the lead character, Shawnee Daniels and can’t wait for more of her adventures. Here’s Sue to tell you about Shawnee and her nerve-wracking novel . . .

Banner graphic for Wings of Mayhem, a thriller/suspense novel by Sue Coletta~ooOOoo~

Thanks for inviting me to your blog, Mae!

Wings of Mayhem is the story of Shawnee Daniels—by day, she’s a computer forensics specialist/hacker at the Revere Police Dept.; by night, she’s a cat burglar who steals from those who’ve harmed others in an attempt to right the wrong. Her latest heist uncovers more than she’d anticipated…someone’s been hiding secrets, deadly secrets, secrets worth killing over.

Shawnee Daniels has been with me for years, hanging not-so-quietly in the background, pestering me to put her through 300 pages of hell.

And so I did.

In many ways Wings of Mayhem was one of the hardest books I’ve ever written because I loaded it with symbolism and cryptic clues. It’s the type of book that you could read a second time and still not catch all the minute details. I can’t tell you what those things are without ruining the story, but I can say almost everything the reader encounters has a hidden meaning.

In the book I alternate point of views between Shawnee, Detective Levaughn Samuels, and the killer. Rather than post the book description, I’ll share an excerpt to introduce you to Shawnee Daniels. She’s a character in every sense of the word.

EXCERPT

I ambled toward a wide, sweeping staircase, similar to the ones in old black-and-white films, and ran gloved fingers down the rod-iron railing, twirling off the end of the banister, into the main level.

First, I hit the kitchen. Whoever told the wealthy to hide their valuables in the kitchen did them a disservice. There wasn’t a thief alive who hadn’t figured that one out. I swung open the freezer door and rooted around inside.

As I jiggled a half-gallon of fudge swirl, a smile broke across my face. How stupid did he think I was? A fake ice cream container or coffee can didn’t fool anyone. Neither did stashing valuables in the ice cube trays. In which, I found two loose diamonds suspended mid-cube.

I gave the greedy bastard an “A” for ingenuity, but he’d have to step up his game to beat me.

In total, I pocketed about thirty grand worth of stuff. Most of which I’d return to the retirement fund via electronic transfer from Delsin, minus my fee. He wouldn’t understand why, of course, but since he was in a world of hurt, his lawyer would advise him to keep his mouth shut and roll with it. Which he would do. I’d seen it happen many times. His attorney would argue this was his way of making retribution because the theft was all a huge misunderstanding, or bookkeeping error. The prosecution would argue Delsin acted with intent, yada, yada, yada… same drill, different mark.

I crossed a short, hardwood-floored hall and landed in the living room. With a running leap I swan-dived onto a puckered black-leather sectional, flipped on my back, and gazed at the stars through another glass wall. Bright pinpricks of light danced across an inky-black sky.

book cover for Wings of Mayhem, a thriller/suspense novel by Sue Coletta shows blood-splattered wings opened as if in flightIt’s important to take a moment to appreciate God’s little gifts. Years ago, Mom drilled that nugget of wisdom home.

I crawled off the sofa, my gaze roaming around the living room. Off to the left, oak pocket doors protected either a den or office. Straps dug into the top of my shoulders, the backpack overflowing with sterling, gold, jewelry, and cash.

A solid score.

With gloved hands, I slid one of the doors aside. The moon spilled a cascading smolder through the slats of wooden blinds behind a long mahogany desk, kitty-cornered in the center of the room.

On top, sat a banker’s lamp and burgundy desk pad with calendar, where Jackie boy scrawled single digits on some of the days. I snapped a quick cell phone photo.

One never knows when information could come in handy.

To the right of the desk, a padlocked door drew my attention. In seconds, I picked the lock. A foul odor struck me in the face like the slap from a jilted lover. I cupped a hand over my mouth and nose. The stench was like… like… decay.

I swallowed hard.

Pitch-blackness blanketed the inside. I leveled my flashlight. The beam dimmed, flickered, and then died. I banged it against a flat hand.

“Not now. C’mon, stay with me.”

No dice. The damn thing refused to cooperate.

Using my cell phone, if I triggered the camera, the flash could, in theory, light my way.

It’s worth a shot.

Bright light saturated the room in stark-white for a split-second, and nearly blinded me. Multicolored spots filled my vision. I pressed the heels of my hands in my eyes and this time, I flipped the camera so the flash faced the room.

Flash.

Framed portrait of a woman.

Flash.

Apron.

Flash.

Metal table.

Flash, flash.

Plastic… on the walls?

Flash, flash.

Red splashes. An art studio, perhaps? I aimed toward the table.

Flash, flash.

A power tool.

Flash, flash.

Hedge clippers?

Flash. Flash.

Wait. If those were hedge clippers, then what was—?

Flash, flash, flash.

I cocked my head. Huh?

Flash, flash, flash, flash.

My sight narrowed on the floor beneath the table.

Flash, flash, flash, flash, flash.

I straightened, shifted in my stance.

Flash, flash, flash, flash, flash, flash.

“Can’t be.” A jolt of raw adrenaline shot through me. “What are the chances I’m in his house?”

I sprinted out the room, missed the hole for the padlock three times before re-engaging the lock and hightailed it toward the staircase, tripping over my own feet. At the top, I slid around the end of the banister, the soles of my boots screeching across the hardwood.

Keys in the front door stopped me cold— metal jingling against metal.

My gaze tunneled on the doorknob.

The door creaked open. Slow. Methodical. Deliberate.

Wings of Mayhem is published by Crossroad Press and is available at…
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Google Play
Apple iTunes
Smashwords
Print and audio coming soon!

photo of author Sue ColettaBIO:
Member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters In Crime, and International Thriller Writers, Sue Coletta is always looking for new ways to commit murder…on the page. She’s the author of Wings of Mayhem, MARRED, Crime Writer’s Research, and 60 Ways to Murder Your Characters. Her forensic article, Radiocarbon Dating and Skeletal Differences, was featured in the March 2016 issue of InSinC Quarterly. She’s published in Murder, USA, A Crime Fiction Tour of the Nation (Grab your FREE copy HERE), Out of the Gutter Flash Fiction Offensive, and in the upcoming anthology, RUN. Sue is also the founder/creator of #ACrimeChat on Twitter.

Connect with Sue at the following haunts:
Website and blog
Twitter @SueColetta1
Facebook
Goodreads

Wanna Win Some Free Books? How about 30?

I’m super excited to be participating in a giveaway that my friend and sister author, Sue Coletta has put together. Sue rounded up 30 of her favorite authors—most crime fiction with a sprinkling of other genres mixed in—and neatly tied up the event in one huge giveaway. Yep, you can win thirty novels. Count ‘em–not ten, not twenty, but a whopping thirty books for your reading pleasure. I’m delighted to say, my romantic mystery/suspense tale, ECLIPSE LAKE is included among them.

Just look at all these goodies:

Book cover collection of 30 Crime Novels for giveaway

It’s extremely simple to enter by visiting this Rafflecopter link. But before you hop over, take a gander at Sue’s blog, where she’s provided the blurbs for each book in the giveaway.

I’ll let Sue explain …

~ooOOoo~

In keeping with the holiday spirit I have the best surprise ever. I’ve rounded up my favorite authors and  asked if they’d like to participate in a special holiday giveaway. And they said yes! From now till New Year’s Day you can enter to win…are you ready?… 30 free ebooks. Yay!

Each and every one of these authors are amazingly talented. My TBR list is so tall I can barely see over the top. Between me and the hubby they’re all on our list.

Inside the covers of these virtual pages we’ll laugh, cry, tremble in fear, go to exotic locales or dredge through the dark streets of places more familiar. We’ll flip pages late into the night and wake with a renewed passion to run downstairs and finish where we left off. We’ll fight for our heroes, rejoice when/if the antagonists burn in hell. There are so many magical moments that await us, I can hardly wait to dig in.

In no particular order I have included the descriptions of each book. Take your time to browse through, but don’t forget to enter the giveaway. Three lucky winners will win all 30 titles.

To learn more about the promotion, hop over to Sue’s site.

Good luck and happy reading!

Mae Clair Presents: MARRED by Sue Coletta #thriller #suspense #crimefiction

I’ve got a wonderful new author to introduce to you today. Sue Coletta is here to share her debut release, MARRED, a psychological thriller now available through pre-order. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this suspenseful tale and it’s has me on the edge of my seat as I frantically swipe Kindle pages to see what happens next. As I type this post, I’m roughly 65% through the book, and the stakes are at fever pitch for the characters.

Hey, just check out this cover. As someone who has been reading thrillers, mysteries and suspense for years, I was immediately hooked. If I saw this in a bookstore, I’d snatch it off the shelf before someone else got their paws on it. In fact, Sue initially sent me a small jpg image of her cover and I said “Huh-uh. I want a BIG one to eat up lots of real estate.” That’s how much I love this cover:

book cover for Marred by Sue Coletta, a suspense thriller. Shows rural barn with body hanging in open doorway

As this is Sue’s first guest appearance on my blog, I had to hit her up with a few questions. Like . . .

What attracts you most to your chosen genre?

Sue: I get to kill people for a living and get away with it. What’s not to love?

Nothing like hammering out your aggression on a character, LOL. And I bet your Google searches would leave an interesting trail. Okay, tell us about MARRED.

Sue:  A psychological thriller, Marred, is set for release 11/11/15. Until then it’s on sale for only .99 cents! I’m absolutely thrilled to share this story with the world. It was a long road, but I’ve finally made my dream a reality. Here’s the blurb:

When a serial killer breaks into the home of bestselling author, Sage Quintano, she barely escapes with her life. Her husband, Niko, a homicide detective, insists they move to rural New Hampshire, where he accepts a position as Grafton County Sheriff. Sage buries secrets from that night—secrets she swears to take to her deathbed.

Three years of anguish and painful memories pass, and a grisly murder case lands on Niko’s desk. A strange caller begins tormenting Sage—she can’t outrun the past.

When Sage’s twin sister suddenly goes missing, Sage searches Niko’s case files and discovers similarities to the Boston killer. A sadistic psychopath is preying on innocent women, marring their bodies in unspeakable ways. And now, he has her sister.

Cryptic clues. Hidden messages. Is the killer hinting at his identity? Or is he trying to lure Sage into a deadly trap to end his reign of terror with a matching set of corpses?

Goosebumps! Not only from the sinister moodiness of that blurb, but I’m super excited for you! And, of course, I’ve already ordered my copy of MARRED from Amazon. I’m curious about the title. I think one word titles, especially in the thriller genre, are highly memorable. How did you choose yours?

Sue: Marred has a double meaning, really. The serial killer “marred” his victims and Sage, the central main character, was “marred” emotionally by a brutal assault, three years earlier.

Which character did you enjoy writing the most and why?

For the record, I love all my characters. But the most fun to write was Deputy Frankie Campanelli. We’re a lot alike, only I keep snarky comments to myself and she…well, doesn’t.

I love Frankie! She definitely isn’t shy about speaking her mind. Tell me about the research you did for this novel. The crime scene investigation detail is fantastic. What was the most interesting item you discovered while doing research for the book?

Sue: That’s easy. There’s a chapter in Marred where Sheriff Niko Quintano, Sage’s husband, teaches his deputy about blood splatter analysis. Forensics fascinates me.

It shows in your writing. You really nailed it in such a way to make it understandable and riveting for your reader. Really fantastic job, Sue. And now changing things up a bit, I’ve got to ask about pets. I couldn’t help falling in love with Sage and Niko’s dogs in the book. You made them into characters with personalities. I know from your blog you’ve got a… *ahem* pet of your own. Can you tell us about him?

Sue: How much time do we have? I have a nine year old Rottweiler named Cascius aka Cashy Bear aka Squishy Panties <- his baby name that stuck. Cashy Bear is massive. He’s got to weigh a good buck fifty, if not sixty. Anyway, he gets jealous when I work. His solution? Roll his ball across my keyboard, bounce it off my arm, down my leg. And when that doesn’t work, he throws it at my face. That’s my boy!

LOL! I love when he shows up in one of the posts on your blog. It’s always highly entertaining. 

Okay, now for a few quick questions. Favorite TV show?
Hannibal. Love the murder scenes!

Why does that not surprise me? 🙂 Favorite season?
Autumn. I live in New England. It’s so beautiful when the leaves change color.

I’m a summer gal, but I do love October in the fall, and New England is positively breathtaking (though I’ve never made it as far north New Hampshire). What is your favorite social media platform?
Hmm…I’d have to say FB. Some of the pics people post are absolutely hilarious.

Facebook and I are mostly frenemies, LOL. Are you a night owl or morning lark?
Morning. I start very early, between 4-5 a.m., so by nightfall I’m exhausted.

Yikes! And I can barely crawl out of bed at 6AM! How about casual or dressy?
Casual all the way.

Mountains or beach?
Mountains.

Okay, so I’m a beach girl but I do love the beauty of the mountains and spent several (much younger) summers hiking with my husband through the woods. And nothing works as nicely as casual at the beach. Hmm… suddenly, I’m craving crab-claws and white wine at a bayside pub!

Sue, it was great having you here today. And I’m happy to share links where readers can connect with you:

Website and Blog
Twitter @SueColetta1
Facebook
Goodreads
Amazon Author Page
Tirgearr Publishing

Sue also has two spectacular newsletters, one for writers and one for readers. Use the links below to sign up with your preference, or do like I did, and sign up for both!

Newsletter Sign-up and receive FREE 60 Ways to Murder Your Fictional Characters http://eepurl.com/bAwxK9

Crime Lover’s Lounge for Readers: http://eepurl.com/bABKN5

Author, Sue ColettaAbout the author:
Member of MWA and Sisters in Crime, Sue Coletta is the author of Marred and Wings of Mayhem, her next release, as well as three other titles. She’ll be in Murder, USA, an anthology, where a 4K-word excerpt of Marred scored the first placement. When she’s not reading or writing, she hangs out with furry four-legged pals, her husband, or her two beautiful granddaughters, not necessarily in that order. If you see her out and about, be sure to say hello. Just don’t ever call her Grandma.

And now that you know Sue and have read about her spectacular debut release, don’t forget to pre-order MARRED while it’s on sale for just $.99. You can pre-order from these retailers:

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Smashwords

As more links become available they’ll be listed on Sue’s website and on her author page at Tirgearr Publishing.

You can also read a suspenseful excerpt from MARRED here.