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It's time to protest again!

For all of you who've read EVIL BESIDE HER, it's time to e-mail or write letters again. James Edward Bergstrom, the psychopathic sexual predator in the book, is up for parole. Yes, I know, he got four 99-year sentences. But what does that mean? Apparently not as much time as the jurors wanted.

Bergstrom is a danger to society, especially women. If released, he will certainly victimize more women. He attacked 35 women in the Houston area in a two-year period, raping five of them, and he threatened to kill the last victim, a high school cheerleader.

Make your voice heard and keep Bergstrom behind bars. Here's how. Read More 
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A Holiday Nightmare

by Kathryn Casey

You probably wouldn't have noticed him in the crowd, the bearded, 36-year-old man at Wal-Mart two days before Christmas, scouring the tool aisle. He picked up one item after another, examining each, perhaps testing their weight, considering how they were made, the quality of a hatchet, a machete, and a variety of knives. What Jason Bouchard settled on, what he paid the cashier for and walked out the door with, was a crowbar.

Miles away at her Houston home, Terri Sanvincente, a well-known Adam Lambert fan and an assistant manager at a Walgreen's drug store, worried about Bouchard, a man she'd once loved who'd systematically tormented her life.

Two years earlier, she'd had the ex-army paratrooper formally evicted from their home. The separation, however, had dragged on, with Bouchard seeking custody of their three children, ages eight, six and three. Yet that, too, had recently been settled in Sanvincente's favor; six weeks earlier, after an 18-month battle, jurors granted primary custody to Sanvincente. Perhaps it wasn't surprising. At the hearing, Bouchard, who represented himself, surprisingly well, one expert says, admitted drug use and frequent masturbation. The jury ruled that he'd be allowed only supervised visits with his children.

Forty-year-old Sanvincente, it would later appear, took little comfort in the ruling. She continued to worry that she and her children (one dressed as Lambert on the right) remained in danger from a man who'd pushed her and hurled constant insults. “She was always afraid of what he was going to do next,” said Tabitha Charlton, Sanvincente's first family attorney, who walked away  Read More 
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Where's Cesar Millan when you need him?

Okay, so if any of you know how to reach Cesar Millan, a.k.a. The Dog Whisperer, call him, please. Quickly! Give him my name and ask him to get in touch. I have 11 pounds of fur living in my house and he's driving me crazy.

He looks innocent enough, all white and fluffy tinged with gray and a touch of black with big, big, almond-shaped dark brown eyes. Who could know that he'd turn out to be a tyrant, running the household? I didn't.

We've had Ozzie Nelson, our Havanese puppy, since October. He's funny and cute and he gives great puppy hugs and kisses, but he's dominating my life. I mean: Is this normal?

Okay, let me explain. First housebreaking has been a challenge. He either has to go every twenty minutes, or he's figured out that uttering his I've-gotta-use-the-facilities moan earns him a respite outside to romp in the grass. I guess this is an improvement, since before we were finding little packages left all around the house. That's no longer happening, but he's employing the woeful eye roll and guttural call combo so often, I had him outside 14 times yesterday. That's not a typo: 14 times!

And the bark. Who would have thought that a such a little guy would pack such a powerful  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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A Weekend with the Pulpwood Queens!

We all know this. It isn't news, but I'm going to spit it out: There are some pretty special people in the world. Now, you ask, how do I define "special?" Those who are able to spread enthusiasm, to get the rest of us up off our keesters (as my grandma used to say). Those who inspire us to live better lives and to help others.

One of those people is Kathy L. Patrick, founder of the Tiara wearing, book-reading Pulpwood Queens.

Yup, you got it right; I did put Tiara wearing and book reading in the same sentence. So does Kathy. She founded the club in her Jefferson, TX, beauty salon/bookstore ten years ago, and it's going strong. Last time I asked, she had something like 220 chapters and counting. Each month Kathy picks a book and an alternate for the Queens, and they read their pick then get together to discuss it.

It's true that Kathy picked my second novel, BLOOD LINES, as last November's main read, but, honestly, that's not why I'm writing this post. It's because of all Kathy does. In addition to the book clubs, she's active in a long list of other projects and still finds time to volunteer teaching literacy at a shelter. More amazing is how she influences others to become involved in good work. For instance, the Southwest Louisiana PQs raise money and supplies for a South American orphanage, and the Alaska bunch has an outreach program in a women's prison.

In fact, Kathy's so persuasive, she's inspired me to start working on a project. It's not at a point where I can talk about it yet, but when it comes together. I'll tell all of you about it.

So, you women (sorry, guys, but the club is for gals), if you have a group of friends, or if you'd like to make new friends, if you love good books and having fun, start your own Pulpwood Queen chapter. Kathy's link is on the right hand column of every page on my Web site, so it's easy to get in touch. Then get ready to be inspired!

One last note: Make sure you come to Girlfriend Weekend in Jefferson next year. Oh, my goodness, such a party. Authors from all over the country will be there, maybe dressed up like this past January as the Wizard of Oz or a munchkin. It's a blast! Read More 
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Hard to Read, But You Should

My mom, LaVerne, died of Alzheimer's in June 2006. She'd been ill for nine years, and it was horrific.

My mother was hard-working, loving, articulate and funny. She enjoyed reading, dancing with my father, and she relished a good laugh. Mom was a secretary and one of the few women in our suburban neighborhood who worked outside the house. She never really liked cleaning or cooking, but for us she did both, never complaining. Nothing pleased her more than being with her family. Christmas was her favorite holiday, and for mom the only real roses were red.

Anyone who has lived through watching a loved one battle this devastating disease,  Read More 
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The Scholar and Psychotic DNA

Imagine being Dr. Jim Fallon, a Fulbright Scholar and professor emeritus in neuroscience at the University of California - Irvine. He set out to find out if psychopathic killers have certain biological traits that will show up on brain scans. When he finished his testing, he found the signs in a member of his own family.

The article about Fallon that caught my attention ran in the November 27th edition of the Wall Street Journal under the headline: What's on Jim Fallon's Mind? A Family Secret That Has Been Murder to Figure Out. On his bio, Fallon says: "I am interested in the neural circuitry and genetics of creativity, artistic talent, psychopathology, criminal behavior, and levels of consciousness."

Over the years, Fallon has analyzed the brains of more than 70 murderers. His interest in looking into the minds of dangerous criminals comes from an honest curiosity. The 62-year-old scientist started out by trying to assess his relatives' risk of developing Alzheimer's, which killed his father.  Read More 
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Houston's Baby Grace

Some news stories touch the heart, staying with us long after they've disappeared from the headlines. The ones that never leave me are those involving children. There's a reason I haven't write about murdered kids. I've considered it off and on, but some crime scene photos I don't want imprinted on my brain, invading my sleep and keeping me awake at four a.m.

Every once in a while, I reconsider my situation, wondering if it's time to make an exception. For instance, when her body was found in July 2007, I thought about writing a book on Houston's Baby Grace case. Something about the original sketch of the two-year-old pulled at me. Those wide set eyes, the baby teeth visible through her smiling lips, the long blond hair that fell in waves. Even after a couple of decades writing about crime, I have a tough time understanding how some murders are possible, why someone would kill a small child.

When Baby Grace was found in Galveston Bay and the drawing of her face proliferated across the nation, I wanted to turn away from the images flashed on television and front-page in the newspapers. It all seemed Read More 
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Pounding the Pavement

We spend so much time talking about forensic science these days because it's hard to overemphasize how much it has changed police work. Rarely do I go to a trial where someone doesn't bring up DNA, trace evidence and the like. It's talked about in hushed tones, like the Holy Grail of justice. And it should be. Good forensic science can free the innocent and bring the guilty to punishment.

But we often forget how much of police work remains logic and legwork, covering the bases, putting in the time, thinking the cases through and coming up with ideas. Case in point: Yesterday's sad discovery of the body of seven-year-old Somer Thompson, the Orange Park, FL, girl who disappeared while walking home from school two days earlier. That's Somer pictured above. As many of you may already know, her remains were found in a Georgia landfill, legs sticking out of a mound of garbage. An autopsy is underway, but authorities have already labeled the manner of death as homicide.

Why were the police in that landfill? Did forensic evidence suggest Somer was somehow connected to the landfill? No. In this case, as in so many others,  Read More 
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Meet Ozzie Nelson

Hi All,

Awhile back I got a flood of e-mails from people after I wrote a newsletter about my schnauzer, Max, my best buddy, and how we had to put him down. Tough times. Those of you with pets, whether you've had to do this or not, I'm sure, understand how difficult it is to lose a pet. They're such a part of the family.

Today, I'd like to introduce our new puppy, Ozzie Nelson. Ozzie, because I love the Wizard and dream of Oz and my husband and I both love the name. Nelson for a friend of ours. Ozzie Nelson for the guy who was married to Harriet and fathered Ricky! Really fun.

Ozzie is a Havanese: a small white, gray, black and tan dog, with big dark eyes. I've posted a photo of him in the right hand column, since I couldn't figure out how to put one in the blog itself.

Anyway, he's the funniest dog. He makes strange noises, even coos like a dove at times. And he loves people. He's so furry and warm, it's like holding a Teddy bear. Absolutely darling.

So, our world is complete. Thanks again to everyone who e-mailed me expressing their sympathy for our loss. We still miss Max, but we're delighted Ozzie moved in! Read More 
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