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Tuesday, October 13th, 2020
Mid-October

I’m typing away on The Elf Job. It’s the second Mission: Magic book. It’s going to be really fun (I’m nearly done), but I’m converting it from 1st person to 3rd person and that makes for a bit of a slodge because I’m constantly fearing I’m overlooking an I, me, my, myself, our, we, etc.

I thought I’d go ahead and share a little snippet from what I’m working on today. Here you go. Enjoy:

 

The new elf stood well above six feet tall, which was about average elf height. Her hair hung to her knees. Mal had never seen an elf with black hair, though even in the moonlight she could pick out hints of blue, green, and purple. Strands of gems and gold wove through the long tresses. Maybe all that weight gave her a constant migraine.

Her clothes were white on white on white. She wore gossamer-thin layers that floated up at her slightest movement. A train flagged in the breeze. The thing that caught Mal’s attention, though, was the circlet on top of her head. It was made of a bright blue metal inlaid with intricate designs. In the middle was a star sapphire the size of a plum.

Crowns on elves could only mean court royalty or a high priestess. Both of which were on Mal’s bucket list of ‘don’t do this ever.’

She continued to look and after a minute it occurred to Mal that she was waiting for some kind of obeisance. A curtsy or maybe groveling in the dirt. Not a snowball’s chance in hell.

“Why am I here?”

“I summoned you.”

Fucking elves. They even evaded direct questions. Mal bit back the urge to tell Lady Enigmatic Asshole to fuck off. She’d thought LeeAnne was obnoxious.

“Are you going to tell me why?”

“I wished to speak to you, of course.”

“Then can you say what you want to say? I’ve got things to do and not a lot of time to get them done.”

“Yes. The talisman of Cat Barf. You seek it.”

Once again name of the talisman was impossible to make out. “Like I told Merrow, I don’t know.”

Her brows lifted. “You don’t know?”

“I’m after a talisman. I have no idea what it’s called, and to tell the truth, I don’t really give a fuck.”

“Ah.”

Just that and nothing else. She continued to stare. Unlike Paeteric, she had mastered the art of the bland expression. She also had the elven appreciation of time in spades. The concept of hurry was totally alien to her.

“Why do you care whether or not I’m after this talisman?”

“I don’t care if you are after it.”

Now it was Mal’s turn to be confused. “Then why do you keep asking about it?”

“It matters not if you seek it.”

Crap. Elf double-talk again. “Okay, if I find the damned thing. Then you’re interested, correct? Why?”

“It is not for Paeteric of House Yonnarlistral to possess.”

“He doesn’t seem to agree with you on that.”

“The Talisman of Cat Barf may not be used in this war.”

The smart ass part of Mal wanted to ask which war it could be used in, but she clamped her teeth on the comment and swallowed it back down. This elf just might answer and they’d end up so far off on a tangent she’d never get back to work.

Friday, September 11th, 2020
Back! From Outer Space!

Yes, I’ve not been here for a long time. Why is that? Well, Covid for one. It’s been tough with the family and helping out my elderly parents. We helped them sell their house and move. Well, basically we had them take what they wanted and then leave everything else and we cleaned their house out and cleaned their house and turned it over to the new owner.

I finished a draft of the fifth Diamond City Magic book, but oh, it was such a struggle. It’s super long, and now I have to revise and add a point of view, so I’m still working on that. I also don’t have a title for it yet, which is totally silly of me, and yet the title isn’t really coming together. I finished The Pixie Job, which will be out in early January in an anthology with novellas by R.J. Blain, Faith Hunter, and Devon Monk. The anthology is titled Dirty Deeds and I think you’re going to love these stories. They are so very fun.

Now what’s interesting is that The Pixie Job is the third in the Mission: Magic books, with The Incubus Job being the first. But wait, you say. Where’s the second? There is no second! But in fact, there is. It’s not quite done, but it will be out sometime before Dirty Deeds. I’m shooting for the end of October or middle of November. I’ll let you know more when I have more. It’s titled The Elf Job and it’s so much fun, I can’t even begin to tell you. Actually, both of them are.

I’m in Oregon and of course there are fires raging here. We’ve not been in any evacuation zones, but we’re really near the Beachie Creek/Lionshead/Riverside complex of fires. We’re across the river and the interstate, not to mention a lot of city, so we’re not concerned about ourselves, but I’m so concerned for some friends who have evacuated, and others who’ve lost homes. It’s just awful and I can’t seem to stop watching the news constantly for updates. On the positive side, it distracts me from the pandemic. That’s good, right?

Sadly, west of us on the coast where I wanted to go this weekend is also on fire and evacuated. But one of my friends who had to evacuate has learned their house is still standing. Hallelujah.

Dogs are doing great. Merlin (formerly bitey boy) has become super lovey and all three of them are lap hogs. My son returns to college in a week. His apartment, anyway. His classes will be online. My daughter will be doing her classes from home. She’s so thrilled (not). My husband will be losing his job soon. They are closing the machine shop where he works. We just don’t know when he will be laid off. They plan to close by the end of the year, but whether they lay him off before that is unclear. He’s taking some online classes to help boost his cnc programming skills.

In the meantime, I’m struggling with all the 2020 crap. Oh, we are remodeling our kitchen and it’s going slowly. Sigh. But progress is happening. Incredibly slowly.

With the smoke, I’ve been inside all week and have been going a little bit nuts. I really need to get on my elliptical. I’m drinking a lot of water to try to stay hydrated because it’s been so dry and hot. Some of my plants are getting really crispy. My tomatoes are going nuts and so are my cucumbers and squash and it looks like I’ve got some good peppers going on. Excited about that.

I promise to check in more. I stopped because I had this feeling that no one was paying attention. Mostly that was because I was doing the thing where everything is so overwhelming that I just sort of crawl into a cave and try to deal triage-fashion. But I’ve missed this part of connecting with people so I’m going to keep blogging here, even if it is into a void.

*waves hi to the void monkeys*

Thursday, November 7th, 2019
DCM 5

It appears Josh (Taylor’s ex-fiance and kidnap victim from Book 1) has returned. His first meeting with Taylor (and Dalton) doesn’t go so well. There appears to be some friction. Wonder why that is. Hmmm. *grin*

This scene is a lot of fun. A lot of fury and angst and a lot of character building.

This book isn’t going quite as I expected. Not sure whether it’s going to come together the way that I want. This is a complicated book with a lot of threads, and I haven’t even gotten to some of the really big characters yet. I don’t want to skimp on any of the stories/plot lines, so this will either be a very long book, or two books. Gack.

In the meantime, I’m finding myself having a tough time structuring my day so that I get everything done. I don’t know how people do this and I have friends who are so freaking organized and on top of things that it’s almost miraculous. I have no idea how they do it.

So I’ve started watching the Amazon Jack Ryan series and I think one of the most wrenching scenes is watching a man pray with his kid, visit with the grandfather and do really ordinary family things, then sling on his Automatic rifle on his shoulder, hug his kid goodbye, get on his scooter and ride off. It’s that slinging on the weapon that really kicks you in the stomach. So normal in such an awful way. And then he passes burned out bombed places. Just wrenching and this is how so many people live. Not just in what we think of as war zones, but also places where drug cartels are everywhere.

As a writer, these are the sorts of scenes that we value as we write. The ones that juxtapose two powerful images and then make them part of the deeper narrative.

These are the things that I strive for

Now I’m thinking of a character who gets neck deep in some dangerous life and then just decides to stop. But will that life let him stop. Will his own feelings and loyalties let him stop?What will happen? Will he go back? Get dragged back? Or find himself falling into a place he never wanted to be.

Another character who is fascinating is the one who kills from a distance, using a drone. He clearly struggles with his job and what that turns him into.

 

 

 

Saturday, August 31st, 2019
Diamond City Magic 5

Hello everyone! I’m sorry I’ve been off the radar. I’ve been getting my son ready for college, running around with my daughter for band, dealing with a very sick dog, going to the emergency room with my son who dislocated his knee, minor car accidents, and various other things. So I’ve done a piss poor job of visiting here. I’m going to try to be much better.

I’ve become a fan of Midsomer Murders. I enjoy the mysteries quite a bit and the characters. I also want to go bike riding in some English villages. Though I suspect there will be many places where I’d bap my head on the doorways and other low ceiling type of areas.

But I’m posting because I’ve had a number of questions about DCM5. Yes there is a fifth book! And I’m writing it now. It’s come along a little bit slowly because while I know what needs to happen, I’ve had trouble braiding the strands together. It’s become complicated and I’m working on sorting out the best way to tell the story. That means a few false starts and a number of backtrackings to throw out a bunch of stuff and rewrite. Plus the plans I had all along for one plot thread have become a problem for the turns I’ve taken and so now I have to come up with a better explanation for that.

But it’s definitely in process and I hope to start sharing some snippets very soon.

Di

Monday, May 6th, 2019
A snippet that was cut

From the second Mission Magic book, a little chopped out snippet:

 

“So when Arcadia decides you’re a threat and starts lobbing magic bombs at you, you’ll what?”

He gave a knife smile. “I will open up the heavens and rain hell down on earth.”

I stared, trying to figure out if that was a euphemism or not. “What does that mean?”

“It means that no matter what happens, people are going to die. I can push the hatchlings toward Arcadia, but when they attack me, the hatchlings will go wild. I’ll be killing anyone who comes at me. The hatchlings will run wild and all these innocents will become the banquet the elves destined them to be.”

For a few minutes I’d had a slender hope that with So’la’s help, things wouldn’t go worst case scenario. Now I had to wonder if anybody could be saved at all. It was too much to hope that So’la would be willing to sacrifice himself for anybody else. He wasn’t the type.

“Do you have a point?”

“I do.”

“Get to it then,” I said curtly. I shoved my hands deep into my pockets, my body rigid with tension. What the hell was I going to do? How was I going to keep all these innocent people alive? And all the Arcadia personnel?

 

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019
Considering Reverse Harem Stories

Have you read a reverse harem story? Do you know what they are? Essentially they are romances involving one woman and at least three men. Two men would make it menage-a-trois, which is another category of romance. I have been told by one writer of reverse harem stories, that this is not a group sex/orgy type of book, but the woman has encounters with each man one-on-one. The focus is on the developing romantic relationships between each pairing, while the men also develop relationships with each other of a non-sexual nature.

I’ve not really read them, after learning about them last year. I happened to run across a book bundle with four or five inside by the same author, so I picked it up and so far have read two of the stories.

This writer has a particular formula. I don’t know if applies to the genre in general or not, but there are some things I found interesting about the formula as a writer. First, in these books, the woman doesn’t know the men. She meets them one by one, usually, though one many usually has a male friend with whom he’s shared a girlfriend before, and it was something they wish to repeat again.

I think this experienced couple of men is fundamental to the way she tells her reverse harem stories, because they can reassure both the woman and the other men that this can be a healthy and normal relationship. In other words, they give a kind of permission for everyone to participate in what is currently socially taboo behavior.

The woman also has a problem that she doesn’t want to ask for help for. She’s independent and spunky the men all admire and want her. There’s an insta-love sort of quality to these stories because there isn’t a lot of time to develop each romance with any depth, so the reader just has to buy that they fall in love without a lot of evidence. There’s almost no conflict between the woman and each of the men. The conflict tends to be exterior in the shape of whatever problem the woman has, and complicated by the fact that she either doesn’t want help, or doesn’t want to tell them she needs help, Often she’s in money trouble.

The men want to help her through not giving her money, but helping her dig herself out and supporting her while she does. In other words, it’s not exactly a rescue. Nor is it a “we’ll help you for sex” situation. They like her and want to help her and the implication and sometimes explicitly stated motivation is that she deserves their help whether she’s romantically involved with any of them or not.

In both these books, they five (four men and the woman) end up moving in together after each realizes they all want her and they are willing to compete and let her choose. Of course she realizes she loves them all and can’t choose, and decides to call the whole thing off. She can’t bear to hurt any one of them by picking just one and she can’t imagine that they would want to maintain the relationship, but of course, they all do. She’s just that amazing.

She has sex with each man individually, and toward the end, there’s a kind of five-way with all the men involved, touching and kissing and pleasing her, which makes them all happy. There’s no male-on-male sex. No hint that they even touch each other while they are all naked with the woman.

I have to admit, part of me kept thinking . . . wow, what a lot of work to have sex with multiple men. It feels good and she’s terrifically happy, but combined with working and living life, that doesn’t give her a lot of time to just relax. Maybe relaxation is overrated when you can have that many mind-blowing orgasms.

One other thing that I noticed is that she has to constantly reassure herself that she’s not a slut. Her word. That having sex with multiple partners doesn’t make her an awful person. I found this annoying. It’s not that I don’t get the reason why. Society says that women who have multiple sex partners, whether dating them at the same time or serially, are whores. Readers have subconscious biases against women who do have and enjoy sex with multiple men.

Men who like sex and horndog sex, on the other hand, are just players and that makes them more manly. And the men in these stories clearly don’t have issues having multiple sex partners. It’s never suggested that they are anything less than manly men. But it has to be repeated that the women are not sluts or whores, that they really are good women, and sometimes this is reinforced by them cooking amazing meals for all the men, or being domestic in some other fashion, or being really kind and generous and the fact that they worry about what might be thought about them shows that they are really good women.

The fantasy of these novels is really the chosen one fantasy. And not just one amazingly handsome, nice, wealthy, kind, generous, and big-dicked men, but four. And they are so obsessed with her that they are willing to share her with other men. In fact, it’s a good thing because they won’t have to worry about her when they are working (all tend to have their own businesses or be workaholics). Nor will they have to feel guilty for not giving her enough of their time and attention.

I’m curious about other reverse harem novels and how they approach the story. I have to admit that while this author worked hard to make the stories robust with developed characters, I found the stories a little thin and flat. Not enough depth and not filling enough. Also a bit repetitive and not enough real conflict for me.

Does anyone read these? Do you have a favorite author or book? How do other books approach this type of story?

Monday, September 24th, 2018
The Real Fantasy

My book, Putting the Fun in Funeral, came out earlier this month. It’s one I enjoyed writing quite a bit. It made me laugh a lot. That was a relief, at the time of writing. I used the novel as an escape. Dealing with politics, the schisms in our society, the horrors of various manmade and natural disasters, and on top of that . . . teenagers. I needed a place to hide out where I could have fun and not think about reality.

That said, Putting the Fun in Funeral has a dark side. I’ve got a morbid sense of humor, and I that definitely comes out. I got to thinking about the dark elements in the past couple of weeks, and I had a bit of a realization. In this book, as in many of my books, there’s a lot of hardship and some terrible people who do terrible things. Those terrible things are truly awful. Heinous.

A lot of the dark stuff happened before the book starts. It’s what makes Beck who she is and the girls who they are. I needed that dark stuff to be there, but I didn’t want it on the page. I didn’t want to have to wallow in it. I just wanted the reader aware of what Beck has fought against in her life. I wanted the focus to be on the relationships, on dealing with the aftermath, on not only surviving, but triumphing.

I’ve had a review or two (I try not to read reviews, but couldn’t help myself because I love this book so much) where people have said that I don’t show enough of Beck’s scars, of the PTSD she must surely have.

I got to thinking about why that might be and my conclusion is that I wanted to write this where part of the fantasy of the book is saying that you can escape the scars and the evil, that you can overcome those things, that evil can be put behind you. Yes, it leaves a stain and I’m not trying to suggest it doesn’t. We all know it does and we all know you don’t just “get over it.” But I really wanted to show someone moving on with strength and determination, with a feeling that she can get past it and live a great life.

I wanted her to triumph over her enemies by taking back her life and living it with joy. I wanted a story where the effects of the bad can be fixed. I think that’s something we hope for in today’s world, even if we know it’s not so easy a thing to accomplish. That’s the fantasy. That’s my sort of happily ever after.

Read the first chapter here.

Tuesday, September 11th, 2018
Murder Trial Parts 3 and 4

Previously I talked about attending a murder trial. If you haven’t read parts one and two, I’ll give you the links to those pages.

Part I

Part II

What follows are the next two parts.

Murder Trial Part III

In Part I and Part II, I talked about things I’d learned and the initial testimony of the coroner, first cops on the scene, and the investigating detective.

Now a cybernetics and forensic sound detective was called to the stand. A lot of time was spent establishing in credentials. He had degrees in his field and he’d trained with the FBI and CIA, plus taken a lot of post graduate classes. He knew his stuff.

The reason he was called was because of Sparky’s phone, that as I said before, was found on the counter. It was an iPhone, and at first the police couldn’t get into it. About a week after the murder (and I’m calling it that because he was convicted), a member of her family produced the code and unlocked it.

That’s when they discovered the recording.

Now, this was interesting for me because I hadn’t heard any of the opening statements earlier that day, and so I had no context for the recording. I’m fairly certain the prosecution laid out its narrative of what happened in the opening, as did the defense, and so I think the jury must have had some context.

The detective was questioned about how he worked with the phone and how he took the recording off it. He talked about putting it into a Faraday Box so that it couldn’t transmit or receive any transmissions, and then went into technical detail about how he processed the phone.

Eventually, they got to the recording, which they proceeded to play. I’ll tell you more about that soon. Then there was an attempt to present an “enhanced” recording, which the defense objected to (they didn’t object at all to the recording’s initial presentation). Their argument was essentially that the enhancement would prejudice the jury (the jury had been removed from the courtroom for this objection argument). The prosecution argued that this was no different from photographs with arrows and explanations provided by investigating detectives.

The reason that they wanted the enhanced recording was because certain things on the recording could not be heard on the courtroom’s sound system. What the detective said was that in his sound room, with high end speakers and no exterior sounds, things could be heard that couldn’t be heard on the court speakers without pushing the gain and things like that. Basically, he was amplifying certain sound waves to make them more audible.

The judge ruled in favor of the prosecution. The jury came back in and then the enhanced recording was played. I’ll admit I didn’t hear a lot of what had been enhanced, but here’s the sequence.
One thing that wasn’t clear at the beginning was how much of the beginning of the recording had been cut that we didn’t hear. We learned that later. But I’ll get to that soon.

So first we hear a knock on the door. No one answers. Then the door opens and we hear footsteps. Maybe six or seven. Then we hear two quick shots and a gasping sound, and then the body hits the floor along with the phone. Then six more shots.

Then there are sounds and the phone is picked up. There’s swearing and the sounds of numbers being punched into the phone and then the cabinet getting kicked or the counter getting hit. After that, there are several minutes of walking through the house and more sounds near the phone, and more muttering and swearing. And then finally he calls the police.

Jason sounds panicky, though when he’s walking through the house he seems very calm. He says he’s killed his wife, that she wasn’t supposed to be there, that she attacked him with a knife. The operator talks to him and he claims he’s checking her pulse and she’s not breathing. He says he shot her eight times. The operator tells him to go outside and wait for the police to arrive, and we can hear the sirens, and then voices signaling the arrival of the police. What’s interesting is that we can hear the operator talking to dispatch and the dispatch talking to the officers. It was kind of surreal.

So that was the recording and the main evidence. As I think I mentioned at the beginning of all this, the reason I was at the trial was because my husband had been called by the prosecution to testify. I couldn’t be there for that, as he wasn’t called that day, and I couldn’t come back the next day.

But he’d been talking to Jason about Sparky and the difficulties in their marriage, and then at one point Jason (my husband thought jokingly and still does), asked a fellow hispanic employee if he knew any gang members. This is what they prosecution wanted to ask about. The implication being that Jason was looking to hire a hitman.

Next time . . . The defense story and my problems with their narrative.

Murder Part IV

All right, so last time I talked about the recording and the murder. Now I want to talk about the defense story of what happened and why I had such issues with it.

I read this in the paper, so I don’t have the details I might have if I’d been there, and I wish I could have been.
So what the story of the defense is as follows . . . .

It was Valentine’s Day. Jason and his girlfriend (who, in soap opera style, was the maid-of-honor at their wedding, and in news that doesn’t matter, her boyfriend was Jason’s former best friend), had decided to take his young kids to a Valentine’s breakfast at McDonalds before he went to work. However he had a bout of IBS and sent them without him and then called into work and said he couldn’t go.

He says that Sparky shows up after his kids are gone and they get into a huge fight and she threatens him, grabbing the bread knife to do it, and then storms out with it. Fearing she’ll return, he goes to get his pistol out of the gun safe which is why he has it. He claims that she returns a short time later, comes in with the knife and attacks him, and then he shoots her.

I had a number of problems with his story. First, I found it very hard to believe that he and his girlfriend would be taking the kids to McDonalds before school and before Jason left for work. Here’s why. He began work at 7 a.m., so he had to leave an hour early to get there. That means he had to get his two kids, ages somewhere between 6-10, out of bed and to eat before that. As a parent, I found that very difficult to believe.

Then there was his timeline. He didn’t text in to say he wasn’t going to be at work until after 7 (something my husband’s boss was called to testify about). So he knew he wasn’t going to work as early as six when he’d have had to depart, but doesn’t text his boss until after he was supposed to be there. Incidentally, the murder happened around 7 a.m.

Then there was the recording. She walks in and goes a few steps and there’s gunshots. No talking of any kind, no fight, no sounds of her attacking him with a knife.

Why was her phone on the counter? She was holding it as she walked in from the sound of things on the recording. You could hear it hit the floor when she fell. And along the same lines, why was the knife so loose in her hand when the backpacks in the other were so tight they had to pry out of her hand?

But there were a few other things that I haven’t mentioned. She’d made a habit of coming to pick up the kids before school when he wasn’t home, even though she wasn’t supposed to. I don’t know if that was a legal agreement or not. Apparently this made Jason very angry.

He’d switched vehicles with his dad the night before, saying he needed his dad’s truck. He left his car at his dad’s house. That meant Sparky had no idea he was home because the car wasn’t there.

But the big kicker was that this wasn’t the only recording. She’d recorded 12 other visits prior to this and the prosecutor played the first minutes of each time. They were the same. She knocked on the door and either walked in, walked down the hallway and talked to her kids and their grandfather—Jason’s father—(who seemed to always be happy to see her), or he answered the door and let her in.

Twelve times. Then on number thirteen, she walks in and gets shot. If she was planning to attack him with a knife, why carry the backpacks? She expected obviously her kids to be there, which suggests she wasn’t planning on a fight. Second, why record if she was about to commit a major crime like assault or murder? Makes no sense.

I find it difficult to believe that this wasn’t a premeditated murder. He got his kids out of the house. He made sure his car wasn’t there to warn Sparky. He lay in wait with his gun in the kitchen behind the refrigerator so he could shoot her as soon as she came out of the hallway. From the recording, she didn’t see him. He shot her before she knew he was there.

Clearly he wasn’t expecting the recording. He wasn’t expecting that his several minutes before the call to 911 would be heard by anybody, nor that he’d only checked her vitals to see how she was when he called. And no, I don’t think he actually checked her vitals.

I do wonder if I’d actually heard the defense and heard him on the stand, if I would have believed him. But I don’t know how he would have explained away the problems I see.

So that’s it. The whole part of the trial I saw and what I learned about later from reading the paper about his testimony.

This is a link to one of the accounts that includes a summary of his testimony.

 

 

Sunday, July 29th, 2018
Murder Trial Part II

If you haven’t read part one and you want to, click here

I left off last time having talked about the procedure of the courtroom and what I’d learned. Now I’ll move on to the evidence.

The first person on the stand that I got to see was the assistant coroner. She got asked a lot of questions about her experience and her qualifications to testify, and then the questions turned to the body. They showed pictures of the body on a monitor, which was facing the jury so I couldn’t see it that well.

It was already established that Jason had emptied the magazine of his automatic pistol into Sparky. I can’t tell you what caliber, but I believe it was probably a .9 mm or a .45. I believe he fired eight shots total.

According to the coroner’s testimony, the first bullet went into her left shoulder at an angle. That’s the shot that killed her, going to her heart. After that, she was shot seven more times in the back.

After discussing the wounds and the likely order of them and which killed Sparky, it was time to move on to the cops who first on the scene. Jason was waiting outside for them. They secured him, and went inside. They found Sparky facedown sort of slumped up against the back of the couch.

The prosecutor now had one of the detectives lay up against the Judge’s stand (I don’t really know what that’s called) to demonstrate to the jury. The cop adjusted the detective until the scene imitated how he’d found Sparky.

Next he was asked about her body. In one hand she was clutching two children’s backpacks so tight that they had to be pried from her hand, and her other hand she held the knife that Jason claimed she tried to kill him with. The knife released easily from her fingers, which were loose on the handle. Her phone was found on the counter.

Then the prosecutor asked about the brass ejected from the gun. My understanding of the layout is this: A short hallway led from the front door to a room that was open concept. On the left was the kitchen with an island and the refrigerator was on the left as you walked in, blocking the immediate view of the kitchen. On the right was a pony wall with a computer set up in front of it, and directly ahead was the living room area with the couch where Sparky’s body was found.

Brass was found on the keyboard, on top of the fridge, and then littered around the kitchen floor.

The defense then asked whether the officer had made a mistake by removing the knife from the scene before the detective arrived and whether he thought the officer thought he’d tampered with the scene (there were no pictures of the knife in her hand).

Next is was the investigating detective’s turn. He was sworn in and asked about his report being correct and all that stuff I mentioned in my first post. He was then asked what he saw when he came on scene. I don’t remember if the body had been removed by then or not. I want to say no.

But the prosector focused a lot on the knife. The knife block with all the knives was produced, and then the knife that Sparky was supposed to have attacked Jason with. The last was a serrated breadknife with a very sharp inch-long or more point. It was established that these knives belonged to Jason. The defense queried about the fact that the knife was dirty, and indicated that before Sparky was supposed to have grabbed it, it had been used for cutting bread and so was on the island, not in the block.

This last was important because to get to the block, she’d have had to cross the kitchen, reach under the cabinet to the back of the block to get the knife. On the island, it was much more accessible to her.

Next they showed a video of the house interior and exterior. This, apparently, is common protocol in a murder investigation. Everything is filmed to establish where things were and where they weren’t. The body had been removed by this time. As he walked through the house and filmed, the detective indicated where certain pieces of furniture were and where rooms were. One thing they made a point of was that the gun safe was in another room.

So at this point, they dismissed the detective and called another detective, specializing in forensic sound and cybernetics. This is where I learned that Sparky had recorded her murder.

Next time: The recording.

Monday, July 16th, 2018
Murder Trial Part 1

I had occasion to attend a portion of a murder trial a couple months ago. My husband had to testify, called by the prosecution. More on that later.

A man was on trial for murdering his estranged wife on February 14, 2017. I remember that date because my husband had his wisdom teeth out that day, and we got the news the next morning just before I headed out for the Rainforest Writers Village, a writing retreat.

Why did we get the news? The accused (now convicted), named Jason, was a former coworker of my husband’s and they’d been talking about his situation over the previous months. Jason was in the middle of a bitter divorce with two young children in the middle (both under 10, I believe). He was frequently upset with his wife who he claimed was abusing the kids. He talked to my husband fairly regularly about it. My husband told him to document everything, and to work with the police and his lawyer. Jason claimed that her parents were willing to testify on his behalf in a custodial hearing, and he claimed that his wife’s boyfriend’s ex-wife was also concerned that Sparky (the murder victim) was abusing her kid and was talking to the police.

So we were feeling pretty sympathetic to his situation, given this information.

And then he killed her. Read the rest of this entry »