IT’S A TOUGH JOB… Rie McGaha
Being a writer is probably the best job in the world and being the author of more than a dozen books is awesome! I’d be lying if I said otherwise. My bedroom is set up so I can sit on my bed with my laptop, and the TV on while I work. Add a cup of coffee, the occasional snack, and you have my “office”. If I need quiet, I just shut the door.
I live in a multi-generational home, which means that my husband and I have the master suite at one end of the house and my daughter, her husband and their daughter occupy the other end of the house. We share the living room, kitchen, dining, laundry, and sitting room. My granddaughter, Meagan, is a year old and a normal toddler who gets into everything, so we have a few baby gates to keep her confined to whatever area either her mother or I can see her at all times. Add to that three indoor dogs and three cats, you might guess peace and quiet is a luxury around here.
Not being one of those disciplined, organized type of writers. I don’t have a set time for when I write, and I don’t have set lengths of time to write, or a certain word count for each day. I do admire those who are able to be that disciplined and I know many who treat writing as if it were a day job. They get up, get ready for work, sit at the computer and write; taking breaks for lunch and get “off work” at five o’clock. Perhaps it’s my age. Or perhaps it’s the fact that I prefer to depend upon my muse for inspiration. I call them the “voices in my head,” which my husband insists there is medication for.
Usually, when the voices suggest a storyline, I let it roll around in my brain for a while. I like to get a feel for the characters and rolling them around helps me solidify them as not just imaginary creations but as real people. Once I get to know them and their personalities, and have a conversation or two with them while listening to their problems, I can begin writing their story. Sometimes the story flows from beginning to end in just a few days, other times it comes in chapters and can take several months, and I have a few I’ve been working on for several years. The most important thing for any author is to find what works and stick with it.
I have read that many of my favorite authors have some weird little quirk about how or where they write, or the frame of mind they have to be in. I like reading biographies on authors like James Patterson, Anne Rice, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Alyssa Day, Karen Marie Moning and many others. I am often inspired by their stories, especially people like Anne Rice, whom I can relate to on more than one level. Having been through many trials and tribulations in my life, and having been involved with the justice system as a drug and alcohol counselor in an all male prison where I was the only female on a unit of 120 men, and as an LSI Assessor for probation and parole, I have a fairly unique view of life that spills into my work. I’m also the mother of twelve, with thirty-three grandchildren, so there’s pretty much nothing I haven’t seen or been directly involved in. The problem is that I take all of this for granted and often think everyone else is as familiar with this type of life as I am, and don’t realize that I actually have a very unique view of humanity.
I think I live a normal, run-of-the-mill life like everyone else does. I enjoy watching TV curled up with a warm dog and cheesecake or cookies, all the while telling myself I’ll go on that diet tomorrow. I fantasize about vacations on a sandy beach under a warm tropical sun with a young dark-skinned man in tight khaki shorts. His name is Raul and he has hard six-pack abs and a tight butt you can bounce quarters off of. He brings me rum drinks in coconut shells with little umbrellas on top, and fans me with palm fronds…
Umm, sorry…what was I saying? Oh yeah, I’m just like everyone else, except once in a while I get lucky enough to have one of my stories published. Yeah, it’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it.
Closure by Rie McGaha (blurb)
High in the hills above Albuquerque, New Mexico Detective Zachariah Ellison arrives at the scene of a murder, and not just any murder, but one that definitely falls into the “gruesome” category even for a seasoned cop like Zach. When another body is found murdered in much the same fashion, Zach knows he’s got a serial killer on his hands, and to top it off he’s got an assistant district attorney hounding him about the case. As Zach tries to investigate the crimes while sidestepping nosey Amy Logan, a third body is found and Zach hasn’t a clue as to whom the perpetrator might be.
Amy Logan has worked hard to put herself through school and pay for law school on her own and now that she’s secured a position as assistant district attorney in Albuquerque, she’s determined to do everything she can to be the best prosecutor this office has ever seen. And as if luck was following her, she’s been assigned to the biggest homicide case the city has ever seen. The only problem she’s having is the homicide detective who’s leading the investigation—Zach Ellison.
Zachariah Ellison ducked under the yellow crime scene tape that surrounded the area where the victim had been found. He shook his head as he saw a rookie cop run behind one of the police vehicles and puke. Zach had puked at a crime scene once or twice as well, but it had been a long time ago, and he thought now that nothing bothered him anymore. He couldn’t afford for it to. He’d always known he’d be a homicide detective, even before he’d become a cop, although he wasn’t sure if he’d chosen it or if it had chosen him. Either way, he didn’t think too much about it anymore.
He just did his job.
No attempt had been made to hide the body, even though it had been left in a remote area of the mountains east of Albuquerque, New Mexico. The area was sparsely populated. The trees weren’t dense in this particular part of the high desert, but hikers often trekked up this way.
Whoever had left the body here obviously wanted it to be found, but they’d been careful about it. The group of hikers that had found the dead man was still shaken by the sight, and a couple of them looked pretty green as officers took their statements.
Zach walked around the body, looking it over with experienced eyes. He’d been a cop for twenty years, fifteen spent in homicide, and he’d seen everything there was to see. Or so he believed most of the time. Though it still never failed to amaze Zach at how depraved human beings truly were. He’d seen some crime scenes that made him shake his head, wondering just how someone had even thought up such ways to commit murder. And this crime scene was one of them.
The cops at the scene gave Zach a wide berth while he continued his slow perusal of the corpse. His hands were clasped behind his back, his head tilted to one side as if the angle would give him an advantage. He was impressed with this murder. He’d seen a lot of messy crime scenes that immediately told him if the murder had been committed in the heat of the moment, a crime of passion, a crime of hate, or a drug deal gone bad. But this scene was almost a pleasure to work as far as Zach was concerned. It was nice and tidy in spite of the hideous method used to kill the man.
This murder had not been committed in the heat of the moment—it had been planned to the tiniest detail. There was no heated rage in this one—no, this was cold rage that had deadly, calculated results. This was personal. The killer had known his victim, had planned the murder, probably for years before actually carrying out the plan. There would be no regret, no remorse on the part of whoever had committed the crime.
No—Zach shook his head and smiled almost imperceptibly—whoever killed this man was proud of their work.
Zach wasn’t a profiler, but he’d been on the job long enough to be able to figure out a few things on his own, without bringing in a psychologist to do it for him. Whoever had killed this man was making a point, and the hatred he felt for the victim was a palpable entity hanging on the air.
The nude body had been hung spread eagle between two small but sturdy pine trees. Nylon ropes had left deep cuts in the wrists and ankles where the victim had struggled against them. The body had been disemboweled, probably while the victim was still alive. The neck was swollen with an ugly purplish-blue tint to it. Embedded in the folds of skin was a narrow leather band, and there were bruises and singed skin over the torso that looked as if a stun gun had been used. But the icing on this cake, the thing that really told Zach what the killer thought of his victim, was the man’s penis protruding from his mouth. The skin had been peeled and was hanging below it, stiffening in the hot desert air.