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Why Sarah Armstrong Hates Me

Okay, writing fiction isn’t a popularity contest. That’s true. So this shouldn’t matter, right? Especially since, it’s not really possible for a character in a novel to hate anyone, including the author, right? Still, I’m beginning to wonder.

You see, Sarah’s my heroine. I’ve written three books featuring this Texas Ranger/profiler, a woman I invented sitting at my computer one afternoon after deciding against a host of other protagonists, including a crocheting grandmother and a junior league hostess. I’d been thinking about Sarah for a long time, whittling away at the block of marble trying to uncover the statue inside. Maybe, since my books are set in Texas, instead of a Michelangelo analogy, I should have said, taking a chain saw to the trunk of a fallen live oak to reveal the roughly hewn armadillo? No, that’s all just bad. Let’s just move on.

Anyway, to her delight or dismay, Lieutenant Sarah Armstrong has become my heroine, the center of my fictional world, and since 2007, I’ve literally tormented this poor woman’s life. But then she’s not alive. I know that. But to write about her, she has to be real to me and, to some extent (I’m sincerely not delusional), she is. The result is that I drive through Tomball, Texas, where I’ve planted the Rocking Horse, the ranch Sarah lives on with her mother and daughter, and I sometimes surprise myself by looking  Read More 
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My Reindeer

Christmas begins early at our house. The tree goes up right after Thanksgiving, a faux pine but a beautiful one, with artificial snow sprinkled about its branches. It’s always a full weekend of hauling boxes, unpacking ornaments, putting out the whimsical Santa that stands in our front hallway, and climbing up on the ladder to put the spindly glass ornament on the top of the tree. But for me, there’s really no Christmas tree without one special ornament, a reindeer with a red nose: Rudolph, of course.

This particular ornament takes me back to my childhood in Wisconsin. I don’t remember not having it. As far in the past as my memory travels, it hung on my parents’ Christmas tree. To see it, I imagine most folks would wonder why it’s so special. It’s made of plastic not gems or even blown glass. It doesn’t sparkle. It has no value. But to me, it’s irreplaceable.

My mother kept it in a green box, in amongst her collection of ornaments. There were many. Some my maternal grandmother crocheted, others my father’s sister and mother made of wax paper and sparkles during the Great Depression. As a small girl, I heard the stories of how my father sold the tiny creations door-to-door, desperate for money to buy food and wood for the stove. I think of the trials many are enduring today, with a rocky economy and so much trouble in the world, and those small tattered stars remind me that there have been tough times before, and always we’ve persevered.

Of all the ornaments, however, for me the reindeer was exceptional. I don’t know why except

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Listen in tomorrow. I'll be on All Things Southern

Hey Everyone,

Tune in tomorrow to hear me on Shellie Rushing Tomlinson's All Things Southern radio program. We'll be sitting on the porch talking about my new mystery, THE KILLING STORM. During the program, we'll pull a name out of the hat and award an autographed copy of SINGULARITY. There are rules, it's true.

Here's all you have to do:

1. You must subscribe to both of our newsletters:

http://www.kathryncasey.com/newsletter.htm , http://www.allthingssouthern.com/index.php

Comment on both of our blogs:

http://www.kathryncasey.com/blog.htm , http://www.allthingssouthern.com/atsblog/?p=890

And be our facebook friends:

http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=profile&id=1405351429#!/pages/Kathryn-Casey/78341053846 , http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=profile&id=1405351429

Once that's all accomplished, you're in the drawing! Fun, right? Of course. Hope you win! Read More 
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My Life Writing

by Kathryn Casey

The truth is that there's always one. Whenever I have a new book out, as I do right now with Shattered, I emerge from the confines of my office, momentarily unlatched from my computer, eyes blurred from months of staring at the screen, ready to meet the world and do book signings. Now let's be honest, what I'm there for is to connect with people who enjoy reading and, I hope, sell some books. Meanwhile, what those who attend are there for varies. Some folks like to drop in just to say hi and tell me that they enjoy my books. Others come to ask questions, bringing up different aspects of the cases in my books or inquiring about the inspiration for my fictional characters.

While that's why most have come, at nearly every book signing at least one person  Read More 
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Getting Away With Murder

by Kathryn Casey

We like to think that the bad guys get caught, and that when a murder takes place, the person responsible is held accountable and punished. Unfortunately, that often doesn't happen. One of the most disturbing headlines I've seen ran in the Houston Chronicle on a recent Sunday: People Are Getting Away with Murder.

Reading the piece, I learned that the national clearance rate on homicides is a dismal 64 percent. As the cause, the article cites a lack of money, manpower, too many murders and not enough folks in law enforcement investigating. It points out that in a city like Houston, with six million folks, there's more crime than cops to go around. In all, 120 Texas communities didn't even reach the national threshold, with clearance rates of 63 percent or lower. Take Galveston, for instance, where of the 32 murders committed in 2004, only seventeen were solved. That means that fifteen families are still waiting for justice. San Antonio is even worse, with a clearance rate of only 39 percent. The trend isn't new. One study showed that from 1980 to 1996, the national clearance rate  Read More 
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LIBRARY JOURNAL gives THE KILLING STORM a star!

Great News! The Library Journal just gave my new novel, the third of the Sarah Armstrong mysteries, a starred review! This is the highest of honors. Rather than rattle on about it, here's the review:

The kidnapping of a four-year-old boy from a Houston park brings local law enforcement and the FBI together in an intense search. Meanwhile Texas Ranger Sarah Armstrong (Blood Lines) investigates the slaughter of some prize cattle. Symbols drawn on their hides point to African folklore. As the search for the guilty party intensifies, a major hurricane bears down in the Gulf heading straight for Houston. Contrasting the seeming unconcern of the missing boy’s mother with the anguish of Sarah’s daughter, who has just recovered from her father’s death and now fears that her mother will perish in the storm, adds depth to this suspenseful thriller. VERDICT Readers waiting patiently for the next J.A. Jance mystery will want to try this exciting read.  Read More 
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The credit goes to all of you!

This is a thank you letter of sorts. If I knew all your names, I'd personalize one to each and everyone of you. But I don't, so please forgive me for not being able to do that.

As many of you know, my latest true crime book, SHATTERED, debuted on June 29th. You can look it up here on my Web site by clicking on the title in the left hand column. It's on the Houston murder of Belinda Lucas Temple, and it's a fascinating case, an investigation that took eight years and one of the most amazing trials I've covered. I can't overstate the number of twists and turns this case took over nearly a decade.

The reason I'm saying thank you is that the book is doing remarkably well. It was in the top ten on Amazon's bestselling true crime list for more than a month before it came out. Since its release, SHATTERED has consistently had two places on the top ten, one for the paperback and another for the Kindle edition. For its first two weeks and counting, it's been high on Amazon's bestselling nonfiction summer reading list. Truly wonderful.

And who do I have to thank? All of you, the folks who read the books, and especially those who read them and then make a point to recommend my books to others. So again, thank you! Keep up the good work! It's sincerely appreciated.  Read More 
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ARF's, Ann needs your prayers!

Hey Everyone,

All of us who read true crime know one name: Ann Rule. Right now, she's fighting a difficult battle. Ann is hospitalized, fighting some strange virus that's attacked her neck. She's flat on her back, unable to move her head. It's a tough one.

So all you ARFs out there (Ann Rule Fans), now's the time to send your best wishes, prayers, good vibes, whatever you can, to Seattle, to Ann. Here's wishing her a speedy recovery. I'll keep you posted!

Best,
K

Update: Ann is turning her head now, and she appears to be improving. Thanks to everyone who wished her well.

2nd Update: Ann's in rehab, busy getting better! Let's continue to send good thoughts and hope that she's at home and well, writing again very, very soon! Read More 
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