Archive for the ‘Criminal’ Category

A Criminally Good Playlist

June 11th, 2014 by Terra | No Comments | Filed in Criminal

Recently I held a contest wherein you could win a signed copy of Criminal and the playlist I made for the book. As I mailed out copies of the book and the CD, I thought it might be a bit unfair to be stingy about this playlist, especially since it contains Britney Spears, Loretta Lynn, Michael Jackson, and Neko Case.

So here it is, in its entirety, should you choose to create it for yourself:







Maybe I Didn’t Win, but YOU Still Can!

May 14th, 2014 by Terra | No Comments | Filed in Criminal

Well, the MWA Edgars Award event in New York was fantastic, and even though Criminal didn’t take away the prize (the winner was Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher, and you should check it out), thanks to the huge outpouring of excitement and support, I still felt like a champ. Getting to dress up didn’t hurt either, and I got to meet so many terrific folks in the YA and Juvenile categories, too. (Amy Timberlake [Her book One Came Home was the winner!], Josh Berk, Kirsten Miller, Julie Berry, Tom McNeal, Erin Dionne and Caroline Lawrence.)

Just because *I* didn’t win though doesn’t mean *you* can’t! To show my thanks to everyone I’m giving away FIVE personalized copies of Criminal, three of which will also receive the criminally inspired playlist I created for the launch party. Contest closes next week, and there’s very little you have to do to enter! (And if you need extra inspiration, there’s a sneak peek of my newest novel, In Deep, which is coming out in July.)

I’m so grateful to the Mystery Writers of America, to all the judges who were forced to make such a tough decision, but mainly for all of you amazing readers.



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When Wrong Feels Right and Then Wrong Again

April 16th, 2014 by Terra | No Comments | Filed in Criminal, Talking with Other Authors

To continue keep conversation around the themes in Criminal (which released in paperback earlier this month) going this week, I asked two author friends to talk about a time they’d wronged someone, and what they’d done to repair it if at all possible. Their answers fall on opposite ends of the wrongdoing spectrum, but that’s what I like about this whole conversation–the range of responses you can get from the same question, and how it makes you think about your own actions. You can compare their notes to Jen Calonita and Aaron Hartzler’s responses when the book first released, or just enjoy the fantastic confessions here:


Christa Desir (Author of the superintense must-read Fault Line, and Bleed Like Me forthcoming in Fall 2014!)

This always comes with the territory of being a mom, I think. Or maybe being a mom and a writer. The kind of obsessive writer that can’t do anything else when I have an idea that I want to write down. Or can’t do anything else when I just want to finish this ONE thing. But you can’t write a book in a day and I turn a little sub-human when I’m drafting. My husband  Julio has gotten used to it and is very independent. But my kids, they need me to be a mom and frankly, I check out sometimes. We have frozen pizza and chicken dinosaurs a lot when I’m drafting. And I always feel like a huge asshole and make it up to them with extra affection and more family reading time and more snuggles and better food when it’s all over, but in reality, they’re probably going to tell a therapist one day that they had only 2/3 of a mom ever. And I wish I had better balance with that.




T. M. Goeglein (Author of the superintense-in-a-different-way COLD FURY trilogy, with #3, Embers and Ash, coming in August!)

In another lifetime I was twenty-years-old and wronged a young woman with a cheesy stage name by robbing a strip joint.

It was in sun-cursed Arizona at the end of July, as baked and broiling as the face of Mars, and my buddy, a hirsute little ape, had learned of a joint called the Blue Moon Café where dancers performed TOTALLY NUDE (he spoke in all caps, jittering at the prospect of it.) And so off we went at two a.m., scouring the mean streets of Phoenix until we located a cement-block bunker with a crackling neon sign. Naked paradise awaited behind a steel door. So did a Jabba-like gatekeeper with a bloody dagger inked on his wide, pale cheek. He sat elevated behind a desk manning a cash register, the same brassy model as at my uncle’s diner—hit NO SALE, ching!, the drawer popped open.

“Twenty apiece,” was all he said, gazing down at us.

My friend the ape had money but I was mostly busted, so twenty bucks was a small fortune. “This better be good,” I mumbled, forking over the cash.

Jabba blinked two black marbles at me and nodded toward a beaded entry.

The room was perfectly square and as gloomy as the inside of a dirty fish tank. A heavy bass guh-dunka-dunked from a sound system. In the corner, a tiny stage sat abandoned. The air was thick with cigarette smoke, like driving through Gary, Indiana,and after a moment I made out benches along the walls where ghostly figures writhed before splayed humanoids. A claw lit on my forearm. “I’m Ginger,” a raven-haired skeleton said. “Table? Show’s gonna start.” We sat and Ginger hovered until the ape gave her five bucks to please leave.

The music died, silence, and then a recorded drumroll began.

Near the stage, a word scrolled across a digital sign once, twice, thrice. CANDEE!!! CANDEE!!! CANDEE!!! Purple-pink spotlights and out she came, wrapped in a layer of baby fat. The music started and Candee moved stiffly, with yellow bangs wilting over mascara-lined eyes. She didn’t seem to know what to do. She began to remove her bikini top and stopped, and then just stood there like waiting for a bus. An unhappy Jabba motioned her to the edge of the stage; whatever he said was drowned out by the bass, accentuated by a thick finger poked at her breasts. The ape leaned in and said, “This sucks,” and he was right, but not for the reason he meant, that flesh wasn’t spilling fast enough. Even then I understood that people did what they had to do to survive, but it didn’t mean they liked doing it. I didn’t. My life consisted of struggling through a school I couldn’t afford and working at a series of grindingly lousy jobs. And now I’d blown twenty bucks on a shy stripper. I rose without a word, the ape trailing behind, and as we moved through the beads I noticed two things.

Jabba had not returned to his perch.

The cash register sat unattended.

I turned to the ape and said, “Get the car.”


“Get it, wait out front,” I said.

He looked from me to the cash register to me, and scurried outside. The NO SALE key was there, fat and waiting. I pressed it and it chinged! like a fire alarm in the desert, and—nothing. The drawer didn’t open. Even over the bass, someone must have heard it. My feet said run but my fist said hit it, wuss, and I did, another jangle of bells, and the cash register jutted its jaw. I grabbed a twenty and paused, staring at snug rows of green bills. And then I plucked them out, too. The door banged behind me as I slid across gravel and into the waiting Honda, and we were gone.

The end.

But, no.

The ape was chattering, juiced by the crinkled cash I’d fanned out across my lap, and while it had the appearance of justice, it felt like crime. Not against the Blue Moon Café or Jabba but against Candee. Somewhere not so deep inside, I suspected she’d get blamed for the robbery; at the very least, she wouldn’t get paid for her humiliation.

“Turn around,” I said.


“I gotta take it back.”

“Are you out of your fucking mind?!”

“Yes,” I said, and sometimes still wonder if returning those couple hundred dollars, flung back through the metal door at a stunned Jabba, made any difference at all, to Candee, to anyone. Then again, that’s not part of the bargain when trying to right a wrong. Satisfaction is not guaranteed. A person can only do what he has to do.

And then flee the scene as quickly as possible.