Monthly Archives: March 2013

Crime Fiction, Sin, and Easter

Cross, CelticI’m a traditionalist, I call the day Easter, where as some call it Resurrection Day. I guess I’m showing my age and perhaps my grumpiness.

Without going on and on about it, I’ve researched the word Easter, and its origin is that it came from the Celtic word for “east” as Jesus was crucified, died, and resurrected in the east. Of course the ancient Celts would select a word from their own language to describe the day…just as the Greeks chose the word pasha from their language.

The notion that Easter came from a pagan goddess of spring has largely been debunked by serious scholars. In fact, scholars can’t find any definitive proof there was a Germanic or Norse goddess Eostre. The major reference we have is the Venerable Bede, but scholars can’t find any evidence to back up his assertion. The reason this notion is so generally accepted in modern pop-culture is that as far back as the early 1900s modern pagans picked up the idea and ran with it. However, the truth is, it’s much more a neo-pagan fantasy. Fundamentalist Christians have done their share to muddy the waters as well. Early on, they supported this idea, without delving into historical, archeological, or linguistic scholarship on any deep level because certain fundi groups had no truck with the Easter holiday, or any holiday not set out in the Bible for celebration. There you have, as far as I know, the skinny on the word Easter.

Crime Fiction and Sin

Oh goody, we’re getting to the sin part. The fun part.

But this is why I deeply feel crime fiction is well suited to Christian fiction. It deals with sin, with the all too human sin nature. It gets in there and mucks around in the established values of our modern society, or the lack thereof. More than that, a good writer of whodunits explores the human heart. And in Jeremiah we learn the human heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Yes, yes, indeed…this is the realm of the crime fiction writer. I’m getting excited already.

Crime Fiction is a Sin

Now there are those who claim crime fiction itself is sinful, or the writing of it is a sin. Some feel the nature of murder is so sinful that it couldn’t be anything but sinful to write about it, especially the horrid crimes some serial killers have committed. I agree, serial killers are heniously sick individuals. I don’t like to read stories about them, but oddly enough have. I’ve also said I wouldn’t write those types of stories. Yet, I found myself creating a few abhorently sick killers in my Sanctuary Point historical murder mystery series. The fact that these stories are set in the 1940s, a gentler and classier era, didn’t prevent my killers from possessing truly evil hearts.

The Way Some Write Crime Fiction is a Sin

I might as well throw out a few of my pet peeves about the state of crime fiction writing. I hate it when the writer doesn’t get their police procedure set out in an accurate manner. Just as bad is when their detective hasn’t solved the crime so the writer makes the bady guy confess. It’s true you want to surprise the reader regarding the identity of the killer, but hey, come on, it has to be within the realm of possibility. I can go for a coincidence happening once in the story, but if the author has a string of coincidental happenings leading the main character to catch the killer, I’m going to cry foul.

Notes:

1. The Meaning of the Word Easter, by Caedmon Parsons http://www.celtic-catholic-church.org/oak_tree/easter.html

2. Eostre – Teutonic Goddess or NeoPagan Fancy?  by Patti Wigington http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/ostarathespringequinox/qt/Eostre.htm

3. The modern myth of the Easter bunny, by Adrian Bott http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2011/apr/23/easter-pagan-roots

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Brave Heroines in Historical Mysteries for Women’s History Month

I write historical whodunits with spunky, out of the box, determined, classy, steel-back boned heroine in my Sanctuary Point series set on the south shore of Long Island, NY in the post World War II era of the mid-1940s. They are the perfect read during Women’s History Month.

 

Burning Hearts

BURNING HEARTS, book one

—arson/murder, action, and romance

—Sweet romance, sophisticated themes presented tastefully

—Finaled in 2011 Grace Awards Romance/Historical Romance category

Erica Brogna’s parents doted on her and taught her to think for herself. Many boys she grew up with had fallen in the WWII, shaking her childhood faith. In rides a handsome stranger, at the hour of her most desperate need. A woman who is her close friend and mentor is trapped in a burning house. After making an unsuccessful rescue attempt, Erica stands by as this man rushes into the inferno and carries her friend’s lifeless body out.

Endorsement:  “Right from the start, BURNING HEARTS captured my imagination and tweaked my curiosity. Nike Chillemi certainly knows how to set a scene and ignite
excitement.” ~~ Athol Dickson — three time Christy Award winning author of LOST MISSION and THE OPPOSITE OF ART

Amazon/Kindle. http://tiny.cc/nc91tw

Barnes & Noble. http://tiny.cc/nk91tw

Christianbooks. http://tiny.cc/im91tw

Goodbye Noel

GOODBYE NOEL, book two

—murder/mayhem/kidnap/romance

—Sweet romance, warm intimacy, sophisticated themes presented tastefully

—Won the 2011 Grace Awards Mystery/Thriller/Romantic Suspense category

Pediatric nurse, Katrina Lenart, grew up strong willed and independent minded, while sharing her mother’s flair for high fashion. When the police chief gives her an orphaned baby to care for, her maternal instincts take over and she’s willing to fight anyone who might not have the infant’s best interests at heart, even the man she’s growing to love. After an attempt is made to kidnap the baby, she and the resolute village detective team up and do some sleuthing, undercover at a cult as well as at a fancy ball.

Endorsement: “Wow! Nike Chillemi knows how to set the hook into readers right from the first page and refuses to let go. GOODBYE NOEL is a taut thriller, peopled with intriguing characters and crafted by an author at the top of her game. Don’t miss this one!”    ~~   Robert Liparulo, Award winning author of THE 13th TRIBE, COMES A HORSEMAN, GERM, and THE DREAMHOUSE KINGS

Amazon/Kindle. http://tiny.cc/h291tw

Barnes & Noble/Nook. http://tiny.cc/u391tw

Christianbook. http://tiny.cc/z491tw

Perilous Shadows

PERILOUS SHADOWS, book three

—dead coed/news professionals hunt a killer/secrets

—Sweet romance, warm intimacy, sophisticated themes presented tastefully

Pioneer newspaperwoman Kiera Devane is on a mission to prove a woman can do a man’s job, as she hunts a young coed’s killer? Ace radio broadcaster Argus Nye lost one love to a murderous fiend and his pulse races as he tries to protect Kiera from herself as much as from this killer. Kiera was doted upon by loving parent, but they were killed when she was a girl and she was shipped off to live with a socialite aunt who had little time for her. In her aunt’s house, she learned life could be cold and cruel. As a result, she grew up to be an independent and demanding professional woman.

Endorsement: Nike Chillemi kicks off her new novel, PERILOUS SHADOWS, with gusto and keeps the action coming. A dead body found in a radio station throws two unlikely people together as they try to figure out what happened to the station’s young intern. The depth of the characterizations and the pace of PERILOUS SHADOWS will keep readers enthusiastically turning pages until this exciting ride reaches its conclusion. ~~  Nancy Mehl, winner of the 2009 Carol Award for Mystery…author of INESCAPABLE: The Kingdom series, the Curl Up and Dye mysteries, and The Harmony series.

Amazon/Kindle. http://tiny.cc/2ea2tw

Barnes & Noble/Nook. http://tiny.cc/cga2tw

Christianbook. http://tiny.cc/sha2tw

DH, Amazon Lg

DARKEST HOUR, book four

—a widow is framed by powerful people/the medical examiners knows she didn’t pull the trigger

—Sweet romance, warm intimacy, sophisticated themes presented tastefully

A petite widow, secretary and sole support of her son and grandparents, is framed for murder. When she discovers the body of her boss, his A-List society finacee, backed up by her powerful family and a corrupt DA, acuses Lucinda of murder.  She struggles on shielding her five-year-old son, her feisty grandfather and arthritic grandmother from the ugliness of her situation. She mistrusts the dapper ME, thinking he’s a ladies’ man, but soon realizes he may be the only one in her corner.

Endorsement: DARKETST HOUR: Nike Chillemi has written yet another high-action, highly charged mystery. A riveting read .  ~~  Linda Yezak, author of the award winning GIVE THE LADY A RIDE

Amazon/Kindle. http://tiny.cc/wwa2tw

Barnes & Noble/Nook. http://tiny.cc/pya2tw


Taking Writing Courses — Yes, Do It!!!

Education, classroom

I started writing seriously for publication about six and half years ago. At that time, Harlequin had a free online writing course. I’m not sure if they still offer that course, but one of the smartest things I ever did was take that course. And I was fastidious about it. I took it very seriously and I learned a great deal. I still use a modified version of the character information sheet they offered.

Now online writing courses seem to be in every nook and cranny of the internet. They might be basic courses…a writer’s 101 type thing, or they might be on a very narrow and specific topic. In last several years I’ve taken a course on martial arts fighting techniques geared toward the crime fiction and action-adventure author. In addition I took and online course on historical forensics, as my Sanctuary Point mystery series is set in the 1940s. I took notes, asked questions, took notes, soaked up knowledge the instructor offered. Did I mention I took notes?

I did not use the course to try to slip in mention of my books slyly here and there. I did not try to impress the instructors with my vast knowledge as a multi-published author. If I knew so much, why was it necessary to take the course? Duh!

There are many good courses out there. For Christian authors American Christian Fiction Writers have some of the best. Romance Writers of America offers a wide variety of courses. Gotham Writers Workshop offers fantastic online writing courses for mystery writers. I’m sure there are many other groups offering courses. My local library offered a six-week writing course, and guess what? I took it. Had a lot of fun. Met some nice people and learned a few things.


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