Keep it Real … Naa, well …maybe From ladykillers blog 1.19.13

What does it mean for me to keep it real — It starts like this:

I love to live in fantasyland, where truth and reality take a back seat to my dream world, where keeping it real is walking in the shoes of a psychopath, a Dexter-like character that sees murder and blood as justice because he decides a particular person is evil. I find respite in the world of make-believe where the spirits of my characters lust for payback, vengeance, greed, and despise honesty and goodness. Truth is not an accepted fact born from some moral treatise, something that is not a lie, something that really takes place. Truth is something made up in my mind. That which is real is something fake. I take perception and mold it into deception, and my walls of deception are never torn a part. In my imagination, I complicate everyone’s beliefs and forge new paths of thinking. My aim is confusion, not pockets of clarity.

Then a text message lights up my cell phone: “Hey, Aunt Pat, Happy Birthday!”

My illusion dissolves. Another reality enters.

I’m writing another short story, this one about a psychopath. I try to walk in his shoes, explore what avenues of thought prompt certain behaviors, and needle my way into his life space, the total opposite of mine. I empathize. I want the readers to wander in my alternate world, and hopefully enjoy it. Like Michael Black, (listing authors in the ladykillers blog) I don’t want my scenes to strain credibility, and much the same as Lois Wilson, I want to maintain my character’s integrity. Similar to Carole Price, I want to stay true to what is important to me—keeping the psychology in the story. With this, like Hannah Jayne, I need to wrap and surround my character in an environment that keeps him real, and to share with the readers, as Sharan Newman, noted, the real story about the world I know. I live in the minds of my characters for a while, like most of you authors I’m sure. That’s when I find “keeping it real” blurs.

How do I create an actualized psychopath? What trait is the most important; what behavior most pronounced? What does he/she think about in those lonely–if he/she has one, moments? Besides reading books like The Psychopath Next Door,(Martha Stout) or Bullies, Bastards and Bitches (Jessica Page Morrell), The Criminal Mind (Katherine Ramsland), and add in Lonliness as a Way of Life (Thomas Dumm) for affect of the lonely situation, what steps would I take? I could interview a known psychopath like in Silence of the Lambs. I think the most difficult aspect of this type of research is making a list of priorities, psychological priorities in the way the pyschopath thinks; thoughts that lead to certain behaviors. Behaviors that build to a specific action.

This is all so interesting. Any further thoughts are welcome. Like Walter Truett Anderson’s book reads:photo-1

The Next Big Thing

What a fun way to introduce a work in progress! Thanks to Camille Minichino, “The Next Big Thing” chain blog continues . After I share more about my new work (with pictures, of course), I’ll introduce you to other artist and interesting people, more links in the creative chain.

What is the working title of your book?

Seniors Unlimited

Where did the idea come from for this book?

Like most things in life, the idea for this book was a process of little thoughts that kept adding up till they culminated in one creative idea. My husband, Larry, and I were sitting in the Hudson House restaurant in Nyack, NY, where we lived for many years.

Dining Room Picture from website.

We were with an older friend of ours (80), talking about how active many older senior citizens were these days. She was still the president of an agency, Children’s Aid Program for Africa (CAPA), and volunteered for American Association of University Women. Then we discussed how seniors were working longer and harder than ever before. We even explored all the odd type of jobs senior could do. From there (you know how this goes), other conversations and life’s demands took over. But my subconscious wouldn’t let it go. The story idea kept popping up, with characters forming identities and working in an agency called Seniors Unlimited. Bet that happens for most of you … your subconscious working on a story or problem while your conscious mind works on daily chores.

What genre does your book fall under?

My book falls into the cozy crime category. It’s similar to the cozy mystery, but without the murder (attempted murder, kidnapping, thievery, and all sorts of mayhem). Go to for some of the main ingredients of this genre.

How long did it take to write the first draft?

one year.

What actors would play in the movie rendition of your book?

Kirstie Alley would play Ronnie, the head of the agency. Add a few wrinkles.

Judi Dench would play Annie, Ronnie’s best friend and the agency’s accountant. Add black, round eyeglass frames.

Danny Glover would play Vincent, retired psychologist and head of human resources. Add wire, rectangle glasses.

Colin Firth as Sam, Ronnie’s British boyfriend. Just add some gray to the hair, and maybe a few frown lines.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Seniors Unlimited concerns a San Francisco-based temporary agency for mainly 55-and-older employees, and the unusual jobs they find that often question prejudice toward old and young alike.

Will it be self published or represented by an agency?

As soon as I finish polishing the final draft, I’ll send it out to agents for representation.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The underlining psychological theme of Seniors Unlimited is dealing with prejudice and deception, especially as they apply to seniors 55 and over, but also for all ages. I’ve caught myself making comments about the younger generation, the Facebook and Google types who, in my opinion, can seem more connected to computers than to people. I caught myself thinking it was an echo of my parents saying, “Kids today …”

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Several books about seniors (like Rita Lakin’s Gladdy Gold series and Jean Henry Mead’s Logan and Cafferty series) take place in retirement villages, and not a business run by seniors mainly for seniors. Also, Seniors Unlimited is a crime novel. There is no murder. I’m still looking for similar books. If you happen to know of any, feel free to let me know.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Besides the type of agency jobs, the book explores aspects of Buddhism, autism, civil rights, and addictions.

Other artists:

Camille Minichino is an author of two series (simultaneously), teacher, mystery book club leader, blogger, and a great support to new writers. Visit her blog at

Nicola Trwst is an author that has written short stories, several novels, and has graced several genres including mystery, romance, and paranormal. Meet her, her work, and of few of her blog friends at:

Adell Donaghue is an artist. Art takes on many forms and hers includes design work, teaching art, and painting, especially as a Plein Air artist (En plein air is a French expression which means “in the open air“, and is particularly used to describe the act of painting outdoors). Visit her at

Patricia V. Davies is a writer, women’s advocate, radio show host, director of a conference, great cook, and friend. She has more talents than I can list. Check out her blog:


Hello, and welcome to my blog. I was hesitant to make the first wobbly steps into this realm of communication, but thanks to Camille Minichino (, a multifaceted individual and author (aka Margaret Grace and Ada Madison), I’m here. I’ll be answering questions for the continuing blog chain titled: The Next Big Thing, then forwarding to you five blogs of other authors. It sounds like great fun, and a more exciting way of introducing new works. I’m thrilled to be asked to be part of it.

But before I dive into the interview for my first cozy crime novel (I have two short story collections, Mystery Montage and Crime Montage) I’d like to share with you more about me, starting with my home city, San Francisco, and the exciting week we had. Not only was it Fleet Week, an event that included the Blue Angels, (All the photos on the blog are mine — I love to take pictures with my Sony Alpha and old SLR XG9 Minolta),

but last year, the Maltese Falcon visited San Francisco– a nice little surprise for us mystery buffs. The masts automatically shift with the changing winds.

You, too, could own this for 120 million!
Besides slipping pictures into most of my posts about different local events (and some on momentary lapses of perception about nature and life), I hope to be sharing more about the psychology of characters, in and out of books, asking your opinions about the breadth and depth of the characters in your life, and adding some thoughts on literature and writing. Your comments are always welcome.
To learn more about me (my short story awards including the Anthony and Derringer finalist, “Homeless”, and my Marin Fringe winning play, The Gatekeeper), and read a few of my works, go to
AND … be the first to name this city in Europe and win my latest short story collection, Crime Montage.

Where is this?