To the Mayans, December 21, 2012 is considered the end of the world. Christians believe that no one knows the hour or the day of Jesus’ coming. To the corpse of William Babble, who was neither a Mayan or a hardcore Christian, it made no difference. William Babble, if he had been alive, would still not care. As CEO of Cordtex Industries, the only thing that matter to William Babble was profits and how much taxes his company could avoid.
His nude 65 year old body was found on the floor of his Malibu bedroom. James Gladd, who is a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department, was kneeling by the body of the victim looking for any clues to the man’s death. Gladd is 35 years old, divorced with no children, and has a pet parrot named Sasha. Mr. Babble had no marks on his body, unless one counted the “Semper Fi” tattoo on his upper right arm. He ran a billion dollar tire company that was started by his grandfather in 1899. He had been married twice and had four sons by his second wife, Leah. His sons’ names (in order of age) are Warren, Frederick, Disraeli (or “Dizzy”), and Edwin. Along with seven other people, they are on the board of Cordtex Industries.
CRIME SCENE DO NOT CROSS / @CSI?cafe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In order to write a good crime scene, I believe that you should think of it as making your own set of Clue cards. You, of course, have who, with what, and where. Once you have established these criteria, you can get on with the story. The first murder scene in my novel, The Corporate Whore of Babylon, is in the bedroom of William Babble, a multimillionaire. Now, the next thing that has to be established is with what. To determine this, you would have to examine the corpse. In the beginning of my novel, the what is unclear as the main character, Detective James Gladd finds out. The what is provided by the coroner, Doctor Ned Chang. Mr. Babble had been murdered by a combination of drugs which are administered to Death Row inmates by lethal injection.
I used this means for the primary murder for several reasons. 1.) I don’t ever remember this being used as a murder weapon before, 2.) it is a means of introducing other characters, or suspects, into the story, and 3.) the fact that these chemicals are not being produced for this purpose as they used to be. The third fact helps the main character narrow down on possible suspects.
The third fact is also relevant because the producers of the chemicals are in different states. Once the places that have been identified as producers have been contacted, Gladd is in a position of trying to decide whether to go to these states or simply try to speak to the company owners. One of the producers is located in Georgia and, at this point in the story, another important character is introduced. His name is Alex Dali, a techno geek with a penchant for disguises. When these two characters finally meet, it is decided to sent Dali to Georgia posing as a potential investor. While in Georgia, Dali visits the Georgia Guide Stones, a monument which he discovers may have some sort of connection with William Babble’s murder. So, one thing leads to another, and the clues are all set in place.
One of the things that people were offered when they signed up for Pitchfest 2013 was a personal video which was to help promote their book. Apparently when I agreed to go to Pitchfest, I was not aware that I had signed onto this option until I arrived at Registration and received my booklet. When I got to my room, I scanned through the booklet and discovered that I was scheduled for a video at 2:00 PM the following day. I really didn’t think much about it until after it took place.
The videographer was nice enough and I felt fairly comfortable while answering his prepared questions, which I had been told about before arriving at the hotel. The only things that I felt ridiculous about, which I hadn’t really expected, was the “extra shots”. These consisted of posing on a couch, going outside looking “thoughtful”, walking down a path and smelling a rose. The last one was, I thought, the silliest. After the shoot was finished, I had some free time until it would be time to do my pitch. I have to admit that I felt more relaxed with the video section then the actual pitch (for the results of my pitch, see my blog Pitchfest 2013 Pt. 1 & 2).
I did speak to some of the other attendees about the video portion of this event, and found out a couple of surprises. One author complained that during her video, there was no makeup person provided (she was told that she had to provide her own), The other was that, apparently, different publishing houses charged different prices for this service. I, for one, do not even remember being given this option. Finally, if you would like to see the finished product, go to http://youtu.be/dzdQoYSaMYQ. So far, the only thing that I can say is that I should get to a gym, but…Anyway, if you do view the video,I would appreciate any comments, but, please, be gentle!