Tuesday, July 1, 2014

I Graduated!!

Graduating from Seton Hill University is bittersweet. I've met the most amazing people who I know will be friends for life. The MFA program has been life changing for me-it truly helped me grow as a writer in ways that I could have never learned on my own.

Here's what I take away:

  • I'll give myself deadlines similar to what I had in school, so I continue to get my writing done
  • I will watch for comma splices
  • I will vary the length of my sentences
  • I will keep in touch with my classmates and professors
  • I won't use the word "grimace" or have my characters talk through clenched teeth
  • I vow to continue to be a student of the writing craft

If you want to pursue a MFA, you have several options. You need to research what type of program you'd like to join. Literary fiction is not for me, so I knew I wanted to pursue Popular Fiction. SHU has a low residency requirement- 5 days/twice a year.

If you'd like to know more, visit: http://www.setonhill.edu/academics/graduate_programs/fiction

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Uncovered-Sequel to Unraveled Coming in July

The sequel to Unraveled is scheduled for release in July 2014 by Evernight Teen.


Last year sixteen-year-old Autumn solved her sister’s murder. This year, she is part of a high school forensic dream team that assists the police when teens are kidnapped. When it’s discovered the kidnappings are part of a secret online survivor game, the police and team focus on the game maker-the man behind the game. The focus of the investigation shifts when Autumn is singled out and becomes the target of the Game Maker’s sick game.  Through encrypted messages hidden in steganographs, Autumn must discover who the last kidnapping victim is if she hopes to save him in time.

As a Mexican-American writer, I've very proud to continue Autumn's story. She's a smart, driven Hispanic teen that wants to make her own path in life. My hope is that young Latinas will draw inspiration from Autumn.


Friday, February 7, 2014

What is a Serial Killer?

Where did the term serial killer originate? I went to the FBI webpage to look up some facts regarding what constitutes a serial killer.

Here's what I found out:
  • Term refers to three or more killings over a period of time
  • Differs from mass murder which is killing four or more during one incident
  • Differs from spree murder because between serial murders there is a 'cooling off' period
  • They exhibit one of more of the MacDonald triad
    • Fire setting
    • Bed wedding beyond age of 12
    • Cruelty toward animals
  • They may be organized or disorganized
  • There is some discrepancy on who actually coined the phrase 'Serial killer'. Some state it was FBI investigator, Robert Ressler. Some state it was  LAPD detective Pierce Brooks, creator of the ViCAP system
  • Holmes & DeBurger categorize serial killers into 4 types:
    • Power/Control-Want to exercise control over their victim. The power is the high they're seeking.
    • Visionary-may have voices in their heads willing them to kill. They usually suffer from mental illness
    • Hedonist-Kill because they like it, and it serves a purpose in their life
    • Missionary-Want to rid the world of a particular group of people they consider undesirable
For more information, check out the FBI website: http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/serial-murder

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

And the Winner Is...

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Evernight Teen Blog Hop. Our 1st birthday was memorable.

The winner of my prize the $25 Amazon gift card is Angela Searles.

Stay tuned for my new blog series called Forensics Friday.

Friday, January 31, 2014

First Documented case involving Forensic Science

I'm a total forensics geek wanna be. If it's been available in my day as a college degree, I might be in a different profession. I love to solve puzzles, and forensics gives us the tools to solve puzzles.

Before CSI, NCIS, and Criminal Minds, someone had to have the thought about how evidence could lead to the truth. I was curious about how the science of forensics came to be. This is what I found.

Once upon a time in 1235 the story of Sung Tzu appears. It contained the first recorded documentation of forensic use to solve crimes. One case noted occurred during the Song Dynasty in China. A man was murdered and the local officials were looking for his killer. They determined he'd been killed by a sickle by experimenting with different weapons on animals.
They asked everyone in town to produce their sickles for examination. Though it was clean, one sickle was still attracting flies due to the scent of blood. They had their killer. Perhaps scared by the evidence before him, the man confessed.

Sung Tzu continued to record his findings in a book called Hsi Yuan Chi Lu (The Washing Away of Wrongs).

Advances continued starting as early as the 1600s.

Major advances include:

1880- Henry Faulds and William James Herschel published a study on fingerprints. This study was used to push for using fingerprints as evidence.

1895-A study by Eduard Piotrowski on blood stains leads to the science of blood spatter analysis

1901-Karl Landsteiner discovers that human blood falls into 1 of 4 groups: A, B, O, AB

1904-Locard's famous principle is born:  "Every contact leaves a trace."

1912-Victor Balthazard discovers that gun barrels have a unique property to them. Therefore, no two guns will leave the same markings on a bullet.

1974-Gunshot residue can now be detected on a suspect

1984-DNA techniques are developed by Sir Alec Jeffreys

I find this all so fascinating, if you have other major advances in mind, post them in the comments.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Happy 1st Birthday, Evernight Teen

Food plays an important role in my young adult mystery, Unraveled. Autumn spends time with her family and extended family over the dinner table. Even Caedon gets introduced to the family over a large meal.

In the Hispanic community, meals are a time to gather together, talk to each other, and just spend time together. I remember lunches at my grandparent's house in Mexico. We would travel their every summer. To this day those are some of my happiest memories. Preparation for lunch started right after breakfast, and usually took the whole morning. There were several courses. One of my favorites was my grandmother's carrot soup. I still need to get the recipe from her.

My grandparent's had several lime trees so we always had pitchers full of limeade to drink during our meals. They also had avocado trees, so fresh guacamole was always available. No wonder I'm such an avocado lover. Mangoes were plentiful, and were usually dessert for all of us.

One of my favorite foods is called flautas. They are corn tortillas filled with shredded chicken. They are rolled up tight, then fried or baked. You can cover them in green or red sauce. I just dipped them in guacamole. You can also fill them with beef or ground beef.

I often get comments from readers that reading Unraveled makes them hungry. I love that. Food plays a big part in Autumn's life so I'm happy that came across.

Unraveled is on sale at the following sites:
Barnes and Noble
Evernight Teen

You can read more about Unraveled on Goodreads and Pinterest:

To celebrate, Evernight Teen's 1st birthday, I'm giving away a $25 gift card to Amazon. To enter my prize content, please leave a comment naming your favorite family dish.

On Feb.1st, I will randomly select one winner. Be sure to include your e-mail so I can contact you.

To win Evernight Teen's prize of $100 I-Tunes gift card, enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway You can also enter on the Evernight Teen site. Evernight Teen

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Calling all YA bloggers

Evernight Teen is turning 1, and we're celebrating with some wonderful prizes. We're doing a blog hop from January 24-31.
If anyone else would like to participate, please enter your info here: http://sandrapessomarketing.blogspot.com/2014/01/evernight-teen-1st-birthday-blog-hop.html

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